Leaps and bounds

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Who says that models have to sit still and look pretty? Photographer Zach Gold has shot an exciting print campaign for Mini with Crispin Porter + Bogusky in which the models are captured in motion, but still pretty. Instead of looking suspended as if floating or flying, the models in his photos are affected by gravity, and just happen to be snapped in the air. Derived from some of his personal and editorial work, the campaign for the convertible Mini features the tag "Always Open," capturing the excitement and urgency of driving with the top down. "Originally I think it was going to be just figures on black, because Mini had branded the black background," Gold says. "But then we decided to put a background in but keep it dark. We wanted to give it a sense of place. We just tried to bring in dark backgrounds that leaned toward black, like the parking lot." A former fan of heavy compositing and surrealist work, Gold soon got sick of sitting at the computer and tried to capture as much as he could in-camera. "I'd rather go on location with a crew," he says. "There's better energy, and it's easier to get what you want from the models." For the Mini work, he shot almost all of the elements on location in L.A., then inserted the figures in post. The hotel picture, his favorite, was shot with the model repeatedly jumping onto a block of foam with reference points for accuracy. "I like that the figure is really active but really small," he says. "That kind of emotive physical quality in such a small form."

So how does he get his models to move in just the right way? "I was trained more as a fine artist in terms of drawing and painting and composition, so I have very specific things compositionally that I'm looking for, and I'll sit there and wait for it," Gold says. "I like to work with people who are very familiar with movement and action and that's why I like to use skaters and people of that ilk because they'll do anything and they have a good sense of their body in motion. As they move through space, I have things that I'm looking for. I can direct people in that realm much more easily."

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