He & Me Gets Real for SmartCar
SmartCars are small. Their size makes them perfect for city living, they’re maneuverable and get great gas mileage. But even though their size is their strength, it in no way means that they inspire little interest. He&Me, the German photographer duo made up of Tom Mennemann and Yona Heckl, who shot the latest campaign for SmartCar put a heavy focus on the lifestyle portion of the concept and came up with some remarkable results. For the “Slice of Life” pictures we were asked to shoot 49 for the whole brochure but I guess we shot more or less 10,000,” says Tom with a laugh “We shoot quite a lot.” That’s what happens when you have two different photographers shooting at the same time. Two photographers means twice the work, but it’s all happening at the same time, so you get the same moments from different perspectives. “Two different cameras. Two different angles. Two different heights. Two different lenses. Even like two different characters. And that’s why we get so much good stuff, and that’s why there’s 70 images now,” explains Tom.
He & Me shot the huge campaign in Los Angeles, touring sites in the city to highlight all the different feelings you could get with vehicle like a SmartCar. One thing was sure though, they wanted everything to be unique. When they chose their locations they had one rule: “Every location should have something interesting, and something original in it. The target was to find locations that were kind of true and not faked or composed,” says Tom. “So basically the location, the target was to find the spot for each image and not to compose things together in post production.” It was all about authenticity. Big production pieces like constructed sets and compositing can work against the goals of a campaign sometimes.
As an extension of the locations, Tom and Yona only cast talent that didn’t need much work or direction. “The models were incredible, funny and cool. The casting was to find models that were cool as themselves, without big changes in hair and make up and styling. We were happy with the characters we got,” says Tom. Even just looking at the still images, the energy jumps out of the photographs. Tom and Yona constructed an authentic, engaging experience for their shoot and it translated directly into a sparkling collection of the lifestyle automobile photography that they’ve been increasingly known for. “Our goal is to mix car photography with people photography,” explains Tom. When it comes down to it, cars are human tools, so it only makes sense that the two worlds should meld seamlessly.