Jason Madara Gets Real with Best Buy
At Best Buy there truly is something for everyone. Whether you're in the market for a gigantic TV, or need the latest tiny music device, you can find something that will give you a little spark of joy. In fact, that's what Best Buy is all about: connecting people to new pieces of technology that will enrich their daily experiences. This is exactly what they wanted to mine in their latest collaboration with Jason Madara, and gave the photographer a focus that he knew he could have fun with. After combing through thousands of models and actors, Jason found around 30 people to photograph and jumped right in. Sometimes literally. “I had the music on, I had the Tina Turner on in the background, I had to laugh and make a fool out of myself and get them to really bring it, and feel comfortable,” Jason explains. “So for me, no matter what I’m shooting, I want to get into it and become part of it and get in there with them and share that experience with them. And not make them experience it alone.” Creating that kind of an atmosphere means that he makes space for his subjects to open up and have fun, something that will show up directly on film and make for imagery that is fun and engaging.
Best Buy's products are incredibly diverse because their customers are diverse. Each person who comes into the store has slightly different needs, and Jason wanted to make room for that. The diversity isn't limited to race, age, or gender identity, but goes into life experience and Jason wanted to reflect these different experiences throughout the mix of photographs. “I was trying to mix it up and not feel like all the same,” says Jason. “So for every person I would get a feel for their personality and change the music maybe, and laugh with them. In a campaign with 28 images you want to try and mix it up as much as you can.” Jason asked each of them to imagine what it would be like to get whatever they wanted from Best Buy as a gift, and each of his models had a totally unique reaction. That was the point. Everyone who comes through Best Buy's doors is looking for something that's going to specifically speak to them; the broad range of experiences that Jason brought to this campaign means everyone can see themselves in it and engage with these stories.
What Jason wanted to keep the same was the overall aesthetic of the shots. Even with the variation on film, it all had to feel like it was a part of the same story. So Jason created a solid base for himself that he used as a touchstone for continuity. “My approach is always the same and technically my approach was always the same. I never changed the light too much, I wanted to keep it really consistent. We didn’t overly retouch these,” says Jason. “That was important. One of the things Best Buy mentioned is they really wanted that texture. They really wanted to basically feel real, that people can relate to these. That they look natural.” The engagement that Jason achieved can only happen if each image feels real. When an audience sees themselves in these images, it cannot be an extension of imagination, it must be a true visceral experience. Jason puts it all out there to connect with his subjects and ensure they'll connect with us so we can see ourselves in the story that Best Buy is telling us.