Sam Robinson Finds a Balance with Mizuno's Heritage
At first glance, the thing that jumps out about Sam Robinson’s latest campaign with Japanese athletic giant Mizuno, is the sheer power of the energy. Athletes are caught not only in mid stride or leaping through the air, they're ripped like lightning out of powerful moves. Time hasn’t just slowed down, it’s been completely frozen and that captured dynamism radiates out of the imagery. “It was very influenced by Mizuno's new range and new color palate,” explains Sam. “And also by the fact that Mizuno is not casual wear, it is for real athletes and real runners use it. Therefore, starting positions, technique and all of that was quite important. It needed to feel natural and real, and fresh and authentic. But with a level of perfection and competitiveness.” These are real people achieving real greatness, so Sam had to balance that truth into the images.
To achieve this kind of crisp imagery in the midst of explosive athleticism requires very real technical demands that Sam directed around. Set ups and lighting had to be carefully chosen, but his style comes from capturing honest moments. So he found a way to do both. “We would plan it to a certain degree and then let what happens on the day lead that,” says Sam. “Obviously the beauty of a lot of the running is you can discover it as you go because you’re literally running from street to street.” Sam let the runners run around the city, following their own paths, and his team ran alongside them until they found the moment they were looking for. As a process, it represented the confluence of technical expertise with creative agility.
When he was composing those frames, he looked to the brand’s history to make sure each image hit the tenor of Mizuno’s heritage. “They do everything from baseball to golf to football to soccer to running,” Sam explains. “But the brand has always, from the logo all the way through most of its designs, had Japanese iconography on it. Even when we were searching locations we were looking for hints of that. Strong perpendicular lines, or very graphic shapes to use as the backdrop.” That’s precisely why we see the architecture and colors that Sam has placed the runners within. He knew this fell right in line with Mizuno’s identity. It’s all about balance.