Taylor Rainbolt Shoots on Pixel for Google
With the rise of mobile cell phones, most individuals have a camera at their disposal, right in the palm of their hand. In a world where anyone can become the director of their own story, cell phone companies have taken the extra step to showcase the professional quality of the cameras within their devices as well as the latest designs. In her latest collaboration with Google, photographer Taylor Rainbolt showcased the new Pixel phone in a campaign shot entirely on the device itself.
“Google gave me direction, but it was kind of up to me to learn how to use the phone. They gave it to me a few days before the shoot to get my bearings and shoot some personal shots of friends,” explained Taylor. “It was different first going into the shoot because it’s not an actual camera like I’m used to. Once I had the freedom to play, I got much more comfortable with the device. It was definitely the hardest job I’ve ever done technically. The shot in the theatre took six or seven hours to light. Just the one shot. We turned off every single light possible in the theatre, even if it was someone’s cell phone light, because the Pixel is that good that you can literally capture the smallest light. Everything was done in camera on the phone, and we didn’t manipulate any of the shots. Everything you see is raw.”
Although it’s not required for every project, Taylor enjoys being fully involved in the process, including the location and model scouting. During the conversation with Google about casting, Taylor realized that she had friends that had the look the brand was hoping to cast. She created a deck of friends and loved ones who would fit in well with the aesthetic of the shoot. “Google liked practically everyone that I cast,” said Taylor. “It was really great because being from LA with a community that’s so diverse, my friend groups are into different things. I like that I can bring them into my work. I think it’s important to show diversity in casting and work in general because these are real people that I interact with and I want people to see that, and feel like they can be themselves.”
“I shot my friend Hazel for Solar Magazine and also for this shoot. I think that people are under the impression that being Indian means like wearing a jewel in the middle of your forehead and you wear a wrap around your head. We stereotype people and put people into boxes when really Hazel is just a normal girl, she’s a person just like the rest of us. So I think that when people see that everyone is kind of the same then we can all just love each other, and stop assuming people are certain ways because that’s what society has made us believe for so long,” explained Taylor. “We still have a long way to go. We’re so saturated with imagery constantly, ultimately the goal is usually that we’re selling things. But what I can bring to the world is changing how we see things. That’s the small role I can play.”
The shoot took place in LA, but the team spent their scout day looking for locations that were relatable no matter which corner of the world the viewer was from. “We wanted to find locations that didn’t feel like LA, locations that had a global feeling, as if it could be anywhere in the world. That was part of the message we wanted to get across. Grand Central Market was one of the main locations, which I felt like worked perfectly because there was so much culture and diversity there. I had a great group on this shoot. Google was very hands on. We worked as a team to get exactly what we wanted. They were a big help because they know the camera, the phone, better than I do - they built it. Having their input was really helpful.”
“I think my favorite moment was honestly just having my friends involved and getting to work with them. I think that with everything going on in the world right now, there’s so many photographers, so many DJs, so many creatives, and I never really talk about photography with my friends. Having them get to see what I actually do and how seriously I take what I do and getting to share something that I love with them was my favorite part of the shoot.”