Commercial Advertising photographer John Holt/DOCK25
Specializing in Visual Solutions for Clients' Concepts


Behind-the-Scenes posts to explain how and why we came up with the solutions to our clients' visual challenges.



Quite a number of years ago, a company called Northern Light Group hired Mullen Advertising to create a campaign for a very specialized search engine, which was about to be made available to the general public. Northern Light is a company “specializing in strategic research portals, enterprise search technology, and text analytics solutions.”  Don’t ask me to explain all that.  My head is spinning already.

Art director, Mary Rich, and her creative team came up with the concept of shrink-wrapping Boston’s city buses with a word in a search window on the sides of the bus, and the answer in the windows.  For instance, some buses had “x-ray” in the search window and skeletal x-rayed people in the windows.

My search word was “claustrophobia” and the bus windows were to be crammed with as many people as possible. This was a huge logistical challenge for Mari Quirk, our stylist and producer.  She had to assemble a cast of characters representing all walks of life, who would be squished like a can of sardines up against the windows.  Mary did a fantastic job, finding over a hundred people to show up at the studio at the appropriate time for the shoot. Some were friends and other photographers. Others Mari approached on the street and asked if they were interested.

We constructed a 6×8 foot window of inch thick plexiglass in a wooden frame strong enough to let people press up against it.  We shot in groups large enough to fill two adjacent bus windows.  Everyone was told to have that sort of vacant look one gets in a crowd of people, with a little bit of interaction here and there.

The whole thing was a huge success, and looked fantastic shrink-wrapped on the buses.  It’s a great feeling when a team works in harmony to make a concept like that become a reality.

On a personal note, I created a collage from all the shots with fellow photographer and friend, Clark Quin, who was one of the models, in the center.  Clark suffered a stroke in his studio one weekend, and wasn’t discovered till three days later.  Miraculously, he recovered better than could have been imagined, although he does have residual aphasia.  So he carries a pad and pencil and converses by putting his thoughts on paper.  Clark has been photographing guitars and stringed instruments of all kinds for years, sending out a monthly calendar with a new image each month.  He is a great photographer and a wonderful human being.


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