This is a photograph of some workers for a family run company that has been around for many years. They operate cranes, do construction, rigging, etc., and since they had been in business for so long and had an archive of old black and white photographs they always used one on the annual company calender.
They wanted to break from that and show something more contemporary but still give it an old traditional feel. So the art director decided to use one of their warehouses and park a crane in it with some of the workers and their tools of the trade. We decided to keep the old time feel and a certain rigidity that I would shoot with a 4×5 view camera on black and white sheet film. Used all natural light but was having trouble with the crane and subjects blending in with the background. I had some “smoke cookies” with me so we lit them off and had an assistant directing the smoke behind them. That did the trick perfectly to separate them from the background and also gave the photograph a more atmospheric feel.
A couple of these guys were some pretty macho characters and of course complained about having their picture taken. We shot at the end of the workday and as soon as the siren sounded to signal the end of the shift that was it for these guys and they just walked off the set to punch the clock without so much as a goodbye and nothing we could say brought them back. Luckily we had the shot.