Zach Anderson Uses Distinct Vignettes to Evoke Emotions for Erleada
Creating stories that are full of consciousness is the foundation of Zach Anderson’s work. Always approaching his work with emotion, his images prompt the viewer to reflect and think about the world around them. Paired with a variety of technical photography skills - from shooting at different angles to using color for emphasis - Zach is able to tell the larger story in one frame.
For his campaign with Erleada, a treatment for prostate cancer, Zach traveled to Toronto, Seattle and Anacortes to depict three very different vignettes, each showing how the drug can improve the life of its user. All of Zach’s individual talents and professional skills worked in service of the emotions he wanted to convey for the different scenes. Wanting to know more, we spoke with Zach to hear how he navigated the complexities of this shoot.
What did each different city represent creatively?
Each city represented a different creative concept and required an entirely different set, lighting, talent and overall vibe. We wanted to show that using Erleada would allow the person to live their life a little more fully, going to the big game and seeing their team win in person, or being able to go whale watch with their granddaughter. I knew how important it was to convey the emotion of hope and happiness and used each scene to do that in different ways.
How did you direct the talent to make sure you got the emotion you were going for?
I really wanted the talent to be in the moment and almost forget that we were on a photo shoot. In Seattle, for example, we basically threw a big New Years Eve party. There was a real band playing music so I encouraged them to act like they were at a big party and I was on the periphery moving around like crazy to get a variety of angles. I wanted it to feel more documentary style, though it was produced and staged.
Do you have a favorite shot or vignette?
The whale watching scene. This was incredible on a personal level because it was a whale watching boat so we saw whales all day which is a pretty unique day on set. But I also think it’s one of my favorites because it was a more challenging location. We were on a boat, so there are only so many spots and angles to get without going overboard. It challenged me creatively but I like how it pushed me to get the shot within the confines of the location. I’m proud of those shots. It took a lot of communication with the captain of the boat to make sure the boat didn’t move too much when we got the lighting right. Everyone on this shoot was great to work with.
What did you learn from this project?
This project emphasized the importance of flexibility. Between traveling to three different places, the relentless COVID wrench getting thrown into production, and we also were piggybacking onto the motion commercial for the Big Game vignette, there was a lot to navigate. I feel confident in my abilities to go with the flow and work my best no matter what the constraints are.
What do you want people to take away about you and your work after seeing the final images?
I always, above all else, want my work to come across as authentic. I knew that since this was an intense subject matter, that the emotion needed to be top of mind. The drug can improve life and help patients get back to their life outside of the hospital. So for me, I wanted the emotions to feel full of life and optimistic. I always want my work to inspire people to feel and reflect on their own experience. Because ultimately, that’s what being a photographer is all about.