On Location with Meguiar’s Wax
In the beginning, Barry Meguiar would call in us in one by one and we’d be interviewed. After they interviewed 9-10 artists, we ended up getting the job. This was in the late 80’s. To this day, I joke with Barry, I got the job because I didn’t have a pony tail. In those days, everyone seemed to have long hair.
The first job was to go to Las Vegas and photograph select cars of The Imperial Palace Collection. They got the authorization to go in and photograph select cars in their collection. We packed up the studio and went to Vegas for a week. When we got there, the art director showed us an ad in a magazine called Auto Gleam, and said we want to recreate this look. We want “pools of light” on the cars. So I go, “yah, of course! We can do anything!” But to myself I was thinking why in the hell would they want “pools of light?” Normally we would create a broad highlight or a horizon line on the side of the car that shows the shape of the panels. That’s what car photographers do. It’s done with a broad light, not pools of light. But our first rule is, whatever the client wants is what they will get.
So we set up the studio in the parking garage behind the imperial palace. We were shooting 4x5 film, so we were doing everything in the camera. I had to string black velvet all around to eliminate unwanted reflections and control the light. Then the advertising director said he wanted to see film every day, so we had to contract a lab to run dailies. Every day they would look at the previous day’s work and they would approve or not so we could move on to the next car. We shot 4x5 polaroids to make adjustments while shooting. Halfway through he shoot, my partner is underneath the dark cloth looking at the upside down image of the shot when he says let’s pack up all these cars and go to our studio. Obviously that wasn’t an option, so we had to finish the job on location. This got our foot in the door to do labels, boxes, educational trailer storyboards, brochures, and a lot of other print materials for them. Later they hired Madison Avenue to do advertising and they came to us too. They came and looked at our shots and they said they liked the broad lit car shots we did and we started doing business with them too.