A few months ago I was contacted by the firm Strategy Design & Advertising about shooting some reportage-style imagery for a company profile booklet for their client, AFS Construction. The goal was to make an ordinary, heavy-duty construction site feel like something interesting and dynamic so that they could really showcase what was unique about the equipment and crew of AFS. I had only 4 hours to get as much imagery as I could and it was my first time on an Australian construction site so I was pretty surprised when I had to spend the first 2 hours of the shoot in safety and regulations training, multiple waiver and release signings and pass two mandatory breathalyzer tests before I was allowed to even step foot on the site. While I was learning about evacuation points and procedures during fires, chemical spills and natural disasters I was watching the sun move and I was losing light. I was relieved to finally get on site with 2 chaperones and less than two hours left and was luckily able to get quite a good range of images. I was thrilled to see the final designed booklet and website that Strategy Design had come up with and these are the results:
After the shoot was done I was left a little exasperated by what seemed like an overabundance of caution. After thinking about it a bit more I had a change of heart when I started to realize how little caution was exercised on similar shoots I had been on in the U.S. When shooting on top of a skyscraper under construction in Chicago a few years ago the site foreman handed me a helmet, said, "Just don't fall off the side and you'll be okay," and then let me roam around on my own for several hours. I've been on work sites where I've seen fork lift operators drinking vodka before a shift at 7am, contractors rewiring a room with bare hands on live wires, and my own (unwise) safety decisions like shooting in a helicopter in the beginning of a massive electrical storm. The more I thought about how the Australians approach workplace safety the more I'm surprised that Americans seem so laissez-faire about safety- especially with the cost of healthcare and number of lawsuits there.
Project Credits: Agency- Strategy Design & Advertising.
Creative Director/Designer- Dan Mercer. Designers- Geoff Courtman & Christina Perry.
Photos of booklet and website courtesy of Strategy Design & Advertising.