While Mark Clinton is a Sydney-based photographer, he employs his lifestyle and tourism storytelling all over the world. Some of his favourite places to shoot his outdoor and action photography, however, aren’t too far from home. New Zealand’s landscapes are a constant source of inspiration for both his commercial and personal work, so having the chance to shoot the ‘Find Your Joy’ campaign for American Express in some of his favourite areas of New Zealand’s South Island was an incredible opportunity.
A financial campaign with plenty of life, Photoplay Photography executed Mark’s vision based on the brief from Ogilvy Sydney. The campaign showcases the joy and reward that comes with being an American Express card holder, the kind of person you would never hear say ‘I wish I’d chosen a blender’ when they could be hunting down incredible experiences. It’s a card that can take you anywhere in the world, so it was fitting that the locations were anywhere from cool urban interiors to breathtaking views at the top of a glacier.
The shoot was split across two countries, with two primary campaign images shot in Sydney and three in New Zealand. The production involved navigating shooting with Sydney International Airport, as well as atop a New Zealand glacier and a high alpine lake, both only accessible by helicopter. And while Mark might have made his name with outdoor photography, his airport lounge interiors perfectly captured the excitement of travel, and his business-focused interaction brought home the thrill of great mentorship.
As photography reps and agents, Photoplay Photography negotiated all details of the contract, and then taking up the mantle of the production company, aligned all elements across the two countries. Simultaneous casting occurred on both sides of the Tasman, with most crew working across both locations to ensure a seamless transition and single unified look across the entire campaign. A full recce was undertaken with the agency ahead of the shoot to ensure the client knew exactly what was coming up, with the only unknown the weather — though in the end, that wasn’t a concern, with perfect days across the week of shooting.
Photoplay Photography worked on all areas of production with a terrific team, sourcing and transporting wardrobe and props, finding locations (from warehouses in Sydney to tarns in Milford Sound), casting talent out of Sydney, Queenstown and Christchurch, accommodating all crew, talent, agency and client, and getting one of an estimated seven days a year with the perfect, sunny, windless weather atop the Franz Josef Glacier.
For Photoplay Photography, this was the third campaign shoot for American Express in less than 12 months, with the first (for the local American Express Shop Small campaign shot by John Laurie) eventually licensed for global use. Mark has since shot his second and Photoplay Photography’s fourth campaign for the brand, currently awaiting release. The campaign ended up the perfect combination of lifestyle photography and tourism photography, capturing the best of both worlds with some truly envy-inducing photographs and experiences.
Photographer: Mark Clinton
Producer: Ross Colebatch
Stylist/Art Director: Tess Strelein
Hair & Make Up: Charlie Kielty (AUS)/Laurie Buckland (NZ)
Photography Assistant: Klint Collier
Digital Operator: Felipe Neves
Art Department Assistant: Andrew Crichton