Montreal-based photographer Benjamin Von Wong is always up for a challenge, as seen in his underwater shipwreck portraits and his creative photos of a man on fire. His most recent project that he shared with us was an answer to SmugMug`s request to take black-and-white portraits of their employees "doing something sporty," as the photo-sharing website planned to feature the images in their company gym. Armed with a homemade rain machine and $20,000 worth of lighting equipment, Von Wong transformed everyday people into super athletes in a series of incredibly dynamic, striking photos.
Von Wong used "Hollywood-level lighting" instead of digital retouching in order to achieve his extraordinary shots. He says, "Once set up properly, anyone can look absolutely phenomenal straight out of camera. Muscles beautifully defined, faces perfectly lit. . . No tummy tucking or Photoshop funny business needed, only the small tweaks: light, contrast & colour." But the true key behind his images was getting ordinary office workers, programmers, and grandparents to believe in themselves. With plenty of enthusiasm and encouragement, Von Wong gave his subjects the confidence to become extreme fitness models in front of the camera.
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Von Wong a couple questions about the photo shoot. Be sure to read that exclusive interview below.
Above: Brett, Intern