I capped off 2011 with the absolute raddest assignment for Fortune Magazine. I was tapped to shoot the offices of Google in Mountain View, CA for their annual list of the 100 Best Companies Work For where Google took #1 in 2012.
Things came together rather quickly on this one. Think I was contacted that Wednesday, the 21st of December and was told our shoot date was the 28th.
Oh yeah, there was that little thing called Christmas on the 25th. Problem? Not at all, I love pressure.
Must confess that I'm really lucky to have a large network of friends and colleagues who just so happen to be among the country's top photographers. Joe Pugliese and right-hand, Kerensa, came through with thoughts on gear rental and general logistics. They had some assisting names as did my buddy, Misha Gravenor. Gregg "ever-in-flight" Segal had some of the best jedi air travel knowledge, simply texting "just talk to Ken at CarlsonWagonlit."
Pre-production was all but done, so I was able to shoot my estimate over that Thursday, get it approved, secure gear, hire assistants, and book travel by that Friday the 23rd. By the time I left, this is how my project folder looked.
Little diary in pictures below.
I wanted to travel pretty light for this project, so besides my computer/camera rigs, I only took a soft-bag of niche chimeras. Prefer my modifiers to be completely water-logged and smelling of must after any flight. Kind of helps with my whole self-mythologization project.
If it's not the magliner, then it's the Smart Carte. Protip: bungee cord is must have. . . (I heard "protip" more times then I could count down at Google - became a bit of an inside joke with me and my guys assisting)
I chose the Chevy Tahoe 4x4 with an interior capacity of "school bus." Opting for the environmentally-friendly edition, peep how many miles I got to the gallon.
Rental House humor discovered while charging back-up batteries.
Was doing some "night-before-shoot" sketching for my Photo Editor, Kate Osba. **Sidenote: if you haven't checked out my 10 minute interview on her "This is the What" blog, check it out right here** // **DOUBLE SIDENOTE: CONGRATS ON HER UPCOMING "THIS IS THE WHAT" MAGAZINE, TOO. . . peep the Kickstarter page, son!**
One of the first things I noticed about the Googleplex is 1) the perks and 2) the personalization of each and every employee work area. This dude had a feelings box. . . stellar.
Google goes out of it's way to accomodate each person. If you're PC, they'll get you on a PC platform. You like Mac, then they'll get you a Mac. You're a pirate, be a pirate.
Do you wanna have your strategy meeting over a few bowling frames? Cool, go for it. Chat up the ladies about the next revolution in web standards and SEO while you're at it.
Organic cupcakes anyone? Here, help yourself at our most awesome, all-you-can eat FREE buffet -- one of 18 around the campus! Don't know how our gal managed to eat four more after this frame was taken.
How about some juice to wash it all down with? Grab your sippy cup because it's bring your kid (or dog) to work day. . . like everyday. Love the cheeks on that kid. . .
By the time I was finished, I was photo drunk. Tons of stuff to see, all of it photo-worthy. Even managed to snap this pic of Google's 'Self Driving Car' as I was heading to the airport.
If you wanna get a tour of the campus, there's a pretty great YouTube video here. Thanks again to the Fortune photo department! This issue is OUT NOW on newsstands!