Chicago, Illinois-based photographer Eric Sahrmann worked with Art Director Mike Scalise to come up with a creative campaign for the Milwaukee Health Department, whose goal it was to raise awareness of having a healthy pregnancy. After Scalise came up with the original concepts, Sahrmann cast for babies between 3 months and 1 1/2 years old, finally selecting on a few babies to photograph.
“I hired a professional ‘baby-wrangler’ to hold the babies into the positions that we would need to composite the final photographs,” Sahrmann tells us about what happened next. “The parents were also on set to help with the positioning. I had retoucher Abe Finkelstein sitting at my computer compositing the shots together as we worked.
“Some of the positions were easy to capture, but others became quite a problem. We knew that we would have to get a baby to open his mouth to look like he was screaming for the karate chop photo. We could not get anything that looked good. Digitally manipulating the mouth to look like it was screaming just did not look right. Then, right when we were out of ideas and about to give up, one of the babies let out this huge yawn that I was able to quickly shoot. It ended up working perfectly for the karate baby. We were also having a hard time getting the furrowed brow for the hulk baby. One of the babies started to break down fussing and that gave us the perfect eye brows and forehead for the hulk baby. Each finished piece consisted of about 15 separate photographs composited together.”
Push Up baby
The project ended up taking many people to pull off; the producer, the ‘baby-wrangler’, the stylist, the digital artist, and the parents that were willing to bring in their young babies to be photographed. The ad campaign was a success with the photos running on billboards and outdoor displays throughout the Upper Midwest. The campaign even ended up winning a prestigious advertising award – a CLIO!