How do you capture the essence of “life after the pandemic"? Tech leader ASUS tapped ArtCenter Photography & Imaging students to create digital imagery to play on its Pro-Art monitors. During a 10-day Design Flash, students worked in small teams and independently to deliver ASUS a library of 30 digital images, video testimonials and behind-the-scene documentation of the process, all telling a compelling post-pandemic story.
ArtCenter: How did the idea for this course come about?
Ann Cutting and Elise Co: ASUS approached ArtCenter, initially with the idea of a photo contest. After further discussion, we landed on a much richer project for ASUS that would provide the library of images they were seeking, while greatly enhancing the student experience through an extra-curricular ArtCenter DesignFlash project. The students worked closely with the faculty and connected with ASUS at key points during the project.
Design Flash gave me the opportunity to experience working with a team on an advertising campaign, from conceptualization to final product.Siorne JohnPhotography & Imaging
AC: What inspired the direction you took with the curriculum for this class?
AC & EC: Photography takes production and planning, so timing had to be considered for students to have a team experience, as well as time to photograph independently. We ran the project for a week from ideation to final presentation. This allowed time for preproduction with the teams, which included set building, mood boards, talent selection, wardrobe, props and more. The teams of three rotated between photographer, assistant and digital technician. During the week, they worked independently and used locations to create imagery in a more documentary style.
AC: What are some of the assignments and materials that challenged students to break new ground creatively?
AC & EC: Working to create a “library of images” is becoming a more common assignment for professional photographers. The client determines the usage needed, and provides a brief or prompt. The photographer creates a number of images that fit within that topic. The turnaround time in the advertising world is quick; often, the photographer and team have only a few days to create 10 to 30 images. They will spend a week producing and planning the shoot down to the finest detail. This is an extension of what students learn at ArtCenter, with the added bonus of having ASUS as a sponsor and a stipend to cover expenses.
Sponsored Projects bring industry professionals into the classroom
AC: What were some of the most surprising ways students responded to assignments?
AC & EC: The variety of approaches to image-making and interpreting the prompt gave ASUS ample options and directions to use. Students created conceptual studio images, built sets, used strobe and blur and developed metaphors to capture the story within a single frame. On location, they leaned more into the emotive part of the prompt: fresh air, removing masks, connecting with people again, touch, hope and celebration.
AC: What are some of the most important concepts and ideas you hope students take away from the experience/classwork?
AC & EC: Working with a sponsor like ASUS under a real deadline; having a short time between ideation and final delivery; and editing a body of work to present to the sponsor is an incredible educational experience for the students. Additionally, students had an immersive experience in learning and using a product, and translating that into social media marketing and a potential advertising campaign. Students gained an understanding of production needs under the time constraint and how to adapt to working during a pandemic, following COVID compliance rules to keep everyone safe.