Nigel Harniman is a seasoned automotive and auto-related photographer with twenty years under his belt and a top-notch list of clientele. He is based out of London but has worked with most major auto brands and their ad agencies from all around the world. In 2006, he began his own CGI studio, Air-CGI, to better serve his clients’ needs. The first major CGI project he landed was for the debut of the Ford Edge in the United States. Since then, he has completed projects for Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Peugeot, Vauxhall, GM and Esso.
One of Harniman’s greatest strengths is that he isn’t afraid to step outside of his comfort zone. While Air-CGI’s focus is primarily in automotive photography, he is also eager to take assignments from other industries. He has also done work for pharmaceuticals, telecoms and food & beverage brands, garnering recognition with a 2010 Campaign Photo Award for a Mars/Snickers CGI project. What started as a one-man show has now evolved into a real studio. Harniman employs six full-time staff members and a handful of specialists who freelance for his projects depending on the needs of the client.
One of the more recent assignments taken on by Harniman and the Air-CGI team was the “No Environment Too Tough” campaign for the Mitsubishi L200. Harniman collaborated with art director Richard Daughton of UK agency Golley Slater to create ads with CGI landscapes rendered with man-made items such as nails, drills, blades and glass. Daughton envisioned a landscape that while containing these elements, would appear as a realistic setting at first glance.
After fleshing out the concept with Daughton, Harniman began shooting the car in the studio. He and his team then built the entire surrounding compositions. Creating a realistic setting with unnatural components, and to make them sit in the scene convincingly was certainly a challenge – especially under a very tight deadline. Harniman and his Air-CGI teamed excelled at delivering a final project that executed the concept perfectly. Daughton comments, “Air CGI showed an uncompromising commitment to the job which made them the perfect partner to work with. Their dedication, attention to detail and willingness to experiment long into the night resulted in a set of stunning visuals which went beyond the brief, exceeded our expectations and left us with a very happy client.”
In addition to pleasing the client, an image from the “No Environment Too Tough” campaign is now nominated for a UK Cream Award. Harniman believes the success of his Air-CGI studio is not only due to their skill and creativity, but their good work ethic, light atmosphere and high standards as well. He says, “Our raison d’etre is to produce the very best images possible in the best way, on time and on budget whether pure photography, CGI or a blend.”
To watch a timelapse of the making of the “No Environment Too Tough” Mitsubishi L200 campaign, click here. For more of Nigel Harniman’s work, visit his Web site.