Photographer Scott Lowden is compulsive about capturing the moment. He carries his camera everywhere just in case he spots something that might spark a new photo adventure. Lowden is an award-winning advertising photographer based in the Atlanta metro area with over 20 years of experience. He spent the first part of his career specializing in still life photography and directing for TV and creating some festival-worthy short films. He has produced work for such clients and brands as Bose, Kodak, Coca-Cola, Delta and AFLAC. For the past 10 years Lowden has been concentrating on lifestyle photography with a touch of the personal.
Sometimes on holidays and even some random weekends, Lowden drives Route 309 to Hazleton, Pennsylvania to visit family. While taking in the passing scenery on these trips, he has noticed out of the corner of his eye, when the sun gets low and bright, a rather desolate looking building. With each trip, Lowden would look for the building and finally decided to do some scouting shots. The overgrowth in the building and its complete abandonment lent themselves to an idea for a personal project. He had a story forming that could make use of the location and the talent he had available.
“Anytime I intentionally put myself into a situation where I have to invent on my feet, it is like exercise for creativity,” says Lowden. Often on ad shoots everything is mapped out and planned, so when he gets to shoot projects for himself he has the freedom to let his imagination roam. Lowden loves to bring concepts to life and go moment to moment without any set script. He sees this kind of shooting as a great exercise for creativity. He gets to use classic themes from literature and film and works with limited resources, no crew and very little gear—maybe one reflector and one strobe.
The abandoned machine-shop warehouse seemed like an ideal place to leave a group of kids as if they were on a deserted island, left to explore, run wild and play make believe with whatever objects they found. Lowden created his light version of Lord of the Flies.
He got permission to photograph on the property and for talent, he was able to get his own nieces and nephew to participate. He convinced their parents to just let the kids follow him like a modern day pied piper and they would be fine. He borrowed clothes from Blu Pony Vintage, a children’s clothing store specializing in vintage-looking clothes and accessories that have a kind of Old English prep-school look. He then pulled a few key props from a nearby Salvation Army and a dollar store, and his light Lord of the Flies was born and ready to be shot.
Lowden photographed the children wandering their private island, playing at tug of war, checking out old pieces of machinery, and his tough little “Jack” took charge by marching over tables littered with old papers and charts. In a somewhat tetanus-ridden environment, we see kids having fun in a natural way —something we rarely see these days with so much over protection.
Lowden plans to use his shots for a direct mailing promotional piece and for his website. “Even though it doesn't really fit within the lifestyle/advertising context, I think at times marketing's main job can be just to get attention and stop an AD/AB long enough to notice my name or drive them to my site, not necessarily to fit exactly within my core brand as a photographer,” explains Lowden.
If you are not familiar and have never read the classic William Golding novel, Lowden's fine art project is a great invitation to learn about the original and very much darker version. I happen to have a copy right now that I have started re-reading. See more of Scott Lowden’s work and read his blog on his latest adventures.
© Scott Lowden