Ty Milford Is On the Go with Zipcar

By Jacqui Palumbo

If you live in the New York City, Boston or Chicago area, then the latest Zipcar campaign has probably caught your eye in the subway station with eye-catching taglines such as “No booty call shall go unanswered” set against light-flooded images of city-dwellers living life. The campaign rolled out in mid-spring and went viral on Instagram within a week, thanks to the fun, relatable advertisements crafted by the creative team at Campbell Ewald and photographer Ty Milford.

Milford was contacted in March by Campbell Ewald Art Producer Tatyana Luneva-Evenchik to fly out from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles for a quick-turnaround two-day shoot. Milford says, “I believe that I got the assignment out of being in the right place at the right time.  One of my print collateral pieces landed on Tatyana's desk and was exactly what she was looking for for this project.” Milford’s style revolves around capturing “loose, real-feeling moments” filled with motion and emotion and emphasized with a strong quality of light. His style fell into line with the campaign objective: a series of spontaneous images that reminded the audience of an Instagram feed. 

After he received the phone call on a Wednesday, Milford and his team were tech-scouting by the following Monday. “The preproduction on this was a whirlwind in the most extreme sense of the word,” Milford says. His agent, Mollie Jannasch, and producers, Vail and Peter from Photo Group, were crucial in assuring that the shoot stayed on schedule. 

The shoot took place over two days across Los Angeles, from Long Beach to Malibu, in a series of diverse locations that could pass for the cities where the campaign would be visible. “Los Angeles is so great because you can find so much diversity in the locations that you can really make a project look like it was shot anywhere on the globe,” says Milford.

To capture the spontaneous feel that Luneva-Evenchik and Art Director Tom Cerroni were aiming for, Milford opted to give more motivation than direction. “I have come full circle from providing loads of direction to often just setting the stage, giving motivation and then letting things unfold organically,” he explains. He often finds that over-direction leads to robotic talent, which in turn can make a campaign appear forced. “One of the subtle characterizations between a moment that looks real or fake is imperfection,” he says. “The real world is not perfect.  I love seeing a bit of motion blur, or some wind in the hair or a shirt that just has the feeling of being lived in. I want to see some flaws that just help the viewer, even subconsciously, feel like the imagery is real.”

As a consumer, Milford places his trust in brands that advertise their products through genuine, honest imagery, and he wants to deliver the same result. He says, “I really want to be seen as the photographer who has a portfolio full of moments. We are telling the story of a life well-lived.”

Within three weeks of the shoot, the Zipcar campaign began appearing in the metro transit systems of New York City, Boston, and Chicago. For more of Ty Milford’s work, visit his Web site.


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