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It’s an “epic” thing …

Nov. 18, 2011

I’d been looking over these old truck ads for years and just wanted a chance to resurrect that ‘classic’ style of advertising campaign.” –Roger Snider, truck photographer extraordinaire

I got lucky in terms of meeting Roger Snider(or, more precisely, his excellent photographic work) over three years ago almost wholly by happenstance after one of my compatriots forwarded me link to his one-of-a-kind website, Ultra Rigs of the World.

To say I was blown away by his photography is an understatement; to characterize his photographs as “gorgeous” doesn‘t do them an ounce of justice.

Since then, he’s graced this space many a time and for good reason – his globe-trotting photographic sprees produce some of the most amazing shots of custom trucks you’ll ever see, in some truly eye-popping locales as well.

His latest effort, though, allowed him to meld together two very distinct aspects of his career; his early work as a fashion photographer and his current passion for custom trucks.

When Bryan Martin, owner of the famous “chrome shop mafia” based out of 4 State Trucks in Joplin, MO, hired Snider to shoot 4 State’s 2012 Outlaw Calendar back in February this year, Snider had an idea: why not recreate the old-style “Class Pays” advertisements developed by Peterbilt Motors Co. way back in the day, where trucks were photographed in real settings (instead of photo-shopped backgrounds) accompanied by a model wearing fashionable period clothing?

Snider even had an actress/model in mind to help complement the calendar's trucks, as was done back in the old days: Polish-born Agnes Olech, whose father (appropriately, an auto mechanic who specializes in repairing Saabs) relocated the family to California back around 1994.

The result is stunning: a one-of-a-kind visual “tour de force” of some very sharp road iron that harkens back to trucking’s “Golden Age,” as Snider explained to me over the phone from his California office.

“I’ve been thinking about doing this kind of photo shoot for the last five years, but just didn’t know how to make it come together,” he told me. “Then Bryan called and in a flash I knew this would be my chance.”

Snider also immediately knew Olech would be the perfect model for this particular shoot, in large part because of her acting chops and “self-sufficiency.”

“As an actress, she can fully inhabit particular scenes, which made her ideal for the different backgrounds I wanted to use,” he said. “She also does her own hair and makeup perfectly, so I wouldn’t need to arrange a ‘style team’ for her.”

Snider shot a “test photo” in March with Olech that sold 4 State’s Martin on the “Class Pays” concept. Then in September Snider flew down to Missouri for a week, bringing Olech in halfway through the photo shoot, with Snider’s sister-in-law – a Hollywood based celebrity stylist – loaning out items from her vintage dress collection to match some of the sharp iron Martin had picked out for his calendar.

(Though, let it be known, Olech supplied the “flower girl” outfit used in the photo at right.)

Snider also wanted to make these “real” shots, too – all taken against real backdrops, not something whipped up by computer. That included using smoke bombs to create the “fog” effect in one shot (the one at the top of this post actually), with the local fire department providing what Snider dubbed a “hose down” to create the “wet look” in another.

[You can click here to see some more of Snider's 4 State calendar photos.]

“I wanted to put classic styled custom trucks into that traditional Midwest landscape setting; giving each of the photos a distinctive, iconic look that yet, at the same time, helped link them together,” Snider explained. “I just wanted to get that epic, breath-taking, truck-on-location shot – something that just isn’t done as much anymore.”

“Epic” … that’s definitely the right word for what Snider’s achieved with these photos, I think; Epic indeed.

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