Photographing work trucks

For several years I had the pleasure of photographing work trucks for McNeilus. They manufacture cement mixers and refuse trucks, both of which I spent time with (one was more fun than the other …). Like any work truck assignment, there were two components; beauty shots and application shots.

Concrete mixers have a tendency to go places and get dirty. That’s not all bad for the photography, as long as it’s manageable dirt that doesn’t interfere with the product. Most notably, we always began with a clean truck … detailed down to the tire shine … before we got to the job site. What happened there was out of our control because they’re a subcontractor delivering a time sensitive product to the builder. They drove where they were told to go, and poured concrete as directed.

My responsibility was to dance around this operation without getting in anyone’s way or getting hurt. At the time, I was shooting medium-format transparencies with a Mamiya RZ67 on a tripod. I wasn’t as nimble as someone shooting with a 35mm SLR, butĀ IĀ delivered a product that was far superior.

This series is from the site of a housing buildup on a new block in rural Georgia. I was particularly fond of the red Georgia clay that is common to the area. I felt it added a great dimension to the image, especially setting off the bright red truck. But note to self … it’s extremely hard to remove from clothing or other personal articles …

Mack cement mixer in red Georgia clay
DM model Mack cement mixer in red Georgia clay at a construction site. Larry Shapiro photo

This truck was acceptably dirty … mud all over the tires and rear mud flap, but the rest of the truck is clean along with the front mud flap with the manufacturer’s name visible. The wheel is turned hard to show the tight cramp angle.

 cement mixer pouring a slab
Here is an application shot showing the business end of the mixer pouring a foundation. Larry Shapiro photo