Behind the scenes.
Two tough guys, one calendar shoot –
the Mercedes-Benz Citaro and Gino Lombardo.
Twelve glossy photos of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles shown off in all their stylish glory, enrich the year month by month. An established tradition. The Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle calendar 2014 will also soon be available in the Mercedes-Benz Accessories Shop. And for the first time ever, the Citaro will adorn one of the coveted calendar pages.
However, hardly anyone is aware of how much work is involved in producing a single calendar page. So here's a sneaky peak behind the scenes of the shoot with the Citaro, which will hopefully provide an impression of the time and effort necessary for that one, perfect photo.
The first tough guy.
The perfect scene for the perfect photo of the Bus of the Year 2013 was a popular bar in Cologne's student area on a hot summer's evening. The Citaro had been waiting impatiently for its great entrance since the early evening, whilst innumerable assistants were busy nonstop preparing everything: the lively street had to be partly cordoned off and the bus positioned to the millimetre exactly. Bothersome bins, bikes and chairs had to be removed from the photo, whilst the models received their make-up and instructions. Every now and then the Citaro was repeatedly polished to a high finish. Innumerable lamps were set up in order to provide the best possible illumination for the scene and then finally Düsseldorf photographer, Michael Haegele, and his team positioned the models for the perfect photo composition. Nothing was left to chance that evening – least of all the choice of the bus driver who was to take the wheel for the calendar shot.
The second tough guy.
Passion also characterises the 2014 calendar motif of the new Citaro: the second leading man of the shoot is not unknown to Mercedes-Benz Buses. In February 2013 an expert jury voted Gino Lombardo the winner of the "In search of tough guys" campaign from among ten participants. The members of the Driver's Club were tested and evaluated during driver training and a film shoot at the Hockenheimring – the winners will feature regularly in photo and film shoots in the future. The arrival of the 27 year-old almost went unnoticed in the hectic hustle and bustle. Gino Lombardo appeared almost shy as he entered the scene. The passionate bus driver from Bad Säckingen in south-western Germany is still using a wheelchair following a severe car accident. The accident happened exactly three months ago to the day and despite this temporary inconvenience, Gino is in fighting spirits – a true tough guy!
Gino then waited together with the Citaro until darkness fell. Both then made their grand entrance together with the models casted specifically for the shoot in front of a magnificently illuminated night scene in Cologne's city centre. Before everything was ready and the extras had arrived, photographer Michael Haegele had enough time to examine the scene one last time and check even the smallest of details. A professional leaves nothing to chance. The Freiburg-born photographer was also personally responsible for the choice and exact position of the models. During his career he has worked for many well-known brands and has won numerous established awards for his work. Haegele took the photos of all twelve motifs for the 2014 calendar. As a result, the commercial vehicle calendar bears a clear signature which characterises its unmistakable style.
Michael Haegele's style is distinguished by a composition planned in great detail and the fascinating bond between man and machine whilst also fulfilling the very highest of standards.
That evening dazzling flashes permanently lit up the scene, attracting the interest of passers-by and party-goers. Michael Haegele took innumerable test shots which he then checked immediately on the screen. And each time, the perfectionist found a small thing which he wanted to improve. Repeatedly, the position of the models was altered by a few millimetres, their facial expressions and gestures adjusted just a nuance following precise instructions. Atmosphere was created with the help of wafts of artificial mist until finally the mystic atmosphere which Haegele had in mind – and which is to make the Citaro motif so unique – was created.
It was well past midnight when Michael Haegele and his team allowed themselves a first break at the bar. Exhausted, but satisfied they talked about the evening and were unanimous: the photo was in the can. However knocking-off time was a long way off on the set: the lights had to be disassembled, cables rolled up and masses of equipment stowed away.
But at least the evening's leading men had definitely earned their leisure-time. Whilst bus driver Gino Lombardo was already on his way to the hotel, the Citaro left the cathedral city for home.