The reflections on his car were what lured Hermann Heinze into the photo studio. "My daughter was photographing me in my convertible," explains the 80-year-old architect. "And there were these annoying reflections on the pictures, which she couldn't get rid of." She therefore consulted a photographer she knew.
The first thing he wanted to know, however, was where she had got hold of such a great model. That was the start of a second career for the retired Hamburg architect, whose face bears the wrinkles that developed in the course of life and as a result of sailing. In summer 2011 he found himself standing in front of a camera and being photographed for a new brochure from Merck that documents the process of innovation through the ages — as far back as 1668.
Augmented reality: A woman in red emerges from the display
The new publication follows last year's image brochure The Merck Way
. "What we showed there, and also in the rousing film Live a Better Life, was who we are and what makes up our identity. By contrast, our new innovation brochure is dedicated first and foremost to the question of what we do and for whom we do it," explains Walter Huber, Head of Corporate Communications at Merck. Huber and his team drew up the basic idea, which was then transformed into text, image, and video by the Hamburg agency Nissen Carstensen.
Video? "That's right, we also work with augmented reality," says Michael Nissen, on set at the Lichtwerk Studio in a 1912 brick building in the Altona district of Hamburg. For example, if the reader holds a Web-enabled smartphone over the image of an LCD display printed in the brochure, a short clip is automatically downloaded from the Internet. It shows a woman in a red dress emerging from a TV set to talk with the viewer. The only piece of software required is a smartphone browser, which is freely downloadable.
Instead of being merely gimmicks, such features provide an impressive illustration of just how innovations from Merck are helping to "improve life," in the words of the brochure's subtitle. Incidentally, the brochure gets away without a single photo of a Merck product. Hermann Heinze feels comfortable among the crew of photographers, lighting technicians, stylists, and art directors. His role in the brochure is to demonstrate one of the many innovations from Merck: a special cosmetic substance that helps prevent the formation of wrinkles and keeps the skin smooth and supple.
A total of 11 days were spent on the photo shoot in a Hamburg studio
© Mark Steinhoff
The photographer Torben Conrad is delighted with his subject. "Hermann's a real character," he says. Conrad has been taking photographs since childhood but only made it his daytime job in recent years. He quickly establishes a rapport with his subjects, who soon feel at ease despite the glare of the studio lights. As he kneels on a cushion behind his medium-format digital camera and directs the 80-millimeter portrait lens to capture ever more angles, it's easy to see how he forms a strong bond with his models.