Lee Cooper (1979)

In the late 1970s, one of my main customers was Blueman Oy, who manufactured Lee Cooper jeans. They were manufacturing many different models and brands of jeans for specific target groups. For marketing purposes, jeans were often given a theme and their own look. One of the themes was the 50's, which was written as "Live the 50´s in Real Jeans".

I myself had lived through a time in my youth when the American lifestyle was invading Finland: jeans, cars, coke, the hair, leather jackets and rock and roll. We were thinking together with the team about the theme of the campaign in the 70s. The Grand Canyon stood out as the strongest and the Backyard (a meeting place) as the second, both of which I prepared a draft for the client. In the Grand Canyon version, a real American car was stopped at the edge of the canyon, and young people dressed in the 50s style infront of the car.

It was winter, no sun and definitely no canyons. A filming trip to America was out of the question, both in terms of time and cost. How to solve the photo problem? We decided to build the image in two stages: first we shoot the car and the models in the "studio", then we completed the image by drawing and colouring. For this task, we needed the expertise of a professional, retouching artist Kurt Lohrum.

An American car was easy to find, it just wasn't registered. Fortunately, the car's storage space was big and clean enough that we didn't have to move the car. It was enough to have a white backing plate on the back. We brought the models, accessories, props and equipment to the garage and started shooting.

The photograph was made on black and white film and then printed on photographic paper of about 40 x 50 cm. Black and white was key, as it was the best way to make the colours drawn on the image work. For the colouring of the car and the young people's clothes, we had also photographed the subject on a colour slide. This helped to get the right colours in the image and the end result was consistent and of a high quality. The final image was used to produce slides, which were used in the production of the print data.

Advertising agency: Lm McCann

Designers: Viktor Kaltala, Tuula Kauppinen

Photography: Kaj G. Lindholm

Retouching: Kurt Lohrum