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Posted 17.07.19

Commercial Photography students work with Mercedes-Benz South West

By Phillip Buchan

Behind the scenes at Canonteign Falls with Lewis Barnard

BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising and Editorial students have worked on a live brief creating promotional photography for Mercedes-Benz South West, culminating in an on-location shoot with the new GLE set against the stunning backdrop of Canonteign Falls in the Teign Valley.

At the college Degree Shows 2019, representatives from Mercedes-Benz South West selected the photographer who they felt captured the best images at Canonteign Falls and awarded that student a two-week placement based at their Exeter dealership, with the opportunity to visit and work with each of their South West retailers (Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro).

The winner, first-year student Josh Huxham, has been offered an opportunity to work directly with the Mercedes-Benz South West marketing team, gaining invaluable industry experience.

Photo by Josh Huxham.

Josh said: “I’ve always had a keen interest in cars but never considered focusing on them with my photography, because it’s such a competitive field. However, when Mercedes-Benz South West offered the opportunity to shoot for them in Royal William Yard, I really went for it and loved the experience. So much so that immediately afterwards I began photographing my friends’ cars for practice.

“Going into the second round at Canonteign Falls, I scouted the location and worked out the best places to capture shots that incorporated the house and those fantastic views. I was overjoyed when my images were selected as the winners by Mercedes-Benz South West. I’ve spent the summer since contacting car enthusiasts for photoshoots to refine my style and technique further. I’m in the first year of my degree and have already found something that I love and intend to pursue as part of my future career.”

Alice Poole, Digital Marketing Specialist at Mercedes-Benz South West, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with the college on this project and we’ve all been so impressed with the standard of work that has been produced. Some of the photos have already been used for our new car campaigns - a testament to the quality of the work submitted.

Behind the scenes at Canonteign Falls with Josh Huxham

“It’s been a fantastic opportunity for all involved to get out and shoot in some beautiful places, all local to us in the South West. A massive thank you to the teams at the Royal William Yard and Canonteign Falls for having us and a big well done to all of the students involved. We look forward to welcoming Josh to our dealerships in a few weeks for his placement.”

In the first phase of the live brief last year, six BA (Hons) Commercial Photography students were selected to undertake a photoshoot with a new GLC to promote the brand’s 4MATIC SUV campaign within Plymouth’s historic Royal William Yard, in collaboration with Urban Splash. First-year student Josh, second-year students Charlie Shattock, Lewis Bernard and Jenny Kaye, and third-year students Grace Jenkins and Seb Franceschi all took turns shooting the GLC in the warehouse space. They were given free rein to shoot the car how best they felt it would work in the industrial space. 

Shots from Royal William Yard by Josh Huxham have already been used by Mercedes-Benz South West for their point-of-sale advertising and displays at showrooms across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.

Photo by Charlie Shattock

Following the shoot, Josh, Lewis Barnard and Seb Franceschi were selected by Mercedes-Benz to go forward to the next stage, this time traveling to Canonteign Falls to shoot the brand new GLE that had been released a few weeks earlier. Students were given the option of two campaign brief concepts, and access to model information prior to the shoot.

Lewis Barnard said: “That first shoot in Royal William Yard was a new experience for me, because I’ve never shot a car before and there was a lot to consider in terms of what angles to approach it from and how reflections factored into the end image. I was thrilled to go through to the second round, a summer adventure-themed shoot in the grounds of Canonteign Falls.”

Photo by Josh Huxham.

“In the past I’ve gravitated more towards fashion shoots and human subjects, but this experience has taught me a lot about using vehicles and buildings as props, or even making a car the subject of a shoot with people acting as props to accompany it. I want to thank Mercedes-Benz South West for creating this opportunity, which has been a great chance to work professionally for such a high profile brand.”

Kate Baylis, owner of Canonteign Falls, commented: “We were thrilled to invite the students and Mercedes-Benz South West to shoot at Canonteign Falls. We have a close relationship with Plymouth College of Art and thoroughly enjoy this collaborative approach to supporting and developing the students’ experiences, especially with such a recognised brand as Mercedes-Benz South West.”

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