News outlets kept advising the public to “stay in their own bubbles,” says advertising photographer George Kamper of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Which reminded Kamper: He owned a bubble … literally. He’d purchased it long before the pandemic, thinking he might one day use it for a commercial shoot. Turns out it’s the perfect prop for a whimsical photo series, “Bubble Boy,” that’s been a hit on Kamper’s Instagram feed.
The work: Kamper is both photographer and subject in “Bubble Boy.” He uses an intervalometer to make one image every three seconds from inside the bubble, which his wife and partner, Sherryl, inflates and zips closed around him. His Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is on a tripod, and a Camranger transmits the photos to his iPhone. He can check his phone to make sure he’s pleased with the composition, lighting, and posing as he and his wife act out their parts.
The challenges: Coming up with fresh concepts each week, finding locations, selecting props, and doing their own wardrobe and styling is a tall order for two people, Kamper says. The bubble steams up in the Florida heat and has to be continually wiped down. It’s also reflective, which has to be accounted for with natural light positioning and time of day.
The rewards: Nothing makes him happier than friends and clients who reach out over email to say, “Hey, Bubble Boy.” Advertising work has been slow due to the pandemic, but “Bubble Boy” reminds Kamper’s clients of his talent and draws the attention of potential clients, he says, because it’s different and fun. “Nobody is doing anything like this.”