LEAMINGTON, Ont. - There's an old saying that says you can't truly know a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes. Though the trucking industry does what it can to fight the flow of negative ...
PICTURE PERFECT: Using a variety of effects and techniques, truck photographer Mark Gagnier is looking to improve the trucking industry’s image (literally) with his unique style. Look for Gagnier’s photos to be featured in upcoming issues of Truck News. All photos by Mark Gagnier
LEAMINGTON, Ont. – There’s an old saying that says you can’t truly know a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Though the trucking industry does what it can to fight the flow of negative publicity that surrounds it, in order to fully educate the public on what it takes to be a driver, the amount of shoes needed for that mile-long walk might fill a Nike warehouse.
So how else can the industry help improve its tarnished image? Mark Gagnier, a veteran truck driver and freelance photographer, says by presenting a better version of the industry through pictures, the public may become more open-minded to the plight of the Canadian trucker.
“This is a misunderstood industry. It’s no one’s fault other than our own for not presenting it properly,” he says. “If you can get 1% of people to change the way they think, it changes the whole mindset. The more people we can get thinking differently, it’s only a matter of time before the industry changes. I think we have that opportunity and I want to be a part of that.”
Having grown up on a farm surrounded by trucks and tractors, Gagnier always had a liking for heavy equipment. The first 20 years of his career were spent working as a brick and stone mason, as he didn’t make the move to get his A/Z licence until the construction industry slowed in the early ’80s.
Yet even back when he was working as a stonemason’s apprentice, he already had a camera in his hand.
“Somehow I connected with cameras at a young age and they’ve stayed with me,” he says.
After becoming a trucker, Gagnier’s interest in photography amplified, publishing many of his truck photos in magazines about 15 years ago.
But for Gagnier, time has always been a factor for pursuing photography.
“The desire was there, the opportunity was still there – it was the timing. There wasn’t enough time.”
On top of operating his truck, his son, Justin (now 25) was growing up, so photography had to be put on hold. In the meantime, Gagnier continued to take pictures when he could, with subject matter ranging from trucks to trees to toppled houses.
Years later, Gagnier is still taking pictures, but now operates his Leamington, Ont.-based trucking company, Two G’s Inc. – which he incorporated in the spring – with his son.
With he and Justin splitting their time in one truck, Gagnier has found himself with the time and opportunity to tackle the truck photography market. Though ultimately he sees himself cruising high above and doing aerial photography, Gagnier will be cruising the highways first, looking for trucks to be featured in trucking industry magazines.
“There are people that really want this. The younger generation especially, I find likes this,” he says. “It’s an ego thing for them to get their truck in a magazine.”
Gagnier says he’s willing to photograph a wide range of trucks, from large fleets with tricked out Peterbilts to individual drivers with a modest rig.
“I think that for anyone that wants photography, it’s important to them,” Gagnier says. “Whether or not they have a set of painted wheels and a galvanized stack, that’s their truck and it’s important to them. I’d drive just as far to photograph one truck as another.”
Utilizing the old school style of photography, Gagnier prefers a manual 35mm camera as opposed to using digital technology. Always one for trying different effects, he likes to stretch or relax the film, open the shutter for overexposures, double exposures, as well as finding clever ways to use filters, lenses and flash. “I like to mix it up and be as creative as I can be,” he says.
Gagnier has also recently launched his own Web site for his company, World Headquarters photography (www.worldheadquarters.ca), where mulitple examples of his work are showcased. For more information call Gagnier at 519-816-4963 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.