CALGARY, Alta. – To get the perfect photograph, David Benjatschek is not averse to lying on the ground, propped on an elbow, with his neck cranked upward toward a bright blue sky.
Contorting his body into unnatural positions is as much of a quest for the perfect photograph of a big rig, as it is a quest to connect with his subjects – and the people driving them.
“It’s the feeling of seeing people’s reactions to the pictures of their trucks. It’s the same ‘wow’ factor as wedding photos,” explained the photographer. “Truckers are like farmers, in the respect that it’s not just a job for them, it’s who they are. If what I do helps instill some pride in what they do, then that’s the coolest effect.”
The Web site launched this January and is a part of Lighthouse Marketing Solutions, which Benjatschek founded in March, 2006.
The photographer first got involved with the transport industry when he was hired by Shell Canada. Benjatschek spent the next decade and a half serving in various roles with the oil company, all dealing with the transport sector. He most recently held the position of product manager with Rotella T, before leaving to start his personal enterprise.
“Lighthouse Marketing is a diverse number of things. There’s keynote speaking, CRM consulting and now, wowtrucks.com. It’s all geared towards showing people their potential,” noted Benjatschek. “The keynote speaking is more motivational speaking. That’s what drives me and I enjoy the creative aspects of what I can do.”
The idea of launching his own business had been rolling around in Benjatschek’s head for about two or three years. During that time, he began working as a partner with his wife, Donna, in a photography business. The pair focused mainly on weddings, but it served as enough of a creative muse to encourage Benjatschek to seek out a photography diploma from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
Already, a number of his photographs have appeared in magazines, but Benjatschek’s main interest is the people who drive the trucks.
“In the mainstream press, truckers have taken a bad rap of late. You know, these guys used to be the White Knights of the road and I’d like to re-instill that pride. I know it’s only one part but every bit helps,” said Benjatschek. “Seeing guys jump up and down and say, ‘Hey, that’s my truck!’ That’s the reward of Wow Trucks.”
Benjatschek’s drive to help other people is formed from a strong resolve and some tough life experiences. At a very young age he lost his mother and later lost his first wife, shortly after the couple had a miscarriage. But three years ago, he met his wife Donna, and the couple had their first child, Mia, last April.
“It puts that drive in you. You only get one shot at it and you don’t know what will happen tomorrow. You have to have pride in what you do and have that enthusiasm,” he added. “Not everybody’s ‘wow’ looks the same and it shouldn’t. For me it’s about getting out and helping people.”
The biggest thrill about getting out and meeting people for his newly-founded photography business, is attending truck shows.
Benjatschek has made plans to attend a number of shows in 2007, including ExpoCam in April, the Fergus Truck Show in July, Rodeo du Camion in August, and the Rocky Mountain Truck Show in September.
“I like doing the shows because the guys are all down there with their trucks all shined up,” noted Benjatschek. “Then what I try and do with the photographs is add the ‘wow’ factor.”
With his fully digital operation, Benjatschek and Wow Trucks try to take the photographs beyond a typical family-type photo, and capture a more striking calendar-type shot.
He tries to steer away from Photoshop in his creations to capture the authenticity of the vehicle and uses different perspectives and backgrounds to capture a true Big Rig image.
“I’m not a mechanical guy, but I can appreciate the beauty of the trucks and try and capture that in the photos,” he said.
With a mission to reinforce and build driver pride, Benjatschek expects to mostly produce high-quality 8×10 photographs, but can also develop a number of other products; including business cards, desktop screen savers, postcards, plaques, calendars and other accessories.
As well, all the photos Benjatschek will take during 2007 will be put towards compiling a Wow Trucks calendar for 2008.