495 Towing

I’ve wanted for the longest time to start capturing the inspiring people that I have met in life and this gallery is hopefully one of many more to come!

Zack Arias is an Atlanta based music/portrait/commercial/wedding photographer that I have long admired and recently inspired me when he kicked off acampaigncalled Call to Action, where he implores his fellow photographers to get out there and tell someone’s story and maybe even help them out. Well, GagikVartaniandoesn’t need help; he is one of the hardest and most honest working men I have ever met in my life and I just couldn’t wait to take his picture and tell you all a little piece of his story.

Our paths first crossed in the Fall of 2008 when the battery terminals on my Jeep (named Caroline by the way)corroded and almost came off the terminals while parked on the street in DC. Doing what any like-minded 28 year old would do, I turned to Google to find a mechanic that would hopefully travel. When the search results came up I saw that 495 Towing had tons of amazing reviews and I thought to myself, this has to be a hoax or these guys really deliver.

Well, they really can deliver. Ever since that first call out to Gagik I have never even thought about going to another mechanic and I prescribe him to anyone I know who’s willing to head out to his Falls Church shop. He has a small three man organization, but he runs his ship well. Gagik is VERY honest, fast, and thorough. He absolutely hates sitting on jobs and expedites work out of his shop with a quickness. Gagik is incredibly competent after working on 737’s for a number of years before entering the to theautomotiveworld, and represents an enormous wealth ofknowledge.

A little bit about the shoot; I came in early to his shop to meet him, but there were already a mountain of customers and problems to deal with so I delayed our shoot for an hour, which turned into two. By that time it was already 11am and the sun was really harsh and all the bays were full, so I had to work around shooting in a really cluttered environment. Luckily, the building’s shadow was deep enough to work in and one of Gagik’s customers dropped off a 540i which I used as a backdrop. With my AB 1600 and a shootthroughumbrella providing the main light, I took two smaller flashes and gelled them with my brand new red and blue theatrical gels. Iclamped the flashes onto the front grill with a PocketWizard and got things started. All things considered, I really like how the shot on the top right came out, but I wish I had used two blue gels instead of the red since most of the color was washed out by the ambient light coming from the sun.

For my next project, I am working with a member of my Meetup.com group to take portraits of single mothers who stay at the Hope House here in Charlottesville. We’re hoping to kick this next project off shortly, so stay tuned!

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