This week, we talked to Matt Reoch and Jason Pachura, location scouts for Birdman Inc. We love working with Matt and Jason, who we often hire to find locations for clients. “We work closely with photographers, agencies, and clients, finding locations and environments to fulfill the vision of various advertising campaigns. Much of our work is focused on the fashion, technology, pharmaceutical, home decor, and automotive industries, but we are always open to new challenges,” they explained.
Read on for the rest of the scoop from this visionaries, plus plenty of photos to get you excited for your next project.
Jason & I are both trained photographers who are passionate about hard work, beautiful imagery, and a quality end product. From years of experience, Birdman understands clients’ needs & we utilize our location library of nearly 700,000 images to quickly bring projects from the concept phase into the first stage of production.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Matt: I have always loved outdoor adventure. When I was young, my dad would tuck me into bed and ask what we should talk about before I drifted off to sleep. I would always answer that I wanted him to talk about outer space or [the] deep sea. They were the most fascinating places that I could imagine visiting. So, I suppose I wanted to be an astronaut or a deep sea diver. While I haven’t actually been to outer space (yet), I do love scuba diving and I still enjoy all the adventures that life and scouting have to offer.
Jason: When I was young, I loved to draw houses with crayons, but not the typical kid’s drawing of a house. I drew floor plans and thought I’d grow up to be an architect. But I always dreamed of playing the trumpet or saxophone in really groovy band!
How did you get started in the industry?
Matt: I received my degree in photography from Columbia College [in] Chicago in 1996. Soon after graduating, I moved out to San Francisco and through a series of photography related jobs found my way to the position of lead photographer for GAP Inc., Visual Merchandising. After a year or working at Gap, I found that corporate life did not resonate with me. Various life experiences and circumstances led me to meeting Rick Chapman and Garrett Burdick, founders of Birdman Inc., who were looking to hire their first employee. After great conversation and getting to know each other, I was hired and have been with the company for close to 14 years.
Jason: When I was 15, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Buffalo, NY, and didn’t have many friends. But I had a camera and spent a lot of time capturing my new environment. Ultimately, I fell in love with making pictures as a teenager. When it came time to leave high school, I wanted nothing more than to go to photo school. When I started at [the] Brooks Institute of Photography that fall, there would be no stopping me from picking up the camera. After earning a Masters in Photographic Sciences from [the] Brooks Institute in 2006, I met Birdman Inc. Nearly eight years later I have never looked back.
What’s your favorite part of this career?
Working to solve location needs often allows us exclusive access to properties and unusual circumstances. We are continuously meeting a variety of new people. One day we may be scouting a shipping yard and the next day an elementary school or high rise office space. These experiences provide us with a unique insight on life. We often say that we love what we do so much [and] we rarely think of this as a job.
What’s the biggest drawback?
The long hours that the industry demands at times. Thankfully, we both have very understanding families!
Where’s the best place you’ve traveled for work?
Most recently the Caribbean and Sun Valley, Idaho. Both are absolutely beautiful in completely different ways. Travel is a huge part of our job and each time we hop on a plane or get behind the wheel there is excitement! We often discover new things just a few miles from our home or office. Working in the Bay Area affords so much diversity that our work close to home is never done…
Have you collaborated with anyone especially memorable?
We love being involved with the creative process of making images and we consider every project to be a collaboration. Our continuous work [of] providing new and unique automotive locations in the Bay Area for Roe Photo and our friends at Creative Chaos who send us to far away destinations for high end fashion projects are some of our most memorable work.
Who are your artistic icons?
Matt: I have always been drawn to Michael Kenna for his amazing landscape photography and Keith Carter for his perspective on portraiture. When I was at Columbia, I had the privilege of meeting with Keith Carter, where he reviewed my portfolio and gave me sound feedback that I still hold onto.
Jason: Pete Turner’s photography has held my attention from a very young age. I’ve taken a lot from his use of color and careful composition. I saw Ruth Bernhard speak when I was 17, she was 92…During the presentation of her lifelong work, I was absolutely blown away by the uniform beauty she found in both everyday objects and the female form.