Lucas Garrido photographs powerful campaign featuring real-life veterans

“Don’t Wait. Reach Out” is an important new campaign launched by the Ad Council in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs to encourage veterans to seek support rather than let challenging feelings build up inside. TBWAChiatDay commissioned Lucas to shoot the print component of the integrated campaign, which featured real-life military veterans, and he did a beautiful job of crafting narrative portraits while the commercials were being shot.

Here, he sheds light on the process:

 “The goal of this campaign was to encourage veterans to ask for help whenever they can feel alone, depressed, anxious, lost… So basically, my intention was to build those targeted moments, happening in different locations, such as work, home, a waiting room, a street… 

The ‘talent’ were all lovely people, very, very collaborative. They had lived these experiences and understood the mental challenges that their peers face. They were willing to give their best, all for the cause. 

To get the shots we need, the creative and I would often take the ‘talent’ who weren’t shooting and create scenes that would tell a story. The light had to look ordinary in order to fit the real-life scenarios we were depicting, yet it had to be cinematic and eye-catching. The locations (and their tones), as well as the set dressing, were also important storytelling tools.

This job was very special to me. It was so rewarding to collaborate on something so powerful. It left a little spark of joy inside of me.”