As promised, we’re gonna lift the back corner of the tent and let you peek inside what it takes to produce twelve months of our calendar –– which really means a behind-the-scenes look at the photoshoots we’ve sorta become known for.
We’re kicking off 2013 with a photoshoot we did years and years ago near the shop here in San Francisco. One of our all-time favorites. We had worked with the one and only Karen Kuehn back in the Nineties on some mega-buck photoshoots for corporate advertising clients (skyscraper rooftops in NYC with chocolate truffles and bottles of rare-ass spring water…you get the idea) and we caught her between covershoots for TIME magazine and some book projects she was working on back in 2004.
At that time, our good friend and local hotrodder, Dave Tanimura, had just finished some tweaks on his ’64 Pontiac LeMans straight-axle: namely “Dirty Sanchez Racing” and “The Chili Dog” painted on the fenders. TOTALLY dug that car – that thing was so mean and nose-up, Dave would have to slow down pretty hard to make any sort of deviation from a laser-straight line and we’d have to literally hop in and out of it because of the sill plate clearance.
Add to this already stellar lineup, the impossibly beautiful Arekah. We’d wanted to work with her for years and she seemed interested enough to hear more about what we were up to. Karen’s a consummate pro when it comes to directing the talent for a shoot and Arekah matched her for that.
Dave had told us about a mythical abandoned train tunnel that sounded like a killer location for our shoot – apparently, it was the tunnel Charlie Chaplin had used in one of his early films and it was hidden somewhere south of San Francisco in what’s called an “unincorporated area” in these parts. Welp, we found that tunnel and it was every bit as killer as Dave had described, but there was only one problem: no way to rip open the security fence that separated us from it enough to get The Chili Dog rumbling through it. And Lord knows we tried. Frustrating, when you can see what you want a few feet in front of you and there’s no way to get to it.
So, as so many times we do, we redirected immediately. Karen had noticed a fairly nondescript pole building along the road that happened to have an old travel trailer parked next to it. And like she does so well, she noticed that the colors of the walls and trailer surfaces matched Dave’s car really well and would make for a great shot. “Trust me,” she said. “I know this will look great,” she said. “Shut up and stop the car,” she said.
And what transpired there along an industrial-traffic road in a fairly visually-boring area in a pretty-much forgotten corner of the San Francisco peninsula became one of our favorite images of our publishing history. We think you’ll agree…