Georgia’s Sea Island resort lies along one of most popular lengths of Atlantic coastline. Both the area and the resort are steeped in history. Howard Coffin of the Hudson Motor Company and his cousin A.W. “Bill” Jones founded the resort in the early 1900s. Sea Island gained popularity as a top resort after President Calvin Coolidge spent the holidays there, and has since hosted a number of dignitaries and members of elite society.
Matthew Turley was recently tasked with updating the upscale golf resort’s imagery while staying true to its historical roots. Subjects on the shot list included the golf course, horseback riding on the beach, ocean vistas, and interiors. Matthew worked with The Richards Group of Dallas and Art Director Parker Bell and Creative Director Rob Baker were on site during the shoot.
“Matt was a great fit for Sea Island because he knows how to bring life to his subjects in the moment and in camera. The personality and style of his work has an organic feel that separates him from photographers who over retouch, over edit, and over stylize. He’s great at finding the one element that should be the focus and brings it to life in a subtle way. He shoots the shot list, he knows the “needs,” but he also quietly looks for opportunities to shoot outside of that list. To be honest, some of my favorite shots he took weren’t even on the shot list.” —Art Director, Parker Bell
“We were lucky to have a day and a half to walk around, scout, get a sense for the different aspects of the resort,” says Matthew. “Sea Island has lot of history. It goes back to the plantations and the days of early American colonization, which is pretty amazing. Our primary focus was to get modern images in the perspective of this very historic place.”
Matthew says that because the project was very loosely concepted, it was a huge benefit to have writer Rob Baker on site. “He was able to come up with ad copy on the fly, so were able to react to what we were seeing instead of feeling forced into pre-existing concepts.”
Rather than shoot the golf course, they shot the caddies under a vintage Rolex clock tower. “The shot of the golf course didn’t have to be the golf course. It’s been shot it’s what’s expected. So Rob came up with several different headlines he could use if we shot the caddies,” says Matthew.
The team also shot a bag piper on the lawn, a fisherman casting a net, and kayakers exploring the waterways that lead into the Atlantic Ocean.
“Turley’s shot everything from Home Depot and Ram Trucks to Biltmore and Sea Island for me and I’ve never been anything less than thrilled with the results,” says Creative Director Rob Baker. “The fact that he climbs some of tallest peaks in the world or throws himself into the middle of unknown territories like Namibia speaks to his innate curiosity and problem solving gifts. There’s a small handful of photographers I would trust to nail a shot for me under any situation and Turley is most definitely on that short list.”
A very big thank you to Rob, Parker and The Richards Group for another fantastic collaboration.