As someone who has joined and quit many gyms over the years, I know how hard it is to pump yourself up and get excited to work out. You have to visualize yourself as a rock star athlete even if you don't look or feel like one. But maybe all we need isBenjamin Von Wong to photograph us.

The photo-sharing company SmugMug asked Von Wong to take inspiring pictures of their employees for the company gym in Mountain View, California. SmugMug is a Silicon Valley start-up, but it's also literally a mom-and-pop businessrun by the MacAskill family.

Von Wong photographed the employees like athletes in Nike ads. He proudly uses no Photoshop to alter the bodies --- just dramatic lighting and black-and-white photography. He also built a small rain machine with shower heads and PVC piping. He details the process on his blog. He went through 2,000 poses until he found the right ones. Building the confidence of his subjects was an important part of the process.

The final results are pretty cool. Here's Alex Zilelinski, a graphic designer at SmugMug.

Alex Zilelinski by Benjamin Von Wong

Von Wong also used props to dramatic effect.

Andrew Shief by Benjamin Von Wong

Chris MacAskill, a 61-year-old grandfather of 12, is the president of the company.

Chris MacAskill by Benjamin Von Wong

Toni MacAskill is the co-founder --- her official title is "Countess of Cash."

Toni MacAskill by Benjamin Von Wong

What if Benjamin Von Wong took over WNYC's offices? Imagine champions like Kurt Andersen, Brooke Gladstone, or Jad Abumrad swinging chains and punching into rain storms... pledge premium?

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