Stephanie Drazic is SmugMug's office manager.

Stephanie Drazic is SmugMug's office manager.

Credit:

Courtesy of Benjamin Von Wong

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 is Benjamin 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 a literal mom-and-pop business, run 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 went through 2,000 poses until he found the right ones, documenting the painstaking process on his blog.

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

SmugMug graphic designer Alex Zielinski

Credit:

Courtesy of Benjamin Von Wong

Von Wong also used props for dramatic effect:

SmugMug employee Andrew Shief

Credit:

Courtesy of Benjamin Von Wong

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

SmugMug president Chris MacAskill.

Credit:

Courtesy of Benjamin Von Wong

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

So 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. Sounds like a pledge gift to us.

This blog post comes from Sideshow, a podcast from PRI's SoundWorks network that looks at the intersection of culture and technology.

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