The New Look of Work

Brian Smale’s photos give corporate culture a lift

Portrait of Man peeking over a table, flipping the bird

Strong corporate culture is an established “must-have” for working millennials. That means it’s a must for hiring managers and CEOs as well. And recently, Photographer Brian Smale has been helping Microsoft with exactly that.

[one_half]Portait of Woman in work clothes and cape does a trick on a skateboard[/one_half][one_half_last]Portait of Man flipping his long hair dramatically over head[/one_half_last]

Brian photographed Microsoft’s technology leadership team – a group whose limited internal exposure led them to be labeled “aloof.” Mario Juarez, Executive Communications Manager, explains, “Brian’s amazing portraits gave much-needed personality to our communications, and heightened the profile of our leadership team, revealing their true spirit, intelligence and diversity.”

[one_half]Portrait of Man in black hooded cape with red facepaint mask [/one_half][one_half_last]Portrait of a Man dressed to go waterskiing being splashed[/one_half_last]

Corporate culture, after all, is much more than free lunch and bike racks. As a recent Huffington Post article points out, modern work is built around human creativity and capability. There’s not as much of a divide between who you are and what you do as there was in a machine-based economy. Millennials, especially, want to be recognized and valued for who they really are.

[one_half]Portrait of Man in plastic shutter-style sunglasses[/one_half][one_half_last]Portrait of Woman peeking between two floral fans[/one_half_last]

This merging of work and personal identities is what makes Brian’s portraits so culturally powerful. “The team brings their own props and ideas,” explains Brian. “We only get about 30 minutes with each person, so I just try to make it comfortable and fun.”

[one_half]Portrait of Microsoft’s Steve Clayton in Ziggy Stardust facepaint[/one_half][one_half_last]Portrait of a Woman blowing bubbles[/one_half_last]

“Brian’s magic is, he knows how to get each of his subjects to come to life,” says Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller at Microsoft. “Sometimes through patience, sometimes by having them do a handstand. Or blowing bubbles. Or becoming Ziggy Stardust. And yup, morale is up.” Adds Juarez, “This was definitely one of the best investments we made in FY 15.”

[one_half]Portrait of a Woman wrapping a cape around herself up to her eyes[/one_half][one_half_last]Portrait of a Man with oversized ace of spades over his face[/one_half_last]