Photographer highlights truckers in sensitive portraits

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Updated Jul 4, 2019
Some of Goodwin’s shots, such as this, were made at truck stops.Some of Goodwin’s shots, such as this, were made at truck stops.

It’s no secret to truckers that they have a job and a lifestyle that’s not just unusual, but at times grueling. It can be as hard to capture that in photographs as it is to capture the dignity of the men and women who choose such a career.

The work of Chicago photographer Andy Goodwin goes a long way toward portraying drivers in vivid environmental portraits at truck stops, docks and elsewhere. You can view them at Volume I, Volume II and Volume III of his online galleries.

“These are real guys,” not models, Goodwin says of his work for International Trucks. His first time out in trucking was working on the Lonestar introduction about 10 years ago. “Their ad agency had contacted me and they wanted to launch this truck and were looking for these powerful portraits of truckers.”

Goodwin’s initial trucking work, for International Trucks, was in support of the Lonestar launch.Goodwin’s initial trucking work, for International Trucks, was in support of the Lonestar launch.

One of the hardest parts of that assignment was that it was left to Goodwin and his crew to find willing drivers, preferably those already driving Internationals. They searched at truck stops and docks.

Truckers were suspicious when first approached about a paid photo shoot, but usually warmed up and agreed to an appointment with a photo crew at truck stops and various urban and rural locations. “In the back of our mind, we were always thinking, ‘Will these guys show up?’”

Photographer Andy GoodwinPhotographer Andy Goodwin

They did. One even arrived “in the middle of a snowstorm,” and snow is visible in the shot.

Similar work for Paccar’s Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks followed, using truckers and models. They’re posed mostly “at dealerships, primarily in the parts department and service department,” Goodwin says. He’s gone out about every two years over the last eight for Paccar assignments in different cities.

Goodwin says he’s done lots of corporate and editorial work, but now shoots mostly on advertising projects.

“I love doing portraits,” he says, especially when it involves working with art directors and other creative people. “So when International came along, I was very excited about being a part of that.”

See Overdrive’s earlier coverage of a 45-minute video for the 2008 Lonestar launch, “Drive and Deliver,”some of which featured trucker Tim Young. He’s also shown in the book by photographer Kim Reierson, “Eighteen: A look at the culture that moves us,” published in 2007. Photos of Young and his family are among Reierson’s images used in Overdrive’s “Headed home” video, celebrating National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

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