11/12/2018

The Unseen

Photographer Jane Stockdale captured individuals working at Porsche in striking black-and-white images. Here is the story behind the photographs for the new image campaign.

The woman is calmness personified. On the hunt for a specific subject, Jane Stockdale calculates every step, avoids gratuitous words, and keeps to the background. The photographer does not wish to disturb. She becomes a silent watcher, pressing the silent trigger of her camera at just the right moment. The manner in which the Scotswoman moves through the plant is reminiscent of a lion stalking her prey. The goal: to capture employees at work as candidly as possible.

Jane spent five days with Porsche in Zuffenhausen, Weissach and Ludwigsburg; at Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, the Taycan pilot production line, during vocational training, at Smart Mobility, at Porsche Digital, in the 911 production line and at the electronics integration centre. There is no set process. The images are not staged. She introduces herself to Porsche employees in German, as Jane Stockdale, from Scotland, and nearing the limits of her German skills in the process. Her uncomplicated and open manner opens many doors. Then, she makes herself virtually invisible. The idea is personal proximity, without being distracting. Jane follows the employees intensely – yet in most cases they forget she’s even there after a short while.

Jane Stockdale has a particular eye for people, characters and perspectives


Jane has sure hands. Which is why she was entrusted with the task of taking photographs for the new image campaign. She has a particular eye for people, characters and perspectives. This is emphasised in her portfolio, for example through the highly emotive captures of fans during the Football World Cup 2014, or the 2016 Olympic Games, which were both set in Brazil. She worked on assignment for the United Nations, and depicted American singer Lana Del Rey in a unique light.

In Porsche’s case, the photo shoot was already unique in that the images were unplanned. Unlike previous image campaigns, the only specification is that there are practically no specifications. Jane worked within the selected departments and areas with nothing but a backpack and compact photography equipment; no assistant, no spotlights, no retaking shots if an employee was not captured perfectly. She always presses the shutter button when it is least expected, and only works in black and white. “This way, contrasts can be presented uniquely even while the photos are being taken,” she says. At the end of each day, only about a hundred photos out of the thousands make the narrow cut. The new subjects for the image campaign are then selected from a total of 500.

Jane greatly enjoyed the photographing process. “I was particularly impressed by the amount of enthusiasm with which the employees worked,” she said, and continued with a twinkle in her eye: “My enthusiasm for the sports cars also grew as the days passed. At some point I’m going to need a Porsche 911.” The employees themselves found it to be an interesting experience, which produced some unique images. Jane had an additional token of appreciation for the employees captured in her portraits. As a farewell, she handed out biscuits; the famous Scottish shortbread fingers.

Jane Stockdale

Jane Stockdale is a documentary and lifestyle photographer from Scotland, but currently based in London. Since her graduation from the College of Art in Edinburgh and Masters at the University of Cambridge, she has been travelling around the world. Her images are full of emotion, energy and story, as courageous as they are colourful. Jane loves people – which is one of the reasons why Porsche noticed her.

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