A Cranbrook photographer has landed the job of a lifetime.
Joel Robison is travelling the world as the lead photographer for the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.
Hired by event sponsor Coca-Cola, Robison will spend the next nine months visiting 89 countries with the trophy.
“The whole idea behind this tour is to unite the world around the sport (of soccer). The campaign is called The World’s Cup and it’s designed to give the opportunity for anyone, regardless of age, gender, ability, wealth or any other factor, the chance to see the cup, and to feel like a part of the World Cup experience,” said Robison.
Robison began his career as a photographer as a hobby, taking self-portraits around Cranbrook and altering them in Photoshop to create evocative digital images with fairytale scenes.
Despite a rapidly growing fan base, Robison’s photography was done part-time around his job working with special needs children at Mount Baker Secondary.
Three years ago, some of his conceptual pieces posted to photo sharing website Flickr caught the eye of Coca-Cola.
“I had used some Coca-Cola bottles in a few of the photos and one day got a message from someone at Coke that wanted to know if I’d be interested in letting them share my photos on their Twitter account,” Robison recalled. “Of course I agreed and I was very excited to know that they enjoyed my work enough to share it.”
But the association didn’t end there. A few weeks later, Coca-Cola got back in contact with Robison and offered him a position as a moderator and content creator for the company’s Flickr page.
“This position allowed me to use some of the company’s positive themes to create content and to motivate other fans of Coca-Cola to create their own imagery,” he said.
No sooner had that role ended in March, than Coca-Cola approached Robison with a very exciting offer: they wanted him to be an official photographer and blogger for the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.
So, on September 9, Robison packed his bags and left for Brazil, where the trophy tour began just days later. Since then, Robison has been hopping around the Pacific Ocean, from Tahiti to Vanuatu to Fiji.
During the tour, Robison will visit almost every continent, including more than 20 Caribbean islands, 12 Asian countries, and 16 stops in Europe.
“India is also a stop that I’m very excited to be visiting. I’ve always loved the culture and wanted to visit one day so I’m happy to get the chance. I haven’t done much international travel thus far but I think this a great way to get started,” said Robison.
He hopes to continue his own artwork during the tour as time permits.
“I am working on two projects while travelling. One is a bit of a secret that I’ll be announcing once the trip is over and one is a personal project. I’m trying to take a conceptual or fine art photo in each of the countries that we are visiting. It might be a bit challenging to do this in some places where we are only staying a day but I’m up to the challenge,” he said.
Robison said that the support he has always received in Cranbrook has buoyed him along in his career.
“I think for me the opportunity to grow and feel supported within the community has helped me to really challenge myself and to push myself to try for bigger and better things. I’m always looking for a new challenge or a new adventure and I think that Cranbrook is a great community filled with very supporting and encouraging people that really want to see other people succeed and do well,” he said.
Coca-Cola’s approach to marketing meshes well with Robison’s approach to art, he went on.
“The company really believes in sharing happiness and sharing positivity with other people and I think that my own personal motto and view on my work is quite similar. I want to share my own passion with other people and I think that’s what Coca-Cola saw in me,” said Robison.
He is not yet a soccer fan but he is learning quickly, starting with calling the sport “football” instead. Still, the trophy tour will not only celebrate the sport, but its unifying ability around the world, according to Robison.
“I think that the unifying factor that I’m going to capture is that this trophy and this experience is something that ignites a feeling of happiness and passion within millions of people around the world. Cultures that may never interact or may have tense conflict with each other, can unite over this sport and this trophy and they can be a part of a truly world changing tour,” he said.
You can follow Joel Robison’s world travels on Twitter @TrophyTour or on Facebook at FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola.