Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.
I came across the work of Heath Patterson on Ads of the World and as you can see I like two things, humor and causes, and this campaign for The Boy Scouts of America covers both. The campaign for Ogilivy Atlanta is the product of the team work of Heath Patterson (photographer) and Chris Bodie (retoucher). I reached out to them to ask about this campaign and others.
Suzanne: I see on your website you show a lot of personal work but get hired for very creative advertising. How did you get in front of these people to take a chance on you?
Heath: I think that’s just something that has evolved over the past few years. When I first set out on my own, I opened a studio along with another digital artist. We had already been working together for several years at other advertising production houses, but were really hungry to establish our own identities away from those shops. In the beginning, I really tried to shy away from showing personal work in my portfolio, thinking that value only came from commissioned advertising work. As time went on, I noticed that my body of work was becoming more and more eclectic, and the gap between the commissioned work and some of my personal work was narrowing. The personal work was something I had always done to explore and stay fresh, but I began seeing it as another way to communicate to agency creatives that I am a visual thinker and problem solver with a broader range than they may have anticipated. I don’t know how much it has influenced the projects that I get awarded (or not) but I feel it’s a better approach for me and an honest representation of what i’m about. I’ve been pretty passive in my advertising and self promotion – I’ve just sort of tried to build on a handful of existing work relationships and do great work in hopes of going viral within those agencies. My initial clients were ones that I had worked with at previous jobs, so they already knew what I was about and I think they were excited about me going out on my own as well.
Suzanne: On your website you shoot for a lot of great causes like Tobacco Free Florida, The Library of Congress, Obesity, the new child abuse and Boy Scouts and then some great campaign for AFLAC, Pepcid and Icehouse. Have the pro-bono campaigns helped you secure higher paying creative work?
Heath: I don’t know about higher paying, but definitely more work in general. Some of the projects you mentioned were actually paying jobs and some were pro-bono. Myself and the 4 digital artists at the studio, have always tried to do some select pro-bono. A lot of these images and campaigns we felt had a great shot of getting into the photo/advertising annuals which are some of the best advertising opportunities out there to get work in front of great creatives. I think the AD’s like the fact that when we take a pro-bono, we treat it like a paying job and really work to knock it out of the park. They also have a tendency to allow for a little more unbridled creativity, which is always fun, and it’s a great opportunity to build or reinforce relationships.
Suzanne: You have quite a collaboration with your retoucher, Chris Bodie. Do you all collaborate when a concept comes in or how to execute it with all the elements to create a single image?
Heath: Chris Bodie and I have worked together for so long that the collaboration process is very natural and seamless. Sometimes the call to bid comes to me and sometimes to him. That’s not to say that either of us is the perfect fit every time – we both work with other artists as well, but when we do work together, the collaboration process begins as early as the bid so that we can plan the best strategy to create the final image. There is no ego in the process, we simply work together for a collective ownership of the finished image(s). It’s a different way of working and thinking, but ultimately it gives us much greater control and allows us to plan for potential changes in direction down the road.
Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.
Heath Patterson is an advertising photographer with over 15 years professional experience. He has extensive experience collaborating with retouchers, illustrators, and digital artists.
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.