We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Billy Kidd
How many years have you been in business?
I have been shooting professionally for 4 years.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I attended university late in life for computer tech and dropped out shortly after finding photography. I would say self taught since I didn’t fulfill any formal education past a basic photo 101.
Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
There isn’t one person – there are many that inspired me to get into this business. My mother is a painter who has served much inspiration for as long as I can remember. The music of Iron & Wine and Andrew Bird often drive me on set. The works of Irving Penn, Stieglitz, Steichen, Weegee, Helen Levitt, Man Ray, Andrew Kertesz and Jacques-Andre Boiffard have all been incredibly inspirational. I do have to point a finger at my girlfriend Heather Huey for lighting an inspirational fire under me when we met 3 years ago.
How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I actually try to shoot for myself, to create pretty things. I don’t shoot to be noticed or hired. I figure that if I find it beautiful then I’m probably doing something right. In the end, I need to be happy with what I’m creating. Being hired based on that body of work is a byproduct.
What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Aristotle said, “beauty is what I believe beauty to be.” It’s a great quote that, in my opinion, sums up what art buyers are looking for – what you think beauty is. Everyone has different tastes and not all art directors will agree with you, but that’s ok. Some of them will, and those are the ones you want to work with because they think in the same vein and likely share a similar vision.
Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
If they do, I’ve been lucky not to feel it. I’ve always had great art directors. They hear what the client wants, then translate it in a way that I can understand and embrace.
I’ve also had the good fortune of working with clients who not only share the same vision, but also think and feel the same way I do. I just had a wonderful experience in Paris with a client who had such impeccable taste in beauty, that when she did step in to say something, I jumped at it.
Having said all of that, I am young in the business and have yet to experience some of the situations others have. Hopefully I can stay the course I’m on and continue to work with great, creative, clients.
What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Social media. Tumblr has been a huge part of sharing my vision with everyone. It played a pivotal role in my early success – that’s how many of my first jobs came about. Even my agent found me through a blog that was linked to Tumblr. Often when my rep sends me to an art buyer, photo editor or creative they have heard of me before through Tumblr/blogs reposting me work.
Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Always. When I’m hired on a project I usually try to shoot a few things on the side, which are often incorporated into the job afterwards. I just wrapped up and showed a series of nudes in Soho, which culminated in a limited edition book designed by Buero NY. I’m also currently working on a project called “Decaying”, photographing various flowers and leaves in the process of wilting. I’ve always had a fascination with flowers and death – how we cut them, love them and then throw them aside when they start to show signs of age.
How often are you shooting new work?
Almost every day. I shoot 2-3 times a week for various clients and then 2-3 times a week for myself.
Billy Kidd is a young photographer based in Brooklyn, NY and represented by Walter Schupfer in NY, LA and Paris.
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. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information. Follow her@SuzanneSease.