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 Buyer: I nominate Andrew Reilly. Aside from talent for creating an image without it coming off as contrived or staged, he is one of the most even-keeled photographers I’ve had the pleasure to meet; his disposition conveys itself to his subjects as well, resulting in creative apogee.
How many years have you been in business?
I have been shooting commercially for about 4 years now but always seemed to have a camera around and was shooting for myself year’s prior.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I am self-taught but there have been previous careers, which have translated well to my career as a photographer (most notably working in the editing department of several national TV productions).
Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
My grandfather, an avid amateur photographer. He was an architect in the Pittsburgh area, where I grew up. He got to a point in his life when he no longer was able to use a camera as effectively as he had and passed all of his equipment on to me. I first started shooting urban scenes and would often take those images over to his place and have him review and critique them. He was always very honest in his critique which at times was difficult but made me all the more proud when he liked an image…and in time he liked more and more of the images i was presenting. I am honored to have had that time and those memories with him.
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?
Much of what I shoot is based on my past…I shoot quite a bit of kids/teens/youth lifestyle and have found that these images show in some ways the life I have lived in my youth (what I did or wished I had done). I think it is that touch of reality that people connect to and provides the room to be called fresh and creative as opposed to contrived.
Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I have been very fortunate to work with very creative clients who have trusted my work and me. Each job certainly presents its own unique challenges, but establishing a high level of communication between all allows for creativity from you, the agency, and the client.
What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
This year I have really placed a focused on setting up meetings with art buyers/art producers. I was recently in Chicago/Minneapolis for an assignment and added a few days to my trip. With the assistance of my rep we were able to setup 16 reviews between the two cities.
Prior to that I attended the NYC fotoworks LA event and was able to get in front of some great art buyers/producers. I have also set up several reviews on my own around Los Angeles or on various trips to San Francisco. In the next month I have a job in Boston and will set aside a day or two for meetings.
Aside from these face-to-face meetings I am also using various social media outlets (tumblr, instagram, facebook, twitter, blogs, etc), source books, direct mail pieces, and of course email promos.
What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Shoot what you love in the way that you love it. In doing so people will connect to your work more honestly and get a sense of whom you are and what you are trying to present. You will also be more content doing the work you love as opposed to chasing after something you think someone wants to see.
Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, always and very much so. I predominantly get hired to shoot people in commercial assignments, so with my personal work I tend to mix up the content as much as possible whether its landscape, architecture, or street photography… I also feel it is important to use a variety of cameras (film, Polaroid, point and shoot digital, phone, or video) as each provides a different perspective of your subject which may later be translated into the project you are getting hired to shoot.
How often are you shooting new work?
I’m shooting new material all the time and try to make a point of shooting a larger project at least once a month.
A goal at the beginning of this year had been to donate my time/photography to a local charity…after searching around I stumbled upon a local foundation, ABC youth foundation, which assists at risk youth by structuring an educational program around boxing. After contacting the foundation I shot a few images for the program, which will be used on their site and various promos. The foundation also plans to use several images in a silent auction to help raise money for the program.
For me new work such as this recent pro-bono collaboration along with my usually personal work/testing really helps keeps my client work fresh and relevant…plus I just really love photography and shoot as often as I can.
Andrew Reilly is a Southern California based photographer traveling and shooting often for clients such as JanSport, Toyota, EA Sports, Mattel, Bank of the West, and many others.
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.