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 Dustin Chambers. This kid is legit. Slowly getting more and more National work. Love to see him get some press.
How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been shooting professionally since I got out of school, so since 2009.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I am self-taught, I studied film as an English concentration and minored in French.
Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
My father was an advertising photographer, so growing up I spent many afternoons after school in his studio. I didn’t really pick up a still camera until high school. I remember being taken by the work of Bresson and Arbus from a young age.
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’m still figuring that out. Life feels non-stop a lot of the time, so I’m just evolving with the work I do and hoping my photography gets better in that process. There are a lot of photographs I’d like to make, but ultimately I make photographs that I’m moved to make and hope for the best.
Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I work mainly with newspaper and editorial work, which is creatively a little more free. They hire you to do what you do in relation to the rest of the world. There’s no art director, no stylist, it’s just you. Ideally you work with creatives who can turn into clients.
What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Even learning to think of myself as an artist has been a big step. This year I’ll be one of 12 artists in Dashboard Co-Op in Atlanta, as well as showing work in the Art Papers auction. I also participated in a Flash Powder retreat where I learned a ton about the fine art side of the business.
What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I guess that’s good as long as you’re staying true to your vision.
Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Not recently, no. It’s hard! But I’m also on staff at Creative Loafing, an alt-weekly in Atlanta, that allows me to shoot my art for their stories, which is really a blessing. I do find that I am most prodding and curious and inspired when I’m somewhere out of my element, away from my city. It doesn’t have to be some fantastic journey across the seas, but if I drove to Florida or Mobile, Alabama, I’d certainly be more taken with more mundane stuff, as I tend to be.
How often are you shooting new work?
Every week for the paper or freelance. For myself solely? Rarely. Every month maybe.
Dustin Chambers is a editorial and documentary photography born, raised, and living in Atlanta, GA. He is a staff photographer at Creative Loafing, Atlanta’s alt-weekly paper, and has freelanced for New York Times, LA Times, AARP, and Chronicle for Higher Education, among others. He loves the American South and the odd cultural dichotomy that exists particularly in Atlanta.
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.