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 Misha Taylor. He is probably my favorite my favorite, he has an incredible eye and always perfectly captures that specific mood in his photos.
How many years have you been in business?
This question is a little different for me as some of my earliest memories are from film sets, my father, and award winning director and photographer used to let me look through the lens or operate the camera before I was even a teenager. He also had his crews work me to the absolute bone as soon as I was old enough to hold my own. I worked 22-hour days fetching water and carrying stands. Driving Trucks, writing treatments, setting up lights and loading cameras. But I suppose the question you are after is as far as me being in creative control, to be safe lets say 8 years.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I learned on the sets of my father and his friends, I tried taking a few classes in university but realized quickly that technically speaking what you learn through work experience and life far surpasses what you learn at school. Something also has to be said from seeing how the best in the world operate creatively, how they deal with clients, and how they stay true to their vision. However as far as theory goes, school was invaluable.
Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
First and foremost my parents, both artists filled our lives with art and travel. These memories dance their way through almost all of my creative process. Sitting on the front of small rubber boat in the deep Okovango delta and being charged by a giant bull elephant to beautiful girls in a studio.
When there wasn’t an adventure we made our own, seeing so many things allowed for me to see the world through my own lens. I was given the chance to allow my imagination to run wild, and this business gave me the incentive to want to tell stories beyond our day-to-day lives.
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 really try to live my pictures, I try to see myself in my work, the wonderful and the mundane the challenging, the obscure, the loss the gain. We all share a common emotive process, and I hope that what brings my imagination to life will have the same effect on others.
Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Part of the process is reinvention to make old ideas new, to make bad ideas good, to make complex ideas simple. Of course there are moments in the bureaucracy of this business where the opposite seems to destine to happen, good ideas turn bad, the simple becomes complicated. In the end the fight for what we as creatives believe to be the best execution is best done with the image itself.
To show this image and let the story be right rather than the artist. However there are always the few that need convincing beyond the image, and this is as much an art as the work itself.
What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I personally believe my work is better off for me concentrating on the art itself, rather than the propaganda and PR. Just to keep making art to keep shooting and experiencing and the reach of that is unmeasurable.
What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Some people are better at this than others, if done correctly I think someone could do quite well. But in the end to live and love your work, you must do what it is that you want, and produce what it is you want to see.
Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
It’s important to constantly want to tell stories, even if this is done by other means than photography. To keep new ideas rolling off your tongue or your pen or out of your camera.
How often are you shooting new work?
This question is a bit convoluted, as we seem to be measured in quantity so often. I work everyday, and take a picture everyday. But I suppose I can only roll out new projects when they are finished. This can take less than a week from the birth of an idea to full realization. And there are other projects that I feel I will be working on forever.
But as I see an absolutely binding bond between work and life. I feel like I am working even when I am walking through town or lying watching the rain.
I was Born in Cape Town, South Africa, in the early 80’s, My Parents both Artists did their best to distract my sister and myself from the Politics at the time by taking us to the people, to the country, to what was real in a place plagued by misunderstanding and misinformation. We traveled feverishly, by all means and to some of the most remote and wonderful places in the world. Before my father’s career took us to the United States, they would pack us and our yellow dog in the back of our Landrover and drive for weeks on end.
When we moved to Los Angeles, in 1989 our lives changed somewhat. But our lust for adventure didn’t. They would pull us out of school and proclaim a fly-fishing trips to Montana or hikes through Monument Valley.
School in the United States was, incredible. I was able to be exactly who I was, and who I wanted to be. I grasped onto the contagious American mindset that allowed you to pursue your dreams and I was off.
I left California in 2000 and began my travels home and beyond. I wanted to see how much of my childhood imagination had painted of memories of Africa, I was desperate to be part of the new hope and new democracy. I fell in love with Africa all over again. And was able to see my life there through balanced eyes,
My love for travel however soon pushed me on my way. I wanted to live Italy and walk through the ruins of the Roman Empire, to live in France and read and drink wine in the same bars as my literary heroes. To Dance in the famous techno clubs of Berlin and ride bicycles down massively wide streets.
I did all this and more, everyday I wake up wanting to keep living, to keep watching all the serendipitous fortunes the world has to offer. I am quite young but have lived a life full to the brim. This is why I feel comfortable telling stories. Because I have so many to tell and the world has so many more to give us.
Check out more of Misha’s work www.assignmentagency.com
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.