The Art of the Personal Project: Geoff Levy

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is:

Geoff Levy

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How long have you been shooting?
I’ve dabbled with a camera for six years, but seriously shooting with professional intention for three.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self-taught. I studied cinematography and a lot of the principles applied, though.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
After assisting a friend on a shoot for a famous cake chef, I was asked to throw away about forty cakes. I was pretty ticked about all of the wasted food – even after giving away a dozen there was still so much going to waste. Since they were dumpster bound regardless, I figured I’d “recycle” them via preserving them in photographs. It has a subtext about New York city’s waste and inefficiency.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The entire project was shot over two months. These cakes had a shelf life.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Since I’m shooting for my own self, the only governing rules are my tastes. When shooting portfolio work, you have the intention of adding a brand to it. Those projects have commercial contexts – but it’s freeing to make something that makes you happy. And that joy comes through, somehow.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
This project was first released bit-by-bit on Instagram.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The momentum of #CakeAngry hashtag got me featured on some great sites/accounts, i.e. Refinery29, NotCot, Phoblographer. Once it got featured on a couple of sites, a lot of photography, art and food blogs reposted.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I’m making prints of the work but for a gallery showing. I’m currently not making mailers, though that’d be a good idea.

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Geoff Levy is a photographer and filmmaker, transplanted from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to New York City. Driven by his love for cinematography, abstraction of narrative and a desire to bridge the gap between art and commerce, Geoff creates motion and still works that capture heightened fictional experiences that feel intimate and natural. He is currently working with advertising giant, Ogilvy & Mather, while producing personal projects.

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.

Suzanne Sease

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