The Art of the Personal Project: Paolo Marchesi

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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: Paolo Marchesi

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How long have you been shooting?
20 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to Brooks Institute of Photography

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Living in Montana I had seen many rodeos, some smaller and others bigger and more commercialized. I find the bigger, more commercialized, rodeos to eventually get repetitive and not so interesting. Shooting the high school rodeo took all the commercial aspect out and it made it for a true experience. I was blown away by how good and tough these kids were. They are the real deal cowboys.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I had shot many rodeos over the years of living in Montana but none touched me as much as this one. You could truly feel the tension and energy. These kids and their parents put their soul into it and it showed.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I tend to get distracted too easily by my many interests. I find it difficult to shoot the same thing over and over. I usually move from personal project to personal project. I like to experience it all and if you look at my body of work it shows. At times it can be detrimental as people like to see photographers who specialize.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I never shoot for my portfolio, my personal work is my portfolio. Since the beginning of my career as a photographer I only photographed things that I was passionate about or involved in. I never specifically photographed subjects that might sell or get me a job. If I am not interested in them I don’t shoot them. I became a photographer by documenting my lifestyle and activities I participate in.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post on facebook and instagram. I started writing short stories in chapters on Instagram and has been fun. I love story telling using images and words. I just finished three stories about my dogs that had quite some success. You can check them out on Instagram @marchesiphoto

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes, I had a picture of a trout jumping and a river surfing story I wrote and photographed that went viral. For sure great press but I can’t associate much monetary gain from it.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I have printed them as promos.

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It all started with that trout at age 4. It was a beautiful morning on the Sesia River in the Italian Alps. Who would have known that a fish could change someone’s life forever. Many years and more fish went by before I graduated in Design from The Istituto Europeo Di Design, in Milan. I worked as a Junior Art Director in Paris and as a designer in Italy until I picked up a camera. It didn’t take long to realize that T squares and rulers weren’t for me. I grabbed the camera and flew across the Atlantic to move to Santa Barbara California where I graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography with a Degree in Commercial Photography. Upon graduation I packed my bags and moved to San Francisco. San Francisco is a cool city, and no one can deny it but every time I drove to Hat Creek or the Owens River to fly fish or the Sierras to climb something happened inside me. The peace and beauty of rivers and mountains inspired me and raised many questions. I had been working in the city for 5 years, doing mostly digital and studio photography until one day stuck in traffic on the Bay Bridge on my way to Yosemite I asked myself why? I watched the driver next to me honk in anger at the stranger in front of him and asked myself why again? I asked myself why many times until in spring 1999 I packed everything and moved to Montana. I wanted to be closer to my cold blooded friends and nature, away from stress and a crowded existence. A few years later, while visiting my brother in Indonesia, I discovered surfing and rekindled my passion for the Ocean. I realized I needed surf and Ocean in my life to have a complete picture. I decided to buy a house in Todos Santos, Mexico and have been splitting my life between the two places. Working worldwide from Mexico and Montana focusing my photography on the outdoor activities I love to do and being outside in nature in search for a new adventure. Couldn’t do it any differently…


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 establishing 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 feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

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