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: Erik Goldstein
How long have you been shooting?
I started shooting in college but the visual mindset has always been with me for as long as I can remember. I critiqued the framing and angles of my Saturday morning cartoons.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both. That is to say that I walked out of school with a good understanding of how my equipment worked but my biggest source of education was assisting photographers and throwing myself head-first into things. I am constantly learning and finding inspiration in the work of others and what’s around me. I think the day that stops is the day I hang the camera up.
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I grew up watching Marty Stouffer and sponsored a hump back whale with my allowance. Nature has always played a huge role in my life and we are living in a pretty exciting time for conservation and awareness. In a matter of seconds a story can reach the world. It’s a very powerful tool.
I wanted to find a way to give back and bring attention to a conservation issue in the US. I wanted to inspire involvement and highlight a lesser-known issue having to do with a very significant portion of North America’s history.
How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project has been on going now for over a year. The scope of it grew very quickly and I decided to cover it as a documentary along with the photo story.
I presented the photo portion of it midway through and the movie is currently in editing. Look for the trailer soon!
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I typically have a list of possible projects. I like to write them out and live with them for a while. I find the right ones manage to surface on their own. In the case of this project, it resonated with me almost immediately.
Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I would say there are a lot more similarities than there are differences. Clients want something genuine that connects emotionally. I want the same thing from my personal work. Its important to shoot what you love to bring authenticity and emotion that people can connect to.
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post images to Instagram (erik.goldstein), and will post blog updates on Facebook (Erik Goldstein Photography) and Twitter (erik_goldstein).
If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I have not seen anything go viral yet.
Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I primarily show my personal work when reaching out to potential clients. It’s the most upfront view of who I am and how I think as an artist.
The American Prairie Reserve focuses on the revitalization of the Northern Great Plains, an area that has played a huge role in America’s history and a type of habitat that is greatly under-protected globally.
Up until the 19th century this area remained fairly untouched. During America’s expansion in the West, much of the Plains were, and still are, utilized as agriculture and ranch land which has had a destructive effect on the ecosystem. At the same time, bison were hunted to near extinction. Finding the right approach to help restore this area is complicated due to the delicate balance among government, local communities, tribes, land owners and scientists.
There are so many dedicated people behind APR. The physical size of APR was the biggest challenge. I lived on the prairie following the animals, volunteers and scientists. Telling the individual stories was essential to understanding how such a big project works. I also had the privilege of doing a fly-over which really puts things to scale.
Erik is a commercial photographer, videographer, and director. Located in NYC, Erik specializes in outdoor lifestyle, fitness and travel. Erik’s personal work focuses primarily on conservation.
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.