The Art of the Personal Project: Joe Pugliese

- - Personal Project

Personal Projects are crucial in showing potential buyers how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or show something I have never seen before. In this revised column, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: projects are found and submissions are not accepted.

Joe Pugliese – Sunday Best







This series came to life on the heels of other portrait series I had made in which the subject matter were people in their natural environment but photographed in a way which isolated them from those surroundings. I had previously shot a series on Army soldiers coming home to their families at a military base in Texas, and an ongoing series of cyclists reacting to an extremely physical and difficult effort at the top of a hill in the LA mountains. In each case I used a makeshift studio setup to create a consistent look and feel and so that the subjects, their expressions and body language were front and center in the photographs.

Los Angeles Magazine approached me to be part of a portfolio of images along with other LA-based photographers that depicted the diversity of ways that people in Southern California worship. They were calling the project “Pray LA”. I pitched them a portrait series of the Baptist community, and set out to find a parish that was interested in having me setup at their church on a Sunday. I knew that the larger churches in the Baptist community took great pride in dressing for mass and figured it would make for a colorful and joyful set of portraits. I was aiming to photograph about two dozen subjects to be able to edit from and ended up, to my surprise, photographing over 150 subjects all in one morning. The interactions were authentic and filled with energy, and I directed each subject very loosely and had a great time engaging with each of them. It has inspired me to continue this type of series, and Los Angeles Magazine has shown interest in making a portrait page of this work available to me in each month’s issue.

You can follow Joe Pugliese on Instagram @joepug

And view more of Joe’s personal work here:


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 decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

Suzanne Sease

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