The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Please DO NOT send me your work. I do not take submissions.
Today’s featured artist: Cade Martin
I WAS 7 WHEN THE VIETNAM WAR ENDED. I know what I do, as most my age, from movies and documentaries. And most of what I encountered was about the ground troops, rarely about the pilots.
So when an opportunity arose to attend a reunion of F-105 Thunderchief pilots in San Antonio, I jumped at the chance. These reunions are where the Thunderchief pilots have maintained their shared past and let one another into all that they have been and done in the years since. And owing to special circumstances, they welcomed us in—just me and a small crew.
As a photographer, I have always been comfortable learning through the lens, looking for what needs to be communicated in the architecture and life in faces. I have used a similar approach before, renting space and setting up a booth. I like to go to the source for these group portrait projects, embed myself in the space and community they share. Here we set up in a conference room and would pull each pilot aside during breaks in their conversations. Over the course of three days, I observed lives reconnecting and experiences being relived. As they talked to each other, and then later through our interviews, I heard the things said echoed in what I saw through my lens—brotherhood, support, joy, pain, pride and life.
Once jet-fueled cowboys, they are still walking with a swagger born of knowing themselves. Among these F-105 Thunderchief fighter pilots, there are no secrets. They all know who they are. And by capturing their faces to accompany their stories, I hope more people can know who they are. It was such an honor.
While I have many personal projects under my belt, I can say that Over War has been one of the most in-depth thus far; evolving from what I had envisioned as a series of Air Force pilot portraits to a project that – fifty years later -ultimately gives voice to these men who had a unique vantage point on the Vietnam war – an airborne perspective as they flew over the conflict below, the result of true dedication of time, energy, resource and heart by so many.
If you would like to download a PDF of the promo for this project, click 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. Her Twitter feed is branded with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease. Instagram
Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.