Posts by: Suzanne Sease

Art Producers Speak: ioulex

- - Art Producers Speak

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Director: I nominate ioulex and have been a fan since they first started shooting. They bring such craft and care to the photos they take and you can see this in the work they do. The photos are unique and beautiful. It’s been great working with them and watching their career grow. I don’t say this about a lot of people but I do think they are iconic for our generation and will continue to get bigger and bigger.

Portrait of Diane Pernet in Paris

Annie Morton in Pennsylvania

Choreographer Benjamin Millepied for The New Yorker

Actor Adam Driver for Flaunt magazine

Young actress Odeya Rush for Flaunt magazine

Portrait of Mykki Blanco for Flaunt magazine

a still life from our installation at Audio Visual Arts gallery in New York

from a fashion story featuring Iris van Herpen couture collection for Big magazine

Costume designer Christian Joy in her studio, for The New York Times T magazine

Painter Damian Loeb in his studio for The Block magazine

Designer Thom Browne for Standard magazine

Designer Thom Browne for Standard magazine

How many years have you been in business?
We’ve been shooting as a duo for about 7 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
We both graduated from Parsons School of Design, majoring in graphic design. We studied in Paris and New York. We took a couple photography classes, but nothing extensive. We are basically self-taught in photography.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
We are mostly influenced by cinematography – the work of our favorite DP’s — Sven Nykvsit, Sasha Vierny, and Raoul Coutard. Also the films of Cassavetes and Fassbinder. As far as actual “working photographers”, we are very much in awe of some of the inexhaustible Magnum members – Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Steve McCurry. The thought of them continuously producing brilliant work over a long period of time is very inspiring.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
We never feel like we’ve exhausted all the possibilities, there is so much you can experiment within image making. Whenever we see a new beautiful film, a dance performance, visual art exhibition, it makes us excited about photography again, thinking how we could translate or evoke something we saw using our tools, in two dimensions, for an editorial shoot or a personal project.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
No, we haven’t been in a situation like this. Maybe because we don’t shy away from talking to the client, communicating what we’re trying to accomplish. Of course it’s crucial to work with creatives who are confident and passionate about what they do and, very importantly, choose us for the right project.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
We update our website regularly, and share specific new projects with individual art buyers and creatives.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Nobody wants to see anything, they are bombarded from all directions. The only way is to share specifically on an individual basis, to be aware what clients the art buyer is working with, what their background is, what their taste might be like.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
We really feel like you can only shoot for yourself, whether you’re getting paid or not. We always have something in the works.

How often are you shooting new work?
In addition to editorial projects, we have on-going personal series, and some spontaneous little projects that we make up every day.

Photography duo ioulex is Julia Koteliansky and Alexander Kerr. They graduated from Parsons School of Design, and live and work together between New York and Paris. Their images appeared in the New York Times T magazine, New Yorker, Die Zeit, Big, Flaunt, and Dossier Journal. Ioulex’s work was exhibited at Audio Visual Arts gallery in New York, Colette in Paris, and Diesel Art Gallery in Tokyo among others. Advertising clients include Helmut Lang, Bloomberg, and Zara.

http://ioulex.com

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.

Art Producers Speak: Eugenie Frerichs

- - Art Producers Speak

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art producer: I nominate Eugenie Frerichs. She is a Portland, OR based photographer. She has several sites worth looking at. She most recently documented people behind Chilean Patagonia National Park and farmer’s in Colorado. Her work is visually stunning, filled with such emotion and hope.

Emily on the phone. From the series North Fork Valley, a study of farm life in Western Colorado, 2012.

Chicken. From North Fork Valley, 2012.

Buckley, Kebler Pass, 2012.

Corey, Fern Gully, 2012.

True Grain Farm, Kispiox, BC. From the photo series for Modern Farmer, 2013.

Rémy, Pemberton, BC. From Modern Farmer series, 2013.

Pinot Meunier. From North Fork Valley, 2012.

Jano. From series of portraits of the people building the future Patagonia National Park in Valle Chacabuco, Chile, 2012.

Britta. Valle Chacabuco, 2012.

Corey and the radio. Alaska, 2013.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve worked in the photo industry in one form or another since 2005, mostly as a photo editor, then art director and art producer. I started focusing on my own photography in earnest about three years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Somewhere in between. I have a degree in art history, and assisted a photographer during college, but mostly I’ve learned from the industry itself, having worked on set in so many different roles. A lot of observation, getting in over my head, and learning by doing. I also have very generous photographer friends who have helped me tremendously over the years.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I saw Alec Soth give a talk recently where he said he had two artists hunkered on his shoulders, Robert Adams on one side, Weegee on the other, opposing forces influencing his work in equal parts. I liked that image, though mine would be with Dorothea Lange and Taryn Simon. They are both truth seekers making work in the realm of nonfiction, but they go (or in Lange’s case, went) about it in very different ways – a bit of editorial, a bit of fine art, one from the hip, the other very conceptual and calculated. I have been working to strike a balance between these two ways of shooting in my own projects, and try to channel the wisdoms of Lange and Simon to make better, smarter work.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
Nothing inspires me more than hitting the road, truck packed up with gear and dog, maybe a loose schedule but ideally a lot of room for the unpredictable. Most recently my work’s been focusing on farm life and what I’ve been calling the “modern wild”, which requires that I head into far off places, rural communities, mountains, deserts, coastal areas – epicenters of ways of life that fascinate and inspire me. Finding stories in these zones, and attempting to tell them best I can, keeps me fresh and feeds my curiosity (which never seems to be satiated). I save my pennies to make these trips possible, and as for turning them into paid work, well, I just have to trust that as long as I keep doing this – pursuing stories that are interesting to me, and shooting them in a way that feels true to my style – then eventually it will resonate with the right someone at the right time. This could mean a long life of dirtbagging in my truck! But an example of this did just happen, when a road trip I’d been planning from Portland to Alaska turned into a month-long online series for the magazine Modern Farmer. It’s a very cool new publication out of the Hudson River Valley, with a smart team of writers and editors. It’s been exciting to work with a publication that is so aligned with what I’ve been pursuing on my own.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I can’t say I’ve experienced this as a photographer, but I’ve definitely seen it play out when on set in other roles. The creatives want one thing, the clients want another. I have a friend who says she treats every client job like an art school assignment – creative challenges that keep her brain in shape. That’s a smart way to look at it – turn the potential tension into a teachable moment.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I am still very much in the realm of just shooting and sharing what I’m up to with peers via the usual digital channels. For longer-term projects, grants and residencies become important, and eventually exhibitions – all things that can drum up great PR. I also find a lot of value in being part of the audience, not just needing things from it; stepping outside of my own work, and engaging with the art community when I can. Last year I joined the board of the Portland arts org Photolucida, and have made so many more connections that way, just by showing up and getting exposed to new work and an inspiring community of artists, curators, and editors. Making real human contact – I like that stuff. It goes a long way.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
From my experience as an art producer in the ad industry, I’ve seen that often an artist’s personal work is the work that gets the job. Not always, but often enough to take notice. So I guess the advice I’d give is what I’ve been telling myself, too: Just pursue what you love and be genuinely psyched about it. Sounds trite but I really believe it. Set your own course and boldly stick to it. No apologizing for the weird things you love, this will yield better work in the end. I think art buyers recognize this, and appreciate originality and authenticity far more than knowing that you’re technically able to shoot what you think they want you to shoot.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, always. For example, I’m writing this from Alaska, wrapping up two months of work on a new series.

How often are you shooting new work?
As often as I can. I learn something new every time I head out, so I’m kind of hooked.

Eugénie Frerichs lives and works in Portland, Ore. though travels often in search of stories on farm life and the modern wild.
www.eugeniefrerichs.com
http://nonsurveillee.tumblr.com/
http://instagram.com/elfrerichs
hello@eugeniefrerichs.com

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.

Art Producers Speak:

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art producer: I nominate I nominate Carissa and Andrew Gallo. I have really enjoyed working with Carissa and Andrew, they are an amazing husband and wife team based in Portland, OR. I discovered their work through Kinfolk Magazine.

Branding Campaign for Fred Water, shot in LA

Branding Campaign for Fred Water, shot in LA

Branding Campaign for Fred Water, shot in LA

Documentary Work - Uganda

Ode to Summer, for Kinfolk Magazine

Travels in Iceland, 2012

Travels in Iceland, 2012

Travels in Iceland, 2012

Original Series for Kinfolk Magazine

Lost Lake - Portland, OR

Lost Lake - Portland, OR

 

How many years have you been in business?

Andrew and I started working together over 4 years ago. Our business has morphed and taken on new shapes, as things tend to with time… Its latest shape is called Sea Chant– and it combines our practice of photography and video to tell and create stories.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Self-taught, with the investment and guidance of many different minds, along the way.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

My grandfather, primarily. He walked through life with a camera at his side, documenting all things that fell before him. From my dad’s first birthday, to time in Japan during WWII. It wasn’t his business, it was his passion, which he passed on to me- as he gave me all his old film cameras and shared with me these intimate glimpses into his life.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

We just try to keep ourselves occupied by the things that naturally inspire us- travel, nature, music, books, stories… The Internet is a great place to be inspired, but we feel the most filled up, creatively, as we see things face to face.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

Sometimes- but we’ve been blessed enough to work with a lot of great clients who value our work and creativity and push us to pursue it.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

Just creating things and putting them out there, through all the various ways allowed us. We love meeting with people face to face- I think that’s the most valuable way to share and show a vision. We also love and use instagram and the new VSCO Grid almost each and every day.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

I am not so inclined to encourage someone to do work that you think others want to see. Obviously, there is a place for it, somewhere/sometime. But I’ve found it best to show the work that you love and are inspired to do- I think whether its a buyer, a potential client, or just a fellow creative soul, people always value and appreciate genuineness in this regard!

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Yes, for sure! Without that, we tend to lose our own sense of artistry. It pushes us to try new things and be inspired in new ways.

How often are you shooting new work?

A few times a week.

www.carissagallo.com
www.andrewgallo.com

Sea Chant is the storytelling outfit of Andrew & Carissa Gallo, a photography/directing duo based in Portland, Oregon. Together they write and direct films, each delivered alongside of a anesthetically complementing photo set.

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.

 

Art Producers Speak: Nick Ruechel

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate: Nick Ruechel. “I love his work, it has a lot of soul, his lighting is beautiful. He is a perfectionist and the connection he gets with subjects shows lovely in his portraits.”

‘Maximo & Agustin, Brooklyn, 2012’

‘India, Chinatown,NYC, 2011’

‘Rooz, Brooklyn, 2007’

‘Reggie Watts, Comedian, NYC, 2009’

‘Sahr Ngaujah, (FELA!), NYC, 2009’

‘Chico Hamilton, Musician, NYC, 2008’

‘Philip Glass, NYC, 2008’

‘Children in a rickshaw on their way to school, Mysore, India, 2012’

‘Visitors, Coney Island, Memorial Day, 2012’

‘Satmar Hasidim, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2012’

How many years have you been in business?

11 Years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

My first encounter with cameras was in high school in Germany as a member of the photography club. We’d get access to Nikon F’s and B/W film and would be sent out on little photojournalistic assignments. I remember once covering the demolition of an historic building which had caused great upheaval in the local community. I had no idea what I was doing apart from rotating shutter and f-stop dials in such as way as to keep the light meter in a viable range of exposure. I felt accomplished because the resulting negatives were actually printable. The club dissolved a couple of semesters later which turned into a 10-year hiatus from taking pictures.

After moving to New York City and graduating from NYU in the late 90’s, I took a job as a freelance talent scout for a record company but I soon realized that I loved music too much to become involved with selling it: I was bored out of my mind. During that time, I purchased an old Nikon F3 with a 50mm lens and a couple of books on basic photographic technique. I began to experiment again: trial and error, roll-by-roll. I would get one or two contact sheets made per week and reviewed my mistakes. Luckily, I soon came across a couple of working photographers who were either sympathetic to my autodidactic plight or plain crazy to give someone a job who had no practical experience at all. I started as a 3rd assistant on German fashion catalogue shoots and worked part-time in the equipment room of a major rental studio in Manhattan. I didn’t do much else; it was a full-immersion crash course.

After freelancing for a number of renowned portrait and fashion photographers for about 18 months, I wound up becoming Annie Leibovitz’s full-time first assistant for two years which seemed like transitioning from weekend outings in the National Guard to full-out warfare in the Marine Corps. It was the best finishing school I could have hoped for. After my tenure, I quit assisting and to went out on my own. It was time.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

As cliché as it may sound, Irving Penn probably is a central figure in my photographic development. The discipline and integrity of his photographs have always fascinated me. He was a true innovator across so many genres of photography. Penn’s approach to taking portraits still seems to be the basic blueprint from which so many of us operate, knowingly or unknowingly. Arnold Newman, Jeff Wall and William Eggleston are others who subsequently informed and influenced my ideas about the color environmental portrait. The list is long and always evolving.

Not surprisingly, I have always loved film and cinematography ever since I was old enough to be admitted to a Sunday matinée. But it isn’t photography or visual art per sé which motivated me to choose this profession: it’s more the idea that you can bring something fresh and new into existence every day, meet complete strangers through an “instrument” and learn something about their condition, even if it’s just within the span of a brief moment. It enables you to develop a point of view about the constant sensory impingement that is life. That’s my inspiration. I think that’s what aesthetics are, ultimately.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

In my opinion, staying true to yourself implies that you trust and follow your creative instinct. That is ultimately what clients hire you for. Contemplating too much what ‘others’ may like, can be dangerous to one’s process. This is not to say that you shouldn’t follow direction in the commercial realm: that is what you are getting compensated for. In the ideal case, a client will trust/expect you to bring your personal vision and ideas to the project so it becomes synergetic: a collaboration.

There are lots of good “technicians” in this business. Executing decent lighting and any other part of photographic technique is a function of practice; even a part of the so-called “eye” is part of that. A way of looking at the world in photographic terms (such as composition) can be learned but it doesn’t replace raw talent: it merely supports it. Once you master technique, you should ‘forget’ it and pay attention to what is really going on around you. Creatives want to see a tangible point of view; images which reflect a sense of identity – a thread of sorts that permeates your work. Some people call that ‘style’, although I think that term is a bit limiting (Maybe it’s necessary to be categorizable in order to be successful in this new environment). In the end, it’s externalizing some of what’s inside of you.

By contrast, it’s also very important to be content to do absolutely nothing sometimes. Putting all your emphasis on being prolific can often come at the expense of producing mediocre work. There is a new theory in the field of Quantum Physics which examines how the creative process really works in humans. The first stage is information gathering, the second stage, a state of inertia or ‘incubation’, as it were, where we permit ideas and concepts to proliferate within our mind. It all sounds pretty haughty and theoretical but it does make sense to me. Then again, everyone’s different. If you can produce 20 good pictures each day, good for you. Charles Bukowski most likely wasn’t too involved with physics and he once said: “This is very important — to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you’re gonna lose everything…just to do nothing at all, very, very important. And how many people do this in modern society? Very few. That’s why they’re all totally mad, frustrated, angry and hateful.” Ironically, he was a very “prolific” writer so go figure.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

It depends what shop you are working with: some agencies represent more traditional clients and have to be a bit more conservative in their creative approach. If time permits and it’s feasible, I try to shoot things in a number of different ways from ‘safe’ to a bit more towards the proverbial ‘edge’. Every situation is different and you generally get a good idea at the outset as to how flexible the client is when it comes to creative concepts and their execution. There is a time and place for everything.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

Websites and iPads have replaced much of the physical portfolios photographers were circulating in large numbers only a few years ago. Not having to constantly update ten or more books with prints and sleeves is a bit of a blessing in disguise. Creatives can now pre-screen your work on the web to determine whether your work is consistent and appropriate for their purposes. It’s more productive and time-saving for everyone involved.

Nonetheless, I feel that a face-to-face meeting with a client and showing physical prints is more important than ever before. Nowadays, personal meetings are also an examination of your personality: we live in a world with far fewer jobs and a lot more photographers than ever before. There are thousands of talented artists out there who can execute any given project well. An individual in a position to award you a job will want to make sure you are a nice person and a team player. Nobody wants to work with a Diva/Ego-tripper.

I email images to art buyers and photo editors on a regular basis but I personalize every message rather than ‘mass-blasting’ 5000 potential clients. I think that invites immediate deletion. It seems better to develop a relationship with a select number of people than carpet-bombing the entire industry. Keep it short and sweet. If an art buyer or creative director takes time out of their crazed schedule to click on your message, they most likely want to see one image and a brief message, rather than your life story and half your website. If you have the time, check out the agencies you’re targeting and what accounts they are servicing. Is your work applicable to any of their accounts?

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

As mentioned before, I think in quite a few cases, this approach can put you on the road to confusion and failure: you’ll never truly know what creatives are looking for and things are always changing. You’ll pose that question to 15 people and you will most likely get 15 different answers. Portfolio reviews are a good indicator of this: some people will respond to certain images, others will react differently. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open to criticism and input: some people might be better editors of your work than you are. I have good friends in the industry who have pointed out things to me that were of great value.

One’s relationship with art is quite personal and subjective. I follow my intuition but regularly get feedback from my agent, peers, and other individuals whose judgment and experience I trust. One can sometimes be too close to one’s own work: others have more distance and that can be conducive to a better edit. No one book is right for all occasions; every possible job you bid on might require a modification of your portfolio, i.e., the addition or subtraction of images which might or might not be relevant to the project at hand.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Always. Personal work is essential to my mental health. I always feel compelled to self-assign to pursue ideas that I find exciting and relevant. Coincidentally, that is the work that creatives seem to respond to most enthusiastically. To me, it’s the most accurate reflection of who you are as a photographer. I constantly write down new ideas for new images in a small journal I carry. I refer back to it, re-edit, modify and delete things until I select something to work on.

How often are you shooting new work?

Apart from using my iPhone and Instagram, I try to shoot something once or twice a week, depending on how busy I get with editorial and commercial assignments. It’s not a compulsive thing; I try to relax as much as possible which paves the way for being inspired to go out and putting a good idea into a better photograph.

Nick Ruechel was born in Berlin, Germany and moved to New York City in the mid-1990’s. His photographs have appeared in many editorial publications such as: Vogue, Vanity Fair, Esquire, New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, Men’s Journal, VIBE, Interview, Wired, Fast Company and others. Notable commercial clients include: NBC/Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, CNN, Bravo and Showtime Networks, AVAYA, Sun America Banking, Hyperion Books, Discovery Channel and others Some of Ruechel’s recent work has been selected to appear in AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY’s AP29 annual, to be published in May of 2013. Besides editorial and commercial assignments, Ruechel has been working on a large portrait retrospective of Jazz musicians since 2004, entitled, ‘I can’t get started’ , a new series of close-up video portraits, entitled ‘Padartha’ and a documentary short film, entitiled “Las Piezas Que Faltan (“Missing Pieces”) He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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.

Art Producers Speak: Kyle Alexander

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate: Kyle Alexander.

Dustin, Nate, Bummy & Fabio Santa Fe 2013 Fort Marcy Overlook We wrapped a shoot up in the mountains behind Santa Fe and my friends/crew and I were driving down into town and it was one of those amazing desert sunsets. I knew this place that overlooked the whole town because my Mom and I used to go there every year for thanksgiving. So we drove right to this beautiful spot and took it all in. I know it looks like a band photo but as far as I know only one of those guys plays an instrument and that’s the skin flute.

the Band “Courrier” Gruene, Texas Feb. 2013 This was for a Rolling Stone magazine/Texas Tourism feature that wanted to capture an Austin band in a location that was close to Austin but that had not been a lot of times before and really said Texas. I had a suggestion that worked out perfect, I went to college 15 minutes away from this place, Gruene Hall which is the oldest continually running dance hall in Texas. They have been open and host to live music since 1878.

the Band “Courrier” Gruene, Texas Feb. 2013

the Band “Courrier” Gruene, Texas Feb. 2013

This is Dale, Red and Berkley at the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie Texas taken in March 2013. This was taken at lunch for an ad shoot, I snuck away for ten minutes and got these wonderful portraits of this fascinating man. One of the thing I always liked about photography is you get to meet so many interesting people and hear so many great life stories, Dale did not disappoint in that regard.

Red and Berkley at the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie Texas

Chris, BILLYKIRK Bags NYC 2012 Started in 1999 by brothers Chris and Kirk Bray, Billykirk is a leather and canvas design company which was founded on the desire to make lasting items that get better with age. I hope my photos age as good as their leather 

Alex - Austin, Texas 2013 Alex was a friend of a friend. I was in town on a shoot for Rolling Stone magazine and had a late flight out so I had a couple of hours to kill and I called my friend Jamie and said who can we shoot and she said her friend Alex who worked at a vintage store called Feathers, so we grabbed some clothes of the racks and walked around the neighborhood and got some great shots.

Dan and Alex 2012 These guys make beautiful custom bikes in the LA area

Personal work 2012 Getting loose in the desert

last one had to eat a live tarantula Personal work 2012

Kassi 2012

 

How many years have you been in business?
Hmmmm…more than a couple…..not an easy answer for that one, after college I moved from Austin, Texas to Hawaii to shoot surfing on the north shore of Oahu which was really fun and amazing but I couldn’t really make a living over there. At that time it was shooting film, you got 36 images and then have to swim in and change film in your waterhousing, go out shoot another roll, swim in and then run to the lab, have it developed and fed-exed overnight to the magazines in Southern California and by that time you were exhausted and broke. I worked crappy side jobs and tried to make it work for a while but never really go ahead.

Then one day I got lucky and got a job on a tv show in Hawaii and worked on that for a couple of years and along the way met some guys who said if you ever get out to LA give us a call. So I looked at my options at that point and said I better move to LA. I was penniless with not much hope of ever making it out there in Hawaii. That was in 2001 and I got lucky again because I hooked up with some steady work on feature films and commercials. It was then I met someone who also produced photo shoots and needed some help so I worked with her for a bit. The first real photo shoot I worked on was a huge budget Tommy Hilfiger shoot, 2 weeks on the Paramount Studios backlot. Patrick Demarchelier was the photographer and it was a amazing and humbling experience to watch him work. This experience inspired me and I began shooting as much as I could when not assisting. However that was not too often, I assisted for about 7 years for dozens of different photographers.

One of the first things I did after I was in LA made a few bucks was buy a computer and because of that someone asked me to do some callsheets and light pre-production work so I ended up producing some editorial stories for Mens Journal and Marie Claire magazine. That introduced me to some photographers who later on hired me to produce some ad shoots, which was great because with all the producing money I could do more test shoots. So my first real break was an ad shoot for Roxy/Quiksilver in 2008. So I did that shoot but then still had to assist and produce and digital tech to make ends meet. So I would get a couple of ad and editorial jobs here and there but not enough to break away.

Finally in 2011 I got enough shooting work that I was able to turn down producing and teching and assisting gigs. So long story short, taking pics- 20+ years, working in the business-10 + years, making my living as a full time photographer- 2+ years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I have a BA in English literature and minored in photography and film but I felt like everything I really “learned” about photography was by trial and error, happy accidents, shooting tests and by assisting other photographers.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I have always had a passion for (borderline OCD) documenting and capturing all of the things around me, people, places, things by taking photos. When I first saw Robert Frank’s book, “The Americans”, it blew me away and made me want to make a career out of photography. However I didn’t really know what an advertising photographer was, I just wanted someone to pay me so I could keep doing what I loved doing, capturing organic defining moments.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I think it’s more about staying inspired yourself and creating work and pictures that you care about. If you create something extraordinary and love what you are doing then that is what counts. If the work is wonderful, and the world sees it, the creatives will seek you out.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
No, In my experience, most of the creatives I have worked with want to push the same direction I am usually going and the client has been appreciative of that.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Direct personalized faxes, just kidding………reality is probably not enough. That’s the toughest part, and I have had this conversation with a few of my peers, we feel like as photographers we get so busy involved in planning a shoot, shooting, editing or retouching a shoot that there is hardly any hours left in the day to market ourselves, but in reality that should be one of the most important things you do. I try to do meetings whenever I am in NYC or a town that has some agencies or magazines. I did an email blast this year and my Agent VAUGHAN+HANNIGAN has done a few and we do the Le BOOK shows. Working on something now that will go out in the mail soon, hopefully.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I think you are chasing your own tail in a circle. Buyers will react to work better if you are showing your own distinct personal vision and they connect with it.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, I am constantly shooting personal projects. Currently photographing a series I’m having a lot of fun shooting titled Made in the USA about people that craft and create in America. I feel like there is this really cool resurgence to our grandfather’s generation of people that really made things by hand and care about what they are doing, not just trying to make a buck. I shot a pair of brothers that own a leather bag and belt company in New York, a former ad agency graphic designer turned screen printer/ motorcycle builder in Minnesota and a couple of buddies that created a company that repurposes old wood scrap and industrial age machinery into retail spaces in NYC.

Another personal shoot I really had enjoyed I just did a couple of weeks ago, we were shooting an ad job for a truck company at a crazy 180,000 acre ranch in Texas and our guide was this intriguing man named Dale who was also the county deputy and drove around in a huge red truck with two dogs riding shotgun. This guy was the real deal, Chuck Norris would step aside for this guy. He was very a kind man but you could tell he had seen some tough times. I took a couple of snaps of him during our tech scout and then during lunch of my actual shoot the next day Dale and I jumped in his truck and went up the road and shot for ten minutes, he wanted some photos of his dogs, and I was more than happy to do that. They ended up being some of my favourite photos I have taken for quite some time and when I sent over the pictures later he said he really loved them and would share with his kids. That was just a cool thing to hear and is the magic that happens when you are on the road with an open mind.

How often are you shooting new work?
2 times a month in between jobs

My website is www.kylealexander.com Represented by VAUGHAN + HANNIGAN Reps which is www.vh-artists.com.

My Chocolate lab, Princess Leia and I at my favourite beach, San Onofre

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.

Art Producers Speak: Kenji Aoki

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Kenji Aoki. “Kenji has amazing work. I particularly liked the NY Times piece he illustrated with a tuna fish.”

more magazine : want skin like a skin doctor's? a story on how to care for wrinkles (for females)

v magazine: indulgences a story on indulgences of celebrities (musicians, actors, etc), this represents a vinyl collection.

Psychology Today: the brainiac-billionaire connection concept: a genius that is 1 in a million

New York magazine The truth on drugs images shot for a story about laws on drugs

New York magazine The truth on drugs images shot for a story about laws on drugs

Time magazine the truth about oil images shot for an article about crude oil resources-- their reality and where its heading

Time magazine the truth about oil images shot for an article about crude oil resources-- their reality and where its heading

Time magazine Coal, Hard truths image for an article about coal and it’s relationship to political campaign (obama vs. romney)

New York Times Magazine Tuna's end image for an article exploring the extinction of the blue fin tuna

Bloomberg Pursuits story about making cocktails using liquid Nitrogen

How many years have you been in the business?
I started my career in Tokyo 22 years ago and moved to NY 2 years ago. I began to only accept still life assignments 15 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied design and photography at Kuwasa Design School in Tokyo. Their curriculum is heavily influenced by the aesthetics of Bauhaus.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
There is an opening scene in a movie directed by Alejandro Jodorwsky called EL TOPO, where a tree standing in the dessert, casts a long, bold shadow–I think it was this that made me a photographer.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
All of my inspiration comes from geometry. When you have an object that needs to be photographed with a certain concept, you always come across complex visual problems that need to be solved. By thinking of the object as a pure geometric shape such as a circle or square, the speed required to visually communicate the concept of the image and the object itself is accelerated. The space that it’s in, the color, the shadows — balancing all of these elements allow these sensations to penetrate a deeper place.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Understanding the restrictions of any project is the most important factor. Making the effort to face these restrictions means there is a necessity to create work that is beyond my personal aesthetic sensibilities and to provide a better answer. It’s confronting the self and at times an opportunity to rediscover my own uniqueness.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I think the only way to do this is to believe in your own work. Also my agent, Michael Ash has been making sure my work gets out there. His effort to do so has been beyond simply getting the job done.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
There are all kinds of photographers out there, which I think is a good thing for art buyers but my advice would be to avoid being swayed or influenced by technology too much, since this may dilute a photographer’s individuality as well as their pursuit for it. I believe it’s necessary to be very careful of this.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
As of now, I do not shoot separate work for myself. The reason is, I want to keep commissioned work true to my vision and as close to my own work as possible. If I were to create work that satiates this desire in my personal life, there is the danger that my commissioned work would be completely different.

How often are you shooting new work?
I shoot commissioned new work about once a week, if not more. In the future, I would like to meet a publisher and produce an archive of my work as a book.

Born in Tokyo, Kenji Aoki spent his formative years studying variousdesign disciplines at Kuwasa Design School. After 20 successful years inTokyo, Aoki moved to NY permanently in 2009. He has worked with many clients in the U.S. and Europe and was included in a comprehensivearchive of more than 30 years of the finest commissioned imagespublished in The New York Times Magazine. He has received awards from SPD, The Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, American Photography,The New York Times Magazine, and Lurzer’s Archive. Today, Kenji Aoki continues to produce comprehensive visual images.

He is represented by Michael Ash ash@michaelashpartners.com, 212-206-0661
351 West Broadway 2nd Fl.NY, NY 10013

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.

 

Art Producers Speak: David Tsay

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate David Tsay

 

This image is from a recent test shoot. I used to get overwhelmed and stressed about doing tests, but my agent Kate said to me: Even if you only get one great image out of that test, it’s a success.

I like to set up situations or scenes and just let the people play around in it, and then shoot around them like I'm doing documentary photography.

I didn't shoot interiors until a bit later in my career. We had a big remodeling project of our home and it got me looking at interior spaces more carefully. Interior photography is very similar to fashion in terms of layering colors and textures and can look just as sexy and expensive.

Here's another fun shoot where the models had to jump for like 10 minutes and look like they're doing it for the first time every time.

A lot of my assignments are entertaining stories with tons of production and models and food and décor. But in reality, I hardly do any entertaining in my personal life. These photo shoot ones are more fun for me because my “guests” MUST love it and they HAVE TO have fun, Lol.

One of my favorite photographers is Herbert List. I just love the way he used hard, unfiltered sunlight. I've heard people say, "Don't shoot food in hard sunlight." Hearing that just made me want to do it.

This shot was inspired by David Hockney’s pool paintings from the ‘60s. It wasn’t even anything conscious, I just felt that vibe when I met the family and their home. It’s important to constantly feed your head with images that you emotionally respond to because it improves your on-set instinct. Then when you respond to it, it’s more natural and true to yourself, rather than forced. Also, I think when you ground your work in art history, you automatically create a relatability with your viewers.

Growing up in Southern California, we get mostly blank blue sky or smoggy sky. So, whenever I travel, I always look up to look at the clouds. I take pictures of them thinking one day I'll try and paint them.

I'm after pictures that seem like something that you saw in the corner of your eye, but when you turn your head to look for it, it's gone. They are not always big events--just poetic, sweet little moments like this one.

The objective was to photograph the living room with the amazing pool and view to show indoor-outdoor living. We were working just in the living room, but then I took a few steps back and the shot revealed itself to me.

I did many surf apparel jobs at the beginning of my career. So, even now, when I get an assignment to go back into that world, it's so natural and feels like home--even though I've never surfed in my life.

The sky can be just as perfect as a "seamless" backdrop for a graphic picture.

It's important for me capture a warm, relatable, and believable feel to the homes I photograph no matter how amazing they are.

Doing a shot where everything looks completely gorgeous and "thrown together” without looking fake and set-up-y can take a long time and a lot of people. When I do still lifes I start on the tripod for everyone to compose for their departments. After we are happy with what we’ve got, I come off the tripod and shoot around it as if I’m seeing it for the very first time. Often, those are the ones that turn out the best.

I love photographing food that's messy and real and fresh and sexy. I want my food pictures to make me want to dive right in and eat it all up! The funny part about this picture is out of the frame-- the assistant holding up the reflector behind the models really really hates seafood, I think he was gagging the whole time.

How many years have you been in business?

About 15 years now.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Photography school taught. I prefer structure and discipline when I am learning things. “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively”. So true.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

A lot of my influences were from writers and artists: Jean Genet’s work is so dreamy and atmospheric, Robert Longo’s juxtaposition of imagery, Eric Fischl’s paintings of odd lifestyle moments with amazing light and composition, and Jack Stauffaucher’s graphic experimental letterpress work. I wanted to be a writer but suck at it so badly. I was lucky to find photography as a way for me to tell stories.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

Staying true to yourself is important, but also be aware of what’s going on and don’t get stuck recycling your own best shots. Trust your instinct so you’ll always find your sweet spot in any difficult situation. I also have a great, honest, support system from my agency. They really keep me grounded and keep me focused.

It’s important to balance catalog and adverting work with editorial shoots and tests. Getting editorial assignments is a good reminder that what you are doing is current.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

I’m sure most creative people in any field feels that way. But I work well with rules. It’s like, if you tell me how big my sandbox is and how much sand I get and in what colors, it becomes a fun challenge to see what crazy amazing sand castles I can make out of it. The challenges and limitations make it like a game.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I was doing email promos but didn’t get the results I wanted. So just recently I went old-school and sent out a snail-mail promo. I am getting really great, positive feedback (http://pdnpromoswekept.tumblr.com/post/42025738335/this-promo-i-received-from-photographer-david-tsay).

I have a portfolio website, and I just started some social media things too–a Tumblr page where I blog, Instagram, a Twitter account. I used to be shy about involving my business in social media, but now I really enjoy it.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

Don’t do it. I did that and it didn’t work. At some point years ago I started shooting and showing work in response to jobs that I didn’t get–therefore showing work that I thought buyers wanted to see. It really ended up hurting me and setting me back. When you are not inspired with your own work, it shows. I always say to shoot what you love and are passionate about, and other people will love it too. It sounds so corny and naive, but it’s so true.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

I started shooting jobs while still in school. After I graduated, I really wasn’t shooting personal work and just focused on jobs. But about a year into my relationship with my current agency, Kate told me she really needed to see personal work from me to know what I’m passionate about and what jobs to go after for me. I used to think testing is for photographers that weren’t working, but I’ve since learned that you need to do those to stay creatively fit–like how an athlete would in between games.

How often are you shooting new work?

For personal projects? I go thru phases… Having said what I said above, some months I’m more inspired/motivated than others. But for me, it doesn’t have to be a shoot. I’ll make my collages or artwork and it might spark an inspiration for a shoot.

My family moved to the U.S. when I was 9 years old and raised me in the suburbs of Pasadena, California. I first picked up a camera as an Psychology undergrad at UCSB and then transferred and studied photography at Art Center in Pasadena. I am now based in Los Angeles and represented by Kate Ryan Inc.

David Tsay:  www.davidtsay.com

Kate Ryan Represents:  www.kateryaninc.com/ 212-929-5399

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.

Art Producers Speak: Young and Hungry: Anais & Dax

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Young and Hungry: Anais & Dax

Community - Alexandra Grant. 2010

Zucchini Flowers. 2011

North - Redwoods. 2011

North - Montana. 2011

Kinfolk Vol.2 - Cozy. 2011

Kinfolk Vol.2 - Cozy. 2011

Kinfolk Vol.2 - Cozy. 2011

Kinfolk Vol.4 - Cover (An Ode to Summer). 2012

Kinfolk Vol.4 - An Ode to Summer. 2012

Every Day With Rachael Ray - For The Love of Food. Feb. 2013

Every Day With Rachael Ray - For The Love of Food. Feb. 2013

Huntington Beach. 2012

Community - Rod Hunt. 2012

Ashley Neese, Life Coach. 2012

TOMS - Spring 2013 LookBook

How many years have you been in business?

It will be two years in April since we started working together under the name Young & Hungry. We are starting 2013 with two exciting changes. First we are close to signing with an amazing rep and second we are going to change our name from “Young & Hungry” to “Anais & Dax”. When we started working together Young & Hungry was a good fit what we wanted to shoot and how we felt about it, but our work has grown ever since and we feel that just using our actual first names is more appropriate and honest.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Dax: As a kid, my mother and uncle were into photography as a hobby, and I picked it up from them. When my uncle passed I inherited his Asahi Pentax and took it to college with me, and it inspired me to start shooting more. After receiving a BFA in photography from the University of MT, I moved to Los Angeles and started working as a photo assistant. Photo assisting was probably the best education I’ve ever had, there’s nothing like learning by doing and problem solving on a day-to-day basis.

Anais: I taught myself photography after I borrowed a Canon Nikkormat camera from my mom in highschool and never returned it. I would then spend hours in my neighbor’s dark room. After years of working in the fine art photography business in LA, I decided to treat myself to a photo education and went to ICP in New York. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. My photography education was then enhanced by working as a retoucher for Norman Jean Roy for almost 2 years, before I decided to go on my own.

Who was you greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

Dax: The photographers I worked for over the years. They shaped my eye and taught me how to think on my feet and problem solve. They trusted me to help them with their work and that gave me the confidence to become a photographer. It was extremely hard at times being a photo assistant; it really is a humbling job. But it was those relationships good or bad that inspired to want to be in this business.

Anais: If I had to pick one person it would be my grandfather. He passed away when I was 10, but I was very close to him. He was a painter and ceramist, and I grew up spending part of my summer vacations with him and my grandmother, smelling the turpentine in his studio and looking at his charcoal drawings of voluptuous women. He loved what he did, and he dedicated his life to it. I spent 5 years in law school, and then 4 years in the fine art business. After almost 10 years I decided that it was finally time for me to start doing what I love, full time.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

Dax: I find inspiration from looking at other peoples work, but working with Anais has been the greatest gift for my work. I feel incredibly lucky to have such an amazing partner to bounce ideas off of. We push each other when we shoot. The best feeling in the world is the moment you find the angle, the light, the subject and every frame is looking better than the last. As far as staying true to ourselves we show our work to clients who inspire us and hope we land a job with them. But we are always happy to work with new ideas and new people, as being challenged is always a great way to grow.

Anais: Ha, do I have to say Dax too?! It is greatly helpful to have a partner who can support, but also help me think outside of my own head. I really think that what makes the work fresh is that we do it for ourselves, not for others. It might sound selfish, but in the end it is what helps us be who we are, and that honesty transpires in the images we make. We’re also constantly looking at other people’s work, whether it is editorial, advertising or fine art. But most likely our greatest influence since we have started working together is the city of Los Angeles and more precisely the neighborhood we live in, Venice Beach. It is filled with beautiful and inspiring people, the light is just glorious, the ocean is close and there’s such a great vibe!

Do you find that some creative love your work but the client holds you back?

A & D: Each job is a different challenge, with a different set of creative needs that all need to come together to make a final image, and so we need to learn to be flexible. The creatives help translate the client’s vision and our task is to come up with visual solutions but also technical answers to practical issues. It really is about team work and collective brainstorming. So as long as the client is open to us about his or her concerns, we are there to respond to it along with other creatives. Of course it’s not always easy, but isn’t it the whole point?

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

A & D: Editorial exposure has been great for increasing our name recognition. Kinfolk Magazine was coming out with its first issue at the same time we were just starting to build our portfolio and that collaboration has opened many doors for us. It’s a beautiful quarterly publication with originally curated images and layouts. Additionally, we’ve been hired by many of the top mainstream magazines that have wide appeal to the audience. We also take advantage of social media outlets by keeping a Tumblr blog and using Instagram. It gives us a chance to keep showing the work we do, but also our work in progress. We love how blogging and instagramming allows our viewers and followers to get a better sense of who we are, what it takes us to make an image and where we get our inspiration from. It also makes us more accessible, and reminds us of how it is all about human exchange.

We’ve also had great success with face to face meetings. We go to New York twice a year to meet with editors and art buyers, and every time we have a job away from our home base, we always try to squeeze in a meeting or two with local creatives. That’s how we got to meet with art buyers at Wieden+Kennedy in Portland while shooting an editorial there. Our work is a reflection of who we are, so I think it’s been helpful for people to meet us and get a chance to know us.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

A & D: If you are looking at the art buyers’ past work to try and cater to what they have done before you should stop. In our experience art buyers are looking for something new and fresh. So if you are trying to please them with similar work they are not going to really see your talent and your voice. And of course, shoot a lot, show a lot. Keep in touch. Show that you care, and that you are passionate. Shoot more, accept failure and learn from it. Communicate and be enthusiastic. And above all, just be yourself.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

A & D: Yes, we need to shoot for ourselves, otherwise we loose sight of why we started shooting in the first place. It is what keeps our ideas and photography alive. It is how we started our portfolio by traveling and shooting in California, Oregon, Montana where one of us is from (Dax), and then in France where the other one is from (Anais). In total, we shot for three months, slept in cheap hotels, stayed at friend’s places. It was exhausting, our bank accounts were pretty much empty (hence the name Young & Hungry!) but at the end we had our first portfolio that we were so proud of. And the response to it was amazing! Aside from traveling to more distant destinations, we also create new work by photographing people from our neighborhood, and stories around California that translate what we appreciate the most in life: travel, good meals with friends and nature.

How often are you shooting new work?

A & D: At least once a month, but it is not always easy to get our idea off the ground while managing our business day to day, but those failed attempts lead to another idea. New work can just be an afternoon portrait session with a friend or model, or a self assigned story and fully produced day or two of shooting concepts that we are passionate about and that we think could appeal to new clients. We also carry film cameras with us on a day-to-day basis, and shoot whatever catches our eye.

 

Dax Henry and Anais Wade started collaborating under the name Young & Hungry at the end of 2010 when they began to document what they loved most: food, destinations and good friend’s gatherings. After over 2 years of working together, they decided to work under their names as their work had expanded to a wider range of subjects.

Dax was born in Chicago and raised in California and Montana, and graduated with a BFA from the University of Missoula, MT. Anais was born and raised in France and Italy, and graduated from the General Studies Program at the International Center of Photography. They met in Los Angeles, and instantly shared their passion for photography.

They are inspired by California’s visual diversity, enjoy a community based life and love having meals with friends around a simple table. With 4 languages (English, Spanish, French and Italian) and a longstanding experience in the photographic industry, they’re always ready for the next challenge, whether it is at home or abroad. www.anaisdax.com

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.

Art Producers Speak: Jeff Luker

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Jeff Luker.

This was from the Levi's Go Forth campaign I shot. This was one of my favorite photos from the campaign. We shot at this at sunrise, there is a certain wild feeling when you are racing to get a shot at dawn.

A photo from a road trip in Montana. It was such a calming place, it felt like the edge of the world.

This was part of a look book shoot for the fashion line Dust. We were shooting out in these abandoned ghost towns, as we were leaving I saw this fence where farmers had hung up coyote corpses to warn other farmers in the area.

From the same Levi's shoot. This was a fun day, we had stunt riggers build the perfect rope swing into this lake. The kid in the photo is my friend Zach. This whole shoot was really fun because I got to bring a lot of my friends along.

This lake is in Oregon, it was so remote when we were camping here, not a soul around except for serious mosquito hordes, so swimming was a nice escape from them.

This is one of my best friends. I like photographing my friends, not just because they are so important to me, but because a lot of my work is about appreciating this life and everyone you get to meet in it. So for me it makes sense to photograph those who I am close to and let the photos reflect our relationship.

A photo from an Urban Outfitters shoot I did. I was in the back of a little truck with a bunch of people, driving through a wilderness area and out of nowhere she stood up and I snapped this photo. Most of my favorite photos I have ever taken were just in moments like this, one frame, one decisive moment.

A wild horse by the side of the road. Another road trip image. I have become sort of addicted to traveling throughout the American West, there is so much to see.

Grand Canyon. I know it is a very touristy place, but I have gone several times and every time I am awe-struck, it's just that kind of place.Great Smoky Mountains. When I look at this photograph I can still remember everything about this moment, the air, the smells, the breeze, the setting sun...which reminds me the whole reason I take photos in the first place.

Great Smoky Mountains. When I look at this photograph I can still remember everything about this moment, the air, the smells, the breeze, the setting sun...which reminds me the whole reason I take photos in the first place.

How many years have you been in business?

That is sort of a hard question to answer for me, I have been taking photographs as long as I can remember, and I think every photo I have taken has in some way shaped my current path. But as far as considering it as a “business”, I guess I would have to say that within the last couple of years I have made the transition to “professional” photographer, which to me means that my main source of income now comes from photography, and I am no longer working another job to afford my photography pursuits.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I am self-taught by and large, I had a few photo courses in college, but I was studying filmmaking in school. Which is not to say that studying cinema did not have a great influence on my photography.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

Probably William Eggleston. After I finished school, I was really dabbling in all different things, I was really into taking photos but was also writing, playing music, and trying to pursue a film career and this was on top of working whatever menial jobs I had at the time. So it was difficult to have the time and energy for everything.

Then I moved to New York and the first week I was there I saw the Eggleston retrospective at the Whitney. And something really changed inside me. I remember walking around the city after the show and just feeling like for the first time I really understood something about photography I previously hadn’t. And from then on that was it, my love affair with photography was all-consuming and said this is it, this is all I want to do.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

My philosophy towards making photos has always been to make the photographs that I want to see in the world. So that is what I have always done, at the end of the day regardless if other people like them at least I can be happy knowing I made the images that I wanted to see. And now these photographs exist and other people can see them too. That is really what I value, the photograph itself, there is so much that goes into one image: time, light, intention…it is really a magical thing.The fact that creative folks want to hire me was is really just a fluke, people see what I make and want to help me make more of these kinds of images and for that I will be forever grateful.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

It is truly different in every situation. But yes the client and creative relationship can either be a hindrance or a blessing. Sometimes the client and creatives don’t see eye to eye and you end up doing this balancing act where the work can suffer. The best kind of client has faith in the creatives as well at the photographer and realizes they are just there to hang out, have fun and let everyone do their thing.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I try and keep my website and tumblr pages pretty recent, so a lot of people share my photographs on the internet on some social media platform or another. That is really my favorite way to share things because it feels democratic, if people like your photo they can post it to pinterest or something.

I also like making little books or small prints and sending them out. I really enjoy getting stuff like that in the mail myself, if a friend sends me a photo book or zine it really makes my day. So I try to make nice things for people, and make the thing in itself have intrinsic value, so it is not like “here’s my marketing brochure, it’s like “hey here is a nice little thing I made for you that I hope will inspire or uplift you regardless,” That way if it ends up getting you a job or not it is cool to think someone might be having a better day because they got something they enjoyed in the mail.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

It seems like more and more people are just making portfolios of work to get certain kinds of jobs. My advice to them would be, “just be honest with yourself, are you making this work because you think it will get you jobs or because you are truly passionate about it? “If you truly love it and it feels like it is your voice than you have nothing to worry about.
I think everyone wants to see the same thing in art, and that is honesty. People enjoy looking at things that feel like they came from somebody’s heart and soul, that is just human nature.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

I have been working on some personal projects as well as doing commissioned work. But I have plans to refocus my energy on some larger scale personal projects in the very near future.

How often are you shooting new work?

I have commissioned jobs with some frequency and then have been trying to keep personal projects going as well. I have also been trying to actually slow down a bit and be more mindful in my process. There seems to be this manic pace in the industry right now with everyone constantly posting new work, blogging, instagramming and what have you, I think everyone needs to just chill out a bit and think about what they are making and why.

Jeff Luker is an American photographer born in 1985. Originally hailing from the Pacific Northwest he now calls New York home. Luker’s work explores themes inherent to the American experience and while primarily a fine art/documentary photographer he has in the past shot commercial projects for companies including Levi’s, Urban Outfitters, Nike and Chrysler. He has shown his work in galleries both domestic and abroad and has had his photographs published in magazines such as Beautiful/Decay, Foam, Oxford American and Neon. He continually travels and photographs the small towns, back roads and wilds of America seeking out adventure. He is represented by Friend + Johnson.

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.

 

Still Images in Great Advertising- Tom Nagy

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I wanted to finish my series of my favorites from CA Photo Annual with the work of Tom Nagy and his award winning campaign for Swiss. One of things I love about this campaign is how many ads they did which is something we don’t see that much anymore.



Suzanne: Tell me a little more about this campaign. How many concepts were there and I see in the “Making of” it required a lot of crew and some plane to plane communication.

Tom: The art director Swen Murath saw the personal series I did 3 years ago and wanted me to shoot the whole campaign exactly this way. At the end, we produced approximately 20 ads within 10 days of production. The key to get the shots we wanted was the incredible support we received from the airport authority in Zurich and the fact that we got the time we needed to produce the right quality. We had the green card to do almost whatever we wanted on the entire airport. It was a little bit like playing God. We have been on the runway, getting rid of 30 disturbing carts in the shot was just a call. We rerouted flights, moved around on cherry-picker, moved a lot of planes. Overall a photographers dream….

Suzanne: I like “Making of” verses behind the scenes because you show more technical aspects which I think is nice. Tell me more about that and also what’s it like to make snow in Los Angeles?

Tom: It was great to make snow in downtown LA. Many pedestrians came closer and touched the snow and asked us if it was really snow. Some of these people had never touched snow before. We have had a lot of fun making jokes with these guys. The fake snow we used is absolutely amazing. It has all features real snow has. You can make snowballs which look absolutely authentic. Just the cold is missing. One thing I really love on my job, is to create my own world which often is a little bit “ better than life “

Suzanne: I see when you are doing personal projects, you like to shoot more people in the images. Do you wish clients would consider for more projects with people because you are good with landscapes and people.

Tom: I prefer to have people in my pictures and I´m always happy when clients book me for projects where people are involved. Shooting pure landscapes is a big luxury less and less clients go for it.

Suzanne: What is so nice about your advertising work is that you are hired to large campaigns not just one ad. Do you like to be a part of the collaboration process?

Tom: I always try to be as involved as possible in every detail of the concept. Pushing for the locations, talents and other details I´d like to see in my pictures is important to get the results I´d like to deliver. I´m always grateful when creatives ask me for my input to what could be an exciting approach for a campaign.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Born in Germany, Tom started with photography at the age of 15, when his father gave him his old Minolta camera. After highschool he opened his first studio and has been assisting for 5 years before he went to Hamburg and officially started his career.

During the last 15 years he traveled around the world for his global clients. He won numerous awards like ADC, AOP, PDN, ONE SHOW, GRAPHYS, COMMUNICATION ARTS, BFF, LÜRZERS 200 BEST and many others. His work has been shown in several group and single exhibitions. He has given lectures in several different universitys and has been the chairman for the BFF, the association of german photographers.

He is member of ADC New York AOP in London and BFF in Germany.

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.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Erik Almas

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

As I search for great ads for this column, I was intrigued when I stumbled across this campaign for Absolut Vodka. This recent campaign goes back to the roots of the classic campaign from years ago and away from the recent “In an Absolut World”. What I found even more intriguing is this was shot by Erik Almas. In Erik’s recent work, it is taking a new challenge; a new direction and I think a better one.


Suzanne: Looking at your website, I feel as if you are evolving in style and production. You are shooting more bold colors and higher production. It is so important for a photographer to grow and push out of their comfort zone. Would you say this is true about your work?

Erik: It’s very important for photographers to grow. I think that if you don’t challenge yourself somehow in the pictures you take you will very quickly become irrelevant in today’s increasingly visual and restless culture.

I feel I evolve visually but within that progress also stay quite faithful to my photographic voice and esthetic. What I have found, and this is probably what you are responding to, is that I’m now more frequently asked to apply my style to subject matters that is not necessarily in my portfolio.

Suzanne: When I look at this campaign, I see images from a casino, a campaign with a shield and several others that tell the art director that you could work well with props and retouching. Would you agree with that and why you were a candidate to shoot this campaign?

Erik: I’m sure an art director could see the translation of the Union Pacific shield standing tall in a landscape to the Absolut Vodka bottle doing the same but I don’t think this parallel were the reason I got hired to do this Absoult campaign.

The creative team on Absolute came from a different perspective and approach… In the great tradition of the Absolut campaigns these images are also executed with actual sets built around the bottle. The crew at NewDeal Studios started with a 1 liter bottle and scaled everything around it so that the bottle would feel over sized. These grand spaces we see in these pictures are actually not more than 4×4 feet in size…. I don’t know the full story behind choosing the photographer but know the creatives at TBWA/Chiat/Day were looking for someone to bring life to the sets more so than lighting the bottle perfectly. This led them to look beyond still life photographers to someone that could bring a landscape atmosphere and esthetic to the sets.

Through my agent I got introduced to the agency and we were the ones that, proud, lucky and honored, got the job and got to be a part of the Absolut Advertising Campaign.

Suzanne: I was talking to another well-known photographer and he said the best projects that took him out of his comfort zone, created the best results. Since this campaign is so different for you, would you agree with that statement?

Erik: In general I think repeating oneself will rarely be considered great in our own eyes. Photographers, or any artist for that matter, always seek new ways to express one. In this quest the best work will then always be found outside of our comfort zone… So yes I would agree with that.

The measure of these being better or not though I’ll leave to others…

Suzanne: Can you tell me about this campaign and all the elements to it that were later composited to this campaign?

Erik: Got tons of great feedback when the campaign was released. A lot of curiosity of how it was done and a good amount of comments were suggesting CGI and different elements being put together.

It’s great that the Absolut team went for building sets as it ensured the bottle being the real thing and completely integrated into the environment.

As described above these images were pretty much done in camera. The image of the bottle being unveiled from the wrapping paper is as captured but for wire removal and simple darkroom work and for the other 2 images the shot glasses is the only composite element.

CREDIT:

Advertising Agency: TBWA\Cheat\Day, New York, USA
Global Creative Director: Sue Anderson
Creative Director: Hoj Jomehri
Associate Creative Director: Kevin Kaminishi
Senior Copywriter: Madeleine Di Gangi
Senior Art Producer: Julia Menassa
Account Director: Hugo Murray
Account Supervisor: Jessica Beck
Photographer: Erik Almås
CGI (Glasses): HacJob
Producer: Stuart Hart
Props: New Deal Studios

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Restless, driven, always pushing himself toward new means of technical and aesthetic expression, Erik has made a name for himself creating award-winning imagery for esteemed clients such as: American Airlines, Dodge Ram, Absolut Vodka, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Microsoft, Puma, Spanish Tourism, The Ritz-Carlton, The United States Postal Service, and Union Pacific.

Having been introduced to digital technologies in the latter part of his academia, Almås quickly discovered this equipment was the future to brining the old-fashioned qualities of film characteristics and darkroom techniques to his images. By embracing Photoshop, he had access to a creative tool that continues to evolve as a key part in the extension of his style. This embrace ensures that every client continues to receive bespoke images that are a true representation of a photographic vision – a vision always steeped in down-to-earth sensibilities influences by his childhood in Norway, fed by a love of world travel and practices in his day-to-day.

In addition to commercial assignments, Erik brings his sought after sensibilities of art and beauty into creative collaborations for fashion, travel and fine art.

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.

Still Images in Great Advertising- John Huet

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

The theme for the next couple of posts for this column is winners in the 2012 Communication Arts Photography issue. If you promote yourself wisely in there, it can have great results for your career.  I was pleased to see John Huet and the work he did for Playtex and Mazda as winners in this years book.  I had the pleasure of hiring John on a campaign for Wrangler Jeans and we were extremely pleased with the results.  And I think that is why John has had a long respected career.

Suzanne:  John, you have been a consistent photographer and you continue to challenge yourself in how you shoot.  What is your secret to take risks while striking that balance on staying true to yourself?

John: There are no secrets, just common sense. A look or style can get you a lot of work or awards, but the industry is always hungry for something new. A good photographer is always evolving.  You need to evolve and grow, not conform or adapt. If you are following a trend, you will always be doing that, following. There are constantly new techniques and equipment being developed that open doors in the medium. The key is to try new things, but see where your work fits into those techniques. If it doesn’t fit, move on. If you try to make it fit, it will feel forced, and your work will suffer. If you can find a path in a certain technique to accent your own style that is still unique to you, then your work is evolving.

Suzanne:  You have so many repeat clients.  In an industry that has no loyalty, what is your secret?

John: The best people to ask would be the people who hire me. Most people will tell you it’s a matter of personal chemistry or a social connection. These things are important, but they are not the number one factor. By thinking these are the most important aspects of getting hired, you create an excuse for yourself when you don’t get hired. It is easier to say. “that person has a personal relationship with the client,” or “that person doesn’t like my work” rather than saying, “My work wasn’t right for the job.”

Loyalty is really the wrong way to look at it. Things are always changing. Clients, brands, agencies, looks, creative directors, everything is always in flux. Clients are going to go with what’s right for their project. If they move on to another photographer, it doesn’t mean they’re not loyal. The bottom line is – produce good work, build good relationships, and don’t be a dick.

Suzanne:  I remember when we were considering you for the Wrangler project, it was your personal work that sealed the deal.  What are your thoughts about the importance of showing personal work?

John: There is no line between professional and personal work for me. I just shoot with the focus of mastering my craft and progressing my style. Doesn’t matter if I am shooting with my iPhone or shooting my niece’s Promenade, I approach the work as an opportunity to practice and learn something. I think the biggest advantage of “personal work,” is to utilize the time explore and perfect new techniques. The end result might be a body of images that you can use to show a side of your work that clients may not have known you for, thus opening up more opportunities.

Suzanne:  I remember when working with you, you were so pleasant.  I think that is a huge part of your long career and success, do you agree?

John: Yes, no one wants to work with someone who is a difficult, especially now. There are a lot of great photographers out there, and if you are difficult to work with, the client may find it’s just easier for them to find someone new. Clients have a hundred different problems to worry about, you don’t want to be one of them.  That doesn’t mean that you don’t have an opinion or that you don’t contribute to the creative dialogue.  It just means that you keep the bigger picture in perspective.

Suzanne:  You have a very successful career.  What would you tell a young photographer just starting out today about relationships, professionalism, vision and what would you have maybe done differently?

John: I wouldn’t have done anything differently. It’s easy to say, if I did X, I could have gotten this job or been considered for that gig. Every pitfall and shortcoming that I’ve experienced has shaped my work and my career into what it is today. I am thankful for that, not regretful.

As for advice. What gets lost these days is that what we do is a craft.  As a craftsman, you can’t look at what you do as work. You have to look at what you do as an extension of who you are. Thus, your work is a part of you. So you have to be proud of what you do and do it because it is an expression of who you are, not because it’s something you’ve seen someone else do or it’s something that you think will be the next big trend.

Put as much time and effort into your work as you can. Then do more. It’s common with digital photography for people to say “anyone can be a photographer.” This is true. Anyone can go out, buy a camera, take a picture and be a photographer. Just like anyone can go out buy a football, throw the football and be considered a quarterback. It’s the person who dedicates the time and effort into throwing that football accurately, constantly, and uniformly that becomes the professional rather then the weekend warrior who plays pickup games at the park.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

On the court, in the rink, on the links or in the water, John captures the intensity of both athletic performance and the intimate athletic portrait with ease.  Dedicated to his craft, John is inexhaustible in his drive to reveal his subject in an unexpected manner.  From his published work including Soul of the Game, Images and Voices of Street Basketball, and The Fire Within, the official commemorative book of the 2002 Olympic Games, to his commercial photography campaigns for the world’s most noted athletic brands and sports-related products, John has captured the indomitable spirit of athleticism at all levels. Unsurprisingly his twenty-plus year, award-winning career extends far beyond sports. At ease with his subjects, a rapport is established, defenses diminish and time constraints have little impact. John reveals his subject, and his photography showcases the essence, emotional intensity and dignity of simply being human.

He lives with his wife and two children in Manchester, MA and is represented by Marilyn Cadenbach.

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.


Still Images in Great Advertising- Saverio Truglia

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

As I continue to showcase my favorite advertising winners in this year’s Communication Arts Photography annual, I wanted to showcase the ad by Saverio Truglia for Pan Am accessories campaign.  I was not aware of his work so while doing my research for this blog, it was nice to see his work and how he was chosen for this campaign and others.  I think that is one of the main reasons I am doing this column; I want to show photographers how important some award shows can be for your career.  It is up to you to make sure you do what you can to market it beyond just being in the annuals.


Suzanne:  When I go to your site, it is hard to figure out what is self assigned and what is assignment.  What do you use for inspiration when you are testing for your portfolio?

Saverio: You’re right. I showcase mostly either self-assigned work or redirections of client work. I don’t differentiate the two on my site. All my best images comes from the same passion so if client work is great, then I share it in the same place. My inspiration for shooting for myself is driven by my personal curiosity in the moment. There’s a lot in life that inspires me to check it out more closely. Making pictures for myself usually starts with seeing something in the physical world I want to investigate and repurpose. Like an out of place situation, the way light strikes a surface, or meeting somebody extraordinary. Making personal work is important to honing my instincts. Testing can also be a launching pad to experiment and try new approaches at pushing my comfort zone. I’ll always gravitate to shooting people and I find the camera to still be an incredible access point into people’s lives. When they know my curiosity is authentic and pure, I get invited into homes, businesses and bedrooms. It’s kind of uncanny how they participate and it always leaves me with a story to tell about the experience, not just the pictures. I usually write about it on my blog. When clients reference my personal work as inspiration for their own projects, it often leads to successful campaigns.

Suzanne:  The interesting thing about this winning image is that it is a combination of your period work but with a fashion flare.  Tell me about this campaign and how much you were a part of the concept to final process?

Saverio: I love working with period styling because of the rich back-story it gives. It conveys details about a character’s circumstance. Fashion isn’t something I’m known for but if the character needs to be dressed well to convey what’s happening to her, then fashion is my back-story and I’m totally into it.
There were no layouts so the creative director contacted me early to share his ideas and to get my spin. He races vintage motorcycles so was tossing around ideas of speed, Pan Am as emblem for the golden age of travel, and something about escape. I brought the idea that modern travel is full of inconvenience and that maybe we could play with the idea of getting f’d at the airport. We had access to vintage transportation like cars, motorcycles, a biplane, etc. It was kind of awesome. I fell in love with this blue Porsche laying about the airport hanger. Its shape was so satisfying to me. So I built a story around this girl who is trying frantically to catch her flight but gets stopped along the way. The afternoon sun was right and I added some light to pop all the surfaces. That month I was into shooting everything from above so I brought a ladder and looking down found all these delicious lines and triangles to play with. The concept that this girl parks her Porsche on the runway and won’t admit defeat made her into this spoiled, space age brat which was appealing to me.

Suzanne:  I was inspired to read your bio because I wanted to see where you grew up.  I was convinced either Europe or South America, so I was pleasantly surprised by the Northeast.  With that being said, where does this inter Euro vision come?  Being brought up on Italian food?

Saverio: My family came from Italy after WWII and settled in coastal New Hampshire where I grew up. My grandfather was a brick mason. He loved geometry. My father had a themed seafood restaurant called the Pirates Cove and Peg Leg Lounge. It was exactly as you imagine. My mother bred very elegant Morgan show horses. As a kid I was obsessed with the slickness of European bike racing and both parents encouraged me to study art early on. I suppose it all got mixed into the soup. My grandmother did most of the Italian cooking.

Suzanne:  While I see the sophistication of European work but with an Americana theme, how do you strike that balance?

Saverio: I’m an American. In fact I live in Chicago and love the bombastic history of this city. Like a lot of Americans I struggle with saying too much. I’m very conscious of it and always remind myself that more is not always more and restraint can speak volumes. So it’s true too when I’m working. My work probably looks American because of my environment and the people and places I can shoot. I gravitate towards the visual abundance of this country but I get pleasure from simplicity, economy and spaciousness. There’s wisdom in economy. I could describe my work as combining both a warm and cool aesthetic. So the sparse coolness may be the European traits you see, and the warm is my American tendency to show it all. It’s like having the devil and an angel sitting on my shoulders whispering in my ear.

Suzanne:  You seem to be able to keep your work with the subtleness that makes it more humorous.  What advice can you give to people who want to shoot humor but not pushing it too far?

Saverio: In photography, punch lines aren’t funny. That’s my advice. Personally I think tragedy can be funny. Not tragedy like everyone is going to die, but a poignant unfulfilled expectation. Farce can also be funny. You can call it black humor when the combination of farce and tragedy rub against each other. I happen to see all photographs as narratives so I naturally make work with an arc and timing to them. Richard Pryor had great timing. I guess I’ve developed a self-awareness or just gut instinct that has me choose where on the narrative arc my picture should exist and just how much information to offer the viewer. It’s important that they get what I ask but to discover it on their own. I call it a gestalt. It’s a great word to look up. My stories present its parts like in a circle, but some large pieces of the circle are never drawn. We automatically fill the gap with our minds to come to the conclusion. It’s actually super interactive because nobody completes the circle in the exactly same way but everyone arrives at a similar conclusion.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Born on the Atlantic northeast and raised on Italian cooking, Saverio makes Chicago his home with his wife. A competitive cyclist, theater lover, an inspired cook and an equipped home improver; new experiences and challenges motivate his problem solving creativity. His images reflect life’s contrasting moments and represent a world swirling with joy and tension, black humor and light, all organized with thoughtful styling and a singular point of view. Saverio is best known for beautiful concept driven images, off-beat portraits and narrative work that is relatable and universal.  Saverio is commissioned for advertising campaigns and editorial productions worldwide.

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.

 

Still Images in Great Advertising- Simon Harsent

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Seasediscovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I am trying to do a series for this column featuring some of the winner’s from this year’s Communication Arts Photography Annual, so I reached out to Simon Harsent.  One of the things I love about Simon’s work is that his assignment work is an inspiration of the work in his galleries that are a combination of assignment and personal work.

Suzanne:  How did this beautiful project come about when you don’t have any underwater images on your current website?

Simon: I had just finished shooting a personal series called “Into the Abyss” which was originally meant for a group show I was involved with late last year.
I had an idea to shoot women completely consumed by water whilst I was shooting another ongoing project of the ocean, the idea with “Into the Abyss” was to have her falling gracfully though water and seemingly into an Abyss, the final exhibition.  I collaborated with my father who is a Poet who wrote a piece for it and I also had a video installation playing on multiple screens.

Around the same time I was shooting “Into the Abyss”, I got a call from Noah Regan who was the Creative Director at the Ad Agency The Monkeys. He was working on The Ship Song Project and asked me if I was interested in doing the poster for it.

The Ship Son Project is a re-recording of a Nick Cave song of the same name by various famous Australian and International musicians, it’s a celebration at what goes on behind the scenes at one of the worlds most recognizable buildings.

The Opera House structure was said to have been inspired by Sail’s, so that was the starting point for the poster idea, the original idea was just to shoot the Sydney Opera House. In a split level shot and the words The Ship Song Project were to be made up of discarded things floating under the water such as barrels, ropes and bits of timber. When Noah was showing me the idea I talked to him about the “Into the Abyss” exhibition I was working on and suggested we do something similar to the girl under the water. I liked the idea of having the women in the water to represent a Siren and the bubbles that trail her would act almost as the hull of a ship emphasizing and playing on the sails of the Opera House structure. Luckily Noah loved the suggestion.

I’ve known Noah for a long time and have always done great work, most recently we worked on a Charity project for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We shot four print ads and directed four TV spots. With clients like Noah, I’m lucky enough to be asked to be involved at quite an early stage on a lot of projects. I like the collaborative process and trust that happens when working this way.

Suzanne: I love that the Opera House is in the background.  What were the challenges in getting this shot?

Simon: Shooting the Opera House was quite a tricky shot, the easy way to do it would have been to shoot the water level and the opera house as two shots but I wanted it to include the water level in the shot of the Opera house so I could use the whole portion of that shot. I try to shoot as few elements as possible when doing multiple comp shots I feel the little eccentricities that happen when you do stuff like this add to the realism. The area that the Opera House is seen from is called Circular Quay and it is the where all the harbor ferries pull into port so the water traffic is very busy plus there are quit a few bull sharks in the harbor so getting in the water wasn’t really an option, I ended up shooting it off the back of a water taxi, I had to lie down on the deck between the back of the boat and where the engines are attached. I had my Canon 1Dlll in an Aqua Tech underwater housing and I just held the camera half in the water while I was shooting, the most challenging thing was the chop of the water, the swell combined with the passing boats made it quite a challenge to get the perfect shot.

Suzanne: Was doing the work for World Wildlife Federation the inspiration for your fine art show: Melt?  The campaign and the show were the same year.

Simon: No it was the other way round. I had already completed Melt, when some friends of mine were working on the WWF Campaign. They had this idea for the ghost effect when they saw my shots from Melt and asked if I would be interested in working on the campaign, obviously I jumped at the chance. For the Iceberg ad we used an image that I had taken when I was shooting Melt and the other three images were shot specifically for the Campaign.

It happens quite often that people will see something in my personal work they would like to re-create for an ad. I think that is why it’s so important to show personal work on your website.

To be honest ultimately for me it’s about my personal work, if I didn’t do commercial work I’d still be a photographer (just a very broke one). I love photography it’s much more than a job to me, it’s who I am and the commercial work finances the personal work. But the personal work has and will always be the most important aspect of what I do.

To be able to do a project like Melt was amazing but I only could have done it with the freedom to produce the images I did because it was self-financed. That’s one of the reasons I do commercial work but also I like the discipline and the creative collaboration that comes with producing commercial work. I like the problem solving aspect and working as a team it’s very different to how I do my personal work, which is quite often by myself or with very little crew.

Suzanne: You have continued to do work for charitable organizations like World Wildlife Federation and it continues to win high honor awards.  How has that client been in getting advertising campaigns?

Simon: As far as getting other commissions from the work I do for charity I really don’t think it differs from other work that is on my website or in my portfolio.
The recognition at award shows is nice, I’ve never been really sure if it directly effects future commissions but it does help to keep your name out there and acts as a form of endorsement to a certain extent.

I think advertising photographers are far more likely to get more work from shooting an ad that wins awards for the idea rather than the photograph alone.
Years ago I shot an ad that won the Grand Prix at Cannes my phone didn’t stop ringing for ages, I’ve never had the same effect after winning a photography award, I think mostly Art Directors are interested in the idea and that you as a photographer understand ideas and can make them better.

I think it’s important to do charity work if you can, apart from the feel good factor quite often it can be less restrictive so the creative product is often better than everyday advertising. There is a freedom that you get with charity work that you don’t normally get with other advertising work. Having said that I don’t really look at in any different way to regular advertising, the main aim for me is always to do something I would be proud to put in my portfolio which hopefully leads to new work.

Suzanne:  The work in your assignment gallery has a diverse selection of ads you have done.  While the other galleries are definite examples of the inspiration to the ad work but some ads are so different than that work.  Are you at a level in your career that you can use your assignment work for a selection of great ads and the galleries are images that are what you want to show?

Simon: To be honest I’ve always done that, maybe to my detriment at times, I could make both my portfolio and website more centered but I try to put in my portfolio and website what I love to shoot and ads that I’m proud of regardless of whether they are a still life a landscape or portrait. Part of what I like doing with advertising is creating a look that is specific to the job in question and as the industry goes in and out of phases and trends, you as a photographer find yourself moving with them.

I think if you are showing ads then you should show the better ones ultimately Art Directors and to a certain extent Art Buyers are looking at the quality of ads you are working on as well as the quality of photography. I know some people will show an ad just because it’s a big brand but I’m not like that. I think people want to be inspired when they look at your work which is why my website is more centered on personal work and projects.

Having said that my website is due a massive update. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to update it for over a year, I also find it very time consuming. I put a lot (probably too much) of thought into it and how people will look at it and how I want them to experience my work.

The reality is that I enjoy shooting a variety of things.  I’m not the type of photographer who just shoots one thing, I started my career in London as a still life photographer because that’s what I fell into and over the years I have now progressed into what I do now. But I’ve always loved to shoot a variety of things, it’s one of the reasons I like doing advertising work. You do get the opportunity to work on different types of projects and tackle them in different ways.

My intention has always been to approach advertising work in the most artistic way I can, and try when I can to approach it in the same way I would if it was a personal project but the most important thing in advertising is the idea. What I need to do is find the best way to communicate that idea and if possible enhance the idea with the photograph.

I do find that in some cases, like that of the Ship Song and the WWF, that Art Directors can get inspiration from my personal stuff. I’m lucky in the fact lot of my clients are people I have worked with for years so they know me quite well and trust me to bring something to their idea. Being in the business as long as I have I you understand what the creatives have had to go through to get it this far. When you understand the amount of presentations, rounds of revisions and the general struggle they have gone through to get the campaign this far you realize that they are handing over and trusting you with months of hard work. That can be quite a responsibility and needs to be treated that way.

Suzanne:  Do you think moving to Australia was the best thing you did for your career?  Because when you moved to New York you had a great body of work and you have been very successful since.

Simon: To a certain extent yes I do. I think it was a great springboard and I still spend a bit of time there every year. I’m part of a collective with four other photographers in Sydney. We do joint exhibitions and have just released an App on iTunes. I really like the interaction that brings with other photographers. Photography can be quite a lonely pursuit at times so it’s good to have people to bounce ideas off of.

I also love the carefree attitude of the Aussies and quite often the work that comes out of there is good creative work such as the WWF and the Ship Song. But moving to NY in 97 for me was the best thing I ever did for my career. It was also the hardest and still throws up challenges. It was like starting over, it really didn’t matter what I had done before I got to NY, it is a tough town and I had a bit of a shock when I got here for lots of different reasons. First, because I realized I was a small fish in a very large pond and second I didn’t realize how specialized photographers were here. There aren’t just Still Lifers there are Still Lifers who specialize in liquid, Still Lifers who specialize in pours, watches etc. etc. The same with landscapes, cars, portraits they were all broken down to such a micro levels of specialization. I found it quite amazing coming from a place where one day you would be shooting a car and the next day a nude. So at the start a lot of my portfolio would just confuse people and it took a while for people to understand what I was about. It took a lot of hard work to adjust at the time but also it taught me the most important lesson I’ve ever learnt, that I could never take anything in my career for granted. I realized then that it was going to take a lot of hard work to have a successful career in the US, but like a friend on mine says “if it was easy everybody would be doing it”

A lot of that has changed now the market has change dramatically. I think ad agencies are embracing diversity in peoples work these days. The thing about New York was the amount of talented photographers and the level of photographers you compete against are the best of the best, which is true now more than ever. When I first moved to NY mostly you would be competing against photographers based in either NY or North America. But these days as a NY based photographer you are not just up against local photographers you are up against everybody from around the world who has an agent here and some that don’t. That and the fact it’s a lot easier to be a photographer these days means the ad agencies have a much bigger pond to fish from so you have to be incredibly focused on your career. I guess it’s a good thing I’m enjoying it more than ever right now. Mostly thanks to Canon, digital changed everything for me it reinvented my enthusiasm in photography again. I used to shoot a lot of large format black and white but when I got into digital it was like being a kid again and discovering something for the first time. I do miss my 8×10 and 4×5 cameras and I recently did a shoot with the 20×24 Polaroid camera which was amazing but digital really helped me discover a whole new side of my work.

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Simon Harsent was Born in Aylesbury, a small market town in England, where his passion for photography grabbed him from an early age. He enrolled to study the subject at Watford College and, after graduating, he went on to assist some of London’s top photographers. In order to pursue his passion further, he left London and with it another great love – Chelsea Football Club – when he moved to Australia in 1988. From Australia then ten years later on to New York along the way he has received numerous national and international awards and been featured in a host of  magazines and books (Cannes Lions, One Show, Clio, D&AD, London International, Australia’s first Cannes Grand Prix, Archive, Campaign Brief, Creativity, Communication Arts, Capture, Graphis, Photo, the D&AD Art Direction book and Photo District News).

Currently dividing his time between New York and Sydney, Harsent continues to work on award-winning campaigns for some of the world’s top advertising agencies and designers while working on gallery projects such as his 2009 collection, Melt.

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.

Still Images in Great Advertising- David Stuart

- - Advertising Photography

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Seasediscovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.


I got my Communication Arts Photography Annual back in August and immediately sat down to review the winners.  I went through and tagged the ads that I wanted to feature for this blog column.  When I closed my copy, it reminded me of many of my art directors who had done the same thing at The Martin Agency.  It still holds true today that getting in to the Communication Art Photography Annual has clout.  Anyone who gets in needs to use it in their marketing to potential clients “As seen on page 90 of the CA Photo Annual”.  This weeks post is from David Stuart and his agents VISU about the beautiful campaign for the agency, Three and CPA Global.

Suzanne:  David when I go to your site, I see the EarthJustice series with the man in the Hazmat suit enjoying a lake, fishing and feeding sheep.  Do you think that campaign helped you land this one?

David: The art director at Three commented that she really liked the series, so it probably did help land the CPA Global campaign.

Suzanne:  Can you tell us about this campaign and how much input you had on “Don’t Waste Talent” and did you replace the plough horse with a racehorse?

David: The client is legal services company, and the concept is to illustrate people and a horse doing work they’re overqualified for in an absurd way. The concepts were solid when they were handed off to me, and the racehorse was already part of the original concept, but there was a lot of room for artistic license. The final racehorse image ended up having a very different feel from the original agency comp.

Suzanne:  You get hired for humorous advertising and it affords you to take it from subtle to right out there.  Are you a funny person?

David: I’ve told I’m funny looking, does that count?

Suzanne: Do you have a lot of input with creative folks when in the negotiation phase?

David: As far as creative input, it really depends on the client and the agency, for the HAZMAT Suit series, I had a quite a bit of creative input in regards to the individual image concepts. For the CPA Global pieces it was more locked down.  I do a lot of research for each shoot and I’m a pretty obsessive person so every concept is thoroughly planned out before I step on the set. With that being said I do leave room for spontaneity.

Suzanne:  On that note, how is the scuba diving rockabilly band going?

David: Hmmm, every time we go diving, all the instruments get ruined by the salt water, so we’ve decided to keep the diving and the music separate. I have, however been itching to do some underwater photography and although they don’t make underwater housings for guitars, fortunately they do for cameras.

Suzanne:  I love that you are based in Atlanta (some talented folks there). What is your advice for photographers who want to live where they want while having an International career?

David: Atlanta’s a great place to live and work, plus we have an international airport here, so it makes it easy to get around. As far as living where ever you want, and having a career in commercial photography, it really boils down to 2 things; 1. Having a style that’s unique enough that they’re willing to fly you in for.  2. Getting your work in front of the eyes of the person that does the hiring.

Suzanne:  So, have you and VISU gotten many calls from the art directors with the tagged pages?

David: The response has been really good, and I’ve talked to quite a few art directors who’ve seen the image in the CA photo annual.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

About David: As one of Luerzer’s Archive’s 200 Best Advertising Photographers Worldwide, David’s work has been featured in PDN, Communication Arts, Luerzer’s Archive, Picture, Digital Photo Pro, After Capture, and the F-Stop. David regularly works with clients like, Puma, Girl Scouts, New Balance, Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, United Way, Simmons, BBDO, ESPN Magazine, Forbes, Sony Records, American Airlines, CPA Global, Three and Richards Group.

About VISU: From the newest CGI Energizer Bunnies to the latest Hilton Worldwide Stills & Video Campaign,  VISU is a synonym for trusted partner.  Through steadfast commitment to our clients, VISU continually facilitates the most elegant combination of creativity and innovation while embracing  advancing technologies to promote solutions tailor-made for today’s media culture. With VISU it is more than photography, motion CGI or creative retouching — It’s about the experience of working with a VISU team. For information about David Stuart’s work please contact Blake Pearson at (212) 518-3222 x700 or blake@visu.co.

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.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Michael Nager

- - Advertising Photography

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I have always been a fan of landscape photography.  I have found that most the times when an agency shows a beautiful scenic they add people.  I think that is why I think I like this campaign so much, it is about the beautiful scenery.  This campaign is by Michael Nager who is represented by Tim Mitchell. Michael just informed Tim that the Victorinox Campaign won an IPA honorable mention. Victorinox wants to shoot 6 more stories – once again all over the world starting in Oct./Nov. 2012.




Suzanne:  I went to Tim’s site and saw a lot of the landscape images with people but on his site he shows the images that are more pure scenics.  Tim, have you found that the US market wants to see people in the landscapes?

Tim: Seeing people within a landscape is especially important in today’s advertising.  I was drawn to Michael’s work, not only for his ability to shoot epic landscapes, but also because he can include people organically within the scene. A perfect example is the woman looking out to Half Dome in Yosemite.  She’s front and center but doesn’t overpower the mystical quality of Michael’s epic landscape.

Suzanne:  And with being said, it is refreshing to see this campaign showing these landscape and scenics without.  How was Michael considered for this campaign?

Tim: Both Michael and I show an equal number of landscapes with and without people.  Either way, you can’t miss the delicate nuances in Michael’s work and how applicable his eye was for this dream assignment.

Suzanne: Did they have very specific locations in mind or was Michael a part of the concepting process?

Tim: Shooting the original locations is a very important part of the “True Story” campaign. For example, the shrimp boat story – a galveston shrimp fisherman prevented himself from drowning by cutting his net (with his Victorinox Knife) that was holding him under water. Victorinox collected stories their customers sent in over the years and now they use these stories for their ongoing “True Story” campaign.

For this reason it was super important to fly out to Galveston, charter a shrimp boat, helicopter and shoot on the authentic location. So, to answer your question, the locations were predetermined but Michael was free to find the best way to form a campaign with ONE look through out the whole campaign.

Suzanne: Did Michael do all the location scouting?

Tim: He was working very closely with scouts from all over the world – Iceland, New York, Galveston Bay, Death Valley, Portland, Hawaii, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Zurich.

Suzanne: With the vast array of locations, how much time did Michael have to get this project completed?

Tim: Preparation Time was two weeks – shooting around the world including traveling, tech scout and shooting 27 days.

Suzanne: With security being so tight, how did you all get the airport clearance?

Tim: People at JFK were very, very nice and interested in the project – cooperative and transparent from the first moment. They did their best to make this happen with short notice.  Michael discussed his creative wish list according to time and perspective and the coordinators at JFK figured out a perfect time according to the gate occupancy rate. They also checked with Government officials and after we were granted a green light everything went very fast. After 12 days of endless phone and person to person work, Michael got the permission for shooting 2 hours from a helicopter hovering over busy JFK.

Michael Nager is from a small Austrian village close to Graz on the countryside. He is the winner of several awards including the town of Berlin Art scholarship, PDN Photo Award for landscape photography in 2008 and National Geographic US Award for “best landscape photography”. He is represented in the US by Tim Mitchell.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

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.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Pino Gomes

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

Imagine working on a campaign that takes you around the World, promotes your work in gallery showings and wants to print a book for your work, that is the campaign that Pino Gomes is working on.  Pino has been working on the Gc luxury watch campaign for two years now and project keeps going.



Suzanne:  How did this project come about for you?  How were you chosen?

PINO: I had worked with Cindy Livingstone (CEO of GUESS and GC Watches) once in Switzerland. She gave an interview for Open Magazine and the editor asked me to shoot a portrait to accompany the article. She liked the images I had shot of her so when the SMART LUXURY MOMENTS project started to take a shape, she suggested my name to the creative team and to Paul Marciano, Founder and iconic art director of GUESS and GC. First I was chosen to shoot only in Switzerland representing the country on the International project, but the imagery motivated Mr. Marciano and Ms. Livingstone to hire me for the entire International tour.

Suzanne: How are the subject chosen and their profession?

PINO: We are seeking people who love what they do and have recognition in their fields. The rising stars become an ambassador of GC Smart Luxury Watches and promote their work while becoming a part of a remarkable marketing concept. Normally the distributors all over the world suggest some of their national personalities to our team and we decide the ones that seem to be more appropriate to the brand and to the concept. Decisions are always a team effort and are apart of my vision, which is a very important step on the process.

Suzanne: Do you have a lot of freedom when you go to photograph the talent and their professions?  Is the art director on set with you?

PINO: The best part of my work right now is that I have the freedom to photograph people according to a visual language that I created myself. Nevertheless I have the overview of Paul Marciano and the talents of our creative team on everything, but I know that they trust me. The art director is not on set but they would see everything shot afterwards and give me their feedback.

Suzanne:  What cities has this campaign been presented? And besides the gallery shows and upcoming book, where else are they showing your work?

PINO: So far we have shot in Basel, Jeddah, Dubai, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Istanbul, Moscow, Tokyo, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Seoul, Panama City, Barcelona, Casablanca, Tel Aviv and Bali. And at the moment I am leaving next week to London, Milan and Cairo amongst other places in the future.
The imagery expresses the emotional signature of the brand and it will be used for art shows, coffee table book and later on to advertising.

Suzanne:  The work on your website is very different than the work for Gc, how did you convince them to hire you?  Did you do a test?

PINO: As I said before, although the work on my homepage was different than what I am doing now for GC Smart Luxury, I believe they hired about me because of a variety of reasons. I like to think that part of this decision was based on the imagery itself; the images I have made in Switzerland were decisive while on the exhibition at Baselworld 2011. I have heard from Paul Marciano and Cindy Livingstone that they would like to send me around the world instead of selecting in each country a different photographer. Taking this direction they would create a stronger visual signature for the brand. And I guess that I also represent what the project mainly is about, love for what I do.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Pino Gomes draws inspiration from his experiences as actor and make-up artist for his fashion photographs and portraits.  Originally from Rio de Janeiro, he studied acting and marketing and developed his skills as make-up artist, in a few years collaborating at the biggest television company in Brazil. He lived part of his adulthood in Zurich, Switzerland, and is currently based in New York City, Pino Gomes is an upcoming talent in the photography field. He worked for brands such as VOGUE, Playboy, Rolling Stones, GQ, GC Watches, GUESS, CK FREE, Lush Magazine amongst others.

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.

 

Still Images in Great Advertising- Peter Schafrick

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I had the pleasure of working with Peter Schafrick of Toronto and his amazing still motion of a liquidity product.  I say it this way because he captures everything from smoke to paint to coffee to dirt to, well vodka.  He has stayed true to his love of the work and the advertising world has taken notice. He has been able to create great campaigns that stop the viewer to take a closer look.

Suzanne:  Absolut is one of those campaigns that every artists wants.  Did you reach out to the agency or did they find you?

Peter: To be honest, I’ve worked with the agency before, and have known the art buyer, Julia Menassa, for a number of years. She actually gave me one of my first breaks when she was at Cossette in Toronto, and I was just starting to shoot for agencies. My rep, Charlie Holtz at Ray Brown Productions, also has a long-standing relationship with Julia. Charlie and I are in regular contact with most of the art buyers in New York. Charlie is very skilled at maintaining these relationships, and I regularly send out promos to agencies as well. I believe this combination makes it easier for an art buyer to recommend me to creative director. All I can hope is my work then resonates with the creatives and client.

Suzanne:  I know you add so much to the creative process and I would assume with a client like Absolut they let you have a lot of creative license.  How much did they get involved in the shape of the pour?

Peter: For this project, the creative director, Jin Park, actually has the pour and splash sketched out, so we actually had something to work towards. I find these days that by the time an agency shows me a layout, it’s already been tweaked and massaged dozens of times, and because the client signed off on it there’s not as much creative license remaining. Having said that, the unpredictability of liquid pouring and splashing does allow me to push the envelope. So while on set my crew and I will first aim for the specs as dictated in the brief and as discussed beforehand with the creatives, I still love to try different things on set in hopes we capture something more unique and beautiful that could find it’s way into the final image.

Suzanne:  I think what separates you from other liquid shooters is the subject matter that you shoot.  How do you find your inspiration for what to shoot for you own work?

Peter: I’m typically inspired by different types of liquids, and the unique characteristics of liquids. So I tend to latch on to a specific liquid I would like to shoot, them match it to an object. Sometimes just watching my kids play in the bath or in the pool inspires me to experiment with launching liquid in different ways.

Suzanne:  What advice can you give to an artist in the photographic medium in finding their art that has a purpose in advertising?

Peter: I firmly believe that part of our role as photographers is to inspire creatives at agencies, so in turn they can inspire their clients. And as an artist, one must create compelling work that comes from what you are passionate about creating. When you love to do something, you tend to do it well, and that makes it easier to put out there and promote.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Peter is a specialist within the world of commercial photography, shooting mainly product with an emphasis on liquids. He is represented in the US by Ray Brown, in Canada by Arlene Reps and in Europe by Rockenfeller & Göbels.

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.