Posts by: Suzanne Sease

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.

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

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.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Stephen Wilkes

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 been in this business for many years and I been familiar with Stephen Wilkes for years, okay decades.  And I have had the pleasure of working with the agents of Bernstein & Andriulli on many assignments when I was with Martin Agency and Kaplan-Thaler.  Stephen is known for his incredible landscape work. I can think of so many campaigns he won many accolades for his special signature style.

Suzanne:  This campaign is so perfect for you and allowed you to create graphic images and more conventional images.  When I see the editorial work from Fortune, I wonder if this campaign influenced the work for this campaign or vice versa?

Stephen: This campaign was an extraordinary experience on many levels. First and foremost I was able to collaborate with a super talented creative team at Ogilvy, who allowed me to express my vision through their concepts. I was fortunate enough to be brought in to the project early, enabling me to be part of the conceptual process. We were all on the same page from the very beginning. In order to bring a campaign like this to life you need a client who is willing to trust the creative team. Our client at SAP created an atmosphere that truly inspired great work.

The breadth and scale of these images was inspired by my “Day to Night” series. I began exploring the concept of making wide epic scale images in my China work done in 2005. I combined my love of powerful graphic images that captured the scope of China with a sense of humanity. Editorial projects followed, shooting a major story on the architecture in Beijing during the Olympics for Vanity Fair, and then I took this concept into interior spaces with the editorial work I did for Fortune. “The Big Picture”, section of the magazine has been a wonderful showcase, allowing me to continue to explore my fascination with scale. The Walmart image that I created for Fortune has certainly inspired other projects.

Suzanne:  Please tell me about your Ellis Island work?  This work speaks volumes about life that has been “left behind” and we can picture our ancestors walking those halls.  You did this project in 1999 but it still is important today especially with the current NBC show with Ancestry.com “Who Do You Think You Are”.  Maybe this body of work was the inspiration?

Stephen: The passing of time has always been a theme in much of my work. I’ve always been fascinated by history and forgotten places. What I discovered through my work on Ellis was that the documentary photograph could inspire change. The work became a benchmark for the type of photography I wanted to explore. I believe it was a unique time, as large format color documentary work was not yet being fully embraced as art. Ellis sort of redefined that concept. Using the power of color, texture and light, you can’t help but be drawn into these rooms. But the real subtext to all my Ellis Island images was the palpable sense of humanity that I felt within these empty spaces. In regard to Ancestry.com‘s “Who Do You Think You Are”, I believe the core magic of Ellis Island is that there’s a piece of it in all of us. All of our collective DNA has some trace of that island in it. Anything that brings attention to the story of immigration and in particular bringing attention to saving the south side of Ellis Island, I’m thrilled about. Bringing focus to the “forgotten side” was the essence of my work. I hope “Who Do You Think You Are” inspires people to support organizations like “Save Ellis Island” so that the history of the island can continue to inspire future generations.

Suzanne: Please tell us your secrets.  How do you combine several decades with fine art and commercial work?

Stephen: I’ll let you in on the secret, its been passed on to me by several extraordinary photographers. PASSION & HARD WORK. Equal parts of both, that’s it! Talent is just 5% of the equation. My philosophy has always been that if I’m feeling comfortable, I’m DEFINITELY not working hard enough. I’ve been fortunate to have a symbiotic relationship with both worlds. I’ve found that when I do my own work, it’s always about what’s in my heart and soul. As a result the work is pure and original. When you create work that’s personal, it can inspire ideas. When I’m hired to execute a commercial campaign I think about what work attracted my clients to me. Its almost always derivative of something I’ve photographed for myself. I bring the same passion, energy and attention to detail to both arenas. I’ve always lived by the motto “you’re only as good as your last shot”.

Suzanne: What advice can you give to the photographer just started out?  How has this business changed?

Stephen: Young photographers enter an industry that’s going through a tectonic shift. My advice to a developing photographer would be; shoot what you LOVE to photograph, not the images you think will get you work. It’s only through developing a personal vision that enables you to find a singular voice within this extraordinarily crowded field. Innovate and embrace change, don’t get to comfortable, and focus on competing with yourself and no one else. Gain your inspiration by doing the work.

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

Stephen Wilkes has been widely recognized for his fine art and commercial photography. Wilkes has won numerous awards and honors, and continues to exhibit his work in both galleries and museums. He is represented by Peter Fetterman Gallery, Los Angeles, and The Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe.

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 Rad

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

I know I can’t find all my favorite examples of still images in great advertising in the award shows or Ads of the World.  Sometimes I like to find more recent work that is being seen currently, so I check blogs and websites of folks who have either caught my eye in the past or agents I respect.  I stumbled upon the work of Peter Rad with Brite Productions and his work for The Brooklyn Academy of Music campaign.  I think this campaign really spoke to me because a lot of my marketing ideas for my clients “just hit me”.  I feel that inspiration can hit you at the most unique moments because as artists we see something and trigger an idea.


 

 

 

Suzanne:  This campaign is very layered and therefore stopping the viewer in to looking a little close.  When I look at your website and see the Open Orange campaign, Ballantine’s Scotch Whiskey, Skyteam and your editorial work, I get a true understanding on why you were selected for this campaign. But I would assume that you had a lot of input into who was featured and the “inspiration” of “just hit me”

Peter: I’m very grateful to have worked on such a campaign.  One of the smart things that BAM and McGarry Bowen did is to bring the prospective photographers in very early in the concept stages of the campaign.  This makes perfect sense, and I truly believe that if more agencies did this, they would get better results across the board.  It helps tremendously when technical and logistical problems can be resolved before the idea is fully realized.  To me it’s a show of strength and self-confidence from the creative team… the key to collaborative art, be it commercial or fine art.

With the tagline in place – ‘BAM – and then it hits you’, bidding photographers were given a bunch of performance images from BAM’s archive.  These we mostly stage images… dance, theatre, music, etc.  There were also some film stills included.  Our job was to consider these performance images, and think of ways in which they (the characters within) could be included seamlessly, in a broader New York scene.  We also had to somehow connect the performance with the protagonist in the tableau – the person who is remembering their ‘BAM moment’.  At first; this made me a little nervous, because all of the stage images were lit with theatrical lighting.  I initially thought that might limit the variety of environments.  In the end though – and this is in part a testimony to the sophistication of today’s theatrical lighting designers – this challenge was instrumental in stirring up ideas and scenarios that I may not have thought of had the lighting already had a scenic context.  Suddenly stage lighting becomes, a car headlight, or lightning, or light reflected from windows at sunset, etc.

Initially I was asked to draw 8 scenarios with a view to 6 ads being produced.  However, as the excitement of the process grew, I found myself making many more drawings.  In the end they increased the ad count to 11.  That’s so rare.  Usually the numbers are whittled down, not expanded on.

Suzanne:  Your personal work is very thought provoking on the social and cultural aspects of people in different ages and places.  Is this of interest to you?  I know from your bio you love to document the honesty of environments but you seem to like to capture them?  Where does this come from?

Peter: My initial foray into photography was what you might consider ‘old-school’.  I used to paint and draw, but then my uncle introduced me to Polaroid cameras when I was little.  Later that prompted me to switch to photography as a medium.  I was already painting in a figurative style, so the transition was fairly seamless.  From an early age, I was interested in people and how they relate to each other.  When I started studying photography in college, I was immediately drawn to the work of documentarian artists… Diane Arbus, Alfred Stieglitz, August Sander and Robert Frank, among others, were strong influences.  I was always drawn to the gutsiness of real emotion and body language in documentary style images, especially when used in conjunction with something slightly off – a seemingly displaced person or object, or the moment before or after the ‘decisive’ moment.  To that end The Surrealists and Dadaists were other favorites.

By the time I got to grad school, I started to consider my social background more, and how it related to why I take pictures – I came from a large religious migrant family in Australia.  I began to think more about how the themes of psychology, relationships and home/place might factor as foundations for my images.  As much as possible I try to bring these ideas into my commercial work.  Ultimately my images don’t end up looking completely documentary in style, as they’re staged and mostly lit depictions of a suggested reality.  I stage a scene so that it can be ‘documented’  (in the more traditional sense of that word) within a controlled environment.  In that regard, what I do is very similar to how movies are made.  I direct and record the happening.  The only difference is that I end up with one frame, not a reel of images.

Suzanne:  Do you think that being a faculty member for the Master’s program at School of the Visual Arts has kept your mind open listening to the young minds of your students??

Peter: Without a doubt, teaching is a great way for artists to retain a verve and open-mindedness, necessitating a solid knowledge of the artistic dialogue currently taking place in, however also considering the past and (for the seers) the future, and how these tie in to contemporary investigations.

Teaching is very much a two way street.  The teacher, who believes that teachers teach and students learn, is missing half of the equation.

Beyond this context, I feel that I’m constantly learning from crew and cast members on shoots.  My ideas are always solid going into a shoot, but teaching has taught me that the interaction between two people is always educational for both parties.  It keeps me open to a greater range of possibilities.

Suzanne:  I love the fact that you are a busy working advertising, editorial and fine art photographer.  I feel that many photography schools are filled with tenured professors who didn’t make it as professional photographers and therefore instructing their students with old school philosophies of advertising when the game has changed so drastically.  Do you agree?

Peter: Let me see, how do I answer this diplomatically… it’s true, the old school methods of teaching photography are restrictive because they draw more from history than the present and the future.  This was very much the case when I was in college.  We were taught a craft, and asked to consider an artistic approach for our work.  However it was left up to us to source those artistic influences, based on their teaching us what took place in the past.  For those who didn’t make the extra effort, their work often reflected the work of historical photographers, and didn’t flourish in the context of fresh ideas.  This is precisely the reason why I decided to come to New York and to SVA to study.  Their faculty was a ‘who’s who’ of renowned working artists and theorists.  This kept us (and them) on our toes, and required of us to engage in a substantial understanding and knowledge of what is currently taking place in our choice field of art.  We’re a bit spoiled here (in New York) in that regard, because it’s a major center for photography.  I’m encouraged to see that more educational institutions are adopting this fresher approach.

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

Peter Rad lives in New York, and works internationally as an artist and commercial photographer. His award-winning work has received critical acclaim worldwide, and is featured extensively in top-level magazines, high profile advertising campaigns, and fine-art exhibitions. Drawing from his background in painting and a passionate love and understanding of the moving image, Peter directs his characters and carefully manipulates environments to create images that retain a realist honesty in their documentation. Through his thorough execution of lighting, this documentation is embellished with a hyper-reality and theatricality. He also often scripts dialogue for the actors in his images, resulting in a filmic style of tableau photography. The images have become well known for their narrative quality, as well as a unique ability to highlight that most interesting split-second moment just before or after an action takes place. Peter’s versatility and depth as a narrative image-maker is further evidenced in his portraiture and landscapes, which surround and expand on the main scene studies. Aside from his advertising, editorial and fine art work, Peter has been a faculty member in the MFA Photo & Related Media department, at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

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

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

 


Suzanne:  I like to check blogs of the agent’s I respect and look at the work they are showing from their roster.  I came across this campaign for Puma shot by David Stuart, represented by Blake Pearson and Visu Artists.  I went to David’s website to see his work and why he was chosen to shoot this campaign.  His work seem very UK to me so I was surprised to see he was right here in the States.  And nice to see his conceptual work used in American advertising.

David Stuart: It’s interesting you mention that, I’m a fan of UK advertising.

Suzanne: I was pleasantly surprised to see another talented photographer from Atlanta.  It seems as if the city really nurtures creativity because of The Portfolio Center, SCAD and The Creative Circus. Do you agree being around creative people nurtures creative photography?

David: Absolutely, getting to personally interact with other creatives can have an enormous influence on an artist. There’s no doubt that those schools have had a positive impact on the city and everyone here- as well as elsewhere.  There are so many great talents that have come through the schools here.

Suzanne: This project was done for Puma’s in-house creative department and it is refreshing to see creative work coming from in house corporate. How did they find you?  And how much input did you have in the campaign?

David: The project came through a connection within the VISU group. The concept was already approved and ready to go when the ball was handed off to me, so my job was to interpret. I collaborated with the retoucher, Scott Dorman, closely on this project and quite a bit of research went in to making sure all the technical aspects were correct; we looked at scale of car/driver in relation to people, how many pit crew members, what tools does a Formula One pit crew have, etc….  We explored angles, lighting, and last but not least, all of the little details, like how many crew members were pulling off a shoe, should a crew member be running or pointing; the details can make or break it. On an interesting side note, PUMA flew someone in from Germany to bring us the steering wheel and helmets; the price tag for a Formula One steering wheel is somewhere in the neighborhood of $140,000, a driver’s helmet $7,000.

Suzanne: I love the texture and feel of the track.  What went into making the BG?

David: I went to an actual race track and photographed the track looking down from a lift, the tire burn marks and the paint lines are all real. Things were enhanced a bit in post to bring out the texture.

Suzanne: I noticed a campaign on your site with giant children running through a city.  Did that campaign help you secure this campaign?

David: I’m sure it didn’t hurt having the Children’s Hospital campaign to show. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was to show the kind of work that you want to get.

Suzanne: You have created work for many great causes like Children’s Hospital, United Way, Union for Concerned Scientists, etc.  Have these non-profit campaigns helped you secure higher paying creative work?

David: I recently completed a project for Girl Scouts of America that I was awarded based on another project that I shot for a non-profit. It always feels great to help good causes and every project is an invaluable learning experience.

Suzanne: It looks like you have mixed personal work with assignment work on your website.  Is that correct?

David: For the most part the work I show there is assignment, but some of it is personal.

Suzanne: I hear you’re in a band. What do you play?  Has your love of music affected your photography?

David: Yes, I play guitar. Music has always been such a huge part of my life and I’ve recently begun to study jazz. I suppose I approach a photo shoot in much the same way I would a live performance; there’s a great deal of planning and preparation that go in to shoot, but at the same time ( just like in jazz) you leave room for improvisation. Music on the set can have a big effect on the mood of a shoot, I’ve found that James Brown is always a good for late afternoon pick me up.

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

David Stuart was just ranked by Luerzer’s Archive as one of the top 200 Advertising Photographers Worldwide.  His clients include Puma, Coca Cola, New Balance, ESPN, United Way, Children’s Healthcare and Simmons and Girls Scouts of America.  David is based in Atlanta and lives with his wife Lara and son Gavin.

“It took a 14-hour day, multiple Korean tacos, a two-foot tall pit crew, David Stuart, and a few spare parts to complete the PUMA Mercedes AMG campaign. David’s passion and attention to detail were critical to the outcome of the project. All parties involved – including the Mercedes drivers – were thrilled with the final images. Without David (and those tacos) this campaign would not have been possible.” Jason Woz – Art Director, PUMA Internal Creative Team

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 – Petrus Olsson

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

When I was researching great still images in advertising, I ran across the SJ “Smarter way to Travel” outdoor campaign.  While I assumed and later confirmed SJ is a Swedish airline, the campaign hits home in any language.  We can all relate and I think that is the success of this campaign.  I reached out to Susanne Bransch, the agent of record for Petrus Olsson, the photographer for this campaign.

 

 



Suzanne:  When I was researching Petrus, I see he has been featured in Ads of the World over a dozen times.  Has this been helpful in getting his work seen around the World?

Susanne Bransch: Petrus recently returned to Bransch’s representation after parting ways with his Swedish agency Adamsky.  Bransch has more connections with advertising agencies and art buyers around the world with our offices in Europe and New York that have an established connection to advertising markets in Paris, as well as Europe as a whole, and North America.

We hope that advertising showcase websites like “Ads of the World” will expose Petrus Olsson’s work to international art buyers looking to work with a photographer who has been involved in awardwinning advertising campaigns like SJ Rail.  That particular campaign won the Gold in the 2011 Epica Awards in the category of Transport and Tourism (http://results.epica-awards.com/07-01882-POS.html)

Suzanne: The concepts are universal for travelers, how much input did Petrus have in the execution of these scenarios?

Susanne Bransch: Petrus knows that the key to being a good photographer is being able to work with agency creatives, giving his input about the choice of car, casting and styling, as well as collaborating with them, like a creative director. When the agency sketches showed people doing anything else but actually driving the car, he proposed the idea of the kissing couple, which ended up being one of the final ads.

Suzanne: Having worked in automotive and watches, windshields can be a beast, what did Petrus do to get the perspective from the windshield but still be realistic as an actual vehicle?

Susanne Bransch: The solution was to remove the windshield all together!  Petrus shot the car (sans windshield) and people in studio with lighting setup to look like it would from outside.  He took the surrounding background shots from a car driving around on a separate occasion.

Suzanne:  Did he have a blast with casting and propping?  Both make the concepts.

Susanne Bransch: For someone as creative as Petrus, he loves to get involved in the details, and putting his energy into the storytelling.  He’s known for images with a special focus on intricate scenarios and interesting situations and SJ Rail is a wonderful example of how the photographer’s input on casting and propping can enhance a campaign.

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

Petrus Olsson lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Since 1998 he has been working as a freelance photographer for international customers that include metro, Pfizer, DKV, Reebok and Renault, and for advertising agencies like Scholz & Fiends, ANR. BBDO, Lowebrindfors, Ogilvy & Mather and Mccann-Eriksson. Petrus Olsson has a special instinct for photographic scenarios that present people in complex situations. an illustration of this is to be seen in the puma campaign for which he provided the photographs. a certain overdrawing of the figures, an exaggeration of expression and gesture, is another of Olsson’s unmistakable trademarks.

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- Emir Haveric

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

I was on the B&A Blog when I saw the ad you did for Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series and was drawn to the drama of the image.  I worked on the Mercedes-Benz campaign in the 1990’s for many years so this campaign is especially of interest.  I reached out to Carol Alda, whom I have known for years to ask her some questions about the campaign.  She kindly had Emir Haveric answer them while he was traveling and shooting another campaign. I truly appreciate him taking the time to answer the questions so in depth. Thank you Carol and Emir!

Suzanne:  I see on your bio that you thought you wanted to get in to fashion photography and I see that influence in your automotive work.  I think this campaign needed that fashionable flare to set it a part from other car ads.  Do you think that is why you were chosen for this campaign?

Emir:  This was one of those dream jobs when the Art Director comes to you and says what do YOU want to shoot.  The agency presented me with a rough idea and a working title for the project and then enlisted me to build on the concept and make it bigger and better.  We had the luxury of shooting a car that was so popular it was almost sold out before we started the campaign.  This meant there was not the usual pressure from the client to define this campaign as being successful only if it directly resulted in the sale of more cars.  Back to your question, I think that I was ultimately chosen for this job based on the ideas that I suggested to the art director during our initial creative discussion while bidding on the job.  Originally, the campaign had a black and white feel, and I suggested adding in the pops of color in the locations to compliment the car.  I did reference iconic fashion shoots that integrated the model, clothes, location and color mood to tell a story.

Suzanne:  The black crows make the campaign more powerful and more layered.  I do not see them in the other images in this campaign.  Was that your addition to the concept?  And did you shoot the crows or created them in CGI?

Emir:  We tried to get that layered feeling in each shot by using different elements:  fence, fog, rain or crows.  We looked for the maximum drama and did not force every element into each image we were consciously trying to avoid repetition.  And yes, I shot the trained crows – beautiful birds!

Suzanne:  I noticed that you shoot consistently for Mercedes-Benz as well as other automotive accounts. You must be very buttoned up in the production end.  There are many talented photographers but their production or personality on set results in only one assignment.  What is your philosophy on set and with clients?

Emir::  My clients always comment on how professional my production team is, especially my photo assistants.  I think they keep coming back because they know the quality of work that I will deliver; they know exactly what they will be getting from me.  They notice how hard my team is working on their behalf, and they know I am going to push the creative to the limits every time.  When the agency sees you as a partner and someone who tries to be part of the creative solution they are motivated to come back to you.

Suzanne:  I noticed in your portfolio, you have shot some fashion photography so how was you able to convince a client that you could make a model look as sexy as you could an automobile?

Emir:  For the fashion work that you see in my portfolio I was in the lucky situation that the client specifically wanted me to shoot their images.  They came to me because of my lighting style and color work, and wanted me to bring that same feeling to their fashion concepts.

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

Emir Haveric is one of today’s top automotive shooters and an expert at shooting and composing with CGI. He has shot on every single continent several times over, including the North Pole. Emir Haveric was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia before moving to Germany at the age of 18.
 
His numerous awards include a Gold at The One Show, Effie Awards, and the Art Directors Club. He was also on the shortlist at Cannes and was a finalist in the 2009 New York Photo Festival.

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- Jonathan May

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

I came across this campaign and it really hit home for me. I remember a hotel I stayed at in Chinatown that looked great on the website, but when we checked in the Queens Bridge was right next to it- I mean, right next to it. Some rooms had the subway racing right outside your window. I reached out to the photographer, Jonathan May to find out more about this campaign. The interesting thing about Jonathan’s work on his site was that all categories are personal except for one for his advertising work. But, I could see the connection between personal images and the work he was hired to create. This is always the result of a brilliant art director or art buyer.

Google Maps Street View “Know before you Go” campaign awarded a silver for print in The Moscow International Advertising ‘Red Apple’ Festival 2011, it was also awarded a silver at The Epica Awards (Europe’s premier creativity award). And was also a finalist in the Eurobest Awards and featured on the Best Ads website.

Suzanne: I went to your website and like how you show mostly personal work but I see how it is the inspiration to the commissioned work you have been hired. Have you ever been hired by an American agency? Or do you find that if an American agency doesn’t see it, they aren’t sure how to hire you?

Jonathan: When I first started visiting agencies I had two portfolios, one was for personal work, and the other for commissioned. I quickly noticed how art directors and buyers were instinctively drawn to the personal book first. I realized the importance of having a strong body of personal work because that is what expresses your vision and creative ability. Further, it illustrates the point of difference that you can offer and that sets you apart from the next person who knocks on their door. I was very careful at picking which commission work I want to display on my website. I wanted to make sure that it is not too far divorced from my personal point of view and style. This is also the reason I decided to exclude branding and logos from my commissioned work.

In terms of being hired by an American agency I haven’t pushed myself too hard in that region, but I have worked with Goodby Silverstein and Partners (San Francisco) on a month long job, shooting all around Australia for the Commonwealth Bank. The images can be seen on my website under the division “Rural Australia”. I am originally from Sydney and have recently relocated to Europe so am currently focusing on that region. My long term goal, however, is to work in the States. About 8 years ago, my mentor http://www.photography-arc.com.au and good friend asked me: “What do you want to do with your life?” and my response was “I want to be a photographer in New York” and he said: “the only thing stopping you is yourself”. So I am driving myself in that direction.

Suzanne: I wish the agency had used you in the other two ads and see a difference in the style. Do you think you could have added a more human element to the other ones? And how did you shoot this one?

Jonathan: The Sex Shop image concept was by far the simplest. It was all shot in camera. The only element I had to shoot and then drop in is the hotel awning and sign. The beauty of photographing everything is being able to control the depth of field and overall sharpness of the images. When the agency is searching for photolibrary images they need to bear this in mind and then of course the constant struggle of trying to find images with matching light intensity and direction. I think the agency and retouchers have done a sterling job on making everything in the other concepts look believable.

Suzanne: Google is International and I would love to see this ad being picked up for a global campaign. Have you ever reached out to the other agencies that have the account?

Jonathan: I will be speaking to the agency down the track, once the award season is finished, it seems to be doing very well in Europe so far.

 

 

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

Jonathan May studied photography in Australia where he received several awards for his work. Recently he has been voted into Lurzers Archive (2011, 2012/13) as one of the top 200 international advertising photographers and has relocated to Moscow where wife has an acting job for a year.

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 – Danny Christensen

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

Great Advertising is not only a print ad or billboard, it can be a vehicle that is not considered conventional. Today’s example is just that, a new show on E! called Scouted, which becomes an unconventional way to show a photographers work. I’m sure many will be critical of the show itself, but this is the reality of the business:

There are many people in this industry includes photo editors, art buyers and art directors who will watch and see Danny Christensen at work photographing and directing models. What better way to advertise how you shoot on set and then the final results in printed images. I reached out to Danny after watching the show to see if he would be interested in being a part of this series.

Suzanne: How did you get the opportunity to be the photographer of record for this program? I am sure they considered hundred’s of fashion photographers and you got the job, that is a great testament to your talent.
Danny: The executive producer and creator of the show, Michael Flutie, contacted my agent, Lorenzo at L&A Artists, and asked if I would be interested and requested a meeting. That was on a Tuesday, 7 days before the planned start of the filming the NYC part of the show. Originally, there was supposed to be 8 different photographers on the show, one for each episode of the first season. A few hours after the meeting they contacted my agent and requested a 2nd meeting the next day, where I was to meet the entire team of producers, including the guys from 51 Minds who produced the show and the Executive Producers from E!

The meeting went really well and Thursday morning they contacted us and asked if I was interested and able to do all 8 episodes – with pre-production meeting the following Monday! I guess I fit the bill of who they were looking for and I think a big part of it was my non-traditional look and feel to my work and my experience with motion, that Michael Flutie was keen on integrating in the shoots.

Suzanne: I have several clients who have been the photographers on Americas Next Top Model and it has been great for their careers. How have you seen changes in your business?
Danny: The response has been amazing. Especially the first couple of weeks here in 2012, where Season 1 episodes are coming to an end. I think everyone was waiting to see how the show developed and that the quality of my work, both the pictures and the videos was consistent.

I shot everything on the RED EPIC camera, so everything was shot in motion and we pulled still photos from the motion film with amazing results. It’s a quite new way to approach fashion and beauty photography. Additionally we cut together a fashion film clip that was shown to Scott from One Models the day after the filming, and Scott based his decision to sign the girls, both on the video and the stills. So, a lot of the response has been from clients who are interested in doing just that, filming a commercial/video component and shooting the stills.

Suzanne: Most the time you are working with young talent who have never been professionally photographed and to make it even more difficult, photographed for the first time on television. How do you work with them to get them to feel comfortable with the whole process? Is there a lot of unseen footage where you are coaching them? inspiring them? talking to them about the process?
Danny: It was very challenging for sure. I’ve worked with brand new talent many times before but as you mention, there is a crew of 30-40 people and 3-4 cameras on set for these shoots so most girls just froze like a deer in headlights when they came on set. I had to talk to the crew and we found a solution where only the people who had to be on set was there. That also included asking the girls parents and the scouts to wait off set, the girls simply couldn’t relax and I didn’t get a connection with them before the people they knew left the set. Then the girls were more relaxed and they connected with me and the camera.

When ever I could, I would go and say hi to them and introduce myself when they were in hair and make-up and I would explain a little about what we were going to do, but it was primarily to just break the ice before they came on set. I feel some times with brand new girls, it’s better to simply direct them on set rather than trying to explain them something before hand, that they don’t understand anyway. That normally only results in a girl trying to “model” as they might have seen online or on a tv show and that’s NOT going to work, especially in a video/motion piece.

In most cases, due to the production and time challenges, I didn’t even meet the girl beforehand and she would walk on set with the tv cameras rolling. That was really challenging ,but most of the girls warmed up after the first shot and we got beautiful pictures and videos.

What You don’t get a feel of on the show, because of the editing of the tv footage, is that I only had max 45 min filming time with each girl where we did 2-3 different looks. I have never done that before. Additionally, we had around 14 hours turn around time for final images plus edited and produced videos. It challenged me as a director and photographer and I feel I learned a lot from it. It forced me to practice and plan how I approached each girl, based on concept/look and a little profile video clip of each girl that the scouts provided me with – that was really exciting!

Danish-born Danny Christensen discovered his love for the visual arts working in advertising and PR in Copenhagen and New York. This passion for advertising led him to transition into fashion, portraiture, and fine-art photography during the following years. In 2006, Danny attended photography school in Denmark. He continued his creative journey in Paris where he assisted various fashion and portrait photographers It was also in Paris where Danny started started his career as a working photographer shooting, editorials, small commercial jobs, and film. Danny splits his time between New York and Copenhagen, Paris & Milan.

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.

The State of the Industry: John Boone, Boone-Oakley

The State of the Industry, is a new column where Suzanne Sease speaks with advertising industry professionals and influencers to discuss what’s happening and where we’re headed.

John Boone is in my eyes one of the original virtual office pioneers. It was 1995 and John would work part time at The Martin Agency offices and part of the time in Charlotte, NC, where his family was located. We worked together on many projects and I loved the way he thought: “how can I do something that has not been done before.”  After John decided to venture out on his own with copywriting partner, David Oakley, they continued that belief: For Bloom grocery stores they created a billboard with a muffin that fell off the billboard on to a car. I love that about him!

Suzanne: What other mediums do you see print images being used in advertising?
John: Direct mail will be around forever because it has always has a proven track record of ROI results. Point of sale is becoming more important as well. I think print images will always be strong in vertical publications (especially fashion, sports and automotive). Also, OOH will continue to be strong even though digital displays are becoming more prevalent.

What are your thoughts on Ambient media and do you see this taking off in the States as it has in other countries?
I think it’s been taking off for many years now. Like the non-traditional work Crispin did for Mini, Truth and Burger King. Now every client wants a viral video, a guerilla event, a flash mob, a crowd-sourced idea, etc.

When I go to adsoftheworld.com most of the print mediums that are featured are from outside the United States? Are we being too safe? Are clients pulling us back
Advertising in the U.S. has always been “safer” than other parts of the world. Primarily because the the old P&G model to buy tons of media GRP’s and hammer the sales message over and over. Europeans take a very different approach to advertising. They see it as a more subtle art form that uses intelligence, humor and striking imagery as provocative weapons of seduction. That being said, agencies like Droga 5, Wieden, Goodby and a few others are proudly representing the American ad scene in the right way.

Are clients requiring more and more rights and optional images from still photo shoots?
Yes, with the advent of the digital age, images have a shorter shelf life and can be used on a much bigger (often undefinable) scale. With more and more media options at their digital disposal, clients are looking for ways to expand their marketing message. An image that used to only be used in a print ad is now also used on a website, a banner ad, a blog, a billboard, a trade show booth, an email blast, etc. There’s also an overtone of, because it’s digital, it should cost less.

How many of your current clients require the estimates to process through cost consultants? Do you see more clients using them or realizing they donʼt know what they are talking about?
Usually, the bigger the client, the more they require cost consultants.

Do you think our buying society is educated and appreciates the quality creative advertising or is it the “you tube” and reality show mentality?
With the advent of the digital age, there’s definitely been a shift towards clients demanding for faster, cheaper solutions. To many of them, digital = cheaper. With crowd-sourced commercials scoring high at the Super Bowl and low-budget videos going viral on youtube, it’s hard to justify the value of expensive commercials. And, with easier access to digital video/still cameras, editing software, retouching software, etc., it’s becoming more and more difficult to justify the expense of higher-quality imagery.

What are your thoughts on trying to make a product become a viral sensation? Do you think this is the future or will it phase out?
We have several clients who have asked us to create viral videos for them. It’s hard to tell them that viral videos don’t exist. We can create a video and hope that it goes viral. But it’s kind of like writing a hit song. On the other hand, we’ve actually created old-fashioned billboards that have gone more “viral” than most viral videos. It’s just a matter of doing something that’s worth talking about giving people a reason to share it. Some things will phase out over time, just because they’ve become passe or uncool …like flash mobs.

What percentage of print work is your company doing today compared to 5 years ago? Or even a year ago?
In 2010 we did a ton of print work with Mizuno. Now, a majority of our work is digital and broadcast.

Should photographers and illustrators learn the motion medium?
Yes, absolutely. Clients and agencies are looking for more and more ways to create content to extend the brand message to all forms of media. It’s more often than not that print imagery will also need to be utilized in motion, whether it’s a web banner, a mobile app, a microsite, a web video or some other form of content.

What advice would you give someone who only does print (still) work?
Read the answer above. Also, since more and more digital firms are doing the lion’s share of work for brands, photographers (and their reps) need to spend more time getting to know them and market to them.

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.

The State of the Industry: Gregg Lhotsky, B&A

The State of the Industry, is a new column where Suzanne Sease speaks with advertising industry professionals and influencers to discuss what’s happening and where we’re headed.

Gregg Lhotsky is a well-respected photography representative with the acclaimed Bernstein & Andruilli. Gregg and I have had the pleasure of working together when I was at The Martin Agency and have been friends ever since. I admire Gregg’s eye for talent, his professionalism and the fact that we both grew up in Baltimore, Maryland (same age but never knew each other).

Are clients requiring more and more rights and optional images from still photo shoots?
Yes. Sometimes it seems like a land grab. Often the weakest link are the AE’s who don’t really understand usage.

How many of your current clients require the estimates to process through cost consultants? Do you see more clients using them or realizing they don’t know what they are talking about?
I am seeing less of this lately. Perhaps it is because when clients do use CC’s the CC’s usually do not have an understanding of what things actually cost and waste a lot of time and money on randomly asking for line items to come down.

Do you think our buying society is educated and appreciates the quality creative advertising or is it the “you tube” and reality show mentality?
I spend a lot of time educating younger buyers these days. First, most of them will not pick up the phone and would rather email which is difficult when you are trying to estimate or negotiate a job where nuances can be lost via email. Second, if I had a nickel for every time I had to describe why a stylist needs prep days or what a location van is for. Sometimes I think that they just hired someone, gave them a desk and said go for it!

What are your thoughts on trying to make a product become a viral sensation? Do you think this is the future or will it phase out?
I believe that it is here to stay. There are so many more outlets now that the brands need multi platforms and voices to be seen and heard.

What percentage of print work is your company doing today compared to 5 years ago? Or even a year ago?
We are pretty diversified so we still do a lot of print but also a lot of new media.

Should photographers and illustrators learn the motion medium?
Definitely.

What advice would you give someone who only does print (still) work?
Gotta have some other things in your tool kit (i.e. motion) and do it well!

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.