Posts by: Suzanne Sease

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.

The State of the Industry: Mike Hughes, The Martin Agency

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.

I had the honor of having Mike Hughes as my supervisor while I was at The Martin Agency. The Martin Agency was voted the US Agency of the Year in 2010 and is known for their work for Wal-mart, Geico, Discover Card, Hanes, Moen and Miscrosoft. Mike was inducted in to The One Club Creative Hall of Fame in 2010, a prestigious group that includes David Ogilvy, Jay Chiat, Tom McElligott, Hal Riney, Dan Wieden, David Bernbach to name a few of the greats. It was such a pleasure to work with such a creative mind and you can see that in his answers.

Suzanne: I have asked the question before “Is print dead” and I know most of us will always love the tangible print, if so what is realistically the future of the still image? According to a 2011 Advertising forecast from Mediabrands, part of Interpublic Group: Over the next five years, magazine advertising will decline in each of the world’s 10 largest markets for magazines, with the exception of Brazil and Russia.
Mike: Magazines and newspapers will continue to morph in the years ahead. If personal printers take off, there might even be a resurgence of print edition customized for the reader. Two years ago, I might have said that the decline in print editions will be very steep; now I’m not so sure.

What are your thoughts on Ambient media and do you see this taking off in the States as it has in other countries?
The lines between types of media (OOH, print, broadcast, digital, earned, paid, audio, video, old, new, etc.) have been erased. Moving images can appear in books. Stills can be riveting on digital. Sights, sounds, signals and even smells can emanate from outdoor. Hopefully, the borderlines between countries will also become less thick. Certainly media
opportunities developed in one part of the world will soon emigrate to every other part.

When I go to www.adsoftheworld.com most of the print mediums that are featured are from outside the United States? Are we being too safe?
I suspect that we’re not caring enough.

Are clients pulling us back?
No. (A great agency never blames its clients.) I’m betting we’re not inspiring our clients enough with the print work we’re doing.

Do you think our buying society is educated and the “you tube” and reality shows mentality verses the appreciation of quality creative advertising?
If there’s anything the world learned from Steve Jobs, it’s this: society loves quality when it’s relevant and helpful and cool.

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?
The language has changed over the years, but the goal of advertising has always been to help good products “go viral.” That won’t change. (Obviously, “going viral” isn’t limited to online connectivity.)

Should photographers and illustrators learn the motion medium?
Most should.

What advice would you give someone who only does print (still) work?
It’s more important than ever that whatever you do, you have to have an advantage over your competitors. The best way to do that, of course, is to be BETTER than your competitors.

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.