Category "Personal Project"

The Art of the Personal Project: Mike Marques

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Mike Marques

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How long have you been shooting?
12 years professionally

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I am a graduate of The New England School of Photography in Boston.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Personal work is what keeps me going so I am constantly thinking about topics and concepts. At that time, I wanted to have a Connecticut focused topic that needed more attention than it was getting. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, CT Chapter had been a client of mine for a couple years and I attended one of their fundraising events. I came across a book, published by the national chapter, that had portraits of people across the country diagnosed with MS. Not one person was from Connecticut. The number of diagnosed CT residents was about 6500 then.

I contacted the chapter about creating a book on a local level. At first, there was push back because publishing a book costs money and they weren’t interested. I had to change my approach. All I asked was for them to let me photograph some residents to show them where I was coming from. They started to understand my view of wanting the local community to see that MS is close to home. After meeting with the communications director a few times she agreed to reach out to some residents.

I personally did not have any connection to the disease and was not too familiar with it. There is no cure and it affects everyone very differently. I knew this would present its challenges and force me to think outside of my wheelhouse.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
At the beginning it was just about creating a few portraits. We put the idea of a book aside and just focused on one resident at a time. The MS chapter came up with lists of names of who could be photographed and we discussed which stories which raise the most awareness. I spoke directly with my subjects before photographing them and talked about how MS has affected them and what they have done to still live the life they want to live. MS affects people differently both physically and mentally so the approach to each portrait was new every time. One of the earlier portraits was of Karen Guarnaccia (in wheel chair, sitting in front of sliding glass door). MS has had a large affect on her physically – some days getting out of bed was not an option. The final image was Karen on a good day. I arrived at the MS office a few days after the shoot with a 16×20 print of Karen. The director finally realized the type of images I wanted to create and the impact they could have in our community. We started meeting on a regular basis to discuss possible subjects. We reached out to well over 100 people, many of which did not want to take part for various reasons. At first we set the number at 25 portraits. When we hit 25, there were some things the images had not addressed so we kept moving forward.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
We started shooting in September of 2010 and the last portrait was taken in December of 2013. We sometimes went a month without photographing anyone. Between me traveling for assignments and the chapter having busier times throughout the year, scheduling was often difficult. Also, we did not shoot much in the summer months due to the most common symptom of MS being heat sensitivity.

Something I decided from the very beginning was that whatever was to become of this project, the final images needed to be shown together as a whole. There are so many stages and severities of the disease that one image alone could not tell the whole story. This idea led us to word “mosaic” – each portrait is strong on its own though everything together reveals an even bigger picture. Word started to get out about the project so we did release a few images that could be used for press and social media.

In February 2014, we had a gallery opening to reveal i am a MoSaic and to show gratitude to those who took part. Many had not seen their portrait until the day of the gallery opening. Some people’s MS had progressed since their portrait was taken. There were many tears, some of sadness and some of joy. It was a wonderful day and a truly humbling experience.

Since the original show, the images have been on display at the Connecticut State Capital in Hartford, The Grove – a co working space in New Haven, CT, and the Aetna world headquarters. I am currently working on putting together a fundraising event in Stamford, CT (just outside NYC) for March 2015. The images would be on display a few weeks before and after the event.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Portfolio shooting has more of an initial direction and focus you are going for. I was ok letting this project take shape on its own without thinking too much about it. I wasn’t concerned as much about the photography but more about the communication and understanding going into a shoot. I do not work with models often, I photograph real people. With any portrait, there needs to be a level of trust between myself and my subjects. Putting something like MS in the middle of all of that presents a whole other element I don’t deal with often. Working this way changed the way I shoot – for the better – and helped me grow as a photographer.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I usually post to my blog and that feeds into my Facebook and Twitter. There were numerous production and behind the scenes images throughout the years as the work was being created. Once the project was complete, I had a routine to post a few of the final images per week for a little over three months.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
We did get a good amount of traction from our initial social media outreach. Through that, I was able organized an NPR panel with three of the subjects and myself. I did a couple morning TV shows as well as numerous print media around the state. The MS Chapter continues to use these images for marketing and raising awareness in all media.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have created a promo piece specifically focused on i am a MoSaic. It is a 8.5” x 5.5” handmade book with images from the project and the story behind it. I also built a website dedicated to the project: www.iamamosaic.com

Project Statement:

i am a MoSaic is a collection of images portraying Connecticut’s many faces of multiple sclerosis. It is collaboration between photographer Mike Marques and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter. As a dedicated volunteer and supporter of the National MS Society, Mike has traveled around the state for nearly three years capturing residents living life as fully as possible in the face of MS. More than 40 residents of all ages, races, genders, and abilities were photographed. This is a unique and moving portrait of the many ways in which people live with this potentially debilitating disease. Together, the images become a composite picture of hope and resilience.

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Mike Marques is a portrait and lifestyle photographer based in West Hartford, CT. The images he creates are the result of the trusting relationships he builds with his subjects. When he’s not traveling on assignment, he can be found cycling the backroads of Connecticut or on a hike with his cattle dog. His clients include Connecticut Magazine, General Electric, Health Dialog, United Bank, World Wrestling Entertainment.

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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Mark Laita

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers. http://www.lebook.com/marklaita.

Today’s featured photographer is: Mark Laita

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How long have you been shooting? 
I starting photographing rock bands that would come through Chicago when I was in high school in the late 70’s. I started shooting advertising in the mid 80’s.
 
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught, or by assisting great photographers, but I went to photography school as well.
 
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I love the cultural uniqueness of Mexican wrestling. I can’t say I love the wrestling itself, but documenting these large, masked Mexican men in tights and capes can’t be beat.
 
How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I haven’t really presented it yet. When I feel I’m finished I’ll show it to publishers.
 
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
The way I work is I’ll shoot things and some of them will show potential as a series and I’ll keep shooting until it feels done. With Serpentine, it took more than ten years before I decided to expand the 5 images I did in 1998 into a series of hundreds of images.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
They often overlap, but generally, advertising clients still need to see some images that make sense commercially. A mix of both seems to work. It shows that you can be very creative, but can also do what the client wants, if needed.
 
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
No. I’ll pursue a publisher if the project has potential as a book.
 
If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
When a popular blog covers one of my books it can quickly spread to many others that want to feature it. That’s happened with my book, Created Equal a few times now. It’s crazy for a few weeks and then it fades down.
 
Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I’ve used some non-commercial images in my self promotion and later decided to expand on it and turn it into a larger body of work. 

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Mark Laita is a commercial and fine art photographer based in Los Angeles. His work has been featured in campaigns for Adidas, Apple, Estee Lauder, Mercedez-Benz and Van Cleef and Arpels. Mark has had three books of his photographs published; Created Equal, Steidl 2009, Sea, Abrams, 2010 and Serpentine, Abrams, 2012. His work has been exhibited at galleries in the U.S. and Europe.

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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Marc Ohrem-Leclef

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com.

Today’s featured photographer is: Marc Ohrem-Leclef

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How long have you been shooting?
I have been actively photographing since the age of 16.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both – I taught myself most technical aspects, and then I studied Communication Design in Darmstadt, Germany. Those studies were more important in terms of learning about art-history and the formal education of the eye.

With OLYMPIC FAVELA, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Since the mid-nineties I have pursued work that focuses on portraits of communities, whether they are formed by blood-lines, social circumstance or cultural movement, all in context of the ideas of ‘place’ and ‘home’: Which elements play part in building the construct we call ‘home’ like landscape, communal and personal history, type and fabric of the surrounding community.

Based on these interests I wanted to examine what motivates the residents in 13 of Rio de Janeiro’s impoverished communities who are facing evictions from their homes to fight so hard to stay in their homes and communities.

The result are two bodies of work: One is a series of portraits of residents in front of their homes, many of the marked for demolition by Rio’s Housing Authority SMH with spray-paint.

The other is a series of performative images – here I directed the favela residents to pose for me holding emergency flares to create a visual representation of their struggle and resistance while using a gesture that is also universally associated with liberation, independence and celebration.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
It is an ongoing project – I started researching it in spring 2012.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
The decision making process is fairly fast – either it works or it doesn’t, for me and outside viewers. I tend to spend more time on research before I begin a project these days, and it’s working for me.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I do not think the difference should be too great, in terms of a sincere commitment to my subjects. Of course the settings are different. But if you don’t connect to the vision, whether it is based in reality or it is a carefully produced environment, the results won’t be satisfying.

I immerse myself in a certain environment to capture my subjects naturally.

In this respect the images of residents holding the torches are a new approach that allows both my subjects and me to take an active role in the making of the images.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
All the time .. it’s fun!

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
For OLYMPIC FAVELA it has certainly happened.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have, yes. I think it is important to strike a balance between showing personal work because it to inspire creatives. But of course you need to be able to satisfy the clients’ wish to see you can produce images in a production-setting as well … .

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Marc Ohrem-Leclef was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, 1971. After working as an EMT and interning with a regional newspaper, Marc studied Communication Design at FH Darmstadt completing an extensive photography-thesis on life in rural Jamaica. Since the mid-nineties he is based in NYC. Marc’s work has been exhibited in Germany and the U.S., and has been published in numerous international publications, most recently OLYMPIC FAVELA, published in 2014 by DAMIANI/ARTbook.

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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Tom Hussey

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com.

Today’s featured photographer is: Tom Hussey

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How long have you been shooting?
Professionally 20 years. Add in the time when my father first handed me a camera and that makes it seem like 100 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I am photography school taught. I went to SMU for my undergrad and RIT for my Masters. But with the way technology changes, I am self-taught every day.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I have always been a football fan and aside from my time in high school, I never really followed high school football. Then my stepsons started playing. Their school is small so they played 6 man football. It’s really exciting and high scoring. I was given compete access to the practices, games and locker room for a season. It was so much fun.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I was excited about it right away. I put it out there as soon as I could get the files edited.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I think I am like all creative people. I always second-guess myself. I will work on a project and think it’s going nowhere. I put it away and step away from it for a while and revisit it after I have done some other work. If I do not pull a whole promo out of the project I usually always find one or two strong images for my portfolio. I also use my blog as sort of a working laboratory for a place to get images out there. Things that may never be in my portfolio but images that have merit. Interesting enough, I have walked into creative meetings at agencies only to find they have pulled numerous images from my blog. I guess what I am trying to say is never give up. Something’s working if you are shooting everyday.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I am excited by the difference. If you are standing still in this business and not attempting different things, you are dead in the water so to speak.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Since I post new images daily to my blog those same emails are carried over onto Facebook and linked on Twitter. I use Instagram as a kind of personal sketchbook of thoughts (all random) and behind the scenes things happening on set.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I have had a couple of things go viral. It’s crazy. Great press is always good. I was in London shooting and when I got back to my hotel the concierge called me over to show me a campaign of my images was featured in The Daily Mail. That stuff always surprises me.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. I chose to share the football project not because it was my most recent personal project but because it has been referenced by creatives and been attributed to a lot of awarded jobs over the past few years.

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In the course of a diverse 20-year career in commercial advertising photography, Tom Hussey has established a successful advertising studio. Respected industry wide for his lifestyle photography and admired for his lighting techniques, Tom has worked on local, national and international campaigns. Based in Dallas, Texas, TOM HUSSEY Photography, LLC is a full production photography and motion studio.

Tom’s passion for photography began in the early 70’s when his Dad got a new “expensive” SLR camera. Tom asked to take a picture and much to his mother’s horror was handed the camera. He put the camera down briefly but was never far away from it. Tom has taught photography on the college level and worked in the Conservation Laboratory at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.

Tom is a graduate of Southern Methodist University where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production with a minor in Photography. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Museum Practices and Conservation with an emphasis in Photography from The Rochester Institute of Technology.

Tom Hussey is represented by Michael Ginsburg, 212.369.3594 and in Texas he is represented by Carol Considine 214.741.4034

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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Grace Chon

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com.

Today’s featured photographer is: Grace Chon

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Full disclosure Grace is one of my clients.

How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been photographing animals since early 2008.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I am self taught but have a background as an advertising agency art director. I think that training definitely developed my visual and design sensibilities, and once I picked up photography it was a matter of learning the technical aspects of it.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
My baby! It’s funny because I really don’t have any interest in photographing kids or babies at all, but my own child was definitely my sole inspiration. As a new mom, the days can get long and repetitive sometimes. I started the series to have a fun activity for Jasper and I to enjoy during the day, and would edit the images during his nap time.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I began the series in January 2014 and started sharing them immediately on my personal Facebook page and on Instagram. I started getting interest from bloggers that wanted to write about the series but I didn’t know if I wanted to release it to a larger audience. By April I decided to promote the series a little bit and gave the go ahead to bloggers and the series took off online.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
This is probably the first personal project I really devoted some time to, mostly because it all took place in my home and was really easy for me to execute. I kept shooting them for myself before the series got exposure because I enjoyed the challenge of it – styling the images, editing the images, choosing the concept, and of course the challenge of shooting a baby and a dog! I imagine I would still be shooting the images even if they hadn’t received any exposure because it was working for me – I enjoy the process and the results.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
My usual work is portraiture or very lifestyle and shot in environment, so shooting this series has been really refreshing for me. I love that the Zoey and Jasper series looks vastly different than what I usually do and I love the simplicity and minimalism of it. But it still retains elements of what I always do – there’s a lot o color, and they are emotive portraits. I love capturing all the different smiles Jasper can make, and while Zoey looks the same in almost every shot there are small subtleties there that I love getting from her.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I started out sharing the images on Facebook and Instagram, and eventually made a Tumblr page dedicated to the series. Once the images started going viral they made their way over to Reddit.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The images went viral in mid-April and were written about online and in print in the US as well as internationally.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I made print promos specifically for the Zoey and Jasper series and sent them out to potential clients. Hopefully someone somewhere saved one!

Bio:
Grace Chon is a commercial photographer specializing in animals, lifestyle images, and celebrities with their pets. Utilizing her background as a former advertising agency art director, she creates modern and emotive portraits of people and animals.

When she’s not writing about herself in the third person, Grace likes to go hiking with her dogs, meditate, and grow organic heirloom tomatoes. She makes a mean guacamole (want to challenge her to a guac-off?) and really hates Comic Sans.

In her spare time, Grace photographs homeless dogs looking for their forever homes and donates her photography services every year to multiple dog rescue groups in Los Angeles. She lives in LA with her husband, baby boy, and their beloved rescue dogs, Maeby Fünke and Zoey.

Artist Statement:
Everyone knows dogs and babies make adorable photo subjects. As a first time mom and photographer, I had 2 of the most adorable models at my disposal and the Zoey and Jasper series was born. It has been my goal to create photographs that stayed away from the cloyingly sweet and cliché imagery you might expect when you think of dogs and kids. I love good design, color, and the unexpected. And most important of all, I love humor! I wanted to capture all of that and document the silly relationship between a rescue girl and her little boy.

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.

Catch Suzanne presenting with Kat Dalager for Market Right 2014 in NYC on Wednesday, October 29th http://yodelist.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/were-proud-to-announce-market-right-2014