Category "Personal Project"

The Art of the Personal Project: Naomi Harris

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: Naomi Harris

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How long have you been shooting professionally?
Since 2000.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I got into photography late in the game, I was about 22 before I picked up my first camera. I was actually studying print-making in university, this was back in the early 90s before Google and the internet so if you needed a photo for inspiration you scoured books and magazines. And since my printmaking practice was mainly photo-based I decided it would make sense for me to learn how to take pictures in case I couldn’t find what I was looking for. It was a basic black and white class and really only taught dark-room techniques not how to “take” photos. That summer I went to Europe and when I processed what I shot I was like, oh, this is what I want to do and decided to focus my artistic practice on photography (though I do still want to go back and start using my photos in the medium of printmaking again.)

But that said I never did learn lighting or how to actually use a camera in school, that was all self-taught through trial and error, friends, assistants and while doing personal work.

You are very good about shooting personal projects, what is your inspiration to shoot them?
I think when I choose a personal project I ask myself first off, what will I learn from this. I’m primarily a documentary photographer (with a penchant for portraiture) so I’m always seeking knowledge or access to people whom I wouldn’t encounter otherwise.

My inspiration varies. Usually I’m shooting something else and stumble upon something that I’ll decide to make a long-term project out of. Like I was trying to do a project about Holocaust Survivors when I found the Haddon Hall Hotel in Miami’s South Beach which was the last of it’s kind and changed my focus to be specifically on that hotel. Or while living in Miami I’d visit the nude beach and knew that people went to swinger parties. One day I was invited to attend as a “key” (a female who accompanies a single man to a party granting them access) by a beach friend and when I saw what was going on knew instantly I’d have to shoot it! Or my most recent project I’m wrapping up, EUSA, I was shooting my very last swinger party in the mountains of Georgia and stumbled upon this “Bavarian” town called Helen nearby and from that EUSA was born.

I listen to a ton of radio (I’m a big fan of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) find things on Twitter, talk to strangers everywhere I go, you can find inspiration anywhere. And my mother is my best research assistant constantly mailing me newspaper clippings or emailing me articles of things I might find interesting. She really loves her Yahoo! News.

How many years have you been shooting a project before you decided to present it?
Seems lately like 5 years has been the magic number (America Swings and EUSA) but I don’t think it’s wise to attatch a deadline to projects. Each one is unique and you’ll know when it’s done. It could be some sort of event that happens but once or it could be shooting something daily which never really has an end, it’s all subjective. I’d love for once to try to shoot something in a studio and spend a total of say 2 or 3 weeks shooting, that would be novel!

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That’s a tough one. Some projects you know are going to be great and you feel it instantly from the first photo you take. Then I have had some projects where I’ve put a good amount of time into but then due to costs and amount of travel involved I just couldn’t get back to it right away and had to put on the back burner. Like EUSA I didn’t shoot anything between 2010 and 2013 (and had nearly 60 rolls of unprocessed exposed film in my freezer!) but I always knew I would come back to it when I had the time and money.

But then there are the projects where you do put some time and effort into it and for whatever reason decide it’s not going to work. Back in 2003 I spent 3 weeks in Vegas intending on creating a project about the economic upswing happening there but I never really liked what I was getting and not being a fan of heat (or Vegas itself) I decided to put this project on the shelf. In hindsight I should have pushed through because imagine the potentially amazing work I could have created if I had pre-recession and post-recession photos. Oh well, you can’t always predict the future and you can’t win them all.

Today though I’m beginning to work on multiple projects at a time and not sinking all my energy into only one body of work. If my projects take upwards of 5 years to complete (plus another few more years until a book is published) I don’t want to only be releasing a project every half decade or so. It’s better to split your focus into multiple projects.

What advice do you have for people who have not done a personal project? And how they are so important so potential clients see how you think.
I think it’s important for your potential clients sure, that’s an obvious answer, but I think personal projects are even more important for ourselves. Working on personal projects give us an opportunity to explore, experiment and even screw up but without the client to report back to. I learned all my lighting techniques while doing personal work and then can bring these new tricks into my commissioned work.

I would like to imagine most of us got into photography because we posses an innate curiosity about the world and want to explore it.

We also learn so much about ourselves and our potential when working on our own projects and that in itself is invaluable.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Actually I think all of my work, be it personal or commissioned, has a similar quality to it and hopefully a distinct style. While I’ll experiment with different formats, techniques and mediums between projects I still think the way I see is similar and hopefully people will be able to identify one of my photos be it personal work or from an assignment.

I do encourage photographers to shake it up a little though instead of an “insert-subject-here” approach that so many take (exact same lighting set up, back-drop etc). Mind you when you have a winning look that’s earning you a living it’s sometimes hard to abandon that. But remember, styles change and while your look might be popular now it might not be 5 years from now.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes and no. I try not to release too much of a project until I’m nearly done (and better yet would be only when the book is actually published) but I do use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as a means of self-promotion.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Back in the early 2000s when I still had an earthlink account, the blog Fleshbot featured a story I did about a porn star reality show based in Montreal and in a matter of days over 100,000 people visited my website. That sounds all fine and good except that earthlink wanted to charge me an exorbitant amount for going over my bandwidth even though I kept calling them to increase my limit and ultimately had to temporarily shut my site down. I couldn’t afford to pay what they wanted nor did I think it was fair so I called NY1 to have them do a segment on me and earthlink lowered the bill to a couple of hundred from several thousand dollars!

I don’t know how to use Reddit (!) but I have had a couple of my America Swings photos posted and they have been quite popular but no work came out of that.

But I am shooting my first fashion story next month for a Spanish magazine called ODDA and they found me through my Instagram so really happy about that.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I don’t create my personal projects specifically for marketing my work rather I make it for the art aspect, and if it gets me publicity that influences prospective clients, well that’s the cherry on top.

I have on occasion left a copy of America Swings with an art buyer, which I consider a really fancy leave behind (pssst, call me in for a portfolio review and one might make it’s way to your desk too!).

I feel a lot of clients want to work with “fine art” photographers rather than just commercial photographers so it’s important to always be creating personal work and getting a reputation in the art circuit.

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Canadian born NAOMI HARRIS is primarily a portrait photographer who seeks out interesting cultural trends to document through her subjects. Personal projects include HADDON HALL in which she documented the lives of the last remaining elderly residents at a hotel in South Beach. For this work she received the 2001 International Prize for Young Photojournalism from Agfa/ Das Bildforum, honorable mention for the Yann Geffroy Award, and was a W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography finalist.

For her next project AMERICA SWINGS, she documented the phenomenon of swinging over the course of 5 years (from 2003 to 2008) all over the United States. This project was realized in her first monograph “America Swings” released by TASCHEN in 2008 as a limited collectors edition and again in 2010 as a trade edition. Artist Richard Prince interviewed Ms. Harris for the book and it was edited by Dian Hanson.

She recently completed EUSA which is a reaction to the homogenization of European and American cultures through globalization and is releasing a book by the same title in 2017.

Other accolades include being awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Photography in 2013, a Long-Term Career Advancement Grant from the Canada Council in 2012 and participating in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2004.

In June 2012 after living in New York for 15 years she decided to leave and live in her car traveling around America with her dog Maggie in preparation of becoming a US citizen, which she did in August 2013. She currently resides in Los Angeles but returns to her homeland of Canada often to continue working on her project OH CANADA.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Marianne Lee

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Marianne Lee

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Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Anna Kitada

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Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Kathryn SIlvia

Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Luke Colannino

Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Nicholas Harrington

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How long have you been shooting?
Since High School.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I love the simplicity of what Flashes of Hope is asking for and I love the idea of creating a memory of this incredibly difficult time in these children’s lives. The impact of these images can change depending on the outcome of the kids course of treatment for their cancer.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I think it was about 3 years before I decided to put it on my website.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
This project is a bit different in that it happens every year through Flashes of Hope, I decide every year that it’s worth my time, these kids have a special spirit that I feel honored to be able to photograph.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I feel like personal work can be a lot looser, there’s fewer constraints, but it’s also challenging because those limits aren’t there.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Mostly with family and friends.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Not yet.

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Marianne grew up on Lake Michigan and brings the warmth of the Midwest to her photography. She is obsessed with visual storytelling. Her curiosity about her clients leads to focused preparation. When Marianne arrives for a shoot, she already knows you. The result is stunning photos.

Marianne specializes in Education and Lifestyle Photography and is passionate about lifelong learning, whether it’s mountain biking, exploring a city, or discovering what makes a new friend laugh. She lives in New England with her daughter, husband, and a pantry full of chocolate.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Craig LaCourt

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: Craig LaCourt

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How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been working in the industry for over 17 years, but really started pushing my own photography in the last 4 years or so.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I did get a BFA in photography from Western Michigan University, and that set a good foundation for how to address things in so much as building groups/series of images, but from a technical/professional aspect it’s the years of working as a digital technician and assistant that taught me the ropes of how the industry works.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I’ve had a broader project of shooting the creative people I meet in my community of Red Hook, Brooklyn for quite some time (hence my Instagram handle @redhook_shooter) and I’d known “Guitar Matt” through the great network of people for a bit before this. I moved my studio into the building he had been working in and we thought it was time to do something as I wanted to do some artisan small business based projects and he could always use new images for his own. We concepted and shot it over the course of a couple days.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This particular project was one of several I wanted to incorporate into my new site/book when I sat down with Karen D’Silva to re-assess what I’d been presenting. She really liked this project in particular.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually know before we are done shooting the first day. Most of my personal projects are collaborative in so much as I feed off the people I shoot. It’s such an adrenaline rush when you are on the same plane, but sometimes things just don’t “have it”,

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I almost always think of shooting as potential portfolio. Sometimes I overanalyze it into something bigger (production wise) than it really needs to be. I recently took a personal trip with a friend who is a motorcycle builder and we went from Denver to Austin for a motorcycle show. I usually would have brought cases and cases of lighting gear and cameras to treat it like an ad production. This time I specifically rented a small camera and a couple lenses and that’s it. I just tagged along to whatever he wanted to do so I didn’t have to plan any production or blocking. I just shot what I saw. It was a nice breath of fresh air and I think it helped me come back really excited.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Sometimes I feel like I got into the game a little too late with social and my photography. I’d always kept the two separated. So now I’m trying to push myself to keep ideas flowing onto Instagram and making an effort to keep it fresh and updated.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not really yet, no. I’ve not figured out the formula for getting that to happen yet. One person I shot for an ad campaign last year has literally MILLIONS of followers on Instagram. I’d love to get over 500 now, ha!

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I just did a pretty big (for me) hard promo push in the spring. I find this is still a very important step in our photography world. I’ve gotten some good feedback from the people that viewed it. For those I haven’t heard back from yet, my hope is that I have planted a seed of interest in their minds regarding the type of work I do.

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I’ve lived in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn since moving from the rocky shores of Lake Superior. I like to ride motorcycles on curvy roads or strap a snowboard to my feet when the opportunity presents itself. I try to catch a Red Wings game here and there with my wife, Shami, and my daughter, Mihika.

In my free time I’m always down for a great conversation over a hoppy beer with my dogs at my feet. The best talks are after a really fun photo shoot when we are spent but running on adrenaline from making something special.

People have called me a nice guy.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project:

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: Nadia Pandolfo

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How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting for twenty years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A mixture of self-taught and photography classes at USC.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I love to travel and document what I see. I try to remain open to dialogue with the place I am experiencing. I have been fascinated with the Galapagos Islands for as long as I can remember because it’s where Charles Darwin became inspired to write his evolutionary theory. So in 2015 I traveled to Ecuador. I became a certified PADI diver in preparation so I could also experience the underwater life there.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
One year

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It varies. Some personal projects are quickly completed and are more spontaneous and more experimental, while others involve a slow meticulous process of planning that may involve several years. But in this case, it was a matter of months.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Usually with personal work, I can be more creative and more experimental, since I am shooting for myself, not for a specific client, or audience. If the project works, and it finds an audience, great, but even if it doesn’t, I am still satisfied because it was something I needed to articulate, which emanated from a very deep place within me. Sometimes it takes time for certain projects to be appreciated by an audience. Sometimes certain projects just never come off the ground. But no matter what, it is never wasted time, because it is always a learning lesson. Personal projects often begin with a question, and the project is an attempt to find an answer to that question. So it is always a means to finding a deeper understanding. Usually my personal projects are precursors to more polished or orchestrated projects, which I might do at a later date. So they become part of a repertoire of subject matter to be further source of inquiry.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I use Facebook quite a lot. But I have recently begun posting on Instagram and Twitter as more regularly.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I don’t know if I can say that any of the work has gone viral. But I know I have cultivated fans who appreciate my personal photography. Many people write and comment how much they enjoy the work. I have also had some of these projects published in journals and magazines and have been approached to donate some of these images to auction for charity.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
So far, I have not printed my personal projects for marketing to potential clients. But it is something I would plan to do in the future.

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Nadia Pandolfo began shooting professionally in 2001. Her work has been featured in several magazines both in the United States and abroad, and prints of her work have been auctioned for various art benefits supporting charity. She has shot ad campaigns for Hale Bob, Elvis Shoes/ Ed Hardy, Kain Label, Voda Swim, Urban Behavior, Costa Blanca, Macy’s among others. She was featured as a photographer and judge on America’s Top Model. She is best known for her cinematic style, using combinations of sculpted and natural/ ambient light. Her photos always tell stories whether it is a documentary project or an orchestrated shoot. She has also has completed several photo essays based on Hollywood classic recreations including: Rear Window, North by Northwest, The Birds, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Getaway. She studied at University of Southern California. Some of her other personal projects have included: Guatemala, Iceland and Cuba.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Doug Levy

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: Doug Levy

How long have you been shooting?
Part-time since 2007, full time since the end of the 2009 baseball season.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Totally self taught (I have a finance degree!). After graduating from college in 2003 I spent six years umpiring professional baseball. Before spring training in 2006 minor league umpires went on strike. Baseball was threatening to cut off our health insurance so I started saving money to pay for that, but the day before I had to mail the check the strike was resolved and I went and spent it all on a Nikon D70s.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
As someone who has absolutely no inherent ability to build or fix anything, people who are naturally able to create gorgeous handmade things have fascinated me for a long time.

Over the winter of 2014 I met the Bully Boy whiskey guys through a mutual chef friend and asked them if I could come by and photograph them at their distillery. Initially I thought it would be just a cool portrait for my website but then I met a few other local folks who fit in and started thinking that this could be it’s own standalone series.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I’ve been working on this for a little more than two years, but before it came together as a series, I was already sharing individual shoots in my portfolio.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I shoot a lot of personal work, and they’re not always things that fit into longer form series. Sometimes it is just a single portrait that ends up in my portraits gallery or on my social. This is definitely the longest project I’ve done though, and not one I see ending anytime soon.

The great thing is that this is starting to snowball; the Trillium beer guys introduced me to the Barrington Coffee guys, the Firefly Bikes guys introduced me to Sam Densmore who makes amazing custom knives on Cape Cod and so on. That’s always my last question as I’m out the door, “Who should I photograph next for this?”

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
In an industry where I definitely feel like if I’m not getting better I’m getting worse, I think the personal work really informs my client work and point of view. When you remove some of that natural pressure that comes from shooting for clients, it opens up the possibility to experiment and hone new techniques that can then migrate into commissioned work.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I’ve never used Reddit, but I do post frequently to my Instagram and blog most shoots on my Tumblr.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet, but Instagram did feature one of a shorter series of hand close-ups I shot last year.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I do quarterly printed promos and recently just did a large run featuring the most recent work from this project.

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A portrait photographer living outside of Boston with his wife and two dogs, Doug Levy spent six years pursuing a career as a professional baseball umpire before meeting his wife and getting struck in the head with a bat showed him that a lifetime of 7:05 starts wasn’t for him. A professional photographer since 2007, Doug’s clients have included WebMD, MIT Technology Review, Dunkin’ Brands and LinkedIn.

You can see Doug’s work on his website http://www.douglaslevy.com or on Instagram @douglevy

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Charles Schiller

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: Charles Schiller

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How long have you been shooting?
30 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Pratt graduate with degree in photography.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The challenge was to make food look good out of the bag as purchased.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project was originally shot over 4 months and then presented 2014. A second installment was added approximately 6 months later.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That greatly depends on the project. Generally 2 or 3 days of test shooting.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, my work is posted on Facebook, instagram and tumbler.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I did get some internet response from out of the bag but nothing viral.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?

Yes

Statement:
Out of the bag was a self-assigned personal project. The goal was to produce beautiful appetizing images of purchased prepared food with no food stylist or props, just what came out of the bag. All the food in the original series was from the old Chelsea studio neighborhood. The plan is to continue the series with food purchased in downtown JC. It should be out sometime this fall.

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Charles Schiller has been a new york based photographer for 30 years. Specializing in food and beverages but also with extensive experience shooting still life and products. The studio recently moved from NYC to the powerhouse arts district in downtown Jersey City. The new studio is located at 150 bay street just 2 blocks from the Grove street path station.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Gabriela Hasbun

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: Gabriela Hasbun

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How long have you been shooting?
11 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Although I went to photo school, some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned were from assisting other photographers.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
A friend approached me about collaborating with her on a project. After a while, she lost interest, but I’ve been pursuing it ever since! The Mission neighborhood was, and is, my hang out. It’s a project I continually revisit over time.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Not long— maybe a year after I started shooting my Mission series, I got asked to be part of a group show at a gallery in San Francisco. Soon after that, I started sharing the collection with photo editors as part of my portfolio. In fact, it was the primary body of work that got me my first assignment work.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
If I don’t feel passionate about it or if it isn’t working out in my head, a personal project never gets shot.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
For me. there is no difference between portfolio work and personal work. They are one and the same. I choose subject matters that I’m interested in learning more about or have a true connection to.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
My strength isn’t self-promotion online and I don’t usually put much energy into posting these projects there. However, three years ago, Feature Shoot picked up my Fat Series and it went viral.

http://www.featureshoot.com/2013/07/fat-happy-and-healthy-women-photographed-by-gabriela-hasbun/

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
When my Fat Series went viral, a lot of media outlets picked it up. I am definitely protective of that particular series because people on the internet love to body shame and I have a lot of affection for those subjects— I consider many of them my friends. Each time the work was published, the online comments started to spiral out of control. It was an odd balance between feeling excited to see the series published in so many media outlets but I also wanted to shield my subjects from negativity.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, in the past, I’ve sent some personal work as marketing promos and I also try to show personal work to clients every time I see them in person. Those photographs always seems to be what interests them most and what we end up connecting over more deeply.

Artist Statement:
In 2002, I decided to document some of the Mission’s most colorful patrons. San Francisco’s Mission District has long been the home of the working-class retailer. Between the 1906 earthquake and World War II, Mission Street was proudly known as the “Mission Miracle Mile.” Second only to San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district, Mission Street provided a shopping haven for goods and services of high quality. As a symbol and testament to its name, there were two decorative bridges on each end of Mission Street, beginning on 16th street and ending on Cesar Chavez.

The Mission has historically been a neighborhood for the immigrant. Jewish, Irish, Italian and Hispanic families have all resided and worked in this area for decades. Currently, the neighborhood is in the midst of dramatic changes. Since the early 2000’s the area has seen an explosion in popularity with the Bay Area’s young tech entrepreneurs, resulting in an influx of upscale retail outlets and trendy eateries, often pricing out the residents and small businesses who’ve made the area so special.

This series of images hopes to capture the essence of the small businesses and the owners who have been in the neighborhood for over 30 years before the neighborhood is completely gentrified. JJ O’Connor Florists, an establishment that came to Mission street over a hundred years ago, was among the oldest in this tradition and one of the many I’ve been lucky to photograph. Sadly, it shut down, as have many of the others that are documented in this series.

——————-
 
Gabriela Hasbun lives in San Francisco with her husband, Nick, and their little boy, Matteo. Gabriela comes from a large and vibrant family in El Salvador. Even though she hails from warm and humid lands, she’s adapted well to the air conditioned climate of the Bay Area.
 
Gabriela loves shooting for editorial and commercial clients, specializing in environmental portraits. ‘Bold’, ‘colorful’, and ‘quirky’ are common descriptions of the work she produces. Her portraits have been featured in numerous magazines including Fortune, Sunset, WIRED and The Wall Street Journal. She has several portrait series based on cultural issues that document change and gentrification in the Mission and Polk street districts of San Francisco which have also been exhibited at San Francisco galleries including Southern Exposure and San Francisco Arts Commission.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Zave Smith

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: Zave Smith

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Johnny Brenda's

Johnny Brenda's

Johnny Brenda's

Vesper-The Music Makers Jazz

Vesper-The Music Makers Jazz

Vesper-The Music Makers Jazz

Vesper-The Music Makers Jazz

Vesper-The Music Makers Jazz

How long have you been shooting?
I have been a professional photographer all my adult life.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to a very unique school that unfortunately did not survive very long, The Milwaukee Center for Photography. It was a very hard, very in-depth program. I was there two years and then did two years and graduated from The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with a degree in Photography and Print Making.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The Philly Music Makers has two strong roots. I have photographed a couple of events where I set up a white seamless studio and shot a 30-75 B&W portraits of the attendees over a couple of hours. I then took those portraits and did a video mash-up.

I have also had been thinking of shooting musicians portraits in backstage in the ready or green rooms.

About two months ago, I was talking with a friend of mine, Ron Bauman. Ron has deep ties with the Philly music scene. We somehow combined the dressing room portrait idea with the shooting speed and style of the white seamless event work and decided that it would be cool create a video mash-up of Philly area musicians. That is how that project started.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I have been sharing the work as I go. Each time we do a shoot, we add these new portraits to our gallery. We are presently doing one to two shoots each month where we shoot 10-20 portraits.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
For the last decade, all my personal projects have been of the one or two shoot variety. The Philly Music Makers is the first project that is going to go on for a while. I am just having a lot of fun with it and finding it fascinating from a sociological and aesthetic perspective. Two currents have got me jazzed. One, how do you create 10-20 interesting portraits in one green room the size of a small child’s bedroom in the space of a couple of hours and two, why do people do what they do? Why is music so important to us as a species?

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
In my mind, commercial art is all about the answers, “ our butt cream will make your life better.” Whereas fine art, and I think that personal work has the same motivated as fine art, is all about questions. I find that questions are a lot more interesting than answers.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
For me, personal work is all about communicating. Today that means Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet but this project is starting to get buzz.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I just used one of the photos from the Music Makers on a postcard promotion.

————

Exuberant and poignant, philosophical and passionate, Zave Smith’s photographs capture the tangible pleasures and tactile experiences of life. Zave has a special feeling for personality that suffuses his work.

Clients include:
Bristol Meyer Squibb
Capital One
Campbell Mithun
Comcast
Digitas
GMc Advertising
J.P. Morgan
Shire
Vanguard

Represented by,
W.S.W Creative


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Amanda Hibbert

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: Amanda Hibbert

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How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been pursing a career in photography for 5 years, however I received my first camera my senior year of high school and started shooting then.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A little bit of both. Photography is my second career so when I made the change in 2011 from Aerospace Engineering I really examined going back to school full time. I had already completed a certificate program from the Washington School of Photography while working as an engineer, but I felt like I needed a more in-depth focus on lighting.

On my first assisting job I was the second assistant. The first assistant had graduated a few years earlier from photography school. She told me she had learned more on the job than from school, so I decided not to go into debt and learn what I didn’t know while assisting and digital teching.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I played rugby in college and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was an experience that shaped who I am today, my values, work ethic and confidence.

I wanted to share a rather unknown sport with people. The photos are the tip of the iceberg for this project, this series is part of a larger documentary film project I am working on about women’s rugby in the United States.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
These particular images are from the 2011 spring season in the Washington DC area, however I am still working on the overall documentary project. Initially this was going to be a photo essay, then I wanted it to be a multi-media project to include players talking about their experiences. In 2012 I decided it was a documentary film and started filming for that purpose in 2013.

I will be adding portraits of the players and I would like to eventually get the entire collection into a gallery show as part of promotion for the film.

But the short answer is, I’m still working on it.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I am a very detailed planner and I do a lot of pre-visualization prior to a project. If the concept is not coming together in the planning stages I’ll table it and work on another. For me it’s not the time or effort already put in but more of a creative fulfillment quota that needs to be met. I have a book full of ideas that I want to work on so I’ll move onto the next idea if it’s not working for me.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Currently I find that a lot of what ends up in my portfolio is my personal work, so I wold not say it’s different for me. Since majority of my images are my ideas and personal shoots when I shoot personal work, I’m shooting for my portfolio.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Always! My current social media marketing plan starts with my Instagram account @amandahibbert. I use that as the starting point, and then it pushes out to all other outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.). My Instagram account is treated as an extension of my brand so when I post to Instagram it’s like being on my website, but more immediate like a blog. I’m currently curating my feed now to more closely align with my brand.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not viral yet, but hopefully with this wonderful interview. There has been interest in the women’s rugby project and film but nothing so extensive as to make it “viral”.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. My leave behind when showing my portfolio includes several images. The rugby photos are actual some of my images that get the most responses when showing my book, it’s a great conversation starter.

————-

Amanda Hibbert is a San Francisco based photographer and director who believes in the power of story telling.

Her unique combination of technical expertise and creative vision provide an exceptional experience. A true collaborator, Amanda creates a successful partnership with her clients to express their visual aesthetic through photography and video.

She has been selected and exhibited in three APA group shows, the 2013 & 2014 “Off The Clock” Exhibition and in the 2014 “Something Personal Show”.

Visit www.amandahibbert.com or follow in Instagram @amandahibbert


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Sandra Salvas

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: Sandra Salvas

Sunrise in Mae Ann over Love Animal House

Sunrise in Mae Ann over Love Animal House

Hero taking it all in. Marianne found Hero just after he was hit with a machette in his face. While he lost sight in his one eye, he still has a loving spirit and now a forever home where he is safe.

Hero taking it all in. Marianne found Hero just after he was hit with a machette in his face. While he lost sight in his one eye, he still has a loving spirit and now a forever home where he is safe.

Yod and Lung (pronounced Loon) unloading  the daily cut grass for the cows at Holy Cow Farm, the cow extension of Love Animal House.

Yod and Lung (pronounced Loon) unloading the daily cut grass for the cows at Holy Cow Farm, the cow extension of Love Animal House.

Zoe getting her lunch at Holy Cow Farm.

Zoe getting her lunch at Holy Cow Farm.

Tain (Tahn) and Miso. Tain lives at and takes care of the animals at Holy Cow Farm.

Tain (Tahn) and Miso. Tain lives at and takes care of the animals at Holy Cow Farm.

Nin is the last surviving dog at the Wat Ban Oi temple. Recently there was a mass poisoning of 20 dogs here, but Nin was spared. She's been at this Temple for 10 years. She is 12 years old. Pictured with Luang Poh

Nin is the last surviving dog at the Wat Ban Oi temple. Recently there was a mass poisoning of 20 dogs here, but Nin was spared. She’s been at this Temple for 10 years. She is 12 years old. Pictured with Luang Poh

Caramel, not so sure about the giant lens in front of him.

Caramel, not so sure about the giant lens in front of him.

Monty,  watching the sunrise from the top of Love Animal House. Monty is the newest dog here. He kept finding trouble in the villages with chickens running loose. Marianne feared he would be poisoned, so she brought him home.

Monty, watching the sunrise from the top of Love Animal House. Monty is the newest dog here. He kept finding trouble in the villages with chickens running loose. Marianne feared he would be poisoned, so she brought him home.

Mali and her brother Mumbo (not pictured) are defintitely the most wild, most skeptical of the dogs here. They were the only pups that were completely uninterested in getting attention from people.

Mali and her brother Mumbo (not pictured) are defintitely the most wild, most skeptical of the dogs here. They were the only pups that were completely uninterested in getting attention from people.

Ping prepares dinner for the dogs. Ping prepares meals for the dogs 5 days a week using fresh ingredients from the local markets.

Ping prepares dinner for the dogs. Ping prepares meals for the dogs 5 days a week using fresh ingredients from the local markets.

Marianne gives Wolfie a bath. Wolfie was hit by a car and paralyzed in one leg so he now drags it behind him. this leads to scrapes and cuts, so he gets baths to keep the potential for infection down.

Marianne gives Wolfie a bath. Wolfie was hit by a car and paralyzed in one leg so he now drags it behind him. this leads to scrapes and cuts, so he gets baths to keep the potential for infection down.

Charlie is at Wat Pa Tiew. This Temple is off the main highway in Mae Rim. He was hit by a car and had to have surgery on his hips and leg. Marianne is hoping to place him in a home environment sooner than later.

Charlie is at Wat Pa Tiew. This Temple is off the main highway in Mae Rim. He was hit by a car and had to have surgery on his hips and leg. Marianne is hoping to place him in a home environment sooner than later.

Tun feeding the cows at Holy Cow Farm.

Tun feeding the cows at Holy Cow Farm.

The water buffalos enjoying the water on a 90 degree day in Mae Rim.

The water buffalos enjoying the water on a 90 degree day in Mae Rim.

The dogs of Wat Hua Fai. These dogs have it pretty good. The monk here cooks for them daily. Originally there were only 3 dogs here, but the monk allowed other dogs to come in because they were not safe. Now there are 14 here. The Temple sits up high on a hill and against the forest.

The dogs of Wat Hua Fai. These dogs have it pretty good. The monk here cooks for them daily. Originally there were only 3 dogs here, but the monk allowed other dogs to come in because they were not safe. Now there are 14 here. The Temple sits up high on a hill and against the forest.

The dogs of Wat Nah Hoerk. This is one of the safesty temples I've seen. The monk has built the dogs an enclosure for when he is not around to keep them safe. Otherwise they all follow him around and do not wander too far. There are lots of dogs here and it's amazing they all seem to get along in this enclosure.

The dogs of Wat Nah Hoerk. This is one of the safesty temples I’ve seen. The monk has built the dogs an enclosure for when he is not around to keep them safe. Otherwise they all follow him around and do not wander too far. There are lots of dogs here and it’s amazing they all seem to get along in this enclosure.

Bobo the cow at Holy Cow Farm.

Bobo the cow at Holy Cow Farm.

The dogs of Wat Nong Pla Mann happily greet a young monk.

The dogs of Wat Nong Pla Mann happily greet a young monk.

How long have you been shooting?
Technically, since high school…which is about 18 years ago now…yikes.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I wanted to learn not just how to take photos, but how to market myself and sell my work commercially.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I am an animal lover and have worked with several local dog rescues in Utah over the past 5 years. Yes, I’m a crazy dog lady.

I had just been laid off from a full time job as a photo editor, and was completely burnt out. I wanted to work on something bigger than marketing objectives, and for someone who was actually making a difference. I perused the interwebs for volunteer photography projects and found the site Photographers Without Borders. They are a non-profit organization who work with NGOs in developing countries. They partner photographers with causes in order to raise awareness through visual story telling. I read their Mission & Vision statement and immediately applied for an opportunity to work with an animal rescue. After an interview and a couple months, they asked if I’d like to partner with Love Animal House in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I raised money for my airfare and stay, as well as some additional money I was able to donate to Love Animal House.

I wanted this to be pure journalism. I followed Maryanne, her dogs, her cows, cats, and her employees around for 2 weeks just watching, observing, and learning.

Animal welfare is low on the totem pole for most people in Thailand. They don’t understand spaying and neutering pets is the way to control an overpopulation of cats and dogs. Sadly, they result in poisoning their pets to “get a hold of the situation.” Slaughter houses are violent and inhumane, and farm animals are often left suffering and unattended to. The sanctuary was founded over 21 years ago to change this; to offer a place of equality for all living animals, and to educate the community in animal welfare. The organization is currently developing their bovine shelter for rescued cows and water buffalo to be developed into a free energy plant by turning their waste into gas to run generators and provide electricity to their project site and neighborhood. 

I wanted the opportunity to tell this story. The project focuses on the animals she’s rescued, as well as the monks who protect the animals in the local temples of Mae Rim. It really goes beyond Chiang Mai, so I feel like this is just one door that has opened to a much bigger project.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This was a 2 week project, but I want to go back. There’s so much more to tell.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It depends on the depth of the project. Some projects only last 1 day, some I spend years on. If it’s a real story, with progression and substance, it usually only takes a day to realize that and then I try to go back within a reasonable time and continue it over a year. Sometimes I just have random ideas that are more conceptual and it’s just a one day shoot and done.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I actually consider all of it portfolio work. Part of being a photographer is being personally creative but also having the ability to adapt your style for a clients needs. I like the challenge of making it all cohesive. My personal work comes from what I am most passionate about, and I like to think that clients consider those things before they hire me for an assignment. “Oh, she loves dogs. She must be patient and understanding.” Haha!

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I only post personal work on Instagram. I have rules for this platform,

Rule 1 is iphone only. What’s more challenging than taking a great photo? Taking a great photo with your optically challenged iphone. Funnily enough, I broke this rule twice during promotion of this trip to Thailand, but that was it. I’ve stayed true before and since.

Rule 2 is only 1 post a day. No one wants to see the progression of me “getting the shot” Just post the best one.

As for Tumblr and Facebook, anything goes. I use Tumblr to promote photos before I add them to my website galleries, or will throw up an image with Facebook. Honestly I’m not the best social media promoter.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet, but maybe one of these days. I’m optimistic.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I do it all the time. It’s not like a lot of people are going to have the opportunity to see my personal work unless I’m on their radar. By printing and mailing pieces out, I only hope it doesn’t just go from the mail box to the recycling bin. I don’t over print or over send. I really try to target the audience of the mailer so I’m not wasting paper or anyone’s time.

—————-

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, moved to NYC for college, and after graduating quickly traded in the concrete jungle for the mountains. After a 5 year stint in Boulder, CO, I moved to Park City, UT where I currently reside with my husband and 2 fur kids.

I am inspired by real moments, real people, bad dogs, being outside, and all kinds of adventure. I love projects with depth and process that keep you wanting to go back for more: to learn, see, and experience it all as much as you can.

I love…
documenting activities
unexpected moments
the outdoors
dogs
my family
nature
mountains
snow
sun
water
whiskey
a cold beer
skiing
running
cartwheels
great friends
dancing


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Bob O’Connor

- - Personal Project

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: Bob O’Connor

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

How long have you been shooting?
15 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to school for architecture, but took a lot of photo classes while I was there. That said, I learned more from assisting photographers in the real world than I ever did in school.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I was interested in the sparse landscapes and ever changing weather that exists in Iceland.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project is from a single, two week, trip to Iceland. It was presented as soon as I got the film scanned and retouched.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I tend to think about and plan things for so long that by the time I get around to photographing them I’m pretty confident they’re going to work. If it’s gotten to the point that I’m getting on a plane and going somewhere, I know I have a project that’ll work.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I don’t think they’re that different. I make a conscious effort to keep all the work I show in my portfolio/website, whether from personal or commercial projects, feeling that same. The goal is to get hired for projects that I would’ve done for myself even if someone wasn’t paying me. I try not to dilute my aesthetic with images that are overly commercial looking, solely there to attract a client.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I’m a regular Instagram user @oconbo I’d say I post the early stages of projects and/or process images there and save the final images for my website.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
This project slowly made its way around to a lot of design and photo blogs. It wasn’t a single day viral hit. I did a limited edition print of the horse image with Jen Bekman’s 20×200 project that did sell out in less than a day.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. A postcard with an image from this project that was sent to an art buyer resulted directly in me getting an advertising job to take a similar style image for their project.

—————–

Bob O’Connor is a Boston based photographer interested in the places that people live and work. His work has appeared in a variety of publications including, The New York Times Magazine, Fast Company, Technology Review, Dwell, and Fortune magazines. O’Connor’s work has also been shown at The Photographic Resource Center, The Griffin Museum of Photography, and Jen Bekman Gallery. He was named one of “30 Emerging Photographers to Watch” by PDN in 2006 and one of Resource Magazine’s “10 Best 10” in 2009.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Tyler Stableford

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: Tyler Stableford

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How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting for 22 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m self-taught, yet I have learned from and been inspired by many workshops and mentors over the years.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
For The Farmers project, my main inspiration was to capture working farmers and ranchers here in my hometown of Carbondale, Colorado — and the project grew to become national in scope.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I shot the project for a few months before showing the work to Canon’s ad agency Dentsu America – I was hoping that this body of work could convince them to have me shoot a campaign for one of their new cameras. What they proposed instead, which was even more fortuitous, was a campaign for Canon’s ImagePROGRAF large-format printers. In many ways, this was the perfect match for the project, as I had always envisioned this series as a fine-art project. I never wanted the images to look or feel “commercial” — and with the printer campaign, the fine-art style was a perfect fit.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Ha! It depends — some I have dropped after a single shoot. With The Farmers series, I knew after shooting just a few ranchers here that it had promise. In part this was because I’ve lived here for 19 years and gotten to know many of the ranchers and have shot commercial projects on some of their properties, so I already knew a lot about these men and women, and their families. I knew this project could really come to life in print.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
That’s a good question, yet I think that often personal work is exactly what creative directors and art producers want to see these days. Yes, they need to see commercial work that shows that a photographer can execute a large-production campaign when needed; yet more important is personal spark and an artistic eye. I think that’s what really grabs a viewer’s attention and what may win a commercial project.

Also, I am always excited if my personal images have a different look than my existing portfolio. At this point in my career, I’m not looking to add more depth to, say, my skiing or climbing or workwear images (sure, I can always improve upon what I have, but you get the idea); I’m looking A) to be inspired by capturing unique imagery of larger world and B) to show more diversity on my portfolio.

As a director/photographer living in western Colorado, three hours’ drive from the nearest ad agency, I’m not one who specializes in just one narrow niche, as perhaps a more urban photographer might; I enjoy shooting a wide range of projects!

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I have!

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I haven’t seen personal work go viral; I have seen commercial projects and short films gain great interest online That said, until recently I have not invested a lot of time in posting to social media, and that is changing — I just hired a social media and marketing director to help with this!

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, absolutely; I have printed my personal projects. I have used Canon’s HD Album books which have beautiful paper and layouts; they go alongside my main portfolio book and it’s nice to have an additional book of work when meeting with agencies.

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Photographer and director Tyler Stableford has earned a worldwide clientele for his print and motion imagery. He is one of Canon’s prestigious Explorers of Light, and Men’s Journal named him “One of the Seven World’s Greatest Adventure Photographers.”

Tyler’s work has won numerous awards from the Art Directors’ Club, Communication Arts, Graphis, AdWeek, the AME awards and many others. His award-winning short films have screened at film festivals around the globe.

Tyler’s passion for storytelling extends beyond commercial work—he volunteers to shoot at least one week per year for nonprofits. Visit www.tylerstableford.com for more.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Danielle Tsi

- - Personal Project

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: Danielle Tsi

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How long have you been shooting?
I have been actively photographing for the past 15 years. Professionally, for the past 6.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self-taught mostly, apart from the occasional photography workshop and assisting other photographers.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
A friend and I were invited last summer to attend the inaugural Women’s Meat Camp organized by the Belcampo Meat Company, in exchange for coverage on blogs and social media.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Each time I create work I seek to make it portfolio-worthy, whether for a client or for myself, so there’s no distinction in that regard. I’m a firm believer that there are a multitude of stories out there waiting to be told, I just have to be in the right space (physically and mentally) to capture it and this is how I approach any assignment. In this case, my goal was to tell the story of the first Women’s Meat Camp by conveying the camaraderie and friendships that were forged among 12 women over a weekend of cocktails, butchery and open-fire cooking.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, all the time. Instagram is my preferred medium and I really like that it automatically cross-posts to Facebook and Twitter.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I wouldn’t say my work has gone viral but my blog has had its successes, most notably when it was nominated for Best Food Photography in Saveur Magazine’s Blog Awards a few years ago. That generated a lot of publicity and some fruitful work opportunities.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, mostly postcards, though I’d love to put together a mini-zine sometime. Perhaps this is the year to do it!

Statement
The Belcampo Women’s Meat Camp was a four-day all-girls’ extravaganza featuring butchery and open-fire cooking of some fine cuts of meat, accompanied by: copious amounts of rosé, cocktails, yoga on the lawn, hands-on sausage-making, farm walks, hair-braiding, story-telling, grilled peaches and hand-churned ice-cream. Founded in 2012, the Belcampo Meat Company oversees the entire process of raising, butchering, processing and selling sustainable and humanely-raised meat on their farmlands at the foot of Mount Shasta, California.

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Born and raised in Singapore, Danielle Tsi uses photography as a means to understand and experience other ways of looking at the world. With food as her muse, she stumbled into the magic that comes with uncovering the stories that lie beyond the delights of the plate. Translating that fascination into her award-winning blog earned her a nomination for Best Food Photography in Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog Awards. Her work has appeared in various media outlets including, The Kitchn, Design*Sponge, and Saveur. Danielle loves Ashtanga yoga, red wine, cooking for friends, espresso and winter’s soft light. She lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, cat and their vegetable garden.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Hollis Bennett

- - Personal Project

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: Hollis Bennett

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How long have you been shooting?
For myself, about 5 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to photo school but the only thing it taught me was that school can’t teach you real world experience.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I’ve always been a fisherman and love all aspects of it and I have been working on building a body of work around Fly Fishing around the world because honestly, it’s one hell of a way to get outside, travel the world and have a damn blast while making solid images.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Well, this specific body of work that you see here was just completed in the last month as I was in New Zealand working on these images. Overall, I have been shooting fly fishing for about 3 years now.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That’s a tough one – some projects are much more self-evident and reveal their failures (or success) quite quickly, and others take a bit more digging to find out. I give all my projects at least 2 or 3 attempts, but if it’s not working past that, I move on. It can be tough to stay focused at times too – I’m like a cat chasing a laser pointer at times…

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Is it different? I don’t think it should be. Sure, you might be able to take liberties with your ‘personal work’ but in the end, it should all matter and fit in your portfolio somewhere.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I am a huge Instagram whore. I love the immediacy of it and I (try) to treat it as a rolling, evolving portfolio. I think that it’s great to be able to post something to the masses and add a bit of humor/insight/intrigue to the images via the captions.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I’ve had images picked up by brands interested in what I’m doing and it has led to some success for sure.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Of course. I can’t think of a time when I haven’t used at least one image from a personal shoot on a promo. I don’t always call it out as such, but again, this goes to ‘brand’ consistency with my work. I want to show people that you are hiring me for a certain look, and a certain aesthetic and that will come across no matter the image or project.

——————–

Hollis Bennett is an award winning photographer based in Nashville Tennessee. Originally from Tennessee, he has lived on 3 coasts (E, W, and Alaska) in the largest cities to the smallest remote communities.

He specializes in real people doing real things. His style carries over from editorial to advertising and back again, and he loves to tell stories, in any manner possible.

A life lived out of doors fishing, hunting, traveling and exploring allows him to relate to these situations and see them from the perspective of someone who has been there and experienced it first hand.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Sasha Nialla

- - Personal Project

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: Sasha Nialla

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How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting for 13 years. I’ve been working solely as a photographer for 10 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m self-taught. I took one photography class at The New School to learn how to use the camera and one black and white printing class to learn about lighting, shading, how to look at a negative, that the film is just a blueprint…I also read lots of books. And of course, the never-ending class of ‘trial and error.’

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I am constantly getting involved in projects that bring awareness to different causes and life experiences. With immigration being one of the top issues on people’s minds today, I wanted to create a project that shows immigrants and refugees as people and not as social-political data.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I contacted New Women New Yorkers with a photo concept. We decided to make it into a photo exhibition to raise awareness about women immigrants in New York City. I photographed this series over 20 days. The exhibition is on Thursday, March 24 from 6-9pm at Centre for Social Innovation, 601 West 26th Street, Fl. 3.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I jump into projects with both feet. I make all the commitments and agreements before I have even picked up the camera. So I shoot the whole project, usually over the course of a few days, and then walk away from it for a few days. With a clear head I start viewing the images and seeing how it affects me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s just great for the people involved but not for my portfolio. That is ok, because a huge part of why I shoot personal projects is the experience with my subjects. I love learning about other people, what makes them tick. To me, if that experience went well, I believe the work went well.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I view them as the same. I shoot personal projects with the intention of it going in my portfolio. I try to present work that I would like to get hired doing. Since I produce, art direct, photograph, and retouch all my personal projects I feel it is a good representation of my style.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, I do post on Facebook and Instagram (@snialla). I’ve gotten assignments and kept contacts this way. I feel it’s a good way to stay in front of people without being annoying. If they want to look at my page, great.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I’ve yet to have a piece go viral…

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I almost always print my personal projects for marketing. I made a black and white magazine of portraits I took for Dance Theatre of Harlem. I mailed some out and kept some to leave behind at meetings. It was mentioned on PDN’s Promos We Kept and the series placed in the self-promotion category of the PDN Photo Annual 2015.

Artist Statement
Now more than ever, immigration is one of the top issue’s on people’s minds. Women immigrants and refugees constantly face sacrifices and challenges that deserve attention and recognition. Learning unknown customs, speaking a new language and adapting to different cultural norms is extremely hard. Establishing a career in the US workforce as a foreigner is even harder.

Through my photographic series entitled Real People. Real Lives. Women Immigrants of New York, I want to bring awareness to the fears and strength immigrant women carry each day. The cities they first called home are a huge part of who they are. For this reason, I chose to integrate their hometowns into their portraits. Landscape images of their birthplaces were projected onto their faces, bodies, and background to create highlights and shadows. These projections blended onto the sitter’s features, emphasizing their beauty, their emotion and the marks of their struggles, which are visible in their eyes and expression.

I approach all subjects in the same manner. I spend time getting to know the sitters, I ask them questions and connect with them. Only with their trust, I am able to show their vulnerabilities.

I think that it is important to underscore that although much is being said about immigration, immigrants and refugees are being treated as numbers. These portraits show immigrants and refugees as people and not as social-political data.

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Sasha Nialla was raised in California and spent the last 16 years in New York City. As a photographer for 10 years, she is constantly getting involved in photography projects that bring awareness to different causes and life experiences, including; children with HIV/AIDS, diabetes, Iraq war survivors and many more. All these projects have resulted in supporting vulnerable groups and people, and those not exposed to these situations in their everyday lives. Highlights include multiple billboards in Times Square for Bideawee, standees of breast cancer survivors with NFL players in Kroger supermarkets and on PepsiCo and Gatorade packaging and an exhibition of cancer survivors in the NYU Medical Center art gallery.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Judd Lamphere

- - Personal Project

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: Judd Lamphere

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Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere

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How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting professionally for about 12 years now, but my love for photography began in my high school darkroom. I was fortunate enough to have access to a great art program back then. In fact, my high school arts program put many students on the path to professional careers in the arts.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I received a BS in Biomedical Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
It was my best friend’s dog Roxanne. I had known Roxy since, well, since we were all puppies, really. I saw her carry him through some of the hardest times in his life. The relationship was beautiful, and for a time, it felt like it would stay that way forever. As Roxanne got older, her black coat became lined with silver accents, and she mellowed out a lot from the rebellious teenager she used to be. Yet, she retained this kind of pride in herself. She carried herself with a sense of stateliness. But even more than that, was this bond between the two of them, this unconditional love for one another. My friend had to slowly start saying goodbye to his best friend one day at a time. I wanted to help him through this really difficult time, and the only thing I could think to do was take a picture.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I started showing pictures on my blog almost immediately. Friends started sharing links to my work on social media, and soon I had people lining up to have portraits made of their best friends too.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That’s a tricky question for me. I find my personal work comes in waves, with moments of cresting productivity followed by troughs. As such, it can take me awhile, maybe even two years, before I’ve explored a body of work to the point where I can tell myself if it’s succeeding or not.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I love when the work is different. Variety is the spice of life, and it keeps me growing professionally and personally. The great thing about personal work is that it’s ok to fail. Real growth emerges from failure.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Typically I will only share a link to my blog on social media, out of various copyright concerns. This is for my professional and personal projects that I’ve edited closely. I’ll use Instagram or Facebook for fun “behind-the-scenes” type shots that I’m not concerned about. I did share a body of work through Reddit/Imgur, but this was a series of vertical landscape panoramas I did, and was just for fun.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
My old dogs project picked up a lot of interest locally and was featured in 7days (Burlington’s go-to free alternative weekly), and a local news story.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have actually! I print and mail postcards to small, targeted groups of clients I really want to work with.

What do you want to do with this personal project?
My long-term goal for this project is to assemble a photo book, perhaps through some form of crowdfunding or self-publication. The idea is to have proceeds from the book go into a fund to help support the adoption of senior dogs.

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Judd Lamphere received a BS in Biomedical Photography with concentrations in Photojournalism and Creative Writing from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006. He has since worked as a photo editor, production manager, landscape and editorial photographer in a number of areas including advertising, editorial, travel, nonprofit, government organizations and outdoor adventure.

Judd has worked with a number of periodicals and organizations including The Wall Street Journal, Triathlete Magazine, Boston Globe Magazine and Greenpeace, though his true passion for photography lies in his personal work, ranging from portraits of Old Dogs for charity to his exploratory landscape series Architecture of Energy.

Judd is also a co-founder of Reciprocity Studio, a commercial studio in Burlington, Vermont whose clients include Seventh Generation, Tata Harper Skin Care, Caledonia Spirits and more.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: P2 Photography

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: P2 Photography (Jon Held & Jenna Close)

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How long have you been shooting?
Jenna: We are in our 9th year of business.
Jon: The 9th? Already?

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Jenna: I went to the Art Institute of Seattle.
Jon: I am self-taught.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Jenna: We had been having a period of creative block and were struggling to come up with an idea we could both really get behind. We sat down and made a list of things we were curious about. The common theme was people who were living their lives on their own terms and doing what they loved. We decided to pair that with our interest in hands-on, physical work and feature people who were pursuing offbeat jobs or hobbies. We found our first subject, a recycled-metal sculptor, through a friend, and our next subject, a practitioner of Hikaru Dorodango (shiny dumplings), through the internet.

Jon: For me, the inspiration was purely a marketing decision, a way to showcase our work during a dry spell. And it seemed like it would be a heck of a lot of fun to meet these people.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Jon: I recall it was about 4 days. But I might be wrong. 2 weeks?

Jenna: We waited until we had one subject completed and another confirmed before the initial release. Now, we present subjects as we complete them. This project is intended to be episodic, so we want to build a following that comes along for the ride as it unfolds.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Jenna: It depends, but typically I’ll give it a generous amount of time before giving up. I’ve found that often when something isn’t right, struggling with it for a while can lead to a breakthrough.

Jon: With Buck the Cubicle we hit the nail on the head. It was one of those projects that was exactly as I’d imagined from the beginning. Our first subject gave us momentum to plow right ahead without any changes to the overall scope. It just felt right.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Jon: Those are both expressions of the photographer as artist. So to me there ought to be no difference. I want to be known and hired for doing exactly what I want to do, and the only hope for that is for people to see that particular work. However, when a client gets involved it often becomes collaborative…..

Jenna: Yeah. What Jon said.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Jenna: We regularly use Instagram (p2photography). We also link to blog updates on Facebook and post our videos to Vimeo. And we occasionally use Twitter (@p2photography).

Jon: Tweeting is a skill. I have much to learn.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Jon: Aaahhhhhhhh…….mmmmmmmmmm……
Jenna: Not yet…

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Jenna: This year we’re releasing 4 printed promos, each featuring a Buck the Cubicle subject. So this project, in printed form, is the primary vehicle for our marketing in 2016 and maybe beyond.

Jon: The first round of booklets went out this month. To stuff, seal and stamp 500 envelopes it takes exactly three and a half episodes of Mad Men.

Buck the Cubicle is an ongoing series featuring people who get out, get dirty and find inspiration in all manner of offbeat occupations.

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Jon and Jenna (P2) are commercial photographers based in Southern California. They work for a variety of clients but have a particular interest in businesses and people who build things. Jon is also a flight instructor and Jenna is Chair of the National Board of ASMP. They can be found at p2photography.net.

Clients include: The Cincinnati Zoo | Curves | Elevator | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University | NBC | Perspective | Primus Power | Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners | Rotary International | Sierra Magazine | SolarWorld | Swarovski | T. Rowe Price

P2 is represented by Meredith Bless at Taiga Creative.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Ethan Pines

- - Personal Project

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: Ethan Pines

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How long have you been shooting?
About 16 years, if you count the initial three years of classes, which I do.

Are you self-taught or photography-school taught?
Both. In 1999 I took a basic photography class at Santa Monica College out of random interest. I knew nothing about photography, had never set my camera to Manual. But I’d been wanting a change (I went to graduate school for journalism and was working as a writer), and this class and the ensuing ones completely opened my eyes. That sounds cheesy, but I was looking for something that used both the creative and technical sides of the brain, that got you away from the computer and out into the world, and this was it. (Of course now it’s the age of digital photography, and we’re all back on our computers.)

I spent three years in classes at SMC, a great program. But I also consider myself self-taught, because photography is a craft and an industry that wants constant evolution. I’m always working on lighting, composition, concepts, substance, process, technique. I test and experiment and learn. It’s an ongoing process.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I occasionally take photographic road trips around the Southwest; there’s a simplicity and spontaneity in shooting whatever you find, whatever inspires you, wherever you happen to be. Shooting this kind of non-commercially driven project helps me recharge and reconnect with that first magic of shooting. I didn’t set out to shoot a Tourist America project. This series arose gradually after several road trips. I had a number of images that I felt were strong, and I started wondering if a series was forming, if there was a common thread. I seemed to be drawn to tourist sites, both popular and obscure, beautiful and kitschy. Rather than continuing to shoot randomly, I decided to make it a project. And I booked flights to other areas of the country to deepen the project.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The first shots, taken before it was officially a project, were done about four years prior to posting it on the website.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Honestly, there are so many projects I want to shoot, I consider each one carefully before even starting it. Once I do, I approach it like a job: I’m going to make it work. If something’s not working, you figure out why and adjust your approach.

Since shooting for portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
For me, both portfolio and personal shoots come from who I am. But personal projects like this one entail less production and are less commercial. Whether they are fine art, I leave to the viewer. In my case they tend to be straight photography: no compositing or manipulation, very little done in post. (Tourist America is shot entirely on medium-format film.) They might share a sensibility with my commercial work, since it’s virtually impossible to remove the photographer from the images. But they allow me a return to the pure photographic process which drew me to the field in the first place. They also free me from the constraints that can come with jobs — images can be with or without people, shot wherever I like, infused with mood, created with whatever offbeat/awkward elements, etc.

How do I feel about them? They are my babies. Whether or not anyone else cares, I know the nurturing that went into them, and I am proud of them. I feel they’re as worthwhile as projects with more production value. And I believe they help show art directors and potential clients another side of oneself.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, but not nearly as much as commercial work. I have several series that I’d like to get out there more. Commercial work always seems to demand more prompt posting, while it’s fresh. I post to Instagram and Facebook simultaneously.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I wouldn’t say viral, but the “Lost Boat” shoot I did a couple of years ago got a lot of attention and helped lead to a nice profile in Digital Photo Pro magazine.

Earlier this year I shot a portrait series of finalists at the massive California State Science Fair in downtown Los Angeles, currently on my site as “Dwarf Stars.” Once Wired online picked it up, it spread around. Again, not viral, but, say, slightly contagious.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
“Lost Boat” went out as a direct-mail booklet. “Welcome Aliens” went out as a postcard. I also have two major projects — documentary work shot in Guatemala and Vietnam, still in proofsheet form — that will eventually be part of a printed mini-portfolio to accompany my main book.

Artist statement about the project:
There’s something special about American tourist sites, something unique I’ve found nowhere else. It’s the vintage fonts and infrastructure, the kitsch hand in hand with sincerity, the consumerism hand in hand with earnestness, the excited tourists in sometimes mundane experiences. The sites intend for you to feel a certain way. Once you look behind the scenes and see that the experience is packaged, it actually becomes more earnest and heartfelt, only in a different way than perhaps originally imagined. All these sites are created, maintained and visited by people who care deeply. Based on authentic foundations, they are canned experiences that ultimately become newly authentic experiences in their own right and carry forward a deep national history.

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Ethan Pines is a Los Angeles-based photographer shooting conceptual, humanistic, irreverent images for commercial and editorial clients such as Dolby, Solarcity, Universal Studios, Simply Asia Foods, Forbes and Wired. He grew up on a small ranch at the edge of Los Angeles and now lives in Topanga Canyon with his wife, cat and a host of seasonally changing wildlife.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.