Category "Personal Project"

The Art of the Personal Project: Tim Tadder

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects. A personal project is the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director/photo editor or graphic designer. This column features the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/timtadder

Today’s featured photographer is: Tim Tadder

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How long have you been shooting?
I spent 4 years as a photojournalist before entering the advertising world in 2005

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both. And, it’s complicated. My father was a professional photographer in Baltimore so I grew up around the craft. During my 5-year stint as a high school teacher I picked up a camera as a hobby during my vacations. In 1999 I left teaching and started freelancing at the local newspaper. After two years grinding doing community news I went to graduate school for photojournalism at Ohio University. That lead me to California and eventually to the advertising industry.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The Las Muertas projects was inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos.

Two things came into play that inspired this project. First and foremost a wild fire burned homes and land very close (across the street) from our studio. It turned the landscape into this apocalyptic wasteland that I would pass daily. There was incredible beauty in the destruction, I knew I wanted to feature it, I was not sure how.

Then Halloween happened, and I saw people in costume walking the sidewalks past this barren landscape and a light bulb turned on. Being in Southern California, the Dia De Los Muertos holiday is very much an influence and the landscape was the perfect setting for featuring the subject matter.

Dia De Los Muertos is on November 2nd each year and its is a day in Mexican culture where the dead are remembered and celebrated. It is said that on that day the dead are able to walk through purgatory and visit their earthly haunts. The wildfire destruction to me, represented this purgatory. So that stage was set, and the rest of the project seemed to come together from there.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This was just a one day shoot followed up with a couple of days of postproduction. This is concept based not documentary so the time invested is more in the conceptualizing and pre/post production. Less time shooting more time planning and refining.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That varies, there are things I spend a lot of time on that never work and something’s I spend a few days on that work really well. Time for me never determines the success of the project, because my projects don’t require months and months. I don’t have that kind of personal time to invest in my work. Between being a husband, father, and running a business I feel that my days of long-term projects are on hold. I find that the projects I can do are shorter an well thought out, which affords me the ability to keep my priorities central and my life balanced.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I don’t agree with this point of view. I feel that my personal work should be my portfolio. That’s who I am as a visual communicator. My work is personal, and I pour my soul into every job I do, so if there is a disconnect between my personal work and my portfolio, I feel that my voice will be inauthentic. I want to inspire creative’s with my vision and my personal work is the vehicle.

I get more projects based off my personal work than any other images. Literally we get assignments that the creative is my personal work with the logo. Clients and agencies sometimes fall in love with the visuals and they want to contract it for their own messaging. That’s what drives my revenue, the more personal projects I do the more commercial projects I get. It’s a simple recipe that works.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I have never posted them on Reddit or Tumblr, but others have. Its crazy but the moment I release a new project it gets picked up and spread around the web quite quickly. If it hits Reddit, then game on, and the viral thing happens. We have enjoyed the success of some really powerful viral exposure, which always leads to magazine articles, TV interviews, and a zillion blog posts. Ultimately this leads to commercial exposure and success. The Las Muertas series has been featured around the world on tons of blogs and media outlets. Its been extremely well received in Mexico, and we are currently bidding a project based on this creative for a beer company. I am most proud that the Mexican audience likes the work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes see above. Las Muertas, when googled turns up tons and tons of results from news outlets and blogs around the world.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes we use them for mailers and source book ads, as well as post on creative sites like Behance.net We share them with our audience every chance we get.

Las Muertas is a celebration of the Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos or “Day of the Dead.” Inspired by the beautiful designs and colors of the November 2nd festival, I set out to pay homage to the beauty of the tradition but to also put an environmental connection to the dead and their journey. This project was a collaboration between talented artists that believed in the concept and lent their time and passion to make it a success. The beautiful head dresses were made by the celebrated Dia De Los Muertos sculpture artist Krisztianna and the incredible wardrobe provided by stylist Julia Reeser.

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Tim Tadder is a Southern California based creative photographer and director with a strong sport and conceptual portfolio. Since 2012 Tim Tadder has published multiple personal projects that have enjoyed viral success. The most wildly acclaimed “Water Wigs” received over 1 million unique views within the first 24 hours of publication.

Tadder is often hired to produce images and motion projects with either a sport thematic or a conceptual visual challenge. Recent clients include, Mercedes Benz, Reebok, NFL, New Era, McDonalds, Merck, Capri Sun, Modelo, Tecate, Bud Light, Avia, WD-40, Kia, Proctor and Gamble, Walmart

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: Edgar Artiga

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Edgar Artiga

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How long have you been shooting?
About 15 years. For the last 5 years, I have primarily been focusing on sports and fitness photography.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I have an AA degree in photography. I also worked for a large production studio as an assistant and studio manager for the early part of my career. I view every job or project as a new learning experience.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I love photographing athletes of all kinds and recently have been very drawn to the variety of different fighters who step into the ring. I love the level of intensity that is associated with fighting. For this project, I wanted to get a glimpse into the personalities of these fighters and the training and preparation they put in before stepping into the ring. I have shot recreational fighters in the past. However, I wanted to photograph professional competitive fighters, including those who already have their pro cards and some who are still fighting to get one. I came across a local DC area gym, Level Up Boxing and Fitness, which trains MMA, Muay Thai kickboxers, and boxers. Several fighters who train at this gym were a great fit for the project. I loved the personal story of one fighter in particular, Luther “Lights Out” Smith, who, at the age of 36, left his 9-5 job to teach boxing and follow his dream of becoming a champion fighter. I was intrigued by the kind of person that would put everything on the line for the love of a sport.

A lot of my sports imagery is produced and involves lots of lighting. For this project, I wanted to diversify my work by using a more natural documentary approach to capture the moments and feelings of these fighters putting in their work and training at the gym. I included some lit portraits, but shot most of the images using natural light.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I started this project just this past spring. Some of the images are up on my website and some are in my printed sports book. I definitely plan to continue to follow these fighters and continue shooting local fighters for this project.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually know after the first shoot. Even if it is not working, I usually get something out of it even if it is just a learning experience. This particular project not only produced some great results in terms of imagery, but I also really enjoyed spending time with these fighters and photographing them as well as having the freedom to explore new approaches with my sports photography.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
For me, portfolio and personal work are one and the same. For both, I am always striving to produce the best work possible and to explore new things, whether that is new subject matter or different photographic approaches. My personal shoots don’t always make it into my portfolio, but I always shoot with my portfolio in mind. The great advantage of personal work is that it gives me the freedom to try to push things in new directions and experiment with something new. In the end, this is the kind of work for which I would like to get commissions.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes. It’s a great way to show new work and get feedback.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet, but that would be a great opportunity.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Some of the images from this project are in my printed sports book and on my website. I am planning on using some of the images from this project for an upcoming e-promo and also in the process of putting together a printed promo piece from the project.

Artist’s statement:
I love the intensity of fighters, and for this “In the Ring” project, I wanted to capture professional competitive fighters in their training environment. I was particularly drawn to the story of one fighter included in this project, Luther “Lights Out” Smith,” who, at age 36, left his 9-5 job to teach boxing and follow his dream of becoming a champion fighter. I was intrigued by the kind of person that would put everything on the line for the love of a sport.

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Edgar Artiga is a commercial and editorial photographer based in the DC area who loves connecting with and capturing people. His signature clean and simple style carries through the wide range of his work.

Edgar lives in the DC area with his wife, two sons, and trouble-maker chocolate lab Coco. He can be found here: www.artigaphoto.com


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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: Jim Golden

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/jimgolden
Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Jim Golden

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Disclosure: Jim is a former client of mine.

How long have you been shooting?
9 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Technically I received a BFA photo degree, minor in design, but I retouched right out of school for a while and was just shooting for my artwork. Initially I didn’t want to work commercially, assisting had made me a bit gun-shy to the commercial world. This was mid-90’s in NYC. When I was making the transition from retouching to shooting (in Portland, early aughts), I rented a studio space on the wrong side of the tracks and taught myself how to light from the ground up by looking at my favorite photogs and trying to make that light.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
My friend Rob has a scissor collection, I knew I wanted to make a survey of the most interesting pieces, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. He gave me his favorite 700 and said ‘good luck’. After a week of pulling my hair out it dawned on me to use the classic top-down apparel format to translate the idea. Boom, project kicked off.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
About 6 months after the scissor image, I made the promo. I had about 7 total images at that point. Now its up to 25 or so.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually can tell in the first few shoots. I’ve scrapped tons of ideas over the years, but I get that feeling on the successful ones after the first day of shooting, I know something’s there. It happened with the Collections, Murdered Out (my black on black project), Relics of Technology, even my earlier work with people, Tulelake, was a hit and led to some work. My Auto Portraits series is often a topic when I meet new creatives as well. Plus now with IG, the solo parking and “cars on the street” thing is huge now.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
The beauty of the personal project, at least for me, it’s 75% of what I get hired to do now. Years ago several people told me shoot what you find interesting, it’s the only way, etc, I finally listened, and it slowly built up and I found my voice. After all the years of hearing that word, I totally get it now!

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, I’m fairly active on Tumblr and Instagram, I get hired quite a bit thru social and Google image search, etc. Pintrest comes up a lot too. Social is a huge component of marketing these days, you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think so.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes, the Collections project has made the rounds internationally several times and keeps flaring up. Relics of technology was a hit right out of the box, it has some animated GIFs that went viral literally overnight on Tumblr. That project has also keeps going and going on social channels. I’ve been featured on several influential blogs, photo and otherwise, as well being interviewed for radio pieces on PBS, New Hampshire Public Radio, and the BBC. Austin Radcliff, author of the Things Organized Neatly tumblr is doing a book with Rizzoli, seeing my work in print at that level will be quite a thrill. I also love getting emails from people outside of the business. That’s an amazing connection, the person on the street connecting with a picture of 500 scissors or a pattern of diskettes from the 80’s? To me, this means I’m getting through to my audience.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, the Collections mailer was a 18×24” with the scissor collection on one side and the camping collection on the other. The Relics of Technology was also a fold out poster (20×24”) with the name of all the objects and an interesting fact about each. Both were VERY well received – its not everyday you get emails from CD’s of major agencies telling you how much they liked your promo, well, at least not for me!

STATEMENT: Collections
I feel collecting is human nature. Find stuff you like and hang on to it, use it, enjoy it. The “Collection” series is me basically collecting images of other people’s collections

STAEMENT: Relics of Technology
The seeds for the Relics of Technology project started when I found a brick cell phone at a thrift store in rural Oregon. The fascination was equal parts nostalgia for the form, and curiosity as to what had become of them. One thing led to another and I was on the hunt for groups of media and key pieces of technology, most of which have now been downsized to fit in the palm of our hands. These photos are reminders that progress has a price and our efforts have an expiration date.

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An award-winning photographer specializing in still life and products, Jim brings an artist’s eye and an enthusiast’s passion to his work. He strives to capture the pared-down essence of his subjects, rather than impose a false sense of beauty upon them. The viewer is invited to enjoy an often-inanimate object for its stark simplicity or quiet quality.


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: Stephanie Diani

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Stephanie Diani

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How long have you been shooting?
For money? Since 1998. For fun? Since I was in middle school, though I was using disc cameras and 110 film back then.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught. A degree in Classical Archaeology only gets one so far in the photo world. Everything else I had to learn on my own.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I was still relatively new to Los Angeles, and fascinated by the culture of beauty, youth, and plastic surgery, when I happened upon a burlesque review in the desert. I loved the attitude of the older performers — they were so confident and sassy. I wanted to get to know them.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I worked on it intermittently for about a year and a half, networking from one woman to the next, trying to find women who had been performing for decades.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I’ll usually give myself at least two shoots on a project before I allow any gut feelings to influence my decision about whether to chuck it or not. But sometimes I know after the first session if something will work. I knew with the Tribe series that it was going to be an interesting project, and DAMES as well.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Every time I go out with a camera, I work towards getting that little sparkle in my brain when it all comes together. The feeling that makes me giggle a little bit — when lighting and gesture and attitude are all working together and I know I’ve got something.

I try to bring that giggle to every job, but sometimes it just isn’t going to happen and the end result is not ‘me.’ But I bring my A-game to every shoot, and when it’s done I move on to the next one.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yep. Tumblr and Instagram, both of which link to my twitter and FB pages.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
DAMES got picked up by Slate’s photo blog Behold, and I think from there it got onto Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, maybe a few other sites. DAMES was also featured at GETXOPHOTO a few years back, a photo festival in Getxo, Spain. Those images were later exhibited in Peru at a university. Crazy/random/awesome.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Absolutely. I still have a printed portfolio and personal images are incorporated into that, as well as on postcards and email blasts.

DAMES: The Legends of Burlesque

The Legends of Burlesque—ladies of a certain age who perform and teach younger dancers—came onto my radar at a Miss Exotic World pageant in Helendale, Calif. At that time the Burlesque Hall of Fame, where the pageant took place, was housed in a small ranch-style home in the middle of a remote desert, where tumbleweeds blew past a split-rail fence. Women of all ages strutted their stuff next to a small, rectangular swimming pool past a gaggle of admiring fans and enthusiastic photographers. The performers who impressed me the most were women in their 50s, 60s and 70s who stripped down to pasties and won over the audience through sheer brazen showmanship. They flaunted their bodies with a confidence that I’ve never had and an eroticism I never expected.

I began researching the names of longtime dancers well known in the burlesque community. My intention was to make portraits of Legends in their homes if possible, wearing favorite costumes or other articles of clothing they found meaningful. I started in the winter of 2009 with Stephanie Blake of Simi Valley, California, who referred me to another lovely lady, who referred me to another, and so on. I also found subjects online and through the Burlesque Hall of Fame website.

I loved spending time with the women: they were wry and smart and playful. In June 2009, I photographed Hall of Fame legend Big Fannie Annie, by her own account 450 pounds of sizzling sex, in a hotel room in Vegas where she and Satan’s Angel were getting ready to perform during over Hall of Fame weekend. Angel asked Fannie: “Do you have any of that cum-in-a-can I can use?”—a reference to the industrial strength hairspray that is an essential tool of their trade. Another, Toni Elling, took her name from Duke Ellington, whom she used to know.

I was sad to learn recently that a few of the women that I photographed have passed away. Joan Arline, a slender stunner I photographed wearing the same lacy black costume she performed in 55 years ago, died in the fall of 2011 of leukemia. Candy Baby Caramelo, who was very proud of her 48DDD bust and who had playfully eyeballed my male assistant, passed away that same year. And, according to her Facebook page, Big Fannie Annie has struggled with ill health.

My photographs of these fascinating women have been exhibited in Kansas City, Mo., Getxo, Spain, and Lima, Peru – the latter two with GETXO Photo, an annual photo festival that uses unconventional exhibition spaces, from the inside of shipping containers to drink coasters, to showcase photographs. http://www.stephaniediani.com


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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: Dave Moser

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Dave Moser

How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting all my life, my father used to give me odd little medium format cameras to play with growing up. Professionally, I started shooting in college but went all in in 1994 after 3 years of assisting, so 21 years full time.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I received a BFA from the University of Dayton but photography, as in all the arts, is something you really learn from doing. College helped me with the context for learning and perspective of history, but shooting is the only way to learn.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Most of my personal projects grow from groups of people I feel are misunderstood. My wife is a stay at home mom, and I found that when we were in social situations, folks had no interest in what she did. I believe the occupation of being a stay at home parent is challenging, isolating and disrespected but yet one of the most important roles there is-raising the future generation. I wanted to redefine the perception of this role, and used the provocative and antiquated term of “Housewife” in the title.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The images started to “leak” out after the first year and a half when I was then approached to do a book by Bob Tursak of Brilliant Graphics. Along with Partners Design we decided to present this project as a four part series of interviews, biographies, quotes and limited edition prints as a co-promotion. We are just completing work on the last two subjects now.

With this particular project discussions were started with a writer who ended up not being able to pursue the project as she did not want to be associated with it. She felt association with the project would damage her career-which speaks to the core of our intention. Additionally, most subjects were scheduled multiple times as I was bumped for kids staying home sick, in-law visits and home emergencies such as a hot water heaters going. These delays only support the premise of the importance of this role.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
When I start a series, I am unattached to the outcome. Personal work is typically an exploration with an emphasis of growing and stretching. I am tenacious and will work to change and shape the work until it becomes something I want to present. It is energizing and exciting to work without outside direction.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, routinely. I do wait until the series is pretty far along as I want the vision of the project to be established before I open myself up to the influence of outside opinion.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The work has not gone viral but the work has been shared and reposted quite a bit as well as garnering publicity internationally. The work has attracted interviews such as this along with numerous prestigious top awards with Px3 and Graphis over multiple years. I have been discussing commercial representation with one of the best. I am also negotiating with a well respected fine art gallery. I am often invited to speak to various groups and businesses. , one in particular led to a significant ongoing job with a new client.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I do at times shoot for specific applications to demonstrate my abilities or “test”, but all the unpaid and consequently personal work I do is for me. The main intention of these projects is to evolve my vision, challenge myself, stretch, go beyond my “everyday work,” stimulate and exercise my curiosity and contribute to the world. My personal projects directly feed my commissioned work.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have found that my personal work drives my most rewarding commercial work. Savvy creatives can see what I am capable of without direct application to their accounts. It shows a thread of vision in it’s more pure state. The promotion of this series has opened/re-opened doors for me at large agencies and magazines. The recipients of our promotions have often responded with fascinating and insightful responses to the work and has led to bids and jobs.

The American Housewife (artist statement)
The American Housewife attempts to redefine the modern housewife by portraying housewives in their own homes, wearing their own clothing, with their own belongings. Each image is a collaboration with the subject — investigating and learning what this role entails through imagery. 

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I am a seeker, an artist, a photographer, a father, a husband, a lover of all things eclectic, a listener, a cook, a marketer, a business person, an outdoorsman and voyeur.

I graduated from The University of Dayton with a BFA in photography. After discovering commercial photography, I fell in love with the problem solving, collaborating, accessing and working with different people in different environments everyday.

I have found portraiture to be the most fascinating aspect of photography due to the connection and understanding it offers. I’ve found that if I understand someone, not necessarily agree with but understand – I have love for them. Often while photographing people, they become younger, the effects of time fall away and I witness the openness we all shared as children. Portraiture, listening and the discipline of seeing are the aspects of my craft that inspire and energize me.

Dave’s portraiture has been featured on the covers of and in national magazines and in advertising campaigns worldwide and has led to awards with Communication Arts, PDN, Graphis, Applied Arts, Prix De La Photographie Paris, ASMP and many more. http://www.davemoser.com


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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: Ransom & Mitchell

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Ransom & Mitchell — the collaborative storytelling team of Digital Artist + Set / Prop maker Stacey Ransom and Director + Photographer Jason Mitchell.

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How long have you been shooting?
We’ve been working together with a focus on still production as a team for six years. Prior to that, our main focus was narrative film production. We both had been working in or near the industry for over 20 years.

Stacey started out art directing photoshoots while working in-house for major retail brands like Limited Stores and Columbia Sportswear. She then was the VP Design Director in charge of visual design and branding at the VIA San Francisco office. Soon after she transitioned behind the camera, to get back in touch with her roots as a set and prop maker for photos and film.

Jason was a broadcast journalist in the Navy for seven years before moving to San Francisco. There he began working in studio and field production for corporate clients which evolved into freelance commercial production as a cinematographer and director.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Interestingly enough, Stacey majored in photography at the Bauhaus-focused Columbus College of Art and Design, but it was the set design and art direction that really captured her interest. Jason first studied acting at Carnegie Mellon University, then decided to jump behind the camera. He joined the Navy and went through their year-long journalism school that incorporated photography and motion production. After working as a Navy broadcast journalist that included four years in Japan, he came back to the States and finished a degree in Cinema at San Francisco State University.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
We had been looking to create something that could take advantage of all of our skills, from photography to digital painting and compositing, to CGI. We also wanted to develop a body of work that lovingly recreated the once-common side show that was so filed with curious tales of mystery. It was wonderful to have so many different ideas to pick and choose from! Since many of the carny characters are infamously iconic, we were able put our own personal spin on the subjects and they were still very recognizable.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The initial release of this project was slated for a gallery show we had at Bash Contemporary in San Francisco in October of 2014. We shot the first series in May of 2014 and worked on the post production over the next few months. We approach all of our shoots in much the same way as we would produce a commercial shoot. In this case, we pulled together the right team of costume design, hair design and make-up artists to tackle the 10 shots of the various talent in two days (and we actually added on two other concepts to maximize our time). The post end was much more intensive, with each image requiring around 20 hours each to finish. Some images required a bit of CG and the gathering of other elements to be composited together.

The series has been received very well, and it has gone on to show at Scope Miami, The LA Art Show, and Vanilla Gallery in Tokyo. For the Vanilla show, we did another shoot in February of this year and finished two new images in the series, and we still have three more pieces from that shoot to release. One will be released in early fall 2015 with Loved to Death, the infamous shop of curiosity from the TV show “Oddities.” Two more will debut in a soon-to-be-announced gallery.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
We often will develop an idea anywhere between weeks and months until we feel that the concept is solid. In truth, we don’t move forward with any project until we feel it is 110% dialed in. We meticulously plan all of our shoots and treat them in many ways, the same way we treat a commercial job, often building treatments to communicate clearly with everyone on the project so very little is left to chance. By the time we move into production it becomes more of an execution with room for flexibility and collaboration.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
We try to satisfy both worlds whenever possible, or at the least, gather something for each. More and more, we’re finding that we tend to keep our portfolio pieces simpler in presentation, whereas our personal projects can become much more baroque and elaborate The artistic work is tremendously satisfying, and there are many, many roads we see that are worth exploring. The portfolio projects are great for really exercising our restraint, and challenge us to focus on the core concept of the image.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Instagram is our favorite outlet as we get to share so much of our art from works-in-progress, to on-set behind the scenes, to final pieces. We each have our own accounts (Stacey is @hld4ransom and @impureacts for Jason) where we share our individual processes, and we both use our artist account @ransom_mitchell to mostly focus on the finished work. These all feed into our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and occasionally Tumblr. Our recent expansion into international markets has us a little more focused on interacting on Twitter directly. We also participate in Behance, and we keep a few personal blogs such as http://www.fakebelieve.net that shares the Ransom & Mitchell process, http://jasonmitchell.org/blog/ where Jason shares his process and observations, and http://www.ransom-notes.net where Stacey writes about various artists and their work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
We had one really evocative image called “It Will Be Ours,” http://art.ransommitchell.com/overview/1 of a young boy in a bare room watching TV with the room behind him consumed by an embodied Mother Nature. It was shared on Facebook a couple of days before we planned to released it for a gallery show — they had pulled it off of our website where we had parked it in preparation for our PR release. There was a sudden influx of hits — a quick Google image search showed us the breadcrumbs to find the first share. By the time we saw it, it had around 40 thousand likes and been shared thousands of times and was all over the place (mostly without attribution). We still find it here and there, and have thankfully seen an uptick in it leading back to us.

Jason’s personal nude series Dream Away http://jasonmitchell.org/dreamaway/ was just shown in May of 2015 at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco and was also a finalist for Critical Mass 2014. That series has been picked up by a number of international art and culture blogs as a result.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
We love using our personal work for marketing as it can really show off how much we can flex our talents. And this work is always nice to send as a follow up to make a personal connection.

We created an art card box set of our bizarre “Die Familie” series which is sold through our art store. http://store.ransommitchell.com/product/die-familie-postcard-set Since it’s such an elaborate and unique set, it made a great impression on the select folks in the ad world who we sent it to as a gift. We find that sending unique art pieces that art Directors and Art Buyers can have for their own personal collection is a welcome way to reach out.

We’ve used “A Curious Thing” from our Undertow series http://art.ransommitchell.com/undertow/2 and “The Last Good Man” http://art.ransommitchell.com/artist-portraits/3 from our Artist Portrait series as postcard mailers. We then further our outreach by using the remaining postcards to increase our social media followers and fan mailing list. We simply ask followers to email us with their address and we send them an art postcard for free anywhere in the world. It’s amazing how the meager cost of postage creates incredible “share buzz” which in turn really increases our fan base.

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Ransom & Mitchell is the the creative team of director – photographer Jason Mitchell and digital artist – set and prop designer Stacey Ransom. Together they create highly-detailed and visually-lush photographic portraits and scenarios. By seamlessly weaving their photography, digital artistry, CG, and motion skills, their unique style blurs the lines of photography and illustration. http://www.ransommitchell.com

The results of this pairing have been selected for Lürzer’s Archive 200 Best Ad Photographers, twice for their 200 Best Digital Artists Worldwide, and included in the Photokina 2014 Best of CGI Gallery. Their clients include Young & Rubicam, DDB, DDB Remedy, Hub Strategy, Duncan/Channon, JVST, Virgin Records, KVP, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, Decibel, Magnet, Apex, Kixeye, and The Oakland Museum of California.

Their fine art work draws upon the darker undercurrent that exists within all aspects of society. Described as pop-baroque, their art has exhibited worldwide at art fairs (Scope NY, Art Miami, LA Art Show) and galleries in cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Berlin, Tokyo, and Melbourne.


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: Christina Richards

- - 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: Christina Richards

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How long have you been shooting?
About 10 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
As a kid I loved flipping through the family photo albums at my great-grandmother’s house. Her name was Georgena, everyone called her Ena. Ena also had a painting of a house on a green hill. She told me this was the house she was born in, at Lake Ainslie in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I loved hearing stories about the house, Ena was a great story teller. When I found out that the house was still there and was still owned by a family member I knew I had to go and see it for myself. Once I got to Cape Breton it was such an adventure to actually find the house, there was no address and no one had lived there for years. I had the painting, a picture, and a verbal description from my grandmother and her sister. We knew it was at Lake Ainsley but not much else. When we finally caught a glimpse of the house we drove as far as we could then hiked up the overgrown drive and there is was. Being inside was thrilling. It was a dream come true to finally be there.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The idea to photograph the house and the land that surrounds it was in my head for years. I was working as a photo assistant when I finally had the opportunity and the means to make the trip. I spent about a week there, visiting the house, exploring the beautiful island of Cape Breton and of course taking pictures. The house is no longer standing, but I would love to go back and see what has happened to the land.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It really depends on the project and how excited I am about it. I really value the input of my peers and friends when I start a project. I’ve started many projects that don’t end up working but they hopefully lead to something else.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
For me shooting for the portfolio is a balancing act, I want it to feel like a personal project but also be marketable, fill a gap in the portfolio, strengthen my brand, etc. With personal work you are just working for yourself and it’s such a joy when it’s working and so discouraging when you can’t find inspiration or the images aren’t what you imagined they would be.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
No, I still can’t quite figure out the social media aspect. I’m working on it!

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Not yet, but I’m working on a new promo piece and it’s possible some of these shots will make it on at lease one version.

Artist Statement
My great-grand mother, Ena was a wonderful storyteller. I loved to hear the stories of her life in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her stories sparked a curiosity about family history and how it shaped my life and the lives of others. Discovering Ena’s childhood home was the beginning of a continued exploration of memory and family.

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Christina is an east coast native who calls California home.
She is fascinated by the fleeting, honest, and spontaneous moments of life. Her photography explores the themes of family, childhood, memory, and a sense of place and time. Christina spent her youth in New England and studied photography at the Savannah College and Design. After college she moved to NYC and finally to the bay area where she now lives with her husband and dogs. Christina loves exploring the wild and urban spaces that surround her. She often takes along one of her many film camera’s with the hope of finding magic in everyday life.
www.christinarichards.com


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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: Peter Samuels

- - 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: Peter Samuels

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How long have you been shooting?
About 20 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A bit of both, while I desperately wanted to attend Art Center in Pasadena, but couldn’t stomach the debt so after a bit of research, I discovered my local community college, Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa Ca offered a great commercial photography program with outstanding instructors. OCC provided the technical knowledge and assisting provided the real world street experience. After that, I found myself hungry for more conceptual art knowledge. For this I took extension classes at Cal State Fullerton and UCLA, whenever I heard about a teacher or topic that appealed to me, I went and took their class. I found this ‘piece meal’ approach to education to be fun and it taught me a lot about being resourceful.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I should preface the question by saying that I only began photographing animals about 5 years ago after I got a dog. Since then, animals have been evolving as the strongest body of my work with lots of press, accolades and a growing amount of fine art print sales. So finally at the start of this year, I called it and owned up to the animal genre. As someone whose prior focus was product, people and animals, deciding to specialize has been ironically liberating, allowing me to hone my skill set and continually strengthen my work. It’s interesting to note that featuring animals hasn’t deterred new and prior clients from sending me product and people work.

This personal project is a series of surreal animal portraits that I call fairy tale inspired that started with Stanley the donkey. I had just completed a dog and cat project and asked the animal trainer what other animals I could test with for a reasonable cost. I was wooed by the possibility of an orangutan, but, as the story goes, the donkey was what I could afford.. As it turned out, that budgetary concern was fortuitous as the image of Stanley resonated with me. I kept thinking to myself that he looked as if he just walked out of a fairy tale, and voila, the series was born!

The fairy tale narrative has been incredibly useful as a conceptual container, both when selecting an animal to photograph as well as during the post-production process. I’m enjoying the surreal and macabre look of the animals. The animals are real and live, but the studio environment and quintessential poses challenge the viewer to consider that.

Since photographing Stanley, I’ve been slowly building the series by sourcing animal owners, animal trainers and most recently a bird rescue center. An awesome little stop motion video of me photographing Stanley the donkey in my studio, including bringing him up the elevator, is on my site.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Once I had three animals complete; the donkey, an owl, and a hare, is when I felt is was time to present and share. That was within a few months after the first of the series.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Ha! That’s difficult question, sometimes it takes me a year or more to throw in the towel on a project that’s not coming together.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I have a saying that goes ‘keep your creative lane as wide as possible without driving on the wrong side of the road’. That being I always take a step back and review of the work I’m doing. If it doesn’t feel cohesive within the rest of my images then it may not make the cut, which is fine, personal work is sort of a sanctuary that tends to perform better without expectations. Though still, it’s a fine line because you really do want new work to fit, you’ve just got to do it and see.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Sure, I love the look of tumblr and use it as my primary blog, but I still post to wordpress since it performs better SEO. I also like Instagram and FB a lot, they all have their place and like it or not, they need attention. For the most part, I enjoy social media, especially as an animal photographer, I find social media to be (sort of) fun and (mostly) easy.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
While I wouldn’t say viral, my animal posts tend to get shared quite a bit and picked up by various blogs. That builds my fan base, which is always good and I’m doing my best to take care of those fans with occasional updates.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, and this series will be a most certainly be printed and sent early next year.

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In 2009 a dog named Leica became my muse and a new photographic passion was realized. However, I soon learned she was a gateway dog as I began photographing more dogs, then cats, horses and before I knew it, even farm animals were becoming suspicious. While my time with Leica was sadly cut short, she lovingly inspired a new direction in my work and career – good dog. http://www.petersamuels.com


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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: Andy Reynolds

- - 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: Andy Reynolds

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How long have you been shooting?
Pro – 14 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
There was a ‘day in life’ photo event for PCNW I wanted to contribute to so I just started driving around at night looking for something to photograph. All I had was a camera and sticks. I wanted people in it but had no lights. As I was passing a brightly lit 7-11 the idea just hit me. So that night I shot at a half dozen places – a few places turned me down. But the prints earned the Center some money and the feedback from the images was enthusiastic so I continued it.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I liked this idea right away so I photographed several more clerks and put it on my site. I try to get them still when I travel.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I’ll try to make a small collection of images then proceed if it seems to be working. But if it’s personal, you’ll probably try to always make it work.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Nervous and never knowing if it’s as acceptable as the commercial stuff. At the same time it’s for yourself so you can have a freedom with it. I think it has to make sense with my other portfolio images kind of relaying the fact that it’s an Andy R photo. My portfolio is mostly personal.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I add to my tumblr blog and instagram.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nope, but one day…

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. I used some from a series of ‘waist-ed’ shots and also some ‘anonymous’ pieces.

Artist Statement about Clerks of 7-11

Love them or hate them at some late hour you will probably come across one of these clerks.

The following are some complaints to Consumer Affairs regarding other 7-11 Clerks from across America. My subjects were forthcoming and pleasant.

Every single 7-Eleven has a rude employee behind the counter that doesn’t know how to provide customer service it seems. The 7-Eleven on Roscoe Blvd in Canoga Park, CA has a rude employee. He is a man and looks miserable and mean. All he does is give you this look of hatred and stare at you the whole time you’re in the store. And then when you pay at counter, he never says thank you or have a nice day, nothing, not a word. He is creepy and they need to get rid of him.

My husband was pumping gas at 7 Eleven and I needed to use the washroom. I went into the store to do so. There were 3 different signs saying how the washroom is always clean and if it is not clean, to alert the employee on duty. When I walked into the public washroom, I was just about sick when I saw the toilet. The seat was covered in dried urine. Needless to say, I obviously could not use that washroom. I went to talk to an employee and voice my complaint. I tried to tell her my concern, she cut me off mid sentence and then she walked away. I cannot believe the horrible customer service. I don’t wish to return to that store.

My boyfriend gave the cashier ten dollars for his gas pump and charged it on the pump to the people who were ahead of him in line. He went in afterwards because the pump wasn’t working and the man said, “Oh, there’s nothing I can do,” even though he knew what he did. I called this man after we left because my boyfriend didn’t know what else to do and I demanded a refund for his hard earned money, in which none was given.

I went in to this 7-11 store to purchase a drink. I brought it to the counter and the lady rung it up I asked her how come the prices differ a lot? She said you’re a complainer. I said if that’s what you think. Then she patted me on the stomach and said your fat. I was shocked and walked out very upset. I got in my car with ny friends and left.
This occurred on Jan 10th I also called the 1800 number that I got of the internet and the person I spoke to said someone from the local office in Melville will call me I never received a call. Every day since this event I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it makes me very upset. I also can’t even go to that 7-11 being afraid on what is going to be said to me.Since this happened on my birthday I won’t ever be able to forget this forever.

Andy Reynolds

Once a gaffer in the spoiled world of blockbuster budgets, unending craft service and larger- than-life film crews, Andy walked away for the chance to really learn photography. Setting up shop in NYC, Andy worked for funny guys and fashiony guys. Although perfect for portfolio building, the city wasn’t ideal for family building; thus, Andy headed west. Settling amongst Seattle’s rain-battered hills of fleece and Starbucks, Andy finally found himself with the time, space and budget to create his own brand of imagery. Combining 15 years of experience with an impressive collection of awards and the full-blown belief that the image is the most vital part of photography, Andy continues to craft high-end concepts for clients and of course, fun.  http://andyreynolds.com


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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: Scott Lowden

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 Scott Lowden

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How long have you been shooting?
Um….well….since 1991!

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m primarily self-taught, although I took a few intensive seminars at the Parsons/The New School early on.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I was first inspired by the location…this building. Holidays and random weekends, I would find myself driving on Rt. 309 in Hazleton, PA while visiting family. There’s this building that continually caught my eye, especially when the sun was low and bright. It’s an abandoned machine shop of some type, and I can only imagine the cool widgets they’d make inside. Once I decided I needed to shoot there I tapped a great local resource…my nieces and nephew. Imagining their differing personalities and being forced to spend a long afternoon shooting, Lord of the Flies, the novel by William Golding, immediately came to mind… of course only loosely. I wanted to focus on children exploring desolate space, but with a more lifestyle and upbeat lens. Further inspiration was borrowing wardrobe from my friend at LA’s Blu Pony Vintage and pulling a few key props from a nearby Salvation Army and Dollar Store. One of the challenges was the edit and keeping the story somewhat tight, as I ended up with some ‘happy’ images as well as some very moody ones.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
While I do have a few personal projects that are many years long and still going strong, this was conceived, produced, shot, and presented in a few months.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That’s a tough question, as I’m not one to shelve something even if it’s pushing back. I’ve moved a few things to the bottom of the list, but I don’t think I’ve ever completely removed a project. Because I’ve been working in photography for a very long time I’ve grown accustomed to having a very long time horizon.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I think it’s OK for the self-assigned personal work to be different than what I’d shoot for my commercial portfolio. It’s always an exercise in creating, stretching my brain, and sometimes doing things I’m not as comfortable with. Actually that’s probably one of the most important things. Anything that this type of shooting helps you work through or discover translates into your day job. For me personal shoots become an exercise in how little production value and crew I can put into a shoot while still realizing what I pictured in my head. This translates well into commercial shoots that sometimes don’t have the budgets they need.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
For sure. Most of my personal projects, and this one in particular, are well received on social media. I’m constantly adding to my list of internet based outlets that may be interested in my work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I’ve gotten a good response from projects that I’ve posted, but I wouldn’t say that they’ve gone viral. I believe that marketing is cumulative, so any time your name is out there along side interesting images it’s a good thing. This definitely doesn’t happen on it’s own…you have to push the story out as many places as you can.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I’d say about 40% of the images I use for marketing are from strictly personal projects, and the majority of the rest are from self-assigned shoots geared more toward the type of work I want to shoot. I swear sometimes my goal is simply to catch someone’s eye on the journey from his or her mailbox to the trash can. Work that lives outside the advertising context can sometimes do a better job at that.

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Scott is a compulsive photographer who carries his camera everywhere. An avid team player, he consults both sides of his brain to bring concepts to life. An award winning photographer with over 20 years of experience, he’s been shooting for some of the biggest brands including Bose, Kodak, Coca-Cola, Delta, and AFLAC, just to name a few. He spent the first part of his career specializing in still life, a few years directing for TV and creating some festival worthy short films, and has been concentrating on lifestyle photography for the past 10 years or so. Shooting worldwide, he currently calls Atlanta home with his wife and Sophie the dog.


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: Scott Van Osdol

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: Scott Van Osdol

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02 Royal Navy Tombstone LaBaule France

03 Erich DeLaTorre, Commando, Stoke-Lacey, Herefordshire

04 Leading Stoker Bill Bannister, Motor Launch 31, Portsmith UK

Documentary photos of WWII British Commandos returning to visit site of 1942 raid on St-Nazaire, Operation CHARIOT.

06 Sub-Lieutenant Richard Collinson, Motor Launch 192, Isle of Wight

07 Lt. Colonel Bob Montgomery MC, 2 Commando Sapper, Falmouth UK

08 Sub-Lieutenant Hugh Arnold DSC, Motor Launch 446, London

09 Micky Burn with his history, Beaudy Gwyn, Wales

10 Burn at Nazi Nuremberg Rally 1935

11 Burn at Munich cafe where he met Hitler, POW photo

12 Burn at Colditz Castle where he ran secret POW radio

13 Burn, Colditz Castle, met with former prison guard

14 Burn with some of the many books he wrote, Wales

15 Burn came ashore at Old Mole, St. Nazaire, France

How long have you been shooting?
I began shooting professional freelance in 1981. Before that I worked nine years as an institutional photographer while in college. That’s a scary long time, 43 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self-taught at the school of hard knocks.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
“Last of Our Lads” portrays WWII British Commandos who survived a daring raid on the Nazi U-Boat base and battleship-capable dry dock at St. Nazaire, France. The documentary film “Turned Towards the Sun”, focused on one of those commandos, Micky Burn. As a Times of London reporter, Burn was the last person living to have met Roosevelt, Churchill, and Hitler. Burn was a prolific author, poet, socialist wag, and an openly gay man before that was an easy thing to do.

I’ve always been interested in WWII history. When offered the chance to travel through Great Britain and Europe to photograph these heroic figures, I jumped on it. The project was a labor of love—no shooting fee, but my travel costs were covered for multiple trips. I earned an Assistant Producer credit on the documentary film, and have “points on the back end” (Hollywood-speak for worth next to nothing).

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
We began shooting in 2008. The photos were put to immediate use for location and character documentation as we presented the story to producers, directors, and investors. After each trip I printed a few updated photo books. The photos became more dramatic and personal with each trip. The more I shot, the more clearly I defined my artistic intention.

The film “Turned Towards the Sun” premiered at the London Film Festival in 2012, where it was nominated for a BFI award. Our NYC director Greg Olliver recently struck a distribution deal with Matchbox Films. It is available on Amazon UK.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Generally I know within a few days if a project is going to work. If it isn’t working, I move on. Fail fast.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I try to collapse the distinction between personal and commercial work. If I love a photo it gets used in promotions and the portfolio. There is an old axiom, ‘Show what you want to shoot’. I know it works because I’ve had to re-invent myself multiple times over my career. Each time I did so by showing the work I wanted to shoot. My intention is to get more work I’m going to love. That profits everyone—the agency, the client, the audience, and me.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
My Twitter handle is @ScottDon’tTweet. Life is short, and I’d rather be shooting. So it’s taken a while for this old Analogasauras to gear up for social media. That said, with each step into twitterverse I am astonished at the results—it’s a big crazy place, social media.

Last week ImageBrief’s social feeds named me one of ten lifestyle photographers to watch, in part because of these photos. The buzz I was able to see was relatively small, a few dozen responses, but surprisingly eclectic. It included multiple photographers, two Paris fashion designers, a San Francisco serial entrepreneur, and a wannabe big game hunter from somewhere in Africa. Go figure.

Many of the Last of Our Lads photos appeared on Facebook pages belonging to project producers (it’s about all there was in 2008), which saw plenty of Likes and drove viewers to our websites.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The work largely pre-dated modern social media—so no, no buzz as we know it. We got a good deal of international press, however. That was mostly due to the amazing stories the commandos told. But I was there, ready with photos. We were offered a book deal with a UK publisher, but decided to wait and hitch our star to a leading UK film studio that assigned a screenwriter to the subject. I’ve learned “in development” actually means lost in limbo—we have no idea if and when the feature film will get made. If so, we’re ready with hours of Disc 2 interviews and B-roll.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Last of Our Lads photos were widely used in email promotions and in editions of portfolio books. The photos won several Austin and regional ADDY awards over the several years they were shot.

I show this kind of work to good effect. Some art directors want to see specific shots that match the stock-photo-generated comp the client approved. Others are more interested in ‘the vision thing’. Those are the creatives I want to work with, the ones driven by vision.

Showing this documentary-style photography means I don’t get hired to shoot traditional lifestyle and swimsuit-clad couples at resorts. But I do get hired to shoot for clients like Nocona Boots as they roll out their “Let’s Rodeo” campaign. That’s the stuff I love.

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Scott shoots what he loves: documentary style in a commercial context. He keeps it simple, clear, and compelling. 
 
His work has won more prizes than a case of Cracker Jacks: CA, PRINT, HOW, PR Week Campaign of the Year, dozens of ADDYs and other national awards. 
 
Scott specializes in industry, technology and energy, agriculture and ranching, education and healthcare. He shoots real people wherever possible. This storytelling impulse goes way back. His first solo exhibit, “Working”, opened at the AFL-CIO Union Hall in Austin. Scott comes by this authenticity thing honestly.
 
Scott works hard at playing. He donates creative services to projects like Art from the Streets and Con Mi Madre. He serves on the board of the Austin Advertising Federation: 16 years, twice as president, winning Club of the Year four years running from the American Ad Fed. For the last decade he led the Hill Country Ride for AIDS marketing team, working with Austin’s best creatives to raise more than $7 million with campaigns that appeared in CA, PRINT, and HOW. He rides his bike silly long distances in the Texas heat.
 
All this earnestness and collaboration in the service of brand development and good art means Scott is real easy to work with. He’s WYSIWYG with a big smile.

See more of Scott’s work:
http://www.vanosdol.com
scott@vanosdol.com
512.461.8990


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: Trevor Reid

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: Trevor Reid

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How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting for 5 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
It depends on what skills we are talking about. I had a great photo teacher in high school and then attended RIT, both of which provided a solid conceptual and technical foundation. My assisting experience in New York City really taught me everything from large-scale production and lighting to talent management. I picked up business, marketing and personal skills on my own and of course learned a lot shooting for myself. I also had the opportunity to shoot side by side with one of my mentors for a few years, he taught me more than words can describe. You never stop learning, and there is so much to be learned from different people at different times.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
This was the third time I went down to shoot spring training in Scottsdale, AZ and I had previously noticed that most players and clubs are very generous with their time and access. Along with the desire to shoot something unique, I wanted to give the players something tangible after they gave me their time or I stole a moment. Polaroid just popped into my head and I always wanted to shoot with an SX-70. Every time I photographed a player for this series, I would shoot two frames and give them one to keep.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Years?! Some things take time, others come together quickly. This one came together quickly. I was down in Scottsdale for three weeks and shot almost every day. By the end of the project I had around 350 Polaroids to myself for an edit. In today’s digital age, it seems like so few…but I think so much more when shooting film…and even more when shooting Polaroid. I have no doubt that I will continue to shoot Polaroid over the next several years and this project will continue to grow.

I have another personal project, USA Handmade that has been in the works for two and half years now. There’s a glimpse up online, and I’m excited for the project to continually evolve.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Honestly, I don’t really think about if its working on not. It’s a personal project, ultimately it needs to resonate with the person who created it, if it does, then it’s working.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
It feels great! When I do my personal work I’m not thinking about meeting my clients needs or looking to fill a gap in my book. I’m simply doing what I love to do in its purest form, taking pictures and trying to make beautiful images.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nope, I need to do a better job of getting it out there; it’s also impossible to know what will go viral when or where.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Frequently! It’s a great way to get unpublished work out there for the world to see.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have some special plans for printing this project, and USA Handmade.

Bio:
Trevor received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where he focused primarily on advertising photography and production. Trevor has been working in New York City and Boston for several years where he has established relationships with HBO, ESPN The Magazine, Titleist Golf, Men’s Health, and Boston Magazine, amongst other editorial and advertising clients. His work can be seen in several publications and advertisements nationwide.

Artist Statement:
The Polaroid project is an ongoing personal project by photographer Trevor Reid conceptualized to give back to the people who help create the moments Trevor captures. Each time Trevor photographs a person with his Polaroid SX-70 he shoots two Polaroids and gives one away to his subject. “In some ways, I feel guilty about capturing moments and feel the need to immediately give back. This project provides a way for me to do that.”


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: Matthew Johnson

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:  Matthew Johnson, based in Austin, Texas.

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How long have you been shooting? 
This is just my second year shooting freelance editorial and commercial work, but for the past 15 years I’ve assisted and worked on and off as everything from a staff photographer for a Major League Baseball team to an aerial photographer for a marketing firm.
 
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Mostly self-taught.  I have a magazine journalism degree from University of South Florida, but the program was writing based with just a handful of photojournalism classes available as electives.  They really resonated with me though, so I signed up for every one available.  This was in 2000, so I was spending time in both the darkroom and in the computer lab learning some early version of Photoshop, but everything was still totally film based. 
 
Once I had taken all the classes provided in my program, my professor was kind enough to help me out by first recommending me for an internship shooting for the university’s PR department and then connecting me with my first job out of college shooting for a Major League Baseball team.
 
After a season of shooting baseball I ended up putting photography on the back burner for about 5 years as I started a charter fishing business and was working full time as a fly fishing guide.  By the time I came back to photography, things had changed so much I felt like I was starting from scratch again, learning anything and everything I could from experimenting on my own, assisting, and reading everything from library books to blogs and forums.
 
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
This project came about when I was hired for a commercial job shooting a handful of resorts down on the Yucatan Peninsula for a startup travel agency.  Being down in the center of this world-class fishing area of the Yucatan was the perfect opportunity to work on this project with a subject I’m really passionate about.
 
Fly fishing has been a big part of my life since I was a kid growing up in Oregon spending all my free time camping and fishing.  Before moving to Austin and getting back into photography full time I lived down in Key West where I had gotten my Coast Guard Captain’s license and started a charter fly fishing business.  For 5 years I split my time between Key West and SW Alaska where I spent the summers working as a guide at a remote fly fishing lodge.  So fly fishing and outdoor culture have always been favorite subjects. 
 
I have such a romantic idea about the lifestyle of fly fishing so it was exciting to work on a project trying to capture that feeling.  It was really my dream project: spending time on the water with good people, meeting local guides and even setting down the camera long enough to catch a few fish myself.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it? 
This was shot on a single trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in about a week.  My projects are often something like this, where I shoot them relatively quickly while on a trip.  On the other end of the spectrum, though, I have some projects going that focus on annual events that I only get a chance to work on for a few days every 12 months.  Right now I have portrait projects focusing on fireworks stands owners and the youth culture at the Texas Relays track meet that both fall into this category.  I’ll keep working on these projects for at least another year since I’m really enjoying them, but I like sharing the work while it’s in progress.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I’m not someone that is shooting a new project every week so I’ve usually put quite a bit of thought into what is interesting to me about a project and how I’ll want to explore the subject before I’m actually shooting anything.  So if I get to the point of taking the first photo it means the subject intrigued me enough that I’m definitely getting something out of it.  In order for a project to turn into a long term effort there has to be some challenge or lingering questions that I couldn’t quickly or easily answer, but every project that I’ve ever started has ended up working for me on some level.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
When I first started showing my book around I didn’t have much personal work in there, but I would often pull out some loose prints from my own projects and I quickly realized that people really enjoyed seeing that work.  The personal work is bound to be more inspired and unique, and is the type of work that I want to get more of, so I realized that separating the two just didn’t make sense.  I will have commissioned jobs that I don’t use for my portfolio, but I don’t really ever have personal work that I wouldn’t want to share in my portfolio or on my blog.  

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I’m a big fan of Tumblr, and I’ll post photos on Instagram as well.  I deleted my Facebook account about two years ago and the decision still brings a smile to my face.  It was never a good fit for me, I just didn’t enjoy it.  I felt really uncomfortable every time I posted something, like I was just highlighting the cool things in my life, while on Tumblr and Instagram posts are just about my work.  It’s also really nice to be connecting with and following photographers, artists, editors, etc. rather than having an endless social media feed of weird updates from distant relatives or people from high school that I don’t really even know. 

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nothing too crazy, but I’m always surprised by which images on my blog are shared the most.  I recently posted a set of images from the boardwalk in Santa Cruz that were taken early in the morning with nobody around so the park has an eerie deserted feel to it, and even though I liked the images I was surprised by the response.  You never know what might hit a cord with people. 

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Definitely, I sent out around 200 postcards highlighting this project and have tried to send printed promos out with all the projects that I’m most excited about, since they show exactly the kind of work I’m wanting to get commissions for.

Artist Statement:  Fly fishing is often romanticized as a quiet, meditative art practiced standing thigh deep in a mountain stream, but serious anglers have progressed the sport beyond rivers and lakes to the saltwater flats of tropical destinations around the world.  Combining the skills of fly fishing and hunting, anglers stalk the shallow waters looking for difficult to spot game fish like bonefish, permit and tarpon that can be individually targeted, often in water that is only a foot or two deep. 
 
This exciting form of fly fishing has it’s own culture and romanticism: early mornings at the boat dock as the sun rises, the smell of sunscreen and saltwater, gorgeous expanses of tropical water all to yourself, powerful fish jumping into the harsh equatorial sunlight breaking tackle, and the cold beer that invariably waits at the end of the day with labels from places like Mexico or the Bahamas.  This work attempts to capture that excitement and anticipation of the next trip to one of these tropical paradises to chase fish with a fly rod.

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Matthew Johnson is an editorial and commercial photographer based out of Austin, Texas.  Before landing in Austin he grew up Oregon, and spent time in the Florida Keys, SW Alaska and Jackson Hole, Wyoming working as a fly fishing guide.  Prior to his obsessions with photography and fly fishing he spent all his time running, competing as a distance runner in multiple NCAA championships while at USF.   You can see his work at http://www.matthewjohnsonphoto.com


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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: John Davis

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: John Davis

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How long have you been shooting?
About 15 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied Photography at The Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA).

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The unique concentration of artists and creatives that call Baltimore home is the main inspiration. More specifically, the Treason Toting Company project, part of a larger project collaboration called SCOUT (see Artist Statement), was inspired by the guys at Treason and their commitment to quality, style and the creative class of Baltimore. Jason Bass and Aaron Jones truly embody the qualities of the bags they make.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This particular project was shot over the course of about one month. I didn’t have a plan for the work before it began so it’s been shown in a few different places: framed prints exhibited at local craft brewing space, a traditional portfolio book and as part of a brand video created by my friends and collaborators at ShineCreative.tv.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It depends on the subject, but I usually know pretty quickly if it’s working. I like to give it some time to breathe, so I’m usually not too concerned with how long I spend on something. Sometimes I’ll lose interest in a project and move on but I might also come back to it later… possibly years later. A personal project that doesn’t work out can still be a success if I’ve learned something from it.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
By design, shooting for my portfolio is almost always different from my personal work. The goal of my personal work is to explore new directions for my commercial work. In the case of Treason Toting Company, the personal work was where I saw my commercial work moving so I knew I wanted it to be different and that was really the point of project.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Social media is the perfect place to test and get feedback on new work, Personal and Commercial.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I wouldn’t say anything has gone viral but it has definitely helped drive more people to my website. It’s also a great way to keep my name out there. Even though we’re all striving for it, I think “going viral” and “great press” can be overrated. It’s hard to argue with going viral but it’s really difficult to gauge great press. I’ve had great press and lots of attention from the right people but still not seen an uptick in jobs. It’s also possible that the rewards aren’t felt for a long time, or spread over years, and by then it’s really hard to say where it all started. I believe consistency in social media is most important for it to succeed. Unless you have a dedicated social media person, it’s really hard to keep on top of all of it.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I’d say about 50% of my marketing draws from personal projects. Combining personal and commercial images in marketing can create just the right amount of tension to give things a fresh look. My clients really enjoy seeing my personal vision, especially when juxtaposed with commissioned work. It has also helped some of my clients find new ways of using me.

Just recently, The Treason Toting Co. project caught the attention of a long time Higher Education client of mine and led to them hiring me to shoot a project for Stanford University in Palo Alto, Ca.

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John is a photographer based in the Baltimore, Maryland. He specializes in telling stories with images for a wide range of clients, from higher education and advertising to national editorial publications. On his “off” days he keeps busy by training for his next Marathon and photographing his fellow athletes.
You can see more of John’s work here:
http://www.jdph.com

Contact: john@jdph.com

The Treason Toting Company project is the first project in a series collaboration with my friends and colleagues at ShineCreative.tv. The project is called SCOUT and is an exploration of the creative path and those driven to pursue it. Treason was an opportunity for me to experiment with a style of shooting that I had previously only applied to my Education Lifestyle work. By expanding my vision and being free to tell the story as it unfolded, I could take a more intimate perspective, observing in a way that allowed the essence of Treason to come to the surface and tell a true story with images.


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: Brinson+Banks

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: Brinson+Banks (Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks)

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How long have you been shooting?
We both started working at newspapers 10 years ago before moving to freelance photography, and then we teamed up to create Brinson+Banks a little over two years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A little both–we were both inspired by the same passionate photojournalism professor at The University of Georgia (Jim Virga, who is now in Miami) but we took only three classes each, which covered the basics of photojournalism ethics and how to manually use a camera and tell a story with photography.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
With Chameleons, we were incredibly inspired by the landscape in Southern California. We both grew up and spent the majority of our lives in Georgia and South Carolina and when we moved to Los Angeles a year and half ago, we were just visually awestruck by the diversity of the environment and it sparked something in both of us. Right away, we wanted to explore it all–we went to beaches and the desert and the mountains between and shot landscape photos in preparation for this project (and also because it was, and continues to be, a great adventure).

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

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I think that really depends on the project. Both of us have personal projects of our own (something we do as individuals, rather than a team) that we’ve worked on for years, and one that Kendrick is convinced will never be done because she enjoys working on it so much. Personal projects should be foremost about documenting/capturing something you’re really interested in–you’re doing it for the joy of doing it, not for business, but for sheer pleasure–so it could be one shoot or 10, one month or 15 years. It’s working if you feel your work, your eye, your creativity is growing. If you’re not excited about it anymore, that will show in the work, so give it a break and a rest or call it finished. Don’t force it.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
We both feel so damn lucky that we’ve found a job that we are so passionate about. We’ve talked to photography students at almost a dozen photography schools at this point and something we always drill to the students is personal work. It’s how you grow and evolve and keep from stagnating. It’s where we stumble upon happy accidents that then we’ll repeat on a shoot for a client. If you’re not getting paid to shoot the photos you want to shoot, build a portfolio on your own of personal work and maybe it will translate to future work.. Recently, a client hired us to duplicate a photo we shot while we were shooting just for fun. That’s the best marriage of the personal side of photography and the business side of photography when they blend like that, though it doesn’t happen every time. I would think that if your personal work is extremely different than the work you do for clients, then maybe you should share that work and see if you can expand your client-base to include that type of work, too, so you can create more of what you love to create and have it funded, as well. But some projects we do just for the sheer joy of doing them and wanting to branch out of our comfort zone and that’s good, too, to show off a different aesthetic.

Personal work is really important because it’s a place to mess up and have fun and experiment without any outside influences saying “no, do it this way” or asking for it to be tamed down. You get to have fun for the sake of having fun, and with all the meetings and emails and shooting we do for “work,” it’s a really important refresher and can really revitalize us.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yep! We love using social media to share our personalities–that’s how a lot of our clients keep in touch with us. We don’t see a huge line between the personal and the business because it’s all making photos and it’s all doing what we love. The jobs we do are personal, too, because we put so much of ourselves into them.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
We’re a married couple and do this pose with the camera on self-timer and last year that series of photos, that was hilariously dubbed “#BrinsonBanksing” went viral–it was published everywhere from CNN to the Weather Channel to Cosmo to Buzzfeed. It’s a funny thing how you can work your butt off putting your work-work out there and then something we do for fun, that is a truly personal family album type thing, goes all over the world.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yep! Almost half of our portfolio book is personal work. A lot of our emailers and postcards we send out to clients are our personal work. We get hired to do jobs because of the work we do for fun. How great is that?

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Artist Statement:

Chameleons was born from a fascination of the new landscape we’d landed in. We are two photographers who spent the majority of our lives in the green of the Deep South. We relocated to Southern California and discovered foreign flora where green was replaced by pink and tan, and dogwood trees were replaced by succulents and Joshua trees. We’ve always been inspired by the landscape, and a lot of our lifestyle and portraiture work is environmentally based, so when we first moved to LA we knew we wanted to explore the region more with our cameras. We concocted a plan to go to the ocean, the cliffs of Malibu, the desert, the mountains and to then project those images on models in a studio–it was the perfect excuse for an adventure in our new home and to experiment more with our portraiture as a team. We had fun collaborating with our models and creating something a little out of context for the viewer. And, as a bonus, it was a way for us to announce our new home in a visual way.

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We are Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks, a commercial photography team based in Los Angeles. We collaborate with each other, our team, and our clients to create portraiture and lifestyle imagery that tells a story or creates a mood.
We met in a photojournalism class in college and fell in love with photography and storytelling at the same time in the same place. But we didn’t fall in love with each other until two years later. Before we joined forces to create something more colorful and surreal as a team, we worked individually for the likes of TIME Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated and FADER for several years.

We love to be involved in every part of the creative process from the conceptual, storyboarding and planning stage to the execution on the day of the shoot and everything in between.

We have been interviewed by PDN, American Photography, TIME’s Lightbox, The New York Times Lens Blog, CNN Photos and PhotoShelter about our unique vision. Our images have appeared in exhibitions in Houston, New York, Atlanta, Groningen, The Netherlands, and are in the permanent collection of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection at the New York Public Library, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

Clients
R/GA, Target, Airbnb, Tiffany & Co., Audi, Garnier, Deutsch, ADIDAS, L’Oreal, Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Seventh Generation, Leisure Society, Bombay Sapphire, Vitamin Water, Hennessy, Google, Panera, Enterprise, SBE, Sanofi, PhotoShelter, Billboard, Huck, Wonderland, Rolling Stone, NME, Panda Express, The New Yorker, TIME Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Shape, NPR, Complex, Fortune Magazine, New York Magazine, XXL, GQ, ESPN The Magazine, The FADER, Stern, Smithsonian, Inked Magazine, Mother Jones, Newsweek, Le Monde, Juice, AARP, US News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wired, Forbes Magazine and Golf Digest, among others.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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: Brian Kuhlmann

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: Brian Kuhlmann

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How long have you been shooting?
I started this business while still in high school, so 31 years.

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

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
My inspiration was the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The seen and unseen effects on the wildlife were horrendous. I chose to shoot dancers with fabrics and petroleum products to recreate visuals of the spill.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This is still a rough draft .

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Not sure how to answer this. I work on the project until I feel it is complete. Every test works in one way or another.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I don’t draw lines between the two. I love to shoot, and all of my images are my portfolio; the only difference is where I decide they end up in my presentation.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Not really. With the current terms and conditions of social media sites, I am careful what goes into those venues.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I had a couple of these images picked up by magazines and books. Rangefinder did a short piece, and Weldon Owen also ran a page dedicated to one of the images, in the book “How to Photograph Anything”.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
My personal projects usually end up in gallery shows. I have used some of the images as special gifts for important people in my life.

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Brian Kuhlmann’s favorite part of being a photographer is… photographing. He’s been a working photographer for the better part of 30 years. While now based in Los Angeles, he started out in St. Louis and lived more than a decade in Chicago. His commercial work is based in creating energetic lifestyle for some of the largest brands in the world.
Into The Fray – Brian Kuhlmann

Capturing the controlled movement of dancers has long been a passion of mine; this particular body of work was a direct response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its effect on wildlife.

Working with professional modern dancers, I shot this sketch of what is to be a larger project. We explored different textures and materials, from the watery texture of silk to more literal petroleum-based products, letting the dancers bring their own personal interpretation to the subject matter.


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: Jazzmine Beaulieu

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: Jazzmine Beaulieu

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How long have you been shooting?
5 years professionally

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
After graduating High School, I attended the Hallmark Institute of photography where I was enrolled in a 10-month program focusing on the technical, business and artistic sides of photography. Upon graduation, I moved to NYC, where I immersed myself in the world of photography, galleries, Fine Art and Street Art, developing close relationships with a wide range of talented artists in these and other fields. My experiences both professionally and socially since moving to NY, have taught me many things applicable to my field, that I could never have learned in the classroom, so in a very real sense, I was formally educated and self-taught.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I had seen some images from India’s Holi Festival and was incredibly inspired by the otherworldly effect that the application of this substance had on those who used it and immediately decided that I wanted to use it as an element in my work. A Colourful Life was born by my desire to use the powder as an incongruously playful environment for 65yr plus women. The inevitability of aging is mostly discussed or illustrated with a sense of dread. I conceived this project as an opportunity to instead, celebrate it. To communicate the idea, that spirit, beauty and joy do not have to diminish with age and in fact it’s life’s experiences that make us all that much more vital. The images I captured wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without the brass of the women in them.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This came together fairly quickly. From concept to capture it was about 6 months.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
The answer to this question is always going to be specific to the project itself. In this instance, I somehow always believed that it would work right from the start but my confidence in it grew enormously as soon as I met with my team. Their shared enthusiasm helped reinforce my feeling that this was going to be something very special.

By the time we walked into the studio, the only production left to do was to set our stage and capture the narrative that played out on it. As soon as we captured the first image that was a direct manifestation of our collaborative efforts it was clear the shoot would be a success. As a photographer that moment is the drug. It’s a high that keeps you moving through the entire project. At that point, no matter what, it’s a winner.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Human connection is the most important element in my work. I love interacting with people, hearing their stories, telling them mine. Whether the project is for portfolio or an assigned production, my relationship to the people in my images is what drives me. My hope is, no matter the content, that my audience sees and more importantly feels that when viewing my work.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Absolutely. All the time. But mostly selective edits and behind the scene images to my shoots that are meant to be teasers to the galleries I post to my own website. I also love to post images from my social outings primarily because I love my life and enjoy sharing, but also because my social adventures are direct influences on my work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Facebook licensed a selfie I had taken of my best friend and I last year and that image did go viral. It received 328,000+ Likes and 6,000 shares.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I think nowadays, printed promotions need to be really special to get the desired attention of it’s audience and justify the cost for the photographer. I have sent very limited, personalized cards out, but this project will more then likely be the one that gets designed into a stunning package and mailed as an edition to a wider audience.

Project Team:
Photographer: Jazzmine Beaulieu
Creative Director: Megan Yanchitis
Powder Design: Lee Milby
Hair and Makeup: Stacy Skinner
Wardrobe Styling: Jess Mederos

Jazzmine Beaulieu (1984) was born in Lewiston, Maine to an artist mother and a musician father. After graduating high school, she attended Hallmark Institute of Photography, completing a ten-month curriculum focusing on the technical, business and artistic sides of photography. She graduated at the top of her class, receiving an award for “Best Overall Portfolio” and “Most Promising New Artist”.

After graduating, she moved to Brooklyn NY, where she currently resides. Since her graduation, she’s done many successful campaigns for a wide variety of clients, including: Virgin Atlantic, Easy Jet, Azo, Taleo, Culturelle, Estoven, Mega Bus and Facebook.

(She also does non-profit work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Cre8tive Youth*ink/ Art Without Walls).

Her latest project entitled, “A Colourful Life” was just premiered by Vanderbilt Republic at (Un)Scene an exhibition in NYC that was part of the Armory Arts Week.

Follow her on instragram @jazzminephoto


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: Mark Scott

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: Mark Scott

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How long have you been shooting?
We moved to Germany in the middle of my freshman year of high school – my Dad was in the Army. It could have been awful, but it wasn’t – the experience helped me become a photographer. I was fascinated with how different everything was and started taking pictures non-stop. I had a camera for several years before, but it was shooting around Europe that really got me started “seeing” the world in pictures. I’ve shot commercially now for about 25 years.
 
Are you self taught or photography school taught?
Originally self taught. In high school I packed a 35mm camera around everywhere. Shot tons of b&w, spent hours and hours in the darkroom on base, processing and printing pictures. My chemistry teacher, who was a photo geek, introduced me to the work of photographers like Cartier-Bresson and Andre Kertész. He liked to critique my pictures, always encouraging me to shoot more.

I took a community college photography program in Washington state learning basic technic, and then moved to L.A. to go to Art Center. But I never made it there. I was lucky to get a full-time assistant job with a successful lifestyle photographer who also had just come to L.A. Most of the work was ad campaigns for agencies in NY and Chicago. It was intense, but I was learning so much I decided postpone Art Center. Assisting is a job every young photographer should have for a while. We did everything in house from estimating to image delivery. Besides working as camera assistant on shoots, I was involved in production, casting, scouting, even sourcing props at the studios and prop houses. After that, I freelanced with a variety of out of town photographers shooting ad campaigns on the West Coast. I never went back to school.

With this particular project what was your inspiration to shoot it?
My first studio was on Melrose, right in the heart of the Melrose District. Melrose, which isn’t far from my home, is a magnet for creative people from all over the world. I’m pretty low key, and not much of a fashionista, but what I’ve always loved about Melrose are those people who do make bold personal statements with the way they look and dress. And combined with the creative street artists there’s always opportunity for pictures. That’s a good match for a social media project. There’s a great energy from street shooting, and I wanted to revisit Melrose as a project to share on social media.

How long have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
From day one I started putting this work out on Instagram. But when I started, there was really no project yet. I just shot and posted pictures. A few months later I started dopemelrose.com, an image blog using WordPress. I got great response, so I included DopeMelrose pictures in my printed portfolio, on my website and in the work I promote on Workbook. That section of the portfolio always sparks conversation.
 
Since shooting work for your portfolio is different from personal work how do you feel when the work is different?
That’s an interesting question, because the difference is a little blurry sometimes. Some of my personal work is shot for my portfolio. It’s the motivation and the approach that changes.
 
Exploring the world through the lens of a camera is such a great feeling of discovery. It’s what I fell in love with when I first started taking pictures and what motivates my personal work.  I like to explore subjects that interest me – then observe, experiment and let the imagery evolve organically.  I approach some projects like visual brainstorming … looking to find or create moments that are authentic, moments that tell a story or that have amazing light and composition. Personal work helps to hone my craft and is a great source of inspiration for my commercial work.
 
But of course the approach is different when I’m shooting portfolio pictures that are relevant to clients and brands I want to work with. DopeMelrose is much more serendipitous. Portfolio shoots are storyboarded with clear image goals in mind and production values more like assignments. I shoot lifestyle, so crew, talent, scouting, locations, permits, permissions, props and wardrobe are necessary when producing portfolio shoots. 
 
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it’s working?
How do you define “working?” Personal projects always work. Not because they always create awesome images but because the experience is fun, interesting and the process exercises creativity. 
 
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues like Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram, or Facebook?
I started DopeMelrose to be an ongoing social media project using Instagram. Instagram has been key to this project because when I ask someone to participate, within a few seconds they have my Instagram up on their phone and they’re totally cool to shoot a quick portrait. I’m experimenting with shooting on an iPad, selecting the picture with the people and posting immediately. People love being part of the entire process. I just started posting to tumblr.
 
If so has the work every gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nothing like @thedress or “Charlie bit my finger”.
 
Have you ever printed your personal projects for marketing to potential clients? 
Early in my career I marketed a personal project I shot on the American West to a handful of Western brands. That quickly led to years of work with the Martin Agency for Wrangler.
 
Pictures from that project – cowboy portraits, authentic relationship moments and the printing technic have also inspired other ads. It’s exciting to get layouts referencing personal work. Imagery from that project has also been licensed for a variety of companies, including a major U.S. liquor company promoting its brand in Eastern Europe.
 
One really exciting result of the American West project was that I was asked by an art buyer I had been working with to hang a show of my photographs in the halls of Ogilvy NY.  
 
I shot and marketed that project for several years. It’s really amazing not only how much commercial work was the direct result of that one project but also how many amazing creatives I’ve gotten to know and collaborate with along the way.
 
Artist Statement
I wanted to connect with the creative spirit and personal stories of the people who make Melrose what it is.  Past generations have influenced this street with Punk, New Age, Goth. It will be fun to look back and see the social and creative influences of today’s generation.
 
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Mark Scott is a lifestyle photographer based in Los Angeles.  He specializes lifestyle, portraiture, sports and reportage. You can see his work at http://www.markscottphoto.com


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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.