Category "Personal Project"

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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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.

—————-

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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Callie Lipkin

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: Callie Lipkin

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How long have you been shooting?
20 years
 
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both – I studied art at Northwestern University and then at the University of Minnesota, but my training really comes from my years as a full time photojournalist. I always loved the storytelling aspect of photography so I was shooting documentary work at ‘art school’ but it was not incredibly well received. I was shooting long term projects on things like people with Huntington’s Disease and children diagnosed with ADD and that was not seen as much as an art form back then. My work was more warmly welcomed in the photojournalism world.
 
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it? 
I was inspired completely by the environment. I had driven by the barbershop a couple of times and decided to ask about doing a shoot there. I was just coming off of some more heavily produced tests and wanted to go in a totally different direction with a more traditional documentary approach which is more like the work I did when I first started as a photographer.
 
How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Some projects I have worked on for years, or months. This one in particular I shot in a matter of hours. Every project is different that way. Sometimes it’s good for me to do something without thinking about it at all. It’s a good creative exercise, which I enjoy. I developed the concept for the magazine mailer after shooting this project in order to have a fitting format to showcase how the pictures all work together.
 
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working? 
I usually know in an hour or two if something is not working. But I think the nature of my work is to keep pushing to solve a problem. I can’t remember shooting a project that went entirely into the scrap heap, at least not right away, but some might not be as developed as they need to be for a 12 or 16 page mailer. They all find their place somewhere – maybe on my website or blog, or in a treatment statement if it’s subject matter that applies to a particular proposal.
 
Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Most of my work originates from personal projects since they are the place to try something new without any fear of failure. They almost have to be different from my existing work in order to continue to grow my personal style. Client work usually references personal work and is a place to perfect and fine tune what I started on my own time. I feel lucky that many of my commercial jobs come from clients seeing my personal projects, getting inspired, and wanting to use that inspiration as a jumping off point for their brand imagery.
 
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes. Since we don’t get permission to post client work on social media all the time, personal projects are incredibly important to share in this way. It’s also a really great way to get instant feedback when I am working on or editing a project to gauge which images are connecting with people the way they are connecting with me.
 
If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I have had some press for my series of burlesque projects that spanned several years. If my work reaches people in my network and they feel moved or inspired by it in some way I am satisfied. If it reaches beyond that, it’s gravy.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. I send out a publication titled Vault to current and prospective clients at least twice a year. I try to include some copy that gives the story or subject matter some context and it usually features a personal project. I got a great response to the printed piece for this collection from the Belmont Barbershop.
 
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Callie Lipkin is an authentic photographer. A look through her lens reveals a simple organic moment between photographer and subject. 20 years of shooting has given her a truthful eye, her images unfolding like the story of her subject revealing themselves a little more shot by shot. 

While an undergrad at Northwestern University, a fortuitous trip to China opened Callie’s eyes and her focus from a career in engineering to one in professional photography. Post graduation, Callie started her photography career in journalism, interning and working for several newspapers including the Beacon  News in Aurora and the prestigious Boston Globe where she worked side by side with POY and Pulitzer Prize winning photographers. In 2001, she found the newspaper business on shaky ground and decided to pursue a freelance career. Today, Callie has a long list of clients who benefit not only by the beautiful quality of her photos, but also from her passion and desire to get the best possible shot. Callie is known to set up a shot with a goal in mind then allow the process and interaction between the subjects to give it depth and character. 

“I like the problem solving aspect of photography, not knowing how we are going to execute something exactly, but giving it room to breathe and grow. The most interesting looking images I take are that way because they came about naturally, it’s a connection between who I’m shooting and their surroundings. I feel like there is the opportunity to learn something about the world, or about myself, almost every time I interact with someone new.” 

Callie’s been successful in her photographic style, winning several awards including 1st Place from AltPick in 2009 and having her 2014 Whirlpool campaign featured in Archive Magazine.  Callie lives in Chicago with her husband and their two sons, her greatest inspiration and favorite subjects. When Callie’s not shooting photographs she’s spending time with her family, playing piano (in which she is classically trained), running, and honing her cooking skills by creating healthy meals with her boys.  She is also available in her hometown of Minneapolis as a local and for travel worldwide.


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

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: Spencer Selvidge

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9-Pin bowling in Blanco, Texas, at the Blanco Bowling Club and Cafe.

9-Pin bowling in Blanco, Texas, at the Blanco Bowling Club and Cafe.

9-Pin bowling in Blanco, Texas, at the Blanco Bowling Club and Cafe.

9-Pin bowling in Blanco, Texas, at the Blanco Bowling Club and Cafe.

9-Pin bowling in Blanco, Texas, at the Blanco Bowling Club and Cafe.

9-Pin bowling in Blanco, Texas, at the Blanco Bowling Club and Cafe.

9-Pin bowling in Blanco, Texas, at the Blanco Bowling Club and Cafe.

9-Pin bowling in Blanco, Texas, at the Blanco Bowling Club and Cafe.

How long have you been shooting?
I started around the age of 4. My Mom got me a toy camera that took the most awful photos. What you saw was not what you got.

When I was 19, I started to approach photography from a professional perspective rather than something I did while camping in Boy Scouts. For more than 10 years now, I’ve been making my living as a visual storyteller.  

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
It was a little bit of everything. I am self-taught on the technical side. Then some mentors in college guided me through basic photojournalism and I started to tell visual stories.

After college, I traveled to expand my portfolio and began probing with my photography to explore sense of place and controlling chaos with composition. Then a brief stint at a portrait studio proved not to be the path for me, so I went to graduate school for photojournalism to build a network and focus on how to approach my work.

The program was very much “build your own path.” I studied under three exceptional photo professors: Dennis Darling, Donna DeCesare, and Eli Reed. They couldn’t have been more different from one another: the lifetime artist, the consummate thinker, and the restless soul, respectively. But they are each passionately heartfelt and uncompromising documentarians. Without them, I wouldn’t have continually pushed further with this Texas 9-Pin project. They encouraged me to grasp the mental and personal aspects of photography in a deeper way, and it’s made all the difference in my success as a professional.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Texas 9-Pin began as an off-the-cuff mention from a professor in graduate school. I spent my first night at the Blanco Bowling Club and Café meeting a few of the regulars and making images for a class. I felt at home there immediately, and was encouraged by the warmth of a few bowlers. I love connecting with people while making images and this was the perfect situation for that. They reminded me of my grandparents: Americans of primarily German descent who were avid bowlers.

When this project came to me, I didn’t expect it to connect me with my family’s history. The sounds, smells, and family atmosphere pulled me in, reminding me of how present both bowling and photography were in my childhood. The inspiration to keep shooting grew with each visit.

Shooting “polaroids” is what elevated the whole project for me. It did two things: 1) The photos drew the subjects to come physically closer and open up to me. It allowed them to feel a part of the project because the photos existed in the analog world, not digitally. The nostalgia outweighed the fact that I was an outsider likely going to put them on the Internet. And 2) They brought the Texas 9-Pin project full circle from a class assignment initially to something deeply personal.

The story was about the collision of tradition and modernity, growth and change, age, etc. It was everything I was looking for. It stirred me emotionally in ways I only began to understand a year into covering it, when I finally started shooting with my Grandpa’s Polaroid cameras, a Land Camera 250. I hadn’t fully appreciated how my grandparents’ decades bowling and my Grandpa Herb’s cameras related to my love for people and social issues. The people I was connecting most strongly with, the older generations, gave me great perspective on just how much history our elders take with them.  They became living symbols of my grandparent’s love for bowling, something I had never experienced with them as an adult. And there I was documenting it with my own brand of photojournalism-styled snapshots with the very camera Grandpa used to document his family. Though he passed several years ago, it felt like I was creating new memories with him. The last 6 months became a torrent of peel-apart film.

Now, two and a half years since I was last shooting there, I think the project worked so well because it connected those mental and personal aspects of photography. It was a slice of my family’s past mixed with the social issue of modernity conflicting with tradition.

And the cheap beer from a fantastic local brewer in Blanco didn’t hurt either.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I spent a little over a year and a half on it until I felt like the project was ready… and I worked on it so long that it supplanted my original thesis idea and became my final report for my graduate degree. I’d love to do more someday. I think there’s a bigger story here.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I generally know within a few outings if a project is something I want to pursue. If it is working for me, a project will start to keep me awake at night. I am always competing with myself, thinking about how I will top the previous “best shot” or push myself further.

With Texas 9-Pin though, I knew it was special the first night but it took me nearly a year to start shooting with the Land Camera and the Fuji peel-apart film.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I actively try to make my personal work different and push my boundaries because being stagnant doesn’t lead to anything new or better. But, when it comes down to it, I feel like I am always just shooting to satisfy myself when I am working on a personal project.  It just so happens that I am rarely satisfied with individual outings or images so I push myself into new places. I think the work benefits from my internal competitive drive.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I have never made much effort to put my personal projects out on my social media pages. But, over the last few months I have become very aware that I can build audiences for my work and for the things I care about. Just last week I started organizing stories and images to start sharing regularly.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press? Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Never. I send the occasional email or update but I know I am too timid about self-promotion in general.

BIO
Spencer Selvidge is a freelance photojournalist based in Austin, Texas, who specializes in visual storytelling with sound, video and stills. A native of St. Louis, MO, he took his first photos at the age of 4 and spent many weekends throughout his childhood selling newspapers for the family business and taking pictures in Boy Scouts.

He is originally a self-taught photographer and first cultivated his skills while earning his degree in biology at Texas A&M University. A while later, Spencer returned to school and completed a masters degree in photojournalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He has traveled extensively with the aim to explore cultures and issues around the world as well as at home. Spencer is enthralled with and devoted to respectfully and ethically capturing the individual essence of his subjects and stories – especially when he can shed light on and help create awareness about important issues.

ARTIST STATEMENT
Texas 9-Pin Bowling — Like photography, bowling had been a regular family event when I was growing up, and the sounds of pins crashing, the smell of the diner food, the patina of years of Texas heat and cigarette smoke, as well as the family atmosphere, pulled me in to this project.

Documenting the survival of this cultural oddity known as bowling, was important to Texas and bowling history as well as my own personal connections to my family.

Ninepin bowling was originally an outdoor game brought by European settlers to the United States but largely outlawed by the 1930s. Today, a version of it survives as a cultural relic in the small German-heritage enclaves of Central Texas thanks to tradition and family values. In most of the country, bowling alleys were places filled with men drinking and gambling, so states and counties outlawed it wholesale. The crime term, “Kingpin,” is one of ninepin’s lasting legacies, and is derived from the special middle pin used in the ninepin game. This is why the ten-pinned game most Americans play today exists, to skirt laws that banned the previous version of the game–but not in small Central Texas towns.

Here, the game was never outlawed because it was a team sport, unlike its newer cousin, that was often a post-church or after-dinner family affair in small towns. Texas’ version of ninepin bowling, still played in similar forms in New England and internationally, has 17 or 18 alleys spread over four mostly rural counties in Texas’ Hill Country.

The Blanco Bowling Club has survived decades of declining membership and annual shoestring budgets, and faces real challenges to maintain relevance in an ever-evolving world of technology, activities, entertainment and, sometimes, economic uncertainty. The club, and to some extent the town itself, is and has been under a quiet assault from the modern world for decades while some residents do their best to hold on to what was and hope for a future that includes old traditions.

You can read my master’s report here, to see more and learn about how ninepin is different, the 2000+ year history of bowling and why ninepin has managed to survive in Central Texas.


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: Vincent Dixon

- - Personal Project

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 blog thread is to feature the personal projects of photographers who advertise in LeBook. You can find him here: http://www.lebook.com/vincentdixon Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Vincent Dixon

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How long have you been shooting?
Professionally, about 20 years. I was seldom without a camera for about eight years before that so twenty-eight in total.

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

In my early twenties, I moved from Ireland, to France. I was a post-grad science student in Paris and discovered the street photography of Cartier-Bresson, Eugene Smith and Andre Kertész. I became friends with Justin Creedy Smith, Peter Lindbergh’s assistant at the time, and that fueled my interest in photography. As soon as I finished my Ph.D., I did an internship at a photo studio for about two months, and then over a two-year period, I assisted the fashion photographer, Steve Anderson.  That’s where I learned the basics, like how to expose film. Then I worked as a producer for a couple years. So most of my training has been on-the-job training in terms of photography.

For example, before I shot my first major advertising assignment, the Absolut Vodka “Cities of Europe” campaign, I really had never used a 4×5 camera. I took a photo assistant for the first photo. After that I shot the rest of the campaign with just the Art Director, Pascale Gayraud. No producer, no assistant, just the two of us. It was quite an adventure. I spent about a week looking at locations and then about three or four days shooting on each photo.  That was my school.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
In 2011, I took a sabbatical from commercial photography and went on a yearlong journey around the world with my wife and four children. It was priceless share many new experiences with my family, as well as a time to submerge myself in creating photo-essays of our travels away from the confines of a working schedule.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I started showing it pretty much immediately. From the road, I regularly sent friends a “Picture of the Day”.  And then a selection debuted as part of a self-published magazine called “Wanderings” which had several stories from the year traveling and the Pushkar Portraits.  Also from that magazine, Lisa Matthews, Managing Art Producer at Team One, curated her favorite images for a showing at their agency in Los Angeles.

Wanderings on-line: http://vincentdixon.com/wanderings/

And a little clip on the making-of: http://vincentdixon.tumblr.com/post/73353102298/a-behind-the-scenes-look-of-the-printing-to

It was a great to see the prints framed and hanging at Team One: http://vincentdixon.tumblr.com/post/73361107847/gallery-show-at-team-one

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I am shooting pretty much continually and thinking about projects most of the time. I’m also looking back at work I did, some of it over twenty years ago. I think what changes is our definition of “Is it working”?

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Lucky for me, most of my commercial work is informed by my attraction to street photography — meaning I always try to make photos that have the spontaneity of reportage despite their construction.  So when I’m shooting for myself, I really just go for projects that interest me and hope that maybe they will resonate with a wider audience. If they do, great, and if they don’t, well, I was just shooting for myself and that is an end in itself. You never know, maybe they will have an audience later or maybe they don’t deserve one.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I’m not as good at this as I should be, one of my intentions for 2015 is to do more social media, it is a wonderful way to share your work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I worked on a portrait project for The Mimi Foundation in Belgium last year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMWU8dEKwXw and the video of the project got 15 million hits on Youtube in two weeks that really changed my way of looking at media and the way we present projects.

Here is a promo we’ve recently completed where we used a video instead of a printed piece. https://vimeo.com/117510349. I really enjoyed making this with my friend and editor Stuart Radford.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes Wanderings Vol. 1 that I spoke about above was such an effort. https://vimeo.com/84136488

We are also honored to have it featured by Danielle Currier over on her “No Plastic Sleeves” blog:  http://blog.noplasticsleeves.com/sharing-personal-work-vincent-dixon/

This is what I said about The Pushkar portraits in Wanderings

Pushkar Camel Festival 2012:
A year ago I came to Pushkar with my family during the annual Camel festival that is held every November at the time of the Kartic Purnima full moon. Villagers, traders and famers come from all over Rajasthan to trade up to 20 000 camels and horses. It is also one of the five Dhrams or pilgrimages that is held in high esteem by Hindus and holds the only temple to Brahma in India. This was one of our first stops in India and I was completely blown away by the exoticism of it all. It is a photographer’s dream. That in itself can become a problem. You are quickly exhausted by the intensity of the colors, the crowds, the endless possibilities, strange as it might seem because there is so much to do your brain can lock down. I think that it took me a year to absorb all I had seen.

Coming back I needed to try something different. Last year I travelled light with just small cameras. This time I brought bigger cameras and lights. There were a number of reasons I wanted to do this. First I am fascinated by how the camera itself affects the photo we take, how for example bigger cameras can slow us down and perhaps force us to take a more studied photo. The Rajasthani are incredibly handsome, the detail of their clothes and jewelry are remarkable, they have an eye for color and form that few possess. I wanted my portraits to reflect this. On a photographic level I needed the precision and care that these tools bring to try capture the subject.

Inspired by Irving Penn’s “World In A Small Room” I set up a small studio at the camel fair. On Monday when I got to Pushkar I found a large tent and rented it for a few days. It wasn’t ideal, it had green netting on the sides and the roof was full of holes that created green shadows and these hot spots. I had some cotton cloth died black that night. It took most of Tuesday morning to get things set up. Here are some of the photos that I took Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday.

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Born and raised in Kilkenny, Ireland, Vincent relocated to France in his early twenties.  Shortly after earning his PhD in Molecular Biology from the Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, he embarked on his photographic career.  As a result of his ability to make images that merged photorealism with surrealism, he was quickly awarded top advertising campaigns including Absolut and Perrier.  Those highly visible assignments helped cement his photographic reputation throughout Europe and later in North America; making him the go-to for many agencies and their ideas.

Along the way, Dixon’s work has won many advertising awards from organizations such as:  The Art Director’s Club; Gold, Silver & Bronze Cannes Lions, Gold, Silver and Bronze Clio’s, New York Festivals International’s Advertising Awards for Design, International ANDY Awards, One Show, D&AD Silver Pencil, International Advertising Festival, The Epical Awards, the French Art Director’s Club, Grand Prix Strategies, Grand Prix de L’Affichage and the London International Awards.

Photo awards have come from Communication Arts, PDN, Lucie Awards Advertising Photography of the Year, American Photo Contest Advertising Image of the Year, PDN Pix Digital Imaging Annual and featured in Luerzer’s 200 Best Advertising Photographers Worldwide.

Dixon’s clients include Absolut, Adidas, Axe, Dow, Coca Cola, General Electric, Jameson, Mercedes, Nissan, Playstation, Pepsi, Schick, Sony, Toyota, Visa and Virgin Media.

Vincent currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife and four children.


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: Slav Zatoka

- - 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: Slav Zatoka

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How long have you been shooting?
13 years professionally. I started shooting theater productions at the age 16, though.

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

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
In 2010 I had a big healthcare job. Together with my wife were shooting 24 health clinics in Los Angeles area. One day after we finished shooting at a health center in La Habra and we were taking our lunch break before the next location, we saw this old church with a sign that said “La Habra Boxing Club” above the main entrance. I walked in and saw a really old school gym with a mix of local Latino fighters, some young guys and a heavy weight scary looking boxer talking to an older gentleman with glasses and a baseball cap. That was David Martinez. We talked for 20 minutes. It turned out we shared some friends from the health clinic nearby. The place had character and it was free. Anybody who obeyed the rules and was determined to work hard could join the gym. Everyone was super friendly. Barry White music and boxing timer chimes set the pace. The place looked very interesting and it did look like a church, with boxing ring placed right where there might have been an altar. I must say here that my house happens to be in a very sterile and predictable environment of an LA suburb, the home of Mickey, Orange County, so I was drawn to this place immediately. LA Habra is a regular Latino neighborhood Orange County housewives and their Hollywood cut husbands like to avoid. That made it even more attractive. I asked David if I could come back to take some stills and he welcomed that idea with a broad smile. LA Habra Boxing Club is known to have been very welcoming to visual artists and it regularly hosts students from Sports Shooters Academy for workshops. I did not come back to the gym until 2 years later.

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

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It’s really hard to say. With this particular one I had the comfort of having access to it locally so there was a big chance I could come back to it, and potentially develop it up to a point where I would honestly say it is unique enough and tells a compelling story. After initial bliss and numerous ideas of boxer portrait series I left it on the back burner for two years. Boxing gyms and boxers are one of the most “exploited” subjects in photography and filmmaking. Boxing has been photographed and filmed from all the possible angles: sport, drama, social aspect, form. Who wants to create cliché work and recreate things that have already been shown, photographed? I needed a situation. In the words of Billy Wilder: “An actor entering through the door, you’ve got nothing. But if he enters through the window, you’ve got a situation. I knew I had to at least make an effort to make it worthwhile. Personal projects should have deadlines and budgets just like commercial but I feel like the notions of time and patience are used and explored entirely different when you work on your own, individual project.

When an opportunity came to test Nikon’s new DSLR I signed up for NPS consignment to test it and possibly use it as an opportunity to create some attractive visuals that could at least get me some exposure by being published on blogs testing new gear. I also had a clear reason to come back to the gym. David recognized me right away and since I was looking for one boxer to follow for a week or so, he suggested someone who happened to be training for their first professional fight. This is how I met Nadja, the only girl in the gym. After one visit to the gym shooting stills with Nadja I started exploring the camera’s video features. I was not entirely new to video. I have done independent film projects before and explored DSLR video in theory at PDN’s workshops in NYC and in practice when I was in Japan in 2011 (Sunflowers in Fukushima) I watched Nadja practice for 2 days and we also talked about her career, work, and just chatted during her breaks. I came back again to record more video and a short interview. At that point I realized that I can potentially continue this project for a while and tell the story of the beginning of her professional career. Nadja was natural in front of the camera and the interviews went well, too. At that point I asked her if I can follow her for a little while and if it was OK for me to hang out at the gym and record her while she practices. I felt I needed to explain that in order for this to be something good she needs to trust me to let me be around her for a little longer than Sports Shooter Academy student on a workshop. Sooner then later you are going to have to face budget issues. It’s hard to justify the time spent on a personal project when you have ongoing commercial work and young family let alone the cost of a video production.

I rented 2 different cameras from lensrentals.com Sony NEX700 for its slow motion capability and Canon C100 for its portability and price. I knew that this was going to be a one-man orchestra show so I decided to shoot everything handheld. There was always only one camera. The sound was either reordered on camera-mounted shotgun or on separate sound recording days. The end of 2012 was a breakthrough for me because that was the year I closed my main street studio and decided to go mobile. Instead of paying rent and started paying off my Sprinter production vehicle. The van was well equipped to handle still photography from day one. I also had a set of Arri lights with from my portrait studio so this was a good opportunity to test in real life. Half way trough filming Fighter’s Room I got a commercial job that was going to pay for a video camera that was needed as part of the production. Renting Sony and Canon several times to shoot the documentary actually gave me a real life opportunity to make a sound decision on which camera to buy eventually for my commercial work. I was finishing Fighter’s Room on my own C100 after it was paid off by commercial healthcare projects. Still I was my own director, cinematographer, focus puller, sound recordist, grip, gaffer, colorist (Film Convert came handy) and then eventually the editor, the most important person in documentary filmmaking.

There were breakthrough moments in the project. Recording a lot of slow-motion really made the trainer happy I was around. He could use it to analyze Nadja’s technique. Nadja was very comfortable with me around and I think that is what made David “appoint” me the third person on the ring on the day of her debut. I also visited Nadja’s home. Met her family. Generally I felt like the whole process was getting a shape. The fact that Jack Reiss was the referee that night was a huge bonus. His name is recognized worldwide and his Brooklyn accent give an extra flavor to the documentary. I was getting a lot of good footage and started working on the editing. That was the biggest challenges of all. It is also where documentary film happens. In a documentary the editor is the director and this is where the story is told. I also did not know how important the sound is. My neighbor is NBC editor, award winning and with years of experience. He helped me with a project I did for Isaiah House in 2006. This time he told me to do it myself and I am thankful for that. I learned a lot in editing this short. He also told me at an early stage that my sound sucks. This made me rerecord some parts and remix as well as reedit the entire soundtrack. It took two weeks. Today I could do it in 2 days. The experience is priceless.

The initial cut was 30 min and had copyrighted music I had no license for. I recorded new music with a friend and a pianist from Phoenix. On the top of two main themes on piano we recorded Jack Reiss’s theme using Logic Pro. Recording that final theme changed the way I edited the scene with Jack Reiss briefing boxers before the fight. It’s not unusual I leaned later, for the editors to finally fly with the project when the score is added to the footage. I also learned that the first music that comes to your head and the music you have in mind when filming might not be the best choice. The whole project was self funded not to exceed $5000. I came below that and most of the cost was promotion and festival fees. I did not hire anyone for this film. We rented a sound recording studio with Jennifer Waleczek for a day at 1h cost thanks to a friend. I had to do the final sound mixing myself. The rest was camera rentals, a set of microphones. Additionally I paid to create CC and subtitles in Amara.org. Last week of December the movie went on Vimeo On Demand and is available for rent or download: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/fightersroom. For aPhotoEditor readers it’s available for rent for free for the next two weeks, CODE: aPhotoEditor. 100% of the proceeds from Vimeo on demand go to Jennifer Waleczek, the music composer who is fighting breast cancer.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
My portfolio consists mostly of carefully produced images of architecture, healthcare and lifestyle. By showing my personal work I am showing my clients my other side. It’s less commercial. It’s raw and more journalistic. I want to show my clients not only the images I make and also the images I take. All of my personal projects, except for Woodstock Poland were long time projects.
This was a huge step forward for me. From the initial temptation of creating just a Vimeo.com boxing slowmo to self producing a documentary short that made it to 5 different film festivals and received Best Documentary Short Award at Los Angeles Movie Awards it was a very different. Transitioning from still photographer to cinematographer was really a dream come true. So far it was the biggest personal undertaking and the one I most proud of.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, Fighters’ Room has its own tumblr and facebook pages. I also use Instagram.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Definitely not viral but I found out that twitter is a really powerful tool to get a message across. I am connecting to someone new from the film industry every day. I feel like it is a social tool for filmmakers. I also have to say New Filmmakers LA is one of the best-organized film festivals as far as social media and press is concerned. Movie Maker Magazine pairs with them promoting new films.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
No, not yet. At least not to my existing line of clients. Although, like I said, I spent most of my budget on promoting the short at film at festivals and the echoes of these screenings are already coming back to me. My existing clients can access the video directly from my site. Some of them attended my premiere at American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs and they loved it. I know they definitely like the fact I stay creative and constantly push myself outside of my comfort zone.

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Born in Poland (1973), graduated with a degree in English. Began photographing at the age of 15, publishing first photos before he was 17. After moving to the US in 2002, among many other activities Slav continued to work as a photographer and began exploring documentary filmmaking completing a short about Isaiah House as a side project to portrait photography series of the homeless in Santa Ana. Later on Slav photographed and filmed post Katrina New Orleans and 2011 Tohuku disaster in Japan. Slav also served and worked at the Polish Center in Yorba Linda, where apart from his duties he started Movie Nights that ran continuously for 2 years. In 2006 he founded Slav Zatoka Images and began photographing architecture, healthcare and portraiture commercially while running a portrait studio in Orange with his wife, Today Slav continues to grow as a commercial photographer and also operates a small production company called Silverstudio.pro. Some of his awards include 2008 Hasselblad Portrait Award, 2012 PDN First Place in Music Moment of The Year, 2014 Best Documentary Short at LA Movie Awards. “Fighter’s Room” is his first independently produced documentary. He lives with his wife and two children in Orange County.


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.