Category "Personal Project"

The Art of the Personal Project: Erik Goldstein

- - 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: Erik Goldstein

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How long have you been shooting?
I started shooting in college but the visual mindset has always been with me for as long as I can remember. I critiqued the framing and angles of my Saturday morning cartoons.
 
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both. That is to say that I walked out of school with a good understanding of how my equipment worked but my biggest source of education was assisting photographers and throwing myself head-first into things. I am constantly learning and finding inspiration in the work of others and what’s around me. I think the day that stops is the day I hang the camera up.
 
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I grew up watching Marty Stouffer and sponsored a hump back whale with my allowance. Nature has always played a huge role in my life and we are living in a pretty exciting time for conservation and awareness. In a matter of seconds a story can reach the world. It’s a very powerful tool. 
 
I wanted to find a way to give back and bring attention to a conservation issue in the US. I wanted to inspire involvement and highlight a lesser-known issue having to do with a very significant portion of North America’s history.
 
How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project has been on going now for over a year. The scope of it grew very quickly and I decided to cover it as a documentary along with the photo story. 
 
I presented the photo portion of it midway through and the movie is currently in editing. Look for the trailer soon!
 
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I typically have a list of possible projects. I like to write them out and live with them for a while. I find the right ones manage to surface on their own. In the case of this project, it resonated with me almost immediately.  
 
Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I would say there are a lot more similarities than there are differences. Clients want something genuine that connects emotionally. I want the same thing from my personal work. Its important to shoot what you love to bring authenticity and emotion that people can connect to. 
 
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post images to Instagram (erik.goldstein), and will post blog updates on Facebook (Erik Goldstein Photography) and Twitter (erik_goldstein).
 
If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I have not seen anything go viral yet.
 
Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I primarily show my personal work when reaching out to potential clients. It’s the most upfront view of who I am and how I think as an artist.

Statement:
The American Prairie Reserve focuses on the revitalization of the Northern Great Plains, an area that has played a huge role in America’s history and a type of habitat that is greatly under-protected globally.
 
Up until the 19th century this area remained fairly untouched. During America’s expansion in the West, much of the Plains were, and still are, utilized as agriculture and ranch land which has had a destructive effect on the ecosystem. At the same time, bison were hunted to near extinction. Finding the right approach to help restore this area is complicated due to the delicate balance among government, local communities, tribes, land owners and scientists.  
 
There are so many dedicated people behind APR. The physical size of APR was the biggest challenge. I lived on the prairie following the animals, volunteers and scientists. Telling the individual stories was essential to understanding how such a big project works. I also had the privilege of doing a fly-over which really puts things to scale.  
 
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Erik is a commercial photographer, videographer, and director. Located in NYC, Erik specializes in outdoor lifestyle, fitness and travel. Erik’s personal work focuses primarily on conservation.


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

The Art of the Personal Project: Craig Pulsifer

- - 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: Craig Pulsifer

East Samar, Philippines - Nov. 8, 2013 - Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hits land in the central islands of the Philippines with wind gusts over 300 km/hr - 6,340 people died in the largest typhoon in recorded history. 100 days later, relief efforts were only just beginning to make an impact.

East Samar, Philippines – Nov. 8, 2013 – Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hits land in the central islands of the Philippines with wind gusts over 300 km/hr – 6,340 people died in the largest typhoon in recorded history. 100 days later, relief efforts were only just beginning to make an impact.

Tacloban, Philippines - A man looks in through the window of a jeepney (local taxi van) that is bound for Guiuan where typhoon relief is still much needed.

Tacloban, Philippines – A man looks in through the window of a jeepney (local taxi van) that is bound for Guiuan where typhoon relief is still much needed.

The death toll for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has reached 6,300, with 1,060 still missing. Whole communities lost power, water, transportation, medical and police services, housing and livelihoods.

The death toll for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has reached 6,300, with 1,060 still missing. Whole communities lost power, water, transportation, medical and police services, housing and livelihoods.

Operation Blessing International is the humanitarian relief wing of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/the 700 Club). One of the largest charities in America, Operation Blessing provides strategic relief in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis.

Operation Blessing International is the humanitarian relief wing of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/the 700 Club). One of the largest charities in America, Operation Blessing provides strategic relief in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines - Makeshift classrooms shelter elementary students on the playground slab where once an entire school complex stood.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines – Makeshift classrooms shelter elementary students on the playground slab where once an entire school complex stood.

Doc Tiger Girrado helps Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) haul educational supplies for an elementary school trying to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

Doc Tiger Girrado helps Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) haul educational supplies for an elementary school trying to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

Children receive much needed educational supplies from Doc Tiger and Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) as part of efforts to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

Children receive much needed educational supplies from Doc Tiger and Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) as part of efforts to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

A young girl joyfully clutches her new school supplies donated by Operation Blessing International, the relief wing of the US-based Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/700 Club).

A young girl joyfully clutches her new school supplies donated by Operation Blessing International, the relief wing of the US-based Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/700 Club).

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines - Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Kelly Yangco and others perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines – Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Kelly Yangco and others perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Dental instruments, cleaned with water and water, lie ready for the next wave of children visiting the makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

Dental instruments, cleaned with water and water, lie ready for the next wave of children visiting the makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines - Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Atom Kobayashi helps to perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines – Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Atom Kobayashi helps to perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Relief Operation Coordinator, Dr. Tiger Garrido, smiles at a young boy undergoing a tooth extraction at a makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

Relief Operation Coordinator, Dr. Tiger Garrido, smiles at a young boy undergoing a tooth extraction at a makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

How long have you been shooting?
I was shooting for fun back in the 70’s when it was a fad to frame an Instamatic diagonally. That migrated to 35mm and 6×7 for a time, but dad said I’d starve as a poet so I went into forest engineering. By 1999, I could see what industrial forestry was doing to watersheds and decided I’d rather starve. I’ve been shooting full time ever since.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m mostly self-taught through books, manuals, mentorships, workshops and a steady diet of trial and error. But I admire those who have taken time away from shooting to learn how to do it well.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) smashed into the central islands of the Philippines on November 8, 2013 and the news was really hitting home for us. My father-in-law (Tatay) has relatives in Palo, just outside of Tacloban near Cebu, and he wanted to get help-money in. He specifically intended it to go to a nephew Ryan, who was missing; so we made some calls and volunteered to help out where we could.

My wife, who has worked as a nurse, flew with me to Bohol where relief efforts were still underway for victims of a 7.2 earthquake that had hit the area 3-weeks earlier. While there, we got wind of a medical mission flying into Tacloban, a town that Typhoon Yolanda had all-but-flattened; so, we set out to find my wife’s cousin by chasing a separate story with the working title, “Saving Ryan Privately”, a story that has yet to be told properly.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
We’ve always had a big heart for S.E. Asia and have been doing photo-walkabouts to the Philippines for over 10 years. In 2013, when Typhoon Yolanda struck, organizers of our “Kids at Risk” project* (see footnote) wanted to contribute to an Emergency Disaster Relief Fund for Yolanda survivors. That fit nicely with other interests we had on the ground and it offered a chance to show donors and participants what those funds looked like in action.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Hmm… tough question. For me, a humanitarian story ‘works’ when it motivates others to get tangibly involved in the story – and that certainly happened with the Yolanda Gap Relief story. But I admit, without the metrics of opt-ins and dollars earned, boxes delivered and bellies filled, it’s pretty tough to quantify the success of most personal projects.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
My personal work is very different than the commercial portfolio work, and that can be frustrating – like that Ian Hunter album “You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic”. But the bottom line is that most creative challenges get me stoked – whether it’s a humanitarian cause or selling a bar of soap – because in the end, it’s the commercial work that frees me up to tackle personal projects.

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

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The humanitarian work hasn’t gone viral, but I’m more interested in qualified engagement than the number of views there.

On lighter stuff, I’ve seen some interesting metrics. There was a DIY blog post called “How to fix a stuck filter” with a hammer and hacksaw that F-Stoppers and PetaPixel picked up on. And there was a gear-related video for Lowepro called Watertight that hit 50,000 views, but both were a long way from viral.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. Last year I collaborated with consultants Pedro & Jackie to print a tri-fold photo essay called Ukraine: Postcards from the Motherland. It was passed around at PDN PhotoPlus Expo last year and received some great feedback but no concrete work. That was probably the wrong venue for something as documentary/editorial as that. I’ve still got a few hundred kicking around if you want one.

Artist Statement: Creative talent is the most valuable currency an artist possesses. How better to spend it than on projects that bless others and hopefully feed the greater good of us all.

*Footnote: In 2010, my wife launched a small fundraising program called “Kids at Risk” in Salmon Arm, BC to educate her friends about the pressing needs of Filipino street kids and get solid help over to trustworthy feeding and educational programs in the Philippines. More on that, here: World of Good [length 4:45]

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Commercial lifestyle and portrait photographer, Craig Pulsifer thrives on that line between personal and product assignment work. He draws inspiration from Gully Jimson, Bruno Gerussi, Larry Towell, and some of today’s top news shooters who work to master the craft of fine-art storytelling.


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: Amy Mikler

- - 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: Amy Mikler

A 12 year old girl orphaned by the genocide in Rwanda

A 12 year old girl orphaned by the genocide in Rwanda

Masengesho helps prepare dinner by picking through the rice.

Masengesho helps prepare dinner by picking through the rice.

Masengesho walks to get water at dawn. Gisenyi, Rwands

Masengesho walks to get water at dawn. Gisenyi, Rwands

Masengesho's least favorite chore is carrying water back home. Understandably,  as the jug weighs around 44 pounds.

Masengesho’s least favorite chore is carrying water back home. Understandably, as the jug weighs around 44 pounds.

Masengesho mops the floors at her family's apartment after school.

Masengesho mops the floors at her family’s apartment after school.

Masengesho does the dishes outside on the ground with a basin of water and a bar of soap.

Masengesho does the dishes outside on the ground with a basin of water and a bar of soap.

Masengesho drinks her breakfast porridge before school

Masengesho drinks her breakfast porridge before school

Simple wooden desks and well used chalkboards are the standard classroom features in Uganda.

Simple wooden desks and well used chalkboards are the standard classroom features in Uganda.

Masengesho sits outside her apartment wearing her one pair of shoes.

Masengesho sits outside her apartment wearing her one pair of shoes.

Masengesho answers a question at the chalkboard at her school in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Masengesho answers a question at the chalkboard at her school in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Raising arms for class, Masengesho competes for the right answer with the other students.

Raising arms for class, Masengesho competes for the right answer with the other students.

A favorite fruit of Masengesho's.

A favorite fruit of Masengesho’s.

Masengesho playing drums and singing along with the fellow members of her church's children's choir.

Masengesho playing drums and singing along with the fellow members of her church’s children’s choir.

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Wearing a typical Rwandan mish mash of patterns, this stately lady waits at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Wearing a typical Rwandan mish mash of patterns, this stately lady waits at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Mothers wait with the babies at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Mothers wait with the babies at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

How long have you been shooting?
Full time since 2007

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Hobby, then school, then assisting, then topped off with a lot of self-prescribed “assignments.”

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The first time I went to East Africa I struggled upon my return to articulate the vast differences in a typical East African’s neighborhood structure and daily routines. Happy for an excuse to return, I set about finding a willing child I could document: someone old enough to articulate some dreams, but young enough to have that open innocence and time that is helpful to a documentary project. I didn’t want a starving kid, nor an atypical wealthy child either for my One Child One Week project. I was fortunate to find Masengesho Julien, a sweet 12 year old girl in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Because of the nature of travel time and costs to Africa, the project was a one week shoot from start to finish. I did sit on the images for a while, but did eventually add it to my site. Simply out of love for them. That said, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t come back from Africa with beautiful images, it is a place full of lovely light and gorgeous people. 
After I shot the project my hope was to repeat the process in another country, but I haven’t pulled that off yet. I’m eyeing Guatemala though.…

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I just started a new one, so I will let you know! The One Child One Week | Rwanda project was born of such love and curiosity that it seemed weird not to share it. The newest one is a little more challenging: one day, one old TLR, one roll of 120 film, and one final grid showcasing all the images after processing.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I still strive to achieve images that people will want to look at, but love the freedom and challenge of chasing ideas that aren’t constrained by advertising goals or editorial copy. That said, I go in knowing that the images may never be seen by anyone but me. If I feel it fits in with other work and won’t completely confuse the viewer, I might mix images into my website. But my latest personal project is just to challenge myself to slowly see the scene around me and to treasure each push of the button.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Not really.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
No. I printed a One Child One Week booklet of the little girl so I could send it to her, and gave it to a couple curious friends.

ARTIST STATEMENT
One Child | One Week | Rwanda was born out of equal parts love of the beauty to be captured in Africa, and a desire to show and share what day to day life looks like for a typical East African city child. What do the homes look like? How is the classroom environment? What do daily chores entail? Life in Rwanda is both beautiful and hard, and hopefully these photos capture a little bit of both.

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Amy Mikler is a lifestyle & kid photographer based in Austin, TX. Her journey to photography began with a Christmas present from her grandparents at age 9, and initially resulted in creating scenarios for the neighborhood kids to model in. For some reason she did not consider her beloved hobby when considering majors, but after spending most of her disposable income on photography throughout her twenties, she decided she either needed to find a cheaper hobby or go back to school for photography. Thankfully the latter worked out. She shoots for a variety of commercial and editorial clients, and deeply appreciates them allowing her to use her “hobby” to make a living.


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: Jonathan Hanson

- - 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: Jonathan Hanson

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How long have you been shooting?
I started taking pictures about 10 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m mostly self taught aside from a few darkroom classes and workshops.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I was in a bar in Baltimore and saw a young man walk in who reminded me of model/actress Grace Jones. I was intrigued and began questioning the way we see femininity and masculinity. After our portrait session, I posted some of the images to my blog and I received emails from readers wanting to know his sex. The reader responses encouraged me to continue to question current gender classification and to continue the work.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I’ve been working on it on and off for the last year. As soon as I had enough images that I thought showed the viewer my voice and vision, I posted it to my website. Its a work in progress so as it develops, I’m presenting it to various outlets for publication.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if its working?
Its tough to say because I think its relative to the project. With this project, I new I was on to something after the first portrait session.

Since shooting for you portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I look at shooting for my portfolio and personal work as the same thing. My goal is to shot what I love and make a living from doing it.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post a fair amount to Facebook and Instagram. In January, the project was published in The Washington Post Magazine as a six page feature and they shared it across their social network which helped it gain some traction.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I mostly use personal work for self promotion because I think it reveals a little about me and shows off my style a bit.

“Androgynous” is a portrait series focusing on people with a single sex who have a combination of both masculinity an femininity in their physical appearance. The subjects are a mix of people who identify with different sexual orientations and genders, breaking assumptions based on current prescribed gender roles. Through the series, I hope to challenge current gender classification and question the way they see current cultural gender frameworks and beauty. Through the series I propose male and female dualities are interconnected and complementary forces instead of opposing, thus creating a fluid spectrum of gender and sexuality where the whole is greater than the parts.

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Jonathan is a Los Angeles based editorial and commercial photographer with roots on the East Coast. Culture, people, music and color inspire much of his work. He received dual degrees in Creative Writing and Journalism from Drake University before setting out on his photographic career. He credits early street photography for seducing him into being a photographer. Jonathan’s work has been recognized by ASMP Best of 2014, The Magenta Foundation, PDN, NPPA, The International Color Awards and the Eddie Adams Workshop.

Clients include – Adidas – Adobe – Bank of America – Billboard Magazine -DeWalt – Discovery Channel – Der Spiegel – Ebony Magazine – EssenceMagazine – Fortune Magazine – Inc. Magazine – Johns Hopkins – Miller Lite -NPR – Men’s Health Magazine – Sports Illustrated – The Advocate – The Guardian -The Huffington Post Magazine – The London Times – The New York Times – The Observer – The Smithsonian Magazine – The Wall Street Journal -USA Today – Verizon website: jhansonphoto.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: Rhea Anna

- - 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 column features the personal projects of photographers who use the database for their marketing with Yodelist. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com

Today’s featured photographer is: Rhea Anna

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a woman in a wet slip comes out of the water

How long have you been shooting?
I’m trying to remember the first time I picked up a camera. Grade school… maybe. I’ve been obsessed with photography forever, and this obsession still burns bright in me to this day. My brain just thinks in images. I remember in pictures. In my head, I’m constantly framing flashes of moments and thoughts.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
My journey in photography started in college but was in no way a direct route. I received a BFA in photography from SUNY College in Buffalo NY and then took a detour and found myself as a first mate on a sailboat in the Caribbean. After 5 years of traveling the seas, I made my way back north and started freelance assisting for photographers in the Rochester area (think RIT, Kodak, IBM…). With some perspective and a new sense of direction, assisting helped me pick up where I left off with my education. I consider assisting the most important part of my education. It was here that I combined the theoretical piece from my fine arts background with the technical insights learned in studios across Rochester that I really started to shift from exploring photography to being a photographer. My love for learning the craft has never stopped and I still enjoy taking weekend workshops and seminars whenever I can.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Throughout my career, there’s been a piece of advice that seems to come up over and over again. Find your Voice. Find your point of view. Now express it in your work. I’ve been working with this in mind for years, I think that’s what makes my lifestyle work consistent. This advice is something every successful commercial photographer pulls into their process, and rightfully so because it’s helped develop a lot successful careers. That said, I’ve also found that it can be a bit confining at times. With inspiration hitting me from every direction, there are so many ways of seeing, so many ways for me to interpret those images swirling around in my head.

For this project, I gave myself the gift of releasing myself from those boundaries. The inspiration was to go out and push myself to shoot this work without feeling like the images needed to fit into the portfolio or speak to a particular audience. I wanted to be that little girl obsessed with photography, but before she learned to be a commercial photographer.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Taking on a personal project these days is a particularly complex task for me. My business has morphed into two (photography and directorial/dp work) and I’m the mom of two school age girls. At a certain point something’s gotta give and for me that’s the long term personal project. This work was one month in planning and was shot in 6 days.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Personal projects can mean so many things. I’ve always admired photographers dedicated to an idea or a cause so much so that they’ve committed to shooting the project for years. In my case, my personal project was more like creative play, a push to experiment, less about a well thought out idea and more like an investigation into something raw and unexplored. You can’t really over think this kind of personal project. ‘Anything goes’ was the philosophy here, as long as it felt like I was listening to my own voice. Of course, it didn’t always go like that though. The first day I was constantly trying to shake off my lifestyle hat, which took some time and was really uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I love that lifestyle hat, but I just needed to try on something different here; something that felt like risk. I needed a change in my photographic energy, so I could continue to be excited about creating imagery. Sometimes your work grows the most when you see an edge and you walk right up to it, maybe even jump.

In the end, there are some images I really love, and they will help pave new directions for my future work, both personal and professional.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
When shooting for my book, I’m always thinking about that imaginary client or brand. My goal is to create images that emotionally connect with a client. I want to show them I can capture a moment that will resonate with their customers. My personal project didn’t have a product in mind. In most of the shots, I wasn’t even thinking about what market would find it appealing. So the work looks different, and it taps into a side of my work that’s a bit more introspective and edgy, and sometimes intentionally more somber than lifestyle imagery typically wants to be.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I do post personal work on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter albeit somewhat sporadically. I post to Instagram a whole lot more regularly, mainly because it’s more about the pictures and less about the commentary. Recently I’ve gotten most eyes on my work by posting on storytelling platforms like Storehouse and Shocase, and then publishing theose links on the aforementioned social media sites.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet!!

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I’m still in love with print, and in the past I have traditionally hand printed my promos, cutting and assembling them in very small runs in my studio. The ‘small and select’ mailing has always been my m.o. Even though I’m not really able to be as hands on with it now, I do still regularly send personal work out in beautifully crafted print promos. Just now I’ve just finished reviewing design ideas for a promo with this body of work. It will go out to a very small group of creatives very soon.

Artist Statement
Visão de Portugal
Visão translates to vision, and this project was about rediscovering my own vision. It was about getting lost and finding a new way; it was about being out of my element.

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Rhea is a creative collaborator, a commercial photographer, director, and DP.

She is best known for bringing a ‘zest for life’ to everyday lifestyle moments. With a close eye on style and design in her work and in her life, the images she captures are fun and carefree. Clients are drawn to Rhea because she is able to connect a deep sense of optimism and a love of life to the campaign’s concept.

Through Rhea’s lens, a road trip or an afternoon playing in the backyard becomes a modern day milestone… one of those moments that are forever etched in your memory as simply “the perfect day”.

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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.  She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be brand driven and not by specialty.  Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Darren Carroll

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects. A personal project is the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director/photo editor or graphic designer. This column features the personal projects of photographers who use the database for their marketing with Yodelist. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com.

Today’s featured photographer is: Darren Carroll

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How long have you been shooting?
About 25 years, 20 of them professionally.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Primarily self-taught. I first picked up a camera in high school, taught myself how to use it, shot on my own all through college (I was working on a political science degree), and only after that did I make it down to Austin to attend graduate school in the journalism department at the University of Texas.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I’d been a fan of the barbecue at Smitty’s Market for a long time, ever since I moved to Austin in the mid-1990s. Coming from New York by way of Washington DC, I had never seen anything like it. Not just the food, mind you—although that’s reason in and of itself to go there. There was something about the authenticity of the place. They have a very old-school way of doing things—there’s no automation, no thermometers, timers, or anything like that. Everything is done by hand, by feel, and by instincts — instincts honed by years of experience and decades of doing things the same way, and without compromise. And don’t forget I shot this back in 2009, long before the barbecue craze took hold, both in Austin and around the country. These guys had been doing barbecue this way since before any of these new celebrity barbecue chefs (I can’t believe those three words can actually coexist in the same sentence) were even a glint in their parents’ eyes or in the sights of Visa’s marketing strategists.

More than anything, I had fallen in love with the the light in the building— at certain times during the day it just bounces around in there through these old, dirty, diffused panes of glass and mingles with the smoke and the dark, soot-stained walls of the pit room. I really wanted to be able to play with that.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I only spent about three days, total, shooting it. To be honest, this one was more of a diversion—something that interested me artistically and aesthetically, but it’s also something I knew I could shoot in a couple of days, and so when I had a few days off I just figured it would be a good time to head down to Lockhart (a little town about 30 miles south of Austin) and make it happen.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It all depends. Some you just know, everything is right in front of you and there is a finite amount of things to shoot — almost as if it were an actual editorial assignment. It all clicks into place and you can get through what you wanted—and needed— to shoot in a couple of days. Others—like one that I have been, and am still working on, on Charreada, a Mexican form of rodeo, can take years because every time I go out to work on it I discover something new, and I don’t want to stop because I’m genuinely curious about what the next shoot is going to bring.

Back when I shot the Smitty’s project, I was primarily a sports photographer. I was looking for ways to branch out and trying to come up with projects that I could do in a minimal amount of time that would help establish my reputation as more than just a guy who could shoot action. This seemed like a good way to not only merge my interests with something I could present to achieve that goal, but also something that could be done quickly, working within the confines of what was an otherwise busy travel schedule.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I’m not sure I understand the question…I look at everything I do as a potential portfolio piece, regardless of its origin as an assignment, or a cohesive body of personal work, or even just a one-off, randomly “found” picture on the street. I get just as much satisfaction from a well-executed and successful editorial assignment, commercial shoot, or personal project.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, I have a couple of Tumblr feeds (http://darrencarrollphoto.tumblr.com/ and http://dcarrollphoto-leica-m.tumblr.com/ ) and am on Instagram (@dcarrollphoto).

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nope. Not yet.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I have —  promo cards and pieces, books, and sourcebooks.

Artist Statement:
Although it’s only been around for bout fifteen years, if walking into Smitty’s Market gives you the sense that it’s been there for a long, long time, that’s because it has. Sort of. Started in 1924 (or so legend has it) by a man named Kreuz as a butcher shop and general store with a couple of brick barbecue pits in the back, it was taken over by Edgar Schmidt—“Smitty,” to the locals of Lockhart, Texas—back in 1948.
 
Schmidt retained the Kreuz name–as did his progeny who took over the shop and, in the mid-1990s, moved the by then-famous barbecue enterprise about a mile up the road to a cavernous, gleaming paean to commercial restaurant modernity, resulting in a nearly-as-famous family feud about the past, present, and future of the business. Enter Smitty’s daughter Nina, her husband Jim, and her son, John, who in 1999 decided to take over the original shop and make sure it kept doing what it had always done. One side of the family kept the Kreuz name, the other kept the building and the pits. And it’s those pits in the back, still in existence and operating on a daily basis, that have provided nearly a century’s worth of the smoke which fills the rooms and cakes the walls of the restaurant with a rich, silvery brown patina which today’s most technologically advanced color sampling programs could never duplicate.
 
But that’s what a place like Smitty’s is all about–the realization that there are some things that a machine could never do. The ingrained belief that it’s not a matter of being old-fashioned (although the customer experience it creates is a good by-product), but that authenticity means being genuine to the core and not taking even the slightest technological shortcut. There’s something to be said for not giving in to the lure of automation, and standing by the credo that good barbecue depends simply on fire, a well-built smoker, good cuts of meat, and someone who knows how to put all three together without a timer, a thermometer, a computer program, or, God forbid, a propane tank.
 
Of course that’s an oversimplification, and to an outsider smoking a hunk of beef or pork appears an easy thing to do—in some ways, just as the idea “taking a picture” seems simple. But spend enough time watching the pit masters and the sausage-makers and the butchers relying on nothing but their senses and intuition to consistently deliver the quality and the sensory experience that makes a visit to the place memorable, and you realize that it’s not so simple to put it all together.
 
But don’t take it from me. Next time you’re in Austin, take a drive about 30 miles south to the little town of Lockhart. Drive past the giant tourist trap of Kreuz Market and pull off U.S. highway 183 into the dirt and gravel parking lot.  Walk through the back door and let the smoke hit you as you stroll past the open flame of the pit, and order your meat. It’ll be served up on a piece of butcher paper with nothing but some white bread and a knife–there are no forks here. Plunk down your cash (no credit cards, please), take your package, and find an empty folding chair at one of the community tables in the dining room. Dig in.
 
It’s just that simple.

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Darren Carroll is a commercial and editorial photographer specializing in portrait and sports work with a photojournalistic approach. Clients include Sports Illustrated, ESPN:The Magazine, Forbes, Hyatt Hotels, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. A New York native, he lives just outside of Austin, Texas with his wife Jessica, son Jake, and golden retriever, Shea.


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: Cole Barash

- - 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 column features the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/coleBarash

Today’s featured photographer is: Cole Barash

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How long have you been shooting?
Since I was 14, I think… So 14 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught. I tried going to photographer school and left after three weeks. Brooks was such a joke and rip off. I really wish I would have at least looked at a good school like Parsons, Pratt or Art Center in Pasadena which all have pretty legit programs.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Talk Story is about the sub culture of the North Shore of Hawaii that is loosely anchored around John John Florence (prodigy surfer). Every year thousands of photos are shot of all the action of the progression of surfing on the North Shore on Oahu. The beach is lined with huge telephoto lenses and always focused on the action. I wanted to go there and create a body of work that was complete opposite of that, 180 degrees away from the water. Digging deep into the rugged localized north shore culture showing portraits of specific influential people, the colors and anything my gut re acted on why making the work not worrying about if it was going to work or not. Also focusing on the home life of John John as he is a very soft spoken but huge part of surfing that is kept pretty under wraps.

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

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Depends. A few months to a year. I like to go out and make new initial work/ working images out from my brain- print them, look at them and see if it is worth exploring deeper and more details. I need to see it in a tangible way first- usually.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I make work that is quite different than what I am hired to shoot. Sometimes it has influences but mostly its different. When you are commissioned to make work you are under some one else approval, vision and at their mercy. Which is totally fine as I see it as a service that I can provide and can be into it as well. Personal work- I take pretty seriously and focus more time and energy on that than commercial work. When the commercial work comes it comes and I’m hyped to do it but I don’t stress on it or focus on how much money I can make every year. I focus on creating work from my gut, as it’s the only way I can progress personally- the only person I’m up against is myself. I want to create real bodies of work that puts my stamp on the map so when I die people can hopefully find my visions and different specific perspectives on certain things, which I do with books and prints.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yea mostly MySpace. ). Naw, haha of course I for sure have but it’s not something I rate it with. I measure my work from how the people I respect react to it not how many likes or re blogs it has.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Sure. Tumblr madness- and some press on certain projects has been great. I think it is now a really valuable way to spread news and show people what you’re working on or what you’re thinking but not necessarily as a whole or tangible object.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Definitely not. I don’t believe in making my art books as promos. I don’t make books to get more work I do it as a creative expression and a tangible perspective as well as a contribution to the printed community of art and photography. Not saying that my rep hasn’t made promos with images from personal work which she has and it has looked great but the books as promos- not me.

Talk Story
I wanted to create a body of work that to show the true colors, beauty, grit and life of the North shore anchored around John as a main subject. Portraying the life at home inner details that makes/made his life what it is. I made it to make a statement of an era of surfing and Hawaii that ideally you will be able to look back in 20 years in your hands and see with your own two eyes not through a computer screen. This was made as a contribution to surfing for nothing but the true salt, blood and bones its roots.

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Cole Barash (b. 1987) began his journey when he left his New England home at sixteen to document snow and surf culture in California. Self-taught and dedicated, Cole soon made a name for himself. With an organic approach to film photography and a clever eye for composition, his portraiture and still lifes became known for their candid and spontaneous sense of intimacy.  Well acquainted with international subcultures, Cole seeks “subjects where the boundaries are more open, not as seasoned, not done before,” capturing “unpredictable outcomes in a predictable world.” In 2011, Cole relocated to Brooklyn, New York where he now resides permanently.      

One of PDN’s top 30 upcoming photographers (2009), Cole’s work has been featured in group shows “Get Gone” (2008), “SILENCE” (2009), “Hot Bed” (2013), One Eyed Jacks Gallery (2014) and the Annenberg Space (2015), and a solo exhibition “Cold Emotions” (2009) at Montanero Gallery in New Port, RI. Cole’s first monograph book, Talk Story, and accompanying exhibition opened at Brooklyn’s Picture Farm Gallery in July of 2014 with a subsequent exhibition at Venice Arts Gallery in LA.  Cole’s images have been featured in numerous publications including, Rolling Stone, ESPN Magazine, Relapse Mag, and No Thoughts, among many 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: Tim Tadder

- - 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 column features the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/timtadder

Today’s featured photographer is: Tim Tadder

Las Muertas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Edgar Artiga

- - 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: Edgar Artiga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Art of the Personal Project: Jim Golden

- - 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 column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/jimgolden
Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Jim Golden

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Disclosure: Jim is a former client of mine.

How long have you been shooting?
9 years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Art of the Personal Project: Stephanie Diani

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Stephanie Diani

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAMES: The Legends of Burlesque

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Art of the Personal Project: Dave Moser

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Dave Moser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Art of the Personal Project: Ransom & Mitchell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Art of the Personal Project: Christina Richards

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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: 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

7-11 Admiral

7-11 Charlston

7-11 Eskandar

7-11 Ewing

7-11 Jagdish

7-11 Jasgdish II

7-11 Jay

7-11 Sandy

7-11 Singh

7-11 Travis

7-11 Wynona

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.

——————–

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

01 Michael Burn MC, Wales

02 Royal Navy Tombstone LaBaule France

03 Erich DeLaTorre, Commando, Stoke-Lacey, Herefordshire

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

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

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

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

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

09 Micky Burn with his history, Beaudy Gwyn, Wales

10 Burn at Nazi Nuremberg Rally 1935

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

12 Burn at Colditz Castle where he ran secret POW radio

13 Burn, Colditz Castle, met with former prison guard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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