We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Patrick Fraser. I worked with him on extremely complicated projects and he always over delivered. Understanding vision of agency creative, suggesting solution for unusual concepts, delivering beautiful photography and always under budget. What else can an art buyer want from the photographer.
How many years have you been in business?
My first magazine assignment was 16 years ago.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I didn’t go to photography school I actually studied fine art majoring in painting at University in England. Before that I took a foundation course in art & design in my hometown, which had a few photo classes. My father was a documentary filmmaker and gave me my first SLR at age 8. He taught me a lot about photography and showed me how to do black & white printing in the darkroom we had at our home.
Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I used to collect photography monographs from a really young age and pore over new issues of The Face and Arena magazines as a teen. If it came down to one photographer I’d have to say Avedon. What inspired me about his work was his range of subject matter. He mixed fashion and celebrity in the studio with everyday American workers outdoors in the American West series.
How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I’m always shooting editorial which keeps me on my toes and keeps a constant feed of new work rolling in. Editorial gives me the creative freedom to experiment whilst collaborating with a photo editor or art director. I like how it sharpens my problem solving skills, which can be invaluable on advertising shoots. Editorial is a good way to experiment with new lighting set ups and keep visually exploring. It’s also a good way to keep your name out there.
Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I’ve been lucky, as I can’t say I have had that experience. Once I have been selected for a project I like to keep up a level of communication, which makes it hard for this to happen. If the communication is clear from the word go and the collaborators are all working well together then the client is usually more than happy with the results.
What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
You never can market yourself enough and I should be more aggressive in this department. My marketing plan is multi layered and consists of personal printed pieces, e-mails, alongside my editorial credits. My agent also sends out marketing and they do showings of my portfolio.
I was skeptical at first of social networking for marketing and promo, I felt like it weakened the work. Now I have started to post more images that I love and behind the scenes shots on Instagram and have begun to use it more, like an online portfolio. I feel like Instagram is the best social network tool for photographers and a good way to get one’s work in front of creative minded people. You can see my posts @patchypics
What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Photography trends come in waves. You’ll see a photographer being used all over for a couple of years, their style of shooting might start to get copied and then the market for that imagery gets saturated. One must always stay true to one’s own vision and continue to grow and evolve. Shoot what comes naturally to you. Following trends is the kiss of death.
Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes always. I’m always out there shooting a test, making a film or thrashing out an idea I had driving or even in my sleep! Just this past week I was up in Vail at a dance festival for a few days and then I started asking the dancers if they had some spare time for a session. I came back with some really strong new images and that started an idea for a new series for me.
How often are you shooting new work?
I have a constant flow of new work. I get excited when there is a gap in commercial or magazine assignments where I can just go off and make images for myself both stills and motion. That is the time to explore what you love and usually that’s when you come back with strong images which were self motivated.
10 FACTS ABOUT PATRICK
1) When he was 18 he rode an Enfield 350 Bullet Motorbike around Northern India.
2) He is renovating a 1948 Homesteader cabin in Joshua Tree, CA.
3) Is reading The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
4) Made his first piece of furniture in 2012, a bench for his garden
5) Is restoring a 1973 Alfa Romeo GTV
6) Loves to sketch
7) He is big on roasting and using the BBQ for slow cooking
8) Rents a production office near Abbott Kinney in Venice, CA
9) 2014 completed a documentary about the art of Taxidermy called Skin Movers
10) He Plays the French horn
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information. Follow her@SuzanneSease.