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 Joseph Puhy because he is absolutely darling.
How many years have you been in business?
19 years total, including assisting which started in high school, but shooting consistently the last seven years.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, back in the days of film and Polaroid. I’ve taught myself everything digital since my days in the darkroom.
Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
First off, my father was a Creative Director, so there was endless reference material at home to get lost in; art, photography books, art publications like Zoom and Lurzer’s Archive. Also, he’d take me out on shoots during the summers. Next, it was the photographers I worked for on summer breaks in high school and first years at college. They introduced me to the craft of photography, lens choice, lighting, processing, film stocks, and how it all tied together. There was a real sense of alchemy that I couldn’t figure out but was drawn to. That’s the reason I decided to go to Brooks and learn the technical aspects of photography.
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?
It’s a balance that I’m constantly refining. Luckily, now I have a body of work where I can throw a few curve balls into a commercial book. A balance between execution, observation, and subject matter.
Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Yes, to a certain extent. Not so much when shooting the job, because at that point it’s a collaboration, more in trying to get the job. I’ve found that having great relationships with creatives, buyers and producers has gotten me to the table to bid on some amazing projects but often lose out to a “bigger name photographer” based on the client’s recommendation. In the end it’s their money, and they need to make the decision that’s best for them. I just keep pushing forward to the next opportunity.
What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
First, I try to meet face-to-face with agencies where I might be a good fit. That can be a difficult process, but I think that when meeting someone in person, they can get a better sense of what I’m about. I participate on many marketing sites, and was recently invited to be a part of At-Edge.
What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
You better like it too. You have to show work that you want to produce.
Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, I do personal projects for promos. If there is time on jobs and the situation allows for it I try to do a version for myself.
How often are you shooting new work?
I am a Los Angeles photographer that works with a wide range of clients from commercial to editorial. My style has a natural aesthetic with a cinematic approach. I capture moments of people and things relating to their environment, either in harmony or discord. That relationship tells stories worth sharing.
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.