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.
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.