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 Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Judd Lamphere

Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere




Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere


Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere



Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere

Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere

Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere


How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting professionally for about 12 years now, but my love for photography began in my high school darkroom. I was fortunate enough to have access to a great art program back then. In fact, my high school arts program put many students on the path to professional careers in the arts.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I received a BS in Biomedical Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
It was my best friend’s dog Roxanne. I had known Roxy since, well, since we were all puppies, really. I saw her carry him through some of the hardest times in his life. The relationship was beautiful, and for a time, it felt like it would stay that way forever. As Roxanne got older, her black coat became lined with silver accents, and she mellowed out a lot from the rebellious teenager she used to be. Yet, she retained this kind of pride in herself. She carried herself with a sense of stateliness. But even more than that, was this bond between the two of them, this unconditional love for one another. My friend had to slowly start saying goodbye to his best friend one day at a time. I wanted to help him through this really difficult time, and the only thing I could think to do was take a picture.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I started showing pictures on my blog almost immediately. Friends started sharing links to my work on social media, and soon I had people lining up to have portraits made of their best friends too.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That’s a tricky question for me. I find my personal work comes in waves, with moments of cresting productivity followed by troughs. As such, it can take me awhile, maybe even two years, before I’ve explored a body of work to the point where I can tell myself if it’s succeeding or not.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I love when the work is different. Variety is the spice of life, and it keeps me growing professionally and personally. The great thing about personal work is that it’s ok to fail. Real growth emerges from failure.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Typically I will only share a link to my blog on social media, out of various copyright concerns. This is for my professional and personal projects that I’ve edited closely. I’ll use Instagram or Facebook for fun “behind-the-scenes” type shots that I’m not concerned about. I did share a body of work through Reddit/Imgur, but this was a series of vertical landscape panoramas I did, and was just for fun.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
My old dogs project picked up a lot of interest locally and was featured in 7days (Burlington’s go-to free alternative weekly), and a local news story.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have actually! I print and mail postcards to small, targeted groups of clients I really want to work with.

What do you want to do with this personal project?
My long-term goal for this project is to assemble a photo book, perhaps through some form of crowdfunding or self-publication. The idea is to have proceeds from the book go into a fund to help support the adoption of senior dogs.


Judd Lamphere received a BS in Biomedical Photography with concentrations in Photojournalism and Creative Writing from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006. He has since worked as a photo editor, production manager, landscape and editorial photographer in a number of areas including advertising, editorial, travel, nonprofit, government organizations and outdoor adventure.

Judd has worked with a number of periodicals and organizations including The Wall Street Journal, Triathlete Magazine, Boston Globe Magazine and Greenpeace, though his true passion for photography lies in his personal work, ranging from portraits of Old Dogs for charity to his exploratory landscape series Architecture of Energy.

Judd is also a co-founder of Reciprocity Studio, a commercial studio in Burlington, Vermont whose clients include Seventh Generation, Tata Harper Skin Care, Caledonia Spirits and more.

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.

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