The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.


Today’s featured artist:  John Henley

The portraits of artists appearing in this book “A R T I S T S” were taken in and around the city of Richmond, Virginia, over a six-year period. As a photographer who previously spent many solitary days making landscape images, I found the time spent with these artists to be nothing less than thrilling. Every portrait was collaboration with its subject, and to share ideas with each of them was revelatory.
I left Richmond to study photography as an undergraduate student at the San Francisco Art Institute. When I returned to my hometown in the mid- 1970s, I had been on the West Coast for five years and knew nothing about the art scene in Richmond. Soon thereafter, as I began my MFA studies in the VCUarts Department of Photography and Film, it was my good fortune to meet artists who were doing great work, and who were interested in what I was doing. Willie Anne Wright, George Nan, David White, Rob Carter, and Myron Helfgott were among those influential teachers who made me feel
at home and helped me to gain an artistic footing here. When I decided to undertake this series of artist portraits in early 2014, I started with these individuals.
Since then, I have met and photographed many artists, initially at the suggestion of the people with whom I began the project. To say that this experience has been a source of discovery and inspiration is an understatement. Simply put, interacting with all of these creative people has been amazing. It has instilled in me a much greater understanding of how important our arts community is, personally and collectively.
During my long career as a commercial photographer, I worked with many talented designers and art directors, including Rob Carter. He and I traveled around the country making aerial photographs for a Best Products Annual Report in 1983. Rob designed this book with stunning results, and I am immensely grateful once again to have had the opportunity to work with him.

The first public presentation of these portraits took place at the Richmond headquarters of Capital One (June 2–November 21 2017), thanks to an invitation from Art Program Manager Francis Thompson. On behalf of 1708 Gallery, board member Amie Oliver subsequently organized a two-part satellite exhibition at Linden Row Inn (January 15–July 8, 2018). More recently, VMFA educator Jeffrey Allison assembled a show of the portraits for the Richmond International Airport (February 3–August 2, 2020.) Selected portraits were also shown at Richmond’s Glave Kocen Gallery (June 15–July 18, 2020).
First and foremost, I hope this book will extend the recognition due these artists who have been so instrumental in the growth and visibility of Richmond’s cultural landscape.

To see more of this project, click here.

To purchase “A R T I S T S” click here

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 because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.


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