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:  Bryan Coppede


Rangers – A Portrait Series

The Mohonk Preserve in upstate New York holds a special place in my heart. Rock climbing is a hobby of mine, and I have been frequenting the Preserve for the majority of the past decade. For at this wonderful nature reserve is the world famous “Gunks” rock climbing area.

The Preserve, at 8,000 acres, is the largest visitor supported area of its type in the state of New York. In addition to several miles of spectacular cliffs perfect for rock climbing, there are dozens of trails and carriage roads that cater to outdoor activities year round.

I have long felt a connection to this land, and wanted to include it somehow in my work. Years ago, I came up with the idea for a portrait series of climbers around the Preserve. However, a portrait of climbers was nothing new, and I could not quite figure out how to add my own take on the subject. So I shelved the idea, keeping it in the back of my mind.

Fast-forward to summer 2020, the middle of the pandemic. I was upstate enjoying some much needed camping and hiking when I learned that a friend had recently taken a position as a ranger at the Preserve. Like a lightning bolt, the idea hit me. I would adapt my prior intention of photographing climbers at the Preserve and photograph the ranger staff as my subjects instead. I reached out to my friend, and he put me in touch with the Preserve’s decision makers, who approved the project.

For the photo-shoot, I asked each ranger to pick a location around the Preserve for their portrait that held special meaning to them. By including my subjects as active participants in the process, they were more comfortable and engaged during our time together.

Rangers at the Preserve have always been stewards of the land and its visitors. They guide lost hikers to safety, and rappel down cliffs to rescue injured climbers. This series of portraits was a complete joy to create and a fitting tribute to these selfless hardworking men and women. They are heroes, undeniably.

The Mohonk Preserve has long been a natural outdoor respite from city life. This has never been truer during this pandemic. The science shows that outdoor activities are safer, and we all need some time in nature to recharge. These rangers have kept the Preserve open, clean and safe, and as such have provided an opportunity for tens of thousands of people to take a walk in the woods, and heal in nature. Thank you Rangers!

To see more of this project, click here.

Bryan’s IG: @bryancoppede

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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