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 McDermott


A little over five years ago my wife, who is from Germany, and I moved from San Francisco to Appiano, a small town in the South Tyrolean wine country, near the Dolomites in northern Italy. It’s halfway between Munich and Milan and two hours from Venice. There is a very beautiful lake nearby, the Lago di Caldaro, or Kalterersee in Germany (the area where we live is close to Austria and bi-lingual so both German and Italian are spoken). Every autumn Germany’s national women rowers come down for a week of training on the lake. They are hosted by some good friends of ours who own a nice hotel. I have always enjoyed shooting sports and have been on assignment to ten Olympics and nine FIFA World Cups for clients like Newsweek, Kodak and FIFA and Sports Illustrated. I’ve always been fascinated by the special beauty of sports on the water, particularly rowing and sailing. I wanted to do something for my friends and also for the athletes, so as a personal project I accompanied them in the early morning during their training to see what I could come up with photographically. It was also a great opportunity for me to “train” visually during a year when, thanks to Covid, there wasn’t that much going on. The rowers were pleased with the results and so was I. This was one of the last nice projects I was able to work on before we went back into a fairly strict Covid lockdown again where our ability to move about was restricted. Thankfully there has been a high degree of solidarity here in Italy regarding Covid and the payoff is that now we are able to live in a quite normal way again. I’m looking forward to their return.


To see more of this project, 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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  1. Another winner. Great stuff.

    • Thank you, Anthony!

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