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:  Greg Smith

Altitude Adjustment: A Book of ‘Chairlift’ Pictures

Skiing and snowboarding are peculiar pastimes, sending otherwise sensible folks – and some not so sensible – into harsh winter weather, just to go up a hill and slide back down. Skiing didn’t come easy for me on the icy slopes of southern Pennsylvania, but for some reason I stuck with it and fell in love with the sport.

My first real date with Janet, now my wife of 40 years, would be driving overnight from western Kansas to Colorado’s Wolf Creek. Later, we lived briefly in Telluride, starting a newspaper, getting married, getting pregnant and getting out before another winter descended. Although we reared our children in snow-challenged South Carolina, we invested great efforts for at least annual ski trips as they got older.

I documented the kids. I documented our trips. And eventually, I started carrying a small film camera on the chairlift. I was fascinated by the patterns of snow, cables, chairs and people. I wanted to share this with my Southern belle mother. And I didn’t want to interrupt our family’s skiing too much by pausing during our day. Making pictures of and from the lift seemed a good solution.

When we moved back to Colorado 10 years ago and bought season passes at Monarch Mountain, I began documenting in earnest the in-bounds skiing experience. Eventually, I saw my pictures – now made with digital cameras – as a gentle counterpoint to the “powder porn” that sells winter sports. Such commercial – and many editorial – productions show the powdered glory of those who hike up hills or take helicopter rides with film crews to ski nearly impossible lines in perfect conditions. I wanted to show how wonderful and quirky the experience is for the rest of us who just want a few days to play in the snow – and to highlight the technology that makes that possible.

Altitude Adjustment grew as an idea and collection over this past decade. It documents the actual experience most of us have in-bounds at accessible, safe – but stoked – resorts. The Covid 19 epidemic cut our 2020 season short, and I used that lonely time to finally compile and contextualize my project in 10 chapters. A bit of a designer myself, I opted to hire a real one, David Downing of Ovid Nine Productions, whose work and collaboration delighted me. We printed through Print Ninja in China.

I call it a labor of joy – a book to remind skiers and riders of how fabulous winter sports are, and to show those who don’t brave the cold just what they’re missing. You can learn and see more – and order copies – by clicking

Snow guns coat the slope, trees and chairlift at Timberline Ski Resort on a bitter-cold January day.
Skiers and riders take in the snow and the chairlifts at Monarch Mountain on a February day.
Skiers ride the Garfield chair over a ridge on the way to the top of Monarch Mountain.
Light snow falling under a blue sky highlights a pair of skiers crossing a ridge along the Continental Divide to reach the steep Curecanti face on a powdery March morning at Monarch Mountain.
A snowy March offers up good skiing and riding at Monarch Mountain.
A young skier tries to embrace the challenge of a rocky face at Monarch Mountain.
Skiers and riders take in fresh December powder under the chairlifts of Monarch Mountain.
Skiing and riding among chairlifts on December snow at Monarch Mountain.

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 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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