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:  Kate Woodman

Call Of The Sea

Sometimes you spend days, weeks or even months preparing for photo shoots…and sometimes you make magic in 2 hours with no plan at all.

I met Bryan on the set of a proof-of-concept dystopian sci-fi film called Porter a few years back. I was shooting set stills for the production and Bryan starred as the lead character Klaus, an intense and complex character with a tragic backstory and a vendetta. Bryan and I hit it off immediately, and two years later as he happened to be passing through Oregon, we jumped on the opportunity to create this little impromptu photo shoot at the beach.

One of the things I found so compelling about Bryan’s performance in Porter was that despite his very limited dialogue, he was able to channel virtually the whole spectrum of human emotion through expression and body language. As a photographer who loves to create true characters in my own work, this is obviously a dream come true, and I find myself gravitating more and more towards actors as talent because they can take that character and make it their own.

Such was certainly the case for this shoot. There was very little pre-production for this one—we loosely decided on an old sailor type for the character, and I grabbed a few different wardrobe options before hitting the road to the coast where I met Bryan at the beach about 2 hours before sunset. The Oregon coast has some really spectacular landscape formations, with big haystacks jutting out into the sea—and this particular day had this beautiful layer of mist that created a dreamy atmosphere and made for spectacular colors.

As soon as we put Bryan into the first look, he immediately transformed into this gruff hardened sailor.  We let the landscape be our inspiration, finding different ways to interact with it—from climbing on the rock formations to being drawn into and eventually fully submerged in the sea. We used only the sun as our light source, opting for simplicity and efficiency but also creating a very cinematic aesthetic. There was very little dialogue between the two of us—just a symbiosis of creativity that allowed this series to be birthed.

It’s the nature of a lot of my client work to be very planned and thought out by necessity. However, I love shoots like this that challenge me to work creatively and intimately in the moment. They are a great reminder to me that quality meaningful work does always require complexity—just great creative relationships and the ability to utilize what you have available to you.

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 advertising and in-house corporate industry for decades.  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.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

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