The Art of the Personal Project: The Rathkopfs

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:  The Rathkopfs

“Maminka,” the Czech term for mother, and my native language as a Czech immigrant now based in New York, serves as the emotional core of this project. Offering an intimate glimpse into my family’s lives, it chronicles the poignant journey of how my mother, and I reversed roles. In 2016, she became my caregiver during my cancer diagnosis, a role that later reversed in 2022 when she faced a stroke and cancer.

This photographic exploration delves into the shifts in our relationship– from patient to caregiver and caregiver to patient. The images captured the intricate dance of roles between children and parents and shows a candid picture of the challenges we confronted. How hard it is to care for a loved one, and how hard it can be to accept care. Amidst these tribulations, the project unveils the enduring strength of family love, a constant presence that can help transcend the hurdles.

“Maminka” also sheds light on the broader impact of multigenerational caregiving. In addition to my and my husband Jordan’s roles as caregivers in the “Sandwich Generation” (caregiving for aging parents and young children), our son, Jesse, has also found himself helping care for his grandmother as well. Spanning from Jesse’s early childhood to the most recent images in December 2023, the project captures the evolving dynamics. His instinct to assist in caregiving for my mother as she grappled with the lingering effects of recent illnesses, adds another layer to the intricate narrative. Ultimately, this project is a testament to the resilience of familial bonds, specifically the profound transformations that accompany the ebb and flow of caregiving roles across generations.

Anna, navigating her cancer treatment, captured a poignant self-portrait with her mother Helena, who traveled from the Czech Republic to support her through chemotherapy, caring not only for Anna but also her son, Jesse.
Holding Anna’s mother’s hands in the hospital reminded her of her grandfather. “Their hands are so similar, hands that had years of use in them from creating things with their hands.”
Anna holds a mirror steady as Helena delicately applies lipstick during her hospital stay in 2021, following a stroke. For Helena, maintaining her appearance provided a sense of comfort amidst medical challenges. A week later, doctors uncovered another hurdle: Helena was diagnosed with colon cancer, prompting swift treatment.
Anna preparing food for her mother and son as she adjusts to caring for her mother following her stroke and cancer recovery. With her mother’s abilities altered, Anna had to step in to assist her mother with tasks she used to manage independently.
Helena showers in the hospital while recovering from a stroke in 2021. “My mom always spent a lot of time in the shower. She loves the water. It calms her mind.” For the first time in her life, Anna had to assist her mom to shower.
After Helena’s stroke, the entire family embarked on a journey of discovery into the nuances of post-stroke recovery. The constant exhaustion and necessity for frequent naps became apparent, significantly reducing Helena’s usual activity levels. As the family adapted to this new reality, they learned firsthand the complexities of brain recovery after a stroke, emphasizing the importance of patience and time in the rehabilitation process.
“This was one of the moments, nearly nine months after her stroke, when my mom started to seem more like herself pre-stroke,” Anna said. “Her energy, mobility and sense of joy were improving.”
As of December 2023, Helena’s health remains a persistent challenge. She has recently developed breathing issues that have left her medical team uncertain whether it stems from stroke-related issues, complications from cancer, or possibly another underlying cause. Amidst these uncertainties, Jesse, Helena’s grandson and Anna’s son, has grown increasingly aware and concerned about his grandmother’s health.
As of December 2023, Helena’s health remains a persistent challenge. She has recently developed breathing issues that have left her medical team uncertain whether it stems from stroke-related issues, complications from cancer, or possibly another underlying cause. Amidst these uncertainties, Jesse, Helena’s grandson and Anna’s son, has grown increasingly aware and concerned about his grandmother’s health.

To see more of this project, click here

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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

The Art of the Personal Project: Todd Antony

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:  Todd Antony

The Japanese subculture of ‘Dekotora’ – a portmanteau of the Japanese pronunciations of “decor” and “truck” – involves the elaborate decorating of a truck following a certain theme, or aesthetic. For more than 40 years, Japanese truck drivers have been piling lights, patterned fabrics, and other over-the-top adornments onto their work trucks, creating moving masterpieces covered in LEDs.

The tradition of decorated trucks, or “Dekotora,” originated from a 1970s Japanese movie series that was inspired by Smokey and the Bandit, titled “Torakku Yaro” or “Truck Rascals.” Drivers first began decorating their vehicles in the style seen in the comedy-action films in hopes of being cast in upcoming productions. Eventually the extravagant trucks became a way of life for many workers, with decoration costs sometimes running over $100,000.

The Dekotora craze has passed its zenith of the 80s and 90s and has been in decline recently, numbering in the region of 500 drivers in the country now. The Utamaro-Kai association participates in a number of charity initiatives and has been helping raise funds for some of the areas worst hit by the recent Tsunamis, by staging events in the cities.

Junichi Tajima, the head of the Utamaro says it is not just about raising money though, but about bringing some light and happiness into the lives of those who have been affected. When asked what Dekotora means to him he said that ‘after 40 years, Dekotora is my children, my brothers, my family’.”

To see more of this project, click here

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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

The Art of the Personal Project: Jennifer MacNeill

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:  Jennifer MacNeill

My love of animals combined with a curiosity about people who are very passionate about raising and showing them fueled my desire to photograph various animal shows. This brought me to The Celtic Classic dog show in York, PA.

It was interesting to study how meticulously each animal was groomed and watch the intense focus of the canine and the handler in the ring. Personally, I would never buy a pedigreed pet because there are far too many homeless animals in need, but I can respect a person’s interest in preserving breeds and sharing their love of dogs with the public.

To see more of this project, click here

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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

The Art of the Personal Project: Scott Elmquist

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:  Scott Elmquist

What started as a newsroom assignment in the early 2000’s, became a personal project spanning 25 years. During those years I attended countless community prayer vigils in Richmond, Virginia, generated by unrelenting gun violence. Simply reporting the facts about each murder weren’t enough. I felt compelled to investigate the murder victims, and communicate with the affected families, sharing their stories visually.

Some prayer vigils were often solemn, intimate events, attended by 25-50 people. The larger vigils resembled New Orleans-style wakes, where people preached, sang, marched and prayed. Regardless of the vigil size, family members spoke lovingly about the victims, and although I was possibly witnessing the most painful moments in their lives, they often thanked me for being there to tell the story.

Unfortunately, this grim story continues to unfold. According to the Virginia Department of Health, from 2018-2022, over 1,000 Virginians died each year due to gun-related violence. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. The resulting devastation for families is immeasurable. In June 2019, during Gun Violence Awareness month, I partnered with Initiatives of Change, a Richmond based non-profit, to host “I Am Here,” a three-day interactive exhibit to raise awareness and promote healing from the trauma brought on by gun violence. I displayed photographs from those prayer vigils held in the aftermath of homicide. Hundreds of people attended the event, including families of the homicide victims. Families shared stories, grieved together and joined in a healing drum circle, allowing them to remember and celebrate their murdered loved ones. Shelia Hall Green stood and spoke about her son Omar, who she had buried just four days earlier. Another mother, Brenda Rawlings, said it was the first time she felt normal since her daughter’s murder on New Years’ Eve 2018. Deneene Poole said she felt her son, J.J., who was murdered in 2010, hadn’t been forgotten. Providing visual documentation of the vigils offered some hope that these murder victims, and their families, won’t be forgotten.

Allan Melton, 9, cries during vigil for his father and uncle who were murdered in a double homicide home invasion on May 28th. He is comforted by Alicia Rasin, the founder of Citizens Against Crime, a group that rallied around the families of Richmond’s 78 murder victims in 2006.
Teddy Parham is among those who gathered on a cold Friday night to remember Farooq M. Bhimdi, the owner of the Express Way convenience store on Mechanicsville Turnpike. He was gunned down inside his store on January 28, 2012.

Ricky Burton, 16, was murdered walking home from his late shift at Wendy’s in August 2008. His aunt (pictured here) and about 100 mourners gathered in Delmont Village to say goodbye.

Rotunda Allen of Richmond mourns the death of her friend Kiarri Edwards, 34, at a vigil on Sunday night on Dinwiddie Avenue. Edwards, a father of three, was killed in a triple shooting on the Dinwiddie Avenue on March 31 at 11:16 p.m.

Hundreds of members of the Hillside Court community gathered on the 1700 block of South Lawn Avenue for a vigil in remembrance of 3-year-old Sharmar Hill Jr., who lost his life on February 1, 2020, when he was caught in the crossfire of gun violence outside his home. “This shouldn’t be a war zone — how is your home a war zone?” Shamar Hill Sr. asked, reiterating that his young son was his “hero.”

Still wearing a graduation gown, Jason Kamras, Richmond Public Schools Superintendent, who was flanked by city council president Michael Jones and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney addressed the media after eighteen-year-old Shawn Jackson was shot and killed on June 6, 2023. The incident occurred just after Huguenot High’s School graduation in the Altria Theater.  Kamras said he “can’t shake the image” of Jackson getting CPR while wearing his graduation gown in Monroe Park, just outside the theater where the shooting took place. Jackson’s stepfather, Renzo Smith, 36, also died in the shooting.

The family of J.J. Poole, 20, stand in disbelief that their family member was murdered near his home in Richmond’s East End in 2009.
Gun violence activist turned mourner; Joyce Kennedy is comforted during the RVA Stop The Violence rally. Her grandson Ra’Keem Adkins, 22, was murdered in Mosby court in May 2015. Prior to her grandson’s murder, Kennedy often spoke out about gun violence.

BIO: Scott Elmquist is the senior photographer for Style Weekly/VPM News based in Richmond, Virginia. His gun violence images have won numerous awards, including being named the Best Alternative Weekly Photographer in North America in 2019 by the Association of Alternative Weeklies, for a portfolio of gun violence images. He was awarded the Best General News Photo First Place award in Virginia by the Virginia News Photographers Association in 2006 and 2008. He also earned dozens of First Place awards and ten Best-In-Show awards in the annual Virginia Press Association contest 2000-2022.

To see more of this project, click here

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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

The Art of the Personal Project: Billy Childress

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:  Billy Childress

This photographic series originated with my exploration of my grandmother’s siblings, a project that unfolded within the confines of the family homestead. Nestled on 8 acres in rural North Carolina, this ancestral compound was comprised of four houses where each sibling resided at the time.

My grandmother, a pivotal figure in my life, epitomized strength in a way that continues to resonate with me today. Spending countless formative years by her side, I absorbed a wealth of life lessons from her. Above all, her unwavering faith stood as the cornerstone of her existence. Together with my grandfather, they built their home behind the family church where she was raised—a place that now echoes with the memories of raising children of my own.

The path of her life took an unexpected turn when my grandfather sustained a gunshot wound to the head in his forties, leaving him blind and brain-dead. From that fateful day onward, my grandmother devoted herself to his care until his last breath. The love they shared and the grace she exhibited were immeasurable, a demonstration of the resilience that faith and family can inspire.

Following the loss of my grandfather, my grandmother drew strength not only from her unwavering faith but also from the familial bonds that surrounded her. She had a unique camaraderie with her siblings. Each one of them navigated their individual struggles with illnesses—ranging from cancer to dementia and the challenges of old age. With the loss of their significant others, they found solace and support in one another. Witnessing this interdependence among siblings underscored the profound importance of family, especially when faced with loss and sorrow.

Throughout this period, I was lured by the power of portraiture. A person’s face can reveal so much—capturing not just their present state but also glimpses of their past. This project compelled me to document them in the very homes they built and, on the land, where their shared history unfolded. The resulting portraits tell stories of resilience, familial bonds, and the enduring beauty of capturing moments in time.

To see more of this project, click here

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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

The Art of the Personal Project: Ellen Jantzen

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:  Ellen Jantzen

The place of one’s birth greatly influences who they are but through moving, new landscapes await to reshape their very being.

Here I am blending photos from my years in the Midwest (Missouri and Illinois) with current photos I’ve taken while living in New Mexico. During these times of COVID- 19, travel is restricted so this gives me the opportunity of revisiting past photo shoots and creating new combinations, new work.

The landscape looks as if it were moving as though one was quickly driving past, but the clouds seem heavy and still. There is so much of life racing past us these days while our heads are in the clouds. Are we moving or remaining still as abstract land meets the real sky? We are reshaped by our circumstances. We become, in essence, a blending of all former homelands with the present.

To see more of this project, click here

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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

The Art of the Personal Project: Stuart Miller

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:  Stuart Miller

Blood Generation is a collaborative exhibition between contemporary photographer Stuart Miler, and Artist Taloi Havini. Taloi invited Stuart to come and photograph a series of portraits dedicated to a tribe of young people known as the “Blood Generation”.

This is the name that was given to those children who were born into war, triggered from external interests in mining and sustained by acts of local political self-determination.” In 1990, the people of Bougainville lived under air, sea, and military blockade for ten-years with a reported loss of twenty thousand lives. Bougainville’s Indigenous landowners remain disheartened, displaced, and dissatisfied. The issue remains unresolved, and we ask ourselves – who is responsible for the “Blood Generation”

To see more of this project, click here

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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

The Art of the Personal Project: Suzanne Saroff

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:  Suzanne Saroff

‘‘Perspective’ is a two-part series. The original photos I titled “Perspective.” Then I titled the photos that came after “Perspective Revisited.”

These pieces were a deeply personal experience for me to create. Creating my artwork is a transformative, meditative experience. That was especially so in creating my Perspective series. I was in my early twenties when I started this series. I had been working on other still-life photography series involving these props – the glassware, the fruits, and the flowers – but that earlier series was about the shadows they made. While photographing that earlier series, I saw that the orange I had been photographing had taken a completely new shape behind the water glass. This phenomenon in art – distortion through lenses of all types, even when the lens is not attached to the camera – has always interested me. From Irving Penn’s work on the concept, to my carrying around a crystal ball when I was a kid, photographing my hand holding the crystal while the world flipped upside down behind it.

At that moment, seeing the distorted orange at an unexpected angle brought me back to my childhood, where photography was a discovery of the hidden obvious. Right then, I became obsessed, which turned into a journey of exploration that has led me deeper into what I can try to capture and communicate with my photography.

Something so simple – water, a background, and an object- being transformed with the right light and “Perspective.”

The second part of this series was revisiting what I had started. In this second part of the Perspective series, I dove deeper into the folds and dimensions of communicating with color and texture. I hope that these captured images share some of the ripeness of emotion and feeling that I had then, and how what I was able to see helped to unravel tangled knots that are so common in all of us.

Through the years, I continue to revisit this work, each time with a new perspective. As I have grown up in this career in New York, I find comfort in the feeling of the challenge of discovering something new in the obvious. I chase that feeling, obsessively working through new ideas. As I balance my commercial projects with my own personal work, I have continued to revisit this “Perspective” concept, as each visit brings me joy and comfort, and the most exciting visits do bring me something new.

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Artist Bio

Suzanne Saroff is a photographer and video artist based in NYC. Her body of work is still-life focused, with a multimedia approach. She has always been an observer – noticing small details. As a child, this meant falling behind on hikes to look at unnoticed bugs and flowers, and as an adult, she continues to notice the often unseen. She uses still-life photography as a way to communicate feelings and ideas. Her work is feminine, bold, and nuanced. She loves to explore objects, textures, and colors and how they can add layers of energy and meaning.

Central to her approach is experimentation and new ways to work with light and composition. In her studio, she likes to build technical sets and then break all of the creative “rules”. This process is cathartic and is where new ideas emerge. She likes to examine, take apart, or combine flowers and objects, searching for new ways of looking at them to create and communicate feelings and emotions.

In addition to her ever growing body of personal work, Suzanne has shot for many clients, including Glossier, Gucci, NARS, Prada, and her photography has been published in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, and many other publications.

 

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Claire Harbage

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:  Joanna Kakissis , Claire Harbage

The Cossacks’ traditions live on near the front lines in Ukraine

(featured in NPR The Picture Show)

KHORTYTSIA, Ukraine — This lush, wild island, the largest on the Dnipro River, is just outside the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, not far from the front line where Ukrainian soldiers are trying to reclaim occupied land.

It includes a nature reserve, where horses run free, and was once a headquarters for the Zaporizhzhian Cossacks, 17th century warriors revered in Ukraine for their insistence on freedom and self-governance.

“They are my ancestors,” says Yuriy Kopishynskyi, a tall grandfather with a shaved head, twirled mustache and linebacker’s build. “They are also part of the Ukrainian story today.”

You can find likenesses of Zaporizhzhian Cossacks everywhere in Ukraine — on T-shirts and coffee mugs, in paintings in government offices, on statues big and small. Their hairstyle — shaved, except for a ponytail on top of their heads — is also popular with Ukrainian men and even a few women.

“Legend says that when a Cossack dies,” Kopishynskyi says, “God reaches out for that ponytail to pull the Cossack to heaven.”

Kopishinskyi sits in a thatched hut surrounded by five protective ducks, near an animal refuge and a horse-riding school run by his daughter. He explains that the world often associates Cossacks with Russia, because some became loyal servants to the czars. But the Zaporizhzhian Cossacks fought invading Muscovite princes.

“They were de facto border guards, protecting their sacred land,” he says.

For the last 20 years, Kopishynskyi has trained locals and foreigners to fight like Zaporizhzhian Cossacks — with swords, maces and their bare hands. One of his best students is Andrii Lozovyi, a cheery hulk with a drooping mustache and long oseledets, which he calls “the haircut of champions.”

“Every adult, every child wants a hairstyle like that so we can look like our heroes,” he says.

Before the war, Lozovyi and Kopishinskyi practiced their combat techniques inside a fenced-in complex lined with weathered wooden houses. This is the reconstruction of a Cossack sich, or a military administrative center. It includes homes, a church and a museum.

Lozovyi disappears into the museum and returns with weapons, including a heavy sword and two axes. He takes off his shirt and expertly swings the sword around.

“I can also do this while riding a horse,” he says. “Whether we use horses and swords or howitzers and HIMARS, it all goes back to the same Cossack spirit to defend our land.”

Lozovyi says he’s been rejected from military service because of multiple bone fractures he suffered falling off horses. Kopishinskyi’s other student warriors are all on the front line, and they’re fighting other Cossacks who live in Russia and support Moscow. Kopishynskyi bristles.

“The Russian Cossacks were nothing but servants, and all they ever did was submit to the czar. The Zaporizhzhian Cossacks never submitted to anybody.”

Except this one time, he says, and there were terrible mistakes. Between 1648 and 1657, the Zaporizhzhian Cossacks rebelled against the Polish Commonwealth but also massacred local Jews and Roman Catholics. Then, in 1654, the Cossacks signed the Pereyaslav Agreement with the Russian czars for military protection. The Russian empire grew and punished those who didn’t submit. The Zaporizhzhian Cossacks held out until Catherine the Great, one of the Russian empire’s most formidable leaders, disbanded them in 1775.

“The way I see it, the Pereyaslav Agreement helped create the Russian Empire,” Kopishynskyi said, “and the Russia we know today.”

Now, he says, Ukraine and Poland are close allies, and Ukraine has a Jewish president, whom Kopishynshki calls a brave Cossack. They are defending their land from Russia.

“My own daughter is so strong,” he says. “She could fight five Russians.”

Anastatasiya Kopishynska, a champion equestrian, is tall and athletic like her father. Back at her riding school, she helps two twin toddler girls onto one of her horses.

“They’re not scared,” the girls’ grandmother says. “They must be Cossacks.”

Kopishynska’s own young children have been in Ireland since the war, living with her mother. Her husband is fighting on the front line.

“I told my husband, ‘Look, be careful out there, because if something happens to you, I will have to head to the front line myself to avenge you,'” she says.

“That’s what a Cossack does,” she says. And in today’s Ukraine, the Zaporizhzhian Cossacks are fighting again.

The story as featured in NPR The Picture

Photographs by Claire Harbage

 

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Glen McClure

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:  Glen McClure

Photography, for me, is an adventure. I’m always searching for what’s next: the next human face with great character or the next incredible natural wonder. As I travel across Virginia, or to Ireland, France, and Italy, I strive to make the finest portraits of the people and places that I encounter.

My “street portraits” reveal people in their natural habitats. Through my lens I try to capture the nuances of my subjects’ expressions, attire, and surroundings that tell their stories or inspire the viewer to want to learn more. A face, an attitude, a gesture can resonate so much. The right photograph can search out the complexities of person’s character, and through my images, I strive to forge a connection between the person in the portrait and the viewer.

My landscapes are studies in the mysteries and patterns of nature. I am fascinated by weather and atmosphere—light, shadow, rain, clouds, lightning—that set a tone or mood through which to view lakes and oceans, mountains and sand, meadows or forests from new perspectives.

I work in black and white, and in color; the scale of my work varies from large too small. I always let my subjects determine my approach to convey new insights into them. Love of detail and texture define my work—hair, beard, eyes, skin, fabric, mist, leaves of trees, grain of wood—infinite ingredients and subtleties that inform the composition. And, ultimately, fine quality is what I seek—from the click of the shutter to the final carefully crafted print—to serve my subjects as well as I can.

Paul Strand, the pioneer of 20th-century American photography, said it best: “the material of the artist…lies in the world around him.”  My photographs offer the viewer an opportunity to take the time to notice, to look closely, and to see.

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To purchase this book

The Gallery Show runs from Feb. 3-March 30, 2024 (Norfolk, VA)

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

The Art of the Personal Project: The Rathkopfs

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:  The Rathkopfs

 

JESSE AND THE RED BALLOON by Anna, Jordan and Jesse Rathkopf

“Jesse and the Red Balloon” is a collaboration with our son Jesse that delves into the profound impact of isolation on the mental well-being of young children during the pandemic. This photographic journey explores a child’s perspective on a rapidly changing world and delves into how parents can create a sense of security amid uncertainty.

Inspired by the timeless tale of The Red Balloon/Le Ballon Rouge by Albert Lamorisse, our project pays homage to the original narrative. Unbeknownst to us initially, the little boy in the story was Albert’s son, adding a poignant layer to our exploration.

To tailor our story to Jesse’s emotions, who felt sad by the bullied child in the original The Red Balloon/La Ballon Rouge, we co-created our narrative, focusing on places he wanted to visit and showcasing a world where “the child” is accompanied by his “Red Balloon” friend in search of fun and exploration despite the harrowing circumstances.

Navigating the desolate streets of NYC during the COVID-19 crisis, we couldn’t shield Jesse from the trauma unfolding around us – neighbors in masks on food lines, closed establishments, and, in one of the most densely populated cities, Jesse often stood as the sole child in sight. Yet, instead of shielding him, our collaboration became a source of strength. The resulting images encapsulate the interplay between internal psychological dynamics and external realities. They navigate a spectrum, alternating between moments of playfulness and the poignant solitude portrayed in each photograph.

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Peter Howard

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:  Peter Howard

My journey to Ecuador, initially driven by a personal project, took an unexpected turn. The primary purpose was to accompany my family in returning my father-in-law’s ashes to his homeland for a final resting place. Amid the emotional backdrop of this poignant task, I found myself captivated by the breathtaking beauty, vibrancy, and warmth of the Ecuadorian people and the charming towns they inhabited.

In this moment of emotional intensity, being intimately connected to my father-in-law, I felt compelled to document the life unfolding in these cities and towns. Returning to my roots, I chose to embrace a simpler approach to photography – one body, one lens, and an old extended frame camera. In my professional life, I am often surrounded by assistants and a crew, facilitating concepts for clients. However, this personal endeavor allowed me to savor the creative silence that enveloped me on the streets.

The act of photographing became a therapeutic outlet, a means to navigate through the complex emotions surrounding my father-in-law’s passing. Through the lens, I aimed to convey my deep appreciation for the country that held a special place in his heart.

Regrettably, the current challenges facing Ecuador weigh heavily on me and my family. I empathize with the people and the nation as they navigate these troubled times, reflecting on the profound connection I forged with this remarkable country during a time of personal significance.

 Peter Howard, a distinguished photographer hailing from Baltimore, possesses a remarkable talent for capturing the essence of individuals through his lens. Specializing in portraits and lifestyle photography production, Peter’s work transcends conventional boundaries, offering a sincere exploration of human narrative.

With a commitment to showcasing the beauty of individuality, Peter Howard’s photographic journey is a celebration of the human spirit. His portfolio invites viewers to delve into the intricacies of human stories, fostering an earnest connection with the subjects and a deeper appreciation for the art of capturing life’s fleeting moments.

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Survey from Art Producers on why they are important.

Personal Projects have always been my favorite galleries of a photographer’s website as it showcases their creativity.  To get an industry perspective, I have teamed up with Heather Elder to get agency art producers’ opinions on personal projects and why they are so important.

As a former art buyer with decades of viewing websites and portfolios, it is a personal project that many times seals the deal on being hired.  Advertising campaigns are a collaboration of photographer, art director, creative director, account executive, client, and support crew.

In 2016, I started “The Art of the Personal Project” on APE with the vision to showcase a photographer and their personal style.  I search the internet for photographers on websites like Found, Workbook, APA, ASMP, CA, The Picture Show: NPR, photographer representatives and photographers for the work I admire.  For personal projects to showcase, I look for at least 6 to 8 images and a unique subject/story.  I don’t take submissions.

Below are the results of Heather and I reaching out to art producers, and we hope it is enlightening and inspirational.

Ali Berk (Director of Art and Print Production at 72andSunny), Caroline Fahey (Senior Art Producer at Droga5), and Cliff Lewis (Executive Producer and Director of Art Production at Droga5) have generously shared insights into the vital role personal work plays in keeping portfolios fresh, the delicate balance between timeless and outdated, and the art of holding interest in a world marked by fleeting attention. Through the points of view of these industry professionals, we aim to glean insights that not only guide photographers but also illuminate the ever-shifting dynamics of contemporary photography

 

APE/HER Art Producer Questions & Answers:

How crucial is it for photographers to keep their portfolios current with new content, and what are the consequences of failing to do so? Can a portfolio still captivate interest if it showcases older but compelling work?

Ali Berk: I always think that if you are making new work, even if it’s personal work, you are moving your creativity forward. I also believe that new work can attract fresh interest and bring in new clients.  Of course, portfolios can still captivate interest if it showcases compelling work, some work is timeless! But if the work feels stale (sometimes clothing and overall style starts to look dated) it might be time to experiment rotating in new work to see how it performs.

Caroline Fahey: Totally keep older work you feel proud of, and still reflects who you are as an artist. If it feels dated in terms of your style or work, you’d normally take on, I would remove it, as it is also really important your portfolio feels cohesive and has a strong point of view.

Seeing current and new work also allows me to see the kinds of brands you’re working with, ideas you’re generating, and where you want your work to go in the future.

Cliff Lewis: I do think it’s important for photographers and artists to keep their work current and relevant. In today’s fast-moving environment, it’s critical for producers and creatives to see that photographers and artists are at the very least, excited by the world and in the conversation. Remember that media is driving attention spans down, so we have very little time to engage anyone. In the ad world, a great deal of research around photography is done on social media so it’s a great way to have fun, be yourself and share your voice as an artist. Once you generate interest, that often leads to your website. At that point, as well as your current projects, you can share more commercial leaning or older work too.

What is the threshold at which a piece of work is considered outdated? At what point does older work lose its relevance or value in a portfolio?

Ali Berk: As creative people, we all strive to make something unique. Make beautiful things people have never seen before. In order to make work that is at the forefront of what’s being made, you have to keep making, keep experimenting, keep advancing the medium.

Caroline Fahey: Work is outdated if it no longer applies to what the photographer desires to shoot or accurately reflects their intended/current style.  If that work sticks out like a sore thumb and feels disconnected to everything as a whole, it loses its value.

Cliff Lewis: The threshold for older work is very subjective. I think this really distills down to instinct and your own feelings. Is it still relevant? Who am I showing it to, and did they inquire based on that work? Some pieces are incredible and should be shown but perhaps in a separate space?

Have you noticed a distinct shift in the style or content of photographic work post-pandemic, and in what instances can pre-pandemic imagery detract from a portfolio’s relevance?

Ali Berk: I don’t have a singular answer for this, as I think each genre of photography goes through distinct trends. These shifts in trend aren’t unique to the pandemic, but I think we all taught ourselves new ways to stay self-motivated, which might have led to the formation of smaller, creative teams working together to set new trends.

Caroline Fahey: Hmm, I don’t think I have actually, or perhaps I don’t really see a distinction. More just new trends?! With that said, I don’t think it’s worth crafting your portfolio to a specific trend or moment. Better to build your own unique style that will last you your career.

I also think this new rising generation of photographers are very focused in the celebrity/portraiture world, so it’s always refreshing to find younger photographers who aren’t necessarily in that space.

Cliff Lewis: In terms of pre and post pandemic, I believe that there has been an incredible acceleration in content (I’m not particularly fond of that word) and in particular, user generated content or content captured in that style. Social platforms like Tik Tok are changing the game. That is not to say that we are not still busy with advertising work in the more traditional lanes, but social platforms are starting to redefine the rules in terms of style and content. There are some demographic lines of course but a lot of brand audiences reside on social media so it’s inevitable that the medium is attracting a great deal of attention from brands and agencies.

From your perspective, does the regular creation of personal work correlate with a photographer’s career success, and if so, what are the underlying reasons for this?

Ali Berk: Making personal work, shows you are open to change, open to evolution. Even when you don’t have a project ‘for work’, you are staying curious and keeping your mind busy. I think this just sets you up to have an open mind set. I love looking through a portfolio not being able to distinguish what was made for a client and what wasn’t. There is so much freedom and possibility when you’re making something just for yourself, there’s no doubt that work will eventually bring new connections and people into your life.

Caroline Fahey: I’m not sure if there is a simple yes or no answer to this and it likely depends on the photographer. With that said, certain photographers’ personal projects allow me to bridge the gap between what they love to shoot, and how that can be translated to a hyper specific brief I have on the table for a commercial client.

At the end of the day, we are looking to create imagery that doesn’t feel like an ad. So, seeing how your personal style can translate into a commission is super important.

By simply only showing commissions on your site, it may pigeonhole you into specific projects/asks, whereas your personal projects will allow the ability for new opportunities you may not expect. We often are trying to find photographers that may push the boundary on a specific brief.

Cliff Lewis: A photographer’s personal work is an opportunity to present their voice, be bold and free of any commercial constraints, to showcase ideas in the purest form. And social media provides the platform, so I think there is absolutely a correlation between personal work and success.

What guidance would you offer photographers seeking creative direction for new projects? Are there any themes or concepts that seem oversaturated in today’s market?

Ali Berk: For photographers seeking creative direction, I would suggest trying to put yourself out there and connect with art directors and prop stylists whose work you admire, to see if they would be open to test shooting. I acknowledge it’s a privilege to have access to studios and equipment, so even testing with natural light and an iPhone can help you jam on ideas that might lead to something new!

Whenever there is a theme or concept that seems oversaturated in the market, that’s the sign that there is opportunity in the market to try something new. By the point that everyone is tired of seeing the same-old, for the people who look at work all day, anything new will be exciting! Mess around! Break the mold and try it from a new perspective.

Caroline Fahey: Don’t be afraid of collaborating with other art directors/creative directors/stylists to help concept for personal projects. No need to feel like your personal work must solely come from you, and you only.

If the idea/concept is unique, it will speak for itself and not feel oversaturated. I don’t think there is a reason to avoid creating something you feel compelled to make for the sole reason it may already exist.

Cliff Lewis: Pretty much everything is oversaturated in today’s volume rich media environment. What is scarce are rich ideas and intelligent, thought-provoking work. It is hard to puncture a saturated world. With typically only a short window to capture someone’s imagination, I would say work towards ideas that excite you the artist, that move you, and ones that provide the chance to share your unique point of view. Also remember that today’s social platforms also reward ideas that are imperfect. Of course, craft and execution are important to us but sometimes, viewers are moved by ideas and insight without the need to spend too much.

What implications might a scarcity of recent work have when it comes to engaging with new clients or collaborators?

Ali Berk: I would suggest that no matter how scarce the work, you try to operate with the same mentality. Continue to share your work with new clients and collaborators. You don’t need to spend money making mailers or sending gifts to get attention- emails work. Instagram works. Keep posting your new work and it will catch. Send emails when you have something new to share.

Caroline Fahey: Generally, it does ring some alarm bells. Some thoughts that go into my head (does not mean by any means the below are true – just where my head goes!)

  • If the work they have shot within the past year isn’t work they are proud of showing, it means they probably won’t be happy w/ images they create for my campaign, which is not a good sign.
  • If there is a lack of work, will the photographer be able to confidentially execute the brief on the table?
  • Does this photographers work on their website accurately represent their current style? Can I expect this on my shoot?
  • Is it a risk to show this work to creatives if there is a lack of work as a whole? If creatives want to pursue bidding with this photographer, do I feel confident they can deliver this brief?

How do you view the inclusion of speculative work aimed at specific brands within a photographer’s personal portfolio? 

Ali Berk: I think it’s a good idea to include speculative work if you’re trying to articulate a creative thought! However, I would operate with sensitivity to IP, by keeping that work for 1 on 1 portfolio reviews vs. publishing that work online.

Caroline Fahey: It’s super helpful to see how a photographer’s style can translate into a branded project. When viewing it from the eyes of a producer, it may spark ideas for a brief we have coming up / allow me to see your work in a different perspective.

Cliff Lewis: I love speculative work. In the last two years I know of at least two photographers who approached major clothing brands with speculative work and ideas. Based on thoughtful proposals and clearly a love for the brands, the result was a commission directly with the client and a hugely successful campaign of images. So, if you love a product or a brand, have passion and a vision, I’m sure clients would want to hear from you.

Can you highlight a memorable personal project from a photographer that captured your attention? Did that project lead to job opportunities, and what about it stood out to you?

Ali Berk: A personal project that has remained impactful for me is Daniel Jack Lyons’ project Like A River/ IG.   This long-term endeavor features extraordinary images capturing under-represented communities in the Amazon.  The images are incredibly impactful and really stuck with me.

Cliff Lewis: When I was at BBH in London, the Dazed editorial project “Feel it “ by the photographer, Rankin caught our eye. It was a photo series of couples kissing. We had a creative brief in the agency for a new twisted seam engineered jean from Levi’s and Rankin’s kissing series was just an instinctive fit. The shape, the mood the modernity of it was just perfect. Of course, there is an element of luck with timing but if you are creating and getting your work out there, the chance exists.

The Art of the Personal Project: Todd Antony

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:  Todd Antony

Each year, in addition to my advertising work, I try to undertake one or two personal projects to keep myself fresh from a creative standpoint. I get to go out and create work purely the way I want to, answering only to myself. These projects have led me down the path of shooting various subcultures and groups around the world. The lesser known the better. I’m fascinated by these small and compelling groups who have a unique perspective on life and the way they approach it.

‘Cholitas Escalators’ and ‘Dekotora’ are both their own series within this larger body of work that spans the past 9 years. The work crosses the globe, seeking out little known groups or subcultures of seemingly ordinary people who lead extraordinary lives in their own way. People that can lift a mirror up to show viewers both our differences and more importantly our similarities. In a time when the world is seemingly becoming more and more polarized, I would like the photography in these projects to hopefully be a bridge of sorts to narrow our differences.  (Note: Dekotora will be featured at a later date)

These ladies are the ‘Climbing Cholitas’ or ‘Cholitas Escaladoras Bolivians’. A group of Aymara indigenous women who are breaking stereotypes and shifting perceptions. In January of 2019 they summited the 22,841ft peak of Mt Aconcagua. The highest mountain outside of Asia. And did so eschewing traditional climbing clothing in favour of their traditional, vibrant, billowing dresses, and using their traditional shawls to carry equipment rather than backpacks.

The word ‘Cholita’ has previously been used as a pejorative term for the indigenous Aymara women of Bolivia. But these women are reclaiming it as a badge of honour.

In the very recent past, as little as 10 years ago, Bolivia’s indigenous Aymara women were socially ostracized and systematically marginalized. Known as ‘cholitas’, these women, easily identified by their wide skirts, braided hair and bowler hats, suffered racial discrimination and could be refused entry to certain restaurants, using public transport and entering certain public spaces such as the capitals central square, Plaza Murillo

While these women have been advocating for their rights since at least the 1960’s, their movement was further invigorated by the 2005 election of Evo Morales. Bolivia’s first Amerindian president. Since then, the majority indigenous population have seen greater recognition and autonomy. 

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Al J. Thompson

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:  Al J. Thompson

NPR: The Picture Show

At the same time, gentrification can be both pervasive and personal.

Photographer Al J Thompson entwines these two ideas in his debut bookRemnants of an Exodus.

A pool of light on asphalt, the dangling Jordan’s of a boy on a tree limb, a police officer from the shoulders down, his right hand resting on his holstered gun. Thompson’s photos pose a truncated perspective of Spring Valley, N.Y., the New York City suburb where he came of age. The frames shy from literal views of change — Thompson intends to leave the big picture incomplete.

“This could be anywhere,” he says. The causes and effects of gentrification in cities across the country have spawned fierce debate in recent years about how to keep rising housing prices from driving out longtime residents.

Thompson considers gentrification to be “a term that relates to the undermining of a community by building new empires.”

It’s this visual tension — between the specifics of this neighborhood and the ubiquitous issue of displacement — that carries the viewer through Thompson’s work.

When Thompson migrated from Jamaica to the U.S. in 1996, he joined his mother in Spring Valley. The two were part of a largely Black community of Caribbean immigrants. The town park served as the meeting place for everything familiar. Jerk chicken sizzled during cookouts in July. Men played cricket on long weekends. And during many nights when floodlights illuminated the grass, Thompson and his friends ran through the park fields playing soccer.

Today, a development called Park View Condominiums overlooks that same space. The three-story housing complex is just one of the many long-litigated results of the area’s urban renewal push. Since 1990, Spring Valley’s Hispanic population has seen a sixfold increase and its number of ultra-Orthodox Jewish families has soared, shifting the demographics of what a community looks like. The proportion of Black residents has declined by 10% over the same time.

With this perspective, Remnants of an Exodus is as much a meditation on memory as it is an examination of place.

“By shooting this project, I’m also experiencing nostalgia,” Thompson says. “The sense of community, at least within the African diaspora, that’s been gone.”

Thompson also invites viewers to revisit their own recollections through his selective visual compositions. A quick pace of vague images allows the reader to project — a folded sign affixed to a chain link fence, the point where a willow’s limbs meet the ground, graceful fingers around an umbrella handle. Interspersed, direct portraiture brings pause. We spend time with the determined eye contact of a young girl with beaded braids and the knit brows of a woman set back in foliage.

“It’s very rhythmic,” Thompson says. “It’s almost like a musical.”

Just one explicit depiction of change interrupts this rhythm. In his only wide landscape, Thompson shows the viewer those new condos rising just beyond the fence that surrounds the park. In at least this frame, the past and present appear in harmony.

Maura Friedman is a visual journalist based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Instagram @maurafriedman.

 

 

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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Doug Menuez

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:   Doug Menuez

In a world that often moves at a breakneck pace, finding moments of stillness and introspection can be a challenge. However, filmmaker and artist Doug Menuez has managed to capture these moments in his latest documentary, “Because of You, I Am”. This film takes viewers into the world of taiko, the Japanese drum, through the eyes of two of its beloved pioneers while delving into the deeper philosophical aspects that underpin it.

“Because of You, I Am” follows the stories of PJ and Roy Hirabayashi, two Japanese American artists who found the taiko drum as their identity and voice fifty years ago. Executive Producer of the film, Pear Urushima, has been a long-time collaborator with Doug since they first met on a project for Apple. Pear, who is a marketing guru and also a taiko player, thought of Doug to tell this story knowing his deep passion and understanding of artistry, working in tandem with his ability to share stories of humanity and art.

Pear produced PJ and Roy’s website (pjroytaiko.org) which celebrates their journey of taiko artistry, social activism and community building. From the start, this project was designed to be a multimedia production, requiring Doug to see the whole picture of the documentary film, stills, and publications while shooting. The entire crew worked together to merge all of these components, setting a captivating exploration of cultural exchange, mentorship, and the pursuit of artistic excellence.

“Because of You, I Am” offers a genuine glimpse into the rich tapestry of Japanese-American culture and history. Doug skillfully weaves together interviews, historical narratives, and breathtaking visuals, creating a compelling narrative that transports viewers to a world where intentionality reigns supreme.

Each element of the film serves a purpose and gives deliberate attention to each detail – from the choice of black-and-white cinematography to the carefully curated interviews. With these intentional decisions, Doug invites the audience to reflect on the power of simplicity and the beauty found in spaces left unfilled.

To see more of this project, click here

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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

The Art of the Personal Project: Scott Lowden

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:   Scott Lowden

Dia de los Muertos is a beautiful amalgamation of indigenous Mesoamerican and Catholic traditions, creating a culturally rich and visually stunning celebration. My fascination led me to Patzcuaro, Tzintzuntzan, and Isla de Janitzio Mexico, where families gather at the gravesites of their loved ones, creating ofrendas (altars) with personal items, favorite foods and beverages of the departed. The above-ground burials are deeply rooted in the cultural and spiritual practices of the indigenous Purepecha people and add another element to the mystical scene.

The juxtaposition of marigolds and sugar skulls with Catholic icons and candles creates a visual poetry that speaks to the blending of these traditions. Iconic candlelit paths leading to hillside cemeteries, adorned with papel picado and the intoxicating aroma of copal incense, beckon the spirits to join the living in a celebration of life and death. Through my photographs, I strive to convey the profound connection between the Mayan reverence for the deceased and the Catholic rituals that permeate the island.

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

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

The Art of the Personal Project: John Grande

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 Grande

My series is called Under The Table[top]. The idea resulted from a happy accident. I was shooting a down shot on a matte plexi surface with a light underneath. I was under the table adjusting the light and saw that the object I was photographing projected onto the surface. Not in a typical fashion, but with the contact points sharp and readable and the areas further away more blurred and abstract.

I brainstormed ideas and produced 9 images total. They ranged from a breakfast table to a snack table with drinks, whiskey and cigars, a wine bottle and a spilled glass, roses and a vase and a cutter, and probably my favorite; melted ice-pops.

My name is John Grande. I am a still-life and people shooter specializing based in NYC. When I’m not in my studio or at my workstation I’m cooking for my wife, adoring my big gray cat, fly fishing in the Catskills or watching silly cartoons.

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

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