Category "Art Producers Speak"

Art Producers Speak: ioulex

- - Art Producers Speak

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Director: I nominate ioulex and have been a fan since they first started shooting. They bring such craft and care to the photos they take and you can see this in the work they do. The photos are unique and beautiful. It’s been great working with them and watching their career grow. I don’t say this about a lot of people but I do think they are iconic for our generation and will continue to get bigger and bigger.

Portrait of Diane Pernet in Paris

Annie Morton in Pennsylvania

Choreographer Benjamin Millepied for The New Yorker

Actor Adam Driver for Flaunt magazine

Young actress Odeya Rush for Flaunt magazine

Portrait of Mykki Blanco for Flaunt magazine

a still life from our installation at Audio Visual Arts gallery in New York

from a fashion story featuring Iris van Herpen couture collection for Big magazine

Costume designer Christian Joy in her studio, for The New York Times T magazine

Painter Damian Loeb in his studio for The Block magazine

Designer Thom Browne for Standard magazine

Designer Thom Browne for Standard magazine

How many years have you been in business?
We’ve been shooting as a duo for about 7 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
We both graduated from Parsons School of Design, majoring in graphic design. We studied in Paris and New York. We took a couple photography classes, but nothing extensive. We are basically self-taught in photography.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
We are mostly influenced by cinematography – the work of our favorite DP’s — Sven Nykvsit, Sasha Vierny, and Raoul Coutard. Also the films of Cassavetes and Fassbinder. As far as actual “working photographers”, we are very much in awe of some of the inexhaustible Magnum members – Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Steve McCurry. The thought of them continuously producing brilliant work over a long period of time is very inspiring.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
We never feel like we’ve exhausted all the possibilities, there is so much you can experiment within image making. Whenever we see a new beautiful film, a dance performance, visual art exhibition, it makes us excited about photography again, thinking how we could translate or evoke something we saw using our tools, in two dimensions, for an editorial shoot or a personal project.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
No, we haven’t been in a situation like this. Maybe because we don’t shy away from talking to the client, communicating what we’re trying to accomplish. Of course it’s crucial to work with creatives who are confident and passionate about what they do and, very importantly, choose us for the right project.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
We update our website regularly, and share specific new projects with individual art buyers and creatives.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Nobody wants to see anything, they are bombarded from all directions. The only way is to share specifically on an individual basis, to be aware what clients the art buyer is working with, what their background is, what their taste might be like.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
We really feel like you can only shoot for yourself, whether you’re getting paid or not. We always have something in the works.

How often are you shooting new work?
In addition to editorial projects, we have on-going personal series, and some spontaneous little projects that we make up every day.

Photography duo ioulex is Julia Koteliansky and Alexander Kerr. They graduated from Parsons School of Design, and live and work together between New York and Paris. Their images appeared in the New York Times T magazine, New Yorker, Die Zeit, Big, Flaunt, and Dossier Journal. Ioulex’s work was exhibited at Audio Visual Arts gallery in New York, Colette in Paris, and Diesel Art Gallery in Tokyo among others. Advertising clients include Helmut Lang, Bloomberg, and Zara.

http://ioulex.com

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Eugenie Frerichs

- - Art Producers Speak

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art producer: I nominate Eugenie Frerichs. She is a Portland, OR based photographer. She has several sites worth looking at. She most recently documented people behind Chilean Patagonia National Park and farmer’s in Colorado. Her work is visually stunning, filled with such emotion and hope.

Emily on the phone. From the series North Fork Valley, a study of farm life in Western Colorado, 2012.

Chicken. From North Fork Valley, 2012.

Buckley, Kebler Pass, 2012.

Corey, Fern Gully, 2012.

True Grain Farm, Kispiox, BC. From the photo series for Modern Farmer, 2013.

Rémy, Pemberton, BC. From Modern Farmer series, 2013.

Pinot Meunier. From North Fork Valley, 2012.

Jano. From series of portraits of the people building the future Patagonia National Park in Valle Chacabuco, Chile, 2012.

Britta. Valle Chacabuco, 2012.

Corey and the radio. Alaska, 2013.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve worked in the photo industry in one form or another since 2005, mostly as a photo editor, then art director and art producer. I started focusing on my own photography in earnest about three years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Somewhere in between. I have a degree in art history, and assisted a photographer during college, but mostly I’ve learned from the industry itself, having worked on set in so many different roles. A lot of observation, getting in over my head, and learning by doing. I also have very generous photographer friends who have helped me tremendously over the years.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I saw Alec Soth give a talk recently where he said he had two artists hunkered on his shoulders, Robert Adams on one side, Weegee on the other, opposing forces influencing his work in equal parts. I liked that image, though mine would be with Dorothea Lange and Taryn Simon. They are both truth seekers making work in the realm of nonfiction, but they go (or in Lange’s case, went) about it in very different ways – a bit of editorial, a bit of fine art, one from the hip, the other very conceptual and calculated. I have been working to strike a balance between these two ways of shooting in my own projects, and try to channel the wisdoms of Lange and Simon to make better, smarter work.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
Nothing inspires me more than hitting the road, truck packed up with gear and dog, maybe a loose schedule but ideally a lot of room for the unpredictable. Most recently my work’s been focusing on farm life and what I’ve been calling the “modern wild”, which requires that I head into far off places, rural communities, mountains, deserts, coastal areas – epicenters of ways of life that fascinate and inspire me. Finding stories in these zones, and attempting to tell them best I can, keeps me fresh and feeds my curiosity (which never seems to be satiated). I save my pennies to make these trips possible, and as for turning them into paid work, well, I just have to trust that as long as I keep doing this – pursuing stories that are interesting to me, and shooting them in a way that feels true to my style – then eventually it will resonate with the right someone at the right time. This could mean a long life of dirtbagging in my truck! But an example of this did just happen, when a road trip I’d been planning from Portland to Alaska turned into a month-long online series for the magazine Modern Farmer. It’s a very cool new publication out of the Hudson River Valley, with a smart team of writers and editors. It’s been exciting to work with a publication that is so aligned with what I’ve been pursuing on my own.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I can’t say I’ve experienced this as a photographer, but I’ve definitely seen it play out when on set in other roles. The creatives want one thing, the clients want another. I have a friend who says she treats every client job like an art school assignment – creative challenges that keep her brain in shape. That’s a smart way to look at it – turn the potential tension into a teachable moment.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I am still very much in the realm of just shooting and sharing what I’m up to with peers via the usual digital channels. For longer-term projects, grants and residencies become important, and eventually exhibitions – all things that can drum up great PR. I also find a lot of value in being part of the audience, not just needing things from it; stepping outside of my own work, and engaging with the art community when I can. Last year I joined the board of the Portland arts org Photolucida, and have made so many more connections that way, just by showing up and getting exposed to new work and an inspiring community of artists, curators, and editors. Making real human contact – I like that stuff. It goes a long way.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
From my experience as an art producer in the ad industry, I’ve seen that often an artist’s personal work is the work that gets the job. Not always, but often enough to take notice. So I guess the advice I’d give is what I’ve been telling myself, too: Just pursue what you love and be genuinely psyched about it. Sounds trite but I really believe it. Set your own course and boldly stick to it. No apologizing for the weird things you love, this will yield better work in the end. I think art buyers recognize this, and appreciate originality and authenticity far more than knowing that you’re technically able to shoot what you think they want you to shoot.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, always. For example, I’m writing this from Alaska, wrapping up two months of work on a new series.

How often are you shooting new work?
As often as I can. I learn something new every time I head out, so I’m kind of hooked.

Eugénie Frerichs lives and works in Portland, Ore. though travels often in search of stories on farm life and the modern wild.
www.eugeniefrerichs.com
http://nonsurveillee.tumblr.com/
http://instagram.com/elfrerichs
hello@eugeniefrerichs.com

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak:

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art producer: I nominate I nominate Carissa and Andrew Gallo. I have really enjoyed working with Carissa and Andrew, they are an amazing husband and wife team based in Portland, OR. I discovered their work through Kinfolk Magazine.

Branding Campaign for Fred Water, shot in LA

Branding Campaign for Fred Water, shot in LA

Branding Campaign for Fred Water, shot in LA

Documentary Work - Uganda

Ode to Summer, for Kinfolk Magazine

Travels in Iceland, 2012

Travels in Iceland, 2012

Travels in Iceland, 2012

Original Series for Kinfolk Magazine

Lost Lake - Portland, OR

Lost Lake - Portland, OR

 

How many years have you been in business?

Andrew and I started working together over 4 years ago. Our business has morphed and taken on new shapes, as things tend to with time
 Its latest shape is called Sea Chant– and it combines our practice of photography and video to tell and create stories.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Self-taught, with the investment and guidance of many different minds, along the way.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

My grandfather, primarily. He walked through life with a camera at his side, documenting all things that fell before him. From my dad’s first birthday, to time in Japan during WWII. It wasn’t his business, it was his passion, which he passed on to me- as he gave me all his old film cameras and shared with me these intimate glimpses into his life.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

We just try to keep ourselves occupied by the things that naturally inspire us- travel, nature, music, books, stories
 The Internet is a great place to be inspired, but we feel the most filled up, creatively, as we see things face to face.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

Sometimes- but we’ve been blessed enough to work with a lot of great clients who value our work and creativity and push us to pursue it.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

Just creating things and putting them out there, through all the various ways allowed us. We love meeting with people face to face- I think that’s the most valuable way to share and show a vision. We also love and use instagram and the new VSCO Grid almost each and every day.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

I am not so inclined to encourage someone to do work that you think others want to see. Obviously, there is a place for it, somewhere/sometime. But I’ve found it best to show the work that you love and are inspired to do- I think whether its a buyer, a potential client, or just a fellow creative soul, people always value and appreciate genuineness in this regard!

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Yes, for sure! Without that, we tend to lose our own sense of artistry. It pushes us to try new things and be inspired in new ways.

How often are you shooting new work?

A few times a week.

www.carissagallo.com
www.andrewgallo.com

Sea Chant is the storytelling outfit of Andrew & Carissa Gallo, a photography/directing duo based in Portland, Oregon. Together they write and direct films, each delivered alongside of a anesthetically complementing photo set.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

 

Art Producers Speak: Erik Madigan Heck

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art producer: I nominate Erik Madigan Heck. I had the pleasure to meet him over a year ago. He has such a thoughtful process and is really going places.

How many years have you been in business?

I started photographing when I was 14, and finding my path in the industry around 23, and since then it’s been about 6 more years of photographing and clarifying what I want to say with photographs.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Technically, I’m self-taught (although I’m not a very technical photographer). I did go on to study photography and film-related media in graduate school. (I received my MFA from Parsons.)

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

The photographer who I always credit for really whetting my appetite for photography over other mediums in art was Harry Callahan. He was able to create these supremely complex compositions out of very simple elements—and very few elements, I might add. He was the all-time minimalist. However, unlike most minimalist artists, his work retained emotion, and humanity, or a deep sense of love of life. I saw photography as a medium that was actually doing something new when Callahan took photographs, because he had perfected this space where reduction and minimalism were not exclusive to humanity.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

Honestly, I don’t really pay attention to what I think art buyers or advertising agencies are looking for (that’s who I assume you’re referring to when you say “creatives”). My work doesn’t adhere to a specific time or place, and I don’t think it belongs to a specific photographic and generational movement. In fact, it probably couldn’t be more different from my generation’s photography, which would be easy to argue has very much been defined by Ryan McGinley, and the beautifying and documenting of youth culture. What I think keeps my work fresh is that it isn’t contemporary in its aesthetic stamp, nor does it deal with youth culture. It aims for something much broader, yet at the same time it tries to deal with contemporary ideas about where photography is going and hopefully challenges the idea of belonging to “now.” I think underneath the purposeful beauty of the image lie a lot of questions that are worth asking. Art should always ask questions.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

No, clients typically don’t hold me back. I’d like to think if they’ve hired me, they’ve already made a decision to take a risk and are willing to go all in. My work isn’t for everyone. It’s very specific, and it’s not necessarily what the mass public is used to digesting, and I think most clients I work with have come to me for that very reason.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I release new work almost weekly online on different websites. I’m a huge advocate of publishing online, as opposed to in print. As much as I love the printed object—the beauty of books, and zines, and seeing something in a magazine—the point is for as many people to see and be affected by my work, and the Internet’s reach is far greater any book or magazine.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

Inherently, art buyers need to be shown what is contemporary by the artists, not the other way around. Artists have the unique position of defining what buyers need, and creating a new mode of thinking and desire. My advice would be to remember as the artist you always are in the position of power, even though it may not appear that way in the commercial landscape anymore.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Yes, always. Every project I do is for me, even if it’s a commission. I don’t differentiate from commercial and private work. I see them as always integrated. One ongoing project I’m always working on is photographing flowers, which I’ve found to be one of the most challenging subjects to work with.

How often are you shooting new work?

I try to shoot new work, or at least concept it, every week.

Erik Madigan Heck was born in Excelsior in 1983, to Croatian and Northern Irish parents. He earned his MFA in Photography and Film Related Studies from Parsons School of Design in New York in 2009- where he currently lives and works. Heck is a continuing guest lecturer in both the graduate and undergraduate programs at The School of Visual Arts in New York, and is the creative director of the semi-annual art journalNomenus Quarterly ‹‹Heck’s advertising and editorial clients include Levis, BMW, Neiman Marcus, Eres, Vanity Fair, W Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, TIME, Le Monde, The New Yorker, amongst many others. His fashion clients include Ann Demeulemeester, Haider Ackermann, Giambattista Valli, Kenzo, Mary Katrantzou, and The Row. ‹‹In 2012 Erik Madigan Heck was a recipient of “The Shot” award, and named as one of the top 6 “exhilarating new talents” by W Magazine and the International Center of Photography. In 2011 he received both the Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 Award, as well as the PDN 30 Award. Heck was also nominated for the prestigious ICP Infinity award in the applied fashion category. Heck is also a past National Scholastic Gold Medal recipient.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Nick Ruechel

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate: Nick Ruechel. “I love his work, it has a lot of soul, his lighting is beautiful. He is a perfectionist and the connection he gets with subjects shows lovely in his portraits.”

‘Maximo & Agustin, Brooklyn, 2012’

‘India, Chinatown,NYC, 2011’

‘Rooz, Brooklyn, 2007’

‘Reggie Watts, Comedian, NYC, 2009’

‘Sahr Ngaujah, (FELA!), NYC, 2009’

‘Chico Hamilton, Musician, NYC, 2008’

‘Philip Glass, NYC, 2008’

‘Children in a rickshaw on their way to school, Mysore, India, 2012’

‘Visitors, Coney Island, Memorial Day, 2012’

‘Satmar Hasidim, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2012’

How many years have you been in business?

11 Years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

My first encounter with cameras was in high school in Germany as a member of the photography club. We’d get access to Nikon F’s and B/W film and would be sent out on little photojournalistic assignments. I remember once covering the demolition of an historic building which had caused great upheaval in the local community. I had no idea what I was doing apart from rotating shutter and f-stop dials in such as way as to keep the light meter in a viable range of exposure. I felt accomplished because the resulting negatives were actually printable. The club dissolved a couple of semesters later which turned into a 10-year hiatus from taking pictures.

After moving to New York City and graduating from NYU in the late 90’s, I took a job as a freelance talent scout for a record company but I soon realized that I loved music too much to become involved with selling it: I was bored out of my mind. During that time, I purchased an old Nikon F3 with a 50mm lens and a couple of books on basic photographic technique. I began to experiment again: trial and error, roll-by-roll. I would get one or two contact sheets made per week and reviewed my mistakes. Luckily, I soon came across a couple of working photographers who were either sympathetic to my autodidactic plight or plain crazy to give someone a job who had no practical experience at all. I started as a 3rd assistant on German fashion catalogue shoots and worked part-time in the equipment room of a major rental studio in Manhattan. I didn’t do much else; it was a full-immersion crash course.

After freelancing for a number of renowned portrait and fashion photographers for about 18 months, I wound up becoming Annie Leibovitz’s full-time first assistant for two years which seemed like transitioning from weekend outings in the National Guard to full-out warfare in the Marine Corps. It was the best finishing school I could have hoped for. After my tenure, I quit assisting and to went out on my own. It was time.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

As cliché as it may sound, Irving Penn probably is a central figure in my photographic development. The discipline and integrity of his photographs have always fascinated me. He was a true innovator across so many genres of photography. Penn’s approach to taking portraits still seems to be the basic blueprint from which so many of us operate, knowingly or unknowingly. Arnold Newman, Jeff Wall and William Eggleston are others who subsequently informed and influenced my ideas about the color environmental portrait. The list is long and always evolving.

Not surprisingly, I have always loved film and cinematography ever since I was old enough to be admitted to a Sunday matinée. But it isn’t photography or visual art per sé which motivated me to choose this profession: it’s more the idea that you can bring something fresh and new into existence every day, meet complete strangers through an “instrument” and learn something about their condition, even if it’s just within the span of a brief moment. It enables you to develop a point of view about the constant sensory impingement that is life. That’s my inspiration. I think that’s what aesthetics are, ultimately.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

In my opinion, staying true to yourself implies that you trust and follow your creative instinct. That is ultimately what clients hire you for. Contemplating too much what ‘others’ may like, can be dangerous to one’s process. This is not to say that you shouldn’t follow direction in the commercial realm: that is what you are getting compensated for. In the ideal case, a client will trust/expect you to bring your personal vision and ideas to the project so it becomes synergetic: a collaboration.

There are lots of good “technicians” in this business. Executing decent lighting and any other part of photographic technique is a function of practice; even a part of the so-called “eye” is part of that. A way of looking at the world in photographic terms (such as composition) can be learned but it doesn’t replace raw talent: it merely supports it. Once you master technique, you should ‘forget’ it and pay attention to what is really going on around you. Creatives want to see a tangible point of view; images which reflect a sense of identity – a thread of sorts that permeates your work. Some people call that ‘style’, although I think that term is a bit limiting (Maybe it’s necessary to be categorizable in order to be successful in this new environment). In the end, it’s externalizing some of what’s inside of you.

By contrast, it’s also very important to be content to do absolutely nothing sometimes. Putting all your emphasis on being prolific can often come at the expense of producing mediocre work. There is a new theory in the field of Quantum Physics which examines how the creative process really works in humans. The first stage is information gathering, the second stage, a state of inertia or ‘incubation’, as it were, where we permit ideas and concepts to proliferate within our mind. It all sounds pretty haughty and theoretical but it does make sense to me. Then again, everyone’s different. If you can produce 20 good pictures each day, good for you. Charles Bukowski most likely wasn’t too involved with physics and he once said: “This is very important — to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you’re gonna lose everything…just to do nothing at all, very, very important. And how many people do this in modern society? Very few. That’s why they’re all totally mad, frustrated, angry and hateful.” Ironically, he was a very “prolific” writer so go figure.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

It depends what shop you are working with: some agencies represent more traditional clients and have to be a bit more conservative in their creative approach. If time permits and it’s feasible, I try to shoot things in a number of different ways from ‘safe’ to a bit more towards the proverbial ‘edge’. Every situation is different and you generally get a good idea at the outset as to how flexible the client is when it comes to creative concepts and their execution. There is a time and place for everything.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

Websites and iPads have replaced much of the physical portfolios photographers were circulating in large numbers only a few years ago. Not having to constantly update ten or more books with prints and sleeves is a bit of a blessing in disguise. Creatives can now pre-screen your work on the web to determine whether your work is consistent and appropriate for their purposes. It’s more productive and time-saving for everyone involved.

Nonetheless, I feel that a face-to-face meeting with a client and showing physical prints is more important than ever before. Nowadays, personal meetings are also an examination of your personality: we live in a world with far fewer jobs and a lot more photographers than ever before. There are thousands of talented artists out there who can execute any given project well. An individual in a position to award you a job will want to make sure you are a nice person and a team player. Nobody wants to work with a Diva/Ego-tripper.

I email images to art buyers and photo editors on a regular basis but I personalize every message rather than ‘mass-blasting’ 5000 potential clients. I think that invites immediate deletion. It seems better to develop a relationship with a select number of people than carpet-bombing the entire industry. Keep it short and sweet. If an art buyer or creative director takes time out of their crazed schedule to click on your message, they most likely want to see one image and a brief message, rather than your life story and half your website. If you have the time, check out the agencies you’re targeting and what accounts they are servicing. Is your work applicable to any of their accounts?

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

As mentioned before, I think in quite a few cases, this approach can put you on the road to confusion and failure: you’ll never truly know what creatives are looking for and things are always changing. You’ll pose that question to 15 people and you will most likely get 15 different answers. Portfolio reviews are a good indicator of this: some people will respond to certain images, others will react differently. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open to criticism and input: some people might be better editors of your work than you are. I have good friends in the industry who have pointed out things to me that were of great value.

One’s relationship with art is quite personal and subjective. I follow my intuition but regularly get feedback from my agent, peers, and other individuals whose judgment and experience I trust. One can sometimes be too close to one’s own work: others have more distance and that can be conducive to a better edit. No one book is right for all occasions; every possible job you bid on might require a modification of your portfolio, i.e., the addition or subtraction of images which might or might not be relevant to the project at hand.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Always. Personal work is essential to my mental health. I always feel compelled to self-assign to pursue ideas that I find exciting and relevant. Coincidentally, that is the work that creatives seem to respond to most enthusiastically. To me, it’s the most accurate reflection of who you are as a photographer. I constantly write down new ideas for new images in a small journal I carry. I refer back to it, re-edit, modify and delete things until I select something to work on.

How often are you shooting new work?

Apart from using my iPhone and Instagram, I try to shoot something once or twice a week, depending on how busy I get with editorial and commercial assignments. It’s not a compulsive thing; I try to relax as much as possible which paves the way for being inspired to go out and putting a good idea into a better photograph.

Nick Ruechel was born in Berlin, Germany and moved to New York City in the mid-1990’s. His photographs have appeared in many editorial publications such as: Vogue, Vanity Fair, Esquire, New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, Men’s Journal, VIBE, Interview, Wired, Fast Company and others. Notable commercial clients include: NBC/Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, CNN, Bravo and Showtime Networks, AVAYA, Sun America Banking, Hyperion Books, Discovery Channel and others Some of Ruechel’s recent work has been selected to appear in AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY’s AP29 annual, to be published in May of 2013. Besides editorial and commercial assignments, Ruechel has been working on a large portrait retrospective of Jazz musicians since 2004, entitled, ‘I can’t get started’ , a new series of close-up video portraits, entitled ‘Padartha’ and a documentary short film, entitiled “Las Piezas Que Faltan (“Missing Pieces”) He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Daeja Fallas

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Director: I nominate: Daeja Fallas. “She is a good egg and talented”

I was working with a lingerie company on their branding and we fell in love with the song “Cosmic Love” by Florence and the Machine, which lead to the creation of this image.

Billabong recently licensed some of my images to create a capsule collection line of t-shirts. An illustrator friend of mine and I created the graphics using my images and her illustrations then got together again to shoot the collection we named “Coast to Coast”

lucky rainbow!

Raymond Meier and I worked together on this – what an experience! I shot 12 people in Hawaii over 4 days and Raymond worked from New York on the still life. I’ll never forget that!

Michelle, my friend, my silly sister, my little muse.

This was shot on Long Island for a men’s line of surf shorts made from recycled plastic bottles.

Wings

Creating images for a brand of apparel, I really wanted to capture the heat and energy of New York City in the summer. This was an outtake I shot when part of her ice cream fell but it worked out and became one of the images they used in their advertising.

Brooklyn’s Afro Punk Fest

Fall in upstate NY

India Menuez is such a vibrant, interesting young actress. After meeting her and taking a few photos I didn’t feel like we had captured “her” so I ran down to a bodega in Bushwick where we were shooting and bought several bouquets of neon daisies. We pulled the petals off of all of them and I asked her to blow them into my camera lens. When she did I thought, “now, this feels like India.”

Returning home to shoot other female surfers is such a treat. This was made for Free People.

How many years have you been in business?

I finished up my days of assisting and got a studio space in the summer of 2011, so it’s been just under 2 years that I’ve been in business for myself.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I took a few photo classes while in school studying French Lit. When I started to take photos every day one of my teachers noticed and found me an internship at Paris Match, a French news magazine. As an intern, I was given small local assignments. That taught me a lot about working on assignment with edits and deadlines, which was a great education in being a working photographer.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

I come from a family of artists so although there have been several photographers whose work has been important to me, my family has been my biggest influence. While in high school my mom bought me a book on photography and showed me the Richard Avedon photo of Dovima with elephants, I’ve been hooked ever since!

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

Growing up my mom would often say, “Mother Nature is the ultimate artist.” My work is, possibly as a result of that, heavily inspired by moods and tone of environment. As nature is always changing, I find my inspiration comes from different places depending on where I am. I love the way the light is constantly changing in New York, throughout the seasons it shifts in position and color, it changes the way my apartment and studio feel with each new season. In Hawaii, where I grew up and spent every day in the ocean, the light is bright and hot and the colors are vibrant and almost glowing sometimes–all of these things affect the way I feel, and therefore how and what I shoot.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

I have had the good fortune of working with creatives and clients who have made me a large part of the creative process, giving me freedom to try things and suggest ideas and the ideal environment for me in any working relationship is one where communication is high.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

Although I use social media quite a bit and have had success in using various platforms, I have a weakness for the tangible, so I try to print my work as often as possible. Using different outlets from shooting editorial to printing simple postcards and zines has been a good way to share my work. If someone is drawn to a particular image, I’ll make a print and send it to them.

I remember an art buyer really loving one of my images in particular. She kept returning to it saying “I love this! I can just feel the warmth in this image and I want to live in it!” That was wonderful to hear, so I made her a print.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

Find your voice and own it! Your perspective is unique to you, so show the images that resonate with you and people will notice.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Absolutely. We all start out shooting for ourselves and I think it is important to continue that process and nurture your own creativity.

How often are you shooting new work?

Sometimes I shoot almost every day and other times maybe only once a week–it depends on what I am working on.

Daeja Fallas
www.daejafallas.com
www.tinker-street.com
blog: http://daejafallas.tumblr.com

Daeja Fallas was born in Hawaii and grew surfing on Maui’s North Shore. At the age of 8, her grandfather put a camera in her hands when they set out to drive from Los Angeles to Hershey, Pennsylvania in a Volkswagen bus. Her mission was to photograph every deer and squirrel along the way. Since that summer Daeja has continued to travel with a camera in her pocket documenting the world around her.

Surfing and photography led Daeja and her best friend from Maui to other coast lines and eventually to the small island of Tavarua Fiji to spend their last summer surfing and taking pictures together. This trip led to Daeja’s first published editorial.

Continuing her travels, Daeja moved to Paris where she lived for 6 years completing her studies in French Literature and Art History at the Sorbonne. Soon after college she began photographing her own projects while assisting photographers in Paris and eventually moved to New York where she now resides.

Daeja is represented by Jesse Miller at Tinker Street *.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Hollis Bennett

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Director: I nominate: Hollis Bennett. Hollis is a well-established and up & coming shooter in Nashville TN. I’d say he’s fresh, but oftentimes he’s straight off the grubby rugby pitch or an international flight from a less than sanitary destination and is a little less–fresh. But Hollis has a no-doubt knack at portraiture that just mesmerizes me.

I have spent quite a bit of time in Alaska living in the Bush and working at everything from a bartender to commercial fisherman to the skipper of a small ferry boat. It was a great time of my life and I learned a lot of things about the world. These images were made on a recent trip back down at the mouth of the Kasilof River where local families gather each year to set net fish and fill their freezers each year. Its a pretty laid back atmosphere and is perfectly Alaskan with its little quirks.

Living in the South we have quite the, um, diversity of characters around and this day was no different. I thought it would be a good idea to run a bunch of moonshine out to a Motorhead concert at a bike rally on an Indian Reservation in North Carolina. This was before the show and I had a chance to wander around and interact with the wildlife.

ï¿ŒThere is nothing like standing in a river with the freezing rain coming down shooting on a 4x5. Patience is a virtue in both fishing and photography and fortunately I got a solid image this day because the fish were nonexistent.

This image was taken on my first trip to Morocco and this is outside the old Portugese walls of the city of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. I was moving back to the safety of the breakwater as fast as I could because the tide was coming in and I didn't' feel like swimming and I happened to turn around and see this fellow out there ambling about. It pays to stop and throw a look over your shoulder from time to time.

Back to Africa but this time in Ethiopia. I was on assignment to shoot some development work in the South of the country. I was delayed since my bags went missing so, I hitched a ride with my local contact in the capitol and we headed out to a large pilgrimage in the middle of nowhere and to say I stood out was an understatement. Just goes to show that you always always always carry your cameras on with you instead of checking them.

I have been working on a series of images documenting the oddities and intricacies of the Heavy Metal scene and its culture. This was a shot from the first full day of the first ever heavy metal cruise somewhere between Florida and Mexico. A few days after this, all of the Northern Europeans were beet red from not being used to all the sun. Good times.

This happy fellow was shot here in Nashville on an editorial assignment. Jack Spencer is a fine art photographer and fortunately, I know him quite well. When the editors told me they wanted a jovial, happy image I had to politely inform them of the reality of the situation. Local knowledge and insight can really be an asset with the collaborative process. The magazine loved it and ran it full page.

I was sent back to Morocco this past February to attend an artists residency based in the hills outside of Fez for another religious pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the powers that be would not let me shoot a single frame of that under penalty of arrest and deportation so, had to shift gears and get something. I headed back to Fez and worked with a local cultural heritage group to shoot portraits of as many traditional artisans as possible in the time I had.

This was an interesting situation. I knew going into the assignment that the layout had changed a bit and I was getting more space than originally thought so, we shot a bit longer than planned. This was our last set up of the day and was an add-on. Turns out it was the money shot as it ended up on the cover and won Garden and Gun cover of the year.

I was sent to Chicago for Bentley to shoot some lifestyle images of one of their owners and his ride. We were all over Chicago that day in and out of the rain, on the South side (sketchy) and finally on Lower Wacker right off the Chicago River. Nice mixed light and no, that is not Michael Douglas.

How many years have you been in business?

I’ve been shooting for about 3 years now. Prior to being behind the camera I came up through the ranks as PA, 1st assistant, digi tech, retoucher, etc.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I have a degree from an art school that will remain nameless so, technically, Im school taught but really it was all self taught and learning on the fly.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

I really find the work of Dan Winters and Andy Anderson to continue to push me and challenge me. Jack Spencer really taught me the power of narrative and digging deeper. As for a specific time/place/photo that pushed me towards photography, I couldn’t tell you.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

I hold dear the idea that no ‘photo’ can ever happen more than once, so you need to be out there with your eyes wide open and mind receptive to all sorts of influences. Understanding and interpreting all that stimulus is another story and therein lies the biggest challenge.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

I don’t think that I’ve bumped up against this yet but I can see there being some friction when it comes to things like using ‘real’ people vs. hired talent and that sort of thing. I see a lot of images fall on their face when you try and coax something that just isn’t true out of a situation.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I shamelessly self promote through the standard outlets (email, print, etc.) but there is no substitute for a face to face meeting. I get my books in front of as many people as possible. Also, shooting something ridiculous every now and then helps as well.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

You have to target images to the audience so as not to waste anyone’s time but the images have to be unmistakably yours and have your own aesthetic and narrative to them.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Yes, constantly. I have a bruise around my eye at the moment from so much camera action these last few days. Spring and Summer are tough because the weather and light are so nice all I do is shoot and the editing always falls by the wayside.

How often are you shooting new work?

See above. This time of year, probably about 3 days a week, sometimes more. There is a delicate balance between shooting, editing and running a business – all of which are equally important.

Hollis Bennett is an award winning photographer based in Nashville Tennessee. Originally from Knoxville, he has lived on 3 coasts (E, W, and Alaska) in the largest cities to the smallest remote communities.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Joel Slocum

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Director: I nominate: Joel Slocum. “ Joel has an incredible eye and fastidious work.”

Architecture has always had an influence on my way of seeing. It’s no surprise it forms “center-stage” in much of my work.

An image from the first shoot I did after moving to the city.

An image from my personal project “Anthromorphology”.

“Anthromorphology” started out as a simple test, and turned into an exploration of possibilities.

This shot was never part of any story, so I have difficulty placing it, but it is one that haunts me in the best possible way.

An image from “Skinned” which ran in The Fashionisto.

I’m always surprised to see the threshold of human capability. Steven actually dislocated his shoulder to do something really magical (which you don’t see at first glance), it’s in his hands, in how they knit together in ways I’ve only seen in marble.

An image from a series called “Rituals.” This was my first (successful) attempt at a completely art driven concept. From clothes hand sewn at all hours of the night, to figuring out how to shoot a story in New York while seemingly outside of it. I was fortunate enough to have The Wild, a fashion publication share it when it was beyond the traditional scope of “brand-driven editorials”.

An image from my current creative endeavor “Facing Fiction”.

Fanely was the first portrait sitting I had set up with the agency, before “Facing Fiction” was even an iota of a thought. I had no idea, nor any intention of beginning a new project, but sometimes, it’s in the middle of shooting when you’re struck with something more. I have Fanely to thank for one of these moments.

An image from the current SS2013 Ad Campaign for men’s luxury accessory label “title of work”.

I call this one “A Cover for V”
 I think every now and again we need to remember to dream. Who knows, if I can visualize it now


This is what happens when a shoot goes blissfully wrong. What started out as a nightmare involving a stylist not showing up for a location shoot, turned into an on the fly run to the flower district for a spring shoot in December. What came from it was the first image I’ve ever taken that I could call “pretty”.

How many years have you been in business?

I guess it would be just around 2 years at this point. I’m a baby! Oh man, and I look it too. Is that good or bad? Important at all? Infuriating that I’m answering questions with questions?

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Does one count a singular attendance to the first class of Intro to Photography? I only enrolled to convince my parents a camera was a necessary and solid investment (I was tired of playing around with my dinky point and shoot, and couldn’t afford one at the time)
 Really though, how about peer taught? I learned everything I needed to know in one hour sitting down with a friend of mine, Lei Gong, an incredible photographer in his own right (does this count as an anonymous recommendation?).

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

I’m not sure if I’m actually in the business or not. I feel like I’m an outsider dipping his toe in and scraping the edge, tracing the pool of some elusive pond, trying to find the right point of entry for a full-on swan dive. I think though, inspiration hit me hard with Richard Avedon. Even in his fashion images there was a semblance of humanity, and as I started to be inspired by these images, photographers struck me for different reasons, Steven Meisel for his story telling, Tim Walker for his fantasy, Ismael Moumin and Paolo Roversi for their austerity. I find literature, art and science just as compelling. Surrealism being a fundamental structure in my work, I look to creators such as Eduardo Berti, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel and Georgia O’Keeffe to challenge my way of seeing through the lens. Meanwhile, I dissect the surreal with the absolutism of biology and hyperrealism, encouraged by the works of Albert Camus, Darcy Thompson and Péter Nádas. I think we see this dichotomy most in architecture, which is my ultimate visual inspiration. Conjectures of space, they can’t be beat! Summation: creation inspires creation.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

Well, I think getting hired has more to do with whom you know, but that only goes so far as how much you know. In order to keep challenging my work I keep myself visually overloaded. I run my own blog Harold + Mod (haroldnmod.tumblr.com), which is my inspiration feed and also a useful tool to spread my work. The fact that a single photo of mine has been seen by thousands of people around the world really is overwhelming. I think this constant influx keeps me thinking of new ideas and mulling on reinvention, which has helped my work tremendously in being innovative.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

Hahahaha, how to answer this without alienation? Actually, clients have really developed my technique. Their demands have required me to progress my skill set, and a vast majority of them are actually looking for something gripping, eye-catching, innovative
 it’s all just a matter of paradox, of how you present an idea as collaborative and shared. No one wants a tyrant; we’re all here to be part of something.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

A lot of getting people interested in my work is dependent on getting people exposed to it. I try to open as many avenues as I can for exposure. For instance, my work with Major Models, was spurred by doing a test with an unsigned guy. When Major picked him up my work stood out in a novice portfolio and I was contacted for tests. They now supply me with faces for my personal work, which I help to fuel content for my professional goals. This means access to agency models for editorial shoots, a precursor for getting your story run as a novice.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

Buyers aren’t going to be interested. If the work isn’t for you, it’s obvious. I recently did a shoot that was completely against everything I wanted and it pleased the client, but it is the worst work I have ever turned out. It was disingenuous and insubstantial and in the end won’t bring the client money. That said, not all work you produce under your own creative direction will be viable. There are factors of taste, trend and precedence that dictate more than art for art’s sake (at least coming from a fashion standpoint) which is why I study before any shoot. Consider each shoot an essay. You do have to know the facts
 it’s just a matter of how you present them that counts.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Funny you should ask. I am indeed, haha!

In February, I started what I’ve come to call Facing Fiction (facingfictionproject.tumblr.com), a 100 portrait series that will take approximately 2.5 years to complete. I’m already over 1/10 of the way through shooting these portraits and still going strong.

It all started after that recent mishap of the aforementioned shoot. I felt detached and uninspired and I needed a reminder as to why I was interested in all of this to begin with (cue the melodramatic refrains of some nihilist concerto). Anyway, I reconnected after shooting two portraits. I was reminded of the rare intimacy a photographer has with a subject, much in the same way a priest has with a parishioner. The confession as it were is a capture I take with me in a frame.

But get this, I decided I wanted to make this a global project and involve more people than can just be included in a one-on-one sitting; and this is where fiction comes in.

The series has become a social involvement project, where I post 4 captures from a session and allow the public to decide what this individual’s portrait will be. After that, the final composition is posted and used as visual inspiration for a fiction piece: a story/document/poem that centers round this character. The ultimate goal is to turn this into a book.

I told my father when I was 12, that I would make a bestseller. Who knows, maybe this is it?

How often are you shooting new work?

In addition to a full-time career as an art director myself, I shoot every weekend. Saturdays are dedicated to the FFP, and I allocate Sundays to professional work, which happen bimonthly.

Joel Slocum is an American fashion, beauty and art photographer currently based in New York City. Known for his keen eye in austerity and romanticism his work is driven by the exploration of sexual attitudes, an interest that has stemmed from observations in a global upbringing. Joel Slocum has created compelling multimedia visual identities for established and emerging brands. His work has been featured on internationally acclaimed platforms such as Elle, The Wall Street Journal, The Wild and The Fashionisto, among others.

contact: joel@joelslocum.com

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Cathrine Westergaard

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate: Catherine Westergaard

One of the reasons I love what I do so much is the opportunity to work with incredible women from around the world. Ubah Hassan is the perfect example of what inspires me in women, both exotic and beautiful as well as intelligent and a heart of gold.

This image is one that universally art buyers gravitate toward. What woman doesn’t need to take a quiet moment?

These images are the first of a series I am working on about taboos.

This series was shot for a client in Australia. These images capture a common theme in my work. I am driven to explore the isolation and detachment people often experience in complex love relationships and how this causes us to our preconceived ideas to unravel

Sometimes a moment perfectly captures my sense of humor. This image always garners a satisfying response and a really big smile.

This collection of images has been published around the world. It is the editorial that keeps giving. I explore the idea of dolls and mannequins throughout my images as a commentary on the roles women play in modern society.

This shoot with Oh Land was so much fun. She is one artist I have shot whose personal side matches with her artist persona.

Working with Jana Wirth was an exquisite experience on this shoot. She embodied the lost spirit I was looking for with a sophistication and elegance too.

These images were a part of a series about women in power. We had a surreal time shooting this because Li Ming was so capivating that I ended up shooting roughly 3,000 frames that day.

This shot is from the second shoot I was lucky to do with Mathew Settle. It was fun being able to stop traffic in New York and succeed in catching that real New York moment

I loved the stylist’s sense for this series. Chrissy Lloyd created such a fun collection of characters perfect for our shoot in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

This shoot with blogger Jordan Reid titled Love resulted in images that that we were all felt captured their relationship perfectly

I was so lucky to have the chance to shoot next to the old Domino factory in Williamsburg Brooklyn for this campaign.

I loved the amazing Cuban restaurant we shot this campaign in. The lighting was perfect and gave the feeling that we had been transported to another time.

Actress Malgosia Garnys has appeared in my work for years. She has been a muse and inspiration for a lot of my work. Our work together serves as a contistant measure of my growth as an artist.

How many years have you been in business?

Professionally and seriously for five years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I am self-taught as a photographer but I have been formally trained and studied fine art at many top art schools.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

During my Williamsburg Brooklyn years (1997- 2005) I became close friends with photographer Natacha Merritt. We spent most of our friendship exploring our crazy, wild scene together through photographs. During that time I also discovered great photographers that opened up my creative perspective and helped me understand why photography is so powerful. Artists like Helmut Newton, Tim Walker, Nick Knight, and earlier Terry Richardson. Then after 9/11 I felt compelled to begin documenting anything and everything I could. I became so focused on the necessity of not taking anything for granted and photography provided me a sense of solace and connection to life.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

I honestly think my work is a direct extension of who I am as a person and artist. I crave new perspectives and experiences that are “out of the box.” So I seek them out and thrive in them. This gets translated into the way I live every aspect of my life including being an artist and a mother. If I do not stay true to myself and to my voice, how would I be able to teach my child to do so? When he was born I saw him as a perfectly clean slate. It gave me the opportunity to start from scratch and carry forward a life philosophy that challenges the norm and pushes us both to create and discover an exciting, honest, and unique experience.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

I have been lucky to have great clients that hire me because they love my work as well as my energy for life. I know there is a lot of pressure to translate images into commerce and that often plays a huge role in a client’s decisions. I just think it is important to understand your client’s needs which helps create trust and a sense of security. Then I work with them to open up their perspective, push boundaries and be provocative. It is what makes people take notice right?

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

Over the past few years I have impressed buyers and agents by my marketing mojo. I remember when the recession hit I had the great fortune of being taken out for drinks with a VP of a great ad agency. I had gone to the agency for a portfolio review and met with their art buyers and producers. The VP was so kind to take his time to advise me. He began by telling me that due to the economy the industry was getting really tight and budgets were being compromised. He said “Cathrine our buyers loved you and your work. As an emerging talent my best advice is to keep creating work. Keep putting it out there and in front of people. When the budgets come back, you will be on people’s mind and when the right project presents itself they will come to you.” I am sharing this because it was great advice and applies really to any artist out there.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

I would always say that it is a dangerous road to go down because fundamentally it is the antithesis of your value as an artist and creative thinker. I think your career longevity comes from the ability and willingness to have a strong point of view and then the courage to stick by it.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Shooting for me is akin to eating and breathing. If I am not creating new work all the time for myself I begin to feel a sense of emptiness and frustration. Creating is “my Everything” and for me there is no separation between art and life. My favorite new saying is “If you are not growing you are dying!” I create to grow, stay fresh and provocative, and to maintain an honest connection to life. I began directing film for this exact reason. Now I am directing a film of my own creation, a new category of film for me fusing art, fashion, and narrative called The Queens. It’s an example of how I need to make sure I am always exploring new modes of expression and taking myself artistically to the next level.

How often are you shooting new work?

If I go more than two weeks without creating it’s too long. I love what I do so much. I guess some might say it’s like a torrid love affair, and I need it always.

Cathrine, child of a Broadway producer, spent her childhood amidst aspiring creative dreamers, the world of auditions and red carpet openings. After studying in some of the most prestigious art & design schools in the U.S, she pursued a career as a painter, which eventually led her to find her life’s passion in photography and directing. Cathrine’s directorial music video debut won the MTV competition ‘freshmen’ and was placed in a worldwide rotation. Her work is defined by elegance with a modern twist but still maintains a progressive signature style, and has brought her opportunities to work with advertising clients, prestigious fashion magazines like Vogue Italia, celebrities, record labels, and publishing companies throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Cathrine Westergaard: info@cathrinewestergaard.com

For representation and booking:‹ info@cathrinewestergaard.com

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: David Paul Larson

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

An image of Lindsey Wixson from a personal portrait project

Outtake from a Loreal shoot

Enya Bakunova for Bambi Magazine

Marcela Jacobina

An image from my personal project "Nudes"

Outtake from an advertising shoot for Blank Jeans

Noreen Camody for Bambi Magazine

Outtake from a Loreal Shoot

Sara Stephens-outtake from a motion shoot

An image from my personal beauty project

An image from my personal project "Nudes"

Outtake from a recent editorial

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate: David Paul Larson. “David is extremely talented, hard-working and wonderful to work with. Working with him is a definite creative collaboration and he brings a fresh and different perspective to every shoot.”

How many years have you been in business?

I have been shooting professionally for three years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I attended Columbia College Chicago and double majored in Advertising and Photography. I wanted to talk to my clients both as a peer and artist. After photography school I assisted Norman Jean Roy, Mark Seliger and Mario Testino. Assisting on large production, multiple day shoots is the best education.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

After being medically discharged from The United States Marine Corps I wanted a career that was detail oriented, fast paced, competitive and team driven. An early mentor told me that if I wanted to become the best I need to move to New York and learn from the best. New York has single handedly had more of an impact than anything else. Professionally and personally it has pushed me to places I never thought I would go. It’s an endurance race with yourself and your art.

Darren Aronosky, Stanley Kubrick, Guy Bourdin and Garry Winogrand have had a profound impact on my work as well.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

I am always looking for art directors,stylists and models to work with. I have found that the more personal work I create the more jobs I book.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

Rarely. I got into this business because I love collaborating and working with people. In the military everything is about teams and those lessons have translated a lot into my professional life. I get a lot of pleasure out of working with art directors and photo editors. Most of the work I get is a referral from existing clients so they often know a bit about me before we meet.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I frequently post work  on many social media platforms-Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I love showing my work in person. I try to do that at least once a week. In addition, I am sending out an email promo every 45 days and printed mailers every two months.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

Oscar Wilde said it best “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Shoot what you love and over time it will develop into your vision.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

I am constantly shooting for myself and for clients. I am interested in creating timeless, raw, beautiful images that will stand the test of time.

How often are you shooting new work?

I shoot at least once a week. It’s the only way to stay sharp with your craft. I think about photography as a muscle and it constantly needs to be stimulated, stretched and pushed.

David Paul Larson is a young photographer based in Brooklyn and is seeking representation.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Alex Farnum

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate: Alex Farnum. “He is a great creative collaborator, professional and wonderful with the client. He is always willing to make anything work. He is an amazing person and genius photographer”

This Gypsy story was completed in late 2012. A collaborative effort with my favorite stylist, Jasmine Hamed (www.stylistjasmine.com)

A spring fashion feature and cover story for 7x7 Magazine.

One of 20 portraits of N. California Grape Pickers during harvest.

This image is from a series I created while in Mexico. Images of people finishing their swim.

From the book This is a Cookbook. By Max and Eli Sussman (Weldon Owen Publisher)

An advertisement for the launch of a new type of mountain bike apparel - Kitsbow. Shot deep in the mountains outside of Bend, OR.

A real cowboy seen in the streets of Santa Fe, NM while on assignment for Travel + Leisure

From the Lost Coast Surf Story photograph for Kinfolk Magazine. This is where they jumped into the waves.

Shot for a Style Council story about San Francisco's most fashionable people. This was shot in the bathroom

A part of EBAY'S Show your Love campaign for Valentine's Day - 2013

From In the Charcuterie - a book by the team at Fatted Calf about meat preparation

How many years have you been in business?

This June will mark my 8th year that a.farnum has been in business..

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I studied Photography, Filmmaking and cinematography at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

I can’t say that any photographer was my early inspirations. I don’t think I was that sophisticated in my teen years. Being an “artist” was as far as I had gotten. My father gave me his old camera outfit when I was 18. This was a huge deal since it was always his “fancy” camera that we were not to get into. So when it became mine, that is when I really became inspired.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

The easy answer is this
..all I want to do is shoot photographs, document the world, meet and hear interesting stories. If I can do this every single day, then I will be a happy man. So this is what I do, jobs or no jobs. If I am slow, I pick a subject and a day and I go shoot it. Sometimes this includes planning a test and sometimes it is simply getting into my car and heading out. My inspiration for these ideas comes from the endless amazing photographers, writers, designers etc. etc. that I find on the web. Thank you Tumblr. Thank you Cargo Collective, thank you Instagram
.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

This is an interesting question
..I think that my main priority when hired for a project is to understand the needs of my clients. Photography is a Service based industry, especially commercial photography. Even though I may be considered an artist, my main goal is to deliver what my client needs whether it’s the agency or the client. Understanding the politics is also a key to success. If you can wrap your head around the dynamics of these relationships, you can build your workflow to make all parties happy including yourself.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I do a whole myriad of things. Of course the most common which are mailers, email promos, continuous blog updates (www.afarnum.com/blog) and tons of social networking, but for me, I try to complete personal projects on subjects I love and share these with the buying audience. That way, I then have the chance to bid on projects that suit me and my interests. It’s a win win!

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

People will tell you to follow your heart, your style and to make sure to stay true to yourself. I think this is only one part of a much bigger machine. What about understanding marketing? Understanding the push and pull that goes one within an agency or magazine? Your work is a reflection of your artistic view, but that is only 50%. “Are you a good collaborator? Yes? Show me
.” The pre-production I put into my jobs include presentation after presentation to communicate my vision and to allow all creatives including the client to collaborate on ideas from the get go. This leaves nothing to chance and helps all the parties understand what the plan is both creatively and logistically.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Tons. If I am not booked on a job, I am looking for something or someone to shoot.

How often are you shooting new work?

Ideally I am shooting new work weekly and posting that work to my blog once a month or so
.4 new posts per month. That has been my goal for the last four years or so.

1979 – Born to John and Cecilia Farnum in Long Beach, California, 8LB. 4OZ.
1981 – Picked up a pencil at age 2 and shocked mother with my scribble abilities.
1986 – Excelled at Dad’s weekend 3-D drawing classes
1991 – Climbed to the top of the middle school art scene (AKA bad grafitti)
1996 – Scored my first camera senior year, a Pentax K1000, never put it down.
1997 – Moved to SF at 18, art school (last photo class to be taught in film)
2002 – Moved to LA and scored my first big job as a set photographer
2003 – Then to New York, wiggled my way into a full-time Graphic Design job
2004 – Back to SF, landed a photo gig at ANTHEM, a national branding agency
2006 – Burning Man, Coachella, and real life helped me better understand the world
2007 – Started a.farnum photography hungry as a tiger
2013 – 5 years later and things are sizzlin’

Represented by APOSTROPHE

East Coast – Kelly Montez
kelly@apostrophe.net
(212) 279-2252

West Coast – Jenifer Guskay
Jenifer@apostrophe.net
(415) 824-4000 329

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

 

Art Producers Speak: Carlo Ricci

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate: Carlo Ricci. “Carlo is wonderfully approachable and in the cusp of making a real name for himself”

Barry Shantz is a former international drug dealer. When the FBI caught him with 1.3 billion (yes, Billion) street value worth of Hashish they claimed it was the biggest drug related bust in US history. Photographed for Vancouver Magazine.

Editorial shot just a few weeks ago, portraying Ron Mattson a pharmaceutical researcher involved in a controversial conspiracy aimed at shutting his medical studies down.

Jordan Morita is a talented trombone player from San Diego. Photographed after jumping in the pool, fully dressed, with the rest of his band.

Part of a personal project.

Personal work shot in South America driving to Canada. We were in the middle of the Atacama desert and our van was over heating. We had to stop and spend the night literally in the middle of nowhere, it was a surreal and magic experience.

Advertising campaign for Emirates in Australia.

Part of a personal project an art director friend of mine and I worked together on.

Laura is a good friend and an amazing singer who lives in LA. Shot over two days last year for her new promo material.

Fashion shoot with a former contender from Australia's Next Top Model.

Advertising work shot in Australia.

One of the first commercial jobs I've done, shot in Italy for a UK based clothing company. It's an old shot but I still love it.

Quantum physics researcher. Who said scientists can't be sexy?

How many years have you been in business?

I’ve been shooting professionally for almost 4 years now.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

100% self-taught. In Italy I studied Engineering and coached basketball for a living, go wonder.. Photography came somewhat late in my life, I discovered it at 26yo by picking up a Nikon F2 (my dad collects old film cameras) and from that moment on I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I moved to Australia with a 5D and a bag of clothes and I never looked back.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

To get into photography nobody really, it just happened; but a few inspired me once I started.

If I have to pin-point one name, it would probably be Simon Harsent. I met him once in Australia and we kept in contact over the following years through sporadic emails, but what he told me stuck with me. He’s such a fantastic photographer and somebody who truly has an honest love for his craft.

I’d also mention Kieran Antill, an amazing artist and creative (great guy too), at the time Creative Director at Leo Burnett in Sydney (now in NY) whom I showed my first ever printed portfolio. He had just won a Cannes Gold Lion Award for advertising, but still took the time and especially the honesty to constructively criticize (let’s say destroy) my book. But he really liked some of my work and that raised my confidence that I was doing something right.

Also, my partner is a photo producer and she’s been incredibly supportive and contributive throughout the last 3 years.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

I’ll just take that as a compliment, am I fresh?

I mean, you started this column interviewing Nadav Kander, let’s say you raised the bar pretty high for the remaining 95% of us photographers out there..

Going back to your question, I love iconic and very strong/styled images, I look for inspiration in other people’s work but mostly in other fields, especially cinema and music. I try to constantly challenge myself and curiosity is what fuels the search.

I’m also very passionate about what I do, it just comes natural and I feel extremely lucky to be doing it, as it never feels like I’m working really (almost never). I believe that hard work, commitment to your craft and being a nice guy always pays back in the end.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

In general I’d say no. I shoot a lot of editorials so the creative is also the client and I find them very open to new and risky ideas. I usually try to shoot something “safe” that I know will work and then I explore more creative options. Even when I think that they were looking for a more “conservative” shot, they always surprise me by picking the one I love the most.

When it comes to advertising work I feel there’s much more preparation and discussion beforehand. If the client signed off on the photographer often it’s because of something he/she has shot before which they liked already and they want something similar. There might have been a conversation on some aspects of the shoot but I always felt that their suggestions were legitimate points.

I’ve probably been really fortunate and it might happen in the future but I’ve never felt that clients were compromising my work.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I love meeting people face to face. I think this digital revolution opened doors to a lot of creatives and everybody has the chance to put his/her work out there to be seen. There are thousands of talented photographers and reaching out to an art director, a photo buyer or even a client has never been that easy. So now more than ever I value the importance of meeting them personally, getting them to trust me that it will be great working together, both creatively and personally.

I initially reach out through social media or direct emails, maybe follow up with a phone call and every time I’m travelling for a shoot in a new city I try to save some extra time to go and show them my book in person.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

I’ll go back to Simon Harsent and what he told me that stuck: “Shoot what you love. Because ultimately, that’s the one thing that will make you grow into the best photographer that you can be.”

I think it’s great advice, however I believe it’s normal to overthink about your work and how it will be perceived; I do that all the time. But eventually you want to be shooting what you love, otherwise you’ll find yourself 5 or 10 years down the road that you’re doing something that doesn’t make you happy and more importantly that doesn’t inspire you anymore and that’s the end of creativity. It’s hard because you still have to make a living and I’m definitely not the naïve artist type, but aesthetic is subjective, some art buyers won’t like your work and some will love it, those are the ones you want to be working with. Trying to please everybody is just plain pointless.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

This past year I’ve mostly been shooting assignments but the one before this I took the whole year off to shoot personal projects (see below).

Editorials are a great in-between, they give you the chance to be creative and try new ideas and at the same time it’s work that gets published. You also constantly deal with all sorts of people, which I think it’s great for interpersonal skills as well.

Having said that, I’m about to take a month off commissioned work to shoot a personal project that I’ve been planning for over two months.

How often are you shooting new work?

In the last few months I’ve been shooting editorials every week but I shoot motion as well and usually video projects take much longer to be planned and executed, so it really depends.

I spend the majority of my time working on ideas and organizing shoots rather than shooting for the sake of it. That’s what my Fuji x100 is for. I’d rather do 30 well thought shoots per year than 300 average ones.

In Australia I used to shoot fashion work pretty much everyday and after a while I found it was killing my creativity. I was so unhappy that I decided to leave. I took a year off with my partner and we drove a VW van from Argentina to Canada, shooting film documentaries for NGOs along the way. Looking back now I believe that for different reasons it has been the most productive year I’ve ever had.

Carlo Ricci is a Vancouver based photographer and director. Born in 1981 in Italy, he discovered photography in his mid twenties and soon after moved to Australia where he started working professionally. After 2.5 years in Sydney he embarked on a year long exploration of Latin and North America driving all the way to Canada while shooting film documentaries for international NGOs. He now lives and works in Canada specializing in editorial portraiture and advertising.

Please visit www.carloricci.com to see his portfolio. Proud member of www.wonderfulmachine.com.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Kyle Alexander

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate: Kyle Alexander.

Dustin, Nate, Bummy & Fabio Santa Fe 2013 Fort Marcy Overlook We wrapped a shoot up in the mountains behind Santa Fe and my friends/crew and I were driving down into town and it was one of those amazing desert sunsets. I knew this place that overlooked the whole town because my Mom and I used to go there every year for thanksgiving. So we drove right to this beautiful spot and took it all in. I know it looks like a band photo but as far as I know only one of those guys plays an instrument and that’s the skin flute.

the Band “Courrier” Gruene, Texas Feb. 2013 This was for a Rolling Stone magazine/Texas Tourism feature that wanted to capture an Austin band in a location that was close to Austin but that had not been a lot of times before and really said Texas. I had a suggestion that worked out perfect, I went to college 15 minutes away from this place, Gruene Hall which is the oldest continually running dance hall in Texas. They have been open and host to live music since 1878.

the Band “Courrier” Gruene, Texas Feb. 2013

the Band “Courrier” Gruene, Texas Feb. 2013

This is Dale, Red and Berkley at the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie Texas taken in March 2013. This was taken at lunch for an ad shoot, I snuck away for ten minutes and got these wonderful portraits of this fascinating man. One of the thing I always liked about photography is you get to meet so many interesting people and hear so many great life stories, Dale did not disappoint in that regard.

Red and Berkley at the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie Texas

Chris, BILLYKIRK Bags NYC 2012 Started in 1999 by brothers Chris and Kirk Bray, Billykirk is a leather and canvas design company which was founded on the desire to make lasting items that get better with age. I hope my photos age as good as their leather 

Alex - Austin, Texas 2013 Alex was a friend of a friend. I was in town on a shoot for Rolling Stone magazine and had a late flight out so I had a couple of hours to kill and I called my friend Jamie and said who can we shoot and she said her friend Alex who worked at a vintage store called Feathers, so we grabbed some clothes of the racks and walked around the neighborhood and got some great shots.

Dan and Alex 2012 These guys make beautiful custom bikes in the LA area

Personal work 2012 Getting loose in the desert

last one had to eat a live tarantula Personal work 2012

Kassi 2012

 

How many years have you been in business?
Hmmmm…more than a couple…..not an easy answer for that one, after college I moved from Austin, Texas to Hawaii to shoot surfing on the north shore of Oahu which was really fun and amazing but I couldn’t really make a living over there. At that time it was shooting film, you got 36 images and then have to swim in and change film in your waterhousing, go out shoot another roll, swim in and then run to the lab, have it developed and fed-exed overnight to the magazines in Southern California and by that time you were exhausted and broke. I worked crappy side jobs and tried to make it work for a while but never really go ahead.

Then one day I got lucky and got a job on a tv show in Hawaii and worked on that for a couple of years and along the way met some guys who said if you ever get out to LA give us a call. So I looked at my options at that point and said I better move to LA. I was penniless with not much hope of ever making it out there in Hawaii. That was in 2001 and I got lucky again because I hooked up with some steady work on feature films and commercials. It was then I met someone who also produced photo shoots and needed some help so I worked with her for a bit. The first real photo shoot I worked on was a huge budget Tommy Hilfiger shoot, 2 weeks on the Paramount Studios backlot. Patrick Demarchelier was the photographer and it was a amazing and humbling experience to watch him work. This experience inspired me and I began shooting as much as I could when not assisting. However that was not too often, I assisted for about 7 years for dozens of different photographers.

One of the first things I did after I was in LA made a few bucks was buy a computer and because of that someone asked me to do some callsheets and light pre-production work so I ended up producing some editorial stories for Mens Journal and Marie Claire magazine. That introduced me to some photographers who later on hired me to produce some ad shoots, which was great because with all the producing money I could do more test shoots. So my first real break was an ad shoot for Roxy/Quiksilver in 2008. So I did that shoot but then still had to assist and produce and digital tech to make ends meet. So I would get a couple of ad and editorial jobs here and there but not enough to break away.

Finally in 2011 I got enough shooting work that I was able to turn down producing and teching and assisting gigs. So long story short, taking pics- 20+ years, working in the business-10 + years, making my living as a full time photographer- 2+ years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I have a BA in English literature and minored in photography and film but I felt like everything I really “learned” about photography was by trial and error, happy accidents, shooting tests and by assisting other photographers.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I have always had a passion for (borderline OCD) documenting and capturing all of the things around me, people, places, things by taking photos. When I first saw Robert Frank’s book, “The Americans”, it blew me away and made me want to make a career out of photography. However I didn’t really know what an advertising photographer was, I just wanted someone to pay me so I could keep doing what I loved doing, capturing organic defining moments.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I think it’s more about staying inspired yourself and creating work and pictures that you care about. If you create something extraordinary and love what you are doing then that is what counts. If the work is wonderful, and the world sees it, the creatives will seek you out.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
No, In my experience, most of the creatives I have worked with want to push the same direction I am usually going and the client has been appreciative of that.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Direct personalized faxes, just kidding………reality is probably not enough. That’s the toughest part, and I have had this conversation with a few of my peers, we feel like as photographers we get so busy involved in planning a shoot, shooting, editing or retouching a shoot that there is hardly any hours left in the day to market ourselves, but in reality that should be one of the most important things you do. I try to do meetings whenever I am in NYC or a town that has some agencies or magazines. I did an email blast this year and my Agent VAUGHAN+HANNIGAN has done a few and we do the Le BOOK shows. Working on something now that will go out in the mail soon, hopefully.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I think you are chasing your own tail in a circle. Buyers will react to work better if you are showing your own distinct personal vision and they connect with it.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, I am constantly shooting personal projects. Currently photographing a series I’m having a lot of fun shooting titled Made in the USA about people that craft and create in America. I feel like there is this really cool resurgence to our grandfather’s generation of people that really made things by hand and care about what they are doing, not just trying to make a buck. I shot a pair of brothers that own a leather bag and belt company in New York, a former ad agency graphic designer turned screen printer/ motorcycle builder in Minnesota and a couple of buddies that created a company that repurposes old wood scrap and industrial age machinery into retail spaces in NYC.

Another personal shoot I really had enjoyed I just did a couple of weeks ago, we were shooting an ad job for a truck company at a crazy 180,000 acre ranch in Texas and our guide was this intriguing man named Dale who was also the county deputy and drove around in a huge red truck with two dogs riding shotgun. This guy was the real deal, Chuck Norris would step aside for this guy. He was very a kind man but you could tell he had seen some tough times. I took a couple of snaps of him during our tech scout and then during lunch of my actual shoot the next day Dale and I jumped in his truck and went up the road and shot for ten minutes, he wanted some photos of his dogs, and I was more than happy to do that. They ended up being some of my favourite photos I have taken for quite some time and when I sent over the pictures later he said he really loved them and would share with his kids. That was just a cool thing to hear and is the magic that happens when you are on the road with an open mind.

How often are you shooting new work?
2 times a month in between jobs

My website is www.kylealexander.com Represented by VAUGHAN + HANNIGAN Reps which is www.vh-artists.com.

My Chocolate lab, Princess Leia and I at my favourite beach, San Onofre

ᅩ

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Mark Tucker

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Mark Tucker. Mark is quite simply a master story-teller. In a single frame he is able to capture the essence of his subject. His portraits are timeless and evocative. Mark’s keen eye always finds that one-in-a-million face and light it perfectly. The result is always an image comprised equally of candor, soul and emotion.

A recent wet-plate portrait diptych from a workshop in Pittsburgh. We did the event in old lodge, with great light and architectural details.

Ad campaign for Amtrak, highlighting the leisurely pace and nice views outside the trains. Photographed in Florida and southern California. (AD: Bill Cutter; AB: Andrea Ricker; Arnold/Boston).

This was our first commercial project with wet-plate collodion -- a CD package for the band The Mavericks. Here are two of the 8x10” plates from the individual portraits of the band. We shot the five band members over the span of two days, and then a group shot at the end of the second day. Each plate takes about fifteen minutes, start to finish, so we had to allow for this pace, and hope the band would be patient. (CD: Sandi Spika, Big Machine Records).

The tiny town of Leipers Fork is about twenty miles from Nashville. They host a Redneck Christmas Parade each December -- everyone brings their jacked-up car, or outhouse, and they drive it down Main Street. Like Mayberry RFD gone bad, but in a fun way. I was there shooting, and Floyd, a local resident, rode up behind me on his horse, with his permanently-mounted cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth. He lives with his brother, outside of town, with no electricity or running water, (by choice).

Since moving to New York City, I'm out on the streets, looking for portrait opportunities. This is very recent, from an Israeli parade on Fifth Avenue. This is a newspaper publisher that was involved in the parade. In front of MoMA, on 53rd Street.

I was at PhotoNOLA a few years ago, and went into a diner for a burger. This eccentric couple was sitting in the booth across from mine. I patiently waited for them to pay their tab and leave, and then asked if I could shoot a quick portrait on the sidewalk outside. The whole scene feels like 1969 Haight-Ashbury to me.

We’ve worked on a summer project for Jack Daniels Distillery for a number of years. This is actually our client, Randall Fanning, from the distillery. We drafted him into being a rural weather man, along with his dog. They called this image “Checking the Weather”. This image was a national finalists in the Addy Awards. (CD: Nelson Eddy; AD: Jan Mattix; Dye Van Mol Lawrence).

This diptych was made early in the process of learning the wet-plate collodion process. Wet-plate has been very satisfying, in getting back to the tactile process of creating a physical piece of work, and working in the darkroom again. This was shot on an old Sinar 8x10, and double-exposed in the camera holder -- the model and the roses set up side by side.

I met this Vietnam vet newspaper salesman on the side of the freeway one day, on the way home from a job. Great face. I pulled over and asked him if I could shoot a portrait.

A book cover image for "Wicked Lovely", a novel by Melissa Marr, for Harper Collins Publishers. The first book in a series of three. Shot in NYC, and trying to hit focus -- wide open at f1.8. (CD: Alison Donalty, Harper Collins).

 

 

How many years have you been in business?
I started shooting on my own at age 23, in 1982, after assisting in NYC and LA. I renovated an old loft building in downtown Nashville; I lived downstairs and worked upstairs. My main clients in the beginning were department stores, magazines, and record companies.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to college at Western Kentucky University, for photojournalism. After the first couple of years in school, it became apparent that I was headed more toward a commercial style –wanting to prop and light pictures, rather than go with the straight PJ approach. I began to work with the one strobe pack that we had in the cabinet at school, and I’d shoot at night, and then process and print until the wee hours. It was an incredible period of learning and growth. My professor, Mike Morse, gave me constant encouragement even though he knew I was heading in a different direction from the newspaper photographers. I’ll always be thankful to him for that encouragement; I’d bring him a Fixer Tray at 7am, when he came in to start his day, and show him what I’d been printing all night.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
There were many influences: Norman Seeff in Los Angeles was doing great work in the music business. That’s where I wanted to go –toward Music and Editorial. I actually ended up leaving college early, moved to LA to assist, and knocked on his door. His B/W printer, Keith Williamson let me hang out there. That was about 1979. I also followed the fashion work of Guy Bourdin, the inventive work of Moshe Brakha, and the music work of Joel Bernstein. I loved Duane Michals’ work with multi-frame storytelling. Bert Stern and Art Kane were also big influences. But probably the biggest was the work that Annie Leibovitz was doing at Rolling Stone, and then Mark Seliger, later on. My goal was always environmental portraiture.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Every commercial project has certain parameters. You just know that, going in. You push as much as you can. But in the end, it’s a team project. It also changed, once the business went from Marker Comps to PDF Stock Swipes; the rules got tighter; the boundaries more enforced.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
For years, we were successful with these 6×9 inch, 24-page direct mail booklets for agency work. If I went on a road trip to shoot personal work, I might also mail out a series of eight or ten post cards in an envelope, afterwards. We got away from the 6×9 direct mail for a while, in exchange for email blasts and directories, but my goal is to return to the direct mail format soon. In the end, you still hope it’s ink on paper, so I try to show the work that way.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
It’s tough to give advice to others. It’s a really subjective choice on how to market yourself. I do feel though, in the future, the people really staying in demand will be very narrow specialists, rather than generalists. I think the goal is for your images to have your firm individual thumbprint on them –find a style or technique and really milk that specific look and feel. The glut of photographers has really changed the business. You have to do something bold, or else you simply slip through the cracks. That’s just my own personal opinion.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I try to be always working on a personal project, to keep the spark alive. For many years, I’d go on short international trips, just to get my mindset into a different culture. India; Cuba; Ecuador; Mexico; Germany; Czech Republic –I’d simply go with one body and two lenses, and try to sink into the place. The goal was to immerse myself into a different way of life. When I’d return, I’d prepare a Direct Mail piece that would go to agency art directors.

In addition, about a year ago, I did two workshops to learn the wet-plate collodion process. I was missing the craft of the darkroom and the tactile aspect of creating a physical print. It was probably a bit of a recoil against digital also. I began a series of portraits with a wooden 8×10 camera. It was very satisfying to slow down and really focus on the craft again. I thought it might even dovetail into some commercial projects, but the slow process is not that conducive to this new “six setups per day” mindset.

I also started a little side blog last year called MyDayWith.com, where I’d shoot stills and video of interesting people in my town. It was a good chance to shoot video, and to simply shoot for myself in a loose editorial style.

——–
Mark Tucker
http://www.marktucker.com
Represented by Tricia Scott at MergeLeft Reps
http://www.mergeleftreps.com
212-840-0321

Mark Tucker is a portrait and lifestyle photographer based in Nashville. He works with clients in the pharmaceutical, tourism, publishing, music, banking and health care industries. Clients include Amtrak, Jack Daniels, Eli Lilly, Novartis, PacifiCare, State Farm, Harper Collins, Penguin Books, Little Brown, General Brands, Regions Bank, Alabama Tourism, Colonial Williamsburg, and Vanderbilt Medical Center. He is represented by Tricia Scott at MergeLeft Reps in New York.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

 

Art Producers Speak: Paul Costello

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Paul Costello.

 

How many years have you been in business?
20

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I have a BFA in photography from NYU.  Aside from a great foundation in art history, I learned nearly everything assisting and shooting.  After college I assisted for Ellen Von Unworth and was amazed by her process and work ethic.  I only was with her a short time but that stayed with me.  She worked a picture
 tried out lots of ideas
 and really collaborated with who she was shooting.  From a process stand point, I do the same thing.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
My father was a prolific photographer when I was little.  I don’t know if he inspired me to think of shooting as a business, but I’m sure I got my love of picture taking from him and I still aspire to make pictures that feel like those snap shots of my childhood.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I probably worry way too little about people noticing me
 but I’m inspired all the time.  There really is an infinite amount of inspiration around us all the time.  Seeing someone with great style crossing the street can be the jumping off point for a whole new project.  Or my daughter might put on one of my ties and then have me following her with a camera for an hour.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
That was true for a time.  When the economy tanked in 2008 there was a palpable fear that I think had a real effect on creativity
 I don’t feel that at all anymore.  I’m a real collaborator.  There’s nothing more rewarding than a great team feeding off each others talent.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I take full advantage of social media.  Tumblr especially.  http://hot-shoe-in.tumblr.com.  I made a decision a while back to make it very personal.  I very rarely post work there that will be available elsewhere
 It really gave a platform to a part of what I do that clients wouldn’t have had the chance to see otherwise.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
As long as it feel true to your vision, I think it’s ok to cater to your audience.  For me that happens in the edit.  I like to shoot for many possible edits, and if you know a buyer is looking for apples
 why show her oranges?

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Oh yeah.  At some point it just becomes a part of who you are.

How often are you shooting new work?
All the time!

costellopaul@me.com

http://paulcostello.net/html/about.html

Rep:  www.sarahlaird.com

Henry LEE
Henry LEE's profile photo
henry@sarahlaird.com

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Kenji Aoki

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Kenji Aoki. “Kenji has amazing work. I particularly liked the NY Times piece he illustrated with a tuna fish.”

more magazine : want skin like a skin doctor's? a story on how to care for wrinkles (for females)

v magazine: indulgences a story on indulgences of celebrities (musicians, actors, etc), this represents a vinyl collection.

Psychology Today: the brainiac-billionaire connection concept: a genius that is 1 in a million

New York magazine The truth on drugs images shot for a story about laws on drugs

New York magazine The truth on drugs images shot for a story about laws on drugs

Time magazine the truth about oil images shot for an article about crude oil resources-- their reality and where its heading

Time magazine the truth about oil images shot for an article about crude oil resources-- their reality and where its heading

Time magazine Coal, Hard truths image for an article about coal and it’s relationship to political campaign (obama vs. romney)

New York Times Magazine Tuna's end image for an article exploring the extinction of the blue fin tuna

Bloomberg Pursuits story about making cocktails using liquid Nitrogen

How many years have you been in the business?
I started my career in Tokyo 22 years ago and moved to NY 2 years ago. I began to only accept still life assignments 15 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied design and photography at Kuwasa Design School in Tokyo. Their curriculum is heavily influenced by the aesthetics of Bauhaus.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
There is an opening scene in a movie directed by Alejandro Jodorwsky called EL TOPO, where a tree standing in the dessert, casts a long, bold shadow–I think it was this that made me a photographer.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
All of my inspiration comes from geometry. When you have an object that needs to be photographed with a certain concept, you always come across complex visual problems that need to be solved. By thinking of the object as a pure geometric shape such as a circle or square, the speed required to visually communicate the concept of the image and the object itself is accelerated. The space that it’s in, the color, the shadows — balancing all of these elements allow these sensations to penetrate a deeper place.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Understanding the restrictions of any project is the most important factor. Making the effort to face these restrictions means there is a necessity to create work that is beyond my personal aesthetic sensibilities and to provide a better answer. It’s confronting the self and at times an opportunity to rediscover my own uniqueness.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I think the only way to do this is to believe in your own work. Also my agent, Michael Ash has been making sure my work gets out there. His effort to do so has been beyond simply getting the job done.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
There are all kinds of photographers out there, which I think is a good thing for art buyers but my advice would be to avoid being swayed or influenced by technology too much, since this may dilute a photographer’s individuality as well as their pursuit for it. I believe it’s necessary to be very careful of this.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
As of now, I do not shoot separate work for myself. The reason is, I want to keep commissioned work true to my vision and as close to my own work as possible. If I were to create work that satiates this desire in my personal life, there is the danger that my commissioned work would be completely different.

How often are you shooting new work?
I shoot commissioned new work about once a week, if not more. In the future, I would like to meet a publisher and produce an archive of my work as a book.

Born in Tokyo, Kenji Aoki spent his formative years studying variousdesign disciplines at Kuwasa Design School. After 20 successful years inTokyo, Aoki moved to NY permanently in 2009. He has worked with many clients in the U.S. and Europe and was included in a comprehensivearchive of more than 30 years of the finest commissioned imagespublished in The New York Times Magazine. He has received awards from SPD, The Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, American Photography,The New York Times Magazine, and Lurzer’s Archive. Today, Kenji Aoki continues to produce comprehensive visual images.

He is represented by Michael Ash ash@michaelashpartners.com, 212-206-0661
351 West Broadway 2nd Fl.NY, NY 10013

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

 

Art Producers Speak: Aaron Richter

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Aaron Richter. “I was recently introduced to his work and I really dig it”

I photographed Patrick Wimberly and Caroline Polachek of the Brooklyn band Chairlift for Spin at a house they were renting in Austin, Texas, during SXSW 2012.

This is Florence Welch, of Florence + the Machine, who I photographed backstage at Bonnaroo in 2011 for Spin. You can’t tell in this image, but I pulled Florence, who was teetering about on super-tall platforms, over to a fairly dirty marsh-like area of the backstage to get away from the crowds, which all worked out pretty great for this image.

I shot the actress and Burberry model Gabriella Wilde at my apartment for Nylon. Her legs are real long.

This is another image shot for Nylon—actress Alexia Fast. This is my bed; it’s super comfortable.

I went suit shopping at Manhattan’s SuitSupply with Detroit rapper Danny Brown for a Spin feature in the magazine’s final issue. This was Danny’s first suit ever.

I photographed British singer Emeli Sandé for Nylon. She had some fun soaking me in Windex.

This is actor Domhnall Gleeson, son of actor Brendan Gleeson. We shot at Acme, a prop-filled studio in Brooklyn and one of my favorite places to work.

I took this photo of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (aka Game of Thrones badass Jaime Lannister) just a couple hours after the previous image of Domhnall Gleeson at the same studio, and of course, because Acme is stuffed with props, there was a motorcycle just sitting at the edge of our cyc. We thought it a waste not to jump on for a few shots.

I photographed rapper Action Bronson for the cover of Australia’s Acclaim magazine. He got super stoned, and we went to hang out at the shop where a couple of his BMWs were being worked on.

I shot designer Zac Posen with model Betina Holte for Glamour. The camera loves Zac, and he unashamedly poses more than any model I’ve ever worked with.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been taking pictures since February 2009, and by industry standards, I’ve probably been considered a “professional” for the past two years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m self-taught. When I first moved to New York in 2006, I worked as the copy chief for an urban-entertainment magazine called GIANT. When the magazine, which doesn’t exist anymore, started shedding staffers, I was laid off and—inspired by the magazine’s stellar art department of former creatives from The Face, DV, Trace and America—spent my severance on a camera and taught myself how to take pictures. At the time, I was also working (and still work) as the art director for a digital music magazine I helped launch with friends called self-titled (www.self-titledmag.com), and since part of my job involves commissioning all photography in the magazine, I found myself shooting bands and musicians quite a bit. This led to art directors and photo editors noticing my work, and assignments started coming my way.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Absolutely my buddy Ruvan (www.ruvan.com), who takes the most amazing photos. Ruvan was the photographer on the first story that I ever wrote for GIANT (an “In the Studio” piece with the Bravery). Shooting primarily on film, Ruvan takes beautiful photos with such ease and little fuss; watching him work and learn and develop his skills helped me realize that changing my career path was a realistic goal and not just a longshot empty dream—in other words, his development showed me that photography was something I could learn and teach myself with the right motivation and critical eye. Ruvan also frequently throws gallery shows with his work, in which he encourages attendees to take home images that he’s arranged on the walls. His shows always have such a great vibe—a fantastic meeting of friends. For me, photography is a social experience—whereas writing always felt incredibly solitary—and Ruvan’s events always showed me how important the people around us are to truly enjoying what we do.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I moved to New York to be a writer and an editor at magazines. And I did that for three years, and it was not fun for me. I really disliked doing the work at a time when magazine content was shifting more toward blog posts and quantity over quality. Photography gave me the opportunity to create projects for myself, and everything I shot was fun, because I was learning, and getting better and better with every shoot and every time I pushed myself to try something new. As I’ve started working more and shooting projects for myself less, I still look to maintain that sense of fun—in other words, work never really feels like work when I’m taking photos—and I always hold that as the best inspiration.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I’ve never really had a situation like this. Each assignment or job that I get, I always consider it a collaboration between myself and the entire team—rather than specifically my photos. For example, I love smiling, both smiling myself and making my subjects smile. Love it, love it, love it. I love my photos infinitely more where I’ve been able to connect with my subjects in a manner where they have a genuine smile on their faces in the images. But obviously, not every job is going to call for the subjects to be smiling—particularly shooting fashion and moody musicians. Avoiding smiles on a job where the client wants a more serious tone isn’t holding back my vision for the work I want to produce; it’s just a necessary element of collaboration.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
The only thing I know to do is just shoot as much as possible. When paying work dies down for a week or two, as it always will in the freelance life, I fill those days as much as possible with days shooting for myself, whether it’s spending a day with a new model shooting some fashion or catching up with a band that’s in town and taking pictures for my music magazine, self-titled. I also produce an online fashion magazine called Joey (www.joeyzine.com), which I shoot for a bit and commission lots of my photographer friends for. I’ve done five issues over the past two years, but as I’ve gotten busier, it’s become difficult to put out issues on a regular basis. But Joey is great exposure, both for myself and for my contributors. Joey gives me better excuses to shoot whatever I want and present it in a way that’s easily digestible and engaging for anyone online. I, along with pretty much every working photographer that I know, also keep a readily updated Tumblr (aaronrichter.tumblr.com) of new work, whenever it’s published, which seems to have become just as essential as maintaining a portfolio site.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
If they enjoy shooting the work, then awesome. To me, that’s really all that’s important. If they’re shooting something they don’t enjoy because they want to book a campaign and make money, then that’s kind of a total bummer. But there’s obviously a middle ground here—shooting what you think buyers want to see but doing it in a way that’s enriching for you. Like, I know a lot of photographers that might think “lifestyle” photography can be kinda corny but are able to approach it, because they know they need more of it in their book, in a commercially valid way that isn’t just BBQs and riding bikes. Ultimately, shoot what you like shooting. If you’re good and share your work, someone will see it and dig it.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
As much as I can, yeah. But really, as I’ve sort of already said, I’m just happy whenever I’m taking pictures, no matter if it’s something more in line with what I personally want to produce or collaborating on a job for a client. I like to think: Would I rather be transcribing interview tapes? Would I rather be blogging about YouTube videos? Would I rather be struggling to figure out how to write a profile of some upcoming singer in 100 words? Would I rather be fretting about commas and verb tense? No way—not for me. Every day I’m taking photos, I’m happy to have a relief from what I used to do for a living.

How often are you shooting new work?
Every week. I love it.
Aaron Richter grew up in the Midwest but now calls Brooklyn home. A displaced writer and magazine editor, he has seen his photos appear in the pages of such titles as GQ, Men’s Health, Spin, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Glamour and Nylon. He’s also produced images for brands including Urban Outfitters, Doo.Ri, Puma, Copperwheat, Casio, Clarks and bebe, and exhibited his backstage portraits from Bonnaroo 2011 at the W Hotel in Times Square. In his spare time, Aaron steers the art direction for self-titled, an iPad- and Web-based publication he helped launch in 2008, and served previously as the editor of MusicMusicMusic, a short-lived magazine that tanked a ton of money but made a few hip people very happy. Aaron enjoys reading Norman Mailer, rewatching the movie DiG!, and metally deliberating about which is the best of the generally bad Rolling Stones albums.

You can contact me directly for anything at studio@aaronrichter.com.

I’m also represented in the US by the awesome JP at Fresh Artist Management (jp@freshartistmgmt.com).

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Producers Speak: Mark Lund

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Mark Lund

How many years have you been in business?

I’ve been shooting professionally for 15 years.  I started in San Francisco shooting home brands like Pottery Barn and Design Within Reach then moved to New York expanding on the “home” idea shooting family situations for editorial and advertising clients.  I’ve always been interested in the idea of “americana” and “home” and the evolving meanings we give those concepts.  Over the years it’s given me the opportunity to shoot for a lot of the big brands in the U.S. whose advertising by default represent american culture.  As a culture we’ve moved on from Norman Rockwell americana but we still feel connected to that world.  Like it or not, electronics and gadgets are a big part of most peoples lives now – our society is obsessed with electronic devices like the iPhone.    I love finding visual ways to redefine contemporary americana – creating a visual “mash-up” where Norman Rockwell meets the Jetsons.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

At University of Wisconsin-Madison I majored in both engineering and fine art but strangely never took any photography classes.  In hindsight all of the math and science fed the technical side of photo while classical drawing, painting and printmaking fed the creative.

As a teenager I always had a camera in my hand.   My family moved to a new house when I was starting high school and I set up a darkroom in the basement and read a bunch of how-to photo books to teach myself how to print.  Honestly, in the beginning I was mostly just interested in taking pictures of pretty girls but then I realized if I could master color printing I could make fake-IDs for myself and my friends.  My mom couldn’t figure out why I was suddenly spending so many hours in my darkroom.  I made a couple lame fake IDs before she busted me, but through the process I became pretty good at color printmaking.  The next summer I used my new skills to get a job at a one-hour print lab where I worked for a couple years, then in college I got a part-time job at the local pro photo shop where I got to tinker with all of the newest camera technology and also met professional photographers.

My sophomore year a photographer came into the store looking for an assistant to work with him shooting a fashion catalog for Harley Davidson.  It was a three-week job with minimal pay and I was a full-time student and it was right before final exams but it meant getting to work on a fashion shoot in California.  Of course I leapt at the opportunity.  We shot up and down Highway One at a bunch of amazing locations and I got to make film runs to the lab on a brand new Harley – the whole experience had me hooked.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

I’ve always been looking at what other photographers and directors are doing in both the fine art and the commercial worlds.  I just finished three days of judging for the Society of Publication Designers’ 2013 Magazine of the Year awards where I got to review some amazing work.  It was a fascinating experience looking at the micro and macro world of brand and photography.

I assisted a few different photographers in San Francisco when I was first out of school in the 90s and picked up different techniques and ideas from each.  Shaun Sullivan taught me a ton about lighting.  He had an easy demeanor and infinite patience and made really complex lighting look really easy.  Stan Musilek taught me a lot about the business side of photography – managing a big crew and juggling a lot of projects at once.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

I’m lucky I get to shoot a lot of different types of work.  Half of my work is studio tabletop and food and the other half is environmental lifestyle shot on location.  In smaller markets there are a lot of photographer’s who work this way out of necessity but it’s pretty unusual for New York.  The industry demands specialization and once clients get to know you as one type of photographer they are reluctant to see you in any other way.  The challenge for visual artists is that once you’ve been pegged, you’re stuck.  A photographer who shoots jewelry and just jewelry will inevitably get really good at shooting jewelry.  He’s going to dial in his lighting and master composition and figure out all of the tricks for making amazing jewelry pictures.  But if that’s all he does year in and year out, same thing every day, he’s going to get set in his ways and it will become more and more difficult to see things in a “different light”.  It’s a dilemma faced by almost all visual artists.

I’m constantly shooting and I find that the two styles inform each other and keep me fresh.  The lighting I use shooting a food story one day might give me an idea the next day for how to light a living room full of people.  Photographing kids running around a backyard in Malibu with gorgeous morning light streaming through the trees can plant a seed for me to try a different approach lighting washers and dryers on a studio set the following week.

I still have my own “look” for all of the work I shoot which definitely helps me land jobs where often there’s a range of visual content needed to illustrate one story or one ad.

And of course I shoot a ton of personal work.  I have a couple on-going projects that a lot of creatives tell me they are fans of – all of this helps to keep me on the radar.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

A lot of my work involves some complicated productions – big set builds or location scouting for specific room styles in homes and then huge talent castings, etc.  Working collaboratively with clients / art directors / photo editors keeping a bunch of plates in the air can be challenging.   I really enjoy all of the aspects of these productions and if we get into areas that are new to a client I’m always happy to help buyer educate client as needed.

On set we always design our productions to run efficiently, but there’s often still an urge on the client side to want more and more content, especially with kids.  I’m a parent with two kids of my own and am often complimented on the great rapport I have with kids on-set.  Realistic expectations for a bit of time required to get a young kid warmed up on set are important and managing client expectations by finding the right balance is key to making great images.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I believe in momentum so I’m always shooting – it’s essential to staying relevant.  I shoot a couple of my own projects every month that I share with clients and a few times each year I’ll do a reach-out via email but I always keep it personal.

My agency Bernstein & Andriulli has developed some great themed look books that they send out and they also do a big printed journal once or twice a year which they mail to thousands of industry creatives. We also do LeBook every year in New York and L.A.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

I think most art buyers are pretty well informed so are looking for something new and different.  If you look to other media – what are trends in the art world, what are visual trends on primetime TV or in other popular programming, what is big in movies or in other genres of photography.  If you can wrap your head around a new aesthetic, process it and then figure out a personal way to express it in your own work – that’s going to resonate with everyone who sees your work.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

For about a year and a half I’ve been working on a project about kids and their living room forts.  It started as a personal project but evolved into a bigger concept where people started sending in pictures of their own kids’ living room forts.  The website is called livingroomfort.com.

I had been shooting exquisitely designed interiors for years – typically these spaces are shown with everything in the room perfectly placed.  I always thought it would be great to let a kid go wild building up a fort in the room and shoot it in context.  It just seemed refreshing to show pictures of these decorator designed interiors with a hot mess of kid stuff piled up in the middle of the room.

I shot most of them with just one assistant or even just solo.  We typically arranged something with the parents, often when the folks were off at work and the kids were home with a nanny.  We would walk in with our camera and start a dialogue with the kids about forts and then do just one thing to the room – maybe flip their parents fancy sofa on it’s side and dump the pillows on the ground.  The kids would sort of look at us in disbelief for a second but then quickly get on board and start dragging all of their stuff out of their room and piling it up in the fort.  I could just suggest something like “you probably are going to need books to read in your fort, right?” and they would get a gleam in their eye and then make like 12 trips back and forth from their room with every one of their favorite books stacked in their arms.  The same would go for stuffed animals, snacks, whatever.   Depending on the age of the kids we helped them with something tricky like tying a knot in a curtain, but the older kids would run with it and do it entirely on their own.

Every kid loves this kind of thing – it’s like it’s programmed into their genetic makeup.  A self-made fort is like the ultimate expression of “home” for a kid.

They rig together some kind of private space out of blankets or couch cushions or whatever and surround themselves with all of their most precious things, then hunker down and fantasize about being an astronaut or a truck driver or something.  We would lock a camera down and just shoot the chaos, usually choosing something in the middle as a final image, since the end result was always way over the top.  We even turned a few of them into stop motion videos to show the process.  I think some of the families thought I was a bit crazy but they went along with it.  The kids always had a blast and would beg their parents to let them keep it up forever.

We’ve been in discussion with a couple organizations about doing a gallery event with big prints of the final series, maybe even with a big kid fort in the middle of the room.  We’ll see what comes but with the right kid sponsor we would love to turn it into a charity event.

How often are you shooting new work?

I’m a photographer.  I shoot every day of my life.

Mark’s bio and contact:

Mark Lund’s formally composed modern interiors are regularly featured in home lifestyle stories for Real Simple, Glamour, and InStyle. With a knack for problem solving that has evolved from his education in structural engineering and fine art, he continues to create compelling images for clients.  Mark’s website can be viewed at www.lundphoto.com.

Mark is also the director of photography for Homeroom Studio in New York, leading a staff of associate photographers and producers that take pride in approaching each new project with efficiency and professionalism. Please visit www.homeroomstudio.com for more information.

Mark lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

Mark Lund Photography.
http://www.lundphoto.com
mark@lundphoto.com

Represented by Edward Buerger at Bernstein & Andriulli
http://www.ba-reps.com
edwardb@ba-reps.com
212.682.1490

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.