Search Results for "suzanne sease"

Suzanne Sease – Estimating An Advertising Shoot

After the post on “what to charge in advertising photography” received so much interest I decided to start exploring the topic further. A photographer I was talking with suggested I contact Suzanne Sease for more insight into the estimating process. As it turns out she was the perfect person to talk with about estimating an advertising job because of her background.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started in this business?

While I was in college I did internships at two ad agencies the first was with RMD (Richardson, Myer & Donofrio) now Grey-Kirk in Baltimore, Maryland. When I found out Hal Donofrio, CEO of RMD was good friends with Dave Martin, then CEO of The Martin Agency, I asked if I could use his name to get a second internship and subsequently landed an internship at the Martin Agency when I was a Junior in college. At RMD I was an intern with the art directors but fell in love with images so the Martin internship was in the print production department. I thought the visuals were so much more fascinating than what the art directors did. So, I wanted to be a print producer. And that is what I did when I first graduated.

What were you studying in college?

I studied Communication Arts and Design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. I was in the interdisciplinary program that taught us how to be art directors, illustrators, graphic designers, photographers and video. I was in school from ’80 to ’84.

Really, does that kind of program still exist?

Yes, it’s at Virginia Commonwealth University and in fact a lot of graduates have gone off to do very well in the industry. A lot established art directors and creative directors were in the VCU program back in the 80’s. The program has been the precursor to the VCU Brand Center which has been getting International notice.

So, what happened after you graduated?

When I graduated in 1984, I went back to Baltimore and worked for a small agency as the print producer. It was great experience because I had to wear several hats like go on the photoshoots to work with the photographers and one client even requested that I be their account executive so I wore that hat as well.

Eventually I decided that I wanted to move back to Richmond and returned back in 87 but didn’t get a job in print production but in a position as a print project estimator for The Martin Agency. I was the print estimator which was the beginning and end of every single project that went through the Martin agency.

What did an estimator do?

Well, back then it was before everything was done on a fee base we had to estimate how much time the art director needs, the copywriter, studio art, photography, typography, how many xeroxes you would need. I was really entrenched in the whole project. It was really a great experience to understand what it took to do print advertising.

Then they created the Art Buying position in 1989 so I interviewed for the position and got the job. I trained under the amazing late, Linda Marso, then at Scali, McCabe & Sloves (now Lowe & Partners) I then worked for the next 6 years as the sole Art Buyer working all the campaigns until the department grew and they brought in Kat Dalager (now at Campbell Mithun) to run the department. I got to work on some amazing campaigns and with many of the great photographers at the time both of local and International fame.

In 1999, I decided to spend more time with my family and was looking for a career that would allow more flexibility. Bobbi Wendt suggested I should consider being a creative consultant. I gave it a shot and haven’t turned back.

Tell me about this book, The Photographer’s Survival Guide, that you wrote with Amanda Sosa Stone. I was just reading the chapter on estimating and it’s quite informative.

Amanda and I put together a program called The Photographers Survival Guide and we were going around the country giving a presentation once a month to associations and at one event there was a publisher in the audience and they approached us about making a book. We had this black and white xeroxed hand-out as well as a in depth PowerPoint Presentation that became the basis for the book.

First thing I want to know is if you are a photographer who’s never bid on a big advertising job but expect to be doing so in the near future what kinds of things should they be doing to prepare yourself for when that day comes?

The first thing would be to check out Blink Bid. It’s really the easiest way for a photographer to get a bid together and a great way to teach yourself. Blink Bid is a check off list to make sure you are not forgetting something and if your job has unique items you can customize them. I am beginning to think that this program will become the universal format that buyers will expect to see.

So, the first thing would be to practice by doing a fake job?

Yes and understand the verbiage. Like for example on the “real estimate” post you did someone in the comments was explaining what I call the Creative Fee for execution and usage. That is a term that all the big dogs use. It really comes in handy to lump the execution and usage together when you’re negotiating fees (as someone explained in the comments), but it’s also good for residuals because those fees will be based on the creative fee now instead of just the usage fee. In other words if you separate them out: $2,500.00 for shoot and $2,500.0 for usage residuals will be based on the usage fee of $2,500.00 not a combined $5,000.00 for a creative fee.

Another good reason for doing this is when, for example, you have a prototype or a product that’s new to market. Never do a shoot and usage because the chance of those products being held up is really great. When I was doing satellite art buying once the product wasn’t ready to come to market and I had to explain to the account executive that there was one fee to be paid and it was not the photographers fault that the product is not ready. So, I could not credit the client for not using it, as when you have a shoot and usage fee separate, but when they were ready to use it, they could for the negotiated two (2) years usage effective date of first use. And if it took them weeks, months or years, they had the rights from when it was first used. This protected the photographer who did all the work asked of him.

What I really want to get at is where do you come up with those numbers? The creative fee. How do you know what that should be?

Sometimes you can come up with those numbers by going to Getty Images and see what a stock shot is worth and use that as a parameter but there’s no real source out there for numbers because there are so many parameters go into an estimate.

What about the quoting systems like books, software and websites?

I have found that none of these are very reliable because there’s no experience of having done large advertising production jobs behind them. I think only someone like a rep, art director, photo editor or an art buyer can tell you what to charge.

Ok but there must be a source for the usage, right? The creative fee would grow the more experience you get and the more seasoned or in demand you become as a photographer but the usage is usually fixed isn’t it?

Well not exactly. I had a young client just a year out of school who I helped with his estimate and he was asking more than two seasoned photographers. He got the job because his estimate was so buttoned up. We spelled things out, how we would produce the job and we estimated for one division of a corporation that has International divisions. It has paid the photographer greatly and he shoots for them all the time now.

The estimate really has to speak the volume of how you plan to shoot a job and really shows your understanding of what it will take to execute the job.

As an art buyer I once had a job with Capitol One and I had to triple bid it and I had this one estimate where the producer was so good I just looked at it and said “this guy gets this job.” The other people bidding said “this can be done in post” but I didn’t want it done in post I had asked them to go get a prop and have the logo melted into brass and that’s what I had asked for. So don’t assume you can save money for the client when the client wants things the way they asked.

So, you’re reading into how they’re going to produce a shoot?

Right. The winning estimate was $100,000 more than the other two estimates and I got Capitol One to approve it because I told the creative director “this estimate will come under budget but the other two will be over budget,” because some people under estimate thinking the money will be there if you need it later when in fact the money is already allocated to other divisions.

I was reading in your book that you tell photographers they shouldn’t mark up invoices anymore, something  you say will be controversial. Why is that?

In a large production any Art Director or Art Buyer is going to ask for receipts. You are required to give receipts and bill exactly what you have. So, there is no room for markup anymore. That went away when the agencies didn’t get to markup invoices anymore. Agencies used to markup the estimates 17.65% and that’s when the photographers started marking up expenses as well. Those days have gone away. The other thing that’s gone away is agencies now days are not purchasing the media buy so you cannot base your estimate on a media buy, because half the time the agency doesn’t even know exactly what it will be. The agencies used to make their money off the media buy plus per hour expenses but now it’s becoming a monthly retainer. It’s all done on retainers now. There’s no little fluff extras anymore.

Ok, but there’s really no place to get a number?

You and I could come up with a chart with a whole range of numbers and you can post that.

Yes, let’s do that, that sounds really cool.

Now with regards to the estimate again how thorough do you need to be in describing how everything will happen?

In the example I gave you earlier where the young photographer out bid 2 seasoned photographers he was bidding against a team of photographers who were friends with the creative director. They did a pdf thing with these superimposed shots on how they would execute the job, but they weren’t where the client was going and they had second guessed it thinking they were for sure getting the job. The other thing I’ve seen is where this photographer had a 2 or 3 page dossier of how he was going to execute every single aspect of an image but forgot to include props, location scouting, wardrobe, casting in his estimate. I will tell you this, Art Buyers don’t read. That’s why an estimate needs to be clean, concise and to the point. They’re looking at the numbers.

And in that example I gave on my blog earlier the estimate was a little loose because the photographer was the ringer on the job so they didn’t have to worry about making everything super tight they just had to hit the number.

Well, I can tell you on a job where I did have a ringer that I knew was going to do it but another photographer actually won the job over my ringer because of the way he talked to the Art Director about how he was going to expedite the job. The Art Director wasn’t sure how to do a shot and the other photographer said “let me show you” and sent over a sample while on the phone. I actually had another job where a big name photographer withheld information and lost the job because he thought it was proprietary and they might steal his ideas.

When I used to triple bid jobs I would set the fee at fair market value then tell the photographers who they were bidding against and just make it about the production and the photographer who I thought produced the job best would get it. It wasn’t about the fees.

Also, I will tell you one trick I used once when I wanted Richard Avedon to shoot a job I asked to see the media buy which was in the millions of dollars and found 1 insertion in Ladies Home Journal for $40,000 and told the account executive I needed that insertion for my shoot and to ask them for the $40,000. The client agreed. My philosophy was always that running crap 6 times is way worse than running something great 5 times so lets spend the money that we need on production.

Ok, if I’m a photographer and I get the call tomorrow to bid a big advertising job and I’ve never done anything like that before, what do I do?

I do estimates for people and even have people in my back pocket who can do it if I’m not around.

So, you call a professional estimator. What does that cost?

I charge $150-$200 plus 7.5% of the creative fees if you get the job. That’s just for the estimate negotiation is by the hour at $150.00 per hour plus the percentage of the creative fees.

Are there a number of people who do this kind of thing?

I don’t know for sure (comment if you know some – rob).

I wanted to comment on a couple of things in that example you gave the other day. There are profit centers that photographers don’t realize even with no markup. The biggest one is Tech Scouting. There were two locations scouted with no tech scouting and let me give you an example of why it’s so important to do this. The location scout goes to 5 or 10 areas a day but the actual chance of them going to the area where the shoot will happen at the time it will happen is close to nil. I have been on a golf course with a client at 6 am because the photographer thought the sun was going to clear the trees then and we sat for 3 hours waiting for it to happen. If the tech scout had actually happened I would have had a lot happier client. So, that’s how you can sell it to any client and a lot of times it can be half of the fee. Also, digital capture and even something like an ftp site. I have a client who charges $1500 for an ftp site. Another area people don’t charge for is liability insurance. You can actually mark that one up because of the time it takes you to go get the certificate.

Right, so don’t forget to charge for your time and equipment on a shoot.

When you’re negotiating a job how do you make sure you’ve not left money on the table?

I don’t think you can ever know for sure except maybe when they say “yes” really fast. There are times when you may have left money on the table but you are building a relationship and you get people to realize that you are a good value. So, in the example you gave earlier, the photographer was within the budget and the client is coming back.

There are always people who out bid you, you have to show value for what you are.

Any last thoughts on pricing advertising photography?

You can never gauge something by another person’s success, because you don’t know how they got there.

Only walk in your shoes.

Ask Anything With Amanda And Suzanne – How Not To Blow The Face To Face Meeting

- - Ask Anything

Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease have agreed to take anonymous questions from photographers and not only give their expert advice but put it out to a wide range of photographers, reps and art buyers to gather a variety of opinions. The goal with this column is to explore more of the commercial side of photography (not my area of expertise) and to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.

Our Second Question:

I sent out mailers and emailers to agencies recently and received asurprising amount of positive replies.

I recently drove for 9 hours after an Art Buyer seemed really enthusiastic about my work on the website and replied to my mail saying sure make the trip, I’d love to see your book. We sat down with two of his colleagues and things were going well.

About a third of the way in to the book he started to lose interest and then wandered off like a grazing dairy cow, I was bewildered but continued with his colleagues. He reappeared when the we’d already finished the book. Shook hands, said thanks for coming in and left. I exchanged a few more pleasantries with his colleagues and was left to pack up and let myself out on my own. Humiliated. Ok so this is the industry, not for wimps, fine. Maybe if the book and all the answers were perfect you might still get a jerk or get the right person on the wrong day. But how do you avoided blowing that valuable opportunity?

Our Response combined with the help of a very sought after rep and art buyer:

Just from reading this question – we see many red flags.

Our first thought  when he said – “We were a third into the book and lost interest” and then follows up by saying “We had finished the book” – lets us know he was controlling the book viewing process and dialoging it the whole way through.

We think the first thing to remember is that every one can have a bad day and that may have been the cause.  You never know what someone is dealing with on a personal level.  Maybe the AB had bad news that morning, thought he could handle the meeting but just couldn’t.  Since you don’t know, the best thing to do immediately is to send an e-mail thanking him for his time as you could see how busy he was and that you truly appreciate the time given.  That you will send new work as you shoot it and would love to hopefully work together in the future.  Okay, that being said after the fact what should you do in the future?

  1. Make sure your website and portfolio compliment each other- the best of your work in the beginning of your website while the portfolio has to be consistent throughout.  Sometimes it is best to work with a neutral person like a consultant or a client you have a close relationship with for a non-emotional attachment to the images.  Rob has a huge list (here)- interview the ones you are interested in working with.
  2. Make sure your portfolio is professional and what the industry is expecting to see.  If you portfolio looked thrown together, then you have cheapened the images.  The presentation talks about your attention to details as you would on a shoot- the production value of the book transfers to the production value of a shoot.
  3. Let the viewer look at the images at their pace- don’t comment on every image- wait till they ask a question.  If they don’t ask anything then you need to ask them questions from your research (i.e. about an ad you loved that they did)
  4. Research- who you are talking to and the agency.  This is why a database is so crucial to your marketing.  A database is not only for sending out e-promos and mailers but used more efficiently for research.  We like Agency Access for several reasons- it’s clean, folders tally up total contacts, accounts and titles plus it has map quest to get you to your meeting.
  5. Research the agency by going to their website to see their accounts.  Then research the person you are meeting with.  Also, go to these websites to find award winning work:
    http://www.commarts.com/annuals/2009-Advertising/winners
    http://adsoftheworld.com
    http://www.graphis.com
    http://www.oneclub.org

Kat Dalager of Campbell Mithun  in Minneapolis has been especially kind to show you how to do this.  The first thing I do is go to my Agency Access account and look her up.  She is listed as the Print Production Manager, but over sees art buying and buys herself.  So when making your list make sure you include art buyer, creative buyer , print producer and print production manager since Agency Access uses their titles but makes sure they purchase photography.

mkt1

mkt2

From this page, you have a live link to the agency as well as the map:

Untitled-1

And you can see samples of their work:

Untitled-2

Untitled-3

Untitled-4

You can also look at their work at www.agencycompile.com This is a free service but used for new business and marketing managers so it will not give you the creative personnel, hence the reason for a database.

mkt4

mkt10

After you have researched the company, research the person:

mkt8

And you can find a video with her talking about the business:

mkt6

When we went through more Google pages , we find this:

mkt5

She is adorable and friendly. You can see that in the video as well. And this from Plaxo:

mkt3

Read this and find common ground to create a non-invasive conversation- you don’t want to get too personal. But it is good to see who you are talking to. Suzanne found this info on her own and found a lot. You may not find this much information on one person but you can find plenty about the company where they work. Kat reviewed this and she said:

“One thing to mention is cross-checking sources because they are only as current as the information provided to them. For example, we no longer have H&R Block.

Also, since they can see we don’t have any car accounts, it would not be the best use of my time or theirs to send me a car book.

1 technicality: I go by “art producer” rather than “art buyer”

To summarize, some meetings go bad and that’s just part of the process.  When I (Amanda) repped for a short period of time I experienced the same thing, so you are not alone.  I flew to NYC to meet someone and at the receptionist desk I was told she was too busy to meet with me.  I also had an AB look at the portfolio in the lobby.  So there are no prejudices against particular people for meetings – everyone will experience a bad meeting in their lifetime.  We say – good!  That means one important thing – you are doing meetings.  With every 5 bad meetings comes a great meeting.  A client once had a meeting and was told “Great work, but we have no clients that need your style to ever hire you”.  A week later – that same agency called to book him for a job with a new client.  Go figure.  Keep your chin up and just battle through it…it’s part of the game

If you want more insight from Amanda and Suzanne you can contact them directly (here and here) or tune in once a week or so for more of “Ask Anything.”

Ask anything with Amanda and Suzanne – How Much Money Do Commercial Photographers Make?

- - Ask Anything

I’m so excited about a great new column I’m kicking off today called “Ask Anything.” Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease have agreed to take anonymous questions from photographers and not only give their expert advice but put it out to a wide range of photographers, reps and art buyers to gather a variety of opinions. The goal with this column is to explore more of the commercial side of photography (not my area of expertise) and to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.

To submit a question you can email me or leave a comment in one of these posts.

The First Question comes from me:

One commercial photographer told me he was bringing in $250,000 in profits and another said he has several million in billings. So, what do successful commercial photographers make? I’ve always believed it was a lot. How has the economy effected the way people price? Are photographers starting to base their usage on their cost of doing business instead of the cost of the use?

Amanda and Suzanne: The responses have been amazing, from photographers with all levels of success to a very high level art producer. We really enjoyed the personal and honest insight we got as to how they bill and the thought process behind it. It reminds you that you are not alone in this negotiating process. Keep reading – we had 1 photographer bold enough to give the answer everyone has been waiting for.

Hot Emerging Photographer:

What is an average successful profit for a commercial photographer? My rep doesn’t price based on CODB, but on what the market bears. And it’s definitely going down from what it used to be (from the mouth of my rep). Times are changing, sadly enough it’s because the high earning commercial photographers with big overheads are struggling to stay alive and taking jobs for much lower fees in order to pay it. In turn, that makes the emerging photogs like us less competitive because we don’t have the experience and portfolio that they do. Then to think about hiring a staff, and having to pay for that. Now I understand why photographers get paid quite a bit. My rep basically bids on what the client’s budget is, we push the production as low as we can to do a good job then create the fee out of the gap. I think if everyone goes by CODB that will drive the market down even more because the smaller guys don’t have as high of a CODB. I vote to keep an industry standard of fees. Especially with this digital era.

Established Photographer 1:

250K in profits! I want to be him. In my best year, I grossed 225K and I was quite pleased. I can’t remember what I net’d but would have to guess around 1/3 of that.

I’m not sure I’m not a great one to compare as I keep it small, simple, and avoid big overhead. I’m happy with a couple of big jobs a year. I’d rather work fewer, better jobs than be cranking at 100% all the time (and burning out). It’s also difficult to compare me to most; I was away from business from 2005-2007 and have had a very challenging economy to grapple with upon my return so there’s no steady recent history for me to gather information with.

I have estimated jobs based on usage, and I haven’t won many of them :-(

Established Photographer 2:

I have always tried to avoid talking about this kind of stuff. Even though I bill well over a Million Dollars in gross billing annually. What you actually pay yourself is much, much less.

I am at the top of my game and probably make about what a halfway decent Attorney makes.

It is quite exaggerated what photographers make.

Keeping up with new equipment, software, insurance, salaries, and repair keep you from making any truly great money.

I assure you the owners of Advertising Agencies make much more money than us guys in the trenches.

Sure there are a few Super Star photographers but they even go broke. Take Annie Leibovitz for example.

Established Photographer 3:

Alas, I am south of 250K…. I think my rep told me once that most guys are around 20 – 25% of their gross, I was typically around that to maybe a bit more. I don’t know specifically what the numbers are, just in a general sense – as I remember that 08 taxable income was about the same as 07 but at less billings in 08.

I don’t do cost of business pricing per se, but can’t say I am a poster boy for usage fees either. I have found that it’s harder to get a premium for bigger usage on some projects (i.e. art buyers ask for a specific usage and then later want unlimited for a year or 2 for the same money or relatively modest increase in the fee). That’s big and small agencies, not across the board, but it’s not unusual. Maybe I am getting played, but it usually happens in competitive bids where they say the other guy will do this usage for this money, so to be competitive I need to come closer to that number – that kind of thing. I typically but not always cave into it, as my costs are relatively low now, I don’t have a staff or a rep, my equipment is paid for and my studio mortgage is relatively reasonable – less than what I was paying in rent a few years ago….. so in that sense my cost of business does figure into it, but I only consider it when pressed to meet another person’s price.

Established Photographer 4:

o.k. here is the poop in Vague terms.

Yes, many years the take home profit (the photographers net earnings after operations) is over 250K but that depends a lot on investments in equipment etc.

Last year for sure the usage is based on the size of the client and the size of the buy. For example a one year print license starts around $2,000 per shot. Big clients/ big media buy $5,000 per client. There are some exceptions for tiny clients and design firms.

Established Photographer 5:

Depending on what you shoot, it’s not necessary to bring in several million or even a million to generate 250k in profit (e.g. – Still life and product shooters don’t have the high production expenses compared to someone who shoots talent). In a good year, I can earn $200k personal salary on $800k in sales. (THIS AIN’T ONE OF THOSE YEARS….). I’m sure those billing 3 million can earn a profit of a million. What their personal salary comes to is another matter altogether.

It’s in our best interests to keep money in the corporation, as a corporation is taxed differently (lower) than an individual. Many buy company cars & new gear at the end of a good year to reduce taxes payable. There are creative accounting (and totally legal) ways to reduce one’s personal salary while maintaining a very nice lifestyle. The perks of running your own business.

Personally, I don’t believe in the CODB model. It’s far to limiting and does not represent what one’s competitors are charging. I don’t believe one’s fees should ever be based on one’s overhead. My overhead is my choice, and so is that of my competitors. But my fees need to be as high as possible while being as competitive as one can be. Low bids are generally not well received by art buyers.

Hi-end guys/gals don’t price themselves as commodities. They tend to price very high to maintain their perception as hi-end.

License model, combined with photographers fee (shown as one line item!!) is the way the top guys estimate.

An Established Photographer with Actual Salary Numbers:

We grossed in 2008, $218,000 in fees alone. In 2009, we grossed $253,000. In 2008, we paid $100,000 in salaries to assistant photographer and myself combined. In 2009, that figure was $125,000. That is most of the picture. There are other benefit issues, such as health insurance, meals and travel, that come out of the business and reduce the net of the company… If you look at our net between 15K-20K each year, after buying gear, bonuses and finding every write-off. We are also a C corp, which makes me a salaried employee.

A Very Established Art Buyer:

Believe it or not, top photographers do gross a million or more in fees. Of course, agent commissions come out of that, but it’s still a nice living. I don’t see top photographers any more willing to compromise on pricing than before the economic downturn. It still comes down to the project and what it’s worth to the photographer.

Usage pricing is all over the board and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. It’s simple survival: people are doing whatever it takes to survive. Sometimes the compensation is reasonable, but I’ve also heard horror stories of unreasonable compensation and even blatant disregard to copyright laws. Unfortunately, in those cases it comes down to who can hold out the longest with lawyer fees.

I wouldn’t say it’s the Wild West, but I certainly don’t see the solidarity in holding out on pricing that an “up” economy allows. There is definitely an air of desperation among many photographers, especially those just entering the market. I don’t know that it’s any different from any other business, though. It’s tough everywhere.

Stock imagery seems to be taking quite a bit of a hit this past year as well. Account reps are disappearing and even the Big Two (Corbis and Getty) are making drastic staffing cuts.

I hope the recovery heads our way soon!

Our 2 Cents:

From across the board – everyone has the same hope and desires – do good work and bill appropriately. Regardless of your status in this market – it all is interconnected. You have to know your worth creatively to bill appropriately. Of course – Joe Blow may gross $500k annually but his overhead could be $300k – which means he is not better off than the wedding photographer netting $250k with very little overhead other than equipment updates. So from a wide range of talents – you can still net 50k – 1MM in our BAD economy. But you have to do your part to get those jobs and keep those clients and ask for what you are worth – NOT WHAT IT COSTS TO PAY YOUR BILLS!

Call To Action:

If you are willing to share your actual annual earnings – what you grossed in fees and what you took home at the end of the day (net) – please email us your exact figure and how long you have been in business and the type of photography you do (editorial, commercial advertising, consumer, etc…). We will be thrilled to be able to share if with your peers – while keeping you anonymous! We respect everyone’s confidentiality. This information in the end is not for us – but for you the photographer!

If you want more insight from Amanda and Suzanne you can contact them directly (here and here) or tune in once a week or so for more of “Ask Anything.”

My jobs tend to be fees inclusive of usage, and however high I can negotiate given the client.

The Art of the Personal Project: Eric Axene

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Eric Axene

I am Small Business is a “personal project” not only because it’s self-assigned, but because it’s just as much of a journey of self-discovery as it’s an exploration of neighborhoods and small shops. Raised by a single mom who ran her own jewelry business, I’ve seen first-hand the balancing act required to keep things moving. I’ve been running my small photography business and working closely with my clients to create their visions for years. This project has allowed me to readdress who I am as a photographer mid-way into my craft and develop a new methodology for expressing how I experience the world.

I began my project a year ago, in a vibrant and popular neighborhood of Northeast Los Angeles. Highland Park is known as a trendy destination, but if you look closer you find a wonderful mix of old and new. I walked up and down the two major streets that transect the neighborhood (Figueroa and York) pushing my cart of gear and asking in every store if the owner was willing to be photographed. The resulting portfolio is a peek into some of the many worlds that co-exist along the avenues of Southern California. Turns out that the Cinemascope format is closest to what I was experiencing when standing in a store, so I recreated the super-wide framing by piecing together 5 photos for each image.

I’m looking forward to expanding the project, exploring small businesses across America and sharing their stories. I was recently commissioned by my hometown of Glendale to produce 7 small business portraits for an online exhibition titled Art Happens Anywhere. For that, I wanted to create extremely detailed images, and I ended up making photo-collages with over 200 shots used per store. I’ve begun interviewing my subjects, and maybe that will eventually lead to a documentary.

In LA we’re facing another round of restrictions just ahead of the holidays, bookending a critical and defining year. Small business is a big deal to me, and I’m thrilled that especially now, with everything going on, people have been receptive to the project. I’m psyched to advocate for small businesses, and I hope that my photos will continue to bring awareness to the wonderful establishments I’ve discovered and the people who are working hard to keep the doors open. I’ve learned a lot this year about tenacity, readjustment, and my own process through photographing them.

The Juicy Leaf– Felix is selling DIY kits based on his unique succulent arrangements. The kits come with everything you need to create an arrangement at home, including a QR code to access video tutorials. On Friday evenings he goes on Instagram Live and shows how to put together the “kit of the week” in real time. The Juicy Leaf is also hosting private Zoom parties where you can buy kits and he ship kits anywhere in the world.  You can then schedule a live Zoom session where Felix will personally guide the group through the project. Private parties can be up to 20 people.    https://thejuicyleaf.com/pages/planting-parties

Mi Vida  Noelle sells unique handmade clothing and gifts inspired by “nuestra Vida, Arte y Cultura” in Los Angeles. Mi Vida’s website is fully running, and they ship anywhere.

Bob Baker Marionette Theatre-    A recent addition to Highland Park, the Bob Baker Marionettes have been around since 1963. They had just opened their newly renovated theater when they were shuttered in the Spring. They’ve gone online with their Holiday on Strings show at the link below: https://playhouselive.org/programs/holidayonstrings?categoryId=45020&mc_cid=8545e1d7af&mc_eid=f81310abbd

Le Petite Cirque–   Le Petite Cirque is offering Zoom training sessions for all different ages (4- up) and abilities. From beginner handstands and dance to advanced choreography and acrobatics. Group sessions are just $10-$15 each and are 45mins.

Once Upon A Time Bookstore   Located in Montrose, CA, Once Upon a Time is America’s oldest children’s bookshop. Maureen and her daughter Jessica will ship anywhere, and their website offers recommendations and hosts author discussions and readings. If you can’t find what you are looking for, or want a personal recommendation for a great gift, they answer the phone and emails.

Mario’s Italian Deli-Mario’s Deli makes the best sandwiches in Glendale! They make all their pastas, sausages, and salads in house. They stock vintage Italian wines and stock all the cheeses and charcuterie of Italy as well as imported olive oils.

Call ahead for quick service: 818-242-4114

Monsivais & Co.   Damian designs and creates caps, clothes, and accessories inspired by the early 1900s. He uses antique machinery and tools to make them as authentic as possible. His e-commerce site is fairly extensive, and he ships worldwide.

To see more of this project, click here.

 

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Paul Ernest

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Paul Ernest  (originally posted in 2018)

Claimed as the 21st century Norman Rockwell, Paul Ernest’s photographic work has been received as a soulful interpretation of timelessness in today’s evolving informational and technological culture. Using the camera and his appreciation for American Realism, Paul has developed a style he calls Mise En Scene Realism. His focus on composition and lighting are primarily drawn from painters such as Wyeth, Rockwell and Johnson but with an influence from his former career as a Creative Director and designer. “We are a people of storytelling, parables and fables. Our perception of the aesthetics in life are absorbed and interpreted in a way that is no different than any style or technique that have ever been in existence. We learn from stories and the adoption of them into our way of thinking and living.”

Since 2011 Paul’s work has earned him awards from WPPI and PPA, including Diamond Photographer of the Year in 2012 and 2015 and earning his Craftsman and Master Degree. Paul’s work has been accepted in galleries such as Craighead Green and premiere arts festival throughout the state of Texas. His commissioned work hangs in restaurants, hotels and private collections including the lobby of his alma mater where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts. He also has developed his style into a line of home interior products sold nationally.

Paul’s passion for education and continued growth in himself and others is evident in his teaching and mentoring which he does in his home state as well as across the U.S. He lives just outside of Dallas, Texas with his wife and children.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Sara Forrest

- - Photographers

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:   Sara Forrest

Aerion

I’ve always been drawn to stories of ambition.  Maybe a few fortunate souls are born doing things perfect or are just flat out lucky during their time here, but the rest of us on Earth, myself included, must be tenacious.  We must work, train, experiment and sift our way through many failures and accomplishments to get to where we ultimately think we want to go.  It all simply comes down to something being hard.  Accomplishments are things that are earned, they are not innate. I thought that the process of construction of Kali’s sailboat symbolized this in a meaningful and important way.

Kali’s father was a hobby boat builder and during his long struggle with PLS they worked on building a hand made wooden boat for her.   Following his passing, she finished “Areion.”  When conditions are right, you can see her red sails navigating the crisp blue waters off the coast of Kittery, Maine.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Michael Grecco

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Michael Grecco

Days of Punk, The Punk and Post Punk Era

I moved to college in the mid-seventies in Boston a music elitist. My New York upbringings had created a music snob, into only the coolest rock, Bowie, The Velvets, the Ramones, Pattie Smith and a hatred for hair bands including Alice Cooper, Sabbath and Motley Crue. Especially after enjoying Jazz in NY also, the music being produced by the mega music industry went nowhere and said nothing interesting.

I knew it all, all there was to know about music, except what was coming around the corner. One day I took the short walked into the Rat in Kenmore Square, a few blocks from my dorms and my life changed. That night was a battle of the bands, but they were all punk bands. They played a musical extension of sounds and riffs I was familiar with from early groundbreaker, but yet it was new. I also realized that I would have never heard this bands on record or on the radio of the day. This was the outlet for them, the dark, smelly seedy underground. That night changed my life and led me on over a 5-year journey of sex, drugs and punk.

I was the club kid out every night, shooting bands, partying with the bands and then getting my shit together to as a photographer for the Associated Press during the day. I would disco nap at to 6 PM after work, have dinner at 10 PM and then back out to the clubs by midnight: Spit, The Underground, The Rat, The Channel, and The Paradise Club and Cantones. The music was starting to erupt and with it the first college punk radio show, The Late Risers Club. This was my life until a staff job at the Boston Herald made the drinking and drug and staying out all night impossible.

This is the recorded history of that world and that time, the story must be told.

Lead guitarist Poison Ivy (born Kristy Marlana Wallace) of the punk rock band “The Cramps” is backstage before performing at a theater in 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Musician Billy Idol poses for a portrait back stage one month after his debut solo album release of ‘Billy Idol’ in Boston, Massachusetts on August 01, 1982.

Punk rock band lead singer Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics performing on stage on November 13, 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Members of the punk rock group “Bow Wow Wow” performing on stage at the Paradise Theater in Boston. Members include Annabella Lu Win (lead singer), David Barbarossa (Dave Barbe) on drums, Matthew Ashman (guitar), Lee Gorman on bass in Septemeber 1981 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Lead singer Lux Interior (born Erick Lee Purkhiser) of the punk rock band “The Cramps” performing on stage at a theater in 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Members of the pop music group “Human League”, Susan Sulley, performing on stage at a theater in 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts.

To see more of this project, click here.

To purchase the book, click here

 

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Hugh Kretschmer

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Hugh Kretschmer 

PLASTIC “WAVES”

PURPOSE: Plastic “Waves” is a chapter of my ongoing project, Mirage— a visual commentary on the effects of human behavior on our natural water systems. Each image is constructed using recycled, repurposed or rejected plastic; a foreign element that is now, unfortunately, ever-present in our natural water systems. For these examples, I used recycled garbage bags.

My intent is to engage my audience with the alluring beauty of these images. But upon closer examination a deeper awareness of their intended message is revealed; a future where bodies of water, in their purest form, may only be seen through artificial means— something like a museum diorama.

These examples are the early stages of a long and in-depth exploration of sculpture and photography. My philanthropic purpose is to benefit a nonprofit organization devoted to water conservation through proceeds generated from gallery print and book sales.

INSPIRATION: Initially influenced by Robert Longo’s Epic Wave charcoal drawings they now include Wave Photographer @raycollins artwork as inspiration.

PROCESS: The construction of the water effect starts with a recycled chipboard base that is formed and teased into the basic shape. Then repurposed pillow batting is spray mounted to the surface and shaped in a way to give the wave visual volume. An aluminum screen is the next layer and is tacked down in certain points using hot glue. On top of that, a recycled paper pulp with a binder is applied and shaped in three layers, consecutively adding more detail with each application. Lastly, two varieties of recycled garbage bags were applied to the sculpture— a black lawn bag style for the waves’ base and a thin translucent type was used to represent sea foam. The blur effect of the sea foam was captured using a combination of a long exposure, enhanced by a variable neutral density filter, and a compact electric leaf blower.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Marsha Bernstein

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Marsha Bernstein

I’ve always been drawn to collage work, particularly the decollage work of French artist Jaques Villegle, which is more about subtracting and revealing layers than assembling and building. A lot of my professional work is fashion reportage – backstage at New York Fashion Week – so I thought those images would be fun to work with and explore my own collage style. I thought I would try something in the style of Villegle but I ended up just playing around and doing my own thing. I haven’t been in a darkroom in years so this is a way for me to create art in a tactile way. It’s nice to work away from a screen.

The process is very relaxing and meditative and a way for me to stay creative during periods where I’m not busy (but I’ve also enjoyed making collages during very hectic times as a way to unwind). I don’t have a fixed method – instead, I’ll just pick one of my own fashion images that I think will be interesting to work with – it might be because of a shape, a face, the colors – what draws me to it is always different. I’ll then often print the image in different sizes to play with scale. Other times I’ll use a singular image and bring in some sort of paper ephemera (a vintage French color palette poster, for example) or another image of mine as a backdrop (a London street, the Seine river, and the interior of the Louvre are a few examples). Then I’ll usually rip the images and paper and play with placement.

I’ve also experimented with digital collages in a similar way – using my own fashion images and playing with repetition and scale against a backdrop of something else I’ve photographed. More recently, because I wasn’t able to shoot this past fashion season due to the pandemic, I used images of mine from previous seasons and placed them in vintage scenes with televisions as a play on how we’d all be watching the digital shows. I also incorporated screenshots of a digital fashion show from Paris Fashion Week against a photo of mine of Paris rooftops. I missed shooting shows and this was a way for me to be in that world again.

I don’t spend too much time on an individual collage, as I like it to feel organic. (I think if I spent too much time planning one out it wouldn’t have the rawness that some of them have). Cross training, so to speak, is an important part of being an artist, in my opinion. Actually, I think it’s important for any profession or hobby – it’s good to work different parts of the brain in order to strengthen and grow the ones you use all the time. Or maybe I’m thinking too much about it – I just enjoy it.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Kremer Johnson

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Kremer Johnson

I grew up in a house where my parents worked with their hands.  Both had regular jobs, but each had a side business that they ran out of the house to make extra money.  My mom had an upholstery shop in our basement, and my dad did engine & auto bodywork in the garage.  There was constantly something being crafted around me.

Despite my parents’ best efforts to involve me, that genetic code apparently skips a generation & the skill sets never stuck.  I did, however, learn a healthy respect for the skills & maintain a proper appreciation for a well-crafted final product.  As the project was forming, it was great to have a business partner who was on board to grow this project with more creators.

Living in a largely digital world where most things are mass-produced and available for delivery to your door at a moment’s notice that level of care & craftsmanship seems to be in short older today.  This series celebrates the makers & creators who still take the time & care to create custom goods by hand.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Jeff Lipsky

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Please DO NOT send me your work. I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Jeff Lipsky

It was back in 2015 when I was on assignment for Outside Magazine where I first got the inspiration to do the father son personal project. The job was to shoot the best-selling author Norman Ollestad and his son Noah surfing together. Ollelstad’s book “Crazy for the Storm” was a true survival/ plane crash story with a father son relationship. I wanted to capture Norman’s passion of surfing and how he passed it to his son like his father had done to him. Not an easy thing to get. What is that exact moment that conveys that feeling? I was hooked.

After that assignment I decided to keep going. While shooting the late Chris Cornell’s album “Higher Truth” I had the chance capture him sharing his passion for playing the guitar with his son. It’s continued with an artist, golfer, writer, skater, and wine maker. Being a dad myself of two boys and girl I continually look for those inspirations. A dad and daughter project is currently in the works!

 

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s. After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease. Instagram
Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Taylor Roades

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Taylor Roades

A RIBBON OF HIGHWAY – BETWEEN THE EAST OF MY YOUTH AND THE WEST OF MY FUTURE.

A Ribbon of Highway is a personal retrospective and an exploration of a Canadian Identity. It is a collection of photographs taken between 2010-2020, a decade of my twenties where I moved and travelled extensively across the country, coming of age and questioning both my own value systems, and what being Canadian might mean. The photographs depict my individual lived experience, visiting landscapes that vary drastically in geography, history, and socio-economic status, and overarching lifestyle.

I have photographs from every province and territory except Newfoundland, and Nunavut. I took three trips across the country on a greyhound bus over this time, and travelled on photography assignments to some extremely remote locations.  These photos were not taken with a final goal in mind; the scenes were interesting to me in the moment. I’ve always been deeply intrigued by the cultural threads that hold Canada together, and though I won’t claim this collection to be all encompassing of “Canadianness”, it is a reflection of the place and the person I was when I took the images.

The title of this project: “A Ribbon of Highway” is a lyric in a song called This Land is Your Land. It is an American tune and was re-made by a Canadian band called the Travellers (originally named The Beavers). Naming this project a Ribbon on Highway was an analogy for how we are constantly defining ourselves as separate from the Americans, and yet are still so influenced, for better or worse, by our southern neighbour.

Canada, as we know it emerged from a series of outposts, and in a sense still operates this way. Kindness here is born out of a season of scarcity. We are a vast landmass with incredible differences and we cling to the similarities because they give us something to identify with.

Our patriotism is steeped in contradictions. We are friendly even if we don’t want to be friends. We are hardy people, but complain about scraping the caked ice from our windshields at the break of dawn. We have feelings of moral superiority to the USA with a robust public healthcare system, and yet we have a history of deeply unequal and morally horrific policies when it comes to the treatment of Indigenous peoples on this land.

Some of these photos are stereotypical, and some are personal. It is my hope if you have spent time in this country you will see your own experience, even if only partially. This thread of shared experience is what holds us together, in the space between the places that make up most of this Country.

To see more of this project, click here.

Behind the scenes video

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Joe Pugliese

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Joe Pugliese

This year has been a most unusual time for photographers that are accustomed to a busy calendar, frequently engaging with human subjects. For me, the slowdown of work gave me space to really witness my three and a half year-old son Lucian. 

Being at home for much longer periods of time made me see his energy in a new way, and I wanted to document it somehow. I thought of the old corny comic strip Family Circus where the sporadic path of a child’s day was marked with a dotted line to show how much ground he covered. I was really impressed by the way Lucian occupies his spaces, playing in every inch of wherever he finds himself. It made me reflect on how sedentary we become as adults unless we’re intentionally partaking in an activity.

I also enjoyed infusing a motion element into this still work, extrapolating a narrative from the confines of a single frame. Often in my commercial work, compositing and stitching together frames is a way to solve problems and fix mistakes. It was nice to approach this series with the purpose of making an entire group portrait of one singular energy, claiming his surroundings and seizing each day.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Billy Delfs

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Billy Delfs

Detroit to Niagara is a series I thought about a lot while growing up in Cleveland (my home town). Having spent the majority of my life along the southern coast of Lake Erie, the smallest of the Great Lakes, I always wondered what was on the other side.  In what could take 4 hours to drive from coast to coast, these 5 days traversing in and out of the coastline became a valuable study of light and making better pictures in unknown territory.

I gravitated toward the landscape and noticed how the farm fields have all been converted to wind farms, the coastlines are pristine, the camp sites in the national parks system I stayed were some of the best taken care of I have been, and the people pleasantly soft spoken.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Bob Stevens

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Bob Stevens

An agent pal of mine in NY, reached out to me because he had gotten wind of a potential bid opportunity. He knows that I like to shoot personal, self-assigned images as often as possible, so thought I would be interested. He had few details except for these: the women needed to be 55+ years of age and photographed without any makeup. No clue who the client was, etc. And he wanted samples within a couple of days.

I called my bestie in the talent agency biz, shared the specs and had an online gallery to view within an hour. She offered me her casting room to shoot in. A 10’x10’ ‘studio’ was not my ideal scenario, but hey, that ‘Necessity/Invention” saying comes to mind.

Driven by logistics and a desire to make the environment as intimate as possible, I used one light, a fill card and a small canvas backdrop. My objective was to keep things simple and compact.

I invited these women to pose for me with no makeup, clothed in a way that would allow me to show them ‘discreetly naked’,  to increase the vulnerability of the setting.

The draped, gray fabric was inspired by classic sculpture and paintings (’Venus de Milo’ for example), and the lighting is “3/4”, the way Rembrandt he lit all his painted portraits.

I created a private atmosphere, where I spoke to each of them personally and individually before each session. As we spoke, each subject opened up in a remarkable way. I realized that their stories needed to be told with motion, because there was so much to relate.

I wrote a list of questions, and my plan was to ask each individual the same ones so that in editorial I could create the voice of ‘Woman’.

What I discovered is just how much these ladies had to say, and how powerfully they related to the questions I asked them: ‘Who are You?”, “How is your life different now than it was 20-30 years ago?”, “What does it feel like to be you at this age?” among others.

I was after personal moments, simply executed. I chose a very simple lighting setup and a black backdrop to feature my subjects. This was not ‘about me’, and I wanted to make sure that technique and production value took a backseat to the message.

An unexpected part of my experience is how vulnerable and candid they were, at times, breaking down. Not so much because of what they were saying, but my perception was that they were being ‘listened’ to and were moved that someone cared enough to ask.

The working title of the still shoot was ‘Authenticity’. After I shot the film, I changed it to “I Am” in honor of their statements.

I am grateful for the Vulnerability, Courage and Power of these amazing women.

Video Link

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Cade Martin

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Cade Martin

I have a strong affinity for Mexico, the place and its people. I have been traveling there since I was a little boy and have returned numerous times for personal and professional photography projects.

I visited the state of Tamaulipas for a couple of days and created this series of photographs on farm workers.

On a ranch just north of Tampico, I came across migrant workers harvesting onions from the fields. This part of Mexico, just south of the Tropic of Cancer and a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico, is ideal for growing onions, hot chili peppers, and soybeans – its rich, tropical soil yielding multiple crops year-round. The onion harvest is a hectic operation that involves picking the onions by hand. Once cut, they are left in the fields to dry before being trucked to a shed to be sorted, packed and ultimately shipped to market. To work the fields, a nomadic group of Tamalín Indians makes a yearly journey here from the tropical state of Veracruz.  Their weather beaten faces tell a story of many years of hard work in the fields under the relentless sun. I made these images in a shed, close to the fields where they worked – in the middle of their day.

As a “commercial” photographer, I really enjoy what I do. Of course, there are great characters and stories to capture in any shoot – but I continue to be intrigued by real, every-day people.  I try to seek them out whenever possible, like I did the migrant workers on this ranch.  You can’t make any of it up – the authenticity of their faces, their culture, how they carry themselves or what they face in the reality of their day is endlessly rewarding for me.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Jasmin Shah

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Jasmin Shah

After being based in Chicago for decades, in July of 2019, I branched out and started a nomadic photography journey to pursue more of the work I love around the world. I had nine wonderful months of travel and adventures before COVID-19 changed my plans.

My story is a story of pivoting—of having a plan that needed to change but sticking with what is true to me. Like so many people, I have not had the 2020 I originally envisioned, but I am grateful to be healthy, to have generous friends, and to have found new faces to photograph and ways to experience the world around me, wherever that may be.

I have started a new project, and I’m calling it “Reintroducing America.” From 1935 to 1944, the US government-sponsored FSA program hired photographers and writers to “introduce America to Americans.” Those photos today work as a time capsule of that era. While I do not fancy myself as being at the level of those famed photographers, I do feel the need to document this strange time. We are a divided nation—there is no arguing that—but as I’ve been traveling around and talking to people, I find that even when we have completely different points of view, we are still living through this crazy time together, and we always find some way to relate. I am one person and currently sponsored by no organization, but I am going to do my best to document the many faces and stories that make up our country, one person at a time.

I love people. I love people’s stories—their joy, their pain, and the many realities of life. I will always keep telling these stories.

Eileen’s Caption: 

When planning my drive out west, I looked at campgrounds and Airbnbs between Kansas and California, and I stumbled upon an Airbnb in a ghost town in Cisco, Utah. It had no running water and looked rustic, but obviously, I was intrigued because I wanted to photograph it. I booked myself a spot.

When I arrived, I met Eileen, the visual artist who is the sole year-round resident of Cisco, Utah. She acquired the land in 2015 and has been rebuilding since then. Fun fact: Eileen is from the Milwaukee area and was living in Chicago just blocks from me before she left. But we never met until I arrived at her ghost town.

I admire Eileen, as this does not look like an easy place to live. While I was here it was over 100 degrees, and in the winter it gets really cold. But she is working to create an artist-in-residence program so others can come and be inspired. I spent some time photographing and talking with her. Then I went to my cabin and watched the sun set and the stars come out. I realized if I had another few days, I’d want to stay here too. (I included some photos of my “hotel” and the land because I really did love it.)

The best place to find the project is: here

(It is on my website but I’m in the process of changing my site so I don’t want to link to it if the direct link changes)

To support the project:

https://www.patreon.com/jasminshah

 

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Stephen Wilkes

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist:  Stephen Wilkes

Stephen is known for his masterful ability to capture the heart of what makes this country what has always has been, a mixing bowl.

While things may feel unsettled right now, it’s a moment to reflect, to look at images that reinforce what makes us all uniquely American.

We are a strong nation, we are a resilient nation and we are a caring nation.

  

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.