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Still Images in Great Advertising- Peter Schafrick

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I had the pleasure of working with Peter Schafrick of Toronto and his amazing still motion of a liquidity product.  I say it this way because he captures everything from smoke to paint to coffee to dirt to, well vodka.  He has stayed true to his love of the work and the advertising world has taken notice. He has been able to create great campaigns that stop the viewer to take a closer look.

Suzanne:  Absolut is one of those campaigns that every artists wants.  Did you reach out to the agency or did they find you?

Peter: To be honest, I’ve worked with the agency before, and have known the art buyer, Julia Menassa, for a number of years. She actually gave me one of my first breaks when she was at Cossette in Toronto, and I was just starting to shoot for agencies. My rep, Charlie Holtz at Ray Brown Productions, also has a long-standing relationship with Julia. Charlie and I are in regular contact with most of the art buyers in New York. Charlie is very skilled at maintaining these relationships, and I regularly send out promos to agencies as well. I believe this combination makes it easier for an art buyer to recommend me to creative director. All I can hope is my work then resonates with the creatives and client.

Suzanne:  I know you add so much to the creative process and I would assume with a client like Absolut they let you have a lot of creative license.  How much did they get involved in the shape of the pour?

Peter: For this project, the creative director, Jin Park, actually has the pour and splash sketched out, so we actually had something to work towards. I find these days that by the time an agency shows me a layout, it’s already been tweaked and massaged dozens of times, and because the client signed off on it there’s not as much creative license remaining. Having said that, the unpredictability of liquid pouring and splashing does allow me to push the envelope. So while on set my crew and I will first aim for the specs as dictated in the brief and as discussed beforehand with the creatives, I still love to try different things on set in hopes we capture something more unique and beautiful that could find it’s way into the final image.

Suzanne:  I think what separates you from other liquid shooters is the subject matter that you shoot.  How do you find your inspiration for what to shoot for you own work?

Peter: I’m typically inspired by different types of liquids, and the unique characteristics of liquids. So I tend to latch on to a specific liquid I would like to shoot, them match it to an object. Sometimes just watching my kids play in the bath or in the pool inspires me to experiment with launching liquid in different ways.

Suzanne:  What advice can you give to an artist in the photographic medium in finding their art that has a purpose in advertising?

Peter: I firmly believe that part of our role as photographers is to inspire creatives at agencies, so in turn they can inspire their clients. And as an artist, one must create compelling work that comes from what you are passionate about creating. When you love to do something, you tend to do it well, and that makes it easier to put out there and promote.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Peter is a specialist within the world of commercial photography, shooting mainly product with an emphasis on liquids. He is represented in the US by Ray Brown, in Canada by Arlene Reps and in Europe by Rockenfeller & Göbels.

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.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Vincent Dixon

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I had the honor to attend the Lucie Awards the year Vincent Dixon won for his amazing ad campaign for Unicef.  When I was an art buyer, I was very familiar with Vincent but never had the pleasure of working with him.  I went to his website and was pleasantly surprised at the commercial produced work for large clients while giving back for public service campaigns like the Unicef campaign and The Foundation Abbe Pierre.  I don’t know the specifics of the campaign but they usually ask for reduced fees to get the message out.  And this campaign is so thought provoking that depicting the tragedy of Haiti, that I am sure it took more than just shooting.

AD: Mathias Laurent et Grégoire Lauzon,
Copy Writer: Pierre Clavaud
Art Buyer: Laurence Namhias
Creative Director: Chris Garbutt

Suzanne:  Vincent, how did you get involved in this campaign and how much legwork did Unicef do prior to your arrival?

Vincent : Hi Suzanne, I shot this campaign for Unicef in France. I was contacted by Laurence Namhias, the head art buyer at Ogilvy & Mather, Paris and Matthias Laurent who did the creative.

To be honest we pretty much did everything ourselves. I went with Jonathan Orenstein, a photo assistant, who is great in these types of situations and Matthias came from Paris. We shot this over five days about six weeks after the earthquake. We weren’t sure what we would be faced with when we got to Haiti.  We knew we needed a stark image of the destruction to really make the concept powerful but were not sure what would be there to shoot. I was worried before getting to Haiti that everything would be cleaned up in the six weeks since the earthquake and that we wouldn’t be able to get background plates, that unfortunately was not the case. Porte Au Prince was basically flattened and since almost all government buildings including hospitals were destroyed there were no government services and tent cities everywhere.

My agent in Paris, Florence, found us a place to stay with a friend’s father who lived in the hills above Porte Au Prince and he drove us around and acted as a guide for us. Mathias, the art director had a friend who worked for an NGO in Porte Au Prince and he helped us find the school and get permission to shoot the kids. We organized everything on the ground and that is one of the reasons I gave myself five days to shoot it, we didn’t know what to expect. If necessary we would have stayed longer.

We drove down to Porte Au Prince every morning at around 5 am and shot pretty much all day. The photo is a composite of different background elements and the school portrait. We also shot other plates as Matthias also wanted elements for additional Unicef projects including wrapping a school in Paris and having a mural outside the Parisian school of Haitian children waiting to get into school.

Working there was so moving, one of the ruins we shot was a flattened school with notebooks and report cards in the rubble. Everywhere you would find personal items like old photos, Music LPs and you never know what became of the people who lived in those buildings. Yet every day by about 8 am people were setting up market stalls in the rubble and getting on with their lives.

Suzanne:  How has the campaign had an impact on the rebuilding of Haiti?  Have donations continued to come in for Haiti after won the awards?

Vincent: Yes the campaign raised a lot of funds and awareness for UNICEF who were really happy with the results. It ran just as schools reopened after the summer holidays in France. This was about six months after the earthquake which was probably out of a lot of peoples thoughts by then so it was effective putting the relief efforts (which still continue) back in the public consciousness.

Suzanne:  What are your thoughts on doing work for NGO’s (non governmental organization) where concepts are different from your work?  A lot of the campaigns you are hired to produce have a subtle comical twist while this work does not.  What are your thoughts on that?

Vincent: I really love doing work like this on many different levels, there are so many social and environmental issues that we need to be reminded about and often the story telling abilities of advertising are very effective for this. Photographically it is really refreshing for me and you always hope that the campaign will be effective. Quiet often we have little or no money but everyone helps and that is great. I really like the human aspects of these campaigns, for example the kids on the school wrap are happy despite the destruction, which I think was an important thing to say too. There is hope and education is the long-term solution for Haiti which has so many problems.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Vincent Dixon is represented by Brite Productions in the US.

Irish born Vincent Dixon moved to Paris, France in his early 20’s where he discovered his true passion, photography. Shortly after starting his professional career, he was quickly awarded some of the top campaigns in Europe such as Absolut Europe & Perrier. Those highly visible campaigns, among others, quickly gained him notoriety throughout Europe and North America. An early champion of digital imaging, Vincent embraced the developing technology and quickly made it an integral tool in his work.

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..

Still Images in Great Advertising- Michael Muller

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

This week I’m talking with Michael Muller.


Suzanne: Do you think these images were the reason you were hired for this poster?

Michael: No those photos were taken years ago and when I shoot posters these days it’s due primarily to my relationships with the studios or a particular actor or director.  At this point in my career they hire me for the work I do and the style I bring, not to a particular image that is right for a particular poster.  They will use those types of images for mood boards or ref images but in the case of battleship it was not the case.  In fact the water dripping from the actors came up on the set of the shoot, NOT in the design portion!  It was actually kind of funny because a few of the big wigs from the studio etc didn’t think Rhianna would want to get all wet and she actually turned out to be the one who wanted to do it most and pushed for it on the shoot!  We had to wait until the end of the shoot to do that shot or they would have had to go back to hair and makeup for hours to get made back up.  As for the lighting, I have a wide range of lighting techniques in my arsenal and depending on the film and mood I want to set for a project determines the lighting I will use.  On most shoots I do 4-6 different lighting set ups on each job which gives them a wide variety of looks to work with for different uses.

Suzanne:  This one poster is very different than the others for this movie but I think more artistic and successful.  Did you talk them into this piece?

Yes there is a certain “talking into” that takes place when your adding water or fire to a shot.  It isn’t really talking into but more getting them to trust the process and that it will most likely work for the project.  There are occasions were it does not work  but without trying one never knows so I always push to try shots like this.  I also liked the idea of water dripping down the face since the film centered around the ocean and how do you say that without shoving it down the viewers face? I like to do things in subtle ways as much as possible, and water is such an amazing substance to work with no matter what the use.

Suzanne:  I love the way you push your work.  If there is something you are intrigued by you put it out there. i.e. Sharks and underwater, eagle study, under water study of materials and body to the motorcycle riders.  What advice would you give to photographers to show their personal work that still reflects the work they want to be hired for?

It is interesting because take movie posters for example, I wanted to shoot these 6 years ago or something and tried for years asking peoples advice on how to break into them and got so many suggestions such as “shoot on white that’s what they want to see” or “ask your actor friends” as well as many others and none of those worked.  What no one suggested was to “Go down to Hollywood Blvd and spend 3 months documenting those freaks that hang out in front of the Chinese Theatre in costumes and pose with tourist for 5$ and do a Gallery show on them. Get Batman smoking crack in a back alley and a storm trooper having a smoke break etc. Then get a big actor to buy a print and hang it on his wall and when the head of marketing from one of the studios comes over to go over a film he’s doing he will see it and hire you on the spot for the biggest movie of the year for that studio” do that Michael and you will get into Movie posters!!  That is what did happen and that was just following my gut/heart and shooting something I thought was cool.

AS for sharks etc, I am passionate about those and as a photographer I shoot anything I am passionate about. If you fall into the trap of only picking up your camera for work or a paycheck your going to find yourself screwed and or compromising as an artist.  Those things are what keep my fire going, keeps me smiling and I LOVE the challenge especially of shooting things in different ways then have been done before.  That is what led to the patent I have on the most powerful underwater strobe lights in the World!  Yes A patent, made something new that didn’t exist before that is allowing me to shoot things in ways NEVER done before!  it’s truly inspiring to me and makes me long to shoot more and more even after 27 years of doing this!!!

Suzanne: Please tell me more about your Kids Clicking Kids mission?

It is where we bring photography into Hospitals with the Art of Elysium and watch kids enjoy and use the medium. Watching smiles come on these kids faces that are in so much pain and get a momentary escape is priceless.  There are so many people and animals out there that need help and if everyone did something no matter how small this World would be such a better place.  I think that most people just assume someone else is going to do it or they are “too Busy” keeping up with the Jones and chasing the all mighty dollar and don’t realize the real pay off is in giving.  The most powerful result from a photo I have ever taken comes from not a photo but giving that experience away to someone else.  You get so much more back from that than any billboard that only feeds the ego or the pocket book.

Suzanne:  I really appreciate that you don’t have a bio on your website but more about the charities that are very important to you.  You really seem to be involved in multiple of charities.  That alone would want me to hire you.  Tell me more about your philosophy of giving back.

I work with many charities and always give prints when called upon for ones that I don’t work with.  I was just made a Global Advocate of the United Nations which I work with in a very active way.  I just went with the UN to Africa to highlight Malaria.  My images help tell the stories of these people that have pretty much been put in a corner of the World and forgotten about.  They feel invisible and by taking their picture they no longer are invisible but there is proof they are HERE and they EXIST!!  I work with many Ocean Org such as Sea Sheperds and recently have teamed up with Philippe Costeau and his Earth Eco org that helps educate children about our planet and oceans!

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118054204
http://www.nothingbutnets.net/
http://www.earthecho.org/
http://www.seashepherd.org/events/sea-no-evil-art-show-august-29-2009.html
http://hellogiggles.com/item-of-the-day-368

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Michael is represented by Stockland Martel.

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..

 

Still Images in Great Advertising – Diver and Aguilar

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

 

 


I search out for product photography and how is it is used in advertising.  So many times US advertising likes to take the “safe” route and making sure we show products to not upset the “apple cart”.  This campaign caught my eye because it was an explosion of flavors and I loved that!  So I reached out to my dear friends at Bernstein & Andriulli and asked them and Diver & Aguilar these questions.

Diver & Aguilar: What is really interesting with what you have mentioned about the Magnum Campaign is that this imagery does absolutely go against trend.  Taking this into context and looking at a global consumer audience the decision by Unilever to invest in the project makes much more sense.  Of course they already have the safety net of the more straight forward “Product” advertising shots in circulation  using what I call “Basic visual language” ie – something simple and straight to the point. This is the product and this is what you get.  You don’t need to appreciate art to go out and buy a hazelnut and caramel bourbon flavour Magnum Ice.

This imagery of the exploding Ice creams ran in tandem with these product advertising shots you see everyday as you travel around town and our explosions were specifically targeted at different consumer groups. In Latin countries the campaign ran in conjunction with an “Event” the idea being that the consumer could interact and fire the ingredients from a canon at a giant canvas and make “Art”.

When the new Super-Temptation Magnum was launched in Singapore the event was more akin to a socialite party with the new ice being promoted as a Luxury Brand. At the event the clientele were able to order their own bespoke Magnum Temptation flavour made on the spot by a cordon bleu chef.

Lola-Madrid also commissioned us to produce a special series of fine art images that were used to promote the agency and their client throughout the summer of the advertising festivals in Europe, in particular at the Cannes Lions event.

Suzanne:  Please tell me more about you’all  (okay my Virginia dialect) but I am seeing on the B&A website that you both have so many styles from still life to people. How do you do it?

Diver & Aguilar: Yes we agree it is quite unusual to find a photographer or indeed a creative partnership that is so diverse in respect of the different specialties we cover in the photographic sector. Before I met Pedro I had been working freelance extensively within the Music industry and also doing a lot of portrait & people based conceptual advertising and fashion work.  So this was the foundation we started from.

The decision to move into still life was one made out of commercial necessity and also one based on “Creative Growth”. It proved to be one of the best decisions we made business wise, maybe there is a higher level of technical skill involved or it’s a slightly less competitive field than say fashion photography. Although the competition is not just coming from photographers themselves but also the technology namely 3D & CGI, although now these elements are also integrated into our repertoire.

What is critical with what we do is to try and create the same visual signature across the whole range of commissions we undertake and hopefully commissioners can see they are buying into that style rather than a generic “Jack of all Trades”. Pedro comes from a Fine Art background and I have always seen things from quite a fantastical and theatrical perspective, so I guess those influences have started to show through within our style.

It’s not really important how we arrive at the final outcome as there are many solutions to the realization of every brief.

Without a doubt there is still an old school mentality out there and some clients just can’t get their head around the concept of a photographer shooting sport and say luxury watches.  But it’s easy to tie up the links when you see football players advertising Hugo Boss Fragrance and F1 drivers for Tag Heuer watches.

Suzanne:  As a team it is hard to make the buyer understand how the team work, how do you all make the buyer understand who does what?

Diver & Aguilar: Yes, this is still something that we struggle to communicate to the buyer on many levels.  People will always try and break the relationship down into Photographer/Retoucher which is one way of looking at things, but most importantly we are selling people a visual solution to their brief.  A photographer can be a service provider or an artist and the same is true with retouching, many agencies have real difficultly understanding the difference, certainly at production level (not so much at creative) this is quite possibly because a lot of agencies now have in house post production and see it as a further source of financial revenue for the agency and cannot discern the difference between post production as an art form or a technical skill.

For us the entire creative process from research to pre production, through to the shoot phase and beyond are so intertwined that they really can’t be separated out, nor should they be. Just to give you an example when I read through a brief I very quickly see in my minds eye what the final result will look like, I always visualize in picture form and that is something that would be hard to translate into words and therefore to trust someone else to portray our vision as we see things.

That said it still amazes me that people will ask ” Do you do your own Post Production?”.  This has now led me to producing work in progress imagery of projects in post production, say “screenshots of Photoshop” etc, along with behind the scenes images from the shoot and then using this material online to show people the full process involved in our productions as a visual narrative.

Suzanne:  From your personal work to your assignment work, what excites you most?

Diver & Aguilar: I think we find ourselves in quite a fortunate position, having built up a reputation for a certain style of photography a lot of the commissions we get are based on the work we represent online or in our folio.

The best creative directors are those who recognize who the right talent for the assignment is in the first place and then with the least interference possible allow the artist to realize the brief to its maximum creative potential.  A great creative can also keep a client at arms length as the client quite fairly may be an expert at running their business but not necessarily have a creative eye.

We also are very lucky to work with a few magazines around the world that fund our own personal assignments. We tend to have an agreement to supply the editor with the content they need, which may be very similar to what we would shoot anyway or the commission gives us the funding to realize our own vision of what we would like to showcase as a personal series of images.

Suzanne:  Editorial to Personal to Hired- how do you market that?

Diver & Aguilar: I think everything with every project you undertake nowadays you always have to be looking at the bigger picture. Editorial print is of course a classic vehicle for photographers to showcase their work, you can still reach a lot of people, most importantly it builds reputation and in the instances of the top notch of editorial, fame.
But a coordinated marketing strategy is essential to get the maximum results with your work. If you are shooting personal, you need to look at want you are going to do with that work? Are you going to self publish? If so how are you going to promote this, are you looking to curate an exhibition and what methods of exposure are you going to initiate online electronically to get your work full exposure. Then unless it’s purely self indulgent or your only goal is to sell fine art prints, you also have to be asking questions like; who is this work going to appeal to? What areas of the commercial market may pick up on this project and see the potential to turn it into a profitable commission for you.  This might be something in your lighting style or a visible talent you have for casting amazing characters in your images.

There has never been a more diverse set of tools available to a photographer in order to market themselves and although it’s a bit of a minefield out there you really need to take full advantage of the opportunities in order to stand out from the crowd.  At the end of the day content is still king and consistent effort will bring consistent results.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

London based, Diver & Aguilar met seven years ago and quickly formed a successful creative partnership working for clients in both the luxury brand sector and conceptual advertising markets of commercial photography. Their collaboration has seen commissions from clients such as GQ, Tatler, The Financial Times and Graff Diamonds as well as advertising work for Coca Cola, FC Barcelona, Nike & Unilever.

In 2008 their work was voted the best advertising photography in Spain by C de C and they have picked up various awards over the last seven years including Gold Graphis & Epica commendations & a D&AD Pencil. Their work has been a regular feature in the prestigious Association of Photographers awards book and exhibition for both their advertising and documentary imagery. In addition to their advertising work Diver & Aguilar are passionate about fine art social documentary photography and have worked with subject matters as diverse as Native Americans, Matadors & traditional 50’s Rockabillies .

Pedro Aguilar studied a fine Art M.A in Seville and Mike Diver trained in traditional Photography at the London Institute.

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..

Still Images in Great Advertising- Stephen Wilkes

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I have been in this business for many years and I been familiar with Stephen Wilkes for years, okay decades.  And I have had the pleasure of working with the agents of Bernstein & Andriulli on many assignments when I was with Martin Agency and Kaplan-Thaler.  Stephen is known for his incredible landscape work. I can think of so many campaigns he won many accolades for his special signature style.

Suzanne:  This campaign is so perfect for you and allowed you to create graphic images and more conventional images.  When I see the editorial work from Fortune, I wonder if this campaign influenced the work for this campaign or vice versa?

Stephen: This campaign was an extraordinary experience on many levels. First and foremost I was able to collaborate with a super talented creative team at Ogilvy, who allowed me to express my vision through their concepts. I was fortunate enough to be brought in to the project early, enabling me to be part of the conceptual process. We were all on the same page from the very beginning. In order to bring a campaign like this to life you need a client who is willing to trust the creative team. Our client at SAP created an atmosphere that truly inspired great work.

The breadth and scale of these images was inspired by my “Day to Night” series. I began exploring the concept of making wide epic scale images in my China work done in 2005. I combined my love of powerful graphic images that captured the scope of China with a sense of humanity. Editorial projects followed, shooting a major story on the architecture in Beijing during the Olympics for Vanity Fair, and then I took this concept into interior spaces with the editorial work I did for Fortune. “The Big Picture”, section of the magazine has been a wonderful showcase, allowing me to continue to explore my fascination with scale. The Walmart image that I created for Fortune has certainly inspired other projects.

Suzanne:  Please tell me about your Ellis Island work?  This work speaks volumes about life that has been “left behind” and we can picture our ancestors walking those halls.  You did this project in 1999 but it still is important today especially with the current NBC show with Ancestry.com “Who Do You Think You Are”.  Maybe this body of work was the inspiration?

Stephen: The passing of time has always been a theme in much of my work. I’ve always been fascinated by history and forgotten places. What I discovered through my work on Ellis was that the documentary photograph could inspire change. The work became a benchmark for the type of photography I wanted to explore. I believe it was a unique time, as large format color documentary work was not yet being fully embraced as art. Ellis sort of redefined that concept. Using the power of color, texture and light, you can’t help but be drawn into these rooms. But the real subtext to all my Ellis Island images was the palpable sense of humanity that I felt within these empty spaces. In regard to Ancestry.com‘s “Who Do You Think You Are”, I believe the core magic of Ellis Island is that there’s a piece of it in all of us. All of our collective DNA has some trace of that island in it. Anything that brings attention to the story of immigration and in particular bringing attention to saving the south side of Ellis Island, I’m thrilled about. Bringing focus to the “forgotten side” was the essence of my work. I hope “Who Do You Think You Are” inspires people to support organizations like “Save Ellis Island” so that the history of the island can continue to inspire future generations.

Suzanne: Please tell us your secrets.  How do you combine several decades with fine art and commercial work?

Stephen: I’ll let you in on the secret, its been passed on to me by several extraordinary photographers. PASSION & HARD WORK. Equal parts of both, that’s it! Talent is just 5% of the equation. My philosophy has always been that if I’m feeling comfortable, I’m DEFINITELY not working hard enough. I’ve been fortunate to have a symbiotic relationship with both worlds. I’ve found that when I do my own work, it’s always about what’s in my heart and soul. As a result the work is pure and original. When you create work that’s personal, it can inspire ideas. When I’m hired to execute a commercial campaign I think about what work attracted my clients to me. Its almost always derivative of something I’ve photographed for myself. I bring the same passion, energy and attention to detail to both arenas. I’ve always lived by the motto “you’re only as good as your last shot”.

Suzanne: What advice can you give to the photographer just started out?  How has this business changed?

Stephen: Young photographers enter an industry that’s going through a tectonic shift. My advice to a developing photographer would be; shoot what you LOVE to photograph, not the images you think will get you work. It’s only through developing a personal vision that enables you to find a singular voice within this extraordinarily crowded field. Innovate and embrace change, don’t get to comfortable, and focus on competing with yourself and no one else. Gain your inspiration by doing the work.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Stephen Wilkes has been widely recognized for his fine art and commercial photography. Wilkes has won numerous awards and honors, and continues to exhibit his work in both galleries and museums. He is represented by Peter Fetterman Gallery, Los Angeles, and The Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe.

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..

Still Images in Great Advertising- Peter Rad

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I know I can’t find all my favorite examples of still images in great advertising in the award shows or Ads of the World.  Sometimes I like to find more recent work that is being seen currently, so I check blogs and websites of folks who have either caught my eye in the past or agents I respect.  I stumbled upon the work of Peter Rad with Brite Productions and his work for The Brooklyn Academy of Music campaign.  I think this campaign really spoke to me because a lot of my marketing ideas for my clients “just hit me”.  I feel that inspiration can hit you at the most unique moments because as artists we see something and trigger an idea.


 

 

 

Suzanne:  This campaign is very layered and therefore stopping the viewer in to looking a little close.  When I look at your website and see the Open Orange campaign, Ballantine’s Scotch Whiskey, Skyteam and your editorial work, I get a true understanding on why you were selected for this campaign. But I would assume that you had a lot of input into who was featured and the “inspiration” of “just hit me”

Peter: I’m very grateful to have worked on such a campaign.  One of the smart things that BAM and McGarry Bowen did is to bring the prospective photographers in very early in the concept stages of the campaign.  This makes perfect sense, and I truly believe that if more agencies did this, they would get better results across the board.  It helps tremendously when technical and logistical problems can be resolved before the idea is fully realized.  To me it’s a show of strength and self-confidence from the creative team… the key to collaborative art, be it commercial or fine art.

With the tagline in place – ‘BAM – and then it hits you’, bidding photographers were given a bunch of performance images from BAM’s archive.  These we mostly stage images… dance, theatre, music, etc.  There were also some film stills included.  Our job was to consider these performance images, and think of ways in which they (the characters within) could be included seamlessly, in a broader New York scene.  We also had to somehow connect the performance with the protagonist in the tableau – the person who is remembering their ‘BAM moment’.  At first; this made me a little nervous, because all of the stage images were lit with theatrical lighting.  I initially thought that might limit the variety of environments.  In the end though – and this is in part a testimony to the sophistication of today’s theatrical lighting designers – this challenge was instrumental in stirring up ideas and scenarios that I may not have thought of had the lighting already had a scenic context.  Suddenly stage lighting becomes, a car headlight, or lightning, or light reflected from windows at sunset, etc.

Initially I was asked to draw 8 scenarios with a view to 6 ads being produced.  However, as the excitement of the process grew, I found myself making many more drawings.  In the end they increased the ad count to 11.  That’s so rare.  Usually the numbers are whittled down, not expanded on.

Suzanne:  Your personal work is very thought provoking on the social and cultural aspects of people in different ages and places.  Is this of interest to you?  I know from your bio you love to document the honesty of environments but you seem to like to capture them?  Where does this come from?

Peter: My initial foray into photography was what you might consider ‘old-school’.  I used to paint and draw, but then my uncle introduced me to Polaroid cameras when I was little.  Later that prompted me to switch to photography as a medium.  I was already painting in a figurative style, so the transition was fairly seamless.  From an early age, I was interested in people and how they relate to each other.  When I started studying photography in college, I was immediately drawn to the work of documentarian artists… Diane Arbus, Alfred Stieglitz, August Sander and Robert Frank, among others, were strong influences.  I was always drawn to the gutsiness of real emotion and body language in documentary style images, especially when used in conjunction with something slightly off – a seemingly displaced person or object, or the moment before or after the ‘decisive’ moment.  To that end The Surrealists and Dadaists were other favorites.

By the time I got to grad school, I started to consider my social background more, and how it related to why I take pictures – I came from a large religious migrant family in Australia.  I began to think more about how the themes of psychology, relationships and home/place might factor as foundations for my images.  As much as possible I try to bring these ideas into my commercial work.  Ultimately my images don’t end up looking completely documentary in style, as they’re staged and mostly lit depictions of a suggested reality.  I stage a scene so that it can be ‘documented’  (in the more traditional sense of that word) within a controlled environment.  In that regard, what I do is very similar to how movies are made.  I direct and record the happening.  The only difference is that I end up with one frame, not a reel of images.

Suzanne:  Do you think that being a faculty member for the Master’s program at School of the Visual Arts has kept your mind open listening to the young minds of your students??

Peter: Without a doubt, teaching is a great way for artists to retain a verve and open-mindedness, necessitating a solid knowledge of the artistic dialogue currently taking place in, however also considering the past and (for the seers) the future, and how these tie in to contemporary investigations.

Teaching is very much a two way street.  The teacher, who believes that teachers teach and students learn, is missing half of the equation.

Beyond this context, I feel that I’m constantly learning from crew and cast members on shoots.  My ideas are always solid going into a shoot, but teaching has taught me that the interaction between two people is always educational for both parties.  It keeps me open to a greater range of possibilities.

Suzanne:  I love the fact that you are a busy working advertising, editorial and fine art photographer.  I feel that many photography schools are filled with tenured professors who didn’t make it as professional photographers and therefore instructing their students with old school philosophies of advertising when the game has changed so drastically.  Do you agree?

Peter: Let me see, how do I answer this diplomatically… it’s true, the old school methods of teaching photography are restrictive because they draw more from history than the present and the future.  This was very much the case when I was in college.  We were taught a craft, and asked to consider an artistic approach for our work.  However it was left up to us to source those artistic influences, based on their teaching us what took place in the past.  For those who didn’t make the extra effort, their work often reflected the work of historical photographers, and didn’t flourish in the context of fresh ideas.  This is precisely the reason why I decided to come to New York and to SVA to study.  Their faculty was a ‘who’s who’ of renowned working artists and theorists.  This kept us (and them) on our toes, and required of us to engage in a substantial understanding and knowledge of what is currently taking place in our choice field of art.  We’re a bit spoiled here (in New York) in that regard, because it’s a major center for photography.  I’m encouraged to see that more educational institutions are adopting this fresher approach.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Peter Rad lives in New York, and works internationally as an artist and commercial photographer. His award-winning work has received critical acclaim worldwide, and is featured extensively in top-level magazines, high profile advertising campaigns, and fine-art exhibitions. Drawing from his background in painting and a passionate love and understanding of the moving image, Peter directs his characters and carefully manipulates environments to create images that retain a realist honesty in their documentation. Through his thorough execution of lighting, this documentation is embellished with a hyper-reality and theatricality. He also often scripts dialogue for the actors in his images, resulting in a filmic style of tableau photography. The images have become well known for their narrative quality, as well as a unique ability to highlight that most interesting split-second moment just before or after an action takes place. Peter’s versatility and depth as a narrative image-maker is further evidenced in his portraiture and landscapes, which surround and expand on the main scene studies. Aside from his advertising, editorial and fine art work, Peter has been a faculty member in the MFA Photo & Related Media department, at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

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.

Still Images In Great Advertising – Christoph Martin Schmid

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I ran into these ads on Adsoftheworld.com and since they caught my eye, I knew they would catch the eye of the consumer.  Shot by Christoph Martin Schmid, I think they are funny and quickly to the point. The campaign does make you think about who shops on line and whether you want to be anonymous or protected from a Tammy Faye Baker makeup artist (see example of what I mean by this reference).


Suzanne: Christoph, you are based out of New York, Berlin and Cape Town.  Each of these locations are very different in the advertising they do.  How do you position yourself for those cultural differences?

Christoph: Specialised in story telling I look at 21st century citizens independent from their locations and culture. In fact there are certain patterns in behaviour and life-style I observed that seem globally valid nowadays. In my approach of an assignment my main weapons are humor and precision. Only the exactitude in the staging of a scene, the shaping of the characters and the careful choice and setup of the background assures that the message intended can be universally perceived.

Suzanne:  When I go to your site I see the urban scenes and think that collection was the reason you were hired to push the concept even further. Do you agree?

Christoph: I am fascinated by human nature in all it’s comic absurdity and the compression of the urban space produces some of the most hilarious stories. In my personal work I have developed a conceptual approach and visual style that attracted the agency to see that translated into their campaign. The task was to shape two characters that all viewers can relate to. Everybody should be able to say: ‘yes, I know that kind of a situation’

Suzanne: You have been professionally shooting for over 20 years.  Do you think that clients are aware of what you can produce verses seeing it on your website?

Christoph; The work on my website is not related to any advertising job. This work just represents my approach to photography and storytelling. I find it important in order to stay ahead of the zeitgeist to keep progressing through personal work. And whether it is one of my own projects or a job I get asked to participate in, the creative process starts always with the conceptualisation of the image.

So when I get involved in an advertising project I first try to enter into communication with the agency creatives who came up with the initial story. When I feel I have understood the intention of the script I offer my ideas to develop the idea further and to help translate it into the reality of a photo or moving image shoot, bringing in my experience from my personal work.

Suzanne:  Working in multiple markets do you think we in the USA play it too safe and don’t take risks like the other countries do?

Christoph: No, not at all. The US advertising industry still is trend-setting on a global scale. I like the dry sense of humor I find in many TV commercials and print campaigns. And since my recent arrival on the US market last year, I already had the chance to work with some very talented agency creatives to produce some impactful work for US clients. The socio demographics of the US and the daring ambition of its citizens in their pursuit of happiness make fantastic material for storytelling. And storytelling is a powerful format to convey an advertiser’s message !

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Christoph’s early career in Paris encompassed fashion editorial and advertising work as well as some photography for the music industry. After spending five years in Paris, Christoph moved to New York where his passion for visual storytelling found purchase in the film industry. He studied at NYFA (New York Film Academy) and returned to Europe two years later, to settle in London, where he directed television commercials whilst keeping his passion for stills photography alive. Christoph divides his time between Berlin, Paris and Cape Town and is fluent in English, French and German.

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.

Still Images In Great Advertising – David Stuart

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

 


Suzanne:  I like to check blogs of the agent’s I respect and look at the work they are showing from their roster.  I came across this campaign for Puma shot by David Stuart, represented by Blake Pearson and Visu Artists.  I went to David’s website to see his work and why he was chosen to shoot this campaign.  His work seem very UK to me so I was surprised to see he was right here in the States.  And nice to see his conceptual work used in American advertising.

David Stuart: It’s interesting you mention that, I’m a fan of UK advertising.

Suzanne: I was pleasantly surprised to see another talented photographer from Atlanta.  It seems as if the city really nurtures creativity because of The Portfolio Center, SCAD and The Creative Circus. Do you agree being around creative people nurtures creative photography?

David: Absolutely, getting to personally interact with other creatives can have an enormous influence on an artist. There’s no doubt that those schools have had a positive impact on the city and everyone here- as well as elsewhere.  There are so many great talents that have come through the schools here.

Suzanne: This project was done for Puma’s in-house creative department and it is refreshing to see creative work coming from in house corporate. How did they find you?  And how much input did you have in the campaign?

David: The project came through a connection within the VISU group. The concept was already approved and ready to go when the ball was handed off to me, so my job was to interpret. I collaborated with the retoucher, Scott Dorman, closely on this project and quite a bit of research went in to making sure all the technical aspects were correct; we looked at scale of car/driver in relation to people, how many pit crew members, what tools does a Formula One pit crew have, etc….  We explored angles, lighting, and last but not least, all of the little details, like how many crew members were pulling off a shoe, should a crew member be running or pointing; the details can make or break it. On an interesting side note, PUMA flew someone in from Germany to bring us the steering wheel and helmets; the price tag for a Formula One steering wheel is somewhere in the neighborhood of $140,000, a driver’s helmet $7,000.

Suzanne: I love the texture and feel of the track.  What went into making the BG?

David: I went to an actual race track and photographed the track looking down from a lift, the tire burn marks and the paint lines are all real. Things were enhanced a bit in post to bring out the texture.

Suzanne: I noticed a campaign on your site with giant children running through a city.  Did that campaign help you secure this campaign?

David: I’m sure it didn’t hurt having the Children’s Hospital campaign to show. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was to show the kind of work that you want to get.

Suzanne: You have created work for many great causes like Children’s Hospital, United Way, Union for Concerned Scientists, etc.  Have these non-profit campaigns helped you secure higher paying creative work?

David: I recently completed a project for Girl Scouts of America that I was awarded based on another project that I shot for a non-profit. It always feels great to help good causes and every project is an invaluable learning experience.

Suzanne: It looks like you have mixed personal work with assignment work on your website.  Is that correct?

David: For the most part the work I show there is assignment, but some of it is personal.

Suzanne: I hear you’re in a band. What do you play?  Has your love of music affected your photography?

David: Yes, I play guitar. Music has always been such a huge part of my life and I’ve recently begun to study jazz. I suppose I approach a photo shoot in much the same way I would a live performance; there’s a great deal of planning and preparation that go in to shoot, but at the same time ( just like in jazz) you leave room for improvisation. Music on the set can have a big effect on the mood of a shoot, I’ve found that James Brown is always a good for late afternoon pick me up.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

David Stuart was just ranked by Luerzer’s Archive as one of the top 200 Advertising Photographers Worldwide.  His clients include Puma, Coca Cola, New Balance, ESPN, United Way, Children’s Healthcare and Simmons and Girls Scouts of America.  David is based in Atlanta and lives with his wife Lara and son Gavin.

“It took a 14-hour day, multiple Korean tacos, a two-foot tall pit crew, David Stuart, and a few spare parts to complete the PUMA Mercedes AMG campaign. David’s passion and attention to detail were critical to the outcome of the project. All parties involved – including the Mercedes drivers – were thrilled with the final images. Without David (and those tacos) this campaign would not have been possible.” Jason Woz – Art Director, PUMA Internal Creative Team

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.

Still Images in great advertising- Joachim Ladefoged

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

When I am looking for work for this column, I check out the blogs of various agents to see what they have done recently.  I went to the blog for Bernstein & Andriulli and saw this interactive website for A&E’s two-night movie “Bag of Bones, an adaptation of the best selling by Stephen King.  The dramatic black and white images shot by Joachim Ladefoged catch your eye and then you start to see them move.  You can check out more of these subtle but creepy images at http://darkscorestories.com

(click images to see gifs move)

Suzanne:  The subtleness of this campaign had to be a lot of fun to work on.  Did the creative group allow your input to the subtleness of the creepiness?

Joachim: Yes, the creative group wanted my input.  As every professional creative director and agency does they show up well prepared and with a clear idea about what they want, so it is a cooperation between me and the creative team.  It’s my job to provide creative solutions and to help make the best pictures for the client.  In the cinemagraph with the butcher and the knife blade reflecting the light, the creative director said to me that she was in tears because it was so much better then she had ever expected.  When that happens it is a lot of fun!

Suzanne:  How were these shot to get the animation of the subject’s movement?

Joachim: The moving images are cinemagraphs that were shot with video.  Since we worked with video, I was acting as a film director asking the people to do some very precise movements. The post production plays a big part in the final images.  The editing process is where the video is turned into a into a moving gif.

Suzanne:  Do you think your work “Albanians” was an influence to you getting this assignment?  Was that a personal project?

Joachim: The “Albanians” is a personal book project and I do think the body of work played a big factor for me getting this assignment.  The client was looking for a reportage photographer with black and white photojournalistic stories. However, it is always very important that you understand how to work with a crew on set and you know how to transfer the reportage experience into setup images to create pictures that look like they were shot as they happened.  So while I think my reportage work got the agency interested it may have been my commercial experience that ended up convincing them.

Suzanne:  You have a wide array of areas in which you shoot but do you feel as if your photojournalistic background and your Danish style help you secure assignments?

Joachim: At age 25 I was hired as a staff photographer on the best and most creative newspaper in Denmark. They gave me a lot of creative freedom to do what I wanted and this is where I explored different ways of approaching photojournalism.  Having a true photojournalistic background has given me access to a wide variety of subjects from sports to politics.  This opportunity combined with my internal desire to experiment with photography is what keeps me motivated.  I love shooting a wide array of assignments and I love trying out different styles and techniques.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Joachim Ladefoged has worked as a professional photographer since 1991 and is a member of the international photo agency VII. Today he works for editorial clients such as The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, National Geographic, MARE, Newsweek, The Sunday Times magazine and TIME. He has received numerous awards for his work from institutions such as Visa D’Or, World Press Photo, POYi, Eissie, and Agfa, as well as Picture of the Year in Denmark. He has been named one of Photo District News’ 30 emerging photographers to watch and he has participated in the Joop Swart Master Class at World Press Photo.

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.


Still Images in Great Advertising – Hunter Freeman

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

When I was at The Martin Agency, I had the pleasure of working with Hunter Freeman on many of occasions.  Hunter has always had a great knack for mixing humor with high production value and this campaign for the San Francisco Zoo is no exception.  When I reached out to Hunter, he and his rep Heather Elder were excited to talk about this ad campaign for twofifteenmccann.



 

 

 

Suzanne:  There are so many elements to this campaign, how did you shoot them and later composite?

Hunter: It’s such a smart, funny campaign, and making sure that we had all the elements was key.  We talked quite a bit about what exactly we wanted to shoot, in order to create the strongest images for the campaign.  I scouted the locations, as well visiting the animals at the zoo, and, along with the Ads, we came up with a plan for shooting everything as efficiently as possible.  Many people were giving a lot of their time, and I didn’t want to waste a second of it.

On the day of the shoot, although the schedule was tight, we had no problem moving from one shot to the next at our location.  It really demonstrated the value of the pre-production time we spent scouting, talking over the ideas of what to shoot, etc.  On a separate day after the interiors were shot (it was vital to know the specifics of the scene, such as lighting, perspective, all the details of the POV), I photographed the animals at the zoo.  What a crazy, fun, wild day!  Does anyone realize how noisy penguins are?  How curious they are?  How about how soft Koalas are?  It was a wonderful day, and just a ton of fun to be around the animals, not to mention their keepers, who are the most dedicated and caring people.

Suzanne:  Knowing your quirky sensibility, how much did you add to these concepts to take them over the top.  I see your personality all over the penguin with the papers. True?

Hunter: Yes, for me, the most fun is in having all the characters act like everything is just normal, as though working with animals happens every day.  That’s what makes it funny to me, since it’s just so incongruous that a penguin would need to make copies.  I mean, really, right?  And how the heck did it make those copies?  Jump up and push the buttons? Creating an image that invites the viewer to think/consider about what’s going adds to the fun.  The wrong thing in the right place is great definition of humor, to me.  So, I made sure that everything looked like just a normal day at the office… if your co-workers were giraffes and koala bears, that is.  Boring meetings, cubicle hell, and paperwork… always paperwork.

Additionally, I worked with Adam Moore at Sugar Digital to create the color palette and look of the finished ads.  He is a talented artist, and had wonderful thoughts about how to make the shots really stand out.  He and I share a sense of humor about this kind of shot, and his ideas were beautifully implemented.  The believability of the ads is seamless – the giraffe (for example) really did look like it was stuck in cubicle hell, working on spreadsheets.  “Oh, the humanity!!”

Suzanne:  How has shooting this campaign done for the fundraising for the zoo and how has it done in the award shows?

Hunter: These ads gained a lot of attention, which was exactly what the SF Zoo wanted.  It’s too early for the award shows, but many blogs and sites have picked it up.  Everything was working together for the zoo for these ads:  The availability of space in the WSJ was a real plus, and the result of our collaboration allowed them to connect with the kind of donors they need, with smart, targeted ads.  And personally, everyone I’ve talked to about them responds really well – they really think they’re funny.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Hunter Freeman likes finding the art in commerce, the humor in a landscape or the uniqueness in a personality. He also likes movies, long walks on the beach, and clichés. Notwithstanding that stuff, agencies such as Martin/Williams, TBWA Chiat/Day, DDB and Crispin Porter (and companies such as Apple) still have come to him from all over the US for a point of view that includes humor, creativity, and a willingness to work as hard and as long as it takes to do the job. Really. All kidding aside.

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.

Still images in great advertising- Heath Patterson

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I came across the work of Heath Patterson on Ads of the World and as you can see I like two things, humor and causes, and this campaign for The Boy Scouts of America covers both.  The campaign for Ogilivy Atlanta is the product of the team work of Heath Patterson (photographer) and Chris Bodie (retoucher).  I reached out to them to ask about this campaign and others.

 

Suzanne:  I see on your website you show a lot of personal work but get hired for very creative advertising.  How did you get in front of these people to take a chance on you?

Heath: I think that’s just something that has evolved over the past few years. When I first set out on my own, I opened a studio along with another digital artist. We had already been working together for several years at other advertising production houses, but were really hungry to establish our own identities away from those shops.  In the beginning, I really tried to shy away from showing personal work in my portfolio, thinking that value only came from commissioned advertising work. As time went on,  I noticed that my body of work was becoming more and more eclectic, and the gap between the commissioned work and some of my personal work was narrowing. The personal work was something I had always done to explore and stay fresh, but I began seeing it as another way to communicate to agency creatives that I am a visual thinker and problem solver with a broader range than they may have anticipated. I don’t know how much it has influenced the projects that I get awarded (or not) but I feel it’s a better approach for me and an honest representation of what i’m about. I’ve been pretty passive in my advertising and self promotion – I’ve just sort of tried to build on a handful of existing work relationships and do great work in hopes of going viral within those agencies. My initial clients were ones that I had worked with at previous jobs, so they already knew what I was about and I think they were excited about me going out on my own as well.

Suzanne:  On your website you shoot for a lot of great causes like Tobacco Free Florida, The Library of Congress, Obesity, the new child abuse and Boy Scouts and then some great campaign for AFLAC,  Pepcid and Icehouse.  Have the pro-bono campaigns helped you secure higher paying creative work?

Heath: I don’t know about higher paying, but definitely more work in general. Some of the projects you mentioned were actually paying jobs and some were pro-bono. Myself and the 4 digital artists at the studio, have always tried to do some select pro-bono. A lot of these images and campaigns we felt had a great shot of getting into the photo/advertising annuals which are some of the best advertising opportunities out there to get work in front of great creatives. I think the AD’s like the fact that when we take a pro-bono, we treat it like a paying job and really work to knock it out of the park. They also have a tendency to allow for a little more unbridled creativity, which is always fun, and it’s a great opportunity to build or reinforce relationships.

Suzanne:  You have quite a collaboration with your retoucher, Chris Bodie.  Do you all collaborate when a concept comes in or how to execute it with all the elements to create a single image?

Heath: Chris Bodie and I have worked together for so long that the collaboration process is very natural and seamless. Sometimes the call to bid comes to me and sometimes to him. That’s not to say that either of us is the perfect fit every time – we both work with other artists as well, but when we do work together, the collaboration process begins as early as the bid so that we can plan the best strategy to create the final image. There is no ego in the process, we simply work together for a collective ownership of the finished image(s). It’s a different way of working and thinking, but ultimately it gives us much greater control and allows us to plan for potential changes in direction down the road.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Heath Patterson is an advertising photographer with over 15 years professional experience. He has extensive experience collaborating with retouchers, illustrators, and digital artists.

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.

 

Still Images in Great Advertising – Petrus Olsson

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

When I was researching great still images in advertising, I ran across the SJ “Smarter way to Travel” outdoor campaign.  While I assumed and later confirmed SJ is a Swedish airline, the campaign hits home in any language.  We can all relate and I think that is the success of this campaign.  I reached out to Susanne Bransch, the agent of record for Petrus Olsson, the photographer for this campaign.

 

 



Suzanne:  When I was researching Petrus, I see he has been featured in Ads of the World over a dozen times.  Has this been helpful in getting his work seen around the World?

Susanne Bransch: Petrus recently returned to Bransch’s representation after parting ways with his Swedish agency Adamsky.  Bransch has more connections with advertising agencies and art buyers around the world with our offices in Europe and New York that have an established connection to advertising markets in Paris, as well as Europe as a whole, and North America.

We hope that advertising showcase websites like “Ads of the World” will expose Petrus Olsson’s work to international art buyers looking to work with a photographer who has been involved in awardwinning advertising campaigns like SJ Rail.  That particular campaign won the Gold in the 2011 Epica Awards in the category of Transport and Tourism (http://results.epica-awards.com/07-01882-POS.html)

Suzanne: The concepts are universal for travelers, how much input did Petrus have in the execution of these scenarios?

Susanne Bransch: Petrus knows that the key to being a good photographer is being able to work with agency creatives, giving his input about the choice of car, casting and styling, as well as collaborating with them, like a creative director. When the agency sketches showed people doing anything else but actually driving the car, he proposed the idea of the kissing couple, which ended up being one of the final ads.

Suzanne: Having worked in automotive and watches, windshields can be a beast, what did Petrus do to get the perspective from the windshield but still be realistic as an actual vehicle?

Susanne Bransch: The solution was to remove the windshield all together!  Petrus shot the car (sans windshield) and people in studio with lighting setup to look like it would from outside.  He took the surrounding background shots from a car driving around on a separate occasion.

Suzanne:  Did he have a blast with casting and propping?  Both make the concepts.

Susanne Bransch: For someone as creative as Petrus, he loves to get involved in the details, and putting his energy into the storytelling.  He’s known for images with a special focus on intricate scenarios and interesting situations and SJ Rail is a wonderful example of how the photographer’s input on casting and propping can enhance a campaign.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Petrus Olsson lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Since 1998 he has been working as a freelance photographer for international customers that include metro, Pfizer, DKV, Reebok and Renault, and for advertising agencies like Scholz & Fiends, ANR. BBDO, Lowebrindfors, Ogilvy & Mather and Mccann-Eriksson. Petrus Olsson has a special instinct for photographic scenarios that present people in complex situations. an illustration of this is to be seen in the puma campaign for which he provided the photographs. a certain overdrawing of the figures, an exaggeration of expression and gesture, is another of Olsson’s unmistakable trademarks.

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.

 

What To Look For When Signing A Contract With An Agent

- - Artist Rep

On the heels of our interview with Howard Bernstein about photographers landing agents I have a question from a reader about contracts with agents. I asked APE contributor Suzanne Sease since she’s seen it all to weigh in on what percentage is reasonable and what to look for when signing a contract with an agent. Here’s her answer:

So many times folks think just because they have an agent, the phone is going to ring and the bank account is going to be full. STOP! Make sure you do your research before you sign any contract. A contract is a legal binding agreement that costs some photographers 6 figures to get out of. Before you sign, you must have it reviewed by a lawyer who understands this business.

The standard is 25-30% of the fees, but you need to be really careful with house accounts – you have to decide if you are going to be in charge of your house accounts with no compensation or a reduced compensation. You have to make a detailed list of who are on those accounts from the beginning since you usually can’t add someone in later. You have to discuss up front the expenses for travel, portfolio showings and marketing.

I believe it is crucial that you handle all financial expenses through your business and not the agents. When you receive payment, then you send your agent their cut. All estimates should be sent to you and the client on the same e-mail so you know what they received. That way there’s never a problem with missing fees, underreported income or timely payment.

Severance should have a limit of time for the payment of the accounts they either have established a solid relationship with or brought in as an account. I have seen clients who can’t switch agents because the severance is too lengthy and would cost them too much money. There are a lot of great agents but at the same time, there are some really bad ones. If your agent has a good reputation, they will be great for your business but if they don’t then they can kill your career. It is important for you to talk to photographers in their roster and ones who have left. If you can reach out to a consultant, art buyer or art director.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Emir Haveric

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I was on the B&A Blog when I saw the ad you did for Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series and was drawn to the drama of the image.  I worked on the Mercedes-Benz campaign in the 1990’s for many years so this campaign is especially of interest.  I reached out to Carol Alda, whom I have known for years to ask her some questions about the campaign.  She kindly had Emir Haveric answer them while he was traveling and shooting another campaign. I truly appreciate him taking the time to answer the questions so in depth. Thank you Carol and Emir!

Suzanne:  I see on your bio that you thought you wanted to get in to fashion photography and I see that influence in your automotive work.  I think this campaign needed that fashionable flare to set it a part from other car ads.  Do you think that is why you were chosen for this campaign?

Emir:  This was one of those dream jobs when the Art Director comes to you and says what do YOU want to shoot.  The agency presented me with a rough idea and a working title for the project and then enlisted me to build on the concept and make it bigger and better.  We had the luxury of shooting a car that was so popular it was almost sold out before we started the campaign.  This meant there was not the usual pressure from the client to define this campaign as being successful only if it directly resulted in the sale of more cars.  Back to your question, I think that I was ultimately chosen for this job based on the ideas that I suggested to the art director during our initial creative discussion while bidding on the job.  Originally, the campaign had a black and white feel, and I suggested adding in the pops of color in the locations to compliment the car.  I did reference iconic fashion shoots that integrated the model, clothes, location and color mood to tell a story.

Suzanne:  The black crows make the campaign more powerful and more layered.  I do not see them in the other images in this campaign.  Was that your addition to the concept?  And did you shoot the crows or created them in CGI?

Emir:  We tried to get that layered feeling in each shot by using different elements:  fence, fog, rain or crows.  We looked for the maximum drama and did not force every element into each image we were consciously trying to avoid repetition.  And yes, I shot the trained crows – beautiful birds!

Suzanne:  I noticed that you shoot consistently for Mercedes-Benz as well as other automotive accounts. You must be very buttoned up in the production end.  There are many talented photographers but their production or personality on set results in only one assignment.  What is your philosophy on set and with clients?

Emir::  My clients always comment on how professional my production team is, especially my photo assistants.  I think they keep coming back because they know the quality of work that I will deliver; they know exactly what they will be getting from me.  They notice how hard my team is working on their behalf, and they know I am going to push the creative to the limits every time.  When the agency sees you as a partner and someone who tries to be part of the creative solution they are motivated to come back to you.

Suzanne:  I noticed in your portfolio, you have shot some fashion photography so how was you able to convince a client that you could make a model look as sexy as you could an automobile?

Emir:  For the fashion work that you see in my portfolio I was in the lucky situation that the client specifically wanted me to shoot their images.  They came to me because of my lighting style and color work, and wanted me to bring that same feeling to their fashion concepts.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Emir Haveric is one of today’s top automotive shooters and an expert at shooting and composing with CGI. He has shot on every single continent several times over, including the North Pole. Emir Haveric was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia before moving to Germany at the age of 18.
 
His numerous awards include a Gold at The One Show, Effie Awards, and the Art Directors Club. He was also on the shortlist at Cannes and was a finalist in the 2009 New York Photo Festival.

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.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Jazzmine Beaulieu

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I first met Jazzmine when she was a studio manager for a New York City lifestyle photographer and wanted to go out on her own. She hired me to help her make that leap and present herself professionally. When Jazzmine showed me these “jib-jabs”, I thought they were perfect for this column and I asked her if I could include her. I want to illustrate that your still images can be used in motion and in a comically way. I also want you to be careful to “cap” your usage to protect yourself so you will have the possibility of additional compensation.

Suzanne: You shot this campaign for a local grocery chain in New York City.  For the print portion you got a lot of character from real D’agonstino’s employees.  Did you ever think it would inspire the client to create these “jib jabs”?

Jazzmine: Ha – Well, if I’m being honest, no. The D’Agostino shoot was my first time collaborating with the creative agency, Grok.  I came in guns blazing to guarantee I nailed the lighting and I wanted to make everyone present feel as comfortable and happy as possible.

My mind was solely focused on the present. That being said, the men I photographed were definitely not short of character and Tod Seisser, the Creative Director, and I had a great time with them.  Grok saw something more in the work and used it to their client’s advantage.

It definitely opened my mind to the importance of shooting more than less and the value of capturing spontaneous expressions when they come.

Suzanne:  And this brings up a new trend in shooting for clients.  When you shoot a campaign, you want to shoot more.  How do you protect yourself in the verbiage on usage so you can be additionally compensated?

Jazzmine: You definitely want to shoot more than less. I feel the best photographers do, by default.

The industry’s outline of usage is changing and it’s smart for photographers to adjust their outlines to change with it.  Clients don’t want to have to come back to you every time they have a new place to use your images.  Instead, they’re looking to do full buy outs of the images for a period of time. Photographers can use this to their advantage and negotiate for a full buyout from from the beginning, which means happy clients, and happy photographer with the bigger buyout payment.

Additionally, its always best to be as clear as possible going into a project rather than drawing lines once it’s been completed. Every photographer should educate themselves on the types of usage and the rates that apply within different markets. When you have that basic knowledge you’re in a better place to negotiate.  With D’Agostino, the initial usage was for print only. So when the animation came up, it was clear that it would require additional licensing and Grok contacted me.

Suzanne:  As a photographer breaking out to full time, what advice would you give someone wanting to make the same leap?

Jazzmine: My advice would be to stay focused.  Always be developing your craft and educate yourself to stay stylistically current, technically current and socially current.

It’s also very important to remain humble and learn from the people around you. When good things happen to you (and they will!), it’s definitely because you’ve been working for it. But it’s also because someone went out of their way to give you an opportunity.

A thank you goes a long way.  Never fall into the trap of entitlement. And, prepare yourself as much as possible for the transition, but there’s never going to be a “perfect time” to make the leap. You simply have to take a chance to grow.

I recently saw a Henry Miller quote on www.vanderbiltrepublic.com that meant a lot to me:“All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.” My short answer, Believe in yourself.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Jazzmine moved to New York at the age of 19 from Maine. By the age of 25 she was shooting her own produced campaigns. By the age of 27, her campaigns went international. Working with Tod Seisser of Grok, she photographed a portrait series for Taleo that was immediately written up in Adweek and ran in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Review and Business Week. But more exciting is that it ran in Germany, France and the UK.

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.

Still Images In Great Advertising – Joshua Dalsimer

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

Great advertising takes on many different venues and in this ever-changing world, it means web as well.  This campaign was commissioned for web only, but I personally think it would be effective in conventional print.  I reached out to Joshua Dalsimer and his agent Kristina Snyder at Redux Reps to find out more about this campaign.

Suzanne:  This is an interesting campaign but when I go the actual site ruelala.com I only get to see one image- how are the others being see, are they changing them periodically? And it is an interesting concept, but being so vague, are they getting people to sign up?  Do they have plans to roll out to more mass marketing?

Joshua: Right now it is just images for the login page.  We did not want to force it down every avenue and let it be unique visual that separates it from the other private sale sites.  Rue La La is a web based business that is not only a retailer, but has also become social experience.  We want the members to tweet about the login and let it grow in an organic way.  Give the costumers the feeling of discovery with out jamming it through other media.  The customers look forward to the change and I am constantly getting suggestions of new ideas from customers, friends, and creative people.  There is a part of their site called “the artists of rue” where they blog about our crew and have behind the scenes shots.  People are always curious about the making of and are surprised to see all the work that goes into these.

Suzanne: The scenarios are all very different, what creative input did you have in the process?

Joshua: I came up with the concept of their logo in unexpected places and wrote a bunch of scenarios for the client’s consideration.  I also worked with other creatives to brainstorm as well as find ideas from all over.  Rue La La employees came up with a couple, as well as my brother in law.  Once the ideas are conceived, I work closely with my producer, model maker, retouchers, CGI artists, stylists, etc.  I include everyone in the creation process and rely on everyone’s input to come to the best solution.  These images are a real team effort and I enjoy seeing people utilize their expertise.

Suzanne:  These images can be either elaborate props or extensive retouching- which direction was it?  or a combination of both?

Joshua: A combination of both.  We do a lot of planning and review the best choices possible for each scenario.  Obviously there is a limit to the budget, so we need to factor that in and be efficient as possible.  The one thing, that might be obvious, is no matter how great a prop is or how fabulous your retoucher is, if we don’t provide great elements in the beginning we do not end up with a great piece.  There is a limit to how much you can fake and the less faking you do the better.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Joshua Dalsimer’s professional career started at age 16, not with a camera in his hands but with a pair of drum sticks.  When some of us were lucky to hold down a job at dairy queen, Joshua was off touring as the drummer for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. After several years with the Bosstones, Josh played with a few other bands landing record deals with both major and independent labels. After several tours and albums he realized there were other creative outlets he wanted to explore. “I always looked at drums and photography as very similar disciplines.” He says, both take place behind the scene. However, both lay down a foundation that helps create a look or sound.” Joshua adds, “collaboration is also very important for both. music helped me learn how to communicate clearly about ideas with other creative people.” Joshua currently lives in New York with his wife Lisa and his kids, Adele, Noah and Sam.

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.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Marc Philbert

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I came across Marc Philbert’s campaign for The Harvey Nichols Sale on Ads of the World and loved the vibrant look of the images mixed with the funny positioning of the talent. I reached out to his agent, Cailtyn Boucher of Made in Paris. She was wonderful in getting my questions to Marc. Thank you Caitlyn.

Suzanne:  I can see from your website the palette in some of your fashion shoots? But the humor from ads from Bourjois and AXE.  But these ads pushed it even further.  How much did the agency allow you to take this campaign?

Marc: Well it was the client’s request to go that far, then it had to be done sharply…so that it wouldn’t look ridiculous

Suzanne:  Models always want to look beautiful.  How did you get the models to distort their faces so perfectly?

Marc: They were aware of the concept and chosen for that. Plus they’ve got a good sense of humour and it’s not necessarily that they all want look beautiful… they are clever and most of them understand that it’s a job to be able to act differently

Suzanne:  Since this campaign is so brilliant, how has it changed your commercial career?

Marc: Not so much I confess and it’s difficult to know sometimes why you are chosen.

Paris-based photographer Marc Philbert is a graduate of Louis Lumière University, France, clients include ELLE, GQ, Marie Claire, Glamour, and Vogue.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

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.

 

Still Images In Great Advertising- Cade Martin

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

Cade Martin has been a long time client of mine (full disclosure) and I have seen incredible growth in his work.  When we first worked together, I asked him to include an amazing series on Mexican farm workers as his personal work.  This body of work got the attention of Pum Lefebure of Design Army.  She is the inspiration behind the Washington Ballet campaign, which resulted in this work for Neenah Paper. Cade’s work was recently on the call for entries to The One Show which was sent to every creative person in the industry. How is that for free advertising?

Suzanne:  These images have a great style to them, how did you create them?  What was the concept behind these images and how were you a part of the creative process?

Cade: The project was for Neenah Paper and it was basically a redesign and relaunch of their Classic Papers Brands.  We were asked to create imagery for a series of paper swatch books that would each showcase a different product. As far as approach, we pretty much had creative freedom. The only thing we knew we wanted was to find locations that had textures that would marry well with the surfaces of each of books. As all of our projects, it was a collaborative process where we had meetings, conference calls & mood boards.  I scouted locations and sketches were created off places we liked.  We had a great team of stylists & crew but I  was pretty much left alone as far as the overall look & feel of the images.

Suzanne:  The beauty of a campaign like this for a paper company is they are sending your images out as a direct mailer.  What kind of increase in attention to work have you seen?

Cade: One of the great things about this campaign is that it’s targeting creatives – art directors and creative directors – who are the people who use Neenah Paper for the most part.  The swatch books don’t ever seem to be thrown out and are held onto as reference material so the visibility seems to be large as well as long term.

 

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Cade Martin is an award-winning photographer for advertising, corporate, and fashion clients worldwide who specializes in people and location photography. He is represented by Greenhouse Reps in the US.

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.