You Think Kansas Citians Would Mind Us Shamelessly Plugging Work Involving Another City?!
Ha! I hope not because I love talking about the recent Cleveland project I directed for MMGY! It was a dream job, and I think that’s why it turned out so well. The concept was so perfect for the city. When Stewart and Brandon got in touch about the project I couldn’t wait to get going. We basically had a list of the best local joints in Cleveland, a list of key people, and free reign to “make that shit look awesome!” We were all on the same page creatively so it made the whole process fun, and when you’re having fun you’re going to make great work.
It Seems to Be Key for Photographers Is to Carve out an Ownable Niche. as You’ve Worked Towards That With Photo Have You Applied the Identical Approach to Motion Content? or Is It a Slightly Different Tone Based on the Medium?
I really like that you are asking about “approach” rather than “style.”
I think all visual styles will change. I know mine definitely has. But my approach is still the same: Go all in. Shoot Out Loud became a bit of a slogan, but I really do think that it does describe how I approach a project (and life for that matter). It may sound “hard core”, but really it just means give it everything you have. If it is a project that needs to be beautiful, then I’m going to do everything I can to make the most beautiful images you’ve ever seen.
You’ve Got Several Agency People Reading This Right Now. Any Pro-Tips for Being a Good Client?
I guess I would say to either have a very clear vision, or be totally open for all ideas. It’s tough when we get a call about a project that has been half thought through. There are parameters set, but for no real reason. Just because that’s what has been done before, or because that’s what your client expects? If you have a clear idea and know exactly what you want then that’s great. Let’s go for it. If not, let’s bounce ideas around, brainstorm, and be open for anything!
When Did You First Realize You’d Make a Living With a Camera in Your Hand?
I don’t know if there was ever that moment… I’ve always just gone for things and told myself that failure wasn’t an option. I don’t really follow the rules or even know what the rules are.
In high school I started a house painting business with a group of friends. Over the summer everyone else was working part time at a grocery store or the mall or whatever and we were out getting a tan, listening to classic rock, having fun outside, and making way more money.
When I decided to go to the Art Institute of Colorado my parents thought I was crazy. And when they asked me why I didn’t have a great answer, but I just knew I’d make it.
After school I had a great thing going with Ron Berg but had that desire to do my own thing so I just went for it. That first year I billed like $50K and thought I had made it! Now I’m billing more than that for a single day of shooting but I’m still waking up everyday to bust my ass to keep it going. Everyday I still have the thought in the back of my head that I’m not going to get another job, which motivates me that much more.
What Is Your Latest Epiphany?
Collaboration is key. After the recent success of CLE I thought about why. I realized that like some of my other successful projects, it was a great collaboration between passionate people.
Even all the way to a book I photographed for Hemline. That was a collaboration between myself, Hemline’s owner, and designer Rudy Wolgemuth.
Everyday I collaborate with our producer Katy Raggett about current projects on the table and the direction of the studio in the bigger picture. We have a lot of great things going on. We’re more than the typical photo studio, we’re less than the traditional production company, yet we can take on and deliver projects that they can’t… because we have so many great partners to collaborate with.