Last Wednesday, Jared Grunewald and I flew into Logan International for two days of Boston portfolio meetings. Right off the plane, we collected our things—including 150 pounds of books and a dolly—and made our way out to Watertown, MA. There, we pulled up to the brick offices of our first meeting, Harvard Business Review.
Since HBR hires photographers to shoot CEOs and businessmen around the globe, we knew WM would be the perfect tool to make their jobs easier. Once we sat down with HBR‘s photo editors and art directors, we laid out a table full of portfolios and chatted about the site. The group was impressed by the books, especially those of Emmanuel Fradin, Chris Sembrot and Porter Gifford. One art director mentioned that they’re always looking for talented shooters who can handle CEOs and their PR people—and tight schedules. They also said they don’t use much stock, assigning almost all of the photographs in each issue. A nice change of pace from what we typically hear from magazines these days.
The meeting went very well, especially since our site’s search function seemed like an ideal solution for their round-the-world photo needs. After saying goodbye, Jared and I drove back to Boston for our photographer’s happy hour. But first, we had to get lost several times along the way—Boston, what’s up with your crazy road system? Ever heard of a grid?
Despite our navigational challenges, we made it to SideBar Food & Spirits just in time to grab a couple of pints with our Boston photographers. It was great chatting, drinking, and eventually laughing like crazy with Morgan & Owens, Josh Andrus, Jared Leeds, Bryce Vickmark, Scott M. Lacey, Porter Gifford, Ken Richardson, Kate and John of Devlo Media, Bob O’Connor, Greta Rybus, and Michael Indresano‘s producer/former WM-staffer, Caleb Raynor. But we eventually had to escape the bar, as things got a bit rowdy when the Bruins game came on TV.
Stepping out onto a lovely New England night, Jared, Caleb and I walked Greta through the Boston Common to her car. Caleb then ushered us to The Last Hurrah for a nightcap and some Boston cream pie (yum). After a long chat about the good ol’ days, Jared and I said goodnight to Caleb and headed to the hotel, only getting lost once along the way.
Our next morning began with a meeting at Mullen, a full-service ad agency whose clients include US Cellular, Zappos, Google and more. Mullen’s office was bright and airy, with a giant espresso bar greeting us as we walked in.
We were soon also greeted by art producer Jessica Manning, who walked us to a sunny round table next to the bar. We pulled out a wide variety of portfolios for the art production department to review. After setting up, a group of Mullenites sat down around the table. Together we passed around books and chatted about the work of those like Paul Owen, Trent Bell, Morgan & Owens and Bryce Vickmark.
After all the portfolios were admired, Jared and I packed up, grabbed some coffee and headed to The Boston Globe.
Like HBR, Boston Globe is often hiring photographers around the world. So far, they’d been finding them mostly through NPPA, which they admit, wasn’t always the best tool. This is especially true since many of the photographers listed on NPPA are staff shooters, unavailable for freelance. So when we sat down with BG‘s photo department, they were happy to learn that there were “no strings attached” to using Wonderful Machine. No, we don’t charge clients to find photographers. No, we don’t make you create accounts to use the site. No, you don’t have to contact us to hire a photographer. We also have a photographer in a city they’d been searching for a shooter for some time, so they seemed quite pleased we’d stopped by.
While we chatted, the group looked through some of the portfolios we’d brought, with reportage shooters like Ryan Donnell and Ackerman+Gruber standing out. They also explained their photo contract to us, which was much more lenient than the typical newspaper contract. They also shared that their day rate is $300—higher than many other papers as well. After our in-depth discussion was over, The BG team said they’d check out the site next time they were looking for photographers and took several promos. Then it was on to our final Boston meeting at Arnold.
Arnold was particularly difficult for us to get to, and we ended up in a few odd places before finally ditching the iPhones and going back to good old-fashioned paper maps. Finally, we made it to their office in time to meet with art buyer Kathy McMann. She led us to a conference room where we laid out around 20 portfolios for her and two of their digital assets managers to review. We picked the books that we felt were most appropriate for Arnold’s clients, who include Volvo, Jack Daniel’s, New Balance and Progressive. Each book was carefully examined by all three reviewers, with favorite works including Jordan Hollender, Michael Indresano, and Michael Piazza.
After discussing the photographers on the table, we said goodbye and drove out to the airport with some detailed driving directions from Kathy. (Thanks, Kathy! We made it!). Flying off, we said farewell to Boston and good riddance to its crazy roads.
See ya next year, Beantown!