by Maria Luci
The last day of reviews was in Texas’s largest city, Houston. Luckily, our hotel seemed close enough to throw a stone at our first meeting. In the morning, we got up, drove across the street, and headed into FKM.
FKM, advertising, marketing, and PR agency, has an impressively long list of clients, including Dell, Advanced Auto Parts, Bertolli, VW, ConocoPhillips, JetBlue, and the Houston Astros. After switching elevators to reach their top-floor offices, we finally made it to the FKM lobby. A cartoon-style decor welcomed us, with large white furniture accented by scribbled black outlines.
Our contact came down to meet us and showed us to a conference room. Soon after setting up, a large group of creatives came in and started admiring the work. Many admired Trey Hill’s realism along with Jody Horton’s good enough to eat food photos, as they had been on the lookout for some good food photographers.
The FKMers were especially interested in the Wonderful Machine business model. They were excited to see how we organized our site, allowing them to quickly search photographers by specialty or location, and the fact that if they’re having a hard time finding the right photographer, they can always contact us. It was a very successful meeting, with a lot of good contacts made and a lot of portfolios viewed.
Next, Jess and I took a lunch break and had some delectable Tex-Mex dishes at a Guadalajara Del Centro. After going a little carb crazy, we headed back to the van for our last Texas portfolio meeting at Gensler, the global architecture and design firm.
The Houston office of Gensler has designed some amazing buildings and spaces, including Hess Tower, Corpus Christie International Airport, and Valentino Vin Bar. Gensler also recently completed the Houston Ballet Center for Dance, which is now the nation’s largest dance facility. Not only does Gensler design buildings, but they are also very involved in the graphic design, décor, and branding of the projects they work on.
Jess and I met with Gensler designer Mick, who was happy to look through our architecture and home and garden portfolios. He says they are often hiring high-end architecture photographers.
Mick seemed to like all of the books we brought but gave a few extra compliments to the dramatic imagery of Evan Joseph and the crisp, clean style of Casey Dunn and Ryann Ford. He enjoyed the work of Austin photographer Jonathan Jackson, especially his AIA Austin Home Tour booklets. He also liked Jeffrey Totaro and Dana Hoff’s styles.
After a successful meet and greet, we said goodbye, snapped a few photos, and headed to the last stop on our itinerary, meeting up with our Houston photographers. We rendezvoused at Coco’s Crepes and Coffee for just that, crepes and coffee. A good group of our Houston photographers showed up, and we chatted over exceptionally sweet treats. Rodolfo Benitez and I discussed Venezuela, his home country, and where much of my family lives. Jill Hunter kept us laughing with her funny-looking crepe and thoughts on Houston weather, and Tarick Foteh told us about a music video he’s working on.
Eventually, Jess and I had to leave before we got a parking ticket (those Houston meter maids are on the ball). We said our goodbyes and headed to Hobby Airport. It was hard to say goodbye to the Texas sun, but we were looking forward to getting some rest on the plane. With the trip behind us, we were able to reflect on just how successful, productive, and enjoyable it really was.