Two weeks ago, our production director, Jess Dudley, and I left the office and headed to the airport. We were on our way to the City of Lakes—better known as Minneapolis, MN—for several days of portfolio events and a special ASMP event. After checking almost 200 pounds of luggage (portfolios are heavy!) we boarded our plane and said goodbye to Philly.
Once we were back on the ground, we gathered our heavy bags while enjoying a bit of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concertos—first airport I’ve been to that played classical at baggage claim!—and then made our way in our uber cool rental van to downtown Minneapolis.
It was late when we arrived in the city, but food had eluded us on the plane, so we started searching for a restaurant before checking in to our hotel. We decided on The Loop Bar and Restaurant, mostly because it was open and near our final destination. Luckily, we made it in right before the kitchen closed and enjoyed a thoroughly delicious meal. I made sure to try the grilled cheese—which seems to be a Minnesota favorite—but added some avocado to lessen the butter guilt. After completely stuffing ourselves, we got our room keys and conked out for the night.
The next morning, refreshed and ready to go, Jess and I met at the van and headed to our first Minneapolis review: Campbell Mithun. Campbell Mithun is an advertising and marketing agency with a long list of clients including Land O’ Lakes, General Mills and Purina. Jess had set up the review with CM’s splendidly friendly art buyer, Kat Dalager. Kat had actually contacted Jess to see if he’d be interested in participating in an ASMP panel discussion she was organizing. Once the details had been set for the panel, Jess and Kat added on a WM portfolio review for the Campbell Mithun creatives.
Once we arrived at the CM offices, we were lead to an open area with ample table space—perfect for all of our books! After taking in the skyline view, we set out approximately 30 portfolios alongside mammoth-sized breakfast pastries to entice creatives. Soon enough, a group of art directors, print producers and copy writers stopped by and began browsing books while picking at danishes.
The group was quite a jolly one but they were also considerably attentive to the portfolios. Several took the time to look through every single portfolio, cover to cover. Some picked out their favorite images to show their partners. One producer even went downstairs to grab a creative he thought would like Nick Hall’s Alaska images. And he was correct.
A couple of the most popular of the meeting included Barbara O’Brien and her horse images, Clark Vandergrift‘s Tree people, Lincoln Barbour‘s food photography, and Austin Walsh‘s notebook leave-behinds. One producer also noted how Richard Fleischman‘s portraits really struck him.
As the crowd started to thin, Jess and I sat with Kat and chatted about the books, Campbell Mithun’s photography needs, and the state of the photo business. This got us talking about her upcoming ASMP panel, Photo Marketing Rehab, and why she’d felt the need to put it together. Kat was hoping to help local photographers learn how to appropriately/effectively market instead of sabotaging themselves through bad websites, inappropriate emails, and shoddy promotions. She was glad to have Jess and the other accomplished panelists involved in this marketing “intervention.” It was great to see an art buyer so involved and that really cares about helping the photography community.
After our conversation came to an end and we’d packed up the books, Jess and I headed to Hell’s Kitchen, a restaurant recommended to us by Kat. There I ordered a ham sandwich which turned out to be very similar to a grilled cheese with ham and Jess devoured one of the largest salads I’ve ever seen. With still a little time before our next meeting, we made a quick run by the Mall of America (where we saw the Cake Boss!) before making our way to Olson.
Olson is a full service agency with expertise in strategy, advertising, PR, social media, interactive and more. Their clients include Target, Ford, Capital One and more. We’d set up the review with their senior art buyer, Mark Pakulski, who we’d worked with in the past.
Once inside, we laid the portfolios down a very long, high top table, and projected the Wonderful Machine website up on their wall. We also had some Whole Food cookies and veggies as an extra lure. Creatives soon started shuffling through, chatting about the books and nibbling on cookies.
Some Olson favorites included Bruton Stroube Studio‘s animal shots on their iPad, William Geddes clean interior style, and Moya McAllister‘s food photos. Sara Rubinstein‘s roller derby portraits also got some attention and many leave-behinds were scooped up.
After catching up with Mark, who we’d also be seeing on the panel, we said our goodbyes and lugged the books back to the van. We then made our way to the dive bar, Cuzzy’s, to meet up with some of our Minneapolis photographers. We had the pleasure of meeting up with Sarah Rubinstein, Jonathan Chapman and his studio manager John Fontana, Richard Fleischman, and Michael Haug. We chatted over drinks about almost everything, from ice hockey, to Wonderful Machine, to motion work, to tater tots (the latter I was quite pleased to see that Cuzzy’s served). After a couple of hours of discussions, we said goodbye, promising to see everyone again tomorrow at the ASMP event.
However, the night was not over yet. Having not eaten dinner, Jess and I’d collected a few recommendations for a late night bite. The consensus was that we had to try 112 Eatery before leaving the city. So we popped over, finding it quite crowded, but were luckily able to find two seats at the bar. There we tasted some delicious cuisine, including an amazing piece of tres leches cake. I’d recommend 112 to anyone in Minneapolis looking for a tasty and uncommon menu.
After eating, we were satisfied and went back to the hotel to get some rest before an even busier next day which would include three meetings and the ASMP event.
Wonderful Machine: Portfolio Events: Minneapolis Diary Part II
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