Last week our producers Ben and Amanda pulled off a marathon day in Virginia and the District of Columbia, sharing portfolios with The Martin Agency, Smithsonian Magazine and Design Army. They also met up with our local photographers for a drink.
Let’s let Amanda and Ben tell us about their adventures, first-hand:
After a scenic southward drive from Philly (our HQ), our first stop was The Martin Agency, an ever-expanding advertising shop whose clients include GEICO, Wal-Mart, Tylenol, and Kellogg’s. We had a large variety of portfolios that morning, and greeted about 15 creatives who came through to admire the books and learn more about our site.
One art buyer was searching for something specific, and after looking through Roger Hagadone’s book, grabbed his promo and said “This is perfect for the meeting I have in five minutes!” We chatted about Roger’s quirky style and expert production before she rushed out for her meeting, promos in hand.
Another art producer got a kick out of John Raymond Mireles’ take on the suburban housewife, saying “Weird, I wear the same thing when I take my son out!”
After packing up, we hustled up to DC (made it there in two hours) for a stop at Smithsonian Magazine. Their photo department came by to look through the selection of photojournalism, travel, and portrait books that we brought. They explained that the mag assigns photography for nearly half of each issue, and rely on stock photos for the rest to cover stories about historical incidents, which often demand older or official images.
They also like to know when photographers are traveling to out-of-the-way locations, just in case the stars align and the magazine is covering a story about that part of the world (it’s happened!). Additionally, they enjoyed seeing some of the international books that we brought, like Singapore photographer Charles Pertwee.
Next, we headed across town (after an unplanned detour under the arch of Chinatown) to Design Army to share a bunch of portfolios with their creatives. Jake and Pum Lefebure started the design firm in 2003, and already they’ve developed a reputation for their high-end approach to annual reports, fashion, and even cookbooks. They have a sharp eye for talent, and often shoot with DC photographer Cade Martin (you can see the work they did with him for the Washington Ballet on our 2009 Holiday Mailer).
Design Army’s creatives are heavily involved in the art direction for the photography projects they take on, and so they weren’t afraid to give their true opinion on people’s portfolio design, branding, and picture edit (which is refreshing, actually, even in the few cases where they were lukewarm on somebody). They responded well to Tamar Levine’s and Ari Abramczyk’s portfolios, joking that perhaps they used the same pool for their beautiful and distinct underwater shots.
For their corporate projects, they’re big on playing down the staged shots and like when a photographer can artistically capture real moments. Their creatives also appreciated our food photographers, including Jeff Padrick, Teri Campbell, and Michael Kohn (below). “It has to look good enough to eat, so the coloring must be true-to-life but better,” they explained, showing examples of the work they’ve done for publishing house Chronicle’s cookbooks.
By 5:30 PM we were ready to relax, so we met up with a dozen or so of our Baltimore and DC photographers at The Front Page, recently voted the Best Happy Hour in the city. Sean McCormick just finished judging an art director’s awards that week, and Eli Meir Kaplan told us about his smooth transition there from Austin a few months ago. New-to-WM Rebecca Drobis came by, and at one point explained to Jason Hornick about how she’s the real deal as far as a genuine DC-native: “It’s actually rare!”
After three successful meetings and a fun get-together, we called it a (long) day and headed back to a strangely summer-like Philadelphia.