Our day in New York began as portfolio meeting days often do: a pre-dawn departure and maddening traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel. Things took a turn for the unusual when we were told to set up books in BBDO’s Central Filing, the in-house conference room/bar that’s been operating since “the old days,” or at least how I picture it based on Mad Men. We even got to meet Joe, the full time bartender for over 20 years.
BBDO is one of the largest and most respected agencies in the world, and carries an impressive list of clientele. We welcomed about 15-20 creatives into Central Filing in the morning, and heard a lot of positive feedback about our services and the portfolios we presented. Pete Barrett, based in Miami, got a lot of attention for his excellent lifestyle and travel work, and a couple of guys were happy to see his work for AT&T’s “More Bars in More Places” campaign. Also from the Southeast, Christopher Shane sent us a highly unusual portfolio that he made entirely by hand, “except for the paper and the tape.” The book turned out very well and has the feel of a personal album (with much better photography, of course), and everyone who picked it up was impressed.
We also had the chance to show off a couple of our motion experts, after a member of their television department stopped by. She was especially impressed with David Foster‘s work.
We closed our tab at Central Filing and headed off to lunch at Mooncake Foods (who doesn’t love “fun, casual, Asian comfort food”?) before our next meeting at Inked Magazine. Inked’s Photo Editor Josh Clutter was kind enough to see us on the day they were closing an issue, which shows their commitment to seeking new talent. The staff members we met all had visible tattoos, but fewer than I was expecting! Josh explained that they don’t see Inked as a tattoo magazine in the traditional sense, but primarily as a men’s magazine that focuses on tattooing culture. As with most men’s mags, there are plenty of scantily clad women to be found in most issues, but Josh credits their high number of female readers to a style of photography that is sexy without being chauvinistic. He also looks for naturally lit environmental portraiture all over the US and occasionally hires internationally.
Josh really enjoyed Carmelo Donato‘s and Jose Mandojana‘s books for their natural yet polished looks. Ultimately, he really likes to get to know the photographers and make sure that they’re on the same wavelength, because in recent years they’ve had a creative renaissance at the publication and it’s especially important for them to maintain their standards. He also likes to try and match photographers to the subject whenever he can, such as the time when he paired a photographer who loved motorcycles with a feature on Adam Levine and his Harley Davidson.
We headed out of Inked and back into the rain to Forbes‘ historic building. Their Senior Photo Editor Michele Hadlow is an old friend of Wonderful Machine’s, having worked with our founder Bill Cramer on a number of projects over the years.
Michele was a pleasure to talk to; she was interested in seeing new work from familiar faces, such Jason Grow and Eric Millette, but also learning about shooters in locations where she has trouble finding photographers. Therefore, she gravitated toward Brian Kelly in Detroit, Mich., Minneapolis’ Richard Fleischman, and San Francisco’s Cody Pickens, commenting on their unique, well-lit portraits and modern style. She also mentioned the continual search for strong international shooters, and even though she works with a number of talented folks she always wonders, “Am I missing someone?” and goes back to collect bookmarks for future projects.
We closed a very full day by heading back to Philadelphia, eager for the next chance to share our members’ work and meet with new clients.