Last Thursday was another 5 am awakening, on a cold winter morning; I packed up my things and headed north for yet another day of portfolio reviews in New York. Today our van included not only two cases of portfolios, but also Sean, Bill, and me. We were excited about the meetings we had ahead of us.
The trip started out well, with an empty road and time to spare. However, as the morning progressed we ended up stuck in turnpike traffic. To avoid missing our first review, we GPSed our way through back roads and arrived at our first meeting just a couple minutes behind schedule. Bill dropped us off, grabbed a couple of our photographer’s books to show and headed for some separate meetings, while Sean and I headed for Wine Spectator magazine.
Walking into Wine Spectator’s office was like walking into a lounge. Low warm lights, Beaux-Arts posters covering the walls, and a glass enclosure filled with wine bottles of all shapes and sizes. The sweet smells of cigars wafted into our noses as we strolled through the halls.
Our meeting ended up being a four-for-one special. As we shook hands with the photo editor at Wine Spectator, she introduced us to the photo editors at Cigar Aficionado, Food Arts, and Market Watch, as they all share offices and are all under M. Shanken Communications.
The photo editors walked us to a small conference room with more vintage posters hanging on the wall. They informed us that the posters were all originals, which greatly excited me as I saw some of my favorite Toulouse-Lautrec paintings lining the walls.
We sat down at a wooden table and started passing books around. Wine Spectator’s photo editor Alex commented that she had our San Francisco photographer Eric Millette’s promo up on her wall. She also liked Jill Hunter and Martin Sundberg’s lifestyle work.
Everyone loved Raymond Patrick, Mark Olson and Mark Katzman’s work, with Cigar Aficionado showing particular interest in Raymond’s style. The photo editors were all familiar with and liked Wonderful Machine. They commented on how great it was to have so many locations in the US and around the world.
After the review was finished Alex proceeded to take us on a tour of the office. This included many beautiful paintings and a stop by Winston Churchill and JFK’s humidors. We also got to see wine bottles from the 18th and 19th century. Alex commented that one particular bottle from the early 1800s could still be popped open and drank today.
Once the art tour was finished, we said our goodbyes. Sean and I then walked out into the blustery streets of Manhattan and headed to our next meeting at Audubon Magazine. Audubon’s offices give a warm and natural feel with their beautifully wood paneled walls and décor. There we met with design director Kevin and photo editor Lila, who were happy to look through our selection of books.
The two were particularly impressed with Nick Hall and Laura Flippen’s work, as well as Charles Pertwee‘s landscapes. They each have very different styles but both would work well with Audubon. Audubon is more interested in editorial style work and frequently hires for portraiture, landscape, and travel. Kevin and Lila mentioned that a lot of their wildlife shots come from stock as it’s very expensive and difficult to hire a photographer to shoot a bird. The bird is often in a strange location and may not even be found in the time dedicated to the shoot. However, the two mentioned that they were very happy to see all the remote locations Wonderful Machine offers, as they like to hire photographers in the locations they are shooting.
Once we had finished flipping through all the books, we snapped some pictures and braved the freight elevator down to the cold streets of New York again. After Sean and I grabbed a quick lunch at the exclusive New York restaurant Chipotle (may I recommend their burrito?), we headed to our third meeting of the day at Harrison and Star.
Harrison and Star is a healthcare advertising and communications agency. There we had a quick meeting with one of their art buyers, Kilsy. After finding our way through their maze of an office, we sat down and flipped through about six books. Kilsy particularly liked Robert Houser’s medical photography. However, since it’s so close to the holidays and everyone is running around like a chicken with no head, Kilsy had to bid us adieu quickly. We said our friendly goodbyes and headed out once again.
To fight the cold between meetings, Sean took me to a little SoHo treasure, Once Upon a Tart. There we had hot coffee to warm us up, and some delicious treats, including a mini pecan pie and chocolate banana bread. After the feeling returned to our fingers and toes, we headed out to our final meeting of the day at Fast Company.
Bill met up with us in front of Ground Zero, where we snapped a few shots. Then we headed to the 7 World Trade Center building for our last meeting. The Fast Company review went exceptionally well. We met with photo director Leslie and photo editor Jessie. Leslie was very enthusiastic to meet and look through books.
The five of us took our seats around a white table with a view of the river. We took out all the books and passed them around, answering various questions about the photographers and Wonderful Machine. They seemed happy with all the books we chose to bring. Leslie liked the energy of David Sacks’s work, gushed over Raymond Patrick (not only his book, but his sweet personality), and complimented Aaron Kotowski as well. The team especially enjoyed Roger Hagadone’s book. His conceptual and over-the-top portraits caught Leslie’s eye, and she mentioned that she would like to take some of their portraits in this direction.
When we had gone through all the books designated for Fast Company, Leslie asked if we had more. So we pulled out books from the other meetings. Of those books, she mentioned liking Ben Van Hook’s and Tom Cwenar’s books. She was particularly excited at some of the locations our photographers were listed at, as she was looking for photographers in those locations.
After we’d carefully looked through the books, talked about what Wonderful Machine had to offer, and had some laughs, we packed up. Sean and Bill headed back to Philly while I made my way through New York with a pillow and a suitcase to prepare for a shoot Friday morning. All in all, it was a very good day for Wonderful Machine.