If our first portfolio review of 2012 was any indication of what’s to come, then we’re in for a fantastic year. We kicked off the New Year by dropping by the agency Tierney, right here in Philadelphia before traveling down to Baltimore to visit our new friends at Tri-Media and FILA.
Our meeting with Tierney was much anticipated. With big local clients such as Independence Blue Cross, PECO, and TD Bank, we were excited to meet the creatives behind the ads and commercials that are so prevalent in our area. Kayleen, Jess and I rolled up with our usual cargo full of fantastic portfolios and photo gear and spread out about 20 books next to delicious catering from DiBruno Bros. After hitting “play” on the iPad reels, we waited for creatives to fill the room.
It was great to see some familiar faces and meet new members of Tierney’s creative team. The room quickly filled with people eager to be introduced to new talent and snag some awesome leave-behinds. We were sure to include portfolios from local photographers such as Ryan Smith and Jeffrey Totaro, while also displaying portfolios from out-of-town shooters like John Schulz, Greg Vore and Roger Hagadone.
Overall, the meeting went incredibly well. Afterwards, we returned to the office to unpack, reorganize our cases and prepare for our excursion to Baltimore.
Two days later, we were on our way. The grey skies and wet weather didn’t impact our moods as Kayleen and I got an early start for our drive down I-95 towards “Charm City.” As an alum of Baltimore’s Towson University it was great to return to the area and reminisce on my college days. Our first meeting was with Tri-Media, located right in Towson, about 25 minutes north of downtown Baltimore. Tri-Media is a smaller agency that works in a variety of capacities with clients such as The Discovery Channel and Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels. We set up shop on their large conference table (with a nice view of my alma mater out the window) and spread out a great selection of work. The agency was pleased to see the work of local shooters such as Dean Alexander, Clark Vandergrift and Steve Buchanan along with other photographers like Adam Ewing, Nick Hall and Leo Gong.
We chatted about the food companies Snyder’s had recently acquired, and how hopefully this will translate into bigger photo projects. In addition, we talked about their web work for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which seems to be exponentially growing in popularity every year. Really, who doesn’t love watching a shark leap out of water at 2,000 frames per second?!
We wrapped up our visit with Tri-Media around noon, which gave us some time to grab a quick bite and check our email at Buddy Maratta’s Café and Deli by the busy Towson traffic circle. After filling up, we got back on the road to head north to Sparks, MD where FILA is based. For those not familiar with the rural towns outside of Baltimore, the scenery quickly turns from cityscape and gridded streets to horse farms and windy roads. After stopping for a moment to snap some photos in the woods, we reached FILA’s corporate center. We arrived a bit early, so we took a moment to walk around the scenic pond on their attached corporate park, and carefully stepped around the goose droppings (seriously, I’ve never seen that much goose poop).
After thoroughly cleaning the soles of our shoes, we entered FILA’s office and Amy Gray (their director of photography) welcomed us into their conference room to spread out our books. A few other members of FILA’s creative team soon joined us, and we chatted about recent and upcoming projects. FILA shoots a lot of their catalog still life photos in-house, but they have plenty of projects throughout the year that they hire photographers for. Amongst other portfolios was the work of Kevin Winzeler, Laura Barisonzi and Rick Lohre to name a few. After hearing more about their recent projects, we learned that they have international offices that generate their own content for unique projects around the world. While FILA’s Maryland office mainly works on US-based projects, I was happy to present the work of Munich-based Christian Brecheis to elaborate on the vast presence of Wonderful Machine members in international locations.
After another set of successful meetings under our belt, we were excited to drive down into the heart of Baltimore for a photographer happy hour. We reserved space at one of my favorite spots from my undergrad career, Red Star Bar and Grill, located on the beautiful cobblestone streets of Fell’s Point. The turnout was fantastic, and Dean Alexander, Steve Buchanan, John Davis, Jonathan Hanson and Clark Vandergrift all joined us for a few rounds. Conversation topics included Clark’s competitive cycling career, the local ASMP scene, new studio spaces, and of course, the hot topic of iPad vs print portfolio presentations. Our photographers couldn’t have been friendlier, and it was a fantastic way to end a productive day.
After parting ways, Kayleen and I began our trek up I-95 back towards Philadelphia. Overall, the meetings went incredibly well, everyone was extremely friendly, and it was fantastic to finally put faces to names. The day was a complete success, except for the flat tire I got on the way home…but that’s a different story.
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