Wonderful Machine took on New York City this month to showcase member photographers’ portfolios and motion reels to some clients we’ve never connected with before. With pelican cases full of books, promos and WM garb in tow, we hopped in Matt Lander’s Subaru and made our way towards the Lincoln Tunnel.
Visiting NYC for portfolio events is great in general, but when you get to venture up there on the third day of Spring, there’s a little bit of added sweetness—it’s Spring, it won’t be so cold and windy! Wrong. The days leading up to the event were nearly 70 degrees and sunny, but come the day of our trip, we were getting blown around the highways and sidewalks with 20mph winds and an added bonus of a 20 degree wind chill. Lucky us…
We made it to our first meeting at CBS WATCH Magazine in Midtown to discuss Creative Director Meagan McLaughin’s photographic needs. CBS WATCH is a lifestyle magazine that gives an up-close and personal look into the lives of celebrities. Meagan showed us the most recent WATCH issue featuring the late Bill Paxton, and reminisced about working with him on-set; the shoot took place just a couple of weeks before he died. We all shared a moment about Bill Paxton, I loved him in Twister and Titantic.
We were actually shocked that Bill’s feature was shot the month before the issue went to print. Meagan said this is how most productions are planned out. For this celebrity based magazine, the scope of production is much larger than the average editorial—they’re traveling internationally, hiring wardrobe, prop and set stylists, and Meagan is coordinating the logistics for all of it. She seemed hopeful when Matt told her about Wonderful Machine offering al la carte production services. Daniel Bergeron, Erin Patrice O’Brien and David Arky were amongst her favorite portfolios and Meagan plans to use the directory for photographer recommendations in the future.
Left: New Yorkers braving the conditions in Times Square. Right: Outside of the CBS building
Next up was Barton F. Graf, a boutique agency with an emphasis on motion, animation and CGI work. Smaller, boutique agencies are a different flavor than some larger offices I’ve visited. The people, décor, even the vibe inside the office is more laidback than a corporate setting. I was into it. We connected with Associate Producer Will Herrick there and set up shop right in the lobby.
Will said Barton uses a lot of stock images then outsources most of their production and often hires freelance producers. While most of its work is motion focused, Will said they are currently in search of still photographers to shoot some MARS Candy Ads and an upcoming campaign for Kettle One.
Matt and several creatives at Barton F. Graf look through portfolios.
John Fulton, Ann-Sophie Fjello-Jensen and Josh Meister all received compliments and Matt had our Vimeo page pulled up to share a couple of new reels from members such as San Diego-based Mark Tesi. We noticed once again that people are more drawn to books than iPads and digital portfolios, and the quality of prints in Bryan Johnson and Jamie Kingham’s books were a topic of discussion. This reaffirmed that print is not dead.
With our largest meeting over and a success, we wheeled the portfolios around Madison Square Park for our third meeting at BuzzFeed News. We did get lucky today, there was about 45 minutes to kill since our second and third meetings were so close, that we popped into a local Japanese spot to warm up with some green tea and ramen. Ramen (or Ramey as I refer to it) is my favorite food so this was obviously the highlight of my week.
The hot noodle soup was just the perk up we needed! We took a brisk walk around the corner to the Buzzfeed offices and waited for our appointment with Kate Bubacz, the sole photo editor in NYC for BuzzFeed News. Kate’s not only in charge of managing the News’ photo department but also sources all of its photography needs. Presenting Kate the books, Kate saw some familiar bodies of work. She’s worked with Drew Anthony Smith in the past and has been following Jen Ackerman’s (Ackerman + Gruber) work for years.
Buzzfeed News does worldwide coverage and has correspondents in many areas of the Middle East and Europe to report on local stories, but needs trusted international photographers to provide quality images. She was more than pleased when we showed her the Find Photographers search and equally thrilled when we said the Find Crew page functions the same way. Kate let us know she’s open to meeting with foreign photographers when they’re in New York so she can establish a rapport with them in-person. We actually got an email from Kate last week saying she already hired one of our members from Sweden, Mikael Sjöberg as a result of this meeting!
We faced the wind and cold one last time circling back around the park to get Matt’s car. The ride home was easy and with Daylight Savings, it was still light outside when we got back to Conshohocken.
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