Patrick Heagney Showcases Atlanta’s Creatives

Apr 1, 2019
Photographer Spotlight

The Atlantan connected with long-term photographer Patrick Heagney when they decided to run an article involving the movers and shakers of Atlanta’s creative scene. “The Art of Living” was featured in the November 2018 issue of the magazine, showcasing the inner workings of several powerhouse’s artistic endeavors.

The Atlanta-based photographer has been working with the Modern Luxury publication for six years. 

“ It started off with me hassling them for ages to get them to give me a chance. Once they finally did, I built up trust by consistently delivering great shots. They gave me more and more work over time, and now I’m one of their main photographers, working with them regularly.”

For the article, Patrick had the opportunity to photograph Susan Bridges, owner of Whitespace Gallery; Scott Ingram and Saskia Benjamin, artist and executive director of Art Papers; Okorie Johnson (aka OKCello), a musician whose music combines skillful cello mixed with rhythmic funk influences; Kenny Blank, executive director of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival; Samara Minkin, manager of public art in the city of Atlanta; and mixed media artist Radcliffe Bailey.

Patrick Heagney, The Atlantan
Susan Bridges, owner of Whitespace Gallery

Photo editor Jennifer Pagan helped Patrick schedule the shoots with the city’s top creatives. When deciding on a favorable location for each shoot, Jennifer consulted with each individual to choose a setting that would speak to the magnitude of their work and the poise of their expertise. It was the magazine’s editor in chief, Lauren Finney, who accompanied Patrick to the shoots and assisted him with set decisions.

Patrick always arrives early to his shoots to get a feel for what the flow of each shoot will be like. For the magazine, he needed to deliver two to three variations of backgrounds, with several different compositions and expressions for each subject. With a short window of time, preparation was key. Once his subjects arrived, Patrick began with an introduction to himself followed by a run-down of how they’d accomplish their goals for the day. This allowed him to get a sense of his subjects’ personalities while serving as an ice breaker.

“It puts them at ease, since a lot of the time people are nervous about having their photo taken.”

Patrick Heagney, The Atlantan
Scott Ingram and Saskia Benjamin, artist and executive director of Art Papers

What stylistic choices did you make for this project? How does this reflect your photographic style?

"I have a distinctive portrait style that works really well with Modern Luxury’s aesthetic. I like flattering but directional light that gives the photo some drama, and I like to include a lot of the environment in the portrait. I also like creating compositions where the environment plays an important part in framing and drawing your eye to the subject; it gives them something to interact with and creates a more natural scene that the viewer will respond to."

Patrick Heagney, The Atlantan
Radcliffe Bailey, mixed media artist (left); Samara Minkin, manager of public art in the city of Atlanta (right)

Were there any unforeseen challenges involved with the shoot?

“We had been planning to photograph Kenny Blank in the theater of the new event space in Sandy Springs. But when we arrived, we were told that they were setting up for a new performance and the whole of the theater—stage, seats, everything—was off limits to us. Fortunately, we had arrived early enough that we could scramble for some backups. The atrium outside the theater was also in some chaos as it was being set up, but I found a spot on the second story by the balcony that had some great natural light I could use as a base for the portraits. I set up some additional lighting to give it that extra zing and I actually think the shot came out nicer than if we were in the theater as originally planned.”

Patrick Heagney, The Atlantan
Okorie Johnson "OKCello", musician (left); Kenny Blank, executive director of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (right)

What was your favorite part about the shoot?

“It was with OkCello. We were shooting at the Atlanta Symphony Hall, and for the first part of the shoot I had him onstage, alone with the dozens of empty seats normally taken up by the symphony players around him. He basically performed a little private concert for us. It was so good, I keep shooting because I didn’t want him to stop. Then we went outside to Peachtree Street, the busiest street in Atlanta, and set up in a small median on the middle of the street. OkCello played while rush hour traffic drove past on both sides. We got some great shots and lots of rubbernecking. In the end, the magazine liked the color of the red seats inside so they went with that, but it never hurts to have some great alternate options.”


Client: The Atlantan
Editor in Chief: Lauren Finney
Photo Editor: Jennifer Pagan

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