Watch This: Aaron Howard and MVMT Stay on the Cutting Edge of Accessory Photography

Jul 2, 2019
Photographer Spotlight

Legendary broadcaster Marty Glickman lived by a mantra which defined his work: Always consider the audience. Though he was talking about sportscasting, his words apply to people like the Dallas-based photographer and cinematographer Aaron Howard as well.

The MVMT style is young and edgy, which appeals to a younger crowd. When I first started shooting them, I was quite conscious of matching their style. Now, shooting in their style is second nature.  

Shot of MVMT watches

Aaron has spent the past three years shooting watches and sunglasses for MVMT. The Los Angeles-based company specializes in selling stylish yet affordable timepieces and accessories to a mostly millennial demographic.

Shot of shades

Normally, a company will find a photographer and reach out to them to set up a shoot. In this case, it was Howard who found MVMT, which is ironic because…

Believe it or not, I'm not a huge fan of watches, sunglasses, or jewelry. 

Nevertheless, Aaron was impressed by MVMT’s work and decided to email them. The two parties quickly established a fruitful relationship and Aaron currently works on retainer for the company. Though he has collaborated with MVMT for a few years, he finds each new assignment fresh and original.

My favorite part of any job is collaborating with creative directors. It is a blast to face a challenge that seems impossible, only to brainstorm a great creative solution. [MVMT] has guts. They generate new creative styles that have never been captured before. Most recently, they asked me to photograph their sunglasses and watches on neon concrete.

Neon Concrete Shades

That was a challenge, but it resulted in a brand-new style of glowing concrete elements. I could not be happier with the result! 

Neon concrete isn’t the only eye-catching look that Howard and MVMT have conjured up. Peruse his website and you’ll find accessories foregrounded by black sand as well as watches submerged in water.

Three pairs of shades on black sand

The first time I shot on black sand was two years ago. That was a request by MVMT. It really is a cool look as the products can pop off the page. 

Watch underwater

Those underwater shots are intense! It takes me a full day to photograph one of those. The process becomes complicated when water is added to the aquarium. Water makes light act in a different manner than a photographer is used to. You really have to take a step back and think before adjusting a light or a bounce. There are reflections everywhere to contend with.  

Watch underwater, but darker

Interestingly, that sleek, contemporary look that manifests itself in Aaron's work isn’t due to hours of post-production. 

I typically use 10 layers or fewer in each image. When you add in too many layers, the image has a propensity to look fake. I just use Photoshop to composite and clean up my photographs. 

Watch on the rocks

As you might imagine, the reaction to Aaron's portfolio has been universally positive. In fact, the feedback has gone beyond simple praise. Howard says that fellow photographers are actively emulating his work.

People like my images so much that they attempt to copy my style. There are a lot of copycats out there. It doesn't bother me because to copy the past (what has been done before) is to die. You have to keep moving forward and innovating. 

Watch amidst broken glass

Howard surmises that he’ll collaborate with MVMT again in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, the Texan stays busy by keeping a varied schedule.

I recently directed a big commercial shoot to rebrand La Quinta hotels upon their acquisition by Wyndham. I am also working on a comedic photography book that pokes fun at social media.    

MVMT isn’t slowing down, either. Aaron says the company launches a new product line “every couple of months,” which means we get to look forward to more breathtaking images like this:

Watch on marble

What new looks and styles will Aaron Howard and MVMT introduce next? Only time will tell.


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