As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.
Today’s featured photographer is: Jason Lindsey
How long have you been shooting?
15 years Professionally
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self Taught. I have a BS in Graphic Design and worked as an Art Director for 5 years but no formal training in photography.
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I grew up in a farming community and my parents both worked in factories. I wanted to shoot this project on Montana Life to explore people that live and work close to the land.
How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project was shot over a week in Montana. I have some ongoing projects I have been shooting for over 5 years but this one was short and sweet.
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually spend at least a few days shooting before I decide to continue. I would say only about 1/2 of my personal projects get shown broadly.
Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I love it. Part of the reason I shoot personal projects is to explore, play and try new things. If I am not seeing something different than portfolio work then I need to push harder and explore more.
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes almost all my personal projects get posted to social media. I use Tumblr, instagram, and facebook primarily. I also submit them to appropriate blogs.
If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes our Montana Life project was very successful in Social Media. It ended up being shared, posted and commented on around the world. It lead to other blog posts, newspaper articles, online magazine articles, and a magazine article. The project has also lead to several assignments and another personal project. One of the assignments was for a client I have dreamed of shooting with for 15 years. We are planning our second shoot for that client now.
Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, we print some of our personal projects as mailers. The Montana Life project is being sent out as we speak. It was printed as a small book with a cool cloth stitching.
I grew up in a small farm town as a child of factory workers, surrounded by “Salt of the Earth” people. I am still grounded in that upbringing and love being surrounded by the realness in the world. When I started in photography I knew I wanted to bring more authenticity to advertising. I later realized authenticity is part of who I am at the core.
I love shooting in water up to my neck, swimming with sharks, laying in the mud and doing whatever it takes to get the shot. Mostly because that’s often what it takes to make a great shot but it is also a great way to live life and have fun shoots. As my crew knows, I likely have not found the shot yet if I am not in the waterfall or the mud hole.
I wanted to document life in Montana while exploring my personal vision. I shot in a documentary style with very little equipment and no crew. I wanted to keep my presence personal and really get the chance to meet people and talk about their life and not have a bunch of gear come between us. It was a wonderful experience getting to know the ranchers and people of the Paradise Valley in Montana. They welcomed me into their lives and I was able to capture personal moments that arouse during their work and our conversations.
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.