Tuesday, July 1, 2008


When the world and photography were younger every image seemed fresh and new. Now it seems that we are nearly drowning in a sea of images. As a photographer it can be overwhelming. No matter where you point a camera, no matter what situations you dream in your minds eye, no matter what off beat ethnic models you choose, it feels like déjà vu.

Yet, every day the magic happens and fresh ideas are born. And the wonderful thing about today’s diverse market place is that there is room for the novel, the offbeat, the dreamy, the sincere and the real. It is just a matter of marrying the image to the concept, to the product and to the viewer.

Lately I hear art directors complaining, “my clients not only insist on using the cheapest royalty free stock, but they are giving me images that they found themselves and insist on using them.” It is sort of like taking a drug and then figuring out which disease you wish to cure. No wonder that so many ads taste like aspirin.

Why are we scared to create? Part of it is the time pressure, part of it is the high turnover rate and the relative youth of many account executives who do not have the power yet to stand up for their art director’s ideas, and part of it is that in many ways we have become a risk adverse society.

What would happen if the next time you presented comps to your client you used markers instead of photos? Really tight comps mean less room for creative interpretations later. Give a musician a recording of the Beatles and say, play me that and you will get a nice mimic of John, George, Paul and Ringo. Give a good musician a score and you will get closer to the heart. Give a great musician a concept or mood and you might get a miracle. In today’s crowed market place, your clients deserve miracles.

It has been a busy winter; we recently did a campaign for Motorola, several N.Y. hospitals and Better Homes and Gardens. Our commercial assignment work is now also represented by Getty Images and our recent stock output can be found at Corbis, Workbookstock and soon at Uppercut Images.

I have received many thank you notes and comments about these newsletters. I truly appreciate them. We love hearing from you.


Zave Smith

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