Atlanta Diary – Peachy Portfolio Visits
Friday March 5th, 2010
Wonderful Machinists Amanda and Jess went down to Atlanta last week to show our books to a few friends at JWT, UPS, CNN, 22squared, and Big Sky. It’s a fun study of logos and branding to view all of their entrances at once:
Our first stop was One CNN Center to meet with CNN’s creative team for Multimedia and Interactive Storytelling. One of their producers explained how they’re trying to veer away from using stock images: “I can’t use the same picture of a plane taking off one more time!” A graphic designer expressed the same need for original photography: “In the Health section, we might be covering a new advancement or medical rarity, and we need creative, conceptual images to illustrate it and draw the reader in.”
She was especially impressed with Bill Cramer’s work with doctors and CEO’s, and his ability to animate them into more engaging subjects. They also enjoyed Martin Sundberg’s lifestyle and video work, as they try to incorporate multimedia work whenever possible. Here’s his portfolio:
One producer recently had a situation where they needed images for a story about a Midwestern farmer who, in order to publicize his business, tweets from his tractor while he’s out in the field. Generally, technology trends like this change so frequently that there just aren’t enough stock images to choose from. The story itself was on a tight deadline and they needed an assignment photographer in a city/town that wasn’t familiar to producers, so the regional focus of our site was especially appealing to them.
We were also treated to a studio tour, so you may have spotted us in the background of the 11:00 AM broadcast of CNN News.
Next, we spent some time talking with one of 22squared’s art buyers, who says she’s been there since before it was 22squared. She was familiar with a number of our Atlanta-based photographers, especially Deborah W. Llewellyn and Harold Daniels. Always looking for “people, places, and things,” she responded most to books with a playful presentation, like Ryan Robinson’s humorous conceptual images. She was excited about their recent acquisition of the Baskin Robbins account, and she and her family have been big fans for years (and let’s face it, who doesn’t like ice cream?).
After lunch we made a stop at Blue Sky Agency, who handles all of Atlanta’s major sports franchises. One of their creative directors explained that they didn’t set out to focus on sports, and handle other accounts as well, but love working with the teams and are excited to fill that role.
That evening we went to Cypress St. Pint & Plate to meet up with a crowd of our Atlanta photographers. It was great to see them all face-to-face and enjoy a few rounds, especially since most of our correspondences are through phone and email. We learned that Ryan Gibson has a music background himself, which helps musicians let loose on his shoots; Jon Kownacki is actually from Detroit, “which explains why I swear a lot,” he jokes; and Deborah W. Llewellyn’s husband is an attorney who pulls double-duty as her official negotiator with clients.
The next morning we greeted JWT’s creative team with a spread of portfolios and breakfast (kept the two separated of course – no spills). Can’t recall a broader client base: they work with the US Marine Corps, the US Virgin Islands, and FEMA. One art director responded to Terry Vine’s resort work, and loved his presentation of three books in one case, each featuring a different side of his lifestyle/travel work. Aside: No Plastic Sleeves just had a nice post about Terry’s branding collaboration with his rep Patti Schumann.
Another art director was very impressed with Tyler Stableford’s work, especially his recent project photographing the U.S. Air Force: “I had the amazing opportunity to fly with these guys for 90 minutes with five F-16s over the Rocky Mountains, all at my service to get the best possible shots!” Tyler said. He made an exciting, in-air behind the scenes video from that shoot: http://www.tylerstableford.com/portfolio.php?dirid=11 (get your Top Gun fix for the week).
And his portfolio that we showed:
We ended our stay with a stop at UPS’s headquarters, where we sat down with one of their graphic designers to share a few books and talk about our website. UPS is looking for authentic-feeling lifestyle shooters for their internal and external advertising: “We want to capture a driver on the road, talking with customers, and everything in between.” They were especially happy with Wonderful Machine’s international reach: “When we open up a new market,” she explained, “We want to show our trucks and employees on a real street in Shanghai, on a real doorstep in Thailand – you can tell if it’s done in a studio so we steer clear of that.”
Luckily we made it back into Philly before the snow hit again. So all in all it was a great trip and we’re looking forward to the next opportunity to head down!
-Amanda Hanley and Neil Binkley