An early morning tailgate, followed by a ride on horseback up and down the hills of Virginia, and topped off with a huge southern breakfast complete with Jim Beam. This is the modern day fox hunt. For a historically controversial activity that has been banned in the UK, it doesn’t sound so bad.
When Peter Taylor received a call from Saveur Magazine about shooting a Virginia fox hunt, he was all for it, considering that Saveur is on his short list of dream clients and a fox hunt is something he’s always wanted to photograph. Double dream gig!
Dating back to the 15th century, foxhunting originated in England as simply the chase of a fox by horsemen with a pack of hounds. This assignment was in line with Peter’s existing portfolio, fitting into the sporting and food categories. Peter started out the shoot with a guide who drove him to various points along the hunt so that he could be in position when the riders arrived. However, when the hounds picked up the fox scent, Peter was on foot, saying that this was the biggest challenge:
“At one point I just started walking along with the horses moving up and down the lines. Then I would grab a ride with some of the tailgaters– yes, their are tailgaters in fox hunting– to the next spot and wait for the riders to come into view and then I would follow along again on foot.”
After the hunt, everyone indulged in some breakfast, drinking and socializing. While everyone changed into their casual clothes, Peter used the time to take portraits of the horses and riders. He then captured some of the buffet and social hour before heading home for some much needed rest.
Peter has received positive feedback from the images, after waiting for almost a year for them to publish. Not only did he enjoy the experience but he also learned a thing or two about the hunt:
“I learned quite a bit about fox hunting! It seems that they don’t kill the foxes anymore and that they usually don’t even see one. It is just a great horseback ride through some beautiful countryside with your best friends!”
After four meetings that took us from Raleigh to Greensboro, Kayleen and I ended our second day in North Carolina at Lewbowski’s Grill in Charlotte. There, we met with some of our Charlotte crew—Dhanraj Emanuel, Peter Taylor, James Quantz Jr, Liz Nemeth and Tibor Nemeth—and threw back a couple of cold ones. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince anyone to try Lewbowski’s specialty drink, the white Russian—but we had a blast anyway, chatting about photography, studios, stuffed foxes and just about everything in between. Eventually, Kayleen and I, tired from a day full of meetings, had to bid farewell and go get a good night’s sleep.
Charlotte happy hour.
Our last day in North Carolina began early. Refreshed and ready for another busy day, we made our way into Luquire George Andrews (LGA), an advertising agency whose clients include North Carolina Tourism, Carolina Panthers, and American Tire Distributors. We took some photos with their ginormous Christmas tree before heading into the meeting. Bearing gifts of danishes and coffee, we laid out around 15 portfolios and called the LGAers in. Several creatives were mesmerized by Cade Martin‘s ethereal photos while others praised James Quantz Jr.’s composite work. Our retoucher Janko Williams was once again a hit while anyone with dog photos was an instant favorite.
“You can never go wrong with cute kids or puppies on a promo,” one creative told us as we packed up our things. I made a mental note of this and said goodbye. For the first time on our trip, we found ourselves with free time before our next meeting. So we drove into Charlotte and gave ourselves a mini tour, eventually parking at Hearst Tower to grab some coffee and check our email. Hearst boasted an even bigger tree than LGA’s, so we continued our photo project before heading to our next meeting at BooneOakley.
Outside of BooneOakley
You may recall BooneOakley from AMC’s The Pitch, or seen them listed as Ad Age‘s 2009 Small Agency of the Year. This small shop boasts big clients like Bojangle’s, Ruby Tuesday, Carmax, and more. Of course, another Christmas tree awaited in their office, this one of the silver variety. After snapping a photo, we laid out the books and coffee cake and waited for the BO creatives. Soon a friendly and chatty group arrived and began paging through books. Leah Perry‘s beauty/fashion work was well received as was Cheyne Gallarde‘s vintage style. The meeting was fun, with lots of laughs. We also had a lively discussion on using animals in photo shoots, including one with a skittish serval.
After finishing up the BO review, we left for our last meeting: WrayWard. WrayWard is a creative marketing and advertising agency with a spacious office just outside downtown Charlotte. We finished our Christmas tree series in their lobby before spreading out books in an airy, window-lit conference room.
The WrayWard creatives told us they were most interested in home/garden work at the moment, and Cheryl Zibkisky‘s interiors stole the show. However, other favorites included Robb Scharetg and Calvin Lockwood for their portrait and food work respectively. The group was also pleased to hear about our stock and production services.
Once the meeting came to a close, Kayleen and I packed up our bags for the last time and headed to the airport. There, we happily handed over our giant cases of books to be checked. Relieved of that heavy burden and with plenty of time before our flight, we sat down for a couple well-deserved margaritas and toasted to North Carolina!
Thanks for being so inviting, North Carolinians!
Our Christmas tree project! From top left to bottom right: LGA, WrayWard, BooneOakley and Hearst Tower
Our producers Amanda and Ben are back from a snowy visit to New York, where they shared our photographers’ books at McCann Worldgroup and Avanti Press.
They met first with McCann’s art producers who work on several brands within the agency. Of interest: one of their producers working on the L’Oreal brand regards “elaborate” portfolios as the sign of an amateur photographer. She’d rather see simple books with a good edit, ie. the book isn’t prettier than the pictures inside. She receives a ton of fashion portfolios and likes when they’re small enough to view and transport easily (under 11×17, on average).
Their other thoughts on portfolios: they’re not so keen on books that consist of loose prints because looking through them can be cumbersome. Some folks worried about dirtying the prints, as well (Neil note: though that could happen with other types of portfolios, especially ones without sleeves).
Next stop was Avanti Press, a greeting card company who also has creative departments in Detroit and North Carolina. In an industry flooded with stock photos, it might surprise some of you to know that they hire assignment photographers as well. Their creatives are always looking for unusual images, and they prefer to shoot whenever possible. They are also one of the few printers who credit their photographers or agency on the back of their cards.
Avanti was particularly interested in James Quantz Jr.‘s work, as he does a lot of animal composites. Especially this image from his elephant series:
New Zealander Ross Brown‘s monkey photo also stood out to them:
A few other tidbits about Avanti:
In 2008 they won an illustration award from Communication Arts.
They sometimes receive correspondences from concerned animal lovers worrying that the animals on their cards (who are almost always photoshopped) were actually smoking a cigar or playing a guitar.
We’ll have more portfolio reviews to talk about in a few weeks.
Robert Holland / Miami Lifestyle / Kids / Travel / Action & Adventure / Sports & Fitness www.robertholland.com
Comfortable shooting from helicopters, boats, and cars. Uses remote cameras, too. Now recording audio on still shoots. Recently worked in Bimini. Movie trivia: final scene of the Silence of the Lambs was shot there. Clients tell Robert he’s a “cloud freak”. He takes that as a compliment.
Jennifer Pottheiser / New York Portraiture / Sports & Fitness / Celebrity www.pottheiser.com
Trains for marathons when she’s not shooting. Graduated from Duke. Makes sports celebrities feel at home. Recent NBA ad campaign was parodied by SNL, Sports Center, marketing for the Adam Sandler film Zohan, and the images even inspired a Time magazine cover.
When James isn’t pursuing pelicans, photographing killer whales, or floating over New York,
he’s busy creating. Has a fine art background. Shoots everything from scratch (no stock).
Conceptual imagery evolved from shooting landscapes. Learned that elephants are pretty smelly.
Whenever you need images of elephants at the Waffle House or pet tigers being walked down main street, our Charlotte photographer James Quantz Jr. is your man.
Though traditionally a landscape photographer, James found that art buyers were increasingly interested in seeing his more conceptual animal and people photography. Surprisingly, James does not use stock photography, and shoots each of the elements with the final image in mind.
Quantz is featured in this month’s AfterCapture magazine, which goes into depth about a few of the images above (the killer whale’s actually a plastic toy!), and also shows the complex compositing that goes into his work. You can read their story here.