The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist’s statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I found. Please DO NOT send me your work. I do not take submissions.
Today’s featured artist: Greg Anderson
After attending The International Center of Photography, I assisted several photographers and then went out on my own in 2004. Times got tough in 2008 and I took whatever jobs I could get, happily. I was making a living as a professional photographer, but I was shooting food, cataloging jewelry and architecture – not very well by the way. I was uninspired by the direction my career was taking me and it became apparent I needed to show clients what I wanted to be hired for.
In 2012, I saw a local news story about the “National Beard and Mustache Championships” having just taken place down the street from my studio in Las Vegas. I reached out to the producer of the event who invited me to join them for the competition in New Orleans the following year. In late 2013, after months of testing lighting styles in anticipation, I flew down there with an assistant and all of the gear we could carry on the plane. All in, it costs right around $3000 to travel down and do the shoot.
The result of the project was a body of work that I loved making and I now have international exposure after the gallery got shared and went viral online to the tune of 1.2 million impressions in the first week and over 2 million in the first month. I immediately sent out a calendar, email promo and then a printed tri-fold promo to capitalize on the attention. Several advertising agencies took notice, and the resulting shoots and global exposure made the initial investment of $3000 money well spent.
I just shot the National Beard and Mustache Championships for the 10th year in 2022. Each time I have tried to evolve the project with subtle lighting and background changes to make them feel a little different. I’m planning on shooting an international competition to round out the project before self-publishing a coffee table book, that I’ll then send out to ad agencies as a promotional piece. I have made quite a few friends photographing the world of professional bearding and don’t have any plans of stopping. It’s just too fun.
To see more of this project, click here
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 decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease. Instagram
Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.