Jonathan Beller – A PhotoEditor

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: Jonathan Beller

There are a lot of misunderstandings around so-called “fringe” hobbies. Fans of all sorts are seen as strange, odd outsiders. In the Airsoft sport there are assumptions made that since the participants dress in camouflage and play tactical roles, they are themselves para-military gun nuts. I have not found that to be true.

The photos in my personal project portraits focus on costume, but more importantly, who is inside the costume. So often we see that the human is so different from the stereotypical muscle dude of an actual neo-patriot today. The fun of the play is in the social interactions of these often young, somewhat nerdy all-gender players. You can’t imagine any of them storming the White House. This is a social hobby for them, a way to connect.

The individuality of each player is highlighted by their choice of gear. Some of the outfits have inspired the phrase: “Gucci Gear”, because high-end expression of personality is part of the role play. Part of the appeal of airsoft is also the location. Airsoft venues tend to be places most don’t have access to, like abandoned properties and buildings. As a fan of repurposed places, the fringes of society’s places intrigue me. There the faces look out toward my camera, and we see that they are relatable. Just people, and that we can know them, and they are like anyone else.

My personal interest is in what makes us similar, and how we express our individuality simultaneously through visual expression. So, whether they’re wearing simple camo or a full ghillie suit, real people always emerge.

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.

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