Embrace The Unexpected And The Surprising

- - Working

Fascinating Q&A over on Heather Morton’s Art Buyer blog with Andrea Mariash, Senior AB at David & Goliath in LA. They’re talking about true collaboration as opposed to asking a photographer to just execute an idea that’s been researched to death. It’s interesting to hear on the advertising side about the need to educate the client “so they understand that comps are comps, they are not paint-by-numbers kits.” For anyone hiring photographers creating space for failure and sudden inspiration is the key to producing great work.

I worked with a creative director a million years ago who had gone through improv training. His approach to production was, “yes, and…” which is a traditional technique to up the funny. (I guess you’re not allowed to say no in improv; it’s a creativity killer.) The CD was a real wild card on set, but his ads were celebrated. Anyway, his attitude kind of rocked my world, to use a terrible but apt phrase. I stopped producing with do-not-cross lines, and adopted the “yes, and…” mentality. To me, basic production, being totally prepared, is the “yes” part. That’s the bare minimum I can give to my creatives and photographer. And then I feel like I’m free to spend my time on set facilitating the “and…” if it happens to come up.

I’ve come to embrace the unexpected and the surprising. I absolutely think it makes for better images. I’m all for hiring a dark horse photographer, or trying something new on the fly, or learning new stuff. I’m an early-adopter, and a risk taker. Not all producers and art buyers want to work this way, but it’s worked well for me. I guess it goes against our innate control-freak nature, so I’m constantly at war with myself. It keeps me thin, I guess!

Read the whole thing (here).

There Are 5 Comments On This Article.

  1. Being prepared for the unprepared is what being a professional is all about…Indecision and “improv” are not the same thing. It can get “crazy making” too…

  2. Marvelously insightful interview, and I wonder how this only got three comments here so far. Nadav Kander is out there, and I don’t always like his images, but the thought processes are the type of chaos that I thrive upon. The is a reminder that we do not bring cameras to a shoot, we bring ideas. Awesome.