Art Producers Speak: Holly Andres

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Producer: I nominate Holly Andres

From a personal body of work that was based on my unique experience growing up in rural Montana, the youngest of ten children. By creating a fictitious group of siblings loosely based on archetypes of my own family, each image is constructed to enact a specific moment and depict a psychological portrait.

From a personal body of work that was based on my unique experience growing up in rural Montana, the youngest of ten children. By creating a fictitious group of siblings loosely based on archetypes of my own family, each image is constructed to enact a specific moment and depict a psychological portrait.

This image is from my series, Sparrow Lane, which comprised of 14 photographs presenting an elliptical narrative of young women on the verge of adulthood. Drawing on the formal and thematic conventions of Nancy Drew books, the series depicts girls in search of forbidden knowledge. By employing suggestive and symbolic iconography, literal narratives are suspended to suggest psycho-sexual metaphors.

I had an opportunity to do a fashion shoot in a Victorian mansion in Salem Oregon that was presumed to be haunted.

Often times the narratives presented in my work are abstractions of real-life events that were relayed to me by the actual participants in the photos. From Anna’s Birthday Party, I was recreating specific memories from their childhoods in which their mothers performed heroic acts in an attempt to protect them.

Often times the narratives presented in my work are abstractions of real-life events that were relayed to me by the actual participants in the photos. From Anna’s Birthday Party, I was recreating specific memories from their childhoods in which their mothers performed heroic acts in an attempt to protect them.

I made this photograph after an experience where I was riding my bike and happened upon a group of young boys huddled around something in the grass. As I got closer I discovered that they were inspecting a dead squirrel. I was moved by how this rather gross and tragic, though common, occurrence created a moment of tenderness and closeness between these boys, which inspired me enough to recreate it.

From The Fall of Spring Hill I continued to examine the complexity of childhood and fleeting nature of memory. Through a suite of 13 photographs the series illustrates an incident from a summer church camp in which a child injures himself by falling from a dilapidated wooden play structure and the mothers’ fierce reaction to deconstruct it in retribution.

From The Fall of Spring Hill I continued to examine the complexity of childhood and fleeting nature of memory. Through a suite of 13 photographs the series illustrates an incident from a summer church camp in which a child injures himself by falling from a dilapidated wooden play structure and the mothers’ fierce reaction to deconstruct it in retribution. Serving as a proxy for the boy’s wound is the stillness of a blood red punchbowl.

I was shooting a portrait of animal trainer/photographer, Carli Davidson, and I had heard that the Wildlife Safari in Oregon had a cheetah program. I called them up and asked if we could stage a portrait there. Clearly a composite, I locked my camera off on its tripod to photograph the daily training session, which consisted of rewarding the cheetahs with hunks of raw meat for commands such as sitting, crouching and following. I then shot Carli in the same location and later pieced several files together in post-production.

In this portrait of Executive Director of the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Samuel E. Johnson Ph.D., I wanted to simultaneously reveal his traits as an academic historian as well as his interests in restoring and sailing wooden boats.

A self-portrait made with the help of my assistants (and beautiful Siamese felines) to subvert the notion of a “cat lady” as a spinster animal hoarder for more glamorous and alluring existence.

How many years have you been in business?

While I have only been shooting commercially for a few years, I have a strong foundation in the fine art photography realm with representation from prominent galleries in NYC, Atlanta, San Francisco and Portland Oregon where I live and work. I’ve also taught photography at the college level for several years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

My educational background is in painting and drawing, and it wasn’t until after graduate school when I was studying cinema and I became curious about the potential of freezing a narrative as a single frame, that I discovered how photography could best aestheticize my concepts. While I primarily consider myself a photographer, my foundation in painting and cinema continues to inform my photographic practice and aesthetic.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

I decided to get into the business, after frequently being told that my fine art photography may have commercial application. The realm of constructed narrative photography has greatly influenced me, where artists such as Jeff Wall, Gregory Crewdson and Cindy Sherman are the pioneers. I also feel a strong connection to Edward Hoppers paintings and the work of many mid-century female surrealists, such as Dorothea Tanning, Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, and Maya Deren, particularly because of their interests in psychoanalysis and their metaphoric depictions of fears, desires and impulses.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

Being a photographer has transformed the way that I experience life. When I’m in a prolific period of shooting and am feeling exceptionally perceptive, I tend to see the world with more wonder, beauty and appreciation. This resulting impact, in and of itself, is actually the most fulfilling and powerful aspect of photography for me. When I made the transition into the commercial sphere, I decided that I had to find a way to make it as fulfilling and meaningful as making art.  I entered the commercial world with a relatively strong and varied portfolio of personal work, work that was not made under the influence of commercial application, and this is the work that has garnered the most attention of photo editors, art directors and art buyers.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

Fortunately I haven’t come up against this much.  I think because my work is so specific in its aesthetic, commercial clients know early in the process if I am an appropriate for their brand.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I’m repped by the photo agency Hello Artists, and in the company of a roster of great talent, my work is constantly being exposed to potential commercial collaborators. I also continue to invest in my own fine art endeavors. For example, I will be having a mid-career retrospective at the Hallie Ford Museum in Salem Oregon this summer, followed by the premiere of a new body of photographic work at my Portland-based gallery, Hartman Fine Art, in the fall. I find that when these arenas intercept it results in the most exciting commercial opportunities. Additionally, I accept many speaking invitations and try to have an active and current online presence, by maintaining my website, blog and other social media threads.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

Andy Warhol famously said, “ Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” It seems artist’s creativity is often stunted by an internal voice that tries to predict what the external world wants to see. If you can engage in the joy and practice of consistently making art, inevitably you will develop an individual voice, a unique way of seeing – both in content and style. I think that this is what art buyers are most interested in.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Yes. As I mentioned earlier, I am consistently developing new work and fortunately through the representation of my galleries am always preparing work for future exhibitions. I find that there is a strong symbiotic relationship, one that is constantly evolving, between my commercial and personal work.

How often are you shooting new work?

All the time.

Holly Andres is a fine art and commercial photographer. She has had solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Istanbul, Turkey and Portland Oregon where she lives and works. Her work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Runner’s World, W, Art in America, Artforum, Exit Magazine, Art News, Modern Painters, Oprah Magazine, Elle Magazine, The LA Times, Glamour, Blink and Art Ltd. – which profiled her as one of 15 emerging West Coast artists under the age of 35.

Andres’s work was also selected for Go West! Cutting-Edge Creatives in the United States, a book surveying the best creative minds in architecture, design, art, fashion, photography and advertising – published by German-based, DAAB Books, 2011.

She has commercial representation through Hello Artists, and gallery representation through Robert Mann Gallery (New York City), Charles A. Hartman Fine Art (Portland), Jackson Fine Art (Atlanta), Robert Koch Gallery (San Francisco).

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

There Are 5 Comments On This Article.

  1. I love Holly’s work, and have been following her for years. I’m so happy that she’s been nominated for this, she’s definitely one to keep your eyes on!

  2. I am so glad to see this here as I am such a fan. Holly’s personality oozes through her work. I actually asked her to speak at my school the Portfolio Center (Atlanta) and she did! An amazing woman doing incredibly personal work. I actually assisted for her on a few portrait jobs. Such an unforgettable experience and NO! I won’t tell you how she lights! :) Thanks again for sharing.