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.firstname.lastname@example.org
Anonymous Art Director: I nominate: Daeja Fallas. “She is a good egg and talented”
How many years have you been in business?
I finished up my days of assisting and got a studio space in the summer of 2011, so it’s been just under 2 years that I’ve been in business for myself.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I took a few photo classes while in school studying French Lit. When I started to take photos every day one of my teachers noticed and found me an internship at Paris Match, a French news magazine. As an intern, I was given small local assignments. That taught me a lot about working on assignment with edits and deadlines, which was a great education in being a working photographer.
Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I come from a family of artists so although there have been several photographers whose work has been important to me, my family has been my biggest influence. While in high school my mom bought me a book on photography and showed me the Richard Avedon photo of Dovima with elephants, I’ve been hooked ever since!
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?
Growing up my mom would often say, “Mother Nature is the ultimate artist.” My work is, possibly as a result of that, heavily inspired by moods and tone of environment. As nature is always changing, I find my inspiration comes from different places depending on where I am. I love the way the light is constantly changing in New York, throughout the seasons it shifts in position and color, it changes the way my apartment and studio feel with each new season. In Hawaii, where I grew up and spent every day in the ocean, the light is bright and hot and the colors are vibrant and almost glowing sometimes–all of these things affect the way I feel, and therefore how and what I shoot.
Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I have had the good fortune of working with creatives and clients who have made me a large part of the creative process, giving me freedom to try things and suggest ideas and the ideal environment for me in any working relationship is one where communication is high.
What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Although I use social media quite a bit and have had success in using various platforms, I have a weakness for the tangible, so I try to print my work as often as possible. Using different outlets from shooting editorial to printing simple postcards and zines has been a good way to share my work. If someone is drawn to a particular image, I’ll make a print and send it to them.
I remember an art buyer really loving one of my images in particular. She kept returning to it saying “I love this! I can just feel the warmth in this image and I want to live in it!” That was wonderful to hear, so I made her a print.
What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Find your voice and own it! Your perspective is unique to you, so show the images that resonate with you and people will notice.
Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Absolutely. We all start out shooting for ourselves and I think it is important to continue that process and nurture your own creativity.
How often are you shooting new work?
Sometimes I shoot almost every day and other times maybe only once a week–it depends on what I am working on.
Daeja Fallas was born in Hawaii and grew surfing on Maui’s North Shore. At the age of 8, her grandfather put a camera in her hands when they set out to drive from Los Angeles to Hershey, Pennsylvania in a Volkswagen bus. Her mission was to photograph every deer and squirrel along the way. Since that summer Daeja has continued to travel with a camera in her pocket documenting the world around her.
Surfing and photography led Daeja and her best friend from Maui to other coast lines and eventually to the small island of Tavarua Fiji to spend their last summer surfing and taking pictures together. This trip led to Daeja’s first published editorial.
Continuing her travels, Daeja moved to Paris where she lived for 6 years completing her studies in French Literature and Art History at the Sorbonne. Soon after college she began photographing her own projects while assisting photographers in Paris and eventually moved to New York where she now resides.
Daeja is represented by Jesse Miller at Tinker Street *.
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.