The Weekly Edit Interview
Fast Company: Aaron Fallon

- - The Daily Edit

Fast Company

Creative Director: Florian Bachleda

Photography Director: Leslie dela Vega

Photographer: Aaron Fallon

Heidi: How did the concept come about for this shoot?
Aaron: Kathy Nguyen (Senior Associate Photo Editor – no longer at Fast Company) sent me a detailed email explaining the overall focus of the Fast Talk section for that particular issue: healthcare —  and the innovators and entrepreneurs who are leading the way in disrupting the status quo — many come from backgrounds outside of healthcare.

She also gave a me a lot of details about GoodRx and the background of the founders Scott and Doug. And she already had images of the office space as well, which she sent along, so a lot of my usual questions were answered in the very first email I received from her regarding the shoot. She also sent me a few ideas they were discussing at the magazine and asked if I might have any ideas. After looking at the location photos I sent back 4 written ideas, with sketches/mockups based on some of the concepts she had sent me and also incorporating my own ideas.  (I often use location photos and create mockups using clipart.  I find it helps when people can see how something might look in the actual location space, as opposed to an imagined space — then they can choose if they want to go further with an idea or not…

They discussed my ideas at the magazine and approved 3 of them.  There was some back and forth about the execution of the shots, some slight changes they wanted, etc.  They were very communicative and I felt the art direction was very clear and they were open to my ideas — my favorite type of collaboration!

I went ahead and scouted the location since it is close to my house and I was available.  I’m glad I scouted.  There was a logistical issue with one of my original concepts (that I  found when I scouted) so the next best option was to move a shot into the conference room — and since I was already planning on having pills for two of the other shots (one was a setup that didn’t run in the magazine) I thought that it might be fun and interesting to litter the conference room table with pills and pill bottles.

Did you have a prop stylist to get all the pills?
I got all of the props myself.  Bottles from the deep valley.  Pills from the eastside.

If so were they hard to procure?
Not particularly.  Apparently, empty pill capsules aren’t that difficult to come by.  The pill bottles were easy.  Basically, google and a few phone calls and a bit of driving across town…

Your subjects seems lively, was it easy to get them to juggle and play along?
Yeah, it was pretty relaxed.  We started off with the conference room shot and my assistants and I slowly built up the table with lots and lots of pill bottles.  I let Doug and Scott  continue building with the pill bottles as it gave them something to do.  I think props (when appropriate) allow the subject to relax a bit and giving someone something to do makes things so much more natural on camera.  I gave little bits of direction here and there and let them go with it.  By the time we got to the juggling shot (it was the third setup of the day), they were plenty used to it.  I think this was one of the last images taken that day.

Have you been doing alot of editorial lately, if so, how do you promote yourself, what’s been most effective?
I do a moderate amount of  editorial (but hey, I shot a magazine cover yesterday!) – of course, there’s always room for more!  I tend to split my time somewhat evenly between editorial and advertising.

What sort of volunteer projects are you involved with?
Over the last few years I’ve tried to find a way to use my photography in a beneficent manner.   When it comes to pro bono work, I’ve found that it really depends on the project as to whether or not it’s going to be both positive and fulfilling.
Above images attached are from one of the Taproot Foundation projects I worked on for A.C.O.F (A Community of Friends) “a nonprofit affordable housing developer for people with special needs.” that also ”serve homeless and low-income persons, including transit-oriented developments, supportive housing for veterans and mixed-population housing”
Above images from working with KCRW

I done a few projects with the Taproot foundation that turned out well, and since then I have aimed my efforts at a project that I’m a bit more hands on from start to finish.   It’s  just getting started here in Los Angeles — and it focuses on young adults who have aged out, or are about to age out of the Foster Care System.  It’s called The Aging out of Foster Care Project and was initiated in NYC by Maggie Soladay, and I believe a Seattle version of the project was also completed.   A photo editor friend and I are starting it up in Los Angeles — and we’ve put together a small group of photographers, writers, editors, and a graphic designer.  We’re still looking to fill a few of the writing positions and ultimately we plan to turn the project into a published book like they did in New York. (http://salaamgarage.com/2013/book-on-sale-now/).

I also work with KCRW on occasion (the awesome NPR affiliate for Los Angeles and surrounding areas) , which is a lot of fun.  The people that work and volunteer there are great.  I’m happy to help them out, and sometimes I get something interesting for myself as well.

As for promotion, I send print promos about every 3-4 months and epromos about every 6-8 weeks.  And I try to do face-to-face meetings whenever possible.  I think face-to-face meetings are invaluable when I can get them.  In all honesty, I think print promos are what open the doors to those face-to-face meetings. My best guess is that most of the bigger editorial jobs I’ve gotten are due to having a fairly consistent print promo campaign. And just to kind of reinforce that idea, Anna Alexander and Julia Sabot just featured some of my print promos on their Daily Promo post.  (http://www.dwell.com/post/article/promo-daily-aaron-fallon)

I also use the social networks too, mostly instagram and tumblr.  I can’t say if any work or meetings have ever come that way, but it’s working for me as far as staying on people’s radar and keeping them on mine too…

Heidi Volpe

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