Art Producers Speak: Reed Young

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 Buyer: I nominate Reed Young. He is an editorial photographer whose work has so much story in it that I always stop and spend time with it. He really deserves some exposure for being interesting, thoughtful in the topics he covers and insightful in the compositions he depicts.

NOTE: Reed was nominated twice by two Art Producers from different agencies that have great reputations.

Angelo Maggi, the Italian voice actor for Tom Hanks

Angelo Maggi, the Italian voice actor for Tom Hanks

“Goldie” crossed the border when she was 16 and started dancing at a topless bar where most of the dancers were illegal immigrants from Juarez. She soon left that life behind, and now she owns Goldie’s Bar, a tiny cantina in an industrial section of south central El Paso. The walls of Goldie’s Bar are littered with pictures of her hero, Marilyn Monroe: “I like that she often said that women should be liberated, that men shouldn’t limit them, that a woman should be the way she wants to be.”

“Goldie” crossed the border when she was 16 and started dancing at a topless bar where most of the dancers were illegal immigrants from Juarez. She soon left that life behind, and now she owns Goldie’s Bar, a tiny cantina in an industrial section of south central El Paso. The walls of Goldie’s Bar are littered with pictures of her hero, Marilyn Monroe: “I like that she often said that women should be liberated, that men shouldn’t limit them, that a woman should be the way she wants to be.”

Bryan Toovak is a 7-year-old living in Barrow, Alaska. He goes to this playground from spring to fall despite the below-zero temperatures. On this rather mild spring day in early May, temperatures rose to almost 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius).

Bryan Toovak is a 7-year-old living in Barrow, Alaska. He goes to this playground from spring to fall despite the below-zero temperatures. On this rather mild spring day in early May, temperatures rose to almost 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius).

Konishiki Yasokichi is a 45-year-old one of Japan’s most recognizable celebrities. Now that he’s retired from Sumo Wrestling, the sport that made him so popular, he’s become a hip-hop artist and host of his own children’s television show. He was the heaviest sumo wrestler of all time weighing 580 pounds(264 kg). Two years ago he underwent gastric bypass surgery and has lost much of the weight that previously threatened his good health.

Konishiki Yasokichi is a 45-year-old one of Japan’s most recognizable celebrities. Now that he’s retired from Sumo Wrestling, the sport that made him so popular, he’s become a hip-hop artist and host of his own children’s television show. He was the heaviest sumo wrestler of all time weighing 580 pounds(264 kg). Two years ago he underwent gastric bypass surgery and has lost much of the weight that previously threatened his good health.

Felicia raises three of her grandchildren in small community deep in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic. The family was supported by her husband’s pension until three months ago when he passed away. She lives in one of the few barracks that survived Hurricane George. She believes that the Lord will sustain her during this difficult time in her life.

Felicia raises three of her grandchildren in small community deep in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic. The family was supported by her husband’s pension until three months ago when he passed away. She lives in one of the few barracks that survived Hurricane George. She believes that the Lord will sustain her during this difficult time in her life.

Seven days a week, 23-year-old Galson Mgaya rides from his remote village of Mtwango to the nearest city of Makambako, Tanzania. He straps 20 chickens to the back of his bicycle and then sells them in the city for twice what they’d go for in his small town. The trip takes him 3.5 hours each way, but it’s worthwhile because he makes about $8 each day. His daily profit helps support his parents and two sisters.

Seven days a week, 23-year-old Galson Mgaya rides from his remote village of Mtwango to the nearest city of Makambako, Tanzania. He straps 20 chickens to the back of his bicycle and then sells them in the city for twice what they’d go for in his small town. The trip takes him 3.5 hours each way, but it’s worthwhile because he makes about $8 each day. His daily profit helps support his parents and two sisters.

Many Brownsville residents say the area has more sneaker stores than after-school programs. Brownsville Brooklyn has only three sneaker stores. A few years ago, Penny began hosting an informal after-school program so that children in her building would have a safe place to go after school.

Many Brownsville residents say the area has more sneaker stores than after-school programs. Brownsville Brooklyn has only three sneaker stores. A few years ago, Penny began hosting an informal after-school program so that children in her building would have a safe place to go after school.

Minh Le is an unofficial spokesman for the Vietnamese community in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Approximately one-third of the town’s population is of Asian descent, and of those, most are Vietnamese. Adopted by an American serviceman during the 1960s, Minh returned to his native Vietnam in the ’70s to act as an advisor to the US Navy. When he retired from the Navy, he moved to Bayou La Batre and bought several shrimp boats, including The Sunrise, pictured here. After the BP oil spill, Minh outfitted his boats to help with the cleanup efforts.

Minh Le is an unofficial spokesman for the Vietnamese community in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Approximately one-third of the town’s population is of Asian descent, and of those, most are Vietnamese. Adopted by an American serviceman during the 1960s, Minh returned to his native Vietnam in the ’70s to act as an advisor to the US Navy. When he retired from the Navy, he moved to Bayou La Batre and bought several shrimp boats, including The Sunrise, pictured here. After the BP oil spill, Minh outfitted his boats to help with the cleanup efforts.

Comedian John Oliver for The Guardian.

Comedian John Oliver for The Guardian.

An advertisement for Dixan, an Italian laundry detergent.

An advertisement for Dixan, an Italian laundry detergent.

Bomb dog training school for Smithsonian Magazine.

Bomb dog training school for Smithsonian Magazine.

Inside the offices of Etsy for Inc. Magazine.

Inside the offices of Etsy for Inc. Magazine.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been doing freelance assignment work for 7 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I graduated from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
There are many. I’ve always been inspired by the work of Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. When I was in photography school, Steven Meisel and Steven Klein inspired me to try and become a fashion photographer. But I learned early on that it wasn’t fashion I loved but the stylistic use of lighting. So I applied it to what I was most interested in –- portraiture.

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?
I was never a good writer, so photography became an excuse to be a storyteller in a different way. I shoot at least two personal projects each year on subjects that interest me. For example I lived in Italy from 2006 to 2009, and while I was there I became fascinated with how American films are always dubbed into the Italian language instead of subtitled. After some research I learned that Italians have grown attached to the voices they associate with each Hollywood actor – so much that they’ve come to expect the voice of someone like Tom Hanks to always be the same person. This inspired me to spend a month in Rome photographing the dubbers in recreated scenes from their characters most iconic roles. Last month The New Yorker featured the story, which has already led to some exciting new opportunities.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
When it comes to advertising, I look at every assignment as the intersection of the creative, the client and me. It’s my job to bridge everyone’s goals into one successful outcome of which everybody can be proud. I shoot a lot of magazine assignments as well and they allow for a bit more freedom. The photo editor usually has ideas in mind, and they encourage me to interpret their ideas in a way that works best with my style.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
My first job out of college was in the art production department at McCann here in New York. I learned more in 10 months than in all three years of college. The experience allowed me to learn the business from the inside, instead of the usual perspective of a photo assistant. I learned that art buyers are drawn to work even if it isn’t what they are producing on a daily basis. Art buyers and photo editors receive hundreds of promos each week, and they basically look at them only long enough to throw them in the trash or delete them from their inbox. I learned quickly that it’s important to have a consistent style and to show work that’s hard to forget.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I’ve realized my best work comes from the heart. The beauty of doing personal projects is that I can market myself with the type of work I want to be assigned.

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Reed Young is an American photographer born in 1982. He grew up in Minneapolis and now calls New York City home. He shoots assignment work for magazines including Time, The Guardian Weekend, Fortune, Fast Company , Popular Mechanics and Runner’s World. Young’s work has taken him all over the world in search of stories that focus on the human perspective.

www.reedyoung.com +1 917.821.4449 me@reedyoung.com

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.

Suzanne Sease

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