Jul 11 2009

what’s my motivation? – how do i respond to an assignment call

Published by at 11:07 am under documentary,marketing,process,visual concepts

When I talk with a client about an assignment I’m most interested in knowing all that I can about the project. I particularly interested in the end audience. To me they are always the client.

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The more information the better - telephone lines receding into mountain range during a rain storm

Assignment shooters are always working at pleasing multiple interests. There is the person that is ultimately paying the bill and often one or more people in-between. That is either an art director, designer, photo-editor or editor. And often the person in front of the camera gets thrown into the mix as well. My job is to produce a photo that pleases them all (and on good days me as well) – but the most important person in the process is the person that is looking at the photo in the finished context.

Since I live in the Hollywood area, my questions really all revolve around the old actor’s cliche. “What’s my motivation?” I want to understand the context of the communication. What’s the message? Is it an ad, a magazine cover or part of a larger story?

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What's my motivation? - Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe impersonators on Hollywood Boulevard

Is there a story (or draft) that has been written already – any other background material about the person or the subject matter? I also want to know if this is a free standing photo or is my mission to make the photo similar or different that the other images in the group?

All of this information goes into the visual blend-o-matic that helps to guide me in crafting the location and my approach to the subject. Some of the structure is very planned and logical and other part come from those magical unconscious connections…and that’s part of the fun.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

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