Zave Smith Builds A Bon Fire

A few years ago Joe Lombardo was hosting a party. He an invited dozens of photographers to show off their portfolios to a large group of invited art buyers.  His partner in crime Vince Nelson asked me if I would bring a camera and take a few pictures at the event.

“No way”, was the first thought that came to mind.  No way was I going to be the guy walking around a party with a flash on a camera.  It is not what I do.

This event was held in Noho Studios and I thought while I had no interest in covering the event; I thought it would be a blast to shoot portraits of all of the creative characters that would be at an exhibition like this.  My camera has a built in wifi and I thought that not only could I set up some real portrait lighting on Noho’s sweep, I could project the portraits in real time as I was shooting them onto the studios walls.  Suddenly instead of covering the event, I became part of the event.

The pictures which I titled the “New York Portrait Project” were posted on my website and blog.  They created quite a sensation among the very people who I wanted to reach out to.

Two years past and I heard that the Art Directors Club of Philadelphia was holding an outdoor concert and party at Philadelphia’s Piazza.  I decided to set up a portrait studio in the middle of the Piazza and do to Philly what I did in NYC.  This time though I decided to shoot both motion and stills of the creative types who paraded in front of my camera.  This second time not only did I create a web gallery of the portraits, but I edited both the stills and video into a 90 second movie, which I also posted to my website.

This short was very well received.  Within three months I was hired to shoot a major pharmaceutical campaign by one of the Creative Directors whose portrait was part of the Philly project.  I was also hired to shoot and create a 60 second commercial for Louisiana Tourism that was shown at this years “Essence Fest” in New Orleans.  There have been several additional projects that came directly out of and were inspired by both the New York and Philadelphia portraits.

In this era of caller ID and email blocking it is harder and harder for free-lancers to connect to the very people who might need us.  I believe that waiting and praying for the phone to ring is not very interesting.  One of our jobs as creative’s is maximize opportunity to create the buzz that getting exposure requires.  If you are feeling cold, go out and make a fire.

See more of Zave Smith’s photography here and his Philadelphia video here.

Also, check out out Zave’s Altpick page.

Go Build A Bon Fire.

This entry was posted in Altpick, Festival, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Zave Smith Builds A Bon Fire

  1. Bill Chance says:

    Really nice work – I love the idea of projecting the portraits in real time.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Carol says:

    Very inspirational…Get’s one thinking…..Thank you!


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