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taken pictures of what turned out to be gang tattoos around his eyes. He was pretty reasonable. We looked at the frames I had taken. I deleted the ones he was in. It was okay. I guess the key is to be honest about and pretty pragmatic about it. Most people seem to be fairly reasonable. And in some cultures the reaction to me taking pictures is incredibly positive. I was shooting in the port at Dubai Creek, for example, and the crew on one of the ships invited me to take a portrait of them on board. Everyone enjoyed this. Several families in Mumbai wanted to have their picture taken. Beijing is a wonderful place to shoot.  How does being a photographer affect your job as a creative director? Are there any photographic sensibilities you’ve had to abandon to finish a project for a client? How much can your personal preference shine through on campaigns? I feel that the best work happens when there is collaboration of experts and when everybody is allowed to do what they can do best. There obviously needs to be a bit of a tension and desire to move things forward. If we only did what we feel good about all the time and nobody ever left their comfort zone, no progress could be possible.  I enjoy hiring the right people and then giving them the freedom to do something amazing. On the other hand, I have never enjoyed getting the wrong people and then spending a huge amount of energy and time trying to squeeze some sort of useable results out of the relationship.  Working with someone who loves and knows what they do can be inspiring. Perhaps this is pretty obvious. But we often forget this.  I also try to work only on campaigns that I can morally feel good about. The nature of what I do makes me spend more time with the work than with my family. So it better be something I can be honestly passionate about. I love what I currently do. The work is not exactly easy at times, but it is very often very satisfying and inspiring. What does this have to do with photography? A large part of my job is to create connections between people and ideas. I need to have the ability to be reflective and understand why certain things happen in order to be able to either develop them further or to protect the state they are in. I need to constantly think about what the next elevation point could be for the brand, the visual universe. This includes photography. When the camera is in my hands, photography allows me to be more precise about and aware of moments and places. Photography, when the camera is in a photographer’s hands, is often a reminder how tough and yet rewarding making some amazing pictures can be. It is a bit like running through a foggy park in the morning compared to being part of a team in a triathlon. Both situations can be great learning opportunities if experienced the right way.

myself. And I make mistakes, of course. But I have certainly discovered that there are many and many fascinating paths to happiness and progress. Visually but also in the larger context of life and culture. Exotic and foreign is a very relative terms. Much of what you will intuitively do today could probably be described as exotic or foreign to most people living on this planet. It is fascinating to discover how we have evolved in so many interesting directions. And it is very fascinating to discover what connects us as human beings. The core of things. Many ideas and emotions are still quite uniquely local, despite modernity and global connectedness having created an artificial surface closeness. These local habits must be some very resilient ideas and emotions in many ways, otherwise they would not have a chance to survive. I hope they do. I am not sure if I am expressing it right. The differences and the similarities in the beauty of this world are probably one of the favorite things for me to discover. And working with brilliant people. No matter where they are.  Photography is sometimes about aligning elements that seem separate, and it is about showing layers that could appear to be just one if glanced over too briefly. It seems you’re a fairly avid Instagram user. Is Instagram changing the world of professional photography, or is it merely a hobby to pass the time? More and more pictures could lead to more and more good pictures. Instagram and similar social apps that encourage frequent and shared photography do a lot on a large scale but also a lot for the individual photographer; casual or professional. Social apps are a good reminder that there are thousands and millions of people taking pictures. And the challenge is to be able to see the frames coming into the stream as little points of inspiration and learning, not as discouragement. Photography as a shared experience. I try to think of Instagram as a virtual photo walk. We are all out there somehow looking at the world. We might be separated by time zones and large distances. But then we can also be right there, together on that tiny screen. On a larger scale, if the side effect is an increased visual literacy for more people, great. This could improve things for all. ✹

© Witold Riedel

What’s your favorite part of your job? I am very thankful that my work has allowed me to see so much of the world. And there is a big difference between visiting a country or region and actually working in it. I like collaborating with local teams. As you might have noticed, a lot of what I do is about a discovery process, a journey of ideas. My job in some ways is to find bridges between cultures or to be one

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Issue 4, 2012: ASPP's The Picture Professional Magazine  

The American Society of Picture Professionals is pleased to present the digital version of our quarterly publication, sponsored by Corbis Im...

Issue 4, 2012: ASPP's The Picture Professional Magazine  

The American Society of Picture Professionals is pleased to present the digital version of our quarterly publication, sponsored by Corbis Im...