Panelists Aidan Sullivan, CEO of Verbatim; Lauren Steel, Visual Director of Verbatim; and filmmaker and photographer Gillian Laub will discuss how they worked together to produce powerful, award- winning content with integrity, plus how the creative process evolved from start to finish.
Presenters: Aidan Sullivan Gillian Laub Lauren Steel
Location: St. Ann’s Warehouse
How does an award-winning commercial campaign come to life? In troubled times a client wants to illustrate the diversity, authenticity and true nature of a great country. To execute it well takes a lot of talent, collaboration, organization and of course, great ideas. Panelists Aidan Sullivan, CEO of Verbatim; Lauren Steel, Visual Director of Verbatim; and filmmaker and photographer Gillian Laub will discuss how they worked together to produce powerful, award- winning content with integrity, plus how the creative process evolved from start to finish.
Aidan Sullivan started his career as a staff photographer for a local newspaper in the U.K.
He then freelanced as a news photographer in Fleet St., traveling extensively to cover stories, events and conflicts in Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, India and Pakistan, among others. From there, Aidan became the Director of Photography at The Sunday Times of London and The Sunday Times Magazine.
During that time, Aidan also cofounded image.net, a leading distributor of high-resolution publicity materials for major entertainment companies. Getty Images acquired image.net in 2004. In 2005, Aidan moved to New York and became Vice President of Photo Assignment for Getty Images, managing editorial and commercial assignments via Orchard and Global Assignment. In 2009, he created the new Reportage division, which attracted a number of internationally renowned award-winning photojournalists, and is now considered one of the leading sources of documentary photography.
In 2013, with the rapid decline in editorial budgets, Sullivan focused on the rapidly expanding CSR market, which led to his decision to launch Verbatim, a new and unique agency representing internationally renowned photojournalists and videographers who are not only highly experienced in photojournalism, but also adept at commercial and advertising photography. Collectively, they have been assigned by all of the major publications globally, received every prestigious editorial industry award, and have worked with many of the world’s leading Brands, NGOs and Foundations.
Gillian Laub is a photographer and filmmaker based in New York. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in comparative literature before studying photography at the International Center of Photography, where her love of visual storytelling and family narratives began. Laub’s first monograph, “Testimony” (Aperture, 2007), began as a response to the media coverage during the second intifada in the Middle East, and a desire to create a dialogue between apparent enemies. This work is comprised of portraits and testimonies from Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, Lebanese, and Palestinians all directly and indirectly affected by the complicated geopolitical context in which they lived.
Back in the U.S., Laub spent over a decade working in Georgia exploring issues of lingering racism in the American South. This work became “Southern Rites,” Laub’s first feature length documentary film, which she directed and produced along with musician John Legend for HBO. “Southern Rites” premiered on HBO in May 2015. Her monograph, “Southern Rites” (Damiani, 2015) and travelling exhibition by the same title came out in conjunction with the film and are being used for an educational outreach campaign in schools and institutions across the country. “Southern Rites” was named one of the best photo books of 2015 by TIME, Smithsonian, Vogue, LensCulture, and American Photo. It was also nominated for a Lucie award and Humanitas award. Laub has been interviewed on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, Good Morning America, Times Talks and numerous others. Laub contributes to many publications including TIME and The New York Times Magazine. Her work is collected and exhibited internationally. On the commercial side, Gillian has shot campaigns for brands such as PUMA, Airbnb, Fusion and ESPN.
Lauren Steel, a founding member of the Visual Thinking Collective. She is a visuals consultant for photographers, brands, media, agencies, foundations, and nonprofits, to craft authentic visual narratives. She is currently a contract photo editor at The New York Times, and she recently curated two floors of office space in Hudson Yards with compelling, socially relevant imagery from around the world. Previously, she was director of photography at Verbatim Photo, a subsidiary of Getty Images that she co-founded in 2016. Lauren was a part of the rebranding and launch of Getty Images Reportage, where she started the Emerging Talent program. She was at Getty Images for fifteen years. Lauren has collaborated with award-winning photographers to produce exhibits, photo-books, and campaigns worldwide. She has guest lectured at International Center of Photography, School of Visual Arts, and Columbia University, judged numerous photo competitions, and regularly reviews portfolios for various workshops around the world.