Photo editors and creative directors are constantly looking for photographers with a signature style and brand. But how do you develop them? In this panel, Marvin Orellana of New York Magazine will talk with photographers Kareem Black and Sam Cannon who’ve created a distinct brand for themselves, and are getting gigs because of it. We’ll also talk with brand consultant Jesse Reed who helps others establish their own unique look and feel. We’ll cover what branding means when it comes to your photographic style, your voice, your aesthetic, and the feeling you leave clients. Most importantly, you’ll learn how an effective brand can help you get more work, especially the kind you want.
Kareem Black is a New York-based photographer who went straight into shooting for Fader, GQ, Elle Girl, Sony Music Entertainment and Atlantic Records after graduating from the School of Visual Arts. He was featured as one of Photo District News’ “30 Emerging Photographers” and soon became the go-to lens-man for Reebok, Complex, and Steve Madden.
Along with his commercial work, Black keeps busy with a variety of personal projects including “Feels Good Let’s Go,” a website that depicts the more interesting participants in New York City nightlife. He has traveled to Haiti twice (once with Art in Motion and once with Healing Haiti) and mounted shows of his images taken there, with all money going to charity. Kareem has also been a part of charity missions in Bosnia and Sri Lanka.
Black has lectured at SVA, NYU, Pratt, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Professional Photographers of America and the PhotoPlus Expo.
Clients include Viacom, Malibu Rum, BBDO, HBO, Lays, McDonalds, Fuse TV, Adidas, Verizon, Kool Aid, Burger King, Pepsi, W Hotels, Vitamin Water, Maxim, GQ, Smirnoff, Flaunt, ESPN, Mens Health, Budweiser, Spin, Spike DDB, Sports Illustrated, VH1, MTV, New, Popular Science Magazine, People Magazine, Reebok, Atlantic Records, Samsung, Fed Ex, Inc Magazine, and Steve Madden.
Sam Cannon directs very short films. Creating in a space between still photography and video, her work explores the way we interact with moments in the age of the 15-second clip. Cannon garnered early attention with animated gifs she shared on her blog and since then has built a client list of over 40 brands, including Nike, Apple Music, and The New York Times. Aside from her commercial work, her personal practice focuses on the manipulation of time, space, and the female form.
Jesse Reed worked as an associate partner for Michael Bierut at the New York office of Pentagram Design, before he and his business partner, Hamish Smyth, founded the design office, Order. In addition to Order, Jesse is the co-founder of Standards Manual (also with Smyth), an independent publishing imprint that focuses on archiving and reprinting 1970s-era graphics standards manuals. In March of 2017, Standards Manual opened their first brick and mortar graphic design bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Reed’s clients have included Syracuse University, Wildlife Conservation Society, Hillary for America, Bobby Flay, Saks Fifth Avenue, Playwrights Horizons, and the MTA. As an amateur photographer, Jesse is most interested in documentary photography and focuses mostly on the urban landscape. He shoots in 35mm.
Marvin Orellana is currently a freelance photo researcher for Apple. Previously, he worked as senior photo editor at The New Yorker, deputy photo editor at New York Magazine, and photo editor at The New York Times Magazine. He is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology.