“Do Something Different” by Melissa Hennessy

“Do Something Different” by Melissa Hennessy

No Plastic Sleeves is very pleased to welcome Melissa Hennessy as a guest contributor.

Melissa has no shortage of hats. A former photographer, with a brief stint as an agency account exec, she has 20+ years in the photography & advertising industry. The last 8 years have focused on building relationships with creatives & promoting the select group of artists she represents.


Do something different:

Like many agents & art buyers, I receive multiple types of promotions, both in email & printed formats, and the occasional pdf of a photographer’s portfolio. But recently, one of the artists in my group –Andrew Reilly – asked about creating a video of his print portfolio with edgy music that paralleled his style, but wasn’t shot from above, a la page turning style. Andrew had been using theAgency Access option to embed video within an email campaign to send behind the scenes videos of his work, but was looking for a way to create a more dynamic piece that highlighted a set of images with an edgier feel to them. “The piece was cut to music that pushed that concept and has been one of my more effective email campaigns in the past few months” We started showing it on the iPad at agency portfolio reviews & found it immediately had more impact than flipping through the printed book. See Andrew’s video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krjGFoGoGmQ

My curiosity peaked & we scoured You Tube, thinking others have done the same & found similar concepts with photographers Ben Watts, Christopher Wray-McCann, Margaret Malandruccolo, and agent Norman Maslov.

The piece I found on Ben Watts called “Lickshot” is actually his second, a follow-up to his book Big Up. Lickshot is a 58 second, highly personalized visual scrapbook and travel diary that reflects the incredible variety of Watts’ photographic subjects — high school ice skaters, Brooklyn biker gangs, and lounging sunbathers to world-famous actors, supermodels, and todays hottest musicians. The idea came from wanting to show more collage/in-your-face pics that emphasized his use of bold color. Watts has also received positive feedback & is working on a 3rd piece.

Wray-McCann’s piece is called Snap & you can view it here: http://wray-mccann.com/snap/.

I asked Christopher how the idea surfaced:

“I’ve been working with motion more and more over the past couple of years, and this past summer I had the extreme good luck to meet the amazing editor, Josh Bodnar (he won an Emmy for creating the title sequence for “Dexter”). Josh told me that he really liked the narrative / cinematic aspects of my work and mentioned that one of his hobbies is “Mid-wifeing photographers into filmmakers”, and suggested we make a video together. He asked me to pull 150 images that I really loved, & he’d take them back to his studio and play around with them for about a week. He said, “When I’ve got something I like, I’ll send it to you. You might love it, or you might hate it, but we can take it from there.” One week later he sent me the piece and I was blown away. I loved it. I basically decided not to change a thing.

“I think it’s a given to say that in the world we work in, things are moving faster than they ever have before. And keep getting faster. The sheer volume of images at people’s fingertips naturally shortens attention spans. At the same time this means that anything you create has the potential of a global audience. What I find the most satisfying about the video we made is that is a fantastic overview of my work. I think it gives a solid impression of my approach to photography and life in general. In 41 seconds.”

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive. For the creatives who hire me, it’s a buyers market. There are so many photographers to choose from, and at a certain level professionalism, individual creativity, and extensive experience are a given. But the most satisfying comment I’ve heard from several creatives I’ve never even met is that this video gave them a sense of what it would be like to actually work with me.”

I asked about the music used in the videos & all of the photographers did get permission to use their titles. There are also royalty free sites online with ample music selections. In addition to music, Los Angeles photographer Margaret Malandruccolo includes her own voice over in her video , describing her drive & passion to create pictures.

Whether created for a photographer’s own promotional piece, or as a “greatest shots show“, like the one created by agent Norman Maslov , these video scrapbooks are a unique way to weave one’s personality into a non-traditional overview of an artist’s work & let the video tell the story. With so many promotions coming through multiple channels, each of the above examples provides an entertaining way to get the viewer’s attention. Printed books, direct mail, sourcebooks, etc. are still all viable options in the creation of one’ s brand, and video is one more layer that goes beyond the static, two dimensional medium.


Melissa Hennessy


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