FEATURING: Jesse Burke
What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?
To me the words creative community bring to mind the commercial and fine art photography worlds. I spend most of my time bouncing back-and-forth between these two seemingly different yet interconnected worlds. They both bring very different, but amazing, things to the process for me in terms of my creativity. I think a collaboration is probably my favorite way to utilize members in a creative community. Working together always allows for a much richer and amazing project to surface. Whether you're dealing with still photographs or a film, having various opinions and thoughts come to the center of the creative process has always yielded the best results for me. In addition to my work world, my family also comes into play when I think of the words creative community. I've been working on a photo project with my three young daughters for the last five years so they truly are part of my creative community. We explore nature and document our journeys. It is a very creative process and, of course, very personally rewarding.
How did you discover your creativity?
As an artist my creative process comes at me from all different places. I do a lot of research in books and online. We also like to visit museums and are often out in nature and exploring the wild. This is where my main inspiration comes from, the natural world. Of course the media savvy culture that we live in is constantly bombarding me with ideas which are fueling my creative process as well. Instagram is a big source of creative feel for me.
Name the biggest challenge you have had in growing your business. How did you solve it?
For me one of the biggest problems I've had growing my business was acquiring work in the very beginning. We live in a time where there are so many amazing photographers that you really need to hustle hard to get your name out there and make a mark in the industry. For me coming up with and marketing my specific skill set and aesthetic was the way I solved this problem. I think that ultimately what was holding me back in the beginning was that I was seen as a fine artist and the commercial world was having a hard time digesting that and figuring out how to utilize my skills. Part of the way I solved this problem was by successfully merging some fine art and commercial projects into the same portfolio. Once I did this, the industry seemed to be able to figure out a really good use for my type of work and I started getting work immediately. It was really interesting to see this all take place over the course of a few years. There's a fine line between keeping it real and catering to the market. I found that the work that was more digestible allowed my clients an easier access point to see what I can do for them without selling out my personal fine artwork.
What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?
I would say my first big break in my professional career was getting signed by New York gallery ClampArt. Once I was able to prove that my work was worthy to be on the big stage in the New York setting with the Chelsea galleries the commercial world quickly came on board and I got a commercial photo agent and started getting editorial and advertising jobs. It's interesting to see that the vetting that was done by signing with a gallery added that much clout to my repertoire.
What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?
iPhone 6s Plus, phone charger, my wallet, Sally Mann's book hold still, binoculars (I'm a big bird nerd.)
Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession:
1. Be courteous and say thank you, OFTEN. I can't tell you how important common courtesy is in our profession and in life in general and how little of I see on a daily basis. 2. Trust your gut and shoot what your heart tells you. Don't feel that you need to cater your vision for anyone. Your vision is exactly what will get you hired. 3. You have to spend money to make money. Don't be afraid to buy things and don't be cheap. You'll come to regret it in the end and inevitably will spend more. I've learned this valuable lesson way too many times, trying to cut corners most often does not work.
Who are you following right now on Instagram for inspiration and why?
I follow all kinds of people on Instagram, that's the fun of it. I follow the artist JR to see the amazingly insane things that he does and what's possible in life. I follow a lot of mommy bloggers because I'm really into parenting and I like to see what's happening in the parenting world (There aren't that many daddy bloggers out there that I've been able to come across. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places?) All things Nike, they spend a lot of time and money investing in their Instagram and social media feeds and it is very obvious. They consistently produce beautiful pieces. I also follow lots of farmers and animal people.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Donuts and Duran Duran!
If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
1. My family (Although that's 4 things.) 2. Waterproof matches 3. Snorkel mask
What do your parents think you do?
Hang out with my kids and sometimes take pictures of them.
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