There are three basic types of art directors 1 The passive one 2 The aggressive one 3 The one to love Image for Batchi chocolates. This job that should have been fantastic, turned out to be the biggest hell I have gone through because of a disagreement with the art director. When the session was over and we went through the option with the creative team, it was apparent that I was right. This meant (as I caved in to the art director on the set) that I had to cut the image into peaces and reassemble the hole thing in Photshop to get it to look nice. Needless to say the art director did not work long in that advertizing agency which still is my client.
1. The passive one. The passive one is difficult to work with. No matter what you do you get no comments on the spot and it brings nothing but things and facts to the set. It can be very difficult to read weather this art director is happy with your work or not. Not until next time you see an ad from their advertising agency and they used an other photographer for a job that you thought you had landed. This type of art directors you will have to work on. It is difficult working the set and squeezing out of the art director its opinions but it has to be done. otherwise things can go sour. You have to make friends with them and get them to communicate their thoughts to you. Working a set is a ballet and you are the lead dancer that spins the thread, pulls the strings and makes sure there is a happy ending. And you better do it as it is your neck on the end of the line.
2. The aggressive on. The aggressive one is a horror story straight out of Hitchcock movie. He comes to the set with fully moulded ides of how things should work. He does not walk over you, he tramps on you and thinks that he is the star of the show. He will tell you how to put up the camera, at what angle, what f stop and so on and so on. He will be constantly running in to the frame and rearrange the model just when you found the perfect pose. He will then enter your holy space and try to look through the viewfinder . Touch YOUR camera. Even move the camera. Destroy every thing you have been doing. NO matter what, 3 meters circle around your camera is your sacred space, and no one enters that space unless invited. It is your workspace and your responsibility, so if any thing goes wrong it is your head that is going to fly. By now the whole sets feels your frustration and it is going to affect the model and the outcome. At this point I just like to throw them out. Get them out of the set and out of my life. A person like that we all know, art director or not. Keeping this person at bay is difficult but has to be done. It has to be done politely but you will have to pull the strings and make it clear that he is in your house and you run the show there. If not he can as well stay out site while you work. They came to you, to solve a problem, they could not solve them self. If you can not do that to your best ability, their client will not be happy. Remember you will have to deliver the job, because the job is far more important than the art director. Its the client of the advertising agency that you are working for not the advertising agency and not the art director. If you deliver a fantastic job the client does not care what the art director has to say about you afterwards. He wants you for the next job and if the art director is not happy with that, then the client will find an other advertising agency. It is therefore very important if the client is there or you get an opportunity to meet him, to make friends. He is the one with the money. He is the one that runs the show, but you can gain highly from being his friend. With out terrific art directors this campaign would never have worked out the way it did. It involved the party leaders and congress men of every political party in Iceland in not so normal situations. Amongst them the Prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs. This image I think is my favorite of Steingrímur J Sigfússon Party leader for left green party.
3 The on I just love The one I just love, is so much fun working with that it makes up for all the other situations. This one is passive but not overly.He is secure about what he wants. He will throw in questions from time to time. Yes he will question your work and why you are doing it this way but not that. He will come highly prepared for any thing to happen during the session. As you know things do not always work out the way their are drawn. He will draw the best out of models and keep the clients happy at bay. He will in fact add so much to the environment that you will start to sing while you work. No matter weather you can or not. He will challenge you to keep on working and when you both think you have got the shot he will ask you to try some thing different, just in case. He has artistic skills and communication skills and can tell you what he is after in few very clarifying words. He will tell you when you are heading the wrong way and what he does not like. He will in fact be your second eye, whispering his thoughts from behind you, with out disturbing you or the set. He will make you feel so good that you are willing to go to the worlds end just to get the right shot for him. I have had the opportunity to work with few of those and can not tell you how much I love working with them. Usually in those cases my images have gone noticed out side the world they where made for and also awarded.