A couple of weeks ago, Glasshouse Photographer Ryan Pfluger teamed up with Apple to host a talk about his body of work. The event had a great turnout and we were thrilled to have Ryan share with others some insight on his work and process. Both Apple and Glasshouse promoted for the event through social media, personalized emails, postings at the store, etc. While I thought there would be a good-size crowd in attendance, I had no idea that we would receive the sort of feedback that we did. Not only was there a great attendance, but even photo editors and directors who couldn’t make it took the time to personally email and rave about the event. It was humbling to see so many people excited to hear Ryan’s insight on his work!
It seems as though personal connection is one of the key elements to establishing a presence in the photo industry. Mailings, emails, blog posts, and other forms of social media are a huge way to start those connections, and should be important components in a photographer’s workflow. However, I do think it’s worth it for photographers to explore additional avenues. Each photographer is different, so whether it’s opportunities such as a talk, presentation, interview, demonstration, etc., it’s important to make themselves accessible to their audience in a way that compliments their personality. These avenues allow people to hear a photographer share about his or her work, experience, and process, which can add a completely new dimension to the photographs. The audience at the Apple talk seemed to be a mix of both community members and photo professionals, of both aspiring and seasoned photographers; however, even with the diverse mix, questions asked at the end seemed to be garnered toward hearing more about Ryan’s thought process.
When I asked Ryan why he particularly enjoys having discussions and lectures with his audience, he said, “Having a dialogue is always a good thing, especially when you can inspire, mentor or advise. I think as an artist it’s important to make yourself accessible to people in many different avenues, whether it be a public talk, a critique at an art school or even a blog post about your experiences and work.” Ryan certainly has a gift of sharing his thoughts and advice with his audience. He has a large tumblr following, and posts updates daily. While every photographer has their own way of reaching out to the community, it’s evident that offering wisdom and experience is the natural dialog platform for Ryan.
Ryan: “For me it definitely comes naturally because it’s what I’m most passionate about. Being a mentor is something I really believe in, because when I was younger I didn’t have that many people that were accessible to me. I was on the cusp of the internet boom, so even then it was much more difficult to just search out for your peers or artists presently making work that you related to. Connecting is not something you can teach, nor is something that everyone wants to do. For me, it’s not something I have to work at. I’m honest about myself, my past, my work and everything in between. My personality is just another aspect of my work and why I make it. Connecting has been something that has been hard for me in social circles, and photography became my starting ground…it’s the voice I was looking for and has allowed me to share who I am and what’s important to me.”
Additionally, the event offered something new and unexpected for Ryan’s team. As photo reps, we continually aim to know and understand our photographers on a deeper level, because we are their spokesperson to the clients. When we present their books at portfolio meetings, we are the ones sharing insight on their work, aesthetic and personality. For us, hearing Ryan speak about his photographic goals and purpose helped reveal another element of Ryan and his work. While we know Ryan well, and view his work everyday, the event allowed us to understand him as both a person and photographer a little more. After the talk, I spoke with Ryan’s studio manager and fellow photographer, Eric Helgas, and it was interesting to hear him feel a similar way. “Seeing Ryan speak in public is a way for me to gain more insight about his work in a formal way. As his studio manager, learning about Ryan’s work through artist lectures helps me to be able to talk about his work to others, which I think is extremely important.” Eric also shared more about his thoughts on photographers being accessible to their clients and audience. He said, “I also think making yourself and your work accessible to the public is also necessary when marketing yourself. It helps people understand your methods of working and allows anyone to gain insight on a first hand basis.”
We loved having our first event with Ryan and Apple, and are excited to collaborate on future events with both Apple and other organizations. To see more of Ryan’s work, visit the Glasshouse Assignment website. To keep up to date with Ryan’s updates, subscribe to his blog, “Briefly, Ryan Pfluger.”
Wishing you a safe and warm day in the impending cold NYC weather!
-Marissa, GHA Associate Photo Agent
For more information about any of the Glasshouse photographers or for portfolio requests, please contact
Photo Agent, Glasshouse Assignment