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Big Ideas

Day 19 Photography: Focused Creative Innovation

Jeremy and Claire Weiss of Day 19 Photography talk about competitive drive as the great motivator.

Day 19 Photography is Jeremy and Claire Weiss, a dynamic photography team based in Los Angeles that is unafraid to take risks when it comes to their work. Whether it’s their ability to convince subjects to simulate bloody noses or their non-traditional portfolio presentation, their talent and innovation has not gone unnoticed by the companies such as Nokia, DIRECTV, record labels Arista and Virgin as well as numerous publications. This year sees the release of their first book, Day 19: The First Ten Years. Behance took some time to chat with Jeremy about their motivations, strengths and weaknesses as photographers and business people.

The Weiss’ keep their eyes open and allow projects to develop organically. “One of newest project we’ve been working on this past year started simply by taking a 4×5 Polaroid of our friend’s kid, Audio Science.  We asked him to freeze for 10 seconds, because with a 4×5 camera once you focus and put the film in you just have to trust the subject not to move so they stay in the very small area of focus we use with that camera.  So we counted to 10 and at the last second he stuck his tongue out. I thought the shot would be ruined, but he hadn’t moved at all — he just stuck out his tongue, so the photo came out great.”

The result is dozens of rich, beautiful portraits of friends and celebrities alike, which they post new prints of every week in the Polaroid Project section of their site.Like so many other creative professionals, Jeremy finds his biggest challenge dealing with the business aspect; he found a way around the necessary evil so they can focus on what is important to them — photography. “I don’t like to talk money or deal with getting invoices paid.  The easiest way to take care of all that is to find a rep you trust and let them do it all.” He also realizes the importance of a good fit when it comes to outsourcing your business’ management. “They get a percentage of everything you make to basically do all the things you don’t want to do like dealing with invoices and reminding people you are out there and ready to shoot.  We are very lucky to be a part of the Giant Artists team, it’s more like a family atmosphere than a business one and it works. We love it.”

If I ever get lazy or unfocused I can just go to a magazine stand and it will kick my ass back into shape.

Focusing on shooting what and how they love continues to be a huge factor in their success as not only as individuals, but as a team. “Our mission is simple really, to continue having fun doing what we love to do.  Continue to document the world around us in an honest way.  Continue to work on projects that fulfill the need inside of us to shoot pictures of people every day.  I know I am motivated in a weird way by seeing what other people are doing and want to do it myself, its almost a jealousy thing.  I think I am in love with the hustle of everything.”

Motivation is seemingly not an issue for neither Jeremy nor Claire. “If I ever get lazy or unfocused I can just go to a magazine stand and it will kick my ass back into shape like Why are we not shooting for this magazine that we like? OK. Our new goal is to get work in this magazine.  It’s funny but it works.  There’s not much contemporary photography that we really enjoy, I know I don’t really like or get the whole point and shoot aesthetic that is still big right now.  I will always go back and enjoy books by the old masters of photography if I feel like I need inspiration shooting-wise.”

Comments (1)
  • RaviVora

    Their style is very unorthodox and makes for a unique look for LA.

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