The Joy of Shooting

I worked on a job recently with Robert Kastigar, a creative director at Eleven. Over dinner at a Thai restaurant somewhere in Arizona, we talked about photography, advertising, and life as creative professionals. Robert is trained as a designer and has worked on big projects at several top level agencies over his career. Not surprisingly, he loves photography, and has a deep understanding of the medium.

I know lots of AD's and CD's that keep cameras with them, that are solid photographers themselves. But I don’t know any that have done what Robert did — which is to take a one month sabbatical, go to New York, and spend every day walking the streets with a Hasselblad.  A month in New York, with nothing to do but walk around and shoot? Sounds pretty nice.

Robert’s images feel different. Probably because he’s not shooting pictures for his next print promo, for a client, or a contest. They feel like images that were made purely for the joy of making images, which gives them a freshness and freedom that I don't see much from full-time photographers. But what sets these apart from amateur snapshots is that they're also made with an understanding of what makes an image work from a lifetime of crafting visuals in many media.

Most of us working pros, when we're not shooting jobs, are shooting personal projects that we eventually need to show in order to get more jobs. The work we do usually needs to serve some secondary purpose, which changes how we make it, and how it's shared.

Between his images of New York and San Francisco, there is a wide range of work. Above is an edit of my favorites from both projects. Robert is currently represented by the 4x5 Gallery in San Francisco.