The Photographic Journal

Connecting Without Connecting

Essay 438 • Apr 27th 2020

I love working with clients, but I really really have fun working on personal projects. During quarantine, not being able to connect with people and work creatively affected me a lot. After two weeks of trying to cope with the new mental space I was in, I finally had the idea to try doing a shoot via Facetime. It was something I thought could be fun and challenging, but also would give me a way to connect with people I had been wanting to work prior to quarantine, but just didn’t have the time. That part of it all was very important to me because it made me feel like I was working on something in spite of quarantine and not because of quarantine. In saying it that way, it felt defiant, and made me feel like I was in control of something again. Lastly, it was important that the images still felt interesting to me despite being taken via Facetime. I know that using an unconventional tool adds an extra degree of difficulty but I didn’t want people to need that piece in order to think it was good.

Being in quarantine has made me slow down in all aspects of all my life, including how I approach shooting. I’m thankful for the lesson, and hoping to continue finding new ways to challenge myself in the days ahead!


Marcus Smith

His early love of colouring books shaped his confident use of light and distinctive color palette. And as a nine-year-old, he would hire his drawing skills out to his less-talented classmates, an early example of his hustle. Marcus studied Business Economics, and it was in college he first became interested in photography, shooting his musician friends. On graduating, he followed his creative instincts, albeit with a savvy sense of supply and demand from his studies.

He describes himself as a chameleon, able to adapt his style to both an intimate one-on-one shoot and a full-scale ad production. He likes to over-prepare in advance, but on set he is reactive, finding the real and the stripped-back shot in even staged scenarios.Shooting local high school sports teams he developed a raw, authentic look which stood out from the comic-book superhero style that was then in fashion. He was ahead of the curve, and has gone on to shoot superstars like Serena Williams, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant’s end-of-an-era retirement campaign for Nike.

Other clients include Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple, Adidas, Asics, BEATS by DRE, Bose, ESPN, Gillette, GQ, IKEA, Nike, The North Face, Pepsi, Powerade, Puma, and Reebok.
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Model: Olivia L Burgess