Tim Tadder’s Sculpture Athletes Series is the Perfect Example of the Power of Personal Work. See Why Here.

Before the first conversation I had with Tim Tadder, I spent a lot of time online, reviewing his imagery and reading what he himself and other people had to say about his personal work.  I was drawn to his style of photography for sure but what most intrigued me was his commitment to personal work and desire to create imagery that inspired our industry and influenced what they created next. 

And, inspiring is exactly what he is doing with his newest series, Sculpture Athletes.  A collaboration born from a Behance connection, it is gaining international attention. 

It is only natural then that the blog post that accompanies this series would be about Personal Work.  Here is what Tim had to say on that subject.

“I love creating new work. Every assignment is an opportunity to create portfolio pieces and images better than the last. But ultimately these assignment images are collaborations between many sets of creatives and clients, and are not truly representative of my unique vision. I became a photographer to share MY creative vision and I still have a passionate desire to bring something unique into our visual vocabulary.

The only way I really share how I see, is to become my own creative director and execute projects for myself. Naturally when I began my career (like all photographers) all of the images I created were made for myself as a testimonial to my skill sets.  While its true that from time to time I lose focus on creating personal work, life and client demands take precedent. I have learned that when life slows down my schedule and gives me windows, I have to capitalize and I attack those slow times by executing my own concepts.

Sometimes personal work is as basic as a single portrait, but recently I’ve been joining forces with other specialist (retouchers, cgi artists, illustrators) I admire to bring forth more complex and conceptually unique imagery. If I am lucky I can do 6 to 10 personal projects a year, with some being simple one day shoots with little post production and others multiple day shoots with travel and elaborate CGI post. It all depends on the concept, the team and the window of opportunity.

One thing that I have to mention is that I have a great team of people that help me produce these personal projects and they all believe in my vision. Retouchers, CGI artists, wardrobe stylists, make-up artist, set builders, technical experts, all work so hard, donating their time to make these visions a reality. Without their collaboration very little would be possible.

When we are really lucky, our personal projects inspire commercial work, and in 2013 we were blessed to benefit directly from clients turning our personal creative in commissioned campaigns. Personal work turned directly into my 6 best jobs of this past year. If I could say there was any one formula for success in this business, it would be to be relentless at creating your own projects and getting them out there. This mantra proves true time and time again.

Looking back, my most successful personal projects in 2012 which lead to a great 2013, were very conceptual, and extremely unique. I deliberately set out to do things differently and not work on refining execution. By that I mean I did not want to execute a better portrait on white, or shoot another runner at sunrise, (while I did do that as well) the stand out projects were ones where I took big creative risks, and tried something totally out there. I think that is what set them apart!

This past year we worked on some amazing personal projects but not nearly enough, assignments and life got in the way a little too often. As the year was drawing to a close, I started to really stress about getting some of my concepts out of my head and into images. Fortunately December gave me the window I needed to produce some of the visuals I was dying to get out. Not every personal project is going to lead to a commercial shoot, but creating great new work always moves you forward.”


To see more of Tim’s personal work of Tim’s check out these links:

Water Wigs

FIsh Heads

Motion Air



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