Bridie Picot - Print producer and art buyer for Mother
Bridie Picot, print producer and art buyer for Mother, one of the most influential and coolest ad agencies internationally today, discusses the changing role of photography in the fast-changing world of advertising.
How did you start off in the industry?
An interest in photography and lack of a degree in anything in particular led me to a job as an assistant at a photo agency in New York.
How did your career progress from there?
From changing pages in photographers’ portfolios I moved on to the role of assistant producer and eventually producing. Working with various art buyers in advertising and seeing that side of things made me curious to swap to the commissioning side. I left New York to work at Mother London and I’ve been here for five years. Last year I started Downstairs at Mother, an exhibition and events space. I’m moving back to New York soon to work for Mother over there.
What does your job entail day to day?
Lots of meetings! Internal meetings briefing creative teams and reviewing work, strategic development of campaigns and meeting photographers, illustrators and external agencies.
From your point of view how has the industry changed ?
We would almost always shoot a print campaign as part a larger campaign, but we’re seeing less of that now as budgets are being channelled into one discipline, usually TV. I hope that it will soon swing back in favour of print campaigns. We’re starting to see that a bit with [Belgian beer company] Stella Artois at the moment who are doing some really nice print work.
What do you look for in a photographer and their work when commissioning?
A distinctive style, good taste and someone who understands the brief.
What do you expect from a photographer?
To bring their own thoughts and ideas to the table but also to be willing to work with the creative teams and hear what they have to say. It’s a delicate balance, especially if you’recommissioning someone based on their personal work, because you need to be able to give them a lot of free rein.
What makes a portfolio stand out? What catches your eye?
Consistency and originality. I’m looking for someone with a strong portfolio, a style that runs through the whole book rather than a jack-of-all-trades. There are so many photographers out there, and you can spot someone who has a passion for it right away. They are usually a bit obsessed. I like that.
How should a photographer approach you with their work?
If I like a link I’ve been sent I’ll ask to meet with them and see a portfolio. It doesn’t need to be relevant to anything that I’m working on at the time, because I’ll file it in my head and wait for the right job, which for them will pop up soon enough.
What are the most common mistakes photographers make when approaching you to show their work?
Getting angry if they can’t get an appointment. I always remember the angry ones. Do you have any tips for photographers who want to work for you? Be a nice person, have great work and be patient!
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