It all started a few weeks ago when a photographer I had never heard of wrote me a note saying he was in town from Vancouver for that day only- he knew it was super short notice but could he show me his book? Well, I was out of town so no, he couldn’t. No worries, he followed up saying he would pop his book in the mail for me. Unsolicited but… OK.
Then, a while later I got this note:
Hope all is well in TO. Amazing how time just seems to zip by. I wanted to let you know that my portfolio is heading your way via FEDex. It should arrive in the morning. Wanted to let you know that there is no need to send it back feel free to hold on to it, share it among friends, share it among foes, swat flies with it, well you get the point, it’s yours to keep. Would love to hear any and all feedback, careful I bruise easily :)
Seriously though I really appreciate you taking the time to look at my book. I know how little time there is in the world..so I’ll stop rambling in this email, enjoy, cheers. Evaan Kheraj
I liked his tone and lucky me, the Fedex package contained this:
Now, as I’m always quick to point out, I don’t spend a lot of time with fashion photography. But Evaan’s book was a joy to receive: it is beautifully simple, it flows well and the photography is solid- with a few super stellar spreads. And, it was a pleasure to see Evaan’s work for the first time, as ink on paper. (His site needs an overhaul in my opinion- mostly due to the excessive load times of galleries and images- it was hard to find the great work I saw in the book).
It’s common for me to look exclusively at work on-line when considering a photographer for a job. Lately though I’ve been second-guessing this process after hearing an Art Buyer (in Adbase’s Art Buyer’s Lounge series) talk about how important it was for her department to see a printed book so that they could assess how the work reproduced on paper. Hunh… good point, looking good on-screen can be much easier than in print.
But wait, there’s more. Evaan is also dabbling in still life and sent these as a follow up:
I asked him some questions:
This seems like an expensive proposition- printing these portfolios as leave behinds. Is it worth the expense?
The idea with these books is to be more targeted. Rather than do a mass mail-out, that really could cost the same, just focus on specific clients, art directors, magazines, etc. The goal is to build a relationship and understanding of what we have to offer. Because we like to take a cinematic or story-like approach to the work, it’s difficult to isolate one photo for a mail-out so the book just makes more sense. We also liked this more traditional way of presenting the work. It’s like information overload right now, everything is reduced to micro bites, but in large volumes. We just took the complete opposite stance. It’s more our speed.
Wow, I love how thoroughly you’ve thought through this strategy. What has been the response to these books? Anything dramatic?
It’s been good. The books get the conversation going right away and are a great segue for us to elaborate on the work itself. The idea with the books is that they are the portfolio, but if the client would like to keep them, then we are happy to leave them behind. It gives them more time to get to know our work. So far, everyone we’ve seen has asked to hold on to them.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself for context- how long you’ve been shooting, etc?
I studied multi-media and come from a design and video editing background. When I met my wife Luisa Rino, she was the Fashion Editor for Nuvo magazine and saw some of my photography work and encouraged me to go in that direction. She was about to go freelance as a stylist so eventually we teamed up to do fashion together. I’ve been shooting fashion for about three years now, but have always loved travel photography. I try to marry the two as much as I can. For example, the past two years we’ve spent a lot of time traveling, working, and meeting people. We’ve gone to Milan, Paris, New York and Budapest to really bring that context of location to the portfolio.
I like your still life work a lot- is this is a new area for you?
We’ve always done the still life. It fits in as an extension of fashion at times, and I love being able to work on still life in a location setting. Luisa and I recently did a shoot in Tofino for a spring issue of enRoute that pretty much worked on every level in terms of the work we love. It had location, still life, people. There was a great story to tell in this shoot.
Is that you playing the piano on your site?
I wish. Some of those pieces have such a haunting feeling to them. Recently we’ve been looking to bring more of that beautiful creepiness to our work.
On that note, I’ll leave you with a few last gems from Evaan: