Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeffery Andre.
Jeffery, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I began as a commercial print model, while in college pursuing a dual degree in marketing and art (painting), but was always fascinated by photography and the creative process behind fashion campaigns and editorials. Years later I decided to try my hand at photography, as I needed a creative outlet once I was done with school. I began by shooting friends who were still modeling and using them as my guinea pigs while I learned lighting and the other technical aspects of photography. People and agencies began to take notice in my work and I became one of the many many many test photographers used by some of the top agencies in NYC. I kept myself busy freelancing with model tests or working with up and coming designers, but I quickly grew bored trying to execute on someone else’s vision. I stopped shooting for about a year and then moved to London, where I was able to get inspired again. I loved the moody minimalism displayed in the art and photography throughout Europe, and it really helped me find my own style and voice as a photographer. I consider myself an editorial portrait photographer. I’m not really that into fashion, but I love anything that makes the photo interesting or gives a unique silhouette. I’d still prefer to shoot someone in a simple t-shirt over whatever is the current trend in fashion…however, I would like to try to shoot some couture gowns!! My biggest influences till this day are Paolo Roversi, Steven Meisel, and Annie Leibovitz.
Has it been a smooth road?
I have been fortunate, as I have a career (Marketing and Creative Consultant) that allows me financial stability and enough flexibility to also pursue photography projects, but there have been occasions where I have attempted to go full-time with photography, and there are definitely struggles. How do you focus on shooting what you love when you’re filling your schedule with shooting what pays? How do you get noticed in an industry that seems to be more about who you know vs. how good your work is? How do you differentiate yourself when there are clearly stylistic trends that many clients want to jump in on? How do you stick to your style when everyone wants to you to copy some more famous photographer? It was all of these questions/struggles that made me take a step back on pursuing photography full-time, and putting myself in a position that would allow me to focus on polishing my own style, creating images that I love and can be proud of, and to sit back and be patient while people slowly take notice of my work…my style…my vision.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m using the rest of 2016 to just gather as much inspiration as I can. I really plan to take 2017 by storm and give my art the push that I finally think it deserves. One thing that I’ve dreamt about has been to have a gallery showing of my work…all large prints. I’m looking forward to starting work on that as I have a concept that is very near and dear to my heart, so watch out for it!!
Let’s go backward a bit – can you tell us about the most trying time in your career?
The hardest time in my career was when I was fired from the job that moved me from New York City to Los Angeles. I thought I had gotten my dream job, managing creative for a fashion brand, working on big campaign shoots and being on my way to the big time, but it was just something that didn’t work out. I learned that there are people who work in the creative industries that don’t do it because they love art and love creating something great…they’re simply on an ego trip and those people can be impossible. When that opportunity didn’t work out I felt like I lost my avenue into the creative world like I wouldn’t be able to continue making connections and learning from creative minds that I admired, but it was actually quite the opposite. Losing that opportunity made me focus on my own voice as an artist and gave me, even more, drive to produce phenomenal work and make my name known. The best revenge is success and one day that company will be bragging that I used to work there.
Are there days when you feel like you’ve done everything you wanted to, careerwise – the “I’ve made it” kind of moments?
I think my “wow” moment was when I got the opportunity to work with Margaret Avery. She is a living legend for her unforgettable role as Shug Avery in the Color Purple. I have seen that movie so many times in my life and I found myself photographing this beautiful woman. I always find it extremely humbling that someone/anyone who has worked with so many people in the creative industry thinks my work is at the caliber that they deserve. I’m always a believer that I will never be at a place where I know everything or can’t grow and improve, but it’s nice when someone stops and makes me feel like I’m “good enough”
- Website: www.jandrefoto.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: jandre_foto
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