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  • Welcome to my blog

    "I am a Boston-based commercial photographer and short film maker. This blog is a companion to my main website. Instead of simply offering up more photos, it is the place for behind-the-lens glimpses into campaigns, reflections on the photography/marketing industry, and a more expanded view of a shoot - not just the best image. Enjoy!"

On the occasion that I come across a particularly well made or useful piece of tech, I like to share it with you.  I had the good fortune to procure a set of custom made thumb drives that I am loving.

These come from Florida-based USB Memory Direct.

My drives are made from redwood, which is a warm, glowing wood with a lot of depth.  The cover is held on by two strong magnets, which give a satisfying snap when you close the unit.  Being a woodworker myself, I appreciate the quality of the craftsmanship.  The surface doesn’t have a heavy gloss or urethane, — it’s more like a dry oil that gives a nice sheen.

The logo applied is crisp – I mean really crisp (the “lozenge” in the center of my logo has a small opening in it, which they nailed, even though it’s only a couple of mm wide).  The logo doesn’t scratch off with your fingernails.  It’s simple yet bold, and smacks of integrity.

I pay attention to these details because the quality of the workmanship contained in the drive should be reflected by the drive itself.  This small piece of tech is a leave-behind for clients when there’s too much data to post it to my ftp.  It may stay on a client’s desk for years, so it’s a piece of advertising that I don’t want to skimp on.

Under the hood, these drives have 32GB of storage and a USB 3.0 transfer speed rated at 24-40MB/s.  This rate, of course, assumes the native copy buffer is empty.  For me to copy 8GB to the drive, it logged in at 8 minutes.  For clients, downloading this data off the drive takes a little less than 2 minutes.

Here’s the link to find wooden USB drives like this.  A professional company that sweats the details.  After all, that’s what it’s all about.

When it comes to photogenic companies, Partners Capital is high on the list. I mean, the pictures kind of take themselves.

Of course accessing the company is hard.  I’m not talking getting the gig – I’m talking about getting my equipment into the Federal Reserve Building in Boston.  It’s TSA with your shoes on.  Armed guards everywhere you turn.  Brave New World I suppose.

Unlike many companies where I’m brought in to shoot portraits and then we end up value-adding candid work, Partners knew it needed candid shots from the outset.  Of course now I’m shooting their portrait, too.

Here are some samples from our first corporate slice-of-life shoot.  Like I said, pretty squared-away.

This image contains photographs from 6 new clients in the financial, bioscience, and realty businesses.

It’s not that I don’t want to share what I’ve been doing since my last post 6 months ago, it’s more that I haven’t had a moment.

I’m thrilled to welcome a remarkable variety of new clients in that short time: thriving companies that have asked me to help engage their audience in new ways.  For most of these businesses, we’ve been creating corporate portraits and candid workplace imagery.

Whether you’re in finance or bioscience, realty or education, your business is going to level-up with engaging visuals.

A partial list of these new collaborators:

  • Bain Capital Double Impact Fund
  • Partners Capital
  • Fitch Law Partners
  • Verrill Dana Law Partners
  • Selecta Biosciences
  • CyberX Labs
  • AdmirX
  • Chestnut Hill Realty
  • Nantucket Advisors
  • Harvard Business School

More than anything, it’s word of mouth that has brought these diverse companies to my door.  So, a big thank-you to all who have passed along my name to colleagues.

What’s this for?  Last month, a Kendall Square lifescience company asked me to help them launch their budding company’s website.  Cadent Therapeutics creates cutting-edge solutions to treat movement and cognitive disorders.

What’s so special about these portraits?  Team Page portraits are the face of the company.  At the earliest stage in a project like this, I ask: what should the portraits say about the team?  Some companies simply want to show what their employees look like.  Most want to present polished professionals.

The Win: Not Cadent.  They’re all about the patient.  The goal is to have their empathy, passion, commitment, and hope shine through.

The process: Normally, I photograph people at a comfortable distance.  I want to be respectful of personal space, and normally position myself at a typical coffee-conversation distance (see, for instance, my creative portraits for Surface Oncology, a similar Kendall Square life-science company).  For Cadent’s portraits, though, I used a shorter prime lens, narrowing the shooting space to give intimacy and closeness.  I worked with team members to be in touch with the motivations that drive them, to open up and show both strength and vulnerability.

If you think about it, that’s actually a pretty extraordinary thing to ask someone who may not be psyched to have their picture taken in the first place.  But Cadent embraced the idea and ran with it.

The results:  The simplicity, starkness, emotion, and optimism that shines through these portraits is really satisfying for me.  Kudos to my client for asking pictures to work harder.

See for yourself: check out the creative executive portraits on Caden’t Team Page with this link.

In their words: David was recommended through another colleague in the biotech space and we could not be more pleased! We requested that he take both headshots and team page portraits, and man did he succeed. After a brief discussion of our goal he successfully translated our images into works of art. Cannot express how pleased we are!!  –Amber Trzeciak, Cadent Therapeutics.

David is helping to brand the Executive Education Program that Harvard offers to global executives.

I’m excited to be collaborating with Harvard Business School.  We’re creating imagery to illustrate the culture of their Executive Education Program.

This is a very cool program.  The students who participate come from all over the world (though I’m not sure that “students” is the right way to describe seasoned CEOs, CFOs, and top execs from some of the world’s most prodigious companies).  Some of the programs are 7 weeks long, with participants living on campus and forming tight-knit groups.  Some are immersed in leadership training and others are doing intensive focused learning in their specialties.

From a visual perspective, these are great people to photograph.  They’re focused, dignified, and wear their curiosity on their sleeves.

How wonderful to pause from the daily work grind and immerse yourself in this community.  I imagine the real-world experience changes your perspective on education.  I spent 7 years teaching evening classes at New England School of Photography, and most of my students had day jobs.  Truly, they were more motivated than the students I taught at Art Institute of Boston, who were taking my class as part of a 4-year curriculum.

Sometimes it helps to step away from the educational process for a little while and then come back to it.  If you’re an exec, you couldn’t pick a better place than Harvard Business School.