We had the good fortune of connecting with Andy Post and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andy, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I thought I’d start with an easy one. As a kid, I loved photography. I was always fascinated by the sharpness and the other worldly look of a black and white negative. My family’s camera (yeah….WAY before cell phones) was a Yashica twin lens reflex. It was really hard to use as left and right were reversed in it. But the images were beautiful. While I was still in High School, I got my first SLR (Canon) and started working in earnest. Photography was never a career goal. I was always the math/engineering type and all the kids in my High School went into medicine, and things like that. So…I went into pre-med with an eye to psychiatry. In my first year, I was shooting for the school paper on the side. It turns out there was a REAL reason the Princeton turned me down as a math major. I also realized why they call certain first year classes “weeding” classes. It was clear that a career in medicine was not in my future. The guy in the room next to me was from Rochester New York, and suggested that my photos were pretty good and that I should consider being a Photographer. I had an uncle who I’d never met who swore that you could indeed make a decent living as a photographer, as he apparently had done. I applied to RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) which had a year long waiting list. But…they did have openings in their summer program where they took people who didn’t want to wait out a year. In the next 10 weeks I lived an breathed photography 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I was lucky enough to have one of those instructors you continue to think of and talk about well into your old age. I never thought about the career itself. Would I work in a corporate environment, mega studio, aerials, weddings? I just new I was going to shoot. As RIT was in the frozen north, most of my work was indoors, so, that kinda pushed me toward being a studio shooter. So…short answer? I bombed out of a direction that was clearly not right for me. and stumbled into something I love.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Another tough question. Are they all going to be this hard? Well, today, if you got to my website you will see that I’m selling myself as a food photographer. That direction is the only one I’ve ever chosen for myself. What does that mean? Like I said, I’m a studio/product photographer. I believe I have a very refined sense of light. An analogy…A violinist has 5 very small set of tools; 4 strings, 1 bow, 2 hands. But a virtuoso can use those tools to bring you to tears. As photographer, I can make light brighter, or darker, softer or sharper. That’s pretty much it. But how I use those simple tools is all the difference, Knowing which to use when to make any product look it’s very best comes with experience and awareness. For me, all products are shiny surfaces. If they weren’t we couldn’t see them. So I have only to work with what we want to see in the product. Shape, and features of all products come down to color and texture. I simply need to work with the client who birthed the product to learn what they love (and highlight that) and what they’d like to change (and maybe play that down) Over the years I’ve moved through simple table top products, to rooms full of contract furnishings, jewelry (I once shot the world’s two largest yellow diamonds cut from a single stone…accept for a set in the crown jewels), lots and lots of room sets, and now…food. Why food? I’ll give you two reasons. Generally I work with a small crew; myself, an assistant, and a prop stylist. If the shoot requires it, we’ll have a set builder as well. Everyone on the crew brings something to the party. I welcome ideas from anyone on the crew (I just ask that they run it through me before they sell the client on an idea that can’t be done in the current budget….know what I mean?) When you add a food stylist, it’s a whole new layer of creativity. I LOVE shooting food, but oddly enough, I’m not a foodie. I love the passion that the food stylist brings, and I work closely with them before they create the plate so we both know how to best place the food, to work with out light (or vice versa) so that the color and texture of the food make the viewer want to buy. Oh…the second reason. I mentioned that I used to shoot lots of contract furnishings. Now stay with me. Most people sit in cheap chairs and will never know the joy of a really well designed chair. Even then, regardless of how beautiful the shot, most people will just leave it at “Nice shot”. But on food shoots every one is talking about how their mom used to cook this dish, or the vacation they were on when they first experienced it, or that this is what they served at their wedding. Food evokes memories of lives shared. And that is pretty much my work ethic….sharing with friends. So what set’s me apart? Beyond the grasp of light, I’d have to say that they years of experience have allowed me to recognize the challenge of, and the solution to our product quickly. I’m not cheap, but I can deliver more and better that less expensive shooters. I pride myself on giving my clients as much bang for their buck as I can.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh….sorry. You’ve got the wrong guy. I’m always working on something, trying something new. If I go out at all, I’m going go my wife’s favorite places. Primarily Mexican food. Best High end…Javiers for original Mexico City cuisine. Best nice mexican food Meso Maya (killer Margaritas) . Best Tex Mex hole in the wall Avilas (My fave) Best Desert, The Cake Bar Best place to go for live music; The Myerson yeah that’s all me. I played the cello up until college…but that’s another story. If you want to HEAR that story, it will cost you a good dark beer..or two. Best good dark beer…or two…Liberty Tavern.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Yowzers! That’s a hard one. I was very fortunate to get summer jobs between years actually shooting in studios in Dallas. They were both an incredible experience, working along side “real” photographers, where I could drop lenses, fog expensive film and get all that “gear fear” behind me. So I’d like to thank Moses Olmos who saw something in me and gave me my first job. Moses was a first rate fashion and sports photographer, areas that I’ve never pursued. He gave me my first summer job working at Bearden Photography. In my second summer, I got a job working at “The Photographer’s Inc.” It was one of the really big houses in Dallas, and was “between shoots” as it were. I had nothing to do on my first day, and felt like a fish out of water. I was supposed to be working and there was no work. Before lunch on my first day, Dave Francisco of Francisco and Booth called me back (I’d interviewed earlier in the week) and offered me a job that payed a few bucks more per week. I think I was getting $400/week. So thanks Dave for inviting me into your new studio. Over the next 11 years F&B became Gregg Booth and Associates, the premiere studio in Dallas. It was a wonderful opportunity to grow and learn and I will be forever grateful of his support.