AGENT FOCUS: PROCESS
1 February 2019
Long-standing AOP Agent member, Kim Pappas from Process, talks to us about discovering the work of Open Award Winner Nicky Hamilton, running a successful agency as well as offering advice to photographers looking for representation.
© Nicky Hamilton. Best in Category, Open Award, Single. Awards 2017
You set up Process in 2001 - where do you get your inspiration from and how has that changed over the years since you started?
Originally, I was inspired to start the business through sheer necessity and motivation to provide for my young family. During the early 90s I was working in a small design agency as a Girl Friday, unfortunately my new-found career wasn’t to be and through no fault of my own I was unfairly dismissed!
I found myself the happy recipient of an out of court settlement for 7K. In the early 90s this was enough to buy me a few months of freedom and the capital to set up my own business. During my time working at the design agency, I was also working part-time in a neighboring photographic agency - which was my initial inspiration. I thoroughly enjoyed connecting talent with commissioning buyers and had a flare for presenting portfolios and championing the photographers.
I turned the absolute negativity and heartache of the dismissal into a really positive outcome. When I first started the business, I was juggling two small children and two other part-time jobs in order to support my dream of working for myself and being an agent. You need tenacity and energy by the bucket load to survive in this business!
The changes in technology and the advent of social media has created a very different visual landscape to the one I inhabited when I first started the business. We’re now saturated in imagery and bombarded with advertising on every level. Taking time out from a really hectic work schedule in London and being in the countryside is really inspiring to me. The peace and tranquility of just ‘being’ in nature is incredibly energising, I never thought I would say that 25 years ago! As soon as I come back to London, I feel the buzz and excitement of being here again. I’m hungry for all the visual stimulation that London, the Arts, and the photographic industry has to offer.
© Chris Turner
Tell us about the Photographers you represent
We represent a diverse and dynamic group of photographers with unique qualities and some commonalities. I’ve proudly represented Simon Winnall for six years, his career has been on an exciting and steep trajectory ever since. Simon is a strong believer in producing and investing in his personal work to best showcase his fresh, effortless lifestyle imagery.
Chris Turner also has the same ability as Simon to communicate at all levels with his clients, creatives and production teams. Chris has been a pleasure to represent; his creativity and technical expertise are second to none. Nicky Hamilton shares the same innate sense of perfectionism as Chris.
Nicky is able to conceptualise an idea into a cinematic set build and produce a shoot with such finite detail, it’s a joy to behold. I haven’t yet met anyone who doesn’t responded positively to Simon Webb’s fabulous personality. He really does light up a room with his infectious good nature. Simon's work screams colourful charisma with bundles of energy, very much like himself.
Trevor Ray Hart’s authentic, candid imagery focuses on the everyday. There’s an intimacy and quietness in his pictures that I find incredibly beautiful and moving. Dario’s image making has its roots in documentary. His work offers an intense and iconic view of the world around him, which I find enthralling.
© Trevor Ray Hart
Ryan Ball, our latest signing, has enthusiasm and eagerness that again shines through in his lovely work. You really can read a personality through a portfolio.
They are all hardworking, committed, intelligent, creative, yet sensitive beings. We pride ourselves on our long-standing relationships with them. We’ve made sure over the years that although the roster has a strong contemporary aesthetic, it also has a cohesive look as a whole. It has become a cliché in our office, but I do feel as though I have to fall a little bit in love with the photographers and their work in order to represent them. I run my business from my heart, and I feel incredibly proud and attached to the photographers that we represent. I am their number one fan!
Having discovered the photographer Nicky Hamilton (winner of the AOP Open 2017) at The Awards presentation party, where do you find yourself looking for new talent?
We like to attend events such as the AOP awards, galleries and private views. We’re constantly utilising social media to look at and follow photographers that we may be interested in representing. We’re introduced to up-and-coming photographers through our network of industry contacts and of course, there are multiple applications on a daily basis to the agency too!
© Dario Mitidieri
You’ve been a supporter and agent member of the AOP for many years, why is it important to you to have this connection with the AOP?
Throughout the years I’ve found the support of the AOP invaluable. We like to encourage all of our photographers to be members and to therefore have the opportunity to enter the awards, which I see as an important and crucial yearly event. The AOP provides a great marketing platform for the industry, as well as encouraging and promoting best business practice. By joining the AOP you are endorsing and supporting your own industry and encouraging the understanding of the legalities and terms surrounding our work. The legal support that the AOP offers its members is second to none. Whether it’s a new legal formality or a tricky contract from a foreign client - share it with the AOP! And finally, I like to be part of the AOP to stay involved and connected to all my peers and colleagues.
© Simon Winnall
What advice do you have for photographers looking for representation?
Pitch yourself with politeness, humility and style. We receive far too many submissions from photographers who are just sharing round robin emails - addressed “To Whom it May Concern”. Do your research, as it's easy to learn our names and to find out the style and ethos of our agency. Secondly, are you actually ready for representation? Learn your craft, gain as much experience as you can, develop your own distinct style, grow your confidence and own it.
Thirdly, agent-photographer relationships are not born over night. If you have an interest in a particular agency try to build a relationship with them and keep them updated with new projects. Appreciate that it may not be an immediate signing, but over time it could develop into an opportunity.
© Simon Webb
What’s next for your agency?
We’ve started the year with a refreshed roster. At the end of last year we signed Nicky Hamilton and Ryan Ball, whom are both fabulous new additions to our team. Both photographers bring creativity and innovation in the bucket loads and we’re really excited to be working with them both. All of our photographers are developing their ability to direct and create moving image. Most projects these days have a requirement for some form of moving image content and as an agency we are cultivating our knowledge around this area. It’s been a steep learning curve, but we whole-heartedly embrace new technologies.
The early part of this year will see us host a group exhibition on the 7th March at the Different Gallery in Percy Street, WC1. The show is a visual response to a poem that explores themes of love, hope, dreams and aspirations. We’re hoping to create an event that is both optimistic and celebratory during these uncertain times. All of our photographers are showcasing original works curated by us. Save the date – it’s open to all!
We’re enjoying the challenge of curating the upcoming exhibition and hopefully it’ll be a success that could become a regular event on the Process calendar. I still get a genuine buzz from seeing great photographic work, showcasing talent and ultimately connecting people. It’s a pleasure to work with such a committed and talented group of photographers and be backed by the strong support of a dedicated team here at Process HQ. We’re excited to see what the year ahead will bring and we’re genuinely appreciative of all of the opportunities along the way.