WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m Aaron Geis of Aaron Geis Photography and I do professional, advertorial and commercial photography. Throughout the 24 years I have been doing this, I have worked with many different companies, from small businesses to massive corporations and have done a variety of different shoots including; lifestyle, interior, architecture, portraiture, editorial, food and 360- degree shots.
WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT?
I think what makes me different is that I’ve had the honour of working at the top level from even the very beginning of my career. I started off by assisting on some really sophisticated advertising shots, working on a Nike and a Jaguar photoshoot, both of which were incredible experiences.
The Nike shoot was in Singapore and was during the early stages of digital photography. We took photos of 600 employees with a biography of each that could then be accessed from a computer. Looking back on it, it feels like a precursor to social media, it was really exciting!
The Jaguar shoot was massive, it was like working on a movie. There were car stylists who would do things like weighing the car down so that it would sit lower for certain photos. They even had a sun chart so that they could get the right lighting which was really sophisticated at the time.
IF YOU COULD VISIT ANY TIME AND PLACE IN HISTORY WHEN / WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
I grew up in the Pacific North West, and so I would like to travel back to experience what the area was like before the Europeans came and altered the landscape. The whole West Coast of America was covered in trees and abundant wildlife, I think it would have been really beautiful. If I could somehow go back all those years with a camera that would be amazing!
WHAT’S YOUR SUPERPOWER?
I’m not sure if it’s really a superpower but I’d say that I’m pretty good at keeping my head screwed on in stressful situations, which can be really helpful when working on a shoot. It can be difficult to be creative and collaborate with a client to keep them happy when you’re in a busy environment. I once had to do a shoot in a bakery type shop at lunchtime and it got pretty chaotic. People were stepping around the light stands, and we had to wait quite a long time to get the shots we wanted.
I have had some other stressful moments in my career where I’ve had to stay calm. One of the worst times was when we were travelling in the Serengeti national park and the Land Rover we were in got a flat tyre. I had to get out and change the wheel with lions around. That was pretty crazy, the jack didn’t work at first because it was full of dust and that minute where it wasn’t working was probably one of the longest of my life!
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
The best piece of advice I’ve been given actually came from an art director who I showed my portfolio to. I’d known him through some previous work and wanted his opinion. He told me that although my artwork was great and to a high level, it needed to be more personal and focus on my own style.
This piece of advice really reshaped the way I approached my work and actually led to me going to Asia. My whole life would have been very different had I not taken his advice and gone travelling. I would never have met my wife and I probably would never have moved to the UK.
WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU RECOMMEND AND WHY?
The book I would recommend is “Songlines” by Bruce Chatwin. The book is about how the Aboriginal Australian people would have songs that were hundreds of verses long to guide them across the outback, even including the locations of upcoming water sources. His words really convey how people see things so differently, the Aboriginal people managed to survive by memorising all this complex information in this manner that is quite different to the way we use language. It really captures how people relate to the world in such diverse ways.