• D&AD Awards 2018
    Extended Deadline 28 Feb
  • Extended Deadline
  • 28 February
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Next Photographer Award Winner 2015 – Jeff Brown

In 2014, in partnership with Getty Images, the D&AD Next Photographer Award launched – a brand new award to uncover the very best up-and-coming photographers and promote them back to industry.

Below, we catch up with the inaugural winner Jeff Brown to discuss the challenges, processes and key to his success, and to find out what’s next for the Next Photographer Award winner.

Where did the idea for the shoots come from?

A friend asked me to make a picture. I thought red meat was a good way to go for a single man's kitchen, a nice size butcher block and the plate for color. We sliced old crusty bread for crumbs, neglecting cleanliness. There was a tipless bone knife hanging around. Throw in some red light at the back to suggest heat and voila. A photograph for the kitchen.

This is taken from a series of photos all of which were, from the outset: "Let's style this thing, give it a feeling of action or cinema, and let the story come afterwards." In this case, our model was wearing a red top, and when she put on the rain bonnet it popped into our heads that the scene was referential to Little Red Riding Hood, especially with the trees behind. We asked our model to go with the idea that a big bad wolf is going to eat her, she was going to die, and they'll be no happy ending. Just add water.

The Cabin was photographed as part of a summer travel package for Bloomberg Businessweek. The real issue with this photograph was timing, daylight was a problem. I had to run around with a light and paint it in with PhotoShop. We made the smoke by burning a Bud Light box. If you want a fire to smoke quick and thick, burn colour cardboard.

Describe your process when capturing images.
Problem solving. No matter if you're being asked to do something similar to what you've done any number of times, or doing something you've never tried before, invariably, something comes up to make the situation different. It's always good go into every shoot with a fresh mindset.

What kit do you use?
Speedotron, Norman, Lowell, Arri, Canon 5D MII, Cinefoil.

What has been your biggest challenge?
From getting your first big job to receiving an amazing award as Next Photographer, buying printer paper to making estimates; the biggest challenge is the whole nature of the business. I wouldn't trade it for the world.


What has been the key to your success?
Keep working and know it's going to all work out if you stick with it and want every second of it all.


How valuable are self-initiated projects?
Self-initiated projects are invaluable. It's hugely beneficial to work with your own ideas and experiment. When you have a job, you rarely have time to throw something out there and get weird. Sometimes getting weird can be terrible. But sometimes getting weird can be great and you have something new and exciting for all to see.

How important are competitions and award shows for creatives?
They're important to gain exposure. The more people see your work, the better.  

The D&AD Next Photographer Award unearths the best new photographic talent and promote it back to the industry. The competition is open to new photographers with less than three years professional experience.

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