Visual Communication

Team Snapshot: Practical Advice For Brands Looking To Stay On-Trend

By EyeEm Team - 5 min read

We catch up with our Jr Business Development Manager, Stephanie Cortazzo, to find out how her background in art and photography has equipped her to guide brands and support emerging talent.

Working from our New York studio, Stephanie’s previous experience within the photography industry has been instrumental in growing our platform in the US market. A trained fine-art photographer well embedded in the art world of NYC, we caught up with Stephanie to find out how her enthusiasm for all things photography fuels the work she does here at EyeEm.

Thanks to our team members, creativity is the driving force behind every part of our business here at EyeEm. If you’re looking for new ways to approach you creative strategy or photo productions, reach out to Stephanie and the team

How Brands Can Feel The Pulse…And Do Something About It

You’ve worked and studied photography for many years. How has that experience helped with your role at EyeEm?

Understanding what makes a ‘good photograph’ is critical for brands operating in any sector. Although I spent my college career trying to define this, I’ve always thought that a good photo should evoke an emotion.

Successful photographers use visual metaphors to intensify that emotion. Our visual team does a really amazing job of defining visual trends and curating image collections, or ‘Lightboxes,’ that convey the feeling of our client’s brand message.

A photograph is subjective from the perspective of a creator, yet from the Brand Director’s point of view, it is objective. I love working on the sales team because I get to see it from both angles - practical and creative. A bit of left brain and right brain is the best way for me to help clients visualize what their next campaign can look like with our photography.

Working for the likes of Aperture, what would you say makes compelling visual storytelling?

A compelling story takes a stance. During my time as a Work Scholar in 2015, the editors were then working on Aperture’s iconic ‘Vision & Justice‘ issue which addresses the role of photography in the African American experience. I remember seeing the bright orange cover with Awol Erizku’s image for the first time. I felt so inspired that a photo organization as influential as Aperture gave an opportunity to an Ethiopian raised emerging photographer from the South Bronx.

Looking back, I have so much respect for the organizations, including Aperture, that took a stance before it was a political movement. What has been positive is the global alignment we’re seeing in the editorial world. The precedent has been set that representing Black photographers and voices is no longer optional, a suggestion, or a groundbreaking notion.

Cover of Aperture magazine #223 (Summer 2016), featuring Awol Erizku, Untitled (Forces of Nature #1), 2014

“You can be true to your brand identity but also recognize that we, as a society, can do better.”

What advice would you give to brands to help them keep up with the social discourse of modern times?

Take a stance on current events and be confident and courageous with your messaging whether it be subtle or loud. Better subtle then no response at all.

How can brands source responsive, relevant, and diverse imagery?

It’s so easy for consumers to see through marketing tactics these days. It’s even more obvious when a brand is being a performative ally by band wagoning and scrambling to hire a Black photographer or feature a Black models just to gain credibility. That is not genuinely creating space for Black imagination and innovation in my opinion. You can be true to your brand identity but also recognize that we, as a society, can do better.

It’s much better that editors, writers and creators take a moment to learn and reflect before acting so that the action has an intention and we are all holding ourselves accountable to be inclusive, open-minded and forward thinking.

“Young artists are not afraid to take risks and they don’t play by the rules.”

Stephanie volunteering with Aperture’s OnSight Education Program

What’s been the most critical thing you’ve learnt about supporting emerging talent?

I think it’s important that brands don’t judge talent based on their age or previous experience. As a photographer, you have to be given that one gig to prove your worth, whether it be through a referral, by chance, or social media recognition. All it takes is one director or curator to believe in your vision.

Young artists are not afraid to take risks and they don’t play by the rules. We see this over and over again with 20-something-year-old image-makers producing the most groundbreaking work at the moment. So I say to those bigger brands: don’t be afraid to support an emerging photographer. Maybe they haven’t landed a magazine cover but if their portfolio blows you away, then take a chance!

What motivates you to mentor at NYC Salt?

It’s interesting to work with young photographers because I was in their shoes 10 years ago and I understand how challenging it can be to find your photographic style as an adolescent when you are just finding your voice.

Gen-X students are keen to experiment and will constantly blur the lines of what makes a photograph by playing with alternative forms of image-making. They know that in 2020, anyone with a phone is a photographer, so they’re expected to raise the bar for creativity and bring new perspectives of photography.

What EyeEm photographers have you got your eye on at the moment?

Kojo Anim

Premium

Kojo first caught my eye in The Week On EyeEm

Kelvin Konadu

Discovered in our recent article; Photographers Share What Black Lives Matter Means To Them

Dimpy Bhalotia

N / VEA ★ CREME

Premium

Lina Vaitonis

Premium

If you’re looking for more insights on how to ensure your brand is on-trend make sure you download our free Visual Marketing Guide. Our experts use exclusive search insights to define the most important trends set to follow COVID-19 and share advice for making them work for your brand.

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