Trinette Reed and Chris Gramly take a zen approach to their process. They believe creativity doesn’t discriminate, and inspiration can come from anywhere — it’s a matter of being still and opening yourself up to that flow. Having some humility helps too.
What gets you up in the morning?
Creativity, beauty, and pushing ourselves to become better artists, to name a few. We love our work. It is such a gift to be in a creative field and to be self-employed, so getting up in the morning is exciting and new each day.
Where do you look for inspiration?
We use Pinterest a lot. It helps us keep track of trends in the creative marketplace. Staying current and noticing what the market is looking for is critical if you want to be successful. We also watch a lot of movies and TV and pay attention to advertising.
But we try to not limit ourselves. We find inspiration in all things beautiful — our environment, nature, our animals, other artists. Inspiration can come from the most experienced professional, a second assistant, or a teenager somewhere experimenting with digital mediums.
If we are inspired to do something, we simply figure out a way to do it and go do it. It is also helpful to maintain a good level of humility as a creative. This keeps you open to learning new things from a variety of sources.
What is the essence of creativity?
Creativity is ageless and does not discriminate; it is really just a matter of being open to it and stepping into the creative flow. The more “still” we get, the more we get into that flow, and you never know what is going to evolve from that place.
We are given “credit” for what we create, but in reality there is a lot that happens in front of us and we are the ones capturing those moments. Sure, we direct talent, scenes, styling, etc., but sometimes the most beautiful things happen without much influence. If you are present enough to notice, it can be a wonderful experience.
Whose style do you admire?
We love the detailed styling Wes Anderson uses in his films. We’re not obsessive film buffs, but we love anything visually compelling, including good sci-fi. Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain is an intensely beautiful film that touched us visually, mentally, and emotionally.
What drew you to video?
Shooting motion allows us to expand what we were already doing as still photographers by introducing more storytelling. We have always been drawn to video but felt limited by the technology. Now that technology is catching up and becoming more available, we’re excited to dive deeper into this craft.
How has shooting footage changed how you work?
When we decide to shoot motion on a stock shoot, we always set out to tell a story and then edit the footage to create a short film. We believe this helps in creating more usable clips.
Chris shoots the motion content, while I shoot still images. Often we do this at the same time, and it makes for a nice congruent feel between the stills and footage. But we have to let our talent know to stay in character because many of them fall out of character once the still camera’s shutter stops clicking. However, if things get too confusing, we’ll stop shooting stills and shoot only motion.
How do you aim to put your mark on stock footage?
Our goal is to always be telling a story. Each clip must have a moment, and that moment must be clear, making the clip useful to an editor.
What’s your most memorable shoot?
In 2013, we did a shoot at Wilbur Hot Springs in northern California, a remote location we’ve visited personally. It’s off the grid — no Internet or cell connection — and they had never allowed cameras into their clothing-optional Japanese-style flumes (soaking tubs).
We had the privilege of shooting there over the course of two days. Because of its remoteness and the fact we had to move efficiently around the property, it was a bare-bones shoot with minimal gear. Our model was perfect and everything fell into place for a beautiful result. A few images from it will be in the fall 2014 issue of Kinfolk.
What are your three must-haves on a shoot?
Each other, cameras, and a clear head.
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Meet Derek Armstrong McNeill
Derek McNeill has been telling visual stories most of his life. The Seattlite first honed his eye working as a photographer in the US Air Force, then worked in advertising art direction and design. He now divides his time shooting his own documentary projects and stock footage. “After carrying around a camera kit for years, telling visual […] Read more