books

2014 YEAR RECAP

I went for a run the other day and starting thinking about my ‘2014 Recap’ post. I’ve done one for the last five years; 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. It’s a lot of work putting it together and I asked myself, ‘who actually reads it all?’ Obviously you… so far!’  So why send it out?

I continued running and let the highlights of the last twelve months come front of mind. Damn it’s been a great year! A lot of ‘a-ha’ moments which I think had sorted of faded from my memory. Then it struck me, in the fast pace we operate in, it’s always all about the now, the constant barrage of briefs, editing, digital distractions and what have you. The nows are closely followed by the what’s next… the next gig, next rebrand, next blog update, next new business and the next new year.

It struck me that I rarely sit down to absorb and be proud of what we’ve accomplished.

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So I guess this post is more for me rather than for you the reader. Sorry! But, don’t switch off quite yet as success is always better shared.

Here’s a snapshot of how my 2014 panned out

  • I launched my own retail book with my publisher Motivate in April. It’s always a proud moment to see my ‘Dubai Aerial Tour’ in all the book stores around town. If you’ve not already seen it check out the behind the scenes video.
  • I’ve now formally taken on the role as Canon Ambassador for the Middle East region. A new challenge which feeds my passion for sharing and teaching. My content has gone up on their Facebook page with #WOUTERINFOCUS  as the tagline and I’ve already enjoyed a few speaking engagements. In December, we produced a really cool Canon case study video as a summary of my work.
  • I needed a new roof over my head so I converted an abandoned 20ft container into a vintage lodge as our studio and creative space. I’m a big believer in creating a working environment that works, fits your style and is full of energy to fuel creativity. Swing by and check it out…
  • On a more private note but a pretty a big one… nope, trust me.. the two energetic boys we have are enough! My wife Kiki has left the corporate field herself and has a heart set on creating a voice within the team & relationship coaching world. She is great at what she does and I wish her all the best in chasing her dreams.
  • Together with the crew at Wonderful Machine, we’ve been through a big audit of my business, which proved to be an eye opening and valuable excise. Over the course of the last nine months, we’ve rethought what we’re doing, re-photo edited, rebranded and got a fresh online presence. Let me know what you think of it…
  • Our webstore ArtOnTheMove.me is working well but needs more TLC to increase sales. The Middle East remains fairly new to buying goods online, let alone printed art but the feedback has been promising so I do believe we’re on the right track. I’m potentially looking at some kind of partnership with someone who can take the lead on the e-commerce business. Open for discussion!
  • The moment I walked out of the helicopter, I knew it would have to lead to a photo exhibition. And so it did. Over the summer we worked on putting the DXB/AIR roadshow together. Three months at three amazing locations! Check out the video to see what it was all about. The big backlit images brought the stories together along with the exhibition art installation, created from recycled wood.  For me, it was as much about sharing the aerial work in big prints as it was about the actual art installations.
  • No books went to press in 2014 but we’ve been doing all the ground work for two new releases in February and May 2015. More to come! It’s always so rewarding to see the artwork pdf be transformed into a physical book. In parallel, we’ve produced an entertaining video about producing books … The Rough guide to Bookmaking.
  • A final note to all the amazing clients who keep us engaged throughout the year. THANK YOU! We’re very fortunate to receive a really nice mix of gigs. It is variety that rocks our boat and working with amazing people is the icing on the cake. We really do appreciate all your support.
As mentioned above, I have no idea how many followers actually make it to the bottom of this post, but if you did, awesome! You’ve joined the 2014 celebration.
Wk.

Our new brand

It’s been cooking for months behind the scenes so I’m super stoked to be starting a new year with the sharing of my new brand. Much has changed… an entire website rebuild alongside a new logo, blog and newsletter. We’ve also thrown some animated video into the mix.

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When I see WE, I’m 100% referring to this being a team effort. The foundation for change was laid out by the crew at Wonderful Machine. They undertook a full brand audit which resulted in a super valuable report with  professional, industry specific views and recommendations. I seriously recommend tapping into their knowledge. Following the report came the rebrand starting with a new word mark and a box of graphic identity tools. I LOVE my new logo. I knew that the new site and blog would have to be a custom build project using a photo template as a base. Internet in this part of the world is slow so we had to be smart as to how it would look and load. Whilst this was going on, Sean at Wonderful Machine assisted with an extensive photo edit, trying to make good sense of thousands of images. He set the base for my portfolio categories and content. The team Wonderful Machine made the below video which recaps on their thinking.

I found an awesome website template at APhotoFolio. They seriously know their stuff and build great websites for creatives. They have a super easy to use backend system for the editing and uploading of new content. Their template was the base from where we added our custom built text pages. Philip Meissner, a web designer familiar with APhotoFolio web jargon did an awesome job in pulling custom work off. Phil also turned the hand sketches of the new blog design into a working platform, still using wordpress. New to the blog will be the introduction of external content and other sources of inspiration. Melissa, from the Wonderful Machine design team, kept a watchful eye to ensure a consistent look & feel, redesigned our mail chimp newsletter and did a grand job in pulling the team together.

One element that needed a stronger online presence is why and how we produce award winning books. Book production is a key element to our business and that needed stronger recognitions. I wanted to step away from jpgs of stacks of produced books, but instead talk about the role of books, what they can mean to your business and our philosophy of making them. I found some inspiration in David McWilliams animation video, on how to tell stories. My text queen Tori edited the copy to create a nice flowing story, which got a voice over by Chris Radley. For the visual animation, I sat down with artist Matt Ryder and videographer Karl Edwards to bring it all together. Sure, the web video might be a tad long, but if someone is really interested, they’ll find the full six minutes both entertaining and valuable.

In summary, I think it all looks AMAZING. Fresh, relevant and a true reflection of what we do so a big shout out to everyone involved. Many thanks for sharing your magic.

Wk.

Falcon project ongoing

I posted a few images from our falcon project on Facebook a while back. Work on this project continues full steam ahead and a couple of days ago, the client exhibited some of my first works for a selected group of VIP’s at Abu Dhabi’s Park Hyatt.

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This project is still very much a work in progress. Getting into the ‘inner circle’ has proven to be a bigger task than the actual shooting and we’ve had all hands on deck just to secure access and permissions. The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority is helping to open doors, which has got me into some private falcon stables as far out as (more…)

Get out there

I recently took a magical two days off and headed out to the mountains. As many may know, I’m a big fan of mountain days… spending quality time immersed in nature and soaking up fresh mountain air can surely only lead to great things!

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This trip was no different. To get me into an inspirational mood, I downloaded a podcast from The School of Greatness to listen to on the drive down. I can’t recommend listening to these podcasts enough. Thanks to Google maps and a bit of exploring, I found a new dirt track leading deep into a wadi or billabong as the Aussies would call it. As I drove deeper into the valley, the track got rougher and rougher and I was into (more…)