Graphis Master Trevett McCandliss is a photographer and creative director whose photography work has won medals from Graphis and the Society of Publication Designers. He has also judged the photo portions of both contests. Trevett received his BFA in fine arts from Syracuse University. He studied painting at the New York Studio School and photography at the School of Visual Arts and the International Center for Photography. Trevett recently concluded his term as vice president of the Society of Publication Designers.
What is your work philosophy when it comes to photography? My work philosophy is governed by my overall philosophy regarding creativity. Any genuine work of art is a glimpse into the artist’s imagination. The creative act involves sensing these visions and rendering them in a physical form. To accomplish that goal, the artist has two tasks. The first is to cultivate their ability to flow through their imagination and define their vision for a particular piece of work. The second is to develop enough skill in a particular art form to express that vision.
Who is or was your greatest mentor? When it comes to fashion photography, Nancy Campbell is my greatest mentor. She’s worked at a variety of fashion magazines and has developed a sophisticated eye for photography. When I first started working with her, I was a complete beginner. Luckily, our sensibilities are naturally in tune, so we make a great team.
What aspect of photography do you like the most? The chance to render something that is a doorway into another world is the most exciting thing about making any piece of art. Photography is no exception.
Your photography is mainly editorial. What do you like most about editorial photography? Editorial fashion photography is challenging and fascinating. You’re producing a series of images that have to work together to tell a story. It’s a bit like making a movie. Considerations of pacing come into play. Theme and variation are important. Ideally, each photo has an integrity of its own while also functioning within the whole. It tends to be a given that you have creative freedom while shooting an editorial story. For me, this freedom is the key to producing interesting work.
What would be your dream photography assignment? I would love to do a series of painterly photos about dreams.
What are the top things you need from a client in order to do successful work? In a sense, the editors I work with are my “clients.” The most important thing I believe a photographer needs from a client is creative freedom. Luckily, the editors trust me and afford me the freedom needed to turn in good work.
What about your work gives you the greatest satisfaction? Being immersed in the creative process brings me the greatest joy.
What part of your work do you find the most demanding? I think the most demanding part is dealing with all the tasks in my life that aren’t really part of the creative process, per se.
What professional goals do you still have for yourself? I’ve only ever had one goal, and that was to live the art life. Having achieved that, my goal is to keep it going. That process requires constant focus and attention.
To read the rest of the interview with Graphis Master Trevett McCandliss and discover other designers, preorder Graphis Journal #376 at graphis.com.