Terry Heffernan’s Zeal for Americana

Terry Heffernan, who brings American icons to life through photography and is influenced by legends like Avedon and Penn, dreams to one day photograph the Smithsonian’s treasures. Terry’s mantra for newcomers: find a mentor and shoot with passion. Beyond photography, he’s a fly-fishing aficionado with a zest for Americana.

Introduction by Kit Hinrichs, Founder, Studio Hinrichs

I have worked with Terry Heffernan on a variety of projects over the past 30 years. In that time, I have never seen his enthusiasm for the photographic image waver, no matter the technological iterations. I have seen him transition from his beloved 8 × 10 view camera to digital formats and the latest photo app on his iPhone with barely a whimper. The exceptional quality of Terry’s work is evident not only in his aesthetic expression but also in his continuous drive to bring out the essence of his subject. His still life photographs of American icons, from flyfishing gear to baseball memorabilia to shoes worn by famous legends, are as evocative as they are beautiful. Terry simply loves making images, whether it’s on assignment for an ad agency or roaming the basement of an obscure museum, searching for one-of-a-kind artifacts. His passion gives power to his photographs.

Who have been some of your greatest mentors and/or influences?

Andy Russetti, Kit Hinrichs, Irving Penn, Edward Weston, Edward Curtis, Arnold Newman, Phil Marco, Andre Kertesz, Nadar, Paul Strand, W Eugene Smith, George Tise, Dorothy Lang, Paul Outerbridge, Tina Modotti, Lewis Hine, Roy De Carava, Harry Callahan, Richard Avedon, Ryan Heffernan, Jim Marshall, and Dusty Baker (to name a few).

What would be your dream assignment?

My dream assignment would be to have access to the Smithsonian’s American History Museum Collection and continue to photograph American Icons.

Who have been some of your favorite people or clients you have worked with?

Kit Hinrichs, Greg Samata, B. Martin Pedersen, James Cross, Rich Silverstein, and Jeff Goodby.

What are the most important ingredients you require from a client to do successful work?

Communication, collaboration, digging deep.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

Outliving Kodak.

What professional goals do you still have for yourself?

To continue to develop series of images through still life photographs: humble objects that capture the spirit of the nation…

What advice would you have for students starting out today?

Find a mentor, stay true to your heart, don’t stop shooting, and the rest will happen!

What interests do you have outside of your work?

American rivers, clean water, fly-fishing, folk art, art art, iconic design, modern architecture, industrial design, American barns, natural foods, baseball, VW buses, and bulldogs—not in that order!

Terry Heffernan is a photographer who splits time between San Francisco and rural Montana. He has produced award-winning photographs for national ad campaigns, corporate annual reports, and prestigious publications. Along with his interpretative photographs of collections in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Peabody Museum, and the American Museum of Flyfishing, Terry continues to build upon his ongoing museum collections series, “American Icons.”

Social: Instagram, LinkedIn, Behance

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Author: Graphis