November 2021

WeTransfer is an online file transfer service based in the Netherlands. To celebrate the creativity of its users, the company decided to launch a “Creative Hub Index,” which spotlights 10 U.S. cities as “Emerging Creative Hubs.” (WeTransfer used survey and user data to compile its list of cities.)

NYC-based ad agency Triptk, part of the multinational Havas Group, contracted me to capture images that authentically showcased the top three hubs: Madison, Wisconsin; Atlanta, Georgia; and Norfolk, Virginia.

The goal for the images was a candid, editorial feel. With only two days to spend in each city, I did a lot of research and put together a lengthy shot list in advance of my trips. My goal was to accentuate a city’s artistic side—and not end up with postcard shots. To make the most of my time on the ground, I sourced a photo assistant in each city. We knew we nailed it when local crew members saw the images and recognized their hangouts.

In addition to capturing natural moments in urban landscapes, my mission was to feature a “city insider” in each town. I arranged for extended portrait sessions with these individuals, photographing them doing what they do over the course of a couple hours.

The shoot took place in November 2021, in the midst of COVID-19. Keeping everyone healthy and safe was my first priority, and we followed my COVID-19 policies and protocols closely. Our crews were tested before we traveled to each city.

At the end of the assignment, I was able to deliver 750 rough images that uniquely featured each city. I also worked with Triptk to select stock images for the remaining seven hubs. Each hub is featured on a microsite, which is formatted as a mini-magazine. Collectively, they provide a continuing look at creativity in the U.S.

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