Monday, April 28, 2008
Ken Sax - Taking A Shot
Celebrity photographer Ken Sax has successfully managed an eclectic career with a little luck, a thirst for knowledge and a lot of charm
“Most people are extremely busy, and it's easier for them to jump online to type in a name, and before you know it, you're caught with your pants down,” Sax notes amusingly when asked how he attracts potential clients. “A good website is key.”
Sax is a native Californian, a tried-and-true Angeleno, but he also has become internationally known for his celebrity work, so much so that travel has become a large part of Sax's dedication to his craft. He's bicoastal a lot of the time, and as a frequent visitor to Japan, Sax often finds himself living a life along the lines of Lost in Translation.“To be set in one place for too long can be confining,” Sax explains. “Traveling is enlightening and opens up new perspectives to everything. To breathe other cultures and different lifestyles is fantastic, and I'm humbly grateful to be able to see the world. Not many people get to do what they love, and I'm so fortunate to be able to express myself through a medium that I enjoy.”
Adds Sax, “Japan has been very welcoming and open. They have given me the opportunity to direct my first commercial for Edwin jeans when I was really young and partake in campaigns such as Canon, Georg Jensen and Olympus, to name a few. Japanese agencies see photography as an art form and they have a great deal of respect for photographers. They hire photographers for their creative sides and what they can bring to the table. Japan is so fascinating—they're really ahead of our time.
“As for the differences between shooting in New York and California, the project tends to depend more on the demands of the shoot than the location. New York is very straightforward, and I find the pace moves so much quicker. People in L.A. take more time in getting back to you and locking things down. But every city has its own qualities and charms.”
Sax is also known for his style—a clean, elegant and dramatic look that he achieves through a well-rounded knowledge of tech. “Taking pictures is personal,” he says, “and at the end of the day, it's your signature. Every shoot will have its own rules, and the look of the campaigns determines the lights you use. I try to size up the campaign and, most of the time, use a variety of lights, whether it's natural lighting, strobes, Fresnels, Kinos, HMIs, etc.”
Sax has chosen to explore other avenues of media, as well, stepping into the administrative to create and produce a variety of big-budget ad campaigns for clients like Twentieth Century, HBO, Lifetime and others. And with directorial television-commercial credits for Georg Jensen and Edwin jeans under his belt, Sax also has gone back to his roots by establishing his own production company, Fortune Cookie Productions.
Hardly a surprise, Sax has no regrets about his life: “Sometimes, we just need to follow our dreams, even if we don't know what the outcome is going to be. Not everything is fair in life, but we just have to remain positive and believe in ourselves. You need to listen to your instincts because, most of the time, you're right. The future is full of opportunities, so don't let any minor setbacks discourage you from your passion."
To see more of Ken Sax's photography, visit www.kensax.com.