Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Martin Wonnacott: Cake Factory
Photographer Martin Wonnacott set out to build a kinder, gentler agency—and he has succeeded
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
You may remember Martin Wonnacott from DPP's December 2009 issue in which we showcased his phenomenal beverage photography. His approach to product shooting is to keep it simple with unparalleled attention to detail. That's also Wonnacott's recipe for an ideal artist's representative, and a major reason why he decided to create his own agency in the first place.
Things were going quite well for Wonnacott early in the new millennium. His London rep was getting him work, though the relationship wasn't as symbiotic as the photographer believed it could be. "I had several meetings with my agent discussing my direction with drinks photography," Wonnacott says. "He didn't get it. He told me, ‘There's no work in drinks,' at which point, I thought, ‘Why am I with this agent?'"
The photographer met with a couple of other agents and was equally uninspired. So he asked a few photographer friends—all of whom already referred work to one another—if they would be interested in being represented by a new agency funded entirely by Wonnacott. They liked the idea, and he got the ball rolling. It was easy to present a unified front to art buyers, as the three photographers represented by this new agency, known as Cake-Factory, each offered a unique specialty. The photographer's agency was up and running.
"He took quite a bit of convincing," Wonnacott says. "I flew over twice purely to buy him coffee in Starbucks. I knew that when trying to establish oneself in another country, it should appear to be no problem at all to meet, even briefly and randomly. This gave the perception that it's no big deal, therefore, why wouldn't he want to take me on?"
Finally, this agent agreed to represent Wonnacott, though they kept it off the books for a while to see if anyone liked his work. Indeed, they did.
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