We were lucky enough to get a chance to interview Jason M. Peterson, the Chief Creative Officer of Havas WW North America, photographer and Instagram beast @jasonmpeterson. Peterson’s career started as Head of Art for Volkswagen, where he certainly was not involved in emissions testing. He continued to work his way up as Founding Partner and Executive Creative Director at Berlin Cameron. Moving on later to Translation, a marketing agency founded by Steve Stoute and Jay- Z, Jason has been behind memorable campaigns for State Farm, McDonald’s, and Target, undoubtedly producing materials you’ve seen on TV or in print.
Just like us at Man of Many, Jason is a firm believer that art, music, fashion and design can provide important answers about brands. We were very excited to chat with him about his career, passions and influences – read on to find out his valuable insights.
What attracted you to the art of photography?
I actually first really discovered my love for photography through books at the public library as a kid.
Tell us about your first camera.
I still have it—an Olympus PenFt half-frame camera. It uses 35 mil film but splits the film into two images.
What is your favourite photographic toy these days?
My Polaroid BrightSaber. It’s a LED light-wand with 5000 LEDs that I use at night. It’s great for backlighting people.
In your opinion, what makes a good photo?
Emotion. The point of a photo is to make people feel something.
As a creative, what inspires you?
I’m inspired by urban sprawl. I love finding the human condition in the dark corners of the city.
I find your photography quite emotionally evocative whether you’re shooting people, places or objects. How did you develop such a dramatic and impactful style?
I have always had a deep respect of photography and the timeless quality of black and white—you can’t tell if a photo was taken today or 20 years ago. . Some of my major influences are the masters of street and fashion photography. The images Kubrick took of Chicago, for example.
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Will you be shooting in full colour any time soon?
If it made the image better, yes.
With a solid Instagram account of over 600k followers, how long have you been Instagramming and what impact has Instagram had on your career?
For about 3 years. When I first downloaded the app I never touched it. It really exploded for me in the last year. It has opened up so many doors for me, and access can help create great images.
In an era of digital photography, smartphones and social media, how do you feel technological change has effected the art of photography?
It made it so everyone is a photographer, which I love. It’s not about elitist photo nerds, every has the same tools, so now what? Let’s see who can create the best image.
If you could photograph any person, place or thing, past or present, who or what would it be?
Jim Jarusch smoking cigarettes in the abandon city hall station in NYC, Or Kayne walking in the middle of traffic on Lake Shore Drive. Let go!
As the Chief Creative Officer of Havas Worldwide, photographer extraordinaire and certified Insta-God, are there any other titles we can add to your moniker sometime soon?
Well my teenage kids and wife just see me as a Dad who won’t stop taking photos.