By Leah Shafer
Dallas photographer and ASMP member Sebron Snyder is a man who “salivates over collaboration.” He believes all great commercial creative is better with artful teamwork.
“Each person on a project brings elements of success to that project, whether it is a producer, art director or stylist it takes that team to elevate the idea to a higher place,” Snyder said. “I have a way of doing things but I am humble enough to allow my work to be fed by other people’s ideas—regardless of its impact.”
This love of collaboration helps define Snyder’s work, which is dynamic and original. During a recent shoot, one which involved a subject with a lot of movement, Snyder’s team talked after every run-through and revisited the layout and sketch-up variations, changes, and “what if he did this?” moments.
“The process was very organic, as we allowed the energy to flow through the entire crew,” he said. “I took those ideas and added my spin. I wish every project could be like this.”
There were childhood signs that photography might be a possible career for Snyder. As far back as 1970, he claimed ownership of any camera close to him. But he chose a “safer” field for his studies, deciding against photography.
While pursuing his engineering degree with the United States Air Force, stationed in Germany, Snyder caught a five-minute newscast that changed his life. It said one of his top engineering job prospects was laying off a few thousand people in its telecom operations.
“I realized at that moment that all jobs have inherent risk regardless of field, education level, or industry, so I would take on that risk on my own terms and with something I truly loved,” he said. “Keep in mind, my interest and passion for photography was overwhelming at that time in my life. That profound moment was a gentle breeze that pushed me over the edge.”
When Snyder started, photography was more craftsmanship-based, he says, comparing it to a more mechanical field now with computers, retouching, and plugins.
“Back when I started you had to understand film and light—understanding film took time and was a very expensive proposition,” he said. “It took savvy and skill to be able to predictably expose film accurately—you didn’t have Photoshop to save you. It had to be done in camera and I loved that about the field.”
His first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, still brings to mind the smell of its film.
“I bought my first camera the first day of freedom after basic training in the Air Force,” he said “I literally spent all my money and was broke for weeks. I loved that it was mine!”
His inspiration is found mostly in music and cinema.
“I perform regular creative exercises where I dive into a subject, a song, or an interpreted part of a movie,” Snyder said. “I visually explore ideas in those daydreams in real time — physically moving around imaginary environments, flying, walking, or whatever. It’s a lot of fun and extremely powerful.”
Snyder joined ASMP a few years ago because he saw the need to know more photographers. He also wanted to be a part of an organization that is actively concerned about issues that affect commercial photographers today.
“Our business is a tough and the more advocates we have pressing for common goals, the better,” he said. “My investment in the ASMP is my statement about my hopes and aspirations for photography as a business and lifestyle.”
As for what keeps Snyder in the field?
“I just love what I do!,” he said. “It’s a tough job and sometimes I complain, but this is my calling.”