It's not just our photographers that are helping to capture the world through photography, there are thousands of people working hard behind the scenes across the world to bring these images to you.
In this 'Who We Are' series, we look at the many job roles at a photography agency from picture editors, to sales and marketing to art directors. Meet Guy Merill, Art Director based in London.
What skills do you need for your job?
A visual eye, creativity, open-mindedness and a strong understanding of visual trends, cultural trends, advertising, photography and design. You also need to be able to motivate and inspire photographers.
How did you get where you are today?
After graduating from NYU, I got a job in TV production in New York. I knew I wanted to work in the media – but was never quite sure in which area and fell into television production after an unpaid internship turned into a job offer. I worked on a variety of documentary and reality TV projects (including ‘Wife Swap’.) After working in TV for 5 or 6 years, I decided I wanted to do something more creative, and moved to London. A friend of mine in London was an art director at another image library so I knew a bit about what her job entailed and it appealed to me. By chance an Art Director/Producer role came up at Getty – so I applied for it and after 4 interviews (yes 4!) I got the job. At that time we were producing a lot of creative work in-house – so my job was as much production as art direction – but over time my role has become more and more creatively focused, which was the perfect way to ease in.
What excites you about photography?
The fact that it is always changing excites me – photographers still find new and interesting ways to see the world around us. I’m also attracted to beauty – beauty in the unseen, beauty in the unexpected, colour, light, interesting people – all that good stuff.
What are you passionate about outside of your work life?
Oh, that word… passion! Let’s see – good coffee, good ice cream, good children’s books, originality, second-hand furniture, Danish crime dramas, equal rights, spending time with my partner and my two boys, creativity, Netflix bingeing (including RuPaul’s Drag Race), interior design, bagels, sunny weather. (Please note - these are in no particular order.)
Photo courtesty of Guy Merrill.
Whose career do you admire? (Inside or outside of Getty)
Keith Johnson comes to mind. He is the Head Buyer for Anthropologie and travels the world sourcing unique items to sell and furnish in their shops. That is a ridiculous job.
What’s a favorite book of yours?
There are so so many. The first titles that come to mind are Middlesex, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Just Kids, The Sound and the Fury, short stories by Annie Proulx or Tobias Wolff and anything at all by David Sedaris. I’m excited to start reading Roald Dahl again. My 4 and a half year old is just getting into them and I have such happy memories of them from my childhood. I used to be a big reader, but since having kids, I only have time for the New Yorker which I get weekly from across the Atlantic. Considering it’s such a wordy magazine it’s kind of like a book, right? Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am prone to quote articles and insights from it a bit over-zealously. It’s a bit obnoxious, but I just can’t help myself.
How would your friends describe you?
He’s the tall guy with glasses.
Watch a recent webinar, presented by Guy Merrill, on Visual Trends and Content Marketing
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