I am extremely excited and honored that the judges have chosen my TED Fellows series as the 3rd place winner in the People/Portrait category. IPA is one of the most prestigious contests for photographers so to have my work recognized among so many other amazing photographers that entered is truly an honor.
This series represents a portion of an ongoing project that I’ve been working on with the TED Fellows for over 3 years. The project started out as a personal project and has now become a dream project. Every year I take headshots of the new TED Fellows and the current Senior TED Fellows during the TED conferences. Traditionally, they are always done on a white background to fit with TED’s style for their website.
Here is where I saw an opportunity to do something more creative. I wanted to take the portraits beyond a white backdrop to something that better matched the amazingness of the people that were sitting in front of me. So, on top of photographing the headshots, I started shooting a creative setup for my portfolio. When the TED Fellows program started giving these out they were a huge hit! Many of the Fellows started using the photos from my creative setup rather than the headshots on white.
To continue to challenge myself, I shoot a different creative setup every year. This experience has given me the opportunity to try different lighting techniques, staged setups and the chance to work with and pose people who aren't used to being in front of the camera. I am truly grateful to the TED Fellows program for giving me support and creative license to pull off my ideas every year. - Bret Hartman
IPA also awarded Bret honorable mention for his portrait of American, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, artist, set designer, multimedia artist, collector and director, Allee Willis, in the Editorial/Personality category and for the portrait of his niece taking Insta Selfies in the Personal Work category.