Author Archive

Advancing a Small Claims Solution to Infringements

Posted: February 5th, 2016

[by Tom Kennedy] The arrival of the digital age has brought with it a series of opportunities and challenges that are creating a world of paradox for independent creators, including ASMP members. On the one hand, digital technology aids and abets the expression of creative vision in ways unimaginable even just a generation ago. On [...]

Guiding the Renaissance of Visual Language by Telling Our Own Story

Posted: October 12th, 2015

[by Tom Kennedy] As humans first moved into southern Europe, they used cave walls as mural spaces to depict elements in their environment important to their lives. These images have come down through the centuries as silent testimony to their world and a potent reminder of the power of visual language to express fundamental truths [...]

Explaining Value Starts with Questions

Posted: June 1st, 2015

[by Tom Kennedy] Professional photographers often describe their value in terms of the ability to deliver superior aesthetic results consistently under any kind of pressure, but especially deadline pressure. I appreciate that definition as an expression of professional value and believe in its truth. They may also describe their value in terms of being able [...]

Setting Up for Effective Collaboration

Posted: May 4th, 2015

[by Tom Kennedy] Effective collaboration depends upon finding partners who can fuel your own creativity. For me, it has often meant finding people who share the same passions, energy, and commitment to seeking excellence.   Their energy, drive, and capacity to focus have to be readily apparent. To make that assessment, I need to achieve a [...]

Reframing the Discussion

Posted: April 28th, 2015

When this post was first published on April 28, 2011, Tom Kennedy worked with ASMP as a keynote speaker for our SB3 conference and contributor to the ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography.  Today, he is ASMP’s Executive Director and his insights into the value of relationships and the importance of deep listening ring [...]

The Future of ASMP

Posted: January 5th, 2015

[by Tom Kennedy] Our role as visual storytellers is critical today, regardless of the genre of photography we are pursuing as members of ASMP. We stand for creating visual images in all forms. Images that work effectively to carry forward messages about the world and enable our clients to make important connections. Our work informs, [...]

Developing “The Creative Habit” as a Path to Mastery

Posted: December 19th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Recently, I have been re-reading one of my favorite books on creativity, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, by the amazingly talented dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp. I originally purchased the book shortly after it was published in 2003 when I was looking to strengthen my own creativity [...]

The Mobile Future

Posted: November 14th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] The world is going increasingly mobile. A slew of articles such as these posted by the PewResearch Internet Project and Reel SEO point to fascinating new usage patterns on various mobile platforms, particularly for the sharing of photos and the consumption of video. This shift has important implications for visual communicators. 1) [...]

Do Blogs Still Have a Place?

Posted: October 20th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Circa 2000-2005, blogs were the primary way individuals could reach an audience on the Internet. Many used blogging to express themselves, offer insights and opinions, or address niche interests not being discussed in mainstream media. To a large degree, the emergence of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media streams in the past [...]

The Future of Work

Posted: September 30th, 2014

[Tom Kennedy] All visual communicators are subject presently to the twin disruptors of technology and digital media that have been constants for the past two decades. These disruptors have radically altered both the supply and demand sides of the economic equation and any consideration of future monetization strategies has to begin here. For most of [...]

Listen & Learn

Posted: September 10th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy]                  I believe any networking effort is best undertaken as an exercise in learning first about others’ needs. In order to be of value with your own work, you have to understand how your capabilities and interests might align with a need that others have [...]

The Opposite of Certainty

Posted: August 19th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] “Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.” ― Tony Schwartz, Author This quote is at the heart of [...]

Communicate Fully to Prevent Conflicts with Clients

Posted: July 21st, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Preventing conflicts with clients is part of a being a true professional. Creating opportunity for the client-photographer relationship to flourish requires patience, attention to detail, and good communication throughout the assignment process from the initial contact to the final product delivery. Avoiding conflicts starts with asking relevant, probing questions about how a [...]

Ready to Launch: Build Your Networks

Posted: July 15th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Launching a career can seem like an overwhelming task. There are so many things that need immediate attention, ranging from developing a business plan and setting up appropriate paperwork and relationships to support the business to finding immediate assignments that can begin to produce income. In the present world of always-on digital [...]

Enhanced Consciousness = More Creativity

Posted: June 25th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] This summer, I’m reading books by creative talents I admire to see what insights they offer about the creative process and how they gain the inspiration to get started. By chance, I started with Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch, one of my favorite filmmakers. Part autobiography, [...]

Making Peace with Failure

Posted: June 9th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Failure is perhaps the most dreaded word in our vocabulary as professional creative people. To many, the word conjures up painful experiences and devastating losses. It equals loss of income, self respect, and reputation. It can mean a loss of self esteem and self confidence. And it can be paralyzing to creative [...]

Developing Talent

Posted: April 17th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Among other things, team management is about alignment, coordination, and developing the strengths of those around you by understanding individual aspirations. A wise manager ignites personal passions and makes developing team chemistry a high priority.  This starts with having a vision for each person’s role on the team, and making that vision [...]

Zig When Everyone Else Is Zagging

Posted: March 17th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Earlier in my career, I worked for a brilliant editor.   After getting a new position, I went in to have a conversation with him about what he expected.   I described my own vision for my new role for several minutes, then paused, and waited for his response.   After a couple of minutes [...]

Staying Focused to Build Business Opportunities

Posted: November 12th, 2013

[by Tom Kennedy] Telling photographers to focus as a way of improving their business may seem like an absurd suggestion. However, after a conversation a former colleague, I realize there is truth to the idea. We are living in a time when providing unique photographs in a specific genre may not be enough to guarantee [...]

“Get Better” Goals for Continuous Improvement

Posted: October 25th, 2013

[by Tom Kennedy] Earlier this summer, I had the chance to catch up on some reading for pleasure that included a book by Heidi Grant Halvorson entitled “9 Things Successful People Do Differently.”  It is a quick read distilling information gleaned from her personal research and that conducted by other scientists who study psychological motivation. [...]

The Changing World of Visual Communications

Posted: September 24th, 2012

The ASMP Guide to New Markets will launch next week at ASMP’s Symposium on September 27th where the first 100 people to arrive at the Times Center in New York will get a free copy.  Those who can’t attend live, can watch the livestream via  Tom Kennedy authored the second chapter of the book: [...]

Selecting Photographers

Posted: May 8th, 2012

[by Tom Kennedy] My observations about selecting photographers for assignments goes back to my time as director of photography at National Geographic.  Fundamentally, I saw it as my role to identify photographers who could contribute to the magazine on the basis of their talent, creative vision, and passion for particular genres that would be useful [...]

Rediscovering Photo Bliss Through iPhoneography

Posted: April 4th, 2012

[by Tom Kennedy] For me, iPhoneography is all about restoring a fundamental kind of creative joy that I had as a 12 year old first discovering the magic of image-making.  There is a fluidity to using the iPhone as a camera that is somehow triggering my imagination and visual responsiveness to the world around me. [...]

Technology Changes Place New Importance on Visual Literacy

Posted: November 9th, 2011

[by Tom Kennedy] In an era of  maximum image saturation, where every iPhone is a camera and no aspect of human activity goes undocumented, no matter how mundane, new questions emerge as to the value and utility of photography as a means of understanding human experience. As someone who began as my career as a [...]

Moving to the Collaborative Marketing Model

Posted: October 28th, 2011

[by Tom Kennedy] I have been reading a book recently entitled  “The Power of Pull:  How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion,” by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison.  The book shows how converging technology has been a massive disruptor of long-held business models,  organizational models, and modes [...]

Using RAIN to Grow Creativity

Posted: August 9th, 2011

[by Tom Kennedy] A podcast I heard recently used the acronym “RAIN” to describe a technique for extracting the most out of daily life by staying in the moment.  Given the the drought affecting many parts of the world, that caught my attention.  As I listened, I realized how appropriate this acronym was for issues [...]