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Turning a dream into reality: interview with Process’s founder Kim Pappas

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With 17 years of experience under their belt, Process is a top London-based photographic agency and production company working with clients worldwide. At present, they represent a roster of exceptionally talented photographers and directors whose works vary from the likes of sports, travel, still life, and lifestyle photography to name but a few.

But who is behind the Process and how did it begin? Furthermore, what criteria do they prioritize when choosing artists to represent? We had the pleasure to talk to Kim Pappas, the founder and the soul of Process, to get to know the company better.

Photographer: Dirk Rees

Production Paradise: How did Process start, and what was the source of inspiration?

Kim: I’d been an actress for the early part of my career and the other side of the camera! During the early 90’s though I was working in a small design agency as a girl Friday; unfortunately, my new-found career wasn’t to be and through no fault of my own unfairly dismissed!

I was advised to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal and fortunately, my ex-boss decided to settle out of court and gave me a 7k payout. In the early 90’s this bought me a few months of freedom and the capital to set up my own business. Whilst at the design agency I was also working part-time in a neighboring photographic agency, this was my inspiration. I thoroughly enjoyed connecting talent with commissioning buyers and had a flair for presenting portfolios and championing the photographers.

I turned the absolute negativity and heartache of the dismissal into a really positive outcome.  When I first started the business, I was juggling two small children and two other part-time jobs in order to support my dream of working for myself and being an agent. You need tenacity and energy in the bucket loads to survive in this business!

Production Paradise: You manage a variety of photographers who focus on different types of photography. What is it that makes a photographer stand out for you?

Kim: Aside from a unique aesthetic, an innovative approach, tenacity, and amazing talent – personality is the absolute key attribute that we look for when considering signing a new photographer. We speak with our photographers every day, I have to have belief in them, my photographers have to be as ambitious as we are as an agency. I would go as far to say that you almost have to fall a little bit in love with the photographers you sign. You need absolute belief and conviction in their talent and professionalism.

Photographer: Simon Winnall

Photographer: Gareth Sambidge

Production Paradise: Many photographers are expanding their skills towards moving image, not only for TV commercials but especially for online use – is this a trend that you think will grow in the future? What do you think is the role of photographers in the creation of content for social media and websites for brands?

Kim: During the course of our 17-year history we’ve progressed from shooting film to the entire digitalisation of the industry. Change and embracing new technologies is inevitable, and although there have been some steep learning curves, all our photographers are now proficient in directing moving image. At least 95% of the briefs we receive require some form of moving content, whether we are creating gifs in post-production or full-scale brand films on set with multiple crews. The demand for photographers to create moving image continues to grow and grow. We actively encourage this development in our photographers.

Photographer: Chris Turner

Photographer: Louisa Parry

Production Paradise: What resources do you find best to promote the work of your artists?

Kim: We advertise across all mediums; social media plays a big part as does inclusion in Production Paradise and Creative Review. We regularly produce limited edition posters to champion each of our photographers. We cajole our photographers to enter awards and submit their work to various blogs, as well as keep their own social media channels up to date. We love face to face meetings with agencies, although as the industry has changed over the years these are becoming harder to attain. Any agencies out there want a visit do shout! 😉

Photographer: Trevor Ray Hart

Production Paradise: Having worked on a range of incredibly successful international assignments including projects for Diageo, Virgin Atlantic, Garnier, Sony, and Dove, what would you say has been the biggest and most exciting project you have worked on thus far?

Kim: We’ve been so fortunate over the years, and have shot some really exciting campaigns internationally. Occasionally I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the production team, and have traveled with our photographers.

From a production perspective shooting in Venezuela in 2016, with our photographer Dirk Rees in the Canaima National Park, at the foot of the Salto Aponguao Falls was a major highlight. We were shooting a global drinks campaign in the most out of this world setting. We’d taken an internal flight and traveled for over 48 hours by truck, boat, and on foot, with crew models and equipment to reach our destination out in the wilds of Venezuela! It was really quite awe-inspiring.

I was also thoroughly moved by the content and impact of the “Lost family portraits” campaign that Dario Mitidieri shot in collaboration with M&C Saatchi and CAFOD. Dario shot a series of amazing portraits highlighting the plight of the refugees in Syria. The work has been awarded at the highest level, through the Sony World Press Awards, and the Lens Culture Awards as well as exhibited and published globally. I was super proud to have helped this project along the way wrangling a really tight budget and supporting the production. The images were heart-wrenching and were captured so beautifully.

Photographer: Dario Mitidieri

Production Paradise: How do you see Process developing in the future?

Kim: We would happily sell the agency for a cool 10 million and retire to the Caribbean 😉 Joking aside, we love our boutique agency, in an ideal world I’d be thrilled to see my kids get involved and take over the business and develop it further into the future, however at present they’re busy forging their own paths.

I really enjoy nurturing my staff and encouraging their development into top-notch agents, as we do our photographers. It’s really satisfying being an instrumental part of their wonderful careers. I’d love to see Process’ success continue to grow and hope that it enables a new generation of successful photographers and agents.

Photographer: Simon Webb

Production Paradise: You have been a member of Production Paradise for over 12 years, which makes us extremely proud! What do you think is the most interesting feature of Production Paradise?

Kim: Production Paradise is a vital tool for our industry, you also have some very tenacious and persuasive staff! We are always encouraged by you to be part of any promotion that you’re doing. We like your global reach and your presentation. We’re also happy to have been a member for 12 years, so thank you for the opportunities! Here’s to all our future successes.

Kim at Process

We would like to thank Kim at Process for taking the time to speak with us. You can see more of Process’s work on Production Paradise and on their website.

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