Lights, Camera, Dive! Brett Stanley’s surreal underwater shot wins Advertising Category of Spotlight Awards 2019


What comes to your mind when you think of Advertising Photography? Pushing the paradigm of this exciting genre is Brett Stanley⁠ — an award-winning photographer whose images are emotive, dramatic and perfectly meld the client’s brief with his own vision, all shot entirely underwater.

Dive deep into Los Angeles based Spotlight Awards 2019 Advertising Photography Category Winner Brett Stanley’s world of underwater visual-storytelling in our interview below.

The winning image of the Spotlight Photo Awards 2019 Advertising Category | Photographer: Brett Stanley

Production Paradise: Tell us about the winning image – the idea behind it, how was it shot?

Brett Stanley: This image was created for the album cover of Weyes Blood’s 2019 album Titanic Rising. The artist wanted to convey the idea of an 80s bedroom that has sunk into the sea, and also loved the grainy look of the film.

We built the set at my underwater studio in Los Angeles, California, and sunk it. We had to dress the set as well, so loads of clothing, books, records, and cassettes were dropped in the water – it looked just like a teenage girl’s bedroom!

Production Paradise: How do you feel about winning the Category Prize of Spotlight Awards 2019?

Brett Stanley: I’m very happy and proud to be included in such a talented group of people!

Brett Stanley | Spotlight Awards 2019 Winner – Advertising Category

Production Paradise: How would you describe your style?

Brett Stanley: My style is primarily underwater and cinematic. I love the use of lighting and shadow to create images.

Production Paradise: Name three photographers that have inspired you.

Brett Stanley: I’m inspired a lot by Gregory Crewdson, Zena Holloway, and Ilse Moore.

Production Paradise: How did you end up behind the lens? Tell us about your career path.

Brett Stanley: I started out taking photographs as I traveled around the world, just loving the way the camera saw the places I went. I became more obsessed with the art form, and eventually became a professional photographer around 10 years ago. From there I started playing with underwater setups and quickly became a dedicated underwater photographer.

Production Paradise: What do you think is necessary to become a successful commercial photographer?

Brett Stanley: A good eye, and a good sense for business. You need to have thick skin as well, to able to put yourself out in the market and not crumble from all the inevitable rejections!

Production Paradise: If you weren’t a photographer, what would be your alternate career path?

Brett Stanley: I’d like to be a dive guide on a remote pacific island.

Production Paradise: We believe you are not resting on your laurels – what are you working on now?

Brett Stanley: I’m currently building and filming underwater sets for music videos and a couple of campaigns, which is very exciting!

Production Paradise: The Spotlight awards had a judge’s panel composed of potential clients for commercial photographers – did that influence your choice of image(s) selected for your entry?

Brett Stanley: Not really, I just loved this image and felt the most proud of it.

Production Paradise: What made you want to participate in these Awards?

Brett Stanley: I just wanted to take a chance!

We thank Brett for sharing his amazing journey with us and wish him all the best for future endeavors! To see more of his work, visit his Production Paradise Portfolio or Website. Check out a special edition of Spotlight Magazine featuring all 2019 Spotlight Award Winners, here.

Keep your eyes peeled on our Blog and Spotlight Magazines to stay connected with top creative talents and services in the international commercial photo and film industry. If you want to show off your latest work to the industry in the next edition of Production Paradise’s Spotlight or Showcase magazine, contact us now.

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