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Hidden Gems: Meet Stewart Cohen of SCPictures

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stewart Cohen.

Hi Stewart, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I grew up in Montreal, Canada. We moved to the states in time for me to go to UT in Austin. Once I realized that I didn’t really want to go to medical school, my world changed. I was lucky to be exposed to a few great photographers who changed my outlook on life. A path emerged, and I became a still photographer who wanted to travel the world while shooting amazing images and meeting different, interesting people. I was fortunate to be told that I should start as an apprentice. This was the best advice I was ever given. I ended up working as a photo assistant to a few world-renowned photographers, traveled the world and was taught how the industry works and just how cool it can be. Having never traveled early in life, I was immersed and became a road warrior long before it was a thing. After a few years of assisting, I went back to school to study film.

Coming out of school, I signed with a commercial production company to direct commercials. My goal was to offer clients the ability to shoot their commercials and still campaigns with just one resource, me. Prior to the digitization of the world, the print and broadcast worlds were effectively two different industries. I pushed to do both but usually was hired to shoot one or the other. Along the way, my company grew to include staffers that helped in every aspect of the business. One big turning point was when everything went digital, which was back in 2006 for still photography and around 2010 for live-action. It seemed to be a turning point where we finally were getting tapped to do complete campaigns in more than one medium. It has been quite a ride, we have worked on all seven continents, and I have gotten to photograph everybody from farmers in Mississippi to Presidents of countries. Quite fulfilling indeed. In the last few years, we have published a few coffee table books. One called Identity, where we photographed people of note and had them write in their own hand “What makes you unique as an individual.” A more recent title is called “Seeing Red,” which pokes fun at the myth of Redheads going extinct.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My mother always told me that it is the journey, not the destination. I had no idea what she meant then, but now I know she was right. No road is ever totally straight and smooth. One could say that there have been struggles at every turn or flip that statement on its head and look at it as one big adventurous journey. The industry I started in is gone. It was an analog industry using film and Rolodexes. We have evolved and excelled by using every piece of technology we can embrace. The two things that haven’t changed are the relationships with clients and the quality of what ends up on the screen. The challenge has been to be effective at embracing and evolving rapidly.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about SCPictures?
Stewart Cohen Pictures is a commercial production company. We create live-action and still content for a wide variety of ad agencies, design firms, and corporate clients. I have always enjoyed working with people from all walks of life, so our specialty is just that, “to create compelling visual stories in multiple mediums.” Whether we are working in a factory, with models, or celebrities, my gift is connecting with people and getting them to emote for the camera. I ended up basing the company in Dallas because of the ability to connect to anywhere in the world quickly. It also offers the ability to live extremely well while having a great studio and staff, which is something that would be much more difficult in New York or Los Angeles. Prior to the pandemic, we were on the road constantly, but recently we have embraced a more regionalized clientele. Coming from both a still photography and cinema background allows us to offer clients content on multiple mediums while understanding the nuances between the two.

What does success mean to you?
Success to me is being happy and excited every day. I truly wake up everyday ready to embrace whatever comes my way. Being fulfilled personally frees me to deliver amazing results to our clients while having a great time doing it.

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Image Credits

©Stewart Cohen

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