Chicago/Midwest - based
The Gren Group
Answers to FAQ's
What's your background?
As a Chicago-based photographer/director and photojournalist, I've been telling visual stories across the globe for some 6,000 assignments. In that time I've learned how to adapt to people and situations of all different types in order to capture emotions and communicate a message. About 8 years ago I left a staff position at the Chicago Tribune (having arrived there from the L.A. Times) to pursue a dream of starting my own production company. Depending on the scope of a project, I may work alone and/or scale up with teams to deliver the high production values expected from a creative brief. Nowadays, half my work is directing motion projects or hybrid shoots of varied complexity.
Are you easy to work with?
Clients say so when they call back for their next project. I'm flattered but always a little dumbfounded; why wouldn't a photographer be easy to work with..? One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou: "...people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I just really enjoy working with people and bringing out the best in our work. I also maintain team regulars who are some of the friendliest people in the business. If you have a project for several days, you want a team that makes life easy for you.
Can you make my project shine?
I'm ALWAYS looking to hit a home run for the team. With that constant striving, I have the rare distinction of sharing in the highest awards in both advertising and editorial; a Titanium Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and a Pulitzer Prize while at the Chicago Tribune. Along with several other accolades, HarperCollins has called me "one of the world's leading photojournalists." I've also been a judge of the prestigious Pictures of the Year Contest and have taught at the most renowned art and journalism schools in the country.
What's your working philosophy?
My role is to be your problem-solver and creative thinker - to bring more to the project than anyone anticipated on a stills, motion or hybrid shoot. I enjoy being resourceful, creative and dependable no matter the circumstance or level of production. That begins with pre-production and casting, where many crucial decisions are made. But to cut through talking points you've probably heard endless times, my philosophy is to plan around emotion. In short, emotion is often the story. It's what people remember (see Angelou quote above).
What else besides photography gets you going?
When I'm not on a project, I'm teaching, speaking and volunteering. I've recently joined the board of Freshlens Chicago, which helps teens from under-resourced neighborhoods in Chicago learn the creative arts. Don't be surprised if you see one of our students as a P.A. on a shoot. Please contact me if you'd like to help them in a more substantive way!
But really, what's your personal story?
Ok, so if it's not abundantly obvious, I have a personal interest in Cuba, the island of my heritage. I founded a company CubaWorkshops.com, where I curate experiences with a team in Cuba for travelers of all skill levels interested in photography. If you wonder about my project management skills, imagine what it's like to lead, manage and produce several shoots/day for ten paying clients on a nine-day trip through a Third World country. I'm fluent in Spanish and in difficult logistics. Stateside, my still and motion projects are done through our company, Three Story Media. My wife Laura Husar Garcia is the creative director of the company and a fine art photographer.
If you want to chat more over Chicago deep dish, I'm all in.
West Monroe Partners
American Academy of Pediatrics
Zeal Grass Milk Creamery
Discovery Partners Institute
The Joyce Foundation
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Richards Patent Law
Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation
Loyola University School of Law
University of Chicago
The New York Times
The New Republic
Chronicle of Higher Education
Block Club Chicago
Los Angeles Times
Chronicle of Philanthropy
Crain's Chicago Business