eventually became the lead photographer, getting to travel and shoot a few national campaigns as well as create a ton of content for Subways social media channels. Currently I run my own photography business which has been very rewarding personally.”
BH: I started off many years ago as a graffiti artist running wild in the streets trying to make a name for myself. I ended up getting in a lot of trouble for that so I took my talents to art school where I learned to be a graphic designer. From there I got a job doing graphic design at Subway World Headquarters where I spent 20 years working non stop. I'm also a photographer which is my main passion these days. I got my start with that in the highschool darkroom shooting on film which was a lot of fun. I didn't really take my photography seriously until about 12 years ago when I started shooting professional sporting events like the Pilot Pen tennis tournament, NBA, X-Games and many more. Name the sport and I've probably shot it. During that time and while working as a graphic designer at Subway I started doing food photography which was amazing. I built an in-house photography studio and
MS: What made you want to be what you are now?
BH: Honestly? I'm not sure what I want to be at the moment. It's something I've struggled with after getting laid off from my job. What do I want to be? I question that every day. What I do know is I want to be happy and someone who makes a difference in the world and to other people. I think I am on the right path to my purpose. But what made me want to be a graphic designer and photographer? Well that had a lot to do with growing up in the skateboard and graffiti scene as a kid. Seeing the graphics on skateboards and the photos in magazines. I'd stare at them all day and try to create my own. I was hooked from then on.
MS: What was your pivotal moment in life that made you take this direction?
BH: I think my pivotal moment that made me take this direction was getting arrested multiple times for graffiti. I figured ok i'm not that good at the not getting caught part haha but I still love graphics and typography so lets try graphic design.
MS: How did you get started/where did you begin?
BH: Oops I probably should have read all the questions before I started haha. I think I answered this in the first question. Pair college of Art is where I really started. I took some great classes and met a lot of like minded people that helped push me in the right direction.
MS: What are your favorite parts about what you do?
BH: My favorite parts are getting to do things that I have never done before or maybe thought that I couldn't do. Such as getting to shoot in huge arenas like the Barclays Center, or fly to Texas to shoot a national commercial for Subway. Or on a much smaller scale, shooting my first stop motion photography project which I had never done before, had no idea how to do it but I jumped in head first and pulled it off and felt really great after seeing the final product.
MS: What are your short-term and/or long-term goals at the moment?
BH: My short term goals are to find a Job or project that I love, that makes me excited to get out of bed every day. My long term goals are to travel more. I love exploring new places.
MS: Do you have advice for people interested in the same field?
BH: Just have fun with whatever you're doing. Listen to any tips or advice that other people in the field you're interested in are telling you but at the same time don't listen to them. And what I mean by that is don't listen to any of the "you can't do that" advice. Just do your own thing and you'll be happy.
MS: What is something(s) you wish you knew in the beginning?
BH: I wish I knew how to "breathe" and by that I mean to just be able to relax, breathe and let things happen without freaking out if things aren't going as expected.
MS: Who/what are your biggest inspirations and why?
BH: My biggest inspirations these days are my kids. They make me happy. and sad. and angry sometimes haha but watching them grow up and accomplish things is inspiring.
MS: What is your favorite food/drink-related memory?
BH: hmmm wow that's a tough one. One is definitely the time I went to Italy to visit my brother. We were looking for some place to eat lunch. We got lost and ended up down this old alleyway where there happened to be a restaurant. We decided to just eat there and OMG i had the most amazing chicken parm ever! I guess that's why they say don't judge a book by its cover.
MS: What is your favorite quote(s) and why?
BH: Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve. - Napoleon Hill. I get made fun of for how much I say PMA but it honestly has changed my life.
MS: What is your favorite meal and/or drink to share?
BH: Sorry I don't have a fancy answer for this but I'm going to say Pizza. I love eating and sharing Pizza
MS: What is your ideal day in the work life?
BH: My ideal work day would be getting to hang out with fun people like Monique and Alex and shoot some great content. 100% serious when I say those are some of my best memories.
MS: What is your ideal non-work day?
BH: I've had a lot of those lately haha. My ideal non-work day is spending time outdoors, at the beach, riding my bike, hiking, going on adventures with my girlfriend, playing with my kids and my dog. Just having fun
MS: What are some things that keep you going?
BH: My kids. And also the thought of how grateful I am to wake up to see another day and make something good happen,
MS: How do you approach a work life balance?
BH: This is something that took me a long time to figure out. I'm known for being a very hard worker. Not taking time off when needed etc.
I'm going to add some advice here. Life outside of work is way more important. Take the time off, spend time with family and friends.
Work will still be there when you get back.
MS: What is something you wish people learned or knew more about in your industry?
BH: There are a whole lot of non creative people telling creative people how to be creative!
MS: What does supporting local mean to you?
BH: To me it means supporting your friends and family. Don't ask them to give you stuff for free just because you know them.
MS: Do you have advice or encouragement for ways to support local?
BH: Do some research. If you're looking for something that might be in a big box store or restaurant, look first to see if there are any local places that offer the same thing. 9 times out of 10 their product is going to be way better and you'll be helping them support their family.
I just want to take the opportunity to thank anyone who's ever helped me in any way. All the positive people who keep me going.
MS: If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
BH: Racism. It's just stupid.
MS: What is the most valuable advice you’ve received?
BH: "Eat dessert first" - My grandmother
MS: In your experience, how do you organize and prioritize your workload?
BH: I'll let you know when I figure this out haha. My time management skills need a lot of work
MS: What is your definition of success?
BH: Being happy with yourself, who you are and what you stand for.
MS: Looking back on life, how have you or values shifted or refined?
BH: I'm a way more positive person these days.
MS: Say you were invited to a dinner party, what recipe you bring to the table and why?
BH: I make a great chicken & pasta dish. (Fun fact about this,10 years ago I loved this pasta from Outback steakhouse called the Aussie tornado chicken pasta or something like that. Well they stopped making it which bummed me out so I decided to try and recreate it. I think mine is way better and
everyone loves it when I make it)
Just have fun with whatever you're doing. Listen to any tips or advice that other people in the field you're interested in are telling you but at the same time don't listen to them. And what I mean by that is don't listen to any of the "you can't do that" advice. Just do your own thing and you'll be happy.
I'm going to add some advice here. Life outside of work is way more important. Take the time off, spend time with family and friends. Work will still be there when you get back.
To learn more about bill harper and his photography visit his website at: /www.harperphotograph.com.