5 MINUTES WITH... Creative Director of Metro Imaging / Steve Macleod

We were delighted to announce LPA Futures 2013 'Call For Entries' earlier this week.  The success of the competition would not be possible without the support of sponsors and we're chuffed to be partnering with Metro Imaging this year.  So when '5 mins with...' came round again, one of our sponsors seemed an obvious choice and who better than Steve Macleod, Creative Director at Metro. Here's what he had to say...

Can you tell us a little about Metro Imaging?

Metro Imaging (MI) is 35 years old and has always been regarded as one of the great innovators in Professional Photographic Production. Over the years it has adapted to manage clients expectations as we continue through the analogue and digital transformation.

It is always an exciting challenge, we have introduced digital B&W silver gelatin, large mural Ctype, framing and Metro-Print online services over recent years and now provide a comprehensive end to end solution - we help edit, print, mount, frame, ship and install.

© Steve Macleod

You have a background as a photographer yourself  - how did you come to be the Creative Director at Metro Imaging?

Good question! I am passionate about photography and my own practice is an important part of who I am. Originally from an engineering background I have always been obsessed by process and take production seriously. In photography as in life, I believe that you cannot offer anything useful to say if you yourself do not experience it first hand.

Before I was Creative Director I was and still am a printer, more often than not clients will ask my opinion on their work, I’m always constructively honest and know how important feedback can be. My directing skills grew from that dialogue and now I am responsible for the creative direction for many artists and photographers. This has expanded into me curating and commissioning too, all of which I enjoy.

© Steve Macleod

You’re known as the go-to-company for fine art printing, what’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

I have absolutely no idea, I am very lucky to be working in production at the highest and most demanding level, for me the people behind the project are far more interesting - projects themselves are straightforward, a process of analytical problem solving. I am fascinated by the way people approach their practice and how they communicate their ideas, everybody comes at it from a different perspective – it doesn’t matter whether you are Ed Burtynsky or this years LCC MA students, we are responsible for how the project manifests itself to make sure it’s a success.

How important is the role of social media within your business?

Very, social media has become an integral part of what we do through Marketing and PR. It also showcases the extent of our involvement and on a personal note it is a great way to communicate and be a part of the wider photographic community.

For most clients having the ability to use our sm platforms is an important part of any collaboration, we have just introduced a series of short film artist interviews on our website and this is an area that we are keen to experiment with http://www.metroimaging.co.uk/metrovideos

In addition to being one of the LPA Futures sponsors, you’re also a board member at the Young Photographers Alliance. How important do you see such initiatives to the future of photography?

Education and the sharing of knowledge have always been at the heart of my work. I am also a life member of the Frontline Club, Magnum Masterclass lecturer and Photovoice Ambassador and in any given year I mentor about six emerging artists and photographers.

Knowledge isn’t exclusive and I never take for granted the position that I am in. I am passionate about my industry and I understand how hard it can be for everybody involved.  I regularly lecture and find initiatives such as YPA are a great way to construct mentor pathways that deliver recognized and long-term successful results.

What would you be doing if you weren’t working for Metro Imaging?

I can’t imagine not working in photography, I do loads of related projects outside of MI, so I’d probably be doing more of the same.

© Steve Macleod

What’s your favourite blog?

Has to be Lens Culture.

Where are your favourite places in London to soak up the culture?

Sounds dull but the places I find most inspirational are the streets of London. I walk miles everyday and I love to see how the streets and the people change depending on location. It helps me think between meetings and being an obsessive snapper I’m always searching for something.

Can you give us any tips on up-and-coming photographers to watch?

The next big thing is always on the horizon. I don’t much care for ‘art trends’ or movements. If I was to watch anyone it would be because they are either collectable, worth paying for, commercial and challenging my perception of photography. If you get all four then you can’t lose – for me right now it’s Susan Derges, Harriet Clare and Dan Holdsworth.

Who’s your favourite client to work with (we won’t tell anyone!)?

I don’t have favourites but this year I have done some exciting things with Mario Testino, Dan Holdsworth, Nadav Kander and Juergen Teller. Clients all bring something different to production, the more challenging the better.

What are the must see photography shows you think everyone should go to? Paris Photo? Taylor Wessing?

If you get the chance get to Paris Photo and Arles, I always enjoy Prix Pictet and Abu Dhabi Art Fair, closer to home Format Festival and Brighton Photo Fringe have interesting programmes – I’m not precious about work having to be seen in a gallery, get out and experience art whether it’s a private or public space.

And finally, what’s on your Christmas list?

A giant bottle of Talisker Single Malt whisky, and the worst weather possible so that I can finish producing my next series of work, I’m hoping for both.

Thanks Steve!

For more futher details on Metro Imaging, please visit their website.