MEET PROP | WARDROBE STYLIST: SARA OSWALT by Conor Bettendorf

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A Wardrobe Stylist, a Prop Stylist, and an Interior Designer walk into a bar and order only one drink... That's because it's only one person: Sara Oswalt!

Austin, TX is home to the University of Texas Longhorns, the consensus 'Queso Capital' of the world and one of the best Stylists in the country! Born and raised in the Heart of Texas, Sara Oswalt has had a deep fascination in Art and Styling for as long as she can remember. After 14 years of working with top names in the fashion industry, Sara shifted her career focus into another passion of hers: Interior Design.

Now, being a professional interior designer, mixed with the set experience Sara has had over the past decade and a half, it only made sense to start working with Props and Set Designing. Sara Oswalt has been able to achieve what only a small percentage of people ever do; she has 3 jobs that she loves with undying passion and energy.

Keep scrolling to find out more about this hard-working stylist that we love so much!

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Tell us about your art and how you got involved with Prop/Wardrobe Styling?

Well, I am, and have been, strictly a fashion stylist for quite a long time.  I love fashion because of the artistic expression and ways in which you could express style through clothing.  It seemed to be a great way to pair the real world, business, and art for me.  After settling back in Austin, from bouncing between CA and NYC, I saw pretty quickly that the things I liked about styling were not as needed in this market. My love for interiors, spaces, and beautiful objects had grown immensely after leaving New York City and decorating a home.  I grew up around antiques and learned tons from my mom about interiors, periods of pieces and quality, trends, and classic style.  It was a natural progression into props and interiors styling, since I knew lifestyle and fashion sets so well.  I often, these days, do both wardrobe and props; however, I wouldn't recommend that, because you won't get my best work :)

What was a pivotal moment in your career?

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Doing a test shoot in LA with a photographer named Colette De Barros.  We hit it off well with our mesh of styles. She liked the way I made her models look, and we quickly became good friends.  We had a great, long-lasting working relationship that really allowed for me develop a style of my own in the lifestyle/fashion market of photography and get to a new level of work.     

What has been your favorite set to work on? Why?

Probably when I styled Sara Bareilles for her second album cover. I used to do all of her styling, so we were not only friends, but she trusted me a lot. I really felt like I helped her create an entire look for that album and her tour that followed. That felt really cool and bit more lasting than the fleeting outfits of many photo shoots.   

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What is one of your proudest moments in your career?

Well, sheesh.  Hmmmm, when my dad came to a fashion show that I styled for Tribeza Style Week. It was the first time that my whole career made sense to him. It was like all the sudden, he got it! I knew he was proud of me, even though I had been successful for a long time, worked with famous people and great talents. This time having him present to experience it was just very different.       

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What are some other things you enjoy when you aren’t on set?

Yoga, interior design, hiking, traveling and dancing.   

What is your favorite part about being on set?

I love how no matter how big a location is, the team always, without fail, will end up in one corner smashed up together. As my family knows, I love being near people. I guess that makes me kinda weird, but on a set I get to secretly love being close to other people. Haha, I was meant to live in Europe in small quarters.   

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What does #createmoments or #ponyup mean to you?

#ponyup - Be a helpful teammate.  (am I right?) 

What is one thing your fans may not know about you?

My millions of fans :)... probably do not know that I really like mustaches.

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What advice can you provide for aspiring Prop/WARDROBE Stylists?

Be confident being who you are.   

What current projects are you working on? 

Just wrapped a financial software shoot, but I am also in the midst of designing for 5 houses as my other on-going 2nd career.   

 

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Check out Sara in action:

Website (styling): Sara Oswalt

Website (interior design): Purveyor Design

Instagram: @saraoswaltstylist

Email: sarakoswalt@gmail.com

MEET PHOTOGRAPHER | DIRECTOR: SAM ROBINSON by Conor Bettendorf

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Road Trip; two words, that when put together, are synonymous with Freedom, Adventure and Fun. It's not often that those two words would make you think of "Career".. but in the case of our friend Sam Robinson; that is exactly what one road trip led to. In 2004, Sam travelled across America seeking nothing more than some time to travel, explore and take photos. But what he came back with, catapulted his passion into a full blown vocation as a photographer. 

As a young lad growing up between London, England and Barcelona, Spain, Sam grew up with a deep fascination in people; their interactions and and their behavior. Much of this fascination is a result of his parents' heritage and differences in culture. Photography became the medium he would most enjoy to attempt capturing these cultural differences and experiences. This desire to always be capturing raw, human emotion is what launched Sam into the upper ranks of world-class photographers. 

We had the pleasure of shooting a 6-day campaign with Sam and his team, beyond his incredible talent, we saw a man that just likes to have fun. Sam is an excited, passionate dude who wants nothing more than to be around other people and have an experience worth talking about. In those short 6 days, it made so much sense to us why his team is so tight-knit and easy-going. Who wouldn't be, around a guy like him? It seems as though Sam's whole life has been much like a road trip... an adventure, with a dash of freedom, and a plethora of FUN!

Now, it's your turn to learn a little bit about one of our beloved photographers from across the pond: Sam Robinson!

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Tell us about your art and how you got involved with photography?

My dad is an amazing illustrator and can draw with the ease that most of us talk. I was not gifted this talent but he did give me a camera at an early age to help ease my frustrations of capturing the world. From that point, I have always kept a camera with me. I use it to watch the world, tell stories, capture moments, people and life.

What was a pivotal moment in your career?

In 2004 I decided it was time I went and got lost driving around my childhood dreamland; America. It was just me, a medium format film camera, a boot full of clothes and film. I saw over 30 states as I weaved around from east to west, south to north and back across the country again.  When I returned to London I yearned to go back to America; showing people this project I had shot of people on Main Street, USA. I won a commission to go back and do it all again, this time, shooting portraits for a small tech start up called Skype. It was then that I realized this really was what i wanted to do and if people wanted to pay me to do it then all the better…

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What has been your favorite set to work on? Why?

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This is a question I am asked A LOT - it is virtually an impossible question to answer. I have been lucky enough to travel to every continent in the world, from Siberia to Australia and everything in between. I also shoot a lot in London, Barcelona and New York. Those are the 3 cities I have spent most of my life in. I love shooting in these hometowns just as much as I love a new adventure.

For me, photography is all about the people; not just the subjects of my images, but the amazing people all over the world I get to work with on every project. I remember a friend, a person or a connection before a place or a job. There are just so many amazing experiences.

There was that time I met Mickey Mouse… that was definitely up there...

What is one of your proudest moments in your career?

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I think my mum and dad are probably the people I most wanted to please in life. From my school exams to the first exhibition I had I was always trying to make them proud. I remember someone purchased one of my prints from a group show I had in London years back. It was one of the first prints I sold and I was so excited I remember telling my mum and we both cried together (with happiness). The idea that a stranger wanted one of my photos so much that they bought it for their wall..!!  It was a very touching moment, however I found out YEARS later that it was my MUM that had actually bought that print. She wanted me to be happy and excited. To this day I still double check every time someone buys a print that it’s not still my mum buying them.

What are some other things you enjoy when you aren’t shooting?

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Billy dressed as the cutest little Dinosaur

Hanging out with this little guy… this is Billy, my little boy. I am all about family and friends. The idea of a great day for me is being with as many friends and family as I can squeeze into a place, laughing, eating, drinking and arguing (we are half Catalan after all, everything sounds like an argument)

I am lucky enough to travel a lot with work but there is no place like home…

What is your favorite part about being on set?

THE PEOPLE. People make and break a shoot but if it’s 4am and you are all up to shoot a sunrise and people are happy and excited to be there despite the cold or the early hours, then that’s pretty special… The team makes the project. It’s all about working with great people and making good friends. Nobody wants to go to work and have a bad time, so I try not to let that happen… there is always challenges but a strong, fun team makes for great anecdotes that we share on the way to a destination.

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What does #createmoments or #ponyup mean to you?

Go out there and create.  

What is one thing your fans may not know about you?

That I had no idea I have fans..?  Also, I love penguins, I’m pretty good at darts, and I used to be a lifeguard (another job I loved). And I’m allergic to snails.

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What advice can you provide for aspiring Photographers?

Go out and shoot! People often talk about making pictures that can help you get work… I built my career by simply taking a camera everywhere and capturing my world. I had very little agenda other than to annoy my friends and family with a camera in their face as much as possible. Never stop shooting. Go out with a camera and just shoot.

The work I shot on that second road trip across America was entirely for me. It had no end game, and no client to please. It was entirely for pleasure and it was invaluable. Also - you never stop learning. I’ve NEVER been on a set where I know everything. Every day is a school day; it’s just a school I love going to and a class I love learning in.

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What current projects are you working on?

Ahhhh so many. I have a long list of things I am working on… it’s more of a LONG working goal, but the idea is to always be shooting.

I am working on an ongoing project about Jump Rope. I’m working with national teams, capturing the sport from young kids, to older seniors. I am working with the UK sprint team on a really exciting project. I am doing a weird project with Clowns. I am always photographing my family and my surroundings. I am trying to make my son the most photographed kid ever (sorry Billy) and I am also learning how to make things out of leather and Hot Foil embossing… I am also in the process of making the world’s most eco friendly brewery - but that’s a whole different story.

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Check out Sam in action:

Website: Sam Robinson

Instagram: @sam_photography

Email: sam@sam-robinson.com

For Booking: 

UK - We Folk   USA - Bernstein & Andriulli   ASIA - Amanacliq

 

MEET PHOTOGRAPHER | DIRECTOR: CARLI DAVIDSON by Conor Bettendorf

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There are three types of people in this world; there's cat people, there's dog people, and there's Carli Davidson. The latter could also be called, simply, an animal person. Carli has spent the majority of her adult life caring for, looking after, and training all sorts of animals. After a good, long tenure as a (in her words) "shit shoveler" at the Oregon Zoo, Carli suffered a car accident that completely rerouted her career path. 

Having been interested in photography since childhood, Carli spent much of her free time behind the camera when she wasn't working at the Zoo. This rare combination of two of her biggest passions is exactly what caused Carli to find success so quickly. It's no wonder her SHAKE series skyrocketed to fame in short order. Carli's work has been featured on publishings such as Huff Post, Slate Magazine, Wired, and many more.

Although her work with still photography has garnered much of her attention, Carli is renowned for her directing work as well. Here is one STUNNING cat video she directed that you're sure to love! She's even helped us at Plaid Pony create some incredible campaigns. Merrick Pet Care and Sheba Cat Food are just a couple that we were able to work with her on.

Carli Davidson is free spirited, high-energy, and unique... all the reasons we love her. Her passion and her drive have lead her to not only find success in the tough world of photography and motion, but also to the peak levels of physical endurance. She's the whole package, and that's why she's our Featured Photographer/Director of the week! Meet our favorite animal-loving friend; Carli Davidson.

Tell us about your art and how you got involved with photography/directing?

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Some of my earliest memories are being on photo sets. My father was an art director, and always had a camera loaded with film in arms reach. As I got older he would bring me to editing houses in NY and involve me in the creative process. It was something that I didn’t think much about until decades later when I moved back into the commercial still and motion world. As I started taking on more work it was super apparent how much that early education was allowing me to focus on the creative because the technical side was second nature.

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What was a pivotal moment in your career?

Getting in a car wreck. I got called into the Oregon Zoo when I was still working animal care and shooting on the side, to photograph a surgery (it was the spaying of an Amur Leopard, the world's rarest big cat) I went in and we had to cancel last minute as is the nature of medical shoots. On the way home my truck was totalled while I was stopped at a crosswalk. I had to stop working animal care while I recovered. To make ends meet I started shooting more and developed project ideas in my free time. It was these projects that lead to my SHAKE series that propelled me to where I am today. Without that accident I would 100% still be shoveling shit at the zoo and shooting on the side, and I can’t say I would be sad about it! I miss the simplicity and reward of that job.

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What has been your favorite set to work on? Why?

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My favorite set was a doublewide trailer in the back of North Shore Animal League, an animal rescue in Long Island NY on a shoot for Diageo Liquors with Colangelo Agency. I had one of my absolute best friends doing animal training and handling with dogs who were up for adoption at the shelter on set, my cousin who is also a commercial photographer and lifelong mentor was my first assistant, and it was a balmy 10 degrees outside!!! It was magic, we were working with commited rescuers, amazing dogs, and a good natured crew / agency that brought it 100% defying our chilly challenges with positive energy. The shoot provided a HUGE donation to NSAL and a portion of all the bottles sold with the rescue dog images went to them as well. Everybody won.

What is one of your proudest moments in your career?

Finding out I was a NYT Bestseller was crazy. Also Oprah, Neil Patrick Harris, and Richard Simmons being amongst those to repost and complement my work. Because OMG they know I exist.

What are some other things you enjoy when you aren’t shooting?

If I could live in a tent with all my gear and still make it to shoots I would. I backpack, cycle, climb, and live to adventure outdoors. After leaving Portland last year for Austin I started training for my first Century Ride and I’ve been ticking off a list of Volcanoes in the PNW to summit over the next few years. Training for that in mountainless Austin is a challenge unto itself. I’m also planning a through hike of the John Muir Trail in 2019.

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What is your favorite part about being on set?

The comradery and energy of a crew all working hard together. I am so lucky to almost always have animals on set, and that makes it fun for everyone! I try to have extra puppies or kittens when possible for the clients, agency, and crew to hand out with on breaks -- a lot of animal trainers love bringing young animals on set to get them used to the environment.

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What does #createmoments or #ponyup mean to you?

#createmoment -- JUST DO IT! Have fun, be authentic, feel the inspiration. #ponyup -- Find the strength to lift a pony off the ground. They are heavy, but I believe in you.

What is one thing your fans may not know about you?

Hm, I lay it all on the table for my fans generally. I’m a big fan of vulnerability in my online presence for better or worse to make sure I’m staying true to myself in a sometimes over curated medium.

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What current projects are you working on?

Working on a new book pitch, on finding a more permanent shooting space in Austin so I can shoot impulsively like I had the luxury to do in my Portland studio, and developing a few travel workshops for 2018 / 2019. I’m also working on a pop up in Portland this summer that I’ll bring to Austin for sure if it does well, as well as some collaborations with local shops and rescues. I’ve only been around for a year but I’m working my grubby lil paws into the community as best I can.

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Check out Carli in action:

Website: Carli Davidson

Instagram: @carli_davidson

Email: carlidavidson@gmail.com

for booking: Janice Moses Represents