Interview with Ellie Pritts
Ellie's imaginative work has captured the attention of esteemed publications such as WIRED and TIME, who named her one of the top photographers to follow in the U.S. Most recently, Ellie was brought on to launch and Art Direct Apple's official Instagram account, @apple. Prior to that, she founded the world’s first collaborative photography app, Hippo. She now additionally works as a creative marketing consultant and speaker at marketing events nationwide.
She is also a classically trained cellist who studied at Merit School of Music and Northern Illinois University.
Hi Ellie! What initially led to your interest in photography? When you started your career did you think you'd ever be where you are today?
Initially, I became interested in photography when I took a summer course when I was 14 years old at Columbia College in Chicago. It was a darkroom photography course and I didn't really know what to expect. I fell in love instantly, I could never have dreamed that I would end up where I am today in my career, even when I decided a couple of years later at the age of 19 or so to pursue photography as a career, I had all different types of ideas of where I thought my photography would go, but I definitely did not expect that I would ever end up where I'm at today.
What have been some of your favorite photography projects and campaigns you've been a part of in recent years?
My favorite photography project so far, has been a personal one and that was in Monument Valley in Utah. It was one of the most beautiful and inspiring just majestic martian landscapes I have ever seen in person, and it was such a pleasure to shoot there, definitely my favorite photography project in recent memory.
When it comes to campaigns that I've been a part of, hands down the shot on iPhone campaign has been my favorite and the one I'm most proud to say that I've been a part of, for sure.
How did you initially start working for Apple? What was this experience like?
I've worked for Apple twice, both directly and indirectly. Both experiences were really great in totally different ways.
The first time I worked for them was in Austin Texas, in 2014. I worked as a production artist there, and that was a really cool job, very technical. The interview process was so rigorous and intense, I was really excited and proud when I got that job and I was with them for about a year and then recently Media Arts Lab which is Apple's out of house marketing agency, they reached out to me when I moved to Los Angeles because they wanted to help launching Apple's Instagram account, and that was totally different than what I was doing for Apple before and I was really excited about it, I was working on the shot and iPhone campaign, which is a dream, and it was incredible, honestly. The people I worked with were the most hardworking, talented individuals I've ever met and I'm so proud of the work that we did, and to say that I was a part of that team I would definitely consider it one of the high points of my career.
What makes your approach to artistic direction unique in the industry? How do you separate yourself and stand out from the crowd?
I think my approach to art direction is uniquely holistic. Obviously, I come from a strong photography background, but I also taught myself how to code a couple of years ago when I worked and building my own IOS app, I made some web-based art projects, and I also before, I was pursuing photography I was actually seriously studying music as a classically trained cellist, and now, I additionally direct so I direct music videos and want to get into film, and I started consulting with creatives, creative agencies, and brands, helping them with marketing themselves, specifically on social media, so this I like to think that for myself creativity is always evolving, and each phase that I go through lends itself to this kind of comprehensive vision that I have when it comes to artistic direction.
What's next for your work as a photographer and director? What are the main projects and clients you'll be focusing on in 2019?
My next big project is a music video that I'm directing, that's the largest production I have been directing for, which is really exciting. Great way to end the year. I can already tell that 2019 is going to be full of new experiences and really, really cool new projects.
One thing that I'm looking forward to is expanding a bit more into the art world, I really want to get my work off your screen and into the real world, I'd like to have some gallery showings and work on concrete physical projects, art projects and, that's something I really look forward to for next year, including doing more film work in general.