Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders and entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On this week’s episode, Jeff sits down with photographer and BFA co-founder David X Prutting.
Founded in 2010 by David, Billy Farrell, Neil Rasmus and Joe Schildhorn, BFA is a photography service that documents various events within fashion, art and culture. Now an industry go-to, its list of clients ranges from Chanel and The Met to the Academy Awards.
David began his career assisting various fashion photographers, which eventually landed him an opportunity with the legendary Patrick McMullan. It was there that he met his three future co-founders for BFA. While the split from McMullan was not amicable, with even The New York Times reporting on it, David and his colleagues felt the need to showcase a more documentarian style to the events they were shooting.
“When it’s time to go, it’s time to go. Do your own thing, because you’re going to be resentful. It’s about knowing, evolving, understanding when it’s time to try something else. We needed to put a different product out there; something that would elevate the brand as well elevate the impression of event photography.”
In the early days, David says their short-run staff existed almost entirely on a freelance level. Now located in LA and NY, BFA employs 15-20 core staff members and 40-60 freelancers with deliverables available by 8 a.m. the next day. Their success and core values lie within making strong relationships as a means to create compelling images. Their company isn’t focused on monetization, but more so on fostering talent to create images that matter.
Still, David admits that he gets anxiety going to events, even after a decade in business. He expresses the importance of staying humble and inspired by the everyday moments of the city. “Enjoy little moments that you should just always be aware of, that are in front of you or happening. Don’t get jaded. That’s a bad place to be. You’re not going to stay inspired that way. Just open up your senses. It’s out there, and life is happening. The city is alive find your environment and make the best of it.”
Tune in to hear David share his journey of surviving in this competitive industry and his words of advice.
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This episode features references to the following:
2:24 – BFA
3:09 – Billy Farrell, Neil Rasmus, Joe Schildhorn
3:25 – Patrick McMullan
3:35 – Andy Warhol
4:45 – Early career
6:26 – Diego Fuga
7:40 – James Mackay
9:29 – Susan Magrino, Martha Stewart’s publicist
15:17 – Chanel J12
17:19 – New York Times feature
20:34 – Client list
23:35 – BFA Instagram
23:49 – Hipstamatic
26:23 – BFA office locations
36:19 – Olivia Palermo
51:45 – Purpose & vision
1:06:01 – Advice
1:07:41 – Bill Cunningham
1:08:15 – The Sartorialist
1:08:27 – Tommy Ton
1:09:20 – Julien Boudet
1:11:35 – J.Cole
1:11:40 – Santigold
1:12:50 – Advice