The Truth About Being A Professional Creative (In An Industry Of Obstacles)

Professional creatives all over the world work in industries that are allergic to innovative concepts. That’s why ads that could have been revolutionary, are often wastes of space. And covers that might have pushed boundaries, too often lack an ounce of originality.

Men's Health - Identical CoversNotice any similarities between these Men’s Health covers?


If you downloaded the iPad version of Newsweek’s Mad Men issue—you recognize the cover video embedded below. Photographer Art Streiber recently revealed the story behind the video. Here’s what he had to say:

“When I was assigned to photograph the Mad Men cover of Newsweek, Creative Director Dirk Barnett and Photography Director Scott Hall asked me to shoot a short video for the iPad cover of the issue that would expand on the concept of the print cover.


The print cover is a photograph of four of the main Mad Men actors in the elevator with the cover line, ‘Mad Men Goes Back to the Office.’ The idea for the iPad cover video was that the elevator doors would open, and the actors would walk out.


But we were told by the production company that the actors couldn’t shoot any video in character that wasn’t directly for the show.  So I proposed that I shoot a series of stills and that we ‘animate’ the iPad cover.”

When They Say Can’t Be Done—Don’t Listen. Find A Way

A photographer’s job is to be creative with a camera—right? Well, yes, but a professional does much more than that.

It’s not good enough to simply create shoot concepts and abandon them at the first obstacle—as Streiber’s story illustrates. Without resourcefulness, Newsweek’s iPad cover video would have been scrapped—and no one would really be to blame.

After all, was it Streiber’s fault that Jon Hamm’s contract with AMC is so restrictive?

It’s in circumstances like these that a professional creative must fight to find solutions. That’s our duty—to ourselves and to our clients.

And once in a while we realize that the frustrating, restrictive nature of our industry can be the thing that pushes us to innovate.



  1. Like, Share and Tweet this post to your creative friends using the buttons below
  2. See how you score on these simple creativity tests
  3. Sign up to receive special email updates: subscribe here

Take care,


PS. Thomas Edison once said that “Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.” If you think that’s true, bookmark Scott Belsky’s The 99%. It’s a great resource for anyone who gets revved up about creativity and productivity.

PPS. If you’re interested, you can check the full  Mad Men spread for Newsweek (including more behind-the-scenes insights from Art Streiber).

Related Posts