As Shoots Director at The Foundry – the commercial content creation arm of Time Inc UK – Ginny Henry is a paragon of creativity: when she’s not leading her team on editorial and commercial projects, Ginny is knitting, sewing or at the pottery wheel. Stints as Picture Editor for publications like Red and Easy Living have led Ginny to this dual role, which encompasses both stills and moving image. Here, Ginny shares the intricacies of creating a beautiful image.
Working across 24 brands within the Times Inc portfolio must mean you have to turn your hand to all sorts of diverse projects. Where do you look for your references and inspiration?
I'm lucky enough to work on stills and moving image across everything, from fashion and beauty to interiors and conceptual still life. I love the breadth of creativity and experience this gives me – no two weeks are ever the same! I'm constantly pulling references from all sorts of sources: travel, galleries, architecture, literature, magazines, Instagram... If I find it inspirational – even if I'm not sure why at the time – I'll file it away.
My London haunt for inspiration is The Barbican. I can happily while away a day there, indoors and out, and there's always something fresh to experience.
What are the key challenges of launching websites and magazines? How do you overcome them?
The landscape of publishing is changing at a phenomenal rate. Traditional revenue streams can no longer be relied upon and we as consumers are overwhelmed with choice.
Launching a new venture in this climate can be terrifying, but if you have a strong idea that you really believe in, are prepared to work bloody hard and are not afraid of failing a few times, then you can create something wonderful.
At a time when traditional magazine publishing is facing well-documented difficulties, passion projects like Wylde magazine are flourishing. If you love it and you believe in it: do it.
Coming from a predominantly publishing focused background, what sparked the transition into a role which encompasses aspects of an agency environment?
We're in a really interesting time for content creation. Audiences are more and more savvy and demanding of the content they consume. At the same time, the rise of social platforms and influencers has brought the worlds of editorial and commercial closer then ever before. The opportunity to use my editorial background and experience to enhance commercial campaigns was a challenge I really wanted to take on and one I am thoroughly enjoying!
Which projects have you been particularly proud of over your career?
I've loved the variety of work I've helped create so far in my career and there are many projects which I’m proud of for many different reasons. Everything from a teeny-tiny set build for the relaunch of a flooring brand to an award winning multi-platform Army Recruitment campaign.
Tell me about the process of a shoot, from pitching and concept to completion.
Every project is unique. My involvement can begin at pitch stage – concepting for clients and agencies – or later in the process, producing and directing shoots according to client brief. I work closely with our sales and editorial teams, project managers and clients to ensure that the concept is communicated and understood by all.
It's a role which involves a lot of communication and organisation as well as creativity. Once ideas are signed off, I pull together the right team; from photographers and stylists to locations and sets and I provide mood boards for sign off at every stage of the production.
On shoot days I'm the key creative point of contact, ensuring that everyone understands the vision and that the client is involved on the day and happy with the results!
Post-shoot I oversee all post-production and image supply. It’s a long process with multiple stakeholders, but when it all comes together with beautiful imagery and a happy client it’s so rewarding!
How does your role in a project change depending on whether it’s for stills or for moving image?
With my stills projects I am the shoots director, responsible for visual concepts, briefing in creative crews and overseeing all aspects of the shoot. With moving image I work both as a producer and art director, working closely with the director on realising the vision.
Are you a creative person outside of your career?
Absolutely! I have very "itchy fingers". I love being able to physically create things. I initially trained in fashion design and later as a jeweller and silversmith. At the moment a lot of my free time is spent learning ceramics, but I also sew, knit and last year even learnt some furniture skills. I like to keep busy!
It must often be challenging to lead a team of creatives, what is your management style like?
It's so inspiring to lead a team of creatives – spending my days with people who are passionate about the work they produce is a real joy. Communication is key though; creative minds aren't always creative in the same ways. Being able to understand how everyone thinks and works makes the team, and what they produce, so much stronger. I think it’s important to give people a supportive framework in which they can be creative. For me, the key part of management is supporting your team in achieving their goals.