Outside of commercial advertising circles, Jeff Dow of Reno is not a household name. But the members of the Advertising Association of Northern Nevada, trendily named A2N2, know the photographer for commercial as well as pro bono work.
And for it, the group named him Ad Person of the Year.
The award candidates are selected for overall contributions to the industry, and also for contributions to the community, says Jackie Shelton, board member in charge of education and special events for the club.
Dow's pro bono work has helped publicize A2N2, the University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack, Reno Philharmonic, Artown, and the Wing and a Prayer Dance Company.
After starting college in architecture, Dow changed to photography. "I was just addicted," he recalls.
But lucky breaks build careers and when Dow was nearing graduation from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, General Motors called the school, looking for an intern to shoot car bodies in Detroit.
Dow went, and was subsequently hired by General Motors Design Staff. He did confidential photography of prototypes and concept cars. And he produced editorial photography for automobile publications.
These days, he shoots for the Nevada Commission on Tourism, Porsche Cars North America, Wells Fargo Bank, and Goodby Silverstein and Partners.
He considers people his specialty. But Down most enjoys a shoot, he says, "when I know it's a great concept."
A second corporation he owns, Jeff Dow Fine Art and Premium Stock, Inc., which handles fine art and stock photos, billed $181,000 in stock photography last year, says Dow.
Grand Sierra Resort alone made a $20,000 purchase of photos that show the lifestyle they want to convey for their planned resort.
Photography is a tough business with brutal competition.
"There are so many people who want to do what I do," Dow says.
His advice to those up-and-comers?
"You have to do it because you're in love with it. It has to be what you want to do even when it's your day off. It's like feeding your soul."
"I would bring my camera everywhere I went," he says. "To the air races, skiing, the beach at Lake Tahoe. Once you look at life as a photo opportunity, they're everywhere."
In the future, Dow plans to incorporate fine art alongside the commercial work. He currently has a fine-art show hanging at Red Rock Gallery on Sierra Street, with colorful abstract images and black-and-white landscapes.
In business since 1985, Jeff Dow employs Lacey Wols, producer; Dustin Hartman, production supervisor, Sara Macalaso, production assistant, Todd Vellarillis, information technology, Daine Dow, chief financial officer and himself, president.
Jeff Dow Photo-graphy, Inc. also won two national Addy awards, for a Porsche advertising campaign and for best self-promotion Web site, jeffdow.com, in 2004.