We have known for some time that Tony Blei is an amazing photographer. We were happy to see that in the Winter 2008 addition of Southwest Graphics Magazine, they gave Tony the chance to talk about his passion for photography and some of the reasons behind his success. Tony has had an extensive career shooting a variety of subjects, including six U.S. presidents.

Southwest Graphics does not publish their magazine on their website. Excerpts of the article are available here.

High on Blei

Tony Blei of Tony Blei Photography has been in business for three years, but he’s actually been photographing people for more than 20. Tony previously was a photojournalist, and he says that experience helped to shape his creativity.

“There’s a beauty to photojournalism that often gets missed. The beauty is that you have a steady stream of people to photograph, but very little time to plan. It requires that you think on your feet and be creative,” Tony says. “Photojournalists are incredibly creative people who have to solve huge problems on a moment’s notice – with no budget.”

…”I’ll run through walls for my clients. I do whatever it takes to get them what they need. Period.” Tony says, “I see my photography as an investment for my clients. The pictures they’re hiring me to produce will be used to attract business or sell their products. They deserve a high return on their investment.”

When he was a young photographer, Tony photographed an author. “I don’t remember his name, but I remember the lesson he taught me: Unless you’re at the J.C. Penny Portrait Studio, nobody wants their picture to look like everyone else’s. I ended up putting a computer keyboard in the author’s hands and posed him as if he were a rock star playing lead guitar. It was great! We each ended up with a picture we loved, and I ended up with a lesson that served me well for more than 20 years.”