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The personal side of business

Photos from the Fast Company Innovation Festival show businesspeople as you’ve never seen them before.

The personal side of business
Fast Company Innovation Festival photographers James Hartley (left) and Jake Chessum, captured by eachother. [Photos: Jake Chessum (Hartley); James Hartley (Chessum)]

Since its inception in 1995, Fast Company has sought to portray business and businesspeople in surprising ways. Our focus on innovation–as opposed to mere scale or power–allows us to look beyond CEOs to highlight a diverse set of visionaries, such as the scientists, marketers, set and costume designers, and researchers featured on our most recent annual Most Creative People in Business list. When we do write about corporate chieftains, we go deep, exploring the private moments that shape these influential people.

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And yet, even by Fast Company standards, the “Picturing Innovation” photo portfolio is a revelation. Jake Chessum’s and James Hartley’s images, shot at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in October 2018, show the dynamic, human side of business figures that is so often overlooked. Chessum, headquartered in our makeshift studio at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y, engaged and loosened up even the most cautious subjects. Hartley worked quietly to capture honest moments behind the scenes. The results seem effortless.

Chessum and Hartley got a huge assist from Fast Company‘s art team. Celine Grouard, senior associate photo editor, provided invaluable direction and support to the photographers, translating my vague directions to create “something unexpected” into the rich images you’ll see in this issue. She also coordinated dozens of additional photo shoots–of the nearly 200 panels, field trips, and networking moments throughout the weeklong event. Her colleague Maja Saphir and contributing photo editor Daniel Salo processed some 20,000 photos, all while researching and prepping art for the constant stream of journalism we produce on FastCompany.com. Photo assistant Daisy Korpics and contributing photo editor Samir Abady were seemingly everywhere at once with their own cameras, contributing thoughtful images of speakers, panelists, and attendees at the Innovation Festival.

The sophisticated presentation of this photo portfolio is the handiwork of Alice Alves, our art director, who works closely with associate art director Chelsea Schiff. This small, dedicated team makes sure that every issue of Fast Company looks elegant and inviting–and always reveals a different, more personal side of business.

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