Havas North America CCO on changing adland with a camera lens

"I've been on this mission forever to move from creative to creator."

Jason Peterson is a self-professed obsessive when it comes to his photography.

So when the chairman and chief creative officer at Havas North America got the call up to showcase work in Times Square, of course he said yes.

Later today, Peterson will have one of his photos standing proud on a billboard through a partnership with Nasdaq, which dedicates time to local artists.

"I was a photographer in high school, I was always ‘the art kid,’" he said. "Then I thought I had to make money out of this -- and I’m old as shit -- so this was way before social media. I fell into advertising as an art director and loved it."

deep ends

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between break and unbroken

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in our own minds we're never wrong

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He hustled imagery on the side -- taking photos and developing them in his spare time. Back then it was a very time-consuming hobby, now anyone with a social media account can call themselves a photographer.

Peterson jumped on the game early during the Flickr and Tumblr days (I know -- prehistoric, right?) around six/seven years ago. He hasn’t stopped since.

"I wanted to know these channels because they’re inherent to me understanding my advertising job, but I said I was going to do it through my photography," he continued. "So since then, I take photos and manage my social media every single day, almost like if I were a professional athlete working toward that big game, which is advertising."

one of these days

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stormy daniels

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The CCO originally shot on iPhones, but now has a partnership with Leica cameras. His style has amassed more than one million followers on Instagram alone. Peterson said he’s his "harshest critic," and you have to "stay hungry" if you want to keep your head above the countless other professional photographers out there.

For years, he’s been on a mission to change the advertising world through a lens, and it appears to be working.

"I’m sick of us talking about how we change work, so I’ve been on this mission forever to move from creative to creator," he added. "I can make or shoot anything better than anyone, and that’s the creative philosophy I want across all of our agencies."

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