The creatives who caught who we are

• Eirill Eckbo • Keine Kommentare • 
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The journey a startup makes takes the team members through many different phases, including offices. With each new office, you feel how this represents the startup moving into a new era. With this the startup also grows in number of team members. It is important to remember the core values of the team, but also to let the new people help the culture evolve to something even better. In our case these values already counted for instance knowledge hunger and open positive mindset, but with the team evolvement reliability and humor got added.

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This time around we were lucky to find a huge raw floor with bare ceiling and mainstays. It gave us the opportunity to involve the whole Friendsurance team in shaping the office in tune with our business and culture. We instantly identified with the new office as we moved in.

As for any growing company it is important to attract good people who will enjoy working with us. Entering this next era, we therefore wanted to work with creatives who could present who we are as a team in an honest way. We explained what we needed material for, but let them film and take photos reflecting the culture they saw. It turned out that they were able to catch and illustrate the core values in our culture, without knowing them.

This experience made me curious to learn more about who they are.

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Alexander Klebe

We have worked with Alex since Friendsurance’s first summer party, somehow he was there and the photos he took made us not let him go. Alex was originally on a journey towards a PhD in Marketing. But 8 years ago he moved to Berlin and started as a freelance photographer. I asked him what photography is for him:

„Photography is a rich and beautiful language; it can be understood by everyone. If the world really was a global village this is its language. We communicate. We share emotions. We store information. Sometimes it’s just a selfie or our meal, but that’s okay for personal use too. We consume images to stimulate our brain. Images inspire. Makes us dream of places and people we shared our best moments with.“

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If you visit Alex‘ webpage, you instantly get amazed and slightly jealous of the exotic and highly different places he has been to. In some way they are in high contrast to our assignment and it made me ask what he really likes.

„I am where I always wanted to be. Living & working as a freelance photographer in Berlin is exciting. The artists, the entrepreneurs, the children. I love all the aspects of my work especially the events & portrait assignments. It inspires me a lot to listen to the stories of my models while taking their image. Part of my pleasure is to get to know them over the years. However, now and then I escape to somewhere with a beach. I think this would be the only change I could imagine for now. Then I would have more time for landscapes and documentary.“

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So how could Alex catch who we are, what gave it away? To this he answers

Working with friendsurance feels like visiting friends, it’s always funny and chilled but focused. The right atmosphere to produce good ideas. This is what inspired the photography and our workflow. Everybody threw in ideas, it was a big melting pot of creative energy in the search of angles and subjects, which were taken while doing, what they always do.

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Stuart Holt

Some people have the ability to bring positive energy to a whole office when they arrive. Stuart is one of them. His character makes it somehow not that terrifying being filmed. To this accusation he answered

„I started making films in 2006, but I didn’t see it as film making at the time. I found that people would often open up to me in the most profound way when I’d ask them a question while holding a camera. Nothing has shown me that you can’t judge a book by its cover as much as making films. Quite quickly, I think I realized that film-making is not photography. It has a different vocabulary.“

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One of Stuart’s biggest projects is  www.themostinterestingperson.com project, which is a format of interconnected interviews where each interviewee takes you to the most interesting person they know.

 „I feel honored to have heard so many intimate stories that are often difficult to tell from so many different types of people. That motivates me to tell those stories with compassion. I think that’s why I’m always trying to better myself as a film-maker and become more familiar with its intricately nuanced vocabulary.“

Stuart was living in Berlin when we met him and still works a lot here, but lives in Amsterdam.

„I’ve recently set up shop in a studio alongside a design agency called Nouch.com in East Amsterdam. And I love it. Little touches of retro design nostalgia and attention to detail. Normally I’m the epi-centre of a tsunami of miscellany and very messy. But the studio is a chilled and tender place and we all make a point to leave it each day pretty damn spotless or free of clutter at the end of the day.“

One of the nice things Stuart did on his own initiative when he was in the office was to ask a lot of people to stand in front of the camera for just 2 seconds. It ended up being the best way to illustrate just exactly who Friendsurance are.

 

Image Credits: © Alexander Klebe  © Stuart Holt
Video Credits: © Stuart Holt

Eirill Eckbo (Head of HR) has been responsible for the team development at Friendsurance from the very beginning.

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