Bridget HARRIS

Photography Lead | AIRBNB


Bridget Harris is the Photography Lead at Airbnb, responsible for overseeing the creative and strategic approach to the brand's imagery and its execution globally. Prior to joining Airbnb

in 2014, she was a Senior Photography Producer at TIME Magazine where she produced print and digital content, including photography for the annual TIME 100 special issue, TIME Lightbox, and 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time . A Southern California native, Bridget braved four Boston winters playing basketball and studying art at Wellesley College, before relocating to New York City, where she spent a decade producing commercial and editorial projects for clients ranging from The New York Times, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, to Estee Lauder, Absolut, Coca-Cola, and Reebok.


1.) What was your very first job? 

In high school, I refereed youth basketball games on weekends

for ten bucks a pop.


2.) Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails. 

My main role at Airbnb is to set the visual tone for photography, and to work with our team of creative directors,

producers, partners and photographers to apply it to everything we produce. I create and am responsible for updating our brand photography guidelines, establishing art direction for our campaigns, product content, and brand library, and from there, overseeing execution, guiding our global teams and partners to ensure that we never compromise quality, consistency, and tone of voice in projects executed at scale.  Day to day this means leading our team of photography producers, proposing and briefing photographers for various projects, reviewing treatments and shoot selects, art directing photo shoots, making production recommendations and consulting on creative decisions for various projects that range from product launches to social media content to Airbnbmag photography to global campaigns.


3.) How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today? 

From a young age, I’ve always loved to draw and paint, but it wasn ’ t until college that I really discovered photography and made it my focus. I was obsessed with darkroom processing and printing, which I now realize allowed me to be creative, while also satisfying my process-oriented, methodical way of thinking that eventually lead me into production. I had very little insight into the commercial photography world, until my first photo job at The Boston Globe newspaper, where as a college senior I interned in the photography department, assisting photographers in the field, and archiving, captioning and crediting images. To this day, that is one of my favorite and most transformative jobs I’ve ever held - working day in and day out with seasoned, award winning photojournalists who all took me under their wings, covering events like the Democratic National Convention, the 2004 Presidential election, the Red Sox world series win, was absolutely incredible. That experience truly set in motion not only the path my career has taken, but my aesthetic leanings towards authentic, imperfect, gritty, real, emotion-driven documentary style imagery.


4.) In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant? 

Honestly, I draw a lot of inspiration from my peers and my teammates at Airbnb, who all come from different backgrounds and mediums. I am lucky to work with insanely talented people who push me to be better, to think about photography in different ways, and to consider how the work we do might be interpreted by someone who isn’t immersed in photography in their daily life. I lean on Instagram a lot to expose myself to photographers from many different fields, cultures, and aesthetics. It’s important to me to stay in touch with new work in fashion, fine art, still life, technology, journalism, and find interesting ways to cross-pollinate different styles or techniques with our brand to push it forward. A lot of the work we do at Airbnb needs to scale globally without compromising on quality, so I actively try to stay in touch with advances in capture technology, image sharing, and photography applications.


5.) If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be? 

In 2016 we introduced a Neighborhoods feature on our mobile platform, giving users a chance to explore the surroundings and unique local culture of areas where they were potentially wanting to stay in an Airbnb home. To launch the feature, we photographed 691 neighborhoods across 25 cities globally within the span of 6 weeks, working with over 100 photographers. I set the art direction and was tasked with selecting one image per neighborhood that captured a community-first feeling, while also resulting in one cohesive body of work. I edited through over 80,000 photos to get to our final set of selects, which captured so many different scenes, people, relationships, climates, fashion styles, and street culture - I didn’t expect to feel like we’d captured a snapshot of humanity across the world over a brief moment in time, but looking at the final set, I think that’s exactly what we accomplished. I wrote a piece for the Airbnb Design blog about the project, found here:


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