Photographer tells students how Prof. Trayes’ class changed his life

Stanley Lumax
(photo by Ethan Schwartz)

Stanley Lumax, JPRA ’99, details the growth of his passion for photography though pictures of the cameras he has owned.

From his first point-and-shoot to his first SLR camera, Lumax showed these photos, as well as some of the work he created with them, to Professor Ed Trayes’ photojournalism students Feb. 22.

Lumax is the global cultural director at the Anomaly advertising agency in New York, where he is responsible for learning how best to market to customers around the world. He owns Stoneface Photography (named after his fraternity nickname), through which he has shot images for Nike, Converse, Sprite and more.

He told the students that Trayes’ class “literally changed my life.” It was when his camera became an everyday accessory.

“I left my dorm room every day with a third arm,” Lumax said.

It was the constant presence of his camera that helped take his photography to a new level. Early in his career, while working as an account executive and Wieden and Kennedy, he took pictures at a Nike event and sent them as to his clients as a courtesy. His photos resonated with Nike, who asked him to be the shooter on their new advertising campaign. He travelled the five boroughs of New York to find people who could represent the Nike brand. Lumax came across athletes of all races on the sidewalks and playgrounds of the city. He said the campaign resonated well with the New York audience.

“They weren’t used to seeing people who looked like them in Nike ads,” he said.

Lumax describes his photography as raw and journalistic. He doesn’t spend too much time setting up a shoot or editing photos afterward. “It’s about capturing the moment when it happens.”

And sometimes those moments are harder to get than others.

Lumax described several shoots during which he had to capture still images as a television commercial was being filmed. To stay out of the way, he hid behind cars and other set pieces as he worked.

“Photography is second to film in advertising,” he said.

Much of the photography Lumax shared with the class was shot out of pure passion for the art. And one image was the fulfillment of a challenge Trayes presented to Lumax and his classmates – capturing a shot of a high-rise window washer from inside of the building. Lumax proudly unveiled an image of window washers at work outside of his South African hotel room.

“Twenty years later, here you are Dr. Trayes,” he said. “I did it.”