Lloyd Pursall: Framing Opportunity


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Lloyd Pursall, a Los Angeles-based photographer, videographer and director, has worked with numerous brands, businesses, artists, musicians, athletes, dancers and actors.

Pursall recently joined Linda Duncombe, City National Bank's Chief Marketing, Product and Digital Officer, for a conversation about pursuing creative dreams, supporting others in creative industries and his perspective on Pride month.


Risks & Hard Work Lead to Success

A native of South Wales, Pursall relied on luck and perseverance when pursuing his dream to be a photographer. A believer in being open to opportunities, he took a career detour as a music manager after meeting singer-songwriter Aluna.

“Take the risk and jump to the opportunity," said Pursall. “In my career I've always thought the money part shouldn't drive you, it should be the opportunity."

After his first visit to Los Angeles when he was 17, Pursall wanted to live there, so he made it a long-term goal as he worked in the music industry. He then used that work to kickstart his photography dreams.

“It's first figuring out and knowing what your dream is, and then second applying the pressure and doing the work until you get there," said Pursall. “The real way to do what you want is just nothing but hard work."

In 2017, Pursall held his first solo photography exhibit, “To Live and Try in L.A." Rather than wait to secure backing, Pursall shot the photos for the exhibit for months while searching for brands to sponsor it.

“Los Angeles can seem like one big reality TV show from the outside, but lots of people here are doing incredible things, so I wanted to do a portrait series to show the collective energy of athletes, musicians, artists and actors," said Pursall.


Recognizing Talent & Creating Opportunity

Pursall is known for recognizing talent before others do. He said that he identifies with the struggle of people with untouched talent chasing their dreams before they become mega-stars.

Stylistic and striking portraits of musician Billie Eilish and actor Ashton Sanders, before either had achieved their current fame, were part of Pursall's first exhibit.

“When I see people with talent, I want to help them reach their potential," said Pursall. “There are so many incredible people in our industry who have not been taken care of and some really tragic things have happened. These raw, talented people need to be taken care of, especially at the beginning."

With his portraits, Pursall aims to empower his subjects while also speaking to his audiences.

In addition to his photography business, Pursall directs videos and short films and has brought his unique storytelling style to brands such as Nike and Calvin Klein. Pursall takes pride in choosing exceptional people to work with and mixes long-term collaborators with new creatives.

“Part of my job is to make editors understand the importance of their work and allow them to put their vision into the project," said Pursall.

He often has editors provide the first version of a project so he can see their vision and work with them to bring it to fruition.

Importantly, Pursall believes that talent is an innate quality. That's why he looks for passion, vision and ideas, rather than just technical ability in those he works with.

His focus on teaching others as well as learning from them means that he's never afraid to ask questions.

“I still feel like I'm learning the job of photography and video, so if I don't know something, I'll ask," said Pursall. “If you're honest and open you can build more trusting relationships with other creatives. It's important to ask questions about what you don't understand."


Perspectives on Pride Month

For Pursall, Pride month is important because there are many people in the LGBTQ+ community who deserve to have their stories shared. However, he expressed concern that the term LGBTQ+ can put people in a box.

“Within those letters there are a lot of different stresses and struggles," said Pursall. “As a gay man, my struggles are nothing like the struggles of a trans person. Trans people have a tough journey to find acceptance."

Pursall hopes that Pride month can be a time to celebrate everyone's individuality instead of clumping people under one label.

“It's almost alienating to have people ask me for a list of gay people to work with during Pride month because they should want to work with these people because of their art," said Pursall. “I'd like to see businesses highlight people because of their work and their art, not just because of their gender or sexuality."

This article is for general information and education only. It is provided as a courtesy to the clients and friends of City National Bank (City National). City National does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates or projections given are those of the authors or persons quoted as of the date of the article with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy or change. This article may not be reproduced, distributed or further published by any person without the written consent of City National. Please cite source when quoting.

This podcast is for general information and education only and is provided as a courtesy to the clients and friends of City National Bank. It is compiled from data and sources believed to be reliable, however City National Bank does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates given are those of the speaker as of the date of the podcast with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy or change.