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Business

Why the Middle Class Matters

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 07/06/2016 - 7:15am

[by Jan Klier]

Cross-posting from LinkedIn.

Jan Klier Middle Class Photo

These days there is a lot of talk about the state of the middle class in the world. As a matter of fact, the middle class does not only matter politically, but also within the economic bounds of a specific industry, such as the photography industry.

Most photographers entering the industry, either self-taught or coming through art school, have dreams of one day shooting a big magazine cover or ad shoot, seeing their image used by a major corporation, displayed in a prominent place (if they are on the commercial track, rather than consumer track).

Just yesterday I happened to watch a documentary on the Vogue fashion directors and seeing some of the outstanding work that has been shot over the years reminded me why I fell in love with fashion photography.

As in any career track, there is a progression from entry level that is focused on establishing the baseline; followed by a steady advancement of bigger and and more complex jobs that refine style, production skills, resource network, and build a reputation and portfolio; followed years later by the peak of being well known for a particular type of work shooting said covers and ads.

Those years in between could be considered the ‘middle class’. Experienced photographers doing quality work, serving clients in the mid-market on sizable but not excessive budgets. Portfolios that have solid work in them, but aren’t nationally recognized yet.

Thinking about said fashion photographs in the documentary – they require access to talent in front on camera and on set, they require access to designer showrooms, they require production and prop budgets, locations, and studios. To build a portfolio of this kind, photographers either need to be hired for jobs with sizable budgets, or they need enough margin on their bill paying work and reputations that they can afford expensive personal projects. It is very hard in a distressed market. It becomes a rare luxury, not regular career building moment.

These days there is lots of debate about the state of the industry. Some say it’s in dire straits. Others see some warning signs but aren’t overly concerned yet. Where you stand seems to depend on two things: One is whether you are a half-empty or half-full kind of thinker. The other is what data points you rely on.

If you judge the health of the industry by whether people are still shooting covers for magazines or are there still big-budget ad shoots – yes, those still happen. I follow producers and see them posting about big shoots. And the magazines still have covers that result from photoshoots. I also know photographers who have been around for decades who have built solid client rosters and relationships who have pretty full shooting calendars. Some can walk down the grocery store aisles and see their portfolio in front of them on a myriad of packaging designs.

If you judge the health of the industry by the stories you hear from the average professional photographer, those who should be shooting the mid-market work that doesn’t show up on the news stand, but should be building their portfolio and paying their bills – this is where it looks a lot choppier out there. That’s where lots of the stories of cut throat budgets, do-it-for-exposure, and dearth of work originate.

And it makes sense. The agencies and editorial teams doing the top of the market work have probably seen their budgets shrink a tad, but they are well established in the way things used to be done. They have their go-to teams. They keep doing what they always did, give or take some adjustments because of the digital and social media world.

In the middle market a lot more turn-over happens, the overall economy is under tremendous pressure, and things aren’t as they always used to be. It’s the ‘do more with less’ segment. And it is full of marketing people in their own mid-career years who are trying to find their own way in changing times. Those are the folks hiring photographers who don’t necessarily know the old days and thus don’t know what they give up in impact if they insist on a cut-through budget or give the job to someone who isn’t fit for the job but willing to do it on a shoe string. Those are the folks that grew up with fashion bloggers and social media, who didn’t get paid until they had a big brand endorsement. So why should that photographer be paid?

Those trends are undermining the health of the photographic middle class. There aren’t enough jobs for those who are past art school and need to earn a living with photography rather than student type jobs; those who need bigger budgets so that the production values add to building their portfolio rather than just delivering an image; those who start specializing in a genre and style and can’t shoot endless events and weddings just to pay the bills.

Will it matter in the long run? Maybe not. There are enough established photographers at the top of their careers to keep servicing ad agencies and the remaining magazines for years to come. Eventually some will retire, but it won’t make too deep a dent in the ranks for a while.

The photographic middle class is the one that is being squeezed the most at the moment and the one that may be decimated. But by the time they would have reached the top of their career in 10 or 15 years, photography is likely to look so different we won’t be missing them much.

And so the photo industry mirrors much of the the current political and economic environment.

When you judge the health of the photo industry, we must not just look at the few examples of world-class work done at the top, we must also look at how the everyday professional fares, builds his reputation, and pays his bills.

Jan Klier is a New York based fashion photographer and director of photography. His work can be viewed at janklier.com and motion.janklier.com.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Advertiser Pledge Sets Example of Accountability in the Fight Against Piracy

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 1:09pm

With the recent establishment of our partnership with George Mason University’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP), ASMP will begin to include cross-postings in Strictly Business about  political, economic, and social trends related to a broad range of infringement issues being addressed by CPIP and its contributors.

Cross-posted from the Mister Copyright blog.

It should come as no surprise that popular websites make money by hosting advertisements. Anyone surfing the web has undoubtedly been bombarded with ads when visiting certain sites, and for websites that offer free services or user experiences, advertisements are often the only way to generate revenue. Unfortunately, websites that promote and distribute pirated material also attract advertisers to help fund their illicit enterprises, and despite a recent push for awareness and response to these sites, legitimate advertisers, search engines, and domain name registrars continue to enable them to profit from flagrant copyright infringement.

A 2014 study by the Digital Citizens Alliance found that ad-sponsored content theft is a big and growing business. Even after a year that saw the shutdown of some of the most notorious file-sharing websites, an examination of 589 illicit websites found aggregate annual advertising revenues of $209 million. Premium brand advertising also rose from 89 observed brands in 2013 to 132 to in 2014.

The transition from downloading to streaming as the preferred method of consuming entertainment has led to content thieves taking advantage of higher advertising rates, as the cost of advertising during a video stream is far greater than a traditional display ad. Additionally, the Digital Citizens Alliance stresses that websites are easily able to ditch a domain name targeted by authorities and set up shop under a new one, contributing to the never-ending whack-a-mole nature of online piracy:

The content theft industry’s low barriers to entry and the ability of operators to switch domains quickly make it easy for new sites to fill the void left by those that do get shut down, and to evade enforcement.

The presence of recognizable brand advertisements on websites involved in illegal activity does damage far beyond lining the pockets of those distributing the unauthorized works. When users visit a website in search of music, a television show, or movie, and they see the creative work (or links to the work) displayed alongside professional, recognizable advertisements, the advertisements lend legitimacy to the website. This can be especially dangerous for younger or less-informed users who have no idea that downloading or streaming the creative works through one of these websites is copyright infringement that will ultimately harm creators and artists.

The confusion these ad placements create is similar to the misperceptions furthered by search engines and domain name registrars that have made little effort to preclude pirate websites from taking advantage of their services. Despite promises to remove them from their search results, Google continues to display links to pirate websites alongside legitimate links in its results, often displaying the illicit links at the very top of the search results.

Filmmaker and artists’ rights activist Ellen Seidler recently exposed Google’s unwillingness to remove links to websites that distribute unauthorized creative works when she ran a simple Google search for her film And Then Came Lola. As she relates, not only was the film’s official website nowhere to be found among the first page of results, the list was made up of many websites offering pirated versions of the film. Sadly, most people searching for Ellen’s movie would not be able to immediately distinguish between legitimate and illicit links and would likely be steered towards a pirate website.

Domain name registrars have also added to the confusion surrounding the legitimacy of certain infamous pirate sites by allowing them to play domain name musical chairs and evade prosecution. The Pirate Bay—one of the most notorious file-sharing websites—has operated using domain names from 14 different countries, jumping from domain to domain name to stay online in the face of prosecution. Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid warns against providing sanctuary to sites like The Pirate Bay, revealing that the website recently returned to its original .org domain run by the U.S.-based Public Interest Registry (PIR):

It is shocking that a domain name registry in the United States – one that is dedicated to “the public interest” – is allowing a blatantly illegal site to have a home on the .org domain. This is especially disturbing given that the operators of The Pirate Bay have been found guilty of criminal copyright infringement, The Pirate Bay domain names have been seized or suspended around the globe, and even its co-founder, Peter Sunde, has walked away from it.

Despite these alarming trends in the facilitation of pirate websites, there have been some recent initiatives to deter companies from doing business with illicit websites. One notable initiative is the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG). A joint effort by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), TAG was formed “to create transparency in the business relationships and transactions that undergird the digital ad industry, while continuing to enable innovation.” In 2015, TAG announced the launch of the Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy—an effort to help advertisers and advertising agencies keep their ads off websites that promote or distribute counterfeit goods or pirated content.

TAG’s mission has resonated with both advertisers and ISPs, demonstrated by a recent announcement that dozens of leading ad agencies, as well as Google and GoDaddy, have taken TAG’s Anti-Piracy Pledge. The Pledge includes a vow to curb the placement of digital advertising on websites associated with the unauthorized distribution of materials and lists the following actions that companies can take to ensure compliance:

(i) directly employing the services of validated Digital Advertising Assurance Providers;

(ii) directly employing advertising placement services that carry the TAG logo “Certified Against Piracy”; and/or

(iii) placing online advertisements through Advertising Agencies that do business exclusively with advertising placement services that carry the TAG logo “Certified Against Piracy

TAG created Digital Advertising Assurance Providers (DAAPs) as part of its Brand Integrity Program to help advertisers identify and weed out websites that do not meet their brand standards. The DAAPs are validated technology companies that the advertisers can employ to gauge the level of risk they are comfortable with and then eliminate websites and other properties that do not meet the advertisers’ standards for risk of infringement.

It’s difficult to measure how harmful advertising on illicit websites is to creators and copyright owners, but it’s not a stretch to presume that without ad revenue, many pirate sites would lose their incentive to operate. In her call to action to marketers, Hannibal executive producer Martha De Laurentiis lays out the destructive effect piracy has on the creative community:

It forces companies to either shrink their production budgets or commit to fewer, less risky projects. And ultimately, it harms audiences by limiting the types of stories that creatives can tell.

De Laurentiis explains that these pirate sites bring in millions in advertising dollars a year, and because they don’t pay for distribution rights for the creative works they steal, profit margins are estimated at around 90%. Potential profits of this scale are irresistible to those behind the pirate sites, but with a little vigilance and responsibility these incentives could be eliminated.

The co-chairs of the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, and Congressman Adam Schiff, recently praised TAG for its promotion of the Anti-Piracy Pledge, and it seems like the movement for more responsibility in digital advertising is gaining traction. But domain name registrars and search engine services need to follow the example set by advertisers and establish accountability and awareness in their sectors. Only when these services refuse to aid websites that distribute stolen copyrighted works will real progress be made in the fight against digital piracy.

Kevin Madigan is a Legal Fellow at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at George Mason Law, working closely with CPIP scholars in their research and promotion of comprehensive intellectual property law and policy. In addition to being an attorney, Kevin is an artist and registered copyright owner. He blogs at mistercopyright.org.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Joe Riis stuggles to find the balance when work takes over your life

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 12:34pm

The short film “Joe” highlights Riis’s work in the Yellowstone ecosystem, but it also exposes a much more relatable side of him—the struggle to find balance between life and a job that has basically become his life. “Is my work worth spending more time on my work than my girlfriend?” he asks in the film. “Is my work worth essentially dedicating my life to it? And that changes from time to time. Sometimes I think that, and other times I think: You know, I should just pack it in. I should just go into town and get a job, and actually have a real relationship.”

Source: adventure journal – Joe and the Pronghorns

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Categories: Business

The Daily Edit: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 06/14/2016 - 10:53am

 
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Marie Claire

Creative Director: Nina Garcia
Design Director: Clare Ferguson
Photo Director: James Morris
Photo Editor: Fiona Lennon
Art Director: Wanyi Jiang
Associate Art Director: Melanie Springhetti Teppich
Photographers: Keirnan and Theo

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
We definitely do our best work when clients let us do our own art/creative direction. Collaboration is fun, but it can sometimes lead to too many compromises. True creatives trust their artists. James (Photo Director) allowed us to be ourselves. He was a pleasure to work with.

What background is this particular shot and what was the through line with the styling and overall look to this story?
Our thread for this story was to create a loose social narrative. We try not to get too literal. We also like to give context, so that images aren’t just product shots. We usually find materials we think are beautiful and exciting, and see what works.

How did you overcome the reflections in this shot?
We don’t try to overcome reflections too often. In the case of mirrored objects, we just try to make it work in our favor.

Do you have a lead food stylist you collaborate with?  Is it typically Maggie Ruggiero? I love her work! I see you both work on Gather.
We work mainly with Maggie Ruggiero, and Victoria Granof. They are both absolute pro’s.

Do you both shoot the assignments?
Yes, we are truly a team. We also both do set styling, though Theo is really the Eleanor to my Steve Zissou.

What are each other’s strengths?
I suppose that Theo is a little more left brain to my right brain… but that can switch depending on the circumstance. Either way, we even each other out.

How did you two meet and tell us how your working relationship unfolded.
We met in college, and started living together soon after. We got married in 2009. The thought if working together dawned on us early, though we weren’t sure it could work. However, after almost two years now (and a few tears), it’s been a wonderful collaboration. We definitely overlap in so many ways.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo – Steve Simko

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 9:07am

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Steve Simko

 

Who printed it?
I sourced it through FOXTONE PACKING in New York City. He’s a print broker and is known for his foil stamping expertise.

Who designed it?
Myself and longtime friend/designer Peter Scherrer at STUDIO MOUSETRAP here in Los Angeles.

Who edited it?
Myself. I had originally chosen a different image but felt it like I might have missed something in the first edit and went back a couple weeks later and found this timeless image.

How many did you print?
500 total with 300 for the mailing and 200 for hand outs.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
2-3 times a year with a very specific target of photo editors and art buyers.

Tell us about this image.
This image is from a personal project I photographed with Michael Wilkinson (Oscar nominated costume designer) and his husband Tim Martin. I had shot Michael a couple of years ago and they came to me with an idea for a project they were working on for their new branding company and asking if I had any interest in shooting some Haute Couture clothing. Yes, please !

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Categories: Business

Getty Images v. Walter A. Kowalczuk

Photo Business Forum - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 5:04pm
Getty Images today notified contributors that on June 8th, 2016 it filed a lawsuit against Walter A. Kowalczuk because they allege he "downloaded thousands of images without authorization from Getty Images and profited from those downloads.  In addition, Getty Images believes that Mr. Kowalczuk was not acting alone, and the company is actively pursuing other possible infringers."

Getty Images has been the subject of many criticisms online for their aggressive handling of copyright infringement claims, and just two days ago Geekwire published "Getty Images rights claim against Seattle startup raises ‘phishing scam’ concerns", however, the article notes that the infringer (Aaron Bird) in this case "...will end up paying the settlement fee..."because, well, he infringed. Bird's concern centered around the question of a phishing scam and not whether or not he actually infringed on the work.

It is obvious that, with a reported 80,000,000 images in their archives, even a one-tenth-of-one-percent (.01%) number of infringements in a year that's still 8,000 copyright infringement cases. As such there has to be a system to handle that many infringements.  In 2013, in an effort to resolve what was likely massive infringement issues with Pinterest, Getty entered a deal with Pinterest, which PBN reported on here - Deception? Getty Images & The Pinterest Deal (12/13/13) and again PBN reported here - Monetizing Getty's 35M Image Archive via FREE Editorial Uses - about Getty offering a solution to reduce infringements through free use of the work they represent. While PBN wrote critically about both undertakings, and questions remain about the success of each, the question remains as to whether or not Getty Images contributors are receiving a portion of the revenue from these efforts, however, Getty is trying to find ways to reduce infringement and monetize the content they represent.

Getty Images should continue to aggressively pursue any theft of the intellectual property that they own wholly, or which they are charged with protecting on behalf of their contributors.

The Getty 2011 Contributor Agreement specifies:
1.11 Right to Control Claims. Getty Images shall have the right to determine, using its best commercial judgment, whether and to what extent to proceed against any third party for any unauthorized use of Accepted Content. You authorize Getty Images and Distributors at their expense the exclusive right to make, control, settle and defend any claims related to infringement of copyright in the Accepted Content and any associated intellectual property rights (“Claims”). You agree to provide reasonable cooperation to Getty Images and Distributors and not to unreasonably withhold or delay your cooperation in these Claims. Getty Images will not enter into any settlement that will compromise your ownership of the copyright in Accepted Content or that prohibits your future conduct with respect to Accepted Content without your prior written consent. Getty Images will pay you Royalties on any settlements it receives from Claims. If Getty Images elects not to pursue a Claim, you will have the right to pursue it.
Infringers don't like getting caught stealing, and so many claim innocence or ignorance, or attempt to fall back on a faulty fair-use claim. When those don't work, they begin to try to characterize Getty's efforts - wrongfully - as "extortion".  "The Art Law Journal" is a blog that is masquerading as a storied institution of art law journalism, but is nothing more than a facade - a week attempt by it's parent company, Orangenius, to appear to be supportive of creators and their rights. Their article "How to Respond to a Getty Images Extortion Letter"  includes the characterization that Getty "has created an entire business around sending letters to suspected copyright infringers and demanding exorbitant payments in return for not being dues [sic]." What Getty's business is built around, is the lawful licensing of intellectual property, so the author is flawed in his characterization of Getty's "entire business".  The author offers the defense of his writings by noting of his tips on how to respond to Getty "This response letter is not designed to alleviate anyone’s responsibility if they are infringing on Getty Images copyrights." It's pretty clear, if you downloaded an image and did not obtain permission to use the image in a non-fair-use situation and you did not pay a fee for said use, you're infringing. 


In August of 2009, PBN published a post titled Obama Image Copyright Infringement Issues  where Getty was also pursing the infringer of works Getty was representing.




The case is not currently listed in the online records database, which can sometimes take several days to update. When it does, we will update the story with the case number and formal "plaintiff v. defendant" title.


(entire statement after the jump)


Statement from Getty Images regarding the Kowalczuk case

As you know, we take copyright infringement and the protection of your rights very seriously and work hard to ensure that your work is properly licensed. Getty Images is continually pursuing a high number of copyright infringements, usually with the aim of turning individual infringers into customers. 

However, we want to let you know about an unusually serious and organized infringement case which you may see reported by the press [as it is in the public domain].

Getty Images has taken action against a serious copyright infringer who was discovered to have improperly accessed, downloaded and distributed Getty Images content through social media. 

In early March 2016, Getty Images received a report from one of its customers alerting us to suspected copyright infringements that were taking place via a private group hosted on Facebook.  

The ensuing investigation revealed the Facebook group was being used by some members as a forum for unlawfully trading and/or selling sports photographic imagery owned by or exclusively licensed to Getty Images.  As alleged in the lawsuit filed on June 8th 2016, defendant Walter A. Kowalczuk was an active member of this forum and used it to offer for sale, high resolution Getty Images images, and images belonging to other photo companies, for as little as $0.75 per image, using code names to hide the true source of content and to conceal his unauthorized sales.

While Getty Images’ investigation thus far has revealed significant infringement, it believes that further investigation will reveal that Mr. Kowalczuk downloaded thousands of images without authorization from Getty Images and profited from those downloads.  In addition, Getty Images believes that Mr. Kowalczuk was not acting alone, and the company is actively pursuing other possible infringers.  Getty Images filed a complaint against Mr. Kowalczuk for copyright infringement, violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and other claims.  That complaint was filed in the United States District Court in Cleveland, Ohio.

Getty Images strongly supports a robust and fair industry that recognizes and remunerates our contributors whose expertise, time and livelihood is adversely affected by copyright infringements such as those incurred by Mr. Kowalczuk. 

We intend to hold Mr. Kowalczuk and any others involved in this illegal marketplace accountable for their infringements.
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Categories: Business

“Collected” at Pier 24

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 9:36am

by Jonathan Blaustein

You know me by now.

Opinions typically flow from my mind to my keyboard faster than OJ Simpson running through an airport to catch a plane.

It’s rarely hard for me to write, and by the time I’ve finished an article, I don’t even know how long it’s taken me. I live and die by the flow, and normally it’s all about the living.

But not today.

Today, I’m struggling to gather my thoughts, like a chef who just can’t figure out the final ingredient to give his soup the proper complexity. (Thyme? Red Chile? Oregano? Paprika? Help!)

I guess it was bound to happen, as the end of my crazy academic year dove-tailed perfectly with my recent trip to San Francisco, and an over-abundance of writing projects.

Basically, I’m burned out, yet finally staring at a summer schedule that will give me a chance to recharge, and summon new ideas with which to bombard you every Friday. I’m only human, and muscling through a column every now and again is not the worst thing in the world.

The problem is that, like last week, I’m trying to figure out a way to write about a small, brilliant part of a larger, still- interesting exhibition. I get the feeling that SFMOMA did not exactly appreciate my efforts last week, as the PR folks there have suspiciously ignored my emails since.

Those guys gave me swag, which was a first, but likely didn’t realize that I speak my mind, and am not afraid to offend. Similarly, Pier 24, the free photo exhibition space on the Bay in San Francisco, also welcomed me graciously.

They arranged for me to visit in-between slots, (there are 3 per day,) and then Associate Director Allie Haeusslein met me for an impromptu interview as well. I felt special, which is one way that organizations encourage journalists to dull the blades of their metaphorical rapiers.

So let me state the obvious here: Pier 24 is pretty amazing. It is a 20,000 square foot exhibition space that is free, open to the public by reservation, and devoted to crafting an unparalleled viewer experience. They only let in 30 people at a time, (excluding the rare journalistic privilege,) so you never have to worry about tripping over your neighbors.

Their current show, “Collected,” is devoted to the collectors who support the Bay Area scene, as is the new “California and the West” show at SFMOMA. It is hard for me to write that, and still tame my sarcasm, but it is simply the reality in America 2016.

We all know about the 1%, and the 1% of the 1%. We know that America is literally, TRILLIONS of dollars in debt, and that China has overtaken us as the most dynamic, if not largest, economy in the world.

Oil-rich kingdoms may drip black gold, but everyone in the US is busy trying to cleave off a slice of some billionaire’s cake. And as art has not been deemed particularly necessary in a STEM-obsessed world, museums and artists alike are now extremely beholden to the contemporary patrons. (Everything old is new again, right?)

The stark truth is that the degree of wealth concentration has only increased the power of those with mega-resources. And the Bay Area art scene was proof positive: pride of place goes to the capitalists, right now, not the content creators.

There was no gallery guide at Pier 24, when I visited, as it had yet to be printed. But there was a little catalogue devoted to the collectors, each of whom had a room displaying their treasures. And we’re talking about “World Class” work here, including luminaries like Robert Frank, (who gets his own gallery,) Gerhard Richter, and Cindy Sherman.

There was an excellent room filled with the F.64 female artists: Alma Lavenson, Connie Kanaga, and Dorothea Lange. Irving Penn popped up, unannounced, with a wicked portrait of Georgia O’Keefe, and contemporary work sat beside mug shots of anonymous 1950’s women, whose sorrow will never be properly revealed.

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Pier 24 rocks, and we should all be thankful that the Pilara Foundation chose to turn its necessary storage space into a cutting-edge exhibition facility. (Gleaned that little tidbit from my interview with Allie.)

Basically, the first 1.5 hours of my visit there were spent looking, thinking, and occasionally trying to guess who made the work. (Unless it was blindingly obvious, like the Frank room.) Allie also said they were intentionally challenging viewers by denying them wall text, so that the pictures could drive conversation, rather than the artist’s name.

Point taken.

But at the end of my visit, I bumped right up against the kind of “Spectacular Artistic Vision” that reminds you why you got into this business to begin with. (Courtesy of William Eggleston, the god of color photography.)

This show, “Collected,” features two rooms filled with nothing but images from the artist’s seminal “Los Alamos” series. If color photography had an ur-text, this would likely be it.

All around me, I saw snazzy old cars, burger stands, Coca Colas, and saturated skies. I saw a naive America, one packed with racial tension, as we are today, but with a chest puffed up with its sense of destiny.

I saw an America that was united in its favorite color: Coca Cola red. Again and again, Eggleston utilizes it, often distinct from Coke itself. Matthew Weiner, another great artist, chose to close his seminal “Mad Men” with a coke and a smile, and we all know that Coke is a powerful, wealthy, publicly traded corporation, selling toxic sugar-water.

But back in the 60s, I think it represented more than that. It was American entrepreneurship, sugar and caffeine married together, bubbles of effervescence, and a depth of color that we now associate with Target.

Coke was America, as it saw itself. Energetic, world-beating, sweet, earthy, and endlessly satisfying. It was America’s mega-export, before McDonalds.

I always tell my students that light creates color, and color creates mood. These pictures, stacked with deep Red, White and Blue, are as romantic as it gets, in particular because they make sure to balance with loneliness and ennui, rather than veering towards boosterism and propaganda.

(I asked last week when exactly Donald Trump thinks America was great, and I suspect this is what he has in mind.)

I’d bet anything that Mr. Eggleston never thought of this work as a paean to America at the height of its power, with undercurrents of controversy and violence. But a country built on violence and controversy can not begrudge, if it remains deeply embedded in its national character.

He’d probably just say he was out taking pictures, because that’s what you do when you’re a photographer.

Part of why I do get burned out sometimes, in the dual role of artist and critic, is that I yearn to see work this good more often. When Eggleston was out there shooting all the time, (because he apparently didn’t need a day job,) there were dozens of photographers chasing the same desire.

Now, there are tens of thousands of us. And greatness does not go around in that type of supply.

If you want to get better, I’m always telling you, go look at the best stuff. If you’re lucky, you don’t even have to get on an airplane to do it. (I do.)

But if you live anywhere near the Bay Area, hit up the Pier 24 website and book a place to see this show. You might well be seduced by the beautiful-if-veneerish Richard Learoyd room, or the dazzling music-industry gallery featuring the collection of Nion McEvoy.

There are millions of dollars worth of work on the wall, and even rooms that challenge what you think you know about photo history. (In particular two galleries teeming with lesser-known, feminist photographs from the 70s. Yes, there were a lot of boobs.)

For me, spending twenty uninterrupted minutes with Eggleston’s genius was a blessing. It reminded me that finding your own voice is necessary for true cultural impact, and that we’re living in a time when our culture is so striated that almost no one can touch all of America at once. (Good luck, Beyoncé. Have fun, Disney.)

But when we get the chance to steep ourselves in the vestiges of innovation, and the color palette of a once-dominant Empire, it normally costs more than what Pier 24 is charging.

Nothing.
Nothing at all.

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Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: Charles Schiller

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 10:41am

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Charles Schiller

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How long have you been shooting?
30 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Pratt graduate with degree in photography.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The challenge was to make food look good out of the bag as purchased.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project was originally shot over 4 months and then presented 2014. A second installment was added approximately 6 months later.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That greatly depends on the project. Generally 2 or 3 days of test shooting.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, my work is posted on Facebook, instagram and tumbler.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I did get some internet response from out of the bag but nothing viral.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?

Yes

Statement:
out of the bag was a self assigned personal project. the goal was to produce beautiful appetizing images of purchased prepared food with no food stylist or props, just what came out of the bag. all the food in the original series was from the old chelsea studio neighborhood. the plan is to continue the series with food purchased in downtown jc. it should be out some time this fall.

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Charles Schiller has been a new york based photographer for 30 years. specializing in food and beverages but also with extensive experience shooting still life and products. the studio recently moved from nyc to the powerhouse arts district in downtown jersey city. the new studio is located at 150 bay street just 2 blocks from the grove street path station.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

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Categories: Business

Pricing & Negotiating: Environmental Portraits of Client Employees

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 06/08/2016 - 9:16am

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Individual and small group environmental portraits of client employees

Licensing: Collateral and Publicity use of up to 34 images for three years

Location: Client offices

Shoot Days: Three

Photographer: Portrait specialist

Agency: N/A—Client direct

Client: A mid-sized regional financial services company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: We recently helped a photographer bid on a project for which he was the only photographer being considered. He’d shot a similar project for the same client, a mid-sized financial services company, years earlier, so we had some sense of the budget and production expectations (you can’t ask for a better bidding situation!). Though the concept was straightforward, environmental employee portraits at the client’s headquarters, the photographer’s stylized approach would elevate the portraits from a corporate feel to more of an ad campaign feel. This is something that the client was interested in, and it would ultimately drive the value up toward the top end of the range for this kind of project and usage.

Though we generally try to avoid pricing on a day-rate basis, we’ve noticed a trend in corporate collateral budgets. Depending on the deliverables and specific licensing, we’re often negotiating corporate collateral shoots in the neighborhood of 3,500.00/day plus expenses. For the average deliverables (10-15 images per day) and time-limited collateral usage, this is a middle of the road rate for corporate portraits/lifestyle work. We’re occasionally, if not often, seeing budgets around 3,500.00 flat, inclusive of usage, expenses and processing, which is on the lower end of reasonable. Try as we might to push back in those cases, it will often boil down to a take it or leave it situation. Thankfully, we had a bit more leeway in this case.

For this project, we were able to push the creative and licensing fee up to 18,150.00. Having insight into previous budgets for this client, knowing that this photographer was the only one being considered and factoring in the value of his unique, stylized approach, we felt comfortable pushing the envelope. Additionally, the client’s request for advertising usage options (which we set at 2,000.00 per image due to the limited duration and geography) indicated that the photographer’s stylized approach would be all the more important—and valuable—to the client. Pricing this out on a per-image basis, we would set the value for the first image at 2,000.00, 1,000.00/image for images 2-4, 500.00/image for images 5-24 and 350.00/image for images 26+.

Client Provisions: We made sure to indicate that the client would provide locations, subjects, requisite releases and catering (from their cafeteria). This client also happened to have a video production team on staff and a small production studio. To save on the production costs, they offered to provide grip equipment, their usual groomer and a second assistant for the project.

Tech/Scout Days: We included a tech/scout day to walk through the office and determine the best locations to shoot the various individual and group portraits the day before the shoot.

First Assistant: We included a first assistant to attend the tech scout day and all three shoot days.

Equipment: We estimated 1,200.00/day for two DSLR bodies, a handful of lenses, enough portable strobes for two sets and a few odds and ends that the client’s internal video team couldn’t supply.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covers the time, equipment and costs for the initial import, edit, batch color correction and upload of the images via FTP (or similar) for client review.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: We included basic color correction and file cleanup as a lump sum (based on 75.00/image in this case), which protects the processing fee in the event the client ultimately selects fewer than 34 images.

File Transfer: This covers the cost of two hard drives and the shipping of one of those drives (containing all hi-res processed selects) to the client.

Miles, Meals, Misc.: We included a healthy miscellaneous line to cover breakfasts for the crew, local transportation and any other unexpected expenses that may pop up throughout the shoot.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project and shot it a few weeks later. The client has not yet decided to exercise any of the additional usage options.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Edit: Miller Mobly

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 06/07/2016 - 9:35am

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The Hollywood Reporter


Director of Photography: Jennifer Laski
Photo Editor: Carrie Smith / Jennifer Sargent
Creative Director: Shanti Marlar
Photographer: Miller Mobly

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Writer: Libby Peterson

The photograph for the Rangefinder cover was originally commissioned by The Hollywood Reporter.
I think it’s important when great images get a second life and I enjoy the fact they chose this cover image to honor Miller’s career.

You have a portfolio chock-full of celebrity portraits, what made this one unique?
I think there’s a lot of simplicity in this photograph that makes it beautiful. The lighting is simple and understated, the clothing is dark and not distracting. The warms colors of the highlights go in hand with the blues and greens in the shadows. And of course, the subject. Walken was one of my dream subjects (probably one of most photographer’s dream subjects), so to be able to have a portrait of him that I’m proud of is special.

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Do you have a process or narrative for your cover shoots that you try to build from?
Every cover shoot is different. Sometimes there’s a narrative or concept and sometimes it’s just about getting a moment in an uncontrolled environment. I go into every photo shoot with a plan, but also let the “happy accidents” happen. There’s only so much you can control in the type of photography I do.  It’s in my nature to have a strategy when there’s pressure on the line and not a lot of time. With that said, you have to leave room for the un-expected moments.

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Have you ever become starstruck and if so, how did you overcome that?
I will always remember the moment, when my team and I were waiting to photograph President Obama and the First Lady. We had been invited to the White House to photograph them for a cover. We had set up all of our lighting, tested, and were now waiting for them to arrive. I’ll never forget when the doors opened and I overheard from the secret service that the President was about to enter. That was probably one of the most surreal moments in my career. It has nothing to do with politics, but more with the honor of being invited to the White House and having 5 minutes of time with the most powerful man in the country. Once they walked through the doors to greet myself and my team, I remember thinking to myself I can’t believe this moment is happening. It was pretty cool.

How much time did you have for this session?
Unfortunately, only about 15 minutes. As I mentioned, this image was originally commissioned by Jen Laski at The Hollywood Reporter. I was photographing Walken because one his films, “A Late Quartet” was about to hit the screens. I was only given 15 minutes and we had to shoot this in an office building in Manhattan. These are not rare circumstances for me. I thought using a background and doing some simple lighting would justify a classic portrait. Sometimes it’s just good to stay simple.

What type of direction did you get for this project?
Jennifer Laski, the DP at The Hollywood Reporter, who originally commissioned this photograph, told me to get something that feels timeless and iconic. Jen and team at THR are very good about giving the photographer an idea about what they’re looking for, but also leaving room for the photographer to bring back something that’s authentic to his/her style and taste.

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What advice to do you have for anyone that has no experience with talent agents and publicists?
Be kind and easy to work with.  It’s obvious advice, but goes a long way. The entertainment industry is small and very connected. Word gets around if you’re a good photographer to work with or if you’re a difficult prick. That’s not to say that photographs need to be a pushover or a people pleaser on set. I think it’s important to push the limit and get memorable images. At the end of the day, photography is a people business and clients/publicists/agents/actors/musicians/etc. want to work with someone who is enjoyable. That’s just my take on things.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo: Ryan Geraghty

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 06/06/2016 - 10:22am


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 Ryan Geraghty


Who printed it?
I had my promos printed though Moo. I made test prints through a couple different vendors, but Moo seemed to have the best color and paper quality.

Who designed it?
The promos were designed by me. It’s important to me to keep a simple design that focuses on the images and my style of work. I like to shoot food clean and messy, and I wanted to keep the theme of the promo consistent from front to back.    

Who edited the images?
I did the editing myself, but I always have my girlfriend look over most of the work I send out. Having a second opinion is invaluable when looking at my own images for a long amount of time, and she is incredible at catching any small detail I may have missed. In my personal work editing is very light, mostly color correction and contrast adjustments. The bulk of the work is done with styling and lighting before the camera is even turned on.      

How many did you make?
I had about 30 promos printed up but only sent out 12 in total. This is actually my first time sending out any kind of promotional material, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of feedback I would receive.      

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Going back to the last question, this is my first time sending physical copies of promotional material to anyone. I mostly promoted myself online while getting my degree. Now that I’m beginning my career, I’ve talked to established professionals I respect who advised me to get my work out there. I’m hoping it will land on the right desk.     

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Categories: Business

“About Time: Photography in a Moment of Change” at SFMOMA

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 06/03/2016 - 9:31am

by Jonathan Blaustein

Trump. Trump. Trump.

I promised I wouldn’t talk about him anymore, yet here I am. The man is simply inescapable.

With all the fear about Trump being the Republican Presidential nominee, I’m sure you’ve looked at an electoral map in the last day/week/month, right?

Of course you have.

The map, with it’s massive blocks of red and blue, tells a story that we all-too-conveniently forget. This nation of ours, the United States of America, has not always been United.

No sir.

Back in the 1860’s, all hell broke loose. America was cleaved in two, and bodies piled up higher than Dr. Dre during an all-night recording session. (Yes, that’s pretty high.)

But you know that as well, because you learned about it in history class. We all did. Civil War. Slavery. Abe Lincoln good, Jefferson Davis bad.

That’s the narrative we’ve all been told, again and again. But I suppose I ought to clarify who the “we” is here. I grew up in New Jersey, in the heart of Yankee country. (Though parts of NJ did have slavery, unfortunately.)

There was never any question as to who the “us” was, as opposed to the “them.” Southerners. Rednecks. Racists. KKK lovers.

They deserved what they got. Right?

While you’ll never catch me questioning the validity of the Civil War, it’s easy to side with blue, 150 years later. And wouldn’t you know it, but that “blue” team’s map lines up pretty neatly with the current “blue” crew as well.

The South is united in its support for Donald J Trump, and most artsy/liberal/creative types, (meaning you and me,) have a very hard time understanding the mass appeal. The man is an orange, braggadocious prevaricator, and I’m being kind.

So why would so many people, across so much terrain, see this lunatic as a potential savior? Why would they trust him to “make America great again,” and when exactly was America great?

I’m glad you asked.

I had the chance to visit the new SFMOMA when I was in San Francisco, as I mentioned in last week’s column. The museum has more than doubled in size, after a 3 year, $305 million renovation. As San Francisco has arrived, so has its most prominent art institution. (Though the deYoung Museum might quibble with me on that.)

I had the good fortune to spend almost 3 hours in the museum, looking looking looking. Paintings, sculptures, photos: the new museum has it all. You might have even heard they now have 15,000 square feet of exhibition space in the Pritzker Center of Photography. (It made the rounds on social media a few weeks ago.)

To say that I saw a lot of art in my time there is a simple understatement. I saw hundreds of images and objects, as I flitted from one wall to another.

Look, think, step to the side.
Repeat.

I wanted to see the “California and the West” show, as I’m writing about it. But there are two major photo shows occupying all that choice real estate, and the other was just as good: “About Time: Photography in a Moment of Change,” curated by Corey Keller. (through September 25th)

No matter how good the art is, there’s only so much our brains can absorb, in a marathon session. So I like to give myself a little test, and just focus on the things that really grab me. It’s fun to have excellence radar, or in my case, a “things I’ve never seen before” gauge.

The more you see, the harder it is to send that meter into the red, but it does happen.

The first time was essentially by accident, as I was standing in front of some images by the LA artist Phil Chang, and the lady behind me made a loud, unhappy snort, like a horse that hates its supper.

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“Excuse me,” I said, “but did I step into your viewing path? If so, I apologize.”

“No, she replied. Her voice became inaudible, as she was clearly distressed, and she finished with “Emperor’s new clothes.”

“If it wasn’t me, is it the art?”

“Yes. I don’t get it. It’s making me angry.”

Before you knew it, I was right back in art professor territory, and tried to explain to the woman what there was to “get.” Apparently, Mr. Chang makes gelatin silver prints, like many photographers, but he chooses not to fix the images.

He invites people, like the curator, Ms. Keller, to watch the images as they slowly fade to black. It’s meant to be performative, I suppose, and it’s possible no one has ever thought to do that on purpose, or to turn it into a concept.

That’s what I told this grumpy stranger, who nodded, accepting that there was more to the work than met the eye. (Simple, all black images, the photo equivalent of Ad Reinhardt.) She walked away, determined to find something of which she approved. (And I Googled Phil Chang when I got home. He’s a part of the super-trendy “Photography is Magic” clique, so I understood things in that context.)

Will I remember his work now? Absolutely. Am I surprised that a concept as simple as not fixing your work has gotten this dude famous? Not really.

I understand the way the world works. I might be obnoxious, but they don’t call me stupid.

That work stuck out because of its concept, as it was meant to. Paul Graham had a diptych in the show that was hung just above the floor. Again, you could call it a gimmick, or you could say it’s challenging orthodoxy, and both would be right.

(But I don’t remember the images as clearly as where they were hung.)

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So many pictures, so little brain space. It’s an excellent show, that much is clear, and you should go see it if you can. But nothing really shook me inside and out until I got to the very last room in the exhibition.

There I stood face to face with a suite of images by George N. Barnard, a photographer of whom I hadn’t heard before. Not surprising, given he’s been dead for more than a century. (There was no Facebook to promote yourself in the 19th Century, unfortunately.)

His images were a part of a series, “Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign,” that looked at the South, during and after the Civil War. It focused on locations that had been wrecked, destroyed, annihilated, by the famed march of William Tecumseh Sherman. And I had never, ever seen pictures quite like this before.

Sure, we’ve all seen a Matthew Brady or two, and if you read regularly, you know I have a soft spot for Roger Fenton. But this was something different, for me at least.

The prints just felt so real. So lived. So ancient. And there were so many of them.

The photographs were obviously well-made, with terrific compositions and excellent tonal range. You can almost see this man, living in an unrecognizable world, standing among smoldering ruins with a big camera.

Looking.

You don’t have to imagine what defensive Earthworks look like, if you don’t want to. These pictures show you quite well. Bulwarks, bastions, who the hell knows what these are called, but the spiked wooden fences were pretty hardcore, if you ask me.

There’s an image of a soldier in a stove-pipe hat, sitting on top of some ramparts outside Atlanta. (Are they ramparts?) I stared at that picture for a few minutes, my brain trying desperately to comprehend it was real.

That’s one of the true curses of our digital age: we are all so ready to accept the digital world is “real” that it can make us question reality as it actually transpired. If everything can be faked, how are our eyes to recognize lived history?

Sure, I know who won the Civil War. And yes, we’ll always condemn slavery wholeheartedly, even when the Donald equivocates. (I need more info before I disavow the KKK, OK? I want to have an informed opinion, you losers.)

But these pictures, more than any I’ve ever seen, helped me understand that aforementioned electoral map. Half of our country was conquered by the other half. Its landscape was altered, it’s soul diminished, but its pride remains in tact.

Perhaps we ought not blame the Southerners who feel ruled by outsiders, and wittingly join leaders who promise a return to prominence. But empathy is hard, especially with a bloc of people known for a dark, exploitative history.

I get it.

But I went into an art show, and came out with a different perspective. That’s about as much as I ask of any museum, or any photographer for that matter.

SFMOMA was kind enough to provide an entire set of Mr. Barnard’s images, as jpegs, of course, so you can view them on your screen of choice. (Phone, tablet, computer, TV…)

That’s right. Some albumen prints, made before any human being alive today, have been digitized, for our pleasure. (Bringing the Civil War into the 21st C.)

So next time you make a crack about the hicks in South Carolina who just don’t know any better, just remember that they’re likely carrying grievances we really can’t understand. And the best photographs help us see the world from someone else’s perspective, even if that person has returned to dust.

George N. Barnard, Whiteside Valley below the Bridge, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 x 13 15/16 in. (25.4 x 35.4 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Whiteside Valley below the Bridge, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 x 13 15/16 in. (25.4 x 35.4 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Ruins of the Railroad Depot, Charleston, South Carolina, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1865; albumen print; 10 1/8 x 14 1/4 in. (25.72 x 36.2 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Ruins of the Railroad Depot, Charleston, South Carolina, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1865; albumen print; 10 1/8 x 14 1/4 in. (25.72 x 36.2 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Ruins of the Pinckney Mansion, Charleston, South Carolina, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1865; albumen print; 10 x 14 in. (25.4 x 35.56 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Ruins of the Pinckney Mansion, Charleston, South Carolina, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1865; albumen print; 10 x 14 in. (25.4 x 35.56 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Ruins in Charleston, South Carolina, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1865 or 1866; albumen print; 10 1/8 x 14 1/8 in. (25.72 x 35.88 cm); Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, fractional gift of Paul Sack, and collection of the Sack Photographic Trust of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

George N. Barnard, Ruins in Charleston, South Carolina, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1865 or 1866; albumen print; 10 1/8 x 14 1/8 in. (25.72 x 35.88 cm); Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, fractional gift of Paul Sack, and collection of the Sack Photographic Trust of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

George N. Barnard, Rebel Works in Front of Atlanta, Georgia, No. 4, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 x 14 1/8 in. (25.4 x 35.88 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Rebel Works in Front of Atlanta, Georgia, No. 4, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 x 14 1/8 in. (25.4 x 35.88 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Rebel Works in Front of Atlanta, Georgia, No. 1, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 1/8 x 14 1/8 in. (25.72 x 35.88 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Rebel Works in Front of Atlanta, Georgia, No. 1, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 1/8 x 14 1/8 in. (25.72 x 35.88 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Nashville from the Capitol, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 1/8 x 14 1/8 in. (25.72 x 35.88 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Nashville from the Capitol, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 1/8 x 14 1/8 in. (25.72 x 35.88 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Destruction of Hood's Ordnance Train, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 1/16 x 14 1/16 in. (25.56 x 35.72 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Destruction of Hood’s Ordnance Train, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1864; albumen print; 10 1/16 x 14 1/16 in. (25.56 x 35.72 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Defenses of the Etawah Bridge, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 1/16 x 14 1/16 in. (25.56 x 35.72 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Defenses of the Etawah Bridge, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 1/16 x 14 1/16 in. (25.56 x 35.72 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, City of Atlanta, Georgia, No. 2, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 1/16 x 14 3/16 in. (25.56 x 36.04 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, City of Atlanta, Georgia, No. 2, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 1/16 x 14 3/16 in. (25.56 x 36.04 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust

 George N. Barnard, Chattanooga Valley from Lookout Mountain, No. 2, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1864 or 1866; albumen print; 10 1/16 x 14 3/8 in. (25.56 x 36.51 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust


George N. Barnard, Chattanooga Valley from Lookout Mountain, No. 2, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1864 or 1866; albumen print; 10 1/16 x 14 3/8 in. (25.56 x 36.51 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Buzzard Roost, Georgia, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 x 14 1/8 in. (25.4 x 35.88 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Buzzard Roost, Georgia, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 x 14 1/8 in. (25.4 x 35.88 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Battle Ground of Resaca, Georgia, No. 2, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 x 14 1/8 in. (25.4 x 35.88 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust

George N. Barnard, Battle Ground of Resaca, Georgia, No. 2, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 x 14 1/8 in. (25.4 x 35.88 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust

 George N. Barnard, Battle Field of New Hope Church, Georgia, No. 1, from Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 x 14 1/8 in. (25.4 x 35.88 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust


George N. Barnard, Battle Field of New Hope Church, Georgia, No. 1, from Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1866; albumen print; 10 x 14 1/8 in. (25.4 x 35.88 cm); Promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust

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Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: Gabriela Hasbun

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 06/02/2016 - 10:55am

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Gabriela Hasbun

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How long have you been shooting?
11 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Although I went to photo school, some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned were from assisting other photographers.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
A friend approached me about collaborating with her on a project. After a while, she lost interest, but I’ve been pursuing it ever since! The Mission neighborhood was, and is, my hang out. It’s a project I continually revisit over time.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Not long— maybe a year after I started shooting my Mission series, I got asked to be part of a group show at a gallery in San Francisco. Soon after that, I started sharing the collection with photo editors as part of my portfolio. In fact, it was the primary body of work that got me my first assignment work.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
If I don’t feel passionate about it or if it isn’t working out in my head, a personal project never gets shot.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
For me. there is no difference between portfolio work and personal work. They are one and the same. I choose subject matters that I’m interested in learning more about or have a true connection to.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
My strength isn’t self-promotion online and I don’t usually put much energy into posting these projects there. However, three years ago, Feature Shoot picked up my Fat Series and it went viral.

http://www.featureshoot.com/2013/07/fat-happy-and-healthy-women-photographed-by-gabriela-hasbun/

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
When my Fat Series went viral, a lot of media outlets picked it up. I am definitely protective of that particular series because people on the internet love to body shame and I have a lot of affection for those subjects— I consider many of them my friends. Each time the work was published, the online comments started to spiral out of control. It was an odd balance between feeling excited to see the series published in so many media outlets but I also wanted to shield my subjects from negativity.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, in the past, I’ve sent some personal work as marketing promos and I also try to show personal work to clients every time I see them in person. Those photographs always seems to be what interests them most and what we end up connecting over more deeply.

Artist Statement:
In 2002, I decided to document some of the Mission’s most colorful patrons. San Francisco’s Mission District has long been the home of the working-class retailer. Between the 1906 earthquake and World War II, Mission Street was proudly known as the “Mission Miracle Mile.” Second only to San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district, Mission Street provided a shopping haven for goods and services of high quality. As a symbol and testament to its name, there were two decorative bridges on each end of Mission Street, beginning on 16th street and ending on Cesar Chavez.

The Mission has historically been a neighborhood for the immigrant. Jewish, Irish, Italian and Hispanic families have all resided and worked in this area for decades. Currently, the neighborhood is in the midst of dramatic changes. Since the early 2000’s the area has seen an explosion in popularity with the Bay Area’s young tech entrepreneurs, resulting in an influx of upscale retail outlets and trendy eateries, often pricing out the residents and small businesses who’ve made the area so special.

This series of images hopes to capture the essence of the small businesses and the owners who have been in the neighborhood for over 30 years before the neighborhood is completely gentrified. JJ O’Connor Florists, an establishment that came to Mission street over a hundred years ago, was among the oldest in this tradition and one of the many I’ve been lucky to photograph. Sadly, it shut down, as have many of the others that are documented in this series.

——————-
 
Gabriela Hasbun lives in San Francisco with her husband, Nick, and their little boy, Matteo. Gabriela comes from a large and vibrant family in El Salvador. Even though she hails from warm and humid lands, she’s adapted well to the air conditioned climate of the Bay Area.
 
Gabriela loves shooting for editorial and commercial clients, specializing in environmental portraits. ‘Bold’, ‘colorful’, and ‘quirky’ are common descriptions of the work she produces. Her portraits have been featured in numerous magazines including Fortune, Sunset, WIRED and The Wall Street Journal. She has several portrait series based on cultural issues that document change and gentrification in the Mission and Polk street districts of San Francisco which have also been exhibited at San Francisco galleries including Southern Exposure and San Francisco Arts Commission.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – ESPN: John Huet, Karen Frank, Kristen Schaefer Geisler and Bill May

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 06/01/2016 - 10:05am

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ESPN Magazine


Photography Director: Karen Frank
Project Photo Editor: Kristen Schaefer Geisler

Creative Director, Digital and Print Media: Chin Wang
Art Director: Heather Donahue
Senior Designer: Linda Pouder
Photographer: John Huet

Karen Frank
Kristen Schaefer Geisler

This story comes with such gravity for the sport, how did that added layer of importance influence your edit? It’s not often one gets editing opportunities like this.
Karen Frank: 
John’s images beautifully capture Bill’s athleticism, grace, and optimistic spirit.  The poetry of the underwater images speak to Bill’s quest for excellence and his ability to succeed as a male in a female dominated sport, and evolve the sport in doing so.

What was your biggest challenge logistically?
Kristen Schaefer Geisler:
 Our biggest challenge was getting this shot before the swimmers left for Russia to compete in the World Synchronized Swim Championships; finding time when the three swimmers’ schedules could overlap in between busy lives and schedules.

What type of direction did you give John for this?
KSG: I assigned the shoot to photographer JOHN HUET after noticing on his website that he had shot syncronized swimming before. I talked a lot with the writer of the story Taffy Akner, who had just spent days with Bill and could describe in great descriptive detail Bill’s personality, which helped us conceptualize direction and a shot list. We asked John to capture beautiful underwater synchro swim pictures with his duet partners, above water portraits, as well as a-day-in-the-life of Bill May backstage at his Cirque du Soleil O show. We got access to photograph him teaching an abs class to his fellow Cirque dancers and putting on his show makeup before going onstage.

I know it’s unprecedented for ESPN to devote this many pages to a story, what moved the needle for the team to green light this?
KF: There is a strong commitment to long form journalism at ESPN.  Taffy’s story about Bill was so compelling, and John’s images were so strong, that we all felt it was necessary to give this story lots of room in print as well as digitally.

What made this project a stand out for you?
KSG:  This story is visual and theatrical; both in the synchronized swim choreography as well as the Cirque O show – we needed a photographer who could capture Bill’s personality and bring artistry and point of view to the pictures.

In a few words what is the most rewarding part of your job at ESPN and how has this title impacted your career?
KF: There are so many stories that can be told through the prism of sports.  ESPN recognizes the power of visual storytelling and the rich opportunities to do so across all its platforms.  Working across those platforms has broadened my vision of how photography can be leveraged and sharpened my ideas about how the story is told in each medium.

 

John Huet

Heidi: Did you do have to adjust your shooting style at all for something this unique?
John: 
I don’t really adjust my style for different projects, nor can I really define my own style.

This simple story sum things up nicely – Alfred Eisenstaedt was hired to shoot our college portraits. He came into my class of 20 kids, and he asked everyone, “What kind of photographer do you want to be?” I was one of the last kids to be asked, when it was my turn, I replied, “fashion photographer.” He asked why. He’d not asked any of the other kids this follow up question. I panicked and blurted out, “Because I like girls!” Everyone in class had a good laugh, and then Alfred later explained that being a fashion photographer is no different than being any other type of photographer. You have a subject in front of you, treat that subject in front of you the same as you would a gown on a hanger.  It becomes a portrait of a gown, just as if a person was standing there.

So, I don’t look at myself or categorize myself as a sports photographer, I see myself as a photographer, and I see the subject in front of me as a subject. At the end of day, all photographs are solved with the same notes, regardless of the subject matter.

Was this pool designed as a viewing room?
No, I’m a certified diver. I was underwater.

You have a long running history with the Olympics, what spoke to you as a photographer about this project?

Synchronized swimming is really beautiful. It’s very similar to figure skating, especially in pairs. The artistry, the incredible athleticism. Most people don’t understand the caliber of these athletes. My prior experience with shooting synchronized swimming had been at the Olympics. In Athens and London, I shot from an underwater window, and in Beijing, I shot from above the window. So much of the SS routine and so much of what is going on happens underwater, so I wanted to be under the water to capture this experience.

If I had more control for this ESPN project, I may have done things differently, maybe picked a different pool. What you have to keep in mind is I’m working with world class athletes, training for a World Championship a month before their event, so I can’t do anything to screw up their routine or throw them out of whack. I have a deep understanding that athletes have rituals and patterns, everything needs to follow their well-laid-out plans. I had about 1/2 hr to do the deck images. They do a series of poses before entering the water, then I captured what I could capture while they were doing their routine underwater. Practice was about 3 hrs. I was allowed to be in the pool, only to watch and, of course, not get in their way.

For the out of the water shots, how if at all did you direct them and how much time did you have?
I didn’t have to direct them at all. It was awesome to have their coach right there directing them, perfecting their moves while I was shooting. I got another 1/2 hr at the end of practice; talked with them for about a minute above water, then we went underwater. We communicated via hand signals, and I tried to direct them to where the light was best.

Did you propose the variety of color and BW to the magazine or simply turn in the images?
I proposed this, along with running the images upside down. I sent in about 80 images, which I shot over three days, but it was more like a  2 day shoot since it was so broken up.

I scouted, shot some of the scout, then the next day shot all of the images in the water, then I went back to their practice, even though this wasn’t part of my schedule; I did that for me. Bill had a big send-off party at O, the Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas, which I also photographed. He and the two women in the photographs, Kristina Lum and Christina Jones, were doing a performance at O. I shot Bill getting ready for the show and shot the first portion of the show under the window, which was really tough because it was so dark. Bill would come over to the window, mug for the camera and then swim off.

With every job, I have the same process. I do an edit after looking at everything. Once I have my edit, I’ll retouch the images and then send in only my retouched files. For this particular project I ended up going back to review the shoot, and over the course of 2-3 days, I sent in small batches of additional images because I kept changing things, looking at images differently.

How did the idea of these surreal, upside down images develop?
I first did this with the Athens SS Olympic images and then with London, presented them upside down. Underwater, everything is upside down for the swimmers, so this a play on the mind’s eye of the viewer. Underwater, they look like they are standing there, with no restrictions of gravity, so they appear relaxed, standing on top of the water. I wanted to use the pool light to signal this was the surface of the water (again to reinforce the mind’s eye play), to always have the pool light acting as the surface of the water or the “ground.”

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Faces of Choice

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Bill May

You’ve been photographed many times, what was different about shooting with John?
Bill May: 
The difference between John and many other photo shoots was that John had a very clear idea of what he was looking for and what would create the most beautiful images through a collaboration between us as the athletes and him as the photographer. Many times a photographer will come in and shoot solely a stale image of only part of what we are trying to represent as synchronized swimmers. John truly showcased the athleticism of a sport that, unfortunately, often has a reputation as simply just a show sport.

Did you free form poses for John, or did he direct you when you were out of the pool?
John was our eyes, so we would begin by free-forming poses, and John would take what we presented and elevate it to something amazing.

Tell us about having your dream taken away or shelved for almost a decade, and then re-present itself.
I would never say that my dream was taken away from me because my career in Synchronized Swimming was much bigger for me than a few competitions. I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t taken the path I chose to take. However, I believe that timing is everything. I was very lucky to continue to train and be involved in synchronized swimming in a show, so when the opportunity arose, I wanted the challenge. I think the interest is much greater for men in synchronized swimming today than it was a decade ago. There is a possibility that if it had been added to the World Championships 10 years ago, it might have fizzled due to lack of participation. Now I am once again in full training, hoping they will create an Olympic Synchronized Swimming event for the Mixed Duet.

What advice do you have for any athlete who has the seemingly impossible dream in a mostly female sport?
The advice I have for any athlete is to do the sport that you love, first and foremost, before worrying where it will take you. Everything else will fall in line, and the rewards will be much greater than when relying on a what is and might not be possible. We cannot all write our future, so I truly believe that the happiness we create for ourselves today is what gives us our happiest memories in years to come.

What impact do you hope this story has for the sport?
The Mixed Duet is a brand new event at the World Championships and major international competitions, and I think through John’s pictures it shows as a beautiful, and more importantly, an athletic event. We are in a big push to get this Mixed Duet event into the Olympics, and I think his photos have created an interest that makes people want to see more. I truly believe he has helped our sport, and above all, the Mixed Duet in so many ways, and I am forever grateful. It was such an honor to work with John. His professionalism and talent are unrivaled. He was so respectful of our time and photographed with ours and our sport’s best interest in mind.



 

 

 



 

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Categories: Business

Establishing A Unique Brand

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 05/31/2016 - 8:38pm

[by Chris Winton-Stahle]

It’s often the case that finding yourself as an artist is difficult with all the distracting noise out there in the business. It is a difficult thing to look within, find that inner clarity, listen to that voice within and THEN build a strong brand-name around that vision. But, as artists, this is what we must do to succeed.

WintonStahleHorseFor me, developing my brand as a photographer has never been a lightbulb kind of moment, but more of an illuminated path I’ve followed towards finding myself.  I’ve always been inspired by Eckhart Tolle’s famous quote, “In seeing who we are not, the reality of who we are will emerge by itself”. Looking within and being honest with myself is what had to come first but I didn’t do it alone! It has taken several years of advice from a refined group of talented consultants, designers, colleagues, friends, and even family to help me to the point that I am now in my career.

There is a lot to say about this subject but here are 5 basic strategies that I have followed in creating the work that has been responsible for establishing this brand and getting it out into the world.

#1 Always Have Fun Don’t stop having fun!

If you’re not excited about what you’re doing, then who will be? Creating personal work, refining your style and how it fits into the marketplace is the first step to refining a brand. It should always be a fun process! I always set aside time each month to talk with my consultant or stock editor and decide on interesting concepts and discuss implementation. This has always kept my portfolio fresh and keeps me continuously working toward the goal of refining my particular brand.

#2: Collaborate with others who inspire you.

WintonStahleWomanLook at the industry on an international level and find the artists that are doing work that you relate to. Ask yourself questions like, “Why do I like their work?”, “Why have they been successful at creating this work?”, and “How can I use their work to inspire me to create my own original work?”. Reach out to these people and introduce yourself and ask questions. People throughout the advertising industry want to collaborate on conceptual projects that are good for their portfolio. Art directors often like to work on personal projects geared towards contests such as the Communication Arts Advertising Annual. This becomes great practice for real-world projects; it keeps the mind sharp and innovative. It’s a great opportunity to try out new team members or collaborate with other creative individuals in your community that you may want to work with.

#3: Practice, Experiment and be Bold!

This is a “go big or go home” kind of business. Through experimentation I’ve learned how to produce complex images both technically and conceptually that have, over time, become more cohesive and aligned with a particular brand of work I’ve envisioned. I’ve developed effective methods in my signature style that are not only faster, but require less production and are therefore cost-effective. The brand of work that I’ve created has not only been aesthetically unique but there has been a practical business model developed around it.

#4: Never stop evolving.

Push yourself outside of those comfortable boundaries. Don’t give in to a fear of failure with the work that represents your unique style. WintonStahleWallCreate personal work that gives you the liberty to create freely without the pressure of pleasing a client’s vision. Take advantage of that freedom! You may often find that the work you create through independent projects is some of the most interesting in your portfolio and well received by potential clients.

#5 Hire the Professionals.

If you’ve been in the business long enough then you’ve most likely heard the advice, ‘hire professionals to do the jobs you’re not great at’. After years of managing everything myself, I can vouch for how true this statement is. As small business owners, we often think we have to do everything ourselves but I’ve found that it’s important to align yourself in business with professionals that are the best at what they do including, but not limited to, designers, copywriters, web designers, and printing companies. Once you’ve established your particular brand of photography then it’s time to find a company that understands how to build a branding campaign around what you do as an artist and get on board with them! I have chosen to work with Agency Access for the last 3 years and they have handled all of my design, branding, and marketing needs. This has been a key ingredient for the evolution of my career and has allowed me to step out onto a larger stage.

Chris Winton-Stahle is an award-winning photographer and accomplished photo illustration artist who sees the camera as only half of his process in creating great imagery. Chris often pulls components from multiple images and CGI when creating his work for clients in advertising, magazines and entertainment.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo: Kyle Johnson

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 05/31/2016 - 10:12am

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Kyle Johnson

Who printed it?
This piece was printed by the incredible team at Blanchette Press in Vancouver B.C. This promo is the second piece I have printed with them, going with well respected offset printers sets a high bar for quality.  I had the pleasure of going up to B.C and directly working with owner Kim Blanchette on our press day. It was interesting to see exactly how the analog process works and the subtle changes Kim would make to get the best images possible. He told us “Our goal is to create 3 dimensions existing within 2d space”. I truly think the difference in offset vs digital quality is worth the extra cost and most professionals in the industry appreciate the print quality when looking at the piece.

Who designed it?
I teamed up with the designers at Shore (www.madebyshore.com) for this promo. We had worked on a similar print promo last year together and decided to keep the design similar referencing last years piece yet changing some things on size, color, etc.. Joe & Julian have become close friends over the years and they have a good feel for my aesthetic as a photographer.  I like how they use design elements that feel consistent with my style. It’s not “over designed” and allows the photography to be the focus.

Their passion for design and creating a quality print piece is another reason our collaborations have been successful. They know that although I might not be their biggest client, I share a love for quality and the final piece will be one we are both proud of and that I am willing to invest in. I have to thank them for also finding the interesting paper stock we used on the “faux cover” as well as the addition of white foil lettering for such a clean finish.

Who edited the images?
The initial edit was done myself. I had some favorite images that I knew I wanted in there. I did however work with my agent Maria Bianco before finalizing the piece. I really enjoy the editing process with her. I think personal promotion is a great chance to re-visit shoots from the past year and find some hidden outtakes that may of not made the final story. Pairing unrelated things you wouldn’t expect can make a great overall piece. Maria has a real talent for editing and helped me pair of some of my favorite spreads. I also think its important to mix some personal work with things from jobs. It shows photo editors and art buyers the images you truly love to make.

How many did you make?
I decided on making 500 for this piece. The price for offset printing isn’t cheap and you often do save money if you get a lot made, however for a special piece like this, I wanted it to be limited and directed at specific clients. I didn’t need to spend too much money sending it to tons of people who don’t make sense for my work.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to do one special high quality promo book piece like this one, as well as a few smaller postcard type mailers throughout one year.

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Categories: Business