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The Daily Edit – Maggie B. Kennedy: Garden&Gun

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 10:30am


 Garden&Gun


Design Director: Marshall McKinney
Photography Director: Maggie B. Kennedy
Associate Photo Editor: Margaret Houston

Heidi: You came from the commercial side of photography as a creative director at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in San Francisco. What surprised you about editorial photography now that your 11 years in the game?
Maggie: I think working on both the commercial and editorial sides of the photo industry has proved beneficial. I had the opportunity to work with so many talented photographers, stylists, art directors, creatives, etc. during my decade with Williams-Sonoma years as well as be exposed to the various company departments and business overall. How a photograph of a beautiful table setting or friends cooking together sets the tone of a brand. So much is thought about before the actual photograph is taken. Many of the photographers I was fortunate enough to work with at Williams-Sonoma shot both commercial and editorial projects. I think that time marked the beginning of the advertising/commercial world starting to explore a more editorial/lifestyle approach you see in campaigns today. I think the two worlds continue to weave together to keep up with new business models, whether for a retail company, a magazine, any business now. It’s all about creating a larger brand, a lifestyle.

When you left San Francisco, what did most of your peers say about your moving to a start-up?
I continued to work with Williams-Sonoma for a few years after relocating to Charleston, SC (Garden & Gun magazine’s hometown). A lot of the photographers and creatives I worked with for so many years in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, etc. thought I had lost my mind moving back to the South!! (I’m originally from North Carolina.) I, too, questioned my decision those first months after landing in Charleston but was ready to be back on the East Coast. But the start-up didn’t enter the picture until a year or so later. I decided to take a leap of faith when I met Rebecca Darwin, Garden & Gun’s president and CEO and one of the founders. She’s an incredible businesswoman and inspiring both professionally and personally. I instantly had a gut feeling and wanted to jump on board! That was September 2006. The first issue of Garden & Gun hit the newsstands April 2007.

Garden & Gun has a dedicated audience. Tell us the story behind the name and how this lifestyle stole everyone’s heart.
The name “Garden & Gun” comes from an old Charleston nightclub, popular in the late ‘70s. The Garden & Gun Club. Rebecca thought the name really captured the personality of this new magazine. The “garden” is a metaphor for the land that is the South, the “gun” for the sporting life. Both are key components of our content as well as food and drink, culture, literature, music and art. Nothing like it existed on the newsstand when the magazine was born a decade ago. And the response and dedication from our readers from the beginning has been like nothing anyone has ever seen. Passionate is putting it lightly! We received a letter from an avid reader in the first few years – “If you ever close down Garden & Gun, we will hunt you down and shoot you.” Jokingly of course but this letter is framed in our office and speaks to the heart of the brand.

The brand has exploded in its first decade and now has a store, hosts events, has a podcast, etc. Tell us about the first few issues and the genesis of the brand.
It really has been an honour and a privilege to have played a role in getting G&G off the ground since the first issue. It’s come a long way and definitely been a wild ride! That first year it was all hands on deck, only a few people doing a little bit of everything to make G&G a reality. From the beginning, photography has played a large part in the brand visually and it’s exciting to see that continue.

How did the magazine benefit from the recession in the mid-2000s  ?
The magazine was launched in Spring 2007, right before the great recession. Not the best timing but in the end proved G&G really was a unique brand. We did everything we could to keep the doors open and our readers were so supportive. The recession made G&G stronger than ever and showed us just what this brand could become. It was a time when so many magazines were closing in New York. Even though it was a struggle, I think we benefitted from being independent and not based in NYC. Everyone involved with G&G at that point was fully vested with their heart and soul. It wasn’t just a job, we really believed in what we were creating and so did our readers.

The magazine covers lively people and places off the grid, have you had any production challenges or difficulty explaining to subjects what the shoot entails?
Absolutely! But that’s what makes the best stories after ten years. I think that is one of the reasons photographers like shooting for us. Usually, for me, it’s “how are we going to pull this off with barely any budget and within only a week!” The name of our magazine turned heads in the first few years but I’ve always loved sending a copy of the magazine to a photographer, stylist, etc. so they can experience the content. Then they get it and are intrigued to learn more. It’s definitely helped to have a few years under our belt now to secure more high-profile subjects – actors, musicians, etc.

Your magazine celebrates emerging talent, how do you find your photographers?
One of my favorite parts of the job is finding up-and-coming photographers and working with them on a first project. Since we’re a general interest title, I get the opportunity to work with all types of shooters – food, still life, portrait, travel, etc. I enjoy discovering emerging talent through a variety of sources – emails, portfolio reviews, social media, blogs, word of mouth. I’ve been lucky to see some of our younger photographers develop professionally through this first decade of G&G. (And sometimes I can still get them on a project if I’m lucky!!) The biggest compliment is to see a G&G shoot on a photographer’s website and know they were inspired by the assignment.

Every title has some obstacles to overcome, such as remote locations and weather what else are you confronted with and what are your solutions?
G&G covers very specific subjects in unique locations. Probably 95% of each issue is original photography. That definitely keeps a two person photo department on our toes! One of my favorite “in the field” stories was many years ago. Photographer Jim Herrington shot Morgan Freeman at home in Mississippi. It was a project we’d tried to make happen for a long time and once we got the green light, everything had to come together in a matter of days. I checked in with Jim to see how the shoot was going and received this photo. No words, just photo. That’s the sign of an epic shoot!

Photographer Jim Herrington on assignment at Morgan Freeman’s farm in Mississippi. I emailed Jim to check in and see how the day went and this was the reply.

We always want to think about pairing personalities together (photographer and subject) that will make the best mix. A little matchmaking I guess! Earlier this year photographer Bill Phelps travelled to Gatlinburg, TN for us. The assignment was to take portraits of survivors of the horrible fire that happened last November. A few of the subjects were, of course, apprehensive about having their portrait taken and reliving that awful night. I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen and wanted to ensure they were comfortable and earn their trust. Even the day Bill arrived in Gatlinburg we still weren’t sure if one or two of the subjects would go through with it. Visually, these portraits needed to be artful and stoic rather than documentary in nature to make it feel right for G&G. Bill’s portraits speak for themselves and he and I were both so moved by the project and getting to know these individuals.

Despite being based in Charleston, you’ve been invited to be an SPD judge and involved in the NYC industry scene. What are the benefits of being a bit further from your industry peers?  
We all feel lucky to be able to do what we do in Charleston. Anytime a photographer is in town and stops by our office, they want to figure out a way to move here! Rather than an obstacle, our location away from NYC and independence has allowed us to follow our own creative path which is part of the brand loyalty and success. We’ve a national magazine that’s won two ASME General Excellence awards and received other industry recognition in our first decade. We just happen to have a different zip code. I’ve loved being an SPD judge as well as involvement with other creative organizations based in NYC or other cities. I do wish I had opportunities for more regular interaction with industry peers. It’s always an honor to have G&G recognized.

What were some of your favorite images?
I love all the work we do, if I had to choose a cover, I’d say the Oct/Nov 2012 cover – biscuits. One of my all-time favorite covers, we were thrilled to win ASME’s Most Delicious. Photographer Johnny Autry.

 

Chef Ashley Christensen photographed by Peter Yang. Peter was trying to think of what to do with this portrait when he looked out the window of Ashley’s restaurant in Raleigh, NC and saw a man walking his pig down the street. Barbeque is very fitting for this chef but we didn’t tell the pig owner that. Only happens in the South!

 

Photographer Rush Jagoe and the 610 Stompers in New Orleans, LA. A photo shoot that was inspiring and fun enough to deliver a little video as well.

 

Photographer Erika Larsen’s portrait of author Barry Hannah. One of the last photos taken before the legendary Southern writer passed away.

 

The photo of Morgan Freeman looking in the mirror. Jim Herrington took that in Morgan’s mother’s former home on his farm in Mississippi

 

Photographer Peter Frank Edwards on assignment in rural Virginia. He has photographed for G&G since the very first issue and is such a big part of the brand visually. Hard to choose just one of his assignments through the years but this falconry project was one of the more challenging and “open to interpretation.” We ended up turning in into a photo essay.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo – Embry Rucker

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 10:30am

Embry Rucker

Who printed it?
These were printed & mailed by Modern Postcard – They are great. I printed my very first postcard with them in 1997 ish. It was a sunset silhouette of Stonehenge, wish I knew where that slide was.

Who designed it? 
Designed & laid out by my good friend & talented artist Dustin Ortiz dustinortiz.com We have worked together on a few projects now & he always has a great new eye on things.

Who edited the images?
Dustin & I worked on that together. I usually have a batch that I think ‘work together’ & he helps establish a priority or hierarchy. For example, having Tony’s face so big on the promo was his call, I would have been maybe a little leery of that because its… so big. But, fuck it, its a great shot of a cool looking dude – sometimes you just need someone to tell you that ‘yeah, that’s rad, run it big’.

How many did you make?
Around 2000, Mailed 1500 ish & picked the remainder up locally at Modern Postcard for hand written notes, leave behinds & a bunch for my reps.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
2-3 times a year ideally, but, I always have ambitions of doing more than I actually send out.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo – Ryan Anderson

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 10:30am

Eric Ryan Anderson


Who printed it?
We worked with Chris Young at Prolific Group, wonderful experience.

Who designed it?
My friend Kayla Kern who does all kinds of amazing things.

Who edited the images? This promo all started with the harness racer image. I knew I wanted to print it large, and once we decided on a poster, Kayla helped me choose from a few options that made sense on the back. We chose the Tracksmith (shirt over head) image to lie under the mailing label since it was a bit more intriguing.

How many did you make? We printed 1000 of these and sent them out to a list of creatives and agencies who have a hand in the activewear/sports markets. I’ll usually hold on to 50-100 to use as leave-behinds for meetings and such.

How many times a year do you send out promos? Usually only think about it once we have a slow week or two and start questioning our existence : ) Jokes aside, I’ll send a print piece usually once or twice a year. I generally like doing things that have a design element and that I’d enjoy receiving in the mail (zines, newsprint, posters) and hope that there are others who enjoy the same thing out there!

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Categories: Business

This Week in Photography Books: Raphael Shammaa

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 10:25am

 

It’s the middle of July, which means many of you are on vacation.

Yes, it’s holiday time again. No doubt about it.

I’m not getting to beach myself, this summer, so if you’re reading this on your Iphone, in between dips in the blue water somewhere… I hate you.

(Just kidding.)

I don’t hate you. What kind of writer would hate his audience? That’s insane.

Rather, I’m going to do you a solid. I won’t make you read 700 words today before I get to the book review.

Not today.

I’ll keep it short, and show more pictures at the end to make up for it. Think of it as my way of saving you a few extra brain cells, while you recharge your batteries.

You’ll need the help, as I’m off to Los Angeles tomorrow for portfolio reviews put on by the LA Center of Photography. I’ll have lots of fresh work to show you in the coming weeks, so today you get a reprieve.

Surprisingly, this week’s book comes right out of yesterday’s mail. It never even made it into the pile.

It’s a slim volume from Raphael Shammaa called “The Simplicity of the Moment.” (I believe it’s self-published.)

I don’t know anything about the artist, (beyond the fact that he has a great name,) and the book doesn’t have much to say either. There’s a short statement indicating the pictures were taken in various locations, and that he’s going for simplicity and truth.

Mostly, the words were vague because these are very visual pictures. They’ve got structure and sharpness, which are characteristics that will often get you reviewed in this space. And the printing quality is very high.

Frankly, I just like this little book.

Though I’m as happy to dig deep as the next guy, what I most enjoy about this one is that it suggests, gently, that you don’t need to bother. The beauty is of a Zen kind, but also of the synchronous temporal variety that photography does so well.

Like I said, today, we’ll keep it brief. In the PR letter that he sent out with the package, Raphael wrote, “There are so many ways we can work together.”

Well, Raphael, I just reviewed your book, so that’s about as much as I have to offer.

Enjoy summer, everyone, and I’ll be back next week.

Bottom Line: Beautiful, slim Zen book of travel photos

To purchase “The Simplicity of the Moment,” click here

If you’d like to submit a book for review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com

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Visit our sponsor Photo Folio, providing websites to professional photographers for over 9 years. Featuring the only customizable template in the world.

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Categories: Business

Personal Projects: Eric Meola

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 10:00am

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Eric Meola

Storm Chaser

 I began photographing tornadoes and storms out in the heartland of America several years ago. As springtime approaches, I become the empty, eerie landscapes of the states that form tornado alley: Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, Texas and Colorado and New Mexico. I like to look at clouds, I love to photograph them—this is where I can be a kid forever. I’m reminded of the Minor White quote, “A photographer is someone who has his head in the clouds and his feet on the ground.”

 The photography of storms and weather phenomena is, for me, an exploration of the ephemeral, the constantly changing shapes and movement of the atmosphere. My photographs are meant to capture the dichotomy between the fury of skies torn apart and the tranquil, lonely solitude of the Great Plains.

My notebooks from chasing storms reflect the Buddhist-like state of meditation and peace I get from being out on the open prairie, simply looking at the sky:

The sky unfolds in sheets of light, shedding its skin, changing texture like a torn sheet folding in upon itself. Undulating in luminous bands, the ghosts of the wind fade into each other, their shapes changing again and again into other forms. A thin line runs along the prairie’s edge, defining the space between the sky above the land below—a boundary without a boundary, a place called infinity.

I go out to the Great Plains for the contrast and contradiction between the quiet, peaceful loneliness and that ominous foretelling of Armageddon when the sky turns dark and a howling wind erupts in blinding clouds of dust.Darkness comes, and with it the eerie green light of hail. The sky goes black, pulsing with flashes of turquoise, crimson and amber. You hear hail cutting through the trees, and watch it rushing towards you on the dashboard radar. Perhaps a twister will drop its thin spindle from the clouds tonight and race across the prairie’s ruler edge. In slow motion a supercell forms, pulling hundreds of acres of red clay topsoil more than ten miles up into a roiling sky. In the fading light, I photograph clouds lit by the glow of lightning, and then the night sky filled with stars. Scenes from a wild prairie night burn into my mind forever as the darkness is punctuated by staccato blasts of lightning.

I am working on a book of my photographs with the tentative tittle Fierce Beauty: Storms on the Great Plains, and publishing it in 2020.

Photographs © Eric Meola 2017

To see more of this project, click here.

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 decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

 

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Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Jolie Wernette-Horn

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 10:30am

Shahrukh Khan is Bollywood royalty and also on of the top paid actors in the world. Vogue India Celebrated his 50th birthday, photographed by Mazen Abusrour.

Mumbai native and International star, Freida Pinto sat for Bharat Sikka for Vogue India’s 6th anniversary.

The chemistry onset was undeniable with Bollywood it-couple, Deepika Padrone and boyfriend Ranveer Singh, shot by Tarun Vishwa.

Deepika Padukone is one of the reigning queens of Bollywood, shot by photographer Prasad Naik.

The Ambassador car is a classic Indian design. Shot on film by Vikram Kushwah.

This gallery of Indian designers and their black pieces was shot on film by Vikram Kushwah for Vogue India’s 6th anniversary issue.

 

Supermodel Pooja Mor sat for photographer Bharat Sikka in this stunning editorial paying sartorial homage to fashion of the Indian subcontinent, styled by fashion director Anaita Shroff Adajania.

Irani cafes in Mumbai are a dying breed. Travel photographer Hashim Badani teamed up with Vogue India stylist (and fiancee) Priyanka Kapadia for one of my favorite shoots of 2016.

Manish Malhotra is one of India’s top designers, here photographed with Bollywood ingenue Alia Bhatt photographed by Vikram Kushwah

Vogue India

Editor in Chief: Priya Tanna
Fashion Director: Anaita Shroff Adajania
Creative Director: Jolie Wernette-Horn
Senior Fashion Editor: Priyanka Kapadia
Fashion Bookings Editor: Divya Jagwani

Heidi: Prior to Vogue India, you had a strong background in fashion publications here in the US, how did your role as Creative Director different if at all in India?
Jolie: I find the position of art director or creative director is basically the same. While responsibilities will, of course, change from magazine to magazine, even in New York, the main idea is to create and maintain a visual voice for the magazine.

Does Vogue India produce all original content?
We produce about 85-90 percent of our own content. The other 15 percent comes for any of the other Vogues, W, Glamour, and Allures. But, as an Indian magazine, we do aim to showcase women from the subcontinent. For example, we don’t often use blond models as it really doesn’t pertain to our audience.

I had done a redesign for Claudia, a Brazilian magazine set in Portuguese where the words are very long, this posed a design challenge for the cover and the typography selection. What cultural surprises did you have at Vogue India?
Luckily for me, Vogue India is produced entirely in English. The biggest challenge for me, and a constant learning curve, is finding out what will actually resonate with an Indian audience. For example, when I arrived in India I knew almost nothing of Bollywood, either of its current stars or its colorful history. Its hard to contribute to photo concept discussions for an upcoming celebrity shoot when you have no idea who that celebrity is or what has been done in the past! Six years laters, I can finally tell the difference between Kareena and Katrina.

What were the obstacles you had and how did you overcome them?
Compared to New York, the pool of talent is much smaller in India, as is the magazine industry itself. Because of this, unlike our American counterparts, it is very rare that we can claim exclusivity of a photographer or model. There have been months where one photographer shot covers for 5 difference magazines!

But there is new talent, and it is maturing and growing at an exponential rate, even in just the 6 years that I have been here. As a creative director, your job is always to decide what you think are the bet traits to focus on in bigger, existing talent and also to find and foster new talent. There is even more pressure to do this in India with fewer resources. We also have a lot of international talent floating around. Especially after Vogue Greece folded, there was a strange, yet fabulous, influx of Greek talent!

How has working internationally shaped you as a creative?
As an American and living in New York, it is easy to become very insular. People say that New York is the center of the world and I think I started to believe that. In moving to India, everything I thought was put into question. India has a completely autonomous fashion industry, with designers that hold the same stature here that, say, an Oscar de la Renta or Michael Kors would have in New York. Bollywood has its own superstars and a-listers that rival Hollywood for fans and influence. Personally, I  think the idea that America and New York are not the end-all-be-all of the universe has matured me. Professionally, I find this concept freeing. I think it allows me to look at design and conception challenges with new eyes.

How did your redesign/the magazine evolve over the 6 years that you were the Creative Director?
Diana Vreeland famously said, “Pink is the navy blue of India.” When I first arrived in Bombay from New York, I felt bombarded with color. Its vibrancy radiates from everything from the saris worn on the street to the billboards of Bollywood. So, in my first round of redesign for the magazine in 2011, I incorporated orange, yellow and pink into the type and graphic elements. But now, six years later, it is a decision I cringe at the thought of, in the same way one looks back at high school fashion. What was I thinking?! I think the main reason for that change of heart is my own transformation from tourist to local. Which isn’t to say that color doesn’t belong in design (Indian or otherwise). Quite the contrary. But I think after allowing myself to be saturated with the culture’s obsession with color, I’ve been able to look past the surface “exotic” and see the serious craft. In this sense, I feel the design of the magazine has matured with me. In its current incarnation, Vogue India’s design is more monochrome and simple, mainly to let the images and content speak for itself.

Are you using social media as a tool to find talent?
I am an Instagram addict and have found several photographers and illustrators using the app. I often find people keep their Instagram accounts more up to date than their own online portfolios. Its a great tool.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo: Joe Toeno

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 10:57am


Joe Toreno


Who printed it? 

Next day flyers. I’ve used them for my last few promos. I really like their matte paper stock and they’re pretty affordable. My goal with my printed promos is to try and keep the budget around $500-$700 for the entire thing including postage. 

Who designed it? 
I designed it myself which is why it’s so simple. Just a couple photos and my contact info.

Who edited the images? 
I edited the images.  With these printed promos, I try to highlight some commercial work as well as some personal work.  In this case the commercial photo was a portrait of Ice Cube that I shot for People magazine. The personal was a photo of a falcon I shot for an ongoing series of animal portraits. 

How many did you make?
 I made 500 which mainly goes to magazine editors and a few reps. 

How many times a year do you send out promos? 
I try to send out two printed promos a year in conjunction with a couple email promos. 

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Visit our sponsor Photo Folio, providing websites to professional photographers for over 9 years. Featuring the only customizable template in the world.

------------------------

Categories: Business

Personal Projects: Sam Robinson

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 10:00am

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Sam Robinson

‘Out of Office’

Sam Robinson

As a creative, email mailers are a widely used promotional tool to share work and reach a wider digital audience. Sam began sending a quarterly newsletter like this in early 2013, sharing new projects and things he had been up to as a photographer/director. It became a bit of fun in the studio when the Out Of Office replies started to come back and, mixed in amongst the more standard replies, were a few amusing messages.

The autoreply email is typically skimmed over and probably not read past the initial subject line but what Sam discovered is that some people had taken this automatic process to turn it into something personal. So he collaborated with illustrator Charlie Phillips to create bespoke prints of the emails overlaid upon his photography. He then sent the physical print back to the unsuspecting sender creating a fun contrast to the digital thing it had triggered from.

The response over the years has been amazing, with people sharing their prints across social media as well as people actually taking time to do something different with their auto replies themselves from seeing the project.

To see more of this project, click here.

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 decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

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Visit our sponsor Photo Folio, providing websites to professional photographers for over 9 years. Featuring the only customizable template in the world.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo – Nathan Perkel

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 10:30am

 

Nathan Perkel


Who printed the zine?
Influence Graphics

Who designed it?
I did the layout with some design aid from Ryan Giese

Who edited the image?
Edited by me

How many zines did you make?
Edition of 50

Which of these two promos was more successful and why?
I am personally more attached to the zine because of the amount of work that went into it as well as the experience of shooting it. But the bags seemed to get more of an initial response from people as it was different than most of my promos. Ultimately, both projects yielded a good amount of response and interest in other work of mine

Who printed the bag?
4imprint

Who designed it?
Designed it myself.

Who edited the image?
Edited by me.

How many bags did you make?
100

How many times a year do you send out promos?
2 or 3 printed promos and seasonal email promos

What made you want to do the bags as well as the cards?
I wanted to do the bags as they are functional and offer an extra layer of promotion in the event that they are worn. Also, I hate that in New York, plastic bags are given out so freely. I hope that the bags I made will reduce even just a handful of plastic bags given by stores.

Who printed the cards?
The cards were self-designed and printed by Influence Graphics
I did 250 cards – 100 went with the bags and the extra 150  went out separate to additional photo editors and art buyers as well.

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Categories: Business

This Week in Photography Books: Michael Larkey

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 06/30/2017 - 10:14am

 

I’ll make you guys a promise.

I’m not going to promote Antidote, my new photo retreat, here in the column each week. In fact, this will be the last time.

I’m mentioning it now, as this week, we created a new Student/Educator Pass, for $499, which makes the event far-more-affordable for the next generation of photographers, and the under-paid professors who teach them.

I’m sharing the news, because rather than simply big-upping my own efforts, I think it’s important to stay honest here, as I always have. If I can criticize others, I should have the stones to do it to myself as well.

When it came time to create a price for Antidote, I didn’t give it much thought. I looked around at what some high end workshop places charge, and slotted in accordingly.

But everything I know about the creative life in 2017 flies in the face of such thinking. No one’s handing money out these days, and everyone is hustling hard to make ends meet. Whether it’s buyouts at the NYT, or galleries closing all the time, we all know you have to work for whatever you get, and opportunities don’t grow on trees.

I’m glad I realized my mistake, and am now making my event within reach of you guys, my readers, as well as students and teachers across the US. I should have done it before I launched, but I forgot to consider the most crucial of questions: could I, as an artist/writer/adjunct professor, afford to come to my own retreat?

Now, I can answer that question more appropriately.

Honestly, the only reason I started Antidote is because adjunct teaching pays so poorly. It is literally impossible to make a living doing it, and I say that having just spent a year teaching full time, and being the chair of my art department.

I’m going with the DIY method with Antidote, even if it’s not my preference. Building things from scratch is hard, and I’d rather be able to make a living working at the school I’ve taught at for 12 years.

But it doesn’t work like that anymore.

Despite your level of fear and anxiety about the current geopolitical climate, we all know things are much better than they were in the depths of the Great Recession. The economy has recovered, in some ways, but not in others.

Disposable income, a term I used to find hilarious, is no longer in wide use. It’s an anachronism, as nothing is easy to come by in the Post-2008 world. Making matters worse, income equality continues to rise, so that levels of extreme wealth and poverty now coincide in close proximity.

I don’t talk so much about the 21st Century Hustle these days, but even old catchphrases can come back around again. If you value my opinion, I’m recommending that after you chill out for summer, (everyone’s entitled to that,) try to make something entirely new.

Maybe start up a collaborative project with some friends? Make a movie? Or a T-shirt line? Or a photo ’zine?

I don’t know. But maybe this is the time for all of us to embrace the DIY attitude, even if we don’t want to use a dorky term like “maker.”

I’m on this rant, if you must know, having just looked at “squirrel fight,” a few issues of a photo ‘zine that turned up in the mail this week, from Michael Larkey. (Sometimes, I open submissions before they go into the stack.)

I didn’t think to look at the return address, and there was no contact info beyond Michael’s email address and website, so I have no context on these little ‘zines. I got to look at them fresh, yet they felt perfect for today.

Near as I can tell, “squirrel fight” has a hot-time-summer-in-the-city kind of vibe, straight out of NYC. (I’ve admitted New York gets a lot of coverage here. It’s not on purpose.) “squirrel fight” hearkens back in time, with the in-your-Moms-basement style of production, but even through they’re small, and some are on copy paper, they’re still carefully done.

It could not have cost Michael much money to make these, and they’re so brief. One has poems by Rilke, but the wordless ones are most captivating. My favorite, which might be because of the higher print quality, is the fold-out poster. It’s immediate, sharp, and contrasty.

The subway entrance gives context, and assures us we’re in New York. We see a cab, a pretty kid in flip flops, an Asian person of indeterminate gender, and a guy who has a gigolo hairstyle, circa Richard Gere in the 80’s.

I know Rob shows promo-mailings all the time, and that many of you professional shooters make them. Maybe this is similar, and I just don’t see a lot of that stuff.

But one “squirrel fight” seemed to be a washed-out ode to the viewing platforms at the Empire State Building, and another has a picture of the same tall spire seen through a scrim of some sort.

These ‘zines are a bit Romantic. More “someone who moved to the city” than a “kid who grew up there” kind of love, because a native would be more cynical. (I could be wrong, but I wouldn’t bet on it.)

These ‘zines are cool as hell, and I think you’ll like them too. Now, once you’re done with your holiday, your assignment is to make something cool like this too.

Bottom Line: Cool, throwback photo ‘zines about New York

If you’d like to submit a book for review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com

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Categories: Business

Personal Projects: Brian Doben

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 10:00am

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Brian Doben

I started ‘At Work’ after 15 years as a commercial photographer. After all that time I remembered that I became a photographer not for money, fame, or travel, but to get out of my own life and start telling stories of others through portrait. Before ‘At Work’ I used to walk in with an armada, both in terms of crew and over thinking the scene, but the story was right in front of me, and the magic was two feet in front of me. I realized my job is to kind of sit back, see it, and then capture it. Now, I walk into the space where my subjects do their work and I let them talk first. And I find when I do that and I listen, and I don’t interrupt, there’s a trust that comes.

We spend more time working than anything else, so what people choose to do with that time is precious. I went to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles to photograph their Taxidermist not knowing he was going to walk us to the area of the exhibit with the family of three elephants. I have a family of three elephants tattooed on my arm, to represent my wife, daughter, and I. I’ve had that tattoo for several years. I got it because I heard elephants follow the same path for generations and my wish for my family is that we stay together through all that time. I had no idea that I was going to take that picture that day but these moments are gifts that is what ‘At Work’ all about.

It’s a conversation, it’s people sharing their inner thoughts about why they do what they do. There’s something to be said about open conversation and the ability to just talk and share what’s going on inside their mind. It just was kind of this snowball effect, one thing leads to another leads to another.

I try to empower the person to own their space. And then the challenge at times can be how I then have to capture the image, because sometimes it’s easier to pose everything but that’s not necessarily how they would really sit on their desk or on in their chair, so I ask them to turn it to what would really suit them best.

Sometimes it’s a space that blurs the lines between life and work like Muffy Kroha’s eclectic and bright home, and sometimes it’s much more at the edge. I’ve been from Antarctica to the North Pole to Madagascar. Then, in Havana, Cuba, it was hotter than you can imagine in a tiny room, it was just extreme conditions but what I found there was so beautiful. All these street performers were getting ready and there was this magic kind of family sense that they had with each other where they were helping each other. It was just an incredible, quiet scene. Just seeing people who love what they do on that scale took me out of that very sweaty, hot situation and just made me really excited.

What I’m learning more and more in my journey within this world is that perfection is unobtainable because in every moment we’ll see things differently. We’ll see a moment that should have been, could have been, but what’s important is the actual moment that happens. To really create ‘authentic, organic imagery’ is to allow it not be perfect. I want to create relatable images, not aspirational.

You can view more of the At Work project here: http://www.atworkproject.com

And follow Brian on Instagram @briandobenhttps://www.instagram.com/briandoben/

To see more of this project, click here.

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 decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

 

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Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Peden + Munk

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 06/27/2017 - 10:30am

 

Visuals Editor: Elizabeth Jaime
Creative director: Alex Grossman
Art director: Kristin Eddington
Visuals Director: Alex Pollack
Photo Assistant: Laura Murray (staff)
Photographers:  Peden+Munk 


Heidi: How did the interaction with the subject change with a phone in hand rather than a camera with a lens?
Peden+Munk: You can maintain eye contact with a model and really play off that deeper connection that just can’t be done with an SLR in front of your face. Especially when photographing real ppl.  The iPhone is not intimidating.  It allows people to open up and show their personalities.  It is familiar.  Everyone has one, from your grandmother to your nephew.  Composing an image by looking at a live view is different than looking through a viewfinder. I (Taylor)  found that I was more conscious of the composition.

Did the shoot feel less formal?
Yes, it did. We had a small crew and were able to walk the streets, visit markets, buy a lot of street food and keep it moving. It was important to us to keep it spontaneous.  It’s travel, we know the best experiences happen when you relax and go with the flow  (and follow the good light). We wanted to make room for magic moments you can’t predict.

What type of different circumstances did you face using the iPhone instead of a camera?
There was a different workflow We were able to edit in coffee shops, out for drinks, in the subway.  It was a fantastic and liberating to be able to work on the fly and not always be on the computer.

We had to think more about the quality of light since we couldn’t use strobes. The iPhone works best in bright natural light. We wanted to embrace the sun and the harsh shadows. Thankfully our subjects were gorgeous and took the light really well.

Since this is the first time the magazine showcased a iPhone image on the cover it underscores their trust in you. How did this impact you, if at all?
We have a great relationship with the CD Alex Grossman.  We are true collaborators and over the years he has come to trust us.  We are constantly pushing each other and I think that is where really healthy creative progress is made.

We worked with Alex from the conception of the idea and contribute to its growth. In our first trip to Oaxaca, we took a bunch of test photos on the iPhone of everything from colored walls, people, places and markets. We then made an edit of those images went to Alex’s office and presented him with our vision of the cover. These images helped guide us when we went back to do the cover.

Travel and food are such a natural extension of  iPhone images, what other message do you feel like this assignment projects about photography?
It really challenges the “no-make up/ make-up look”.  Most photographers realize it is so much more difficult creating an effortless look. In the magazine world, there are meetings and teams of creatives and so much research that goes into making beautiful imagery and stories.  This project highlights the concept that Ansel Adams so keenly spoke to  “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

This assignment has more to do with good concept, casting, styling and directing talent than the camera that takes the picture. Soon technology will be so good you won’t need a big DSLR, but good ideas never go out of fashion. As my dad who is also a photographer says, “its what’s in front of the lens that’s important”.

Do you feel like this project empowers everyone to be a photographer and in turn undercut the skill involved to take skillful photos?
We think it inspires people to shoot better.  It’s so easy to test and experiment that it pushes average photographers beyond what they think they are capable of.

The iPhone has really closed the gap between amateur and professional photographers. And now there is really no gap between the conception of a shot to the realization of one. For us, the iPhone is just another tool in our toolbox.

InfoTrends’ most recent worldwide image capture forecast takes a conservative route estimating consumers will take 1.2 trillion photos in 2017, do you ever feel threatened by the notion?
No.  So much more goes into being a successful photographer than taking good pictures.  A typical consumer would have a steep learning curve when it comes to client relations, business and the creative process.  That being said,  I (Jen) continually say that anything that ups the game is welcome.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo – Christopher Stolz

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 10:30am

 

Christopher Stolz

Who printed it?
Newspaper Club printed it, they did an excellent job and even reached out to me before they printed to double check print quality. I really like the ease of use they provide.

Who designed it?
I got input from my graphic designer friend but this is my first paper so I designed it myself. I used one of the basic templates provided by Newspaper Club to keep it simple. I wanted the promo to feel like an old paper you’d pick up from a paperboy.

Originally, I tried to do small postcards, but my designer friend told me, “you’re a big man, you need a big paper,” so I listened to that advice.

Who edited the images?
I wanted to show the work that I’d want to look at in a newspaper, so I edited the images myself. These are very personal images to me. I really enjoyed making them and they’re kind of raw, imperfect. They have a feel to them that I want in all my images.

How many did you make?
I made 100 prints, they went a lot quicker than I thought they would. I’m going to shoot for 300 next time I make a promo this size.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I plan on sending out bi-annual promos this year and eventually quarterly next year. I like the idea of issues.

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Categories: Business

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