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This Week In Photography Books: Magda Biernat

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 05/20/2016 - 10:11am

by Jonathan Blaustein

In England, Northerners mock Southern Londoners for being soft. Here in Northern New Mexico, people scoff at the Southern part of the State, and often refer to it as Texas.

Ted Cruz, a Texan, and former Republican Presidential candidate, recently derided “New York” values. (By which people assumed he meant liberal, gay-loving, and probably Jewish.)

“Those New Yorkers,” Ted thinks, “with their diversity and heathen practices. Repent, I say. Repent! The rapture is upon is!”

(Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.)

No, North vs South is a powerful cultural motif around the world. (The Italians all nod their heads.) And wasn’t there some big war fought over those divisions?

Polar opposites are powerful. I’m not sure exactly why, though we so often define ourselves by what we are not. And homo sapiens tribal affiliations allowed the species to propagate.

My people good.
Other people bad.
Fire scary.

And what of our poles, North and South? How are they faring in these days of rampant Climate Change? I interviewed a Finnish photographer for the NYT earlier this year, and she’d spoken to indigenous people in Greenland who insisted the ice was melting fast.

How fast it melts, and how much rejoins the ocean, has dire consequences for the future of humanity, and all the other living creatures with whom we share our planet. (Except for the cockroaches. Fuck you, cockroaches. Everybody hates you.)

Back on point, I just looked at “Adrift,” a new book by Magda Biernat, published by Ink & Bellows. This is a lovely little production, and I do mean production. It’s not built like most books, as the text is pasted tight to the inside cover, and the images unfold accordion style.

The writing gives us the background, though I couldn’t help look at the pictures first.

Diptychs?

Blue icebergs in blue water, contrasted with white buildings on white landscape. They’re aesthetically pleasing, wonderful to look at, but definitely have a bit of a weird vibe as well. Particular the buildings.

As it doesn’t take long to flip through, I immediately re-flip, and realize the compositions of the icebergs and buildings ape each other formally. (It’s not exact, but close enough to get the point.)

So we know we’re certainly meant to see them as pairs, and I begin to wonder what that relationship implies?

On to the text, and some essay-parsing delivers this: the icebergs are melting pieces from Antartica, and the structures are abandoned indigenous hunting cabins in Alaska. Ms. Biernat covered the world, from Pole to Pole, and the book reflects two global warming stories she witnessed.

There is a proliferation of such imagery these days. The icebergs in particular. I don’t know if frequency alone, with respect to delivering the message, will get the job done. People simply can’t tune out until it’s too late, as the alternative is CATACLYSM.

Full stop.

Perhaps more metaphorical, lyrical ways of telling the story will become vital? (Like this book.)

It’s small, gray and sleek, like a baby seal. It’s delicate, like our ecosphere. Quiet, like the snow.

Basically, this is a cool book. Will it, by itself, defeat Climate Change?

Of course not.
Ridiculous question.

But if there are hundreds and hordes of people are out there, each trying to make an impact as storytellers, artists, consumers, conservationists, then perhaps we stand a chance after all.

Bottom Line: A meditation on Climate Change

To Purchase “Adrift” Visit Photo-Eye

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Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: Amanda Hibbert

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:21am

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: Amanda Hibbert

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How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been pursing a career in photography for 5 years, however I received my first camera my senior year of high school and started shooting then.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A little bit of both. Photography is my second career so when I made the change in 2011 from Aerospace Engineering I really examined going back to school full time. I had already completed a certificate program from the Washington School of Photography while working as an engineer, but I felt like I needed a more in-depth focus on lighting.

On my first assisting job I was the second assistant. The first assistant had graduated a few years earlier from photography school. She told me she had learned more on the job than from school, so I decided not to go into debt and learn what I didn’t know while assisting and digital teching.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I played rugby in college and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was an experience that shaped who I am today, my values, work ethic and confidence.

I wanted to share a rather unknown sport with people. The photos are the tip of the iceberg for this project, this series is part of a larger documentary film project I am working on about women’s rugby in the United States.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
These particular images are from the 2011 spring season in the Washington DC area, however I am still working on the overall documentary project. Initially this was going to be a photo essay, then I wanted it to be a multi-media project to include players talking about their experiences. In 2012 I decided it was a documentary film and started filming for that purpose in 2013.

I will be adding portraits of the players and I would like to eventually get the entire collection into a gallery show as part of promotion for the film.

But the short answer is, I’m still working on it.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I am a very detailed planner and I do a lot of pre-visualization prior to a project. If the concept is not coming together in the planning stages I’ll table it and work on another. For me it’s not the time or effort already put in but more of a creative fulfillment quota that needs to be met. I have a book full of ideas that I want to work on so I’ll move onto the next idea if it’s not working for me.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Currently I find that a lot of what ends up in my portfolio is my personal work, so I wold not say it’s different for me. Since majority of my images are my ideas and personal shoots when I shoot personal work, I’m shooting for my portfolio.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Always! My current social media marketing plan starts with my Instagram account @amandahibbert. I use that as the starting point, and then it pushes out to all other outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.). My Instagram account is treated as an extension of my brand so when I post to Instagram it’s like being on my website, but more immediate like a blog. I’m currently curating my feed now to more closely align with my brand.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not viral yet, but hopefully with this wonderful interview. There has been interest in the women’s rugby project and film but nothing so extensive as to make it “viral”.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. My leave behind when showing my portfolio includes several images. The rugby photos are actual some of my images that get the most responses when showing my book, it’s a great conversation starter.

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Amanda Hibbert is a San Francisco based photographer and director who believes in the power of story telling.

Her unique combination of technical expertise and creative vision provide an exceptional experience. A true collaborator, Amanda creates a successful partnership with her clients to express their visual aesthetic through photography and video.

She has been selected and exhibited in three APA group shows, the 2013 & 2014 “Off The Clock” Exhibition and in the 2014 “Something Personal Show”.

Visit www.amandahibbert.com or follow in Instagram @amandahibbert


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

Competition is not your biggest problem

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 10:25am

If your focus is on what’s wrong with the marketplace, and you’re caught up in the illusion that there’s no way you can succeed because of an overcrowded market, that’s full of young people who don’t know photography, then that is the reality that you create. You will live inside of that fantasy and your business will suffer.

If your focus however, is on developing the most competitive body of work you can produce and you then take the necessary steps needed to consistently sell and market your work, then you are laying the groundwork for the success that you seek.

Source: Selina Maitreya

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Categories: Business

The Daily Edit: Trevor and Ty Paulhus

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 10:11am

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Photographer: Trevor Paulhus
Illustrator: Ty Paulhus
Creative Director: Paul Scirecalabrisotto

 

Trevor: ( the photographer )

Do you and your brother Ty often collaborate as a team?
We have talked about doing things together for years, but didn’t actually follow through with it until recently. He works a full-time job as a creative director and has a family, etc… and I live half-way across the country from him and am always busy as well, so it continually got put on the back burner.
But last year I got asked to shoot a fashion editorial for a publication’s “Art Issue” and I figured it was the perfect opportunity to pull in my brother. They gave us the freedom to run with our own concept, so we had a lot of fun figuring it all out together. I added some of the work from that series to my printed portfolio, did a little marketing push of the series online with social media and email blasts, etc… and people seemed to really dig the combination of our styles. Since then, he and I have been fortunate enough to get asked to collaborate on quite a few things as a team.
How did the concept come about? 
Paul from SLAM reached out to me directly with tears from the first fashion spreads Ty and I did. And simply asked if we would be interested in doing something similar for their upcoming cover/feature with Russell Westbrook. I have worked with SLAM for many years on many past assignments, so for me, it was rather standard in terms of my role behind the camera. And again, Ty and I were given pretty amazing creative freedom to simply work together as a team like we had on previous projects. I was asked to capture a few specific static portraits as well as some specific poses to help the flow of the illustrations and Ty was given some loose direction of them wanting things to feel a certain way, but besides that, Paul pretty much just let us do our thing.
Was Slam his client or your client?
SLAM was my my long-time client. It was really great to get to mix it up and do something different this time around.  I’m a huge basketball fan and the people at SLAM are all top-notch folks; have consistently been one of those clients that I feel really fortunate to have a long-standing connection with.
Growing up did you two always draw and take photographs?
Yeah. Absolutely. We used to draw together all the time, but Ty was always more into it than I was, and way better at it. My father is a graphic designer and used to take us to his studio after school. We would sit there for hours playing with his markers and pens while he worked. Ty and I both eventually went to college for illustration, but I ended up changing my major, I just didn’t have the passion for drawing. Eventually, I found photography after years of searching for a medium I connected with.
What was your first collaboration with your brother?
Our first collaboration was a series titled SCHIZOPHRENIC for a fashion editorial (mentioned above). Still one of my favorite things we have done together.

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Ty ( the illustrator )

What collaborative skills have you learned or better developed working with your brother?
Getting a chance to work with Trevor has been really great, we’ve talked about collaborating on a project like this for a long time. We already knew that we’ve got similar tastes as far as art & design goes, so I felt pretty comfortable going into the project. Being more open to feedback & change was definitely one of the skills I developed more while working on this project. Typically, I think about how an illustration works by itself, but in this case, the drawings needed to work as one with the photography, so finding that balance needed some back & forth which wasn’t always as easy as we wanted because we both have strong opinions on how we think it should be. Having those conversations with Trevor was alot of fun though, I value his opinion.
How many sketches did you go through for each final piece and what is your process?
My process for this project was a bit different than normal for me. Because I have a really loose, organic style that makes use of mistakes, ink bleed, drips, splatters, etc, I kept my sketches to thumbnails to get a sense of placement and a general outline of the page. Once I had an idea of how the photos & drawings were going to work together, it was a lot of iteration to get the lettering and drawings just right. I would use a lightbox to paint over the photos, building up textures & drawings, then I’d take all of the drawings and scan them in, putting it all together in Photoshop. By the end of the project, I had a huge pile of sketches & drawings for each illustration (around 20 each. I must have drawn each of the words 50x each until I thought it was just right.
Are you illustrating full time for your full time job?
No, I’m an Art Director at a company in RI that does web & app design. Outside of design, most of my art has been paintings and personal side projects that rarely saw the light of day. I went to school for illustration (Massachusetts College of Art), and after college I focused more on graphic & web design, only pursuing illustration work when fun projects like this one come up, but lately I have made more of an effort to get more regular illustration work.
How did you know at such a young age, illustration was your passion?  
I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist, even when I was much younger, making artwork was the only thing I ever wanted to do. Trevor & I have a lot of artists in our family (our dad & grandfather are both graphic designers & artists), so it seemed natural. We were always encouraged in whatever we were doing. I grew up with a nonstop barrage of comics, video games, skateboarding, graffiti and music. The unconventional creativity that permeates skateboarding & graffiti is massively inspiring to me, and really helped to shape the way I look at art, and life in general. I’d be destined for failure if I were to try to do anything else.

 

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo: Jason Evans

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 05/16/2016 - 9:38am

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Jason Evans

Who printed it?
I looked at many different printers, some local and some of the larger mass production places.  In the end, I went with Agency Access as the printer as I was able to bundle many services together and their printing for this type of promo was perfect.  Since I was adding to my marketing list through their database, it made sense for them to print and mail.

Who designed it?
It was designed by Sara Jane Kaminski, a wonderful designer in Boston.  She had been recommended to me by several different business associates, and we’d been talking for several years trying to find the right opportunity to work together.  This was the first project that we worked on together and I was very happy with the results.  Sara came up with the template for emails and these printed bi-fold promos and I switch out the images and type.

I used to send promos in the clear plastic/cellophane envelopes that everyone uses now.  An art buyer in Florida emailed me to say that he had loved the images, but he had thrown the promo in the trash because of the plastic sleeve, as was his practice, and he hoped that the trend of using these envelopes would soon end. I am an environmentalist at heart, and that really stuck with me.  Since then, it has been very important in the mailer design, that they can ship without an envelope.  Sometimes, they are damaged, but I think that is a fair trade to avoid decorative plastic trash.

Who edited the images?
A great photo editor in Los Angeles, named Kathleen Clark, was recommended to me several months ago when I was looking to re-edit my website. We are in the process of finishing up the edit and redesign, and the site will be launched soon. Since she was so familiar with my work at that point, she was able to pull together these 5 images together very quickly.

How many did you make?
I am printing 1000 of each mailer and sending them to agencies, magazines, and photo agents

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I am sending out these mailers 6 times this year and am designing a larger promotional piece to coincide with the Olympics in Rio.

What project did the promo images come from?
This was a promo that went out in the winter and used images that I shot at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I was working there for the International Olympic Committee. One of the images was selected for the the American Photography 31 Annual Book.  This was the first promo that went out for this year and was the first to go out with Sara’s design.

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Categories: Business

Rethinking Pricing of Visual Assets

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 05/16/2016 - 7:58am

[by Jan Klier]

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Cross-post from LinkedIn.

Lots of change is afoot in the world of visual assets, which I consider the umbrella term for still photography and motion imagery.

The still photographers are grappling with an apparent imbalance of supply and demand, competition from ‘everyone is a photographer’, a client base less versed in the business of professional photography, images destined for the web, social media, and more.

The world of motion imagery is going through huge technical changes of its own with new distribution channels, rapid camera innovation to 4K, fundamental changes in lighting technology to LED, and more.

Common to both is rapid technological innovation and much bigger infrastructure investments upfront and to remain current. When in the past there were many project expenses such as film and development, now there are investments for cameras, software, and a multitude of online services.

And both of these worlds are colliding into each other as photographers marginalized in their traditional markets flee to a perceived safety in motion, where not ‘everyone is a film maker’, at least yet. At the same time cameras have become hybrids from DSLRs which can shoot decent video and video cameras that have sensors that allow still images to be extracted that are usable in client work.

Old Traditions

All this change means that many traditional and long accepted business practices are getting upended. One of them being pricing.

Most commercial still photography is produced by a single creative, the photographer. He/she by default owns the copyright and then licenses the use of the image to the client with very specific parameters that cover where, how often, at what size, for how long the image can be used. If the client wants to go beyond that, additional fees are due. And rarely did photographers relinquish the copyright to their photos. Sometimes photographers were able to extract residuals from those images by licensing them as stock or to other clients. In today’s market residuals seem to less of an opportunity.

The price of an image (or actually its usage license) wasn’t determined by what it took to create the image, but rather the value of the image. And the value was directly linked to the impact the image had for the client. Thus an image licensed to a small local business for their collateral brochure would fetch a few hundred dollars, where as the very same image licensed to a national brand for a major billboard campaign would fetch 5 and 6 figure license fees. That has always been a puzzling concept to the new digital generation. But it was enshrined in the industry that in fact the photographer would take a cut of what the image was able to produce for the client. Think of it as an estimated commission.

While there are a few schools of thought on how one arrived at those numbers, essentially the floor was established by the time it took to create the image (day rate). That covered the cost of doing business and basic living expenses of the photographer making it worth to show up. The ceiling was established by industry databases and rate sheets that encoded multiple usage parameters into certain fee ranges. For the more profitable jobs this would add significant profit to the photographer’s bottom line, beyond the cost and basic ‘salary’.

But Times Are Changing

That mechanism of pricing images still exist, though it is receiving more and more pushback. Mostly because it is a theoretical concept that was established by consent from both the photographers and professional art buyers at a time when photographers had significant leverage. Today photographers have almost no leverage left and many art buyers and clients aren’t trained in the art of licensing photography.

The second challenge to this established system is that it required the client to track where images were used to be in compliance with the acquired licensing. When most images would just go to print and physical film was involved, that was relatively easy. Today images are digital files that are copied and stored on servers for everyone’s convenience. Images still go to print, but they also go to the web, social media, email, and a myriad of other places an image can be copied and pasted to in mere seconds. For most companies it is now nearly impossible to track and guarantee that images aren’t used beyond agreed upon licenses parameters. Even if feasible, it would take way too much time and energy in a business climate where we have to ‘do more with less’ and where everything happens in seconds and not days or weeks.

Remember when the lights went out at the Superbowl? The advertising winners were those who had image right for Oreo Cookies that didn’t require them to call the photographer for an additional usage license. It had to happen in 5-10 minutes or the opportunity was gone. In the days of film things never moved that fast.

An additional risk factor for clients trying to comply with usage license limits is web technology. In the old days when usage was limited, the image would simply not be added into additional print runs or the billboard would be replaced with something else. There was a natural end to each image’s use. In the age of the web, that is far from easy. A company can decide to take down the image from the website or end a display ad campaign. But it cannot guarantee that Google didn’t keep a copy, or someone pinned it to their Pinterest board. Once an image has been added to the web, for practical purposes it will live forever.

As a result many companies (and their lawyers) rightfully error on the side of caution and request unlimited usage or even copyright transfer, much to the dismay of many photographers.

Technically the unlimited and exclusive usage would eliminate the risk factors to the client. Copyright transfer does not make it safer. But these days relationships between photographers and clients are more frayed and photographers have less leverage. By the time the client asked for ‘unlimited’ many photographers have seen red, and so the client just goes into safe-mode and makes it an all or nothing deal, take it or leave it. And the photographer often has no choice but to give in due to market conditions.

The Moving and The Still Image

As mentioned above in the world of still photography the photographer is the primary creator and de-facto copyright holder of the image unless he/she explicitly transfers the copyright to the client.

In the world of motion things are lot more complicated. Few motion images are created by a single person simply due to the complexity of the process. Depending on the size of the production there can be a producer, a director, a director of photography, a camera operator, a gaffer, a sound engineer, an editor, a colorist and possibly many more. All of these have significant and potentially equal impact on the final product behind the camera. No one person is the clear primary creative. Also the person that physically handles the camera, which there may actually be multiple of if a focus puller / assistant camera man is present, may not be the actual creative behind the visual coming out of the camera.

Since copyright has to be attached to a person or entity, the copyright typically stays with the producer or production company as the ultimate owner who funded and assumed all liability for the final product.

In the world of motion there is no equivalent to established usage license rate tables. Prices will vary widely but are ultimately based on the cumulative production cost, which may include creative fees based on the experience level and personal brand of individuals. It’s a matter of negotiation.

As the world of still and motion collide ever more frequently that creates new challenges. Photographers used to usage based pricing and controlling the copyright are suddenly faced with clients used to neither practice. They will hear a simple “we’ve always done it that way”, and that is the end of the conversation. That creates new stress points. What if the client takes that motion product, grabs a few still frames and creates a national ad campaign? As a photographer that may have been a 5 or 6-figure pay day on top of the motion product. With the fixed price for the motion project, there is no leverage, no convention to fall back on. The photographer ends up being the sucker.

We can try to write into the language of the initial contract limitations of the use as we negotiate the price and simply demand a higher price if the client wants fewer limitations. But there is no established practice or tradition to base this on. It will simply come down to negotiation skills and available budgets. We can try to get a sense upfront of what the client may do with it, and price it accordingly. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t.

Remember Ron Wayne, one of the three founders of Apple? He famously sold his shares in 1976 for $800. Had he held onto them they would be worth $35B today. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t. You have to do your best and then don’t look back.

The Prix-Fixe World

Where does that leave us?

The demand for flat-fee or project based pricing seems to be increasing. Give me the bottom line number that you will do the work for and give me a visual product that I can do with what I need it for without unnecessary risk or bureaucracy that slows me down. In the world of motion there already is more or less one price based on the production cost and the talent involved.

With no way of predicting what the visual asset (still or motion) will be used for we can not charge the premium the best case may have fetched in days gone by. But we also don’t have to discount it to the minimum they may have paid in return for more limited terms in the past. We have to find that happy medium that guarantees us cost of doing business plus a decent living wage, a medium that we hopefully have the leverage to negotiate and then simply let go of it.

In the old days we may have hit a usage jackpot and nice pay day with some skill and luck. In the new Prix-Fixe world it really comes down to your personal brand and being able to demand a premium in order to have a good pay day. Not unlike actors in feature movies or major names in sports which demand a premium because of their personal brand, not because of some arcane rate table enshrined in customs many moons ago.

The new floor for pricing is what you need to make a living. The new ceiling is what you can demand based on your portfolio and your name.

Playing The Game

We can also take a lesson from some more pragmatic players. Not too long there was a huge controversy over the new contract given to photographers by Time Inc. It shrank the rates and was very unfavorable to photographers compared to what they were used to. Many didn’t sign the new contract and were barred from assignments. And many were livid.

But there were a few that were more pragmatic. They signed the contract. And they made less money on the same line items in the invoice. But they found new line items to add to the invoice such as various expenses. Maybe not everyone may get those expenses signed off on. But if they had a personal brand that mattered to Time Inc. they didn’t have the leverage to circumvent the contract, but they would have gotten those expenses approved and did just fine on the bottom line.

So the losers were not photographers in general, but the losers were those who didn’t have the personal brand nor the mental flexibility to make the new system work for them.

The other playbook readily available comes from the influencer economy of the Web. These days agencies sign models not just because of their face and body, but because of the number of Instagram followers they bring along. Everyone on set has an audience that can extend the reach of the visual product beyond the brand’s native reach. You can increase your bottom line by building a personal brand that allows you to charge a premium for putting your name on the production.

Interestingly enough, the end result is the same. It always comes down to eyeballs. In the old days that billboard that lead to a big pay day had a lot more eyeballs than the small business collateral. In the web economy the creative who bring the bigger audience to the table, either personally or by the talent they include in the project, drives up the eyeball number and can thus demand a higher price.

The take away is that there is much change afoot. Insisting on the status quo or fighting change tends to be a losing battle. But there are always ways to make the new system work by listening and being creative.

After all, we’re in the business of ‘creative’. So let’s be creative not only visually but also how we run our businesses, including how we price our work.

PS: My intent with this post wasn’t to dig up lots of facts and make arguments about specific details. I would much rather see our industries have more constructive and open conversations about how to best handle this change in ways that makes us valuable to our clients and us happy with the life we are living as creatives.

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

This Week In Photography Books: Zora J Murff

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 10:59am

by Jonathan Blaustein

How do you know you’re having a really bad day?

When you make a pregnant woman cry.
That’s always a good way to gauge when everything’s gone wrong.

If you’re not perfectly sure, having her young husband scream in your face, in public, will carry the point home.

Yes, you’re having a really bad day.

For sure.

That was a part of my yesterday, when two of my Art History students had simultaneous meltdowns. On the last day of class. Of course a year that has pushed me harder than a crowd of Walmart shoppers on Black Friday would end on such a note.

Pure. Bloody. Chaos.

It was my first time teaching this demographic before. And this class as well. (Intro to Art) So I needed to suss out the capabilities of my students, over the course of the term. Stunned, I found that half the class failed a mid-term I felt was pretty easy.

Then I heard most teachers resorted to doing open-book-open-notes tests all the time. My wife suggested I pivot to a final presentation, rather than a test, to avoid causing further stress upon them. (Some left entire pages blank, in pure freak out mode. I had to curve the thing 16 points, in the end.)

Cue yesterday, when the shit really hit the fan. Their presentations were so bad that pure plagiarism from the Internet, read aloud with many mispronunciations, became good work by comparison.

One student did a presentation on Michael Angelo. (Tony Angelo’s older brother?)

I suppose I ought to take some of the blame, as an instructor. I could have been more clear about my expectations.

But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get through to people.

Other times, though, you can see Art make a difference in someone’s live. As a form of communication, it is something to behold. You witness it, and are reminded why this work is so important, poor pay be damned.

I had two photo students this semester who both used a photography project to conquer some deeply held fears. Both reconciled themselves; succeeding in ways our class simply couldn’t believe. One regained the ability to drive, after making pictures about a terrible car accident; the other confronted PTSD.

Art works because it allows people to take control over how they release their energy into the world. Instead of repressing rage, which eventually surfaces in violence and/or misery, we can transform it into a beautiful or ugly piece of art.

Making things is a transformative process: it takes what’s inside us, and births it into the world.

It allows for catharsis.

I saw it so many times, in the decade I worked with at-risk teenagers in Taos. It’s inspiring, the way they embrace creativity so easily at that age.

Their intelligence is there. They’re as smart as adults. They just don’t have the life experience to know what the world is about, nor the emotional maturity, and often have strong triggers from coming up hard.

I once had a student who would walk home 4 miles from work, getting in after 1am, just to wake up at 6 to get ready for high school again.

Kids who had nothing handed to them in life.

Kids like that often end up in the juvenile justice system, at some point. And what exactly does that look like?

I just put down “Corrections,” by Zora J Murff, recently published by Ain’t Bad Press, with a foreword by Pete Brook, noted expert about America’s Prison System, and author of the blog Prison Photography.

The object is genuinely beautiful, with a turquoise cover that makes me think of the Four Corners, and a graphic icon, meant to evoke the panopticon, that looks like a distorted Zia from there as well. (Navajo Nation, for the uninitiated.)

Pete’s intro suggests, but does not declare, that Mr. Murff worked inside the corrections system, in Iowa, minding the tracking devices placed on teenagers within “the system.” Kids who’d committed offenses, obviously, but not so bad they had to be in juvenile detention. (Jail.)

Apparently, GPS accuracy means the government really can know where ankle-tagged people are at any given time. How degrading is that? Is it not 1000 times better than being locked up?

Well, we get to see and feel what it’s like, in these exceedingly well-made photographs. We’ve seen this book type before, maybe the Christian Patterson-style of mixing up all different sub-genres: historical, paper documents, still lives, portraits. (Surely, there were people who did it before CP, but you know what I’m talking about.)

The ankle bracelet, followed by a blurred portrait, and then all the other people are shot with faces obscured. Not by big blocks or dots, but by gesture. A hood, an arm, a turned body. They don’t want us to know who they are, but they want us to know their stories.

Fair enough.

The clean graphic design on this book, the high quality of the pictures, the substantial feel, create a platform for emotions to translate.

Sadness chief among them.

There’s a document on page 53. (See photo below.) An orientation pod assignment. Sample questions? I am at my best when: never. I feel proud when: never. The happiest day in my life was: hasn’t happened.

Heartbreaking stuff.

I really felt it. I look at so many books, as you well know, but few get under my skin.

You could say that these kids are lucky. It’s much better than being in jail. But the vibe here is that they’re not lucky at all. They’re caught in a feedback-loop incarceration system that is ruining millions of lives and costing billions of dollars.

How often do we REALLY contemplate that our governments send billions of tax dollars to private corporations to incarcerate people for profit? Or that the failed drug war is enriching corporations, while devastating countless communities on both sides of the US-Mexico border. (Who gets rich off of opioid epidemics? Cartels, pharmaceutical companies and private prisons.)

A book like this can make you think about such things.

The epilogue states that Mr. Murff in fact worked as a “Tracker” in Iowa for 3 years, 2012-15. He worked within this corrections system, and was likely in charge of many of the young people in this book. (Unless the pictures are staged.) He had to go on the trauma rides with them, and presumably it was a stressful experience. (The very-well written statement confirms as much.)

One could easily see this art project, making the pictures for the book, even the book itself, as the product of one artist’s personal catharsis.

Composting stress into beauty. Getting our attention, and turning it towards larger issues plaguing this great country of ours.

Bottom Line: Beautiful book about life inside the system

To Purchase “Corrections” Visit Photo-Eye

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Categories: Business

Resumé of Failures

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 5:18pm

[by Barry Schwartz]

Barry Schwartz

Photographer, writer, educator

barry@barryschwartz.com

RESUMÉ OF FAILURES
(General Principles Edition, Photography)

“Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days. This CV of Failures is an attempt to balance the record and provide some perspective.”

                                                                    - Johannes Haushofer, “CV OF FAILURES”

 Assignments and commissions I did not get

2004-Present

Projects where I gave ballpark pricing on the first phone call, despite the warning voice in my head screaming “It’s a losing proposition!”  (Number of these incidents has been redacted.)

2004-Present

Projects I priced too low so it looked like I didn’t know what I was doing.  (Number of these incidents has been redacted.)

2004-Present

Projects I priced too high because I was tired of pricing myself too low. (Number of these incidents has been redacted.)

2004-Present

Negotiations where I knew while preparing an estimate that I had been assigned the role of “beard” by the art buyers because they had already decided to hire someone else, but had to prove due diligence to their bosses by having me bid anyway as one of three bidders. I tell myself these interludes are opportunities to perfect my negotiating techniques, and, hey, there was at least one other person who was never going to get the job, either.  So at least I learned something or made a good connection.  At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Projects I contracted for but should never have done

2004-Present

Gigs where I knew there was not enough money in the project, but convinced myself they would be painless, easy-to-accomplish, and go quickly.  (Hah!)

2004-Present

Gigs where the clients seemed not to know very much about how the photo or design process worked, but where I convinced myself they could be educated and in the end would be easy to work with anyway.  (Hah! Hah!)

2004-Present

Projects with a graphics / branding / advertising agency where I assumed because they’d done this before they knew what they were doing and could insulate me from their own client who was mostly clueless, but despite all that we would produce great work and make good money. (Oy.)

Documents that were really not very good

2004-Present

Estimates and contracts that were confusing, too long, and contained legalistic language that even scared the hell out of me. And where the type on the Terms & Conditions page was so tiny you needed an electron microscope to read it.

2004-Present

Emails whose tone was too casual or too businesslike for the recipient.  And too long.  Much too long.  No, really, seriously, they just went on and on and on and on.  You know?

Personal projects not done so they’re not on my website to inspire clients to hire me

2004-Present

I’m not going there.

Meta-Failures

2004-Present

Failing to remember I’ve learned more from my failures than my successes; and, hey, I’m only human so I should just chill and give myself a break. Anyway, most people never see my disasters because I successfully keep them hidden, so, really, what’s the problem?

(Based on Johannes Haushofer’s “CV Of FAILURES”.  He’s an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University. See for yourself: https://www.princeton.edu/haushofer/Johannes_Haushofer_CV_of_Failures.pdf)

Barry Schwartz is a photographer, educator, and writer in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Art of the Personal Project: Sandra Salvas

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

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: Sandra Salvas

Sunrise in Mae Ann over Love Animal House

Sunrise in Mae Ann over Love Animal House

Hero taking it all in. Marianne found Hero just after he was hit with a machette in his face. While he lost sight in his one eye, he still has a loving spirit and now a forever home where he is safe.

Hero taking it all in. Marianne found Hero just after he was hit with a machette in his face. While he lost sight in his one eye, he still has a loving spirit and now a forever home where he is safe.

Yod and Lung (pronounced Loon) unloading  the daily cut grass for the cows at Holy Cow Farm, the cow extension of Love Animal House.

Yod and Lung (pronounced Loon) unloading the daily cut grass for the cows at Holy Cow Farm, the cow extension of Love Animal House.

Zoe getting her lunch at Holy Cow Farm.

Zoe getting her lunch at Holy Cow Farm.

Tain (Tahn) and Miso. Tain lives at and takes care of the animals at Holy Cow Farm.

Tain (Tahn) and Miso. Tain lives at and takes care of the animals at Holy Cow Farm.

Nin is the last surviving dog at the Wat Ban Oi temple. Recently there was a mass poisoning of 20 dogs here, but Nin was spared. She's been at this Temple for 10 years. She is 12 years old. Pictured with Luang Poh

Nin is the last surviving dog at the Wat Ban Oi temple. Recently there was a mass poisoning of 20 dogs here, but Nin was spared. She’s been at this Temple for 10 years. She is 12 years old. Pictured with Luang Poh

Caramel, not so sure about the giant lens in front of him.

Caramel, not so sure about the giant lens in front of him.

Monty,  watching the sunrise from the top of Love Animal House. Monty is the newest dog here. He kept finding trouble in the villages with chickens running loose. Marianne feared he would be poisoned, so she brought him home.

Monty, watching the sunrise from the top of Love Animal House. Monty is the newest dog here. He kept finding trouble in the villages with chickens running loose. Marianne feared he would be poisoned, so she brought him home.

Mali and her brother Mumbo (not pictured) are defintitely the most wild, most skeptical of the dogs here. They were the only pups that were completely uninterested in getting attention from people.

Mali and her brother Mumbo (not pictured) are defintitely the most wild, most skeptical of the dogs here. They were the only pups that were completely uninterested in getting attention from people.

Ping prepares dinner for the dogs. Ping prepares meals for the dogs 5 days a week using fresh ingredients from the local markets.

Ping prepares dinner for the dogs. Ping prepares meals for the dogs 5 days a week using fresh ingredients from the local markets.

Marianne gives Wolfie a bath. Wolfie was hit by a car and paralyzed in one leg so he now drags it behind him. this leads to scrapes and cuts, so he gets baths to keep the potential for infection down.

Marianne gives Wolfie a bath. Wolfie was hit by a car and paralyzed in one leg so he now drags it behind him. this leads to scrapes and cuts, so he gets baths to keep the potential for infection down.

Charlie is at Wat Pa Tiew. This Temple is off the main highway in Mae Rim. He was hit by a car and had to have surgery on his hips and leg. Marianne is hoping to place him in a home environment sooner than later.

Charlie is at Wat Pa Tiew. This Temple is off the main highway in Mae Rim. He was hit by a car and had to have surgery on his hips and leg. Marianne is hoping to place him in a home environment sooner than later.

Tun feeding the cows at Holy Cow Farm.

Tun feeding the cows at Holy Cow Farm.

The water buffalos enjoying the water on a 90 degree day in Mae Rim.

The water buffalos enjoying the water on a 90 degree day in Mae Rim.

The dogs of Wat Hua Fai. These dogs have it pretty good. The monk here cooks for them daily. Originally there were only 3 dogs here, but the monk allowed other dogs to come in because they were not safe. Now there are 14 here. The Temple sits up high on a hill and against the forest.

The dogs of Wat Hua Fai. These dogs have it pretty good. The monk here cooks for them daily. Originally there were only 3 dogs here, but the monk allowed other dogs to come in because they were not safe. Now there are 14 here. The Temple sits up high on a hill and against the forest.

The dogs of Wat Nah Hoerk. This is one of the safesty temples I've seen. The monk has built the dogs an enclosure for when he is not around to keep them safe. Otherwise they all follow him around and do not wander too far. There are lots of dogs here and it's amazing they all seem to get along in this enclosure.

The dogs of Wat Nah Hoerk. This is one of the safesty temples I’ve seen. The monk has built the dogs an enclosure for when he is not around to keep them safe. Otherwise they all follow him around and do not wander too far. There are lots of dogs here and it’s amazing they all seem to get along in this enclosure.

Bobo the cow at Holy Cow Farm.

Bobo the cow at Holy Cow Farm.

The dogs of Wat Nong Pla Mann happily greet a young monk.

The dogs of Wat Nong Pla Mann happily greet a young monk.

How long have you been shooting?
Technically, since high school…which is about 18 years ago now…yikes.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I wanted to learn not just how to take photos, but how to market myself and sell my work commercially.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I am an animal lover and have worked with several local dog rescues in Utah over the past 5 years. Yes, I’m a crazy dog lady.

I had just been laid off from a full time job as a photo editor, and was completely burnt out. I wanted to work on something bigger than marketing objectives, and for someone who was actually making a difference. I perused the interwebs for volunteer photography projects and found the site Photographers Without Borders. They are a non-profit organization who work with NGOs in developing countries. They partner photographers with causes in order to raise awareness through visual story telling. I read their Mission & Vision statement and immediately applied for an opportunity to work with an animal rescue. After an interview and a couple months, they asked if I’d like to partner with Love Animal House in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I raised money for my airfare and stay, as well as some additional money I was able to donate to Love Animal House.

I wanted this to be pure journalism. I followed Maryanne, her dogs, her cows, cats, and her employees around for 2 weeks just watching, observing, and learning.

Animal welfare is low on the totem pole for most people in Thailand. They don’t understand spaying and neutering pets is the way to control an overpopulation of cats and dogs. Sadly, they result in poisoning their pets to “get a hold of the situation.” Slaughter houses are violent and inhumane, and farm animals are often left suffering and unattended to. The sanctuary was founded over 21 years ago to change this; to offer a place of equality for all living animals, and to educate the community in animal welfare. The organization is currently developing their bovine shelter for rescued cows and water buffalo to be developed into a free energy plant by turning their waste into gas to run generators and provide electricity to their project site and neighborhood. 

I wanted the opportunity to tell this story. The project focuses on the animals she’s rescued, as well as the monks who protect the animals in the local temples of Mae Rim. It really goes beyond Chiang Mai, so I feel like this is just one door that has opened to a much bigger project.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This was a 2 week project, but I want to go back. There’s so much more to tell.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It depends on the depth of the project. Some projects only last 1 day, some I spend years on. If it’s a real story, with progression and substance, it usually only takes a day to realize that and then I try to go back within a reasonable time and continue it over a year. Sometimes I just have random ideas that are more conceptual and it’s just a one day shoot and done.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I actually consider all of it portfolio work. Part of being a photographer is being personally creative but also having the ability to adapt your style for a clients needs. I like the challenge of making it all cohesive. My personal work comes from what I am most passionate about, and I like to think that clients consider those things before they hire me for an assignment. “Oh, she loves dogs. She must be patient and understanding.” Haha!

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I only post personal work on Instagram. I have rules for this platform,

Rule 1 is iphone only. What’s more challenging than taking a great photo? Taking a great photo with your optically challenged iphone. Funnily enough, I broke this rule twice during promotion of this trip to Thailand, but that was it. I’ve stayed true before and since.

Rule 2 is only 1 post a day. No one wants to see the progression of me “getting the shot” Just post the best one.

As for Tumblr and Facebook, anything goes. I use Tumblr to promote photos before I add them to my website galleries, or will throw up an image with Facebook. Honestly I’m not the best social media promoter.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet, but maybe one of these days. I’m optimistic.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I do it all the time. It’s not like a lot of people are going to have the opportunity to see my personal work unless I’m on their radar. By printing and mailing pieces out, I only hope it doesn’t just go from the mail box to the recycling bin. I don’t over print or over send. I really try to target the audience of the mailer so I’m not wasting paper or anyone’s time.

—————-

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, moved to NYC for college, and after graduating quickly traded in the concrete jungle for the mountains. After a 5 year stint in Boulder, CO, I moved to Park City, UT where I currently reside with my husband and 2 fur kids.

I am inspired by real moments, real people, bad dogs, being outside, and all kinds of adventure. I love projects with depth and process that keep you wanting to go back for more: to learn, see, and experience it all as much as you can.

I love…
documenting activities
unexpected moments
the outdoors
dogs
my family
nature
mountains
snow
sun
water
whiskey
a cold beer
skiing
running
cartwheels
great friends
dancing


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 and Negotiating: Ingredients for Food Packaging

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 10:44am

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Still life images of ingredients on white

Licensing: Unlimited use of four images in perpetuity

Location: A studio in New York

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Food/still life specialist

Agency: Medium-sized, based in the Northeast

Client: Packaged food manufacturer

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The agency kicked off the project by describing a need for isolated close-up ingredient shots with “high appetite appeal” based on new variations of their flagship product. They had four new products, each of which required a unique image featuring ingredients of the flavors. The ingredients would be shot on white, and they’d ultimately be composited together with a textured background and a few other design elements.

The intended use for these images would be for product packaging, and there was a very limited chance they would end up in advertisements, although the products themselves (with the images on the packaging) could end up being integrated into other marketing pieces. It was apparent that the shelf life of the images would likely be a year or so as they refresh their product’s packaging somewhat frequently, but despite the intended use, the agency/client requested unlimited use of the four images in perpetuity.

With the intended use in mind, I wanted to price each image between $1,500-$3,000 based on previous experience with similar projects/clients. In this instance, we were given a budget of around $13,000, and given the potential expenses, I knew that would force us to tighten up the creative/licensing fee. After fleshing out the rest of the estimate, we ended up coming in at $6,500, which based upon the straightforward nature of the project and the photographer’s experience level, still seemed appropriate.

Assistant and Digital Tech: We included the cost for one assistant to lend a hand with grip/lighting, and also added a digital tech to ingest and display the files for approval on-site. The digital tech’s rate included his time at $500 for the day, plus a workstation rental at $600/day.

Food Stylist and Assistant: In addition to the food stylist’s time on set, she would also need a day beforehand to shop for the ingredients, and she’d have an assistant with her on the shoot day to prepare and organize the food. We included a few hundred dollars to source plenty of options, and this included a bit of a buffer in case any items needed to be special ordered and/or shipped in.

Studio Rental and Equipment: This rate afforded a studio with a kitchen and plenty of space to prep and shoot the ingredients. The photographer would be using all of her own equipment, rather than renting gear, and was comfortable waiving any equipment fees in order to stay within the client’s budget.

Lunch Catering: We anticipated 2 client/agency representatives to be on set, as well as the 5 crew members, and included $50 per person for lunch catering.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: The photographer would be traveling from a few hours away, and we wanted to make sure we included supplemental funds for transportation to/from the studio, as well as parking and unanticipated expenses that might arise.

Color Correction, File Cleanup, Clipping and Delivery of 4 Selects by FTP: The agency would be handling the compositing of the images with the other design elements and backgrounds, but they needed the photographer to do some basic processing and create the clipping paths for each shot. I felt $150/image would be appropriate for this work.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project. Right before the shoot, the scope of the project changed a bit, and there was a need to bring on a prop stylist (at $800/day) to source a few surfaces, plates, bowls and utensils. The agency also ended up needing more help with the post processing than originally anticipated, and the photographer hired a retoucher who worked through 4 rounds of processing, clipping and color alterations, which added about $3,000 to the final invoice.

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 – Jeremy Samuelson: Darling Magazine

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 05/10/2016 - 9:27am

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Darling Magazine


Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director: Sarah Dubbeldam

Photo Editor: Rebekah Shannon
Photographer: Jeremy Samuelson

Do you scout your spaces prior to the shoot?
I only scout when it is a commercial job and there are prior expectations for the shots, furniture placement and so on; but when it is an editorial shoot, I like to experience it spontaneously and respond. I always do a walk through with a compass to check the travel of light during the day.

If there’s no time to scout, do you have a punch list of questions regarding available or natural light?
I look for trees, foliage, things that might influence the light. Also in LA, most of the buildings are not multi story unlike NYC where I have to be a little more careful if I want the streaming light look.

What type of creative influences surface in your work? 
I am really interested in still life in painting and photography. That is another facet of my work but I do see interiors as giant still life images.

What changes have you seen in interior photography?
Interior design is not seen a distinct  or separate category but part of a whole lifestyle, what you surround yourself with is like what you choose to wear.

If the space is giving you a challenge what are your go to solutions to create an interesting space?
One way is to break up the space and treat it as a series of vignettes.

How often do you work with Darling Magazine and where are they based?
This is my second assignment for Darling, they are based out of LA but maintain an international presence.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
We talked about where we would shoot the portraits, they left the depiction of the space up to me. I like to include people in the interior when I can, for scale and interest. I will often use motion just to lighten the sense of human presence. We also talked about the mix of verticals and spreads they wanted.

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Categories: Business

How Your Portfolio Edit Can Support or Tank Your Brand

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 05/09/2016 - 5:10pm

[by Carolyn Potts]

Show too much=Risk being forgettable.

You probably know by now that your brand is way more than your logo. It’s visual consistency throughout your online and offline presence.

Think of Apple. One of the most iconic brands we know and probably the most widely-used example in discussions about branding excellence. If you had to assign three words to describe Apple’s brand values, you might say: clean, fresh, simple. From their stores to packaging to product design every user experience is consistent with those brand values.

Consider if they changed their website’s background to black.
Or their typography to a serif font.
Or didn’t have retail clerks dressed in simple, branded t-shirts.

Providing customers with consistency leads to feelings of security. Humans are hard-wired to avoid the unknown. That’s actually one of the reasons why it’s so hard to land a new client. (But that’s the subject for another article…)

One of the biggest mistakes I see photographers make when it comes to their branding, is they show way too much content. They also tend to segment work into categories that are not aligned with clients’ needs. It does not help a prospective client know who and what you are–or more importantly remember you!–when you show a bit of this and a bit of that and a some of this and some of that and boatload of this stuff, too. For those that remember late-night TV infomercials, it’s like you’re trying to be the Ginsu knife of photographers. “But wait! There’s more!”

You may say “But what about Apple?? They’re a computer company that sells phones, and music, and watches, and tablets. And next year they may sell TVs and cars!! Isn’t that the same as a photographer showing cars and food and weddings and landscapes and head shots and travel photos??”

No. Those “brand extensions” align with Apple’s core brand of developing the very best technology products that will delight and serve your digital lifestyle. If they started selling running shoes and chef knives and make-up (products that are probably used by many, many of their customers) how would you feel about their brand?

There is a way to show that you are more than a one-trick pony–that you can shoot many things that your client needs– but it requires first asking yourself “Who are my ideal clients? What are their primary needs? How can I best show them what they need to see to get them in the door the first time so that I can up-sell them later?”  When you edit your portfolio with those answers in mind, your brand becomes more memorable to your prospects. You will attract the clients who want and need you because you’re meeting their needs first.

Carolyn Potts, international photography marketing consultant, speaker and former photo rep, provides talented and proactive photographers with portfolio edits and marketing strategies designed to help them get more work. Find her at www.cpotts.com https://www.facebook.com/CarolynPottsCreativeConsultant and Google +

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo: Rob Hammer

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 05/09/2016 - 9:17am

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Rob Hammer 

Who printed it?
Agency Access

Who designed it?
Agency Access

Who edited the images?
Me

How many did you make?
100

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I’ll send out 2 promos like the hoops project book every year, which are more involved (usually some type of small book) and go to much more targeted list. And then I’ll send out about 6 other smaller promos to a much larger list.

How did this project start?
I’ve always been a basketball fan, but this project started years ago during my extensive road trips around the USA while working on my Barbershop project ( I photographed old barbershops in all 50 states of the USA, and later published that body of work into a book). Since that project ended, this project has picked up, and has been the focus of my never ending road trips.

How do you find the courts?
I drive cross country a lot to work on personal projects, and this has been my focus for the last couple years. Staying off highways and taking back roads has been the key. Small towns in the middle of nowhere. Never do any research. Just sniff them out.

Do you have bigger plans for this body of work?
Yes, I’m currently working on a few gallery shows. A big one for the beginning of next year, that I shouldn’t talk about yet, but really excited for it. Also trying to get them licensed commercially for ad campaigns with companies like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. I’ll probably shoot this project for a few more years, and might think about doing a book as well.

Where was the hoops with the horns shot?
That hoop with the antlers is in Idaho.

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Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Sara Terry

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 9:27am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I am blessed.

We all are, actually. If you’re reading this, I feel confident stating that you have a good life.

Or good enough.

The fact that you have Internet access, the proper device, and an interest in photography means you’re doing OK. You most certainly have challenges in your life.

We all do.

But in general, we, the global photography community, are doing pretty well for ourselves.

That much is true.

It’s often said we grow through struggle. Difficulty forces change, promotes wisdom. In my own life experience, I’d have to agree. How we handle adversity becomes a marker of our character, and the adversity itself becomes a guide.

As lovely as my children are, for example, when my son was born, 8.5 years ago, I was unprepared. He was difficult, perhaps, and I was stressed out, for sure.

But I felt more misery than joy during the first 6 months of his life. I did not feel blessed, despite my good fortune.

There were only a few times, in half a year, when Theo and I both felt at peace. My wife had recently gotten me an Ipod for my birthday, which we couldn’t afford, but it turned out to be a godsend.

I’d put on music by the Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars, take Theo in my arms, and we would dance. Again and again, to the same songs, which spoke tales of faraway places I’d likely never see. (Sample lyric: “When two elephants are fighting, the grass they must suffer.”)

The songs, which spoke of misery and the abuse of power, contained a joy that was infectious. We danced, my son and I, and for those few moments, everything was OK. The music healed us, temporarily, and I can still see it in my mind’s eye, as if I were a spirit, looming below the ceiling, watching it all unfold.

That is what I know of Sierra Leone. It is one of many countries in Africa that have a history of war, bloodshed, and graphic violence that we frankly can’t understand, here in the West. We have no context; no frame of reference to comprehend gang rapes, and hands hacked off with machetes.

Thank god for that.

But other people in this world, people who had the misfortune of being born to different parents, they have lived through such things. Day after day.

They say life is not fair, but I’d suggest aphorisms have no place in the discussion of such tragedy.

Art, on the other hand, can communicate reality in a way that opens our imaginations up to places otherwise unattainable. Art, I’ve seen with my own eyes, can make a difference.

In this particular case, I’m thinking of “Chapter Four,” a recent newsprint publication by Sara Terry, which showed up in my mailbox the other week.

Wow, is this thing powerful.

I met Sara at FotoFest in March, at a dinner party thrown by a mutual friend. She was clearly a force-of-nature type person, and I have a soft spot for such folks. When I claimed to be grounded and secure with myself, she immediately asked if I that meant I was in therapy?

I calmly said yes, as I was not embarrassed to admit it.

But it was a telling moment. She was confident in her query, unafraid to risk offense. There was a strength in her gaze, and though I knew little about her art practice, (but I had heard her name before,) I had no doubt she was good at what she did.

Turns out, Sara is a filmmaker, a Guggenheim fellow, a former journalist, a photographer, and the founder of the Aftermath Project. She has spent more time in Africa than I’ve spent writing these columns over the last 5 years, and that’s saying something.

The newspaper tells stories of a forgiveness and reconciliation project, called Fambul Tok, that she worked on in Sierra Leone, after the country’s long civil war came to a close. It speaks of atrocity, yes, but focuses on redemption and love.

It is a treatise on the power of forgiveness, and the magical healing that comes from offering apology, admitting wrongdoing, and submitting to the judgement of one’s community.

Holy shit, is this an amazing story. Apparently, in village after village, perpetrators of violence were welcomed back into the fold, such was the power of these ceremonies.

Sara is a good writer, and manages to share tidbits of other people’s tales, dripping with empathy, embedded within her own first-person narrative. Under the guidance of a local activist named John Caulker, she helped to build a forgiveness project based around communal bonfires in far-flung villages across the country.

The photographs, far from serving as illustration, give us a way to connect to what we’re reading. It’s simply a lovely publication, one rife with inspiration, and something I think I’ll turn to when I’m feeling really low, going forward.

It feels like it might become a totem, the equivalent of those Refugee Allstars songs that saved me once, when I was drowning in misery, rather than basking in joy.

I’m not sure if these newspapers are readily available, so this might be one review where you get all you can from me, rather than being able to put your hands on it yourself.

As such, I’m writing about it as a proxy. I’d hope that you’ll take a minute, over your coffee, your lunch break, or even on the subway, and remember that no matter how bad your day is going, you are extremely fortunate.

And to the many of you out there, working on your own stories of redemption, starting your own NGO’s, and devoting yourself to the downtrodden: we salute you.

Bottom Line: Striking, almost magical publication about the power of forgiveness

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Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Lou Mora

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 05/05/2016 - 8:57am

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Lou Mora. He is one of our most trusted and creative photographers. He brought a beautiful light and style to all of work he did for us even when some of the subjects and places were bland. He goes beyond the call to get to get the perfect shot even scaling telephone poles, rooftops and crawling under things. His work has evolved beautifully.

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How many years have you been in business?
I assisted for 4.5 years and launched my company around 7 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to photography school, but I’d say at this point I’m just as much self-taught.  I’ve learned so much since I graduated that it feels like my formal education covered the basics but that I had so much more to learn.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I fell in love with photography before I fully understood that it could be a livelihood, so I’d have to say it was the many photographers I assisted who showed me the ropes and exactly how I could turn what I loved into a business (you know who you are, thank you!) 

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I find inspiration in all the usual places- but I’m most inspired by people; mannerisms, style, idiosyncrasies, where they live, how they live- it all fascinates me.  As far as pushing myself and staying true to myself, that comes from a determination to keep growing, bettering my work and refining my vision.  I trust that if I’m doing that work, the rest will fall into place.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
My number one goal on set is to give the client more than what they are asking for. That can mean different things at different times but it’s all a collaboration. If the client has a comp and they know that that’s what they want, I’ll shoot it but time permitting I’ll also give them different variations. I’ve found that most if not all clients are open to seeing what’s possible when the approach is right! 

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
HUSTLING! I’m always working on personal projects, marketing is a constant (mailers, social media, emails, etc.).  Building relationships is critical, so I try to stay in touch in a genuine way and I’m always trying to book meetings- not only do I think it’s incredibly helpful for buyers to be able to get a feel for my personality but I’ve gotten to a point where I think they’re fun!  It’s great meeting people who love the same things I do and it’s fun to meet people whose careers I’ve followed in the ad world.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I say, no one sees the world quite the same way you do, so take advantage of that and figure out how to make your unique perspective the strongest it can be.  All other work will fall just short, and ultimately won’t be as satisfying.  

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Always!  At the end of the day I’m a photographer because I’m happiest when I’m shooting.  I love being on set, but in the time I’m not, I keep myself going by tackling the personal projects that bring me so much inspiration.  Right now I’m working on several: Portraits of Artists, Small Businesses, and Car People. 

How often are you shooting new work?
If I’m not shooting for clients I’m trying to shoot something for myself once a week- even if it means just heading out with my camera and driving around looking for ANYTHING that strikes a chord.  I’ve found that with two of my great loves- surfing and photography, I am happiest when they’re a part of my weekly life, but it’s easy to get busy and neglect them.  This year I’ve committed to scheduling shoots at least once a week when I’m not on set and on the occasion when they fall through I’m out the door with my camera looking for an opportunity. 

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Lou Mora is a surfer, husband, traveler, and chocolate chip cookie connoisseur. Professionally he’s a lifestyle and portrait photographer who’s favorite place to be is on set surrounded by the talented and spirited crew he’s been working with for years.
Lou works on both large and small-scale projects, tackling both with the same objective: to produce relatable images that tell stories, that are approachable, intimate and unaffected. His secondary objective is simple, have a great time with like-minded creatives doing what they love to do.

Contact:
Lou Mora
310.721.1979
lou@loumora.com
http://www.loumora.com/
Instagram: @loumora

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 founding 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 fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

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Categories: Business

Photographers Quarterly Issue no. 4

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 9:24am

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When you name your magazine Photographer’s Quarterly, there’s an implicit promise of 4 issues a year.

I get it.

But I’m famous for my honesty, so here comes a dose. When I first pitched Rob on the idea for PQ, I had a lot more time on my hands. Back then, hours might fly by, unaccounted for.

But my life changed.

I took on a new job, with more responsibility than I could reasonably handle. As a result, I’ve been constantly behind this school year.

I apologize. Mea culpa. Je regrette.

This issue was edited with Winter in mind, as I expected to have it ready in February. That’s the truth.

Now it’s May, and many of us are thinking of Summer. Will we squeeze in three more issues in 2016? Perhaps. I guess. (But it’s not bloody likely.)

That said, the last four weeks here in Taos have been a bombardment of snow. Winter, which took a hiatus in a beautiful run of March and February weather, came at us hard this Spring.

I write this not two days after our most recent snow storm, on May fucking first, when flakes fell from the sky like dollars raining down at an Atlanta strip joint. (Random reference, yes, but you get the point.)

Speaking of getting to the point, I’d like to introduce the artists we’re highlighting in this, the Spring issue of Photographer’s Quarterly. As usual, we’ve aggregated cool photo projects for your perusal. Though they were originally envisioned as being elegies to, or respites from, Winter’s icy gaze, now they’ll have to stand in for rebirth, renewal, and all the good juju Spring has to offer.

Not that we favor the famous here at PQ, but today, we’ll start off with a small sample of pictures from the legendary Emmet Gowin.

Though he’s super-well-known for his family pictures from the 60’s, and his environmental, aerial work later on, this particular group of photos, from early this millennium, has not been widely seen.

It includes butterflies, made in Central America, and images of his lovely wife Edith, who has aged along with Emmet. Though Nick Nixon is more renown for giving us proof of the ravages of time on flesh, by photographing Edith later in life, Emmet has produced a counterpoint to the vision of his sassy beloved, pissing on a barn-wood floor in Virginia.

I’ve seen Paula McCartney’s work around the web a lot in the last few years. Unfortunately, I still haven’t seen it on the wall. But her project “A Field Guide to Snow and Ice” is simply beautiful. Not much explication needed here, but I suspect you’ll dig the pictures.

I met Chris Kleighe at the Filter Festival in Chicago last Fall. Such a great guy. He showed me a book of his photographs taken at Caral, an ancient site in Peru that’s recently been proved the oldest in the Americas. Its 5000 year old society changes the historical narrative, as we now know that the Western Hemisphere had a major settlement as old as Egypt, China, and Mesopotamia.

The pictures are pretty excellent, as they document the ruins in various types of light, and mashup closeups of art objects with sky shots of geoglyphs made from a hot air balloon. Chris is passionate about spreading the word, as archaeological knowledge often takes a long time to codify, and Caral has only been understood in the last decade or so.

I also met Laura Husar Garcia at Filter, though not during the reviews. (We threw back a few drinks at a party.) Luckily, I got to see some of her work when I judged the Critical Mass competition last year. Her project about aging Nuns is obviously poignant. Rarely does the choice of black and white end up being this crucial, but it works perfectly here.

Niko J. Kallianiotis emailed me to check out his work late last year. We try to include viewer submissions here in PQ when possible, I really liked his pictures from his native Greece, though he’s currently based in the US. All year long, we’ve heard about the migrant crisis in Europe, and how it’s affecting Greece. (Unless the stories focus on Greece’s nightmare economy.)

Furthermore, when most people are jonesing for Summer, they dream of perfect Aegean beaches, cold beer, and salty spanakopita. (At least I do.) So I thought this group of pictures, which presents a more mundane reality, was a cool thing to show you guys.

We’ll thank Critical Mass again for introducing me to the work of Cheryl Medow. Her project photographing exotic birds is not something I’d normally show, as it lacks that edgy, weird vibe I like to highlight here at PQ. But man, are these pictures compelling.

I think it’s predominantly the hyperreal aesthetic, as the creatures look like they were birthed in Maya, or some other rendering software, rather than coming out of eggs kept warm by their mother’s bottoms. And thinking of Tropics might just get us through the last few cold snaps, before Summer is here in earnest.

Last, but of course not least, we have the work of Caleb Cain Marcus. I’ve reviewed two of his books in APE already, and am officially bringing the first project back here, as a long-form photo essay, because I like it so much.

These pictures depict real glaciers. Mountains of ice on which the artist actually walked. But his manipulation of scale, and savvy digital skills, have rendered the subjects as hyperreal as Ms. Medow’s birds.

We’re killing this planet because people are so disconnected from the natural world, and from the consequences of their actions. These photographs, which make real nature look so discomfiting and artificial, are the perfect way to honor the vulnerable victims of our collective appetite for consumption.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo: Pixsy Copyright and Image Protection

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 9:27am

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Founder: Daniel Foster

Pixsy is one of the leading reverse image search platforms that helps photographers get compensation for their stolen work.  Daniel had reached out to me after I tweeted to a company that used one of my images without my permission; I had hashed tagged the tweet:  #copyrightinfringement #photographyrights #copyright. His tweet was a welcome surprise.

Tell us how this project evolved for you.
A friend found one of her best photos used on a website selling holistic healing services. She’s been photographing professionally for twenty years and didn’t know what to do.

I thought it was very unfair that a business was profiting from her work while she was debating whether or not to cancel her health insurance to pay the rent, and realized that photographers need tools to address this problem.

What images were getting stolen from you?
I had a self-portrait used in an online advertisement without permission several years ago, and then observed a few of my architecture photos used without authorization later on.

How do you source the stolen images?
We use reverse image search to find copies, including manipulations, of a photo. From there it is up to the photographer to determine if a displayed use is authorized and if not, what action he or she wishes to take.

How does company sustain itself? Is the income from shared proceeds on the legal cases?
We receive a success-based commission for all payments we collect on behalf of photographers. The vast majority of our platform is free, and we also receive some subscription revenue from premium services such as our DMCA takedown feature.

Are you seeing a trend in stolen information or any particular area? 
Image theft occurs in every industry. We’ve noticed that music and concert photographers see their work stolen at a higher rate. Unlicensed use also appears to be a significant problem in the real estate industry.

What is the approx range for cases you’ve settled, lowest and highest?
Various factors influence the amount of compensation we request, including your previous sales history, local law, and the nature of the use. When we pursue a legal settlement, this has ranged from the thousands up to six-figure settlements.

How do I sign up and how much is it?
You can import and track up to 5,000 photos for free. Plans that give you up to 10,000 photos and our DMCA takedown feature start at $9.99 a month. Our service is invitation-only. You can request an invitation on our homepage.

Are there any free resources or is there a subscription plan?
There is a free plan to search up to 5,000 photos.

Can I batch export my photo library and have you scour the internet for usage?
We support one-click import from Flickr, 500px, Tumblr, Photoshelter, Instagram, SmugMug and Dropbox. You can also upload photos or import from a website. We’re adding new import sources on a regular basis.

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Walk us through the process of how this works.
Once you sign up and import photos, we begin the search process. Matches typically begin appearing immediately. From there you can browse through your matches. If you find a use of a photo you did not authorize and it is commercial in nature, you can use our “Submit case” feature to send it to our team to review. Depending on the situation and your wishes, we can take steps to secure a license fee for you or refer the matter to one of our law firms around the world.

We’re currently resolving cases in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Denmark.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo: Luke Copping

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 9:42am

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Who printed it? Who designed it?
It was both printed and designed  by Agency Access, I recently moved my printing to them because of the extremely high quality and their ability to offer some objective insight into the layouts and flow of the work.

Who edited the images?
In this case I did, but in past efforts I have worked with designer Emilie Lamoreaux, as well and consultants Karen DSilva and Angee Murray to help with my editing and image selection. This collection was primarily focused on sharing some of my more recent projects and features subjects like Buffalo Bills Quarterback EJ Manuel, violinist and recording artist Yuki Numata Resnick, labor attorney Ginger Schröder. US Marine and endurance runner Tony Nash, and Guy William Gane — a historical reenactor who provides period accurate casting and costuming for a number of television shows and feature films.

How many did you make?
I printed 250 of them, I used to send out a much larger batch, but I have condensed and focused my list to primarily focus on editorial clients and a few selects agencies. A few are also earmarked to go out to existing clients that I like to keep updated with my projects.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Of these tri-folds I generally send out about 4 mailings a year. However, I do send some other promotions throughout the year that go out to a list of key clients. These tend to be larger in scale and scope, and are often often designed by Shauna Haider of We Are Branch. Currently I’m sending out a 24 page newsprint style zine printed by Newspaper Club. I love newsprint promos because of the feel of them and there is something perfectly imperfect and lo-fi about the way the images end up looking. I also have some other promos that are aimed at acquiring new corporate clients, these tend to be a little more service oriented and currently take the form of small booklets that go out to potential clients in this space.

Tell us how the gap between personal work and commissioned work is becoming more narrow.
In the promos I’ve been sending out in the last year or two I’ve found that my personal work, which often features artisans and entrepreneurs from the Rust Belt (and specially the Western New York/Buffalo area) has become more prominent. Mostly, this is because the gap between my commissioned work and my personal projects is getting narrower — in that I am often getting hired for assignments that are more aligned with the personal projects I have been producing. I also feel that the compelling stories behind these projects have a wide appeal, a hook which is helpful to me in appealing to many different kind of clients that run the gamut from local small businesses to newsstand magazines.

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Categories: Business

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