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The Art of the Personal Project: Steven Laxton

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 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: Steven Laxton

Steven Laxton Brings Voice to LGBT Refugees In New Show

American politics is on fire and moving at a blistering pace, it’s hard to pay attention to anything else. But for Steven Laxton, the moment that precipitated this chaos, the 2016 election, was a wake-up call to see the horrors happening on the other side of our borders. “I was very disgruntled and confused about the election and Trumpism and all the xenophobia and sexism and racism that transpired,” says Steven. “I realized that I rather than just post disgruntled posts on Facebook and go to a few rallies, I have a craft that can tell stories.” He started creating projects around immigration and came across Immigration Equality, the leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization. Once he started hearing their stories, a whole new perception of what it means to be a refugee opened up for him and inspired his project “Free To Be Me,” on view at The LGBT Center in New York starting today.

“It occurred to me that I didn’t really think about this enough myself,” Steven explains. “When I think about refugees I think of people seeking political asylum or economic asylum or people fleeing from war zones. It’s not often you think about LGBTQ asylum but there’s over 70 countries in the world where it’s illegal to be gay basically. Some of the stories are horrendous so I realized this was something that was worthy of doing.” Steven sat down with a host of LGBTQ refugees to get their stories and act as a conduit for us to meet them, understand them, and recognize the injustice happening all over the world. Things aren’t perfect in the US, but they’re good enough that for many, the US is an escape and a step towards living a freer and fuller life.

It’s not just about facts and figures, as appalling as those are. It’s about the humanity behind those numbers and the absurd laws in other countries governing what is and what is not okay about being an LGBTQ person. “It’s important for people to know the stories and where they come from,” says Steven. “There’s one gentleman from Egypt who’s an architect. He went out on a date when he was younger with a guy, they just kissed, the cops saw him and he was locked in prison for three months only because he was a minor. If he had been older it would have been five years.” He was able to come to the US and build a new life here, a more honest life, and contribute to his new community here.

Check out Steven Laxton’s “Free to Be Me,” presented in cooperation with the LGBT Center and Immigration Equality, is on view starting November 14th and running through the end of the year.

 

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

Take Action Now – Copyright Simplified

Photo Business Forum - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 7:21am

One of the many reservations photographers have to putting up any sort of official objection – that is, to file a lawsuit in court – is the cost and time associated with doing so. Further, their objections include the cost of hiring an attorney, and then paying them again, and again, and again. Then, there’s the reservation because, well, they didn’t register the copyright before the infringement. This all leads up to the idea that copyright protections don’t really help the individual photographer, they’re designed to protect corporate interests, so why bother doing anything at all?

This apathy has caused a downward spiral in copyright registrations, and the inverse is the case for infringements. Photographers feel helpless, and some fear sharing their work in any capacity online will result in large-scale theft of their work, so they don’t.

Enter small claims court.  In civil proceedings, if you have a disagreement that is minor (some jurisdictions cap it at $10k - $30k), you can come before a judge, present your case and evidence, and the judge will decide. It’s Judge Judy without the cameras and studio lighting. No jury, and, no expensive attorneys if you’re an individual.  It’s quick, and usually painless. In the world of copyright, to date, you have had to file a federal lawsuit and jump through a lot of hoops and hire a seasoned lawyer to help you through the process.  If the The “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2017” or the “CASE Act of 2017” becomes law, that won’t be your only option. 

This solution -  the Copyright Small Claims Board, proposes a small claims procedure would allow for an individual copyright holder to bring a claim where the cap on the award is $30,000, and does not require you to hire an attorney to represent you. While I would recommend you hire an attorney in matters such as this, in some instances, an attorney is not necessary.  And, as far as how much it would cost you to file a copyright claim? The act stipulated “a filing fee in such amount as may be prescribed in regulations established by the Register of Copyrights, which amount shall be at least $100, shall not exceed the cost of filing an action in a United States district court.”  So, for $100 or a bit more, and without an attorney, you can get the ball rolling where someone has infringed your work.

This looks to be an amazing solution where a website or t-shirt vendor or even a magazine has stolen your work. Has someone stolen your work and posted it on their instagram account? Here’s your solution, provided it becomes law. The Copyright Alliance has more information here - - and visit this link – a streamlined way for you to contact your member of congress.

(Continued after the Jump)





David Trust, CEO of the Professional Photographers of America explains it thusly:




Tom Kennedy, Executive Director of ASMP stated that “the introduction of the CASE Act is a critical step in the several years-long effort by ASMP and its colleagues in the creative community to correct an historic inequity in the copyright law: the failure of the law to provide individual creators with an effective and affordable means to combat infringements of their creative works—an especially vexing problem in a digital environment where piracy occurs at the click of a mouse.”

The NPPA, back in 2012, pointed out that  “While much of the advocacy by NPPA deals with access issues and the right to photograph and record in public; it cannot be understated that without the ability to affordably protect one’s copyright visual journalists will soon be out of business,” Mickey Osterreicher, NPPA general counsel said. “That is why it is so important that the Copyright Office support a new initiative that will address this critical issue,” he added. The NPPA went on to note that "As many photojournalists face situations involving copyright claims that amount to a limited amount of damages, the NPPA strongly supports the creation of a copyright small claims court system by the Copyright Office that would permit photojournalists to resolve such claims in an expedited and cost effective manner."




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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo – Julia Stotz

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 9:08am

Julia Stotz

Who printed it?
The book was printed by Smartpress. I printed and bound the vellum cover myself onto the front of each book.

Who designed it?
The cover was designed by my friend, Joel, from This is Forest.

Tell me about the images?
I normally create a shoot specifically for my printed promos. But for this round, I wanted to show a range of food photos that were specific to my aesthetic style. I felt it was the right time to connect the dots from my studio work, to restaurant and chef portraits, to tabletop scenes. I wanted to express a tone, color palette, and voice within the contemporary world of popular food imagery that was my own.

How many did you make?
I made and sent out 120 promos. I’d rather mail less and spend more time on the overall package, then create something super quick to send to many. I think an email newsletter is better for that. I wanted these to specifically go to people who I’ve loved working with in the past, and to dream clients. Each promo ends up being such a labor of love, that hopefully, it goes to someone who will care to receive the object.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try and send a printed promo out every year or two, and I send around 2 or 3 email promos as well. It’s such a science trying to figure out how many times people want to receive updates, and what feels like too many notifications amongst the sea of self-promotion.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I think printed promos are one of the few times a year that I get to see my work beautifully designed, printed, and bound together. So maybe I partly do it for myself to view my own growth, but I think it also creates a visual voice that’s very different than the way work is presented on a screen. I don’t think there needs to be a lot of printed work sent out annually since I know it can be wasteful, but hopefully, that one tactile piece better represents your personality and style to a client and they hold onto it for a while.

I personally love printed pieces, yet I know I receive them way less than any photo editor or art buyer does, so maybe the specialness gets lost. But it always feels like such a great mail day when I get a zine or book that you can see the love that was put into it. Not even the most extraordinary of emails will give me that same tactile effect.

When making anything printed that has multiple steps or people involved, without fail it always ends up taking longer than anticipated. So I always try and set goals in the beginning for when I want my promos to go out, but always add a lot of padding and understanding to that timeline. Anything worthwhile takes time and care. And I want the final creation to represent that.

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Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Powder Magazine: Tal Roberts

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:00am

Powder Magazine

Photography Director: David Reddick
Art Director: Tyler Hartlage
Photographer: Tal Roberts

Heidi: Who were you photographing for this story?
Tal: I joined three siblings, McKenna, Axel, and Dylan Peterson who happen to all be amazing skiers for a road trip through Southern Idaho with a plan to ski some of the smaller ski hills where you can still get a lift ticket for under $50. I got the chance to do the assignment because I had lived in Sun Valley, Idaho for a long time and had been a regular contributor to Powder.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Drive around to these smaller ski hills, get a feel for the area, ski with the locals, and show that you can still find great places to ski for under $50 in the age of the $100 plus lift tickets.

Tell us about the opening spread image, how did that come about?
That shot is from an early morning at Pebble Creek Ski Area. On the shot before this I had the skier make a turn really close to me, and because it was really cold the snow was spraying up really high and got all over the front of my lens. Since the sun was still really low I decided to leave the snow on the lens and try a backlit shot next which creates that aperture shape print on the image.

What is going on in the shot with the snow explosion, was that luck?
The snow exploding like that isn’t really luck. It’s a result of communication with the skier to know where and how they are going to make their turn and having a good idea of what the snow condition is like and how it will react. Where we did get lucky was with the light. On our first chairlift ride up the mountain lightning struck an electrical tower really close to the chairlift while we were on it and shut down power to the whole mountain for a few minutes. When the chair began to move again we had ski down and stay in the lodge for the next hour until the thunder and lightning passed. The wind blew the storm clouds away and when we got back on slope this was the first image we shot.

How many takes for the shot with the nice line and the basin down below?
Just one, but I shot it in high-speed continuous mode so I had a few to pick fro

How many days a year do you ski and do you deliberately ski/train to garner these types of shoots?
Counting days that I was shooting and days just riding for fun I think I was on snow around 40-45 days last season. That’s a bit lower than it used to be since I used to live in Sun Valley, Idaho 2 minutes from the chairlift and now I live in Portland, Oregon. I wouldn’t say I train directly for shoots like this, but I do work to stay fit as it helps out a ton when hiking and riding with a heavy camera pack on. I wouldn’t really look at this as training either, but I have done years and years of snowboarding and without that experience I wouldn’t really be able to keep up and navigate more difficult terrain that we often shoot on. For example, this week I have been in British Columbia on a heli-skiing shoot in pretty wild, remote terrain with some of the deepest snow I have ever ridden, which would be a major struggle without a bit of experience in the backcountry.

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Categories: Business

This Week in Photography Books: TBW Books Subscription Series No. 5

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 9:59am

 

Taos is a famously spiritual place.

Our mountain is sacred, and considered one of the world’s energy vortices, if you believe that sort of thing.

So people around here are pretty open to seeing the hand of fate, rather than ascribing any and all oddities to coincidence and chance.

As such, last summer, I chose to take a different route home, which I never do, and drove past my former Kung Fu teacher, walking a dog with a little girl by his side. (I hadn’t seen him in years.)

Not believing it was a coincidence, I parked the car, walked across the street, and said “Hello.” It felt like a sign, so I decided to start studying again, and have been training now for nearly 5 months.

Wing Chun is not for everyone, but I’m enjoying myself immensely. It’s exercise, self-defense, and Buddhist/Daoist philosophy all rolled into one.

The downside, though I hadn’t really contemplated it, is that you can get hurt. Fighting, apparently, can lead to injuries. (Who knew?)

My left hand is strained at the moment, as I hurt it punching a bag a couple of weeks ago, and re-injured it during training last week. Typing right now hurts like hell, and I have to keep it to a minimum, so I can get better and drop 1200 words on you next week.

As such, I”m going to keep it short today. Like super-short. Shorter than DJT’s attention span. Shorter than the line at Chipotle. (You get the picture.)

But to counteract the effects of an abbreviated review, I’m going to show a 4 book set, called “Subscription Series No. 5,” put out last year by our friends at TBW Books in Oakland. (We hate the Warriors in my household, but love Oaktown.)

The series, overseen by Paul Schiek, features books by Mike Mandel, Susan Meiselas, Bill Burke, and Lee Friedlander. How’s that for a line-up?

Pretty badass.

Each grouping comes from the past, though Friedlander snuck a few contemporary images into his edit.

What do they have in common?

I’m not sure.

They’re all black and white, and show people in interesting subcultures: Santa Cruz boardwalk beach kids, Downtown NYC schoolgirls, Appalachian snake-handlers, and people with heads. (OK, “people with heads” is not a sub-culture, but I’m trying to tie a bow on this, so I can stop typing and ice my hand.)

The suite of books is really cool, and Mike Mandel even features images of cunnilingus behind a beach shack, which I have never, ever seen before. (And I won’t photograph here, as Rob likes to keep things SFW.)

Anyway, I’m out, and will be back next week with portfolios from Photo NOLA.

Have a good one, and if you’re going to punch a bag this week, make sure to use proper technique.

Bottom Line: Beautiful, slightly absurd book series by some masters

To purchase “Subscription Series No. 5,” click here

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

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Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: Joe Pugliese

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 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: Joe Pugliese

The long-running game show “The Price Is Right” shot at CBS Television City, is one of L.A. ‘s most durable icons. The more excited you can be as an audience member, the more outrageous your reactions and wacky your attire, the more likely you are to hear the legendary command to “Come on Down”

This is a series of personal projects that to be published in LA Mag, which is something I pitched them and they agrees. I have a grid of 9 images that run on the last page of the magazine each month called “Gatherings”, It’s up to me to shoot and provide the material, and there is very little editorial oversight from the mag, it’s really my project which is great.

I’m donating individual and family portrait sessions to raise money and awareness for The Pablove Foundation and their mission to invest in pediatric cancer research and improve the lives of children living with cancer. Sessions are still available at the link below. Come to the Valentine’s Celebration on February 11th for all kinds of art, crafts, food and fun for the whole family!

https://www.classy.org/events/-/e141923  https://www.pablove.org/truepablove/

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

Pricing & Negotiating: Exterior and Aerial Architectural Images for Oil Company

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 9:52am

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Exterior and aerial architectural photography of an oil refinery.

Licensing: Public display of 15 images in a corporate office.

Photographer: Architectural and landscape specialist.

Client: Large oil and gas company.

Here is the estimate:

pricing & negotiating, craig oppenheimer, exterior and aerial photography, oil refinery, architectural photography, industrial photography, estimating, shoot production

Creative/Licensing: The photographer had a longstanding relationship with an architectural firm who was working with the client to develop new office spaces, and they connected the photographer directly to the client to discuss the creation of artwork to fill the new space. They hoped to capture images of their oil refinery both from the ground and from above to showcase the scale of their complex in an artistic way. They were interested in 15 images, and after speaking with the photographer about different angles/shots, they anticipated needing two shoot days to accomplish the project. Based on conversations with the client, they intended to make use of the images in various ways, ranging from a large-scale display in the lobby to smaller-sized prints throughout the office.

Since a few of the images were going to be more prominently displayed than others, I developed a tiered pricing model starting at $2,500 for the first image, $1,000 each for images #2-4, $500 each for images #5-8, and $250 each for images #9-15. That brought me to $9,250, which I initially doubled considering the potential shelf life of the images. When pro-rated, that brought me close to $1,250/image, which I felt was a bit high, so I brought down to $1,000/image and an even $15,000 (breaking down to $7,500/day when viewed that way). Given the size of the client, it felt a bit light, but with expenses bringing our bottom line up near $25k, I felt this was appropriate based on other similar projects I’ve estimated.

Photographer Scout Day: Before shooting, the photographer would do a walkthrough of the location to determine the best angles and time of day to capture each shot.

Helicopter Rental: The photographer had previously rented helicopters for projects, and anticipated paying $450 per hour. Based on where the helicopter would take off/land, and the few shots that were needed, we included 2 hours and rounded up just a bit. Sometimes chartering a helicopter for this purpose requires the rental of special safety or stabilization equipment, however, it was not required in this instance.

Equipment: This included the photographer’s camera, backup body, and specialty lenses for two days.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: I included $50/day for meals and $100/day for mileage and miscellaneous expenses that might arise.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This included the photographer’s time to transfer all of the images from the cards to his computer, review and batch color-correct the content, and prepare a web gallery for the client to choose from.

Retouching: I included two hours of retouching, based on a rate of $150/hour, for each of the 15 images.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

Hindsight: Considering the size of the client and the lack of negotiation, I think we could have aimed higher on the creative/licensing fees. It can actually be reassuring when a bit of resistance is met, which lets me know when we’re at the top threshold of a budget range, but since there wasn’t any pushback, there may have been some room to charge more initially. That being said, considering the market and the limited usage, I still feel the fees were appropriate.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 or reach out. 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 – Destinations Magazine: Jeremy Samuelson

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:29am

 

Destinations Magazine

Editor in Chief and Photo Director: Christopher Hill
Photographer: Jeremy Sameulson


Heidi: Did you travel with the writer?
Jeremy: The writer did not join us but instead I traveled with my family, though not on the shoot of course.

Is the magazine both print and digital?
Yes

Are you familiar with Chiang Mai?
I lived in Chiang Mai for 4 years when my kids were younger, we took them there so they would have a bigger world view. We knew no one,  we just arrived with 2 suitcases apiece (2 kids and wife) and made it work. I would commute back and forth to the USA for shoots. I did do some magazine shoots while there and hence had a relationship with the magazine but really it was a place for personal work. The timing just happened to be right when they asked about my availability for the shoot, as I was planning a visit anyway.  We still have a small place there and are starting to spend time there again as my kids are off to college.

What inspired you about this shoot?
As you know magazine budgets are low (especially in SE Asia ) but stories like this are one of the reasons I became a photographer. It gives you an opportunity to meet people and places that you would otherwise never meet or see, especially in a foreign country.

Tell us about the color treatment in these images.
The color effect was done in camera with gels not in post and is a technique I’ve been playing with for awhile, it’s influenced by James Welling and his work at the Glass House.

Did you have any language barriers?
I used a Thai assistant for some of the shoots as my thai skills are not very good, it is a tonal language and quite hard to master. But these artists are working on the international level and were often quite english proficient. 

How did you integrate with the community while you were there?
While I lived there I had a column in a local expat magazine, Chiang Mai Citylife, called Ti Naa ( face, in english) where I did double page spread of portraits( large face shots done in my little studio) of  interesting Thai people. For example, Miss Chiang Mai ( beauty queen), local singers and artists, the head monk for all of Chiang Mai province. Below is a jewelry designer I photographed. Again it served as a way for me to meet people whose paths I would never cross,  especially there.

 

 

 

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Categories: Business

This Week in Photography Books: Naomi Harris

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:37am

 

I haven’t been skiing yet this year.

Mostly because we don’t have any snow. As I’m writing this, the East Coast is under a blizzard watch, and the American South just got more snow in a day than we’ve had in a month.

But I’m not going on a Climate Change rant today.

Rather, I’m moping because I miss flying down the white mountain while the snow falls all around me. It’s magical, standing on top of a white peak, frozen conifers dotting the landscape.

I’ve been skiing in Taos Ski Valley since I was 14, and now I’m 43, so the place is like a second home. Furthermore, one of my wife’s good friends is a Blake, the family that owned the resort for 60 years, so that always made it more special.

Though Taos is famous for our adobe-style architecture, most of the buildings in TSV were designed in a Swiss Alpine style, and feature European names like the Edelweiss, or the Bavarian.

And there are trails named after the men who engineered a failed coup against Adolph Hitler, for crying out loud. (Stauffenberg, Fabian, Oster, Tresckow)

To be clear, Taos Ski Valley sits on land once “owned” by the Taos Pueblo Native Americans, which was then appropriated by colonists from the Spanish Empire, before being taken as war spoils by the United States in the 19th Century.

So where does the Euro-centric architecture/culture come from?

Well, Ernie Blake, the founder, came to America as Ernie Bloch. He was a Swiss German Jew who left Europe, founded a little ski area at the edge of the world, yet still wanted to create an atmosphere like home.

Pretty weird, right?

Well, yes and no.

Because all of contemporary America was founded by European expats who came over here to begin again, and brought their culture with them. (To be clear, I’ve written many words over the years about the exception that is African-American history, but we’re not going there today.)

If you drive through parts of Texas, you see signs advertising kolaches, a Czech snack food that is fairly far from home. Why? Because it was mostly Czech and German immigrants who beat back the Comanche in the 19th Century.

We all know there are a shit-ton of Scandinavians in Minnesota, Polish-Americans in Chicago, Irish in Boston, French descendants in Louisiana, and so on.

There are weird-ass European town names that pop up all over America, including places like Brooklyn, which has become synonymous with American cool. (Or obnoxious, bearded hipsters, depending on your POV.)

How could it be otherwise, when an entire Continent has been populated with riffraff from elsewhere?

That much I understand.

But what about the other way around? Are there places in Europe that are obsessed with America, even though our histories officially diverged around the time of the Boston Tea Party?

I’m glad you asked.

Because I just put down “EUSA,” a fun, new book by Naomi Harris, recently published by Kehrer Verlag in Germany, so I feel pretty qualified to answer your question.

To begin with, I believe Naomi Harris is Canadian, so the entire premise of a book looking at the overlap between America and Europe begins with a touch of absurdity. Thankfully, it meshes perfectly with the vibe of the book, and the style of the images, so don’t bother with this one if you lack a sense of humor.

The last few weeks, I’ve discussed how certain books utilize the cover to generate interest. This is no different. As the below picture attests, this cover is made from the sort of plasticy-rubbery composite that makes one think of travel guide books of old, or maybe textbooks you might have bought in college.

The title is also built out of smaller versions of itself, which I had to squint to understand, upon first viewing, thereby grabbing my attention further.

Inside, we’re met with a well-written explanatory essay, by the artist, laying out the parameters of the project. Ms. Harris visited tourist-type-places in the US that honor the heritage of the local founding culture, but also spots in Europe that display a fascination with American culture.

Mostly the Wild West.

You know, like, where I live.

The short version of my opinion is that it’s a cool, smart, funny project, and the images are really well made. (There are also more than a few images of scantily clad ladies, so there’s a slightly sexed-up energy as well.) As Gen X is famous for its embrace of irony, I can only imagine that Ms. Harris is no Millennial, but I’m too classy to Google her birthday and out her age.

The long version is that I think the book is flawed, which is OK, because it’s clearly reaching out towards some edge, without knowing exactly where it is.

The idea that global culture, in particular urban culture, is becoming homogenized is nothing new. We’ve heard plenty about it, and the rebellion against globalized culture struck fiercely in 2016-17, giving us Brexit, Trump, and the incessant use of the word “cuck.”

(Seriously though, I’m willing to bet that EVERY guy who uses the word “cuck” on Twitter hasn’t gotten laid in at least 5 years.)

So by giving us a visual mashup, and intentionally creating images that force you to look hard, trying to surmise which Continent you’re seeing, the book takes its place on the frontline of cultural exploration, here in 2018.

My problems come more from the book’s structure. Frankly, I think there are too many images, and it’s been slightly over-designed. It’s not that some images are of a lesser quality, rather I question whether this many are necessary to make the point, or present a cohesive vision?

Sometimes, less is more.

Secondly, the book is regularly interrupted by an email exchange, printed sideways on vellum paper, between two art world insiders: Erik Kessels of Holland, and Carolina Miranda of LA.

Yes, I knew who they were without having to look it up, but at this point, I’m something of an insider myself, I suppose. (Though I’ll carry my rebellious streak until I die.)

But most readers, outside our small circle, would not know such things. The interviews are witty and interesting enough, but lacking context, and showing up randomly, they take me out of the narrative a bit, and I question whether it’s an effective technique.

(Again, edgy projects take risks, so I’m not trashing her for doing so, just wondering if it’s as successful as hoped.)

At the end of the book, there is a bit of explanation as to who the two writers are, emailing each other across the ocean. (He’s an artist and ad man in Amsterdam, she’s a cultural critic for the LA Times.) So the editorial team understood context was necessary.

I just think they put it in the wrong place. (I suppose I’m quibbling, but that is a part of the job.)

Overall, I think it’s a smart, cool project, with many compelling images within. The irony works well, the saturated colors refer to digital reality, and the sum total presents a world in which we can be fascinated by the Other, rather than simply afraid.

That’s a message that bears repeating in these tumultuous times.

Bottom Line: Very cool book about the intersection between the Old and New worlds.

To purchase “EUSA” click here

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

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Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: Raphael Olivier

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 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: Raphael Olivier – I found his project on Reddit

Ordos, Inner Mongolia, is well known as the largest Chinese “ghost town”. Located in a province rich with natural resources (coal, gas, rare earth metals), the local government decided to invest heavily in the late 90’s / early 20’s to develop a new city which would become the pride of the country: a futuristic vision of a cultural, economic and political center boasting state-of-the-art infrastructure and real estate. However, following the classic Chinese tradition of building fast and cheap, without any urban planning or long term vision, the city quickly became a spectacular failure. The prices of property being much too high discouraged potential buyers so the only people who actually moved in were local government officials and migrant workers who could earn more here thanks to a special “relocation bonus”. As a result the city is now a surreal landscape of empty streets, decaying monuments, abandoned buildings and half-finished housing projects. It is more than anywhere the symbol of the Chinese Dream with all its challenges and contradictions, an Orwellian vision of a bright future caught up by a less flamboyant reality.

Copyright: Raphael Olivier

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 – The Big Life: Nick Kelly

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 9:30am

Big Life


Editor: Ryan Waterfield
Creative Director: Britt Johnson
Photographer: Nick Kelly


Heidi: How did the story come about since it was a collection of stock images?
Nick: Big Life, a magazine based in Sun Valley, Idaho, reached out as they were hoping to do a feature on my longtime girlfriend, Maddie Brenneman, who is a fly fishing guide in Colorado. As a photographer, and after 12 years together, I have quite a large archive of Maddie images. I’ve shot her for some commercial projects over the years but I’m also always taking pictures during our travels, which are more often than not focused on fishing.

As opposed to doing a concentrated, one-time shoot, I think Ryan Waterfield (Editor) and Britt Johnson (Creative Director) of Big Life liked the idea of having images of Maddie from all over the world—especially since the photos already existed.

Did you submit a wide edit to the magazine or did you pitch this as a package?
The creative director, Britt, had actually flagged a few images from Maddie’s instagram and my website that she was interested in running and we went back and forth a bit from there. In the end, I think we were working from a selection of about 20 images that they made their final selection from.

Are you always shooting stock with these projects in mind?
When I’m shooting outdoor activities, I certainly make an effort to shoot with brands and future usage in mind. Outdoor brands seem to always be looking for imagery of their latest gear in the field and they often want several options, angles, and setups based on where and when the images are being used. Maddie also has a handful of sponsors through her large following on Instagram and work as a guide, so I know some of those companies are always looking for images of her using their gear.

Was this all done during one trip with your girlfriend?
No, the images that made the final cut were a mixture of images from Argentina, Colorado, and New Zealand.

 

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This Week in Photography Books: Corinne Vionnet

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 12/29/2017 - 10:30am

 

Well, 2017, it’s time for you to go.

Sure, we had some memories.
You were nothing if not dramatic.

You’ve given us natural disasters aplenty, (Harvey/Irma/Maria) political intrigue so unwieldy it could choke a coked-up giraffe, and now, apparently, you’ve frozen the entire Eastern half of the United States.

But as I made my 2017 jokes a few weeks ago, I’ll spare you here. Rather, I’ll settle into that other tried and tested trope: the New Year’s resolution.

Next year, I plan to spend less time looking at screens than I did in 2017.

And I hope you do too.

It’s shocking, how much of my day is spent staring at a screen. Unlike many of you, I’m no phone junkie. But between my laptop and my television, I clock hours and hours each day in a mediated existence.

I’ve been fighting back lately, having replaced some social media time with a hike up the hill each day, as I previously told you. (Such genius! The daily walk. Perhaps I’ve invented something new?)

In general, though, I’m as much a screen-freak as anyone.

Sometimes, if I’m lying in bed watching Netflix on the computer, I’ll look above the screen, to the mountains outside my window, and then pause the show for a moment, and close the laptop.

Something innate in me recognizes the need to see what’s before me, what’s real, rather than the entertainment I’ve jacked into through the Matrix.

And then I’ll raise the screen again and press play, leaving contemplation of nature for another day. (Or art, food, cars, music, books: there are so many treats in the analog world.)

So I’m planning to give myself a screen-free-day over the next few weeks. There will be piles of books and magazines. Lots of food to cook, and kung fu to practice. (I started studying again this year, as 2017 has not been all bad, just insane.)

Will I follow through?
Would you try it yourself?
No screens for a day?

I’m in mind of the question, having just put down “ME. Here Now,” a new book by Corinne Vionnet, recently published by Fall Line Press in Atlanta.

The book was hand-delivered at a cafe here in Taos, as one of the Fall Line crew was vacationing in town, so we met for coffee. My desire to review books by female artists is hopefully well-known by now, so I told Virginie I could review this one after looking at 3 pages.

That’s all it took.

Because it brought me back to the 2011-16 photo-eye years, when I used to regularly get my hands on weird, smart, well-produced, small-batch art books.

For years, I saw that shit all the time, so you did too.

These days, though, my submissions tend towards serious, social documentary books, for the most part. (Not that this one isn’t serious.) But it’s edgy, and strange, which I love.

I think it took me until the third photo to realize I was looking at pictures of people taking pictures with their cell phones, and that the images in the book were likely shot on/from/of computer screens.

But with each passing page, in the midst of the consistency, the weird hand positions made me question whether it was real. What is real, these days, anyway?

Were there digital manipulations?
Why did everyone hold their phones up to their eyes?
Who does that?

Then there’s a block of images, breaking up the narrative, which shows a ghostly black and gray mirage, sandwiching a beautiful European building.

After that, back to the creepy phone photographers.

What to make of it all?

Well, it’s disturbing and dystopic, while also suggesting that elements are “documentary,” or un-manipulated, if you will.

But a good book asks good questions, and then doesn’t leave you hanging. So just as I was scratching my head, I turned the page, and there was an explanatory essay by noted photography critic and theorist Marvin Heiferman.

That’s the publishing equivalent of saying, “What, you have questions about comedy? Why, here’s Jerry Seinfeld to satisfy all your curiosity. You’re welcome!”

It’s established directly that Ms. Vionnet is photographing tourists at Sacré-Coeur, the beautiful cathedral at the highest point in Paris. (Photographing up explains the subjects’ repeated camera positions.)

Though it’s a great essay, pictures like this don’t need words to explain why they’re unsettling. We all know our lives are moderated by machines, more and more, with each passing year.

This is indisputable.

It’s gotten to the point that people mainly communicate via the machines, and not IRL. (You know, in the same room, through sound waves emanating from one’s vocal cords.)

So perhaps we should all adopt the resolution in 2018 to moderate the impulse?

And go for a walk each day, when possible.

Bottom Line: Seductive, creepy, excellent art book about our virtual reality

To purchase “ME. Here Now.” click here

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

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