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Business

The Daily Edit – Bloomberg Business Week: Angie Smith

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 9:49am

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Bloomberg Business Week

Creative Director: Rob Vargas
Deputy Creative Director: Tracy Ma
Director of Photography: Clinton Cargill
Photographer: Angie Smith
Read the story here

Heidi: How did this story idea come about? Why the Gem show?
Angie: The idea began when I went with a writer friend to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. We walked through the Gem and Mineral Hall and became completely mesmerized by all of the incredible minerals on display from the Congo, Afghanistan, Morocco, Brazil, China, Arizona etc. We realized that we had a common mineral obsession and a mutual desire to attend the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the largest mineral festival in the world. We plotted to pitch a story on it, or if anything, just travel to Tucson and experience it for ourselves. As the festival date drew closer, I began further research wrote drafts of the pitch and carefully decided whom I’d send it to.

My top choices were: Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times Magazine and California Sunday. Synchroncity was on my side as right before I sent it to Bloomberg, I received a package in the mail containing a book called Mossless that I had been published in. The man who edited and produced Mossless was Romke Hoogwaerts, who also coincidentally become a photo editor at Bloomberg Businessweek a few months before. I realized that the timing was perfect for me to reach out to him and introduce the story idea. Romke replied immediately, telling me he loved it and he would pass it along to Clinton Cargill, the Photo Director. Over the next 10 plus days I spent my days interviewing significant figures involved in mineral show, gaining a better understanding of how the whole festival worked, identifying who the key players were, making sure I could get the access that I needed – and then communicating that back to Clinton. I found out the story was a go and I was on my way to Tucson within a week.

How did you make the pitch stronger?
After I initially sent the pitch out to a few photo editors, I realized that my timing was a little bit off (this was right between Christmas and New Years) and I knew that I could make the pitch stronger simply with more clarity in my writing and waiting until after the holidays. I worked with my good friend and Photo Consultant Meredith Marlay on the structure of the pitch. She helped me tighten my writing into 3 concise paragraphs describing what The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show was, the story angle for the magazine that I was pitching to, and how I would approach the story aesthetically. Lastly, I included images that I found from Google image search showing what the festival looked like and the types of exotic minerals and people that could be found there.

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What direction did the magazine give you?
Clinton and I decided that the best and most interesting way to approach this festival was from a documentary/reportage approach, capturing not only the minerals and the people who attend this festival, but the entire context in which it exists- which is very bizarre. One of the most interesting aspects of this festival is that many of the dealers set up shop in hotel rooms for several weeks at a time. Mattresses were stacked and leaned against the walls to make way for tables and cases displaying rocks of all kinds. Dealers are not only selling from their hotel rooms but they are sleeping in these rooms. With just a peek behind a mineral case, you can see slightly disheveled hotel beds that have recently been slept in and bathrooms full of personal items, its very strange. Many of the high-end mineral dealers would show clients minerals privately – but the only place to do this was in the hotel bathroom. I often found myself and my assistant squeezed into a hotel bathroom photographing a dealer and a client examining a specimen worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A $500,000 mineral from the Congo would be sitting in a box next to a can of coke, some granola bars and a bunch of travel sized soaps and shampoos from the hotel. It was so strange and incredible to photograph.
After each day of shooting, I would send Clinton screenshots of the key images from that day and we would discuss how the story was shaping up as a whole. It was really helpful to talk with him and get an outsider’s perspective on how clearly I was communicating what it was like to be at this festival.

How long were you in Tucson working on this?
I spent about 9 days shooting the festival, then Bloomberg decided to run it immediately, so I spent a couple of extra days there gathering the caption info and getting the final images retouched and submitted. The story went to press as I drove back to Los Angeles.

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Was there any security involved since the gems and minerals were so valuable? Who attended this show?
Most of the shows took place in hotels, convention centers or large tents set up in parking lots. There were security guards at all of the shows- but not as many as I would have expected. People were walking around these hotels with thousands of dollars in cash in their pockets, carrying expensive minerals in boxes. One of the most interesting facets of this shoot was the people who attend- there were geologists, museums curators, miners, dealers, retired “rock hounds” or rock collectors, metaphysical types, traveling hippies- everyone was from all over the world- there were some real characters. A general observation that I made was that all of these mineral enthusiasts, whether high end or low end, all shared a deep passion and appreciation for the aesthetic and raw beauty of minerals that come from the earth. Many of these people have extensive scientific knowledge about the formation of minerals- and they appreciate not only the beauty of these specimens, but have an in depth understanding of how they were formed within the context of the earth’s geologic history.

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Categories: Business

Find Your Natural Patter

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 12:01am

[by Jenna Close]

It took me a long time to be comfortable working with people. My big breakthrough came on a job for NBC that required photographing upwards of 60 people in a very particular and stylized way. By the end of the first day I was completely exhausted from inventing things to say to the subjects. On the second day I was too brain dead to force it, and that’s when a wonderful thing happened.

My patter became more natural, the communication and direction flowed in a comforting rhythm and in return my subjects were much more relaxed and at ease. I was calmer, and so were they. I was more confident, and because of that they became more confident in me and in themselves. The entire process seemed to slow down, and it felt like I could see better. I began to notice how I could be more effective, like taking a moment to explain the process before beginning to shoot, or continually making small changes to posing, even if only to assure them that I was in control and would take care of them as subjects.

Everyone has a different style of patter when working with people. It takes practice to find what works best for you, and what works best for you may not be what works best for someone else. I was trying so intently to do everything I had ever learned about working with talent (and all at the same time) that I wasn’t aware of what kind of vibe I was giving off. Becoming comfortable with my own way of working has allowed me to project an air of confidence that has a positive effect on my subjects. This patter is now second nature, I hardly have to think about it, and this is the optimal point to reach. Now that it’s not forced, it’s actually fun.  So go out and shoot 60 people in a row. You’ll have found your groove well before you finish.

Jenna Close is gradually overcoming her shyness around people, thanks mostly to photography but also occasionally to wine. She can be found at www.p2photography.net.

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo: Keith Barraclough

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 10:02am

Keith Barraclough

Sample from the deck of The Redhead Playing cards The Redhead Project The Redhead Project The Redhead Project The Redhead Project The Redhead Project The Redhead Project
Who printed it?

A company out of Arlington, Texas called Liberty Playing Cards

Who designed it?

I designed the deck, using Liberty’s Adobe Illustrator-compatible playing card template.

Who edited the images?

My studio manager and I did an initial edit of the images (at the time the decks were produced, I’d photographed 75 redheads) and then I asked Maria Ragusa-Burfield, President of Alt-Pick, to weigh in.

How many did you make?

We ordered 250 packs.  Each pack contains a lead card describing The Redhead Project’s concept and features 54 different redheads’ portraits on the faces of 52 playing cards and two jokers. The backs of the cards feature a collage of 12 different portraits (all of which are featured in the deck).

How many times a year do you send out promos?

I have six email promos and six postcard promos scheduled for 2015. Many will be images from the Redhead series. The playing cards are being used as leave-behinds at portfolio showings and networking events.

Are you a card shark? Why the cards?

No, I’m not. The deck of cards idea came up while my studio manager and I were brainstorming ideas for showcasing and promoting my work on the project to prospective advertising and editorial clients.  We were immediately taken with the idea as a promotional tool.  It’s a tactile, novel, functional, and fun way to highlight 54 portraits from the project.

Where did your affinity for redheads come from?

The initial concept for The Redhead Project actually came to me during a corporate shoot while processing images of an executive who had red hair and piercing blue eyes. I was struck by the contrast of his features against the white Oxford he was wearing and the light seamless backdrop and thought that a series of redheads wearing white against a white seamless would make an interesting personal project.

Since I didn’t know any redheads, I initially relied on word of mouth to enlist participants. We hosted a Redhead Project launch party in July 2013 where we displayed images of the initial 10 redheads photographed, served red hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and invited creative professionals and friends to invite their favorite redheads to find out more about the project.

The scope, concept and reach of the Redhead Project have evolved since the early days of the project and social media (especially Instagram – @projectredhead) has really propelled interest.  All subjects still wear white—like the executive that unwittingly inspired this all—but I also have subjects bring their favorite clothes, accessories and props that reflect their personalities and style, and each shoot is a collaborative process.

Categories: Business

The Daily Promo: Keith Barraclough

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 10:02am

Keith Barraclough

Sample from the deck of The Redhead Playing cards The Redhead Project The Redhead Project The Redhead Project The Redhead Project The Redhead Project The Redhead Project
Who printed it?

A company out of Arlington, Texas called Liberty Playing Cards

Who designed it?

I designed the deck, using Liberty’s Adobe Illustrator-compatible playing card template.

Who edited the images?

My studio manager and I did an initial edit of the images (at the time the decks were produced, I’d photographed 75 redheads) and then I asked Maria Ragusa-Burfield, President of Alt-Pick, to weigh in.

How many did you make?

We ordered 250 packs.  Each pack contains a lead card describing The Redhead Project’s concept and features 54 different redheads’ portraits on the faces of 52 playing cards and two jokers. The backs of the cards feature a collage of 12 different portraits (all of which are featured in the deck).

How many times a year do you send out promos?

I have six email promos and six postcard promos scheduled for 2015. Many will be images from the Redhead series. The playing cards are being used as leave-behinds at portfolio showings and networking events.

Are you a card shark? Why the cards?

No, I’m not. The deck of cards idea came up while my studio manager and I were brainstorming ideas for showcasing and promoting my work on the project to prospective advertising and editorial clients.  We were immediately taken with the idea as a promotional tool.  It’s a tactile, novel, functional, and fun way to highlight 54 portraits from the project.

Where did your affinity for redheads come from?

The initial concept for The Redhead Project actually came to me during a corporate shoot while processing images of an executive who had red hair and piercing blue eyes. I was struck by the contrast of his features against the white Oxford he was wearing and the light seamless backdrop and thought that a series of redheads wearing white against a white seamless would make an interesting personal project.

Since I didn’t know any redheads, I initially relied on word of mouth to enlist participants. We hosted a Redhead Project launch party in July 2013 where we displayed images of the initial 10 redheads photographed, served red hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and invited creative professionals and friends to invite their favorite redheads to find out more about the project.

The scope, concept and reach of the Redhead Project have evolved since the early days of the project and social media (especially Instagram – @projectredhead) has really propelled interest.  All subjects still wear white—like the executive that unwittingly inspired this all—but I also have subjects bring their favorite clothes, accessories and props that reflect their personalities and style, and each shoot is a collaborative process.

Categories: Business

Casting Counts

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:02am

[by Kat Dalager]

Whether you’re testing or shooting an assignment, the talent and stylists you choose can make or break a shoot.

Be Objective

Not all people that look good in person actually look good on camera. Study the talent of successful photographers who are known to do it well. “Real people” talent may be fine when the shoot requires candid, in-situation shots, but count on professional models for the critical shots. Good talent is probably NOT your college roommate’s girlfriend, nor are they the pretty girl you saw on the street. In addition to having the right look in camera for a specific shoot, they need to be able to move and take direction. Develop good relationships with talent agents so they can be good matchmakers for you as you give them constructive feedback on what you need.

Help Your Talent Look Good

Don’t skimp on good hair, make-up and wardrobe styling. Nothing brings your portfolio down faster than talent poorly prepped. It’s a deadly combination when you have poor talent and poor styling. Not all stylists are adept at commercial photography shoots. Someone who does glamour make up for proms may not be able to do subdued on-camera make up.

Legal Considerations

Be sure you understand the casting and usage needs defined by your client. If you are responsible for paying the talent, negotiate prior to the shoot. Different states require different payment terms, so be sure to check the laws of each state when you estimate. Shooting with children adds a completely different dimension and laws vary by state for that as well. Is a teacher required on set? Is it necessary to contribute to a Minor Trust Fund? If shooting motion and the talent is union, there may be retrictions on usage.

Be Involved

Even if your client is responsible for the casting, insist that you are involved in the final selection of talent. It will no only indicate to your client that you are an active participant in the shoot, but it will give you a better idea of what to prepare for. Cast in person whenever possible, even if it is for a quick go-see. Models don’t always have current comp cards or head shots and may be dramatically different than you think – and no one wants a surprise on set.

Kat Dalager has worked with talent ranging from the Ford Supermodel of the World to real people right off the street. Oh, the stories she could tell…

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Working with Talent

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:01am

Whether casting through agencies or working with real people – whether for stills or for motion – the magical process of finding and choosing the right person, and eliciting the right emotions and body language to create an image that best conveys the story you’re trying to tell is an art form that’s rarely addressed in photo schools. What’s a photographer to do?  Stay tuned this week, as our contributors share their insights on working with talent.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

This Week In Photography Books: Rinko Kawauchi

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 10:05am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’m glad they call it Climate Change these days. (Instead of Global Warming.) Makes more sense that way.

At first, I thought it was a euphemism, meant to seem less-threatening. But then I realized that despite the fact that something like thirteen of the fourteen hottest years on record have come in the 21st Century, it’s really the preponderance of extreme weather that will get people’s attention.

Nothing shakes things up like death statistics.

When the Climate Changes, we get things like what’s going in Boston. Where the snow is higher than Bob Marley at 4:20am, the night after a Reggae Festival in Kingston. (And have you heard the Marley family is getting into the legal weed business? Genius!)

As for Taos, we spent most of the winter enjoying unseasonable 55 degree days. Two weeks ago, I took my students shooting around campus, and they were all wearing T-shirts. Again, this is the Rocky Mountains, for goodness sake.

But last Friday, OMG. Winter came roaring back like a kiln-fire surrounded by hippie potters. It was raging. We had a four-day blizzard for the first time in I can’t remember. It was so beautiful. Outside my door, everything looked like a Japanese Landscape Painting.

So. Very. Quiet.

What do you do during a four-day-snowstorm? Right. Watch movies.

We caught “Chef,” a really poor Indie film from Jon Favreau, of “Swingers” and “Iron Man” fame. I’ll spare you my treatise on why it was both implausible and hollow. What really got my attention was the manner in which Favreau, as the titular Chef, was driven to temporary insanity by a particularly difficult online critic.

All I could think was: been there. It’s hard for me to believe how personally I used to take the comment section criticism here. It was always so cruel and personal. Still, I cringe thinking about how angry I used to get at those anonymous trolls.

Now, we moderate. Keeps the discourse civil, though there’s rarely any discourse at all. The past two weeks, though, I noticed that someone questioned my choice of book, as I’ve been trying to vary my selections a bit. Both comments were civil, open-hearted, and thoughtful. So I replied.

You don’t have to agree with me. But if you have an intelligent thought, and take the time to share it with me, I’m willing to write back. Frankly, it was all I ever wanted. Conversation is interesting. Hate? Bo-ring.

But what did I promise you last week? That this week’s book would be right in the eye of the storm. The average, normal, medium-type of book that I often review.

What would that look like? Talented artist. With other books to his/her name. Respected career. Political and/or relevant subject matter. Handsomely produced. Most likely not from the United States.

Right?

Right. Here we go.

“Light and Shadow” is a new book by Rinko Kawauchi, recently published by Super Labo in Japan. I’m always asking for books that tell us what we need to know. Preferably though the pictures, but that type of communication can be difficult.

This book does just that. It’s clean, spare, and white, with a picture of a bird on the front. (Put a bird on it.) As befit’s Ms. Kawauchi’s style, the first few pictures are in color, and well-composed. The second photo has sun flares that look like emoji. (Is emoji a Japanese word? Must be, right?)

If you look carefully, the next two pictures reference rubble, seen from afar. Then, we get two inserted pictures of birds, the first of which clearly shows them soaring over a garbage heap. Broken down wooden things.

First thought, I love that the inserts look like 4×6 pictures from Walgreens. (Or its Japanese equivalent.) Second thought, earthquake damage?

The book continues in this manner. A broken street, rendered in twilight blue. A bright yellow dandelion spouting up out of a patch of green grass. The next time we see the bird inserts, there are three photos instead of two.

Growth. Change.

There is more rubble. More flowers. More light flares. More twilight blue. A pink balloon. And a dog roaming the streets to boot.

Even with our short-news-cycle-attention span, it’s not hard to connect this to the Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Disaster phase that hit Japan a few years ago. Almost any viewer would connect the dots.

There is a short statement that confirms what is by then obvious. And the back page states that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to disaster relief. Which is a good thing. Because while I never look at prices, I happened to notice this one sells for $80. You can feel good about spending that, if you want one.

Bottom Line: Beautiful, haunting photos of Japan, after the quake

To Purchase “Light and Shadow” Visit Photo-Eye

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Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Rinko Kawauchi

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 10:05am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’m glad they call it Climate Change these days. (Instead of Global Warming.) Makes more sense that way.

At first, I thought it was a euphemism, meant to seem less-threatening. But then I realized that despite the fact that something like thirteen of the fourteen hottest years on record have come in the 21st Century, it’s really the preponderance of extreme weather that will get people’s attention.

Nothing shakes things up like death statistics.

When the Climate Changes, we get things like what’s going in Boston. Where the snow is higher than Bob Marley at 4:20am, the night after a Reggae Festival in Kingston. (And have you heard the Marley family is getting into the legal weed business? Genius!)

As for Taos, we spent most of the winter enjoying unseasonable 55 degree days. Two weeks ago, I took my students shooting around campus, and they were all wearing T-shirts. Again, this is the Rocky Mountains, for goodness sake.

But last Friday, OMG. Winter came roaring back like a kiln-fire surrounded by hippie potters. It was raging. We had a four-day blizzard for the first time in I can’t remember. It was so beautiful. Outside my door, everything looked like a Japanese Landscape Painting.

So. Very. Quiet.

What do you do during a four-day-snowstorm? Right. Watch movies.

We caught “Chef,” a really poor Indie film from Jon Favreau, of “Swingers” and “Iron Man” fame. I’ll spare you my treatise on why it was both implausible and hollow. What really got my attention was the manner in which Favreau, as the titular Chef, was driven to temporary insanity by a particularly difficult online critic.

All I could think was: been there. It’s hard for me to believe how personally I used to take the comment section criticism here. It was always so cruel and personal. Still, I cringe thinking about how angry I used to get at those anonymous trolls.

Now, we moderate. Keeps the discourse civil, though there’s rarely any discourse at all. The past two weeks, though, I noticed that someone questioned my choice of book, as I’ve been trying to vary my selections a bit. Both comments were civil, open-hearted, and thoughtful. So I replied.

You don’t have to agree with me. But if you have an intelligent thought, and take the time to share it with me, I’m willing to write back. Frankly, it was all I ever wanted. Conversation is interesting. Hate? Bo-ring.

But what did I promise you last week? That this week’s book would be right in the eye of the storm. The average, normal, medium-type of book that I often review.

What would that look like? Talented artist. With other books to his/her name. Respected career. Political and/or relevant subject matter. Handsomely produced. Most likely not from the United States.

Right?

Right. Here we go.

“Light and Shadow” is a new book by Rinko Kawauchi, recently published by Super Labo in Japan. I’m always asking for books that tell us what we need to know. Preferably though the pictures, but that type of communication can be difficult.

This book does just that. It’s clean, spare, and white, with a picture of a bird on the front. (Put a bird on it.) As befit’s Ms. Kawauchi’s style, the first few pictures are in color, and well-composed. The second photo has sun flares that look like emoji. (Is emoji a Japanese word? Must be, right?)

If you look carefully, the next two pictures reference rubble, seen from afar. Then, we get two inserted pictures of birds, the first of which clearly shows them soaring over a garbage heap. Broken down wooden things.

First thought, I love that the inserts look like 4×6 pictures from Walgreens. (Or its Japanese equivalent.) Second thought, earthquake damage?

The book continues in this manner. A broken street, rendered in twilight blue. A bright yellow dandelion spouting up out of a patch of green grass. The next time we see the bird inserts, there are three photos instead of two.

Growth. Change.

There is more rubble. More flowers. More light flares. More twilight blue. A pink balloon. And a dog roaming the streets to boot.

Even with our short-news-cycle-attention span, it’s not hard to connect this to the Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Disaster phase that hit Japan a few years ago. Almost any viewer would connect the dots.

There is a short statement that confirms what is by then obvious. And the back page states that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to disaster relief. Which is a good thing. Because while I never look at prices, I happened to notice this one sells for $80. You can feel good about spending that, if you want one.

Bottom Line: Beautiful, haunting photos of Japan, after the quake

To Purchase “Light and Shadow” Visit Photo-Eye

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Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

Categories: Business

Can You Embrace Multiple Media?

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 12:01am

[by Charles Gupton]

For several years, I avoided the idea like it was a virus. I associated it with the sleazy spam-meisters of the business world.

Until I realized its value and embraced it.

As I looked around, increasingly more and more creative people I respected were not only doing their particular craft well, but were also branching out into public speaking, writing – blog posts, e-zine articles, e-books, etc. – webinars, educational courses, and various other means of content sharing based on their services and knowledge base. They were moving way outside their comfort zone of delivery to try new ideas.

At first, I thought it was a passing fad, but now I believe it’s the foundation of building a brand based on authority.

My term for it is multiple-media specialist. And it’s someone I am rapidly working to become.

In the past several years, my wife Linda and I have taken several speaking workshops and joined Toastmasters to improve our presentation abilities. We’ve started a couple of book projects, increased our writing for outside publications (including Strictly Business), moved from shooting stills exclusively to working primarily with motion projects, and are in the process of launching a podcast called “The Creator’s Journey.”

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that although there are some overlapping principles that apply, each specialty requires its own skills that have to be mastered by frequent practice – and lots of embarrassing failures.

I’ve come to value multiple specialties because I see very few professions that a person can master and be an authority in without competition. The ability to clearly communicate on multiple fronts with the voice of authority is the new secret sauce. And I believe it will remain so for many years to come.

Many business people seem to believe that “presence” means showing up in every possible place with a loud voice or a huge volume of posts on every possible social media platform. I believe to be most effective, it means showing up with clarity of message and value from the community’s point of view.

And to be extremely clear, I don’t believe learning to broaden your communication skills into entirely new and uncomfortable specialties will be either easy or fast. But I do believe, without question, that growing your communication skill sets in new areas will set you apart and reap benefits far beyond your expectations.

And isn’t that what intentional, tangible growth is all about?

Based in Raleigh, N.C., Charles uncovers stories that resonate, then tells them in three-minute films to engage clients for business on the web. His podcast, The Creator’s Journey, will officially launch in April. You can connect with Charles at:

cg@charlesguptonphoto.com | www.charlesguptonphoto.com | www.charlesgupton.com

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Art of the Personal Project: Jason Lindsey

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 9:54am

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: Jason Lindsey

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How long have you been shooting?
15 years Professionally

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self Taught. I have a BS in Graphic Design and worked as an Art Director for 5 years but no formal training in photography.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I grew up in a farming community and my parents both worked in factories. I wanted to shoot this project on Montana Life to explore people that live and work close to the land.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project was shot over a week in Montana. I have some ongoing projects I have been shooting for over 5 years but this one was short and sweet.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually spend at least a few days shooting before I decide to continue. I would say only about 1/2 of my personal projects get shown broadly.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I love it. Part of the reason I shoot personal projects is to explore, play and try new things. If I am not seeing something different than portfolio work then I need to push harder and explore more.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes almost all my personal projects get posted to social media. I use Tumblr, instagram, and facebook primarily. I also submit them to appropriate blogs.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes our Montana Life project was very successful in Social Media. It ended up being shared, posted and commented on around the world. It lead to other blog posts, newspaper articles, online magazine articles, and a magazine article. The project has also lead to several assignments and another personal project. One of the assignments was for a client I have dreamed of shooting with for 15 years. We are planning our second shoot for that client now.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, we print some of our personal projects as mailers. The Montana Life project is being sent out as we speak. It was printed as a small book with a cool cloth stitching.

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BIO
I grew up in a small farm town as a child of factory workers, surrounded by “Salt of the Earth” people. I am still grounded in that upbringing and love being surrounded by the realness in the world. When I started in photography I knew I wanted to bring more authenticity to advertising. I later realized authenticity is part of who I am at the core.

I love shooting in water up to my neck, swimming with sharks, laying in the mud and doing whatever it takes to get the shot. Mostly because that’s often what it takes to make a great shot but it is also a great way to live life and have fun shoots. As my crew knows, I likely have not found the shot yet if I am not in the waterfall or the mud hole.

ARTIST STATEMENT
I wanted to document life in Montana while exploring my personal vision. I shot in a documentary style with very little equipment and no crew. I wanted to keep my presence personal and really get the chance to meet people and talk about their life and not have a bunch of gear come between us. It was a wonderful experience getting to know the ranchers and people of the Paradise Valley in Montana. They welcomed me into their lives and I was able to capture personal moments that arouse during their work and our conversations.


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.

Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: Jason Lindsey

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 9:54am

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: Jason Lindsey

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How long have you been shooting?
15 years Professionally

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self Taught. I have a BS in Graphic Design and worked as an Art Director for 5 years but no formal training in photography.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I grew up in a farming community and my parents both worked in factories. I wanted to shoot this project on Montana Life to explore people that live and work close to the land.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project was shot over a week in Montana. I have some ongoing projects I have been shooting for over 5 years but this one was short and sweet.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually spend at least a few days shooting before I decide to continue. I would say only about 1/2 of my personal projects get shown broadly.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I love it. Part of the reason I shoot personal projects is to explore, play and try new things. If I am not seeing something different than portfolio work then I need to push harder and explore more.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes almost all my personal projects get posted to social media. I use Tumblr, instagram, and facebook primarily. I also submit them to appropriate blogs.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes our Montana Life project was very successful in Social Media. It ended up being shared, posted and commented on around the world. It lead to other blog posts, newspaper articles, online magazine articles, and a magazine article. The project has also lead to several assignments and another personal project. One of the assignments was for a client I have dreamed of shooting with for 15 years. We are planning our second shoot for that client now.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, we print some of our personal projects as mailers. The Montana Life project is being sent out as we speak. It was printed as a small book with a cool cloth stitching.

———–

BIO
I grew up in a small farm town as a child of factory workers, surrounded by “Salt of the Earth” people. I am still grounded in that upbringing and love being surrounded by the realness in the world. When I started in photography I knew I wanted to bring more authenticity to advertising. I later realized authenticity is part of who I am at the core.

I love shooting in water up to my neck, swimming with sharks, laying in the mud and doing whatever it takes to get the shot. Mostly because that’s often what it takes to make a great shot but it is also a great way to live life and have fun shoots. As my crew knows, I likely have not found the shot yet if I am not in the waterfall or the mud hole.

ARTIST STATEMENT
I wanted to document life in Montana while exploring my personal vision. I shot in a documentary style with very little equipment and no crew. I wanted to keep my presence personal and really get the chance to meet people and talk about their life and not have a bunch of gear come between us. It was a wonderful experience getting to know the ranchers and people of the Paradise Valley in Montana. They welcomed me into their lives and I was able to capture personal moments that arouse during their work and our conversations.


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.

Categories: Business

10 Year Old Technology Makes Photographers Obsolete

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 12:01am

[by Pascal Depuhl]

Photography has had a good run. From the first photograph ever captured in 1826 until today, we’ve all witnessed countless, amazing advances. Unfortunately the demise of the professional photographer is almost complete.

Decade old tech kills professional photography

Ironically the death knell to the business of photographers turns out to be 10 year old technology. This tech enables everyone to be a photographer, by making capturing a photograph as simple as pushing a button. In short the professional photographer is going the way of the buggy whip maker.

With today’s introduction of Kodak’s “Brownie” camera, Mr. Eastman is leveraging his transparent roll film, invented just a decade ago, and brings photography to the masses. His advertisements for this camera “You press the button – we’ll do the rest.” does not bode well for any commercial photographer and at a price of $1, soon everyone will be creating their own photographs.

Why the iPhone is just like the Brownie

BrownieAdThat’s what a blog post in 1900 may have read like. Fast forward to today, replace the 10 year old technology of transparent photographic film with digital image capture, and substitute Kodak’s “Brownie” with Apple’s iPhone. Even Steve Job’s slogan “the internet in your pocket” is a carbon copy of “a Kodak in your pocket”.

It’s true, iPhonography lets everyone carry a camera with them 24/7 flooding the world of social media with photos and video. Today’s trend is definitely away from the carefully crafted photograph, but it is going towards the photographer. Heather Elder, a rep on the west coast said it best in a recent blog postThe bottom line is that relying solely on your imagery to speak for you has become dangerous.

How to survive the final nail in the coffin

Since everyone can create a good image these days, (and if it’s not good, a quick Instagram filter can fix that) the focus is turning away from your imagery standing by itself and is shifting toward the photographer himself in addition to his photographic ability. Heather goes on to say “Adding your voice to that imagery is equally as dangerous, but for everyone else, not you.

In my experience, many of my clients tell me, that after they find my business through a Google search for a photographer; they look what Google has to say about my brand (i.e. me and my business in addition to my photography). Almost everyone comments that the presentation of my business online played a huge role in their decision to hire me. For more on this, see my earlier Strictly Business post when I wrote about why having a strong online brand is worth more than your skill set as a photographer.

Today our profession finds itself threatened by popular adoption of 10 year old technology again to the point, where we have to adapt how we brand and market what we do. Being able to see the trends in your industry is essential to one’s survival – after all Mr. Strong was a buggy whip manufacturer who, after foreseeing the death of his business, partnered with the first producer of photographic dry plates: George Eastman.

Pascal Depuhl loves to show photographers how to use Social Media and branding, to lend a voice to their imagery. Connect with Pascal on twitter @photosbydepuhl.

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Josef Koudelka on Motivation, Humanity and What Makes a Good Photograph

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:41pm

LH: How important is composition in your photographs?

JK: It’s not a good photograph without good composition. Originally I’m an aeronautical engineer. Why do airplanes fly? Because there is balance.

A good photograph speaks to many different people for different reasons. It depends on what people have been through and how they react.

The other sign of good photography for me is to ask, “What am I going to remember?” It happens very, very rarely that you see something that you can’t forget, and this is the good photograph.

via PDN Online.

Categories: Business

Josef Koudelka on Motivation, Humanity and What Makes a Good Photograph

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:41pm

LH: How important is composition in your photographs?

JK: It’s not a good photograph without good composition. Originally I’m an aeronautical engineer. Why do airplanes fly? Because there is balance.

A good photograph speaks to many different people for different reasons. It depends on what people have been through and how they react.

The other sign of good photography for me is to ask, “What am I going to remember?” It happens very, very rarely that you see something that you can’t forget, and this is the good photograph.

via PDN Online.

Categories: Business

Stories by Firelight

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:01am

[by John Welsh] Collaboration. New Media. Repurposing Content. Audience Building. These trendy buzzwords are reflective of how we’ve evolved as image making pros, but what do we do with them? You’ll have to find your own answer but maybe mine will help… Although I like gadgets and enjoy exploring new tech and social outlets, I always end up to going back to the fundamentals, the Old School, and bring attention to what we do best – tell stories. A form of expression we’ve been doing all the way back to torchlit caves in primitive times. My newest project brings both of these impulses together in the “reboot” of an old project: The Old Project A seven year documentary-meets-fine-art landscape still photography project shot in Iceland from 2001 to 2008. End result: several exhibits, printed catalog, short memoir flavored text to go with it and a website to support the project. All that was missing was the Holy Grail/Coffee Table book. The Reboot Same images, totally different theme and approach. It’s now way more than an exhibition of prints. It dives into the travel memoir and will be supported by imagery that’s relevant to the project and expands on the new theme (which is currently being refined and locked down). Start with a Plan Adding a thematic and almost literary component to the Reboot sounds great but how can I make it work? Sure, an exhibition is obvious and will be launched after the initial showing of this in-flux creation. But how else can it be expanded? Creating video content is obvious. A short self-promotional documentary (without the ego) that digs into the motivations behind that project could work. I want to get personal with my audience since that’s a trend that I believe always has universal appeal. Sure, the images are already an extension of that, but there’s so much more to explore using video and interviews and music. Add in Collaboration A good friend who has been working with me on a film score has been recruited for this project. Sure, I need a short atmospheric score created for this piece, but why not take it an extra step? Why not shoot the behind the scenes music creation process, then edit it seamlessly into a live performance recording of the score. Maybe two versions are created, one for the project and one that’s a separate music video. Cross promotion is key. Then Make it Bigger To honor the inner tech geek in me, there are two words that may be a huge success for this project. Projection Mapping. It’s one thing to make all of these slick cutaways while performing an edit when telling a story. But I feel that many layers of a story are often hidden since all we have is one screen at a time to view. Here’s where PM enters. Simple concept. It’s a one projector show, with multiple video feeds projected onto whatever shape or sized surface you can create… Now, it’s imagination time. My story ends here since the project is still in progress. Where it goes from here will be up to me and my ability to build a successful team. Its success will depend on finding new audiences to introduce to my capabilities and “rebooting” my established audience so they can see another dimension of my work. Will it work? I sure hope so. If nothing else, it will be a great example of how all these trends can come together to make something old new again. John Welsh is Philadelphia based photographer and wrapping up his term as president of the Philadelphia ASMP chapter and looking forward to diving headlong into future trends. Sheila Hershey is a composer based in Delaware and is one of several that are part of the official Reboot crew.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit: Michael Friberg: GQ / By the Olive Trees

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 10:01am

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GQ

Design Director: Fred Woodward
Director of Photography: Krista Prestek
Photographer: Michael Friberg 

 

I’d imagine shooting highly produced live performance of a legendary rock band could be anyone’s dream assignment; it’s about the access, up close and personal. What type of obstacles did you run into on this assignment?
I’m too young to really have any real knowledge of Motley Crue other than what I’ve seen on VH1 specials about their legendary debauchery. In highschool I grew up going to punk and hardcore shows in abandoned warehouses and rented storage spaces. Super DIY so this type of thing was totally foreign to me and I was excited for the visual excess that awaited me. I had delusions of grandeur thinking I’m gonna be like Annie Leibovitz with the Rolling Stones or something. Unfortunately the reality was much much worse. Their time and access was over promised and I had to fight tooth and nail to even get the band together for a quick portrait. It was a pretty acrimonious setting, I felt like I was in a real life version of Spinal Tap.

How did you deal with things dissolving around you? 
I was definitely stressed out but I try to keep a sense of humor about things. It was my first time working for GQ so I wanted to do a good job. Luckily Krista had been dealing with their people for a while before I had and she was really understanding about how challenging it was. You never want to be the photographer making excuses for why something didn’t work out. The whole situation was so restricted it was comical. On the first night they let me shoot the first song from about 200 feet back from the stage by the sound board and then escorted me backstage. I was sitting side stage watching this insane spectacle of a show. Explosions and dancers and a crazy light show and I didn’t have my cameras. It was killing me. I was kind of panicking because I didn’t have anything so I snuck out and shot some more photos. That didn’t turn out too well but I got some more photos that I needed. I really don’t like being in a position where I’m having to sneak around. I’m a pretty easy going guy and I get along with most people but the assignment was definitely in jeopardy so I felt like I needed to take some drastic measures or else I wasn’t going to have anything. I got busted and the whole thing sort of exploded in my face but it lead to the magazine negotiating better access for the live show the next night so I guess things worked out. I was heavily babysat from there on out though.

Was this your first assignment for GQ and what about your work/situation awarded you the job?
This was my first assignment for GQ. I was pretty surprised to get a call from them because I had always had a really hard time even getting a meeting there. The assignment came from Krista Prestek the director of photography there who I had never had any interaction with. It turns out that in a meeting the photo editor Katy Dunn who was freelancing there had apparently mentioned my name. She actually gave me my first magazine assignment ever when she was freelancing at Businessweek in 2011. You never know where people will end up in this industry.

What drove you to be relentless about getting the shot and what did you learn from this assignment?
I never want to be the photographer that is making excuses for why something didn’t work out. Even if its true, it doesn’t bode well for you. The editor hired you to get the job done and that includes adverse circumstances more often then not. Sometimes you just cant do it but i’m going to bend over backwards to try and figure something out in the mean time. When the photo director at a magazine hires you out of the blue for an assignment that most people would kill for you need to make sure you do a good job one way or another.

How much time did you actually get with the band?
I thought I might have been exaggerating when I was telling people I got 30 seconds with the band but I just look at the time stamp on the first photo of the band and the last photo of the band. 21 seconds. I didn’t have a choice where I shot it. They told me I could shoot the band backstage on the ramp right before they went onstage. I shot two or three frames front lit and then had my assistant Cole run around behind them and backlit a couple frames and we were done.

I know there is interpersonal band tension which makes it hard to shoot them as a group, how did you resolve that?
I didn’t even really interact with the band. We had negotiated them all being in this place before they went on stage. I don’t even think I introduced myself. When I finished,Nickki sixx said “Fuck yeah! that was quick!” and gave me a fist bump. That is the totality of my interaction with the band on the two day assignment.

What surprised you the most about this assignment?
The flame thrower/bass that Nikki Sixx plays. Its a functioning instrument but it also shoots fire 25 feet in the air. Despite how tough the assignment was logistically, it was pretty awesome to be witness to such a crazy spectacle. Having the opportunity to shoot a bunch of stuff explode while some aging rockstars play “girls girls girls” is a pretty sweet gig no matter what happens.

How has living in Salt Lake City shaped you as a photographer?
I’m originally from West Texas but after high school and one semester of college back home, I decided I needed to get the hell out and get to the Mountains. I didn’t know anything about Salt Lake City, other than that it was the headquarters of the Mormon Church and that its name kept appearing in snowboarding magazines. I went to a small liberal arts college here and snowboarded 4 days a week and occasionally went to class. It was great. Once I got into photography, I thought I needed to get out and get some experience in a big city so I moved to NYC for a year and assisted and starved.I learned a ton but I was running out of money and I wasn’t really shooting any personal work and my girlfriend (now wife) was in graduate school in Salt Lake City so I moved back and licked my wounds. The plan was to move to a big city when she finished school and I would try to freelance but life had different plans. I got a couple random jobs and worked part time, lived with a handful of gross dudes to keep rent cheap and spent all my money on shooting personal work. I always feel like I end up being defensive about living in Salt Lake but I really love it here. Its pretty cheap considering the incredible location. The airport is awesome. Its not really that hard to get a beer despite the rumors. I have the best community and group of friends i’ve ever had here. I slowly started getting regional work and I would go back to NYC and do meetings once or twice a year. I got married in the summer of 2011 and I was still working at a pub part time, shooting part time. I was really lucky that my super gracious wife had a “real” job and it afforded me the space to save up some money and quit the day job and make a run at the freelance thing. A lot of the first assignments I was getting were pretty routine. I was only getting hired because I was a guy with a camera who was capable. The first people who really hired me and encouraged me to do my thing were Businessweek. Specifically David Carthas when he was still there as the director of photography. Early on before anybody else was giving me cool assignments, they were. I am really thankful for that because it helped get the ball rolling and helped me get out of the “regional photographer” rut.

What were the draw backs if any for living in SLC and a smaller market?
I definitely don’t work as much as my peers in big markets. I think everybody assumes everybody is doing better than them but I probably only have 4 or 5 assignments a month. That is totally fine with me because my cost of living is low and I really like to focus on making personal work and having a good quality of life. One drawback of being in a small market where not a ton of stuff is happening is that I end up on the road a lot. It usually goes in spurts. I’ll be home for three weeks and then spend a month bouncing around. There definitely isn’t as big of a creative community as there is in larger cities. Not all of my photo friends live elsewhere but most of them do. I have had a much harder time breaking into the commercial market being here. I think it is a bit harder to be taken seriously when you live in a smaller market. I used to resent that sort of “NY or nowhere” attitude that existed in the editorial world but I definitely think that is changing.

Aside from snowboarding, what brought you to SLC? Were you aiming to start a photography career?
Like I said, I grew up in West Texas where creativity wasn’t exactly flourishing so I had no idea you could even make a living doing something like that. I didn’t discover photography until my sophomore year of college.  I wasn’t at a super art heavy school but I pieced together an education between class and the internet and photo books.

How did the lower cost of living, smaller market help you develop your photographic voice?
I think I sort of answered this earlier but I really can’t stress enough how important it is to spend money on your photo projects. Photo projects are expensive. Film, traveling etc etc it all adds up. For a while I would spend money on gear expecting that to solve my problems but my problems weren’t technical. My problem was that I had no vision or voice or experience. Being a snow bum translated well to becoming a photo bum. When I was in college, I would share houses with tons of my friends to keep our rent as cheap as possible to be able to snowboard as much as possible and work as little as possible. When I started trying to make it photographically it was an easy transition. I still had tons of room mates and my rent was around 200 bucks a month. I would shoot personal projects and travel and spend all of my money on film.

You have quite the client list for shooting full time for just short 4 years, how did you get started?
Like everybody else, I would go to NYC a couple times a year, meager portfolio in hand, and do meetings with photo editors. Even when these meetings weren’t getting me much work, It was hugely educational because you see your portfolio a whole different way when somebody else is looking at it on a table. You can also see what people are and aren’t responding to and learn from that. I slowly started getting work and then I got a couple cool assignments that helped me really show my style and voice and that helps immensely when you can show commissioned work to editors rather than just personal work. The gap between shooting editorial and shooting personal projects is huge. Some of the photos might look similar but the process of shooting them is so different its crazy. On a personal project, if the weather or light sucks you just come backtomorrow but on an editorial shoot you can’t come back tomorrow you just have to make something work. I feel incredibly blessed to have been entrusted with the assignments I have been given. I think a lot of photographers feel entitled to cool work but its important to remember that when some editor is hiring you and you are young and untested, that that person is putting their ass on the line for you. I have no idea why some people gave me some of the assignments I have been given. I didn’t have a single celebrity portrait in my portfolio before Sundance last year when Bailey Franklin from Variety called me. How did he know I wouldn’t melt down and blow it in all of the chaos of photographing over 100 people in four days in a tiny improvised studio?

What’s the best advice you have for any photographer starting out?
Spend all your money on personal projects. Have a low standard of living when you are starting out, that way you can work on projects you care about rather than just doing everything for money to survive. When people can really see you in your projects you will get hired to do the same type work. The hardest thing about photography isn’t taking pictures, it’s figuring out how to communicate what you want about a particular subject and executing that. Getting access, planning, logistics, executing ideas, these things are all the things that you learn by trial and error when you are shooting personal work.

What can you say about your generation of photographers, how is it different from the previous generation?
The internet, for all its faults and insanity, has been instrumental in building a creative community for me. People I met through online channels have become mentors, real life friends and collaborators. I can only speak to my personal experience but in my particular peer group in the photo world, it feels much less competitive and cut throat. When I was first trying to get meetings, my friends were not only giving me people’s email addresses but also doing email introductions on my behalf. Some of these people are technically my direct “competition” but I feel like my friends are operating out of an economy of abundance rather than scarcity. Being a freelancer can be terrifying and screw with your head and you can think every job is your last or freak out when the phone doesn’t ring for two weeks but I think being around people like this has helped me have a much healthier attitude about all of it.

Your work has a vast range of reportage, portraits, details, long narrative arcs. How has that range become an asset to your career?
I personally really like shooting a huge range of things. I think sometimes it makes my work seem a bit schizophrenic and all over the place but it keeps things interesting. The trick is being versatile while still finding a way to put your own personal stamp on it. Thing can easily get generic if you don’t find a way to do that. I definitely think I get hired more often to shoot feature essay type stories that need a few different things photographically to illustrate a story. A lot of the time I end up doing a seamless portrait and then also doing reportage in the same day. Ultimately that is my favorite type of photography. Its cliche but telling stories and interacting with people is really why I got into it and figuring out creative ways to do that is always really fun.

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By the Olive Trees

Design Director: Fred Woodward
Director of Photography: Krista Prestek
Photographer: Michael Friberg  and Ben Rasmussen

Tell me how By the Olive Trees developed and why this was important to you?
I originally got into photography because I thought I wanted to become a photo journalist. After realizing that that particular style of working wasn’t for me, I started doing a sort of documentary/art/editorial hybrid that really seemed to suite my way of seeing well. I had photographed in Africa a couple times and really wasn’t happy with how things had come out. After doing a couple years of editorial work bouncing around and not really working on anything serious, I was reading an article somewhere about Syrian refugees in Jordan. I felt like the photography for these stories didn’t really match what I was reading. For instance: 2/3s of the refugees in Jordan were living in urban settings, not living in a refugee camp but all of the photos I had seen were from the really sensationalistic, highly visual Zaatari refugee camp. I felt like the refugees were sort of being used as props to illustrate a point. Ben Rasmussen and I had been talking about collaborating on something for a long time and we both were interested in working on something more serious than just photographing wacky stories for magazines. I’ve always been interested in social justice issues and this seemed like a way to participate in the conversation. We had no experience at all in this area but we bought two plane tickets to Jordan, found a fixer and headed over. The experience was definitely life changing and really helped solidify the type of work I want to be making. Ben and I really tried to slow down and photograph these refugees like we would shoot a magazine assignment in the US. Ben was shooting 4×5 and I was shooting medium format, lighting some portraits and reportage. We also did long form interviews with the refugees and got them transcribed.

When we got back, we put together the work for a multimedia piece commissioned by Dirk Barnett the creative director of The New Republic at the time. After making that, Dirk offered to design a book for us. Ben and I had been talking about this but we felt like an expensive photo book might not be the best outlet for this type of thing. At best, we could probably afford to make 500 copies and the people who would buy them would be the people who were probably already familiar with the conflict. I had a couple friends who had made newsprint zines and publications and it seemed like a really great way to use the newspaper medium to communicate information cheaply in a different way. the newsprint allowed us to run large chunks of text straight from the refugees mouths. We had self funded the shooting portion of the project and had managed to come close to breaking even after a couple outlets ran the work but we definitely didn’t have the money to do a large print run of the newspapers. The kickstarter was pretty cool to see because people really got behind the idea. We printed 4000 copies of the newspaper and the cost of each one was a little under 3 dollars for an 80 page full color publication. The low cost meant that we could ship three copies to each supporter and they could become distributors for us. People were leaving them in doctors offices, coffee shops and giving them away. It was cool to see where they ended up. We were definitely surprised at how much support we got. We exceeded our original goal which helped us to print more copies. The goal for the newspaper was that they would always be distributed for free. Now you can order copies on BytheOliveTrees.com for just the cost of shipping.

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How did you meet Benjamin Rasmussen?
I met Benjamin Rasmussen when I saw his work on tumblr, read his bio on his website and thought we had a lot in common. I emailed him to say hi and we struck up a friendship that has been hugely important for me photographically and personally.


What’s next for this project?

I just returned from Jordan about a month ago where I was working on a project about Iraqi Christian refugees who fled Mosul when ISIS took over. I’m going to be working on a long term project about the country of Jordan and how the influx of refugees is affecting the country. Currently nearly 1/5 of their population is made up of refugees which is a really staggering statistic. If that happened in America people would not be that hospitable. There are refugees from Central America coming even as we speak and people are picketing the buses that are transporting them to detention centers. I’d like to go back to Jordan in May to keep working on this project but I just had a grant proposal rejected so if anybody wants to send me back I’d be grateful…

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit: Michael Friberg: GQ / By the Olive Trees

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 10:01am

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GQ

Design Director: Fred Woodward
Director of Photography: Krista Prestek
Photographer: Michael Friberg 

 

I’d imagine shooting highly produced live performance of a legendary rock band could be anyone’s dream assignment; it’s about the access, up close and personal. What type of obstacles did you run into on this assignment?
I’m too young to really have any real knowledge of Motley Crue other than what I’ve seen on VH1 specials about their legendary debauchery. In highschool I grew up going to punk and hardcore shows in abandoned warehouses and rented storage spaces. Super DIY so this type of thing was totally foreign to me and I was excited for the visual excess that awaited me. I had delusions of grandeur thinking I’m gonna be like Annie Leibovitz with the Rolling Stones or something. Unfortunately the reality was much much worse. Their time and access was over promised and I had to fight tooth and nail to even get the band together for a quick portrait. It was a pretty acrimonious setting, I felt like I was in a real life version of Spinal Tap.

How did you deal with things dissolving around you? 
I was definitely stressed out but I try to keep a sense of humor about things. It was my first time working for GQ so I wanted to do a good job. Luckily Krista had been dealing with their people for a while before I had and she was really understanding about how challenging it was. You never want to be the photographer making excuses for why something didn’t work out. The whole situation was so restricted it was comical. On the first night they let me shoot the first song from about 200 feet back from the stage by the sound board and then escorted me backstage. I was sitting side stage watching this insane spectacle of a show. Explosions and dancers and a crazy light show and I didn’t have my cameras. It was killing me. I was kind of panicking because I didn’t have anything so I snuck out and shot some more photos. That didn’t turn out too well but I got some more photos that I needed. I really don’t like being in a position where I’m having to sneak around. I’m a pretty easy going guy and I get along with most people but the assignment was definitely in jeopardy so I felt like I needed to take some drastic measures or else I wasn’t going to have anything. I got busted and the whole thing sort of exploded in my face but it lead to the magazine negotiating better access for the live show the next night so I guess things worked out. I was heavily babysat from there on out though.

Was this your first assignment for GQ and what about your work/situation awarded you the job?
This was my first assignment for GQ. I was pretty surprised to get a call from them because I had always had a really hard time even getting a meeting there. The assignment came from Krista Prestek the director of photography there who I had never had any interaction with. It turns out that in a meeting the photo editor Katy Dunn who was freelancing there had apparently mentioned my name. She actually gave me my first magazine assignment ever when she was freelancing at Businessweek in 2011. You never know where people will end up in this industry.

What drove you to be relentless about getting the shot and what did you learn from this assignment?
I never want to be the photographer that is making excuses for why something didn’t work out. Even if its true, it doesn’t bode well for you. The editor hired you to get the job done and that includes adverse circumstances more often then not. Sometimes you just cant do it but i’m going to bend over backwards to try and figure something out in the mean time. When the photo director at a magazine hires you out of the blue for an assignment that most people would kill for you need to make sure you do a good job one way or another.

How much time did you actually get with the band?
I thought I might have been exaggerating when I was telling people I got 30 seconds with the band but I just look at the time stamp on the first photo of the band and the last photo of the band. 21 seconds. I didn’t have a choice where I shot it. They told me I could shoot the band backstage on the ramp right before they went onstage. I shot two or three frames front lit and then had my assistant Cole run around behind them and backlit a couple frames and we were done.

I know there is interpersonal band tension which makes it hard to shoot them as a group, how did you resolve that?
I didn’t even really interact with the band. We had negotiated them all being in this place before they went on stage. I don’t even think I introduced myself. When I finished,Nickki sixx said “Fuck yeah! that was quick!” and gave me a fist bump. That is the totality of my interaction with the band on the two day assignment.

What surprised you the most about this assignment?
The flame thrower/bass that Nikki Sixx plays. Its a functioning instrument but it also shoots fire 25 feet in the air. Despite how tough the assignment was logistically, it was pretty awesome to be witness to such a crazy spectacle. Having the opportunity to shoot a bunch of stuff explode while some aging rockstars play “girls girls girls” is a pretty sweet gig no matter what happens.

How has living in Salt Lake City shaped you as a photographer?
I’m originally from West Texas but after high school and one semester of college back home, I decided I needed to get the hell out and get to the Mountains. I didn’t know anything about Salt Lake City, other than that it was the headquarters of the Mormon Church and that its name kept appearing in snowboarding magazines. I went to a small liberal arts college here and snowboarded 4 days a week and occasionally went to class. It was great. Once I got into photography, I thought I needed to get out and get some experience in a big city so I moved to NYC for a year and assisted and starved.I learned a ton but I was running out of money and I wasn’t really shooting any personal work and my girlfriend (now wife) was in graduate school in Salt Lake City so I moved back and licked my wounds. The plan was to move to a big city when she finished school and I would try to freelance but life had different plans. I got a couple random jobs and worked part time, lived with a handful of gross dudes to keep rent cheap and spent all my money on shooting personal work. I always feel like I end up being defensive about living in Salt Lake but I really love it here. Its pretty cheap considering the incredible location. The airport is awesome. Its not really that hard to get a beer despite the rumors. I have the best community and group of friends i’ve ever had here. I slowly started getting regional work and I would go back to NYC and do meetings once or twice a year. I got married in the summer of 2011 and I was still working at a pub part time, shooting part time. I was really lucky that my super gracious wife had a “real” job and it afforded me the space to save up some money and quit the day job and make a run at the freelance thing. A lot of the first assignments I was getting were pretty routine. I was only getting hired because I was a guy with a camera who was capable. The first people who really hired me and encouraged me to do my thing were Businessweek. Specifically David Carthas when he was still there as the director of photography. Early on before anybody else was giving me cool assignments, they were. I am really thankful for that because it helped get the ball rolling and helped me get out of the “regional photographer” rut.

What were the draw backs if any for living in SLC and a smaller market?
I definitely don’t work as much as my peers in big markets. I think everybody assumes everybody is doing better than them but I probably only have 4 or 5 assignments a month. That is totally fine with me because my cost of living is low and I really like to focus on making personal work and having a good quality of life. One drawback of being in a small market where not a ton of stuff is happening is that I end up on the road a lot. It usually goes in spurts. I’ll be home for three weeks and then spend a month bouncing around. There definitely isn’t as big of a creative community as there is in larger cities. Not all of my photo friends live elsewhere but most of them do. I have had a much harder time breaking into the commercial market being here. I think it is a bit harder to be taken seriously when you live in a smaller market. I used to resent that sort of “NY or nowhere” attitude that existed in the editorial world but I definitely think that is changing.

Aside from snowboarding, what brought you to SLC? Were you aiming to start a photography career?
Like I said, I grew up in West Texas where creativity wasn’t exactly flourishing so I had no idea you could even make a living doing something like that. I didn’t discover photography until my sophomore year of college.  I wasn’t at a super art heavy school but I pieced together an education between class and the internet and photo books.

How did the lower cost of living, smaller market help you develop your photographic voice?
I think I sort of answered this earlier but I really can’t stress enough how important it is to spend money on your photo projects. Photo projects are expensive. Film, traveling etc etc it all adds up. For a while I would spend money on gear expecting that to solve my problems but my problems weren’t technical. My problem was that I had no vision or voice or experience. Being a snow bum translated well to becoming a photo bum. When I was in college, I would share houses with tons of my friends to keep our rent as cheap as possible to be able to snowboard as much as possible and work as little as possible. When I started trying to make it photographically it was an easy transition. I still had tons of room mates and my rent was around 200 bucks a month. I would shoot personal projects and travel and spend all of my money on film.

You have quite the client list for shooting full time for just short 4 years, how did you get started?
Like everybody else, I would go to NYC a couple times a year, meager portfolio in hand, and do meetings with photo editors. Even when these meetings weren’t getting me much work, It was hugely educational because you see your portfolio a whole different way when somebody else is looking at it on a table. You can also see what people are and aren’t responding to and learn from that. I slowly started getting work and then I got a couple cool assignments that helped me really show my style and voice and that helps immensely when you can show commissioned work to editors rather than just personal work. The gap between shooting editorial and shooting personal projects is huge. Some of the photos might look similar but the process of shooting them is so different its crazy. On a personal project, if the weather or light sucks you just come backtomorrow but on an editorial shoot you can’t come back tomorrow you just have to make something work. I feel incredibly blessed to have been entrusted with the assignments I have been given. I think a lot of photographers feel entitled to cool work but its important to remember that when some editor is hiring you and you are young and untested, that that person is putting their ass on the line for you. I have no idea why some people gave me some of the assignments I have been given. I didn’t have a single celebrity portrait in my portfolio before Sundance last year when Bailey Franklin from Variety called me. How did he know I wouldn’t melt down and blow it in all of the chaos of photographing over 100 people in four days in a tiny improvised studio?

What’s the best advice you have for any photographer starting out?
Spend all your money on personal projects. Have a low standard of living when you are starting out, that way you can work on projects you care about rather than just doing everything for money to survive. When people can really see you in your projects you will get hired to do the same type work. The hardest thing about photography isn’t taking pictures, it’s figuring out how to communicate what you want about a particular subject and executing that. Getting access, planning, logistics, executing ideas, these things are all the things that you learn by trial and error when you are shooting personal work.

What can you say about your generation of photographers, how is it different from the previous generation?
The internet, for all its faults and insanity, has been instrumental in building a creative community for me. People I met through online channels have become mentors, real life friends and collaborators. I can only speak to my personal experience but in my particular peer group in the photo world, it feels much less competitive and cut throat. When I was first trying to get meetings, my friends were not only giving me people’s email addresses but also doing email introductions on my behalf. Some of these people are technically my direct “competition” but I feel like my friends are operating out of an economy of abundance rather than scarcity. Being a freelancer can be terrifying and screw with your head and you can think every job is your last or freak out when the phone doesn’t ring for two weeks but I think being around people like this has helped me have a much healthier attitude about all of it.

Your work has a vast range of reportage, portraits, details, long narrative arcs. How was that range become an asset to your career?
I personally really like shooting a huge range of things. I think sometimes it makes my work seem a bit schizophrenic and all over the place but it keeps things interesting. The trick is being versatile while still finding a way to put your own personal stamp on it. Thing can easily get generic if you don’t find a way to do that. I definitely think I get hired more often to shoot feature essay type stories that need a few different things photographically to illustrate a story. A lot of the time I end up doing a seamless portrait and then also doing reportage in the same day. Ultimately that is my favorite type of photography. Its cliche but telling stories and interacting with people is really why I got into it and figuring out creative ways to do that is always really fun.

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By the Olive Trees

Design Director: Fred Woodward
Director of Photography: Krista Prestek
Photographer: Michael Friberg  and Ben Rasmussen

Tell me how By the Olive Trees developed and why this was important to you?
I originally got into photography because I thought I wanted to become a photo journalist. After realizing that that particular style of working wasn’t for me, I started doing a sort of documentary/art/editorial hybrid that really seemed to suite my way of seeing well. I had photographed in Africa a couple times and really wasn’t happy with how things had come out. After doing a couple years of editorial work bouncing around and not really working on anything serious, I was reading an article somewhere about Syrian refugees in Jordan. I felt like the photography for these stories didn’t really match what I was reading. For instance: 2/3s of the refugees in Jordan were living in urban settings, not living in a refugee camp but all of the photos I had seen were from the really sensationalistic, highly visual Zaatari refugee camp. I felt like the refugees were sort of being used as props to illustrate a point. Ben Rasmussen and I had been talking about collaborating on something for a long time and we both were interested in working on something more serious than just photographing wacky stories for magazines. I’ve always been interested in social justice issues and this seemed like a way to participate in the conversation. We had no experience at all in this area but we bought two plane tickets to Jordan, found a fixer and headed over. The experience was definitely life changing and really helped solidify the type of work I want to be making. Ben and I really tried to slow down and photograph these refugees like we would shoot a magazine assignment in the US. Ben was shooting 4×5 and I was shooting medium format, lighting some portraits and reportage. We also did long form interviews with the refugees and got them transcribed.

When we got back, we put together the work for a multimedia piece commissioned by Dirk Barnett the creative director of The New Republic at the time. After making that, Dirk offered to design a book for us. Ben and I had been talking about this but we felt like an expensive photo book might not be the best outlet for this type of thing. At best, we could probably afford to make 500 copies and the people who would buy them would be the people who were probably already familiar with the conflict. I had a couple friends who had made newsprint zines and publications and it seemed like a really great way to use the newspaper medium to communicate information cheaply in a different way. the newsprint allowed us to run large chunks of text straight from the refugees mouths. We had self funded the shooting portion of the project and had managed to come close to breaking even after a couple outlets ran the work but we definitely didn’t have the money to do a large print run of the newspapers. The kickstarter was pretty cool to see because people really got behind the idea. We printed 4000 copies of the newspaper and the cost of each one was a little under 3 dollars for an 80 page full color publication. The low cost meant that we could ship three copies to each supporter and they could become distributors for us. People were leaving them in doctors offices, coffee shops and giving them away. It was cool to see where they ended up. We were definitely surprised at how much support we got. We exceeded our original goal which helped us to print more copies. The goal for the newspaper was that they would always be distributed for free. Now you can order copies on BytheOliveTrees.com for just the cost of shipping.

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How did you meet Benjamin Rasmussen?
I met Benjamin Rasmussen when I saw his work on tumblr, read his bio on his website and thought we had a lot in common. I emailed him to say hi and we struck up a friendship that has been hugely important for me photographically and personally.


What’s next for this project?

I just returned from Jordan about a month ago where I was working on a project about Iraqi Christian refugees who fled Mosul when ISIS took over. I’m going to be working on a long term project about the country of Jordan and how the influx of refugees is affecting the country. Currently nearly 1/5 of their population is made up of refugees which is a really staggering statistic. If that happened in America people would not be that hospitable. There are refugees from Central America coming even as we speak and people are picketing the buses that are transporting them to detention centers. I’d like to go back to Jordan in May to keep working on this project but I just had a grant proposal rejected so if anybody wants to send me back I’d be grateful…

Categories: Business

Where Copyright Law Fails Photographers

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:02am

[by Richard Kelly]

When I speak to photographers about copyright, I often use a variation of William Patry’s metaphor from his book Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars:

Picture a copyright battlefield. On the right-side are the traditional Copyright aggregators – publishers, record companies, and the licensing monoliths – including the artists that they represent. Beside them are the trade organizations that represent them – ASMP included. On the left-side are the libraries, nonprofits, technology companies and free culture advocates – many of us artists feel comfortable here as well.

Most of the time, artists are stuck in the middle of this battlefield getting pummeled by shrapnel and the falling arrows of this war. We are collateral damage to the huge amount of money on both sides of this digital disruption and the algorithmic aggregation of content.

On even days, I find myself aligned with the left because I think some information should be freely accessible. I believe that the term of copyright is too long, that artists build upon other creative works and that the Fair Use defense is necessary for a balanced and creative environment. Besides, who doesn’t love a good library or museum?

On odd days, I am firmly on the right because I want to be compensated for my work, I want to have some say over its use, and I want credit where it is due. Most days, though, neither side is the friend of the artist who is trying to put food on the table and live a well-deserved prosperous and creative life.

As artists, we are constantly being subjected to the downward pressure of creative fees, license fees, and the overuse of Work Made For Hire contracts. Every day, there are more over-reaching right grabs that extend well beyond the basic economic necessities of most companies, and they are all served up by the clients, publishers and others who want to benefit from our copyrights.

On the Left, the “Free Culture” has been replaced by the older business model of the free-stuff-adds=eyeballs-and-sells-advertising. The use of EULA’s and Terms of Use that benefit the technology companies in ways that are not completely understood or even exercised yet has become a standard practice. These rights are demanded from all who participate yield nothing to the independent creator other than free access to upload, create and share the rights to even more free content.

My ever-increasing cynicism towards copyright has led me to conclude that for the photographer, copyright has become a red herring or even worse a MacGuffin.  Current copyright practice seems to equate with registering in bulk thousands of images (at best are an inconvenience and at worse an expensive nightmare), all the while betting that one day some entity will infringe, and the photographer will have “caught” the infringer – or at least the ones with money who are worth pursuing.

Sure retroactive licensing to infringers is a business model if you want to play that game of “whack-a mole,” but most photographers want to create new work, not stalk their images online. Registration is not, in and of itself, a real solution to the control and compensation that artists need to prosper.

I have also realized that changing public sentiment toward the value of copyright for the artist only goes so far. Most people don’t infringe to hurt an artist but rather they borrow to solve a communication problem all the while celebrating through exposure the artists they love. Intellectual Property theft is different than other property thefts. Stealing a car means the car is no longer there for the owner to use. IP theft leaves the property intact. I also recognize, to some degree, that we all infringe copyright every day with innocent intentions.

And even when it is not outright infringement, the sharing we love to do on social media rarely provides any economic benefit to the copyright holder. It may be legal, but only the hosting platform benefits.

I don’t have an easy answer. I do have some ideas about how to change copyright to benefit the artist. However, that is for another post on another day. My suggestion to photographers, today, is that we do our best to work with the copyright laws we have. And work together – like in our ASMP community- to influence lawmakers to improve copyright to benefit artists and promote the progress of science and the useful arts.

So what day is it, Even or Odd?

Richard Kelly is a photographer & educator living in Pittsburgh. He often asks himself the question, which is better control or compensation? Follow Richard on Instagram or twitter.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Industry Trends

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:01am

Love them. Hate them.  Follow them or ignore them.  It’s in every photographer’s best interests to be aware of the trends affecting our industry and our clients. This week, our contributors share some of the trends they’re watching, which trends they’re responding to and how those trends are affecting the decisions they’re making.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo – Arkan Zakharov

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:07am

Arkan Zakharov

Who Printed it?
This was printed on a sheet-fed press in Toronto.

Who Designed and edited the images?
I designed and did all press prep on this book, all editing done by me as well.

How Many did you make?
I did a run of 170 copies. 150 were quarter folded for easier shipping in envelopes. The remaining 20 were folded into a book which was sent in a tube to few select locations.

How Many Times a year do you send out promos?
This was the first time I have done a promo. I am planning on sending one out annually.

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@heidivolpe is reaching out to photographers from the Insta-Promo feed @aphotoeditor to learn more about how the promo was made. If you’d like to know more about a specific promo leave a comment on instagram.

Categories: Business

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