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Former Photography Director Rob Haggart
Updated: 46 min 54 sec ago

Things I Learned After My Photo Hit #1 on Reddit, and Why I Probably Shouldn’t Have Posted It

12 hours 33 min ago

Outstanding! 20,000 people visited my site! Some people even messaged me asking if they could buy a print!… I have not heard anything more. I did not sell anything.

Oh well, at least my other images got exposure…? Not really. As you can see, nearly everyone who visited my site came for the original image, maybe scrolled once or twice through others in that set, then left. The shop page didn’t even make it into the top ten most-visited.

via petapixel.com.

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Los Angeles Magazine: Amy Feitelberg

12 hours 37 min ago

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Photographer: Nancy Pastor

 

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Photographer: ( left ) Gregg Segal
Photographer:  ( right ) Meiko Arquillos

 

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Photographer: ( left ) Christina Gandolfo
Photographer:  ( right )  Art Streiber

 

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Photographer: Dave Lauridsen

 

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Photographer: ( left )  Joe Schmelzer
Photographer:  ( right ) Christina Gandolfo

 

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Photographer: ( left ) Sam Comen
Photographer: ( right)  Ryan Young

 

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Photographer: ( left ) Dave Lauridsen
Photographer:  ( right ) Claudia Lucia

Los Angeles Magazine

Design Director: Steven Banks
Photo Director: Amy Feitelberg

 

Heidi: What a great slice of LA nightlife. Describe the process for choosing the pitches, I’d imagine potential imagery and content played even roles.
Amy: For the initial pitch process, I went forward knowing there were a few built in obstacles.
- Since this all had to be shot on one night, that might limit what’s happening around town.
- I had to cast a really wide net so I got enough disparate ideas.
- It meant it was a little bit of luck of the draw for who  would be in town to do it.

When all the decisions were made, I fired off an email to each photographer saying that they got to shoot their pitch. Then I sent out a group email (everyone was bcc’d — I didn’t want anyone to know who was in until the end), and I told them the parameters. Everyone HAD to shoot on the same night. Saturday, May 31st. We defined ‘night’ as between 6pm – 2am. I also told them that this was a case where they had to be reporters too because no one had a writer with them, and they HAD to get the caption info of what they were shooting for when the edit team when back to write about it. I also told them, it was a great opportunity to do extra stuff like gifs, videos etc. And so many of them did that, which is so cool because we’re going to have a really awesome online component as well which I think beefs the whole project up.

How did you notify photographer this was happening, was there something online or in the print edition?
I thought this was an opportunity to reach out to people I hadn’t been able to assign yet, but wanted to get them in the book. So after I made a list, I blasted it out to a ton of photographers and told them to pitch me what they wanted to do. Once I got all those pitches in, I complied them, and reviewed them with the with editor of the story and the editor in chief. Many photographers sent in more than one idea and since we had overlap, it helped narrow down the puzzle. We wanted it to feel diverse and hit a lot of different notes.

How many pitches did you get for this project?
I had over 60 pitches knowing I could only assign 20ish.

What were the determining factors?
Determining factors were things like diversity – geographic, ethnic, age etc, access, ambition and inherent LAness.

Were the photographers responsible for all aspects of production/access?
The photographers were mostly responsible for setting up their own shoots. I did write a lot of letters and make a lot of phone calls. Some things we never got permission on and they did anyway guerrilla style and some things we had to cancel altogether because the venue made it so hard or flat out refused. LA can be an extremely difficult place to shoot even for still photography. Are you listening Mayor Garcetti?

How many “tries” did they have or did everyone go out on the same night?
Everyone had to go out on the same night. A few people had 2 assignments if they could get them done. One that came in that wasn’t even assigned but that I hoped someone was going to pitch was a shot of Hassidic Jews on La Brea. That area fascinates me and I had put it in as an example of something to pitch in my initial blast email. No one took the bait, but then Christina Gandolfo, who had shot these awesome bingo pictures was walking on the street that night and photographed a few. She ended up getting a second full page image in the package too because it was so great. A few projects didn’t work out at all and got cut, but everyone really went above and beyond to make things work.
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Photographer: ( left ) Alyson Aliano
Photographer:  ( right ) Hussein Katz
Did you think it was unusual for the taggers to be photographed in “Canvassing the City?”
What type of relationship did Hussein Katz have with them?
When Hussein pitched that he said “I have many friends in the graffiti world… however I would need to keep their identities concealed.” I thought it sounded awesome. It’s such sub culture in LA and I always think it’s weird when I see a building one day and it’s blank and the next day it’s tagged. I’m always wondering who the hell these people are. I didn’t want to judge it as right or wrong, I wanted to see the experience of people who spend their nights doing this.
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Photographer ( left ): Alyson Aliano
Photographer ( right ) Aaron Fallon
Aaron Fallon’s image “Crew’s Control” is great,  did he have stories about getting access?
Aaron Fallon’s pitch was cool and very unexpected. This is one of those cases that it SHOULD have been hard to get access — but it wasn’t! He had a friend who worked there who helped get him in. I wrote a permission letter for him, but as far as I know, there weren’t too many hoops. The photos are gorgeous. The one bummer about doing this whole portfolio is that almost every shoot that came in had soooo many great images and we only get to run one a piece! That’s what the internet is for I s’pose. So shooting in an airplane hanger at LAX? – a breeze. Trying to shoot at the Hollywood Bowl? — I think they would have had me arrested and stolen my first born. Go figure!
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Photographer: ( left ) Spencer Lowell
Photographer:  ( right )  Wesley Brown

How did Spencer get that image of the stadium in “Diamonds are Forever?”
Spencer’s journey in this is an interesting one. He told me he would love to go to the morgue. LOVED IT! Boom. I assigned it to him. He set out on his own to get permission. I didn’t hear back so I thought it was all cool. So did he… but a few days before the shoot, even though permission seemed like a done deal, the guy helping him went AWOL, and then resurfaced the day before to say no. Spencer had also pitched doing aerials because I believe he has a relationship with a helicopter pilot. I really liked the idea of seeing Dodger Stadium, but there was a game that night and they have a ‘no fly zone’ during games. So he waited til after to shoot it and I love it even more because it feels less expected. He also still went to the morgue and shot and exterior and then went to a tattoo place and shot himself getting a tattoo that says LA on his wrist. Spencer will bleed for the cause!
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Photographer: ( left ) Terence Patrick
Photographer:  ( right ) Maarten de Boer

 

How did Martin de Boer get to tag along for his “Double Parked?”
So in the case of Maarten de Boer, he actually pitched going on a ride along with the fire department. He contacted them but they basically told them they needed at least 3 weeks to get approvals blah blah. So I dug into my bag of tricks because what ho! my sister is a deputy district attorney on the ‘hard core gang unit’ right here in LA. I called her and asked her if she knew any cops I could have Maarten go out with. She asked around and hooked us with LAPD homicide detectives Manny and Nate and we were in! I actually called on her to help us get into the morgue when Spencer was getting the shaft, but at that point we had lost our lead time, she was in trial and we couldn’t pull it off. Having a DA for a sister is amazing! She comes in handy a lot.

What’s the best way for photographers to reach you?

The best way for photographers to contact me is always through email. I wish I had the time to answer everyone, but I just can’t. I do try to look at everything that comes in though!

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Christopher Capozziello

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 9:42am

by Jonathan Blaustein

“There but for the grace of God go I.” Two weeks in a row, we’re opening with an old school aphorism. Why is that? Have I detected
a growth in our Millennial readership? Am I trying to adhere my contentical requirements to shorter attention spans?

No, that’s not it.

Frankly, I think many of us work less in summer. We try to read a book here and there, and allow a few random moments of calm to intrude on an otherwise busy lifestyle. There’s the Fall Season, and the New-Year-through-spring mad dashes of productivity. And then we have Xmas time and summer breaks, to re-gather one’s thoughts.

As such, my thoughts have turned to wisdom’s efficiency. Aphorisms are like tweets, in that they aim to provide maximum information in minimal form. So much so that we’ve even managed to abbreviate them further: i.e., better safe, a bird in the hand. Neither of those are complete thoughts, but we know them well enough to intuit the second half, and the meaning.

“Better safe than sorry” is like “when in doubt.” It encourages caution, above all else. I suspect the cautious proto-humans were the ones that gave us many of our genes, as the braver sorts were likely eaten by saber-toothed tigers while exploring.

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” sounds like it was made up by a farmer. I’ve got my crops. They are here. They feed my family. If I try this new seed that Jenkinson was telling me about, it might bring in much more. Or it might not. Better safe.

And what about the first one I mentioned? There but for the grace of God, is what people say. They abbreviate this one too. It means, please remember that there are many billions of the people on planet Earth who are less fortunate than I am. I could easily have been born into a war zone, or somewhere with no indoor plumbing. But I was not.

We tend to push such thoughts outside of our day-to-day thinking. It’s easier to get by that way. But what if you lacked the luxury? What if you could never forget or escape the consequences of fate, or God, or whatever word you choose to use for such concepts?

Christopher Capozziello has such a dilemma. He’s a photographer, and writer apparently, and last year he put out a book called “The Distance Between Us,” by Edition Lammerhuber, and I just got my hands on a copy. His twin brother, Nick, was born with Cerebral Palsy, and has had an insanely difficult life as a result.

Two brothers. One womb. One twin healthy, the other sick. It’s like something out of a Dickens novel.

I’ll have to step out of character even further here by telling you I met Chris at LOOKbetween in 2010. We talked a lot, and then stayed in touch. I gave him some tips on how to access the fine art photo community. He came and hung out while I was writing about Photo Plus Expo for APE.

I therefore saw this work very early on. Before the accolades. Before the book. He also asked me to peruse an early-version-pdf at a time when he was submitting a concept for a publication competition that he didn’t win.

All for the best.

Because he’s used the ensuing years to fine-tune his vision, and this large book is the beneficiary. There’s text throughout, including under many of the photographs. He writes naturally, and the narrative fills in many gaps that would not have been dealt with sufficiently, with only titles to inform us. Furthermore, by telling his story so directly, he’s able to amp up the emotional reaction in his viewer.

Nick has seizure cramps that are debilitating. He likes to play pool. He had major brain surgery, and an implant was put in his chest. You can see the implant. You can see Nick go through the ravages of pain.

All the while, Chris can’t help but wonder, why not me?

Eventually, the brothers take a big road trip at the end. And even better, we close with a selection of Nick’s pictures from the trip. (We’ve seen Chris photographing Nick taking pictures, so there’s even foreshadowing.)

Don’t you love it when the column connects from week to week? It’s the happy ending. The über-American cinematic narrative. (With the road trip thrown in as a bonus.)

The book has a message, a point, and a vision behind it. I might have found the text a bit overwhelming at times, but that’s nitpicking. If you invest your time in this one, you’re likely to get a lot back.

You can tell that years of planning and care went into the creation of this book, and years of pain went into the living. Yet when you hold the book, the finished article, you’re holding the outcome of someone’s dream.

Bottom Line: Great book, powerful personal family tale

To Purchase “The Distance Between Us” 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

Art Producers Speak: John Fulton

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 9:31am

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate John Fulton.

"Wrong Tools" campaign for Three Atlanta and CPA Global.

“Wrong Tools” campaign for Three Atlanta and CPA Global.

A young farmer/rancher burns some time after breakfast with a curious audience standing by. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

A young farmer/rancher burns some time after breakfast with a curious audience standing by. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

"Dirt Wave" motocross in the deep south. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

“Dirt Wave” motocross in the deep south. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

"Quail Hunting". Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

“Quail Hunting”. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

"Fiddler Over Paris", a lone fiddler bares his soul to the denizens of the 7th arrondissement. Shot for an int'l travel company.

“Fiddler Over Paris”, a lone fiddler bares his soul to the denizens of the 7th arrondissement. Shot for an int’l travel company.

Pro bono series for my home town fire department. Hazmat crew takes one for the team as fire plane dumps it's payload.

Pro bono series for my home town fire department. Hazmat crew takes one for the team as fire plane dumps it’s payload.

"On The Way to Saturday". Campaign featuring college football mega-fans for BBDO.

“On The Way to Saturday”. Campaign featuring college football mega-fans for BBDO.

"Wrong Tools" campaign for Three Atlanta and CPA Global.

“Wrong Tools” campaign for Three Atlanta and CPA Global.

Campaign for Harley Davidson featuring real owners enjoying the thrill of the open road.

Campaign for Harley Davidson featuring real owners enjoying the thrill of the open road.

 "Lake of the Clouds Valley". Personal work captured on a trip to the high Rocky Mountains.


“Lake of the Clouds Valley”. Personal work captured on a trip to the high Rocky Mountains.

Firefighters photographed for South Magazine.

Firefighters photographed for South Magazine.

"We're there for you 24/7/365". Campaign for Georgia Power.

“We’re there for you 24/7/365″. Campaign for Georgia Power.

"For the longest lasting truck on the road". Campaign commissioned for Eaton Global.

“For the longest lasting truck on the road”. Campaign commissioned for Eaton Global.

Recent commission featuring speedo-clad mechanics to illustrate the client's heat generating product.

Recent commission featuring speedo-clad mechanics to illustrate the client’s heat generating product.

How many years have you been in business?
12 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both but I did the photo degree route. It was a good jumping board but, like most people, I learned more in just the 1st year working in San Francisco about the industry and my own work than I did during all of school.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I was a skater kid in high school and a lackadaisical student, which took its toll on my studies. I took art classes because I thought they would be easy A’s. I connected with the creative arts immediately and felt myself come alive. Originally I wanted to be a sculptor and I worked diligently towards that goal but eventually I found myself sitting in a photography class. Seeing my first image appear in the developing tray was what set the hook. It’s a cliché’ sentiment at this point, but it was like magic. I was also exposed to the work of the great street photographers, especially the masters of composition and light; Cartier-Bresson and Harry Callahan among others. I worked at my local camera store talking with working photographers every day and developing their images late into the evening. It was an exhilarating feeling to see their work before they did and when talking with them about their assignments at pick up time, it became clear to me that this was the life I wanted. I was also able to work with Jim Erickson and Erik Almas through out my first year after school, which was also instrumental.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
It’s important to me to find inspiration from things other than photography whether that be other visual arts, travel, history, and simply conversing with people who are very different than myself. A lot of photographers choose to keep their exposure to other’s work at a minimal, I do the opposite. I look at an immense amount of images and I keep the ones that speak to me in an archive that goes back over 10 years. They cover the spectrum from photography, design, 3D, and fine arts and I often sift through them making mental notes of the things I like, don’t like, and want to experiment with before my next project.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
It varies widely from project to project but limitations can be a blessing. I’ve been studying film making lately and I read something from a feature director awhile back saying that often times he’ll limit himself to just one or two lenses for a whole movie because with every option available for every shot, it can be overwhelming and the images end up being too disjointed. I look at constraints that clients give in that way and it forces me to push my work and grow in a direction that I might not have taken on my own and I walk away with more tools in my creative arsenal.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
All the usual things but the most important to me is face-to-face exposure. The path of least resistance is always the most overrun and that right now is doing everything digitally. My reps are also paramount in connecting with buyers.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Showing what you think buyers want to see is a loosing strategy if that’s your main motivation. Even if you’re scoring some projects, you won’t be shooting what you love and the work won’t be as affective as it should be. Ultimately, you’ll end up spending your career working on things that don’t inspire you and that’s not good for you or your clients.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Not as much as I’d like, but I’m working on that. It takes the willingness to say no to paying projects usually but I think it’s a good investment for one’s creative soul. Story telling in still frame, painting, modeling, motion, and writing is always on my mind from when I wake up until I finally go to bed. Lately, I’ve been spending the majority of my non-working time learning 3D modeling which has been a very captivating creative outlet and has already helped land some of my favorite projects to date.

How often are you shooting new work?
It varies from every couple weeks to a month. I prefer to do my own post work whenever possible and if it’s a series of multi-image composites that typically turns a 3 day shoot into a 3 week process from beginning to end but it’s an integral part of what I love about my job and what makes the images I deliver to my clients unique and impactful.

—————–

John is an America photographer born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. His work is often described as rich, fresh, and authentic. Clients recognize his consistent vision and adamant drive to deliver impactful and affective images through a broad range of subjects.

John is honored to have been included in Luerzer’s Archive Top 200 Advertising Photographers Worldwide and his work has been recognized by PDN, Communication Arts, Hasselblad Masters, Int’l Photography Awards, Prix de la Photographie Paris, American Photographic Artists, Int’l Loupe Awards, and Color Awards. His clients include AT&T, Harley Davidson, Captain Morgan, Airstream, Westin and Hyatt Int’l among others.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

What I Instagrammed Vs. What Was Really Happening, Or My Entire Life Is A Lie

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 9:17am

Do you want to know how my pictures I shot before I actually captured a photo that both accurately (and attractively) displayed how happy I was in this moment? 56. I hope you’re judging me, because I am.

via Bustle.

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit: Variety Magazine Covers: Bailey Franklin

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:15am

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Photographer: Ioulex

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Photographer: Julian Broad

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Photographer: Platon

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Photographer: Yu Tsai

tilda-swinton-variety-cover

Photographer: Ioulex

 

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Photographer: Pari Dukovic

 

 

Variety

Creative Director: Chris Mihal

Director of Photography: Bailey Franklin

Art Director: Cheyne Gateley

Art Director: Chuck Kerr

Photo Editor: Michelle Hauf

Designers: Kevin Begovich, Vanessa Morsse and Sahar Vahidi

How long have you and Chris been collaborating on covers? You’ve seem develop this wonderful flow of type and image.
​I joined the magazine in February 2013 and Chris came on board that May. We hit it off immediately, which was a huge relief given the incredibly fast pace and overall intensity of putting out a weekly like Variety with such limited resources. He always has ideas and opinions but never gets so married to them that it slows down the process. This applies to photographer selection as well, and I am lucky that he always defers to me when it comes down to the final decision. ​Chris has the ideal balance of vision and flexibility and I really couldn’t have asked for a better Creative Director.


I’ve noticed the covers are getting tighter on the subjects, the expressions more intense, which is refreshing for a cover image. How did this look unfold?
​Since we aren’t a newsstand-driven publication, we have the luxury of putting our strongest single image on the cover every week. We also don’t have to deal with cover testing like at most publications. In the end it comes down to what options Chris and I recommend to editors that will make for the best cover. That said, we love the intimacy and power of a great, tight portrait and like the way it differentiates us from other magazines, especially those with lots of cover lines. We have also been lucky to get some really great faces to photograph.
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Photographer: Peter Hapak

 

When did the cover series or multiple runs start to become more regular? 
Did it start with the Power of Women Issue, and then roll into the recent images by Peter Hapak?
​Yes, when we have situations with multiple cover talent that can’t be in the same space at the same time,​ we have (thankfully) opted to do split runs
​and have so far avoided what we refer to as Frankenstein covers. With Peter, we loved his multiple exposure images and wanted a way to give those covers a separate identity from the other black and white portraits he shot of Christina, Aaron and Allison (as well as 49 other actors and actresses) for the Emmy stand alone issues that came out the week prior. We’ve done it three times before, first with Power of Youth (5), and Power of Women LA (5) and NY (6).


You are working with stars, I assume it’s perhaps easier to direct them?
​Although everyone has been very professional, most of our cover subjects are not particularly interested in pushing things beyond your standard flattering portrait. ​They generally have a very strong idea of how they want to be presented, even if it goes against the expressed angle of the story. This really comes up whenever we have a specific concept that we are trying to convey through wardrobe or props. In some ways it has been the kind of limitation that is a blessing rather than a curse as it enables us to focus more on the choice of photographer and what he/she can bring to the equation regardless of the subject’s participation. I liken it to having very limited control over the specific ingredients of a dish but incredible freedom as to the particular chef and cuisine we feel makes the most sense.




About how much time do you typically get for cover shoots?
We generally get between 30 and 60 minutes of camera time with any given subject. 15-20 is not unusual depending on the logistics of the shoot. It took me a long time to not panic at this, but since we don’t really need clothing changes most of the time, 30 minutes has proven to be enough to get what we need. We make a point of letting people go as soon as we have it, no matter how quickly that is. Some of our best results have come in under 2 or 3 minutes.

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Photographer: Craig Cutler

Humor and wit surfaces from time to time on the covers. Describe your cover process, what drives that image? 
​Humor is tricky, because it is so subjective on top of what is frequently an already subjective response to the photography by everyone involved in the final decision. With the Sex on TV cover we ​were lucky to have a concept that lent itself to visual interpretation, not to mention sex. I felt that there was something smart and fresh that could still be done using the naked human body, but it was our Art Director Cheyne Gately who sketched out the boom mic as fig leaf idea. Once we saw that we knew we had to go with it. Craig Cutler was a perfect fit as he has just the right balance of dry humor and dramatic lighting. As it happened on a super rush turnaround, his ability to help with casting the models and source the props with blinding speed was also key.

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Photographer: Bart Cooke

How did Kermit end up upside down?
​That was an example of Chris making something great out of a tricky situation. Bart Cooke took fantastic images of Kermit and Piggy, but we were VERY limited in terms of how we were ultimately able to shoot them. There was debate up until the last minute as to how Disney might interpret showing Kermit upside down, as it didn’t really relate in any literal sense to the headline or thrust of the story. We didn’t let up pushing for what we felt was fun, playful and totally unexpected, and in the end the editors decided it was worth the risk. Fortunately, Disney loved it, and distributed copies at the movies premiere the same day the issue came out.

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Photographer: Ture Lillegraven

Does publishing weekly give you more creative freedom? 
(There’s very little time to second guess)
​
Yes, I would say that putting out 50-odd issues a year gives us more opportunities to take risk​s compared to the pressure that monthly magazines put on their individual covers. Another benefit is if one doesn’t work out as planned for some reason, we aren’t stuck staring at it for a month. In some cases the specifics of a given deadline have informed the creative. For example, our post Oscar issue of Alfonso Cuaron had to be shot the morning after he won and sent to the printer by midnight the same day to make our deadline. That’s how the reference of the iconic morning after portrait of Faye Dunaway by Terry O’Neill came up. The last thing we wanted to do was recreate it, so the challenge was to do something that would resonate with someone familiar with the image but still look like a Variety cover and have photographer Ture Lillegraven’s unique voice. More of a wink than an homage, if that makes sense.

Variety had been publishing since 1905, over the years variety has developed it’s own slanguage or varietyese, (e.g.  boffo (box-office biz) sitcom,  and payola ) Are you trying to do the same visually with your cover portraits? Develop a visual language?
​Funny that you mention it, because we were just talking about the importance of keeping an open mind in terms of what makes for a “Variety cover.” One thing we definitely want to avoid is ​a rigid formula. That kind of sameness would be even more pronounced with a word like variety printed across the top of it. Our primary goal is to have covers that are elegant, smart and graphic. Beyond that, we are hoping to surprise our readers and ourselves from week to week.

Categories: Business

Do’s And Don’ts For Finding A Commercial Photography Agent

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 10:29am

This guest re-post comes from Mark Winer at The Gren Group. The original post appeared here.

We’ve added some new talent to our roster recently, and with that often comes questions from photographers about how to find representation. So this is for you, the aspiring photographer searching for that perfect relationship with an agency representative. There is (as of this writing) no match.com for the photography industry – so we are are going to summon up 18 years of experience and give you the tools for your big search.

Rather than writing a long dissertation on the process of finding a rep, we’ve decided to give you a Cliffs Notes version – a handy, tried and true list to follow throughout your search. Please keep in mind this is aimed at photographers who are interested in working with agents who have mostly commercial clients. The TOP TEN Do’s and Don’ts below will vary based on your objective.

Here goes:

DO’S!

DO know that we get between 15 and 20 unique photographer requests each month. We may add just one new photographer a year, so you really need to stand out.
DO your research. Personalize your message to the rep you’re reaching out to and reference something worthwhile and specific. Find some common ground.
DO prove your business model. Show us that your own photography skills and marketing efforts have gotten you enough work where you need a business partner to help manage your growing business.
DO know thyself. What kind of photographer are you? Fashion? Lifestyle? Conceptual? Still Life? You should come to us already with a strong brand and self identity. We should be able to ‘know’ you in 90 seconds or less.
DO support the US Postal Service (before they close your branch)! Mail us samples of the great promos you’ve been sending to clients.
DO share your most recent commercial success stories – recognizable brands really get our attention. This is kind of a ‘what have you done lately’ business.
DO tell us about the industry trade shows you’ve attended and the Art Producers or Creative Directors you’ve met with recently. Feel free to name drop – we may have connections in common!
DO be respectful, appreciative and humble. A good personality goes a long way.
DO be patient and realistic. This is a relationship business. It can take years for the rep to build relationships with both clients and photographers.
DO have a reasonable advertising & promotion budget. Attracting the attention of ad agency clients, and building relationships with them, can require an extensive financial commitment.

DON’TS

DON’T email us generic comments like “new website!” or “just want to take my photography to the next level”. Be creative – include the whats, whens and whys. First impressions are important!
DON’T worry if we don’t get back to you right away. We make every effort to respond to all requests – which can sometimes take several days or weeks, depending on our workload.
DON’T be a beauty, fashion, conceptual or product photographer if you’re reaching out to us. Nothing personal, just not our area of expertise. Do your research first, and know the agent – there are plenty of great reps who market celebrity & automotive work.
DON’T be lazy. Success in this business requires a ton of ambition, passion, and a positive outlook. Enthusiasm is contagious – clients and reps can feed off your energy.
DON’T worry if most of the projects come from your leads in the first year or two. That’s to be expected. After all, you’ve been promoting your own commercial work for the last 5-10 years, and we’ve just gotten started.
DON’T send us a personal Facebook request after just one email. We’re big fans of social media, so show us you know the difference between networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc …
DON’T be a photographer with only personal, fine art or wedding work. It may be beautiful, but we are advertising assignment reps – the work must be commercially viable and contain high production value.
DON’T be a prima donna. Character is very important – we prefer humble, appreciative, collaborative and genuine.
DON’T get bogged down into thinking that you must have a rep to build your business! Plenty of great photographers have achieved commercial success without representation.
DON’T get frustrated if you have no luck getting a rep in the first few months (or years) of trying. Take that as a sign that you have to continue working harder and smarter to appeal to an agent.

Hope this helps a little. The right photographer/agent partnership can be a great thing – creative, challenging, lucrative, rewarding and fun. It’s also a lot like a marriage, whose success relies on mutual understanding, respect and communication. And like a marriage, know your partner well – maybe even consider living together for awhile first – the goal is to be together for a long time.

Good luck in your search!

Categories: Business

Part Of Being A Great Photographer Is An Innate Gift For The Drive To Do It

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 10:20am

I think that part of this (being a great photographer) is an innate gift. I think that all artists, whatever the medium, have some genetic luck. That gives them the drive for whatever the talent is, painter, writer, musician, photographer. There’s something that’s deep within their soul.

I use to tell photographers that I believe great photographers, artists, whomever have a third eye. Many decades ago I was weaving and doing rugs I remember looking down at my hands and being in wonder of what they were doing. I’d say to myself, just stay out of their way. Get out of the way and let them do what they do. I think the same thing is true with photographers.

When they are really good it’s intuitive. This is what happens when they don’t over think it. That is what Bresson says.

via Karen Mullarkey – An Interview Part Two.

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Anders Petersen

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 11:01am

by Jonathan Blaustein

The grass is always greener. So they say. I’m keeping that in mind as I try to relax into my staycation this summer. No use envying other people’s holiday photos on Instagram.

Sometimes these aphorisms carry deep wisdom. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That’s the cycle of history in one short sentence. Impressive. (Certainly terser than a blustery treatise on why Vlad Putin’s aggression in Ukraine is hardly avant garde.)

There’s another that’s been on my mind lately. “Wherever you go, there you are.” It’s practically koan-ic.

As our longtime readers know, I did a lot of travel writing for APE from 2010-13. It was something of a dream, to wander about as a part of my job. And I got to visit amazing museums and galleries to boot. Not bad.

Eventually, I realized I was no happier in London or New York or New Orleans than I was at home, and the post-trip crashes were brutal. I might have been a tad more charming on the road, or higher on adrenaline, but I was still me. Still perpetually stressed about keeping all the balls juggled, and the children fed.

Late last year, my desire to travel began to wane. I realized that if I could be happier at home, more content in my own skin, I might not need to be somewhere else to be a better version of myself.

Some people don’t need a happy ending, though. Euro films have been cranking out depressing, dour, dimly-lit dandies for decades. (And to think, my college writing professor told me alliteration was too obvious.)

Furthermore, what must it be like in Scandinavia in the dead of winter? Saturated Color doesn’t exist. SunLight is a rumor. Who’d be happy then, or even believe such a concept as happiness was anything other than naive voodoo? (If I lived there, I’d be addicted to cigarettes, vodka and Internet porn in weeks…just kidding.)

Anders Petersen channels that energy as well as anyone. Not in a sense of depression, per se, but a celebration of joyous nihilistic depravity. He deifies the drunk at the end of the bar; an understandable response to the absurdity of existence. (I saw, but never reviewed, the lurid “Soho” from MACK.)

Wherever Anders Petersen goes, there he is. A year after a 2012 earthquake in Northern Italy, he was invited to the Emilia area by Studio Blanco, to take Anders Petersen photos. Or so we are told at the end of “To Belong,” his new book published by SlamJam.

We get the explanatory essay at the end, and the title on the back cover. I suppose you have to do things differently these days, if you want to stand out. Shake it up, as it were. (In fact, the closing statement does dedicate the book to those whose lives have been shaken.)

It opens with the obligatory boob shot, (Boobs Sell Books℠) but then cascades through stuffed animals, a mountain-lion in a cage, odd dolls, a crotch-shot with a girl stretching her leg over her head, some seriously strange-looking old people, some surprisingly hopefully portraits, and rubble and dancing and Dora the Explorer. (The rubble makes more sense upon second viewing.)

We get to see one of my favorite creepy-awesome-weird photos of all time, on par with Asger Carlsen, with some dude’s chest-hair growing up through a tattoo of the Virgin Mary. I felt like spiders were crawling on my spine, while I stared at it.

There’s a recurring symbol of flexible-connecting tubery, which I didn’t quite figure out. (The need to contort oneself to survive among human kind, especially in the face of a natural disaster? Good guess?)

The book is also made a little differently. The pages are two pieces of paper sandwiched together. They turn easily, though. It makes for a rather beautiful object, in addition to a sumptuous collection of images.

And how’s this for a message takeaway: the Earth crumbles beneath our feet, occasionally. Life falls apart along with it. And yet we endure. So you might as well let a little of the crazy in while you’re here.

Bottom Line: Very cool book built upon an earthquake-shaken foundation

To Purchase “To Belong” 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

In The World We Find Ourselves In Today, Hard Work Isn’t Enough

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:00am

…you’d better understand how to deploy those design skills in a way that helps solve business problems for your clients.

…the select few who are going to thrive in the months and years to come are going to be the ones who can tell a complex story across a range of media in a simple, clear and elegant way.

via AIGA | Apple’s Creative Director Alan Dye on Why Great Design Skills Aren’t Enough.

Buying a new website?
APhotoFolio.com builds portfolio websites for photographers.
Have a look (here).

Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Reed Young

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:56am

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Reed Young. He is an editorial photographer whose work has so much story in it that I always stop and spend time with it. He really deserves some exposure for being interesting, thoughtful in the topics he covers and insightful in the compositions he depicts.

NOTE: Reed was nominated twice by two Art Producers from different agencies that have great reputations.

Angelo Maggi, the Italian voice actor for Tom Hanks

Angelo Maggi, the Italian voice actor for Tom Hanks

 “I like that she often said that women should be liberated, that men shouldn’t limit them, that a woman should be the way she wants to be.”

“Goldie” crossed the border when she was 16 and started dancing at a topless bar where most of the dancers were illegal immigrants from Juarez. She soon left that life behind, and now she owns Goldie’s Bar, a tiny cantina in an industrial section of south central El Paso. The walls of Goldie’s Bar are littered with pictures of her hero, Marilyn Monroe: “I like that she often said that women should be liberated, that men shouldn’t limit them, that a woman should be the way she wants to be.”

Bryan Toovak is a 7-year-old living in Barrow, Alaska. He goes to this playground from spring to fall despite the below-zero temperatures. On this rather mild spring day in early May, temperatures rose to almost 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius).

Bryan Toovak is a 7-year-old living in Barrow, Alaska. He goes to this playground from spring to fall despite the below-zero temperatures. On this rather mild spring day in early May, temperatures rose to almost 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius).

Konishiki Yasokichi is a 45-year-old one of Japan’s most recognizable celebrities. Now that he’s retired from Sumo Wrestling, the sport that made him so popular, he’s become a hip-hop artist and host of his own children’s television show. He was the heaviest sumo wrestler of all time weighing 580 pounds(264 kg). Two years ago he underwent gastric bypass surgery and has lost much of the weight that previously threatened his good health.

Konishiki Yasokichi is a 45-year-old one of Japan’s most recognizable celebrities. Now that he’s retired from Sumo Wrestling, the sport that made him so popular, he’s become a hip-hop artist and host of his own children’s television show. He was the heaviest sumo wrestler of all time weighing 580 pounds(264 kg). Two years ago he underwent gastric bypass surgery and has lost much of the weight that previously threatened his good health.

Felicia raises three of her grandchildren in small community deep in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic. The family was supported by her husband’s pension until three months ago when he passed away. She lives in one of the few barracks that survived Hurricane George. She believes that the Lord will sustain her during this difficult time in her life.

Felicia raises three of her grandchildren in small community deep in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic. The family was supported by her husband’s pension until three months ago when he passed away. She lives in one of the few barracks that survived Hurricane George. She believes that the Lord will sustain her during this difficult time in her life.

Seven days a week, 23-year-old Galson Mgaya rides from his remote village of Mtwango to the nearest city of Makambako, Tanzania. He straps 20 chickens to the back of his bicycle and then sells them in the city for twice what they’d go for in his small town. The trip takes him 3.5 hours each way, but it’s worthwhile because he makes about $8 each day. His daily profit helps support his parents and two sisters.

Seven days a week, 23-year-old Galson Mgaya rides from his remote village of Mtwango to the nearest city of Makambako, Tanzania. He straps 20 chickens to the back of his bicycle and then sells them in the city for twice what they’d go for in his small town. The trip takes him 3.5 hours each way, but it’s worthwhile because he makes about $8 each day. His daily profit helps support his parents and two sisters.

Many Brownsville residents say the area has more sneaker stores than after-school programs. Brownsville Brooklyn has only three sneaker stores. A few years ago, Penny began hosting an informal after-school program so that children in her building would have a safe place to go after school.

Many Brownsville residents say the area has more sneaker stores than after-school programs. Brownsville Brooklyn has only three sneaker stores. A few years ago, Penny began hosting an informal after-school program so that children in her building would have a safe place to go after school.

Minh Le is an unofficial spokesman for the Vietnamese community in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Approximately one-third of the town’s population is of Asian descent, and of those, most are Vietnamese. Adopted by an American serviceman during the 1960s, Minh returned to his native Vietnam in the ’70s to act as an advisor to the US Navy. When he retired from the Navy, he moved to Bayou La Batre and bought several shrimp boats, including The Sunrise, pictured here. After the BP oil spill, Minh outfitted his boats to help with the cleanup efforts.

Minh Le is an unofficial spokesman for the Vietnamese community in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Approximately one-third of the town’s population is of Asian descent, and of those, most are Vietnamese. Adopted by an American serviceman during the 1960s, Minh returned to his native Vietnam in the ’70s to act as an advisor to the US Navy. When he retired from the Navy, he moved to Bayou La Batre and bought several shrimp boats, including The Sunrise, pictured here. After the BP oil spill, Minh outfitted his boats to help with the cleanup efforts.

Comedian John Oliver for The Guardian.

Comedian John Oliver for The Guardian.

An advertisement for Dixan, an Italian laundry detergent.

An advertisement for Dixan, an Italian laundry detergent.

Bomb dog training school for Smithsonian Magazine.

Bomb dog training school for Smithsonian Magazine.

Inside the offices of Etsy for Inc. Magazine.

Inside the offices of Etsy for Inc. Magazine.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been doing freelance assignment work for 7 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I graduated from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
There are many. I’ve always been inspired by the work of Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. When I was in photography school, Steven Meisel and Steven Klein inspired me to try and become a fashion photographer. But I learned early on that it wasn’t fashion I loved but the stylistic use of lighting. So I applied it to what I was most interested in –- portraiture.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I was never a good writer, so photography became an excuse to be a storyteller in a different way. I shoot at least two personal projects each year on subjects that interest me. For example I lived in Italy from 2006 to 2009, and while I was there I became fascinated with how American films are always dubbed into the Italian language instead of subtitled. After some research I learned that Italians have grown attached to the voices they associate with each Hollywood actor – so much that they’ve come to expect the voice of someone like Tom Hanks to always be the same person. This inspired me to spend a month in Rome photographing the dubbers in recreated scenes from their characters most iconic roles. Last month The New Yorker featured the story, which has already led to some exciting new opportunities.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
When it comes to advertising, I look at every assignment as the intersection of the creative, the client and me. It’s my job to bridge everyone’s goals into one successful outcome of which everybody can be proud. I shoot a lot of magazine assignments as well and they allow for a bit more freedom. The photo editor usually has ideas in mind, and they encourage me to interpret their ideas in a way that works best with my style.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
My first job out of college was in the art production department at McCann here in New York. I learned more in 10 months than in all three years of college. The experience allowed me to learn the business from the inside, instead of the usual perspective of a photo assistant. I learned that art buyers are drawn to work even if it isn’t what they are producing on a daily basis. Art buyers and photo editors receive hundreds of promos each week, and they basically look at them only long enough to throw them in the trash or delete them from their inbox. I learned quickly that it’s important to have a consistent style and to show work that’s hard to forget.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I’ve realized my best work comes from the heart. The beauty of doing personal projects is that I can market myself with the type of work I want to be assigned.

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Reed Young is an American photographer born in 1982. He grew up in Minneapolis and now calls New York City home. He shoots assignment work for magazines including Time, The Guardian Weekend, Fortune, Fast Company , Popular Mechanics and Runner’s World. Young’s work has taken him all over the world in search of stories that focus on the human perspective.

www.reedyoung.com +1 917.821.4449 me@reedyoung.com

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – July Newstand: Joe Pugliese

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:45am

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Fortune

Creative Director: Brandon Kavulla
Photography Director: Mia J. Diehl

ESPN

VP/Creative Director, Digital and Print Media: John Korpics
Senior Director of Photography: Karen Frank

BillBoard

Creative Director: Shanti Marlar
Photography+Video Director: Jennifer Laski
Deputy Photo Director: Jennifer Sargent

Texas Monthly

Creative Director: TJ Tucker
Photography Editor: Leslie Baldwin

Esquire

Design Director: David Curcurito
Photo Director: Michael Norseng
Art Director: Stravinski Pierre
Photo Editor: Stacy Pittman
Photographer: Joe Pugliese

You’re ruling the July newsstand. The covers seem to highlight your strength, what would you say that is?
It’s really hard to say what my strength is specifically because I’m too close to it to know what other people see in the work. When I hear feedback from editors, they reference things like quiet moments, or use the word iconic, which can seem generic but something I think about on every shoot. Not really in a heroic way but as a way to frame what we do in the context of the life of a photo. For example, I often think about the entire career or life story of a person, and at the end of their lives, what picture would define them? What one photo sums up someone who has done great things, and what are the characteristics of a photo like that? Usually they are not very complicated images, not overly conceptual, and allow the viewer to look straight into the subject’s personality without reference or too much explanation of who that person is.

Your work is very straight forward showing the person rather then the star, is this a conscious effort in your development as a portrait photographer? What niche if any are you trying to fill or what are style of brand are you trying to develop?
I think a photographer’s style can often mimic their personality and background, but it can take years to listen to that voice and actually develop it. I came up in the business through a very workaday ethic and perhaps took on too wide a variety of assignments early on. But because of that, my current approach is more confident since I’m not as obsessed with the technicality involved in making a shoot come together. I have my toolbox to dip into and change up when necessary, but for the most part I want the subjects to be the most notable thing in a picture, not the technique.

For the both the Billboard and the ESPN cover, were you surprised the final edit, they both capture that split second moment.
Both of those titles are very good at taking risks and letting the images speak for themselves so it wasn’t a total surprise but I was definitely thrilled to see those frames make the cut. These days, I think magazines are more daring with design and art direction because readers consume so much more imagery that it takes more to grab their attention than it may have 10 or even 5 years ago. I work with fantastic directors of photography, design directors and photo editors at both titles and their cover choices make them a dream to shoot for.

How do you approach your portrait sessions, how much research do is done and what tools to you use to get the subjects to settle in?
I do a little bit of image research on each subject but almost nothing else. I have gotten to a comfortable place with my approach and I don’t feel it necessary to know everything about a subject. For the most part, unless the client has specific direction, I prefer to react to whomever I’m photographing in a natural way, the same way they have to get to know me. Basically we’re two strangers who need to trust each other and gain some level of comfort almost immediately, and memorizing someone’s dossier is just going to get in the way of normal human interaction. I like to gauge a person’s mood and comfort level, and go from there. If they are really uncomfortable or nervous, that’s when it’s every photographer’s job to take the reigns and guide them through the process. I give very detailed direction in those cases and it takes the pressure off the person to perform for the camera, which almost no one likes to do. Portrait photographers are good conversationalists, and that trait has served me very well. I’ve referred to this job as a never-ending dinner party with new and fascinating guests, and I frame each interaction with a subject on those terms. Casual, comfortable, with everyone on equal footing.

For the Lance Armstrong session, how long did it take for you to connect with him. I’d imagine he’s guarded.
I’m a lifelong cyclist and I knew a lot about Lance going into this shoot. I wasn’t worried about him being guarded because he’s clearly someone who understands his relationship with the media, and is very savvy about the point of each profile he agrees to. I was more worried about the session being too one-sided and not having a chance to present the Lance of today, instead of the legendary Tour winner Lance Armstrong of previous years. Sometimes subjects have such a strong brand that they only give you something that fits within those parameters. On the contrary, Lance was extremely open and gracious and totally present. We were comfortable with each other immediately and I didn’t have to push to get honest moments from him.

In a few words what were you trying to tell with that particular portrait.
The assignment from Esquire was to portray how much Lance has been through, just by showing Lance as he is now, in 2014. It’s been 15 years since his first Tour win, and he’s bound to show some wear and tear. The sport alone in the best scenario can age a man, add to that his recent troubles, and it was all we could do to just make honest portraits of a very recognizable figure going through a tough time. I gave him certain direction in terms of posing and sitting, but didn’t ask for much in terms of expression. I never really like to ask subjects to smile. If they’re in a good mood they’ll smile, if they have a lot on their mind they might not. It’s really nice to see what people offer you before you start telling them to act and look a certain way.

Let’s go down the list. What did you hope to communicate with each session?

Fortune/Elizabeth Holmes
Fortune is such a venerable title and I have been a contributor for a long time so I was really excited to be part of this cover. Elizabeth Holmes is a 30 year-old tech entrepreneur and it was nice to see a young woman featured on the cover of Fortune. Mia Diehl is the Director of Photography and she and the photo team are very good at conveying what they want to get from the shoot, while at the same time letting the photographer interpret the subject in a natural way. They chose a strong frame for the cover and I was happy with the clean design of the type as well.

ESPN/DeSean Jackson
The story of DeSean Jackson was one of redemption, which is such a loaded word for a photographer to try to convey. I knew it couldn’t be too conceptual, and I trusted that if they hired me to do it, I was going to have to rely on making an image that just felt like redemption. I think we all knew what the story was about that day on set, and we were each on the same page so to speak about how to get it. As we tried more and more setups, he just got completely loose and totally offered these looks to me that showed me what he was going through. My job was to react to what felt and looked right, and work with him throughout those moments. It’s almost like editing on the fly, when something is good, you keep working it, and when it’s not, you just move on. We kept his energy up by moving fast and accomplishing a lot of looks in a short amount of time. I felt the trust of the DOP Karen Frank and photo editor Stephanie Weed to let me do what I do best, and that is such a great feeling.
Billboard/ J.Lo:
This was a great assignment for me because while the direction of the shoot was definitely to capture the sexiness of a very famous star who has been a household name for a long time, the challenge for me was to find some real moments within those parameters. I always love the “in-between” moments, the frames that are shot after or before the expected pose, even by a split second. Luckily for me, Jen Laski at Billboard is phenomenally talented at recognizing those moments and we worked on the edit together right after the shoot, something I rarely get to do with clients. We have the same taste in those honest moments and I knew I was in good hands with her in getting those frames in print.

Texas Monthly/George Strait
Another situation where the trust of the time really allowed for something special to occur. Design Director TJ Tucker traveled with me to Tulsa to shoot the reclusive country star for a cover commemorating his farewell tour. Strait is from Texas and is an absolute legend in country music. We were told we would have 5 minutes for the cover shoot, and somehow we stretched that to 9 minutes. We moved him through three lighting setups and I chatted with him the whole time. It was a crunch but it was also a very confident and well planned approach. TJ knew exactly what he was looking for, and we were alb to nail it because of that.

Are these all the first cover assignments for the respective titles?
I’ve previously shot one or more covers for each of these titles.

What promos did you sent in order to get these assignments?
I don’t send promos outside of some email outreach that my agents at Bernstein & Andriulli handle. I view my editorial tearsheets as my promos, people who hire photographers are magazine readers and always tend to see what’s out there in other titles. I tend to get more work when I have good work on the newsstands.
Also, I just came off a nice round of meetings in NYC and I think that face time really helps me, being based in L.A. I have long standing relationships with a lot of my clients and that familiarity and trust is a crucial element in getting cover shoots.

 

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I know you are an avid cyclist so going into the shoot for Esquire did you show up as a cyclist and a photographer, or just one of those two personalities? Do you think it’s possible to split yourself?
In this case, I definitely had more to talk about with Lance than my usual subjects, but even then, I prefer to get subjects talking by asking broad questions that elicit longer responses. I like the emphasis to be on them, and it’s not really that necessary to share what I know about their lives. I did immediately notice that he had hairy legs, and ribbed him a little about that, haha.

Were you able to show up that day as a photographer only.
Yes, despite my knowledge of the sport and somewhat conflicted admiration of Lance, as soon as I meet anyone for a portrait session, I’m totally a photographer. It’s also part of the process that in my head we are both accomplished individuals, I draw on the fact that I’ve done this all before to calm my nerves and get on with the task at hand.

Has there been any moments of late where you’ve been secretly star stuck?
I wouldn’t say that I ever really get starstruck, but there is a phenomenon sometimes where the amount of respect I have for a subject gets in the way of how I interact with them. I’ve photographed some legendary people in Hollywood, but it’s the subjects that have been well known for decades that I find myself directing less, and just trying to document as they are. People like Robert Evans or Tom Petty or Kirk Douglas. Their legacy is so overwhelming that I don’t want to adjust anything at all, I just want to hold the camera up to them, in a sense.

Why did you choose B&A to represent you, was it a difficult choice?
Bernstein & Andriulli has always been a very influential agency for me, I always looked at their roster and what kinds of projects they were working on to see what kind of potential the industry holds. Carol Alda reached out and along with Ehrin Feeley, initiated a great back and forth conversation that lasted the better part of a year before I signed with them. I was not represented by anyone at the time and I had a very specific workflow and relationship with my clients that I wanted to maintain. Their patience and understanding of what’s important to me in my career were the deciding factors. I love the support and trust I get from them and Howard has given me great insight and advice from the beginning.

Whose on your blog roll/instagram feed?
On IG I’m loving the feeds of design directors, photo directors and editors. It’s so great to see the visual language of the people who are so influential in creating the visual languages of the magazines we shoot for. Ivan Shaw at Vogue has a great feed of NYC street scenes, and Kathy Ryan and Stacey Baker at the NYT mag have created very special feeds that really took off. Patrick Witty, now at Wired, had a phenomenal series on subway riders, and I love the pictorial beauty in the feeds of Nancy Jo Iacoi, Jessie Wender and Yolanda Edwards as well. All these amazing editors are also amazing photographers!

How do you use social media to market yourself?
I try to post things to my personal Facebook feed to share with editors I’m already friends with. I don’t like being too invasive with promotion but it seems to be received well. On instragram, I occasionally post some tearsheets I’m excited about but for the most part I use that feed to share my after-hours life, like cycling and travel.

I know you had assisted Art Streiber, who continues to be a great photo ambassador to anyone on his team, what did Art teach you?
Art is a great friend and we have very similar backgrounds. We both started as photojournalists, I was a photographer for the LA Times after college, and met him through friends in the newspaper business. I had no assisting experience and he totally took me under his wing and showed me how the entire industry operates. I assisted him at a time when the magazine business was extremely robust and shoots were high-budget and high-pressure. He taught me so many great lessons that it would be impossible to list them all, but the takeaway to this day is that to be a portrait photographer you have to truly be interested in people. Art is the most outgoing person I know and it shows in his work. I had to pay attention to my own curiosity towards people for my work to become my own, and I really benefitted from having Art as a mentor and friend.

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Motohiko Hasui

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 9:44am

by Jonathan Blaustein

We’re approaching high summer here in the US. Which is the time to relax, soak up some sun, and drink Belgian beer to cool you down. Or ice water. Or lemonade. (You get the point.)

To all the readers in the Southern Hemisphere, however, you have my condolences. Winter isn’t as much fun as summer, unless you get to ski every day, and who really lives like that? So we’ll try to have all the fun for you, unless you’ve got the whole Equatorial-life-style thing going. (And that comes with requisite mosquitos.)

Where was I? Summer. What’s the next word that follows summer, like rty follows que? That’s right. Vacation.

I’m not taking one this year, though. As I live in a vacation destination, all I need is a change of attitude, the gumption to shut off the Internet, and my staycation will be just fine.

What about you? Are going anywhere fun? Have you planned your own ClarkGriswoldian adventure?

If not, I have a solution. Let’s pretend we WE’RE taking a trip. Where would you go? A Greek beach on the Mediterranean? Watch a World Cup game in the Amazonian jungles of Manaus. (Where you can imagine yourself a latter-day Klaus Kinski.) Spelunking in Mexico?

We could pretend to do all sorts of things. Volcano-hopping in Guatemala? The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam? What about Japan? Have you been? I’ve always wanted to go there. Who doesn’t have their own little “Lost in Translation” fantasy?

What if we just invaded some Japanese photographer’s travel journal? Would that work? The black, rounded-edges kind, with some elastic on the outside? (For holding your thoughts in place.) Motohiko Hasui’s new book “Personal Matters,” published by Bemojake, allows us just this opportunity.

Some of pictures have timestamps on them, from April of 2012, or around Christmas time. It varies. There’s no mention of where, but you know/suspect you’re in Japan. Are they real snapshots, taken for no other reason than recording a personal history? Who knows?

But you get the voyeuristic pleasure of seeing someone else’s memories of weirdos, flowers, parking lots, cute girls, trees, funny moments, fur coats, a ridiculous-looking dog monster wearing fake horns, a stark mattress in an empty room, a skyline, some woman eating sushi, that sort of thing.

I opened it up, unsure of what would be inside, and I got a fake, free, virtual vacation. As I don’t get to keep the book, I didn’t have to pay a dime. And as you don’t have to pay to utilize this website, we’re all in the same boat. (Alas, it’s not a yacht rounding the Cap d’Antibes…)

Bottom Line: A cool little photo diary for summer “reading”

To Purchase “Personal Matters” 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

Art Producers Speak: Pip

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 9:44am

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Pip. We collaborated with him to shoot for one of our clients. He was a pleasure to work with and his photography is outstanding. He’s only 25 and he’s already short listed for the AOP awards and he made it into the Creative Review annual this year. Added to all this, he’s also self-taught.

Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen

Lawson – Album artwork

Lawson – Album artwork

Freerunner project – with world parkour champion, Tim Shieff. See the rest on www.bypip.co.uk

Freerunner project – with world parkour champion, Tim Shieff. See the rest on www.bypip.co.uk

Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Benjamin Francis Leftwich

The Novellos

The Novellos

Ellie Goulding in the rain

Ellie Goulding in the rain

Scottish actress Freya Mavor

Scottish actress Freya Mavor

Track & Field project – see the rest of www.bypip.co.uk

Track & Field project – see the rest of www.bypip.co.uk

Ben Khan

Ben Khan

British actor Jack Laskey

British actor Jack Laskey

Richard E Grant

Richard E Grant

Track & Field project – see the rest of www.bypip.co.uk

Track & Field project – see the rest of www.bypip.co.uk

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been working professionally for 6 years now.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m self- taught, I didn’t go to college or university. I already had a solid technical understanding before I left school, and I’d never been particularly interested with conceptual analysis or the history of photography, so it didn’t make sense for me to go. I just wanted to get out into the world and start shooting without the limitations of working to a course project brief. Not having any qualifications has never inhibited me though – it’s important to remember that even with a first class degree from a top university, in the eyes of the client, you’re just as inexperienced as the day you enrolled. Portfolio is everything.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I was always a big fan of people like Ansel Adams, Anton Corbijn and Kevin Cummings when I was growing up. Their cinematic, black & white vision was something that really spoke to me. They also all had a graceful way of combining landscape scenes with portraiture – something else I’ve always loved. I think the romance of their work is what drove me to pick up a camera in the first place and the business side of things developed naturally as I continued to create work I was proud of.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
Following on from my last point, the most important thing is to be shooting things that excite you. As primarily a portrait photographer, my work is about storytelling, so humans are my first love and my main inspiration. I love meeting interesting people, learning about their lives and the way they perceive the world – everyone has a different story.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I’ve been generally pretty lucky with clients – I can’t think of many times I’ve been held back or asked shoot in a way I wasn’t comfortable with. When shooting commercially there always has to be compromises from each party, but I’ve found the best clients are good communicators – ones who lay down a thorough brief then take a step back and let the photographer approach it in their own way. The best results usually come out of a mutual trust between photographer, creative and client.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I love doing editorial work – although budgets are small and turnaround times are nearly always tight, there’s more of a creative freedom to experience, compared to commercial work. It’s still one of the best ways to get noticed, having your work in print. Social media is also a big part of the game these days – twitter, instagram and tumblr are all great platforms for sharing your work and telling the world about what you’re up to. A massive percentage of the creative buying community now regularly use these networks to source new talent, get inspiration and keep up with the latest trends – embrace technology, get involved and get noticed.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
It’s never good to try and second-guess what people want to see, because half the time they don’t even know what they want to see, until they see it. From experience, you can win clients and jobs from the most unlikely places and you can fail to get something you feel like you were born for. The best thing you can do is shoot what you love in a style you love, and your work will have integrity. Passion resonates and is highly infectious.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Whenever I’m not shooting editorial or commercial work, I always try and get stuck in to personal projects. Because most of my work is portrait based, I try and mix things up when shooting for myself. Lately I’ve been doing a bit of landscape work – it’s a totally different experience to shooting people, but its nice to have the time and space to really consider the shots I’m taking.

How often are you shooting new work?
I prefer to shoot sets of images in the form of a personal project, rather than odd shots here and there. I usually do something big every couple of months if I can fit it in, but working regularly with clients tends to take up most of my time.

CONTACT

Name: Pip
Website: www.bypip.co.uk
Twitter: @bypip
Instagram: @bypip

BIOGRAPHY

Pip is a self-taught photographer from Yorkshire, Northern England. Avoiding conventional paths into the industry, he exchanged University and assisting for a start in professional work at the exceptionally young age of 19, when he was signed by London agency Shoot Group. Since then, Pip has worked internationally with a dizzying range of people, from the freshest bands and emerging acting talent to international pop stars and Hollywood greats. Recent subjects have included Ellie Goulding, London Grammar, Lawson, Professor Green, Conor Maynard, Jeremy Irvine, Harry Treadaway, James Nesbitt, Russell Brand, The Inbetweeners, Richard E Grant, Helen McCrory and Sir Ian McKellen. Last year saw him become the youngest ever cover photographer for ‘Photo Pro’, the largest professional photography magazine in the UK, and be featured in the prestigious Creative Review Photography Annual. With an extensive range of editorial clients and advertising commissions from Royal Opera House, Barclaycard, Waitrose, Channel 4, NASA, BBC Worldwide and Topman under his belt, at just 25 years old, Pip is currently one of London’s more exciting young portrait photographers.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Trending

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 9:26am

I enjoyed these two covers, both celebrating summer. One beautifully composed summer salad as a prepared dish, the other a delightful approach to food as graphic design.

 

FoodWine2

Food&Wine

Design Director: Patricia Sanchez
Art Director: James Maikowski
Director of Photography: Fredrika Stjarne
Photo Editor: Sara Parks
Photographer: John Kernick
Prop Stylist: Christine Trevino
Food Stylist: Andrienne Anderson

 

 

MarthaStewartLiving

Martha Stewart Living

Design Director: Jennifer Wagner
Deputy Design Director: Jenn McManus
Art Director: Jaspal Riyait
Photo Editor: Linda Denahan
Senior Associate Photo Producer: Muzam Agha
Senior Associate Photo Editor: Andie Diemer
Photographer: Marcus Nilsson

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Business

Mishka Henner Interview – Part 2

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 9:44am

Mishka Henner is an artist based in Manchester, England. He’s been shortlisted for the Prix Pictet and Deutsche Borse Prizes, and was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for Art in 2013. His work is currently being exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a solo show recently closed at Carroll/Fletcher in London.

Jonathan Blaustein: There’s a project on your site called “Less Americains,” in which you erased most of the information from Robert Frank’s seminal work. There does seem to be a strong American inspiration in your practice.

I get it. I’m a bit in love with what you guys do in England. I try to work with absurdity. I see it as positive, and a healthy reaction to the state of the world. It’s the flip side to outrage; they go hand in hand. When you don’t want to swallow your outrage, you can look at it sideways and have a giggle. That seems very British to me.

Mishka Henner: I love Bill Hicks and I’d like to think there’s some Bill Hicks in some of this work. With “No Man’s Land,” and the feed lots. Absolutely.

JB: Well, there was a line of inquiry I was headed towards, which is, you piss people off.

MH: (laughing)

JB: I just saw a photo blog that described your “Less Americains” project as a “waste of time.” Is that necessarily a bad thing? Do you see yourself as a provocateur? Do you think great art ought to ruffle a few feathers, and not just tell people what they want to hear?

MH: I think I stopped being earnest about six years ago. I was making what I think of as very earnest, documentary work. More straight documentary.

Then I came across mostly American artists working with photography who were funny. People like Chris Burden. They were daring, amoral. There was real ambiguity in there. And they weren’t subscribing to this idea that documentary photography has to be earnest. What’s Chris Burden saying when he fires a gun at a Boeing 747 taking off from LAX? Who cares? It’s a brilliant gesture.

So documentary could be dangerous, confrontational. And it could also tell jokes. All things that I never thought photography could be, right?

JB: Right.

MH: That’s why I did “No Man’s Land.” When I first started doing it, I was thinking, “Fuck. I can’t do this. You cannot do this. You can’t go around photographing prostitutes with a Google Street View camera. That’s just fucking outrageous. It’s just a complete moral and ethical No No.”

And then, the more time I spent on it, the more I was thinking, “Hang on a second. What is this? Who are these women? Fuck, maybe I’m like one of them.”

You know what I mean, as an artist? Standing by the roadside, displaying your wares, waiting in the middle of nowhere for someone to come along and fuck you over. Metaphorically speaking of course. My point is that I could recognize myself in the subject. And the fact it was all done remotely was even more powerful to me.

JB: I do have that on my question list. I was going to ask you if you have ever tried to pick up an African hooker in Calabria?

MH: (laughing) No. No, I haven’t. Virtually, maybe. But not physically.

You know, the longer I spent working on “No Man’s Land”, the more I was thinking, “If you’re going to photograph street prostitutes in the middle of nowhere in Europe, this is the way you do it. You don’t go there, pretending to be doing an earnest project. You do it sitting at home, alone, in front of your own computer terminal looking out at these shards of reality.”

There’s a thing called the Prison Photography blog…

JB: Yeah, Pete Brook. We know Pete.

MH: He’s cool. I like him. But he and some others went on this crusade talking about how what I had done was somehow inferior to the photographers who went there and photographed the women. That in those works, there was much more beauty, subtlety, and empathy in their work. That those images were literally imbued with an ethical and moral sympathy that was absent in mine.

And I just thought, “What a load of bullshit that is.” To be honest with you Jonathan, I’ve found that quite a few of my projects have revealed a lot of the assumptions and judgements that a section of the photo community continues to take for granted about documentary. It really doesn’t have to be like that. There’s so much more scope for pushing the boundaries of what documentary can be.

It has a lot to do with this earnestness that I’m talking about. It’s the pitiful image. Documentary’s no good unless you’re made to feel sorry for the people in your photographs. Which is outrageous really. And quite demeaning and condescending to the people who are the subjects of those pictures.

At least the sex workers in my pictures have their faces blurred. They’re at a distance, a long way away from the lens. It means the work isn’t just about them, it’s also about us looking at them. Which I don’t think enough documentary does.

I made “Less Americains” for a number of reasons but a major one was because I was getting sick and tired of this monumentalizing of Robert Frank’s “The Americans.” It was as if the book had become a biblical text that couldn’t be questioned. It was beyond reproach. I was thinking, “Hang on a minute. The discussion around that work is turning it into some sort of mythology. They’re just creating myths. And I really don’t like that. I react very strongly to that.

It’s like dogma. Do you know what I mean?

JB: I do. I’ve railed against many of these same things, so I do feel you. But it’s interesting, as artists, to watch how perceptions change, as things age. I’m sure that’s where your sociology background can inform your thinking.

Frank’s work, in 1958, was transgressive. It was shocking.

MH: Of course, I know that! My problem isn’t with the work, it’s with the spectacle that surrounds it.

JB: How could something maintain that read, 60 years later? It can’t. I was able to see the show a few years ago, when they brought it back together, and sit with the objects, within the context of his Guggenheim application, and his earlier work. It was a joy to see the pictures on the wall, but in a way, we as younger artists have to fight through that.

You know, the Baby Boomers aren’t leaving the stage in any industry. It’s not just ours.

MH: Sure.

JB: So there’s a natural desire to rebel against the canon when the canon doesn’t have the same juice it did 60 years ago. Right?

MH: Absolutely. I can totally imagine the impact it must have had. It must have been revolutionary, certainly.

JB: In culture in general. It’s a little dorky that I’m an Anglophile, and you love the Americans, but in the late 50′s, mainstream culture here was very white, monotonous, buttoned down, hierarchical culture. Everything was hidden under the rug.

It was all veneer. So this guy comes over, rips off the skin, and shows disaffected people.

MH: Yeah.

JB: And in a way, he does what we’re talking about. We’ve all had conversations about what it must have been like, in the 50′s, to look at LIFE magazine, see a picture of a starving poor person in a Third World country, and have that picture punch you in the stomach.

As opposed to now, where your eyes glaze, and you can’t possibly relate, viscerally, to suffering in the same way.

MH: I don’t know. You see, I do look around and think we are in a very conservative time, in which there are horrific things going on which are being pushed under the rug. I do think that.

I only have to look aroud me or turn the TV on to see things that I’m sure someone like Robert Frank would have seen in 1950s America. I do think that.

JB: Sure, but we’re talking about the fact that the visual language, the way art is made and the way in which it is received, has changed, and needs to change to keep up with the times.

You’re using technology that wasn’t even imaginable then.

MH: That’s right.

JB: Your process is 21st Century, and the problems are 21st Century.

MH: And the visual language isn’t entrenched yet. These images can’t be pigeon-holed so easily and I think that as a result, they can stimulate parts of the brain that other images we’re so used to seeing can’t. If you went out today and tried to photograph the culture like Robert Frank did – which a lot of people do – it would be pointless and almost disingenious. I know because I was doing it before. And I realized that what I was doing was trying to emulate the idols.

A big change for me was to think, “Fuck that. Fuck the idols.” They lived then, I’m living now. I have to try to see and represent things as they are now.

JB: Yeah, fuck those guys.

MH: It’s not just because I want to be center stage, it’s more that I’m trying to get a grip about what the hell is going on. One of the reasons I wanted to work with satellite images is because the people who are running the show, that’s the stuff they’re working with.

When they’re working out logistics, where combat troops have to go, where pipelines have to go, they’re not working with ground-based imagery. They’re working with this network of cameras that surround the globe.

I wanted to get into their heads and try to see the world from their perspective, which is why I did “51 US Military Outposts.” It was the first project I did working like that and was a deliberate attempt to try to see things from that perspective.

After the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and then our intervention in Libya, I had to find out for myself why we were going to these places. That’s why I started working with satellite images, to try and see things from that perspective. Which is a completely non-emotive perspective. It’s pure logistics. Pure strategy.

And of course, when you start to look at the world in that way, you see things entirely differently. Things become clearer.

JB: I saw Trevor Paglen speak last month, and he was talking about how he’s interested in this huge mass of imagery that’s being made by machines, for machines. The pictures are designed to be read by algorithms. They’re not even meant for human consumption, at this point.

MH: I’ve heard that.

JB: We’re living in a crazy time. We can think about what’s going on with those Nigerian girls, who were just kidnapped. It’s a global sense of powerlessness. The idea that we can be aware of things, minute to minute, and feel their impact, but also be completely devoid of any kind of control, or ability to impact these situations.

That’s a unique phenomenon, given how long it used to take information to travel. Now it’s instantaneous, and what do you really get? You get a feeling of dread and fear that Vladimir Putin’s coming to take over your country. Or some Islamic assholes are going to steal your daughter.

MH: Sure, but like Bill Hicks says, you turn your TV off, you look out the window and think, “Where’s all this shit happening?” I think there’s a big difference between the media landscape, and the landscape outside my window. Do you know what I mean?

JB: I see horses, ravens and eagles out my window. I live in a horse pasture at the base of the Rocky Mountains in the hinterlands of the American West. So I do, in fact, know what you’re talking about.

MH: Well, there you go. I see a motorway.

JB: That’s why I think these ideas are powerful. Because we are living bifurcated existences. We have our online existence and our real world existence, and there are more and more enticements, these days, to pull people out of meat-space and into ones and zeroes.

You alluded earlier to wanting to figure out what the hell is going on. That’s what drives contemporary art, at its best, is the desire to figure out what the fuck is going on out there. With a concomitant desire to find a form for that content that makes sense in the now, and is relevant, as opposed to a form that feels antiquated.

MH: I agree. Having said that, I think, in some ways, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. When I compare myself to net artists, they’re like Spacemen, and I’m still trying to get a plane off the ground.

Some of these guys, I don’t even understand what they’re talking about. They’re doing all sorts of crazy shit.

When I question myself, which, obviously, I do a lot, I wonder what I’m doing printing pictures out and putting them on a wall. That’s kind of a nostalgic project.

But at the same time, you’ve got all these museums and institutions that have walls that need to be filled, and people do go and see them, so you think, “Maybe that way of doing things still has legs.” It’s still an effective way to show pictures.

JB: Listen, we’ve definitely got to wrap this up. But just before we began our chat, I saw something on Twitter, and I thought it would be fun to get your reaction to it.

MH: Go ahead.

JB: Somebody submitted a potential app to the Apple app store, that was an anthropomorphic vagina that taught women how to masturbate. Someone made a cartoon, almost anime-style app, to teach women how to understand their own private parts. Apple rejected it, and said, “No thank you.”

MH: (reading) Female masturbation, there’s an app for that. Happy Playtime.

JB: There it is.

MH: Well, I’ve got a two-year-old daughter, not that it’s going to be related to this …

JB: Hey now.

MH: But whenever she sees my partner and I on our iPhones or iPads – which is often – it breaks my heart. It feels like she’s caught me with a needle in my arm. I find myself carrying my phone, and it’s more a part of me now than a phone or an object has ever been. These things are so addictive, they’re designed so that you’ll be absolutely be glued to them. You have to go to rehab just to rid them from your life.

They remind me of Pringles. Do you know Pringles?

JB: I do.

MH: I’m pretty sure they lace Pringles with powdered smack. Once you pop you’re fucked.

JB: I have a friend who worked for one of the chemical flavor companies for a couple of decades, so I have no doubt they jimmy-rig that shit. For sure.

MH: So you’re asking me what I make of this app? I’m surprised it’s only coming out now.

51 US Outposts - Ascension Auxiliary Airfield- Ascension Island, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 Military US Outposts – Ascension Auxiliary Airfield- Ascension Island, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Outposts - Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Military Outposts – Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Outposts - Diego Garcia Indian Ocean, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Military Outposts – Diego Garcia Indian Ocean, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Outposts - Camp Lemonnier- Djibouti, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Military Outposts – Camp Lemonnier- Djibouti, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Outposts - Camp Adder- Nasiriyah- Iraq, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Military Outposts – Camp Adder- Nasiriyah- Iraq, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Outposts - Menwith Hill- UK, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

51 US Military Outposts – Menwith Hill- UK, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Evan Lane

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 9:45am

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Evan Lane. He is a fantastic photographer that can work in any environment. He is really professional, flexible and has a great attitude. He and his crew are a pleasure to work with.

Part of a personal series called Ambien. Those late night moments that feel like a waking dream. Los Angeles CA, 2014

Part of a personal series called Ambien. Those late night moments that feel like a waking dream.
Los Angeles CA, 2014

The beautiful Heather. I have shot her with long hair and with short hair and I’d shoot her any which way.

The beautiful Heather. I have shot her with long hair and with short hair and I’d shoot her any which way.

Calisthenics, with my friend Chelsea

Calisthenics, with my friend Chelsea

And I also love capturing those in between moments, the subject never thinks you are going to use.

And I also love capturing those in between moments, the subject never thinks you are going to use.

Nighttime conjures magic.

Nighttime conjures magic.

Best shots are the ones where they never even knew you were there.

Best shots are the ones where they never even knew you were there.

From an editorial I shot last month for Bright Ideas Magazine.

From an editorial I shot last month for Bright Ideas Magazine.

From an editorial I shot last month for Bright Ideas Magazine.

From an editorial I shot last month for Bright Ideas Magazine.

This is from a Toyota Prius campaign I shot for Saatchi.

This is from a Toyota Prius campaign I shot for Saatchi.

True love in Lake Havasu.

True love in Lake Havasu.

Lake Havasu, Arizona, 2014

Lake Havasu, Arizona, 2014

Lake Havasu, Arizona, 2014

Lake Havasu, Arizona, 2014

This is another one from the Toyota Prius campaign I shot for Saatchi.

This is another one from the Toyota Prius campaign I shot for Saatchi.

Set still from a music video for Artist, Emily Sundblad

Set still from a music video for Artist, Emily Sundblad

Artist, Emily Sundblad

Artist, Emily Sundblad

This tortoise was just chilling in the middle of the desert during my editorial shoot for Bright Ideas Magazine.

This tortoise was just chilling in the middle of the desert during my editorial shoot for Bright Ideas Magazine.

This is a print ad for the company I started, Langly Camera Bags. www.langly.co

This is a print ad for the company I started, Langly Camera Bags. www.langly.co

How many years have you been in business?
I have been shooting about 4 years professionally.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to Emerson College for film. Photography was self-taught out of necessity for instant gratification. Filmmaking is such a lengthy and layered process from start to finish.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I’d say it was a culmination of things. After my parents split when I was 4, my mom dated artists and scientists. These people influenced and strengthened my natural curiosity. My dad was a film editor and taught me how to be frame accurate. My grandparents exposed me to cultural experiences and would take me to tons of galleries and museums. From those experiences I was able to learn how to form my own subjectivity for art, the composition, textures, color palates and subject matter. I think narrative film has had a huge impact on the way I approach photography and see it as another form of story telling.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I will never stop leaning or evolving as an artist and foremost as a human being. I think it is important to stay excited about what interests me. On many levels I am a documentarian and I approach photography as a window into my life.   I think I get hired for this unique perspective as result.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I think it just depends on the client. A lot of the times there are really pragmatic reasons for a client to intervene, the nature of a forcing ideas for practical reasons can definitely cause the final product to deviate from the personal vision they hired you for to begin with.

I think it just depends on the client. A lot of the times there are really pragmatic reasons for a client to intervene, the nature of a forcing ideas for practical reasons can definitely cause the final product to deviate from the personal vision they hired you for. I personally like the challenge of thinking outside of the box, inside of a box.
 
Other clients have less pressure from a large chain of command and hand over the reins. Those are usually the best shoots because the best relationships are ones built on trust. They want what they saw in your portfolio.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Of course there is the conventional way of getting out there, meeting art buyers and showing my book. I think it’s all about continually shooting new work, paid or not and then pushing that through social media. I have met a bunch of art buyers and art directors through Instagram. It’s a live-streamed portfolio that people are selectively subscribing to. It allows me to see how people react to my photos in an instant and on an almost subconscious level.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
If you stay true to your own personal vision, the ones who notice you are the ones who understand your work and see a place for it. You don’t find your audience, your audience finds you.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I am always shooting for myself.

How often are you shooting new work?
2-3 days a week and I always have my camera on me.

——————

The work of LA-based photographer, Evan Lane, is unapologetically honest. His photography takes the form of a visual diary, documenting organic and relatable moments. The photos maintain that inherent effortlessness – breaths of life on pause. In 2012, Evan launched Langly to bridge the fashion and functionality of camera bags. Today, Langly can be seen on photographers on 5 continents and Evan can still be found on the road chasing down shots. If you need to get a hold of him, contact Dara at I Heart Reps.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – The New York Times Magazine: Dylan Coulter

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 9:31am
   -2-4 -1
-5
-3

The New York Times Magazine

Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Associate Photo Editor: Clinton Cargill
Art Director: Gail Bichler
Designer: Raul Aguila
Photographer: Dylan Coulter

Heidi: Had you worked with the New York Times Magazine before?
Dylan: This was my first commission for NYT Magazine. I’ve been sending emails promos to the photo department for a couple years and in the last year Director of Photography Kathy Ryan had responded to several of them with kind words. With that said, it was an unexpected call when Clinton Cargill, Associate Photo Editor, called and asked if I’d like to photography and direct videos of the world’s best soccer players.
Congratulations. What work did you submit prior to being awarded the assignment? Along with print, did you send motion work?
I’m not certain if there was one thing that lead to the assignment but, the first email promo responded to was a multiple exposure image of professional baseball pitcher R.A. Dickey that I shot for The New Yorker and, also, a larger project for ESPN The Magazine entitled “Anatomy of a Pitch,” that consisted of both photographer and video.
   -2                                              Brad Ziegler, sinker pitch ESPN Magazine                                                                  -1                                               R. A. Dickey: New Yorker Magazine                                                                                              
When you say Kathy Ryan was supportive, can you explain that a bit more?
I’ve always had enormous respect for Kathy, but hadn’t met her before this project. From afar, it’s always been clear to me that she has a tremendous eye and, of course, a reputation for commissioning immensely talented photographers. To actually work with her was a dream come true. She has a strong sense of vision from the magazine’s perspective, but also was an incredible advocate for my creative ideas as well. She was supportive at every step and had valuable insights along the way.
Where you afraid you were going to fail?
From the moment I was given the assignment there was a lot to do, so I didn’t have much idle time to contemplate a bad result. With that said, I was definitely  aware of the incredible forum that is NYT Magazine and I wanted to create something really good. The magazine did too, so that was always the driving factor and pushed me throughout the project, from developing treatments, to when I had the athletes on set, to whom I collaborated with at all  stages. Clinton and Kathy were instrumental in not letting failure be an option in so many ways. One key area, was by not taking no for an answer when it was unclear whether some of the athletes would be available to us.
Tell us about the idea development/execution for this shoot.
The goal of the project was to both photograph and create short films of the world’s best soccer players. We would travel to them, take portraits, create multiple exposure photographs of a particular skill each player is known for and make a short film about each athlete. The overarching idea was to focus on the athletic prowess and physicality of each athlete and capture that in an unexpected way.
You were awarded the grand prize assignment: The cover, the inside feature, video, a dedicated issue, international coverage. How did you deal with that type of pressure?
First and foremost, when I found out, I remember feeling excitement. It was a massive opportunity. I also felt incredibly fortunate to have been chosen for the commission. Also, frankly, some pride, in the sense, that the hard work up until that point was being recognized. I think most photographers in an unguarded moment, or perhaps even in a guarded one, would admit that a photography career can be a bit of roller coaster ride. This commission was a marker of sorts, that I was indeed on the right path. It’s not always easy to have perspective when you putting one foot in front of the next each day. All of those feelings though quickly settled, with the exception of being excited – that remained present throughout – and I started work on it like any other project.
This being a package assignment and not about one specific element, how did you approach the idea as a whole?  The covers where white, the inside pages where black, how did those concepts evolve?
Kathy and Clinton were interested in creating motion studies – multiple exposures images for the printed magazine and employing slow motion video. So that was initial framing that I started to concept from. I wanted to pare down everything, so the focus was on the beauty and skill of each athlete’s action. We took away everything that wasn’t necessary. I used black as the background for both the multiple exposures and the videos to bring the viewer immediately to the subject. Everyone was to be dressed in their national team jersey – fabulously bright colors. The ball we used was simple, all white and purposely pedestrian looking. Our lighting was a hard source and spare. For the video I had each athlete emerge for darkness to enhance the drama. The slow motion aspect, in the way we employed it, ran counter to how sports is typically portrayed. It encouraged the viewer to look at one single action and admire the masterful skill being performed. This was further enhanced by using a single take, no cuts for each video. Jake Silverstein, Editor-in-Chief, Kathy and Clinton, deserve enormous credit for encouraging this direction. The covers were intended as a contrast to the inside pages and were shot on white.
I know you had planned to have about 3 hrs with each athlete. At what point in the process did you discover you only had 8.5 minutes with Leo Messi? Where you able to  execute the more time consuming idea with other players?
Our initial creative direction – for the photography and film was based on having 2 to 3 hours with each athlete. That was the initial ask. Fairly early in the process, it became clear to Clinton Cargill, who was the primary photo editor and producer, we weren’t going to have that kind of time with the athletes. Everyone we were shooting plays in Europe and when we started the project, they were just getting into the playoffs. That was quickly to be followed by all of the athletes heading directly to their respective national teams in preparation for World Cup. With that said, we didn’t realize how little time we would have until just before each shoot. And that’s after we were told on several occasions that certain players were not available whatsoever! Clinton, to his credit, would not take no for an answer. In the end, we had between 8 and a half minutes and 25 minutes with each player. We had Leo Messi on set for the shortest amount of time. With the brief amount of time we had, we were able to stay true to our original creative direction, but had to be as efficient as possible. I didn’t want to waste a second of time and that was reflected in the choices we made in terms of shot list order, equipment and crew. My hats are off to the crew, many of which I was working with for the first time (all our shoots were in Spain). They were professional and extremely talented. My digital tech Andrew Katzowitz traveled with me from New York and my DP, Edward Gibbs traveled from London, everyone else was based in Spain.
I worked on the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine.  Imagery for news journalism is very different from imagery for consumer magazines.  Image manipulation is not a option. Period. How if at all did this alter you project and your ideas about your own work?
I’ve always believed that less is more in regards to retouching and prefer images to look natural and real, but flattering. Working with the NYT Magazine though was a new experience in this regard and frankly, took some getting use to. Retouching, in a traditional sense is not allowed. In the end, though, it’s was a great exercise in letting go and embracing more imperfection than I’m use to. Essentially being ok with fly away hairs and wardrobe wrinkles.
Because you are reporting for Times Magazine and documenting the athleticism of these players, am I correct in assuming these were all captured in one take? I see the multiple exposures were credited as photo illustration, was that a different type of credit for you?
The portraits were all single frames. The short films are comprised of a single take. The multiple exposures, though, were a composite of different takes and for that reason they were labeled “photo illustrations” as the NYT photography guidelines mandate. This was the first time that I’ve been credited in that way. Which is fine, I do think of the multiple exposures as being as much art as science. Purposely so. They’re technically an evolution of a film based multiple exposure. The technique is to capture each moment as a single photograph and then composite all of the frames together in post production. I work closely with my retoucher, Alex Verhave, to decide which frames to emphasize, through greater opacity, and which layers to de-emphasize, through more transparency. That helps create a visual hierarchy that leads the viewer through the image. In many way, it’s more important what you leave out as what you choose to include.
Where the athletes shot all in the same location? If not what were the logistics like?
There were three shoots. Cristiano Ronaldo was shot in Madrid. Neymar Jr. and Andrés Iniesta were shot in Barcelona. Leo Messi was shot in Barcelona as well, several days after Neymar and Iniesta.
Because you were short on time, what were your interactions like with the players?  Any language barriers?
I think it’s really important to have a conversation with the subject on a general level and, also, explain what it is I’m after creatively. It used to surprise me, although I’m accustomed to it now, but a lot of athletes and personalities arrive to set having no idea what the concept is. I’ve always felt that involving the subject and having them take ownership is always more fruitful. With all that said, our time was so short and there was language issues. Cristiano Ronaldo speaks English well, so we could communicate easily. The other guys spoke just a bit of English. I speak a touch of Spanish, so we were able to general understand each other. There was always a translator on set, so he’d help convey whatever was not clear.
How did your former career as an advertising art director come into play with the video component?
It was tremendously helpful. Having started my career as an art director, I learned how to concept, storyboard and have a basic understanding of the production process. That said, for the video portion of this project I relied on the kindness and skill of others. Alexis Stember’s expertise was invaluable. She was my post production coordinator and advised on the production portion also. My cinematographer, Edward Gibbs, and editor, Georgia Dodson were essential. Many more people as well. This is an obvious statement, but video is such a collaborative medium. For this project it required the talent of many.
What was your inspiration for the music direction and where was it sourced?
I wanted the music to be unexpected and compliment the spare nature of the visual. During the video process, Georgia, Alexis and I kept discussing and both Philip Glass and Nine Inch Nails. And somewhat odd pairing, but that was the reference that I discussed with Will Bates of Fall On Your Sword who composed the music, Keith Reynaud who did the sound design and later Cory Melious who did the mix. Specifically, each piece needed something different in terms of tempo and emphasis, but we wanted them to family well together.

Where you afraid Neymar was going to hit you with the ball in the video?
Ha, no. I was actually hoping he would! Not the camera, but the plexi glass that was in front of the camera. In a couple of the early takes the ball was leaving frame too soon, so I asked Neymar to try and hit the camera. At first, he didn’t believe me, but once he understood I was serious, I think it engaged him even more. He seemed to like the challenge and maybe the mischievousness of it as well.

What did this assignment teach you and how did it further develop your skills as a photographer?
In many ways I’m glad this commission happened at this point in my career, 12 years in, and not earlier. At one point or another I drew upon most, if not all, I’ve learned along the way. More than anything it reminded me of the importance of grace under pressure. It truly was a dream assignment for a magazine I greatly admire shooting enormously famous personalities in a very short period of time. Sometimes the most important thing to remember was just to take a moment and breathe deeply!

Best advice for anyone starting out?
Certainly there is no one way, but I’d say first pursue a liberal arts education. There are so many more aspects to being a photographer than taking a picture, so it’s important to be able to express your ideas through writing and discussion. And then, I’d say, find photographers who’s work you admire and work for them, gain technical knowledge and insight into the business side of things, production – essentially all the aspects that go into a shoot. Always take photos, even if you’re working for someone else, make the time. With all that said, I didn’t do it this way. I went to school for art direction and ventured down that path first, then decided later on to somewhat blindly jump into photography. So, there’s many ways to get going, but that’s my advice for someone starting from scratch.

 

 

 

-2                                               Cristiano Ronaldo, “Quick Feet,  Slowed Down”

for Cristiano video click here

 

 

-1                                              Andrés Iniesta, “Quick Feet,  Slowed Down”

for Andrés video click here

 

-3                                              Neymar Junior, “Quick Feet,  Slowed Down”

for Neymar video click here

  -1                                              video credits

 

 

 

Categories: Business

Mishka Henner Interview – Part 1

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 9:44am

Mishka Henner is an artist based in Manchester, England. He’s been shortlisted for the Prix Pictet and Deutsche Borse Prizes, and was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for Art in 2013. His work is currently being exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a solo show recently closed at Carroll/Fletcher in London.

Levelland and Slaughter Oil Field, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

Levelland and Slaughter Oil Field, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

OIL FIELDS - Cedar Point Oil Field- Harris County- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

OIL FIELDS – Cedar Point Oil Field- Harris County- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

OIL FIELDS - Levelland Oil - Gas Field- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

OIL FIELDS – Levelland Oil – Gas Field- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

OIL FIELDS - Natural Butte Oil Field- Utah, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

OIL FIELDS – Natural Butte Oil Field- Utah, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

OIL FIELDS - Wasson Oil - Gas Field- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

OIL FIELDS – Wasson Oil – Gas Field- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

Jonathan Blaustein: You probably don’t know this, but we were both nominated this round of the Prix Pictet prize. For “Consumption.”

Mishka Henner: Okay, right.

JB: I’m going to have a picture in the book. But you were chosen for the short-list. And you will be exhibiting your work at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, yes?

MH: Yes.

JB: I’ve been thinking about it a bit, and since you were short-listed and I wasn’t, I’ve come to believe that it makes you a superior human being to me.

MH: (laughing.) Clearly. Yeah. Although you’ve probably got a better paid job. But go on.

JB: You agree? We can go there?

MH: That I’m superior?

JB: Yeah. To me.

MH: It’s obvious. If I made the short list then you’re a loser. Although come next Wednesday, I may well be the loser. The question is, will I be the bigger loser because it will be on a bigger stage, or a smaller loser?

JB: Nobody even knew that I had been nominated and failed, until now.

MH: (laughing.)

JB: Here’s the way I look at it. I’m prepared to stipulate that you are superior to me, as a human being, and an artist, but your humiliation will likely be larger than mine. Which was heretofore in private. What do you say?

MH: (laughing.) Yeah, I think that’s absolutely right.

JB: Good. I thought we could establish that right away, so that you could realize “Holy Shit. He’s telling the truth. This isn’t a regular interview.”

MH: Yeah, okay. That’s fine.

JB: Good. We’re there now. Well, first of all, good luck. When I saw that Boris Mikhailov and Rineke Dijkstra were on that list, I felt OK about not making it. That’s the big leagues, bro.

MH: I know, I’m well aware of that.

JB: Your ascent seems to have been somewhat rapid, in that you were short listed for the Deutsche Borse prize, and got the ICP Infinity Award. Now the Prix Pictet. How did you get on this many radar screens this quickly?

MH: Fuck, I don’t know. The Internet?

JB: There it is.

MH: I’ve gone viral, I’ve given everyone a virus.

JB: (laughing.) Did you? Go viral?

MH: Well, yeah. I’ve never had a publisher, and I only started working with galleries in the last six months.

JB: Get out. Six months?

MH: Yeah, up to that point, all I’d been doing is print-on-demand books. Books that have maybe sold ten or twenty copies. Those books had a greater life online than as physical books, that’s for sure and a few of them went viral. I did a project called “No Man’s Land,” where I photographed sex workers across Southern Europe using Google Street View.

JB: Right.

MH: That was a print-on-demand book, and I made a just single copy of the book. The pdf was available online and it drew some controversy. A sex worker on the West Coast wrote about it and she was quite positive, but then a load of feminist sex workers on the West Coast basically went ape shit, trying to get the book banned, writing letters to the print-on-demand company.

I had to defend myself to the company’s lawyers and I guess I succeeded because they let me get on with it. After that I sold about 60 books and decided to bring out a second volume.

When the dust had settled I’d sold a few hundred books and “No Man’s Land” was short listed for the Deutsche Borse prize. It’s also the project that was nominated for this Prix Pictet but I didn’t submit it because I was tired of it. I’d been working on the “Beef and Oil” series and thought it would be more interesting to enter that. Nobody had really seen that work properly so I thought it would be interesting to launch it through a prize like that.

JB: You took a risk?

MH: I’d been nominated with “No Man’s Land” for the Prix Pictet for the Power theme two years ago, and didn’t get anywhere with it then. So the risk was that nobody would ever hear about it. Which was fine.

JB: I know how that feels.

MH: (laughing.)

JB: Hey, I made the book. You’ll see it. I’m not a total loser, just mostly a loser.

MH: A mere footnote.

JB: (laughing.) I’ll take that. But just tucking back, when you said the West Coast, you meant the West Coast of the United States?

MH: Yes. But most of the exposure I’ve had has been in the US anyway. In Europe, I’ve had some exposure, and the work has done well, but really, my work’s flying in America. That’s where people are taking notice of the work most and are buying it. The picture editors at the New York Times were my earliest supporters.

I’ve hardly sold any work in Europe.

JB: You guys are bankrupt as a Continent, essentially?

MH: Yeah. But people just don’t buy art here the way they do in the US. Maybe it’s to do with tax breaks, or something else. I don’t know.

There always seems to be something going on in the US about buying art, as opposed to Europe.

JB: You probably could have just stopped that sentence at buying. Right? We’re talking about “Consumption,” and my peeps have sort of perfected the idiosyncrasies of Capitalism. We Americans are proud of it.

MH: Yeah. You’ve done pretty well at it.

JB: And you guys don’t have a lot of disposable income. Even your football clubs are bought by other people. Come on. You’re in fucking Manchester.

Some Americans and some oil sheiks own your shit. You have to know this.

MH: I’m with the oil sheiks.

JB: Of course you are.

MH: That’s right.

JB: Two titles out of three. You’re with the winners. (ed note: Manchester City.)

MH: Look, the biggest photo museum in England has an acquisition budget of £12,000 a year, which is about $20,000. That might just about pay for a cleaner in a US museum. No disrespect to cleaners but that’s doesn’t offer much hope to artists.

JB: It would pay for one square inch of a Gursky.

MH: Exactly. I think that tells you something about the market here.

JB: We went right to the market. But “Consumption,” is the theme for this year’s prize. But we went right to the commodification aspect of Consumption. I’ve spent a bit of time in England in the last couple of years, and went to quite a few museums, which are free. The consumption of art that I saw in London was mind-boggling.

Families and kids and babies and grandmas. Anecdotally, I thought the consumption of art, with your eyes, was much more impressive than I have seen in American major cities.

MH: It’s possible. I think there’s a real hunger for it here, absolutely. And the market for that probably isn’t as developed as it is in the US. I think there are different reasons to do with tax laws, as I said. There are incentives for buying art that probably don’t exist in Britain or Europe.

But listen, I haven’t got a clue. We’re talking about things here that are way out of my league.

JB: I mean viewing. Looking. You must go to London a lot. Do you not notice the hordes that are there to absorb ideas?

MH: Yeah, but maybe we’re talking about different things. It’s true online as well. There’s a voracious appetite for new stuff to look at. It’s a bit like the Tumblr culture, where you’re looking at a waterfall of great stuff. Great imagery, great music. And we absorb it quickly.

We consume it super-fast, and spit it out just as quick. That’s as true in the art galleries as it is online. But as an artist, when it comes to the actual material fact of making a living by selling work, that’s quite different, I think.

Which is more what I was talking about before. We can talk about that other aspect of consuming data, or culture, if you like.

JB: I like to talk about all of it. I was just pointing out the natural way we gravitated. Of course, selling objects is a necessity, if you’re trying to make a living that way.

In America, we have so many more people, and so many more artists, that I think a very, very, very small percentage of contemporary artists even attempt to make their living exclusively through sales.

MH: Sure.

JB: Almost everyone, including the big dogs at Yale, is teaching, or running workshops, or writing. I call it the 21st Century Hustle, because almost everyone has to hustle over here. We don’t have the social service infrastructure that exists in Europe.

I personally live in the Wild West, but I think America is that way. Fend for yourself.

I like to think of the various strands of the process. Why we create? How we create? What we create? And then the market forces are a separate concern. The business and creative concerns rarely come from the same place.

MH: That’s right, and it’s why I’m a bit out of my comfort zone talking about the business side of it. Because I don’t have much experience at that.

In terms of the creation stuff, what was interesting to me about the Oil Fields, especially, is the lineage from John Paul Getty II to Mark Getty. The former was this huge oil baron. He was once asked for the secret to his success and replied, “Rise early. Work hard. Strike oil.”

And Mark Getty, his grandson or great-grandson, is the founder of Getty images. He was once asked why he gravitated towards images as a commodity and said, “Intellectual property will be the oil of the 21st Century.” Or something like that. You should look it up. Anyway, I love that transition from oil to images.

That’s why I became obsessed with oil fields and the idea of even looking for oil fields. In effect, if you think of the world now as a single image that’s been photographed from every angle, from satellites to street view cameras…

JB: Planet Earth is now Picasso’s guitar.

MH: Yeah, it’s an assemblage of images. I like the idea that all this stuff is there, but because there’s so much of it, we can’t see it. Finding the valuable stuff is as difficult as finding oil. When a plane like MH370 goes missing the first place we look is at the satellite imagery because the images of the plane are probably already out there. But just like the ocean is unfathomable, so is the quantity of imagery. We just don’t have the capacity to study it all.

Now, what happened with the feed lots, for me, was fascinating because that’s the work that really went viral in the US. Feed lots are generally remote, in the middle of nowhere and Americans had never really seen them before.

JB: How much time have you spent on the ground in America while you were making this work?

MH: None.

JB: None?

MH: I visited California with friends three months ago for ten days, but that was to see “Spiral Jetty,” Nancy Holt’s “Sun Tunnels”, and Michael Heizer’s “Double Negative.” It was more of a pilgrimage. But apart from that, none.

JB: On I-5, the highway that connects San Francisco and LA, there are strings of these feed lots, right along the highway. You can smell them about ten minutes before you see them, and that stench will carry on for about ten minutes after you’ve left.

So the Californians are familiar with it. It’s not only tucked away in Kansas.

MH: I spent a lot of time looking at California because there are hundreds of feed lots there, but the key ones that struck me were generally in Texas and Kansas because of their size.

Feed lots are pretty much all the same. There are thousands of cattle, you’ve got silos that mix the grain, tracks that allow the trucks to pass up and down dispensing the feed. And then you’ve got these huge lagoons of piss and shit. That’s pretty much a feed lot. I looked at thousands of them. After a while, you start to wonder how big the series should be and I eventually whittled them down to seven key pictures.

The main one is the one with the huge red pool in the middle of it. The one that looks like a cross-section of a brain.

JB: I just want to say lagoons of piss and shit out loud, because it’s such a great phrase. Now I’ve done it.

MH: (laughing) Well, that’s what they are. People ask, “What’s that?” And I don’t know how to say it really, other than to use those words. Piss and shit is what it is. Hundreds of tonnes of it.

JB: Sure. I’m not mocking you. I’m honest. It’s fun to say stuff like that every now and again.

What do you hope the impact will be on your viewer, when they look at these pictures? What do you want people to think, when they see the picture, read the words, and understand what they’re looking at?

MH: I first came across the feed lots when working on the oil fields. I’d come across the structures and didn’t know what they were. When I started to research them, I was amazed these things existed and would ask myself, “How have we gotten to this point?” The feed lots represent an end point of Capitalism to me. You wonder how much further we can go with it before we destroy ourselves.

But I’ve never seen the feed lots as being just about the cattle in the pens. This is literally a system for living and dying, and I think that system exists beyond the feed lot. It’s a system that our societies, Britain and the US, are aspiring to. The feed lot is almost a dream system. It’s not my dream, it’s my nightmare. But it’s this idea that every sinew of a living animal should be drained dry of productive value. You know what I mean?

JB: I do. They’re concentration camps for cows, really.

MH: With a lot of my projects, the more I spend time working on them, if I think it’s good work, my ideas about it change quite dramatically. From the beginning of the feed lot project, it went from a very practical understanding of what these things were to me thinking that these were systems for living and dying that exist all around us. That we’re actually part of and involved in.

JB: What do you mean by that? That’s an abstract statement.

MH: Well, if you think of yourself as a journalist…are you a freelancer?

JB: I’m a writer, a teacher, and a freelancer writer. I write for this publication, A Photo Editor, every week, so it’s very consistent. And I do a little work for the New York Times.

I’m the person I described before. I’m a little bit of everything, out of necessity.

MH: You might disagree with this but being freelancers we’re trying to make the most of the skills that we’ve got, wherever we can apply them. We’re atomized, in a sense. Our identities are reduced to these productive units.

In England, for example, there’s a lot of discussion about the welfare state. People who work, and people who don’t work. It’s very polarized; ideas of who is worth something in society.

The people who are worth something, generally, are those that are working and productive. The rest are basically draining our resources. They’re a waste of time and space.

It’s an extreme idea for me; an extreme view of life. The idea that every one of us has to be absolutely drained dry. Generally serving someone else’s profit, right?

JB: Yes. Of course.

MH: Taking it back to the feed lot, it’s a perfect demonstration of that. Every single animal in the feed lot, it’s entire life is devoted to serving a single purpose.

Being someone else’s dinner and providing maximal return on someone else’s investment. You can see that way of thinking happening in Britain. It’s less extreme than in the US, but in Britain you can see that thinking applied to the health service. Or to education.

I should probably say I didn’t come from an art background. I never studied art, other than informally. My education was Sociology and Cultural Studies.

In Cultural Studies especially, there’s this idea that you can take a 3 minute Pop song, and in deconstructing and analyzing it, you have the code of the culture. There is a structure, and a code and a language within it that informs how culture works.

I think that’s true of images as well, that maybe there is something locked in the idea of the feed lot, and in these images of feed lots, that stand for something much bigger about the society we’re in.

JB: That’s what we hope to do, when we pick our symbols. Visual Art is about creating symbol sets that speak to larger issues. When you’re good and lucky combined, you might hit on a style of language that makes sense to people.

That was why I was asking what you wanted the viewer to get out if it. It’s clearly very powerful. There’s a lot of solid intellectual underpinning to the interconnection of oil and corn and cows. It’s been sifted through quite a bit, over here in the States.

But your pictures, by combining Internet, Satellite, Surveillance, and then these particular symbols, I think they make it easier for people to comprehend what’s actually going on.

I imagine that’s your goal?

MH: I’m not into artists who lecture, who present their work and accompany it with a lecture about what their intentions and motivations were. Or their research. So I’m reluctant to talk about that and try to keep that out of it.

Obviously I’m talking a lot now and probably saying more than I’d like to, but whenever my work’s presented, I try to say as little about it as I can. There’s the work and then there’s everything else. If I want anything it’s for people who come across the work to really examine it, to figure out for themselves what they’re looking at, and to reach their own conclusions about what’s going on.

I didn’t know, for example, that it was illegal to photograph feed lots, in a lot of US States, because of the Ag Gag laws. So I love the idea that someone who’s confronted with these images is seeing something that has been censored from them. Kept away from them. And all I’m doing is exploiting a loophole, which is that the satellites have already photographed it, and the imagery is out there.

I’m not a vegetarian. So it’s not like I have a very clear goal that I want people to become vegetarian.

JB: Did you decrease your consumption of cows, subsequent to the project?

MH: Yeah. When I was in America, I couldn’t eat beef, because of all the stuff I’d read and seen about it. Most of the beef in the US comes from feed lots so having worked on them and meditated on them for so long, I couldn’t eat it. But I ate chicken. And I imagine the production of chicken’s not much better either. But I didn’t see it, whereas this I could see.

Maybe that’s something: this idea that I’m trying to make something visible that is very difficult to visualize, even if it’s just to help me get to my head around it. But once you do, it can really affect you. That was my idea with the “Oil Fields” as well. On the ground, it’s very difficult to get a sense of the scale of them. But when you go 500 miles up, you can see the scale of them. That was quite shocking to me.

It affected me, and I assumed it would affect others who saw the prints as well. But that’s not something I can really control.

Some journalists have called me an “activist,” but I don’t think of myself as that at all. I think it’s almost disrespectful to activists. I’m an artist and there’s a big difference between the two. I’m not out to persuade anyone or to win an argument.

JB: I can relate to a lot of what you’re discussing. My work went viral when the NYT published it, and it deals with many of these issues. I’ve photographed cows from the pasture to the plate, and then ate them raw.

MH: Really?

JB: Yeah. I photographed a cow being skinned 10 seconds after it was killed from three feet away, with a 50mm lens.

MH: Jesus.

JB: The project that was nominated for the Prix Pictet I did was called “The Value of a Dollar,” and I bought all these food objects, and measured them out, and presented them as is, so it was a reduction of animals as commodity. Comparing the relative value of a handfull of organic blueberries versus a hunk of beef shank that was just a cow leg that someone slapped on a jigsaw and deconstructed.

MH: Yeah, yeah. I’ll look it up.

JB: It just helps give perspective into why I’m so excited about what you did. Your pictures have a palpable ability to impact peoples’ consciousness.

Many artists don’t want to be called “political.” But if your work doesn’t have any sort of political undertone, then you’re not really saying anything.

I’m very interested in how you think of these things.

MH: Well, if you dig really deep down there’s my outrage. I’m pretty outraged about the stuff I see around me. I have strong reactions to it all. And I try to articulate that in such a way that isn’t a rant. If you look at the other work in the Prix Pictet, this is probably the loudest. I think of the image with the red lagoon, and it’s almost like Munch’s scream. Only it’s my scream.

JB: Right.

MH: It’s like a gunshot wound. Or a decapitation. It’s pretty horrific. It’s a pretty strong articulation of my outrage. I really liked what Ed Ruscha said once, that all he wanted to do was photograph the facts. He just wanted to see if it was possible, with his gasoline stations and parking lots and all the rest of it.

JB: Of course.

MH: He wanted to photograph them as facts. I know that’s not fashionable, and there’s been 40 years of photographic critical theory that’s gone against the idea that photographs can in any way be factual, but I like that.

That’s why I love appropriation. It’s using what’s already there. Reframing it changes everything and that can be enough.

FEEDLOTS - Black Diamond Feeders Inc- Air Base- Herington- Kansas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

FEEDLOTS – Black Diamond Feeders Inc- Air Base- Herington- Kansas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

FEEDLOTS - Centerfire Feedyard- Ulysses- Kansas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

FEEDLOTS – Centerfire Feedyard- Ulysses- Kansas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

FEEDLOTS - Friona Feedyard- Friona- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

FEEDLOTS – Friona Feedyard- Friona- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

FEEDLOTS - Randall County Feedyard- Amarillo- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

FEEDLOTS – Randall County Feedyard- Amarillo- Texas, Courtesy of Carroll/Fletcher

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Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Kris Davidson

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 9:43am

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Kris Davidson as one of our art directors really like her and she seems so great.

Returning to Sweden (my homeland), I spent 5 days traveling with migrating reindeer. It was very cold – but cathartic and utterly magical. In this image I was drawn to how the reindeer antlers resembled braches of the distant tree line.

Returning to Sweden (my homeland), I spent 5 days traveling with migrating reindeer. It was very cold – but cathartic and utterly magical. In this image I was drawn to how the reindeer antlers resembled braches of the distant tree line.

These two maniacs are in a “safe” naturally formed pocket at the top Victoria Falls in Zambia – near the Devil’s Pool. I still get dizzy just looking at this.

These two maniacs are in a “safe” naturally formed pocket at the top Victoria Falls in Zambia – near the Devil’s Pool. I still get dizzy just looking at this.

Sunrise somewhere in the Atlantic -- sailing with Semester At Sea as a staff photographer early on in photography career helped me build a beginning travel portfolio.

Sunrise somewhere in the Atlantic — sailing with Semester At Sea as a staff photographer early on in photography career helped me build a beginning travel portfolio.

On assignment for National Geographic Traveler in Key West – this wonderful mystic read my fortune as I photographed him – and he kept the details of my future to himself at my request!

On assignment for National Geographic Traveler in Key West – this wonderful mystic read my fortune as I photographed him – and he kept the details of my future to himself at my request!

Photographing Cochise County, Arizona for National Geographic Traveler has been one of my favorite assignments to date. Such a strange, wild place where history and the modern day converge. These cowboy actors relaxing in a saloon before their daily gun battle at the OK Corral in Tombstone.

Photographing Cochise County, Arizona for National Geographic Traveler has been one of my favorite assignments to date. Such a strange, wild place where history and the modern day converge. These cowboy actors relaxing in a saloon before their daily gun battle at the OK Corral in Tombstone.

I danced on the bayou with the inimitable “Wild Man” while on assignment for Lonely Planet Traveller in the Louisiana swamps.

I danced on the bayou with the inimitable “Wild Man” while on assignment for Lonely Planet Traveller in the Louisiana swamps.

The Cajun version of Mardi Gras (called Courier de Mardi Gras) is absolutely surreal. I found myself running after brightly dressed men (some on horseback) who were chasing after chickens (traditionally destined for communal gumbo) through miles of bayou wetlands.

The Cajun version of Mardi Gras (called Courier de Mardi Gras) is absolutely surreal. I found myself running after brightly dressed men (some on horseback) who were chasing after chickens (traditionally destined for communal gumbo) through miles of bayou wetlands.

In Key West again, for Lonely Planet Traveller. The egg and cheese sandwiches are delicious at the Cuban Coffee Queen.

In Key West again, for Lonely Planet Traveller. The egg and cheese sandwiches are delicious at the Cuban Coffee Queen.

This is the very first image I made for In the Southern Garden. Here is Walter in Glendora, Mississippi holding up an old Nat King Cole album titled “Love Is the Thing.”

This is the very first image I made for In the Southern Garden. Here is Walter in Glendora, Mississippi holding up an old Nat King Cole album titled “Love Is the Thing.”

Also for In the Southern Garden -- Swamp Thing is a street performer in the French Quarter.

Also for In the Southern Garden — Swamp Thing is a street performer in the French Quarter.

For my in-progress American Macondo project I am experimenting with mixed media – this is actually a photograph of a print that includes paint, pencil and gold specks. The image is a Mexican born US border patrol agent in what they refer to as “no man’s land.” Tijuana on the other side of the fence.

For my in-progress American Macondo project I am experimenting with mixed media – this is actually a photograph of a print that includes paint, pencil and gold specks. The image is a Mexican born US border patrol agent in what they refer to as “no man’s land.” Tijuana on the other side of the fence.

How many years have you been in business?
Full time, about 6 years – I gradually transitioned from a branding/marketing career into being a photographer and educator.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
After taking every single photography course at Loyola University in New Orleans I immediately enrolled at Brooks Institute for an MFA program. Beyond that, I feel compelled to credit the invaluable non-formal education I have received over the years as well – my career began in the San Francisco during the dot com boom in as a branding project manager. The time I spent learning how to dissect a brand was priceless. I owe a huge debt to my branding guides Renee Sheppard and Rita Damore. Also, photographer Catherine Karnow, who showed me how to really see people through a lens, demonstrating that it, is possible to make a living celebrating humanity.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Two people: Dr. Leslie Parr, a photography professor at Loyola University in New Orleans. She is a wonderful photo historian with a focus on the documentary genre. Her classes were always the most delightful refuge for me. Also, Michael Sustendal, a commercial photographer who I assisted during my college days in New Orleans. A Southerner to the core, he is the most entertaining storyteller I have ever met. I could listen to him talk all day! He remains a life mentor and dear friend.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
Honestly, I don’t think too much about ways to stay fresh. Maybe I should! In truth, I just indulge my own curiosity — I feel most alive when traveling and telling/interpreting stories (whether in a far away land or just down the street). Curiosity drives pretty much all the work I do, from commercial work (branding IS a form of story-telling, after all) to editorial travel assignments and my personal work. I have come to regard the camera as a magical key that allows me to open doors into worlds that I have no reason to be in otherwise.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I tend not to look at it that way. In my previous branding career incarnation I was privy to a topographical view of the branding landscape far before anyone ever paid me a dime to shoot a single frame. With my hands in everything from initial client meetings — including the occasional hellish moment of having to tell a new client that “their baby is ugly” as one of my first branding mentors wryly phrased it — to the end resolution/plan for moving a brand forward in a dynamic, collaborative way. The photography portion of a brand can be very important, but it is always a part of a larger effort. As such, I don’t view client pushback as a rejection of my own creativity — I view it as part of a larger conversation about an organic brand. My goal is to be creative — of course — but I always want to be in tune with how the rest of the brand is emerging and evolving. The collaboration itself is the creative challenge.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Well, I am a people-person! I try to meet with creatives with my printed portfolio whenever possible – there is nothing that compares to a beautiful printed portfolio and eye contact. Other than that, I don’t like being too heavy-handed. I send a small set of promos of current/new work out a few times a year, along with short, personal hand-written notes — although I wonder if that is a good idea since my handwriting is questionable. Beyond that, a clean, focused tightly-edited website is my primary marketing tool – I update it about ever year with the help of my marketing consultant. I also blog — I like to write with the intent of providing a deeper insight into my photographic approach and who I am as a person.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Be honest with yourself about what kind of work you really want to do (often easier said than done). Then, with that defined, make every effort to understand the business side the specific market you are interested in. It is not the sexiest area of study (and you may need to devise your own education here to some extent), but it is essential. The consumer, editorial, commercial and art markets are all unique, and nuanced within themselves. I personally find it very useful to partner with industry experts/consultants to help organize and present my work. Just like I have an accountant who does my taxes (thank god), I have a consultant who helps me manage my portfolios/marketing strategy, a printer who makes my prints and a bookbinder for my portfolio book exteriors. It is an investment, but worth it. For me it is a huge stress relief not to have shoulder the weight of all that work by myself.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes. Being an immigrant to the United States, my current personal projects explore what it means to become and be an American. There are so many varying interpretations. I am working on two separate projects that explore this question. Currently, I am focused on American Macondo, which looks at migration in the US/Mexico borderlands through a magical realism filter (I am interested in navigating a line between a documentary aesthetic and the often fictional/constructed landscape of memory). And, being based in New Orleans for the time being, I am also working on a project titled In the Southern Garden, which considers how individual identity and collective social memory continue to unfold in the American South in the wake of the Civil War.

How often are you shooting new work?
Commercial and editorial gigs — as often as they come! Beyond that, I am almost always working on a personal project in some capacity. But I am not someone who shoots every day or carries a camera everywhere. Rather, my process tends to involve a lot of pre-shoot thinking and cross-disciplinary reading/research for inspiration. Right now for my American Macondo project I am reading three very different books: Being America: Liberty, Commerce and Violence in an American World (by Jedediah Purdy); Thirteen Crime Stories from Latin America (A McSweeny short story collection); and St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (another collection of surrealist/magical short stories by Karen Russell). I also have a standing coffee date with a friend who is a Mexican economist and we just chat about art, Latin America and his impressions of the US. Later this year I’ll head back down to the borderlands to shoot – and see what transpires.

—————-

Kris Davidson is a freelance photographer and educator based in San Francisco and New Orleans. Her specialties include travel/lifestyle and portraiture for editorial, commercial and corporate clients. Kris has an MFA from Brooks Institute and a BA (Communication Arts) from Loyola University in New Orleans. Prior to becoming a photographer, Kris worked as a marketing/branding professional for 8 years.

As a photographer, Kris has worked with various clients including Lonely Planet Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, Travesías Magazine, The Discovery Channel, MTV Networks, The Institute for Shipboard Education, Kimpton Hotels to name a few. She has been recognized for her work in PDN Magazine, American Photo Magazine and in the International Photo Awards.

Kris is also faculty at the Academy of Art University based in San Francisco, teaching several courses online in the photography school; additionally, she also teaches for the National Geographic Expeditions Photography Workshops.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

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