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Former Photography Director Rob Haggart
Updated: 5 min 10 sec ago

US Forest Service Wild Land Photo Permit Kerfuffle

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 10:13am

If you want to comment on the “Directive for Commercial Filming in Wilderness; Special Uses Administration” that was widely reported to allow charging people $1500 to take photos on federal wild lands you can do so here (deadline extended to Dec. 3):

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/09/04/2014-21093/proposed-directive-for-commercial-filming-in-wilderness-special-uses-administration

I can’t make heads or tails of the directive pasted below but on Friday the Washington Post reported:

After receiving complaints about a proposal to require photographers to have a permit to shoot on federal wild lands, the U.S. Forest Service says it will make some changes to ensure it doesn’t violate First Amendment rights.

And that the news media and private individuals will not be asked to apply for a permit to take pictures.

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Directive for Commercial Filming in Wilderness; Special Uses Administration

This Notice document was issued by the Forest Service (FS)

Action

Notice of proposed directive; request for public comment.

Summary

The Forest Service proposes to incorporate interim directive (ID) 2709.11-2013.1 into Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 2709.11, chapter 40 to make permanent guidance for the evaluation of proposals for still photography and commercial filming on National Forest System Lands. The proposed amendment would address the establishment of consistent national criteria to evaluate requests for special use permits on National Forest System (NFS) lands. Specifically, this policy provides the criteria used to evaluate request for special use permits related to still photography and commercial filming in congressionally designated wilderness areas. Public comment is invited and will be considered in the development of the final directive.

Dates

Comments must be received in writing on or before November 3, 2014 to be assured of consideration.

Addresses

Submit comments electronically by following the instructions at the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulation.gov or submit comments via fax to 703-605-5131 or 703-605-5106. Please identify faxed comments by including “Commercial Filming in Wilderness” on the cover sheet or first page. Comments may also be submitted via mail to Commercial Filming in Wilderness, USDA, Forest Service, Attn: Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers (WWSR), 201 14th Street SW., Mailstop Code: 1124, Washington, DC 20250-1124. Email comments may be sent to: reply_lands@fs.fed.us. If comments are submitted electronically, duplicate comments should not be sent by mail. Hand-delivered comments will not be accepted and receipt of comments cannot be confirmed. Please restrict comments to issues pertinent to the proposed directive, explain the reasons for any recommended changes, and, where possible, reference the specific section and wording being addressed.

All comments, including names and addresses when provided, will be placed in the record and be made available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect the comments received at the USDA Forest Service Headquarters, Sidney R. Yates Federal Building, 201 14th Street SW., Washington, DC, in the Office of the Director, WWSR, 5th Floor South, during normal business hours. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead to 202-644-4862 to facilitate entry to the building.

For Further Information Contact

Elwood York, WWSR, at 202-649-1727.

Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

Supplementary Information

1. Background and Need for the Proposed Directive

The proposed directive is necessary for the Forest Service to issue and administer special use authorizations that will allow the public to use and occupy National Forest System (NFS) lands for still photography and commercial filming in wilderness. The proposed directive FSH 2709.11, chapter 40, is currently issued as the third consecutive interim directive (ID) which is set to expire in October 2014. The previous directive addressed still photography in wilderness and did not provide adequate guidance to review commercial filming in wilderness permit proposals. The notice and comments are collected and used by Forest Service officials, unless otherwise noted, to ensure the use of NFS lands are authorized, in the public interest, and compatible with the Agency’s mission and/or record authorization of use granted by appropriate Forest Service officials.

2. Overview of Proposed Directive, FSH 2709.11, Chapter 40

The Forest Service is requesting public input with respect to Agency policy. Our intent with the issuance of this notice of proposed directive is to consider such input and, as appropriate, incorporate it into future policy. Certain suggestions, whether due to legislative or other limitations, may not be implemented through Agency policy, and we wish for the public to understand that as well.

The current language has been in place for 48 months. This proposal would make permanent guidelines for the acceptance and denial for still photography and commercial filming permits in congressionally designated wilderness areas.

Section 45.1c—Evaluation of Proposals

This proposed section would include criteria in addition to that of still photography to incorporate commercial filming activities. Furthermore, the Agency is proposing to clarify when a special use permit may be issued to authorize the use of NFS lands if the proposed activity, other than noncommercial still photography would be in a congressionally designated wilderness area.

The proposed directive for FSH 2709.11, chapter 40, section 45.1c is as follows:

45.1C—EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS

A special use permit may be issued (when required by sections 45.1a and 45.2a) to authorize the use of National Forest System lands for still photography or commercial filming when the proposed activity:

1. Meets the screening criteria in 36 CFR 251.54(e);

2. Would not cause unacceptable resource damage;

3. Would not unreasonably disrupt the public’s use and enjoyment of the site where the activity would occur;

4. Would not pose a public health and safety risk; and

5. Meets the following additional criteria, if the proposed activity, other than noncommercial still photography (36 CFR 251.51), would be in a congressionally designated wilderness area:

a. Has a primary objective of dissemination of information about the use and enjoyment of wilderness or its ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value (16 U.S.C. 1131(a) and (b));

b. Would preserve the wilderness character of the area proposed for use, for example, would leave it untrammeled, natural, and undeveloped and would preserve opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation (16 U.S.C. 1131(a));

c. Is wilderness-dependent, for example, a location within a wilderness area is identified for the proposed activity and there are no suitable locations outside of a wilderness area (16 U.S.C. 1133(d)(6));

d. Would not involve use of a motor vehicle, motorboat, or motorized equipment, including landing of aircraft, unless authorized by the enabling legislation for the wilderness area (36 CFR 261.18(a) and (c));

e. Would not involve the use of mechanical transport, such as a hang glider or bicycle, unless authorized by the enabling legislation for the wilderness area (36 CFR 261.18(b));

f. Would not violate any applicable order (36 CFR 261.57); and

g. Would not advertise any product or service (16 U.S.C. 1133(c)).

3. Regulatory Certifications

Environmental Impact
The proposed directive is incorporating Interim Directive FSH 2709.11, chapter 40, section 45.51b into its parent text at section 45.1c. It will provide guidelines for accepting and denying still photography and commercial filming applications in congressionally designated wilderness areas. Agency regulations at 35 CFR 220.6(d)(2) (73 FR 43093) exclude from documentation in an environmental assessment or impact statement “rules, regulations, or policies to establishService-wide administrative procedures, program processes, or instructions.” The Agency has concluded that this directive falls within this category of actions and that no extraordinary circumstances exist which would require preparation of an environment assessment or environmental impact statement.

Regulatory Impact
The proposed directive has been reviewed under USDA procedures and Executive Order 12866 on regulatory planning and review. It has been determined that this is not an economically significant action. This action will not have an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy, nor will it adversely affect productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health and safety, or State or local governments. This proposed directive will not interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency, nor will it raise new legal or policy issues. Finally the proposed directive will not alter the budgetary impact of entitlement, grant, user fee, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of beneficiaries of those programs.
The proposed directive has been considered in light of Executive Order 13272 regarding proper consideration of small entities and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), which amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). A small entity flexibility assessment has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined by SBREFA. This proposed directive focuses on National Forest System special use permits regarding still photography and commercial filming in congressionally designated wilderness areas.
Federalism

The Agency has considered this directive under the requirements of Executive Order 13132 on federalism and has determined that the proposed directive conforms with the federalism principles set out in this Executive Order; will not impose any compliance costs on the states; and will not have substantial direct effects on the States, the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, the Agency has determined that no further assessment of federalism implications is necessary.

Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments
In conjunction with Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” the Agency invited Tribes to consult on the proposed directive prior to review and comment by the general public starting November 29, 2013, and ending on April 30, 2014. The consultation process was initiated through written instructions from the Deputy Chief for the National Forest System to the Regional Foresters and subsequently to the Forest Supervisors.
Tribes were provided 120 days to discuss the proposed policy. During that time, Tribal Liaisons and Line Officers were available to review the proposed directive and answer Tribal concerns.

Through this Tribal consultation, the Agency has assessed the impact of this proposed directive on Indian Tribes and determined that it does not have substantial direct or unique effects on Indian Tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes.
The Agency has also determined that the directive does not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

No Taking Implications
The Agency has analyzed the proposed directive in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 12630. The Agency has determined that the proposed directive does not pose the risk of taking private property.

Civil Justice Reform
The directive has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988 of February 7th, 1996, “Civil Justice Reform”. At the time of adoption of the directives, (1) all State and local laws and regulations that conflict with the directives or that impede full implementation of the directives were not preempted; (2) no retroactive effect was given to the directives; and (3) administrative proceedings are not required before parties can file suit in court to challenge its provisions.

Unfunded Mandates
Pursuant to Title II of the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995, (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) the Agency has assessed the effects of the proposed directive on State, local and Tribal governments and the private sector. Therefore a statement under section 202 of the act is not required.

Energy Effects
The Agency has reviewed the proposed directive under Executive Order 13211 of May 18, 2001, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.” The Agency has determined that the directive does not constitute a significant energy action as defined in the Executive Order.

Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public
The directive does not contain any additional record keeping or reporting requirements or other information collection requirements as defined in 5 CFR part 1320 that are not already required by law or not already approved for use and, therefore, imposes no additional paperwork burden on the public. Accordingly, the review provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et al.) and its implementing regulations at 5 CFR part 1320 do not apply.

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Stephen Shore

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 9:52am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was sitting in a Mexican restaurant the other day. My Dad was across the table; we were both a little sketched out. The joint seemed like a front for the mob: dirty, empty, and unintentional.

Dad was buying with a coupon, so I guess I already appear ungrateful. Which might end up as the theme of the column, when all is said and done. (Yes, that is foreshadowing.)

We were waiting for our tacos when the door flew open. Dramatically. In stepped a very large, crew-cut, blue-eyed man dressed like rancher, in jeans and a Western shirt. He was sporting a baseball cap that made reference to Texas. (I couldn’t say beyond that, exactly, as he was moving rather quick.)

Behind him marched a procession of five children and a wife, all wearing homemade long dresses and bright-white bonnets. They looked Amish, or like refugees from a compound in Utah that they featured on “Big Love.” It was a little bit Kubrick, to say the least.

Stranger still, once they got settled, the big man began speaking, very loudly, to two Mexican men, the only other patrons in the place. Fluently. In Mexican-accented Spanish.

I did a triple-take.

Odder-yet-still, within five minutes, he began singing. In Spanish. At the top of his lungs. In the middle of lunch.

What?

I had no frame of reference.

Sometimes, life catches you by surprise, like a leopard pouncing on a lady who’s just out to wash the laundry. There’s no way to prepare.

That’s how I felt when I opened up the new Stephen Shore book, “From Galilee to the Negev,” recently published by Phaidon. Wouldn’t you know, it was the next book on my stack, after last week’s genius Israel offering by Rosalind Fox Solomon.

Stephen Shore, doing Israel, for the “This Place” folks? How lucky was I? How lucky are you?

Awkward silence.
Fingers pausing on the keyboard.
How to proceed?

All right, I’ll just be honest. I found this book less-than-enthralling. Slightly under-dramatic. It’s hard to believe he’s covering the same country as Ms. Solomon. No sooner than I’d written about the tension in the air, the vibe pulsing through everything in its path, than I open up this book.

I know, many of you will consider it blasphemous that I’d even hint at criticizing a master of the medium. A member of the metaphorical Mt Rushmore of 20th Century photography. How dare he, you might think.

I get it. That’s why I chose to review the book, if you call this a review. I’ll let you see some photos and make up your own mind.

Mr. Shore, at his best, managed to squeeze deep pathos into the most meaningless of situations. That’s his hallmark, a level of perception that supersedes mere mortals. Not to mention his subtlety with color, and super-sharp large format negatives.

In this book, there is not a lot of life. (No chutzpah, if you will.)

What happened?

I couldn’t tell you. Which makes it interesting. How does a great artist go to a fascinating place and not make fascinating pictures? How did Baz Lurhmann’s “The Great Gatsby” end up so bad I couldn’t make it 10 minutes into the film?

Not to suggest that this book is bad. It’s not. It just depicts a place entirely more placid than in the books I reviewed by Mr. Brenner and Ms. Solomon.

Am I an ingrate? To expect greatness from a great artist? Are average fish tacos worth it, if you don’t have to pay for them? Did that big Texan break his family out from some Branch-Dividian-esque compound near Waco?

I have no idea.

If I were a betting man, I’d say they were his kids, he does ranch work near the Mexican border, and makes his family dress differently than he does. I’d also bet that Mr. Shore enjoyed making these pictures as much as he did in his stuff from the 70’s.

It’s hard not to see this project as something like the Rolling Stones might make at this stage of their career. They keep touring, and people keep buying tickets to hear “Satisfaction” in person. Their fans are thrilled to get the experience, and consider it money well spent.

Am I being unfair to Mr. Shore, when I compare his book directly with two others that were made in the same place? Or by expecting his work to reach the same heights it did years ago? Are these questions worth asking?

Let’s finish by wishing you a Happy New Year. If you celebrate that sort of thing.

Bottom Line: Confusing book about Israel from a master

To Purchase “From Galilee to the Negev” 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: Joseph Puhy

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 10:33am

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 Joseph Puhy because he is absolutely darling.

The Duke Boys!! It was a dream come true working with my childhood heroes during this project for Doner and autotrader.com

The Duke Boys!! It was a dream come true working with my childhood heroes during this project for Doner and autotrader.com

While documenting the chaos of running a mud bog on the set of the Animal Planet series, Mud Lovin’ Rednecks, I caught this tender moment between father and son.

While documenting the chaos of running a mud bog on the set of the Animal Planet series, Mud Lovin’ Rednecks, I caught this tender moment between father and son.

A personal project, inspired by one of my favorite dirt bike riding locations, created this late afternoon situation for a great image.

A personal project, inspired by one of my favorite dirt bike riding locations, created this late afternoon situation for a great image.

For Dry Kounty’s look-book shoot, we decided to use actors as models in vignettes to embody the personality of the brand.

For Dry Kounty’s look-book shoot, we decided to use actors as models in vignettes to embody the personality of the brand.

In collaboration with the model, my original concept morphed into this quirky portrait.

In collaboration with the model, my original concept morphed into this quirky portrait.

Using the model from the above (image 5), I highlighted his versatility in relation to our location. I love environmental portraits.

Using the model from the above (image 5), I highlighted his versatility in relation to our location. I love environmental portraits.

Reflective of my personal style, this is one of six ads shot for the Woo Agency and Lenovo.

Reflective of my personal style, this is one of six ads shot for the Woo Agency and Lenovo.

As with the above (image 7), there was an easy rapport with the Art Director for this Lowe CE agency Ghirardelli Chocolate ad.

As with the above (image 7), there was an easy rapport with the Art Director for this Lowe CE agency Ghirardelli Chocolate ad.

Kip Thorne, Theoretical Physicist. Photographed for science magazine, Newton.

Kip Thorne, Theoretical Physicist. Photographed for science magazine, Newton.

Dude. Running. Location. Epic.

Dude. Running. Location. Epic.

How many years have you been in business?
19 years total, including assisting which started in high school, but shooting consistently the last seven years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, back in the days of film and Polaroid. I’ve taught myself everything digital since my days in the darkroom.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
First off, my father was a Creative Director, so there was endless reference material at home to get lost in; art, photography books, art publications like Zoom and Lurzer’s Archive. Also, he’d take me out on shoots during the summers. Next, it was the photographers I worked for on summer breaks in high school and first years at college. They introduced me to the craft of photography, lens choice, lighting, processing, film stocks, and how it all tied together. There was a real sense of alchemy that I couldn’t figure out but was drawn to. That’s the reason I decided to go to Brooks and learn the technical aspects of photography.

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 a balance that I’m constantly refining. Luckily, now I have a body of work where I can throw a few curve balls into a commercial book. A balance between execution, observation, and subject matter.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Yes, to a certain extent. Not so much when shooting the job, because at that point it’s a collaboration, more in trying to get the job. I’ve found that having great relationships with creatives, buyers and producers has gotten me to the table to bid on some amazing projects but often lose out to a “bigger name photographer” based on the client’s recommendation. In the end it’s their money, and they need to make the decision that’s best for them. I just keep pushing forward to the next opportunity.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
First, I try to meet face-to-face with agencies where I might be a good fit. That can be a difficult process, but I think that when meeting someone in person, they can get a better sense of what I’m about. I participate on many marketing sites, and was recently invited to be a part of At-Edge.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
You better like it too. You have to show work that you want to produce.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, I do personal projects for promos. If there is time on jobs and the situation allows for it I try to do a version for myself.

How often are you shooting new work?
Every month.

———————

I am a Los Angeles photographer that works with a wide range of clients from commercial to editorial. My style has a natural aesthetic with a cinematic approach. I capture moments of people and things relating to their environment, either in harmony or discord. That relationship tells stories worth sharing.

Website: www.puhy.com
E-mail: Joseph@puhy.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

Bruce Gilden Critiques Art Photography

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 8:04pm

This is pretty funny in ways that it was meant to be and not.

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Gail Bichler : New York Times Magazine Art Director

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 9:42am

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The New York Times Magazine

Editor: Jake Silverstein
Design Director: Gail Bichler
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Photo Editor: Christine Walsh
Photographer: Johnny Miller
Stylist: Randi Brookman Harris

Heidi:Once your direction was set to show a package of pills received by mail, what were the next steps in the creative process and what was your time frame?
Gail: The next steps were deciding how we wanted to the package to look, thinking about what type of image would best convey our message and then figuring out the best person to shoot that kind of image. We were on a pretty tight time frame, as we usually are since the magazine is weekly. We had about five days to pull the shoot together.

 

 

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Was it this body of work (My Parents Love Letters ) by Johnny Miller that convinced the team he was right for the project? Were there any other considerations and made you choose him? See the full gallery  here
Yes, this was the body of work that made us think of him. We wanted the image to feel very natural and dimensional – to walk the line of being a conceptual image but with the feel of something real. Our photo department had been looking for an opportunity to work with Johnny, and Christine Walsh (the photo editor on the project) and I thought he would be great for this because his work is clean and graphic but still personal.

I loved the small tear in the cover where the bottle is, what other details were taken into consideration to make this image come alive?
A simple image like this is all about the details, so we paid a lot of attention to them. We hired stylist Randi Brookman Harris, with whom we’ve collaborated quite a bit. She sourced a number of different kinds of envelopes and adjusted them to fit the proportions of the cover. We also designed cancellation and metered postage stamps from India (the point of origin for the packages mentioned in the story) and Randi commissioned rubber stamps of them to be applied to the envelopes. We estimated how much a package like this would weigh and accounted for that when fabricating the metered stamp. Randi applied both stamps to the modified envelopes somewhat haphazardly to approximate the way they would appear if they had actually gone through the postal service, and she applied unequal pressure so the ink would vary in density. We placed a square box in the package to give the impression of the volume of the pillbox and began shooting. As the shoot progressed, we also tried versions where we beat up the envelope more, adding wrinkles and smearing the stamps to give the impression that the envelope had been through the mail.

I know from working at news organization there’s prestige and a social responsibility that comes with designing news journalism. How has your role as the Art Director shaped you personally?
There is definitely a social responsibility aspect to working for The New York Times. While there is always a craft and attention to aesthetics that is part of what I do as an art director, there are also many other considerations when designing news. Under the best circumstances my most eye-catching design is tonally on target, the most arresting photographs correspond with the narrative of the piece, and the most graphic concept for a cover accurately captures the main point of the story, but in cases where that doesn’t happen, conveying the intent and message of the writing wins out over the aesthetic considerations. I have learned to look past my own viewpoints on the subjects we cover and see the story from varying angles. And in some cases, it’s necessary for me to temper my own goals for the visuals of a piece with what is right for the magazine and the brand of The New York Times. My view of visual story telling and journalism has become much more nuanced.

While I was at The Los Angeles Times Magazine I remembered having moments of being semi paralyzed and in awe of the amount of news being produced on a daily basis. How does the volume of news and your acute awareness effect you as a mother?
The amount of news being generated a daily basis is absolutely dizzying. Particularly in this moment when digital access means that our choices of where to get information have multiplied exponentially. As a mother, I sometimes worry about the easy accessibility of news that is increasingly more violent and graphic. I want to protect my 5-year-old son’s innocence while I can, so I make efforts not to watch or listen to the news around him, because the coverage can quickly shift from a benign topic to something that could be scary for a little person. 

However, I’ve also seen the upsides to the kind of instant access to news and information that we now have. It’s great to be able to satisfy a curious mind not only with a verbal explanation, but also with images. Particularly for a very visual learner like my son. That has never been as easy to do as it is now. As with everything, we take the good with the bad.

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

Categories: Business

Brands will define pro photography for the next decade

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 11:57am

From Paul Melcher’s blog “Thoughts of a Bohemian”

since editorial photography’s dominance in our cultural landscape diminished, the advertising world had to look elsewhere for inspiration. No longer can they count on their magazines to give them a hint on what type of photography is successful. Instead, they turned to the new trend indicator : Social media.

It will not be surprising, it is happening already, to see editorial photography influenced by brand photography. In an effort to keep pace with current trends, online and print publications are more and more looking into what works for brands and applying it to their spreads.

For now, we still live in a world slightly dominated by editorial photography, only because of cultural habits. But deeper, the evolution has already happened and is progressing with patient obstination.

Read The Article Here: Brands will define pro photography for the next decade. – Thoughts of a Bohemian.

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Rosalind Fox Solomon

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 9:55am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I know a photographer who won’t tell people he/she is Jewish. It’s a secret. He/she worries for his/her safety, if the information ever got out.

I still remember the fantasy of Barack Obama’s inaugural days as President, when people spoke of a post-racial society. It would be funny, if it weren’t so sad. How ridiculous that idea seems, in retrospect.

There is, and has always been, the other. People who don’t look like you, talk like you, or copulate like you. People who worship a deity with a different name.

Them.

They’re not like us.

Me, I admit I’m Jewish in this column all the time. Why? It feels a touch defiant, as my people are disliked by many. Growing up, in the 70’s and 80’s, I still felt like I ought to keep my identity on the downlow. And this was in the orbit of New York City, no less.

I suppose I revel in the rebellion of claiming membership in a controversial tribe. “The Tribe,” as we often call ourselves. If it ever comes back to bite me, this freedom of identification, I suppose you can say “I told you so.”

As I mentioned some time back, I visited Israel when I was young, but have yet to return. I’m hoping the opportunity presents itself, but I guess we’ll have to see. It’s a country that is claimed by many, and owned by few. A more tortured history, you’re unlikely to find. (Insert random suffering reference here.)

The Jews were expelled for daring to stand up to the Romans. A diaspora of millions, created with the stroke of a pen. (Or a quill? What would those Romans have written with, I wonder?)

Regardless, the Palestinians were kind-of-ejected as well, and they’d like to get it back. The Christians, too, feel a deep connection, as it was the birthplace of the Jewish man Jesus, a messiah to some.

Regardless of which side you root for, it’s not a stretch to say the tension is carried through the air, there, like heat waves rising off of pale cobblestones. The wounds might never heal. Or perhaps they will? Who am I to speculate?

But that tension, that crippling feeling in your stomach, pulsates through “Them,” a new book by Rosalind Fox Solomon, recently published by MACK.

This book is one of the series commissioned by the project “This Place,” which invited major artists to Israel to poke around. A month or so ago, I reviewed an excellent book by Frederic Brenner, from the same series, and I might do more still, if the quality is this good going forward.

Open it up, and the first page shows a tourist holding a map of Israel, talking to two African women. It sets the scene, in a subtle way. Then, three words on otherwise blank pages: the holy longing. Afterwards, a photograph of a sere, desolate desert. It’s safe to guess we’re in the Holy Land. (At least, I did.)

I wasn’t aware, when I first perused, that this book was a part of “This Place.” I was curious what motivated the production. I hate to repeat words, but it’s just so cripplingly tense. It made me physically uncomfortable, turning the pages.

So much passion. Anger. Dismay. Banality. Drama.

There are text breaks on blank pages throughout, and they might crack through your veneer of world-weariness:

“you don’t understand”
“i want my kids to live in peace”
“god is here for everyone”
“security will be suspicious”
“i love you i love you i love you”
“take care of your mother/ i’ll call you tomorrow.”

Needless to say, those lines could have been uttered by anyone wrapped up in the conflict. They’re universal, which is part of the book’s message, I suppose. When so many have been done wrong, over so long, who can claim a superiority of suffering?

I almost skipped to the end of this book, several times, just to break the spell. I wanted it to be over, the unpleasant perceptiveness. I wanted to feel safe again, in my own house, with asshole neighbors, yes, but not ones who wanted to kill me.

I resisted. The urge, that is. It’s my job to look at these books and report to you, so I stayed strong and went one page at a time. Like a good boy.

It’s rare that I pick up a book and have it affect me this palpably. It’s experiential, this one, so much so that I haven’t really mentioned the successful use of black and white, or the square frame. So many of these pictures appear as if they could have been made 10, 20, 30, or 40 years ago. They feel timeless and fresh at the same time.

Despite the fact that the end credits name-drop some heavy hitters in the art world, and that the invited artists were all meant to be “prominent,” I’d never heard of Ms. Solomon before.

Too bad for me.

She is clearly an insightful, creative, and powerful artist, near the top of her craft. For as many books as I see, for one to crack me over the skull like this is worth mentioning again. You might consider buying this one.

It’s special.

Bottom Line: Masterful depiction of every-day life in a perpetual conflict zone

To Purchase “Them” 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: Patrick Fraser

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:30am

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 Patrick Fraser. I worked with him on extremely complicated projects and he always over delivered. Understanding vision of agency creative, suggesting solution for unusual concepts, delivering beautiful photography and always under budget. What else can an art buyer want from the photographer.

Carla Korbes is a principal dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet.  I wanted to photograph her in a raw setting with very simple styling so I picked Long Beach WA in the early morning wearing this very simple black leotard.

Carla Korbes is a principal dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet.  I wanted to photograph her in a raw setting with very simple styling so I picked Long Beach WA in the early morning wearing this very simple black leotard.

Here is an example of my magazine portrait work.  Don Cheadle and Chloe Sevigny photographed for two different magazine features. The magazine ended up using color images for the features but I like to offer up some black and white.  For Don I used a 4x5 with BW film.  Chloe pictured in the window of a studio in New York was also taken with a roll of grainy BW medium format film.

Here is an example of my magazine portrait work.  Don Cheadle and Chloe Sevigny photographed for two different magazine features. The magazine ended up using color images for the features but I like to offer up some black and white.  For Don I used a 4×5 with BW film.  Chloe pictured in the window of a studio in New York was also taken with a roll of grainy BW medium format film.

My friends daughter Jane was taken with a disposable underwater camera.  Everything is working for me, her hair, the colors, the grainy real quality and her gaze.

My friends daughter Jane was taken with a disposable underwater camera.  Everything is working for me, her hair, the colors, the grainy real quality and her gaze.

I was walking the streets of Paris when I spotted these boys playing Rugby.  I walked up to them with my Leica M6 and started to shoot and they did'nt mind at all they just kept on playing.  I love the faces here and all that muddy skin. 

I was walking the streets of Paris when I spotted these boys playing Rugby.  I walked up to them with my Leica M6 and started to shoot and they did’nt mind at all they just kept on playing.  I love the faces here and all that muddy skin. 

I shot this lookbook all at night in Silver Lake CA.  The story was called Into the Night.

I shot this lookbook all at night in Silver Lake CA.  The story was called Into the Night.

One of those real moments caught between a friend Ceara and her dog.

One of those real moments caught between a friend Ceara and her dog.

This was taken for an editorial men's fashion story about night surfers in San Diego.  The art director wanted it as real as possible. I started the shoot by getting on my wetsuit and shooting the guys in the water with a flash. Shooting surfing at night is a challenge but the images came out great!

This was taken for an editorial men’s fashion story about night surfers in San Diego.  The art director wanted it as real as possible. I started the shoot by getting on my wetsuit and shooting the guys in the water with a flash. Shooting surfing at night is a challenge but the images came out great!

I love the spontaneous energy in this shot of two actors from TV show Nashville.  It shows my studio work and was photographed for Nylon Magazine's TV special issue.

I love the spontaneous energy in this shot of two actors from TV show Nashville.  It shows my studio work and was photographed for Nylon Magazine’s TV special issue.

This is a still from a music video I directed with musician Marissa Nadler.  I chose Lake Erie in Ohio for the location as a cold frozen lake spoke to me in her song Rosary.  I love this location and luckily it was the middle of winter so the lake was frozen which ads to the drama.

This is a still from a music video I directed with musician Marissa Nadler.  I chose Lake Erie in Ohio for the location as a cold frozen lake spoke to me in her song Rosary.  I love this location and luckily it was the middle of winter so the lake was frozen which ads to the drama.

This is one of the shots I took at Vail International Dance Festival in August 2014. It pictures Tiler Peck and Robbie Fairchild of New York City Ballet doing a pose from the Jerome Robbins ballet  "Afternoon of a Faun".  I love to shoot dancers as they know how to move.

This is one of the shots I took at Vail International Dance Festival in August 2014. It pictures Tiler Peck and Robbie Fairchild of New York City Ballet doing a pose from the Jerome Robbins ballet  “Afternoon of a Faun”.  I love to shoot dancers as they know how to move.

One of my all time favorite editorial shoots here with David Lynch.  I arrived at his home and his assistant told me he was in his art studio.  I carefully asked her if there was any way I could go up there and take pictures of him working.   She asked him and he agreed.  It really felt personal, like taking a look into an artists private space.  The result is I have a wonderful series of him working on his fine art.  

One of my all time favorite editorial shoots here with David Lynch.  I arrived at his home and his assistant told me he was in his art studio.  I carefully asked her if there was any way I could go up there and take pictures of him working.  
She asked him and he agreed.  It really felt personal, like taking a look into an artists private space.  The result is I have a wonderful series of him working on his fine art.  

How many years have you been in business?
My first magazine assignment was 16 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I didn’t go to photography school I actually studied fine art majoring in painting at University in England. Before that I took a foundation course in art & design in my hometown, which had a few photo classes. My father was a documentary filmmaker and gave me my first SLR at age 8. He taught me a lot about photography and showed me how to do black & white printing in the darkroom we had at our home.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I used to collect photography monographs from a really young age and pore over new issues of The Face and Arena magazines as a teen. If it came down to one photographer I’d have to say Avedon. What inspired me about his work was his range of subject matter. He mixed fashion and celebrity in the studio with everyday American workers outdoors in the American West series.

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’m always shooting editorial which keeps me on my toes and keeps a constant feed of new work rolling in. Editorial gives me the creative freedom to experiment whilst collaborating with a photo editor or art director. I like how it sharpens my problem solving skills, which can be invaluable on advertising shoots. Editorial is a good way to experiment with new lighting set ups and keep visually exploring. It’s also a good way to keep your name out there.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I’ve been lucky, as I can’t say I have had that experience. Once I have been selected for a project I like to keep up a level of communication, which makes it hard for this to happen. If the communication is clear from the word go and the collaborators are all working well together then the client is usually more than happy with the results.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
You never can market yourself enough and I should be more aggressive in this department. My marketing plan is multi layered and consists of personal printed pieces, e-mails, alongside my editorial credits. My agent also sends out marketing and they do showings of my portfolio.

I was skeptical at first of social networking for marketing and promo, I felt like it weakened the work. Now I have started to post more images that I love and behind the scenes shots on Instagram and have begun to use it more, like an online portfolio. I feel like Instagram is the best social network tool for photographers and a good way to get one’s work in front of creative minded people. You can see my posts @patchypics

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Photography trends come in waves. You’ll see a photographer being used all over for a couple of years, their style of shooting might start to get copied and then the market for that imagery gets saturated. One must always stay true to one’s own vision and continue to grow and evolve. Shoot what comes naturally to you. Following trends is the kiss of death.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes always. I’m always out there shooting a test, making a film or thrashing out an idea I had driving or even in my sleep! Just this past week I was up in Vail at a dance festival for a few days and then I started asking the dancers if they had some spare time for a session. I came back with some really strong new images and that started an idea for a new series for me.

How often are you shooting new work?
I have a constant flow of new work. I get excited when there is a gap in commercial or magazine assignments where I can just go off and make images for myself both stills and motion. That is the time to explore what you love and usually that’s when you come back with strong images which were self motivated.

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10 FACTS ABOUT PATRICK
1) When he was 18 he rode an Enfield 350 Bullet Motorbike around Northern India.
2) He is renovating a 1948 Homesteader cabin in Joshua Tree, CA.

3) Is reading The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

4) Made his first piece of furniture in 2012, a bench for his garden

5) Is restoring a 1973 Alfa Romeo GTV

6) Loves to sketch

7) He is big on roasting and using the BBQ for slow cooking

8) Rents a production office near Abbott Kinney in Venice, CA

9) 2014 completed a documentary about the art of Taxidermy called Skin Movers

10) He Plays the French horn

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

21st Century Book Deal Hustle

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 10:23am

Every era gets the catch phrase it deserves. Just think about “Where’s the beef?” Remember that cranky old lady on the Wendy’s commercials? Of course you do. That it happened during the 80’s, when actors like Stallone and Schwarzenegger were beef-caking up the movie theaters?

Not a coincidence.

By now, you know my own catchphrase like you know the pixel count on your new iPhone. I always talk about the 21st Century Hustle. Hustle this, hustle that. I might as well be Huggy Bear strutting down the street in Starsky and Hutch, for all I talk about hustling.

What does it look like in real life though? I could tell you about how many different jobs I do in a given day, or a given week. But that would sound like complaining. Which I don’t want to do.

It just so happens that I bumped into the perfect embodiment of the 21st Century Hustle a couple of weeks ago, in Santa Fe. I was standing there, minding my own business, when WHAM, a hustler’s moment cracked me in the head like a steroidal cop’s blackjack.

I was at an after-party for a friend’s art opening. I’d already done 5 errands in 2 hours, including a futile search for a hoodie at Target. So I was pretty burnt, by evenings end.

There I was, loading up my plate full of vegetarian goodies, getting ready to drink up a half a margarita. (I had a 2 hour drive home afterwards, so no Tequila buzz for me.) I looked up, and who did I see but Jamey Stillings, the unofficial mayor of the Santa Fe photo scene, and Brad Wilson, whose excellent photo book I’d just reviewed the week before.

Not such huge coincidence, as it’s a small town, but still. I was there, they were there, so we started talking. I’d met Brad briefly at Review Santa Fe in 2009, but not seen him since. I’ve bumped into Jamey 50 times since then, but we rarely chat at length.

Here was our moment.

Brad began telling us what it was like to go viral, and have his work everywhere, as it is now. Jamey and I had each had similar experiences, so we offered up our own coping strategies.

We kept talking. That’s what you do at parties.

But then, ten minutes or so into the chat, the guys both started talking about how they got their most recent book deals. And neither of them had to put up any money for the production. They were giving me serious details. Inside information.

BAM.

My brain switched into journalist mode quicker than Obama would punch Vlad Putin flush in the face, if given the opportunity. It happened so quickly, I wasn’t even aware of it at first. But it wasn’t on the record…we were just chatting. The 21st Century Hustle says you don’t care. You go for the story. Period. (Everyone’s got to get paid.)

So I asked a bunch of more specific questions, and at the end, right before I had to head to my car, I asked the guys if we could consider the chat on the record. Could I write it up, so that you, the audience, could get the benefit of their accrued wisdom?

Classy guys, they both said yes.

Here we go.

Jamey had his first book published by Nazraeli Press a few years ago. They did a great job, and Jamey didn’t have to put in any of his own funds. How did it come about?

Turns out, Jamey first met Chris Pichler, the publisher, at Photo LA a while back. He was encouraged to go hand him a MagCloud booklet of his popular project, “The Bridge at Hoover Dam,” in which he had documented the creation of a major American infrastructure project.

Jamey didn’t want to hand it off like that, as it seemed too forward, but he was strongly encouraged to do it. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Pichler told Jamey he had never, ever published a book from someone who approached him randomly like that. Jamey, who is typically very diplomatic, made a rare faux pas and said something rude in return.

Bridge burned, he assumed. (Pun intended.)

Fast forward a couple of years, and he had a portfolio review with Mr. Pichler in Palm Springs early in the morning of the last review day. Luckily, the first meeting, brief as it was, had been forgotten. Jamey put Mr. Pichler at ease by saying that he knew he chose his books based upon a personalized set of criteria, so he was not looking to be published. Just wanted some feedback.

If you don’t know, letting people know you don’t want something from them is a great way to chill them out. It worked here, and Mr. Pichler offered to publish the project in short order. They also worked out an agreement where the funding Jamey sought and received from the Bridge’s chief engineering firm was used to create a special edition of the book for the company. They got to give out the “special edition” books as gifts. (The win-win is such a feature of the 21st C, I’ve found.)

When it came time for his second book, a series about the massive Ivanpah solar field in California, Jamey first approached Nazraeli Press about its interest. Though now good friends, Chris Pichler took a pass on the new project. Jamey also pitched another publisher he respected, but they also passed. (Which was fortunate, as they’re known for requiring photographers to spend a very large sum to get a book published.)

He did receive interest from another relatively new publisher, but the deal would also have necessitated significant funding. This seemed counter-intuitive to Jamey, based on his initial book publishing experience, and his belief in the new body of work.

Jamey felt he could do better.

He decided to give it a shot with Steidl, the gold standard of the photo book publishing world. As it transpired at the party, Brad knew the ending of this story, but I didn’t. So I got to express my surprise in real time.

Jamey hired a very reputable book designer to help him make a BLAD, an industry term for a mockup. Once done, they made a digital version as well. Jamey then set up a series of digital download incarnations, including Dropbox and WeTransfer. He was meticulous, he told me, and made sure it was absolutely perfect.

Then, having invested time and money into the potential book, he emailed it directly to Gerhard Steidl. How did he get the email address, I asked? It’s right on the website, apparently.

Jamey got an automated response the next day saying that they don’t accept digital submissions, so could he please submit a traditional paper version. But the next day, he got notification that the digital submission had been downloaded by Mr. Steidl. (Thank god for notifications, I suppose, which are normally annoying as hell.)

An hour later, he got an email saying that they wanted to publish the book. WTF? I bet he hollered louder than a drunk Texan skiing fresh powder, when he read that note.

Now, before I paint a picture that the book is free, so he’s the big winner of 2014, hold tight. Jamey told me he books helicopter time in massive amounts to get the aerial photos he seeks. He is a successful commercial photographer, but still, that shit costs money. So he invested in the work itself, and then in the preparations for a book, in order to get the end result he wanted.

“It takes money to make money” is a tenet of business for a reason.

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Brad’s story is similar. He spent a bunch of his own resources hiring animal trainers, and traveling the country, as I speculated in the book review a few weeks ago. It was money he earned in his day job as a commercial photographer, but he chose to reinvest it in his art. This was a project he had to make, and it took three years.

At some point, a gallery in London had heard of his work, and bookmarked his website. They were negotiating with another fine-art animal photographer for gallery representation, but the deal fell through. They happened to go back to Brad’s website, saw that he had the new “Affinity” project up, and they offered him a contract and subsequent exhibition forthwith.

Brad decided to go all in, and made the prints 40×60, framed in museum glass, for the London exhibition. The cost was steep. But the show was a big hit, and the gallery hired a PR firm to get the word out. Brad specifically asked them to target book publishers, as he was hoping to make a book out of the project. And he knew he was putting his best foot forward.

Sure enough, a representative from Prestel came to the show, was smitten, and offered Brad a book deal. Like Steidl, they don’t ask the artist for any contributions. And they even gave Brad an advance. Very unlike the stories we’ve been warning you about, where less reputable publishers will take your $30,000-$50,000, as long as you have it.

Image from the Affinity series

Image from the Affinity series

Image from the Affinity series

Image from the Affinity series

Image from the Affinity series

Each artist stressed to me that they felt like this happened to them because they’d been working towards it for a long time. Separately, they each spoke of talent alone as an over-rated concept. You have to buckle down and be patient, if you’re going to get anything achieved.

They both put themselves in a position for good things to happen, they said, rather than feeling like they got lucky.

Each project was done out of passion and necessity. They invested their resources in themselves, because they believed if they were interested in the stories they were telling, others might be too. They had faith in themselves, but also told me they weren’t worried about outcomes while they were making the work.

Both guys were making photographic projects based upon major changes being wrought during the early stages of the 21st C. (Disappearing wildlife, emerging alternative technology.) They both found that things worked out in the end. (What? I’m American. I like happy endings.)

The moral here, though, is that nobody gets off for free. I accept that. When we make art, we invest time, money, psychic energy, and sometimes more than that. There are no guarantees.

Brad and Jamey both echoed each other, with respect to their attention to detail, serious preparation for when the moment was right, and a willingness to bet on themselves. I think we can all learn from that.

Don’t you?

Categories: Business

Portfolio Events May Not Be Worth It For Established Photographers

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 9:44am

What advice would you give to established photographers who are “on the fence” about attending a networking event?

To be honest, I’m not sure it’s worth it for established photographers who have a presence in NY already.  It’s expensive and it’s probably more worth their while to put that money towards promos or testing.  I would, however, suggest it for photographers who are trying to break into the scene and meet reps and art buyers.

via Notes From A Rep's Journal.

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Flaunt: Scott Pommier

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 9:40am

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                                       Some additional  images from the shoot.

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FLAUNT

Editor in Chief: Luis Barajas
Creative Director: Jim Turner
Photo Editor: Mui-Hai Chu

Photographer and Director: Scott Pommier
Director of Photography ( video ): Greg Hunt

Heidi: How did this story come about?
Scott: I really wanted to shoot something for Flaunt so I  photo editor and set up a meeting. Pitching a fashion story can be tricky as magazines have their own agenda and their own style. In the past I’ve had magazines interested in my ideas but they just didn’t fit with what they had planned for the foreseeable future and the concepts would wither on the vine. When I met with the photo editor at Flaunt, I brought some work to show, but instead of presenting a specific story, I described my approach to shooting fashion and then we talked about what themed issues they had on the horizon. I told the photo editor that I would put something together for her, and a couple of days later, after meeting up with some stylists  I had a treatment to show. Flaunt was starting to schedule their fall denim issue, they called it ‘The Distress Issue.’ Denim is a very practical material, and you see a lot of streetwear-inspired shoots, or vaguely 1950s styling, but I wanted to shoot something that was both dramatic, and cinematic, something with movement. I sat with it for a while, and then started to sketch some thoughts. I had a picture in my head, that ultimately became one of the teaser films, of a woman hanging upside-down from a galloping horse. I’m not sure where I’d seen this stunt but I knew it was common enough amongst rodeo trick-riders. I wanted to change the context a little bit, so that it was less a tick or a stunt but rather a strange and beautiful image.

 
Did the magazine help cast these beautiful girls who also know how to ride?
Once I decided to focus on trick riding, my producer set about finding the talent and location. She found an amazing team of trick riders called “The Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls”, we looked at having them make the trip to LA, but decided that it would be better for the crew to travel as their property was just amazing. It’s at the foot of the Sierras and they had quite a few acres of pretty wild terrain. It was perfect. This meant the crew driving a little over three hours from LA, and staying overnight, but it was worth it.

The stunts were all performed by incredibly experienced riders, some of the best in the world. We added two agency models that we thought could fit with the trick riders.
I love those Peter Lindbergh or Steven Klein shoots that create a whole world. It’s become increasingly common to plunk a pretty lady is placed alongside or in front of something novel. Sometimes that can feel like models are simply decoration. In this case, didn’t want there to be such a separation, so I tried plan shots and sequences that would allow the audience to think of all the characters together. Models and horses are a common elements in fashion stories, but it’s usually just a model gently patting a horse’s nose, or standing beside a horse, maybe sitting on a stationary horse, but I wanted to create a sense of familiarity. My producer and I did an extensive search for models. We reached out to a number of agencies, NEXT really got behind the idea and sent us some great options. One of the gals actually flew in to do the shoot. Neither of the models had experience with horses, but the trick riders did a great job getting them up to speed. My producer is a long-time equestrian, which was a tremendous advantage. In the end, we were able to shoot one of the models as she laid out flat on her back on one of the horses, her hair draped down meshing with the horse’s tail. In another shot, a model curled up with a horse that had been trained to lay down on his side. The models and the stunt riders were all really brave, and the result is images that go above and beyond what you normally see with this kind of shoot. It would have been a waste to have this kind of access to some of the most talented riders and highly-trained animals on the planet and shoot something that you could have set up in a petting zoo.

How did you capture the footage?
Most of the footage was shot on a tripod or with a 3-way gimbal. I worked with a DP that I knew from my days shooting for skateboarding magazines. Greg Hunt and he’s very talented. I needed someone who understood shooting action someone whom I shared a common visual language. A friend had put me in touch with a company called PMG Multi-Rotors that had a prototype of a 3-way brushless gimbal called a TYTO. It’s a handheld version of the stabilizer that’s used for drone-helicopter footage. The TYTO is able to handle a RED epic. For the sequence where the camera tracks along with the rider as she hangs upside down from the horse, a maneuver called the ’suicide drag’ we shot from a mini-van. We paced the horse, and Greg shot out of the side door using the gimbal. Normally these stunts are performed inside a ring, but for the sake of the story we asked if it would be possible to shoot in a field. The field was really bumpy and the minivan was bouncing almost to the point of catching air but the gimbal did an amazing job of stabilizing the shot. The final result is something that until very recently you just wouldn’t have been able to shoot without heroic efforts and huge expense.

How much footage did you shoot in order to get these videos?
Greg was rolling the whole time I was shooting, and in a few cases we broke into two units, as we were starting to run out of time. With fashion shoots you have to expect that hair and makeup and clothing changes can take a very long time so even though we shot all day, the amount of time we could spend on each setup was minimal.

What was the most challenging part of this shoot for either the still or motion?
There were a lot of moving parts. We had a small crew and we were trying to get a tremendous amount done in a very short time. Even though the horses are extremely well trained, they’re still animals and are very nervous by their nature. They were dealing with new people, unfamiliar equipment and they were being asked to do things that they don’t normally do. These horses aren’t normally paired with novice riders, they are very responsive and are always waiting for queues from the rider. The hardest thing was to be able to adapt to what the animals were doing. I shot a lot of the story with a Pentax 67, so trying to focus and frame shots up where the models looked natural and in control while the horse below them was reacting to their environment was difficult. But even at it’s most challenging I knew that this is exactly how I wanted to be shooting.

Why is that?
I’ve always had this idea that there’s a value in doing things the hard way, with photography that value is a little more apparent. We are exposed to so many images that it’s become increasingly important to me to shoot images that stand out. Whether it’s the location, the action, the art direction or the subject, there has to be something compelling, something out of the ordinary.  Naturally there are times when I tread on ground that others have already covered, but I’m trying to elevate what I do, and add a layer of complexity. I’m not interested in stacking accessories on a static model as if they are mannequins, or in shooting someone doing jump kicks on a seamless. I don’t say that to sound superior, it’s just not for me. I’m interested in fashion as a means to an end, the clothing conveys style, but to me the style is more important than the clothing. I like fashion as fantasy and less as commerce.

 

 

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I know you started out shooting skateboarding, was it a natural segue to shoot athletes?
The first pictures I ever shot were action photos. Very early on I was interested in shooting pictures that were like those you saw in skateboarding magazines. So yeah, that was something that I got very comfortable with. The photograph of Usain Bolt draws heavily on that experience. I was asked to get a shot of Usain taking off out of the blocks, but was told that I could only have five attempts at the shot. Sprinters put everything they’ve got into their starts and with such a hectic schedule leading up to the Olympics his people were really trying to protect him from any injuries. One of the conversations that I’d had with the agency was about the images having their own look and not feeling like a Nike ad. Of course there isn’t any one Nike look, they produce a tremendous amount of work with a wide-range of artist, but I think what they meant was to avoid a very contrasty, very crisp, hyper-real image where you could see every drop of sweat. Having shot a lot of action I was able to set up a lighting scheme that plays with the flash duration, freezing the areas that need to be sharp and allowing the motion to slightly blur others. The first frame I shot was admittedly terrible, I wasn’t used to the timing of the shutter on the camera. The second frame was a success, but I felt we could do a little better,  the third frame is the one you see here.  Plenty of other photographers have shot this exact moment, but it was a fairly high pressure situation, Puma built a campaign around the image and we had about a five minutes to light it, and three minutes to capture it. When you’re shooting something like that you have to be able to see it in your head before you shoot it.
The other thing that skateboarding taught me  was to tread very lightly in other people’s worlds. Every time I’d see a photograph or read a story about skateboarding that an outsider had done they’d always get it wrong, every single time. They’d get the terminology wrong, or they’d have someone holding their board in some goofy way, or they’d shoot someone doing a trick that they clearly hadn’t landed. I found that very frustrating, so now I do everything I can not to get it wrong when someone shares their world with me. Authenticity is a word that creatives use a lot in reference to my work, and I think part of the reason is that I have a certain level of reverence for what I shoot.

 

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I know you’re doing more directing and motion work, are you trying to get that depth and movement by layering your still images?
I guess depth has multiple meanings when you’re talking about pictures, I’m interested in creating images that have visual depth and that have substance. I don’t do much post production work on my images, I still shoot on film whenever I’m allowed to, so more or less all of my personal work and about a quarter of the commissions, all of the multiple exposures the like are done in camera. I like happy accidents as much as the next guy, but I tend to plan those out fairly carefully. I’ll shoot test polaroids and sometimes mark things on the viewfinder. At the very least, I’ll take mental note of the highlights and shadows in the two scenes I’m capturing.

I see you’ve split with your agent Webber Represents and who are you with now?
I’m looking for representation in U.S. at the moment. Webber was great, there’s certainly no animosity on either side. It’s just like any relationship, you have to want to grow in the same direction at the same time. Even with the best intentions, that doesn’t always happen. I think a lot of my work fits in between categories, or blurs the lines a bit. The fashion stuff that I shoot borders on portraiture, a lot of the action photos have a fashion influence, overall there’s a bit of an editorial feel to my body of work, but most of my photos are either commercial or personal. I feel that if you look at all my pictures together they make sense, but I can also appreciate that my work is spread across a few different genres. Perhaps it’s easier to sell someone when it’s very clear what they do, like the capital “L” lifestyle photographer who’s going to whip the talent into a frenzy, and shoot them sticking their tongues out, or climbing fences, or pushing one another in shopping carts. I’ve done those kinds of shoots but they’re not what I want to chase. I’ve been busy producing new work, and what I need is an agent who can see where my photography fits in the commercial world. In the meantime I’m certainly not going at it alone. I have a terrific agent in Toronto (Lisa Bonnici) and I just signed with a production company in the U.K. called Mad Cow films, who are representing me for motion work. Sometimes you have to follow your instincts and trust that you’ll be happy with where you end up.

 

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Lucas Foglia

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 9:47am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I went for a little walkabout this morning, with three of my students. (Making pictures, of course.) The ladies are all in High School, and were born and raised here in Taos. None has left town very often, from what I can gather.

One went to visit some family in California this Summer. But it was only San Bernardino, which is kind of depressing. (Unless you love smog so thick that it makes mountains invisible. In which case, you might love it there.)

I tried to explain to the young photographers that when you’ve never left a place, or had the context of other cultures flashed before your eyes, you have to work a little harder to understand what makes a place unique. No sooner than I’d said that, we passed an old house that was cracked in two, with a rickety outhouse behind it.

I remind you, this is 2014.

I asked, “Do you think someone would find a functioning outhouse interesting in New York City? Or LA?” They agreed it was likely, but didn’t find an outhouse so unusual in their own lives. And then there was the broken-down-blue-school-bus on someone’s front lawn, which sported a giant rusted saw blade on the back, as an ornament.

We soon found ourselves at an old chapel, Nuestra Senora de Dolores, from 1873. That, they agreed, would be interesting to folks in the outside world too. I investigated the backyard, and found a well-preserved headstone. The woman buried beneath my feet had been born in 1845, when the land was still called Mexico.

“Can you believe it,” I wondered? They could, in fact, believe it. So much so that only one could be bothered to come take a look. Things like that aren’t so special here, though I’m sure they reek of American West authenticity, to you.

People have always been, and I venture will always be fascinated with the Frontier culture out here. It’s drawn dropouts from elsewhere, like me, and camera-toting tourists on day trips for as long as there have been cameras. It never gets old, but it does change. (Like Taos going from Native American territory, to New Spain, to Mexico, to America in short order.)

Given my confidence in your expected interest, how could I not review Lucas Foglia’s new book, “Frontcountry,” recently published by Nazraeli. The answer is, I could, and I will.
So let’s get to it.

Truth be told, I saw a show of some of this work in a gallery I’d never heard of, when I visited NYC last April. Speaking of change, Chelsea stays the same, but the names of the spaces are in constant rotation. This one, Fredericks & Freiser, was new, so I hope it’s still around.

I didn’t love the prints on the wall. They didn’t have a lot of pop. And I didn’t have a lot of time. But as I’ve learned, and have tried to share with you, a book is a completely different experience than a gallery exhibition. It’s in your hands, in your home, and there are often many more pictures to peruse, at your leisure.

Mr. Foglia does come across as a wandering, wondering, researching photographer. His first book, which I also reviewed, looked at a subculture of people who have returned to living in the wild. This one focuses on a much larger population of people who live off the land, but have always done so. Cowboys. Ranchers. Western types.

I give him props for his technical ability, and for his dogged desire to paint a holistic picture of life out in the West. The book leans heavily on Nevada and Wyoming in particular, so the world looks a little different from the one I inhabit. (A lot whiter, that is.) There are more natural resources around those parts, so mining and extraction make their way inside the pages as well.

Co-incidentally, there is a picture made here in Taos, yet it feels like a bit of a throw-in. But the rest of the book is seamless. Guns, cow entrails, exploded homes, mounds of garbage bags full of beer cans, soccer players juxtaposed against staggering mountains, a dude balancing on a fence post waiting to shoot coyotes. Basically, life for many in the mountainous fly-over states.

I don’t mean to impugn Mr. Foglia for not being “one of us.” That’s a freedom the West allows. You come out here, try to fit in, and before you know it, you speak with a twang, under certain circumstances. He’s a good enough artist that the thoroughness will win you over. (Though I do wonder if a tad more emotional resonance might have pushed the project over the top.)

These are some very well executed large format pictures. There’s a shot of a bulldozer roaming over coal mounds that’s so sharp, it looks like a model. Not real at all. I wondered, did he hit it with a big flash, or has he switched over to using a digital camera? Doesn’t matter. Great shot.

There are maps at the end, to orient you, which further amps up the anthropological bent. It’s not the West of Wenders, or Shore, who bottled up nostalgia and emotion, despite themselves.

It’s more the West as Gursky might do it. Clean. Clinical. And very much a project that represents what it sees, as best it can.

Like I said before, people will always eat this shit up. And photographers will always come out this way to take their shot. Like the suckers who keep trying to beat Jon Jones. They can’t help themselves.

This book, at the very least, will clue you in to a reality that you normally have to see for yourself. It’s excellent, and I heartily recommend it. Adios, partner.

Much obliged.

Bottom Line: Excellent, clinical view of the contemporary Wild West

To Purchase “Frontcountry” 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: Q. Sakamaki

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:11am

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 Q. Sakamaki. I always find myself lingering over Q’s dreamlike images. Even though many images in his mailers were taken with Instagram, they have a nostalgic vibe, especially the double exposures. Work on his site is classic, news journalism. He is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects, although it may be difficult to find commercial applications for his work.

 A small boy exploring the ancient time of Egypt, trying to look into the bottom of a more than 2300 year old sarcophagus of Wennefer. 2013.

Self-Metaphors Series: A small boy exploring the ancient time of Egypt, trying to look into the bottom of a more than 2300 year old sarcophagus of Wennefer. 2013.

A newly arrived Georgian refugee. Tbisili, Georgia, 2008.

A newly arrived Georgian refugee. Tbisili, Georgia, 2008.

Nearly burned out wedding album remained at a tsunami destroyed and burned down area in Kesennuma, Miyagi, where many people inside the cars and ships were washed out and trapped and killed due to the tsunami. And survivors could hear the crying all the night. Japan, 2011.

Nearly burned out wedding album remained at a tsunami destroyed and burned down area in Kesennuma, Miyagi, where many people inside the cars and ships were washed out and trapped and killed due to the tsunami. And survivors could hear the crying all the night. Japan, 2011.

 Radiation-contaminated crop supporters remain at no man land in Iitate village in Fukushima, on the 3rd anniversary of Japan’s 2011 monster quake and tsunami. Fukushima, Japan, 2014.

Fukushima series: Radiation-contaminated crop supporters remain at no man land in Iitate village in Fukushima, on the 3rd anniversary of Japan’s 2011 monster quake and tsunami. Fukushima, Japan, 2014.

 A broken, dead sunflower in winter’s morning light. 2014.

Flower series: A broken, dead sunflower in winter’s morning light. 2014.

 A baby swallow at an abandoned elementary school in Ukedo, a highly restricted area in Fukushima, due to the radiation caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuke power plant disaster. Fukushima, Japan, 2014.

Fukushima series: A baby swallow at an abandoned elementary school in Ukedo, a highly restricted area in Fukushima, due to the radiation caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuke power plant disaster. Fukushima, Japan, 2014.

 Coney Island before the summer frenzy. New York, 2013.

Self-Metaphors series: Coney Island before the summer frenzy. New York, 2013.

 Harlem security guard. New York, 2013.

Self-Metaphors series: Harlem security guard. New York, 2013.

 A girl in Osaka, one of my home towns. Osaka, Japan, 2014.

Self-Metaphors series: A girl in Osaka, one of my home towns. Osaka, Japan, 2014.

 A businessman with an arrow head, in Marunouchi, Tokyo, Japan, 2013.

Self-Metaphors series: A businessman with an arrow head, in Marunouchi, Tokyo, Japan, 2013.

 A small Japanese Korean girl in Kyoto shows an extremely tiny fish, as the city, as well as Japan, has a very tense relationship between Japanese and Korean communities. Kyoto, Japan, 2013.

Self-Metaphors Series: A small Japanese Korean girl in Kyoto shows an extremely tiny fish, as the city, as well as Japan, has a very tense relationship between Japanese and Korean communities. Kyoto, Japan, 2013.

How many years have you been in business?
More than 25 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I think both. I went to a photo school in New York, but the curriculum was very short (9 months or so). Indeed, for many parts of photography, I learned by myself.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Deborah Turbeville and Sara Moon. And Yukio Mishima might have given a big influence to me even for the question, though he was a novelist.

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?
By checking, feeling, reading and listening to any kind of great art. Also lately I have been dong Instagram through which I can get inspiration, especially when I encounter great, yet different type of photos.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Yes. It is natural in this industry, but also one of the most disappointing things, especially after committing lots of energy and time.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Recently I have found that Instagram would help for the purpose, though still on the way of the experiment. Also my agency Redux helps. Though the best way is to directly communicate with those in face to face.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Thinking too much about what they want to see is not good. It makes less originality. Any great art comes from the artist’s original vision, not from others.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, I often shoot for such a purpose somehow or to make myself grow more.

How often are you shooting new work?
In recent years, I have started to shoot New York again, very often, most time purposely by iPhone. Though I may restart using more other cameras, too.

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Q. Sakamaki is a documentary photographer, covering war to socio-economy in the world, as well as many other social issues, combining the journalistic views and the story-telling with aestheticism. In recent years, his works also contain many of personal matters and views. Actually by dong so, he is exploring and shooting his own self-metaphors. His photographs have appeared in books and magazines worldwide including Time, Newsweek, and Stern, and have been exhibited in solo shows in New York and Tokyo. He has received many international awards, including World Press Photo and Olivier Rebbot of Overseas Press Club. Sakamaki holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York. He has published several books, including “Tompkins Square Park” – photo essay of New York Lower Eastside’s anti-gentrification movement, by Power House Books. Sakamaki is represented by Redux Pictures.

Contact Info:
Q. Sakamaki
info@qsakamaki.com
qsakamaki@yahoo.co.jp
www.qsakamaki.com
http://instagram.com/qsakamaki

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 – Michele Romero: Entertainment Weekly

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 10:04am

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Entertainment Weekly

Editor: Matt Bean
Director of Photography: Lisa Berman
Design Director: Tim Leong
Picture Editor: Michele Romero
Photographer: Dylan Coutler

Heidi: Why the split cover run for this issue?
Michele: Magazines do split-run covers whenever the subject can yield a series of photos to communicate a single topic.  So, ESPN’s Body Issue, for example, or GQ’s Coolest Athlete’s of All Time.  EW has done split-run covers for a variety of shows and this is the magazine’s 3rd time doing a split-run series for The Walking Dead.  Single images always make better cover photographs than group shots and fans like the idea of “collecting them all”.

What photo direction where you looking for that made you choose Dylan Coulter?
I had liked Dylan’s multiple image photography on athletes and he did some covers on Footballers for The New York Times Magazine for The World Cup.  I admired the videos he did for that cover story.  It reminded me to try and use him.

This was my third time working on Walking Dead covers and I’ve had to become an expert on what fans like about this show.  I realized that zombie kills were a type of physical/athletic sport.  The actors are archers and baseball batters and shovel bashers and epic swordsmen/women and they are a team whose goal is to stay alive. These survivors are athletes in the game of knock the head off the zombie.

  Screen shot 2014-09-09 at 8.17.46 PMHere’s a few of the many multiple images works I used when I was  putting Dylan forward to my bosses.  Edward Muybridge was someone whose work I had in my initial pitch along with some Jazz Musicians that shot this way in the 50s…

 

When you’re photo directing the talent, are you directing the character, the person or both?
Depends on the story.  If we’re shooting Meryl Streep, we’re photographing the actor.  If we are doing a piece on a character, we let the actor do their thing and create that other being.  In some cases, an artist, is a character, you would talk to Paul Reubens about where you want PeeWee Herman to stand, etc.

Did you experience both roles with interacting with the Walking Dead actors?
I communicate to the actors and then we watch as they create the characters.  In this case the actors REALLY get into their rolls and it is thrilling and intense to watch the energy that goes into creating that persona.

Here’s my reference for each actor. I had studied their movements before shoot day and did some sketches because each cover had to vary. These were notes that I had taped to the inside of the “studio” space where we were shooting that day.

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Was this a challenging edit, getting the pieces for each cover?
Dylan and I communicated that we’d need what we called a “money shot” for the main image for the cover and that this moment would be fully opaque while the series evolved in varying ghostings behind this main shot.  It was certainly a larger editing process than usual but my boss, Lisa Berman, reminded me that we were producing four covers that week.  I did not leave the office for a month before 10pm.

Was it predetermined where the cover lines would fall so you could use the full cover space?
No, type is never predetermined before a shoot comes in, but I have learned to always leave room for it.  Tim Leong, our Design Director, made the handwritten type himself for this cover.

There’s a lot of energy ( and blood ) on these covers, describe the mood on set. ( music and so on… )
This was my third time on a Walking Dead set and we were on location in Atlanta where the new season takes place.  We set up shop in a warehouse on a gorgeous wreck of a broken train repair yard from the previous turn of the century.  It was creepy and dark and so freaking hot.  The great thing about this show is everyone wants to give Entertainment Weekly 1000 percent.  The actors work harder than anyone and that energy was definitely captured by Dylan on film (well, digital pixels).  Norman Reedus played Mötörhead for his setup.  Andrew Lincoln cranked Metallica and the duo of Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan were moving to The Black Keys new record.  The only noise during Dania Gurira’s shoot was the sound of her blade slicing through the air.  It was thrilling to watch them all in action.

You deal with celebrities all the time, when’s the last time you’ve been star struck? ( if ever ).
I get excited to work with people and have been privileged to have experiences that are meaningful to me.  You treasure these moments.  If I like someone’s work I am grateful that I get to tell them this fact.  Sometimes I’ve had artists make music in front of me and I definitely “OMG” to myself quietly.  Oh who am I trying to kid, I WORKED WITH DAVID BOWIE.  Yep, he struck me as a star.  When he walked into the studio it was like the sun lit up the whole room.  He was an A+ professional and ate lunch with the crew.  I stole the napkin he used to wipe chicken off his hands so in the future I could make a genetic copy of David Bowie.  I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job aside from the schedule.
Working with uncooperative people.

Did you choose that warehouse location because the crew had shot there before and they were familiar?
The location is Terminus on the show.  AMC happened to be shooting there and we got our own spot on that lot as well. AMC shot their ad campaign and Gallery Art/Specials on the same weekend we got time with the cast in Atlanta.

Tell me about the gallery feel you created on set, I know Dylan found this very helpful to set the tone.
Photographer, Art Streiber and my boss Lisa Berman actually taught me about having references up on the day of a shoot.  I sketch cover concepts sometimes and get these pitches to the talent or the network/record label when we’re in concept discussions.  Since we don’t have talent for very long it helps if you can quickly show them what you’re up to.  There is no way to explain a multiple exposure to someone but as soon as they see it they get excited.  I had a pretty great (and decrepit) gallery space.  Dylan and I joked that it would be a great loft space someday.  It was a Dylan Coulter show in a Zombie Apocalypse setting.  No wine and cheese thought, but lots of zombie blood.

 Screen shot 2014-09-09 at 8.17.08 PMThis is a wall  of Dylan’s work.  It was great to get to show everyone from Norman Reedus to Exec Producer Greg Nicotero what we were up to–once people saw Dylan’s work they gave us more ideas and toys to play with.

Why did you chose a concept cover for The Walking Dead?
For a show like The Walking Dead I didn’t want to repeat a “hero pose” so Dylan’s work was a great way to make this action show dimensional.  It was something new to get to fans and it worked out really well.

Categories: Business

The Guilt Of The People He Couldn’t Save

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:15am

Carter’s daily ritual included cocaine and other drug use, which would help him cope with his occupation’s horrors. He often confided in his friend Judith Matloff, a war correspondent. She said he would “talk about the guilt of the people he couldn’t save because he photographed them as they were being killed.”

via How Photojournalism Killed Kevin Carter.

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

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Vincent Delbrouck

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 9:45am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was talking today with Marcie, my new Native American friend. She’s from the Taos Pueblo, and we really enjoy chatting about art, culture, religion. Stuff like that.

No matter how much you might feel a spiritual connection with Native American views on the sacred nature of Earth, it feels trite when you’re not raised in that culture. (If you’re white, I mean.) Which lends a certain frisson to the conversation.

To be frank, Marcie doesn’t give off the vibe that I’m a poseur. Just the opposite. She’s open, honest, and nonjudgmental. Rather, the voices in my head are self-generated. Too many hours digesting post-modern theory in graduate school, I suppose.

Of course, the Native Americans are not the ones who believe that Nature is sacred. There are strains of Buddhist tradition that teach of Inter-connectedness, or Inter-being. We are all one. I am the rocks. You are the trees. We are all made up of the particles of the Universe.

It’s profound.

In the course of our conversation, Marcie asked if I was actually Jewish? I replied that of course I was, because in my religion, you are born that way. (If your mother is Jewish, you’re a Jew.) She pushed forward, asking if I actually practiced? Did I believe?

“That’s a tougher question,” I replied. I’m like a religious version of the aforementioned Post-Modernism: a pastiche. A little of this, a little of that. So many of us are, these days.

But I do like to meditate, when I have the time, and believe that the silent absence of something can be just as powerful as presence. I’d rather have a clear, empty mind than an over-driven, neurotic, Woody-Allen-inner-monologue any day of the week.

Given that, and my oft-professed love of seeing something I’ve never seen before in a photo book, how could I not review “Some Windy Trees,” a new self-published soft-cover book by Vincent Delbrouck in Belgium?

Open it up, and after the requisite blank page, you find yourself looking at a solitary, windblown tree. The book contains several such images. Trees you want to stare at for a while. They’re so lonely. And beautiful. Mountains in the background too.

Turn the page, and you see nothing. Just more blank white paper. (As I once titled a photograph of my own, paper comes from trees.)

As I flipped through, I did a triple take. He keeps interspersing emptiness. At one point, you actually flip twice before you come to the next photo. I have definitely never seen that before. Empty pages on purpose. Who does that?

This guy, apparently.

There is a random insert of a scribbled drawing in bright red. Not blood red. Candy-cane red. Santa Claus red. Christmas-time red.

The back page tells us the pictures were made in high, windy valley in Nepal. (I suppose the cover image hints at the Himalayas.) A portion of the proceeds from each book will go to a foundation that supports the preservation of this particular region, called Mustang.

That same red repeats on the back cover, which is where we find the title. (That, I have seen before, as you regular readers will well know.)

I’m more than sure that some of you will think me crazy for celebrating someone for leaving photos out of a photo book. But what does it do? It focuses the mind. It draws attention to what is there. And it also gives off the whiff of enlightenment, that ephemeral state which the Himalayan Buddhists eternally seek.

Bottom Line: Strange, zen pictures of Himalayan trees from a Belgian

To Purchase “Some Windy Trees” 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: Anthony Blasko

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 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 Anthony Blasko. I’m keeping a close watch on him. There is a current of quiet drama flowing through Blaski’s photographs that harkens back to the works of 20th Century painter, George Bellows. I especially love Blasko’s “Jon Jones” series for Victory Journal.

This was part of a shoot for Nike with Doubleday & Cartwright. During the scout we joked about how amazing it would be if it snowed, and it ended up snowing 4–5 inches while we shot. We were very lucky.

This was part of a shoot for Nike with Doubleday & Cartwright. During the scout we joked about how amazing it would be if it snowed, and it ended up snowing 4–5 inches while we shot. We were very lucky.

This was shot in Las Vegas for Nike. I like that it’s just a simple portrait.

This was shot in Las Vegas for Nike. I like that it’s just a simple portrait.

I shot this at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio for Victory Journal 7.  This is part of an ongoing project about bodybuilding.

I shot this at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio for Victory Journal 7.
This is part of an ongoing project about bodybuilding.

 This was also shot for Victory Journal. It was part of a story we shot at the Saratoga Race Track.

This was also shot for Victory Journal. It was part of a story we shot at the Saratoga Race Track.

This is from a shoot I did for Levi’s Commuter.

This is from a shoot I did for Levi’s Commuter.

I shot a series of outdoor courts and fields in Brooklyn for Nike Air Force 1 right after Hurricane Sandy. We ended up biking around for 3 days because of the gas shortage. It was strange because almost no one was out, but it worked well for the shoot. There isn’t a single person in any of the images.

I shot a series of outdoor courts and fields in Brooklyn for Nike Air Force 1 right after Hurricane Sandy. We ended up biking around for 3 days because of the gas shortage. It was strange because almost no one was out, but it worked well for the shoot. There isn’t a single person in any of the images.

A cliff diver I shot at a competition in Boston for Victory Journal.

A cliff diver I shot at a competition in Boston for Victory Journal.

A portrait of a cattleman and his kids in Florida. This is part of a long-term project I working on in the South.

A portrait of a cattleman and his kids in Florida. This is part of a long-term project I working on in the South.

Another image from the same project, shot at a river in Mississippi.

Another image from the same project, shot at a river in Mississippi.

This is one of my favorite shots of my cousin Amber from another ongoing project. I’ve been shooting my father’s side of my family for around 8 years now. The first 5 years are in the book The Way Things Are, Volume I.

This is one of my favorite shots of my cousin Amber from another ongoing project. I’ve been shooting my father’s side of my family for around 8 years now. The first 5 years are in the book The Way Things Are, Volume I.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been shooting professionally for about 3 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I have a BFA. But that’s not a road I would take again.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
It’s hard to cite one influence. Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson, Mark Cohen, Sally Mann and Garry Winogrand have all had a large impact on how I look at things.

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?
Being fresh isn’t something I ever think about but I do try to push myself with every project and try to make it my own. What drives me is looking at the work of others, there’s a lot of great work out there that sets the bar really high.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I know this happens, but I haven’t had much experience with it. But I understand that when you’re working with bigger brands other things need to be considered, and that might be limiting. But at that point you work with the creative to come up with something interesting.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I find people really love books. I like to print books or magazines of my personal work to send out. Right now I have 4 projects that are close to being done that will become printed pieces in some form. I’ve also worked on a number of projects with Victory Journal, which has allowed me to shoot some interesting stories, as well as get my work in front of a lot of people.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I’m sure it works for some, but I think in the long run you’ll probably enjoy your work more if you’re making it for yourself. In return you’ll probably work more because of it. I also think that if you’re not shooting work that’s your own, people will notice.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I’m always shooting personal work. At the moment I’m working on numerous projects, the largest is titled The South. I’m spending 3–4 weeks shooting in each Southern state with another photographer, Chadwick Tyler. We’ll publish books for each state. I’m also finishing up a project on competitive bodybuilding, which will also be a book.

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Anthony Blasko is a NYC based photographer. Represented by McDermott Management.

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 – Jennifer Robbins: Gotham Magazine

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 10:18am

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Gotham Magazine

Art Director: Anastasia Tsioutas Casaliggi
Photo Director: Lisa Rosenthal Bader
Photographer: Jennifer Robbins

Heidi: Your work is vibrating with energy, how do you create that on set?
Jennifer: Honestly, part of it is my natural state. People used to think I was on drugs because I was always go-go-go.  I think they’ve finally discovered what that’s called – ADHD – there’s  medication for it, which has been suggested.  (laughs) However I’m not that interested in taming it if it means turning into an automaton. I know going into these shoots that my energy has to be up, I mean, this is part of the reason I’ve been hired. So like any prerequisites for a job, this is one of mine.
For instance:

-I get to the set early and talk to everyone
-I bring my portfolio because at times, people may not have seen my work and often that’s enough to get people excited, it gives them a road map as to what is expected and where we’re headed together
-A lot of times it’s music
-Every once in awhile glass of champagne or wine can help
-I’m enthusiastic and effusive as I’m shooting and “getting the shot”
-I jump up and down, dance and I’m usually audible in my self-congratulatory behavior ( laughs )
-I also believe when people are looking at pictures, they are smart enough to know about the sixth sense… to feel when something is forced or saccharine.
-The reality is it’s fun to be a photographer and I do a few things to establish the kind of energy I need.

I’m pretty clear with models ahead of time about what I’m asking from them and when I see them “modeling” a lot of times I just put the kibosh on that pretty quickly. These are already beautiful people, so what?  They are already “pretty” I’m interested in what attraction for the viewer they can create.  I love women (and men) who are not afraid to flirt, stop worrying about whether you look good, clearly you look pretty good to be a model, now let’s have some real fun.

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Jennifer on Set

Inevitability shoots can hit an energetically low.  How do you overcome that?

As a photographer you know that at some point it’s going to come, the lull, so accepting it and not letting the wheels fall completely off the cart is a good. There are a few coping tools I use.
The first thing I do is to blow off a little steam is text my best friend and write “kill me” just to vent it. Once that’s done, I go back to work realizing I’ve got some creative problem solving to do, I can’t have a temper tantrum in the corner just because it’s not fun.

At the end of the day, it’s a job and no matter what, I promised to deliver.  Sometimes I’m honest with it and say, “Okay everybody let’s get our shit together and push on through!” inevitably we do hit an energetic low after lunch. This is exactly why I always hate having to stop for lunch!  Without fail everybody goes into a food coma and it does make my job a lot harder.

I just can’t get sucked into the undertow of blah, as the photographer, it’s not an option.  Now, when the subject is an energetic suck and no matter what music, level of energy, joke or how social I try to be, sometimes you just don’t connect, and that’s fine.  In those circumstances I have to rely on something else and that’s composition, I look at body lines, make aggressive crops. It’s much more interesting to me to reveal maybe only part of the overall scene. Understanding how to compose that and still tell a story is what I love.

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Your work is about glamorous, sexy women and their appeal,  what element does being a female photographer bring?
I’m not sure it’s incredibly profound but my mother was a fashion illustrator for The New York Times as well as department stores.  I was born in Manhattan and use to go to clubs and had pretty friends and at 19 wanted to be super pretty, sexy and be all those things young girls want at that age.
I spent a lot of time doing makeup, wearing skirts about 4 inches long, slinking around in high heels and getting into Mars and Limelight at 15. So some of it was just there for the taking… meaning the glamour, it’s NYC, it’s just more available than in many parts of the country, and it was fun. I used to go out and dance five nights a week! The visuals of a crowded nightclub and people having fun was imprinted in my mind before I ever knew that would be my style.

Plus I have no desire to sleep with my  subjects (who are usually women) so I think in that way the women I photograph can relax into every element of themselves without feeling  very selfconscious or that there are any ulterior motives on my end.
Also, everyone wants to look good in photos, who wants to look like crap? I make this promise with all  my subjects, simply put, my photos are not saving lives, it’s about feeling beautiful, being photographed and enjoying the process.

I think there is a certain importance and a value to beauty in this world, so much of our daily lives we are inundated with sadness and heartbreak of humanity. Beauty can make us smile and be an escape. I’m not laboring under the notion that somehow I’m curing cancer. I have a realistic perspective on my career and I think that contributes to loosening up the reigns a bit and having some fun while doing a great job.

Your work is a wonderful blend of voyeurism and inclusion. How did living with a  documentary photographer change the way you shoot?
Aside from a being a brilliant photographer he taught me two important things. One was the use of  wide-angle lenses and how composition could either move a story along, convey a story, or be the story.  For a while I used a 24 millimeter lens with my “fashion” and it lent itself to a more cinematic, narrative tone.  The other important lesson I got from him was the simplicity of lighting and how to manipulate ambient light with strobe.

As a photojournalist you can’t stop and ask somebody for a do over when you’re covering real people in real-time.

Ultimately that’s how I work now, I love to roll around on the floor or get underneath a table or jump up onto a bar and the only way I can do that is to be unencumbered by my equipment because with my photographic style, just a second of having to rework something because I need to move my lights around can kill the shot.

What as the hardest part of this story for Gotham?
The hardest thing about this project was the logistics, it was shot in just two days in different boroughs.  There was so much driving in the worst conditions: My air conditioning broke, there was so much traffic, parking was impossible.  I had no assistant, so I was carrying all my own gear, so it’s hard to go from all the logistical obstacles to Creative Director!

I had such limited time to come in, find my location and get the shot. I didn’t have the luxury of any type of scout.

Any photographer knows its hard to have all the images hang together in a collection when shooting so many different unknown locations, there’s not set plan. I made sure to give the client several options for each portraits, so we could have options for the edit. I love Gotham as a client, they have a lot of faith in me, I’m grateful for that. Subsequently the more freedom they have given me, the happier everyone involved has been with the images.

I know you’re working a personal project shooting plus girls? Tell me about it.
Right now I am laying the groundwork for exploring the world of Plus Size girls. I realize it sounds a little weird as if they’re some other species but unfortunately the world really is divided like that. A few years ago I had my first foray into working with plus size models for Ashley Stewart. I worked with two of the best girls out there: Marquita Pring and Tara Lynn both of whom had posed nude for Steven Meisel for the cover and an editorial in Italian Vogue. While I was fortunate enough to work with the top girls what has stayed with me years later was the experience of their freedom in their bodies and their acceptance of not fitting into what most of us have been conditioned to think is normal but actually is unattainable. For years I said I wanted to work with plus size girls more and more but it doesn’t just materialize. I’ve realized that I have to take it into my own hands and explore this world creatively on my own. Right now I’m in the preliminary stages of exploring what plus size fashion looks like in my style.

As someone who was inundated with this world of fashion that’s compromised of skinny and young, I’ve reached a limit of finding that interesting anymore and personally feeling like the separatism women have. … there’s skinny-girl-fun which usually includes skinny dipping, Jean shorts and really hot guys around and then there’s the rest of us behemoth-girls-fun often limited to  diet coke and bowling or some shit, full piece bathing suits with built in skirts and other “normal-sized” women. Lame.

I think that as I get older I am far more interested in the variety of beauty, personally the kind of work I do I definitely needs women  who are confident, comfortable and happy with who they are because that energy comes through in the work.

I’m looking for an added dimension to a woman’s beauty and that only comes from inside, who they are who or who they want to be. In acceptance is their freedom and in that, is my enjoyment of photographing them.

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During your career you spent time in both LA and NY, which has served you better and what are the differences creatively?
Ah, The Los Angeles vs. New York conversation.  It’s an unavoidable comparison that gets made in all facets of living in either city. The truth is, as a native New Yorker you would hope that your hometown would be the biggest cheerleader, but in actuality Los Angeles has been so supportive of me from the beginning of my career and it continues to hold that reception for me.

I started my career in Los Angeles on a whim vacation. Detour magazine hired me on the spot and I started shooting a lot of celebrities/covers which obviously brought in a lot more work.  My current agent Marilyn Cadenbach is based in Los Angeles and some of my best jobs were shot in Los Angeles not necessarily for clients from Los Angeles, Nieman Marcus is a good example of that.

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Clearly the pool of models is different because of the Hollywood factor. There are more actresses available and for me that’s ideal.  I’m looking for someone who can go beyond their looks, embody a character that I need in order to get the job done, get the feeling I’m in search of.

For obvious reasons the weather in Los Angeles has always aided in successful photo shoots, blue skies and warm weather don’t often interfere with the kind of projects I’m out there to do. Aside from the convenience of the weather in Southern California the topography of LA just lends itself to a different aesthetic.

You’re a self described energy ball. Where does that come from and why did you choose to channel that into photography?
Where does my energy come from? My answer may just be a result of many years is therapy but maybe its a combination of things. My parents are extremely funny  and even divorced they’re great friends. My grandparents were WWII generation,  tough people.  My grandfather didn’t believe in being bored, if I told him I was bored that he would say it’s because I’m boring! I love that. Also I was an only child so it required a lot of energy to entertain myself. My mom is really silly, she would make up the most ridiculous names for our cats (names: akkaduka, mafalda, scapaloopalah, piscina, inky, bialystock, bloom, Olaf and shitka) or for anything really and I think she passed on silliness which is a part of myself that I enjoy, it’s the part that keeps me young. Maybe it’s being a Leo? Maybe it’s just more fun than being NOT energetic?

I don’t know that it was a conscious choice to be a photographer.  I was always an artist of some sort and I did know I was creative. I remember my mother had Helmet Newton photo books in the house I was intrigued and fascinated by his work but even then I wasn’t thinking about becoming a photographer, I was still quite young.

I found photography when I was at NYU. Originally it was because I ran out of  classes to take. To my surprise I liked photography immediately, experimented alot and had many girlfriends who were willing to pose for me, so I shot all the time. When I realized this was something I can do as a job I thought, “That’s awesome!” and at 21 I really thought I was the greatest photographer! Mainly because at the time my work looked so different from what was going  on at NYU where fashion was looked down on, the trend was to shoot on the street, typically black and white photos of the homeless.

I liked that my work didn’t look like everyone else’s, and despite having a professor who gave me a B- for three consecutive semesters, I still thrived.  She took photos of dead people, literally. So what did I expect with my half-naked red lipstick girls pouring milk over their heads while smoking a cigarette?!?

Categories: Business

Facebook’s Photo Community Manager Is a War Photographer

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 9:21pm

“A lot of photographers” is basically referring to professional photographers, who make up a really small percentage of the people uploading photos to Facebook. We tend to think of ourselves as the most important class of photographers, but in the hundreds of millions of photos getting uploaded each day, we’re statistically insignificant. But a lot of these questions are actually being worked on, particularly the metadata stuff.

via VICE United States.

Categories: Business

The Best Work I Saw at Review Santa Fe ’14

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 10:11am

My father reads my column every week. Without fail. Recently, he took exception to the fact that I labeled my writing “nonsense.” Thank goodness for encouraging parents.

I try to keep these articles entertaining, and have found that a little self-deprecation goes a long way. Occasionally, I revel in it, because I used to have very thin skin, as a youth. I’d fall to pieces if anyone made fun of me. (As Dad can attest.)

That’s why I love to start these travel pieces and festival reviews with a funny story, making me look foolish. Like the time I set off the fire alarm at the NY Times review. Or the time a heavy door at Gagosian hit me in the stomach, right in front of a gorgeous gallerina.

Eventually, though, I was bound to run out of embarrassing incidents. It was inevitable.

And here we are.

Nothing funny happened to me at Review Santa Fe this past June. I was invited as a roving reviewer, and as the guy who announces their raffle at the Saturday night party. (Yes, I broke into Spanglish, but it was more ha-ha funny than Ricky Gervais cringe-worthy. So not relevant here.)

I had a very nice time, as it was my sixth consecutive trip to the review. Good food, good weather, lots of nice people from around the world. I think I’ll even skip the part where I defend the review process from those who get upset about having to pay for meetings.

Overall, I saw the best work of any review I’ve yet attended. Polished, relevant, accomplished projects, professionally presented.

So if nothing bad happened, nor anything eventful to recount here…let’s get on to showing the best work I saw at the RSF ’14.

Qian Ma is a photographer based in Brooklyn, who recently finished a degree at ICP. In a perfectly strange coincidence, he just finished studying with my former professor, the great Allen Frame. I wasn’t surprised to hear that, as Allen is adept at pushing young artists to dig into a practice that allows their personal aesthetic to shine.

Qian’s black and white prints were totally gorgeous, and admittedly, the jpegs don’t do them justice. People literally lined up to see this work. I loved the otherworldly, odd, metaphysical qualities. How a simple cell phone can make you think of a parallel universe. So of course I asked him if he read Haruki Murakami, and of course he said, “Yes. Everything he’s written.” The project is called “Luminance,” and if you happen to see a sheep man lurking in a corner, at least you were warned.

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I met Julia Cybularz within seconds of walking into the open portfolio viewing at the Santa Fe Farmer’s market. Normally, you wander around such events, looking for the juicy bits. Not that night. Hers was the first work I saw, and I loved it.

She’s photographed her niece, who has horrible scoliosis. Debilitating stuff. The photos were elegant, razor sharp, and visceral. Apparently, Ms. Cybularz suffered from the same affliction, which adds to the resonance. She also had a concurrent project which featured her cousin, who has schizophrenia and is mentally challenged. And he has scoliosis as well. It made for a fascinating mix of family, malady, and personal connection.

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Meike Nixdorf is an artist who was visiting from Germany. Again with the Japanese references, she was showing a project that was inspired by Hokusai’s “36 Views of Mt. Fuji.” She was looking for a mountain that she could photograph from many different angles, that would allow the structure of the pictures to change radically.

She found one, El Teide, in the Canary Islands. I asked her why there, as it seemed so random, and she told me she visited the mountain many times, flying over it in a virtual flight simulator. If that’s not updating Hokusai’s vision to the 21st Century, I’m not sitting at my kitchen table on a rainy day in the mountains. (In fact, I am.)

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I also met Miki Hasegawa that night. (Two women with different spellings of the same name?) Miki had a series of images that she photographed from the vantage point of her young daughter.

As we all know, life is lived at eye level. We grownups make the world in our image, but our offspring are always looking up at a reality they must grow into. Terrific color palette as well, and the prints managed to capture the wonder and curiosity of childhood. I loved them immediately.

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I had a long, rambling, roving review with the Denver-based photographer Benjamin Rasmussen, who’s originally from the Faroe Islands. (They’re in-between Norway and Iceland, so you don’t have to Google it.) He’s interested in issues of identity and displacement, and his project “By the Olive Trees” focuses on both.

He photographed Syrian refugees in Jordan. And he was apparently in Ferguson, MO, last week, so you can check his website to see what’s going on in America’s homegrown war-zone. (Hands up, Don’t shoot.)

According to Twitter, Russia invaded Ukraine today. Is that news? Haven’t they invaded several times already, including when they swiped Crimea? Hard to imagine a more topical project than one which examines the cross-cultural divide between the two countries. (Soon to be re-united?)

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Sasha Rudensky was born in Russia, and studied in the famed Yale program. With her project, “Brightness, she has given us some seriously strange pictures that do just that. She photographed in both places, and the image of the thugs holding a giant snake was my favorite single picture at RSF. (Unfortunately, she isn’t ready to publish it yet.)

Finally, I got to see the work of Jeanine Michna-Bales, who was one of Center’s Prize winners. I’d seen a couple of her prints on the wall of the Center for Contemporary Arts, and was transfixed. You won’t believe the premise.

Ms. Bales was interested in understanding the reality of the underground railroad, that patchwork network that led escaped slaves to freedom. A beacon of light in America’s bleak past.

So, she recreated it herself.

She stopped every 20 miles or so, between Louisiana and Canada, which was the supposed average distance an escaped slave could have covered. Then, she made pictures at night. It was so sketchy that she had to hire bodyguards to protect her, out in the middle of nowhere, under black skies.

Obviously, the premise is terrific. But the pictures are every bit as good.

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Hunter's Bottom

Moonrise over Northern Ripley County

Look for the Grey Barn Out Back

'Welcome to the Fugitive Captive'

Categories: Business

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