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Former Photography Director Rob Haggart
Updated: 22 min 17 sec ago

The Daily Promo: Lori Eanes

7 hours 37 min ago

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Lori Eanes

Who printed it?
Overnight Prints

Who designed it?
I did.

Who edited the images?
I did with the help of a photographer friend, Pamela Gentile.

How many did you make?
I made 50 5.5 x 8.5 inch booklets for $95.69. The cover is card stock. The inside paper is a little thin–you can see through the pages a little. Next time I’ll order the higher quality paper.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Several times a year I send out 5 x 7 inch postcards, this is the first booklet I’ve ever made.

How did this series start?
This series started with my (somewhat disgusting) interest in flattened food containers that I would find on the street. I first photographed them as objects either on a light table or on black.  I realized I liked the x-ray quality of the light table best. Then I started trying to limit the series to fast food, food containers and plastic forks, knives and spoons.  I was really limited by what I could shoot because everything had to be translucent. I tried a lot of ideas but gradually realized the best ones weren’t too literal.

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Stephen Shore

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 10:33am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I just got home from a family vacation. In Colorado. So my brain is not working as well as it normally does. (Must. Activate. Remaining. Braincells.)

In fact, I just deleted several paragraphs, and jumped right back to this spot. I never do that. These columns normally flow like the water in the Rio Hondo, right after the snow pack begins to melt.

But not today.

Today, I want to talk about nostalgia. Or, more correctly, the way in which some temporal markers take on a power that is far greater than what they have earned. I’ve got a handy example, so you know exactly what I mean.

I was at Review Santa Fe a few weeks ago, as I’ve mentioned. The articles highlighting the work I saw will be coming out in the near future, but I wanted to share an unrelated anecdote. (What’s that you say? I’ve never met an “unrelated” anecdote? Point taken.)

One of the photographers at the event had a previous career as a TV journalist back in the 90’s. It’s not important whom I’m discussing, but let’s just say that the person held an outsized place in the culture at the time, despite never being a superstar.

During the weekend, I watched as one GenX photog after another seemed starstruck and smitten. Again, this is not Tom Cruise we’re talking about. But some things that are important to us, at critical times in our youth, never really lose their power. (That’s why the rest of us can’t really understand how much Baby Boomer guys love Mickey Mantle.)

Speaking for the 90’s, I think that “Seinfeld” was such a cultural touchstone. (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”) It’s freaking 2015, and it still seems like Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer are America’s weird, narcissistic best friends. Who would have thought a show about NOTHING could make such a lasting impression?

Sometimes, NOTHING is the best possible subject, because it allows an artist to super-impose his or her own vision, or range of emotions, directly onto a historical stage. Even time can feel more important, when it’s supporting a flimsy premise; when all that matters is the way color, light, and composition meld together into an enduring scenario that would otherwise escape notice.

Am I talking about anyone specific?
Stephen Shore. American master.

The last time I wrote about him, I mostly-trashed his book of photographs made in Israel. I pined for the less-complicated, almost breezily brilliant pictures made in his heyday. Back in the 70’s.

So that’s what we’ve got for today: Stephen Shore’s “Uncommon Places: The Complete Works,” recently released by Aperture. It simply doesn’t get any better than this, my faithful readers. No irony required. This shit is fantastic.

It took me a lot of brain power just to make it this far, so that means I’m going to wrap it up rather swiftly. I’ll shoot an extra few pictures so you can enjoy the ride a little longer, but for once, there’s not much I can say.

The pictures really are about “NOTHING,” in the sense that the collection merely records one man’s travels, and the things he saw, back in the 70’s. There were many images made in mid-1974, and my imagination ran wild, visualizing this guy, moseying around with a big camera, while I was drinking formula and spitting up on my Mom back in Jersey.

The truly iconic pictures, like “Holden Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, July 13, 1974″ stand out, in that we’ve seen them before. They’re etched in our minds, like our grandmother’s face. But they fit into the continuum of Mr. Shore’s journey, and deliver about as much pleasure as the other plates. (Beyond giving a quick jolt of nostalgic thrill, reminding us of the phase when we first discovered them.)

The last two weeks, I’ve talked about developing your own voice. It is hard, I admit. Starting from your own passion and knowledge base is a good idea.

Another way to go about it is to obsess about your favorites. Look at their work until your eyes bleed. That way, the next time you’re looking through the viewfinder, you’ll recognize when you’re about to snap one of “their” pictures, and then slowly let your finger off the shutter.

Bottom Line: A classic, meant to be appreciated over time

To Purchase “Stephen Shore’s “Uncommon Places: The Complete Works” Visit Photo-Eye

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Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: Matthew Johnson

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 10:36am

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is:  Matthew Johnson, based in Austin, Texas.

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How long have you been shooting? 
This is just my second year shooting freelance editorial and commercial work, but for the past 15 years I’ve assisted and worked on and off as everything from a staff photographer for a Major League Baseball team to an aerial photographer for a marketing firm.
 
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Mostly self-taught.  I have a magazine journalism degree from University of South Florida, but the program was writing based with just a handful of photojournalism classes available as electives.  They really resonated with me though, so I signed up for every one available.  This was in 2000, so I was spending time in both the darkroom and in the computer lab learning some early version of Photoshop, but everything was still totally film based. 
 
Once I had taken all the classes provided in my program, my professor was kind enough to help me out by first recommending me for an internship shooting for the university’s PR department and then connecting me with my first job out of college shooting for a Major League Baseball team.
 
After a season of shooting baseball I ended up putting photography on the back burner for about 5 years as I started a charter fishing business and was working full time as a fly fishing guide.  By the time I came back to photography, things had changed so much I felt like I was starting from scratch again, learning anything and everything I could from experimenting on my own, assisting, and reading everything from library books to blogs and forums.
 
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
This project came about when I was hired for a commercial job shooting a handful of resorts down on the Yucatan Peninsula for a startup travel agency.  Being down in the center of this world-class fishing area of the Yucatan was the perfect opportunity to work on this project with a subject I’m really passionate about.
 
Fly fishing has been a big part of my life since I was a kid growing up in Oregon spending all my free time camping and fishing.  Before moving to Austin and getting back into photography full time I lived down in Key West where I had gotten my Coast Guard Captain’s license and started a charter fly fishing business.  For 5 years I split my time between Key West and SW Alaska where I spent the summers working as a guide at a remote fly fishing lodge.  So fly fishing and outdoor culture have always been favorite subjects. 
 
I have such a romantic idea about the lifestyle of fly fishing so it was exciting to work on a project trying to capture that feeling.  It was really my dream project: spending time on the water with good people, meeting local guides and even setting down the camera long enough to catch a few fish myself.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it? 
This was shot on a single trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in about a week.  My projects are often something like this, where I shoot them relatively quickly while on a trip.  On the other end of the spectrum, though, I have some projects going that focus on annual events that I only get a chance to work on for a few days every 12 months.  Right now I have portrait projects focusing on fireworks stands owners and the youth culture at the Texas Relays track meet that both fall into this category.  I’ll keep working on these projects for at least another year since I’m really enjoying them, but I like sharing the work while it’s in progress.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I’m not someone that is shooting a new project every week so I’ve usually put quite a bit of thought into what is interesting to me about a project and how I’ll want to explore the subject before I’m actually shooting anything.  So if I get to the point of taking the first photo it means the subject intrigued me enough that I’m definitely getting something out of it.  In order for a project to turn into a long term effort there has to be some challenge or lingering questions that I couldn’t quickly or easily answer, but every project that I’ve ever started has ended up working for me on some level.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
When I first started showing my book around I didn’t have much personal work in there, but I would often pull out some loose prints from my own projects and I quickly realized that people really enjoyed seeing that work.  The personal work is bound to be more inspired and unique, and is the type of work that I want to get more of, so I realized that separating the two just didn’t make sense.  I will have commissioned jobs that I don’t use for my portfolio, but I don’t really ever have personal work that I wouldn’t want to share in my portfolio or on my blog.  

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I’m a big fan of Tumblr, and I’ll post photos on Instagram as well.  I deleted my Facebook account about two years ago and the decision still brings a smile to my face.  It was never a good fit for me, I just didn’t enjoy it.  I felt really uncomfortable every time I posted something, like I was just highlighting the cool things in my life, while on Tumblr and Instagram posts are just about my work.  It’s also really nice to be connecting with and following photographers, artists, editors, etc. rather than having an endless social media feed of weird updates from distant relatives or people from high school that I don’t really even know. 

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nothing too crazy, but I’m always surprised by which images on my blog are shared the most.  I recently posted a set of images from the boardwalk in Santa Cruz that were taken early in the morning with nobody around so the park has an eerie deserted feel to it, and even though I liked the images I was surprised by the response.  You never know what might hit a cord with people. 

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Definitely, I sent out around 200 postcards highlighting this project and have tried to send printed promos out with all the projects that I’m most excited about, since they show exactly the kind of work I’m wanting to get commissions for.

Artist Statement:  Fly fishing is often romanticized as a quiet, meditative art practiced standing thigh deep in a mountain stream, but serious anglers have progressed the sport beyond rivers and lakes to the saltwater flats of tropical destinations around the world.  Combining the skills of fly fishing and hunting, anglers stalk the shallow waters looking for difficult to spot game fish like bonefish, permit and tarpon that can be individually targeted, often in water that is only a foot or two deep. 
 
This exciting form of fly fishing has it’s own culture and romanticism: early mornings at the boat dock as the sun rises, the smell of sunscreen and saltwater, gorgeous expanses of tropical water all to yourself, powerful fish jumping into the harsh equatorial sunlight breaking tackle, and the cold beer that invariably waits at the end of the day with labels from places like Mexico or the Bahamas.  This work attempts to capture that excitement and anticipation of the next trip to one of these tropical paradises to chase fish with a fly rod.

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Matthew Johnson is an editorial and commercial photographer based out of Austin, Texas.  Before landing in Austin he grew up Oregon, and spent time in the Florida Keys, SW Alaska and Jackson Hole, Wyoming working as a fly fishing guide.  Prior to his obsessions with photography and fly fishing he spent all his time running, competing as a distance runner in multiple NCAA championships while at USF.   You can see his work at http://www.matthewjohnsonphoto.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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

Bending the Light

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 10:23am

Rent Bending The Light on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bendingthelight/125079271

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Ben Miller: Edward Magazine

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 8:40am

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EdwardMag.com

Photographer:Ben Miller

What niche do you see this publication fulfilling?
I had been toying with the idea of this magazine for a couple of years, and when my daughter was born last year, I knew I finally had to do something. Its really concerning that we put unrealistic beauty expectations on our young women through ridiculous levels of retouching and body warping, so I wanted to start a fashion magazine to help change that. EDWARD features all natural, un-retouched models in raw, beautiful editorials. It highlights amazing styles and gives our daughters something to aspire to that is actually obtainable.

All black and white and no retouching? tell us about that– what type of photographic statement are you trying to make.
The aesthetic is all centered around creating a publication that is true and aspirational. Simplicity. Something that blurs the line between art and commerce. Retouching has gotten so out of control that models in fashion magazines barely resemble people. Just google “liquify in photoshop”, and you can see what I mean. This publication will be the opposite of mainstream fashion magazines in every way. We plan to have advertising, but only as native, sponsored stories, so as not to detract from the overall feel of the piece.

How much harder are the photos to take now that you’re not retouching?
Its really not difficult to make a beautiful woman in stylish clothes look amazing on film. Choice of lighting, posing, hair, makeup, and clothing make all the difference. We didn’t have these photoshop tools decades ago, and our idea of realistic body image was much more realistic and healthy. Our contributors see it as a challenge, and I agree. If you cannot make beautiful art without creating it all in the computer, you are not a true artist in my mind.

So you retouching NONE of the images, correct?  
Correct. Only basic light adjustments like brightness and contrast are allowed. No skin retouching, cloning, or body warping of any kind are allowed.

How does the casting go down?
Casting is a collaborative process with our artists. The photographers produce the shoots, and we simply ask for sign-off on the major players before the shoot date arrives. We hate to intervene in the creative process, so we rarely change anything, unless it is something that really needs remedying.

Are you shooting the bulk of the images?
I plan to shoot one editorial per issue. We have dozens of photographers from around the world, along with amazing stylists, models, and other crew who are all contributing their time to this project.

What’s the business idea behind this and are you seeking any funding?
We are actively seeking investors and subscribers. We know this project can be very viable as an art book style quarterly or monthly publication. In addition to the publication itself, we are working on other products such as art prints that can help better compensate the artists we work with in the longer term.


What was the catalyst for this idea? I know you recently had a daughter, are you trying to send out the right messages to men and women?

Yes I have been disgusted with the state of retouching in commercial photography for a while now. Having a daughter last year finally made me want to do something about it. We need to be creating a world where people are happy about themselves and their bodies. And while I do think it is important to eat well, exercise, pay attention to ones appearance, it is impossible for people to live up to models that have been warped and manipulated into something unobtainable. Women in American culture unfortunately have more unrealistic expectations to live up to, so that is why EDWARD focuses on them.

Do you think as society ( most female beauty images )  we are prone to not believe photography any longer? Are you trying to give us hope?
I think that most intelligent people are well aware that mainstream imagery in magazines is far from truthful. But even if people know that intellectually, it is easy to forget when looking at an individual image. I am not trying to give anyone hope, I am simply trying to steer the industry in a more truthful direction.

How much longer does it take to finding the correct angles to mitigate the need for retouching?
A good photographer should be finding those angles already, so for me it was not much of an adaptation. I think the lighting, and paying close attention to hair and makeup is the most important part. Softer, moodier lighting tends to be come conducive to creating the right mood for EDWARD.

Why did you call it Edward?
EDWARD is my middle name. For me, it brings up the image of a proper British gentleman, reliant on logic and truth. He appreciates the finer things in life, and values honesty and character above all else. He loves women, and more importantly, respects them.

What’s the best way for people to reach out to you?
They should email us at hello@edwardmag.com

Categories: Business

The Daily Promo: Joshua Scott

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 10:06am

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Who printed it?

The card was from Modern Postcard, www.modernpostcard.com and the screen wipes are from www.4allpromos.com.

Who designed it?

Yee Wong at 52kilo, www.52kilo.com

Who edited the images? Did it come with images?

I edited the images myself along with input from my agents Katie and Kristy at K2 Creative Management, www.k2creativemanagement.com

The screen wipes did not come with images. I shot all images.

How many did you make?

About 250. I think that was the minimum order allowed for the screen wipes.

How many times a year do you send out promos?

I try to send out physical promos about 4 times a year and intersperse an email promo between those mailings. So together I’m sending out about 8 pros a year. Depending on my available budget.

How did this idea develop?

This promo came out of my agent K2 Creative Management asking me to do a more involved unique physical promo piece. Before this I only ever send out postcards just because they are the most budget friendly. Sometimes the postage actually costs more than the printed card! Reluctantly I came up with a few ideas based on the end user receiving a product that they could actually use. That was important to me that the piece actually be a little useful.  Once we decided on what the physical item was going to be, the screen wipes, we came up with a few tag lines and I started to brainstorm image ideas that could relate to the product. This was the 1st time I actually shot images specifically for promo use. Before this I just used images I had shot for other jobs as just kind of an update of my work. I think actually shooting dedicated images for a promo concept really helped make this piece stand out and be a cohesive idea. Its good to have someone, my agent in this case,  pushing you to step it up.

Editor’s Note:
If you’d like to send promos for review I’d love to check them out:
21135 Colina Rd
Topagna CA
90290
Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Yusuf Sevinçli

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 9:47am

by Jonathan Blaustein

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, while I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. ”Tis some midnight visitor,’ I muttered, ‘rapping at my chamber door. Only this, and nothing more.'”

Edgar Allen Poe, “The Raven,” as I remember it from 7th grade

You never know what will stick in your head. Some things stick that we’d rather not, like an image of James Foley getting his head hacked off. Other things hang around, and we savor them, like the aftertaste of some magical Ecuadoran chocolate.

In general, it’s good to be memorable, if you’re a photograph. It means there’s an element, embedded in your pixel or grain structure, that enables you to stand out from the literally endless crowd.

The numbers of pictures made each day, week, or year, are simply too large to process. They might as well be infinite, these jpegs, because I can’t imagine anything stemming the tide. Even in the end of the world, as imagined by Sci-Fi genius Neal Stephenson, the jpegs and .mov files withstand the apocalypse.

Given this reality, (tons of pictures, not the end of days,) it’s the job of a conscientious photographer to try to figure out the secret code to originality. It’s often said that developing a voice, or Point of View, can help differentiate oneself.

I’d say that’s true, but perhaps it’s easier said than done. In a world of 7 billion people, it can be a tad tricky to figure out what makes you different from everyone else. Even self-awareness is not the magic bullet it might have been back in the day, when the “Average American Male” was as cognizant of his emotions as a pile of railroad ties.

Then again, you, the audience, are not limited to America. That’s one of the very best things about the Internet. It brings us all together. British photographers know what’s on the wall in Los Angeles. Japanese book makers know what’s on the shelves in Roman stores.

It’s all out there.

Normally, we think this is a good thing, in that we keep abreast of our community. Sure. That’s true.

But it can also make it that much easier to ape someone’s style. To allow the creative creep to happen, in which you’re subtly absorbing information you might not even realize. Before you know it, you’re not exactly appropriating, but your pictures are less original than they might have otherwise been.

Which brings me back to “The Raven,” or at least, what I remember of its opening stanza. How do scary movies work? They use scary music, with lots of low-timbre, asynchronous drums, strings, and piano. The color palette revolves around some shade of Black.

The world that Edgar Allen Poe conjured, before cinema even existed, haunts us still. (Pun intended.) Scary movie tropes are there because they work. Lots of light, with shiny colors? Not scary. Skeletons emerging from black muck? Scary.

It’s the same thing with a certain style of photography. Black and White. Grainy. Low light. Blurry. Creepy. Discomfiting.

Having said those words, do any images come to mind? I bet they do. I reviewed Ken Schles’ book “Invisible City” a month or so ago, and it would fit the bill. But it was done back in the 80’s, and those pictures conjured a mood that by all accounts resonated with the New York City that actually existed.

“Good Dog,” a book in my photo-eye pile, by Yusuf Sevinçli, made in Istanbul, may represent that city just as well. I have no idea, as I’ve never been to Turkey. (Though I’ve heard it’s a lovely.)

The book, though, reminded me of so many others that I was not able to take it seriously. I apologize, as normally I lavish praise on the books I write about. This one certainly has redeeming qualities, and some of you may even want to buy it.
(I’m not suggesting it’s worthless.)

Rather, it’s devoid of creativity, despite its edginess. Last week, I deviated from my normal style, and wrote a critique directly to a young photographer. Having received a thank you note, I feel I hit the mark. And the comments were favorable too, though one person did suggest I was in attack mode because the pictures were so traditional.

Everyone knows I like edgy work, but what does that even mean? I’d suggest it refers to photographs that contain an element of tension and surprise. They throw the viewer off-guard, with unexpected choices. I enjoy sitting with such pictures.

“Good Dog,” therefore, does not match up with that description. The trope does, with it’s darkness, grain, big eyed kids, dangling Eggleston light bulb, flowers, panty-covered vagina, flies, dogs and birds. It’s supposed to be edgy. I get that.

But after seeing such things more times than I can count, I was bored of this book well before I finished. I even made a game of it, saying, “Wait for it. Wait for it.” until the boob shots showed up. They had to be there. It was inevitable.

Why?
Because Boobs Sell Books.℠

I’m sure Yusuf Sevinçli is a talented artist. He shows in galleries, and might well sell a lot of his work. I’m not suggesting he’s a hack. Surely, these are the types of photographs he enjoys making. (And with Ken Schles thanked in the end notes, he appears to have some well-placed supporters.)

However, I didn’t want you, the audience, to think I took a shot at Seth Hancock last week because of the style of work he likes to make. Rather, I sought a teachable moment, where I could speak to all the image-makers out there. In particular, because it’s a message I’ve heard directly from other colleagues at portfolio reviews.

Make the pictures you want to make. Do what gives you joy, or satisfaction, or scratches the incurable mental itches that cloud your sleep.

But when it comes to making a book, and putting things out there for the rest of us to see, don’t sell yourself short. There are many ways to tell the same stories. And tropes can even be broken. In fact, it’s the subtle tweaking of tradition that tends to create the deepest resonance.

Bottom Line: Weird, dark photos from Istanbul

To Purchase “Good Dog” Visit Photo-Eye

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Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Eli Meir Kaplan

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 10:09am

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 Eli Meir Kaplan because we love his editorial style of shooting. And from a producers standpoint, he is so easy to work with, gets along great and totally connects with our art directors, clients love him, and he can make something out of nothing.

Curtis Pope, trumpeter for The Midnight Movers, photographed for my portrait series of DC soul musicians Soul51.

Curtis Pope, trumpeter for The Midnight Movers, photographed for my portrait series of DC soul musicians Soul51.

This was a composite I did inspired by a wooden sled I bought at an estate sale.

This was a composite I did inspired by a wooden sled I bought at an estate sale.

This was from a shoot from an internship for a small community newspaper several years ago. The local swim meets were pretty intense.

This was from a shoot from an internship for a small community newspaper several years ago. The local swim meets were pretty intense.

This was a nice, natural moment between mother and daughter I captured while on a shoot for Dwell.

This was a nice, natural moment between mother and daughter I captured while on a shoot for Dwell.

I built that airplane myself. It took me four days.

I built that airplane myself. It took me four days.

Miniature horses from a story about a miniature horse dentist for The Wall Street Journal.

Miniature horses from a story about a miniature horse dentist for The Wall Street Journal.

This high school football team went without a winning season for 10 years until their 9-2 season last year when I photographed this.

This high school football team went without a winning season for 10 years until their 9-2 season last year when I photographed this.

This ice cream shop didn't have a phone number so I just showed up and thankfully they let me photograph.

This ice cream shop didn’t have a phone number so I just showed up and thankfully they let me photograph.

I was in the Cub Scouts as a kid so it was fun to visit a Boy Scout camp to take some photos.

I was in the Cub Scouts as a kid so it was fun to visit a Boy Scout camp to take some photos.

Two great models to work with. One was in a Chapelle's Show sketch and the other was Tim McGraw's brother.

Two great models to work with. One was in a Chapelle’s Show sketch and the other was Tim McGraw’s brother.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been in business for six years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied photography at the International Center of Photography and the University of Texas at Austin. Of course I’ve grown a lot since then, but those courses and teachers like Donna DeCesare and Eli Reed helped me discover my vision and produce strong work.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I started out as a documentary photographer. I was blown away when I saw Bruce Davidson’s East 100th Street. Through different experiences in life I had been really drawn to meeting people who came from different backgrounds than myself. I was already interested in photography. When I stumbled on East 100th Street at The Strand in NYC, I was like “Wow, this is what I want to do.”

Then I took a documentary course with Andre Lambertson at the International Center of Photography and he gave me the courage to pursue this field.

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 think one of the best motivators for me has been going to portfolio reviews and getting feedback that helps me further refine the focus of my work. From those reviews I’ve seen what people respond to and what they don’t.

I talk to people, I read, I keep a long list of projects that I’d like to do, I look at a lot of photography, go to museums, and I shoot as much as I can.

I’ve also found that some of my best shoots have been situations that I was fairly uncomfortable in.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
If that happens, it’s extremely rare. I really love to collaborate and create images that are my interpretation of what an art director, creative director, or photo editor has described. That being said, not all work ends up going in my portfolio.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I meet in person often, I send eblasts and printed mailers, enter contests, I’m on Behance, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, portals, Wonderful Machine, and in Workbook. I also work on larger personal projects that I often try to circulate on blogs.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
It doesn’t work. I’ve certainly tried it and haven’t been successful. That being said, as a communicator, I’m making an attempt to create work that connects with my audience.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, I do test shoots, photograph portraits and short projects, and I work on longer term projects. I’m currently photographing an ongoing portrait series of Washington, DC soul musicians, called Soul51.

How often are you shooting new work?
I shoot for myself as often as I can between client work. It usually ends up being a few times a month.

Eli Meir Kaplan is a commercial and editorial photographer in Washington, DC. He became interested in visual media when his parents brought home an early black and white video camera. Always passionate about storytelling and beautiful images, Eli found that his purpose as a photographer was to capture genuine and intimate moments from the human experience.

elimeirkaplan.com
(202) 600-9372
eli@elimeirkaplan.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

Microsoft Instagram Feed Launch Shot By Justin Bastien

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 9:25am

During my various conversations with reps and photographers about Instagram assignments and campaigns exclusively for social media, I picture genial hipsters wandering the globe with their friends and iPhones. Recently however, Jonathan Feldman, owner of Massif Management, regaled me with tales of a major social campaign he wrangled that seemed more like an extreme sport. And as harrowing as it may seem, perhaps it is the shape of many campaigns to come.

It began with the fact that Microsoft happened to have a barely utilized Instagram account, and the Edelman agency pitched them something novel. Instead of talking about “product and software” on their Instagram platform, focus on passionate people in small business and tell their stories. Pitch accepted, the agency started the work of selecting a group of 30 remarkable, but not quite famous people from all over the world that had done exceptional things and had compelling stories behind them. And of course they had to find someone to make all those the portraits, only not with an iPhone. This is Microsoft after all.

Adventure photographer and director Justin Bastien got the call while he was on a granite cliff on the side of Mount Whitney–a professional hazard since he is a world-class rock climber–where he was directing a commercial shoot and scaling the rock with his characteristic nonchalance. This call though actually made him nervous. The job was intense. 30 different portraits in 10 (non-adjacent) countries in about 8 weeks. The whole project would roll out in real-time on Instagram and officially launch the feed.

I spoke with Justin not long ago after he had caught his breath from this epic assignment:

T. Brittain Stone: How did you end up getting the call?

Justin Bastien: It was a friend of mine at an advertising agency who knew a photography rep that had this assignment for an agency that had a client. It was like 5 layers removed. My name came up I guess from several people. The call went something like this, “so, there’s this project I thought you would be a good fit for and you come highly recommended. It involves traveling around the world shooting a variety of subjects from fashion, sports, science, adventure and wild animals… are you alright with shark diving in New Zealand… shooting bears in the jungles of Borneo?”

TBS: When did the project get awarded? How did you guys negotiate it?

JB: It was actually a really long process. Initially there were 5 other photographers, and this was all over the course of about three weeks getting closer to the launch of the project. I’m stressing out. It went on and on and finally got down to three of us….

Jonathan Feldman at Massif Management managed (the process). It was my first time working with him! They had a fixed number, and we had to come up with a scenario. So we had to adjust licensing based on shoot days and travel days based on that number. And they were asking me for more portfolio work and asking me how I would approach specific problems and how I would approach specific photos and about workflow. So there was a lot of back and forth in the selection process. Neither the client (a marketing exec at Microsoft) nor the agency had actually done something like this before.

The campaign was called the Do More campaign (#DoMore), and it was really focused specifically towards launching their Instagram feed… but they also wanted to feed it out to their other social media.

TBS: Did they consider your social media prowess or number of IG followers?

JB: I’ve never been the big time social media person at all. I post stuff when I feel like it, just stuff that I like.

TBS: How did they find the subjects?

JB: It was people that knew people that knew people… and also interesting people that were coming up in the news and showing up in social media, and they just reached out to them. The concept was to have some global coverage.

TBS: And the connection to Microsoft?

JB: It was like “You use technology, and you probably use Microsoft’s and there’s a Microsoft component to your life. It was a shift away from product focus and was more about people and what they do.

I have to say, every person was really impressive. Their passion, their intellect, their history, their story. Sometimes I’d ask, “how could this person be compelling?” and you’d meet them and you’re blown away by their journey and their passion for toothbrushes or aortic valve replacements or fashion or sharks.

TBS: Give me some numbers and an idea of what the production and the crew was like.

JB: We did 29 unique shoots in 10 countries and flew over 40,000 miles. And each picture went to over 12 million viewers on all of their social media platforms.

If we missed one connection during all of the 40,000 miles we flew, we were going to miss one of our subjects. Only one person cancelled. We only lost one bag!

I worked with these two really great Edelman folks, Kate Shay (Creative Director) and Christopher Swanson (Art Director), and it was their idea. They conceived the whole thing, pitched it to the client and won the whole deal. They were so awesome to work with. I almost felt like we were in art school again, like we were in finals for 3 months. And we had this crazy deadline, and we had no resources.

TBS: You had no assistant. Was that a budget choice?

JB: I have no idea to be honest. It was hard for me to even fathom… some hoe along the way… I mean, I pushed for it and pushed for it. Could you imagine, right? The AD, CD and producer would help me carry bags in, and once I started lighting, everyone helped out as much as they could, but I would say, “Hey, could you feather that light and throw a 5 degree spot grid on that thing?”, and they’re like “huh?” I’ll tell you I became real fast at lots of stuff.

The visual challenge was pretty immense in some of these locations. You’re showing up with duct tape and wire and you have maybe 2-3 hours to capture a minimum of 4-8 setups. We didn’t have locations or hair & makeup or anything. You make the most of it. Chris and Kate were really great at collaborating with me on coming up with visual solutions.

TBS: So one basic question that every photographer will ask is did you have to think “square” for all of the shoots?

Oh gosh yeah, absolutely. It kind of was a drag because I prefer to use prime lenses and use longer focal lengths when I can, and a lot of times, I had to use a zoom lens and had to go in a lot wider, like at 24 or 35 which isn’t great for portraiture. We were in tight spaces a lot of the time and it was really tough to accommodate the square format and do environmental portraits.

TBS: That is a challenge, and then you’d have to consider the other formats?

JB: I was focusing primarily on Instagram, those were our “hero” images. And then we had to have secondary and tertiary images that would go out to Twitter (at 2:1 aspect ration) and Facebook (at 12:6.3), and the blog could be in any format.

TBS: To think in all those different formats while shooting, maybe you just don’t think?

JB: Ha! No you have to!

So the turnaround on these things was so crazy. We would drive for 4 to 5 hours, do a shoot, drive for another 3 hours, edit till like 4 a.m. and then have a “meeting” at 6 a.m. with the agency (back in the U.S.) go through proofs, and I’d get request later that day. I’d have to process and “color” all the images and get them back before my next shoot at 2 p.m.

I’d be in the back of the car, connected to my phone, sending images and working them in Photoshop and Lightroom then export it again with GPS coordinates and metadata. This campaign was happening in nearly real-time.

TBS: How did the final selection process happen while you were on the road? Were you pleased with what hey chose?

JB: When you’re shooting for a medium like Instagram, you’re competing with all these other wonderful images out there and all this other information. Plus the pictures need to be really strong visually. And so I was really pushing hard to go with interesting lighting, composition, and so on. But there’s a certain conservative nature to the campaign. We had to make sure that the client and the agency would approve it.

TBS: Did you get numbers on engagement? Was there an ROI, or metrics that you got back on the road?

JB: Well, the IG account went from basically zero to over 100K to date and growing. I would say that is a pretty successful engagement.

TBS: Did you feel like you got a lot of exposure out of it since you were featured as their photographer? Was it all worth it?

Oh yeah.
I think it’s one of those things where in the end when you look back on it, it’s really cool, but while you’re in it, you’re so sleep deprived and tired. And there are there magical moments in between… and then it gets super heavy again and exhausting. Then there’s this great person you meet and you’re all energized, and then you realize you haven’t slept in three days, and there are three deadlines that are past due.
But are you kidding me, I’m jogging on the beach at sunset in Hahei, New Zealand. And diving with sharks today and I’m getting paid?

Sal Masekela

Sal Masekela

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Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Ethan Pines: Wired

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 9:44am

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Wired


Associate Photo Editor/Writer: Jenna Garrett
Read the online piece here
Photographer: Ethan Pines

Heidi: How did you find out about the Science Fair?
Ethan: A close friend of mine is one of the directors of judging, and every year he tells me that I need to come and shoot — that it’s full of quirky, imaginative kids with inventive projects and large personalities. And it’s never been covered well. This year I finally decided to do it.

What about the fair appealed to you?  Had you seen an image/student that compelled you to take it on as a personal project?
I’d seen a few snapshots on the Science Fair website from past years, but until I arrived at the Fair I hadn’t seen anything conveying the spirit of the kids, the uniqueness of their projects and the atmosphere of the day. And I think it’s all these elements that appealed to me. I was a bit of a geek as a kid, but I always wanted to be one of the cool kids. And I think that was a mistake. What I admire and love about the kids at the Science Fair is, they absolutely believe in themselves and their visions. They’re not there to win or to get famous, but because they’re proud of what they’ve done and are excited to show it off.

It’s also the kind of portrait series that, if you choose the right kids, almost can’t go wrong. It’s easy to focus on gear and lighting and technique, but photography is really about the subjects and the content, and it doesn’t get better than this. It was amazing — over 900 kids and projects, all of whom won regionally or locally to get here, all of whom converge on the California Science Center in downtown L.A. with their ill-fitting suits, their adolescent awkwardness, their earnest enthusiasm, their fairly mind-blowing projects.

I’m also a longtime fan of science fiction, and ultimately that’s what many of these projects are — new ways of thinking about problems, imaginative forays into the future.

Did you set out to have it published? or was this purely a creative exercise for you?
I always hoped to publish it somewhere but didn’t get much interest beforehand. So I thought I’d go and shoot something good, then send it out afterwards. I wanted to make photo editors’ jobs as easy as possible — get something in front of them practically ready to go. The Science Center was also generous and trusting enough to give me a media pass and full access without a specific editorial assignment, so I wanted to make sure I did right by them. They and the Fair deserve the coverage.

What’s the difference between shooting this type of series and let’s say a client job? How does your creative process or mental process compare?
Of course I can do whatever I want with a personal series, as opposed to a client job with a specific creative mandate. But what I did is exactly what I would have done if a magazine had assigned me the shoot. If an advertising gig sent me to the Fair, there would have been a lot more discussion and preparation beforehand regarding the ultimate purpose and use of the images, the client’s and agency’s creative direction, the message we wanted to convey, what some of our ideal images might be, etc. And I would have put a lot of thought into how to direct the kids, how to dramatize the client’s goal and agency’s ideas, what moments I’d be looking for, what scenarios I’d want to create, and how to make all that happen. And of course how to light it, what gear I’d need, what crew, what preproduction, and so on.

Since this was a personal series, my preproduction focused on how I wanted it to look, how to light it to get it there, and how to rig a battery-powered, portable strobe setup that my assistant and I could easily move around and manipulate in small areas. There was a lot of coordination beforehand with the Science Center, and I went the day before to scout. I also put some thought into creating a well-rounded photo essay — including details, still-lifes of projects, overviews of the exhibition rooms — rather than just a portrait series. As for directing and the content of the shots, I’ve shot so many portraits by now, I didn’t do much preparation beforehand. Between the kids themselves and the way I shoot, I felt I’d end up with what I was looking for. Too much preparation for something like this, and you can end up focused on a preconceived agenda rather than what’s happening in front of you.

How did you determine who would be shot/made the edit?
Determining whom to shoot was tough. Not because there weren’t enough good subjects, but because there were too many. Nearly 1,000 entrants and projects, and only a four-hour window when the kids are out with their projects for judging. Once we were inside I skimmed the aisles of one main area to find the first few interesting-looking kids with interesting-looking projects, After those, I did it again in the next area. Any one of those hundreds of kids could have been a complete gem to shoot; I just had to choose and run with it. And make it as good as possible once we were shooting.

What did you say to the kids to get them to open up? did anyone turn you down?
I’d simply stop at a kid, tell him/her I was shooting portraits, and ask if I could photograph him/her. It helped to have a media pass on my shirt and be the guy with the strobes flashing at various places around the Science Center. No one turned me down. Most of them seemed eager to share what they had worked on. And if they were a bit embarrassed, that also makes for a good portrait.

Once we were shooting, I watch for good moments, shoot the moments between the poses, talk with them, get them animated and expressive, work with whatever presents itself spontaneously, and make sure I get what I have in my head as well.

Once you saw the body of work, what were the key factors in choosing Wired over let’s say another tech publication?
Choosing Wired was a no-brainer. It’s the highest-profile and lushest tech publication out there. I think it’s one of the best-designed and -edited publications, period, tech or otherwise. I’ve shot for them before, so I thought that my pitch email would at least get read.

What did you pitch consist of? How many images, what was the crux of the text?
I edited down the shoot to a tight 21-image photo essay that I laid out in a .pdf with a title page and simple captions. I emailed it to Wired with a brief explanation of the Science Fair, and let the .pdf speak for itself. Once they accepted it, they asked me for a broader edit. I sent them everything that I’d be happy to see in print / online, and let them create the final series. Their version and mine ended up fairly close, so I felt that they understood the essence of the project.

Categories: Business

The Daily Promo – Aaron Cobb 6/22

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 10:51am
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Aaron Cobb

Who designed it?
Ross Chandler Creative ( rosschandler.ca ) designed my promo.  I had the initial concept of the mix-and-match interactive triptych, and Ross helped me work through the creative process, problem-solving, finessing and printing process.  This was actually the second time I had worked with him.  Earlier that year he and I worked on designing my website, logo, and branding.  He even designed a secondary logo that uses my web URL, AARONCOBB.COM, put together cleverly with the use of images from my website.  They can also be mixed and matched.  It was a great experience all around, Ross worked his ass off.
Who printed it?
Somerset Graphics in Toronto printed my promo piece.
How many did you make?
I printed 2,000 copies, which I believe was their minimum order.
Who edited the images?
I edited the images.  I knew before the shoot days that everything needed to be clean, minimal and symmetrical.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
I have been sending out the promos about twice a year, but also as needed.  If there is a potential client I feel I would be a good fit with, I will send one their way.
Tell us about your subjects in the promo.
I had photographed Rashel (the female talent), and Gentleman Reg (the blonde talent) in Toronto, and had been trying to organize a shoot with the third and final talent for the project.  Larry Gomez, aka the Wolfboy, lives in Los Angeles, and works part-time in a circus there.  He has hypertrichosis which is an abnormal amount of hair growth all over the body.  It is also known as Werewolf Syndrome.  I was interested in taking his portrait before this promo idea came about, but once I was working on this promo, I knew that he was the final piece of the puzzle.  He has a circus agent in LA named Chuck Harris.  I found his contact info and gave him a call.  Chuck liked my work and agreed to help me with this creative project as long as I took his portrait as well.  It took several weeks to co-ordinate schedules and draw up a contract that the images were solely to be used for promotional purposes.  I flew down to LA for a week, rented Beachwood Studios, and photographed Chuck and Larry.  I got the images I wanted of Larry, and the added bonus of a cool image of Chuck smoking a cigar with his awesome Coke-bottle glasses.
This was my first promo, and the whole journey was a great experience, and very rewarding in its own right.

 

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Seth Hancock

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 10:40am

by Jonathan Blaustein

A picture is worth a thousand words. So they say. And “they” are normally right, so we repeat the cliché ad nauseam.

But what if they’re wrong? What if words ARE better at some forms of communication? Are we all in the wrong business?

It’s an interesting question. These days, images are more popular, and by assumption powerful, than ever before. We discussed the idea a while back with curator Russell Lord, a photography expert if ever there was one.

The idea is that photographs convey information beyond the boundaries of language. A picture of fire will read as fire in China, Chattanooga, or Timbuktu. Fire warm. Fire cook food. Me like fire.

We don’t need words to recognize an object, or even a set of actions. Soccer/Football is a global sport, and a portrait of Lionel Messi, or Cristiano Ronaldo, will be recognizable in most parts of Earth, with no further explanation.

But what about emotions? What about the subtle nuance that resides inside a human being’s soul. (Should we accept the existence a soul, which is DEFINITELY a conversation for a different day.)

I’m waxing philosophical, as my brain is still in some form of image-induced stasis, after looking at dozens of projects at Review Santa Fe this past weekend. I’ve come to find that the best work gains quick acceptance in a portfolio review environment.

You can always spot the artists whose work is breaking out. They stand up a little straighter. Look you in the eye. They know they’ve got the goods.

But that leaves a rather large percentage of photographers who are making good photographs, or even just decent. They mostly get silence from their reviewers, or quiet nods. It’s hard when you’re not getting compliments or criticism, so I go in the other direction.

I give honest, kind critiques, and now, people seem to be seeking me out just for that. They know I’m there to help.

So today, we’re going to attempt such a thing in a book review. It’s more of a catalog, really, called “10 Minutes With A Stranger,” sent to me directly, by the photographer Seth Hancock. (Now of Los Angeles.)

I received it a while back, and just took a look. It’s not like anything I’d normally review, and you regulars know I’ve tried to expand my range of late. So let’s go there.

Seth, I’m guessing you’re a commercial photographer. By calling it a personal project, and the shooting style you adopt, I’m inclined to read the situation thusly. Perhaps you do editorial work too, but I don’t think your training is in art.

The project, which we’re looking at here today, consists of images you made of random strangers, on a long and winding American Road Trip, while you were moving from New York to LA. You limited your time with all the people you met, and beyond photographing them, you also got them to share very personal information with you via a diary.

You must have some very impressive people skills. (Rico Suave, my friend. Rico Suave.) I liked the idea, and I like the book, but perhaps not in the way you intended.

The pictures have a very “commercial” look to me. They’re shiny, and some of the people are even smiling. (The big no-no in the art world.) I can tell straight off that you know how to operate a camera, and a set of lights. And I did like the two images in which you had the subject hold a light to their face. (Very meta.)

But if I were judging the photos alone, they really don’t tell me much about who the person is, nor are they distinctive from other photographer’s pictures. There is no edge. No overtone of emotion. The wall between subject and camera is thicker than Donald Trump’s bullshit. They’re neither off-putting, like early Thomas Ruff, nor are they poignantly beautiful, like Rineke Dijkstra.

The journal entries, however, are often heartbreaking. I can’t believe you got people to open up to you like this, in such a non-traditional way. (At least for a photographer.)

A young man writing a tragic letter to his dead wife. A young woman sharing her fears and pain after having a stroke, brought on by faulty medication. A man, chilling on a stoop that says “No Loitering,” writing of his trip down the wrong path, and subsequent redemption.

An African-American cowboy quietly bemoaning racism. An older man, who raises wolves, and wishes humans could only be a shade more lupine. Or a young Latino woman who said the best day of her life was when her father abandoned her family. (We can only imagine…)

I read each and every page. Word by word. Wow, were these stories powerful. I felt connected to the subjects on levels profoundly beyond what the pictures allowed me to access.

Yet, I’d never have read the words, had the pictures not existed. Not only do the images anchor the project, but I only review photo books. No photos, no review.

So, Seth, I’d encourage you to figure out how to imbue your future pictures with the depth and emotional intensity found in these incredibly honest admissions. Is it even possible for you? I don’t know.

But the best portraits obviate the need for explication. They leave us with more questions than answers. And typically, the best stories don’t have pictures. Perhaps you’ll break new ground one day?

Either way, I’m glad you sent your book my way. It held my attention, and made me think. It gave me access to new information: in this case, the inner world of a set of strangers I’ll never meet.

Bottom Line: An interesting personal project that illuminates a set of random lives

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Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: John Davis

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 10:18am

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: John Davis

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How long have you been shooting?
About 15 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied Photography at The Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA).

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The unique concentration of artists and creatives that call Baltimore home is the main inspiration. More specifically, the Treason Toting Company project, part of a larger project collaboration called SCOUT (see Artist Statement), was inspired by the guys at Treason and their commitment to quality, style and the creative class of Baltimore. Jason Bass and Aaron Jones truly embody the qualities of the bags they make.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This particular project was shot over the course of about one month. I didn’t have a plan for the work before it began so it’s been shown in a few different places: framed prints exhibited at local craft brewing space, a traditional portfolio book and as part of a brand video created by my friends and collaborators at ShineCreative.tv.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It depends on the subject, but I usually know pretty quickly if it’s working. I like to give it some time to breathe, so I’m usually not too concerned with how long I spend on something. Sometimes I’ll lose interest in a project and move on but I might also come back to it later… possibly years later. A personal project that doesn’t work out can still be a success if I’ve learned something from it.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
By design, shooting for my portfolio is almost always different from my personal work. The goal of my personal work is to explore new directions for my commercial work. In the case of Treason Toting Company, the personal work was where I saw my commercial work moving so I knew I wanted it to be different and that was really the point of project.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Social media is the perfect place to test and get feedback on new work, Personal and Commercial.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I wouldn’t say anything has gone viral but it has definitely helped drive more people to my website. It’s also a great way to keep my name out there. Even though we’re all striving for it, I think “going viral” and “great press” can be overrated. It’s hard to argue with going viral but it’s really difficult to gauge great press. I’ve had great press and lots of attention from the right people but still not seen an uptick in jobs. It’s also possible that the rewards aren’t felt for a long time, or spread over years, and by then it’s really hard to say where it all started. I believe consistency in social media is most important for it to succeed. Unless you have a dedicated social media person, it’s really hard to keep on top of all of it.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I’d say about 50% of my marketing draws from personal projects. Combining personal and commercial images in marketing can create just the right amount of tension to give things a fresh look. My clients really enjoy seeing my personal vision, especially when juxtaposed with commissioned work. It has also helped some of my clients find new ways of using me.

Just recently, The Treason Toting Co. project caught the attention of a long time Higher Education client of mine and led to them hiring me to shoot a project for Stanford University in Palo Alto, Ca.

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John is a photographer based in the Baltimore, Maryland. He specializes in telling stories with images for a wide range of clients, from higher education and advertising to national editorial publications. On his “off” days he keeps busy by training for his next Marathon and photographing his fellow athletes.
You can see more of John’s work here:
http://www.jdph.com

Contact: john@jdph.com

The Treason Toting Company project is the first project in a series collaboration with my friends and colleagues at ShineCreative.tv. The project is called SCOUT and is an exploration of the creative path and those driven to pursue it. Treason was an opportunity for me to experiment with a style of shooting that I had previously only applied to my Education Lifestyle work. By expanding my vision and being free to tell the story as it unfolded, I could take a more intimate perspective, observing in a way that allowed the essence of Treason to come to the surface and tell a true story with images.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

It’s Just Pictures

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 10:22am

Everybody has this romanticized vision of what you’re doing — a little bit of Robert Kincaid in the “Bridges of Madison County.” The truth is, we are like the Expendables. We’re like Sylvester Stallone and Terry Crews and they are bringing us in when there is some guy who has been kidnapped in Kazakhstan and they’ve got to get him out. And it’s ugly, it’s not pretty. There is never an excuse of like, it rained or my camera didn’t work. You don’t have too many second chances.

My biggest regrets tend to be holistic — about an entire story and the approach I took — rather than a specific incident where I screwed something up. Because the truth is, man, it’s just pictures and not that big of a deal. We’re not doing heart transplants or rescuing people from tall buildings. It’s easy to think we’re more important than we are. Some of the most experienced photographers died trying to photograph things they believed in. Friends of ours. I photograph dogs, so what’s going to happen? Something is going to pee on you, what’s the big deal?

Source: Vince Musi at Look3 – NYTimes.com

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Sift: Julia Reed

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 9:14am

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Sift /A King Arthur Flour Publication

Creative Director: Ruth Perkins/Tamara Dowd
Photographer: Julia Reed


How did the project come about for you? Were they a former client?
I was actually hired at King Arthur Flour as a PR Coordinator in 2013. My background was in film and photography, but I saw an opportunity to bring those skills to King Arthur through PR. I was working as a food and lifestyle photographer in LA before moving back east (I grew up in Vermont) and had planned to continue my business here. I never imagined I’d end up in a marketing department, but King Arthur Flour is a wonderful company, known locally for its charitable giving and status as a founding B Corporation. They aren’t, however, as well known for these things on the national level. I felt like good companies need good storytellers and advocates too, so I took the job. About a year ago, I was officially promoted to Multimedia Producer, where I concentrate on telling our story through photography, writing, and video.
As the content creator for King Arthur Flour, what other content are you responsible for?
Oh man, everything and anything! I do most of our “lifestyle” photography, for bakeries/people of interest nationally, as well as internally. Many of those shoots end up in Sift, some are for our blog, Flourish. I am a contributor to our instagram feed, and I run our video program, which is still a bit of a one-man show. At the moment I write, produce, shoot, and edit all of our videos.
Do you have a full time food/prop stylist?
We do! Jenn Whittingham oversees prop styling, and Charlotte Rutledge does our food styling – most of the shoots we do in our local studio are for the catalog, though increasingly they are for Sift as well. Our Creative Director Ruth Perkins oversees all studio photography for Sift. In the field, where I primarily work, we don’t always have the resources to hire additional stylists, though the chefs and bakers I work with help style the food. We do hire independent stylists for certain Sift shoots out of state, it just depends on the project!
Are you working out of their test kitchen?
Our test kitchen is very well equipped for testing, but doesn’t have the greatest light for photography. All recipes that we shoot in the studio (which also has a kitchen!) are thoroughly tested in the test kitchen first. But no, generally we don’t shoot there.
Where did you love of baking/food photography come from?
A deep appreciation for food is in my blood. My father was a chef and my mother was a baker; they met while working for the same restaurant. Growing up, everything we ate was made from scratch, and often from the garden. I never saw store-bought bread in the house, and we never went out to eat. Bones and vegetable scraps were saved, for building rich stocks that simmered on the woodstove all winter long. I vividly remember visiting my aunt in Boston when I was 13. She asked if I liked frozen waffles and I was SO excited to try them, because I had never had them before! I was seriously disappointed. We didn’t have much money when I was growing up, but my parents knew how to transform even the cheapest ingredients into rich and flavorful meals. I took my first job in a restaurant at 14 washing dishes, and worked my way up to waitress, and later, cook. I went to college in my early 20s, as a way to escape the restaurant industry – which is somewhat ironic in retrospect. In LA I started going to farmer’s markets – at first as a way to reduce my carbon footprint, but later because of my love for the people who grew my food. I felt such a strong connection with the farmers I’d see every week – their stories and personalities connected me to the land in such a real and tangible way. The experience brought me back to my roots, and eventually inspired my move back to New England. I started taking photos for farmers to use in their marketing efforts – it was my way of helping the community and people that meant so much to me. I started a short-lived blog, and began getting solicited for more food-oriented jobs. At King Arthur, I get to merge my two favorite styles – food and lifestyle. The bakers I work with remind me a lot of the farmers I knew in LA. The best ones have enormous passion for what they do, and an indefatigable drive to better their craft. Everyone comes to the table from a different direction, and for a different reason. When I photograph bakers for Sift, I always want to know what moves them to bake. Baked goods are as unique to their bakers as fingerprints are to people, and I like to photograph them as though I was taking a portrait of the maker themselves.
What are the biggest obstacles and highlights of this project?
The biggest challenge for me personally was the timeline. We moved fast on this project, so I found myself rushing to meet deadlines for the premier issue, while simultaneously trying to collect images that we might want for future issues (fall foliage for instance – it happens without regard for your schedule!) As a team, we wanted to make sure that we weren’t just putting another food magazine into a saturated (and some say declining) market. Authenticity is what makes our company what it is, and we wanted that to come through in the magazine – I think it did. Our creative director Ruth Perkins, and our Editor Susan Reid worked hard to weave stories from many writers and photographers into one cohesive set. With the help of our agency HZDG, they put together a magazine we are all incredibly proud to have our name on. Also, it’s SO soft! Have you touched the cover? It just feels so luxurious and inviting, I couldn’t be more honored to have been a part of this team.
Can other photographers contribute? If so do they contact you?
Definitely! Interested photographers can e-mail sift@kingarthurflour.com and your note will go directly to the editorial team.  For best results, we recommend the following:
–          Samples and/or link to your published work, please also include a list of where you have been published
–          What specifically you would be interested in doing (ex. writing or writing and photography)
–          What topics you’re most interested in writing about or photographing
–          Your full contact information (address, phone, e-mail, website)

 

Categories: Business

The Daily Promo: Brooklin Pictures

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 9:00am

Brooklin Pictures


Who printed it?

Modern Postcard

Who designed it?
I have been working with Peter Dennen of Pedro + Jackie, he has really helped me fine tune my images to create more of cohesive look/feel.  Between the two of us, we came up with the design for the promo.

Who edited the images?
Peter and I decided on the images to be used and I did all of the retouching.
How many did you make?
I had 300 printed.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out 4 mailers p/year and then send out 3-6 email promos in between the gaps of the printed pieces.

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Sol Neelman

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 9:53am

by Jonathan Blaustein

It’s a Thursday. You know what that means. Yup, this is a column
I’m going to pull straight out of my _________.

Sorry. It can’t be helped.

It’s not that I’m lazy. Just the opposite. The last few weeks have been as busy as any I can remember, and I’m about to leave for Review Santa Fe to look at portfolios to publish here. My brain feels like it sky-dove out of a plane and landed on a concrete basketball court.

Ouch.

Normally, I’d like to be fresh heading into an immersive festival weekend, but as I said before, it can’t be helped. Instead, I’m going to make lemons out of lemonade, and listen more than I talk at RSF, because I’m too punch drunk to charm anyone, even if I wanted to.

But a column is a column, and that means I’m here to gut it out. Man up. Leave it all on the field. (Insert random sports cliché here.)

Are you sensing a theme? Shall I spell it out for you? Yes, we’re going to talk about sports today. And not just any sports. (Or sport, as the Brits say.)

Today, we’re going to riff on “Weird Sports 2,” a new book by Sol Neelman, published by Keher Verlag in Germany. Sol’s appeared in this column twice before. I wrote a blurb about “Weird Sports,” before I adopted my now-patented-ridiculous-rambling style, and then we chronicled his habit of wearing Lucha Libre masks in an article about the New York Times Portfolio Review in 2013.

Now he’s back, in all his Weird Sports-loving glory.

This is the kind of book that is very hard not to like. In fact, if you hate it, I’ll have to accuse you of lacking any sense of humor whatsoever. Which means you’re no fun, so I’d rather you spent your Friday reading time elsewhere.

Leave, I say. Leave.

Just kidding. But it is a book that chronicles the odd and sometimes depraved way that human beings choose to spend their spare time. Are there inspirational photos? Yes, like the picture of blind sprinters cruising down the track at the Paralympic games in Beijing.

But those are the exceptions, not the norm. Ostrich racing. Monster Wrestling. Zombie 5k runs. Sandboarding in Morocco. Musical chairs. Quidditch. Bog snorkeling in Wales. (Sorry, but that’s just gross. You might find Richard III’s crushed skull down there, if you’re not careful.)

What did I learn? That an astonishingly large number of weird sports seem to exist in the Pacific Northwest. Portland and Seattle, are you really that funky? What gives? Haven’t you ever heard of basketball and soccer? You know, normal past-times?

I might quibble about whether a Beard and Mustache Championship counts as a sport, and let’s not hate on Sol for including “World Naked Bike Ride,” (again in Portland) because, say it with me now, Boobs Sell Books.℠

As to the Lightsaber Fencing practitioners, can we really be surprised that they’re getting their game faces on in San Francisco? (No, we cannot.) And if George Lucas wasn’t cashing royalty checks from those nerds before the book came out, I’m sure he is now.

That’s what I’ve got for you today. The clock is running down, and I need to pack for RSF. Frankly, I’m a little pissed I’ve got to miss Game 4 of the NBA Finals tonight. I’d tell you to watch some Lebron James brilliance, but by the time you read this tomorrow, the game will be over.

To Purchase “Weird Sports 2″ Visit Photo-Eye

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Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: Brinson+Banks

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 10:33am

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Brinson+Banks (Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks)

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How long have you been shooting?
We both started working at newspapers 10 years ago before moving to freelance photography, and then we teamed up to create Brinson+Banks a little over two years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A little both–we were both inspired by the same passionate photojournalism professor at The University of Georgia (Jim Virga, who is now in Miami) but we took only three classes each, which covered the basics of photojournalism ethics and how to manually use a camera and tell a story with photography.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
With Chameleons, we were incredibly inspired by the landscape in Southern California. We both grew up and spent the majority of our lives in Georgia and South Carolina and when we moved to Los Angeles a year and half ago, we were just visually awestruck by the diversity of the environment and it sparked something in both of us. Right away, we wanted to explore it all–we went to beaches and the desert and the mountains between and shot landscape photos in preparation for this project (and also because it was, and continues to be, a great adventure).

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Just one year.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I think that really depends on the project. Both of us have personal projects of our own (something we do as individuals, rather than a team) that we’ve worked on for years, and one that Kendrick is convinced will never be done because she enjoys working on it so much. Personal projects should be foremost about documenting/capturing something you’re really interested in–you’re doing it for the joy of doing it, not for business, but for sheer pleasure–so it could be one shoot or 10, one month or 15 years. It’s working if you feel your work, your eye, your creativity is growing. If you’re not excited about it anymore, that will show in the work, so give it a break and a rest or call it finished. Don’t force it.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
We both feel so damn lucky that we’ve found a job that we are so passionate about. We’ve talked to photography students at almost a dozen photography schools at this point and something we always drill to the students is personal work. It’s how you grow and evolve and keep from stagnating. It’s where we stumble upon happy accidents that then we’ll repeat on a shoot for a client. If you’re not getting paid to shoot the photos you want to shoot, build a portfolio on your own of personal work and maybe it will translate to future work.. Recently, a client hired us to duplicate a photo we shot while we were shooting just for fun. That’s the best marriage of the personal side of photography and the business side of photography when they blend like that, though it doesn’t happen every time. I would think that if your personal work is extremely different than the work you do for clients, then maybe you should share that work and see if you can expand your client-base to include that type of work, too, so you can create more of what you love to create and have it funded, as well. But some projects we do just for the sheer joy of doing them and wanting to branch out of our comfort zone and that’s good, too, to show off a different aesthetic.

Personal work is really important because it’s a place to mess up and have fun and experiment without any outside influences saying “no, do it this way” or asking for it to be tamed down. You get to have fun for the sake of having fun, and with all the meetings and emails and shooting we do for “work,” it’s a really important refresher and can really revitalize us.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yep! We love using social media to share our personalities–that’s how a lot of our clients keep in touch with us. We don’t see a huge line between the personal and the business because it’s all making photos and it’s all doing what we love. The jobs we do are personal, too, because we put so much of ourselves into them.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
We’re a married couple and do this pose with the camera on self-timer and last year that series of photos, that was hilariously dubbed “#BrinsonBanksing” went viral–it was published everywhere from CNN to the Weather Channel to Cosmo to Buzzfeed. It’s a funny thing how you can work your butt off putting your work-work out there and then something we do for fun, that is a truly personal family album type thing, goes all over the world.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yep! Almost half of our portfolio book is personal work. A lot of our emailers and postcards we send out to clients are our personal work. We get hired to do jobs because of the work we do for fun. How great is that?

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Artist Statement:

Chameleons was born from a fascination of the new landscape we’d landed in. We are two photographers who spent the majority of our lives in the green of the Deep South. We relocated to Southern California and discovered foreign flora where green was replaced by pink and tan, and dogwood trees were replaced by succulents and Joshua trees. We’ve always been inspired by the landscape, and a lot of our lifestyle and portraiture work is environmentally based, so when we first moved to LA we knew we wanted to explore the region more with our cameras. We concocted a plan to go to the ocean, the cliffs of Malibu, the desert, the mountains and to then project those images on models in a studio–it was the perfect excuse for an adventure in our new home and to experiment more with our portraiture as a team. We had fun collaborating with our models and creating something a little out of context for the viewer. And, as a bonus, it was a way for us to announce our new home in a visual way.

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We are Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks, a commercial photography team based in Los Angeles. We collaborate with each other, our team, and our clients to create portraiture and lifestyle imagery that tells a story or creates a mood.
We met in a photojournalism class in college and fell in love with photography and storytelling at the same time in the same place. But we didn’t fall in love with each other until two years later. Before we joined forces to create something more colorful and surreal as a team, we worked individually for the likes of TIME Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated and FADER for several years.

We love to be involved in every part of the creative process from the conceptual, storyboarding and planning stage to the execution on the day of the shoot and everything in between.

We have been interviewed by PDN, American Photography, TIME’s Lightbox, The New York Times Lens Blog, CNN Photos and PhotoShelter about our unique vision. Our images have appeared in exhibitions in Houston, New York, Atlanta, Groningen, The Netherlands, and are in the permanent collection of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection at the New York Public Library, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

Clients
R/GA, Target, Airbnb, Tiffany & Co., Audi, Garnier, Deutsch, ADIDAS, L’Oreal, Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Seventh Generation, Leisure Society, Bombay Sapphire, Vitamin Water, Hennessy, Google, Panera, Enterprise, SBE, Sanofi, PhotoShelter, Billboard, Huck, Wonderland, Rolling Stone, NME, Panda Express, The New Yorker, TIME Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Shape, NPR, Complex, Fortune Magazine, New York Magazine, XXL, GQ, ESPN The Magazine, The FADER, Stern, Smithsonian, Inked Magazine, Mother Jones, Newsweek, Le Monde, Juice, AARP, US News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wired, Forbes Magazine and Golf Digest, among others.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

Getting Into A Competition Is Cool, Not Getting In Means Nothing

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 12:02pm

Not getting into Unbound! means nothing.  Rejection from other competitions, exhibitions, grant proposals… those rejections mean nothing.  Yes, getting into a competition is cool, over-the-moon excellent.  And we hope that if you get into Unbound4!  that you will see that as a genuine compliment.  If you get in to this show, we are going to spend our time installing your work, looking at your work, promoting your work, trying to sell it off the walls, maybe end up buying it ourselves, and finally returning it if it isn’t sold.  Getting in to this exhibition means we really like your work.  Not getting in does not, however, mean the opposite.   Not getting in means nothing.  We reject a lot, A LOT, of quality work.  Our gallery is only so large.  We have invited several artists, as we do each year, and so some of the space is spoken for, which means of the 400+ submissions, there are 1,300 or 1,400 images to consider and we are looking for maybe 25-30 pieces.  Sure, it is pretty easy getting down to the most serious contenders for the show.  But we probably begin the real struggle once we have maybe a couple hundred images or so to consider.

Source: Open Letter to Photographers / Artists ‹ Candela Books + Gallery – Copyright 2012.

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Michael Becker : Ventura Blvd

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 10:18am

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Ventura Blvd Magazine

Editor-in-Chief: Linda Grasso
Creative Director: Ajay Peckham
Graphic Designer: Elena Lacey, Michelle Villas
Photographer: Michael Becker

Heidi: Tell us about your commercial photography as a second career. What caused you to make the switch? 
Michael: I was drawn to both music and photography from an early age. When I was 11 my grandfather, who was a professional photographer in Manhattan, gave me his beautiful old 1950’s Rolleiflex. I was immediately hooked. When I hit my teens, I became increasingly interested in music, particularly blues and jazz. I started playing guitar and ended up going to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating I moved to Los Angeles and spent the next 15 years in the studio making music.

Several things happened that ultimately led me back to photography. In the year 2000 there was a commercial actors strike that had a dramatic effect on some of my clients and my business as a composer/producer. Shortly after that, both my parents became very ill. I decided to move back to New York to help take care of them and to deal with the difficult transitions. It was then that I rediscovered my grandfather’s old Rolleiflex. Taking photos of my parents and the town where I grew up became both an escape and a way of documenting what my family was going through. There was something about the immediacy of photography that resonated with me. I was hooked all over again.

I know your first career was as a successful music composer, how do the two interplay, if at all?
They both have the incredible power to move people, and to reflect and comment on social conditions. After years of making music, I found photography refreshing in that I could make a photograph relatively quickly, whereas writing and producing a song can be a rather lengthy process.

My professional experience has been that both require a strong, individual voice or vision, but they are also fertile playgrounds for collaboration. I loved playing in bands and working in the studio with other musicians. Photography is also a great collaboration, starting with the entire creative team, through to the subject interaction with the photographer.

My biggest lesson from music carried forward into photography is to trust the creative process. Don’t set out to make something perfect, set out to make something authentic and then subject it to a heathy dose of scrutiny and refinement.

How did you execute the Mark Jacobson story? I understand you turned over a completely researched idea both editorially and photographically. How long did this process take?
I have been working with a wonderful editor and photography consultant, Lisa Thackaberry. I was interested in doing more editorial work in addition to my entertainment work. My wife, Staness Jonekos, had also done a major career switch from television executive producer to published author. It was Lisa that suggested we find an interesting story to tell and work as a team doing the story and photography. She suggested we pitch magazines directly and thought going in with a complete article might be a viable way to get published. Since staffing and budgets are down in editorial, it made sense to try and create our own opportunity.

My wife immediately remembered our first encounter with Mark when I started working in entertainment and thought it might be an interesting story. I loved the idea and reached out to him to see if he would be open to doing it. After explaining our intentions, he agreed and we set up the first interview. It wasn’t until we sat down with him that we realized what a rich history there was with him and his father Irving. Irving had quite a remarkable career prior to inventing the first camera sound blimp. From the time I first called Mark to when the article was published this month, took almost a year.

What compelled you to share this story and why this magazine?
To our surprise, there had been almost nothing written about the sound blimp. Just Mark’s web site and a couple of mentions in users’ blogs. Such an obscure thing, surely there must be an interesting story. It’s been a part of film and television publicity and marketing for decades. Many film marketing one-sheets are made from the unit stills shot by the onset photographer. Shots that could never have been captured with a noisy camera snapping away during an actual take.

Once again it was Lisa Thackaberry that suggested we pitch it to Ventura Blvd Magazine (VB). She thought the local business angle was a great fit since his shop is in Studio City. VB does fantastic stories on local businesses and they still dedicate a luxurious amount of space to photographs.

Were you surprised that this story hadn’t been told as it’s such an important part of photo history?
We were definitely surprised at how little information was out there. In general, on set photographers are there for the publicity and marketing teams, not as part of the actual production. The very nature of the job requires a certain amount of stealth, thus I think it gets somewhat overlooked.

What compelled you to ask about the family history?
We were aware that it was Mark’s father who originally invented the first blimp. We were just curious what prompted him to design such a seemingly proprietary piece of gear. What kind of demand could there possibly have been at the time other than a few one-offs. Now blimps are used everywhere, from television and film sets to theater productions, golf tournaments, etc. Any place the clicking of a camera is a distraction to the action.

Was Mark surprised that the story made the cover? ( ie…not a publishers idea of a sexy subject )
He was completely blown away that he made the cover. We all were! Linda Grasso, Editor-in-Chief, and the amazing design team at VB literally picked our favorite photograph from the whole shoot to use on the cover. We couldn’t have been happier with the layout.

I think there’s great value in local publications and being connected to community, is that why you pitched this to Ventura Blvd?
Yes, it just seemed like a great fit given the proximity and the fact that VB is still prominently featuring photography. Plus we live in the hills above Studio City so it felt like it was relevant to us as both members of the community, and also the industry.

I know you shot Nancy Cartwright for the magazine, did you ask her to do her Bart Simson for you?
I did not, but I know she’s all too happy to oblige when someone asks.

What were you trying to capture when you photographed her and was it hard to separate her from that iconic voice?
Nancy is an incredibly talented voice over artist and an explosive bundle of energy. I simply tried to capture the exuberance she has for her new passion with sculpting. Clearly Bart is an inseparable part of her that she embraces and is protective of. I completely enjoyed the time the three of us spent together!

Categories: Business

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