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Former Photography Director Rob Haggart
Updated: 43 min 47 sec ago

This Week In Photography Books: Lucas Foglia

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

by Jonathan Blaustein

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

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

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

I remind you, this is 2014.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much obliged.

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

To Purchase “Frontcountry” Visit Photo-Eye

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

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

Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Q. Sakamaki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Harlem security guard. New York, 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
By checking, feeling, reading and listening to any kind of great art. Also lately I have been dong Instagram through which I can get inspiration, especially when I encounter great, yet different type of photos.

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

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

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

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

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

—————–

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

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

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

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Michele Romero: Entertainment Weekly

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

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Entertainment Weekly

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Business

The Guilt Of The People He Couldn’t Save

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

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

via How Photojournalism Killed Kevin Carter.

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

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Vincent Delbrouck

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

by Jonathan Blaustein

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

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

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

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

It’s profound.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This guy, apparently.

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

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

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

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

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

To Purchase “Some Windy Trees” Visit Photo-Eye

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

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

Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Anthony Blasko

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 9:44am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
Being fresh isn’t something I ever think about but I do try to push myself with every project and try to make it my own. What drives me is looking at the work of others, there’s a lot of great work out there that sets the bar really high.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Jennifer Robbins: Gotham Magazine

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

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Gotham Magazine

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

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

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

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

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Jennifer on Set

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Business

Facebook’s Photo Community Manager Is a War Photographer

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

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

via VICE United States.

Categories: Business

The Best Work I Saw at Review Santa Fe ’14

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

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

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

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

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

And here we are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, she recreated it herself.

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

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

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Hunter's Bottom

Moonrise over Northern Ripley County

Look for the Grey Barn Out Back

'Welcome to the Fugitive Captive'

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Oscar Palacio

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:03am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was watching “The Lone Ranger” on TV yesterday. It’s possible I’m the only person in America who saw the whole damn thing. Major bomb, it was. (Who knew Jerry Bruckheimer could fail at anything?)

The movie wasn’t half as bad as I expected. (And boy, is that Armie Hammer a handsome man.) It was clear they spent more money filming than Roman Abramovich drops on soccer talent. Wow, did Disney waste some cash on that ridiculous runaway train sequence.

I wasn’t surprised at the movie’s lack of mass appeal, though. They focused on the dark underbelly of American history: the theft of Native American land in the name of progress. (Sorry, I meant greed.) In particular, they made sure to demonstrate that treaties were made, and then broken, under dubious circumstances.

Does anyone really think that’s a good idea to hammer home, in the name of mass-market-summertainment? Who green-lit that premise, Noam Chomsky?

They even had poor Barry Pepper dressed up like George Custer, playing a military sap who unwittingly massacred a heap Comanche for the RailRoad Conglomerate, and then went full-scale denial when he learned the truth. Wonder who that little metaphor might be referencing? Oh. That’s right.

Us.

On Twitter, I was recently accused of being a closeted Englishman. But of course that’s not true. I love my FREEDOM/DEMOCRACY/FOOTBALL/BLACK PRESIDENT as much as anyone.

Go USA.

I just had the good fortune to learn the truth about our past from some stellar teachers in High School and College. And it is far easier to pretend our wealth was not built up on stolen land, resource annihilation, and free slave labor.

I think that’s the main reason Americans are so ahistorical. It’s not that we’re stupider than the rest of the world. Just that we function better as a forward-looking society. (Land ho.)

That’s why so many artists love to mine history. To spend days in dusty archives, combing through crusty books to find out who said what to whom. We love us some primary sources. (Wait. You mean George Washington wasn’t really named George Washington Blaustein, as my young son suggested this week? Quelle Surprise.)

The other method is to get out on the road and see what things look like now. Is there really a Plymouth rock? And why did they name it after Plymouth, from whence those grouchy Puritans came?

I can answer in the affirmative, that such a piece of stone exists, having just seen it in Colombian artist Oscar Palacio’s new book, “American Places.” (Published by the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.)

The book is fascinating, in that it mashes up the historically important with the constructedly banal. What could be more American than that?

Gettysburg battlefields, Underground railroad sites, the Lower 9th Ward, Manzanar, the Wounded Knee Memorial, and chopped trees protruding through fences. Concrete covered with grass. White banisters, defenestrated, rotting in the dirt.

The book is quiet the way a library is quiet. It helps to focus the mind. BTW, you know I’m going to respect anyone who goes to Mt. Rushmore and comes back with a photo that blocks the money shot. That takes guts.

Perhaps it’s easier for an outsider to admit that our society is built upon shaky foundations, like the Sunset district in San Francisco. (Sand dunes sit beneath the sleepy beach community.)

I love this country. We’ve given the world airplanes, cars, and the Internet. But also nuclear bombs, NSA spy software, and a legacy of misery that is felt in Native American and African-American communities to this day.

This book manages to blend the poignantly beautiful and the boringly sublime. Which are both stand-ins for the the glory and gore we’ve managed to produce since the Pilgrims landed more than 400 years ago.

Long may we prosper.

Bottom Line: Surprising, quiet, classy book that reminds us of a history we’d rather forget

To Purchase “American Places” Visit Photo-Eye

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

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

Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Jonathan Kozowyk

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:26am

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 Jonathan Kozowyk. Not only is he very talented, he is very easy to work with.

I told you I took pictures of my dog. — this was the first time she paid attention to her friends barking across the street. I guess it is a good example that I always have a camera close by.

I told you I took pictures of my dog. — this was the first time she paid attention to her friends barking across the street. I guess it is a good example that I always have a camera close by.

Part of an ongoing personal project, I try to work on something everyday.

Part of an ongoing personal project, I try to work on something everyday.

Austin Dorr, I wanted to photograph this man the very first day I saw him, years later I did in a personal project about the marina where I was living in at that time in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He wrote his name on everything he owned on the dock. On the door to his workshop right in between the American Flag and the Jolly Rodger, he wrote in sharpie, “If a man is too busy to go fishing, he is too damn busy.”

Austin Dorr, I wanted to photograph this man the very first day I saw him, years later I did in a personal project about the marina where I was living in at that time in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He wrote his name on everything he owned on the dock. On the door to his workshop right in between the American Flag and the Jolly Rodger, he wrote in sharpie, “If a man is too busy to go fishing, he is too damn busy.”

From an ongoing personal project on humans and their relationship with flight. I was interested in it, so I pursued it. I love learning about what gets people out of bed at 5am on their day off — it is not just hobbies at that point.

From an ongoing personal project on humans and their relationship with flight. I was interested in it, so I pursued it. I love learning about what gets people out of bed at 5am on their day off — it is not just hobbies at that point.

From an ongoing personal project on humans and their relationship with flight. I was interested in it, so I pursued it. I love learning about what gets people out of bed at 5am on their day off — it is not just hobbies at that point.

From an ongoing personal project on humans and their relationship with flight. I was interested in it, so I pursued it. I love learning about what gets people out of bed at 5am on their day off — it is not just hobbies at that point.

Commission for a Community Sailing Program in Boston.  I actually hopped into Boston Harbor against my better judgement to get this one, happy I did though… they tell me the water is totally safe these days…

Commission for a Community Sailing Program in Boston. I actually hopped into Boston Harbor against my better judgement to get this one, happy I did though… they tell me the water is totally safe these days…

The Rev. Edward Sunderland from a commission for Saatchi Wellness and Crossroads Community Services in Manhattan. He is a social worker that works with people in need and the people who volunteer in shelters and food pantries. This was a pretty moving project that I was proud to be a part of.

The Rev. Edward Sunderland from a commission for Saatchi Wellness and Crossroads Community Services in Manhattan. He is a social worker that works with people in need and the people who volunteer in shelters and food pantries. This was a pretty moving project that I was proud to be a part of.

Johnny L. Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. Commission for Forbes, we went fishing at sunrise.

Johnny L. Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. Commission for Forbes, we went fishing at sunrise.

More personal work that I believe in. I have been photographing police officers and their K-9s for the past 3 years.

More personal work that I believe in. I have been photographing police officers and their K-9s for the past 3 years.

Farmer from a recent editorial commission.

Farmer from a recent editorial commission.

Personal project on Rally Racing in America, later the project got picked up by Maine Magazine, and I got to go finish up the project with a home town hero story about a local racer that just got sponsored by SCION.

Personal project on Rally Racing in America, later the project got picked up by Maine Magazine, and I got to go finish up the project with a home town hero story about a local racer that just got sponsored by SCION.

Personal work. A man after a plunge in a frozen lake in February in New England.

Personal work. A man after a plunge in a frozen lake in February in New England.

How many years have you been in business?

I’ve been working in the industry for a little over 12 years. I started out assisting, and have been shooting on my own for about 3 years now.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to Massachusetts College of Art for Graphic Design, but knew I wanted to make photographs. After I graduated I pursued my passion for photography and I was really lucky to apprentice some talented folks.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I learned a ton from assisting Tibor Nemeth, Jason Grow, and Michael Prince.


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?
Really I find inspiration in everything around me. Sometimes it is from the creative people I work with, people I am photographing, or places I travel to. I try to absorb it all and then reinterpret it to show how I see the world. Within my work there is an element of timelessness, which I also feel is important. I always try to infuse that into whatever I am doing. I want my work to feel genuine.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

Of course, that can happen, but I believe there is always a nice middle ground that can be reached, I am not a diva, I know that I got hired for a reason. When I am shooting I have a good understanding of what the agency and client need to walk away with at the end of the shoot. But I always try to get a something that I personally love out of each job.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Lately I have been making a ton of little small run books and send them to creatives I want to collaborate with. Also visiting agencies and magazines to share my latest projects.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I guess that approach can work. But I have been really trying to push myself to show work that I love as well. I try to pepper in some of what they may need to see, but I think it’s important for people to know that you bring something to the table.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

Yes. I try to make pictures everyday, even if I am stuck in front of the computer doing post work, bidding on projects, or even while on phone calls. Sometimes they are just pictures of my dog or of people around the neighborhood.


How often are you shooting new work?
As much as possible. I have a few personal projects always going on. It ‘s a great way to stay loose and get motivated. I used to get caught up in thinking that I needed to “finish” a project, but lately I’ve been allowing myself the freedom to start a project and just let it take it’s course.

—————–

Jonathan Kozowyk is a commercial advertising and editorial photographer. He was formally trained at Massachusetts College of Art and Design where he received his BFA in Graphic Design. After graduation he set out to pursue his passion of photography.

Today Jonathan is based in New York City and is lucky to travel often for commissions all over the world. Jonathan enjoys collaborating with creatives to capture genuine moments big and small.

In his down time he likes to surf, ride his skateboard, look at maps, and spend time with his beautiful girlfriend and his furry dog.

Contact:

 
+1 347 901 2427 
jonathan@jonathankozowyk.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

By 1905 A Third Of American Households Possessed A Camera

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 7:28pm

Professional photographers were repelled by the weird, ungainly, often out-of-focus shots that amateurs produced. “Photography as a fad is well nigh on its last legs,” prayed the art photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Other pundits bemoaned “Kodak fiends,” camera obsessives who carried their device everywhere and were apparently so constantly taking pictures that they would space out and miss their trains.

via The Invention of the “Snapshot” Changed the Way We Viewed the World | Smithsonian.

Categories: Business

On Making and Publishing a Book – For Photographers

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 9:46am

Guest Post by Carl Corey

PASSION, PURPOSE and PERSEVERANCE

“Passion and Purpose” – The credo put forth by Robert Frank as the necessary ingredients to creating successful and meaningful photography. I would add to that another, “Perseverance”. In any endeavor it would be impossible to attain true success without Passion and Purpose. Many photographers exhibit either passion, purpose or perseverance but the ones that succeed exhibit all three.

To create a successful photography book you must exhibit these three traits. Your work must have a purpose, it must communicate and strike a chord with the audience. This will be impossible if you are not passionate about your pictures and it will not get done if you can not persevere through some failure. Good work requires one to take risks and everyone who takes risks occasionally fails, however those failures can and will make you stronger if you allow them to.

RESEARCH

I strongly recommend you research the work which has preceded you. Look at the masters’ books and then look some more. Determine what it is about these books that makes them successful. You’ll see lots of passion on those pages, the work will have a purpose and clearly exhibit such. It will strike a chord with the viewer and hopefully initiate a creative or intellectual a response from them. If you wish to have some of that limited shelf space allotted picture books then your work must elicit a strong response.

EDITING

Assuming you have a strong body of work it needs to be edited into a stronger body of work to meet this publishing criteria. Editing is a very important component to creating a cohesive and strong book. It is also a very difficult process. We all know how hard it is to toss a picture we love because it just doesn’t fit. We all become infatuated with the newness of recent pictures or those that proved technically difficult. Unfortunately no one cares how hard it was technically for you to complete, or how fresh the picture is to you. It is the content that matters and good editing will assure that your content is as strong as it can be. Many of us tend to work in a vacuum, focused on the task at hand while completing a series of pictures. Once photography is completed it is very helpful to get a second or even third opinion on the book edit. You may find you need to create some new pictures to round out the book. I appreciate working with a good picture editor and find that their contribution manifests itself in the success of the book. If you are serious about your project I encourage you to solicit the help of an experienced picture editor working in your genre.

Keeping the work as simple and honest as possible works best. This does not mean you need to make simple pictures but rather should strive to eliminate any element that does not contribute to the purpose of the picture and subsequently also the book. Adhere to the credo that you are only as good as your weakest link. Show less but stronger pictures that engage the audience, don’t over tell the story. Leave a little open to interpretation for the audience to connect with.

DESIGN

Work with the best designer you can and be sure they are as passionate about the book as you are. It’s their work on those pages that will show yours in the best light possible. I like simple design. I adhere to the Bauhaus principle of “less is more”. I believe good design is unobtrusive and efficient but also compelling. Remember you are making a picture book and it is about the pictures. No amount of flashy design can mask poor picture content.

PUBLISHING

The decision to self publish or work with a publisher can only be made by you. It’s your book and your career. The same goes for ebook vs ink-book. The ebook has made it easy for anyone to put together a “book”. I use ebook format as a e-maquette editing tool. It helps to see content in order and adjust accordingly. While I am not affiliated with any companies I find the new version of Lightroom® 5. to be very accommodating in this regard. If you are not familiar with the Lightroom® book options you may wish to investigate it.

Publishing is a business. Businesses need to turn a profit and while some publishers are quite passionate about their titles and authors they never loose sight of the bottom line. This is responsible business practice and necessary for success. A first time author is a big risk. Picture books present even more risk as they are very expensive to produce. Publishing is also a tough business and getting tougher therefore the risk allowance is diminishing. Many publishers will ask a first time author to guarantee a return on investment. Requesting the author either purchase a quantity of books or contribute financially to the volumes production costs. It’s not unheard of to request a first time author pay all costs associated with producing the book.This is in addition to the cost of producing the original photography for the book. Adding up all these associated expenses makes it apparent that publishing a book can become quite an expensive endeavor. This will test your passion.

Be prepared for non appropriate deals to come your way from publishers and have the strength to say no to them. You have no negotiating power if you are not prepared to walk away from a deal. I encourage the first time author to be patient and wait for the right deal, to persevere. It took 7 years to get the right deal for my first book. It was frustrating at times but I am very pleased I waited for the right publisher to work with. Beware the vanity press that exists solely to profit from production of your book. Once they have delivered your book you will find yourself all on your own. I consider producing a book a partnership with the publisher, a joint effort with mutual benefit.

The advantages of working with a publisher are many and beyond the scope of this essay to allow for me to detail each. The most important benefit you gain by working with a publisher is credibility. Self publishing and vanity presses fall short on the credibility front. However vanity books can be viewed as promotional pieces and work within that venue for the assignment photographer, but only if done very well. However as an author credibility is very important and quite frankly the best return you will find from publishing a book is the credibility it affords you, the author. What you will get with a good book is a piece that, if used properly, will open doors for career growth.

Unfortunately as previously outlined there is no substantial author income to be had from your book. This is true whether you self publish or work with a publisher. If you are making a book with the intent of generating an income you will be disappointed. If income is your only goal invest the money and time elsewhere. You make a book because you have to, you are passionate about doing so. In my workshops and seminars I break down the associated costs of book making, the business of publishing and the ways you can use your book to help generate a livelihood. Remember the credibility associated with authoring a good book tops the list for opening doors to further opportunity.

Some of the advantages to working with a publisher are less or no financial risk, distribution and warehousing services ( you don’t want a garage full of 5000 books and be running to the Post office for every order ), guidance in editing, quality book design, production expertise and solid marketing. I cant stress this enough. Publishers want your book to succeed. Remember it’s all about the bottom line for them and sales of your books make a better bottom line. In addition more sales of your book means more credibility for you.

Self publishing has some merits as well. If you should be fortunate enough to create a best selling book your profits will be substantially better. You may actually recoup all the original photography and book production expenses and break even. That is a big “IF” however, and quite hard to almost impossible to do with out a publishers expertise behind it. Another advantage, if you view it as such, is that you will have complete control over the edit, design, production specs, warehousing, distribution, marketing and PR. However you will also have the expenses and responsibilities associated with the above. I am biased to working with a publisher. I am a photographer. I focus upon making pictures and let others more experienced than I in book production deal with the publishing aspects of making books.

WORKING WITH A PUBLISHER

If you decide to approach publishers here are several key items you need to know to assure your book receives the best possible opportunity to get published. I have outlined these below.

Define your goal with the book.
What is it you want from the book? Write down your goals think about them and be specific.

Select a topic that has a purpose.
Research is very helpful here. Look at where there are gaps in the medium. Does there need to be more coverage of a certain genre.

Select a topic you are passionate about.
People can feel if you are passionate about your pictures. Passion is conveyed by your demeanor but even more so from your pictures. If you are not passionate about what you are working on stop working and find something you are passionate about to do.

Be sure the book engages the audience.
Tell the story in your voice. Lead don’t follow, but never loose sight of who your audience is or you will loose them.

Estimate production costs of photography.
Be sure you can complete the book before you start. Find funding if needed through grants or corporate sponsorship.

Edit.
Remember you are only as good as your weakest link. A great picture diminishes when in the company of mediocrity.

Edit again.
You never get it perfect the first time.

Go ahead and edit a third time.
And rarely on the second.

Create a maquette or book dummy (these are the same thing but “maquette” sounds smarter).
“Maquette” is French defined as a sculptor’s rough test sculpture done before hitting the marble or casting the bronze. The maquette is very important in bookmaking. It is a rough of the book made prior to publishing. It’s also a very tricky item to get right as you want it to be rough but also enticing. Too finished and the publisher may feel pigeonholed and limited in input. Too loose and they may not be enticed to investigate further. I recommend you share a few pages from the book as a maquette, a “this is what I was thinking” sample and follow up with a color corrected and detailed PDF of just pictures. You may find other avenues better suited to specific publishers. Read the publisher’s submission criteria and adhere to it.

Research publishers that are appropriate for your work.
Like photographers publishers specialize. Fashion, documentary, landscape, reportage, narrative are all genres that some publishers limit themselves to. Be sure the publishers you contact are appropriate for your book. They like knowing you do your research as well.

Respectfully approach publishers with the maquette.
Publishers are dedicated hard working people trying to survive in a dwindling and ever more competitive marketplace. It’s a tough job, be nice to them.

Negotiate a favorable contract for all.
Be sure you are happy with the deal you make. You will live with it. I assure you the publisher will be comfortable with any deal they make. You want a pleasant and honest partnership surrounding your book.

Be realistic in negotiations and prepared to walk away.
What are you getting from the publisher in exchange for all your hard work, original photography financial investment and passion? Be sure they have a finely tuned operation capable of supporting you and your book. Design, production quality, warehousing, distribution, marketing, PR, and payment are the areas you should be concerned with. Ask other authors about the publisher. Bring up these areas when negotiating with the publisher. If you are a first time author it’s a tougher go negotiating.

Persevere.
I doubt the first publisher who sees your book maquette will publish it. Probably not the second, third, fourth, fifth….. You can not let rejection be a reflection upon the merit of your book or more importantly you. There are many publishers and most won’t be right for your book. When your book is rejected politely ask what it that the publisher is looking for. If you see a common denominator from publishers possibly adjust your book to eliminate the problem.

I hope this brief and opinionated synopsis proves beneficial to those of you wishing to publish a picture book. While extremely difficult, authoring a picture book is a rewarding, satisfying undertaking. Your book can serve as the instrument to inform, elicit response, effect positive social change and open doors for you to continue to do even more with your pictures. Just remember these three words and you’ll be off to a good start: Passion, Purpose and Perseverance.

Carl Corey is the author of three books; “Rancher” – Bunker Hill 2007, “Tavern League” – WHS Press 2011 and “For Love and Money” – WHS Press 2014. He is the recipient of over 100 awards from the photographic and publishing communities including the Crystal Book Award for Best Photography Book 2012, National Best Sellers Award 2012, INDIE Publishers Award of Excellence 2014, Pub West Gold 2012 and Foreward Top Ten. He presents group seminars and teaches one on one workshops.

Categories: Business

I Take Photographs To Make Discoveries For Myself

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:51am

I am interested in ideas. I am not interested in doing the same thing over and over again. The reason I take photographs is to make discoveries for myself. Always trying to piece together the puzzle, that’s where I get my rush. Once I find the answer I am looking for that’s usually it for a project, the excitement and energy is gone. I move onto something else, or away from that subject matter until I can view it with fresh eyes again.

via An interview with Trent Parke – Try Hard Magazine.

Categories: Business

Steven Lippman: Husband/Father/Athlete/Artist/Humanitarian

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:12am
Screen shot 2014-08-20 at 2.30.10 PM
Self portrait in a back side tube
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Layback.  Photo: Justin Mehren
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Tube time. Photo: Evan Conway
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Hand plant 13 years old  Photo:  Bill Sharp
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Carve. Photo: Bill Sharp… Now

 

Steven Lippman

Personal Site: Steven Lippman Print + Film
Agency Site: Stockland Martel
Instagram: stevenlippman

Heidi: Once and athlete always an athlete. You were a competitive skater and surfer on a pro level for most of your life. How often do you currently train?

Steven: I’ve been skating since I was 9 and I still skate pools and half pipes. I’ve been surfing since I was 16, still love surfing here in Malibu whenever I can, and I surf remote waves all around the world.
My training time varies because of family and work of course. I have an amazing wife and two children that I love spending time with. My daughter is 22 and my son is 6, I’m so proud. My daughter is about to enter the working world with the same ethics I’m teaching my son. Be respectful of your surroundings, be the best person you can, be active and do the things you love. My son and I ride BMX, surf, he takes karate, he’s so full of life! I mountain bike and surf with my daughter. Anyone in my position knows that you are at the mercy of spontaneous moments, family is dynamic, and they come before my love of sport. My wife is an amazing cook, we eat healthy, I’m so lucky. It’s important for me to stay healthy and limber. All of those assets transcend into my personal and work life.

I know you are a dedicated father and husband, do home and work life blend? How does  it all fit in?
As I mentioned it’s about seizing pockets of time and being able to roll with them. Yes, my home and work life blend, they have to. My studio/office is part of my home and I chose that situation so I’m not away from my family any more then I have to be. When I have a break in work, we can be together and if they need me, I’m right here. It’s the best of both worlds and a juggling act to fit it all in, but it’s about making time for everything in life that’s important to you and designing your environment around that.
IMG_3416
Family Portrait in Costa Rica.
kids
Ryder and Reilley morning time.
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Mountain biking with my daughter
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My son, Ryder
I know you’ve been busy with work, what are you up to these days?
I just finished  big projects with Leo Burnett, Showtime, Fry Boots and I’m doing a TV commercial for Griffith products. I feel so grateful when clients hire me for my entire skill set and are open to ideas/collaborating. Unfortunately I don’t have any creative I can share from those just yet, though here’s a selection of my editorial, advertising and directing work.
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ESPN BODY ISSUE
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James Pearse
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Ed Hardy
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Lifestyle
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Lifestyle
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No Bad Days
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Surfing as a form of healing and therapy is a running theme in your life of giving back. I see you are Vice President of Operations for A Walk on Water (their primary goal is to share the therapeutic powers of the ocean through surf therapy for special needs children and their families) How do you organize your time to accomplish all of this?
I handle this the same way I do my work/family life. I flow with it and I’m dedicated. It’s organic and I make it all fit.
My love of surfing and skating shaped my career, they are intertwined. Prior to my photography and directing I was a model and surf/skate competitor documenting my friends and my life on the road, this is where I developed my eye.
I have so much to be grateful for from my surf/skate life. Once I focused more on my photography/directing career, I wanted to maintain the connection to my roots. For A Walk on Water I can transcend all my directing skills into producing big events, it’s a natural segway for me.
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Screen shot 2014-08-19 at 10.04.14 AM
Photo: Cat Gergory

My son Ryder, and our friend Sully whose father is Pat Notaro, founder of A Walk on Water.

You are also part of the The Blue Project (a nonprofit looking to  preserve the world’s oceans by rallying like minded people and educating the public) as well as an Ambassador for Surf Aid International, Life Rolls On, (a program dedicated to improving the life of kids with spinal cord injuries)  on Surfer’s Healing which specializes in autistic children. It takes a special type of person to volunteer and be such a giving ambassador, what speaks to you about these projects and how does this surface in your commercial and personal work?

It’s a constant reminder of how grateful I am for the life I’ve enjoyed and created for myself and family. Being able to see that same joy in a parents eye when their child catches a wave or simply enjoys the freedom of the ocean is an amazing experience for me. These projects bring me joy, ground me, and always drive me to the search for the truest meaning of reaching one’s potential.  To be 100% honest, I had founded the Blue Project, as time passed I simply couldn’t do it all, so that is currently on hold for the moment, there’s only so much I can do alone. There’s simply not enough time for me to do all I’d like to do, and do it well. What’s great about these interviews is that I have an opportunity to inspire people to get involved in the programs and events in the hopes they gain momentum and succeed.


Categories: Business

Pricing And Negotiating: Directing Video For A TV Commercial

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 10:06am

by Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Video of a restaurant interior

Licensing: Use of all video content captured in multiple broadcast television commercials

Location: A single restaurant location

Shoot Days: One

Director: Architectural and portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium-sized, based in the Northeast

Client: Large restaurant chain

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: A few months ago I worked with a photographer to successfully estimate an exterior architectural shoot that you can read about here. Within a week of delivering those files, the agency wanted to add on an extension to the project, and this time they needed video content to integrate into their commercial along with the stills. The concept was to capture video of the interior of one of their restaurants and stage a scene of professional talent interacting within the environment in the evening after the restaurant closed to the public. The final video would ultimately be edited down to just a few seconds, and the agency/client would be providing the location, casting, talent, wardrobe, styling and all of the video editing.

The photographer did not specialize in video, but based on his previous successful execution of the stills and the scope of this portion of the project, the client and agency were very comfortable with him taking on a directorial role, as opposed to being the man behind the camera. Therefore, rather than including a combined creative/licensing fee for the photographer, we simply labeled it as a “Director Fee” (hereafter I’ll refer to the photographer as “director”).

My first approach to determine the director fee was based on the previous estimate for the still photography. You can read how we arrived at a $50,000 fee in my previous article, but when analyzed in a pro-rated manner (which is how many agencies view estimates), it broke down to $2,500 per location or around $10,000 per day for 5 days of shooting (which is ultimately how long it took). Based on this information I felt that $6,000 was appropriate for a director fee, taking into account what the director had ultimately made as an effective fee on the previous shoot. I did, however, want to double-check this rate against other resources, and found that Getty charges around $4,200 for a 15-second clip for national broadcast TV use. Similarly, Corbis charges $4,500 for a clip with these specs. Based on my research I was confident that we were in the right ballpark.

I should also note that the format of our estimate in which we present the creative/licensing fee and the following expenses may be atypical for a video project. Since this was an extension of a still photo shoot, and since we were working with a print producer at the agency, the presentation and formatting of our document was appropriate. However, much larger video productions may warrant different formatting, and there are even industry standard documents (like theAICP bid form) that video production companies are accustomed to working with and are well received on the agency/client end.

Test Shoots: Prior to the actual shoot date, the agency and director agreed that a day was needed to not only scout the location, but to do a very rough test shoot using minimal gear to capture naturally lit video of the restaurant interior. It was an opportunity to give the agency a feel for the how the location actually looked, while also allowing the director to test out gear with the camera operator that would be working on the actual shoot. The fee included $1,500 for the director, $1,000 for the producer, $300 for an assistant and $750 for the camera operator, along with mileage, parking, meals and equipment expenses.

Director of Photography: The director was very proficient in lighting still images, but the level of production the agency required for the video meant bringing in an expert to help guide the grip and gaffer to set up the lights. We were shooting at night, but the interior needed to look like daylight was flowing in through the windows, and the DP would help to accomplish this while the director could primarily focus his attention on the overall concept and execution.

Camera Operator: While the director would be managing the talent and determining the primary camera settings, we accounted for the camera operator to be the one who would actually manipulate the camera while capturing the content. The rate we included accounted for a very experienced camera operator who would also be able to provide monitors/feeds for live client review.

Producer: The producer would be responsible for wrangling the crew, compiling a production book and handling pre-production arrangements. Additionally, the producer would make sure the shoot day goes according to schedule while ensuring the project stayed within budget.

First and Second Assistants: I accounted for two extra sets of hands to help out with gear on the shoot day, and to support the producer and all of the crew members throughout the day with miscellaneous tasks.

Digital Tech: While the camera operator would be providing equipment for the client to see the video on monitors in real time, the digital tech would be able to quickly process the video content for the client/agency to watch repeatedly in order to approve the content. This included $500 for their day, and $750 for a workstation. On a larger scale video shoot, this role might be labeled as DIT (digital image technician), but as I mentioned earlier, we were integrating formatting and terminology more in line with a still photo shoot.

Grip, Gaffer and Grip Truck: The DP would give lighting direction to the grip and gaffer who would then be responsible for setting up and adjusting all of the lights. Both the grip and gaffer that I corresponded with about the project worked for an equipment rental company, and they would be bringing the gear with them in a truck. Given the last minute nature of the project, we weren’t quite sure what exact equipment would be needed, so I included the cost for a very well stocked grip truck. In addition to the truck rental (which would cost $675), this included a long list of HMI lights and generators, as well as an even longer list of stands, modifiers and grip equipment.

Additional Equipment Rental: This accounted for all equipment other than lights/grip, including two 5D Mark III camera bodies, multiple lenses, extra large memory cards and a buffer for any other last minute gear the photographer would need once he scouted the location. Some of the gear he owned, and some he would need to rent or buy.

Delivery of Video by Hard Drive: The digital tech would dump all of the video onto a drive after the shoot, and this included the cost of purchasing a drive large enough to hold the video content and the shipping fees to send it to the agency.

Catering: There would be about 20 people on set including the crew, talent and client/agency representatives, and I included $50 per person for dinner and snacks throughout the evening. Typically, I’d figure a client like this would provide meals, but since the shoot was happening after business hours, the restaurant wouldn’t be able to provide food.

Miles, Misc: The restaurant wasn’t located in a very convenient place, and I expected to pay the crew mileage to get out and back. I included $200 for mileage, and then added $300 to help cover any additional unexpected expenses that might arise.

Results: After submitting our estimate, the art buyer told us they had a budget of $20,000, and asked us to see what we could do to reduce the price. I knew we wouldn’t be able to come down by that much, but revised the estimate by removing the tech’s workstation (she’d just be providing a laptop which the client was ok with), reducing the assistant rates to $250/day (the director had a few assistants that were willing to work for this rate) reducing the fee for the grip and gaffer (which they confirmed they’d be able to be flexible on) and reducing the catering to $35 per person (and noted that it wouldn’t be quite as an elaborate spread). Those changes reduced our bottom line by $1,500. Even though we weren’t able to get under $20k, our estimate was approved and I produced the shoot a few days later. Here was the final estimate:

Blinkbid

Hindsight: As the still photography and video worlds merge, it’s inevitable that clients will soon expect all photographers to offer video services (or at least expect to get stills and video from a single production). However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a photographer has to have experience shooting video. As in this case, photographers can take on the role of a director without actually being the one to light the scene or operate the camera. The director role still comes with great responsibility and pressure, but it’s ok for photographers to rely on lighting experts and experienced video crews to collectively get the job done.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to big ad campaigns.

Categories: Business

Turning Smartphone Photography Into Physical Prints Is An Important Step

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 10:56am

Despite Jacobson’s enthusiasm for smartphone photography, he believes that turning these images into physical prints and displaying them in a gallery context was an important step. “It not only verifies smartphone photography but also allows viewers to consider their relationship with the images,” he said.

via Redefining Smartphone Photography – The New Yorker.

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

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Brad Wilson

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 10:26am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was riding in the passenger seat of a Volvo SUV. Headed North. My father was driving; my young son in the back seat.

We were going to Red River to ride some go-karts. A classic summertime ritual. The mountains were to the East, and out the driver side, we saw the great American desert, rolling all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

The western sky was dark and ominous, as there were massive rainstorms approaching us faster than an unarmed man can raise his hands at the sight of a loaded gun. It had been raining for weeks, so the deluge was clearly imminent.

Which made our go-karting endeavor look a tad futile.

My son asked whether we would make it in time. My father replied that he was an optimist, so we’d plow forward. My son, clever, but not omniscient, asked what an optimist was.

My Dad explained an optimist was a person who looked on the bright side, and expected things to work out well. A pessimist, he countered, tended to fear the worst, and assume it would come to pass.

“Which are you, Daddy,” the boy asked me?

“I’m neither, I said. I’m the third thing. A realist. I think sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t.”

“OK. You’re a realist. So will we get to ride the go karts,” he asked?

“That storm is coming really fast. If we get a ride in, I’d say we were lucky. I doubt we’ll get there before the track is too wet to be safe.”

Not that my predictive qualities are always spot on, but that day, it was not to be. The heavens opened, and we had to settle for raiding the candy store, and then getting back in the Swedish Tank to go home.

C’est la vie.

It’s easy, these days, to succumb to the belief that the world is coming to an end. The militarized mess in the St. Louis suburbs. Another war in the Holy Land. ISIS gobbling up territory in Mesopotamia. Planes shot out of the sky by a newly voracious and expanding Russia. (Forgive me, I meant Putin’s proxies in Eastern Ukraine.)

And then there are the stories about elephants being massacred for their ivory. Tigers killed for fake Chinese medicine. Or Rhinos slaughtered for horn to make some old guy’s penis hard.

Onward we march towards oblivion, it seems.

What sayeth the realist? Well, it is hard to be optimistic these days. But what choice do we have? If you’ve bred children, it’s far too sad to assume the world will die around them. Better to hope we’ll figure it out, but I’m not so sure.

Just in case, it might be wise to record nature’s bounty while it’s here. To embed likeness in paper, and safe keep it for future generations. (Sample conversation in 2114, “Daddy, what’s an elephant look like? Why did they go extinct?”)

Fortunately, the Santa Fe-based photographer Brad Wilson had done it for us. Even better, for posterity, he used a super-badass-high-end-digital camera, so the details are there in their hyper-real glory. (Eyelashes and all.)

I know this, because I went to photo-eye this week to pick up a new stack of books, as promised. And there the photos were on the wall, staring me down like an angry drunk mad-dogging you outside the movie theater at 9:45pm on a Friday night. (Speaking of Fridays, the exhibition opens tonight, if you happen to be in town.)

The prints are big, black and gorgeous. (Insert random inappropriate joke here.) If you have a chance to go see them, I’d highly recommend it. If not, of course, we always have the book, “Wild Life,” recently published by Prestel.

According to a promotional video they showed me at the store, the artist hired animal trainers to bring the creatures to a studio in LA. And the book says other pictures were shot at a raptor sanctuary in Española, a zoo in Albuquerque, and, of course, a location in St Louis, Missouri. (Wouldn’t be one of my reviews if the snake didn’t eat its tail.)

The pictures manage to be beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. The chimps are so clearly sentient. The big cats so fierce. The eagles so mesmerizing. In fairness, the owl photos are trapped in full bleed in the book, so their impact is muted, compared to the prints.

But this book oozes “future-historical-importance.” I think I brought up some of these concepts when I reviewed Sebastião Salgado’s “Genesis” a while back. I prefer this book, though.

That one seemed a tad emotionally manipulative. This feels more clean. More objective, if I might use a taboo word, for once. He threw up a black backdrop, brought in some rapidly disappearing animals, got really close with a great camera, and made the pictures.

Here. Look.

For now, the photographs are representations of living creatures. If we don’t change course, however, they will be all we have left. So says the realist.

Bottom Line: Fantastic record of the animal kingdom, while we have it

To Purchase “Wild Life” Visit Photo-Eye

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

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

Categories: Business

Art Producers Speak: Kristyna Archer

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:56am

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Kristyna Archer. Aside from her obvious talent as a shooter, she is personable, fun, able to roll with the punches and goes to the max to make people happy. We used her and my creatives are as smitten with her as I am. We are all excited about what the future holds for her.

This is part of a personal series I shot in 2012 called "Donut Doppelgängers." It seemed so nonsensical at the time, but I had to get out of my mind.  A 'stream-of-consciousness' later, I started comparing them to people.

This is part of a personal series I shot in 2012 called “Donut Doppelgängers.” It seemed so nonsensical at the time, but I had to get out of my mind.  A ‘stream-of-consciousness’ later, I started comparing them to people.

This image was inspired by Cast of Vices, an amazing Los Angeles designer who created these high end luxury versions of your average bodega bag (on right).  It struck a chord with me and I wanted to create a juxtaposition of the "faux" middle class trying so hard to uphold appearances, next to poverty level.  They are both still riding the bus ironically- not so far apart…

This image was inspired by Cast of Vices, an amazing Los Angeles designer who created these high end luxury versions of your average bodega bag (on right).  It struck a chord with me and I wanted to create a juxtaposition of the “faux” middle class trying so hard to uphold appearances, next to poverty level.  They are both still riding the bus ironically- not so far apart…

This image started with the phrase "We're all kids at heart" where I was using childlike props pairing them with adults showing vulnerability.  Yet this shot soon became about something entirely different when you pair a speedo next to a lollipop.  So I changed my crop and decided to get in your face about it.  I love how things can develop into something so much weirder and more vulgar- the subconscious at its best I guess?

This image started with the phrase “We’re all kids at heart” where I was using childlike props pairing them with adults showing vulnerability.  Yet this shot soon became about something entirely different when you pair a speedo next to a lollipop.  So I changed my crop and decided to get in your face about it.  I love how things can develop into something so much weirder and more vulgar- the subconscious at its best I guess?

Campaign I shot for Canon with GREY visually illustrating a sensory experience of the theme "baseball."

Campaign I shot for Canon with GREY visually illustrating a sensory experience of the theme “baseball.”

Campaign I shot for Oxxford Menswear.

Campaign I shot for Oxxford Menswear.

This is a personal project where I wanted it to feel like film stills, because the story is loaded with emotion.  The less purposeful and pulled back you are, the more honest it feels.

This is a personal project where I wanted it to feel like film stills, because the story is loaded with emotion.  The less purposeful and pulled back you are, the more honest it feels.

I do love denim- all kinds. And I wanted to celebrate it.

I do love denim- all kinds. And I wanted to celebrate it.

If you've grown up somewhere where you've never seen snow and freaked out when you saw it for the first time- thats how I felt when I saw an abundance of lemon trees in LA.  I was trying every possible way to make use.

If you’ve grown up somewhere where you’ve never seen snow and freaked out when you saw it for the first time- thats how I felt when I saw an abundance of lemon trees in LA.  I was trying every possible way to make use.

I like to document those people that have had an impact on my life.  Maren is one of them.

I like to document those people that have had an impact on my life.  Maren is one of them.

This happened randomly and all you can do is be ready to capture.  I thought for sure he would never smoke inside his beautiful "Restoration Hardware" home.  But I once I said it he was up for the challenge.

This happened randomly and all you can do is be ready to capture.  I thought for sure he would never smoke inside his beautiful “Restoration Hardware” home.  But I once I said it he was up for the challenge.

How many years have you been in business?
I went out on my own as a photographer 3 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to Columbia College in Chicago and received a BFA in Photography. The camaraderie I experienced from both faculty and classmates during my time there was electric. Then you work your first day on set and you realize you know nothing about how this industry works. A formal education was a great foundation, but only scratched the surface.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I mean there’s a plethora of who, what, and whens that all culminated into “I don’t see how I could not do this everyday.” But specifically I had some amazing professors that would just rip apart your work in critique, which challenged me and pushed me to become a thorough and intentional artist. Linda Levy believed in me and pushed me out the door when I was afraid to make the leap from assisting to shooting. And of course there are those specific artists, directors, writers, cinematographers, that I am constantly inspired by and in awe of- Diane Arbus, Erwin Olaf, Wes Anderson, Anton Corbijn, Sagmiester, Larry David, Thom Yorke.

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 the easiest way to answer this question is to “be random.” Put yourself in totally random places and situations, with different people all the time, and you will have a plethora of ideas to let bake until they are ready to hatch. That’s sort of what I do. Embrace the spontaneity in life. Also being present in the moment and in tune with all the hilarious human behavior that is happening constantly around you for great entertainment value. People are weird but we all try really hard not to show it. Yet the quirky parts of us are the best parts of us.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Ok, I am not trying to be a “goodie-two-shoes,” but honestly every client I have had thus far has had a respect for what I am bringing to the table and has allowed me to do what I do best. And vice versa, I respect what they need to make their client and team happy. You get exactly what they want, and then you give them a different perspective that sometimes you are unable to see from being too close to a project. It’s the perfect balance and a great collaboration. Everyone wants the best results for the most reasonable cost. You problem solve and think ‘out of the box’ to make something look expensive in a “bogo” kind of way.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
There’s nothing better than meeting someone in person, getting to know them, and seeing what work strikes a chord most for them personally. Yet meetings are hard to get, so I try to make sure my personality comes thru in the marketing materials that I put out into the world. Business is personal, so I love to write notes or make ironic statements on my printed promos. And as much as I wasn’t fond of social media before, now I’ve truly accepted it’s essential and a great tool for business. There are those that abuse it, but I think the power of the potential networking outweighs it.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
It’s over before its even started. That might be a little harsh on my part, but one thing about this industry is you must have a thick skin, strong sense of self, and succinct vision to get anywhere. Who really wants someone to spoon-feed what you think they want? It seems so disingenuous and unattractive. I suppose I relate it to dating. Stop trying so hard and just be yourself. Whatever you are passionate about the most will be the most obvious anyway.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Constantly. That’s the only thing you can do to perfect your craft, develop your style, and find your voice. You can’t be afraid of bad ideas. I think there’s a lot more to lose by not getting it down on paper, or further, creating and being afraid to share. What’s the point? It’s just a discussion or conversation I am trying to start, and there’s no right or wrong. I understand being vulnerable can be scary, but how can you be an artist and not put yourself out there and literally leave your heart on the page. It’s always your best stuff, even if it’s too revealing. The process of discovery and evolution of a concept will help cause a breakthrough. The more you create the higher your chances of making your best work all the time.

How often are you shooting new work?
All the time. Once a week to once a month I’m working on personal projects depending on how busy I get with client work.

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Kristyna is an advertising and editorial photographer who specializes in storytelling.  Her work focuses on conceptual narrative and portraiture. Her clients range from Canon, to Inc. Magazine, to the New York Times.  After growing up blocks from 8 Mile Road and traveling all over the Asia-Pacific as an on-location retoucher, she’s capable of finding a common denominator regardless of upbringing, culture, or language.  She is inspired by her own paradoxical observations, the idiosyncrasies of human behavior, and an inherent love for fashion and design. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Chicago. Kristyna is represented by Friend + Johnson.

www.kristynaarcher.com
www.friendandjohnson.com

Say hello at me@kristynaarcher.com
Follow her antics:
Instagram @kristynaarcher
Twitter @kristynaarcher

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

Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Max Gerber iPhone Promo

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:28am

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iPhone  Promo

18×18” square, printed on uncoated text stock

Photographer:  Max Gerber
Instagram: @msgphoto

How difficult was it to edit down to 81 images of the 700 you shot?
Actually, I stopped counting after 700, so I’m guessing I’m near 800 by now. But yes, the editing and selection was difficult. From the beginning the important thing for me was that it not seem to be about any one picture, or about any one individual. That goes for putting the promo together and also for the project as a whole. Anyone I come across under the right circumstances – that is, the light and environment – I’ll ask if I can take a photo of them,  over time it became rather democratic.

The promo poster is a 9×9 grid of 81 portraits in total. Since I caption each individual image with the person’s first name and occupation only, when trying to get an edit that represents an overview of the larger project, who the people are mattered to me a lot. To edit them I just went through and picked out the shots that either had special meaning to me because of my relationships with the people in the photos, or I chose people who just had remarkable faces. Unfortunately that didn’t narrow it down altogether too much. Nearly everyone’s face is fascinating, depending on what you’re looking for. I think my initial edit had something around 150 images, and then was further narrowed down from there. I built it like a jigsaw puzzle. It was a lot of shuffling things around at first, but then I worked out of anchor points. The corners were important. The middle edges were important. The center of the poster was important.

When approaching the layout of the grid I wanted mostly to make sure that no one area drew too much attention. This thing is not about any one person. You should be able to look at it and focus on something – someone – different each time. Also, to be honest, I’m very aware of the potential to be messing with things indefinitely. At a certain point you have to just call it done and move on with your life. With any promo I’m absolutely certain I’m agonizing over details far more than anyone who will actually receive it.

How did you decide what images were edited into each row? Was there a mix you were looking for?
Yes, definitely. I wanted a good mix of male and female, and a good mix of different visual types of people and different occupations. I have everything from students and laborers, kids to CEOs, actors and even a Nobel prize winner. Like I said, the primary goal was to make it so that no one person, regardless of who they are or what they do, took precedence over another. Of course, everyone’s eye settles somewhere at first and I’m always interested to see which pictures stand out to people. It’s always different.

In laying out each row I just had to attempt not to cluster similar types. For example, I like that the Nobel prize winner is sandwiched between a PA and a security guard. It’s an equalizer.

How long had you been working on this series and is it still ongoing?
I took the first picture that could arguably be said to be part of the series in the early summer of 2012. I was introduced to instagram by Charlie Hess, an art director here in LA, and did the standard thing that people did at the beginning of instagram – pictures of my wife, my cat, my lunch, etc. It was great fun and taking snapshots was very liberating at first. After I took the first real portrait using this processing method, I looked at it in the overall instagram grid of what I was doing previously and thought it might be cool to try to get a whole row to match up. So I did a couple more and liked it. Then, of course, I thought it would look cooler if I could get the whole screen of thumbnails to match, and it kind of took off from there. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to continue for so long and I didn’t expect people to respond to it. At the time I was doing a lot of corporate photography that I wasn’t very invested in personally. The instagram portraits became something I could do for myself under my own parameters that reminded me what I love about portrait photography.

The project is definitely still ongoing. After 50 portraits I found myself actively looking for people every day. After 100 I started to get a good idea of what types of things would work – what environments, what light, what clothing, what type of people. After 200 portraits I started to appreciate the sheer scope of the people I’d encounter. I assume that one day I’ll stop doing these portraits – that I’ll either get bored of them, or the various apps I use to process them will cease to be supported. Every time I consider moving on to something else, though, I find someone with such a remarkable face that I’m sucked right back in.

Carmelo, doorman

Carmelo, doorman

Kyle, auto body tech

Kyle, auto body tech

Sharky, student

Sharky, student

Sergio, shop foreman

Sergio, shop foreman

Daniel, carpenter

Daniel, carpenter

Jose, carpenter

Jose, carpenter

Dwain, neuroscientist

Dwain, neuroscientist

I heard your filters are proprietary, do you have plans to develop and license this?
Ha! I suppose it says a lot about my business acumen that this has never occurred to me before.
Short answer: No. Long answer: No, because focusing on the how distracts from the why. From the beginning the most common question I heard was “Hey, man, what filter is that?” and right away that distracted from the point for me. When I look at all the portraits together it’s not the commonality of processing that’s interesting to me, it’s the commonality of people. The specific parameters of the style I chose to spit them out into the world hopefully makes them seem nifty enough to look at closer, and democratizes them. Everyone treated the same way – same crop, same process, similar light. Everyone as a group.

All the photos are shot and edited fully in the iPhone. I think if people knew how straightforward it really was they’d be disappointed. In truth it’s not one filter, it’s a combination of things through a handful of different apps. It’s just a process I stumbled upon accidentally and sort of liked enough to try again. Photography seems to suffer somewhat from being an inherently technical medium. Everyone looks for the trick rather than for the intent. Tricks come and go, and ultimately trends fade and shift and blend into each other. But I totally get it. I understand that feeling of seeing a picture and being struck by the wizardry of it and wanting to know how it’s done. That’s part of the wonder that a technically based medium affords. It’s great, when it doesn’t overtake the intention of the photo. I see this from photo students a lot. They figure out Photoshop, or they learn to crank the clarity slider all the way up to 100, or they figure out how to use edge lights.  All. The. Time. Rather than taking pictures that have emotional meaning or strive for connection they instead have . . . a look. That said, I completely understant. There’s a lot of noise out there and it’s incredibly difficult to get noticed in this business. Having a look gets you in the door, but then there’s got to be something else.

Then again, maybe you’re right? Maybe I should reveal the trick and license it, perhaps that would free me to go on to the next thing. I think I’d miss doing it, though.

How did you select your subjects?
One of the nice things about the instagram portraits is that they’re truly not for anyone but myself. I didn’t start taking them with an eye toward making a promo, toward impressing an art director, toward pleasing a client, toward satisfying a subject. I just liked straightforward portraits, found a process that worked for me, and wanted to pay more attention to the people in my life. That’s really what it boils down to now, after so many. Photography has long been used as a tool for memory, and it’s been really wonderful having this record of all the people I encounter. I remember things better this way. I remember names. I remember where we were. I remember what we talked about. Without being vigilant for the next face I worry that sometimes the days would just blend into each other too much, if that makes any sense.

In terms of selecting subjects. . .well. . . first of all, any person that comes to my house during daylight hours is pretty much fair game, as far as I’m concerned. That’s why I’ve got so many pictures of handymen and contractors and cable installers and plumbers and such. My wife is very patient with me doubling back into a store or down a street to ask a stranger if I could take their picture while she waits. Someone on my feed recently commented “I love how you collect people”, and I hadn’t really thought of it like that, but maybe that’s what it is. Charlie Hess refers to it as my Family of Man, though that seems fairly lofty to me. I just like taking portraits with my phone. It’s great fun, even when other aspects of photography are not great fun.

How long did each portrait take, describe the process please.
I have a very low rate of refusal. Out of 800 or so subjects I think I’ve been turned down maybe 20-30 times. I consider that quite good. The actual process is very simple, and usually takes only around 30 seconds to a few minutes, depending on how chatty we’re all feeling. Some open shade or a good window, and a plain white wall, that’s it. I try to keep it as simple as possible so that the person can be the interesting thing. I don’t want it to be about the light or the environment.

We live in an age where people are hyper aware of the power of their image, of what it can be used for and how far it can travel away from them. People are cautious, and rightly so. Still, I think the fact that I’m shooting on my phone negates some of people’s suspicions. Certainly if I were walking around with a Canon and a 24-70mm lens trying to do the same thing I’d get shut down far more often. Everyone has an iPhone and everyone takes pictures with it all the time. It’s perceived as no big deal. I have a grid of about 30 of the photos on my phone’s lock screen and if someone asks why I want to take their picture I usually just show them my phone and say “Oh, I’ve done about 700 of these.” Which, of course, is not a reason at all, but that usually is all it takes. I think that because there are so many, and I tell potential subjects that there are so many, it both relieves them of the pressure and also gives them just enough attention that it’s incentive to proceed. That is, sure, it’s a little momentary ego boost, and then they can get lost in the crowd if they’re not thrilled with the result. At least, I think so. It probably also helps that i’m a short, scrawny man who seems vaguely non-threatening.

How did you take your portrait?
I took that on my birthday in 2012. Honestly I don’t know why I did a profile that day, maybe just to accent my out of control bedhead. In terms of using it on the reverse of the promo poster, that was a somewhat last minute decision. Initially I wanted to do a grid of silhouettes with captions to mimic the grid on the front of the poster. That proved to be too difficult in light of my limited Photoshop skills, low patience level and also because I was afraid it would bleed through too much once the final piece was printed. Ultimately in deciding to just put one larger photo and captions on the back it always seemed like it would be a self portrait. If I chose just one of the random 800 to make larger it would give that one person too much weight and it didn’t really make sense. Then again, now that i’m talking about it, it sure does seem egotistical to make my own head the biggest thing there, doesn’t it? I think I chose that one because I wanted it to be decidedly different from the main group. That profile makes me laugh, reminds me that I should get a haircut more often, and hopefully doesn’t seem too serious.

Has this promo been well received and gotten you some work?
I’ve printed 1000 pieces. I printed so many because separate even from photo editors and art directors/buyers/whatnot, I want to make sure that the people who actually like this series of pictures have the opportunity to get a poster. Therefore a lot of my first run of mailing was to non-potential-clients, some of whom I know personally, some not, who I just thought would enjoy having it. I plan to mail out approximately 600-800 or so. I’ve already sent out about 75 and gotten a pretty good response, mostly from people I already know. I’m in the process of addressing and sending out the remainder – which I’m doing by hand, therefore it’s taking a long time. Probably not the best plan, now that I think about it, but it feels so much better. Again, little details that nobody cares about except me. I still maintain that the survival rate of all of these promo pieces that photographers send out is so abysmally low that unless you’re doing something almost entirely for yourself because you want it to exist in the world as an object somewhere, then there’s really no point. I’m fully aware that 90% of them are destined for the trash. Life is an impermanent thing. I would be sending them out a whole lot faster, but at the moment I’ve been distracted by a week old infant. These portraits are at @msgphoto – The cutest newborn the world has ever seen is at @miloandclark.

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What are you typically shooting these days?
Most recently portraiture. I’ve photographed Frank Gehry for El Semenal, the largest Sunday magazine in Spain. Earlier this week I photographed a trauma surgeon in a specially configured operating room partially funded by the DOD for a hospital research magazine here in Los Angeles. Unfortunately those publications haven’t yet gone to print so I can’t share the photos. Most of my clients have long publication cycles, but here are a couple of relatively recent things.

Nicholas, 29 year old stomach cancer patient, for Discoveries Magazine

Nicholas, 29 year old stomach cancer patient, for Discoveries Magazine

Dr. Arieh Warshel, 2013 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, photographed for USC

Dr. Arieh Warshel, 2013 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, photographed for USC

DL Hughley for New Wave Entertainment/DVD Cover (out-take)

DL Hughley for New Wave Entertainment/DVD Cover (out-take)

 
Dan Curry, Visual Effects Supervisor for the Star Trek TV shows, photographed for Middlebury College.

Dan Curry, Visual Effects Supervisor for the Star Trek TV shows, photographed for Middlebury College.

Categories: Business

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