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Who printed it?
The printing was done on a 24×36” engineering copy machine that is typically used for printing B+W graphics and construction plans. It’s not meant to print photographs, so the image quality is kind of crappy, but that’s part of the magic. Assembly of the finished piece is a pretty labor intensive process and all done by hand. The printer only does one sided prints on standard bond paper, so all the impressions need to be spray mounted together, then folded, hand sewn and trimmed to size. It’s a bit of a nightmare, but the result is this cool handmade thing that shows my work in a way that feels really authentic.
Who designed it?
I did the layout and mock-ups. My goal was to make something that looked like it was made at a Kinko’s Copies at 3am using a glue stick. I figured it was best to just make the images as big as possible and let them speak for themselves. To avoid folding the ‘zine for shipping, it goes into a huge 18×24” stay flat mailer with a Xerox print mounted on the outside of it that’s hand addressed in true DIY fashion using White Out.
Who edited the images?
I did the first edit, then enlisted the help of my friends and studio mates to help me get everything finalized.
How many did you make?
This piece is targeted to an extremely select group of clients that I really want to work with. I’ve made 5 so far and have 5 more in the works. The response so far has been amazing. I’ve been taking one to portfolio showings and it’s the first thing that everyone wants to look at.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send postcards 3-4 times per year and try to send special promos like this once a year.
The inspiration for this promo piece were the indie skate and music ‘zines that I grew up with. I wanted to make something with a youthful, fun vibe and the ‘zine format had been kicking around in my head for a while. I discovered that I could make giant prints using a black and white Xerox machine and scale everything up to poster size, so I figured I’d give it a try. When I shared the mock up with one of my art director friends, he flipped out and suggested I send it as a promo.
Capture One Pro is a software package designed to perform as a Raw processing application as well as a host for those who like to shoot tethered. Created by Phase One, which also makes medium format backs, cameras and lenses, the application emerged first in the professional studio environment. Having expanded into the consumer market, it can handle Raw files from over 300 cameras. We tested out some of its newer capabilities. Read more
As the most populous city in Canada, Toronto plays host to communities from around the world who make their home in this unassuming metropolis. And though the residents of Toronto come from all over, one thing they share is a lack of pretension, a desire to live in a city built on its merits, and not on a glitzy image. That’s a lesson learned by the young men in The Slocan Ramblers, one of the hottest roots bands in the city. They live in the West End, a neighborhood dominated by Koreans, Portuguese, and Italians, and they play working-class bluegrass roots music that harkens back to the grittiness of a city that used to be known as “Hogtown,” for all its slaughterhouses.
On their new album, Coffee Creek, due out July 16 in the US, The Slocan Ramblers blend lightning fast and devilishly intricate instrumentals with the sawdust-thick vocals of singer Frank Evans, who takes lead on songs ranging from old-timey square dance numbers like “Groundhog,” to a Dustbowl classic like Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty.” “Toronto audiences don't respond to a clean, polished Nashville sound,” tune composer and mandolinist Adrian Gross explains. “They dig a lot of energy in their music, a rowdy bar vibe. They're hard to win over.” But The Slocan Ramblers have won them over, moving from a young ensemble of bluegrass pickers to one of the best known Canadian roots bands. They’ve done this by staying true to the roots of the music, not seeking to revive anything but rather to tap the rough and rowdy heart of the music.
Coffee Creek was produced by the band’s friend and mentor Chris Coole (The Foggy Hogtown Boys), a well-known banjo player and community leader in Toronto’s bluegrass and old-time scenes. Like Coole, The Slocan Ramblers bring the live, collaboratory aspects of the music to the fore, and they understand that if you polish up the music too much, you lose the raw excitement that makes it so vibrant.
In the liner notes, Coole breaks it down: “What really impressed me while we were working on this album, was that, while they can pull off the precision and virtuosity that is at the backbone of bluegrass, they understand the power of the fragile moment in music. The fragile moment used to be a big part of what made an album cool–Monroe singing just beyond the edge of his voice, the moment right before you realize Vassar isn’t lost–the moment on and beyond the edge.”
Listen to Evans’ worn vocals and you’ll hear some of the edge that great singers like Keith Whitley brought to the music. Or try Gross’ powerfully discordant and innovative mandolin solo on “Groundhog,” or Darryl Poulsen’s counterpoint Lester-Flatt-runs towards the end of the title track, or the rumbling beats of Alastair Whitehead’s acoustic bass on “Call Me Long Gone” (or Whitehead’s beautiful, world-weary original songs like “Elk River” or “Angeline”) to get a feel for how The Slocan Ramblers are pushing the envelope.
This is roots music without pretension, music intended to make you feel something, music to get you moving in a crowded bar. The Slocan Ramblers recorded Coffee Creek the same way they perform on stage: standing up, leaning into the music, and pushing harder and harder for that edge just beyond.
[by Michael Clark]
The axiom Never Stop Learning is a good one to follow for professional photographers. To that end, here are some top-notch books that will enlighten, educate and entertain.
The Road to Seeing
I read this wonderful book earlier this year and it is one of the best photography books I have ever seen or read. Dan takes us through his early childhood then discusses his early career as a photojournalist all the way through his recent work on the Space Shuttle and with celebrities. He is a genuine writer and openly discusses some of his most famous images. This book is beautifully printed and presented. It is huge, but don’t be put off by its size; it is a fairly easy read. I have been a fan of Dan’s work for a long time now and this book, as with all of his books, is very inspiring. So if you are looking for inspiration this summer look no further.
Visionmongers: Making a Life and a Living in Photography
David really outdid himself with this book. I read it after nearly 14 years as a working pro and still learned a lot from it. David is a phenomenal writer and lays out everything from starting out and dealing with cash flow issues, to marketing your work and much, much more. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is serious about launching a career in photography or looking to revamp their marketing.
Exposed: Inside the life and Images of a Pro Photographer
[I know. This is my own book. My apologies for the self-promo here but I am not recommending it just to make money—I won’t really ever see another dime off this book. I think a few people might find it to be a very interesting and enlightening read.] This book is a very open and honest look at the reality of working as a pro photographer. In it, I tell my complete story of how I got started, the difficulties I faced to get work and the challenges that I deal with on assignments. I don’t know of any other book available that gives such an open and detailed accounting of the life of a pro photographer. I highly recommend Exposed to anyone looking to turn pro.
The Rise of Superman
Ok, this one has nothing to do with photography really but it does talk a lot about achieving a heightened state of performance, which certainly relates to a photographer’s creative output. Let’s just put it this way, once I got the book, I couldn’t put it down. I read the entire book in two days and I had to force myself to put it down to get some actual work done. The book uses adventure sports to show the rise in athletic prowess that has been accomplished in the last three decades because of athletes accessing what is known as a “flow state.” Reading the stories about the athletes in itself was quite entertaining, especially since I have worked with about half the athletes in the book and have heard many of those same stories directly from them. Beyond the entertaining stories, Steven goes into great detail describing flow and how both adventure athletes and everyday folks (scientists, artists, etc.) can access this state to improve their performance and reach a whole other level. For a full review of this book check out my blog.
For more links to stellar reading material relating to the business of photography check out my recent blog post entitled, Advice for Those Looking to Start a Career in Photography.
Michael Clark is an internationally published adventure photographer and author. If you are dying for more info check out his Newsletter, which is a quarterly magazine that goes out to over 6,000 photographers and clients. See more of Michael’s work at www.michaelclarkphoto.com.
Ah, those long, hot days of summer. Perfect for broadening your mind (and your skills) by catching up on some great reads! This week, our contributors share what’s on their list of summer favorites.