Posts by: A Photo Editor

How does working directly with architects differ from other types of clients?

- - Blog News

I find architects to be a fairly laid back bunch as a whole, unlike advertising shoots which tend to involve more people and sometimes a very compressed time frame. It’s harder to develop an affection for an abstract concept like a brand, but an architect is real person and often has a lot riding on the success of the building so it becomes more personal.

via Architectural Photographer Friday: Andrew Prokos | Photography and Architecture.

Art Producers Speak: Johann Wall

- - Art Producers Speak

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 Johann Wall. We use him all the time. He takes amazing photos of people and I love the way he always captures a person’s essence.

This is a portrait of the author Esi Edugyan. I like windows, cars, mirrors. Peaceful introspective moments.

I felt I needed to get some fishing pictures one day so I went salmon fishing with Patrick very early one morning. This is when the fog is burning off.

This was in Berlin. Again my love of mirrors and quiet moments.

This is Leeroy Stagger. We were photographing his press and record pictures. You sometimes have to go all over the province in your van just to get a great picture in your van.

A story about students at a particular school. I felt like this was the way to bring out this scene with vibrant colour and contrast.

This was the first campaign that I felt really utilized my way of seeing things and directing groups

Family landscape in Bulgaria. I rented an apartment there for a few months one year as I had fenced with a Bulgarian from Sofia in university.

The Hotel Vancouver. I often take people somewhere and just wander around seeing what we can come up with.

A cyclist in Sugoi.

One of my old favourites while working on a documentary film about exotic dancers.

West Coast of Vancouver Island, Okanagan Spring Beer!!

How many years have you been in business?

It must be coming up around 15 years now since I was consciously taking photographs that I wanted to show. More like 10 in a sort of commercial/editorial professional sense though.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Both. I learned how to develop in the darkroom at the University of Victoria where I was enrolled in the writing program. A friend slipped me into the photojournalism lab and showed me the process.

When I moved to Liverpool, I was supposed to photograph the Manic Street Preachers for a little magazine so I went to the library to learn how to take photographs in the dark. Push processing! We set up a darkroom in the closet to develop.

The following year I received a grant to attend photo school for a year. I loved it, being able to learn, make friends and try out things without any concern other than photography. I assisted in London for a while as well as in Vancouver on gallery shoots. I liked London the best as I worked with a woman who shot country Vogue style advertising stories so we’d stay in castles and remote estates. She used almost exclusively modified natural light so there were a lot of massive reflectors and diffusers.

I’m glad I studied and assisted because I gained a real technical knowledge and understanding of creating and modifying light. I don’t usually use much equipment but I’m glad I know how to use it if necessary.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

I think my greatest influence was Wolfgang Tillmans’ first book. It’s a wonderful collection of photographs.

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 don’t know if I’m pushing the envelope! I just like making as beautiful a photograph as I can.

I like to think of all my work as one multilayered story which I keep adding to. I have a consistent aesthetic to my imagery and I am very happy that I’ve found that. I guess by creating new photographs I am keeping my work fresh. I don’t really like terms like pushing the envelope.

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

I think people all respond to the storyline aspect of my photography. So they would expect me to create a story and usually that means I am instructed to do whatever it is I do to make that happen. I’ve been on tripods tethered a few times photographing group scenes where I’d normally be moving around amongst the talent whispering the odd instruction in their ears. So that was sort of limiting, as I couldn’t be right in the scene. I think that was the creative’s tethering me though, not the client.

I’ve been sent out on my own a lot, even on commercial jobs, to just bring back great pictures.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

I send out some postcards now and then. If I’m in the right mood I’ll make up unique packages for people I like at magazines or agencies. I’ve always loved post and letters.

I do some email newsletters but I haven’t quite gotten used to that so they are not on much of a schedule. I get good interest when I do send them though!

Magazines are great.

Work with people who love Instagramming so you don’t have to spread the news yourself.

I sometimes have no idea how people hear about me though. I’ll get a call from a Zurich newspaper out of nowhere to shoot a story and wonder how that happened.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

I think everyone shows work they think people want to see. Whether a buyer wants to see it, you will never know until you show it to them. I don’t know what people want to see, and how can you?

My first website had 14 pictures on it and almost all of them were blurred because I really liked that look then. I got a national magazine cover and the photo editor said, “ Johann, we really love your pictures but would you mind not blurring this portrait?”

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

Of course.

How often are you shooting new work?

I do try and photograph people as much as I can but I’m not someone that photographs everything they see. I like to have moments to think and then I do other things and then I’ll decide to make some new pictures. I like limiting my image making. I am creating new work in my mind a lot though.

Johann Wall is a Canadian photographer based in Vancouver.
Phone: 604 725 8865
Email : johann@johannwall.com
www.johannwall.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.

The most valuable capital a writer has is time

- - Blog News

When I was teaching myself to write, in my twenties and thirties, here’s what I used to do. I’d work at a real job (usually in advertising in New York) and save my money till I had enough to last me about two years. Then I’d quit, move someplace really cheap, rent a place, and write full-time. I did this three times between 1967 and 1980.

I never sold anything. Never got anything published. Never made a penny.

via Writing Wednesdays: Writing and Money, Part 2.

I just kind of put my camera above my head and even didn’t look and clicked a picture

- - Blog News

I just kind of put my camera above my head and even didn’t look and clicked a picture when he moved over the trench and that was all,” he said. “I never looked at my pictures there. And I sent my pictures back with lots of other pictures that I took. I stayed in Spain for three months and when I came back, I was a very famous photographer because that camera which I hold above my head just caught a man at the moment when he was shot.“

via Robert Capa: Finding a Fearless Photographer’s Voice – NYTimes.com.

World Press Photo Looks To Change Contest Rules For Retouching

- - Working

The controversy that erupted this summer over the World Press Photo award winning image taken by Paul Hansen has forced the organization to examine their contest rules. In a press release on October 2nd announcing contest chair Gary Knight, Managing Director Michiel Munneke explained: “We have evaluated the contest rules and protocols and examined how to create more transparency, and we have changed the procedures for examining the files during the judging. We will announce further details when the 2014 Photo Contest opens for entries later this year, but the bottom line is that we will need to be able to rely on the integrity and professionalism of the participating photographers.”

Relying on the integrity of photographers is fine when it comes to the level of manipulation where things are added and removed from images, but the larger issue is that World Press Photo in the past has allowed the jury to decide what it deems “currently accepted standards in the industry” for retouching. And this opaque rule is what allowed a mob to form and go after Paul Hansen in the first place. Here are their rules for retouching at the time:

The contest entry rules state that the content of the images must not be altered. Only retouching which conforms to currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed. The jury will consider what they deem acceptable in each category during the judging

I hope that an organization with the reputation of World Press Photo will tell the world what these “currently accepted standards” are and set an example for newspapers, magazines and other contests. Despite the finger wagging of publications like PDN (ironically pushing over a dozen photo contests of their own) at the mob’s accusations towards Paul, the problem lies not with the blogger’s headlines, but rules that leave photographers hanging out to dry when questions arise.

The darkroom is long gone and a RAW image can have many different interpretations as it’s brought to life on the computer screen. Expecting photographers to not produce contest winning interpretations when entering World Press Photo is folly.

It’s pointless to spend your life doing something that you don’t enjoy

- - Blog News

“Let inspiration inspire you and take every opportunity,” Rosie says. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s something big or small, but it will lead somewhere as long as you try hard and do a good job. And have fun doing it! It’s pointless to spend your life doing something that you don’t enjoy. As long as I’m shooting, as long as I’m taking pictures and asking people to climb into mud puddles, and painting my front driveway yellow, I’m happy. And I can’t wait to see what’s next!”

via Maroon 5 discovers young photographer on Flickr « Flickr Blog.

Be The Grinder, Not The Person Who Loves Their Job

- - Blog News

My boss, who had been a commercial lender for over 30 years, said that the best loan customer is someone who has no passion whatsoever, just a desire to work hard at something that looks good on a spreadsheet. Maybe the loan customer wants to start a dry-cleaning store or invest in a fast-food franchise—boring stuff. That’s the person you bet on. You want the grinder, not the guy who loves his job.

via Scott Adams: How to Be Successful – WSJ.com.

Art Producers Speak: Peden+Munk

- - Art Producers Speak

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 Peden+Munk, these two young talented people, Jen and Taylor, work in a symbiotic mode I’ve never before seen. Each is a creative enthusiast and each has the technical acumen. There were times during the 2 day shoot in which they would seamlessly interchange roles while shooting.  After the shoot we walked away with a modern arsenal of imagery that helped to forge the success of our clients new website. I cannot say enough about the value reaped from the talent of this gifted team.

Manresa. Bon Appetit.

Egg Primer. Bon Appetit.

The Grilling Issue. Bon Appetit.

Campfire Potatoes. Bon Appetit.

Steve Livigni. Bartender. LA.

Pour Vous. LA.

PokPok. Bon Appetit.

Egg Primer. Bon Appetit.

Mark Houston. La Descarga.

Beer. Advertising Renaissance Hotels.

How many years have you been in business?
We have been shooting together for 7 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
For both of us it started with a passion for photography which led us to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Taylor’s father is a photographer – music, interiors, and portraits – and his mother was a creative director at Elizabeth Arden, so he grew up in a very artistic environment.

My father gave me his old Pentax when I was about 11 years old. I have been shooting ever since that day.

Then while at Art Center, renowned Los Angeles photographer Paul Jasmin encouraged us to work together. In his class we shot fashion and portraits and with his words, “show me where you live” in our head, we started to develop our narrative, story-telling style.

One of the first projects we shot under Jasmin’s tutelage was called “Breathless”. Inspired by the 1960 Godard film of the same name, we set out with two models and drove through the streets and alleys of Los Angeles abstractly interpreting some of our favorite scenes from the film. In the end we had a beautiful book of images and realized that our collaboration was something special.

Jasmin’s encouragement also gave us a great sense of freedom. It was liberating to know we could dream and conceptualize anything we wanted. More importantly, it pushed our photography in a direction where it had never gone before. Then the lines began to blur: whose image was whose? We realized it didn’t matter because we had spawned what is PEDEN+MUNK today. Jasmin is still an inspirational mentor.

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?
Our subjects inspire us. Often that inspiration is more instinctual than intellectual. It’s a nuanced dance between capturing a moment and creating a reality.

We keep our work fresh by approaching it as storytellers, rather than as pure documentarians. One photograph can be powerful but we find creating a narrative with many images is more effective. It allows us to deeply engage the viewer so they understand what we see and how we see it.

Sometimes that narrative is revealed in the editing process. Of course we initially compose our images with a linear sense of what we believe the story to be but like any art, photography is fluid so we have to be able to adapt as we go. In the end, we create a focused representation with a clear beginning, middle and end.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
There are always politics in business. But the key to success is working hand in hand with the creatives to achieve the best possible work for the client. That means pushing the boundaries as far as you can, while keeping in mind that the commercial process is always a collaboration. The ideal day is when everyone feels like their vision was acknowledged, respected, and exceeded their expectations. That’s when solid teamwork can produce beautiful results.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Personal connections and networking are vital to our success. Whenever possible, we schedule one on one meetings. And we believe a strong promotional piece is one that will never be thrown away. It’s all about quality, simplicity and great design.

We also use Instagram. There we can connect with clients on a more personal level. It also lets people know where we are and what we’re working on. Additionally, we work with our agent, Jodi Rappaport, who is a loyal advocate. All of these tools help us develop our career and continue to do the work we love.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Be true to yourself. Only show work you’re passionate about and that represents what you want to do every day.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
We’re grateful that our assignments allow us to shoot artistically so the need to shoot personal work is fulfilled every day. We feel lucky to have this creative freedom.

How often are you shooting new work?
All the time.

Peden+Munk (Taylor Peden and Jen Munkvold) are a photography team based in NY and LA.
Their editorial work can be seen in Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Glamour, Gather Journal, and Garden & Gun. Other clients include: Electrolux, Newcastle, Renaissance Hotels, and Crate&Barrel. Peden+Munk also photographed THE GRILLING BOOK: The definitive guide from Bon Appetit.

Peden+Munk are represented by The Rappaport Agency. (www.rappagency.com)

Website: www.pedenmunk.com
Email: us@pedenmunk.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.

Professional Photographer Webcast – Live

Show notes:

Websites: aphotofolio.com
Consulting: suzannesease.com
Suzanne’s Twitter: twitter.com/suzannesease

Agency Spy: www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy
Agency Compile: www.agencycompile.com

LindedIn Premium: help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/13332

SEO: pinkminnow.com/seo-in-richmond-va/

ASMP Find A Photographer: asmp.org/find-a-photographer

Lifetime Fitness: lifetimefitness.com

UPDATE: We had a miscommunication on the time with Kat who is CST so we are going to be 3 EST and 12 PST. Sorry.

Today at 2pm EST, 11am PST we will have a live webcast right here with myself, Suzanne Sease and special guest Art Producer Kat Dalager. The topic of discussion will be Art Producing and email marketing. Submit any questions you have to: rob@aphotoeditor.com (you will remain anonymous) and we will try to answer them on the webcast.

You can also visit Google Plus where it will be broadcast: Google+

Juergen, for you I’d do anything

- - Blog News

…Juergen, Arnold here,” he said in broad Austrian. “Thought I’d give you a call and tell you my idea.” Completely groggy, I thought his ideas were good too. So, I had to get up at four o’clock the next morning to go up some mountain in Malibu. There I waited for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The sun rose, and he rode elegantly past me like a cowboy on his horse. It was sultry, dusty – I was totally wiped out. Picture taken. Then I had to climb back down on my own. Later in his office I said, “I’ve got an idea too now, Arnold, climb into the crocodile’s mouth.” “Juergen, for you I’d do anything.”’

via The stories behind Juergen Teller’s best shots – Telegraph.

This Week In Photography Books: Cristina Nuñez

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

I just tried to write the opening of this column in Spanish. I was trying to be funny, but it didn’t make me laugh. Trying too hard never works. (Except every now and again.)

Books, at their best, are experiential. I suppose that’s why we love them so much. Think of your favorite novel. How old were you when you read it? What did your hair look like?

As we grow, we change. It’s the necessary way of things. But is there a part of us that’s always there? Do our young, angsty, stupid selves still remain down deep, a few levels above the reptilian brain?

Photo books, especially the ones I’ve been writing about lately, can manipulate your experience to give you two versions of the same thing, if done correctly. Clever use of text, at the end, can allow a viewer to go back and look at the photographs again, relating to them in a completely different way.

The pictures just need to hold your attention the first time, when you don’t know what the f-ck is going on. This week’s book is no exception. “But Beautiful” is a new publication by the Spanish artist, Cristina Nuñez, recently published by Le caillou bleu. It’s a strange little piece of work. I’ll tell you that much.

The book doesn’t give you any details until the end, as I alluded. Going through naked, as it were, you aim to put things together. A historical photo? Looks like a dictator. Is that Pinochet? No, definitely not him. Who is it? (Later I learn it’s Franco. Shouldn’t I have known that? How come he’s been depicted so much less often than his Fascist brethren?)

Some cool historical photos are mixed in here and there. We see some guys are lined up along the upper reaches of a clipper ship, like suicidal birds on an airplane’s wing.

A woman begins to recur. She obviously looks different as she ages, but it’s still her. (The big lips are the giveaway.) Then we see her, glammed up, on the cover of a magazine. It mentions Madrid, so we are in Spain. She used to be a model?

Then she’s older. Mannish. And ripping out some seriously “unsubtle” emotions. What was that again about not trying too hard? Sometimes, maximum effort in front of the lens works rather well, thank you. She is gripping to look at, who ever she is. (We can assume she’s the artist? Right?)

On we go, and there are the obligatory nudes, some of the main character, some not. And more portraits, most of them razor sharp and cool. Throw in a few more super-uncomfortable looking self-portraits, a couple of beautiful water and sky shots, one last bout of historical photos, and bob’s your uncle. You’re done.

Who is she? What’s going on here? How does it all connect? You wonder all these things. In the back, each image is described in enough detail to clue you in. So you return to the beginning, and look at each image again, while reading the caption.

A family association with Franco. Drugs and prostitution. Multiple lovers. 3-year-old child self-portraits. It’s as fascinating as your imagination made it out to be the first time. We end with another historical shot: this one has some serious mad dogging going on, and a shoeshiner to boot. And then a final portrait, of the artist’s senile mother, staring daggers through your now emo-braised heart.

Bottom line: Odd but well-done book, very revealing

To Purchase “But Beautiful” Visit Photo-Eye

 

 

 

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

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


 

Art Producers Speak: Sophie Ebrard

- - Art Producers Speak

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 Sophie Ebrard. I love her work and she was a joy to work with. Experimenting with natural light and preferring the surprise factor of film for her personal work are two factors among many that give her images a sense of genuine warmth. This is both rare and beautiful amongst the current climate of overly produced and manipulated images.

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

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’ve always been taking pictures. My dad is a keen photographer so in my childhood I always had access to a camera.
After graduating from university, I went straight into advertising. It felt like the right thing to do at the time. It took me almost a decade to realize that my childhood passion for photography was what I wanted to do for a living. Three years ago, I left my well-paid job and started a new career.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Difficult question as there are so many talented people who I admire and who have inspired me. William Eggleston, Henri Cartier Bresson, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton…are some of the photographers who have had a great influence on how I approach my work.

But I would say, I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t had guidance by some of my very good friends who are also photographers. They have inspired me since the beginning of this journey.

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?
As a photographer, you are constantly trying to find your voice. You can only find it by trying new things and be in the constant look out for projects that suit you. If you stay true to yourself, you will ultimately find a voice, yours. The result will be new, fresh and hopefully inspiring to others. If you like the result, there’s a good chance someone will notice it and will want to hire you for that.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Today consumers are bored of overly produced and manipulated images so brands want documentary style images: reality a little bit enhanced.
They want some of the grittiness, but is has to look beautiful.

I believe possess a good eye for reality. I have an instinct for finding the beautiful in the supremely ordinary. I like to make normal things appear special. My style seems to appeals to both art directors and clients. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to work with great clients and art directors who like the way I see the world and who share my vision of the work.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I try to keep my website updated by posting some new work regularly. I use social medias. But I would say my agents in London and in the US do most of the work. I’m fortunate enough to have great representation.

I’m working at the moment on my first solo exhibition. The project “Porn Set” (working title) is a series of visual investigations into the porn industry. I have followed a director on his shoots for the last two years (in LA, UK, Spain…). As a woman, I’ve tried to capture the beauty and aesthetics of the human body instead of focusing on the sexual encounter, and the primal nature of sex. We rarely see the behind the scenes, the beauty and the emotion that comes out of it. My eye was focusing on the essence of the beauty of the moment.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Never do work primarily because you think it will sell. Never compromise. The minute you do so, you lose your edge. Margaret Thatcher once said: “ If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromised on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing”. Not sure I would want to comment on her politics but this sentence seems very true for me as a photographer.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
As a photographer, you need to be feeding your soul as much as possible. Shooting commissioned work allows me to have the freedom to shoot as many personal projects as I want. It’s art and commerce.

How often are you shooting new work?
As often as possible. For personal projects, I mainly shoot when I’m abroad. Light is very important in my life and in my work. And I like being in another country. It makes me look at things differently and pay attention to simple details, much more than I would in my day-to-day life. I try to use natural lighting as much as possible. I love to play with flare, contrasts, light and the shadows.

SOPHIE EBRARD
www.sophieebrard.com

REPRESENTED BY

* Wyatt Clarke&Jones (Worldwide)
www.wyattclarkejones.com
+44 20 7580 7570
james@wyattclarkejones.com

* Judi Shin (USA)
www.i2iphoto.com
+1 (917) 721-5385
judi@i2iphoto.com

Sophie Ebrard is a French, London based photographer. She has in the past shot commissioned work for companies including Adidas, Monocle magazine, Stella Artois, EMI music…

Sophie Ebrard’s photographs are as eclectic and full of life as the photographer herself. Experimenting with natural light and preferring the surprise-factor of film for her personal work are two factors among many that give Sophie’s images a sense of genuine warmth. This is both rare and beautiful amongst the current climate of overly produced and manipulated images. Yet she is not flippant in her art, choosing to connect with the subjects in her photographs on a personal level. Even her pictures that are absent of people aren’t without their own touch of personality and narrative. Sophie’s work is straight from the heart, and comes from her unyielding passion for photography, storytelling and light.

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.

 

New Feature: Professional Photographer Webcast

- - Working

On Wednesday October 16th at 2pm EST (11am PST) there’s going to be a live webcast here on the blog and over on google plus where we discuss working in editorial and commercial photography. Basically the mission of this blog only in a webcast where I can have guests and take questions from people watching. I’ve already done one as sort of a test run that you can check out and decide if it’s something you’d be interested in watching here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrS77wlfzYw

Vimeo version here: https://vimeo.com/76621579

The goal is to try a new format for discussing topics of interests for Professional Photographers and because I don’t think there’s much out there for pros it should be worth producing a few times a month. I also like the idea of having guests on and discussing everything freeform instead of writing blog posts, something I’m doing less and less of 6 + years into this. Each episode with have myself representing the editorial perspective and Suzanne Sease talking commercial photography plus a guest or two. Next week our guest is Art Producer Kat Dalager. Send me any questions you might have on the topic of Art Production.

With so many photographs on the Web every day, no one image gets to be special for long.

- - Blog News

It’s not clear whether this flowering of image-making will lead to a more visually literate public—or simply numb us to the profound effects a well-made image can have. But the change is irreversible. Let’s hope the millions of new photographs made today help us see what we all have in common, rather than what sets us apart.

James Estrin via National Geographic: The Visual Village.

Turning Down Work For Your Beliefs

- - Working

Guest post by Ryan Smith

I have had many, many times when jobs fall through for reasons that are outside of my control. There haven’t been many times though when I’ve actively said no to a job and until last week, there had never been a time where I turned down a good paying job from a respectable agency because of ethical concerns.

That’s right. I left money on the table because I didn’t feel comfortable using my skill set to promote this particular client’s product. It was an extremely difficult decision. August is traditionally a slow month for me so when work comes along, and it’s paying reasonable rates, it’s really hard to say no. In this case however, I just couldn’t bring myself to work for this client. Without naming names (and please don’t try to guess), I will say that this client promotes a particular product that I just don’t fully support. I don’t think it’s good for people, the environment, our country or our future.

The reason I don’t want to identify this client is because the people who work for their agency of record are good people whom I like and want to continue to work with. I don’t want my ethical dilemma to reflect negatively on the agency’s business. This is an important point because I greatly value relationships and as a freelancer and small business owner it’s paramount that I maintain good working relationships.

The agency understood my position and even respected my decision. Which is pretty amazing when you think about it. There they were, offering me good money to shoot a job that countless other photographers would probably jump at. And here I am saying no to a job that didn’t even require any negotiation. Here’s the budget, here’s the shot list, it’s yours if you want it.

And, here’s the kicker. The actual assignment sounded interesting to me. I think it would have been a lot of fun to shoot, but I just couldn’t reconcile my feelings about how the images would be used. I thought long and hard about this assignment, but ultimately I had to turn it down. I like to think that I’m sticking to my ethical code and that I’m above selling out, but I wonder how the decision would have been different if the fee for the job could have been “life changing” for me and my family. Where do you draw the line and how do you balance supporting your family and maintaining a good conscience? There is a lot of gray area and only you can make the decision.

For now though, I feel good about not taking the job. Do I wish I was making money right now? Yes, but there are other jobs out there. Just to prove my point, literally within one hour of deciding to turn down this job I received an email from another agency asking me to bid on a much better job for a client that I can really pour all my energy into. Now just keep your fingers crossed that I win the bid.

This post originally appeared here: http://www.playingworkblog.com/2013/08/i-could-be-shooting-right-now-instead-im-writing-this/

A follow up post can be read here: http://www.playingworkblog.com/2013/09/the-opportunity-to-choose