Posts by: A Photo Editor

Art Producers Speak: Vytautas Serys

- - 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 Vytautas Serys. His landscapes are outstanding, his last show in Berlin has received complements (even though it was packed) and atmosphere during the opening was just great.

"Winter's Fairytale" - chilly moonlit lanscape in Sweden

“Winter’s Fairytale” – chilly moonlit lanscape in Sweden

"Warm in the Cold" - colds of Sweden, published by National Geographic

“Warm in the Cold” – colds of Sweden, published by National Geographic

"Sunscarf" - soft tones in Antelope Canyon, USA

“Sunscarf” – soft tones in Antelope Canyon, USA

"Mosaic" - colours of Iceland that soon landed on the pages of GEO

“Mosaic” – colours of Iceland that soon landed on the pages of GEO

"Monumental Sunset" - soft sunset tones in Monument Valley, USA

“Monumental Sunset” – soft sunset tones in Monument Valley, USA

"Man and Sea" - Atlantic coast in Portugal

“Man and Sea” – Atlantic coast in Portugal

"Majestic" - grandness of nature in Iceland

“Majestic” – grandness of nature in Iceland

"Gentle Touch of a Cloud" - rainy day in Iceland

“Gentle Touch of a Cloud” – rainy day in Iceland

"Eye of the Earth" - otherworldly colors in Yellowstone National Park, USA

“Eye of the Earth” – otherworldly colors in Yellowstone National Park, USA

"Deep Painter's Dream" - magical greys in Yosemite National Park, USA

“Deep Painter’s Dream” – magical greys in Yosemite National Park, USA

"Blue Eyed" - playful blossoms in Lithuania

“Blue Eyed” – playful blossoms in Lithuania

"At the Foot" - big lake near bigger mountains in Canada

“At the Foot” – big lake near bigger mountains in Canada

"Artwalk" - interactive art installation in Maastunnel, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

“Artwalk” – interactive art installation in Maastunnel, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

"A Look to the Past" - passing a little hill in Lithuania

“A Look to the Past” – passing a little hill in Lithuania

How many years have you been in business?

Technically, it all started with my first camera, which was a present for my 10th birthday. It got stuck in my hands and has been there ever since. There was only one button, but it was enough to land me the role of photographer in our 4th grade fashion show. When referring to income generating photography, since 2012.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Both. I began as a teenager in an effort to achieve images that would be at as good as on postcards seen in shops. Then it became about creating something more. Later, I started attending various classes and university courses. I also studied myself, and continue to do so, from books, photographs and other photographers, with whom I am constantly surrounded, or randomly meet on the street. I see learning as a never-ending process.

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

Creative vibes, as well as support from my family, friends and fans, played a very important role in my motivation. Magnificent nature and high quality publications have always been the biggest source of inspiration for me. At some point, there came a moment when I knew it was time to move into this profession myself.

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?

New people reveal new perceptions, new environments create new ideas and new stories bring out new points of view. Placing myself in dynamic environments, traveling and meeting different people allows me to keep a continually fresh view towards life. When I am taking a photo, I always ask myself if it is worth hanging on my own wall.

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

People are different and so are their ways of thinking. It is wonderful when there is a creative match and luckily, most of the time, I end up in such situations. Working in a good team is always rewarding. Some clients have different vision and needs. Then I have to adjust, forget my ideals, and do what suits their preferences best.

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

It is about doing what I adore and remaining enthusiastic. It is also as much about creating as about sharing, listening and hearing who wants to see what. I prefer exhibiting true passion and finding creative ways to advertise. E.g. sending self-made cards, rather than store-bought ones.

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

Tastes differ. One cannot satisfy everyone. One good relationship brimful of mutual understanding is much better two average ones. Create your own thing, do what you like the most and search for the right clients. As there are plenty of artists, there are also many buyers who always want to see something new and unique… something that has not been seen before and cannot be predicted.

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

Yes. We live in a majestic planet, where hidden beauty surrounds us all the time. Whether skiing or climbing, my camera is always in my backpack and I constantly search for the moment as well as new points of view and unique angles. I also like to take short, half-day, even 2-3 day long photographic explorations of a particular area or phenomenon, which usually ends up as a little, narrated photo story.

How often are you shooting new work?

Regularly. It can be a planned photo shoot or a spontaneous outing. If I see a bunch of people playing in a mud pool at a festival, why not to jump right into the middle and take some shots? Some moments cannot be planned.

———–

Regularly acknowledged by competition judges and publishers such as National Geographic, GEO, etc., Vytautas Šėrys is an explorer who could never imagine his life without the outdoors, traveling and photography.

His soul is constantly seeking for new points of view, true local experiences and ways to translate them into images freezing the magic of the real moment.

After living in Lithuania, Netherlands, Sweden, and Italy, Vytautas chose Berlin, Germany as the next stop in his journey through life.

www.vserys.com
www.facebook.com/vserysphoto
info@vserys.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.

Empowering Photographers to Embrace an Uncertain Future

- - Blog News

This digital environment has created whole new ways in which we can interact. And we need to be stimulated to do that, inspired to do that. We need to look at new models that do it in ways we haven’t even imagined before.

We know the community has felt stuck in some ways, threatened in others, because of limited economic resources. This field is not being supported in the way that we desperately need for photography to continue to connect us in a world that is fractured and that we need to understand better.

It is incredibly important to not feel disempowered but to feel re-empowered.

via NYTimes Lens Blog.

Jason Langer Interview

- - Photographers, Workshops

Jonathan Blaustein: I noticed on your bio that you were born in Arizona, and raised in Oregon. But it looks like you lived on a kibbutz in Israel for four years. Is that right?

Jason Langer: Yes, but that’s not really pertinent to anything. That was in 1973, and I was seven.

JB: You were seven?

JL: Yeah.

JB: I didn’t do the math. So it’s not pertinent in that your seven to eleven year old self has little bearing on your current self?

JL: I would say.

JB: So it doesn’t matter at all.

JL: No. I discovered photography in 1982, and I came back from Israel in ’77. I discovered photography when I was in seventh grade. I was twelve.

JB: You were twelve years old, and when most people were trying to steal their Dad’s Playboys, you were working out how to use a camera?

JL: Well, I was doing that too.

JB: I’m not surprised, given the preponderance of nudity in your work, but we’ll get there. What was it like to start making art that young in life?

JL: I was hooked from the first minute I saw a print develop in the developer. It clicked, and I knew it was me. The chemicals felt familiar, and soon after, my mother bought me a darkroom kit from the old Spiegel catalogue. Do you remember that?

JB: No. It’s either before my time, or I never saw it.

JL: It was like an oversized JC Penney or Sears Catalogue. They had a 35mm enlarger and 8×10 trays. She bought it for me, and I cleared out my clothes and built it in my closet.

There was no running water, so I would bring buckets of water up and mix my chemicals in a completely unventilated room. When I was out of chemicals, I would ride my bike down to the local photo store. I was one of “those” kids.

JB: Did you have to earn your allowance to buy your toxic chemicals? Or did you set up a lemonade stand?

JL: I would imagine I had an allowance to begin with, and then I got my first job when I was fourteen or fifteen. I cleaned a vintage clothing store after they closed at night.

JB: What about the lack of ventilation? Are you less intelligent than you might have otherwise been?

JL: (laughing.) Maybe it unlocked the key of me always being crazy? I don’t know.

Langer_Bow, 1999

elevator_fr49.tif

53447_fr55.tif

Langer_Figure no. 186, 2009

Langer_Figure no. 253, 2011

Langer_Go-Go Girl, 1994

Langer_Moonrise Over Montmartre, 2002

JB: It’s a great chance to segue. In your work, you seem to walk right up to the edge of the dark side, without seeming to cross over. You photograph at night, and there’s an element of mystery and surrealism.

But you seem like a fairly sane and normal guy. I always find that dichotomy interesting. Are you crazier than you appear to be, or does your crazy funnel right into the pictures?

JL: I’ve made a point of exploring my crazy, haunted side in photography. That’s a crucial issue that I’m trying to work out now in middle age, raising two small kids and trying to retain some of that artistic absorption. In life, you have to choose your path. You can’t do everything. You can’t be a great musician, painter, photographer, and a father, husband, architect – whatever you want to do.

You have to choose where you want to spend your time, because there’s only 24 hours in a day. I’ve gotten good at switching gears.

I chose the path early on of fine art photography. I wanted to create photographs that had personal meaning for me, out of an urge that I had, rather than commercial photography. That’s probably why you might think I’d be a crazy person – I put a lot of investment into self exploration.

At the time, though, there was nowhere for the work to go but under my bed. But I chose fine art photography to be the ruler of my life. Furthermore, I stuck in spiritual fulfillment, and meditation, but I also chose getting married and having a family.

And as you know, once you choose that, it’s a really huge commitment.

JB: Doesn’t get any bigger.

JL: A lot of what I do now is try to carve out every possible minute of the day to allow myself time to do my personal work. As we’re bombarded every day with more and more media, I find I have to make a concerted effort to fall away from the rest of the world, and its responsibilities where possible.

Does that answer your question?

JB: Yes and no. It’s like a mirror, in that I can certainly relate to your situation. But you dodged the question, a bit, as to whether you’re psychotic, in the inner levels of your mind.

But I can understand why you’d dodge it. It’s a slightly offensive question.

JL: No, no. It’s fine. I’d say that having chosen marriage and family has put me more on the side of “normalcy.” Because I do want my kids to grow up in a stable house that is focused on education and fun, not on psychological exploration – not at this age. I try to come out of my cave at least once a day… (laughing).

With that in mind, I have to find ways to go to the dark side on my own. For me, that’s been leaving the house, going to other cities and countries, and just being in a contemplative, exploratory space.

I try to balance both.

JB: What is it about the night that excites you?

JL: Early on, I realized that if you went out at night to photograph, everyone would be gone and your experience would be transformed into the other side of life. There’s a whole other part of reality that is in many ways parallel to our subconscious.

When things are covered up in darkness, it activates our imagination. Having an absence, our instinctual need is to put a presence there. I tend to put in a contemplation of the other: what is beyond our life in a conscious state. Sexuality, which is mostly suppressed, aloneness, death, centeredness – the parts of ourselves that we don’t let out on a daily basis.

Being on the streets, I don’t know what’s out there. I don’t know what’s going to happen, so I investigate.

It was also a function of the films I saw when VHS first came out. Films my mother would show me, like “The Third Man,” “Frankenstein,” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” With those films, there was always a singular male figure against the world, which is also a major theme of film noir.

JB: You became the lone man, wandering the dark city streets, alone? You chose to become the living embodiment of these metaphorical characters in these stories that activated your imagination?

JL: Yeah, I think chose is a good word. For instance, for many years I chose to teach, and then I chose to not teach. So the fact that I’m doing this workshop in Santa Fe is actually unusual.

There are many opportunities to be involved in other aspects of photography these days. You can run workshops, you can teach, be in photographic management, work in camera stores, be on juries, write about photography. There are all of these things to do, and I’ve been very conscious of not doing those things, and keeping my emphasis on photographing.

There are so few hours in a day that I put every spare ounce of energy into making pictures. Because life is just too short.

JB: When I first started studying photography in ’97, there were still teachers talking about the methodology you’ve adopted. Having five or six dealers around the world representing your work, each selling a certain amount a year. Getting books with reputable publishers. And that would sustain itself.

You’ve done that. You’re repped around the world, you’ve had two books put out by Nazraeli, and another coming out with Radius. You kind of seem like a throwback. How do you feel about that term?

JL: I would say that 2013 was very much a year of coming to terms with the new world. It was a chance to see whether my methodology still works for me, or whether it can be changed and still be just as fruitful.

I was always under the impression that not everyone is an artist. Those people that are really dedicated to it and have something to say, end up doing it. Of course in photography for decades there was a technical hurdle that people had to get over if they truly loved photography. Those people became artists. Now, I guess there’s no hurdle, so everyone’s an artist?

Also, I always felt that to become good at anything, you’d need to work on your craft for at least ten years – if you wanted to get good at what you were doing. I never wanted to get published too early, or show in galleries too early. I wanted to wait until my work was good, so I put it under the bed for years and years, until I was ready to show it to someone in the industry whom I respected.

Now, I can’t think of any young photographer who approaches it like that. Today, it’s pretty much “BANG” and it’s out there.

Last year, I asked myself if there are merits to that. Is there a new methodology to becoming an accomplished artist that is not the slow method? What I do is now considered “slow” photography.

To me, that’s absurd. It’s just photography. But in comparison to what is happening now, I guess it is kind of a throwback.

I am starting to experiment with taking digital pictures. And instead of gaining emotional distance from my work, and letting it steep over time, I’m making photographs, coming back to my studio, loading them up on the computer, and immediately editing.

I’m trying to see if that yields good results or not.

JB: You’ve used the phrase “under the bed” a few times already. I keep thinking, that’s where the monsters live. Under the bed. I can’t help but think there’s a connection there.

Do you feel like you use your creative practice to connect the nether regions of your psyche to the light?

JL: I’ve always been interested in the subconscious. The photographers I’ve always connected with early on were night-time and symbolist photographers. Artists that didn’t hand you the meanings; they remained ambiguous.

I love films that have ambiguous morality, because I like to be able to contemplate and think about something for an extended period of time.

So I would say yeah. The monsters, the demons, sexuality, suppressed feelings, darkness, the unknown. All of those things are compelling to me. I’m interested in those secret rendezvous late at night.

JB: We haven’t mentioned the word audience yet. I think it’s become more of a factor in what artists are thinking about when they put their work out in the world. We consider the relationship that develops between the object on the wall, and a group of strangers.

What do you want people to get from your pictures?

JL: This brings up an interesting question between the dichotomy of the old way and the new way. I feel that the audience is there to follow you. You are the person who is in charge of discovering things about life, making them into visual subject matter, and giving them to the world.

Your discovery of the world is paramount, and either people will like it, or they won’t. They will buy it, or they won’t. You will either capture the public’s imagination, or you won’t.

Your job is to be an artist. Now, there’s a new element, in which there is a feedback between you and the audience about what they think of your work. There’s more of an opportunity to talk to the people you’re showing the work to.

But I have to say, I’m not one of those people so far. We happen to be living in a time when public taste has gone away from what I do, and I have to just be OK with that- the pendulum swings.

With what I do, the viewer has to spend time with the photograph, inserting their own experience into it.

JB: Did you ever watch Beavis and Butthead, when it was first on TV, back in the day?

JL: Yes.

JB: Did you think it was funny?

JL: Not really.

JB: I had a feeling you were going to say that. But I am who I am, and sometimes I just can’t help myself. When you said the word “inserting,” I actually heard Beavis and Butthead giggling inside my head.

JL: When Beavis and Butthead were on, I was watching “The Third Man” and “Annie Hall” and “The Great Escape.” I was interested in those kinds of movies, so I was not watching MTV.

JB: I can understand that. And I can also understand why you didn’t think it was funny that I laughed at that word. It shows that we’re on parallel tracks right now.

But I have to say, I really appreciate what you do. And I’m glad that we live in a world in which so many perspectives are in the conversation.

You pose some interesting questions. How much can a person take on? Where should I be putting my time and energy? There are no easy answers.

JL: The greatest thing that I grapple with now is my love for photography in general, and how it is simultaneously exploding into all sorts of fantastic things, and being destroyed at the same time.

We’re so flooded with imagery that it doesn’t impact us the way that it did before.

JB: I hear you. I would love to talk a bit more about the way you teach, when you decide to do it. This interview is being sponsored by the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, and you’re doing a workshop there next month called “Shots in the Dark.”

You’ll be leading photographers out into the spooky evening, and the early light of morning. How do you approach something like that?

JL: My first instinct is to give the students everything that I have. I don’t just talk about what exposures you need to make night photographs. I share the whole philosophy I come with, which includes treating the students as artists. I encourage them to search within themselves for what I call “The Creative Spiral.”

Everyone has their own set of meanings, and a unique perspective about the world. The themes that they keep coming back to again and again – obsessions, perhaps.

What I try to do with my students is that every time they go around that circle, they get closer and closer to the center, so they can create iconic images for themselves that express what they really want to express.

We will go over all the technical things, and Photoshop. I teach students how to dodge and burn digitally, as they would in a darkroom. We’ll learn how to make beautiful, archival prints, and also talk about how to interact with people.

JB: If you go out shooting in groups, how are you able to convey the feelings of solitary joy that you experience in your own practice?

JL: One trick is specificity. I took a class out once to the Marin headlands, near San Francisco, and when we looked at the resulting pictures, everyone’s pictures were the same. They were all of the trees, the rocks, the paths, and the abandoned bunkers.

JB: I would think.

JL: It was a real disappointment. Once we looked at the work, and decided which aspects were the most successful, I had them go back and focus on just one thing. Then it got closer to what each person’s individual interest and message was.

Splitting up, and deciding which individual thing you want to focus on is a good way to put one foot in front of the other, and discover what you really want.

JB: You do quite a bit of work with the nude figure, so is that something you’re going to incorporate in the workshop? Will you be working with models?

JL: We are going to do that. There are apparently models that have worked with the Santa Fe Workshops for many years. We’re going to ask them if we can come into their homes, and photograph them going about their night: clothed, or semi-clothed, or naked.

We’re going to be flies on the wall, or voyeurs, and see what we can do. I like bringing that feeling forward we all know when we’re up working late, the rest of the world is asleep, and all is quiet.

JB: That sounds kind of crazy. I almost want to show up and peek through the window of the house at you guys watching the model make her evening tea in the buff.

JL: I did that in a workshop at the Newspace Center for Photography here in Portland. We photographed the model in the studio, and in their home, and we allowed each student to be the center of attention for a while. So the other students could learn from watching each other’s approach.

That way, everyone came out with unique material. I’m going to try to take it to a place where everyone can let their individual needs show.

JB: What a trip. And I’m sure you’ll be roaming the streets together, as that’s what your work is about. I noticed you’ve spent time in Paris, Berlin, New Orleans, and probably many other cities. A lot of the images have the vibe that you just stepped out of a dingy bar, where you ordered a pack of cigarettes and a bourbon?

Are you going to try to find spots like that in Santa Fe?

JL: We are going to work with some bars and establishments, and ask if it’s OK to come in as a small group of photographers. I’ll teach students how I do it in an unobtrusive, non-offensive way.

There’s so much to do in four days, I’m basically throwing out a lot of opportunities to do things, and I’m interested in seeing where the class wants to take it.

SFPW_APhotoEditor_Jan2014

Sometimes You Get The Feeling That A Lot Of People Involved In Photography Don’t Really Like Photography

- - Blog News

The emphasis is on looking, on touching and taking pleasure in photography and I wonder if this is not part of a shift in photography into something a little more pleasurable than some of the hairshirt attitudes alive and kicking in photography.

Sometimes you get the feeling that a lot of people involved in photography don’t really like photography or even looking at pictures (Susie Linfield wrote a book on this). To make a cooking analogy, it would be as if a food critic was only interested in the nutritional values or the source of the ingredients and was not at all interested in the taste, the smell or the texture of the food.

via Colin Pantall’s blog: Escape from the Taliban and the World Press Photo.

John Stanmeyer Found His World Press Winning Image By Getting Lost In A Place He’d Never Been Before

- - Blog News

after a month traveling overland from a small village in Ethiopia, I arrived in Djibouti City. On my second day in the capital, I did what I often do when in a place I’ve never been before — walk about in the natural process of getting lost. While meandering along the beach, I came upon a group of people at dusk, all standing at different spots along the shoreline holding up their phones, some talking on them, others waving them in the air or just standing motionless.

via PROOF.

If You Push Your Artifice Further And Further There’s No Escaping The Dead End

- - Blog News

Crewdson, just like Andreas Gursky, eventually pushed his artifice to the ultimate extreme, where in the end there was only artifice left. There isn’t much left to admire in his last massive Hollywood-style productions other than the very production itself, and the artist might have realized as much, going off to Italy to photograph cinema sets. In much the same way, Gursky pushed his God-like views of contemporary life further and further out, until he presented us with images of oceans, photographed from outer space, a pointless artifice that had me cringe when I saw it in person…

via Conscientious Photography Magazine.

Art Producers Speak: Greg Funnell

- - 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 Greg Funnell, who I think has great skill in keeping things looking fresh and enticing, be it through his commercial or journalistic work.

This was shot as part of a travel commission I did for a UK airline – it involved shooting a story on local surf spots in Morocco.

This was shot as part of a travel commission I did for a UK airline – it involved shooting a story on local surf spots in Morocco.

Havana, Cuba. This was from a personal story I did in Cuba a few years ago on the 50th anniversary of the revolution.

Havana, Cuba. This was from a personal story I did in Cuba a few years ago on the 50th anniversary of the revolution.

This was an outtake from an assignment I had following round the US punk band Cerebral Ballzy as they terrorized central London with their skateboards.

This was an outtake from an assignment I had following round the US punk band Cerebral Ballzy as they terrorized central London with their skateboards.

Shot again for an airline magazine – this time in Turkey, it was a fantastic assignment with enough time to really get stuck in and create a great set of images for the client.

Shot again for an airline magazine – this time in Turkey, it was a fantastic assignment with enough time to really get stuck in and create a great set of images for the client.

This was an editorial assignment documenting a surfer who was taking part in a cold water surfing competition in Thurso, Scotland.

This was an editorial assignment documenting a surfer who was taking part in a cold water surfing competition in Thurso, Scotland.

This was shot for the Red Bulletin, the magazine published by Red Bull. I photographed the BMX rider Kris Kyle up in Glasgow. This was an instant where I shot something for myself (the Polaroid shots) alongside what the client wanted, and ended up loving it and running it themselves.

This was shot for the Red Bulletin, the magazine published by Red Bull. I photographed the BMX rider Kris Kyle up in Glasgow. This was an instant where I shot something for myself (the Polaroid shots) alongside what the client wanted, and ended up loving it and running it themselves.

This a portrait of the rapper Nas. One of those situations where you’ve got 2 minutes to get the shot and subject who doesn’t want to play ball. I shot it in available light back stage – amazingly it was good enough quality to run on the cover of the magazine.

This a portrait of the rapper Nas. One of those situations where you’ve got 2 minutes to get the shot and subject who doesn’t want to play ball. I shot it in available light back stage – amazingly it was good enough quality to run on the cover of the magazine.

From the project “Las Vegas: The underbelly of the American Dream” that I shot as a collaboration with the photographer Adam Patterson. This couple Ned and D, lived in the storm drains underneath the city itself.

From the project “Las Vegas: The underbelly of the American Dream” that I shot as a collaboration with the photographer Adam Patterson. This couple Ned and D, lived in the storm drains underneath the city itself.

This was photo accompanying a short film I shot and produced for an NGO in Malawi last year.

This was photo accompanying a short film I shot and produced for an NGO in Malawi last year.

Street scene, Rajasthan, India. This image is a one from my widelux project that I’m hoping to publish in the near future.

Street scene, Rajasthan, India. This image is a one from my widelux project that I’m hoping to publish in the near future.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been going now for about 8 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m self taught. At university I studied History and War Studies (Kings College London). But I think I knew from day one that when I finished I was going to try and make it in photography I just had no idea how. For a couple of years previous to going to university I’d been an avid user of my schools forgotten darkroom. My interest in drawing, painting and all things visual had led me naturally into photography when I was about 16. From the moment I saw my first image appear in the developer I think I was hooked.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
When I was in my teens I worked part-time in the local library. I came across Don McCullin’s work from Vietnam and it opened a whole new world to me. It matched two of my passions, history and photography, and I was blown away by how much the still image could effect and fascinate me. I started collecting photography books and devoured as much as I could. At this time my main influencers were photojournalists, people like Alex Webb, David Alan Harvey, Larry Towell etc. And even though my visual references have opened up I still think you can see the photojournalist influence in my work – the need to be close to the subject, to try and get the viewer really immersed in the subject. This has worked really well for my commercial work in the travel and lifestyle industries because I think it brings an intimacy and intensity to my images.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I’m a keen user of Instagram (@gregfunnell), I keep a blog (www.focus52.blogspot.com) and I use tumblr (www.gregfunnell.tumblr.com). These all help to encourage me to be continually shooting and generating content on a daily basis. But I’m constantly planning or thinking about longer terms projects or ideas. I’ve just secured my first studio and I’m quite excited about testing again more regularly and also just having a space to invite people into. I never grow tired of shooting portraits.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
It’s always a delicate balance on jobs. I find the creatives I’ve worked with for the longest generally trust me to do my thing and get the job done – I think I’m seen as a safe pair of hands and one that that client will easily be able to get along with. I feel sorry for the creatives when they get stuck in the middle with difficult clients. From my end I try and keep the client as sweet and (if it’s possible) shoot both what they want and my spin on it so that they have the choice. It’s always about trying to find the middle ground but without compromising too much.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I tend to shoot editorial commissions mostly – there are a few magazines that I just love working for as they really allow me a lot of creative freedom. I’m also aiming to do more self-publishing this year – I’m just waiting to find the right designer to collaborate with.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
You have to shoot for yourself – don’t try and be what others want you to be. There’s obviously something to be said for being savvy about what’s popular, but ultimately you need to be producing work that you believe in and that shows your vision.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I try put aside time each year to go off and shoot my own thing. I think you have to be making time to you shoot solely for yourself, you have to believe in the work first in order for others to also believe in it. I’m currently shooting some personal work with a camera called a Widelux, which is swing lens film camera, I’m doing it purely for my own creative need but I hope to continue shooting this as long term project, and it’s slowly starting to generate interest which is nice.

All that being said I did work on a collaboration with another photographer a couple of years ago on a story in Las Vegas on the subject of the American Dream. That was really exciting, and it helped that he was a good mate of mine. We have a similar vision but we each bought something to the table. Some people didn’t get it – and kept asking ‘who took this picture’ – they couldn’t understand when we responded that we weren’t sure or couldn’t remember. Our vision was in such unison that the work held together really well – and I think that’s rare. I’d love to give that another go and shoot another series somewhere in the US.

How often are you shooting new work?
I’m generally shooting a couple of times a week, mainly on assignments. My aim this year though is to force myself to step away from my desk more often and be shooting more side projects.

Greg studied History and War Studies at Kings College London before moving into photography. He’s since spent the last 8 years working for titles that include The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian, Financial Times Magazine and the Washington Post. Shooting everything from commissioned celebrity portraits, to travel assignments and in-depth documentary features. He also works with NGOs on development projects in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America for the likes of Save the Children, ActionAid and WWF. Alongside this he also works in the commercial and advertising sector producing content for clients on international campaigns, especially in the travel, lifestyle and adventure industries.

Although primarily known for his photography he also increasingly gets asked to work with moving imagery, having directed and produced work for NGOs, corporate and commercial clients.

When he’s not producing content he guest lectures at Universities across the UK.

You can find him on twitter and instagram @gregfunnell

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.

By analog standards, today’s Olympic photo agencies are plowing through nearly 28,000 rolls apiece

- - Blog News

The second a photographer fires the shutter on a camera, the resulting image—a high quality JPEG, not RAW—is transported by ethernet to Getty’s central editing office in about 1.5 seconds. There, a team of three editors processes the photo. The first selects the best image and crops it for composition; the second editor color corrects; and the third adds metadata. The whole editing process is done in 30-40 seconds. Once the last editor is done, the image is blasted to the world. It takes about 90 seconds for the images to travel over redundant 100 Mbit/s dedicated lines to Getty’s data servers in the the United States.

via Gizmodo.

John Stanmeyer, 2013 World Press Photo of the Year

- - Blog News

SIGNAL
26 February 2013

African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighboring Somalia—a tenuous link to relatives abroad. Djibouti is a common stop-off point for migrants in transit from such countries as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, seeking a better life in Europe and the Middle East.

via, World Press Photo

On Assignment: A Photo Op, More Like a Photo Hop

- - Blog News

The “pool,” a White House staffer once told me, is a “thing.” If the thing is sitting in the briefing room for hours or in vans outside a restaurant, it doesn’t matter. It’s a thing, like the Secret Service or the Truman balcony. Give the thing a picture or two each day, preferably scripted. If the president is meeting with a head of state, the pool is part of the ceremony.

via Lens Blog.

Tale of 2 Crispins: There Won’t Be Another Agency of Decade

- - Blog News

Burned by the recession, clients are loath to greenlight risky work and bottom-line pressures are driving them to wring costs from their shops. To grow, independents are selling to public holding companies and succumbing to the balance-sheet demands that can dull a free-spirited culture. Often, the result is chasing business they might once have scorned while private.

via Agency News – Advertising Age.

Professional Photographer Webcast Live: Sustaining A Career In Photography

Professional Photographer Webcast Episode 7
Topic: Sustaining A Career In Photography
When: Today at 2:00 EST
Where: Here on aphotoeditor.com and Google +

Suzanne Sease and I will be joined by Commercial and Editorial Photographer Andy Anderson. Suzanne as you may know comes from the Art Buying side of the business with many years of experience working at Advertising Agencies. Andy is a well known Commercial and Editorial photographer with a career that would make most of us green with envy. Andy claims it’s “not rocket science” so we’ll talk with him about how relationships, small towns, personal projects, passion, DNA and the fundamentals of business all combine to put him at the top of the game.

If you have any questions you can email me before the webcast rob@aphotoeditor.com (Note: you will remain anonymous on the webcast, I will not share your identity with anyone) or during the webcast you can ask them on Google+.

You can see our previous episodes over on the APE Google+ page (here).

Show Notes:

Visit our show sponsor:
http://aphotofolio.com/

Suzanne Sease can be reached at:
http://suzannesease.com/
https://twitter.com/SuzanneSease

Our special guest, Andy Anderson can be reached at:
http://andyandersonphoto.com
http://www.andyandersonstock.com

We will both be in conversation at:

http://www.texasphotoroundup.com

Photographers mentioned by Andy:

http://hunterfreeman.com/
http://www.larryfinkphotography.com/
http://www.erikalmas.com/
http://kevintwomey.com/

Former assistants:

http://www.matthewturley.com/
http://shaunfenn.com/

More links:

http://ianspanier.com/Personal-Work/Long-Beach-Heroes/1/
http://lookbook.adage.com

Looking Good Doesn’t Mean It’s A Good Picture

- - Blog News

Most actors are hard to take good portraits of. You have access to the biggest actors and think, great, a chance to do an intimate portrait. Then you look at the contact sheet and you realize that they totally played you. They are aware of the camera in each single frame. They raise an eyebrow just so. They are very good at making it look natural, but then you look back and nothing is off-guard.

via Martin Schoeller’s Tips on How to Take the Perfect Portrait – WSJ.com.