Category "Magazines"

GQ- April, 2008 Issue

- - Magazines


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I really like this quote from the Alex Pappademas story. Works for photographers too.

“Y’know, I grew up in a different generation. I grew up after World War II, and boys did different things in those days. You went camping. You went hunting. You boxed. And the image of a writer, to someone starting off in those days was not some schmuck who went to graduate school. It was Jack London, Nelson Algren, Ernest Hemingway. Especially coming from Chicago–a writer was a knock-around guy. Someone who got a job as a reporter or drove a cab. I think the reason there are a lot of novels about How Mean My Mother Was to Me and all that shit is because the writers may have learned something called ‘technique,’ but they’ve neglected to have a life. What the fuck are they gonna write about?”

–David Mamet

There’s also and excellent profile of Terry Richardson written by Andrew Corsello that furthers my theory of how a photographers DNA imprint in pictures cannot be replicated or taught. Calling it talent is not very accurate because it’s the sum of everything you know and have experienced and it leaves a mark on the photographs. I’ve always liked Terry’s work and I’m somewhat floored by the story of his hellish/crazy upbringing and how that fed his photographic style and subject selection. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to walk and inch in his shoes if that’s what it takes to become a much sought-after photographer with an original point of view.

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National Magazine Awards, Finalists

- - Magazines

The Ellies are one of the top awards to win as a Photo Editor because editors love to have one of those elephant trophies perched on a table around the office (the last place I worked the owner had a rather large herd of elephants that you could see from 6th avenue).

One small problem associated with the awards that magazine owners will cite is that the magazines that do well aren’t necessarily the most profitable–as if that matters (kidding)–or even profitable at all (Atlantic Monthly and New Yorker). Also, if you win one as photo editor the Editor-in-Chief will accept the award for you, which seems odd because their greatest contribution was probably getting out of the way.

Here are the nominees this year:

PHOTOGRAPHY
Gourmet: Amy Koblenzer, photo editor
GQ: Dora Somosi, director of photography
Martha Stewart Living: Heloise Goodman, director of photography and illustration
National Geographic: David Griffin, director of photography; Susan A. Smith, deputy director, photography
New York: Jody Quon, photography director
W: Nadia Vellam, photo editor

PHOTOJOURNALISM
Aperture: (no photo editor listed,) photographs by Mikhael Subotzky.
Mother Jones: Sarah Kehoe, photo director, photographs by Lana Slezic
National Geographic: David Griffin, director of photography; Susan A. Smith, photography deputy director, photographs by John Stanmeyer.
The New Yorker: Elisabeth Biondi, photo director, photographs by Martin Schoeller.
The Virginia Quarterly Review: (no photo editor listed), photographs by Chris Hondros.

PHOTO PORTFOLIO
New York: Jody Quon, photography director; photographs by Rodney Smith.
Newsweek: Simon Barnett, director of photography, photographs by Nigel Parry.
T, The New York Times Style Magazine: Kathy Ryan, photography director, photographs by Fabrizio Coppi and Lucilla Barbieri.
T, The New York Times Style Magazine: Kathy Ryan, photography director, photographs by Raymond Meier.
Vanity Fair: Susan White, photography director, photographs by Annie Leibovitz.

10 Questions for Jodi Peckman- Rolling Stone

- - Magazines

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was intimidated by working down the hall from legendary Rolling Stone Director of Photography Jodi Peckman. She’s garnered every accolade the photo industry can hand out and her rolodex is the size of a parmesan cheese wheel.

As it turned out my fear was unfounded because she’s a real sweetheart who’s willing to chat at length about working as a photo editor as well as happy to debate the merits of working with any of photographers in this industry.

I thought I’d ask her a few questions:

1. People ask me all the time how I became a photo editor and I’d be willing to bet everyone’s story is different. What’s yours?

Wellllllll… I had a friend who was the assistant to the Art Director here and I used to visit her at work and hang around the office a lot. I was still in school at the time. The Art and Photo Directors got to know me and so I would help out returning film or any small stuff they wanted. At the same time I was also printing photos for the guitarist of the band The Police (he’s a photographer). The Photo Director (Laurie Kratochvil) asked me if I wanted a real job, so she sent me to a photo agency where they hired me to file photos. I ended up working there for quite sometime and eventually left to hang out with my brother who lived in Italy. When I returned Laurie asked me if I wanted to work at Rolling Stone on the Random Notes section. I said yes, and I’m still here.

2. You’ve been a Rolling Stone a long time and I know there’s huge advantages to working within a specific genre having spent my entire career working with outdoor sports and athletics but how do you stay excited and challenged by the subject matter?

The best part about working here is that really it’s not just a music magazine. The range of what we cover is pretty big. We’ve got movies, TV, internet, politics, sports, crime, foreign and national affairs, environment and more. So, I don’t really see it as one genre. That being said, I’ve had to reinvent the job many times over. Coming to the same office, same desk, same everything for this long can get pretty weird and repetitive. The people around here change so that’s good and new photographers crop up all the time. I’m a creature of habit, so staying put suits my lifestyle (I eat a hamburger almost everyday).

3. One of the biggest challenges for me as a Photography Director was hearing, “you can’t hire that photographer” or “we’re not going to run that photo” and not taking it personally. How do you deal with it?

When you’ve been someplace this long you don’t really hear that too often. I guess they figure I know the magazine pretty well by now and fortunately my opinion holds some weight.

4. Do you still look at promo cards? What about promo emails?

Don’t really look at them. Well, I look at them of course, when they come in, but they rarely relate to anything we do here. Seriously, I get photographers who shoot babies and food send stuff all the time. I try so hard to open all the emails, and there are hundreds, but it’s not always realistic. There’s just not enough time. I feel terrible about that and I always promise myself I’ll try harder.

5. I found I didn’t have enough work for even my core group of photographers let alone adding new ones to the list. Do you still add new photographers to your list of people to hire?

We do. Not too many cover shooters tho.

6. Any predictions on how the photography industry will look 5 years from now? How about the magazine industry?

Ahhhh, magazines and newspapers will be around forever. I’m not too good about predicting the future, I’m livin’ in the moment all the time.

These next two questions come from an aspiring Rock and Roll photographer and reader of my blog.

7. In music photography, more so than other kinds of photography, people are willing give away their work for free or in exchange for access. Even musicians ask for photos in return for access. Magazines and festivals also seem to be trading access for photos. An example is the SPIN correspondent program, (here) How do you make a living (or at least part of a living) in that kind of atmosphere?

They’re giving you better access so you should be able to make better pictures. Better pictures should lead to more work. I worked here for free and so do our interns. We end up hiring half the people who are interns.

8. What is the best way to for a photographer to get their foot in the door at Rolling Stone? What assignments should newcomers approach (i.e. festivals)?

Being a concert photographer is brutal. So much competition. Find something special you do well and different from the others and work on an interesting and unique portfolio.

9. I always loved seeing the contact sheets from a shoot for the first time and in many ways that was better then seeing something printed in the magazine. What’s your favorite part of being a Photography Director?

Well it isn’t opening the box of photos. I’m always too nervous. Looking at pictures is so interesting and inspiring, and I really like photographers. I meet interesting people all the time. It’s creative and I feel that I am a part of what makes Rolling Stone what it is and how it looks. I feel so so lucky to have fallen into this job.

10. If you never got a job at Rolling Stone what would you be doing right now?

Beats me.

NY Times Magazine- Oscars Photo Essay

- - Magazines

Last Sunday the New York Times Magazine featured a brilliant photo portfolio of actors that appears to be the antidote to the Vanity Fair treatment. Shot entirely by Ryan McGinley, in a spare but cohesive style, it surprisingly holds together nicely for 28 pages. I think their attempt to wrestle the Hollywood photoshoot beast away from its recent hyper-produced overwrought incarnation is a welcome relief.

You may be surprised to see that they got Ryan past the actors handlers given his easily googled (here) colorful past (FYI, if you want to see how you appear to a publicist just google yourself and if you don’t have a section entitled celebrity, forget about it). It’s easier to get unconventional photographers through the gate with the younger actors and a big project like this can act to change the conversation from who the photographer is to who’s in the portfolio. It’s also about trust and Photo Directors like Kathy are usually given a long leash by the publicists for a long history of pairing actors with talented photographers.

Online slideshow of pictures (here), behind the scenes shoot video (here).

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