Category "The Daily Edit"

The Daily Edit – Trending

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I enjoyed these two covers, both celebrating summer. One beautifully composed summer salad as a prepared dish, the other a delightful approach to food as graphic design.

 

FoodWine2

Food&Wine

Design Director: Patricia Sanchez
Art Director: James Maikowski
Director of Photography: Fredrika Stjarne
Photo Editor: Sara Parks
Photographer: John Kernick
Prop Stylist: Christine Trevino
Food Stylist: Andrienne Anderson

 

 

MarthaStewartLiving

Martha Stewart Living

Design Director: Jennifer Wagner
Deputy Design Director: Jenn McManus
Art Director: Jaspal Riyait
Photo Editor: Linda Denahan
Senior Associate Photo Producer: Muzam Agha
Senior Associate Photo Editor: Andie Diemer
Photographer: Marcus Nilsson

 

 

 

 

 

The Daily Edit – The New York Times Magazine: Dylan Coulter

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The New York Times Magazine

Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Associate Photo Editor: Clinton Cargill
Art Director: Gail Bichler
Designer: Raul Aguila
Photographer: Dylan Coulter

Heidi: Had you worked with the New York Times Magazine before?
Dylan: This was my first commission for NYT Magazine. I’ve been sending emails promos to the photo department for a couple years and in the last year Director of Photography Kathy Ryan had responded to several of them with kind words. With that said, it was an unexpected call when Clinton Cargill, Associate Photo Editor, called and asked if I’d like to photography and direct videos of the world’s best soccer players.
Congratulations. What work did you submit prior to being awarded the assignment? Along with print, did you send motion work?
I’m not certain if there was one thing that lead to the assignment but, the first email promo responded to was a multiple exposure image of professional baseball pitcher R.A. Dickey that I shot for The New Yorker and, also, a larger project for ESPN The Magazine entitled “Anatomy of a Pitch,” that consisted of both photographer and video.
   -2                                              Brad Ziegler, sinker pitch ESPN Magazine
                                                               
 -1                                               R. A. Dickey: New Yorker Magazine
                                                                                             
When you say Kathy Ryan was supportive, can you explain that a bit more?
I’ve always had enormous respect for Kathy, but hadn’t met her before this project. From afar, it’s always been clear to me that she has a tremendous eye and, of course, a reputation for commissioning immensely talented photographers. To actually work with her was a dream come true. She has a strong sense of vision from the magazine’s perspective, but also was an incredible advocate for my creative ideas as well. She was supportive at every step and had valuable insights along the way.
Where you afraid you were going to fail?
From the moment I was given the assignment there was a lot to do, so I didn’t have much idle time to contemplate a bad result. With that said, I was definitely  aware of the incredible forum that is NYT Magazine and I wanted to create something really good. The magazine did too, so that was always the driving factor and pushed me throughout the project, from developing treatments, to when I had the athletes on set, to whom I collaborated with at all  stages. Clinton and Kathy were instrumental in not letting failure be an option in so many ways. One key area, was by not taking no for an answer when it was unclear whether some of the athletes would be available to us.
Tell us about the idea development/execution for this shoot.
The goal of the project was to both photograph and create short films of the world’s best soccer players. We would travel to them, take portraits, create multiple exposure photographs of a particular skill each player is known for and make a short film about each athlete. The overarching idea was to focus on the athletic prowess and physicality of each athlete and capture that in an unexpected way.
You were awarded the grand prize assignment: The cover, the inside feature, video, a dedicated issue, international coverage. How did you deal with that type of pressure?
First and foremost, when I found out, I remember feeling excitement. It was a massive opportunity. I also felt incredibly fortunate to have been chosen for the commission. Also, frankly, some pride, in the sense, that the hard work up until that point was being recognized. I think most photographers in an unguarded moment, or perhaps even in a guarded one, would admit that a photography career can be a bit of roller coaster ride. This commission was a marker of sorts, that I was indeed on the right path. It’s not always easy to have perspective when you putting one foot in front of the next each day. All of those feelings though quickly settled, with the exception of being excited – that remained present throughout – and I started work on it like any other project.
This being a package assignment and not about one specific element, how did you approach the idea as a whole?  The covers where white, the inside pages where black, how did those concepts evolve?
Kathy and Clinton were interested in creating motion studies – multiple exposures images for the printed magazine and employing slow motion video. So that was initial framing that I started to concept from. I wanted to pare down everything, so the focus was on the beauty and skill of each athlete’s action. We took away everything that wasn’t necessary. I used black as the background for both the multiple exposures and the videos to bring the viewer immediately to the subject. Everyone was to be dressed in their national team jersey – fabulously bright colors. The ball we used was simple, all white and purposely pedestrian looking. Our lighting was a hard source and spare. For the video I had each athlete emerge for darkness to enhance the drama. The slow motion aspect, in the way we employed it, ran counter to how sports is typically portrayed. It encouraged the viewer to look at one single action and admire the masterful skill being performed. This was further enhanced by using a single take, no cuts for each video. Jake Silverstein, Editor-in-Chief, Kathy and Clinton, deserve enormous credit for encouraging this direction. The covers were intended as a contrast to the inside pages and were shot on white.
I know you had planned to have about 3 hrs with each athlete. At what point in the process did you discover you only had 8.5 minutes with Leo Messi? Where you able to  execute the more time consuming idea with other players?
Our initial creative direction – for the photography and film was based on having 2 to 3 hours with each athlete. That was the initial ask. Fairly early in the process, it became clear to Clinton Cargill, who was the primary photo editor and producer, we weren’t going to have that kind of time with the athletes. Everyone we were shooting plays in Europe and when we started the project, they were just getting into the playoffs. That was quickly to be followed by all of the athletes heading directly to their respective national teams in preparation for World Cup. With that said, we didn’t realize how little time we would have until just before each shoot. And that’s after we were told on several occasions that certain players were not available whatsoever! Clinton, to his credit, would not take no for an answer. In the end, we had between 8 and a half minutes and 25 minutes with each player. We had Leo Messi on set for the shortest amount of time. With the brief amount of time we had, we were able to stay true to our original creative direction, but had to be as efficient as possible. I didn’t want to waste a second of time and that was reflected in the choices we made in terms of shot list order, equipment and crew. My hats are off to the crew, many of which I was working with for the first time (all our shoots were in Spain). They were professional and extremely talented. My digital tech Andrew Katzowitz traveled with me from New York and my DP, Edward Gibbs traveled from London, everyone else was based in Spain.
I worked on the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine.  Imagery for news journalism is very different from imagery for consumer magazines.  Image manipulation is not a option. Period. How if at all did this alter you project and your ideas about your own work?
I’ve always believed that less is more in regards to retouching and prefer images to look natural and real, but flattering. Working with the NYT Magazine though was a new experience in this regard and frankly, took some getting use to. Retouching, in a traditional sense is not allowed. In the end, though, it’s was a great exercise in letting go and embracing more imperfection than I’m use to. Essentially being ok with fly away hairs and wardrobe wrinkles.
Because you are reporting for Times Magazine and documenting the athleticism of these players, am I correct in assuming these were all captured in one take? I see the multiple exposures were credited as photo illustration, was that a different type of credit for you?
The portraits were all single frames. The short films are comprised of a single take. The multiple exposures, though, were a composite of different takes and for that reason they were labeled “photo illustrations” as the NYT photography guidelines mandate. This was the first time that I’ve been credited in that way. Which is fine, I do think of the multiple exposures as being as much art as science. Purposely so. They’re technically an evolution of a film based multiple exposure. The technique is to capture each moment as a single photograph and then composite all of the frames together in post production. I work closely with my retoucher, Alex Verhave, to decide which frames to emphasize, through greater opacity, and which layers to de-emphasize, through more transparency. That helps create a visual hierarchy that leads the viewer through the image. In many ways, it’s more important what you leave out as what you choose to include.
Where the athletes shot all in the same location? If not what were the logistics like?
There were three shoots. Cristiano Ronaldo was shot in Madrid. Neymar Jr. and Andrés Iniesta were shot in Barcelona. Leo Messi was shot in Barcelona as well, several days after Neymar and Iniesta.
Because you were short on time, what were your interactions like with the players?  Any language barriers?
I think it’s really important to have a conversation with the subject on a general level and, also, explain what it is I’m after creatively. It used to surprise me, although I’m accustomed to it now, but a lot of athletes and personalities arrive to set having no idea what the concept is. I’ve always felt that involving the subject and having them take ownership is always more fruitful. With all that said, our time was so short and there was language issues. Cristiano Ronaldo speaks English well, so we could communicate easily. The other guys spoke just a bit of English. I speak a touch of Spanish, so we were able to general understand each other. There was always a translator on set, so he’d help convey whatever was not clear.
How did your former career as an advertising art director come into play with the video component?
It was tremendously helpful. Having started my career as an art director, I learned how to concept, storyboard and have a basic understanding of the production process. That said, for the video portion of this project I relied on the kindness and skill of others. Alexis Stember’s expertise was invaluable. She was my post production coordinator and advised on the production portion also. My cinematographer, Edward Gibbs, and editor, Georgia Dodson were essential. Many more people as well. This is an obvious statement, but video is such a collaborative medium. For this project it required the talent of many.
What was your inspiration for the music direction and where was it sourced?
I wanted the music to be unexpected and compliment the spare nature of the visual. During the video process, Georgia, Alexis and I kept discussing and both Philip Glass and Nine Inch Nails. And somewhat odd pairing, but that was the reference that I discussed with Will Bates of Fall On Your Sword who composed the music, Keith Reynaud who did the sound design and later Cory Melious who did the mix. Specifically, each piece needed something different in terms of tempo and emphasis, but we wanted them to family well together.

Where you afraid Neymar was going to hit you with the ball in the video?
Ha, no. I was actually hoping he would! Not the camera, but the plexi glass that was in front of the camera. In a couple of the early takes the ball was leaving frame too soon, so I asked Neymar to try and hit the camera. At first, he didn’t believe me, but once he understood I was serious, I think it engaged him even more. He seemed to like the challenge and maybe the mischievousness of it as well.

What did this assignment teach you and how did it further develop your skills as a photographer?
In many ways I’m glad this commission happened at this point in my career, 12 years in, and not earlier. At one point or another I drew upon most, if not all, I’ve learned along the way. More than anything it reminded me of the importance of grace under pressure. It truly was a dream assignment for a magazine I greatly admire shooting enormously famous personalities in a very short period of time. Sometimes the most important thing to remember was just to take a moment and breathe deeply!

Best advice for anyone starting out?
Certainly there is no one way, but I’d say first pursue a liberal arts education. There are so many more aspects to being a photographer than taking a picture, so it’s important to be able to express your ideas through writing and discussion. And then, I’d say, find photographers who’s work you admire and work for them, gain technical knowledge and insight into the business side of things, production – essentially all the aspects that go into a shoot. Always take photos, even if you’re working for someone else, make the time. With all that said, I didn’t do it this way. I went to school for art direction and ventured down that path first, then decided later on to somewhat blindly jump into photography. So, there’s many ways to get going, but that’s my advice for someone starting from scratch.

 

 

 

-2                                               Cristiano Ronaldo, “Quick Feet,  Slowed Down”

for Cristiano video click here

 

 

-1                                              Andrés Iniesta, “Quick Feet,  Slowed Down”

for Andrés video click here

 

-3                                              Neymar Junior, “Quick Feet,  Slowed Down”

for Neymar video click here

 
-1                                              video credits

 

 

 

The Daily Edit – Damon Casarez: The New York Times Magazine

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The New York Times Magazine

Directory of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Photo Editor: Amy Kellner
Photo Editor: Christine Walsh
Photographer: Damon Casarez

 

Heidi: I know you started the project with just 3 photos, is that all you had pitched to the NYT for the story and then it developed from there?
Damon: Yes. I was marketing myself for a NYC editorial meetings trip for the following week and I had emailed Amy Kellner at the NYT about a week before going, letting her know I would be coming to town and would love to meet her and show my work. Towards the end of the email, I had one sentence telling her about the project and I attached 2 out of the 3 photos. That’s how this all started.

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( 3 photos that started the project out)

Who did you address to the pitch to and what was your presentation?
The pitch was to Amy Kellner at the NYT. It was super basic, along the lines of “Here is a new project I’m working on about Boomerang kids, young adults who’ve had to move back home after college.” I got a response within the hour, asking if the photos had been published anywhere. We had a phone call shortly after that and she let me know that she would be pitching it to the editorial team and to not show anyone else the photos for now. The next day I received an email saying that it went over great with the team and they wanted me to continue it across the country as a photo essay. It was a dream come true.

Did you send it to anyone else besides the NYT?
I did, I sent it out to about 4 other news based magazines that I thought it would be a great fit for. I didn’t receive any other responses and stopped pitching it.

Was this your first big national news story?
Yes, this was my first national feature story and first cover, of course. I shoot a lot for Los Angeles Magazine, have shot a couple profiles for Bloomberg Businessweek and have had a couple of photos in Pacific Standard Magazine. I assist half time and shoot half time for my income as I’m starting out.

Were you concerned about rejection or did you have enough positive reinforcement prior to reaching out to them?
I’ve learned over the last couple of years after graduating and trying to get my name out in the photo world that rejection is a big part of marketing. You have to have thick skin when you are starting out and no one has heard of you. After making the 1st photo (Jacqueline Boubion,) I knew that the project had potential. Also, after trying to find people on craigslist, I had more responses from writers and photographers who wanted to jump on the project with me. I even got a call from some Hollywood book agent who wanted me to think about making the project into a book or sitcom, since it’s such a relevant topic. I took it down shortly after, ha.

Were you in despair when you decided to to this project, thus it was cathartic?
Yes and no. I had to move back home after having a rough summer where assisting work and shooting work was extremely slow and I had no savings because my overhead was so high with student loans, rent, insurance, etc. Moving back home was my last resort and I felt like a failure for a bit. After beginning the project and realizing how many others were out there like me, it was clear that I needed to bring this story to light and share the experience of the “Boomerang Kids,” including my own story.

What advice would you give to young photo college students?
I would tell students that you have to prepare yourself as much as you can in college. A lot of students don’t and have no idea what they will do after art school and begin trying to figure it out, and then the loans start coming. I had two amazing internships and a few mentors in college and I always tried to meet with other LA photographers, show them my work and get feedback and ask all kinds of questions. I first interned with Maren Levinson, owner of Redeye Reps photo agency, where I learned the business side and marketing side of photography. Next, I interned with Amy Feitelberg, who is photo editor at Los Angeles Magazine. I was able to see how the magazine was run and witness stories from their beginning to it being published. I’m still good friends with both Maren and Amy and constantly ask them for advice and feedback on new work, which is another reason why you should intern.

How receptive has your former school been about this body of work?
My school was extremely receptive. They were very happy to hear the news and hopefully will have me speak there soon! I learned so much on this job and have a lot of insight I could share with students.

How did you decide who you would shoot and how did you go about finding them? Did the magazine get involved?
I found most of the people through a mix of craigslist, and friends of friends. I used Facebook to have my friends reach out to their network of friends and so on. I also found one person, Jessica Meyer, on instagram, by searching hashtags. When I had a potential subject, I would have a long phone conversation with them to see if they were a good fit for the project, then we would talk about their home life so I could get a better idea how I would photograph them. From that point, I would send a brief about each person to the photo editor and we would figure out together if they were right for the story. There were a lot of factors involved for choosing the people, such as what was their major, age, if they had loans, what they were doing now and when they moved back home.

The Daily Edit – Armando Sanchez – Lucky Peach

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Lucky Peach

Art Director: Walter Green
Associate Designer: Helen Tseng
Writer: Kevin Pang
Photographer: Armando Sanchez

Heidi: How did you get connected with Lucky Peach?
Armando: Kevin Pang, the writer of  “Fixed Menu” is a food critic for the Chicago Tribune. So when Lucky Peach contacted him about the piece, he asked a few photo editors at the Tribune about finding a photographer, and I was lucky enough to be recommended.

How did the work in your  “Incarcerated” portfolio help capture the images from Westville? Is that one of the reasons they came to you?
“Incarcerated” acclimated me to working around inmates. It also helped me develop a small flow to working with the jailers or guards, which is much easier than most people think. But the approach to both shoots was so different. When I was working on the “Incarcerated‚” project, I was really trying to understand how the small spaces and restrictions of prison affect a person’s  well-being. When I was in Westville, my focus was the influence of food played in the lives of inmates and whether or not it had an impact on their long-term outlooks and behavior. I’m not sure if that’s why they selected me for this story but I’m sure it helped.

What sort of direction did you get for the story and were you with the writer?
One of the editors at Lucky Peach told me that this story would focus on the types of foods that inmates can create with ingredients you find in a 7-11, and how those foods contrast with the world outside prison. So I knew what to focus my pictures around. Kevin, the writer, was with me during the entire two-day shoot and he was really great to work with. If I was working a situation or if I saw something that I wanted to stop and photograph, he would always ask if I was ready to move on or if I needed more time to shoot. He never made me feel like I needed to work at his pace, which you don’t always get when working with a writer. Actually, when we were in the maximum security wing while they were serving food, I found myself shooting images that may not have related to the guidelines of the assignment, but were just pictures I wanted to make of the recreation room and medical treatment area. Kevin let me do that and never gave me the impression that I needed to move on.

Did you feel threatened or scared at any time?
Never. Everyone I talked to was basically trying to make the best of a bad situation. Prison is full of routine. It’s the same thing every day, down to the minute. You see the same people, guards, other inmates. So I think anytime you add new people to the routine, it’s almost welcomed. Everyone stares at you and asks you small questions. They were curious about why we were there. Once we told them who we were and what the article was about, everyone wanted to talk.

What struck you about the inmates? Tell me about your interactions with them?
Actually, the only time I felt nervous was when we visited the main kitchen. We were talking to some of the inmates who worked in the kitchen, and one of them told us to go look in the walk-in refrigerator. When we went into the refrigerator, the smell was overwhelming, kind of like an old dirty mop and rotten eggs. I have a pretty strong stomach but I was close to heaving. Anyway, the inmate was trying to show several trays of egg casserole to Kevin. The inmate was basically telling Kevin that the casserole was inedible, but one of the prison employees was defending the casserole and told us it was fine to eat. It got kind of tense, so I quietly stepped away and photographed the egg casserole. That picture actually made it into the layout.

Most of the inmates were extremely receptive and friendly. They seemed interested in what we were doing. They were always polite and willing to share their opinions about the food. Some inmates seemed kind of nervous, but once we started talking to them and asking where they were from, most of them opened up. The only people that we didn’t really talk to were the inmates in maximum security. They were kept in their cells and behind several walls of thick glass and steel doors.

Did you taste the Disciplinary Loaf?
I wish. There was no loaf available. Just finding the recipe was kind of difficult. I got the impression that it wasn’t something that was made very often.

(“Nutraloaf aka Disciplinary Loaf is reserved for offenses such as taking part in a riot or assaulting prison staff.”)

Did you eat anything while you were on location? Did you bring your own food?
I ate the first day during a culinary class. They were serving the kinds of food you would eat at Thanksgiving dinner. The prison had a culinary cooking class that served turkey, mashed potatoes, shrimp cocktail, all prepared by the inmates. It was pretty good. But I never ate the creations the inmates made with food from the commissary. I really wanted to try some, but the inmates save up money to buy the ingredients; Ramen, condensed chicken soup, packaged cheese. I didn’t want to take anything they had saved up for. Other than the Thanksgiving-style meal the first day, I didn’t eat while I was there.

You’re a recent graduate, interned and were published several times in the Chicago Tribune. Tell me about your process for handling those shoots.
It’s been a learning experience. I interned at the Tribune from June 2012 to November 2012. I started freelancing for them immediately after the internship was over, but I had to go back to Kentucky to walk at my graduation ceremony in December. I’ve spent most of my college career interning at newspapers. The Tribune was my last of four internships, and I was pretty sure that I wanted to work for a newspaper when I was done at the Tribune. But after I finished my internship at the Tribune, I found myself in a pretty cool situation where I could immediately start receiving work as a freelancer and still pursue local news, all from the Tribune. From there, I started reaching out to other editorial clients, pursued commercial work and have been trying to teach myself the ins and outs of working as a freelance photographer.

When did you start shooting photos and knew this is what you wanted to do?
I started shooting photos after my mom made me take a photography class while I was a junior in high school. But I knew I wanted to do this when I was a senior in high school. I was watching John Moore present work from Iraq at a high school journalism conference at the University of Texas. He was still with the AP at the time and I was pretty moved by his photos and the team he oversaw that won the Pulitzer. I actually talked to him for so long that I followed him outside until he had to cross the street. After that, I was pretty determined to work on stories I care about.

Garden & Gun – Jody Horton

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Garden & Gun

Art Director: Marshall McKinney
Photography Director: Maggie Brett Kennedy
Associate Art Director: Braxton Crim
Assistant Photo Editor: Margaret Houston
Photographer: Jody Horton

Heidi: How many days did you have to shoot this project?
Jody: All production was accomplished in 3 days. We had a travel day on both sides so I was gone for 5 days in all.

Do you speak Spanish?
I lived in Costa Rica for a few years after college, and living in Texas speak limited Spanish with frequency, but its pretty survival-level.

Were there any language barriers that made this colorful or a challenge?
At one point I was trying to ask a mezcalero how old his youngest son was, but accidentally asked him how old his worst son was. I realized this only much later.

Did you study the agave process before the shoot?
I knew how maguey were cut and trimmed and that the piñas were roasted underground but had not even seen photos of the fermentation and distillation.

Can you tell us your approach to a project like this? Do you story board it?
I love when I can jump in and photograph people doing what they do and can simply document it, staying out of the way mostly, but also asking questions that help me understand what is important to the subjects, why they do what they are doing, and why it has meaning to them.

One goal of mine with the mezcal shoot was to photograph all of the stages of production. There were many natural moments in this process but because making mezcal takes several days, and because we were working in remote areas without the benefit of phones or e-mail, there was no way to schedule a shoot – or to know at what stage of the process a given mezcalero would be in when we arrived. As a result, some directing comes into play – asking people to do what they would do if they were doing x – and making this feel like a natural moment.

When an image has to fit into a very specific space – to account for copy or other predetermined limitation – I love to sketch it out. For editorial work I almost never storyboard, but I do visualize what I hope to see, or what I hope to create.

Were you traveling with the writer?
Yes. I traveled with writer Logan Ward. Due to the challenge of travel and communications this was the best option by far and I’m grateful this was so. It was a fantastic collaboration, and I think we both feel like we made each other better. Our great producer, Blair Richardson, also traveled with us. Blair, who lives in Mexico City, deserves the credit for finding the story in the first place.

Several of your portfolio galleries center around the process of harvest. How did you get started in this niche?
My first exposure to food photography was while working with a small publication when in grad school for Cultural Anthropology. I was attracted to the idea of transformation – things or people moving from one state to another. This is inherently interesting to me and translates, in food work, to harvest/processing/preparation.

Seeing a harvest, or a documentation of it, is also a very tangible way to connect to being conscious of where food comes from. I’m also drawn to the energy and human interaction that happens here – and the goal of capturing and reveling something not widely known.

Its gratifying then to show someone how an oyster is dredged from the Gulf and have them say “Wow, I never knew that was how they did it” – even if they had eaten the same oysters all their life.

The best part of being a photographer is having an excuse to have access to go see and do things like this. I started by asking ” I wonder what this looks like” and then tried to find a way to get to take those pictures. There are so many projects that I hope to do like this in my lifetime.

I recently produced a project for a tequila company in Jalisco, Mexico.  I understand there’s an old growth agave shortage at the moment. Were the fields you were shooting in  patrolled? Was security an issue for you?

How cool.

These fields for the mezcal piece were in very remote areas on small farms and were operated only by the families themselves for the most part. Except for rows of baby plants – that were used like a nursery to transfer elsewhere – there were no formal fields of cultivated plants. These guys had very little resources so no one would have been able to patrol the fields even if there was a threat – unless they did it themselves.

Its true that there is a shortage of maguey. The equation as I understand it is that larger tequila producers, who are supposed to use only one variety of blue agave from the state of Jalisco, have had trouble keeping up with demand.

An illegal trade in maguey harvested from other states (all varieties- not just blue) began 10 or more years ago to respond to this supply problem. Its unclear how much worse it has gotten exactly but given the rise of popularity of tequila – and now mezcal – reports that things are worse seem well-founded. I’m not sure how frequent outright theft of plants occurs from the kinds of fields I saw. Most often plants are harvested by local farmers from their own lands and sold to these smugglers – at a higher rate than they could receive for them locally.

I worried a little about security issues before I left, but we encountered no problems whatsoever.

 

Some outtakes from the shoot.

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Felipe Cortés daughter sips mezcal.

 

 

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The finished product of the distillation – pure mezcal – is caught by a jicara

 

 

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After fermenting in a large wooden vat, the mash is hauled bucket-by-bucket to the oven.

 

 

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Mash from a batch of mezcal is dumped by Joaquin Garcia.

 

 

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Felipe Cortés trims the spiny leaves from a maguey with a machete after cutting it down.

 

 

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Felipe Cortés and his son Ageo at their palenque.

The Weekly Edit: Women’s Health – Jamie Chung

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Women’s Health

Creative Director: Theresa Griggs
Director of Photography:
Sarah Rozen
Deputy Director of Photography: Freyda Tavin
Prop Stylist: Elizabeth Press
Photographer: Jamie Chung

Heidi: What specifically about Jamie’s work made you choose him for this project?
Freyda: I’m a huge fan of Jamie’s work. He can take an ordinary object and transform it into a work of art. His photos are deceptively simple and complex at the same time. In this case the subject matter wasn’t unique but the editor’s and writer’s take were and I wanted the photos to reflect that.

Can you take me through the creative process for this feature?
The process: Myself, Sarah and two art directors met with the story editor who went over, at that point, the story outline and any specific points she wanted to come through in the piece. We all brainstormed and came up with a few ideas. I talked to Jamie about it and he had more than a few great ideas of his own and sketched them out. From there Jamie and I both did some major drug research and then I brought Elizabeth Press, the prop stylist into the process.

I enjoyed the notes of drug addiction in the photos, what material did you use for the “sugar” in razor shot?
She found the perfect colored sugar for the blade shot so to answer your question that really is sugar. Jamie was set on using a glass spoon which was a great choice but we did lose one in the heating process. I never thought I’d want a razor blade hanging in my living room but it is just such a beautiful photo as are the rock candy and spoon. They’re the perfect visual interpretation of the story title, “Sweet and Vicious”.

Heidi: What’s your creative process like?
Jamie: I’m very curious in general, always watching, reading or listening to something. Making an effort to be conscious of my surroundings helps a great deal- (actually- I just made a picture inspired by a Chinese restaurant’s fish tank..!) I also do journaling, sensory deprivation- aka extended showering, and sketching.

You seem to work a lot with metaphors, what inspires your word play and how does that process unfold?
These photographs were made to accompany a story about the addictive/ harmful effects of sugar. And that’s where the sugar as addictive substance concept comes in. Most photography I am currently working on can be divided in three modes. One being product still life where I’m mainly focused on presenting and creating a mood around an object. The second is reportage, I’m very interested in artifacts. The other is a more illustrative kind of work that’s based on a concept or story. I approach these images much like a copywriter would. Looking for the succinct way of describing something in a powerful one or two word answer, this becomes a jumping off point for brainstorming. Also it was a great experience working with Freya, she gave me a balance of support and freedom to interpret this story.

What was the biggest challenge for the shoot?
One challenge in interpreting this concept was approaching the drug/substance metaphor without being to cheeky/ going over the top. For me it’s fascinating when a picture can say more by showing less. Another was creating a feeling of danger and seduction without being overly dark or gloomy (here we used color to strike a balance).

How did you get your start in photography?
I went to Parson’s in NYC and assisted several different photographers with various styles. Still life seemed to resonate with me mainly because I enjoy experimenting in the studio and the process overall.

The Weekly Edit- Adweek: Michael Clinard

- - The Daily Edit

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ADWEEK

Photo Editor: Margo Didia
Creative Director: Nick Mrozowski
Props and Food Styling: John Lavin
Retouching and Compositing: Gretchen Hilmers
Photographer: Michael Clinard

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Heidi: How often do you shoot for Adweek?
Michael: About three to five times per year. Since the start of 2014, I’ve tackled two conceptual feature projects, and in those instances, I shot both the cover and opening art to accompany the story. In the last half of 2013, I did the same on the subject of Big Pharma and contributed five images to their annual Hot List issue, published in December. I should just say quickly that in addition to my photographic practice, I exercise a particular form of ideation for Nick and Margo. I consider what I do for Adweek to be a form of grappling. I take their concept and wrestle with it.

Do you typically sketch out all our your ideas?
By and large, yes. Some things can’t be said with words. It’s important for me to find ways to convey a message through symbols, subject matter and themes that are pre-existent in our collective conscience, that visual ether. I love conjuring, so I use all the things at my disposal to bang out my best take on what Norman Rockwell might do if he were in the hustle in 2014.

How much drawing do you do while you are not shooting? Do you have a journal?
While I’m drawing all the time, I like to keep fit photographically, too. I’ve been doing some experiments with tissue paper, shooting into glass and mirrors, using blueberries as indigo, etc. Since February, I’ve slowly been adding things to a personal journal of sorts: The Hills, 98006. I keep a record there of what I’m reading, what moves me. It’s an index, too. Something I can later refer to.

How did The Hills, 98006 come about? What was the impetus for it?
The Hills, 98006 came out of falling in love with a neighborhood and a reawakening in my spiritual life. There’s no prescription, but for me, I read. I listen to audio books. I get out of the house and walk in the woods. If the jewel from my daughter’s tiara falls out, I fix it that evening. Time has taken on less meaning or importance to me; my relationships with my wife and daughter have grown. The Hills shows glimpses of that dimension of my life.

How did this idea for a chicken eating a burger come about?
Margo got in touch on Tuesday, May 6. Her emails are never really long, just to the point. In a word, perfect. She asked if I was around, and my intuition told me this would be something rad.

I told her that if I was needed to churn something out in next 60 hours (like that Snapchat Ghost concept back in February), then regrettably I’d be unable to since my family was enroute to California for what would become the most epic of family vacations.

We determined that I could doodle it up Wednesday and produce the thing over the course of the next few days (while on the family trip), and we could shoot the whole thing on Monday, May 12, so it could hit the printers later that week, like clockwork.

Was the overhead cover idea nixed due to type legibility or the single chicken became more impactful?
That concept was maybe the third or fourth thing I passed along, the one where you see the suggestion of many chicks swarming a burger from above. I sent the hero option and profile options late Tuesday night, and she signed off on those Wednesday morning. That one was generated strictly for giggles Wednesday evening. Another angle. Younger chickens. Something more graphic.

Did the printed idea hatch from that initial sketch?
Ha! Yeah. . . I’ve shot all kinds of animals, so I was only submitting angles and vantage points that I felt I could actually create. It helped to know the anatomy of a chicken, understand how it eats and know that at some point it would have to look up because it has to swallow. That confirms I’ll get my straight-on hero shots, but chickens don’t really look like chickens from the perspective of a traditional headshot. My feeling was that it might be best to see it from the side, so it’d read.

Was the chicken well behaved?
Absolutely. I hired an animal wrangler named Charlie Wainger. Charlie talks chicken. Charlie understands that there’s a certain way you talk to a hen. Whispers are effective. I never know when something will go sideways, so I had him bring a brown hen named, Martha, in case Cleopatra decided she was watching her figure that day (Cleopatra’s the white chicken).

Are you still a beef burger guy?
For some reason this feels like a chicken and egg question. I don’t discriminate against form. Be you cow or be you chicken — I’ve eaten worse.

Photo District News: Photo Editor Amy Wolff

- - The Daily Edit


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I had the pleasure of connecting with Amy Wolff, Photo Editor at Photo District News. In order to frame the interview properly I asked her to explain her role at the magazine.

Amy: Though my title is “photo editor,” the job description is different than it’s been at other magazines. I don’t do any assigning or producing. I contribute ideas for stories, help identify trends and issues in the photo industry, and suggest sources for articles and interviews. My contributions are based on what I know about what’s going on in the photo industry as a whole: I am in constant contact with photographers and photo industry folks (emails, meetings, portfolio reviews, openings, events). When the editors discuss story ideas, our goal is to gather information and present it in a way that we hope our readers can learn from, that will help them navigate the business, or give them ideas on how photographers handle challenges– challenges regarding business, funding, marketing, techniques, landing assignments, getting a grant, finding income, selling prints. We try to strike a balance in our coverage that serves readers working in every genre of photography.

One of my biggest roles is providing content for our photo blog, Photo of the Day (POTD) (http://potd.pdnonline.com/). POTD’s audience is much broader than the magazine. Simply put it’s a place to celebrate great imagery, without regard to specific usefulness or story themes. I have discretion over the selection. Admittedly I’m not a great writer, but I’m getting better.

Heidi: For PDN ‘s 30 typically how many submissions do you get?
Amy: As a photo editor I look forward to PDN’s 30 every year. I’d been asked to nominate photographers in the past. I was really excited to be a part of it this year. I started at PDN in February 2013, so I’ve only been through the process once. I’d say the number of submissions depends on the number of folks invited to upload images. PDN editors ask a wide variety of folks (editors, art buyers, gallerists, curators, consultants, publishers) to nominate photographers. Those photographers are invited to upload images to be considered for PDN’s 30. This year about 400 photographers uploaded images.

What specific criteria do you look for in the work in order for it to be considered?
We look for work that is fresh, inspiring, creative and unique. We also want as varied a list as possible because we want the issue to be useful and inspiring to young photographers. Locations, gender, specialties, styles and subject matter are all things we take into consideration.

Once all the considerations are made, how many make the first cut? Can you describe that process?
PDN’s editors judge the PDN’s 30, and there are multiple rounds of judging. We vote on the entries, and tally the votes. After that initial judging we’ll start meeting, as a group, and go through the top 100 or 125 – and by go through I mean look at their entries, read their bios, go to their websites, Google them…try to find out as much information as possible. We narrow it down from there verbally, collectively as a group.

And then the subsequent cuts after that? Do you break it up into categories internally to cover a broad range of styles?
Yes, subsequent cuts are made based on initial ranking, and for the sake of diversifying the list. We don’t have a specific number in mind though – it’s not like we say we have to have 5 photojournalists, 5 fashion photographers, 5 portrait photographers, etc. But we don’t want to have 20 photographers who shoot fashion and are all based in NYC out of a list of 30.

What would you say is the biggest challenge for that process?
The biggest challenge is that we can only pick 30. Sometimes 20 photographers who shoot fashion are all amazing! We have to hope that they come back the following year and we’ll have another chance.

Once a photographer is selected, do you ever hear about success stories following the nominations?
After the 30 are picked my work has just begun. I can’t begin to estimate the numbers of emails I’ve exchanged with these folks. I’m invested in these photographers – I feel like I know them (as much as you can get to know someone over email or the phone). I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the photographers in person post-PDN’s 30 and I’ve asked them how things are going. Many have said PDN’s 30 has helped them with networking (ex. when emailing a photo editor they have never met before they put “PDN’s 30” in the subject line) and getting assignments (ex. clients reach out to them saying they heard of them from PDN’s 30).

For promo or personal work, what strikes a cord with the editors? Have you noticed any trends in the imagery lately?
For Tumblr and Promos We Kept there isn’t a formula to what gets promoted on the blog. We post unusual or ingenious promos, or promos we feel deserve some attention. A lot of thought (and money) goes into those and it’s nice to be able to give them a platform. A lot of the promos I’ve received lately have been zines or small, self-published books. In fact, I have a small pile on my desk of promos I need to blog about. Thanks for the reminder!

What does your office walls look like?
No office for this gal – cube with 3 walls. Empty cubical walls are not visually stimulating so I cover every inch with promos and prints. I’ve been in the habit to refresh the décor after each issue close.

How much mail do you get per day and what makes you keep a promo?
I get more mail at PDN than I have anywhere else. But I do open and look at all of it. Sometimes I think photographers over think the promo – postcard, glossy or matte, envelope or no envelope, vellum, label or no label, hand-written or typed. If the image(s) is compelling, printed well, and your name/location/website is clearly noted, it’s a successful promo. I keep promos so I remember them – for a future article in PDN, for a POTD, or to remember to keep an eye out. I look at work digitally all the time. It’s nice to have something to hold.

I know the editorial market is really tough, any advice for seasoned and emerging artists?
It is still possible to be a successful photographer in 2014 but the rules have changed. There isn’t one path to success. If you are good at what you do and you work hard at it, and you’re a nice person and people like working with you, you have a good shot. I strongly recommend to photographers whose phones aren’t ringing to keep shooting. I know it’s hard to motivate but it’s important to keep making new work so you always have something new to share with people either in person or on social media. Keeping in touch is important – I ask that photographers add me to their mailing list (email, snail mail). I don’t remember everything I see or everyone I meet and need to be reminded that you’re out there.

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For Exposures: What criteria are you looking for?
To clarify, each issue of PDN has a theme (April “PDN’s 30,” May “Lighting,” June “Photo Annual, July “Fine Art,” August “Publishing”) and we try to think ahead about what stories we’ll need for each issue. All of the editors at PDN pitch ideas to each other. We share photo stories and talk about work all the time. Senior editor Conor Risch fields the story ideas for the Exposures section, and he tends to showcase new personal projects, or work that is currently showing in a gallery, about to be published in book form, or work that we feel our audience needs to know about.

Have you noticed any trends lately, do you try and strike a balance between emerging artists and established?
We’re trying to strike a balance of coverage that serves readers working in every genre of photography and at every stage of their careers. When we consider sources for articles, we look at people who have a useful story to share that other photographers can learn from. I think documentary and more long-term story telling is trending lately.

Have you been surprised by any particular artist? ( meaning it was a departure from their normal work? )
My background in photo editing comes from editorial but PDN has opened my eyes to so much more. What I’ve found surprising is how many photographers are shooting both commercial and fine art work. To me, that would be the best of both worlds – make money with a larger commercial job and have the time & financial freedom to make the work you really want to make.

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For the D’Agata feature, do you have any outtakes you can share?
 No, we were given a specific number of images provided by the publisher for the exclusive purpose of reproduction in PDN along with the article.

What in particular about his story gripped the editors for this feature?
For starters his images. He photographs addicts, sex, and prostitution. As our Editor, Holly Hughes, says, D’Agata is a “photographer’s photographer.” Many photographers have cited his work as inspiration. Meghan Ahearn, who was our Managing Editor at the time, was looking through the Prestel Spring catalogue and saw he had a new book coming out, and that the book was a fairly large collection of his work. Senior Editor, Conor Risch, ended up interviewing D’Agata in person which turned into the feature (Antoine D’Agata: Photographing Life at Society’s Margins) we published in the April 2014 issue. It’s a great read if you haven’t read it, and it’s still online:

http://www.pdnonline.com/features/Antoine-DAgata-Pho-10726.shtml

What was the determining factor for the images that did make in the print edition?  ( did you have an online gallery )
It’s like most magazines – the number of images published depends on page count and word count. We can include up to 10 images in online galleries which is helpful when we can’t fit everything in the magazine. We did have an online gallery for D’Agata but in this case included everything we ran in print.

Without a real rhythm, do you find selecting the covers a challenge?
Covers usually come from the theme section – April’s cover came from one of our PDN’s 30’s, Charlie Engman, May’s came from the lighting feature, Nigel Cox, June’s came from one of our the Photo Annual winners, Julia Fullerton-Batten. (more in the newsstand q&a)

Do you follow any sort of edit calendar?
Yes, our themes are chosen ahead of time.

How much pressure do you have for newsstand sales?
We do discuss how the cover might look on the newsstand, but probably less than at consumer magazines because most of our readers are subscribers. When we’re choosing a cover (it typically comes from the theme section) we’re more concerned about not repeating something we’ve done in the past, and it’s appeal to a visually sophisticated audience. We never crop photos inside the magazine: Ever. The cover, however, is a different story. We do occasionally crop the cover image with the permission of the photographer.

Knowing we may have to crop either the top, bottom or sides, we initially look for images that can be cropped without changing the image too much The Creative Director, Darren Ching, and I then pick a handful of images and place them in a cover template. We look for images that don’t compete with our logo, and images that aren’t covered by our logo once they’re placed. We’ll edit from there as a group.

Is the cover image always an outtake from the inside stories?
Yes, again, the cover usually comes from the theme section. If we run the image on the cover, we wouldn’t then run it on the inside of the magazine.

I know you have a side business called CoEdit. What can you tell us about that?

I first met Tim Klein when I was photo editing for a magazine based in Chicago (Michigan Avenue). The assignment was rather, challenging, haha, so we kind of bonded over that. A few months later Tim called and asked if I would consult with him on an idea he had. Some of his clients and photo-shoot subjects had purchased his prints. That sparked his idea to sell photography prints online and he needed help with photographer connections and photo-editing. The more time I invested, the more I liked the idea and the more I wanted to be a part of it so I asked if he was interested in a partnership and he said yes. There are a lot of places and ways to buy photography but CoEdit is different. We sell editorial and commercial photographers’ work, provide context for the images and artists, and it’s curated by industry folks and tastemakers.

 

 

 

 

The Weekly Edit: Cover Déjà Vu

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The Hype Machine is in full effect, it’s rare to have a celebrity blanketing the newsstands in this capacity. Is it because she is pregnant, poised to dominate the Hollywood kingdom, or the fact that she’s a cover cameleon?

Glamour

Creative Director: Paul Ritter
Design Director: Sarah Vinas
Deputy Editor/Visuals Editor: Julie Stone
Senior Photo Editor: Martha Maristany, Brian Stone
Photographer: Tom Munro

Dazed

Creative Director: Christopher Simmonds
Art Director: Jenny Campbell-Colquhoun
Photographic Editor: Lauren Ford
Photographer: Benjamin Alexander Huseby

 

Men’s Style

Art Director: Chris Andrew
Photo Editor: Jo Bainbridge
Photographer: Vincent Peters/Trunk Archive

 

Vanity Fair

Design Director: Chris Dixon
Photography Director: Susan White
Art Director: Julie Weiss, Hilary Fitzgibbons
Senior Photography Producer: Kathryn MacLeod
Photographer: Craig McDean

 

 

 

The Weekly Edit- FHM: Emily Shur

- - The Daily Edit

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FHM

Picture Editor: Rachael Clark
Art Director:
Will Jack
Photographer: Emily Shur

Heidi: What was it like to direct the talent, I’d imagine it’s like flipping a switch, and he’s on. How much interaction did you two have?  
Emily: We had a good amount of interaction.  It’s true that photographing someone at Will’s level is a lot like flipping a switch, but there has to be a good relationship between photographer and subject regardless.  He doesn’t need much direction from me, but I do think that he (and most talent) is relying on me to let him know if something isn’t working.  I think a thumbs up, a thumbs down, or a suggestion on how to make the picture better is always appreciated, and that’s part of the trust one builds as a photographer.  The concepts had been approved ahead of time so we were all aware of the different shots.  We would shoot a little, and then sometimes Will would want to see the pictures.  Sometimes he would make adjustments after he looked at a few.  We’d go back to shooting and he would slightly change his face or body language.  I think of subjects like Will as a gift.  It’s so amazing to photograph someone who is so naturally talented as a performer.  The trick is to make sure the end result is worthy of such a generous gift.

Since he’s been so heavily photographed was there pressure to try and make this shoot stand out?  
There’s always pressure to make a shoot stand out.  Always.  One thing I had going for me with this one was that this shoot was in character as Ron Burgundy which hadn’t been done that much (at least in the past 10 years or so) at the time.  I LOVE Anchorman and was beyond excited to shoot Ron Burgundy in all of his glory.  I mean, Baxter was there and everything.  I was admittedly very nervous before the shoot which is pretty normal for me.  I hate that I get so nervous, but I suppose that means I care a lot.

What sort of direction did the magazine give you?  
The magazine actually gave quite a bit of direction, which I like.  They came up with most of the shots we did ahead of time.  The general idea was to do an old school “At Home With…” shoot you might have seen in past issues of Life Magazine with someone like Frank Sinatra.  The shoot would be Frank, or in this case Ron, going about his daily business at home being effortlessly cool, but of course with a sense of humor.  They sent a pretty detailed PDF with reference images and a shot list.  I loved all of it which made me even more excited about the shoot.

A lot of your work has a sparkle of humor, but I wouldn’t call you overtly animated / funny. How does your own personality transcend your work?
Hey, I am funny!  It’s true that I’m not overly animated, loud, or hyper….I’m pretty mellow, but I am funny and more importantly, I think I can recognize funny in photographic form.  I don’t take pictures because I aspire to be a comedian or an actor or a model.  I take pictures because I want to be the best photographer I can be.  Photographing a joke is very different than hearing a joke or seeing a sequence of events that results in a laugh.  The viewer is seeing a single frame and that’s it.  So, the joke needs to be readable in that one frame.  It’s not easy, and not even all funny people are good at being funny in still photographs.  So, it’s especially awesome when I have the opportunity to photograph someone who gets the process of still photography.

You regularly update your blog, with long written entries as well which I enjoy. Describe this creative outlet for you, do you update on a schedule or when it strikes you?
I really only write when the mood strikes.  I used to do it more than I do now, but I try to keep up with it as much as I can.  It’s pretty time consuming because I don’t just write stream of consciousness style.  I go back re-read things like 4-5 times and make little changes each time.  If I don’t have time to write I’ll just post images – outtakes, published images, and personal work.  I post images that I like and see which ones other people respond to the most.  I think blogs are a good sounding board for new work.

The Weekly Edit – Women’s Health: Sarah Rozen

- - The Daily Edit

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Women’s Health

Photo Director: Sarah Rozen

Fashion Director: Jacqueline Azria

Creative Director: Theresa Griggs

Photographers: Williams + Hirakawa

Heidi: What made you choose Palm Springs for location? East coast long winter?
Sarah: We wanted something dramatic and a little Mad Max feel so we originally looked into this cool dam but couldn’t permit that. Then our Fashion Director, Jacqueline Azria, who is French happened to remember always loving the windmills on the drive to Palm Springs.

Did you have a studio day and location day for this?
We actually set up a little studio in the Parking Lot. We shot the on location shots first and then the studio stuff. 

What about W+H made you choose them for this shoot?
I have shot a fashion story with Williams and Hirakawa almost a year before in Alaska and had loved the photos. And had been waiting for the right story to use them again for. I liked this one for them  because it was completely different than the previous fashion story. They are really good to work with and the results are always stunning.

What makes you stick a mailed promo on your wall? I’m sure you get a flurry?
Something has to grab me. Usually it is different or drama in the narrative. Can’t just be the same old same old. 

Are you partial to female photographers? Meaning does gender ever play a role for your projects?
It depends on the story and depends on the subject. I really just try to match the right photographer for each story.

The Weekly Edit: Ethan Pines: Forbes Magazine

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Forbes

Art and Design Director:  Robert Mansfield
Photo Editor: Meredith Nicholson
Photographer: Ethan Pines
Retouchers: Rebecca Bausher and Gretchen Hilmers

Heidi: You were shooting some of the wealthiest people in the US, what sort of production perks came with this? Besides simple things like Formula One cars and NASCAR as a back up?
Ethan: You’d think there would be loads of perks, right? This was a DIY production, like so many editorial shoots. But the benefit of shooting venture capitalists is, they’re the guys with the money. Sequoia Capital (subject of the article, stars of the race-car shot) paid for the Formula One and NASCAR cars, the props to round it out, extra lighting / grip, and my favorite prop stylist Shannon Amos. And the nice people at the Bay Area Discovery Center let us use the location in exchange for, I believe, a fine bottle of Bourbon.

As for the large gathering of company founders, we shot it quickly on the floor of the Tesla Motors factory. The perks were (1) someone brought me BBQ chips and a vitamin water; (2) high ceilings and plenty of shooting space; (3) getting to explore the Tesla factory, which is this amazing confluence of people, technology and robots reminiscent of dinosaurs.

You mentioned this was an ad-scale production. Did you produce this alone or did the magazine help you?
I typically produce my own shoots for Forbes, once they secure the subject. Since I’m the one who insisted the pit-crew shot wouldn’t be too over-the-top, it pretty much fell to me to produce this one.

In this case, I and Andrew Kovacs at Sequoia essentially co-produced it. Andrew and Forbes coordinated the company founders for the cover, all of whom were originally backed by Sequoia as start-ups. Andrew organized the race cars, secured pit-crew wardrobe and props, and helped with various details. I spent three days texting, emailing and phone-calling my brains out to get everything in place. Sequoia was extremely excited about the pit-crew shot, but I don’t think they realized what it takes to produce a photo shoot. All those details — locations, access, parking, power, water, food, shade, props, restrooms, being able to see at 4 a.m., directions, permission, weather, wind — you can’t take anything for granted. Then there’s the actual shoot, when you’re asking business guys to act and inhabit roles — and do it for an hour or so.

The magazine was available for whatever help I needed, from approving locations to using their pull to make things happen. The entire crew helped by working hard and passionately as always. I have to recognize my assistants Brad Wenner and Podbereski, who did a great job on too little sleep.

Scheduling billionaires is no small feat. What was the biggest challenge?
Fortunately it was not me but the the good people of Sequoia who scheduled that group. I’m sure there were scores of challenges I never heard about; all these major company founders were rearranging their schedules and flying in just for the shoot. I did, however, field a lot of questions about what people should wear.

My tough moment came at the shoot when Doug Leone, the head of Sequoia Capital, refused to be out in front of everyone on the cover as Forbes had planned. He wanted this to be about the founders, not about himself. Which is understandable. I’m standing there at the shoot, in front of 14 billionaires who are giving us 30 minutes, thinking, OK, what now? Do I argue on behalf of my client and jeopardize the good vibe at the shoot? No, but maybe there’s a middle ground. We compromised on having him second row, somewhere just off center. I scrapped my pre-laid plan for arranging everyone and did it on the fly.

How many days was this project?
All told, probably seven to eight days. A day of pre-production emails and phone calls from L.A. Two days of scouting and prepro in the Bay Area. Two days of shooting. Two days in post. Not to mention two days roundtrip driving to the Bay Area and back.

What sort of monkey wrench did running out of gas on the freeway do to your productivity?
I’m often overextended and pushing the fuel gauge to E, but this had never happened before. When emails, texts and phone calls are coming and going, it’s easy to forget about gas. I got rescued pretty quickly by the roaming Metro guys who patrol freeways looking for stalled cars during rush hour. What an incredible service. They’re like traffic guardian angels.

The episode actually didn’t hurt my schedule that badly. I was a bit shaken after sitting on the freeway with cars rushing by on both sides. And it made me realize that I need to take a breath.

How much time did you get with the subjects?
For the cover shot we had 30 minutes, which of course just flew by. At the end we yanked away the grey seamless, formed them into a loose line and used the factory as background for another eight minutes or so. For the race-car shoot, we set up from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m., then had about an hour with all the Sequoia guys. I tend to ask for as much time as I can get.

Were you nervous prior/during the shoot?
Oh, sure. Before, during and after. How the hell do you arrange a large group vertically on a plain background, without furniture or a room to rely on? Would they be on time and easy to work with? What do you do with them once they’re arranged? How do you light and shoot two large group setups (grey background, factory background) in 30-40 minutes? I planned a lot of this during the drive to San Francisco. And it’s always amazing how even the busiest, wealthiest people will listen to and grant control to the photographer. You just have to take charge (in a friendly way) and ask for what you want. I told them that they could all go out and destroy each other’s companies if they wanted to when this was over, but here they were all buddies, and I wanted some good loose interaction among the group.

For the race-car shot, we didn’t have a location finalized until the day before. And there were so many moving parts to put together. Makes you really appreciate what producers do. Once I was on board for these shoots, they consumed my days and my thoughts until they were done. I think that nervousness helps you be prepared.

How difficult was it to get your cover shot?
Not easy, but not torturous either. My crew and I showed up three hours early to load in and set up lighting, so I could focus on the subjects when we started shooting. Once we got everyone up on apple boxes and did some positioning and re-positioning, I mostly worked on creating an atmosphere where people felt at ease and trusted me. We got some straight shots, like the one that ultimately ran, some lighter ones, and some with everyone interacting. There were only supposed to be 12 people in the cover shot. And suddenly that night I was counting 14 on the set! That was a little surprise.

The toughest parts were the time limit — I was working like a madman for those 30 minutes — arranging 14 people vertically, watching 14 people at once in the viewfinder, and trying to get quality moments from everyone.

I also try to monitor the small details, like the woman in front placing her hand on her hip. All that being said, the shot on the cover is a single capture. No mixing and matching of faces. No one even blinking in that shot.

What about your work struck the magazine to award you this job?
I think they like the way that I always bring back surprises. And I try to make the business world as colorful and unusual as I can.

Most interesting thing you learned on set with such game changers?
Due to the short time frame, not a lot. You know what I loved seeing? The variety among them. A group of billionaire company founders is no longer a group of middle-aged white guys. They were also very human, easygoing and funny. I’d love to hang out with that group again.

Who’s in the driver seat?
The “driver” in the F1 car is a woman from Sequoia. We even gave her extensions so her hair could be flowing out of the helmet. The location is a walkway in a kids-oriented museum in the Bay Area. We had a NASCAR car as backup, trucked all the way up from L.A. We never even got to fire them up. That F1 car is 16 feet long. It’s a monstrous beauty in person.

The Daily Edit: Ian Spanier

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Photographer/Creative Director: Ian Spanier
Art Director/Design
: Warren Mason
Editor: Brian Dawson

Heidi: What compelled you to do your own magazine?
Ian: Last summer I met with Creative Director Warren Mason to discuss ideas on what together we could create as a promotional piece. Being someone that shoots a wide variety of work it is always a challenge to show all the areas that I work, especially in one place. Initially we thought about making a poster from a personal shoot I did but the more we looked at my notebook of the past year’s shoots the more the idea of making a multipage piece came to light. Warren being a seasoned veteran of magazines, it seemed like a no-brainer to just make our own magazine.

I know you were formally a PD, would you say it’s easy for you to edit your own work? For this project, do you give edited images to design or is this a collaboration?
I’ve always been fairly good at removing myself from the fact that I shot the same photographs that I am editing, so I am able to provide Warren with a very edited version of a story, and/or only a few additional options to consider when I need input. Ultimately I can change an image if he chooses one and I think a different one is better, but he and I have always worked well together- having worked together at one magazine and as well on a coffee table book. I wanted to collaborate with someone on this- which I think it a very important thing to do, particularly when you have a lot of respect for that person. I’ve seen Warren make some amazing layouts so I trust his opinion…and he likes my work- which helps! I was also able to enlist Brian Dawson, a great editor whom I had also worked with in the past. Brian is able to take my medicore copy and turn it into much more concise and clear thoughts. His input on the look of the magazine is also helpful as his years of experience provides one more checkpoint in the process of the magazine as a whole.

Tell me about the process of putting this together? You have an editor and a CD?
I basically create an issue by collecting options for cover, features and “ads” by going through my Lightroom catalogs. Since I made a feature from a personal shoot in the first issue, I now make a point to do a personal shoot for each issue. Personal work of course is important for all photographers and having a place to show it has been great. In many ways I owe that first personal shoot credit for giving us the idea to make a magazine. Now I basically come up with a new mini project for each issue.

From there I create some lores folders and send that to Warren. We have a quick conversation about what what works together. I am trying to keep the variety up, and at the same time make sure that there’s some cohesiveness to the magazine. I also contact one of my clients to get a quote from them about what it is like to work with me. As a whole, the point of the magazine is to give the viewer a glimpse about what I bring to to the table as a photographer, who I am as a person and what it is like to work with me. I think people loose sight that the photography part of being a photographer is just a small piece of the puzzle. Not to discount the ability it takes, but talent in many ways is the given, we are hired for jobs based on the prospect that we can shoot, so getting across how you are to be on set with, what your presentation level is, and how you run your business is what I believe really builds you up as a successful photographer.Brian, as I mentioned is the editor and Warren is the CD.

Do you have a printer version?
Initially I only thought this would be for iPad and issuu.com which is a great site Suzanne Sease turned me on to. As timing was, Blurb offered a printed magazine and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to print out a few copies for meetings and whatnot. I ordered about 20 copies and was amazed at the quality, and as well, the members of Team Braveheart (subjects in the first issue personal project) all wanted copies as well. I was able to send them the link to Blurb and there they could order their own copy. It’s not cheap, but it is very nice.

What other promo materials do you send out?
I send out one-off electronic promo cards regularly to all my contacts as well as to potential clients about every 5 weeks. I also utilize social media a ton, I don’t post personal stuff, minus a comment about the Yankees or Bruce Springsteen from time to time. I don’t believe people care about pictures of my food, so I try to keep it to what I am working on, behind-the-scenes shots and interesting articles or great images from other photographers that I like. I also push to have a lot of meetings. I feel the personal contact is extremely important. Getting meetings is hard, but I am always trying for a few minutes of face time. I do have printed promo cards and such, but the cost of mailing then out doesn’t seem worthwhile to me, I’d rather hand them to potential clients face-to face.

What sort of response have you gotten from art buyers fellow PE, clients?
So far response from art buyers and photo editors, creatives, etc. has been great, recently I switched to showing my portfolio on my iPad, and having a printed piece to show people I think really drives home the right message- I like people to see that my work holds up when ink gets to paper. As well, having a copy on set has been very nicely received, it’s a great conversation piece.

The Daily Edit – Gabriela Herman: Conde Nast Traveler

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Conde Nast Traveler

Creative Director: Yolanda Edwards
Photo Director: Nancy Jo Iacoi
Photo Editor: Leonor Mamanna

Photographer: Gabriela Herman

Heidi: How did you break into travel photography?How you do you describe yourself: travel/lifestyle?
Gabriela: I’ve always been a traveler. When I was just 10-days old, I was already on a boat headed to the island of Martha’s Vineyard. My mom is Brazilian and we went down every other year for the holidays. In college, I managed to study abroad for three semesters (and they subsequently made a rule limiting students to two semesters only, which I like to think was because of my travel). I never set out to be a travel photographer, but perhaps I was always destined to be one?

Starting out, I used to say that I was a portrait photographer. That I loved the interaction with people and that connection was what it was all about. But then, I started shooting a friend who is a chef and a farmer and ended up with a portfolio of food photography. So I started getting hired, and sent around the country, to shoot outdoorsy food scenes. Now I still get hired to shoot portraits and food, but also travel stories.

Travel photography is actually a perfect mix of everything I love to shoot because you need to have great portraits, great food shots, landscapes, tell stories… basically a bit of everything. I’m still shocked that I get paid to travel. I was in Hawaii in December on a shoot and I thought to myself, ‘wow, I’m actually living me dream.’ I realize how fortunate I am to be able to say that.

When you are on personal travel, are you always shooting? Can you actually turn off work mode?
I am never not working! Even if I don’t have my camera with me, my eyes are always looking for a shot (or, more likely, editing photos, or updating my website, or networking or one of the other million tasks it takes to be a photographer) . And these days with my iPhone, I always have a camera with me and have become hopelessly addicted to instagram. I was recently on vacation in Istanbul and even though I had my DSLR with me, I ended up taking far more shots with my iPhone than with it.

What sort of direction/shot list did you get from the magazine?
This was one of my favorite assignments from last year. I have a great relationship with the editors at Conde Nast Traveler. Many on the team came from Martha Stewart Living, a publication for whom I was already a frequent shooter.

Going into this assignment, I had already worked with the writer, Stephen Orr, and the editors knew my style so everything was very organic. Stephen had previously taken this road trip and had written up notes on each location, so I had those as a guideline. I knew the hotels where I would be sleeping and the restaurants where I should be eating, but there was a lot of freedom to also just shoot what looked interesting along the way. These are my favorite kinds of assignments, where I really get to spend time and explore a place, versus the kind of assignments where there is already an image in mind that needs to be executed.

Do you typically travel with the writer?
It depends on the shoot and the location and the scheduling. I had a travel story here in Brooklyn for French Glamour where the writer came from Paris and the two of us explored the neighborhood of Red Hook together. In Hawaii, the writer happened to be living there at the time, so I was able to meet up with him for one of the days and he showed me some of his favorite spots off the beaten path.

Whether in person or just over the phone, its very beneficial to connect with the writer beforehand, and even be able to reach them throughout the trip as they have usually already done the exact same itinerary and thus can give you tips and reconditions to make your job go smoothly.

How many days was this shoot?
I think it was four or five days. I was actually already in Marfa the weekend prior to attend a wedding, so I was able to shoot some images that I knew were on my shot list ahead of when the job officially started.

What do you love about being a wandered armed with a camera?
I love how photography can take me to the oddest places, ones I would never imagining visiting were it not for photography. Marfa is a great example — it’s a strange little gem of a city located in the middle of nowhere in west Texas. This trip was the second time that photography took me to Marfa. I had been there once before for Phoot Camp, a creative retreat for photographers, so it was wonderful to have the opportunity to be back there shooting on assignment.

After Phoot Camp, I stuck around and went on a little road trip with a few friends. We ended up driving through Big Bend park, arriving in the ghost town of Terlingua and randomly spending the night with a middle- aged man who opened up his gorgeous home to five total strangers. I never thought I would be back there but, lo and behold, guess which ghost town was on my shot list for this assignment? I remembered where his house was and drove by. He wasn’t home, but I left him a note and memories flew back of the morning dance party on his patio.

The Weekly Edit- The Hollywood Reporter

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Screen shot 2014-03-24 at 8.43.47 PMPhotographer: Mary Rozzi

 

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Photographer: Mary Rozzi

 

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Click here for galleries and video of the issue.

The Hollywood Reporter

Creative Director: Shanti Marlar
Photography&Video Director: Jennifer Laski
Design Director:  Peter B. Cury
Deputy Photo Editor: Carrie Smith

Answers compiled by:
Photo/Video director: Jennifer Laski 
And Photo Editors/Producers:
Carrie Smith
Moira Haney
Audrey Landreth
Michelle Stark
Kayt Fitzmorris

Heidi: This portfolio is comprised of variety of photographers, and you had several different photo editors working on this. How far out did you have to start planning and since it’s so fluid how did you direct and unify this project?
THR: Being that we’re a weekly, shoots are generally last minute but with special issues, we usually have a little lead time. Thankfully, our Style Editor, Carol McColgin, is very organized. That said, our last shoot with Dakota & Elle Fanning and stylist Samantha McMillen was done 2 days prior to closing. We are accustomed to the hectic schedules of our subjects and their availability so turnaround on many shoots is insane. There often isn’t time to map out a grand plan, but as each shoot comes in all of the photo producers are able to discuss and collaborate on what is going to work best for the package. Having produced 400 photo shoots just last year, the photo department has a shorthand when it comes to a unifying aesthetic. It’s a total team here and we bounce ideas off of each other all the time.

What was the overall direction for the project, and where did the essence of the idea come from? 
This issue is a great opportunity to celebrate the behind the scenes ‘magic-makers’ who aren’t normally in the spotlight. Carol McColgin, comes up with her wish list of top stylists and books all of the talent. It’s great, because the talent is enthusiastic and grateful to participate simply to support their stylist. The stylists and their celebrity clients are usually good friends so its a fun collaboration from beginning to end. The general direction for this years package was beautiful portraits as usual but taken to another level with High fashion. It was fun to get the stylists out of their usual functional on-set uniform and glam them up to give them the star treatment usually reserved for their talent and to showcase them in a way that no other magazine does.

Was that cover image shot specific for the cover or was this an outtake?
Everything is a ‘cover try’at THR. In the end, the art always dictates what works best for cover. We shoot 2 looks with variations and then we see….. The beauty and sweet dynamic of the trio and the  buzz of Lupita at the time made it the obvious cover for us.

You have several different photographers in the portfolio, were they selected on their work alone or  did talent have a preference?
Fortunately people trust the work that we do at THR. With 50 original covers a year, people can see the kind of work that we continuously churn out. We find them saying to us “We trust you, we love what we see on The Hollywood Reporter covers..” A portfolio is a great opportunity to hire a balanced mix of our tried & true photographers with a few newer talents.

How important is video at THR  and what roles does it serve?
Video is vital to THR and a large part of what we do on a daily basis. Video is part of the complete experience now, no longer an afterthought. The content created on individual shoots is original and it allows our photos to come to life in a way that goes well beyond B-roll. Additionally, we have our successful Roundtable Series (which aired on PBS SoCal this past Oscar season) and a major video presence at various festivals and award shows with our THR video lounge.

You are a weekly, with a ton of shoots each week.  The title seems to be getting bigger all the time, which is rare for magazines these days.  And, now you’re working on Billboard too. How big is the team? Does Jennifer use a team of freelancers?
It’s kind of like being on a crazy train or roller coaster ride. Everyone we work with is with us on this  fast-paced locomotive and any photographers that come on the train with us,  go on the ride with us, and understand our deadlines. With the support of our Creative Director, Shanti Marlar, and her team, there is a definite collaboration between photo and art department which is extremely important. She is willing to take risks and we brave exciting ideas together. We are super busy managing two titles now. Its about having a team of people (staff and freelance) who truly trust each other and we can get the work done. There’s no time to micro-manage or second guess. Being budget conscious makes us more thoughtful about what we want and need to get. We don’t need to be overwhelmed by the do-dads of production. It’s liberating in a way that as it forces you to take simple, honest and beautiful portraits. We are excited about photography and luckily we have the opportunity to do it week after week.

The Daily Edit – Julia Fullerton-Batten: Blink

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Ikebana: Ikebana is commonly known as the Japanese art of flower arrangement and origami the art of folding paper. However, the Korean term for paper folding is ‘ikebana’. In Korea the spiritual aspect of ikebana is considered very important to its practitioners. Things in nature are appreciated. Koreans are inspired to identify with beauty in all art forms. In this image we see a two-fold use of ‘ikebana’, the paper folding and using the end product for decoration of a tree.

 

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Fish: Koreans love raw fish and raw shellfish. They are a staple component of the Korean diet, especially raw fish, ‘hweh’.

Forest:  In this scene the artist skilfully hijacks a hoarding hiding an industrial site that is artistically painted as a forest. Reflecting back to the past, the women are burdened with bundles of wood to fuel the fire at home.

 

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Ladder: Beset by invasions from neighbouring countries, including most recently by North Korea, their blood brothers to the north,  this image symbolises the resistance of the South Korean folk to these attacks.

Harvest: Like its neighbouring countries, Japan, China, and Indochina, Korea is also a tea-drinking country with a rich ceremonial tea culture. In this image Fullerton-Batten captures the impression of Hanbok-clad women harvesting tea in the middle of Seoul. In reality the tea plants are boxwood plants.

 

 

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Rickshaw: For many thousands of years Korea was a single, independent kingdom  and resisted many invasions. But the country was defeated by Japan in 1910 and occupied to the end of WW II in 1945. At the end of the war Korea was divided into two nations, south and North Korea along ideological lines. This image reflects back on the Japanese occupation with a Japanese ‘rickshaw’ being drawn by Korean bearers.

Rope: At the end of WWII Korea was split into two separate nations along ideological persuasions, South Korea and North Korea. Tensions built between the two countries. On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting a bloody war that lasted more than 3 years and involving more than 20 countries. The image ‘Rope’ symbolises this war and the continuing political struggles between the two nations in the form of a tug-of-war between the two participating countries.

Blink Magazine

Creative Director: and Founder: Aram Kim
Photographer: Julia Fullerton-Batten

Heidi: What drew you to Korea to create this body of work?
Julia: I was asked to exhibit work from several of my projects and host a ‘talk’ at the Dong Gang Photofestival, curated by Louise Clements and Joanne Junga Yang, title, UK PHOTOGRAPHY NOW: The Constructed View. The Festival is held at several venues in the city of ‘Yeongwol”. I try to organize a personal shoot whenever I am asked to travel somewhere specifically for an exhibition opening. In this instance I decided to extend my stay in Korea by  eight days and complete the planning of my project, as well do an unplanned visit to “Everland” for a shoot there, similar to one I had done in Tokyo on a similar visit several months prior.

Korea has fascinated me for a while now, with its history, and its long term unresolved tensions between North and South Korea. I therefore decided to use this opportunity to combine the Festival with a personal shoot in Seoul. I had quite some time in which to prepare my ideas for the project. This I finally decided would be an attempt to combine the traditions, culture and history of South Korea against the modern architecture of Seoul. I did a lot of research online and also liaised closely with people in Korea.

In the three months of preparation for this project did you work with any native Koreans that had cultural knowledge?
I worked very closely with a local Korean producer, a location finder, local stylists and hair and make-up artists. This cooperation also helped me with ideas for the shots. For one thing, although I had heard of the Hanbok traditional dress before, I had never actually seen it. Many of us in the West are aware of recent Korean history – the Korean war and the current political tensions between South and North Korea, but minor cultural details such as not using green paper for wrapping presents I found by searching on Google.

I also worked with Kim Aram, the editor and owner of the Korean ‘Blink’ Magazine. She helped me find the girls for the shoot by blogging about my visit to Korea on Facebook. We had many responses. Although I didn’t meet the girls until the day of the shoot, I had a lot of contact with them by email beforehand. The props that I used were sourced from prop houses in Korea, as I wanted to give a feel of authenticity.

I took my London assistant, John, with me to Korea as we work very well together and we were able to prepare many details of the shots ahead of time.

You had mentioned you arrived during monsoon season, how difficult was that for you personally and your equipment? 90% humidity seems quite high and yet the women look so cinematic and perfect. What were the obstacles in those conditions?
The date of the Festival was, of course long fixed, and it just happened that it took place in the middle of the Korean monsoon season so there as no way to avoid that at all. Before we flew to Seoul there were heavy rainstorms. I was told that 6 people had sadly been washed away by severe flooding along the river.

Upon arrival in Korea, my producer told me that some locations would be too dangerous to shoot at, and that I would have to rethink my ideas. This was worrying as I had each location, each model and each prop all mapped out in my head. However, I was very lucky as the weather changed and the dangerous areas were opened again by the authorities.  We just needed to go there and see if it was possible to shoot.

I feel now that a lucky star was following me during those intense 5 days of shooting. The rain seemed to hold off until the moment that I put my camera back in its case. On other occasions, we would get up at 4am and it was bucketing down with rain, and I prepared mentally to drop a shot or two. But again, upon reaching the location the weather had miraculously cleared and we could shoot in the dry after all.

The humidity was very tough. As neither John  nor I were used to it, the humidity was quite a challenge for us both. John suffered in particular as there was considerable physical effort involved in moving lighting from one location to another, and in setting up and changing power-sources when daylight changed.

The girls also suffered. They wore layer upon layer of material in their Hanbok dress. Fortunately, we had hired an air- conditioned bus for them to escape into and cool down. I also tried to prepare everything and then get them on to the set at the very last minute.

As you explained, the contrast of the austere backgrounds and Korean traditions is at the core of this work.
On your site  Images 1-8 PERSONAL section 3  it looks as though some were shot during your three month stay. How was your approach to these images different from the Korean traditions body of work? 

 

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I spent two days with my London assistant in a fascinating place called “EVERLAND” We were accompanied by a local assistant from Seoul, who helped to  translate and set up the lighting. Yong-sik Shin from Hasselblad also joined us as he wanted to see me on a shoot and he very kindly organised access to the location, as well as a loan of a Hasselblad camera.

“Everland” is a huge theme park in Yongin, Geyeonggi-do province. It is South Korea’s largest theme park, with about 6.6 million visitors annually. It is a truly spectacular place to visit, filled with fantasy buildings, thrill rides, fairground attractions, African safari bus rides, parades and festivals. I didn’t have enough time to see it all, so I concentrated mostly on one area, the “Caribbean Bay”. I approached this shoot in a totally different way from how I normally arrange a shoot – nothing was planned or organized, we just turned up and walked around (with permission of course!) with a suitcase full of lighting and approached visitors to photograph. It was very refreshing to be more carefree with the approach. This is probably the closest I will get to being a reportage photographer, except when I photograph my boys!

The Daily Edit – Angela Cappetta: Built on Toil Promo Piece

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Built on Toil

Designer: Liron Kormas, Kormas Studio

Dancers: Joffrey Ballet School

Photographer: Angela Cappetta

What inspired you to develop this body of work, is ballet in your background?
I trained until I was about 20 but was never professionally serious about it.  Since I live nearby, I’d see the dancers everyday.  At the deli, coffee shop, drug store.  I wanted to photograph them in their environment, but that was all I knew. So one day I sat down and wrote a letter to the director of the Joffrey.

Included was a project statement for pictures which didn’t exist yet. It was called: Built on Toil, which likened the trainees to soldiers doing a job under command of a general. I saw it clearly: TriX and a 6×9 punched up with the bare bulb of a Lumedyne. All I needed was for him to say yes. Later that day he wrote back (I almost fell off my chair.)

He explained that as he is bombarded with requests from photographers he customarily says no. However, he was so struck by the clarity of the proposal, he offered complete access for as long as I wanted. The next day I started, and continued for two years.

Is your intent an art book or self published piece?
At first, I just wanted to photograph, but now that its been a few years, I’ve roughed up the prints in my darkroom and have a better idea of how the pictures should look.

The current promotional piece, designed by Liron Kormas of Kormas Studio, for now, is the bridge between this and a future book, which I’ll work on next.  This iteration of the project was entirely Liron’s idea.  She asked me if she could design it and I jumped at the chance.  She’s brilliant.

How do you think your images express discipline before maturity, as that is normal practice in ballet to start at such a young age?
Discipline is something that has to be cultivated very early in order to shape any athlete.  In that regard, it’s a very adult series of decisions to be physically and mentally challenged so seriously.  Then, the dancers grow into the discipline, and they decide what their aspirations are.  Some continue training, others start auditioning.  One of the trainees from the Joffrey got a job in the touring cast of Cats right out of conservatory, another dances with a company full time.  They aren’t all that lucky but I don’t think that matters to them.

Were the dancers self conscious around you?
I’ll admit there was a lot of me trying not to get kicked in the head. But these are consummate professionals.  That’s part of their training.  An elephant could drop in the center of that studio and they wouldn’t break focus. On the floor in the middle of their routines with my gear in their faces, they’d glide around me.

What tools did you use to break into their inner circle?
The dancers were incredibly gracious.  They welcomed me.  I’m still in touch with them.  I even cast one as a model for an upcoming editorial.

How long has this this body of work taken you to shoot?
It was a two year shooting project and another year of printing. But it percolated years before that.

What did you learn about drive and determination from these dancers?
I’m interested in photographing the fundamental basis of life as it is meaningful to that particular journey.  The takeaway from every project is different.  This one was a parallel to my own daily discipline to live an artist’s life.  You’re in it or you aren’t.  If you’re not completely, totally 100% there, then you shouldn’t even bother.

Seeing the dancers working together reminded me that having a community of respectable colleagues is important at any stage of development.  Some of them would show up at night, go into an empty studio, push play, and hit their routines hard, just to do it.  It was beautiful to watch.

When I was in my darkroom. I’d see that determination in the tray and something would amp up inside of me and I’d readdress how the print looked or what I wanted from it. It was infectious.  I’d look at my feet, which were in fifth position.