Category "Working"

Why Is There Sexism in Editorial Photography?

- - Working

Guest Post by Erin Patrice O’Brien

I was doing a shoot last week for Golf Digest with Christian Iooss, the magazine’s director of photography. We were photographing a celebrity who golfs with a bunch of set-ups. I have worked with Christian and his deputy picture editor, Kerry Brady, a few times in the past.

It occurred to me that this was probably Christian’s first shoot where he just happened to be surrounded by all women. On that day, my two assistants,Lyndsey Newcomb and Rebecca Reed, were women, and the prop stylist Helen Quinn also had an entirely female crew. Christian and I talked about the differences between men and women photographers, some of which were apparent, others seemingly assumed by certain photo editors.

I always recognized that the editorial side of media seems to embrace, or at least maintain, the good-ole-boy network. It’s bothered me for some time, particularly given the female talent in the market on the demand and supply sides. There are plenty of amazing women photographers out there who are not getting hired by magazines in spite of the fact that the majority of photo editors are women. I’m pretty sure the break out among photo editors is 80% women and 20% men. With that figure in mind, I realized that of the editors who hired me it was a 50/50 split of female to male. The same thing goes for art buyers. Seriously.

After the shoot, Christian forwarded me a thoughtful blog post by a photographer named Daniel Shea. Daniel observed that there was an absence of women working on the magazines for which he was currently shooting and questioned why?

Thank you, Daniel. I have been questioning this for a very long time.

When in college, I spent hours at the library, looking at photographers whose work captured my imagination. I was into Sally MannNan Goldin,Richard Avedon and Helen Levitt. When I opened magazines, I was inspired by the work of Annie LeibowitzSheila MetznerSarah MoonPeggy Sirota,Pamela HansonBrigitte Lacombe and Ellen von Unworth. They were doing what I wanted to do. They were women photographers with their own vision who were making beautiful work. Mary Ellen Mark was my idol, closely followed by Melodie McDanielCleo SullivanDana Lixenberg and Elaine Constantine.

I would scour magazines to find the latest and most interesting work. I would rip out the pages from VibePaper, and i-D with the work of Melanie Mcdaniel, Elaine Constantine, Dana Lixenberg, Cleo Sullivan, Anna Palma and Corinne Day. They inspired me. I loved their work. I loved their perspective. It made me think in a different way, and I learned from it. I would read The New York Times and be inspired by Brenda Ann Keneally. I printed at Printspace next to Baerbel SchmidtJustine KurlandImke LassSylvia OtteGillian LaubElinor CarlucciTracey Baran and an assortment of guys whose careers took shape much differently than mine.

When I arrived in New York City in 1995, I began assisting many photographers, including Jill GreenbergTria Giovan, Anna Palma and Ellen Silverman, none of who had assisted and all of whom had their careers going. I also worked for a bunch of male photographers. It was much harder to be a female assistant. I would work for fashion photographers as a second assistant and literally feel invisible on the set because the other women were skinny models who were sixteen years old. When I would pick up from the equipment rooms at any of the big studios, I was routinely treated like a “girl who couldn’t possibly know anything.” The men running the equipment rooms were bullies who hated their jobs and took it out on assistants who were not part of the cool club. Pier 59 anyone?

What I learned from Jill Greenberg was that you didn’t have to know everything technically. One could figure it out by experimenting or have an assistant show you how to do it. I saw her experiment and test things and be creative. She knew what she wanted. Jill was just a year older than me and she was doing it. We had our differences, but she took Michele Pedone and me under her wing and gave us solid work for a year on cool shoots as opposed to working for still life photographers wiping off perfume bottles.

When I look through magazines or online, if I see a picture that I love, 9 times out of 10 it is the work of a female photographer.

George Pitts was instrumental in hiring women and black photographers and showing a completely different perspective to the world. Vibe was first where I saw many incredible female photographers. It was breathtaking. Pitts told me once that he thought women were better photographers and it really stuck with me because I agreed. My favorite photographers have always been women.

I can’t tell you the number of times that people would come to my shoot and walk right past me looking for the photographer. Or how many times that I’ve been asked if I was the makeup artist simply because I was a woman standing on the set.

Some female photo editors who will go unmentioned that I have worked with put their own glass ceiling issues above women photographers.

Translation: Women don’t frequently help other women in business, even when it benefits both. A lot of times my work and that of other female photographers is relegated to the front of the book (magazine speak for work appearing before the feature well), while male photographers get the cover or the big feature story. Conversely, some of the male photo editors that I’ve worked with have given me some of my most challenging assignments that I am sure a female photo editor in the same position would never give to a woman.

There are many female photo editors who really do hire equally and have supported me throughout my career, and I am very thankful for and could not have succeeded without them: Leslie dela Vega, Doris Brautigan, Nickie Gostin, Michelle Molloy, Brenna Britton, Kathy Ryan, Crary Pullen, Lucy Gilmour, Donna Cohen, Rebecca Simpson Steele, Amelia Haverson, Fiona MacDonagh, Kathy Nguyen, Rebecca Horne, Heidi Volpe, Florence Nash, Helen Cannavale, Phaedra Brown, Julie Claire, Ernie Monteiro, Donna Cohen, Sarah Harbutt, Yvonne Stender, Kate Osba, Raquel Boler and Michele Romero…to name a bunch.

When I was pregnant, I was worried that no one would hire me if they knew, so I didn’t tell any photo editors until I wasn’t allowed to fly anymore. After I had my daughter, Maya, photo editors like Marianne Butler, Victoria Rich and Suzanne Regan hooked me up with jobs that were in NYC for a while, or said you can bring the baby.

When I get a call for a shoot, usually my first call is not to secure an assistant, but to make sure I have childcare coverage. I live in a community where I know other parents that are able to pick up my daughter if my shoot runs late or even have her sleep over. I feel blessed to make a living as a photographer. I love what I do.

And those skills of being able to manage a business, a household and a child are things that have taught me to troubleshoot and always be prepared for surprises that require solutions. I know that if an assistant, stylist or babysitter doesn’t show up I will still be able to do the job.

Daniel Shea says, “In my own personal experience shooting high-profile people and situations, shoots can get tense quickly, and you have to be able to be aggressive and assertive in a time-crunch situation. That is in no way meant to suggest that women can’t do that, but here is where sexism rears its ugly head—if women are perceived as being less able to handle those situations, that can definitely factor into the decision to hire men.”

The constant multitasking that is my life as a woman, mother and photographer makes me more qualified to deal with time crunch and stressful situations better than most. I am completely confident when doing three set-ups in an hour, which I did the other day, or handling the “you will have 10 minutes with this person” shoots. I can do these shoots with my kid pulling my hair or climbing on me because I can shut out everything except the shoot. It’s the nature of the job. It’s also my life.

One photo editor I spoke to told me, “As a photo editor (and not a photo director), I get to choose a short list of photographers, send them to my boss and hopes that he/she picks the one I want to use. I think a lot of time PEs want to hire women and their directors go for the guys—I don’t know why that is, maybe because they have a history, maybe its because their name is better-known. I have had many—MANY—conversations with editor friends of mine who keep having to hire the same male photographers because that is what their boss wants, I think most, if not all, PEs see the ratio and realize it’s fucked up.”

Women and men get different things from their subjects. It’s how we relate to each other. This is an important conversation. I know that Daniel Shea is compiling a list of female photographers that he would endorse which is great. I have my own list worth sharing.

My list has been in my head since I started shooting, and it keeps getting bigger. I am always checking out and inspired by the really cool work of women photographers. What female photographers’ work matters most lately? Delphine Diallo and Sarah Wilmer blow me away. Livia CoronaLauren GreenfieldGail Albert Halaban and Elaine Constantine are all doing things in different media, but to great effect and on their terms. Dulce Pinzon,Maggie SoladayAmanda Kostner and LaToya Ruby Frazier are pushing cultural, social and economic boundaries with their extraordinary work. Sandra Myhrberg started her own fashion magazine, called Odalisque, where she employs a ton of women photographers. And the female brands behind some of the biggest corporate brands: Olivia Bee and Elizabeth Weinberg.

That Daniel Shea is bringing up this issue is important. But what of the many women—photo editors, for example—who can do the same but choose to sit on the sidelines instead, avoiding taking risks and playing it safe to their own career benefit? Women will rise in greater numbers when other women take risks by pushing the talents of unknown and little-known women, and by the continued support of men who have the power and influence to get women recognized. It’s not an either-or scenario. Both things have to happen. And men need to stop hiring other men who are just like them. By default that places women at a disadvantage.

Here is a big list of women photographers who are all…. killing it.

 

Portrait

Alessandra Petlin http://alessandrapetlin.com

Alison Aliano http://www.alysonaliano.com

Angie Smith http://angiesmithphotography.com

Anna Bauer http://www.annabauer.com

Annie Liebowitz http://annieleibovitz.tumblr.com

Autumn de Wilde http://www.autumndewilde.com

Barbel Schmidt http://www.baerbelschmidt.com

Cara Bloch http://carabloch.com

Cass Bird http://www.cassbird.com/

Catherine Ledner http://www.catherineledner.com

Christina Gandolfo http://www.cgandolfo.com

Dana Lixenberg http://www.danalixenberg.com

Danielle Levitt http://daniellelevitt.com

Darcy Hemley http://www.darcyhemley.com

Delphine Diallo http://www.delphinediawdiallo.com

Dulce Pinzon http://www.dulcepinzon.com

Elaine Constantine http://www.elaineconstantine.co.uk

Elizabeth Weinberg http://elizabethweinberg.com

Emily Shur http://www.emilyshur.com

Erika Larsen http://erikalarsenphoto.com

Erin Patrice O’Brien http://erinpatriceobrien.com

Eugenie Frerichs http://eugeniefrerichs.com

Flora Hantijo http://florahanitijo.com

Gabriela Hasbun http://www.gabrielahasbun.com

Gillian Laub www.gillianlaub.com/

Guzman http://www.lesguzman.com

Jessica Antola http://antolaphoto.com

Jessica Wynne http://jessicawynnephoto.com

Jill Greenberg http://www.jillgreenberg.com

Kendrick brinson http://kendrickbrinson.com

Kyoko Hamada http://www.kyokohamada.com

Lisa Wiseman http://www.lisawiseman.com

Lamia Maria Abillama http://www.lamiaabillama.com

Lori Adamski Peek http://www.adamskipeek.com

Mackenzie Stroh http://www.mackenziestroh.com

Martha Camarillo http://marthacamarillo.com

Mary Ellen Matthews http://www.jedroot.com

Megan Peterson http://www.meghanpetersen.com

Meredith Jenks http://www.meredithjenks.com

Michele Asselin http://www.asselinphotography.com

Michelle Pedone http://www.michellepedone.com

Morgan Levy http://morganrlevy.com

Naomi Harris http://naomiharris.com

Olivia Locher http://olivialocher.com

R. Jerome Ferraro  http://www.jeromepix.com

Robin Twomey http://www.robyntwomey.com

Sage Sohier http://www.sagesohier.com

Sarah Wilson http://www.sarahwilsonphotography.com

Susana Howe http://www.susannahowe.com

Sylvia Otte http://www.silviaotte.com

Sarah Wilmer  http://sarahwilmer.com

 

Lifestyle-Fashion

Amanda Marsalis http://www.amandamarsalis.com

Anna Wolf http://www.annawolf.com

Beth Perkins http://www.bethperkins.com

Brigitte Sire http://brigittesire.com

Catherine Wessel http://www.cathrinewessel.com

Chloe Aftel http://www.chloeaftel.com

Christa Renee  http://www.christarenee.com

Debra LaCoppola http://photoduo.com

Ditte Isager http://www.ditteisager.dk

Emily Nathan http://www.emilynathan.com

Erica Shires http://www.ericashires.com

Ericka McConnell http://erickamcconnell.com

Jennifer Rocholl http://www.jenniferrocholl.com

Karan Kapoor http://www.karankapoor.com

Kate Powers http://katepowers.com

Kathryn Wolkoff http://katherinewolkoff.com

Melanie Acevedo http://www.melanieacevedo.com

Nina Anderson http://www.ninaandersson.com

Olivia Bee http://www.oliviabee.com

Samantha Casolari http://www.samanthacasolari.com

Sarah Kehoe http://www.sarahkehoephoto.com

Sue Parkhill http://www.sueparkhill.com

Terry Doyle http://terrydoylephoto.com

Thayer Gowdy http://thayergowdy.com

Venetia Scott http://www.clmuk.com/photography/venetia-scott

 

Fashion and Beauty

Amanda Pratt http://www.amandapratt.com

Amber Gray http://www.ambergray.net

Anna Palma http://annapalma.com

Caroline Knopf http://www.carolineknopf.com

Catherine Servel http://catherineservel.tumblr.com

Chloe Mallet http://www.raybrownpro.com/

Claudia Fried http://claudiafried.com

Claudia Goetzelman http://www.claudiagoetzelmann.com

Cleo Sullivan www.cleosullivan.com

Colleen Rentmeister http://www.colienarentmeester.com

Corinne Day http://www.corinneday.co.uk

Daniela Federici http://danielafederici.com

Elinor Stigle http://www.ellinorstigle.com

Ellen Stagg http://thestaggparty.com

Ellen Von Unwerth http://www.ellenvonunwerth.com

Gabriele Revere http://www.gabriellerevere.com

Indira Cesarine http://www.indiracesarine.com

Jamie Isaia http://jamieisaia.com

Jennifer Livingston http://www.jenniferlivingston.com

Julia Pogodina http://www.juliapogodina.com

Karen Collins http://karencollinsphoto.com

Kate Orne http://kateorne.com

Liz Von Hoene http://www.lizvonhoene.com

Melodie McDaniel http://www.melodiemcdaniel.com

Micaela Rosato http://micaelarossato.com

Ondrea Barbe http://ondreabarbe.com

Pamela Hanson http://pamelahanson.com

Paola Kudacki http://www.clmuk.com/photography/paola-kudacki

Sandra Myhrberg  http://sandramyhrberg.com

Sarah Moon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Moon

Sarah Silver http://www.sarahsilver.com

Sheila Metzner http://www.sheilametzner.com

Stephanie Rausserhttp://stephanierausser.com

Yelena Yumchuk http://www.2bmanagement.com/

 

Still Life, Food Interiors Lifestyle

Alexandra Rowley http://www.alexandrarowley.com

Amy Eckerton http://www.amyeckertphoto.com

Andrea Chu http://chucandy.com

Andrea Gentylhttp://www.gentlandhyers.com

Andrea Wyner http://www.andreawyner.com

Anita Valero http://anitacalero.com

Anna Williams http://annawilliams.com

Aya Brackett http://www.ayabrackett.com

Beth Galton http://bethgalton.com

Beatriz Dacosta http://www.beatrizdacosta.com

Burcu Avsar http://www.burcuavsar.com

Diana Koenigsberg http://www.dianakoenigsberg.com

Ellen Silverman http://www.ellensilverman.com

Erika Rojas http://erikarojasphotography.com

Erin Kunkel http://erinkunkel.com

Katherine Barnard http://kathrynbarnardphoto.com

Leela Syd http://leelacyd.com

Linda Pugliese http://www.lindapugliese.com

Ngoc Minh Ngo http://patbates.com/ngoc_minh_ngo/

Melissa Punch http://www.melissapunch.com

Moya McAllister http://www.moyamcallister.com

Maura McEvoy http://www.mauramcevoy.com

Rachel Watson http://rachelwatson.com

Rita Maas http://www.ritamaas.com

Sara Remington http://www.sararemington.com

Tara Donne http://www.taradonne.com

Tria Giovan http://triagiovan.com/

 

Documentary

Amanda Koster http://www.amandakoster.com

Amira al Sharif http://www.amiraalsharif.com

Anastasia Rudenko http://www.anastasiarudenko.com

Andrea Gjestvang http://andreagjestvang.com

Annabel Clark http://www.annabelclark.net

Brenda Ann Keneally http://www.brendakenneally.com

Chiara Goia http://www.chiaragoia.com

Chloe Dewe Mathews http://www.chloedewemathews.com/hasidic-holiday/

Christina Paige http://www.christinapaige.com

Dorothy Hong http://www.dothong.com

Elissa Bogos http://elissabogos.squarespace.com

Ericka McDonald http://www.ericamcdonaldphoto.com

Emily Berl http://www.emilyberlphoto.com

Erin Siegel McIntyre http://about.me/erinsiegal

Gail Albert Halaban http://www.gailalberthalaban.com

Imke lass http://imkelass.com

Jessica Dimmock http://www.jessicadimmockphotography.com

Katarina Premfors http://www.katarinapremfors.com ngo, inspirational

Kate Brooks http://www.katebrooks.com

Kathryn Cook http://www.agencevu.com

Katrina Dautremont http://katrinadautremont.com

Latoya Ruby Frazier http://www.latoyarubyfrazier.com

Lauren Fleischman http://www.laurenfleishman.com

 

This post originally appears here: http://erinpatriceobrien.tumblr.com/post/60936647347/a-response-to-sexism-in-editorial-photography

When Photographers Become The Media Buy, Ad Agencies Get The Deal Of A Lifetime

- - Working

Guest post by Mason Adams

Compared to print and web, mobile advertising is cheap. A print insertion can cost $40 CPM (Cost Per Thousand) while popular sites like Gawker sell banners for $10/thousand. Mobile averages $2.85.

This summer Mercedes hired 5 Instagrammers with the mobile­-centric agency Tinker Street to shoot their own road trip in the new CLA class ­- the person with the most likes at the end of the trip won a 3 year lease on the car.

“Take the Wheel brings together some of Instagram’s most influential photographers including: Paul Octavious(432,000 followers), Tim Landis (523,000 followers), Michael O’Neal (487,000 followers); Alice Gao (538,000 followers); and Chris Ozer(503,000 followers). Each “like” from their followers will bring them closer to the car.”

It’s a direction many brands and agencies are experimenting with and it begs the question: are the photographers being paid for their images or for access to their followers?

According to the Mercedes social media lead, the CLA Instagram campaign reached almost 90 million impressions (number of photos multiplied by the number of followers on the 5 accounts).  At $2.85 CPM that comes to a media buy of $256,500, or a minimum fee of $50,000 per photographer (on top of the normal creative fees and expenses).  Except that engagement on Instagram is normally 18 times higher than other mobile services. On the upper end, that’s $900,000 per photographer. Even without knowing the exact numbers, it’s easy to speculate that by hiring Instagrammers, Mercedes got the deal of a lifetime in advertising.

Photography is still the most important and impactful tool for advertisers to spread their message. This isn’t just an opinion,­ it’s reflected over and over in the statistics of companies that use photos to promote their products online. If educated about the true costs of advertising, I imagine that photographers with a large online audience would think twice about selling their followers out for a 3-year car lease.

Mason Adams is an artist manager and freelance photo strategist for advertising.

 

Art Producers Speak: Jeremy and Claire Weiss of Day 19

- - Working

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art producer: I nominate Jeremy and Claire Weiss of Day 19. They are established but their work is nice and fresh. They also are very low key to work with and create no problems on set. They are very flexible when things change. I recently worked with them a campaign. There were a lot of problems on my side with the talent, which were musicians due to legal matters, and they sailed through drama free and accommodated the production 110 percent.

This shot was for Pepsi "Live for Now" campaign we did last year. Pepsi's first ever global campaign strangely enough. It was the biggest campaign for us exposure wise in the states and seeing you photos on billboards all over town and in Times Square does not get old.

We take a lot of pictures of our kid.

Shot for that same Pepsi campaign last year.

We saw this guy walking around Reading festival in England a few years back. He hadn't seen it yet so was excited to see the back of our camera. Slayer wasn't playing until the next day.

When we first moved to Los Angeles we had a ton of bands always staying with us and we would go to the shows mostly to drink free beer backstage but taking photos validated our drinking of the free beer. This is Casey from Hot Rod Circuit roughly 2003 at The El Rey shot on T-Max 3200. One of 3 frames shot that night.

We had the opportunity to shoot David Lynch for the now defunct Swindle Magazine and decided to shoot 4x5 film. We each shot about 4 photos of him before our time was up and he politely said "You were a pleasure to watch work" and walked away into his studio. This is is first and only shot we've looked at from that shoot. It also brings up a point about working for free and we'll probably get hate mail for saying it but working for free for broke magazines isnt a bad thing. I'd much rather have one of my all time favorite photos and memories than the 500 bucks.

We shot the launch campaign for Google Glass earlier this year in the middle of a blizzard in NY. The mayor actually  put a curfew one the city halfway thru day one. Made for some great pictures.

An idea we pitched to our office mates Monster Children about models in their cars using all available light in a Burbank parking lot. The idea with the cars ended up being kind of dumb but we got a great spread and a cool little short movie out of it.

Another idea we pitched to Monster Children for a fashion story all underwater using available light at night. The model actually fell 5 feet down into the infinity part of the infinity pool 5 minutes in and could barely walk which is the reason her foot is up but also the reason we love the image.

We've done 8 or 9 campaigns for Converse in the past 5 years and this was I'm guessing for their sunglasses. 3 great models we've brought back for other shoots.

Our assistant and translator/tour guide in Tokyo last year.

Aska from our ongoing 4x5 Polaroid Project.

Last summer we did month plus shoot with Leo Burnett and the last day was in the sand dunes outside of Death Valley so we brought a pool and a water truck out there to celebrate. And of course our motor home driver tackled the creative director into the pool. Totally normal day on set.

Jeremy in Turks & Caicos last month.

We went to Tokyo last year to shoot the biggest Korean pop band in the world's busiest intersection for Adidas.

Booyah!

How many years have you been in business?

I don’t know how long I would call it a legitimate business but starting getting some paying gigs around 2000 when we moved to Los Angeles. Claire and I didn’t start shooting together until 2006 and she waited tables up until 2007 and I would do movie extra work (it’s an easy gig in LA) and go on tour with bands selling merch and make little photo ‘zines with the tour photos and sell them to pay rent. I did that up until 2006 when we got a pretty big advertising job out of the blue, but that money went fast paying off debts so we were broke again in 2007. So to take an easy question and give it a difficult answer we have been making a living solely off of photography since 2008. I think people always saw us as bigger than we were really because we shot some pretty popular albums for friend’s bands but that paid pennies.

We both realized very early on we would never make great assistants, I tried twice and both times it ended pretty badly and I don’t think Claire ever even tried.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Both. Claire and I met while we were both attending a county college in New Jersey where I was taking a photo class because I had shot a roll of film at a concert and this fanzine Anti-Matter wanted to publish it but only if the print had a black border around it. I had no idea what that even meant so I took a printing class to learn how. A teacher named Charles Luce showed me the magic of a filed negative holder at County College of Morris in 1998. I urged Claire to start taking some photo classes too and she fell in love with the darkroom. I miss the black border; it was like a badge of honor that you didn’t crop.

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

The influences to start taking photos and to get into the business of taking pictures are totally different. I am from NJ and grew up taking the train into NY to skate every day and go to shows. I would always see guys like Ari Marcopolous, Chris Toliver, Tim Owen, and Larry Clark taking photos and I was intrigued by them but always too shy to talk to them. I got a camera from my mom and starting taking photos of my friends hanging out like I imagined their photos looked like. That’s what got me to start shooting and the eventually led me to take that class so I could make better prints than A&P was giving me.

Strangely enough the person who turned us on to the commercial world of photography we are in now was a photo rep who seeked me out because of the photos she had seen in one of those many photo ‘zines we had made. I guess someone showed her one and she called me and wanted to meet. She asked to see my portfolio but I only had photos taped into these black sketchbooks. It was her idea for Claire and I to work together because when she was helping me build a proper portfolio she wanted to use a photo of Jack Black that Claire had taken backstage at Coachella, so we ended up building a portfolio of both of our work in it. We didn’t really realize our work could fit into the advertising world, it wasn’t even something we aspired to until we started getting some advertising gigs and realized the clients and agencies just wanted us to shoot like we were shooting our friends.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

I think we are each other’s biggest inspiration. We get a kick out of bouncing ideas off of each other and there’s a healthy competition between the two of us to get an amazing shot. We only know how to shoot the way we do so we are always being honest with ourselves. Advertising came to us; we didn’t change our way of shooting to cater to the ad world. I’ve seen a lot of people, assistants and others; completely change their style to what the trend happening was. We had an assistant shoot in that super sharp ultra realistic whatever its called style when it was hip a couple years back and now they shoot “lifestyle”. Such a terrible word.

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

Years ago we did. Our book would get us in the door but clients would always seem scared away probably because we had photos of a guy with Slayer carved into his back or a girl with a bloody nose in there too.

These days we have enough pretty successful campaigns under our belt that it makes it easier for clients to look past the tattooed lip photos etc.

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

Honestly, we don’t do much self-promotion. We need to do more for sure. Our agency Giant Artists makes a book once a year that includes everyone on the roster that people seem to dig and we send out an email every couple months that maybe 3 people click. I’d say its mostly the work we’ve done speaks for itself and word of mouth gets us most of our work. We’ve had art buyers tell us that a creative director would put one of our photos on their desk and say, “find out who shot this” more than a handful of times. It’s flattering.

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

Maybe it works for them, who knows? Our motto has always been show what you wanna shoot.

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

We have an ongoing Polaroid Project that we do when we get a chance that’s more of an excuse to meet people doing cool shit than anything else. It’s pretty much the same photo of different people, Claire shoots one and I shoot one.

We don’t see much of a separation though of what we shoot for clients and what we shoot for ourselves. Maybe the stuff we shoot that’s not commissioned is a bit darker but that stuff usually gets referenced for an upcoming shoot when we end up showing it. Our goal going into every job is to want to completely redo our portfolio with the images when we are done. We’ve been lucky too that any idea we have outside of something we’ve gotten hired to shoot we’ve pitched to a magazine ahead of time and they gave us space to print it.

We’ve never done a “test shoot”.

How often are you shooting new work?

Never not shooting.

Jeremy & Claire Weiss split their time between Los Angeles, CA and Big Bear Lake, CA with their 5 year old son Eli.
studio@day19.com
Represented by:
Giant Artists
323.660.1996
info@giantartists.com

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Photographer Arne Svenson

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The New York photographer who provoked controversy by photographing his neighbors through their apartment windows and exhibiting the images in a show has fended off lawsuit for invasion of privacy. New York State court judge Judge Eileen  A. Rakower dismissed the claim against photographer Arne Svenson, ruling that the photos in question were protected by the First Amendment. She also ruled that the images did not violate New York State civil rights laws, as the plaintiffs had claimed.”An artist may create and sell a work of art that resembles an individual without his or her written consent,” Judge Rakower wrote in her decision, underscoring a central principle of the case.

via PDN.

100 Portraits Before I Die

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Photographer Giles Duley worked as a portrait photographer for 10 years before cynicism with celebrity culture took him in the direction of humanitarian issues. He had always hoped to return to portraiture, but while working in Afghanistan in 2011 he stepped on a landmine. It’s a miracle he survived as most soldiers who have an arm and two legs blown off do not make it. During the ensuing 46 days fighting for his life trapped inside his body, Giles imagined all the portraits he wanted to take, aware that now he’d probably never get the chance. He resolved that if by some chance he made it through he’d contact the names on his list and ask them to sit for a portrait.

Two years, 30 operations and a long rehabilitation later he has begun his journey on this website:
http://100portraitsbeforeidie.co.uk

The writing is fantastic:

I’ve had to hire all the equipment and I desperately trying to get it all set up in time with my assistant Noemie. It seems during my ten-year hiatus even the lighting stands have changed. I’m fumbling around trying just to set that up, it’s the most basic piece of kit here, but every time I let go of the stand, it just collapses and keels over. I’m the photographic equivalent of the embarrassing dancing dad at a wedding disco; a head full of fabled disco day memories, a present day of uncoordinated reality.

I decided to make a coffee but even there I’m faced with a NASA style interface and am left bewildered and coffee less.

In my planning I’d always thought the moments leading up to my first portrait would be a time of calm and reflection. A time to consider my subject and to focus on how I was going to record their essence in a single frame. Instead I’m a wreck, sweating like crazy and talking inanely to myself.

I’m also aware that I’ve underestimated the power of the lights. The 2.5k tungsten’s aren’t giving out enough light to make my set-up work as I’d hoped.

And it gets worse; I made a last minute decision to shoot this project on a medium format camera, something I was did all the time when I worked in studios. These larger format cameras are bulkier, but well suited to a studio where the produce much more detail in the finished images.

The last ten years though have seen a revolution. Last time I shot in a studio it was on film. Now I have a digital Hasselblad in my hands and I have no idea how it works. Naively I thought it couldn’t be that complicated, but I can’t even turn it on.

I’m looking forward to following the journey with Giles. Join me.

thx, Myles

Dwell’s New Promo Daily

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Dwell Magazine has a new column online called “Promo Daily” where Photo Director Anna Alexander and  Associate Photo Editor Julia Sabot highlight promotional pieces they love. You can view their picks here:

http://www.dwell.com/people/julia-sabot

http://www.dwell.com/people/anna-goldwater-alexander

I asked Anna a few questions about the new columns and promos in general:

Tell me about the new Promo Daily?

My associate, Julia Sabot, and I were talking the other day about promos. We love them. I know we’re a rare breed, but we actually do hire people based off of their mailers. So, we started to ponder whether or not photographers knew how important they are and how awesome they are, and that promos aren’t dead. I still have a James Acomb promo from like 2004- when I was at Wired- might be because it’s of Henry Rollins and I have a huge obsession with him, but I still have it pinned to my desk.

The first & only post I did on a promo was of Noah Webb‘s FANTASTIC Berlin Passport (http://www.dwell.com/post/article/photographer-we-love-noah-webb). It blew us away. Yes, I know he’s a Dwell photographer already- but he didn’t just send it to only us. Honestly, we hadn’t commissioned him in a while and it was a big fat HELLO! reminder…so, he did our next shoot that came down the pipes. I got so much photographer feedback from posting that (not just from Noah and his beautiful agent Maren at Redeye). We already occassionally post about photography under the title Photography Focus, as well as Julia’s weekly QA, but we wanted to give something back to the photographers who give us mailers, both email and post mail. We’ll be posting our favorite promo of the day with a little info as to why it’s so awesome- because photographers need to know that they’re not just pimping their art out into the USPS system never to be seen again.

When you speak to photographers about promos what advice do you give them?

The last couple of photo portfolio review events I did, I kept getting asked about promos (including emails- which we will also post) and if photo editors/producers toss them immediately in the trash and erase them from their inbox. I actually got in an argument with Armin Harris across an auditorium of photographers at Texas Round-up…it was awesome. Maybe we’re alone here, but I personally know other PE’s who feel the same way I do about promos. We’re photo editors, it’s in our nature to look at an image and know in .5 seconds if it works. We’re all aware that promos are expensive, as well as a traditional portfolio book which is a huge reason why so many are going digital for promotional materials. It’s unfortunate. I typically advise that they make sure they’re sending it out to a current masthead, with a current address to the company/publication. We still get promos to an old address & for photo editors who left 8 years ago. Also, one should be sent to each member of the photo dept / art buying dept- It takes time, but when something is personally written to us it gets noticed. Know who you’re sending your work to, for some reason we get a lot of wedding photographers.

What’s going on at Dwell with photography these days?

Summer is actually our busiest because of the weather, even though grey days are perfect for natural interior light- the overcast sky blows out the exteriors. Also, we’re working to get more profiles on our pages because there’s too many outstanding portrait photographers out there who we need to show-off.

My photo editor readers will want to know how you became the Photo Director at Dwell. Tell us.

I started at Wired in 1997 as the Photo Intern, left for a year during the tech boom bubble to Industry Standard, then went back to Wired. In October 2011, I got a call from Dwell’s Creative Director Alejandro Chavetta and that was that- I was totally poached. Wired and Dwell photography are COMPLETELY different, that’s no secret- but it’s still the business of editorial photography, and both are known for kickass photography. it’s not like I switched to Cat Fancy (I wish).

Mail and email for your promos:

Anna Alexander
Dwell Magazine
550 Kearny St., ste 710
San Francisco, CA 94108

Julia Sabot
Dwell Magazine
550 Kearny St., ste 710
San Francisco, CA 94108

digital promos to:
photo@dwell.com

California Labor Laws And Work Made For Hire Agreements

Question from a reader about California labor code and an answer from Carolyn and Leslie at the Photo Attorney.

Q. I’m sorry to bother you but I have a question that has not been addressed on any professional photography or photography related website that I can find. In CA the labor code makes work for hire when transferring the ownership of copyright illegal (civil and criminal liability) except in the case of an employer/employee relationship. How does this apply to photographers working in CA when doing small jobs? Is it legal to have work around language that assigns copyright to the person doing the hiring (meaning the agreement says everything a work for hire agreement would say but it doesn’t use the term work for hire); or is it a case of walks like and duck, quacks like a duck, it is a work for hire agreement and therefor illegal in the state of CA?

A. Thank you for this important question.  The issue is not that it’s illegal for an independent contractor to agree to a work made for hire agreement in California.  The problem is that when a photographer is hired under a work made for hire agreement, then the photographer, under California state law, is considered an employee rather than a independent contractor.   Specifically, California Labor Code section 3351.5(c)provides that one definition of an “Employee” is:

Any person while engaged by contract for the creation of a specially ordered or  commissioned work of authorship in which the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire, as defined in Section 101 of Title 17 of the United States Code, and the ordering or commissioning party obtains ownership of all the rights comprised in the copyright in the work.

California Unemployment Insurance Code Section 686 also states that:

“Employer” also means any person contracting for the creation of a specially ordered or commissioned work of authorship when the parties expressly agree in a written instrument  signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire, as defined in Section 101 of Title 17 of the United States Code, and the ordering or commissioning party obtains ownership of all of the rights comprised in the copyright in the work. The ordering or  commissioning party shall be the employer of the author of the work for the purposes of this part.

Once the photographer is an employee, the employer must pay unemployment and worker’s compensation insurance for the employee.  If not, the employer can be subject to one year in jail and up to $20,000 in fines (California Labor Code section 3700.5 and California Unemployment Insurance Code Section 2122).

But there is another way.

If the photographer is operating through a business entity (such as an LLC or corporation), then the Labor and Unemployment Codes don’t apply.  If the photographer is an individual/sole proprietor, then don’t use “Work Made for Hire” language in the Agreement.  Instead, you may assign the copyrights to another through language such as:

Photographer irrevocably transfers and assigns to the Client the copyrights created as part of the project.

Of course, if a photographer agrees to transfer copyrights, hopefully it will be for an appropriately large sum.  And when a photographer hires someone (like a designer) and wants ownership of the material created, also be careful not to violate these laws.  All of this is part of knowing your rights and responsibilities as a professional photographer!

Carolyn E. Wright and Leslie Burns, Law Office of Carolyn E. Wright, LLC (a/k/a the Photo Attorney)

 

Is There Still Hope For Newspapers? David Simon Of The Wire Thinks So

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Jonathan, sent me a link to David Simon’s blog awhile back and in the comments of the introduction he gets into a debate with someone about the future of newspapers. I know he’s right about the problem and solution, and despite the occasional idiotic moves by clueless investor/owners the industry will rise from the ashes soon. (I would not bet against Buffett on this.)

The media landscape has indeed changed and is still changing, and honestly, you’re missing it.

Yes, in the past, circulation didn’t support the paper — it was a loss leader. Advertising revenues supported the paper. Why? Because of the costs of circulation: Newsprint, presses, pressmen, trucks, gas, etc. It cost money to get a newspaper to a doorstep, regardless of how much coin you could charge for the product.

But now? Take a long breath and think about it.

Now, for the first time in the history of prose journalism, every paid subscription to a newspaper operating with a paywall is pure profit, save for the static costs of maintaining the digital website. The world has flipped and slowly, belatedly, the newspaper industry is realizing it. In fact, the reason the industry leaders failed to see it for too long was that they were wedded — as you are still wedded — to the model in which advertising with the god of revenue and circulation was the loss leader. But that isn’t true digitally. Now the future of journalism lies in paywalls and a paid circulation base. Now digital advertising can’t command sufficient rates to support first-rate journalism. (You’re wrong about that, too. Digital advertising on free webpages can only command pennies on the dollar of the print ad rates that once sustained journalism.) But digital circulation can sustain such an enterprise. And is doing so: The New York Times goes to a paywall and now has 700,000 paid subscriptions, and on the strength of that figure is being upgraded by Wall Street analysts. Next quarter they will be back in the black for the first time in many a year.

People always paid to have the paper come to their doorstep. Eventually, they’ll pay to have it available on their digital devices. As they are doing with the NYT. And the Wall Street Journal. And the FT. And even some regional papers and chains are now experimenting. Would it have been easier if they had not let the horse out of the barn for a decade or more? If they hadn’t eviscerated themselves in cost-cutting and ushered so much talent and content out of the newsrooms? Of course.

But they did and now the only road back is to nuture the paid subscription model and use revenues to reinvest in the coverage that people want and can’t get otherwise. And digital subscription revenue — which is now profit, not a loss leader as it was in the days of newsprint — will sustain the news-gathering function of a professional newsroom. The NYT at the top of the foodchain is proving it and most every other newspaper chain in the country is either following them or preparing to do so. This is the end of the beginning of a very dark and misplayed era for professional journalism.

Do the research. You’ll see that your argument is about two years behind the actual trend in the industry. Kind of embarrassing when you label people as Old Media and New Media, but then you go on to miscalculate your argument based on an Old Media model that no longer actually applies.

Then in a follow up comment

Every major newspaper chain — every single one — is now planning to eventually maintain paywalls. Again, it is end of the beginning.

You are used to a world that is unsustainable. News organizations have realized they must find a way to create a revenue stream through digitized delivery, and they are engaged in doing so. Your ability to get the best journalism for free is going to become less and less and at some point, if you want to have professional journalism, you’ll pay $10 or $15 or $20 a month for it. As readers did when it landed on their doorsteps every day.

And if the industry really gets their shit together down the road, it will get to the point where you’ll sign up with a consortium for digital access to your choice of various national, regional and local media. As with your cable bill. You want the NYT and the local regional paper and SI.com or ESPN and the WSJ, check those boxes and send the monthly bill. Sound crazy? Don’t see why it would be. We all once got television for free. Eventually, they ran the cable into our homes and now we spend $40 or $50 or $100 a month for television. And that revenue supports a multitude of programming that didn’t exist a couple generations ago. Same thing can happen with journalism. But job one is having the major papers get behind the paywall.

Read it all here: David Simon | Introduction.

Taking pictures on an offshore oil rig is serious business

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This is fascinating. I’m sure there are lots of photography jobs with very strict requirements like this one. Would be fun to do a column on all the weird photo jobs out there. If anyone has one they want to write about let me know.

For starters, due to the risk of flammable gas coming up the oil well, normal electronics are banned outside the living quarters. Smartphones are strictly forbidden and regular cameras require “hot work permits” be opened prior to use.

The idea behind the permit system is that all potentially-hazardous activities must be centrally coordinated by a responsible/accountable person, to ensure that risks are managed appropriately and ongoing operations do not interfere with each other. The permit must be signed by the rig’s on-board management and posted in a central location. The permit then expires when the approver’s shift ends. Even once the permit is approved, you still need to carry a gas detection device when taking pictures, to provide a warning if flammable gas is present. It’s kind of a pain.

So to avoid that hassle, we use explosion-proof cameras. It sounds cooler than it is.

The first time I ever heard the term “explosion-proof,” it was at a job interview for an environmental toxicity testing facility. We were doing a tour and I saw the words “EXPLOSION-PROOF” in big red lettering on the side of a refrigerator! My mind immediately went to putting bombs inside it for safety, but all it really meant was that the fridge would not act as an ignition source if flammable materials (solvents, etc) were placed inside. Kind of disappointing.

Flash forward about six years, and working with explosion-proof equipment is now a part of my job responsibilities. We use airtight seals, gas purges, current-limiting devices, and all sorts of other methods to ensure nothing ever starts a fire if there is a gas release. This is a highly regulated area of engineering with very strict design requirements. Level sensors inside gasoline tanks, blower fans for grain silos, and coal mine excavators all must be designed according to tight standards such as ATEX.

These standards are intended for heavy industrial equipment, and can result in some absurd designs when applied to consumer electronics like cameras. Here’s a picture of our $5,000 explosion-proof camera:

Big, right? For $5,000 and the size of a brick, you would expect a high quality camera, but no. My flip phone in 2002 took better pictures. You have to hold it rock-steady for 5 seconds to get a decent picture, and the auto-exposure adjustment gives you all-white or all-black pictures about 10% of the time. The rechargeable battery (that metal thing bolted to the front) dies in about 30 minutes. Zoom lens? Hah! Macro shots? Hah! It’s a terrible, god-awful camera — and it’s one of the best available. As a result of using this beast, I have gigs worth of blurry, grainy pictures from the rig. They’re good enough to put in a daily work report, but mostly not fit for publication on the internet.

Read the whole piece here: http://oilgas.quora.com/Taking-Pictures-Seriously

Photographs Push First Amendment Boundaries

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I don’t know much about Richard Prince, but I like to think that he’s in the business of operating at the edges of what’s acceptable. Whether he’s pushing the boundaries or just working in the grey area I think it’s important for art to have trouble makers. I’m more comfortable thinking about blank canvasses and drawing on top of images as important for pushing boundaries that other work can be built upon than worrying about whether this is something that will be admired centuries from now. I believe the title of this piece Jonathan Blaustein wrote for me: “You Don’t Always Get Art, But We Still Need More Of It“.

So, what about the grey area when it comes to photography and privacy. This is certainly a contentious and topical issue when it comes to paparazzi chasing celebrities or people taking pictures of slaughterhouses. Recent attempts at legislation in those areas (here, here, here) suggest people would like to limit the first amendment right to photography in public places. An exhibition at the Julie Saul Gallery in Chelsea seems to be pushing the boundary of privacy and photography. Photographer Arne Svenson shot pictures of residents in a neighboring building with a telephoto lens from his own apartment across the street. In a story for the New York Times Magazine, Photography Director Kathy Ryan contemplates the artistry vs. privacy issue:

These particular pictures are problematic, even for those, like me, who overwhelmingly side with artists and journalists when it comes to questions of freedom of expression. I support the artist’s right to make and exhibit his art and feel Svenson has the right to exhibit these pictures. But if images surfaced in a gallery of my daughter in our home, shot by a photographer using a long lens without our knowledge, I wouldn’t be happy. So the question arises, is it art when it’s a photograph of someone else, but not when it’s you or your family?

(Read the rest here)

I think in the end Arne Svenson may run into “a reasonable expectation of privacy” which is what makes street photography and making pictures in public possible and taking pictures of people in their homes illegal (Note: consult a lawyer, this is just my opinion).

But, I agree with Kathy in her conclusion that “the freedoms enjoyed by artists and journalists are worth possible breaches of privacy.” Boundary pushing is good for art, we don’t always “get it”, but it allows other artists to build upon it.

Sam Jones Launches offCamera

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Sam Jones is a go-to photographer for many magazines, studios and ad agencies when it comes to shooting actors. In over 20 years of shooting he’s noticed an unfortunate trend working for magazines. Less time; less control over wardrobe, location, heck even what side of the face you get to shoot; less choice in what to shoot with; which in his mind equals less exciting pictures. No unguarded moments or glimpses into their real lives. So, he decided to do something about it and created his own vehicle for “more” called offCamera.

Sam cracked open his formidable rolodex and started calling in favors to have actors, musicians, athletes and artists come into his studio for a simple daylight portrait shoot and one on one video interview with five unmanned cameras rolling. He then turns that into a magazine, a website, a video interview, and even a podcast. His theory, that there are others like him who want to experience long form stories and documentaries, who want simple portraits, who want the photographer, director and writer to be in control again.

I believe this is one more in a trend I see where people decide it’s time to take the power back and do what they want. If the audience and client come with you great, if not you still got to make something your way again. I am actually quite confident, based on evidence of other photographers creating their own publication, that Sam will find his audience and clients who agree with him on this. They will phone up and say “can you do that offCamera thing for us”? As I mentioned to Sam when he first told me about this project, your own publication if anything is an excellent excuse to call someone up and interview them. Inevitably that leads somewhere, either through the connection you just made or the people who are watching what you are doing.

From the editor letter in the first issue:

I started Off Camera to have my own magazine, my own radio station, and my own television studio. I wanted the opportunity to have a non-agenda conversation with anyone that captivated me. I wanted the chance to photograph anyone that peaked my interest, without having an art director or a publicist looking over my shoulder.

I have a strong reaction to over-produced, over-hyped, over-stimulating pieces of short content that leave me feeling like I am learning nothing. It has taken me a lifetime to develop my attention span, and I want to use it. I like a long book. I like a long documentary. I like a 15000 word magazine profile. I created Off Camera for those of us that salivate at the prospect of a good book, a stiff drink, and an afternoon with no plans.

Does Adobe’s Sudden Shift To Subscription Only, Unnecessarily Screw Photographers

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Last week Adobe announced a sudden shift to subscription only on future releases of Photoshop. This seems inevitable as the whole software industry has moved away from major releases in favor of incremental improvements. An article in Mashable has Adobe explaining the reasoning behind the move from perpetual licensing to subscription:

With the traditional perpetual model, product updates had to happen on a certain cycle. If the Photoshop team wanted to push out a new feature or update, it had to stay on the same cadence as the updates for other apps in the suite. The product life cycle was roughly 18 months, which meant that it would take at least that long for new features to make their way to the final product.

That’s fine for some applications but it meant that Adobe couldn’t be on the cutting-edge with its support for the latest web standards and technologies. To fill in the gaps, Adobe introduced its Edge tools and services as as a way of giving users access to tools developed on a more agile basis.

What Adobe found with its Edge apps was that customers really liked getting new features in their apps more quickly. Adobe could roll out the updates to users automatically and add support for new standards and features outside of the confines of a standard product cycle.

With Adobe CS6, the company started a dual-track for its development, focusing on a core set of features at launch for the product and then adding subscriber-only features for Creative Cloud members. Some of those features — including support for high-resolution displays such as the MacBook Pro with Retina — were rolled out to all users, but the team was basically on a dual-path.

That’s not sustainable and so, moving forward, Adobe CC products will continue to see enhancements and updates throughout the year. Major releases will likely still have some general cadence but the product teams will no longer need to wait to release new features for an app.

The issue for photographers as explained in this photographyreview.com article and comments is the $20 a month you must pay to access your photoshop files. If you don’t pay, your files are “digital trash.”

Reporter Beats Out Lumberjack For Worst Job Of 2013

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CareerCast.com has an annual ranking of 200 best and worst jobs for 2013 (here) and Reporter takes the bottom spot over last years Lumberjack. Ouch. Maybe we will see Discovery and History channels making a new reality series around reporter like the other worst job staples of Lumberjack, Commercial Fisherman and Mining. Of course rounding out the bottom 20 below Dishwasher but above Corrections Officer is Photojournalist at number 188, so I guess photographers are the best in the newsroom. In the catch-all category of Photographer, which usually includes heavy weighting on positions like cruise ship and theme park photographer, the ranking is 172 just below construction worker but with a positive job growth outlook. Strangely, their description of photographer reads: “Uses shutter-operated cameras and photographic emulsions to visually portray a variety of subjects.”