Chris McPherson stopped by to show his portfolio

- - Portfolio

Someone mentioned to me the other day that Chris McPherson was red hot at the moment, so I thought I’d do what I normally would have done when working at a magazine and called Deborah Schwartz to get his book in for a look. Only this time I shot all the pages and posted them here so you could have a look too.

Editorial book:

See a full frame slideshow (here).

I have to say that is one, well put together book. Excellent pacing, juxtapositions and the whole thing hangs together nicely reenforcing his style and vision.

Advertising tear book:

See a full frame slideshow (here).

A Cluetrain Manifesto For Newspapers

- - The Future

A blog post  written by William Lobdell, an 18 year veteran of the Los Angeles Times entitled “42 Things I Know” should serve as a clue train manifesto for newspaper (cluetrain is here and here).

As a former media insider I know the feeling of “this shit is broke and you clowns have no clue how to fix it” that he’s expressing in his post. I’ll highlight a few of the points I strongly agree with here:

3. … the business model for newspapers is broken.

5. … it can’t be fixed.

7. Technology has run laps around the print media — giving readers instant news, open-source journalism, no barriers to become publishers, and an infinite news hole.

8. The idea that your daily news is collected, written, edited, paginated, printed on dead trees, put in a series of trucks and cars and delivered on your driveway — at least 12 hours stale — is anachronistic in 2008.

11. Newspapers were unbelievably slow in embracing the Internet, even though younger reporters have been pleading with their bosses for years to embrace the Web.

15. Business side of the paper was worse in recognizing the Internet’s potential and its threat to the newspaper business. I once suggested that, since Craig’s List had arrived on the scene, The Times should match that business model and give away most of its classified ads (since we were already losing it already) in exchange for Internet readership and premium ad prices for corporate advertisers (such as employers). The business people laughed.

17. You can’t just transfer a news gathering operation from print to the web. Revenue on the web is fractured (like cable TV) and a news web operation can support far fewer journalists and layers of editors. It requires a different mindset.

24 … We operated as though we had a monopoly on truth and great journalism for far too long. We didn’t listen to our critics and sometimes our readers. That cost us.

33. If I were publisher, I’d have a clear mission statement for The Times’ editorial department (if you ask 100 journalists at The Times about their mission, you’d likely get 100 different answers).

35. I’d get realistic estimation on the size of The Times’ future work force and then make one large cut to get it there (good sources say another 150-200 layoffs are on the horizon). An internet operation can’t support a huge newsgathering operation, and morale would improve if everyone knew no more major layoffs loomed. People can deal with reality; it’s just this surrealistic no-man’s-land that make it impossible to move forward and has good people bailing out.

36. I’d take the very talented journalists I had and develop a SERIES of websites that provided the best information for that beat/subject matter. The Web is all about niches. The Times, for instance, could have the premiere sites for every professional and college sports team in Southern California. It could be THE place to turn to for news on City Hall, Los Angeles Unified School District, and Los Angeles Police Department. Not to mention Southern California environmental issues, LAX and the coast.

42. And this is ultimately why I left The Times. Though the paper has been in business for 125 years, it had become riskier to stay than to go.

Visit the entire list (here).

The people who can take media into the future are sitting right there, on staff at all the major publishing organizations, but they’re slowly leaving, so somebody needs to get off their ass and empower them to help make changes. I asked for a blog at the last two publications where I worked and finally had to just start one on my own.

Oh, and don’t miss Simon Dumenco shredding the LA Times Magazine to pieces in Advertising Age (here).

Simon Barnett, DOP at Newsweek Prepares for the Olympics

Courtesy Daimen Donck/NEWSWEEKWith the Olympics just around the corner I thought I’d check in with Simon Barnett of Newsweek, because he’s hired his very own dream team of photographers (Laforet, Miralle and Powell) to provide coverage of the event.

The Olympics start next week. Are you ready? Can you explain a little bit about how someone prepares to cover an event of this magnitude?

I think we’re ready!…. There’s a tremendous amount of pre-planning involved in this, I’d say more than any other event, period. The fact that so many events are happening at different locations, often at the same times, makes the correct scheduling a pivotal part of how well we’ll do. We’ve been working on it for about a month and are just about done. We’ve gone over and over the schedule trying to predict the big stories while not forgetting the interesting smaller events, and also factoring in that the photographers are, occasionally, entitled to a little sleep.

How did you come up with the dream team of Laforet, Miralle and Powell?

All are ex-Allsport staffers (now gone, an early Getty acquisition), as I was I too. I was Allsport USA’s managing editor in the 90’s and worked closely with Mike Powell, so we go way back. Vince and Donald joined Allsport after I left to be a part of the team that started ESPN the Magazine. Even though I don’t get to do that much sports nowadays with Newsweek, I’ve always kept an interested eye on the sports photography scene, and I know that I have assigned the three best, most original sports photographers available.

Allsport really was an amazing place for photography—at it’s peak it was to sport what Magnum is to photojournalism. There was an incredible hunger at the agency, and often a quite intimidating rivalry amongst the shooters. I remember clearly the harsh ribbing that some of the youngsters would get if they couldn’t follow focus 6 frames of an athlete running at them on a 600mm. They’d all be challenging themselves to shoot difficult pictures, on massive tele-photos, using 50 ASA Velvia in the shade, skillfully timing the peak action at the only possible moment when it froze sufficiently to yield a sharp image at a 1/60th of a second. That era produced the likes of Simon Bruty and Bob Martin, both now at SI, and guys like David Cannon and Clive Brunskill who are still with Getty today. Allsport photographers were always shooting portfolio-type images, trying first to make art, and, in a classic sports sense, driven to beat the hell out of the competition.

For this Olympics, I thought I’d to try and approach it that way again, this time for Newsweek. I have given Mike, Vincent and Donald a dream brief at the biggest event in the world—go make great photographs first, worry less about recording every medal.

With the media revolution that’s underfoot and the ability consumers and professionals have to publish text, photography and video, instantly to a world wide audience, this will certainly be the most published sporting event ever. I know the media is granted special access but you’re still sitting there shooting from same perspective as hundreds of other photographers with the exact same global reach. How do you produce original work in an environment like this?

The Olympics are tough to make look different, and they’ve never been tougher to cover than they are today. Hundred’s of photographers are penned in the same place, all on the same lens, all using the same camera (which begins with C). If you go back pre-autofocus, pre-digital, the best photographers had an easier time of distancing themselves from the pack. But now, with these amazing cameras, much of the technical skill we used to prize in professionals, such as exposure on chrome in changing light, the ability to manually focus, and critical lens choice, has been automated. I’ve told my guys to go author these Games the way they see it, and with that I am hopeful they might be freed to see something unique.

How will you resist the call to publish the images everyone else is publishing and instead present an original point of view?

I should clarify that the plan I lay out here is one that assumes that the Olympics passes as a purely sporting event, and one that does not escalate into an unforeseeable news story, such as was the case in Munich 72, or with a Tanya Harding Olympics. If a big news story overtakes the sports story, we’ll adapt to deliver that. That’s something that I can say we’re pretty used to doing. Statistically speaking, the chances of one of my three photographers being in a better position, and having a better photograph of a news event than the wire services is fairly unlikely. And if that happens, I will surely be looking for the best news picture, wherever it comes from. The Olympics has a habit of producing these bigger-than-sports stories about half of the time, so we are bracing for that eventuality.

So, now that shooting sporting events is no longer technically difficult, is it the job of Photo Editors to ensure the health of the industry, by bringing the next generation of Laforet’s, Miralle’s and Powell’s into the fold?

It is a duty of the photo editing community to mine for the next generation. As I say, technically publishable pictures can now be taken by almost anyone with a 200 dollar point and shoot, so hunting for the people who have a point of view, and can express their unique vision in photographs is more important than ever. It’s now less about how to technically get the image recorded and so much more about the mind behind it.

Tell me a little bit about working on an event of this magnitude from a DoP’s point of view. Lot’s of meetings, last minute adjustments of coverage and a ton of frames to edit?

For us, this is the first time that our focus is overwhelmingly to our web presence, so with that we’ve come up with a new approach to editing. Each of the three photographers will manage their own photo blog, editing and uploading their best images –along with, I hope, some very personal anecdotes about what it’s like to be there experiencing it. I hope this creates a form of photo “Survivor” between them, where they are in a kind of creative competition. Then, I’ll go in to their blogs each day and edit what I deem to be the ‘best of’ which will be up on a showcased gallery around noon each day. It’s kind of photographic natural selection.

Are you doing anything unique with all the photography you’ve commissioned? Where should people go to see the coverage? and our photo blog Visions of China. And we welcome feedback…


- - copyright


UPDATE (here).

The Senate is “hotlining” the Orphan Works Bill at this very minute, which means it could pass within the hour.

PLEASE CALL BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS IMMEDIATELY and ask them to either vote NO or put a hold on the Bill.

S. 2913: Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008

Whether you’ve called before, or have never called, this is is the moment, the second where it counts. This cannot wait, you need to call NOW.

This could be your last chance to make a stand for the protection of copyright.

Here is a link providing contact information for Senators/Representatives:

Thank you,

Constance Evans
APA National Executive Director

Julia Graham
APA|NY Regional Director

A Photo Folio- New Website Design Company For Photographers

- - Websites

I’m happy to announce the launch of my new website design company for photographers:

It was 6 months ago, when I had assumed that not working in New York meant not working in the photography industry, that I decided to pursue internet related projects, so that I could stay engaged. A Photo Folio joins the blog as the income producing part of what will eventually be many different products and services for photographers and photo editors, some free some not and I promise, not all beginning with an “A.”

I feel blessed and lucky to have met two talented, hard working guys who build websites on the wedding photography side of the business. Erik Dungan and Mike Caston started in 2004 and have grown it into one of the top destinations for wedding photographers seeking web portfolios. From me, they have endured endless stream-of-consciousness emails, philosophy statements, wouldn’t-it-be-nice missives and all manner of inside magazines jargon and handled it all with aplomb.

We built two designs, a kick ass control panel (so you can go change everything around) and a home site to house and sell it all. The price is fair, the designs are contemporary, clean and built with a clients eye (just show me the pictures and no music please). They display photography beautifully and are easy to navigate. Additionally, I’ve added consulting on the portfolio edit and logo design (with a typography expert) as an important component to building effective websites. If these designs don’t appeal to you now every few months we build a new one, so you can let me know if there’s something you’re really looking for.

Ok, that’s the only sales pitch you’re going to get out of me. I hope some of you who are in the market for a portfolio will consider ours.

How Will Condé Nast Survive?

- - Magazines

Condé Nast will survive the shift of media online because for the most part they produce something that can’t be replicated online.

This is from a story in the NY Times last weekend:

“Condé also consistently sells more ads than its competitors and at higher prices, though some of its magazines make little or no profit. Even so, spending money to make money, and focusing on premium products to attract readers and advertisers, has clearly worked for more than a decade, though its margins are thin compared with those of its competitors. Condé executives say it generates close to $5 billion in revenue, has operating margins of around 10 percent and profits of about half that. Analysts and bankers say that Advance as a whole, which carries no debt, is worth, conservatively, $15 billion.”

Read more (here).

An Important Part of Having a Great Eye is Choosing Subjects

Elisabeth Biondi, visuals editor of the New Yorker magazine on photographer Pieter Hugo’s “The Hyena Men of Nigeria:”

‘Some people have said to me that Pieter’s subject is so dramatic that it would be hard to take a bad picture,’ says Biondi, ‘but, you know, a photographer chooses his subjects, and that, too, is an important part of having a great eye. Photographers go where their instinct leads them and then try and work out their fascination for the subject through the photographs they take. That’s what Pieter’s doing but in a kind of extreme way.’ She pauses for a moment. ‘He has a vision and he pursues it relentlessly. He has what it takes.’

Read it (here), Via, Subjectify.

One of the more underrated skills of great photographers.

Panel on Stock Photography

- - Events

I moderated a panel on stock photography last Sunday and met some very talented young photo editors and learned a few things too. We had Leslie dela Vega the Photo Editor at TIME Magazine, Whitney Lawson, Photo Editor at Travel+Leisure, Michael Wichita, Photo Editor from AARP Bulletin and Ryan Schick the Photo Editor at Conde Nast

Here’s what I discovered:

Travel + Leisure, loves film. All their regular contributors shoot film so if you’d like to shoot stories for T+L you’d better go buy a film camera (or fake it somehow). Whitney was careful to point out several times that the deep rich blacks achieved in film are very important to the pictures they run. Additionally what separates a good travel photo from a brochure photo is the amount of information that’s in the frame. A brochure photo will take great pains to show the view and the bed in a hotel room, the flower on the nightstand and all the little details that are all perfect plus it’s lit like the land of a thousand suns, so you can’t tell what time of day it is. That’s four different pictures in a travel story.

Tha AARP Bulletin is different then the magazine, they’re more focussed on the issues and not as lifestyle or a slick as the magazine. Michael said that he never gets enough stories pitched from photographers and they pay good money, so that should be incentive for photographers to send him a pitch or two. He also said finding pictures of seniors with different ethnicities is nearly impossible. seems to be headed in the right direction. They have a photo editor, they’re buying stock and assigning stories. Ryan told us about how a photographer who’s work he enjoyed pitched a story on high end bone fishing and was given a 5 day assignment. Also, he showed a few of the recent stock purchases they had made and all felt fresh compared to your usual business metaphors.

Time magazine is an industry icon and heavy user of stock in the front a back of book sections of the magazine. It was interesting to hear Leslie talk about how photos get approved at the magazine. She will meet with her section designer and go over the line-up to see what stories they want to find photography for then she’ll go get a handful of images for each one from which the designer will mock up 4-5 approaches. They then take that to discuss and pick the final selection with the Editor. Also, I asked her about stories that were difficult to find stock for that they always encounter. Major issues facing youths like drugs, pregnancy and drinking we’re always hard to find pictures of because all the underage people depicted and the releases they would need from parents. In fact she recently used to find kids with party photos for an underage drinking story and found the perfect frame where someone was passed out face down and surrounded by beer bottles.

Everyone said they had purchased photos from Flickr or amateur photographers from time to time but they kept their standard usage rates because it was not an issue of finding something cheap just finding an image the stock sites didn’t have. Most are using micro stock for those tiny throwaway shots (worst design trend ever) in the front of the book except Whitney who had no idea what micro stock was. Also, everyone seemed very excited about Photoshelter’s stock offering and I know the feeling because if you’ve searched the big stock houses enough you become very familiar with the limitations of their collections so a new player who’s actively adding imagery and photographers to the system is a very welcome addition.

The Dangers of Oversold Stories

- - Working

Assigning photography to oversold stories is a very painful lesson to learn in this industry. All stories are sold to some extent, because no one is sitting around in a pitch meeting carefully outlining all the reasons why something might not work but some bear the onerous distinction of an idea that only looks good on paper. The subjects who are sold as good looking, young, healthy and fit are actually quite flabby and boring. The conceit the whole thing hangs on was more theory than fact. The Shangri-La like location is criss-crossed with power lines and it rains every single day.

Early in my career, I’d blissfully go about making assignments to match stories without even a peep in the editorial meeting, assuming all the while that the editors fully grasped the difficulties that might be encountered and that they had an inkling what the person, place or thing they just assigned looked like.


I quickly discovered after a series of meetings where crappy pictures were delivered to match the crappy story and I was left holding the bag, that it was my job to investigate the realities of what was being pitched. I unfortunately turned a few photographers I liked into persona non grata as I bumbled along handing out steaming piles of shit, expecting gleaming diamonds in return. A few figured it out or lucked out but many like me got run over by the fertilizer truck and had to take a lump or two to realize what was going on.

I quickly developed a method in meetings of questioning the kind of pictures we might get in return if we made that assignment and challenged the editors to confront this reality: great stories aren’t just words, they need great pictures to go along with them otherwise they’re just plain crap.

Editorial Boot Camp

- - Events

I’m giving a talk at the Photoshelter event this Sunday (Shoot The Day) that I’m calling Editorial Boot Camp (press release here). I ‘m calling it that because I’m gonna teach photographers how to kick down the photo editors door, put the CFO in a sleeper hold and throw concussion grenades into the editors office… metaphorically, of course.

If you’re attending I’ll see you there. If not I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

There’s No Shortage of Great Photography

- - Getting Hired

There’s so much great photography out there and sure, if the budget and pages are unlimited and you only answer to god then you can go about your merry way picking from the vast variety of photographers but, under a given set of circumstances where you want a specific genre and someone versed in a particular subject matter and then you throw in any number of limitations with budget, pages, location, time frame and then add to the mix the tastes of your editor, creative director, publisher, owner and the reader… well, the group to choose from can become very small. Sometimes there’s only one who fits the bill.

For many photographers it’s about finding that group of photo editors and art buyers who love your work and enjoy working with you and know you’re a perfect match for the assignments they have to make.

Outdoor Sports Photographers

- - Working

UPDATED, Outdoor Sports Photographers List.

Some of these guys have moved on and most can shoot more sports than I’ve listed but all will blow your mind with crazy action or travel photos.

Jackson Hole, WY
Wade McKoy- Skiing
Andrew McGarry- Climbing
Chris Figenshau- Skiing
Greg Von Doersten- Climbing, Skiing
Greg Epstein- Skiing
Jimmy Chin- Climbing
Gabe Rogel- Climbing, Skiing
Jeff Diener- Outdoors
David Stubbs- Outdoors
Jonathan Selkowitz- Outdoors

Cody, WY
Bobby Model- Climbing

Northern, CA
Amy Kumler- Surfing, Travel
Dan Patitucci- Climbing
Bill Stevenson- Skiing
Corey Rich- Climbing
Desre Pickers- Kayak
Christian Pondella- Skiing, Climbing
Jeff Pflueger- Kayak
Chris Burkard- Kayak
Jerry Dodrill- Climbing

San Francisco, CA
Martin Sundberg- Windsurfing
John Dickey- Climbing
Val Atkinson- Fly Fishing
Rod McLean- Outdoors

Southern, CA
Steve Casimiro- Skiing, Adventure
Kevin Zacher- Snowboarding
Embry Rucker- Snowboarding
Danny Zapalac- Snowboarding
Art Brewer- Surfing
Jim Russi- Surfing
Tom Servais- Surfing
Robert Brown- Surfing
David Troyer- Surfing
J. Grant Brittain- Skateboard
Scott Soens- Surfing
Jack English- Surfing
C&J Turner Forte- Travel
Tom Carey- Surfing
Chris Straley- Surfing
Mike O’Meally- Skateboard
Scott Pommier- Skateboard
Jon Humphries- Skateboard
Atiba Jefferson- Skateboard

Continue Reading

How To Buy A Photo On Flickr

- - Stock

Finding one is fairly easy, well, it’s not bad if you can’t find what you need on the traditional stock sites and you’ve run out or ideas where to look or, and this happens too, you’re sick of seeing the same handful of images for a package you run every single year and want something different this time, then suddenly when you type in your keywords there’s thousands of hits and of course most of them are garbage but usually not too far in there’s something workable.

So, you grab it and put it in your folder and it eventually ends up on the server and possibly in a layout and then on the wall where the editor approves it then it’s taken down the hall where the big chief says he loves that image and then back on your desk where suddenly you’re staring at it thinking where the hell did I get this image.

So you go on the server and look at the file name which is usually something innocuous like myfavioritephoto.jpg and then look at the meta data and there’s usually none and this is where your nightmare can begin because once you actually locate the image on flickr again the person who shot it may not even have an email (I only made that mistake once) and if they do it’s possible they loaded the image 4 years ago and never put another one up (a bad sign) but if the email is there you fire one off stressing the urgency and I usually include the siize of the publication and the price as extra motivation because we’re usually on deadline once the big chief has approved something.

The story ends one of 4 ways. 1. You never hear back. 2. You hear back but the file they send you isn’t big enough or doesn’t look good on the proof. 3. The fact checkers discover that it’s not the correct location. 4. They get back to you with the right size file and the caption is correct and everything is cool.

I’ve had all 4 happen so I know the odds are about equal and this is why Flickr will forever remain a last resort for photo editors.

What’s Up With Alec Soth

- - Blogs

Alec Soth wrote a seminal photography blog (here) then one day up and quit. And, I’m not talking “hey, I’m getting tired of this shit I think I’ll pull back a bit,” I’m talking Bermuda-triangle-sudden-radio-silence quit. I always figured the man’s got his reasons and we’ll leave it at that. But, after you’ve been on the sharp end of a blog for awhile the reasons present themselves and I started to develop theories about it. I decided to ask him “what’s up.”

Ok, so why did you quit blogging?

Well, first let me say why I started blogging in the first place. A couple years ago I had an itch to talk about creative issues. My son had just been born and I figured I wouldn’t be getting out much. More importantly, my career as a photographer was going really well but so much of my time was focused on the business side of things. While I was grateful to be making a living, I was becoming increasingly frustrated that all I talked about was prices, editions and so on. I took up the blog as a break from the business side of art. And it turned out to be a fantastic venue for that stuff. You know that feeling you have as a student where you are so hungry for knowledge and inspiration – that was the way I felt with the blog. It was great. Soon there was a sizable audience. This was flattering and cool, but it changed things. Rather than being my creative journal, the blog started feeling like a magazine. It started becoming another business. Every day I was getting dozens of emails from people showing me their work. I just couldn’t keep up. It also started affecting my real life relationships. One time I traveled to New York and was too busy to see a show by a friend of mine. The fact that I didn’t see her show and write about it on my blog, well, she hasn’t spoken to me since. It was ridiculous. As much as I loved the venue, I didn’t need the grief.

Your blog is still cited as one of the best on photography and you’ve not made a post in almost a year. Do you think any photographers will come around and usurp your title?

Of course. I’m sure it has already happened. The truth is that once I quit blogging, I also quit reading blogs. I needed to get out of the loop.

Most photographers have trouble with self promotion and so a blog probably looks like water torture. How did you deal with it?

I’m not a fan of using blogs for self-promotion. I’m as guilty as the next dork for having used my blog to talk about my new show, new book, whatever. But those were the weakest posts. You can smell self-promotion from a mile away. The good stuff would always come from genuine curiosity. If artists take up blogging just to promote their careers, their blogs won’t be worth much more than spam.

What are you up to these days?

I have two personal projects in the works. One will be ready this fall, the other in the fall of 2009. In 2010, the Walker Art Center is organizing a major traveling show & catalog. And I’m still doing plenty of editorial. I just finished a four part series for the Telegraph Magazine.

Any chance you’ll take up the blog again?

I have fantasies. I recently bought Larry Towell’s new book and was so thrilled with it. I really wish that I could go to town on it like I once did on my blog with a Tod Papageoge book. But if I go back, it will likely be on a different site. David Alan Harvey and I have been toying with the idea of functioning like columnists on the Magnum blog. Maybe I could manage being a columnist – but I’m pretty burned out on being the publisher.

Getty announces deal with Flickr

Interesting development in the stock industry, Getty Images and Flickr are working together to establish the first commercial licensing opportunity for photo-enthusiasts in the Flickr community:

Images can be tremendously powerful. Images, empowered appropriately, can challenge, convince, delight and inspire. At Flickr, we think one of our most important missions is to enabe images to be all that they can be. And as such, we are incredibly proud and excited to launch a new partnership with Getty Images, the unrivaled leader in digital media licensing, to offer a new Flickr branded collection on

The creative and editorial teams at Getty Images have a deep understanding of what makes images truly extraordinary as well as what their clients (on a global scale) are seeking. Marrying this expertise to the talent and breadth of the photography on Flickr is truly an incredible opportunity, for our members, for Getty Images clients, and for those who love imagery in all of its forms.

So how does it all work?

Getty Images has the best editors globally taking the pulse of the market. In the next several months, they will be exploring Flickr’s collection of public photos and inviting some of these photographers to be part of the Flickr collection on Getty Images.

Both companies are committed to providing our users with more choices. Flickr members have an unprecedented opportunity to establish even more value for their creativity and work directly with a global leader to license their images commercially. Getty Images customers will have access to even more diverse, regionally relevant imagery.

So make sure to check out the Flickr collection on in the coming months to see what the editors at Getty Images have selected.

-Kakul Srivastav, General Manager, Flickr

From the Getty Blog (here).

I’ll be interested to see how many gems they find in the 2 billion images stored there.

Running The Best Photo

- - Working

Well, of course, everything is cool when the photographer and magazine are aligned because there are two goals with selecting a picture for a story. The first is running an image that serves the story. Something that is surprising, insightful and arresting, an attention grabber that will get the consumer to read the headline, then deck, lead and finally the entire story. The second goal is an image that serves the photographer well. Something they’d want their photo credit next to, that they can use as a tear sheet, that will land them more jobs.

Balancing these two goals is an important part of photo editing because when you throw everyone else in the mix… the editor wants an image to match his clever headline, the writer wants an image to match that crazy moment they’ve anchored the whole piece on, the EIC wants something that looks different from all the other lead images running this month, the Publisher wants to make sure it’s not something the advertisers can complain about in a pitch meeting, the designer wants something that works with the layout they’ve been designing with dummy photos waiting for the real ones to come in… things can get a little crazy.

When the goals of the magazine cause you to select an unflattering image or use images in a less than ideal manner then you’ve got a problem on your hands.

I have had my head completely chewed off by agents, a few photographers and one gallery when I’ve let the magazine’s goals stomp on the photographers. There’s usually an unspoken rule when working with a certain group of photographers “we do this for the clips.” Because, “the money is laughable, the subject has no resale value, the embargo’s are long and the contracts are ridiculous. Get us a good clip or it’s not worth the time.”

Building the trust of talented photographers is the only way to get amazing pictures on your desk in the first place.

Denis Darzacq’s Floating People

Photos from Denis Darzacq’s new project “Hyper” (here) were all over the internet a couple weeks back and they certainly deserve the attention as fascinating and unnerving images, plus there’s no photoshop involved which makes it all the more interesting.

Here’s a behind the scenes video I found on the Lens Culture blog (here) from his book La Chute.

I suppose the only editorial application of a technique like this would be a fashion story since you need the talented street performers to do the jumps but whenever I see something like this I start to think of all the different ways I can get it into the book. Now, with all the hype certain types of photography can receive on the internet there’s a little extra incentive to find something quickly.

Photographers and Blogs

- - Blogs

If you’re a professional photographer there are 4 reasons to have a blog and 1 good one not to:

1. Community Building. Talking about the industry, helping photographers just starting out, linking to sites and news about photography you think the community would be interested in. This is a great reason to have a blog and a big reason why blogs are popular, bringing people together from all over the planet who are interested in similar topics.

2. Marketing. You can use a blog like a big promo card and post tears, new personal projects and generally just pimp yourself out to whomever might be stopping by. Google seems to be ultra sticky when it comes to blog posts so just posting your name with an image from your portfolio or the city you live in with genre you shoot will probably attract some clients. I have been known to type professional, photographer, Juneau, AK into google from time to time.

3. News and information. You can use the blog like you would a newsletter and let people know where you’re going to be and what images you just added to your stock library so someone visiting because they like your landscape photography can discover that you just had a portrait session with Angelina Jolie and the images are available for syndication.

4. Building a fan base. Talking to your fans, who at this point are mostly amateur photographers and giving them photography tips and telling stories about your experiences on assignment has turned into a real moneymaker for some photographers. It’s important that you have something to sell your fans like a photography book you wrote or a lighting seminar you give.


1. Posting things that will get you un-hired. Mostly just bad photography that you wouldn’t put in your portfolio (this is still your portfolio) and weird rants that might make me think you’re someone I don’t want to forge a relationship with. The biggest reason to not have a blog is that you have nothing interesting to show or say or you’re just not the type of person who likes to sit at a computer and write because you’d rather be taking pictures.

At this point most of your clients aren’t going past the first dozen pictures in your portfolio so a blog is not a “make or break” deal. Although, in one version of the future I see media companies building communities of people who are interested in a topic and they’re helping consumers edit through all the crap and selling advertising into the different content that’s created and photographers who blog become a valuable asset and a reason to give an assignment in the first place.

So, whatever your reasons might be for starting a blog remember that it’s still your portfolio and there will be client rooting around from time to time and google never forgets (college grads are finding out the hard way about this) so, whatever you do don’t post a rant about the goddam CFO and the Editor’s crappy story ideas and the Creative Director’s shitty layout and expect Condé Naste to be calling.