World Press Photo Looks To Change Contest Rules For Retouching

- - Working

The controversy that erupted this summer over the World Press Photo award winning image taken by Paul Hansen has forced the organization to examine their contest rules. In a press release on October 2nd announcing contest chair Gary Knight, Managing Director Michiel Munneke explained: “We have evaluated the contest rules and protocols and examined how to create more transparency, and we have changed the procedures for examining the files during the judging. We will announce further details when the 2014 Photo Contest opens for entries later this year, but the bottom line is that we will need to be able to rely on the integrity and professionalism of the participating photographers.”

Relying on the integrity of photographers is fine when it comes to the level of manipulation where things are added and removed from images, but the larger issue is that World Press Photo in the past has allowed the jury to decide what it deems “currently accepted standards in the industry” for retouching. And this opaque rule is what allowed a mob to form and go after Paul Hansen in the first place. Here are their rules for retouching at the time:

The contest entry rules state that the content of the images must not be altered. Only retouching which conforms to currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed. The jury will consider what they deem acceptable in each category during the judging

I hope that an organization with the reputation of World Press Photo will tell the world what these “currently accepted standards” are and set an example for newspapers, magazines and other contests. Despite the finger wagging of publications like PDN (ironically pushing over a dozen photo contests of their own) at the mob’s accusations towards Paul, the problem lies not with the blogger’s headlines, but rules that leave photographers hanging out to dry when questions arise.

The darkroom is long gone and a RAW image can have many different interpretations as it’s brought to life on the computer screen. Expecting photographers to not produce contest winning interpretations when entering World Press Photo is folly.

This Week In Photography Books: Lori Nix

by Jonathan Blaustein

Have I ever told you that I live in a horse pasture at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains? Of course I have. Like, a million times. I say it constantly.

Is it a nefarious part of my personal branding? (That Blaustein. Always makes it about him.) I suppose it’s possible, if you believe me that much of a cynic. But I think it’s something else.

Writing for the global Internet is a strange job. Technically, you know you’re reaching a lot of people. But that reality is abstract, like a cloud that looks like the European Continent. Knowing readers are out there is nice, but it has no bearing on my daily life.

It’s very remote here, which is why I bring it up so often. Most of you are living in the urban world, where things run smoothly, and you can get decent takeout almost anywhere. Never before, in the history of time, could we have this sort of asymmetrical dialogue. Without the Internet, I wouldn’t be able to live the way I do. (Which includes having to fire up the wood stove on this, the first un-official day of winter. Snow outside already?)

That I can remain connected and removed enables me to have the perspective that I do. Sometimes, things work out perfectly. Take this morning, for instance. I just swiped through Twitter, and saw a few people saying that the Lori Nix exhibition at ClampArt was a must see. Cool, I thought. Good for her. But what the f-ck does that have to do with me?

Good question. Because not three minutes later, I reached into my book stack, and “Voila!” There it was. A new monograph, “The City,” by Lori Nix, just published by Decode Books in Seattle. (I love that the credits mention the color correction was done domestically, before the printing transpired in China. Lest we be confused…)

I’ll say it straight off. Totally fantastic book. Amazing work, beautifully printed, and I even like the way they constructed the narrative. (A few photos, for the uninitiated, then an essay to explain and contextualize the project, and then all the gorgeous plates, with a few detail shots thrown in to make sure you realize the labor involved.)

Are we done now? Of course not. I forgot to tell you what Ms. Nix’s work is all about. I think my cold bones are clouding my intelligence. Is it possible to lose IQ points when it’s cold outside?

The photographs in “The City,” and presumably on the wall in NYC, are supremely intricate dioramas of interior scenes in a post-apocalyptic world. (Thank god for spell-check. I butcher post-apocalyptic every time I type it.)

Whether it’s the zombie fetishists, the nuclear war junkies, the climate change fantasists, or the Jesus freaks, there are lots of people out there convinced we’re going to end ourselves shortly.

We certainly possess the means to do it. Personally, I think our survival instinct is such that it would be very difficult to eradicate humans off the face of the earth. Terry Gilliam’s underground fantasy from “12 Monkeys” is far more likely, if the shit hits the fan.

The photographs owe a debt to James Casebere, whose brilliant work I saw in Washington DC a few weeks ago. (A description of which will have to wait for a subsequent article.) The craftsmanship of the scenes is mind-boggling, as is the photographic construction. Great color, great light.

The sad beauty is melodic, in that you enjoy it, while still understanding that it’s prophesying your own doom. (Or that of your grandkids. Hard to say.) The dead mall photo, which was like a Play-Do version of Brian Ulrich’s “reality” picture, was superb. As was the control room image, which I preferred to Thomas Demand’s Teutonic version. That there is a conversation with contemporary art Easter egg-ed inside is just a bonus treat.

I hate to give away surprises, but there is a photo of a Natural History Museum late in the book, (Sugimoto reference) and the roof has been blown off. I had to look several times, but up in the sky, one can clearly make out a Pterodactyl. (Or is is a Pteranodon. Given that I have a six-year-old, I ought to know the difference by now.) So what does that mean? Do the Dinosaurs come back? You’ll have to ask Ms. Nix.

OK. Now we’re done. Fantastic book. You should buy it if, like me, you’re far away from NYC, and can’t see the prints for yourself.

Bottom Line: Brilliantly constructed scenes of what it looks like when we’re all gone.

To Purchase “The City” Visit Photo-Eye

Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

Art Producers Speak: Peden+Munk

- - Art Producers Speak

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Peden+Munk, these two young talented people, Jen and Taylor, work in a symbiotic mode I’ve never before seen. Each is a creative enthusiast and each has the technical acumen. There were times during the 2 day shoot in which they would seamlessly interchange roles while shooting.  After the shoot we walked away with a modern arsenal of imagery that helped to forge the success of our clients new website. I cannot say enough about the value reaped from the talent of this gifted team.

Manresa. Bon Appetit.

Egg Primer. Bon Appetit.

The Grilling Issue. Bon Appetit.

Campfire Potatoes. Bon Appetit.

Steve Livigni. Bartender. LA.

Pour Vous. LA.

PokPok. Bon Appetit.

Egg Primer. Bon Appetit.

Mark Houston. La Descarga.

Beer. Advertising Renaissance Hotels.

How many years have you been in business?
We have been shooting together for 7 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
For both of us it started with a passion for photography which led us to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Taylor’s father is a photographer – music, interiors, and portraits – and his mother was a creative director at Elizabeth Arden, so he grew up in a very artistic environment.

My father gave me his old Pentax when I was about 11 years old. I have been shooting ever since that day.

Then while at Art Center, renowned Los Angeles photographer Paul Jasmin encouraged us to work together. In his class we shot fashion and portraits and with his words, “show me where you live” in our head, we started to develop our narrative, story-telling style.

One of the first projects we shot under Jasmin’s tutelage was called “Breathless”. Inspired by the 1960 Godard film of the same name, we set out with two models and drove through the streets and alleys of Los Angeles abstractly interpreting some of our favorite scenes from the film. In the end we had a beautiful book of images and realized that our collaboration was something special.

Jasmin’s encouragement also gave us a great sense of freedom. It was liberating to know we could dream and conceptualize anything we wanted. More importantly, it pushed our photography in a direction where it had never gone before. Then the lines began to blur: whose image was whose? We realized it didn’t matter because we had spawned what is PEDEN+MUNK today. Jasmin is still an inspirational mentor.

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?
Our subjects inspire us. Often that inspiration is more instinctual than intellectual. It’s a nuanced dance between capturing a moment and creating a reality.

We keep our work fresh by approaching it as storytellers, rather than as pure documentarians. One photograph can be powerful but we find creating a narrative with many images is more effective. It allows us to deeply engage the viewer so they understand what we see and how we see it.

Sometimes that narrative is revealed in the editing process. Of course we initially compose our images with a linear sense of what we believe the story to be but like any art, photography is fluid so we have to be able to adapt as we go. In the end, we create a focused representation with a clear beginning, middle and end.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
There are always politics in business. But the key to success is working hand in hand with the creatives to achieve the best possible work for the client. That means pushing the boundaries as far as you can, while keeping in mind that the commercial process is always a collaboration. The ideal day is when everyone feels like their vision was acknowledged, respected, and exceeded their expectations. That’s when solid teamwork can produce beautiful results.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Personal connections and networking are vital to our success. Whenever possible, we schedule one on one meetings. And we believe a strong promotional piece is one that will never be thrown away. It’s all about quality, simplicity and great design.

We also use Instagram. There we can connect with clients on a more personal level. It also lets people know where we are and what we’re working on. Additionally, we work with our agent, Jodi Rappaport, who is a loyal advocate. All of these tools help us develop our career and continue to do the work we love.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Be true to yourself. Only show work you’re passionate about and that represents what you want to do every day.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
We’re grateful that our assignments allow us to shoot artistically so the need to shoot personal work is fulfilled every day. We feel lucky to have this creative freedom.

How often are you shooting new work?
All the time.

Peden+Munk (Taylor Peden and Jen Munkvold) are a photography team based in NY and LA.
Their editorial work can be seen in Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Glamour, Gather Journal, and Garden & Gun. Other clients include: Electrolux, Newcastle, Renaissance Hotels, and Crate&Barrel. Peden+Munk also photographed THE GRILLING BOOK: The definitive guide from Bon Appetit.

Peden+Munk are represented by The Rappaport Agency. (


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.

Professional Photographer Webcast – Live

Show notes:

Suzanne’s Twitter:

Agency Spy:
Agency Compile:

LindedIn Premium:


ASMP Find A Photographer:

Lifetime Fitness:

UPDATE: We had a miscommunication on the time with Kat who is CST so we are going to be 3 EST and 12 PST. Sorry.

Today at 2pm EST, 11am PST we will have a live webcast right here with myself, Suzanne Sease and special guest Art Producer Kat Dalager. The topic of discussion will be Art Producing and email marketing. Submit any questions you have to: (you will remain anonymous) and we will try to answer them on the webcast.

You can also visit Google Plus where it will be broadcast: Google+

10/14: The Weekly Edit Interview
WSJ Magazine: Jennifer Pastore

- - The Daily Edit


Heidi: You are well versed in fashion with your former experience as Photo Director of Teen Vogue Magazine and the Associate Photo Editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and most recently Contributing Photo Director of Bazaar. How do you hope to set WSJ apart from those titles as they all share some of the same photographers/strong fashion sense?

The WSJ readership – and our ability to appeal to that readership – is what distinguishes us.  We reach over 3 million highly sophisticated, well-educated readers worldwide, including the US, Europe and Asia and we always try to keep in mind the broad interests of our demographic when we commission stories and photography. The magazine comprises a wide range of content from art, fashion, design, travel and food to business and technology, which makes it very exciting in terms of the types of photography that we can commission. In recent issues, we have been fortunate enough to work photographers including Alasdair McLallen, Juergen Teller, Nan Goldin, Terry Richardson, Josh Olins and Mikael Jansson for portraiture and fashion as well as William Eggleston, Olaf Otto Becker, Harf Zimmermann and Robert Polidori for travel and features.  By frequently encouraging photographers to explore subjects that they don’t typically shoot, we’re able to create vibrant and unique stories.  For example, Ben Hassett, who’s well known for his fashion photography, recently went to Spain to shoot portraits and food for a story on the legendary Arzak family and their eponymous restaurant in San Sebastien. For the June issue, Harf Zimmermann, who traditionally shoots landscapes and architecture, went to Milan to shoot several pieces from the late Anna Piaggi’s extraordinary fashion collection as still life.  In my experience, photographers enjoy these unexpected assignments/commissions, and the result is a portfolio of beautiful and often unexpected photographs.

How would you like people to get into touch with you?

The best way for people to reach me is via email, preferably not through a list serve or automatic e-blast service as those tend to get stuck in my junk mail.

Has there been a place where you discovered new talent that surprised you?

Instagram has been a great way for me to follow photographers, artists, stylists and editors.  I not only see what they are working on and whom they are working with but it’s also a great place to find new talent, new locations etc. I don’t necessarily find photographers by looking at the images that they post but if someone’s visual perspective on Instagram is intriguing, then I will often visit their website if it is listed in their profile to see their work. I also love going to photography festivals. For example, this past July I traveled to Les Rencontres d’Arles for the first time and spent time with photographers, gallerists and fellow photo editors in a beautiful village in the south of France. It is a wonderful way to share knowledge and discover talent as well as seek out more obscure photo books that feature talent I may not have come across through the more traditional channels.

How much to you look at social media, blogs or instagram for new talent/inspiration

As I said, I am really enjoying Instagram right now. I also spend a good amount of time looking at blogs dedicated to photography, fashion, interiors, food and design. That said I try not to go overboard in the social media space. It is important to me that I am able to get out to see photography in person. There is nothing that makes me appreciate a photograph more than seeing a print on paper, and experiencing its artistry and beauty directly rather than on a screen. I am also fortunate to work with two very talented and resourceful photo editors, our Photo Editor Damian Prado and our Assistant Photo Editor Hope Brimelow. They are always finding talent on obscure photo blogs and in books as well as at established galleries and shows. I can always count on Damian in particular, to find incredible talent in the most unlikely places. Also, our Creative Director, Magnus Berger is of course another great source of inspiration and talent. He, Kristina and I are always discussing the people that we are excited about, the references that we love and who we want to work with next – it is a real collaboration here.

Also I’d love to talk about the fashion piece you did with Lachlan Bailey. What a stunning shoot. How did you and the fashion director approach this fashion shoot? Did you have a concept for this, or did you want to celebrate a particular trend?

For the couture story, our main objective was to show our readers our take on the best of couture at that particular moment. Our Editor-in-Chief Kristina O’Neill, Magnus and I worked together to determine who could achieve the creative and fashion brief while keeping in mind the point of view of the magazine. Photographer Lachlan Bailey and stylist Clare Richardson worked together to bring the story to fruition, working with model Andreea Diaconu, to create something beautiful, ethereal and luxurious. We don’t have a fashion director at the magazine so we work with a small group of freelance stylists.

Do you ever do any celebrity fashion shoots? Or in your mind is that too much of mixed message? Meaning does one dilute the other?

Regarding celebrity shoots, we are starting to dip into that territory.  We like to keep our readers surprised with covers ranging from interiors to landscapes to celebrities. It is really about what makes the strongest cover story.

How long did it take to produce the Daniel Jackson shoot of the curators? and what made you chose him for this portrait project?

Venice was a highly collaborative and intensely challenging shoot to put together from a photographic, journalistic and production point of view. Our Fashion Features Director Elisa Lipsky-Karasz and I worked together to “cast” the portfolio with our Editor-in-Chief Kristina O’Neill and the other editors from the magazine. Our Assistant Photo Editor Hope Brimelow worked tirelessly on the production alongside a local producer in Venice. To say that Venice is a challenging place to shoot, particularly during the opening days of the Biennale, is an understatement but that was part of the fun. We chose Dan to shoot this particular portfolio not only because of his beautiful portrait work but specifically because he had expressed an interest in doing stories that are outside of his usual purview. We had many of the subjects for as little as ten minutes and we ended up shooting over 20 people over two days in three locations so Dan certainly had his work cut out for him. It was quite a scene to watch people like Rem Koolhaas, Thomas Demand, MaurizioCattellan and Marc Quinn arriving one after another in their water taxis to the water entrance of our main location, a private palazzo on the Grand Canal.

Expert Advice: Print Portfolios

- - Expert Advice

by Sean Stone, Wonderful Machine

I’ve had the opportunity to consult with hundreds of photographers over the years, and while I love working on websites, promos, or creative coaching, print portfolios have always been my favorite. Just as art buyers tell us how much they enjoy the chance to thumb through books at meetings, I love to see the work come to life on paper. Photographers will sometimes ask “what’s the best kind of portfolio?” to which I can only respond, “well, that depends…” and launch into a questionnaire about budget, marketing strategy, overall brand, and zodiac sign.

You need to consider a number of factors to help you choose the type of portfolio that will serve your needs:

How much to spend? Like all marketing materials, a portfolio is an investment. It’s going to require time and money to put together, and you need to decide how much of each you can realistically afford. The biggest consideration is just how big of a part this book will play in your marketing plan for the coming months/years. If you are going to travel, meet clients as often as you are able, or attend a lot of portfolio events, the book is critical and needs to be a priority. Similarly, if your goal is to get more advertising assignments, expect your book to be more critical to successful marketing. On the other hand, if you are shooting mainly editorial, your website is going to do most of the heavy lifting. A book is still a must have, but may not require the same level of investment.

What are you going to show? Your website is a much larger piece of real estate than a print book. A good book edit shouldn’t exceed thirty spreads. I have seen books come into our office that are gorgeous, but so lengthy that I jump forward ten pages at a time, even though I love the work. It’s better to create an edit that is short and sweet, with every page a superstar, than to risk a potential client skipping right past a winning shot.

If you shoot strictly one thing, like automotive, the choice of what goes into the edit is pretty much made for you. If, on the other hand, you shoot industrial, corporate portraits, and food, one book might not be the best way to go. Creating a single book that is geared towards several different types of clients doesn’t effectively serve them, nor will it benefit your own marketing goals. Consider the types of clients you shoot for, would like to shoot for, and how much they will realistically want to see your book. You might decide that it makes sense to have two or three separate, specialized books. And remember that you might not need to include everything you shoot in a book at all!

How will it compliment your brand? A web portfolio can have infinite variations in design and edit, but in the end it shows up on a screen. The presentation options at your disposal for a printed piece are pretty much limitless. As you start thinking about the look and material that your print portfolio should have, I recommend you grab a friend to brainstorm. A consultant, editor, or other trusted collaborator will do nicely. Think about words that describe your photographic style, and consider materials that speak to those descriptors. Are you shooting bright, cheerful, kids lifestyle? Maybe steer away from the carbon fiber binding or glossy, cool-tone paper. Photographing surfers and rockstars for edgy youth brands? The stoic leather book with plastic sleeves might not be best for you. The materials you choose to work with can work like a logo; not the star of the show, but can go a long way to reinforce your visual brand and create a more polished, memorable presentation. Here are a few of the more common print portfolio styles I recommend:

iPad: Not a print portfolio per se, but it can be useful in meetings. If a client calls without much notice, you can download an app like padport or foliobook, and build a presentation in a couple of hours. It can be most effective as a supplemental tool; containing your motion reel, and a very broad range of images to share if the client asks about work not seen in your book. Looking for something versatile and a little different? Take note from Mark Katzman, whose portfolio consists of a walnut box with a built-in iPad as well as printed images.


Pros: Fast and flexible for in-person meetings.

Cons: If you don’t already have one, they aren’t exactly cheap. Also not a good option if you are shipping for a client to review. They might have a hard time figuring out where to find the work without you there, pushing the buttons.

On-Demand book: These days, there are dozens of options for printers, some are very inexpensive, and they generally top out around $400. While your options for sizes, papers, and cover materials will be limited, there is nothing stopping you from gussying the book up yourself. Matthew Carbone printed his book with Artifact Uprising, then worked with a local press to imprint his logo on the cover. Letterpress, slip cases or a clamshell box, you can use an inexpensive book as the basis for your presentation, not the final product. Many companies will have set numbers of pages that they accommodate, so you will have to take that into consideration when editing. Check out a full list of printing companies on our resources page.


Pros: Cost effective and convenient. Upload your layout to an online template, get a book a week or two later!

Cons: No control over printing. You send images off and hope for the best. Prints are not interchangeable, so when the time comes to update, you need a whole new book.

Screwpost book: The ol’ standby. Usually just two covers held together with long screws. Traditional materials are usually leather or cloth, but a custom bookmaker like Nicole Andersen can help you get creative and build a presentation that will stand out. If you choose to skip the custom route, companies like Pina Zangaro and Lost Luggage offer slick, modern covers in metal, acrylic, carbon fiber etc. I’ve also found some beautiful wood books on Etsy.

Roger Snider’s book is one of my favorite examples of getting creative on a budget. We used an inexpensive Pina Zangaro aluminum book that was customized to reflect his brand of big rig truck photography. Roger didn’t have to break the bank to make something memorable and distinctive. All we needed was a good idea and a really, really good painter. View Roger’s full portfolio here.


You can find a few types of paper drilled and scored, ready to pop right into one of these bindings. If you’re not afraid of a little hard work, you can always cut and punch the pages by hand, as I have done when building books with luster or glossy papers. Some paper vendors sell sample packs of double sided papers, so you can pull a few test prints before you commit to the stock that’s best for you!

While plastic sleeves have largely fallen out of favor, they are unquestionably convenient and shouldn’t be ruled out automatically. Creating single prints and loading them into sleeves is worlds faster and easier than printing double sided. Constructing books with double sided prints has more than once left me in a screaming rage, pacing the office and violently threatening the printer. If you are in a hurry, sleeves can save the day. Better to have a current portfolio with prints behind plastic than an outdated book.

Pros: Very customizable, whether you work with a bookmaker or portfolio manufacturer. Lots of options for sizes, style, and material means you can create a look that reflects your style and brand. The same goes for papers. Pages can be removed and replaced, so once you have invested in a good binding, the cost of an update is just paper and ink.

Cons: Will almost always require a larger investment of time and money compared to an on-demand book.

Box of prints: I don’t see this done too often, but it can be quite effective. Nick Nacca put together a great example; a nicely branded leather box packed with sturdy prints. What makes his portfolio clever is that each print includes his logo and contact information right on the front. When he is meeting with clients and they comment on a particular image, he invites them to keep it. So he is essentially using a box of leave behinds in place of a bound book.

View Nick’s portfolio here:

Pros: Completely flexible, easy to update and replace images. If you are in a meeting with multiple creatives you can pass prints around and keep everybody’s hands busy.

Cons: No real control of sequencing. Depending on your style and edit, this can be a deal breaker.

Especially if it’s been a while since you put together a book, I know the number of choices can seem intimidating. Thoughtfully considering your branding, work, and marketing strategy can help you whittle down these options and create a book that you and your clients will love. Whether you spend $20 or $2,000, the most important thing is to have a book! If you have strong photography and a comprehensive edit, your stylistic choice for presentation will only serve to enhance an already strong portfolio. The short answer to the question, “what’s the best kind of portfolio?” is really, “the one you have ready for meetings.”

For more video examples of print portfolios, check out our YouTube channel. If you would like help editing and designing a print portfolio, or any other promotional materials, send me an email! You can also find links to on-demand printers, portfolios, and bookmakers on our full resources page.


This Week In Photography Books: Cristina Nuñez

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

I just tried to write the opening of this column in Spanish. I was trying to be funny, but it didn’t make me laugh. Trying too hard never works. (Except every now and again.)

Books, at their best, are experiential. I suppose that’s why we love them so much. Think of your favorite novel. How old were you when you read it? What did your hair look like?

As we grow, we change. It’s the necessary way of things. But is there a part of us that’s always there? Do our young, angsty, stupid selves still remain down deep, a few levels above the reptilian brain?

Photo books, especially the ones I’ve been writing about lately, can manipulate your experience to give you two versions of the same thing, if done correctly. Clever use of text, at the end, can allow a viewer to go back and look at the photographs again, relating to them in a completely different way.

The pictures just need to hold your attention the first time, when you don’t know what the f-ck is going on. This week’s book is no exception. “But Beautiful” is a new publication by the Spanish artist, Cristina Nuñez, recently published by Le caillou bleu. It’s a strange little piece of work. I’ll tell you that much.

The book doesn’t give you any details until the end, as I alluded. Going through naked, as it were, you aim to put things together. A historical photo? Looks like a dictator. Is that Pinochet? No, definitely not him. Who is it? (Later I learn it’s Franco. Shouldn’t I have known that? How come he’s been depicted so much less often than his Fascist brethren?)

Some cool historical photos are mixed in here and there. We see some guys are lined up along the upper reaches of a clipper ship, like suicidal birds on an airplane’s wing.

A woman begins to recur. She obviously looks different as she ages, but it’s still her. (The big lips are the giveaway.) Then we see her, glammed up, on the cover of a magazine. It mentions Madrid, so we are in Spain. She used to be a model?

Then she’s older. Mannish. And ripping out some seriously “unsubtle” emotions. What was that again about not trying too hard? Sometimes, maximum effort in front of the lens works rather well, thank you. She is gripping to look at, who ever she is. (We can assume she’s the artist? Right?)

On we go, and there are the obligatory nudes, some of the main character, some not. And more portraits, most of them razor sharp and cool. Throw in a few more super-uncomfortable looking self-portraits, a couple of beautiful water and sky shots, one last bout of historical photos, and bob’s your uncle. You’re done.

Who is she? What’s going on here? How does it all connect? You wonder all these things. In the back, each image is described in enough detail to clue you in. So you return to the beginning, and look at each image again, while reading the caption.

A family association with Franco. Drugs and prostitution. Multiple lovers. 3-year-old child self-portraits. It’s as fascinating as your imagination made it out to be the first time. We end with another historical shot: this one has some serious mad dogging going on, and a shoeshiner to boot. And then a final portrait, of the artist’s senile mother, staring daggers through your now emo-braised heart.

Bottom line: Odd but well-done book, very revealing

To Purchase “But Beautiful” Visit Photo-Eye




Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.


Art Producers Speak: Sophie Ebrard

- - Art Producers Speak

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Sophie Ebrard. I love her work and she was a joy to work with. Experimenting with natural light and preferring the surprise factor of film for her personal work are two factors among many that give her images a sense of genuine warmth. This is both rare and beautiful amongst the current climate of overly produced and manipulated images.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been shooting professionally for 3 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’ve always been taking pictures. My dad is a keen photographer so in my childhood I always had access to a camera.
After graduating from university, I went straight into advertising. It felt like the right thing to do at the time. It took me almost a decade to realize that my childhood passion for photography was what I wanted to do for a living. Three years ago, I left my well-paid job and started a new career.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Difficult question as there are so many talented people who I admire and who have inspired me. William Eggleston, Henri Cartier Bresson, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton…are some of the photographers who have had a great influence on how I approach my work.

But I would say, I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t had guidance by some of my very good friends who are also photographers. They have inspired me since the beginning of this journey.

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?
As a photographer, you are constantly trying to find your voice. You can only find it by trying new things and be in the constant look out for projects that suit you. If you stay true to yourself, you will ultimately find a voice, yours. The result will be new, fresh and hopefully inspiring to others. If you like the result, there’s a good chance someone will notice it and will want to hire you for that.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Today consumers are bored of overly produced and manipulated images so brands want documentary style images: reality a little bit enhanced.
They want some of the grittiness, but is has to look beautiful.

I believe possess a good eye for reality. I have an instinct for finding the beautiful in the supremely ordinary. I like to make normal things appear special. My style seems to appeals to both art directors and clients. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to work with great clients and art directors who like the way I see the world and who share my vision of the work.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I try to keep my website updated by posting some new work regularly. I use social medias. But I would say my agents in London and in the US do most of the work. I’m fortunate enough to have great representation.

I’m working at the moment on my first solo exhibition. The project “Porn Set” (working title) is a series of visual investigations into the porn industry. I have followed a director on his shoots for the last two years (in LA, UK, Spain…). As a woman, I’ve tried to capture the beauty and aesthetics of the human body instead of focusing on the sexual encounter, and the primal nature of sex. We rarely see the behind the scenes, the beauty and the emotion that comes out of it. My eye was focusing on the essence of the beauty of the moment.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Never do work primarily because you think it will sell. Never compromise. The minute you do so, you lose your edge. Margaret Thatcher once said: “ If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromised on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing”. Not sure I would want to comment on her politics but this sentence seems very true for me as a photographer.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
As a photographer, you need to be feeding your soul as much as possible. Shooting commissioned work allows me to have the freedom to shoot as many personal projects as I want. It’s art and commerce.

How often are you shooting new work?
As often as possible. For personal projects, I mainly shoot when I’m abroad. Light is very important in my life and in my work. And I like being in another country. It makes me look at things differently and pay attention to simple details, much more than I would in my day-to-day life. I try to use natural lighting as much as possible. I love to play with flare, contrasts, light and the shadows.



* Wyatt Clarke&Jones (Worldwide)
+44 20 7580 7570

* Judi Shin (USA)
+1 (917) 721-5385

Sophie Ebrard is a French, London based photographer. She has in the past shot commissioned work for companies including Adidas, Monocle magazine, Stella Artois, EMI music…

Sophie Ebrard’s photographs are as eclectic and full of life as the photographer herself. Experimenting with natural light and preferring the surprise-factor of film for her personal work are two factors among many that give Sophie’s images a sense of genuine warmth. This is both rare and beautiful amongst the current climate of overly produced and manipulated images. Yet she is not flippant in her art, choosing to connect with the subjects in her photographs on a personal level. Even her pictures that are absent of people aren’t without their own touch of personality and narrative. Sophie’s work is straight from the heart, and comes from her unyielding passion for photography, storytelling and light.

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.


New Feature: Professional Photographer Webcast

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On Wednesday October 16th at 2pm EST (11am PST) there’s going to be a live webcast here on the blog and over on google plus where we discuss working in editorial and commercial photography. Basically the mission of this blog only in a webcast where I can have guests and take questions from people watching. I’ve already done one as sort of a test run that you can check out and decide if it’s something you’d be interested in watching here:

Vimeo version here:

The goal is to try a new format for discussing topics of interests for Professional Photographers and because I don’t think there’s much out there for pros it should be worth producing a few times a month. I also like the idea of having guests on and discussing everything freeform instead of writing blog posts, something I’m doing less and less of 6 + years into this. Each episode with have myself representing the editorial perspective and Suzanne Sease talking commercial photography plus a guest or two. Next week our guest is Art Producer Kat Dalager. Send me any questions you might have on the topic of Art Production.

The Weekly Edit
Peter Bohler: GQ

- - The Daily Edit


Design Director: Fred Woodward
Creative Director: Jim Moore
Director of Photography: Dora Somosi
Senior Photo Editor: Krista Prestek
Photo Editor: Justin O’Neil
Art Director: Chelsea Cardinal

Photographer: Peter Bohler

I saw on your site there is a section called  “Veteran Fight Club,” was this personal work that got published or an assignment?
The Veteran’s Fight Club story was shot for Maxim last fall. It is about a Mixed Martial Arts class for veterans in San Diego. A lot of the veterans are recovering from injuries and PTSD, and the group provides a crucial structure for the members to connect with each other, feel safe, and release some of the anger and aggression that they are feeling. A lot of them have been through the VA’s treatment for PTSD, which consists primarily of drugs, and they were all adamant that that system doesn’t work, and this club does. Visually, the two stories are very similar, and the veterans story helped me a lot in approaching the Billy Corgan story. I did shoot only one wrestling event, so it was good to have an idea of what to expect going in.
How often do you shoot for GQ? and what sort of direction did you get for this shoot?
This was my first assignment for GQ, and Jolanta Bielat, the editor I worked with, was great. She gave a lot of freedom, and her main direction was to capture Billy Corgan in his element. It’s such a rich story, and I was a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan when I was 15, so I was really fired up about the shoot.
Did you spend multiple days shooting? or was that captured from one event?
The whole shoot took place at one event in a barn outside of Chicago. Everyone involved was super welcoming–it’s a small, home-grown kind of thing, which I think is what attracts Billy Corgan to it and the fans are insanely passionate.
Do you know what the clutch moves are for that sport, or are you shooting on the fly?
I know virtually nothing about Pro Wrestling, but I like to think I learn quickly. The moves the wrestlers were doing were pretty amazing, though. I gained a huge amount of respect for it.
Approximately how many images did you shoot ( I would image quite alot since it’s  theatrical and over the top ) and was it a hard edit since something is happening all the time?
I don’t remember exactly how many images I shot (and I’m on the road right now), but it was certainly well over a thousand. A shoot like this becomes almost athletic, and I slip into a rhythm that mimics that of the wrestlers as they move around the ring, so I shot a lot. My edit was large, too–maybe around 150 pictures–because there were so many people and situations to photograph. I generally submit large edits, because I trust my editors and they also have a better understanding of how the story develops. I’m always grateful for a fresh set of eyes.

Turning Down Work For Your Beliefs

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Guest post by Ryan Smith

I have had many, many times when jobs fall through for reasons that are outside of my control. There haven’t been many times though when I’ve actively said no to a job and until last week, there had never been a time where I turned down a good paying job from a respectable agency because of ethical concerns.

That’s right. I left money on the table because I didn’t feel comfortable using my skill set to promote this particular client’s product. It was an extremely difficult decision. August is traditionally a slow month for me so when work comes along, and it’s paying reasonable rates, it’s really hard to say no. In this case however, I just couldn’t bring myself to work for this client. Without naming names (and please don’t try to guess), I will say that this client promotes a particular product that I just don’t fully support. I don’t think it’s good for people, the environment, our country or our future.

The reason I don’t want to identify this client is because the people who work for their agency of record are good people whom I like and want to continue to work with. I don’t want my ethical dilemma to reflect negatively on the agency’s business. This is an important point because I greatly value relationships and as a freelancer and small business owner it’s paramount that I maintain good working relationships.

The agency understood my position and even respected my decision. Which is pretty amazing when you think about it. There they were, offering me good money to shoot a job that countless other photographers would probably jump at. And here I am saying no to a job that didn’t even require any negotiation. Here’s the budget, here’s the shot list, it’s yours if you want it.

And, here’s the kicker. The actual assignment sounded interesting to me. I think it would have been a lot of fun to shoot, but I just couldn’t reconcile my feelings about how the images would be used. I thought long and hard about this assignment, but ultimately I had to turn it down. I like to think that I’m sticking to my ethical code and that I’m above selling out, but I wonder how the decision would have been different if the fee for the job could have been “life changing” for me and my family. Where do you draw the line and how do you balance supporting your family and maintaining a good conscience? There is a lot of gray area and only you can make the decision.

For now though, I feel good about not taking the job. Do I wish I was making money right now? Yes, but there are other jobs out there. Just to prove my point, literally within one hour of deciding to turn down this job I received an email from another agency asking me to bid on a much better job for a client that I can really pour all my energy into. Now just keep your fingers crossed that I win the bid.

This post originally appeared here:

A follow up post can be read here:

This Week In Photography Books: Paul Gaffney

by Jonathan Blaustein

For the first time ever, I ran out of books. It’s been a while since I’ve been to photo-eye, and I’m due there tomorrow. But that doesn’t help me today.

Frankly, I wrote a column yesterday based upon a book I’d previously rejected four times already. It was all I had, and the resulting effort was tepid at best. What to do?

Fortunately, earlier this morning, my wife rustled up a package from our overly-messy mail pile, and showed me that someone had sent us a book. It’s begun to happen more often, lately, as the word has gotten out that I review photo books. So I slit the cardboard, and took a quick look at what was inside.

“We Make the Path by Walking” is a self-published effort by Paul Gaffney, a photographer in Ireland. I’m happy to report that it’s such a cool book, we’ve made a one-week exception to our photo-eye only rule. My book stack will grow again tomorrow, so today we’ll have ourselves a rule-breaking fiesta.

Really, the only reason I’d choose to write an entirely new article is that good books prod good writing. And boring books bring you the kind of reviews that make you wonder if there isn’t someone better for the job. (The line forms in the rear…) Mr. Gaffney has put his soul into this book, and I’ll aim to do it justice.

The delicate, gray, soft-cover book is slipped into a colorful, pink and yellow half-cover. It sends the message right off that muted colors and vivacity can co-exist. It’s not an easy pairing, or more would attempt it, but it works well here.

Begin to leaf through, and immediately we notice the beauty of the color and light. I suspect it’s Ireland, given the artist’s provenance, but eventually it doesn’t matter. The title is instructive, so we take it for what it is. Each photo gives us the sense of a flaneur out and about, albeit one with Zen sensibilities.

If an artist is going to make one more book about lonely wandering, the maker ought to have a pretty interesting perspective on the whole venture. No worries here. Again and again, the misty light seduces, or the pop of earthy color, the luxurious nature of green, or a depression made by a sleeping animal.

Natural structures in the woods are paired off with animal burrows, and man-made over-passes that look like large-scale sculptures leading to nowhere. I busted out the nature walk just yesterday, to clear my mind for writing, and yet these photos make me long for a more humidified environment. No wonder why all those Irish folks have un-wrinkled skin.

Finally, we reach a beautiful poem by Antonio Machado, in Spanish and English, which tells us nothing the photos don’t. (But it does class up the joint a bit.) Only in an accompanying PR postcard did I learn that Mr. Gaffney spent a year walking 3,500 km to make the pictures.

It was the rare case of that extra info being purely extraneous. The photographs communicated the practice, and its purpose. How often does that happen?

Bottom Line: Very beautiful, thoughtful, self-published book

Art Producers Speak: Andrew Reilly

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:

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Andrew Reilly. Aside from talent for creating an image without it coming off as contrived or staged, he is one of the most even-keeled photographers I’ve had the pleasure to meet; his disposition conveys itself to his subjects as well, resulting in creative apogee.

This is from a recent shoot for JanSport (via the agency teak digital). An amazing project a 10- day road trip from San Francisco to Austin for SXSW...we had a great group of people an all keep in touch.

This is from the same JanSport shoot...while waiting for a light to change I asked a few of the models to run around the street with their lucha libre masks..The combination of set up shoots as well as spontaneity made this an ideal project.

This is an image from a series of a friend skating a well-known spot, “the pit”.

Over the last year or so I have traveled with the band J Roddy Walston and the Business...this image comes from that series.

A random portrait I shot in San Diego.

A personal test kids at night.

Another image from my shoot for JanSport...pulled over along the side of the road rushing to take advantage of the light.

A test shoot in Los Angeles.

This was shot for UGLY motorbikes a custom build shop in Southern California.

From a series on the band Dead Feather Moon.

A personal test kids at night.

A test shoot in San Diego.

A portrait from the pro-bono work I did for the ABC Youth Boxing Foundation.

How many years have you been in business?
I have been shooting commercially for about 4 years now but always seemed to have a camera around and was shooting for myself year’s prior.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught? 

I am self-taught but there have been previous careers, which have translated well to my career as a photographer (most notably working in the editing department of several national TV productions).

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
My grandfather, an avid amateur photographer.  

He was an architect in the Pittsburgh area, where I grew up.  He got to a point in his life when he no longer was able to use a camera as effectively as he had and passed all of his equipment on to me.  

I first started shooting urban scenes and would often take those images over to his place and have him review and critique them.  He was always very honest in his critique which at times was difficult but made me all the more proud when he liked an image…and in time he liked more and more of the images i was presenting.  I am honored to have had that time and those memories with him.

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?
Much of what I shoot is based on my past…I shoot quite a bit of kids/teens/youth lifestyle and have found that these images show in some ways the life I have lived in my youth (what I did or wished I had done).  I think it is that touch of reality that people connect to and provides the room to be called fresh and creative as opposed to contrived.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I have been very fortunate to work with very creative clients who have trusted my work and me.  Each job certainly presents its own unique challenges, but establishing a high level of communication between all allows for creativity from you, the agency, and the client.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
This year I have really placed a focused on setting up meetings with art buyers/art producers. I was recently in Chicago/Minneapolis for an assignment and added a few days to my trip. With the assistance of my rep we were able to setup 16 reviews between the two cities.

Prior to that I attended the NYC fotoworks LA event and was able to get in front of some great art buyers/producers. I have also set up several reviews on my own around Los Angeles or on various trips to San Francisco. In the next month I have a job in Boston and will set aside a day or two for meetings.

Aside from these face-to-face meetings I am also using various social media outlets (tumblr, instagram, facebook, twitter, blogs, etc), source books, direct mail pieces, and of course email promos.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Shoot what you love in the way that you love it.  In doing so people will connect to your work more honestly and get a sense of whom you are and what you are trying to present.  You will also be more content doing the work you love as opposed to chasing after something you think someone wants to see.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, always and very much so.  

I predominantly get hired to shoot people in commercial assignments, so with my personal work I tend to mix up the content as much as possible whether its landscape, architecture, or street photography…

I also feel it is important to use a variety of cameras (film, Polaroid, point and shoot digital, phone, or video) as each provides a different perspective of your subject which may later be translated into the project you are getting hired to shoot.

How often are you shooting new work?
I’m shooting new material all the time and try to make a point of shooting a larger project at least once a month.

A goal at the beginning of this year had been to donate my time/photography to a local charity…after searching around I stumbled upon a local foundation, ABC youth foundation, which assists at risk youth by structuring an educational program around boxing. After contacting the foundation I shot a few images for the program, which will be used on their site and various promos. The foundation also plans to use several images in a silent auction to help raise money for the program.

For me new work such as this recent pro-bono collaboration along with my usually personal work/testing really helps keeps my client work fresh and relevant…plus I just really love photography and shoot as often as I can.

Andrew Reilly is a Southern California based photographer traveling and shooting often for clients such as JanSport, Toyota, EA Sports, Mattel, Bank of the West, and many others.

Artist’s rep

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.

Houzz Has Your Image Rights, How Long Before They’re Selling Them?

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It may already be too late. Houzz appears to be using the images posted by professional photographers to illustrate editorial stories they create for the front of the site. One photographer was contacted by a staff writer to find out who built what was depicted in the images with no mention of licensing the images for this reuse.

It’s not unusual for social media sites to have onerous terms when it comes to posting your images on their site. Generally this is because they have to host the images on servers which may be located anywhere in the world and repost the images at will for other people to see. To solve this they take all your rights… We’re all suspicious of what might come next but so far that’s been the extent of what they do.

Houzz has taken the first step in reuse that should be of great concern for professional photographers. Paying writers to create editorial content with images uploaded to the site competes directly with existing editorial outlets that pay for a similar use. So not only are they ripping off photographers they’re stealing readers from outlets with their free content. And as Houzz works towards a profitable business model they will start selling advertising against their freely obtained content… and their evil plan will be complete.

I’ve written about this before but it’s worth mentioning again. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, et al have not reinvented the wheel here (despite all the talk about new business models). They’ve simply discovered a lower cost way to obtain content: free (the business model of free has been around forever). And they’re now selling advertising against that content which is no different than how the New York Times, GQ, etc. operate. Except of course, those guys all pay for their content.

Photographer Caren Alpert first alerted me to the Terms on

“As part of your use of the Website, you may participate in certain ideabooks, message boards, member communications and/or other public forums. Your participation is voluntary; however, by choosing to create ideabooks, post photos or comments, send any messages, submit any ideas or feedback, or otherwise participate in any Houzz forum, you acknowledge and agree that any postings, messages, text, photos, audio/visual works, information, suggestions, feedback, reviews or content provided by you (collectively, “Content”) may be viewed by the general public and will not be treated as private, proprietary or confidential, and you authorize us and our affiliates, licensees and sublicensees, without compensation to you or others, to copy, adapt, create derivative works of, reproduce, incorporate, distribute, publicly display or otherwise use or exploit such Content throughout the world in any format or media (whether now known or hereafter created) for the duration of any copyright or other rights in such Content, and such permission shall be perpetual and may not be revoked for any reason. Further, to the extent permitted under applicable law, you waive and release and covenant not to assert any moral rights that you may have in any Content posted or provided by you.”

The Weekly Edit
More Magazine: Yasu+Junko

- - The Daily Edit


Photographers: Yasu+Junko
Creative Director: Debra Bishop
Photo Director: Natasha Lunn
Senior Art Director: Jamie Prokell
Assistant Art Director: Faith Stafford
Contributing Assistant Art Director: Lilian Cohen
Associate Photo Editor: Stephanie Swanicke
Assistant Photo Editor: Gabrielle Sirkin

How does the collaboration work, would you say each of you have a particular strengths, if so what are they?
Our collaboration starts with meetings. Pitching for ideas (for conceptual shoots), how to approach the shoot, deciding on lighting and styling directions, etc. We both light and style, but on set, usually, Yasu covers the technical aspect, and Junko the styling aspect. Depending on the job, we know which one of us will be taking initiative…usually,  when masculinity is needed, Yasu, more delicate and feminine shoots, Junko.

Yasu: Your start was more lifestyle oriented, ( shooting family and friends ) how has that transcended into your still life work?
I’m not quite sure if I was ever a lifestyle photographer. Photography has been my love for a very long time, but as a profession, I have abandoned it at one point. When I came back to it, I had to basically start from zero again, assisting, testing, dropping off portfolios. I was already past 40 at that point. This phrase is so over used, but you are never too old to pursuit your dream.

Junko: Your start was a bit later, and steeped in still life, what called you to photography and what were you doing prior to assisting?
I studied economics in Japan, and worked for insurance company for a couple of years before coming to NY.
I always loved photography, loved beautiful objects and still life. I never thought about being photographer until I studied photography at college in New York.  I’m privileged to know great mentors and coworkers. They inspired me to keep going.

Do both of you always work on the project together on set? Or do you discuss ideas and shoot separately? Meaning are you always a shooting as team?
Yes, always on jobs (so far). We are both security blankets for each other, we do shoot individually in our spare time.

Do you have a regular prop stylist you work with or are you sourcing your own items?
We used to do everything on our own when we started out. (Another strength of having two people.) Now, more and more, we are working with stylists. There are so many wonderful talents, and we learn a lot from them.

How if at at all does your culture influence your work/aesthetic?
We wonder, perhaps the general stereotype of Japanese might fit well to a certain degree. We are strongly aware of the pros and cons of being Japanese though.

What do you see as the pros and the cons?
As you may know, we have a lot of Japanese still life photographers in NY.
One reason we believe, is we had a successful forerunner, Kenji Toma from the 90’s. When something like this happens, a whole new breed of people follow that tries to replicate the same kind of success. Unfortunately, many of them also try replicating the style, which is understandable. ( for the Korean people, the forerunner being Sang An, you see a whole group of younger Korean photographers trying to succeed in the “lifestyle” field) Most of them are very technically inclined and “advertising only” minded. We do not share this approach.

For this particular piece in More, how did the idea evolve?  ( the oyster and the ring ) and how does the creative process with you two.
This was a consigned work. We were given a story to illustrate, and with this piece, there was no wiggle room.
We believe the idea was given to us by our beloved editor (not sure what her title is now), Natasha Lunn.

Where did you source the perfect oyster from and how much if any post was there?
We went to fish market in new york city, and bought bunch of beautiful oysters.
About 30 dollars?

Pricing & Negotiating: Album Cover and Collateral for Rock Band

By Craig Oppenheimer Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental group shots and individual portraits of a well-known band.

Licensing: Advertising, Collateral and Publicity use of 12 images for 1 year. However, the images would primarily be for use on the album cover and in the album booklet.

Location: An outdoor scenic location in California.

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Lifestyle and Landscape Specialist.

Client: Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band represented by a mid-sized record label with offices in the US and UK.

Here is the estimate:

estimate_termsClick to enlarge 

Creative/Licensing: The record label originally approached the photographer with a request to create 12 images of the band. One of the images would be placed on the cover of the band’s upcoming album, and the other images would end up inside the album’s multi-page art booklet. It was also likely that the images would appear on the band’s website, iTunes page, various collateral pieces, merchandise and publicity materials.

Before speaking with the record label about their budget, I had an idea of what we might be up against. The music industry is notorious for paying very little while obtaining a lot in the way of licensing. While larger budgets might be available for shoots with big name artists, those projects account for a very small percentage of the shoots that take place in the music industry. Based on a few other projects I’ve worked on in the past, my inclination was that the photographer could expect to get around $5,000-$6,000 for his creative/licensing fee plus expenses, and I was hoping to limit the licensing as much as possible.

When I spoke with the record label, I learned that they had a bottom line budget of $12,500 for the project, and they wanted this to not only cover all creative/licensing fees and production expenses for the shoot, but also to include the layout and design of the album booklet. The photographer and I decided to create an estimate that was appropriate for his photography work only, and leave the design services out of the conversation because it wasn’t a service he offered.

When compiling the estimate, I tried to keep as much of the budget in the creative/licensing fee while also factoring in payment for pre/post production (all of which adds to the photographer’s “effective fee”). In most cases, I approach the creative/licensing fee first to determine what I believe is appropriate without taking a budget into account. However, in this case, I laid out all of the expenses, and determined that the amount left over in the budget lined up with my expectations for what his creative/licensing fee should be.

Before submitting the estimate, I did check a few other pricing resources. Getty priced one image for “retail product and packaging” use on the cover of up to 500,000 products for 1 year at $2,300. Corbis had a specific pricing category for CD packaging, and priced 1 image just under $2,000 including use on the cover as well as inside of up to 500,000 albums for 1 year. FotoQuote priced a similar use at $2,700 and BlinkBid didn’t offer specific pricing guidelines for this use. While they would be obtaining licensing for 12 images above and beyond album cover use, extrapolating the prices suggested by Corbis and Getty would put us far outside of a range I felt was appropriate for a project and client like this.

Assistant: The photographer paid his assistant a bit higher than the rates I typically include, and we would only need him for the one shoot day.

Digital Tech Day Including Workstation: The digital tech would help to manage the flow of file intake and display for client approval on location, and I included $500 for their day plus $750 for the workstation.

Location Scout: The record label/band wanted to shoot at a “scenic” location, and suggested the possibility of photographing the band on a beach. This opened the door to a lot of possibilities in California, and we included two days for the photographer to scout locations in his hometown. If he wanted to outsource this task to a professional location scout, this would have also covered their time and expenses as well.

Location Fees/Permits: I spoke with a few scouts local to the area, and we determined that a few hundred dollars would cover a permit for a single location and the time it would take to acquire it.

Photographer Pre-Production Day: Before the shoot, the photographer planned to meet the band and the record label contacts to discuss his approach. He’d also be arranging transportation, hiring his crew, managing the scouting results and essentially acting as a producer to pull everything together, all of which we charged for his time to do.

Van/Prop Rental: The only prop that would be needed for the shoot was a vintage van that the band would be posing in front of. The photographer happened to have a friend who owned just the right vehicle they were looking for, and he negotiated this fee for the van to be used and driven to/from the location.

Equipment: This would cover 2 camera bodies (~$400), several lenses (~$100), a couple power packs and heads (~$200) as well as additional modifiers, reflectors and grip equipment (~$100)

Basic Color Correction and Delivery of All Images on Hard Drive: While the client would only be obtaining licensing to 12 images, they wanted all of the hi-res images delivered to them on a hard drive. This covered the photographer’s time to do a minor edit of the files and deliver them to the client.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc: I included a few hundred dollars just to cover any minor unforeseen additional expenses on the shoot day.

Feedback: While the client wanted their original budget to include the design work, they were willing to seek out a designer and come up with a separate budget for that. The only other feedback they provided was that the photographer had to sign a work made for hire agreement, which was not originally discussed despite clearly stating the requested usage in the estimate and defining the language in our terms and conditions agreement. After I explained the differences between the licensing in our estimate and their work made for hire contract, the label asked to see a revised estimate showing fees based on their requirements. Given the fact that we were already a bit over their budget (and the fact they’d still need to pay for the design work separately) I knew we probably couldn’t push the price up that much. After a series of phone calls and candid discussions about their budget, we ultimately presented this final estimate:

estimate_terms_wmfhClick to enlarge 

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and the images will be featured on the band’s upcoming album. Here is the contract they presented:

WORK-FOR-HIRE-2013_original_Redacted-1Click to enlarge 

We were able to tweak the terms of this contract to be more in line with our terms/conditions, specifically in regards to turnaround time, payment, indemnification, and the fact that the fees were a good faith estimate and that actual time and expenses would ultimately be invoiced. Lastly, I revised their contract to say that they would need to register the images with the US copyright office, rather than the photographer doing this (which should be part of every photographer’s workflow).

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to big ad campaigns.


This Week In Photography Books: Tomoki Imai

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein


I almost wrote about a different book today. I thought about it, but decided not to. The putative subject was an area in Central Asia dominated by countries that end in “stan.” Flipping through the pages, I was taken by the generic-ness of it all.

People don’t like it when I use this space to be critical. For book reviews, I’ve learned to keep the gloves on. (And take the brass knuckles off.) So I chose not to write about that book, even though it was interesting, in the manner in which it looked like so many other projects I’ve seen before.

If you look at photo books (partly) for a living, eventually you’ll see just about every place on Earth. That I’m doing this in one of the more remote locations in the US is at least a little bit ironic. I look out my window, and I see horses, hills and mountains. I look down into the illusionistic space of a book, and I can tell that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are more than a little similar.

So when I opened up “Semicircle Law,” a new book by Tomoki Imai, (published by M.27,) that was my state of mind. The desire to suss out a locale, as quickly as I can, is something of a game these days. Given the artist’s name, my first thought, obviously, was Japan.

But there was no way to know for sure. The mountainscapes were as generic as landscapes can be. No Himalayas, these. The scrubby jutting land could be anywhere. Keep turning the pages, and no real hints emerge. When the snow comes, I feel better about the obvious guess: Japan. I close my eyes and see the snow monkeys sitting in their natural hot springs.

Are we in Hokkaido? That is my guess, now. And then I wonder if people ever get into the springs with the monkeys. Can’t you just imagine some dumb tourist getting his willy torn off by a savage monkey? That would be horrible.

Eventually, the pictures stop. Your guess is as good as mine. And then the text starts. The very first page, post-photos, shows a map of the area surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. BOOM. We’re going there.

Yes, this is one of those books that doesn’t tell you what the f-ck is going on until the end. An essay by Charlotte Cotton divulges the details. The photographer repeatedly penetrated the 20km forbidden zone set up around the disaster site. Not unlike the better known Trevor Paglen, he skulked into the hills to bring back secret photos for the rest of us. (And likely braved some serious radiation. Crazy bastard.)

So this book becomes a bit like a new-fangled version of “The Usual Suspects.” You can’t know what’s going on until you do. And then it changes everything about your perceptions of what you just saw. The two written pieces focus on the brilliance of the post-post-post modern, post-human nature of the project. It’s genius, they imply.

I’m not sure I agree. The pictures are graceful, but boring, in a way, and meant to be. It’s a smart project, and perhaps an important one. But to me, it says more about our own expectations of the drama linked to disaster. Banality is probably a better way to go about telling these stories. Because those of us who live in safe places would likely be shocked at how commonplace horror can become.

Bottom Line: A very smart, brave, and probably dangerous project

To Purchase “Semicircle Law” Visit Photo-Eye

Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

Art Producers Speak: Will Adler

- - Photographers

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:

Anonymous Photo Editor: I nominate Will Adler. His take on the surfing lifestyle/man on wave is unusual in our world here of surf photography.

This is Katie, who I’ve shot a lot. We were in Maui, and I have always wanted to shoot nudes up at the Haliakala crater. What you can’t tell from this picture is how cold it is up there- she was a very good sport about it.

This is from a series I shot at Waikiki Beach in Oahu. I love shooting at crowded beaches- there is so much going on.

This is a pair I did for an art show last year. I really like to find images that play off each other, it can totally change the way an image works.

These are my friends Eric and Jenny, who I shoot and travel with often. This shot was taken on a remote Island, which we sailed to. It has the most amazing beaches, with not a soul around. Anytime I get the chance to go here I jump on it.

This was from a Roxy swimwear campaign. We spent a week near Cabo San Lucas, surfing and hanging out on the beach. Not a bad work situation.

Both these photos are from a series I did called Bamboozled, which was published by Kaugummi books (now Shelter Press) in 2010. The photo on the left was also used by Hixept for their t shirt series. The photo on the right is my brother. Whenever I need a stunt man, he is the first person I go to- he’s willing to launch himself off almost anything.

This is photographer/director Dewey Nicks. It was taken for Apolis Apparel, who I work with quite a bit. This was a fun collaboration all around.

The photo on the right is from a Simple Shoes photo shoot. It was a fun shoot because most of the models were my friends. We basically cruised around, doing what we normally do. Nothing was forced, it made for a very natural series.

This is Tori. She is a great model and also makes some pretty impressive head-dresses and costumes; a good girl to know if you’re a photographer.

The photo on the right was for Surfer Magazine. They called me saying they needed a portrait of Dane Reynolds, but he was leaving in an hour to go on a surf trip. So, I grabbed my camera and hopped in the car. I only had about 15 minutes to take some photos. It’s always fun to have things like this happen- it keeps you on your toes.

This was taken while I was surfing at Rincon. I have a small waterproof camera that I tuck inside my wetsuit. It’s my way of multi-tasking work and pleasure.

The photo on the left is Randy. He is always styled out in the most ridiculous outfits, hanging out at the beach. Here he is surfing in his 1980’s shades, with zinc on his nose and cut off jean shorts. Not to mention he’s on a 12’ board. The photo on the right was shot for Roxy in San Clemente. This was the first big job I had, and was a pretty ideal way to start.

How many years have you been in business?

I’ve been shooting for 8 years but only working in a professional way for the past 3.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I’m self-taught—I didn’t study photography in school—but that’s not to say I haven’t learned a lot from all kinds of people along the way, most notably, Bruce Weber; assisting him, watching him work up close, has been invaluable.

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

My influences, in addition to Bruce, are all over the map: from Stephen Shore, Henry Wessel, William Eggleston, and Wolfgang Tillmans to Masao Yamamoto. But one person who’s really inspired me from the very beginning is my uncle, Tom Alder. He’s a celebrated art director, publisher, and designer deeply rooted in surf culture. I’m a surfer myself, so when I started taking photos surf culture was the direction I naturally pointed my camera; and that became my entrance to the business side of photography. But Tom was there from the beginning.

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 always try to pay attention to ideas that pop into my head without deliberation, even when they may seem somewhat insignificant. Those are often the ideas that surprise you and wind up having enduring power. But nothing is more important than actively shooting every week (if not every day). I love looking for new subjects and locations. I get most of my inspiration from my surroundings, and I try to keep my surroundings a little outside of the normal.

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

Every situation is different, but generally speaking I’ve been very fortunate to work with great people. Something that I learned from assisting is how important a good crew can be when it comes to getting work done. If everyone is into it and enjoying themselves, it really doesn’t feel like work at all. But when you’re in a situation where you feel limited, I think it’s important to voice your opinion while at the same time remaining open to other people’s ideas—because in the end, commercial work really is a collaborative process.

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

There are so many good ways to get your work out there these days, all of them totally viable and legitimate. I think the important thing is to choose an approach that feels natural and not forced in any way. But personally, I continue to believe in the tangible print over the digital screen. (I realize this exchange and my images are being published online! Thank you, APE.) Printing has always been an important part of my practice, and I think that in our digital age it’s something that gets overlooked by a lot of young photographers. I also think there’s no substitute for meeting with editors and art buyers in person. And having an inspired rep. I recently signed up with Massif Management, which has been incredible. Massif has opened up doors that probably wouldn’t have opened for me otherwise.

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

Believe in your work, and pay close attention to how you present it.

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

Whether it’s for a client or myself, I’m always taking photos that interest me. I try to be mindful of the importance of unconscious inspiration and let things come together.

How often are you shooting new work?

I try and shoot something every week, as well as review my work. Editing is a very important, if unglamorous, part of my practice.

Will Adler’s seemingly off-the-cuff photographs—typically of friends at play—betray a poignancy that can be hard to reconcile with their breezy surfaces. His photographs have appeared in Juxtapoz, Neon, Surfer, The Surfers Journal, WAX, The New Yorker, Rankin’s Hunger TV, and Paper; commercial clients include Quiksilver, Patagonia, Nike, and Hixsept. His newsprint folio “Bummerland” was recently republished in a second, limited edition by Fourteen-Nineteen books. Will lives in Santa Barbara, California. He is represented by Massif Management [].

Will Adler

Massif Management

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.