The Weekly Edit
Michael Muller Shark Portraits II

- - The Daily Edit

Heidi: I know this last trip to South Africa was the punctuation of your shark series and upcoming book/film.  Your next project is more land based but equally as adventurous and photogenic. What is the allure of the safari for you? And what story do you hope to tell with these images?

Michael: I have always had a passion and draw towards wildlife, in fact the first photo I can remember taking at 8years old was of a shark.  Granted it was a photo of a photo in a magazine but I find it humorous how my life came full circle and I have actually made that childhood fantasy come true.  I love being in the wild on land or in the water, it’s just being so close to nature and all the amazing creatures this planet has.  I think people are so removed from nature in this modern age and by being disconnected we are also very un-aware of what is going on to our planet.  The again people i think know but just don’t want to accept or engage it.  It’s much easier sipping a Starbucks in your car and letting someone else deal with it.  The problem is eventually it WILL affect us ALL.  When food supplies from the ocean start to dwindle away, and the fact that 7 of 8 people on this planet live off the ocean, what do you think is going to happen when people can’t feed their kids?  I think your imagination can fill in the blanks.  That is what is happening, we are stripping our oceans of so many species and not giving them enough time to reproduce.  That is what I hope my photos can do, maybe make people stop and take a look at our planet and say “WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?”  I have 3 daughters and some of these animals I am taking pictures of they may very well never get to see in the wild if we stay at the pace we are going.  The fact is we aren’t staying at that pace, we are excelling. In the last 30 years 50% of the Great Barrier reef in Australia is GONE…. YES GONE!  that shows signs of progression which means in 10-15 years it will ALL be gone.  That is the largest reef on our planet, it is a very scary sign and things like this are happening everywhere what people just don’t seem to care, or care enough to do anything about it.

You were wanting to complete this shark project with one last series, which for you was the shark breaching. How does one encourage a breach?

I have had an image in my head for the last 5 years I need to get out of my head and onto a print.  That is a very tough thing when you have an idea and you have to sit with it for so many years.  This image I had was a Great White shark breaching in between my strobe lights at night time.  Capturing a shark breaching in the air is a challenge all its own, but to get lights out far enough and the shark to breach in the right spot in the small window of darkness needed, well that’s basically a small miracle I was trying to pull off.  I have been shooting Great Whites for almost 10 years and have somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000+ images of this animal.  I have photographed it with my lights in almost every way possible, but this one.  How does one encourage a Great White to breach? Well I wish it was as easy as throwing a tennis ball like I do with my dogs but it’s not.  In order to attain a breach you need to tow a decoy(seal) behind the boat at a distance of 25-40 feet and hope that the shark doesn’t realize it’s not real which they do about 90% of the time.

When a shark breaches, its usually a predatory move and can involve a kill.
Did you feel like you were pressing your luck with your safety for this last trip?

I was in the boat so there is NO danger to towing a decoy.  We are also towing a foam seal so there is NO killing of any animal involved.  The only thing that happens is a shark waste some energy trying to kill a fake seal and probably gets a little frustration at the discovery it’s not a meal.  In all the years I have spent diving with sharks, there has never been any danger presented to me or my crew from the animals.  From the diving side there has, with the risk of bends and running out of air etc but never from the animals.  We take every precaution necessary when we photograph these animals and treat each shoot with the upmost respect.  We are dealing with wild animals so you don’t go in like a cowboy and run wild or that is when accidents happen.  Ego is NOT a good thing to bring to this arena, humility and respect are key when dealing with predators.  Don’t get me wrong one needs a belly full of confidence and to really have a good grasp of one’s fear and to keep it in check.

You had a film crew and scientists along for this trip. What role did science play in timing your trip and picking a location?

I brought a film crew on last years trip as well as this most recent one.  We are cutting the footage into a show and since I was attempting to do something no one has ever done before, I wanted to have it on film for the future.  I can’t go back and do it again had I got the shot so better to capture it in the moment.  Yes I met with one of the Worlds most premiere Great White Scientist Alison Kock who is the Research Manager for Shark Spotters in South Africa.  I met with her to see what I could learn, what I can do to help, what the state of sharks are in South Africa and that part of the World.  She does amazing work tagging and fighting for the rights of these animals in getting laws passed to protect them which is NOT easy.  Commercial fishing is BIG business, its like Oil and they have funds and lawyers and lobbyist that get them what they want which is the ability to make money at any cost.  It is a very David and Goliath type of battle.

What is the hardest part of waiting for the universe and mother nature to cooperate? I mean, you can’t direct a shark, or can you?

Everything about this shoot is hard.  Waiting hour after hour with my eye pressed up against the view finder in a ball on a moving boat tracking a decoy 40 feet away disappearing behind every wave and the knots in my stomach expecting a 15ft shark to pop up any second.  That is what its like to, there is NO warning it just happens and you almost can’t believe its happening.  The other thing that happens is a whole bag full of “Murphy’s Law” meaning every time I went to adjust the piece of foam i was sitting on, a shark would breach.  The camera man would ask me a question and I would turn for a sec to answer and the shark would breach.  I wanted to rip my face off so many times because I knew I was only going to get a few chances at this if that and when those ,missed opportunies happened I was just beyond frustrated. If you want to crush your ego and get really humbled then try shooting great whites breaching off Seal Island in Simons Town South Africa.  And NO I can’t be like, hey “nut Case” come back and do that again, only this time when you breach come at me belly first” and yes we have names for most all these sharks, one of which was nut case.

What did you do to pass the time and how long did you wait between shots?

There is not a whole lot to do to pass the time because you are waiting for this thing to happen and have to be ready at all times.  Sure we would make jokes and try to keep the mood light but for the most part the tension on the boat you can cut with a knife because EVERYONE wants to see the shark breach, everyone is waiting for this moment to happen and we are all focussed on it.  There were many times that an hour would go by with nothing then we would have a breach, but most of the time there would be these times when there would be a series of like 3-4 breaches in like 15min and that would be it so you needed to be ready.  At about 10am the sharks stop breaching cause the sun comes up and the seals then gain the advantage and can see the sharks approaching and since they are faster swimmers the sharks don’t waste the energy and that is when we would anchor the boat and set up my “shark Studio” which I would have multiple strobes in and out of the water set up and shoot the sharks in a “portrait” type session.  That too involved many hours of waiting in between sharks coming to the boat.  There would be none and then without warning we would have 5 sharks around our boat!  it was amazing.

What did that patience and loss of control teach you? and does that ever translate into your commercial work?

The lessons I learn are invaluable, and can be applied mostly to my kids ;)  to my commercial work, heck life in general. I learned to pause and be in the moment, and to trust God.  I don’t think I have ever prayed harder to the point of tears swelling up in my eyes asking god and the Universe to have that shark breach when I needed it to.  I wanted it soooo bad.  What I realized is I had to let it go and give it away before it would happen.  When you hold on to something that hard, and want something that bad, I think most of the time you don’t get it.  Only when you let it go and give it away does it come back to you.  There are many times I have to apply patience on my shoots, and yes all those hours on the boat were great building blocks of patience because no person, no commercial job creates the feelings waiting and watching a 2 ton great white fly 15ft out of the water create.  Also my commercial clients can talk so we can work things out, sharks haven’t learned to speak yet so until they do they are the boss and we are just spectators in their World.

What made you bring a Gary Baseman Chew toy?

Gary is a dear friend.  He takes photos of TOBY, the name of that doll everywhere around the world, every day.  I told him “Gary your never going to be face to face with a great white so let Toby come along on this trip and let him get to experience swimming with a shark which Gary saw the opportunity and kissed TOBY goodbye and put him in my care.  I was very protective of Toby and wanted to make sure he came home with all his arms and legs, which of course he did!!!

Photographs of Michael by: LELAND HAYWARD

Questions for Alison Kock, the Great White Scientist Research Manager for Shark Spotters in South Africa.

Heidi: What was your involvement on this shooting trip with Michael?
Alison: Michael came to chat to me about the sharks of False Bay, to learn more about the incredible dynamics of the cat and mouse game between the sharks and the seals at Seal Island, and to learn more about the ways Shark Spotters was reducing human-shark wildlife conflict issues. Michael also generously donated a new camera to our research program for documenting individual sharks for our photographic-ID catalogue.


Fact-based information is surprising low when compare to other life threatening risks.
Why do you think the hysteria around shark attacks has developed?

I think that people have an inherent fear of the unknown, and in so many respects we know very little about sharks. Even when there is shark news, it usually follows a bite incident, and many people only get to hear and read about this one aspect of sharks. When people set eyes on their first white shark, the words that come out their mouths are not “man-eater”, “ugly” or “stupid”, contrary, the words are usually more like “beautiful”, “graceful”, “powerful” and “humbling”.

How do you think Michael’s images will shape this notion about sharks either positively or negatively?

But, the reality is that most people will never get to see a shark in its natural environment, they’ll never get to experience that insight for themselves and therefore its vital that people like Michael who do have access to broader media which is accessible share their experiences. In Michael’s case he brings a really fresh, raw angle to his photographs which depict their grace, power and beauty in a way that people can relate to and appreciate, whether they like sharks or not.


What has your research uncovered thus far about the influence of environmental variables (eco tourism) on great white shark movement / behavior?

I believe that the more we understand about the behavior and movements of large, predatory sharks, the higher the possibility of increasing water user safety and minimizing shark attacks and their subsequent negative conservation and economic repercussions. So far our research team has documented very predictable patterns in their behavior, such as low presence along inshore bather areas during winter, and high presence during summer. We have also discovered that its predominantly female white sharks present inshore during summer months, which has important management and conservation implications due to threats found in this areas. We have also discovered very strong relationships between white shark presence and water temperature and lunar phase, with the highest sightings when the water is warm (around 18 ºC) and during new moon. These behaviors and patterns are likely linked to better opportunities for feeding on their natural prey or ideal environment to be in.

Are there any new shark safety technologies and developments you can share with us?

There are quite a large number of products on the market already, and development all over the world to test and find new technologies which are both people and shark friendly. Currently though, there are very few products which have been scientifically verified and those that have produce mixed results depending on the species of shark and it’s behavioural state e.g. is it motivated to feed, or is it simply swimming from one place to another after already having a big meal.   In addition to the Shark Spotters program, the City of Cape Town is experimenting with an exclusion (barrier) net at one of its beaches. This exclusion net is different to the traditional shark nets which reduce shark bites by catching sharks and reducing their local populations. The exclusion net acts as an underwater barrier, keeping sharks and people separate, and is an environmentally friendly way to reduce conflict. Other similar concepts are also being trialled.


What is a shark shield?

A shark shield is an electric shark deterrent. Sharks have specialised sensory organs on their heads and snouts which can detect minute electric fields. They use this sense to locate hidden prey. Electric deterrents, in theory, aim to disrupt or overwhelm this sense, to temporarily cause the shark discomfort and have it move away. Research has shown that in some cases they do have an effect, and in other cases they don’t. The bottom line is that as with most safety devices, they can never guarantee safety 100%.


Your organization was founded by Greg Bertish of True Blue Travel and has come a long way from the days of cell phone calls from an overlook.
How does the spotting work now?

The Shark Spotting Program is now recognized as the City of Cape Town’s formal shark safety program. We operate on 8 beaches and employ 32 people from Cape Town’s disadvantaged areas. Shark Spotters are positioned at strategic points along the Cape Peninsula, primarily in False Bay coastline. A spotter is placed on the mountain with polarized sunglasses and binoculars. This spotter is in radio contact with another spotter on the beach. If a shark is seen the beach spotter sounds a siren and raises a specific color coded flag (diagram). When the siren sounds the water users are requested to leave the water and only return when the appropriate ‘all clear’ signal is given. The program not only offers direct safety, but provides employment and capacity opportunities for previously disadvantaged members of our community, and it conducts applied research to better understand white shark behaviour and movements, and trial and test new safety technologies. Shark Spotters’ core mission is to find pro-active, environmentally friendly solutions to reduce shark-human conflict, for the benefit of both people and sharks.

If I wanted to donate to shark spotters how would I go about doing that and what would that contribution be supporting?

We have a number of ways people can donate to our organization. The quickest and easiest is via our PayPal account (http://sharkspotters.org.za/donations). They can also visit that link to make direct transfers into our bank account. We are a registered NPO (NPO 060-390) and Public Benefit Organization (PBO 93037 421). We are also registered under Section 18(a) of the Income Tax Act and are therefore able to issue donations receipts that can be redeemed against an individuals or organizations taxable income.

 

Why Is There Sexism in Editorial Photography?

- - Working

Guest Post by Erin Patrice O’Brien

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Portrait

Alessandra Petlin http://alessandrapetlin.com

Alison Aliano http://www.alysonaliano.com

Angie Smith http://angiesmithphotography.com

Anna Bauer http://www.annabauer.com

Annie Liebowitz http://annieleibovitz.tumblr.com

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

Barbel Schmidt http://www.baerbelschmidt.com

Cara Bloch http://carabloch.com

Cass Bird http://www.cassbird.com/

Catherine Ledner http://www.catherineledner.com

Christina Gandolfo http://www.cgandolfo.com

Dana Lixenberg http://www.danalixenberg.com

Danielle Levitt http://daniellelevitt.com

Darcy Hemley http://www.darcyhemley.com

Delphine Diallo http://www.delphinediawdiallo.com

Dulce Pinzon http://www.dulcepinzon.com

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

Elizabeth Weinberg http://elizabethweinberg.com

Emily Shur http://www.emilyshur.com

Erika Larsen http://erikalarsenphoto.com

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

Eugenie Frerichs http://eugeniefrerichs.com

Flora Hantijo http://florahanitijo.com

Gabriela Hasbun http://www.gabrielahasbun.com

Gillian Laub www.gillianlaub.com/

Guzman http://www.lesguzman.com

Jessica Antola http://antolaphoto.com

Jessica Wynne http://jessicawynnephoto.com

Jill Greenberg http://www.jillgreenberg.com

Kendrick brinson http://kendrickbrinson.com

Kyoko Hamada http://www.kyokohamada.com

Lisa Wiseman http://www.lisawiseman.com

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

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

Mackenzie Stroh http://www.mackenziestroh.com

Martha Camarillo http://marthacamarillo.com

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

Megan Peterson http://www.meghanpetersen.com

Meredith Jenks http://www.meredithjenks.com

Michele Asselin http://www.asselinphotography.com

Michelle Pedone http://www.michellepedone.com

Morgan Levy http://morganrlevy.com

Naomi Harris http://naomiharris.com

Olivia Locher http://olivialocher.com

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

Robin Twomey http://www.robyntwomey.com

Sage Sohier http://www.sagesohier.com

Sarah Wilson http://www.sarahwilsonphotography.com

Susana Howe http://www.susannahowe.com

Sylvia Otte http://www.silviaotte.com

Sarah Wilmer  http://sarahwilmer.com

 

Lifestyle-Fashion

Amanda Marsalis http://www.amandamarsalis.com

Anna Wolf http://www.annawolf.com

Beth Perkins http://www.bethperkins.com

Brigitte Sire http://brigittesire.com

Catherine Wessel http://www.cathrinewessel.com

Chloe Aftel http://www.chloeaftel.com

Christa Renee  http://www.christarenee.com

Debra LaCoppola http://photoduo.com

Ditte Isager http://www.ditteisager.dk

Emily Nathan http://www.emilynathan.com

Erica Shires http://www.ericashires.com

Ericka McConnell http://erickamcconnell.com

Jennifer Rocholl http://www.jenniferrocholl.com

Karan Kapoor http://www.karankapoor.com

Kate Powers http://katepowers.com

Kathryn Wolkoff http://katherinewolkoff.com

Melanie Acevedo http://www.melanieacevedo.com

Nina Anderson http://www.ninaandersson.com

Olivia Bee http://www.oliviabee.com

Samantha Casolari http://www.samanthacasolari.com

Sarah Kehoe http://www.sarahkehoephoto.com

Sue Parkhill http://www.sueparkhill.com

Terry Doyle http://terrydoylephoto.com

Thayer Gowdy http://thayergowdy.com

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

 

Fashion and Beauty

Amanda Pratt http://www.amandapratt.com

Amber Gray http://www.ambergray.net

Anna Palma http://annapalma.com

Caroline Knopf http://www.carolineknopf.com

Catherine Servel http://catherineservel.tumblr.com

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

Claudia Fried http://claudiafried.com

Claudia Goetzelman http://www.claudiagoetzelmann.com

Cleo Sullivan www.cleosullivan.com

Colleen Rentmeister http://www.colienarentmeester.com

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

Daniela Federici http://danielafederici.com

Elinor Stigle http://www.ellinorstigle.com

Ellen Stagg http://thestaggparty.com

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

Gabriele Revere http://www.gabriellerevere.com

Indira Cesarine http://www.indiracesarine.com

Jamie Isaia http://jamieisaia.com

Jennifer Livingston http://www.jenniferlivingston.com

Julia Pogodina http://www.juliapogodina.com

Karen Collins http://karencollinsphoto.com

Kate Orne http://kateorne.com

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

Melodie McDaniel http://www.melodiemcdaniel.com

Micaela Rosato http://micaelarossato.com

Ondrea Barbe http://ondreabarbe.com

Pamela Hanson http://pamelahanson.com

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

Sandra Myhrberg  http://sandramyhrberg.com

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

Sarah Silver http://www.sarahsilver.com

Sheila Metzner http://www.sheilametzner.com

Stephanie Rausserhttp://stephanierausser.com

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

 

Still Life, Food Interiors Lifestyle

Alexandra Rowley http://www.alexandrarowley.com

Amy Eckerton http://www.amyeckertphoto.com

Andrea Chu http://chucandy.com

Andrea Gentylhttp://www.gentlandhyers.com

Andrea Wyner http://www.andreawyner.com

Anita Valero http://anitacalero.com

Anna Williams http://annawilliams.com

Aya Brackett http://www.ayabrackett.com

Beth Galton http://bethgalton.com

Beatriz Dacosta http://www.beatrizdacosta.com

Burcu Avsar http://www.burcuavsar.com

Diana Koenigsberg http://www.dianakoenigsberg.com

Ellen Silverman http://www.ellensilverman.com

Erika Rojas http://erikarojasphotography.com

Erin Kunkel http://erinkunkel.com

Katherine Barnard http://kathrynbarnardphoto.com

Leela Syd http://leelacyd.com

Linda Pugliese http://www.lindapugliese.com

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

Melissa Punch http://www.melissapunch.com

Moya McAllister http://www.moyamcallister.com

Maura McEvoy http://www.mauramcevoy.com

Rachel Watson http://rachelwatson.com

Rita Maas http://www.ritamaas.com

Sara Remington http://www.sararemington.com

Tara Donne http://www.taradonne.com

Tria Giovan http://triagiovan.com/

 

Documentary

Amanda Koster http://www.amandakoster.com

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

Anastasia Rudenko http://www.anastasiarudenko.com

Andrea Gjestvang http://andreagjestvang.com

Annabel Clark http://www.annabelclark.net

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

Chiara Goia http://www.chiaragoia.com

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

Christina Paige http://www.christinapaige.com

Dorothy Hong http://www.dothong.com

Elissa Bogos http://elissabogos.squarespace.com

Ericka McDonald http://www.ericamcdonaldphoto.com

Emily Berl http://www.emilyberlphoto.com

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

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

Imke lass http://imkelass.com

Jessica Dimmock http://www.jessicadimmockphotography.com

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

Kate Brooks http://www.katebrooks.com

Kathryn Cook http://www.agencevu.com

Katrina Dautremont http://katrinadautremont.com

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

Lauren Fleischman http://www.laurenfleishman.com

 

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

This Week In Photography Books: Palíndromo Mészáros

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’ve made a huge mistake. Of course, you’ll assume I’m quoting Arrested Development. But I’m not. I haven’t even seen the new episodes, as my ass-backwards slow Internet is not good enough for Netflix streaming service.

I’ve actually made a huge mistake. Last week, I told you about my voracious neighbor, who is re-shaping nature to fit his whims. He has the money to do it, and that’s all that matters. But I used that intro a week early. Should have saved it for today.

Such a bummer.

Now, I don’t have an opening rant worthy of the book I’m about to discuss. I already talked about the fact that we manipulate the Earth’s environment at our peril. So what am I supposed to open with today? The Beatles? Chemical weapons in Syria? Why Tony Romo sucks, despite the fact that the Cowboys beat the Giants Sunday night?

F-ck it. I’ll just talk about the book.

“The Line” is a new soft-covered publication by Palíndromo Mészáros, published by the Universidad de Cádiz, in Spain. In case you’re wondering, I’ve always had fantasies of being an old, crinkly retired dude, sipping sherry in Cadiz, staring out at Morocco. Does that have anything to do with the book? Of course not. But since I cut the intro short, my personal narrative is creeping deeper into this week’s book review.

The book includes a tan band that sits snugly across the bottom, like a band-aid covering a bloody wound. Were that the simile were less appropriate. Alas, it is.

Remove the partial-slip-cover, and you’re faced with a photograph of a forest, with the bottom of the trees covered in ochre. (I love that word. Makes anyone who uses it seem smart. A lesser mind would just say red.)

What’s going on here? You’ll have to wait to find out. Next comes a piece of translucent, Rioja colored paper that’s partially blocking a somewhat-cliché photo of a road, receding into the distance. Yes, we’ve all seen that picture before. But at the beginning of a book, it’s obviously being used to lead us into the narrative. Nice device, I say.

Soon, we see a beautiful, flowering tree, covered, to a point, with that same ochre dust from the cover. The architecture screams Europe, but what’s happening here? Has Christo gotten loose with the paint again? Is it a large-scale performance piece that we just haven’t heard of yet?

If only.

The line of dust continues, through the eerily empty, mostly bleak landscape. Ominous vibes are building, for sure, but not until we find some text, in the middle of the book, do we know what is going on, and where in the world we are.

Apparently, on October 4, 2010, a horrible industrial accident befell a couple of villages in Hungary. 35 million cubic meters of toxic waste swept through the area, killing some, and ruining the environment. Perhaps forever, but it is not specified. The text is originally presented in Spanish, and the subsequent English translation is a bit Googly for my taste, but I suppose it is kind-of endearing. (And the Roger Fenton, Atget and Bill Owens references are right up my alley.)

From there, the line winds through the rest of the book. The photos are uniformly well-made, and contribute to the overall-very-high-quality-nature of this publication. Really, it’s just so well-thought-out.

It closes with what we assume to be the factory itself, then a big pile of the red stuff, and then a second sheet of the see-through elegant paper. Fantastic, if tragic. (How many times have I echoed that sentiment, as so many photo books deal with difficult subjects?)

The book accompanied an exhibition of the work, and both, presumably, received public financing in Spain. That the brokest country in the world is supporting artistic documentation of an environmental disaster in another European country is enough to get you out of bed in the morning. (That, and good night-dreams about waking up to cafe con leche and churros, before switching to sherry and tapas. Man, those guys have it good, even if they do have 25% unemployment. Not a bad way to spend a job-less day.)

OK. We’re done here. Yes, I’ve shown you most of the photos in the book, because there aren’t that many to begin with. But don’t be a mooch. Buy the thing, and support some Spaniards while you’re at it.

Bottom Line: Exceptional production of a far-too-common occurrence

To Purchase “The Line” Visit Photo-Eye

Full Disclosure: 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: ioulex

- - 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: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Director: I nominate ioulex and have been a fan since they first started shooting. They bring such craft and care to the photos they take and you can see this in the work they do. The photos are unique and beautiful. It’s been great working with them and watching their career grow. I don’t say this about a lot of people but I do think they are iconic for our generation and will continue to get bigger and bigger.

Portrait of Diane Pernet in Paris

Annie Morton in Pennsylvania

Choreographer Benjamin Millepied for The New Yorker

Actor Adam Driver for Flaunt magazine

Young actress Odeya Rush for Flaunt magazine

Portrait of Mykki Blanco for Flaunt magazine

a still life from our installation at Audio Visual Arts gallery in New York

from a fashion story featuring Iris van Herpen couture collection for Big magazine

Costume designer Christian Joy in her studio, for The New York Times T magazine

Painter Damian Loeb in his studio for The Block magazine

Designer Thom Browne for Standard magazine

Designer Thom Browne for Standard magazine

How many years have you been in business?
We’ve been shooting as a duo for about 7 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
We both graduated from Parsons School of Design, majoring in graphic design. We studied in Paris and New York. We took a couple photography classes, but nothing extensive. We are basically self-taught in photography.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
We are mostly influenced by cinematography – the work of our favorite DP’s — Sven Nykvsit, Sasha Vierny, and Raoul Coutard. Also the films of Cassavetes and Fassbinder. As far as actual “working photographers”, we are very much in awe of some of the inexhaustible Magnum members – Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Steve McCurry. The thought of them continuously producing brilliant work over a long period of time is very inspiring.

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?
We never feel like we’ve exhausted all the possibilities, there is so much you can experiment within image making. Whenever we see a new beautiful film, a dance performance, visual art exhibition, it makes us excited about photography again, thinking how we could translate or evoke something we saw using our tools, in two dimensions, for an editorial shoot or a personal project.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
No, we haven’t been in a situation like this. Maybe because we don’t shy away from talking to the client, communicating what we’re trying to accomplish. Of course it’s crucial to work with creatives who are confident and passionate about what they do and, very importantly, choose us for the right project.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
We update our website regularly, and share specific new projects with individual art buyers and creatives.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Nobody wants to see anything, they are bombarded from all directions. The only way is to share specifically on an individual basis, to be aware what clients the art buyer is working with, what their background is, what their taste might be like.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
We really feel like you can only shoot for yourself, whether you’re getting paid or not. We always have something in the works.

How often are you shooting new work?
In addition to editorial projects, we have on-going personal series, and some spontaneous little projects that we make up every day.

Photography duo ioulex is Julia Koteliansky and Alexander Kerr. They graduated from Parsons School of Design, and live and work together between New York and Paris. Their images appeared in the New York Times T magazine, New Yorker, Die Zeit, Big, Flaunt, and Dossier Journal. Ioulex’s work was exhibited at Audio Visual Arts gallery in New York, Colette in Paris, and Diesel Art Gallery in Tokyo among others. Advertising clients include Helmut Lang, Bloomberg, and Zara.

http://ioulex.com

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

Zack Arias Interview

- - Photographers

Jonathan Blaustein: What’s the story with the beard? How long have you had that not-quite-quasi-ZZ-Top-looking thing?

Zack Arias: I have not seen my chin in sixteen years. I had a goatee after high school, and then in ’95, I went on a trip around the US, and I decided not to shave. It’s a really good device to cover up double-chins.

So I’ve just stuck with it. I had to cut it off once for a part-time job delivering pizzas. Other than that, I’ve had this stupid monster on my chin for a long time. One reason I keep it is it’s a reminder that I can’t go back to a normal day job. I have to make photography work for me.

It’s lost all its color, though, after four kids. It’s all gray and white. Part of me is ready to lose it, but none of my kids know me without it.

JB: I’ve had mine about as long as you’ve had yours. I can’t really imagine going back, they do become a part of our personality, no?

ZA: They do. I would not be able to think about things without it. Whenever I’m thinking, I twirl and pull on it. If I cut it off, I would be so lost.

JB: It’s a good point. It definitely is an advantage for guys like us. It makes us appear smarter…

ZA: Yes.

JB: …and it gives us that extra beat. That extra two seconds to figure something out. You touch it, and look pensive, but really you’re thinking, “I don’t know what to say, and I need to come up with something quickly.” Is that about right?

ZA: (laughing) That is exactly it.

JB: Our secrets have now been divulged to the cyber-sphere.

ZA: Awesome.

JB: Isn’t it safe to say you don’t have any secrets from the cyber-sphere?

ZA: Not too many. I try to be a fairly open book, wherever I am in life. I used to operate differently. I would play my cards close to the chest, and embellish whatever I was working on so people would believe I was working on more important things than I was. The whole fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude.

That didn’t go well for me, and my whole life fell apart. I’ve always been active on forums, or some sort of water-cooler-esque type of thing where photographers commune and get together. I just decided that when I came back to photography, I would be truthful with myself, and my colleagues. For better or worse.

And it’s been a lot better. I don’t feel like I have to position myself with anyone any longer.

JB: And yet so many people are nervous and afraid to speak their mind. Wouldn’t you say?

ZA: Yes. I think so. Some people are nervous about sharing where they are in their life or career, because maybe they have to keep up the persona that “Hey, I’m busy, and things are going great.”

In a world where we all need to be nice, and professional, and everybody’s worried about sticking their neck out, or saying anything that isn’t nice…if you have a problem about something in your industry, you keep your mouth shut.

There are fantastic arguments to be made for that. I do bite my tongue a lot. But then there are times that I let it loose. I’m going to say what I think, and try to be professional, and hope that works out well.

JB: I can relate. When I started writing for Rob, almost 3.5 years ago now, he encouraged that type of honesty. I remember being really uncomfortable the first few times I let it fly. His advice, which I took very seriously, was that people respect honesty.

In my research, looking at the way people respond to you online, where you have a huge presence, it seems like there’s been a correlation with your success. Or am I assuming too much here?

ZA: I would agree with you. My goal is not to build a community, or build numbers, or get people to follow me or read my stuff. My goal is to interact with my industry, my peers and colleagues, and help out where I can.

But I am going to say what I think. The people I interact with, I want them to be the kind of people that understand that. They don’t have to always agree with me, but there has to be a mutual respect.

I don’t want to make everything sugar-coated and happy, trying to bring in as many people as possible without ever stepping on toes. I think people do react to people who are genuine. People who are honest.

You can tell that about someone by just going through their twitter feed, or reading a few blog posts. I think my number one hero in this industry today is Joe McNally, and he is the most genuine, humble, truthful, tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy.

He’s very helpful, doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he’s honest with his success, and his failures. I love that man, as a photographer, as well as a person. There’s not many people I look up to more than McNally.

We’ve all met the divas and the rockstars, and their ego enters the room before they do. I don’t want to associate with that, really.

JB: As a photographer, have you found that working in such close quarters with people, under pressure-packed environments for years, that you can kind of smell that ego and attitude as soon as it walks in the door? How are you at getting quick reads on people? Is that a skill you think has evolved?

ZA: Absolutely. Maybe it’s a personal skill that you just bring to photography, or to life. But being a photographer, especially working in editorial or commercial fields, you never know who you’re going to be in front of, and who you’re going to be interacting with, day to day.

You get an email that says you’re assigned to go shoot Mr. Jones, over at ACME company, and when you walk through the front door, you have no idea who you’re going to meet. It is a good skill to be able to size people up quickly.

In photography, you don’t have very much time to interact. If I feel like this person is puffing themselves up, that lets me know how to deal, and get the best picture out of them. Sometimes, I’ll play into that, if it lets me make the best portrait I can.

Other times, I feel like I need to bust through the veneer, and I understand the veneer, because I too had that myself. But I want to bust through that, and get something different.

It’s a good skill to have, but I can’t say if photography has taught me that, or not. You get that gut feeling about someone, when you meet them.

JB: Speaking for myself, it’s definitely a skill that I’ve learned over time.

ZA: Yes.

JB: I know I was naive and worthless for some time. But pushing 40, I feel like I’ve begun to figure it out. It’s funny, because in a youth-obsessed culture, we often under-value these skills that you can only learn from taking your knocks.

ZA: Have you seen Craig Ferguson’s rant on youth?

JB: No.

ZA: It was one of his opening monologues. Fantastic. He comes out and says, “I’ve figured out what all the problems are.” He talked about the fact that society used to appreciate experience, wisdom and age, and then it turned to celebrating youth, and became stupid. That kind of thing.

I just hit 40, and I start to worry, am I going to be as relevant? Every art buyer I meet is fresh out of school, and twenty-something, and here comes the gray-haired old guy. But the reason that I really appreciate where I am in life now, though I know I still have a long way to go, is that I bring experience to things that don’t have anything to do with lenses, cameras and lights.

I can walk in a CEO’s office, or a hip-hop studio that’s filled with weed smoke, and I can do my job. Experience is invaluable.

JB: We’re all looking for that sweet spot. Because we’ve all seen work by older photographers, and we scratch our heads and say “when did he lose it?” So a lot of people are wondering “how do you keep it?”

ZA: I hope that the hunger to evolve always stays with me. This October marks the ten year anniversary that I left my day-job, and put a stake in the ground. I said, “I’m gonna be a photographer, dammit.” I had failed before at this venture, and this was my second chance to make it.

I’m proud of what I’ve done over the last ten years, but I want the next ten years to look different. When I hit 50, I want to change it up again. I don’t want to settle in.

JB: But for you, it’s not just shooting, of course. I think a lot of people are familiar with you through your web presence. You’ve got a popular tumblr in which you answer people’s questions, and you just turned that into a book.

You make yourself accessible to others, and you teach workshops, sell T-shirts. Do you see teaching as much a part of who you are as clicking the shutter?

ZA: I do. I actually had to back off on teaching, because I’m a photographer. I’d been asked to do some workshops, and I really enjoyed it, so I did some more. Then, a lot of my regular music-industry client work fell out from under my feet.

Teaching kind of caught me, so I started doing it more. But then, all of the favorite pictures I was creating, at that point, were at workshops. Not personal projects, or going out and getting steady client work.

I was becoming miserable as a photographer. I’ve watched photographers become popular with their web presence, start teaching, and stop shooting. We don’t really see them take pictures anymore. Yet they’re constantly out there saying, “Come on photographers, I’m going to help you out…to do the thing that I don’t do anymore.”

I love teaching, and I’ll continue to do it, but I want you to find me with a camera in my hand. I don’t want to just set up at the end of the dock and sell bait. I want you to find me with a hook in the water, and if you ask me what I’m doing, I’m going to tell you, and share my experience.

I don’t think I can be a relevant teacher, if I’m not out there shooting, and working with new technology. If all of your stories are, “Well, ten years ago, I was on this job…” I’d rather say “Ten days ago, I was on this job, and this is how I dealt with it.”

JB: I want to talk to you about Cuba, because the Santa Fe Workshops is sponsoring this interview, and a little birdie told me that you did a workshop with those guys in Cuba. Then I saw on your blog that you made some images down there as well. So I thought maybe we could consider you our resident Cuba expert for the day.

ZA: For the day, yes.

JB: Are you comfortable with that moniker?

ZA: I’ve only been one time, with the folks from Santa Fe. They brought me in to lead a group of photographers through Havana.

JB: So what did you think?

ZA: It’s an Un-Believable place. And the people are so amazing. Cuba is just an unreal, fantastic place. The thing I tell people, when I start talking about it is, get your ass to Cuba. Get there now, before it opens up. Before the casinos come back, and there’s a Starbucks on every corner.

It’s a remarkable place that is just on our back door.

JB: What were some of the things that were most appealing to you?

ZA: The people were the most appealing, number 1. Number 2, it was meeting fellow photographers, Cuban photographers and artists.

They have done so much with so little for so long that they can do anything with nothing. Some of the best photography that I’ve seen in a long time was done by Cuban nationals that are down there.

The stories that they tell, like when the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba was the red-headed step child, and they got dropped. “Sorry, you’re on your own.” One photographer was telling me that during that time, there was no film. But he had gotten his hands on some expired, 35mm movie film, and he and a buddy of his cut it up, and put it into canisters. But they didn’t have any chemistry. So they went hospitals and doctor’s offices, and got the expired chemistry that they used for making X-rays.

With vinegar and water and such, they built their developer, stop and fix, and it was super-contrasty, but it worked. So they kept shooting.

I met another photographer who had gotten hold of an old Nikon D40, or something like that, and he had an old Minolta lens. Of course, the lens didn’t fit on the body, and there were no adapters. So he would take pictures by holding the lens in front of the body, and focusing it, and he made it work.

As far as other forms of art, it’s like, I’ve got some phone books, and a cardboard box, a broom, and someone’s going to make prints. It’s a purity, and I walked away from that experience in Cuba looking at all of us photographers in the West, in the developed world, and we have everything, and we’re not doing anything with it.

They have nothing, and they are pouring out their heart into the craft. They are so sincere about photography, and art in general. We went to a ballet school, and a boxing school, and the kids are so passionate.

It blew me away, and showed me how fat and rich and spoiled we all are. I left half my gear in Cuba. I dispersed it to people who needed it, and the next time I go, I’m going to buy some used stuff, or things I’m not using much, and leave all the gear there.

“You need a camera? Here you go. You need a flash, here you go.” You take down some AA batteries with a recharging unit, and you’ve made a friend for life.

JB: It sounds like the experience offers the photographers who come down to the workshop more than just the chance to photograph old cars and beaten up doors and windows.

ZA: Absolutely.

JB: It seems like degraded, weathered old Cuban things are images that we’ve seen so many times. How are you able to guide people away from just clicking the shutter at cliché?

ZA: You’ve got to remember, some people just enjoy photography for the sake of photography. They’re not trying to cure cancer with their camera. They’re not trying to be the next Richard Avedon, or Mary Ellen Mark. They go to Cuba, and they cannot wait to shoot an HDR picture of an old Chevy.

That is their dream, and they’re going to go home, and make a big print of it, and put it on their wall. Then, they’re going to sit back with a huge smile, because they’re going to remember going to Cuba, and getting their HDR picture of an old Chevrolet on the side of the street. And they’re going to love that.

You and I will scoff, and gag, and say “NO!” and tear at our clothes, but you’ve got to let people just enjoy it. Sometimes, I’m jealous, because there’s a lot of pictures I never take because everyone takes that picture, and I’ve seen it a million times.

What I tell people, especially on something like going to Cuba, is let photography be secondary. Your camera is your passport into experiences. There’s an old Jay Maisel quote that I harp on all the time: “If you want to become a more interesting photographer, become a more interesting person.”

You do that through increasing your experiences in this life, with the people you meet, and the things that you see. Going to Cuba will definitely make you a more interesting person. It opens your eyes to things, socially, politically and economically. You come back different, with a new perspective on life.

The pictures are good and fun, and of course you want to go down there and make photos. My thing is portraits, so I wanted to get some of those, and street photography and such. But when I think of Cuba, it’s not about the photography. I think about the people, and the music and the food and the art. Sitting out by the ocean, watching the young kids jump in the water. And the rum, and the cigars.

And the stomach bug I had for two weeks after the trip…

JB: OOOOOH.

ZA: All of that. I don’t think about the pictures, but the camera is what took me there. It allowed me into the doors of people’s homes, places I couldn’t have entered otherwise. The camera was the excuse to share a coffee with someone, which was far more valuable than whatever picture I took.

Does that make sense?

JB: Of course. It’a heck of an answer. So good that I’m going to spin it on you. Given how well you just described Cuba, now I’m a little curious about where you’re based.

I’ve only been through Atlanta, the ATL, one time. It was very brief, many years ago, and let’s just say my memories were clouded. We’ll leave it at that.

What’s it like down there in Hotlanta? You’re from Georgia, right, so this is home turf?

ZA: Home turf. Yes. I wasn’t born here, but I moved here when I was three, so close enough.

JB: That will qualify. Is everyone hangin’ out with Ludacris, smokin’ blunts and going to Braves games? Or what?

ZA: That’s just our life. No, Atlanta a great, big city that allows you to do whatever you want to do with your life. It’s got a big enough population, 5 million and growing, that it can handle that, but it’s still a small town kind of feel. The life in Atlanta is all about the neighborhoods.

Our downtown kind of sucks. Don’t bother going there. The life is in the neighborhoods. We’re a networking city, so we love to connect people with other people. Whenever I’m out talking to someone, very often I’ll say, “You know what, you need to meet this other guy I know, because he’s working on something you could connect with. I’ll put the two of you together, because I think y’all could do something with that.”

I get a lot of work in Atlanta like that. Two people are having a conversation, and then my name will get dropped into there, and then I get an email connecting me to someone else.

We’re a great hub. I love our airport, because I can go anywhere in the world I need to be.

And I would say we rival New York in food. If you want to come and eat amazing food in Atlanta, I will send you home fat, happy, and bloated out of your mind.

JB: Something tells me New York wouldn’t necessarily compete with you guys on the biscuit and gravy front. I would think you have that all wrapped up.

ZA: I’m talking international cuisine. Not just southern food. One of our favorite places to go eat is this little dive called Hankook Taqueria. It’s a Korean taqueria with a little Southern flair to it. It’s unreal.

We have the best pizza you’ll ever put in you mouth, in this town. And I’ll say that to any New Yorker.

JB: Are you intentionally trying to provoke controversy here? I feel like you are. If you’re going after pizza…

ZA: It’s hip hop. You’ve got to have some rivalry. We got to talk crap about other places and people.

JB: (laughing.) So this is now the pizza version of Dirty South claiming supremacy over NYC-style hip hop? Is that where we’re at?

ZA: That’s where it’s at.

JB: It’s hard out here for a pimp. Is that what you’re telling us?

ZA: (laughing) One of my top three favorite movies ever, right there. Hustle and Flow.

JB: It’s a great, great film. I actually found that out by reading an interview you recently did in which you claimed that those interviewers were the most prepared and excellent that you’ve ever interacted with. So I felt that, given I was guaranteed to not be number 1, I could just be lazy. I didn’t have to do any prep.

I really felt empowered by the fact that someone else was automatically better than me.

ZA: (laughing) Well you should. Because Tina and Ryan at The Great Discontent are…

JB: They’re better than me.

ZA: They’re blog gods.

JB: I hear you. I’m not even being sarcastic. I accept the fact that I am a blog human, and not a blog god. I’m empowered by it. You’ve done me a favor.

ZA: Come on? Don’t you want to rise up to the occasion?

JB: Nope. Nope. I’m a lazy, GenX slacker, man. You’ve been generous with your time. Is there anything else you’d like the audience to know about? When did your new book come out?

ZA: It’s been out a month or two. I can’t even remember.

JB: Where can people find that? Amazon?

ZA: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, things like that. But I don’t want to toot my own horn here. I do want to give a shout out to you, and Rob, and everyone working with A Photo Editor. You’re my number 1 photography-related blog that I follow.

There are a lot of good photography blogs, but about the industry, and working, and the people that you profile, everything Rob’s built has been fantastic.

And a shout out to the Santa Fe Workshops too. They took a chance on me, doing this trip to Cuba, and I appreciate that. Get your ass to Cuba. That should be the name of this article.

JB: Get your ass to Cuba. That’s the un-official title. And that was very classy of you. In all of my interviews, you’re the first person who’s ever turned it around with a reverse shout out to us. Good on ya.


The Weekly Edit
San Franciso Magazine: Claudia Goetzelmann

- - The Daily Edit

 

San Franciso Magazine

Design Director: Ellen Zaslow
Art Director: Ron Escobar
Director of Photography: Ilana Diamond

Photographer: Claudia Goetzelmann

In what ways has your globetrotting life influenced your work?
As a visual artist you draw from your influences and I believe the more we expose ourselves to new experiences and foreign cultures the ‘richer ‘our lives will be.  It gives inspiration and keeps the spark alive – to create and stay fresh and current with our art forms. I believe my globetrotting life has given me many of those inspirations and shaped me in many ways. The way I see the world and the way it helped to formed my vision and style in my images. I am German, so that carries a very graphic element and then all those years in Asia – that is kind of calm and zen and California is colorful.
I feel like it is all that, and maybe it is a little bit whimsical, a little bit understated. People tell me that my work is impactful but also has a somewhat playful vibe to it. It feels fun and dynamic and fresh. I think that is because that is who I am.  I think I don’t take myself too seriously, and my photos reflect that.  I think its because of all my travels, the countries and cultures I lived in, one has to be open minded. We can learn so much. It keeps me moving intellectually and grow as a person and as an artist.

How many languages can you speak and has that ability ever helped you land a project?
I speak German and English and I used to speak Indonesian quite fluently, a bit of French and Spanish. I am not sure if it helped me directly to land a project but I am sure it helps being a worldy citizen and knowing how to connect to foreign cultures. ( I know 5 words of Russian too!) I have been in Moscow for a job and spend a bit of time there exploring the city. So it was nice to relate to some local customs and cultural trades etc. while shooting w/ Maria.

For the design of this fashion story, it has qualities of a moving image with the layout, was that your idea to present to the magazine?  ( with the smaller images like a film strip )
The filmstrip idea was a collective decision made at the magazine after the shoot. There are soo many amazing images that is was really hard to choose just one image per look/ per page. So why not emphasize the movement aspect and showcase more images at the same time. What a fabulous idea!!!

How much direction do you get from the magazine? and what specifically was your direction for this project?
When Ilana Diamond (PE) approached me about the project its was quite clear that is was an assignment tailored for me. Fashion merged with movement = Claudia Goetzelmann. The idea was to showcase the latest fall fashion trends on Maria while she is dancing/ moving around her favorite neighborhood in San Francisco.
While talking to Ilana and Ron Escobar (Art Director) it became quite clear that we also wanted to make sure Maria’s fun and quirky personality would be reflected in the images. A dream assignment for me! We scouted the area where we wanted to shoot and attached a look to each location. But we also left a bit room to play. And it was also a lot about embracing my shooting style and vision. Being as prepared as one can be in advance (the German in me takes over) it allows time to play and let magic happen. I loved shooting with Maria. She is such a pro. She knows her body and her movement so well and she loves fashion. It was such a pleasure to collaborate with her on this project!

Your cover is perfect for supporting the cover lines/logo was that shot discussed or this was an organic moment and it become a cover?
San Francisco Magazine and myself have the same approach towards cover attempts. We can aim for a particular look but should be thinking about the cover at all times during the shoot. It leaves room to play and think outside a grid. We had some generic ideas about the cover.  But when Maria was wearing the Valentino Daft Ceramic Mood coat and dress it became clear that this would be an amazing cover option.

Do you supply and motion for their ipad issue?
Yes, the Magazine does, you can view it  here.

Aside from shooting the fashion feature I meet up w/ Maria at the Ballet studio one morning to shoot some frames of her training – the magazine wanted to keep the visual language aligned throughout the story.

I see you also had another image in the magazine along with the feature, how did they come about?
They also asked me to shoot the LOOKER page (one cool fashion accessory) – we shot a McQueen bag and McQueen shoe. The loved both so they used one in the content page and one in the actual LOOKER page. They usually don’t do that.  I feel so honored that the Magazine embraces my photography that way.  I truly enjoyed working with the team. I was a wonderful collaboration from the beginning to the end.

You call your self and integrated media photographer, director of photography. What exactly are you trying to tell people with this title?
I started shooting/ directing videos a couple years back and I wanted people to know that I am doing that. I can shoot still images and also shoot the video part of the project if applicable. Its important for me to stay up and current on the latest happening and requirements of technology. I want to be able to offer such services to my clients.

I see on your site you’ve broken out SWIM/LINGERIE and LIFE/MOVEMENT what made you call out SWIM/LINGERIE and not simply call it fashion 1, fashion 2 and so on?
I feel it needed its own category. I already have fashion 1, 2, 3, 4 . There are tons of images on my site and I want to keep it simple and fast digestible for the viewer/ visitor so they can get to what they are looking for. My work lives in the Advertising and Fashion world.  Potential clients who look for Fashion might not be interested in the Life and Movement part or Advertising clients might not want to look through all the Fashion. The way we live now our attention span has become extremely short. Its all about the instant. I hope by breaking out those categories it will help navigate my site and work.

 

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

- - Working

Guest post by Mason Adams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

This Week In Photography Books – Asako Narahashi

by Jonathan Blaustein

My next-door-neighbor spent most of the summer erasing a hill. Even now, as I sit and type, enormous machines are cranking and clanking away. They dig the dirt, gather the boulders, and then large trucks come and cart the land away.

He’s building a road a few hundred yards up the valley, so the hill has slowly disappeared, while the road takes form. Though humans are at nature’s mercy, we do our best to deny that reality. Foolishly, we think we’re capable of more than we are, simply because we know how to design and build things.

Most of the time, we only scratch the surface of this enormous orb. Occasionally, as we’ve seen in photographs of mining operations, we bore down a bit further. Either way, we rarely consider that the Earth is thousands of miles deep. There are rivers of water, and then lava flows, beneath the concrete on which you tread.

Wherever you live, it is difficult to get a fresh perspective on things; to be reminded our precious turf is a small fraction of the planet. Aerial photography is often used for this purpose, and it works. And we can all conjure the image of Earth taken from space. Close your eyes and try. (It’s not difficult.)

Asako Narahashi has come up with a different methodology: photographing land from the perspective of water. Wade, swim, photograph, and everything will look different. I know this, having just put down “Ever After,” the artist’s new monograph put out by Osiris. It is one beautiful production.

That’s the word that kept popping into my mind: beauty. How often do we dismiss that term as not-significant-enough? How many of you have that as your simple goal; the creation of beautiful, well made things? Were you to read the lengthy interview with Ms. Narahashi at the end of the book, (which I admit I only skimmed,) you’d see that she has loftier ambitions.

But I’m not sure they’re met, and I’m not sure they’re necessary. Looking at the photo of light gleaming off the ocean waves, with Mt. Fuji looming in the background, I wonder whether I could ever want anything more? Wow, is that a gorgeous picture. Though I haven’t complained until now, I’m actually feeling rather crappy, laid up with a cold. That photograph made me forget about my temporary troubles. I could look at it forever, withering to dust.

Flipping through, I briefly considered that the photos represent the view from inside a Tsunami, barreling towards shore. But they lack the sense of violence, so the thought was quickly discarded. And I was surprised when I recognized Amsterdam, seen from the vantage of a canal.

Only then did I realize the book moved beyond Japan’s shores, with photos taken in Dubai, Santa Monica, Brooklyn, and other places. It made for a nice diversion from my virtual Japanese vacation. Less successful was the later interspersing of land-based images. Certainly, though, the artist is free to mix up her pictures as she chooses.

That’s about it for today. I’ve got to go take some cold medicine, and put my sorry ass to bed. But this book is a keeper, and I’d heartily recommend it for your Fall Season Shopping List.

Bottom Line: Gorgeous photos of (mostly) Japan, taken from the sea

To Purchase “Ever After” Visit Photo-Eye

 

Full Disclosure: 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: Eugenie Frerichs

- - 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: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art producer: I nominate Eugenie Frerichs. She is a Portland, OR based photographer. She has several sites worth looking at. She most recently documented people behind Chilean Patagonia National Park and farmer’s in Colorado. Her work is visually stunning, filled with such emotion and hope.

Emily on the phone. From the series North Fork Valley, a study of farm life in Western Colorado, 2012.

Chicken. From North Fork Valley, 2012.

Buckley, Kebler Pass, 2012.

Corey, Fern Gully, 2012.

True Grain Farm, Kispiox, BC. From the photo series for Modern Farmer, 2013.

Rémy, Pemberton, BC. From Modern Farmer series, 2013.

Pinot Meunier. From North Fork Valley, 2012.

Jano. From series of portraits of the people building the future Patagonia National Park in Valle Chacabuco, Chile, 2012.

Britta. Valle Chacabuco, 2012.

Corey and the radio. Alaska, 2013.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve worked in the photo industry in one form or another since 2005, mostly as a photo editor, then art director and art producer. I started focusing on my own photography in earnest about three years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Somewhere in between. I have a degree in art history, and assisted a photographer during college, but mostly I’ve learned from the industry itself, having worked on set in so many different roles. A lot of observation, getting in over my head, and learning by doing. I also have very generous photographer friends who have helped me tremendously over the years.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I saw Alec Soth give a talk recently where he said he had two artists hunkered on his shoulders, Robert Adams on one side, Weegee on the other, opposing forces influencing his work in equal parts. I liked that image, though mine would be with Dorothea Lange and Taryn Simon. They are both truth seekers making work in the realm of nonfiction, but they go (or in Lange’s case, went) about it in very different ways – a bit of editorial, a bit of fine art, one from the hip, the other very conceptual and calculated. I have been working to strike a balance between these two ways of shooting in my own projects, and try to channel the wisdoms of Lange and Simon to make better, smarter work.

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?
Nothing inspires me more than hitting the road, truck packed up with gear and dog, maybe a loose schedule but ideally a lot of room for the unpredictable. Most recently my work’s been focusing on farm life and what I’ve been calling the “modern wild”, which requires that I head into far off places, rural communities, mountains, deserts, coastal areas – epicenters of ways of life that fascinate and inspire me. Finding stories in these zones, and attempting to tell them best I can, keeps me fresh and feeds my curiosity (which never seems to be satiated). I save my pennies to make these trips possible, and as for turning them into paid work, well, I just have to trust that as long as I keep doing this – pursuing stories that are interesting to me, and shooting them in a way that feels true to my style – then eventually it will resonate with the right someone at the right time. This could mean a long life of dirtbagging in my truck! But an example of this did just happen, when a road trip I’d been planning from Portland to Alaska turned into a month-long online series for the magazine Modern Farmer. It’s a very cool new publication out of the Hudson River Valley, with a smart team of writers and editors. It’s been exciting to work with a publication that is so aligned with what I’ve been pursuing on my own.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I can’t say I’ve experienced this as a photographer, but I’ve definitely seen it play out when on set in other roles. The creatives want one thing, the clients want another. I have a friend who says she treats every client job like an art school assignment – creative challenges that keep her brain in shape. That’s a smart way to look at it – turn the potential tension into a teachable moment.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I am still very much in the realm of just shooting and sharing what I’m up to with peers via the usual digital channels. For longer-term projects, grants and residencies become important, and eventually exhibitions – all things that can drum up great PR. I also find a lot of value in being part of the audience, not just needing things from it; stepping outside of my own work, and engaging with the art community when I can. Last year I joined the board of the Portland arts org Photolucida, and have made so many more connections that way, just by showing up and getting exposed to new work and an inspiring community of artists, curators, and editors. Making real human contact – I like that stuff. It goes a long way.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
From my experience as an art producer in the ad industry, I’ve seen that often an artist’s personal work is the work that gets the job. Not always, but often enough to take notice. So I guess the advice I’d give is what I’ve been telling myself, too: Just pursue what you love and be genuinely psyched about it. Sounds trite but I really believe it. Set your own course and boldly stick to it. No apologizing for the weird things you love, this will yield better work in the end. I think art buyers recognize this, and appreciate originality and authenticity far more than knowing that you’re technically able to shoot what you think they want you to shoot.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, always. For example, I’m writing this from Alaska, wrapping up two months of work on a new series.

How often are you shooting new work?
As often as I can. I learn something new every time I head out, so I’m kind of hooked.

Eugénie Frerichs lives and works in Portland, Ore. though travels often in search of stories on farm life and the modern wild.
www.eugeniefrerichs.com
http://nonsurveillee.tumblr.com/
http://instagram.com/elfrerichs
hello@eugeniefrerichs.com

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

Sam Abell Interview

- - Photographers

Jonathan Blaustein: Are you still in love with photography, or has it gotten boring after all these years?

Sam Abell: That’s a good question. I was asked by a student what my most significant accomplishment was at National Geographic, after thirty years, and I said that my career came to an appropriate close, and I still loved photography. Not everybody who spends their career at anything ends up fascinated and involved with it.

I think that it’s workshops, honestly, that have kept me keen about photography, and about my photography. My career as a workshop photographer came while I was at the Geographic in the late 70′s, and has continued consistently since then.

It actually has transcended my career at the Geographic, so that when my career there ended, I had momentum as a teacher, and a belief in photographic education at the workshop level.

JB: Forgive my ignorance, but you speak of your role as a photographer in the past tense. How and when did that come about? Do photographers retire?

SA: (laughing.) Well, I can’t speak for other photographers, but the photographers who went forward strongly when the so-called “official” part of their career ended, to me, were those who had taught. Teaching enriches and enlivens one’s work.

When assignments were over, photography continued. One of the primary reasons it did was that I wanted and needed to have fresh work. Also, it’s very stimulating to be around non-professional photographers. They’re the ones with the purest flame burning about their photography. I appreciate that.

My Dad took a workshop from a photographer who worked at the Toledo Blade, a newspaper I delivered. I knew this photographer’s work. My Dad took a night class from him at the University of Toledo. Without that class, I wouldn’t have become a photographer, because my Dad came home and taught me what he learned in class.

People say to me, “Who’s your favorite kind of photographer?” Or “Who would be your favorite photographer to have in a workshop?”
And I always say, “My Dad.”

My least favorite photographer to have would be myself. Someone who wanted a career at National Geographic. Because it’s almost mathematically impossible to achieve that. It’s more difficult now, to be a Geographic photographer, than it was when I came along. And it wasn’t easy at that time.

JB: That’s the assumption that a lot of people are making these days. I often find myself talking about the literal tens of thousands of photographers who’ve come through art schools and educational programs in the last few decades. To speak nothing of the everyday hobbyists and enthusiasts.

If I was able to travel back in time, and tell you in 1974 that there would be 5 billion camera-phone wielding photographers in a few decades, what would you have said to something like that?

SA: That would astonish me, of course. For example, in my dorm, at the University of Kentucky, I had the only camera. I don’t think anyone came to college with a camera, other than me.

JB: People are constantly trying to parse what it all means. It seems like some people are astonished and excited about the fact that the world has become obsessed with our particular passion. Then you see a camp that’s almost resentful, because citizens are undercutting a lot of people’s jobs. The entire landscape seems as if it’s built upon earthquake territory, at this point.

How do you view this incredible shake-up that we’ve seen in a pretty short span of time?

SA: I’m in the first camp. I’m glad about it. I welcome it. I’m keenly interested and excited for this moment in photography, and am glad to have seen the evolution of it.

It was unexpected, of course, although I was a consultant for Kodak back in the late 80′s. There were engineers there who told me that in the future, most photographs would be taken on telephones. They weren’t able to do anything with that. They were engineers, not management.

But that’s the first time I heard about that astonishing idea. And now I’ve been watching the tsunami of images.

The class that I teach is called “The Life of a Photograph.” It takes up the question, of the billion photographs that were taken today, how many will have a life, and why? So the new reality has made the question more pertinent, not less pertinent.

JB: Anything that has any potential to stand out, one in a billion, needs to have something special about it. That seems like an obvious assumption. As a teacher, how has your approach to people’s expectations shifted?

SA: It’s shifted in a good way, away from what you might call the singular successful image, to the sustained body of work. Yes, there are billions more photographers, and billions more photographs every day, but who’s building up a point of view? Who’s photographing with intention, and whose body of work will sustain itself and survive?

This might seem off the track, but an interesting thing to me that others could talk about better than I, but one of the growth areas in photographic education has been the so-called slow photography. The tin types, daguerrotypes, collodion process…old processes, in short. Old, time-consuming, craftsman processes in photography.

The thing with my workshops is, photography is a thoughtful process. In an atmosphere of fast photography, and generally thoughtless, quick, automatic photography, I think that there is an interest in the slowed down, thoughtful approach. Even though I teach with 35mm, my method takes people by surprise, because it isn’t fast, and it isn’t about hardware or software, or even great results. It’s about great process.

JB: You’ve been teaching at the Santa Fe workshops, the sponsor of this interview, for a really long time now. How did you originally get involved with Reid and the crew?

SA: I met Reid at the Maine Photo Workshop, where he was #2. I saw him in action there, and when he went out to Santa Fe, I wanted to help him succeed. So my connection to Santa Fe is very closely, and continuously a connection with Reid. I believe in him and his philosophy of photographic education.

I teach at a couple of other workshops too, but I’m most loyal to Reid, and he’s been very loyal to his teachers, and to me personally.

JB: Do people come to study with you with the secret hope that you’ll help them launch the one in a million shot at National Geographic? Or do you mostly get students who appreciate your vision, and your understanding of color and light?

SA: Increasingly, it’s people not interested in National Geographic. In the last workshop I taught, a woman flew in from Thailand. She’s a medical doctor in Bangkok. I asked her in her one-on-one session where she wanted photography to be in her life.

Did she want a second career? Was it about earning money? Or was it art? And she said “None of those. I want photography to be serious in my life.” It would be like someone wanting music, like piano playing, to be a richer, deeper, and maybe even harder experience.

That’s who comes to my workshops. I jokingly tell my students that the class could be called “Your photographs: Better.”

JB: Well I’m sitting here, and it’s probably morbid, twisted professional curiosity as much as anything else, but I’m looking at “Stay This Moment,” one of your monographs, that I got at the Taos Public Library.

I’ve got the book open to a photograph of some cowboys castrating cows. This one guy actually has a surgical blade, covered with blood, jutting out of his teeth, while he’s getting ready to do some business.

SA: Right.

JB: It says something about me that I’d choose to leave that page open…

SA: (laughing)

JB: …but it seems as if you’ve seen quite a few crazy things in your days of traveling around the world taking pictures. Is that a safe assumption?

SA: That’s safe. But the picture that you chose is a singular picture for me. Probably the most singular. It’s on the spine of an upcoming publication of mine, in four sections. In other words, there’s four boxes, and each box has a section of that picture.

JB: And that’s a Radius publication?

SA: Yeah, that’s right. Though Geographic didn’t publish that photo in the story that it was done for, “The Life of Charlie Russell,” a cowboy artist in Montana. But later, maybe a year and a half ago, they named it one of the 50 greatest pictures ever made at National Geographic.

The picture has had a life, and after Geographic didn’t publish it, I got busy and published it in the book that you have, and wherever I could publish it. It’s a photograph that has gone on to have a life.

It’s also a good example of how I teach the composition of photographs: from the back to the front. Even though the picture is dominated by the cowboy in the foreground with the surgical knife in his mouth, the composition begins with the landscape, which was the first thing I saw.

Then it jumps forward to the cowboy, and everything in between is what I’m looking at. The last thing I’m looking at is the red bucket, as it exits the frame.

But the picture wouldn’t exist if the cowboy on his horse in the distance weren’t above the horizon. If the horizon were going through the head of that horse, I wouldn’t exhibit or publish that picture.

There are things that I teach, about building photographs, and that’s why people come to my workshops. Word has gotten out: Sam Abell has a way to take pictures. When people come to the workshops, they’re consumed with seeking the subject, and I teach seeking the setting.

JB: It’s kind of you to share that with the audience. I’m looking at these cowboy pictures, and they’re so iconic, I can’t help but segue to the fact that you were, at one point, the photographer entrusted with creating the massively important 20th Century archetype of the Marlboro Man.

As a National Geographic photographer, and an editorial guy, how did you come to work on that campaign?

SA: Well, I did it once, and they recruited me. I did it primarily out of curiosity. A lot of legendary photographers had worked on that campaign. Ernst Haas had done the early photography, and I knew him. There’s a lore in photography about that campaign, and I was curious.

So I did it once, and they asked me to do it again, and I declined, because my curiosity had been satisfied. It was enjoyable, interesting, and an insight into Americana on several levels that I couldn’t get any other place. Insights into advertising, and big production photography, which is the opposite of what I usually do, operating as a single person.

It was interesting to see the spectacle of a shoot like this, but it only occupied three or four days out of my life.

JB: Wow. Where were you guys shooting?

SA: New Mexico. Over where the Philmont Scout Ranch is located. The other side of the mountain from you.

JB: Up by Cimarron?

SA: Exactly.

JB: Who knew? I don’t like to be predictable, but given that our audience has risen up in anger many times about what Richard Prince did to you, or to your picture, I’d be a fool if I didn’t at least bring it up.

We all know the circumstances through which appropriation got hot in the Art World, and came to represent Post-Modernism. I would guess almost all of our audience will sympathize with you, as opposed to Mr. Prince. But would you mind if we briefly discussed your reaction to the way your Marlboro Man photo was appropriated?

SA: Let’s put this way: Richard Prince’s most famous photograph was made by me.

JB: Right. What does it feel like to be in that position?

SA: I will just say, appropriation is an intellectual idea until it happens to you. It’s a philosophy, and it’s got its own intellectual framework. Then there’s what happens when it’s your photograph. Then it’s personal, and that’s all I’ll say.

The reason I don’t want to say anything about it is it has a strange power to take over the conversation. Just like it’s doing with us. I was asked to participate in a documentary about Richard Prince, and be the voice of someone who was appropriated, and I declined. The reason I did is I don’t want it to be the subject of the discussion of my work.

It has that power.

JB: I appreciate that, and I will honor you and move off topic as we speak. I brought up the cowboy images, because they’re so powerful in this particular book. Clearly, through your work, you’ve been able to travel quite a bit. Now, I’m looking at a picture of Lake Como, and there are also pictures here from Japan.

Is there anywhere in the world that you always wanted to go, and haven’t yet had the chance? Or have you scratched all of your curiosity itches?

SA: I would like to go to Antarctica. That’s about all. I’m very involved in photographing America now, so I don’t think of faraway places, as I did when I was young. As I said in the Radius book, I now want to be a photographer of my time, and our common culture.

It’s what I’m photographing, and I’m very involved with that.

JB: Where have you been photographing lately?

SA: Wherever I am. I’m never not on assignment. What I’m interested in is modern American history. I’m taken with the changes that have occurred in America in my lifetime.

I’m interested in smokers standing on ledges, and big box stores, the rise of the suburbs, and the hollowing out of small towns. Self-storage. Things that didn’t exist 50 years ago. Our common culture. What we have agreed is OK to live with.

In my first class at the University of Kentucky, my American Literature professor came in, and the first sentence out of his mouth was “The central theme of American Literature is an attempt to reconcile what we’ve done to the New World.”

I wrote that down in my notebook, and thought, “What is he talking about?” But that’s what I think about now. The New World and what we’ve done to it.

I did a story for the Geographic on Lewis and Clark, and Stephen Ambrose was the writer. He said, “I’ve got the easiest job in the world. I just have to re-tell the story of the greatest fishing, camping, hunting, canoeing trip of all time. You, Sam, have the hardest job, which is, pretend like nothing has happened in the last 200 years.

That statement woke me up to the fact that the landscape that Lewis and Clark came across was greater than the Serengeti. And it’s gone. It’s been replaced by agribusiness and hydroelectric projects, and cities and towns, and networks of transportation. If that happened to Africa, there would be a world-wide outcry.

But it happened here.

 

The Weekly Edit
Amy Feitelberg : Los Angeles Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

 

Los Angeles Magazine

Design Director: Steven E. Banks
Photo Director: Amy Feitelberg
Senior Art Director: Carly Herbert

Photographer: Henry Leutwyler

Heidi: How difficult was it to produce this shoot? Sounds like the writer Chris Nichols had been working on the production of this for sometime.
Amy: It was really difficult to produce this shoot for a number of reasons.  Yes editor Chris Nichols had been working on it but we thought we were going to have way more time before we were going to shoot it. Chris was slowly gathering a list but as I started communicating with the team over at the museum, I was quickly realizing they were installing everything we wanted to shoot at that very moment and we weren’t going to have access to it once it was installed.

What was it about Henry’s work that made you choose him for this assignment?
Why didn’t you consider a LA born and bred based photographer since this was a tribute to LA?
I had been in early talks with Henry about the idea of shooting this. He is definitely an NYC shooter but I thought he would want to do the project b/c it was so up his alley. At first we were going to tackle a different subject for Best of LA that would have been a sort of behind the scenes/reportagey kind of thing that I wanted him for after I spent time with his Ballet book. But when we switched to objects, I thought, well he’s still the perfect person for the job b/c he does both so beautifully. If you’ve seen his Michael Jackson stuff – it’s beautiful!

So we had had a casual conversation about this shoot that I thought we weren’t going to do until the end of May. He was coming to town for Paris photo and we were going to have dinner and discuss it. When I realized our window was closing for access I called Henry in a panic and said ‘CAN YOU STAY IN TOWN FOR THE WEEK AFTER PARIS PHOTO TO SHOOT THIS PLEEEAASSEEE!’ To add to the craziness, we were closing current issue at the time and I was committed to go to Palm Springs photo later that week and this was the last thing I planned on doing. Luckily his schedule totally worked out for it. I brought out his assistant and we headed to the basement of the museum Monday morning. Then we had a challenging task of picking objects that hadn’t yet been installed, objects that were beautiful and interesting, and ones that hit on all the major influences into the building of Los Angeles. It was really tough to get the right mix.

Where they shot on site at the Natural History Museum? Where there any special handling techniques required to shoot these pieces?
They were all shot on site at the museum and none of us were allowed to touch ANY of the objects. Beth Werling who is a historian there had to handle everything so Henry would say ‘a little to the right. now left. now up. now down.’ that kind of thing for 4 straight days.

Were you on set for this?
I was on set for the shoot. I had to run around that place like a nut for a lot of days but it was really fun. Henry and his assistant Billy Jim were great to work with. Henry shot way more than we even had room for.

Which piece as the hardest to shoot?
For the opening shot which is the map of LA, that was really hard. It’s like 20 feet long and it had already been installed. To get up high enough to shoot it from about wasn’t possible and we couldn’t turn off the lights in the ceiling to get rid of the glare. We couldn’t pull it all the way out because even though it was on rollers, it would hit the other installations. Henry had to get down in it to make it work. I was surprised how beautifully it came out considering how restrictive it was.

 

This Week In Photography Books – Sebastião Salgado

by Jonathan Blaustein

Do they still eat people in Papua New Guinea? Apparently so, I read. But I’m not about to hike up into some jungly mountains to find out for certain. N.F.W.

Whether they still practice cannibalism there or not, we can all agree that people have come up with some seriously weird shit along our evolutionary history. You’re obviously reading this on some sort of digital device, so you’ve progressed beyond subsistence living.

You likely own an Apple product. If not, certainly Samsung. Worst case, you’ve got an LG something-or-other, as those Koreans are making good products these days.

Whatever you think of our 21st Century, First World lifestyles, we’ve come a long way from hunting animals with spears and eating alligator meat. Right? People don’t live like that these days?

But of course they do. (I tricked you with my rhetorical genius.)

Those folks are out there. We just don’t interact with them, unless we’re on some sort of safari/favela tour. (Hey Marge, get a look at the saggy boobs on that old Abo.) Naked savages exist in fantasy worlds. They don’t feel the crunch of cracked dirt beneath their callused feet. Do they?

If you doubt me, check out Sebastião Salgado’s new coffee-table book “Genesis.” Is this the first time I’ve reviewed a coffee-table book? For sure. Is it the type of work I normally proffer on a lazy Friday? Not really.

But I always, always preach that we need to get out of our comfort zones, and experience new things. That applies to me as well. No edgy-little-art-book-number today. No sir. This here is a genu-ine Taschen publication, meant for the masses.

What can I tell you about it? Are there a lot of boobs, presented in a manner that will make you feel a smidge awkward? Yes. There are. But I’m not showing them, as I used up my August boob quota last week. (Right, Rob?)

Set that aside, and it is a fascinating collection of images, by any measure. The artist has labored and trekked across this planet, many times, just to create this group of images. We see jungles and deserts and snowpack, oh my. There are indigenous groups who live in every extreme climate you can imagine.

It’s a powerful reminder there are people who exist as if it were 10,000 years ago. Poison darts. Drinking cow blood. That kind of thing. Mr. Salgado has photographed them for us, and if you don’t find this interesting, there is something very wrong with you.

The animals are here too: penguins, hippos, giraffes, crocodiles, monkeys, jaguars, you name it. Some of them are dead, festooning the backs and outfits of the natives who ate them. That might not even be the strangest body modification in the book. I’d go with the gourds or bones stuck through the chins of the Amazonian folks within.

Whether or not you appreciate the slightly ironic tone with which I am discussing this book, I must stress that the project is a massively impressive undertaking. This book is clearly meant for all of us. Mr. Salgado wants everyone to remember the world is infinitely less virtual than we realize, and I commend him for the effort.

Bottom Line: Massive coffee-table book with broad global vision

To Purchase “Genesis” Visit Photo-Eye

Full Disclosure: 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: Jeremy and Claire Weiss of Day 19

- - Working

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

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

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

We take a lot of pictures of our kid.

Shot for that same Pepsi campaign last year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aska from our ongoing 4x5 Polaroid Project.

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

Jeremy in Turks & Caicos last month.

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

Booyah!

How many years have you been in business?

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

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

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ve never done a “test shoot”.

How often are you shooting new work?

Never not shooting.

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

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

Michael Crouser Interview

- - Photographers

Jonathan Blaustein: Right now, you’re in the Seattle airport, having just come from Alaska. Is that right?

Michael Crouser: That is correct.

JB: What were you doing up there?

MC: I was working on a job for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, shooting portraits of Alaska fisherman. Both subsistence and commercial fisherman, all along the Southeast and Southwest of Alaska.

JB: Wow. Had you been there before?

MC: Yeah, I’ve been to Alaska quite a few times, working for different clients. I also have worked on a personal project there.

JB: How big of an area were you ranging?

MC: I started in Juneau, which is in the extreme Southeast, and I ended up near Bethel, which is in the Southwest of the main body of the State.

JB: Can you translate that into the lower 48?

MC: Miles?

JB: Yeah. How far were you rolling?

MC: Boy, that is a good question. I just don’t have any idea. I’ve never sat down and calculated how far it is from Juneau to Bethel. But while I was near Bethel, I was going up and down the Kuskokwim River, photographing the fishermen in the different villages.

JB: Well, you and I have had a bit of a difficult time hooking up to do this interview. It occurred to me only last night that your lack of Internet might have something to do with you traipsing around the bush and the backcountry.

MC: It has everything to do with that. Occasionally, I could go to a tribal council office, where they would have Internet service, but it wasn’t available in most of the places where I was.

JB: You were in a pretty remote locale.

MC: Absolutely. But I like that. I’m very interested in these kinds of experiences and circumstances. It’s nice to see how other people live in the world.

JB: Did you get to eat some really killer fresh fish? What was the cuisine like?

MC: The most interesting thing I ate was walrus. They also have a dish that is made with seal blubber or shortening with sugar and berries. They call that Eskimo ice cream, so I had some of that as well. And I tried some moose meat. When you are in the villages, they really do live a traditional, subsistence life.

JB: Where will these photographs end up? Were you shooting digitally or film?

MC: For this type of job I always shoot digitally. I never shoot digital for my personal work, but commercial clients really don’t want to deal with film and prints anymore, for the most part. This client will use the pictures for a number of different things, as they’re trying to build a library of portraits of Alaska fishermen. They’re trying to promote the human aspect of this industry.

JB: You were shooting some pretty burly dudes, for sure. And you’ve photographed biker dudes as well, no?

MC: Yes, I’ve photographed members of a certain motorcycle club that operates out of Brooklyn. I’ve gotten to know some of these guys, and hung out with them, and done some portraits of those guys.

JB: And even though you’re a nice, soft-spoken guy from Minnesota, when you were shooting those big fishermen, do you ever slide into character and start dropping F-bombs?

MC: I do find myself shooting in a lot of different kinds of cultures and sub-cultures, and I never really try to pretend that I’m something that I’m not. Whether it’s ranchers in Colorado, or bikers or fishermen, I can pretty easily join in. I don’t pretend I’m one of them, but they don’t seem to mind having me around, just being myself.

JB: How do you split your time between commercial and personal work?

MC: It’s a tough question, because it changes with the different phases your life goes through. Sometimes, you don’t even know you’re in the phase. It used to almost all commercial, and a bit of what I would have called personal work.

I didn’t have an outlet for it as fine art, so I never thought of it as such. Now, I’m more involved in book publishing, gallery exhibitions, and selling my work. So personal work becomes fine art, with that label.

I spent a lot more time on that, these days, than I do on commercial work, but that’s not by any personal rule. I’m always open to whatever happens.

JB: Well, the impetus for this interview was that you and I met last year, when you had a show at Verve Gallery in Santa Fe.

MC: Right.

JB: I was really taken with the project, “Sin Tiempo.” I saw some really exquisite black and white photographs, that I recall being gelatin silver prints. I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

MC: They are.

JB: And they were photographs taken in Europe that had the feel and emotional tenor of fifty, sixty, seventy year old pictures. You look at them sideways, and you can easily imagine some of the pictures being made by Cartier-Bresson, or Willy Ronis, or somebody of that age. Then, I looked at the title card, and they were dated as being 2011, 2010, 2012.

MC: Right.

JB: I was taken aback by your ability to channel a sense of time dislocation. The experience of the art was very different from the literal time in which it was made. And when I mentioned that, you told me that was very much your intention.

MC: It is very much the goal. I don’t claim that I’m trying to make old-looking photographs, but I am attracted to scenes that don’t give away a sense of popular culture today. I’m not very interested in reflecting or commenting upon our popular culture, and a huge percentage of photographers today are interested in that.

It just doesn’t appeal to me aesthetically. A lot of times, photographers are trying to make a critical commentary, or some kind of an ironic statement about the world in which we live, and I find myself looking for something that’s more aesthetically pleasing to me. A timeless aesthetic.

I call the project “Sin Tiempo,” which is “Without Time” in Spanish, because I prefer that to timeless, which is an overused and generic term. I’m trying to make pictures that are without time. I’m not conscious of trying to make pictures that look like they’re from the 40′s or 50′s, but I am conscious of eliminating elements that label it as now, or five years ago. Any specific time.

So there’s no particular hair styles or graphics that are shown. No cars. No fashion that would be able to be labeled as any particular time. And what you get are photographs that do look like images of another time. Fashion changes by the minute, as does typography.

JB: I’m about to throw a word at you, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to embrace it, or reject it strongly.

MC: (laughing.) All right.

JB: And I bet you could even predict it, if you tried really hard.

MC: (pause.) You already used Cartier-Bresson, and timeless, so…I’m not sure.

JB: Romantic.

MC: I think it’s great. I’m interested in an aesthetically pleasing, Romantic, perhaps even dream-like settings. I really am drawn to that. The compositions are rather formal, but the feeling is whimsical. Even the photographs that have some tension to them, there’s always still a Romantic feel. Or a calm feel.

Romance is a good word.

JB: I didn’t know which way you’d go on that. You’ve photographed bull fighters, and working cattle ranches in Colorado. You were talking about timeless, and of course that’s impossible, given that photography requires time, which our readers will know.

But it seems like there is an absolute sense of of longing for a simpler time. What is the attraction for you? What is the commonality of the things you’re choosing to focus on?

MC: Tell me if I go off-the-rails here, but there’s an aesthetic commonality in the photographs. I would hope, anyway. I can’t speak for the viewers, but for me, I am attracted to ways of life that are simpler. But also a little more dangerous. A little rougher. A little of the Earth. More to do with life and death. And the involvement of animals, and physical labor.

I find those things attractive/romantic, both sociologically and photographically. I always suggest to students that if they go after a long-term project, they go after something that interests them outside of the photographic interest. That they find something that they are attracted to, because then they’ll stay with it and explore it more deeply.

With regard to bullfighters and cowboys, we really are looking at at way of life that extends backward to before there were even cameras. This way of life existed before there was anybody to take pictures of it. And there are elements if it that have remained unchanged.

The series I call “Mountain Ranch,” which is about ranchers in the mountains of Colorado, concentrates on the traditional elements of traditional lives. It’s not the story of the modern cowboy. I’m not trying to hold up some juxtaposition between four-wheelers and horses, or baseball hats and cowboy hats.

It’s just that these things are fascinating to me, and they’re going away, as is their lifestyle. Part of it is, I just want to look at it. I love being around it. It looks to me like something that I, Michael Crouser, should be making photographs of because it appeals to me so strongly.

I don’t really know what to say when people say “It’s great that you’re documenting this for posterity.” I agree, but it’s not necessarily the full motivation. It’s interesting to me to be documenting for that purpose, but I think the motivation is mostly an aesthetic one.

These things grow. It starts off as something you might like to go take a picture of, but then you meet people, and start becoming interested in their lives, and families, and the way they work. And the fact that their grandparents lived on that land as well.

I’m not photographing everything about their lives. I’m photographing the traditional elements of their lives.

JB: You mentioned your students at the beginning of that answer, so that seems like a great place to segue a bit. The Santa Fe Workshops is sponsoring this interview, because you’re going to be teaching a worksop with them called “Finding Your Voice as a Photographer.”

MC: Right.

JB: We just heard, at length, about how you have learned to trust your own instincts. And that’s lead to your voice, aesthetically speaking. But all workshops need titles, so why did you choose that one? What do students come to you to learn?

MC: Before I started teaching, I was doing some self-exploration, as a photographer. Just wondering to myself what it is that makes my pictures personal. Why are they mine, as opposed to someone else’s? I became fascinated by this idea that by a series of decisions, or factors, or elements in a photograph, you start to hone your aesthetic voice.

The choices that you make with regard to light, medium, equipment, composition, perspective, subject matter, etc. As you work through those things, and experiment, your photographs become something more personal. More unique to you than they would be without the consideration of those things.

A lot of students that I have in my workshops are really interested in taking another step in their photography. That’s kind of a general way that people express the fact that they want to grow and learn and expand.

It’s often difficult for people to know where to go. How do you open up the door if you don’t know where the door is? So this class looks at a number of doors that are there for the opening. When you start to explore these things, and consider the work of established photographers, and how they use these elements, they get exposure to choices that they can make.

A lot of photographers who take these classes have never thought of these things before. Maybe they like to take pictures of their kids, or horse races, or maybe they’ve never thought about the qualities of light that appeal to them the most. Once you start experimenting with your own preferences, I feel like your own voice gets sharper. More articulate.

JB: How about group dynamics in workshops? What are some of your tricks for getting people to engage with each other?

MC: I’ve found I like teaching more in a group setting, than working with individuals, because there’s more discussion. It becomes more apparent to the students that there are differences of opinion, and different aesthetic tastes. It happens all the time where one student will be very attracted to garish color, and the student sitting next to them will say “That’s ridiculous.”

There are two vastly different opinions about the same photograph. I think that is interesting for a number of reasons. It shows them that taste is personal, that there is no right or wrong. That’s an important piece of this class, because I don’t teach people that there’s a correct way to take photographs.

I teach people to explore what is they like about photographs, and what they like about taking pictures, and to run with it. Explore it.

JB: Do you find people are attracted to your way of making work? Is there a Romantic vibe in the air, when your students come together? Or are they more attracted to the fact that you’re confident in your personal vision, and they want you to bring that out in them?

MC: I think that some people end up taking a class because they like the instructor’s work, but I wouldn’t say that’s universal.
There are a few classes in which I ask people, just as an exercise, to emulate one of the photographer’s whose work we’ve seen. And there are a lot of things we do as exercises that don’t necessarily correspond to the work they’re going to do for the rest of their life.

But some people do choose to emulate my photographs, which is incredibly flattering, because it never occurs to me that people are there because of my aesthetic. But I am also aware of the fact that there are a lot of reasons to choose a certain workshop instead of another one.

JB: You mentioned that you show other photographer’s work in you workshop. Who are some of the artists whose work you like to use as examples?

MC: I like to show extremes. I try not to just be limited to the people that influence or inspire me. There are people that I find to be controversial, whose work I show.

Are you looking for names?

JB: Of course. We’re always looking for names. People love names.

MC: There is a lot of the aesthetic that appeals to me, like Edward Curtis, and of course Cartier-Bresson, and Willy Ronis, and Robert Doisneau, and Lartigue. I call it the French Mt. Rushmore. Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Lartigue and Brassai. It’s an era that speaks to me so strongly.

But I also like people to see David LaChapelle, and Annie Leibovitz, and Albert Watson and Herb Ritts. (pause.) I’m trying to think of more contemporary photographers…Susan Burnstine…

JB: I demanded names, and you gave us some. Now we know you’re also intrigued by editorial masters, as it were. I just wanted to give people a sense of what inspires you.

MC: I might add that I’m inspired by people who are inspired. I’m inspired by certain photographers, but I’m also inspired by teaching; by people learning and growing. It really gets me going.

JB: Do you enjoy getting to come down to New Mexico? It sounds like you get to travel quite a bit. Do you think that Santa Fe offers anything special, compared to other locations?

MC: It’s a great atmosphere in which to learn. The people are so nice in Santa Fe, and at the Workshops. They’re so helpful and positive. They make available a lot of locations that the students can utilize, apart from classroom learning. There’s a lot at hand, as far as landscape and setting.

When you go to Santa Fe, you know you’re not in California, or Minnesota, or New York. People get a uniquely Santa Fe experience when they’re there, from the light to the farmers market. It’s a great place to be. Very comfortable and positive from start to finish.

JB: As far as travel goes, we started this conversation mentioning that you were on a long layover in Seattle on your way to China.

MC: I’m going to Beijing. It will be my first time to Asia. I’m going to speak to the organizers of an upcoming exhibition, to help them plan it from the photographer’s perspective. I do a lot of work for and with Kodak, and they’ve been so very supportive of my projects with Tri-X film and darkroom chemicals. They’re sponsoring it.

JB: If when you’re walking along the road, you see knock-offs of your own photographs, what are you going to do?

MC: It’s interesting that you mention that. I recently found some different examples of knock-offs of my pictures online. People selling paintings of my work, and things like that.

JB: I have an idea. You could just bring in the biker dudes.

MC: Right. I could mix projects for protection.

JB: You gotta call in backup.

MC: (laughing) I like it. They’d probably love it. Riding their Harleys around Beijing.

Richard Reinsdorf v. Skechers Update

- - copyright

Looks like I missed an update to the Richard Reinsdorf’s $250 million dollar lawsuit against Skechers from February of this year (thx for the tip Josh). To recap from my previous post “Skechers Sketchy Defense For Ignoring License Terms“:

The suit started when Reinsdorf discovered that images he took for Skechers from 2006-2009 and licensed to them for very specific terms–six months use in North America for point of sale, magazines and certain outdoor advertisements–were being used for several years and included in ads overseas and on packaging and other unauthorized media. The suit states that Skechers “completely and utterly ignored the terms of the license.” (source)

First reported by TMZ back in September of 2009 it took an unusual turn in 2010 when Skechers filed a motion to dismiss claiming ownership of copyright because of “alterations they performed on the images from slight modifications in models’ skin tone to the substitution of models’ body parts and the addition of substantial graphic effects.” They asked the judge to dismiss because they couldn’t possibly have infringed on their own copyright.

If you want to read the motion to dismiss you can download it (here). It certainly would set a disturbing precedent in the photography world if something like this were to be allowed. In the discussion the judge states that “Skechers is correct that a co-author in a joint work cannot be liable to another co-owner for infringement of the copyright” but that’s not what’s at issue here because “Contrary to Skechers’ assertions, the evidence in the record does not indisputably establish that Reinsdorf intended that his photographsbe incorporated into a joint work.” He simply gave them a limited license to their use. The motion to dismiss was denied.

A ruling on Skechers Motion for Summary Judgment dated February 6, 2013 (download it here) states:

Skechers has not demonstrated that the parties intended to be co-authors of the finished marketing images, which are, therefore, not joint works. Nor has Skechers demonstrated, as a matter of law, the lack of a copyright license agreement or breach of such argument. Accordingly, Skechers’ Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED in these respects.

The expert opinions of Frank Luntz and Jamie Turner do not satisfy the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 702. Accordingly, Skechers’ Motions in Limine to exclude those opinions are GRANTED. Skechers’ objection to the Supplemental Report of David Connelly is SUSTAINED.

Given Plaintiff’s failure to adequately demonstrate a causal link between Skechers’ profits and its allegedly infringing conduct, Skechers’ motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s indirect profits claim is GRANTED. Skechers’ unopposed motion for summary judgment with respect to statutory damages and attorney’s fees is also GRANTED.

I found what District Judge Dean D. Pregerson has to say about joint authorship in this case interesting. While both parties intended that their separate contributions be merged into a unified whole this is different than an intent to be co-authors. The parties behaved in ways uncharacteristic of joint authors:

  • Reinsdorf charged for his time and effort plus usage of the photographs.
  • He attempted to limit Skechers’ use of its ads.
  • Skechers sought to prevent Reinsdorf from making use of the finished images on his personal website

Finally, you can see that Richard was unable to demonstrate a relationship between the images he took and the profits Skechers received from shoe sales. And… the kicker… “he failed to register his photographic works within the period contemplated by the Copyright Act”, so he’s NOT eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees.

Reader Question: Licensing Images Shot On Private Property

- - copyright

A reader asks:

Hi Rob,

I’m an architectural/interior design shooter for the last 15 years and I’m still working in 4×5 film.

I’ve been approached by a stock company and they would like access to my catalogue of mid to high end residential exteriors and interiors. I’m usually hired by the architects or the designers, seldom the owners and the work has been for the clients “personal portfolio and marketing purposes”

I know I have the “copyright” because I was paid to photograph the residences with owners permission.

But, if one of the living room shots is licensed from the stock company and the property owner happened to come across “his” living room in a mag somewhere, can he drag me to the carpet and create a litigious tussle or a simple cease and desist.

I’d like to finally get a wee bit of money for potential stock usage.

I asked The Photo Attorney, Carolyn E. Wright if she could give us general advice on licensing images shot on private property for stock. Here’s her answer:

 

NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only. If you have legal concerns or need legal advice, be sure to consult with an attorney.

When considering whether you need permission of the owner to use photographs of the owner’s property (often referred to as a “property release”), you need to analyze what claims the owner can make against you.

Assuming that the property is in the United States, any potential claims will based on state laws, not federal rights. So the claims may vary, depending on the laws of the state where the property is located. However, each state’s laws are similar.

While some buildings are protected by copyright, the US Copyright Act provides an exception for photography of architectural works:

The copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not include the right to prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work, if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place. See 17 USC 120. Therefore, you are allowed take and use exterior photos of a building or home when it is located in and is ordinarily visible from a public place. A home owner would not have grounds to keep you from photographing and using the photos for any purposes, including commercially. Such was the case when a California homeowner complained about photos of his home used to advertise mortgages: http://www.photoattorney.com/is-a-property-release-required-for-use-of-photo-of-house-for-an-advertisement/

When taking photos inside property, you are subject to trespassing laws. Specifically, your presence on another’s property is pursuant to a “license” to be on the premises. For example, when you invite someone to your home for dinner, that invitation does not extend to a “license” to drive your car or stay overnight, but would be specific or implied consent to sit in your living room and at the dining room table. At any point, however, you may revoke the license and ask your guest to leave your premises.

The ultimate question is whether the owner or manager of the property has given specific or implied consent for the photographer to take photographs there. You cannot misrepresent your purpose to enter a property and then take photos. For example, in the court case of Food Lion, Inc. v. Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., 194 F.3d 505 (4th Cir. 1999), ABC news reporters from the show, “PrimeTime Live” obtained jobs at several stores under fraudulent pretenses and then proceeded to surreptitiously film Food Lion’s unsavory food handling practices. After the program aired, Food Lion successfully sued the producers on the charge of trespass. However, if you are on the property and the owner sees but doesn’t stop you from taking photos, you have implied consent to do so.

If you have consent to take photos of property, then the issue is whether the owner has a right to restrict the use of them. An owner would be able to stop the use of the photos if the photographer and owner had an agreement that the photos wouldn’t be used in certain ways. If the photographer uses the photographs otherwise, then the owner would have a breach of contract claim.

Absent a trespass claim or contract regarding the use of the photos, no court has recognized a claim for using photographs of private property. Some have argued that a homeowner would have a claim for conversion, trademark infringement, or violating the right of privacy. But, for example, a South Carolina court found that The College of Charleston Foundation had no claim against Benjamin Ham for invasion of privacy or conversion for his taking and selling photographs of the College’s property, known as the “Dixie Plantation.” Significantly, the court noted that if Ham had taken the “Plantation Road” photograph from off the property with some sort of high-magnification equipment, the Foundation would have no cause of action for trespass, either. http://www.photoattorney.com/update-on-the-lawsuit-against-benjamin-ham-for-photographing-private-property/. Neither did photographer Charles Gentile violate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s trademark for selling posters of the museum. http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8775495145817703769&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr. Likewise, a German court recently upheld the right for a photographer to license photos taken of property at a park: http://www.photoattorney.com/german-court-finds-no-violation-for-photographing-and-licensing-photos-of-property/. A subsequent owner of property would not be able to prevent a photographer from licensing photos that a photographer had taken, as no other claim would bar their use.

In sum, while some owners may whine about seeing photos of their property used commercially, the law won’t support their complaints.

Copyright Carolyn E. Wright, Esq.

This Week In Photography Books – Jane Hilton

by Jonathan Blaustein

Boobs sell books℠. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again. (Because it’s true.) But they also sell cars, coffee, cake, coffeecake, kielbasas, and anything else you can think of.

Wow. Sex sells. How original. Tell us something we don’t know.

OK.

Most people are out in the world, looking for companionship. We pair off, two at a time up the gang-plank, because it’s in our embedded code to reproduce ourselves. Right? Sex is nothing more than a pleasurable way to create the next generation, according to some.

But that doesn’t explain why single people get cats, dogs and birds. Don’t we all know someone who treats an animal like a person? Or at least creates a lasting, meaningful relationship with a pet? Of course we do, and it has nothing to do with sex. (We assume…)

No, people are social creatures. Like horses, we need the company of others. We need to tell someone what happened during our day, even if we know it was boring, because we just lived it. (For example, this evening, I will tell my lovely wife that I stared at a dirty computer screen for hours on end.)

The need to share our lives with others drives our actions far more than we think. For every dollar you’ve ever spent in an overpriced bar, throwing back watered-down drinks, I’m here to tell you that it wasn’t just about the potential booty call. We need each other.

Which is why I was so intrigued by “Precious,” a new book by Jane Hilton, offered by Schilt Publishing in Amsterdam. (Where the lights are always red, and the coffee shops sell lots of green.) For all the times I’ve mocked artists for including a few naked photos to boost sales, you might be surprised that I’m writing about this today.

But books are meant to be opened, and ideas are meant to be spread. (The good ones, anyway. I wish someone would put that stupid Justin Bieber haircut out of its misery.) Yes, this book features a bevy of naked women, but it’s not what you think.

Ms. Hilton has spent fifteen years among the brothels of Nevada, where prostitution is legal. She knows the culture, and the women who populate it. She seems to understand the vagaries of human nature that would lead someone to work there, and others to pay a lot of money to touch their bodies. This book gives us a glimpse inside, and it costs a lot less than a “party,” that’s for sure.

A statement, early on, suggests that the subjects were photographed naked, as their clothing made them look like stereotypical hookers. That was not the point of the photographic exercise, so off came the clothes. The emotional walls came down, too, in some images. Other pictures depict guarded women, who perhaps trust the photographer more than the process.

There are a wide range of body types and ages on display. For the most part, these are actual women; not people who’ve been scarred up by cheap plastic surgeons who’d use scotch tape to seal up the implants, if only they could. Some of the women are nearing sixty, and it’s a strange sight to behold. (A compliment for a photo book, no?)

The real treat here, beyond getting to look at boobs without feeling guilty, is that the artist includes testimonies from the women at the back of the book. Their voices come through, and make it impossible to just huck metaphorical tomatoes at their faces. Many are married. Many are proud. One girl, 18 and pregnant, has to do the work because she can find nothing else. She said it hurts to get f-cked while she’s knocked up, and that is hard to read.

We learn that black prostitutes make less than white ones, which is incredibly wrong, but not totally surprising, given what we know of racism. One woman is writing a book about sexual sub-cultures, and decided to do her research the old-fashioned way. (We’re reminded, several times, that it is the world’s oldest profession.) Apparently, the brothels are safe and clean, but take a massive 50% cut. (Just like art galleries.)

Above all, a one message was consistent: clients come for the companionship, far more than the sex. They build relationships, and the money-exchange keeps everything honest. So next time you giggle when you drive by the Chicken Ranch, if you happen to be in Nevada, just remember: people will pay a lot of money to have someone listen to their problems.

Bottom Line: Up close and personal with some Nevada prostitutes

To Purchase “Precious” Visit Photo-Eye

Full Disclosure: 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:

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

Anonymous Art producer: I nominate I nominate Carissa and Andrew Gallo. I have really enjoyed working with Carissa and Andrew, they are an amazing husband and wife team based in Portland, OR. I discovered their work through Kinfolk Magazine.

Branding Campaign for Fred Water, shot in LA

Branding Campaign for Fred Water, shot in LA

Branding Campaign for Fred Water, shot in LA

Documentary Work - Uganda

Ode to Summer, for Kinfolk Magazine

Travels in Iceland, 2012

Travels in Iceland, 2012

Travels in Iceland, 2012

Original Series for Kinfolk Magazine

Lost Lake - Portland, OR

Lost Lake - Portland, OR

 

How many years have you been in business?

Andrew and I started working together over 4 years ago. Our business has morphed and taken on new shapes, as things tend to with time… Its latest shape is called Sea Chant- and it combines our practice of photography and video to tell and create stories.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Self-taught, with the investment and guidance of many different minds, along the way.

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

My grandfather, primarily. He walked through life with a camera at his side, documenting all things that fell before him. From my dad’s first birthday, to time in Japan during WWII. It wasn’t his business, it was his passion, which he passed on to me- as he gave me all his old film cameras and shared with me these intimate glimpses into his life.

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?

We just try to keep ourselves occupied by the things that naturally inspire us- travel, nature, music, books, stories… The Internet is a great place to be inspired, but we feel the most filled up, creatively, as we see things face to face.

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

Sometimes- but we’ve been blessed enough to work with a lot of great clients who value our work and creativity and push us to pursue it.

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

Just creating things and putting them out there, through all the various ways allowed us. We love meeting with people face to face- I think that’s the most valuable way to share and show a vision. We also love and use instagram and the new VSCO Grid almost each and every day.

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

I am not so inclined to encourage someone to do work that you think others want to see. Obviously, there is a place for it, somewhere/sometime. But I’ve found it best to show the work that you love and are inspired to do- I think whether its a buyer, a potential client, or just a fellow creative soul, people always value and appreciate genuineness in this regard!

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

Yes, for sure! Without that, we tend to lose our own sense of artistry. It pushes us to try new things and be inspired in new ways.

How often are you shooting new work?

A few times a week.

www.carissagallo.com
www.andrewgallo.com

Sea Chant is the storytelling outfit of Andrew & Carissa Gallo, a photography/directing duo based in Portland, Oregon. Together they write and direct films, each delivered alongside of a anesthetically complementing photo set.

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.