This Week In Photography Books: Mark Mattock

by Jonathan Blaustein

I saw my first yellow leaves this morning. It’s August 13th, as I write this. Seems a little early to be thinking about Autumn.

In fact, you’re probably sitting on a beach just now, nursing a cold one, cursing my reminder of Summer’s impending end. I hate you, Blaustein, you mutter under your breath.

Every year, I think I’m going to do so much more, with my free time in Summer, than I actually do. My wife and I make a metaphorical list of adventures, and then succumb to hanging out around the house, cooking good meals with farmers market produce.

No mountain climbing. No swimming in Abiquiu Lake, in the shadow of Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch. No road trips around the Southern Rockies. I guess we’re just lazy.

Hell, I didn’t even go fishing this year, and I have a trout stream in my backyard. (It might have less to do with my torpor, and more to do with the nasty, fishy taste of trout. Not enough honey and lemon in the world, to cover it up.)

I did take my son fishing a couple of years ago, with my wife’s family. We went to Hopewell Lake, less than an hour away. Most people would call it a pond, but f-ck those guys.

It ended up as one of the more traumatic experiences of my decade. Why? Because the entire place was covered with caterpillars. Am I exaggerating? For once… no.

They were so thick they blanketed every surface you could see, in 3 inch intervals. It was an alien infestation gone wrong. (As opposed to an alien infestation gone right?) They came in to eviscerate the local Aspen trees, and simply sucked all the fun out of our day. (Damn Global Warming. Such a buzz kill.)

Needless to say, I don’t know much about fishing, beyond the fact that I’m no good at it. But it is a Summer activity par excellence. So what do we do when we want to go fishing, that perfect euphemism for “not working,” but can’t do it IRL?

You know the answer. We look at a photo book. Or in your case, you look at pictures of a photo book, and read the nonsense I type above. (Yes, this nonsense.)

“The Angler who fell to Earth,” is a new hard cover book that ended up in my stack from photo-eye. It’s a gray, slim hardcover, and looks like something that MACK would put out. (Like the book from 2 weeks ago.)

Surprisingly, though, it’s an independent publication, designed and published by the artist, Mark Mattock. I learned that from the post script, as nothing in the volume itself suggested it was DIY.

In fact, nothing in the book suggests much of anything. It’s dedicated to Matisse, opens with a cool quote by Thoreau, and then is all pictures.

Like last week’s book, this one is abstract and obscure in it’s thinking. It gives you nothing but pictures, and leaves the rest up to you.

Who is our angler? Where is our angler? What does he do but fish? Why is he riding a train? Is he riding a train? What is going on here? How many questions can I ask in a paragraph before the Internet police arrest me for being overly inquisitive? I don’t know.

I like a book that crawls down into my brainstem, and this is one of them. Lots of cool pictures. Still lives mixed in with more narrative shots, which is another of MACK’s hallmarks. Does Mark Mattock like MACK books? Does he sell sea shells by the seashore? I don’t know, but I’m betting yes.

I love the upside-down newspaper headline about a worm crawling into someone’s brain. (Written in the first-person to boot.) And the fishhook tattoo. And especially the photo of a note telling our angler not to fish in a particular spot. (The detail “We know who you are” is so good I might have to steal it. Is it real? Once again, I don’t know.)

Last week, I ruminated on the beauty of the potential dialogue between artist and audience. Here, the artist is clearly going for it. Here are my pictures. I will not tell you what they are about. If you like my book, you’ll probably try to figure it out. If you don’t, you’ll likely get angry and confused, and hurl it against a wall, sad it won’t shatter.

Bottom Line: Cool, strange pictures about an Alien Fisherman

To Purchase “The Angler who fell to Earth” Visit Photo-Eye

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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: Chris Sembrot

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 Buyer: I nominate Chris Sembrot. I love him not only as an artist, but as a person. He has a unique style and was great to work with.

Personal work and having fun with a new underwater housing.

Personal work and having fun with a new underwater housing.

Part of an ongoing personal project on androgyny.

Part of an ongoing personal project on androgyny.

Personal work from a mid-summer tri in Asbury Park, NJ 2013.

Personal work from a mid-summer tri in Asbury Park, NJ 2013.

Personal work from a mid-summer tri in Asbury Park, NJ 2013.

Personal work from a mid-summer tri in Asbury Park, NJ 2013.

I love shooting friends especially on the first warm day after a long Winter.

I love shooting friends especially on the first warm day after a long Winter.

Cover assignment featuring Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and David Byrne for the Guardian Guide. Was shot on location in David Byrne's studio in NYC.

Cover assignment featuring Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and David Byrne for the Guardian Guide. Was shot on location in David Byrne’s studio in NYC.

Music feature assignment for Billboard Magazine with DJ Martin Garrix, shot in Atlantic City, NJ.

Music feature assignment for Billboard Magazine with DJ Martin Garrix, shot in Atlantic City, NJ.

Ad campaign for Mississippi Gulf Tourism. We shot 14 locations and activities over the course of 4 days.

Ad campaign for Mississippi Gulf Tourism. We shot 14 locations and activities over the course of 4 days.

Ad campaign for Mississippi Gulf Tourism. We shot 14 locations and activities over the course of 4 days.

Ad campaign for Mississippi Gulf Tourism. We shot 14 locations and activities over the course of 4 days.

Cover assignment featuring the band Phoenix. Shot on location at the East Village Standard hotel in NYC.

Cover assignment featuring the band Phoenix. Shot on location at the East Village Standard hotel in NYC.

Cover assignment featuring the band Phoenix. Shot on location at the East Village Standard hotel in NYC.

Cover assignment featuring the band Phoenix. Shot on location at the East Village Standard hotel in NYC.

Part of an ongoing personal project on androgyny.

Part of an ongoing personal project on androgyny.

Cover assignment featuring Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and David Byrne for the Guardian Guide. Was shot on location in David Byrne's studio in NYC

Cover assignment featuring Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and David Byrne for the Guardian Guide. Was shot on location in David Byrne’s studio in NYC

Feature for Running Times highlighting an elite women's high school cross country team in Pennsylvania.

Feature for Running Times highlighting an elite women’s high school cross country team in Pennsylvania.

Feature for Running Times highlighting an elite women's high school cross country team in Pennsylvania.

Feature for Running Times highlighting an elite women’s high school cross country team in Pennsylvania.

Personal work and having fun with a new underwater housing.

Personal work and having fun with a new underwater housing.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled "Urban Surfers." Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject's home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled “Urban Surfers.” Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject’s home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled "Urban Surfers." Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject's home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled “Urban Surfers.” Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject’s home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled "Urban Surfers." Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject's home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled “Urban Surfers.” Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject’s home.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been on my own professionally for the past four years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A combination of both. But, the best part of my education came after I left school. Working as an art buyer for five years really allowed me to learn the business of commercial photography from the inside out. Plus it gave me direct access to art/creative directors on a daily basis. It helped forge relationships with people I work with today.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
It had to be my mom. When we were growing up, she’s the one who always had a camera in her hand, capturing whatever moments she could. When referring to my eye, she always says, “You got that from me.” Hearing her say that always makes me smile!

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 try and shoot personal projects that have a different look and feel than my “normal” work. My biggest goal whenever I concept a project idea is to somehow bring out my personality. I stay in the moment and enjoy the freedom of capturing something that strikes me on that day, hour, minute. I don’t shoot nearly as many tests shoots as I do personal projects, because I want my personal work to stand on its own.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I think the honest answer is sometimes, yes. However, recently (more often than not) I have had the good fortune of creative freedom. Working with creative and account teams who trust that my creative vision will ultimately fill the needs of our client makes all the difference in a shoot. It’s not always easy but when you communicate with each other and collaborate as a team, it makes all the difference.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
When I’m not sending out my quarterly mailers, and personal emails, I’m meeting face to face. If I’m given 15 minutes of a busy art producer’s time, you better believe I’m giving it my all. Social media is also huge. I blog 2-3 times a month and am consistently reaching out on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Don’t. Show what moves you – what you’re proud of. Show work that is inspiring for a creative to see and hopefully he/she can envision it in a campaign or editorial spread. Be bold and show what you’re passionate about.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I am always keeping notes on ideas when they strike. I cull through them constantly and pursue the ideas that keep me inspired. I think many of my Facebook or Instagram friends would agree that I like to utilize both as creative outlets.

How often are you shooting new work?
I’m shooting every week. And when I’m not shooting, I’m thinking about it. New ideas fill my head constantly.

——————

Chris first cut his teeth in the commercial photography world while working as an agency art buyer and producer. He consciously chose the agency route because it offered him experience on the business side and allowed him to shoot and build his first professional portfolio.

Chris now works and lives in his hometown of Philadelphia where he is channeling his love for photojournalism into commercial work. His work has been featured in Communication Arts, Graphis, PDN, American Photography and OneEyeland. His clients include Converse, Reebok, Fuse Network, Guardian Guide, Red Bull Majestic Athletic and Nylon Magazine.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys surfing, building furniture, brewing beer and developing ideas for his next adventure.

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.

The Daily Edit – ESPN/ The Body Issue : Karen Frank

- - The Daily Edit

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ESPN


VP Creative Digital and Print Media:
John Korpics
Senior Director of Photography: Karen Frank
Creative Director: Chin Wang
 Magazine Art Director: John Yun
Senior Deputy Photo Editor: Nancy Weisman
Project Photo Editor: Kristen Schaefer Geisler

Heidi: What type of body celebration are you looking for from each of these shoots?
Karen: We’re looking to celebrate the athletic form – in all shapes and sizes. our goal is to capture the personality of each subject as well, and to create an intimate, intensely personal and radically different look at the most amazing bodies in the world.

Describe some of the considerations that go into choosing a final image. Do some of the images share the same attributes?
The body issue is about a six-month production. the first shoot happened in early January, and the last shoot in mid-June. we edit the shoots as they come in, and look for the strongest images overall. when we have a majority of the shoots, we take a look at the collection and edit for a mix of different moods and styles throughout the portfolio. it’s important to us to have a good amount of the images show the athlete engaged in his or her sport. we find that this really frees them up to be less self-conscious about being naked, and has made for some dramatic images and some beautiful locations. coco ho surfing in hawaii, ginger huber cliff diving in Texas, NigelSylvester with his bmx bike in an abandoned construction disposal site in Los Angeles, and Jimmy Spithill sailing in San Francisco harbor are some examples of this.

With a 6 month long production, is it hard to loose the flow? Do you revisit your previous shoots to refresh yourself?
Although it was a long production, the shoots seemed to happen in a fairly steady flow.  we did look back as new shoots came in, but we also kept in mind what we had already shot as we made new assignments.  it was exciting to see how everything came together.

Is this one of your most challenging edits?  If so why?
Yes, and no.

No, because the athletes we photograph are stunning, and each of them are totally committed to making strong images. the energy and integrity that they bring to the shoot is reflected in the images, and there are always lots of great shots to choose from. plus how lucky am i to be editing images of amazing bodies?

Yes, because the athletes who participate are taking a risk when they sign up for this. we want to honor that by choosing images that best reflect their strength, beauty and personality. Often – but not always – the athletes see the images on set, and have a strong opinion about their favorite images. there are a few – and it always surprises me – who choose not to look at the images, who completely trust in the process and are confident that we’ll represent them at their best. they put so much into it, and it’s difficult to choose just one image from the many strong options.

Fortunately, we run an extended online gallery where we get to share images that don’t make it into the magazine.
http://espn.go.com/espn/photos/gallery/_/id/11143740/image/1/venus-williams-bodies-want

In one of the behind the scenes galleries, you have poses sketched out on a paper plate, besides this sketch what other interesting reference was supplied by either the photographer or the athlete?
Peter Hapak sent us photo reference of a wood paneled gymnasium, reminiscent of an old Adirondack camp.  he asked that we try to find a basketball court like that for our shoot with Serge Ibaka.  we eventually did find the perfect place – it was an old court on the top floor of a church in Brooklyn. Mark Williams + Sara Hirakawa really wanted to shoot bob sledder Aja Evans on location rather than in studio and had their hearts set on a space that felt sleek and aerodynamic, like Aja’s state-of-the-art bob sled.  they sent images of airplane hangars, and we ended up doing the shoot in a private airplane hangar at the Danbury, Connecticut Airport.
Travis and Lyn-z Pastrana had some very specific ideas about shots we could try and they had a jump built specifically for the shoot.  unfortunately, we weren’t able to use it on the day of the shoot due to the rain.  but the rain did make for some excellent mud, and they enjoyed having a mud fight with each other!

Can you share the process that happens for choosing the athletes and the appropriate photographer?
We worked with an extraordinary group of photographers on this portfolio: Mark Williams + Sara Hirakawa, Richard Phibbs, Morgan Maassen, Carlos Serrao, Peter Hapak, Martin Schoeller, Alexei Hay, Dean Treml, Art Streiber, Finlay Mackay, Max Vadukul, Paola Kudacki, Peggy Sirota, and Steven Lippman.

We take the athletes personalities into consideration when choosing photographers for the shoots. as with any shoot, but even more so in this case, it’s really important to create an atmosphere of comfort and trust. the athletes’ trust in the photographers with whom they are paired and willingness to reveal themselves is evident in the images that result from these collaborations.

We look at photographers who are at the top of their field for some of the action sports. Morgan Maassen who photographed surfer coco ho is an example. Morgan grew up surfing, is well-respected among the surf community, and has a cult following of devoted fans.

How much discussion is there about the actual body language prior to the shoot? Are details reviewed with each athlete or does it unfold organically?
There is lots of discussion that happens prior to the shoot. Some athletes are very involved from the beginning stages before they even arrive on set, and contribute ideas about how they’d like to be photographed. the Pastrana’s are an example of this. Martin Schoeller photographed them at their home in Maryland where all of their “toys” (bikes, boards, jumps and pits, etc.) were at our disposal. we were conceptualizing ideas with them months in advance. they were invested in, and part of, the creative process which fostered the collaboration and feeling of trust that we hope for. their willingness to try anything and their fun-loving spirit really comes through in the photos.

Were you on set and what can you share?
Yes. What amazes me, year after year, is the great energy and spirit of fun that happens on the body shoot sets. there’s always a bit of nervousness and trepidation at the beginning of the shoot, but it quickly dissolves and the athletes, in general, become very comfortable being naked. We try to keep the set intimate when the shooting begins. some athletes prefer a closed set, and need time to warm up to the process. others arrive ready to go, and have absolutely no inhibitions about posing naked.

There are lots of fun moments that happen on set. for the past two years, we’ve created a behind-the-scenes gallery from the shoots.

http://espn.go.com/espnw/photos/gallery/_/id/11139818/image/1/venus-williams-scenes-body-2014

Did you have styling on set or just props?
We have a glam squad on set (hair, makeup, manicurist), a prop stylist, and sometimes set designers as well. An example of this is the Angel McCoughtry shoot where a silver basketball court was constructed within the set designer’s studio warehouse in Atlanta.

I had been on nude set recently.  I remember having some anxiety days before the shoot. It all seemed to fade away once I was actually on set and in production, business as usual. I glanced towards the talent wearing just a belt and heels thinking,  “Aren’t you….cold?” Did you have any matter of fact thoughts?
The biggest practical concerns i have are about the safety of the athletes and the photo crew. It was pouring rain in Graford, Texas on the day of our photo shoot with Ginger Huber, and the rocks were slick. Jimmy Spithill sailed in the frigid San Francisco bay on the windiest day of the year, he had to stop often to warm up and avoid hypothermia.

What type of range were you looking for from the collection? ( sport to body type? )
We look to represent a wide range of sports and body types in the portfolio. this year, we showcased athletes in tennis, football, surfing, bmx biking, soccer, rallycross, skateboarding, basketball, baseball, cliff diving, swimming, boxing, bob sled, snowboarding, hockey, and sailing.

 

If you had to choose an adjective for the body issue what would it be?
Revealing

 

 

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Travis + LynZ Pastrana photographed by Martin Schoeller

 

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Venus Williams photographed by Williams + Hirakawa

 

 

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Larry Fitzgerald photographed by Richard Phibbs

 

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Larry Fitzgerald photographed by Richard Phibbs

 

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Coco Ho photographed by Morgan Maassen

 

 

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Coco Ho photographed by Morgan Maassen

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Megan Rapinoe photographed by Peter Hapak

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Nigel Sylvester photographed by Carlos Serrao

 

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Nigel Sylvester photographed by Carlos Serrao

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Serge Ibaka photographed by Peter Hapak

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Prince Fielder photographed by Alexei Hay

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Ginger Huber photographed by Dean Treml

 

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Angel McCoughtry photographed by Art Streiber

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Michael Phelps photographed by Carlos Serrao

 

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Michael Phelps photographed by Carlos Serrao

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Danyelle Wolf photographed by Peter Hapak

 

 

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Omar Gonzalez photographed by Finlay MacKay

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Aja Evans photographed by Williams+Hirakawa

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Tomas Berdych photographed by Max Vadukul

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Amy Purdy photographed by Paola Kudacki

 

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Bernard Hopkins photographed by Max Vadukul

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Marshawn Lynch photographed by Carlos Serrao

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Jamie Anderson photographed by Peggy Sirota

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Hilary Knight photographed by Martin Schoeller

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Jimmy Spithill photographed by Steven Lippman

Pricing And Negotiating: Executive Portraits For A Large Agency

Jess Dudley

Shoot Concept: Create executive portraits and corporate lifestyle images of employees at work in their corporate headquarters and on-site at one client location

Licensing: Digital collateral and digital advertising use of up to 40 images

Location: Corporate headquarters and one retailer location

Shoot Days: Three

Photographer: Corporate lifestyle specialist

Agency: Large agency in the Mid-Atlantic

Client: Business consultant

A well-known ad agency recently commissioned one of our East Coast photographers to shoot a library of images for their client’s rebranding effort. The agency’s B2B client provides consulting services to mid-large sized national brands. The goal of the shoot was to capture a range of corporate lifestyle images of real employees at work in their company offices and on-site at one of their client’s locations. The images were created for, and would be primarily used on, the client’s newly redesigned website, so while the production machine was in motion, the agency wanted to create 10 executive portraits to round out the website about page. On top of the web use, the agency also requested digital/web advertising use to cover their trade advertising needs.

Although all of the images would be used on the site, it was likely that only a handful would be used for any of the somewhat limited advertising use granted. However, as is often the case, the agency was unwilling to carve up the usage into different components, making it impossible to impose more than one licensing agreement on different sets within the library. Additionally, the agency was unwilling to bend on the duration of use. Just as with the extent of the usage, we determined that the likelihood of the client taking full advantage of perpetual use was low enough that we were willing to be flexible on that point. The images have a shelf life, and we assume that the value to the client degrades considerably after three to five years — executives change, services change, and imagery needs to be refreshed. After careful consideration and discussion with the art buyer, we decided to price the usage closer to the value of the intended use.

To determine the licensing fee, I considered the caliber of the photographer (in-demand), reputation of the agency (solid), size of the client (niche), intended audience (non-consumer), limited use (web/digital only), assumed shelf-life, number of shot days (2.5, but we priced as 3 — half days are a myth) and intensity of the production (pretty low). I also considered that 1/4 of the images would consist of executive portraits. After weighing all of the factors, we landed at $20,000. Other pricing sources like Fotoquote, Blinkbid’s Bid Consultant and the various stock sites would have us quote the usage fee in the six-figure range, but those pricing resources don’t account for the nuance and just keep multiplying, regardless of the influencing factors and/or diminishing value to the client, and photographer, over time.

From a production standpoint, this project was relatively low impact. The photographer would need to show up to the provided locations with his or her crew, and make pictures of the provided resources. That being said, because we were working through a fairly large agency, their expectations would be slightly more intensive than you may initially expect.

Here’s the approved estimate:

P and N July

Tech/Scout Day: I included a tech/scout day for the photographer and agency to walk through the offices and client locations to make sure everyone was on the same page creatively, and allow the photographer to consider lighting and equipment needs.

1st Assistant Days: I included four days for the first assistant — one to prep gear (and/or attend the scout) and three to shoot.

2nd Assistant Days: The second assistant would be on hand for all three shoot days.

Digital Tech Days: The tech would only be needed on the corporate lifestyle days. The agency wouldn’t need to review the executive portraits on set, so we were able to forgo that expense on the portrait day.

Equipment: $4500 covered costs for a DSLR, a backup, lenses, grip equipment and portable strobe kit, some of which the photographer’s production company owned and would be renting at market rate for the shoot and some that would need to be rented from a local rental house.

Producer: Even though a great deal of the production elements would be provided by the client and agency, we felt that a producer would still be beneficial during the shoot. Since there wasn’t much in the way of pre-production I only included one day for prep (arrange catering, book/confirm the five crew members and pull together a call sheet), one day for the tech/scout and three days for the shoot.

Production RV: The client couldn’t guarantee the availability of convenient staging area so I included a production RV for the two lifestyle days. Since we would be stationary for the executive portraits, it wasn’t necessary on the third day.

Groomer: The subjects would be instructed to arrive camera-ready. The groomer would be on hand to make sure they were finessed a bit and looked their best when on camera.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: Covers time, equipment and costs for the initial import, edit, batch color correction and upload of the images to an FTP for client review and selection.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: Color correction, basic touch-up and specialized processing of the 40 selects. As the result of considerable post-processing, all of photographer’s images all have a distinct feel, which increases the cost for standard file prep.

File Transfer: This covers the cost to deliver the 40 selects via FTP.

Catering: I estimated to provide lunch on the two corporate lifestyle days. Because the third day was a “half day” we didn’t need to cover catering.

Miles, Expendables, FTP, and Misc: This covered out-of-pocket expenses the photographer and crew would accrue between mileage, FTP costs and any other miscellaneous expenses that may arise.

Housekeeping (see the project description): I noted all of the production elements the client would be providing.

Results, Hindsight and Feedback: The photographer shot the project and the client came back to licensing 10 additional images. We set the rate for those at $750 each, including processing.

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

This Week In Photography Books: Brian David Stevens

by Jonathan Blaustein

By now, you know me pretty well. I’ve discussed just about every personal quirk and lifestyle detail possible. You name it, I’ve been willing to put it out there every Friday, for nearly 3 years.

All in the name of what, exactly? I write about photo books, so that you can look at the pictures.

I try to pick interesting, smart, challenging, or beautiful offerings every time. But occasionally, the stack runs short, and I have to pretend to be more excited than I really am. Those weeks, I might amp up the absurdity a hair. Turn the Blaustein-dial on the speakers up to 11. (Even if it’s meant to top out at 10.)

But rarely do we take a moment to ask why there are so many damn photo books to be begin with. It’s been accepted wisdom, these last 5 years, that every photographer wants a book. Today, I thought it might be worthwhile to stop and ask why.

I began thinking about it earlier this summer, when a colleague admitted to considering expansion into the publishing business. This, from the same person who swore to never go that route, as there is an occasional whiff of exploitation about the process. Seems the ridiculous dollars people are willing to spend were too alluring to ignore.

The industry seems to have moved over to a pay-to-play model to a shocking degree. That’s why we see another Kickstarter entreaty every day now. Artists, not the wealthiest of types, are seeking to raise anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 to have someone design and arrange for the printing of a paper-based-object. (Printed by a 3rd party, in most cases.)

I can’t help but wonder if that’s the most effective use of people’s time and money. Is this not a vanity business, for the most part? How many books do we need?

Every photographer is clearly entitled to spend his, her or (other peoples’) money however they like. It’s still a free country. But what is the end game?

Is it that a permanent object will outlive them? That it shall adorn countless shelves, when their bodies are decomposing in the ground? Or perhaps it is still a marketing object, as I was told by many in 2011-2? A marker of career success that makes people take you more seriously?

The problem with that line of reasoning is that when everyone has a book, having a book is no longer an exclusive proposition. And if everyone can and does have one, then having one does not make you automatically more successful than the hordes. Right?

Couldn’t 25G buy you a new car? Or pay off your student loans? Or cover year of graduate school? Or a trip around the world?

Might not a trip around the world add more than a bound-sheaf-of paper to a photographer’s burgeoning gravitas?

How many artists actually view making a book as an opportunity for communication? How many consider a book an expression of dialogue between themselves and an anonymous collection of strangers?

I ask you, having recently leafed through “Notting Hill Sound Systems,” for the third or fourth time. It was recently sent my way by English photographer Brian David Stevens, having been published by Café Royal Books. The artist and I have traded witticisms on Twitter occasionally, so he sent the book to see what I thought.

Book might not be the right word here. It’s more of a catalogue, or you might even call it a leaflet. It’s on decent-quality paper, and stapled in the middle. No separate cover at all.
So it couldn’t possibly have cost that much to make.

The entire book is filled with images of stacks of speakers sitting on the streets of London. Or so we assume. As there is no supporting text in this publication at all. No hints. No screeds. No explanation of what is going on.

Is it the documentation of an art school project? Are they readymades? Were they put there to be photographed, or were they a part of an existing system? There is almost no way to tell.

I wrote Brian to see what the deal was, and he provided me a link to some backstory. Apparently, right around now, there’s a big Reggae festival in the streets of Notting Hill, a posh West London neighborhood. The whole place becomes an epicenter of reefer madness for a day, and then it all goes back to normal.

He crept around the streets, early in the morning, well before the festivities, just to get this set of photographs. (In all their trippy ambiguity.)

Sitting here in Taos, there was no way for me to possibly know that. But the artist didn’t care. He wanted the viewer to see these things for what they were. Beautiful objects? Fascinating combinations of metal, wood and screen? Quiet totems that represent insanely loud bits of fun? (A nod to John Cage’s silent music?)

Again, we don’t know. After he told me what was up, I perused more carefully, and noticed that several images had “parking suspended” signs embedded within. The kind of things that municipal workers post right before a festival, or a film crew comes to shoot for the day.

So that’s at least a clue. But no more than that. To Londoners, this book will have a completely different meaning than to the rest of us. He’s communicating with them in code.

We get another read entirely. One that absolutely arouses curiosity. What is going on here, and why?

It makes me think the artist has given this whole publishing endeavor a lot of thought. He worked with a publisher, rather than self-publishing, but obviously found someone who understood his vision. And given that CRB is based in England, they were clearly down with the double meaning of the pictures.

They didn’t spend a Range Rover’s worth of cash to get the thing printed. (Or half a Bentley?) And then the first edition sold out quickly, so they got a second edition humming right away. (Which would have kept the costs down further, until a clear market was established.)

Yes, I’m rambling longer then normal today, which is odd, as I normally like to coast in the Dog Days of August. But I’ve been out of the classroom since mid-May, so you’ll have to allow me a teachable moment.

Please, don’t make a book unless you really know why you’re doing it. And if someone tells you to give them $40,000 so you can have your dreams met, just think carefully before writing the big fat check. Or maybe start summoning cheaper dreams.

Bottom Line: Cool catalogue to disseminate cool photos, not a paperweight

Go Here To Purchase “Notting Hill Sound Systems”

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Art Producers Speak: Erik Umphery

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 Buyer: I nominate Erik Umphery. I love him not only as an artist, but as a person. He has an unique style and was great to work with.

Michelle Williams single art work for "Say Yes"

Michelle Williams single art work for “Say Yes”

Personal work shot in London

Personal work shot in London

Personal work shot in Barstow, CA

Personal work shot in Barstow, CA

Editoral shot for 360 Magazine

Editoral shot for 360 Magazine

Editoral shot for 360 Magazine

Editoral shot for 360 Magazine

Personal work shot in Tijanna, Mexico

Personal work shot in Tijanna, Mexico

Personal work shot in Barstow, CA

Personal work shot in Barstow, CA

Personal work shot in London

Personal work shot in London

Personal work shot in Malibu, CA

Personal work shot in Malibu, CA

Personal work shot in Palms Springs, CA

Personal work shot in Palms Springs, CA

Usher Raymond shot for BET Networks Image Campaign

Usher Raymond shot for BET Networks Image Campaign

Adesuwa shot for Essence Magazine denim Story

Adesuwa shot for Essence Magazine denim Story

Personal work shot in Downtown Los Angeles

Personal work shot in Downtown Los Angeles

Erykah Badu shot for Essence Magazine

Erykah Badu shot for Essence Magazine

How many years have you been in business?
3yrs 3months

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self-Taught

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I worked in corporate America for 9 years prior to becoming a professional photographer, and when the recession hit a lot of my friends lost their jobs and decided to pursue their passions. I was doing extremely well in my career, receiving accolades and a level of financial success that I had not believed I would have achieved at a young age, but I was unhappy. And the more friends I saw doing what they loved, even with the stress of booking that next job or knowing how everything was going to work out, the more I desired to pursue my passion. I guess it was like one of my favorite quote’s from Marianne Williamson, ”As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others the permission to do the same.” For me, my friend’s light gave me the permission to leave my comfort zone and being really living and pursuing something I love.

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?
Traveling is a big part of my life and it influences how I create. I think the biggest thing for me is being visually stimulated, so when I’m given the opportunity to go somewhere new I always jump at the chance. Living in Los Angeles, is the perfect place for me, because California has so much visually to offer, and it is accessible. I can hop in my car and in a few hrs, I can be on a mountain, in the desert, at the beach, on a cliff, etc…, so I’m always traveling being inspired and recently I’ve developed an appreciation for other types of arts (writing, acting, illustration) which has opened my eyes to an entirely new world of inspiration. The way I translate all of that into my own creativity is by taking everything that I see or read, and I try to do my best to translate that to my own experiences, to create something how I see it from my own perspective, so if I read something that inspires me I say how does that look in my mind, or if it’s a location I’ll ask myself what would be something I could see happening here.

Pushing the envelope creatively for me is always about doing something that I feel uncomfortable with. When I have butterflies in my stomach about something or I start hearing that little voice in my head questioning what I’m doing it let’s me know that I’m pushing myself to refine my true vision and creating something truly unique and from my perspective. I look for those feelings in everything I shoot.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I’ve been really fortunate that the assignments I’ve received early in my career the clients have given me a lot of flexibility, I’ve heard that isn’t always the case in this industry. I learned early on that you should focus on accomplishing what the client is looking for first then push the envelop with your creativity and typically the images that I find myself pushing the envelop on are the clients favorites, so it’s a win-win, I give the client what they want and I’m able to use the resources/production they have to create something I love.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I make it a point to travel to NY once a month and meet with agencies and magazines. I’ve been doing this for about a year now and it’s really been paying off. I do not have a rep, so I have to beat the pavement myself, but for me it is fun. I get to travel to an amazing city and meet so many interesting creative people. Not starting my career in this industry I look at as a positive and negative when it comes to reaching my buying audience. The positive is I don’t know how people in the industry reach their buying audiences so I’m not restricting myself to any industry norms that may exist, so I’m not tied to doing things a certain way because “that’s how things are done traditionally”. The negative is since I did not go to arts school, I do not have the network already of art directors and producers that I would have attended school with, but that’s ok I just have to work harder to build that network now.

Outside of face to face meetings, I attend Adhesive as often as I can to connect with creatives and sending personalized emails vs the typical email blast have help tremendously in starting a dialogue that will ultimately lead to new opportunities down the road.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I know about this all to well, simply don’t do it. When I started I knew I wanted to shoot campaigns, so I’d shoot what I though art directors wanted to see. That did not get me far at all, and luckily I had a decent relationship with an art director that helped guide me as far away from that as possible. People want to see something different than what they have already seen and we all have the ability to create something different if we show things from our own experiences and perspective. You want the work you create to represent you, and to be work you are passionate about, which ultimately leads to you booking work that falls into your sweet spot vs work that you are not passionate about, and it definitely has away of showing.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I try to shoot for myself several times a month. At times when I’m really busy it can be challenging but, in order for me to continue growing and developing my vision/style it requires shooting a lot. Even though shooting jobs is great and required to sustain a living, there is nothing better than being able to create something that you have full creative control over. I plan to continue shooting for myself several times a month, 5, 10, and 20 years from now, because I love photography as a medium to create.

How often are you shooting new work?
This year has been really great for me both commercially and personally. I’ve been able to create new work that I’m extremely proud of every month, both personal and commercial.

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I’m originally from Baltimore, MD. I was introduced to photography by my Mother at a young age and developed my love for it. She passed when I was 11 and I stopped shooting. As I got older I had the desire to get back into photography, and even signed up for a course when I was in college, but you had to purchase a SLR camera and I could not afford it at the time. I graduated with a degree in Finance and went of to work in corporate America, several years into my career a friend posted on facebook, “who wants to take a photography class with me”, I went out purchased a camera and signed up for the 6 week class. This pretty much sums up my life now:
Running shoes, check. Camera, check. iPhone, check. I’m good. Gave up suits & ties for a camera and a hell-of-a-life.
 My mantra is to live, love, travel, eat and along the way capture these moments.

Erik Umphery
www.erikumphery.com
erik@erikumphery.com
310.387.1715

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.

The Daily Edit – Communication Arts: Randal Ford

- - The Daily Edit
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Communication Arts

Photographer: Randal Ford

Heidi: How hard was it to take that photograph of your son?
Randal: It actually wasn’t hard at all.  By the time I set up the portrait, he was in good spirits and we already had him checked out by a doctor. My son is such a sweet kid, but definitely all boy. And while this was his first shiner, it was definitely not his first bruise.  However, it was harder seeing the photos on screen than in person.  Looking at them on the computer was heartbreaking. Photographs immortalize a moment and maybe deep down I was scared that his face would always be like that.
 
What was your intention for this photo, posterity or something else?
As a parent I’m always photographing my kids.  Whether it’s with my iphone, a mirrorless camera, or a full setup with strobes.  I want to document their life, well, our life.  And this was part of that process.
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At what point did you know it was ok to take the portrait, did Ellis (your son ) give you any cues? Did you ask your wife for permission?
Once we knew he was physically okay and in good spirits, I felt like it was fine.    My wife knows I photograph everything, especially events like this so I had her full support from the get go.
 
I know you sat on these images for a few months after shooting them, thinking you may composite Ellis into a scene. How did you end up with this final image? 
As I mentioned it was tough to look at these on-screen so they sat on my hard drive for a couple months.  I thought it would be cool to composite him into an environment to further craft a story.  Maybe he was standing on a playground with a bunch of big kids behind him all laid out, or maybe he was in the middle of a boxing ring during a fight, or maybe we digitally painted a super hero sign on his chest.  For some reason I wanted to complicate things.  To further challenge myself.
None of the ideas really stuck though and I finally selected my favorite image and retouched it.
What was going on at the very moment of this particular shot?
The shoot itself only lasted 15 minutes and for a lot of the time he was sitting in this baby seat called a ‘bumbo’ which allows infants to sit up a little easier than if they were in a chair.  For this shot, he probably only looked at me like that for a split second.
I love showcasing kids (and animals) expressions that anthropomorphize them.  Or in other words, apply adult attributes to their character.  This shot, for example, conveys a toughness, a so-what, an I’m tough sort of look that an adult might give a opponent or enemy.  Maybe he was even thinking that for a split second.
 
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This portrait seems like a departure from the layered, rich body of work on your site.
What did you learn about yourself?
A lot of advertising work is layered and complex.  And I’m drawn to that and appreciate it.  I love the challenge of crafting a story in one image.  And sometimes that requires a lot of compositing, retouching, layering, and even CGI, to draw in the audience.
 
However, what I learned in this instance, with this photograph, was that the best way to tell a story is the simplest way.  I had these grand ideas of compositing him in an environment with layers, more talent, skies, and even cgi.  But I don’t think any of that would have been as compelling as this simple image.
 
Einstein said, ‘Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.’  I’m no Einstein and I’m no genius, but this sure does resonate with the lesson I learned with the success of this photograph.
 
Have you done any documentary work? Did this give you an insight into the moral banter that goes on in taking hard images?
I did a bit of documentary work in the early part of my career.  I don’t know if I gained any insight here.  I tend to stay out of moral banter and focus on creating compelling work. If the works gets people to talk, even if it’s banter, then I’m okay with that.

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I know you keep a camera around the house and take photos of your children, how did that influence this portrait?  
I always have a camera on hand.  Whether it’s an iphone, mirrorless, or dSLR.  It’s not often that I setup strobes and a background for my family stuff.  But this seemed like a fitting opportunity and my kids are used to having their photo taken so this wasn’t a unique situation, they know the deal.
 
How long did the transition take for you to go from father to photographer. I’m certain your first reaction was not to take a photo. 
When it happened I definitely didn’t have any thought that I should setup strobes and create a portrait.  But after he checked out okay, and was in good spirits, I thought, ‘I should really create a portrait of this.’  it needed to be shot.
 
Once you released the image to the public, were you concerned about backlash similar to what Jill Greenberg had experienced with her crying kids series?
I wasn’t concerned about it and in fact, it didn’t cross my mind until after it was published.  People who know me, know I have good intentions and would never place a kid in an uncomfortable situation.  However, his face was still going to be bruised up if I documented it or not.  I try to create compelling work first and foremost.  If I get criticized for documenting what’s in front of me, then I’m okay with that because personally I know my intentions were right.
 
What made you decided to include this image in your submission to CA? What did you think this image conveyed to fellow photographers?
Each year I submit 4-5 images to CA.  Some of my peers liked this image and some of them didn’t.  Obviously I’m biased but I felt like it was strong, graphic, and told a story.
Tell me about the full circle moment when  you received the email letting you know you had the cover?
So I’m sitting at our breakfast table reading some stuff on my computer with Ellis sitting in my lap.  During that time, I see an email come in from CA asking for permission to use the image on the cover.  I literally yell out loud, ‘what!? what!? Ellis, Buddy, you are going to be on the cover of CA, are you kidding me!?!’ I literally almost fell out of my chair.  I was elated to say the least and it was icing on the cake that I found out while he was sitting in my lap.  I can’t deny feeling that things happen for a reason and are not just coincidence.  Not the way this whole thing unfolded.


I know you have a son on the way, congratulations. How if at all has your family life impacted your career?
Thank you!  Okay, great question.  Family life has for sure impacted my career.  In a good way.  As the CA cover was about to come out I was running hard to get my website as fresh as possible and finish out a couple personal projects.  At one point, I expressed some frustration to my wife that I didn’t have enough time or energy because the kids were being a pill.  My wife looks at me and says, ‘you wouldn’t be in this situation if it weren’t for them!’  In other words, you wouldn’t be on the cover of CA if the kids didn’t present these daily challenges to you.  And I thought to myself, wow, how narcissistic am I thinking that this was all me!
 
The environment around you deeply influences you and my family is no exception to that.  Yes, I have less free time to snowboard and ride my mountain bike.  But I also have a lot to lose so motivation is not hard to come by.   I’m very focused and work very hard.  
The free spirit of children, without a doubt, enhances my creative outlook.  I’m a family guy.  And my family life deeply inspires me and provides great perspective for my personal and commercial work.
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You have such a range of imagery on your site, how would you describe your work.
I have a passion for photography and that passion spans multiple genres, and has grown significantly over the last couple of years.  I shoot everything from kids to cows to landscapes with an intent to always tell a story.  I sometimes struggle with it, but my goal is to create a common thread throughout my body of work.  I hope my audiences sees that commonality.
 
Do you ever get criticized for having too much range?
I’m very self critical.  Potentially to a fault, so I think about this a lot.  At the end of the day, I have to follow my gut and right now, I feel like I’m doing the right thing.  Time will tell if that’s true but I am grateful to be doing what I’m doing right now.
How has living in Austin shaped you as photographer? Is it nice to be out of the fray NYC and other major cities?  
Austin is a great place to call home.  I travel for 95% of my work but it’s a great home base and easy to get to both coasts.  Don’t get me wrong I would love to work more and shoot more in Austin.  There are just certain advantages and production needs that are better suited for NY or LA.  Being a Texan has definitely shaped me as a photographer.  I think that’s evident in my imagery for sure.  I also think by living in Texas I get slightly different perspectives, creative or otherwise, than if I lived in NY or LA.  I also like my space (smile)

This Week In Photography Books: Frederic Brenner

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was sitting in a hot tub in Dixon, New Mexico, the other day. My attempts at relaxation were futile, as two soon-to-be seven-year-old boys insisted on jumping in like enormous balls of hail. SPLASH! SPLASH! (No, it wasn’t very relaxing, but the hot water felt good on my sore shoulder.)

Soon enough, I gave up on achieving bliss, and began to chat with my new friend Stephan, who’s visiting from Brooklyn. How strange, that two 40-something Jewish guys might hit it off in the hinterlands of the American West. (Sarcasm intended.) He’s a very bright guy, and told me on several occasions that he’s been reading high level stuff on his holiday.

Naturally, I asked him what he was catching up on. Calculus, physics, philosophy. That sort of thing. (All while I’ve been addictively refreshing my browser to get the latest Arsenal Transfer News. Embarrassing.)

Just as I was exiting the hot tub, he mentioned a concept in computer science theory called an NP problem. (It stands for nondeterministic polynomial time.) Apparently, they’re not solvable via the technology of the day. So they’re alluring to many a great mind.

The unsolvable problem is a somewhat nihilistic concept, when we bring it down to the human level. Can poverty ever be eradicated? I doubt it. And didn’t Bill Gates try to annihilate smallpox or some such disease, only to see it make a genuine comeback in the chaos of Syria. (Facts can be checked on Google, but I’m just spitballing here.)

If you were to poll a bunch of random people about what conflagration is never likely to burn itself out, I’d bet they’d say “The Middle East.” Push them further, and you know they’ll say Israel. The homeland of my ancestors.

Northern New Mexico actually looks a bit like Israel, in the right light. I know, because I was there for a summer vacation/ teen tour in 1991. Smack dab in the middle of the first Gulf War. (Speaking of not relaxing…) All I remember is trying to sneak off for a nap during Kibbutz work duty, and downing horrible Russian vodka to summon enough courage to hit on a pretty girl. (Yes to getting super-drunk, no to any success with the lady.)

People were all geared up for war back then, as they have been since the country’s inception. Which was rather recent, given that my people were living there forever, before we got ejected by the Romans. As of 1948, though, things have looked grim, with respect to any kind of lasting peace.

Of course, I write this now, in the middle of yet-one-more episode of War. People killing people, to try to make a point. Which is?

I certainly won’t be able to tell you, from my cozy chair on the other side of the world. But then, no one will, as peace in the Middle East is most definitely an NP problem. The best I could offer here would be to share another’s more personal, more educated view on the matter.

So I will.

Frederic Brenner’s new book, “an Archaeology of Fear and Desire,” was recently published by MACK. Apparently, it’s one of a series of projects shot in Israel that were commissioned by Mr. Brenner. Other artists like Stephen Shore have had their say, and this book is Mr. Brenner’s take on life in Israel.

It’s a very clean, formal, precise view, with the requisite irony on full display. For example, we get a two page run in the book in which a religious Israeli family dines in splendor in a big house, and on the following page, a Palestinian family crunches together in a much smaller space.

But it’s not just the status quo. We see a couple of dirt bike riders in the desert near Sodom. (Are we to question their sexuality, because of the title.?) And another portrait of a woman who looks very much like she is gay, but am I allowed to speculate on such things? And if I did, what might gay rights look like in a religious country?

We see a blind former soldier with two prosthetic arms. And an anonymous Palestinian man who sure looks like he was tortured, or at least beaten to a pulp, with a wicked scar running across his eye.

There are migrant workers of color, jimmy-rigged border patrol wearing head scarves, and some Orthodox Jews in an airport, with their eyes shaded, looking ancient, except for their always-dorky rolling suitcases. Classy.

This book was perfect to write about this week, for obvious reasons. The images within are well made, but will not change your life.

But they do offer you a window into a world without hope. Or, at least, without hope of ever fixing its own, ancient set of problems. Which is a fair metaphor for what we all do every day. Keep going, enjoy the pleasures at our disposal, and fight when we must.

Bottom Line: Clear, color vision of life in contemporary Israel

To Purchase “an Archaeology of Fear and Desire” Visit Photo-Eye

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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: Victoria Will

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 Buyer: I nominate Victoria Will. She was a pleasure to work with, ever gregarious and an all- around rockstar on set. Difficult weather conditions, challenging directors and limited time with the cast did not hinder her talents. I can’t wait to work with her again.

This is an image I shot for a Miller High Life Project. I had previously seen a sign like that and always wanted to find a way to incorporate it into my work.

This is an image I shot for a Miller High Life Project. I had previously seen a sign like that and always wanted to find a way to incorporate it into my work.

Who doesn’t love jumping on a bed? I hadn’t done it in years until I suggested it for this shoot. It seems to bring out the kid in anyone.

Who doesn’t love jumping on a bed? I hadn’t done it in years until I suggested it for this shoot. It seems to bring out the kid in anyone.

This image is from a shoot for Dasani Water and it still makes me smile! I love the color palette and the energy.

This image is from a shoot for Dasani Water and it still makes me smile! I love the color palette and the energy.

One of my favorite places to visit is a beautiful farmhouse in upstate New York. Its the location of the Eddie Adams Workshop. I volunteer for EAW every October, but there is a lot of prep that goes in to it so I visit the farm often throughout the summer. I have walked past this tree swing a million times, but one weekend I was at the farm and a friend of a friend jumped on it and I made this. Now it reminds me of a perfect summer day.

One of my favorite places to visit is a beautiful farmhouse in upstate New York. Its the location of the Eddie Adams Workshop. I volunteer for EAW every October, but there is a lot of prep that goes in to it so I visit the farm often throughout the summer. I have walked past this tree swing a million times, but one weekend I was at the farm and a friend of a friend jumped on it and I made this. Now it reminds me of a perfect summer day.

I love creating moments for a shoot, but I also love when I catch a quiet scene like this.

I love creating moments for a shoot, but I also love when I catch a quiet scene like this.

I do a lot of work backstage during fashion month and its always great to find moments like these. This was shot while on assignment for Vogue at the Lavin show in Paris.

I do a lot of work backstage during fashion month and its always great to find moments like these. This was shot while on assignment for Vogue at the Lavin show in Paris.

It’s always refreshing when you can collaborate with a subject like Brad Pitt. He is the consummate professional who also happens to be an avid photographer — the perfect combination for a portrait subject.

It’s always refreshing when you can collaborate with a subject like Brad Pitt. He is the consummate professional who also happens to be an avid photographer — the perfect combination for a portrait subject.

This was shot on assignment for Vogue backstage at the Tommy Hilfiger in New York.

This was shot on assignment for Vogue backstage at the Tommy Hilfiger in New York.

I love using the existing environment to make a mood and in this case it was neon lights in Las Vegas. The juxtaposition of a busy Las Vegas Blvd with a thoughtful glance out the window creates its own narrative.

I love using the existing environment to make a mood and in this case it was neon lights in Las Vegas. The juxtaposition of a busy Las Vegas Blvd with a thoughtful glance out the window creates its own narrative.

When I was on a road trip with some friends our truck overheated and we had to pull over at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. I saw this image through the window as we waited. It captures that moment in time just as I remember experiencing it.

When I was on a road trip with some friends our truck overheated and we had to pull over at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. I saw this image through the window as we waited. It captures that moment in time just as I remember experiencing it.

I married into a family of cowboys and I take every opportunity I can to go out and ride with them. They never cease to amaze me. This is a lunch break after 6 hours of being in the saddle.

I married into a family of cowboys and I take every opportunity I can to go out and ride with them. They never cease to amaze me. This is a lunch break after 6 hours of being in the saddle.

On a trip to Mt. Hood, Oregon I was standing on the balcony of a cabin when the car pulled in. It gives an unique perspective to a familiar brand.  I loved the vantage point — and of course the paw prints.

On a trip to Mt. Hood, Oregon I was standing on the balcony of a cabin when the car pulled in. It gives an unique perspective to a familiar brand. I loved the vantage point — and of course the paw prints.

This image and next are part of a series where I used a music festival as a backdrop to tell an experimental narrative through the energy and shared experience of the people there.

This image and next are part of a series where I used a music festival as a backdrop to tell an experimental narrative through the energy and shared experience of the people there.

JackP11

How many years have you been in business?
10 years ago I started working as a photojournalist in New York City. That gave me the background that allowed me to go freelance 4 years ago to focus on the parts of photography I enjoy most.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I suppose I’m a little bit of both. I didn’t go to a photo school, but was lucky enough to study with Emmet Gowin and Andrew Moore at Princeton.

When I was transitioning from photojournalism, I took a portrait workshop in Santa Fe with Platon. It blew my mind and changed my life. From him, I learned what I don’t think I could have learned in a classroom. I saw just how powerful a collaborative effort between a subject and photographer can be and how you need to trust your vision — it’s something that can’t be forced, but has to be felt.

That workshop wasn’t my last. I find those environments recharge me creatively and I am always hungry to learn.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Looking back, it’s so clear that I was always a visual person. I learned and expressed myself that way best. My mother even saved portraits of dolls that I made with her polaroid camera when I was 6, but it took me awhile to figure out. It wasn’t until college that I starting to think about photography as something I could actually pursue. I stumbled into a history of photography class with Peter Bunnell and immediately fell in love. After that I couldn’t read fast enough and spent a lot of time devouring the work of Lillian Bassman, David Bailey, Larry Sultan, and the paintings of Andrew Wyeth and John Singer Sargent. At that point, photography became more than just an artistic expression, it became a sort of language for me that I could really understand.

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 find inspiration in the usual suspects — photo books, music and movies, but also in the strangest places. Its not always visual, sometimes its a sound, or a feeling, or an experience that I want to recreate in a visual way. For example, the first time you get to jump in a pool at the beginning of the summer — thats the way I want a photograph to feel. I think it should have an emotion attached to it.

I’ve spent a lot of time observing the people around me—and I was always struck by how beautiful a simple and natural human gesture can be. Those little moments can tell a much larger story. Ultimately, I love creating narratives that allow a story to unfold. My goal is to create work that takes you on the same sort of journey.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I’d like to think that the creatives and the client ultimately choose me because they believe that my point of view will help bring their ideas to life. That being said, I love collaborating, with anyone that will have me. Luckily, every part of a shoot is a collaboration whether its with the client, the subject of the shoot, or the crew. That’s where being flexible becomes a crucial part of the job and you have to be willing to make adjustments. Working as a photojournalist really helped teach me that it is possible to adapt to any situation without having to compromise my vision or the clients needs.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I love to send out work that I think is successful and what better way is there to promote yourself than creating work you feel has a piece of you in it. At heart though I am a people person so I try to meet as many people as I can — face to face. Sitting down with someone helps to give them a better idea of who I am and who they would be hiring. To me making a connection and having someone trust that I will execute their vision is just as important as the work.

On the other hand, I don’t do it alone. I am lucky to have people in my life like my photojournalist husband, and my agent, Paige Long, who I am constantly brainstorming with and bouncing ideas off of. Paige has an incredibly creative eye and great institutional knowledge that has helped define my voice. Having that close network of support is invaluable.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I give the same advice someone gave me — shoot what you want to be hired to shoot. If you are inspired by your subject, it will show. If you aren’t, and you are doing it for the wrong reason, it comes from the wrong place and I think that shows as well.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
There was a time when I didn’t shoot for myself enough. That sometimes made it difficult to have a connection to the work. Now I shoot for myself as often as I can, experimenting and looking at things with new eyes. That’s how a recent project with tintypes happened. I saw one and became obsessed with making them work for me. Its not so much about trying to push the envelope, but about trying to evolve creatively. If I’m making the same safe images all the time, there is no room to grow.

How often are you shooting new work?
Whenever I am inspired! I have a list where I write down images I someday want to make that I’ve imagined and I’m slowly making my way through. Its feels like a rolodex of pictures in my head. But as fast as I cross them off, I seem to write more down.

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VICTORIA began her career at the New York Post where she was a staff photographer. In a news environment responsible for headlines like “Headless Body in Topless Bar,” Victoria honed her skills and sense of humor. With a focus on commercial and editorial portraiture, her photographs appear in newspapers and magazines worldwide, from the Associated Press to W magazine, The New York Times to Vogue. A graduate from Princeton University, she hails from Washington, D.C., but now resides in New York with her two French Bulldogs and photojournalist husband.

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.

Stephen Mallon On Perseverance And Transition To Video

- - From The Field

Over 5 years ago aPhotoEditor wrote a small story on Stephen Mallon’s images of the salvage of Flight 1549.

The backstory.
Prior to the incident on the Hudson River, Stephen Mallon was “surviving” on royalties from multiple stock agencies. He had been photographing landscapes for licensing and exhibition, and personal work. A book editor at a portfolio review had expressed interest in making a book but Stephen felt he didnʼt have the right content that he envisioned for his first monograph. So he set about focusing on his interests in the recycling industry. He engaged a writer to help with a proposal, and, explaining that he intended to make images for non-commercial use, he gained access for two days to a recycling plant in New Jersey, which led to access to others in other states and to a body of work that would come to be titled “American Reclamation.” This was all self-funded by the bits and pieces he was drawing in from editorial and resale.

The break.
In New Jersey, in 2008, Stephen spotted a barge loaded full of stripped down subway cars and thus discovered the artificial reef project, wherein these erstwhile MTA cars are shipped to various locations off the US coast and dumped in the ocean to create artificial reefs both for sea-life and for tourism, images of which would become “Next Stop Atlantic.” The company concerned was Weeks Marine, and here began a wonderful relationship. Forward to 2009 and Stephen and his wife are out celebrating her birthday when Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger, III, makes his amazing landing on the freezing Hudson River. Mallon called Weeks Marine and sure enough they were tasked with retrieving the plane; they commissioned Stephen to photograph the project, bringing him in by tug boat to make an incredible photo essay that made national news. As well as all the licensing, the prints are still selling well in the fine art market.

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How life changed.
Stephen says although he had his body of work of industrial landscapes he didnʼt have a solid assignment piece that he felt was both beautiful and relevant to fine art and for editorial. He says it took real effort to keep the momentum going so he wasnʼt “just a flash in the pan.” It was at another portfolio review that Stephen met Front Room Gallery, based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They offered him a solo show of Flight 1549, and also sold a few prints from “American Reclamation” which led to the suggestion of a solo show of that series, too, in 2010. Now some assignment work began to trickle in, including a trip to Brazil to shoot Petrobas for Fortune Magazine.

“All this time, the 5D Mark II is on the market, and people are talking about video. I equated it a lot to when clients began to ask for digital,” he says. For a while, people would still hire Stephen even when he said “no” to the question of whether he was capturing video, but he knew the time was coming when heʼd need to be able to say “yes.” Heʼd made a “bad” time-lapse around 2008, and only tinkered with the style since. In 2011 Weeks Marine called to say they were delivering a bridge by barge in New York, and was he interested in covering it? Stephen saw the perfect time-lapse project. He scouted the whole route, setting up cameras along the way, in the yard, and on the barge. The film was submitted to festivals, picked up by the Wall Street Journal, and got a lot of attention online. Stephen feels this was the catalyst for his time-lapse future.

The next big step was winning a contract to work for the City of New Yorkʼs Department of Transport – he produced a wonderful time-lapse for the Citibike program.

“I had been dropping my portfolio off at the New York Times pretty much my entire career – 10, maybe 15 years!” says Stephen, when eventually they saw some of his time-lapse work online, and wanted to meet. They loved what he was doing: “Kathy Ryan tried to hire me a couple of times but security at the locations we wanted to shoot in kept on stopping the projects from moving forward.” It wasnʼt until 2013 that she found the right assignment for him: to make a time-lapse over two days and two nights of set changes at the Metropolitan Opera. This video went on to win the Communication Arts photo annual award, and was accepted for the PDN photo annual.

The cost of video production.
“Day rates are pretty much the same for video as for stills – the photographerʼs fee hasnʼt gone up, but Iʼm shooting with seven cameras at a time, I need assistants to set up and monitor them, then thereʼs the cost of post, the editor, and audio licensing. I am busier than I ever have been, itʼs phenomenal, but no, Iʼm not making tons of money. When the budget is there, we put in enough post which covers color correction and rendering. The editorʼs fee is a separate line item, accounting for all the video editing and a couple of revisions. Weʼre always buying hard drives – a terabyte a month! Someone has to pay because we are archiving all these jobs.”

Mallon has been buying camera bodies, one job at a time: he has five digital SLRs and two GoPros so he doesnʼt always need to rent although he does say he could always use one more camera. He is more comfortable shooting live video capture now, and enjoying mixing time-lapse and video in the same piece (he has just finished another job for the DOT, made over 18 months, that mixes time-lapse and regular footage.)

Skills for the future.
“Editing video, the whole aspect of sequence, timing, speed, music, it was a whole new experience for me.” Now heʼs so much more familiar with it all, heʼd like to get a bit more long-form documentary work and is meeting with TV production companies. Heʼs enjoying video but also continues to love shooting stills: “It reminds me how much easier it is to make a photograph than it is to shoot video” he says, laughing.

So far this year Stephen is most proud of a piece made for New Yorkʼs Armory exhibition hall, the result of two years keeping in touch with an ad agency which eventually recommended Mallon to time-lapse the setting up of The Armory Show.

Looking to the future, he believes interactivity is going to be key. In a job heʼs working on now, a public awareness campaign about crossing the road, the conversation turned to how to make a video motion-sensitive, to turn it into an interactive smart-board. He believes he will need to be able to deliver multimedia components, potentially build apps for his clients, teaming up with tech and design professionals.

Stephen Mallon has a solo show this fall 2014 at the Waterfront Museum and a solo show at NYU in early 2015. You can view his work here: stephenmallon.com

The Daily Edit – Los Angeles Magazine: Amy Feitelberg

- - The Daily Edit

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Photographer: Nancy Pastor

 

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Photographer: ( left ) Gregg Segal
Photographer:  ( right ) Meiko Arquillos

 

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Photographer: ( left ) Christina Gandolfo
Photographer:  ( right )  Art Streiber

 

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Photographer: Dave Lauridsen

 

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Photographer: ( left )  Joe Schmelzer
Photographer:  ( right ) Christina Gandolfo

 

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Photographer: ( left ) Sam Comen
Photographer: ( right)  Ryan Young

 

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Photographer: ( left ) Dave Lauridsen
Photographer:  ( right ) Claudia Lucia

Los Angeles Magazine

Design Director: Steven Banks
Photo Director: Amy Feitelberg

Check out the full story here

 

Heidi: What a great slice of LA nightlife. Describe the process for choosing the pitches, I’d imagine potential imagery and content played even roles.
Amy: For the initial pitch process, I went forward knowing there were a few built in obstacles.
– Since this all had to be shot on one night, that might limit what’s happening around town.
– I had to cast a really wide net so I got enough disparate ideas.
– It meant it was a little bit of luck of the draw for who  would be in town to do it.

When all the decisions were made, I fired off an email to each photographer saying that they got to shoot their pitch. Then I sent out a group email (everyone was bcc’d — I didn’t want anyone to know who was in until the end), and I told them the parameters. Everyone HAD to shoot on the same night. Saturday, May 31st. We defined ‘night’ as between 6pm – 2am. I also told them that this was a case where they had to be reporters too because no one had a writer with them, and they HAD to get the caption info of what they were shooting for when the edit team when back to write about it. I also told them, it was a great opportunity to do extra stuff like gifs, videos etc. And so many of them did that, which is so cool because we’re going to have a really awesome online component as well which I think beefs the whole project up.

How did you notify photographer this was happening, was there something online or in the print edition?
I thought this was an opportunity to reach out to people I hadn’t been able to assign yet, but wanted to get them in the book. So after I made a list, I blasted it out to a ton of photographers and told them to pitch me what they wanted to do. Once I got all those pitches in, I complied them, and reviewed them with the with editor of the story and the editor in chief. Many photographers sent in more than one idea and since we had overlap, it helped narrow down the puzzle. We wanted it to feel diverse and hit a lot of different notes.

How many pitches did you get for this project?
I had over 60 pitches knowing I could only assign 20ish.

What were the determining factors?
Determining factors were things like diversity – geographic, ethnic, age etc, access, ambition and inherent LAness.

Were the photographers responsible for all aspects of production/access?
The photographers were mostly responsible for setting up their own shoots. I did write a lot of letters and make a lot of phone calls. Some things we never got permission on and they did anyway guerrilla style and some things we had to cancel altogether because the venue made it so hard or flat out refused. LA can be an extremely difficult place to shoot even for still photography. Are you listening Mayor Garcetti?

How many “tries” did they have or did everyone go out on the same night?
Everyone had to go out on the same night. A few people had 2 assignments if they could get them done. One that came in that wasn’t even assigned but that I hoped someone was going to pitch was a shot of Hassidic Jews on La Brea. That area fascinates me and I had put it in as an example of something to pitch in my initial blast email. No one took the bait, but then Christina Gandolfo, who had shot these awesome bingo pictures was walking on the street that night and photographed a few. She ended up getting a second full page image in the package too because it was so great. A few projects didn’t work out at all and got cut, but everyone really went above and beyond to make things work.
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Photographer: ( left ) Alyson Aliano
Photographer:  ( right ) Hussein Katz
Did you think it was unusual for the taggers to be photographed in “Canvassing the City?”
What type of relationship did Hussein Katz have with them?
When Hussein pitched that he said “I have many friends in the graffiti world… however I would need to keep their identities concealed.” I thought it sounded awesome. It’s such sub culture in LA and I always think it’s weird when I see a building one day and it’s blank and the next day it’s tagged. I’m always wondering who the hell these people are. I didn’t want to judge it as right or wrong, I wanted to see the experience of people who spend their nights doing this.
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Photographer ( left ): Alyson Aliano
Photographer ( right ) Aaron Fallon
Aaron Fallon’s image “Crew’s Control” is great,  did he have stories about getting access?
Aaron Fallon’s pitch was cool and very unexpected. This is one of those cases that it SHOULD have been hard to get access — but it wasn’t! He had a friend who worked there who helped get him in. I wrote a permission letter for him, but as far as I know, there weren’t too many hoops. The photos are gorgeous. The one bummer about doing this whole portfolio is that almost every shoot that came in had soooo many great images and we only get to run one a piece! That’s what the internet is for I s’pose. So shooting in an airplane hanger at LAX? – a breeze. Trying to shoot at the Hollywood Bowl? — I think they would have had me arrested and stolen my first born. Go figure!
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Photographer: ( left ) Spencer Lowell
Photographer:  ( right )  Wesley Brown

How did Spencer get that image of the stadium in “Diamonds are Forever?”
Spencer’s journey in this is an interesting one. He told me he would love to go to the morgue. LOVED IT! Boom. I assigned it to him. He set out on his own to get permission. I didn’t hear back so I thought it was all cool. So did he… but a few days before the shoot, even though permission seemed like a done deal, the guy helping him went AWOL, and then resurfaced the day before to say no. Spencer had also pitched doing aerials because I believe he has a relationship with a helicopter pilot. I really liked the idea of seeing Dodger Stadium, but there was a game that night and they have a ‘no fly zone’ during games. So he waited til after to shoot it and I love it even more because it feels less expected. He also still went to the morgue and shot and exterior and then went to a tattoo place and shot himself getting a tattoo that says LA on his wrist. Spencer will bleed for the cause!
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Photographer: ( left ) Terence Patrick
Photographer:  ( right ) Maarten de Boer

 

How did Martin de Boer get to tag along for his “Double Parked?”
So in the case of Maarten de Boer, he actually pitched going on a ride along with the fire department. He contacted them but they basically told them they needed at least 3 weeks to get approvals blah blah. So I dug into my bag of tricks because what ho! my sister is a deputy district attorney on the ‘hard core gang unit’ right here in LA. I called her and asked her if she knew any cops I could have Maarten go out with. She asked around and hooked us with LAPD homicide detectives Manny and Nate and we were in! I actually called on her to help us get into the morgue when Spencer was getting the shaft, but at that point we had lost our lead time, she was in trial and we couldn’t pull it off. Having a DA for a sister is amazing! She comes in handy a lot.

What’s the best way for photographers to reach you?

The best way for photographers to contact me is always through email. I wish I had the time to answer everyone, but I just can’t. I do try to look at everything that comes in though!

This Week In Photography Books: Christopher Capozziello

by Jonathan Blaustein

“There but for the grace of God go I.” Two weeks in a row, we’re opening with an old school aphorism. Why is that? Have I detected
a growth in our Millennial readership? Am I trying to adhere my contentical requirements to shorter attention spans?

No, that’s not it.

Frankly, I think many of us work less in summer. We try to read a book here and there, and allow a few random moments of calm to intrude on an otherwise busy lifestyle. There’s the Fall Season, and the New-Year-through-spring mad dashes of productivity. And then we have Xmas time and summer breaks, to re-gather one’s thoughts.

As such, my thoughts have turned to wisdom’s efficiency. Aphorisms are like tweets, in that they aim to provide maximum information in minimal form. So much so that we’ve even managed to abbreviate them further: i.e., better safe, a bird in the hand. Neither of those are complete thoughts, but we know them well enough to intuit the second half, and the meaning.

“Better safe than sorry” is like “when in doubt.” It encourages caution, above all else. I suspect the cautious proto-humans were the ones that gave us many of our genes, as the braver sorts were likely eaten by saber-toothed tigers while exploring.

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” sounds like it was made up by a farmer. I’ve got my crops. They are here. They feed my family. If I try this new seed that Jenkinson was telling me about, it might bring in much more. Or it might not. Better safe.

And what about the first one I mentioned? There but for the grace of God, is what people say. They abbreviate this one too. It means, please remember that there are many billions of the people on planet Earth who are less fortunate than I am. I could easily have been born into a war zone, or somewhere with no indoor plumbing. But I was not.

We tend to push such thoughts outside of our day-to-day thinking. It’s easier to get by that way. But what if you lacked the luxury? What if you could never forget or escape the consequences of fate, or God, or whatever word you choose to use for such concepts?

Christopher Capozziello has such a dilemma. He’s a photographer, and writer apparently, and last year he put out a book called “The Distance Between Us,” by Edition Lammerhuber, and I just got my hands on a copy. His twin brother, Nick, was born with Cerebral Palsy, and has had an insanely difficult life as a result.

Two brothers. One womb. One twin healthy, the other sick. It’s like something out of a Dickens novel.

I’ll have to step out of character even further here by telling you I met Chris at LOOKbetween in 2010. We talked a lot, and then stayed in touch. I gave him some tips on how to access the fine art photo community. He came and hung out while I was writing about Photo Plus Expo for APE.

I therefore saw this work very early on. Before the accolades. Before the book. He also asked me to peruse an early-version-pdf at a time when he was submitting a concept for a publication competition that he didn’t win.

All for the best.

Because he’s used the ensuing years to fine-tune his vision, and this large book is the beneficiary. There’s text throughout, including under many of the photographs. He writes naturally, and the narrative fills in many gaps that would not have been dealt with sufficiently, with only titles to inform us. Furthermore, by telling his story so directly, he’s able to amp up the emotional reaction in his viewer.

Nick has seizure cramps that are debilitating. He likes to play pool. He had major brain surgery, and an implant was put in his chest. You can see the implant. You can see Nick go through the ravages of pain.

All the while, Chris can’t help but wonder, why not me?

Eventually, the brothers take a big road trip at the end. And even better, we close with a selection of Nick’s pictures from the trip. (We’ve seen Chris photographing Nick taking pictures, so there’s even foreshadowing.)

Don’t you love it when the column connects from week to week? It’s the happy ending. The über-American cinematic narrative. (With the road trip thrown in as a bonus.)

The book has a message, a point, and a vision behind it. I might have found the text a bit overwhelming at times, but that’s nitpicking. If you invest your time in this one, you’re likely to get a lot back.

You can tell that years of planning and care went into the creation of this book, and years of pain went into the living. Yet when you hold the book, the finished article, you’re holding the outcome of someone’s dream.

Bottom Line: Great book, powerful personal family tale

To Purchase “The Distance Between Us” Visit Photo-Eye

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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: John Fulton

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 Buyer: I nominate John Fulton.

"Wrong Tools" campaign for Three Atlanta and CPA Global.

“Wrong Tools” campaign for Three Atlanta and CPA Global.

A young farmer/rancher burns some time after breakfast with a curious audience standing by. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

A young farmer/rancher burns some time after breakfast with a curious audience standing by. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

"Dirt Wave" motocross in the deep south. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

“Dirt Wave” motocross in the deep south. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

"Quail Hunting". Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

“Quail Hunting”. Part of a personal series featuring contemporary scenes in the South.

"Fiddler Over Paris", a lone fiddler bares his soul to the denizens of the 7th arrondissement. Shot for an int'l travel company.

“Fiddler Over Paris”, a lone fiddler bares his soul to the denizens of the 7th arrondissement. Shot for an int’l travel company.

Pro bono series for my home town fire department. Hazmat crew takes one for the team as fire plane dumps it's payload.

Pro bono series for my home town fire department. Hazmat crew takes one for the team as fire plane dumps it’s payload.

"On The Way to Saturday". Campaign featuring college football mega-fans for BBDO.

“On The Way to Saturday”. Campaign featuring college football mega-fans for BBDO.

"Wrong Tools" campaign for Three Atlanta and CPA Global.

“Wrong Tools” campaign for Three Atlanta and CPA Global.

Campaign for Harley Davidson featuring real owners enjoying the thrill of the open road.

Campaign for Harley Davidson featuring real owners enjoying the thrill of the open road.

 "Lake of the Clouds Valley". Personal work captured on a trip to the high Rocky Mountains.


“Lake of the Clouds Valley”. Personal work captured on a trip to the high Rocky Mountains.

Firefighters photographed for South Magazine.

Firefighters photographed for South Magazine.

"We're there for you 24/7/365". Campaign for Georgia Power.

“We’re there for you 24/7/365″. Campaign for Georgia Power.

"For the longest lasting truck on the road". Campaign commissioned for Eaton Global.

“For the longest lasting truck on the road”. Campaign commissioned for Eaton Global.

Recent commission featuring speedo-clad mechanics to illustrate the client's heat generating product.

Recent commission featuring speedo-clad mechanics to illustrate the client’s heat generating product.

How many years have you been in business?
12 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both but I did the photo degree route. It was a good jumping board but, like most people, I learned more in just the 1st year working in San Francisco about the industry and my own work than I did during all of school.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I was a skater kid in high school and a lackadaisical student, which took its toll on my studies. I took art classes because I thought they would be easy A’s. I connected with the creative arts immediately and felt myself come alive. Originally I wanted to be a sculptor and I worked diligently towards that goal but eventually I found myself sitting in a photography class. Seeing my first image appear in the developing tray was what set the hook. It’s a cliché’ sentiment at this point, but it was like magic. I was also exposed to the work of the great street photographers, especially the masters of composition and light; Cartier-Bresson and Harry Callahan among others. I worked at my local camera store talking with working photographers every day and developing their images late into the evening. It was an exhilarating feeling to see their work before they did and when talking with them about their assignments at pick up time, it became clear to me that this was the life I wanted. I was also able to work with Jim Erickson and Erik Almas through out my first year after school, which was also instrumental.

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?
It’s important to me to find inspiration from things other than photography whether that be other visual arts, travel, history, and simply conversing with people who are very different than myself. A lot of photographers choose to keep their exposure to other’s work at a minimal, I do the opposite. I look at an immense amount of images and I keep the ones that speak to me in an archive that goes back over 10 years. They cover the spectrum from photography, design, 3D, and fine arts and I often sift through them making mental notes of the things I like, don’t like, and want to experiment with before my next project.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
It varies widely from project to project but limitations can be a blessing. I’ve been studying film making lately and I read something from a feature director awhile back saying that often times he’ll limit himself to just one or two lenses for a whole movie because with every option available for every shot, it can be overwhelming and the images end up being too disjointed. I look at constraints that clients give in that way and it forces me to push my work and grow in a direction that I might not have taken on my own and I walk away with more tools in my creative arsenal.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
All the usual things but the most important to me is face-to-face exposure. The path of least resistance is always the most overrun and that right now is doing everything digitally. My reps are also paramount in connecting with buyers.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Showing what you think buyers want to see is a loosing strategy if that’s your main motivation. Even if you’re scoring some projects, you won’t be shooting what you love and the work won’t be as affective as it should be. Ultimately, you’ll end up spending your career working on things that don’t inspire you and that’s not good for you or your clients.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Not as much as I’d like, but I’m working on that. It takes the willingness to say no to paying projects usually but I think it’s a good investment for one’s creative soul. Story telling in still frame, painting, modeling, motion, and writing is always on my mind from when I wake up until I finally go to bed. Lately, I’ve been spending the majority of my non-working time learning 3D modeling which has been a very captivating creative outlet and has already helped land some of my favorite projects to date.

How often are you shooting new work?
It varies from every couple weeks to a month. I prefer to do my own post work whenever possible and if it’s a series of multi-image composites that typically turns a 3 day shoot into a 3 week process from beginning to end but it’s an integral part of what I love about my job and what makes the images I deliver to my clients unique and impactful.

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John is an America photographer born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. His work is often described as rich, fresh, and authentic. Clients recognize his consistent vision and adamant drive to deliver impactful and affective images through a broad range of subjects.

John is honored to have been included in Luerzer’s Archive Top 200 Advertising Photographers Worldwide and his work has been recognized by PDN, Communication Arts, Hasselblad Masters, Int’l Photography Awards, Prix de la Photographie Paris, American Photographic Artists, Int’l Loupe Awards, and Color Awards. His clients include AT&T, Harley Davidson, Captain Morgan, Airstream, Westin and Hyatt Int’l among others.

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.

The Daily Edit: Variety Magazine Covers: Bailey Franklin

- - The Daily Edit

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Photographer: Ioulex

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Photographer: Julian Broad

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Photographer: Platon

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Photographer: Yu Tsai

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Photographer: Ioulex

 

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Photographer: Pari Dukovic

 

 

Variety

Creative Director: Chris Mihal

Director of Photography: Bailey Franklin

Art Director: Cheyne Gateley

Art Director: Chuck Kerr

Photo Editor: Michelle Hauf

Designers: Kevin Begovich, Vanessa Morsse and Sahar Vahidi

How long have you and Chris been collaborating on covers? You’ve seem develop this wonderful flow of type and image.
​I joined the magazine in February 2013 and Chris came on board that May. We hit it off immediately, which was a huge relief given the incredibly fast pace and overall intensity of putting out a weekly like Variety with such limited resources. He always has ideas and opinions but never gets so married to them that it slows down the process. This applies to photographer selection as well, and I am lucky that he always defers to me when it comes down to the final decision. ​Chris has the ideal balance of vision and flexibility and I really couldn’t have asked for a better Creative Director.


I’ve noticed the covers are getting tighter on the subjects, the expressions more intense, which is refreshing for a cover image. How did this look unfold?
​Since we aren’t a newsstand-driven publication, we have the luxury of putting our strongest single image on the cover every week. We also don’t have to deal with cover testing like at most publications. In the end it comes down to what options Chris and I recommend to editors that will make for the best cover. That said, we love the intimacy and power of a great, tight portrait and like the way it differentiates us from other magazines, especially those with lots of cover lines. We have also been lucky to get some really great faces to photograph.
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Photographer: Peter Hapak

 

When did the cover series or multiple runs start to become more regular? 
Did it start with the Power of Women Issue, and then roll into the recent images by Peter Hapak?
​Yes, when we have situations with multiple cover talent that can’t be in the same space at the same time,​ we have (thankfully) opted to do split runs
​and have so far avoided what we refer to as Frankenstein covers. With Peter, we loved his multiple exposure images and wanted a way to give those covers a separate identity from the other black and white portraits he shot of Christina, Aaron and Allison (as well as 49 other actors and actresses) for the Emmy stand alone issues that came out the week prior. We’ve done it three times before, first with Power of Youth (5), and Power of Women LA (5) and NY (6).


You are working with stars, I assume it’s perhaps easier to direct them?
​Although everyone has been very professional, most of our cover subjects are not particularly interested in pushing things beyond your standard flattering portrait. ​They generally have a very strong idea of how they want to be presented, even if it goes against the expressed angle of the story. This really comes up whenever we have a specific concept that we are trying to convey through wardrobe or props. In some ways it has been the kind of limitation that is a blessing rather than a curse as it enables us to focus more on the choice of photographer and what he/she can bring to the equation regardless of the subject’s participation. I liken it to having very limited control over the specific ingredients of a dish but incredible freedom as to the particular chef and cuisine we feel makes the most sense.




About how much time do you typically get for cover shoots?
We generally get between 30 and 60 minutes of camera time with any given subject. 15-20 is not unusual depending on the logistics of the shoot. It took me a long time to not panic at this, but since we don’t really need clothing changes most of the time, 30 minutes has proven to be enough to get what we need. We make a point of letting people go as soon as we have it, no matter how quickly that is. Some of our best results have come in under 2 or 3 minutes.

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Photographer: Craig Cutler

Humor and wit surfaces from time to time on the covers. Describe your cover process, what drives that image? 
​Humor is tricky, because it is so subjective on top of what is frequently an already subjective response to the photography by everyone involved in the final decision. With the Sex on TV cover we ​were lucky to have a concept that lent itself to visual interpretation, not to mention sex. I felt that there was something smart and fresh that could still be done using the naked human body, but it was our Art Director Cheyne Gately who sketched out the boom mic as fig leaf idea. Once we saw that we knew we had to go with it. Craig Cutler was a perfect fit as he has just the right balance of dry humor and dramatic lighting. As it happened on a super rush turnaround, his ability to help with casting the models and source the props with blinding speed was also key.

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Photographer: Bart Cooke

How did Kermit end up upside down?
​That was an example of Chris making something great out of a tricky situation. Bart Cooke took fantastic images of Kermit and Piggy, but we were VERY limited in terms of how we were ultimately able to shoot them. There was debate up until the last minute as to how Disney might interpret showing Kermit upside down, as it didn’t really relate in any literal sense to the headline or thrust of the story. We didn’t let up pushing for what we felt was fun, playful and totally unexpected, and in the end the editors decided it was worth the risk. Fortunately, Disney loved it, and distributed copies at the movies premiere the same day the issue came out.

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Photographer: Ture Lillegraven

Does publishing weekly give you more creative freedom? 
(There’s very little time to second guess)
​
Yes, I would say that putting out 50-odd issues a year gives us more opportunities to take risk​s compared to the pressure that monthly magazines put on their individual covers. Another benefit is if one doesn’t work out as planned for some reason, we aren’t stuck staring at it for a month. In some cases the specifics of a given deadline have informed the creative. For example, our post Oscar issue of Alfonso Cuaron had to be shot the morning after he won and sent to the printer by midnight the same day to make our deadline. That’s how the reference of the iconic morning after portrait of Faye Dunaway by Terry O’Neill came up. The last thing we wanted to do was recreate it, so the challenge was to do something that would resonate with someone familiar with the image but still look like a Variety cover and have photographer Ture Lillegraven’s unique voice. More of a wink than an homage, if that makes sense.

Variety had been publishing since 1905, over the years variety has developed it’s own slanguage or varietyese, (e.g.  boffo (box-office biz) sitcom,  and payola ) Are you trying to do the same visually with your cover portraits? Develop a visual language?
​Funny that you mention it, because we were just talking about the importance of keeping an open mind in terms of what makes for a “Variety cover.” One thing we definitely want to avoid is ​a rigid formula. That kind of sameness would be even more pronounced with a word like variety printed across the top of it. Our primary goal is to have covers that are elegant, smart and graphic. Beyond that, we are hoping to surprise our readers and ourselves from week to week.

Do’s And Don’ts For Finding A Commercial Photography Agent

This guest re-post comes from Mark Winer at The Gren Group. The original post appeared here.

We’ve added some new talent to our roster recently, and with that often comes questions from photographers about how to find representation. So this is for you, the aspiring photographer searching for that perfect relationship with an agency representative. There is (as of this writing) no match.com for the photography industry – so we are are going to summon up 18 years of experience and give you the tools for your big search.

Rather than writing a long dissertation on the process of finding a rep, we’ve decided to give you a Cliffs Notes version – a handy, tried and true list to follow throughout your search. Please keep in mind this is aimed at photographers who are interested in working with agents who have mostly commercial clients. The TOP TEN Do’s and Don’ts below will vary based on your objective.

Here goes:

DO’S!

DO know that we get between 15 and 20 unique photographer requests each month. We may add just one new photographer a year, so you really need to stand out.
DO your research. Personalize your message to the rep you’re reaching out to and reference something worthwhile and specific. Find some common ground.
DO prove your business model. Show us that your own photography skills and marketing efforts have gotten you enough work where you need a business partner to help manage your growing business.
DO know thyself. What kind of photographer are you? Fashion? Lifestyle? Conceptual? Still Life? You should come to us already with a strong brand and self identity. We should be able to ‘know’ you in 90 seconds or less.
DO support the US Postal Service (before they close your branch)! Mail us samples of the great promos you’ve been sending to clients.
DO share your most recent commercial success stories – recognizable brands really get our attention. This is kind of a ‘what have you done lately’ business.
DO tell us about the industry trade shows you’ve attended and the Art Producers or Creative Directors you’ve met with recently. Feel free to name drop – we may have connections in common!
DO be respectful, appreciative and humble. A good personality goes a long way.
DO be patient and realistic. This is a relationship business. It can take years for the rep to build relationships with both clients and photographers.
DO have a reasonable advertising & promotion budget. Attracting the attention of ad agency clients, and building relationships with them, can require an extensive financial commitment.

DON’TS

DON’T email us generic comments like “new website!” or “just want to take my photography to the next level”. Be creative – include the whats, whens and whys. First impressions are important!
DON’T worry if we don’t get back to you right away. We make every effort to respond to all requests – which can sometimes take several days or weeks, depending on our workload.
DON’T be a beauty, fashion, conceptual or product photographer if you’re reaching out to us. Nothing personal, just not our area of expertise. Do your research first, and know the agent – there are plenty of great reps who market celebrity & automotive work.
DON’T be lazy. Success in this business requires a ton of ambition, passion, and a positive outlook. Enthusiasm is contagious – clients and reps can feed off your energy.
DON’T worry if most of the projects come from your leads in the first year or two. That’s to be expected. After all, you’ve been promoting your own commercial work for the last 5-10 years, and we’ve just gotten started.
DON’T send us a personal Facebook request after just one email. We’re big fans of social media, so show us you know the difference between networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc …
DON’T be a photographer with only personal, fine art or wedding work. It may be beautiful, but we are advertising assignment reps – the work must be commercially viable and contain high production value.
DON’T be a prima donna. Character is very important – we prefer humble, appreciative, collaborative and genuine.
DON’T get bogged down into thinking that you must have a rep to build your business! Plenty of great photographers have achieved commercial success without representation.
DON’T get frustrated if you have no luck getting a rep in the first few months (or years) of trying. Take that as a sign that you have to continue working harder and smarter to appeal to an agent.

Hope this helps a little. The right photographer/agent partnership can be a great thing – creative, challenging, lucrative, rewarding and fun. It’s also a lot like a marriage, whose success relies on mutual understanding, respect and communication. And like a marriage, know your partner well – maybe even consider living together for awhile first – the goal is to be together for a long time.

Good luck in your search!

This Week In Photography Books: Anders Petersen

by Jonathan Blaustein

The grass is always greener. So they say. I’m keeping that in mind as I try to relax into my staycation this summer. No use envying other people’s holiday photos on Instagram.

Sometimes these aphorisms carry deep wisdom. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That’s the cycle of history in one short sentence. Impressive. (Certainly terser than a blustery treatise on why Vlad Putin’s aggression in Ukraine is hardly avant garde.)

There’s another that’s been on my mind lately. “Wherever you go, there you are.” It’s practically koan-ic.

As our longtime readers know, I did a lot of travel writing for APE from 2010-13. It was something of a dream, to wander about as a part of my job. And I got to visit amazing museums and galleries to boot. Not bad.

Eventually, I realized I was no happier in London or New York or New Orleans than I was at home, and the post-trip crashes were brutal. I might have been a tad more charming on the road, or higher on adrenaline, but I was still me. Still perpetually stressed about keeping all the balls juggled, and the children fed.

Late last year, my desire to travel began to wane. I realized that if I could be happier at home, more content in my own skin, I might not need to be somewhere else to be a better version of myself.

Some people don’t need a happy ending, though. Euro films have been cranking out depressing, dour, dimly-lit dandies for decades. (And to think, my college writing professor told me alliteration was too obvious.)

Furthermore, what must it be like in Scandinavia in the dead of winter? Saturated Color doesn’t exist. SunLight is a rumor. Who’d be happy then, or even believe such a concept as happiness was anything other than naive voodoo? (If I lived there, I’d be addicted to cigarettes, vodka and Internet porn in weeks…just kidding.)

Anders Petersen channels that energy as well as anyone. Not in a sense of depression, per se, but a celebration of joyous nihilistic depravity. He deifies the drunk at the end of the bar; an understandable response to the absurdity of existence. (I saw, but never reviewed, the lurid “Soho” from MACK.)

Wherever Anders Petersen goes, there he is. A year after a 2012 earthquake in Northern Italy, he was invited to the Emilia area by Studio Blanco, to take Anders Petersen photos. Or so we are told at the end of “To Belong,” his new book published by SlamJam.

We get the explanatory essay at the end, and the title on the back cover. I suppose you have to do things differently these days, if you want to stand out. Shake it up, as it were. (In fact, the closing statement does dedicate the book to those whose lives have been shaken.)

It opens with the obligatory boob shot, (Boobs Sell Books℠) but then cascades through stuffed animals, a mountain-lion in a cage, odd dolls, a crotch-shot with a girl stretching her leg over her head, some seriously strange-looking old people, some surprisingly hopefully portraits, and rubble and dancing and Dora the Explorer. (The rubble makes more sense upon second viewing.)

We get to see one of my favorite creepy-awesome-weird photos of all time, on par with Asger Carlsen, with some dude’s chest-hair growing up through a tattoo of the Virgin Mary. I felt like spiders were crawling on my spine, while I stared at it.

There’s a recurring symbol of flexible-connecting tubery, which I didn’t quite figure out. (The need to contort oneself to survive among human kind, especially in the face of a natural disaster? Good guess?)

The book is also made a little differently. The pages are two pieces of paper sandwiched together. They turn easily, though. It makes for a rather beautiful object, in addition to a sumptuous collection of images.

And how’s this for a message takeaway: the Earth crumbles beneath our feet, occasionally. Life falls apart along with it. And yet we endure. So you might as well let a little of the crazy in while you’re here.

Bottom Line: Very cool book built upon an earthquake-shaken foundation

To Purchase “To Belong” Visit Photo-Eye

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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: Reed Young

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 Buyer: I nominate Reed Young. He is an editorial photographer whose work has so much story in it that I always stop and spend time with it. He really deserves some exposure for being interesting, thoughtful in the topics he covers and insightful in the compositions he depicts.

NOTE: Reed was nominated twice by two Art Producers from different agencies that have great reputations.

Angelo Maggi, the Italian voice actor for Tom Hanks

Angelo Maggi, the Italian voice actor for Tom Hanks

“Goldie” crossed the border when she was 16 and started dancing at a topless bar where most of the dancers were illegal immigrants from Juarez. She soon left that life behind, and now she owns Goldie’s Bar, a tiny cantina in an industrial section of south central El Paso. The walls of Goldie’s Bar are littered with pictures of her hero, Marilyn Monroe: “I like that she often said that women should be liberated, that men shouldn’t limit them, that a woman should be the way she wants to be.”

“Goldie” crossed the border when she was 16 and started dancing at a topless bar where most of the dancers were illegal immigrants from Juarez. She soon left that life behind, and now she owns Goldie’s Bar, a tiny cantina in an industrial section of south central El Paso. The walls of Goldie’s Bar are littered with pictures of her hero, Marilyn Monroe: “I like that she often said that women should be liberated, that men shouldn’t limit them, that a woman should be the way she wants to be.”

Bryan Toovak is a 7-year-old living in Barrow, Alaska. He goes to this playground from spring to fall despite the below-zero temperatures. On this rather mild spring day in early May, temperatures rose to almost 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius).

Bryan Toovak is a 7-year-old living in Barrow, Alaska. He goes to this playground from spring to fall despite the below-zero temperatures. On this rather mild spring day in early May, temperatures rose to almost 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius).

Konishiki Yasokichi is a 45-year-old one of Japan’s most recognizable celebrities. Now that he’s retired from Sumo Wrestling, the sport that made him so popular, he’s become a hip-hop artist and host of his own children’s television show. He was the heaviest sumo wrestler of all time weighing 580 pounds(264 kg). Two years ago he underwent gastric bypass surgery and has lost much of the weight that previously threatened his good health.

Konishiki Yasokichi is a 45-year-old one of Japan’s most recognizable celebrities. Now that he’s retired from Sumo Wrestling, the sport that made him so popular, he’s become a hip-hop artist and host of his own children’s television show. He was the heaviest sumo wrestler of all time weighing 580 pounds(264 kg). Two years ago he underwent gastric bypass surgery and has lost much of the weight that previously threatened his good health.

Felicia raises three of her grandchildren in small community deep in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic. The family was supported by her husband’s pension until three months ago when he passed away. She lives in one of the few barracks that survived Hurricane George. She believes that the Lord will sustain her during this difficult time in her life.

Felicia raises three of her grandchildren in small community deep in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic. The family was supported by her husband’s pension until three months ago when he passed away. She lives in one of the few barracks that survived Hurricane George. She believes that the Lord will sustain her during this difficult time in her life.

Seven days a week, 23-year-old Galson Mgaya rides from his remote village of Mtwango to the nearest city of Makambako, Tanzania. He straps 20 chickens to the back of his bicycle and then sells them in the city for twice what they’d go for in his small town. The trip takes him 3.5 hours each way, but it’s worthwhile because he makes about $8 each day. His daily profit helps support his parents and two sisters.

Seven days a week, 23-year-old Galson Mgaya rides from his remote village of Mtwango to the nearest city of Makambako, Tanzania. He straps 20 chickens to the back of his bicycle and then sells them in the city for twice what they’d go for in his small town. The trip takes him 3.5 hours each way, but it’s worthwhile because he makes about $8 each day. His daily profit helps support his parents and two sisters.

Many Brownsville residents say the area has more sneaker stores than after-school programs. Brownsville Brooklyn has only three sneaker stores. A few years ago, Penny began hosting an informal after-school program so that children in her building would have a safe place to go after school.

Many Brownsville residents say the area has more sneaker stores than after-school programs. Brownsville Brooklyn has only three sneaker stores. A few years ago, Penny began hosting an informal after-school program so that children in her building would have a safe place to go after school.

Minh Le is an unofficial spokesman for the Vietnamese community in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Approximately one-third of the town’s population is of Asian descent, and of those, most are Vietnamese. Adopted by an American serviceman during the 1960s, Minh returned to his native Vietnam in the ’70s to act as an advisor to the US Navy. When he retired from the Navy, he moved to Bayou La Batre and bought several shrimp boats, including The Sunrise, pictured here. After the BP oil spill, Minh outfitted his boats to help with the cleanup efforts.

Minh Le is an unofficial spokesman for the Vietnamese community in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Approximately one-third of the town’s population is of Asian descent, and of those, most are Vietnamese. Adopted by an American serviceman during the 1960s, Minh returned to his native Vietnam in the ’70s to act as an advisor to the US Navy. When he retired from the Navy, he moved to Bayou La Batre and bought several shrimp boats, including The Sunrise, pictured here. After the BP oil spill, Minh outfitted his boats to help with the cleanup efforts.

Comedian John Oliver for The Guardian.

Comedian John Oliver for The Guardian.

An advertisement for Dixan, an Italian laundry detergent.

An advertisement for Dixan, an Italian laundry detergent.

Bomb dog training school for Smithsonian Magazine.

Bomb dog training school for Smithsonian Magazine.

Inside the offices of Etsy for Inc. Magazine.

Inside the offices of Etsy for Inc. Magazine.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been doing freelance assignment work for 7 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I graduated from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
There are many. I’ve always been inspired by the work of Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. When I was in photography school, Steven Meisel and Steven Klein inspired me to try and become a fashion photographer. But I learned early on that it wasn’t fashion I loved but the stylistic use of lighting. So I applied it to what I was most interested in –- portraiture.

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 was never a good writer, so photography became an excuse to be a storyteller in a different way. I shoot at least two personal projects each year on subjects that interest me. For example I lived in Italy from 2006 to 2009, and while I was there I became fascinated with how American films are always dubbed into the Italian language instead of subtitled. After some research I learned that Italians have grown attached to the voices they associate with each Hollywood actor – so much that they’ve come to expect the voice of someone like Tom Hanks to always be the same person. This inspired me to spend a month in Rome photographing the dubbers in recreated scenes from their characters most iconic roles. Last month The New Yorker featured the story, which has already led to some exciting new opportunities.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
When it comes to advertising, I look at every assignment as the intersection of the creative, the client and me. It’s my job to bridge everyone’s goals into one successful outcome of which everybody can be proud. I shoot a lot of magazine assignments as well and they allow for a bit more freedom. The photo editor usually has ideas in mind, and they encourage me to interpret their ideas in a way that works best with my style.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
My first job out of college was in the art production department at McCann here in New York. I learned more in 10 months than in all three years of college. The experience allowed me to learn the business from the inside, instead of the usual perspective of a photo assistant. I learned that art buyers are drawn to work even if it isn’t what they are producing on a daily basis. Art buyers and photo editors receive hundreds of promos each week, and they basically look at them only long enough to throw them in the trash or delete them from their inbox. I learned quickly that it’s important to have a consistent style and to show work that’s hard to forget.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I’ve realized my best work comes from the heart. The beauty of doing personal projects is that I can market myself with the type of work I want to be assigned.

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Reed Young is an American photographer born in 1982. He grew up in Minneapolis and now calls New York City home. He shoots assignment work for magazines including Time, The Guardian Weekend, Fortune, Fast Company , Popular Mechanics and Runner’s World. Young’s work has taken him all over the world in search of stories that focus on the human perspective.

www.reedyoung.com +1 917.821.4449 me@reedyoung.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.

The Daily Edit – July Newstand: Joe Pugliese

- - The Daily Edit

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Fortune

Creative Director: Brandon Kavulla
Photography Director:
Mia J. Diehl

ESPN

VP/Creative Director, Digital and Print Media: John Korpics
Senior Director of Photography:
Karen Frank

BillBoard

Creative Director: Shanti Marlar
Photography+Video Director:
 Jennifer Laski
Deputy Photo Director: Jennifer Sargent

Texas Monthly

Creative Director: TJ Tucker
Photography Editor: Leslie Baldwin

Esquire

Design Director: David Curcurito
Photo Director: Michael Norseng
Art Director: Stravinski Pierre
Photo Editor: Stacy Pittman
Photographer: Joe Pugliese

You’re ruling the July newsstand. The covers seem to highlight your strength, what would you say that is?
It’s really hard to say what my strength is specifically because I’m too close to it to know what other people see in the work. When I hear feedback from editors, they reference things like quiet moments, or use the word iconic, which can seem generic but something I think about on every shoot. Not really in a heroic way but as a way to frame what we do in the context of the life of a photo. For example, I often think about the entire career or life story of a person, and at the end of their lives, what picture would define them? What one photo sums up someone who has done great things, and what are the characteristics of a photo like that? Usually they are not very complicated images, not overly conceptual, and allow the viewer to look straight into the subject’s personality without reference or too much explanation of who that person is.

Your work is very straight forward showing the person rather then the star, is this a conscious effort in your development as a portrait photographer? What niche if any are you trying to fill or what are style of brand are you trying to develop?
I think a photographer’s style can often mimic their personality and background, but it can take years to listen to that voice and actually develop it. I came up in the business through a very workaday ethic and perhaps took on too wide a variety of assignments early on. But because of that, my current approach is more confident since I’m not as obsessed with the technicality involved in making a shoot come together. I have my toolbox to dip into and change up when necessary, but for the most part I want the subjects to be the most notable thing in a picture, not the technique.

For the both the Billboard and the ESPN cover, were you surprised the final edit, they both capture that split second moment.
Both of those titles are very good at taking risks and letting the images speak for themselves so it wasn’t a total surprise but I was definitely thrilled to see those frames make the cut. These days, I think magazines are more daring with design and art direction because readers consume so much more imagery that it takes more to grab their attention than it may have 10 or even 5 years ago. I work with fantastic directors of photography, design directors and photo editors at both titles and their cover choices make them a dream to shoot for.

How do you approach your portrait sessions, how much research do is done and what tools do you use to get the subjects to settle in?
I do a little bit of image research on each subject but almost nothing else. I have gotten to a comfortable place with my approach and I don’t feel it necessary to know everything about a subject. For the most part, unless the client has specific direction, I prefer to react to whomever I’m photographing in a natural way, the same way they have to get to know me. Basically we’re two strangers who need to trust each other and gain some level of comfort almost immediately, and memorizing someone’s dossier is just going to get in the way of normal human interaction. I like to gauge a person’s mood and comfort level, and go from there. If they are really uncomfortable or nervous, that’s when it’s every photographer’s job to take the reigns and guide them through the process. I give very detailed direction in those cases and it takes the pressure off the person to perform for the camera, which almost no one likes to do. Portrait photographers are good conversationalists, and that trait has served me very well. I’ve referred to this job as a never-ending dinner party with new and fascinating guests, and I frame each interaction with a subject on those terms. Casual, comfortable, with everyone on equal footing.

For the Lance Armstrong session, how long did it take for you to connect with him. I’d imagine he’s guarded.
I’m a lifelong cyclist and I knew a lot about Lance going into this shoot. I wasn’t worried about him being guarded because he’s clearly someone who understands his relationship with the media, and is very savvy about the point of each profile he agrees to. I was more worried about the session being too one-sided and not having a chance to present the Lance of today, instead of the legendary Tour winner Lance Armstrong of previous years. Sometimes subjects have such a strong brand that they only give you something that fits within those parameters. On the contrary, Lance was extremely open and gracious and totally present. We were comfortable with each other immediately and I didn’t have to push to get honest moments from him.

In a few words what were you trying to tell with that particular portrait.
The assignment from Esquire was to portray how much Lance has been through, just by showing Lance as he is now, in 2014. It’s been 15 years since his first Tour win, and he’s bound to show some wear and tear. The sport alone in the best scenario can age a man, add to that his recent troubles, and it was all we could do to just make honest portraits of a very recognizable figure going through a tough time. I gave him certain direction in terms of posing and sitting, but didn’t ask for much in terms of expression. I never really like to ask subjects to smile. If they’re in a good mood they’ll smile, if they have a lot on their mind they might not. It’s really nice to see what people offer you before you start telling them to act and look a certain way.

Let’s go down the list. What did you hope to communicate with each session?

Fortune/Elizabeth Holmes
Fortune is such a venerable title and I have been a contributor for a long time so I was really excited to be part of this cover. Elizabeth Holmes is a 30 year-old tech entrepreneur and it was nice to see a young woman featured on the cover of Fortune. Mia Diehl is the Director of Photography and she and the photo team are very good at conveying what they want to get from the shoot, while at the same time letting the photographer interpret the subject in a natural way. They chose a strong frame for the cover and I was happy with the clean design of the type as well.

ESPN/DeSean Jackson
The story of DeSean Jackson was one of redemption, which is such a loaded word for a photographer to try to convey. I knew it couldn’t be too conceptual, and I trusted that if they hired me to do it, I was going to have to rely on making an image that just felt like redemption. I think we all knew what the story was about that day on set, and we were each on the same page so to speak about how to get it. As we tried more and more setups, he just got completely loose and totally offered these looks to me that showed me what he was going through. My job was to react to what felt and looked right, and work with him throughout those moments. It’s almost like editing on the fly, when something is good, you keep working it, and when it’s not, you just move on. We kept his energy up by moving fast and accomplishing a lot of looks in a short amount of time. I felt the trust of the DOP Karen Frank and photo editor Stephanie Weed to let me do what I do best, and that is such a great feeling.
Billboard/ J.Lo:
This was a great assignment for me because while the direction of the shoot was definitely to capture the sexiness of a very famous star who has been a household name for a long time, the challenge for me was to find some real moments within those parameters. I always love the “in-between” moments, the frames that are shot after or before the expected pose, even by a split second. Luckily for me, Jen Laski at Billboard is phenomenally talented at recognizing those moments and we worked on the edit together right after the shoot, something I rarely get to do with clients. We have the same taste in those honest moments and I knew I was in good hands with her in getting those frames in print.

Texas Monthly/George Strait
Another situation where the trust of the time really allowed for something special to occur. Design Director TJ Tucker traveled with me to Tulsa to shoot the reclusive country star for a cover commemorating his farewell tour. Strait is from Texas and is an absolute legend in country music. We were told we would have 5 minutes for the cover shoot, and somehow we stretched that to 9 minutes. We moved him through three lighting setups and I chatted with him the whole time. It was a crunch but it was also a very confident and well planned approach. TJ knew exactly what he was looking for, and we were alb to nail it because of that.

Are these all the first cover assignments for the respective titles?
I’ve previously shot one or more covers for each of these titles.

What promos did you send in order to get these assignments?
I don’t send promos outside of some email outreach that my agents at Bernstein & Andriulli handle. I view my editorial tearsheets as my promos, people who hire photographers are magazine readers and always tend to see what’s out there in other titles. I tend to get more work when I have good work on the newsstands.
Also, I just came off a nice round of meetings in NYC and I think that face time really helps me, being based in L.A. I have long standing relationships with a lot of my clients and that familiarity and trust is a crucial element in getting cover shoots.

 

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I know you are an avid cyclist so going into the shoot for Esquire did you show up as a cyclist and a photographer, or just one of those two personalities? Do you think it’s possible to split yourself?
In this case, I definitely had more to talk about with Lance than my usual subjects, but even then, I prefer to get subjects talking by asking broad questions that elicit longer responses. I like the emphasis to be on them, and it’s not really that necessary to share what I know about their lives. I did immediately notice that he had hairy legs, and ribbed him a little about that, haha.

Were you able to show up that day as a photographer only.
Yes, despite my knowledge of the sport and somewhat conflicted admiration of Lance, as soon as I meet anyone for a portrait session, I’m totally a photographer. It’s also part of the process that in my head we are both accomplished individuals, I draw on the fact that I’ve done this all before to calm my nerves and get on with the task at hand.

Has there been any moments of late where you’ve been secretly star stuck?
I wouldn’t say that I ever really get starstruck, but there is a phenomenon sometimes where the amount of respect I have for a subject gets in the way of how I interact with them. I’ve photographed some legendary people in Hollywood, but it’s the subjects that have been well known for decades that I find myself directing less, and just trying to document as they are. People like Robert Evans or Tom Petty or Kirk Douglas. Their legacy is so overwhelming that I don’t want to adjust anything at all, I just want to hold the camera up to them, in a sense.

Why did you choose B&A to represent you, was it a difficult choice?
Bernstein & Andriulli has always been a very influential agency for me, I always looked at their roster and what kinds of projects they were working on to see what kind of potential the industry holds. Carol Alda reached out and along with Ehrin Feeley, initiated a great back and forth conversation that lasted the better part of a year before I signed with them. I was not represented by anyone at the time and I had a very specific workflow and relationship with my clients that I wanted to maintain. Their patience and understanding of what’s important to me in my career were the deciding factors. I love the support and trust I get from them and Howard has given me great insight and advice from the beginning.

Whose on your blog roll/instagram feed?
On IG I’m loving the feeds of design directors, photo directors and editors. It’s so great to see the visual language of the people who are so influential in creating the visual languages of the magazines we shoot for. Ivan Shaw at Vogue has a great feed of NYC street scenes, and Kathy Ryan and Stacey Baker at the NYT mag have created very special feeds that really took off. Patrick Witty, now at Wired, had a phenomenal series on subway riders, and I love the pictorial beauty in the feeds of Nancy Jo Iacoi, Jessie Wender and Yolanda Edwards as well. All these amazing editors are also amazing photographers!

How do you use social media to market yourself?
I try to post things to my personal Facebook feed to share with editors I’m already friends with. I don’t like being too invasive with promotion but it seems to be received well. On instragram, I occasionally post some tearsheets I’m excited about but for the most part I use that feed to share my after-hours life, like cycling and travel.

I know you had assisted Art Streiber, who continues to be a great photo ambassador to anyone on his team, what did Art teach you?
Art is a great friend and we have very similar backgrounds. We both started as photojournalists, I was a photographer for the LA Times after college, and met him through friends in the newspaper business. I had no assisting experience and he totally took me under his wing and showed me how the entire industry operates. I assisted him at a time when the magazine business was extremely robust and shoots were high-budget and high-pressure. He taught me so many great lessons that it would be impossible to list them all, but the takeaway to this day is that to be a portrait photographer you have to truly be interested in people. Art is the most outgoing person I know and it shows in his work. I had to pay attention to my own curiosity towards people for my work to become my own, and I really benefitted from having Art as a mentor and friend.