Art Producers Speak: Joseph Puhy

- - Art Producers Speak

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Joseph Puhy because he is absolutely darling.

The Duke Boys!! It was a dream come true working with my childhood heroes during this project for Doner and autotrader.com

The Duke Boys!! It was a dream come true working with my childhood heroes during this project for Doner and autotrader.com

While documenting the chaos of running a mud bog on the set of the Animal Planet series, Mud Lovin’ Rednecks, I caught this tender moment between father and son.

While documenting the chaos of running a mud bog on the set of the Animal Planet series, Mud Lovin’ Rednecks, I caught this tender moment between father and son.

A personal project, inspired by one of my favorite dirt bike riding locations, created this late afternoon situation for a great image.

A personal project, inspired by one of my favorite dirt bike riding locations, created this late afternoon situation for a great image.

For Dry Kounty’s look-book shoot, we decided to use actors as models in vignettes to embody the personality of the brand.

For Dry Kounty’s look-book shoot, we decided to use actors as models in vignettes to embody the personality of the brand.

In collaboration with the model, my original concept morphed into this quirky portrait.

In collaboration with the model, my original concept morphed into this quirky portrait.

Using the model from the above (image 5), I highlighted his versatility in relation to our location. I love environmental portraits.

Using the model from the above (image 5), I highlighted his versatility in relation to our location. I love environmental portraits.

Reflective of my personal style, this is one of six ads shot for the Woo Agency and Lenovo.

Reflective of my personal style, this is one of six ads shot for the Woo Agency and Lenovo.

As with the above (image 7), there was an easy rapport with the Art Director for this Lowe CE agency Ghirardelli Chocolate ad.

As with the above (image 7), there was an easy rapport with the Art Director for this Lowe CE agency Ghirardelli Chocolate ad.

Kip Thorne, Theoretical Physicist. Photographed for science magazine, Newton.

Kip Thorne, Theoretical Physicist. Photographed for science magazine, Newton.

Dude. Running. Location. Epic.

Dude. Running. Location. Epic.

How many years have you been in business?
19 years total, including assisting which started in high school, but shooting consistently the last seven years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, back in the days of film and Polaroid. I’ve taught myself everything digital since my days in the darkroom.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
First off, my father was a Creative Director, so there was endless reference material at home to get lost in; art, photography books, art publications like Zoom and Lurzer’s Archive. Also, he’d take me out on shoots during the summers. Next, it was the photographers I worked for on summer breaks in high school and first years at college. They introduced me to the craft of photography, lens choice, lighting, processing, film stocks, and how it all tied together. There was a real sense of alchemy that I couldn’t figure out but was drawn to. That’s the reason I decided to go to Brooks and learn the technical aspects of photography.

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 a balance that I’m constantly refining. Luckily, now I have a body of work where I can throw a few curve balls into a commercial book. A balance between execution, observation, and subject matter.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Yes, to a certain extent. Not so much when shooting the job, because at that point it’s a collaboration, more in trying to get the job. I’ve found that having great relationships with creatives, buyers and producers has gotten me to the table to bid on some amazing projects but often lose out to a “bigger name photographer” based on the client’s recommendation. In the end it’s their money, and they need to make the decision that’s best for them. I just keep pushing forward to the next opportunity.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
First, I try to meet face-to-face with agencies where I might be a good fit. That can be a difficult process, but I think that when meeting someone in person, they can get a better sense of what I’m about. I participate on many marketing sites, and was recently invited to be a part of At-Edge.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
You better like it too. You have to show work that you want to produce.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, I do personal projects for promos. If there is time on jobs and the situation allows for it I try to do a version for myself.

How often are you shooting new work?
Every month.

———————

I am a Los Angeles photographer that works with a wide range of clients from commercial to editorial. My style has a natural aesthetic with a cinematic approach. I capture moments of people and things relating to their environment, either in harmony or discord. That relationship tells stories worth sharing.

Website: www.puhy.com
E-mail: Joseph@puhy.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 – Gail Bichler : New York Times Magazine Design Director

- - The Daily Edit

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The New York Times Magazine

Editor: Jake Silverstein
Deputy Editor: Bill Wasik
Design Director: Gail Bichler
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan

Photo Editor: Christine Walsh
Deputy Photo Editor: Joanna Milter
Photographer:
Johnny Miller
Stylist: Randi Brookman Harris

Heidi:Once your direction was set to show a package of pills received by mail, what were the next steps in the creative process and what was your time frame?
Gail: The next steps were deciding how we wanted to the package to look, thinking about what type of image would best convey our message and then figuring out the best person to shoot that kind of image. We were on a pretty tight time frame, as we usually are since the magazine is weekly. We had about five days to pull the shoot together.

 

 

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Was it this body of work (My Parents Love Letters ) by Johnny Miller that convinced the team he was right for the project? Were there any other considerations and made you choose him? See the full gallery  here
Yes, this was the body of work that made us think of him. We wanted the image to feel very natural and dimensional – to walk the line of being a conceptual image but with the feel of something real. Our photo department had been looking for an opportunity to work with Johnny, and Christine Walsh (the photo editor on the project) and I thought he would be great for this because his work is clean and graphic but still personal.

I loved the small tear in the cover where the bottle is, what other details were taken into consideration to make this image come alive?
A simple image like this is all about the details, so we paid a lot of attention to them. We hired stylist Randi Brookman Harris, with whom we’ve collaborated quite a bit. She sourced a number of different kinds of envelopes and adjusted them to fit the proportions of the cover. We also designed cancellation and metered postage stamps from India (the point of origin for the packages mentioned in the story) and Randi commissioned rubber stamps of them to be applied to the envelopes. We estimated how much a package like this would weigh and accounted for that when fabricating the metered stamp. Randi applied both stamps to the modified envelopes somewhat haphazardly to approximate the way they would appear if they had actually gone through the postal service, and she applied unequal pressure so the ink would vary in density. We placed a square box in the package to give the impression of the volume of the pillbox and began shooting. As the shoot progressed, we also tried versions where we beat up the envelope more, adding wrinkles and smearing the stamps to give the impression that the envelope had been through the mail.

I know from working at news organization there’s prestige and a social responsibility that comes with designing news journalism. How has your role as the Art Director shaped you personally?
There is definitely a social responsibility aspect to working for The New York Times. While there is always a craft and attention to aesthetics that is part of what art directors do, there are also many other considerations when designing news. Under the best circumstances the most eye-catching design is tonally on target, the most arresting photographs correspond with the narrative of the piece, and the most graphic concept for a cover accurately captures the main point of the story, but in cases where that doesn’t happen, conveying the intent and message of the writing sometimes wins out over the aesthetic considerations. I have learned to look past my own viewpoints on the subjects we cover and see the story from varying angles. And in some cases, it’s necessary for me to temper my own goals for the visuals of a piece with what is right for the magazine and the brand of The New York Times. My view of visual story telling and journalism has become much more nuanced.

While I was at The Los Angeles Times Magazine I remembered having moments of being semi paralyzed and in awe of the amount of news being produced on a daily basis. How does the volume of news and your acute awareness effect you as a mother?
The amount of news being generated a daily basis is absolutely dizzying. Particularly in this moment when digital access means that our choices of where to get information have multiplied exponentially. As a mother, I sometimes worry about the easy accessibility of news that is increasingly more violent and graphic. I want to protect my 5-year-old son’s innocence while I can, so I make efforts not to watch or listen to the news around him, because the coverage can quickly shift from a benign topic to something that could be scary for a little person. 

However, I’ve also seen the upsides to the kind of instant access to news and information that we now have. It’s great to be able to satisfy a curious mind not only with a verbal explanation, but also with images. Particularly for a very visual learner like my son. That has never been as easy to do as it is now. As with everything, we take the good with the bad.

Brands will define pro photography for the next decade

- - Working

From Paul Melcher’s blog “Thoughts of a Bohemian”

since editorial photography’s dominance in our cultural landscape diminished, the advertising world had to look elsewhere for inspiration. No longer can they count on their magazines to give them a hint on what type of photography is successful. Instead, they turned to the new trend indicator : Social media.

It will not be surprising, it is happening already, to see editorial photography influenced by brand photography. In an effort to keep pace with current trends, online and print publications are more and more looking into what works for brands and applying it to their spreads.

For now, we still live in a world slightly dominated by editorial photography, only because of cultural habits. But deeper, the evolution has already happened and is progressing with patient obstination.

Read The Article Here: Brands will define pro photography for the next decade. – Thoughts of a Bohemian.

This Week In Photography Books: Rosalind Fox Solomon

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

I know a photographer who won’t tell people he/she is Jewish. It’s a secret. He/she worries for his/her safety, if the information ever got out.

I still remember the fantasy of Barack Obama’s inaugural days as President, when people spoke of a post-racial society. It would be funny, if it weren’t so sad. How ridiculous that idea seems, in retrospect.

There is, and has always been, the other. People who don’t look like you, talk like you, or copulate like you. People who worship a deity with a different name.

Them.

They’re not like us.

Me, I admit I’m Jewish in this column all the time. Why? It feels a touch defiant, as my people are disliked by many. Growing up, in the 70’s and 80’s, I still felt like I ought to keep my identity on the downlow. And this was in the orbit of New York City, no less.

I suppose I revel in the rebellion of claiming membership in a controversial tribe. “The Tribe,” as we often call ourselves. If it ever comes back to bite me, this freedom of identification, I suppose you can say “I told you so.”

As I mentioned some time back, I visited Israel when I was young, but have yet to return. I’m hoping the opportunity presents itself, but I guess we’ll have to see. It’s a country that is claimed by many, and owned by few. A more tortured history, you’re unlikely to find. (Insert random suffering reference here.)

The Jews were expelled for daring to stand up to the Romans. A diaspora of millions, created with the stroke of a pen. (Or a quill? What would those Romans have written with, I wonder?)

Regardless, the Palestinians were kind-of-ejected as well, and they’d like to get it back. The Christians, too, feel a deep connection, as it was the birthplace of the Jewish man Jesus, a messiah to some.

Regardless of which side you root for, it’s not a stretch to say the tension is carried through the air, there, like heat waves rising off of pale cobblestones. The wounds might never heal. Or perhaps they will? Who am I to speculate?

But that tension, that crippling feeling in your stomach, pulsates through “Them,” a new book by Rosalind Fox Solomon, recently published by MACK.

This book is one of the series commissioned by the project “This Place,” which invited major artists to Israel to poke around. A month or so ago, I reviewed an excellent book by Frederic Brenner, from the same series, and I might do more still, if the quality is this good going forward.

Open it up, and the first page shows a tourist holding a map of Israel, talking to two African women. It sets the scene, in a subtle way. Then, three words on otherwise blank pages: the holy longing. Afterwards, a photograph of a sere, desolate desert. It’s safe to guess we’re in the Holy Land. (At least, I did.)

I wasn’t aware, when I first perused, that this book was a part of “This Place.” I was curious what motivated the production. I hate to repeat words, but it’s just so cripplingly tense. It made me physically uncomfortable, turning the pages.

So much passion. Anger. Dismay. Banality. Drama.

There are text breaks on blank pages throughout, and they might crack through your veneer of world-weariness:

“you don’t understand”
“i want my kids to live in peace”
“god is here for everyone”
“security will be suspicious”
“i love you i love you i love you”
“take care of your mother/ i’ll call you tomorrow.”

Needless to say, those lines could have been uttered by anyone wrapped up in the conflict. They’re universal, which is part of the book’s message, I suppose. When so many have been done wrong, over so long, who can claim a superiority of suffering?

I almost skipped to the end of this book, several times, just to break the spell. I wanted it to be over, the unpleasant perceptiveness. I wanted to feel safe again, in my own house, with asshole neighbors, yes, but not ones who wanted to kill me.

I resisted. The urge, that is. It’s my job to look at these books and report to you, so I stayed strong and went one page at a time. Like a good boy.

It’s rare that I pick up a book and have it affect me this palpably. It’s experiential, this one, so much so that I haven’t really mentioned the successful use of black and white, or the square frame. So many of these pictures appear as if they could have been made 10, 20, 30, or 40 years ago. They feel timeless and fresh at the same time.

Despite the fact that the end credits name-drop some heavy hitters in the art world, and that the invited artists were all meant to be “prominent,” I’d never heard of Ms. Solomon before.

Too bad for me.

She is clearly an insightful, creative, and powerful artist, near the top of her craft. For as many books as I see, for one to crack me over the skull like this is worth mentioning again. You might consider buying this one.

It’s special.

Bottom Line: Masterful depiction of every-day life in a perpetual conflict zone

To Purchase “Them” 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: Patrick Fraser

- - Art Producers Speak

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Patrick Fraser. I worked with him on extremely complicated projects and he always over delivered. Understanding vision of agency creative, suggesting solution for unusual concepts, delivering beautiful photography and always under budget. What else can an art buyer want from the photographer.

Carla Korbes is a principal dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet.  I wanted to photograph her in a raw setting with very simple styling so I picked Long Beach WA in the early morning wearing this very simple black leotard.

Carla Korbes is a principal dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet.  I wanted to photograph her in a raw setting with very simple styling so I picked Long Beach WA in the early morning wearing this very simple black leotard.

Here is an example of my magazine portrait work.  Don Cheadle and Chloe Sevigny photographed for two different magazine features. The magazine ended up using color images for the features but I like to offer up some black and white.  For Don I used a 4x5 with BW film.  Chloe pictured in the window of a studio in New York was also taken with a roll of grainy BW medium format film.

Here is an example of my magazine portrait work.  Don Cheadle and Chloe Sevigny photographed for two different magazine features. The magazine ended up using color images for the features but I like to offer up some black and white.  For Don I used a 4×5 with BW film.  Chloe pictured in the window of a studio in New York was also taken with a roll of grainy BW medium format film.

My friends daughter Jane was taken with a disposable underwater camera.  Everything is working for me, her hair, the colors, the grainy real quality and her gaze.

My friends daughter Jane was taken with a disposable underwater camera.  Everything is working for me, her hair, the colors, the grainy real quality and her gaze.

I was walking the streets of Paris when I spotted these boys playing Rugby.  I walked up to them with my Leica M6 and started to shoot and they did'nt mind at all they just kept on playing.  I love the faces here and all that muddy skin. 

I was walking the streets of Paris when I spotted these boys playing Rugby.  I walked up to them with my Leica M6 and started to shoot and they did’nt mind at all they just kept on playing.  I love the faces here and all that muddy skin. 

I shot this lookbook all at night in Silver Lake CA.  The story was called Into the Night.

I shot this lookbook all at night in Silver Lake CA.  The story was called Into the Night.

One of those real moments caught between a friend Ceara and her dog.

One of those real moments caught between a friend Ceara and her dog.

This was taken for an editorial men's fashion story about night surfers in San Diego.  The art director wanted it as real as possible. I started the shoot by getting on my wetsuit and shooting the guys in the water with a flash. Shooting surfing at night is a challenge but the images came out great!

This was taken for an editorial men’s fashion story about night surfers in San Diego.  The art director wanted it as real as possible. I started the shoot by getting on my wetsuit and shooting the guys in the water with a flash. Shooting surfing at night is a challenge but the images came out great!

I love the spontaneous energy in this shot of two actors from TV show Nashville.  It shows my studio work and was photographed for Nylon Magazine's TV special issue.

I love the spontaneous energy in this shot of two actors from TV show Nashville.  It shows my studio work and was photographed for Nylon Magazine’s TV special issue.

This is a still from a music video I directed with musician Marissa Nadler.  I chose Lake Erie in Ohio for the location as a cold frozen lake spoke to me in her song Rosary.  I love this location and luckily it was the middle of winter so the lake was frozen which ads to the drama.

This is a still from a music video I directed with musician Marissa Nadler.  I chose Lake Erie in Ohio for the location as a cold frozen lake spoke to me in her song Rosary.  I love this location and luckily it was the middle of winter so the lake was frozen which ads to the drama.

This is one of the shots I took at Vail International Dance Festival in August 2014. It pictures Tiler Peck and Robbie Fairchild of New York City Ballet doing a pose from the Jerome Robbins ballet  "Afternoon of a Faun".  I love to shoot dancers as they know how to move.

This is one of the shots I took at Vail International Dance Festival in August 2014. It pictures Tiler Peck and Robbie Fairchild of New York City Ballet doing a pose from the Jerome Robbins ballet  “Afternoon of a Faun”.  I love to shoot dancers as they know how to move.

One of my all time favorite editorial shoots here with David Lynch.  I arrived at his home and his assistant told me he was in his art studio.  I carefully asked her if there was any way I could go up there and take pictures of him working.   She asked him and he agreed.  It really felt personal, like taking a look into an artists private space.  The result is I have a wonderful series of him working on his fine art.  

One of my all time favorite editorial shoots here with David Lynch.  I arrived at his home and his assistant told me he was in his art studio.  I carefully asked her if there was any way I could go up there and take pictures of him working.  
She asked him and he agreed.  It really felt personal, like taking a look into an artists private space.  The result is I have a wonderful series of him working on his fine art.  

How many years have you been in business?
My first magazine assignment was 16 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I didn’t go to photography school I actually studied fine art majoring in painting at University in England. Before that I took a foundation course in art & design in my hometown, which had a few photo classes. My father was a documentary filmmaker and gave me my first SLR at age 8. He taught me a lot about photography and showed me how to do black & white printing in the darkroom we had at our home.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I used to collect photography monographs from a really young age and pore over new issues of The Face and Arena magazines as a teen. If it came down to one photographer I’d have to say Avedon. What inspired me about his work was his range of subject matter. He mixed fashion and celebrity in the studio with everyday American workers outdoors in the American West series.

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’m always shooting editorial which keeps me on my toes and keeps a constant feed of new work rolling in. Editorial gives me the creative freedom to experiment whilst collaborating with a photo editor or art director. I like how it sharpens my problem solving skills, which can be invaluable on advertising shoots. Editorial is a good way to experiment with new lighting set ups and keep visually exploring. It’s also a good way to keep your name out there.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I’ve been lucky, as I can’t say I have had that experience. Once I have been selected for a project I like to keep up a level of communication, which makes it hard for this to happen. If the communication is clear from the word go and the collaborators are all working well together then the client is usually more than happy with the results.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
You never can market yourself enough and I should be more aggressive in this department. My marketing plan is multi layered and consists of personal printed pieces, e-mails, alongside my editorial credits. My agent also sends out marketing and they do showings of my portfolio.

I was skeptical at first of social networking for marketing and promo, I felt like it weakened the work. Now I have started to post more images that I love and behind the scenes shots on Instagram and have begun to use it more, like an online portfolio. I feel like Instagram is the best social network tool for photographers and a good way to get one’s work in front of creative minded people. You can see my posts @patchypics

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Photography trends come in waves. You’ll see a photographer being used all over for a couple of years, their style of shooting might start to get copied and then the market for that imagery gets saturated. One must always stay true to one’s own vision and continue to grow and evolve. Shoot what comes naturally to you. Following trends is the kiss of death.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes always. I’m always out there shooting a test, making a film or thrashing out an idea I had driving or even in my sleep! Just this past week I was up in Vail at a dance festival for a few days and then I started asking the dancers if they had some spare time for a session. I came back with some really strong new images and that started an idea for a new series for me.

How often are you shooting new work?
I have a constant flow of new work. I get excited when there is a gap in commercial or magazine assignments where I can just go off and make images for myself both stills and motion. That is the time to explore what you love and usually that’s when you come back with strong images which were self motivated.

—————

10 FACTS ABOUT PATRICK
1) When he was 18 he rode an Enfield 350 Bullet Motorbike around Northern India.
2) He is renovating a 1948 Homesteader cabin in Joshua Tree, CA.

3) Is reading The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

4) Made his first piece of furniture in 2012, a bench for his garden

5) Is restoring a 1973 Alfa Romeo GTV

6) Loves to sketch

7) He is big on roasting and using the BBQ for slow cooking

8) Rents a production office near Abbott Kinney in Venice, CA

9) 2014 completed a documentary about the art of Taxidermy called Skin Movers

10) He Plays the French horn

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.

21st Century Book Deal Hustle

- - Book Publishing

Every era gets the catch phrase it deserves. Just think about “Where’s the beef?” Remember that cranky old lady on the Wendy’s commercials? Of course you do. That it happened during the 80’s, when actors like Stallone and Schwarzenegger were beef-caking up the movie theaters?

Not a coincidence.

By now, you know my own catchphrase like you know the pixel count on your new iPhone. I always talk about the 21st Century Hustle. Hustle this, hustle that. I might as well be Huggy Bear strutting down the street in Starsky and Hutch, for all I talk about hustling.

What does it look like in real life though? I could tell you about how many different jobs I do in a given day, or a given week. But that would sound like complaining. Which I don’t want to do.

It just so happens that I bumped into the perfect embodiment of the 21st Century Hustle a couple of weeks ago, in Santa Fe. I was standing there, minding my own business, when WHAM, a hustler’s moment cracked me in the head like a steroidal cop’s blackjack.

I was at an after-party for a friend’s art opening. I’d already done 5 errands in 2 hours, including a futile search for a hoodie at Target. So I was pretty burnt, by evenings end.

There I was, loading up my plate full of vegetarian goodies, getting ready to drink up a half a margarita. (I had a 2 hour drive home afterwards, so no Tequila buzz for me.) I looked up, and who did I see but Jamey Stillings, the unofficial mayor of the Santa Fe photo scene, and Brad Wilson, whose excellent photo book I’d just reviewed the week before.

Not such huge coincidence, as it’s a small town, but still. I was there, they were there, so we started talking. I’d met Brad briefly at Review Santa Fe in 2009, but not seen him since. I’ve bumped into Jamey 50 times since then, but we rarely chat at length.

Here was our moment.

Brad began telling us what it was like to go viral, and have his work everywhere, as it is now. Jamey and I had each had similar experiences, so we offered up our own coping strategies.

We kept talking. That’s what you do at parties.

But then, ten minutes or so into the chat, the guys both started talking about how they got their most recent book deals. And neither of them had to put up any money for the production. They were giving me serious details. Inside information.

BAM.

My brain switched into journalist mode quicker than Obama would punch Vlad Putin flush in the face, if given the opportunity. It happened so quickly, I wasn’t even aware of it at first. But it wasn’t on the record…we were just chatting. The 21st Century Hustle says you don’t care. You go for the story. Period. (Everyone’s got to get paid.)

So I asked a bunch of more specific questions, and at the end, right before I had to head to my car, I asked the guys if we could consider the chat on the record. Could I write it up, so that you, the audience, could get the benefit of their accrued wisdom?

Classy guys, they both said yes.

Here we go.

Jamey had his first book published by Nazraeli Press a few years ago. They did a great job, and Jamey didn’t have to put in any of his own funds. How did it come about?

Turns out, Jamey first met Chris Pichler, the publisher, at Photo LA a while back. He was encouraged to go hand him a MagCloud booklet of his popular project, “The Bridge at Hoover Dam,” in which he had documented the creation of a major American infrastructure project.

Jamey didn’t want to hand it off like that, as it seemed too forward, but he was strongly encouraged to do it. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Pichler told Jamey he had never, ever published a book from someone who approached him randomly like that. Jamey, who is typically very diplomatic, made a rare faux pas and said something rude in return.

Bridge burned, he assumed. (Pun intended.)

Fast forward a couple of years, and he had a portfolio review with Mr. Pichler in Palm Springs early in the morning of the last review day. Luckily, the first meeting, brief as it was, had been forgotten. Jamey put Mr. Pichler at ease by saying that he knew he chose his books based upon a personalized set of criteria, so he was not looking to be published. Just wanted some feedback.

If you don’t know, letting people know you don’t want something from them is a great way to chill them out. It worked here, and Mr. Pichler offered to publish the project in short order. They also worked out an agreement where the funding Jamey sought and received from the Bridge’s chief engineering firm was used to create a special edition of the book for the company. They got to give out the “special edition” books as gifts. (The win-win is such a feature of the 21st C, I’ve found.)

When it came time for his second book, a series about the massive Ivanpah solar field in California, Jamey first approached Nazraeli Press about its interest. Though now good friends, Chris Pichler took a pass on the new project. Jamey also pitched another publisher he respected, but they also passed. (Which was fortunate, as they’re known for requiring photographers to spend a very large sum to get a book published.)

He did receive interest from another relatively new publisher, but the deal would also have necessitated significant funding. This seemed counter-intuitive to Jamey, based on his initial book publishing experience, and his belief in the new body of work.

Jamey felt he could do better.

He decided to give it a shot with Steidl, the gold standard of the photo book publishing world. As it transpired at the party, Brad knew the ending of this story, but I didn’t. So I got to express my surprise in real time.

Jamey hired a very reputable book designer to help him make a BLAD, an industry term for a mockup. Once done, they made a digital version as well. Jamey then set up a series of digital download incarnations, including Dropbox and WeTransfer. He was meticulous, he told me, and made sure it was absolutely perfect.

Then, having invested time and money into the potential book, he emailed it directly to Gerhard Steidl. How did he get the email address, I asked? It’s right on the website, apparently.

Jamey got an automated response the next day saying that they don’t accept digital submissions, so could he please submit a traditional paper version. But the next day, he got notification that the digital submission had been downloaded by Mr. Steidl. (Thank god for notifications, I suppose, which are normally annoying as hell.)

An hour later, he got an email saying that they wanted to publish the book. WTF? I bet he hollered louder than a drunk Texan skiing fresh powder, when he read that note.

Now, before I paint a picture that the book is free, so he’s the big winner of 2014, hold tight. Jamey told me he books helicopter time in massive amounts to get the aerial photos he seeks. He is a successful commercial photographer, but still, that shit costs money. So he invested in the work itself, and then in the preparations for a book, in order to get the end result he wanted.

“It takes money to make money” is a tenet of business for a reason.

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Brad’s story is similar. He spent a bunch of his own resources hiring animal trainers, and traveling the country, as I speculated in the book review a few weeks ago. It was money he earned in his day job as a commercial photographer, but he chose to reinvest it in his art. This was a project he had to make, and it took three years.

At some point, a gallery in London had heard of his work, and bookmarked his website. They were negotiating with another fine-art animal photographer for gallery representation, but the deal fell through. They happened to go back to Brad’s website, saw that he had the new “Affinity” project up, and they offered him a contract and subsequent exhibition forthwith.

Brad decided to go all in, and made the prints 40×60, framed in museum glass, for the London exhibition. The cost was steep. But the show was a big hit, and the gallery hired a PR firm to get the word out. Brad specifically asked them to target book publishers, as he was hoping to make a book out of the project. And he knew he was putting his best foot forward.

Sure enough, a representative from Prestel came to the show, was smitten, and offered Brad a book deal. Like Steidl, they don’t ask the artist for any contributions. And they even gave Brad an advance. Very unlike the stories we’ve been warning you about, where less reputable publishers will take your $30,000-$50,000, as long as you have it.

Image from the Affinity series

Image from the Affinity series

Image from the Affinity series

Image from the Affinity series

Image from the Affinity series

Each artist stressed to me that they felt like this happened to them because they’d been working towards it for a long time. Separately, they each spoke of talent alone as an over-rated concept. You have to buckle down and be patient, if you’re going to get anything achieved.

They both put themselves in a position for good things to happen, they said, rather than feeling like they got lucky.

Each project was done out of passion and necessity. They invested their resources in themselves, because they believed if they were interested in the stories they were telling, others might be too. They had faith in themselves, but also told me they weren’t worried about outcomes while they were making the work.

Both guys were making photographic projects based upon major changes being wrought during the early stages of the 21st C. (Disappearing wildlife, emerging alternative technology.) They both found that things worked out in the end. (What? I’m American. I like happy endings.)

The moral here, though, is that nobody gets off for free. I accept that. When we make art, we invest time, money, psychic energy, and sometimes more than that. There are no guarantees.

Brad and Jamey both echoed each other, with respect to their attention to detail, serious preparation for when the moment was right, and a willingness to bet on themselves. I think we can all learn from that.

Don’t you?

The Daily Edit – Flaunt: Scott Pommier

- - The Daily Edit

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                                       Some additional  images from the shoot.

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FLAUNT

Editor in Chief: Luis Barajas
Creative Director:
Jim Turner
Photo Editor: Mui-Hai Chu

Photographer and Director: Scott Pommier
Director of Photography ( video ): Greg Hunt

Heidi: How did this story come about?
Scott: I really wanted to shoot something for Flaunt so I set up a meeting with the photo editor. Pitching a fashion story can be tricky as magazines have their own agenda and their own style. In the past I’ve had magazines interested in my ideas but they just didn’t fit with what they had planned for the foreseeable future and the concepts would wither on the vine. When I met with the photo editor at Flaunt, I brought some work to show, but instead of presenting a specific story, I described my approach to shooting fashion and then we talked about what themed issues they had on the horizon. I told the photo editor that I would put something together for her, and a couple of days later, after meeting up with some stylists, I had a treatment to show. Flaunt was starting to schedule their fall denim issue, they called it ‘The Distress Issue.’ Denim is a very practical material, and you see a lot of streetwear inspired shoots, or vaguely 1950s styling, but I wanted to shoot something that was both dramatic, and cinematic, something with movement. I sat with it for a while, and then started to sketch some thoughts. I had a picture in my head, that ultimately became one of the teaser films, of a woman hanging upside-down from a galloping horse. I’m not sure where I’d seen this stunt but I knew it was common enough amongst rodeo trick-riders. I wanted to change the context a little bit, so that it was less a trick or a stunt but rather a strange and beautiful image.

 
Did the magazine help cast these beautiful girls who also know how to ride?
Once I decided to focus on trick riding, my producer set about finding the talent and location. She found an amazing team of trick riders called “The Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls.” We looked at having them make the trip to LA, but decided that it would be better for the crew to travel as their property was just amazing. It’s at the foot of the Sierras and they had quite a few acres of pretty wild terrain. It was perfect. This meant the crew driving a little over three hours from LA, and staying overnight, but it was worth it.
The stunts were all performed by incredibly experienced riders, some of the best in the world. We added two agency models that we thought could fit with the trick riders.
I love those Peter Lindbergh or Steven Klein shoots that create a whole world. It’s become increasingly common to plunk a pretty lady is placed alongside or in front of something novel. Sometimes that can feel like models are simply decoration. In this case, I didn’t want there to be such a separation, so I tried to plan shots and sequences that would allow the audience to think of all the characters together. Models and horses are a common element in fashion stories, but it’s usually just a model gently patting a horse’s nose, or standing beside a horse, maybe sitting on a stationary horse, but I wanted to create a sense of familiarity. My producer and I did an extensive search for models. We reached out to a number of agencies, NEXT really got behind the idea and sent us some great options. One of the gals actually flew in to do the shoot. Neither of the models had experience with horses, but the trick riders did a great job getting them up to speed. My producer is a long-time equestrian, which was a tremendous advantage. In the end, we were able to shoot one of the models as she laid out flat on her back on one of the horses, her hair draped down meshing with the horse’s tail. In another shot, a model curled up with a horse that had been trained to lay down on his side. The models and the stunt riders were all really brave, and the result is images that go above and beyond what you normally see with this kind of shoot. It would have been a waste to have this kind of access to some of the most talented riders and highly-trained animals on the planet and shoot something that you could have set up in a petting zoo.

How did you capture the footage?
Most of the footage was shot on a tripod or with a 3-way gimbal. I worked with Greg Hunt, a DP that I knew from my days shooting for skateboarding magazines. I needed someone who understood shooting action, someone with whom I shared a common visual language. A friend had put me in touch with a company called PMG Multi-Rotors that had a prototype of a 3-way brushless gimbal called a TYTO. It’s a handheld version of the stabilizer that’s used for drone-helicopter footage. The TYTO is able to handle a RED epic. For the sequence where the camera tracks along with the rider as she hangs upside down from the horse, a maneuver called the ’suicide drag,’ we shot from a mini-van. We paced the horse, and Greg shot out of the side door using the gimbal. Normally these stunts are performed inside a ring, but for the sake of the story we asked if it would be possible to shoot in a field. The field was really bumpy and the minivan was bouncing almost to the point of catching air but the gimbal did an amazing job of stabilizing the shot. The final result is something that until very recently you just wouldn’t have been able to shoot without heroic efforts and huge expense.

 

How much footage did you shoot in order to get these videos?
Greg was rolling the whole time I was shooting, and in a few cases we broke into two units, as we were starting to run out of time. With fashion shoots you have to expect that hair and makeup and clothing changes can take a very long time so even though we shot all day, the amount of time we could spend on each setup was minimal.

What was the most challenging part of this shoot for either the still or motion?
There were a lot of moving parts. We had a small crew and we were trying to get a tremendous amount done in a very short time. Even though the horses are extremely well trained, they’re still animals and are very nervous by their nature. They were dealing with new people, unfamiliar equipment and they were being asked to do things that they don’t normally do. These horses aren’t normally paired with novice riders, they are very responsive and are always waiting for queues from the rider. The hardest thing was to be able to adapt to what the animals were doing. I shot a lot of the story with a Pentax 67, so trying to focus and frame shots up where the models looked natural and in control while the horse below them was reacting to their environment was difficult. But even at it’s most challenging I knew that this is exactly how I wanted to be shooting.

Why is that?
I’ve always had this idea that there’s a value in doing things the hard way, and with photography that value is a little more apparent. We are exposed to so many images that it’s become increasingly important to me to shoot images that stand out. Whether it’s the location, the action, the art direction or the subject, there has to be something compelling, something out of the ordinary.  Naturally there are times when I tread on ground that others have already covered, but I’m trying to elevate what I do, and add a layer of complexity. I’m not interested in stacking accessories on a static model as if they are mannequins, or in shooting someone doing jump kicks on a seamless. I don’t say that to sound superior, it’s just not for me. I’m interested in fashion as a means to an end, the clothing conveys style, but to me the style is more important than the clothing. I like fashion as fantasy and less as commerce.

 

 

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I know you started out shooting skateboarding, was it a natural segue to shoot athletes?
The first pictures I ever shot were action photos. Very early on I was interested in shooting pictures that were like what you’d find in skateboarding magazines. So yeah, that was something that I got very comfortable with. The photograph of Usain Bolt draws heavily on that experience. I was asked to get a shot of Usain taking off out of the blocks, but was told that I could only have five attempts at the shot. Sprinters put everything they’ve got into their starts and with such a hectic schedule leading up to the Olympics his people were really trying to protect him from any injuries. One of the conversations that I’d had with the agency was about the images having their own look and not feeling like a Nike ad. Of course there isn’t any one Nike look, they produce a tremendous amount of work with a wide-range of artist, but I think what they meant was to avoid a very contrasty, very crisp, hyper-real image where you could see every drop of sweat. Having shot a lot of action I was able to set up a lighting scheme that plays with the flash duration, freezing the areas that need to be sharp and allowing the motion to slightly blur others. The first frame I shot was admittedly terrible, I wasn’t used to the timing of the shutter on the camera. The second frame was a success, but I felt we could do a little better,  the third frame is the one you see here.  Plenty of other photographers have shot this exact moment, but it was a fairly high pressure situation. Puma later built a campaign around the image but we had about a five-minutes to light it, and three-minutes to capture it. When you’re shooting something like that you have to be able to see it in your head before you shoot it. I had a reputation for being one of the slower skateboard photographers, there was always pressure to be faster and faster, which was tough as I was trying to light things in increasingly complicated ways.  I think it sped up my decision-making process, so with a solid crew I can work very quickly.


The other thing that skateboarding taught me  was to tread very lightly in other people’s worlds. Every time I’d see a photograph or read a story about skateboarding that an outsider had done, they’d always get it wrong, every single time. They’d get the terminology wrong, or they’d have someone holding their board in some goofy way, or they’d shoot someone doing a trick that they clearly hadn’t landed. I found that very frustrating, so now I do everything I can not to get it wrong when someone shares their world with me. Authenticity is a word that creatives use a lot in reference to my work, and I think part of the reason is that I have a certain level of reverence for what I shoot.

 

 

 

 

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I know you’re doing more directing and motion work, are you trying to get that depth and movement by layering your still images?
I’m not sure that there’s a connection between the motion work and the double-exposures, but I’m always interested in creating images that have visual depth and that have substance. I suppose putting two pictures in the same frame has some affinities with putting two images into a sequence on a time-line, but it’s not something I had in mind. I do tend to shoot people in motion, even if it’s subtle. I’ve had a number of people tell me that some of my pictures are like ‘film stills’ so maybe there has always been some overlap between the two.

I see you’ve split with your agent Webber Represents and who are you with now?
I’m looking for representation in U.S. at the moment. Webber was great, there’s certainly no animosity on either side. It’s just like any relationship, you have to want to grow in the same direction at the same time. Even with the best intentions, that doesn’t always happen. I think a lot of my work fits in between categories, or blurs the lines a bit. The fashion stuff that I shoot borders on portraiture, a lot of the action photos have a fashion influence, overall there’s a bit of an editorial feel to my body of work, but most of my photos are either commercial or personal. I feel that if you look at all my pictures together they make sense, but I can also appreciate that my work is spread across a few different genres. Perhaps it’s easier to sell someone when it’s very clear what they do, like the capital “L” lifestyle photographer who’s going to whip the talent into a frenzy, and shoot them sticking their tongues out, or climbing fences, or pushing one another in shopping carts. I’ve done those kinds of shoots but they’re not what I want to chase. I’ve been busy producing new work, and what I need is an agent who can see where my photography fits in the commercial world. In the meantime I’m certainly not going at it alone. I have a terrific agent in Toronto (Lisa Bonnici) and I just signed with a production company in the U.K. called Mad Cow films, who are representing me for motion work. Sometimes you have to follow your instincts and trust that you’ll be happy with where you end up.

 

This Week In Photography Books: Lucas Foglia

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

I went for a little walkabout this morning, with three of my students. (Making pictures, of course.) The ladies are all in High School, and were born and raised here in Taos. None has left town very often, from what I can gather.

One went to visit some family in California this Summer. But it was only San Bernardino, which is kind of depressing. (Unless you love smog so thick that it makes mountains invisible. In which case, you might love it there.)

I tried to explain to the young photographers that when you’ve never left a place, or had the context of other cultures flashed before your eyes, you have to work a little harder to understand what makes a place unique. No sooner than I’d said that, we passed an old house that was cracked in two, with a rickety outhouse behind it.

I remind you, this is 2014.

I asked, “Do you think someone would find a functioning outhouse interesting in New York City? Or LA?” They agreed it was likely, but didn’t find an outhouse so unusual in their own lives. And then there was the broken-down-blue-school-bus on someone’s front lawn, which sported a giant rusted saw blade on the back, as an ornament.

We soon found ourselves at an old chapel, Nuestra Senora de Dolores, from 1873. That, they agreed, would be interesting to folks in the outside world too. I investigated the backyard, and found a well-preserved headstone. The woman buried beneath my feet had been born in 1845, when the land was still called Mexico.

“Can you believe it,” I wondered? They could, in fact, believe it. So much so that only one could be bothered to come take a look. Things like that aren’t so special here, though I’m sure they reek of American West authenticity, to you.

People have always been, and I venture will always be fascinated with the Frontier culture out here. It’s drawn dropouts from elsewhere, like me, and camera-toting tourists on day trips for as long as there have been cameras. It never gets old, but it does change. (Like Taos going from Native American territory, to New Spain, to Mexico, to America in short order.)

Given my confidence in your expected interest, how could I not review Lucas Foglia’s new book, “Frontcountry,” recently published by Nazraeli. The answer is, I could, and I will.
So let’s get to it.

Truth be told, I saw a show of some of this work in a gallery I’d never heard of, when I visited NYC last April. Speaking of change, Chelsea stays the same, but the names of the spaces are in constant rotation. This one, Fredericks & Freiser, was new, so I hope it’s still around.

I didn’t love the prints on the wall. They didn’t have a lot of pop. And I didn’t have a lot of time. But as I’ve learned, and have tried to share with you, a book is a completely different experience than a gallery exhibition. It’s in your hands, in your home, and there are often many more pictures to peruse, at your leisure.

Mr. Foglia does come across as a wandering, wondering, researching photographer. His first book, which I also reviewed, looked at a subculture of people who have returned to living in the wild. This one focuses on a much larger population of people who live off the land, but have always done so. Cowboys. Ranchers. Western types.

I give him props for his technical ability, and for his dogged desire to paint a holistic picture of life out in the West. The book leans heavily on Nevada and Wyoming in particular, so the world looks a little different from the one I inhabit. (A lot whiter, that is.) There are more natural resources around those parts, so mining and extraction make their way inside the pages as well.

Co-incidentally, there is a picture made here in Taos, yet it feels like a bit of a throw-in. But the rest of the book is seamless. Guns, cow entrails, exploded homes, mounds of garbage bags full of beer cans, soccer players juxtaposed against staggering mountains, a dude balancing on a fence post waiting to shoot coyotes. Basically, life for many in the mountainous fly-over states.

I don’t mean to impugn Mr. Foglia for not being “one of us.” That’s a freedom the West allows. You come out here, try to fit in, and before you know it, you speak with a twang, under certain circumstances. He’s a good enough artist that the thoroughness will win you over. (Though I do wonder if a tad more emotional resonance might have pushed the project over the top.)

These are some very well executed large format pictures. There’s a shot of a bulldozer roaming over coal mounds that’s so sharp, it looks like a model. Not real at all. I wondered, did he hit it with a big flash, or has he switched over to using a digital camera? Doesn’t matter. Great shot.

There are maps at the end, to orient you, which further amps up the anthropological bent. It’s not the West of Wenders, or Shore, who bottled up nostalgia and emotion, despite themselves.

It’s more the West as Gursky might do it. Clean. Clinical. And very much a project that represents what it sees, as best it can.

Like I said before, people will always eat this shit up. And photographers will always come out this way to take their shot. Like the suckers who keep trying to beat Jon Jones. They can’t help themselves.

This book, at the very least, will clue you in to a reality that you normally have to see for yourself. It’s excellent, and I heartily recommend it. Adios, partner.

Much obliged.

Bottom Line: Excellent, clinical view of the contemporary Wild West

To Purchase “Frontcountry” 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: Q. Sakamaki

- - Art Producers Speak

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Q. Sakamaki. I always find myself lingering over Q’s dreamlike images. Even though many images in his mailers were taken with Instagram, they have a nostalgic vibe, especially the double exposures. Work on his site is classic, news journalism. He is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects, although it may be difficult to find commercial applications for his work.

Self-Metaphors Series: A small boy exploring the ancient time of Egypt, trying to look into the bottom of a more than 2300 year old sarcophagus of Wennefer. 2013.

Self-Metaphors Series: A small boy exploring the ancient time of Egypt, trying to look into the bottom of a more than 2300 year old sarcophagus of Wennefer. 2013.

A newly arrived Georgian refugee. Tbisili, Georgia, 2008.

A newly arrived Georgian refugee. Tbisili, Georgia, 2008.

Nearly burned out wedding album remained at a tsunami destroyed and burned down area in Kesennuma, Miyagi, where many people inside the cars and ships were washed out and trapped and killed due to the tsunami. And survivors could hear the crying all the night. Japan, 2011.

Nearly burned out wedding album remained at a tsunami destroyed and burned down area in Kesennuma, Miyagi, where many people inside the cars and ships were washed out and trapped and killed due to the tsunami. And survivors could hear the crying all the night. Japan, 2011.

Fukushima series: Radiation-contaminated crop supporters remain at no man land in Iitate village in Fukushima, on the 3rd anniversary of Japan’s 2011 monster quake and tsunami. Fukushima, Japan, 2014.

Fukushima series: Radiation-contaminated crop supporters remain at no man land in Iitate village in Fukushima, on the 3rd anniversary of Japan’s 2011 monster quake and tsunami. Fukushima, Japan, 2014.

Flower series: A broken, dead sunflower in winter’s morning light. 2014.

Flower series: A broken, dead sunflower in winter’s morning light. 2014.

Fukushima series: A baby swallow at an abandoned elementary school in Ukedo, a highly restricted area in Fukushima, due to the radiation caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuke power plant disaster. Fukushima, Japan, 2014.

Fukushima series: A baby swallow at an abandoned elementary school in Ukedo, a highly restricted area in Fukushima, due to the radiation caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuke power plant disaster. Fukushima, Japan, 2014.

Self-Metaphors series: Coney Island before the summer frenzy. New York, 2013.

Self-Metaphors series: Coney Island before the summer frenzy. New York, 2013.

Self-Metaphors series: Harlem security guard. New York, 2013.

Self-Metaphors series: Harlem security guard. New York, 2013.

Self-Metaphors series: A girl in Osaka, one of my home towns. Osaka, Japan, 2014.

Self-Metaphors series: A girl in Osaka, one of my home towns. Osaka, Japan, 2014.

Self-Metaphors series: A businessman with an arrow head, in Marunouchi, Tokyo, Japan, 2013.

Self-Metaphors series: A businessman with an arrow head, in Marunouchi, Tokyo, Japan, 2013.

Self-Metaphors Series: A small Japanese Korean girl in Kyoto shows an extremely tiny fish, as the city, as well as Japan, has a very tense relationship between Japanese and Korean communities. Kyoto, Japan, 2013.

Self-Metaphors Series: A small Japanese Korean girl in Kyoto shows an extremely tiny fish, as the city, as well as Japan, has a very tense relationship between Japanese and Korean communities. Kyoto, Japan, 2013.

How many years have you been in business?
More than 25 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I think both. I went to a photo school in New York, but the curriculum was very short (9 months or so). Indeed, for many parts of photography, I learned by myself.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Deborah Turbeville and Sara Moon. And Yukio Mishima might have given a big influence to me even for the question, though he was a novelist.

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?
By checking, feeling, reading and listening to any kind of great art. Also lately I have been dong Instagram through which I can get inspiration, especially when I encounter great, yet different type of photos.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Yes. It is natural in this industry, but also one of the most disappointing things, especially after committing lots of energy and time.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Recently I have found that Instagram would help for the purpose, though still on the way of the experiment. Also my agency Redux helps. Though the best way is to directly communicate with those in face to face.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Thinking too much about what they want to see is not good. It makes less originality. Any great art comes from the artist’s original vision, not from others.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, I often shoot for such a purpose somehow or to make myself grow more.

How often are you shooting new work?
In recent years, I have started to shoot New York again, very often, most time purposely by iPhone. Though I may restart using more other cameras, too.

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Q. Sakamaki is a documentary photographer, covering war to socio-economy in the world, as well as many other social issues, combining the journalistic views and the story-telling with aestheticism. In recent years, his works also contain many of personal matters and views. Actually by dong so, he is exploring and shooting his own self-metaphors. His photographs have appeared in books and magazines worldwide including Time, Newsweek, and Stern, and have been exhibited in solo shows in New York and Tokyo. He has received many international awards, including World Press Photo and Olivier Rebbot of Overseas Press Club. Sakamaki holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York. He has published several books, including “Tompkins Square Park” – photo essay of New York Lower Eastside’s anti-gentrification movement, by Power House Books. Sakamaki is represented by Redux Pictures.

Contact Info:
Q. Sakamaki
info@qsakamaki.com
qsakamaki@yahoo.co.jp
www.qsakamaki.com
http://instagram.com/qsakamaki

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 – Michele Romero: Entertainment Weekly

- - The Daily Edit

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Entertainment Weekly

Editor: Matt Bean
Director of Photography: Lisa Berman
Design Director: Tim Leong
Picture Editor: Michele Romero
Photographer: Dylan Coutler

Heidi: Why the split cover run for this issue?
Michele: Magazines do split-run covers whenever the subject can yield a series of photos to communicate a single topic.  So, ESPN’s Body Issue, for example, or GQ’s Coolest Athlete’s of All Time.  EW has done split-run covers for a variety of shows and this is the magazine’s 3rd time doing a split-run series for “The Walking Dead.”  Single images always make better cover photographs than group shots and fans like the idea of “collecting them all”.

What photo direction where you looking for that made you choose Dylan Coulter?
I had liked Dylan’s multiple image photography on athletes and he did some covers on Footballers for The New York Times Magazine for The World Cup.  I admired the videos he did for that cover story.  It reminded me to try and use him.

This was my third time working on “Walking Dead” covers and over time I’ve become somewhat of an expert  on what fans like about this show.  I realized that zombie kills were a type of physical/athletic sport.  The actors are archers and baseball batters and shovel bashers and epic swordsmen/women and they are a team whose goal is to stay alive. The survivors are athletes in the game of knock the head off the zombie.

 
Screen shot 2014-09-09 at 8.17.46 PMHere’s a few of the many multiple images works I used when I was  putting Dylan forward to my bosses.  Edward Muybridge was someone whose work I had in my initial pitch along with some Jazz Musicians that shot this way in the 50s…

 

When you’re photo directing the talent, are you directing the character, the person or both?
Depends on the story.  If we’re shooting Meryl Streep, we’re photographing the actor.  If we are doing a piece on a character, we let the actor do their thing and create that other being.  In some cases, an artist, is a character, you would talk to Paul Reubens about where you want PeeWee Herman to stand, etc.

Did you experience both roles with interacting with the Walking Dead actors?
I communicate to the actors and then we watch as they create the characters.  In this case the actors REALLY get into their roles and it is thrilling and intense to watch the energy that goes into creating that persona.

Here’s my reference for each actor. I had studied their movements before shoot day and did some sketches because each cover had to vary. These were notes that I had taped to the inside of the “studio” space where we were shooting that day.

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Was this a challenging edit, getting the pieces for each cover?
Dylan and I communicated that we’d need what we called a “money shot” for the main image for the cover and that this moment would be fully opaque while the series evolved in varying ghostings behind this main shot.  It was certainly a larger editing process than usual but my boss, Lisa Berman, reminded me that we were producing four covers that week.  I did not leave the office for a month before 10pm.

Was it predetermined where the cover lines would fall so you could use the full cover space?
No, type is never predetermined before a shoot comes in, but I have learned to always leave room for it.  Tim Leong, our Design Director, made the handwritten type himself for this cover.

There’s a lot of energy ( and blood ) on these covers, describe the mood on set. ( music and so on… )
This was my third time on a “Walking Dead” set and we were on location in Atlanta where the new season takes place.  We set up shop in a warehouse on a gorgeous wreck of a broken train repair yard from the early 1900s. It was old and falling apart and for photography, it was beautiful.  I’ve also never been so hot in my life.
The great thing about this show is everyone wants to give Entertainment Weekly 1000 percent.  The actors work harder than anyone and that energy was definitely captured by Dylan on film (well, digital pixels).  Norman Reedus played Mötörhead for his setup.  Andrew Lincoln cranked Metallica and the duo of Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan were moving to The Black Keys new record.  The only noise during Danai Gurira’s shoot was the sound of her blade slicing through the air.  It was thrilling to watch them all in action.

You deal with celebrities all the time, when’s the last time you’ve been star struck? ( if ever ).
I get excited to work with people and have been privileged to have experiences that are meaningful to me.  You treasure these moments.  If I like someone’s work I am grateful that I get to tell them this fact.  Sometimes I’ve had artists make music in front of me and I definitely “OMG” to myself quietly.  Oh who am I trying to kid, I WORKED WITH DAVID BOWIE.  Yep, he struck me as a star.  When he walked into the studio it was like the sun lit up the whole room.  He was an A+ professional and ate lunch with the crew.  I stole the napkin he used to wipe chicken off his hands so in the future I could make a genetic copy of David Bowie.  I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job aside from the schedule.
Working with uncooperative people.

Did you choose that warehouse location because the crew had shot there before and they were familiar?
The location is Terminus on the show.  AMC happened to be shooting there and we got our own spot on that lot as well. AMC shot their ad campaign and Gallery Art/Specials on the same weekend we got time with the cast in Atlanta.

Tell me about the gallery feel you created on set, I know Dylan found this very helpful to set the tone.
Photographer, Art Streiber and my boss Lisa Berman actually taught me about having references up on the day of a shoot.  I sketch cover concepts sometimes and get these pitches to the talent or the network/record label when we’re in concept discussions.  Since we don’t have talent for very long it helps if you can quickly show them what you’re up to.  There is no way to explain a multiple exposure to someone but as soon as they see it they get excited.  I had a pretty great (and decrepit) gallery space.  Dylan and I joked that it would be a great loft space someday.  It was a Dylan Coulter show in a Zombie Apocalypse setting.  No wine and cheese though, but lots of zombie blood.

 Screen shot 2014-09-09 at 8.17.08 PMThis is a wall  of Dylan’s work.  It was great to get to show everyone from Norman Reedus to Exec Producer Greg Nicotero what we were up to–once people saw Dylan’s work they gave us more ideas and toys to play with.

Why did you chose a concept cover for The Walking Dead?
For a show like The Walking Dead I didn’t want to repeat a “hero pose” so Dylan’s work was a great way to make this action show dimensional.  It was something new to get to fans and it worked out really well.

This Week In Photography Books: Vincent Delbrouck

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was talking today with Marcie, my new Native American friend. She’s from the Taos Pueblo, and we really enjoy chatting about art, culture, religion. Stuff like that.

No matter how much you might feel a spiritual connection with Native American views on the sacred nature of Earth, it feels trite when you’re not raised in that culture. (If you’re white, I mean.) Which lends a certain frisson to the conversation.

To be frank, Marcie doesn’t give off the vibe that I’m a poseur. Just the opposite. She’s open, honest, and nonjudgmental. Rather, the voices in my head are self-generated. Too many hours digesting post-modern theory in graduate school, I suppose.

Of course, the Native Americans are not the ones who believe that Nature is sacred. There are strains of Buddhist tradition that teach of Inter-connectedness, or Inter-being. We are all one. I am the rocks. You are the trees. We are all made up of the particles of the Universe.

It’s profound.

In the course of our conversation, Marcie asked if I was actually Jewish? I replied that of course I was, because in my religion, you are born that way. (If your mother is Jewish, you’re a Jew.) She pushed forward, asking if I actually practiced? Did I believe?

“That’s a tougher question,” I replied. I’m like a religious version of the aforementioned Post-Modernism: a pastiche. A little of this, a little of that. So many of us are, these days.

But I do like to meditate, when I have the time, and believe that the silent absence of something can be just as powerful as presence. I’d rather have a clear, empty mind than an over-driven, neurotic, Woody-Allen-inner-monologue any day of the week.

Given that, and my oft-professed love of seeing something I’ve never seen before in a photo book, how could I not review “Some Windy Trees,” a new self-published soft-cover book by Vincent Delbrouck in Belgium?

Open it up, and after the requisite blank page, you find yourself looking at a solitary, windblown tree. The book contains several such images. Trees you want to stare at for a while. They’re so lonely. And beautiful. Mountains in the background too.

Turn the page, and you see nothing. Just more blank white paper. (As I once titled a photograph of my own, paper comes from trees.)

As I flipped through, I did a triple take. He keeps interspersing emptiness. At one point, you actually flip twice before you come to the next photo. I have definitely never seen that before. Empty pages on purpose. Who does that?

This guy, apparently.

There is a random insert of a scribbled drawing in bright red. Not blood red. Candy-cane red. Santa Claus red. Christmas-time red.

The back page tells us the pictures were made in high, windy valley in Nepal. (I suppose the cover image hints at the Himalayas.) A portion of the proceeds from each book will go to a foundation that supports the preservation of this particular region, called Mustang.

That same red repeats on the back cover, which is where we find the title. (That, I have seen before, as you regular readers will well know.)

I’m more than sure that some of you will think me crazy for celebrating someone for leaving photos out of a photo book. But what does it do? It focuses the mind. It draws attention to what is there. And it also gives off the whiff of enlightenment, that ephemeral state which the Himalayan Buddhists eternally seek.

Bottom Line: Strange, zen pictures of Himalayan trees from a Belgian

To Purchase “Some Windy Trees” 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: Anthony Blasko

- - Art Producers Speak

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

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Anthony Blasko. I’m keeping a close watch on him. There is a current of quiet drama flowing through Blasko’s photographs that harkens back to the works of 20th Century painter, George Bellows. I especially love Blasko’s “Jon Jones” series for Victory Journal.

This was part of a shoot for Nike with Doubleday & Cartwright. During the scout we joked about how amazing it would be if it snowed, and it ended up snowing 4–5 inches while we shot. We were very lucky.

This was part of a shoot for Nike with Doubleday & Cartwright. During the scout we joked about how amazing it would be if it snowed, and it ended up snowing 4–5 inches while we shot. We were very lucky.

This was shot in Las Vegas for Nike. I like that it’s just a simple portrait.

This was shot in Las Vegas for Nike. I like that it’s just a simple portrait.

I shot this at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio for Victory Journal 7.  This is part of an ongoing project about bodybuilding.

I shot this at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio for Victory Journal 7.
This is part of an ongoing project about bodybuilding.

 This was also shot for Victory Journal. It was part of a story we shot at the Saratoga Race Track.

This was also shot for Victory Journal. It was part of a story we shot at the Saratoga Race Track.

This is from a shoot I did for Levi’s Commuter.

This is from a shoot I did for Levi’s Commuter.

I shot a series of outdoor courts and fields in Brooklyn for Nike Air Force 1 right after Hurricane Sandy. We ended up biking around for 3 days because of the gas shortage. It was strange because almost no one was out, but it worked well for the shoot. There isn’t a single person in any of the images.

I shot a series of outdoor courts and fields in Brooklyn for Nike Air Force 1 right after Hurricane Sandy. We ended up biking around for 3 days because of the gas shortage. It was strange because almost no one was out, but it worked well for the shoot. There isn’t a single person in any of the images.

A cliff diver I shot at a competition in Boston for Victory Journal.

A cliff diver I shot at a competition in Boston for Victory Journal.

A portrait of a cattleman and his kids in Florida. This is part of a long-term project I working on in the South.

A portrait of a cattleman and his kids in Florida. This is part of a long-term project I working on in the South.

Another image from the same project, shot at a river in Mississippi.

Another image from the same project, shot at a river in Mississippi.

This is one of my favorite shots of my cousin Amber from another ongoing project. I’ve been shooting my father’s side of my family for around 8 years now. The first 5 years are in the book The Way Things Are, Volume I.

This is one of my favorite shots of my cousin Amber from another ongoing project. I’ve been shooting my father’s side of my family for around 8 years now. The first 5 years are in the book The Way Things Are, Volume I.

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

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I have a BFA. But that’s not a road I would take again.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
It’s hard to cite one influence. Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson, Mark Cohen, Sally Mann and Garry Winogrand have all had a large impact on how I look at things.

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?
Being fresh isn’t something I ever think about but I do try to push myself with every project and try to make it my own. What drives me is looking at the work of others, there’s a lot of great work out there that sets the bar really high.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I know this happens, but I haven’t had much experience with it. But I understand that when you’re working with bigger brands other things need to be considered, and that might be limiting. But at that point you work with the creative to come up with something interesting.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I find people really love books. I like to print books or magazines of my personal work to send out. Right now I have 4 projects that are close to being done that will become printed pieces in some form. I’ve also worked on a number of projects with Victory Journal, which has allowed me to shoot some interesting stories, as well as get my work in front of a lot of people.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I’m sure it works for some, but I think in the long run you’ll probably enjoy your work more if you’re making it for yourself. In return you’ll probably work more because of it. I also think that if you’re not shooting work that’s your own, people will notice.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I’m always shooting personal work. At the moment I’m working on numerous projects, the largest is titled The South. I’m spending 3–4 weeks shooting in each Southern state with another photographer, Chadwick Tyler. We’ll publish books for each state. I’m also finishing up a project on competitive bodybuilding, which will also be a book.

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Anthony Blasko is a NYC based photographer. Represented by McDermott Management.

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

The Daily Edit – Jennifer Robbins: Gotham Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

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Gotham Magazine

Art Director: Anastasia Tsioutas Casaliggi
Photo Director: Lisa Rosenthal Bader
Photographer: Jennifer Robbins

Heidi: Your work is vibrating with energy, how do you create that on set?
Jennifer: Honestly, part of it is my natural state. People used to think I was on drugs because I was always go-go-go.  I think they’ve finally discovered what that’s called – ADHD – there’s  medication for it, which has been suggested.  (laughs) However I’m not that interested in taming it if it means turning into an automaton. I know going into these shoots that my energy has to be up, I mean, this is part of the reason I’ve been hired. So like any prerequisites for a job, this is one of mine.
For instance:

-I get to the set early and talk to everyone
-I bring my portfolio because at times, people may not have seen my work and often that’s enough to get people excited, it gives them a road map as to what is expected and where we’re headed together
-A lot of times it’s music
-Every once in awhile glass of champagne or wine can help
-I’m enthusiastic and effusive as I’m shooting and “getting the shot”
-I jump up and down, dance and I’m usually audible in my self-congratulatory behavior ( laughs )
-I also believe when people are looking at pictures, they are smart enough to know about the sixth sense… to feel when something is forced or saccharine.
-The reality is it’s fun to be a photographer and I do a few things to establish the kind of energy I need.

I’m pretty clear with models ahead of time about what I’m asking from them and when I see them “modeling” a lot of times I just put the kibosh on that pretty quickly. These are already beautiful people, so what?  They are already “pretty” I’m interested in what attraction for the viewer they can create.  I love women (and men) who are not afraid to flirt, stop worrying about whether you look good, clearly you look pretty good to be a model, now let’s have some real fun.

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Jennifer on Set

Inevitability shoots can hit an energetically low.  How do you overcome that?

As a photographer you know that at some point it’s going to come, the lull, so accepting it and not letting the wheels fall completely off the cart is a good. There are a few coping tools I use.
The first thing I do is to blow off a little steam is text my best friend and write “kill me” just to vent it. Once that’s done, I go back to work realizing I’ve got some creative problem solving to do, I can’t have a temper tantrum in the corner just because it’s not fun.

At the end of the day, it’s a job and no matter what, I promised to deliver.  Sometimes I’m honest with it and say, “Okay everybody let’s get our shit together and push on through!” inevitably we do hit an energetic low after lunch. This is exactly why I always hate having to stop for lunch!  Without fail everybody goes into a food coma and it does make my job a lot harder.

I just can’t get sucked into the undertow of blah, as the photographer, it’s not an option.  Now, when the subject is an energetic suck and no matter what music, level of energy, joke or how social I try to be, sometimes you just don’t connect, and that’s fine.  In those circumstances I have to rely on something else and that’s composition, I look at body lines, make aggressive crops. It’s much more interesting to me to reveal maybe only part of the overall scene. Understanding how to compose that and still tell a story is what I love.

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Your work is about glamorous, sexy women and their appeal,  what element does being a female photographer bring?
I’m not sure it’s incredibly profound but my mother was a fashion illustrator for The New York Times as well as department stores.  I was born in Manhattan and use to go to clubs and had pretty friends and at 19 wanted to be super pretty, sexy and be all those things young girls want at that age.
I spent a lot of time doing makeup, wearing skirts about 4 inches long, slinking around in high heels and getting into Mars and Limelight at 15. So some of it was just there for the taking… meaning the glamour, it’s NYC, it’s just more available than in many parts of the country, and it was fun. I used to go out and dance five nights a week! The visuals of a crowded nightclub and people having fun was imprinted in my mind before I ever knew that would be my style.

Plus I have no desire to sleep with my  subjects (who are usually women) so I think in that way the women I photograph can relax into every element of themselves without feeling too self-conscious or that there are any ulterior motives on my end.
 Everyone wants to look good in photos, who wants to look like crap? I make this promise with all  my subjects, simply put, my photos are not saving lives, it’s about feeling beautiful, being photographed and enjoying the process.

I think there’s a certain importance and value to beauty in this world, so much of our daily lives we are inundated with sadness and heartbreak of humanity. Beauty can make us smile and be an escape. I’m not laboring under the notion that somehow I’m curing cancer. I have a realistic perspective on my career and I think that contributes to loosening up the reins a bit and having some fun while doing a great job.

Your work is a wonderful blend of voyeurism and inclusion. How did living with a  documentary photographer change the way you shoot?
Aside from a being a brilliant photographer he taught me two important things. One was the use of  wide-angle lenses and how composition could either move a story along, convey a story, or be the story.  For a while I used a 24 millimeter lens with my “fashion” and it lent itself to a more cinematic, narrative tone.  The other important lesson I got from him was the simplicity of lighting and how to manipulate ambient light with strobe.

As a photojournalist you can’t stop and ask somebody for a do over when you’re covering real people in real-time.

Ultimately that’s how I work now, I love to roll around on the floor or get underneath a table or jump up onto a bar and the only way I can do that is to be unencumbered by my equipment because with my photographic style, just a second of having to rework something because I need to move my lights around can kill the shot.

What as the hardest part of this story for Gotham?
Actually, the hardest thing about this project was the logistics.  It was shot in just two days in different boroughs.  There was so much driving in the worst kind of NY conditions. I had no assistant, and I was carrying all my own gear, so was hard to go from the logistical obstacles to Creative Director!

I had such limited time to come in, find my location and get the shot. Any photographer knows its hard to have all the images hang together in a collection when shooting so many different unknown locations, there’s not set plan. I made sure to give the client several options for each portrait so we could have options for the edit. I love Gotham as a client, they have a lot of faith in me, I’m grateful for that. Subsequently the more freedom they’ve  given me, the happier everyone involved has been with the images.

I know you’re working a personal project shooting plus girls? Tell me about it.
Right now I am laying the groundwork for exploring the world of Plus Size girls. I realize it sounds a little weird as if they’re some other species but unfortunately the world really is divided like that. A few years ago I had my first foray into working with plus size models for Ashley Stewart. I worked with two of the best girls out there: Marquita Pring and Tara Lynn both of whom had posed nude for Steven Meisel for the cover and an editorial in Italian Vogue. While I was fortunate enough to work with the top girls what has stayed with me years later was the experience of their freedom in their bodies and their acceptance of not fitting into what most of us have been conditioned to think is normal but actually is unattainable. For years I said I wanted to work with plus size girls more and more but it doesn’t just materialize. I’ve realized that I have to take it into my own hands and explore this world creatively on my own. Right now I’m in the preliminary stages of exploring what plus size fashion looks like in my style.

As someone who was inundated with this world of fashion that’s compromised of skinny and young, I’ve reached a limit of finding that interesting anymore and personally feeling like the separatism women have.There’s skinny-girl-fun which usually includes skinny dipping, jean shorts and really hot guys around and then there’s the rest of us behemoth-girls-fun often limited to diet coke and bowling or some shit, full piece bathing suits with built in skirts and other “normal-sized” women. Lame.

I think that as I get older I am far more interested in the variety of beauty, personally the kind of work I do I definitely needs women who are confident, comfortable and happy with who they are because that energy comes through in the work.

I’m looking for an added dimension to a woman’s beauty and that only comes from inside, who they are who or who they want to be. In acceptance is their freedom and in that, is my enjoyment of photographing them.

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During your career you spent time in both LA and NY, which has served you better and what are the differences creatively?
Ah, The Los Angeles vs. New York conversation.  It’s an unavoidable comparison that gets made in all facets of living in either city. The truth is, as a native New Yorker you would hope that your hometown would be the biggest cheerleader, but in actuality Los Angeles has been so supportive of me from the beginning of my career and it continues to hold that reception for me.

I started my career in Los Angeles on a whim vacation. Detour magazine hired me on the spot and I started shooting a lot of celebrities/covers which obviously brought in a lot more work.  My current agent Marilyn Cadenbach is based in Los Angeles and some of my best jobs were shot in Los Angeles not necessarily for clients from Los Angeles, Nieman Marcus is a good example of that.

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Clearly the pool of models is different because of the Hollywood factor. There are more actresses available and for me that’s ideal.  I’m looking for someone who can go beyond their looks, embody a character that I need in order to get the job done, get the feeling I’m in search of.

For obvious reasons the weather in Los Angeles has always aided in successful photo shoots, blue skies and warm weather don’t often interfere with the kind of projects I’m out there to do. Aside from the convenience of the weather in Southern California the topography of LA just lends itself to a different aesthetic.

You’re a self described energy ball. Where does that come from and why did you choose to channel that into photography?
Where does my energy come from? My answer may just be a result of many years is therapy but maybe its a combination of things. My parents are extremely funny  and even divorced they’re great friends. My grandparents were WWII generation,  tough people.  My grandfather didn’t believe in being bored, if I told him I was bored that he would say it’s because I’m boring! I love that. Also I was an only child so it required a lot of energy to entertain myself. My mom is really silly, she would make up the most ridiculous names for our cats (names: akkaduka, mafalda, scapaloopalah, piscina, inky, bialystock, bloom, Olaf and shitka) or for anything really and I think she passed on silliness which is a part of myself that I enjoy, it’s the part that keeps me young. Maybe it’s being a Leo? Maybe it’s just more fun than being NOT energetic?

I don’t know that it was a conscious choice to be a photographer.  I was always an artist of some sort and I did know I was creative. I remember my mother had Helmut Newton photo books in the house I was intrigued and fascinated by his work but even then I wasn’t thinking about becoming a photographer, I was still quite young.

I found photography when I was at NYU. Originally it was because I ran out of classes to take. To my surprise I liked photography immediately, experimented alot and had many girlfriends who were willing to pose for me, so I shot all the time. When I realized this was something I can do as a job I thought, “That’s awesome!” and at 21 I really thought I was the greatest photographer! Mainly because at the time my work looked so different from what was going  on at NYU where fashion was looked down on, the trend was to shoot on the street, typically black and white photos of the homeless.

I liked that my work didn’t look like everyone else’s, and despite having a professor who gave me a B- for three consecutive semesters, I still thrived.  She took photos of dead people, literally. So what did I expect with my half-naked red lipstick girls pouring milk over their heads while smoking a cigarette?!?

The Best Work I Saw at Review Santa Fe ’14

- - Portfolio Review

My father reads my column every week. Without fail. Recently, he took exception to the fact that I labeled my writing “nonsense.” Thank goodness for encouraging parents.

I try to keep these articles entertaining, and have found that a little self-deprecation goes a long way. Occasionally, I revel in it, because I used to have very thin skin, as a youth. I’d fall to pieces if anyone made fun of me. (As Dad can attest.)

That’s why I love to start these travel pieces and festival reviews with a funny story, making me look foolish. Like the time I set off the fire alarm at the NY Times review. Or the time a heavy door at Gagosian hit me in the stomach, right in front of a gorgeous gallerina.

Eventually, though, I was bound to run out of embarrassing incidents. It was inevitable.

And here we are.

Nothing funny happened to me at Review Santa Fe this past June. I was invited as a roving reviewer, and as the guy who announces their raffle at the Saturday night party. (Yes, I broke into Spanglish, but it was more ha-ha funny than Ricky Gervais cringe-worthy. So not relevant here.)

I had a very nice time, as it was my sixth consecutive trip to the review. Good food, good weather, lots of nice people from around the world. I think I’ll even skip the part where I defend the review process from those who get upset about having to pay for meetings.

Overall, I saw the best work of any review I’ve yet attended. Polished, relevant, accomplished projects, professionally presented.

So if nothing bad happened, nor anything eventful to recount here…let’s get on to showing the best work I saw at the RSF ’14.

Qian Ma is a photographer based in Brooklyn, who recently finished a degree at ICP. In a perfectly strange coincidence, he just finished studying with my former professor, the great Allen Frame. I wasn’t surprised to hear that, as Allen is adept at pushing young artists to dig into a practice that allows their personal aesthetic to shine.

Qian’s black and white prints were totally gorgeous, and admittedly, the jpegs don’t do them justice. People literally lined up to see this work. I loved the otherworldly, odd, metaphysical qualities. How a simple cell phone can make you think of a parallel universe. So of course I asked him if he read Haruki Murakami, and of course he said, “Yes. Everything he’s written.” The project is called “Luminance,” and if you happen to see a sheep man lurking in a corner, at least you were warned.

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I met Julia Cybularz within seconds of walking into the open portfolio viewing at the Santa Fe Farmer’s market. Normally, you wander around such events, looking for the juicy bits. Not that night. Hers was the first work I saw, and I loved it.

She’s photographed her niece, who has horrible scoliosis. Debilitating stuff. The photos were elegant, razor sharp, and visceral. Apparently, Ms. Cybularz suffered from the same affliction, which adds to the resonance. She also had a concurrent project which featured her cousin, who has schizophrenia and is mentally challenged. And he has scoliosis as well. It made for a fascinating mix of family, malady, and personal connection.

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Meike Nixdorf is an artist who was visiting from Germany. Again with the Japanese references, she was showing a project that was inspired by Hokusai’s “36 Views of Mt. Fuji.” She was looking for a mountain that she could photograph from many different angles, that would allow the structure of the pictures to change radically.

She found one, El Teide, in the Canary Islands. I asked her why there, as it seemed so random, and she told me she visited the mountain many times, flying over it in a virtual flight simulator. If that’s not updating Hokusai’s vision to the 21st Century, I’m not sitting at my kitchen table on a rainy day in the mountains. (In fact, I am.)

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I also met Miki Hasegawa that night. (Two women with different spellings of the same name?) Miki had a series of images that she photographed from the vantage point of her young daughter.

As we all know, life is lived at eye level. We grownups make the world in our image, but our offspring are always looking up at a reality they must grow into. Terrific color palette as well, and the prints managed to capture the wonder and curiosity of childhood. I loved them immediately.

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I had a long, rambling, roving review with the Denver-based photographer Benjamin Rasmussen, who’s originally from the Faroe Islands. (They’re in-between Norway and Iceland, so you don’t have to Google it.) He’s interested in issues of identity and displacement, and his project “By the Olive Trees” focuses on both.

He photographed Syrian refugees in Jordan. And he was apparently in Ferguson, MO, last week, so you can check his website to see what’s going on in America’s homegrown war-zone. (Hands up, Don’t shoot.)

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According to Twitter, Russia invaded Ukraine today. Is that news? Haven’t they invaded several times already, including when they swiped Crimea? Hard to imagine a more topical project than one which examines the cross-cultural divide between the two countries. (Soon to be re-united?)

Sasha Rudensky was born in Russia, and studied in the famed Yale program. With her project, “Brightness, she has given us some seriously strange pictures that do just that. She photographed in both places, and the image of the thugs holding a giant snake was my favorite single picture at RSF. (Unfortunately, she isn’t ready to publish it yet.)

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Finally, I got to see the work of Jeanine Michna-Bales, who was one of Center’s Prize winners. I’d seen a couple of her prints on the wall of the Center for Contemporary Arts, and was transfixed. You won’t believe the premise.

Ms. Bales was interested in understanding the reality of the underground railroad, that patchwork network that led escaped slaves to freedom. A beacon of light in America’s bleak past.

So, she recreated it herself.

She stopped every 20 miles or so, between Louisiana and Canada, which was the supposed average distance an escaped slave could have covered. Then, she made pictures at night. It was so sketchy that she had to hire bodyguards to protect her, out in the middle of nowhere, under black skies.

Obviously, the premise is terrific. But the pictures are every bit as good.

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'Welcome to the Fugitive Captive'

This Week In Photography Books: Oscar Palacio

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was watching “The Lone Ranger” on TV yesterday. It’s possible I’m the only person in America who saw the whole damn thing. Major bomb, it was. (Who knew Jerry Bruckheimer could fail at anything?)

The movie wasn’t half as bad as I expected. (And boy, is that Armie Hammer a handsome man.) It was clear they spent more money filming than Roman Abramovich drops on soccer talent. Wow, did Disney waste some cash on that ridiculous runaway train sequence.

I wasn’t surprised at the movie’s lack of mass appeal, though. They focused on the dark underbelly of American history: the theft of Native American land in the name of progress. (Sorry, I meant greed.) In particular, they made sure to demonstrate that treaties were made, and then broken, under dubious circumstances.

Does anyone really think that’s a good idea to hammer home, in the name of mass-market-summertainment? Who green-lit that premise, Noam Chomsky?

They even had poor Barry Pepper dressed up like George Custer, playing a military sap who unwittingly massacred a heap Comanche for the RailRoad Conglomerate, and then went full-scale denial when he learned the truth. Wonder who that little metaphor might be referencing? Oh. That’s right.

Us.

On Twitter, I was recently accused of being a closeted Englishman. But of course that’s not true. I love my FREEDOM/DEMOCRACY/FOOTBALL/BLACK PRESIDENT as much as anyone.

Go USA.

I just had the good fortune to learn the truth about our past from some stellar teachers in High School and College. And it is far easier to pretend our wealth was not built up on stolen land, resource annihilation, and free slave labor.

I think that’s the main reason Americans are so ahistorical. It’s not that we’re stupider than the rest of the world. Just that we function better as a forward-looking society. (Land ho.)

That’s why so many artists love to mine history. To spend days in dusty archives, combing through crusty books to find out who said what to whom. We love us some primary sources. (Wait. You mean George Washington wasn’t really named George Washington Blaustein, as my young son suggested this week? Quelle Surprise.)

The other method is to get out on the road and see what things look like now. Is there really a Plymouth rock? And why did they name it after Plymouth, from whence those grouchy Puritans came?

I can answer in the affirmative, that such a piece of stone exists, having just seen it in Colombian artist Oscar Palacio’s new book, “American Places.” (Published by the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.)

The book is fascinating, in that it mashes up the historically important with the constructedly banal. What could be more American than that?

Gettysburg battlefields, Underground railroad sites, the Lower 9th Ward, Manzanar, the Wounded Knee Memorial, and chopped trees protruding through fences. Concrete covered with grass. White banisters, defenestrated, rotting in the dirt.

The book is quiet the way a library is quiet. It helps to focus the mind. BTW, you know I’m going to respect anyone who goes to Mt. Rushmore and comes back with a photo that blocks the money shot. That takes guts.

Perhaps it’s easier for an outsider to admit that our society is built upon shaky foundations, like the Sunset district in San Francisco. (Sand dunes sit beneath the sleepy beach community.)

I love this country. We’ve given the world airplanes, cars, and the Internet. But also nuclear bombs, NSA spy software, and a legacy of misery that is felt in Native American and African-American communities to this day.

This book manages to blend the poignantly beautiful and the boringly sublime. Which are both stand-ins for the the glory and gore we’ve managed to produce since the Pilgrims landed more than 400 years ago.

Long may we prosper.

Bottom Line: Surprising, quiet, classy book that reminds us of a history we’d rather forget

To Purchase “American Places” 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: Jonathan Kozowyk

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 Jonathan Kozowyk. Not only is he very talented, he is very easy to work with.

I told you I took pictures of my dog. — this was the first time she paid attention to her friends barking across the street. I guess it is a good example that I always have a camera close by.

I told you I took pictures of my dog. — this was the first time she paid attention to her friends barking across the street. I guess it is a good example that I always have a camera close by.

Part of an ongoing personal project, I try to work on something everyday.

Part of an ongoing personal project, I try to work on something everyday.

Austin Dorr, I wanted to photograph this man the very first day I saw him, years later I did in a personal project about the marina where I was living in at that time in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He wrote his name on everything he owned on the dock. On the door to his workshop right in between the American Flag and the Jolly Rodger, he wrote in sharpie, “If a man is too busy to go fishing, he is too damn busy.”

Austin Dorr, I wanted to photograph this man the very first day I saw him, years later I did in a personal project about the marina where I was living in at that time in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He wrote his name on everything he owned on the dock. On the door to his workshop right in between the American Flag and the Jolly Rodger, he wrote in sharpie, “If a man is too busy to go fishing, he is too damn busy.”

From an ongoing personal project on humans and their relationship with flight. I was interested in it, so I pursued it. I love learning about what gets people out of bed at 5am on their day off — it is not just hobbies at that point.

From an ongoing personal project on humans and their relationship with flight. I was interested in it, so I pursued it. I love learning about what gets people out of bed at 5am on their day off — it is not just hobbies at that point.

From an ongoing personal project on humans and their relationship with flight. I was interested in it, so I pursued it. I love learning about what gets people out of bed at 5am on their day off — it is not just hobbies at that point.

From an ongoing personal project on humans and their relationship with flight. I was interested in it, so I pursued it. I love learning about what gets people out of bed at 5am on their day off — it is not just hobbies at that point.

Commission for a Community Sailing Program in Boston.  I actually hopped into Boston Harbor against my better judgement to get this one, happy I did though… they tell me the water is totally safe these days…

Commission for a Community Sailing Program in Boston. I actually hopped into Boston Harbor against my better judgement to get this one, happy I did though… they tell me the water is totally safe these days…

The Rev. Edward Sunderland from a commission for Saatchi Wellness and Crossroads Community Services in Manhattan. He is a social worker that works with people in need and the people who volunteer in shelters and food pantries. This was a pretty moving project that I was proud to be a part of.

The Rev. Edward Sunderland from a commission for Saatchi Wellness and Crossroads Community Services in Manhattan. He is a social worker that works with people in need and the people who volunteer in shelters and food pantries. This was a pretty moving project that I was proud to be a part of.

Johnny L. Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. Commission for Forbes, we went fishing at sunrise.

Johnny L. Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. Commission for Forbes, we went fishing at sunrise.

More personal work that I believe in. I have been photographing police officers and their K-9s for the past 3 years.

More personal work that I believe in. I have been photographing police officers and their K-9s for the past 3 years.

Farmer from a recent editorial commission.

Farmer from a recent editorial commission.

Personal project on Rally Racing in America, later the project got picked up by Maine Magazine, and I got to go finish up the project with a home town hero story about a local racer that just got sponsored by SCION.

Personal project on Rally Racing in America, later the project got picked up by Maine Magazine, and I got to go finish up the project with a home town hero story about a local racer that just got sponsored by SCION.

Personal work. A man after a plunge in a frozen lake in February in New England.

Personal work. A man after a plunge in a frozen lake in February in New England.

How many years have you been in business?

I’ve been working in the industry for a little over 12 years. I started out assisting, and have been shooting on my own for about 3 years now.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to Massachusetts College of Art for Graphic Design, but knew I wanted to make photographs. After I graduated I pursued my passion for photography and I was really lucky to apprentice some talented folks.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I learned a ton from assisting Tibor Nemeth, Jason Grow, and Michael Prince.


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?
Really I find inspiration in everything around me. Sometimes it is from the creative people I work with, people I am photographing, or places I travel to. I try to absorb it all and then reinterpret it to show how I see the world. Within my work there is an element of timelessness, which I also feel is important. I always try to infuse that into whatever I am doing. I want my work to feel genuine.

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

Of course, that can happen, but I believe there is always a nice middle ground that can be reached, I am not a diva, I know that I got hired for a reason. When I am shooting I have a good understanding of what the agency and client need to walk away with at the end of the shoot. But I always try to get a something that I personally love out of each job.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Lately I have been making a ton of little small run books and send them to creatives I want to collaborate with. Also visiting agencies and magazines to share my latest projects.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I guess that approach can work. But I have been really trying to push myself to show work that I love as well. I try to pepper in some of what they may need to see, but I think it’s important for people to know that you bring something to the table.

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

Yes. I try to make pictures everyday, even if I am stuck in front of the computer doing post work, bidding on projects, or even while on phone calls. Sometimes they are just pictures of my dog or of people around the neighborhood.


How often are you shooting new work?
As much as possible. I have a few personal projects always going on. It ‘s a great way to stay loose and get motivated. I used to get caught up in thinking that I needed to “finish” a project, but lately I’ve been allowing myself the freedom to start a project and just let it take it’s course.

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Jonathan Kozowyk is a commercial advertising and editorial photographer. He was formally trained at Massachusetts College of Art and Design where he received his BFA in Graphic Design. After graduation he set out to pursue his passion of photography.

Today Jonathan is based in New York City and is lucky to travel often for commissions all over the world. Jonathan enjoys collaborating with creatives to capture genuine moments big and small.

In his down time he likes to surf, ride his skateboard, look at maps, and spend time with his beautiful girlfriend and his furry dog.

Contact:

 
+1 347 901 2427 
jonathan@jonathankozowyk.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.

On Making and Publishing a Book – For Photographers

- - Book Publishing

Guest Post by Carl Corey

PASSION, PURPOSE and PERSEVERANCE

“Passion and Purpose” – The credo put forth by Robert Frank as the necessary ingredients to creating successful and meaningful photography. I would add to that another, “Perseverance”. In any endeavor it would be impossible to attain true success without Passion and Purpose. Many photographers exhibit either passion, purpose or perseverance but the ones that succeed exhibit all three.

To create a successful photography book you must exhibit these three traits. Your work must have a purpose, it must communicate and strike a chord with the audience. This will be impossible if you are not passionate about your pictures and it will not get done if you can not persevere through some failure. Good work requires one to take risks and everyone who takes risks occasionally fails, however those failures can and will make you stronger if you allow them to.

RESEARCH

I strongly recommend you research the work which has preceded you. Look at the masters’ books and then look some more. Determine what it is about these books that makes them successful. You’ll see lots of passion on those pages, the work will have a purpose and clearly exhibit such. It will strike a chord with the viewer and hopefully initiate a creative or intellectual a response from them. If you wish to have some of that limited shelf space allotted picture books then your work must elicit a strong response.

EDITING

Assuming you have a strong body of work it needs to be edited into a stronger body of work to meet this publishing criteria. Editing is a very important component to creating a cohesive and strong book. It is also a very difficult process. We all know how hard it is to toss a picture we love because it just doesn’t fit. We all become infatuated with the newness of recent pictures or those that proved technically difficult. Unfortunately no one cares how hard it was technically for you to complete, or how fresh the picture is to you. It is the content that matters and good editing will assure that your content is as strong as it can be. Many of us tend to work in a vacuum, focused on the task at hand while completing a series of pictures. Once photography is completed it is very helpful to get a second or even third opinion on the book edit. You may find you need to create some new pictures to round out the book. I appreciate working with a good picture editor and find that their contribution manifests itself in the success of the book. If you are serious about your project I encourage you to solicit the help of an experienced picture editor working in your genre.

Keeping the work as simple and honest as possible works best. This does not mean you need to make simple pictures but rather should strive to eliminate any element that does not contribute to the purpose of the picture and subsequently also the book. Adhere to the credo that you are only as good as your weakest link. Show less but stronger pictures that engage the audience, don’t over tell the story. Leave a little open to interpretation for the audience to connect with.

DESIGN

Work with the best designer you can and be sure they are as passionate about the book as you are. It’s their work on those pages that will show yours in the best light possible. I like simple design. I adhere to the Bauhaus principle of “less is more”. I believe good design is unobtrusive and efficient but also compelling. Remember you are making a picture book and it is about the pictures. No amount of flashy design can mask poor picture content.

PUBLISHING

The decision to self publish or work with a publisher can only be made by you. It’s your book and your career. The same goes for ebook vs ink-book. The ebook has made it easy for anyone to put together a “book”. I use ebook format as a e-maquette editing tool. It helps to see content in order and adjust accordingly. While I am not affiliated with any companies I find the new version of Lightroom® 5. to be very accommodating in this regard. If you are not familiar with the Lightroom® book options you may wish to investigate it.

Publishing is a business. Businesses need to turn a profit and while some publishers are quite passionate about their titles and authors they never loose sight of the bottom line. This is responsible business practice and necessary for success. A first time author is a big risk. Picture books present even more risk as they are very expensive to produce. Publishing is also a tough business and getting tougher therefore the risk allowance is diminishing. Many publishers will ask a first time author to guarantee a return on investment. Requesting the author either purchase a quantity of books or contribute financially to the volumes production costs. It’s not unheard of to request a first time author pay all costs associated with producing the book.This is in addition to the cost of producing the original photography for the book. Adding up all these associated expenses makes it apparent that publishing a book can become quite an expensive endeavor. This will test your passion.

Be prepared for non appropriate deals to come your way from publishers and have the strength to say no to them. You have no negotiating power if you are not prepared to walk away from a deal. I encourage the first time author to be patient and wait for the right deal, to persevere. It took 7 years to get the right deal for my first book. It was frustrating at times but I am very pleased I waited for the right publisher to work with. Beware the vanity press that exists solely to profit from production of your book. Once they have delivered your book you will find yourself all on your own. I consider producing a book a partnership with the publisher, a joint effort with mutual benefit.

The advantages of working with a publisher are many and beyond the scope of this essay to allow for me to detail each. The most important benefit you gain by working with a publisher is credibility. Self publishing and vanity presses fall short on the credibility front. However vanity books can be viewed as promotional pieces and work within that venue for the assignment photographer, but only if done very well. However as an author credibility is very important and quite frankly the best return you will find from publishing a book is the credibility it affords you, the author. What you will get with a good book is a piece that, if used properly, will open doors for career growth.

Unfortunately as previously outlined there is no substantial author income to be had from your book. This is true whether you self publish or work with a publisher. If you are making a book with the intent of generating an income you will be disappointed. If income is your only goal invest the money and time elsewhere. You make a book because you have to, you are passionate about doing so. In my workshops and seminars I break down the associated costs of book making, the business of publishing and the ways you can use your book to help generate a livelihood. Remember the credibility associated with authoring a good book tops the list for opening doors to further opportunity.

Some of the advantages to working with a publisher are less or no financial risk, distribution and warehousing services ( you don’t want a garage full of 5000 books and be running to the Post office for every order ), guidance in editing, quality book design, production expertise and solid marketing. I cant stress this enough. Publishers want your book to succeed. Remember it’s all about the bottom line for them and sales of your books make a better bottom line. In addition more sales of your book means more credibility for you.

Self publishing has some merits as well. If you should be fortunate enough to create a best selling book your profits will be substantially better. You may actually recoup all the original photography and book production expenses and break even. That is a big “IF” however, and quite hard to almost impossible to do with out a publishers expertise behind it. Another advantage, if you view it as such, is that you will have complete control over the edit, design, production specs, warehousing, distribution, marketing and PR. However you will also have the expenses and responsibilities associated with the above. I am biased to working with a publisher. I am a photographer. I focus upon making pictures and let others more experienced than I in book production deal with the publishing aspects of making books.

WORKING WITH A PUBLISHER

If you decide to approach publishers here are several key items you need to know to assure your book receives the best possible opportunity to get published. I have outlined these below.

Define your goal with the book.
What is it you want from the book? Write down your goals think about them and be specific.

Select a topic that has a purpose.
Research is very helpful here. Look at where there are gaps in the medium. Does there need to be more coverage of a certain genre.

Select a topic you are passionate about.
People can feel if you are passionate about your pictures. Passion is conveyed by your demeanor but even more so from your pictures. If you are not passionate about what you are working on stop working and find something you are passionate about to do.

Be sure the book engages the audience.
Tell the story in your voice. Lead don’t follow, but never loose sight of who your audience is or you will loose them.

Estimate production costs of photography.
Be sure you can complete the book before you start. Find funding if needed through grants or corporate sponsorship.

Edit.
Remember you are only as good as your weakest link. A great picture diminishes when in the company of mediocrity.

Edit again.
You never get it perfect the first time.

Go ahead and edit a third time.
And rarely on the second.

Create a maquette or book dummy (these are the same thing but “maquette” sounds smarter).
“Maquette” is French defined as a sculptor’s rough test sculpture done before hitting the marble or casting the bronze. The maquette is very important in bookmaking. It is a rough of the book made prior to publishing. It’s also a very tricky item to get right as you want it to be rough but also enticing. Too finished and the publisher may feel pigeonholed and limited in input. Too loose and they may not be enticed to investigate further. I recommend you share a few pages from the book as a maquette, a “this is what I was thinking” sample and follow up with a color corrected and detailed PDF of just pictures. You may find other avenues better suited to specific publishers. Read the publisher’s submission criteria and adhere to it.

Research publishers that are appropriate for your work.
Like photographers publishers specialize. Fashion, documentary, landscape, reportage, narrative are all genres that some publishers limit themselves to. Be sure the publishers you contact are appropriate for your book. They like knowing you do your research as well.

Respectfully approach publishers with the maquette.
Publishers are dedicated hard working people trying to survive in a dwindling and ever more competitive marketplace. It’s a tough job, be nice to them.

Negotiate a favorable contract for all.
Be sure you are happy with the deal you make. You will live with it. I assure you the publisher will be comfortable with any deal they make. You want a pleasant and honest partnership surrounding your book.

Be realistic in negotiations and prepared to walk away.
What are you getting from the publisher in exchange for all your hard work, original photography financial investment and passion? Be sure they have a finely tuned operation capable of supporting you and your book. Design, production quality, warehousing, distribution, marketing, PR, and payment are the areas you should be concerned with. Ask other authors about the publisher. Bring up these areas when negotiating with the publisher. If you are a first time author it’s a tougher go negotiating.

Persevere.
I doubt the first publisher who sees your book maquette will publish it. Probably not the second, third, fourth, fifth….. You can not let rejection be a reflection upon the merit of your book or more importantly you. There are many publishers and most won’t be right for your book. When your book is rejected politely ask what it that the publisher is looking for. If you see a common denominator from publishers possibly adjust your book to eliminate the problem.

I hope this brief and opinionated synopsis proves beneficial to those of you wishing to publish a picture book. While extremely difficult, authoring a picture book is a rewarding, satisfying undertaking. Your book can serve as the instrument to inform, elicit response, effect positive social change and open doors for you to continue to do even more with your pictures. Just remember these three words and you’ll be off to a good start: Passion, Purpose and Perseverance.

Carl Corey is the author of three books; “Rancher” – Bunker Hill 2007, “Tavern League” – WHS Press 2011 and “For Love and Money” – WHS Press 2014. He is the recipient of over 100 awards from the photographic and publishing communities including the Crystal Book Award for Best Photography Book 2012, National Best Sellers Award 2012, INDIE Publishers Award of Excellence 2014, Pub West Gold 2012 and Foreward Top Ten. He presents group seminars and teaches one on one workshops.