Art Producers Speak: William Anthony

- - 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 Associate Creative Director: I nominate William Anthony. I’ve floated past him in the industry circles for the past eight years or so and have had the pleasure of getting to see his career evolve. He’s an amazingly talented dude.

Georgetown’s legendary Hat ‘n Boots used to be a roadside gas station in South Seattle. The boots were the bathrooms. (I didn’t notice the MS13 gang tags until after I got my film back.)

Male burlesque dancer shot for Portland Monthly magazine. I won my first journalism award for this shot. Not sure how I feel about that. (Before you ask: gaff tape.)

The legendary Burnside skate park in Portland, OR. I had my 4x5 camera that day to take photos of the park itself when I met two train kids from Georgia. This guy was shredding—barefoot.

My good friend Daniel G. Harmann in the recording studio.

I was recently commissioned to photograph production stills for Duff McKagan’s forthcoming documentary It’s So Easy and Other Lies. This was backstage before rehearsals of the live-reading show at the legendary Moore Theatre in Seattle. Duff’s seen here with his guitar tech Rob.

This little guy’s facial expression perfectly fit the sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge from Vista House just outside Portland, OR.

Boston Marathon bombing icon Bill Iffrig for Runner’s World magazine. In addition to the shot list from RW, I just had to get a shot of him from behind, matching the perspective of the now-infamous Sports Illustrated cover photo of him on the ground with Boston PD officers over him.

Impromptu portraits, shot with my iPhone and posted to Instagram.

Jimmy from the now-defunct Seattle band The Divorce, from KEXP.org’s First Annual BBQ. They couldn’t afford a rental stage so they used a flatbed truck. The results were EPIC.

At the end of 2012 (and the WORLD), I was commissioned by Marie Claire UK magazine to meet and photograph two female “preppers.” The subject in Spokane, WA had weapons all over the house. Some hidden, some in plain sight.

Farmer and activist Ramsey McPhillips on his property in McMinnville, OR. In the background looms a growing landfill threatening his crops. Shot for Portland Monthly magazine.

Brian Aubert, lead singer/songwriter from the Los Angeles band Silversun Pickups. Their breakout single was a song titled “Lazy Eye.” Brian didn’t hide his. For KEXP.org

Portland Fire & Rescue, Search & Recovery Diver Lt. Rich Tyler for Portland Monthly.

How many years have you been in business?
As a photographer, almost 10 years. But I have been a creative professional for 17 years now. I started out as a graphic designer in ‘96 and then moved over to the advertising world as a studio manager for an award-winning boutique in Del Mar, CA called Big Bang Idea Engineering around 2000. I transferred up to Seattle with them and soon moved to another agency as an Art Director. It was the ad world that really opened my eyes to professional photography. I saw so much good work cross my desk. I ended up being that art director shooting black and white set photos while on agency shoots that I processed myself. Around 2004 I thought I would try shooting as a career. I gave myself one year. If I was in the black after 12 months, I said to myself, I’ll stick with it. And here I am, almost ten years later.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self-taught. I did, however, take a Photo 100 class with darkroom lab. That’s kind of what bit me. It was an elective for a graphic design degree (that I never finished), but I was hooked the first day in the darkroom.

The steepest part of my learning curve, however, came when I got my first DSLR in ’03. Around the same time I started volunteering my time as a photographer at the amazing public radio station here in Seattle, KEXP 90.3 FM. They were relaunching their (now-revolutionary) web site and needed photography content. Since I had virtually no money to donate at the time, I gave them my time and they gave me an endless stream of incredible subject matter and the creative freedom to try new things. I wanted to be to KEXP what Charles Peterson was to Sub Pop. I shot for them for three years straight and still do to this day. The station is now a world leader in online radio and their YouTube channel is incredible. So proud to have been a part of that station.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
My good friend Catherine Ledner. Back when I was an art director, I found her on Getty and hired her for a job in Los Angeles in 2001. We became instant friends and still are. Her sense of humor, talent and unending encouragement are probably my most consistent motivator.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I try to stay as open-minded as possible. I see myself as an assignment photographer in the truest sense of the term. When I get calls, especially cold calls, on the other end of the line is an experience I may or may not have any history or knowledge of. Whether an editorial assignment of a story or a commercial assignment where my responsibility is to help craft a predetermined narrative, I approach each assignment/job with fresh eyes. I’ve been doing this long enough to have the confidence in my skill set that I know my personal style will come through in the end. And ultimately, that’s why I like to think I get hired, for my perspective.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Not really. It depends on the client—and the agency. As I mentioned before, I’ve been on the other end of the phone before, and have had to have those conversations with clients as part of the creative team. So I understand the responsibilities creative agencies have to their clients. The good agencies know how to not only get amazing creative work, but satisfy the creative brief, strategist, media buyer, etc. It’s a juggling act but what I think separates the good agencies from the legendary ones is the ability to manage all those moving parts like a surgical team. By the time I come into the picture, (post-awarding), the process has begun and I’ve already been chosen for my aesthetic. So there’s rarely a request to “be” something else other than myself.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
In addition to the usual gamut of mailers, e-mails, phonecalls and agency visits, social media has helped me enormously. I can’t stress it enough. I have a very active and robust Instagram feed. But I am really careful to handle it like a visual diary and not a portfolio. (I make that clear in my profile.) I stick to iPhone photos as much as possible and when I post non-iPhone work, I make it very clear. Instagram fits my personality perfectly. I have adult ADHD, so things tend to catch my attention for just a moment or two. Tops. My feed is made up of anything that catches my eye. That said, I do curate it carefully. Editing is still important even in something so casual. My feed gives potential art buyers and photo editors not only a glimpse of my unfettered eye, but also my personality. A client once likened me to the slow food movement and called me a “slow artist.” Someone whose holistic vision really can’t be accurately seen unless you spend some time with it. I like that. I’ll take it. Also, if a client follows me for a while, and I follow them, we begin building a rapport early so that should we be lucky enough to work together, we kind of already know each other. It really does prime the pump. Lastly, and importantly, Instagram has led to actual, real jobs. Jobs I wouldn’t have had otherwise. So it’s not just a diversion for me. It’s a necessary tool. It’s not for everyone, but I am glad it’s available because it’s a perfect fit for me.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Show “yourself,” not just a body random of work. I remember the days when the only ways to find new shooters were the annuals and directories. There are so many other avenues now. Avenues that can give a deeper view into you as an artist and as a professional that were simply unavailable in the past. I work with a lot of musicians and seeing their business model transform from one of major distributors (major labels) to self-publishing ended up being a blueprint for the commercial visual arts. I love my Tumblr feed. I follow a few curated feeds that show me new artist everyday. (Don’t forget to credit the artist, Tumblrs. I need to find them somehow!) My advice is to get your vision out to as many of these curators and tastemakers as possible. But make sure it’s YOUR vision. It’s really the only thing separating photographers these days. Lighting styles, color-palettes and unique camera tricks are all great, but what separated Hemingway from Huxley wasn’t their typing techniques. It was what they were writing.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Always. It’s the art director in me. Finish one campaign, on to the next campaign. The next adventure. The only way to hone your vision is to do the leg work. If something interests me, personally, I always try to find a way to get to shoot it. I maintain a “Personal Work” section on my web site for just this purpose.) Commisioned work is important, but personal work is raw. There’s no outside influence so you are seeing EXACTLY what I want you to see.

I am in pre-pro on two personal projects now. One that will definitely happen and one that I really hope happens. (The green light depends on a lot of unknowns at this point.)

How often are you shooting new work?
Constantly. I couldn’t stop if I tried. (See also: ADHD)

William Anthony is a former advertising art director, commercial & editorial photographer, husband, eternal optimist and annoying grammar cop. West-coast based, but well-traveled, William has become expert at photographing people, places influenced by people and animals acting like people.

He currently lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and two cats despite being a “dog person.”

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

Professional Photographer Webcast Live – Will The Mobile Phone Camera Replace The DSLR?

Professional Photographer Webcast – Will The Mobile Phone Camera Replace The DSLR?

When: Wednesday, November 13th at 2pm EST

Where: Live here and on Google Plus: https://google.com/+aphotoeditor1

Who: Rob Haggart, Suzanne Sease and Stephen Alvarez

Topic: Join us today at 2pm EST for the Professional Photographer Webcast where we will be speaking with professional photographer and National Geographic contributor Stephen Alvarez who was recently commissioned by Nokia to shoot a 10 day assignment armed only with their Lumia 1020 smartphone. One of the images from that shoot is running as an inside front cover gatefold (3 pages) in the October issue of National Geographic.

Show Notes:

Stephen Alvarez: http://alvarezphotography.com/

Suzanne Sease: http://suzannesease.com/
National Geographic Photography Blog:

http://www.picturestoryblog.com

Blog Post about smartphone cameras: http://blog.melchersystem.com/
Shot Video on the assignment: http://johnburcham.com

Photography Jim Richardson: http://www.jimrichardsonphotography.com/

The Weekly Edit: Adam Voorhes – Details

- - The Daily Edit

Details

Creative Director: Rockwell Harwood
Senior Photo Editor: Ashley Horne
Contributing Photo Editor: Stacey DeLorenzo
Photographer: Adam Voorhes 

Prop Stylist: Robin Finlay

Is Robin Finlay whom you always work with for props?
Robin is my wife and creative partner. We collaborate on everything from the conception of ideas through the final delivery of a photograph. We have an intimate understanding of each other’s process, and are both passionate about our work. We’ve very much evolved into a team over the past few years.

How did the concept evolve?
Details is wonderful to work with on conceptual images because they tend to avoid literal visuals. They open the door to abstract ideas that we generally aren’t able to pursue. We can brainstorm and sketch outside of the box. Although we concept many of the images we execute for them, this wasn’t one of them, and the egg wasn’t the original idea. We were asked to create a wall with a hole in the shape of a fleeing figure, as though someone had run screaming and crashed through the wall. Robin built the wall out of sheetrock, cut the figure, styled broken 2x4s and crumbles of shattered wall. But on the morning of the shoot we received new direction. The new concept was a shattered egg that is being held together by tape, glue, stitches, any possible means.

Is that a real egg? if not what materials did you use?
Real. Since we were down to the wire on time Robin ran to the store, bought a few dozen eggs, and started breaking them, then gluing them back together with super glue while I pre-lit.

How much of this is post?
Everything but some of the glue is added in post. But it was pretty seamless. While I photographed a few of the eggs Robin made stiches in paper. We gobbed some hot glue on paper, and crumpled tape on paper. Then I chose the egg I preferred and started photographing the elements to match the lighting and angles on various parts of the egg. Then it was just a matter of dragging and dropping the elements onto the egg. Easy stuff.

What is the actual size / scale of the egg?
Egg sized.

Here IS one we concepted. The story was about working out so hard that you damage your body. Apparently you can stress to your cardiovascular system and build up plaque by pushing yourself to extremes. We drew a handful of sketches based on anatomical hearts, the vascular system, and I always like to set things on fire so why not a flaming shoe? This image was selected and we went to town. The execution was straightforward. Burning plastic is pretty foul so we dawned our respirators, turned on the vent fan and started to torch the thing. Burn. Shoot. Burn. Shoot. Repeat until done.

This Week In Photography Books: Jo Röttger

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was lying in bed the other night, trying to fall asleep. Dreamily, I asked my wife a question. What are the five places you’d most like to visit? She named them, but I couldn’t follow along. By the time she turned the question on me, I was already unconscious.

I thought about it the next day, when I awoke. I whittled down to Germany, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam. As I recited the list, I realized I had chosen the former Axis powers, and two Communist countries.

OMG. What does that say about me? Am I a less-than-patriotic American? Or a horrible Jew? And what about Africa and South America? Does their Continental omission mean I’m also secretly racist? Or do I just really like asking absurd, rhetorical questions?

Frankly, I haven’t been to Italy, the artist’s paradise, in a decade, and I’ve never been to Asia. So that covers 4 out of 5. As for Germany? I was in Lübeck once, very briefly, about 15 years ago. The people in the North were very nice. They kept buying me beers, incredulous that I’d come to their part of the country, rather than Bavaria. And the currywurst was super-delicious.

I’d like to go back, because who wouldn’t want to visit Berlin these days? But there’s something else, and it has far less to do with WWII than you might imagine. I just seem to groove on the German aesthetic. I love that they are so serious about their formalism and craftsmanship. And they’re eternally curious, without ever seeming to believe they’ll hit upon an answer.

Take this week’s book, for instance. It’s called “Landscapes & Memory: Thirty photographs” by Jo Röttger, published by Peperoni Books. Does it consist of exactly 30 photographs? Of course it does. Are they exquisitely composed, and built as well as a Maybach? Did you have to ask?

This book is excellent on multiple levels, but really excels at reminding us why iPhones are cute, but will never replace a large format camera. And why journalists and artists are…not exactly the same thing. (Much less citizen journalists.)

I’m not here to disparage the growing number of amateurs out there. Hell, if they’ll call me a journalist, they’ll clearly let anyone in the club. It’s an important job, sharing the news, but it’s not the same thing as making art.

This book gives makes the difference very visible. The artist was seemingly embedded with the German military, and made photographs in their company. He shot them while they were training in country, and also while they were active duty in Afghanistan.

The formalism is impressive, as I mentioned, but so too are the beautifully drained colors seen at dusk. The mid-day-desert sun leeches desire from the world too, and that blister-bright palette is on display as well. These pictures beg to be seen at 40″x60″, and I wouldn’t doubt that they’re built that large for exhibition purposes.

I was certainly reminded of Simon Norfolk’s work, but then Mr. Röttger kicks the whole thing up a notch. (My first, and last, Emeril Lagasse reference. Bam!) At the end, he photographs the German soldiers while they’re training in some Alpine landscapes that are straight out of “The Sound of Music.” (Which I’ve never seen, but am more than happy to reference here.)

Where are the lederhosen? Where is the alpenhorn to summon the shepherds home for strudel? I don’t know, and I don’t care. These pictures are so damn good, I want one for my wall. Hell, I want to build a bigger wall, and then put one of these bad boys up.

This project offers what I wanted, and then rejected from the Luc Delahaye photograph in the War/Photography exhibition I reviewed at the beginning of the year: the size, sharpness, clarity and patience that a big camera offers, without the knee-knocking sense of exploitation. (i.e., profiting off of a dead Talibani soldier. Delahaye might not have stolen his boots, but what he did take was worth $20,000 a pop.) Regardless, I do hope you enjoy the book.

PS: I’d ask you to share your top five list in the comment section, but when’s the last time that worked?

Bottom Line: Exquisitely crafted photos in Germany and Afghanistan

To Purchase “Landscapes & Memory: Thirty photographs” Visit Photo-Eye

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

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

Art Producers Speak: Sam Kaplan

- - 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 Sam Kaplan.

Fortune Magazine - World’s Most Admired Companies (GE and Coca-Cola)

Bloomberg Markets - 'Drenched in Debt' story on debt and the White House

Men'€™s Health - Story on blood vessel constriction.

New York Magazine - Satchels

Personal project - Runts and Nerds

Personal project - Big Red Gum

Personal Project - Dental Picks

Personal Project - Pencils

Personal Project - Pringles

New York Times Magazine - Black Bass

Fortune Magazine - Story on #1 Businessperson of the Year (Starbucks CEO)

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been shooting on my own for about two years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I majored in Studio Arts with a concentration in photography at Wesleyan University but I learned more about the creative process from the conceptual sculpture classes I took there. In terms of technical knowledge, I learned most of what I know from assisting and shooting.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
When I moved to New York in 2007 I wasn’t even aware that you could be a commercial photographer. There’s not one specific person that inspired me to get into the business, but I was definitely influenced by many of the photographers I assisted.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I try to shoot for myself as much as possible. Trusting my instincts at all stages of a shoot is very important to me. I feel that doing personal work and pushing myself in that way can really inform my assigned work.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Every assignment is different. With still-life photography, some of jobs are very straightforward, other times I’m being hired to bring more of my personal vision to the process. Each assignment is a collaboration in order to find the best visual solution to a problem.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I send out high-quality mailers two or three times a year. I spend a lot of time conceptualizing, shooting and physically making the mailers. Editorial work is a great promotional tool as well – every story I shoot could reach far more buyers than an e-promo or mailer.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
It’s not the right move. Buyers want to see your voice and that comes through in work you’re passionate about. Despite this, still-life advertising can be very technical and it can make the agency’s client apprehensive if they don’t see a comparable shot in a book. I’m sometimes asked to do a test shoot for larger campaigns to show the client what they are looking for. I see doing this type of work as an investment that hopefully pays off down the road.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Shooting successful personal work is extremely gratifying. I try to plan most of my personal projects in advance and I’ve found that the more time I spend thinking about something the better the end result will be. There is a freedom to shooting personal work is always exhilarating.

How often are you shooting new work?
As often as possible. The rhythms of client work often dictates when I have time to work on personal projects.

Based in New York, Sam Kaplan was born and raised in Boston, MA. He moved to New York after graduating from Wesleyan University. His clients include The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Fortune, Men’s Health and Budweiser. He is represented by Candace Gelman & Associates. http://www.samkaplan.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.

Live 2 EST – Professional Photographers Webcast On Consultants

Topic: Working with a consultant
When: Wednesday, November 6th at 2:00 EST
Where: Here on aphotoeditor.com and Google + (here)

Suzanne Sease and I will be joined by Colleen Vreeland. Suzanne as you may know comes from the Art Buying side of the business with many years of experience working at Advertising Agencies. Colleen has worked in the past as an agent for Sharpe & Associates, Friend & Johnson and Elizabeth Poje. Both now advise and consult with photographers, so we’ll discuss working with a consultant and what the entails, plus any pointed questions you have about the consulting business. If you’re thinking about working with a consultant or have in the past and want to know how to get the most out of the experience this will be a great show to watch.

Email me any questions you have to rob@aphotoeditor.com. You will remain anonymous on the webcast and I will not share your identity with our experts so feel free to ask your most pressing questions.

You can see our previous episode (here).

Show Notes
Rob Haggart’s Websites: http://aPhotoFolio.com
Suzanne Sease: http://suzannesease.com
Colleen Vreeland: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/colleen-vreeland-hedleston/9/687/15
cbvreeland@mac.com

Staying up on tech
techcrunch.com
mashable.com

Austin Photographer with special project:
http://www.jaimemoorephotography.com/2013/05/09/not-just-a-girl/
DC Photographer with special project:
http://www.mcphotog.com/#/portfolio-books/crowns-(doubleday-2000)/Crownsnewcover2

My list of photography consultants:
http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2008/02/04/list-of-photography-consultants/

Photography consultants mentioned by Suzanne
Bobbi Wendt stellarart@earthlink.net
Andrea Maurico and Lynn Klye www.agencyacess.com
Neil Binkley http://www.neilbinkley.com
Jasmine DeFoore http://www.jasminedefoore.com

Patti Silverstein was mentioned by Colleen as a Photo Editor she works with:
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/patti-silverstein/1/416/98a

The Weekly Edit: Trends- Headline and Image

- - The Daily Edit

Runners World

Design Director: Benjamen Purvis
Photo Director: Michele Ervin

 

 

Psychology Today

Creative Director: Edward Levine
Photo Director: Claudia Stefezius

 

Esquire

Design Director: David Curcurito
Photo Director: Michael Norseng

I’ve noticed on the newsstand this week the interplay between type and image on opening spreads.

When it comes to space, the church and state of headline and image have seemingly come together in a happy union, sharing the same space, rather than the type getting designed into negative space or pockets of openness here and there.

Perhaps this is a reaction, creating a feeling of depth and layering that we don’t really get so much from a printed page, or it’s a space issue with the word count, or just creative expression and a sign of the times.

Apps seem to be inviting images and text as well, you can check them out here.


Pinterest even has a page dedicated to headline design.

 

Here’s a small scene from a favorite author, Annie Proulx, in the film “The Shipping News” and is often used when describing how to write a great headline:
Publisher: It’s finding the center of your story, the beating heart of it, that’s what makes a reporter. You have to start by making up some headlines. You know: short, punchy, dramatic headlines. Now, have a look, [pointing at dark clouds gathering in the sky over the ocean] what do you see? Tell me the headline.
Protagonist: HORIZON FILLS WITH DARK CLOUDS?
Publisher: IMMINENT STORM THREATENS VILLAGE.
Protagonist: But what if no storm comes?
Publisher: VILLAGE SPARED FROM DEADLY STORM.

 

 

Social Media Marketing – Put The Internet To Work For You

Social Media, when used regularly, has become a great new marketing tool for photographers. It’s rare that we talk to a photographer who isn’t using Tumblr or Instagram to update clients and fans on their latest work. And what could be better than showing potential clients a stream of new work that you’re producing. For your clients, social media has the advantage over traditional methods in that it’s entirely opt-in. The client decides if they want to see updates from you. And unlike traditional media, where you’re competing for their attention in mail, email, phone and facetime directly with important day-to-day operations of the business; with social media they’re able to set aside time just to catch up with photographers they’re following.

All great except for one thing. This has not eliminated traditional marketing methods, so we’ve really just added one more thing to do to the pile. And lets not forget the most important part of the equation: you’ve got to have something to post. Spending all your time on marketing and running a business leaves little time for creativity and producing new work.

Luckily the internet is coming to the rescue with tools I discovered a while back that put the internet to work for you:

ifTTT (ifttt.com) stands for If This Then That and they have an incredible set of triggers that allow you to have one action (posting an image on Instagram) trigger a whole slew of other actions (reposting on facebook, twitter and your blog). That example of reposting is just the tip of the iceberg on this service and depending on your workflow you can automatically trigger all kinds of interesting things that will help you with your workload. The key here is automatic. I think we can mostly agree that the internet is a giant time suck for all of us, but once I discovered this service I saw the potential to put it back to work for me.

This Week In Photography Books: New Irish Works

by Jonathan Blaustein

I love a good paradox. We photographers relish rare moments alone, prowling a foreign land with a camera in hand. (Maybe another in the pocket.) The lone wolf roams, hunting for pixels.

But no one gets very far these days without a good team. Success is impossible without friends and colleagues. In order to get more time by yourself, you have to play well with others.

I was reminded of that when I visited Photoville on my trip to NYC in late September. I might have mocked the MoMAPS1 art-world-hipsters last week, but at least they showed up to represent. So too were the crowds in evidence at Photoville, a photo festival that practically kisses the East River from it’s waterfront perch in Brooklyn.

“Rent some shipping containers, and they will come” is not the kind of quote that launches popcorn blockbusters, but it does seem to sum up Photoville’s premise. There were plenty of metal-clad photo exhibitions on display, along with other containers showing off new Ipad apps, or offering to take your tin-type portrait. It was like a county fair for photo-geeks, and I was thrilled to see so many people out in public, interacting with art and each other.

The festival was founded and is run by Sam Barzilay, originally from Greece, and his wife Laura Roumanos, of Australia. Nothing like Brooklyn to bring people together from all over the world, right? (Where’s Marty Markowitz when you need him? Can I get a shout out?) The festival is free, and the largest source of funding was from the Dutch Government, I was told. (As if we needed another reason to love the Dutch.)

Again with the paradox.

This week, we published an interview with Chantel Paul, who recently curated a California triennial at MOPA in San Diego. Do those artists really have something in common, just because they live in the same roughly defined land mass? I heard there was a show of Texas photography in Houston recently as well. Was it all about pictures of cattle?

I know that’s a dumb question, but it masks a better one: is regionalism actually dying, as John Gossage suggested? In a world in which culture moves at the speed of light, and information is no longer subject to the ravages of time, are we all just plugged into the same machine?

If you’re curious as to whether there’s even an answer to that question, why not check out “New Irish Works,” a book published this past summer by the Photo Ireland festival in Dublin. (Did you actually doubt I’d wind my way to a book review? Is the Pope Catholic?) It contains imagery by 25 young Irish photographers, including Paul Gaffney, whose book I previously reviewed.

I’ll spare you the trouble of guessing: I couldn’t learn much about Ireland through this book, but I do like it a lot. The practitioners have vastly different processes, though two photographers were shooting the television screen. (Barry W. Hughes and Muireann Brady.) I saw buckets of blood, (Patrick Hogan) wisps of minimalist nothing, (Roseanne Lynch) and light from a flash illuminating a sheep’s fuzzy ass. (Miriam O’Connor) Ms. O’Connor also took the perfect photo of a cheap motel bedspread, so good for her.

You might question why I’m highlighting this book, if we don’t learn anything about Ireland in the process? I laud the collaborative effort and community spirit that good festivals embody. Plus, there are cool photos inside, and you’ll definitely get a sense of what this young generation of artists is contemplating. Is that enough? If not, go buy yourself a Guinness and drink it.

Bottom Line: Cool book with work by a slew of young Irish artists

Purchase “New Irish Works” here.

Art Producers Speak: Philip Habib

- - 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 Philip Habib. Philip is a well-established photographer in New York, who has created iconic ad campaigns throughout his career as well as many amazing personal series. His latest “tip of New York” series is my current fave. It’s poppy and graphic and was totally appropriate this summer in New York with his sherbet colored backgrounds. Philip is a consummate pro: an iconic image-maker, a fantastic problem solver and an overall great guy!

How many years have you been in business?

I don’t consider photography a business. It’s my love and passion and sometimes I am lucky enough to get paid for it. I started shooting when I was sixteen so, a long time ago!

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I attended Mallinson’s School of photography on the Isle of Wight In England and then continued at the New England School of Photography in Boston. I discovered Photoshop when it was first Introduced and taught myself how to use it.

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

I wasn’t inspired by any one person – I was inspired by a generation of artists who could express themselves through their art. Many were musicians, artists, filmmakers and photographers, themselves. I suppose, like them, I was just looking for a way to express myself, and photography came very naturally to me. Many years ago, I discovered that my great-grandfather was a photographer in Florence and my grandfather was a photographer in Paris. My parents didn’t share this information until I was well into my career. I found out years later that my parents were actually surprised by my choice of career, and didn’t want to encourage it, nor let my grandfathers’ be my influence.

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

I try not to over think my inspiration. Everything around me is an inspiration, and everything around me changes daily, I just keep photographing to stay fresh. The day I stop is the day it isn’t new and fresh for me. Like a French Baguette, it’s only fresh for one day!

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

Rarely, my work seems to appeal to both. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. Most of the issues arise on the shoot, and to resolve these, I cover as many versions as possible so that they can carry on the discussion in post-production.

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

I use all the social network platforms. I send regular email blasts to Client’s and I distribute a mailing when I’m working on a new project and want art buyers to visit my site to see it. I also have very supportive agents, Matt Coogan & Darren Jordan at Anyway Mgmt. They are ‘live’ social net-workers, they do regular portfolio reviews, have probably met most art buyers for lunch and, as an added bonus, have a wonderful gallery in Brooklyn where they have had showings of all their photographers. These are always well attended and a lot of fun.

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

The market has changed so much in the past 10 years, but one thing remains constant-people. You need to show them your vision, and something that stands out. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Really the simpler, the better. Especially when you are showing an art director. You hope that in someway your can inspire them.

When I first started out, I just showed 12 images of erasers, pencil shavings and pencils. Yes, a little scary, but people remembered, because nobody else was showing such a limited portfolio. When I lived in Paris, I showed a personal series on fruit, and the art director gave me a huge campaign for the then-new Renault Megane. I didn’t have a single car shot in my book! That was France. It rarely happens here in the US, as clients are more involved. You need to get an adrenaline kick out of showing your work, otherwise it’s no fun.

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

I would say most of my work is personal work, and that’s what propels my commercial work. My personal work is really what pushes me artistically to break new ground, and my commercial work is more about the production aspect of how to create an image in a short period of time that will have my sense of aesthetics and fulfill the vision of both the client-and the Creative Director. I actually love that challenge.

How often are you shooting new work?

Well, not including my i-Phone, weekly.

Philip Habib, of Anglo-French heritage, was educated in London, Paris and Milan. He has been shooting commercially for over twenty years in Europe and the United States. His distinctive still-Life style has earned him industry acclaim numerous prestigious awards on both sides of the Atlantic. Advertising campaigns include Absolut, Smirnoff, Master Card, Canon, Sony, and Renault among others. Philip has lived and worked in New York since 1996, with his wife and three sons.

Contact: www.philiphabib.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.


 

Interview with MOPA curator Chantel Paul

- - Art

Jonathan Blaustein: Thanks so much for agreeing to chat. I was hoping you might be able to give our audience the inside scoop on how an exhibition takes shape, from idea to execution.

MOPA just had the big opening for its second triennial, on which you were the lead curator, called “Staking Claim.

American Lake, WA G3, 2011 Matthew Brandt Chromogenic print soaked in American Lake water ©Matthew Brandt, Courtesy of Gilad and Rachel Segal

Around the Bend, 2012 Susan Burnstine Archival pigment print Courtesy of the artist.

Dusk #57, 2010 Mark Ruwedel Gelatin silver print Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Luisotti

Luminaria: Midday Winter Solstice Barrow, AK. Electric, 2012 Christina Seely Archival pigment print Courtesy of the artist

#82.948842 Detroit, MI. 2009, 2011 Doug Rickard Archival pigment print Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Wirtz Gallery

Untitled #9238-e, 2011 Todd Hido Chromogenic print Courtesy of the artist and ROSEGALLERY

JB: Staking Claim is a California invitational, so you’re only showing work from artists who work in or are based in California?

Chantel Paul: Right. It’s artists who live in or are based in California. The work does not have to be created about the State or in the State.

JB: How did you go about choosing artists in a State filled with, what, 40 million people? Have you hit that number yet? It’s got to be close by now.

CP: I reached out to galleries and institutions I know who have a continued or sole focus on contemporary photography. As far reaching as Jackson Fine Art and Yossi Milo, to the Portland and Seattle Art Museums, and the Getty Center. Also, the galleries at 49 Geary Street in San Francisco, and all the main galleries you’d think of in California for contemporary photography.

I also talked with folks like the Museum of Latin American Art. I was trying to broaden the reach, so that we could get names that we hadn’t heard of. I also spoke to certain individuals and independent dealers who know what’s going on out there.

JB: But you didn’t ask me.

CP: I didn’t.

JB: No. But you probably should have, in retrospect. Right?

CP: I could have. Yes. I also started the process in April of 2012. That’s when I started concepting the list of nominators, and asked people to return it by July of that year.

JB: That was very suave. I love how I said you “should have,” and you replied with “could have.” That was really smooth.

CP: (laughing.)

JB: It was practiced. Even now, people can’t see the look on your face, but its saying “Come on, now. Move along. Give me a real question, not a fake question.”

CP: It’s a triennial. You’ll have another chance.

JB: Of course I’m just joking. But I wonder, if you’re dealing with galleries, isn’t there a real element of self-interest? Did most galleries nominate artists whom they represent?

CP: Some of them did, and some did not. There were very specific instructions. They could nominate three people, and the work was meant to be made in the last five years. I also suggested that they do not need to represent the artist, in the accompanying letter.

JB: This is the second triennial, so I have a two part question. How did you end up choosing a triennial schedule, instead of a biennial, which of course everyone else is doing? (Maybe that’s the answer right there.) And how did you come to be in charge of this one?

CP: We really wanted to make it different from the 2010 exhibition. With the invitational process, we were hoping to not duplicate the first one, with a lot of the same names. We wanted to give the medium a chance to shift and change, to give some new names a chance to come to the forefront.

The extra year helps allow for that to happen organically. This time, there were names I’d never heard of, and photographers who are just now becoming very prominent in the art world that were just starting to bud at the time they were nominated. So it proved to be successful in that way.

With respect to the second part of your question, in 2011 I solo-curated my first show for MOPA. As this exhibition was coming onto the calendar, I asked to be the project lead. I thought it would be a great way to grow, and to see what the medium is like right now.

JB: You choose the nominators, they nominate people, and then you end up with a list of one hundred photographers? Or more?

CP: There were actually eighty-seven nominations total. I reached out to fifty-four nominators. Not everyone nominated three people, and there were duplicate and triplicate nominations for particular photographers.

JB: Of course. And that was a pretty good guess. Eight-seven is not that far away from a hundred.

CP: No, it’s not. I was expecting there to be more, but there were a lot of duplicate nominations. Which was interesting.

JB: Probably the names we would expect. I’ve got to imagine Todd Hido was nominated by a heap of people. Not that “heap” is a specific numerical term.

CP: I think he had two nominations. There was one particular individual who had three, which was the most.

JB: Fair enough. I’ll jump ahead in logic and assume you then did studio visits? You got in there, rolled up your sleeves and started looking at work?

CP: When the nominations were coming in, I started compiling a whole visual spreadsheet. So by the time I got all the nominations in by early August, I’d divvied them up into the yes, no and maybe piles.

I made the initial selections and shared them with our Director, Deborah Klochko, and our Director of Exhibitions and Design, Scott B. Davis. Just to make sure I was on the right track. When you’re very close to a project, you sometimes want to get that outside perspective, to make sure you’re seeing everything right.

JB: Sure. No matter what you do. And I have to say, the fact that we’re talking about spreadsheets should dispel any illusions that people have about the glamorous nature of the curatorial career.

People visualize you as hopping onto planes to Istanbul and such. But really you’re working with Microsoft Excel. So I’m glad that came to the forefront.

CP: Well, the travel and studio and gallery visits are definitely the ‘pinch me’ part of the job. But, it was a great way to see everything in one place. I’m really a visual person, so I literally cut out images, lined them up and put them together. I started to see it take shape, where I could see relationships between certain artists or bodies of work. And then I did narrow the 87 down to about 30 photographers, followed by phone calls and studio visits with those individuals.

Then I slowly whittled it down to the final list of 16.

JB: So there are occasions now where you go to openings, and you have to see people who didn’t make the cut, and you have to do that awkward conversation thing?

CP: Well, (long pause,) it’s not that their work wasn’t good, it’s that it didn’t fit with this particular exhibition. So the photographers that didn’t make the show, but I really enjoyed their work, I absolutely want to stay in touch with. Maybe it wasn’t right for this opportunity, but it could be right for something in the future.

JB: I’m coming up with tongue in cheek questions, and you’re answering in a really classy way. Forgive me. We’ve got to keep it real here at A Photo Editor.

CP: It was very interesting with some photographers. In a couple of cases, once they knew they weren’t in the show? That was it. No response to the email.

JB: There we go. Thank you for sharing a little bit of the reality, and not just the classy answer.

But I’ll be serious for a minute. In America, a lot of ideas seem to drift east from California. You took the pulse through art, so what do you see that’s going on right now?

CP: Photographers are going inward, creating work meant for outward display. The work is coming from a very personal place. It’s a meditation on what they do, but it’s also a very tactile process. I don’t know if it reflects what’s happening on a geo-political scale per se. It’s more what’s happening globally with the perception of the medium.

About ten to twelve years ago, there was this whole question around digital, and how it was going to change the medium. Now, some papers and chemicals are no longer being made. Today, these photographers are able to be creative by doing the wrong things with photography to create new work that people haven’t done before.

JB: A lot of the work appears to be very process oriented, and visual. You job was to cull ideas from the ether, through different artists and different works. The curator makes the statement by the choices that he or she makes.

CP: Right.

JB: With some of the work, like Susan Burnstine and Klea McKenna, there’s a sense that there are processes going on that aren’t visually represented. Susan builds her cameras from scrap parts and plastic lenses. Klea McKenna was making paper airplanes that reference spotters on the Pacific beaches in WWII. Both make beautiful images.

What’s your take on work that doesn’t necessarily make it’s bones evident to a viewer?

CP: I feel like we’re at a crux. Artists are very much interested in the object of a photograph as much as the image they’re creating. Like Klea’s installation, in which the inverted triangle is important to her work. It’s also an opportunity to create conversation. And there’s also text in the exhibition that explains things, of course.

Another great example is Matthew Brandt. If you just walk up to those pictures, you have no idea what just happened.

Or look at Eric Willam Carrol, who takes images from Flickr and then makes physical installations out of them.

JB: That one looked really fantastic in the book. I can’t wait to see it.

From what I could see, he’s punched a hole in each of these photographs. But then you guys installed these tall, striking poles, on which stacks of hole-punched photographs have then been impaled. I guess that’s the proper word here.

CP: Right. And for his site specific installation at MOPA, Eric came out for a weekend and worked with a team of volunteers to create a mosaic and stack of images, which he culled from the public commons of Flickr of images that were geo-tagged San Diego.

JB: That’s what I was seeing. Does he discuss the whole sexual innuendo?

CP: Huh?

JB: It’s a most powerful visual reference, but it hard to see what it has to do with his concept.

CP: That is funny. (pause.) I am actually shocked that I never even went there.

JB: Never.

CP: I’m shocked.

JB: I’ll verify that. We’re skyping now, and her eyes are wider than the Pacific Ocean. Oh my god. You didn’t see that?

CP: (laughing.) No. I actually didn’t.

JB: OK. Well, you’ll have to ask him next time.

CP: For this installation, it’s only one spike though. It doesn’t look like it, but there are over 7000 images in our installation.

JB: Does he have an assistant punch the holes, or does he do it himself?

CP: He does it. He has a mitre.

JB: Just checking. In 10 years, he’ll hire someone to do it for him.

CP: He does them 100 at a time.

JB: Efficient. I like that. We Gen-X’ers and Millennials love our recycling and efficiency.

CP: This time, he saved all the holes.

JB: Well, I’m sure you’re exhausted and proud of your accomplishments. We’ll wrap this up, so you can get on with your day. Don’t have a heart attack, but what’s coming next?

CP: One of the things I’m working on is that we’re bringing the Prix Pictet “Power” exhibition here to San Diego. It’s opening in February. We’ll be the last venue, at the end of the tour. And we’re the sole American location for the show.

The Weekly Edit
Brenda Milis: Bloomberg Pursuits

- - The Daily Edit

 

Bloomberg Pursuits

Creative Director: Anton Ioukhnovets
Photo Director: Brenda Milis

Is this publication available on the newsstand? My guess would be no from the discreet use of cover type. Is the magazine both digital and print?
Bloomberg Pursuits is a global luxury and lifestyle magazine published quarterly and sent to Bloomberg subscribers all around the world. It is not sold on newsstands.
Bloomberg does have a Pursuits section on their website which features some of the articles in the magazine as well as providing a link to view the entire magazine digitally and a link to download the issue for free on the iPad.

Tell me about the editorial planning process, and how big is the staff?
Ted Moncreiff is the Editor of Pursuits, Anton Ioukhnovets is the Creative Director, and I am the Director of Photography. Our planning and production process is the opposite of having too many cooks in the kitchen: Ted comes up with ideas for the articles, reaching out to writers and editors he knows to help him gather as many leads as he can find. The three of us brainstorm on which stories have the most appeal to our readers both in terms of content and visuals. Similarly, we collaborate on how we want to treat and approach each article visually and the other photo editors, Lauren Winfield and Manuela Oprea, pitch photographer ideas according to the approach we have discussed for the articles they are working on.  It is wonderful to be part of such a small team that works so closely in building a brand.

What are the differences coming from national titles to custom quarterly titles aside from schedule? (Pro’s Con’s.)
I am also the DOP of Bloomberg Markets and work with Lauren and Manuela on that monthly as well so we do end up being busy! Markets and Pursuits are such different creatures so we never tire of any particular photography genre.

As far as the difference working for a national title and a custom quarterly, because I am working on both Markets and Pursuits, my day to day experience remains pretty similar to what I had experienced working at other newsstand magazines. Markets has a much larger editorial staff, so I am still going to as many meetings and dealing with as many editors as I did at other newsstand monthlies I had worked on previously.

How much synergy to you have with Bloomberg News both creatively and editorially?
Ted does have some Bloomberg writers and reporters pitch ideas for Pursuits articles that end up running in the magazine, but he also hires many outside freelance writers. As far as photographers, so far I have always hired outside freelance photographers to shoot for Pursuits.

You are hiring the cream of the crop, what is the running thread in all the images you commission? Describe the magazine’s aesthetic.
There is no ironclad aesthetic for the publication. We actually want to have a variety of photographic styles because of the variety of topics addressed.
Bloomberg subscribers are mainly men so there is a tendency for us to work in that vein, but overall we are a general interest magazine for Bloomberg subscribers, noting that Pursuits addresses the readers’ life outside of work, their time off. Since Anton and I both have backgrounds in men’s magazines, we are very much aligned in what we do like coming from that background and where we would like to break the mold and not follow traditional visual approaches to magazines created for mainly male readers.

Anton’s design sense is, in my opinion, stunning, and it is his design of the magazine that keeps the overall aesthetic consistent. We are both passionate about photography so ultimately I think we are always trying to come up with the best photographer and photographic style for each individual article –the nature and content of each story-and it is his design that pulls it all together so well. We are trying to make beautiful images that sometimes may have an element of surprise to keep things fresh and exciting.

Beginning production of a new publication definitely had its challenges in the beginning because we did not have a product to show or a brand’s reputation to rely on (we are just finishing our fourth issue next week).  We therefore relied on the relationships we already had with photographers and their agencies for the first issue and with each issue it gets easier, of course, to bring on the caliber of photographers we want, as we now have something to show and the response has been great.

Beyond the relationships we already had established with photographers before beginning production on our first issue of Pursuits together is the fact that Ted comes up with such amazing editorial ideas and content that photographers are excited to shoot for us.  Just three issues in we have been fortunate to be able to attract and assign some really fantastic photographers such as Richard Burbridge, Simon Norfolk, Ralph Mecke, Dan Winters, Horacio Salinas, Kenji Aoki, Tom Schierlitz, and Jamie Chung.

The Gander airport shoot was stunning, how hard was it to produce a shoot in a defunct airport?
It was Anton’s idea to shoot at Gander Airport. He had seen some images of the airport and realized what a fantastic location it would make for a shoot. This Newfoundland airport was an essential refueling stop for transatlantic prop planes from the time it was built in the late 1930′s until the 1960′s. But with the advent of jets in ’60′s, transatlantic refueling fell from favor and thus so did Gander.  After that the airport has mostly become the province of cargo planes so it’s 1959 interior has remained absolutely pristine, frozen in time.

While I immediately agreed that it was a wonderful location for our Fall fashion shoot, I knew just as quickly how challenging it would be to get everyone and the wardrobe itself up to Gander. Flying people from both Europe and the U.S. was tricky because there are so few flights going into Newfoundland, let alone Gander, none of them direct. Beyond that, however, is that the planes flying into Newfoundland are so small that they have very tight luggage limits so we had to make sure that the clothes and accessories were being checked in by as many people involved in the shoot as possible. Lastly, we didn’t book our models until the week of the shoot and I wasn’t sure there would be any room left on the few flights that could get them to the shoot in time. A bit of a nail biter but it turned out beautifully thanks to Anton, Azim Haidaryan, the photographer, Markus Ebner, our contributing Fashion Director and a wonderful, flexible crew!

Next Professional Photographer Webcast Is Wednesday November 6th at 2:00 EST

- - Working

Professional Photographer Webcast Episode 3
Topic: Working with a consultant
When: Wednesday, November 6th at 2:00 EST
Where: Here on aphotoeditor.com and Google + (here)

Suzanne Sease and I will be joined by Colleen Vreeland. Suzanne as you may know comes from the Art Buying side of the business with many years of experience working at Advertising Agencies. Colleen has worked in the past as an agent for Sharpe & Associates, Friend & Johnson and Elizabeth Poje. Both now advise and consult with photographers, so we’ll discuss working with a consultant and what the entails, plus any pointed questions you have about the consulting business. If you’re thinking about working with a consultant or have in the past and want to know how to get the most out of the experience this will be a great show to watch.

Email me any questions you have to rob@aphotoeditor.com. You will remain anonymous on the webcast and I will not share your identity with our experts so feel free to ask your most pressing questions.

You can see our previous episode (here).

This Week In Photography Books: ECAL

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

I don’t buy a lot of books. Perhaps that makes me a bad book reviewer, but there it is. I live in a minimalist house, with little storage, and I do get to look at more books than just about anyone. (I just have to give them back.)

So when I found myself at the New York Art Book Fair at MoMAPS1 last month, I definitely didn’t expect to buy anything, even though the fair was more a packed marketplace than an engaging exhibition space. It’s hard to say how much money changed hands, because I was too busy trying to figure out how to navigate the crowds. (Of obnoxious hipsters. Is anything more uncomfortable than watching a bunch of artsy types lined up ten deep outside a schoolhouse bathroom? Talk about a stink vibe. Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

I’ve been called a hipster before, and it will likely happen again. Having lived in San Francisco’s Mission District, and Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I suppose the moniker was inevitable. But I’m the last guy to walk around with an ironic mustache and a sour look on my face, so there are limits.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself obsessing about a super-cool black hard-cover book I found on a simply adorned table. It sat there, alone, topped with a yellow post-it note that read: last copy, $10. $10? Are you kidding me?

Whether it was the ridiculous price that made me reach for the book, or the fact that the air surrounding this particular booth didn’t reek of insecurity, I cannot properly say. But reach I did, and I soon fell in love. What was it, you ask? A typography book put out by a Swiss art school. (ECAL/ University of Art & Design Lausanne, Switzerland.)

Does anything sound less sexy than a book about typography made by a country famous for watches and banking? I doubt it. (But it might be a fun game to try. What could be less sexy? How about a sweater knit from wet dog hair? Or a six-day-old hamburger?)

Right. The book. It does contain interspersed photographic images, which often come from magazine covers or exhibition posters. But the photos are there as supporting examples of high-end typography. Page after page of just the alphabet, rendered differently. It might take an expert to suss out the expectations of intended impact, but any layperson can see that when shown together, the effect is a bit hypnotic.

Must. Have. This. Book.

That’s what I thought. Unfortunately, I was faced with a day of running around NYC, and the kind-of-large object would not fit into my green, Brooklyn Industries manbag. (Yes, I bought it in Williamsburg. Make of that what you will.)

What was I to do? Believe it or not, our friends at photo-eye had a booth in the fair, and they kindly agreed to ship it back to New Mexico for me. (Thanks, Mel and Vicky.) Therefore, I’m writing this review of a book only nominally pertaining to photography, and we’ll see what you think.

I’m not entirely sure why I love this book so much, but the ineffable beauty is part of what I enjoy. If you find that typography can be fascinating, what else is there to learn from this big, spinning planet?

We really do take this facet of communication for granted. As photographers, we always think about the quality of the pictures. As writers, we worry about the words we conjure, whether they’ll be good enough to get the job done. (Or whether they’ll be edited outside of our control.) But how often do we consider the structure of the letters themselves?

It’s obviously a lesson we can apply to the wider world. If typography is more interesting than previously thought, what else is out there? Bird watching? Particle physics? Soduku?

Bottom Line: Super-cool book about an esoteric subject


Art Producers Speak: Johann Wall

- - 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 Johann Wall. We use him all the time. He takes amazing photos of people and I love the way he always captures a person’s essence.

This is a portrait of the author Esi Edugyan. I like windows, cars, mirrors. Peaceful introspective moments.

I felt I needed to get some fishing pictures one day so I went salmon fishing with Patrick very early one morning. This is when the fog is burning off.

This was in Berlin. Again my love of mirrors and quiet moments.

This is Leeroy Stagger. We were photographing his press and record pictures. You sometimes have to go all over the province in your van just to get a great picture in your van.

A story about students at a particular school. I felt like this was the way to bring out this scene with vibrant colour and contrast.

This was the first campaign that I felt really utilized my way of seeing things and directing groups

Family landscape in Bulgaria. I rented an apartment there for a few months one year as I had fenced with a Bulgarian from Sofia in university.

The Hotel Vancouver. I often take people somewhere and just wander around seeing what we can come up with.

A cyclist in Sugoi.

One of my old favourites while working on a documentary film about exotic dancers.

West Coast of Vancouver Island, Okanagan Spring Beer!!

How many years have you been in business?

It must be coming up around 15 years now since I was consciously taking photographs that I wanted to show. More like 10 in a sort of commercial/editorial professional sense though.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

Both. I learned how to develop in the darkroom at the University of Victoria where I was enrolled in the writing program. A friend slipped me into the photojournalism lab and showed me the process.

When I moved to Liverpool, I was supposed to photograph the Manic Street Preachers for a little magazine so I went to the library to learn how to take photographs in the dark. Push processing! We set up a darkroom in the closet to develop.

The following year I received a grant to attend photo school for a year. I loved it, being able to learn, make friends and try out things without any concern other than photography. I assisted in London for a while as well as in Vancouver on gallery shoots. I liked London the best as I worked with a woman who shot country Vogue style advertising stories so we’d stay in castles and remote estates. She used almost exclusively modified natural light so there were a lot of massive reflectors and diffusers.

I’m glad I studied and assisted because I gained a real technical knowledge and understanding of creating and modifying light. I don’t usually use much equipment but I’m glad I know how to use it if necessary.

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

I think my greatest influence was Wolfgang Tillmans’ first book. It’s a wonderful collection of photographs.

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 don’t know if I’m pushing the envelope! I just like making as beautiful a photograph as I can.

I like to think of all my work as one multilayered story which I keep adding to. I have a consistent aesthetic to my imagery and I am very happy that I’ve found that. I guess by creating new photographs I am keeping my work fresh. I don’t really like terms like pushing the envelope.

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

I think people all respond to the storyline aspect of my photography. So they would expect me to create a story and usually that means I am instructed to do whatever it is I do to make that happen. I’ve been on tripods tethered a few times photographing group scenes where I’d normally be moving around amongst the talent whispering the odd instruction in their ears. So that was sort of limiting, as I couldn’t be right in the scene. I think that was the creative’s tethering me though, not the client.

I’ve been sent out on my own a lot, even on commercial jobs, to just bring back great pictures.

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

I send out some postcards now and then. If I’m in the right mood I’ll make up unique packages for people I like at magazines or agencies. I’ve always loved post and letters.

I do some email newsletters but I haven’t quite gotten used to that so they are not on much of a schedule. I get good interest when I do send them though!

Magazines are great.

Work with people who love Instagramming so you don’t have to spread the news yourself.

I sometimes have no idea how people hear about me though. I’ll get a call from a Zurich newspaper out of nowhere to shoot a story and wonder how that happened.

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

I think everyone shows work they think people want to see. Whether a buyer wants to see it, you will never know until you show it to them. I don’t know what people want to see, and how can you?

My first website had 14 pictures on it and almost all of them were blurred because I really liked that look then. I got a national magazine cover and the photo editor said, “ Johann, we really love your pictures but would you mind not blurring this portrait?”

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

Of course.

How often are you shooting new work?

I do try and photograph people as much as I can but I’m not someone that photographs everything they see. I like to have moments to think and then I do other things and then I’ll decide to make some new pictures. I like limiting my image making. I am creating new work in my mind a lot though.

Johann Wall is a Canadian photographer based in Vancouver.
Phone: 604 725 8865
Email : johann@johannwall.com
www.johannwall.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.

David Maisel Interview

- - Photographers

Earlier this summer, I caught up with David Maisel, a few weeks after reviewing his new book “Black Maps.” He recently began working with Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York, and has a solo show up at Haines Gallery in San Francisco through October 26th.

American Mine (Carlin, Nevada 8), 2007 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

American Mine (Carlin, Nevada 18), 2007 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

American Mine (Carlin, Nevada 1), 2007 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

American Mine (Carlin, Nevada 2), 2007 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

The Mining Project (Inspiration, Arizona 9), 1989 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

The Mining Project (Butte, Montana 3), 1989 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

The Mining Project (Butte, Montana 7), 1989 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

The Mining Project (Butte, Montana 5), 1989 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

The Mining Project (Butte, Montana 9), 1989 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

The Mining Project (Clifton, Arizona 7), 1989 Archival pigment print, 2013 48” x 48” edition of five

All images © David Maisel courtesy Haines Gallery/SF and Yancey Richardson Gallery/NY

Jonathan Blaustein: Were you raised on Long Island? Is that right?

David Maisel: Yes.

JB: Your bio states that you went to Harvard as well as Princeton. That’s pretty impressive.

DM: True, but technically I would have to call myself a Harvard drop-out. I went there for graduate school in architecture. It was a 3.5 year masters program that I left after a year.

JB: At Princeton, you studied with Emmet Gowin and Edward Ranney?

DM: Exactly. It was quite a remarkable experience. They were photographic educators, but that kind of skims the surface of what their impact was. I had the opportunity to work with Emmet at Mt. St. Helens when I was an undergrad, and they both informed what my view of landscape could be.

And even what a photographic practice could be. To have both of those men as teachers so early on was really amazing.

JB: When I was looking at “Black Maps,” it made me think of the Nazca lines, and I know that Ed is one of the foremost contemporary photographers who’s worked in Peru. It occurred to me that it might be a literal link in the chain of your creative process. Is that the case?

DM: Absolutely. When I was working with Ed, he was engaged in this very intense, deep photographic survey of Mayan and Incan architecture, and the vestiges that those civilizations had left in the land. That sense of working as a visual archaeologist, looking at artifacts from former civilizations.

I’m looking at artifacts from the present. It’s a future-past, in a way. I’m documenting and cataloging that which our current civilization might leave behind. Ed’s work helped me view contemporary artifacts in the landscape through the lens of what remains when a civilization is gone.

JB: I reviewed the book, and wrote that there was an element in which you were making the work for future people to judge us. So it sounds like that is conscious in your process.

DM: I think so. I think there’s also a science fiction aspect to it as well. A JG Ballard, post-apocalyptic sense that these are the elements that might remain. Or we might be unearthing past civilizations. It’s not entirely academic in nature. I think Ed’s work in large measure is. And I think that’s one of its strengths. I’m playing with other elements as well.

JB: How do you view yourself, with respect to the contemporary environmental movement? You’re doing this exclusively as art? Or do you have motivations to try to alter people’s behaviors in the present, in addition to cataloging degradation for the future?

DM: These are really good questions, but I have to say, first and foremost, I’m looking at landscape from a conceptual point of view. Politics and environment enter into it, but I’m primarily a visual artist, and I’m not making these pictures in order to change policy. If I was, I’d need to make very different kinds of pictures, and I’d position them very differently than I do.

My primary interest is in making interesting photographs, and I think there’s a way that photography has a burden put on it that I want to refute. The pictures are not made in order to change policy, let’s put it that way. But they do have environmental concerns, and they’re based on sites that have undergone very intense environmental transformations.

Politics is part of it. But I think the conceptual aspects of landscape drive me more than the notion of being a documentary photographer. I don’t think that I am documentary photographer.

JB: In 80% of the interviews I do, we end up having a discussion about nomenclature, and the distinctions made in the worlds of photography and art in the 21st Century. Over three decades, you’ve made multiple projects looking at the way humans are interacting with the land. To me, that speaks to a very deep
personal motivation.

DM: It’s intrinsically political. You can’t spend so many years looking at these sites without having a certain kind of viewpoint. But my viewpoint is perhaps less about environmental demise than it is about the psyche of the culture that makes these sites.

These are distinctions that I think are important. In the past decade or so, there have been many more photographers looking at issues in the environment than there were when I began. I’m not really sure to what degree my work fits in with that movement.

There’s a history of looking at landscape in photography in the 19th Century, moving forward into the New Topographics. I see my work as a response to those prior ways of making images.

JB: You spoke of investigating the psyche of a culture that would do what’s been done. Since we’re talking about such a long investigation, culminating in the book, what have you learned about the psyche of this culture?

DM: We’re very distanced from the notion that the way we live exacts a toll. I’m part of the equation, and photography is part of the equation. We really do use natural resources without regard to where they come from, how they may or may not be able to be replenished, what the methods are of their extraction.

We’re divorced from any sense of how we are a part of nature, and how we fit back into nature, and how we use nature. We live in a house or an apartment building, in a city or a town. We drive to the shopping mall, we go to the beach. But we don’t ever really see the kinds of places that I’m interested in looking at, and sharing.

JB: When you show your work, you introduce these concepts to people through art. And there is currently a show in Scottsdale?

DM: Yes.

JB: I’ve been many places in my life, and Scottsdale, Arizona was one of the most challenging. With the all the concrete built right on top of the desert, and the obvious lack of water, it felt like a place where people shouldn’t be living, ecosystem wise. And yet it mushroomed into a city.

What’s your take on Arizona?

DM: The whole issue of desertification is something my work has been looking at through “The Lake Project,” and the “Oblivion” series,” but in my home state of California. But I think there are certain parallels.

I’ve been reading Wallace Stegner lately. You’re probably familiar with his writing.

JB: No, I’ve heard his name, but I haven’t read his work.

DM: I hadn’t realized the degree to which his writing in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s really helped construct a new way of looking at the American West.

He has a book titled “The American West as Living Space.” He writes about the West, and you can include Arizona and California both in there, as being defined by inadequate rainfall.

He basically says, “What do you do about that?” If you’re a nation that’s totally used to getting its way, you can do one of two things. You can either deny it, for a while, and then you either try to adapt to it, or engineer it out of existence.”

That’s what’s happening now, around the American West. We live in denial of the fact that the population of these places is not sustainable, given that there’s not enough water.

Or we try to engineer it out of existence with dams, and other kinds of waterworks projects, and systems of aqueducts, etc.
He’s quite a brilliant writer, and I think his influence has been profound on our concepts of the American West, and to a certain degree, legislation that set aside certain areas of the West. It’s pretty incredible, and worth taking a look at his work in depth.

JB: I will do that, and there’s also a chance that some of our readers will as well. So on their behalf, I appreciate the tip.

By putting together all the projects in a mostly linear way for the new book, did that give you new insight into what you’ve been pushing towards all these years?

DM: It was a really fulfilling project for me, because when I started making these kinds of pictures in the mid 1980′s, there was not much of an audience for this kind of work. I didn’t have the capacity to put this work out into the world in a way that would gather an audience to it.

So to have this trajectory of this work, over something like 30 years, and to look back at the origins of the work, that was incredibly meaningful and satisfying. It answered a lot of the questions that I had about my work in my mid-20′s.

To see the resonance the projects have with each other, the way my viewpoints change over time, the kinds of subject matter that I have looked at, I’m not sure it led to new realizations. But it brought me back to the person I was when I started this.

It helped recall the urgency that I felt about making these pictures, and the incredible frustration I had, because there were not many avenues to exhibit or publish, pre-Internet.

JB: You went to graduate school for photography many years after you had finished your schooling. A lot of people today are questioning and balancing the value of these very expensive arts educations. I got one, and loved it, but I’m still paying off the loans. What led to your decision?

DM: I’d moved to the Bay Area in 1993, and a decade later, I felt like I was still working in isolation here. I wanted to expand my community. That was one reason.

I also wanted to challenge myself to be more rigorous in my thinking. It was an unusual time, perhaps, to go back to school, but for me, it was perfect. I trusted myself enough, at that point in my life, to be able to discern what was useful to me, and what wasn’t, in that MFA program.

I could do it for myself in a way I wouldn’t have been able to, had I gone in my mid-20′s. It was a terrific experience. The environment at CCA, California College of the Arts, I liken it to the Bauhaus. There are all of these different disciplines happening under one roof. It’s an incredible hotbed of creativity, and intellectual and artistic growth.

JB: I was out in SF a year ago, and it was clear the place was really booming. Everyone was talking about Twitter moving in, rents going up, and the big Cindy Sherman show was at SFMOMA. There are a lot of younger SF and Bay Area artists who are doing well right now.

Have you seen anything lately, or come across any exhibitions that really spoke to you? What’s your take on what’s going on out there?

DM: It’s interesting. I’m pretty involved with the Headlands Center for the Arts. I’m on a board there. So that’s the filter through which I see a lot of what’s going on. There are some great things happening.

The de Young Museum has this Diebenkorn exhibit up called “The Berkeley Years,” so it’s not work that’s current. But it’s an exceptional show that focuses on work that he made in the mid to late 50′s. There are certain ways I see some parallels between his way of seeing and my way of seeing, which have been very intriguing for me.

JB: It’s a great point. It can be so helpful for photographers to look at painting, sculpture and cinema. Having a broad range of input tends to lead to more sophisticated output. If I were to make such a grand generalization, which is my speciality.

DM: (laughing.)

JB: “History’s Shadow” and “Library of Dust” are two projects in which you seem to be interested in categorization and typologies. History has a way of forgetting much more than it remembers, and things march on. As such, I was wondering where you were headed, creatively? What new things are you planning?

DM: I’m working now with some X-rays of paintings. The “History’s Shadow” work to date has been based on X-rays of 3 dimensional art objects, from antiquity through the invention of photography.

JB: And you photograph the X-rays?

DM: I rephotograph them. Exactly. So I’m now starting to work with X-rays of paintings. It’s pretty early on in that process, but it’s funny that we were just talking about Diebenkorn, and now we’re on the subject of painting.

I’m probably as inspired by other visual arts in my work than photography, or as much, certainly. Looking at Robert Smithson’s work, or Walter de Maria’s incredible Earth works art.

I found it very interesting to work with the X-rays of 3 dimensional artworks too, because in a way, photography is all about translating 3 dimensions down to 2. As you shift towards photos of 2 dimensional surfaces, it’s very interesting what happens. I’m still grappling with it, but that’s one of the things that’s coming next.

I’m also hoping to do some aerial work in Spain later this summer, or in the early Fall.

JB: What about architecture? Does that also inspire your photographic practice?

DM: It’s absolutely present in every single way. I thought from a very young age that I would be an architect, as soon as I could name it. I looked at magazines and floor plans from a very early age.

The ways architects analyze space acutely informs how I make pictures. You could extrapolate and say the aerial view is the way architects look at things and plan. The plan occupies the bird’s eye view and shows you things.

And the “History’s Shadow” work is more about cross-section: you’re slicing into something and seeing its structure. But the work is absolutely tied to the same interests and pleasures and puzzles.

JB: I was fortunate to see the “Library of Dust” project, in which you photographed the ashen remains of people who had passed away in a mental institution. I saw the prints a few years ago in New York. Maybe it was at Von Lintel?

DM: Yes.

JB: The prints were exquisite and also chilling, because you shined a light on a particular place, and people who had been perfectly forgotten. Did that spur anyone to come claim their relatives ashes? Did you hear any stories like that?

DM: Absolutely. One, in particular, was told in a beautiful and eloquent way by a woman and her adult daughter who were researching their family tree. They came upon a woman named Ada, who had vanished. Eventually they learned she had been institutionalized at the Oregon State Hospital.

They found out she had been one of these patients who had been cremated. They tried to work with the hospital to claim the remains, and were unsuccessful. When the “Library of Dust” book was published, that gave them another round of energy to approach the hospital. At that point, they were able to reclaim her.

It’s interesting, this idea of advocacy. Like I said, my work is not made with advocacy as its primary goal, but there is definitely a social aspect that is woven intentionally into the work. Hopefully in a subtle way.

Before the book even came out, the President of the State Senate in Oregon asked if he could use my photographs of these canisters on the Senate floor to advocate for more funding for the hospital. It was an active hospital even when I was making those pictures there, although some of the wards had been empty for a while.

He was successful in arguing for more funding, to the tune of $3.5 Billion. And in fact, the hospital has been rebuilt. This project was in some way a participant in that process. Did I set out to do that? By no means.

JB: Fascinating. Congratulations. You mentioned again that advocacy is not your primary motivation, but of course we also have secondary and tertiary motivations…

DM: Yes.

JB: Subtlety and nuance come from having multiple ideas sharing the same dance floor, and some times it’s hard to pick them out.

We’ve talked about your different interests and talents, and that multi-tasker model does seem to be hot at present. Do you have any advice you might share with other photographers out there, things you’ve learned that might help them with their careers?

DM: That’s a great question. For me, to study photography alone was not really enough. I do think that what might have felt at the time, as a younger person, like a lack of clarity in terms of making a career path, in the long run all of those things that might have felt like diversions were exactly the things that fed my artistic practice. Studying architecture, landscape architecture, the history of art, counseling and psychology, all these things came together.

JB: So that’s a yes, then.

DM: Follow multiple strands of study, and of inquiry. Follow your curiosity where it may go. Photography, in and of itself, is a vehicle for ideas. What are the ideas that you bring to the table? What are the ideas that you bring to your work? Those are the real, critical questions.

JB: Before we go, is there anything coming up that we ought to know about? Any new shows opening up?

DM: There is a solo show opening in September at Haines Gallery in San Francisco. (ed note, this is still ongoing.) It’s an exhibition of my mining photographs, and we’re going to focus on two bodies of work, one from 1989 and another from 2007. In a way, it brackets the timeframe of my obsession with open pit mines.

JB: And everyone who goes to see the show will get one free gold nugget?

DM: That’s right. And a vial of cyanide.

JB: Can you imagine? You have to pick a hand. You either get $10,000 of gold, or you die.

DM: Actually, cyanide is used in the capture of microscopic amounts of gold in many of those open pit mines. It’s an intrinsic part of the process, and it seems only fair that we’ll be serving little vials of cyanide at the opening.

The Weekly Edit: Tiny Atlas Quarterly with Emily Nathan

- - The Daily Edit

 

Tiny Atlas Quarterly

Founder and Publisher: Emily Nathan

Director of User Experience: Jake Huffman

Director of Art and Design: Liz Mullally

Photo EditorDeb Hearey

Why did you start this project? What sort of market space were you hoping to disrupt?
After my son was born, I was still busy shooting for clients but stopped shooting personal projects almost completely for about a year. I was kind of going crazy not being able to shoot for myself so I set up a project in Montana to just go shoot a lifestyle project/test in a part of Glacier National Park. Once I did the Montana shoot I realized that big lifestyle shoots like I had done had the potential to be a magazine.

The pictures that are expected for traditional travel magazines are not as interesting to me over time. A hotel bed, a cup of coffee, and a romantic landscape type of imagery is nice to see but after many years shooting big lifestyle productions, those pictures feel not as compelling to make. I want people! And I want people to do all the stuff there is to do in a given location.

On the flip side, with commercial shoots, you do all this planning and production and activities but viewers never know where you are, where you stayed, who your awesome team was, etc. Additionally with commercial shoots you have budget but obviously a lot of decisions about the content of images (and choices like styling) are made based on a client’s needs and not only your vision. Tiny Atlas seemed like a place to put those things together.

Big beautiful travel stories filled with people experiencing the places we wanted to go, or had been and wanted to share. I have so many creative friends who love travel (and are already traveling for work) and who also yearn to work on projects of their own devising that I figured we could band together and make it happen.

Tell me about the evolution of this, and how it’s either exceeded or disappointed your goals?
I can’t quite even remember how we got started. I had the idea, I spoke with my friend, our art director Liz Mullally, who had just left Apple after many years to move to LA.  Liz had some time to think about a new project while she was in transition and we got started. My husband Jake built Tiny Atlas. He works full time as a UX designer but we have always built my sites together. A big part of the fresh quality of TAQ comes from the UX and that is credited to Jake mostly, or our collaboration.
Tiny Atlas has grown so much and it is becoming very exciting. The magazine hasn’t disappointed me but it has sapped my business financially and time-wise.

You must have had space in your mind in order to think up this type of project, did you have some slow periods with your photography?
Well after you have a child you both lose a lot of free time and then gain a lot of time where you have to stay home at night because there is a baby sleeping in the other room. My husband and I used to go out all the time and now it is pretty rare. A lot of Tiny Atlas happens between 8pm-midnight.

How will you monetize this?
We have purposely put in all the production info and links so that potential branded partners and advertisers will see the opportunity and how open we are to work together, but also so that when the time comes, readers will not be surprised about the more branded connections being made. We are thinking of lots of ways for brands  to work with us, but we have kept the magazine really beautiful and grounded and it will never feel commercial. All of the places, clothing, activities have come from our creators . They are OUR favorite places, and our favorite clothing  and we want to share them. But we are open to sponsors and the great ideas they can bring, as well.  There is also the potential to have an online marketplace for our imagery and favorite crafted objects and destination suggestions in a curated way. We’re starting to examine ideas such as this, for example,  in a small way with our Oakland gallery show in conjunction with our Kickstarter campaign and possibly in a popup gallery/shop in the new year in Oakland, as well.

In a perfect world how do you see this taking off?
In the perfect world, places with fascinating stories, writers with a taste for exploration, and beautiful exciting destinations  (on or off the radar) will approach us with projects they want to collaborate on and we will choose the right ones to shoot/write about/collaborate on. This will be in addition to just going to places we want to share with our readers who will hopefully support the printed magazine/shop.

Why Kickstarter and not private investors?
Tiny Atlas has been completely created by me and a growing group of artists that have a lot in common. We are interested in personal stories and personal vision and we want to share work that feels intentional but also casual and real. Unfortunately we are at a point where we can’t continue to share this work without funding. But, there seem to be many individuals who appreciate what we are doing and a general interest in small magazines with unique vision. We hope to connect with all these affiliated folks directly through the Kickstarter campaign and expand on the groundwork we have done as well as listen to direct thoughts from our readers about what they are liking about what we do. While we are not opposed to funding, we want to continue to grow what we already have going and not to change focus.

How did you start your career in photography?
I went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and got my degree in English Literature and creative writing/poetry. For me photography has always been visual storytelling and poetic editing mixed together. I grew up traveling a bit with my family and I developed a pretty strong love of travel. I took photo classes in high school and university, but I also did a study abroad in Chile where I had an internship as a photojournalist with the national daily newspaper in Santiago. Everything came together for me there. I wanted to shoot and travel. After my study abroad I traveled alone through parts of Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina for a few months. I thought I would become a photojournalist and travel and shoot, but I was not interested in war as much as humanity. My husband and I met when I was a few months out of college trying to be a stringer for the AP (at 21 years old) in SF and he was an art director at the SF Bay Guardian where I started getting portrait assignments. I excelled far more at that than taking pictures of Willie Brown shaking someone’s hand for a Thanksgiving benefit for AP.

How did your experience at Apple fold into the evolution of this project?
Apple was amazing for my career. I started shooting for them on lifestyle projects when I was still just working editorially mostly. They had a lot more freedom in what they were looking for from photographers than other commercial clients so the goal was to take great images of people-often real families on real trips. But they put production muscle, great producers and amazing vision behind what they do and it set my course for making images.

Does your agent support you on this project?
Bernstein & Andriulli has been very supportive. Carol Alda and Howard Bernstein have been especially helpful in getting the word out. They are enthusiastic about my work coming in from Tiny Atlas and they are excited to share it with their clients and network. It feels fresh and relevant to them and that feels good to me.

Why do you think this style of photography is emerging and becoming valuable?
I think lifestyle is maybe coming into its own as a genre. Lifestyle is not a great word and the connotations aren’t amazing- you think, backlit happy people, but that is not why lifestyle is popular. It’s popular because lifestyle images are taken from the perspective of individual experience.

For a time documentary was predominant for so much of photography. Then it split back into categories, portrait, nature, etcetera. This is a little off track for Tiny Atlas but I guess my point is that lifestyle seems like the new documentary. Its a ubiquitous form that seems current and real and relatable. Lifestyle images can be profound or disposable but they are all fitting into the same bucket right now.

The source/credit information about the shoot is shared, are there direct links out to contributors sites? Do you think that can substitute as payment (essentially it’s free advertizing )
I think people want information to be free online and I think it actually should be. The internet is for sharing information and I hate paying for any content online personally. I don’t want people to pay to be a stylist or photographer for Tiny Atlas. I do want to find partners- be they readers who will pay for a beautiful inspiring quarterly or annual magazine in print to keep at home (or tear apart and put on their walls like I did as a kid), or shoot and put on their pinterest, or an airline that wants to promote their new direct service from SFO to Copenhagen, a gem of a national park, an amazing campground,  a gorgeous boutique hotel, a delicious local food or restaurant, an old resort that is not trendy but it’s still awesome, or a clothing brand that wants to share a new type of jeans that are actually super flattering. I want to know about all of these things and I think the Tiny Atlas reader does too.

Certainly there is an amount of luxury in any travel magazine but while we want to go everywhere in the world I think the best journey is really just about experience ultimately and not price. I talk about this below but one of my best trips ever was taking buses and hitch hiking around South America in college with money saved from waitressing between college semesters. The biggest luxury for any trip is the time to do it.

Is the entire team friend and family?
The team is friends and family first but has been really growing. I think 45  people had a hand in the last issue or more. Lots of people have reached out to collaborate and if their work is the right fit we are happy to get new people in the mix. I am meeting lots of new people both near and far, virtually and in person. I recently met one of our contributors, Ashley Camper when I was in Hawaii shooting. I also just met Erin Kunkel in person- who is another great bay area photographer we are working with in the next issue and on the Kickstarter campaign. We just tried (and kind of failed) at having a global TAQ Google+ hangout the other day but the experience was fun and we hope to do more things like that as well as connect in person with each other both on our travels and in the gallery/popup in Oakland.

Will you ever do a print version?
Yes! We are going to do a limited run annual for the Kickstarter with an edited version of all the work from Tiny Atlas so far, including our new issue that will come out in November/December. If it goes well we might go to a printed quarterly, or just keep doing the annuals and keep the quarterly online if it feels like the right timeline.

What is missing?
We are missing WRITING! I want writing that is excellent writing with a strong sense of place. The writing format is open to poetry, fiction, memoir or straight journalism, but it should ideally be great storytelling. Sentences should sing and make you happy to read them- is there a happiness-in-reading-something well-written word, like farfegnugen? I want that.

Even though I went to school for writing I don’t know many writers anymore and we are hoping to have budget to seek out excellent writers or ideally expand enough so that writers with a similar vision come to find us.

You can follow Emily and the project:
also on instagram
@tinyatlasquarterly
@ernathan
on twitter
@tinyatlasqtrly
and on facebook

World Press Photo Looks To Change Contest Rules For Retouching

- - Working

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

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

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

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

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