ESPN Technique: John Huet and David Nadeau

- - The Daily Edit

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Freestyle Mogul Skier – Heather McPhie – Moguls run
See ESPN animations here and the technique fully explained in this animation

JohnHuet_SkiJump-1Ski Jump – Sarah Hendrickson – Ski Jump takeoff
See ESPN animations here and the technique fully explained in this animation

ESPN

Creative Director, Print and Digital Media: John Korpics
Senior Director, Photography: Karen Frank
Senior Art Director: Chin Wang
 Associate Art Director of Digital Media: Heather Donahue
Senior Deputy Photo Editor: Nancy Weisman
Photo Editor: Nick Galac
Photographer: John Huet
Retouching: David Nadeau

How did this project for ESPN come about and how did you make it your own?
JOHN: The first Technique assignment was with figure skaters for their December issue. While I thought the magazine was doing a great job, I wanted to add an extra layer to the final image and make it a little easier to understand the athletics going on. The skaters were throwing a quad, and this team is the only one to do so in competition. Impressive. Since the athletes are spinning in the air 4 times, I wanted to avoid the 16 image sequence looking cluttered, and make a more interesting image.  I added a ghosting effect in post, to delineate complete rotations full color images were added in the sequences.

Are the lights an issue for the athletes? How fast is the camera capturing images?
The motor drive shoots 14 frames a second, however, when I do some of the shots at night, it slows down quite a bit.  The final composite is usually a collection of maybe 3 or 4 takes.

For the ski jumping shot how many remote cameras did you set up?
We have about 15 set up and we got two 4-6 second takes each shot, errors and do over’s aren’t really an option.

How do you know where to set up your remotes? Did you know how far she’d jump?
We were testing our equipment on the previous jumpers, and I assumed they’d all be about the same distance.
Then along comes this young 18 year old, unassuming girl. Takes her first run and goes twice as long, and twice as fast!

What was the most challenging of these assignments so far?
I’d say the bobsled event. I couldn’t use any flashes, only hot lights, it was at night, the athletes were all in black, in a black bobsled going over 90 miles an hour.
The low light slows everything down so I had to be certain everything was in the same position in order to get the sharpest and most accurate shot I could. Each of these events has specific needs, and I love all the problem solving that comes with it.
You can’t show up and set things up. You have to study the environment, and make choices from there.

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Figure Skating Pair – Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir – Quad Throw
See ESPN animations here  and the technique fully explained in this animation

Retouching: David Nadeau / Rhymes with Pixel

About how many images do you have to review before selecting the right move?
DAVID: For the skaters, John narrowed it down to about 70 shots that had the cleanest look at the quad throw, that’s not including the stage shots of the empty rink. The freestyle ski shot had 166 (I know he had a big remote set-up for that one). For the bobsled, we had about the same number. He relied heavily on multiple cameras for that one too, since the bobsledders were only able to do a few runs for him.

Do you study the sport prior to piecing these together?
I did. I believed it was important to understand exactly what happens in each event to effectively distill the action into one composed image. I did take liberty with some parts just for artistic sake. For the most part though, I did everything I could to be true to the action.
I also studied the previous technique features that ESPN had done. John and I talked a lot about really making the shots beautiful both in the action as well as the background. We wanted to make a visually interesting stage for the action that didn’t detract from what was happening. We also believed we could come up with a really interesting technique for ghosting the shots. I’m very proud of what we made up.
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2-man Bobsled – Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton – Bobsled Start
The technique is fully explained in this animation.

 

 


Which posed the biggest challenge for you?

The biggest challenge was definitely the bobsledders. Beyond the technical aspect of it being a high-speed shot of a black sled with two guys wearing all black shot at night, getting all of the shots laid out together was especially difficult. I tried for a while to get the track and sledders to be aligned in kind of an S-curve across the page. That blew up in my face. Eventually, after playing around, I came up with a bit of a fish-eye lens look. That format was able to capture all of the action while highlighting the crucial moment when the sledders enter the bobsled.

For the skater’s throwing the quad, how many images do you like to include to show a complete rotation? How did you determine what is the right amount?
I played with the sequence of the shots to see what looked right. We were very lucky that John was able to capture her facing almost exactly front, left, right and back in a couple of the throws. That allowed me to have an order to the images of her in the spin instead of a bunch of random, confusing shots. Each spin shows her facing each cardinal direction. I think that’s one of the big reasons that this shot succeeded so well. If I had just slapped a bunch of shots her together, you wouldn’t be able to follow the action. This way you have touch-points and order throughout the move. We also wanted to give a brighter highlight to one direction of her facing in each of the four spins. We believed it would give the guys at ESPN good reference points to call out parts of the action.

Figure Skating Olympic Athletes: Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir   ( see them skate here )

I understand that you two are the only team to throw a quad in competition. 
Were there any different focus tools you used to perform the move for the photo shoot that were different from competition?
Athletes: Because of the difficulty of executing throw jumps, I need to keep my focus directly on the element and not on my surroundings. Even in the competitive program, where everything is timed so carefully to the music, I need to shut out everything and zero in on my technique.

Did you find any of the lights or the equipment distracting?
Yes, there was a very specific area we had to do throw in, the rest of the rink was pretty dark, that made it hard to find my landings. When we were doing the throw there was a series of flashes and made me disorientated at times.

What are you thinking about, lets say 4 seconds or so before the move, to prepare for the jump?
Focusing on my key points for my throw, such as stay low, follow through, and over the right.

It’s not uncommon to have a photographer ask you to repeat the action, how many times did you throw the quad?
I would estimate that we did about 20 throws. But, I cannot be sure because it was so cold, I think my brain froze after 15.

What was the most challenging part of doing the shoot for you?
I would say staying warm. The rink was freezing and in between each throw I would run over and put my jacket on.

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For more of Johns work visit: official Olympics Instagram @olympics and visit his personal site here

Pricing & Negotiating: Interiors For Residential Appliance Company

by Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept – Interior Architectural and Detail images of installed small residential appliances

Licensing – US Advertising and Collateral Use of up to 24 images in perpetuity

Location – Two residential properties

Shoot Days – One

Photographer – Lifestyle, Architectural and Home & Garden Specialist

Agency – N/A

Client – A small residential appliance company – a household name to those “in the know”

Here is the estimate:

pricing and negotiating, photographer estimates, wonderful machine

Intro: Last year I worked with one of our Midwest-based photographers to put together an estimate for a small residential appliance company. The shoot was fairly straightforward, without much in the way of production prep on the photographer’s side. The photographer was to shoot architectural interior and detail images of the appliances in use in two nearby homes. The client would be providing homes with the appliances already installed.  After reviewing all of the details and correspondence and researching the brand a bit (I wasn’t familiar with the product and wanted to get a better sense of the size of the company and their product line), I connected with the client to discuss the project and sort out licensing and our approach.

After confirming that the photographer would be shooting two scenarios at each of the homes, and that we’d be shooting 2-3 architectural/wide shots and 3-4 detail/tight shots in each scenario, we dove into the licensing. The locations, product, installations, props and props styling would be provided by the client, which simplified things for us considerably on the production front.

Creative/Licensing: Initially, the client requested “unlimited use of all images captured.”  Although you won’t always like the response, you need to challenge a client when they request, all images, a buyout or unlimited use. These are all vague terms we try to avoid (or elaborate on at a minimum). In this case, I needed to clarify if the client truly wanted the license to use all of the images captured. I also wanted to pin down their intended use. After a little push, the client was willing to limit the licensing to US Advertising and Collateral Use of 24 selects. The duration was still a sticking point, they we still insistent on a perpetual license. We don’t usually press very hard on the duration because there is an inherent shelf life on any given image. The value of a given set of images will taper off over time. The slope of that taper will vary based on the style, styling and subject matter. So even though the licensing was drastically limited from the original request, the client would still be able to use the 24 images in a manner that felt unlimited to them, so they were content with the restrictions.

After developing a firm understanding of the project and a decent rapport with the client, I pressed for some insight into the budget. About half the time I ask about the budget, I’ll get a valuable response. The other half of the time the budget either hasn’t been set, or the client is unwilling to reveal it for some other reason (triple bid, etc.). In those cases, you can press a bit further and find out if they’ve shot anything similar in the past, and if so, what they spent. You’ll also want to know who else is bidding if they’re willing to share that info with you in order to alter your approach to the estimate. In this case, the client was forthcoming, and had a firm 10k budget. At first glance, considering the usage, it seemed low, but I took the news in stride and set about drafting the estimate.

Because the budget was tight, I decided to approach the estimate differently. Typically, I’ll determine the creative/licensing fee, then build out the production estimate. Since we had a tight budget to begin with for this project, I opted to work backwards and price out the production first. With my production expenses dialed in, I was able to see that I had about 6000.00 left in the budget for fees. This is quite a bit lower than I would like to see for this usage. However, after considering the likelihood of any major consumer advertising (minimal), the straight forward nature of the production, the photographer’s level of experience (pretty fresh) and the size and prominence of the client (all of which apply/allow for downward pressure on the fee and/or value) I felt it was a reasonable fee. I calculated the fees on some of our pricing resources as well: Blinkbid’s Bid Consultant – 5,030.00/image for the first year, Fotoquote – 21,454.00/image for the first year and Corbis – 12,000.00/image for the first year. Though definitely valuable tools, these resources assume that each of the images will be used in every conceivable manner within the prescribed parameters, so you have to take their suggestions with a grain of salt.

Tech/Scout Day: We estimated a half day of tech/scouting time for the photographer and client to walk through the locations to nail down the shot list and angles in advance of the shoot. This would be crucial since the shoot day schedule would be somewhat ambitious. It would also allow the photographer choose a staging area and determine which gear to bring and which to leave at home.

Assistant: The photographer generally shoots without much grip or supplemental lighting so he was comfortable including just one assistant. We opted not to include a second assistant, instead relying on the tech to be an extra set of hands to load in/out, etc.

Digital Tech: The digital tech would help to manage the flow of file intake and display for client approval on set. Because it takes much longer to dial in and bracket an architectural shot, the selection process happens on set, during the shoot, in realtime (the client approves the shot composition, the photographer covers exposure and focus and processes those approved shots in post for final delivery). In the case, a tech essentially eliminates the need for a “shoot processed for client review” fee.

Photo Equipment and Workstation: This covered the one day rental costs for a laptop workstation, two DSLR bodies, a variety of lenses, grip equipment and lighting (some of which the photographer owned, but planned to rent to the production at  the market rate).

Images Processed for Reproduction: 50.00/image is in the lower end for architectural selects processing but the photographer was open to reducing the rate a bit to hit the client’s budget. Normally, I’d like to see that rate closer to 75.00-200.00/image for architectural processing, depending on the shoot.

Miles, Expendables, FTP, COI and Misc: This covered the basic out-of-pocket expenses the photographer would accrue between mileage, FTP cots, Certificate of Insurance (ranging from free to 50.00/COI depending on your insurance company) and any other miscellaneous expenses that may arise.

Overtime: Because the shoot day was fairly ambitious, I wanted to make sure it was clear to the client that if the time on site exceeded 10 hours, that the crew would bill OT at time and a half.

Housekeeping: For the sake of clarity (read: cover your ass) I made sure to note all of the production elements the client would be providing.

Results, Hindsight and Feedback: The photographer did not get the job. Although it seemed like we had the project locked up, in a excruciatingly frustrating turn of events, another photographer estimating on the project neglected to ferret out the client’s budget and priced the project at less than half of our estimate, all in. The client was eager to work with us, but felt that the difference in quality between the two photographers was negligible while the difference in fees was substantial. It was particularly tough to hear because the budget was borderline unreasonable to begin with. I’m sure there are some who would look at our willingness to work with the budget with a judging eye, but the fact of the matter is that the client had a finite amount of money to spend, we’d limited the licensing as much as we could and the photographer rarely, if ever, shoots five figure budget projects. No matter what, the client could not spend more than 10k. For some, that’s not nearly enough. For those who are willing, but fail to ask the right questions (ie ignoring a client’s budgetary threshold) end up carelessly undervaluing their work, seriously undercutting the market.

Ask the uncomfortable questions. Usually they are only uncomfortable for you.

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

This Week In Photography Books: Malerie Marder

by Jonathan Blaustein

Roxanne. You don’t have to put on the red light. Those days are over. You don’t have to sell your body to the night.

I can’t imagine how many times I sang that song, back in the 80’s. It’s simply too big a number for me to bother guessing. I sang it as loud as I could, in that phase before I discovered things like Zenyatta Mondatta. (Voices. Inside my head. Echoes. Of things that you said.)

Can you imagine what my parents must have thought. All those parents, rather. Ten year old kids going on about prostitution. Oblivious.

Personally, I was just glad to be able to enjoy a few songs by the same band, rather than having to remember a new strange name every time I heard a song on the radio. (Men Without Hats. The Human League. Etc.)

I didn’t have a clue what the song meant. Obviously. It just sounded cool. Those Police riffs are still magical today, though repackaged/stolen by Bruno Mars, for the 21st Century audience.

But the subject retains its eternal fascination as well. The oldest profession. Paying for sex. I’ve never done it myself, but there was one night in New Orleans, many years ago, when I might have, had the opportunity presented itself.

I have spent a good deal of time in Amsterdam, though. I’ve written about it on several occasions, and always take the chance to say how brilliant that city is. In fact, I just read in Time that Steve McQueen (the alive one, who lives there,) said it’s “full of hardworking, down-to-earth people who don’t really give a damn.”

They have lots of prostitutes there. Sitting in windows. Staring laconically. I’ve never stared back. The Puritanical nature of my NorthEast American roots creeps up not-so-often, but I tend to give the ladies a wide berth.

Even through my peripheral, (and possibly altered) vision, I could see that they were regular looking, sometimes heavyset ladies. Maybe a little worn out. No Showtime/Cinemax lipstick softcore porn goddesses these ladies. No sir.

But that only means that reality is real, and fantasy is not. Which we all knew. Right? It’s not like my former-neighbor Julia Roberts sold an even bigger bill-of-goods a few years after Synchronicity came out. Right? As if George Costanza could ever make a convincing villain. Please.

But what do the ladies really look like, I wonder. We featured a book showing the employees of chicken ranches in Nevada a while back. True. But this is Amsterdam, we’re talking about. With the red lights and all.

Fortunately, Malerie Marder and Twin Palms have given us “Anatomy,” an over-sized, razor sharp, pitiless but charismatic look at the hookers in question.These are terrific, discomfiting but honest photographs. (Honest how? Were they arranged and staged? Probably of course. But are these women authentically who they appear to be? I’d say so.)

There is a photo of a woman of African descent, holding a picture frame. It doesn’t work out right. Two hands holding it, but then another arm right there. I’m still trying to figure it, and how often does that happen?

The latex-on-the-face older vixen repeats towards the end, but that’s the first time I’m sure I’ve seen the same woman before. Had I, though? Given their everywoman-at-Walmart-in-Oklahoma physicality, might I have just assumed they all look alike?

The cover of the book, where another reviewer might have began, has an incised quote that sets up the premise. And that’s all the text you need (or get) until the end. Just a slew of excellent and powerful photographs, which sometimes shift orientation. The print quality, plus the action of shifting the book back and forth, make you slow down with it. (And also make you feel, perhaps, like you’re getting your money’s worth out of a purchase.)

There are some stories that never get old. I recently read that President Obama described his time as Commander-in-Chief as “his” paragraph in a continuing Epic tale. One that often repeats. As human nature, writ large, does not change easily. If at all.

So people will continue to pay women to have sex with them. And men. And children. There are elements of this larger narrative that involve slavery and all sorts of horrors.

But there are also hard working women and men out there who pay for sex, and hard working men and women who pay to be sexed. It’s true, and I’d imagine there are many “real” relationships around the world that are built on that foundation. I’m sure of it.

A book like this, which gets right up in there, and does it with style, feels like a metaphorical financial transaction. Where we’re the John. Except buying photobooks. Get it?

To Purchase “Anatomy” Visit Photo-Eye

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

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

Professional Photographer Webcast Live: Sustaining A Career In Photography

Professional Photographer Webcast Episode 7
Topic: Sustaining A Career In Photography
When: Today at 2:00 EST
Where: Here on aphotoeditor.com and Google +

Suzanne Sease and I will be joined by Commercial and Editorial Photographer Andy Anderson. Suzanne as you may know comes from the Art Buying side of the business with many years of experience working at Advertising Agencies. Andy is a well known Commercial and Editorial photographer with a career that would make most of us green with envy. Andy claims it’s “not rocket science” so we’ll talk with him about how relationships, small towns, personal projects, passion, DNA and the fundamentals of business all combine to put him at the top of the game.

If you have any questions you can email me before the webcast rob@aphotoeditor.com (Note: you will remain anonymous on the webcast, I will not share your identity with anyone) or during the webcast you can ask them on Google+.

You can see our previous episodes over on the APE Google+ page (here).

Show Notes:

Visit our show sponsor:
http://aphotofolio.com/

Suzanne Sease can be reached at:
http://suzannesease.com/
https://twitter.com/SuzanneSease

Our special guest, Andy Anderson can be reached at:
http://andyandersonphoto.com
http://www.andyandersonstock.com

We will both be in conversation at:

http://www.texasphotoroundup.com

Photographers mentioned by Andy:

http://hunterfreeman.com/
http://www.larryfinkphotography.com/
http://www.erikalmas.com/
http://kevintwomey.com/

Former assistants:

http://www.matthewturley.com/
http://shaunfenn.com/

More links:

http://ianspanier.com/Personal-Work/Long-Beach-Heroes/1/
http://lookbook.adage.com

This Week In Photography Books: Michael Wolf

by Jonathan Blaustein

Don’t you just love it when things pan out? It doesn’t happen all that often. There are so many things that can muck up the works, when one strives for synchronicity.

Last week, we showed you early work from an acknowledged master: Martin Parr. Wasn’t it fun to see his youthful vision? How sympathetic and romantic were those pictures?

And then this week, we ran an interview with Aline Smithson, who recently published some projects from the 70’s on Lenscratch. Apparently, what’s old will forever be new again. I’m sure there were Pharaohs going on about “ochre is the new black,” but of course we’ll never know. (Unless time travel gets invented one day. And then, I’d probably just ask a Pharaoh why he tried to keep the Jews as slaves. Didn’t he know we were the Chosen People?)

Given the path I’ve unwittingly followed this week, of course the very first book I picked up off the stack, “Bottrop-Ebel 76,” would be a publication of early work from 1976 by Michael Wolf, another of contemporary photography’s darlings. I’d suggest that it was destined to happen, but then I’d probably lose 10% of our readership. (I can only be so much of a new-age-freak before the New Yorkers stop reading in droves.)

Yes, this book even features an amazing photo of a dude with a ladder, just like last week. (Only this time, they were smart enough to put it on the cover.) So, what’s this one about then?

For a university final project, Mr. Wolf hung around the coal miner’s neighborhood of Ebel, in the town of Bottrop. (Hence the title.) Just as I can recall the joy I felt at pointing a 35mm camera at everything that walked, when I was 24 and in Europe, these pictures also reflect a less specific eye.

They’re really good photographs, for sure. The anticipation of a pig’s slaughter, contrasted against the jimmy-rigged football being kicked around in the background. The intensity of a fu-manchu mustache, or the cold eyes of a 12 year old smoking a cigarette. There’s a dude getting naked in his kitchen, and a little girl swinging in a doorway.

All are cool to look at. For sure.

But the closing essay ties these pictures directly to Mr. Wolf’s current work: faces pressed against the cold glass of a Tokyo subway, or the artist’s camera pressed against the computer screen, documenting Google’s world domination.

I don’t see it that way. Just as I was fascinated when I once saw a show of William Eggleston’s first B&W pictures at Cheim and Read, I love looking at where a really good artist comes from. Aline Smithson also referenced how differently we see the world in our 20’s, relative to the wisdom we accrue thereafter. Pushing 40, I’d have to agree with her.

So you might find these pictures brilliant. You might even buy the book. Cool. Enjoy it. But by now we know that’s not why I highlight a photo book each week. I do it because I’m pretty sure you’ll find it interesting, and seemingly, you’ve all learned to trust me. (Suckers.)

Bottom Line: Another look at young work by a famous photographer

To Purchase “Bottrop-Ebel 76,” Visit Photo-Eye

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

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

Aline Smithson Interview

- - Photographers

Aline Smithson is a photographer, writer, teacher, and the publisher of the popular photography blog Lenscratch.

Jonathan Blaustein: Looking over your website, one of the things that popped up a few times is that you were born and raised in LA. A couple of blocks off of Hollywood and Vine. Is that right?

Aline Smithson: Yup.

JB: Well, we certainly don’t need to date you, or ask how old you are, because my mamma taught me better…

AS: God bless you.

JB: I write about LA a lot, and visit when I can. I think it’s got a mythology that people around the world are captivated by.

How do you view the place now, and how do you think it’s changed over time?

AS: I actually lived in New York for a long time. I had a whole other career, so I’ve actually seen Los Angeles in two incarnations. I left LA when I was 18, and didn’t go back for about 15 or 17 years.

Growing up, I lived in a very cool neighborhood called Silver Lake, which is now the Brooklyn-hipster community of LA.
It was that way when I grew up: a community of artists, and very ethnically diverse. Beck and Leonardo DiCaprio went to my high school, so I was in good company. Not at the same time I was there unfortunately…

JB: Did they have craft butchers and pickle shops on every corner back then too? As I might imagine they have now?

AS: No. (laughing.) It’s not that kind of community. We’re car centric in LA, so we don’t have things like that. We just go to Whole Foods.

I grew up in this great, nurturing, artistic community. Then I went off to art school, and moved to New York, where I met my husband and had my first child. Then we moved back to LA, and I was sure it would be a short stint, because I swore I would never return. I was a New Yorker by then.

I had my second child while my husband was in grad school, and we decided it was too hard to move back with two kids and live in Manhattan. So we stayed, and it took me a long time to fall back in love with this place. But I have.

What I found interesting when I returned was the influx of whole new communities. Koreatown did not exist, when I was growing up.

JB: As big as it is now, it didn’t even exist?

AS: No. The Asian communities are so much larger. The Persian community, which has now sort of taken over Beverly Hills, did not exist when I was growing up either.

It’s a much more ethnically rich city, and that makes it exciting. Our food choices are truly spectacular. Downtown has completely transformed as well–Photo LA and Art LA were held there. It’s a thriving place to explore, and a great place to shoot.

JB: Your bio says you worked in the fashion industry in your time in New York. What did you do?

AS: I moved to New York to be a painter, doing large abstract oils, and got a job in an art gallery. But I had also grown up with an interest in sewing and fashion. I spent a lot of time on the couch reading fashion magazines, and imagining that lifestyle.

After about a year of working in the gallery, I got very disenchanted. The gallerist that I worked for was very shady. He ended up murdering someone three weeks after I left.

JB: Get out.

AS: Yes, it was called the “Leather Mask Murder.” He was deeply into drugs, and into the gay bar scene, and he had sex with a young, Norwegian fashion student. He put a leather head mask (with no holes) over his head to feel what it was like to have sex with someone who was dying.

They could not convict him, but they got him on tax evasion charges. That’s who I worked for. I had a really bad taste in my mouth about the gallery world, from that one experience.

JB: Sure.

AS: It was eye-opening, because that gallery drew really famous people. I would show work to Diana Ross and Steve Martin and the movers and shakers from all different worlds. I learned so much about NYC in that year.

After that, I got a job putting together fashion shows, even though I had no background in it. And then I traveled around the US and put on shows in different cities. I did that for about a year, through Vogue Patterns, and then they asked me to be their fabric editor. All of this with no background.

JB: So how did it happen?

AS: I’m just a hard worker. I’d grown up sewing, so I knew a lot about fabric. Then I became the fashion editor for not just Vogue Patterns, but also Vogue Knitting. Ultimately, I was responsible for 19 publications a year, and went on all the shoots, and had to learn on the job.

What was unique was that every single day was creative. I picked out all the fabrics for the clothing, worked with the dressmakers, the art director, the accessory editors, hired the models and hair and make-up artists.

Then we made it all come together on the set, and the art director and I had to edit all the film. I did it for 10 years. I worked a lot with Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino and many others, and even once with Horst. Just amazing photographers. I learned a lot about working with people from them.

We went on a lot of exotic trips. I know I’m kind of rambling here.

JB: It’s a good story.

AS: For me, though, the job that has influenced me the most was waitressing. I did it all through college. That ability to see the one table, and what they need, but also to see the eight tables in the section, it teaches you to see the minute and the big picture at the same time. And it teaches you how to work with people.

When I applied that to the fashion editor job, it made a huge difference. For instance, we would travel to far flung places where we would not be able to find any accessories or that last minute item. So, before we left, at night, I would lie in bed and imagine the different outfits we were taking. I’d imagine every possible thing I needed to bring, so we were prepared.

It was a fantastic job, and then my husband and I moved to Los Angeles so he could pursue a masters degree in architecture. It was really hard give up a job where you have so much creative expression.

JB: Not that I would ask you to dish, but did you have any personal contact with Anna Wintour? Was she your buddy?

AS: No. Even though Vogue Patterns was at one time associated with Vogue Magazine, it wasn’t in the same building. Though I did interview at Vogue when I first moved to New York, and it was right out of “Devil Wears Prada.” People were raking me up and down.

I have to tell you this story. I went to college in Santa Barbara, so I was not coming with to New York with a suitcase of Chanel suits. I didn’t even own a coat when I arrived. I made one dress for myself. A beautiful Givenchy green silk dress. I wore it to my interview, and they loved it, and asked me back for a second interview.

But it was the only dress I had.

JB: (laughing.) I can see where this is going.

AS: Right. I had to wear it again.

JB: Oh no.

AS: So of course they said, “You’re wearing the same dress as last time.” They remembered.

JB: Of course they did.

AS: And I didn’t get the job. But that’s what gives you character. Going through these things.

JB: While you were working in fashion, were you also taking pictures for fun? Snapshots?

AS: I never considered being a photographer. I was a painter. After we moved to LA, and my kids got a little older, I decided to go back to school and get my degree in fashion design. I went to Otis Parsons, at night and on the weekends. Then, the day I graduated, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

I realized it was way too much about business, and not creativity. I didn’t know what to do with myself, and went into a funk. I decided to take a photography class to learn how to use my camera better, and at the end of that class, the instructor told me I should start showing my work.

I hadn’t put it together. My father was a photographer; we had a darkroom in our basement. My uncle was a travel photographer. And I stood right next to the camera with some of the most amazing fashion photographers. As an editor, you have to see what they see.

I had been surrounded by photography all my life, and yet never considered it as my path. But as soon as I got that camera in my hands, that was it. I never looked back.

JB: I think we all have some version of that Aha moment. But let’s jump ahead a bit. Our readers are by now familiar with my thoughts about the 21st Century Hustle. And you seem to embody that right now.

You’re publish the popular blog Lenscratch, you teach, you make and show your work, and you’re a Mom. I was going to ask how you came to that, but you already described the progression for us. It sounds like you’ve always had multiple talents and interests, and the gumption to go for it.

So this current version of musical chairs is not so different for you?

AS: Yeah, I feel like I’ve always been a multi-tasker. I’m not someone who can just sit down and watch TV. I’m doing five other things at once. But trust me, I AM watching TV while I’m doing them.

I don’t come from any formal education, photographically. So part this journey, for me, especially with Lenscratch, is educating myself. What makes my blog different, maybe, is that I’m really looking at it as someone who is still so excited about photography and wants to figure out why people make the work that they make.

I’m not bringing the intellectual, MFA point of view about the analysis of photography. I just write about work in simple language.

JB: (laughing.) I hate those intellectual MFA types. They’re the worst. (pause.) Shit. Wait a second. I am one of those guys.

You’re answering my questions before I’m asking them, which is not the way it’s supposed to work. I was just about to ask how you came to found Lenscratch. It’s a very popular blog, where you show a different photographer’s work every day.

How many years has this been going on?

AS: Almost seven years.

JB: Almost seven years. Every day.

AS: Every day.

JB: That sounds like a lot of work.

AS: Hell yes. I’ve developed a muscle. It’s really helped me write. I write quickly now. A lot of students will send me their statements, and I can whip out the edit in ten minutes.

I’m getting to the point where I need to shift. I want spend more time on my photography. I want to put that role first.

I don’t want to get off topic, but I’ve noticed lately how quickly people are churning out new work. As a reviewer for Critical Mass, when I see a new body of work from someone every year, and sometimes two or three a year, I wonder if that project has had time to percolate.

JB: You make a good point. It’s crossed my mind a bit lately. A new body of work becomes a product line. Just like, back in the day, when the car companies would totally change the design of each car every year.

At some point, the hustle does begin to take away from the contemplative, creative practice that art is supposed to be about. We’re all working so hard to pay the bills, and still have time to make art, it’s very easy to lose sight of what you’re talking about.

If you’re always thinking about the next marketing campaign, it stands to reason you might have less time to think about how to make the pictures better, and what your process means to you.

AS: Frankly, I haven’t been pushing my work out for about two years. Maybe I needed that time to reboot. A lot of my work is conceptual and you can’t churn that out quickly.

We all love to make work. That’s the high that we get from this journey. The making of the work is the reward, not anything else.

As you get further along in your career, have your museum show, and meet the traditional goals one seeks as a photographer, it doesn’t feel like what you think it’s going to feel like. It’s just another marker. And when the fanfare dies down, you realize you have to start from square one again.

The true thing that gives you the high is the making of the work in the first place. I think that’s why people push work out so quickly. Creating work is a joyous thing.

JB: It’s really easy to forget why we fell in love with the process. We think acclaim was the goal. Social media makes that part worse too. We’ve become so accustomed to the instant gratification. And signs of popularity.

AS: Some of the major players, they’re not on Facebook and tweeting. They’re busy making work.

JB: Right.

AS: And I think about all the time we waste on social media that we could fold back into our journey. I’m really re-thinking it.

JB: I’m trying to build structure in the way I use the tools. I think they’re brilliant. But I also think they’re addictive, so I’m trying to find some structure to limit that pull. I began to feel like the monkey tapping at the lever all day to get the peanut.

AS: That’s a great description.

JB: Thanks. Tap. Tap. Tap. I don’t want to do that anymore.

With all the things you do that we’ve talked about, I want to focus on the teaching a bit. This interview is being sponsored by the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, and you’re giving a workshop there this March.

Could we talk a bit about your teaching philosophy? What do you think are some of the key elements of being a great educator?

AS: I’ll give you a little history on my teaching career. Never in a million years did I think I’d be a teacher, though my mother and sister were teachers.

I used to have two great fears in my life: snakes, and public speaking. About 13 years ago, I went to a portfolio review with Julia Dean, who has a photography school in LA. She was there, along with the photo editor of the LA Times.

I was working alone in the darkroom, at that time. I had two or three photo friends, and no real photo community, beyond the darkroom. About a month later, Julia called me up and asked me to teach her toy camera classes, because that’s how I was working back then.

I told her I was too afraid to stand up there in front of people, and she said, “I’ll teach with you. I’ll help you.” So I went to the doctor, and asked if there was a pill for the fear of public speaking, and he said yes.

JB: (laughing.) It’s called Valium.

AS: No. It’s called Inderal. It’s a beta blocker.

JB: I was kidding. You’re serious?

AS: Yes. If you ever have to give a lecture, and you’re a little panicky, it’s called Inderal. It’s a beta blocker that keeps your heart beating at a regular pace. You can get scared, but you can’t panic.

It really helped me. I started out teaching toy camera classes, and then realized that no one was teaching anything about the journey of the photographer, at least in Los Angeles.

I began to teach things like how to navigate the fine art world, and learning from the mistakes that we make. Those classes helped build a fine art community in Los Angeles, and now I am so lucky to have a huge community of photo friends, many who have taken my classes. I work hard at keeping us all connected.

When the Santa Fe Workshops asked me to teach for them three years ago, I realized it was an opportunity to combine several of those classes into something titled “The Big Picture“. I help photographers become more visually sophisticated, give them a tool belt of ideas for making imagery, and then put it all into context of how to shape work and launch it into the fine art market.

Students finish the class having written their statement, bio, and are working on a resume. I try to answer every question a photographer has about the complex world of navigating the fine art market. And it’s in a very safe, nurturing environment for anyone at any point on their journey.

You asked about my philosophy as a teacher?

JB: Yes.

AS: When I was in art school I had some crippling critiques, that I can still remember. I decided I was never going to be the kind of teacher that devastates students. I really teach with enthusiasm and the idea of possibility. I look at every student, no matter how unsophisticated the work, and believe they have the potential to make amazing work.

I’ve seen it happen in my classes, right in front of me. The work they bring in initially is something they been doing in a vacuum. Then they see the bigger picture, figure out other ways of working, mine their own lives for subject matter, and then, all of a sudden, incredible work begins to emerge.

JB: You encourage them, I imagine, to mine their own lives. You say it like it’s an afterthought. But for so many people, when they first start out, they’re doing it for entertainment. For diversion. We all know how exciting it is when you first learn you can “rectangularize” the world.

That initial impulse can only carry one so far, before you need to become willing to inject yourself into it. To learn the self-criticality that is so necessary to improve.

You’ve explained that you’re positive and supportive. But what are your tricks for getting people to have the bravery to look at themselves, and then to share?

AS: I create a safe environment, where I don’t say anything negative. Instead I show them something different. There’s a way to guide someone without annihilating them, and that’s the way I work.

I feel like a photo-therapist. I know that sounds crazy, but…

JB: No. I love it. I’m not going to steal it, but I love it.

AS: Sometimes, I feel like the photo whisperer too. When I do portfolio reviews, I ask photographers to tell me their life story before I look at their work. Because I want to know what brought them to make the work they’re doing. Sometimes, I’ll see a connection to their life that they don’t even see themselves.

It’s the recognition of why they’re making the visual choices that they’re making. I also think I’m just very personal.

JB: Looking at your work, two words that kept popping up for me. Family and history. You’ve photographed your daughter extensively, and a project about your mother was recently featured on Lens.

Do you feel a connection with the past? Or am I over-reaching?

AS: It’s interesting. Because I came to photography later in life, I look backwards as easily as I look forward. When you’re in your twenties, you’re always looking forward. I’m in a position where I’m considering life in a different way. That just comes with age.

I think I would be a much more irreverent, edgy photographer if I was in my twenties right now. You get an attitude in art school that you are the next great thing and like to challenge the norm. But now I have more wisdom and an understanding of humanity.

I’m not so flippant. We’re so quick to judge the things we don’t understand. With Lenscratch, I often find that when I don’t like work, I force myself to spend more time with it, so I can understand it.

JB: (pause.) The quiet moments don’t show up so well in the transcript, but you definitely shut me up there for a moment.

It’s something I probably need to work on. In my role as critic, in parallel to being an artist, I’ve probably become a bit comfortable in the seat of judgement.

AS: That’s something I find really obnoxious in photography today. The quick judgement.

JB: Did you just call me obnoxious? Or can we assume you mean other people?

AS: No, no. There is a lot of photo crap out there. Fine. Judge it. But I try to slow down in that judgement, and try not to make it public. That’s just me. If I don’t like something, I don’t put it out into the world. Being an artist is a tough road, and criticism is subjective.

JB: I do have a hard time sorting out how you juggle all of it, but you have an active exhibition record as well. Do you have any shows coming up?

AS: Yes, I have a show coming up in May at the Davis Orton Gallery in New York. And I’ve got some group shows coming up in LA, Palm Springs and San Francisco. I might have a solo show in Paris this year.

JB: We’ve been talking a lot about slowing down, and being more contemplative. One word that hasn’t come up yet is patience, which I’m still learning. People can’t see the video of you, obviously, but you project an aura of calm. Almost equanimity. Do you feel like patience is a strength for you?

AS: Jonathan, that’s such a brilliant observation. Because I feel like I was always the last one to get asked to dance or picked for the team. I’ve had to be patient in life, but I also don’t have huge expectations. I’m always thrilled when something happens for me, but I’m OK when it doesn’t. I’m not waiting for recognition. I just want to make more photographs.

This week on Lenscratch, I posted all about work that’s 30 years old. I think it’s really interesting that these photographers are getting their moment in the sun now. Three of the photographers I featured are 2013 Critical Mass winners, and for two of them, it’s work that was made in the 70’s and 80’s.

If that’s not patience, I don’t know what is.

 

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Pricing & Negotiating: IEEE Spectrum Magazine Contract

by Bill Cramer

While I’ve shot my share of assignments for name-brand publications over the years, I’ve enjoyed working for niche magazines just as much. IEEE Spectrum is one that you won’t find on any magazine rack unless you happen to be standing in an engineering school library. Published monthly by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, they have 380,000 readers. My dad was one of those readers. He was an electrical engineer (you can’t spell geek without “E.E.”). He thought enough of the magazine that we transported stacks and stacks of them to California when we moved there in the 70′s (then back to PA four years later). So, I always have a little extra sense of purpose when I get to shoot for them.

I recently got a call from their photo editor, Randi Silberman Klett, to make some pictures for their annual “Dream Jobs” issue. She asked me to photograph a guy named Simon Hager, who runs a program for high school students in Philadelphia called The Sustainability Workshop. Most of his work focuses on teaching kids how to build electric cars. Even though I had shot assignments for Spectrum before, it was time for a new contract. Some magazines have contracts that last indefinitely. Others send out a new contract with each assignment. Spectrum prefers to renew their contract with their photographers each year.

Here’s a look at it:

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Here are my comments:

1) Photographer Responsibilities. They set up a purchase order with a budget that you’ll never reach. It says $40k here, but I’ve never billed them for more than a few thousand dollars a year.

2) Rights Granted to IEEE.

a) First worldwide publication rights in any form. Theirs exclusively for 90 days from first publication, non-exclusive after that. This implies to me that they can use the pictures in subsequent editions of the magazine without additional fee. That’s not ideal, but it’s unlikely enough that I decided it wasn’t worth fighting for.

b) Use of the pictures in the context of the magazine, to promote Spectrum, as well as use of my likeness. If I was famous, I would probably want to get paid for that. But I’m not.

c) Use in article reprints only after agreeing on a separate fee. Many photographers underestimate the value of article reprints. But I’ve sold enough to know that they are generally worth more (sometimes much more) than the original assignment. Though some magazines try to bundle those rights into the shoot fee, it makes more sense to separate them.

d) Electronic use is included. Fine.

e) Photographer retains copyright. Naturally.

3) Compensation. 600.00/day vs. space. Historically, it’s been customary for magazines to structure their fees in terms of a day rate against space. This way, the photographer makes a nominal fee for one or two small pictures, and the fee automatically scales up when the magazine uses more or bigger pictures or if they use one on the cover. It’s an elegant system for magazines, who don’t always know in advance how they’re going to use the pictures. In this case, Spectrum is agreeing to pay 600.00/day at a minimum. If your picture appears a full-page or larger, you get an extra 200.00. And if it shows up on the cover, you get an additional 1200.00. I like that they’re paying for space, but the wording is a little vague. Do you get paid the same amount if your picture runs one full-page or two full-pages?

4) Expenses. You’re an independent contractor. You’re going to provide receipts to get reimbursed for expenses. Sure.

5) Timing and Form of Submission. You’re going to turn in your photos on time. Of course.

6) Warranties. You made the pictures and they aren’t obscene. Okay.

7) Indemnification. You agree to pay for Spectrum’s attorney’s fees if you do anything to get them sued. This sounds pretty scary, but then you read further and discover that the limit of your liability is the amount of the assignment fee. I think that’s very reasonable. In an ideal world, they would likewise indemnify the photographer in cases where they do something to get the photographer sued.

8) Termination. They can terminate an assignment at any time, though they’ll pay you some or all of your fee depending on how much work you have put in on the project. Fine.

9) IEEE is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Nice to know.

10) Entire Agreement. Okay.

Overall, I think it’s a pretty fair contract. I give it “two thumbs up!”

I shot the assignment. Simon and his students were super-cooperative and photogenic. Their workshop turnout out to be a big, old warehouse that provided a great backdrop for the photos and there were tons of props to work with. If only every assignment was this easy! Here’s the web gallery.

Randi loved the pictures. She used one for the opener, across nearly two full-pages (I didn’t make the cover – rats!) She also used a second picture about a half-page. Here’s how it looked in the magazine:

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I was thrilled with the display, plus it was nice to know that there would be some extra space rate. But looking at the contract, I couldn’t figure out what it should be. I emailed Randi and she told me to bill her 800.00 for the big picture and 600.00 for the small one. I saw the logic that the big picture was “…used at a full page or greater ($200 additional).” Meaning that it was the 600.00 day rate plus an extra 200.00 for that first picture being big. But as far as I can tell, the 600.00 for the second picture was arbitrary. Not that I’m complaining, I think it’s fair. (After all, I’m the one who signed an ambiguous contract.) If we were counting space in a more typical fashion, thinking in terms of 600.00/day vs. 600.00/page, I would count about 1100.00 for the opener (nearly 2 pages at 600.00) and 400.00 for the additional picture (about 2/3 of 600.00), resulting in 1500.00 rather than 1400.00. But what’s 100.00 between friends? I was happy with the fee. (I probably would have asked for more clarification ahead of time if it wasn’t a client that I didn’t know and trust.)

My expenses were pretty typical. One assistant at 250.00. Web gallery at 300.00. Strobe rental at 300.00. Two file preps at 25.00, and mileage. I bought my assistant lunch, but I usually don’t bill meals unless it’s a full-day assignment. Here’s my invoice:

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Please let us know what you think in the comments. And read more about our Pricing & Negotiating services on our new Consulting page.

This Week In Photography Books: Martin Parr

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was just watching the oddest film. It’s a Western called “Paint Your Wagon, made in 1969. The movie features two of the best faux-cowboys who ever lived: Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin.

What’s strange about that, you ask? Fair question. Two infamous tough guys in a Western. That’s what most people would call normal.

Except this Western was also a musical. And both of those badasses were singing their hearts out. Can I get a WTF? (Though one might rightly mention it’s not much weirder than Russell Crowe belting melodies as Javert in the film version of Les Mis. Maybe he salvaged his performance, but I couldn’t make it past 15 minutes.)

Where was I? Right. Clint and Lee. At one point, early on, Lee Marvin admits to having melancholy. Which seems like an olden-days code word for depression. But I can see how they would have preferred the former moniker, as it has a sense of romance to it.

Lee Marvin was telling Clint that solitary mountain men, on certain cold, wet days, could get lonesome in a way that was more like a disease. It hit home, as I’d seen those same weary eyes just this morning, as I drove my son up the hill to school.

We haven’t had much snow here in Taos lately. It’s been discomfiting, but also pleasurable, to bask in the 48 degree days, flush with sun. Until yesterday. When a sorry-gray-haze descended from the North. It’s cold now in a way that makes you sad. No two ways about it.

I tried to explain that to my son, but, as he’s only 6, he was dubious. He blamed it on the fact that he didn’t like his substitute kindergarten teacher. But I knew better. He merely had a case of melancholy. (As do I, at the moment. Truth be told.)

Which is why “The Non-Conformists,” a new Aperture book by Martin Parr, is perfect to share with you today. It will allow me to disseminate some bleary sorrow around the planet tomorrow, when this article will be published. (Does that make me a wintry-grinch? An emo-scrooge?)

The book, which features a fair bit of well-written text by the artist’s wife, Susie Parr, was made in and around the Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge in the North of England. Now, I don’t know if the East Midlands counts as the North of England…but if it does, I can personally verify that it’s the bleakest, coldest place I’ve ever been. So these photos made a lot of sense to me today.

The project should be super-interesting to you, as it was made in the mid-70’s, very early in Mr. Parr’s career. In fact, you may never have seen these pictures before. And they do capture the idealistic spirit of the youthful eye, I’d say. They’re nostalgic, and almost sentimental. The scathing wit and prodigious use of color, for which Mr. Parr is so-well-known, had not yet emerged in his style.

The pictures are stark, yes, but they’re very respectful. Mr. and Mrs. Parr, who were not-yet-married at the time, spent a year or so documenting the parts of the local culture they were sure would soon disappear. Things like a family-run mine, a cinema with a projector run on carbon, and a beautiful brick chapel in Crimsworth Dean, that has since been converted, we are told, into a private residence.

The pictures are really good, for the most part, and a few are downright brilliant. An early image, just before the title page, shows a man perched one-footed on the top of a step-ladder, mending a door frame. If I were to ever select a photograph as perfect, this might be the one.

Later, we see a traveling hairdresser, and two white mice adorning a man’s hand, as a part of a “mouse show.” (Obviously. Hasn’t everyone been to a mouse show before? Not me. I just kill the bastards whenever I get the chance.)

Back in the day, when I was growing up, schools used to be into making time capsules. You know, burying something in the ground to be dug up at a later date. That’s what this book feels like to me. More than anything, it’s an effort at cultural preservation.

Now you’ll have to excuse me. I’ve got to tend to my fire, and think up some other ways to put a smile on my face. Since I’ve just passed along the melancholy to you, I’m beginning to feel better already.

Bottom Line: Some fascinating, early B&W work by Martin Parr

To Purchase “The Non-Conformists” Visit Photo-Eye

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

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

Texas Photo Roundup – Interview With Andy Anderson

- - Working

I’m excited to be attending the Texas Photo Roundup this year to interview Andy Anderson about his career and moderate a panel on social media for photographers. Andy’s also leading a workshop if you want to get even more insight from him. Information below:

In Conversation: Andy Anderson and Rob Haggart

Saturday, March 1 / 10:30am – 12:00pm Location: Long Center Kodosky Donor Lounge Join Rob Haggart, award-winning photo editor and founder of popular photography blog APhotoEditor.com, and Andy Anderson, acclaimed commercial and editorial photographer, for a frank one-on-one conversation. Andy and Rob will talk about Andy’s career, how he got his start, the challenges he’s faced, how he stays true to his vision and more. Q&A to follow. REGISTER HERE   Or purchase an All Access Pass to all the morning talks and presentations

Andy Anderson Workshop: Keeping your Personal Vision Under the Demands of a Commercial Market

  Thursday, February 27 / 9-6pm Friday, February 28 / 9-5pm Location: Whitebox Studio REGISTER HERE Join commercial and editorial photographer Andy Anderson for a unique 2-day workshop. One of the hardest situations a photographer can experience is staying true to one’s own personal style in the face of a commercial assignment where photo editors, art directors or account planners are all focusing on their objectives for a shoot. Making sure you are not just taking orders from these people — but instead bringing your own personal style and vision to life in the context of the assignment — is the ultimate goal. This is what we will work together to achieve over the course of this workshop.

Professional Photographer Webcast Live: Social Media Marketing

Professional Photographer Webcast Episode 6
Topic: Using Social Media To Market Your Photography
When: Today at 2:00 EST
Where: Here on aphotoeditor.com and Google +

Suzanne Sease and I will be joined by Mat Szwajkos who is the Associate Director of Content Production at Possible.  Suzanne as you may know comes from the Art Buying side of the business with many years of experience working at Advertising Agencies. Mat is a professional photographer who now works with brands on social media campaigns that are visual. He’ll help us understand how you can market your work to agencies with social media and how brands need influencers who can make great pictures.

If you have any questions you can email me before the webcast rob@aphotoeditor.com (Note: you will remain anonymous on the webcast, I will not share your identity with anyone) or during the webcast you can ask them on Google+.

You can see our previous episodes over on the APE Google+ page (here).

Resources:

Visit our show sponsor:
http://aphotofolio.com/

Suzanne Sease can be reached at:
http://suzannesease.com/
https://twitter.com/SuzanneSease

Our special guest, Mat Szwajkos can be reached at:
mat@swigsocial.com
https://twitter.com/swigsocial
http://swigproductions.com
http://www.possible.com/
http://www.linkedin.com/in/matszwajkos

Social@Ogilvy’s ACD: Pro Photogs Are Key to Mobile Ads, Branded Content:
http://www.pdnonline.com/features/Social@Ogilvys-ACD-9327.shtml

Link to the deck we talked about:
http://aphotoeditor.com/EdCalPlanning_WEB.pdf

Webinar talking about the deck:
https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/9273/87237

Social photographers mentioned by Mat:
http://wearetherhoads.com/
http://www.day19.com/
http://www.benlowy.com/
http://www.chasejarvis.com/

Other links:
http://www.demilked.com/double-self-portraits-chino-otsuka/
http://imgur.com/a/mvggl

The Weekly Edit – Milk : Delphine Chanet

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Milk

Art Director: Karel Balas
Graphic Design: Alice Lagarde, Melanie Gueret

Photographer: Delphine Chanet
Stylist: Shino Itoi

Do you do your own casting?
Absolutely, I’m obsessed with casting, what ever I’m doing I always keep an eye out, I don’t want to miss a child, I cast in the streets, my friend’s kids, everywhere….I always search for news faces.

The children are so composed, almost like paintings, how did you create that environment?
I draw my pictures before the shoot, so I know exactly what I want, what type of attitude, composition, frame, light but I also like to be surprised by the situations, the kids, and hoping for happy accidents.

What was the creative direction for this project?
My project was to create images “à la manière” of a dutch painting, searching for a certain intensity and trying too find the deepness of my models. As in dutch painting I’ve used one directional light, similar to a natural cold morning light coming from a window. With one difference to this genre: I wanted to play, to pair the picture with a bit of artificial. I did this by using rays of color block light and having  very artificial colors for the fashion styling (done by the stylist Shino Itoi).

The soft light demands very long and static poses, otherwise it would have been blurred or out of focus. Thanks to those situations I had time to encounter my models.

My main goal and focus was to find a way for Instantaneousness, spontaneity and honesty in this very restrictive shooting condition.

Can you share something about the shoot with us? Something memorable?
Nothing memorable in fact, everything was so organized. Everybody was quiet easy to shoot even the two pets. Don’t we say that the hardest subjects to shoot are kids and animals?

There’s a unique quality to your striking portraits of the children, as viewers we forget we are looking at images of children, and feel like we are looking into the eyes of an experienced adult. 
My major goal, whatever the story, is to capture the beauty of the kids natural essence, it means being as honest as possible by respecting their true personality and sometimes it can difficult oh yes! I’m really searching for a natural look. I don’t like them to play the adult, to pose like the stereotype adult, and I avoid frameworks that put them in situation of trying to be like adult.

I really let them do what they want, not directing so much. I follow them, I respect what they want to give me during the shoot.

Maybe this is why we can feel them as human beings but not specifically as children.

You are a maverick in children’s fashion photography, what inspires you?
I’m always searching for grace and spontaneity. Also I want to have fun and be free to create my world.  Too much commercial approach to children’s fashion photography can be very boring. My daughter – Thais – inspires me so much, and she makes me reconnect with the childhood world, so creative and intense. A big part of my inspiration comes from her.

How often do you photograph your children?
Well all day to be honest, its so much fun!

Why Do Photographers Charge So Much?

- - Working

I’m reposting this from our sister blog Photography and Architecture, because I think Joshua Dool has such smart answers to the question Why do architectural photographers charge so much?

Joshua Dool, Blue Planet

Blue Planet Aquarium, Copenhagen. Designed by Danish architects 3XN. All images © Joshua Dool

Joshua Dool is an award-winning architectural and industrial photographer based in Vancouver, Canada. Joshua was interested in both architecture and photography from a young age but photography won out. We wanted to hear about the skills required to properly photograph a building, the costs to the architect, and how a photographer can be creative in meeting budgets – he was kindly most forthcoming.

Q: What justifies the cost of strong architectural imagery?
JD: Photography isn’t much different than anything else. Fast and cheap doesn’t equal good. With architecture photography, it takes time to get the perfect angle and the perfect lighting, so the fast category doesn’t really even apply to it. So then, we are left with either cheap or good, and you probably aren’t going to get both.

My experience has been: the cheaper the photographer, the poorer the image looks, and in a society that is becoming increasingly visually literate, thanks to social media and the internet, fantastic photos are a must! Strong images strengthen a brand, weak images diminish a brand. This is true for all advertising, and it is especially true for architecture. Great projects deserve great photos to represent them, because at the end of the day, for the vast majority of an architect’s future clients, this will be the only way they ever get to interact with that design!

This doesn’t mean the more expensive the better, but it does mean that good imagery comes at a justified price. Half-rate images can make a fantastic project look crappy, and fantastic images can make an average project really stick out. The strength of the imagery is going to define whether the local paper or national magazine features it; it will affect how professional your website looks; it’s going to be the face of that project for awards consideration, and it’s going to determine whether the project images get onto social media which can generate A LOT of buzz and flow to your website.

Q: Why do architecture photographers charge so much, and what is associated with the cost?
JD: Several things are associated with producing professional images. In order to produce great architecture photos, you need a decent amount of gear, and a lot of knowledge specific to the field of architecture photography.

It takes time to scout locations, find angles, and map the sun through the course of the day in order to show up and capture great images on the day of production. Most shoots require one day of scouting, and one or two days of actual capture, but then the images are not ready out of the camera either, and can often take another one to three hours per photo in postproduction. So, there is a considerable time investment in photographing architecture properly.

Professional camera equipment and lighting is not cheap either. I arrive on a shoot with usually $20k+ worth of my own gear. I have pro-camera systems, tilt shift lenses, a few strobe kits, large reflectors, multiple tripods, and then a swath of gear at home for editing the photos in post production. It’s an incredibly expensive form of photography. And then, in order for me to hone my craft and get proficient at using all the cameras, lighting, and reflector systems I use, I’ve put my time in assisting other photographers, doing lighting on movie sets, and in photo school. Architecture photography is a very specialized form of photography, and isn’t something that just anyone can do, especially if you want quality results.

Q: Do you find that a lot of clients are suprised at the cost of photography?
JD: Price is often a big factor, especially for smaller/newer firms. I am cognizant of this, and I am always happy to try to meet a price point where I can in order to build a relationship with a new firm.

I’ve had a specific scenario happen a few times this last year, where a firm has contacted me requesting a quote for me to photograph several of their projects. After collecting bids from a few different photographers, they called me back to see if I could budge my rate, basically saying that they wanted me as their photographer, but at the other guy’s price. So, I did my best to make something work, but they ended up going for the cheapest quote they’d received. In both of these instances, they didn’t end up posting any of the photographs from the other photographer on their website because they were unhappy with the results.

It’s a common practice for newer, less experienced photographers to try to compete on price point instead of on quality of imagery. The truth is, in order to work at some of these cut-throat prices, these photographers have to be either jet-set trust fund kids who are doing it as a passion and not for the money, or they are photographers who don’t have the same level of expertise and quality of equipment, and who probably won’t be around in another year to photograph your next project. That is, if you would even want them to!

I’m a big fan of architecture so it saddens me to see great projects end up being captured poorly.

Q: Is there a way that architects can keep the costs down or operate within a budget?
JD: YES! There are a few ways:
They can let the photographer know the budget they are working with, and see if the photographer has any suggestions. Personally, the best way to lower the price for me is to book me for two or more projects, as I offer discounts to firms when they package together a few commissions.

Or perhaps the photographer has a month with nothing booked they could move the shoot to, and offer a reduced rate. Here in Vancouver, it rains from November to March, so I would be more inclined to offer a discount on an interior shoot if it took place in the months I’m not busy shooting exteriors in the sunshine!

Another way is to perhaps shave a couple images off the wishlist, and make it a one day shoot instead of a two or three day shoot. Would you rather have image 12 images that look great, or have all 18 and run the risk of the discount photographer messing it up?

Q: What gets you excited about architecture photography?
JD: I am especially intrigued by the human interaction with architecture. Architecture is after all designed for people. So I try to include a human element in my photographs. Early on, I noticed that most renderings the architects had included people, because this is how they sell the functionality of the design, but most photographs I was seeing were empty spaces devoid of human life. Being around great architecture is exciting, and seeing how structure are utilized, how they shape peoples daily experiences, and how they serve there intended purpose is one area I’m especially fascinated with in my photography.

Joshua Dool Location:  Specialties: ;.

Joshua Dool, Blue Planet
Blue Planet Aquarium.

Joshua Dool, Peace Bridge

Peace Bridge, Calgary. Santiago Calatrava.

Joshua Dool, 8 House

8 House, Copenhagen.  Bjarke Ingels.

Joshua Dool, UBC Pharmaceutical

UBC Pharmaceutical, Vancouver. Saucier + Perrote.

Joshua Dool, Bella Sky Hotel

Bella Sky Hotel, Copenhagen. 3XN.

Joshua Dool, Private apartment

Private apartment.

Read about the cost of hiring an architectural photographer.

Read about how to hire an architectural photographer, from a rep’s perspective.

Read about how to hire an architectural photographer, from an architect’s perspective.

This Week In Photography Books: Pepa Hristova

by Jonathan Blaustein

The French have laws to protect their culture. Films. Cheese. What have you. It’s embedded in the legal code; a bulwark against rampant McDonaldStarbuckWalmartization.

Similarly, the Romans insist a good tomato sauce can include garlic or onions. But not both. Try to mess with a traditional recipe there and you’ll be met with either shock and horror, or anger and gesticulation. It’s not the done thing, messing with their bucatini all’amatriciana.

It’s these little, idiosyncratic elements of human existence that differentiate one society from another. Culturally speaking. We all need food, water, shelter, family, and a way to provide for ourselves. These are non-negotiable elements of human existence.

On the big stuff, almost all human societies have come to an agreement. A roof over you head is better than a cave. Toilets are preferable to outhouses. Cell phones are better than smoke signals. And guns and ammo are more efficient than bows and arrows.

Yet in some places, black is a funerary color, while elsewhere it’s white. Which is the proper bridal color at weddings in some places, while elsewhere it’s red. Rotten shark meat is a delicacy in Iceland, but you couldn’t get me to eat it for $50. I’ll tell you that much.

These details have fascinated photographers for as long as we’ve used cameras. Why? Because we’re observers, and the camera is the ultimate recording device.

With respect to the weird stuff, in the 21st Century, if something eccentric is going on in any part of the world, the global photo community has heard about it. Last summer, for instance, I saw a project about a small community in the Albanian mountains. There, unlike everywhere else, (except Northampton, MA,) there is a group of women who live their lives as men. They take an oath, swear to be asexual, and are left to walk the earth as if they were Adam rather than Eve.

I mentioned the project to one of my editors, who told me he’d seen photos of the sub-culture before. Everyone knows about it already, it was suggested. So I was not exactly shocked when I picked up “Sworn Virgins,” a new book by Pepa Hristova, published by Kehrer Verlag, which presents a thorough portrait-based examination of the women/men. (The narrative is introduced by a set of establishment shots with a serious cinematic bent.)

I’m not sure you’ve seen this world before, though, and the book is very well put together, so I thought I’d share it with you today. To be clear, I’m not suggesting the artist is derivative; rather that it’s just really hard to find something new to observe these days.

What most interested me about the book was its seeming anonymity. The title and artist’s name are incised into the spine, but were not legible. And there is no title page, or authorial information in the front of the book at all. So it wasn’t until I scoured the end credits that I even found the artist’s name.

Lacking that knowledge, I was left with only the story to parse. The book is divided into segments that are separated by a few pages of small, pink paper. Each contains the subject’s name, and a brief bit of info about each of them. (Great use of a paper change to keep the viewer interested.)

You’ll be enchanted by the weathered lines in each woman’s face, and scratch your head in wonder at the veracity of their biological sexuality. A woman? Really? Can it be?

Or maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll just think they’re sequestered lesbians living in a world that created a convoluted way of explaining human sexuality. Further text suggests that the tradition evolved out of a dearth of men, as so may Albanians died at the hands of violent vendettas. (Albanians being to Italians, gangster wise, what Russians are to Jews.)

OK. You get the point. This book will provide a window into one more way of understanding the absurdity of the human condition. Is it for you? I don’t know. I guess that depends upon what your definition of is is.

Bottom Line: A well-made book that explores Albanian transvestites

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

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

Art Producers Speak: Brendan Meadows

- - 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 Brendan Meadows.  I love the way his images show the drive and determination that young girls possess while still maintaining the light, fun spirit of youth.  Fantastic work!

Broncolor had approached me about producing a shoot to help bring some attention the their lighting equipment. This was shot in Vancouver at Bryan Adams's studio last spring.

Broncolor had approached me about producing a shoot to help bring some attention the their lighting equipment. This was shot in Vancouver at Bryan Adams’s studio last spring.

Real Housewives of Vancouver Season II key art. A game changer for me here on the West coast.

Real Housewives of Vancouver Season II key art. A game changer for me here on the West coast.

My daughter back from Miami and having some professional make-up applied. This would later become the album cover for Fur Trade.

My daughter back from Miami and having some professional make-up applied. This would later become the album cover for Fur Trade.

A personal studio still.

A personal studio still.

Publicity portrait for a friend turning the children's book into a motion picture.

Publicity portrait for a friend turning the children’s book into a motion picture.

Album publicity for Last Gang Records. Zero photoshop here. C-Print images sent down to Chicago to be made into puzzles, then frozen in blocks of ice and reshot in their organic natural state. 8 months of work.

Album publicity for Last Gang Records. Zero photoshop here. C-Print images sent down to Chicago to be made into puzzles, then frozen in blocks of ice and reshot in their organic natural state. 8 months of work.

Personal body of work using the Spanish Civil war as inspiration, primarily the work of Robert Capa and the first real 'media war'

Personal body of work using the Spanish Civil war as inspiration, primarily the work of Robert Capa and the first real ‘media war’

Killing Season III publicity for AMC

Killing Season III publicity for AMC

Pilot publicity for CW network. My first big US job, and big deal for me and even bigger deal with Frank Ockenfels III shooting the hands portion in LA a few months later. Retouching done by John Crawford who brought all elements together. First billboard....stoked.

Pilot publicity for CW network. My first big US job, and big deal for me and even bigger deal with Frank Ockenfels III shooting the hands portion in LA a few months later. Retouching done by John Crawford who brought all elements together. First billboard….stoked.

 Publicity work for Lab Magazine, shot this before a show in Portland last fall on Type 55 Polaroid.


Publicity work for Lab Magazine, shot this before a show in Portland last fall on Type 55 Polaroid.

How many years have you been in business?

I’ve been in the industry now for just over a decade, but only started calling myself a photographer with conviction for the last four years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?  

I held my first camera at the age of ten and my first Polaroid was of Lady Diana at Expo 86. I still have that picture. I got my feet wet scholastically at Ryerson University taking darkroom and theory classes. It wasn’t until a fortuitous opportunity came along at Westside Studio to ‘first’ under Chris Gordaneer that things really began to take shape. I did almost three years there under his wing really learning the business, production and direction first hand. After that I kept my training going and started assisting with Frank W. Ockenfells III, Nigel Parry, Andrew Eccles and Kevin Lynch.

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

Frank (fwo3.com) has and continues to be a constant source of drive and inspiration. At the beginning I was all over the place and trying to weave in between different arenas to stay versatile and fresh. My book was everywhere and filled with music, portrait, advertising, fashion and personal work…a nightmare to get in front of an art director or potential client. Some of the best advice he gave me early on was remove myself from thinking I was going to change the market in any regard. This was in Toronto at the time and he told me to create a book that was clean and on brand, the rest would come, but don’t think by pushing your vision that the work will come your way.

This was also at a time when I was unsure of my place in the industry. There was no money in music, didn’t want to stray into the fashion, advertising wasn’t my biggest draw and felt somewhat lost as to the direction I should be heading. Staying close to a classic portrait foundation was essential and wanted to still work with actors and musicians who brought something personal to the table. Staying inside the entertainment industry was a perfect fit and now my primary drive for work and finding new clients.

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

I think that should come naturally to any artist. Motivations are a huge catalyst for any creative endeavor. You wake up, get out of bed each day and push yourself with the only a reward being reached once the project/piece has fully been realized. Getting noticed is part of the territory that falls into the tasks column of this profession and can sometimes cloud efforts I find.

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

Not at this point in my career. The biggest struggle I have with clients at present is primarily budgetary. They go through my book with big eyes and seem frustrated they cannot get this look for a quarter of the budget.

I got a call from an East coast record label this year and he said to me; ‘We hear you’re the guy to call when we want an amazing shoot with zero money.” Flattering and insulting at the same time. And yes I bust my ass for every production and have done so since the beginning…..some of that has crossed over from the start and I still look at every opportunity to be shooting as a gift. It’s very lucky to love what you do. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing because we’re all peppered with a little production, post-production, lighting and skill sets that we have had to earn along the journey to get into that professional realm. You’re getting the full combo package having me on set.

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

Always looked at traditional means of exposure from the other side of the river bank. I could not really afford to get my work into annual submissions and thought staying original was a better means of getting noticed.

The first of which was an event I created and co-founded called Drawn to Develop. It worked directly with Street Kids International who supplied drawings from street kids around the world that I then allocated to the best Canadian photographers working at that time who had to render the drawing into a finished photographic piece that we auctioned off at a gala event in Toronto during the fall of 2008. It did 4 strong years and has raised over $140,000 for Street Kids International since its conception. That gained a ton of attention due the ambitious amount of work involved and curious nature of the project.

“Who are you exactly?” Got that a lot of that, but getting Floria Sigismondi to create an image from a drawing was worth every hang up.

From there I did a few curated shows; tried to stay relevant as best I could before moving out to Vancouver in the fall of 2010. Then I went back to square one on the ol’ rolodex and the phone went from ringing every once in a while to almost never.

Covet was started to make my presence known in Vancouver. It was also me throwing a wrench into a photographer’s inspiration to see what comes up. Bring 30 photographers to the mix who supply a subject and location that they themselves hold dear. At random each of us chose from the two groups and went out and created an original piece for the show. Did that two years in a row, got on the map and earned the attention of one of my biggest clients of my career.

Is there a formula for any of it? Not a chance. Everything I do inside the professional circuit is based upon working hard and knowing that there is someone younger and hungrier out there behind me.

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

Eventually these efforts will run themselves short and just be in vain.  Staying true to you audience and finding your stride is key. With the tireless dedication this craft demands it crucial to make your efforts worthwhile and garnish a return.

Would you plant a garden for your neighbors?

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

Constantly. My ambitious cup is always brimming over with ideas and creative ventures. Have been slowing down the project scopes as of late and asking myself more questions than just running out into the night with a burning spear, full of rum and generally running amok as I did in my 20’s. Trying to embrace a fully realized project from conception to hanging have become important lately, while still keeping content and intention at hand.

Having my commercial work grow into what I’m now showing now is starting to allow those questions relevance.

I’ve been failing upward for years and am really excited for the next couple of years.

How often are you shooting new work?

As often as possible.

I’m just now getting serious with all the extra work I shot this year and getting ready to rotate the portfolio, the website and putting together a small promo from some recent time in Japan.

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Brendan Meadows is a photographer based in Vancouver, Canada.

He began his professional training at Westside Studio in Toronto. Today, after a decade of experience in advertising, publicity, editorial, music and portrait photography, Brendan has developed into a versatile professional, known for his ability to comfortably weave through many different arenas. His professional travels have taken him from the Swiss Alps, to the Arizona desert, to the high Arctic and the Caribbean, shooting everywhere from grand hotels to gritty slums.

The dominant thread in Brendan’s signature style is his strong interest in photographing people. He considers this focus to be his greatest strength and concentrates the bulk of his creative efforts towards creating images that celebrate all aspects of humanity. Brendan has produced pictures that brim with conviction, demonstrating a vision that is both raw and precise.

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

The Weekly Edit – Who Shot it better?

- - The Daily Edit

 

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Men’s Fitness

Consulting Design Director: Joseph Heroun
Creative Director: Andy Turnbull
Photo Director: Jane Seymour
Associate Photo Editor: Henry Watson
Photographer: Peter Yang

 

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Men’s Health ( US )

Creative Director: Robert Festino
Director of Photography: Jeanne Graves
Art Director: Thomas O’Quinn
Deputy Director of Photography: Don Kinsella
Photo Editor: Mark Haddad
Photographer: Sam Jones

 

 

-5

Men’s Health ( UK )

Creative Director: Declan Fahy
Photo Director: Cat Costelloe
Art Director: Jamie Sage
Deputy Art Director: Marianne Waller
Picture Editor: Alexandra Kelly
Photographer: Patrik Giardino