The Art of the Personal Project: Patrick Molnar

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Patrick Molnar

Pat Molnar’s Artist Statement: The Art of the Personal Project February 2018

We found Village Garage in East Atlanta when we used it as a location for an ad shoot back in November. I had driven by it dozens of times and never given it a second thought. But it’s a real garage — not like the shiny clean chain garages you see popping up in Walmart parking lots — this is authentic. It reminds me of the garages that I worked at during high school. It’s very old school. They’ve got a wood burning stove, everybody smokes, and there are bikini calendars on the walls. There’s absolutely nothing false about it. These guys truly love cars. They specialize in old classics — there are old muscle cars are all over the lot. Some belong to customers, some to the mechanics. They even had my 1st car, same year and everything, in the parking lot — a 1967 Dodge Coronet.

They were kind enough to let me come out and spend some time photographing them and their surroundings. For me, it really just reminded me of being 17 years old again.

To see more of this project and other journal entries, click here.

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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

 

Celebrity Shoots Count

- - Working

Guest Post by Cybele Sandy, August Image

This piece arose from the blowback I’ve recently had from artists on the subject of shooting celebrity. The reaction was so severe that I felt like my extremely proper Post-Colonial West Indian delivery was somehow morphing into the vilest of curse words. This is my unequivocal stance on the subject: Celebrity Shoots Count. Perhaps in this era of Kardashian dominance, the idea has morphed into an unappealing, congealed mass. The majority of my career has skewed toward working with celebrity art, so I have had considerable experience with the genre. In other words, I’ve seen first-hand the propellant power of a celebrity shoot.

I know that there are photographers who insist on channelling their efforts toward fine art, or to the gravitas of contemporary photojournalism, and that’s a terrific goal. You should be aware, though, that relying on your fine art portfolio to shop for paying commissions (be they advertising, custom content or entertainment buyouts) can be a risky proposition. Fine art can be challenging for the viewer to interpret, especially given the environment of a quick go-see with an art buyer. An image of a recognizable celebrity can compellingly deliver your aesthetic. It doesn’t have to be Angelina Jolie, but there should be immediate name recognition. A buzzy stylist, up-and-coming musician, hot new model or emerging fashion designer can do just as well.

Celebrity editorial dovetails nicely into the career facets I’ve spoken of previously: personal work- >editorial work-> advertising/commercial projects-> licensing. In other words, bringing the aesthetic honed from personal work to a celebrity shoot may lead to more editorial and commercial projects, with the editorial being of huge benefit to your licensing archive.

[Sidebar: When awarded a commission, always give serious thought to whom/what you shoot. How will this serve my career? Will this work for licensing opportunities down the line? In the words of my Glorious Leader, William Hannigan, licensing is a photographer’s 401K.]

Here’s why:

1. The recognition factor provides an instant point of connection between yourself and the reviewing photo editor/ art buyer.

2. It’s nice segue into the messaging you want to leave behind in terms of your art: talking about your experience shooting said celebrity can break the ice and calm any nerves you may be feeling.

3. It provides an immediate boost to your social media profile and buzz for your brand.

4. They provide an “in” to the PR world and to publicists who hold a tremendous amount of leverage in terms of who gets to shoot.

5. It provides a terrific, real-world test for your nascent team. Can they hold their assigned ground in a pressurized situation where there isn’t a whole lot of time to deliver the money shot?

However, this is all predicated on a recognizable celebrity. It doesn’t have to be Angelina Jolie. It can simply be someone with a strong pop/ cultural profile- the star of a hit tv show or a fashion/ media personality.

Things to Bear in Mind For Celebrity Shoots:

Pre-Shoot:

  • I’ve worked on shoots that have gone extremely well, as well as shoots that have been extremely painful. Do your homework. Ensure that you know the sublime to the mundane- what’s their upcoming project, what sort of music would they like to hear on set?
  • Ensure that all the players have a clear understanding of all of the elements before-hand. The theme of the shoot and looks to be worn, as well as hair/ makeup should have been agreed to prior. This will forestall on-set drama. (Not always, but we live in hope.)
  • It’ll be stressful, so make certain that what is in your power to control day-of-shoot is done well: being on-time and set up early will go a long way toward keeping the environment calm and upbeat.

On-set:

  • Keep the chatter to an as-needed basis. Save that great joke for your buddies at the bar.
  • Art Streiber, during his lecture at this year’s PhotoPlus, delivered these words of guidance: “Treat celebrities like ordinary people and ordinary people like celebrities.” Keep it cool and respectful, yet make sure that you maintain control of the set.
  • Everyone working in sync is the very best demonstration of credibility that you can offer.
  • Make sure you have the contact information of all of the players before they leave.
  • A great on-set experience is the shortest route to being recommended by a celebrity for other editorial and even for advertising jobs.

Post- shoot:

  • Gratitude makes for good karma and certainly, a good old-fashioned paper Thank You note can count for a lot these days. Certainly send one to the celebrity and his/her publicist, as well as the assigning editor. A print from the shoot is always a nice takeaway.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that music & film festivals are actually a nice segue into the genre for my photographers. It’s resulted in relationships that have led to more incredible opportunities in more intimate settings, and the art itself becomes a calling card. The Shayan Asgharnia image of Erykah Badu below (shot at the Roots Picnic Festival) is what made me reach out to him. In its turn, it was part of a body of work that I showed the veteran agent Angela De Bona on my ‘phone over lunch, which in turn led into her signing him for assignment representation.

Another talented artist I represent, Taili Song Roth, managed to capture an arresting, classic image of Clint Eastwood at the Palm Springs Film Festival.

So the takeaway is: take a step back from your less than savory view of this genre of photography. There are ways to approach the work in a smart, credible manner that will not hurl your artistry onto the funeral pyre.

And you will come to realize that it is in fact a sound investment, one that will prove to be a strong, long-term ally to brand-building.

Erykah Badu/ Shayan Asgharnia/ AUGUST

Clint Eastwood/ Taili Song Roth/ AUGUST

The Daily Edit – 000 Magazine: Justin Page

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

000 Magazine

Editors: Pete Stout, Alex Palevsky
Creative Director: Justin Page

 

Heidi: How did this project come about for you?
Justin: I got a message one day from my childhood best friend whom I hadn’t seen or spoken to in decades. He and his long time associates in the auto magazine game were going to start their own magazine and were looking for an art director. They actually already had someone, but felt like they wanted to look around for just one more option before committing. While they were picking their brains on who that last option might be, Pete (the editor, owner and my long-lost childhood BFF) recalled that a mutual friend of ours, whom I had recently caught up with at a our high school reunion, had told him that she had seen me, and that I was also in the magazine game. In fact, I was an art director at Playboy (at the time). Pete looked me up and hesitantly clicked on my portfolio. That’s when I heard from my long-lost buddy. We spoke about the project, did a lot of catching up, (this went on for months). They had me do a few spec designs based on what they were looking for so they could measure my work up against the person they were already almost working with. We did a couple back and fourths on the fundamentals of the book, mocked up some story designs and they decided to bring me on. Shortly thereafter, Pete and I were working together in his office in Marin developing page templates, type styles and a production plan to launch 000.

How much is assigned and how much is sourced?
It’s a combo. Our goal is to show people images they’ve never seen, so we want to assign as much original art as possible. but we’re also very deep into historical documentation and vintage images that we’re able to source from various collectors and archives. The feel of the book is very much a blend of original and historical. We have a section that is comprised of photographed factory documents, translated from German to English in captions. I love the archival materials, the discoloring of the documents and tones in the old b&w prints look beautiful when you get the combinations right on the page

Since you are a quarterly, are you shooting all your covers? and have they all been shot in one location?
The covers have all been shot on separate locations from Germany to Palm Springs.

Where are you sourcing the vintage images from?
The vintage images come from various collectors and archives. The Porsche factory archive has been incredibly helpful, as they have a number of private collectors, in allowing us to source their personal pieces.

Tell us about the logo design?
The logo design is based on the letterforms of an early iteration of the Porsche insignia: rounded, modern, geometrical. Since the name itself (000) is based on Porsche’s developmental numerology, my guys felt that the Porsche early font style was the right basis for the design. They had done a few font studies, but weren’t quite sure where to take it from there. It seemed to me that they already had the pieces but just needed them dialed in. So I picked it up, went through a few exploratory options trying different flourishes, geometry, color devices and those sorts of things (because that’s what you do) but we ended up going with the single color, underlined trio of rectangular zeros.

How many Porsches have you driven and in one word describe the experience?
I’ve driven 5 or 6 since we started this journey – some on track, some on the back roads of Austin,Texas. My most exciting ride though was as a passenger at the thermal raceway in Palm desert. We work with one of Porsches factory race drivers and he took me out for some hot laps. I think we did about 6 laps at break neck speeds. Every time I looked over, my man was a cool as a cucumber. So what’s the single word that means “it turns out my personal car isn’t that fun after all”?

Are you doing any illustration for the magazine?
I’m not personally doing any illustration for 000. We do work with an illustrator on our build section. In each issue, my editors work up a sort of dream car configuration and have it visualized by an automotive designer. We’ve talked about how to utilize original illustration more, but given the nature of our book, I don’t see too many opportunities. What our readers are really here to see are beautiful photos of cars and genuine artifacts that they haven’t seen anywhere else.

The Daily Promo – Leah Fasten

- - The Daily Promo

Leah Fasten

Who printed it?
HH Imaging here in San Francisco
http://www.hhimaging.com/home

Who designed it?
I worked with Flight Design Co to create an overall brand for my business. As part of that branding process, they provided me with design assets and a branding guide to use in my design work. I did the actual art direction and design of the promo using their brand guidelines and assets.
http://www.flightdesign.co/

Tell me about the images?
2017 was a really, really busy year with a ton of client work and candidly I fell behind on my personal work. When this happens I push myself on location or on set to create both images that thrill the client as well as images that surprise me and inspire me. Working this way is what keeps me madly in love with this career.

Initially, the idea for the promo was a kind of “greatest hits” of 2017. When I started looking at the images I was truly drawn to I realized that none of them had actually been printed anywhere. They were all work done in collaboration with clients, yet these weren’t the hero shots or perfect shots. These were the photos that happened in between or didn’t quite illustrate the story. And these are the images that surprised me and inspired me. My attraction to these images was interesting to me and I wanted to explore that a bit more. I used the promo as a kind of sketchbook to do that. (with notes!)

How many did you make?
500

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I do a larger mailing of postcards to hand-selected people 3-4 times a year with smaller, personal postcards sent out on an ongoing basis as I feel emotionally moved.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Oh gosh. Who knows what’s effective. Is it the postcards? The Instagram feed? The portfolio meetings? Word of mouth? The nice comment my mom made about me on Facebook? That time we stayed out too late and drank too much in LA?

I know that I love postcards. I love sending them. I love receiving them. There is still something so magical to me about print. It’s the same feeling I have when I see my image full bleed in a magazine or feel the weight of the paper for a portfolio print. It’s a great gift when a photographer friend sends me a postcard. I want to share that love with people I’d like to work with.

This Week in Photography Books: Nina Berman

 

I’m not feeling very creative at the moment.

The sky is gray out my window, and the dreary light is making me lazy. In a perfect world, I’d get back in bed, pull the covers around me tight, and take a big fat nap.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.

I bitch and complain as much as the next guy, but in general, I’m aware of how good I have it. While life can turn on any given day, I’m healthy, have a beautiful family, and live in a wonderful place.

If I feel hunger, I go to the refrigerator and make myself some food. So in the grand scheme of things, I have little to complain about.

Living with comfort and security is the root of the American Dream. Without question, we take it for granted. It’s hard not to, as the micro-stresses of daily life add up, and in the aggregate make it difficult to maintain perspective.

As artists, we have a built-in stress relief mechanism, as long as we have the energy to use it. I’ve written many times that I taught abused teenagers for 10 years, and was able to see firsthand how creative outlets allowed them to channel the powerful emotions they have, in response to their tragic circumstances.

Art is its own form of therapy.

I knew my students had undergone horrific situations. As I wasn’t their therapist, I never asked for details. (It didn’t seem appropriate.) My wife, who is a therapist, and works with the same population, has heard frightening stories that would make most people reach for a bottle of whiskey.

Or a big fat joint.

She doesn’t tell me the details, because she’s not allowed. (It’s all confidential.) So she keeps it inside, and sometimes goes to therapy herself, but when things are really bad, I can see the stress energy wafting off her skin like the heat waves that rise from my old wood stove.

Frankly, it’s rare that we find ourselves inside someone else’s nightmare. Sure, some people like to get scared, and pay to watch a creepy movie.

But that’s fiction.

Occasionally, we find ourselves privy to someone else’s darkest secrets. Occasionally, we choose not to look away. (Even when it’s the stuff of pure darkness.)

In my six and half years writing this column, I’ve often shared that my favorite photobooks are experiential. They carefully consider how to unspool the thread of their narrative; how to engage an audience by divulging details in just the right way.

I love books that show me things I haven’t seen before, and give me insights I couldn’t otherwise access.

I’ve also admitted to being something of an Anglophile, as I’m addicted to English football, and wrote stories on this very blog about my remarkably joyous trips to London in 2012 and ’13.

It’s easy to idealize a place when you only see its slick surface. People do that with Taos all the time. They come here thinking it’s a quaint, little tourist mecca, with hip art galleries and magnificent nature.

But as I’ve said before, it’s the most hard-core place I’ve ever lived, and I did a three year stint in Brooklyn.

There are plenty of entertainment options that glamorize English gangsters, like the stylish “Peaky Blinders,” the several movies about the Krays, or (insert random Guy Richie movie here.)

But I just put down a photo book that made my head spin, in a good way, though its contents are shockingly awful. (The kind of awful that enlightens, not the kind that comes from poor execution.)

“An autobiography of Miss Wish” is a new book by Nina Berman, in conjunction with Kimberly Stevens, which was published in the fall by Kehrer Verlag in Germany. It’s generated a fair amount of positive press, and I feel fortunate to have been sent a copy a few months ago, when I was actively soliciting submissions from female artists.

(By the way, the first round of outreach was successful, but I’m down to my last two books by female photographers, so hopefully you guys can help spread the word to get a new batch of submissions for us.)

Kimberly Stevens is the latest name adopted by an Englishwoman who’s had as difficult a life as I’ve ever encountered. This book shares the kind of stories my wife keeps to herself. It’s hard to read what is presented here; to look at Nina Berman’s photographs, and Kimberly’s drawings and diary entries.

The shortest version is that Ms. Stevens was adopted at two into a family of violent, murderous, child-purchasing, sex traffickers. She was raped, tortured, and prostituted for her entire childhood. Even worse, the gang that ran her continued to kidnap her anytime anyone stepped in to help.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, I’ll photograph the drawing she made of a dismemberment, part of a series of flashbacks that were symptoms of extreme mental illness brought on by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In what can only be described as a coincidence, or an act of God, Nina Berman bumped into Kimberly in the early 90s in London, when she was still going by the name of Cathy Wish. She photographed her roaming the city, and they struck a friendship.

As Kimberly’s captors were so well-connected that the police couldn’t protect her, an officer from Scotland Yard suggested she escape to America, and even gave her the money to buy a ticket.

So she came to the United States, (the exact type of immigrant our current president despises,) and made a life for herself on the streets, in the shelters, jails and mental institutions of New York City.

Throughout, Kimberly has suffered from multiple personality disorder, suicidal tendencies, drug addiction, HIV, and dissociative fugue states.

(Like I said, this gives hard-core a new definition.)

The book, which is remarkably well done, shares the story with us in a variety of ways. From medical reports to text messages, consistently interspersed with Ms. Berman’s documentary images, we’re given access to Kimberly Stevens’ life story.

Throughout her time in our country, Nina Berman proved to be her support system.

Her family.

Her rock.

I interviewed Nina Berman for this blog many years ago. She struck me as an extreme personality. You have to be, to somehow believe Kimberly Stevens could carve out a life worth living. That she wouldn’t be better off just jumping off a bridge, or out a window, both of which she tried to do.

Instead, they made this book as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the ultimate survivor.

As far as I’m concerned, photobooks don’t get much better than this.

Bottom line: A collaborative masterpiece

To purchase “An autobiography of Miss Wish,” click here


If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com

The Art of the Personal Project: Guzman

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Guzman

We move through the world visually. Most days, we carry a camera capturing a living image, a talisman, instinctively collecting bits and pieces of what we see. A landscape, a portrait or a still life, our visual diary helps us make sense of the world. Hopefully, these varied facets of our imagery, thread together so that the viewer can enjoy the images visually and perhaps elucidate their own landscape.

Our interest in attending the recent demonstrations and documenting the women and men that have taken to the street, is to capture their anger, their desires and their demands, in the hope that our images can help articulate, visually, the spirit of these events.

“I always had a decent sense of outrage”

– Bella Abzug

To see more of this project, click here.

Guzman is now being represented by four eleven.agency

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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

Expert Advice: Self-Assigned Projects

- - Expert Advice

Mellisa Pascale, Wonderful Machine

Here at Wonderful Machine, we prefer the term “self-assigned” rather than “personal” to describe the projects that photographers create themselves. After all, these types of ventures are more than side projects that satisfy extraneous creative visions; they also serve to demonstrate a photographer’s proficiency with a genre he or she would like to shoot more of. To put it simply, shooting what you love can, with the right presentation, lead to assignments that you love.

Pursuing self-assigned work allows you to create imagery that’s geared towards a specific target industry or client. Take, for example, Felix Reed’s Mont Blanc project, which served a dual purpose fulfilling both a life-long dream and a portfolio piece. Having always wanted to scale Europe’s highest peak, the Bologna, Italy-based photographer folded some adventure imagery into his expedition. Felix integrates the photos into the Lifestyle galleries on his website and opens his homepage with a slideshow of images, the first of which is from Mont Blanc.

Expert Advice, Self-Assigned Projects, Personal Projects, Photographer, Photography, Wonderful Machine, Felix Reed, Mont Blanc, Bologna, Italy, Adventure, Adventure Photography

Read more about this project here.

Showcasing your self-assigned projects right alongside your client-based work, rather than separating it out as “personal,” gives the photos an opportunity to shine. Just because you had to rely on your own resources to create the images doesn’t mean they’re less telling of your abilities as a photographer.

If anything, calling on your own resources to produce a shoot should make you more appealing to potential clients. In addition to rounding out your portfolio, self-assigned projects also exhibit a photographer’s ability to project manage. When Falmouth, England-based Olivia Bossert wanted to garner more fashion assignments, she started with a fashion self-assignment. Casting a model, sourcing a stylist, and enlisting a small videography team for an added element, Olivia took her team to a picturesque English bluff to capture these stylish images.

Expert Advice, Self-Assigned Projects, Personal Projects, Photographer, Photography, Wonderful Machine, Olivia Bossert, Falmouth, England, Fashion, Fashion Photography

Read more about this project here.

Ultimately, your skills as both a photographer and a collaborator demonstrated in a self-assigned project can lead to something more. Noah Willman, a photographer operating out of Washington, DC, reached out to the Alexandria Boxing Club, aiming to build up a sports and fitness repertoire. After photographing the boxers and trainers in action and behind the scenes, capturing the community vibe, Noah pitched his photo series to various editorial clients. In addition to licensing his images to several publications, including Washingtonian, Noah also continues to cover the club’s events and other goings-on.

Read more about this project here.

Documentary photographer Nicole Franco conceptualized a fine art project, titled Charros, capturing Mexico’s traditional horse-riding competition, Charreada. Her emotive black and white images earned Nicole her first solo exhibit, to be on display in Bellas Artes in the summer of 2018.

Expert Advice, Self-Assigned Projects, Personal Projects, Photographer, Photography, Wonderful Machine, Nicole Franco, Charros, Bella Artes, Fine Art, Fine Art Photography, Mexico City, Mexico

Read more about this project here.

Nicole’s success demonstrates another integral aspect of self-assignments. Diving into your personal interests via photography demonstrates initiative and self-sufficiency, not to mention your love for the medium.

“Like all creatives, there are times when we feel the need to challenge ourselves. I had a very clear vision about a new project I wanted to shoot.…I’ve been riding since I was a child and my relationship with horses has been and continues to be tremendous in my life, so photographing them was natural to me.” – Nicole Franco

It can be quite challenging to tackle something so close to your heart, but with patience and calculated execution, your self-assigned passion project can reap rewards. Over the course of 25 years, Los Angeles based photographer Manuello Paganelli captured his travels to Cuba, exploring his heritage as well as the country’s anatomy. This ongoing project resulted in a book, Cuba: A Personal Journey 1989-2016.

Expert Advice, Self-Assigned Projects, Personal Projects, Photographer, Photography, Wonderful Machine, Manuello Paganelli, Cuba, Cuba: A Personal Journey 1989-2016, Fine Art, Fine Art Photography, Los Angeles, California

Read more about this project here.

Never underestimate the power of self-assigned projects. Integrating work into your portfolio that’s conceptualized and executed by you is one terrific way to expand your photography business into new ventures.

Looking to get started? Reach out to our consultants – we’d love to help!

The Daily Edit – Billboard: Joe Pugliese

- - The Daily Edit

Billboard

Creative Director: Shanti Marlar
Photography & Video Director: Jennifer Laski
Co Director of Photography: Jennifer Sargent
Photo Editor: Samantha Xu
Photographer: Joe Pugliese

Heidi: I know the band has a particular aesthetic, did they have any requirements?
Joe: Since this was my third shoot with them, I have sort of gotten to know some of their preferences, but having said that I think they probably prefer to be surprised and maybe like to hear that the photographer has good ideas. It’s hard to know what to expect, which makes it fun and challenging in equal measure.

The band has been heavily photographed, did that fact play into your approach for the shoot? Did you want to do something different that hadn’t been done before, is that even possible?
For sure, they have not only been photographed by all of the top music and portrait photographers over the last decades, but the sheer volume of shoots they have done have made it hard to think that you’re going to wow them with anything that you do. It helped me to not try to mine the archives for inspiration and/or for things to avoid, and just approach it honestly as I would any other shoot. In the end I just wanted to make interesting photos and I wasn’t too hung up on whether it had been done before. I’m not a high concept photographer, and since I started my career in photojournalism, it’s important to me to just build a world they can be in and shoot organically once they are in it rather than have exact compositions and arrangements in mind beforehand.

What made this shoot unique as you’ve got a stellar gallery of subjects.
The most unique thing about shooting U2 is how much I respect their creative output and the fact that Bono especially is incredibly involved in the process (in a very good way). He’s a tough critic and it can be hard to hear when he doesn’t like something, but it always leads to better images because he cares enough to communicate what he thinks is and isn’t working. The challenge of this of course is that if the magazine is not involved in this conversation, a cover edit can be made that does not align exactly with the band favorites. It puts me in a difficult situation because while I definitely take their preferences into account, the magazine has other needs and we can’t kill an entire setup if it’s not the band’s favorite. The previous shoot I did with U2 was for their own publicity and they had final say in the images, so I think it was a bit of an adjustment to shoot again for editorial where the magazine really had final say in cover choice from what we shot (and what I turned in).

Did you play music on set?
Haha. Good question. It’s definitely not easy choosing music on any set, but music legends make it even tougher. When I showed up on set in the morning the props department had already put on a U2 Pandora station that was fun for a few minutes but obviously the last thing we would ever play during the shoot! Luckily one of my NYC assistants makes amazing Spotify playlists and we played a mix of classic R&B and funk that seemed to work well.

How long did you have with the band; what was your interaction like?
We had about 90 minutes to do 2 cover tries, two spreads, and singles of each of the four members twice (two looks for singles). See above for interaction

How did you prepare for this?
I started conversation with Jenny Sargent, the photo director at Billboard, and discussed some approaches to the shoot. Jenny suggested that we work with the set designer Shawn Patrick at Acme Studios in NYC and he and I came up with some great ideas together. I would start on an idea for a look and he would riff on different ways to achieve it and we went back and forth from there. He was really key in putting together some of my loose ideas and making them into the final set we ended up with. Even on the day of the shoot we tweaked the set and he made suggestions to make it have more depth, etc. He suggested a single neon light in the background and together we decided that two vertical lights of different colors could provide us with a lot of options especially for the singles. It’s fun to be open to collaboration on something like this, I feel that if I was too rigid about my initial ideas, I could have missed out on some of my favorite images of the day.

 

The Daily Promo – Andy Reynolds

- - The Daily Promo

Andy Reynolds

Who printed it?
Modern Postcard.

Who designed it?
I designed this one. I’ve always left it up to someone else. I was focusing on the advertising market so I included archive (film) and new material (digital) that I thought went together to show off my personality. The logo/name was designed by Jenna Yankun at Jyakun.com who also did the sheep gif on my website.

Tell me about the images?

Meat Trump comes from my series of faceless people. I wanted to show as much of a person without showing him. Shhh- it’s my uncle Al- the wig was made by Ashley Naegle at the Seattle Opera. I had the setting in my head of a butcher shop, white walls and metal and the grinder with the meat. The meat was on sale at Safeway too so no brainer.

The potato chip bag is all about gluttony. Saw it in my head, sketched it, collaborated with an AD to shoot it. Joel is an actor at a theater company here and is fun to shoot with.

Cubicle Wall is another collaboration on an image in my head of awkwardness. I like pratfall and comedy but it’s got to be subtle… also I think when I light stuff I default to sitcom lighting. It ain’t supposed to be ‘lit’ so you light an area motivated by reality/practicals/sun and let the talent do their thing. I try not to date myself with lighting or ‘technique’ – remember how cool cross-processing was? not

The office spread is an outtake from an ad I shot in Chicago for LeoB. The shot called for an office set full of redundancies. Originally they wanted like 12 and we ended up with near 40. I pitched the af-am twins and it happened! That is one shot with minimal p’shop. It’s probably my favorite ad job when I think about logistics, client, crew, and talent. Top Drawer.

How many did you make?
Only 250 I think. I have a small mailing list!

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I am making a commitment to send out 3 a year. Don’t know if I can top this one though. The last one I sent out was on your feed, maybe 2 years ago? “Chipmunks having sex on a photocopier” lol

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’d like to think so. I had WMachine compile a list so we’ll see how it goes. In the past, I’d print 500 and send a dozen. Is it me or are these buyers getting harder to find? Seems like they move or have weird titles now.

This agent I talked to when I was starting out – Julian Richards- told me I had to do stuff myself- portfolio review, mailers, follow up calls- or else no one would, not even agents. So I’m gettin back on the horse.

This Week in Photography Books: Paul Gaffney

 

Any idiot can deny something.

It’s takes no effort at all.

What could be easier for a lazy person?

Here.
I’ll show you.

I hereby deny that gravity exists. Even though the book I just dropped fell, and hit the couch, still, I insist there’s no such thing as gravity.

Here’s another.

I deny that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is an inherently conservative institution, founded by the famously anti-leftist J. Edgar Hoover.

Who cares that he assassinated Black Panthers?

And that as recently as 2016, we all thought James Comey was a conservative fascist who ruined Hillary Clinton’s chances of getting elected.

Now, these stiff-suited-corn-fed-white-boys are suddenly smoking weed with Jerry Brown?

It’s ludicrous.

But I didn’t mean to get off on a political rant today. Rather, I was thinking about all the people out there who deny that human activity is changing the Earth’s climate patterns.

Theoretically, that should not be a political statement. There is vast empirical evidence supporting the idea that gas emissions trap heat within the planet’s atmosphere, which affects different places in different ways.

“An Inconvenient Truth,” a movie now almost 12 years old, predicted an increase in the incidence of extreme weather events. In addition, traditional weather patterns were meant to shift as well.

Any sentient person can see that in America alone, we’ve been hit with massive floods, hurricanes, droughts, mudslides, and wildfires. (Hell, we even have man-made earthquakes these days too.)

Here in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah are having their worst winter in recent memory. There’s almost no snow at all. (Though here at Taos Ski Valley, our new billionaire owner has certainly been willing to pay for man-made snowmaking. Until the water allotment runs out…)

It was so warm in December, January and now February, it seems as if winter were only a rumor.

Just last year, we had tons of snow, and I’m sure we will again next year. But each random catastrophic weather event, wherever it hits, cost billions of dollars, and wreaks havoc across all strata of society. (Though of course low income people suffer disproportionately.)

Some might say Nature is fighting back.

That we, tiny humans, think that we can do whatever we want, but we’re wrong.

I don’t know who or what controls the wind, the clouds, the rain, the sky. But I do know I’ve been looking out my window at dry grass all winter, instead of white frozen Wonderland.

And I know my trees are thirsty.

I recently saw a headline on Twitter that plants lost certain activity function when exposed to anesthesia. I admit I didn’t read the article, but it implied some sort of sentience.

When you live among raw nature, as I do, it’s not hard to believe such things.

I admit I just came back from my daily walk, but really I’m ruminating, having just looked at “Perigee,” a new book by Paul Gaffney in Ireland, which turned up last autumn.

I reviewed an earlier book of his, “We Make the Path By Walking,” and recall he spent an inordinate amount of time on solo walks in the Irish countryside. (That’s a lot of quiet time, bro.)

This new book is simply beautiful. There’s no other way to describe it. So much clean white paper, in a double fold.

The stiff black binding. So many empty pages. And the images within are special as well.

We learn at the book’s end that the series was made during an artist residency in Luxembourg. (Seriously, do they just give you the whole country for the residency? Sitting here on the other side of the world, I imagine Luxembourg being about as big as Disney World. No offense.)

I’m sure Paul spent a lot of time walking in the woods there, though the book gives us almost no words at all. He thanks his family and friends at the end, which I think is super-classy, and there’s only one fraction of a song lyric.

“But the darkest of nights, in truth, still dazzled”

It’s interesting context, after-the-fact, because with the strong contrast, and yet consistently dynamic total range, the pictures made me think of electricity, as much as anything else.

Bioluminescent undersea creatures pulsating with life. Or a network of neurons in a Pelican’s brain.

On some level, I understand that they’re just simple black-and-white landscape pictures made in forests. Lots of people do that.

But between the exquisite, minimal design, and the vibrant energy within each picture, (much less the entire edit,) I think this book is just about perfect.

I’m sure you will too.

Bottom line: a little Zen gem, like a poem

PS: I’ve never done a PS before, but when I just went to find the purchase link, I learned another book that was in the package was also a part of “Perigee.” It had no words, and I had no way of knowing they were connected. Apologies.

To purchase Perigee, click here

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com.

The Art of the Personal Project: Stephen Wilkes

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Stephen Wilkes

Transcend the Passage of Time in ‘Day to Night: In the Field with Stephen Wilkes,’ Opening at National Geographic Museum Feb. 13Exhibition features captivating images of spectacular bird migrations across the globe taken by iconic photographer Stephen Wilkes

WASHINGTON ( Jan. 16 , 201 7 )— For 130 years, National Geographic has been using the power of photography to tell meaningful stories, inspire people to take action and transport audiences to unseen places. A new exhibition opening at the National Geographic Museum on Feb. 13, ‘Day to Night: In the Field with Stephen Wilkes,’ takes that experience even further by showcasing stunning images by iconic photographer Stephen Wilkes that capture the passage of time. The exhibition will be on display at the National Geographic Museum through April 30, 2018.

Wilkes, a New York–based photographer who is widely recognized for his fine art and commercial work, creates visually compelling scenes expertly crafted from more than 1,500 images taken from a fixed vantage point over the course of fifteen to thirty hours, from sunrise to sunset. Wilkes spent much of 2017 in the field on assignment documenting bird migration routes for the March 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

In ‘Day to Night,’ visitors can marvel at Wilkes’ stunning compositions of landscapes paired with human or animal narratives and appreciate the movement and energy of locations such as Serengeti National Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City as they transition from day to night. The exhibition gives visitors behind-the-scenes insight into all that’s involved in Wilkes’ shoots, from the research put into scouting locations; to determining how time will move through the image, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally; to the time spent conducting the actual shoot; and finally to the extensive editing process, during which Wilkes selects the best moments captured from thousands of images to seamlessly combine them into the stunning finished product.

Time and memory, the essence of why we photograph.
Photography has historically been defined as a single moment, captured in time.
Our memories are defined by these moments, illuminating our consciousness of time as we age.

Years ago, I imagined changing time within a single photograph; compressing the best moments of a day and night into a single image. Photographic technology has now evolved to allow my dreams to now become reality.

Most impressively, the exhibition features four expansive and powerful mega-prints of captivating bird migrations, measuring roughly 7 feet tall and 12 feet wide, that reflect the theme of conservation. Behind the scenes of each massive image, visitors will learn about the species, the location where Wilkes photographed them and what makes them integral to the ecosystem. Visitors to the exhibition will have an intimate look at these species:

  •  Black-browed albatrosses in the Falkland Islands, sitting on their nests, warming and protecting their chicks, while their partners soar above them hunting for prey;
  •  Northern gannets on Bass Rock, off the coast of Scotland, that flocked to the island during breeding season only to migrate as far as West Africa in the winter;
  •  Sandhill cranes on Nebraska’s Platte River, huge birds that spend their days fattening up on waste grain left in the fields to prepare for their migration to sub-Arctic and Arctic nesting grounds;
  •  and Lesser flamingos at Lake Bogoria, Kenya, that thrive in the extreme environment of high-altitude soda lakes, feeding on algal blooms that are toxic to many other creatures. 
Behind the prints, visitors can also read fascinating stories detailing the lengths to which Wilkes went to get the perfect shot, from surviving dive-bomb attacks from birds above to being trapped in a bird blind for 36 hours. The mega-print gallery in the exhibition focuses on migratory species and their habitats that are under threat due to climate change and human impact, such as commercial fishing and menacing tourists. Wilkes’ photography can be used as an instrument for change, inspiring solutions to help protect species and habitats that are at risk. His impressive field work documenting these beautiful species was supported by a storytelling grant from the National Geographic Society. 
“We have marvelled at Stephen’s iconic Day to Night images for a long time and wondered how his unique imaging technique might be used to illustrate the power of an ecosystem or the magic and mysteries of bird migrations,” said National Geographic Museum Director Kathryn Keane. “This exhibition reveals the results of his year in the field—and they are simply stunning.”

The exhibition ties in to National Geographic’s year-long initiative to highlight bird species and their migration patterns, aptly titled the Year of the Bird . The Year of the Bird is a partnership between National Geographic, the Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International and over 100 other organizations. Through 12 months of storytelling, science research and conservation efforts, the Year of the Bird will examine how our changing environment is driving dramatic losses among bird species around the globe and highlight what we can do to help protect them. Wilkes’ stunning images documenting the four ancient bird migration routes across the globe can be found in the March 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

The National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., is open every day (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Public Events:

Wilkes will give a behind-the-scenes look at his work during a talk on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. and the exhibition will remain open until 7:15 p.m. on this date. Tickets are $25. For more information, please see here. In a special Student Matinee, students in grades 5-8 will join Wilkes on his most recent National Geographic assignments photographing the elegant and mysterious patterns of bird migrations across landscapes in Kenya, Scotland, the Falkland Islands, and the Platte River in Nebraska. For more information on National Geographic’s student matinees, please see here .

About Stephen Wilkes

Photographer STEPHEN WILKES’s widely recognized work ranges from capturing the long-abandoned medical wards on Ellis Island and the impacts of Hurricane Katrina to shooting advertising campaigns for the world’s leading corporations. His photographs are included in public and private collections globally, and his editorial work has appeared in National Geographic , The New York Times Magazine , Vanity Fair , and many others. His highly acclaimed first monograph, Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom , was published in 2006, and his second, featuring his iconic Day to Night series, will be published by Taschen in 2018. Stephen has shot advertising campaigns for Netflix, Capital One, the New Yorker , Rolex, and many others. His extensive awards and honors include the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography, Photographer of the Year from Adweek magazine, and the Fine Art Photographer of the Year Lucie Award.

About the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. Through our grants and programs, we aspire to create a community of change, advancing key insights about our planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Our goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.org.

To see more of this project, click here.  and here

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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Portraits for Web Collateral and Digital Billboards

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Portraits of sales reps against a seamless background at a sales conference

Licensing: Web Collateral use of all images captured in perpetuity

Photographer: Lifestyle specialist based in the Southern U.S.

Client: A national health and wellness brand

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: While the photographer primarily shoots lifestyle assignments, he had a relationship with this brand from earlier in his career, and they approached him for a seemingly straightforward portraiture project. The company had a large roster of sales reps around the country who would be attending a four-day sales conference, and they hoped to capture individual portraits of as many attendees as possible. We were told that they were unsure of how many attendees would need to be photographed, but that it could be around 50 people each day. While that initially sounded ambitious, it became clear that they were anticipating a yearbook-style approach, spending just a few minutes with each person who would arrive camera-ready.

Since they couldn’t dial in a number of final shots they hoped to license, and because they planned to handle all of the post-processing internally, they requested to include usage of all images captured. Also, they initially planned to use the photos only on the brand’s website and in emailers to clients. From this information, initially, I felt that $100/person would be a good starting point, which based on approximately 50 people per day over four days brought me to $20,000. Based on my conversations with the client, I knew $20,000 would likely eat up their entire budget, so in order to make room for the expenses, I backed the fee down to $16,000. This broke down to $4,000/day, and it seemed in line with the nature of the project and the value of the images for the requested usage.

Assistant and Digital Tech: While the lighting setup would be simple and remain the same each day, we included an assistant to help set up/breakdown each day and monitor the lights. Additionally, while the client wouldn’t necessarily be present for each portrait, we knew that the consultants would want to review the images as they were captured, so we included a digital tech for each day as well, and they’d be working off of the photographer’s laptop.

Equipment: The photographer would likely rent a backup camera body (approx. $150/day) and backup lenses ($50/day) for each day, and the remainder of this expense would be put to covering the photographers own grip/lighting and primary gear.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: I included $30/person/day for lunch, plus $50/day for miscellaneous expenses like parking and/or mileage, and then rounded down just a bit.

Delivery of RAW Files on Hard Drive: Since the client would be handling all of the post-processing, and because they wanted all of the images captured, it was easiest to have the digital tech transfer all of the images to a hard drive and hand it over at the end of the last day of shooting.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and about a month later, the client informed the photographer that they planned to use the images for a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square, and wanted to know the cost to expand the licensing. After speaking with the client, we learned that they hoped to use just 10 of the portraits for an animated mosaic within a large digital billboard for four weeks. On the one hand, a billboard in Times Square is undoubtedly a prominent (and likely expensive) media buy, but on the other hand, the use would be limited to just a few weeks, and the ten photographs would be used to composite a single larger image. I ended up pricing this at $7,500, which is comparable to how I might typically assess the value of one image for one year of unlimited use for a large brand. Given the client and the media buy (and the fact that it broke down to $750/image when viewed that way), I felt that this was appropriate.

The client approved the $7,500 for the licensing, and it was just a few months later when they reached out again for yet another shoot. The specs were the same as the original assignment (they were planning another conference), except they hoped to just wrap up both the web collateral use and digital billboard use for a single fee. Adding the two previous creative/licensing fees together gave us a figure of $23,500. Given the quick approval of the previous fees, we believed that we could push a little higher, so we rounded up just a bit to an even $25,000 plus expenses. The client approved this fee as well.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 or reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – Portland Monthly: Holly Andres

- - The Daily Edit

Portland Monthly

Art Director: Mike Novak
Fashion Editor: Eden Dawn 
Writer: Margaret Seiler
Photographer:
Holly Andres

Heidi: How difficult was it to reach Tonya?
Margaret: There are a lot of fake sites and fan sites for Tonya Harding that claim to be official, but I found one that seemed like it might actually be connected to her, and had been emailing a contact I found there every few months for more than a year. I wanted to talk to her about growing up in Portland and her life today, not rehash “the incident.” I had read and seen plenty of interviews with her and knew her responses on that tended to sound kind of canned and repetitive. With the movie coming out at the end of 2017, we were finally cleared to set up an interview in October. Since we were all in such close proximity we made arrangements to watch her skate at her regular rink just over the river, with an interview and photo shoot to follow at a nearby country club.

Why did you choose  Holly?
We hired local talent Holly Andres, who has made a career out of telling complex emotional stories through her photography. We photographed Tonya Harding in the club members’ private wine room.

How did the styling direction unfold?
Her manager suggested our style editor, Eden Dawn, just take Tonya shopping at the mall for something to wear. But Eden and I wanted her to look like a movie star. I could remember seeing images of her on TV when I was a skating-obsessed kid (well before “the incident”), and it had often seemed like people had gone out of their way to get unflattering shots or to cast her as a certain type of character. There are people who view her as a villain, a hero, an antihero, a rebel, a criminal, washed-up—in Portland, where she’s from, a lot of people had had encounters with her and had their own varying views. We wanted to transcend all that and just show her looking really beautiful, befitting the red carpets she now finds herself on with the award attention for I, Tonya. Earlier that day our art director, Mike Novak, had gone to Eden’s house to jump-start her car, and just after I left the rink I got a message that it was dead again. “Can Tonya jump you?” I texted Eden. “She’s kind of a gear head.” I made a U-turn to rejoin Eden, and was just digging the jumper cables out of my car when Harding and her friend emerged from the rink. I was embarrassed to not know where my Volvo’s battery was or where the cables connected, so we definitely needed their help. Tonya had her friend pull up next to Eden, and then she leaned under her hood to put the clamps in place.

Tell us about Tonya on set as this is a coming out of sorts for her.
Hair and make-up shared some of Tonya’s experiences as a kid living in not-quite-Portland. Sheri could even talk hunting with her. (There also may have been a few cocktails involved.) Tonya said she felt like a movie star, just like Marilyn Monroe. We told her to look up pictures of Veronica Lake when she got home. Tonya really wanted to keep it, but it was most definitely not in our budget. She had to settle for keeping the heels she wore with it, which Eden had picked up at Target. In the end, even though it was an all-day event, the actual shooting had to happen very quickly due to time taken up by the interview, hair and makeup, and dead car batteries. We probably had about an hour of actual shooting time before we had to break down the set and be out of the country club.

Tonya told us we were the first media people she’d consented to talk to in a long time, and the end of the day was all tears and hugs and thanks for treating her with such kindness and respect. Since the movie came out, she’s done loads of other interviews inspiring plenty of similar stories, so maybe we were her gentle entrée back into the spotlight.

The Daily Promo – Jeffery Salter

- - The Daily Promo

Jeffery Salter

Who printed it?
Anthony Wright who is the owner of Aw Litho a printing firm which specializes in high end offset printing. He’s been doing this for 10 years and is a master of his craft.

http://www.awlitho.com/

Who designed it?
I was blessed to have Heidi Volpe layout and design the promo. She has the wonderful ability to see clarity in chaos combined with an admirable amount of patience. It took me quite a while to choose which images to show. It was great to have an objective pair of eyes of a good editor to select, organize and paginate. She saw connections and relationships in feeling, light, color, mood, textures, and tone in my photographs. Heidi is currently the design director of Vogue India.

https://heidivolpe.com/

I would prefer to be out taking pictures, it can be difficult for me to sit still at computer culling and editing images. What really helped me with the initial image selection was printing 8 x10s and taping to them my office wall. Seeing the images every day, reminded me that sometimes the most dramatic image wasn’t necessary the picture which lingered in the mind.

Tell me about the images?
The photographs in my promotional magazine are a mix of terrains, in the human face and landscapes. The portraits are from commissions, magazine, advertising and personal work with subjects ranging from pro athletes, cowgirls in Florida to an 80-year-old hiker and everything in between. The landscapes were taken in the Highlands of Scotland, rainforests in Olympic National Park and along the rocky Pacific coast, from Carmel to Vancouver Island.

It’s funny that my approach or method to each was vastly different, yet the images each have a connecting thread running through them. With landscape photography it’s up at dawn, lace up the hiking boots and head out with a single pack containing a camera and a lens. Once reaching a potential location, along a waterway, down in a valley or up the side of a hilltop, I like to sit and clear my mind, to see the patterns, shapes, lines or curves that bring order to the visual chaos of nature. As they say in landscape photography, the composition is the stage and lighting is the performance.

Portrait photography, be it for an advertising campaign or personal photo essay is about control and overcoming any limitation. My goal is to make a connection with my subject in order to help reveal something about them. Additionally, it’s my job to control the lighting, choose the composition, location and or set all within whats typically a limited amount of time. Even when you have a shooting script or mood board you still have to be flexible enough to capture a great image when it reveals itself. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that the lighting and composition is the stage and the connection with the subject the performance.

How many did you make?
The first print run was 500. I’m mailed out about 300 and kept the rest for leave-behinds during portfolio presentations. There are a total of 32 images, in the 9.75” x 11” magazine, including the horizontal cover image that wraps around to the back. The paper is 70# uncoated smooth opaque text with Saddle stitch binding and printed with CMYK UV inks.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first mailer of this type for me and it’s been quite awhile since I have sent out any printed promos. The new plan is to do one magazine a year targeting dream clients and to follow-up with quarterly trifold mailers.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, I believe in the power of the printed photograph. Printed promos showcase images which for better or worst linger in the viewer’s mind, compelling a second or third look. A printed piece is tangible, it screams “touch me, hold me”, rather than just swipe left or right. As much as I appreciate and enjoy digital marketing via email blasts and social media, I think some images are meant to be printed, held, and looked at.

At the end of the day, images reflect who the photographer is and the depth of his/her’s visual vocabulary.

Thank you for having me.

This Week in Photography Books: Carolyn Marks Blackwood

 

I never get homesick.

Not for New Jersey.
(Where I’m from.)

It never happens.

But lately, my home state has crept back into the dark recesses of my consciousness. It began recently enough, when I found myself reading Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.

My son, Theo, was writing his first term paper, and chose Franklin as his subject. I saw the book sitting there, and picked it up out of curiosity, more than anything else. When I read that old Ben first landed in New Jersey at Amboy, not 10 miles from where I grew up, it definitely piqued my curiosity.

The book was a bit of a tease, if I’m being honest, because as fascinating as it was to be inside Franklin’s mind, he died writing it, before he got anywhere near the Revolutionary War.

The man spent pages and pages describing a system for removing dust from the streets of Philadelphia, but never thought to speed it up so we could hear what he thought of George Washington, or the Revolution in general?

Mind-melding with Ben Franklin, straight out of the 18th-century, reminded me of the feeling I had walking the Monmouth Battlefield, or going on school field trips when I was young, and being told that Washington had slept there.

At the moment, I’m deep into binge watching an AMC show about the Revolutionary War, with the awkward title of “Turn: Washington’s Spies.” (Seriously, for all the money these people make, nobody thought to come up with a better title?)

The show is exceptional, so you certainly have my recommendation to watch it yourself, but it’s also been feeding the odd homesickness as well. (As an aside, the show gives good evidence that the New Jersey/Long Island Island rivalry goes back to the old days, when Jersey was Patriot territory, and Long Island was a Tory stronghold.)

My hometown, Holmdel, had its fair share of 18th-century architecture. Not to mention graveyards. (Can you imagine how scary it would be to live next to some of these places?)

Right now, I definitely feel some chills up my spine, having just put down “The Story Series,” a new book by Carolyn Marks Blackwood, recently published by the Roberto Polo Gallery in Brussels. (She just had a show there, and it’s now up at Von Lintel in LA.)

When Ms. Blackwood originally wrote me, she mentioned that she lives in upstate New York. In a sense, it doesn’t matter, because the pictures in this book channel that 18th-century creepy vibe better than just about anything I’ve seen.

The book mentions that these pictures are meant to be exhibited at a very large scale, so when I was looking, I tried to imagine projecting them as wall size, which helps explain the sort-of-painterly, soft focus, lower-resolution aesthetic presented within.

According to an opening interview, Ms. Blackwood is also a screenwriter. It makes perfect sense, as each of the snowy, or dark, wintry pictures is accompanied by a one or two sentence narrative.

They’re novels, for the Twitter age.

I think there’s a range in quality between the pictures, and some would be banal, without the text. Regardless, when combined, I think they give off a strong, local, historical mood.

The paper is dark. The pictures are dark. They’re like ghost stories, without the ghosts.

My one quibble here, and it’s something I’ve mentioned a bit lately, is that I think there are too many pictures. I know that books differentiate themselves from catalogs by being bigger, and having more images, but I definitely think that more is not more, in most cases.

Less is more.

See you next week

Bottom Line: Cool, creepy, painterly book of East Coast landscapes

To purchase “The Story Series,” click here

The Art of the Personal Project: Jennifer Serena & Serena Creative

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Jennifer Serena 

JEN SERENA, PHOTOGRAPHER: Many years ago, on a trip to Ecuador, all of my gear was stolen – including the cards with all of the images I had taken. It was my first time shooting with the potential for a photo gig and it seemed like a message from the universe that maybe this wasn’t my path. The next day, I watched dozens of hummingbirds all fluttering their wings at hundreds of beats per minute just to stay relatively still and grab a meal. If they could work that hard just to survive, surely I could put forth more effort to pursue a career I absolutely love.  A decade later, I still push hard for every job, working to best share my subject’s story through my diverse styles, and striving to always get a little something more than we’d planned.  (And, I’ve become really protective of my backups.)

My Indiana Muse Documentary. The film is about an artist who discovers a muse (from Indiana). I co-directed/produced and shot stills for BTS and promo and designed artwork.

To see more of this project, click here.

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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

The Daily Edit – Golfer’s Journal: Tom Shaw

- - The Daily Edit

 

 


The Golfer’s Journal

Art Director: Jim Newitt
Photo Editor: Grant Ellis
Photographer: Tom Shaw

Heidi: What was different about this course that was a challenge for you to photograph?
Tom: The biggest challenge with this course was the Wind and the light. The course, and this particular hole, is quite exposed so you get your share of wind and rain. I love this kind of wild weather though – it feels good to spend a day walking in it.

Did you purposely choose to shoot more end of day?
Yes I did. I tend to plan these shoot around and evening and a morning – this gives me two chances at getting the best light. I was lucky as an old school friend lived within yards of the course so I stayed with him and had a very short walk to the course.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
They explained about the detail of the course and pretty much gave me free reign to shoot it in all its elements – from wide DPS views to the fine detail such as the cut grass. Because Summer in Scotland the late evening light lasts so long (almost until 10pm), I had plenty of time to really walk the hole and see all the details.

When you are approaching such a legendary course which is heavily photographed, is your process any different?
I don’t really do much research – I’m not the biggest golf fan, but I am a fan of the landscape in which it sits, so I won’t look at other pictures, as I need to see how and where the light is, and I want to see it with fresh eyes.

I enjoyed your sporting landscape gallery, would you say these image fall into that category or does there need to be some type of architectural element to anchor the image.
These Images do fall into the sporting landscape category, but I feel that they do need people in the image to give it scale and context. Some of the images do have that and I think that it is important. But this image is shot with a specific brief to be about the hole, not the people. In some of my other work with surfing and cycling – the people play a very small but important part in the image as it is all about scale and context.

This kind of work – the sporting landscapes – is pretty new to me as I have spent a lot of my career shooting athletes and sporting events, but this is going back to shooting what I love, landscapes. I grew up in Scotland and my love of photography started by being out in the hills and mountains, and seeing the light dance across the hills. I’m looking to combine these two passions of sport and landscape so it seemed a natural progression to shoot this way.

The Daily Promo – Aya Brackett

- - The Daily Promo

Aya Brackett

Who printed it?
PS Print in Oakland CA
https://www.psprint.com

Who designed it?
Me! I used InDesign and retouched the photos myself as well. I actually love the process of editing and laying out the images and find it a nice way to process through the year’s work. I also find it interesting to make visual connections with spreads and the sequencing of images.

Tell me about the images?
They are a collection of my favorite images from editorial, commercial and personal work from the past year. Some images were taken from an upcoming cookbook I did with Mark Bittman (Clarkson Potter, 2018), some from a personal photo series about people’s comfort food (which I’ve been working on for the past 5 years) and some from commercial shoots. Even though it was tempting to add more photos, especially portraits, I tried to limit myself to mostly still life and food so the portraits didn’t appear too random. I also like to send out the kind of images I like to take so people think of me for these kinds of shoots. And I like food and still life A LOT :)

How many did you make?
I typically do a smaller run and this was just 200 booklets. I send to a select group of my favorite creative directors, photo directors, photo editors and other people whose work inspires me such as chefs, restaurateurs and artists. I really want to target the people whose call for a collaborative project would make me excited.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Typically I put together a book or booklet at the end of the year for an annual summary of my favorite work from that year. I often also send out limited edition prints to my best clients.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, absolutely. I crave tactile paper books and prints and I think clients do as well. I also think it’s important to have something that you can hold and look at without online distractions. I hope to make something interesting and visually exciting enough that people will save and keep them hanging around their desk.