This Week in Photography Books: Jason Reblando

 

My son is studying American history in 4th grade.

Benjamin Franklin.
The Revolution.
“Give me liberty, or give me death.”

His little sister, all of five, misheard Patrick Henry’s quote, and apparently she and her best friend were chanting “Give me America, or give me death,” on the school playground.

(You can’t make this shit up.)

I pointed out to my son, however, that while that was the history I learned in school…

The Stamp Tax.
The Boston Tea Party.
The shot heard round the world.
Washington crossing the Delaware.

…That it was really only one part of American history. There were the Native Americans, of course, but our very own New Mexico had a Spanish Colonial history I was never taught.

New Orleans, where I went last week, came from a French colony that also gave roots to the America we know today. (And a hedonistic set of roots, at that. If you can’t have fun in NOLA, you’re not trying hard enough.)

I’ll have a set of review articles from Photo NOLA for you guys in the coming weeks, but for now, I want to share some advice I often give to people at the review table. (In particular, photojournalists and documentary shooters.)

There are two elements of the “fine art aesthetic” I identify for people who are shooting in a looser, camera-tilted, or just-grabbed sort of style.

First, I talk about formalism, geometric compositions, and balanced image structures that come from a Germanic tradition, like the Bechers. (#RIP) I think a solid structure, (mixed with great light,) allows a viewer to really sink into what you’re visually communicating.

Secondly, sharpness and clarity are the ultimate cheats, in great fine art photography. People use big cameras, and super-sharp lenses, because our eyes inherently read sharpness as pleasing.

And it’s sister, clarity, means that an increase in three dimensionality happens, and images separate well into foreground, mid-ground and background.

Sharpness is our friend, for sure.

So I was happy to open up “New Deal Utopias” today, a new book by Jason Reblando, released this fall by Kehrer Verlag. (Who continue to do a stellar job.)

It stuck in the back of my mind that this book had come in a while ago, and when I saw it was postmarked September, I knew I had to give it a look.

Truly, you could not find a better example of both of the above tenets. Not in one book. These images are razor sharp, and the compositions speak for themselves.

Not only that, “New Deal Utopias” also shows us something we haven’t seen before. (That happens to look like a lot of what we HAVE seen before, tonally, in contemporary America.)

The story is that Jason photographed in three towns which were built along utopian, idealistic, essentially socialistic lines during the Great Depression.

Public money went into building them, people were specifically chosen to live there, and there was green space built-in to offer a higher quality of life.

Fast forward 75 years, and the three towns with Green in their names, in Ohio, Maryland and Wisconsin, look a little worse for wear. (Like the grass coming up through the basketball court.)

I love the pennants, as a repeating motif, as well the excellent blend of interiors, exteriors, and landscapes. (This dude really knows what he’s doing.)

Though each image is titled, and the town is named, I’m more impressed by the overall contemporary-America vibe. It all feels like middle-America, down-on-its-heels-USA.

(It makes me think of an Empire in decline, while the obvious heir, China, flexes her muscles more obviously every day.)

Then again, there is one image of a dental care sign: Drs. McCarl McCarl McCarl & McCarl that made me giggle. A total changeup in tone that I often recommend, and this book contains short text quotes to break up the narrative as well.

Frankly, I’m glad I didn’t see this book a few months ago.

Today was just the right time.

Because it reminds me that America has always been an experiment, and that progress comes whether we want it to, or not. (These days, 10 year olds ask why the founding fathers owned slaves…)

This has always been a messy society, America, cobbled together out of all others, and I guess we’ll just have to see what 2018 brings.

Now won’t we.

Bottom Line: Excellent, precise look at a Middle-American Utopia

To Purchase “New Deal Utopias,” click here 

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Paul Salcido

- - 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: Joel Salcido

ALIENTO A TEQUILA by joel salcido

Tequila, like Mexico, is meztizaje. (a coalescence)

When pulque, the fermented nectar of Mexico’s indigenous world, embraced the copper alambiques of the Spaniards, tequila was born.

Mexico’s iconic drink is earthly and deep-rooted in a past that is both complex and immense.

As early as the 16th century, the national drink of Mexico was known as vino de mezcal, from the Spanish word vino for wine and the Nahuatl word, mexcal for agave.

The mezcal of the Nahuatl culture played an enormous role in the lives of Mesoamericans. Not only was the agave critical for sustenance, but it also provided shelter, wardrobes and tools.

Not surprisingly, mezcal was considered divine and endowed with supernatural powers to the extent that Mayahuel – a Venus-like goddess that personifies the maguey plant – became the symbol of fertility for the Aztecs.

The town of Tequila or Tecuilan, also Nahuatl for a “place of work and cutting,” is where land, agave and man came together to produce the iconic spirit of past and present Mexico.

It is there in Tequila, and in other towns of the state of Jalisco, that I set out to explore the contemporary world of tequila.

My search led me to the original distilleries that literally founded the industry, as well as a series of artisanal tequileras totally committed to the ancestral ways of tequila-making, from harvest to bottle.

In this landscape of blue agave, I also discovered traditions of culture and religion – both ancient and modern, indigenous and foreign.

And still, in the midst of all this, the everyday toil of man becomes unified with the land and the sky, to produce a spirit that is true to the legendary character of Mexico and its people.

This photographic series reflects that mystical space where the weight of history and the bounty of earth, blend into a spirit called tequila.

Tequila is the elixir that faithfully remains the guardian of Mexico’s landscape, tradition and national identity.

It is indeed, that ancient lord of fire with a savage smile.

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.

 

Expert Advice: The Creative Call

- - Expert Advice

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Just as often as I consult with photographers when they need pricing and negotiation support, I work closely with agencies to oversee projects from initial photographer recommendations through production and retouching. This experience on both sides of productions has allowed me to thoroughly understand what clients are looking for, and many times it’s the photographer’s personality and ability to be a problem solver that lands them the gig. While a photographer’s portfolio and body of work will get them to the point of consideration by a client for a given project, they can articulate their experience and ability to add value to the production that will help them cross the finish line. So, how do clients find out if a photographer will be a sure bet when everything is on the line? Enter the creative call.

Creative calls can take many forms. Sometimes a client (typically an art buyer at an ad agency or a photo editor at a magazine) will send a photographer some notes in an email and will want to hop on a quick call to gauge interest and availability for a small project. Other times (and this is typically the case for larger assignments), these phone calls will be scheduled in advance and involve not only the art buyer or agency producer, but also their creative director, art director, and/or account executives that are involved with the project. These phone calls can make or break a photographer’s chance of being awarded a project, no matter how on-point their numbers are or how great their portfolios look.

Expert Advice, Wonderful Machine, Photography, Photographer, Craig Oppenheimer, The Creative Call, How to Conduct a Creative Call, Best Creative Call Strategies, Professional Creative Call Advice, Creative Call Expert Advice, Wonderful Machine Expert Advice

It’s important to understand a few things about these phone calls. First, you should always assume that the agency/client is considering other photographers, and when they finish a conversation with you, they are likely jumping on a call to talk through the same details with another photographer…or maybe two or three more photographers. For that reason, it’s important to express enthusiasm for a project, be energetic, have questions prepared and generally put your best foot forward. I’ve been on many creative calls where photographers have responded to questions in one-word answers, or don’t have any questions about the project, and this is a sure-fire way for the agency/client to lose interest in you. Clients don’t just want a great photographer; they want a great collaborator as well. They want to work with someone who they’ll enjoy traveling with and be spending a lot of time with in high-pressure situations, and they want to make sure you are like-minded and easy to work with. Above all, they want to make sure that you understand the overall goals from a creative standpoint and a marketing strategy perspective. During the call, it’s therefore important for a photographer to prove that they have fully internalized the project, and explain how they can add value to the production and therefore the entire campaign. First impressions are crucial, and when you are meeting over the phone, it’s your voice and energy that matter, so make it count.

The second important thing to understand about these calls is that clients are trying to figure out if they can trust you. They want to hear how your experience can translate into success, whether that means being a problem solver in tough situations, or being a specialist in a certain genre. Creative calls are the perfect time to brag about recent accomplishments and tell clients about other projects you’ve worked on. Don’t be afraid to drop some names of other clients you’ve worked with, and take the opportunity to relay anecdotes about other shoots. Clients want to know that you are confident in your abilities and that you can handle the pressure of a big assignment. Sometimes clients are looking for you to come up with a plan and drive a given project with confidence from start to finish. That means they might be relying on you to tell them the best way to accomplish a difficult task or suggest production approaches that they may not have thought of.  However, it’s also important to realize when the client will want to be heavily involved in each step, and when they are just relying on you to be a technician to accomplish their fully thought out concept. So, showcase your confidence in a way that lets them know they can trust you, but also expresses enthusiasm for collaboration.

Third, it’s important to know that creative calls are not usually the time to talk about numbers. Save that conversation for a separate call between you and the art buyer or agency producer. The point of the creative call is to talk about…well, the creative! What are you photographing? Where will it take place? What do they want the final images to look like? What’s the story they are trying to tell? How are you going to accomplish it? These are the types of topics to focus on, and this is why the creative directors, art directors, and account executives are also joining the call. So, as much as you are dying to know how much money a client might have to spend, save that question for another conversation.

Fourth, this might seem like common sense, but be sure to take the call in a quiet place where you can focus on the conversation. Don’t jump on the call while you are driving in the car. Don’t be in the middle of the woods with poor reception. Don’t be somewhere noisy. Clients want to know that they have your undivided attention and that you can focus on the project. It’s ok to tell a client that you need to schedule a call when you will be in an appropriate location to talk (your house, a hotel room, a quiet studio), and although your schedule might be busy with other productions, it’s important to show a client that their project is equally (if not more) important as any other production you might be working on.

Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to have a producer on the line with you when you jump on a creative call. They can help you show confidence in your ability to execute a concept by drawing on their experience, and they can ensure that you’ve received all the information you might need to develop a cost estimate when the time comes. It also shows your ability to pull a team together quickly, and lets the agency/client know that you have a team to rely on to execute the project seamlessly.

So, let’s review. Here are the top tips for a successful creative call:

  1. Assume you are one of many options for them. Make them like you more than other contenders.
  2. Exude confidence, but just the right amount. Show them that you have ideas and will be a team player.
  3. Don’t talk about the budget. Save that conversation for another time.
  4. Take the call in a quiet place where you can focus on the conversation.
  5. Invite a producer to join the call. It will help to showcase your capabilities.

If you need help preparing for a creative call, or if you are interested in pricing/negotiation support, don’t hesitate to call 610.260.0200 or reach out. Our consulting services are available to everyone, and we’re always happy to help.

The Daily Edit: The New York Times Sunday Magazine: Christopher Griffith

- - The Daily Edit

The New York Times Sunday Magazine


Design Director: Gail Bichler
Director of Photography: Katherine Ryan
Art Director: Matt Willey
Deputy Photo Editor: Jessica Dimson
Associate Photo Editors: Stacey Baker, Amy Kellner, Christine Walsh
Photographer: Christopher Griffith

Heidi: You shot Sean Hannity for the cover of the NY Times magazine? Where did the shoot happen and what was the mood on set?
Christopher: We set up an entire studio on the set of the Hannity show at Fox News in midtown Manhattan. Since we were shooting for the NY TIMES there was initially the sense of entering the belly of the beast, but frankly that was our own bias as everyone was incredibly accommodating and pleasant.

I really had no idea what to expect. I have on occasion watched Hannity show with all its accouterments and became increasingly on edge with every minute that passed as we awaited Mr Hannity’s arrival. I found myself pacing all over his TV set that could easily be mistaken for The NFL Today. Sean finally burst into his set an hour late with a ready to go attitude that I must admit was a relief. His duality of frat boy charm and bravado gave me the sense it could change at the drop of a hat, but at that moment I felt I might get something decent out of him.

From the moment he sat down, he is off and running. We had built a table for Sean to ‘lean in’ on and lean in he did. I am sitting no more than 3 ft from him when he leans in and says ‘Right… so you want to get up in my grill’? Indeed I do and off we go. It is a rapid fire frenzy. At 3-4 frames per second bursts, I could barely keep up. I had told all involved on set that we were shooting untethered as the computer can’t keep up, when in truth I just did not want any preying eyes, nor opinions. 29 minutes and 700+ images later Sean walks out and turns to Kathy Ryan and Stacy Baker and says, ‘I have done this a lot over the past 30 years and this is the best guy I have ever worked with’

It rang as a sort of complement, not dissimilar to certain candidates on the campaign trail fishing for local endorsements.

Were you surprised by his reaction to the cover once the published story was released?
So, yeah. He clearly would appear to not have loved the cover; so much for compliments? He complained about it for days and there were multiple knocks on articles I turned up on-line. I found myself listening to his show 2 days after the cover had gone live and he mentioned the cover and the ‘liberal media bias’ 3 times in half an hour. Maybe it is me who is naive. I thought he might love it, because a lot of his followers did. I can understand that he might personally not love the image as it might not be an image that you care to live with forever, but this was business. He either does not understand his brand identity, or he understands it well and has used this cover as a means to attack the assumed liberal media bias and thus only strengthen his appeal to those ears that are listening.

What is interesting about this cover is the extended coverage it got in the press due to his complaints. Do you think he has a justified complaint, or was he scaling the exposure by complaining?
When I initially saw the image in question in my initial edit, I imagined it could be a front-runner for the cover as it personifies a significant part of Hannity’s media persona. The cover illustrates the power of a photograph when compared to motion. Hannity gesticulates this kind intensity to camera at some point of his program each and every week. These moments are fleeting and live solely in our memories.  The beauty of a photograph and maybe this cover image is that it captures an accurate depiction of his on-screen character and what is a major component of his viewer appeal.

My take on his reaction against the published images is that he is either super naive or he is kind of clever. I am leaning to the latter because he has got a bunch of liberal media bashing out of it. His reaction has been all about how he has been depicted as angry and that this is all part of the liberal media bias against conservatives. That said, I might be over thinking, it might just be vanity.

I’ve read that he feels he was misled. Once you sit for an editorial image, the subject takes part in the creation of the image, it’s a collaborative process.
All things said and done, and whatever your opinion is of Sean Hannity, he was in no way manipulated or misled by anyone. He gave a performance and a very good one at that. As Director of Photography Kathy Ryan has said ‘We have never seen anyone so animated during a photo shoot’. Maybe it was my brilliance as a photographer in making him so comfortable, but sadly I think not. I actually think it had little to do with me. He knew exactly what he was up against and what he was giving to us as a portrayal of his character. If he wanted to play it safe, he would have done so. He gave me (us) everything… and I for one think he did on purpose. He might not like it, but it is totally accurate. And he knows it.

The Daily Promo – Jason Elias

- - The Daily Promo

Jason Elias

Who printed it?
The promo was printed by Paper Chase Press in Hollywood – http://shop.paperchasepress.com/. They are super easy to work with, their color and print quality are pretty high, so I’m always happy with what I get. Every time I go in there I ask for sample packs and fairly recently I saw this postcard book. I thought it was a great and unique way to get noticed and one part I liked was that if someone liked an image, they could easily tear it out and tack it to a wall or put it in their creative archive of work they liked (at least that’s what I had in my imagination). And then one Producer told me she was going to use one as an actual postcard which was great.

Who designed it?
I designed the layout of both the front and the back but the edit was done by a great editor based in Texas, Jasmine DeFoore – https://www.jasminedefoore.com/. I really like Jasmine’s take on things and she always helps me see my work with fresh eyes. Once she knew I was going to do the postcard book, she also had the great idea of having an animated GIF in flipbook form on the back. So I found a great animator in DC named Travis Pietsch to build me one – https://www.travispietsch.com/. I kind of had an idea and he helped craft it and make it. Once I had it on there I realized that as much as you try to stand out in some way, there is also something to just having fun and enjoying being creative for the sake of being creative, and that’s why I loved the flip book so much.

Tell me about the images?
The images in this promo were meant to take someone on a bit of a journey. My initial inclination was just to pack the promo full of what I felt were iconic images. But when I do that I find I have just a bunch of great images with no coherent connection, like all sizzle and no steak. So that’s also why I find working with an editor so helpful. It allows you to take a step back and hopefully connect with something larger in your work. If I were to just put images in it that I love, it might not fully communicate the deeper vision that tends to drive what I shoot, and more importantly, what people hire me for. So Jasmine was able to help me find a through-line, tell the story of what it is that I shoot. So I guess I would say the images are many that I love bridged by others that help evoke the larger vision of why I love to shoot.

How many did you make?
I used to be the guy that printed 2000 promos and blasted them across the land. As I have matured and my work has grown I tend to be much more focused. So I printed 75 and still have 15 in my office.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
As far as printed promos I usually do two small poster runs and one larger book, or now, postcard book a year. Then I also send out maybe 4 to 5 email campaigns a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I do think they are effective and I have a couple of clients who specifically contacted me after getting a printed promo. But its hard to know what is most effective and that is why I am pretty excited to be signing with a new rep in January at The Gren Group http://thegrengroupinc.com/. One of the things that Paula and Mark (who run The Gren Group) and I have talked about is using analytics to discover what marketing is most effective. It costs so much money and takes so much time that getting a deeper understanding of what marketing works will, I think, be really insightful.

The Best Work I Saw at Review Santa Fe, Part 2

- - Working

 

Everyone I know hates this time of year.

People get sick.
It’s cold and gray.
The dried grass is brown, outside my window, taunting me for lack of snow.

Trying to turn my SAD upside down, I recently started limiting my time on social media, and replacing it with a strenuous 45 minute hike up the hill that rises above our family farm.

It sounds like a headline from the Onion, I know: “Bougie artist discovers exercise is better then sitting on your ass!”

But seriously, I’ve decided to trade the incessant internet chatter for bird calls, and the occasional barking dog. (Until it’s frozen and icy, I’ve made myself a good trade.)

Not sure it would work for you, but since when have I been shy about giving advice?

Today, on the hill, there was a moment that took my breath away. A raven, (we have many) was soaring in the sky when all of a sudden, in an instant, he tucked his wings in and dove down.

It was straight free-fall, but he/she was totally relaxed. It was only for a couple of seconds, and then the wings were out again, but it was so graceful, the nosedive.

Falling, effortlessly, because it’s much more energy-efficient than doing anything else.

I thought immediately about falling into this, the hardest part of the year. Then end, when my family is always crisper than a bagel that’s been left in the toaster for too long. (Translation: very crispy.)

There are so many jokes we could make about 2017, this endless year, but Twitter, (which I’m cutting down on, wink wink,) has been ablaze with them.

Here are a few of mine.

2017 has been longer than Donald Trump Jr’s collective community college transcript.

If 2017 were a greeting card, it would say, “Hey, Fuck-face, why do you think you deserve a card? Nobody deserves anything in this world, unless I say so. Life is difficult, and merciless, and only the strong survive. Get used to it!”

If I got to write one tweet, pretending to be President Donald Trump, wrapping up 2017, I would write: “Who needs #280? Hillarys a witch. And a LoseR! Burn her. Obamas muslim. Access tape faked, just like the news. See you in 2018. Trump out!”

Ok. Ok.
I’m done.

I think it’s a bit cathartic, for me, making fun of a sad situation. But let’s turn that frown upside down.

If you saw the headline today, you’ll know this article is the second, (and final) installment of a brief series about the best work I saw at Review Santa Fe 2017.

We’ll begin with Amy Lowey, who was my last meeting at RSF. We were both fried, as it was the end of the festival, and there was a moment where I thought it was going to go wrong.

But before you know it, we course-corrected, and had a deep conversation, in which she showed me work I found captivating. In particular, her black and white digital prints, on what seemed like a coated rag paper, were exquisite.

Her story was a sad one, as Amy has to be a care-taker for her husband, who has a degenerative, and likely fatal disease. It takes a toll, as one would imagine, and she goes for nature walks to calm herself down.

Amazingly, and symbolically, Amy has zeroed in on trees in the forest, particularly ones with symbiotic connections to other trees. Wow. I’m choking up just thinking about it.

Like Amy, Ward Long is a recent graduate of the excellent Hartford low-residency MFA program.

I spied his prints, with the side-eye, as I walked along at the portfolio walk on Friday night. The quality of his image-making, likely with a big camera, caught my fancy. I’d say it’s a part of that Southern-poetic-aesthetic, and having looked at his website, I feel comfortable making that call.

I had a similar experience with Mitsuharu Maeda’s work, in that it grabbed me as I walked down the busy aisles at the Santa Fe Farmer’s market, battling the throngs. (It really is an excellent venue for this sort of thing. Kudos!)

As Haruki Murakami is likely my favorite author, I’ve always been a sucker for elements of Japanese culture. In particular, imagining the cold northern mountains of Hokkaido.

So I was always going to like these snowy pictures.

Melanie Metz had recently moved to Santa Fe, so it was nice to meet a new member of our Northern New Mexico photo community. (Welcome, Melanie. Lucky for you, there’s no official hazing ritual anymore, after the Bad-Burrito-Incident of 2010.)

Melanie had some cool photographs of her hometown in Florida, which was not-too-far inland, but had all the horse-farm vibe of a Deep South or Western ranch. We discussed that I preferred her color to her black and white work, and I suggested it was normal for one “eye” to be more advanced than the other.

But she’s still pretty young, so I’m curious to see how Melanie’s work evolves over time.

Oren Lukatz, an Israeli, had some really interesting pictures of Israeli military soldiers, often with dogs. I questioned the addition, as it seemed random, but Oren told me the dogs are drafted too, just like the humans. Even better, their “master,” the solder who’s in charge of them when they retire, gets to keep them as a pet.

Pretty cool.

Finally, last-but-not-least, we have Kiliii Yuyan, whom I did not meet at all at Review Santa Fe. He was there, and he reached out a bit afterwards to say he had wanted to meet, or get a review, and it didn’t happen.

Several times, in the past, I’ve included such people in the round-up, if I liked their work once I checked out the website. In this case, it was hard not to like.

Kiliii is an indigenous artist from the Arctic, making work from inside his community, rather than from an outsider’s perspective. That’s another conversation I won’t make us rehash, after the big series in Summer 2017, but clearly these pictures have something extra.

Do yourself a favor and watch some of the videos on his site as well. Talk about getting into a meditative state? Like a diving raven?

I think you get the point.

Generations of Iñupiaq ancestors lie in this snowy cemetery in Utqiagviq. Says Jana Harcharek, “We are proud to be Iñupiaq. When our ancestors look down on us and see us living with our culture, we feel we know who we are.”

As Iñupiaq have become deeply enmeshed in a market economy, traditional crafts have become important for families to survive on. This polar bear is being carved from a walrus tusk, and is donated by hunters to artisans in the community.

Elder Fannie Akpik stands in front the Barrow cemetery, where many of her family members rest. When Christianity was adopted by the Iñupiaq, it marked a major change for the culture. Today, the social forces of global media and communication mark another cultural pivot. Fannie Akpik is a strong advocate for regaining cultural identity and language through education in Iñupiaq schools.

Polar bear skulls and seal harpoons rest against the wall in an Iñupiaq home. Native life in the Arctic is lived with little separation between indoors and out. Time spent indoors is often just preparation for days away on the sea ice.

Six-year old Steven Reich examines his father’s umiaq, or skinboat used for whaling. His father Tad, captain of Yugu crew, expresses nervous excitement to bring Steven out whaling on the ice for the first time: “I am proud of my son; he’s here to learn to be a hunter.”

High above the Arctic Circle on sea ice a mile from shore, an Iñupiaq whaling crew watches from a blind for a passing bowhead whale by the light of the moon. The Iñupiat have hunted whales here for at least 2,000 years, but the forces of climate change and globalization are rapidly altering the culture of this remote region.

Floating on the Arctic Ocean, a towering piece of multiyear sea ice rests. Not long ago, the majority of sea ice looked like this– meters thick and capable of supporting great weight. For Iñupiaq hunters, the thin ice that covers the sea now is significantly more dangerous than just a decade ago.

Iñupiaq elder Foster Simmonds has been a whaler since he was a child. Since then, whaling has seen subtle changes.

A rare calm day out on the Beaufort Sea belies the instability of the sea ice– day by day vast sections break away and float along with the current, often stranding subsistence hunters.

An umiaq, or whaling skinboat, waits on the edge of the ice for gathering arctic ice fog to pass. Iñupiaq whaling crews wait patiently on the sea ice for months, enduring subzero temperatures, howling winds, and incessant freezing fog.

Polar bears present an ever-present danger to the whalers when out on the ice. Attracted to the scent of fresh blubber, they prowl the edges of camp, but are usually scared off by rifle shots and noisemakers. During whale butchering many people stand guard against the bears circling nearby and keep children close to camp. This bear at Akootchook’s whale was one of thirteen seen in a single day.

As a baby whale is discovered in the process of butchering, the hunters have a moment of silence. For scientists studying bowhead whales, the baby is a unexpected gift, as hunted whales afford the only opportunity for researchers to take direct samples and measurements. Much of what is known about the bowhead has come from the traditional ecological knowledge of Iñupiaq whalers.

The Art of the Personal Project: Nicole Morgenthau

- - 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: Nicole Morgenthau

How did you get into photographing mountain men???

I get asked this all the time. Here is the algorithm…

Realize making a living as an artist is very difficult— go to school to study physical therapy about 4 years ago— realize an artist studying science is much harder than making it as an artist. When I jumped back into the art world I was lost and broke. An ad popped up on social media “Win a workshop with famed photographer Andy Anderson.” I’ve never won anything but entered and got lucky. I was off to Texas. We were all professional photographer in the workshop who knew how to take pictures- Andy pushed us/ me off the high diving board. “Go do what you want, do it from the heart and you’ll make your best work.”

I attended a rendezvous when I was 20, in Montana. This was no accident- I always had romantic visions of living in the 19th century (with the addition of Advil). I’m fascinated by this part of American history, the clothing, hard work it took to survive, simpler way of living, and wanted to tell the stories of those that still call themselves mountain men. I went to Fort Bridger Rendezvous, which was close to my home of Salt Lake City in the fall of 2014. I went for the day, but threw my sleeping bag in the car— just incase. Three days later I returned home and was completely rebooted. I started feeling creative again, started making my best work and started getting real jobs. I plan to make a coffee table book and have the images exhibited.

Sometimes you have to take the long way home.

Mountain Man Rendezvous at Ft Bridger, WY

Scott Olsen aka “Doc Ivory”

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.

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Vehicle Owner Portraits for Automotive Brand

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Portraits of multiple vehicle owners, as well as images of the vehicles by themselves, each in unique locations.

Licensing: Unlimited use of all images captured in perpetuity.

Photographer: Portrait and lifestyle specialist

Agency: Medium in size, based in the Northeast

Client: Large automotive brand

Here are the estimates:

pricing and negotiating, wonderful machine, estimates for shoot production, shoot production estimates, executive producers who do estimates, estimates for photographers, wonderful machine production company, examples of photographer contracts, Craig Oppenheimer, executive producer pricing and negotiating, wonderful machine, estimates for shoot production, shoot production estimates, executive producers who do estimates, estimates for photographers, wonderful machine production company, examples of photographer contracts, Craig Oppenheimer, executive producer

Creative/Licensing: The automotive brand had a well-established group of brand ambassadors across the country that they planned to photograph with their cars. The agency hoped to capture at least six of them that were local to the photographer, with the possibility of photographing two more in a location that would require a bit of travel. Each subject would be photographed at their home and/or garage, and with a limited production approach, the agency anticipated that the photographer would be able to capture three subjects per day. Given the potential additional subjects and travel, they asked for two estimates (one for the local shoots, and another for the shoots requiring a bit of travel).

There was a very large discrepancy between the unlimited use they were requesting and their intended use which was primarily social media focused, with the possibility of placement within some collateral pieces. While I always push to limit the licensing in some way, the agency told us it was non-negotiable. Unfortunately, this is often the case for very large brands, even on projects focusing on non-campaign oriented imagery. In these instances, I do my best to determine a creative/licensing fee that’s appropriate for the client’s intended use. For this project, each subject would likely have two types of shots: a portrait of them with their car and a picture of the car alone. I priced the first image at $2,000 and the second image at $1,000, totaling $3,000 for each subject. In some instances, I’d be inclined to develop a tiered pricing model and discount additional images (or in this case subjects), but since each set of images would be unique, I felt their value was equal, so I stuck with $3,000 per subject across the board for a total of $18k and $24k for each project.

Pre-Production and Travel Days: I included a prep day in each estimate to account for the photographer’s time to plan all of the shoots and correspond with each subject. For the estimate with 8 subjects that would require travel, I included two travel days for the photographer to get there and back, before and after the shoot day.

Assistant: I included one assistant on each shoot day, and added travel days for the assistant to accompany the photographer on the trip to capture the additional subjects as well. Since the client wouldn’t be attending the shoot, a digital tech wasn’t critical, and since the people/cars would be captured in an editorial style, there wasn’t a need for any additional crew to help with excess grip/lighting.

Equipment: I included $500/day to cover the photographer’s personal equipment, which included a camera with a backup, a few lenses, and minor lighting gear.

Mileage, Parking, Meals for Crew, Misc: For the local shoots, I included $100/day to cover mileage and parking, plus $100 to cover meals and other miscellaneous expenses over the two shoot days. For the estimate that required travel, I added another $60 per person per day for meals while they would be traveling for three days ($360), plus approximately $400 to cover mileage, parking, and miscellaneous expenses while they were on the road.

Lodging: On the estimate that included travel, I estimated $200/night for two nights, with rooms for both the photographer and his assistant.

Delivery of All Images on Hard Drive: The agency planned to handle all of the retouching, and simply wanted all of the images to be sent to them on a hard drive at the completion of the shoot. This fee covered the cost of the drive and priority shipping.

Results: Based on subject availability, the agency was unable to coordinate the project with the vehicle owners out of town, but they were still interested in capturing the subjects local to the photographer. The agency let us know they had a $20,000 budget to accomplish this and asked us what we could do to reduce costs. While I’d typically suggest limiting the licensing in some way to provide a discount, given the small amount we had to shave, the photographer was willing to take $1,000 off his fee, waive his equipment expenses, and bring the miscellaneous expense line down a bit to hit $19,500. He was awarded the project. Here was the final estimate:

pricing and negotiating, wonderful machine, estimates for shoot production, shoot production estimates, executive producers who do estimates, estimates for photographers, wonderful machine production company, examples of photographer contracts, Craig Oppenheimer, executive producer

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 large ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – Sassoon Dock Art Project: Akshat Nauriyal

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

 

St+Art / Sassoon Dock Art Project


Content Director and Photographer:
   Akshat Nauriyal
Assistant Photographer: Pranav Gohil

St+art Urban Art Festival has transformed Mumbai’s Sassoon docks Mumbai’s oldest fishing community into an exhibition space with graffiti and art installations. Their mantra is ‘Art for All’ aims to showcase art projects in public spaces making art accessible, removing the experience from conventional gallery space and embedding it within our cities making art truly democratic and for everyone. Arjun Bahl, co found and festival director said, “the whole idea was to bring art to a certain sect of the community who usually don’t interact with art.” A photo installation in association with the Inside Out Project covers the warehouse walls as you enter the show.

Started by French artist JR, the “Inside Out Project” celebrates local identities and stories using large-format street paste-ups. In this case, roughly 300 blown-up portraits of locals were pasted on the warehouse walls and shot by photographer and artist Akshat Nauriyal who is also a cofounder of the St+art India Foundation, along with assistance from Pranav Gohil.

“When we approached the dock workers for the Inside Out project, there was some mistrust. Many photographers and journalists had come before us and misrepresented the people, only focussing on the lack of hygiene and the indoctrination of children in the economy, while missing all the amazing things the place stood for. We got in touch with community leaders to help gain their trust and make the people understand the project through them. We created a pop-up studio in one of the empty rooms in the dock itself so we could maximize on the number of portraits we could make since the people all spent their day there working.  Initially no one came, but slowly some people started tricking in. As word spread about the studio though, people started pouring in and eventually we made over 350 portraits of the various fishermen and women communities of the Sassoon dock,” says Akshat about the project.

Heidi: Tell us how this idea developed, I know you were poised to take a boat ride with one of the fishermen.
Akshat: Initially as part of my research I was excited about the prospect of going on a boat with the fishermen. I’ve always followed a gonzo approach to my stories and wanted to truly immerse myself in the lives of other people.  I made friends with some fishermen who offered to take me with them.  I got up at 4 am and prepared for my journey. It would be a hard and grueling experience and I wanted to be prepared for the worst so I carried supplies of extra batteries, water, power bank and even food, incase we got marooned in the middle of the sea.

Armed with all these and ready to go on the boat Pranva and I arrived at the dock only to be told that the fisherman was busy selling fish and hence would not be able to take us anymore. So with that my dreams of being a fisherman came crashing down. But instead of going back, I decided to spend the morning at the dock, my first of many such mornings and spent time talking to people and understanding the different layers in the micro economy. This would become an important part of my visual and content research.

I also immediately noticed was that the docks were dominated by women, dominant women. They were the peelers, porters, buyers and sellers. They were as fierce and assertive as the men around, most times even more. Which kind of also put into perspective how women are more than equals in shared public space and yet we cast this impression of the weaker sex upon them. This was a major takeaway from that days for me.

After many such mornings, I met with community leaders regularly to understand of the space. And what emerged was that the space had 3 main communities who were dominant in the I and had been so for decades. These were the Koli Fishermen (they went out to catch the fish) , the Banjaras (men help in hauling the fish off boats while he women help in peeling and transporting) and the Hindu Marathas (they cart the fish). These three communities would become the main focus of our project.

What surprised you the most about this project?
There were many surprises;  from the complexities of the space which I experienced first hand and how different they were from everything I had researched online. Most of what I read before alluded to the Koli’s being the most significant community, almost the only significant community at the docks. But upon reaching and doing on ground research, the reality was a lot more different from what I had initially imagined.  The reactions were also surprising. Most people were very happy with the project, many identifying their friends and relatives from the community. But the most surprising reaction was one day I was told that some Banjara ladies were unhappy with the project. I immediately went to the dock.

They had reservations on their photos being next to a man who was not their husband. I told them that when they work in the dock, they all work together – men and women as equals. In those moments it doesn’t matter if the man next to them is their husband or not, which is exactly what we wanted to represent through the paste-up. Eventually I even offered to remove the paste-up because if the people whom I intended to represent through the project were not happy with it, then the project was futile. All the ladies immediately asked me to continue and gave me their blessings.

How did you evolve creatively?
Documentary, as a format for me is a chance to have a unique experience. It is a way of getting  access into people lives and scenarios. It is an insight into a completely different knowledge pool, of insight about life, which I try to access through the people and document- more as a means to understand how people perceive life and exist in the world around them, which I hope to learn from for my own life.

This project was a culmination of all the work I have done in my life in many different capacities. I started as a drummer playing drums for bands in the independent music scene in India. That led me to documenting many of the emerging subcultures I saw around me in Delhi more than a decade back, and that was done from within those communities as a part of the scenes . I’ve done portraiture and fashion work and also several ngo/ community based projects and eventually I founded this public art foundation.  I feel in a way everything up till now was a learning process to be able to do this project.

I like my work to be a true representation of the people I document and hopefully I have been able to do so with this project. I have met many wonderful people as a result who have welcomed me into their lives giving me an insight into worlds I would never have access to, and the honest and genuine connections I have made will go with me through my life. The portraits may not stay forever, and may not really impact their lives directly. But for me, in a city of stars, where only celebrities are glorified on large hoardings, the memory of seeing their own face blown up on the facades of buildings they themselves work in, and inhabit, will hopefully be something they keep with them forever. In the city of Bollywood, where one usually has to be a celebrity or a famous person to be on a large size poster, the representation of the everyday workers of Sassoon was a way of acknowledging them and letting them know that they all matter and are of value and are the real stars, irrespective of their standing in society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daily Promo – Daymon Gardner

- - The Daily Promo

Daymon Gardner

Who printed it?
Grossman Marketing, handled by Julie O’Gorman
http://www.grossmanmarketing.com/

Who designed it?
Ben Tousley
http://www.wilkerton.com

Tell me about the images?
The promo consists of fifty-three images spanning eight years and is titled <89 Seconds, which represents the total exposure time of all the images. I knew I wanted to play with the concept of time in the early stages of the promo, and realized the concept became a vehicle that allowed my edit to be diverse in subject matter. I’ve been in New Orleans for 10 years and because it’s a small market, have covered a wide range of subject matter. I wanted to include hints of still life, landscape, and documentary work while anchoring the promo with sports and portraiture work. The editing process was tedious, but cohesive in the end I think.

How many did you make?
500, 300 mailed directly from the printer, 200 sent to me that I could mail to current clients with a personalized note or keep on hand as leave-behinds.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is my first printed promo and is long overdue. I typically send out an email promo 2-3 times a year and try to setup portfolio meetings whenever possible. I think because I waited so long to send out my first printed piece, I was pretty ambitious and wanted to send out a portfolio essentially. My plan moving forward is to continue a printed piece twice a year, but smaller in scale.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’ve received a few email responses already and noticed a spike in site traffic the same week the promo shipped. I’ve noticed the open rate on my email campaigns drop off over the years and feel like print is an effective way to break through the clutter. My short term goal for the promo was to get my work in front of people and build a handful of relationships, both in editorial and advertising. I believe I already am meeting that short-term goal. Long term, I hope to build on those relationships and earn the opportunity to create images for those individuals. Its too early to measure that goal, but I’m optimistic.

The Best Work I Saw at Review Santa Fe: Part 1

 

When I go to a portfolio review these days, I’ve got to get on an airplane.

It’s a big deal.

The packing.
The planning.
The 3 hour drive to the airport.

I’m not complaining, per se, as getting to travel to great cities is a pleasure, not a problem.

But heading to Review Santa Fe last month, it was quite a different experience.

I woke up at a normal hour.
Made breakfast for the kids.

Then I went to two parent-teacher conferences at their school. And I ate in a gas station burrito joint.

Then I went to visit a furniture store, all before I joined the photo festival on a Friday afternoon in late October.

(Quick sidebar, before you scoff, for whatever reason, there are a ton of great little taquerias in gas stations throughout Northern New Mexico. My favorite is run by a couple of ladies from Chihuahua in an Alon station on the North side of Española.)

But back to Review Santa Fe.

It was no great drama to get there, just an average day. And as it was my 5th of 6 portfolio reviews this year, (I’m going to Photo NOLA next week,) it’s all began to feel a bit normal.

Shortly after I checked into the Drury Suites hotel, where the event is held, I walked across the street to try to find a cocktail party at Radius Books.

It seems straightforward, but you’re wrong.

I bumped into Brian Clamp, a friend of the column, and two other women who were scratching their heads trying to find the place. I took the lead, as a local, but really had no idea where I was going.

We ended up in a musty, 2nd-story-carpeted-hallway, chatting about what to do next, when a heavily-plastic-surgeried older woman popped her head out of an office.

She barked at me to shut up, and I saw, through her open door, that she was a psychic.

I was stunned, as she was so rude, but the jokes write themselves.

(If she’s really psychic, why didn’t she know we’d be there? If she’s really psychic, how come she couldn’t tell us how to find Radius Books? If she’s really psychic, how come she didn’t tell me to shut up before I said anything?)

I could go on, but I won’t.

Eventually, we found the party, and it was nice to catch up with colleagues over a stiff bourbon, in a sleek modernist space. They have it going on over there at Radius. (I’ll give them that.)

Beyond the socializing, through, my favorite thing about portfolio review events like Review Santa Fe is the chance to see such a cross-section of photography, and meet people from around the world, all in a compressed space in time.

In this respect, Review Santa Fe absolutely delivered.

I did 17 consecutive reviews on Saturday, and it almost burned out my brain. But the quality of work was high, overall, and as I also popped through the portfolio walk on Friday night, I’ve got a nice selection of work to show you today and next week.

As always, the artists are in no particular order.

We’ll start with Teri Darnell. She had two projects about gay performers, and was also trying to make work about the gentrification of a historically gay neighborhood in Atlanta. I liked the first project, but was really attracted to her photographs of a cabaret in Berlin.

According to Teri, there’s a particular cabaret show on in Berlin that was made in honor of the gay performers who were imprisoned in Hitler’s Germany. She said that in one case, the performers continued to stage work until they were murdered in a concentration camp. (Heavy stuff.)

It’s rare that photographers really play with the element of time, I find, but Teri’s moody, saturated images dovetail so well with the historical-recreation-vibe of the Berlin cabaret.
It’s trippy work for sure.

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Cabaret of the Nameless

Speaking of trippy, Jill Brody is a self-professed Jewish grandmother who spends her photographic time hanging out with subcultures and religious minorities like the Hutterites in Montana.

I’m always impressed when people embed themselves in random places, because the artistic bug just won’t leave them alone. Jill and I discussed the relative saturation of colors in her palette, as I thought one or two of her blues pushed into hyperreal territory, which didn’t fit with her documentary style.


Kevin Horan was another artist who showed me things I liked and didn’t like. I don’t mean to be flippant about it, but from an advice standpoint, it’s good to mention here.

If you can bring more than one project with you, please do. Art is so subjective, and our own interests so broad, that one person may well hate one thing you’ve done and love another.

But if they love anything, you’re way ahead of the game.

Back to Kevin, though, as we saw images taken from airplanes that he’d inverted upside down in Photoshop. I wasn’t interested.

Then he showed me a beautiful, documentary series about finding dead things on nature walks. It really needs no more explanation, as his images are impressive and cohesive.





Santiago Serrano and I discussed the idea of cohesion, both visually and conceptually. He led with two or three pictures I found sub-par, and then had 15 in a row that were stellar. So we discussed how the context of those first few images determines how receptive we are to what comes next.

Santiago is from Quito, Ecuador, where bullfighting has been banned, but lived for a time in Mexico, where it’s not. He has this cool series about bullfighters in Mexico, but then there were two or three pictures of fighters in Ecuador.

I suggested that if 95% of the story was about one place, I’d cut the other pictures, for the sake of story cohesion. In particular, I appreciate his color palette, which captures that sense of the Mexican Baroque.

 

Festival de aficionados practicantes en Campo bravo, ubicado en San Juan del Rio. Mexico. 25/06/2010

Novillero Jose Miguel Parra durante un descanso de los entrenamientos diarios en los viveros de Coyoacan como parte de sus practicas de toreo de salon. Mexico DF, Mexico. 28/07/2010

Segunda Novillada en la Plaza Arroyo en la ciudad de Mexico. Mexico DF, Mexico. 31/07/2010

Segunda Novillada en la Plaza Arroyo en la ciudad de Mexico. Mexico DF, Mexico. 31/07/2010

Segunda Novillada en la Plaza Arroyo en la ciudad de Mexico. Mexico DF, Mexico. 31/07/2010

Novillero venezolano Jose Miguel Parra, antes y durante su actuacin en la ciudad de Huamantla como parte de la segunda novillada de la feria anual. Huamantla, Estado de Tlaxcala, Mexico. 20/08/2010

Novillero venezolano Jose Miguel Parra, antes y durante su actuacin en la ciudad de Huamantla como parte de la segunda novillada de la feria anual. Huamantla, Estado de Tlaxcala, Mexico. 20/08/2010

Novillero venezolano Jose Miguel Parra, antes y durante su actuacin en la ciudad de Huamantla como parte de la segunda novillada de la feria anual. Huamantla, Estado de Tlaxcala, Mexico. 20/08/2010

Novillero mexicano Salvador Lopez, durante su tercera presentacion en la plaza Mexico como parte de la temporada novilleril 2010. Mexico DF. Mexico. 05/09/2010

El matador Cristian Aparicio durante sus entrenamientos diarios de toreo de salon en los viveros de Coyoacan. Mexico DF. Mexico. 09/09/2010

Adair Rutledge is the gutsy sort, and she needs to be. Adair, a blond, Southern, white woman, decided to do a story about a youth football team in Nashville, made up exclusively of African-American children.

We had the “stay in your lane” chat last week, so I won’t bore you, but Adair embedded herself for years, and really got to know these people. I’d argue it’s why they engage with the camera so freely and openly.

Leslie Sheryll is a former photo lab owner from New York who crossed the river into New Jersey. Most people go in the other direction, so more power to her. (I left the Tri-State area entirely, so who am I to point fingers?)

Leslie had some intricate Photoshop layered work, based on historical images she’d acquired and then digitized. She wanted to make work that really captured the spirit of the 19th Century women depicted, and her series featuring poisoned plants, which I’m showing here, was very cool.

Abrus precatorius rosary pea poison

Poppy   Papaveraceae

Veratrum Album Poison false hellebores

Oenanthe crocata L. Hemlock Water-dropwort

poinsettia

Aconitum napellu,  monkshood

Lily of the Valley ,Conuallaria majalis

Vomica Poisonous
Strychnine Tree

Lily, Lilium

Finally, we’ve got Lee Johnson. He’s an Englishman living in Switzerland for work, and has been photographing the ski lifts in summer, hinting at a time when the snow won’t come. (Speaking of which, we’re very far behind normal here in Taos at the moment.)

He shoots with a boutique European film that approximates the color of expired film, then digitizes the film, and has it output as a digital polaroid-style print. Furthermore, for the images below, he’s then made digital snaps of the actual prints.

Are you confused yet?

Well then, come back next week for all the answers.

The Art of the Personal Project: Doug Ross

- - 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: Doug Ross

Artist Statement:

“Coney Island, a black and white retrospective” is my photographic journey of the past ten years shooting at Coney Island. My photographs, of Coney Island, Brooklyn NY, represent my vision of an ever-changing canvas of people and experiences by the water’s edge, on the boardwalk and the streets that surround. They bring the viewer into a place that is intimate, gritty and unretouched by society. The people are who they are and have no excuses or facades. The rich black and white tone strip away the screaming colors and even sounds of the seashore park and its patrons and leave the viewer to just be fixated by the subjects alone. I am pleased to present this compilation of some of my favorite images from the area I so love.”

The book will be available to the public mid-December.

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 – Darling Magazine: Sami Drasin

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

Darling Magazine

Editor-in-Chief: Sarah Dubbelda
Photo Editor: Rebekah Shannon
Photographer: Sami Drasin

Heidi: Tell us why you resonate with the magazine’s mission?
Sami: Darling’s mission inspires me to be myself and makes me feel good about who I am. Every story and issue is so uplifting and encouraging. They talk about real life issues and offer deep advice. Darling sees the beauty in every type of woman. They don’t photoshop or alter women’s bodies or faces. There’s so many images out there with this “ideal” body type that is unrealistic. Even though I know it’s not real, it still affects me and the women I’m surrounded by. Darling instead celebrates women for who they are and focuses on beauty from the inside-out.

In your eyes what does the magazine stand for and how do you feel like your work reflects that?
The magazine is real, honest, encouraging, inspiring, and stylish. I strive for my photography to be the same. I love to photograph people in real moments and to show who they really. I focus on capturing unexpected, candid scenes and in-between moments allowing for a more relatable and honest portrayal of my subjects. I connect quickly and easily with my subjects which allows me to capture the truth of them. I love to make people feel beautiful for who they are.

Did you send the magazine promos of your work?
I usually send an email promo to a big list of clients and companies I want to shoot for every couple of months updating everyone with new work. Darling was on that email list, but they actually found me through my agent.

How did the space theme cover come about?
The first shoot I did for them was a fashion story in the fall 2017 issue. The story was focused on Masculine style. I was brought on just a couple of days before the shoot. The photo editor and editor-in-chief had the models, location, & ideas before hand, but they were open to my suggestions for a stylist, hair & makeup. It was collaborative from the beginning. I liked that they encouraged my creativity and trusted me. The Darling team was really happy with the fashion story that they asked me to photograph the cover for the next issue. It was such an honor since I’ve been a fan of the magazine for quite some time now. I met with the photo editor for coffee to go over ideas for the story before hand. Every issue is a different theme and this one was the “Expanse Issue” focusing on our internal space and the space we share and occupy on this planet as women. We had 6 different setups for this story and it was all supposed to look like the model was in space. Everyone on set was very collaborative and encouraging of each other. We all worked very closely and asked for honest opinions and thoughts on what we were bringing to each shot.

I also got to shoot 2 female scientists at NASA JPL for the Achievers section of issue. It was super fascinating to hear about their stories and to capture these incredible, smart women. This shoot was more low-key than the cover story. There wasn’t as big of a team which made it more of an intimate setting

The Daily Promo – River Jordan

- - The Daily Promo

River Jordan

Who printed it?
The promo was printed in Portland by Mark Evans at Premier Press. (mark.evans@premierpress.com / premierpress.com).

Who designed it?
The design was a fun collaboration between Mariah Jochai at Craft-O-Graph (mariah@craftograph.com / craftograph.com) and myself. Mariah has helped me with logos, web design, and also happens to be a badass creative director too! I had a couple of different ideas for this promo so I got out my scissors, made a rough version of it, and then Mariah created the template. I placed the photos and then she took over, gave it some swag, and made sure it would print properly.

Tell me about the images?
My goal for this piece was to show a range of the work I had done over the past 18 months. I shoot three very different things- sports, travel stories, and cowboys. I decided that I would focus on water-related adventures for this project. The images are a combination of personal projects, editorial assignments, and advertising work. My goal with photography has always been to shoot what I love and then hopefully have that translate into work for companies and magazines. I have a great rotating crew of guys that I travel with and finding off the beaten path adventures is not only super fun but helps keep the inspiration flowing in my work.

The first spread of the promo was a trip that we took to El Salvador and Colombia. We didn’t really know much about surfing in Colombia but we ended up perched on the edge of the jungle for a week. We scored surf for one day and then ended up diving with whales and hunting for waterfalls the rest of the time. As luck would have it, I ended up shooting a similar combination of activities in Indonesia for a magazine a couple months later.

I love to do projects with athletes. Their focus, determination, and competitive nature are infectious! The Hawaii section was a trip I took with pro volleyball player Tri Bourne to his hometown in Oahu. The goal was to get some insight into what kind of an environment builds an Olympic caliber athlete. I had all kinds of questions! They were answered in the time we spent bodysurfing at his local break, hiking with his childhood friends, canoe sailing down the coast, and bullshitting in the back of an open truck on the way to the North Shore. These are the types of projects I live for!

How many did you make?
We printed 500. My agency pulled together a list of potential clients that I would love to work with and then I sent a bunch to folks I’ve done projects with in the past. I put 400 in the mail, sent 50 to my agency, and kept 50 for meetings.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first “proper” promo I have ever sent. I have done some postcards in the past that were sent as thank you notes and such but this was the first one.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
For me, it’s just an amazing way to connect with potential clients. Not to mention I love having something tangible to share with people! I have spoken to a few people since the promos went out and they all said positive things. I’m hoping a few of them made an impact! I sometimes think photographers put a little too much emphasis on positioning themselves in a certain way. I like an approach that reflects who you are and what you’re passionate about. My Dad’s side of the family are cattle ranchers from Colorado so I spent time on the ranch when I was a kid, my folks bought a boat and we sailed all over the world when I was in my early teens, and then I played water polo in high school. Everything I focus on in my work is either something I know about from personal experience or that I’m curious about. Generally, those things go hand in hand.

I think that at the end of the day your marketing should reflect your story. Live a great story, share it, and the right people will find ya!

This Week in Photography Books: Patrick Nagatani

 

It’s Thanksgiving day, and unfortunately I’m working.

Weekly-column-deadlines being what they are, it was time to sit down and write. But don’t feel too bad for me.

It’s work, yes, but writing for you guys is not exactly like digging ditches. And I should know, as one day a year, I have to hook up with my neighbors to clean our acequia system. (Ditches, that is.)

But once I’m done here, I get to turn my attention to the festivities. There’s gravy to make, Brussels sprouts to wash, nephews to enjoy, football to watch, and plenty of turkey to eat.

Here in America, Thanksgiving is the one day a year that we all agree to eat a giant, dead bird.

(And typically a flavorless one, though my Mom’s brining technique at least keeps it moist.)

It used to be my favorite holiday, growing up in New Jersey. We’d get together at my Aunt Lynda’s house each year, in East Brunswick, and playing football in the yard with my cousins was Just. The. Best.

As a grownup though, (particularly one who has to host the feast, having been anointed by the grandmas a few years back,) I tend to focus more on the obligation of it all.

Each year, I like it less.

And to top it off, I had to be honest with my 10-year-old about the fact that while the Pilgrims and Native Americans might have gotten along at one point, (however briefly,) after that, our ancestors killed them all and took their land.

Yay!
Let’s eat.

But seriously, the holiday is called Thanksgiving. The idea of giving thanks, of sharing appreciation, of taking stock and being grateful for what you have, it’s baked into the title.

If we divest ourselves of any necessary connection to 17th Century Massachusetts, and think about a Holiday just for being thankful, then I can get behind that.

And as it’s just past 8am, and I’m mostly done here, maybe I’ll just find a way to have fun today?

Maybe I’ll thank my parents for helping out with my kids all the time? And thank my wife for working so hard?

I can thank you guys, for being a loyal audience. And thank my teachers, who helped me become the person I am.

Just last week, in fact, I went back to UNM, in Albuquerque, and gave a talk to Jim Stone’s Intermediate Photo class. We sat in a high tech digital lab, painted in sleek dark gray, yet I remembered learning in that same room, 20 years ago, when it had a few tables and chairs, and maybe a blackboard.

I took Photo 1 in that very room, in 1997, and now it’s 2017. You can’t top that: the 20 year anniversary.

Even better, not only did I tell the students about my work, but I also offered them the chance to critique something new I’m working on. Though they were only in their second semester, the students were amazing, and gave me some great ideas that I’ve already put into practice less than a week later.

So thank you, Jim Stone’s UNM students. I really appreciate the help.

I was lucky, back in 1998, to have a class with Patrick Nagatani at UNM. He’d already been there for a while, having studied at UCLA with the great Robert Heinecken. Patrick had been successful as an artist, including a fruitful partnership with Andrée Tracey.

By the time I met him, he was in the prime of life, and was extremely influential in helping me understand how to make art. Not to just click a shutter, but to have an idea in mind. To have a point. And to be willing to push yourself to make things you hadn’t seen before.

Now that I think about it, Patrick also told me to call Bill Hunt, when I was headed to NYC that year, and not only did Bill agree to see me, but he bought a picture out of the box, and helped me get my art career off the ground.

I’ve thanked Bill before, but I don’t know if I ever thanked Patrick.

He died a few weeks ago, after a 10 year bout with cancer.

Patrick Nagatani, a Japanese-American, got himself an obituary in the New York Times, because he mattered as an artist, yet it’s the one “honor” that no one ever knows they’ve received.

I last saw him, 3 or 4 years ago, outside a gallery in Santa Fe. He was being trailed by a Japanese documentary film crew, and kept stepping outside for smoke breaks.

I chatted him up, in the cool breeze, and his positive energy was infectious. The guy was the real deal as an artist too. We’d met in his studio, back in 2009, and he showed me work in which he’d appropriated low-res images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, enlarged and printed them, and then coated them with perfectly constructed strips of colored tape.

It’s hard to describe how lovely they were, and how exacting and tricky they were to make. Zen as shit too. (I doubt that sentence has ever been written before.)

Patrick did one project in which he created an altar ego, Ryoichi, and made models implying there had been previous versions of humanity that had existed, and then become extinct.

Weird stuff.

He was creative, and original, and my favorite work, by far, was “Nuclear Enchantment,” published by the University of New Mexico Press, in 1991.

I’ve never reviewed a book before that wasn’t current, but then again, Thanksgiving is no ordinary day. It’s also the 6th anniversary of the birth of this column: the night my mother-in-law woke us up by rapping a gun outside our bedroom door, and then I wrote about it in a Taryn Simon book review.

I was sad to see that I never had Patrick sign my copy, as I remember that I’d brought it into school once for that purpose. (Had I lost the nerve to ask, at the time?) But after skimming the informative, long essay by Eugenia Parry Janis, I dove right into the plates, and they hold up so well.

These pictures were made before digital reality. They are all old school: painted backdrops, real places, drawings, models, and real people, all overlaid, and shot multiple times on film, when necessary.

I believe he’d established the aesthetic in his work with Andrée Tracey, but damn if these images don’t perfectly anticipate the rise of our all-digital culture. Saturated colors, the real and the unreal intermingled, drawings mashed with photographs, all of it feels so current.

Photoshop was made for this stuff.
It’s so easy now.

But think about how hard it was back then, and how seamless the pictures are. (There are a few clunkers, but almost all are just amazing.)

These days, (as my Dad pointed out at dinner last night,) we’re always told to “stay in your lane.” Write or make art about what you know. Don’t try to interpret a culture that’s not your own.

We’ve been over this many times before, so I’ll spare you.

But Patrick Nagatani, who was born in 1945, and whose family back in Japan lived outside Hiroshima, was coming directly from his own cultural perspective by taking an interest in New Mexico’s nuclear history.

And the history of nuclear power.

So he researched it obsessively, with reams of help, and then titled his pictures in ways that would allow viewers access to crucial information.

Yet he also sampled directly from New Mexico’s Native American Pueblo culture, dropping layers of koshares and kachinas. These days, most people would shy away from that, but in “Nuclear Enchantment,” it’s just right.

Then, we’ve got to throw in the shoutouts to Hiroshige and Hokusai, the master Japanese 19th Century woodblock printmakers, as the dangling fish, and the soaring eagle/hawk, are direct references to their work.

Have you gotten all that yet?
I’ll summarize.

It’s historically accurate, well researched, analog tableaux work, that required teams of people to assist him, including his family, and blended Japanese-American, Japanese, and Native American art historical traditions, all while anticipating the predominant visual aesthetic of the next Century and Millennium.

Wow.

I’d also like to thank Martha Schneider, of the Schneider Gallery in Chicago.

We were chatting at Filter in September, and she told me that Patrick was very close to death. As he’d fought the vicious disease for so long, I was surprised to hear it had finally caught up with him.

She suggested I say my goodbyes while I could.

I wrote him, and we traded a few emails. I sent him blessings for his next journey, and I assure you, that’s not an email I’ve written before.

Patrick also insisted on having UNM send me a copy of his new novel, which I’m planning to read over Xmas break.

Jim Stone called Patrick the strongest man he’s ever known, and said he made it to his own book signing, just five days before he died.

Rest in Peace, Patrick.

And I hope the rest of you have a great holiday weekend. In these trying, Trumpian times, if you have people to be thank, I’d suggest you get on with it.

Bottom Line: An out-of-print masterpiece

To purchase “Nuclear Enchantment” click here

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

 

 

The Daily Edit – Trevor Traynor

- - The Daily Edit

 Trevor Traynor

Heidi: What made you snap that first newsstand shot?
Trevor: I shot my first newsstand near Broadway and Morris Street in New York City and immediately found myself stopping to take portraits at every stand I passed. I’m drawn to the vibrant organized colors and compact product placement that provides an instant time stamp via magazine covers and headlines. The New York City newsstand is a staple in the Big Apple and its photogenic structure is an immediate attraction to the composition fanatic in me.

When did you know this was turning into something more than just a few images of newsstands?
The project started growing quickly within NYC but it was still just something fun and in between commercial shoots. Once I started photographing other cities I realized the photos were forming a series and would be a long-term project

What are the kiosks locations?
They are from New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Geneva, Tel Aviv, Dar Es Salaam, Chicago, Boston, Barcelona, Tokyo, Lima, Cusco, and Punta Arenas

How are you making these photos?
The project is shot and edited on the iPhone.  I started #TheNewsStandSeries in New York City, 2012. Since then I have photographed approx 125 stands. The series started with the iPhone 4s, the 5s, 6, 6s, to my current 7 plus. I’m using editing apps such as Snapseed & Instagram, the end-product emulates the qualities of my favored Hasselblad. I revisited a handful of newsstands with different cameras, and although each camera has its own advantage, the iPhone is my current first choice. The iPhone has a great dynamic range and its unobtrusive ability lets me shoot with a lot more ease.

How long does each portrait take?
 Each photo takes literally 30 seconds. Unless its rush hour. I make it a point to never interrupt the business. If a kiosk is busy and I have time, I’ll wait for the opportune moment.

What are your plans for this body of work?
My goal is to release a newsstand book in 2018 accompanied with coastal openings. I’m currently searching for a publisher/sponsor.  After the book is published I will use the iPhones geotagging of the photos to deliver a thank you copy to each of the newsstands I have photographed.I would also like to donate a percentage of proceeds as well.

What is your elevator pitch to get them to pose?
My approach is 100% respect and a smile. I immediately share some past photos to connect a visual with my idea. A put an emphasis on “a quick iPhone snap for a personal collection.”

I have been fortunate to have a 90% positive response and a few kiosk owners even went as far to offer me drinks and snacks. I aways depart with a hand shake and a grand appreciation for that person’s time.

Aside from this image being featured in American Photography 31, have you received any other press, any projects on the horizon?
The project has definitely received some good press over the years from RYOT, Complex, to Daily Mail, and PDN. and now APE! Thank you guys.  A lot of my colleagues really enjoy the series as well and that definitely makes me happy because it’s nice to get a nod from photographers who inspire you. My next project is to bring this series to life in print. I also have some fun ideas for the opening including a full size newsstand installation.

What has this project taught you about yourself and your work?
As the clock ticks I reflect more and more on the privilege I have to travel the world and make a living creating photographs, making motion visuals, and living while doing something I’m passionate about it. I try to practice gratitude every day and this project has taught me to be present more. It has also taught me that the interaction is just as important as the moment the camera clicks.  The creation process is what I truly love. Lastly, this project has reaffirmed my affinity for framing a subject as one with the environment.

@TrevorTraynor on Instagram or #Thenewsstandseries.

 

This Week in Photography Books: Kathy Shorr

 

It’s hard to know the future.

To be aware of what’s coming, but unable to stop it from happening.

It’s not a hypothetical situation, though. It is hard, and I speak from experience.

In the United States of America, tomorrow, or maybe next week, there is going to be a shooting rampage that kills a bunch of innocent people.

I know it will happen.
And so do you.

That these tragedies cannot be prevented, even though we’re certain they’re just up ahead, is a special kind of torture. It’s our own national nightmare, and by now, many of us have given up on finding a solution.

Just like subjects from the Aztec empire, slowly ascending the temple steps, waiting to have our hearts ripped out “for the greater good,” we’re all sitting here, paralyzed, unable to believe the problem can ever be solved.

Some weeks I’m funny, and some weeks I’m optimistic, but on this subject, I’m neither.

The scope of the horror is too great, and the reality of each tragedy is too sad to contemplate. Better to embrace denial, like a long-lost friend, and hope the grim reaper raps on another door when it’s time to collect the souls.

These days, you can get shot in the head while you’re praying to God in Church, dancing at a country-music concert, or cowering under your desk at school. A bullet might rip through your car window while you’re waiting at the drive-thru, or maybe your assailant will point a gun in your face, stare coldly into your eyes, and then pull the trigger.

We all want to make it stop, but we simply can’t.

Isn’t there anything anyone can do?

I’m not hopeful, but then again, the world is populated with do-gooders, as well as killers, so there’s always someone out there willing to try.

In this case, I’m thinking of Kathy Shorr, as I recently put down “SHOT: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America,” recently published by powerHouse books.

Frankly, I had to put this one down before I finished it, and then pick it up again a minute later, because the sadness, the tension, was just too much for me.

The book’s premise is an interesting one, because while such stories often focus on the dead, this project interviews people who faced death, and survived. The people who can tell us exactly what it feels like to have their lives destroyed by gun violence.

The pain.
The fear.
The scars.
The aftermath.

The pictures in this book need little explication, as the title is enough to clue us in on what’s going on here. But still, there is an excellent foreward, there are quotes interspersed, and then a photo-based-bio index in the back. (Like last week’s book, I must say I’m a fan of the technique. It makes learning more about the subject easy and engaging.)

I’m not going to drop 1200 words on you today.

I just don’t have it in me.

My cynicism on this subject, and my anger at our inability to stop this wave of violence, has sapped me of my normally-positive-outlook.

Rather, I see our national gun obsession, and the powerful interests that block meaningful change, as twin towers of ignorance.

I want to believe things will get better, but I don’t.

Instead of depressing you further, though, I’m going to show a larger group of photographs from “SHOT.” Because sometimes, we all need to know that even if we’ve given up, others haven’t.

If Kathy Shorr were as hopeless as I am, she never would have made this book. It takes too much time, and too much effort, if you don’t believe it will make a difference.

Creating things, fighting back, pushing for change, making beauty out of heartbreak, these impulses suffuse this project. So I’ll let it speak for itself.

Bottom Line: A brilliant examination of our national disgrace

To purchase “SHOT,” click here

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Michael Weschler

- - Working

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: Michael Weschler

Sometimes, when we’re looking closely enough, time stands still, reminding us to stay grounded.  There are few people I’ve met who are as present and in the moment as Ray.  The tragic accident that paralyzed his body has empowered him to move beyond the things we take for granted, like crossing the street, and to accomplish tremendous feats of incredible athletic ABILITY.  We are all fighting battles, but there are few heroes like Ray who raise the bar and through their triumphs, help us to change our perspective.

Ray Diaz, Team USA Paralympic Sled Hockey All-Star

Ray Diaz, Team USA Paralympic Sled Hockey All-Star

Ray Diaz, Team USA Paralympic Sled Hockey All-Star

Ray Diaz, Team USA Paralympic Sled Hockey All-Star

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.