The Daily Promo – Chuk Nowak

- - The Daily Promo

Chuk Nowak

Who printed it?
Paperchase Press in L.A. produced the promo. I’d worked with them in my previous life as a graphic designer. The quality for the value, especially with this type of printed piece was spot on for me.

Who designed it?
I designed it, with input from the eyes and minds a few trusted creatives. I knew I wanted to do an accordion-type card for this area of my work, as the form factor is initially compact. It took some massaging to land the sequencing in an appetizingly logical flow no matter which side you experience first.

Tell me about the images?
Most are images created for clients in the retail and restaurant space. This is my first mailer in this realm, so I wanted the edit to reflect a more polished aesthetic that might appeal to both editorial and commercial interests. One is from a cookbook I collaborated on with a local chef, and two are spec pieces I created for agency gigs that didn’t pan out.

How many did you make?
100, which went out to a targeted list of restaurant groups, food producers and a small number of related publications in my region.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first printed promo I’ve done for my food work, but plan to do another in the spring.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Absolutely. A lot of food imagery still ends up in print one way or another, so It’s great for potential clients to see how my work translates. There’s an editorial project already in the works due to the piece, and a few commercial inquiries swirling about. I actually received a phone call from one the recipients just to tell me how “lovely” it is. Whether that matriculates into anything down the road or not, I’m definitely on her radar as a result.

The Best Work I Saw at the LACP Exposure Portfolio Review

 

Almost everything I write is available for free on the internet.

There are a few exceptions, though.

I’ve written essays for two of Alejandro Cartagena’s recent books, the companions: “Santa Barbara Return Jobs to US,” and “Santa Barbara Shame on US.”

These are limited-edition, fine art books in which the photography was obviously the main draw. The only people who read those pieces bought the book, and then also took the time to read the insert.

(Meaning, not everyone who bought the book. Let’s be honest.)

The ideas in those essays went up behind a paywall, essentially.
So I’m going to pull a few out today, as I think of sunny, hot, alluring California.

Beautiful, majestic, diverse, cool-as-shit California.

You’ll find few bigger fans of the Golden State than I, especially among those that don’t live there. I’m biased towards CA for sure, having lived there for 3 years, and visited more times than I could count, even if I tried. (Maybe 20? 30?)

The Bay Area is amazing, LA totally rocks, and SoCal beach towns are among my favorite anywhere. (They put the Jersey Shore to shame, I’m afraid.)

But writing for Alejandro in 2017, (in parallel with his critical agenda,) I questioned whether California, the laboratory of new American culture, was becoming a 3rd World Country? As I wrote about several years ago here, and for Lens, the homelessness problem is so bad there are essentially permanent public tent encampments now, mini-neighborhoods, and is that really going to un-happen?

Do we believe that any great new public policy will find homes for this increasingly large underclass? Or build fancy new shelters for them, as nice as Trump’s immigrant-kid-jails?

Will a sane drug policy all-of-a-sudden find ways to treat every heroin or oxy-loving junkie?

Of course not.
That’s ludicrous.

This massive disparity between mega-wealth and mega-poverty, mashed right up against each other, is likely to continue. And how long does it take to go from tent city to a full-on favela?

Who hasn’t heard of Brazilian cities where the wealthy only travel by helicopter?

Is that in California’s future as well?

Like I said at the outset, I love California. Hell, I love America, even though we have some serious problems at the moment.

Since I was a young child, it was inculcated in me that this society was ultimately a melting-pot, where people from all over the world came to live next to each other in peace, and try to make a better life for their children, and their children’s children.

I still believe America is Great, I honestly do, but this place has its challenges.

Chief among them right now is sorting out income inequality. If the American Middle-Class Dream of self-autonomy, in a safe home, with enough leisure time to enjoy your children, (or your friends,) truly goes away, then Banana Republic status will follow here in the US for certain.

I know it’s an odd way to start an article about the excellent, fantastic LACP Exposure portfolio review that I attended in July. Ranting about the striation of lifestyle in a State I’m also trying to rave about.

I get it.

But this column, as I recently admitted, is an extension of my art. And a photography festival is attended by artists, who are in general open-minded, critical thinkers.

You, the audience, know that there are no black-and-white situations.

California, in this case the West Side of LA, is among my favorite places on Earth, and I can still notice what’s wrong with the picture. (Have I been a critic too long?)

For example, in my few days staying a the excellent Hotel MdR in Marina Del Ray, tooling around Venice/Santa Monica, (and once traveling to Studio City,) I saw more $$$$ worth of automobiles than the entire annual GDP of Taos County.

I must have been $10,000,000 of cars.
Easy.
(Including one sweet Ford GT.)

That money is massive, but my summer-camp friend Russell, with whom I reunited for some beach time, showed me a homeless encampment in Venice, along the boardwalk, that was always there now.

As far as Exposure weekend goes, and the beautiful Marina Del Ray community in which it was set, I had one of the best experiences yet, and I’ve been on the portfolio review circuit for 5 years straight.

I’ve got to give credit where it’s due, and Exposure is currently produced by Sarah Hadley, who was one of the co-founders of the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago. This is her second go-around, and she really knows what she’s doing.

Along with Brandon Gannon and Julia Dean, at LACP, the team was super-responsive to some feedback they got about the 2017 festival, and worked hard to improve upon the experience.

The hotel was 2 blocks from the marina, with the sun glinting off the boats and the water, and surrounded by restaurants, bars, shops, and of course a Ralphs. (The beach was just up the road too.)

The staff there was super-professional and friendly, the outdoor area overlooked a beautiful pool, (So SoCal,) and the reviews were run smoothly as well, with all the participants up-to-speed on how to present themselves, and how to handle the 20 minute meetings.

Not only that, but people left the tables promptly, there was always coffee and snacks around, both for the reviewers and participants, and the weather was bang-on-perfect. (Low 80’s. The heat wave that left town as I arrived ravaged New Mexico while I was styling in LA.)

When I complimented the participant preparedness to my colleagues, in a recent phone call, they gave credit to their super-star instructor, Aline Smithson, who lead the charge on getting people ready. They’d all done their homework on their reviewers, had the right amount of work to show, asked questions and listened to answers.

Really, it was a 10 out of 10 experience, and to have that happen one year after I was open in telling them (behind the scenes,) that there was work to be done on their young event.

This time it was a smash. Great food. Nice parties and events.

And I taught a full-day workshop with the most amazing, intelligent, thoughtful students. (One of whom I was able to profile in an NYT piece last month.)

As usual after an event, I’m going to show you selections of the best work I saw at the LACP Exposure portfolio review. It’s in no particular order, and we’ll feature all the artists today. (Back to book reviews next week.)

We’ll start with Susan Turner, as I became fascinated with one of her projects at the portfolio walk on Friday night. (Side note: they organized a social mixer with reviewers and reviewees poolside afterwards, which was a nice touch.)

I didn’t know I’d be reviewing Susan the following day, but next to a larger project of generic, soft-focus, dreamy-pretty pictures, she showed me this kooky, zany, super-fun series in which she’d made cut-out backdrops, and shot portraits.

The two projects truly looked like they were made by different people, and Susan, who is in her late 70’s or early 80’s, I believe, seemed to like that I appreciated her more subversive side.

I almost met Mahala Mazerov on the plane from Albuquerque, as I overheard her saying she was headed to a portfolio review by the beach. (If you don’t know, Marina del Ray, Venice and Santa Monica make up the West Side beach communities in LA.)

I recognized her immediately when she sat down at the table, and she told me a challenging story of having had an accident in which she suffered a traumatic brain injury. The rehab was long, and as someone who was on the high side of intelligent, the struggle was torturous.

Luckily, she found photography gave her comfort as she worked her way back. These images of flowers, of beauty in its pure form, exude extra juice when you realize they’ve been a part of her re-embrace of her powers and faculties.

And she mentioned in a subsequent email that was so good I want to quote it, re: her symbolic resonance.

“If lotuses growing through mud are symbols of purity and pristine awareness, these hollyhock, growing in drought through cracks in the pavement should be a symbol of persistence.”

Wayne Swanson had digital pinhole images of outmoded technology. It was the second project he showed me, as once he figured out that I didn’t love his first project, he pivoted to something else that I totally appreciated.

Seriously, these pictures are awesome.

But it’s a good lesson on how to approach a portfolio review, and why Wayne was representative of a cohort that had been well-prepared.

Art is subjective. Sure, there are base-level components about technique, for example, about which most people would agree.

In general, though, different experts can have wildly different opinions. If someone hates one thing and loves another, it’s a win. (It doesn’t matter that they don’t like one of your babies, as long as they like another.)

JK Lavin, from Venice, has been around the SoCal photo and art scene for years, as she went to Cal State Fullerton in the 80’s. She sat before me with flaming red hair, and I’d guess she’s in her late 50’s.

Her project showed a younger version of herself, in a stack of scanned and reprinted polaroids. It’s a proto-selfie project, as she shot herself each day for 8 years.

The images are great, of course, but the experience of looking at them while sitting in the presence of the artist added an even deeper dimension. The project will be a solo show at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Massachusetts, I’m happy to share, and deservedly so.

Dennis Keeley heads up the photo department at the Art Center in Pasadena, and was a very cool, chill, California guy, I must say. He told me that he commutes from the South Bay up to Pasadena, North of the City each day, which is a form of self-torture most would not inflict upon themselves for any amount of money.

But time in the car is a huge part of life in a driving, traffic-based culture. So Dennis decided to use the stressful situation to make art, and has photographed the commute for years. The resulting photographs are far more meditative than I expected, which I suppose reinforces that they help him find something positive in an otherwise shitty situation.

Kevin Weinstein, who also works for LACP, (and should have received a shout out sooner in the article,) sat down at the table to show me his colorful, Saul-Leiter-esque street photographs around Los Angeles.

Kevin is also a professional editorial and event photographer, and his skill-set really shows. The technical competence grounds his sense of whimsy, and I must say I like the pictures a lot.

Plus, he’s hilarious. What is it with those Jews and humor? You’d think they invented Hollywood or something.

(Oh, right.)

Matthew Finley had some very-IRL-physical-object-based images, so they don’t translate to the web as well as some other things. He builds layers of images, which deal with sexuality, but I just saw that it’s not what he sent me. (Last minute-photo editing.)

These are circular polaroids, and they’re cool too.

Finally, last but not least, we have Alexandra DeFurio. Hers was easily the most SoCal project I viewed over the weekend, as Alexandra photographs LA-Area bougainvillea in the bright sunlight.

Damn, seriously, look at those skies. That’s the California Dream right there.

I thought her photos were excellent, and suggested that as the work continued, I’d recommend some variance within her light palette, as the mid-day super-bright sun might be nicely complimented by some slight (or drastic) changes in mood and color.

Regardless, its the perfect project to end on today, as it’s cold, wet and gray here on September 20, the first real day of Autumn in New Mexico.

The Art of the Personal Project: Bonnie Holland

- - 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 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: Bonnie Holland

I’ve always considered myself to be a good writer.  In fact, in college I even got an A in creative writing.  But with this story series I experienced writers block for the first time and I’m not sure why.  It took awhile, but I think I’ve figured out why.   You see, all of my work is playful, creative and very colorful, even the editorials where I’ve “toned” it down.   My work is optimistic and designed for pure pleasure like a bowl of good ice cream with chocolate chips.  I seek to find and put under a magnifying glass the silver linings in life. Does that make me a Pollyanna? Maybe, and maybe I am.  I always felt a certain inadequacy with my work that it was all fluff and had no substance.  Like cotton candy, too sweet and bad for your teeth to boot.   War journalists…. now there was a group of photographers that had purpose, mattered and reminded us of the very real horrors in life.  Not only that, but they risked their very lives to do it.   How could I compete with that?  I almost quit….. almost.

This story was a personal turning point in my photography career and helped me define what inspiration is.  This was the first story that did not spark from daydreams and imagination.  It evolved from a phone call.   My dear friend Marlene was diagnosed with cancer.  Very bad cancer.   The kind that starts the phone call with, “are you sitting down?”  And I felt awful, helpless and devastated.  I wanted to do something, anything…. I wanted to fix her but I couldn’t.  So many emotions…. like a war zone.

My gift to her was a visual story of hope, optimism and the beautiful things in life worth fighting for.  We’ll put the best things in life under a microscope and as she always says, “think good and it will be good”.  She is the physical manifestation of my work… she is happy, optimistic and a fighter. And she has been winning for over 5 years now and going strong.

Her gift to me was vision:  To be able to see my work as a whip or shield against the darkness in life.   Part of problem solving is not only identification but also creating a path toward resolution or the end goal.  I’d like to optimistically believe that our world is moving toward a kinder more inclusive tolerant end goal and put that under a microscope along with Marlene’s beautiful life.

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 @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

 

The Daily Edit – Los Angeles Magazine: Steven Simko

- - The Daily Edit

 

Los Angeles Magazine

Design Director: Steven Banks
Photographer: Steven Simko

Heidi: What was the cover direction?
Steven: The cover brief was “LA’s most iconic places for tourists to be locals ” so Steven Banks (design director LA mag) came up with the concept of photographing a model at the Paul Smith Wall on Melrose #paulsmithpinkwall

Is the cover a painted set?
I scouted the location the day before in the morning and then in the afternoon using the iPhone app LightTrac to figure out the Sun’s best timing for a deep shadow off the model on to the ground (this detail was the most important to Steven’s design).

did you simply tell her to jump? what type of direction did you give her?
We were very fortunate that Kari Michelle (model) used to do the long jump in High School but this was the direction I gave her as seen in this  BTS shot …pretty good jump right ?

Is that the sun or a did you light this? is that her true shadow on the wall?
With the sun’s optimal light between 4:00- 5:30PM the PS store gave us an hour to shoot. We shout non tethered on a Leica Sl with 24-90mm 1/1250 at  f/ 4.5 ISO 100

Did you need a permit, was there a crowd since it’s so iconic?
Yes, we needed an LA city permit. There was a ongoing crowd of selfie takers at one end of the wall but Paul Smith was nice enough to
give us our own section to shoot against away from  the crowd. It worked out perfect for everyone.”

What was the fashion story direction?
The Fall Fashion Story brief was based around a mood board of the clothes that style director Linda Immediato pulled for this shoot. We were able to find a perfect Mid Century Modern location on Peerspace.com

How many looks did you shoot?
We needed (12) shots ended up shooting (13), the model needed to be ready at 12:00 PM that would give us (2) shots per hour.

With such a tight schedule we shot non tethered on a Leica SL with a 24-90mm & 90-280mm  lenses  1/30-1/500 f/2.8 ISO 200 with daylight except for the first and last shots we had a Mole Richardson Senior LED Daylite Fresnel for fill.

What are the benefits on shooting tethered, what are the cons?
The benefits to shooting directly to card are speed. We needed to be in and out quickly from the location so we did a few tethered tests to confirm the exposure / shadows / model placement in the frame. Steven Banks and I felt like we had it; we unhooked the cable and shot three outfit changes

The Daily Promo – Ashley Thompson & Ana Homonnay

- - The Daily Promo


Thompson And Homonnay

Who printed it?
Anthony Wright at AW Litho. This was our first time working with Anthony, and he was an absolute dream to work with. He was so kind and so incredibly easy going, plus he did such a beautiful job. We will undoubtedly be calling on him again to work with us on our next promo.

Who designed it?
George McCalman. Ah-mazing. We feel so very lucky to have been able to collaborate with George on this promo. He is incredibly insightful and so good at what he does. He is the perfect mixture of being very direct and truly supportive in exactly the same moment. We love everything he does and hope to work with him again in the near future.

Tell me about the images?
With this promo, we really wanted to showcase our kids and teens work. The majority of the images are a collection from our personal work. Test shooting has always been one of the most important tools for us because it gives us the freedom to challenge ourselves, push our boundaries and to be fearless of making mistakes. The images we chose for this promo really reflect who we are as a duo, with our aim to create images that emotionally connect people with childhood and adolescent memories and/or the nostalgia of time.

How many did you make?
We did a run of 500 copies.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Normally we try and send two per year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, especially when they lead us to in-person meetings. This is where we feel like the magic happens and we get to shine, where the client gets to know us as a duo, and learns about our process and how we work on set. Promos are also a way to leave a beautiful little piece of us behind.

This Week in Photography Books: Tod Seelie

- - Photography Books

 

Last week, I told my parents to fuck off on their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
(Metaphorically, not literally.)

It was not my proudest moment, and I admit it looks bad upon the surface.

But there was more to it than all that, and it just so happened I reached my breaking point on a ceremonially important day.

C’est la vie.

We can’t control the way life plays out, and normally the most we can control is our own reaction to the hand we’re dealt. (Even then, it can be difficult.)

I never planned to have a weekly column here at APE for the last seven years, but that’s what’s transpired. I’ve been reviewing photobooks, and sharing my life story with you guys each week since I was 37 years old. (Back when I had a wife, a mortgage, and a toddler in the eye-teeth of the Great Recession.)

Yes, folks, we’ve made it to the anniversary column, as it all began in mid-September of 2011.

Now I’m 44, and I’ve got a wife, two kids, (6 and almost 11,) a refinanced mortgage, two car payments, a new photo retreat, and a global platform here, at the New York Times, and through my artwork, which has been seen by many.

Though I keep banging away at the keyboard, the person doing the tapping is essentially different from the guy who began here seven years ago.

All my cells have turned over, as have yours. (If you’ve been reading the entire time: a group that likely includes Rob, my wife, and the father I just pissed off at the beginning of this column.)

One way I know I’m different is that things that used to bother me, or make me insecure, no longer do.

As I grew up relatively-suburban-normal, by the time I embraced my inner artist/party-guy/cool kid, I never thought I was part of the most-in-crowd.

Even when I moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to go to Pratt in 2002, and had an underground gallery called BQE33 in my apartment, (along with the requisite hipster late-night-jammers,) I still thought the real players in the art world were well-protected by a velvet rope I would never cross.

Rich Kids.
Yalies.
Aristocrats.
And of course the “Beautiful Losers.”

I shared my story of Ryan McGinley-envy here in a column years ago, and won’t dredge it up again. (I probably re-mentioned it while critiquing Mike Brodie a few years later.)

Rest assured, no matter how cool I thought I was over the years, that type of artist, (or crowd,) definitely brought out my insecurities.

Nowadays, as grounded as I’ve ever been, that stuff simply doesn’t rattle me anymore.

Not one bit.

I see cool in a different way. It’s being truly comfortable in your skin, owning who you are, and treating everyone with respect until they prove they don’t deserve it.

Hell, just yesterday, I was watching “The Great Escape” for the first time. You’ve got to disqualify James Coburn and Charles Bronson, for the ridiculous accents they were forced to adopt, but DAMN, James Garner and Steve McQueen were so goddamn cool I almost became a bi-sexual.

Afterwards, I hit up Wikipedia and learned that McQueen had been in juvie, street gangs, the military, and military jail. And that he was in the saddle for those amazing motorcycle scenes.

Garner too had fought for his country, and been wounded, so both guys radiated their inner confidence onscreen, and it impressed me well after they’d passed away. (Reading they were both lifelong stoners was a pleasant surprise as well.)

Where does this all leave us?
Will I ever get to the book review?

Of course.
Glad you asked.

Today, I’m breaking with our pattern of male/female to show a book that is bang-on perfect for my musings, and also because the review is painfully late.

I normally keep proper track of my book stack, and get to everything within an appropriate amount of time, but somehow I lost Tod Seelie’s excellent “Bright Nights: Photographs of Another New York,” by Prestel, that he sent me back in January. (Apologies, Tod.)

My mistake was everyone’s gain, though, as this book fits squarely in the sweet spot of things I crave for a review. It gives us an insider’s view into several, (not just one,) subcultures we would not otherwise access, it’s extremely well done, and also represents a time and place in a seminal way.

(Add in the fact that I’ve probably reviewed more photobooks about NYC than any other subject, and you hit the trifecta.)

Coincidentally, given that I wrote about my time at Pratt last week, (before I found this book,) apparently Tod and his artist/hipster buddies were at Pratt the same time I was, in the early days of the new millennium.

I’m guessing they were young undergrads, and I was already a serious, near-30-something graduate student with a live-in girlfriend, but still. Same school. Same Brooklyn. Same overall life goal. (Become a successful artist, I’m guessing.)

As the photos in this book imply, (and the copious essays by art-world-insiders back up,) Tod Seelie and his friends are in the biggest museum collections. A band that existed at my own art school, Japanther, (of which I still hadn’t heard until today,) apparently was in a Whitney Biennial, the mother of all insider blessings.

And as I looked at these excellent, cool photographs, I didn’t feel jealous. Or unworthy.

No single dose of envy popped up.

The very kids who used to drive me crazy, who got the acclaim the young-me craved so badly, and all I could think was, “Great book.”

I admit, the Gen-X’er in me did roll my eyes at the requisite hot naked chicks, (as always, Boobs Sell Books,) but beyond that, I found it comprehensive and joyous.

These art-school kids, and bike-riding kids, and music-playing kids, all had a shit-ton of fun during the 11 or so years these pictures were made. (They seem to stop in 2012, around Hurricane Sandy.)

Tod Seelie sent me this book at the turn of 2018, and but it didn’t register in the moment. I’m glad it waited until today, because last week’s closing wish was that you get out there and have some fun this September.

I know there are a lot of you facing serious storm issues, so you have my very best wishes, (New Yorkers included,) but I’ll end today by suggesting that we all have growing left to do, no matter how old we are.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Bottom Line: Awesome, comprehensive look at the Beautiful Losers

To purchase “Bright Nights,” click here 

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me directly at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in books by female photographers, so we may maintain a balanced program. 

The Art of the Personal Project: Eric Espino

- - 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 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:  Eric Espino

Artist Statement: “La Bodega” – The lost soul of a neighborhood

Around NYC we have noticed more and more Hispanic “bodega” markets disappearing, one of the major aspects making up the diversity within the 5 boroughs. Every bodega is a major key in Hispanic or urban area neighborhoods catering to the needs of the poor and working class. It is a major staple within the Hispanic culture that is, unfortunately, being driven out due to the “New” New York gentrification conditions and standards we have experienced over the last 10-15 years or so.

Our homes and neighborhoods are changing and are no longer affordable. Bodegas have always been the place to go to for the last minute ingredients to your home-cooked meal- to be the place where you always receive a warm welcome- to always having a place to be around the people you’re most connected to; no matter the color, race or religion, but most of all a place we all knew as “La Bodega”.

This was my home. We are the face of a born and raised NYC culture that will never be forgotten. – La Bodega

 

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 @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Testimonial Video for Camera Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Video interview of a photographer and a retoucher

Licensing: Web Collateral use in perpetuity

Photographer: Portrait and fashion specialist

Client: Photographic equipment and software company

Here is the estimate:

image of the photographic estimate for a video interview of a photographer and retoucher

Director/Talent Fee: In addition to a successful career in commercial photography, the photographer was well known in the education community, and was a brand ambassador for a handful of equipment manufacturers. One of the companies he frequently collaborated with was designing a website for a new product and wanted to feature a video of the photographer and his retoucher talking about the product on the landing page. The photographer would direct the video, and would also be the on-camera talent along with his retoucher. The fee needed to take into account the photographer’s directorial input, along with a fee for them to use his likeness, as well as a usage fee. I started at $3,000 for a director fee and added $2,000 to account for both the licensing and the usage of his likeness. I had wanted to add a bit more to the licensing/talent fee, however, based on other similar projects the photographer had worked on, and his relationship with this brand, I felt that $5,000 would likely be the maximum fee palatable for this client.

Retoucher Talent Fee, Travel Days and Travel Expenses: In addition to a talent fee of $1,000 (which the photographer knew would be acceptable to his retoucher, and not far off from what we’d expect to pay as a “real people” talent rate), we included two travel days since the retoucher was based in a different city and would need to travel in for the project. Airfare, lodging, and car rental expenses were based on research, and I included $75/day for meals while traveling.

Studio Rental: The photographer owned his own studio, and we charged a modest rate for its use.

DP/Videographer: While the photographer was certainly capable of shooting this kind of project, he’d be the on-camera talent, and couldn’t do both at the same time. We included this fee to bring on another person to film the testimonial. This person, along with the help of his assistant would also help capture audio.

Grip/Assistant: We included an assistant to lend a hand on set with equipment, audio, and other miscellaneous tasks.

Equipment: The photographer owned all the gear needed for the project, and we charged appropriately for its use.

Meals, Production Supplies, Misc.: I include $50/person for meals, plus $100 for misc. unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Video Editing: We knew that the client wanted two separate videos, each twenty seconds in length. Other than length, the exact parameters were vague at the time of estimating so we erred on the side of caution and included $2,000 to cover 2 days of the photographer’s and retoucher’s time to collaborate on the edit together.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

Hindsight: Given how quickly the project was awarded, I do wonder if we could have aimed a bit higher on either the fees or overall bottom line.

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 – The Sunday Times Magazine (London) : Joe Pugliese

- - The Daily Edit

The Sunday Times Magazine (London)

Picture Editor: Russ O’Connell
Photographer: Joe Pugliese

Heidi: Do you shoot and talk more often than not?
As I get further into my career my process has become more relaxed and personal. I like to connect with the subject through conversation before we start shooting, regardless of time constraints. I also like to read the mood and make sure I’m not pushing for something that the subject might not be feeling. It’s incremental, I start with safe and low impact setups and move into the looks that require more participation from the subject once I feel like we’re in a groove.

What did you talk about on set?
Since I knew that the piece was going to focus on his residency in LA as a jazz pianist, I asked him about what kind of music he likes to listen to (in general and during photo shoots) – of course he had a great suggestion and it was played on repeat, at his request. Then he and I had an amusing conversation about my name in which he proceeded to pronounce it with varying intonations as I photographed him. It was funny but not goofy, and he offered a lot of different gestures and expressions as he did that. I felt it was a way into him feeling comfortable enough to be slightly but not overly performative.

What was it about your name that amused him?
I think he enjoyed riffing on the idea of it being pronounced so many different ways. He slipped into that suave persona of his and almost sang the name over and over. I didn’t direct him much as he did this, I could tell it may have been a method for him to loosen up and get into giving me such expressive moments (especially with his hands)

I would imagine each session teaches you something different, what did you learn or take note of on this one.
I learn something about myself each time, each shoot is like a sign post marking a moment of my career- so I pay attention to things like how anxious or relaxed I am going into the shoot, how my expectations match the client’s, as well as the subjects’ expectations, and how I manage to satisfy all of those demands with the imagery. For some reason I was extremely comfortable with this shoot, despite it being a new client and a subject I had never met. I trusted that the magazine wanted me to have creative freedom and I thought that Jeff would play along, which he did. My takeaway was that despite my comfort level being perhaps higher than normal, I still had to approach the shoot with empathy and respect for the subject- because I just didn’t know if he would be willing to participate on the day. The plan is always to read the subject’s mood and react accordingly. It’s the only way to truly record what the sitter is giving the photographer.

When you say you read a person what is your shortlist of lets say three to five cues.
First and foremost, a willingness to be present and collaborative. This can be read as, are they rushed? Do they not feel the need to introduce themselves or be introduced? Are they not interested in conversation? If so, it’s not really a problem, it’s my job to react to that in a positive way and lean into being a director, making it easy for the person to understand what it is I’m looking to achieve. I first really learned this when I photographed Steve Jobs. I tried to have a very brief conversation and he just looked right in my eyes and said, “What would you like me to do?” I showed him the three looks I had set up and walked him from position to position. He did everything I asked and was on his way in a few minutes, and I was able to record his intensity in the images because of how he presented himself to me.

When I do get the feeling that someone is nervous, excited, or both, I try to describe to them what I’d like to accomplish on the shoot so they don’t feel like I’m surprising or tricking them. Trust is everything and there are some quick ways to show a subject that you can be trusted that really help the dynamic.

How did you prepare for this assignment?
For this shoot, being that Mr. Goldblum has enjoyed a long and storied career, I specifically did not do any image research on him. I generally don’t do any research on subjects that I already have an idea how they look, mostly to avoid being trapped in a visual reference created by someone else. Since my background is in photojournalism, I want to bring that reactive and responsive approach to portraiture. It helps me to be more open to understanding the personality of the subject if I haven’t seen too much imagery of them already.

Are you switching cameras and /shooting film and digital?
I shoot with medium format digital cameras for the studio looks, which are slower and more deliberate than my 35mm cameras. If the pace of the shoot outmatches the medium format, I always have a 35mm camera ready to go for some of the reportage-style images I like to get. The smaller format is also a nice way to change up the energy if things are feeling static. It’s nice to burn through a bunch of frames with 35mm and then go back to the more thoughtful pace of the big portrait camera.

The Daily Promo – Allison Michael Orenstein

- - The Daily Promo

Allison Michael Orenstein

Who printed it?
Smartpress

Who designed it?
Weston Bingham, an amazing Creative Director I met while shooting multiple assignments for his visionary East Village Boys project. We also worked together for a Knoll campaign. I regularly consult with Nancy Jo Iacoi for image selection. Collaborating and bringing in experts in design and editing are important to my promo process.

Our inspiration for the volumes are catalogs from photography exhibitions.

Tell me about the images?
This second volume 02:Fame focuses on my celebrity work. The majority of photographs were shot for various editorial clients. The different volumes are to showcase my ability to capture real moments with any subject from performers to celebrities to real people.

How many did you make?
600

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the 2nd round of promos I’ve sent this year. The first volume 01:Mixtape launched in February. (And 03 is in the making!)

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes definitely. It’s important to promote from every angle. Printed work gives clients the tactile experience of holding a photograph in their hands, turning pages, seeing the images come alive in print. And it’s easy for them to pin up and remember me for the right project!

And…. from 01:Mixtape I signed with my agent Jennifer Hutz. We are launching early September jenniferhutz.com

This Week in Photography Books: Ron Koeberer

 

I almost cut off my thumb in 2001.

It’s true.

I was making dinner for my girlfriend, and almost sliced it off on the jagged-lid of a Muir Glen tomato can. (Sorry for putting that visual in your head.)

After the blood spurted on the wall, and after I called my landlord who told me to go to the hospital, and after I almost got driven across the city by a couple of drunk-guys, luckily, Jessie got home and drove me the half-mile to the closest ER.

It’s 2018 now, and I’m only just getting my range of motion back in my hand, after the surgery.

Most of us know it’s the difficult times in life that make us better and stronger. We grow though challenges, even though most people will go pretty far out of their way to take the easy route.

(Go with me here.)

I never, ever would have chosen to almost cut off my thumb. But doing so meant that I had to defer graduate school a year, and move to NYC in the summer of 2002. (Rather than July 2001, if you catch my drift. 9/11.)

Not only that, but Jessie told me she wasn’t ready to move in 2001, (even though she’d previously agreed to go if I got into art school,) so had I not sliced through my thumb-flesh, I would have been forced to choose between my education and my girlfriend. (Now wife.)

Instead, we both stayed on in San Francisco another year, and then went East to get bitch-slapped by Gotham City for three years. (Again, growth through difficulty.)

In retrospect, from the vantage point of a 44 year old with two kids and a mortgage, those years when Jessie and I were in our 20’s, carefree, partying late into the right, relaxing on beautiful beaches each weekend… it seems pretty quaint.

We used to drive around the Bay Area all the time, and one favorite spot in particular was Guerneville, on the Russian River.

Everyone has a favorite California spot, (or two, or three,) but Western Sonoma County was always high on my list. Green hills in winter, golden colored in summer, with the winding Russian River valley cut with vineyards.

I haven’t been there in ages, but I’m pretty sure it’s the kind of place that was a raging inferno this summer, due to wildfires.

Or was it last summer? Or next summer?

Dealing with mega-fires will obviously become the new normal out in the Golden State, but people will continue to move there because the economy offers opportunity, the nature and culture are world-class, and the weather is impossible to beat.

The California lifestyle is as good as it gets, (minus traffic and pollution,) if you can afford it.

Today’s book embodies that glossy, shiny California dream almost perfectly. And it allows me to get out of my comfort zone, (something I’m always preaching about,) by showing the kind of book I rarely review.

Almost always, I review fine art and documentary photography books by established publishers.

Almost always.

Sometimes, I review self-published publications that look like they were made by established publishers.

But rarely, almost never, do I review self-published photo books that look like something my uncle made to give to his stock-broker clients as a present at Christmas. (Sorry, Uncle Keith. Hate to through you under the bus.)

Rarely, but not never.

When we became a submission-based column a couple of years ago, I was essentially agreeing to look at what you send me, and write from this selection. (Of course PR agents do offer me books, and I can’t write about everything.)

But I felt it meant I needed to be willing to write about things that didn’t fit my normal set of expectations.

Like “View from a Bridge, photography by Ron Koeberer: The Russian River, Monte Rio, California, USA.”

Ron tucked a letter into the front cover, so I read it first, in lieu of any statement or foreword. Apparently, he’s a commercial photographer who shoots for film, tv and stock. The book is a collection of images from a personal project he does for fun.

The colors and flattening of the picture plane scream hyper-digital, and some of the crops made the photo professor in me want to stick cocktail toothpicks into my eye-sockets.

But I kept turning the pages.

I won’t keep you in suspense here, nor will I make poor Ron think that I’ve chosen to review his book only to be snarky and ironic.

I like this book.
It’s fun.

And that’s the one part of the art-making process that should be absolutely necessary, on some level at least, but that often gets lost in our sense of mission, or journalism, or commercial profiteering.

Making art, whether you’re cooking, knitting, drawing, taking pictures, making videos, or songs, should be an inherently creative, positive experience for the maker.

Hell, even people who dredge up their worst bits for their work still benefit, because we feel better once the basement is clean of those nasty cobwebs.

I wanted to show this book today because this column is a part of my art-making process. You guys know I’ll show up here each week, each year, and that I’m trying to stay sharp for you. (If this place gets boring, there won’t be a place.)

You dig?

So today, one week after I froze you out with some winter hunting, let’s use Ron Koeberer’s book inspire us all to get out there this month, while the weather is good EVERYWHERE, and enjoy ourselves.

Bottom Line: Cool, fun, personal project about the California good life

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We currently have a several month backlog, and are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers. 

The Art of the Personal Project: Mike Smolowe

- - 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 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:  Mike Smolowe

My name is Mike Smolowe and I am a commercial lifestyle photographer in Los Angeles.  I have always been drawn to animals and even went to school to be a vet in a past life.  I am a people photographer by trade, but after having my eyes opened to the incredible number of dogs being euthanized in shelters daily, I knew I had to get out of my comfort zone and do what I could as a photographer to help.

A little over a year ago I began a project photographing homeless dogs in shelters and rescues agencies across Los Angeles and posting them on an Instagram account along with their name, breed, and personality traits( @rescuesoflosangeles).   Approximately 3,287 dogs are euthanized in the United States each day due to minimal space in shelters and a lack of outward-facing advocacy for adoptable pets to the public.  The goal of Rescues of Los Angeles is to get these unfortunate pups a better chance at being seen and adopted.

Sometimes it’s hard to see a dog’s true personality through the cage in a loud, scary shelter environment.  By photographing each adoptable dog intimately, I want to help give them a chance to show off who they really are.  A goofy smile, droopy ear or sparkle in the eye of a happy dog may not be so obvious behind the bars of a cage surrounded by other barking dogs. This project started as a way to help show off the good side of those without a voice of their own.  Working with local shelters, fosters, and advocates,  we photograph as many pooches as possible and hope to get the word(and photos) out there that shelter pets are just as loving, entertaining, and beautiful as animals from anywhere else.

Please follow us!

@rescuesoflosangeles

www.rescuesoflosangeles.com

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 @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

 

The Daily Promo – KC McGinnis

- - The Daily Promo

KC McGinnis

Who printed it?
Smartpress, in Minneapolis.

Who designed it?
Peter Dennen helped me come up with the edit, and Kallen Hawkinson in Portland, Oregon designed the back.

Tell me about the images?
These images are from a range of editorial assignments and personal projects I shot over the last year or so. While I would like for my next promo to be based around a single shoot or story, for this one I wanted to put together something memorable with a consistent style. Spiderman came out of a Comic-Con shoot for a local paper, and the hairdryer guy is from a Christian metal festival I photographed last summer. The TV is from the waiting room of a tiny Carmelite monastery I was photographing here in Iowa, where I’m based.

How many did you make?
100. I sent about 75 to agencies and the rest to current and prospective assignment editors.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I’d like to be sending out three or four a year, in conjunction with an email newsletter.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I do, but I don’t expect any work to come my way just because I sent a promo. I think print, email, phone calls, and in-person networking are all part of the process.

The Daily Edit – Mother Jones: Zach Gross

- - The Daily Edit

Mother Jones

Creative Director: Carolyn Perot
Art Director: Adam Vieyra
Photo Editor: Mark Murrmann
Photographer:
Zach Gross

Did the magazine ask you for this treatment or did you put it forward as an idea?
I’ve been wanting to shoot more double exposures editorially and Mark suggested that could be a good way to go for these and he was supportive of me exploring that direction.

Is the overlay directly related to each person in the portrait?
Yes I used bills and paperwork as well as a photograph that the last subject took of the boarder wall between Mexico and the USA, she represented unocompanied minors in immigration cases in her previous job. Also she had napkin art she saved with beautiful messages from kids and families thanking her for helping them…I asked her to read them and she translated from Spanish, the messages were so beautiful and heart warming, there are hints of a message from one of the letters between the slats in the wall.

Where did that overlay content come from?
I talked to each subject on the phone before the shoots so I could hear their stories and experiences to get a clearer impression of how I would photographing them and to find out what the overlays might be. I asked them to send me some paper work and bills and I printed them out on plastic transparencies. I also asked them to set aside any other objects they have that was connected to their experiences.

How did you direct the subjects during the portrait sessions?
My approach really depends on the subject. I definitely have preconceived ideas and directions for the types of images that I’m looking for…but the subjects individuality play heavily on the final images. The way I shoot is a collaboration. I want to get to a place where they feel comfortable…and I want them to participate.

This Week in Photography Books: Clare Benson

 

Autumn comes early in the mountains.

It’s true.

The East Coast may be boiling under a late-August heat wave, but my next-door-neighbor’s trees are already turning yellow, and we had to add an extra blanket to the bed last night.

It always fucks with my head, realizing that late-August isn’t entirely summer around here.

But you get used to it.

One minute, you’re swimming in the Rio Grande river, sunning yourself on the rocky beach like an over-grown lizard, and then, just a few weeks later, you’re dreaming of ski season.

Sure, the knees will be another year older once you buckle up your boots, and the freezing cold might penetrate your bones a bit more each season, but that’s the way it works.

Fall follows summer, and winter comes next.

Unless and until the Earth’s weather patterns are well and truly screwed, (a likely future scenario, we’re told,) rural humans will follow the seasonal cycles, and repeat the habits they learned from their parents.

Out here in New Mexico, there are plenty of people who grew up hunting with their Dad, uncles and cousins. (Or maybe a Mom or an aunt?) It’s deeply engrained in the local Hispanic and Native American cultures, for sure, to the point that camo is an acceptable form of fashion in the local burrito joints around town.

Not surprisingly, there is not a massive overlap between the hunting/4-wheeling/fishing culture, and the more bougie, gringo pursuits like skiing, snowboarding, rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, etc.

Some, of course, but not much. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met someone from Taos who’s never skied before, but could chop down an Piñon tree and cut it up for firewood blindfolded.

(Not that I’d recommend anyone operate a chainsaw without looking. Very bad idea.)

This concept even made a recent New Yorker cover. (I only know because my son asked me to explain it.) As a first, I’ll photograph it so you can see what I mean.

As I told Theo, it’s all about the Two Americas, where people can worship the same mountains, and pledge allegiance to the same flag, but feel like their neighbors inhabit a different universe, if not a separate country.

As always, I’m on a rant for a reason, as I just put down the strange and cool “The Shepherd’s Daughter,” by Clare Benson, published last year by photolucida.

The Portland-based organization runs the photo world contest “Critical Mass,” (which I’m currently judging,) and its top prize is a published photo book. Ms. Benson won the 2015 competition, and the book turned up in the mail last year.

Because I was a judge, I was sent a copy of the book, so it ended up on my bookshelf, rather than in the submission pile. But as you know, I’m always looking for opportunities to highlight female photographers, so today, I pulled it down to take a look.

Ironically, Clare Benson seems to embody a hybrid of the exact dynamic I mentioned above. We met coincidentally in April, when she came to an artist talk I was giving in New York. It took place in a German beer hall in Queens, and she asked me all sorts of intelligent, very art-world questions about my work.

At some point, she mentioned that she’d studied photography at the prestigious program at University of Arizona, home to the Center for Creative Photography, and the Ansel Adams archive. So I took her for a city art person, out for a night of cheap German beer and good conversation. (The room was populated by Yalies and Columbia students/professors, so you can imagine the demographic I’m suggesting.)

Boy did I have Clare Benson wrong.

Or rather, like me, she seems to be an artist who can navigate the ivory towers and gritty streets, while still having a foot firmly planted in raw America.

To be clear, the most mountain-man thing I’ve ever done is chop off a deer’s paw, and I’ve never killed anything bigger than a mouse. (Though I have killed a lot of mice and flies.)

Clare Benson, so this book shows and tells us, comes from an actually hardcore family of hunters in Northern Michigan. If you’re not a fan of chopped up animal parts, you might not want to look at the images below.

The photographs appear to be staged, or created, rather than found, as Clare is featured in some of them, and there is a constructed vibe coming across. (The text confirms it.)

These are art photographs in documentary photography’s clothing.
(Is that too far a stretch for a pun?)

They’re cold, and structured. They feel like they’re real, in the sense that Clare’s connection to the land and culture comes through. But we also understand the function of the animals as still lives, almost: as talismanic markers of a world she knows, but doesn’t inhabit on a regular basis.

In the words of a (very) famous television show, (and a series of books that probably won’t be finished,) Winter is Coming.

I know it is.

There’s a chill in the air at daybreak, and according to my neighbor Morris Arellano, the elk have come down from the mountains already. (He told me this morning.)

Before you know it, the leaves will drop, the snow will arrive, and I’ll have a whole new host of problems to bitch to you about each week. (Freezing snot, clogged chimney, shoveling the driveway, etc.)

So for today, while some of you are still sweltering, I thought a cold, smart, original book was just what you needed. And if you want to eat some rabbit in Michigan this winter, now you know who to call.

Bottom Line: Spare, bleak, poetic book about winter hunting.

To purchase “The Shepherd’s Daughter” click here 

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers, so we may maintain a balanced program. 

The Art of the Personal Project: Agnes Lopez

- - 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 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:  Agnes Lopez

Over the past year I worked with filmmaker Eric Torres, directing a documentary about Filipino food and the Filipino chefs in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville has the largest Filipino population in the Southeast, yet Filipino foods are generally absent from the area’s culinary scene.

As a food photographer and a second-generation Filipino-American, I want the next generations of Filipino-Americans — and all food lovers! — to see and taste the rich and delicious culinary culture of the Philippines.

Our documentary, #MORETHANLUMPIA: JAX Filipino Chefs, is in the final stages of filming and will premiere in October at a special screening at the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville, Florida.

There is a global Filipino Food Movement taking place right now, and believe it is time for the city of Jacksonville to join it. We want people to see that our food is more than just lumpia and pancit, and that serious Filipino culinary talent is already here in some of the most revered kitchens in the region.

The JAX Filipino Chefs documentary is part of a larger campaign to highlight the incredibly skilled and accomplished Filipino chefs of Northeast Florida who are looking to share flavors and dishes from their backgrounds and imaginations, inspired by their culture, through events, pop-up dinners, social media, and community outreach.

You can see the teaser trailer for the documentary and read about the chefs at jaxfilipinochefs.com and @jaxfilipinochefs on Instagram.

James Victorino, Executive Pastry Chef, One Ocean Resort

Jojo Hernandez, Executive Sous Chef, The Florida Yacht Club

Leni Rose Magsino, Pastry Chef, Valley Smoke Restaurant

Melanie Cuartelon, Sous Chef, Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa

Rick Laughlin, Chef de Cuisine, Salt at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Wesley Nogueira, Executive Chef, Khloe’s Kitchen

To see more of this project, click here.

To attend one of their events, 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 @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

 

The Daily Promo – Keena

- - The Daily Promo

Keena

Who printed it?
AlphaGraphics in Golden, Colorado printed it. I had the hardest time finding a printer I could trust to get exactly what I was looking for. I’m slightly obsessed with getting the correct paper, the way the ink is absorbed, how the color reads and all of that, so finding a printer that really cared about the details was trickier than I’d thought. Also, the zine has a mix of color and black and white so it was important to find a printer that could keep their black and white images neutral, not skewed cyan or green. I’m glad I only had to go through the printer search once because it’s too much of a rollercoaster to get your hopes up to see your work printed like you imagined it and then have your heart broken over and over.

Who designed it?
I designed it myself. Art buyers get sooo many mailers these days, and they’re all SO good, so it’s definitely a challenge to stay out of the recycling bin, but I love it. It pretty much comes down to “What would I want to keep?”, so that’s what I strive to make. I just imagine a huge pile of mailers on someone’s desk and then figure out how to actually stand out from it. I do zines for all my promos and every one is different, but still the same size, so I dream about people keeping them all on a shelf somewhere. Design can also make or break the photos, so until I meet some rad designers I can trust, I’m still in charge of my own fate. I also love writing out words and drawing so these zines give me the chance to do some of that old-school hands-on work. I still spend hours with a pen and ink, writing words out over and over till they look just right.

Tell me about the images?
I had reached out to a stylist, Taura Deacon, when I was moving near her and we had really wanted to work together, but she was already in the process of moving away to Phoenix. So we stayed in touch and I ended up flying down to Arizona a few months later where her and her husband picked me up at the airport before midnight on Friday, we met for the first time, hung out, produced and shot all Saturday until midnight, and then I flew out at 5 am on Sunday morning. The whole idea behind this zine was exercising “teenage logic”. As a teenager, I remember so many ideas popping up into my head and then just rounding up my friends to go do them! Back then no one asked if it was a good idea, if it was cool, if it was safe, or if there were consequences, but we knew it would be FUN. I had put together a shot list and a location wish list and Taura street cast the people and found two dream locations- one for the day shots and a second with both a pool for skating AND a second pool for swimming for the night shots. The images are supposed to be very experiential feeling, like the viewer is at the party with their friends, not just watching it. Of course, it was a produced party, but I like to think that everyone partied as they normally would, and I was able to find the moments in there. The dirtbike shot has been a dream shot for a few years now so I’m beyond psyched to see it come to fruition. I also shot a lot of film and underwater housing for this, which is also a fun part of promos made from personal work. You get to bring out all the toys and be as creative as ever.

How many did you make?
This zine was a run of 350 total. A limited run of 200 to send out to specific people I’ve worked with or want to work with, and then I kept 150 for meetings and my library at the studio. They’ll all find a home eventually, but I believe in “less is more” for promos. I think each mailer should be intentional as to whose hands it ends up in.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
When work and life are in balance, I try to do two zines per year, but on busier years I’ll just do one because they definitely take a lot of time to plan, execute, design, print, and mail.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’m never positive on how effective they are, but I think that if I get one good job out of them, then at least I didn’t lose money on it. Plus art buyers get so many emails that I think printed pieces are something special if you put the time into them. Sometimes printed promos seem like screaming in the dark, but it seems common to go into meetings and have people tell me they still have my past zines, so that keeps me believing in them. These days it’s also important to show agencies that you’re creative beyond just using a camera, and printed promos are great for that because you have to inject some of your personality into it. I’m always super inspired when I see other photographer’s killer promos so I constantly feel the burn to try to make something rad as well.

All business numbers and returns aside, mailers are super important for me to get out for me to feel creatively balanced. I’ve always loved photo zines and photo books since I was a kid, so now I have the photos to really fill out a zine and the resources to get them printed exactly how I would want to, how could I not? We’re living in such a digital world now and I grew up on analog when everything was handmade and hand printed, so it’s healthy for my creative brain to get my photos off the screen and into someone’s hands. If the internet died tomorrow, I’d still have zines out there with my photos in them, and for some reason, that feels comforting. I always hope that the types of agencies and producers that I’d want to work with still appreciate the process and the tactile feel of getting a zine on their desk, the weight of the paper, and the story behind it. If I was only shooting for money and never for fun, I would definitely burn out on photography as a career. Seeing people’s reactions to the zine always makes it worth to me and having a promo with a good story behind it also sparks some awesome conversations when doing meetings! I’ve already got the next two zines in the design phase and I never want to be predictable as a photographer, so they’re all different subject matter, but shot and designed to have my look to them. It’s a never-ending cycle of dreaming and making but it keeps me so excited about shooting and creating that I would never stop doing promos.

The Daily Edit – Santa Barbara Magazine: Peter Amend

- - The Daily Edit

Santa Barbara Magazine

Creative Consultant: James Timmins
Photographer:
Peter Amend

Heidi: How many days was your road trip?  
Peter:We spent about three days together on the road – which gave us time to enjoy the trip and not feel rushed or stressed out when the weather or light wasn’t right. Also – because we had plenty of time, it felt more like a ‘trip’ than a ‘shoot’, which always translates to a more authentic story and experience. Eryns boyfriend Michael accompanied too – bringing some good vibes to the mix as well.

Did you have a shot list or was the shoot more organic? 
I try to avoid having a shot list, whenever possible. We certainly had a moodboard of themes and styles we were hoping for – but there were few ‘shots’ that had been pre produced. I like to think that my production style involves 50% preparation, and 50% magic. I don’t like to be so pigeonholed into a location or ‘shot list’, that you lose the ability to float on the freedom of inspiration.

Did you also drive in a vintage rig?
Firstly, the vans from Dustie Wagens are sweet – you can have your own Volkswagen experience by renting them locally in SB, without having to own and maintain one.  But my ‘home base’ on the road consists of a 2011 Toyota Tacoma, with a camper shell & rooftop tent. Because most of my work revolves around remote locations, it’s really important to me to have a reliable rig for transportation, gear storage, and sleeping quarters. I’ll always have a soft spot for vintage vans – my first two vehicles were VW’s – but as any owner knows, you’re gonna need a tow truck company on speed dial. And that’s not an idea I can comfortably rely on – especially when a job is on the line.  Thankfully, we had it available to yank the van once it stalled out and starter died on a three-point turn on a windy road.

How many hours per day did you spend with Eryn? 
Aside from sleeping, we were together the entire trip! It’s really important for me to work with subjects that are not only talented and photogenic – but also genuinely enjoyable humans. Much of what I love to photograph revolves around human interactions with nature – and it’s important for me to have a relational connection based on trust and friendship.

Did you and she discuss the plans for the day and they figure out the key shots? 
We had a rough idea of what the day looked like as far as locations, and potential shots – although some of my favorite images were when we pulled over on a side road after seeing a poppy-covered hillside, perfectly matching the color of the VW. These kind of things can’t be planned – so that flexibility is important.

Did you have shots figured out in your mind before you started? 
One of my favorites was Eryn carving on her skateboard in front of the VW van that turned out just like we had hoped. There were a few images I had in mind that didn’t make the spread – a portrait of Eryn on her longboard in front of a gloomy gray Santa Barbara fog bank, and another of Michael throwing up a ‘shaka’ from underwater. Sometimes you imagine a photo and it turns out just like you saw it in your imagination – those moments are what gives you a lot of satisfaction as a photographer – aligning the technical ability with the imaginative forecast and creative preparation.

Did you have an assistant or was it just you?
I find that having an assistant is a huge distraction – so nope, it was just me. As much as I’d love to have assistance with lighting scenarios, gear loadouts, or even someone to drive when I’m exhausted – I feel like having a small footprint translates well to the experience I try to provide the client.