Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit – “Aging Out” by Image Hoarders

- - The Daily Edit

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A group of LA based photographers and journalists joined together to create a project that would raise awareness and support for the young men and women of Los Angeles aging out of the foster care system.

This collaboration resulted in a book and exhibition called “Aging Out.” I had the pleasure of chatting with the photographers about the book and their collective.

 

 

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Aaron Fallon

Heidi: What drew you to this project?
Aaron Fallon: 
Around 2007 or 2008, I had seen a photo project with an accompanying story about young adults who had or were about to age out of the foster care system.  I cannot recall the details, but the idea itself impacted me in the sense that I tried to imagine myself at 19, 20, or 21 years old having to face the world on my own without support of family, without someone to turn to or somewhere to go.  And it seemed so overwhelming and scary.  We all need support and a little help sometimes and to be at that stage in life without guidance or support — would, at the very least, be extraordinarily difficult.  I wanted to start my own version of the project in Los Angeles.  It was a way to use photography outside of my normal channels in a manner that might help others. Although I had done some other pro bono projects through the Taproot Foundation previously, this would be a project that truly resonated with me and I could have a lot more involvement and oversight of the entire process.

The idea stayed with me, but it didn’t come to fruition until  several years later after the subject came up during a meeting with Maggie Soladay, (former photo editor of American Lawyer Magazine and Corporate Counsel Magazine), she had overseen a New York City version of a similar project and advised me about how to get things going.  She suggested finding an editor/producer/creative director to partner with.  Around the same time Coral Von Zumwalt had just put together a monthly meeting of sorts with several photographers in what would become the Image Hoarders.  I reached out to Jacqueline Lee to take on the Editor/Producer/Creative Director role and pitched the idea to the Image Hoarders.

Joan Allen: Our earliest group conversations discussed the importance of having ongoing personal projects. Each of us would discuss the project we were currently working on or a new one we wanted to start and we would encourage one another to make progress on them, those of us who actually had time to get theirs started would share their accomplishments during meetings and would ask for feedback. When Aaron proposed this project to the group, it was during this time and we unanimously jumped at the opportunity to work on a creative group personal project, especially one that would raise awareness for such an important cause. The only creative conversations we had involved creating “a day in the life of” each subject. I think all of our photography and visions mixed very well together for a photo-journalistic, photo essay, reportage feel.

Matt Harbicht: I liked that we would be bringing attention to a subject that typically went unnoticed.  We all had heard about this, but had never seen what life was like for people who have had this kind of childhood.

 

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Matt Hoover

 Matt Hoover: My passion is documentary photography, telling stories and meeting new people. One of the reasons I got into photography was to make a difference in my community or even the world if possible. This was an opportunity to tell a story of one persons life that might help others and bring awareness on what’s going on here in our own country.

Megan Miller: Aaron brought the idea and some information to our group.  Once he showed us the sheer number of children aging out here in LA each year, and that LA County had the most children in the system of any county in the country, I think we all realized that something was happening in our own community that we didn’t know enough about.  I wanted to learn more and then try and share that knowledge and awareness with others.

 

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Yuri Hasegawa

Yuri Hasegawa:  When this project came up, I was grieving heavily from the loss of my husband. My loss changed my entire life. My loss also changed me as a person, my perspective about life itself and affected me in both good and bad ways. One of the good changes after my loss is that I developed a desire to use my photography skills to help create something more meaningful in life, yet I had no clue about any specific idea or plan. Also, I was still too weak to feel “passion” to do anything more than keep living day by day. In a way, it was the most difficult time to think about a personal project on my own, even though I knew how much a new project would help me, after hearing about this, I immediately thought that this would be a great opportunity to be a part of a creative project and thought the timing was all happening for a reason. I liked the idea of having one project to work on with such an amazing collective of photographers (eventually to become the Image Hoarders) as a group collaboration.

Heidi: How did you find the subjects? Tell me about how you engaged with them and got them to open up?

Aaron: Joan Allen introduced us to the Alliance for Children’s Rights here in Los Angeles.  The Alliance reached out to many of the Foster Youth they work with and put us in contact with those that were interested in being a part of it.  Jacquie and I sorted through the potential subjects and tried to make sure we would be covering a broad spectrum of subjects and stories.

For both of my shoots, I met the subjects at their apartment and made sure we both allotted enough time to pretty much spend the day (afternoon) together.  To me, this approach was best, as I could meet them in their own environment and without any particular time or location restrictions.  We  would sit and chat for a while. They’d tell me their story.  I’d tell them about myself and the project.  And then eventually we’d get around to creating some photos.

My first shoot was just Ernesto and myself.  And the longer we chatted and then shot together, the more I learned about him.  We went to lunch as well, and I shot some stuff with him in his neighborhood and at his favorite local restaurant.

My second shoot with Chardea, was in tandem with the writer. I let the writer do her thing first and I sat and listened.  And after I chatted with Chardea.  And took a similar approach as my first shoot.  And we went to lunch as well.

 

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Coral Von Zumwalt

Coral: Most of the subjects were brought to us through the Alliance for Children’s Rights which is an organization that serves as an advocate for foster kids and at-risk youth.  However, one of my subjects, Cody, and I were brought together via a personal connection.  My cousin worked with him years earlier as a childcare counselor at his group home.  She knew his story was powerful and was impressed with how he had taken control over his life at the time.

With my subject, LaKendrea, I had the luxury of time which helps immensely when you are trying to connect with a subject.  Over the course of three different days together, she became comfortable enough with my presence that I could just tag along and blend into the background as she lived her life.  She allowed me to document her while she went about every day tasks like caring for her son, giving rides to her friends, visiting with her family, and potentially life-changing events like searching for an apartment and trying to convince a landlord to rent to her.

I also strive to have an empathetic ear, and I hope that comes across when I am with my subject.  Being a good listener goes a long way toward helping anyone open up, and it holds true for subjects as well.

Lastly, it always helps to establish common ground between oneself and one’s subjects.  Both of my subjects, for instance, are parents of young children.  As a parent of young kids myself, we could share the universal joys and challenges that come with parenthood.  There was also a period of time in my childhood when my mother was having troubles and a social worker had to intervene.  I didn’t experience even one iota of what LaKendra or Cody went through, but there was a touchstone there I could go back to and it was easy to put myself in their shoes and understand them.

Joan: I was mentioning our book project to a dear friend of mine and at the time I had no idea she was independently highly involved and passionate about this cause on her own. She had a relationship with a non-profit organization who helps these young adults learn life and job skills to increase their chances of survival. She introduced me to a wonderful subject who ended up being one of the people I photographed and also to Alliance for Children’s Rights. We had a meeting with them and to my knowledge, most or all of the other subjects were introduced to us through the Alliance. My friend really helped us get the project off the ground in the beginning and I am very thankful to her for that.

Matt:   Locking down people who came from troubled pasts was difficult.  Sometimes people would fall out of contact because they had switched homes or had other trouble.  Some just fell out of contact completely.

Matt Hoover: Most of the time meeting someone new to photograph I like to sit down and introduce myself. Tell them where I’m from and what I’m doing. I like to listen to my subjects and here what they are doing, what’s going on in their life, etc… You can’t rush it, you have to sit down and take your time, get to know the person your going to photograph. No one is going to open up and feel comfortable around someone new who shoves a camera in their face. You have to gain trust first then let moments unfold in front of you.
I also like to use humor when meeting someone new, whether it be for a project or just out and about in the world.

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Megan Miller

Megan: To get to know who I was photographing I just made sure to have a real, full conversation with them before I ever even took the camera out.  The great thing about it being a personal project, is that you can spend as much time as you need.

 

Heidi: When you shoot something this emotionally complex, how to you prepare for the shoot if at all?

Coral:  Shooting stories like these are really refreshing actually because I feel I have to prepare less. Instead of agonizing, like I often do for my editorial and commercial shoots, over what type of equipment to use, what assistant and/or digital tech is available, is there budget for a producer, will the subject give me more than 15 minutes, etc., I instead just get to concentrate on the subject.  It is just me and my camera and the subject.  And because neither of the stories had been written for Cody or LaKendra before I shot them, I went in with minimal information and got to hear their story firsthand.

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Joan Allen

Joan: I don’t personally feel that I had to prepare any differently than I do with any other shoot. I just wanted to get to know these wonderful and strong peole and hear their stories. I asked to just hang out with them during normal daily routines, making dinner, etc. I didn’t just show up and grab my camera and go for it. I wasn’t in a hurry. I would meet and talk to my subjects and ask questions and just help them not think about it being a photo shoot until I sensed they were relaxed and I was just some regular friend hanging out in their living room. Then, when I was sure their guards were down, I would just keep talking but start taking photos as well. I did photography Lt. LaShanda Holmes for two separate days at the National Coast Guard at LAX Airport. Those shoot dates required being much more scheduled with our time, as, permission was needed for LaShanda to be part of the project, for me to be able to photograph at the Coast Guard, for me to be able to photograph the helicopters and her in uniform and for her specifically scheduled slots of time that needed approval.   Those days did not allow for the flexibility of just “hanging out” beforehand. 

* Joan Allen also shot the cover image.

 

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Matt Harbicht

Matt: You think about what’s important to illustrate this person’s story.  If you are in their homes, the first thing you notice is how bare they are.  Most of us have acquired an enormous amount of “stuff” throughout lives.  We all knew this going into our shoots so things like the emptiness of their environment would be something to focus on.  For many people the idea of their own place or home was integral to their story.  In my case I didn’t know what the situation was going to be, so I just ran with it.

Matt Hoover: I really try to think about what this person has gone through. What obstacles might have come into their life. What would I have done or felt if these things happened to me.
You can’t really prep for certain things because you have no idea what this person has gone through. You just need to listen and go with the flow.

The portraits are a deep reveal into ove coming so much in their lives, how hard was the edit and what were you looking for in the final select?

Aaron: In making final submissions I wanted to show a broad range about the person I was photographing. Yes, both of the people I photographed had pasts that would be considered emotionally heavy, but that doesn’t define either those people.  So, if I have an image that may be reflective or poignant and could be viewed to reference their past — great, but I also looked for lighter moments, or moments that show who that person is now.  And with both of my subjects we had fun moments during the shoot, so I wanted to make sure to include those as well.

Coral: I found it hard to edit because as I became closer to my subjects, LaKendra in particular because we spent more time together, I found I was editing out images that told a fuller story because I was acutely aware of her feelings and did not want to show any images that didn’t paint her in the best light.  As with many jobs, however, I went back a second and third time – each time trying to put on fresh eyes – and put forward, what I hope, is the most honest story possible.

Matt: I think I was looking for something that showed their strengths and a look at the struggle they had gone through.  We visited her old school as school was always the driving force in Jasmine’s life.  She showed me the Taco Bell she waited at for people from the Hollywood Youth Shelter to come get her.  Seeing these places that had little or no meaning to me were the driving force behind what changed her life.  It was powerful to walk those steps with her.

Megan: As far as what I was looking for to send to Jacqui, I was just trying to show the entire range of the person I had gotten to know.  The positive moments, the struggles. That’s difficult to do in just a few images, so I was just hoping for that to come through.

Yuri: I do feel that I had more of a tendency to be subjective easily on this edit. My biggest problem was, shamefully, the lack of variation. There were a few technical issues on the shoot day, which limited our option to get more variety in terms of locations and different situations. I attempted to book a second shoot date, but, my efforts failed. That part was a huge challenge for me, wanting something more and not being able to create it.

Coral, tell us about why you created ImageHoarders.
Early in my career, I had the good fortune of working as Art Streiber’s  first assistant.  Over those five or so years, I truly felt part of a tight-knit photographic community.  Logistically, Art’s shoots were often quite big – they felt more like a small film shoot rather than a still shoot – so I was working along side many assistants, set designers, stylists, creatives, etc. I felt like part of a team and there was always a tremendous amount creative collaboration.  And more than any other photographer I’ve known, Art truly enjoys fostering photographic friendships and mentoring young photographers – he is very generous with his time and experience.

After shooting on my own for close to 10 years, I found myself feeling isolated and missing the sense of community I felt while working with Art.  My shoots are typically pretty intimate… oftentimes I am shooting with just one assistant by my side, and then I spend an ungodly amount of time alone while I edit (and edit again – I am a slooooow editor).  I missed the group dynamic and was craving the conversation of photography.  But I didn’t want to take part in something formal and regimented – I wanted something intimate and casual and inspiring.  One night, over beers and archiving woes in my garage, I was talking with a couple friends about this quest to find my own little photo version of the Algonquin Round Table and I realized other people were craving the same thing.  So that was the nexus of ImageHoarders.  I invited a handful of photographers whose work I respect into my living room.  Some are friends that I assisted alongside with years ago and are now established shooters.  Others are former assistants of mine who I missed working and hanging out with because they are now busy shooting on their own or making that transition into shooting full time.  There is a range of age and experience within the group which benefits us all, I think.  And it is a safe place to share information, bounce ideas off each other and show work in progress.  Now roughly two years later, we continue to inspire each other to do better work and we enjoy each other’s company while doing it.

 

The Daily Promo: Adam Cohen

- - The Daily Promo

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Adam Cohen

Who printed it?
I used a local printer, Minute Man Press, that actually is a franchise of a larger company.

Who designed it?
I did all the design and layout myself.

Who edited the images?
I also edited all the images. I believe both editing and designing projects are important practices that a photographer participates in. I look at these zines as how rappers look at “mixtapes”. It’s a smaller, looser project that releases before the album, or in my case, the book.

How many did you make?
100 + 10 Artist Copies.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I wouldn’t necessarily call these “promos“. They are somewhere in between a book and a “zine” project. I generally make these when I’m interested in a smaller narrative that I want to explore for a shorter term. Additionally, these projects are functioning as “reportage” almost. In a sense, where I am publishing my own editorial projects. At some point, I’d rather break even with some of these projects and have complete control over the project than get payed a small fee by a publication and lose all authority over layout, edit, content, etc.

Tres De Mayo de 2015 , was a project I made about the Cinco De Mayo Celebration in the Pilsen/Little Village neighborhood of Chicago’s southwest side. There are subtle references throughout the project that I didn’t want to give away.

These are actually for sale on adamjasoncohen.bigcartel.com and each copy comes with a small 6×4″ digital C-Print.

The Daily Edit: Women’s Health: Sarah Rozen

- - The Daily Edit

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Creative Director: Jacqueline Azria
Photo Director: Sarah Rozen
Photographer: Steven Lippman 

I know Steven has a strong love for the ocean/surf/ did he pitch this fashion idea? or did you award him the project?
We wanted to shoot activewear bathing suits fashion in a very graphic and sporty way so approached Steven with the idea.  Steven loves the water so we knew this was the perfect assignment for him.
Where was this shot?
We debated with him on the merits of numerous locations that would provide us with most visuals but still stay within our budget.  After looking at all the locations we decided Hawaii would have what we needed.  We were trying to shoot early April but ran into conflicts with school vacations and found many places booked.
I’d imagine you needed a certain type of model, tell us about her.
The model  Jill is someone we had worked with before and knew that she surfed and would give 100% to whatever we asked her to do.  She actually came directly from kite surfing camp directly to our shoot.  Once we picked Hawaii our producer had to closely watch the weather and wind and ended up adapting our shoot days based on the wind patterns.
How long was the shoot?
It was a two day shoot.  Each physical activity our model had to do was hard and very time consuming.
We could do 3-4 shots in a day.

The Daily Promo: Anthony Georgis

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Anthony Georgis

Who printed it?
The printing was done on a 24×36” engineering copy machine that is typically used for printing B+W graphics and construction plans. It’s not meant to print photographs, so the image quality is kind of crappy, but that’s part of the magic. Assembly of the finished piece is a pretty labor intensive process and all done by hand. The printer only does one sided prints on standard bond paper, so all the impressions need to be spray mounted together, then folded, hand sewn and trimmed to size. It’s a bit of a nightmare, but the result is this cool handmade thing that shows my work in a way that feels really authentic.

Who designed it?
I did the layout and mock-ups. My goal was to make something that looked like it was made at a Kinko’s Copies at 3am using a glue stick. I figured it was best to just make the images as big as possible and let them speak for themselves. To avoid folding the ‘zine for shipping, it goes into a huge 18×24” stay flat mailer with a Xerox print mounted on the outside of it that’s hand addressed in true DIY fashion using White Out.

Who edited the images?
I did the first edit, then enlisted the help of my friends and studio mates to help me get everything finalized.

How many did you make?
This piece is targeted to an extremely select group of clients that I really want to work with. I’ve made 5 so far and have 5 more in the works. The response so far has been amazing. I’ve been taking one to portfolio showings and it’s the first thing that everyone wants to look at.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send postcards 3-4 times per year and try to send special promos like this once a year.

The inspiration for this promo piece were the indie skate and music ‘zines that I grew up with. I wanted to make something with a youthful, fun vibe and the ‘zine format had been kicking around in my head for a while. I discovered that I could make giant prints using a black and white Xerox machine and scale everything up to poster size, so I figured I’d give it a try. When I shared the mock up with one of my art director friends, he flipped out and suggested I send it as a promo.

The Daily Edit: Triathlete: Matt Harbicht

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Triathlete Magazine

Art Director: Lisa Williams
Photo Editor: John David Becker
Graphic Designer: Olive Baker
Senior Editor/Writer: Jené Shaw
Photographer: Matt Harbicht

With such a big space and not much available light, what was your plan?
I knew we had enough lighting to really light up the corner with the track logo staring out.  We were shooting that setup with the idea that it would make a great double page opener if they ran the horizontal or a great vertical Table of Contents (which is where it ran).  The bulk of the spread was shot with the broadcast lights on during the track trials.  That gave us just enough light to shoot higher ISO handheld.  We also found a corner of the grandstands that would be tucked away from the rest of our shots where we could set up a small portrait studio for the rider profiles.

Is B/W a departure for the magazine? It works great with training images since the equipment and the kits are riddled with logos. Did you plan on BW the entire time?
I can’t remember seeing a full B&W story in Triathlete before.  I know that magazine has run B&W shots in the past, but nothing like this.  I thought it would definitely be a departure for the magazine, but I also thought it would be great if they ran with it.  B&W wasn’t my plan going into it, but it was a solution to our first setup.  Our first shots took place in the motion capture room and would involve having the riders on the bike trainer in a fairly small space.  Taking the time to light those shots would’ve interfered with what they were doing and just gotten the day off to a rough start.  I converted some of the first few shots to B&W and showed our Senior Editor/Writer Jené Shaw who was on set with us that day and emailed our Art Director Lisa Williams (who was back in the office) samples throughout the day so we were all on the same page.
I know you were a runner and now you’re into cycling. Is that why you were awarded the job?
Not originally.  I got this particular job because I had shot for the magazine in the past and their staff photographer (John David Becker) got really sick the day before the shoot.  They contacted me to fill in, because they already had a relationship with me and I was located near where the job had to be shot.  So my interest in cycling didn’t land me this job specifically.
Are you finding that it’s important to actually understand the culture of a specific sport in order to land an assignment?
I don’t know if it’s necessary, but it can’t hurt your chances.  I was told that I got one of my first jobs with Competitor Group, Inc (Triathlete’s Publisher) because they wanted someone with an endurance sport background to be able to talk shop with the athletes.  In the years since that first job I’ve become much more interested in cycling and triathlon because of my involvement with the magazine.  I think my interest and understanding of cycling helped me make better images for sure!  If you’re excited about what you are shooting, it shows!  In my case it helped me land that initial job and I think it’s great way to keep up relationships with the publications, especially specific sports markets like triathlon or running.
What do you think your excitement for road riding brought to the table?
Just that, excitement.  I love cycling and although I haven’t started measuring my watts on rides like the pro riders we had in the feature, I’m just excited to mix two loves of mine ie: photography and cycling.  I had never been to a Velodrome track let alone shoot on one so I was excited from the get go to be shooting in such a great location.
How long did the shoot take?
We had about 30 minutes per rider while they were tracking the bikes on the trainer, and then about 90 minutes so per rider while they were on the track.  It was enough time to get the shots we needed of them riding, but a lot of the story was about the techs at ERO figuring out what they could do to make the riders faster and more efficient.  We had a small side setup tucked out of the way to shoot rider portraits, so we got each rider for a few minutes as they were leaving.  From load-in to tail-lights we shot from 8am to 3:30-4ish.  I’m incredibly happy with the amount and variety of content we got in under a 10-hour day!
How many laps did they do until you got the perfect shot?
They would run in 3-4 laps per adjustment they made to the bikes or their kit so I would get one shot per lap.  All in all, I think we got 10-15 “keepers” per rider on our lit up corner shot.  We lit it in such a way that I could shoot it wide in profile, or straight on with a longer lens.  In some instances, I even had enough time to switch positions during a lap.  That way the magazine had some variation on the shots.
Who had the highest numbers of watts for the lap?
Honestly, I was so focused on getting our shot list and avoiding getting run over (I was laying down on the track really close to the riders for some of these shots) that I never found out!  I do know that Eric Lagerstrom won the Escape from Alcatraz Tri a month or so after his ERO test and fitting!

The Daily Promo: Ed Sozinho

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Ed Sozinho

Who printed it?
I used Moo Printing for this promo piece.  There print quality and sizing were great.
Who designed it?
I have a background in design, so I was very comfortable with designing the piece.  The concept was to produce something that could be taken apart if someone wanted to pin an image to a board.  First and foremost the images had to be clear without distraction, all contact information is on the back of each print.  The clip board was the finishing touch to add protection and a second usable leave behind.
Who edited the piece?
I did the edit and then ran it by a couple of colleagues that I trust to see their reaction.  I found they all enjoyed the physical and tactile act of taking it apart and looking at the images.
How many did you make?
I ran less than 50 for this piece.  This was a very pointed piece to specific individuals.  It’s part of a rebranding and directional shift with my work.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send out email promos every month.  I believe it’s important to be front of mind with art directors and clients.  This is the first mailer I have sent out in a long time.  I feel like we are all getting burned out with everything insta- and a flash on the screen.  I found myself enjoying and studying images in print more than on the screen, that instinct told me it was time to try an old school approach.
Where did the clip board idea come from?
A good friend and I were having a bourbon as we do and talking about the piece.  He is a great builder and suggested we build something out of acrylic.  The very next day I went to Lost Luggage to get some supplies for my new printed portfolio, again old school, anyway I was waiting around and found these great pieces.  They are used for menus, I instantly recognized their double use as the promo piece and as a clip board.  It was important for me to make sure whatever I send out could be re-purposed.  The concept developed further with the mini photo of the clipboard with a note pad and asking to repurpose the board, I would hate to see those beautiful boards being wasted.
What’s the backstory to this idea?
I have been wanting to produce a personal series of images that I had running around in my head for a long time.  So I sat down with my sketch book and started getting them on paper.  I then used those sketches to start producing each shoot.  The concept of double lit images was integrated from the very beginning.  It was important for me to create texture and volume with the fill light and an authentic outdoor adventure with the since of place and gesture.  All the models were also wearing Patagonia clothes for a consistent thread of product placement.  These images are not what Patagonia would typically use, that wasn’t the point it was about creating a body of work that was personal in conception but commercial in application.  I created this lighting system using three Canon 600 speedlites with a big soft box mounted to a heavy steel arm.  It weights maybe 15 pounds and acts like a sail.  The first day of shooting with the fly fisherman we had 20 mph winds and my poor assistant almost went into the drink, I have since modified the design so it’s less like a sail.

 

The Daily Edit – Tony Luong: Popular Mechanics

- - The Daily Edit

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Popular Mechanics


Director of Photography: Allyson Torrisi
Associate Photo Editor Devon Baverman
Photographer: Tony Luong

How often to you work for Popular Mechanics? Was this your first assignment for them?
This was my first assignment for Popular Mechanics, I have done another since then which is great. The whole way the shoot came about was quite crazy when I think about it. Allyson Torrisi called me the day of the shoot pretty much, asked if I was available and asked if I would be interested in shooting it. I immediately said yes as I had been eager to shoot for them. I was actually shooting another assignment when she got in touch with me so I immediately wrapped up that first shoot, went home only to pack another bag, upload my memory cards and book a hotel room since there was a driving ban in effect starting that evening. All of this happened in a matter of a few hours, I can’t thank Allyson enough for putting that trust into me arranging for all of that happen and shooting the assignment as it was my first time being thrown into that kind of situation.

Are driving bans common in Boston around that time of year? And is that a regular line item on your checklist: Can I drive?
Driving bans, absolutely. Especially when there are anticipated snow storms like the ones we had this year. Boston has such small and windy roads that it makes it almost impossible to plow and have things run smoothly at the same time. It really becomes a mess. Luckily though, the city makes good calls during those times as the whole place is running back to normal in a day or so after just getting 3 feet of snow. As for driving, no, not at all. I usually carry 3 or 4 bags when I go on a shoot so a car is good to have and we do have public transportation but fortunately, I only needed one bag for this assignment.

What are your best tips for shooting in freezing conditions?
Hand warmers for your batteries and snow pants paired with good boots. I was constantly in knee deep snow trying to keep up with Jim since he’s a pretty active weatherman. He would randomly turn around while he was on set and go jump in the snow, snow show and make snow angels, I would then follow – I couldn’t have done that if I wasn’t wearing snow pants and boots. I also brought multiples of gloves to swap out, when one pair got wet, I would let them dry in the news truck and rotate them throughout the day.

Was it hard to light Jim for the portrait and did you use any of their lighting  ( when he was broadcasting the news… )
At times it was but you make do with what you have and think on your feet about how to apply the supplied light to the picture you’re trying to make. This type of shoot lent itself to a faster paced type of shooting so I had a flash on a bracket the whole but I also utilized the lights the camera crews use which were great and a lot of fun as well. Since the shoot started at 3am, I got to see the light temperature change dramatically and was able to bounce off of that throughout the day. Other times, I would ask Jim to move in a different spot or shift him to the other side and so on and so forth. For the most part, he was in front of the TV-camera being lit by their lights or in the truck tweeting his heart out.

How did you protect your gear and try and keep your fingers warm? I’d imagine adjusting cameras is hard if you have gloves on.
The night prior after checking into the hotel, I went down to a store and bought a bunch of plastic bags and rubber bands. I kept those items in my jacket along with some gaffers tape and would cut holes in the bags and tape/use the rubber bands to make seals around specific parts of the camera. I don’t have one of those fancy camera covers so it was super lo-fi but it worked. The thing I realized also was that after a certain temperature, the snow would just bounce off the front of my lens, once it started warming up – that was when things started to get wet and cause problems. Fortunately, since the news casting truck was only a few yards from where Jim was reporting from, I was able to retreat and dry off, warm up, have a snack and put a new bag on the camera if I needed to. I also used those gloves with the detachable fingers, but again, I only had a few hours to really prepare so I took out all the winter gear I had and brought it with me.

Why was the call time 3 am? and was it clear you’d be shooting for 12 hrs?
Jim and his crew were traveling to boston the day that I got the call about the assignment and since the storm was scheduled to begin that following morning at around 2am, it was only obvious enough to begin then. When Allyson briefed me on the shoot, we both knew it would be best to begin shooting as early as possible to catch Jim in his prime. Since Jim is also notorious for jumping into the thick of when weather gets intense, he wanted to be the first one out reporting on the snow before anybody. That said, I knew I would be shooting for a good deal of time but I also wanted to spend that time with Jim since I had seen so many videos of him on Youtube. All that said, we ended up walking back to his hotel together, had a good lunch together and said our goodbyes as he went back up to his room to sleep and rest back up before his next segment. It was a fun way to see both sides of Jim and make pictures of it all at the same time.

 

Some additional images form the shoot

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The Daily Promo: Lori Eanes

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Lori Eanes

Who printed it?
Overnight Prints

Who designed it?
I did.

Who edited the images?
I did with the help of a photographer friend, Pamela Gentile.

How many did you make?
I made 50 5.5 x 8.5 inch booklets for $95.69. The cover is card stock. The inside paper is a little thin–you can see through the pages a little. Next time I’ll order the higher quality paper.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Several times a year I send out 5 x 7 inch postcards, this is the first booklet I’ve ever made.

How did this series start?
This series started with my (somewhat disgusting) interest in flattened food containers that I would find on the street. I first photographed them as objects either on a light table or on black.  I realized I liked the x-ray quality of the light table best. Then I started trying to limit the series to fast food, food containers and plastic forks, knives and spoons.  I was really limited by what I could shoot because everything had to be translucent. I tried a lot of ideas but gradually realized the best ones weren’t too literal.

The Daily Edit – Ben Miller: Edward Magazine

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EdwardMag.com

Photographer:Ben Miller

What niche do you see this publication fulfilling?
I had been toying with the idea of this magazine for a couple of years, and when my daughter was born last year, I knew I finally had to do something. Its really concerning that we put unrealistic beauty expectations on our young women through ridiculous levels of retouching and body warping, so I wanted to start a fashion magazine to help change that. EDWARD features all natural, un-retouched models in raw, beautiful editorials. It highlights amazing styles and gives our daughters something to aspire to that is actually obtainable.

All black and white and no retouching? tell us about that– what type of photographic statement are you trying to make.
The aesthetic is all centered around creating a publication that is true and aspirational. Simplicity. Something that blurs the line between art and commerce. Retouching has gotten so out of control that models in fashion magazines barely resemble people. Just google “liquify in photoshop”, and you can see what I mean. This publication will be the opposite of mainstream fashion magazines in every way. We plan to have advertising, but only as native, sponsored stories, so as not to detract from the overall feel of the piece.

How much harder are the photos to take now that you’re not retouching?
Its really not difficult to make a beautiful woman in stylish clothes look amazing on film. Choice of lighting, posing, hair, makeup, and clothing make all the difference. We didn’t have these photoshop tools decades ago, and our idea of realistic body image was much more realistic and healthy. Our contributors see it as a challenge, and I agree. If you cannot make beautiful art without creating it all in the computer, you are not a true artist in my mind.

So you retouching NONE of the images, correct?  
Correct. Only basic light adjustments like brightness and contrast are allowed. No skin retouching, cloning, or body warping of any kind are allowed.

How does the casting go down?
Casting is a collaborative process with our artists. The photographers produce the shoots, and we simply ask for sign-off on the major players before the shoot date arrives. We hate to intervene in the creative process, so we rarely change anything, unless it is something that really needs remedying.

Are you shooting the bulk of the images?
I plan to shoot one editorial per issue. We have dozens of photographers from around the world, along with amazing stylists, models, and other crew who are all contributing their time to this project.

What’s the business idea behind this and are you seeking any funding?
We are actively seeking investors and subscribers. We know this project can be very viable as an art book style quarterly or monthly publication. In addition to the publication itself, we are working on other products such as art prints that can help better compensate the artists we work with in the longer term.


What was the catalyst for this idea? I know you recently had a daughter, are you trying to send out the right messages to men and women?

Yes I have been disgusted with the state of retouching in commercial photography for a while now. Having a daughter last year finally made me want to do something about it. We need to be creating a world where people are happy about themselves and their bodies. And while I do think it is important to eat well, exercise, pay attention to ones appearance, it is impossible for people to live up to models that have been warped and manipulated into something unobtainable. Women in American culture unfortunately have more unrealistic expectations to live up to, so that is why EDWARD focuses on them.

Do you think as society ( most female beauty images )  we are prone to not believe photography any longer? Are you trying to give us hope?
I think that most intelligent people are well aware that mainstream imagery in magazines is far from truthful. But even if people know that intellectually, it is easy to forget when looking at an individual image. I am not trying to give anyone hope, I am simply trying to steer the industry in a more truthful direction.

How much longer does it take to finding the correct angles to mitigate the need for retouching?
A good photographer should be finding those angles already, so for me it was not much of an adaptation. I think the lighting, and paying close attention to hair and makeup is the most important part. Softer, moodier lighting tends to be come conducive to creating the right mood for EDWARD.

Why did you call it Edward?
EDWARD is my middle name. For me, it brings up the image of a proper British gentleman, reliant on logic and truth. He appreciates the finer things in life, and values honesty and character above all else. He loves women, and more importantly, respects them.

What’s the best way for people to reach out to you?
They should email us at hello@edwardmag.com

The Daily Promo: Joshua Scott

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Honey

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Screen Wipes Promo 2

 

Joshua Scott


Who printed it?

The card was from Modern Postcard, www.modernpostcard.com and the screen wipes are from www.4allpromos.com.

Who designed it?

Yee Wong at 52kilo, www.52kilo.com

Who edited the images? Did it come with images?

I edited the images myself along with input from my agents Katie and Kristy at K2 Creative Management, www.k2creativemanagement.com

The screen wipes did not come with images. I shot all images.

How many did you make?

About 250. I think that was the minimum order allowed for the screen wipes.

How many times a year do you send out promos?

I try to send out physical promos about 4 times a year and intersperse an email promo between those mailings. So together I’m sending out about 8 pros a year. Depending on my available budget.

How did this idea develop?

This promo came out of my agent K2 Creative Management asking me to do a more involved unique physical promo piece. Before this I only ever send out postcards just because they are the most budget friendly. Sometimes the postage actually costs more than the printed card! Reluctantly I came up with a few ideas based on the end user receiving a product that they could actually use. That was important to me that the piece actually be a little useful.  Once we decided on what the physical item was going to be, the screen wipes, we came up with a few tag lines and I started to brainstorm image ideas that could relate to the product. This was the 1st time I actually shot images specifically for promo use. Before this I just used images I had shot for other jobs as just kind of an update of my work. I think actually shooting dedicated images for a promo concept really helped make this piece stand out and be a cohesive idea. Its good to have someone, my agent in this case,  pushing you to step it up.

Editor’s Note:
If you’d like to send promos for review I’d love to check them out:
21135 Colina Rd
Topagna CA
90290

The Daily Edit – Ethan Pines: Wired

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Wired


Associate Photo Editor/Editor: Jenna Garrett
Writer: Jakob Schiller
Read the online piece here
Photographer: Ethan Pines

Heidi: How did you find out about the Science Fair?
Ethan: A close friend of mine is one of the directors of judging, and every year he tells me that I need to come and shoot — that it’s full of quirky, imaginative kids with inventive projects and large personalities. And it’s never been covered well. This year I finally decided to do it.

What about the fair appealed to you?  Had you seen an image/student that compelled you to take it on as a personal project?
I’d seen a few snapshots on the Science Fair website from past years, but until I arrived at the Fair I hadn’t seen anything conveying the spirit of the kids, the uniqueness of their projects and the atmosphere of the day. And I think it’s all these elements that appealed to me. I was a bit of a geek as a kid, but I always wanted to be one of the cool kids. And I think that was a mistake. What I admire and love about the kids at the Science Fair is, they absolutely believe in themselves and their visions. They’re not there to win or to get famous, but because they’re proud of what they’ve done and are excited to show it off.

It’s also the kind of portrait series that, if you choose the right kids, almost can’t go wrong. It’s easy to focus on gear and lighting and technique, but photography is really about the subjects and the content, and it doesn’t get better than this. It was amazing — over 900 kids and projects, all of whom won regionally or locally to get here, all of whom converge on the California Science Center in downtown L.A. with their ill-fitting suits, their adolescent awkwardness, their earnest enthusiasm, their fairly mind-blowing projects.

I’m also a longtime fan of science fiction, and ultimately that’s what many of these projects are — new ways of thinking about problems, imaginative forays into the future.

Did you set out to have it published? or was this purely a creative exercise for you?
I always hoped to publish it somewhere but didn’t get much interest beforehand. So I thought I’d go and shoot something good, then send it out afterwards. I wanted to make photo editors’ jobs as easy as possible — get something in front of them practically ready to go. The Science Center was also generous and trusting enough to give me a media pass and full access without a specific editorial assignment, so I wanted to make sure I did right by them. They and the Fair deserve the coverage.

What’s the difference between shooting this type of series and let’s say a client job? How does your creative process or mental process compare?
Of course I can do whatever I want with a personal series, as opposed to a client job with a specific creative mandate. But what I did is exactly what I would have done if a magazine had assigned me the shoot. If an advertising gig sent me to the Fair, there would have been a lot more discussion and preparation beforehand regarding the ultimate purpose and use of the images, the client’s and agency’s creative direction, the message we wanted to convey, what some of our ideal images might be, etc. And I would have put a lot of thought into how to direct the kids, how to dramatize the client’s goal and agency’s ideas, what moments I’d be looking for, what scenarios I’d want to create, and how to make all that happen. And of course how to light it, what gear I’d need, what crew, what preproduction, and so on.

Since this was a personal series, my preproduction focused on how I wanted it to look, how to light it to get it there, and how to rig a battery-powered, portable strobe setup that my assistant and I could easily move around and manipulate in small areas. There was a lot of coordination beforehand with the Science Center, and I went the day before to scout. I also put some thought into creating a well-rounded photo essay — including details, still-lifes of projects, overviews of the exhibition rooms — rather than just a portrait series. As for directing and the content of the shots, I’ve shot so many portraits by now, I didn’t do much preparation beforehand. Between the kids themselves and the way I shoot, I felt I’d end up with what I was looking for. Too much preparation for something like this, and you can end up focused on a preconceived agenda rather than what’s happening in front of you.

How did you determine who would be shot/made the edit?
Determining whom to shoot was tough. Not because there weren’t enough good subjects, but because there were too many. Nearly 1,000 entrants and projects, and only a four-hour window when the kids are out with their projects for judging. Once we were inside I skimmed the aisles of one main area to find the first few interesting-looking kids with interesting-looking projects, After those, I did it again in the next area. Any one of those hundreds of kids could have been a complete gem to shoot; I just had to choose and run with it. And make it as good as possible once we were shooting.

What did you say to the kids to get them to open up? did anyone turn you down?
I’d simply stop at a kid, tell him/her I was shooting portraits, and ask if I could photograph him/her. It helped to have a media pass on my shirt and be the guy with the strobes flashing at various places around the Science Center. No one turned me down. Most of them seemed eager to share what they had worked on. And if they were a bit embarrassed, that also makes for a good portrait.

Once we were shooting, I watch for good moments, shoot the moments between the poses, talk with them, get them animated and expressive, work with whatever presents itself spontaneously, and make sure I get what I have in my head as well.

Once you saw the body of work, what were the key factors in choosing Wired over let’s say another tech publication?
Choosing Wired was a no-brainer. It’s the highest-profile and lushest tech publication out there. I think it’s one of the best-designed and -edited publications, period, tech or otherwise. I’ve shot for them before, so I thought that my pitch email would at least get read.

What did you pitch consist of? How many images, what was the crux of the text?
I edited down the shoot to a tight 21-image photo essay that I laid out in a .pdf with a title page and simple captions. I emailed it to Wired with a brief explanation of the Science Fair, and let the .pdf speak for itself. Once they accepted it, they asked me for a broader edit. I sent them everything that I’d be happy to see in print / online, and let them create the final series. Their version and mine ended up fairly close, so I felt that they understood the essence of the project.

The Daily Promo – Aaron Cobb

- - Promos
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Aaron Cobb

Who designed it?
Ross Chandler Creative ( rosschandler.ca ) designed my promo.  I had the initial concept of the mix-and-match interactive triptych, and Ross helped me work through the creative process, problem-solving, finessing and printing process.  This was actually the second time I had worked with him.  Earlier that year he and I worked on designing my website, logo, and branding.  He even designed a secondary logo that uses my web URL, AARONCOBB.COM, put together cleverly with the use of images from my website.  They can also be mixed and matched.  It was a great experience all around, Ross worked his ass off.
Who printed it?
Somerset Graphics in Toronto printed my promo piece.
How many did you make?
I printed 2,000 copies, which I believe was their minimum order.
Who edited the images?
I edited the images.  I knew before the shoot days that everything needed to be clean, minimal and symmetrical.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
I have been sending out the promos about twice a year, but also as needed.  If there is a potential client I feel I would be a good fit with, I will send one their way.
Tell us about your subjects in the promo.
I had photographed Rashel (the female talent), and Gentleman Reg (the blonde talent) in Toronto, and had been trying to organize a shoot with the third and final talent for the project.  Larry Gomez, aka the Wolfboy, lives in Los Angeles, and works part-time in a circus there.  He has hypertrichosis which is an abnormal amount of hair growth all over the body.  It is also known as Werewolf Syndrome.  I was interested in taking his portrait before this promo idea came about, but once I was working on this promo, I knew that he was the final piece of the puzzle.  He has a circus agent in LA named Chuck Harris.  I found his contact info and gave him a call.  Chuck liked my work and agreed to help me with this creative project as long as I took his portrait as well.  It took several weeks to co-ordinate schedules and draw up a contract that the images were solely to be used for promotional purposes.  I flew down to LA for a week, rented Beachwood Studios, and photographed Chuck and Larry.  I got the images I wanted of Larry, and the added bonus of a cool image of Chuck smoking a cigar with his awesome Coke-bottle glasses.
This was my first promo, and the whole journey was a great experience, and very rewarding in its own right.

 

The Daily Edit – Sift: Julia Reed

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Sift /A King Arthur Flour Publication

Creative Director: Ruth Perkins/Tamara Dowd
Photographer: Julia Reed


How did the project come about for you? Were they a former client?
I was actually hired at King Arthur Flour as a PR Coordinator in 2013. My background was in film and photography, but I saw an opportunity to bring those skills to King Arthur through PR. I was working as a food and lifestyle photographer in LA before moving back east (I grew up in Vermont) and had planned to continue my business here. I never imagined I’d end up in a marketing department, but King Arthur Flour is a wonderful company, known locally for its charitable giving and status as a founding B Corporation. They aren’t, however, as well known for these things on the national level. I felt like good companies need good storytellers and advocates too, so I took the job. About a year ago, I was officially promoted to Multimedia Producer, where I concentrate on telling our story through photography, writing, and video.
As the content creator for King Arthur Flour, what other content are you responsible for?
Oh man, everything and anything! I do most of our “lifestyle” photography, for bakeries/people of interest nationally, as well as internally. Many of those shoots end up in Sift, some are for our blog, Flourish. I am a contributor to our instagram feed, and I run our video program, which is still a bit of a one-man show. At the moment I write, produce, shoot, and edit all of our videos.
Do you have a full time food/prop stylist?
We do! Jenn Whittingham oversees prop styling, and Charlotte Rutledge does our food styling – most of the shoots we do in our local studio are for the catalog, though increasingly they are for Sift as well. Our Creative Director Ruth Perkins oversees all studio photography for Sift. In the field, where I primarily work, we don’t always have the resources to hire additional stylists, though the chefs and bakers I work with help style the food. We do hire independent stylists for certain Sift shoots out of state, it just depends on the project!
Are you working out of their test kitchen?
Our test kitchen is very well equipped for testing, but doesn’t have the greatest light for photography. All recipes that we shoot in the studio (which also has a kitchen!) are thoroughly tested in the test kitchen first. But no, generally we don’t shoot there.
Where did you love of baking/food photography come from?
A deep appreciation for food is in my blood. My father was a chef and my mother was a baker; they met while working for the same restaurant. Growing up, everything we ate was made from scratch, and often from the garden. I never saw store-bought bread in the house, and we never went out to eat. Bones and vegetable scraps were saved, for building rich stocks that simmered on the woodstove all winter long. I vividly remember visiting my aunt in Boston when I was 13. She asked if I liked frozen waffles and I was SO excited to try them, because I had never had them before! I was seriously disappointed. We didn’t have much money when I was growing up, but my parents knew how to transform even the cheapest ingredients into rich and flavorful meals. I took my first job in a restaurant at 14 washing dishes, and worked my way up to waitress, and later, cook. I went to college in my early 20s, as a way to escape the restaurant industry – which is somewhat ironic in retrospect. In LA I started going to farmer’s markets – at first as a way to reduce my carbon footprint, but later because of my love for the people who grew my food. I felt such a strong connection with the farmers I’d see every week – their stories and personalities connected me to the land in such a real and tangible way. The experience brought me back to my roots, and eventually inspired my move back to New England. I started taking photos for farmers to use in their marketing efforts – it was my way of helping the community and people that meant so much to me. I started a short-lived blog, and began getting solicited for more food-oriented jobs. At King Arthur, I get to merge my two favorite styles – food and lifestyle. The bakers I work with remind me a lot of the farmers I knew in LA. The best ones have enormous passion for what they do, and an indefatigable drive to better their craft. Everyone comes to the table from a different direction, and for a different reason. When I photograph bakers for Sift, I always want to know what moves them to bake. Baked goods are as unique to their bakers as fingerprints are to people, and I like to photograph them as though I was taking a portrait of the maker themselves.
What are the biggest obstacles and highlights of this project?
The biggest challenge for me personally was the timeline. We moved fast on this project, so I found myself rushing to meet deadlines for the premier issue, while simultaneously trying to collect images that we might want for future issues (fall foliage for instance – it happens without regard for your schedule!) As a team, we wanted to make sure that we weren’t just putting another food magazine into a saturated (and some say declining) market. Authenticity is what makes our company what it is, and we wanted that to come through in the magazine – I think it did. Our creative director Ruth Perkins, and our Editor Susan Reid worked hard to weave stories from many writers and photographers into one cohesive set. With the help of our agency HZDG, they put together a magazine we are all incredibly proud to have our name on. Also, it’s SO soft! Have you touched the cover? It just feels so luxurious and inviting, I couldn’t be more honored to have been a part of this team.
Can other photographers contribute? If so do they contact you?
Definitely! Interested photographers can e-mail sift@kingarthurflour.com and your note will go directly to the editorial team.  For best results, we recommend the following:
–          Samples and/or link to your published work, please also include a list of where you have been published
–          What specifically you would be interested in doing (ex. writing or writing and photography)
–          What topics you’re most interested in writing about or photographing
–          Your full contact information (address, phone, e-mail, website)

 

The Daily Promo: Brooklin Pictures

- - The Daily Promo

Brooklin Pictures


Who printed it?

Modern Postcard

Who designed it?
I have been working with Peter Dennen of Pedro + Jackie, he has really helped me fine tune my images to create more of cohesive look/feel.  Between the two of us, we came up with the design for the promo.

Who edited the images?
Peter and I decided on the images to be used and I did all of the retouching.
How many did you make?
I had 300 printed.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out 4 mailers p/year and then send out 3-6 email promos in between the gaps of the printed pieces.

The Daily Edit – Michael Becker : Ventura Blvd

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Ventura Blvd Magazine

Editor-in-Chief: Linda Grasso
Creative Director: Ajay Peckham
Graphic Designer: Elena Lacey, Michelle Villas
Photographer: Michael Becker

Heidi: Tell us about your commercial photography as a second career. What caused you to make the switch? 
Michael: I was drawn to both music and photography from an early age. When I was 11 my grandfather, who was a professional photographer in Manhattan, gave me his beautiful old 1950’s Rolleiflex. I was immediately hooked. When I hit my teens, I became increasingly interested in music, particularly blues and jazz. I started playing guitar and ended up going to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating I moved to Los Angeles and spent the next 15 years in the studio making music.

Several things happened that ultimately led me back to photography. In the year 2000 there was a commercial actors strike that had a dramatic effect on some of my clients and my business as a composer/producer. Shortly after that, both my parents became very ill. I decided to move back to New York to help take care of them and to deal with the difficult transitions. It was then that I rediscovered my grandfather’s old Rolleiflex. Taking photos of my parents and the town where I grew up became both an escape and a way of documenting what my family was going through. There was something about the immediacy of photography that resonated with me. I was hooked all over again.

I know your first career was as a successful music composer, how do the two interplay, if at all?
They both have the incredible power to move people, and to reflect and comment on social conditions. After years of making music, I found photography refreshing in that I could make a photograph relatively quickly, whereas writing and producing a song can be a rather lengthy process.

My professional experience has been that both require a strong, individual voice or vision, but they are also fertile playgrounds for collaboration. I loved playing in bands and working in the studio with other musicians. Photography is also a great collaboration, starting with the entire creative team, through to the subject interaction with the photographer.

My biggest lesson from music carried forward into photography is to trust the creative process. Don’t set out to make something perfect, set out to make something authentic and then subject it to a heathy dose of scrutiny and refinement.

How did you execute the Mark Jacobson story? I understand you turned over a completely researched idea both editorially and photographically. How long did this process take?
I have been working with a wonderful editor and photography consultant, Lisa Thackaberry. I was interested in doing more editorial work in addition to my entertainment work. My wife, Staness Jonekos, had also done a major career switch from television executive producer to published author. It was Lisa that suggested we find an interesting story to tell and work as a team doing the story and photography. She suggested we pitch magazines directly and thought going in with a complete article might be a viable way to get published. Since staffing and budgets are down in editorial, it made sense to try and create our own opportunity.

My wife immediately remembered our first encounter with Mark when I started working in entertainment and thought it might be an interesting story. I loved the idea and reached out to him to see if he would be open to doing it. After explaining our intentions, he agreed and we set up the first interview. It wasn’t until we sat down with him that we realized what a rich history there was with him and his father Irving. Irving had quite a remarkable career prior to inventing the first camera sound blimp. From the time I first called Mark to when the article was published this month, took almost a year.

What compelled you to share this story and why this magazine?
To our surprise, there had been almost nothing written about the sound blimp. Just Mark’s web site and a couple of mentions in users’ blogs. Such an obscure thing, surely there must be an interesting story. It’s been a part of film and television publicity and marketing for decades. Many film marketing one-sheets are made from the unit stills shot by the onset photographer. Shots that could never have been captured with a noisy camera snapping away during an actual take.

Once again it was Lisa Thackaberry that suggested we pitch it to Ventura Blvd Magazine (VB). She thought the local business angle was a great fit since his shop is in Studio City. VB does fantastic stories on local businesses and they still dedicate a luxurious amount of space to photographs.

Were you surprised that this story hadn’t been told as it’s such an important part of photo history?
We were definitely surprised at how little information was out there. In general, on set photographers are there for the publicity and marketing teams, not as part of the actual production. The very nature of the job requires a certain amount of stealth, thus I think it gets somewhat overlooked.

What compelled you to ask about the family history?
We were aware that it was Mark’s father who originally invented the first blimp. We were just curious what prompted him to design such a seemingly proprietary piece of gear. What kind of demand could there possibly have been at the time other than a few one-offs. Now blimps are used everywhere, from television and film sets to theater productions, golf tournaments, etc. Any place the clicking of a camera is a distraction to the action.

Was Mark surprised that the story made the cover? ( ie…not a publishers idea of a sexy subject )
He was completely blown away that he made the cover. We all were! Linda Grasso, Editor-in-Chief, and the amazing design team at VB literally picked our favorite photograph from the whole shoot to use on the cover. We couldn’t have been happier with the layout.

I think there’s great value in local publications and being connected to community, is that why you pitched this to Ventura Blvd?
Yes, it just seemed like a great fit given the proximity and the fact that VB is still prominently featuring photography. Plus we live in the hills above Studio City so it felt like it was relevant to us as both members of the community, and also the industry.

I know you shot Nancy Cartwright for the magazine, did you ask her to do her Bart Simson for you?
I did not, but I know she’s all too happy to oblige when someone asks.

What were you trying to capture when you photographed her and was it hard to separate her from that iconic voice?
Nancy is an incredibly talented voice over artist and an explosive bundle of energy. I simply tried to capture the exuberance she has for her new passion with sculpting. Clearly Bart is an inseparable part of her that she embraces and is protective of. I completely enjoyed the time the three of us spent together!

The Daily Promo: Cyndi Long Studios

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Cyndi Long Studios


Who printed it?
Grogtag.com printed the coasters. I went with the premium double sided. More expensive, but worth it in this instance.

Who designed it?
I designed it myself. I minored in Design/Art Direction in college, which doesn’t qualify me to handle the job, but I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted one side with an image and a very “low key” mention of my website, and then the other side to be very clear about what my name is and how to find me.

Who edited the images?
I edited myself. I had a plan to make a set of 4 coasters. I had three images I already wanted to incorporate, so I then shot an additional image (Peticolas)  to round out the feel of the set.

How many did you make?
I started small. Only 100 of each coaster. I wanted to target the local breweries, plus the more established craft breweries across the nation. I’ve had such a great response to them, I will either print more, or make a new set to send out.

How many beers did you drink to make this?
I love love love beer, but I generally won’t crack one open unless my client for the day wants to, or at least the final shot is on set.

For the Peticolas image, I needed to create several “pours” which means I needed to continually empty the glass until I got the hero shot. Of course I didn’t want to move the glass (I had focus/lighting exactly how I wanted it,) so I channeled my previous rookie-drinking-self and drank from a straw.

Anyone that has enjoyed the Peticolas Velvet Hammer understands why I quickly decided it was in everybody’s best interest for me to discard instead of consuming the beer. It is truly smooth like velvet, but will quickly hit you like a hammer if you’re not careful.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I TRY to send out quarterly, or at least twice a year.

I know you’ve been home brewing since 2012, it this what prompted a beer promo?
I’ve been a huge fan of craft beer for several years. Texas recently opened up the laws making it easier for small breweries to sell their brews. There’s been such an explosion of quality breweries here, I decided it was a great excuse for a promo. Unfortunately, the cost per piece is still out of reach for the smaller guys, but I look forward to working with them once they’re ready to make a bold marketing statement.

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Photo by Erin Davis Smithison

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The Daily Edit – Nicole LaMotte: LA Magazine

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Los Angeles Magazine

Creative Director: Steven Banks
Art Director: Carly Hebert
Photo Editor: Amy Feitelberg
Photographer: Nicole LaMotte

 

Heidi: I know your astrology sign is cancer, how much to you think that plays into your love of shooting home/interiors and your philanthropic work?
Nicole: I definitely think my astrology sign plays into my love of interiors…cancers are home bodies at heart, always needing a home to call their own.  Even as a child, I was always aware of my sense of home, rearranging furniture in my room to create a different feeling (or maybe just trying to get a better pov for camera ;))  As an undergrad I studied photojournalism at Columbia College in Chicago and without realizing it until later was the very first books I bought were  interiors. I bought the “Family Houses by the Sea” by  Alexandra D’Arnoux and then Isle Crawford’s “The Sensual Home”.  I am drawn to the feelings that a curated space can provide.  The philanthropic work really helps to balance me out.  As a cancer, I am definitely sensitive and not just about my own feelings.  The first time I traveled to Haiti and saw the looks in the the eyes of the orphans, I had a visceral reaction that compelled me to go back and find ways to help.  One way was through my pictures, but I also recruited an artist friend, Rebecca Farr, to come along and bring the gift of art and self-expression to the children.

You were also a photo editor, where you always shooting and editing?
I have been shooting most of my life, it just has not always been my livelihood.  In my twenties I had a career in the corporate travel world which not only gave me a great business background but also afforded some amazing travel benefits…and that is when I would do most of my shooting–while on my travels.  I would love coming back from a trip and editing the pictures and making a book (the old fashioned way, with prints and albums).  But, when I turned 30, I decided it was time to get back to photography which is when I transitioned into the magazine world. My photo editing career started at Santa Barbara Magazine and then ended at  C Magazine. I worked with Margot Frankel at both places, she brought me down to LA to help launch C Magazine.

Is it hard to edit your own work? What’s your process?
Depending on what I am editing, the process can be very difficult.  Shooting a story tethered is relatively easy, with the exception of portraits, as you are able to watch the story develop. When not shooting tethered,  I will usually do a first pass edit with one rating and then wait as long as I can (depending on assignment due date) and take a second pass which usually consists of looking at the rated ones and knocking some down.  Sometimes I find it helpful to look at a shoot in the “proof shoot” view, again going back to my photojournalism training, and looking at images smaller to see what grabs me.  When editing for a show or my website, I always need an outside perspective as I cannot easily separate myself from my work.

When did you decided dedicated yourself to photography only?
After spending about six years as a photo editor, I decided that it was really time to go out on my own. Producing shoots became less fulfilling and I needed to focus on my passions.

What was your big break?
 My big break really came from a dear friend, Andrea Stanford, who had come from the magazine world and was launching a new division at One Kings Lane.  She needed a photographer to shoot the leading interior design tastemakers for online sales.  I helped her to establish the processes and then began shooting regularly which allowed me to support myself.  It was an incredible feeling to have such a supporter – someone that believes in you completely.  I ultimately started working at the company full time, and did so for 2 years, which granted me incredible access to the interior design world.  And I loved meeting all of the interesting people and shooting such a range of spaces from super layered to incredibly streamlined.

You have a strong understanding of the narrative arc, does that stem from your magazine editing work?
As a photo editor, I worked closely alongside an incredibly talented creative director, Margot Frankel.  I would sit with her while she laid out stories, so I really did gain an incredible understanding of how images can tell a story and the need for scale changes; she has an incredible way of laying out images that is unexpected and fluid.  Being on shoots as the photo editor also allowed me to observe the process of developing the story arc.

How often do you work for LA Magazine?
This was my first time working for LA Magazine. They had seen my other story on Lulu and wanted to house so there was not a ton of direction on the story.  The writer was on set for this one so we were able to collaborate on the important elements of the house/story as it unfolded.  It is always nice when you can get tidbits of the interview to help inform the richer part of the story; I find you can uncover a lot layers this way, like maybe a collection that isn’t full on display or pieces of art that are significant. The magazine asked for coverage and gave me a template of the house layouts to use as a loose reference.  They wanted to be sure I covered as much as possible in both a horizontal and vertical format to help with the layout and maximizing the images for a four page story.

What are some key tips for shooting people in their environments?
When shooting someone in their environment I like to have conversations with them about their house and what spaces they use the most so that they are comfortable in the environment.  Lulu is use to being photographed so I didn’t need to worry as much with her.  Sometimes it is nice to have the homeowner in a space that otherwise might not feel complete, in the case of Lulu, I loved the front entrance with the rug down and the assortment of jars but felt like it would be much livelier with her in it (and to avoid a dark whole which the door would be).

What happens on a cloudy day when you have a job? Do you try and simulate sunlight?
Cloudy days are actually good, except when you are shooting people as it brings down the overall light.  I try to avoid the harsh light when shooting interiors and move around the house accordingly.  I really like the feel of natural light.  The challenge is when I have to light someone and making it feel cohesive with the rest of the story which is natural light.  So I work from my ambient and then add just a pop to to give a little direction without looking too lit.

The Daily Promo: Stephanie Vovas

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Stephanie Vovas


Who designed it?
I designed it.

Who edited the images?
I did.

How many did you make?
It’s an ongoing campaign/process as I make them by hand, which takes some time. So I pop off a few every time I get a chance, and am sending them out gradually.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first time sending out a promo. I love printing them, bundling them up, and shipping them out. It’s like making a nice gift for someone you want to like you, and hoping they enjoy what they receive. I aim to send out a nice package 3 times a year from now on. I already have the next one designed in my head and I can’t wait to make it.

Where did you get the pencils and wood grain paper?
Pencils are from a local shop, and the paper and boxes are from Paper Source. Paper Source is full of cool stuff for making promos.

This promo stemmed from a very fun job, so I wanted to show it off in a nice little package. Michelle Kohanzo, the Creative Director of The Land of Nod hired me to make fine art photographs for their stores to sell. She was completely open creatively, and totally supportive to my team and I. It was a dream job working with her.  We got to shoot in Wisconsin, at a camp that has been many different things in the past, a speakeasy in prohibition days, a church camp, and a brothel! We got to stay overnight in the cabins there overlooking the lake. It rained and stormed a great deal on the shoot day but it all worked out great!

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