Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit – Variety: Andrew Hetherington

- - The Daily Edit

Variety

Design Director: Chris Mihal
Director of Photography: Bailey Bernard
Art Director: Cheyne Gateley
Photographer: Andrew Hetherington

Heidi: Can you talk us through your process preparing for a celebrity shoot like this?
Andrew: After the initial email from Variety PD Bailey Franklin confirming subject, date and location I checked in with him to see if they had any specific creative direction in mind so I could start wrapping my head around what I needed to do to get the ball rolling my end. If I recall we only had 5 days to pull it together, two of them being the weekend so things needed to happen swiftly. Variety were looking at a cover, a TOC image, an opener for the feature and 1 or 2 more images for secondary art. It was for their Emmy issue and Colbert was hosting the show so I started to brainstorm ideas and put together a creative deck. The location was The Ed Sullivan Theatre in NYC where The Late Show is taped. I wanted to give the impression that we were at the Emmys itself so didn’t want to shoot on the set per se so began thinking of ideas for front and back stage and researched images of previous Emmys awards shows to see if there was anything that caught my eye and would help shape some fun concepts. Also had a creative call with Bailey and CD Chris Mihal to flush out ideas before we sent the deck to Colbert’s PR for concept approvals. I knew Stephen should be wearing a tux too for it all to make sense and we made that request from the git go.

It’s a challenge to come up with original ideas for Colbert as he has been photographed pretty much every which way at this stage. But having a theme like the Emmys helped focus the concepting for me. I also asked and got to scout the location two days before the shoot which was great as we were able to walk through creative, technical and logistic scenarios with Colbert’s people and the crew at the studio; which can be a bit of a minefield in itself making sure you adhere to the house rules. On this shoot I used battery-powered strobes so we didn’t have to have a union electrician on hand to plug everything in. Usually helps gain some good will with the studio manager.

What tools to do you have to deal with the time pressure?
It’s all in the preparation. I like to have as much time to set up as possible and in this case we had two hours (which always goes so much quicker then you think). Each member of my crew was clearly aware of what our work flow was and what their responsibilities were. We discuss all possible scenarios that might play out creatively and technically. It’s important for everyone on my team to be in a cool calm zone during the shoot itself and we discuss who will do what should there be any hiccups so the experience is as seamless as can be.

What gets eliminated due to time constraints?
We were scheduled to have an hour to shoot with Stephen but in the end we had 20 minutes. I had 3 different set ups dialed in and in this case we stuck to that plan so nothing was eliminated.

Was this before the taping of a show?
Yes the scheduling was pretty tight. Shoot time was 12 noon – 1pm, when the studio crew were at lunch. We had a hard stop at 1pm as the band Beirut began a sound check and camera rehearsal on the set for their performance that evening. Let me say that the band did start playing at 1pm on the dot.

Did you shoot more than two locations?
We did the first set up in front of house which one assistant wrapped as we went back stage for the other two set ups. We needed to have all our gear out-of-the-way for the Beirut sound check.

Was it a collaborative effort with Colbert or did he simply want to be directed.
I had actually photographed Stephen at the Sundance Film Festival way back in 2005 when he was there promoting the Strangers with Candy movie. It was part of a portfolio I was shooting of festival attendees for Premiere magazine. I still remember the session with Colbert fondly because he and co-stars Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello brought so much energy, dynamism and authenticity to the set. This was right before the Colbert Report started on Comedy Central and he was relatively unknown still. I had no idea who he was at the time. I mentioned this to Stephen right before the shoot.

A subject like Colbert is a photographers dream. He’s a total pro and brings so much energy and enthusiasm. He’s also incredibly gifted physically and has an amazing sense of himself and the camera. I would say it was very collaborative with a bit of direction and a tweak here and there from me. Everyone was on board with concepts and how to execute at this stage so it allowed for spontaneity and ad libbing for each scenario.

The cover shot with his glam squad (hair/make-up/stylist) was my idea. The lip stick was all Stephen and we were given the heads up that it was something he wanted to try before the shoot. We did this shot last as we knew his make up would be toast once the lip stick was applied and we didn’t have time to be re applying for another set up.

What’s the best part about shoots like this? (where time is restricted)
The great thing in this instance was that 20 minutes was more than enough to get what we did. No time to over think each scenario, no time for the subject to become bored and uninterested. Helps of course that Colbert is a total pro!!!

What’s the most useful advice you would give your creative younger self about situations like this?
Friend, inspirator and mentor Platon once gave my younger creative self some advice that still holds true on shoots like these “Be yourself. But be prepared. Be prepared. Be prepared. Be technically prepared. Make sure nothing will go wrong technically and if it does, make sure you have a backup to the backup to the backup.  So be prepared, be yourself and most importantly you must make an Andrew Hetherington photograph. Oh and enjoy the moment.”

The Daily Edit – The New York Times Digital: Zach Gross

- - The Daily Edit

 

The New York Times Digital

Photo Editor: Sara Barrett
Photographer: Zach Gross


Heidi: Can you give me a little back story on the project?

Zach: I started to show my newly edited portfolio around to photo editors. I reached out to Sara; we were originally in contact about a year earlier when The New York Times wanted to publish a photograph of Kalief Browder that I made a few years ago. 

She agreed to meet and review my new portfolio, we chatted about my work and the various projects she was working on with photographers. I wanted to experiment with blending multiple exposures in color. I followed up with her and I asked if I could explore that technique on assignment, and she came up with the idea of working on it at Penn Station.

What was their direction?
Since there is increasing conversation about renovating Penn Station, she wanted to convey the idea of hope for a better station, and to illustrate possible improvements, as I explored this idea I had trouble trying to literally show potential additions to the station. I ended up wandering around the station and noticed vintage photographs hanging around, I was drawn to how beautiful the old station was before it was demolished in 1963. I started making double exposures of the vintage photographs and moments that were going on around me.

Where will these images run?
A selection of the images ran in the Opinions Section on the New York Times website.  I’d love for the photographs to be exhibited in the new Penn Station, hopefully that will happen one day.

The passage of time is a big part of it and to create a completely different perspective of the station. I like that what you are looking at doesn’t exist outside of the photograph, and it brings a good part of the past forward, and highlights how the current state of the station is not ideal.

What did this creative process underscore for you?
I enjoy working with photo editors, its nice to have some parameters and guidance, and at the same time have room to experiment and explore.

 

Some outtakes

 

The Daily Edit – UCLA Magazine: Charlie Hess

- - The Daily Edit

 

UCLA Magazine

Design Director: Charlie Hess
Art Director: Suzannah Mathur
Photographer: Stephanie Gonot


Heidi: Did you plan on the double entendres of music and academics (majors and minors?)

Charlie: At first blush this seemed like a pretty rote story about UCLA offering students minors as well as majors. But as our Art Director Suzannah Mathur and I dug deeper it turned out that many of the minors programs were pretty rad. And what the kids wound up pursuing after college anyway. The double entendres was a happy accident.

What about Stephaines style made you choose her for this project and what was your direction?
I had been looking for an opportunity to work with photographer Stephanie Gonot and this seemed like the perfect assignment – conceptual, fun, and eye catching, so this seemingly academic story wouldn’t get lost.
Stephanie and I brainstormed some ideas and settled on an approach. Tight portraits, each with their own color palette, and matching props.

What was the criteria for casting and did you hire models?
With public university budgets we can’t hire models. Shooting students is the right price, and generally creates a more authentic visual approach. We picked students from the fields discussed in the story, gave them their color schemes, and prepped coordinated props. Luckily the kids turned out on set enthusiastic and up for anything.

At some point in our careers we take stock and self reflect, what has this job taught you?
Working for a university is complicated, but Suzannah and I have learned how to make great work despite the limitations of cost, and an art staff of just us two. I love the challenges. And I love working with brilliant, dedicated students and faculty who are making a difference in the world. I can’t imagine going back to all the years of celebrity shoots, publicists, and entourages!

Previously this year I interviewed you about your Agency called 20 Over Twenty, what’s the update on this?
It started strong. I put together a great team of six talented photographers, each with their own aesthetic. We got some great shoots with USC, AFI, LACMA, SCI ART, LAPHIL, GET LIT, ELLE… My concept was for us to shoot cultural institutions, nonprofits and academic institutions, where I saw a gap in the market between the high end commercial clients, and the bottom feeders who wanted us to work for nearly free. I was working with marketing departments which used to have sizable staffs, and now had been whittled down to one or two people giving them no time to plan ahead. My business model was for us to book multiple shoots over a year, creating the content the clients needed. I had dreamed of a photo utopia where we would all help each other, but in reality, I think the concept of a photographic collective has its challenges and I didn’t have the bandwidth to make it viable in the long run. Consequently, I’m shutting the agency down at the end of the year. It’s hard to say that out loud but my hope is others can learn from my mistakes. I have no regrets for trying something new. We learn from our failures.

 

 

 

The Daily Edit – The Olympic Games and The Art of Sports Photography: John Huet

- - The Daily Edit

Olympic Games

Photographer: John Huet

This summer and fall the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland is hosting several exhibitions and events related to sports photography.

One of the exhibitions, Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to The Present, opened at the Brooklyn Museum last summer and has since been traveling around the U.S. and Europe, making a six-month stop at the Olympic Museum before it returns to the U.S. next May.

A second show, Rio 2016 Seen Through the Lens of Four Photographers, is comprised of a series of images that were made at the 2016 Summer Olympics by four participating photographers.

John Huet’s iconic sports photography is included in both shows, as well as in the book, “Who Shot Sports”. This terrific book by Gail Buckland accompanies the exhibition and chronicles the history of sports photography from 1843 to the present.

I got a chance to connect with John about this work, his affinity for #theartofsportsphotography and the genesis of his Olympic odyssey.

Heidi: I haven’t seen much of your work on Instagram, and it’s been such a treat to see all the images you’ve been posting recently.
John: Thanks, Heidi. Part of my thinking behind the posts I’ve been doing was to share my enthusiasm for having my work in the two shows at the Olympic Museum and in the book “Who Shot Sports”, which are all part of the museum’s celebration of sports photography this year.

I wasn’t going to get to Lausanne for the opening of the exhibits in May because I was somewhere else on the planet so I thought I would bring the show to people via Instagram. That’s sort of where the thought process started. Because the show was running through the summer, I thought I’d make this “The Summer of Sports Photography.” I started posting daily on the Summer Solstice and continued until the Fall Equinox. The hashtag #theartofsportsphotography is actually the overall name of what’s going on at the Olympic Museum right now.

I noticed that # on your feed actually, so that’s why I was really curious about this new initiative.
I don’t think it was for any purpose other than I really like the idea of “the art of sports photography”. I’ve always liked the idea, without having put a name to it. I don’t think that sports photography gets the recognition it should.  Of course, that’s coming from a person who shoots a lot of sports, but it’s funny to me that sports photography is rarely a category in photo competitions, and God forbid that there would ever be a museum show featuring the work of a sports photographer. It just doesn’t happen, and yet sports photography is an art in which the “decisive moment” is captured in a nano-second, and I can’t think of any other area in photography where the general population, the media and advertisers/brands alike rely so heavily on imagery. It’s a multi-billion dollar-industry that’s basically been created by the images that photographers have made over the years, and still it somehow isn’t recognized in the same way as other genres of photography.

So, when Gail Buckland decided to do the Who Shot Sports exhibition and accompanying book, I thought it was the greatest thing ever! Finally! And what she curated is just fantastic, I can’t recommend the show more highly. You don’t even have to be a sports fan, there’s just so much there to see. Photographs that you can look at and just enjoy as a photograph and not because it’s of a basketball game, or some sporting event, or a portrait of an athlete. It’s just beautiful photography and that led me to want to show more of my own work using #theartofsportsphotography. To be honest, I was hoping that other photographers would join in, using the hashtag on their images. There are so many great photographers out there shooting beautiful sports stuff, and it would be cool to have a collection of images on Instagram from a lot of different people using the hashtag. A few people joined in but not as many as I’d hoped.

Instagram is a funny thing; it’s timing, and repeatability is very important. If this hashtag is something that you really want people to use, you can just suggest it to people, I think there’s always a camaraderie in creative people. I suspect people didn’t use it simple because they’re not reading. Everybody is looking when they should be understanding the context as well.
At the beginning, I actually wrote more about the photographs themselves, and then when I’d talk to people about it, they’d be like, “Oh, you wrote that?”

I read all your captions because I think it’s what sets people apart, when there’s more content.
I agree. I definitely wanted to point out what cameras I was using, where the image was shot, and who it was for. I use a ton of different equipment, and I try not to get too repetitive, if I can help it, so it was good for me to look back and think, okay how did I shoot this? What did I shoot this with? It was a great exercise for me.

It was also good for me to go back and look at photographs that I hadn’t seen in a long time. And it’s been really nice to read comments from photographers whose work I really respect. We work in such a vacuum, which makes me really appreciate the acknowledgement and respect of my peers.

You have deep roots with the Olympics with your first assignment coming from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee in 2002. Can you tell us how that materialized?
The Salt Lake Olympics, that came about like many things for me – in a random phone call. The Director of Creative Services for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) saw a few images in the Communication Arts Photo Annual and called to ask if I would be interested in doing some work for them. Little did they know I’m a closet Olympic freak and have loved everything about the Olympics since I was a kid. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t watch enough of it growing up.

They flew me out to Salt Lake the next week, and we talked about what they were looking for as the run up to the games, which is basically how an Olympic city is decorated for the games. Each Olympics has a color theme and slogan; theirs was “Fire and Ice,” and we came up with the idea to decorate the city in a particular way, so that when NBC had that opening shot of the city at night, the audience would see the skyline of Salt Lake City with those beautiful mountains in the background.

We decided to wrap the 17 biggest buildings in the city in photographs. We spent two years working on computer models to help us make all of our creative decisions. We finally decided to use 17 different images, based on each discipline at the Olympics, ultimately giving each discipline its own photographic logo. The images had a similar tone, color palette and background. In addition to the building wraps, the images were all over Salt Lake and Park City – in the airport terminal hallways, at baggage claim, on the city buses, on the light posts, and at the Olympic venues, of course. It was incredible.

But things didn’t stop there, SLOC wanted me to shoot the games themselves, and they asked me to shoot the commemorative book for Salt Lake, “The Fire Within”.  The host city for each Olympics produces an annual report after the games are over. It breaks down every detail about how the games were put together: the venues, the costs, the attendance. Everything right down to how many plastic spoons and napkins were used. The amount of information that’s generated for the Olympics is staggering.

It was obvious that one photographer couldn’t possibly cover everything that would be happening, so we discussed involving several photographers, and that’s when I came with that idea that I would bring in photographers who may have never shot sports or been to the Olympics. I thought it would be cool to work collectively with a diverse group to shoot the commemorative book.

When all was said and done, we had a broad spectrum of 12 photographers, ranging from a 19 or 20-year-old photographer to Shelia Metzner, a fine art and fashion photographer who had never shot a sporting event in her life.

David Burnett was the only photographer with experience at the Olympics, and we knew that he would deliver great images in the way that only he can. Michael Siemans, a photojournalist from the Boston Globe, was someone I struck up a conversation with during a rain delay at a Red Sox game, and he became part of the team.

What was SLOC’s direction for “The Fire Within”?
For us, for me, the direction was to create a commemorative book that would show the Olympics in a completely different way. They did not want straight up sports journalism; they wanted Olympic images that had never been seen before. They wanted art, and the only way we could deliver what they were looking for was by having access to areas that were off-limits to press photographers.

During the project, we had four photographers with the kind of unprecedented access that hadn’t been granted since Leni Riefenstahl shot the 1936 Olympics in Berlin for Adolph Hitler. There was one point when I was photographing the start of the luge, and the NBC cameraman was behind me. I heard him say, “there’s some photographer in front of me. I can’t go down any lower. No, we can’t move him. They told us he’s allowed to be there.” I had to smile at that point.

The experience itself was great. Working with all of the different photographers, it was awesome, and everyone was extremely happy. Some of us were working with large format antiquated cameras, hauling them up the side of a mountain and having photojournalists just shake their heads at us like we were crazy.  Some of us were shooting Polaroid negatives. Holgas were being used. Raymond Meeks, who is an incredible fine art photographer, set up in the Olympic Village and was photographing the athletes using hand-coated glass plate negatives. They are some of the most haunting and beautiful images I’ve ever seen. It was an incredible adventure, and I can think of no better way to start my Olympic odyssey.

So then, how did your relationship with the games grow and develop after that?
The next Olympics was in Athens in 2004. This was my first summer Olympics, and I was hired directly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). I covered the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino for ESPN the Magazine, and I’ve been shooting for the IOC since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.  Shooting in Torino for ESPN was a whole different world. I went as a straight-up photojournalist with a straight-up photojournalist credential. That’s an interesting thing.

Interesting how?
Mainly because of the limitations that come with those credentials. In Salt Lake and Athens, I pretty much had full access to anything. That had been my experience, then all of a sudden, I had restricted access. It required a shift in my approach. That said, working with the photo managers was so helpful. Before then, I never worked with the photojournalists or the photo managers at the Olympics. I was on my own; and now, working with these guys, it was great because they did such a great job with getting the press what we needed.

At this point, you’ve shot the Olympics in the U.S., Athens, Torino, Beijing, Vancouver, London, Sochi and Rio. What are some of the cultural differences that you experience, and how do they inform you?

The culture of each host country is very much represented at the Olympics, particularly in the Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony. I’m always interested to see what a country will showcase at the ceremonies, but so much of the experience for me comes down to the local people. The volunteers that work at the games are just so happy that the Olympics are there, and they’re very proud of the fact that they’re a part of it. They’re proud of their country; they want to show it to you, and they want to help you. Overall the experience has been amazing, and the people have been awesome. That’s saying a lot, as I’m about to go to my ninth Olympics.

So speaking of your ninth games, what are you– how do you stay engaged in it, and what are you hoping is going to be different? Or what can you tell us about the upcoming games in PyeongChang?
Each place is different both culturally and visually, and each event has been unique. Just being in a foreign city can make something that you’d think would seem similar feel entirely different. And while the Olympics are the same event to a certain extent, the actors and the stage are always different. I try to tell the broadest story I possibly can, and what gets me excited about PyeongChang is thinking about the stories that are waiting to be told, the ones that haven’t happened yet.

There are surprises at every Olympics; the story of what’s happening changes all the time. Sometimes the weather creates a scenario that you can never predict, but you have to always be prepared for, sometimes it’s the emotion of a particular country having an athlete cross the finish line for the first time in its history, or it can be that an athlete who isn’t on anyone’s radar ends up winning a medal. There’s always a new story to tell.

I was covering the Australia vs New Zealand finals of the first ever women’s Rugby sevens in Rio. I had done setup rugby shots for advertising in the past, but I had no idea what the rules of Rugby Sevens were. Luckily I was given a great introduction by the South African coach who took the time to explain everything to me when I photographed a training session with his team the week before.

So I had a new story to tell.  Not only was this the first event of its kind at the Olympics, but everything about it was new to me, and this game is just non-stop, fast action with teams made up of seven players playing seven minute halves, instead of the usual 15 players playing 40 minute halves. It’s impossible to not be fully engaged when shooting a game like this. Before I even start shooting – I’ve got to decide where to position myself, and I’m constantly accessing what’s going on with this game that’s not familiar to me. Then, if I’m not getting the images that I want, I need to move to another spot where I can get them, and I need to do this as fast as possible.

This particular game was really intense. There was a controversial call in favor of Australia which swung the momentum of the game, and in the end, Australia won. The New Zealand team broke down in tears. The emotion was just overwhelming.

Fast forward 10 minutes, and the losing team in any final competition at the Olympics is expected to be at the podium to receive their medal for losing a game that they’ve trained for for years. I know it’s not really thought about that way, but I’ve watched this so many times, and I just see how hard it is for these teams to play with everything they’ve got up to the last second, and when they lose, there’s no time for them to process that before they have to be on the medal podium. At that time they usually don’t see it as, “We won the silver medal, that’s good.” They see it as, “We lost the gold. That sucks.”

So after the game was over, all of the photographers, all of the press photographers – got lined up, and there were probably 200 Olympic staffers there getting ready for the medal ceremony. Both teams had entered the field, and they were looking out to where the podiums were being put up. The Australian team was milling around, and the New Zealand team was doing the same, but they were all in tears. They were just heartbroken. As I walked over to stand behind them, all of a sudden, the crowd in the stands started to chant the haka, the traditional war cry from the Māori people of New Zealand. There’s a lot of cultural meaning and symbolism to the haka, and the “All Blacks”, New Zealand’s rugby union team, have been performing it before games to intimidate their opponent since the early 1900s.

This is one of those times when the story of what was happening, the medal ceremony, changed completely. I turned around, and I saw all of these big dudes in the stands, all standing up with their shirts off. They were sounding off this tribal chant that I’ve seen on television, but now I was 10 feet away from it. I started taking pictures of them, and I was turning and taking pictures of the New Zealand women’s team reacting to the men in the stands, and back and forth, and then the women just formed into this group. There was no gesture or comment or anything. They just formed this group and started to do the haka back to the people in the stands.

So there these women were with tears coming down, and they were doing this chant with these intensely aggressive eyes, and I couldn’t pull cameras up fast enough to take pictures; close ones, wide ones. I was doing everything I possibly could, as all photographers do, to capture those moments as fast as I could, and I kept looking out of the corner of my eye wondering, “Is anybody else taking pictures of this? Am I the only person taking pictures of this? This is awesome.”

That was a gift, and it was just incredible to be standing where I was and to be able to capture that experience.

Below are links to John’s 2016 Rio Olympic Galleries.

Equestrian

Table Tennis

Basketball

Weight Lifting

Beach Volleyball

Field Hockey

Rugby

Wrestling

Steeplechase

Diving

Boxing

The Daily Promo – Kelsey McClellan

- - The Daily Promo

Kelsey Mcclellan

 
Who printed it? 
Ryan Dempsey at West Camp Press in Columbus, Ohio.

Who designed it? 
Blake Roberts. He also designed our logo!

Who edited the images?
I did.

How many did you make?
Only 75.

How many times a year do you send out promos? 
This is our first promo as Terrence Caviar. We hope to send one out every year or as we have work that is exciting.

The Daily Edit – People Magazine: Bradley Meinz

- - The Daily Edit

People Magazine

On Set Photo Editor: Rachael Lieberman
Photography Director: 
Catriona Ni Aolain Lindbaek
Creative Director: Andrea Dunham
Photographer: Bradley Meinz
Heidi: How long did you have for this shoot?
Bradley: I was given ten minutes total for the shoot, which took place during the press junket at the Four Season’s hotel in Beverly Hills, California.  The shoot was to promote the new Samuel l. Jackson and  Ryan Reynolds film, Hit Man’s Bodyguard.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
I had a call with the magazine’s photo director in NYC prior to the shoot, she really wanted to get a reportage style image rather than a controlled portrait on seamless,  however to cover all bases I was asked to get both!

With only 10 minutes to shoot, what type of exchange did you have with the subjects and the publicist?
The publicist were mainly just a voice to keep the shoot to the ten minute limit!  I introduced myself to talent when they stepped into my set (first shoot was seamless) and I gave them only a little direction asking them to have fun with it.

What are your go to tools for managing the stress of this type of shoot?
I always try and tell myself to stay in the moment, often times these types of high profile celebrity shoots take on there own personality.  I never really want the photo to feel “about me” as the photographer but rather the energy of the subjects.

How did you overcome the obstacles of the uninspired hotel room and low ceilings?
I called the hotel prior to the shoot asking for the rooms measurements & ceiling height!  I knew it was going to be a close fit with lighting and grip.  I could of used one light on the seamless set up and called it a day, however I actually had four sources playing in that shot, it was really important to me that I had nice quality of light for these two amazing actors!  The outdoor photograph was much more loose and I had my first assistant
handhold “Hollywood” the key light.

 photograph by Kaiya Peralta

The Daily Promo – Jake Stangel

- - The Daily Promo

Jake Stengel

Who printed it?
We got it printed by Chromatic in beautiful, sunny Glendale, CA. 

Who designed it?
Julie Johnson designed it in collaboration with Jen Jenkins, my rep at Giant Artists. 

Who edited the images?
Jen and I edited the images together. My work is pretty wide-ranging, so we wanted to show that aforementioned range, but also keep it feeling cohesive and of one voice. The images are primarily from a campaign I shot for OpenTable last year (the main back image of the boat, as well as the top three images in the grid), the bottom left is for BMW, shot at The Whale Wins in Seattle, and the bottom right is from a Rapha lookbook in Amsterdam. We went back and forth a bit on how to simultaneously show food, environment, portraiture, and some sport, but mostly wanted to show some soul and nice colours. 

How many did you make?
Enough for all of the land (the land has 
1500 people on it).

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out a round of promos about once a year. Since Giant sends out promos to commercial clients, I stick towards personalized promos to magazine photo editors in the US and Europe, with sticky notes of English Bulldogs and Retrievers with cute handwritten phrases like “welcome to my brand!” on them. 

This particular promo also serves as a take-away card at meetings as well as a mailer in a clear cello envelope.  The size is intentional – it fits into the back pocket of a portfolio.  It’s also not as small as a traditional postcard to get lost at the bottom of a file drawer.  But not so big as to be obnoxious and take up valuable space.  Altogether, they are a cohesive presentation at portfolio shows that have become synonymous with the Giant brand.  The idea is to put a full bleed image on the front that may be more personal or fine art that someone would keep on their wall with 4-5 images on back that show your range. 
 
Giant also creates an annual book that comes out each Fall.  Each edition is themed, with a written introduction by Jen, and features a variety of work from each artist.

The Daily Edit – Michael Norseng: My Bold North

- - The Daily Edit

Photographs by Ackerman + Gruber/Mpls. St. Paul Magazine


Photographs by Eliesa Johnson/Mpls. St. Paul Magazine

MSP Communications

Associate Creative Director: Michael Norseng

Heidi: What advice do you have for any photo director looking to transition out of magazines?
Michael: Over time, (and this is a continual discovery), I have found that titles can often be misleading.  And especially people’s perceptions of those titles.  “Photo Editor”, outside of the NYC publishing carousel, newspapers, or rarified titles and markets, can be a bit of a limiting designation.  Two decades in, I still often get the question, “so what did you do or rather do exactly?” The reality is that for each person, the experience, responsibilities, and creative role in the process is varied.  I think it is beneficial to shift the semantics and attempt to make people understand that the term is broad and more of an umbrella to describe a lot of other sub roles.  In my case and just a few: Researcher, Producer, Project Manager, Video Producer, Art Buyer, Problem solver, conceptor, and yes, Creative Director.  I think that understanding of capabilities and embracing the ability to sell oneself can be a difficult roadblock to overcome, but in the end it is essentially about not limiting yourself to just being defined by one thing, or one title.  There is no clear path.

For me it took stepping away from NY, and having someone, Creative Director Brian Johnson, and a company, MSP Communications, realize that I could be an important asset/cog in the wheel of their creative process.  I feel lucky in that regard.

You had an impressive run at Esquire, what do you miss most about being in editorial?
I’m incredibly grateful for the time I had living in NYC, working in magazines, and especially at Esquire/Hearst.  But there was a confluence of reasons of why the experience was coming to an end, both personally and professionally.  I was extremely, (extremely is an understatement), blessed during my time in NYC that I rode this wave and crossed paths and learned from some of the best Photo Editors, Creative Directors, Designers, and Editors in the industry.  And additionally by extension, photographers, writers, illustrators, agents, subjects, on and on…and on. I believe, and I hope, I carried a lot of what I learned from those individuals on to this role I am in now.

One of the things that David Granger, former Editor and Chief of Esquire, and by extension David Curcurito, Design Director, instilled in all of us was to continue to be ambitious, curious, and varied in terms of story-telling and put out high quality work into the world no matter what the restraints.  Every day it felt like we were constantly evolving creatively.  Or at least I hope we were.  It was often a fulfilling and exciting place to work, even if not everything we tried landed in the way we hoped.

By extension too, there was a recognition that individuals had capabilities outside of their designated roles, (back to the previous question).  So yes, I worked on photography and managed that department, but also contributed a few times little bits of writing, or story ideas, or what have you.  It was the sort of environment that fostered ambition and embraced whatever people wanted to contribute and there were no set lanes in which you were forced to stay.  In fact, I think the entire reason why I was originally promoted from within there about a decade ago is because I had expressed an interest in producing video content and extending the reach of the stories (mostly in a surface visual way) online or eventually on the ipad.

So it has been exciting transitioning to MSP Communication where that work or my varied background has been valued.  I am not only involved in some editorial photo capacities with Delta Sky Magazine and Mpls/St. Paul, but also working on video projects as well.  The environment is collaborative, my colleagues are great, and I feel like I’m working in a similar role to put out public facing work which is both ambitious, but of a high quality both locally and nationally.


Photograph by Ture Lillegraven


Photograph by Caitlin Cronenberg

As a creative, what is the most important ingredient to keep you fully engaged?
I have a broad range of personal interests and knowledge, so I love diversified subject matter.  Or the ability to think of ways to poach or have cross-over applications to how something is presented in a unique way.  It is one of the reasons why I’ve always loved editorial, and especially what could be called as general interest, because the subject matter, perspective, and story-telling is always varied.  I also love the pace that it provides…that there is constant creation on all levels of size each day. If it doesn’t work once, learn from it, and move on.  The goalpost is constantly shifting and you have to work fast.

I think I’m also excited by putting out content into the world either in print or online that either engages or people consume in some regard.  If it initiates an emotional response, or the person looking at feels like it was well done, enough to capture their attention, then that is the ideal.  Personally I want the work that either myself or my colleagues put out to deliver on being high quality.

How much has your video experience influenced your career?
I think it safe to say that if I wouldn’t have experimented with video, or taken advantage of the opportunities to do it, I wouldn’t have found myself in the position I am in today.  I believe it is what separated me from the pack when individuals were being brought through the door to interview at Esquire 10 years ago.  And it has been instrumental of course to me in this next role I find myself in.

How did this video series come about?
My new(ish) colleagues at Mpls St. Paul Magazine/MSP Communications had this incredibly ambitious video series pitch, (in conjunction with Explore Minesota and The Superbowl Host Committee), already in the works before I started here in December.  So although I heard only minor mentions of it during my interview process last fall, it wasn’t necessarily a reality until I started.  I think it was my first week of work here when Brian Johnson, (Creative Director), Drew Wood (Editor), and Jayne Haugen Olson (Editorial Director), and I sat in a room and collaboratively said ok, we have this seed of an idea and an opportunity, so how do we execute upon it and what do we want this ultimately to be and look like.  Given my background, and some experience in this regard, I think they, and leadership and MSP, collectively leaned on me and my perspective and background in terms of the best way to execute, package, and present these.  So we/I hit the ground running.  And now we are leading up to week 30 of 52.  It has been exciting, to say the least, each and every week putting one of these out there.

Tell us about your creative process for these videos?
Essentially, what these are, and the elevator pitch which I often repeat, is that Superbowl 52 is coming to Minneapolis in 2018, and thus we wanted to figure out a way to capitalize on that and shine a spotlight on the state via videos with 52 notable individuals, one each week until next year, that have connection to the state. The goal each week has been to not only tell their stories through individualized love letters, but also bring in elements of things to ether do and/or see if someone was to come and visit.  All within 2:30.

Because of how we/I am executing these, with different contributors, restraints on time and access to subjects, etc., these are all a bit apples and oranges in terms of presentation.  I would like to think each one is unique as the different subjects we are covering.  The front end title sequence, (with exception of the background) and closing credits are for the most part templated, initially developed along with a former colleague and great AE designer (Tom Losinski), but I am able to alter them each week to be specific to each subject.  So I like to think the bookends or cookies to the Oreo stay relatively the same, and it is the cream/content that shifts week to week.

And that constant shifting of sands also goes for my role on the project.  For the most part you could say I’m the lead in the creative execution along with my partner and colleague Drew Wood.  But there is so much as well that happens behind the scenes with my colleagues that people will never get to see…in terms of how we get the most eyeballs on them, the design of the website, etc.   And in terms of myself week to week,  I would say my lead role is that I am hiring the individual photographers, directors, cinematographers, etc, to do these and  managing the output, the say on the final videos.  I’m also working alongside my colleagues sending requests to PR to try to wrangle talent/subjects, which has been fun and extension of some of the moderate communication I did before with PR people.  And some weeks, and this has been fun, actually trying my hand at interviewing the subjects off camera.  Har Mar Superstar, Lindsey Vonn (upcoming), and Alec Soth have been a few highlights in this regard.  Or and additionally, outside of outputting the titles each week,  I’m actually from time to time editing the actual videos or shooting some of the b-roll, or just working with the directors on the best final cuts.  It has been really fun.  Intense at times.  But I/we are pleased I think with what we are producing.

And again, back to the beginning of this interview, and I feel like this series is emblematic, there are no clear lanes of responsibility on this.  It is just all hands on deck, in a collaborative editorial environment, to put what we hope is good, high quality storytelling to the world…at an extremely quick pace. You can find a few below and the rest here:  myboldnorth.com

 

Alec Soth was shot and edited by Kevin Horn

 

Jim Brandenburg filmed by Ackerman + Gruber

The Daily Promo – Craig Litten

- - The Daily Promo

Craig Litten

Who printed it?
The promo was printed by Moo (www.moo.com). Since I’m new at promos I decided to experiment with a company I am already aware of, and familiar with the their high quality printing.

Who designed it?
I designed the cards, but used a template for the text (moo has pretty limited designs for text) and worked around the limited template as much as possible.

Who edited the images?
The images were edited by me also. The original images were shot for Sunbum and used in their product promotional catalog. The photos originally ran in color, but I much prefer the black & white versions.

How many did you make? 
I did a very small run as a test of the print quality from Moo. In my opinion, their quality is fantastic and exactly as I envisioned when toning them on screen with deep rich blacks, a wide tonal range and crisp detail. Since I’m pleased with the results, I’m preparing to do a full run of these same cards soon.

How many times a year do you send out promos? 
This is my first attempt at such a thing, but looking ahead I plan to send out promos at least twice per year to see how it goes.

The Daily Edit – Erik Asla: The Stillness of Motion

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

Erik Asla

I know you were a  Herb Ritts protégé what were key insights he offered and how difficult was it not to follow his footsteps?
I think the main value of working with Herb was to realize how important it is to always aim for perfection. He never stopped doing exactly that. It’s challenging and hard at times. Also, I saw how he was able to make people feel at ease by focusing all attention on his subjects, whether celebrities, models or ordinary people. In my eyes, that was his main gift in addition to his keen eye, communication.

Herb is not someone whose footsteps one automatically tries to follow. He was one of a kind. I did not want to become a poor replica of the master, so I took deliberate steps to go a different route.

In a sentence describe what it’s like to have a mentor?
In the best of times, it is an extremely rewarding relationship for both parties. Usually, with lots of sacrifices on the part of the protegé.

 

How did your former law schooling transcend into your photographic career, if at all? 
Did not transcend at all, but I realize I have a creative and an analytical side. Needless to say, the analytical side has been completely sidetracked for the last couple of decades.

How did you make the transition from commercial to fine art?
It was more of a necessary evolution than anything else. The desire to create something that represents my way of seeing without embellishments or the influence of other visions.

Your fine ark work, The Stillness of Motion celebrates the organic beauty with a linear eye; we don’t feel rushed nor pushed into a lane. What was your creative message?
I try to capture imagery that resonates with who I am, how I see things, how I think, dream. What my preferences in life are. All of that, really. The serenity and graphic simplicity envelop everything I am and strive for.

How many images did you shoot in order to refine it to the edit you currently have?
Multiple thousands. I guess that’s partly why it’s rewarding when I feel that I have one that stands out. Because the road to getting there is often quite long.

Describe the creative space you feel when in your commissioned work vs the fine art?
Ideally, you want to have the same freedom in commissioned work as in fine art. Though in reality, that is seldom possible. Fine art is so unconstrained, so liberating. In the end, all that matters is that you create something that resonates with yourself and your audience. And that you do it without compromises or short cuts.

The Daily Edit – Nigel Parry: Outside Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

Outside

Photo and Design Director: Hannah McCaughey
Photo Editor: Amy Silverman
Deputy Art Director: Petra Zeiler
Photographer: Nigel Parry

 

Heidi: How many set ups did you do and what type of direction did you give for this image for Cory in the snowsuit?
Nigel: We got to maybe five or did six different setups, things were going well. Then we we’re coming to the last set and I said, “This is where I want you to put your big snow suit on as if you’ve traveled, you’ve done your climb and you are finally at rest. It’s obviously in a studio, but just try and make yourself feel like the avalanche has just happened.”

“Cool, that’s good.” he said, “I just need to go over and pick up this message,” and he just sat at the dressing table for maybe 10-15 minutes.
I said, “Okay, when you’re ready,” and he then walked back over to the set and we started shooting again.

“Just try and take yourself back there and I’m going to keep shooting.” He carried on just looking at me and all of a sudden, he started crying.” There are tears in his eyes I said, “I’m going to keep shooting,”

“That’s fine,” Cory replied.

After I stopped shooting I went and gave him a big hug and assumed what just happened was he’d taken himself back into that terrible state where he had almost died and he was reliving the emotions. He said,” You know when I went over there and picked and picked up that message? I was told that my best friend just committed suicide.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said, “I’m so sorry,”

He said, “No, it was my decision to keep going on. It seemed fitting anyway, I knew I was going to be quite upset.”

Do you find that a little challenging to shoot a peer?
Cory is an adventure photographer and takes incredible photographs in situations where I wouldn’t even in my wildest dreams think to find myself. He takes very different pictures. To me, photography is so compartmentalized; we’re just in two totally different spheres.

What type of direction did you get from Hannah?
The direction I got from her was simple. She told me he’d almost died and she wanted something similar to the photos you see of people before they climbed Everest; with a nod towards early 20th century images where they’re very slow shutter speeds so everyone had to sit very still and stare at the camera. I thought this was perfect direction since he’s a mountaineer, there’s no smiling, no movement. The fact that I was shooting a lot of black and white made it easier and more powerful.

Had you met Cory before?
No, though he seemed like a sincere bloke. I don’t know what he was like before the accident, and maybe that’s changed him. But I found him a terrifically interesting in every way. You want to get to know him more. I think he’s very visually appealing and we have been doing some corresponding actually because he’s doing a bit of portrait work, and I’ve been mentoring him a little with of all of that.

Is there something creatively that you learned about yourself or did anything shift for you as a photographer after the shoot?
Every now and again you have what is an abundance of creativity and you can work with that if you want. It’s really an abundance of Limbic resonance. That’s what photographers want in their arsenal. Because that’s just, there are areas of your brain which basically feels emotions and is able to empathize with another person. If you’re able to do that, That’s your major tool, once you’ve got all your lighting source figured out. As a portrait of photographer you want to be able to get so close to the person, not necessarily as in proximity, but just be close to them emotionally and on their wave length that you and they become joined mentally, emotionally. That’s what one always strives for. I don’t know how one gets it. I just know that this is my goal in portrait photography. I’m so desperate [laughs] to people — because it makes people open up. Our shoot was great in that respect. If somebody is very receptive to that, then it makes for a wonderful connected shoot where the person who’s being photographed knows just about when I’m going to shoot the photograph, and I know what they’re going to do next. You become sort of connected.

You do have a nice connection then since you’re mentoring him.
Well, I do now, but the first time I met him was when he walked in and said, “Oh my God, I can’t believe that I’m meeting you and you’re going to photograph me.” I said, “What? What are you talking about mate?” [laughs].Yes. That’s very lovely of him to say that. He said, “You’re also my hero.” “Oh, well that’s fantastic. I’m sure by the end of this you’ll be my hero because I’ve never climbed a mountain that spared my life.” I replied.

Do you have any photographic influences?
Yes. I’ve had many. Not many of them are living right now. I’ve tried to emulate or pay homage to David Bailey. I use David Bailey as the person I would love to learn from, I was totally taken by his pictures. His directness and his cruelty in some respects. It’s a sort of cruelty you don’t get from Irving Penn who I also love. Also for the decisive moment, the good old favorite Cartier-Bresson because I started out as a reportage photographer. Cartier-Bresson was my idol and hero, alongside David Bailey as well. I find that there’s an awful lot of similarity between portraiture and Cartier-Bresson’s work. In fact, there’s an awful lot of similarity between portraiture and virtually any other kind of work. Once you’ve mastered portraiture, you can pretty much jump off to anything. The key to portraiture is to have an environment in which, be it lighting, or whatever it is in that environment that you’re photographing, the moment comes to make the magic happen.The only difference between say, portraiture, and reportage is that reportage people have to get themselves in the middle of the crowd. Whereas I have to get my studio set so that when the magic happens, I can get it. There’s very little difference in the actual execution, the principles of execution they are very, very similar.

Do you remember some of your first images when you thought, “I love photography and this is what I want to do?
Well, I remember a lot of my first images. The first image that I ever had published was a picture of some little girls walking down some steps inside the British museum in London. I realized that even though it was only sold as a postcard, that must be a great way of making some money out of something which I enjoy so much. It was the fact that I was willing to put money behind this to make a wet plate of it than print it on paper, buy the paper, buy the ink and distribute it. There must be something good about it.

What would you tell your younger self, now that you have so much experience as a photographer?
I’d tell myself not to become a photographer, be a lawyer or a doctor or do something that can’t be replaced by a phone and a bunch of algorithms–but no, I wouldn’t change a thing about my chosen career. It has been the most wonderful, the most interesting, the most challenging, the most frightening. The road with the most twisted bends, and turns and highways and freeways. I wouldn’t change a thing. It has, and hopefully will still be wonderful.

 

 

The Daily Promo: Yuri Hasegawa

- - The Daily Promo

Yuri Hasegawa

Who printed it?
JEJ Print in Monterey Park, Los Angeles, CA. They are a family owned, web press printer; I love that they can customize.  This was my first time printing on newsprint so I wanted to work closely with the printer learning about the characteristics of newsprint, how the images would interact with the medium and I wanted to support a local business. Ryan at JEJ Print was very helpful during the entire process. 

Who designed it?
I designed it myself. Once I fined tuned the layout a graphic designer friend of mine, Blake Ingram created the final export. He finessed the font placement and also gave great advice on the overall design. I wanted the design to be simple and photography forward. I placed the cover portrait’s (Lance Mountain) eye specifically, so that it would appear in the perfect spot – peeping over  to achieve an eye-catching effect and be easy to mail.

Who edited the images?
I edited it myself with feedback, advice and opinions from variety of people: mentors, colleagues, friends, artists.  I’m so grateful for everyone’s help, thank you! My editing goal was to select images that ultimately spoke to my style, community and interests.  I completed around 3 rounds of edits until I reached the final decision.

How many did you make?
1000 copies. I sent out approximately 800 in the US. I still plan on sending a portion to international clients and keep some for leave behinds.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is my very first large run mailing promo! Previously I was sending out more DIY printed post cards to a select list of publications I wanted to contribute to,  mailing them twice a year as well as supplementing with email promos twice a year. I have regular clients in Japan, but I knew I needed to be more proactive to promote my work within the US market. One of my goals was to include the US advertising and client direct market. The  idea of this promo was to make my first big introduction to a broader audience.   The idea of the cover title “HELLO” came along pretty quick: “Hello, nice to meet you. Here is my work, my name is Yuri!” Allong with this serving  as a promo piece, I wanted to make something that I could give away and show my photographs in a different format. I often grab a “newspaper” if it’s free and full of photography,  I’m so intrigued by the play of the images on newsprint.

The Daily Edit – Jesse Burke: Wild&Precious

- - The Daily Edit


Jesse Burke/ Wild & Precious

Heidi: You were named by Time Magazine as one of the of top instagram photographers to follow, when did you start your Instagram practice?
Jesse: Social media in my photography practice started back with the advent of Instagram in 2010. I had initially decided that I was going to use my Instagram account as a way of sharing personal photos only with my friends and family. Very quickly, my clients got wind of it and really liked the images. We then started having conversations about what it all meant. It was exciting and new for everyone; this, of course, shifted my thinking about how I could organically use Instagram and social media in general by applying my personal aesthetic. This is something that I strive to keep true throughout my postings, whether personal or commercial.

Jesse: Just because you have an iPhone and a social media account doesn’t mean you are a photographer. How has the iPhone shaped your craft?
When I started shooting with my phone as a secondary source I realized that my voice was still there in the images, even though the intent of the picture making process was a little bit different. I think over the years this has influenced my outlook on how I perceive myself and shifted my vision in my work. I think what sets me apart from other photographers is that vision. I stay very true to who I am as a person and that guides the picture making practice. In my case this means being a husband/dad first, artist/photographer second, and nature lover/farmer guy third.

How has your phone made you a better photographer?
Since I was academically trained as an artist, all of the practices that I was implementing into my artwork were very quickly falling into my social media channels and my commercial photography. I believe the strength of my voice comes from my art making background. Initially, I made a very concerted effort, and still do, to “keep it real” as much as possible. To be myself and not swayed by outside forces. I will post pictures through social channels that I really love regardless of their content. Sometimes they may seem a little silly but they’re important to me and I simply like them. That’s the approval process. There’s a lower bar for what I think is acceptable on my social channels, which allows me to be much looser in terms of my editing and shooting practices. I think this has expanded my outlook on how my photography can be approached and has strengthened my abilities as a photographer.

Do you feel this notion of the skill needed in being a photographer is undermined by technology?
I don’t. I believe it’s actually accentuated. Skill is a complicated word. Does it refer to one’s ability to control the tools or to have a unique vision? Both? I often think in a pretty conceptual or metaphysical way about photography. I trust my gut. I’m not sure I would call that skill, although one certainly needs a lot of skills to be a photographer, no doubt. For me the technology has really helped me by allowing me to have better pictures; sharper and higher quality images, a looser approach, and in the end more balance to my work. I think the quality of the camera, whether it be an iPhone or the Canon digital I use, is so good now that every picture can be technically fantastic. So the skill part comes back to the concepts and execution of the ideas in my opinion and I’m not sure technology harms that. I’m thankful that digital technology supports me and allows me the ability to create conceptual art pieces from my iPhone that I can show in the gallery setting and place into museum collections. Back when Instagram started I would never have imagined that the photos on my feed would live in museum collections. This still blows my mind.

Let’s circle back to vision, what is yours? 
If everybody has great files then it’s the artistic vision and aesthetic that’s going to allow the cream to rise. Originality is key in a world where authenticity is paramount. I see a lot of inauthenticity, especially on social media. Trends will ebb and flow and we as connoisseurs can get swept up in that. It’s nature and it’s not terrible, but I think holding on to your version of authentic can be your best asset. My artistic vision is just my version of how I see the world. My vision is dependent on my priorities, my family, the well-being of the planet, nature, animals, and art in general. If I had to be specific I would say my vision is that of a thoughtful, but wild, environmental portraitist looking for ways to connect my subject to the landscape and light. Ideally, something real and considered yet gritty and raw.

How do you stay authentic to yourself and your work?
I stay authentic to myself and my work is just by embracing what’s around me. I know that sounds cliché but if you look through my social media channels you will see that I’m just a guy living on and appreciating the land for all it’s worth. I have a little farm with my family (3 kids, 10 chickens, 2 ducks, 1 dog, and 1 pet skunk, as well as a various assortment of rehab animals coming in and out) in Rhode Island and we do all kinds of amazing things out in the wild together. We are explorers and we are open to what’s in front of us. Being open to the magic around you is such a huge part of the journey for me. I go about my life paying close attention to and documenting these things, and that has become the makeup of who I am as a person and photographer. There’s no space for lack of authenticity when you’re working in conditions like that.

You use your work as a diary, how are you archiving this and do you have broader plans for family posterity?
I do use photography as a diary of sorts, constantly documenting the events in my life. Sometimes that’s shooting art projects in the deep woods of Maine, sometimes it’s at the dining room table at breakfast with the girls, and sometimes that’s on a set shooting fashion models or Ford cars. I think as you live with my work you start to see how it all gels together and in the end, it becomes the authentic version of who I am as a person and inevitably as a photographer. It’s all over the place and that is my favorite part. My creative partners, whether they’re art directors, photo editors, or social media experts, are sophisticated and can see how my particular version of  authenticity can play into what they need for their clients. Sometimes it’s an obvious direct hit and sometimes it takes courage and a bigger leap. As far as family posterity is concerned, part of my larger goal in life is to teach my kids how to be aware of the magic I mentioned in the previous question. The journey to appreciate and acknowledge that is what guides this ride we’re on. Hopefully my girls will grow up to aware of what’s around them and brave enough to interact with it. Photography is one of the vehicles I use to ensure this happens.

What do you feel is your particular gift as an artist and when did you realize this?
Ultimately, I think my strength is in storytelling. Any project I approach, whether personal or commissioned, I try my damnedest to tell the whole story. This originates from my time at RISD attending graduate school. I started making work that truly explored a given concept from micro to macro. I was shooting landscapes, portraits, and still lifes that all spoke a common language and told a single story. Once I finished my thesis project, Intertidal, I realized that this methodology was working for me and I kept at it. This is exactly what I do for my clients because it’s the only way my mind works and it’s the best way for them to use me. Sure, I can take a single portrait of any given subject, such as a farmer. But I would much rather shoot the farm, the farmer, the farm dog, the produce, the soil… the details. I love the minutiae. The whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts. I want my photographs to elicit a genuine response to how amazing a situation is, to tell a story and share the narrative visually. A friend recently introduced me to this amazing quote from writer John Lubbock, “The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live In”that really sums up how feel about my approach, “What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.” I try to be them all.

What has documenting your daughters taught you about your craft? 
I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons over the years by collaborating with my daughters. The first has to be acquiring some serious patience, something I innately lack. When I first started shooting with Clover, about 6 years ago, I realized this was uncharted territory for me. The way I had shot images up that point was slowly and carefully, working in a seemingly “adult” way. That wasn’t going to cut it with the kids. I had to get a grip on the fact that finding patience would allow me to get what I needed and wanted. Also, I realized very quickly that I wasn’t solely in charge. Once I let go of some of the control and allowed them to be themselves, and stop being a director, barking orders, the images became so much better. I now approach photography from a much more fun, almost childlike, way. I try to think of shoots from all perspectives, both still and moving, calm and chaotic, adult and childlike. The kids forced me to break out of my formal comfort zone. Obviously, becoming a father changes you at the core, but strangely it took me turning my camera on them to realize this. I want to see them smiling and crying, proud and wounded. I try to be very aware of all of these scenarios as they are happening. It’s hard to do, but many times you just have to be there. Being present is half the battle.

How did Wild & Precious come about and how have you grown professionally from that project?
Wild & Precious originated from a road trip that I took with my oldest child to explore and document the New England landscape and in the fall of 2010. Very quickly I realized that I was on to something and this might be my next personal project. Personally, I was growing as a parent and photographer while I worked on this project and naturally it spilt into my professional career. I have become this environmental portrait photographer/nature dad by way of Wild & Precious. Once I realized that was happening the road trips became a priority for us personally and it became important for me professionally to document it all. The project has allowed my work to really grow in ways that I never expected. I couldn’t be happier with where I am as a professional and I owe a lot of that to being that nature dad. Now I find myself working very specifically for clients to make work that was spawned from Wild & Precious. We recently worked on a children’s hospital commercial project that was about showing the strength and vulnerability of children. This is exactly what I am interested in my personal work so it was a dream to create those types of images for clients. 

Commercial clients are now doing more branded content with a hint to editorial, blurring the lines. What projects have you shot that fit this authentic storytelling?
This summer I worked with Fatherly.com to photograph a version of Wild & Precious for L.L. Bean. We collaborated together to create images that tell the story of “A Classroom In Nature.” This is at the core of everything I believe in both personally and professionally. It was a perfect collaboration and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Most recently I worked with Honda to travel around and document what it means to be a father in the US. I got to meet and photograph a wide variety of dads and their children. This was an incredibly eye opening project that jives perfectly with all of my personal and professional goals. It was unbelievable to get out there on the road and bond with these families and shoot pictures of them just being themselves. It was beyond rewarding and constantly forced me to assess my own views on fatherhood. I should also mention that the Wild & Precious film was my first foray into filmmaking and I am now completely addicted.

Who are you represented by and why did you choose them?
I am commercially represented by Tea & Water Pictures. It’s a relatively new signing for me, as of this past winter. I chose to go with Tea & Water for many reasons but ultimately it was because of their sustainability message that won me over. They want to do good things for the Earth and tell amazing stories. That is what my life is all about! It’s a perfect match up and we’re already doing great things together. I couldn’t be happier. It’s a real privilege to work with people who appreciate you on all levels, both artistically and personally. We’re bound for great things and I’m excited about the journey forward!

Are you your own photo editor? If so what is your approach?
I am my own photo editor. In terms of an approach, I always want to tell a meaningful story. Telling a rich story has always been the back bone of my approach to photography. I try to think about the narrative from all ends. I will include wide shots, medium shots, and tight shots in my edits. I will use portraits, landscapes, and still lifes as a way to show a whole story. I usually try to say something about strength and something about vulnerability, as I stated before. I love how opposing forces can feed off of one another. I like to think of my photographic approach to editing as a sliding scale from black to white. You need some black, some white and inevitably a lot of grey. The idea of curating a viewers experience is really exciting to me. The edit of my Wild & Precious book is one of the things I am most proud of. I suffered through that process but in the end, it came out perfect. It was so important that the images relate to one another in just the right way so that when you flip the page the connections make sense and gel. The book form is in many ways an idealized state of the work for me. It’s a curated collection of all my thoughts and dreams come to life presented in just the right way so we are on the journey together.

The Daily Promo – Nye’ Lyn Tho

- - The Daily Promo

Nye’ Lyn Tho

Who printed it? 
Moo printed this for me. 

Who designed it? 
I design all of my promotional material my background is in graphic design.

Who edited the images? 
I edited and retouched all of my work.

How many did you make? 
There are currently 15 pieces in that series.

How many times a year do you send out promos 
Funny you should ask.  Sending them to Rob was actually my first time. This is my 2nd year in business for myself and I have been getting by on word of mouth but it’s time to expand.

The Daily Edit – Cade Martin: Southwest Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

Southwest Magazine

Creative Director: Kevin de Miranda
Photographer: Cade Martin

 

Heidi: Did Derek share any reflections about his injury?  
Cade: We did not talk about the injury itself but we talked about his gravitating towards a piano after the injury. Derek dove into the shallow end of a pool at a party. After being diagnosed with a severe concussion and resting for 5 days, he woke up with an unquenchable urge to play the piano. He doesn’t even read music, but the most complex and intricate works – spanning all genres – now flow from his fingertips. In some ways, the injury itself is just a moment that marks a before and after and so much focus is on how his life has changed.

Tell us about the concept behind this shoot.
It was an honor to be trusted with this story and I was super excited when I heard about the opportunity. Kevin de Miranda, Creative Director at Pace Communications, came to me with the conceptual idea of Derek playing the piano at the bottom of a pool, it was perfect…then I just had to figure out how to pull it off. At the time, I had only photographed one underwater image before – but I loved the idea of creating something ethereal and beautiful. It was a bit of challenge logistically as well as technically but Derek was amazing throughout – as generous with his time and energy as he is with his story and his music. He was up for anything and ready for the underwater adventure.

Did Derek have any hesitation about getting into the pool since a pool where his injury happened?
Not at all, Derek was amazing from our first call and was completely game for anything and going anywhere.

Did you photograph the piano in a pool or was this done in post?
I put a piano in a pool at Matt Hyland’s 4th of July party in 11th grade and vowed that I wouldn’t do that again. Joking.We created the piano and the bench with CGI in post-production.

What were the technical challenges of this shoot?
The biggest challenge was the location honestly. We found a great outdoor pool in the Ft. Lauderdale area. We arrived and it had rained the day before so the pool water was very murky. We ultimately embraced the look and plowed ahead. I love the otherworldly effect you get with how an image captures underwater, but other than that, it is surprisingly similar to any other project as far as focusing on capturing what is needed.

Did he play the piano for you on set?
The piano was created in post-production so there was no piano there but he was always diddling with his fingers as if we was playing an air-piano.

How did this shoot inspire you as a photographer?
It would be hard not to be inspired, as a person, regardless of profession. The idea that there are gifts within even our hardest days is one that we can all learn from. As a photographer I’m inspired by characters and their stories, and by the adventure afforded to me by seeking that out. Derek’s story is utterly unique and almost unbelievable, but he is so genuine and open and accessible, I thought that was such a cool juxtaposition to capture. It’s what I enjoy most about what I do. I don’t know if I’m interested in the camera as much as the adventure, but the camera has been my trusty vehicle and we’ve developed a pretty good relationship. A story like Derek’s reminds me of the surprises and gifts I find on the other side of the lens.

 

 

The Daily Promo – Zach Ancell

- - The Daily Promo

 

Zach Ancell

 

Who printed it?
Prints were done by PSPrint. Because each promo included seven cards, I wanted to keep the costs down. I’ve used PSPrint in the past and the quality is solid and the price very reasonable. I was able to catch them when they were having a sale. 

Who designed it?
I did it all myself. I took inspiration from actual Pantone cards as well as other promos I had seen on the aPhotoEditor instagram. The hardest part was finding all the different pieces but in the end it all came together.

Who edited the images?
Again, I did it all myself. I had done a project earlier in the year for a client where we shot people on a red background (done in post). After seeing it, I realized I always shot on black or white and wanted to explore color as well. To keep things efficient, I shot everything on white and then changed the background color in post. 

How many did you make?
There were 50 promos that had the box, cards, and jelly beans. There was another 50 that just had the cards that I sent out as well. It was tricky deciding which went to which but at the end of the day 100 people got promos from this project. 

What made you want to include the jelly beans?
Honestly? I think people love food so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with adding something in there. I wanted it to be one solid color to kind of play off the project theme. I looked at M&M’s for a second but figured it being so hot this summer they might melt in transit. 

Were they all green? How much did you buy and how did you package them?
They weren’t all green. In hindsight, I think I would have just stuck to one color for all. I ended up buying a little less than 20 lbs of jelly beans in green, purple, blue and orange to match some of the cards. I purchased some small bags and basically measured it out to the best of my ability. I’m so thankful I didn’t end up running out and actually allotted the perfect amount. I won’t lie though, a couple did get eaten during the packing process.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out promos around four times a year. Not always to this extent though. Some just postcards, some posters, and some that have a little treat like this. In the end, I like to switch it up or else I get bored of what I’m sending out (and I don’t want to send it to people and for them to get bored as well!).  I will say, this is the first time I’ve sent a promo out and received emails back from people. So, I might be doing more like this one in the future!

The Daily Edit – Lisette Poole: ESPN

- - The Daily Edit

ESPN

Director of Photography Digital and Print: Tim Rasmussen
Director of Photography ESPN the Magazine: Karen Frank
Creative Director, Digital and Print: Ching Wang
Art Director: Eric Paul
Photographer: Lisette Poole

Heidi: How much of your work is based in Cuba vs North American/Carribean?
Lisette: I’m mostly based in Cuba but have worked all over Latin America and in the U.S. I have a lot of personal and assignment work in Cuba which I’d say makes up 60% of the work I do right now.

 Is there a large local talent pool?
 Yes, there are a large number of talented correspondents in Cuba. I feel lucky to have worked with them over the last two years. 

Tell us about this opening image. Did you shoot this particular image for the opener?
I hadn’t planned it as an opener. I discovered that scene when I went to meet the subject at his house, Dary. We missed Dary for our first meeting but it gave me a chance to scout our location which was his house. The next day I shot him prepping for training and when I knew he’d be coming up that hill, I ran ahead. I thought it gave a great sense of place for his life and current situation.

What were you trying to draw out of the subject here?
Dary was usually upbeat and funny, but I could tell deep down he was disappointed by some of the things that happened in his career. I hoped he would let his guard down for a moment. First thing in the morning (this was shot around 6-7am) he was tired, on his way to work, he had just introduced me to his newborn son. It seemed like he was more “himself” then without his guard up. On this quiet morning, I could sense that he was out of place, no longer home, and not having reached that dream.

How did you and Lerys connect during the shoot? (Lerys is the main character, the portrait shot with the green background)
We connected because I listened. I am also Cuban and have lived there for almost three years now so we had an automatic bond. It was fascinating to me to hear the players’ stories of leaving Cuba, especially Lerys. He said that he left his house, telling his grandma he was going to buy cooking oil and never returned. He was still visibly shaken from the migration experience, spending hours on a tiny boat which was ill-equipped for the trip to Haiti. He also missed Cuba and really wanted to be home. Lerys seemed to feel defeated and didn’t want to be photographed so it took time to build confidence with him. His story reminded me so much of all the Cubans I know who’ve left like my own family and the women I followed last year as they travelled to the U.S. from Cuba through 13 countries.

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The Daily Promo: Shaughn and John

- - The Daily Promo

Shaughn and John

Who printed it?
We got it printed through the online service Modern Postcard.  It was our first time printing through them, so we weren’t sure how the process would go.  It turns out that it was very smooth and we were thrilled that one person at the company was assigned to us and was our point person throughout the entire process.  Huge thanks to Nick Kennedy at Modern postcard for taking care of us from beginning to end!

Who designed it?
We don’t really go around calling ourselves designers, but when it comes to our work we usually have a pretty clear idea of how we want it to be presented.  Often tackling the design ourselves means cutting out a lot of back and forth and getting to the heart of the piece quicker.  For this promo we basically locked ourselves in the studio for two days straight and were able to solidify the design of the book fairly quickly.

Who edited the images?
The images were edited by us as well.  We have a wall in our office coated in sheet metal so that we can display magnet versions of our work and rearrange the edit with ease.  We both previously interned for the amazing photographer Art Streiber and one of our many tasks as interns was to print new work onto magnets and maintain the editing wall.  Sometimes ideas are so good you just have to take them for yourself.  Thanks Art!

How many did you make?
We printed a run of 500.  350 were sent out to current and prospective editorial and advertising clients.  The rest have been given out at jobs, shows, trips…and of course you guys at A Photo Editor.  Each time we create a print a promo we push ourselves to order and mail out more than we did the time before.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
The last two years we have been averaging about 3/4 per year.  The process has evolved along with our shooting careers.  Past promos include printed coasters, postcards, newspapers, and now paperback books, We are hoping to start working on a new one soon as well as out first limited edition hard cover photo book.