Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit – Marv Watson Photographer / Photo Editor

- - The Daily Edit

MW_LoL-World-Final_041013_0429League of Legends World Championship 2013 ( Staples Center )

The Mid Season Invitational of League of Legends 2015 Season, held at the David Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL, USA on 8 May, 2015.

_RV_4394Shoutcasters for League of Legends

TIP and Team Liquid go head-to-head in the third/fourth place matchup of the North American LCS Playoffs, held in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 18 April, 2015. Team Liquid ran out eventual winners, overcoming their rivals 3-2, twice coming from behind.

The final match up at the Mid Season Invitational of League of Legends 2015 Season, between SKT (Korea) and EDG (China), held at the David Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL, USA on 10 May, 2015. The event was won by EDG, who came from a game down, to triumph 3-2.

Members of team EDG cheer on their team

 

The final match up at the Mid Season Invitational of League of Legends 2015 Season, between SKT (Korea) and EDG (China), held at the David Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL, USA on 10 May, 2015. The event was won by EDG, who came from a game down, to triumph 3-2.

Soren 'Bjergson' Bjerg poses for a portrait in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 9 January, 2016.

Soren ‘Bjergson’ Bjerg of Team SoloMid

 

MW_BattleGrounds_231113_0520

Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin, of Team Liquid, poses for a portrait in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 28 May, 2015.

Piglet of Team Liquid

 

BlizzCon 2014 at the Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim, CA, USA on 8 November, 2014.

Life ( Starcraft II )

Marv Watson

mrvphotography for Instagram


How did you get involved with eSports, are you a gamer?

No, actually, I’m not. I would love to get into some of the games, even on a beginner level, but alas I don’t have the time to commit. I kind of fell into eSports very serendipitously. Red Bull started doing eSport events a few years ago, and I was asked to shoot one of those, which led to another assignment shooting purely editorial coverage of a third-party event, which was actually the 2013 World Championships of League of Legends. Coincidentally, a Red Bull colleague went to work for Riot Games, and threw my name in the mix, and I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with their events since then.

How is shooting this different from shooting a live sport event which I know you often do for Red Bull?
Well, I’d say the main difference is the fact that it’s such a static thing that’s going on. The players are obviously super engrossed in the game, and in the zone, and not much really happens on stage. With the Red Bull events I’ve shot, such as Double Pipe (a double-halfpipe snowboard event), or a Flugtag, there’s a ton of things going on, with a lot of movement; you’re looking to capture the peak/grab of a snowboard trick, or the best angle to show a craft in ‘flight’ so you’re constantly on the move. Naturally eSports doesn’t involve a lot of movement; most of the times the players don’t show much emotion on stage, unless they win the tie (it’s a multi-game format, say best of 5), so I’m always looking to show the energy of the whole event, be it by shooting as many angles and lenses as I can manage, or by focusing on the crowd, which is really where the energy is. The fans go crazy, just like you’d see spectators at an NBA game, it’s amazing.

Because the fans are so engaged (there are a lot that come in Cosplay of their favourite characters, they chant for the teams, they jump out of their seats and cheer) it really makes for great visuals. People often can’t imagine these events, and how thousands of people (Riot Games filled Madison Square Garden, for two days in 2015, at one of their events) can watch other people play video games, but when I show them the photos of the fans, it’s akin to a cartoon lightbulb going off above their heads. The fans are the key to the experience, and it’s shooting them that really helps to show what these events are all about. The ones that get dressed up in Cosplay really love being photographed, so that makes it easy.

One interesting thing, which happened a couple of times, at that MSG event I mentioned, was I had two or three fans ask me to sign their posters for them, purely because I was shooting for Riot.

What type of direction do you get from Riot Games when shooting for them?
They’re great, they don’t give us too much strict direction, other than “tell the story”, “show the fans”, “get behind the scenes” and so on. There’s naturally a lot of facets they want covered (the queue of fans waiting to get it, the players hanging out in the team rooms, the crowd going crazy, the shoutcasters etc), but they leave it up to us (there’s usually two of us shooting) to get creative and tell it our way. We have unprecedented access to the players, and that’s what regular media don’t get, so it’s important for us to get close to them and show what you don’t see anywhere else.

Chris Sharma climbs a Redwood tree in Eureka, CA, USA on 20 May, 2015.

                                                                    Chris Sharma in Eureka, CA

MW_20150518_Chris-Sharma_0333

What other type of work do you do besides sports and events?
I actually shoot all sorts of things, preferably portraits and travel, but also music (shows/festivals). When I shoot for Red Bull, or when I collaborate with another photographer at events at which I’m editing, there’s such a range of things to shoot.  These events are a great chance to practice shooting diverse content. Hence, I’ve been able to add BMX, snowboarding, climbing and various motorsports to my portfolio.

I mainly love to shoot portraits, where I enjoy throwing a few lights in the mixer, be it a studio-style shot, or preferably on-location. I love the challenge of trying to find a location on the fly and get a nice shot out of it, which often happens when you have an artist for just a few minutes at a show, and don’t want a static shot in front of a boring wall.

I get to travel a fair bit, whether on the road on shoots or taking vacation, and always make sure to have a camera with me, especially when I’m in a different culture. There’s so much to see when you go somewhere new, and I’m always on the lookout for the details that tourists wouldn’t normally look for, like the local people going about their business, markets, pretty much anywhere there aren’t a thousand tourists pointing iPhones in the same direction. It’s definitely an area in which I’d like to get more involved.

_RV_8724

Finding Novyon poses for a portrait prior to his performance at Red Bull Sound Select Presents: Los Angeles, at Los Globos in the Silverlake neighourhood of Los Angeles, CA, USA on 25 February, 2016.

Event winner DRG poses for a portrait during Red Bull Battle Grounds Global in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 10 August, 2014.

Christmas-2014_0915

EG8V0404

IMG_2414


How has being a photo editor influenced you as a photographer?

I’ve been able to work with some great photographers over the years, and hence have been able to observe different skills. Not just lighting techniques, though of course that has really helped me hone my portraiture, but also the way they handle the talent, location-scouting with little time, how to devise an event workflow, where the turnaround is very quick. It’s obviously not brain-surgery, but they’re all invaluable skills to be able to acquire from established professionals. I see a lot of work, so have been able to learn from a range of work, from the mundane to the brilliant, so seeing all that has helped establish a kind of mental yardstick of where I know I want my own work to be. There are a few photographers with whom I’m friendly, and to whom I owe a large debt of gratitude in helping me be where I am today (they know who they are – thanks guys!).

Can you edit your own work?
Hahaha, you would think that would be one of the skills I’d have really pinned down, wouldn’t you? It’s something I actually still struggle with, insomuch as I find it tricky to make a cohesive selection from a large body of my own images. When I have to, then of course I am making a narrower selection, such as after a music event, when the turnaround time is by 9am the following day, but that’s mostly motivated by a need to get some sleep!

I can zip through anyone else’s batch of, say, 100 images, and very quickly narrow it down to the 20-25 I think tell the story in the most concise way, but doing that with my own work is a struggle. I do what I really shouldn’t do, and that’s get attached to certain images. I think it’s always valuable to have another set of eyes look over your work, which is of course why outlets have Photo Editors in the first place. Sadly, I still fall victim to what I always preach not to do. Do what I say, not what I do, I guess!

I saw that the New York Times profiled Call of Duty player Matt ‘Nadeshot’ Haag not so long ago. You were also taking photos there, in the Red Bull High Performance Lab; how do you make yourself a fly on the wall but still get the shot.
Actually, the good thing about the HPL is that the guys are really relaxed about having a photographer in there; as long as I don’t get in the way of what they’re doing, they haven’t ever moaned at me; at least not to my face. As long as the subject are cool with it, I can get right in there and very personal with them. The good thing about eSports athletes, in my experience, is they aren’t as wary as pro sports athletes and don’t have inflated egos. The only thing is they tend not to be so savvy about being on-camera, so it’s a balance between making them feel awkward and getting ‘in there’ enough. Matt, on the other hand, was great to work with, and as he already knew me (I shot portraits of him when he signed with Red Bull), so that really helped me out. The tricky thing was how to make my photos look different than the NYT photographer’s, so I used off-camera strobes a lot for accent lighting,

The Daily Promo – Nicholas Duers

- - The Daily Promo

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 2.34.13 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 2.34.05 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 2.33.59 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 2.33.52 PM

Nicholas Duers

Who printed it?
To print the promo, we utilized Blurb.com, using their premium lustre-finished paper and perfect binding style.

Who designed it?
The design intent was to create a minimal and immersive physical platform for the presentation of the work, and it was done by myself in collaboration with my Agent, Farimah Milani.

Who edited the images?
In terms of the edit, I worked closely with Farimah, to arrive at a sequence that worked for each of us. As a content creator, there is always the potential for choices to be influenced by sentimental attachment to the imagery. Having an outside perspective from an experienced Agent is tremendously useful! We were able to ensure an overall commercial appeal, and yet still be able to convey my personal aesthetic.

How many did you make?
250.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
We aim to send a physical promotion on a quarterly to bi-annual basis.

How long did this promo take?
The process from concept to execution required three months from start to finish: The back and forth discussions, creating new imagery to fill in any gaps, and the need to update my website before sending out led to the process taking longer than expected. This was our first major promo piece since collaborating, and I wanted to make sure it was executed as perfectly as possible.

The Daily Edit: Psychology Today – Guzman

- - The Daily Edit

Odd Emotions 1 with type

Odd Emotions 2 with type

Guzman 1
Guzman 2

Guzman 3

Guzman 4

Psychology Today

Creative Director: Edward Levine
Photo Director: Claudia Stefezius
Art Director: Yuko Miyake
Photographer: Guzman

This magazine content seems to be a unique departure from your work, is this the first time you are working with the magazine?
Yes, this was the first time working with Psychology Today and we’re delighted that they asked us to collaborate on this project. Was it a unique departure for our work? Well, not really. We enjoy taking a concept, in this case “odd emotions,” and figuring out how to visually express it. Our editorial work often has underlying conceptual themes. They could be of a political or social nature; or they could be self-referential. With “odd emotions,” it was not so much about illustrating what was happening inside one’s head but rather creating an unresolved/open ended image, that allows the viewer to interpret those feelings for themselves.

Bringing fashion into a potentially dry subject matter adds a layer of surprise to the images. Were these concepts difficult to sell to the editors?
Actually, when there is an emotional component to work with, the ideas tend to flow. That said, “odd emotions “ was a good rock for us to to leap off of. At first glance, the subject matter may appear to be a little convoluted but Ed Levine (Creative Director) and Claudia Stefezius (photo editor) were very helpful by providing us with a mood board and a list of ideas tohelp establish a visual dialogue. After some discussion, we all zeroed in on the ideas. In addition, we all felt that the images should not be too alienating, these were not emotions that we need to fear but rather, are a part of life.

How much direction did you get from the magazine or were you lucky enough to have creative freedom, I would think the latter.
There was a back and forth re:model choices. As far as our creative team, we have a team that we work with and believe that images created both for advertising and editorial are the end result of the photographer’s creative team choices, each person on the team brings their creative background and ideas to the image.
Hair stylist/Makeup artist/Fashion Stylist/et Designer and of course Assistants and Digital tech. The photographer much like a film director guides these gifted artists in the creating of the images So there is a lot of back and forth emailing regarding props direction, lighting, clothing choices and so on.

Fashion is a departure for this magazine, are you part of the magazine ushering in a new look?
I don’t think it was a conscious decision on our part. As photographers, one has to figure out intuitively how to communicate an idea in an interesting way. Since we needed the images to be thought provoking without beingtoo dark and alienating,perhaps approaching this assignment in a surrealist/ fashion context helped.

Was it a challenge to have them run an image “upside down” on the cover?
That was the magazine’s idea and we loved it. It’s what made us really try to get the assignment.

Did you personally experience any of these “odd emotions”?
Well, regarding the image of the girl climbing on the clock. We chose to work with her knowing that that she had to leave for another previously booked assignment at 3:00 PM. Still shooting her at 2:55 PM, the concept, “an acute awareness of time,” suddenly became our reality! Art does indeed imitate life.

Tell us about the image with the girl and the world on her shoulders.
During the shoot we thought it might be interesting, since it was a beach ball, to take some of the air out of the world. It added an extra layer of meaning to the image, that the world she felt so small within suddenly became fragile and quite literally a little deflated.

The Daily Promo: Trevor Traynor

- - The Daily Promo

ZWondrous zver 2

 

spread1

spread2

spread3

spread4

spread5

 

Trevor Traynor

Who printed it?
Printed by magcloud. I have always favored the square format and magcloud offers a great 8” x 8” template.

Who designed it?
I designed the book and edited the images; I enjoy pairing photographs and forming them into diptychs.

How many did you make?
Each volume is signed/edition of 100. Approx 20 are sent out for promotion and the other 80 are sold.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Every January I mail out a limited book that showcases my travels, and explorations from the previous year, I’m currently up to Vol 4. The first 3 volumes are sold out and Vol. 4 has 18 more copies remaining. Shop.TrevorTraynor.com

I donate the proceeds split between 3 charities:

BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY.
BestFriends.org
“Save Them All”

PLANT A BILLION TREES.
PlantABillion.org
“protecting nature, preserving life”

SMILE TRAIN.
SmileTrain.org
“Help make 1 million smiles

Also I saw that you sent two promos, are you sending out two to everyone? 
I send out promos twice a year. The 2nd is usually a postcard, or foldout piece promoting my commercial and editorial work.
Vol I – Vol 3  are shot and edited using the iPhone and  Vol 4. is 97% iPhone. I had a few images I thought meshed really well to complete the collection so I included them.

How long have you been doing this project?
I started this project 8 years ago but never released the first four books. They were a collection of images created using an assortment of Film and Digital Cameras. The images were shots that I liked but never really had a home, or a series to be a part of; it started as a way to organize my favorite snapshots.

The Daily Edit – George McCalman: The Promo Process

- - The Daily Edit

MCCALMAN PROMO_CAROLINE SCHIFF 1

Caroline Schiff

MCCALMAN PROMO_JASON MADARA 1_

Jason Madara

MCCALMAN PROMO_JASON MADARA 2

Jason Madara

MCCALMAN PROMO_JOE PUGLIESE 1

Joe Pugliese

MCCALMAN PROMO_JOE PUGLIESE 2

Joe Pugliese

MCCALMAN PROMO_LINDA PUGLIESE 1

Linda Pugliese

MCCALMAN PROMO_LINDA PUGLIESE 2

Linda Pugliese

MCCALMAN PROMO_JESSICA ANTOLA 1

Jessica Antola

George McCalman

How long were you in the magazine industry and what skills transcended into the work you do now?
I was in the magazine industry from 1995 to 2011. I started at Money Magazine and went onto Entertainment Weekly. I moved to San Francisco in 1999 and continued at Health Magazine, MotherJones, Wired, ReadyMade and finally AFAR magazine. I’ve assigned and worked with a alot of photographers and developed personal relationships with many of them. My background in the magazine world helped in a couple of ways: It gave me insight into what art directors and photo editors/art buyers are looking for. I’m designing these promos for myself in an inverse way: I’m always thinking from the perspective of: “what kind of printed matter would I like to receive?” When I started my creative studio, I was working with Jason Madara, my studio mate. I’ve been his Jiminy Cricket for years, working with him on his portfolio and visual direction. I’m passionate and opinionated about photography. I believe in the emotional power of photography, but I’m also not sentimental about it, so I make my decisions quickly and definitively.

What are some simple decisions and questions that need to be addressed in order to hit marketing goals?
I ask many (annoying) questions of the photographers I work with. I try to get into their psychology and it works in two ways: to get them thinking about things they aren’t, and it gets me into their heads to find out what direction they want to take their work. I usually have my impressions, but this kind of relationship works best when people are hearing themselves make their epiphanies. The line of questioning is ‘Who are you?’ “What are you trying to get across?” I am always surprised at how that question throws artists off. I start with the big picture philosophy first. It forces people to dig deeper and think about the work they produce in a more personal way. The work follows those conversations. If she/he understands the message they are trying to put out in the world, it makes the ‘What images are we using’ and ‘How are we packaging it’ much more fluid. I’ve had a few conversations with shooters who are pure technicians, and don’t care about the meaning of their work. It’s all about what the client wants. I respect that. But that usually means I’m not the right designer for them. And vice versa.

What is the best “formula” you’ve developed for working with photographers?
It’s pretty organic. The design of a promo is usually a piece of an overall branding initiative. It’s rare that I just design promos alone, and it means that I think the work is compelling. I’m a big photography nerd, so I get excited (on my own) and start imaging how someones work can be presented that I think is incredible. I’m a big fan of talking on the phone, scheduled right after presentations. It allows me to get honest feedback and talk through my intent in the design. I’ve worked a couple of times with photographers who want to communicate primarily over email and I absolutely hated it, so I don’t do it anymore. Sometimes the photographer has a set idea on the body of work they want to use for the promo and other times they are completely open. They send me low-res jpegs of ‘everything’ within a body of work and I play around with a few edit directions and get a narrative theme (either through color palette, layout design or story). I send it to them. We keep talking until we’re both happy with the final edit. I think most photographers are terrible editors of their own work, so I argue when I believe an edit choice is being made emotionally on their part.

How is the conversation different between seasoned pros and up and coming?
Not as much as you might think. The seasoned pros just talk more (which is great). In most of cases the seasoned photographers I know haven’t sent out much printed work, and rely on their reps for their windfalls, so there is ambivalence of what the promo actually ‘does’. I’ll used Jason as an example: we’d been talking about doing a promo for 3 years (!) before we actually did one. He was featured in his rep’s own promo book, so he didn’t have any urgency about it.  I pitched a themed poster series to him last year and he got excited. But the process was like pulling teeth. After the posters were printed, he looked and he and said: “When are we doing the next one?” Up-and-Comers are sometimes more open to pushing the envelope, but have done less thinking about who are as individual artists. But I find similar patterns working with either set.

What advice do you have for anyone defining their brand?
I ask ‘Who are you?’ What separates you from others in the industry? Others in the same lane? Play to your strengths. Don’t try and compete. It’s all well and good to admire what others are doing, you should be paying attention to the marketplace, always, but I think it’s as important to remind yourself about what sets you apart. also: I tell photographers to stop designing their own work. Get a designer. It’s as vital to your brand as having a retoucher that completes your sentences. It’s your team, it’s your brand. Find someone who understands what you are trying to say and let them interpret your visual language. Work with someone who surprises you, and who you enjoy talking to.

Do you think there are more promos in circulation OR are we simply seeing more of them due to social media?
I think there are more due to social media. And let’s talk about social media. Because I don’t believe that posting to Instagram and tumblr is the same thing (or replaces) sending out a promo piece. Mobile devices can show sequential art, but doesn’t present a narrative with a beginning, middle and end. Books, magazines and promos provide that in a way that (I believe) will always be a part of the commercial landscape in some form.

What makes a memorable promo in your eyes?
I may sound like an asshole, but I don’t think an arresting image is enough anymore. In the age of Instagram and other social media tools, people have access to generally interesting images on a daily basis. I think how you present your images is what makes it memorable. The formula is simple, the more personal the better. Art Directors and Art buyers want to know how you think, as much as. When that is transparent, it became easier to imagine how you would be on set, or on location. It’s a way in, for people that may be seeing your work for the first time; and a reminder for the people that are familiar with you, and they should be giving you more consideration. I’m a sucker for designing promos with an actual story (the original and best meaning of that annoying word: content), bold type and smart layout design, so that’s what I try to create.

Do you have a staff at your studio?
I don’t have a conventional creative studio. I’ve been mostly a one-man operation. Most of the work that I’m doing is a culmination of designing for the past twenty years in the advertising and and editorial world. I get bored doing one thing, so I’ve created a studio where I get to work on multiple projects that play to my strengths as an art director, graphic designer, typographer and painter. I’m working on four book projects (based on my own ideas) that I’m developing and designing, as well as two fine art shows (one with my colleague, Jason Madara) coming up this year. Working with photographers is something I’m always going to do professionally and personally. It makes me so happy to see an artist cultivate their unique point of view visually. I just love it. I believe it’s possible to work commercially and maintain your perspective and vision. It’s a tricky balance, but when you do, it gives you life.

Tell us about what you do in addition to working with photographers on their branding?
I’m working on a few projects simultaneously. I’ve been working on a portrait series with Jason Madara called The Individuals. It’s a study of The Bay Area through portrait photography and the people (at present count, over 200 names) who have defined innovation across industries (science, arts, technology, academia, etc). It’s an ambitious project: we’ve been shooting it for the past year and will be shooting for at least another year. Jason is the photographer and I’m the art director, but on-set we have a weird shared-unit brain. Right now, the project only exists publicly on my Instagram account (#TheIndividualsProject) and on Jason’s website, but we are working on a book and photography exhibition. You can see the images here: Individuals 1
Individuals 2

I’ve also been working on series of hand painted typography over the last year. It’s based on phrases from my coming-of-age and quotes I hear from the people around me. I’m always writing down what I see and hear around me, and one day I decided I wanted to start the exercise of painting. I’ve been using watercolor because it’s malleable. I’ve been getting magazine and private commissions the last few months, which was unintentional, and has been a lot of fun. I have a fine-art show called The Type Note Series coming this spring.

Another project with Jason Madara is a set of figure study nudes we worked on four months ago. It’s becoming a fine art photography show at the Negative Space gallery in San Francisco. It’s a rich collaboration between him and I. We push each other creatively and its very rewarding experience.

I’m painting a series of portrait of pioneers for Black History Month. I’ve been researching more unknown (a few well known notables) and painting their portraits, using pencil, pen, ink & watercolor. I’ve been approaching each portrait in its own style, finding the personality of each person and treating them as the individuals they are. The unifying factor is that they are all in black and white. You can see the work here

On the surface it’s a diffused assortment of work, but the collective thread is that it’s all my own personal interests. I’m very curious about identity, and how we, as people, present ourselves to the world. it informs most of what I’m drawn to in commercial (and fine) art.

The Daily Promo – Justin Fantl

- - The Daily Promo
 Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.52.51 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.52.59 AM
Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.53.18 AM
Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.57.36 AM
Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.53.28 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.53.33 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.53.43 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.55.08 AM

Justin Fantl


Who printed it?

The calendar was printed in San Francisco by Spot Graphics.
Who designed it?
It was designed by the team at Manual Creative also in San Francisco.  I had worked with CD Tom Crabtree a number of years ago on the “Looseleaf Editions” project.  It was one of the most interesting briefs I had ever received.  Basically, the concept being to interpret a landscape through still life.  I loved the way the project came together and when the idea of making a calendar as a promo piece surfaced, Tom immediately came to mind.  The format of “Looseleaf” reminded me very much of a calendar but a really cool one!  I thought that from a design sense it would make sense to approach Tom about the concept and he was very receptive to it.
Who edited the images?
The team over at Manual refined the edit.  I had given them an initial grouping of images I was interested in using and they came back with a great selection in their first version.  I think in the end we only ended up changing one image.  The one caveat I had was that I wanted to showcase both my landscape and still life work.
How many did you make?
I sent out around 1200.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send out 2 promos a year. One comes from my studio, and in this case was the calendar, and the other comes from my rep, Giant Artists.   I think two provides a nice balance without overkill.  The Giant Artists promo typically showcases more commissioned work and the one I put out can be a bit more conceptual.  I really wanted to make something this year that people could use and I do hope that people utilize the calendars; mark them up, cut them up, live with them, and interact with them.  It might even be that this becomes a piece that I make each year. I feel like there are so many ways to approach the promo piece. There are a lot of fun to conceptualize and use your own work in any way that you want to.

The Daily Edit – Mike Sakas: Editorial Story Pitching

- - The Daily Edit

141020SKSTajikistanMoto8887

150608SKSTajikistanMoto2540

150607SKSTajikistanMoto2205 150606SKSTajikistanMoto1946 150606SKSTajikistanMoto1861 150607SKSTajikistanMoto2344
150608SKSTajikistanMoto2639 150608SKSTajikistanMoto2661

141021SKSTajikistanMoto9475 150608SKSTajikistanMoto2598
150607SKSTajikistanMoto2374 150607SKSTajikistanMoto2342 150607SKSTajikistanMoto2252

Mike Sakas 

How often do you do spec or self assigned travel jobs?
I don’t do spec jobs that often per se but I always keep an eye open for an opportunity whenever I’m traveling.  This particular piece was conceived while on an assignment in Tajikistan. I was a part of a team going to teach a photography/story-telling workshop in Gorno-Badakhshan region of Tajikistan. To get to Khorog, the capital of the region, we flew into Dushanbe and were forced by weather to drive rather than fly. So a 2 hour helicopter flight turned into a 17 hour ride in a fully packed Toyota Forerunner. Originally we were going to fly a helicopter through the Himalayas the group was understandably a little bummed;  however the trip by road was an battering steel-lined-bouncy-castle of a ride.  I simply had to come back and do a longer version on motorcycle. As luck would have it, by the end of our assignment we had a return trip planned and I began research on what our extended route would be.  Having finished the trip and told some stories to my rider buddies, I’m convinced a lot of people would enjoy the tale and may even find it inspirational enough to go on one like it themselves.  So I’m pitching it around.

Have you had success with this before?
I have had success with this before but beyond the obvious magazine coverage, it’s always the weirder spin-off stuff that makes it more interesting.  The last time I did this sort of thing I was going to Thailand on a mountain bike trip with a bunch of guys from my local riding group.  We had planned an epic weekend around a local “friends match” and I actually didn’t intend on shooting much. However, as soon as we got to the mountain I met a couple of the event organizers and a writer covering the race and that was that.  I covered the event and the photos were picked up by a UK riding mag and a mountain bike apparel company.  It also turned into 4 more days of shooting stills and video for the apparel maker.

Who are you hoping to pitch this story to?
I’m planning to pitch the story to some of the more general travel adventure mags first: Outside, Afar, Travel + Leisure, Adventure Travel, Lonely Planet, etc. One of these guys would be ideal as they are more generally in my wheelhouse.  If none of them bite however, I’ll move on to the more specific adventure motorcycle rags:  Adventure Rider, Road Runner, Overland Magazine, etc.

 What does your pitch look like?
Basically, I write an email with a hello or an introduction if I don’t know the contact. I include a gripping (but short) narrative summary with a couple of images and then I wait.  I don’t like dropping a pitch on an editor cold if I can help it but the nature of my (non)process is such that I sometimes find myself shooting a story I probably haven’t done before. That being the case, sometimes I find an audience I’ve never been in front of before.  I try to keep it short and sweet and while I like to be friendly, I understand that most editors are swimming in work and I don’t want my pitch to be heavy. If they’re interested they’ll write back…if not, I move on.

Did you have a writer with you, or you wrote all your own content?
Almost every time I’ve gone out with writer we’ve been on assignment.  Since I tend to do these sorts of spec pieces sporadically, almost accidentally, I end up doing my own writing. It’s not that big of a stretch since I tend to journal during my travels anyways and it’s another way of creating a link between my thoughts and experiences and the audience. Interestingly, since there’s another workflow to writing about a trip vs. photographing one, in a circular way this gives me another avenue of relating to an experience while I’m having it.

 How do you formulate the story? Do you try and outline something or simply allow it to unfold organically?
Certainly I think it’s important to be familiar with your subject and to have a plan but I also believe, as they say, “strategy is only good until the first shots are fired.”   So in a sense I am a reactionary photographer in that, when I’m interacting with a subject, I not only follow it around as it does whatever it does, I let the mood of the thing inform how I photograph and tell the story.   For example, I photographed a small town, again in Thailand, during a Chinese New Year celebration.  As the day wore on and the festivities developed, things began to get more and more chaotic and fast paced. The drums and gongs turned to a near constant ear-splitting drone and the firecrackers and bigger explosions began to resonate in our bodies.  Soon I began adopting that chaotic energy in the way that I photographed the town.  The result was a series of images that were full of motion, vibrant colors, and portraits instead of the romantic images of a quaint rural town that they had started out to be.  Well, I write and photograph a story in the same way; I let the story describe itself to me. It’s my favorite thing that as I have an experience and let things develop, story eventually begins to take on it’s own form and tell me what it’s meant to be.

 

The Daily Edit – Benjamin Rasmussen: TIME

- - The Daily Edit

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.14.20 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.14.27 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.14.34 PM
TIME


Creative Director:
D.W. Pine
Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise: Kira Pollack
Deputy Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise: Paul Moakley
Photographer: Benjamin Rasmussen

Was this your first project with Time?
Yes, this was my first assignment with Time magazine, so I was pretty terrified going into it. I grew up in the rural Philippines and every couple of months we would get our mail and there would be a pile of Time magazines to explore. It has always been the one that got away and has a lot of my favorite photo editors, so I was both incredibly excited and anxious. I got the call for the assignment on Thursday and then flew out Friday night and shot Saturday and Sunday.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Paul Moakley wanted clean environmental portraits of newly engaged voters. He referenced work that I had done of protestors in Ferguson for Bloomberg Businessweek, which is a style that I usually shoot on Polaroid in really active and sunny situations. It is a flat lighting style that relies on the energy and personality of the person being photographed to carry the frame. I tweaked it a bit because of shooting digital medium format instead of Polaroid and because we were photographing in grey and snowy Iowa.

How did you decide who to approach for a portrait?
Because the style relied so much on the subject, I was really intentional about trying to find people who had a presence to them that could translate photographically. But because they needed to be newly engaged voters and were going to be quoted, they also needed to be thoughtful and articulate. Sam Frizell, the writer from Time, and I would talk with people in line and then tap one another if they would work visually or for the story.

How did you engage them during the shoot? 
I would chat at the beginning and build some rapport as we walked from the line to where we were set up to shoot; I would try to listen as Sam interviewed them. During the shoot I would ask them to think through a specific scenario, which would change depending on what they had said during the interview. One man said that the only candidates he had ever liked were Ronald Reagan, Ron Paul and Donald Trump; so I asked him to imagine sitting with the three of them for five minutes and what he would want them to discuss. Or I would ask a person to image the feeling of the evening of November 8 and their candidate declaring victory.   This would put people in a thoughtful and internal space, which tended to carry into the portraits.

How long was each portrait?
Sam would interview people for about five minutes or so, and I would photograph them often times for just a few minutes more. We were typically taking people in groups of two – four and were rushing to get them back to the line so that they wouldn’t lose their spot.

I know this was your first job with Time, did you send them promos? Is that how they connected with you or did you have meetings with them prior to the assignment?
Time
was near the top of my list when I started doing promo books five or six years ago. And I would always try to come by when I was in New York with my book and show new work and get their thoughts on it. My project By The Olive Trees that I did with Michael Friberg was featured on Lightbox and I have had other interactions with the crew there as well.

I tend to take a pretty long view with these kinds of relationships. I like and respect the folks at Time because I think that they are really good at what they do and they have a passion for good photography. Whether or not I work with them immediately, or ever, doesn’t directly impact how I feel about them. Some of my favorite photo editors work at places that I am not a good fit for, but I will still always keep up with them and reach out because I respect them and love getting their insights.

The Daily Promo: Daniel Dorsa

- - The Daily Promo

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 6.50.53 AM

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 6.24.09 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 6.24.19 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 6.24.24 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 6.24.29 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 6.24.34 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 6.26.17 PM


Daniel Dorsa


Who printed it?
The cassette tapes were made by MilkTape, I printed the J Cards myself, and the business card was printed by Mama Sauce.

Who designed it?
A long term friend of mine, Devin Jacocviello, designed the tape as well my business cards.

Who edited the images?
I edited the images myself.

How many did you make?
I made a limited run of the thirty.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is my first promo ever so I’ve only mailed out one a year!  I plan on sending out promos twice a year though.

How did this promo idea develop?
I decided to create this promo for a few different reasons. First off, I love music and have loved it since I was young. I would create mixtapes of the radio and share them with friends. Once CD’s and downloading became prevalent, I was making tons of mix CD’s for my friends in high school and would always be having new music bump in my car. Without really realizing it, it was my first form of creative expression.

While figuring out what type of promo to make, I was a bit unsure the best route. I was considering making a zine, but I felt like people may not really pay attention to it if the work didn’t speak to them directly. I wanted to make something a bit obscure so that people would give my work a chance, but also practical. My roommate suggested I make vinyl records and send those with a zine, but there was no real concept with that. That suggestion though got me thinking of something relating to my love for music and after some research, I found these tapes. It was the perfect blend of something practical, interesting, and personal. It took months for me to actually receive the tapes, but it was well worth it.

The Daily Edit – Kenji Aoki: Real Simple

- - The Daily Edit

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.00.44 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.00.52 PM
Real Simple

Creative Director: Janet Froelich
Photo Editor: Alice Jones

Photo Editor: Emily Kinni
Photographer: Kenji Aoki

 


What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
The magazine was seeking something conceptual and abstract based on some of my earlier work.

Tell us about your creative process for this simple, elegant solution for stress.
The article was about stress and how stress can be a positive motivation depending on its type and cause; so I thought about these four key words from the article: “Chaos”, “Calm”, “Pressure”, and “Relief/Release.”I find working through language in this way is often the most important first step before shooting.

Is there a pattern to when or where you ideas occur?
Focusing on one word can conjure many images, in this case I felt I could best extract the essence of these concepts by using geometric conceptualizations. Rather than trying to think up ideas, I sought a resolution by ridding myself of all unnecessary information and focusing on these few words.

Do you have a journal for your ideas, sketchbook?
Having studied design, I find it very helpful to draw rough sketches before shooting, so yes, I keep a sketchbook.

What is that white ball of lines: fishing line, wire?
We used thread for “Chaos” and wire for “Calm”, but we tried to shoot them in such a way as to not be recognizable as such.

For the two contrasting opening spread images, how closely did you work with the art department on your ideas, especially for the type placement?
Prior to the magazine’s release, I wasn’t sure how exactly my images would be used. The typography and layout was done by Janet Froelich, the creative director. Her layouts are always amazing and I am always inspired by her work.

 

The Daily Promo : Elizabeth Cecil

- - The Daily Promo

EC_Promo-2015_Fall_cover6
EC_Promo-2015_Fall3 EC_Promo-2015_Fall4 EC_Promo-2015_Fall7 EC_Promo-2015_Fall8 EC_Promo-2015_Fall15EC_Promo-2015_Fall8
Elizabeth Cecil

Who printed it?
Hemlock Printers

Who designed it? Who edited the images?
Melissa McGill (melissamcgillstudio.com)

Who designed it?
Claire Ellen Lindsey
 (claireellenlindsey.com)

How many did you make?
75

How many times a year do you send out promos?
2

What was your inspiration for this promo?
I’ve been working with Melissa McGill for the past few years on branding, editing, and creative direction. We have developed various promos to highlight my portrait, lifestyle and food photography as well as my personal work, with inspiration drawn directly from the work being considered. We focus on clearly communicating my core interests; color, light, nature and authenticity. It’s a collaboration that really flows! This recent promo booklet developed from appreciating the colors on my recent trips to St. Bart’s and Bali and wanting to tell a story using color to create a unifying thread through the book.

 

The Daily Edit – Narayan Mahon: ESPN

- - The Daily Edit

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.32.52 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.32.58 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.33.08 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.33.15 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.33.20 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.33.25 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.33.31 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.33.38 PM

ESPN.com

Photo Editor: Kaitlin Marron
Photographer: Narayan Mahon

Do you golf?
I have never golfed a day in my life. But I were to golf one day, it would definitely be on a frozen lake with lots of belly-warming booze and layers of wool.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Don’t get frostbite. But there really was no direction from the magazine other than to shoot anything and everything and just to make a fun photo essay.

How often do you work with ESPN?
It varies, of course, but about five times a year.

What was the biggest challenge for this shoot?
Originally the weather was supposed to be cloudy all day but it turned out to be sunnier, so the snow on the lake was intensely bright. My plan was to shoot this with a ringflash but the snow-sun combo was all the fill light I needed. After that the biggest challenge was staying warm while standing on ice and snow for eight hours. My face was wind burned and my corneas burned from the brightness of the snow, which hurt for a couple of days after the shoot. The things you do for love!

Did you learn anything new that you think could transcend into future shoots?
I learned that I need a pair of insulated overalls! I should have learned that on the previous year’s snowy cross country skiing shoot for ESPN when I was waist deep in snow; but seriously, insulated overalls.

I know the tournament started because of freak storm several years ago; had you shot this before?
It’s a neat way for people to get outside, raise money for a charity and, apparently, because they are on the lake, open container laws don’t apply, so there’s a lot of drinking, for better or worse! But this was the first time I had photographed it.

When your face froze to the camera, how did you peel it off and what did you do to prevent that from happening again?
Well, I had a wool neck gaiter on, too, which I had pulled up over my mouth and nose, but then the viewfinder fogs up so quickly I can’t have it on while shooting. So I take it off for a second and then there’s condensation of the back of the camera and my nose would freeze to it every time, like a tongue on a flag pole! Just a quick pull-apart to detach myself was all that was needed… but no fun either way.

I know this started out as a print project and then got bumped to the web, did you have to do anything different for delivery or edit?
The edit was the same, it just meant delivering smaller files. I shot this medium format so the files were pretty robust for something just going online.

Did you find out about the change in plan after you turned in your edit?
Yeah, I found out after. It’s always a possibility; still just as heartbreaking, though.

The Daily Promo: Michael Scott Slosar

- - The Daily Promo

image1

image3

image4

image5

image6

Michael Scott Slosar

Who printed it?
This specific promotional piece I had printed at Aosaimage.com  They do tons of amazing creative printing techniques.  My direct contact there is Mike Hill.  He is such an awesome guy!

Who designed it?
The design came from a collaboration of myself and Mike Hill.  We have worked on a few other creative printing processes in the past on some larger prints on wood and metal and had discussed ideas like this in the past.

Who edited it?
The images were edited and selected by me.  This was a personal series i had shot beach camping in San Onofre Camp Pendleton south of San Clemente, CA

How many did you make?
My goal with these pieces was to share something that was close to me, with people whose creative impact I respect and value. So, I only printed this as a limited series of 50 pieces.  All of which are hand signed and numbered.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I have just begun to conceptualize more and more creative promotional series like this one for release in small personal runs.  In the past I have done more standard promos in bulk of 500-1,000 and sent out 3-5 times a year between LeBook shows and through direct mail.

How did this concept come about?
The concept behind this piece was to use materials that were natural to the environment of the images.  The burlap hand sewn sacks, the handmade and sanded drift wood box and the wood coasters.  I wanted something that people would want to have as decoration and consider a series of personal art released.  Im not trying to spam my promotional series out.  Moving forward, I want to continue creating promos that are intimate and close to my heart.  My goal with all my clients is to develop a working relationship on a more personal level.  My hopes are that this is felt and seen through this series.

The Daily Promo – Sage Brown

- - The Daily Promo


SB-Places-2 SB-Places-3
Sage Brown

Who printed it?
I had the postcards printed at smartpress.com – they allowed me to do different versions in the same order which I think helped save on cost in the long run.

Who designed it?
My background is in design, so I designed it myself.

Who edited the images?
Mostly just me – I narrowed the edit down from a much larger selection of images from the past year and a half, and then got some input from friends and colleagues.

How many did you make?
I think it was about 100 sets.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first, but this year I’d like to get in the regular habit of mailing work out. There’s something so nice about getting a nice postcard or printed piece in the mail.

Tell us how this promo evolved.
As a designer and photographer, spending a lot of time in front of the computer as part of my job is extremely difficult. I really need to get outside, move, and be active on a regular basis. At some point last year I was having a particularly hard time with it, and often found myself wishing I was anywhere but at my desk.  At the time I was working at an agency, going through some fairly major health issues, and was slowly losing my mind. So, I began to make a list of places I’d rather be.

The original list went something like this: early mornings, running, dirt roads, sunrises, mountains, streams, road trips, unknown trails, swimming holes, lakes, birds, hiking, cool water, flowers, the desert, climbing, hot springs, two wheels, sunsets, and so on…

The idea slowly morphed and changed, and after talking to a friend I realized it’s not the places I’d rather be that I was dreaming of, but the Places I Am. It’s the places that have inspired me, shaped me, and in some way become a part of me that I was day dreaming about.

Instead of just posting another photo from a past adventure to Instagram, I decided it was time to make something that might stick around a little longer. So I made a website and some postcards. It’s fairly simple, but I think the entire process was somewhat cathartic.

In the end, Places I Am ended up being a small series of photos taken in 2014 throughout Oregon and Washington. The accompanying website can be seen at www.placesiam.com.
SB-Places-1

The Daily Edit – Floto + Warner: Architectural Digest

- - The Daily Edit

1215-AD-VIEW

Some outtakes below:

f+w_St. Patricks_AD_1_9520

f+w_St. Patricks_AD_1_9595

f+w_St. Patricks_AD_2_9520

f+w_St. Patricks_AD_2_9557

f+w_St. Patricks_AD_2_9572f+w_St. Patricks_AD_2_9584

Architectural Digest

Photo Director: Michael Shome
Features Editor: Sam Cochran

Photograher:  Floto + Warner

How did this project come about?
This was a commission from the Photo Director at Architectural Digest – Michael Shome.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
We work with Michael quite a bit, so he is familiar with how we work and see things.  This gives us a bit of freedom with the approach.  Our only directive was that this photograph would be featured as a full page vertical.

Where were you when you took this image?
Our vantage point is from the Choir Balcony with the massive Gallery Organ – those pipes were amazing to see so close.  We get to go in some really amazing places and see things you would normally never have access to. Crossing the velvet rope in such a historic place made us feel like kids again. We were also able to stand at the alter.  They were pretty open to letting us roam free.

Did you always envision this shot to be taken up so high?
Absolutely.  What could be better than a God’s eye view on the sacred geometry of the cathedral?

I’m guessing that was all natural light?
Yes, we used existing light – lighting or other changes to the location were not possible.  We couldn’t disrupt the visitors. We did have to hurry though because mass was going to start and that takes a very long time.

Was it difficult to compose the image? 
No.  This was a pretty straight forward architectural approach. However we did experiment quite a bit.  There were many beautiful views.

How did you achieve this technique of the people praying?
We included some off-topic experiments, we took with a thermal camera of people praying. We shot them with a Flir thermal camera, that we rented from Home Depot.
thermal comp

The Daily Promo: Edgar Artiga

- - The Daily Edit

Screen-Shot-2015-12-09-at-6.39.48-PM

Screen-Shot-2015-12-09-at-6.39.43-PM

Screen-Shot-2015-12-09-at-6.39.37-PM

Screen-Shot-2015-12-09-at-6.39.29-PM

Edgar Artiga

Who printed it?
I worked with Rikki Webber at Modern Postcard. She’s really great to work with.

Who edited the images?
Jasmine DeFoore edited the images. She’s an amazing editor.  I’m so happy I was able to work with her on this project. She also edited and designed my print books and website.

Who designed it?
I designed the layout of the promo but ran the final design by Jasmine DeFoore to make sure she approved.

How many did you make?
I wanted to do a small run of 100. The reaction to the promo has been really positive so I’m thinking about doing another run.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Ideally I’d like to send out 3 or 4 small runs a year to a select client list.

How did this promo idea develop?
I shot this as a personal project; I love the history and tradition of black college marching bands, and wanted to approach photographing and lighting them as I would an athlete. My goal was to make them look like superheroes showing the passion and energy of these young men and women. I’ve been thrilled with the feedback so far, I think people really connect with that energy I captured.

The Daily Edit: Richard Johnson Ice Huts / Modern Farmer

- - The Daily Edit

 

Ice Hut # 504a, Shields, Blackstrap Lake, Saskatchewan, 2011 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Hut # 504a, Shields, Blackstrap Lake, Saskatchewan, 2011

 

Ice Hut # 722, Dragon Lake, Quesnel, British Columbia, 2015 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Hut # 722, Dragon Lake, Quesnel, British Columbia, 2015

 

Ice Village # 35, Georgina, Lake Simcoe, Ontario, 2012 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Village # 35, Georgina, Lake Simcoe, Ontario, 2012

 

Ice Village # 60, L'Anse Saint-Jean, Saguenay River, Quebec, 2014 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Village # 60, L’Anse Saint-Jean, Saguenay River, Quebec, 2014

 

Ice Village # 68, Rimouski, Fleuve Saint-Laurent, Quebec, 2015 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Village # 68, Rimouski, Fleuve Saint-Laurent, Quebec, 2015

 

Ice Village # 96, Oyster Pond, Atlantic Ocean, Nova Scotia, 2015 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Village # 96, Oyster Pond, Atlantic Ocean, Nova Scotia, 2015

 

 

Ice Hut # 786e, Point-a-la-Garde, Chaleur Bay, Quebec 2015 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Hut # 786e, Point-a-la-Garde, Chaleur Bay, Quebec 2015

 

Ice Hut # 594e, McLeods, Chaleur Bay, New Brunswick, 2012 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Hut # 594e, McLeods, Chaleur Bay, New Brunswick, 2012

 

Ice Hut # 661e, Point-de-Chene, Shediac, New Brunswick, 2014 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Hut # 661e, Point-de-Chene, Shediac, New Brunswick, 2014

 

Ice Hut # 665f, Deer Lake, Newfoundland, 2014 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Hut # 665f, Deer Lake, Newfoundland, 2014

 

Ice Hut # 675a, Buckwheat Corner, Bras d'Or Lake, Cape Bretton, Nova Scotia, 2014- From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Hut # 675a, Buckwheat Corner, Bras d’Or Lake, Cape Bretton, Nova Scotia, 2014

 

Ice Hut # 704f, La Baie Des Ha! Ha!, Saguenay River, Quebec, 2014 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2016 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

Ice Hut # 704f, La Baie Des Ha! Ha!, Saguenay River, Quebec, 2014

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 8.28.59 PM

Modern Farmer

Creative Director: Maxine Davidowitz
Photography Director: Lila Garnett
Photographer: Richard Johnson/Ice Huts


How long has it taken you to go from coast to coast in Canada for this body of work, and do you add to it each year?

I knew there was a story to be told in 1991 when I was first introduced to the ice fishing community on Lake Timiskaming, bordering Ontario and Quebec. The idea percolated for many years and in winter 2006-2007 I decided to get out and investigate further. The logical starting point was just north of my home in Toronto, Lake Simcoe. It was an overcast, snowy day and there were many huts out on the newly formed ice. I set up my tripod and began to capture elevational views and 3/4 views, basically circling each hut from the same height in a style known as typological study, common  to my earlier bodies of work, Water Towers and Garbage Bins of Wassaga Beach. I returned several more times during different weather conditions and it became clear that overcast, snowy light was the best fit to describe the isolation within a square format. The following year I was in Prince Edward Island in February for an architectural interior shoot and I noticed an ice fishing village across the bay from my hotel. Surprised and delighted, I wondered if it was popular in every province, and that is when the coast to coast narrative began. I would need to travel to 10 provinces and search for locations while holding onto the overcast, snowy aesthetic for consistency. This would take years, as I was to discover. Out of 52 weeks, there are only 3 weeks of possible shooting in many locations given my restrictions for continuity. In 2010, I began to incorporate the landscape into large format panoramas talking about community and place. This series is entitled Ice Villages. It seems that every year I peel away another layer about the culture, the people, the regional architectural requirements that make ice fishing a quirky yet popular winter phenomenon.

I know you are an architectural photographer, what drew you to the ice huts and do you shoot interiors?
For me, an ice fishing hut is the most fundamental expression of architecture. It is designed and built by the owner. It is transportable. It is shelter with a hole in the floor serving a common purpose. Yet with a similar list of design criteria each one is uniquely different; a testament to the owner’s personality. I shoot the interiors when possible, but it is more difficult than you would imagine.

How do you deal with the obstacle of limited space for the interiors?
The limited space can be handled with wide angle lenses, however, my square format framing (from the exteriors) has challenges inside. I always try to include the augured hole(s) in the floor but sometimes they get cropped out. And then there is the issue of the fishermen inside, toasty and warm. These aren’t portraits and I would rather the huts be empty.

Is it difficult to be invited in for an interior? ( I’d imagine you’re happy to step into a 90 degree tiny room for a spell )
Actually going inside a heated hut is not ideal when you are bundled up and on the move. Its like a jogger at a red light: they don’t rest, but actually keep jogging on the spot. As well, the equipment doesn’t like the extremes of cold to hot and back again. Lots of sensitive electronics and optics that get condensation then frosty can lead to issues you don’t want to deal with. And of course there is  no polite way to turn down a drink, which can easily move on to several. When I find an area with a good number of huts and the weather is overcast and snowy, I try to get as much done outside as possible. The next day might be sunny and then you’ve missed those opportunities. As the focus of this body of work is an architectural study, I am less interested in portraits and having people in the shots, especially the interiors. Also, the extreme wide angle lenses can stretch people at the edge of the frame in unflattering ways.

How long do you spend in one location? Do you have a snowmobile to get around?
The amount of time varies depending on the number of huts and the weather. I prefer to drive to locations for several reasons, the most important being the discovery of gems along the way. I also can carry my full kit of gear: lenses, a sled, additional boots and other bulky items. When flying everything has to be stripped down to regulation size and weight which results in compromise. I do fly to locations west. However, my starting point in Toronto allows me to drive to locations east. I’ve driven to Newfoundland twice which is 36 hours and includes an overnight ferry cutting through 6′ of ocean ice with lots of white out conditions along the way. A snowmobile would be helpful for some situations but hauling it around all the time would make me less agile and unable to navigate the backroads which often lead to wonderful surprises. So I walk a lot. Snowshoes and a sled with my gear pulled behind. Once I spot a location I will study the huts with binoculars to see if they are worthy of the possible hour long walk to get out. I  keep to daylight hours, which in winter ends at 4:30pm. After that its easy to lose your orientation and find your way back off the ice, especially if the weather turns. Even the wind can reduce visibility with blowing snow, which, ironically, is what I search for. Google is not a reliable back up as cell service is often non existent or spotty.

Do you have a favorite hut or village that you’ve photographed?
I have many favorites but one that comes to mind is Ice Hut # 556, Ghost Lake, Alberta. The rocky mountains are in the background and the hut is like a log cabin, hand hewn timbers with a little smoke stack. Quintessential Canadian.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 4.57.04 PM


Aside from retouching yellow snow, do you do any additional work on the images?

When conditions are ideal you are 85% there: light snow, soft (distant) background, bright colours. Because I shoot digital, there are a million ways to process the files from the source data a raw camera file gives you. Grey and white and snow are very tricky to render what the eye sees. I tweak the saturation and contrast a bit, all part of the processing options. Remember Ansel Adams would play with processing temperatures to achieve greater detail in the shadows. Same principles apply: its about rendering a scene to what you experience in the moment, beyond what a basic average metered exposure will achieve. A fresh snowfall always covers up the often gritty surroundings of a clear day.

How much equipment do you bring along and it’s there any techniques you have for protecting gear from the elements and keeping your hands warm? 
Those little hand warmer pouches in mittens are the only way to last any length of time. Fiddling with large format lenses, shutter releases, focusing knobs all require bare fingers for articulation. popping them back into a warm mitten brings frozen digits back to life. Otherwise, layered clothing. Walking distance in thick snow pulling a sled works up a sweat even at – 20 (celcius). Keeping all the heavy items on a sled allows you to be mobile and lighter than if you had a back pack, which would be unsafe in certain ice conditions. Its all about spreading the weight around.

 

The Daily Promo: Callie Lipkin

- - The Daily Promo

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 10.10.25 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 10.10.36 PM

Callie Lipkin Photography

Who printed it?
Modern Postcard printed the postcard

Who designed it?
Kerri Abrams was the designer.

Who edited the images?
My producer, Trevor Power, and myself.

How many did you make?
A little over 500.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Vault magazines about twice a year, postcards closer to every 6 weeks.

How did this project come about?
The #dadtime project actually started a couple of years ago more specifically as a hipster dads project, inspired partly by my surroundings and by my new role as a parent. The first image I made was the beach dad with the mermaid tail – it was an incredibly lo-fi production shot near my parent’s house in Minnesota, and is still one of my favorites within the more stylized genre of imagery from the series. From there we photographed a couple more pieces for the series and then I took a break from it. During that break, I shot an entire series on parenting in general with more of a documentary approach.

What inspired you to start this series?
Part of this project is truly inspired by my own husband and his role as primary caregiver for our two young sons.  When I finally shot him for the series, I decided to take him to the grocery store, where he ends up several times a week doing all our shopping with the boys. The cover of the dad time promo and one of the inside spreads resulted from that shoot along with a handful of outtakes that I love. My youngest son cried the entire time for me to pick him up and the two of them threw goldfish on the floor – all of which could not have been more true to life.

Another image in the magazine features a dad with his baby sleeping on the couch together, with his older daughter waking him up. This was inspired by an iPhone image I shot of my husband in his pajamas looking exhausted with the kids sitting on top of him. Most of the more documentary moments I capture have also happened to me. One of the more recent images, for example, is of a dad juggling two toddlers at his desk – something I often do with my 2- and 4-year-olds when I’m in my home office if they are missing me during the day. As much as the project is inspiration from dads themselves, I consider many of the scenes to be self-portraiture with the dads playing me.

Are you planning to expand this body of work?
I started focusing primarily on the #dadtime project again this spring and have photographed probably a dozen or so different dads since then, with a lot more planned for 2016.