Posts by: A Photo Editor

Tim Tadder Interview

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Tim Tadder is an internationally acclaimed photographic artist. Most recognized for his highly inventive conceptual advertising photography Tadder has been ranked in the top 200 photographers worldwide by the prestigious Luezer Archive Magazine 8 years running. In 2015 Epson, the world leader in photographic printing technology recognized Tadder as one of the top influential photographers, producing a TV commercial and worldwide ad campaign featuring Tadder and his work.

Tim Tadder Steph Curry

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer? I grew up on the set of a commercial photographer in Baltimore, Maryland. I knew that I was fascinated with photography from an early age when I saw my father developing images for the first time in the darkroom. He had a black-and-white and a color darkroom in a small studio in Baltimore, and I used to watch him print pictures using an enlarger and chemicals. That was magical to me. I always thought it was amazing that you could re-create life from a camera and paper.

Tim Tadder Website

What was your path to becoming a professional photographer? I have a unique path to becoming a professional photographer. I was a high school teacher for five years, and during the summers I did mountaineering adventures. During those climbs, I would make images and host slideshows. People were really interested, and through the slideshows, I found that people liked the images that I created. I found I wasn’t a great teacher but that I really loved photography and so I decided to give it a try. I moved from South America where I was teaching and climbing to Baltimore where I grew up and had connections in the photography world. I decided I would see if I could make it for a year, mostly because that’s all the money I had saved. I worked out of my father’s studio in Baltimore but mostly for the local newspaper doing journalism while I was trying to learn the craft

Simone Bile Images

What formal schooling or training did you have in photography? After two years in Baltimore, I was really in love with photojournalism, so I decided to pursue a Masters Degree in photojournalism from the Ohio University School of Visual Communication. That program is amazing, and I highly recommend it. I learned so much in the short time that I was there not only about photojournalism but also about creating images that were capable of telling stories. I learned so much about visual communications while there. Truly so much of what we do in photography is at its very essence visual communication. Before I was aware of that, I was just making images that I thought looked interesting, but after the program, I started to make images that spoke and told stories. The resulting images were much more intelligent images, so to speak, and that process really helped me become a better photographer in a short period

Tim Tadder Website

Were your parents supportive of your desire to be an artist? Ironically my parents were not very supportive me at all. I think that my father was concerned I did not have the talent to make it as a photographer. I also think that he never really made a lot of money and I think he felt that money equated to success, and in some ways, he felt that I did not have tremendous talent, and thus would not “be successful”. There was a lot of clashing as to what I felt was a good photographer and what he saw as good or great. I can remember my mother delivering me the Help Wanted section with jobs that she thought I would like even though I was making great strides in photography. She continued to show me job openings that she thought would be great careers. I can remember her distinctly telling me that that there wasn’t any money in photography and that you couldn’t make a living as a photographer anymore but I didn’t care. I just wanted to make images, and I wasn’t concerned about money. I was working for peanuts as a photojournalist, and I was really in love with photography. I will say, though, that my father is super proud of me at this point and I think that he honestly just wanted the best for me and realized how competitive and how difficult it is to succeed in this industry. The reality is, that if you love something and that you are passionate about it I think in America you can succeed

Tim Tadder Las Muertas

Do you remember your first published image and how it felt when it first appeared? Not really, I don’t think that I was all that enamored with having a published image define me as a photographer. Ink on paper does not a photographer make. But rather the communicative value of the image. I can remember the first image I made that truly moved people and how that made me feel. I think that was always more important to me, making an image that people reacted to. I can remember getting many emails from viewers responding to how much the image moved them. From all over the world it was a powerful image, and I knew at that point in time I had important skills.

Tim Tadder Cross Fit

You shoot both stills and video. Are you more passionate about one medium over the other? I prefer stills for sure. I like the less is more approach, and with motion, it just takes more people more equipment more blah blah blah…I hate the fat in motion productions. Give me a camera and a lens, and I’ll make it happen, motion you need all kinds of stuff to do commercial work.

Tim Tadder New Work

After all this time, what still makes you passionate about the visual arts?I think how freaking hard it is to make images that move people. Truly to make a great image, it’s very hard and takes a lot of things to go right. Sure if you are a photojournalist you can get lucky, but normally it takes a huge investment of time, energy, people, etc. Greatness comes from the communicative collaboration of energy revealing itself in the well-crafted moment. That elusive search for perfection makes me passionate. If it was easy, I think I would be over it by now. Knowing that I have not done my bet work yet keeps me grinding. I will not stop until my impact is undeniable and that’s the passion.

Tim Tadder Sports

You seem to have so much creative energy in all your work. How do come up with the concepts for your projects? I consume imagery, from TV to movies to art and Instagram, I consume and consume, and I get inspired by what I see but more importantly what I do not see. I try to find voids. I try to find things that have not been visualized. Bringing new visuals to life no matter how absurd or different is a great challenge in our world today. It’s hard to have a visual impact with so much noise. So I try to fill the empty spots with something new.

Tim Tadder Website

When you go into a shoot do you have a detailed vision for the finished project or does it tend to be a collaboration with the subject to determine the result? Always. I am a great pre-visualizer. I know exactly what I want when I go into every shoot, but often I fall short. It’s one thing to see it in your mind’s eye, but it’s quite another to capture it. That’s the illusive search for perfection. We know what we want, but it is sure hard to get it. That’s search is what keeps me passionate. I can feel though that the more I do this, the more my mind and my visions are aligning…so maybe I am getting closer. I do feel I am much much better than I’ve ever been.

Tim Tadder Website CGI

Many photographers take full credit for the finished product from a shoot, but you are quick to point out that without your “team” your success wouldn’t be possible. How large is your team, how did you build the team and how much collaboration is done with this group? I think when you start it’s a very big ego thing. However, as you gain knowledge and wisdom you begin to look around and realize that individually you can only accomplish small things, but collectively you can accomplish great things. True impact comes from people that can harness the collective spirit of passionate individuals and align that energy towards a defined goal. I saw this in the people around me and when I grew up and left my ego behind, I realized that I was only as good as the weakest link on my team. I realized that the people around me love what they were doing and that I needed to embrace not only their passions but honor their contributions. That’s when it all clicked. I can’t do what I do without the support of others. No way. I love them, and I hope they love me because they make everything possible. My core crew is excellent. They are the best, and I will put them up against anyone. My normal team is made up of a first assistant that has been with me for ten years, my producer, our production coordinator, stylist, hair and makeup (sometimes two people) and a gaggle of other freelancers that contribute. The productions swell when needed, by my core is four.

Tim Tadder Website Water Wigs

On average, how much of the finished product that we see in images on your website is done in camera versus in CGI or post production? That goes from zero to a lot. There is much of my work that is captured in camera and sometimes quite a lot of post. I would say what you see is 75 percent in camera, truly only what you see in the CGI section of my website is CGI. Yes there are composites here and there, but I find the less time in the post the better the image. Less is more.

Tim Tadder reflection of Cam Newton

How many man hours went into your Tecate Calendar project including the building of props, the shoot, and CGI/post? Now that project was very very CGI and post heavy. But my favorite image in that collection was all captured on camera (The Gemini Twins shot below), so the key is to mix everything so the audience can’t quite put their finger on it..there is a great Behind the Scenes video ( on my site that really shows how this was done. That shoot was huge, and I spent weeks in Pre-production on it. The wardrobe was custom stitched, the CGI sets crafted before the shoot, the animals cast, and the cast was pulled from all over the globe. That shoot was a mission…I would say three weeks solid of pre-production and four weeks in post…but it’s unique and quite amazing. Of course, you only see what was selected by the client and how hey wanted it to sell beer, but the images I love are far more subtle, but that does not sell beer.

Tim Tadder Tecate Zodiac

Of all the athletes you have shot over the years, which one(s) would you say brought the most personality to the shoot? That’s too difficult to answer. There are so many levels of shoot energy, and sometimes the creative requires more personality than others. I will tell you Cam Newton was spectacular as a comedian and told the most jokes. Simone Biles was spectacular and amazing. But there have been so many. I love when I shoot athletes year after year sometimes for the same client sometimes for other clients, but they remember me. Sometimes they greet me with big hugs, and I feel like an old friend. That’s always surprising. I guess they liked the images.

Tim Tadder Website

Your personal projects are amazing. What inspired your Bella Umbrella project? Was that project as messy to shoot as it looks? This project was inspired by things I saw on Instagram. I had been following this LA street artist, and he did all this rad stuff with military smoke bombs. I wanted to do something with him, but he is really dark and quite theatrical. Then I saw this image with smoke and a vintage umbrella in a forest and thought that if I could simplify and elevate the elegance that I would have a beautiful collection of images. The project was a mess and destroyed some expensive vintage clothing. I think it looks easier than it actually was. We took the smoke bombs and taped them to the umbrellas, but when the umbrellas caught fire and the clothes burned, I had to take another approach. So some of these were in camera, and some were composites of smoke plates and the talent. The stylist freaked out and I freaked because I did not want to hurt anyone but we decided we could make happen without any risk.

Tim Tadder Bella Umbrella project

What piece of camera equipment can you not live without? Hmmm, I don’t really have a piece of camera equipment I can’t live without. I don’t believe the tools make the image I believe that the concept, thought, idea the passion make the image. The camera and lens are no more part of the process than a burner on a stove is to a chef.  A chef can make a meal with any type of stove, just as a photographer make can make an image with any type of camera.

Tim Tadder Website

From the behind the scenes video’s on your website, it looks like you have fun on the set when shooting. Do you find that keeping things fun puts people at ease and allows them to open up? Always. It’s a blessing and an honor to do what we do. It’s fun, but it’s really important to do a good job because people’s careers are at stake. We really must remember that we are doing something that is amazing, creative and fun. back in the day I used to get all worked up, but that never helped. It never makes a better image, so let’s make it easy and let’s make it fun so that people leave with a good taste in their mouth.

Tim Tadder Badasses on White

What does the perfect Tim Tadder day look like? Making pancakes for my kids, creating some amazing images that make people go “holy shit”, having dinner with my family and watching the Ravens beat the crap out of the Steelers on Monday Night Football.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers looking to enter this ultra-competitive industry? You better absolutely love, love, love creating images. You must be willing to work 20 hours a day for years and years. You must be willing to lay it all on the line and never give up. You must have to have a thick skin, a really thick skin, and not be deterred by failure. You have to be willing to make thousands of mistakes and keep making them until you get it right. You have to be willing to produce new work always and you need to be planning your personal work all the time. It’s never ending even for me. You can never take the foot off the gas. If your not willing to do that, then it might not be for you.

Tim Tadder Conept

If you weren’t a professional photographer what would you be doing? I’d run for President, seems like not a lot of people want that job these days.

This post is sponsored by: photofolio-io

Why did you choose Photo Folio for your website? I think the system is simple and presents my work in a clean and clear way. Clients can get right to the point. All I want is for my images to speak to the audience with nothing else getting in the way. The content management system is great and makes creating edits super easy.

Many of the world’s top photographers, like TimTadder, showcase their work with a website from PHOTO FOLIO . Isn’t it time you put the power of PHOTO FOLIO to work for you?

Webb’s pictures offer a soothing antidote of high quality craftsmanship

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For those that worry that the iPhone-toting hordes will soon overrun photography, Webb’s pictures offer a soothing antidote of high quality craftsmanship. As I passed from image to image, my head was continually nodding, acknowledging the real pleasure that is derived from smartly built photographs.

More here: Alex Webb: La Calle, Photographs from Mexico @Aperture – Collector Daily

Creative Calls Are Crucial

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Creative calls are a crucial part of the process and can shape opinions along the way. I go into each bidding process knowing that we could end up with any of the three shooters. Work alone probably won’t get the award; it’s very much about what you bring to the table on the creative calls & development, and of course how the numbers fall. I don’t think it would be doing anyone any favors to say they’re recommended shooter only to have a job potentially award to one of the other photographers also being considered.

Read More: Anonymous Art Producer Offers Tips on Estimating | Notes From A Rep’s Journal

How Not to Design a Photobook – All Photographers Need A Good Editor

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Because photographers are visual, they usually assume two things: that they can design and that they can edit. But they benefit by letting someone else in. It doesn’t matter how well-known a photographer is, the fact is all photographers need a good editor, someone who they can trust checking or proposing picture and sequence decisions. It’s probably the most important part of putting a book together. Often the photographer is too close to the work, or to certain images, and they have a tendency to want to use more images, when they should let some of them go. The reverse can also be true. A photographer can become fixed on particular pictures. I usually want to see a wider edit than the photographer initially has in mind, and quite often between ten and twenty percent of the final picture selection will come in from this broader selection. This doesn’t seem like much, but it can make the difference between the mediocre and the sublime.

Read More:

The Closing Of Brooks Institute Is Not A Statement About The Photography Market

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Photography has never been about how many professionals there are, and how or what they charge, where they went to school, how they learned, how hard or easy it is, how smart or stupid the successful ones are, what camera you use, or how many amateurs can look like or claim to be professionals. In every field of art, the people who put difficulty, practice, problem solving, commitment, learning, opportunity and service as the core to making a meaningful life will always find the answer. Looking into the masses of lawyers, accountants, guitarists, painters, plumbers, salespeople, teachers, drummers and photographers, and thinking that there are too many of this or that, or that it is easier to be one thing or another is just plain hysterical reaction to life. It isn’t easy to be alive in this world… it never has been… get over it.

Read more from Dennis Keeley on his Facebook page:

Not Marketing Has Devastating Effects On Business

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…not marketing has devastating effects on business. There are way too many talented photographers in the marketplace for a photographer not to market. Think about it. If a photographer chooses not to market, that means their imagery and their name is not as top of mind as the next person’s. That means, when a project comes up, most likely, the person who IS top of mind will rise to the top of the consideration list. That also means that the other photographer will get the opportunity to engage with the agency and client, they will get the opportunity to estimate and ultimately they will get the opportunity to bid on the job and develop the relationship.

More: Want to Know What I Told Photographers While I Reviewed Portfolios at the Palm Springs Photo Festival? | Notes From A Rep’s Journal

The Highsmith vs Getty Saga Begins

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The case alleges as many “bad acts” as we would typically see “spread out” among three or more unrelated lawsuits.

[…] The filing of this complaint is likely just the beginning of this saga. We will stay on it for you.

Regardless of how this case turns out, and we believe this will be news for a long time to come, for the love of your family and all you hold dear, register your images and protect yourself. Register even if you’re not licensing your images for fees or at all. We’ll keep saying this until we’re blue in the face.


The Art of the Personal Project: Naomi Harris

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Naomi Harris

American Swingers

American Swingers

American Swingers

American Swingers

American Swingers

American Swingers

American Swingers

American Swingers

American Swingers

American Swingers









Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

How long have you been shooting professionally?
Since 2000.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I got into photography late in the game, I was about 22 before I picked up my first camera. I was actually studying print-making in university, this was back in the early 90s before Google and the internet so if you needed a photo for inspiration you scoured books and magazines. And since my printmaking practice was mainly photo-based I decided it would make sense for me to learn how to take pictures in case I couldn’t find what I was looking for. It was a basic black and white class and really only taught dark-room techniques not how to “take” photos. That summer I went to Europe and when I processed what I shot I was like, oh, this is what I want to do and decided to focus my artistic practice on photography (though I do still want to go back and start using my photos in the medium of printmaking again.)

But that said I never did learn lighting or how to actually use a camera in school, that was all self-taught through trial and error, friends, assistants and while doing personal work.

You are very good about shooting personal projects, what is your inspiration to shoot them?
I think when I choose a personal project I ask myself first off, what will I learn from this. I’m primarily a documentary photographer (with a penchant for portraiture) so I’m always seeking knowledge or access to people whom I wouldn’t encounter otherwise.

My inspiration varies. Usually I’m shooting something else and stumble upon something that I’ll decide to make a long-term project out of. Like I was trying to do a project about Holocaust Survivors when I found the Haddon Hall Hotel in Miami’s South Beach which was the last of it’s kind and changed my focus to be specifically on that hotel. Or while living in Miami I’d visit the nude beach and knew that people went to swinger parties. One day I was invited to attend as a “key” (a female who accompanies a single man to a party granting them access) by a beach friend and when I saw what was going on knew instantly I’d have to shoot it! Or my most recent project I’m wrapping up, EUSA, I was shooting my very last swinger party in the mountains of Georgia and stumbled upon this “Bavarian” town called Helen nearby and from that EUSA was born.

I listen to a ton of radio (I’m a big fan of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) find things on Twitter, talk to strangers everywhere I go, you can find inspiration anywhere. And my mother is my best research assistant constantly mailing me newspaper clippings or emailing me articles of things I might find interesting. She really loves her Yahoo! News.

How many years have you been shooting a project before you decided to present it?
Seems lately like 5 years has been the magic number (America Swings and EUSA) but I don’t think it’s wise to attatch a deadline to projects. Each one is unique and you’ll know when it’s done. It could be some sort of event that happens but once or it could be shooting something daily which never really has an end, it’s all subjective. I’d love for once to try to shoot something in a studio and spend a total of say 2 or 3 weeks shooting, that would be novel!

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That’s a tough one. Some projects you know are going to be great and you feel it instantly from the first photo you take. Then I have had some projects where I’ve put a good amount of time into but then due to costs and amount of travel involved I just couldn’t get back to it right away and had to put on the back burner. Like EUSA I didn’t shoot anything between 2010 and 2013 (and had nearly 60 rolls of unprocessed exposed film in my freezer!) but I always knew I would come back to it when I had the time and money.

But then there are the projects where you do put some time and effort into it and for whatever reason decide it’s not going to work. Back in 2003 I spent 3 weeks in Vegas intending on creating a project about the economic upswing happening there but I never really liked what I was getting and not being a fan of heat (or Vegas itself) I decided to put this project on the shelf. In hindsight I should have pushed through because imagine the potentially amazing work I could have created if I had pre-recession and post-recession photos. Oh well, you can’t always predict the future and you can’t win them all.

Today though I’m beginning to work on multiple projects at a time and not sinking all my energy into only one body of work. If my projects take upwards of 5 years to complete (plus another few more years until a book is published) I don’t want to only be releasing a project every half decade or so. It’s better to split your focus into multiple projects.

What advice do you have for people who have not done a personal project? And how they are so important so potential clients see how you think.
I think it’s important for your potential clients sure, that’s an obvious answer, but I think personal projects are even more important for ourselves. Working on personal projects give us an opportunity to explore, experiment and even screw up but without the client to report back to. I learned all my lighting techniques while doing personal work and then can bring these new tricks into my commissioned work.

I would like to imagine most of us got into photography because we posses an innate curiosity about the world and want to explore it.

We also learn so much about ourselves and our potential when working on our own projects and that in itself is invaluable.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Actually I think all of my work, be it personal or commissioned, has a similar quality to it and hopefully a distinct style. While I’ll experiment with different formats, techniques and mediums between projects I still think the way I see is similar and hopefully people will be able to identify one of my photos be it personal work or from an assignment.

I do encourage photographers to shake it up a little though instead of an “insert-subject-here” approach that so many take (exact same lighting set up, back-drop etc). Mind you when you have a winning look that’s earning you a living it’s sometimes hard to abandon that. But remember, styles change and while your look might be popular now it might not be 5 years from now.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes and no. I try not to release too much of a project until I’m nearly done (and better yet would be only when the book is actually published) but I do use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as a means of self-promotion.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Back in the early 2000s when I still had an earthlink account, the blog Fleshbot featured a story I did about a porn star reality show based in Montreal and in a matter of days over 100,000 people visited my website. That sounds all fine and good except that earthlink wanted to charge me an exorbitant amount for going over my bandwidth even though I kept calling them to increase my limit and ultimately had to temporarily shut my site down. I couldn’t afford to pay what they wanted nor did I think it was fair so I called NY1 to have them do a segment on me and earthlink lowered the bill to a couple of hundred from several thousand dollars!

I don’t know how to use Reddit (!) but I have had a couple of my America Swings photos posted and they have been quite popular but no work came out of that.

But I am shooting my first fashion story next month for a Spanish magazine called ODDA and they found me through my Instagram so really happy about that.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I don’t create my personal projects specifically for marketing my work rather I make it for the art aspect, and if it gets me publicity that influences prospective clients, well that’s the cherry on top.

I have on occasion left a copy of America Swings with an art buyer, which I consider a really fancy leave behind (pssst, call me in for a portfolio review and one might make it’s way to your desk too!).

I feel a lot of clients want to work with “fine art” photographers rather than just commercial photographers so it’s important to always be creating personal work and getting a reputation in the art circuit.


Canadian born NAOMI HARRIS is primarily a portrait photographer who seeks out interesting cultural trends to document through her subjects. Personal projects include HADDON HALL in which she documented the lives of the last remaining elderly residents at a hotel in South Beach. For this work she received the 2001 International Prize for Young Photojournalism from Agfa/ Das Bildforum, honorable mention for the Yann Geffroy Award, and was a W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography finalist.

For her next project AMERICA SWINGS, she documented the phenomenon of swinging over the course of 5 years (from 2003 to 2008) all over the United States. This project was realized in her first monograph “America Swings” released by TASCHEN in 2008 as a limited collectors edition and again in 2010 as a trade edition. Artist Richard Prince interviewed Ms. Harris for the book and it was edited by Dian Hanson.

She recently completed EUSA which is a reaction to the homogenization of European and American cultures through globalization and is releasing a book by the same title in 2017.

Other accolades include being awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Photography in 2013, a Long-Term Career Advancement Grant from the Canada Council in 2012 and participating in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2004.

In June 2012 after living in New York for 15 years she decided to leave and live in her car traveling around America with her dog Maggie in preparation of becoming a US citizen, which she did in August 2013. She currently resides in Los Angeles but returns to her homeland of Canada often to continue working on her project OH CANADA.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

This Week In Photography Books: Leon Borensztein

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’ve been doing this a long time, as the column will be 5 years in September. In that time, I’ve seen books from every continent on Earth, two times over. (Yes, there were two books from Antarctica.)

The experience has increased my understanding of the world immeasurably. I am definitely a smarter, more empathetic person than I was when Rob first suggested I review books here at APE.

But until today, I’ve never cried before, when flipping through the pages.

Not even once.

Today, however, I wept.

I was looking at “Sharon,” a new book by Leon Borensztein, recently published by Keher Verlag in Germany. This is as personal a book as I’ve seen, though others have risen to this level of honesty.

So why this book? Why now?

Well, “Sharon” is a photographic and diaristic account, by Leon Borensztein, of the 1984 birth, and subsequent life, of his daughter Sharon. Though her eyes are closed on the cover, and the text is scribbly, I had no idea what was in store, when I took the book out of its packaging. (This one was sent in a couple of months ago, and landed in the submission pile.)

Within the first few pictures, we realize something is wrong. Baby Sharon has electrodes on her head, and that can’t possibly be good, right? (It isn’t.)

The pacing, and the balance between imagery and text, always feel right. The pictures are universally square, well-made, and shot in black and white, but they’re not GENIUS. Thankfully, they don’t have to be.

It turns out that Sharon has physical, developmental, and mental health issues, including being mostly blind. It is clearly every parent’s nightmare, and one I fretted about through the entirety of my wife’s two pregnancies.

What happens if you have a baby, so many of us fear, and it all goes wrong?

29 years of Sharon’s life are documented here, and the diary text openly shares how difficult it is. How draining. How depressing.

To make matters worse, (as is often the case in relationships enmeshed in trauma,) Leon splits with his wife, and ends up becoming Sharon’s sole caretaker. His ex-wife is eventually busted for meth, suggesting she was unfit as a mother.

Wow, is this a heavy book. But it is also beautiful, because as Pixar teaches us in “Inside Out,” sadness is a valid part of life. Sometimes, it’s the only sane reaction to life’s unfairness.

In the end, Leon decides to place Sharon in a facility, after spending years trying to find the right one. He is well-aware, and presents to us, the statistics facing disabled women, with sexual abuse rates that are heart-breaking.

According to the last text in the book, it was a good move for father and daughter, as both were able to move on with life, while remaining extremely close. It’s just… So. Fucking. Poignant.

In life, I’ve found, sometimes the small coincidences keep piling up to the point where it makes sense to listen. I thought I was done with my little San Francisco series, but it turns out that some of the people about whom I’ve written in the last month were big supporters of this project.

Who knew?

And just this morning, I was engaged in a Twitter conversation with people about the over-saturation of the photo-book market. (Precipitated by a Tweet from NYT critic Wesley Morris, who lamented the closing of Powerhouse Books.)

I told a couple of Twitter strangers that with so many books on the market now, as near-every photographer makes a book for each project, it was of course impossible for them all to sell well. The supply has increased exponentially; not so the demand.

The responses to my Tweet were ironic, accusing me of quashing dreams. Not so, I replied.

Make a book.
Have at it.
Go nuts.

Just this morning, mere hours before I picked up “Sharon,” I told people there were other reasons to make a book, beyond financial remuneration.

Books are tangible. They provide closure. Deadlines push people to finish, to grapple, to face the work they’ve made, and then perhaps let go.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this book sold well. It’s an excellent publication. But somethings tells me it’s already a massive success for the artist, because it’s shined some serious light on the dark recesses of his life.

Life is beautiful, according to Roberto Benigni, but it is also rather tragic. Capturing both realities in one book is an achievement. If it can make me cry, for goodness sake, you might want to check this one out.

Bottom Line: Powerful, diaristic account of raising a disabled child




















The Art of the Personal Project: Marianne Lee

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at Projects are discovered online and submissions are not

Today’s featured photographer is: Marianne Lee


Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Anna Kitada





Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Kathryn SIlvia

Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Luke Colannino

Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Nicholas Harrington



How long have you been shooting?
Since High School.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I love the simplicity of what Flashes of Hope is asking for and I love the idea of creating a memory of this incredibly difficult time in these children’s lives. The impact of these images can change depending on the outcome of the kids course of treatment for their cancer.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I think it was about 3 years before I decided to put it on my website.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
This project is a bit different in that it happens every year through Flashes of Hope, I decide every year that it’s worth my time, these kids have a special spirit that I feel honored to be able to photograph.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I feel like personal work can be a lot looser, there’s fewer constraints, but it’s also challenging because those limits aren’t there.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Mostly with family and friends.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Not yet.


Marianne grew up on Lake Michigan and brings the warmth of the Midwest to her photography. She is obsessed with visual storytelling. Her curiosity about her clients leads to focused preparation. When Marianne arrives for a shoot, she already knows you. The result is stunning photos.

Marianne specializes in Education and Lifestyle Photography and is passionate about lifelong learning, whether it’s mountain biking, exploring a city, or discovering what makes a new friend laugh. She lives in New England with her daughter, husband, and a pantry full of chocolate.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Role Of Publishers In Photojournalism and Manipulation

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In the McCurry case, fortunately, there was a very different take. A.D. Coleman published a letter written by Robert Dannin, who worked at Magnum and with McCurry in the late 1980s. Dannin squarely puts the onus on the publishing industry in general, and on National Geographic in particular. These are the kinds of discussions we — as the general public — are rarely exposed to. But to me, it seems completely obvious that we have to talk about this aspect of photojournalism, which is immensely important: the role of the publishers (who might or might not also still commission work). Given McCurry’s photographs are such kitsch, why are they so widely coveted by the likes of National Geographic? What does that tell us about the publishing industry?

Read More: Photojournalism and Manipulation | Conscientious Photography Magazine

The Art of the Personal Project: Craig LaCourt

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Craig LaCourt













How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been working in the industry for over 17 years, but really started pushing my own photography in the last 4 years or so.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I did get a BFA in photography from Western Michigan University, and that set a good foundation for how to address things in so much as building groups/series of images, but from a technical/professional aspect it’s the years of working as a digital technician and assistant that taught me the ropes of how the industry works.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I’ve had a broader project of shooting the creative people I meet in my community of Red Hook, Brooklyn for quite some time (hence my Instagram handle @redhook_shooter) and I’d known “Guitar Matt” through the great network of people for a bit before this. I moved my studio into the building he had been working in and we thought it was time to do something as I wanted to do some artisan small business based projects and he could always use new images for his own. We concepted and shot it over the course of a couple days.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This particular project was one of several I wanted to incorporate into my new site/book when I sat down with Karen D’Silva to re-assess what I’d been presenting. She really liked this project in particular.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually know before we are done shooting the first day. Most of my personal projects are collaborative in so much as I feed off the people I shoot. It’s such an adrenaline rush when you are on the same plane, but sometimes things just don’t “have it”,

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I almost always think of shooting as potential portfolio. Sometimes I overanalyze it into something bigger (production wise) than it really needs to be. I recently took a personal trip with a friend who is a motorcycle builder and we went from Denver to Austin for a motorcycle show. I usually would have brought cases and cases of lighting gear and cameras to treat it like an ad production. This time I specifically rented a small camera and a couple lenses and that’s it. I just tagged along to whatever he wanted to do so I didn’t have to plan any production or blocking. I just shot what I saw. It was a nice breath of fresh air and I think it helped me come back really excited.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Sometimes I feel like I got into the game a little too late with social and my photography. I’d always kept the two separated. So now I’m trying to push myself to keep ideas flowing onto Instagram and making an effort to keep it fresh and updated.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not really yet, no. I’ve not figured out the formula for getting that to happen yet. One person I shot for an ad campaign last year has literally MILLIONS of followers on Instagram. I’d love to get over 500 now, ha!

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I just did a pretty big (for me) hard promo push in the spring. I find this is still a very important step in our photography world. I’ve gotten some good feedback from the people that viewed it. For those I haven’t heard back from yet, my hope is that I have planted a seed of interest in their minds regarding the type of work I do.


I’ve lived in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn since moving from the rocky shores of Lake Superior. I like to ride motorcycles on curvy roads or strap a snowboard to my feet when the opportunity presents itself. I try to catch a Red Wings game here and there with my wife, Shami, and my daughter, Mihika.

In my free time I’m always down for a great conversation over a hoppy beer with my dogs at my feet. The best talks are after a really fun photo shoot when we are spent but running on adrenaline from making something special.

People have called me a nice guy.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Q&A: Sarah Meister Curator, Department of Photography, MoMA

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What are some photographs that you believe everybody should see?
There are so many photographs and digital images in the world today that instead of adding to the lists of things that everybody should see, I’d suggest a different exercise. I believe that most people would see more clearly if they took the time to look more closely… ideally at an old photograph that many people have held over many decades. In the digital era it strikes me as critically important to recognize the difference between a photograph (a physical object) and a photographic image (one that can assume new characteristics specific to the device on which it is seen, but which has no material presence), and that once you’ve really looked at a photograph you’ll have new tools to approach both photographic objects and images.

What are some of the most interesting things about the history of photography?
For a variety of reasons (cultural, economic, social, technical), throughout the history of the medium a significant percentage of the greatest photographers have been women. In fact, it is possible to tell a coherent history of photography featuring only women artists…

Read More Here: Sarah Meister – Quora Session on Jun 27, 2016

This Week In Photography Books: A-B-Cheeeese!

by Jonathan Blaustein

Believe it or not, in the last four days, three different people lectured me about the relationship between the amygdala and the hippocampus, two powerful, oppositional parts of the brain.

(And yes, that is definitely the longest opening sentence in this column’s history.)

But it’s also true.

Under pressure, the primal amygdala, of fight or flight fame, supersedes the hippocampus, which controls higher functioning.
(Essentially, when we’re triggered, we can’t think straight.) Our body chemistry, which often speaks to us in the form of emotion, runs the show when we’re stressed out.

It’s fact, and new studies demonstrate that our brains actually rewire, based upon repeated stimulus. If you’re bugging out all the time, that becomes your brain’s default hardware.

For months, you’ve read along as my teaching situation, in which I was repeatedly doused with cortisol, bled into other parts of my life. It’s hard not to be grumpy and short-tempered, or at the least allow some of life’s joys to pass you by.

So many of us work a lot, or stay connected throughout the day/month/year.

Do you sometimes wonder if you’re not having enough fun? Or appreciating your children properly?

I know I do.

So many of us are photographers, but how much time are you putting into aping your kid’s joy, getting down on the ground to make memories, rather than just pressing the virtual shutter on your Iphone?

I’m thinking here of the new photo/children’s book, “A-B-Cheeeese!”, recently published by Paul Schiek at TBW Books in Oakland. It’s pretty random, relative to what we normally review here, but also a bit of HGH to beef-up our fun-deprived muscles. (Especially in yet-another tragic week.)

I’ve reviewed a couple of TBW offerings in the past, and interviewed Paul last year as well. Though we’d never met, when I got to Oaktown last month, he picked me up at the airport so we could grab some In’n’Out burger, and watch the Golden State Warriors on TV at his place.

We’re two odd ducks, as artists, in that we’re both huge sports fans. He was immersed in it, growing up in Wisconsin, as was I in New Jersey, so the idea of catching a game, in the Warriors hometown, was too good to pass up.

He pulled up to the airport in a blue truck, and I immediately went to the back door to throw my bag inside. Mid-toss, I realized there was a little human being blocking my flight path. It was a pretty, 2 year-old-girl with big brown eyes and whimsical curls, and I was lucky not to crush her with my travel bag.

“Dad,” she said, “who’s THAT guy?”

And that was my name for the rest of the day. “THAT” guy. Young Rosary warmed to me eventually, and we had some fun for a few minutes.

But then the game turned, and before we knew it, the Warriors were down 40 points. They were getting destroyed. Embarrassed even.

In case you don’t know, this season, the Warriors broke the NBA all-time record for most wins in a season, with 73. They’re accustomed to having their way with the opposition, not being annihilated on national television.

So by the time I left, there was bad-sports-juju in the air, and I forgot my copy of the book, along with a strap from the aforementioned luggage. Paul kindly sent both to me, back in New Mexico, because I really wanted to show this book to you.

It was made in honor of little Rosary, so it says, and she’s also listed in the back, as a Creative Consultant. (It makes me wonder if there aren’t some child labor laws being broken here.)

But what exactly is “A-B-Cheeeese!”?

It’s a play on the classic children’s book conceit of having one letter of the alphabet be represented by a word, image or phrase.

I still remember the Dr. Seuss version I read to my son when he was an infant. Big A, little a. What begins with A? Aunt Annie’s alligator, A A A.

Big B, little b. What begins with B? Barber, baby, bubbles and a bumblebee.

Here, each letter is paired with a word, and a historical, vernacular image that Paul purchased on Ebay.

A is for automobile, B is for bath time, C is for curious. F is for fish, and H is for Hello.

The pictures have been scanned, and are presented in the middle of a blank white page. But the text page color varies, blue for black and white, pink for color.

Some of these picture grab me more than others, but they all make me sad, on some level. Because a few of these kids are probably dead by now, or at least very old themselves. These anonymous stories are someone’s memories, and out of context, our vulnerability to time still shines through.

But it’s also hopeful, as the book is literally made for one child, yet shared with many, which was the plot of some early Neal Stephenson novel, the name of which I’ve unfortunately forgotten. (Sorry Neal!)

As for favorites, I love fish, and laughing, and piñata and quack. I love reading and waving and xylophone.

But yellow is the best.

I bet if this kid had one do-over, that special 1970’s super-power, he’d make this picture disappear from reality in a poof.

Because he’s got the crazy-eyes.

These days, that picture would get posted on the dude’s Facebook page, and it would be there for every prospective employer to see. Forever.

Here, in the book, it’s being ogled by strangers, and I’m sure the guy will never know.

I like that this photobook is a children’s book, a gift for a daughter, and a new piece of history to age, with its already- old, forgotten histories inside.

This was a big week, let’s be honest. A horrible thing happened in Orlando, and for once, I didn’t devote an entire column to the Terrible Tragedy of the Day. Not to belittle such things, but it’s genuinely awful that these events happen around the world with such tragic frequency these days.

In light of all that suffering, a cute/cool little book with a premise built on love seemed the right choice for today.

Don’t you think?

Bottom Line: Poignant, hybrid photo book/children’s book

Go Here To Purchase A-B-Cheeeese!

















Joe Riis stuggles to find the balance when work takes over your life

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The short film “Joe” highlights Riis’s work in the Yellowstone ecosystem, but it also exposes a much more relatable side of him—the struggle to find balance between life and a job that has basically become his life. “Is my work worth spending more time on my work than my girlfriend?” he asks in the film. “Is my work worth essentially dedicating my life to it? And that changes from time to time. Sometimes I think that, and other times I think: You know, I should just pack it in. I should just go into town and get a job, and actually have a real relationship.”

Source: adventure journal – Joe and the Pronghorns

Competition is not your biggest problem

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If your focus is on what’s wrong with the marketplace, and you’re caught up in the illusion that there’s no way you can succeed because of an overcrowded market, that’s full of young people who don’t know photography, then that is the reality that you create. You will live inside of that fantasy and your business will suffer.

If your focus however, is on developing the most competitive body of work you can produce and you then take the necessary steps needed to consistently sell and market your work, then you are laying the groundwork for the success that you seek.

Source: Selina Maitreya

Pricing and Negotiating: Ingredients for Food Packaging

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Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Still life images of ingredients on white

Licensing: Unlimited use of four images in perpetuity

Location: A studio in New York

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Food/still life specialist

Agency: Medium-sized, based in the Northeast

Client: Packaged food manufacturer

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The agency kicked off the project by describing a need for isolated close-up ingredient shots with “high appetite appeal” based on new variations of their flagship product. They had four new products, each of which required a unique image featuring ingredients of the flavors. The ingredients would be shot on white, and they’d ultimately be composited together with a textured background and a few other design elements.

The intended use for these images would be for product packaging, and there was a very limited chance they would end up in advertisements, although the products themselves (with the images on the packaging) could end up being integrated into other marketing pieces. It was apparent that the shelf life of the images would likely be a year or so as they refresh their product’s packaging somewhat frequently, but despite the intended use, the agency/client requested unlimited use of the four images in perpetuity.

With the intended use in mind, I wanted to price each image between $1,500-$3,000 based on previous experience with similar projects/clients. In this instance, we were given a budget of around $13,000, and given the potential expenses, I knew that would force us to tighten up the creative/licensing fee. After fleshing out the rest of the estimate, we ended up coming in at $6,500, which based upon the straightforward nature of the project and the photographer’s experience level, still seemed appropriate.

Assistant and Digital Tech: We included the cost for one assistant to lend a hand with grip/lighting, and also added a digital tech to ingest and display the files for approval on-site. The digital tech’s rate included his time at $500 for the day, plus a workstation rental at $600/day.

Food Stylist and Assistant: In addition to the food stylist’s time on set, she would also need a day beforehand to shop for the ingredients, and she’d have an assistant with her on the shoot day to prepare and organize the food. We included a few hundred dollars to source plenty of options, and this included a bit of a buffer in case any items needed to be special ordered and/or shipped in.

Studio Rental and Equipment: This rate afforded a studio with a kitchen and plenty of space to prep and shoot the ingredients. The photographer would be using all of her own equipment, rather than renting gear, and was comfortable waiving any equipment fees in order to stay within the client’s budget.

Lunch Catering: We anticipated 2 client/agency representatives to be on set, as well as the 5 crew members, and included $50 per person for lunch catering.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: The photographer would be traveling from a few hours away, and we wanted to make sure we included supplemental funds for transportation to/from the studio, as well as parking and unanticipated expenses that might arise.

Color Correction, File Cleanup, Clipping and Delivery of 4 Selects by FTP: The agency would be handling the compositing of the images with the other design elements and backgrounds, but they needed the photographer to do some basic processing and create the clipping paths for each shot. I felt $150/image would be appropriate for this work.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project. Right before the shoot, the scope of the project changed a bit, and there was a need to bring on a prop stylist (at $800/day) to source a few surfaces, plates, bowls and utensils. The agency also ended up needing more help with the post processing than originally anticipated, and the photographer hired a retoucher who worked through 4 rounds of processing, clipping and color alterations, which added about $3,000 to the final invoice.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.