Posts by: A Photo Editor

1 Second Plus 34 Years

- - Blog News

Check out this video of Paula Scher from Pentagram (here). I love when she talks about how ideas come to her very quickly and clients like to buy process so if the problem is solved in 1 second then they feel like they’re not getting their moneys worth. She explains “it’s done in a second, plus 34 years [of experience].”

World Press Photo Winners Talk About Their Images

- - Awards

Incredible feature on the World Press Photo site where you can watch a video of the photographer describing the story behind their award winning shot (here).

The beauty of it all, in my mind, is the design. The video of the photographer occupies a small space in the lower left corner allowing the image to dominate the screen. There’s even a little magnifying glass feature on the right that allows you to closely inspect the image like you were holding a loupe, not that comparing the sharpness of Platon’s portrait of Putin to Tim Hetheringtons beautifully blurry photo of the year, will give you any added insight. It’s just cool

I haven’t explored all the photographer interviews but listening to Platon describe the chain of events that led to his award winning portrait of Vladimir Putin (possibly the only formal portrait he’s ever agreed to) reinforces my belief that great photographers will always deliver under any circumstance. I’ve not seen a picture of Putin where you can actually sit and contemplate his expression and facial features and while that may seem very trite sitting in your home or office in front of the computer under the circumstances presented I think it’s quite remarkable.

Regardless, hearing the stories behind the photos is an incredible addition to the World Press Photo event and certainly a huge step toward increasing the popularity in the future.

Via, Paul Melcher.

Photographer speared by javelin still nails the shot

- - Blog News

Sad but true quote from the photographer:

PROVO, Utah — A newspaper photographer got a little too close to the action at the state high school track championships _ and was speared through the leg by a javelin.

Ryan McGeeney of the Standard-Examiner was spared serious injury in Saturday’s mishap, and even managed to snap a photo of his speared leg while others worked to help him.

“If I didn’t, it would probably be my editor’s first question when I got back,” McGeeney said later.

More at the Huffington Post, including the photo (here).

Dispatches- A Magazine For The Future

- - Magazines

Dispatches is a new quarterly magazine co-edited by Mort Rosenblum, former editor of the International Herald Tribune and Gary Knight, founding member of VII photo agency. Each issue will focus on a single topic and the premiere issue topic is America. I’m told Antonin Kratochvil has an 80 page photo essay *repeat, 80 goddam pages of photography* from a month long trip across the US. Holy shit that’s awesome. The topic for the second issue is Beyond Iraq and will feature photographer Yuri Kozyrev. Awesome again.

Until I get my hands on the first issue I’ve only got the website (here) to go off, but I really like what I see and of course the 80 page photo essay sounds epic. This jibes perfectly with the role I foresee for magazines in the future. Covering topics in depth and displaying them in ways the internet can never compete with. Long form journalism and BIG photo essays. I honestly don’t need to see another thumbnail photo in a magazine for the rest of my life. I’ve got my fill right here on the internets.

Funny how none of the big publishers are going to step up to the plate on something like this so leave it to a photographer who’s sick of covering a story for a month and getting 2 pictures published in a magazine that will end up in the garbage can by Wednesday to make the big move.

Mort explains it further in the editors letter:

“We conceived dispatches to fit somewhere between Gutenberg and Google, a lively source of fresh knowledge about a world changing at warp speed in a format for people who savor the heft of words and images on paper.”

“Too often, these days, we forget a simple truth: the Internet is a means of delivery, not a source.”

“Gary Knight and I, co–editors, are journalists who were frustrated at trying to seek “truth” on the fly.”

Also, be sure to check out World Press Photo’s overall winner, Tim Hetherington’s acceptance speech (here). Love the honesty.

Good luck Mort and Gary. I hope you find your audience.

Orphan Works- ASMP Update

- - copyright

ASMP is now calling for photographers to write their Senators after realizing the Senate version of Orphan Works has none of the changes they like in the House version and could still be passed into law the Senate version was changed for the worse. Here’s their statement:

“Call to Action on Orphan Works: ASMP urges you to contact your Senator in opposition to S.2913, the Senate version of the Orphan Works bill. Now is the time. We continue to support the House version, H.R. 5889.”

I think they both suck and have already written the Senate and the House.

Via, Photo Attorney.

Photo Reps Who Blog

- - Blogs

There’s a few agent blogs out there worth checking out. AVS (anonymous agent blogger A Visual Society) is posting more infrequently but promises good stuff on the horizon. Redux has been blogging for awhile and they use it the way I think most agents will, as a tear gallery and honestly that’s just fine with me because I don’t always get the chance to check out all the magazines on the newsstand and I love a good tear or two. Wonderful Machine has a been doing a similar thing for awhile now too.

The two newest additions to the Agent blog scene are Leah Levine at L2 Agency (I helped out on this one) and Kristina Snyder at Snyder and Co. Here’s my list add any more in the comments and I’ll update. More the merrier as far as I’m concerned.

Kristina Snyder
L2Agency Blog
Redux Pictures
Wonderful Machine

SPD Photography Winners 2008

- - Working

Here are the GOLD winners from last weekends SPD awards (more here) in Photography.

Magazine of the year

The New York Times Magazine (over 1M circ)
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Photo Editors: Kira Pollack, Luise Stauss, Joanna Milter, Clinton Cargill, Leonor Mamanna, Stacey Baker

Wired (500k to 1M circ)
Photo Editors: Zana Woods, Carolyn Rauch, Anna Goldwater Alexander

Blueprint (under 500,000 circ)
Photo Editors: Mary Cahill, Darlene Schrack

Cover

GQ
Photographer: Nathaniel Goldberg
Director of Photography: Dora Somosi

New York
Photographer: Vincent Laforet
Director of Photography: Jody Quon
Photo Editor: Caroline Smith, Leana Alagia

The New York Times Magazine
Photographer: Sasha Bezzubov
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan

Entire Issue

The New York Times Magazine
Photographer: Dan Winters, Gareth McConnel, Richard Burbridge, David Sims, Andres Serrano, Paolo Pellegrin, Rineke Dijkstra, Katy Grannan, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Robert Maxwell
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Photo Editor: Kira Pollack

Feature, Spread/Single Page

GQ
Photographer: Jill Greenberg
Director of Photography: Dora Somosi
Photo Editor: Justin O’Neill
Senior Photo Editor: Krista Prestek

The New York Times Magazine
Photographer: Inez van Lamsweerde, Vinoodh Matadin
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan

Best Life Magazine
Photographer: Mary Ellen Mark
Director of Photography: Ryan Cadiz
Photo Editor: Jeanne Graves

Feature, Story

New York
Photographer: Paolo Pellegrin
Director of Photography: Jody Quon
Photo Editor: Lea Golis, Nadia Lachance

Vanity Fair
Photographer: Annie Leibovitz
Director of Photography: Susan White
Photo Editor: Kathryn MacLeod

Wired
Photographer: Daniel Stier
Photo Editor: Carolyn Rauch

Non-Newsstand Photography

UD & SE
Photographer: Casper Balslev

Photo-Illustration


Wired
Photographer: Dan Winters
Photo Editor: Carolyn Rauch

Same Cover Different Mag

- - Working

Time and Esquire Covers

Daryl Lang over at PDNPulse catches Esquire running the same Platon shot of Obama that Time did 6 months ago (here) and asks:

We wonder how the Esquire editors failed to get an exclusive Obama portrait for their cover. Awesome type treatment notwithstanding, are they honestly satisfied making the same visual statement Time made six months ago?

Daryl let me count the ways:

1. Platon didn’t tell them it was the same cover that Time used. Probably didn’t go down this way but it’s not unusual to be told after the fact by photographer (or stock agency) that they assumed I knew. Usually someone on staff (copy editors are good at catching this stuff) will recall the previous cover as it’s going around the office in a round and we’ll have to make a last minute swap.

2. Obama’s camp didn’t give the photo department enough time or agree to their conditions for the shoot. Again, probably not the case since Esquire has pulled off it’s share of 5 minute cover shoots so it could be that there were other scheduling conflicts. Also, when you’ve done your stock research beforehand you know you’ve got to beat the best stock cover you can find so if the photographer you’ve agreed on, the time limit and location don’t lead you to think you can do it, save the $20,000 for something your audience really cares about, like getting a photographer over to cover the Burma cyclone and don’t just shoot a variation of the 5 min. cover with a different suit on.

3. The writer or fact checker asked questions that caused the PR Director to use the Cover shoot as ransom to make changes to the story. You always save the hard questions and fact checking the difficult quotes till after all the reporting is done and the cover is in the can. If you don’t they can hold the shoot as ransom to make changes. If that happened here, Granger likely told them to go to hell and so went the cover shoot.

4. Esquire had a different cover they didn’t like that much and Obama clinched the nomination as the magazine was in the final week of shipping, so they found the best stock available and grabbed a story they’d been preparing for months hoping the timeliness would make up for the obvious duplication.

5. Only PDN will notice so who gives a flying rats ass.

Keren Sachs- Director of Photography

- - Working

Keren Sachs Director of Photography for Merchandise at Martha Stewart Living OmnimediaKeren Sachs is the Merchandising Director of Photography for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in New York City. She got her start as a Photo Editor at National Geographic Kids spent time at the Wall Street Journal and then as an Art Director at Corbis where she refined the more commercial aspect of Photo Editing that she utilizes today.

Keren oversees the photography for all the merchandise at Martha Stewart where all advertising, packaging and marketing is done internally for their 17 selling partners. She produces all aspects of the photo shoots and hires a wide range of photographers to shoot everything from food, wine, bedding, lighting to glassware. She retains long standing relationships with a number of photographers and tries to balance that by seeking out fresh talent as the opportunities present themselves. The company maintains 5 studios in the office and she’s able to spend time on set with all photographers and shoots throughout the day.

I had a few questions for her but I would encourage anyone else who wants to ask something to drop a question in the comments and we’ll try and get it answered.

Tell me about the shooting all the merchandise for Martha Stewart Living. How many photographers do you hire and how many products are you shooting and how many shoots take place each month?

This month we have 6 shoots for over 200 different products. I hire freelance photographers for all of our work. Currently, we have 18 partners so there is a great mix from Home Décor to Food and Wine to Crafts, Flowers, Home Goods and Textiles.

How do photographers get on your radar? What are your sources for finding photographers and then what’s the process for hiring them?

Agents update me on their new photographers or the new work from people I already know. I also do research and spend time on agency and photographers’ sites. Once I find a photographer I will call in a hard copy portfolio if I haven’t seen it already. I bring the books to meetings to discuss photographers with our creative team. I can’t do this the same way with a website. However, one thing I keep noticing with portfolios is that most photographers only put their favorite work in their book—a book of lifestyle images shot outside in a field isn’t going to help you land a job shooting interiors or still life here. The best way to get on my radar is to show me work that is relevant to the work we do. If it is not in the book, I can’t get our creative team on board.

These days I don’t get as many self promo cards as I used to. However a fantastic promo by James Tse introduced me to his work and I just hired him to shoot packaging for our line of food at Costco. I also attend portfolio reviews and events where I can meet with agents and learn about other photographers. I find article’s like PDN’s Who’s Shooting What helpful as well.

We have a core group of photographers who have been with the company for many years and do great work in both editorial and merchandising. Victor Schrager recently shot packaging for our Martha Stewart Collection at Macy’s. He also shot our Martha Stewart’s Cookies Book.

Do you find that shooting products over and over again can become tedious and if so how do you combat that?

The products we shoot are different every season and for every partner. We also have a diverse and talented group of art directors and stylists working on each shoot. Our products tell a story and inspire the consumer. While we do not want the consumer to see the same image over and over again, we do want them to see an image and know that it is quintessentially Martha Stewart.

There’s a fairly well established aesthetic to the Martha Stewart brand so is it possible to introduce new styles of photography?

There is a way to modernize our photography and make it fresh while still keeping true to our look and feel that people associate with the brand. You’ll notice this in our Self Portrait advertisement campaign shot by both Eric Piasecki and Sang An.

I think the value of product photography goes up as buying decisions go to the web because photography is all you have to grab consumers. Has that become a factor yet in the photographers you hire?

Definitely. Our photography a key aspect of our brand online and in print. However, our products must still remain hero while we build brand equity in our merchandise lines. The images have to be strong enough to instantly grab the consumers and make them stop before clicking through to something else. One way we increase the value is by making sure the imagery is lit beautifully and with purpose. You’ll notice this in the photography for our new line at 1-800-flowers.com shot by Travis Rathbone. Too many times I have seen images with beautiful lighting but the product is in shadow. That doesn’t help us sell products and it certainly doesn’t work on the web.