Posts by: A Photo Editor

Licensing Images In Perpetuity Is A Huge Mistake

A reader sent me the following email:

I don’t mean to sound critical of your efforts to inform young photographers of proper business practices by publishing estimates like this one: http://aphotoeditor.com/2015/04/22/pricing-negotiating-studio-portraits-for-a-pharmaceutical-manufacturer/. It’s an important and useful service but, for the sake of myself and my fellow photographers who have to fight the tendency of clients to want more and more rights for less and less money, I have to point out that the licensing of these images in perpetuity without additional fees is a huge mistake and a terrible precedent to set. I have photographed numerous jobs very similar to the one you describe below. My terms, which I have negotiated without the benefit of a rep usually include significant fees to for re-use after one or two years. I am often able to double my fees this way and have not received resistance to that from pharma agencies despite the supposedly humble nature of a very profitable area of business.

This estimate, which gives a lot of rights away for nothing, may well make your photographers popular. Unfortunately, they will probably never own a home, send their kids to college, have decent medical care, or be able to ever retire – some pretty basic expectations, I think. Most responsible reps would agree that one has to make an concerted effort not to give away too much too easily, even in this ultra competitive environment. We have no union to protect us, just common business sense. Giving rights in perpetuity away for free is sort of like “feeding the animals” – they come to expect it.

Here’s an estimate from a similar type of shoot that was three day video and still shoot with a pre-light day.My producer and I planned the shoot out very carefully, provided the client with a lot of great still and video images, and we all worked our asses off for four long days. Most importantly you will also see that I made an additional $14,600 two years after that shoot. That was for another two years of usage and I am eligible to be paid again at the end of those two years. I think that the Wonderful Machine estimate is doing a real disservice to photographers by suggesting that it is fair and necessary to give such broad usage rights away for so little.

I hope this is helpful to you and our fellow photographers. I don’t consider myself a tough negotiator but I estimated this without the benefit of a rep. Any rep will tell you that a certain amount of intelligently applied resistance to client’s pricing pressure is the only way to stay in business. I realize that the photographer described by Wonderful Machine is “up and coming” but that degree of lowballing is terribly shortsighted and even desperate feeling. His fees are way too low when you consider the amount of time and talent required, the associated expenses and responsibilities, and the amount of usage by the pharma industry.

Neat Receipt-$3,400.00 Cash Transportation

Neat Receipt-$14.60 Cash Utilities

Introducing Photographers Quarterly

Photographers Quarterly is a new online magazine edited by Jonathan Blaustein and designed by myself, that gives us an opportunity to to show portfolios and make something purely about the photography. And of course, being an online magazine, we can do whatever the hell we want with it, which I love.

You’ll find the first issue to be a great mix of familiar and not-so-familiar names, but consistently high quality pictures. I’m excited to see what Jonathan comes up with each quarter, but please enjoy the inaugural spring issue of Photographers Quarterly featuring the work of Roger Ballen, Valery Rizzo, John Gossage, Maija Tammi, Tabitha Soren and Robbe Vandegehuchte De La Port:

http://photographersquarterly.com

photographersquarterly

Russell Lord NOMA Curator of Photographs Interview – Part 2

- - Art

Jonathan Blaustein: We could talk forever, as there are so many things I want to ask. But I want to hit some of the cogent points of your experience, and then work our way to NOMA.

You alluded to the fact that you did four years at Yale, and it was seminal, and you must have been good at your job because they gave you more and more responsibility the longer you were there. So then, I see that you were the Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I will put my nerd credentials on the table and say that museum is my favorite public space on god’s earth. The first time I heard that about you, I got googly eyes, for sure. “Oh My God, he worked at the Met!”

Russell Lord: (laughing.)

JB: What does it mean to be a fellow? Does that mean your job had a limited scope, or time horizon? What was that phase like for you, in addition to those specific logistical questions?

RL: The fellows program at the Met has two categories: pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows. You apply when you are working on a dissertation, and ostensibly the Met pays you a lump sum of money to continue doing research, using their resources to do that research.

In order to be awarded a fellowship, it behooves you to be working on a topic that their collections are rich in, or have some effect on.

JB: Right.

RL: They have a lot of really early photography material that I was interested in looking at. But perhaps even more importantly, they have this incredible History of Photography library. They have a copy of Daguerre’s manual, for example. I think they might even have an early copy of Talbot’s treatise, the one that I just described.

That’s why I was awarded the fellowship. It is a fixed duration position, for one year, and I got renewed for a second. Partly because I found, when I got there, that there was even more to learn from than I had ever anticipated. So I applied for the renewal, and received an extension.

JB: They brought you there as a scholar, basically?

RL: Yes. You were assigned to a home department, but I think if you say, “I want to work with the photography department,” they will bring someone from the photography department to evaluate your application. I had done research at the Met on other occasions, and I knew there was a lot there, so I made sure I listed specific things that I was interested in looking at.

Ultimately, when you get there, you might help out in the department from time to time, but you are there to work on your project. True to the rest of my career, I took on a lot more than that. I did get some amazing research done on my dissertation, and some writing too. I presented two chapters from my dissertation, one each year, in their fellow’s colloquium, that they put together.

There are about 50 fellows, spread throughout the Museum, on average, during any given year.

JB: OK.

RL: But then, I also had the chance to work as the assistant curator on the “Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand” exhibition with Malcolm Daniel, who was the head of the department at the time.

JB: And he’s now at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

RL: Right. He was a wonderful mentor. He had this project on the books when I arrived, but I came fresh from working with Hans Kraus, where I had helped present a re-creation of Alfred Stieglitz’s “Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession,” from 1905 and ’06, at the Winter Antiques Fair.

With Hans, for the gallery, we had the chance to produce as accurate a reproduction of the space as we could come up with. Down to having light fixtures fabricated, to replicate the ones that Edward Steichen had ordered, back in the day, for the gallery. So I was very familiar with that period of time, I had always been interested in Stieglitz and Steichen’s work, and when I arrived and Malcolm had this show, he thought I’d be the perfect person able to help out on the project.

So I did, and we had a great time working with a selection of some of the greatest masterpieces, from the Early 20th Century, that exist anywhere. In some cases, with Steichen’s and Strand’s work, they are one of two or three known prints of those images.

They’re incredibly rare things, so to have the opportunity to work with those is excellent.

JB: You were there, you were already getting paid, by a different department, and you made yourself available. Is that a part of how you’ve made the career that you have, by looking for additional opportunities? And maybe taking on more than your average bear, to build up your strengths, and see what you can create for yourself?

Or am I reaching here?

RL: No, I think that’s certainly true. I have to credit the people I’ve worked with for being incredibly generous with great things, and placing a lot of faith in my abilities to not screw them up, and to keep them great.

But I definitely have always jumped at chances to work with either great artists, or great mentors, or great individuals. I feel like I’ve been given a very high number of those opportunities, and have eagerly accepted them when possible.

JB: Well, it helps explain the glorious resume. But before we jump away, I just had one more quick question on this topic, as far as the fellowship goes, with respect to research and scholarship.

Do you think I may be able to sell anybody there on a fellowship about the impacts of marijuana on human consciousness, while hanging out in the Temple of Dendur?

RL: (laughing.) I think that it would be probably one of the most exciting proposals that they’ve read in a long time. Even if you achieve nothing more than to entertain the selection committee, it might be worth the proposal.

JB: Well, I’ll have to hit you up later for the specific PO Box.

RL: I’ll send you a link.

JB: It’s a city block, that building, so I’ll need to get it to the right office. Just to be clear, I’m not claiming to have ever done that, but I love the Temple of Dendur. And. obviously, you can only study it there…

RL: We can only imagine the wonderful advances that would come out of such an experiment.

JB: So much of what you’re trying to do in your scholarship is imagine the state of mind of somebody who lived almost 200 years ago.

It’s like you’re having conversations with the past. In my own mind, I imagine that you’ve created little personalities for these people, and have your own sense of who they were.

RL: Absolutely. One of the stories I like to tell is about Larry Schaaff, who is the great Talbot historian and scholar. He’s written many books and articles of infinite number, about Talbot and his work.

After years of devoting his life to Talbot, he has said, on more than one occasion something like, “I so respect what Talbot did, but I don’t think I would have liked him very much as a person.” Sir John Herschel, he thinks, would have been one of the most amazing people to sit down with.

And it’s true. Once you do get to know these figures and their work, and you read their writing, you learn things as personal as who they sued. Who tried to infringe upon their patent? How they responded publicly?

You do get a sense of whether they were mean, litigious, gracious, generous. And those things do start to form real people. And I think when you can get to that level, that’s really exciting.

I will hasten to add that it is all still a matter of conjecture, and opinion, in many ways. And we try to make that as informed as it can be. That’s the challenge. How close to that can you get?

JB: We’re building towards how you get tapped to lead a program into the 21st Century, at a major art museum in a major American city, at the age of, I’m guessing, 35? I know it was close to that.

RL: I think I was actually 34 when I started here.

JB: 34. There we go. I’m a journalist in this guise, so we’ll say, for the record, it was 34.

You worked at some world-class institutions, you studied at a super-high level, you got to understand the consciousness of the historical figures who built the medium in the 19th Century, and then at Yale, you got to work personally with Lions of the 20th Century: Emmet Gowin, Lewis Baltz, and Robert Adams.

Yet you seem grounded. You didn’t have a massive ego in your job interview down there in New Orleans? You managed to keep it in check?

RL: You know, there’s something interesting to being in an interview process when it is a matter of necessity, that you get a job. That was the case for me.

I had spent my time at the Met, and it was a fixed duration position, as we’d discussed. It was time for me to get something more permanent.

I couldn’t take out more student loans. I didn’t want to. It wasn’t a good idea. I needed to support myself, and my wife and I cast a pretty wide net. Strangely, there were a fair number of curatorial positions available that year, and I was particularly excited about this one because of the depth of the permanent collection, and because of where it was.

This is a very interesting, interesting place, and I was excited about the possibility of being here. I don’t remember much of the interview, because I remember just knowing that I needed to get this job.

I remember describing how one of the things that I really liked about potentially working here was that a lot of the issues that I think are in tight focus in New Orleans, and are locally specific, are globally significant.

Race. Religion. Our relationship with the natural world. All of those things are played out in a very prominent way, on a daily basis, here in New Orleans.

JB: Right.

RL: I was thinking about how the local could be the global.

JB: There aren’t many cities, almost anywhere, of that size,
that punch above their weight, to that degree. Both in cultural prowess, and global recognition, I would say.

RL: I think you’re right. A lot of people around the world know this place, for good and bad reasons. But it’s a place that people pay attention to, and root for, in many ways.

It has an amazing history, which has been driven in large part by culture. It is the city’s export. So many wonderful photographers have come through here in the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries, and a lot of those photographers have ended up in our permanent collection.

Every day I’m surprised at what I find. It’s really a world-class collection, and I’m very lucky to be here to work with it.

JB: You mentioned the collection, and of course a big part of your job is caring for it, in addition to enlarging it. I read on NOMA’s website that the collection was started in 1970, which is apparently before many other institutions began collecting photography.

A statement like that reads dry on the screen, but as we both know, it’s always about people and agendas and money. I was curious, who got the idea? Who was the person who said, “As of now, I want to start buying photographic prints and donating them to the museum.” Or was the genesis inside the institution?

RL: It was John Bullard, the former Director, who retired about five years ago. He made the decision, in the early 1970’s, to begin collecting photography in a serious way. He did so because he recognized, very presciently, that it was an area in which they could compete with other museums, at the highest level.

The things were available, and they were largely affordable. He knew a lot of the people to contact to make sure he was looking at the best of what was around. Between 1970 and 1985, the museum acquired, almost entirely by purchase, about 5000 works that became the core of the collection.

JB: That’s quick work. How did he get it done?

RL: They were purchasing these things with a whole host of different kinds of funds, but there were two that have really stood out to me: the National Endowment for the Arts Acquisition Grants, which don’t exist in the same way now, and purchases from funds provided by the Women’s Volunteer Committee here at NOMA.

This was a group of women who supported the institution, gave funds, and I think that’s significant, because in some cases, that might be the gift of $100 here or there. But with $100 at that time, and this is an actual example, you could buy things like a great Andre Kertesz photo postcard-backed print, from the 1920’s in Paris.

John Bullard went out in ’73 and bought 19 of those little Andre Kertesz prints, and it was $1900. That was the total amount of the purchase. Today, they’re all treasures. They’re incredible things. I’ve already shown four or five of them in the 19 shows I’ve done here at the Museum.

It was a very smart decision on his part to do these things, and to think about photography in a very comprehensive way.

JB: It was practical.

RL: Absolutely.

JB: I was curious, because those things don’t start from nowhere. There has to be a reason.

RL: Right.

JB: And now it is 2015, and you’ve had your three years. You’ve proven you’re a hard worker, and you’re writing catalogues until 2 in the morning, and then still finding time for scholarly articles as well. Which you mentioned to me in person, over a Sazerac in New Orleans.

RL: That’s right.

JB: So we talked about part of your job, which is absorbing dense information that is normally reserved for a specific group of academics. The other half of the equation is trying to get more people interested in elements of those concepts that can appeal to the masses. To art consumers, as opposed to academics.

RL: Right.

JB: Now that you’re getting your first chance to look forward, how do you plan on doing that? What’s your strategy?

RL: We’ve established a three-tiered exhibition program for photography here. At the top are these big thematic, or monographic exhibitions, like the Edward Burtynsky show. Or even the Gordon Parks exhibition that we did here. Those are things that are, in large part, works that we don’t have here in the collection; that we’re bringing in as a loan show, or producing here and sending out elsewhere.

That’s an opportunity for us to present to the public things that we can’t show them from the permanent collection. We’re trying to select people or themes that we think are incredibly relevant or important to this community, and bring them in and give people a chance to see that material. And to learn about something that doesn’t exist here.

The second tier are what I’m calling my “Little Histories of Photography,” which take as their starting point one theme, and are based almost exclusively in the permanent collection. We start somewhere in the 1840’s, and we go up into the 21st Century. It’s a run through the History of Photography in about 70 or 80 works.

It usually looks at a very specific aspect of photography, and how it has been pervasive, from its origins to the present. The first show I did was called “What is a Photograph?” that looked at photographic media, and posed the question that you and I discussed at the very beginning.

How do we define photography? How can we wrap our head around this thing that seems so amorphous?

JB: So the show that I saw in December, “Photo Unrealism,” which looks at the Surrealist bent within photography, that would fit within that program?

RL: Yes, that’s the third one I’ve done in the “Little Histories of Photography” group. I want to keep doing that, and exploring our collection, because it gives me an opportunity to look at our collection in a new way. And to consider things that I think are important issues.

“Photo Unrealism,” for example, I’m hoping people will see it as a fun, quirky, kooky exhibition of very weird things. But on a slightly more serious note, I hope that people will also see that it directly confronts an assumption about photography that we all make: that it is a record-making medium. That it is a medium that takes things that are there, and presents them as rote information.

Because that is in many ways how we still see it. Of course, most artists don’t see it that way. But I want to show that throughout history, even from the earliest moments, that photography has always been a distortion, in some way. It’s a discussion that I wanted to have on the walls of the Museum.

The third tier is a series of small, very focused exhibitions, that happen in our smallest gallery space, which was recently created, and then newly endowed, for the presentation of works on paper. It’s the A. Charlotte Mann and Joshua Mann Pailet Gallery. It holds about 10-15 works, and it gives us the chance to do things like show Emmet Gowin’s undergraduate thesis project, “Concerning Alfred Stieglitz, and America, and Myself,” which I think you saw when you were here.

JB: Yes.

RL: In that gallery, we have these rotating exhibitions, mostly from the permanent collection, but not always, that either focus on someone specific, or explore a theme that I think is relevant. It’s also a space that is very easy to change quickly, so it gives us the chance, in the future I hope, to address topical issues in a very interesting way.

JB: As we said, you don’t have the traditional problems that people have elsewhere, as far as drawing people both to your city and to your institution. New Orleans has that inherent advantage.

So you don’t have to focus so much on building the numbers. You’re focusing more on having a very cohesive, specific vision that involves an element of teaching. Teaching the history, on one hand, and then extrapolating into global issues that you want to present to your community, and to the tourists who come through?

You translate for your viewers through the real meat of the job: mounting exhibitions, putting pictures on the wall, and letting people physically stand there, and think for themselves.

RL: Yeah. In my interest in communicating with the public, I always want to question whether we’re doing that in the right way. On a very fundamental level, I think one of the keys to that is just posing questions, and not trying to tell an audience what you think.

I usually try to create exhibitions that ask a question, even with “What is a Photograph?” the question is the title. And then I try explicitly not to answer them, but to give them as many examples as possible of something, so they can draw their own conclusions.

I think giving people the chance to explore themselves is perhaps one of the most meaningful Museum experiences that we can provide. To start thinking about why we should look at pictures, and how we look at pictures. Those are things that we try to inspire here.

It’s true, we don’t have the usual problem of attracting people to the city, however, I should say we are a Museum in City Park, which is a short drive from the French Quarter. It’s far enough that we are not on the classic tourist path, so one of our goals is to make sure we are creating programs that are exciting enough for people to leave the French Quarter, and come up here and spend some time in the park, and come to the Museum and Sculpture Garden. To make it a real destination for people that come visit the city.

JB: You just need to promise them beads, right?

RL: I think you’re right. We do have a big glass bead sculpture in the Sculpture Garden.

JB: I’m practicing for my role as a guest scholar on the NOMA think tank, circa 2019.

RL: Exactly.

JB: I’m laying the groundwork. But let’s go there, with respect to building. You’re a young guy, you’ve taken on a big job, and are doing well at it.

Every institution has a board, and funders. We could talk about how much of your time is spent soliciting money. But I’m more curious on what your goal is for building. You’ve got a collection of a certain amount of photographs. You have an exhibition program.

Where do you see things going beyond where they currently are?

RL: We do have some significant holes in the collection. It is my goal to continue building the collection, and to try to strengthen the weaknesses. I’m largely focusing on the 19th Century, and post-1970.

Photography is much more expensive now, so that happens in a much slower way, but in my time here, we have had a number of really generous patrons who have given us money to buy things, in a big way, or incredible collectors give us fairly large collections of individual artist’s work.

The collection was about 9000 works when I arrived, and we’ve added almost 3000 works since then. An example of one of the big groups that we received was a set of prints by Debbie Fleming Caffery, who’s an important Louisiana-based photographer.

JB: Sure.

RL: She has gallery representation here, and in New York, and is in most major museum collections. We worked with one funder who gave us the money to purchase 100 of her prints, so that we would have the largest collection of her work in the country, which we thought was fitting.

In the end, when I made the selection with Debbie, we went and looked at every single print of every single image, and she helped me select the best prints that she still had. But we couldn’t get our selection down to less than 181, so she ended up essentially gifting the remaining prints, above the purchase price that we had agreed upon so that ended up being the final number.

We’re very happy to be able to have that kind of depth for an artist like Debbie Caffery, who’s been so important to this area, but is known internationally.

JB: You have your mission to inform the public, and you have your caretaker role, and those two intertwine on a daily basis.

RL: Absolutely. You’re dead on. Another thing I said in my job interview here is that another thing I think we need to accomplish, in the History of Photography, can only be accomplished with a three-pronged approach. The first is teaching, and I mean that very broadly, from lecturing in the Museum, to going out to Universities, to bringing classes in.

The second is writing: publishing books about our collection, and about photography. And finally Exhibitions: showing works, and making them available to people. I plan to continue building this department in all three of those directions.

We’d like to continue to publish things, hopefully at an even greater level. And to continue to produce exhibitions that are not only shown here, but allow me to work with colleagues at other institutions to put together exhibitions that can travel.

And then education. I think we have very strong ties, as an institution, to Tulane, Loyola, and UNO. But I’d like those to be even stronger, and perhaps even work on hosting more classes here at the Museum so that students can learn from the works in the collection directly.

JB: There are major institutions that do have schools built in, right?

RL: Yes. The Met has an implicit relationship with NYU, and the Art Institute of Chicago is also an art school. We are in a small enough city where it’s very easy for us to get back and forth between all these places, and I’m very interested in sharing our resources with the other educational institutions in the city.

JB: OK, you mentioned traveling exhibitions, and working with educational institutions. So I am going to put you on the spot here in about 30 seconds. There’s your warning.

Your Gordon Parks exhibition traveled to the University of Virginia, and may or may not still be on the wall. Is that right?

RL: It has come down, and just opened at Grinnell College in Iowa.

JB: You were interviewed by the school newspaper at the University of Virginia, which I found on Google. I couldn’t tell if it was a written Q&A, or an actual conversation like this, but the last line of the piece was the kind of thing that a student journalist would allow you to say at the end, and then follow with, “OK. Thanks so much for your time, Mr. Lord, I really appreciate it.”

But I’m not that guy, and that wasn’t my interview. And the last thing you said was, (and here’s where you’re going to get a little nervous,) as grandiose and philosophical a statement about photography as I’ve read in quite some time.

RL: (laughing.)

JB: So for the record, the question here is, please discuss. Here’s the quote: “Examining photography can tell us a lot about the motives, aspirations, and dreams of humanity.”

RL: (pause.) Is that the end of it.

JB: Yeah. That’s it.

RL: (laughing.) That is pretty bold.

JB: Right.

RL: I think that may have been pulled from part of my essay in the Gordon Parks catalogue, in which I say we need to always critically examine projects, be they books, exhibitions, articles, or magazine portfolios. Because everything that we see is somebody’s selection, so we should always consider who’s doing the selecting for those things.

By that, I’m being self-critical. When I put up an exhibition, I really invite people to tell me what they think about it. Have I missed anything? What did I leave out? Those are important questions to me, because I’m sure that a lot of my opinions creep in. It’s not my job to show you what I think is great only, it’s my job to show you things that I think illustrate a complete history, in many ways.

We always need to consider that somebody is doing the selecting. These things are not just thrown up on the wall, in any kind of objective way. And I think we can learn a lot about ourselves, and about each other, if we critically examine the choices and selections of pictures and photographs.

That kind of a statement is driven very strongly by the Gordon Parks project, in which “Life” editors chose work from Gordon Parks’ selection in a controversial way. He made 1000 negatives, they chose 21. They distorted them, and embellished them, and darkened them in many cases. The story they told was very different from a story that could have been told.

In the exhibition, I tried to tell that other story. But I think this is a unique problem with photography, because it is perhaps the only medium in which a photograph can come into being long after it has come into being.

What I mean by that is, there is the moment of the creation of the negative, and then the print might not happen for another 20 or 30 years. So what does the distance between those two things mean, and how does it distort things, historically, to have that kind of disconnect?

Could you say that quote again one more time? Because I don’t know if I directly addressed it.

JB: Of course. It’s bold, and it’s thoughtful, which is why I’m only tongue-in-cheek making fun of you.

RL: Right. Right.

JB: I think it’s pretty idealistic, and that’s why I wanted to hear your thoughts further, while we’re nearing the end of the interview. Here you go: “Examining photography can tell us a lot about the motives, aspirations, and dreams of humanity.”

RL: Hmm. Hmm. Yeah. I think the other implied statement there is that I’ve become very interested in the ways in which photographs are increasingly replacing text as the predominant mode of communication and language. It’s certainly happening with people our age, and people younger than us.

I know in your blog posts, you include images and write about them, but not everyone does anymore. Sometimes you see these floating photo-streams, in which the images are the language. They are the text.

We need to think about that very seriously, because yes, people on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, they are communicating. They are expressing their own ambitions, their own desires, in photographic form. We need to be very careful about how we do that, and it needs to become a very important component of general education, as we go forward.

Because there are limitations to what a photograph can communicate. In fact, it’s much more likely to communicate a lot more than we ever intended. And in a much more ambiguous way. I think that critically examining photographs is going to become an incredibly important component of education. Or it should. But it’s not, right now.

I’ll go back to a statement that one of my mentor’s made, which I’ve always held with me. He said, and I think it’s true, that the moment we are taught how to read, how to recognize letters and put them into words, that’s really the last moment in the US formal education system that we are taught how to look at something.

There is no component that says, “OK. You can read text. Now let’s learn how to read pictures.” Unless you take an Art History program, and I think that’s going to become crucial. We are falling behind in this idea of visual literacy, and I think it’s something that we should think about very strongly.

JB: I couldn’t agree more. It got me thinking, we all talk about photography, constantly. And it encompasses so much, but I sometimes feel that where the love, the passion, and the magic comes from, gets the short shrift. I think that’s implicit, that there’s a reason why people care so much about it.

But we often don’t dig into that question. That’s why I brought back that statement that you said.

RL: Ah. Interesting.

JB: It made me think a little bit. It’s almost like photography, the word, is a stand-in for reality. For life. Our obsession with this medium is almost like one collective metaphorical selfie.

The camera reproduces back for us what we’re experiencing, on this spinning ball out in Space-Time. And we can’t make sense of it, because nobody can make sense of it. It’s too big. It’s too grand, as a mammal with a limited lifespan, to understand everything.

So an easier way is to reflect it back, through the lens, and hold on to it. Photographs are talismen of this inexplicable experience we’re all going through, together, as humanity. And maybe we don’t appreciate it enough.

Someone like Emmet Gowin is out there on an island, talking about the magic, and I think that’s something that maybe we could all use a bit more of. In my mind, that’s where your quote took me.
And I wanted to see what it meant to you, upon further reflection.

RL: That’s an interesting way to take it, and something that, as usual, brings me back to the origins of photography. When it was much less clearly defined as a kind of information and record. When it was magic.

The inventors of photography were occasionally accused of dabbling in the dark arts. Or there was a lot of association with alchemy, because they put some chemicals together, and suddenly the world appears on a surface. It’s amazing.

Photographs are so common now that we’ve lost some of our wonder and amazement at their production. It’s also just so easy. We have them in our pockets. Thousands of them, on our phones or devices.

I do think it’s a magical thing. Photographic images can profoundly affect us. They can make us emotional. We have responses to them in ways that we don’t always have to text. And I think it’s important not to lose sight of that.

That’s definitely up there with reasons I became interested in this field. You see things that are profoundly affecting, and you want to understand that.

JB: Boom. There’s our end right there.

RL: I like it.

Angus McBean British, 1904-1990 Self Portrait, 1949 Gelatin silver print 1988 Discretionary Purchase Fund, 88.10

Angus McBean
British, 1904-1990
Self Portrait, 1949
Gelatin silver print
1988 Discretionary Purchase Fund, 88.10

Carlotta M. Corpron American, 1901-1988 Floating, 1945 Gelatin silver print Gift of Clarence John Laughlin, 82.281.25

Carlotta M. Corpron
American, 1901-1988
Floating, 1945
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Clarence John Laughlin, 82.281.25

Jay Dusard American, born 1937 Wall, 1972 Gelatin silver print Museum purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts Matching Grant, 81.22

Jay Dusard
American, born 1937
Wall, 1972
Gelatin silver print
Museum purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts Matching Grant, 81.22

Edmund Kesting German, 1892-1970 Marianne Vogelgesang, circa 1935 Gelatin silver print Museum purchase, 79.133

Edmund Kesting
German, 1892-1970
Marianne Vogelgesang, circa 1935
Gelatin silver print
Museum purchase, 79.133

Russell Lord NOMA Curator of Photographs Interview – Part 1

- - Art

Jonathan Blaustein: So what’s going on down there in New Orleans?

Russell Lord: We are trying to get all of our schedules organized for the next three years. I’ve been here for about three and a half years, and as soon as I got here, we put a bunch of stuff on the books. I’ve spent most of my time working on those things, and we’re finally caught up and planning for the future.

JB: You hit the ground running, and you’re catching your breath now, three plus years later?

RL: Pretty much. The first show that I did here, which we were already committed to doing, opened less than two months after I arrived. And the first show that I did in its entirety opened less than six months after I got here.

So it was a very quick pace. It’s nice to have a moment to catch your breath.

JB: Basically, you’re saying that at your first opening, the security guards didn’t want to let you past the velvet rope?

RL: (laughing) They were like, “Who’s this guy?”

JB: Who’s this guy?

RL: It’s true.

JB: They don’t say that anymore, I’m sure.

RL: No. I’m no stranger to being here late in the evening, especially with a young child, as you know. Sometimes, the most productive hours are right after their bedtime, and into the wee hours of the morning.

Since I live so close to the Museum, I often come back around 7:30, and work until Midnight. I get a lot of writing done, in the quiet hours.

JB: Well, you’ve already given us one of your secrets, and we’ve barely begun. To be honest, I don’t do that. At 7:30, when the kids go to bed, I turn on the TV and put my feet up. That’s my only break in the day.

RL: I do too, now. But for the past couple of years, that has not been my schedule. I’m grateful to have those moments, alone with my wife, where we’re just able to relax. Preferably with a little bit of bourbon.

For a while there, when I was writing the Gordon Parks book, and when I was writing the forthcoming “Photography at NOMA” catalogue, and the Burtynsky catalogue, those were all things that were written largely on weeknights, between 7pm and 2 o’clock in the morning.

JB: That means if we were to parse your texts carefully, we would probably see a hint of loopiness. The 1am loopies?

RL: I think so. Yeah. Though I did try to temper those with the 9am-the-next-day-check-and-balance.

JB: All right.

RL: Around 1:30 or 2 o’clock in the morning, you do feel pretty confident about everything you’ve just written.

JB: (laughing.)

RL: And then the next morning, you come in and wonder who was in your office the night before.

JB: That’s your friend Mr. Bourbon.

RL: (laughing.) Exactly.

JB: There’s a lot of stuff I want to talk about with you. I think you are almost perfectly primed to give our audience answers to a lot of questions that people have.

We hit the ground running, today, but I’d love to cycle back to some questions about how you got started, and perhaps jump around a bit as well.

RL: That sounds great to me.

JB: I’m sure I won’t get everything right, but your lineage looks something like this: James Madison University, then you worked at the Yale Art Gallery, you went to graduate school at the City University of New York, for your PhD, you worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and then you jumped to the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Am I at least mostly correct here?

RL: That’s all correct. The only thing that I will be precise about… you said it precisely correct, but I didn’t finish the PhD. I am, technically, A.B.D.

JB: I D.O.N.T. K.N.O.W. what A.B.D means.

RL: (laughing.) A.B.D is the status that means “All But Dissertation.” It seems to have achieved this pseudo-official status. It means that if you start a PhD program, and you don’t finish the PhD, you may have had an extra six or seven years of schooling that other people don’t, but there was nothing to add to the name.

The A.B.D. status defines someone who has gone through all the course-work in a graduate program, and then usually passed some sort of critical exam, which in our case is an Orals exam. It’s a crazy process where we develop three bibliographies.

One is in your focus area, which for me was 19th Century French and British photography. Another bibliography in your major area, which was the long 19th Century. And another in your related minor, which for me was late 18th and early 19th Century American art.

JB: And by bibliography, do you mean that you have to present a reading list of everything that you’ve read?

RL: Basically, you come up with a list of things, about a year and a half in advance, of what you are supposed to read. And you come up with these bibliographies in consultation with your thesis advisor, and a council of two other professors. At the Graduate Center, this is the way it works.

So I had three professors basically approving the lists that I came up with. And in the concentration area, I believe it was a 10 page bibliography. So we can calculate what that turns out to be in terms of numbers of books, or articles.

But it was substantial.

In the major area, it was about a 5 page bibliography. In the related minor, it was a list of artists that we were expected to be familiar with. You are then responsible to read as much of that as possible.

At a certain date, you show up at the Graduate Center, and go into a conference room with the professors, and they start showing you slides. You have to talk about them, and they ask you questions, in a very directed way, so you can pull in some of what you learned from doing the reading.

What is particularly challenging about this test, is that it is designed to test the depths of your knowledge. So they basically ask you questions about each pair of slides that they’re showing you, until you can’t answer a question. You leave each pair of slides having just incorrectly answered, or been unable to answer, the last question.

You go into the next pair feeling really bad about yourself.

JB: I was quiet for a really long time, and there are so many things I want to say here that my brain hurts.

RL: (laughing.)

JB: I don’t know what to say to that. It sounds like a kind of torture. As opposed to a productive and positive plan of exploration.

RL: It’s a very interesting thing, because I think a lot of people certainly don’t like it. And a lot of people are more adept at other parts of the PhD process. For me, I actually saw a lot of value in it.

It’s a rigorous test, but I really got into this field because I had a great desire to be able to communicate things about art and culture to to a fairly broad audience of people. And I’m always very excited at the most academic things out there.

I’m interested in what people are saying in small, focused, academic circles. I like absorbing that information. But I like even more trying to translate that information for people who would never come into contact with those circles otherwise.

So for me, reading things like all of TJ Clark’s books, or some of the more philosophical writings. Derrida’s work on Art History, for example. And thinking about how to translate that information, and spit it back out and relate it to work. Trying to focus in on those kernels of truth for great ideas, and then bring them back out.

That, to me, is a challenge, but it’s exciting, and I think it’s a responsibility that we all bear. Especially when we decide to go into the curatorial world, because you’re even more a public figure in this world.

JB: I didn’t mean to impugn the acquisition of knowledge…

RL: No, no. I totally knew where you were coming from.

JB: Good. Because we live in the world of the hyperlink, and establishing two years ahead of time, every single book, and only those books, that you will read… it would be like getting a PhD in Jazz and never getting the chance to improvise.

RL: Right. Right.

JB: It sounds a little hollow. But you made so many good points, beyond the little stuff I want to make fun of. Other people who go through that process do it to end up in Academia, and never really stray from a very tight knit community of hyper-experts.

RL: Right.

JB: You knew all along that it was important to you to be able to take this knowledge down from the tower, and start talking to as many people as you could about what you love, and why you love it?

RL: Absolutely. I was aware that in academia, just to get through a PhD program, you are being taught by people who have chosen the academic route. So it’s always interesting negotiating or navigating how much you should make apparent what your goals really are.

However, I worked with several professors at the Graduate Center who were very excited at the fact that I was so committed and enthusiastic about working in the “object” world, and the Museum world.

What was exciting for me was that I got to become a nexus point for them as to where the two worlds might meet. I was just talking to Geoffrey Batchen recently, who was my advisor. He taught a class on 19th Century British photography, and at the time, I was working with Hans Kraus, and Hans let me bring a couple of really early Henneman and Talbot salt prints to class one day.

I remember Geoff saying recently that being in New York was a dream, as he’s since moved to New Zealand. He said, “It was a dream. I had great students, and how many places could you ever teach a class and have one of your students bring in Talbots and Hennemans.”

He was right. There was something really exciting to being in New York, and being surrounded by all these beautiful collections, but for me, there was something also very exciting about having people like Geoff Batchen training me, and being wholly supportive and understanding of what a museum can do, and what actual “object” study can do.

In addition to the book and the theoretical work.

JB: So even when you were immersed in that rigorous environment, you were already thinking about a connection point with a public audience.

I’m guessing it’s because you worked in a gallery environment at Yale. Does everything build upon itself? Or was there a seminal experience at some point in your career where you decided that was the direction you wanted to take?

RL: It was a lot of building upon the previous step, in most of the cases. But there were some defining moments.

When I got to Yale, I had a chance to work very closely with “objects.” I was hired as the Administrative Assistant in the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, and my responsibilities, on paper, were to be the department assistant. I would answer phones, do purchase orders, things like that. And also to take care of the collection.

JB: You were a desk jockey.

RL: Yes, but I would also pull works for study, and put them back. I ultimately ended up organizing classes. But then it moved far beyond that, to turn into a really wonderful opportunity where I got the chance to work with the Director, Jock Reynolds on a couple of exhibitions, and I co-ordinated the publication of Emmet Gowin’s “Aerial Photography” book.

Throughout that four year process, I realized what you can learn from looking at the “object,” and how much the physical qualities of the “object” can have a huge impact on even our theoretical understanding of it. Whatever we might think, or want to say in a general way, can often be upended by the physical properties of something itself.

JB: A print, for example.

RL: Right. So that quickly became a hallmark of my research: what the original “object” can tell us that a reproduction can’t. Ultimately, when I did decide to go to the PhD program, and I was thinking about what I wanted to write about, it started because I was interested in these weird physical objects, early photogravures, which it seemed like not much work had been done on.

And that proved to be true. No one had really explored why people were interested in photo-mechanical reproduction, from the very outset of photography. Nobody had really considered how pervasive
those attempts were. What my research tries to demonstrate is that photography has been written as a history of great images by great artists.

In the marketplace, we fetishize the unique version of each of those things. This is the best print because it looks, in this way, different from all the others. We play down its reproductive qualities, in favor of the uniqueness of the individual object. So the way the History of Photography has been written, to my mind, as I did my research, seemed to be at odds with its origins. Which were largely based in an interest in reproduction.

JB: How so?

RL: At least from Talbot’s perspective. And, even, perhaps, early on in Daguerre’s career, he was interested in the idea of reproducibility. And also the idea of hybridity. We tend to separate photography out as something different from anything else. In its earliest days, it was described as being hybrid. All the words people came up with to define it were themselves usually two roots from different fields, smashed together, like photo and graph.

I could list all the other kinds of names, like the heliograph, the heliogravure, the physototypephysautotype. But I’ll stop there. Niecephore Niepce himself has a page in his notebook where he describes a bunch of different combinations to describe what he’s trying to do. They all have these different roots, and it’s a wonderful exploration in lexicon.

JB: That would be fascinating to see.

RL: Beyond those kind of rhetorical devices, they were creating things that were, themselves, physically hybrid. Meaning, there was certainly a light-sensitive component to what they were doing, but it often resulted in an ink on paper print. Since I had this interest in looking at and showing “objects” to people, I started thinking,

“OK. If you are a person in France or England in the early 1840’s, and you keep hearing about photography, what are you actually seeing? How many people would have had the chance to see a Daguerreotype on display in a shop window, for example? How many people would have seen an actual salt print?”

One of my arguments in my thesis is that more people encountered photography in the photogravure, or photomechanical form, than they did in what wme call its pure form: The Daguerreotype or salt print. They saw prints in ink, produced after those other things, so for them, at a very early moment, there was a confusion as to what, exactly, photography was.

The word came to encompass all of these kinds of practices, and now of course it encompasses even more. It’s things on paper, or printed with ink, or on glass, or on metal. Now, photographs might have no physical, permanent form whatsoever. Things that might exist digitally, and affect and be seen by millions of people, but might never permanently exist.

JB: I couldn’t help but go to the digital world in my head.
It struck me almost immediately, when you were talking about what people encountered, versus what was fetishized… that is today. I think it’s a real problem that a lot of people scratch their heads at.

People’s obsession with the medium, has never been greater. In the last decade, we’ve minted a couple BILLION, or more, new photographers. Without exaggeration. But it seems like the interest, at least in the US, in well-crafted prints in a white frame, on a wall, the boutique aspect of unique objects, is fairly limited.

As you live in New Orleans, we can talk about how certain cultural meccas, at least, are outliers in that trend. I doubt you’ll disagree with me, and I’ll give you a chance.

It just seems like what you were fascinated by, at the onset of the medium, has never been truer than it is today. What’s your take on that?

RL: It’s absolutely true, and accurate, and I agree with that completely. It was, in many ways, an inspiration for my look into the origins. I was really curious about the debates we were having now, but much more succinctly than I just described it to you.

There were all these interesting symposia with titles like “Is Photography Over?” or “Is Photography Dead?”

JB: Right. Of course.

RL: In all of those cases, people usually failed to come up with what “It” is. What they were describing, and what it was that had died. Maybe there are some differences in the physicality of it.

It made me think about the same kind of debates that people were having at the origins of photography, and if you are going to define what it is that is different, let’s say you settle on a material explanation.

Photography was “this,” and now it is “this,” physically. But if you look back through the History of Photography, there’s never been only one kind of photography. There were Daguerreotypes at the same time as salt prints, and albumen prints. Photogravures. Platinum prints.

It’s always been a whole host of different kinds of material things. So why should we try to define photography in any kind of pure, material sense? It’s almost as if the only constant in its history has been change and transformation.

Perhaps, rather than declare things “dead,” or “over,” we should see the digital revolution, which is PROFOUND, as just another step in a constantly evolving field of image-making.

JB: Right. And maybe it’s always been constant that photography has been shunted to the side, or considered distinct from other expressions of art, and other forms of media?

RL: Yes. Absolutely. Again, I think that’s a function of its origins. People said it was “kind of” a form of drawing, but it was drawing that performed itself. There was no human needed. It was auto-genetic, or…

JB: It was science, really.

RL: Yeah. There’s a great thing about the way people describe the process of photography. I mean, Talbot himself published a wonderful book illustrated with actual photographs, called “The Pencil of Nature.” Here we have Nature with a capital “N,” drawing her own pictures. There’s no person needed.

That was certainly one of the key components of photography. People settled on the fact that there was no human intervention, and I think that ultimately gave rise to mistaken beliefs about its truth or accuracy.

But Talbot publishes a treatise, and the title is something like “On the art of photogenic drawing, or the process by which objects may be made to delineate themselves.”

Amazing.

JB: And right now, of course, you’re proving the inherent value of the 10 page bibliography. Because you did read your books, and you have assimilated your information.

RL: (laughing.)

JB: (laughing) If your teachers are reading this…

RL: I think that’s what’s interesting about it is that you need to absorb all this stuff, but your jazz analogy is a really interesting one. It’s almost as if you are a jazz musician who is asked to just internalize the whole history of music, and, in three hours, give an improvisation in which little references to these things come out. You know?

That’s ultimately what it is. They just want to hear how you speak about these things, and how you can package theory or critical statements in a way that relates it to what you’re looking at.

For me, I saw a lot of value in it, and I was really glad that I read a lot of those things. At the heart of it, I’m really just a total nerd. As you can tell.

JB: Everybody can tell now.

RL: (laughing.) And there were so many books that I never would have read that now are some of my favorite books in Art History. And I wouldn’t recommend them for everybody, but for me they were incredibly influential, and I loved the ideas. Thinking about re-staging those ideas, or engaging with them in a new way is something that I’ll probably be doing forever.

JB: People will only read this. We don’t do podcasts yet. But your passion is definitely jumping through the speaker. The readers will have to trust me that you’re fired up and ready to do.

RL: Good. Good.

Murray Riss American, born 1940 Tricycle, Car Ad, and Sneakers, Part of Flying Objects Series, 1974 Gelatin silver prints Museum purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts, 75.235, 75.236, and 75.237

Murray Riss
American, born 1940
Tricycle, Car Ad, and Sneakers, Part of Flying Objects Series, 1974
Gelatin silver prints
Museum purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts, 75.235, 75.236, and 75.237

Murray Riss American, born 1940 Tricycle, Car Ad, and Sneakers, Part of Flying Objects Series, 1974 Gelatin silver prints Museum purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts, 75.235, 75.236, and 75.237

Murray Riss
American, born 1940
Tricycle, Car Ad, and Sneakers, Part of Flying Objects Series, 1974
Gelatin silver prints
Museum purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts, 75.235, 75.236, and 75.237

Murray Riss American, born 1940 Tricycle, Car Ad, and Sneakers, Part of Flying Objects Series, 1974 Gelatin silver prints Museum purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts, 75.235, 75.236, and 75.237

Murray Riss
American, born 1940
Tricycle, Car Ad, and Sneakers, Part of Flying Objects Series, 1974
Gelatin silver prints
Museum purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts, 75.235, 75.236, and 75.237

The Art of the Personal Project: Slav Zatoka

- - Personal Project

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 http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Slav Zatoka

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How long have you been shooting?
13 years professionally. I started shooting theater productions at the age 16, though.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self thought.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
In 2010 I had a big healthcare job. Together with my wife were shooting 24 health clinics in Los Angeles area. One day after we finished shooting at a health center in La Habra and we were taking our lunch break before the next location, we saw this old church with a sign that said “La Habra Boxing Club” above the main entrance. I walked in and saw a really old school gym with a mix of local Latino fighters, some young guys and a heavy weight scary looking boxer talking to an older gentleman with glasses and a baseball cap. That was David Martinez. We talked for 20 minutes. It turned out we shared some friends from the health clinic nearby. The place had character and it was free. Anybody who obeyed the rules and was determined to work hard could join the gym. Everyone was super friendly. Barry White music and boxing timer chimes set the pace. The place looked very interesting and it did look like a church, with boxing ring placed right where there might have been an altar. I must say here that my house happens to be in a very sterile and predictable environment of an LA suburb, the home of Mickey, Orange County, so I was drawn to this place immediately. LA Habra is a regular Latino neighborhood Orange County housewives and their Hollywood cut husbands like to avoid. That made it even more attractive. I asked David if I could come back to take some stills and he welcomed that idea with a broad smile. LA Habra Boxing Club is known to have been very welcoming to visual artists and it regularly hosts students from Sports Shooters Academy for workshops. I did not come back to the gym until 2 years later.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
2 years

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It’s really hard to say. With this particular one I had the comfort of having access to it locally so there was a big chance I could come back to it, and potentially develop it up to a point where I would honestly say it is unique enough and tells a compelling story. After initial bliss and numerous ideas of boxer portrait series I left it on the back burner for two years. Boxing gyms and boxers are one of the most “exploited” subjects in photography and filmmaking. Boxing has been photographed and filmed from all the possible angles: sport, drama, social aspect, form. Who wants to create cliché work and recreate things that have already been shown, photographed? I needed a situation. In the words of Billy Wilder: “An actor entering through the door, you’ve got nothing. But if he enters through the window, you’ve got a situation. I knew I had to at least make an effort to make it worthwhile. Personal projects should have deadlines and budgets just like commercial but I feel like the notions of time and patience are used and explored entirely different when you work on your own, individual project.

When an opportunity came to test Nikon’s new DSLR I signed up for NPS consignment to test it and possibly use it as an opportunity to create some attractive visuals that could at least get me some exposure by being published on blogs testing new gear. I also had a clear reason to come back to the gym. David recognized me right away and since I was looking for one boxer to follow for a week or so, he suggested someone who happened to be training for their first professional fight. This is how I met Nadja, the only girl in the gym. After one visit to the gym shooting stills with Nadja I started exploring the camera’s video features. I was not entirely new to video. I have done independent film projects before and explored DSLR video in theory at PDN’s workshops in NYC and in practice when I was in Japan in 2011 (Sunflowers in Fukushima) I watched Nadja practice for 2 days and we also talked about her career, work, and just chatted during her breaks. I came back again to record more video and a short interview. At that point I realized that I can potentially continue this project for a while and tell the story of the beginning of her professional career. Nadja was natural in front of the camera and the interviews went well, too. At that point I asked her if I can follow her for a little while and if it was OK for me to hang out at the gym and record her while she practices. I felt I needed to explain that in order for this to be something good she needs to trust me to let me be around her for a little longer than Sports Shooter Academy student on a workshop. Sooner then later you are going to have to face budget issues. It’s hard to justify the time spent on a personal project when you have ongoing commercial work and young family let alone the cost of a video production.

I rented 2 different cameras from lensrentals.com Sony NEX700 for its slow motion capability and Canon C100 for its portability and price. I knew that this was going to be a one-man orchestra show so I decided to shoot everything handheld. There was always only one camera. The sound was either reordered on camera-mounted shotgun or on separate sound recording days. The end of 2012 was a breakthrough for me because that was the year I closed my main street studio and decided to go mobile. Instead of paying rent and started paying off my Sprinter production vehicle. The van was well equipped to handle still photography from day one. I also had a set of Arri lights with from my portrait studio so this was a good opportunity to test in real life. Half way trough filming Fighter’s Room I got a commercial job that was going to pay for a video camera that was needed as part of the production. Renting Sony and Canon several times to shoot the documentary actually gave me a real life opportunity to make a sound decision on which camera to buy eventually for my commercial work. I was finishing Fighter’s Room on my own C100 after it was paid off by commercial healthcare projects. Still I was my own director, cinematographer, focus puller, sound recordist, grip, gaffer, colorist (Film Convert came handy) and then eventually the editor, the most important person in documentary filmmaking.

There were breakthrough moments in the project. Recording a lot of slow-motion really made the trainer happy I was around. He could use it to analyze Nadja’s technique. Nadja was very comfortable with me around and I think that is what made David “appoint” me the third person on the ring on the day of her debut. I also visited Nadja’s home. Met her family. Generally I felt like the whole process was getting a shape. The fact that Jack Reiss was the referee that night was a huge bonus. His name is recognized worldwide and his Brooklyn accent give an extra flavor to the documentary. I was getting a lot of good footage and started working on the editing. That was the biggest challenges of all. It is also where documentary film happens. In a documentary the editor is the director and this is where the story is told. I also did not know how important the sound is. My neighbor is NBC editor, award winning and with years of experience. He helped me with a project I did for Isaiah House in 2006. This time he told me to do it myself and I am thankful for that. I learned a lot in editing this short. He also told me at an early stage that my sound sucks. This made me rerecord some parts and remix as well as reedit the entire soundtrack. It took two weeks. Today I could do it in 2 days. The experience is priceless.

The initial cut was 30 min and had copyrighted music I had no license for. I recorded new music with a friend and a pianist from Phoenix. On the top of two main themes on piano we recorded Jack Reiss’s theme using Logic Pro. Recording that final theme changed the way I edited the scene with Jack Reiss briefing boxers before the fight. It’s not unusual I leaned later, for the editors to finally fly with the project when the score is added to the footage. I also learned that the first music that comes to your head and the music you have in mind when filming might not be the best choice. The whole project was self funded not to exceed $5000. I came below that and most of the cost was promotion and festival fees. I did not hire anyone for this film. We rented a sound recording studio with Jennifer Waleczek for a day at 1h cost thanks to a friend. I had to do the final sound mixing myself. The rest was camera rentals, a set of microphones. Additionally I paid to create CC and subtitles in Amara.org. Last week of December the movie went on Vimeo On Demand and is available for rent or download: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/fightersroom. For aPhotoEditor readers it’s available for rent for free for the next two weeks, CODE: aPhotoEditor. 100% of the proceeds from Vimeo on demand go to Jennifer Waleczek, the music composer who is fighting breast cancer.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
My portfolio consists mostly of carefully produced images of architecture, healthcare and lifestyle. By showing my personal work I am showing my clients my other side. It’s less commercial. It’s raw and more journalistic. I want to show my clients not only the images I make and also the images I take. All of my personal projects, except for Woodstock Poland were long time projects.
This was a huge step forward for me. From the initial temptation of creating just a Vimeo.com boxing slowmo to self producing a documentary short that made it to 5 different film festivals and received Best Documentary Short Award at Los Angeles Movie Awards it was a very different. Transitioning from still photographer to cinematographer was really a dream come true. So far it was the biggest personal undertaking and the one I most proud of.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, Fighters’ Room has its own tumblr and facebook pages. I also use Instagram.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Definitely not viral but I found out that twitter is a really powerful tool to get a message across. I am connecting to someone new from the film industry every day. I feel like it is a social tool for filmmakers. I also have to say New Filmmakers LA is one of the best-organized film festivals as far as social media and press is concerned. Movie Maker Magazine pairs with them promoting new films.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
No, not yet. At least not to my existing line of clients. Although, like I said, I spent most of my budget on promoting the short at film at festivals and the echoes of these screenings are already coming back to me. My existing clients can access the video directly from my site. Some of them attended my premiere at American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs and they loved it. I know they definitely like the fact I stay creative and constantly push myself outside of my comfort zone.

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Born in Poland (1973), graduated with a degree in English. Began photographing at the age of 15, publishing first photos before he was 17. After moving to the US in 2002, among many other activities Slav continued to work as a photographer and began exploring documentary filmmaking completing a short about Isaiah House as a side project to portrait photography series of the homeless in Santa Ana. Later on Slav photographed and filmed post Katrina New Orleans and 2011 Tohuku disaster in Japan. Slav also served and worked at the Polish Center in Yorba Linda, where apart from his duties he started Movie Nights that ran continuously for 2 years. In 2006 he founded Slav Zatoka Images and began photographing architecture, healthcare and portraiture commercially while running a portrait studio in Orange with his wife, Today Slav continues to grow as a commercial photographer and also operates a small production company called Silverstudio.pro. Some of his awards include 2008 Hasselblad Portrait Award, 2012 PDN First Place in Music Moment of The Year, 2014 Best Documentary Short at LA Movie Awards. “Fighter’s Room” is his first independently produced documentary. He lives with his wife and two children in Orange County.


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 Art of the Personal Project: Paolo Marchesi

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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 http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Paolo Marchesi

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How long have you been shooting?
20 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to Brooks Institute of Photography

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Living in Montana I had seen many rodeos, some smaller and others bigger and more commercialized. I find the bigger, more commercialized, rodeos to eventually get repetitive and not so interesting. Shooting the high school rodeo took all the commercial aspect out and it made it for a true experience. I was blown away by how good and tough these kids were. They are the real deal cowboys.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I had shot many rodeos over the years of living in Montana but none touched me as much as this one. You could truly feel the tension and energy. These kids and their parents put their soul into it and it showed.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I tend to get distracted too easily by my many interests. I find it difficult to shoot the same thing over and over. I usually move from personal project to personal project. I like to experience it all and if you look at my body of work it shows. At times it can be detrimental as people like to see photographers who specialize.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I never shoot for my portfolio, my personal work is my portfolio. Since the beginning of my career as a photographer I only photographed things that I was passionate about or involved in. I never specifically photographed subjects that might sell or get me a job. If I am not interested in them I don’t shoot them. I became a photographer by documenting my lifestyle and activities I participate in.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post on facebook and instagram. I started writing short stories in chapters on Instagram and has been fun. I love story telling using images and words. I just finished three stories about my dogs that had quite some success. You can check them out on Instagram @marchesiphoto

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes, I had a picture of a trout jumping and a river surfing story I wrote and photographed that went viral. For sure great press but I can’t associate much monetary gain from it.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I have printed them as promos.

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It all started with that trout at age 4. It was a beautiful morning on the Sesia River in the Italian Alps. Who would have known that a fish could change someone’s life forever. Many years and more fish went by before I graduated in Design from The Istituto Europeo Di Design, in Milan. I worked as a Junior Art Director in Paris and as a designer in Italy until I picked up a camera. It didn’t take long to realize that T squares and rulers weren’t for me. I grabbed the camera and flew across the Atlantic to move to Santa Barbara California where I graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography with a Degree in Commercial Photography. Upon graduation I packed my bags and moved to San Francisco. San Francisco is a cool city, and no one can deny it but every time I drove to Hat Creek or the Owens River to fly fish or the Sierras to climb something happened inside me. The peace and beauty of rivers and mountains inspired me and raised many questions. I had been working in the city for 5 years, doing mostly digital and studio photography until one day stuck in traffic on the Bay Bridge on my way to Yosemite I asked myself why? I watched the driver next to me honk in anger at the stranger in front of him and asked myself why again? I asked myself why many times until in spring 1999 I packed everything and moved to Montana. I wanted to be closer to my cold blooded friends and nature, away from stress and a crowded existence. A few years later, while visiting my brother in Indonesia, I discovered surfing and rekindled my passion for the Ocean. I realized I needed surf and Ocean in my life to have a complete picture. I decided to buy a house in Todos Santos, Mexico and have been splitting my life between the two places. Working worldwide from Mexico and Montana focusing my photography on the outdoor activities I love to do and being outside in nature in search for a new adventure. Couldn’t do it any differently…


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.

I Don’t Object To Staging – The Honesty Lies In My Ability To Understand

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I remember your picture of a Spanish woman throwing water into the street. Was this staged?

A. I would not have hesitated to ask her to throw the water. (I don’t object to staging if and only if I feel that it is an intensification of something that is absolutely authentic to the place.)

Q. Cartier-Bresson never asks for this…. Why do you break this basic rule of candid photography?

A. I didn’t write the rules — why should I follow them? Since I put a great deal of time and research to know what I am about? I ask and arrange if I feel it is legitimate. The honesty lies in my — the photographer’s — ability to understand.

Q. Why do you print your own pictures?

A. The same reason a great writer doesn’t turn his draft over to a secretary… I will retouch.

via Discussing Honesty in Imagery – NYTimes.com.

Josef Koudelka on Motivation, Humanity and What Makes a Good Photograph

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LH: How important is composition in your photographs?

JK: It’s not a good photograph without good composition. Originally I’m an aeronautical engineer. Why do airplanes fly? Because there is balance.

A good photograph speaks to many different people for different reasons. It depends on what people have been through and how they react.

The other sign of good photography for me is to ask, “What am I going to remember?” It happens very, very rarely that you see something that you can’t forget, and this is the good photograph.

via PDN Online.

World Press Photo Sets The Bar For Allowed Image Adjustments

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Bravo to World Press Photo for taking a leadership role in the debate of what levels of image enhancements, adjustments and manipulation are acceptable for photojournalism. As the winners of this years contest were announced the news that 20% of images that made the final round were rejected for “manipulation or careless post-processing” left many people with jaws agape.

You can engage in the debate with the links below (if you haven’t already), but I wanted to highlight what I think are very important changes in how image adjustments are viewed.

David Campbell, Secretary of the 2015 Photo Contest jury, tweeted out the following:

This is a major departure from the old standard of “digital darkroom” which tried to allow old darkroom techniques used by many of the great photojournalists.

This departure is highlighted by Jury chairwoman, Michele McNally in a story on the lens blog titled “Debating the Rules and Ethics of Digital Photojournalism” where she states:

“digital is not film, it is data — and it requires a new and clear set of rules”

It’s also worth noting that World Press Photo called in all the RAW files for images in the penultimate round and then had independent experts perform forensics on the images and present their findings to the jury.

I think World Press Photo has taken some important steps this year in leading by example. The old darkroom technique of burning and dodging things out of your images are OUT but processes that adjust the aesthetics are IN.

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/world-press-photo-manipulation-ethics-of-digital-photojournalism

https://storify.com/davidc7/what-are-world-press-photos-rules-and-standards-on

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2015/02/world-press-photo-eliminates-20-percent-of-images-for-manipulation/

http://www.bjp-online.com/2015/02/image-manipulation-hits-world-press-photo/

http://time.com/3706626/world-press-photo-processing-manipulation-disqualified/

https://www.david-campbell.org/photography/manipulation-examples/

https://bitly.com/bundles/martijnkleppe/m

The Art of the Personal Project: Jeremiah Stanley

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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 http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Jeremiah Stanley

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Full disclosure, Jeremiah is a current client of mine.

How long have you been shooting?
I guess I’m kind of a late bloomer as they say. I didn’t buy my first digital camera until I was 28 (I’m 34 now) and recently accepted into the photojournalism program at the University of Florida.

It wasn’t until I got into Eddie Adams Workshop XXV in 2012 (team Lilac forever!) that I decided to give photography all I’ve got. There I had the opportunity to shake hands with and get portfolio reviews from amazing portrait photographers like Gregory Heisler (I think I actually ruined his breakfast) and Dan Winters. After meeting them and hearing them speak, I was changed forever as a person and photographer.

So, to answer your question, I’ve been shooting commercially for about 3 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I graduated from the photojournalism program at the University of Florida and I absolutely loved my time there. It wasn’t so much the technical skills and training that I benefited from the most, but it was the people I had the chance to meet while in school.

For instance, Sports Illustrated photographer Bill Frakes was my Advanced-2 photography professor. I mean how crazy is that right?! Also, I met the great portrait photographer Andrew Hetherington while he was there on assignment for Fortune magazine, which was a major turning point for me. Both of these men continue to be great mentors to me to this day.

Having a photojournalism background has also been a huge advantage in my portrait work. Photojournalsim is all about catching that moment and telling a story and portraiture is a lot of the same. You’re looking for that special something, that one moment that will tell the story of that person or tell a story through that person. I think going through photojournalism school has been a huge advantage for what I do now, even though it wouldn’t be considered true photojournalism.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
People. It’s always about people. I love people.

Everyone is so unique and everyone has a story to tell and most people, when given the chance, really want to tell their story. It’s something that just fascinates me. And as a portrait photographer, I get to explore different worlds and dive into people’s lives on a daily basis and I absolutely love that.

I’ve always had the ability to approach people from all different types of economic and social backgrounds and having that ability really helped out with this project. Being approachable and respectful really goes a long way. All of the bikers we photographed were very nice and courteous, but if you can’t relate, on some level at least, to the person you’re photographing, then your portraits will be nothing – they’ll be flat and lack substance.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I actually photographed this project in one day and I presented it on the web shortly after.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Usually after the first few shoots and when I get them on a screen I can tell if there’s enough beef there to actually have something worth looking at. My wife, Meredith, is a really great editor and she provides me with a generous amount of honest insight into how the project is taking shape from an outside perspective. For this project, I knew after the first woman I photographed that this was going to be something good. I never know how good, but I had a feeling people would be interested in looking at these portraits.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
This one is always an interesting question to me or maybe it’s just because I’m still early in my career.

For me, it’s all personal and it may be cliche to say, but for me there’s literally no distinction from shooting for my portfolio and shooting personal work. My approach is one and the same. Every time I’m working toward making an image, whether in pre-production, while shooting, or post-production, I’m using all of myself, both physically and mentally. I’m using all my past experiences, good and bad, to interpret the world around me which will affect the images I make. And for me that’s the goal. I want my personal experiences to affect the images and when they do, that’s when I know what I’m making is real and honest and truthful.

It’s when photography turns into an outlet and an extension of myself that I begin making real images, and I think that’s why editors and directors hire me or at least that’s why I hope they do and hope they do in the future. It’s the photographer’s own, personal voice that speaks the loudest and when I’m allowed to explore the world from my vantage point, really great things can happen. The only difference here is that sometimes a company or firm fronts the bill and sometimes I do. But whenever I’m shooting or working toward a shoot, it’s all personal.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, certainly. Getting your work out there for people to see is half the battle.

Here’s my shameless plug:

www.Facebook.com/JeremiahStanleyPhoto
www.Twitter.com/JeremiahStanley
www.Instagram.com/miahstanphoto

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet. Still waiting for my 15 minutes of fame.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I sure have and will be doing the same with this one. I actually love walking into meetings with this project in my book and I enjoy trying to guess before each meeting what type of reaction they’re going to have. Even if an editor or art director are quick flippers, they’ll almost always stop when they get to the ‘Bikers’ project.

Once I was in a meeting with about 8 creative directors and after a few minutes they were all huddled together, standing over the portfolio, pointing, laughing and asking questions. And that’s exactly what you want to happen during a meeting.

ARTIST STATEMENT ABOUT THE PROJECT:

This project was photographed at a biker event in a small Florida town called Leesburg. Every year, about 300,000 people come together here to talk about and look at bikes. I, of course, came to look at the people.

It’s always hard to guess what type of people will come to any particular event as often times the images in my head of the people I think will attend don’t always match the people that actually show up to that event. In this case though, they absolutely exceeded what I had hoped for.

I hired an assistant to hold one light near the rear on a monopod and I held another light off to the front side, also on a monopod, and shot with the other hand (you can actually see the exact set-up in some of the reflections in their sunglasses). We were basically a walking, mobile studio literally carrying all of the gear on our backs and shooting simultaneously on-the-fly.

I decided to leave the background messy, and not worry too much about composition, because I’ve seen tons of similar projects where the photographer pulls them onto some type of seamless backdrop and I wanted this one to be different. I really wanted to bring the viewer into the event, as if they were actually standing right there themselves looking at that particular person, using the environment of the event itself to help.

To make the portrait series have a cohesive look and feel, I used the same focal-length lens (with an ND filter to bring down the background exposure), lighting, and angle, while only changing the physical locations. We were there shooting for about 10 hours and met some incredible people.

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Jeremiah Stanley is a commercial and editorial portrait photographer based in Florida and Dallas (It’s currently 81 degrees outside). He enjoys hiking with his 9-year-old daughter and the Texas Two-Step. His portraiture recently won an American Photography 30 award and a PDN World in Focus award. He was also selected to be a part of Eddie Adams Workshop XXV. If he wasn’t a photographer, he would be a competitive barbeque smoker. Please contact him directly to see what his photography can do for you.

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 founding 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 fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Will ASME Stand Up For Magazine Editors And Punish Condé Nast?

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In a clear violation of the ASME (American Society of Magazine Editors) Guidelines, Condé Nast has asked their Editors to write advertorials for the magazines they edit:

Condé Nast caused a stir in the media world Monday when it announced plans for a new studio that will allow marketers to work directly with editors at its magazines to create “branded content,” ads designed to blend in with regular articles.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/write-ads-conde-nast-staff-is-wary-1422404937

ASME Editorial Guidelines state:

9. Don’t Ask Editors to Write Ads
Editorial staff should not participate in the creation of advertising. Editorial contributors should not participate in the creation of advertising if their work would appear to be a conflict of interest.

http://www.magazine.org/asme/editorial-guidelines

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The Board of Directors reserves the right to expel from membership in ASME any editor of a print or online magazine who willfully or repeatedly violates the ASME Guidelines for Editors and Publishers.

http://www.magazine.org/asme/about-asme/asme-bylaws

The National Magazine Awards are tonight and they’re even giving renown photojournalist James Nachtwey an award for Creative Excellence. I wonder if ASME will stick up for editors and next year The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, W, Wired, GQ, Bon Appétit, Traveler and Details will not be allowed to participate? Challenging times for magazines for sure.

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For W. Eugene Smith 90% Of The Image Is Done In The Darkroom

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At least fifty percent of the image is done in the darkroom—I think Gene would say ninety percent. The negative has the image, but it can’t produce the image completely, as the photographer saw it—not as Gene saw it. You have to work it over and over with the enlarger, you have to burn it in, you have to hold back areas—this detail down here or over there.”

Karales continued, getting more specific about the technique: “Gene always liked to get separations around people, figures, and that was always done with potassium ferrocyanide. It was the contrast that made the prints difficult. Gene saw the contrast with his eyes, but the negative wouldn’t capture it the same way. So he would have to bring the lamp down and burn, and then if that spilled too much exposure and made it too dark, you would lighten it with the ferrocyanide. You had to be careful not to get the ferrocyanide too strong, and yet you couldn’t have it too weak, either. If it took too long, it would spread. So I would blow the fixer off of the paper so ferrocyanide would stay in an area, and then dunk the paper right away to kill the action. Or if you wanted something to go smoother, then you left the fixer there. It was extremely delicate and complicated, but we got it down pat.”

via In the Darkroom with W. Eugene Smith.

The Art of the Personal Project: Cameron Davidson

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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 http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Cameron Davidson

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How long have you been shooting?
Professionally since 1980 – 34 years.  I started shooting as a 10th grader with an Agfa Isolete I found in a closet.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Mixture of both.  I studied on my own through high school by constantly going through Modern and Popular Photography annuals and by studying the work of the photo gods of that era – Arnold Newman, Jay Maisel, Ernst Haas and Pete Turner.  I also did the indentured servant route by working with several DC based photographers – the most notable being Ross Chapple, an exceptional architectural shooter who taught me how to light. 

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I have worked and shot in Haiti since 1999.  I was on the board of the NGO Community Coalition for Haiti and shot many of their projects.  The work I shot for CCH between 1999 and 2012 documentary in approach.  This project was shot for a new NGO, Goals Beyond the Net and I wanted to slow my approach down.  The goal was to stay in one place – the soccer field in Jacmel and shoot portraits of the players over four days.  My goal was to take one lens, one strobe and one camera and keep it simple.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it? 
I shot the project in the summer of 2013.  I started showing it that winter and was fortunate to place second in the portraiture contest for the National APA contest.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working? 
I pre-planned what and how I was going to shoot.  I was committed to the project before I flew to Haiti and knew that it had to work.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I like it  – it shows a different side of me.  Many people think of me as an aerial photographer and I have always been more than that.  I love shooting portraits and showing a personal project that shows a different approach to me is always a positive.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I do use Instagram and Twitter.  Tumblr is the blog right now but that is getting ready to change when I launch my new web site this winter. 

Instagram is only black and white images shot on the road or on assignments.  Usually, behind the scenes pictures, found objects or views from helicopters.  Twitter is a mix.  Articles I found, links to stories about photography or web sites.

instagram.com/camdavidsonphoto

twitter.com/aerial_photog

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nothing has ever gone viral.  I’ve seen quite a bit of my aerial work posted to the click-bait sites – you know they type – 25 most interesting aerials views of the world or 10 sites to see from the air.  That type of site.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I have.  I printed with MagCloud, a retrospective of sorts.  It was called 13 years, and it is available light portraits shot in Haiti for CCH. 

STATEMENT:
The portraits in the Goals Beyond the Net project were shot over one week in Jacmel, Haiti in support of the NGO.  The goal was to shoot portraits of young soccer players who are enrolled in the GBN program.  I wanted clean and simple images without posturing that reflected the honesty and drive of these young players. 

The images have been used to increase donations, as gifts to donors and for promotion for the NGO.  I made prints of each person I photographed and send them to Jacmel.  Two months later, I was given a box of handwritten letters – in French, Creole and English thanking me for the photographs.

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Cameron Davidson’s passion for photography took root in his teens when he found an old Agfa Isolette camera at the bottom of his closet and began looking at life through a lens. It blossomed further, when he discovered the contours and contrasts of a world measured by altitude and sheer natural beauty from the rear cabin of a turbine helicopter.

For more than thirty years, Cameron developed the artistic skills that have helped him to become an acclaimed aerial, environmental, editorial, corporate, and fine art photographer. Simplicity and elegance make his work transcendent. He has photographed locations and people in 49 states, 6 Canadian provinces, and 29 countries. His compelling aerial images of North American landscapes and cities have graced the pages of publications ranging from National Geographic to The Washington Post. His six books – Chesapeake; Washington DC from Above; Chicago from Above; A Moment of Silence: Arlington National Cemetery; Over Florida; and Our Nation’s Capital: An Aerial Portrait – embed character and personality into the grandest and simplest photos. His eye for the visual has opened boardroom doors to many premier corporate assignments, including annual reports, as well as high-profile editorial venues. A partial list of his clients include ESPN, Money, Audubon, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Wired, Vanity Fair, AARP, Dominion Resources, General Dynamics, M&T Bank, Virginia Tourism, SEIU, Standard Life, and some of the top advertising agencies in the world.

Cameron has lived in Virginia, Texas, and Michigan. He now resides in the community of Alexandria in northern Virginia. Reach him at 703-845-0547 or via email.

Goals Beyond the Net: http://goalsbeyondthenet.org

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 founding 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 fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

The First Conversation Is No Longer About the Photography It’s About the Photographer

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Photographers Rep, Heather Elder, has a conversation with her photographers every year defining creatively and financially what a successful 2015 will look like. She has a post up on her blog notesfromarepsjournal.com with two very important trends happening in our industry: http://notesfromarepsjournal.com/2015/01/13/want-to-know-what-we-told-our-photographers-about-2015

These trends reveal a change in the conversation she has with creatives where it is now assumed that anyone being considered is 100% right for the project and has the talent, vision and skills to pull it off.

Now, instead of scrutinizing your work, it is about how much can you shoot? What is your vision for the photography? Do you have similar libraries to show the client? There will be a lot of moving parts, how will you produce this project? Are you willing to negotiate? And, will they enjoy being on the production with the photographer?

And social media is a natural conduit where these conversations can begin. Many photographers have the chops, but are not having the conversation with their potential clients. Here’s a post to push you in the right direction.

The Art of the Personal Project: Ryan Heffernan

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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 advertise in LeBook. Check out his link at http://www.lebook.com/ryanheffernan. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Ryan Heffernan

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How long have you been shooting?
9 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Mix of both. I went the liberal arts route for undergrad but spent two seasons after working at the Santa Fe Photography Workshops. I consider that time to be photography school. Growing up with a photographer father immersed me in that world from an early age as well.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Growing up in St. Helena, CA it was amazing to watch the valley transform into a massive production every harvest. I wanted to explore the contrast between wine as a luxury good and the hard labor that went on behind the scenes.

The project took me to Mendoza, Argentina and Tarija, Bolivia in addition to the Napa Valley.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
3

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Tough to say. I plan to continue shooting this project for many years to come, so it’s hard to define where they begin and end.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
It feels pretty similar in the end. I’m always trying to make the most interesting images possible.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, mostly Instagram although I’m not prolific.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I haven’t promoted them in print.

Born and raised in Northern California as the son of accomplished still-life photographer, Ryan was immersed in the world of photography and design from an early age. Today Heffernan is an advertising photographer and commercial director, based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico and San Francisco, California. He specializes in photographing people in their landscapes, aiming to tell unique stories and works for diverse clients ranging from Adobe Systems, UBS, Leo Burnett, The Martin Agency, and New Mexico Tourism to Outside Magazine, GQ, McGarrah Jessee and a host of others.

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 founding 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 fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Neil DaCosta

- - Personal Project

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 http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Neil DaCosta

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How long have you been shooting?
12 Years, the first half was strictly snowboard images.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I have a degree from RIT, but that only teaches you the basics. I learned the most from self-teaching after entering “the real world”.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The other collaborators and I had talked for a while about doing a Mormon project. We were not happy with their meddling in California’s Proposition 8 and their views/actions on homosexuality in general.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The shoot only took one day. We released it the next week, I think. We wanted it to be released while Romney was still running for President.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Not long. If I am not feeling it, I scrap it and move on to the next one. That doesn’t mean I don’t get a few images out of it that I might be happy with, but I know whether it is worth pursuing longer-term or not.

The toughest part for me is not sharing a project prematurely. I am working on one now focused on guns. I really want to start showing of the photos I have, but know it will be better if I wait until I feel like it is a complete body of work.

As for the Mormon project, by the first frame, we knew we had something good.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
To keep my sanity intact, I combine the two. I see my portfolio as an extension of my character, but I also understand that it has to be geared towards getting work. When I see a hole in the portfolio, I then come up with a personal project to fill it. As an example, talking over my portfolio with my rep, it was decided that I needed some images that had younger faces, multiple people, a motion piece, and production value. I then started to brainstorm on how I could have fun within those parameters. My series Teenage Angst was the result. Although I will never enjoy dry walling, every other aspect of that project was a blast and I am proud of showing those photos/video in my portfolio.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Constantly. It is a free way to get your work out there. I haven’t personally dabbled in Reddit too much, but other people have posted my work on there and it gets a lot of hits. Mormon Missionary Positions got as big as it did because of Reddit.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
As prefaced above, the first day the Mormon project got released, a well known Redditor (is that even a word?) posted it on there and it went crazy. It crashed our server and we had to upgrade it in the middle of the night. The first day it had over a quarter million views. And in the past two years it has entered the ebb and flow of the Internet. A blogger in Turkey will post it and all of a sudden there are 3,000 hits in a day from there.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. With this project I made a promo piece that I sent to a few targeted people that I have worked with previously or really want to work with. With inspiration from the cut out bibles that you can hide a flask/gun/contraband in, I bought about 50 Books Of Mormon from the local Mormon bookstore. I then cut holes in them and glued the pages together. In the holes, I dropped a stack of photos from the project. Attached the project’s artist statement and sent them out.

It is weird though, I still haven’t been hired to shoot any paying Mormon jobs!

Artist Statement:

Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, are sinful and undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly affirms defining marriage as the legal and lawful union between a man and a woman.

LDS Handbook 2
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A visual discourse into the relationship of state and church.

Neil DaCosta is represented by Held & Associates http://www.cynthiaheld.com

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 founding 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 fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

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