Posts by: A Photo Editor

Photography Is So Easy It’s Ridiculous

- - Working

Yes, photography is so easy it’s ridiculous and that’s what makes it so hard. In the end it’s not so much about making the pictures it’s what you do with them. It’s about process, having an idea, making the pictures and then giving them life.

It seems to me that so many photographers have a very narrow view of process. Because the image making part is so captivating, so seductive, it’s easy to make the pictures with no idea in mind and no end in sight.

Source: Harvey Benge: Paul Graham – photography is so easy it’s ridiculous

The Art of the Personal Project: Tim Tadder

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects. A personal project is the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director/photo editor or graphic designer. This column features the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/timtadder

Today’s featured photographer is: Tim Tadder

Las Muertas

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How long have you been shooting?
I spent 4 years as a photojournalist before entering the advertising world in 2005

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both. And, it’s complicated. My father was a professional photographer in Baltimore so I grew up around the craft. During my 5-year stint as a high school teacher I picked up a camera as a hobby during my vacations. In 1999 I left teaching and started freelancing at the local newspaper. After two years grinding doing community news I went to graduate school for photojournalism at Ohio University. That lead me to California and eventually to the advertising industry.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The Las Muertas projects was inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos.

Two things came into play that inspired this project. First and foremost a wild fire burned homes and land very close (across the street) from our studio. It turned the landscape into this apocalyptic wasteland that I would pass daily. There was incredible beauty in the destruction, I knew I wanted to feature it, I was not sure how.

Then Halloween happened, and I saw people in costume walking the sidewalks past this barren landscape and a light bulb turned on. Being in Southern California, the Dia De Los Muertos holiday is very much an influence and the landscape was the perfect setting for featuring the subject matter.

Dia De Los Muertos is on November 2nd each year and its is a day in Mexican culture where the dead are remembered and celebrated. It is said that on that day the dead are able to walk through purgatory and visit their earthly haunts. The wildfire destruction to me, represented this purgatory. So that stage was set, and the rest of the project seemed to come together from there.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This was just a one day shoot followed up with a couple of days of postproduction. This is concept based not documentary so the time invested is more in the conceptualizing and pre/post production. Less time shooting more time planning and refining.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That varies, there are things I spend a lot of time on that never work and something’s I spend a few days on that work really well. Time for me never determines the success of the project, because my projects don’t require months and months. I don’t have that kind of personal time to invest in my work. Between being a husband, father, and running a business I feel that my days of long-term projects are on hold. I find that the projects I can do are shorter an well thought out, which affords me the ability to keep my priorities central and my life balanced.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I don’t agree with this point of view. I feel that my personal work should be my portfolio. That’s who I am as a visual communicator. My work is personal, and I pour my soul into every job I do, so if there is a disconnect between my personal work and my portfolio, I feel that my voice will be inauthentic. I want to inspire creative’s with my vision and my personal work is the vehicle.

I get more projects based off my personal work than any other images. Literally we get assignments that the creative is my personal work with the logo. Clients and agencies sometimes fall in love with the visuals and they want to contract it for their own messaging. That’s what drives my revenue, the more personal projects I do the more commercial projects I get. It’s a simple recipe that works.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I have never posted them on Reddit or Tumblr, but others have. Its crazy but the moment I release a new project it gets picked up and spread around the web quite quickly. If it hits Reddit, then game on, and the viral thing happens. We have enjoyed the success of some really powerful viral exposure, which always leads to magazine articles, TV interviews, and a zillion blog posts. Ultimately this leads to commercial exposure and success. The Las Muertas series has been featured around the world on tons of blogs and media outlets. Its been extremely well received in Mexico, and we are currently bidding a project based on this creative for a beer company. I am most proud that the Mexican audience likes the work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes see above. Las Muertas, when googled turns up tons and tons of results from news outlets and blogs around the world.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes we use them for mailers and source book ads, as well as post on creative sites like Behance.net We share them with our audience every chance we get.

Las Muertas is a celebration of the Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos or “Day of the Dead.” Inspired by the beautiful designs and colors of the November 2nd festival, I set out to pay homage to the beauty of the tradition but to also put an environmental connection to the dead and their journey. This project was a collaboration between talented artists that believed in the concept and lent their time and passion to make it a success. The beautiful head dresses were made by the celebrated Dia De Los Muertos sculpture artist Krisztianna and the incredible wardrobe provided by stylist Julia Reeser.

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Tim Tadder is a Southern California based creative photographer and director with a strong sport and conceptual portfolio. Since 2012 Tim Tadder has published multiple personal projects that have enjoyed viral success. The most wildly acclaimed “Water Wigs” received over 1 million unique views within the first 24 hours of publication.

Tadder is often hired to produce images and motion projects with either a sport thematic or a conceptual visual challenge. Recent clients include, Mercedes Benz, Reebok, NFL, New Era, McDonalds, Merck, Capri Sun, Modelo, Tecate, Bud Light, Avia, WD-40, Kia, Proctor and Gamble, Walmart

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.

Portfolio Review: iPad, Blurb Book or Printed Portfolio?

- - Portfolio Review

I received the following question from a reader:

I’m going to my first portfolio review at the PhotoPlus Expo next month in New York. I didn’t think I’d be able to make it, so the trip is coming together kind of last minute. I currently don’t have a printed portfolio and I don’t have the money to print up a proper one. I thought about having a book printed up though a company like Blurb or Artisan State, as that would be a lot cheaper. Or I could use my iPad that has a nice looking portfolio app.

Does showing up with just an iPad look bad? Does showing the cheaper photo books make me look cheap? Is it worth it to find a way to try and get a proper printed portfolio? Any advice you can share is greatly appreciated!

I asked Heidi, Suzanne and Brittain for their thoughts and I’d love to hear any advice readers have on the subject in the comments.

Personally, I’m inclined to wonder why you will spend all that money on a portfolio review if you’re not going to maximize the value. If you don’t have a printed book and polished pitch you’re not ready to meet with Photo Editors and Art Buyers in New York City. Sure, you can go in and get some advice on which images are strong and where you might improve, but this is the first impression you will make with many of these people. The gold standard for portfolio reviews is a book with finely crafted prints, a well rehearsed pitch, promo card leave behinds and some personal project options in a separate book, ipad or Blurb type book. You can be sure when you sit down in that chair the photographers before and after you are doing this.

Suzanne Sease:

It is completely fine to show your portfolio on an iPad. I recommend http://ipadportfolioapp.com as many of my clients use it and it has been received well by the viewer. I personally feel that many of the pre-printed bound books don’t look as nice as a hand printed ink-jet book. Since the purpose of a review is for the viewers to make suggestions and possible changes, why invest in a costly portfolio? If you are going to get out and get face to face meetings, then invest in an ink jet printed double sided portfolio and a nice portfolio shell.

Heidi Volpe:

I think it’s perfectly fine to show your portfolio on an ipad especially if you have motion to show.

Some of the less expensive book services you mentioned are perfectly fine as well. I will say if you choose to use these printed services, you’d need to have a good design sense and understanding the printing process, how images behave across the gutters in these books, accurately follow the template and be sure to build in time for revises and proofs. Whatever you choose, make it tight.

Brittain Stone:

I agree that an iPad presentation is more than fine for a portfolio review of this kind. Just a few things to consider when you do go this route:

• An iPad review will invariably go much quicker. It’s human nature to linger on paper longer than on a swipe-able tablet.

• Your edit on an iPad is invariable more linear and one-sized, and while that’s not a bad thing, it’s a consideration when selecting images. It’s harder to go back into a portfolio and muse about particular images after the swiping is done.

• At these portfolio reviews, reviewers are expecting some “green-ness” so an elaborate print production would be overkill, unless you are the next (insert important photographer here) or. The book printing services you mentioned are all pretty great.

• You’ll still want some printed collateral of some kind in order to make it into a file or a stack or the reviewer’s memory banks. Very little trace remains after a digital review.

• Bring Windex

Art Producers Speak: Payam

- - Art Producers Speak

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Creative Director: I nominate Payam. Payam is awesome. Smart, fabulous eye, industrious and a wonder to work with. You should profile him.

Cover Portrait for Fashion Decode of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas. My last idea was to get into a crowded train station and have them drown in balloons. Everyone had a blast – Even adults turn into kids when balloons are abound.

Cover Portrait for Fashion Decode of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas. My last idea was to get into a crowded train station and have them drown in balloons. Everyone had a blast – Even adults turn into kids when balloons are abound.

Portrait series that I started called Alter Ego after discussing the project with the editor of SOMA magazine. Pictured is Hollywood Motion Picture Colorist  Beau Leon.

Portrait series that I started called Alter Ego after discussing the project with the editor of SOMA magazine. Pictured is Hollywood Motion Picture Colorist Beau Leon.

Excerpt from a project on California Surfers.

Excerpt from a project on California Surfers.

Portrait of The American Spirits

Portrait of The American Spirits

Cover for Fashion Decode beauty issue.

Cover for Fashion Decode beauty issue.

Portrait of designer Sonia Augostino for Fashion Decode Magazine.

Portrait of designer Sonia Augostino for Fashion Decode Magazine.

Portrait of Creative Directors Hungry Castle for ADC Global.

Portrait of Creative Directors Hungry Castle for ADC Global.

Excerpt from HBO’s pilot shoot.

Excerpt from HBO’s pilot shoot.

Excerpt from a project on California Surfers

Excerpt from a project on California Surfers

Portrait of Artist Tim Burke for the Detroit Industrial Gallery

Portrait of Artist Tim Burke for the Detroit Industrial Gallery

Q: How many years have you been in business?

A: I entered the business in 2002 after graduating with a degree in Bio-Psychology and Sociology, and over several years had the good fortune to work with some of the great masters such as Albert and Norman Watson, Patrick DeMarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Miles Aldridge, and Mark Abrahams. After assisting for some years, I was requested as a Lighting Director for large advertising, fashion and celebrity shoots from 2008 to 2012 and committed myself 100% to shooting my own work full-time thereafter.

Q: Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

A: During my years in NYC, I had the great fortune of working with world-renowned photographers as a first assistant, and credit a lot of my success to my exposure to various ways they approached their particular assignments and challenges therein.

I learned about charismatic lighting and keeping a cool head under fire (we literally had a 20x catch on fire above us on a shoot) at the Watson Studio, as much as I learned about controlling high key light and perspective with respect to beauty photography with Wolfgang Ludes. Everyday served as an opportunity for me to learn not only the technicality of photography, but also about the subtle nuances of psychology, diplomacy and language required to be a good photographer. This has been the best education any man could ever ask for.

Q: Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

A: I think that you have to be inspired and fall in love with your work and this business everyday, just as one would need to fall in love with their life partner every day so as not to strangle them to death ☺

My first influence would be my High School Biology teacher Fred Tunnicliffe. It’s ironic, because he really motivated me to take interest in Biology and want to become a doctor first and foremost. Fred however, taught me something that I loved more than anything; photography.

As time progressed I started paying close attention to Patrick DeMarchelier and Annie Leibovitz were the photographers who I hold responsible for triggering my almost psychiatric obsession with photography later on on in my teens and early 20’s. I could not believe my eyes when the day arrived that I was actually on set with them in NYC.

Q: How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?

A: My downfall in my life has been my love for photography books. Norman Watson can be solely blamed for introducing me to this gateway drug and I hold him fully responsible for the financial ruin I find myself in. ☺ I fall in love with photography on a daily basis by obsessively devouring various forms of visual stimuli, from paintings of old, to fashion stories of Mario Testino and Peggy Sirota. The work of masters in cinema such as Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini, Luc Besson, Ridley Scott and Tarsem Singh have also had a huge impact on my visual story telling.

Q: Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

A: I have been very fortunate to be trusted to execute briefs based on the way I shoot. I have been lucky to work with creative directors and art buyers who trust in me, and with their collaboration, we have created wonderful work together.

Q: What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

A: I spend quite a lot of time researching and connecting with various agencies, and traveling to various states to do portfolio presentations. I have learned that creative teams and buyers love the opportunity to meet with me, not only to see my work, but also to see and know the person behind the lens, as I explain my approach, motivations and tell stories about how I created the photographs. One of the things I excel at is being self-deprecating, and as such I make people laugh; this adds a human element to an otherwise mundane experience. One CD at a large agency just told me that he does not like to go through agents and art buyers, because they dilute the communication and needs of his. He was grateful to have met me because we had a one on one and had conversations from the heart that in my opinion can only be done through interpersonal interactions.

I also maintain presence on all relevant web portals, send out newsletters with new work and travel schedules, and do quarterly printed campaigns.

Q: What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

A: While I think that it’s important to study where the business is headed, so that I can be relevant and fresh, it’s also important to refine and consistently improve one’s visual vernacular. I find that I excel at capturing whatever it is that I am working on so long as it’s authentic to who I am. Exercising and refining my work is what I strive to do every time I pick up the camera. I think it’s also important to keep an open mind, as I always ask creatives and buyers if they would like to see me develop any more of a specific area that I am shooting in my personal projects, and I then update them with new work as it is created.

Q: Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

A: I consistently strive to push myself and explore different approaches that help me to refine my work. Personal assignments happen to be the most interesting to me, not only because I have total creative freedom to express myself, but also because I have the opportunity to show clients what I am passionate about.

Q: How often are you shooting new work?

A: I work when I can to create new images that are contextually consistent on a larger and broader scale. I love collaborating with Creative Directors and Stylists to shoot some projects that they could not execute because of the limitations clients place on them.

Most recently, I met a wonderful team at a highly respected agency in San Francisco. In conversation with one of the CD’s, I agreed to photograph children in fashion for a pitch to an amazing clothing label. I suddenly found myself photographing kids, and fell in love with their innocence and found my inner child as I was given creative license to be one again. A month later, I was contacted by another very well known creative director, who had received one of my newsletters in which I had inquired about collaborating with him on any shoots that he may have wanted to execute. I had been waiting to work with him for the past six years, and my patience finally paid off. Were it not for patience, I would have jumped the Brooklyn Bridge long ago ☺

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Payam is an editorial and advertising portrait photographer based in both Los Angeles and NYC. Known for his lighting, direction and ease on set, Payam facilitates a shooting experience where all subjects can have fun, play and express themselves genuinely. In his free time, Payam teaches effective communication through photography to underprivileged students and also practices Thai Massage and Vinyasa Yoga.


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: Jim Golden

- - 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 column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/jimgolden
Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Jim Golden

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Disclosure: Jim is a former client of mine.

How long have you been shooting?
9 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Technically I received a BFA photo degree, minor in design, but I retouched right out of school for a while and was just shooting for my artwork. Initially I didn’t want to work commercially, assisting had made me a bit gun-shy to the commercial world. This was mid-90’s in NYC. When I was making the transition from retouching to shooting (in Portland, early aughts), I rented a studio space on the wrong side of the tracks and taught myself how to light from the ground up by looking at my favorite photogs and trying to make that light.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
My friend Rob has a scissor collection, I knew I wanted to make a survey of the most interesting pieces, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. He gave me his favorite 700 and said ‘good luck’. After a week of pulling my hair out it dawned on me to use the classic top-down apparel format to translate the idea. Boom, project kicked off.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
About 6 months after the scissor image, I made the promo. I had about 7 total images at that point. Now its up to 25 or so.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually can tell in the first few shoots. I’ve scrapped tons of ideas over the years, but I get that feeling on the successful ones after the first day of shooting, I know something’s there. It happened with the Collections, Murdered Out (my black on black project), Relics of Technology, even my earlier work with people, Tulelake, was a hit and led to some work. My Auto Portraits series is often a topic when I meet new creatives as well. Plus now with IG, the solo parking and “cars on the street” thing is huge now.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
The beauty of the personal project, at least for me, it’s 75% of what I get hired to do now. Years ago several people told me shoot what you find interesting, it’s the only way, etc, I finally listened, and it slowly built up and I found my voice. After all the years of hearing that word, I totally get it now!

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, I’m fairly active on Tumblr and Instagram, I get hired quite a bit thru social and Google image search, etc. Pintrest comes up a lot too. Social is a huge component of marketing these days, you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think so.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes, the Collections project has made the rounds internationally several times and keeps flaring up. Relics of technology was a hit right out of the box, it has some animated GIFs that went viral literally overnight on Tumblr. That project has also keeps going and going on social channels. I’ve been featured on several influential blogs, photo and otherwise, as well being interviewed for radio pieces on PBS, New Hampshire Public Radio, and the BBC. Austin Radcliff, author of the Things Organized Neatly tumblr is doing a book with Rizzoli, seeing my work in print at that level will be quite a thrill. I also love getting emails from people outside of the business. That’s an amazing connection, the person on the street connecting with a picture of 500 scissors or a pattern of diskettes from the 80’s? To me, this means I’m getting through to my audience.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, the Collections mailer was a 18×24” with the scissor collection on one side and the camping collection on the other. The Relics of Technology was also a fold out poster (20×24”) with the name of all the objects and an interesting fact about each. Both were VERY well received – its not everyday you get emails from CD’s of major agencies telling you how much they liked your promo, well, at least not for me!

STATEMENT: Collections
I feel collecting is human nature. Find stuff you like and hang on to it, use it, enjoy it. The “Collection” series is me basically collecting images of other people’s collections

STAEMENT: Relics of Technology
The seeds for the Relics of Technology project started when I found a brick cell phone at a thrift store in rural Oregon. The fascination was equal parts nostalgia for the form, and curiosity as to what had become of them. One thing led to another and I was on the hunt for groups of media and key pieces of technology, most of which have now been downsized to fit in the palm of our hands. These photos are reminders that progress has a price and our efforts have an expiration date.

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An award-winning photographer specializing in still life and products, Jim brings an artist’s eye and an enthusiast’s passion to his work. He strives to capture the pared-down essence of his subjects, rather than impose a false sense of beauty upon them. The viewer is invited to enjoy an often-inanimate object for its stark simplicity or quiet quality.


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.

It’s really tough for me to look at old pictures, I either look at what I could have done better, or I start crying– Steven Meisel

- - Working

TIM BLANKS: Do you think you were looking for yourself in those photos? There was a strand in your work for a long time of very ambiguous, beautiful people with long black hair.

Steven Meisel: I think I’m in every picture that I take, regardless of whether it’s a super-commercial something; it’s all me. So am I looking for myself in those kinds of photographs? It’s not intentional; it’s just a sensitivity. Thinking of the Sean pictures: Am I looking for me in them? No, I am them.

TB: Does that mean that everyone in your photos is an alter ego in a way?

SM: Um, not in every one, but yes, to a certain extent, sure.

TB: Thinking of your photos of Linda [Evangelista], for example, there’s a real symbiosis in those images.

SM: Yeah, that’s me, absolutely. That’s a part of who I am. But I have to be honest—I don’t know what I do. I learn more about what I do from other people asking me questions or commenting. It’s nothing I think about; I just do it.

TB: But are there moments when you stop to think, “God, I did that one well”?

SM: No.

TB: You mean it’s always on to the next thing?

SM: Yes. Emotionally, it’s very difficult for me to look at old work. That’s why it was so hard to do the Phillips thing. I either look at what I could have done better, or I start crying. I’m ridiculously sensitive, that’s just who I am, so it’s really tough for me to look at old pictures.

TB: Even when you’re looking at those pictures which I think of as a conspiracy between you and Linda? You don’t feel a thrill?

SM: I always get sad.

TB: You mean melancholy at the transience of everything?

SM: I’m not going to get into the whole meaning of life—of which there isn’t one anyway—but yes.

TB: What thrills me is your ability to re-create atmospheres, to evoke times and places and artists that meant so much to me. I’m assuming they meant a lot to you too.

SM: It’s a part of who I am, of who you are. It’s our experiences and our eyes and our hearts, of growing up when we did.

via An Exclusive Q&A With Photographer Steven Meisel – WSJ.

Know Your Rights: Photographers

- - Working

Taking photographs of things that are plainly visible from public spaces is a constitutional right – and that includes federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties. Unfortunately, there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs from public places, and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply.

Your rights as a photographer:

  • When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Such photography is a form of public oversight over the government and is important in a free society.
  • When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs. If you disobey the property owner’s rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply).
  • Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photographs or video without a warrant. The Supreme Court has ruledthat police may not search your cell phone when they arrest you, unless they get a warrant. Although the court did not specifically rule on whether law enforcement may search other electronic devices such as a standalone camera, the ACLU believes that the constitution broadly prevents warrantless searches of your digital data. It is possible that courts may approve the temporary warrantless seizure of a camera in certain extreme “exigent” circumstances such as where necessary to save a life, or where police have a reasonable, good-faith belief that doing so is necessary to prevent the destruction of evidence of a crime while they seek a warrant.
  • Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances. Officers have faced felony charges of evidence tampering as well as obstruction and theft for taking a photographer’s memory card.
  • Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations. Professional officers, however, realize that such operations are subject to public scrutiny, including by citizens photographing them.
  • Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any other laws. For example, if you are trespassing to take photographs, you may still be charged with trespass.

Read more here: Know Your Rights: Photographers | American Civil Liberties Union.

What Is Photographic Vision Or Voice?

- - Working

A reader sent me this question awhile back:

Lately I have been hearing about photographers with ” vision” or “photographic voice”. I guess with everyone being able to do everything technique is kinda not as important as vision? Some quotes I’ve read heard recently”true style is vision” “those who are in demand have vision or a voice and people want to buy into that”. So my question is…what do you think photographic vision or voice is? And who do you think displays it? What photographers would you point to who have “it”?

and then I ran into this interview John Keatley made with his agent Maren Levinson and I think it has some good advice on the questions asked:

Photographers Quarterly Issue No. 2

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.

Please enjoy the Summer issue of Photographers Quarterly featuring the work of David Gonzalez, Gay Block, Phillip Toledano, Maude Schuyler Clay, and Susan Worsham.

http://photographersquarterly.com

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Pricing and Negotiating: Splitting the Cost of an Architectural Shoot

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Architectural photography of an event venue and city park

Licensing: Collateral and Publicity use of 50 images in perpetuity

Location: A prominent city in the South.

Shoot Days: Four

Photographer: Architectural specialist

Client: A landscape design company plus four other partners

Here is the estimate:

 

Creative/Licensing: A landscape design company contacted the photographer to discuss a project that they hoped to split the cost of between themselves and four other parties who were partners in the development of the new venue. At first, they wouldn’t reveal exactly who the other parties would be (or perhaps it wasn’t finalized at that point), but from conversations with the photographer and client, it was likely that they were collaborating with the architectural firm that designed the venue, the company that would promote the events at the venue, a local design firm and potentially the local tourism board.

When discussing the project with the photographer, I told him that this is actually quite common in the world of commercial architectural photography. It typically takes many parties to plan, build, decorate and manage a property (whether it’s a residential house or a commercial building), and it therefore makes sense that all of these companies might want images of the final product to help promote their particular product or service. Most of the time, architecture firms, landscape designers, interior designers or general contractors will want to put the images in their online portfolios or submit them to industry publications and contests, and other times they’ll want to use the images for collateral pieces and to have them on hand for other publicity purposes.

Despite their intended use, it’s common for such clients to request unlimited use (including advertising), which was the original request from this client. However, I felt that such usage should be negotiated separately for each client (especially in this case since there were a few companies involved that could take full advantage of unlimited use), and we were able to convince them to limit the initial licensing to Collateral and Publicity use only.

Additionally, the commercial architectural photography segment of the industry has established rates that have more or less become standard. That’s mostly due to the same type of projects arising again and again for the same types of clients with similar expecations for the scope of the project and licensing. Oftentimes, architectural photographers are charging up to a few thousand dollars a day, plus expenses and a per image processing fee. In some cases, architectural photographers are even making more money on the processing than they are on the shoot. Given the time it takes for an experienced architectural photographer to process an image, they can earn a substantial amount of money by charging accordingly.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these “standard” rates, as long as the photographer recognizes projects that fall outside of the typical project for an architecture firm or an interior design company. For instance, there are plenty of major brands that need architectural images to promote and sell products (like paint companies, home/garden products, appliance manufactures), and the typical rates that architectural photographers are charging their real-estate or architecture firm clients are most definitely not appropriate for these other companies.

In this case, we knew the parties were all interested in having the photographer capture 30 exterior images (20 during the day and 10 at night), and 20 interior images. Also, based on the shot list, time of day required for each shot and the photographer’s experience, we determined that the shoot would require four shoot days. Given the intended use, and having a grasp on what the local competition might be charging, we came up with a modest creative/licensing fee of $10,000. However, that fee did not account for multiple parties, and I felt it was only appropriate for a single client. So, that begs the question of how to charge for multiple parties licensing the same images.

A common tactic used by architectural photographers in these situations is to add a 33% surcharge to the fee for each additional party involved, and have all of the clients split the overall fee and all expenses. This tactic and approach can vary, especially if each client wants different images, but based on this concept and the fact that everyone was planning to share all of the images, we decided that each additional party joining in would increase the fee by $3,300 (33% of the $10,000 fee). Since those parties were still being lined up while we compiled the estimate, we included this rate as a “licensing option”.

Photographer Travel/Scout Days: The photographer would fly to the location on one day, scout the following day, and then fly home the day after the final shoot day.

First Assistant: The photographer would bring his first assistant with him, and this accounted for two travel days, one scout day and four shoot days.

Second Assistant: We included a local second assistant for each shoot day since the venue was quite large, and the photographer would need an extra set of hands to carry and set up equipment.

Equipment: The photographer owned all of his own gear, and decided to charge a rate of $1,000/day for wear and tear on his camera, lenses, lighting and grip, and based the total rate on a “3 days same as a week” discount that most rental houses apply.

Airfare, Lodging, Car Rental: I used kayak.com to estimate these rates based on the production schedule. Flights were a few hundred dollars round trip, which I rounded up to $500 per person (for the photographer and his assistant) to include baggage fees and fluctuation. Lodging was in the neighborhood of $200/night and I factored in six nights for two rooms. The car rental rate included $20/day insurance and fuel.

Parking, Meals, Misc.: I included a $75/day per diem for the photographer and his assistant for 7 days each, and included $25/day for lunch for the second assistant each day. Additionally, I included $100 for each shoot day to account for miscellaneous unpredictable expenses that may have come up during the trip. That totaled $1,550, which I rounded down to an even $1,500.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the time it would take the photographer to transfer and review all of the images in order to compile a web gallery for the client to choose from. Since most architectural images require a descent amount of post production and layering, I included this rate to account for some basic compositing the photographer would need to do prior to showing the images to his client. It would basically get the images headed in the right direction before really diving in and performing the more time consuming processing.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: As I mentioned earlier, it’s common to separate image processing fees and charge them to each party involved based on the images they want. However, since we felt we were already at the limits of the budgetary threshold, we included all 50 images for a single lump fee of $10,000. This broke down to $200/image, which would account for an additional 1-2 hours of retouching for each image.

Results: The project was awarded to the photographer, although he did end up making a few concessions by waiving his travel days, reducing the post processing fee a bit, and coming down on his equipment expenses. However, the four other clients did jump on board, which increased his fee by $13,200 ($3,300 each).

The Art of the Personal Project: Andy Reynolds

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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: Andy Reynolds

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How long have you been shooting?
Pro – 14 years

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

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
There was a ‘day in life’ photo event for PCNW I wanted to contribute to so I just started driving around at night looking for something to photograph. All I had was a camera and sticks. I wanted people in it but had no lights. As I was passing a brightly lit 7-11 the idea just hit me. So that night I shot at a half dozen places – a few places turned me down. But the prints earned the Center some money and the feedback from the images was enthusiastic so I continued it.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I liked this idea right away so I photographed several more clerks and put it on my site. I try to get them still when I travel.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I’ll try to make a small collection of images then proceed if it seems to be working. But if it’s personal, you’ll probably try to always make it work.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Nervous and never knowing if it’s as acceptable as the commercial stuff. At the same time it’s for yourself so you can have a freedom with it. I think it has to make sense with my other portfolio images kind of relaying the fact that it’s an Andy R photo. My portfolio is mostly personal.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I add to my tumblr blog and instagram.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nope, but one day…

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. I used some from a series of ‘waist-ed’ shots and also some ‘anonymous’ pieces.

Artist Statement about Clerks of 7-11

Love them or hate them at some late hour you will probably come across one of these clerks.

The following are some complaints to Consumer Affairs regarding other 7-11 Clerks from across America. My subjects were forthcoming and pleasant.

Every single 7-Eleven has a rude employee behind the counter that doesn’t know how to provide customer service it seems. The 7-Eleven on Roscoe Blvd in Canoga Park, CA has a rude employee. He is a man and looks miserable and mean. All he does is give you this look of hatred and stare at you the whole time you’re in the store. And then when you pay at counter, he never says thank you or have a nice day, nothing, not a word. He is creepy and they need to get rid of him.

My husband was pumping gas at 7 Eleven and I needed to use the washroom. I went into the store to do so. There were 3 different signs saying how the washroom is always clean and if it is not clean, to alert the employee on duty. When I walked into the public washroom, I was just about sick when I saw the toilet. The seat was covered in dried urine. Needless to say, I obviously could not use that washroom. I went to talk to an employee and voice my complaint. I tried to tell her my concern, she cut me off mid sentence and then she walked away. I cannot believe the horrible customer service. I don’t wish to return to that store.

My boyfriend gave the cashier ten dollars for his gas pump and charged it on the pump to the people who were ahead of him in line. He went in afterwards because the pump wasn’t working and the man said, “Oh, there’s nothing I can do,” even though he knew what he did. I called this man after we left because my boyfriend didn’t know what else to do and I demanded a refund for his hard earned money, in which none was given.

I went in to this 7-11 store to purchase a drink. I brought it to the counter and the lady rung it up I asked her how come the prices differ a lot? She said you’re a complainer. I said if that’s what you think. Then she patted me on the stomach and said your fat. I was shocked and walked out very upset. I got in my car with ny friends and left.
This occurred on Jan 10th I also called the 1800 number that I got of the internet and the person I spoke to said someone from the local office in Melville will call me I never received a call. Every day since this event I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it makes me very upset. I also can’t even go to that 7-11 being afraid on what is going to be said to me.Since this happened on my birthday I won’t ever be able to forget this forever.

Andy Reynolds

Once a gaffer in the spoiled world of blockbuster budgets, unending craft service and larger- than-life film crews, Andy walked away for the chance to really learn photography. Setting up shop in NYC, Andy worked for funny guys and fashiony guys. Although perfect for portfolio building, the city wasn’t ideal for family building; thus, Andy headed west. Settling amongst Seattle’s rain-battered hills of fleece and Starbucks, Andy finally found himself with the time, space and budget to create his own brand of imagery. Combining 15 years of experience with an impressive collection of awards and the full-blown belief that the image is the most vital part of photography, Andy continues to craft high-end concepts for clients and of course, fun.  http://andyreynolds.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 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.

How to Kill Restrictive Concert Photography Contracts

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“The Norwegian press as a whole, has made a joint statement to never sign any contracts put forward by artists or their management pushed forward by concert photographers, as can be read here. In Norway, most concert photographers are, in essence, photojournalists and identify more or less as such. And because of that, we are part of the press. We are not 100 concert photographers, but 7000 journalists.Together we have a powerful voice. We generally do not meet any photo contracts, and the few we do, never gets signed. And because of that, contracts get fewer and fewer. With the press associations and unions behind us, we actually have a powerful voice against such demands, and the contracts get dropped (though, it has to be said that the local promoters have done tremendous work as well in that regard, but without all of the press acting like a collective, they would have no incentive to waiver the contracts). The aforementioned Foo Fighters contract? Guess what: that was not presented to the photographers in Norway. I can’t even remember the last time I “had” to sign a contract. That’s what having some integrity gets you.”

Source: How to Kill Restrictive Concert Photography Contracts

Instagram and Art Theory

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Technology has so democratized image-making that it has put the artistic power once mainly associated with aristocrats—to stylize your image and project yourself to an audience as desirable—into everyone’s hands. (Although the parallel to art as “celebration of private property” is probably most vivid in the case of those who most closely resemble modern-day aristocrats. See: “Rich Kids of Instagram”). But images retain their function as game pieces in the competition for social status. “Doesn’t this look delicious?” “Aren’t I fabulous?” “Look where I am!” “Look what I have!”

Source: Instagram and Art Theory – artnet News

Capturing a Singular Vision

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Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession?

Don’t underestimate the importance of defining your style. In art history classes in college, we studied famous renaissance painters. Our exams would entail matching paintings we had never seen before with the artist whose style the painting resembled. For photographers I call it “singular vision,” the visual thread in your work that reflects your personality. It seems obvious, but it is difficult and requires constant deliberate attention and initiative. It also requires some serious soul searching, exposure to art in all genres, experimentation, experience, feedback, time and maybe a little therapy. For a lucky few, it comes easily and naturally, but for the rest of us, it takes hard work. I think I was shooting for twenty years before I fully understood my singular vision. I wish someone would have encouraged me to look for it from the start. I may have gotten there sooner.

Source: http://www.commarts.com/insights/capturing-singular-vision

The Art of the Personal Project: Todd Selby

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects. A personal project is the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director/photo editor or graphic designer. This column features the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. Check out The Selby at http://www.lebook.com/selby-0

Today’s featured photographer is: Todd Selby

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How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been professionally shooting since 2001 but I have been taking photos my whole life.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I took a night class at SVA.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I’ve always been interested in people in their spaces and thought it would be nice to do my own thing and get it out there.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I did it for the purpose of posting it online so I would say it took me 3 days or so to get my first post up.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I shoot what I’m interested in, and hope other people are interested as well.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Its cool when commercial work can push you in new directions.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes I do a lot of Instagram and Facebook.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I think it’s done well online and has been picked up by the press too.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have published three books of my personal work (The Selby is in Your Place, Edible Selby and Fashionable Selby) and otherwise it’s mostly a digital affair.

Todd Selby is a photographer, director, author and illustrator. His project, The Selby, offers an insider’s view of creative individuals in their personal spaces with an artist’s eye for detail. The Selby began in June 2008 as a website where Todd posted photo shoots he did of his friends in their homes. Requests quickly began coming in daily from viewers all over the world who wanted their homes to be featured on the site.  The Selby’s website became so influential — with up to 100,000 unique visitors daily—that within months, top companies from around the world began asking to collaborate.

These projects have included ad campaigns and collaborations with Louis Vuitton, American Express, FENDI, Nike, Microsoft, Sony, Airbnb, Hennessy, Ikea, eBay, Heineken and a solo show and pop up shop at colette. Todd also has a monthly home column in The Observer Magazine, a monthly fashion column in Le Monde’s M Magazine and has frequently contributed to  Vogue, Architectural Digest France, Casa Brutus Japan and the New York Times T Magazine.

Todd’s first book, The Selby is In Your Place (April 2010) focuses on creative people such as authors, musicians, artists and designers in their homes and the second called Edible Selby (October 2012) focuses on the kitchens, gardens, homes and restaurants of the most dynamic figures in the culinary world. The third book in ‘The Selby’ series, Fashionable Selby, was published in March 2014 and explores the kaleidoscopic world of fashion, featuring profiles of today’s most interesting designers, stylists, haberdashers, models, shoemakers, and more.

Before working on this project full time Todd worked as a translator and Tijuana tour guide to the International Brotherhood of Machinists, a researcher into the California strawberry industry, a Costa Rican cartographer, a consultant on political corruption to a Mexican Senator, an art director at a venture capital firm, an exotic flower wholesaler, a Japanese clothing designer, and a vermicomposting entrepreneur. Todd currently lives in New York City. His pastimes include going to the airport, eating four square meals a day, breaking his computers, and working on his tan.


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.

Alec Soth On Taking The Photos You Want Versus More Commercial Images

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There are photographers who can juggle these two impulses, but most fail. Better to either take the path of making money or making art. In my case, I didn’t plan on making a living with my art. I had a job at an art museum and figured that would be my future, but kept doing my art as a separate activity. I’m glad I kept it separate. Had I tried to become a commercial photographer, I couldn’t have kept my focus.

Source: I’m Alec Soth, Magnum photographer and founder of Little Brown Mushroom. Ask me anything! : photography

The Art of the Personal Project: Matthew Johnson

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:  Matthew Johnson, based in Austin, Texas.

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How long have you been shooting? 
This is just my second year shooting freelance editorial and commercial work, but for the past 15 years I’ve assisted and worked on and off as everything from a staff photographer for a Major League Baseball team to an aerial photographer for a marketing firm.
 
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Mostly self-taught.  I have a magazine journalism degree from University of South Florida, but the program was writing based with just a handful of photojournalism classes available as electives.  They really resonated with me though, so I signed up for every one available.  This was in 2000, so I was spending time in both the darkroom and in the computer lab learning some early version of Photoshop, but everything was still totally film based. 
 
Once I had taken all the classes provided in my program, my professor was kind enough to help me out by first recommending me for an internship shooting for the university’s PR department and then connecting me with my first job out of college shooting for a Major League Baseball team.
 
After a season of shooting baseball I ended up putting photography on the back burner for about 5 years as I started a charter fishing business and was working full time as a fly fishing guide.  By the time I came back to photography, things had changed so much I felt like I was starting from scratch again, learning anything and everything I could from experimenting on my own, assisting, and reading everything from library books to blogs and forums.
 
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
This project came about when I was hired for a commercial job shooting a handful of resorts down on the Yucatan Peninsula for a startup travel agency.  Being down in the center of this world-class fishing area of the Yucatan was the perfect opportunity to work on this project with a subject I’m really passionate about.
 
Fly fishing has been a big part of my life since I was a kid growing up in Oregon spending all my free time camping and fishing.  Before moving to Austin and getting back into photography full time I lived down in Key West where I had gotten my Coast Guard Captain’s license and started a charter fly fishing business.  For 5 years I split my time between Key West and SW Alaska where I spent the summers working as a guide at a remote fly fishing lodge.  So fly fishing and outdoor culture have always been favorite subjects. 
 
I have such a romantic idea about the lifestyle of fly fishing so it was exciting to work on a project trying to capture that feeling.  It was really my dream project: spending time on the water with good people, meeting local guides and even setting down the camera long enough to catch a few fish myself.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it? 
This was shot on a single trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in about a week.  My projects are often something like this, where I shoot them relatively quickly while on a trip.  On the other end of the spectrum, though, I have some projects going that focus on annual events that I only get a chance to work on for a few days every 12 months.  Right now I have portrait projects focusing on fireworks stands owners and the youth culture at the Texas Relays track meet that both fall into this category.  I’ll keep working on these projects for at least another year since I’m really enjoying them, but I like sharing the work while it’s in progress.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I’m not someone that is shooting a new project every week so I’ve usually put quite a bit of thought into what is interesting to me about a project and how I’ll want to explore the subject before I’m actually shooting anything.  So if I get to the point of taking the first photo it means the subject intrigued me enough that I’m definitely getting something out of it.  In order for a project to turn into a long term effort there has to be some challenge or lingering questions that I couldn’t quickly or easily answer, but every project that I’ve ever started has ended up working for me on some level.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
When I first started showing my book around I didn’t have much personal work in there, but I would often pull out some loose prints from my own projects and I quickly realized that people really enjoyed seeing that work.  The personal work is bound to be more inspired and unique, and is the type of work that I want to get more of, so I realized that separating the two just didn’t make sense.  I will have commissioned jobs that I don’t use for my portfolio, but I don’t really ever have personal work that I wouldn’t want to share in my portfolio or on my blog.  

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I’m a big fan of Tumblr, and I’ll post photos on Instagram as well.  I deleted my Facebook account about two years ago and the decision still brings a smile to my face.  It was never a good fit for me, I just didn’t enjoy it.  I felt really uncomfortable every time I posted something, like I was just highlighting the cool things in my life, while on Tumblr and Instagram posts are just about my work.  It’s also really nice to be connecting with and following photographers, artists, editors, etc. rather than having an endless social media feed of weird updates from distant relatives or people from high school that I don’t really even know. 

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nothing too crazy, but I’m always surprised by which images on my blog are shared the most.  I recently posted a set of images from the boardwalk in Santa Cruz that were taken early in the morning with nobody around so the park has an eerie deserted feel to it, and even though I liked the images I was surprised by the response.  You never know what might hit a cord with people. 

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Definitely, I sent out around 200 postcards highlighting this project and have tried to send printed promos out with all the projects that I’m most excited about, since they show exactly the kind of work I’m wanting to get commissions for.

Artist Statement:  Fly fishing is often romanticized as a quiet, meditative art practiced standing thigh deep in a mountain stream, but serious anglers have progressed the sport beyond rivers and lakes to the saltwater flats of tropical destinations around the world.  Combining the skills of fly fishing and hunting, anglers stalk the shallow waters looking for difficult to spot game fish like bonefish, permit and tarpon that can be individually targeted, often in water that is only a foot or two deep. 
 
This exciting form of fly fishing has it’s own culture and romanticism: early mornings at the boat dock as the sun rises, the smell of sunscreen and saltwater, gorgeous expanses of tropical water all to yourself, powerful fish jumping into the harsh equatorial sunlight breaking tackle, and the cold beer that invariably waits at the end of the day with labels from places like Mexico or the Bahamas.  This work attempts to capture that excitement and anticipation of the next trip to one of these tropical paradises to chase fish with a fly rod.

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Matthew Johnson is an editorial and commercial photographer based out of Austin, Texas.  Before landing in Austin he grew up Oregon, and spent time in the Florida Keys, SW Alaska and Jackson Hole, Wyoming working as a fly fishing guide.  Prior to his obsessions with photography and fly fishing he spent all his time running, competing as a distance runner in multiple NCAA championships while at USF.   You can see his work at http://www.matthewjohnsonphoto.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 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.