Category "Personal Project"

The Art of the Personal Project: Ackerman + Gruber

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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: Ackerman + Gruber (Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber)

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber Ice Racing in Minnesota.

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

How long have you been shooting?
We have been shooting professionally for 6 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
We went to grad school(Ohio University) for photography, which gave us two years to build a solid foundation to work from. That along with test shoots, commissioned work, and personal projects have all played a huge role in our continued growth.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Ever since we moved to Minnesota in 2010, we’ve been working on another personal project, Frozen, about the people and places in Northern Minnesota. This project that we are sharing here, Frozen Speed, is another chapter in that body of work. It’s also extremely quirky and we’re suckers for anything quirky so it was basically a no-brainer for us. We stumbled upon it one Saturday afternoon and have shot about 10 races so far.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
We’ve been working on it for the past two years and only now are we starting to present the work.

We’re also still working on it and this winter the focus will be more on the motion side of things along with shooting stills until we aren’t finding any more surprises/gems in our take. This project allowed us to test our drone in extreme conditions so we will continue to we will continue to explore it from above.

Despite living in a social media age of immediacy we work on our personal projects quietly for years without ever sharing them. We love doing this as it gives us time to explore a subject and really formulate not only the project but our aesthetic approach for each project. Along with Frozen Speed, we have been working on two other projects that have yet to see the light of day. We also love this way of working since it’s so relaxed compared to the intense and quick nature of the editorial and commercial shoots we do.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It really depends on the project. Some projects last a day for us and the magic just isn’t there or it wasn’t what we were hoping for so we are happy with single images and we move on. Often we give a project some time and we realize the fire hasn’t left us and there’s still things we can say with the project so back out we go.

Most of the personal projects we start seem to linger for years and just organically come to a close when we feel like there’s nothing more we can say with our images or the passion dwindles.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
We try to approach both the same. Most of our personal work ends up in our portfolio. We’re strong believers in showing what you love shooting. Obviously commissioned work doesn’t always work out that way and the art direction might call for something else. Despite that, we always try to make an image or two that is us. The great thing about personal work is that it’s “personal” so our head isn’t muddied with thoughts of what the photo editor or art director might be looking for but rather we let our eye and mind explore and find images that speak to us. If all goes well the images hopefully speak to others as well. We have been lucky enough to have some great photo editors and art directors that allow us to go explore too and make it personal and those are the best assignments we can ask for.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yep we use Tumblr, Instagram – @ackermangruber, Twitter – @ackermangruber and our personal Facebook profiles as outlets for our work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nothing has reached the point of trending, but some of the projects have gained decent traction. One of our personal projects, Trapped, – http://www.ackermangruber.com/trapped seems to catch on in different circles (mental health, prison reform, photo) on the web so it’s been interesting to watch over the years as it gains traction in different parts of the online community and even in traditional print outlets (TIME and Newsweek). We have been invited to speak at numerous national justice reform conventions about the work and it’ll be a solo gallery show later this year because of it all gaining traction online. Another project, Miss, – http://www.ackermangruber.com/miss which documented Miss USA and Miss Universe has also received a decent amount of buzz and awards over the years with the last surge being a feature on Refinery29. The Frozen Speed – http://www.ackermangruber.com/frozenspeed project was recently highlighted on Wired and it led to a handful of emails from others wanting to highlight the work.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
For sure! We do this with most of the personal projects we work on. The last personal project we used in a promo was our Blue Ribbon – http://www.ackermangruber.com/blueribbon project and we sent creatives a 20 page booklet of the work along with a blue ribbon that awarded them first place as a top creative. We received great feedback on the promo and it placed in the self-promo category of the PDN Photo Annual. We were in NYC for meetings this past fall and editors still had it pinned to their wall, which was great to see.

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Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber are a husband and wife photo team. They work as a collaborative team on shoots, sharing roles as director and photographer. The two work seamlessly as a duo to bring one creative vision to all their shoots. They take an authentic approach to their work and specialize in providing images of real people to advertising, corporate and editorial clients. Their work has been described as colorful, genuine, full of life, and soulful. Ultimately they strive to make you feel something with their work.

Their work has been honored by the Communication Arts Photography Annual and Advertising Annual, American Photography, PDN Photo Annual, Review Santa Fe Center Project Competition any many more. Their most recent documentary film won an Emmy and they were named a McKnight Fellow and to PDN’s 30 Photographers to Watch in 2012.

Their work can be viewed at www.ackermangruber.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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Pete Barrett

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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: Pete Barrett

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How long have you been shooting?
I started shooting on my own in 1995.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to school for photography but really learned the business by doing. I assisted for a few years and then did production work for a few years for some pretty high profile shooters. I learned a lot those years and folded that knowledge into what would become a pretty decent photo career.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The American Worker Project was actually a branch of another project I am working on. You see my wife suggested a few years back how great it would be to get an RV and travel all over the country and I could plan shoots wherever we go. The plan was to set out across the country and see as much as we can see and shoot everywhere we go stopping the journey periodically whenever work calls to hop on a plane and shoot whatever jobs we get, then pick up where we left off… I had lengthy discussions with my rep and others about what types of things I could shoot while on the road. Beyond the obvious subject of shooting in the many great locations we are going to travel to, what stood out more to me were the various interesting people we will meet along the way. I’ve always been interested finding out what people do for a living. Who they are and what they do. When you dig just a little, you find that people have pretty interesting stories and there are a ton of great visual stories to be told.

Well after what seemed like a year of planning we set out on our adventure back in September. So far it has been a whirlwind trip. Out of everything we are shooting The American Worker Project seems to be taking the forefront. The idea really resonates with people and I have a nonstop stream of people who are asking to be involved or are giving me suggestions that point me in the next direction to travel. I have never been busier than we are right now. Between shooting our travels and the people I meet and having to stop and fly out for actual jobs it has been a blur. We had to hit the pause button around the holidays just to make time to actually get caught up on a huge backlog of images that I need to edit, retouch and finish and start putting out there in front of people.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
We are really just getting started as I said before. But we are off to a great start. There is really no end of potential people we can shoot.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I’ve done personal projects in the past but none that has the legs that this one does. This one is working and shows no sign of stalling out. I could see myself exploring this for at least a year or maybe longer at the pace we are doing and perhaps producing a book and/or even doing some gallery shows with the finished series.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
This project in particular has been very freeing for me. While my normal lifestyle work is very loose and natural it still tends to feel like I have to shoot with a certain idea, subject or end client in mind, which can be somewhat restricting. With this project I have been thinking less about those things and really just concentrating on exploring the person and the environment before me and trying my best to tell their story. I have always found that when you let go and experiment, that is often times when you make some of your best work.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
In addition to showing my work on the normal channels of my sourcebooks, my website and blog, I also share on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Behance and LinkedIn. I’ve also got people working the phones a few times a month just reaching out to clients and trying to guide them to see the work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I’ve never had it go viral per se but I have been able to get myself some great press in the past. Less for my personal work but more for some of the higher profile national advertising work we have shot. For this particular project as it seems to resonate with so many people, I’ve hired a publicist to assist me in getting the word out as well so we can hopefully create a more rounded story that will get picked up across social media platforms and get shared over and over.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I’ve printed small runs and mailed them to targeted clients but never on a large scale like we do with my more commercial work. I will with this one though as we have so much to share. I will most likely do a series of small mini books featuring 4-5 people in each one and send them out every few months but still keep the print runs relatively small and only send out to select clients.

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For nearly two decades award winning photographer Pete Barrett has created imagery for a virtual who’s who list of creatives, advertising agencies and clients on a national level. Pete’s work which spans the genres of people, lifestyle and sports lifestyle imagery is portrayed in a way that is timeless and captures real life moments in a way that is very natural and organic.

Growing up in the northeast, Pete was instilled early with a “whatever it takes” type of work ethic and a sharp witted sense of humor. Pete has a tireless, fun & creative energy about him and surrounds himself with like minded people. Regardless of the size of the production, large or small Pete and his crew apply the same meticulous attention to detail, service and creativity. This consistent level of high production value, and creativity that Pete and his team bring to every shoot, has resulted in many happy and loyal clients who repeatedly come back to work with him on many different shoots and campaigns throughout the years.

You can follow Pete and his ongoing travels and projects on his website @
http://www.petebarrett.com/ or on his blog @ http://blog.petebarrett.com/ Follow along on Instagram @PeteBarrettPhoto

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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: Russ Quackenbush

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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: Russ Quackenbush

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How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting professionally for 20 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I have a BFA from the Art Institute of Boston now called Lesley College of Art and Design.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
My wife at the time had a storefront space on Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica, CA. I stopped by one day while she was prepping for a job and noticed a decent amount of interesting people walking by. I learned that some of the people were getting their car washed on one side and walking buy to Starbucks on the other side. I ended up renting a space next to hers for a short period of time. So I set up a backdrop and one light and decided to photograph these people as they were passing by. I offered them 5 dollars to answer 5 questions and then sit for four minutes. Which turned into 5 minutes of total time. The inspiration was that I got to meet all these cool people that I might have never otherwise.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I only worked on it off and on for about 6 months. Then I moved out of the space and haven’t touched it since.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That a great question! It’s something I’ve struggled with throughout my career. Not the knowing if I like it part, but the continuation of completion. I tend to get tired of projects that I start and move on. They never end, but just go dormant. I have several projects that I’d like to continue at some point. To answer your question, I guess if I like it enough to hang it on my wall then it’s working for me.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I don’t see the two as being different. I shoot what I like and then it goes into the portfolio. Not all my personal projects are a perfect fit for the portfolio, but I’ll still put them up online for a little while. It’s really important to follow that inspiration your feeling because it will always bring something new to your work. My Wild Kingdom series isn’t in my portfolio, but it’s something I enjoy shooting and now I have some images for my wall.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I tend to use social media more as a timeline of my personal life than for marketing. Some stuff goes up on Facebook but it’s pretty small in comparison to my personal stuff.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not as of yet! Perhaps, this post could be the first to get that ball rolling :-)

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
All the time! That’s the most important thing for any photographer. Show your personal work.

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Russ Quackenbush creates visual images of humanity that reflect the qualities we cherish most in each other. In his portraiture, he gently documents the relics of a subject’s life experiences as they unfold and present themselves in the emotions of their face, the language of their body, and the energy of their being. Russ’ photography gives us license to laugh, play, rejoice, or to mourn. It is through his images that we are led respectfully and thoughtfully into the life of another.

Emotionally charged landscape photography compliments his portraiture work. Russ embraces the powerful energy of place as presented to him in textures, tones, and colors. Through these he creates a complex visual record that conveys the rich history of the site. One gets a clear sense of what has come before and what is destined to be.

It is these same sensibilities that he brings to his work in commercial advertising. Traveling throughout the United States and abroad, Russ is always inspired by new environments and motivated by new challenges. Ultimately, it is his love of photography that is reflected in final result.

Upon starting his business in 1996, he has received a myriad of awards from the Photography and Advertising Annuals of Communication Arts, The Ad Club, and The One Show. Creativity Magazine, Archive, and Photo District News have all featured Russ and his work. It was 2001, that Photo District News distinguished Russ in their “30 Under 30”, presenting him as a young talent worth keeping an eye on. He has certainly lived up to that prediction.


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: Steve & Anne Truppe

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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: Steve & Anne Truppe

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How long have you been shooting?
5 years

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

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
We have always been drawn to local businesses that combine good people, beautiful spaces, and delicious food, plus we are huge coffee junkies. Heritage General Store hits all of those high notes for us–it’s a killer coffee shop, they have their own line of bicycles, and it’s run by the sweetest people. We decided to document the energy and character of the environment to bring attention and support to this wonderful establishment.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This shoot only lasted a few hours, but the idea of it is deeply rooted in our beliefs of supporting local businesses that are doing great things.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It really depends on how elaborate the idea is and how much production it involves. Sometimes it is only a few hours, sometimes it’s years. There was a shoot we did this year that involved live ducklings which we had to plan for months in advance and then wait for the little peepers to be born! Currently we are working on a personal video project that has taken almost a year to complete, so it really differs. We typically want to take the time to craft a cohesive story and vision for any personal project we work on, but sometimes it is nice to just dive into an environment and document things as they unfold like we did with Heritage General Store.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different? It feels very freeing to shoot personal work, but also challenging. Sometimes we get bogged down by the daily grind, leaving little room for the creative juices to flow, but it is extremely rewarding to see our ideas materialize. We’ve also noticed that showing personal work has attracted prospective clients and ends up shaping and influencing our paid gigs.

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

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not viral, but we have been featured on some great places: ADC Global, Working Not Working, and The Chicago Tribune.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
We have! What we have found is that our personal work tends to be the thing that connects with people the most. Plus, since they are passion projects, there is an excitement that comes out when we talk about it which can be infectious.

Artist Statement
As photographers with backgrounds in architecture, we have always been inspired by what makes a place special. It’s the people, the details, the process, the design, and the environment that brings that story to life for us. With documenting Heritage General Store, we were given free reign by them to do what we needed to do, even allowing us to jump behind the bar with the barista. Diving right in like that helps us to create authentic imagery that gets to the heart of what a place is all about.

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Steve + Anne Truppe are a Chicago-based husband and wife photography and video team who strive to evoke emotion and authenticity in all of their work.

While studying architectural design at the same college, they quickly discovered how well their creative visions meshed, but decided to pursue a joint passion in photography instead. Together they established TRU STUDIO, shooting side by side on commercial and advertising projects.

Steve and Anne love to travel and explore new places while sipping delicious coffees. Every Friday Steve and Anne make homemade pizza, which they have dubbed ‘Pizza Friday!’


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: Michael Spain-Smith

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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: Michael Spain-Smith

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How long have you been shooting?
17 years – 1998 marked the opening of my first studio in Philadelphia.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Photography schooled – yet primarily, and especially, self-taught.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Principally? My insatiable sweet tooth! Specifically? This love of fresh, local honey that I have acquired from my travels around the world. For this project, I really just wanted to learn. Honey-harvesting, much like a vineyard produces wine, is a year long commitment. Nurturing the bee’s environment by planting selected floral varieties close to the hive and annually introducing a new queen is only some of many variables that factor into the equation for a successful season’s harvest – a dedicated and laborious process that stands only to be appreciated. And in my mind – photographed. My rep, Kim Knight, and I are big proponents of sustainable foods and farming. When I shared with her this opportunity to shoot a honey harvest, we knew it had the potential to bring awareness to a larger platform – the serious impacts on Honey Bee health that threaten an estimated one-third of all food and beverages that are made possible by pollination.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
One day of shooting. However, roughly one year of patience and planning for that late fall “day of harvest”.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It could be an immediate shoot planned on the fly or years in the making. In fact, some of my best work was never planned at all – merely just the result of me deciding to pack my camera! I think the important thing to highlight here is that I’m always shooting and always exploring light. It’s what keeps my skills fresh, my eye challenged and my work relevant.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I approach all assignments or portfolio shoots the same. Before reaching for my camera, I take some time to get inspired; to find something I can connect with – sometimes it’s the lighting, sometimes it’s a mood – but I find a connection. Reflecting on some of my best work, this critical component of my creative process has been ever-present. For me, shooting is a lifestyle – a passion. Yet, as a business, the goal of my personal work is to reflect my ability to fully understand the essence of a brand by illustrating its elements, details and emotion in a way that guarantees a captive audience.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Absolutely! I post regularly and share many visuals that may have been a moment from a national campaign or part of a series of a personal work. I feel it essential to your brand as an artist to take the time to post work that reflects your individual personality, vision, color palate and style.

One of the elements that is, now, a large part of requests for advertising work is: creating a gallery of custom visuals for the brands social media content. What better way to show your style and understanding a brand’s pulse than with a personal series of something you have captured naturally?

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
It has! Shooting celebrity pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini’s, recent cookbook project Sugar Rush images have gone viral from a single posting many times. It’s really fascinating to see the trajectory of social media making a global footprint in seconds to audiences across the globe. Social media is powerful tool that should be respected yet utilized.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
All the time. Virtually all of my personal work is used for marketing to either reach new, potential clients or touch base on past relationships. I shoot a personal project at least once a month and, if traveling, always plan for a day of creative time to shoot local elements or people in an environment not always accessible to me.

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MSS is a seasoned photographer, worldwide traveler and motorcycle racer who loves speed and adrenaline but often enjoys a long road trip as a favorite place to concept and unwind.

Following his passion as an advertising and lifestyle photographer, he is known to capture authentic moments often told with a luxury lifestyle feel in a story-telling and stylized way.

Classic and pure, consistent and deliberate whether in-studio or on remote locations, Michael is a veteran collaborator and patient problem solver that make him a memorable photographer to work with.

To MSS, it’s all about capturing and enjoying the smooth ride.


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: Dana Hursey

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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 use the database for their marketing with Yodelist. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com.

Today’s featured photographer is: Dana Hursey

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How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting since I was a teenager, but professionally 27 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I attended Art Center College of Design and studied both Photography and Film (BFA Photography)

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The 14 Days Project is the brainchild of David William Gibbons. It was meant to be a melding of film and photography coming together in a documentary format revealing the commonality and shared humanity of people regardless of age, ethnicity, locality, or economics. David had just completed the “14 Days in America” production when we met and the visuals revolved around a central location where the filming and still photography were taking place against a simple white seamless. In seeing the rough cuts of the “America” project I expressed my support to David about the project and its themes, and encouraged him to use me as a resource if I could be of any assistance moving forward. Almost immediately David started to prepare for the next production, 14 Days in Great Britain. Through several subsequent discussions it seemed like a natural fit for me to join the team. However rather than following the staid formula of photography on white I proposed “going out into the surrounding areas and photographing people in their environment. “

The project itself is a bit grueling and for me was emotionally draining. The concept is to traverse the entire country in 14 days. And that is exactly what we did. We started in the Isles’ of Northern Scotland and hit 14 cities, in 14 days (including Ireland) We would arrive on location and start setting up around 6 am. We would shoot all day (with a quick break for lunch as each individual found a moment) and wrap around 6 pm. We would then grab dinner and then drive (or in the case of Ireland – fly) to the next city. Get a few hours of sleep and then do it all again.
We started with a crew of about 24 (film & 2 still crews) but about half way through there was a group of 7 that walked off the production. (Drama!) The rest of the crew picked up the slack and we finished our tour in London. Personally I shot portraits of more than 600 people over the 14 days. This was a pivotal project in my career as it completely took me out of my comfort zone and pushed me beyond exhaustion. When I got back to the states I was convinced that I never wanted to do anything of that sort again. It took me nearly three months before I could truly sit down and look at the images objectively. And by the time 6 months had passed I could not wait to do it again! The people of Great Britain were SO generous. In requesting to photograph people spontaneously in the moment, out of over 600+ people my recollection is that less than 5 people said “No Thank You”! (AND they all signed model releases!!) I know it helped that we were part of “a Production” that had been publicized widely before our arrival, but still most were unaware of the project when we made our request.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
So the whole project was shot in 14 days. We started showing it about 6 months later. The imagery appeared in the 90 minute documentary and it was also shown in exhibitions in both the US and UK.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
For me, if something is not working immediately I move on… Thankfully on this project I had objective voices weighing in. This was SO outside my wheelhouse I felt like I was not getting ANYTHING, but David and others on the crew were overwhelming voices of reason and encouraged me to just continue what I was doing.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I am not sure I DO feel that it is different.. for me.. Anymore no matter what I shoot, if I am passionate about it, it somehow makes it into my portfolio.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Not as a complete package.. more of “an image here, or an image there”

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?
Yes, I do use personal work to connect with clients especially if they have reacted to it previously, while seeing it in my portfolio for instance.

The 14 Days Documentary Project is a collaboration of photography and film with the goal of unifying people through our commonality and shared humanity. Dana Hursey’s role in the project, Environmental Portrait Photographer, brought an additional layer to the “Great Britain” production, where he shot over 600 environmental portraits over 14 days.

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Dana Hursey is an award winning Los Angeles based Commercial Advertising Photographer and Southern California Native. Having graduated from Art Center College of Design, Dana’s broad-based knowledge has offered him the opportunity to shoot for a wide range of clients. Be it lifestyle, still life, or quirky conceptual images, he is able to imbue a sense of vibrancy, cleanliness, and humor. His work has been exhibited both here and abroad and his years of experience have afforded him the privilege of serving on boards of several organizations. Dana also recently completed a compilation cookbook featuring portraits and recipes from35 of L.A.’s top chefs. You can find more of Dana’s work at hursey.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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.  She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information in the belief that marketing should be brand driven and not by specialty.  Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Mark Rogers

- - Personal Project, Working

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: Mark Rogers

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How long have you been shooting?
I picked up my first camera when I was 9. It was a Kodak x15 Instamatic with one of those cube flashbulbs. The first image I ever remember taking was of our black cat sitting in a bed of red azalea bushes. I think the pet photography thing was predestined.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught. Both my dad and his dad were into photography and passed it on down to me. My grandfather was a newspaper reporter who shot his own stuff and my dad picked up the bug from him. I remember an image my dad took at a beach of a sandpiper running in the surf and thinking: “I want to be able to do that, too.” (see, animals again)
After that I did the classic shooting-for-a-high-school-year-book thing and always had a camera around but it stayed a hobby for a long, long time.

When I moved to San Francisco in the 90s I started volunteering at the San Francisco city animal shelter and began bringing my camera.  Folks at the shelter started telling me the images were a lot different than the ones they were used to seeing of the animals there and that’s what inspired me to eventually leave my corporate job and spend my work day on the ground with dogs and cats instead of in a cubicle.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
My career as a professional photographer had its roots in volunteerism and giving back and I continued doing pro bono work with animal welfare groups after I started shooting professionally 10 years ago. VET SOS (Veterinary Street Outreach Services) was one of the  early ones. I knew immediately I’d found something special. When you go to one of those clinics and see firsthand  the special bond between the homeless clients and their animals it’s a life changer. I knew it pretty much couldn’t not be a project after my second clinic. I photographed a young woman with her puppy while he got his first veterinary exam. Six months later I got an email from her out of the blue and she said she’d seen the photos online and sent one of her and the puppy to her parents. It was the first time they’d communicated in over a year but started them talking again. She moved back home a month later and was still there with her dog getting her life back in order.  That blew me away.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Truth be told it’s been presented in bits and pieces the entire time. VET SOS has used a number of images over the years to help with fundraising and shots have appeared in a book on the human-animal bond as well as an exhibit in LA on pets of the homeless. I decided about 6 months ago to make it part of my project portfolio on my new website and it finally saw the light of day a few weeks ago when that site finally rolled out.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I tend to have a hard time letting go of something once I start it so I’ll do my best to either make it work or see if there’s a way to use anything I’ve already shot on something else in the future. I find that if I stop working on something for a bit and go back to it another angle or approach becomes clear.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
With the personal work I feel like I can stretch a bit more and worry less about specific outcomes. Portfolio and advertising jobs shoots are very planned out. They’re produced and lot more controlled. Granted, any shoot involving animals has an element of unpredictability but the VET SOS clinics are essentially veterinary MASH units set up in the middle of a street. There’s dozens of people and animals and no room for much equipment. It’s generally just me and my camera trying to stay out of the way and catch the moments so there’s not really time to plan it and do special set ups. It’s a lot more freeing but also tougher to get images you really want because of nasty light conditions or people walking in front of you at the perfect moment. I don’t know for sure if any given shot is going to work until afterwards but I also think that lack of control over all the external factors helps me focus a bit more. I don’t want to make it sound like combat photography but the element of risk of not being able to get a shot seems to make for a better shot.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post quite a bit on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. VET SOS actually posts the images on their facebook page and a lot of the clients are on facebook and have email.  That was something that really surprised me.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not quite viral yet but there’s more and more broad interest in tackling the homeless issue in the US and with a program like VET SOS where you have that plus the amazing bond between the homeless and their animals it’s something I hope the press and public takes more interest in.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
My first book, was just published in October and many of the images in it were from personal projects I’ve done over the years. I’ve started sending that out as a piece to past and potential clients and have some other promos in the works for next year.

Artist Statement
VET SOS (Veterinary Street Outreach Services) provides veterinary care to the companion animals of homeless San Franciscans through monthly mobile clinics. The relationships between these animals and their human guardians are some of the most profound examples of the human-animal bond I’ve ever seen and I’ve been continually drawn to them as subjects since I began volunteering with VET SOS in 2007.

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Mark Rogers is a San Francisco–based pet photographer known for his ability to draw out the personalities and emotions of his animal and human subjects and the special bond they share. His eye-catching, often humorous images of dogs, cats, and other critters appear regularly in national advertising campaigns and print publications. Mark’s first book, Thanks for Picking Up My Poop: Everyday Gratitude From Dogs was recently published by Ulysses Press.


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: Erik Goldstein

- - 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: Erik Goldstein

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How long have you been shooting?
I started shooting in college but the visual mindset has always been with me for as long as I can remember. I critiqued the framing and angles of my Saturday morning cartoons.
 
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both. That is to say that I walked out of school with a good understanding of how my equipment worked but my biggest source of education was assisting photographers and throwing myself head-first into things. I am constantly learning and finding inspiration in the work of others and what’s around me. I think the day that stops is the day I hang the camera up.
 
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I grew up watching Marty Stouffer and sponsored a hump back whale with my allowance. Nature has always played a huge role in my life and we are living in a pretty exciting time for conservation and awareness. In a matter of seconds a story can reach the world. It’s a very powerful tool. 
 
I wanted to find a way to give back and bring attention to a conservation issue in the US. I wanted to inspire involvement and highlight a lesser-known issue having to do with a very significant portion of North America’s history.
 
How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project has been on going now for over a year. The scope of it grew very quickly and I decided to cover it as a documentary along with the photo story. 
 
I presented the photo portion of it midway through and the movie is currently in editing. Look for the trailer soon!
 
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I typically have a list of possible projects. I like to write them out and live with them for a while. I find the right ones manage to surface on their own. In the case of this project, it resonated with me almost immediately.  
 
Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I would say there are a lot more similarities than there are differences. Clients want something genuine that connects emotionally. I want the same thing from my personal work. Its important to shoot what you love to bring authenticity and emotion that people can connect to. 
 
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post images to Instagram (erik.goldstein), and will post blog updates on Facebook (Erik Goldstein Photography) and Twitter (erik_goldstein).
 
If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I have not seen anything go viral yet.
 
Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I primarily show my personal work when reaching out to potential clients. It’s the most upfront view of who I am and how I think as an artist.

Statement:
The American Prairie Reserve focuses on the revitalization of the Northern Great Plains, an area that has played a huge role in America’s history and a type of habitat that is greatly under-protected globally.
 
Up until the 19th century this area remained fairly untouched. During America’s expansion in the West, much of the Plains were, and still are, utilized as agriculture and ranch land which has had a destructive effect on the ecosystem. At the same time, bison were hunted to near extinction. Finding the right approach to help restore this area is complicated due to the delicate balance among government, local communities, tribes, land owners and scientists.  
 
There are so many dedicated people behind APR. The physical size of APR was the biggest challenge. I lived on the prairie following the animals, volunteers and scientists. Telling the individual stories was essential to understanding how such a big project works. I also had the privilege of doing a fly-over which really puts things to scale.  
 
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Erik is a commercial photographer, videographer, and director. Located in NYC, Erik specializes in outdoor lifestyle, fitness and travel. Erik’s personal work focuses primarily on conservation.


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: Craig Pulsifer

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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: Craig Pulsifer

East Samar, Philippines - Nov. 8, 2013 - Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hits land in the central islands of the Philippines with wind gusts over 300 km/hr - 6,340 people died in the largest typhoon in recorded history. 100 days later, relief efforts were only just beginning to make an impact.

East Samar, Philippines – Nov. 8, 2013 – Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hits land in the central islands of the Philippines with wind gusts over 300 km/hr – 6,340 people died in the largest typhoon in recorded history. 100 days later, relief efforts were only just beginning to make an impact.

Tacloban, Philippines - A man looks in through the window of a jeepney (local taxi van) that is bound for Guiuan where typhoon relief is still much needed.

Tacloban, Philippines – A man looks in through the window of a jeepney (local taxi van) that is bound for Guiuan where typhoon relief is still much needed.

The death toll for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has reached 6,300, with 1,060 still missing. Whole communities lost power, water, transportation, medical and police services, housing and livelihoods.

The death toll for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has reached 6,300, with 1,060 still missing. Whole communities lost power, water, transportation, medical and police services, housing and livelihoods.

Operation Blessing International is the humanitarian relief wing of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/the 700 Club). One of the largest charities in America, Operation Blessing provides strategic relief in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis.

Operation Blessing International is the humanitarian relief wing of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/the 700 Club). One of the largest charities in America, Operation Blessing provides strategic relief in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines - Makeshift classrooms shelter elementary students on the playground slab where once an entire school complex stood.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines – Makeshift classrooms shelter elementary students on the playground slab where once an entire school complex stood.

Doc Tiger Girrado helps Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) haul educational supplies for an elementary school trying to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

Doc Tiger Girrado helps Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) haul educational supplies for an elementary school trying to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

Children receive much needed educational supplies from Doc Tiger and Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) as part of efforts to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

Children receive much needed educational supplies from Doc Tiger and Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) as part of efforts to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

A young girl joyfully clutches her new school supplies donated by Operation Blessing International, the relief wing of the US-based Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/700 Club).

A young girl joyfully clutches her new school supplies donated by Operation Blessing International, the relief wing of the US-based Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/700 Club).

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines - Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Kelly Yangco and others perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines – Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Kelly Yangco and others perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Dental instruments, cleaned with water and water, lie ready for the next wave of children visiting the makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

Dental instruments, cleaned with water and water, lie ready for the next wave of children visiting the makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines - Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Atom Kobayashi helps to perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines – Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Atom Kobayashi helps to perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Relief Operation Coordinator, Dr. Tiger Garrido, smiles at a young boy undergoing a tooth extraction at a makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

Relief Operation Coordinator, Dr. Tiger Garrido, smiles at a young boy undergoing a tooth extraction at a makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

How long have you been shooting?
I was shooting for fun back in the 70’s when it was a fad to frame an Instamatic diagonally. That migrated to 35mm and 6×7 for a time, but dad said I’d starve as a poet so I went into forest engineering. By 1999, I could see what industrial forestry was doing to watersheds and decided I’d rather starve. I’ve been shooting full time ever since.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m mostly self-taught through books, manuals, mentorships, workshops and a steady diet of trial and error. But I admire those who have taken time away from shooting to learn how to do it well.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) smashed into the central islands of the Philippines on November 8, 2013 and the news was really hitting home for us. My father-in-law (Tatay) has relatives in Palo, just outside of Tacloban near Cebu, and he wanted to get help-money in. He specifically intended it to go to a nephew Ryan, who was missing; so we made some calls and volunteered to help out where we could.

My wife, who has worked as a nurse, flew with me to Bohol where relief efforts were still underway for victims of a 7.2 earthquake that had hit the area 3-weeks earlier. While there, we got wind of a medical mission flying into Tacloban, a town that Typhoon Yolanda had all-but-flattened; so, we set out to find my wife’s cousin by chasing a separate story with the working title, “Saving Ryan Privately”, a story that has yet to be told properly.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
We’ve always had a big heart for S.E. Asia and have been doing photo-walkabouts to the Philippines for over 10 years. In 2013, when Typhoon Yolanda struck, organizers of our “Kids at Risk” project* (see footnote) wanted to contribute to an Emergency Disaster Relief Fund for Yolanda survivors. That fit nicely with other interests we had on the ground and it offered a chance to show donors and participants what those funds looked like in action.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Hmm… tough question. For me, a humanitarian story ‘works’ when it motivates others to get tangibly involved in the story – and that certainly happened with the Yolanda Gap Relief story. But I admit, without the metrics of opt-ins and dollars earned, boxes delivered and bellies filled, it’s pretty tough to quantify the success of most personal projects.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
My personal work is very different than the commercial portfolio work, and that can be frustrating – like that Ian Hunter album “You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic”. But the bottom line is that most creative challenges get me stoked – whether it’s a humanitarian cause or selling a bar of soap – because in the end, it’s the commercial work that frees me up to tackle personal projects.

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

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The humanitarian work hasn’t gone viral, but I’m more interested in qualified engagement than the number of views there.

On lighter stuff, I’ve seen some interesting metrics. There was a DIY blog post called “How to fix a stuck filter” with a hammer and hacksaw that F-Stoppers and PetaPixel picked up on. And there was a gear-related video for Lowepro called Watertight that hit 50,000 views, but both were a long way from viral.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. Last year I collaborated with consultants Pedro & Jackie to print a tri-fold photo essay called Ukraine: Postcards from the Motherland. It was passed around at PDN PhotoPlus Expo last year and received some great feedback but no concrete work. That was probably the wrong venue for something as documentary/editorial as that. I’ve still got a few hundred kicking around if you want one.

Artist Statement: Creative talent is the most valuable currency an artist possesses. How better to spend it than on projects that bless others and hopefully feed the greater good of us all.

*Footnote: In 2010, my wife launched a small fundraising program called “Kids at Risk” in Salmon Arm, BC to educate her friends about the pressing needs of Filipino street kids and get solid help over to trustworthy feeding and educational programs in the Philippines. More on that, here: World of Good [length 4:45]

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Commercial lifestyle and portrait photographer, Craig Pulsifer thrives on that line between personal and product assignment work. He draws inspiration from Gully Jimson, Bruno Gerussi, Larry Towell, and some of today’s top news shooters who work to master the craft of fine-art storytelling.


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: Amy Mikler

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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: Amy Mikler

A 12 year old girl orphaned by the genocide in Rwanda

A 12 year old girl orphaned by the genocide in Rwanda

Masengesho helps prepare dinner by picking through the rice.

Masengesho helps prepare dinner by picking through the rice.

Masengesho walks to get water at dawn. Gisenyi, Rwands

Masengesho walks to get water at dawn. Gisenyi, Rwands

Masengesho's least favorite chore is carrying water back home. Understandably,  as the jug weighs around 44 pounds.

Masengesho’s least favorite chore is carrying water back home. Understandably, as the jug weighs around 44 pounds.

Masengesho mops the floors at her family's apartment after school.

Masengesho mops the floors at her family’s apartment after school.

Masengesho does the dishes outside on the ground with a basin of water and a bar of soap.

Masengesho does the dishes outside on the ground with a basin of water and a bar of soap.

Masengesho drinks her breakfast porridge before school

Masengesho drinks her breakfast porridge before school

Simple wooden desks and well used chalkboards are the standard classroom features in Uganda.

Simple wooden desks and well used chalkboards are the standard classroom features in Uganda.

Masengesho sits outside her apartment wearing her one pair of shoes.

Masengesho sits outside her apartment wearing her one pair of shoes.

Masengesho answers a question at the chalkboard at her school in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Masengesho answers a question at the chalkboard at her school in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Raising arms for class, Masengesho competes for the right answer with the other students.

Raising arms for class, Masengesho competes for the right answer with the other students.

A favorite fruit of Masengesho's.

A favorite fruit of Masengesho’s.

Masengesho playing drums and singing along with the fellow members of her church's children's choir.

Masengesho playing drums and singing along with the fellow members of her church’s children’s choir.

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Wearing a typical Rwandan mish mash of patterns, this stately lady waits at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Wearing a typical Rwandan mish mash of patterns, this stately lady waits at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Mothers wait with the babies at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Mothers wait with the babies at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

How long have you been shooting?
Full time since 2007

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Hobby, then school, then assisting, then topped off with a lot of self-prescribed “assignments.”

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The first time I went to East Africa I struggled upon my return to articulate the vast differences in a typical East African’s neighborhood structure and daily routines. Happy for an excuse to return, I set about finding a willing child I could document: someone old enough to articulate some dreams, but young enough to have that open innocence and time that is helpful to a documentary project. I didn’t want a starving kid, nor an atypical wealthy child either for my One Child One Week project. I was fortunate to find Masengesho Julien, a sweet 12 year old girl in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Because of the nature of travel time and costs to Africa, the project was a one week shoot from start to finish. I did sit on the images for a while, but did eventually add it to my site. Simply out of love for them. That said, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t come back from Africa with beautiful images, it is a place full of lovely light and gorgeous people. 
After I shot the project my hope was to repeat the process in another country, but I haven’t pulled that off yet. I’m eyeing Guatemala though.…

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I just started a new one, so I will let you know! The One Child One Week | Rwanda project was born of such love and curiosity that it seemed weird not to share it. The newest one is a little more challenging: one day, one old TLR, one roll of 120 film, and one final grid showcasing all the images after processing.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I still strive to achieve images that people will want to look at, but love the freedom and challenge of chasing ideas that aren’t constrained by advertising goals or editorial copy. That said, I go in knowing that the images may never be seen by anyone but me. If I feel it fits in with other work and won’t completely confuse the viewer, I might mix images into my website. But my latest personal project is just to challenge myself to slowly see the scene around me and to treasure each push of the button.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Not really.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
No. I printed a One Child One Week booklet of the little girl so I could send it to her, and gave it to a couple curious friends.

ARTIST STATEMENT
One Child | One Week | Rwanda was born out of equal parts love of the beauty to be captured in Africa, and a desire to show and share what day to day life looks like for a typical East African city child. What do the homes look like? How is the classroom environment? What do daily chores entail? Life in Rwanda is both beautiful and hard, and hopefully these photos capture a little bit of both.

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Amy Mikler is a lifestyle & kid photographer based in Austin, TX. Her journey to photography began with a Christmas present from her grandparents at age 9, and initially resulted in creating scenarios for the neighborhood kids to model in. For some reason she did not consider her beloved hobby when considering majors, but after spending most of her disposable income on photography throughout her twenties, she decided she either needed to find a cheaper hobby or go back to school for photography. Thankfully the latter worked out. She shoots for a variety of commercial and editorial clients, and deeply appreciates them allowing her to use her “hobby” to make a living.


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: Jonathan Hanson

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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: Jonathan Hanson

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How long have you been shooting?
I started taking pictures about 10 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m mostly self taught aside from a few darkroom classes and workshops.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I was in a bar in Baltimore and saw a young man walk in who reminded me of model/actress Grace Jones. I was intrigued and began questioning the way we see femininity and masculinity. After our portrait session, I posted some of the images to my blog and I received emails from readers wanting to know his sex. The reader responses encouraged me to continue to question current gender classification and to continue the work.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I’ve been working on it on and off for the last year. As soon as I had enough images that I thought showed the viewer my voice and vision, I posted it to my website. Its a work in progress so as it develops, I’m presenting it to various outlets for publication.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if its working?
Its tough to say because I think its relative to the project. With this project, I new I was on to something after the first portrait session.

Since shooting for you portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I look at shooting for my portfolio and personal work as the same thing. My goal is to shot what I love and make a living from doing it.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post a fair amount to Facebook and Instagram. In January, the project was published in The Washington Post Magazine as a six page feature and they shared it across their social network which helped it gain some traction.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I mostly use personal work for self promotion because I think it reveals a little about me and shows off my style a bit.

“Androgynous” is a portrait series focusing on people with a single sex who have a combination of both masculinity an femininity in their physical appearance. The subjects are a mix of people who identify with different sexual orientations and genders, breaking assumptions based on current prescribed gender roles. Through the series, I hope to challenge current gender classification and question the way they see current cultural gender frameworks and beauty. Through the series I propose male and female dualities are interconnected and complementary forces instead of opposing, thus creating a fluid spectrum of gender and sexuality where the whole is greater than the parts.

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Jonathan is a Los Angeles based editorial and commercial photographer with roots on the East Coast. Culture, people, music and color inspire much of his work. He received dual degrees in Creative Writing and Journalism from Drake University before setting out on his photographic career. He credits early street photography for seducing him into being a photographer. Jonathan’s work has been recognized by ASMP Best of 2014, The Magenta Foundation, PDN, NPPA, The International Color Awards and the Eddie Adams Workshop.

Clients include – Adidas – Adobe – Bank of America – Billboard Magazine -DeWalt – Discovery Channel – Der Spiegel – Ebony Magazine – EssenceMagazine – Fortune Magazine – Inc. Magazine – Johns Hopkins – Miller Lite -NPR – Men’s Health Magazine – Sports Illustrated – The Advocate – The Guardian -The Huffington Post Magazine – The London Times – The New York Times – The Observer – The Smithsonian Magazine – The Wall Street Journal -USA Today – Verizon website: jhansonphoto.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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Rhea Anna

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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 use the database for their marketing with Yodelist. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com

Today’s featured photographer is: Rhea Anna

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How long have you been shooting?
I’m trying to remember the first time I picked up a camera. Grade school… maybe. I’ve been obsessed with photography forever, and this obsession still burns bright in me to this day. My brain just thinks in images. I remember in pictures. In my head, I’m constantly framing flashes of moments and thoughts.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
My journey in photography started in college but was in no way a direct route. I received a BFA in photography from SUNY College in Buffalo NY and then took a detour and found myself as a first mate on a sailboat in the Caribbean. After 5 years of traveling the seas, I made my way back north and started freelance assisting for photographers in the Rochester area (think RIT, Kodak, IBM…). With some perspective and a new sense of direction, assisting helped me pick up where I left off with my education. I consider assisting the most important part of my education. It was here that I combined the theoretical piece from my fine arts background with the technical insights learned in studios across Rochester that I really started to shift from exploring photography to being a photographer. My love for learning the craft has never stopped and I still enjoy taking weekend workshops and seminars whenever I can.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Throughout my career, there’s been a piece of advice that seems to come up over and over again. Find your Voice. Find your point of view. Now express it in your work. I’ve been working with this in mind for years, I think that’s what makes my lifestyle work consistent. This advice is something every successful commercial photographer pulls into their process, and rightfully so because it’s helped develop a lot successful careers. That said, I’ve also found that it can be a bit confining at times. With inspiration hitting me from every direction, there are so many ways of seeing, so many ways for me to interpret those images swirling around in my head.

For this project, I gave myself the gift of releasing myself from those boundaries. The inspiration was to go out and push myself to shoot this work without feeling like the images needed to fit into the portfolio or speak to a particular audience. I wanted to be that little girl obsessed with photography, but before she learned to be a commercial photographer.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Taking on a personal project these days is a particularly complex task for me. My business has morphed into two (photography and directorial/dp work) and I’m the mom of two school age girls. At a certain point something’s gotta give and for me that’s the long term personal project. This work was one month in planning and was shot in 6 days.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Personal projects can mean so many things. I’ve always admired photographers dedicated to an idea or a cause so much so that they’ve committed to shooting the project for years. In my case, my personal project was more like creative play, a push to experiment, less about a well thought out idea and more like an investigation into something raw and unexplored. You can’t really over think this kind of personal project. ‘Anything goes’ was the philosophy here, as long as it felt like I was listening to my own voice. Of course, it didn’t always go like that though. The first day I was constantly trying to shake off my lifestyle hat, which took some time and was really uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I love that lifestyle hat, but I just needed to try on something different here; something that felt like risk. I needed a change in my photographic energy, so I could continue to be excited about creating imagery. Sometimes your work grows the most when you see an edge and you walk right up to it, maybe even jump.

In the end, there are some images I really love, and they will help pave new directions for my future work, both personal and professional.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
When shooting for my book, I’m always thinking about that imaginary client or brand. My goal is to create images that emotionally connect with a client. I want to show them I can capture a moment that will resonate with their customers. My personal project didn’t have a product in mind. In most of the shots, I wasn’t even thinking about what market would find it appealing. So the work looks different, and it taps into a side of my work that’s a bit more introspective and edgy, and sometimes intentionally more somber than lifestyle imagery typically wants to be.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I do post personal work on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter albeit somewhat sporadically. I post to Instagram a whole lot more regularly, mainly because it’s more about the pictures and less about the commentary. Recently I’ve gotten most eyes on my work by posting on storytelling platforms like Storehouse and Shocase, and then publishing theose links on the aforementioned social media sites.

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’m still in love with print, and in the past I have traditionally hand printed my promos, cutting and assembling them in very small runs in my studio. The ‘small and select’ mailing has always been my m.o. Even though I’m not really able to be as hands on with it now, I do still regularly send personal work out in beautifully crafted print promos. Just now I’ve just finished reviewing design ideas for a promo with this body of work. It will go out to a very small group of creatives very soon.

Artist Statement
Visão de Portugal
Visão translates to vision, and this project was about rediscovering my own vision. It was about getting lost and finding a new way; it was about being out of my element.

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Rhea is a creative collaborator, a commercial photographer, director, and DP.

She is best known for bringing a ‘zest for life’ to everyday lifestyle moments. With a close eye on style and design in her work and in her life, the images she captures are fun and carefree. Clients are drawn to Rhea because she is able to connect a deep sense of optimism and a love of life to the campaign’s concept.

Through Rhea’s lens, a road trip or an afternoon playing in the backyard becomes a modern day milestone… one of those moments that are forever etched in your memory as simply “the perfect day”.

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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.  She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be brand driven and not by specialty.  Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Darren Carroll

- - 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 use the database for their marketing with Yodelist. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com.

Today’s featured photographer is: Darren Carroll

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How long have you been shooting?
About 25 years, 20 of them professionally.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Primarily self-taught. I first picked up a camera in high school, taught myself how to use it, shot on my own all through college (I was working on a political science degree), and only after that did I make it down to Austin to attend graduate school in the journalism department at the University of Texas.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I’d been a fan of the barbecue at Smitty’s Market for a long time, ever since I moved to Austin in the mid-1990s. Coming from New York by way of Washington DC, I had never seen anything like it. Not just the food, mind you—although that’s reason in and of itself to go there. There was something about the authenticity of the place. They have a very old-school way of doing things—there’s no automation, no thermometers, timers, or anything like that. Everything is done by hand, by feel, and by instincts — instincts honed by years of experience and decades of doing things the same way, and without compromise. And don’t forget I shot this back in 2009, long before the barbecue craze took hold, both in Austin and around the country. These guys had been doing barbecue this way since before any of these new celebrity barbecue chefs (I can’t believe those three words can actually coexist in the same sentence) were even a glint in their parents’ eyes or in the sights of Visa’s marketing strategists.

More than anything, I had fallen in love with the the light in the building— at certain times during the day it just bounces around in there through these old, dirty, diffused panes of glass and mingles with the smoke and the dark, soot-stained walls of the pit room. I really wanted to be able to play with that.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I only spent about three days, total, shooting it. To be honest, this one was more of a diversion—something that interested me artistically and aesthetically, but it’s also something I knew I could shoot in a couple of days, and so when I had a few days off I just figured it would be a good time to head down to Lockhart (a little town about 30 miles south of Austin) and make it happen.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It all depends. Some you just know, everything is right in front of you and there is a finite amount of things to shoot — almost as if it were an actual editorial assignment. It all clicks into place and you can get through what you wanted—and needed— to shoot in a couple of days. Others—like one that I have been, and am still working on, on Charreada, a Mexican form of rodeo, can take years because every time I go out to work on it I discover something new, and I don’t want to stop because I’m genuinely curious about what the next shoot is going to bring.

Back when I shot the Smitty’s project, I was primarily a sports photographer. I was looking for ways to branch out and trying to come up with projects that I could do in a minimal amount of time that would help establish my reputation as more than just a guy who could shoot action. This seemed like a good way to not only merge my interests with something I could present to achieve that goal, but also something that could be done quickly, working within the confines of what was an otherwise busy travel schedule.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I’m not sure I understand the question…I look at everything I do as a potential portfolio piece, regardless of its origin as an assignment, or a cohesive body of personal work, or even just a one-off, randomly “found” picture on the street. I get just as much satisfaction from a well-executed and successful editorial assignment, commercial shoot, or personal project.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, I have a couple of Tumblr feeds (http://darrencarrollphoto.tumblr.com/ and http://dcarrollphoto-leica-m.tumblr.com/ ) and am on Instagram (@dcarrollphoto).

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

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I have —  promo cards and pieces, books, and sourcebooks.

Artist Statement:
Although it’s only been around for bout fifteen years, if walking into Smitty’s Market gives you the sense that it’s been there for a long, long time, that’s because it has. Sort of. Started in 1924 (or so legend has it) by a man named Kreuz as a butcher shop and general store with a couple of brick barbecue pits in the back, it was taken over by Edgar Schmidt—“Smitty,” to the locals of Lockhart, Texas—back in 1948.
 
Schmidt retained the Kreuz name–as did his progeny who took over the shop and, in the mid-1990s, moved the by then-famous barbecue enterprise about a mile up the road to a cavernous, gleaming paean to commercial restaurant modernity, resulting in a nearly-as-famous family feud about the past, present, and future of the business. Enter Smitty’s daughter Nina, her husband Jim, and her son, John, who in 1999 decided to take over the original shop and make sure it kept doing what it had always done. One side of the family kept the Kreuz name, the other kept the building and the pits. And it’s those pits in the back, still in existence and operating on a daily basis, that have provided nearly a century’s worth of the smoke which fills the rooms and cakes the walls of the restaurant with a rich, silvery brown patina which today’s most technologically advanced color sampling programs could never duplicate.
 
But that’s what a place like Smitty’s is all about–the realization that there are some things that a machine could never do. The ingrained belief that it’s not a matter of being old-fashioned (although the customer experience it creates is a good by-product), but that authenticity means being genuine to the core and not taking even the slightest technological shortcut. There’s something to be said for not giving in to the lure of automation, and standing by the credo that good barbecue depends simply on fire, a well-built smoker, good cuts of meat, and someone who knows how to put all three together without a timer, a thermometer, a computer program, or, God forbid, a propane tank.
 
Of course that’s an oversimplification, and to an outsider smoking a hunk of beef or pork appears an easy thing to do—in some ways, just as the idea “taking a picture” seems simple. But spend enough time watching the pit masters and the sausage-makers and the butchers relying on nothing but their senses and intuition to consistently deliver the quality and the sensory experience that makes a visit to the place memorable, and you realize that it’s not so simple to put it all together.
 
But don’t take it from me. Next time you’re in Austin, take a drive about 30 miles south to the little town of Lockhart. Drive past the giant tourist trap of Kreuz Market and pull off U.S. highway 183 into the dirt and gravel parking lot.  Walk through the back door and let the smoke hit you as you stroll past the open flame of the pit, and order your meat. It’ll be served up on a piece of butcher paper with nothing but some white bread and a knife–there are no forks here. Plunk down your cash (no credit cards, please), take your package, and find an empty folding chair at one of the community tables in the dining room. Dig in.
 
It’s just that simple.

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Darren Carroll is a commercial and editorial photographer specializing in portrait and sports work with a photojournalistic approach. Clients include Sports Illustrated, ESPN:The Magazine, Forbes, Hyatt Hotels, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. A New York native, he lives just outside of Austin, Texas with his wife Jessica, son Jake, and golden retriever, Shea.


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: Cole Barash

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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. http://www.lebook.com/coleBarash

Today’s featured photographer is: Cole Barash

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How long have you been shooting?
Since I was 14, I think… So 14 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught. I tried going to photographer school and left after three weeks. Brooks was such a joke and rip off. I really wish I would have at least looked at a good school like Parsons, Pratt or Art Center in Pasadena which all have pretty legit programs.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Talk Story is about the sub culture of the North Shore of Hawaii that is loosely anchored around John John Florence (prodigy surfer). Every year thousands of photos are shot of all the action of the progression of surfing on the North Shore on Oahu. The beach is lined with huge telephoto lenses and always focused on the action. I wanted to go there and create a body of work that was complete opposite of that, 180 degrees away from the water. Digging deep into the rugged localized north shore culture showing portraits of specific influential people, the colors and anything my gut re acted on why making the work not worrying about if it was going to work or not. Also focusing on the home life of John John as he is a very soft spoken but huge part of surfing that is kept pretty under wraps.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
One year.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Depends. A few months to a year. I like to go out and make new initial work/ working images out from my brain- print them, look at them and see if it is worth exploring deeper and more details. I need to see it in a tangible way first- usually.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I make work that is quite different than what I am hired to shoot. Sometimes it has influences but mostly its different. When you are commissioned to make work you are under some one else approval, vision and at their mercy. Which is totally fine as I see it as a service that I can provide and can be into it as well. Personal work- I take pretty seriously and focus more time and energy on that than commercial work. When the commercial work comes it comes and I’m hyped to do it but I don’t stress on it or focus on how much money I can make every year. I focus on creating work from my gut, as it’s the only way I can progress personally- the only person I’m up against is myself. I want to create real bodies of work that puts my stamp on the map so when I die people can hopefully find my visions and different specific perspectives on certain things, which I do with books and prints.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yea mostly MySpace. ). Naw, haha of course I for sure have but it’s not something I rate it with. I measure my work from how the people I respect react to it not how many likes or re blogs it has.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Sure. Tumblr madness- and some press on certain projects has been great. I think it is now a really valuable way to spread news and show people what you’re working on or what you’re thinking but not necessarily as a whole or tangible object.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Definitely not. I don’t believe in making my art books as promos. I don’t make books to get more work I do it as a creative expression and a tangible perspective as well as a contribution to the printed community of art and photography. Not saying that my rep hasn’t made promos with images from personal work which she has and it has looked great but the books as promos- not me.

Talk Story
I wanted to create a body of work that to show the true colors, beauty, grit and life of the North shore anchored around John as a main subject. Portraying the life at home inner details that makes/made his life what it is. I made it to make a statement of an era of surfing and Hawaii that ideally you will be able to look back in 20 years in your hands and see with your own two eyes not through a computer screen. This was made as a contribution to surfing for nothing but the true salt, blood and bones its roots.

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Cole Barash (b. 1987) began his journey when he left his New England home at sixteen to document snow and surf culture in California. Self-taught and dedicated, Cole soon made a name for himself. With an organic approach to film photography and a clever eye for composition, his portraiture and still lifes became known for their candid and spontaneous sense of intimacy.  Well acquainted with international subcultures, Cole seeks “subjects where the boundaries are more open, not as seasoned, not done before,” capturing “unpredictable outcomes in a predictable world.” In 2011, Cole relocated to Brooklyn, New York where he now resides permanently.      

One of PDN’s top 30 upcoming photographers (2009), Cole’s work has been featured in group shows “Get Gone” (2008), “SILENCE” (2009), “Hot Bed” (2013), One Eyed Jacks Gallery (2014) and the Annenberg Space (2015), and a solo exhibition “Cold Emotions” (2009) at Montanero Gallery in New Port, RI. Cole’s first monograph book, Talk Story, and accompanying exhibition opened at Brooklyn’s Picture Farm Gallery in July of 2014 with a subsequent exhibition at Venice Arts Gallery in LA.  Cole’s images have been featured in numerous publications including, Rolling Stone, ESPN Magazine, Relapse Mag, and No Thoughts, among many 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 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: Tim Tadder

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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. 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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Edgar Artiga

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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: Edgar Artiga

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How long have you been shooting?
About 15 years. For the last 5 years, I have primarily been focusing on sports and fitness photography.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I have an AA degree in photography. I also worked for a large production studio as an assistant and studio manager for the early part of my career. I view every job or project as a new learning experience.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I love photographing athletes of all kinds and recently have been very drawn to the variety of different fighters who step into the ring. I love the level of intensity that is associated with fighting. For this project, I wanted to get a glimpse into the personalities of these fighters and the training and preparation they put in before stepping into the ring. I have shot recreational fighters in the past. However, I wanted to photograph professional competitive fighters, including those who already have their pro cards and some who are still fighting to get one. I came across a local DC area gym, Level Up Boxing and Fitness, which trains MMA, Muay Thai kickboxers, and boxers. Several fighters who train at this gym were a great fit for the project. I loved the personal story of one fighter in particular, Luther “Lights Out” Smith, who, at the age of 36, left his 9-5 job to teach boxing and follow his dream of becoming a champion fighter. I was intrigued by the kind of person that would put everything on the line for the love of a sport.

A lot of my sports imagery is produced and involves lots of lighting. For this project, I wanted to diversify my work by using a more natural documentary approach to capture the moments and feelings of these fighters putting in their work and training at the gym. I included some lit portraits, but shot most of the images using natural light.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I started this project just this past spring. Some of the images are up on my website and some are in my printed sports book. I definitely plan to continue to follow these fighters and continue shooting local fighters for this project.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually know after the first shoot. Even if it is not working, I usually get something out of it even if it is just a learning experience. This particular project not only produced some great results in terms of imagery, but I also really enjoyed spending time with these fighters and photographing them as well as having the freedom to explore new approaches with my sports photography.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
For me, portfolio and personal work are one and the same. For both, I am always striving to produce the best work possible and to explore new things, whether that is new subject matter or different photographic approaches. My personal shoots don’t always make it into my portfolio, but I always shoot with my portfolio in mind. The great advantage of personal work is that it gives me the freedom to try to push things in new directions and experiment with something new. In the end, this is the kind of work for which I would like to get commissions.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes. It’s a great way to show new work and get feedback.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet, but that would be a great opportunity.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Some of the images from this project are in my printed sports book and on my website. I am planning on using some of the images from this project for an upcoming e-promo and also in the process of putting together a printed promo piece from the project.

Artist’s statement:
I love the intensity of fighters, and for this “In the Ring” project, I wanted to capture professional competitive fighters in their training environment. I was particularly drawn to the story of one fighter included in this project, Luther “Lights Out” Smith,” who, at age 36, left his 9-5 job to teach boxing and follow his dream of becoming a champion fighter. I was intrigued by the kind of person that would put everything on the line for the love of a sport.

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Edgar Artiga is a commercial and editorial photographer based in the DC area who loves connecting with and capturing people. His signature clean and simple style carries through the wide range of his work.

Edgar lives in the DC area with his wife, two sons, and trouble-maker chocolate lab Coco. He can be found here: www.artigaphoto.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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Jim Golden

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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 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.

The Art of the Personal Project: Stephanie Diani

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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: Stephanie Diani

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How long have you been shooting?
For money? Since 1998. For fun? Since I was in middle school, though I was using disc cameras and 110 film back then.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught. A degree in Classical Archaeology only gets one so far in the photo world. Everything else I had to learn on my own.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I was still relatively new to Los Angeles, and fascinated by the culture of beauty, youth, and plastic surgery, when I happened upon a burlesque review in the desert. I loved the attitude of the older performers — they were so confident and sassy. I wanted to get to know them.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I worked on it intermittently for about a year and a half, networking from one woman to the next, trying to find women who had been performing for decades.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I’ll usually give myself at least two shoots on a project before I allow any gut feelings to influence my decision about whether to chuck it or not. But sometimes I know after the first session if something will work. I knew with the Tribe series that it was going to be an interesting project, and DAMES as well.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Every time I go out with a camera, I work towards getting that little sparkle in my brain when it all comes together. The feeling that makes me giggle a little bit — when lighting and gesture and attitude are all working together and I know I’ve got something.

I try to bring that giggle to every job, but sometimes it just isn’t going to happen and the end result is not ‘me.’ But I bring my A-game to every shoot, and when it’s done I move on to the next one.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yep. Tumblr and Instagram, both of which link to my twitter and FB pages.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
DAMES got picked up by Slate’s photo blog Behold, and I think from there it got onto Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, maybe a few other sites. DAMES was also featured at GETXOPHOTO a few years back, a photo festival in Getxo, Spain. Those images were later exhibited in Peru at a university. Crazy/random/awesome.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Absolutely. I still have a printed portfolio and personal images are incorporated into that, as well as on postcards and email blasts.

DAMES: The Legends of Burlesque

The Legends of Burlesque—ladies of a certain age who perform and teach younger dancers—came onto my radar at a Miss Exotic World pageant in Helendale, Calif. At that time the Burlesque Hall of Fame, where the pageant took place, was housed in a small ranch-style home in the middle of a remote desert, where tumbleweeds blew past a split-rail fence. Women of all ages strutted their stuff next to a small, rectangular swimming pool past a gaggle of admiring fans and enthusiastic photographers. The performers who impressed me the most were women in their 50s, 60s and 70s who stripped down to pasties and won over the audience through sheer brazen showmanship. They flaunted their bodies with a confidence that I’ve never had and an eroticism I never expected.

I began researching the names of longtime dancers well known in the burlesque community. My intention was to make portraits of Legends in their homes if possible, wearing favorite costumes or other articles of clothing they found meaningful. I started in the winter of 2009 with Stephanie Blake of Simi Valley, California, who referred me to another lovely lady, who referred me to another, and so on. I also found subjects online and through the Burlesque Hall of Fame website.

I loved spending time with the women: they were wry and smart and playful. In June 2009, I photographed Hall of Fame legend Big Fannie Annie, by her own account 450 pounds of sizzling sex, in a hotel room in Vegas where she and Satan’s Angel were getting ready to perform during over Hall of Fame weekend. Angel asked Fannie: “Do you have any of that cum-in-a-can I can use?”—a reference to the industrial strength hairspray that is an essential tool of their trade. Another, Toni Elling, took her name from Duke Ellington, whom she used to know.

I was sad to learn recently that a few of the women that I photographed have passed away. Joan Arline, a slender stunner I photographed wearing the same lacy black costume she performed in 55 years ago, died in the fall of 2011 of leukemia. Candy Baby Caramelo, who was very proud of her 48DDD bust and who had playfully eyeballed my male assistant, passed away that same year. And, according to her Facebook page, Big Fannie Annie has struggled with ill health.

My photographs of these fascinating women have been exhibited in Kansas City, Mo., Getxo, Spain, and Lima, Peru – the latter two with GETXO Photo, an annual photo festival that uses unconventional exhibition spaces, from the inside of shipping containers to drink coasters, to showcase photographs. http://www.stephaniediani.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.