Category "The Daily Edit"

The Daily Edit – Liam Doran

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Elevation Outdoors
Editor-in-Chief/Photo Director: Doug Schnitzpahn
Powder
Director of Photography: David Reddick
SKI/Skiing
Photography Director: Keri Bascetta
Photographer: Liam Doran

What was your first paid editorial assignment?  
It has been a while so I’m not totally sure, but I think it was a backcountry trip I shot for Powder Magazine.  We got on the Durango-Silverton train and were dropped off in the middle of the Weminuche Wilderness. From there we would hike in six miles and climb a few thousand vertical, put in a base-camp and ski 14,000 foot peaks for a few days.  When we got off the train, I had a fever of probably 102 and it was pouring rain.  It was a brutal hike but I made it in, but my fever would’nt break for another 36 hours.

How many days a year do you travel?

I would guess about 150. I now have two young girls, Bergen 4 and Elsa 2, so being gone for long periods of time puts a lot of stress on the family.  I am fortunate to have an amazing wife who very much supports my work and understands what it takes for me to achieve my photography goals.

For a shot like this there are no do overs. Are you stationary or also skiing?  
During the shot I’m stationary of course but as a ski photographer you certainly have to be a very proficient skier.

How many locations did you scout for this cover shoot for Elevation Outdoors?
None really.  The location is Coal Bank Pass which is between Durango and Silverton in southwest Colorado.  My athlete Sven Brunso skis here regularly so he knew where the snow and light would be best. We were able to work about a 1,000 foot section of ridgeline from top to bottom and set up 8-10 different shots on the way down.

How long did it take you to skin up to this location.
( climbing skins are a tool that backcountry skiers use, to ascend the mountain ) We were moving pretty efficiently so I would guess about an hour maybe hour and a half.

How cold was it; does it affect your camera gear?
It was single digits when we left the car but as the sun came up it warmed to the low 20’s. I use a Canon 1DX and it has great battery life so the cold does not affect it really.  I use Sigma lenses exclusively and they have never had any issues due to cold weather.

Where did you find the cover model, who is it?
Actually the athlete found me on this one.  Sven Brunso called me up and invited me to come ski some of his favorite spots.  We had a great shoot (this is our third cover together) and we continue to work together.

Since you’ve been doing this for so long, do you know you athletes limits?
I do…and they know mine!

For a fresh powder shots there are no do-overs. Do you train for ski season assignments since you are also carrying gear?
Fitness is a huge part of being a successful ski and outdoor photographer.  I will do some ski specific training during the lead up to ski season but more importantly I try to maintain a high level of fitness throughout the year.  You can’t concentrate on photography if you are exhausted from your hike up the mountain, so I am sure to build plenty of athletic time into my workweek. The few days a year that I get to ride/ski/hike without my pack I feel super fast!

How can you tell it’s time to call the shoot to avoid injury?
Unfortunately injuries are part deal in ski photography. They can happen anytime but usually it happens at the end of the day when everyone is getting tired. I have had numerous broken bones, deep lacerations, two blown knees and other injuries.  Most of the skiers I work with have had the same or worse.

Tell us about the “Fresh” image for SKI, how does your equipment perform in those conditions?
This image came from a shoot up on Coal Bank Pass.  I had just received Sigma’s new 120-300 f2.8 lens and was looking to put it through the paces.  Sven Brunso (the skier) and I got up well before sunrise and drove to a spot on the pass that Sven had previously scouted.  The 120-300 is a big lens so I can’t get it super deep in to the backcountry.  Luckily this shot was close to the road.  For anyone wondering the lens is stunningly sharp and we got a Photo Annual cover in Mountain Magazine and this full page for SKI the very first time I shot it.

You had an interesting route to the Arizona Snowbowl, was that part of the Powder assignment to travel through Monument Valley?
Traveling through Monument Valley was not specifically part of the assignment but to get to Arizona Snowbowl from Breckenridge, CO this was the best route.  We knew snow conditions would not be ideal and that the travel aspect of the story would be important and that’s what got me thinking about this shot.  More specifically how to get an interesting shot that was not the cliché of looking down the road to the monuments.
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How did you convince your wife that you needed to take her car instead of your truck?
Ha! Yes well convincing the wife to take her car was not too tough.  I drive a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and my skis and photo gear live in the bed while I’m on the road.  To make this shot work from a storytelling perspective I would need to see the skis on top of the car.  Since my wife’s car has ski racks it was a no brainer that I would need to take her car. By now she is pretty accustomed to my photo shenanigans and she was kind enough to acquiesce.
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The Daily Edit – Beatriz Palomo: Vanity Fair Spain

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Vanity Fair Spain

Editor: Lourdes Garzón
Art director: María San Juan
Graphic designer: Cristina González Vieco
Photo Editor Mangaer: Beatriz Palomo
Photo Editor: Sara Ocón

Heidi: How much of your photography is assigned?
Beatriz: In Vanity Fair Spain aprox 20% of the photography is assigned. The rest of the content of the magazine is either syndicated from Condé Nast international titles, licensed by Condé Nast US archive, photo agencies, illustrators, photography archives, or other (film, music, fashion or beauty brands, personal archive from subjects that are interviewed, etc.)

What resources do you use to look for photographers?
In Vanity Fair Spain photo edition department, we search among almost all archives, websites, agencies and photographers. Our daily work is to look for the best and most unseen photographs for our features. Web/Internet is the most used resource, as well as other magazines work (both our Condé Nast International titles and competitors) and our unique Condé Nast US archive.

How many promos do you typically get in any given week?
I usually get between 50 and 80 in a week, many of them are not interesting for the magazine, but I love to receive good photo stories anyways, even if they are not what I am looking for the magazine I work for. I always try to save some time to review and see all the promos that I get (from photographers, from photo agencies, from illustrators, from representatives…). Even if the story is not related to the magazine I try to thank and send some feedback if I have liked the work (mostly in the times that I think ‘here is a very good photograph’). I truly think it is good to share this with photographers. If I would be -or when I was a photographer myself- on the other side, I would have liked to hear any feedback of my work (positive or negative, in my personal opinion, they both help).

(there is a Spanish phrase that says: always try to give what you would like to receive yourself).

Along with photo editing, I see you teach. What course do you teach and where?
I am also collaborating as a jury for ‘Visa pour l’image, Perpignan Festival ‘ since 2014 and as a photographer’s portfolios viewer with PhotoEspaña (biggest Photography Festival in our country) in 2015.

The course I teach is ‘Photo edition in magazines’. I have given classes here to name a few:

Escuela de Fotografía y Técnica de la Imagen which is Photography and Image Technique School

LENS Escuela de Artes Visuales  Visuals arts school  in the ‘Master de Fotografía de autor y proyectos personales’ which is Author and Personals Projects Photography Master

IED Istituto Europeo di Design in the ‘1 year Fashion Communication course’  where I taught 1 year fashion communications.

Universidad Complutense de Madrid, a the Science of Communications University is where  I taught in the 3rd year of Audiovisual Communications, documentation course.
This is also  is where I studied my major/degree.

The Daily Edit – Mitch Feinberg: Marie Claire

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Marie Claire

Market and Accessories Director: Kyle Anderson
Fashion Director: Nina Garcia
Editor and Chief: Anne Fulenwider
Photo Director: James Morris
Photographer: Mitch Feinberg

Heidi: How did this project evolve?
Mitch:
I have a wonderful relationship with Marie Claire. It is one of the few American fashion magazines that treat fashion still life pages as an opportunity to advance passionate editorial views on accessories and not simply as a vehicle to please advertisers. Their Market and Accessories Director Kyle Anderson, Fashion Director Nina Garcia and Editor and Chief Anne Fulenwider all take a direct interest in demanding that the pages are strong and fresh. For a still life photographer, this is a thrilling context in which to make new work.

Months before a final art due date, Kyle sends me jpegs of the next accessories story.  The story subject might be based on a color, a design direction, materials or a cultural reference. It’s usually my responsibility to come up with a visual solution, although occasionally he or someone else will have a few suggestions. I pitch just one idea, including swipes from industrial sites or stores that refer to the environments I want to create. I do not like to make drawings or send “finished” images — it is better to keep things loose so that I have room for spontaneity. Once I send the pitch everyone weighs in and we go from there.

For the Haute Tech story, Kyle mentioned that he had a fine jewelry December story in search of an idea. Fine jewelry can be a tedious editorial subject because designs generally do not evolve much from year to year and diamonds are unforgiving in poor lighting conditions — a tough subject to make fresh.

I have been involved with a couple of technology projects and developed an appreciation for a well-designed circuit board. Apple’s boards, in particular, are very fine, all black, with an absolute, maniacal fidelity to minimalism. I immediately thought of making boards that in some way reflected or enhanced the design direction of the jewelry. Kyle worked hard to find pieces that would mesh well with the concept — no animals or organic designs, for example.

How long did the project take and tell us about your process with the engineer?
The editors loved the idea and I got to work in July.  We all figured no one had done this, at least not at this scale. My original intention was to design and order the prototype boards myself. I spent a day or so learning the nomenclature and general design principles. I already knew that board design can be devilishly difficult in the details, but straightforward designs are fairly easily to execute. There is a very large community of amateur board designers associated with platforms like Arduino, as well as many foundries that specialize in prototyping. I downloaded one of the popular free software packages and set to work. I started with a good drawing I had already made in Photoshop for the first design – the black Chopard board. Then I hit an unexpected wall. Circuit board software is designed to make circuit boards, not pretty patterns. Duh. A user first builds a schematic with all the components and only then moves on to “routing”, finding the shortest, most efficient paths to lay the “wires” between all the components. Clearly, I was not going to easily figure out how to build a schematic that would allow me to “route” the wires in a predetermined pattern.

Help was needed. I spent a considerable amount of time on tech blogs and the Web looking for an engineer that had both an aesthetic view on the world and the technical skills required. I came across one man, a fellow in England named Saar Drimer, who had a circuit board design company called Boldport. He had gone so far as to write a program that allowed him to import illustrator files into a circuit board-friendly design environment. I emailed him almost immediately. He quickly understood my project. I had found my guy.

I’d imagine the sketches were fairly in-depth in order to create the final “working boards,” tell us about that exchange.
We encountered many technical difficulties. I had to visit the jewelers and carefully measure the dimensions so that the jewelry would fit perfectly into the designs. This was very difficult to figure out, as cutouts also had to be drawn up for the rings and earrings. The magazine was extraordinarily helpful in opening doors, and we were lucky none of the pieces were sold before the shoot. Saar started with my drawings but soon added his own special sauce, making the boards more credible. By the end, we were going back and forth with very rough drawings and he took it from there. It was a lot of work for him, as he also had to design and solder functioning boards with the LEDs. I was also lucky he had a very good foundry in the UK that was willing to work hard on the quality and color of the shadow masks (the non-metallic surface of the boards). We spent about six weeks start to finish. The shoot took just two days, up in my Connecticut studio. There is almost no retouching, just a little cleaning up. I’m old school, I like my images real. We both feel that we executed something new, perhaps opening the door to new designs with circuit boards as a functional, aesthetic material.

How do your ideas manifest?
I wish I knew. they just pop in unexpectedly. On a long walk, in the shower, at an exhibition, anywhere, really. I read a lot, I look at design blogs,  magazines, many non-photographic sources. Unless there is a specific request I stay away from my colleagues’ Websites; too many voices in a photographer’s head can be deafening.

What was your break, meaning how did you get started?  Everyone has a breakthrough project though we all see you as superstar out of the womb.
Thank you. I do not know if I was a superstar out of the womb; I’ve been told that I produced a lot of spit up in my early years. Unless you are Guy Bourdin, many years of work will be required before you find a strong voice. That might be daunting to hear, but I think the best photographers love the process of making photographs. Your voice will come, sometime soon, hopefully. In the meantime, I suggest you make images simply for the joy of it. I have always felt that way, even during the years when my career was uncertain. As in all creative endeavors, this is a tough business. Do it because you love it. Still life photography has always felt like the best way to express myself, I have enjoyed a lifetime exploring how that happens.

What is another creative outlet for you?
Three years ago my wife and I moved to a small farm in Connecticut. I have learned a lot about fencing (not the epee kind), black bears (don’t run), and wild turkeys (not happy when challenged). More than enough new outlets for a guy who spent 28 years in Paris.

The Daily Edit – Cameron Davidson : New York City Aerials

- - The Daily Edit

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Early evening aerial view of Times Square in the Manhattan, New York City.

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Aerial of the Williamsburg Bridge in the early morning, New York City, New York, USA

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Aerial of Manhattan, New York City GPS DATA of shot location. LAT: LONG:

Aerial of Manhattan, New York City GPS DATA of shot location. LAT: LONG:

Aerial of Manhattan, New York City GPS DATA of shot location. LAT: LONG:

Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River shoreline in the late afternoon.

 

Cameron Davidson


Heidi: How long is a typical aerial shoot?

Cameron: It depends upon the project and location.  When shooting over New York City or London, we plot out the times and sun path to maximize our shoot times or to catch the quality of light that the assignment calls for.  Usually about one and half to two hours.

Have you even been both pilot and photographer?
In my early days of aerial photography, right after I earned my pilots license, I would shoot and fly at the same time.  Problem was, for me, the altimeter tended to spin left, which meant I was descending.  I know two fixed wing pilots that are superb aerial photographers and also a Gyro pilot who have mastered the ability to fly and shoot at the same time.  If I was to try it again, I would shoot from an ultralight aircraft.

The key thing to remember about aerials, is, safety comes first.  I fly with a fairly elite group of pilots who know how to fly for the camera and primarily fly for the film industry.  There are a few photographers who have the same or higher level of experience that I have, all of us, are focused on flying safely.  My goal is always safety of the crew, client and myself. Since I am also a pilot, (although inactive at the moment) I know and speak the same language as the pilots flying the ship.  I tend to fly in turbine helicopters and often in twin-turbine ships.  There’s a lot of planning that goes into these flights and we always have a pre and post mission brief.  I never bring unnecessary people along for a joy ride.  That comes from the mantra of “more people equals more weight, more weight in the helicopter equals less power.”  Power is your friend.

What was the genesis for this body of work?
In early 2009, I was on assignment for Vanity Fair in New York City.  The shoot called for recreating the views from the cockpit of US Airways Flight 1549 that crash-landed into the Hudson River.  After I finished the shoot, we flew back to the heliport, I asked the pilot if we could schedule a second flight for sunset and into early evening.  His schedule was open, so we went for it.  I shot at sunset and since it was fall, dusk came quickly.  In 2009, DSLR cameras were not especially good at high ISO and low-light photography.  I decided to keep shooting and cranked the ISO up and see if I could create a usable image.  I did and it became a best seller for one of my stock agencies.

I’ve always been drawn to the intersection of mankind and water.  My work is fairly graphic and the hard lines with dark and light of the city is similar in form and tone to my aerial landscapes of marshes, river and settlements along watersheds.

So far, I’ve published six books and one iPad app on aerials.  My last book, Chesapeake, was a twenty-year love affair with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that was the University of Virginia Press distributed.

My aerial assignment work is a mix of editorial, annual reports and advertising.  Earlier this year I shot a campaign for a automotive company.  The first shot was Manhattan from 9500 feet on a very cold 16 degree day.  The temperature in the cabin, at altitude, was minus three degrees.  Add about sixty knots of forward airspeed and we were a wee bit chilled.  The same project took me to the edge of the Everglades, where I shot as low at forty feet above the water. I’ve shot aerials in over thirty countries.

Discovery Channel assigned me to shoot shoot 360 immersive aerials for the Nik Wallenda walk websites his walk across the Grand Canyon and Chicago River.

That was very much a collaborative approach with their in-house graphics team, specialized software with quite a lot of testing and several pre-flight mission and weather briefs.  We had a half-hour window for these shots due to waiting for light to reach into into the canyons and before the winds picked up. I have flown for so long, that fear does not enter into my mindset.  I fly with good people in solid aircraft and everyone goes in with a safety first frame of mind.  I do say a prayer before every flight and ask for the safe return for all on board.

 

Is there a particular time of day you like to shoot these?
My favorite time of day to shoot is O’Dark early and O’Dark late.  I like working the edges of light.  The first and last light of the day is a challenge and a joy to work with: shadows hide and help create form with structure.  I rarely shoot aerials in the middle of the day.  I can only think of a couple of times in the past few years that I have.  One was in Haiti just after the January 2010 earthquake.  The only time I could schedule the helicopter was between NGO medical missions and that was 2:00 in the afternoon.  Recently I shot a series of B&W aerials of Manhattan in the middle of the day.  I wanted to embrace the hard cold light of late October.  I think it worked.

Are there scouting missions for project like this?
Sometimes, I scout by fixed wing.  Most often, I travel to the location and scout on the ground.  I take sun path plots, gps readings, look at shadow lengths and figure out the obstacles and opportunities.  I also use topographic maps plus satellite images via Google and Bing.

You’re a pioneer in this field, how did the love for aerial develop?
It came to me quite naturally.  I started off as a bird photographer.  I was working on a project for National Geographic Magazine in southern Maryland and I saw a Yellow Piper Cub behind a barn alongside a country road.  I asked the farmer who owned the Cub if he would fly me over the Heron Rookery I was photographing.  He did, for all of $15 to cover expenses.  I was hooked from that point forward.  It was the perfect viewpoint for how I like to shoot.  Graphic landscapes, targets of opportunities and hopefully, a unique image that challenges the viewer.

However, the real pioneers of aerial photography are William Garnett  and Bradford Washburn.  Mr. Washburn was also an explorer, and mountaineer.  He photographed remote mountain ranges in Alaska with an 8×10 camera at, 12,000 feet without oxygen.   I met Mr. Garnett and his wife a few years before he passed away.  In my office, I have a signed print of one of his favorite aerials, an image of Death Valley with rolling dunes and hard morning light. Mr. Garnett is considered by many, to be the grandfather of American aerial photography.

 

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What has been the most surprising/innovative application for this type of imagery that you’ve seen?
Outside of books and magazine stories, I’ve started shooting images that were intended of the movie poster market.  Two of my New York City images have been made into the lead poster for the Spiderman movies. The U.S. Post Office chose an aerial of Blackwater Refuge from my Chesapeake Book project as the image to show marshes in the Earthscapes series of stamps.

Photograph by Cameron Davidson All Rights reserved/© Cameron Davidson Cameron@camerondavidson.com for usage.

Photograph by Cameron Davidson All Rights reserved/© Cameron Davidson Cameron@camerondavidson.com for usage.

Photograph by Cameron Davidson All Rights reserved/© Cameron Davidson Cameron@camerondavidson.com for usage.

Quadopter/Octacopters (drones) have brought a raft of new uses and some of them are incredibly exciting and useful.  Everything from tower safety inspections to mapping, to wildlife counts and of course, aerials from a slower and lower altitude, which I might add, is significantly safer than flying a helicopter at 200 feet.

I have a long relationship with the good folks at Corbis and you can see many of my aerials there.  Also, I launched my own stock library, titled, AerialStock.

The Daily Edit: Isamu Sawa: Mercedes Benz Magazine

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Mercedes Benz Magazine

(Australia & New Zealand)

Managing Editor: Sarah Lewis
Editor: Helen Kaiser
Art direction & Design: Glenn Moffatt
Hair & make-up: Blanka Dudas represented by Hart & Co
Retoucher: Aaron Foster @ Studio ADFX
Photographer: Isamu Sawa

 

Heidi: How did the SHOWSTOPPER JPG project come about?
Isamu: In October 2014, the famous French couturier was bringing his retrospective exhibition ‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ to Melbourne Australia to be held at the National Gallery of Victoria. To coincide with the event, Mercedes Benz who was the Principal Partner of the exhibition wanted to run an editorial in their magazine and commission a photographer that could handle two disciplines; that of portraiture and automotive photography together. Collaborating with Mercedes Benz, Jean Paul Gaultier had created a unique one-off design of a Mercedes SL-Class exclusively for the exhibition and images were required of him and the car for the editorial.

Editor Helen Kaiser approached me and commissioned the photo shoot. Helen knew my capabilities as both a portrait and automotive photographer. She also knew that I was comfortable shooting high profile celebrities; we worked together previously when she entrusted me to photograph famous Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.An  ad campaign was realized by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne to promote the exhibition and I was subsequently commissioned to shoot that as well.

Have you shot for Merc Benz Magazine before?
Yes, a while ago though. If memory serves me right it would have been over 10 years ago when I was still shooting film.

What was the direction from the magazine?
The brief was to capture Jean Paul Gaultier with his uniquely designed Mercedes in the studio; covering off three to four different angles within a very limited time frame of no more than an hour.

Helen Kaiser initially sent me illustrations of the unique vehicle design by Jean Paul Gaultier with his signature stripes; we subsequently discussed shooting against a plain background due to the graphic nature of his design. The main issue however was the limited time allocated with the fashion designer. It would not have been possible to pre-light for multiple angles of the car together with the designer and achieve the sort of result that would do the story and publication justice. After a few days of brain storming I emailed Helen with the idea of shooting his portrait and the car separately…

“…in essence my idea based on the very limited time we have with JPG is to shoot him and the car separately and try to make up nice graphic images. So I suggest we do very graphic portraits of him and make up ‘double-exposed look’ collages of him around the car. I also like the idea of having him and the car in black and white apart from the blue stripes…I think this idea would make it more ‘editorial looking’ rather than looking like a typical advertising shot…”

 With the concept approved, we shot multiple angles of the car on the first day in the studio and concentrated on just the portraits of Jean Paul Gaultier the following day.

How difficult was it too keep the cyc clean and do they roll the car in?
Keeping the cyc clean was not an issue. We laid carpet down to avoid tire marks when driving the car into the studio and onto a revolving floor; once it was on the turntable it was quite easy to turn the car around for the specific angles we needed. The assistants wore protective plastic covers around their shoes when moving around the studio.

Is the car engine ever running at some point?
Yes but only when we initially drive the car in.

What is the biggest challenge with shooting a car, I’d imagine reflections? 
Reflections are ‘one’ of the main challenges when shooting cars in the studio. In this instance however we had the added difficulty of shooting a white car in a white studio; so the main challenge was to create enough light and shade in the bodywork to bring out the unique contours of the vehicle without losing definition against the background; at the same time highlighting the design created by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Was their any wardrobe direction for JPG?
We asked his management to bring some dark plain tops, ideally black and perhaps a jacket for some texture. We didn’t want to be too prescriptive; especially given his line of work, but emphasized that we needed something plain and dark for the ‘double’ exposure idea to work…

 

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I see you have a signed print. Do you often have people sign your prints?
A few days after the shoot I was printing out some proofs of the retouched images and had a wild idea about having them signed by Jean Paul Gaultier. With nothing to lose I contacted his personal assistant via email to see if there was any chance that I could have him sign a set of prints for my personal collection. She replied that, “in the ideal world it would be easy to organize” but she couldn’t promise anything as he had such a busy schedule including a talk and book signing that evening. She suggested trying to catch him at the book signing; which was easier said than done because the evening was booked out. I attended anyway and talked my way into the event and with the help of his personal assistant Jelka, managed to get one print signed. I waited for over two hours but it was worth it. The image hangs proudly in my studio.

I don’t often have prints signed especially these days when we hardly print anything but I do have a set of prints signed by famous Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel and a poster by one of Australia’s most famous bands Hunters & Collectors.

The Daily Promo: Fedele Studio

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Who printed it?
John: Donoson Printing for the video carrier and Bender Graphics for the booklet insert.

Who designed it?
I designed the piece. I began my career as a designer/art director so I still dust off those skills every once in a while to create new feature marketing and promo pieces. My studio has moved into shooting both stills and motion content over the past few years so we needed a way to showcase all of our work in the most efficient and memorable way we could find. It was designed to display all of our content while also having maximum flexibility for future print runs to minimize additional design time in front of my computer –I’d rather be shooting! The branded carrier has only general info about us. The video player has a USB port so we can upload custom motion content, as needed. The still imagery booklet is then printed short run so we can then be as targeted as we want to specific prospects/clients.

Who edited the images?
I edited the images wanting to include a broad overview of our portfolio & reel on this first run.

How many did you make?
We created a run of 100. Given the ridiculously high expense of each mailer we chose to do a small test run first to see how recipients responded. We’re planning a much bigger run for 2016.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
We try to send smaller printed mailers out quarterly/bi-monthly. The more expensive ones like this go out about once a year. Any more and I’ll have to pick up a second job to finance it.

What type of reaction are you getting from the piece?
This is a fairly new technology so it’s been hilarious to see the initial responses. People walk into a portfolio meeting expecting our book and iPad, then see these sitting there waiting for them. “Where in the hell did you get this?”, has been heard more than a few times.

Sometimes the button that auto-plays the video is tripped while in the mail so we’ve heard from a few people that the package arrived and it was playing music. It’s unintentional but guaranteed they’ll open ours first.

The Daily Edit – ArtNews: Katherine McMahon

- - The Daily Edit



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ArtNews

Creative Director/Designer: Artur Wandzel
Creative Editor: Katherine McMahon
Photographer: Katherine McMahon

 


Are all creative editors also photographers or is this a reflective of your large skill set?

For the most part, I’m a Photo Editor. I research, request and edit photos for the front of book and features each month, but I also try to contribute original photography as much as possible. Whenever there’s an opportunity to shoot original photography for the magazine or website, I try to set up a shoot. I’ll discuss concepts/ideas with my Editor in Chief Sarah Douglas, Creative Director Artur Wandzel and the editor or write of the piece. For this shoot, I worked closely with Hannah Ghorashi who wrote the feature. We discussed concepts together before and conducted the shoot/interview within the same 2 hour window. Jenny Kanavaros was the makeup artist for the shoot, and we discussed keeping it with neutral tones but a strong brow.

What is your role at ArtNews?
Essentially,  I’d say my role has elements of both being a Photo Editor and Staff Photographer.

You mentioned you were inspired by an image from her 1976 performance.
What’s your process for sourcing inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. I try to first think big picture but I also like to keep it simple. For this shoot, I re-watched ‘The Artist is Present,’ The documentary that chronicled her 2010 Retrospective at MoMA, and I always find inspiration in looking at old archival images. This image in particular really stuck with me:

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I wanted for us to try to emulate it in a different time and context. Our office is near the Flower District, so I handpicked a few long stemmed red roses the day of the shoot and brought them with me. Before I left dropped them in a vase with some flowers she already had on her kitchen table.

I love the Givenchy dress, it has look and feel of being a headmaster, what drew you to this look for her? I know you thumbed through her closet full of designer clothing.
It was surprisingly simple- Marina picked out the dress, and I loved it. She had so many beautiful outfits to choose from, but I personally loved the high contrast. It seemed bold and assertive in an understated way.

Marina Abramović is widely known for her performance art and clearly a trail blazer in that genre. How easy or hard was it to direct her?
It was a breeze directing her. With every shoot comes vastly different dynamics, like any other relationship or interaction in life. As a performance artist, she seems very aware of her physical presence and very comfortable in front of the camera. She has an intensity in her eyes and I found her to be very charismatic. This was a shoot where I took on a more passive role as the photographer. I tried to just let her do her thing.

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Aside from the simple rose for a prop, you had a candle and matches, why was that?
I had a general idea but wasn’t totally sure what the lighting in her apartment would be like the day of the shoot. I also just like to have a few unconventional props on hand just in case, so I brought a few candles and matches as a potential lighting tool in the event that we wanted to try a few intimately lit images, and I thought it might be nice to incorporate an open flame into the image somehow. In the end, the natural light was too good to pass up and I think that a darkly lit setting for the images wouldn’t have served the story as well. In addition to the candles and matches, I brought two large bags worth of lighting equipment to the shoot and didn’t end up using any of it.

The Daily Edit – GUP : Sebastian Palmer

- - The Daily Edit

Choque, 27, resident of Cracolândia; São Paulo, Brazil.
Choque, 27, resident of Cracolândia; São Paulo, Brazil.

José Maria, 55, resident of Cracolândia; São Paulo, Brazil.

José Maria, 55, resident of Cracolândia; São Paulo, Brazil.

Ariane, 19, resident of Cracolândia; São Paulo, Brazil.

Ariane, 19, resident of Cracolândia; São Paulo, Brazil.

Moisés, 36, resident of Cracolândia; São Paulo, Brazil.

Moisés, 36, resident of Cracolândia; São Paulo, Brazil.

Patron Saint of Impossible Causes, Saint Rita de Cassia, is glued on the window overlooking the room; João, a kindergarten teacher has just become a grandfather. He has given up his home so that his daughter and grandchild have a better start in life.

Patron Saint of Impossible Causes, Saint Rita de Cassia, is glued on the window overlooking the room; João, a kindergarten teacher has just become a grandfather. He has given up his home so that his daughter and grandchild have a better start in life.

GOD’; Lisene currently works as a manicurist in an up-market salon. Working 6 days a week she has been able to save enough money to buy 2 cows for her brother who lives in the countryside and looks after her child. One day she hopes to travel.

GOD’; Lisene currently works as a manicurist in an up-market salon. Working 6 days a week she has been able to save enough money to buy 2 cows for her brother who lives in the countryside and looks after her child. One day she hopes to travel.

The orange cover of a book entitled “how to interpret your dreams” sits next to Kris; a single mother who lost all her savings due to fraud. Her sole income is from selling toys on the street corner.

The orange cover of a book entitled “how to interpret your dreams” sits next to Kris; a single mother who lost all her savings due to fraud. Her sole income is from selling toys on the street corner.

Edvaldo; a cook, works 7 days a week. Last year he won a competition to train as a chef in Europe but was disqualified when it was discovered he didn’t have a high enough literacy level.

Edvaldo; a cook, works 7 days a week. Last year he won a competition to train as a chef in Europe but was disqualified when it was discovered he didn’t have a high enough literacy level.

Tom Blomfield, founder + CEO of Mondo bank . Bloomberg Markets.

Tom Blomfield, founder + CEO of Mondo bank . Bloomberg Markets.

Baroness Denise Kingsmill, chairman of Mondo Bank. Bloomberg Markets.

Baroness Denise Kingsmill, chairman of Mondo Bank. Bloomberg Markets.

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GUP
Guide to Unique Photography

Photographer: Sebastian Palmer

Heidi: How did the instagram take over come about, are you invited?
Sebastian: Yes. I was invited by GUP

Do you shoot new content for this or does it come from your archives?
All the content came from my archives. I guess that It would have been interesting to shoot a new project specifically for the takeover but the call came in quite late and at the time I was bogged down with other work in London (so maybe a fresh / new series of images might not have been possible anyway)

Is there a print component to this?
Yes. I will be featured in their 10th Anniversary issue. GUP #47 – The Big Ten
(showcasing images not posted in the takeover)

How do you decide what you are going to post over the course of the 10 days?
I wanted to keep to showing just my personal work. So I decided to post a small selection from those projects based in Brazil along with images that might help to explain my surroundings or way of thinking.

You studied French, History, Economics and Sociology prior to becoming a photographer. What was your turning point to become an artist?
I don’t really see there being a turning point such just a coming back to. I was always artistic and from a really young age I was always doing something creative (drawing, painting, sculpture, guitar etc etc etc)

However, when I went to a new school at the age of 13 it all fell by the wayside (for numerous reasons) and as the years progressed I began to focus on subjects that were “going to get me a good degree and make me successful in later life”…. it just took me a while to realize that I had been following the wrong path (whilst at university) and that I needed to get back to what I had left behind all those years ago.

Is PROJECTS in your portfolio an expression that combines your previous studies and your current life as an artist
Possibly, maybe….. It’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario (which one came first)…. I’m not sure how much those subjects actually influenced my work. I see it more in reverse, I chose the subjects because they interested me to some degree.

Artist Statements

GHOSTS
[All images were shot on location in Cracolândia, São Paulo, Brasil]
Over the past 3 years I have been living with and photographing sections of Brazilian society that have been marginalised and discriminated against. It is my aim to create a body of work that raises awareness for vulnerable sections of society; to give them a voice and in doing so hope that measures can be taken to ensure that they live in dignity.
The latest chapter of my project focuses on crack-cocaine addicts.
I felt that shooting a portrait series of close up, black + white head shots was the best way to humanise my sitters – by minimising any distractions and allowing the viewer to come into direct face to face contact with them.
Although this subject matter has had a lot of exposure with Brazil hosting the World Cup, I believe that it has only worsened the situation by further dividing an already fractured society and reinforcing negative views and prejudices. Reportage style images often taken from a far and with no interaction have only helped to strengthen the “us” and “them” mentality.
Separate from us. Away from us. Far from us. Nothing to do with us.
In order to banish this misconception I needed to get as close to my subjects as possible.
To interact. To communicate. To participate. To let you look into their eyes and realise that they too are human beings; that they too are a part of this society in which we all belong.
Are we able to look at ourselves in the mirror and face uncomfortable truths?
HOPE
In this series I have been living in an illegally occupied building in downtown São Paulo, Brazil with some of the 70,000 people that migrate to the city every year in search of a better life.
Often arriving from the countryside with little or no money, no skills and high rates of illiteracy their journey is a tough one. They can not afford to pay for rent and the majority can not find employment. Those that do manage to find a job are underpaid and often work 7 days a week to make ends meet.
Yet despite these conditions and the hardships that they face, everyone that I encountered found the strength to carry on through hope. It is this theme that I wanted to explore.
I have used diptychs as a means to expand the narrative. Always using items found close to or belonging to the subject. These detail shots are clues so often overlooked and dismissed but that I see as fragments of information which help to complete the puzzle.
All images are shot in camera. I have made use of long shutter, deliberate camera movement and the placing of items in front of the lens in order to allow me to create an aesthetic quality and my interpretation of the subjects’ utopia.
SÃO PAULO NIGHTS
São Paulo Nights focuses on transgender prostitutes.
Transgender persons in Brazil are treated as 3rd class citizens. They are discriminated against on a daily basis and are marginalised by society.
They experience such injustices from an early age when they first appear to be different and as such many do not finish school.
Nonetheless, even those with an education still find it hard to find work. As a result, many turn to prostitution to make a living.
This, combined with the majority of societies fear, ignorance, hypocrisy and lack of education on the issues means transexuals are caught in an ongoing downward spiral of discrimination and marginalisation [being subject to violence, social exclusion, drug abuse, crime, exploitation and severe health risks].
Many of the photos were printed, then ‘tampered’ with (painted, etched, bleached, burnt etc) and then re-photographed in an attempt to portray not only Brazilian societies views + actions towards transgender persons but also the struggle and human injustices that they face on a daily basis.

 

 

 
Contact GUP here

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 Bloomberg Markets

What sort of direction did the magazine give you?
In the beginning I was sent through some reference shots of my own work so I could get a feel of what direction the magazine wanted to take the shoot.  However, although the style of the images looked similar they were all achieved by using different techniques and lighting setups. Also, they liked some elements from one shot and wanted to combine it with elements from another shot. So, we sat down and mapped out a rough plan of what we were going to shoot and how we were going to do it, with the understanding that things might change on the day.

Tell us how you used your creative freedom? Was it difficult to earn?
As mentioned above, nothing was set in stone, so to speak. Bloomberg understood that to achieve the look that they wanted we would have to experiment on the day. I like to see it as organized chaos. I set a starting point (a foundation) knowing that if I do steps 1+2 I will get a certain look. However, from there you can play around – get the subject to move more or less, move the camera, increase the number of flashes or their duration, play with shutter speeds etc etc etc – the possibilities are endless. Once you see the shots coming through you can decide to follow a certain path and push things in one direction or maybe dial it back and go another way.

No, I don’t think that it was difficult to earn. I think that it has more to do with the fact that Bloomberg were very open minded and willing to experiment. (something that I find a lot of the industry is scared to do these days by always playing it safe in the fear that they might upset what they believe their readers want to see)

Bloomberg is known for spectacular photography and creative leaps. Knowing this did you want to take some creative risks?
Of course. I think that it would be silly not to. On the day of the shoot we did try out many different things, some of which never made the final cut. However, there are always going to be constraints, such as time and money. Also, you have to be aware that you are working for a client and no matter how creative they are they still need to put together an issue where all of the photo pieces are going to tie together.

The Daily Edit – David Lopez: Have a Nice Day

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Have a Nice Day

Photographer: David Lopez


“Have a Nice Day” is framed around the fast food industry. How did you develop this idea and what were you wanting to express?
After high school just about all of my friends were working in the fast food industry while trying to pay for college. Like most people in that line of work their favorite topic of conversation was sharing fast food horror stories. One of my favorite stories was from an employee that had to deal with a customer that was so upset that his food was taking a little longer than expected that he punched out the window screen at the counter. He received his food shortly after because apparently the customer is always right, even when they throw a tantrum and destroy company property. My friends all shared this similar feeling of frustration and belittlement so years later I began trying to capture the feeling that my friends were describing. It just so happened that at the time I began to develop this idea a friend of mine was starting a magazine (Compound Butter) that was focused on junk food and was looking for collaborators. So the first two portraits I shot for Have a Nice Day were used for her magazine. I received a lot of positive feedback from my professors at Art Center so the project took off from there.

 

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Did you direct the workers ?
I try not to direct the workers much. I’m working very quickly when i’m shooting their portraits because they’re usually on their breaks and don’t want to deal with me. So I tend to pick a location beforehand and then let them inhabit the scene however they feel comfortable. At the very beginning of the project I was still getting comfortable approaching people so there were times that I spent up to an hour sitting in a restaurant waiting to get the courage to ask for a portrait. It’s been a great way to get me out of my comfort zone.

The images are graphic, have color pop, is that why you chose to shoot a doughnut; to have the color and graphic backbone get reinforced?
Yes! I’m glad you caught that because it’s something that’s very important to the project. From the very beginning I’ve been drawn to the relationship between the colorful environments juxtaposed against the unappreciated employees working behind the counter. It doesn’t matter what fast food restaurant I walk into I always feel like i’m being slapped in the face by this artificial experience that’s been manufactured to make me feel happy. It all goes back to the title of the project. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to constantly tell someone to have a nice day while you’re standing there having the worst day ever.

Did you drop the shake or was that a lucky find? What drew you to this, was it mix of graphic and organic shapes or more the “surprise” of a shake on the ground?
The shake on the floor was a lucky find or as my professor Ken Merfeld would say, “a gift from the photo gods.” I could’ve easily set up a shot like this but it’s really important for me to keep the project as honest and straight forward as possible. I may be the one documenting but at the end of the day I’m trying to tell the story of the under appreciated employee who has to go out clean up that mess.

How long did this body of work take?
I’ve been working on Have a Nice Day on and off for a year now. As a side project I’ve started collecting the receipts from the restaurants I photograph to have a written document that will explain why I’ve been gaining so much weight lately. My next project is going to have to involve some sort of physical exercise so I can even things out.

Will this be ongoing or a one-off for you?
This project is definitely something I plan on continuing. Especially right now while there is so much debate over minimum wage for fast food employees. New York and Los Angeles have raised the minimum wage up to $15 but many cities have yet to follow their lead. I’ve even begun to notice some restaurants implementing touch screens to replace wage earning humans. So this is a very crucial point for the narrative of the project that I need to document.

Did you give yourself a specific radius for the fast food places? 
I’m open to traveling as far as I have to for the right fast food restaurant. Right now I have my eye on a Del Taco that’s on the way to Las Vegas. Apparently it’s the first one that was opened so the design of the restaurant hasn’t been changed since 1964. There’s also a Taco Bell up north in Pacifica that’s been described as “the most beautiful Taco Bell in the world” it’s an isolated little lodge that sits right on the beach. I’ve seen some pictures on yelp and it has to be the strangest looking Taco Bell I have ever seen but I can’t wait to get up there. It’s also a good excuse to eat a cheesy gordita crunch with the sand in my toes.

 

The Daily Edit – BEST: Steve Simko

- - The Daily Edit

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BEST


Fashion Director:
Wendy Rigg
Editor in Chief: Jane Ennis
Art Director: Owen Connolly
Photographer: Steven Simko


I know you like to golf, were you able to play while you were there?
Yes, actually, the opportunity to play St. Andrews was a major incentive to take the job (I’m a single handicap golfer). And on top of it, getting to shoot half a dozen fashion stories on location at the “Home of Golf” was beyond exciting – combining my two passions in one trip: photography and golf. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play St Andrews, The Old Course as well as Kingsbarns.

How did this project come about?
I had recently reconnected with a fashion editor from London on Instagram whom I met light years ago. She had grown up in St. Andrews and was inspired to shoot some fashion stories in her home town after attending The Open Championship. She must have noticed all my “likes” were of photos she posted from The Open (she was following Dustin Johnson) and put together that I liked golf…the rest is history.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
It was a great collaborative effort between myself and the editor of Best, a fashion weekly.  The idea was to juxtapose the stories/fashion and unique location. St. Andrews offered a variety of different backdrops. There’s a beautiful beach (West Sands Beach), which many have probably seen if they’ve watched The Open, spectacular fields and rolling countryside, and the town featured amazing historic ~15th century architecture. We also had the opportunity to shoot at the Cambo Estate that featured a stately home with stables and wild ponies.

What did the creative brief look like and where did the horse come from?
There were several creative briefs for the various shoots. For the one showcasing the horse – we were highlighting the winter coats within a “classic English seaside” setting. King, the retired race horse in the photos, was a last minute improvisation. He belonged to the editor’s niece and it ended up working out fabulously. While the model had never been around a horse and was one pretty scared Dutch girl, King was a sweetheart. When you put something like a horse into the mix, you just let them (the horse) do their thing, but you have to move fast!

Did you hire a local assistant?
No, I asked one of my local assistants to join me on the shoot. We’ve known each other for eight years and he’s assisted me on various jobs for the last four years. We have a great working relationship, and for a 4-day long shoot, it’s important to  have someone who’s knowledgable, has the ability to tackle problems that might arise, and help find solutions. Plus, he made a great golfing buddy.

Who produced the shoot for you?
The editor was the key person producing the shoot. While many aspects of the stories were a collaborative effort, including picking out the models, she really handled everything, from arranging talent (hair + make-up) and stylists/wardrobe to transportation and location. Mark Rigg of Links Golf Tours of St. Andrews was the anchor transportation. They are one of the premier golf tour companies in St. Andrews (think big Mercedes vans used to transport golfers). Upon arrival in St. Andrews our driver drove us onto the cart path on the 18th fairway of the Old Course and we took a snapshot in front on the R & A building (we look like deer caught in head lights) a dream come true for a golfer.

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Did you prepare a carne for this gear list?
No carne was necessary but this is the gear we took with us …some of it stuffed in the golf travel bags :)

1- Canon 1DX 
2- Canon 5D MarkIII
3- Sony RX1R
4- (2) MacBook Pros
5- Digiplate Pro
6- Tripod
7- Sigma 50mm 1.4
8- Sigma 35mm 1.4
9- Canon 24-70mm 2.8
10- Canon 70-200mm 2.8
11- Profoto B2
12- TTL Air Remote
13- Sunbounce Sun Swatter (Black Net & White)
14- Westcott Bounce reflectors
15- ThinkTank Airport International V2.0
16- Crumpler Extravanganza
17- Tamrac Backpack

The Daily Edit – Garden & Gun: Andrew Kornylak

- - The Daily Edit

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Garden & Gun

Marshall Mckinney: Design Director
Maggie Kennedy: Director of Photography
Margaret Houston: Associate Photo Editor
Braxton Crim: Assistant Art Director
Photographer: Andrew Kornylak

Did you stay up with Michael for 24hrs cooking? Was that to honor something historical for the story
Twitty was cooking food in the way it would have been done by enslaved cooks on Antebellum plantations in the South. Roughly: Dig a huge pit, burn a fire down to coals and slow cook meats over a screen of sapling logs. This process starts in the afternoon, takes all night, and Twitty and a group of helpers would alternately chop wood, prep food, cook, and doze off by the light of the hot coals and oil lanterns. So there was a lot going on visually all night. I shot the interview with Twitty for the video a little after midnight I think, during some down time. In the morning the action really started. More food was cooked in kettles and pans. By mid-morning most of the food was cooked and had to be put together, and people started showing up for the feast.

How hard was it to stay awake, what was the biggest challenge?
It’s wasn’t hard to stay awake because there was so much going on and we wanted to take everything in. It was good to have Erik Danielson assisting on this shoot, we have a lot of fun. I recall there was good whiskey about.

Did you shoot the video and the stills?
Yes, I shot both the video and the stills, and edited the video as well.

How hard was it to shoot the video at night?
I had brought along a set of tungsten lights and we got lucky with a power source near the cooking area. Two floods made enough light to work for stills and video and the color temperatures worked well with the fire and gas lanterns so I just left those on all night. For the interview I bounced one of the floods off the interior of a canvas tent to light Twitty softly.

What type of direction did you get to from the magazine? were they on set with you?
They were not going to be on set. We knew writer would be there along with possibly a lot of press, bloggers, and maybe another video crew in the morning. That’s when we decided to make it a night mission. I had some conversations with Art Director Marshall McKinney where we visualized what it might sound and look like: slabs of meat over coals at night, singing and chopping wood, period cook wear, all tied together by Twitty’s deep insight and humor. Other than that: The unknown. Possibly chaos. I’ve done many features for Garden & Gun and I like that they trust me on these kinds of shoots because they are the most interesting. I also know that if I work hard at it, whatever I come back with, Marshall and their team will make it sing.

How did this story idea come about?
The M. Twitty story actually came about via Twitter. Michael Twitty reached out to one of our editors suggesting he had an interesting cultural event coming down the pike and was curious if it might be something we’d want to cover. With a little follow-up we discovered that Michael was a food historian and cook and that he’d be the centerpiece of a unique culinary experience wherein he’d recreate a plantation style fete (on the grounds of a former working plantation called Stageville in North Carolina) exactly how it might have been performed some 300 years earlier. In doing so, the narrative explored southern foodways and their direct connections to Africa and the Caribbean but also the skill, determination and time it takes to pull off a meal with the resources available in antebellum times.

Since it was a 24 hr shoot what other multi media elements did you want to incorporate knowing you’d have such rich content?
Because the cooking itself would take at least 24 hours we knew we had something special, an event that would unfold slowly and simmer and offer up a rare opportunity for the right photographer. Without a doubt my photography director, Maggie Kennedy and I knew motion would play a key role in the storytelling. A shoot like this is a blend of portraiture, reportage, food and motion. That’s a heavy skill-set but in the end the choice was easy. I’ve worked with Andrew Kornylack for a number of years and I knew this would be right in his wheel-house. Andrew is an adventurer, a climber, a traveller but most importantly a curious and gentle soul. This shoot wasn’t exactly hanging from the side of a cliff in Yosemite but it would be an adventure all the same. Plus, given the cultural and emotional sensitivities surrounding the event we wanted to have someone present who could engage in the proceedings and document them with a modicum of decorum. You know, fit in.

How hard was it to award this assignment, I’d imagine you need just the right person. What was it about Andrew that struck you?
In the end, Andrew came through brilliantly. He gave unto the event that which it required, everything he had. The photography answered all our needs and the motion work helped capture the essence of the experience. For example, what standing over an open-pit of coals latticed with water-soaked sapling branches bent under the weight of pork ribs looks and feels like at 3.30 in the morning when delirium starts setting in and the birds begin to chirp. He worked along Twitty hour by hour and served up compelling images and content that can only be described as a feast for the eyes and ears.

Did you have a sound person or did you handle all aspects of the video production.
I handled all the video and sound myself, with the help of Erik Danielson who is an excellent assistant and great with lighting. I did the video edit, working closely with Assistant Photo Editor Margaret Houston.

The Daily Edit – The New York Times Magazine: Christopher Griffith

- - The Daily Edit

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The New York Times Magazine

Editor-in-Chief:  Jake Silverstein
Design Director: Gail Bichler
Art Director:  Matt Willey (designed the feature)
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Audio interviews: Catrin Einhorn and Kristen Clark.
Produced by: Stacey Baker, Jon Huang, and Riely Clough.
Photographer: Christopher Griffith

see the online slide show here


Heidi: Did you travel to the shoe shiners or did they come to you?
Christopher: We developed a very small transportable studio that we brought with us to shoot in arguably the most cramped environment ever. Some of these places are quite small, so finding enough space proved challenging.

Who wrapped the cloth around their fingers? and do they have signature style of hand gestures/wrapping?
They all wrap their own hands and no two are really the same. They all have slightly differing techniques, differing types of rags and different approaches to giving the customer ‘the best shine in town.’

What a great moment to celebrate the craft.  How did the subjects react?
Some were very skeptical, frankly many thought we were insane but all agreed to be photographed…eventually.

The colors and the knots are so beautiful. Were those designed or came from their kits?
They are all from their personal kits. Nothing is designed but they all have different preferences for the type of cloth for the type of shine.
Spit Shine: very smooth, thin cotton sheet. Dull Shine: thick towel fabric. Who knew?

What was your creative direction from Stacey Baker?
Make it iconic? Make it beautiful? I think we all knew that it was a pretty unique project. I was never convinced it would even get published because this kind of photo essay is rare these days. I just wanted to make sure that I did the idea justice. Our benchmark was the image of miles Davis’ hand shot by Irving Penn.

Heidi: I know this was your brainchild, how did this idea come about?
Stacey: Last summer during work one day, I ran across the street to the Port Authority to have my boots shined. I climbed up into one of the chairs and a man named Lenny shined my shoes. We started talking, and he said he’d been shining shoes for decades. His hands were beautiful–the way he wrapped the cloth around his long, lean wrinkled fingers. They looked like sculptures. I asked him if I could take a picture (see attached). He showed me the various the cloths he uses to shine shoes, and some of them looked like works of art. I wondered if there was a photo essay there.


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What was it about Christopher Griffith’s work that made you choose him? What did you already know about his work that would make your idea come to life?

Christopher immediately came to mind for the project. The work of Christopher’s that I was most familiar with are his large monumental still life’s. They look like sculptures. I thought he might be a good fit. He was an absolute dream to work with and his pictures are remarkable.

Photo essays are such luxuries in any magazine, was this a difficult sell to the staff?
It actually wasn’t. As soon as I returned to the office, I ran the idea by our photo director, Kathy Ryan, who loved it. We then pitched it to our editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein, who gave it the green light. Jake is a huge fan of photography and what we do in the photo department. We were all blown away by Christopher’s pictures.

Here’s a full gallery images

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The Daily Edit – Chicago Magazine: Scott Council

- - The Daily Edit

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Chicago Magazine

Design Director: Nicole Dudka
Photographer: Scott Council

Heidi: Have you worked with this client before?
Scott: I have shot about 5-6 things for Chicago magazine. The last cover I did for them was for this same issue but last year and it was portrait series with Common.

What type of direction did you get from them?
I presented my ideas and had several conversations with the Design Director, Nicole Dudka who had a lot of great ideas, so it was a great collaboration. I also submitted my ideas with sketches in PDF form so they would have a visual to help them understand what I wanted to do. The issue was about the fall arts in Chicago. Its called the “Fall Preview” and it covers everything, music, theater, dance, art, etc. He started his acting career in Chicago and went to school in Chicago so they wanted a portrait series with images of him doing things related to the arts.

How much time did you have with the subject?
I had him for 3.5 hrs including wardrobe changes and lunch. We did multiple set ups, I had two alternating sets, both in New York studios.  I wanted to do three, but there wasn’t enough time nor budget.

What is the easiest aspect of shooting accomplished actors, and conversely the hardest?
The easiest part about shooting accomplished actors is that they really seem to know who they are and they don’t let their publicist run everything as much. They don’t have anything to prove because they are already know. There for they can take what you’re trying to capture and really make it their own, they “deliver.”  They seem to be more responsive once they are on board with the ideas. Point being,  take new talent for example: They have a career they are grooming and so they try a little too hard, worry too much about their image and some still let their publicist think for them, this can be difficult on set.

He has a great range in this shoot, how did you change the tone, what sort of direction did you give?
They wanted me to have him bobbing for apples and doing a lot of things that are kind of not at all who he is, so it was a little tough to sell him on the ideas.  At lunch I saw him by himself and I went over and we talked about what I would like to shoot and what the magazine wanted me to shoot. He said “People are always asking me to do things that are not me, its like everyone wants to make fun of me.”  I mentioned this is firstly a portrait session and secondly, a cover. I didn’t want him to do anything that was not him.  With all my subjects I’ll explain what I’m trying to capture and then they can add or subtract anything. We work together and we both feel good about it. At the end of the day,  you need to live with the photography.  I really meant what I said to him,  I wasn’t trying to trick him into doing what I wanted. I created an honest dialogue with him and I gave him the option to participate, we all want the same thing: To do a good job.

What do you enjoy most about portraiture?
In the end I’m not interested in creating entertainment photographs so we can all stand and stare of the actor, athlete and see what magic they produce. I will always deliver an image that I was hired to deliver, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to relate to it. Often project goals and true photographic goals aren’t aligned. I’m interested in Michael Shannon as a person as an equal human being with a voice and an opinion.  I fell in love with portraiture because when I look into a portrait I see myself, I see each one as a little symbol of everything great and everything beautiful about who we are as human beings.

The Daily Edit: Jonas Jungblut- Naturally

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Naturally

Art Director: Danny Seo
Writer:  Christine Richmond
Photographer:
Jonas Jungblut

Travel assignments are the most coveted, how did this project come about?
The writer on this story, Christine Richmond, also was in Ireland with me for a story last year. It was with the same magazine and we worked together well so I think we were a perfect team to go over there without an editor and do our thing.

Did you have a relationship with the magazine?
Yes, I have been working with Naturally Danny Seo for about a year thanks to another great photographer, Shelly Strazis who recommended me. My first job with the magazine was the travel story in Ireland mentioned above. Besides having bad oysters and the resulting food poisoning on our most important shoot day it went great and I have been busy with the magazine since.

How long were you there?
We spent five days in the area and traveled between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai for one day by car. I then flew to Bangkok and spent another night. Initially this was going to be a two-day story but given that it took me a good two days just to get there we extended to make it worthwhile.

Did  you have a specific shot list from the magazine?
We had a loose list. There were certain elements which they wanted to see but we really had a bit of freedom to explore, while sticking to a pretty solid itinerary, and build our own story based on what we encountered. That was really nice. The fact that it was just the two of us made that somewhat straight forward as well. There was no exact image request on that list, all images in the story are experience images.

What was the biggest obstacle for this project?
The distance to the location from my house if you can call that an obstacle. Really, the fact that I had to travel for pretty much 2 days straight to get there was, probably the only thing one could consider an obstacle. Or maybe having to shoot while sitting on an elephant, I could see that being an obstacle for someone! I think if you want to find an obstacle you always can. Weather, getting head butted by a 400 lb baby elephant, language barrier, this list can go on for a while. Part of doing a travel assignment is to get past obstacles and render them into experiences.

How many vaccines did you have to get?
Well, I needed some updating anyways but I did get some specific to the region. I think I walked out with four different vaccines and a few hundred dollars less in my pocket. The place where I got them was pretty pushy on malarone tablets for malaria but I decided against those for fear of nightmares and when we got to Thailand people were surprised on the suggestion of taking it.

How do you go about tackling travel shoots, do you have a process?
It depends on the assignment. For the Thailand piece the writer and I were pitching other stories to piggy-back onto the trip quite frantically. We figured we should make the most of it being all the way over there already. Nobody was interested and in hindsight we were relieved since we were pretty spent after those five days. I also did a little bit of research on the area to make sure I wouldn’t miss something while already there. But this trip was very well-organized and we had guides almost all the time so we could just do our thing without having to worry about logistics. There actually was almost no time to explore beyond the itinerary, so we just focused on that.

In my experience assigned travel jobs are usually organized and have an itinerary so doing a bunch of extra research can be a waste of time since you never get to whatever you find and it might end up distracting you from focusing on what you have in front of you. It really depends on the client and specific assignment.

One thing to be careful with is to over-research and then getting stuck on an itinerary created on a screen versus a real life experience. When I travel for shooting stock or on jobs with loose schedules I like to have a few pointers and then explore from there.

Project based travel shoots require a whole lot of prep. Having two young kids and being on the road as much as I am has not really allowed for extended project based travel in the recent years but I do have ideas that I’d like to realize in the future. My recent Europe trip was sort of project trip since I planned it as a “shootation”, shoot a bunch of stock while being on vacation. I quickly realized that being on the road with two kids under the age of 6 by yourself killed a lot of the activities that were only loosely planned.

How was Santa Barbara been as a home base?
I love Santa Barbara as a base. Almost all my work is out-of-town so I get quite a bit of international exposure. I had this conversation with a client recently. We were sitting having coffee in Vancouver during a shoot and he mentioned that I was so cut off from the world in Santa Barbara. I replied that it forces me to travel and I actually get exposed to different cultures and locations more than if I lived in a large market and wouldn’t have to leave.

It’s not easy growing your career living in Santa Barbara, people think you are a local photographer (or who knows maybe they don’t?) but I do ok, I travel, and I live in a place I truly enjoy. And when I need my fix of urban, modern, culture or whatever I get antsy about I make sure to get it on an upcoming trip.

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What made you choose Brooks for schooling?
My whole pre-Californian life was heavily influenced by California. Skateboarding, Mountain Biking, surfing, the weather, the Beat Generation writers, the lifestyle. This may be a little off topic but Mr. Hasselhoff (yes yes, I am German) did an incredible job selling this place (Baywatch! I hope the California tourism board knows how much he helped) Ha! More than wanting to go to Brooks I wanted to be in California! And Brooks accepted me so I packed a bag and went. They came highly acclaimed and I had been photographing for a good 5 years at this point (I was 20) and knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. It was a perfect fit.

Looking back, what type of advice would you give students? Or what did you wish your younger self knew back then?
Network hard with your fellow students, a lot of them will end up working in places that will be of interest to you down the road. It’s also nice to have a solid set of friends that you can check in with if you run into something you don’t quite have an answer to. Also: Don’t drive yourself crazy about grades. My whole academic career was driven by me passing classes while really focusing on the stuff that I wanted to focus on.  I actually think that assisting (apprenticeship/real world experience) is probably more valuable than having a college degree in this career. It’s important to be honest with yourself! Understand that this career requires experience, skill and dedication. Embrace the failures and don’t be afraid to make more. Understand the economics behind this profession and check in with yourself every so often. Are you having fun? It is a choice to be a photographer, might as well make it exactly what you want, otherwise I don’t see the point.

How has your love for travel and sport folded into your work and resulted in assignment work?
Being able to do certain things physically is a skill set that sets you apart. The same goes for being ok with long days of travel and all the other fun things that can happen to you while on the road. I think all my clients appreciate that I am very tolerant to challenging travel and that I can shoot underwater, while riding a skateboard or on the side of a cliff. I also really enjoy shooting “real” stuff. It’s great to be on a produced and organized set and being able to apply your knowledge of lighting and all that stuff but getting a portrait of someone right after he got pulled in the boat because a shark started circling him during an endurance swim is just so visceral, you communicate with people through your images, it’s engaging.

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Travel experiences enrich you culturally and being active allows you to apply that experience and get angles and/or locations that would otherwise be inaccessible to you. You won’t get hired to shoot from an inflatable dingy on open ocean all day if you only shoot in a studio and I enjoy doing stuff like that from time to time. I don’t want to spend all my time inside. It also makes for great dinner conversation when you tell people who you have been slapped in the face by a dolphin (and have video to prove it), survived an 8.8 earthquake on the 19th floor of a hotel or race street luge. I think it just creates a brand and we all know that’s a good thing.

The Daily Promo: Bob Martus

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Bob Martus

 

Who printed it?
Linco Printing in Queens, NY

Who designed it?
Michael Freimuth, Creative Director and Partner at Franklyn did the design work.  We wanted to go big with the images and keep everything else minimal.  For this particular piece, the newsprint and the brown grocery bag paper envelope worked perfectly with the imagery.

Who edited the images?
The images originally came from a story I shot that ran in Men’s Health: so the edit credit really should go to Don Kinsella the Deputy Director of Photography over there. Great guy and a pleasure to work with!

How many did you make?
1000

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Generally speaking four times a year. I try to hit seasonal themes or send out a series of teasers on one subject. The images came about from a story was called Raise your Steaks in Men’s Health – basically about buying potion of a cow.  The meat shot represented everything you get from 1/8th of a cow.  First we photographed a Scottish Highlands cow in Rural Pennsylvania, named Raquel.  She was the farms show cow, winner of many a blue ribbon.  The farmer sent everyone in my crew home with some of the best beef I’ve ever had. It was a pretty amazing juxtaposition the to then photograph the meat still life.  We did the corresponding recipe shots in studio the next day.  Prop styling by Thom Driver and food styling by Jamie Kim.

The Daily Edit – Lollipop: Joshua Paul

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Lollipop Magazine

Founder & Editor in Chief: Joshua Paul 


Heidi: Was it your intention to be a Formula 1 photographer?

Joshua: I never intended to be a Formula 1 photographer, editor or publisher of a magazine. There was no concept, savings, or business plan, just a perfect sequence of events, dating back to childhood that brought this to fruition. I was born with innate love of cars and racing, specifically grand prix racing.  I also subscribed to Road & Track magazine for as long as I can remember.  As a photographer, I have been sent to over 85 countries, on some very dodgy shoots, traveling so frequently, I used to pre-pack my bags for subsequent trips. Lollipop couldn’t have happened more organically – Formula 1 brings together my love of cars, racing, travel, adventure, photography, and magazines.

How did the project get it’s start?
On a freezing day in February of 2013, I woke up to KCRW, and heard about an upcoming music festival in Barcelona, called Primavera Sound, with Blur as the headlining band.  I spontaneously bought a ticket, and booked a flight and room for the month of May.Over the next few weeks, realizing the Spanish Grand Prix would take place during my trip, I asked my friend and the new Creative Director at Road & Track, Dave Speranza, if I could shoot the race for them. They were into it, and helped me attain accreditation for the Spanish Grand Prix.

I didn’t see this as anything more than fulfilling a dream to shoot a Formula 1 race, before the concert the following weekend. I was psyched to be there, and nostalgic to be shooting for Road & Track. When I arrived at the circuit in Barcelona, the first person I saw was the NBC broadcaster, Will Buxton. I said hello, and with a very warm welcome, he encouraged me to introduce myself to the person who gave me accreditation, Pat Behar, and insisted I go to the Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus and McLaren motorhomes, ask for the Press Officers, and tell them I’m with Road & Track, and ask if I can photograph the drivers, the cars, the garages, etc. I immediately went to say hello and thank you to Mr. Behar, who not only knew my name, but he knew my website thoroughly, referencing specific images, telling me, “That’s why I gave you accreditation.”  Then he offered, “You should come to Monaco,” the next race on the calendar. Then I went to Ferrari and Lotus, and they too generously offered to let me shoot the drivers getting suited up in the garages, buckled into the cars, and speeding off onto the track. That night, I called a friend back in New York to tell them what the hell had just happened, and his response was, “Dude, you’re in.” I didn’t feel that way at all, but knew something special was happening, I accepted the invitation to Monaco, sacrificing my Blur concert.

Did you have a previous relationship with Road and Track?
Not as a photographer, but as a long-time subscriber, since I was about twleve years old. My connection was through the Creative Director, Dave Speranza, who gave me one of my first assignments, for “Golf for Women” magazine, in 1999.

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What was it specifically in this image by Jacques-Henri-Lartigue that inspired the project?

I love everything about this image!  It looks fast, dangerous and romantic.  The drivers are wearing leather helmets, there is an exposed gas tank behind the driver’s heads, and the wheels are bent to an oval, with two spare tires, suggesting there will be a flat tire. The people in the background look upper class, which hasn’t changed in F1 racing, and they are skewed in the opposite direction of the car, emphasizing speed. It’s also muddy, and I feel like I can hear the engine and smell the fuel. Mostly, what intrigues me about this image is the odd crop.  I so badly want to see the whole car, but it’s as if this was all he could capture at that speed.  He leaves me craving more. I’ve always wanted to create timeless images, and I’m trying to do it in F1.

I know self publishing is a challenge, what was your driving force?
After Road & Track told me they could no longer sponsor my accreditation, an idea arose to publish an independent, American Formula 1 magazine, as a photo-narrative of every race.  Most F1 magazines report news, driver gossip and the business deals. To stay in Formula 1 as a photographer, you must attend 12-14 races each season, and publish hundreds of photographs.  Lollipop helped achieve some of these requirements, but I had no idea how intense the travel would be.  There are twenty races in twenty different countries, taking place every other weekend, from March until November!  Had I known in advance what this would take, I’m not sure I would have done it, but taking it race by race was exciting and achievable.  I kept discovering new things about the sport, uncovering different layers, and I woke up every morning totally inspired to go explore, shoot something new, play with shutter speeds, etc. The more races I shot, the more I discovered, and realized I had access to not only the race track, the cars and drivers, but also with permission, to the team garages, the mechanics, engineers, teams trucks, and factories. There is so much to shoot – it’s the ultimate travel story.

Where did the funding come from Lollipop and what’s the backstory on the name?
Lollipop is self-funded.  I looked for sponsors and advertising, but Formula 1 is not well known in the United States, and there was no circulation to speak of. I took a loan for the printing of the third issue, but the sales are offsetting the costs, and inherent expenses. The name Lollipop pays homage to a piece of racing equipment formerly used during pit stops. The crew chief held a long pole with a disc at the end of it, affectionately called the lollipop. It was used to communicate with the driver of when to stop, and when to go. Now they are electronic, like stop lights.

Why is there no video allowed in F1?
The rights holder of Formula 1 owns the broadcasting rights worldwide.  He provides a live feed of each race, bringing all the cameras, microphones and cameramen around the world, from race to race. We are only allowed to shoot still frames, which is amazing for me, because I love the still image and narrative.

You’ve traveled to 22 races and been to 40/50 countries, are you also shooting other jobs?
I have taken a few races off here and there, to regroup and shoot other assignments.  It’s more a matter of letting my clients know I’m back in the United States.  This is where social media sometimes backfires.  If I post images from around the world, everyone assumes I’m gone, so I need to be careful about that. I also keep in touch and let everyone know I’m back – this goes for friends too. I’m grateful that they have been patient with me, and still call. As far as shooting assignments, I would like to concentrate on motorsports and the automobile industry.  I would also like to see Lollipop expand to different genres of prestigious racing, like LeMans. I am enjoying the challenge, and as much as I love being a photographer, I love every aspect of publishing, it’s exciting, empowering and new.     

How many different cameras do you have for each race?
I bring one camera, and sometimes a backup body. I’m not a gear head and don’t like carrying all the weight.  I also like to choose a focal length and stick with it.  If I can do this from race to race, mixing it up a bit, it keeps me fresh, the work fresh, and gives a different look to each race. More important than the camera, I shoot with fixed focal length lenses.  I bring a Zeiss 35mm, 50mm, and a vintage Nikon 105mm, along with an autofocus 24-70mm, as a back up for portraits.  Both Nikon and Canon reps come to every race to service our gear, and bring crates of cameras and lenses for us to use.  I occasionally try a long lens, but I prefer to shoot wide. Last season, as I started to repeat races from the year before, and decided to bring along my 1913 Graflex 4×5, and shoot black and white film. I wanted to try to recreate some classic images with modern cars, and  deconstruct the cars a bit, concentrating more on their form, than the sometimes garish advertising. It’s a huge challenge, but keeps me intrigued, and really slows things down.  Instead of shooting infinite frames on memory cards, I shoot about twenty sheet per session, and I feel like a photographer again, thinking about composition, framing, and point of view.

How are you sustaining yourself, does the magazine have advertising?
Lollipop is produced on a shoestring budget, with no overhead or employees.   I’ve slept in tents, stayed in far away hotels, walked, taken public transportation and have asked for rides to and from the various circuits. Besides paying the designer, and expenses for the fashion shoot, all the money went into printing.  That couldn’t be sacrificed, and we printed it based on the paper and ink we wanted, vs. cost. I have not taken any advertising, not that I didn’t try, but in the end, I am happy we didn’t get any ads, because I want Lollipop to be exclusive and collectible.  I would like to think, if you picked up an issue ten years from now, you’d still say wow, and not be distracted by outdated ads. I know this is very idealistic, but I think it would be better to try to advertise by association, or by a single, per-issue sponsor, or through custom packaging. I also think and hope that when Lollipop is discovered by F1’s hundreds of millions of fans worldwide, the distribution will grow and help make it sustainable and profitable.

Are you selling any of there images?
I have supplied images to several magazines, but I decided I wanted to publish exclusive content, and simply try to create the most beautiful racing magazine ever.I would like to publish and exhibit the black and white work, and it’s a matter of time and priorities.  I’m doing my best to set realistic goals, and unfortunately, it’s not an immediate goal.

What’s the greatest challenge with this project?
The biggest challenge was getting to that first race.  Formula 1 has a bad reputation, based on how the sport was governed over a decade ago, but the people are incredible, and they are incredibly supportive. The challenges now are my stamina, and finding a financial solution to keep this going.  A lot has been achieved in two years, including permanent accreditation.  I believe in it, the response has been overwhelming, and I think money will come.

How have you grown from Lollipop?
If there was ever a more significant right of passage, this is it.  I came to a point in my life to take a real risk, and stopped caring what anyone thought, or failing, and ignored any discouragement. After 17 years shooting professionally, I feel like I’ve finally found my voice as a photographer and writer.  I feel more articulate, acute, and in the moment.  It’s hard to explain, but it’s like having a new career, doing exactly what I love to do.

What would you tell other photographers that have a deep passion for a hobby or sport?
I have always been very encouraging and I say go for it!  You have nothing to lose, and I think every day, if Lollipop stopped tomorrow, it was a huge success. Very few people take big risks in their lives, for fear of failure, lack of stability or peer pressure.  Nothing has been easy for me, but I work hard and I’ve had a lot of luck! My first assignment was to shoot shampoo bottles and I was psyched!  Then I shot a garden, and then a restaurant.  It took three or four years before I got a big travel shoot, and even then I took a deep breath and thought, okay, that’s one, now let’s try for two. You have to believe in yourself, and not be discouraged.  There is every reason to not try to be a photographer right now, or think it’s already been done. Everyone is a photographer today.  We all have phones, but what do we do with them? Photography is about nuance, and if you look at Robert Frank’s, or Irving Penn’s contact sheets, you’ll quickly see this is a working process, and the great frames jump off the page.Before my first race, a friend asked, “Why F1?  It’s already been done.” Not to me it hadn’t, not even close.

Are you also writing all the interviews?
Yes, and that’s empowering. I was an English major in the creative writing program at the University of Washington.  I have always felt comfortable writing and have kept a journal for about fifteen years. But again, this happened by accident.  One day the Press Officer from McLaren called and asked when I would like to interview their rookie driver, Kevin Magnussen.  I thanked her, and explained that I was a photographer and more interested in taking his portrait.  She kindly welcomed me to do both. I laid awake the night before, nervously thinking of questions to ask, and just went for it. It wasn’t the best, but it was a start, and it helped me get over being star-struck, and talking to the drivers. I had no idea how difficult it is to dictate an interview and make sense of it.  It is really challenging, and massively rewarding. After that, I asked the other teams for interviews, and tried to approach the interviews a little differently.  It got better, but drivers expect to hear questions about that weekend’s race, with the Press Officer by their side, so it’s hard to do a lifestyles piece. When I interviewed Pirelli Motorsports Director, Paul Hembery, I felt much more comfortable to just chat and listen. It felt more like we were sitting in a pub drinking a pint, with him telling me about his life.  I learned a lot, especially that the most interesting people in Formula 1 are not necessarily the drivers.

How long does on issue take to produce?
I have learned so much in the last two years, and most of it the hard way, but that’s kind of my style.The third issue was a redesign, which took about six months from inception, with three months of hard work to finish.  We missed our initial two deadlines, but benefitted by having more time to add written content, like an extra interview and an article about my camera repair with Lotus. Production took over four weeks, because our pages were so heavily coated in ink, it literally took three weeks for the paper to dry.  I have to factor that in for the next issue. And then of course, shipping, which took a week. I hope the next one comes together much quicker, but then again, there is a lot of content to gather and the season is long. I want to mix up the design to continue to keep it fresh.

The Daily Edit – Parade: HollenderX2

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Parade

Photo Director: Nicole Kopperud
Senior Art Director: Matt Taliaferro
Photographer:
HollenderX2

Heidi: Tell us about the subjects.
Jordan: Bill Berloni and his dogs were  photographed in Connecticut on Bill’s farm.  We were able to choose the dogs we wanted to work with (he has about 30 dogs).    We knew we were in for a treat as his dogs are some of the best trained in the country, with high day rates.  Fortunately they weren’t divas. He has a new show “From Wags to Riches” on the Discovery Channel that just came out where he turns shelter dogs into stars.

How hard was it to manage the dogs?
The magazine didn’t want a studio setup for the cover shot of the dog, so we photographed them outside.  After we set up the cover shot, we were told that they needed to bring the dogs out one at a time.  We then shot the dogs individually in our scene and later composted them together.  The biggest challenge was the heat.  We had a van with AC near the set for the dogs to stay cool — we were able to shoot each dog for a few minutes.  Since our subject is a master trainer and has such a unique connection with these dogs we needed to do less wrangling from camera than usual, but that didn’t stop us from doing some kazoo blowing of our own.

Did you have treats on set? 
There were treats and tons of different noise makers ranging from kazoos to the plastic trombone-like- whistles which were a big hit and seized the most attention from the dogs.

Were you concerned about any of your equipment with dog hair?
No – whether we are sippin’ a cappuccino in studio or rollin around in the dirt with dogs, we usually know what we are in for and plan accordingly.  In this case, we had plastic bags under our equipment.
 
Can the dog really make his ears go up or did you do that in post?
Ah, unfortunately no, or at least not in the short time we had to shoot him!
We wanted to create an organic movement from the centered “star” dog, so we had Bill pick up his ears and drop them to get this effect.

What was the most remarkable training command of the day?
I wish I could say there was a word but it turns out its mostly about hand signals.
There was this one thing Bill would do to get the dogs to run.  He would simply walk away and get into his car, and they would come a runnin’.

How hard was it to get all of the dogs looking for the group shot or was that done in post?
For the group shot, they were all so well trained that we were able to position them on the couch and with hand signals, they would stay in place.  There was an assistant dog trainer behind camera for that shot to help us.  It was done in camera and felt like a small miracle to have them all just sitting and looking at us like that.    Had we not been in the company of such well trained animals and top notch trainers this would have required lots compositing.

Here’s some BTS shots by Tye Worthington and another shot from the day.  Their subject gave Jordan a dog bone handkercheif and it came in real handy!
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The Daily Edit: Walter Smith Self Published

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Walter Smith

What has been the biggest influence on your work? 
I love to look at photographs, photographer’s careers to see how they’ve created work year after year building on ideas,being flexible, creating work that has value.

What was your first real break if you can remember?
I clearly remember my first big project. It was a documentary project and it started as a 1 day shoot that evolved into a 10 day shoot. I came home, quit my day job, got a new job bartending and looked for work and photographed everyday for years. No BS in that statement. Not much has changed.

You have such a strong corporate client list, how did that happen?
I remember being a young photographer and looking at the stack of annual reports on my father’s desk. They were always interesting to flip through and very photo heavy. I started to keep a list of the design agencies that worked on them and started to hand print promos to mail out to the art directors. I drove many a receptionist crazy trying to get the names of the right people to mail to. It was a very organic process that worked for well for me.

 I enjoy that your promo’s are so interpretive. Quite a few of your images give us hope and an escape from whatever we are doing at the moment. I have your “Self Published spread 12-13” on my wall and often fall into that image when I need a break from my desk. Did you do this consciously? Put images in that promo as an escape for the viewer inevitably sitting at their desk wishing they were someplace else?

I’ve always thought that a promo should start a conversation with whomever is on the receiving end. Whenever I start a promo edit it tends to lean towards the commercial side. What I think people want to see, where the industry is at. I start to whittle that down with the help of the designers and the edit/promo starts to have a vision. Starts to feel like an extension of myself. I also start to have doubts and spend more that a few nights thinking about the image edits, the pagination–everything. It’s about a 3 month process from the first edit to the last with a few rounds of variations. The second guessing is an important part of the process (for me) and I generally feel that if the anxiety isn’t there then there’s something wrong.

When a promo arrives on a desk I want to get it opened. I want to allow the smell of ink to fill a room. We send out promos in clear envelopes with big imagery on both the label side and the back side. It’s always the goal for the promo to drive people to the site where they can see all the work they want. I’ve heard from a handful of people who spread 12-13 is hanging on their walls. There’s no better compliment than that. Yes, I certainly want a project from the promos but if It starts a conversation with a creative, adds a few Instagram/Facebook followers then its working.

I think in this crazy paced digital age everyone needs a visual respite. I don’t think that we consciously put in imagery that speaks to that but its tends to happen. I had spread 12-13 on my mind for weeks before the right situation presented itself. I wanted to shoot it out in Montauk but the weather just wasn’t right. We were 2 weeks aways from going to press when I found myself out in SF during a crazy December storm. I had an idea of something I wanted and reached out to Heather Elder who put me in touch with location master Jim Baldwin who turned me onto Sutro Baths. We hiked in wind and rain for about 30 minutes before I found the right spot. I actually thought the birds screwed up the shot until I saw the frames. I found what I was looking for and called Marcos, the CD at TODA who was working on the promo, and asked him to hold up while I sent it off to him. (Marcos and I have worked together on promos/websites/portfolios for 15 years)

A lot of your work and comments here keep you deeply anchored in the moment, were you always like this? Or has it become refined over time?
I like to think I was always anchored in the moment. It’s how I work; how I’ve always viewed situations. Everyone has a story to share and I try to tell these stories when I work. I try to find something that we can both relate to and build upon. It’s not the image that makes the photograph, it’s about the conversation that makes the photograph happen.

How has your family influenced your work and what has it taught you about yourself?
Being a father has taught me that the well-being of one’s family trumps everything. I talk about my children (2 boys 2 girls ) to everyone I shoot and that can lead to some interesting places. All teens make for a very interesting household.

I see you are without out a rep. What’s your best advice for marketing yourself?
Be smart with your time. Be respectful when reaching out to people. Research, research, research. I love sending out simple emails with personal notes and an image. Have a sense of humor. Know that it’s not about you and approach people that way. Be kind. Don’t make calls when you’re in a low or bad mood, go see a movie instead (advice to me from Duane Michaels years ago). Know that there are “friends” and “client friends” and understand the difference.

I could use a rep. When I go on appointments with larger agencies the first or second question is “who are you rep’d by.” I’ve worked with great reps in the past and have good relationships with them. Theres positive and not so positive things about working with agents. I think one needs to learn how to be their own rep before anything else. Learn the business because it’s a business no matter how creative you are.

Tell us about the conversations behind your promo images.

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Spread one: 
Walter Kirn and first day of vacation.
I really wanted to use the shot of Walter for a couple of reasons. I loved the image but there’s also a great back story. I photographed him 17 years ago for GQ for the contributors section. Met at the Gramercy Hotel and did some pictures that were fine but when I left I never felt like I really got what I wanted, if I even knew what I wanted really. I’ve thought about if for years on and off. Seriously, years. I’ve always keep track of him and I saw a post on FB mentioning him. I reached out to him through FB and reminded him who I was. How many people named Walter are there in the world really? He remembered the shoot, actually remembered details that I forgot. I asked if I could shoot him again when he was in NYC next. As it turns out, he was in the city the next weekend. We met up, talked , shot and I got what I was after. The funny thing is, and I wasn’t even aware of this, is that there’s a white coffee cup in both shots we did.
The promo editing was done by TODA. I whittled down to about 500 images for this round. To say “edit” is a stretch though.

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Spread two:
This is generally what my house looks like on any given weekend morning. I always have film cameras around and the table image was shot on Kodak 400 through my favorite camera the Mamiya7II. Its traveled the world with me multiple times and has never…not once, crapped out on me. I always liked this image but never saw it as a paired up with another image. They showed it to me with this image of my son Otis and I was immediately sold. This particular shot was from a test with the new Leica S camera. Most intuitive comfortable piece of gear I’ve shot with in years.

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Spread three:
The image of the 3 tourists against a wall was shot near the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. I love it there. Photographs to be taken at every turn and I never felt uncomfortable shooting on the streets there. We were originally there for a Coca-Cola lifestyle shoot. Whenever I go to a new place I generally throw on some running shoes and clear my head with a trek through the area that often turns into a scouting trip of some sort.
I paired this with an image from the Governors Island carnival from two summers ago. I wold have never put these two together but it works because the contrast between the backgrounds. This spread hung up in my office for a few weeks to see if it grew on me. That’s part of the process when I edit and make decisions with these things. It will live on my fridge, in my office, somewhere where I see it when I pass through. I wait to see what the spread feels like after a bit of time has passed. Might be odd, but it’s worked this long so why change?

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Spread four:
I’m always struck by how often people will not allow an experience to simply unfold before they start documenting it. I’m guilty of it at times but to see a kid walking down the street or sitting in a stroller with an ipad just kills me. What happened to just looking around, to being curious? I’m sure these ladies were just tourists outside Macy’s during the holiday but to me they we’re missing something. The leather fanny pack does it for me.

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Spread five:
What’s not to love about Miami in the winter?
 
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Spread six:
The last image to make it into the promo. I asked to swap this in just before it left for the printers. I love weather and I had this stormy sea image in my head for weeks. I was waiting for the right time to drive out to Montauk to get it but the weather was not cooperating as I said earlier. After I shot it I though I’d have to retouch the birds out. Ha. They made it that much better! I called Marcos in a “hold the presses” moment and we got this in. One of my favorites on 2014.

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Spread seven:
Just documentary portraits from jobs. Probably the only two images from paid jobs in the promo.
 

I love doing promos and find the process of how someone else experiences my work refreshing. It’s a long process for me. Lots of time goes into moving images around on pages before I even send the edit to TODA. It’s a bit of an emotional process in the beginning until it leaves my hands. Once it’s done the feeling of waiting to see what the designers come back with is equal to the feeling of waiting for rolls of film to come back from the lab. curiosity. Excitement. It’s all there.

Once we get round one done, I pin them up and live with them. This will generally lead to second edit that may have a few more commercial images in it. They always look great but I’m often left feeling like something is missing. I always know what’s missing but it takes sometime to make the changes. This time around I had my producer, Susan Shaughnessy, Paula Gren of The GrenGroup and Amanda Sosa Stone (my creative buddy for years) weigh in on the edit. All agreed more personal was stronger. I’ve always thought a promo should immediately stand out in the mail so that’s why we’ve always used clear envelopes. I’ve also started to send an email or PM to specific clients with a snap of the promo cover to let them know it’s on their way. It all works though sometimes a bit better than others. When I’m traveling to an area for appointments I generally will hold off sending a promo until two weeks before I arrive. It’s always a compliment when people remember receiving it. Promos are a way to start a conversation and my career has been one long conversation with many people.