Category "Working"

The Killer App: Storytelling

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Every still photographer I know is struggling. But every still photographer I know that also does video is really busy. I love still photography. It’s the root of my whole career and I’m never going to abandon it. But it’s not enough by itself.

Source: The New York Times

Dissecting the Terms and Conditions Document

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Valuable information from Heather Elder Represents

DISSECTING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS DOCUMENT On a few recent projects, we have spent a lot more time than usual reviewing specific terms and going back and forth with both agencies and lawyers to come up with language that works for everyone.  During these particular projects, I often felt at a bit of a disadvantage when there were lawyers involved and wishing we had one of our own to help navigate our point of view.

I figured we were not alone in this thinking so asked attorney Linda Joy Kattwinkel of Owen, Wickersham & Erickson, P.C. if she would help dissect a generic Terms and Conditions Document that we can share with our readers.  People were so appreciative of the information she shared regarding Copyright, we figured they would feel the same about Terms and Conditions.

The documents are a bit long and dense, so we are breaking this series up in a few posts.

The format we thought most helpful would be to 1) review the term 2) translate the term into layman’s language and 3) ask any relevant questions.

Terms #1-5 can be found here.
Terms #6-9 can be found here.
Terms #10-14 can be found here.

A Photographer’s Cheat Sheet to Making It In the Industry

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By Demetrius Fordham

In 2013, I was commissioned by Ilex Press and Hachette to write a book entitled “What They Didn’t Teach You in Photo School,” which just launched in the U.S. this month. The entire book is essentially a long cheat sheet on how to make it in the industry, based on the wisdom and advice of over 20+ photographers, photo editors, consultants, and industry leaders that I interviewed over the course of a year.

Though they covered every photography-related topic imaginable—from portfolio editing to managing finances—their collective advice can essentially be distilled into the following points. I hope you’ll find the following tips as helpful and enlightening as I did, regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry.

Find a mentor.
“You should never be the smartest person in the room,” was the best advice anyone ever gave me. It applies very literally to a career in photography: surround yourself with people who are smarter than you—they’ll push you to grow. Almost all of the photographers I interviewed cited a mentor, someone they went to for advice even long after they’d “made it,” someone who offered continual guidance and feedback on their work (generally a more illustrious, seasoned photographer). “Tap into the wisdom and genius of those who came before you,” advises commercial photographer Peter “Poby” Pobypicz. “Learn from their mistakes and lessons.”

Get business-savvy.
Without exception, the most successful photographers I met were the ones who treated their photography career like the business that it is. “The thing that holds back a lot of photographers is not having a plan, simply going from gig to gig,” says commercial and documentary photographer Doug Menuez. “They don’t have an understanding of the business side—the thing we all hate—and as a result, they never have enough cash to create the portfolio and marketing they need to establish themselves. It’s necessary to write a business plan that clearly states what the end game is, and how you see yourself getting there over however many years.”

Though making a living entirely from taking photographs is the dream, it’s becoming increasingly harder to realize. The reality is that to survive in this industry in the long-term, you’ll need to get creative and find ways to capitalize on your passion in more ways than one. “I would strongly advise having multiple income streams across different sectors of the industry, because unless you are a category killer, you are not going to make a living doing 100% editorial,” says photographer Robert Wright. “More likely, you’ll need a mix of publishing, stock, book publishing, corporate, consulting—some sort of blend so that when one revenue stream dwindles the others take up the slack.”

Get face-to-face.
Now, more than ever, making the effort to meet people and cultivate real world relationships is crucial to a photographer’s success. “Getting out there is key,” says Pobypicz. “You can’t sit at home hoping the phone will ring if you don’t show your face, literally. Insist on face-to-face meetings with clients you want to work with.” Even making real life connections that are indirectly work-related—taking a fellow photographer out for a beer, meeting a photo editor for coffee—helps to build networks that can serve you in the future.

Think outside the box.
Experts say that there’s no better time to be different, so don’t concern yourself too deeply with what will “sell,” or try to adapt your individual style into something that’s more commercial or mainstream. “Don’t be afraid of niche areas you’re interested in,” says Menuez. “There’s this amazing work being done by a guy shooting dogs jumping in pools that’s getting lots of attention. Now it’s all about finding your own thing that’s all yours, that you are passionate about, and then shoot that like hell.”

Have a good attitude.
Think it’s common sense? You’d be surprised. “This industry seems to spawn some huge egos of the ‘legends-in-their-own-mind’ variety, and in my experience, it always catches up with them,” says Ellen Erwitt, owner and producer at Big Splash Productions. “There are many photographers that can do one given job, and, all things being equal, the one that will get hired is the one with the best attitude and most simpatico personality. The one who contributes yet listens, is receptive to ideas, and is a team player.”

For more detailed advice on how to make it in today’s industry, pick up a copy of “What They Didn’t Teach You in Photo School,” available at Barnes & Noble stores, local bookstores, Urban Outfitters stores, and online at

Photography Is So Easy It’s Ridiculous

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

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

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

This Week In Photography Books: Geert Goiris

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by Jonathan Blaustein

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

In other words, we have what we have. If the sun shines on a patch of desert, and there are no solar panels to collect the energy, it will be absorbed into the dirt.

I recently read that if we burn all the fossil fuels currently embedded within the Earth, seas will rise by 200 feet. Cities, at least those on coasts, will be obliterated.

No matter how many times these scary stats are bandied about the Interverse, so little seems to change. Today, South Carolina is under water. Tomorrow, perhaps California will be aflame.

So few of us do anything potent with such information. Our brains, small as they are, focus on the day to day. Putting food on the table. Paying the rent or mortgage. Buying some beer at the corner store.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

But then, some Art tries to put it in our face, like Christopher Nolan’s flawed but ambitious “Interstellar,” which pre-visualizes an Earth that no longer produces food for its inhabitants.

Is such a future imminent? I certainly hope not.

But sometimes, I look at a photo book, and it does make me wonder. Even if that’s not the “subject” of an artist’s work, the visual impact kicks off my imagination, and I begin to worry.

We’re not being hypothetical today, though. (We seldom are.) I just put down “Prophet,” by the Belgian artist Geert Goiris, published by ROMA, and I’m about ready to hide under my white kitchen table and pray for the best.

Not too long ago, I gave away the secret to the kind of work that will often provoke a review. Abstracted, edgy, metaphorical, referential without being literal. Artsy, if you will.

And this book hits that sweet spot for sure.

No words. No obvious connection between images, but the themes are there if you’re willing to look. Masks. Ice. People suited up for an eternal winter? Asteroid-like objects occupying lawns, or the center of a home.

Portraits encased in glass. Snowscapes rendered in night-vision-green, or eerie, screen-glow-blue. Greasy chicken feet and necks. A bottle of water, caught in the exact tipping point between standing and prone. (Tipping point, get it?)

These pictures are cool as hell. Rarely have I seen color and B&W images mixed together this well. And the end notes state that the work was shown at Foam in Amsterdam earlier this year, which comes as no surprise to me. (Though I do wonder about the music-accompanied-slideshow that happened in Paris, which is also mentioned.)

A title page, at the end, gives us hints, like “Breach,” “The Future,” “Black Friday,” “Forecast,” and “Torrent.”

Are the end times ahead? I sure hope not. I’ve got two young children, and I’d feel like quite the asshole if I were a part of a generation that left them to rot.

But we can’t know what comes next. That’s just a part of the deal we accepted when we emerged from the birth canal. And while it might not have been Geert Goiris’s intention to put me in such a mood today, his pictures did it just the same.

Bottom Line: Edgy, eerie pictures of the world we inhabit- for now.

To Purchase “Prophet” Visit Photo-Eye
















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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SM: No.

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

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

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

SM: I always get sad.

TB: You mean melancholy at the transience of everything?

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

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

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

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

Know Your Rights: Photographers

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

Your rights as a photographer:

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

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

What Is Photographic Vision Or Voice?

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A reader sent me this question awhile back:

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

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

How to Kill Restrictive Concert Photography Contracts

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

Source: How to Kill Restrictive Concert Photography Contracts

Instagram and Art Theory

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

Source: Instagram and Art Theory – artnet News

Capturing a Singular Vision

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

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


The Art of the Personal Project: Todd Selby

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Todd Selby




















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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Daily Edit: Triathlete: Matt Harbicht

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Triathlete Magazine

Art Director: Lisa Williams
Photo Editor: John David Becker
Graphic Designer: Olive Baker
Senior Editor/Writer: Jené Shaw
Photographer: Matt Harbicht

With such a big space and not much available light, what was your plan?
I knew we had enough lighting to really light up the corner with the track logo staring out.  We were shooting that setup with the idea that it would make a great double page opener if they ran the horizontal or a great vertical Table of Contents (which is where it ran).  The bulk of the spread was shot with the broadcast lights on during the track trials.  That gave us just enough light to shoot higher ISO handheld.  We also found a corner of the grandstands that would be tucked away from the rest of our shots where we could set up a small portrait studio for the rider profiles.

Is B/W a departure for the magazine? It works great with training images since the equipment and the kits are riddled with logos. Did you plan on BW the entire time?
I can’t remember seeing a full B&W story in Triathlete before.  I know that magazine has run B&W shots in the past, but nothing like this.  I thought it would definitely be a departure for the magazine, but I also thought it would be great if they ran with it.  B&W wasn’t my plan going into it, but it was a solution to our first setup.  Our first shots took place in the motion capture room and would involve having the riders on the bike trainer in a fairly small space.  Taking the time to light those shots would’ve interfered with what they were doing and just gotten the day off to a rough start.  I converted some of the first few shots to B&W and showed our Senior Editor/Writer Jené Shaw who was on set with us that day and emailed our Art Director Lisa Williams (who was back in the office) samples throughout the day so we were all on the same page.
I know you were a runner and now you’re into cycling. Is that why you were awarded the job?
Not originally.  I got this particular job because I had shot for the magazine in the past and their staff photographer (John David Becker) got really sick the day before the shoot.  They contacted me to fill in, because they already had a relationship with me and I was located near where the job had to be shot.  So my interest in cycling didn’t land me this job specifically.
Are you finding that it’s important to actually understand the culture of a specific sport in order to land an assignment?
I don’t know if it’s necessary, but it can’t hurt your chances.  I was told that I got one of my first jobs with Competitor Group, Inc (Triathlete’s Publisher) because they wanted someone with an endurance sport background to be able to talk shop with the athletes.  In the years since that first job I’ve become much more interested in cycling and triathlon because of my involvement with the magazine.  I think my interest and understanding of cycling helped me make better images for sure!  If you’re excited about what you are shooting, it shows!  In my case it helped me land that initial job and I think it’s great way to keep up relationships with the publications, especially specific sports markets like triathlon or running.
What do you think your excitement for road riding brought to the table?
Just that, excitement.  I love cycling and although I haven’t started measuring my watts on rides like the pro riders we had in the feature, I’m just excited to mix two loves of mine ie: photography and cycling.  I had never been to a Velodrome track let alone shoot on one so I was excited from the get go to be shooting in such a great location.
How long did the shoot take?
We had about 30 minutes per rider while they were tracking the bikes on the trainer, and then about 90 minutes so per rider while they were on the track.  It was enough time to get the shots we needed of them riding, but a lot of the story was about the techs at ERO figuring out what they could do to make the riders faster and more efficient.  We had a small side setup tucked out of the way to shoot rider portraits, so we got each rider for a few minutes as they were leaving.  From load-in to tail-lights we shot from 8am to 3:30-4ish.  I’m incredibly happy with the amount and variety of content we got in under a 10-hour day!
How many laps did they do until you got the perfect shot?
They would run in 3-4 laps per adjustment they made to the bikes or their kit so I would get one shot per lap.  All in all, I think we got 10-15 “keepers” per rider on our lit up corner shot.  We lit it in such a way that I could shoot it wide in profile, or straight on with a longer lens.  In some instances, I even had enough time to switch positions during a lap.  That way the magazine had some variation on the shots.
Who had the highest numbers of watts for the lap?
Honestly, I was so focused on getting our shot list and avoiding getting run over (I was laying down on the track really close to the riders for some of these shots) that I never found out!  I do know that Eric Lagerstrom won the Escape from Alcatraz Tri a month or so after his ERO test and fitting!

The Daily Promo: Ed Sozinho

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Ed Sozinho

Who printed it?
I used Moo Printing for this promo piece.  There print quality and sizing were great.
Who designed it?
I have a background in design, so I was very comfortable with designing the piece.  The concept was to produce something that could be taken apart if someone wanted to pin an image to a board.  First and foremost the images had to be clear without distraction, all contact information is on the back of each print.  The clip board was the finishing touch to add protection and a second usable leave behind.
Who edited the piece?
I did the edit and then ran it by a couple of colleagues that I trust to see their reaction.  I found they all enjoyed the physical and tactile act of taking it apart and looking at the images.
How many did you make?
I ran less than 50 for this piece.  This was a very pointed piece to specific individuals.  It’s part of a rebranding and directional shift with my work.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send out email promos every month.  I believe it’s important to be front of mind with art directors and clients.  This is the first mailer I have sent out in a long time.  I feel like we are all getting burned out with everything insta- and a flash on the screen.  I found myself enjoying and studying images in print more than on the screen, that instinct told me it was time to try an old school approach.
Where did the clip board idea come from?
A good friend and I were having a bourbon as we do and talking about the piece.  He is a great builder and suggested we build something out of acrylic.  The very next day I went to Lost Luggage to get some supplies for my new printed portfolio, again old school, anyway I was waiting around and found these great pieces.  They are used for menus, I instantly recognized their double use as the promo piece and as a clip board.  It was important for me to make sure whatever I send out could be re-purposed.  The concept developed further with the mini photo of the clipboard with a note pad and asking to repurpose the board, I would hate to see those beautiful boards being wasted.
What’s the backstory to this idea?
I have been wanting to produce a personal series of images that I had running around in my head for a long time.  So I sat down with my sketch book and started getting them on paper.  I then used those sketches to start producing each shoot.  The concept of double lit images was integrated from the very beginning.  It was important for me to create texture and volume with the fill light and an authentic outdoor adventure with the since of place and gesture.  All the models were also wearing Patagonia clothes for a consistent thread of product placement.  These images are not what Patagonia would typically use, that wasn’t the point it was about creating a body of work that was personal in conception but commercial in application.  I created this lighting system using three Canon 600 speedlites with a big soft box mounted to a heavy steel arm.  It weights maybe 15 pounds and acts like a sail.  The first day of shooting with the fly fisherman we had 20 mph winds and my poor assistant almost went into the drink, I have since modified the design so it’s less like a sail.


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

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

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

It’s Just Pictures

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Everybody has this romanticized vision of what you’re doing — a little bit of Robert Kincaid in the “Bridges of Madison County.” The truth is, we are like the Expendables. We’re like Sylvester Stallone and Terry Crews and they are bringing us in when there is some guy who has been kidnapped in Kazakhstan and they’ve got to get him out. And it’s ugly, it’s not pretty. There is never an excuse of like, it rained or my camera didn’t work. You don’t have too many second chances.

My biggest regrets tend to be holistic — about an entire story and the approach I took — rather than a specific incident where I screwed something up. Because the truth is, man, it’s just pictures and not that big of a deal. We’re not doing heart transplants or rescuing people from tall buildings. It’s easy to think we’re more important than we are. Some of the most experienced photographers died trying to photograph things they believed in. Friends of ours. I photograph dogs, so what’s going to happen? Something is going to pee on you, what’s the big deal?

Source: Vince Musi at Look3 –

Getting Into A Competition Is Cool, Not Getting In Means Nothing

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Not getting into Unbound! means nothing.  Rejection from other competitions, exhibitions, grant proposals… those rejections mean nothing.  Yes, getting into a competition is cool, over-the-moon excellent.  And we hope that if you get into Unbound4!  that you will see that as a genuine compliment.  If you get in to this show, we are going to spend our time installing your work, looking at your work, promoting your work, trying to sell it off the walls, maybe end up buying it ourselves, and finally returning it if it isn’t sold.  Getting in to this exhibition means we really like your work.  Not getting in does not, however, mean the opposite.   Not getting in means nothing.  We reject a lot, A LOT, of quality work.  Our gallery is only so large.  We have invited several artists, as we do each year, and so some of the space is spoken for, which means of the 400+ submissions, there are 1,300 or 1,400 images to consider and we are looking for maybe 25-30 pieces.  Sure, it is pretty easy getting down to the most serious contenders for the show.  But we probably begin the real struggle once we have maybe a couple hundred images or so to consider.

Source: Open Letter to Photographers / Artists ‹ Candela Books + Gallery – Copyright 2012.