What does a video REALLY cost?

- - Working

The quality and flexibility of the camera you shoot with can make a considerable difference in the finished quality and editing options for your video. Are you shooting on a $ 500 DV camera, a $2,500 DSLR, a $10,000 Full feature HD camera, a $25,000 RED, a $60,000 ARRI or are you shooting on Film? The pace of technological advancement in film and video is breathtaking and the features and capabilities of cameras are changing weekly.  Bottom Line: You should be able to see the difference in the final output quality in more expensive cameras. If you can’t, then it’s not worth paying for. Your final delivery channel will also determine the need for specific cameras. Streamed video on the internet (where the vast majority of corporate videos are seen) doesn’t require high-end camera’s to capture your content because a lot of that quality will be lost in optimization for the web.Costs: You will spend between $25/hour and $400/hour or more depending on which digital camera package is used. Film cameras, lenses and stock will take you well over $1,000 /hour.Equipment. The more experienced video production companies tend to have a wide variety of tools and equipment on hand for each shoot. Do you need a track dolly or a jib-arm to create a shot with movement? Do you have a high quality field monitor to know exactly what you are getting (or not getting) as you shoot? Do you have all the necessary audio equipment (lav’s, direction mics, booms etc) to capture the audio you need?  Lighting and framing are everything in video. Do you have lights – lots of different lights to accommodate a wide variety of shooting scenarios? Do you have a variety of lenses to create the specific feel you are after – wide angle, fixed focal length or Cine lenses for narrow depth of field, etc?Costs. Equipment cost can run anywhere from $25/hour to $100’s/hour or more depending on what specific equipment is required

More here: What does a video REALLY cost? – ChristopherHatchett.TV

The Daily Edit – George McCalman: The Promo Process

- - The Daily Edit


Caroline Schiff


Jason Madara


Jason Madara


Joe Pugliese


Joe Pugliese


Linda Pugliese


Linda Pugliese


Jessica Antola

George McCalman

How long were you in the magazine industry and what skills transcended into the work you do now?
I was in the magazine industry from 1995 to 2011. I started at Money Magazine and went onto Entertainment Weekly. I moved to San Francisco in 1999 and continued at Health Magazine, MotherJones, Wired, ReadyMade and finally AFAR magazine. I’ve assigned and worked with a alot of photographers and developed personal relationships with many of them. My background in the magazine world helped in a couple of ways: It gave me insight into what art directors and photo editors/art buyers are looking for. I’m designing these promos for myself in an inverse way: I’m always thinking from the perspective of: “what kind of printed matter would I like to receive?” When I started my creative studio, I was working with Jason Madara, my studio mate. I’ve been his Jiminy Cricket for years, working with him on his portfolio and visual direction. I’m passionate and opinionated about photography. I believe in the emotional power of photography, but I’m also not sentimental about it, so I make my decisions quickly and definitively.

What are some simple decisions and questions that need to be addressed in order to hit marketing goals?
I ask many (annoying) questions of the photographers I work with. I try to get into their psychology and it works in two ways: to get them thinking about things they aren’t, and it gets me into their heads to find out what direction they want to take their work. I usually have my impressions, but this kind of relationship works best when people are hearing themselves make their epiphanies. The line of questioning is ‘Who are you?’ “What are you trying to get across?” I am always surprised at how that question throws artists off. I start with the big picture philosophy first. It forces people to dig deeper and think about the work they produce in a more personal way. The work follows those conversations. If she/he understands the message they are trying to put out in the world, it makes the ‘What images are we using’ and ‘How are we packaging it’ much more fluid. I’ve had a few conversations with shooters who are pure technicians, and don’t care about the meaning of their work. It’s all about what the client wants. I respect that. But that usually means I’m not the right designer for them. And vice versa.

What is the best “formula” you’ve developed for working with photographers?
It’s pretty organic. The design of a promo is usually a piece of an overall branding initiative. It’s rare that I just design promos alone, and it means that I think the work is compelling. I’m a big photography nerd, so I get excited (on my own) and start imaging how someones work can be presented that I think is incredible. I’m a big fan of talking on the phone, scheduled right after presentations. It allows me to get honest feedback and talk through my intent in the design. I’ve worked a couple of times with photographers who want to communicate primarily over email and I absolutely hated it, so I don’t do it anymore. Sometimes the photographer has a set idea on the body of work they want to use for the promo and other times they are completely open. They send me low-res jpegs of ‘everything’ within a body of work and I play around with a few edit directions and get a narrative theme (either through color palette, layout design or story). I send it to them. We keep talking until we’re both happy with the final edit. I think most photographers are terrible editors of their own work, so I argue when I believe an edit choice is being made emotionally on their part.

How is the conversation different between seasoned pros and up and coming?
Not as much as you might think. The seasoned pros just talk more (which is great). In most of cases the seasoned photographers I know haven’t sent out much printed work, and rely on their reps for their windfalls, so there is ambivalence of what the promo actually ‘does’. I’ll used Jason as an example: we’d been talking about doing a promo for 3 years (!) before we actually did one. He was featured in his rep’s own promo book, so he didn’t have any urgency about it.  I pitched a themed poster series to him last year and he got excited. But the process was like pulling teeth. After the posters were printed, he looked and he and said: “When are we doing the next one?” Up-and-Comers are sometimes more open to pushing the envelope, but have done less thinking about who are as individual artists. But I find similar patterns working with either set.

What advice do you have for anyone defining their brand?
I ask ‘Who are you?’ What separates you from others in the industry? Others in the same lane? Play to your strengths. Don’t try and compete. It’s all well and good to admire what others are doing, you should be paying attention to the marketplace, always, but I think it’s as important to remind yourself about what sets you apart. also: I tell photographers to stop designing their own work. Get a designer. It’s as vital to your brand as having a retoucher that completes your sentences. It’s your team, it’s your brand. Find someone who understands what you are trying to say and let them interpret your visual language. Work with someone who surprises you, and who you enjoy talking to.

Do you think there are more promos in circulation OR are we simply seeing more of them due to social media?
I think there are more due to social media. And let’s talk about social media. Because I don’t believe that posting to Instagram and tumblr is the same thing (or replaces) sending out a promo piece. Mobile devices can show sequential art, but doesn’t present a narrative with a beginning, middle and end. Books, magazines and promos provide that in a way that (I believe) will always be a part of the commercial landscape in some form.

What makes a memorable promo in your eyes?
I may sound like an asshole, but I don’t think an arresting image is enough anymore. In the age of Instagram and other social media tools, people have access to generally interesting images on a daily basis. I think how you present your images is what makes it memorable. The formula is simple, the more personal the better. Art Directors and Art buyers want to know how you think, as much as. When that is transparent, it became easier to imagine how you would be on set, or on location. It’s a way in, for people that may be seeing your work for the first time; and a reminder for the people that are familiar with you, and they should be giving you more consideration. I’m a sucker for designing promos with an actual story (the original and best meaning of that annoying word: content), bold type and smart layout design, so that’s what I try to create.

Do you have a staff at your studio?
I don’t have a conventional creative studio. I’ve been mostly a one-man operation. Most of the work that I’m doing is a culmination of designing for the past twenty years in the advertising and and editorial world. I get bored doing one thing, so I’ve created a studio where I get to work on multiple projects that play to my strengths as an art director, graphic designer, typographer and painter. I’m working on four book projects (based on my own ideas) that I’m developing and designing, as well as two fine art shows (one with my colleague, Jason Madara) coming up this year. Working with photographers is something I’m always going to do professionally and personally. It makes me so happy to see an artist cultivate their unique point of view visually. I just love it. I believe it’s possible to work commercially and maintain your perspective and vision. It’s a tricky balance, but when you do, it gives you life.

Tell us about what you do in addition to working with photographers on their branding?
I’m working on a few projects simultaneously. I’ve been working on a portrait series with Jason Madara called The Individuals. It’s a study of The Bay Area through portrait photography and the people (at present count, over 200 names) who have defined innovation across industries (science, arts, technology, academia, etc). It’s an ambitious project: we’ve been shooting it for the past year and will be shooting for at least another year. Jason is the photographer and I’m the art director, but on-set we have a weird shared-unit brain. Right now, the project only exists publicly on my Instagram account (#TheIndividualsProject) and on Jason’s website, but we are working on a book and photography exhibition. You can see the images here: Individuals 1
Individuals 2

I’ve also been working on series of hand painted typography over the last year. It’s based on phrases from my coming-of-age and quotes I hear from the people around me. I’m always writing down what I see and hear around me, and one day I decided I wanted to start the exercise of painting. I’ve been using watercolor because it’s malleable. I’ve been getting magazine and private commissions the last few months, which was unintentional, and has been a lot of fun. I have a fine-art show called The Type Note Series coming this spring.

Another project with Jason Madara is a set of figure study nudes we worked on four months ago. It’s becoming a fine art photography show at the Negative Space gallery in San Francisco. It’s a rich collaboration between him and I. We push each other creatively and its very rewarding experience.

I’m painting a series of portrait of pioneers for Black History Month. I’ve been researching more unknown (a few well known notables) and painting their portraits, using pencil, pen, ink & watercolor. I’ve been approaching each portrait in its own style, finding the personality of each person and treating them as the individuals they are. The unifying factor is that they are all in black and white. You can see the work here

On the surface it’s a diffused assortment of work, but the collective thread is that it’s all my own personal interests. I’m very curious about identity, and how we, as people, present ourselves to the world. it informs most of what I’m drawn to in commercial (and fine) art.

The Daily Promo – Justin Fantl

- - The Daily Promo
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Justin Fantl

Who printed it?

The calendar was printed in San Francisco by Spot Graphics.
Who designed it?
It was designed by the team at Manual Creative also in San Francisco.  I had worked with CD Tom Crabtree a number of years ago on the “Looseleaf Editions” project.  It was one of the most interesting briefs I had ever received.  Basically, the concept being to interpret a landscape through still life.  I loved the way the project came together and when the idea of making a calendar as a promo piece surfaced, Tom immediately came to mind.  The format of “Looseleaf” reminded me very much of a calendar but a really cool one!  I thought that from a design sense it would make sense to approach Tom about the concept and he was very receptive to it.
Who edited the images?
The team over at Manual refined the edit.  I had given them an initial grouping of images I was interested in using and they came back with a great selection in their first version.  I think in the end we only ended up changing one image.  The one caveat I had was that I wanted to showcase both my landscape and still life work.
How many did you make?
I sent out around 1200.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send out 2 promos a year. One comes from my studio, and in this case was the calendar, and the other comes from my rep, Giant Artists.   I think two provides a nice balance without overkill.  The Giant Artists promo typically showcases more commissioned work and the one I put out can be a bit more conceptual.  I really wanted to make something this year that people could use and I do hope that people utilize the calendars; mark them up, cut them up, live with them, and interact with them.  It might even be that this becomes a piece that I make each year. I feel like there are so many ways to approach the promo piece. There are a lot of fun to conceptualize and use your own work in any way that you want to.

This Week In Photography Books: MBLCK

by Jonathan Blaustein


Such a simple word.
Four letters.
Two vowels.
Two consonants.

Well balanced.

Such a basic word, for such a complicated concept. Even now, as I type these clean, black letters on the bright white Retina display, I’m aware they’re not as they appear. I see letters, yes, but underneath the alphabetic structure lies a string of numbers.

Ones and Zeroes.


Most of us are aware that binary code underlies the entirety of Digital Reality, which has eaten the Real World whole, like Goya’s depiction of Saturn devouring his child. We live so much through our screens, and all is illusion.

Ones and zeroes stand in for electrical impulses. On, off. Yes, no. If, then.

Like I said, it’s complicated.

But code, or the masking of one set of information in the form of another, is absolutely necessary to our daily lives. Codes are only helpful when they’re comprehensible, and often most valuable when they’re perfectly impenetrable. (Yes, I saw “The Imitation Game” a few weeks back, but that’s not what’s gotten me wound up today.)

No, I’m thinking rather of the assumption that code can be broken; its meanings interpreted. That’s how it works digitally, as code allows numbers to appear as pixels, pixels to resolve into pictures. Photographs in our Instagram feeds are so much more interesting as images; less so in the form of a string of digits as long as a unicorn’s tail.

But what happens when those assumptions are broken? I write this column every week, and every week I discuss a book that I understand. Sometimes, they withhold their meaning for a little while. Always, though, their secrets are revealed in the end. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Why would an artist not want us to know what is going on at all? Or who they are? Or why they sent you a book?

As you might have gathered, I’m not speaking in hypotheticals. (Of course not.) Last week, a little book box turned up in the mail, and I chucked it in a corner. Just now, I opened it up.

When it arrived, I noted that there was no name on the box, and I hadn’t been expecting anything. It only said MB, with an address in Austin, TX.

I know no such person.

I was curious and opened the box. I was met with a swath of thick, white wrapping paper, covered with hand-painted black marks. Little bits of charcoal, or paint chips, spilled out as I unwrapped the parcel.

Surely, I’d never received something like this before.

Inside the protective coating, I found a slim volume titled “INDECIPHERABLE.” Fair enough.

There was no letter, no essay, nothing at all, save a definition of the word. I flipped dutifully through the pages, and each time, I found a rendering of the black marks on white, on the left-hand side of the book. On the right, some sort of abstracted image, impossible to make out.

Page by page, I wondered. What is going on here? Are the black marks a kind of coded message? Do they mean anything at all? On the right-hand side, in a few images, banded lines appear? Is it an obscured computer screen? A scrambled message? An amalgam of many different photographs mashed together? (A technique I’ve seen a few times before.)

I really don’t know.

Eventually, the black-mark-hieroglyphics migrate to the right-hand page as well. The code eats the image. But what does it mean?

Believe it or not, it’s never explained. The book ends without a clue, save for the term MBLCK on the back cover.

I re-searched the package, looking for a note. A press release.
Some sort of explanation?


What the hell is going on here? I’ve never seen a book I couldn’t figure out, until now. But as it’s called “INDECIPHERABLE,” that’s clearly the point.

Why? To what end? Who is the mysterious MB, and why did he or she send me this coded object?

You regular readers know how much I hate to turn to Google to understand a book. But desperate times call for desperate measures, so here we go:


First attempt: “MBLCK indecipherable Austin TX” reveals nothing.

Second attempt: “MB photo book indecipherable” reveals nothing.

Third attempt: “MBLCK photo book” reveals nothing

Fourth attempt: MBLCK photographer Austin” reveals nothing

(bigger pause)

This is a first. A book review with an anonymous artist, whose intention is totally unknowable. Why did you send me this, MB? What does it mean?

WHO ARE YOU!!!!!!!!

Does anyone have any intel on this? If so, please write into the comment section, send me an email, drop me a DM on Twitter, FB, or Instagram. Let us know in some digital variation or other, because I’m dying to know.

Aren’t you?

Bottom Line: Weird, inscrutable, impenetrable, coded photobook

















The Art of the Personal Project: Ackerman + Gruber

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Ackerman + Gruber (Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber)

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

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

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

Ice Racing in Minnesota.  Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Their work can be viewed at www.ackermangruber.com

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

The Daily Edit – Mike Sakas: Editorial Story Pitching

- - The Daily Edit



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Mike Sakas 

How often do you do spec or self assigned travel jobs?
I don’t do spec jobs that often per se but I always keep an eye open for an opportunity whenever I’m traveling.  This particular piece was conceived while on an assignment in Tajikistan. I was a part of a team going to teach a photography/story-telling workshop in Gorno-Badakhshan region of Tajikistan. To get to Khorog, the capital of the region, we flew into Dushanbe and were forced by weather to drive rather than fly. So a 2 hour helicopter flight turned into a 17 hour ride in a fully packed Toyota Forerunner. Originally we were going to fly a helicopter through the Himalayas the group was understandably a little bummed;  however the trip by road was an battering steel-lined-bouncy-castle of a ride.  I simply had to come back and do a longer version on motorcycle. As luck would have it, by the end of our assignment we had a return trip planned and I began research on what our extended route would be.  Having finished the trip and told some stories to my rider buddies, I’m convinced a lot of people would enjoy the tale and may even find it inspirational enough to go on one like it themselves.  So I’m pitching it around.

Have you had success with this before?
I have had success with this before but beyond the obvious magazine coverage, it’s always the weirder spin-off stuff that makes it more interesting.  The last time I did this sort of thing I was going to Thailand on a mountain bike trip with a bunch of guys from my local riding group.  We had planned an epic weekend around a local “friends match” and I actually didn’t intend on shooting much. However, as soon as we got to the mountain I met a couple of the event organizers and a writer covering the race and that was that.  I covered the event and the photos were picked up by a UK riding mag and a mountain bike apparel company.  It also turned into 4 more days of shooting stills and video for the apparel maker.

Who are you hoping to pitch this story to?
I’m planning to pitch the story to some of the more general travel adventure mags first: Outside, Afar, Travel + Leisure, Adventure Travel, Lonely Planet, etc. One of these guys would be ideal as they are more generally in my wheelhouse.  If none of them bite however, I’ll move on to the more specific adventure motorcycle rags:  Adventure Rider, Road Runner, Overland Magazine, etc.

 What does your pitch look like?
Basically, I write an email with a hello or an introduction if I don’t know the contact. I include a gripping (but short) narrative summary with a couple of images and then I wait.  I don’t like dropping a pitch on an editor cold if I can help it but the nature of my (non)process is such that I sometimes find myself shooting a story I probably haven’t done before. That being the case, sometimes I find an audience I’ve never been in front of before.  I try to keep it short and sweet and while I like to be friendly, I understand that most editors are swimming in work and I don’t want my pitch to be heavy. If they’re interested they’ll write back…if not, I move on.

Did you have a writer with you, or you wrote all your own content?
Almost every time I’ve gone out with writer we’ve been on assignment.  Since I tend to do these sorts of spec pieces sporadically, almost accidentally, I end up doing my own writing. It’s not that big of a stretch since I tend to journal during my travels anyways and it’s another way of creating a link between my thoughts and experiences and the audience. Interestingly, since there’s another workflow to writing about a trip vs. photographing one, in a circular way this gives me another avenue of relating to an experience while I’m having it.

 How do you formulate the story? Do you try and outline something or simply allow it to unfold organically?
Certainly I think it’s important to be familiar with your subject and to have a plan but I also believe, as they say, “strategy is only good until the first shots are fired.”   So in a sense I am a reactionary photographer in that, when I’m interacting with a subject, I not only follow it around as it does whatever it does, I let the mood of the thing inform how I photograph and tell the story.   For example, I photographed a small town, again in Thailand, during a Chinese New Year celebration.  As the day wore on and the festivities developed, things began to get more and more chaotic and fast paced. The drums and gongs turned to a near constant ear-splitting drone and the firecrackers and bigger explosions began to resonate in our bodies.  Soon I began adopting that chaotic energy in the way that I photographed the town.  The result was a series of images that were full of motion, vibrant colors, and portraits instead of the romantic images of a quaint rural town that they had started out to be.  Well, I write and photograph a story in the same way; I let the story describe itself to me. It’s my favorite thing that as I have an experience and let things develop, story eventually begins to take on it’s own form and tell me what it’s meant to be.


This Week In Photography Books: Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman

by Jonathan Blaustein

The gorilla stench clings to my nostril hairs, like Pigpen’s fog. Surely, I can’t still smell the gorillas? But my nose crinkles just the same.

I saw those gorillas in the Albuquerque Zoo on Sunday morning. We took the kids down to the “big” city, (irony intended) as when you raise your children in a horse pasture, they need to get out every once in a while.

My daughter, now 3.5, had never seen zoo animals in person before. It was time.

So we put on our coats to fight the 9am chill, and decided to walk off our big breakfast at the Central Grill, a fantastic restaurant that sits astride old Route 66. It came highly recommended by my old friend David Bram, and now I’m passing the tip along to you.

I could tweet it, if I really wanted to, but I don’t think I’ll bother.

The gorillas are the first thing you come to at the Albuquerque Zoo, and I think they might want to re-think that decision. The smell traveled across a fair distance, and felt like it took up residence in my nasal cavity. You’ll have to trust me: it was awful. (Because you’re reading it on the Internet, it must be true.)

It is one of life’s deep pleasures, to introduce a child to the wonder of a kookaburra’s surreal call, the magnificence of a family of hippos exiting their pond, or the quiet, regal menace of a snow leopard sitting in its pen, perfectly still.

For most of us, seeing such creatures from a safe distance, their danger muted by cage bars, is the only way we’ll ever experience them in the real world. Unless you have mad cash to splurge on a safari, or live in a place where a tiger might actually pounce and eat you, the mediated experience is all we have.

The only time I felt scared was walking below a mountain lion, who paced back and forth in his elevated cage. My fear was real, because those monsters live very close to my house. I could presumably see one, though I hope it never happens. My brain was able to suss out the difference, so my heart beat quickened.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

The oddest moment, by far, was at the very end. (Just before we walked through the gorilla stink, which by then had managed to hang in the air, 200 feet from their habitat.) Our last visit was to the polar bear, who had no interest in swimming in his frigid water on a cold morning.

Back and forth he walked, on a concrete precipice above his abundant blue pool.

Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.

The problem was, to the naked eye, he didn’t look real. He was only 20 feet away, true, but my brain read him as digital. A trick of the light, I’m sure, but still, I checked with my 8-year-old, who’s been raised on screens, and he agreed.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was a hi-resolution projection. A figment of the digi-verse, transposed onto reality by some next-gen projector, sitting just out the frame.

What a trip.

Are you surprised? Have you ever had the feeling before, that reality was no longer real enough? That your eyes, so accustomed to screen time, could no longer tell the difference?

I’m asking, having just put down “Geolocation,” an excellent new book by Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman, recently published by Flash Powder Projects. (A new publishing venture by the aforementioned David Bram, and his partner Jennifer Schwartz. I’ve reviewed friend’s books before, so this is no precedent. But I thought you should know, and I’ll do my best to be objective.)

I’d heard of this project before, but somehow never seen it. The premise is conceptually tight: the artists take other people’s geo-tagged tweets, track down the location where they were tweeted, photograph it, and then pair the tweet with the image.

We’ve seen stalker art before, (see Albuquerque’s own Jessamyn Lovell,) but this is something new. It has to be, as it’s based on contemporary technology. But innovation is not a guarantor of quality, so I was curious to see the book and decide for myself.

The key to the project’s success is that they choose tweets that range from random and silly, to poignant and personal. Someone dies. Someone else craves love.

The tweet suggesting that life is just like the “Harry Truman” show brings the book together. Both the ridiculous faux pas, of course, and because unlike Jim Carrey’s Truman, so many of us now choose to be observed. To proffer our lives as other people’s entertainment. (Myself included. In this very space.)

The photographs are strong, as well as diverse. We see Canada, England, New York, California, Indiana, and places in between. No-place places and someplace places. It all fits.

In general, I think the work is really strong, and I’m glad to share it with you. The flaws in the book, such as they are, come in the way the sequencing of text and imagery happens. As the publishers are very new to this, (the book is their co-launch,) and I’ve reviewed at least 200 books over the last 4.5 years, I thought it appropriate to mention this.

There are too many pictures, and the poems and mini-essays that pop up, from curators and other trendy types on the photo scene, seem placed at intervals meant to challenge our attention span. Some books need smart people to tell us that they are “IMPORTANT.”

This isn’t one of them. The combination of concept and execution means that almost any audience will get this work. It’s funny and smart and the pictures are not boring.

In the best photobooks, less is more. More is not more, because it causes our eyes to glaze over, and incites a desire to skip ahead. Narrative flow, furthermore, is a delicate beast, like a hummingbird. (It needs to be handled carefully.)

So I wholeheartedly recommend this one, and give props the artists for their diligent work, done over hundreds of days on the road. To the publishers, I also give a big thumbs up, for sticking your fresh necks out to support this collaboration. I hope you’ll take my advice in the spirit in which it was intended, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Bottom Line: Innovative, witty, tweet-worthy 21st C photo series.

To Purchase “Geolocation” Go Here.




















The Art of the Personal Project: Pete Barrett

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Pete Barrett


















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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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 – Benjamin Rasmussen: TIME

- - The Daily Edit

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Creative Director:
D.W. Pine
Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise: Kira Pollack
Deputy Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise: Paul Moakley
Photographer: Benjamin Rasmussen

Was this your first project with Time?
Yes, this was my first assignment with Time magazine, so I was pretty terrified going into it. I grew up in the rural Philippines and every couple of months we would get our mail and there would be a pile of Time magazines to explore. It has always been the one that got away and has a lot of my favorite photo editors, so I was both incredibly excited and anxious. I got the call for the assignment on Thursday and then flew out Friday night and shot Saturday and Sunday.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Paul Moakley wanted clean environmental portraits of newly engaged voters. He referenced work that I had done of protestors in Ferguson for Bloomberg Businessweek, which is a style that I usually shoot on Polaroid in really active and sunny situations. It is a flat lighting style that relies on the energy and personality of the person being photographed to carry the frame. I tweaked it a bit because of shooting digital medium format instead of Polaroid and because we were photographing in grey and snowy Iowa.

How did you decide who to approach for a portrait?
Because the style relied so much on the subject, I was really intentional about trying to find people who had a presence to them that could translate photographically. But because they needed to be newly engaged voters and were going to be quoted, they also needed to be thoughtful and articulate. Sam Frizell, the writer from Time, and I would talk with people in line and then tap one another if they would work visually or for the story.

How did you engage them during the shoot? 
I would chat at the beginning and build some rapport as we walked from the line to where we were set up to shoot; I would try to listen as Sam interviewed them. During the shoot I would ask them to think through a specific scenario, which would change depending on what they had said during the interview. One man said that the only candidates he had ever liked were Ronald Reagan, Ron Paul and Donald Trump; so I asked him to imagine sitting with the three of them for five minutes and what he would want them to discuss. Or I would ask a person to image the feeling of the evening of November 8 and their candidate declaring victory.   This would put people in a thoughtful and internal space, which tended to carry into the portraits.

How long was each portrait?
Sam would interview people for about five minutes or so, and I would photograph them often times for just a few minutes more. We were typically taking people in groups of two – four and were rushing to get them back to the line so that they wouldn’t lose their spot.

I know this was your first job with Time, did you send them promos? Is that how they connected with you or did you have meetings with them prior to the assignment?
was near the top of my list when I started doing promo books five or six years ago. And I would always try to come by when I was in New York with my book and show new work and get their thoughts on it. My project By The Olive Trees that I did with Michael Friberg was featured on Lightbox and I have had other interactions with the crew there as well.

I tend to take a pretty long view with these kinds of relationships. I like and respect the folks at Time because I think that they are really good at what they do and they have a passion for good photography. Whether or not I work with them immediately, or ever, doesn’t directly impact how I feel about them. Some of my favorite photo editors work at places that I am not a good fit for, but I will still always keep up with them and reach out because I respect them and love getting their insights.

The Daily Promo: Daniel Dorsa

- - The Daily Promo

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Daniel Dorsa

Who printed it?
The cassette tapes were made by MilkTape, I printed the J Cards myself, and the business card was printed by Mama Sauce.

Who designed it?
A long term friend of mine, Devin Jacocviello, designed the tape as well my business cards.

Who edited the images?
I edited the images myself.

How many did you make?
I made a limited run of the thirty.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is my first promo ever so I’ve only mailed out one a year!  I plan on sending out promos twice a year though.

How did this promo idea develop?
I decided to create this promo for a few different reasons. First off, I love music and have loved it since I was young. I would create mixtapes of the radio and share them with friends. Once CD’s and downloading became prevalent, I was making tons of mix CD’s for my friends in high school and would always be having new music bump in my car. Without really realizing it, it was my first form of creative expression.

While figuring out what type of promo to make, I was a bit unsure the best route. I was considering making a zine, but I felt like people may not really pay attention to it if the work didn’t speak to them directly. I wanted to make something a bit obscure so that people would give my work a chance, but also practical. My roommate suggested I make vinyl records and send those with a zine, but there was no real concept with that. That suggestion though got me thinking of something relating to my love for music and after some research, I found these tapes. It was the perfect blend of something practical, interesting, and personal. It took months for me to actually receive the tapes, but it was well worth it.

This Week In Photography Books: Karen Knorr

by Jonathan Blaustein

It’s Tuesday, the morning after the Iowa Caucuses. (When I’m writing this. You’re likely reading on Friday, of course.)

Today marks the beginning of the end of Donald Trump’s incessant march to colonize Earth. Wouldn’t you just love to see the TRUMP insignia emblazoned on the side of the White House? I mean, after you moved to Canada, wouldn’t you find it funny? (Instead of tragic and/or shocking?)

I’ve said since the first Republican debate that my money was on Marco Rubio, so I’m sticking with that. The Republicans have a great habit of rallying around whomever is “most electable,” and he fits the bill.

Ted Cruz, who won the contest, seems more unlikeable than a genetically engineered TRex that’s about to eat your face off. A smugger man, I’ve not yet seen. And the hubris to pretend to be a man “of the people” when you’re educated at Princeton and Harvard?

We haven’t witnessed that degree of fakery since George W. was photographed “clearing brush” in Texas. (Oh George. Where have you gone? How we miss your bumbling mispronunciations.)

No, Ted Cruz will not be the next President of the United States. You heard it here. But then, neither will the Donald, a man who would gladly take the Malkovichian punishment of living inside his own head, surrounded by clones who spoke only his own name, were he given the chance.



“Trump Trump Trump?”

“Trump Trump.”

If we’ve learned anything from Donald’s six-month-performance-art-piece, it’s that how much money you have is not a marker of your intelligence, nor your worth to the rest of us. That guy clearly has billions, but he acts like a scared, insecure bully on the playground, making sure to charge $5 admission to the swing-set, just because he can.

He may have money, but as they say, money can’t buy class. In this case, I actually speak from experience. Back in 1996, I worked on a movie called “The Devil’s Advocate,” and personally delivered a $50,000 check to his assistant, made out to Donald Trump, for the use of his 57th St penthouse for ONE DAY.

That’s right. 50 grand for a day, not that he needed the money. The walls were covered in plated gold, something I’ve never seen before or since. Tacky beyond belief. An Emperor is how the man sees himself. (A taller Napoleon with bad hair.)

But gold walls or gold toilets do not make a better person. Not better than any of us. Just better at wasting precious resources.

The homes we live in, the trinkets we acquire, the animal pelts we collect, these do not reflect the quality of our character. The idea of aristocracy was misguided from the beginning. Much as some would like to believe it grew out of a reality that some families are superior to others, I’d proffer that it’s simply that some are driven to acquire wealth and power by any means necessary.

And others are not.

As I rarely get political, (though I’ve staunchly avoided mention of whom I support in 2016,) I couldn’t help myself after looking at “Belgravia,” a new book by Karen Knorr, released last year by Stanley/Barker.

Once you see it, the above rant will fit snugly into context, like a medicine cap on a bottle of Prozac. As the book brings us inside the homes, and minds, of the English elite, circa 1976. (Has there ever been a more photogenic decade?)

According to the end notes, though not hard to suss out from the content, Belgravia is a posh neighborhood in London, near Buckingham Palace. It is likely to West London conservatism what the East End is to hipsterism these days. (And if I’m wrong, I’m sure one of our many London-based readers will correct me.)

The portraits, staged in fancy rooms with grand fireplaces, are paired with snippets of conversation the artist recalled from chatting with her subjects. They fit, in the sense that we can imagine “these people” saying such things, despite the obvious artifice.

My favorite part was that several of the crops are not clean. Photographs like this, of formal people in formal rooms, are so often meticulously made. Every cut is perfect. Each composition as exacting as a valet cleaning off a just-used dinner jacket.

But these are rougher than that. They’re close to formal, but often deviate in observable ways. Rebellion, via composition? And the lighting is not perfect either. It’s often flat, rather than glamourous.

I counted at least 2 zebra-pelts, assuming they’re real. And other objects collected from around the Empire. Lions, cheetahs, elephants. Knick-knacks from the hinterlands.

Honestly, I didn’t love this book. But that’s the point, no? These people aren’t lovable. They’re just rich. They look normal, for the most part. (Not the Platonic ideal of a human, like a baby made by the unholy English union of David Beckham and Sienna Miller.)

That’s what the Upper Class look like in our minds, no? All jutting, cleft chins and wide-set blue eyes. They look better than we do, attended superior schools, so they deserve to rule?

No, this book just shows some lonely-looking, repressed rich people, clinging to their religion and their guns. (Sorry. That was an Obama quote.) I mean, clinging to their fancy things and big rooms.

Bottom Line: Ironic, old school pics of the British ruling Elite

To Purchase “Belgravia” Visit Photo-Eye



















The Art of the Personal Project: Russ Quackenbush

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Russ Quackenbush

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

What Happens When Your Images Go Viral: Eric Pickersgill’s REMOVED

by Efrem Zelony-Mindell, aCurator

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You’ve probably seen and possibly heard the story of Eric Pickersgill’s body of work: REMOVED. How Eric noticed a family in a coffee shop all staring at their personal devices and simultaneously feeling disgusted dejected and realizing that he was that same family. So he created a series of images with the phones removed, “to show just how weird that can be”.

What you probably haven’t heard is what happens to a photographer when a series of images goes viral. And what can be done to harness some of that viral-ity to money and attention to the photographer whose images have been co-opted by the internet.

“It happened so fast. It still seems a little unreal,” Pickersgill chuckles. 2015 was already shaping up to be a great year for him as an emerging photographer, even before a friend at Business Insider asked to feature his work. Business Insider was the start. Views of Pickersgill’s feature quickly went from a few hundred to tens of thousands. A day later the work started popping up on other blog’s and online publications. How is a little hazy, as some of these early posts were used without an e-mail to him. This additional coverage helped push the work further; this is when sensible inquiries started. USE USE USE, WANT WANT WANT, e-mail after e-mail requesting images for publications we view every day.

The emails quickly ramped up to over 300 a day and Eric says, “money floated into my mind as an afterthought, but I soon realized I was going to need some help.” Almost without exception, the expectation was that images would be given for publication for free. He did not get too many “it will be great exposure for you” insults, but the sense was he would be eager to be published. And Eric was very eager to be published and a number of websites and blogs benefitted.

On the third day of this Eric called photo professional Julie Grahame, who he was introduced to by a mutual business friend. “I wasn’t sure the first time we spoke. I thought the work might just fizzle,” Grahame said. It’s funny to note that both Pickersgill and Grahame shared this thought upon first interactions before they agreed on working together. Pickersgill quickly came back around to Grahame after a day or so attempting the Internet solo. “Other countries started calling for the work. The Netherlands, South Africa, on and on.”

With so many inquiries on the table, Julie set out with Eric to prioritize those likely to have a budget. They agreed to just not get back to a bunch of people until they had managed the more practical clients. That was hard for Eric, he had to understand he wasn’t being rude, he was just staying sane. A couple of things likely slipped through the cracks, because it was so overwhelming, but they soon had several invoices out to various countries, and as each publication came out, they perpetuated the interest.

“Some clients I expected to have a budget said no, and when we refused to play, managed to find a little bit of cash”, says Julie of their interactions with clients. One German journalist said “I’m sure they do have a budget, I’ve just never seen it used” and then found them $200. They had to be creative and flexible – one client who Eric did an interview with had to process the fee as an equipment expense. With all the best intentions and efforts it is difficult to get a publisher to pay up-front but they did manage it on a few occasions.

Lots of people wanted interviews as well, but they still insisted on license fees for the majority of them. They also let go a bunch of websites who used images without permission that they felt it would be impractical to pursue.

“Collecting the money is the usual ongoing effort but we’ve done really well!”, says Julie, “I would like to add we have negotiated licenses that include an ad campaign, and a music video.” (As an aside, managing tax issues and incoming wire transfers from all over the world is a bit of a pain.)

There were also several requests for prints but Eric decided that “instead of jumping to make quick sales, he waited until he found a gallery who was interested in the work and who would then fulfill the print requests for him.” This manifested in an enthusiastic agreement with Rick Wester Fine Art, in New York within a month of going viral.

Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another. Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. Eric is saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and he doubts we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now. This is Pickersgill’s story, this is how it all began.

The photos are deeper, they delve into a history of portraiture, and they are as sculptural as they are narrative. Pickersgill’s images bridge a gap between fine art and editorial. They are full of repose and gesture and curiously, the hands of the subjects with their devices removed, create a nebulous sense of vacuum. Composition informs the subject’s relation; tonality and print quality capture awkward moments of estranged intimacy. In Pickersgill’s own words, “I have a strong connection to the body and photographing people.”

REMOVED incites a certain sense of joy hidden in the images’ absurdity. That’s not to say they’re a joke, laughter ensues because the photos allow a viewer to realize just how complicated they’ve made themselves. There’s a freedom in that.

Eric’s future isn’t clear, but there’s a whole lot of potential. The work will continue, and so too will the obsession with REMOVED. As long as people need reminding it seems pretty clear Pickersgill will have subjects to photograph. The body goes on adapting and relying, submitting itself. And maybe that’s the ultimate realization the work can impart. I don’t get the feeling that his photos are trying to say put down the technology, but to grow with each other and to raise the platform. The blinking lights and fun little gadgets will catch up.

Efrem Zelony-Mindell, aCurator

The Daily Edit – Kenji Aoki: Real Simple

- - The Daily Edit

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.00.44 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.00.52 PM
Real Simple

Creative Director: Janet Froelich
Photo Editor: Alice Jones

Photo Editor: Emily Kinni
Photographer: Kenji Aoki


What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
The magazine was seeking something conceptual and abstract based on some of my earlier work.

Tell us about your creative process for this simple, elegant solution for stress.
The article was about stress and how stress can be a positive motivation depending on its type and cause; so I thought about these four key words from the article: “Chaos”, “Calm”, “Pressure”, and “Relief/Release.”I find working through language in this way is often the most important first step before shooting.

Is there a pattern to when or where you ideas occur?
Focusing on one word can conjure many images, in this case I felt I could best extract the essence of these concepts by using geometric conceptualizations. Rather than trying to think up ideas, I sought a resolution by ridding myself of all unnecessary information and focusing on these few words.

Do you have a journal for your ideas, sketchbook?
Having studied design, I find it very helpful to draw rough sketches before shooting, so yes, I keep a sketchbook.

What is that white ball of lines: fishing line, wire?
We used thread for “Chaos” and wire for “Calm”, but we tried to shoot them in such a way as to not be recognizable as such.

For the two contrasting opening spread images, how closely did you work with the art department on your ideas, especially for the type placement?
Prior to the magazine’s release, I wasn’t sure how exactly my images would be used. The typography and layout was done by Janet Froelich, the creative director. Her layouts are always amazing and I am always inspired by her work.


The Daily Promo : Elizabeth Cecil

- - The Daily Promo

EC_Promo-2015_Fall3 EC_Promo-2015_Fall4 EC_Promo-2015_Fall7 EC_Promo-2015_Fall8 EC_Promo-2015_Fall15EC_Promo-2015_Fall8
Elizabeth Cecil

Who printed it?
Hemlock Printers

Who designed it? Who edited the images?
Melissa McGill (melissamcgillstudio.com)

Who designed it?
Claire Ellen Lindsey

How many did you make?

How many times a year do you send out promos?

What was your inspiration for this promo?
I’ve been working with Melissa McGill for the past few years on branding, editing, and creative direction. We have developed various promos to highlight my portrait, lifestyle and food photography as well as my personal work, with inspiration drawn directly from the work being considered. We focus on clearly communicating my core interests; color, light, nature and authenticity. It’s a collaboration that really flows! This recent promo booklet developed from appreciating the colors on my recent trips to St. Bart’s and Bali and wanting to tell a story using color to create a unifying thread through the book.


This Week In Photography Books: Edward Ranney

by Jonathan Blaustein

Imagine you’re an Ancient Peruvian.

It’s 2500 years ago.

You live in a desert near the Pacific Ocean.

It’s hot outside, and terribly dry.

Let’s call you Catequil, which means God of Thunder and Lightning. (According to the Inca-themed-dog-naming website I found on the Internet. So it has to be true.)

You, Catequil, aren’t much good at weaving. Your Dad is a decent enough farmer, but it’s not for you. Your brother is a warrior like nobody’s business. Man, is that dude good at killing people.

But you? Your reflexes are not that quick. Nor are you terribly co-ordinated, in the traditional sense. And for whatever reason, you just don’t have the green thumb.

Most people don’t, this being the desert, of course, but your Dad is so good at it. The way he looks at you, it’s just heart-breaking. You know he’s thinking, “How can I have a son who can’t grow things? Who can’t fight? Such a disappointment, my Catequil.”

It’s pretty tough, all things considered. And right now, you’ve got a piece of peanut stuck in one of your back teeth, and it’s driving you crazy!

Then one day, your friend, Khuno, (which apparently means High Altitude Weather God) comes to you with a good idea. He just heard about a new job, doing construction, and it pays well. 10 peanuts a day! Can you imagine!

You and Khuno go and see the foreman.

“What are we building, sir,” you ask?


“Come again? Surely, if you’re paying so well, we must be building something important. A new temple? A food storage facility? A fortress? You can tell us. We’re good at keeping secrets.”

“No, I’m not deceiving you boys. We’re not building anything at all.”

“Then why are you hiring a crew?”

“Because we’re going to scrape some lines into the ground, so that the gods in the sky will smile down upon us, and bestow their bounty on our people.”

“Come again?”

“I said, we’re going to make shapes in the dirt that will make sense from the sky. Spiders. Monkeys. That sort of thing. But to us, they’ll just look like lines in the dirt.”

“OK. Sure. If you say so. But is it really paying 10 peanuts a day?”

“Absolutely. The high priests say this job is getting fast-tracked, so the compensation is particularly attractive. You should count yourself lucky. We only wanted Khuno because his name is considered auspicious for this project. He vouched for you, so you’re on the crew, if you want the job.”

End scene.

Did this actually happen?

Well, of course not. But something like it must have. How do I know? Because I just finished looking at “The Lines,” a relatively recent book by Edward Ranney, published by Yale University Press. (Mr. Ranney, a New Mexican, is my good friend’s father-in-law, FYI.)

If you’ve taken a Latin American Art History class, EVER, you’ve heard of the Nazca Lines. Large scale, Ancient Earth-Work art installations, designed to be seen by no human. Certainly, not until helicopters and planes were invented, which would not have been foreseen in Ancient Peru.

Aerial photography works well for such things, but Mr. Ranney, who has been photographing archaeological sites in Peru for decades, did it differently. These pictures deviate from our expectations, because they’re taken at ground level. We see from the perspective Catequil might have witnessed, were he not a figment of my imagination.

This book, in fact, contains photographs made in the 80’s, 90’s and Aughts. It feels like he took his time, as you ruminate on each picture. The patient vision. Squinting into the sunny desert light. Staring at the subtlety of almost nothing. Dirt on dirt.

That it’s black and white is almost self-evident, as how else could one speak to the terribly old and eternal? If Richard Misrach went down there with his big camera and some color film, he’d probably do a good job. But this kind of bleak needs grayscale.

The suggestion of deep time.

Normally, I would have opened this review with some rambling diatribe about human obsolescence. How we’re here for such a short time. How our civilizations, no matter how advanced, are likely to crumble to dust one of these days.

But that’s not how it went, is it?


This book, thoughtful and serious though it is, transported me back through time. I imagined what I wrote, so I wrote it. There WERE people. They DID scratch into the landscape. They worked hard, over many, many years.

And for what? A dream? The belief they’d curry favor with the power in the sky? A good pay packet and dental insurance?

We’ll never know, I suppose. Sure, there might be actual archaeological research into the subject, instead of my ridiculous speculation, but if you wanted to read archaeological research, you wouldn’t be here, would you?

These pictures are really excellent. I love the pacing as well, though the book did run on a little longer than I might have done. For the first third, it’s totally spare. No signs of humanity anywhere.

Then, we see some power poles. And valley land that reads darker than the rest. Grass? Water? From where?

Unfortunately, this could well be what New Mexico looks like, one day, in the distant future. (If we don’t play our cards right.) Which is why visions like this, ripped from history, are so important at the present moment.

Bottom Line: Gorgeous, bleak photos of the Nazca lines, on the ground

To Purchase “The Lines” Visit Photo-Eye



















The Art of the Personal Project: Steve & Anne Truppe

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Steve & Anne Truppe
















How long have you been shooting?
5 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Pricing and Negotiating: Lifestyle Shoot for a Pharmaceutical Company

by Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Lifestyle images of two friends interacting

Licensing: Trade Advertising and Trade Collateral use of two images in the US for two years.

Location: A residential property

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Portraiture specialist in the Northeast.

Agency: Medium sized, based in the Midwest.

Client: A pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: While the creative brief called for one scenario and a single hero shot, the client hoped to acquire rights to two final images of the talent photographed in the same scenario, but with slight changes to their expressions, props and camera angle. I felt the second image would be a bit less valuable, but different enough that they’d be able to use in unique ways or to present a different message. Taking that and my previous experience pricing similar projects into consideration, I priced the first image at $7,000 and the second image at $5,000. I typically try to determine the licensing value for a single year first, and then extrapolate to account for additional years. However, while I might typically add 50% to jump from one year to two years, I felt that based on the simplicity of the concept and the likelihood of a limited shelf life to these images, that the price increase wasn’t justified. I also found out during conversation with the art buyer that their budget was around 50k, and I wanted to present appropriate fees while still keeping this in mind.

After determining what I felt was an appropriate fee, I checked other pricing resources to see what they suggested as well. While Blinkbid calculated a fee around $15,000, FotoQuote didn’t have a rate that included all advertising and collateral use while also taking into account trade and/or consumer usage. Getty suggests a price of $4,800 per image for print advertising, but didn’t have a catch-all collateral pricing rate or the option for specific trade usage. Corbis offers a “Print Ad, Collateral and Web Pack”, which seemed to fit the requested licensing nicely, and suggested a price close to $15,000 per image per year, but also didn’t include an option for trade usage.

The agency asked for an option to expand the licensing from trade to consumer use within a concurrent time frame, and I felt that this increase should fall somewhere in between an additional 50% to 100% of the fee, or at least be as valuable as 100% of the first hero shot. I settled on $7,500 to make it a palatable option, while also realizing the agency would have to take into account increased talent rates (which I developed with our casting director).

Photographer Scout Day: We planned to do a walkthrough of the location before the shoot, so I made sure to include pre-production time for the photographer to attend.

B-Roll Videographer and Video Equipment: While photography was definitely the main objective, the agency hoped to acquire video content as well during the shoot. The video was to mirror the photography but capture very subtle movement of the talent. Given the limited creative responsibilities, I felt $1,500 would cover a camera operator who could also offer grip and lighting expertise. I anticipated that the $1,000 would cover his camera, a basic slider and video monitors for the client to view the content they would be capturing.

First and Second Assistants: We’d need extra hands on site, not only to help set up and break down, but to also assist with moving furniture around and putting it back in place alongside the styling team.

Digital Tech: I anticipated a tech to charge $500/day and added $750 for a computer workstation and monitors for the client to review the images being captured.

Producer: This included three prep days, one scout day, one shoot day and one wrap day. With a crew this size and lengthy list of logistics to monitor, a producer would be a key role to take on those responsibilities.

Location Scout, Location Fee: Upon initial discussion regarding the creative direction, the client was looking for a pretty straightforward and simple residential property. Since most location scouts have plenty of residential properties that would fit this bill in their database, I included one day to account for a file pull, and one day to account for extra time they might need to spend shooting new pictures of the location we chose or to find additional options. In the area where the shoot would take place, and based on prior experience, I felt a location fee of $2,000 would return a solid list of options to choose from.

Production RV: When possible, I always try to include a production RV for shoots like this to keep as many cooks out of the kitchen as possible. An RV would afford a place for the stylists to set up, space for talent to wait, an area to arrange catering, and a private area with wifi for the client if needed. Many RVs charge $800-$900/day, but then mileage, dumping fees, generator run time and other charges are often added on which add up quickly. I included a buffer and bumped the rate to $1,200 to be safe.

Live Casting and Talent: The agency requested a live casting (rather than casting from cards) and wanted to capture video of each talent to see how they presented themselves and interacted with others. I contacted a local casting agency who quoted $950 to cover their prep time, a half day for the casting, delivery of the results and booking of two talent (the rate felt quite cheap from a print production perspective, but similar to rates I’ve seen other casting agencies quote that primarily cater to the video industry). I also discussed talent rates with the casting agent and determined that a fee of $3,000 per person would return a decent talent pool to choose from.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: Since the talent count was minimal, we included a hair/makeup stylist without an assistant for the day.

Wardrobe/Prop Styling: The wardrobe requested was rather straightforward, and after a conversation with a local stylist, we were confident that they needed just one assistant to accomplish the project. We included two prep days, one shoot day and one return day for both the stylist and their assistant. We anticipated that $350 per talent would be more than enough to cover non-returnable wardrobe, and that $1,650 would be a good starting point for extra props to fill out a room in a residential property (tables, chairs, other small pieces of furniture, flowers, picture frames, vases, etc). Since some of these items would be rather large, we included the cost of a van to help transport everything.

Equipment: At the time of estimating, we were debating whether it would make sense to shoot with strobes and then set up continuous lights for the video, or if we should just use the lighting setup for video and have the photographer just shoot without his strobes. Either way, I was confident that $1,500 would cover the photographer’s gear should he choose to use it, or it could be added to the $1,000 already included for the videographers gear to help supplement that to include a lighting setup.

Shoot Processing for Client Review and Selects Processed for Reproduction: We included $250 for the photographer to do a quick edit and provide a web gallery, while adding $100 per image to touch up the chosen files and deliver them to the agency. I’d typically increase the rate for the gallery to $500, but we’d have a digital tech on site to help organize the assets and accomplish some of this work as it was being captured.

Catering: I anticipated catering to cost $50-$60 per person for the shoot day (including six agency/client attendees), and bumped it up a bit to account for potential meals during the scout day.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: I included $100 for production books, $200 for miscellaneous expenses and mileage, and $300 for additional meals and parking for the wardrobe/prop stylist while shopping and returning everything.

Feedback: While we knew that our estimate fell within their budget, we also sensed that they might be interested in increasing the scope of the project. Sure enough, the agency came back and told us that they were interested in shooting another scenario with two additional talent during the same shoot day, and they asked for a revised estimate. This of course impacted many items across the board, and we put pen to paper and submitted the following revised estimate:

Creative/Licensing: In addition to capturing another concept, they asked for licensing to six images (three per concept), as opposed to just two. My first inclination was to double the price, but upon further consideration, I felt that the first image of the second scenario might be equally if not less valuable than the second image from the first concept. I had considered adding an extra $3,750 for image number three and $1,500 for image number four, and felt that the third image in each scenario didn’t bring enough value to increase the fee much further. While we wanted to bump the price to this amount, the photographer was eager to close the deal and wanted to offer a bit of a discount by capping it at $15,000 (we did however increase the licensing option to jump from trade to consumer use). Given the nature of the project, we agreed that this was still good for a one-day shoot, and I’ve seen similar projects land on similar rates while granting more licensing.

Live Casting and Talent: Since we’d be casting four talent instead of two, we increased the casting fee to account for more time to prep, shoot and book talent, and we increased the talent fees to account for two additional people.

Wardrobe: This also increased, but didn’t double since the outfits that were requested could easily accommodate more than one talent. So, instead of shopping for four unique outfits, many of the same items would be appropriate for multiple talent which I anticipated would result in cost savings. Interestingly, while I would have anticipated an increase to the prop budget since we’d be shooting in two scenarios, we felt that after analyzing some location options, that we’d be able to use many of the items already in the houses to set up a simple second scenario.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: This was a quick change to jump from two to six images, and to cover the time it would take to process more images.

Catering: I added an extra $60 per person to account for the two additional talent.

Production Insurance: Throughout the negotiation process, we learned that the agency had insurance requirements that the photographer’s policy didn’t specifically cover. The photographer would need to increase his policy and pay an additional fee to his insurance company in order to do so, and hoped to pass this cost along to the agency.

Results: The project was awarded, and the client opted to expand the licensing to include consumer use.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to big ad campaigns.