This Week In Photography Books: Laurent Chardon

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

They’ve had no rain up in Washington, which you’ve probably heard. Even less snow last Winter. I just saw a headline in the NYT that the Sierra snowpack is at its lowest level in 500 years.

That’s about when Cortes conquered Mexico. The last time there was this little snow, Italians had never eaten a tomato. (Crazy times, this Climate Change.)

Though Seattle is famously pastoral, I recently dined with some friends who live there, and they still flee the city on Summer weekends. They head to “real” nature for the peace and quiet, and will go to great lengths to get there.

Apparently, Josh, Katie and the kids wait 2 hours in a queue to get their car on a ferry. They ride the boat, and 2 more hours to disembark, all before they drive to their preferred camping locale. (5 hours in total, each way.) That’s how badly some people want to escape the urban jungle, and this in a beautiful city surrounded by water and mountains.

This need to be elsewhere is as strong as it is strange. Why can’t people enjoy what they have? Because baking concrete and ceaseless noise will mess with your brain.

Yes, today I’m wondering about the relationship between cities and their immediate environs, after looking at Laurent Chardon’s new book “Dédale,” recently published by Poursuite.

The banlieues, or suburbs, that surround Paris have been in the news quite a bit, of late. They’re getting a lot of publicity as hotbeds of Islamic unrest and Anti-Semitism, but also for the riots that seem to happen every couple of years. (Burning cars, that sort of thing.)

Why has it been thus? Because those neighborhoods are apparently ghettos for the immigrants, and people of color, that La France has been slow to adopt. (Much less embrace.) As we’ve learned in America, segregating poverty does not make it disappear. Averting your gaze affects your gaze, but not what you choose to ignore.

I’m no expert on the banlieues, as I haven’t been to Paris in 15 years, and even then, it was only for a night. What I know of the situation comes from what I’ve read, mostly. And now, from what I’ve seen.

This book, like some of my favorites, doesn’t give you anything. You have to sort it out for yourself, and even then, supposition is required. (That’s my way of saying the following sentiments may be incorrect, relative to the artist’s intentions.)

Open it up, and save for the title, all we get are photos. Bleak, graffiti-covered industrial and abandoned structures. Mostly at night. These are to Brassaï’s glowing, Romantic night time Parisian pictures as Johnny Manziel is to Tom Brady.

The cover gives us a map of a Metropolis, and the architecture and few bits of language in the initial photos allow me to guess we’re in the Paris orbit. (Which the end notes confirm.) The stark landscape makes me believe we’re on the outskirts, where the poverty lives. (No gleaming Gothic cathedrals in this one…)

Then, surprisingly, I notice that a page feels thicker than the others. I play around a bit and open it up, finding two double spreads of portraits. Grabbed photos of pedestrians at night, lit up by what feels like the glow of the city center.

Then back to the gloom. The process repeats itself three or four more times. Always the same: up close, stolen street portraits, the kind that require copious light and unsuspicious people. You’d never get pictures like this, lurking somewhere unpopulated, shoving your camera in the grill of scared strangers.

To me, it’s a structural metaphor. The shiny center, encircled by a sad, weary infrastructure. The breezy heart of the city, with danger pervading the darkened edges.

This is just my read, of course, because the book gives nothing away. The end notes, in French, tell us the artist dedicates his book to his parents, and that the pictures were made in Paris and its surroundings, in 2003, 07, and 2010-13.

That’s it.

The use of black and white is perfect here. Not only does it reference Brassaï, but it gives a genuine menace to these pictures. It makes you wonder how safe Mr. Chardon was, while he snapped away.

They make the outskirts look bad, but not the banlieue residents, as there are none to be seen in the lightless places. So we begin to wonder: who would prosper in an environment so ugly and decrepit? How can people be expected to succeed, on the fringes of Paris, when their world is as bleak as Paris is beautiful?

I genuinely don’t know. Do you?

PS: This column has gone on for so long that when I tried to save my document as “Chardon,” I learned the title was taken. Apparently, I reviewed another of his books back in 2013. Not sure what that says about my memory, but I’ll have to re-read it, to see what I thought of his previous effort.

Bottom Line: Chilling photos on the outskirts of Paris

To Purchase “Dédale” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Jim Golden

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/jimgolden
Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Jim Golden

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Disclosure: Jim is a former client of mine.

How long have you been shooting?
9 years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Daily Edit: Jonas Jungblut- Naturally

- - The Daily Edit

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Naturally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Daily Promo: Bob Martus

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

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Bob Martus

 

Who printed it?
Linco Printing in Queens, NY

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

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

How many did you make?
1000

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

This Week In Photography Books: Mike Mandel & Chantel Zakari

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’ve got Boston on the brain at the moment.
Why, you ask?

I caught “The Departed” on cable over the holiday weekend. It’s one of those movies that’s better the second time you see it, though I don’t know why that is. Matt Damon, God bless him, rocks the thick Southie accent like the pro that he is.

Gooh Sawx!

Jack Nicholson, however, doesn’t even bother trying. One out of every 25 words has a half-accent, but that’s about it. Still, given his massive JACK charisma, I really didn’t mind. I always thought this was a minor Scorsese film, and it may well be. But when Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Damon, Nicholson, Vera Farmiga and Leonardo DiCaprio are giving excellent performances, I’d be a fool to dismiss it.

Then, the next day, I was leafing through a copy of The New Yorker, and began to read a piece about the Salem witch trials, from the late 17th Century. It’s an engrossing article, as they always are, but I was stopped cold by a period map, showing the entirety of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The British names: Dorchester, Gloucester. The spots embedded in American history: Salem, Concord, Cambridge.

At one point, it was “The Frontier.” Hard to believe nowadays, as highways tie those places together tighter than a courtesan’s corset.

History is always less-popular than entertainment, but in this case, the strands wrapped around each other, like a helix, and encouraged me to speculate. Why did all those Pilgrims emigrate, given the almost psychotic odds stacked against them?

Because they wanted a better life.

Were the current occupants of the Continent happy to see them? No, they were not. (Understandable, given the subsequent Genocide.)

It seems that’s always the case with immigrants, though. No matter how pressing their case, locals wish the newcomers would just keep moving along. How else to explain the crisis enveloping Europe at the moment?

Could any group of people have a more valid reason for fleeing than the Syrians? These poor folks are literally stuck between Bashar Al-Assad, and ISIS. The former used to be the worst person in the world, but somehow, ISIS managed to top it. Those that stay behind face the tragic risk of a painful death.

But many Europeans, fearful for their jobs and economic security, would just as soon see people beheaded. It’s mind-boggling, but there you are. People have no choice but to leave, yet they’re unwelcome where they’re headed.

Frankly, it makes me think of the Tsarnaev brothers. Remember them? How were they treated in Massachusetts, I wonder? I wrote a piece in 2013, admitting my guilt at feeling a touch of empathy for young Dzhokhar. He seemed like a dumb kid caught up in a horrific world of someone else’s making.

Were these immigrants embraced by their new community, or shunned? Does it even matter? Nothing can excuse the mayhem and misery they unleashed, but still. I’d love to know how it all went down.

That’s impossible, I’m afraid. But what of the aftermath? The shutdown of Boston? The massive manhunt? What must that have looked like?

Finally, a question I can answer without resorting to another question. I need not imagine the manhunt that ultimately found Dzhokhar, as I’ve just finished looking at “Lockdown Archive,” a new book by Mike Mandel & Chantel Zakari, recently put out by 18 publications. (Though apparently printed by Blurb.)

We always make our way back to book, don’t we?

While I’m unfamiliar with Chantal Zakari, I know Mike Mandel from his famous Photo World Baseball card series, which I wrote about in a review of Pier 24 a few years back, and his seminal project re-contextualizing found imagery with his partner, the late Larry Sultan. (That was one long sentence. Apologies.)

That knowledge helped me appreciate this fascinating and genuinely impressive book, assuming images were found, not taken. The volume is broken down into small sections, all of which purport to show what was happening in Watertown, MA, on April 19, 2013, the date of the big manhunt.

As the premise of a lockdown means the artists couldn’t have been out and about, making images, I guessed that the pictures within were taken from the Internet, TV, and other media sources. The end notes confirm as much.

Which means that no living soul saw, with his or her own eyes, the entirety of the situation as we see in this book. Gray teams, black teams, swat teams, helicopters. It’s all here.

Evacuations. Press conferences. Rolling Hummers. Sad children. An African-American man, in a classy hat, with his hands up at gunpoint. Bullet holes and screened-in-porches and Red Sox gear.

Wow.

The end notes also tell us that so many law enforcement officers showed up to help, uninvited, that the entire endeavor was a logistical nightmare. It was almost like a Wild West posse formed, just to make sure that a bleeding 19 year old boy had nowhere to hide.

Ironically, it was only after the lockdown was lifted that a resident was able to go outside, notice his boat had been invaded, and call in the big guns.

We all know what happened next.

My favorite part of this job is looking at books that show me things I’ve never seen before. I drop that standard on you all the time, because the more I see, the harder it is to accomplish the goal.

This week, we have something that none of us has seen before. So I trust you’ll be satisfied. (At least I hope so.)

Bottom Line: Innovative book, featuring collected images reconstructing a famous manhunt

To Purchase “Lockdown Archive” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Stephanie Diani

- - 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: Stephanie Diani

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAMES: The Legends of Burlesque

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SM: No.

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

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

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

SM: I always get sad.

TB: You mean melancholy at the transience of everything?

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

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

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

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

The Daily Promo: James Worrell

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James Worrell

Who printed it?
The Card was printed at Modern Postcard.

Who designed it?
I designed it and edited the images with a little help from my Food Stylist, Brian Preston-Campbell and my agent Mary Dail at Big Leo.

How many did you make?
We printed 500, mailed out about 425, the rest are for leave behinds, etc.  An email campaign followed up the printed mailing about a week later.
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How many times a year do you send out promos?
This year I plan on doing three printed promo mailings in this format, last year I only did one and the year before that I did a couple with what I call a “special promo.” That was an involved piece that involved printing my logo on M&Ms and a small booklet.  For awhile people got tired of the printed promo but it seems to be having a resurgence, or maybe that’s just me.  The email promo is hated by most at this point and the printed piece seems so much more substantial.  I consistently promote myself, if anything, my biggest problem is that I get bored and do other things.   I am currently advertising for the second year in Atedge.com, they print five books each year, two books feature our ice cream shots.
Do you always work with the same stylist and do you set out with a plan for the promos?
I work with Brian a lot on various editorial and advertising jobs.  He does a lot of the ice cream you see on packages out there and always has funny stories to tell about the process.  We devised a scheme to test ice cream shots, promote them and take over the world of ice cream shooting.  The real story is that I have a loose plan of doing shoots with my favorite stylists and then promoting our work together.  It’s a way to combine creative forces and share the costs. It also is really great to work on a collaboration with a mind to promote as opposed to just sending out work that I was paid to do.  Of course, I have been paid to shoot ice cream, just not these.  And while I did all the shooting, retouching and layout design, Brian and I planned and did two separate shoots for this promo, and have plans for one more as a follow-up.  I have another shoot coming up soon with one of my favorite conceptual prop stylists for a winter promo as well.

This Week In Photography Books: Michael Lange

by Jonathan Blaustein

Sometimes, I can’t believe I live in the high desert. Not given where I come from. Back in New Jersey, the humidity was stronger than a body builder’s underarm stench. Water hung in the air, always ready to cling to the first thing that passed by.

This Summer has had its share of rain, but still, most days, the sun beats down on the Northern New Mexico landscape, daring people to test its fiery glow. Within a week or so of the last rain, our pasture grass will turn pea green, then tan, then harsh brown, if not irrigated properly.

The dry even invades your body, if you’re not looking. The back of my feet tend to crack, like sorry horse hooves, if I don’t slather them with moisturizing cream. (Cue the vision of me buying some expensive hand cream at Kiehl’s, in the Cherry Creek Mall, not-so-subtly pretending it’s not really for my feet. Awkward.)

Needless to say, by now, early September, I’m ready for Fall; for a release from the heat. I dream of moisture. Of cool, wet, boggy places, that bear no resemblance to my own world. I close my eyes, and mentally evoke some misty rivers. Maybe in Northern Europe? (Avoid mention of human migrant crisis here.)

Sometimes, when you want to leave your mind, and your physical locale, there’s an easy solution. Open up a photo book. Flip through the pages. Imagine you’re somewhere else.

In this case, I’m not sure exactly where I’m going, when I look at Michael Lange’s new book, “fluss,” recently released by Hatje Cantz. The project can also be seen in exhibition form at photo-eye in Santa Fe, our book benefactor, so if you’re in town, be sure to check it out.

This book is dreamy, alright. Just perfect to take me along on this moody, morning ride, away from the unceasing sun that fostered my musings. The book contains few words, but does open up with a little word association to give it context, beginning with the title: fluss, flux, flow, fluency, current, stream, river.

Is that enough to get the gist? In this case, I’d say yes. Later, we get a poem, translated from German. So that might allow us to guess the setting, if we don’t turn to trusty Google to provide the answers.

These are very visual photographs. What you see is what you get. But the color palette, and murky movement, all those purple grays… I’m transported, all right. It almost makes me want to wrap a blanket around me, or put on a wool sweater, to ward off the bone chill.

There are water lilies here, so of course I think of Monet. But his palette had a brightness that is lacking here. These pictures aren’t creepy, but they have just the slightest hint of menace, which makes them more interesting. (If not overtly sublime, they’re well beyond the realm of simply pretty.)

This book is like a temporary vacation, for me, from the end of Summer. As I’ve been known to complain from time to time, it won’t be long before I’m whining about Winter, and begging for some supplementary sun. But until that day comes… we’ll take what we can get.

Bottom Line: Lovely, marshy, wet photos of lakes and rivers

To Purchase “Fluss” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Dave Moser

- - 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: Dave Moser

How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting all my life, my father used to give me odd little medium format cameras to play with growing up. Professionally, I started shooting in college but went all in in 1994 after 3 years of assisting, so 21 years full time.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I received a BFA from the University of Dayton but photography, as in all the arts, is something you really learn from doing. College helped me with the context for learning and perspective of history, but shooting is the only way to learn.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Most of my personal projects grow from groups of people I feel are misunderstood. My wife is a stay at home mom, and I found that when we were in social situations, folks had no interest in what she did. I believe the occupation of being a stay at home parent is challenging, isolating and disrespected but yet one of the most important roles there is-raising the future generation. I wanted to redefine the perception of this role, and used the provocative and antiquated term of “Housewife” in the title.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The images started to “leak” out after the first year and a half when I was then approached to do a book by Bob Tursak of Brilliant Graphics. Along with Partners Design we decided to present this project as a four part series of interviews, biographies, quotes and limited edition prints as a co-promotion. We are just completing work on the last two subjects now.

With this particular project discussions were started with a writer who ended up not being able to pursue the project as she did not want to be associated with it. She felt association with the project would damage her career-which speaks to the core of our intention. Additionally, most subjects were scheduled multiple times as I was bumped for kids staying home sick, in-law visits and home emergencies such as a hot water heaters going. These delays only support the premise of the importance of this role.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
When I start a series, I am unattached to the outcome. Personal work is typically an exploration with an emphasis of growing and stretching. I am tenacious and will work to change and shape the work until it becomes something I want to present. It is energizing and exciting to work without outside direction.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, routinely. I do wait until the series is pretty far along as I want the vision of the project to be established before I open myself up to the influence of outside opinion.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The work has not gone viral but the work has been shared and reposted quite a bit as well as garnering publicity internationally. The work has attracted interviews such as this along with numerous prestigious top awards with Px3 and Graphis over multiple years. I have been discussing commercial representation with one of the best. I am also negotiating with a well respected fine art gallery. I am often invited to speak to various groups and businesses. , one in particular led to a significant ongoing job with a new client.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I do at times shoot for specific applications to demonstrate my abilities or “test”, but all the unpaid and consequently personal work I do is for me. The main intention of these projects is to evolve my vision, challenge myself, stretch, go beyond my “everyday work,” stimulate and exercise my curiosity and contribute to the world. My personal projects directly feed my commissioned work.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have found that my personal work drives my most rewarding commercial work. Savvy creatives can see what I am capable of without direct application to their accounts. It shows a thread of vision in it’s more pure state. The promotion of this series has opened/re-opened doors for me at large agencies and magazines. The recipients of our promotions have often responded with fascinating and insightful responses to the work and has led to bids and jobs.

The American Housewife (artist statement)
The American Housewife attempts to redefine the modern housewife by portraying housewives in their own homes, wearing their own clothing, with their own belongings. Each image is a collaboration with the subject — investigating and learning what this role entails through imagery. 

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I am a seeker, an artist, a photographer, a father, a husband, a lover of all things eclectic, a listener, a cook, a marketer, a business person, an outdoorsman and voyeur.

I graduated from The University of Dayton with a BFA in photography. After discovering commercial photography, I fell in love with the problem solving, collaborating, accessing and working with different people in different environments everyday.

I have found portraiture to be the most fascinating aspect of photography due to the connection and understanding it offers. I’ve found that if I understand someone, not necessarily agree with but understand – I have love for them. Often while photographing people, they become younger, the effects of time fall away and I witness the openness we all shared as children. Portraiture, listening and the discipline of seeing are the aspects of my craft that inspire and energize me.

Dave’s portraiture has been featured on the covers of and in national magazines and in advertising campaigns worldwide and has led to awards with Communication Arts, PDN, Graphis, Applied Arts, Prix De La Photographie Paris, ASMP and many more. http://www.davemoser.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.

Know Your Rights: Photographers

- - Working

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

Your rights as a photographer:

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

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

The Daily Edit – Lollipop: Joshua Paul

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Lollipop Magazine

Founder & Editor in Chief: Joshua Paul 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Daily Promo: Embry Rucker

- - The Daily Promo

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Embry Rucker


Who designed it?
I worked with Dustin Ortiz on the design. He has done a few newspaper catalogs and print jobs that I loved so his experience and skills were invaluable.

Who edited the images?
I had a collection of images I loved and wanted to include.  Dustin helped me cull the herd and pair images that I normally wouldn’t see together. I tend to associate images by  shoot.  It’s cool to see what fresh eyes see and think work well together.

How many did you make?
We mailed out 2500 and I think we printed 3,000 so we would have some to hand out and use to light fires with.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I suppose everyone says ‘not often enough’ right? I probably send two realistically, but I think four is probably a good number. With the ‘mass’ mailing like this I’m less convinced it has much of an impact.  I prefer to stay in touch with my smaller select group of people I work with, have worked with, who I believe would be a good fit in the future. Something more personal, like the package I sent Rob with the zine, patches, stickers and note…

What was the most creative use of your promo and why the newsprint instead of the card?
No real back story other than just wanting to break away from the postcard, grind. I like the newspaper size it’s like a zine and it gives you a tactile experience. Here’s my Daughter using it for shade at the beach…lots of possibilities!

This Week In Photography Books: Aapo Huhta

by Jonathan Blaustein

I just had some company in town. The official end of Summer. One last big dinner party to cook for, as my Aunt and Uncle came in from Jersey to meet my daughter, for her third birthday. Pasta and eggplant and cupcakes. (Oh My!)

It felt like an obligation, due to my general overtired-orneriness, rather than the pleasure I’d have normally taken it to be. My Uncle even commented that I didn’t look very happy, for a guy with lots of good things going on.

It was an odd conversation, because it was obviously true, but I knew I’d be a lot happier if I were relaxing all weekend, rather than chasing my kids and nephews around. Not a kind thing to say… so I kept it to myself.

Sometimes, there are things we ought not discuss. Either because they’re hurtful, or because they lead down dark, shadowy paths. Take politics. It’s a subject my Uncle and I avoid, as he’s a Fox-News-Addicted Republican, and I’m not.

We learned years ago, (when I was younger, and more easily riled,) that if we started talking politics, within 5 minutes, I’d be screaming and ranting like a frightened Drivers Ed instructor. (No, Jimmy, press the brake. The brake!)

Now that I’m past 40, and have a slightly better sense of how the world works, I know not to push those buttons. I’ve learned his opinions, and I choose not to pointlessly inflame his passion. (Back away from the bull, Timmy. Back away!) I love my Uncle despite his taste; not because of it.

As for my taste, I’ve got a nearly 4 year track record of writing about books I find cool and/or interesting. Is there anyone out there paying attention to my likes and dislikes? Is there a style that people expect I’ll praise?

I’m guessing yes. I suspect some astute readers have me pegged: if it’s weird, odd, discomfiting, and razor sharp, I bet Blaustein will have a field day. He digs the artsy stuff.

Is that right?

I’m starting to wonder, as Kehrer Verlag just sent me a book, unannounced. That rarely happens, where a publisher will drop something on me without checking in first. Even the artists will often feel me out, before spending the resources to get a book into my hands.

I opened up the packaging, swiped away the plastic wrap, and found a book called “Block,” by a Scandanavian-sounding artist named Aapo Huhta. (Turns out he’s Finnish.)

This seemed to be a book for me, as it opened up without any explication, and thrust me into a situation I needed to suss out. But right away, weird, odd, discomfiting pictures, razor sharp. (Either hi-res digital, or some good scans off of a medium or large format camera. Hard to tell, these days…)

It says “Block,” and then we’re in an urban environment that quickly resolves itself as Lower Manhattan. Is it one block? In the Financial District? I don’t know, but that’s the general read. These would be normal street photos, taken by a different photographer, but instead, we have that “slightly-Haruki-Murakami-parallel-universe” vibe that I love so much.

Why do some photographers have the ability to see paranormal energy in a mattress leaning against a building wall? Or in the candy-pink of some insulation melting out of a joint, sealing up a makeshift door to a construction site?

Who would make a photo implying a Buddhist Monk was being fellated by a faceless stranger, sitting on some steps outside a building? (This Guy, that’s who.) Again and again we see banker types, disappearing into shadow, which makes me think of Robert Frank’s amazing photos of British Bankers, made before he came to America.

And there are some similarities to Paul Graham’s book, “The Present,” which I reviewed a few years ago. (Image repetition, compositional style.) So I’m not suggesting that this work is radical, rather that it takes a certain kind of artist to find such weird moments, surrounded by normality.

With respect to context, there is only a small short story, by Jenny Hollowell, at the end. It doesn’t do much contextualizing, though it is a poignant read. (A mini-version of the super-sad opening of the Pixar movie “Up”.) Then, the thank you notes, and the first name listed was my former graduate school professor Allen Frame, whom I’ve mentioned here before. (Does that explain everything about where my preference for the awkward comes from?)

Regardless, we’re back on schedule. A book a week, each week. What will I write about next week? I don’t know. But I accept there are folks out there parsing the subtext, and bravo to Kehrer Verlag for getting it right, in this last week of August, 2015.

http://www.aapohuhta.com/BLOCK

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The Art of the Personal Project: Ransom & Mitchell

- - 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: Ransom & Mitchell — the collaborative storytelling team of Digital Artist + Set / Prop maker Stacey Ransom and Director + Photographer Jason Mitchell.

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How long have you been shooting?
We’ve been working together with a focus on still production as a team for six years. Prior to that, our main focus was narrative film production. We both had been working in or near the industry for over 20 years.

Stacey started out art directing photoshoots while working in-house for major retail brands like Limited Stores and Columbia Sportswear. She then was the VP Design Director in charge of visual design and branding at the VIA San Francisco office. Soon after she transitioned behind the camera, to get back in touch with her roots as a set and prop maker for photos and film.

Jason was a broadcast journalist in the Navy for seven years before moving to San Francisco. There he began working in studio and field production for corporate clients which evolved into freelance commercial production as a cinematographer and director.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Interestingly enough, Stacey majored in photography at the Bauhaus-focused Columbus College of Art and Design, but it was the set design and art direction that really captured her interest. Jason first studied acting at Carnegie Mellon University, then decided to jump behind the camera. He joined the Navy and went through their year-long journalism school that incorporated photography and motion production. After working as a Navy broadcast journalist that included four years in Japan, he came back to the States and finished a degree in Cinema at San Francisco State University.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
We had been looking to create something that could take advantage of all of our skills, from photography to digital painting and compositing, to CGI. We also wanted to develop a body of work that lovingly recreated the once-common side show that was so filed with curious tales of mystery. It was wonderful to have so many different ideas to pick and choose from! Since many of the carny characters are infamously iconic, we were able put our own personal spin on the subjects and they were still very recognizable.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The initial release of this project was slated for a gallery show we had at Bash Contemporary in San Francisco in October of 2014. We shot the first series in May of 2014 and worked on the post production over the next few months. We approach all of our shoots in much the same way as we would produce a commercial shoot. In this case, we pulled together the right team of costume design, hair design and make-up artists to tackle the 10 shots of the various talent in two days (and we actually added on two other concepts to maximize our time). The post end was much more intensive, with each image requiring around 20 hours each to finish. Some images required a bit of CG and the gathering of other elements to be composited together.

The series has been received very well, and it has gone on to show at Scope Miami, The LA Art Show, and Vanilla Gallery in Tokyo. For the Vanilla show, we did another shoot in February of this year and finished two new images in the series, and we still have three more pieces from that shoot to release. One will be released in early fall 2015 with Loved to Death, the infamous shop of curiosity from the TV show “Oddities.” Two more will debut in a soon-to-be-announced gallery.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
We often will develop an idea anywhere between weeks and months until we feel that the concept is solid. In truth, we don’t move forward with any project until we feel it is 110% dialed in. We meticulously plan all of our shoots and treat them in many ways, the same way we treat a commercial job, often building treatments to communicate clearly with everyone on the project so very little is left to chance. By the time we move into production it becomes more of an execution with room for flexibility and collaboration.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
We try to satisfy both worlds whenever possible, or at the least, gather something for each. More and more, we’re finding that we tend to keep our portfolio pieces simpler in presentation, whereas our personal projects can become much more baroque and elaborate The artistic work is tremendously satisfying, and there are many, many roads we see that are worth exploring. The portfolio projects are great for really exercising our restraint, and challenge us to focus on the core concept of the image.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Instagram is our favorite outlet as we get to share so much of our art from works-in-progress, to on-set behind the scenes, to final pieces. We each have our own accounts (Stacey is @hld4ransom and @impureacts for Jason) where we share our individual processes, and we both use our artist account @ransom_mitchell to mostly focus on the finished work. These all feed into our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and occasionally Tumblr. Our recent expansion into international markets has us a little more focused on interacting on Twitter directly. We also participate in Behance, and we keep a few personal blogs such as http://www.fakebelieve.net that shares the Ransom & Mitchell process, http://jasonmitchell.org/blog/ where Jason shares his process and observations, and http://www.ransom-notes.net where Stacey writes about various artists and their work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
We had one really evocative image called “It Will Be Ours,” http://art.ransommitchell.com/overview/1 of a young boy in a bare room watching TV with the room behind him consumed by an embodied Mother Nature. It was shared on Facebook a couple of days before we planned to released it for a gallery show — they had pulled it off of our website where we had parked it in preparation for our PR release. There was a sudden influx of hits — a quick Google image search showed us the breadcrumbs to find the first share. By the time we saw it, it had around 40 thousand likes and been shared thousands of times and was all over the place (mostly without attribution). We still find it here and there, and have thankfully seen an uptick in it leading back to us.

Jason’s personal nude series Dream Away http://jasonmitchell.org/dreamaway/ was just shown in May of 2015 at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco and was also a finalist for Critical Mass 2014. That series has been picked up by a number of international art and culture blogs as a result.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
We love using our personal work for marketing as it can really show off how much we can flex our talents. And this work is always nice to send as a follow up to make a personal connection.

We created an art card box set of our bizarre “Die Familie” series which is sold through our art store. http://store.ransommitchell.com/product/die-familie-postcard-set Since it’s such an elaborate and unique set, it made a great impression on the select folks in the ad world who we sent it to as a gift. We find that sending unique art pieces that art Directors and Art Buyers can have for their own personal collection is a welcome way to reach out.

We’ve used “A Curious Thing” from our Undertow series http://art.ransommitchell.com/undertow/2 and “The Last Good Man” http://art.ransommitchell.com/artist-portraits/3 from our Artist Portrait series as postcard mailers. We then further our outreach by using the remaining postcards to increase our social media followers and fan mailing list. We simply ask followers to email us with their address and we send them an art postcard for free anywhere in the world. It’s amazing how the meager cost of postage creates incredible “share buzz” which in turn really increases our fan base.

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Ransom & Mitchell is the the creative team of director – photographer Jason Mitchell and digital artist – set and prop designer Stacey Ransom. Together they create highly-detailed and visually-lush photographic portraits and scenarios. By seamlessly weaving their photography, digital artistry, CG, and motion skills, their unique style blurs the lines of photography and illustration. http://www.ransommitchell.com

The results of this pairing have been selected for Lürzer’s Archive 200 Best Ad Photographers, twice for their 200 Best Digital Artists Worldwide, and included in the Photokina 2014 Best of CGI Gallery. Their clients include Young & Rubicam, DDB, DDB Remedy, Hub Strategy, Duncan/Channon, JVST, Virgin Records, KVP, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, Decibel, Magnet, Apex, Kixeye, and The Oakland Museum of California.

Their fine art work draws upon the darker undercurrent that exists within all aspects of society. Described as pop-baroque, their art has exhibited worldwide at art fairs (Scope NY, Art Miami, LA Art Show) and galleries in cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Berlin, Tokyo, and Melbourne.


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 Is Photographic Vision Or Voice?

- - Working

A reader sent me this question awhile back:

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

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

The Daily Edit – Parade: HollenderX2

- - The Daily Edit

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Parade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s some BTS shots by Tye Worthington and another shot from the day.  Their subject gave Jordan a dog bone handkercheif and it came in real handy!
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The Daily Promo – Blair Gable

- - The Daily Promo

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Blair Gable

Who printed it?
The books were printed by Photobook Canada – 40 copies. The postcards were printed by Vistaprint and the stickers were printed by Loudmouth Print House in Ottawa.

Who designed it?
The Gablehead, Blair Gable Photography, and Third Floor York logos were designed by Jason Harper at Strongvine Visual Communications. I designed the book and postcard myself – layout using Photo Mechanic and page design with Fundy Designer.

Who edited the images?
I edited the images myself, though I showed a pre-production book to close family and friends to see if there was anything missing.

How many did you make?
I send out packages to editors that I regularly work with at least once a year. This was my first time sending promo kits to a large number of new editors.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I mostly shoot politics and portraits for my editorial clients and rarely have time to work on personal or self-assigned projects. I worked on a number of projects last year that I shot first and sold later, so I thought I would showcase that work in this particular promo package.

I like the title, did you write that and was impact the goal? 
I did write the title, it came from the topics of the projects, but I thought together they were compelling enough to make someone crack the book. So I guess the goal was to make it as enticing as possible, as quickly as possible.