This Week In Photography Books: Taryn Simon

by Jonathan Blaustein

It’s been almost 6 years since my photographic project, “The Value of a Dollar,” went viral on the internet. 6 years since my life changed for the better, as the after-effects of the phenomenon were massive.

I sold a lot of work. Enough to have another child. And some of you have been following along the entire time.

But in the midst of the virality, one odd little blog post stuck out for me, more than almost any other. Some random person, in some random place, posted a handfull of quotes one day. I was featured, and just below me was Stringer Bell, from “The Wire.”

For some reason, being in such proximity to a massively influential fictional character made a big impression me. If I’m in the same conversation as Stringer, I thought, things just might work out OK.

Idris Elba, the actor who played the duplicitous criminal, has since become a Massive Global Icon. If you haven’t seen him in the brilliant BBC series Luther, do yourself a favor and Netflix that shit immediately.

Mr. Elba is also a DJ, apparently, but is mostly known for being a big, handsome, charismatic, extremely talented actor. (If you saw him in “Thor,” just forget it ever happened. Could you act if you had such ridiculous contact lenses?)

I mention it all, frankly, because Idris Elba really needs to be the next James Bond. Fuck Tom Hiddleston, or anyone else you might suggest. It must be Idris Elba.

No one else in the British Isles has his combination of suave confidence, flinty gravitas, and the raw physicality that Daniel Craig invested in the role. (Who wants to see a soft, posh, Roger-Moore-type Bond now?)

I don’t remember who it was, but someone came out last year and complained that Idris Elba would be too “street” to play Bond. Street being code for Black. Black being a stand-in for not-properly-English.

A few weeks past the Brexit, we’re all familiar with the seething sea of racism underpinning English culture. Even Leicester City’s hero, Jamie Vardy, was busted on video being a racist prick a while back. (Oi! Tell us something we don’t know, mate.)

The idea of a Black James Bond is anathema to the self-image that many an Englishman clings to, these days. Times gone by. The Sun rising and setting on the English Empire. A steady supply of subsidized tea.

That sort of thing.

But we’re not living in the 19th Century anymore, I can assure you. England can no more shut itself off from the world than I can properly spell Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious properly on my first try. (No way I got that right.)

I’ve mentioned Neal Stephenson’s seminal, futuristic masterpiece “Snow Crash” before, I’m sure, and among its many prophetic themes was hordes of refugees becoming the norm in the future. You simply cannot stop people from fleeing for their lives, unless you’re prepared to kill them. (Definition of irony, anyone?)

England, and the entire UK for that matter, are in for a rough few years, it would seem. The new millennium has not been kind to the old order, unless you believe the old order represents the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer. (On second thought…)

But new ideas are out there, new systems of communication, and different types of entertainment. Hell, we just let my son buy his first video game, and it turns out that even a hand-held-Nintendo-machine can create seamless virtual reality, for cost of 5 beers at a baseball game.

James Bond, however, keeps going. He might be England’s most ruthless, sexy version of itself, but the system he represents, glorifying violence, gadgets and hot chicks, seems a bit antiquated in a world in which all the ladies on Game of Thrones are clearly WINNING!

The illusion of being forever young is at the heart of the James Bond narrative. He might age a little, but once the hair piece is no-longer-believable, you’re shown the door. (That means you, Sean Connery.)

The ladies, even more than Bond, are perfectly replaceable. (And far more vulnerable to bullets.) So many of them have died, in all these movies, that it’s hard not to discern a serious strain of misogyny in the source-code.

But what do all these props, as the female actors were more-or-less treated, look like now? As actual humans, they must have aged, right? And all that cutting-edge-tech, for which the Bond films are also known? Would space-age-60’s gadgets still look cool in the 21st Century?

Glad you asked, as I’ve just finished putting down “Birds of the West Indies,” a book by Taryn Simon, published a few years ago by Hatje Cantz. (Not sure how an older book ended up in my pile, but I’m glad it did.)

I’m a big fan of Ms. Simon’s work, and my review of “A Living Man Declared Dead” enabled me to create this now-familiar, rambling, discursive style. (Thanks, Taryn!)

Apparently, an ornithologist named James Bond was the inspiration for the super-spy’s name, and his main achievement was a book of the same title. (That one was presumably about actual birds, instead of the English slang term for women.)

There’s an index section at the back that actually does list the genus types of all the avians, but it seems tacked on, and purely ironic. But it’s her book, I suppose, so she can do what she wants.

The rest of the volume, including all the plates, feature the aforementioned guns, cars, and chicks that populated the Bond films from 1962-2012. If you’re wondering what Maud Allen or Tanya Roberts look like these days, seek no further. Some actresses refused to be photographed, presumably out of fear of destroying the illusion of perpetual beauty.

But most all are present, including a rumpled Grace Jones, a self-consicous Michelle Yeoh, and a see-through-shirt-wearing Sophie Marceau. (According to the text, the actress chose their wardrobes and poses.) Halle Berry and Famke Janssen take their place alongside fake nuclear devices, half shark heads, and more blades, guns and Aston Martins than you can believe.

It’s her signature style now, this categorical, dry, meticulous rendering of a subject mined for its metaphorical potential. We get it. Keep backdrop, swap out subject, click the shutter. (The end notes thank Phase One, so we can surmise she’s using a very, very expensive camera.)

Taryn Simon’s work also hinges on access; her rolodex that means she can ring up Barbara Broccoli, make her pitch, and hang up with a yes. If you or I tried that, we’d never even get the phone number.

C’est la vie.

As for this book, it’s certainly not genius, and I’m not sure you’ll want to buy it, but it is a very cool collection of bound pages. She cuts through one of the greatest ongoing illusions in contemporary culture. We get to go backstage along with her, and can have no doubts that the James Bond myth is alive and well in the 20 teens.

Which is more than we can say for England’s soccer team at the European Championship. (Burn!)

Bottom Line: Thorough book that demystifies the James Bond legacy

To Purchase “Birds of the West Indies” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Naomi Harris

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: Naomi Harris

American Swingers

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EUSA

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Haddon Hall

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Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

How long have you been shooting professionally?
Since 2000.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I got into photography late in the game, I was about 22 before I picked up my first camera. I was actually studying print-making in university, this was back in the early 90s before Google and the internet so if you needed a photo for inspiration you scoured books and magazines. And since my printmaking practice was mainly photo-based I decided it would make sense for me to learn how to take pictures in case I couldn’t find what I was looking for. It was a basic black and white class and really only taught dark-room techniques not how to “take” photos. That summer I went to Europe and when I processed what I shot I was like, oh, this is what I want to do and decided to focus my artistic practice on photography (though I do still want to go back and start using my photos in the medium of printmaking again.)

But that said I never did learn lighting or how to actually use a camera in school, that was all self-taught through trial and error, friends, assistants and while doing personal work.

You are very good about shooting personal projects, what is your inspiration to shoot them?
I think when I choose a personal project I ask myself first off, what will I learn from this. I’m primarily a documentary photographer (with a penchant for portraiture) so I’m always seeking knowledge or access to people whom I wouldn’t encounter otherwise.

My inspiration varies. Usually I’m shooting something else and stumble upon something that I’ll decide to make a long-term project out of. Like I was trying to do a project about Holocaust Survivors when I found the Haddon Hall Hotel in Miami’s South Beach which was the last of it’s kind and changed my focus to be specifically on that hotel. Or while living in Miami I’d visit the nude beach and knew that people went to swinger parties. One day I was invited to attend as a “key” (a female who accompanies a single man to a party granting them access) by a beach friend and when I saw what was going on knew instantly I’d have to shoot it! Or my most recent project I’m wrapping up, EUSA, I was shooting my very last swinger party in the mountains of Georgia and stumbled upon this “Bavarian” town called Helen nearby and from that EUSA was born.

I listen to a ton of radio (I’m a big fan of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) find things on Twitter, talk to strangers everywhere I go, you can find inspiration anywhere. And my mother is my best research assistant constantly mailing me newspaper clippings or emailing me articles of things I might find interesting. She really loves her Yahoo! News.

How many years have you been shooting a project before you decided to present it?
Seems lately like 5 years has been the magic number (America Swings and EUSA) but I don’t think it’s wise to attatch a deadline to projects. Each one is unique and you’ll know when it’s done. It could be some sort of event that happens but once or it could be shooting something daily which never really has an end, it’s all subjective. I’d love for once to try to shoot something in a studio and spend a total of say 2 or 3 weeks shooting, that would be novel!

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That’s a tough one. Some projects you know are going to be great and you feel it instantly from the first photo you take. Then I have had some projects where I’ve put a good amount of time into but then due to costs and amount of travel involved I just couldn’t get back to it right away and had to put on the back burner. Like EUSA I didn’t shoot anything between 2010 and 2013 (and had nearly 60 rolls of unprocessed exposed film in my freezer!) but I always knew I would come back to it when I had the time and money.

But then there are the projects where you do put some time and effort into it and for whatever reason decide it’s not going to work. Back in 2003 I spent 3 weeks in Vegas intending on creating a project about the economic upswing happening there but I never really liked what I was getting and not being a fan of heat (or Vegas itself) I decided to put this project on the shelf. In hindsight I should have pushed through because imagine the potentially amazing work I could have created if I had pre-recession and post-recession photos. Oh well, you can’t always predict the future and you can’t win them all.

Today though I’m beginning to work on multiple projects at a time and not sinking all my energy into only one body of work. If my projects take upwards of 5 years to complete (plus another few more years until a book is published) I don’t want to only be releasing a project every half decade or so. It’s better to split your focus into multiple projects.

What advice do you have for people who have not done a personal project? And how they are so important so potential clients see how you think.
I think it’s important for your potential clients sure, that’s an obvious answer, but I think personal projects are even more important for ourselves. Working on personal projects give us an opportunity to explore, experiment and even screw up but without the client to report back to. I learned all my lighting techniques while doing personal work and then can bring these new tricks into my commissioned work.

I would like to imagine most of us got into photography because we posses an innate curiosity about the world and want to explore it.

We also learn so much about ourselves and our potential when working on our own projects and that in itself is invaluable.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Actually I think all of my work, be it personal or commissioned, has a similar quality to it and hopefully a distinct style. While I’ll experiment with different formats, techniques and mediums between projects I still think the way I see is similar and hopefully people will be able to identify one of my photos be it personal work or from an assignment.

I do encourage photographers to shake it up a little though instead of an “insert-subject-here” approach that so many take (exact same lighting set up, back-drop etc). Mind you when you have a winning look that’s earning you a living it’s sometimes hard to abandon that. But remember, styles change and while your look might be popular now it might not be 5 years from now.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes and no. I try not to release too much of a project until I’m nearly done (and better yet would be only when the book is actually published) but I do use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as a means of self-promotion.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Back in the early 2000s when I still had an earthlink account, the blog Fleshbot featured a story I did about a porn star reality show based in Montreal and in a matter of days over 100,000 people visited my website. That sounds all fine and good except that earthlink wanted to charge me an exorbitant amount for going over my bandwidth even though I kept calling them to increase my limit and ultimately had to temporarily shut my site down. I couldn’t afford to pay what they wanted nor did I think it was fair so I called NY1 to have them do a segment on me and earthlink lowered the bill to a couple of hundred from several thousand dollars!

I don’t know how to use Reddit (!) but I have had a couple of my America Swings photos posted and they have been quite popular but no work came out of that.

But I am shooting my first fashion story next month for a Spanish magazine called ODDA and they found me through my Instagram so really happy about that.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I don’t create my personal projects specifically for marketing my work rather I make it for the art aspect, and if it gets me publicity that influences prospective clients, well that’s the cherry on top.

I have on occasion left a copy of America Swings with an art buyer, which I consider a really fancy leave behind (pssst, call me in for a portfolio review and one might make it’s way to your desk too!).

I feel a lot of clients want to work with “fine art” photographers rather than just commercial photographers so it’s important to always be creating personal work and getting a reputation in the art circuit.

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Canadian born NAOMI HARRIS is primarily a portrait photographer who seeks out interesting cultural trends to document through her subjects. Personal projects include HADDON HALL in which she documented the lives of the last remaining elderly residents at a hotel in South Beach. For this work she received the 2001 International Prize for Young Photojournalism from Agfa/ Das Bildforum, honorable mention for the Yann Geffroy Award, and was a W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography finalist.

For her next project AMERICA SWINGS, she documented the phenomenon of swinging over the course of 5 years (from 2003 to 2008) all over the United States. This project was realized in her first monograph “America Swings” released by TASCHEN in 2008 as a limited collectors edition and again in 2010 as a trade edition. Artist Richard Prince interviewed Ms. Harris for the book and it was edited by Dian Hanson.

She recently completed EUSA which is a reaction to the homogenization of European and American cultures through globalization and is releasing a book by the same title in 2017.

Other accolades include being awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Photography in 2013, a Long-Term Career Advancement Grant from the Canada Council in 2012 and participating in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2004.

In June 2012 after living in New York for 15 years she decided to leave and live in her car traveling around America with her dog Maggie in preparation of becoming a US citizen, which she did in August 2013. She currently resides in Los Angeles but returns to her homeland of Canada often to continue working on her project OH CANADA.


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.

Havard Business Review: Ian Spanier

- - The Daily Edit

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Harvard Business Review: Greg Louganis

Harvard Business Review: Greg Louganis
 

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Harvard Business Review

Creative Director: Matthew Guemple
Art Director: Annie Chin
Photographer: Ian Spanier

Heidi: Where did you find the empty pool?
Ian: I was fortunate this pool in Hollywood was empty, and close to Greg’s home. Originally I tried to get access to an olympic pool, and was surprised it wasn’t so easy and the magazine was dead set on an empty one anyway.

Contextually there are many layers to this story, how did you approach that visually?
( this was about his decorated career as well as his activism )
I love stories that have a deeper level. I didn’t get to scout the pool, so I worked with what was there. I did research on what direction it faced and any other factors that would affect my shoot plan. The big plus signs were an added bonus, given the connection to HIV Positive, so I was lucky there, and to be honest the location as a whole was not great– the pool was dirty and with a small crew (me and one assistant) we couldn’t clean it up that much. B&W helped there as well. Greg was really nice, and I made a couple extra portraits of him for him.  In return, he invited me to the screening of his latest short film called Saber Dance– where he plays Salvador Dali.

How did you get Greg to relax, become at ease?
Whenever I shoot celebrities or athletes there’s a bit of the unknown that doesn’t come into play when shooting non-celebrity subjects.  I always ask my client how much time we will have, but assume time could be less (so if I only get two minutes, I am prepared to work within the limitation)  If there’s more than one set-up I will have both ready to go, so I can quickly move my subject from set to set. I think this helps my subjects know that I am prepared, from there it’s less about the lights and camera and just gaining their trust. There is a lot of psychology behind photography. I like to review what the assignment is with the subject to make sure we are on the same page and usually I say something about me not being able to tell them how to just be themselves, but I am happy to suggest small changes from behind the camera.  I do this just between us by having that conversation closely with my subject; no publicist, no assistants, and no crew hearing this part. I’ve found this to work well for me, particularly in quick situations. There’s a sense of trust that needs to be earned, often immediately. I like to think by putting them in charge out the gate, the subject either relaxes and does their thing, in essence appears as they want to, and I then choose when to press the shutter. If they are stiff, I take over.  Ultimately, either scenario I am actually in charge. I like to think it’s almost like hypnosis, the moment I lull a subject into a place of comfort is generally the best part of the shoot. Sometimes I find the strobe firing over and over, or even the sound of the shutter does this, and other times I gain that trust by sharing an early frame when I know it looks good. Whichever gets things headed in the right direction.

How has your skills as a former photo editor come into play?
When I was a photo editor I would work directly with creative and art directors to formulate ideas for photo shoots, those years of experience really helped me the more I was on the other side of the shoot. I’ve always been an “ideas guy” so when I am given the chance to be part of the pre-shoot creative process or even make the call entirely at the shoot, I feel confident I can deliver. It’s great when a client comes to me with a distinct idea, as I have the opportunity to do their idea and time permitting any of my ideas, which only adds value to the project. When the art direction is unknown I feel pretty confident at this point that I’m being hired to come up with a solution. In the case of this shoot, the art director at HBR had presented the idea of shooting in an empty pool, and the section is always in B&W.  I was also given the copy, which always help me know the mood the magazine wants. These are the best scenarios and are most like the scenario when I was on staff at magazines. Since the magazine is on the East Coast I would take the lead producing the shoot. I do work with producers (or my agent) for larger production shoots–  but as a result of my past as a photo editor, when it comes to producing a shoot I can manage it just fine. Although it was not a factor in this shoot,  one other aspect to my past is that I would always be in the position of having to manage the client’s budget. When shoots come with a smaller budget, it’s not ideal, but it’s a reality of a lot of shoots. I believe that it’s my job to make any size budget work– and at least visually appear as equally well produced as the big budget shoots.

Since you’ve been in the industry on both the hiring and shooting level, what has been the biggest impact you’ve seen in editorial shoots?
I think the biggest change today aside from shrinking budgets is the immense need for content. Digital is a big factor of this, as when we shot film there was almost always an end in sight.  The decline of magazines and rise of social media is the other. Shots lists have climbed and the client’s need for assets for all the various outlets– far beyond the assignment alone are almost always a part of the shoot. I am often asked to shoot beyond any shot list, and even do both stills and video during the same shoot. This being the new reality, like everything else, it’s all about adaptation. Photographers have had to adapt to the rapid changes or be left behind.

The Daily Promo – Jennifer Rocholl

- - The Daily Promo

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Who printed it? 
Southern California Graphics in Culver City

Who designed it? 
The amazing Jean-Marc Durviaux and his team at DISTINC_.  Jean-Marc put so much individual attention, thought, and care into my project.  This is the second promo he’s designed for me.  The previous one placed 2nd in the PDN promo awards in 2009 (just behind the DS reps’ promo and yes, it’s been that long since I last did a printed promo!).  There is so much heart in this design agency, I really adore them.

Alexey Brodovitch’s design work was the inspiration for this project.  Brodovitch is a master of juxtaposition and extreme scale and his layouts remind me of contact sheets that have been cut into strips.   Jean-Marc thought it jelled perfectly with the spirit of my work and ran with it.  It was his idea to integrate graphic elements and type to give a hint of how my work could potentially look as an “already consumed” product.  (Yes — Jean-Marc, I’m glad you talked me into this!)

Who edited the images? 
I presented Jean-Marc with a very broad edit from my entire body of work and he made his selects from there.  It was necessary to get fresh eyes on my work because I tend to get stuck on which photos are my favorites.

How many did you make?
2,000.  1,800 were blessed during a candle lit ceremony and sprinkled with unicorn dust, packed into hand painted envelopes, and mailed out.  The lovely NIkki (pictured) came over and spent about a week painting those envelopes on a tarp in my driveway, sometimes with the help / hindrance of my kids.  I really wanted each one to have a “I made this for you” aesthetic.  The remaining 200 are waiting to be handed out at meetings and mailed out to anyone else who’d like one — just hit me up.

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How many times a year do you send out promos? 
Since this promo was a substantial production and big cost, it will be my big annual hit in addition to a New Year postcard I sent earlier this year.

This Week In Photography Books: Leon Borensztein

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’ve been doing this a long time, as the column will be 5 years in September. In that time, I’ve seen books from every continent on Earth, two times over. (Yes, there were two books from Antarctica.)

The experience has increased my understanding of the world immeasurably. I am definitely a smarter, more empathetic person than I was when Rob first suggested I review books here at APE.

But until today, I’ve never cried before, when flipping through the pages.

Not even once.

Today, however, I wept.

I was looking at “Sharon,” a new book by Leon Borensztein, recently published by Keher Verlag in Germany. This is as personal a book as I’ve seen, though others have risen to this level of honesty.

So why this book? Why now?

Well, “Sharon” is a photographic and diaristic account, by Leon Borensztein, of the 1984 birth, and subsequent life, of his daughter Sharon. Though her eyes are closed on the cover, and the text is scribbly, I had no idea what was in store, when I took the book out of its packaging. (This one was sent in a couple of months ago, and landed in the submission pile.)

Within the first few pictures, we realize something is wrong. Baby Sharon has electrodes on her head, and that can’t possibly be good, right? (It isn’t.)

The pacing, and the balance between imagery and text, always feel right. The pictures are universally square, well-made, and shot in black and white, but they’re not GENIUS. Thankfully, they don’t have to be.

It turns out that Sharon has physical, developmental, and mental health issues, including being mostly blind. It is clearly every parent’s nightmare, and one I fretted about through the entirety of my wife’s two pregnancies.

What happens if you have a baby, so many of us fear, and it all goes wrong?

29 years of Sharon’s life are documented here, and the diary text openly shares how difficult it is. How draining. How depressing.

To make matters worse, (as is often the case in relationships enmeshed in trauma,) Leon splits with his wife, and ends up becoming Sharon’s sole caretaker. His ex-wife is eventually busted for meth, suggesting she was unfit as a mother.

Wow, is this a heavy book. But it is also beautiful, because as Pixar teaches us in “Inside Out,” sadness is a valid part of life. Sometimes, it’s the only sane reaction to life’s unfairness.

In the end, Leon decides to place Sharon in a facility, after spending years trying to find the right one. He is well-aware, and presents to us, the statistics facing disabled women, with sexual abuse rates that are heart-breaking.

According to the last text in the book, it was a good move for father and daughter, as both were able to move on with life, while remaining extremely close. It’s just… So. Fucking. Poignant.

In life, I’ve found, sometimes the small coincidences keep piling up to the point where it makes sense to listen. I thought I was done with my little San Francisco series, but it turns out that some of the people about whom I’ve written in the last month were big supporters of this project.

Who knew?

And just this morning, I was engaged in a Twitter conversation with people about the over-saturation of the photo-book market. (Precipitated by a Tweet from NYT critic Wesley Morris, who lamented the closing of Powerhouse Books.)

I told a couple of Twitter strangers that with so many books on the market now, as near-every photographer makes a book for each project, it was of course impossible for them all to sell well. The supply has increased exponentially; not so the demand.

The responses to my Tweet were ironic, accusing me of quashing dreams. Not so, I replied.

Make a book.
Have at it.
Go nuts.

Just this morning, mere hours before I picked up “Sharon,” I told people there were other reasons to make a book, beyond financial remuneration.

Books are tangible. They provide closure. Deadlines push people to finish, to grapple, to face the work they’ve made, and then perhaps let go.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this book sold well. It’s an excellent publication. But somethings tells me it’s already a massive success for the artist, because it’s shined some serious light on the dark recesses of his life.

Life is beautiful, according to Roberto Benigni, but it is also rather tragic. Capturing both realities in one book is an achievement. If it can make me cry, for goodness sake, you might want to check this one out.

Bottom Line: Powerful, diaristic account of raising a disabled child

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The Art of the Personal Project: Marianne Lee

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Marianne Lee

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Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Anna Kitada

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Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Kathryn SIlvia

Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Luke Colannino

Flashes of Hope, Providence, RI. FEb.17, 2015. Nicholas Harrington

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How long have you been shooting?
Since High School.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I love the simplicity of what Flashes of Hope is asking for and I love the idea of creating a memory of this incredibly difficult time in these children’s lives. The impact of these images can change depending on the outcome of the kids course of treatment for their cancer.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I think it was about 3 years before I decided to put it on my website.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
This project is a bit different in that it happens every year through Flashes of Hope, I decide every year that it’s worth my time, these kids have a special spirit that I feel honored to be able to photograph.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I feel like personal work can be a lot looser, there’s fewer constraints, but it’s also challenging because those limits aren’t there.

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

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Mostly with family and friends.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Not yet.

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Marianne grew up on Lake Michigan and brings the warmth of the Midwest to her photography. She is obsessed with visual storytelling. Her curiosity about her clients leads to focused preparation. When Marianne arrives for a shoot, she already knows you. The result is stunning photos.

Marianne specializes in Education and Lifestyle Photography and is passionate about lifelong learning, whether it’s mountain biking, exploring a city, or discovering what makes a new friend laugh. She lives in New England with her daughter, husband, and a pantry full of chocolate.


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 Role Of Publishers In Photojournalism and Manipulation

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In the McCurry case, fortunately, there was a very different take. A.D. Coleman published a letter written by Robert Dannin, who worked at Magnum and with McCurry in the late 1980s. Dannin squarely puts the onus on the publishing industry in general, and on National Geographic in particular. These are the kinds of discussions we — as the general public — are rarely exposed to. But to me, it seems completely obvious that we have to talk about this aspect of photojournalism, which is immensely important: the role of the publishers (who might or might not also still commission work). Given McCurry’s photographs are such kitsch, why are they so widely coveted by the likes of National Geographic? What does that tell us about the publishing industry?

Read More: Photojournalism and Manipulation | Conscientious Photography Magazine

The Daily Edit – Aliza Eliazarov: Modern Farmer

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Modern Farmer

Editor In Chief: Sarah Gray Miller
Creative Director: Maxine Davidowitz
Photo Director: Lila Garnett
Photographer: Aliza Eliazarov



Heidi: What was the tipping point for you to leave teaching and become a photographer? or do you view the switch simply as photography is your vehicle to teach rather than the classroom?
 Aliza: I studied Environmental Engineering in undergrad and went on to get my masters in Creative Arts In Education. When I was a teacher in LA I integrated photography throughout the curriculum and also took classes at OTIS ( they had a great deal for LA public school teachers). I became more and more invested in photography as an anthropological and educational tool – especially the long term project. I was a tenured teacher at the time and took a leave of absence in 2007 to go to Bolivia and document President Evo Morales’ efforts to reallocate farmland to indigenous people.

During that time, I also had some really talented photographer friends who mentored and encouraged me to pursue photography more seriously. I applied to The International Center of Photography’s Documentary and Photojournalism Program and went there from 2008 – 2009.

Your portraits of the animals are so stately, do you treat them as you would a human subject? Or in other words, how do you get them to react ( do you talk to them, have treats, or is it patience? )
Animal photography happens in the space between fear and poop. Every animal is different, and it’s hard to predict how an animal will react to standing in front of flashing lights in a studio setting. Some freeze, others run or fly into the lights and others will try to go through the backdrop. Some animals are surprisingly calm and curious. You really never know and the farmers are always surprised by which animals end up being the best subjects.

Patience is critical. I like to give each animal at least 10 -15 minutes to get used to the situation. It also gives me a chance to observe and get to know the animal and get a feeling for his/ her personality and outstanding physical traits. On set I’m pretty quiet and let the animals roam within the studio space we have built. Often it is during those times that I get the most interesting photos. Sometimes you only get a few seconds of prime shooting, so you need to be ready.

For Modern Farmer I need to get very specific photos of each animal– a tight portrait with the animal facing both left and right and full body shots – all on both black and white backgrounds (in addition to more creative shots). For those, we want ears forward, long necks, and heads held high. I have the farmer or my assistant  talk to them, call them, make noises, hold treats in front of them. We do whatever it takes to get the shot. It can get pretty comical and hectic on set when birds fly behind the backdrop or a 1,400 pound draft horse decides the shoot is over. It can get pretty stressful, but I love it.

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Tell us about how your body of work shooting animals developed, did it grow out “Sustain?”
I began shooting animals while photographing farmers and chickens for two personal projects: SUSTAIN and 2 Chickens In Every Garage.

SUSTAIN is a long term documentary project on the sustainable farming movement.

2 Chickens in Every Garage is a series that looks at the backyard chicken movement across America and the role chicken enthusiasts have played in changing city ordinances and reshaping our relationship with our food and food sources. To make this work, I joined chicken enthusiast meetup.com groups. I visited enthusiasts in several cities around the country and set up a studio with black backdrop inside of the coop in order to isolate the chickens from their environment and force the viewer to consider the chicken.

Modern Farmer Photo Director Lila Garnett was familiar with my chicken work and published the series on Audubon.com when she was photo editor there seveal years ago. When Lila moved to Modern Farmer 5 or 6 years later – she reached out to me!

 

Do you have a team of wrangles that you work with, or have your developed enough experience to handle things are your own?
I work with one photo assistant and the farmer/s on set. Everyone helps to keep the animal in front of the backdrop and the space safe for everyone on set.

You often shoot for Modern Farmer, what was different or unique about this project?
I just finished shooting my 5th cover story for Modern Farmer and will be shooting 2 more this summer. Honestly it’s my dream gig and I feel so honored to be involved with this publication.
The pre-production for these shoots can be tricky and Photo Director Lila Garnett and I will work closely together to try and find the farms with all of the breeds we need to shoot for the issue. Sometimes it means traveling to 3 or 4 farms.  We try our best to find farmers with multiple breeds and are in the same general region.

I then travel to the farms and set up a studio on location, typically in a barn– many of which are old and rickety. Sometimes I will stay on the farm for a few days, and other times we break down the studio; travel to the next farm and do it all over.

Scheduling farm animal shoots is tricky when you have to work with weather, breeding, molting, sheering and other things that effect what the animal will look like or availability of babies.Chickens are my first love in terms of photographing farm animals, so I was really excited to shoot the chicken cover story for Modern Farmer. I love the variety in breeds and plumage and more than anything, I love the way  chickens move, twist and contort. Shooting the chickens also felt like I had come full circle so it was extra rewarding shooting this cover.

What was the biggest surprise you had on set?
There have been several, most of them poop related:

-A chicken laid an egg in the middle of this shoot for Modern Farmer.
-A giant draft horse backed up and peed all over the white fabric backdrop. I spent the next morning at the laundromat.
-Duck poop is the worst and gets everywhere.
-Alpacas don’t poop on set because they are like cats and only go in a communal litter box area.
-On my most rece   nt shoot, the cover animal I flew across country to photograph, suddenly grew ill and died hours before I got there.

Best advice for anyone shooting an animal?
Poop happens. Be ready for it.

 

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The Art of the Personal Project: Craig LaCourt

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

Today’s featured photographer is: Craig LaCourt

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How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been working in the industry for over 17 years, but really started pushing my own photography in the last 4 years or so.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I did get a BFA in photography from Western Michigan University, and that set a good foundation for how to address things in so much as building groups/series of images, but from a technical/professional aspect it’s the years of working as a digital technician and assistant that taught me the ropes of how the industry works.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I’ve had a broader project of shooting the creative people I meet in my community of Red Hook, Brooklyn for quite some time (hence my Instagram handle @redhook_shooter) and I’d known “Guitar Matt” through the great network of people for a bit before this. I moved my studio into the building he had been working in and we thought it was time to do something as I wanted to do some artisan small business based projects and he could always use new images for his own. We concepted and shot it over the course of a couple days.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This particular project was one of several I wanted to incorporate into my new site/book when I sat down with Karen D’Silva to re-assess what I’d been presenting. She really liked this project in particular.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I usually know before we are done shooting the first day. Most of my personal projects are collaborative in so much as I feed off the people I shoot. It’s such an adrenaline rush when you are on the same plane, but sometimes things just don’t “have it”,

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I almost always think of shooting as potential portfolio. Sometimes I overanalyze it into something bigger (production wise) than it really needs to be. I recently took a personal trip with a friend who is a motorcycle builder and we went from Denver to Austin for a motorcycle show. I usually would have brought cases and cases of lighting gear and cameras to treat it like an ad production. This time I specifically rented a small camera and a couple lenses and that’s it. I just tagged along to whatever he wanted to do so I didn’t have to plan any production or blocking. I just shot what I saw. It was a nice breath of fresh air and I think it helped me come back really excited.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Sometimes I feel like I got into the game a little too late with social and my photography. I’d always kept the two separated. So now I’m trying to push myself to keep ideas flowing onto Instagram and making an effort to keep it fresh and updated.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not really yet, no. I’ve not figured out the formula for getting that to happen yet. One person I shot for an ad campaign last year has literally MILLIONS of followers on Instagram. I’d love to get over 500 now, ha!

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I just did a pretty big (for me) hard promo push in the spring. I find this is still a very important step in our photography world. I’ve gotten some good feedback from the people that viewed it. For those I haven’t heard back from yet, my hope is that I have planted a seed of interest in their minds regarding the type of work I do.

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I’ve lived in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn since moving from the rocky shores of Lake Superior. I like to ride motorcycles on curvy roads or strap a snowboard to my feet when the opportunity presents itself. I try to catch a Red Wings game here and there with my wife, Shami, and my daughter, Mihika.

In my free time I’m always down for a great conversation over a hoppy beer with my dogs at my feet. The best talks are after a really fun photo shoot when we are spent but running on adrenaline from making something special.

People have called me a nice guy.


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.

Q&A: Sarah Meister Curator, Department of Photography, MoMA

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What are some photographs that you believe everybody should see?
There are so many photographs and digital images in the world today that instead of adding to the lists of things that everybody should see, I’d suggest a different exercise. I believe that most people would see more clearly if they took the time to look more closely… ideally at an old photograph that many people have held over many decades. In the digital era it strikes me as critically important to recognize the difference between a photograph (a physical object) and a photographic image (one that can assume new characteristics specific to the device on which it is seen, but which has no material presence), and that once you’ve really looked at a photograph you’ll have new tools to approach both photographic objects and images.

What are some of the most interesting things about the history of photography?
For a variety of reasons (cultural, economic, social, technical), throughout the history of the medium a significant percentage of the greatest photographers have been women. In fact, it is possible to tell a coherent history of photography featuring only women artists…

Read More Here: Sarah Meister – Quora Session on Jun 27, 2016

The Daily Edit – Bon Appetit : Alex Lau

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Creative Director: Alex Grossman
Photo Director: Alex Pollack
Photo Editor: Elizabeth Jaime
Photographer: Alex Lau

Heidi: How many choices of doughnuts did you go through after arriving at this one?
Alex: I probably went through 9 variations of doughnuts, with about 4 options of each doughnut.

Did you buy a dozen of the same kind of doughnut to avoid denting the icing?
Fortunately, I didn’t have to buy any doughnuts with my own money, but Blue Star was kind enough to give me a fresh doughnut to work with if I had dented or messed up the icing.

Who was the food stylist?
It was a collaborative effort between me and my photo editor Elizabeth Jaime via email! I was in the middle of a multi city shoot, when Elizabeth told me she was adding another shop to my shot list. She had mentioned it was a cover try, and that I should run through as many options as possible. I basically sent her screenshots as I shot, and readjusted based on her comments.

What were the icing or color considerations?
Since it was a cover option, our creative team is always looking for something that pops in terms of color. I was told to look for doughnuts that had a distinct pattern or nice color since it would be featured by itself on white. I had some trouble with the doughnut flavor that I was originally assigned, since the glaze was too glossy for the harsh/poppy light that I was using, so we had to switch to a doughnut with a similar tone, but with a more matte glaze.

Are the most simple food covers the most difficult?
I wouldn’t say that they’re the most difficult, but that they’re just as challenging as propped out shots. If a food shot is propped out, that gives you more options than doing a standalone shot on white. This makes the onus on the food looking good by itself, as opposed to relying on context and props.

Favorite doughnut?
I think my favorite doughnut was definitely the cover doughnut, which is the Blueberry Bourbon Doughnut. I’m not even a fan of doughnuts but had to eat a couple before leaving.

 

The Daily Promo: Stan Evans

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Who printed it?
Modern Postcard out of San Diego Printed it. Ture Lillegraven referred me to them. They are reasonable priced and efficient.

Who designed it?
I designed it. As far as the concept, I’ve been shooting a bit of motorcycling lately and it seems the market has been saturated with café racers, sunset shots and generic side of the road shots.  While some of those photos will always be timeless, I wanted to capture something that flew in the face of that. High-end motorcycles are precision machines and the apparel motorcyclists wear for protection at those speeds has many features and functions.  I wanted showcase a seamless connection between man and machine;  inspired by the work of artist HR Giger and director James Cameron did on the “Alien” series. It’s dark and moody but in a stack of sunset motorcycle work it sticks out.

Who edited the images?
I edited the images and did the post-production myself.  I had pretty clear vision of wanting to mix crisp product photography with dynamic action.  The photos themselves have very little photoshop.  Some of the on location photos had a bit of light spill because you are capturing things at speed but overall that it was getting the right mix of portraits and action so it flows nicely

How many did you make?
I made 200. I sent out about half of those. I handed out probably another fifty. I still have a few on hand to leave behind at meetings.  I’d be happy to send more out, shoot me an email if you are interested:  stan@stanevansphoto.com

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Usually 3 to 4 times a year. I do one larger one and 2-3 follow-ups.

How did this idea come about?
Originally I pitched this idea to a company for a shoot and they passed but the problem with good ideas is they stick, so I made this promo.  A promo is the best manifestation of what you can do with your own mind on your own time.  If you can get people to believe in that, they will believe in you and help manifest bigger dreams and ideas. People will say “no” to your ideas but you need to have the resilience to come back and define those ideas, shoot them and take them to fruition if need be.  Practice until you get to a point where people will take notice.

Later after they saw the promo they came back and commissioned a shoot. It also led to a recent work with Cycle World, which was pretty cool because I’ll be frank; I’m a portrait photographer that likes shooting motorcyclists and hearing their stories. I have an instagram (@upforadventuress) dedicated just my moto exploits but I separate the two because I don’t want to be stamped as just a “moto photographer.” It’s a great outlet to show that world as I see it without any constraints and it’s made my overall photography work better but I enjoy seeing and shooting many things.

Special thanks to Adey Bennett (model), Jeff Moustache (the assistant on the shoot but a talent photographer in his own right) and Yamani Watkins (an executive producer /co-founder of Karma Media Group  an amazing mentor for me in LA )  who all helped tremendously on this project.

 

 

This Week In Photography Books: Toni Greaves

by Jonathan Blaustein

We all make choices in life.

Some imagine this as fate, believing our desires are pre-destined by some deity or other. Others believe in free will, countering that our decisions are our own to make.

Most of the time, what we choose to do impacts us, and perhaps our loved ones or co-workers. (A few others, but not THAT many.)

Then there are people like LeBron James.

LeBron, who reclaimed his mantle as the Best Basketball Player in the World last night, crushed the hopes of an entire region when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010. (I’m writing on Monday.) If you’re not up on sports, LeBron switched teams back then, joining the Miami Heat, in one of the more tone-deaf PR moves of the 21st Century.

“I’m taking my talents to South Beach,” he said, thereby dooming gloomy North East Ohio to more basketball misery. The city had not had a Championship in 52 years, until last night, and it’s hard for anyone outside of that area to understand how many hearts were broken when LeBron left town.

Shockingly, in 2014, LeBron chose to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, claiming the pull of home was too great. (He was raised in nearby Akron.) It was unprecedented, both what he did and how he did it, this time engendering a PR coup by writing an open letter to the city of Cleveland, announcing his triumphant return.

It seemed like a somewhat insane move, as the Cavs were by then the worst team in basketball, and trading South Beach for Cleveland makes as much sense as Donald Trump’s campaign accounting.

The numbers people began spewing estimates of how much money would flow back into the Cleveland metropolitan area, and it was in the tens of millions. One man, who’d grown up under difficult circumstances, was hailed as a mini-stimulus-package, personally impacting the economy of an entire region.

He promised everyone a Championship, and last night he made good. It was a spectacular feat, from a sporting perspective, as the Cavs fought back and won a series, after being down 3 games to 1, a situation that had never been reversed in the HISTORY OF THE NBA.

Quite the magical ending.

There were videos showing downtown Cleveland as one massive party. People wept, including LeBron. (No team had won anything of note there since 1964.) It was revelatory, and came about, once again, because of the decision of one human being, and his concomitant devotion and belief.

LeBron James had a vision, and he made a seemingly odd choice, because the little voice in his head told him it was the right thing to do.

The same goes for a young woman named Lauren, who realized in her early 20’s that she had fallen in love with God.

Say what now?

Well, Lauren is the main subject, or perhaps we should say dramatic lead, in the beautiful “Radical Love,” a photo book by Toni Greaves, published recently by Chronicle Books in San Francisco.

“Radical Love” follows Lauren’s path as she eschews life in the outside world, and joins a cloistered convent of nuns in Summit, New Jersey. (The site of my own biggest sports fail, as I managed to just-miss scoring the game-winning goal, as the ball trickled across the goal line, in a huge playoff game back in high school.)

Lauren is attractive and photogenic, and, as Toni points out in the afterword, is living in a place and time in which she could follow so many paths. This is an unprecedented time to be a woman in the West, because despite the lingering stench of sexism, there are freedoms available that have never been available to women before.

Ever.

And yet Lauren, who apparently had a boyfriend at the time, felt that her future lay beyond closed doors, praying to that same God, on behalf of the rest of us. (The Nuns of this order live to pray for others.)

It’s obviously strange to see, as we’re accustomed to Nuns as asexual, older women, whose wrinkles keep them company in bed at night, rather than a man’s hairy arms. We imagine Nuns as dour; whacking palms with rulers, or wagging fingers at our filthy language and continued indiscretions.

But this book, which really functions as a long-form photographic narrative, dispels such cliché notions. These pictures depict happy people, engaged in a community that supports them, (and apparently us,) with love.

There are some remarkable pictures, in particular a recurring motif in which Lauren, and others, lie prostrate on the ground. One even captures Lauren making a snow angel, that most child-like of joyful activities.

Over the course of this 7 year project, we do get to see Lauren age and grow a bit; the ebullient sheen slowly wearing off of her skin as comfort and confidence replace the pallid flush of the new.

This is a lovely book, and it is clear that both its maker, and subjects, approach each day with positivity and grace. Those feelings emanate off the paper, an offering to anyone who picks the object up to take a peek.

As I sit here staring at the cover, I notice the barren black trees against deep navy. (And the implied crucifix as well.) It’s a heavy image, resonant of winter and death. It fits what I expected to find inside, but the innards were nothing like that at all. Instead, they shined like the freshly mopped floors of a convent kitchen.

Lemon-fresh scent included.

Bottom Line: Lovely, long-term project following a young woman as she devotes her life to God

To Purchase “Radical Love” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the 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: Nadia Pandolfo

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How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting for twenty years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A mixture of self-taught and photography classes at USC.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I love to travel and document what I see. I try to remain open to dialogue with the place I am experiencing. I have been fascinated with the Galapagos Islands for as long as I can remember because it’s where Charles Darwin became inspired to write his evolutionary theory. So in 2015 I traveled to Ecuador. I became a certified PADI diver in preparation so I could also experience the underwater life there.

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

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It varies. Some personal projects are quickly completed and are more spontaneous and more experimental, while others involve a slow meticulous process of planning that may involve several years. But in this case, it was a matter of months.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Usually with personal work, I can be more creative and more experimental, since I am shooting for myself, not for a specific client, or audience. If the project works, and it finds an audience, great, but even if it doesn’t, I am still satisfied because it was something I needed to articulate, which emanated from a very deep place within me. Sometimes it takes time for certain projects to be appreciated by an audience. Sometimes certain projects just never come off the ground. But no matter what, it is never wasted time, because it is always a learning lesson. Personal projects often begin with a question, and the project is an attempt to find an answer to that question. So it is always a means to finding a deeper understanding. Usually my personal projects are precursors to more polished or orchestrated projects, which I might do at a later date. So they become part of a repertoire of subject matter to be further source of inquiry.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I use Facebook quite a lot. But I have recently begun posting on Instagram and Twitter as more regularly.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I don’t know if I can say that any of the work has gone viral. But I know I have cultivated fans who appreciate my personal photography. Many people write and comment how much they enjoy the work. I have also had some of these projects published in journals and magazines and have been approached to donate some of these images to auction for charity.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
So far, I have not printed my personal projects for marketing to potential clients. But it is something I would plan to do in the future.

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Nadia Pandolfo began shooting professionally in 2001. Her work has been featured in several magazines both in the United States and abroad, and prints of her work have been auctioned for various art benefits supporting charity. She has shot ad campaigns for Hale Bob, Elvis Shoes/ Ed Hardy, Kain Label, Voda Swim, Urban Behavior, Costa Blanca, Macy’s among others. She was featured as a photographer and judge on America’s Top Model. She is best known for her cinematic style, using combinations of sculpted and natural/ ambient light. Her photos always tell stories whether it is a documentary project or an orchestrated shoot. She has also has completed several photo essays based on Hollywood classic recreations including: Rear Window, North by Northwest, The Birds, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Getaway. She studied at University of Southern California. Some of her other personal projects have included: Guatemala, Iceland and Cuba.


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 – Oprah Magazine: Jonathan Kambouris

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The Oprah Magazine

Photographer: Jonathan Kambouris
Prop Stylist: Marissa Gimeo

Heidi: What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Jonathan: O, The Oprah magazine approached prop stylist Marissa Gimeno and myself to photograph Mac’s new line of cosmetics for the O, Beautiful! page in the June 2016 issue. The client wanted to emulate the Navajo print of the packaging and create the pattern with the actual cosmetics. I love a good graphic pattern and I was completely on board with this concept!

How did this mosaic pattern idea develop?
We were inspired by the print on the actual packaging so we narrowed down which print worked the best. I did a few sketches with the idea that one of the actual products would be photographed on top of the pattern we were creating, possibly a lipstick or eyeshadow. In the end we decided the strongest composition would be to create the pattern out of the eyeshadow, blush and powder textures with no product on top.

Tell us about the actual build and was the crumble a happy accident?
The magazine supplied us with the product from Mac. However, there was not quite enough to complete the entire pattern. Marissa and I discussed the best way to tackle this challenge. In the end, I decided it would be best to create at least half of the pattern(specifically the top half). Once I got the light tweaked I had to shoot this in a few different stages. There was a good amount of planning  on set to ensure that this image was successful. I wanted to capture everything in camera rather than flipping it in post so the lighting felt consistent and natural with the way it falls off on the bottom. So I photographed each half and then flipped it on set and recaptured again. Once I captured the entire background we played around with different options for the top element. My digital tech quickly composited the several captures so we could see it as one image and decide what we needed to capture more of. In the end the top crumbled piece was a unanimous favorite. We did several variations and really perfected this crumble to make sure it felt natural and perfect. It was not necessarily pre-planned, however, it evolved very intuitively on set and the end result captured exactly what I wanted the image to look like.

How long did it take to build?
Marissa Gimeno: It took me half a day to measure and cut the risers for the composition prior to the shoot. On set, it took approximately 3 hours to apply the makeup to the risers and finesse the final layout.

Did you need to have special tools to handle the makeup?
Marissa Gimeno:
Nothing too unusual that couldn’t be found in a still-life stylist’s kit such as palette knives, makeup brushes and a little ingenuity.

The Daily Promo: Heather Byington

- - The Daily Promo

 

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Heather Byington

Who printed it?
Vista print made the post cards, envelopes were hand crafted by me.

Who designed it?
I did.

Who edited the images?
I did.

How many did you make?
452, though some were sent back, so roughly 420 made it out into the world. I sent promos to only to the agencies I had direct contact details for.
815 postcards were sent, just as a solo card/promo piece, these were all marketed to “art director/buyer”.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first real “big push”.  I have sent out a card here or there a couple times before, but nothing to this level. This is the first time I have heard anything back.

Tell us about the promo concept.
Anthology of Muddled Nightmares is a collaboration between myself and Mitchell Walter. I’ve always had an eye for the dark and macabre, but I balance it with visceral emotion and undeniable beauty.  Mitchell is a professional creative writer; he has always been smitten with short stories, finding their blend of narrative content and poetic metaphors powerfully engaging.

Having a mutual admiration for each others’ work, we decided to collaborate on Anthology of Muddled Nightmares. 

This Week In Photography Books: A-B-Cheeeese!

by Jonathan Blaustein

Believe it or not, in the last four days, three different people lectured me about the relationship between the amygdala and the hippocampus, two powerful, oppositional parts of the brain.

(And yes, that is definitely the longest opening sentence in this column’s history.)

But it’s also true.

Under pressure, the primal amygdala, of fight or flight fame, supersedes the hippocampus, which controls higher functioning.
(Essentially, when we’re triggered, we can’t think straight.) Our body chemistry, which often speaks to us in the form of emotion, runs the show when we’re stressed out.

It’s fact, and new studies demonstrate that our brains actually rewire, based upon repeated stimulus. If you’re bugging out all the time, that becomes your brain’s default hardware.

For months, you’ve read along as my teaching situation, in which I was repeatedly doused with cortisol, bled into other parts of my life. It’s hard not to be grumpy and short-tempered, or at the least allow some of life’s joys to pass you by.

So many of us work a lot, or stay connected throughout the day/month/year.

Do you sometimes wonder if you’re not having enough fun? Or appreciating your children properly?

I know I do.

So many of us are photographers, but how much time are you putting into aping your kid’s joy, getting down on the ground to make memories, rather than just pressing the virtual shutter on your Iphone?

I’m thinking here of the new photo/children’s book, “A-B-Cheeeese!”, recently published by Paul Schiek at TBW Books in Oakland. It’s pretty random, relative to what we normally review here, but also a bit of HGH to beef-up our fun-deprived muscles. (Especially in yet-another tragic week.)

I’ve reviewed a couple of TBW offerings in the past, and interviewed Paul last year as well. Though we’d never met, when I got to Oaktown last month, he picked me up at the airport so we could grab some In’n’Out burger, and watch the Golden State Warriors on TV at his place.

We’re two odd ducks, as artists, in that we’re both huge sports fans. He was immersed in it, growing up in Wisconsin, as was I in New Jersey, so the idea of catching a game, in the Warriors hometown, was too good to pass up.

He pulled up to the airport in a blue truck, and I immediately went to the back door to throw my bag inside. Mid-toss, I realized there was a little human being blocking my flight path. It was a pretty, 2 year-old-girl with big brown eyes and whimsical curls, and I was lucky not to crush her with my travel bag.

“Dad,” she said, “who’s THAT guy?”

And that was my name for the rest of the day. “THAT” guy. Young Rosary warmed to me eventually, and we had some fun for a few minutes.

But then the game turned, and before we knew it, the Warriors were down 40 points. They were getting destroyed. Embarrassed even.

In case you don’t know, this season, the Warriors broke the NBA all-time record for most wins in a season, with 73. They’re accustomed to having their way with the opposition, not being annihilated on national television.

So by the time I left, there was bad-sports-juju in the air, and I forgot my copy of the book, along with a strap from the aforementioned luggage. Paul kindly sent both to me, back in New Mexico, because I really wanted to show this book to you.

It was made in honor of little Rosary, so it says, and she’s also listed in the back, as a Creative Consultant. (It makes me wonder if there aren’t some child labor laws being broken here.)

But what exactly is “A-B-Cheeeese!”?

It’s a play on the classic children’s book conceit of having one letter of the alphabet be represented by a word, image or phrase.

I still remember the Dr. Seuss version I read to my son when he was an infant. Big A, little a. What begins with A? Aunt Annie’s alligator, A A A.

Big B, little b. What begins with B? Barber, baby, bubbles and a bumblebee.

Here, each letter is paired with a word, and a historical, vernacular image that Paul purchased on Ebay.

A is for automobile, B is for bath time, C is for curious. F is for fish, and H is for Hello.

The pictures have been scanned, and are presented in the middle of a blank white page. But the text page color varies, blue for black and white, pink for color.

Some of these picture grab me more than others, but they all make me sad, on some level. Because a few of these kids are probably dead by now, or at least very old themselves. These anonymous stories are someone’s memories, and out of context, our vulnerability to time still shines through.

But it’s also hopeful, as the book is literally made for one child, yet shared with many, which was the plot of some early Neal Stephenson novel, the name of which I’ve unfortunately forgotten. (Sorry Neal!)

As for favorites, I love fish, and laughing, and piñata and quack. I love reading and waving and xylophone.

But yellow is the best.

I bet if this kid had one do-over, that special 1970’s super-power, he’d make this picture disappear from reality in a poof.

Because he’s got the crazy-eyes.

These days, that picture would get posted on the dude’s Facebook page, and it would be there for every prospective employer to see. Forever.

Here, in the book, it’s being ogled by strangers, and I’m sure the guy will never know.

I like that this photobook is a children’s book, a gift for a daughter, and a new piece of history to age, with its already- old, forgotten histories inside.

This was a big week, let’s be honest. A horrible thing happened in Orlando, and for once, I didn’t devote an entire column to the Terrible Tragedy of the Day. Not to belittle such things, but it’s genuinely awful that these events happen around the world with such tragic frequency these days.

In light of all that suffering, a cute/cool little book with a premise built on love seemed the right choice for today.

Don’t you think?

Bottom Line: Poignant, hybrid photo book/children’s book

Go Here To Purchase A-B-Cheeeese!

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The Art of the Personal Project: Doug Levy

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: Doug Levy

How long have you been shooting?
Part-time since 2007, full time since the end of the 2009 baseball season.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Totally self taught (I have a finance degree!). After graduating from college in 2003 I spent six years umpiring professional baseball. Before spring training in 2006 minor league umpires went on strike. Baseball was threatening to cut off our health insurance so I started saving money to pay for that, but the day before I had to mail the check the strike was resolved and I went and spent it all on a Nikon D70s.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
As someone who has absolutely no inherent ability to build or fix anything, people who are naturally able to create gorgeous handmade things have fascinated me for a long time.

Over the winter of 2014 I met the Bully Boy whiskey guys through a mutual chef friend and asked them if I could come by and photograph them at their distillery. Initially I thought it would be just a cool portrait for my website but then I met a few other local folks who fit in and started thinking that this could be it’s own standalone series.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I’ve been working on this for a little more than two years, but before it came together as a series, I was already sharing individual shoots in my portfolio.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I shoot a lot of personal work, and they’re not always things that fit into longer form series. Sometimes it is just a single portrait that ends up in my portraits gallery or on my social. This is definitely the longest project I’ve done though, and not one I see ending anytime soon.

The great thing is that this is starting to snowball; the Trillium beer guys introduced me to the Barrington Coffee guys, the Firefly Bikes guys introduced me to Sam Densmore who makes amazing custom knives on Cape Cod and so on. That’s always my last question as I’m out the door, “Who should I photograph next for this?”

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
In an industry where I definitely feel like if I’m not getting better I’m getting worse, I think the personal work really informs my client work and point of view. When you remove some of that natural pressure that comes from shooting for clients, it opens up the possibility to experiment and hone new techniques that can then migrate into commissioned work.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I’ve never used Reddit, but I do post frequently to my Instagram and blog most shoots on my Tumblr.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet, but Instagram did feature one of a shorter series of hand close-ups I shot last year.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I do quarterly printed promos and recently just did a large run featuring the most recent work from this project.

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A portrait photographer living outside of Boston with his wife and two dogs, Doug Levy spent six years pursuing a career as a professional baseball umpire before meeting his wife and getting struck in the head with a bat showed him that a lifetime of 7:05 starts wasn’t for him. A professional photographer since 2007, Doug’s clients have included WebMD, MIT Technology Review, Dunkin’ Brands and LinkedIn.

You can see Doug’s work on his website http://www.douglaslevy.com or on Instagram @douglevy

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.