The Daily Edit – Thursday
3.8.12

- - The Daily Edit

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TeenVogue

Creative Director: Katia Kuethe
Associate Art Director: Sarah Waiser
Photo Director: Jennifer Pastore
Associate Photo Editor: Jacqurline Ladner

Photographer: Paola Kudacki

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

Still Images in Great Advertising – Achim Lippoth

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I  always like when fashion images push the envelope and stand out above the others. Most of the time that means pushing the images sexually, so I guess that is why I thought of these as a refreshing way to push the envelope!

Suzanne: What a brilliant way to get the attention of the viewer. How much input did you have in the concept of these ads?

Achim: the rough idea comes mostly from the agency, the client wants my point of view as well as how to bring the ideas  to life with casting, location, setting, light, angels and so on.

Suzanne: How did you go about producing these ads. Did you have a chicken wrangler on set? How many chicken were actually photographed?

Achim: yes, actually we had a animal wrangler on set and we shot 15 chicken in many different positions and angels.

Suzanne: I see Achim has been used on some American campaigns but is based overseas. Does he come to the US to shoot? Like the Calvin Klein Jeans or American Eagle campaigns?

Susanne Bransch ( US Rep): Achim is booked for many ad-campaigns in the USA and frequently shoots for American Eagle, Target, Calvin Klein and Kenneth Cole. If you go on the Bransch website, you can get more info about this work.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Michael Muller’s Underwater Studio For Shark Portraits

- - Photographers

Heidi Volpe interviews Michael Muller about his Travel Channel shark portraits.


Michael Muller was hooked at age 15 when after a year of shooting snowboarding he was getting published and paid. Now, he is an award wining advertising and editorial photographer represented by top agency Stockland Martel. I got a chance to talk to him about his recent project with the Travel Channel, Shark Shoot Fiji and the lighting equipment he developed for this underwater project: he took the studio and plunged it deep in the Beqa Lagoon.

Heidi:  How much testing did you do to develop the system?
Michael: There was a fair amount of R&D that went into the creation of these lights.  To start, I had to go through several different fabricators that delivered me products that either did not work or were so unsafe, I would not get into a pool with them, let alone ask someone to join me.  I wasted or should I say spent a lot of money getting to the place of almost giving up before I met the guys who I would eventually make the lights with.  This was a very difficult path, because continuing forward always meant that I would have to spend more money on faith that the next person would be the one who would be able to make it come true.

Once we got the prototype working light made, they happened to be delivered the day before I embarked to the Galapagos Islands to shoot the Aqua Timer campaign for IWC Watches. They arrived at my house at about 4 or 5 in the afternoon as we were packing all our gear for a 3 week expedition.  The trip was also in conjunction with The Charles Darwin Foundation and UNESCO so there was a huge amount of pressure to deliver striking images.  I had promised the President of IWC that I would create images like no one had seen before without having the lights in hand.  The weeks leading up to the departure were probably some of the most stressed filled days of my career for making these promises and going on faith that the guys would get it and make them in time.  When they did arrive that afternoon I was beyond over joyed yet still stressed that they would in fact work.  Being so late in the day with an early am departure flight approaching the following day, I put my trunks on and had the guys hook up the lights and jumped in the pool.  I was thrilled when the lights fired and that was the extent of testing.

We packed up the lights and headed out to the Galapagos the next morning where we used the lights in open ocean and did all our fine tuning on the job so to speak.  I did in fact get IWC mouth watering images like I had promised which felt very good to do.  That is how guerrilla type inventing goes when you’re not a huge manufacture of goods, I don’t have the money or man power for major testing so you do what you can do with what you have. I can say that not giving up in the face of failure was the biggest lesson.  It is so easy to throw in the towel after so many set backs but to continue on is the biggest challenge and once again I learned that you should never give up if you believe in something, don’t quit right before the miracle happens!

Tell me more about the lights.
The lights were first tested in open ocean in the Galapagos and then further used many days in the pool with Michael Phelps and all the other olympic swimmers for the Speedo campaigns I shot.  I have also used the lights for a multitude of other underwater shoots I have done.  There isn’t a whole lot of testing that needs to be done since the lights are just a basic strobe head that happens to be waterproof.  The main testing is what the light does underwater and how to control it with use of reflectors, grids, etc.  Light reacts differently underwater than it does on land.  It bounces and spreads out everywhere so it has taken many hours and days underwater with my team to get just where we are today and we still have so much to learn.  That is what I love about “light” and photography, I have been doing it for 27 years almost daily and could do it until the day I die and still know just a fraction of what there is to know about light and the use of it, and how to control it.  The minute you think you have got this thing called photography “down” is the day you should maybe put the camera down because your being very ignorant, light is something the greatest minds that have ever lived find mysterious and fascinating. Always be an explorer and try to learn something new with each shoot, never rest on your laurels thinking you’ve got it down!

Does light behave differently in salt water?
No only that Saltwater has many more elements in it.  Living particles fill every inch of the ocean and all of these things no matter what the size, either reflect or react to the light when it hits them.  A filtered pool like the one I have at my studio is the easiest place to control light, there are no waves or surge or current to deal with and the water is much clearer then what you must deal with in the ocean.  If I could have a pet great white in my pool that would be amazing, but until now they have not figured out how to do that. Honestly even if they did, I would not capture an animal like that to keep in my pool, but I sure do wish I had my own private ocean in my back yard filled with clear, warm water. That said there would be no challenge or mystery to that, so I would get very bored quickly so the way it is now is just perfect!  Wait not perfect,  because we are destroying our oceans right now, so if correct that, then it will be perfect!

On Shark Shoot Fiji, you narrated the underwater footage. How did you really communicate underwater, I am assuming that was not live? or was it?
I did in fact navigate underwater using an OTS (Ocean Technology Systems) mask system. They make the best most reliable communication system available on the market today.   Until I started using the OTS system it was a nightmare trying to communicate using hand signals with my assistants underwater.  Even in a pool we had trouble but when we were in the ocean with 18ft great whites swimming around us all, the ability to talk and direct the lights where I needed them was and is crucial for successful lit subjects!  I am so grateful for this system that I believe was  developed for the NAVY and Military.  There are some, very few benefits to battle, this being one, and one of maybe three things.  If there were no wars and I had to use hand signals underwater, then I would trade in this mask system in a heart beat!

What did you learn about the sharks that surprised you.
Every time I swim with sharks I learn something new.  I have had so many misconceptions about these creatures and to smash them has been so liberating. I had so much fear surrounding them since I was a child growing up surfing the waves in Northern California home of many large great whites. I was always fascinated with them.  Jaws had a huge impact on me as a kid as well like it did most of the planet when it came out.  That movie single handedly took the already natural god given fear we all have and injected it with steroids.  I though the sharks were coming out of the lights in my pool as a kid, not joking! So having this fear combined with the yearning to learn more about these animals has allowed me to view with my own eyes in person what gentle giants they really are.  Watching them on TV is nothing like having them in front of you in person.  Sure the TV helps lessen the fear a tiny bit but really until you are in the water with these sharks and your adrenaline is pumping like it always does even to this day with so many dives, it is just not the same.

I always have the blood pumping when I first get in the water but shortly there after my body settles down and I get in the rhythm of these animals.  They are like puppy dogs, and I know when you read that it’s hard to believe but it’s true.  They do not want us, we are not on their menu.  They are more scared of us then I believe we are of them.  They shy away from us at all times and only their curiosity similar to ours of them causes them to come in for a closer look.  I have been so fortunate to witness behaviors rarely seen by us such as being underwater as a 15ft Great White re-enters the water from a breach.  Seeing two great whites going nose to nose to see which one gets the food.  Witnessing these behaviors along with many more is just fascinating to me.  I study humans when I shoot them here on land, their nuances and personalities to try and bring them out in my portrait sessions and I have had the gamut come in front of my lens and like humans, I am as curious about the sharks as I am the fellows I share this planet with!

You have tremendous range in your work from the past 25 years. How did your previous work lead to this?
I have shot many subjects in my 25+ years of photography and have covered so many different subjects that may be very much the reason it led me underwater.  To be honest there are not a whole lot of things left that get me as excited as animals do at this point in my career.  I do love shooting people and always will.  I do love shooting commercial work but am having a desire to do much larger productions fewer times a month than many small ones which I have been doing for many years.  My passion is leading me outdoors again to the wilderness and the vast oceans to turn my lens on our planet and what’s happening to it.  Not in a way that focusses on the destruction but more the beauty of it in hopes that it will inspire the destruction to stop.  I have always loved and been fascinated with animals as I have been with people.  That said, I was not in a place like I am now to go and do what I am doing now which is taking that 25 years experience into the wild and take the skills I learned in the studio and on location, then turning it loose on animals.  I want to take photos of things in ways people have never seen before, I want to make people stop and think “how did he do that?” “how did he get that look” only by doing that can you possibly have a  chance to get people to stop and think “how can we keep this animal around?” you know?  The same approach as I have taken to get people to buy a product or see a movie I am using to try and change perceptions of our planet.  I can only try right?  Like the road blocks I hit with creating the lights, the challenge is to not give up before the miracle happens!

Was Summit to Summit the start of you adding yet another dimension to your interests as a photographer?
I don’t think it was the start but it certainly is along the lines of what drives me today.  To be a part of a movement that educates people about our planet and the lack of clean drinking water around the world is just another example of how I am trying to use my gifts today.  I don’t think I was put here to shoot the things I have shot for 25 years and continue shooting them for the next 25 years.  I am a student or follower of Darwin’s comment “evolve or die”.  I want to evolve as a person, a photographer, husband, and father.  I want to challenge myself as an artist and as a human being and what I see happening today on and to our planet does not sit well with me.  I am under no illusion that I am going to go out and take a photo that is going to change the world, but at the same time I am not going to sit back and do nothing expecting someone else to fix the problem.  I don’t know what my images will do, but that is not my business.  My job is to take pictures, give them to the world and what happens, happens.  I have to follow my heart and listen to my gut, I always have and it has never been wrong.

Where are you going from here with underwater photography?
I don’t know?  I am going where the light leads me I guess.  I just want to go out and have fun creating images and documenting this amazing planet we all share.  There is just so much to shoot and the subjects are limitless, I just need to show up!  I am planning an exhibition to South Africa this year to shoot breaching Great Whites as well as safari all in one trip, so that ought to be a fun. All I can say is that as long as I am drawing a breath and my limbs are all working, I will be out there shooting, both above and below the water.  There are a few other ideas I have that I want to try and do underwater that I think will help take underwater photography to anther level, but we will have to wait and see what happens!

 

How Do You Create Long Form Visual Narratives?

- - Blog News

Working on lengthy efforts as a photographer, compared to producing single images, is the difference between writing a paragraph and writing a book. To conjure a subject worthy of such effort, to figure out a structure for the coverage, to get know subjects intimately with a camera, to edit the work into something greater than its parts is alone the worth the effort. But only if you care about growing as a photographer and therefore as a person.

via Blog – Mike Davis.

The Daily Edit – Tuesday
3.6.12

- - The Daily Edit

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Rolling Stone

Design Director: Joseph Hutchinson
Creative Director: Jodi Peckman
Art Department: Steven Charny (Sr. Art Dir )
Matthew Cooley ( Deputy Art Dir), Elizabeth Oh (Assoc. Art Dir )
Photo Department: Deborah Dragon ( Deputy Photo Ed ) Sacha Lecca ( Sr Photo Ed ) Sonja Gill ( Associate Photo Ed )

Photographer: Terry Richardson

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

SPD 47 Finalists

- - Awards

The Society of Publication Designers announces the finalists for their 47th annual awards. Download the full list (here).

With our British co-chairs and the overseas success of the SPD iPad App, we received more entries from foreign talent, and once again tripled the amount of digital entries. We will be back at Cipriani Wall Street on Friday, May 11th to honor the Gold and Silver Medals from the following list of Medal Finalists.

PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS

PHOTO: COVER
Bloomberg Businessweek, Richard Turley, Creative Director, David Carthas, Director of Photography, Corriette Schoenaerts, Photographer; August 15 – 28, 2011, “The Popularity Issue”
Bloomberg Businessweek, Richard Turley, Creative Director, David Carthas, Director of Photography, Guido Vitti, Photographer; February 14 – 20, 2011, “The Infidelity Economy”
New York, Randy Minor, Art Director, Jody Quon, Director of Photography, Andreas Laszlo Konrath, Photographer; October 24, 2011, “The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Sebastião Salgado, Photographer; June 12, 2011, “Voyages In America”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Tom Sandberg, Photographer; May 8, 2011, “What Happened to Air France Flight 447?”

PHOTO: ENTIRE ISSUE
New York, Chris Dixon, Design Director, Jody Quon, Director of Photography, August 22, 2011, “Fall Fashion”
New York, Chris Dixon, Design Director, Jody Quon, Director of Photography, December 19, 2011, “Reasons to Love New York”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography; December 26, 2011, “The Protester”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography; September 19, 2011, “Beyond 9/11”
W, Alex Gonzalez, Creative Director, Caroline Wolff, Sr. Photo Editor; September 2011, “The Fashion Issue”

PHOTO: SECTION (from a single issue)
New York, Chris Dixon, Design Director, Jennifer Miller, Director of Photography, Elinor Caruuci, Photographer; March 7, 2011, “Will Swenson”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Peter Bohler, Photographer; August 2011, “Come On, Feel The Mud”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Julian Faulhaber, Photographer; May 15, 2011, “Bloom and Bust”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Edward Burtynstky, Photographer; April 10, 2011, “Up On The Farm”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography, Yuri Kozyrev-Noor for TIME, Photographer; March 28, 2011, “Ras Lanuf, Libya”

PHOTO: SECTION (multiple issues)
GQ, Fred Woodward, Design Director, Dora Somosi, Director of Photography; July, May, August 2011, “GQ Intelligence”
New York, Chris Dixon, Design Director, Jody Quon, Director of Photography; October, November, December 2011, “The Strategist”
Real Simple, Janet Froelich, Creative Director, Casey Tierney, Director of Photography; March, April, June 2011, “The Decoder”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography; March, April 2011, “Lightbox”

PHOTO: FEATURE, SERVICE (single/spread)
GQ, Fred Woodward, Design Director, Dora Somosi, Director of Photography, Micahel Crichton, Photographer; October 2011, “New Rules of Wine”
Men’s Health, Robert Festino, Design Director, Brenda Milis, Director of Photography, Kenji Toma, Photographer; September 2011, “Feed Your Fat Burner”
Psychology Today, Edward Levine, Creative Director, Claudia Stefezius, Director of Photography, Stephen Lewis, Photographer; January/February 2011, “Taste”
Psychology Today, Edward Levine, Creative Director, Claudia Stefezius, Director of Photography, Kenji Toma, Photographer; January/February 2011, “Breakups”
Women’s Health, Theresa Griggs, Creative Director, Sarah Rozen, Director of Photography, Munetaka Tokuyama, Photographer; October 2011, “Bike Your Butt Off”

PHOTO: FEATURE, SERVICE (story)
Bon Appétit, Alexander Grossman, Creative Director, Alexandra Pollack, Director of Photography, Stephen Lewis, Photographer; September 2011, “S +P”
Men’s Health, Robert Festino, Design Director, Brenda Milis, Director of Photography, Kenji Toma, Photographer; September 2011, “Feed Your Fat Burner”
Real Simple, Janet Froelich, Creative Director, Casey Tierney, Director of Photography, Christopher Griffith, Photographer; January 2011, “Happier New Year”
Real Simple, Janet Froelich, Creative Director, Casey Tierney, Director of Photography, Melanie Acevedo, Photographer; Family 2011, “Birthday Bashes on a Budget”
Real Simple, Janet Froelich, Creative Director, Casey Tierney, Director of Photography, Martyn Thompson, Photographer; July 2011, “Elegant, Exquisite, Easy”

PHOTO: FEATURE, PROFILE, NON-CELEBRITY (single/spread)
Garden & Gun, Marshall McKinney, Art Director, Maggie Brett Kennedy, Director of Photography, Erika Larsen, Photographer; October/November 2011, “A Taste For The Hunt”
New York, Chris Dixon, Design Director, Jody Quon, Director of Photography, Ben Hassett, Photographer; July 18, 2011, “Jennifer Rubell”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Catherine Opie, Photographer; December 4, 2011, “62 and Life To Go”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Elinor Caruuci, Photographer; October 16, 2011, “My Dearest Damien”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography, Peter Hapak for TIME, Photographer; December 26, 2011, “Time 2011 Person of the Year: The Protestor”

PHOTO: FEATURE, PROFILE, NON-CELEBRITY (story)
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Damon Winter, Photographer; September 4, 2011, “From Zero to 104”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Brigitte Lacombe, Photographer; November 6, 2011, “Marty’s Magical ‘Hugo”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Sebastião Salgado Photographer; June 12, 2011, “On Earth As It Is In Heaven”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography, Marco Grob for TIME, Photographer; September 19, 2011, “Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography, Peter Hapak for TIME, Photographer; December 26, 2011, “Time 2011 Person of the Year: The Protestor”

PHOTO: FEATURE, PROFILE, CELEBRITY/ENTERTAINMENT (single/spread)
GQ, Fred Woodward, Design Director, Dora Somosi, Director of Photography, Martin Schoeller, Photographer; May 2011, “Zach Galifianakis”
The New Yorker, Caroline Maihot, Art Director, Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography, Ruven Afanador, Photographer; July 25, 2011, “Swan Song”
The New Yorker, Caroline Maihot, Art Director, Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography, Martin Schoeller, Photographer; August 15 & 22, 2011, “Shakespeare on Park”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography, Peter Hapak for TIME, Photographer; December 19, 2011, “Tilda Swinton”
W, Alex Gonzalez, Creative Director, Caroline Wolff, Sr. Photo Editor, Daniele Duella, Iango Henzi, Photographers; July 2011, “Christina Aguilera”

PHOTO: FEATURE, PROFILE, CELEBRITY/ENTERTAINMENT (story)
GQ, Fred Woodward, Design Director, Dora Somosi, Director of Photography, Mark Seliger, Photographer; November 2011, “Survivors”
GQ, Fred Woodward, Design Director, Dora Somosi, Director of Photography, Martin Schoeller, Photographer; May 2011, “Zach Galifianakis”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Alex Prager, Photographer; December 11, 2011, “Touch of Evil”
OUT, Nick Vogelson, Creative Director, Annie Chia, Director of Photography, Gavin Bond, Photographer; December 2011/January 2012, “ The 2011 OUT 100”
W, Alex Gonzalez, Creative Director, Caroline Wolff, Sr. Photo Editor, Tim Walker, Photographer; August 2011, “Tilda Swinton”

PHOTO: FEATURE, NEWS/REPORTAGE (single/spread)
New York, Jody Quon, Director of Photography, Christopher Anderson, Photographer; December 5, 2011, “Occupy Wall Street”
New York, Jody Quon, Director of Photography, Matthew Pillsbury, Photographer; December 19, 2011, “Zuccotti Park”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography, Yuri Kozyrev-Noor for TIME, Photographer; February 14, 2011, “The Revolution”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography, James Nachtwey for TIME, Photographer; May 9, 2011, “The Poppy Poison”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography, Dan Winters for TIME, Photographer; July 25, 2011, “One Last Liftoff”

PHOTO: FEATURE, NEWS/REPORTAGE (story)
National Geographic, David C. Whitmore, Design Director, Kurt Mutchler, Director of Photography, Abelardo Morrell, Photographer; May 2011, “Rooms With A View”
National Geographic, David C. Whitmore, Design Director, Kurt Mutchler, Director of Photography, Michael Melford, Photographer; November 2011, “Boundless”
National Geographic, David C. Whitmore, Design Director, Kurt Mutchler, Director of Photography, David Guttenfelder, Photographer; December 2011, “Nuclear Refugees”
TIME, D.W. Pine, Design Director, Kira Pollack, Director of Photography, Patrick Witty for TIME, Photographer; January 17, 2011, “The Birds Of Hope: With A Black Hawk Medevac Unit In Afghanistan”
The New Yorker, Caroline Maihot, Art Director, Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography, Christopher Anderson, Photographer; September 12, 2011, “Ten Years Later”

PHOTO: FEATURE, TRAVEL/FOOD/STILL LIFE (single/spread)
New York, Jody Quon, Director of Photography, Matthew Pillsbury, Photographer; December 19, 2011, “High Line”
The New Yorker, Caroline Maihot, Art Director, Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography, Dominic Nahr, Photographer; July 11 & 18, 2011, “Letter From Rwanda: Climbers”
Samvirke, Christel Frydkjær, Creative Director, Peter Lam, Photographer; July 2011, “ Sushi ABC”
WIRED, Brandon Kavulla, Creative Director, Zana Woods, Director of Photography; June 2011, “Liquid Gold”
WIRED Italia, David Moretti, Art Director, Francesca Morosini, Photo Editor, Reinhard Hunger, Photographer; February 2011, “The Future of Food: Insettivori”

PHOTO: FEATURE, TRAVEL/FOOD/STILL LIFE (story)
Condé Nast Traveler, Rob Hewitt, Design Director, Kathleen Klech, Photography Director, Dan Winters, Photographer; May 2011, “The Big Bird Is Back”
Eureka, Matt Curtis, Art Director, Madeleine Penny, Photo Editor, Giles Revell, Photographer; May 2011, “ The Flower Show”
The Grid, Vanessa Wyse, Creative Director, Shelbie Vermette, Photo Editor, Michael Crichton, Photographer; May 12, 2011, “Pantry Items”
The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis, Design Director, Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, Kenji Aoki, Photographer; April 17, 2011, “Sweet and Vicious”
Women’s Health, Theresa Griggs, Design Director, Sarah Rosen, Director of Photography, Mitchell Feinberg, Photographer; April 2011, “Get Hooked”

PHOTO: FEATURE, FASHION/BEAUTY (story)
Earnshaw’s, Nancy Campbell, Creative Director, Amanda Pratt, Photographer; September 2011, “Gnome Is Where the Heart Is”
New York, Chris Dixon, Design Director, Jody Quon, Jennifer Miller, Directors of Photography, James Mollison, Photographer; July 18, 2011, “Fall Fashion Portfolio”
T, The New York Times Style Magazine, David Sebbah, Creative Director, Judith Puckett-Rinella, Senior Photography Editor, Richard Burbridge, Photographer; April 17, 2011, “A Diamond in the Roughage”
W, Alex Gonzalez, Creative Director, Caroline Wolff, Sr. Photo Editor, Steven Meisel, Photographer; September 2011, “Transformations”
W, Alex Gonzalez, Creative Director, Caroline Wolff, Sr. Photo Editor, Steven Klein, Photographer; September 2011, “Decades”

The Daily Edit – Monday
3.5.12

- - The Daily Edit

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Women’s Health

Design Director: Theresa Griggs
Photo Director: Sarah Rozen
Art Director: Susannah Haesche
Deputy Art Director: Kristen Male
Photo Editor: Andrea Verdone 

Photographer: Roxanne Lowitt

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

This Week In Photography Books – José Pedro Cortes

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was all set to review Josef Koudelka’s re-issued “Gypsies” this week. Big name artist, spanking new monograph from Aperture. It seemed like the natural thing to do. I try to balance looking at famous photographers and newcomers, but this was a slam dunk. Write it, email it, move along.

But I didn’t like the book that much. I’m sure many of you would, as it’s filled with extremely well-made, grainy black and white photographs. Of Gypsies. It was totally expected, and that was what bothered me. If I had envisioned the series in my head before opening the damn thing, it wouldn’t have deviated much from what was printed on the page.

We’ve all seen strings of photographs that depict poverty, disease, and general misery. So. Many. Times. Before. We just tune out. Or at least I do. Additionally, I hadn’t realized before I opened the book that it was a re-issue. So in fact, it had actually been seen before. (Of course, the photos are great, and must have been fresh when they were originally released. But I’m reviewing books here, not kowtowing to history.)

Disappointed, I reached back into my shrinking stack of books. (Time for another re-up at photo-eye.) I came across a yellow and black, almost metallic hard-cover from José Pedro Cortes, recently released by Pierre Von Kliest editions in Portugal. If you think that I just reviewed another book by a dude with three names, from the same publisher, you’d be right. I did. Two weeks ago.

But once I opened this book, I was totally caught off guard. Challenged, confused, and just generally off-put at such an eccentric collection of images. (But in a good way.) First, the premise: The photographer lived in Tel Aviv, met four US born women who moved Israel to join the military at 18. After they finished their service, they stayed on. Super-specific and yet totally random. Intriguing, and (obviously) not a subject I’d seen before.

Then, inside, it was even odder. The first photograph was of a woman, from behind, in her bra and panties, looking out a over a balcony. Slightly referential of an early Dali painting, but also not what I was expecting at all. So this was going to be one more book selling sex?

Not quite. The images of the four women, in their underclothes or partially nude, were interspersed with detail and landscape shots of the city. Big flash, flattened out images, alongside ones shot with natural light. Old cars and porticos and clothing shops and puddles of water. Some color, some B&W. Over-grown palm trees and chain-link fences. A rumpled tarp that resembled a body bag.

None of it made any sense at all, as the book is non-linear and non-location specific. Then back to the undressed ladies, whom, while attractive, were far from what we typically see in a book reeking of sexual energy.

I’m not quite sure what this artist was on about. And that’s why I like it. I don’t want a photo-book to tell me a story I already know, nor do I want to be lulled to sleep with a derivative vision. What’s the point? But this book, “Things Here and Things Still to Come,” got inside my head. It made me think about why humans are so obsessed with looking at pictures of naked people?

Pornography is one of the most lucrative and perhaps destructive industries around, and yet it really isn’t discussed that often, relative to it’s cultural ubiquity. Not that this book is pornographic, but making naked pictures look so discomfiting and awkward, including pimples and cellulite, it’s not what we’re used to seeing. It was almost meta-gratuitous, like Tarrantino meets Porkys.

So let’s just say now that I’m not a silent partner in Pierre Von Kliest editions. I don’t even know who these people are. But they seem to be putting out photo books that depict contemporary life in a messy way. And nothing about the human condition in the 21st C is clean and simple. So at least they’re keeping it real.

Bottom line: Weird, potentially offensive book that made me think

To purchase “Things Here And Things Still To Come” visit Photo-Eye

Full Disclosure: Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

We live in a post-photographic world now

- - Blog News

I’m especially keen now at looking into how Europeans edit photographic stories because the have a very different point of view than us Americans. It’s a bit more existential and less obvious. In many ways, it’s liberated from structures that we impose on our storytelling. I love tradition, but if we are all telling stories in the same way, I think we do our subjects a disservice as well as the public.

Maggie Steber via La Lettre de la Photographie.

The Daily Edit – Friday
3.2.12

- - The Daily Edit

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Esquire

Design Director: David Curcurito
Director of Photography: Michael Norseng
Art Director: Stravinski Pierre
Deputy Art Director: Michael Schnaidt
Photo Editor: Alison Unterreiner

Photographer: Francesco Carrrozzini

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

Still Images in Great Advertising- Geof Kern

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

Geof Kern has been in the business for years and still continues to create beautiful and fresh images. This campaign has been on my radar for awhile so I couldn’t wait to ask Geof about it.

Suzanne: The ads for Ritz Carlton are so perfect for your sense and style. How much were you able to add your creative fingerprint to the concepts?

NOTE: When I asked Geof this question he sent me to a link where he already answered the question on his reps blog. I have copied it here so readers could see it.

When things align perfectly, the memory lasts forever. That’s the idea behind the new brand platform for Ritz-Carlton hotels. While the unspoken message of most hotel advertising may be “stay with us,” the creatives at Team One turned tradition on its head with their theme, “Let us stay with you.” It’s a strategy poised for a wealth of success. As the NY Times points out, “Since the financial crisis began, millions of wealthy consumers have decided to play down the joy of accumulating things in favor of the pleasure of accumulating experiences.” Team One’s approach appeals to this well-healed crowd by “drawing explicitly on a guest’s power of memory,” conjuring serendipitous moments that equate to “one-of-a-kind experiences.”

Of course, translating magical moments into memorable images doesn’t just happen by chance. The creative team wanted a photographer whose work was as elegant and nuanced as a posh hotel chain. But artistry alone wouldn’t cut it. As Team One Art Producer Jill Hundenski puts it, “It couldn’t look forced or faked. We needed a highly conceptual photographer. But it also had to be someone who could coordinate all the precise details.” “And trust me,” she laughs, “there were a lot of details. Even I underestimated the amount of pre-pro involved.”

Fortunately, orchestrating the impossible is photographer Geof Kern’s idea of a “very fun project.” “I absolutely loved working with Team One on this,” says Kern. “The brief was to use the concept of seeing something unexpected in the scene, as random elements realign themselves from the viewer’s perspective. In this case, ‘spontaneous’ took a lot of planning. Especially because we wanted to capture as much in-camera as possible.”

“For example,” Kern continues, “for the photograph of the woman holding the paper umbrella walking through the tea glass in an outdoor restaurant—I mocked that up completely in advance in my studio to determine the exact focal length and aperture setting…the distance we’d need between the glass and the model…etc., etc., etc. That way, I was prepared.”

As far as Team One is concerned, the preparation paid off, in spades. “Geof pulled off a very challenging concept,” says Hundenski. “We needed a master, and Geof was it.” The result is a series of photographs that draw viewers into a playful world where their own mind completes a visual pun of sorts, quite literally bringing readers along on a journey of discovery.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to ask yourself, why leave spontaneity to chance?” says Kern. For the moment, Team One is very glad they didn’t.

Suzanne: Where were the images photographed? With five concepts, how many days did you have for prep, shoot and post? The perfect location is crucial to the success of the ads.
Geof: I think I was awarded the job late May and we shot mid June. Post was complete about a month later. Took a while because of much back and forth with the agency TeamOne, and also because there were some videos for my retoucher to do post on.

Suzanne: You have been in this business for years, what inspires you?
Geof: That’s something I don’t think about much, I’ve been doing this all my life. New things inspire me, and things done well… that is, originality and craftsmanship.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Geof Kern is based in Dallas where he maintains a studio to organize his shoots at home, New York, and elsewhere in the world.

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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

The Daily Edit – Thursday
3.1.12

- - The Daily Edit

 

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Men’s Journal

Creative Director: Benjamen Purvis
Director of Photography: Catriona Ni Aolain
Art Director: Damian Wilkinson
Photography Editor: Jennifer Santana

Photographer: Jake Chessum

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

Kurt Tong Interview

- - Photographers

Jonathan Blaustein interviews photographer Kurt Tong.

JB: You and I met, as I have with several people I’ve interviewed, at Review Santa Fe in 2009. I don’t think we’ve seen each other or spoken since. I’ve got to give a shout out to that class of ’09. This is right off the top of my head, but you came out of there. Susan Worsham. Jesse Burke. LaToya Ruby Frasier. Emily Shur. Ben Lowy. Susan Burnstine. (I know I’m forgetting another handful. Apologies.)

KT: It’s been fun. I’ve kept in touch with a few people from that Review as well. They’re all doing well. Kind of crazy.

JB: You went there a young guy, just trying to get his work out into the world. And in the ensuing three years you’ve evolved into a photographer with an International exhibition record, you’re represented by Jen Bekman, one of the biggest galleries in New York, you had a book published by Keher Verlag. It seems like it all came together for you in a relatively short period of time.

KT: Before Santa Fe, I had this plan to shoot a project, “In Case it Rains in Heaven,” which is the one that got published and exhibited a lot. I’d done the leg work in the two years leading up to Santa Fe. Doing the reviews. Meeting the curators. So I had my network ready. I went back to Hong Kong and shot the project, and I was able to show it to a lot of people in a very short period of time. From there it snowballed.

JB: So this was really a 5 year process for you.

KT: Yes. If I’d shot that project in 2007, before I started doing the circuit, it wouldn’t have exploded so quickly. It’s because I’d just put my foot through the door.

JB: We all have so many different things going on at the same time, it can make it difficult to give our best effort in any one avenue. You’re living back and forth between London and Hong Kong. So that must resonate with you, the struggle to be our best self.

KT: I have been working hard. Pre-2009, I was shooting a lot of events and weddings. Then that project came out, and people started taking notice. I planned an 18 month stint in HK with my family to work a different project that’s due to come out soon.

JB: What’s it called?

KT: “The Queen, the Chairman and I.” But, with what you were saying, trying to do everything at once? I didn’t. I made the decision that I would concentrate on the fine art, I didn’t do any events jobs or weddings. The benefit of that is showing. Within the last 18 months, I’ve got signed up by 3 commercial galleries, including the Photographers’ Gallery in London. I’ve had a book published, and have been working on a lot of shows. That’s a full-time job.

I think wedding photography is a full-time job. I had a wedding that I shot a year ago. A year later, the couple is still hassling me to get the album right, or get some new orders. So I had to give that up to concentrate 100% of my time on my personal work. Which involves a lot of social networking, and turning up at festivals, making book dummies.

I think that’s paid off. But at the same time, a lot of that work doesn’t pay. Which is what I’ve been struggling with.

JB: You chose to stop working for pay so you could pour all of your energy into something that wasn’t actually paying your bills. And you’ve got kids, right?

KT: In college, people hint at it, but they don’t tell you how it works. But did you see, sometime last year, Aline Smithson did a blog post about the cost of success?

JB: Yeah, I saw that. Is that what you’re dealing with now, trying to figure out how to afford to show your work around the world?

KT: Absolutely. I gave myself 2 years to shoot a new project, and really try to see if living off print sales alone could work. People tell me it doesn’t work, and I found out the hard way. I’ve been doing OK with the sales, but as Aline’s blog post suggests, every show comes with printing and framing costs, without any guarantee that you can even make your money back.

JB: It sounds like you saved up some money and saw it as a phase where you put in the time and energy now for long-term results. And now you’re two years into it, and it’s starting to hurt a little bit. Is that it?

KT: Yeah, in a sense, I’m kind of running out of money. I’d been living on print sales until August or September, and that’s when the financial markets started going a bit bad again. It is reflected. Once the stock market dropped, the print sales stopped. You realize that Art is such a luxury commodity.

JB: It’s perfect that you brought that up, because you have a solo show up right now at the Jen Bekman gallery in New York, as we speak. You came up through the ranks of the Hey Hot Shot competition. You were chosen as their Ne Plus Ultra one year. And when people think of Jen Bekman, they often think of 20×200. $10 to the artist for each 8X10 print. How does that work? You talk about surviving on print sales, but you can’t survive on $10 a pop.

KT: When I talk about print sales, I’m talking mostly about the galleries representing me. Jen Bekman has only 2 of my prints on 20×200 (2 more were launched with the exhibition). It’s only those two prints sold through her that are from $10 a pop. My other prints sell for considerably more. They range from $600 to $6000.

I think a lot of people have issues with Jen Bekman’s model, 20×200, bringing the cheap prints into the market so people don’t buy the expensive prints. But I’ve got to say, at the end of the month, they’re the only ones who guarantee me a check every month. Whether it’s $200 or $2000, they never fail to sell something. Whereas my other galleries often go through 3 or 4 month dry patches.

JB: So the fact that there are 2 images out there for very little cost is not having any adverse effect upon the higher market value of what you do?

KT: No.

JB: People are going to want to hear that. It’s a controversial subject, and you can only speak for yourself. But I have talked with Joseph Holmes about it in the past, who also works with them, and he’s been very positive about how the 20×200 program works too.

KT: I think it’s important what work is put onto 20×200. Obviously, they have a very strict curatorial process. They pick the best work, so as a photographer, with all the publicity it gets, it’s tempting to give them your best shots. But it’s important to put some of your best work aside.

JB: And what was the opening of the exhibition like for you?

KT: It was exciting. I had the best experience ever, last year, when I had my first museum show. That kind of spoiled me, but I had a fantastic time in NY.

In reality, I think there is a difference between having a show in New York and a show in Europe. It’s the buzz afterwards. In London, if you have a show, and you don’t manage to get the newspaper or the bloggers down at the opening, they stop talking about it, and the show just fizzles out. But in New York, a lot of people didn’t come to the opening, but since I left, it’s kept going. I think it’s a much more vibrant scene of online art critics, in New York, I find.

JB: I want to switch gears a bit. I know that you were raised in both Hong Kong and England. In one of the statements on your website, you referred to yourself an others as “Us Honkeys.”

KT: I did.

JB: So with the rise of the Internet and more affordable air travel, national boundaries seem to mean less than they used to. You’re a living embodiment of the mashup of East and West. A global citizen type. What’s your take on that?

KT: It’s funny you said that. I lived in Hong Kong until I was 13, then I went to boarding school in England, and stayed here and married here. Throughout my twenties, I saw myself as a citizen of the world. I spent a lot of time in India, and Eastern Europe. So I thought wherever I was, I was home.

It wasn’t until my daughter was born that I started feeling Chinese again. Once you become a father, you want to be prepared when your children ask you about their identity. So that’s when my work completely changed. Up until then, I wanted to travel the world, so all my projects were done out and about. Since the kids, all my work has been shot in England, Hong Kong or China. Really, I was trying to find my own identity, in a way.

JB: Do you speak any of the Chinese dialects?

KT: I do. My mother tongue is actually Cantonese. The last two years I’ve been learning Mandarin, for a couple of reasons. A., because I wanted to, and a lot of my work is shot in China.

JB: B., because you saw the writing on the wall.

KT: (laughing.) Exactly. I want a gallery in Beijing.

JB: No doubt. You’re talking about surviving on print sales. You’re no dummy. You’ve got to go where the money is.

KT: It’s interesting, actually, because a lot of the big galleries are opening branches in Hong Kong, precisely for that reason. White Cube, Gagosian. It’s definitely where the money is.

JB: Can you talk a bit about the differences between mainland China and Hong Kong?

KT: It’s hard for me to say. When I go to China, I don’t face the same scrutiny as a Westerner would. Because I don’t enter on a passport, I enter on a Hong Kong residency card. I can almost infiltrate.

JB: And unlike me, you’re not a gringo with a goatee, so you can perhaps blend in a little easier.

KT: I have no secret police following me, I don’t think. I certainly know of photographers who’ve done work in Tibet, and their room gets ransacked. But I never had that problem. Certainly, in Hong Kong, there’s lot more freedom. No doubt about it. You can openly criticize the government, which you can’t do in China.

JB: Is that something that people expect to continue?

KT: China still needs Hong Kong. Companies and now galleries like to open in Hong Kong, because things are done more legitimately. Money and Banks. There’s none of the corruption. So China needs to keep Hong Kong a certain way, but they also want Hong Kong to rely on them. A lot of the businesses and hotels and tourist industry relies purely on the Chinese tourists. So if China wanted to stop Hong Kong, they could just stop tourism. They can definitely control Hong Kong in certain ways.

JB: Do you think you’ll stay in London, or move back to Hong Kong?

KT: We’re thinking of moving back to Hong Kong, actually. It would be good for my children to learn Mandarin. And I get more work done from there, in terms of making contacts and pushing my projects, living in Hong Kong as opposed to living in England.

JB: Why do you think that is? Because China’s hot right now?

KT: No. When you’re here in England, you might know a curator, be acquainted, but they have lots to do. When I try to show my new work, I keep getting pushed further down the diary. But when I email from Hong Kong and say I’ll be in town for a couple of weeks, I tend to get the meetings. It works a lot better.
At them moment, in London, I’m struggling to meet people I know well because they’re so busy.

JB: Sometimes, we imagine that you have to be in the biggest of big markets. One of the reasons I left New York, (other than the fact that it was kicking my ass,) was that I started nosing around Chelsea, really paying attention to the CV’s in the exhibitions, and and I noticed that at least half the artists that had representation were not living in New York. They were in random and far-flung places.

It resonated with me, because I always felt like I was swimming upstream in the Big Apple. I knew if I came back to Taos, living in the mountains with the fresh air, that it was more likely that I’d make the most of myself.

KT: Living in London, my friends often get sucked into going to openings, meeting the same people. As you know, lots of photographers like to talk about themselves…

JB: Oh my goodness.

KT: So you come away from the openings completely depressed. I won’t name names, but one of my friends is a photo-journalist, and she’s so jealous of a few of the female photo-journalists that are doing well at the moment. Every time we go to an opening, they’re there, showing off, and she becomes very depressed. I’ve got to ground her a bit, and say, “If you really look at the CV, they’re not doing that well. They’re having a nice run, but you’re doing just as well.” It’s hard to distance yourself from that if you live in a city and see people every Thursday at an opening.

JB: That was what happened to me. I got really insecure, and I think that competitiveness can be incredibly destructive to one’s creativity. I’m trying to learn not to judge myself by others’ success. I want to judge myself by how hard I’m working, whether I’m growing and getting better. Learning how to avoid the problems that in the past would have tripped me up. It’s easier to say that than to do it.

KT: Very few people are living off their art. But living in a city, going to artist talks, you get the impression that they are. I think it’s important to know that’s not the case.

JB: You’re ticking all the boxes on what would be considered success, and yet you’re dealing with the same problems as all Global Middle Class citizens. How can I make enough to support my kids? How can I keep it together? Acclaim is still not equated with material success for most artists who are not already super-established.

KT: Absolutely. I went Paris Photo recently, and it is the same 8 or 10 photographers who are dominating the whole scene. It’s almost like they’re eating the main meal, and there’s another 200 photographers eating the scraps around it. And I’m not even eating the scraps.