The Daily Edit – Monday
2.27.12

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Bound by Ink

Creative Directors: Alan Alpanian, Howard C. Lim
Art Director: Katia Sverdlova
Contributing Graphic Designer: Nadezda Sverdlova

Staff Photographer: Henry DeKuyer

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

This Week In Photography Books – Francesca Woodman

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

Now and again, my young son will ask what happens after we die? They don’t prepare you for that in birthing class. So I do my best, and tell him that most people are buried in the ground, or burned to dust. Either way, I say, we end up merging back with the Earth. Slowly or quickly, we become the dirt, the trees, the flowers. He says he’d like to be a rock. Sounds nice.

Several weeks ago, I gave a lecture about Vivian Maier in class. My students are in their late teens; not-quite-college age. I asked how many would like to make photographs throughout a lifetime, put them in a box, and then have the trove discovered after death. (As opposed to having a living photography career.) Posthumous fame was alluring, as every student raised his or her hand. I was shocked. But later, not really. I was quite the Romantic back in the day as well.

Where am I going with this? I just, just put down “Francesca Woodman,” the new monograph by SFMOMA and D.A.P., released in conjunction with a major solo exhibition of her work. (The show soon moves to the Guggenheim Museum in NY. March 16-June 23) It’s an impressive volume, as you might imagine. Intriguing and challenging at the same time.

If you don’t know the backstory, (no shame, as I didn’t either,) Ms. Woodman made an impressively large body of work, mostly nudes, as a young woman in art school. She took her own life at the age of 22, and her work has been considered important ever since. The new traveling exhibition coincides with the 30th Anniversary of her death. (And there’s the context for the first two paragraphs. Thanks for waiting.)

Though I’ve never seen this work before, I like it very much. Ms. Woodman, I mentioned, used her own body as the primary subject of her artistic practice. (Though other people pop up multiple times.) As she was young, and attractive, it’s the type of work I’d probably dismiss if I saw it from a contemporary female photographer. Anyone today would clearly know that sex sells everything, and that’s about it. It’s hard to imagine many young female artists exploring these themes in a fresh way, what with our current global culture of image ubiquity and massive over-sharing. (This from the guy who writes about himself all the time.)

Yet the photographs are lovely, whimsical, evocative, and experimental. It’s clear that Ms. Woodman was pushing boundaries. One recurring theme, in which she melds herself in with the background, often in decrepit homes, does make you wonder how badly she wanted to disappear? And for how long?

I’ve also got to give props on a technical note or two. Given the importance of pacing and flow, when two color images emerge, late in the book, after an onslaught of grayscale: Pop. And the cover image is haunting, presaging the innards.

As many of you will no doubt have the chance to go see this work on the wall in New York, I’d heartily encourage it. I’d love to go see it myself. But the book communicates Ms. Woodman’s vision, or at least, how history has edited her vision. (A separate question entirely.) So this one comes highly recommended, as long as you don’t mind a lot of nudity.

Bottom Line: Great book, great work, sad story

To purchase Francesca Woodman visit Photo-Eye

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

The Daily Edit – Friday
2.24.12

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National Geographic


Creative Director:
Bill Marr
Deputy Creative Director: Kaitlin M. Yarnall
Design Director: David C. Whitmore
Art Director: Juan Velasco

 

Photography
Executive Editor: Kurt Mutchler
Deputy Director: Ken Geiger
Senior Editor: Susan Welchman
Senior Photo Editors: Alice Gabriner, Kim Hubbard, Todd James, Elizabeth Krist, Sarah Leen, Sadie Quarrier

Photographer: Robert Clark

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

Still Images In Great Advertising – George Logan

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

When I found this ad campaign by George Logan, I reached out to his rep, Tim Mitchell.  Tim mentioned to me that George is very busy these days with one in every four billboards in the UK.  But George got his recognition from a book his did called, Translocation: Pictures of African animals in Scottish landscapes.  It is a brilliant book and showcases the importance to do personal work.

Suzanne:  After going to your site, I can see the campaigns done for Quantus and Shell were perfect inspiration for this campaign.  Do you feel like those accounts helped the creative team know you were the perfect choice for this campaign?
George:  The creatives were actually very keen on the look and feel of my personal work, but you’re right, they did say that Qantas and Shell had helped influence their decision to work with me.

Suzanne:  What was first, the chicken or the egg?  These images are composited but what came first, the images from the sports events or moments in life, well a woman’s life?
George: Chicken or egg? Good question. The concepts were drawn up quite specifically so the pairings had to sit together perfectly. We had to source suitable sports imagery from the Sky TV archive, then photograph the main plate in such a way that the elements would merge seamlessly without appearing forced or contrived.

Suzanne: I love the personal work on your website (his agent shows more commercial work), how have you felt showing that work is helping you secure  great commissioned assignments?
George: I make a conscious effort to shoot my personal work in the direction that I’d like my commissioned work to take. I’ve always done this and it’s definitely worked. I’m often asked to shoot commissions in the style of my own personal projects, which is great.

The Agency is Brothers & Sisters London  http://www.brothersandsisters.co.uk/blog/
Art Direction: Olly Courtney and Harv Bains
Art Buyer: Lu Howlett

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 – Wednesday
2.22.12

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Inc

Creative Director: Blake Taylor
Photography Director: Travis Ruse
Deputy Art Directors: Sarah Garcea, Jason Mischka
Deputy Photo Editor: Heidi Hoffman 

Photographer: Robert X. Fogerty

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

Heidi: You said this idea came about at a party, what was the context? Was this after Hurricane Katrina?
Robert: A few friends and I started a hurricane preparedness non-profit called evacuteer.org and our “most epic isn’t this awesome idea” was to throw a fundraiser to celebrate the end of hurricane season. That event–the Bye Bye Hurricane season party–is where we first did the “Love notes to New Orleans” portraits.

How did you come up with the name and did you ever imagine this turning into a movement?
New Orleans is an incredibly joyful place, where people know what it’s like to really really love something and then nearly have it taken away. I’ve been a bystander in this as I moved to New Orleans post-Hurricane to do an AmeriCorps year. I’ve never experienced a place where they treat their hometown like it’s a family member. So the first iteration of this was called Dear New Orleans, but I realized that the every one has a story and that we could scale into Dear World, with this city–our city–serving as the genesis and foundation.

How many portraits have you done with this theme and how has it turned into a business?
Thousands. I began shooting for dollars in a bucket. Literally, like pass the hat, dollars-in-a-bucket. And then, it’s just been a series of fortunate events, working with recognizable people and big brands as well as causes that matter. So the business side is high social value. I pitch brands and conferences on photographing their members and they pay me for that, but not so much as a photographer but to tell the stories of so many of the amazing people I’ve met along the way. What’s crazy about that is when those people sit, then they’re a part of the collection and some of those people I meet end up being a part of the larger story in a bigger way. Just last week, I was at a company, and one of the employees brought her 89 year old grandfather–a WWII Veteran, Purple Heart winner and former prisoner of war.

Tell me about one of the most remarkable messages / portraits.
Without a doubt, “Cancer Free.” His name is Ralph Serpas and the woman opening his shirt and exposing his throat is his wife, Rebecca. Ralph’s physician had just notified him that after three years, that his esophageal cancer was in remission. This was back when I was shooting for tips and was at a fundraiser for an event. It wasn’t a Cancer awareness event. Towards the end of the night, they tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if they could do something more personal. Ralph is crying in the portrait and it was one of the moments that I knew that I was incredibly lucky to be a part of something. And I’m glad I didn’t mess it up.

What do you think people “see” first the words or the portrait or is it simultaneous?
Good question. What did you think first?

Gregory Crewdson Movie

- - Photographers

Filmed over a decade, beginning in 2000, Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters provides an unparalleled view of the moment of creation of his images. It also reveals the life-story behind the work—through frank reflections on his life and career, including the formative influences of his psychologist father and his childhood fascination with the work of Diane Arbus.

A film by Ben Shapiro.

more: http://www.gregorycrewdsonmovie.com

thx, Steve Skoll

Shouldn’t We Be Taking Pictures?

- - Blog News

There is no way anyone can win the social-networking arms race. It’s time to scale back. It’s time to realize that social-networking sites come with only one guarantee: You’re going to spend a lot of time on them – time that you could have spent on your own photography.

via Conscientious.

The Daily Edit – Tuesday
2.21.12

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Men’s Journal

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

Photographer: Ture Lilligraven

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

This Week In Photography Books – António Júlio Duarte

by Jonathan Blaustein

Addiction is nasty, and the house always wins. Put those together, and it makes for a cunning and helpless transfer of wealth. Whether it’s street dealers taking ten spots off of twitching junkies, sports arenas charging $9 for a warm Budweiser, or casinos absorbing cash from the repetitive slashing of one-armed bandits, it matters little. As I said, the house always wins.

Gambling is the addiction that I understand least. I’ve been blessed with good genes, as addiction does not seem to run in my family. Given how much beer I drank as an 18 year old in college, ever proud of my ability to double-fist Schaeffers, I’d have been an alcoholic years ago under different circumstances. Drinking and drugs, though, at least I get. The alteration of brain chemistry can be a heap of fun, and, until the hangovers descend in your late 20’s, the lack of accountability makes it easy to overdo it. Or do it, then overdo it, then do it some more.

But gambling…it’s never made sense. I’m told that the thrill of victory must overwhelm the fear of losing your dollars. But really, how much fun can it be? A lot, obviously, or Vegas would never have risen from the sun-baked Nevada Earth.

Apparently, Vegas is no longer the biggest gambling den around, having been displaced at some point by the Former-Portuguese-Colony/Island Macau. If you’ve never heard of Macau, no drama, as it’s a pretty small place off the South Coast of China. There’s the keyword right there. China. As the swirling-cash-toilet-bowl of choice for the world’s rising economy, just imagine how much money must be rolling around down there. Better yet, you don’t have to imagine. Just look at “White Noise,” a new book by António Júlio Duarte, recently published by Pierre von Kleist editions.(Subtitled “Sleepless Nights-Casinos-Macau.”)

Now, I’ve already tipped my hand several times that I love weird/odd imagery, and sci-fi infused imagery all the more. I must be easily seduced by shiny, flash-driven, gleaming photographs, so that’s one of my tells right there. I’ll spare you one more Murakami/Parallel Universe reference, but man do I have a soft spot for that style.

This book has it in spades. There are no people, the use of flash dominates, and boy do these photographs shine. Crystal chandeliers, gold-leaf encrusted sculptures, porcelain goddesses, mirrored-disco balls, metallic drapes, it’s all in there. Even more disturbing, elephant tusks standing at attention, Michael Jackson’s white glove resting on velvet, and cash money circulating through a vacuum-tube like something Bob Barker would dance to if he were dosed with LSD.

The casinos pictured here really do resemble spaceships. It’s not just that I’ve got Star Trek on the brain, (or better yet, Wall-E.) It’s definitely supposed to look like that. You can almost hear the imperceptible whir of the air-con systems, breath the recycled cigarette fumes, drain dry a watered-down vodka, and feel the vibration of all those machines and gaming tables sucking up money like a big, fat bong-hit.

So let’s have a moment of silence for all the poor suckers who bet it all on black, and lost. Homes gone, cars re-possessed, lovers left, it’s a sad tale. A sucker’s bet, you might say, thinking that anyone but the BIG MONEY comes out ahead. But then again, this is just a book review, and “White Noise” is a just a book.

Bottom Line: Shiny, gleaming, flash-driven casino awesomeness

To purchase White Noise visit Photo-Eye.

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

Clearly it is open to the copyright owner to adopt the position that we have “violated” their copyright

- - Blog News

…it is not always possible to secure copyright clearance before pictures are published. Our industry therefore adopts the stance that if a picture has no overwhelming artistic value and if there is no issue of exclusivity (ie it is already being published online or elsewhere) then no reasonable copyright owner will object to its being republished in exchange for a reasonable licence fee.

via Land of Oak and Iron.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Matt Barnes

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

I am a true believer of doing pro-bono work, because it is not only for a great cause, but it is usually the most creative work. Why wouldn’t you want your signature on it. I found this campaign in Ads of the World (where I find a lot of my material) and not only loved the message but the way Matt Barnes shot it.

Suzanne: I see that you used stock images for the basis of the tattoos. Do you think it would have been too invasive to have used “real” victims?
Matt: While the turn around time didn’t allow for that approach, what was most important for us was presenting the message in the best way possible – with that idea in mind, I purposefully kept the lighting nondescript and the models almost shadowed. I was provided with the tag lines for the scrolls of the tattoos before the shoot so that helped me choose the stock images I wanted to use. I wanted a wide age range and preferred faces looking straight at camera. With a project like this, the identities of the models weren’t as important as the idea and message behind it all.

Suzanne: How did the tattoo artist, David Glantz, get the images on the figures? The work is so detailed that these are amazing pieces of art. How tricky was that?
Matt: As the subject is so significant, appropriately executing each facet was crucial. The process worked something like this; first off I found suitable stock personalities to fit each role – diversity was essential and I spent a lot of time searching out suitable people. Once they were selected, I made the images black & white, added contrast, removed detail and enhanced the edges, before passing the digital files along to David (who I had known already through friends that he’d tattooed). He printed and traced the images, added the banners and type and I was left with pulling off the trickiest bit – applying the tattoos to the models digitally, while maintaining a realistic look. It was difficult, but I gave them the appearance of age to better set them into the skin and was happy with the results. David was vital in pulling the project off and I was really pleased that he was into working on it with me. It wouldn’t have turned out half as well without him.

Suzanne: This campaign is very alarming and really gets your attention. I know so many people who ink their bodies because the loss of a loved one, so this is very powerful. How successful was the campaign?
Matt: I had a great response on my end; I received lots of feedback via my blog (http://mattbarnesphoto.tumblr.com) and a fair of bit of press at the time as well. The ads ran around the holidays, a topical time for the issue at hand, and I hope it made an impact.



Matt Barnes is a commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada and his work can be seen at http://www.thatsthespot.com

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after 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
2.16.12

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Real Simple

Creative Director: Janet Froelich
Design Director: Cybele Grandjean
Art Director: Abbey Kuster-Prokell
Photo Director: Casey Tierney
Photo Editor: Lauren Reichbach Esptein

Photographer: Mary Rozzi

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

Director Jesse Rosten On His Fotoshop by Adobé Video

- - Social Media, Video

by Grayson Schaffer

If you need proof of the career-building power of social media, look no further than Jesse Rosten. The 31-year-old TV-commercial director lives in the small, Northern–California town of Redding and has spent the last eight years producing spots for local clients like casinos and colonoscopy clinics. Then last month Rosten uploaded a fake advertisement for a non-existent beauty product called Fotoshop by Adobé. The two-minute clip is a commentary on the beauty and magazine industries’ reliance on retouching. Launched with a tweet and a Facebook post, Rosten’s video quickly racked up more than 5 million views between Vimeo and YouTube and made the rounds on the media industry websites. Grayson Schaffer spoke Rosten about what went into this production and what Rosten thinks he got out of it.

Grayson: What sparked the idea for this clip?
Jesse: I was watching an infomercial for some beauty products with some “before” and “after” photos and it just looked like the “after” shots had been retouched. I thought I should do a commercial for Photoshop because it seems like that’s all the beauty industry uses anymore. It’s that whole photographers’ refrain, “Fix it in post.”

Grayson: There was some serious production that went into your project. How did you pull it together and fund it?
Jesse: I’m a commercial director, but I’d never worked in this particular genre before—fashion and beauty. Everyone involved volunteered. We had two make-up artists, a hair person, and four production people. The camera lenses were all donated, and I’ve got some of my own lighting gear. The biggest out-of-pocket cost was buying food for everyone on the day of the shoot. It wasn’t super expensive; it just took a lot of labor.

Grayson: How did you convince everyone to get on board with this?
Jesse: The first thing I did was write a script and put together a storyboard. I’ve worked with lots of these people on other paying gigs so they’re always up for a good time. The crew had been in other viral videos I’ve done, so at this point they’re sort of familiar with my crazy ideas.

Grayson: What were you hoping to get out of this?
Jesse: I just hoped people would find it funny—a snarky message directed at the beauty industry and Photoshop users at large. But I also realized that the more this looks like a real commercial, the funnier it’s going to be. So while it is a satire, and there are elements of parody, the funniest thing about it is that it’s all true.

Grayson: Now that it’s blown up and has been seen by several million people, what has it done for your business?
Jesse: Yeah, my inbox has been a mess—a lot of inquiries and interest. I haven’t turned it into any paying gigs yet, but now I feel like I can justify putting time and resources into this. On the one hand, this project was something I wanted to do to stretch myself as a filmmaker, but it has also been good marketing for my work.

Grayson: You said that you had done some other viral videos?
Jesse: Two years ago, I did a video called iPad Plus Velcro which had a little bit of success. Apple actually picked it up, which is unique because they usually have a very specific brand aesthetic. And then this same crew helped me produce another video called iPad Photoshoot, where we took nine iPads and did a shoot using the iPads as a light source.

Grayson: Were you able to get Apple to fund the second video?
Jesse: No, I tried to milk it, but I never heard back.

Grayson: Do you feel like you’ve cracked the code for what it takes to make a viral video?
JR: Yes and no. I don’t think I’ve cracked the code, because at the end of the day you really don’t know when something is going to go viral: You don’t create a viral video; you create a video and then it goes viral. But at the same time with this Photoshop thing, I knew that it was a current topic and that its novelty gave it serious viral potential. But I never expected it to get as big as it did as fast as it did. In less than 24 hours, it had half-a-million views and that was before it had been written up on any major blogs.

Grayson: Was that like a mainlined shot of adrenaline?
Jesse: I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sitting in front of the computer hitting the refresh button and watching the view count go up every ten minutes. It’s nice to know that something you created is resonating with people.

Grayson: What is your specific line of work?
Jesse: The paying gigs are commercial direction. I work with agencies and sometimes directly with clients to direct, shoot, and edit commercials. I’m also trying to break into narrative filmmaking?

Grayson: Anyone cool you’ve worked for in the past?
Jesse: Honestly, I’m not a big-name-brand director. I’m self-taught and self-employed. It started with local car commercials eight years ago, and I’ve slowly worked my way up to hospitals and casinos and government-type jobs. In the last two years I’ve focused more on working with agencies that have their own client lists.

Grayson: Surely clients understand what a rare thing it is for a director to generate five million views without a budget? The YouTube versions of most SuperBowl ads don’t rack up those kinds of numbers.
Jesse: Well that’s always been my thing because I haven’t had a lot of resources. One of the things I like most about filmmaking is creative problem solving—whether that’s coming up with a creative story or coming up with a creative way to make due with few resources. Right now I feel like I can do anything with a camera and a few worklights.

Grayson: So what’s your advice to people who are where you were eight or nine years ago. Can social media kick open the door?
Jesse: I think so. Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist when I started. But my advice would be just to continue to create. There’s really no magic formula for this sort of thing, it’s just a lot of hard work. Your first project is probably going to suck, but every time you take on something new and push yourself a little further you learn something. Eventually you’ll start creating work that you’re proud of.