SOPA And Photography

- - copyright

You have the DMCA so you don’t need SOPA (or PIPA).

Like many have suggested SOPA is like banning cars because bank robbers use them to get away. Overkill basically. And, in the wrong hands, ripe for abuse.

Also, there are some serious problems with the way SOPA is written, as Clay Shirky explains in the video below: It reverses the burdon of proof and doesn’t actually stop you from reaching a website. I think it will cause more problems than it solves.

Buuuuuuuuuut, let’s not kid ourselves here. As much as Hollywood and media conglomerates want to protect their businesses, Google and Facebook want to steal it. Nobody is fighting for your rights. They’re simply deciding who will be in control of the copyrighted material you produce.

This is a very difficult position for photographers to be in. You would like to take down rogue sites plastered with your copyrighted content when they don’t respond to DMCA notices and at the same time media conglomerates are finding ways to undermine your ability to make a living producing copyrighted content. Ultimately, I think it is best to not side with the Media Conglomerates. Their business model is dying. Breaking the internet will not fix it.

The Queen of Versailles

- - Blog News

The opening-night film comes to Sundance with the kind of publicity for which Harvey Weinstein would pay dearly. However, Lauren Greenfield’s genius move lay not in PR strategy but in her choice of subject. David Siegel’s the kind of guy who not only thinks it’s sensible to build a 90,000-square-foot mansion (just before the real estate bubble burst, as it happens), but also thinks it’s a good idea to file a lawsuit threatening Greenfield and Sundance the week before the film premieres, complaining that the movie makes him look bad. (Never mind that the attendant press attention and public record about his $11 million foreclosure in May 2011, serves to make him look… well, bad.) All that aside, Greenfield also has an eye for candy-colored disaster that is never anything less than incisive and entertaining.

via indieWIRE.

Still Images In Great Advertising – Danny Christensen

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

Great Advertising is not only a print ad or billboard, it can be a vehicle that is not considered conventional. Today’s example is just that, a new show on E! called Scouted, which becomes an unconventional way to show a photographers work. I’m sure many will be critical of the show itself, but this is the reality of the business:

There are many people in this industry includes photo editors, art buyers and art directors who will watch and see Danny Christensen at work photographing and directing models. What better way to advertise how you shoot on set and then the final results in printed images. I reached out to Danny after watching the show to see if he would be interested in being a part of this series.

Suzanne: How did you get the opportunity to be the photographer of record for this program? I am sure they considered hundred’s of fashion photographers and you got the job, that is a great testament to your talent.
Danny: The executive producer and creator of the show, Michael Flutie, contacted my agent, Lorenzo at L&A Artists, and asked if I would be interested and requested a meeting. That was on a Tuesday, 7 days before the planned start of the filming the NYC part of the show. Originally, there was supposed to be 8 different photographers on the show, one for each episode of the first season. A few hours after the meeting they contacted my agent and requested a 2nd meeting the next day, where I was to meet the entire team of producers, including the guys from 51 Minds who produced the show and the Executive Producers from E!

The meeting went really well and Thursday morning they contacted us and asked if I was interested and able to do all 8 episodes – with pre-production meeting the following Monday! I guess I fit the bill of who they were looking for and I think a big part of it was my non-traditional look and feel to my work and my experience with motion, that Michael Flutie was keen on integrating in the shoots.

Suzanne: I have several clients who have been the photographers on Americas Next Top Model and it has been great for their careers. How have you seen changes in your business?
Danny: The response has been amazing. Especially the first couple of weeks here in 2012, where Season 1 episodes are coming to an end. I think everyone was waiting to see how the show developed and that the quality of my work, both the pictures and the videos was consistent.

I shot everything on the RED EPIC camera, so everything was shot in motion and we pulled still photos from the motion film with amazing results. It’s a quite new way to approach fashion and beauty photography. Additionally we cut together a fashion film clip that was shown to Scott from One Models the day after the filming, and Scott based his decision to sign the girls, both on the video and the stills. So, a lot of the response has been from clients who are interested in doing just that, filming a commercial/video component and shooting the stills.

Suzanne: Most the time you are working with young talent who have never been professionally photographed and to make it even more difficult, photographed for the first time on television. How do you work with them to get them to feel comfortable with the whole process? Is there a lot of unseen footage where you are coaching them? inspiring them? talking to them about the process?
Danny: It was very challenging for sure. I’ve worked with brand new talent many times before but as you mention, there is a crew of 30-40 people and 3-4 cameras on set for these shoots so most girls just froze like a deer in headlights when they came on set. I had to talk to the crew and we found a solution where only the people who had to be on set was there. That also included asking the girls parents and the scouts to wait off set, the girls simply couldn’t relax and I didn’t get a connection with them before the people they knew left the set. Then the girls were more relaxed and they connected with me and the camera.

When ever I could, I would go and say hi to them and introduce myself when they were in hair and make-up and I would explain a little about what we were going to do, but it was primarily to just break the ice before they came on set. I feel some times with brand new girls, it’s better to simply direct them on set rather than trying to explain them something before hand, that they don’t understand anyway. That normally only results in a girl trying to “model” as they might have seen online or on a tv show and that’s NOT going to work, especially in a video/motion piece.

In most cases, due to the production and time challenges, I didn’t even meet the girl beforehand and she would walk on set with the tv cameras rolling. That was really challenging ,but most of the girls warmed up after the first shot and we got beautiful pictures and videos.

What You don’t get a feel of on the show, because of the editing of the tv footage, is that I only had max 45 min filming time with each girl where we did 2-3 different looks. I have never done that before. Additionally, we had around 14 hours turn around time for final images plus edited and produced videos. It challenged me as a director and photographer and I feel I learned a lot from it. It forced me to practice and plan how I approached each girl, based on concept/look and a little profile video clip of each girl that the scouts provided me with – that was really exciting!

Danish-born Danny Christensen discovered his love for the visual arts working in advertising and PR in Copenhagen and New York. This passion for advertising led him to transition into fashion, portraiture, and fine-art photography during the following years. In 2006, Danny attended photography school in Denmark. He continued his creative journey in Paris where he assisted various fashion and portrait photographers It was also in Paris where Danny started started his career as a working photographer shooting, editorials, small commercial jobs, and film. Danny splits his time between New York and Copenhagen, Paris & Milan.

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.

If you get afraid of making mistakes, you are toast

- - Blog News

A lot of what you do at National Geographic is you’re an arbiter or taste. And of course what we want to do, I don’t want to be elitist, unapproachable, inaccessible, but I want this to be an experience of high taste. That you can’t get any place else, and of course when you tap into that gut reaction knowing that there are times you’re going to be wrong, admit your wrong, move on, learn. It’s very analogous to being a photographer in a field, and everyday making decisions.

via Interview: Chris Johns, Editor, National Geographic Magazine | burn magazine.

The Daily Edit – Wednesday

- - The Daily Edit

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Runner’s World

Design Director: Kory Kennedy
Photo Editor: Andrea Maurio
Deputy Art Director: Marc Kauffman  

Photographer: Craig Cameron Olsen

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


Heidi: What are some of the hurdles when shooting elite athletes?
Craig: The biggest hurdle is their schedule. How much time I have with them sets the tone for everything else, and it can change on a dime, depending on training schedule or whether other photographers are shooting them as well the same day.

Does their training schedule influence what you can have them do, ie sprint, run stairs full blast…
Well schedule is followed closely by weather, weather dictates a lot.  I find the best tactic is to keep it moving, I have my set ups in mind, scouted ahead, and depending on the editor’s direction, I know where I want to take them.  I don’t like to get one shot, I like to play with the possibilities and get as much variety out of my time with someone.  With athletes it’s gotta keep moving or they get bored, tired, and it’s over.

Were the permits hard to get or did you run and gun it?
For Mo and Galen, Andrea Maurio at Runner’s World wanted open sky to lay type, and the story was about their partnership-training together. We were on the Nike Campus where they train, so permits were a non-issue.  We started on the oval track and then hit a spot I found on the cross-country track through the woods.  I found a soccer ball on my scout and picked it up as a souvenir for my son, and it turns out Mo was a big soccer fan, so after the first couple set ups, he saw the ball and started playing…punting it back and forth with Galen, then the next moment they were hitting it each other with it and the spirit of their partnership really came through…and that’s the moment we were all looking for.

Christopher Anderson- Return of the Staff Photographer

by Grayson Schaffer

On Tuesday, New York Magazine announced that it had signed longtime contributor and well-known photojournalist Christopher Anderson as the weekly magazine’s first-ever “photographer-in-residence.” In a statement released to the British Journal of Photography, New York said the 41-year-old Brooklyn-based shooter would tackle a “broad array of subjects in a full range of styles, from photojournalism to portraiture to conceptual work.” Anderson will now work exclusively for New York, at least where print magazines are concerned. The odd thing, here, is that the era of the staff photographer was supposed to have ended when National Geographic gradually moved away from the practice. We called Anderson to try and make sense of the sudden turn of events.

Grayson: Congrats. We thought the staff photographer position had gone the way of the film camera, what happened?
Christopher: I’ve had a close collaboration with [photography director] Jody Quon and [editor] Adam Moss for quite some time. They came to me and asked if I would consider taking this kind of position as an experiment—a way to reaffirm the magazine’s commitment to exciting photography. It’s a great opportunity.

Grayson: What are the specifics of the arrangement that you can share?
Christopher: The amount of time is, as of yet, undetermined. We’re going to see how it goes for at least a year.

Grayson: As much as you can produce for them? Are you like an all-you-can-eat buffet of photography?
Christopher: Well this is the real world, and of course they’re going to want to use me as much as they can. It is, in that sense, an all-you-can-eat buffet. But I don’t think that was the point. The idea wasn’t to say “Let’s put him on staff so we can use him up as much as we can.” The point was to have my undivided attention. We want to see if working together in a concentrated way like this can produce some interesting work over time.

Grayson: So it looks more like a professor’s chair than a hamster wheel.
Christopher: Right. They have my undivided attention, but I also have theirs. As a freelance photographer, you spend a lot of time trying to drum up business—shooting just to eat. Now I feel like I can focus on the creative side. I genuinely like working with that magazine, and I love the current projects they’re presenting me with. You might think your hands would be tied and you’re owned by them, but in a weird way I feel much freer.

Grayson: Why do you think staff jobs went away in the first place?
Christopher: There were never many to begin with, though there were some contracts. I used to be on contract at Newsweek. But the implosion of the publishing industry in general, and the photography industry specifically, led to the end of that practice. In the end, it’s cheaper for magazines to use freelancers. It makes economic sense.

Grayson: So how does this arrangement make economic sense?
Christopher: I don’t know that it does. It’s kind of an experiment. But my sense is it’s not about economics. It’s hard to put an exact price on the value of this kind of collaboration. This is more about a creative partnership. I think that they’ve looked at models of how this is done before, particularly by the New Yorker. That magazine has had a long tradition of staff photographers over the years: Richard Avedon, Gilles Peress… and I think this is sort of that New Yorker model where it’s about letting my identity stay independent, even though I’ll be attached to the magazine.

Grayson: They’ll probably end up with some great work to show for it.
Christopher: I hope that that will be true. I also hope that I can produce some great work for myself. I see this as a mutually beneficial relationship.

Can I earn a living as an actor?

- - Blog News

It may take several years for a beginner to earn a living as a performer. You must have a substantial cushion of savings to fund your quest and/or secure consistent alternate work to support you during the early stages of your career.Even the most talented performers may do everything right and still not end up with acting jobs. Success in this business is an unpredictable combination of talent, training, residence, “look”, energy, attitude, and the completely uncontrollable factor — luck!You must not take rejection personally! Even a working professional may not earn their income performing in just one medium.

via Getting Started as an Actor FAQ | Screen Actors Guild.

The Daily Edit – Monday

- - The Daily Edit

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Editor-in-Chief / Creative Director: Stephen Gan
Photo Editor: Evelien Joos
Consulting Creative / Design Direction: Greg Foley
Art Director: Sandra Kang
Design: Maryellen McGoldrick, Jeffrey Burch

Photographer: Damien Blottiere

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

This Week In Photography Books – Léonie Hampton

by Jonathan Blaustein

For some time now, I’ve wanted to write about why Art matters. On the heels of the high-minded and perhaps overly serious interview I conducted with Jörg Colberg, it’s been on my mind. It’s one thing to exclaim “The World Needs More Art,” and quite another to explain why.

As I’ve repeated endlessly and perhaps obnoxiously, I went to art school in New York. And throughout the entire process, I came to believe that Art can be anything. Photographs, paintings, food, music, objects, dance, ideas: it’s all on the table. The intention is what matters. If you declare something to be art, then it is. From there, of course, the difficult job is to determine what the “Art” means, and if it’s any good or not. Clearly, this is a subjective process. Ultimately, what’s seen as “great” or “the best” varies pretty widely, depending on the audience.

Some work ends up in the Met or the Louvre, some on the walls of a small café, and much of it never leaves the home of it’s creator. So the next question is, why do people do it? Ed Burtynsky said he felt making things to be a part of his DNA, and I’ve heard that many times before. Most artists, myself included, make things because they must. In my own case, if I don’t have the time and/or energy to work on creative output, my personality changes… for the worse. (I turn into a cranky bitch, if you must know.)

And that’s where we start to get into the real reason why people create. Because, after all, Art-making is really just about the exercise of creativity. All kids do it, and then it’s socialized out of most everyone. We random rebels and infidels are left to color and draw as adults, with our goatees and over-inflated egos. Right?

Not exactly. I don’t advertise it, but I’ve been teaching at-risk high school students for almost seven years. My students come from very difficult families and situations. Some are involved in gang activity and drug dealing. Others have become pregnant during the term. It’s a tough but smart group of kids. I learn every week, and have to be flexible to make it work. But work it does, and here’s why.

The secret is that making Art, creating things, is a transformative process. The act of creation takes certain elements of our psyche, energy, if you will, and morphs it out of our heads and into the real world. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can be alchemized. The reason why Art works so well in therapy is that it allows for negative energy and/or trauma to be cleared out of our heads, and turned into something productive, without having to speak about things literally. Pictures can communicate energy without words, and in so doing, can tell stories that would be otherwise stuck in the murky world of the subconscious. The act of creation is akin to shining light on our shadows, (Jung again) and it enables the creator the opportunity to move on. Catharsis.

I’ve struggled with whether to write this, as I’m aware that to many it will seem like New Age nonsense from a Taos hippie. I get it. But at the same time, I’ve gone all in, as it were, discussing Art each and every week, so I thought it was only appropriate to explain why. Before I discovered photography, I was an up-tight, insecure, very lost little Jersey boy. Then, once I found a method to channel my anxiety and angst into something tangible, everything fell into place. (And now I feed food scraps to the coyotes.)

Speaking of shadows, in my stack of books this week, I found “In the Shadow of Things,” a new book by Léonie Hampton, published in Rome by Contrasto Books. (It was funded through The F Award for documentary photography.) It seems the perfect example of what I’m trying so earnestly to explicate. The long, rambling photographic narrative is difficult to pin down, but within a the first few images, we know this is a family. Of hoarders, perhaps? But definitely a family, and something is awry.

Throughout the photo section of the book, I never quite sorted out what the deal was. But I didn’t mind, as the pictures were so good. Enchanting, really. Very well made, and in that terrific style where everything seems important, and it’s all done with the proper mood. A woman in a red dress flies through the air into a pile of clothes. (Yves Klein, in bizzaro world.) Varicose veins above slippers, feathers in a young boy’s hair, crumpled toilet paper, ice on a frozen swimming pool, freshly cut wet hair on a bare shoulder.

Finally, in the end, I turned to the text at the back. I knew enough to enjoy the book, to relish the ambiguity, to push towards the answer, and ultimately to realize it didn’t matter. I could love the photographs, and feel the artist’s emotional tenor, without knowing why. That’s why art matters. Because it represents a world without clear answers. Which is the world in which we live.

The text, dense and long, presents a transcript of interviews between the artist and her family. Primarily her mother, the odd woman featured in so many of the photographs. She’s got OCD, and I suppose we’d call her mentally ill. The entire book, seen in this context, is a document of the artist’s family life. One can imagine why Ms. Hampton felt compelled to push into the misery of insanity. It’s her environment, and perhaps her genetic inheritance. But all that confusion makes sense, when seen photographically, and I’m willing to speculate that the artist understands her life a little better, having undertaken the endeavor.

It’s well established that not everyone agrees with me, nor should they. I’m aware that when I make these grand pronouncements, offer myself as an expert on the ineffable, that it can come across as arrogant. I’m willing to take that risk. But from here on in, let’s not have any confusion about what Art is. It’s anything. It’s most often made, but can sometimes be found. And I’d encourage us all to make as much as we can. Because even if it’s bad, just one more photo of a rusted old truck, there’s still value in the effort.
Botom Line: Illness, wonderfully rendered

To Purchase In the Shadow of Things visit Photo-Eye.

Full Disclosure: Books and scans were provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase. Please support Photo-Eye if you find this feature useful.

What Is The Most Difficult Thing For You About Your Photography?

- - Blog News

I don’t like to hurt people. I go after something and I start pointing the camera at somebody, looking for those hard, edgy things I know I am going to find. My pictures will be out of bounds in terms of the convention of how this person wants to be represented. It gives me pause. I don’t feel I have the right to do that. But I do it nevertheless. After all, a picture is not a murder. It is simply a moment which suggests so many things.

via A Moment With Larry Fink –

The Daily Edit – Friday

- - The Daily Edit

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Creative Director: Bernard Scharf
Design Director: Sandra Garcia
Art Director: Wendy Scofield
Photo Editor: Whitney Lawson
Associate Photo Editor: David Alexander Arnold

Photographer: Andrea Wyner

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


Heidi: How does an assignment like this come up? Were you already there?
Andrea: I was getting a lot of work in Italy and Europe, I was already traveling  and splitting my time between NY and CA so I decided to add a base in Italy too. Yes, I was in Italy.  My assistant and I were so excited , he always wanted to be a Pizzaiolo and learn from the best.

Did you travel with the writer?
Not on this assignment but sometimes yes.

Did you have more then one feature to shot while you were there for the magazine?
I was actually on another assignment for T&L, a feature in Sicily when they asked me to shoot Pizza Quest

Roma or Napoli?

Still Images In Great Advertising – John Fulton

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

When I saw this ad, I reached out to Blake Pearson, John Fulton’s agent. It caught my attention because it required the viewer to stop and look a little closer. You see the hula dancer and then you read the headline- very creative! I also like that this creative ad is done by a smaller agency showing folks you really should market to everyone in multiple platforms. I researched John and found out that he lived out of Savannah, GA but shot all over the world. A lot of times, you can live where you are happy and have a successful career.

Suzanne: I love the fact that John Fulton lives in Savannah, GA and has been featured in the Communication Arts “Fresh” feature. How did you join forces?
Blake: I noticed several of John’s images in PDN’s photo annual and felt he had great potential. We met in person a few weeks later and have been working together ever since.

The ad is a wonderful mix of John’s landscape style and humor- but this time instead of a person we have a humorous prop- Did John have a lot of say in the propping of the typical Hula Doll?
Initially, we thought surely a witty toy maker would have already made a geriatric hula girl, but no such luck. To make the elderly hula doll John photographed a dozen different dolls on location to attain as much source material as possible so it could be built digitally. Often, he does all his own retouching but in this case we sourced Chris Bodie (also with VISU ARTISTS) who has a background in illustration, to help with the actual build of the doll. John and Chris worked in tandem with the art director to dial in the final look of the image. The ad has been such a success for the client that they’re currently having elderly hula girls fabricated for several other promotions.

How did Brunner find John?
Brunner discovered John through a mix of personal relationships, direct mail and online marketing. John is wonderful to work with and we have developed a great relationship with Brunner. He’s photographed campaigns for several of the agency’s clients over the last couple of years.


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

John studied at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, CA and presently works out of Savannah, Ga. He is currently featured in American Photo’s  column “One to Watch” and was named to the Archive 2012 – 2013 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide. He is represented by VISU ARTISTS.

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.

Introspective, navel-gazing nitpickers

- - Blog News

So rather than complain about the introspective nature of photobooks or the endless discussions on the nature of work, we should not follow others but should instead go out into the world and find work that interests and inspires us on its own account, not the account of others. And if we can’t see that work, or find that work, if it’s not available to us except through the word of others, then perhaps we should just let it pass us by. If you can’t touch it, it’s not really there.

via Colin Pantall’s blog

The Daily Edit – Thursday

- - The Daily Edit

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Creative Director, Print and Digital Media: John Korpics
Senior Director, Photography: Karen Frank
Senior Director, Design: John Lancaster
Art Directors: Mike Leister, Marne Mayer, John Yun
Senior Deputy Photo Editor: Nancy Weisman

Photographer: Finlay MacKay

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

Is There a Mass Market For Good Journalism?

- - The Future

There’s a new great post by Clay Shirky titled “Newspapers, Paywalls, and Core Users” that investigates the metered paywall that the NY Times and others have deployed to stem shrinking profits. As he’s talked about before Clay discusses the bundling of desperate content that a newspaper represents and the tough reality of unbundled content on the internet; where Dear Abbey, horoscopes and crossword puzzels are more popular than investigative journalism. The metered paywall gives national papers the ability to attract a large audience interested in a few things and still charge hardcore users. Currently there are two successful models to charge people for media content: mass, where you go for that largest possible audience and advertisers who want to reach them and niche, where you carefully define your audience and advertisers who need a very specific demographic. Combining the two is the metered paywall where you get a massive audience and a readily identified hardcore group willing to pay.

Clay goes on to say:

This is new territory for mainstream papers, who have always had head count rather than engagement as their principal business metric. Celebrities behaving badly always drive page-views through the roof, but those readers will be anything but committed. Meanwhile, the people who hit the threshold and then hand over money are, almost by definition, people who regard the paper not just as an occasional source of interesting articles, but as an essential institution, one whose continued existence is vital no matter what today’s offerings are.

Unfortunately this is not a good solution for smaller papers because “they produce so little original content.”

So, is there a mass market for good journalism?

There has never been a mass market for good journalism in this country. What there used to be was a mass market for print ads, coupled with a mass market for a physical bundle of entertainment, opinion, and information; these were tied to an institutional agreement to subsidize a modicum of real journalism.

The metered paywall appears to solve this problem.