when I stand in the middle of those vast plains and prairies I do not see or feel “emptiness”… to me, the volumes of space, the wind rippling the grass, a breeze on my face, the birdsong, the flight of crows – this is the exact opposite of emptiness: it is a fullness, a richness that I just want to drink in, that I want to have envelop me… on the other hand, if you drop me into the middle of Manhattan, I just want to shut down – the hordes of people, the noise… it’s just maddening to me, and something I’ve chosen to avoid as much as possible in my life…
Lincoln Barbour has a great post on Cost of Doing Business for Photographers.
Being in business as a photographer, you have to know your CODB, because that’s how you set your Baseline Creative Fee (BCF). If you take jobs that are below your CODB, you are operating at a loss. You should also do your CODB every year to make sure you’re staying on track and to set sales goals.
In a very simple formula, this is how you calculate your CODB:
(YOUR SALARY + YOUR EXPENSES) ÷ SHOOT DAYS PER YEAR = DAILY CODB
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to calculate your CODB and it takes less than 30 minutes to do. You will need two things: Your Profit & Loss Statement from last year and NPPA’s Online CODB Calculator. If you use accounting software like Quickbooks (PC / Mac) or AccountEdge (Mac), it’s really easy to generate you P&L report. Make one and print it off. Then click over to NPPA’s Online CODB Calculator.
Not only discussing how to calculate it but also how to base your fees on it. Go here to read the post.
“ever since I standardized my pricing, I’ve gotten more jobs that pay better.”
Why should a meaningful piece of artwork take two days, two months, two years, or possibly much longer, to create? Why do we need to wait for the right inspiration, the right moment, or gather materials we have no idea how to use to create a piece of individual expression to hang on our walls?
…the constraints of time, finances, and physical or mental disposition no longer need to be our barriers. Braintone Art offers an alternative means of creating art…
via Braintone Art.
My photographs, almost always Include people. Pictures of most ‘things,’ even lovely landscapes or seascapes, I find overwhelmingly boring. Rarely are these pictures of anything that I haven’t seen before. People pictures, on the other hand, are never the same.
My father reads this column each week. He enjoys it, though he’d probably read even if he found it boring. He’s proud, sure, but he says that he learns things about me and my life that he wouldn’t otherwise know. I suppose that’s a solid, 21st Century definition of irony, as the two of us live in the same town.
He mentioned the other day that he likes the style I’ve slowly adopted. A few paragraphs that initially seem random, or perhaps self-absorbed, then a sexy segue, and finally an actual review of an actual book. My first thought was to burn the house down, if my tropes were so obvious, but he advocated for stability. People, he felt, appreciate the mix of repetition and renewal. Perhaps that’s true.
But I don’t mention my father simply to conduct one more meta-riff on the absurdity of writing about myself and photo-books at the same time. He’s in a tough spot right now, my old man, currently battling the triple-whammy of tooth infection, shredded-knee, and ruined back. He can’t have surgery on the knee until the infection clears, and then needs an operation on his back, but not until the knee heals. He’s gritting his teeth (Sorry, horrible pun,) and dealing the best he can. Not-quite-stoic-suffering runs in the family, a genetic chain back to ever-miserable relatives in the ghettos of Eastern Europe.
Humans, incredibly resilient, have adapted different solutions to the problem of terminal misery. Heaven. Meade. Weed. Video Games. All share the common denominator of distraction. Look at the pretty red cloth, Mr. Bull, and ignore the sword heading right into your neck. Whatever the coping strategy, people keep pro-creating, and suffering persists.
Donald Weber seems to know a thing or two about suffering, and its lack of inherent nobility. People eat shit everywhere, every day, and do the best they can to aid in its digestion. With dignity. When possible. His new book, “Interrogations,” was just released by Schilt Publishing in Amsterdam. Pop it out of its intentionally generic cardboard shell, and its pink cover will surprise you immediately. As does its calender-like vertical orientation. (And its “poor”, or at least “not-slick” publication quality. Proletarian sensibilities and all.)
The photographs inside, along with a truly well-written essay by Larry Frolick, (In the Epilogue) were made in Russia and the Ukraine earlier in the decade. After a slew of establishment photos in the Prologue, bleak snow, junkyard dogs and the like, the main meal consists of a series of photographs of sad, terrified, and forlorn men and women in generic rooms. Given the title, they seem to be reliving or recounting tales of beatings, bitch-slaps and bedlam. One imagines the emotions to be real, regenerated upon reflection. But I suppose it’s never totally explained. Not necessary. Point taken.
I’ve reviewed several books already, and one MOMA exhibition, detailing life in former Iron Curtain. I think I even mentioned, last time, that it seemed to be one seriously ubiquitous subject, of late. No matter. Whether it’s mindless horror movies at the Mega-plex, dramatic dragon paintings in a British Museum (more on that later), or bleakly violent Eastern European photo-books, people will always, always be fascinated by the dark.
Bottom Line: Creatively made, striking publication
Full Disclosure: Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase. Submissions are not accepted.
Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.
I came across this campaign and it really hit home for me. I remember a hotel I stayed at in Chinatown that looked great on the website, but when we checked in the Queens Bridge was right next to it- I mean, right next to it. Some rooms had the subway racing right outside your window. I reached out to the photographer, Jonathan May to find out more about this campaign. The interesting thing about Jonathan’s work on his site was that all categories are personal except for one for his advertising work. But, I could see the connection between personal images and the work he was hired to create. This is always the result of a brilliant art director or art buyer.
Google Maps Street View “Know before you Go” campaign awarded a silver for print in The Moscow International Advertising ‘Red Apple’ Festival 2011, it was also awarded a silver at The Epica Awards (Europe’s premier creativity award). And was also a finalist in the Eurobest Awards and featured on the Best Ads website.
Suzanne: I went to your website and like how you show mostly personal work but I see how it is the inspiration to the commissioned work you have been hired. Have you ever been hired by an American agency? Or do you find that if an American agency doesn’t see it, they aren’t sure how to hire you?
Jonathan: When I first started visiting agencies I had two portfolios, one was for personal work, and the other for commissioned. I quickly noticed how art directors and buyers were instinctively drawn to the personal book first. I realized the importance of having a strong body of personal work because that is what expresses your vision and creative ability. Further, it illustrates the point of difference that you can offer and that sets you apart from the next person who knocks on their door. I was very careful at picking which commission work I want to display on my website. I wanted to make sure that it is not too far divorced from my personal point of view and style. This is also the reason I decided to exclude branding and logos from my commissioned work.
In terms of being hired by an American agency I haven’t pushed myself too hard in that region, but I have worked with Goodby Silverstein and Partners (San Francisco) on a month long job, shooting all around Australia for the Commonwealth Bank. The images can be seen on my website under the division “Rural Australia”. I am originally from Sydney and have recently relocated to Europe so am currently focusing on that region. My long term goal, however, is to work in the States. About 8 years ago, my mentor http://www.photography-arc.com.au and good friend asked me: “What do you want to do with your life?” and my response was “I want to be a photographer in New York” and he said: “the only thing stopping you is yourself”. So I am driving myself in that direction.
Suzanne: I wish the agency had used you in the other two ads and see a difference in the style. Do you think you could have added a more human element to the other ones? And how did you shoot this one?
Jonathan: The Sex Shop image concept was by far the simplest. It was all shot in camera. The only element I had to shoot and then drop in is the hotel awning and sign. The beauty of photographing everything is being able to control the depth of field and overall sharpness of the images. When the agency is searching for photolibrary images they need to bear this in mind and then of course the constant struggle of trying to find images with matching light intensity and direction. I think the agency and retouchers have done a sterling job on making everything in the other concepts look believable.
Suzanne: Google is International and I would love to see this ad being picked up for a global campaign. Have you ever reached out to the other agencies that have the account?
Jonathan: I will be speaking to the agency down the track, once the award season is finished, it seems to be doing very well in Europe so far.
Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.
Jonathan May studied photography in Australia where he received several awards for his work. Recently he has been voted into Lurzers Archive (2011, 2012/13) as one of the top 200 international advertising photographers and has relocated to Moscow where wife has an acting job for a year.
“Spoek used one of my images for a mix tape without asking my permission,” Hugo told me. “I phoned him up to berate him—turned out he was recording a new album around the corner from my studio. He came to the studio to discuss our dilemma, and by the time he left I agreed to do music video for him. He’s a super sweet talker.”
Pinterest, the hot new social sharing platform has a serious problem when it comes to the medium it’s designed to share. Despite careful wording on their about page that you agree not to post, upload, publish, submit, provide access to or transmit any content that infringes, misappropriates or violates a third party’s copyright… many (most) of the images on the site do just that. Several lawyers have weighed in on the controversy advising:
“…you should never pin an image on Pinterest for which you don’t own the copyright interest or for which you have not obtained a license from the copyright owner.”
— Jonathan Pink, a California-based intellectual property lawyer with Bryan Cave LLP via, WSJ.
Federal copyright laws give the author of any copyrighted work (which includes photographs and copyright attaches automatically as soon as the work is created) the sole and exclusive right to publish and reproduce such work. So, basically, when you see a photograph that you love, you do not have any right to publish or reproduce that photograph unless you took the photo or got consent from the photographer to use the photo.
…in my humble opinion, the only “safe” conclusion here, for me, is to either get off of Pinterest or pin only your own work or work you have a license to use.
— Kirsten Kowalski via, ddkportraits.com
If that’s not enough, Pinterest CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann has completely deleted his boards: http://pinterest.com/ben/ even though he was named #2 in a list of 21 must follow Pinterest users on mashable.com.
On the flip side we have a very exciting way to share photography that some photographers like:
Photographers need to look beyond their own nose when it comes to social media web sites and copyright concerns. I’ve written about a fair number of photography rights grabs here on my blog and there have certainly been cases where there have been egregious violations of copyright that photographers should have been concerned about. By and large Pinterest has not proven to me they fit in that category. In addition social media web sites and the Internet as a whole are great tools to be exploited by photographers. Don’t be afraid of having your work seen. If you look beyond your own nose you’ll see these new tools and sites can be creatively applied to enhance your business versus kill it. Being creative isn’t just about taking photos its about creatively enabling your work to be found.
— Jim M. Goldstein via, Pinterest – Seeing beyond your own nose
I even have it on good authority that top creative directors are actively pinning and competing to have the most creative boards. My source tells me that it’s not impossible to imagine a future where your pin board is part of your resume.
So, I agree that there’s potential here to make a great service for sharing, driving traffic to, and bookmarking photographers. But they just haven’t figured out how to do it without running afoul of copyright laws.
Then there’s the separate matter of their heinous terms:
We may, in our sole discretion, permit Members to post, upload, publish, submit or transmit Member Content. By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services. Cold Brew Labs does not claim any ownership rights in any such Member Content and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any such Member Content.
Facebook has similar terms:
For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
And so does Twitter:
By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
My prediction is that before they get sued into oblivion they will figure out a reasonable way to get it to work. But for those who think whiny photographers or outdated copyright laws are to blame, I’ll leave you with one last set of quotes to chew on:
For the first 1,500 years of the last two millennia, man was generally poor. Though there were empires and kingdoms, the gross world product (GWP) was largely flat. For generations, people did not experience any major change in their living standards.
And then something changed: the Western world introduced stronger property rights, including intellectual property rights, which allowed people to pursue new ideas, firm in the knowledge that success could bring financial rewards.
Today, all of the contemporary advanced economies have strong property rights, and data shows a strong correlation between property rights, productivity, living standards and innovation.
Congratulations to this years class of 30 photographers to watch:
Meiko Takechi Arquillos
Dominic Bracco II
LaToya Ruby Frazier
Peter Ash Lee
Chloe Dewe Mathews
Photojournalism has changed incredibly over the past decade and in many ways we have been bombed back to Year Zero. The thing is that most of us have been forced to reinvent ourselves as visual storytellers and for many (including me) this transition has not been easy.
The story of Seth Casteel and his diving dog photos is the perfect example of what happens when something goes viral and the person is prepared to take advantage of it. Seth was your typical on-the-move freelance photographer when he created the now famous underwater images of dogs diving in a pool after balls. As you’ll see in the story below by Wired on the Raw File blog, he was prepared to handle all the inquiries about him and his work, because he’d teamed up with the good people at Tandem Stills + Motion to handle licensing and PR. While it’s impossible to make something go viral or predict when it might happen it’s good to know professionals can turn all that attention into business.
On that fateful February 9th, the photos mysteriously landed on Reddit, Facebook, Google+ and then Warholian, becoming one of the hottest trends amongst viewers on at least five or six continents.
More than 1,000 people all over the world have subsequently asked him to shoot photos of their pets. He’s got a line of publishing houses fighting to get the rights to his forthcoming book of underwater dog photos, and he’s made appearance on, or in, most major American news publications from the The New York Times to Good Morning America.
He credits his licensing and PR firm, Tandem Stills + Motion, with successfully converting his new audience. Where many internet stars fade away after a few days of intense popularity, his firm capitalized on the traffic by handling most of Casteel’s business transactions and press requests.
“The business side is so important because you can have something go viral and be silly about it and you won’t make a dollar off it,” Casteel says. “Without [Tandem Stills + Motion] it would have been a fail.”