Meet the ‘King of the Paparazzi’

- - Blog News

While the digital age has brought a nearly insatiable demand for entertainment news, that hasn’t translated into a bonanza for paparazzi, Woody says. Major media companies are increasingly involved in the celebrity news business, building up their own paparazzi outfits, buying up smaller ones or paying less for independent images.

via CNN.com, thx Jeff.

Remedies for Copyright Small Claims

- - copyright

If you’re taking some time off this week and next you might consider this interesting copyright development that Josh Blumental pointed me to:

The Copyright Office has been asked by Congress to study the obstacles facing small copyright claims disputes, as well as possible alternatives. Specifically, the Office is to undertake a study to: (1) assess the extent to which authors and other copyright owners are effectively prevented from seeking relief from infringements due to constraints in the current system; and (2) furnish specific recommendations, as appropriate, for changes in administrative, regulatory and statutory authority that will improve the adjudication of small copyright claims and thereby enable all copyright owners to more fully realize the promise of exclusive rights enshrined in our Constitution.

The want to know “how copyright owners have handled small copyright claims” and look into obstacles and possible alternatives to the current process. That’s because, not all copyright holders have the resources to bring a federal lawsuit if there is infringement (more here).

There is a Submission Form that closes on January 16, 2012.

Know The Signal To Self Publish

- - Blog News

Rejection as a whole is not a great reason to run out and self-publish. I mean, think about it: “Everyone else hates it, so why not punish readers with it? To the Resentmentmobile!” But — but! — sometimes, the overall pattern of rejection does indicate value in self-publishing. Getting a lot of those “it’s good, but I can’t do anything with it” rejections tells you that the risk-averse industry isn’t willing to, duh, take a risk. So, you can absorb the risk and self-publish.

via terribleminds.com.

The Daily Edit – Monday
12.19.11

- - The Daily Edit

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New York Times Magazine

Design Director: Arem Duplessis
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Art Director: Gail Bichler
Deputy Photo Editor: Joanna Milter

Photographer: Brian Ulrich

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

This Week In Photography Books

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

I suppose I have Japan envy. I’m a proud Jersey boy, yes, but sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong country. I’ve been a huge fan of Haruki Murakami for years, having read most everything he’s written. (I know, everyone else loves Murakami too.) But somehow, I relate to that inexorable mashup of techno-futurism, magical realism, Zen Buddhism, and comical absurdity. It feels like home.

I’m just about to finish “1Q84,” Murakami’s new mega-book, so if you spoil the ending for me in the comment section, I will hunt you down and end you. I’m a stone cold killer, if you didn’t know. This new story might not be as good as “The Wind Up Bird Chronicles” and “The Wild Sheep Chase,” but then again, it might well be. I haven’t decided yet, because I stopped reading towards the very end to write this column.

There’s just something so seductive about the idea that there is far more to our collective human experience than we can know. Other worlds, surreal portals, magical ears, beautiful Japanese women, I guess that’s what makes Manga so damn popular. Perhaps we all have Japan envy. And certainly, in the photography community, there’s no shortage of great work emanating from there, and no lack of foreigners who make the trek across the water.

Is there a point to these ramblings? Or better put, will I ever get to the point? Sure. Right here. “Blackdrop Island” is a new purple book I grabbed on my last visit to photo-eye. I was unfamiliar with the Swedish photographer, Klara Källström, and the publisher, B-B-B Books. I’m a sucker for an umlaut, so since she had two in her name, I thought it was worth taking home. (What, that’s not a good enough reason to do a book review?)

Ms. Källström visited Japan recently, probably Tokyo if I had to guess. She wandered around, at night, shooting photographs with a hell of a lot of flash. And somehow, she managed to capture that aforementioned Japanese Magical Realism Juju so perfectly, just so well, that now I wonder if there’s any point in going at all. Certainly not as a photographer in search of that mystery juice. She got there first.

I don’t know if you’ll all share my absolute love of these photos, but then again, I used to think I was the only one with the hots for Kate Winslet, and I was clearly wrong about that. And given that Murakami is a massive global hero, I’m guessing that there are a lot of others who secretly pine for a weird world of Two Moons and talking Sheep men.

Since I’m not now, and will never be the writer that Murakami is, it’s obviously easier to understand these pictures visually than for me to try to describe why they’re so freaking odd. But I’ll try. A gray tree bent over a small road looks like the whiskers cascading off of a witch’s chin. A policeman emerging from between two flash-blinded tree trunks looks like a guardian for the river Styx. Traffic cones look like robots, building bricks vibrate like Van Gogh brushstrokes, and a submerged fish-head looks like, well… a submerged fish-head. There’s a diptych of a man doing Tai Chi by the sea, and I swear it looks like he’s actually summoning the waves all by himself. Masterful stuff.

Normally I don’t bother writing about the essays in these photo-books, because if we wanted to read, we’d all just buy a Kindle. But this one contains some really well-written poetry by Viktor Johansson, printed in both English and Swedish. (But interestingly, not Japanese.) The poems have that same freaky vibe to them, and it’s fun to read them in Swedish, if for no other reason than to enjoy the weird sounds your mouth makes as you pronounce the words.
Bottom Line: Japanese-style Techno-Magically Awesome

To Purchase Blackdrop Island visit Photo-Eye

 

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

The Daily Edit – Friday
12.16.11

- - The Daily Edit

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Outside

Creative + Photo Director: Hannah McCaughey
Photo Editor: Amy Silverman
Art Director: John McCauley 

Photographer: Inga Hendrickson

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

 

Heidi: Typically you shoot products for the magazine, what inspired this new direction?
Inga: Hannah McCaughey, Outside Magazine’s creative director, and I worked together on this one. We  wanted to do something that showed a character who the viewer followed on his journey through all of the fitness myths being written about. We wanted to do something that didn’t take itself too seriously so we used the a Ken doll as our protagonist and Outside has used Ken before as a character. Photographer Chris Buck and shot a great feature for Outside starring a Ken-like doll several years back. We wrote to Chris to warn him and get his blessings, which he was kind enough to give us. Thanks Chris!!

Tell me about this shoot, where are these locations?
Ken is such a funny character that we thought it would be good to bring him back for a cameo. Ken and I would tool around town together playing dress up and finding fun locations here in Santa Fe. In fact, the shoot was so fun that I still tote Ken around with me looking for fun scenarios to put him in! It doesn’t raise too many eyebrows as long as I remember to put his clothes back on between wardrobe changes.

Are these shot with the iphone/hipstamatic or some other photo app?
Yes, they were shot on my iPhone using the hipstamatic app. Being a fictional character, Ken seemed like a good choice to illustrate the myth idea, and this style of shooting kept it loose.

I know you are a staff photographer for Outside, do you have a studio space at the magazine?
I do a lot of freelance work for Outside but I’m usually in the studio. (Outside has a beautiful studio space where I do most of the shooting.) This feature was mostly shot on location so that was a nice change of pace for me.

Still Images In Great Advertising

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

The big question in our industry is whether “Print is Dead”.   This feature reassures that not only is print not dead but great print is still very much alive.  Today’s feature is an ad from the agency Walton Isaacson for Basil Hayden’s Whiskey.  I interviewed Chris Lake, the photographer who shot the campaign to get the inside story about how he was chosen and the production of the campaign.

Chris was contacted by the art producer from Walton Isaacson to shoot the campaign for Basil Hayden’s (Jim Beam’s high-end small batch whiskey) for his ability to shoot “not the perfect moment” images.  He immediately enlisted Monica Joy Zaffarano www.azaffaranoproduction.com to help find the perfect location, casting of over 25 talent, and to keep all the moving parts of a large production running smoothly.  Chris noted, “There is no way to have pulled off this shoot without the talent and coordination of Monica. Shooting an afternoon happy hour and a crowded nighttime bar scene during a regular 10 hour day required some creativity in the production. After a lot of scouting with the AD, we found a bar that would work for both shots. For the nighttime shot, we had to get on the roof to block out huge skylights to make it seem like night. I wanted to create a real atmosphere where the principals and 20+ extras would actually feel like they were out in a bar. Monica found a DJ to set the mood and I hired a film DP to help light the room with HMI’s. I felt that strobes would make it feel too much like a photo shoot and less like a fun night out. With this approach, after they went through wardrobe and hair and makeup, the talent could talk and mingle naturally and hopefully forget they were on a shoot.”

Chris hired a Digital Tech so that he could focus on shooting.  The tech was able to apply an approximation of the yellow treatment and bring the images directly into the layout so the clients could get an immediate sense of how the final ad would look. The agency is a great creative agency that realizes that with a good production budget, you can get better results. This campaign required creativity in the planning so that when on set, Chris was able to shoot for the client’s layout but still maintain his loose style and shoot a lot of variations.  In the end, the agency and client were very happy with the results. Plus, Chris got great tearsheets for his portfolio.

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

Chris Lake is a Chicago based photographer who specializes in capturing authentic storytelling moments.  His client list includes Allstate, Chase, Johnson & Johnson, and many others. You can see more of his work at www.chrislakephoto.com.  When he’s not making pictures he can be found teaching himself the guitar or playing with his 10 month old son.

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.

Consumer Reports, Going Strong at 75

- - Blog News

Consumer Reports started its Web site in 1997; by 2001, it had 557,000 subscribers. That number has grown to 3.3 million this year, an increase of nearly 500 percent in 10 years. It has more than six times as many digital subscribers as The Wall Street Journal, the leader among newspapers.

And in August, Consumer Reports started generating more revenue from digital subscriptions than from print — a feat that must make it the envy of the print world struggling to make that transition. Even more amazingly, Consumer Reports has enjoyed success on the Web without losing print subscribers — those have held steady since 2001 at around four million.

via NYTimes.com.

The Daily Edit – Thursday
12.15.11

- - The Daily Edit

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whole living

Design Director: Matthew Axe
Art Director: Jamie Prokell
Associate Art Directors: Alexandra Drozda, Erin Wengrovius
Senior Associate Photo Editor: Erika Preuss

Photographer: Sarah Maingot

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

The State of the Industry: Mike Hughes, The Martin Agency

The State of the Industry, is a new column where Suzanne Sease speaks with advertising industry professionals and influencers to discuss what’s happening and where we’re headed.

I had the honor of having Mike Hughes as my supervisor while I was at The Martin Agency. The Martin Agency was voted the US Agency of the Year in 2010 and is known for their work for Wal-mart, Geico, Discover Card, Hanes, Moen and Miscrosoft. Mike was inducted in to The One Club Creative Hall of Fame in 2010, a prestigious group that includes David Ogilvy, Jay Chiat, Tom McElligott, Hal Riney, Dan Wieden, David Bernbach to name a few of the greats. It was such a pleasure to work with such a creative mind and you can see that in his answers.

Suzanne: I have asked the question before “Is print dead” and I know most of us will always love the tangible print, if so what is realistically the future of the still image? According to a 2011 Advertising forecast from Mediabrands, part of Interpublic Group: Over the next five years, magazine advertising will decline in each of the world’s 10 largest markets for magazines, with the exception of Brazil and Russia.
Mike: Magazines and newspapers will continue to morph in the years ahead. If personal printers take off, there might even be a resurgence of print edition customized for the reader. Two years ago, I might have said that the decline in print editions will be very steep; now I’m not so sure.

What are your thoughts on Ambient media and do you see this taking off in the States as it has in other countries?
The lines between types of media (OOH, print, broadcast, digital, earned, paid, audio, video, old, new, etc.) have been erased. Moving images can appear in books. Stills can be riveting on digital. Sights, sounds, signals and even smells can emanate from outdoor. Hopefully, the borderlines between countries will also become less thick. Certainly media
opportunities developed in one part of the world will soon emigrate to every other part.

When I go to www.adsoftheworld.com most of the print mediums that are featured are from outside the United States? Are we being too safe?
I suspect that we’re not caring enough.

Are clients pulling us back?
No. (A great agency never blames its clients.) I’m betting we’re not inspiring our clients enough with the print work we’re doing.

Do you think our buying society is educated and the “you tube” and reality shows mentality verses the appreciation of quality creative advertising?
If there’s anything the world learned from Steve Jobs, it’s this: society loves quality when it’s relevant and helpful and cool.

What are your thoughts on trying to make a product become a viral sensation? Do you think this is the future or will it phase out?
The language has changed over the years, but the goal of advertising has always been to help good products “go viral.” That won’t change. (Obviously, “going viral” isn’t limited to online connectivity.)

Should photographers and illustrators learn the motion medium?
Most should.

What advice would you give someone who only does print (still) work?
It’s more important than ever that whatever you do, you have to have an advantage over your competitors. The best way to do that, of course, is to be BETTER than your competitors.

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.

TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2011

- - Blog News

The photo was an unexpected hit that I took from almost 35,000 ft. over Florida, flying from New York City to Palm Beach with—of all things my—iPhone 3GS, and tweeted it out upon landing. I didn’t realize the impact of the photo or the rounds it was making in social media until a few hours later when I looked at my Twitter mentions and all the personal messages I was receiving on Facebook. Next thing I knew, I was being interviewed by media outlets from all over the world, and my photo was on almost every evening news program. I am still in search for that perfect job that many thought would be offered to me after the photo caught fire.

via LightBox.

ED McCulloch On Creating A Directors Reel From Scratch

Photographer and (now) Director Ed McCulloch sent me his new reel website: http://EDdirects.com which I thought looked amazing, so I asked him about the process:

What was the impetus for getting into directing and creating your reel?
Over the last couple of years I’ve seen the needs of agency creatives change. I did not want to be left behind. Last year I was shooting a campaign with Cramer-Krasselt in Austin Texas. On set the creative director for the agency told me that if I had a reel I would’ve been directing the tv spot as well. That’s when I started seriously thinking about film and director’s reel.

How do you go about creating a reel from scratch? Walk us through the process.
It was definitely a lot of work. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create a reel that was on the same quality level as my photography. I knew it would take time. The learning curve would be steep and keep my head spinning for months.

The hardest decision I had to make was deciding between creating a director’s reel or a director of photography (DP) reel. Did I want to direct or did I want to shoot? Being a photographer my natural instinct was to become a DP. DP’s are responsible for everything composition, camera movements and lighting. They collaborate with the director to make sure his vision comes to life. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that in my photography my biggest enjoyment came from directing the photo shoots; choosing locations, talent, wardrobe and getting the right performances out of the talent which all culminate in the final product. For me photography was always more about the story and the creative aspects, not the technical side.

After that decision was made I started brainstorming ideas and writing the scripts for the spots. That was one of the most important things: the creation of the concepts and the stories I would be telling. I chose brands that people would recognize but not brands so huge that everyone knows exactly what agency or what director shoots them. I do however have a Nike spot on my reel. The decision to use Nike as a brand was made because I was shooting an NBA player who is really sponsored by Nike.

While writing the scripts I searched for specialized crew members that were willing to help me build the reel. I did use some of my photography crew like assistants and stylists but in the end film is so much more collaborative and involved than photography so I knew I would need crew members that were also experienced in film. I definitely encountered plenty of no’s but kept pushing forward. In the end I found a great group of people willing to help me build the reel. We had anywhere from 15-25 crew members on set for each shoot.

After I had scripts and crew I set dates for the first couple of shoots then started producing them. I scouted locations, applied for permits, gathered insurance certificates, scheduled casting calls, chose wardrobe with my stylist, made compositional and lighting decisions with my DP, put together call sheets and shoot schedules etc. That was extremely time consuming and exhausting.

Next was shooting and directing the talent and overall look and feel of each piece. Shoot days were definitely the most fun. Collaborating with actors was a learning process, it’s much different than working with talent in photography. Learning the way actors think and the language they use to communicate takes time to understand. The whole process of collaborating with them was incredibly fulfilling.

After shooting came editing. I could not for the life of me find a good editor willing to help, so my DP and I had to learn it. Editing is an art form in and of itself. Editors have a unique talent for problem solving and story telling. It was incredibly difficult to learn. It takes a completely different creative thought process, it was challenging. We edited all of our pieces on Final Cut Pro 7.

Sound design was another challenge. Collecting high quality sound and laying it in the right places at the right times of the commercial is an art form. I enlisted the help of a sound designer for this part.

Put all of that together and you have a :30 or :60 second spot. Everything currently on my reel was shot this year between February and November.

What are your thoughts on taking your vision from print/digital and applying it to motion?
Yeah that was definitely an important part of the process. Having your own unique style of directing is just as important as it is in photography. I think it’s extremely important to stay consistent throughout your photography portfolio and motion reel but there are so many more variables in film to consider. This one thing caused an immense amount of stress for me. I knew how to create photographs, how do get the look and feel that I needed, how to tell a story with one frame. Initially film blew my mind in this aspect because instead of one frame I now had many many frames to tell my stories. There are so many different processes in producing and directing a commercial that it was initially a challenge to make sure ALL decisions were being made with my vision in mind.

What’s the next step, working with a production company? That seems a bit different than the photography business, so tell us how that works?
After the reel was created the next step was contacting production companies. These companies represent directors. They are the middlemen between the director and the ad agency. They take care of all the estimating much like a photographers agent would do. What differentiates them from photographers agent is they actually produce the commercials which is where their money is made. A director is assigned an executive producer within the company to work with. Production companies are represented by reps that are positioned by territory; east coast, mid west and west coast. These reps travel to ad agencies within their territories and funnel projects to the production companies they represent. Most reps represent multiple production companies, editorial (editors), music and visual effects companies.

I researched these companies and contacted the executive producers to set up the meetings. The process took about six months, they are incredibly hard to get a hold of. I was told they receive thousands of email requests each month. I’ve recently returned from LA where I met with some great production companies. I will be up and running with one of them in January.

P Is For Professional

- - Working

Here’s a couple funny videos to get your week started off right.

First up is MWAC (Mom With A Camera):

Watch more episodes on her YouTube Channel (here). Visit her Facebook page (here).

Next up is Judge Joe Brown, who from his line of questioning to this wedding photographer, sounds like he thinks he knows a thing or two about photography (go-kit in a pelican case?):

How fast is your lens? What f-stop did you use? Go get ’em Joe.