Portfolio Bootcamp

- - Events, Portfolio

September 23 – 24 Santa Fe’s, CENTER has a retreat-style workshop called portfolio bootcamp that I will be participating in. This is a weekend intensive workshop aimed at photographers of all levels who want to get their portfolios in great shape. If this interests you go here for more information on the event including a list of presenters: http://www.visitcenter.org/bootcamp

I’m personally excited to hear Robin Fisher-Roffer, of Big Fish Marketing who’s giving a talk on how to stand out and get noticed. She’s a nationally recognized branding expert so I’m sure she will have some great ideas for this. Besides that there will be lots of intensive portfolio discussions and 1 on 1 time to work on books. Even though everyone is hiring off websites anymore, a well crafted book can be an excuse to meet in person and is still a real deal closer.

The Daily Edit – Friday 8.19.11

- - The Daily Edit

( click images to make bigger )

Esquire

Design Director: David Curcurito

Photo Director: Michael Norseng

Photographer: Perou

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

Heidi: How did the idea to interpret the dreams come about? did it come from the magazine?

Perou: David Curcurito (creative director at Esquire) suggested to me that I might discuss my ideas for the shoot with Ryan, as Ryan also had some ideas for the shoot.

Where you given the story first and then did you and Ryan talked?

Sometimes I’m asked to email over some rough sketches or discuss with someone’s PR what I have in mind, but it’s unusual for me to have a two way conversation with someone before I photograph them for a magazine. There was more pre-production discussion before this shoot than any other I’ve done but that was great because I think all the best portraits of people are collaborations. I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to describe eloquently enough what I wanted to do, as I’m better with pictures than words. I called Ryan on his cell. he was in LA and I was in London.

I said ‘I hear you’ve got some ideas.’ ‘I’ve got one idea’ , he said, ‘…I keep having this recurring dream where everyone around me is a skeleton’

How would you describe Ryan’s dreams?

Ryan’s dream wasn’t too complicated, but Ryan’s own interpretation of his dream as a direction for the photos was quite complex and developed as we were discussing it. I was keen not to do something with real skeletons because as an icon (most) people can’t take them seriously. So we moved on from Ryan surrounded by real skeletons in various scenarios to Ryan with a woman representing the skeletons of his dreams: something like a Styx from greek mythology coming out of the shadows. I think part of what works in this is that me and Ryan had very different approaches to the shoot: he was very keen on doing a complete story with a beginning, middle and end: fully researched and scripted in advance. I knew we had to do a clean cover and then had 4 or 5 images inside the magazine, at most and Esquire aren’t really into full-on, photo-illustrations with tons of post-production. I wanted to do some iconic pictures of a movie star based loosely around an idea he had. I personally think the best ideas are often the simplest. I remember saying to Ryan, think of me like an improvise director: I’ll get the cast together and the location and we’ll freestyle around our idea: that’s how I work. If we try and script everything exactly, we’ll lose out on some magic and any spontaneous moments that happen.

Which is your favorite image?

My favorite picture from the shoot is the closer shot of Ryan nuzzling into Veronica’s neck. As well as shooting the stills for the cover feature of the magazine, I also shoot video for the moving covers on the ipad edition of Esquire. The idea for two Ryan’s on the ipad cover was all his and I think it works really well: a really simple, effective idea.

What was the most interesting thing that happened on the shoot?

It was a hard day at the office. Mainly because everything had to be discussed in so much detail before each shot, before the shoot and during the shoot: the motivation had to be right: it had to make sense. My day was made much easier by the lovely Veronica throwing cheeky winks my way. I thought it was amusing that Veronica wasn’t really into the last shot of the day when she had to repeatedly kiss Ryan.

What kind of direction where you giving to the subjects on set?

Veronica, the model was Brazilian and I had been under the impression that she didn’t speak much English. I was being my usual flirtatious with the ladies self, maybe more so than usual. It wasn’t till the end of the shoot that I realized she been understanding more than I’d assumed.

How long did that set take to build and where in NY did you shoot?

we shot on location in warehouse studio called ‘the 1896’ there was no real set building as such: just a bit of proppage.

Who did the body painting? and how long did that take?

Genius Will Lemon did the body painting. I have a vague recollection that it took him and his two assistants about 8hrs. Veronica stood the whole time: she was great.

BLINK Magazine Interview

- - Magazines

front cover(right) : Todd Baxter back cover(left) : Chris Anthony

Blink magazine a labor of love by Korean native Kim Aram. The magazine features personal work by emerging, established and undiscovered photographers. Issue 5 has just been released.

Heidi: How do you select the images, do you choose a theme for each issue?

Kim: I trust myself. It’s simple, some work makes my heart beat really fast. I study it and ask myself: Are you going to spend $10,000 on this photograph? Even if I think I’d spend $1000, I would select it.  That said, we don’t pay for any of the images. I try and make sure that the images don’t bore me, gathering work for Blink is like collecting art for a gallery of sorts. I do have one rule: I don’t accept commissioned work. I accept only personal work. When selecting work, a resume, a career, receiving awards doesn’t affect my choices. I  sincerely love portraiture, I think the human being is the most interesting subject in this world. There are no themes for each issues. I actually considered it but thought that giving themes for each issues would put limitations on select artwork and there were already so many magazines doing that format with themes.

Maleonn

How many submissions would you say you turn down?
I turn down quite a few. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like their work. I just don’t want to be a lazy editor. I also have another rule, I promised by myself  to include one out of every 50 submissions for BLINK.  I try to pick just one or nothing among  the 50 It’s  just like non-objevtive promising. I can’t respond to  all of  the submissions. Please excuse me for that, I do respect all artists.

What in your eyes is the most exciting aspect of photography for you right now?
Everyone has camera now. It means everyone is able to take a photograph.
It seems like it’s a fair chance for everyone to be creative. That said,  it’s that tiny little  thing which not easy to achieve to make your photograph different. That is exciting. Artists need to have their own eye and point of view for creating their own world.

Suzanne Jongmans

Where can I find a copy of the magazine in the US? Or do I have to subscribe? Do you have a digital version as well?We are working on an ipad version of BLINK, so I will start to publish a digital version of BLINK but I am still examining it thoroughly because I believe in the high value of a paper magazine. You can get your own copy on the website at www.blinkreflex.com We have a safe and fast paypal and can send anywhere in the world.

I am making a distribution list for other countries now. The problem is it’s very expensive to ship. We don’t have a lot of money or a big staff. I do ALL the publishing for BLINK. I do the design layout, select the artwork, contact the artists, direct exhibitions, promotion, business, publisher’s talks at galleries and the marketing. I did send the magazine to art fairs and galleries because I really would love to give BLINK to people so they can feel the paper in their hands, see it with their own eyes. I know if they just grab BLINK, their next move is falling love with BLINK. Some people promised me they would bring BLINK to their venues. I was so naive, after receiving magazines, they didn’t contact me. I was disappointed in them and disappointed in myself. I really need some people I can trust.

Before doing this project, what did you do for a living?
I worked as the art editor for an art magazine called  PHOTO+. The  publisher of the magazine was crazy about MONEY. He always talked about MONEY, MONEY. He probably still does, and he didn’t respect art or the artists. I thought I was a part of his magazine but he said it’s all  his own and I am just his robot. One day I finished all my work and I decided that it’s time to quit. I said to him “bye fucker.” Photographers, don’t send your work to them.

Galleries and media in Korea are so miserable. They built their own art world which puts some distance between the public and art. Someone with money or professors come into power and the result is “boring!” They have to wake up. I am on a mission to build up brand awareness about BLINK.
We support young talented artists who can’t have opportunity to show their work to the world because of boring professors and directors, galleries, magazines here.

Mat Szwajkos

Were you always involved photography somehow?
When I was kid, I always trusted that I was an artist. Being a photographer was high priority but I had to let it go for financial reasons. (here, being artist much worse than other countries.) I spent less time making my own artwork,  I spent more time appreciating  artwork by other people. I began writing about photography too, just some impressions about their work. I did this for free and  I kept the focus positive. Art is so much about personal taste and preference. I do think photography is like poetry and one image can speak over a thousand words. Just like the old saying. hahaha”

Thomas Rusch

Do you shoot as well?
Yes, for fun. I take daily snaps which give me inspiration I use my Sony Ericson x1(mobilephone). Sometimes I do self-portraits year after year. If I have more time for myself, I will do my own photographic work but I would never be featured in BLINK. A lot of magazines make me sick. It looks like those magazines exist for their own photographer or art director’s work. MEDIA has to have huge responsibility to the public, there are so many swindlers out here. They have to give the media space to other talented artists and the public.

Jennifer Garza-Cuen

For your facebook and twitter feeds where is that content coming from? selected artists? fans? Do you feed those outlets in between issues with work you liked but did not select for the printed edition?
I don’t post anything about featuring artists for the next issue. It has to be a secret before being published. Sometimes I use Facebook to help me select an artist. I have so many friend requests from Facebook I am in a panic! I don’t use twitter to search for artists. I tweet information about BLINK and news of featured artists and other happenings in art world, or readers of BLINK. I tweet in Korean so would not be worth it to people who can’t read Korean. You can have a conversation with me about BLINK via direct message, I use that a lot or if you want to update news about BLINK, If you want, like BLINK on facebook at here or see it here

Diana Scherer

Where is your funding coming from since you have no advertising?
That is the biggest difficulty. I spent 15 years of my savings to create and publish BLINK. I am waiting for sponsors or advertisers. If I get over the break-even point with BLINK, I am going to bring down the price of the magazine or increase its circulation. Last month I recruited donations with Korean version of Kickstarter and I got one third of the cost for publishing ISSUE 5 covered. THANK YOU to all who donated! I was so grateful. You can still donate on the website.If you donate, I will put your name and your message on the bottom the website page. If you donate over $30 your name and message will be in the magazine as well as you will get the issue.

I do offer space on BLINK for ads for a reasonable price. The most I would include is 10 pages advertisement for BLINK and I will be very discriminating about what advertising I accept.

Artists and galleries can advertise and show their own work. I do send BLINK to galleries, collectors and artists of all over the world. I just gather what I love and show it to this world while kicking the boring daily routine out with great artists whom I love, support and take care of. I do this for one simple reason, the photographs make my eyes happy. BLINK is myself and I am BLINK.

Nathan Perkel

What is the best way to submit work to you?
Simple. It’s a two step process: First, see ‘Take a look inside of BLINK‘ videos and sample spreads of images on the website. (I make a video which shows the  issue.) Second, ask yourself: “Is my work really harmonious with work of featured artists on those previous issues?” Not all work is right for BLINK. but that doesn’t mean that your work is not good or not perfect, it just not for BLINK. I can’t answer all the submissions, I don’t mean to be rude but it’s fairly impossible. Please contact me via email as well: editor.aram@gmail.com

Karen Hsiao


Olivier J. Laude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

information about bookISBN 978-89-965709-5-0
100 PAGES(8mm. both sides covers)
21 X 29.7 CM
500 GRAMS
COLOR OFFSET
text of interviews with artists in english

 

 

 

The Daily Edit – Thursday
8.18.11

- - The Daily Edit
( click images to make bigger )

The New Yorker

Arts Editor: Françoise Mouly

Photographer: Hans Gissinger

Food Stylist: Victoria Granof

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

Heidi: Did the confection come with the cricket?

Hans: No, we ordered the treat and then the food stylist got the crickets.

Where did she get the crickets?

From a pet, store, they were frozen. It’s a very expensive source of protein, about $500 per pound.

Did you eat the treat?

No, no one on set ate the crickets, who knows what the crickets ate, so we were not tempted.

There was a model on set, was that part of the requirement when she was cast, her willingness to eat a bug?

Yes, she had to be willing to bite into it, but not eat it.

I loved the tartas section on your site. How did that body of work come about?

A pastry chef friend of  mine in Barcelona was celebrating the 100th year anniversary of his bakery and he asked me what he should do to celebrate.

I said, “Explode your tarts”

His father knew a pyrotechnician so we shot with a high speed movie camera that captured about 300 frames per second.

How much film did you have to edit?

23,000 total frames for 15 tarts.

 

Photojournalism is such a thankless task because many people don’t want to be affected

- - Blog News

Whenever I get back from a long trip, my wife and I have this ritual. It sort of grounds me back home, lets me back in psychologically. Part of this ritual involves sitting on the steps of union square park in NYC and watching people going about their daily lives. Watching them shopping for clothes, for food, whatever – mostly watching their complete obliviousness to the hardships of another place thousands of miles away. Initially I get angry, but then I realize, that it’s all relative. That this is part of life, that most people are oblivious, because there is no other way to live. You can’t care about everyone everywhere.

via Conscientious Extended | A Conversation with Benjamin Lowy.

Is Lürzer’s Archive Worth It?

- - Marketing

I got a question form a reader about Lürzer’s Archive that was similar to another one about CA Photo Annual. Basically, are these things worth it? Both these publications are read by people in the Advertising industry so I have very little experience with them, but the panels I’ve been on they are always mentioned as sources for finding photographers. But “is it worth the $750 for a 1/2 page” in Archive, the reader asks?

My opinion, based on just listening to people, not actual experience, is that none of this is worth it unless it’s part of an actual campaign to reach potential clients. A general rule that a client must see your work in around 5 different places before they will place you on the “to hire someday” list seems smart. That means if your work appears in Archive it should also hit their desk in a mailer and their email box then possibly on a blog or magazine they check out and finally at a portfolio showing. Actually this is related to another question I got about resource books. Are they still worth it? Generally, people are still advertising in them because of the websites and events they have along with the books but also because they create additional points of contact. Don’t forget the old advertising adage: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.

Love to hear some empirical evidence from readers about this.

Real World Estimates – Bribes And Kickbacks

by Wonderful Machine CEO Bill Cramer

It seems like everywhere I turn lately I’m finding people giving “incentives” for others to do business with them. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen stock agencies offering iPods to art buyers who spend a certain amount of money with them. And recently, I’ve even run across an individual photographer offering an iPad to anyone who hires him for a shoot. One says,

“I am giving away brand new iPad 2’s (WiFi 32Gb your choice white or black) all year to any Creative Director, Art Director, or Art Buyer who hires me to shoot a campaign*. What’s the catch you say??None just my way of saying thanks.”

Sometimes this works in reverse. When I first got out of college, I worked for a photographer who had a client who asked him for a “commission” on the projects he hired him for. The client was an art director for a local television station, and the photographer was shooting publicity photos of the on-air personalities. Another photographer I know used to work for a national tabloid newspaper, and the photo editor there had a high volume of assignments to give out. He decided to create a photo agency as a side business, he hired the photographers through that agency and then took an agent’s commission for getting them the job. Those payments, called kickbacks, are like a bribe in reverse. The practice may or may not be legal, but those folks would certainly be fired on the spot if their employers found out they were taking that money. After all, the employee was obligated to serve the interests of the employer, but instead they were selling those interests to someone else and keeping the money for themselves. Some companies have explicit policies that prohibit their employees from taking even the smallest gift. Bloomberg L.P. for example, sends out a letter every November reminding their vendors not to send any Bloomberg employees any holiday presents because they want to avoid even the perception of conflict of interest.

But what if the person asking for a commission isn’t an employee bound by those restrictions? What if they have their own independent company? Recently, I had a situation involving a small ad agency and a campaign for a local brand. The project was a one-day studio shoot where we’d photograph several models, individually, on a white background, in a variety poses.

In the course of the usual exchange of emails during the estimating process, I received the following information from the account executive:

Good speaking with you today. For estimating purposes, it looks like, in rough terms, we will have:

8 billboards
3 newspaper Ads
1 transit shelter
8 posters

That is subject to change once the final deliverables have been set. But I won’t know that for a while.

As to billing, the client wants to have you invoice them directly because they have tax exempt status. Because we typically mark-up all 3rd party costs such as photography, can you bill the client your fee plus our mark up and then remit the commission to us when you get paid. For example, let’s say your cost is $10K and we add our $1.5K commission on top of that. You bill the client $11.5K and then we invoice you for the $1.5K that you pay us when you get paid. I hope this works for you Bill.

Please get back to me with your input and/or comments. I look forward to working with you!

I had to think about how to reply. I did want the job but I didn’t want to pay them a commission. So I called the account executive and told him that I was uncomfortable with that arrangement. After all, he wasn’t my agent. He wasn’t working for me, I was working for him. If he wanted to mark up my services, that was fine with me, but that was between him and his client. He told me that they always work this way and that all of their other clients and photographers are comfortable with it. I told him I had been working in the same city as him for 20 years and I never had a client ask me for a commission. I asked if his client knew about the commission, and he said, “not exactly.” So we left it at that and he never brought it up again. I’m not saying that there’s anything illegal or unethical or immoral (necessarily) about what he was asking for. It wasn’t exactly a kickback in the traditional sense. But I didn’t like that he wanted to misrepresent the cost of the photography to the client (which is different than a regular mark-up where everyone understands the situation if not the actual costs) and I didn’t want to set a precedent for future projects. Are these situations somehow different from an ordinary bribe or kickback? Am I naive to think there’s something wrong with them?

Back to the estimate. The plan was to photograph three people, resulting in one ad each. The client was a local company that did business mainly in just one section of the city (albeit with a lot of exposure, given the media buy). I first checked Blinkbid and fotoQuote. Blinkbid suggested a fee of 3000.00 – 6750.00 for three images for billboards, newspaper ads and transit poster for a year. fotoQuote came back with 5410.00. They both seemed low to me. If the client was going to lease 8 billboards for a year each, that could be $200k in media right there (small billboards lease for about 1000.00/month and large highway billboards are about 4000.00/month). So I decided on 7500.00. I planned on a day to test the pictures so we could figure out which poses would work best for the concept and layouts. The rest of the production expenses were pretty routine. Here’s the first estimate:

Maybe I came in too cheap, but the client who was previously very budget conscious, decided that they wanted one more ad and they wanted more extensive licensing. Email from account exec:

1) XXXXX would like to have a full buy-out on the rights to use the images for longer than a year and with the possibility of using them on other deliverables such as the website. Can we work this into this agreement upfront?

2) XXXXX would like to know what the certificate of insurance covers?

3) XXXXX would like you to “bury” the cost for catering/craft services somewhere else (e.g., add it into another line item) because she can’t justify this cost to her boss. Long story.

4) XXXXX does not understand the $150 for mileage. Can you please explain that?

5) Last, they are tax exempt. I will fax you their certificate.

That’s all for now. Please get back to me with questions/comments/answers.

1) To me, this meant simply removing the restrictions about where they could use the pictures and for how long.

2) Most locations and rental studios require a certificate of (liability) insurance. They want to know that a photographer is properly covered in the event of property damage or injury during the shoot. Some insurance companies charge for this, some don’t. We routinely charge 100.00 for it because whether we have to pay for it or not, it’s one more task that we have to handle, and to a lesser extent it helps pay for the actual insurance. Like a lot of expenses, there are times when it makes sense to itemize it and other times it makes more sense to bundle it into the fee. Mostly it’s a matter of doing what’s customary.

3) The client’s client’s boss didn’t want to pay for lunch for the cast and crew. Who knows where that came from, but it’s very unusual. If I’m doing a half-day magazine portrait, I won’t charge the client for any meals (though I will buy my assistant lunch regardless). But on most full-day shoots, it’s customary to bill for meals (or for catering on larger productions).

4) This line item was actually for Mileage, parking, tolls, shipping, misc. They may not have realized that we were renting a studio and that we would have to make several trips back and forth.

5) There are two parts to the “tax exempt” question. The rules vary from state to state, but in Pennsylvania, we’re obligated to charge sales tax to any in-state client (that’s not a publication) unless they send us a certificate exempting them from that sales tax. Lots of times when I’m doing an estimate, I’m not sure who’s going to pay the bill and whether they’re going to have to pay sales tax or not. If you add in the tax, it makes your price look bigger than it really is. If you leave it out, you risk getting stuck paying it yourself. So we simply say, “plus applicable sales tax.” That way, we’re covered both ways. Looking back to my client’s email, saying that his client wanted me to bill them directly because of their tax exempt status was a bit of a red herring. In all likelihood, the end client wanted to be billed directly for the photography because they wanted to know what they were paying for and they wanted to keep a lid on the “mark-ups.”

Now to revise the the estimate. Adding one more situation and expanding the time and breadth of the licensing would certainly increase the price, but by how much? Checking back with my pricing programs, Blinkbid offered up a range of 33k – 90k and fotoQuote said 7350.00. I knew that the if the client was concerned about buying lunch, they were not going to pay the photographer $90k. But 7350.00 seemed way too low. A lot of photographers say that their rule of thumb is that a “buyout” is worth triple the price of limited use. (First of all, I don’t use the term “buyout” in any of my contracts because it means something different to everyone.) I don’t think it’s a simple multiple. You have to evaluate each situation individually. There are some pictures that are going to hold up better over than others over time, or be more useful in more ways than others. In this case, the first quote was for a year, with the bulk of the value (and the most likely use – based on the long narrow format of the photos) was in the billboards. They were already planning on 8 billboards, which is a lot for a local company to rent in a relatively small geographic region. Any campaign is going to wear out after a while. I decided that without restrictions, they might reasonably use the pictures two to three times as much or as long as the original plan. That doesn’t mean that the licensing is necessarily worth double or triple though, since a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. All things considered, I decided on $18k for the fee. We “buried” the catering fee into some additional “retouching.” (I guess I’m corruptible after all.)

They signed the quote. We shot the job. They paid the bill (less the commission).

Detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department policy

- - Blog News

“If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery,” says McDonnell, “it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.” McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.

McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer’s subject has “apparent esthetic value,” officers make such judgments “based on their overall training and experience” and will generally approach photographers not engaging in “regular tourist behavior.”

via Long Beach Post.

Chris Buck’s Genuine Enthusiasm

- - Photographers

Chris Buck has been in the news lately for his controversial Newsweek cover image. This promotional video shows how his enthusiasm for ideas gets his subjects to do crazy things.

I don’t really like heroic portraits, I find them really boring. I don’t think it’s interesting when someone is celebrated in that way. I like vulnerability, I like surprises, I like when there’s a sense that you don’t know what’s happening in the picture.

— Chris Buck

via, Strobist.

The Amazing Yellow-Bordered Magazine — John Stanmeyer

- - Working

John Stanmeyer begins a multi-part blog series on what it’s like to shoot for National Geographic:

Photography on very convoluted stories often flows like this: 70 percent research/logistics, 20 percent serendipity…and 10 percent photography.

It’s one thing to pen up a story proposal based upon research collected from news stories, books, feelings and direct observation. A proposal next evolves into a “Oh shit, now I have to make this happen!”

Some stories visually speak for themselves — war/conflict, social revolutions, famine and other event driven stories are primarily (though not all) about recording the occurrence transpiring before us. Long term photography projects are meditative, layered and protracted.

They can also be riddled in logistics, especially when it’s a story being told from many locations, like the food crisis would become.

Read the whole post here.

Note: He’s got other interesting posts up on shooting a book with a holga and music. Check it out: http://stanmeyer.com/blog/