The Daily Edit – Friday

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Creative Director: Matthew Bates
Senior Associate Photo Editor: Genny Fullerton
Art Director: Jacqueline McCaffery

Photographer: Jason Florio

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

Heidi: What is the biggest challenge in doing an assignment like this?
Jason: For me the biggest challenge was the often constant sprinting and shooting, at times for 8 hours, covering up to 15 miles a day for 4 days! Running ahead of the hikers to shoot them coming towards me in the landscape. Running to catch up with them as I shot something along the way or waiting for them to become small figures in the environment .Shoot, then sprint to re-join them. Shoot, sprint, shoot.

Did you pitch this story or did they assign this to you?
Backpacker magazine approached me. The photo editor Julia Vandenoever had seen my work and also heard I had made a 930km expedition by foot in The Gambia, West Africa in 2009 with my wife, so thought I’d be a good candidate for such an assignment

Who are your backpacking companions? Was the writer one of them?
Yes, I was with the writer, Dennis Lewon who is Executive Editor at Backpacker. Dennis was a pleasure to walk/run and work with. I really enjoy working along-side writers on assignments as you have another set of eyes and ears and especially in Dennis’s case where he was the main character in many of the images, which we crafted together in number of instances. The other two folks were David Landis and his wife Anna, two intrepid young Americans, who co-founded the ‘Jesus Trail’ route. They both brought extensive knowledge of the area with them, so I not only got to enjoy the scenery and culture, but gained great insight into the area during biblical as well as modern times from them.

Still Images In Great Advertising – Jeremy & Claire Weiss

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

I reached out to Day 19 (Jeremy & Claire Weiss) after seeing this great Converse campaign, because they seem to work well as a husband and wife team. Here is our conversation about how they make it work… together.

Suzanne: This is a great campaign for Converse, who looks to be a very loyal client that allows you to create amazing campaigns. Tell us about the campaign, how you got started in the business, what your big break was and how have you hung on to Converse for all those years?
Jeremy & Claire: We shot it over 6 days all over Southern California in the spring. Converse has been great to us, that was our 7th campaign for them and at this point we all know each other so well we just go out and have as much fun as we can and take some photos in the process. Those shoots have led to so many other shoots its been ridiculous. Our son also has a lifetime supply on Chuck Taylors thanks to Jess.

We started in the picture taking business by shooting our friends who just all happened to be doing rad shit. We’ve know a lot of amazing musicians, skateboarders, etc. and we always just documented our lives. Honestly, we both saw ourselves working at a small town newspaper by this time since we both studied photojournalism and documentary photography. I started going on tour with bands in the early 2000’s because I tried assisting once and it was horrible and I need some money. I could go on tour, sell merch for an hour and have 23 hours to shoot people hanging out having fun. That led to shooting press photos, covers, magazine articles. So I’ve been making a living shooting photos for a decade now but it was nothing close to a good living until 2006ish. Claire and I started shooting together in 2005, because of a push from my old rep. I was up for a Dell campaign, but didn’t have a portfolio and we were rushing to put one together. Claire had an amazing shot of Jack Black that the rep wanted to include in my book and asked if Claire would let me use it. That made no sense to me so she said, “why don’t we just start pitching you two as a team?” It was so obvious but we never saw it. We got that Dell job and flew to London… but of course they didn’t want to pay for two tickets.

I would say our “big break” was from Natalie Flemming who pushed hard for us for a Nokia campaign back in 2006, maybe 2007? She had been following our website for years and waiting to find a project for us. When she called in our book we contemplated not sending it overnight like she asked, because we couldn’t afford the $50 to overnight it and we were too naive to know you could ask for a FedEx number. That job is how we met our current rep Giant Artists who we’ve been with since day one of the agency.

Most of our clients are repeat clients and they have been very loyal to us for the most part. I’d say 75% of our shoots this year have been 2nd or 3rd shoots with the agency or brand. We’ve made some lifelong friends at the agencies we’ve worked with and have had clients offer to put us up when we do our Day19 family world tour in 2013.

As a husband and wife team, does this confuse art directors and buyers and how is your creative process in pre-pro and on set?
We’ve been together since we were teenagers and met when we both first started taking pictures, so our whole picture taking life has been spent together. We are both a part of every step and we both shoot every job together. The #1 question on conference calls is always how it works with us shooting together and the answer is we both love shooting and we are both trying to one up each other in a fun, loving way. It gets comical sometimes us both saying “look at this”, oh yeah “well look at this!” all day. Years ago one would be more of the art director and one would shoot and we would pass the camera back and forth, but we were just always fighting for the camera so now we both just constantly shoot.

How do you keep such lose and natural feeling with your subjects when you still have to produce the work? How do you strike that balance? Do you work with the same producer?
We just have a ton of fun when we shoot. We have worked with the same team for years and we all know each other so well that it makes the environment relaxed and attitude free. On a recent shoot the client told us, “it’s so refreshing to work with you guys because you are just real people” and it was funny to us because we weren’t sure what that meant. She had been in the business for 20+ years and has done a million jobs, so what were all of her other experiences like? Were the photographers crazy or had huge egos? Maybe we are just naive, but how could you not have fun doing this job? We are getting to meet new people and be creative on a daily basis, and get paid for it! Blows my mind how anyone could not have fun doing a photo shoot.

Shit, did I even answer the question. I think our photos look natural because it’s very laid back and our subjects are actually having a great time. No model can fake having a great time, it’ll show through in their face. We have a couple producers we mostly work with but I will not tell you their names because we need them (sorry Nancy, Sarah and Wes).

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

Jeremy & Claire Weiss live in Los Angeles, CA with their son Eli.

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.


Digital Has Definitely Made My Life Easier

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One thing I can say is that having every photographer’s website at my fingertips is wonderful. We have many shoots all around the country in small towns. The Internet is the only hope I have in finding photographers in these areas of the country.  There’s also nothing that impresses me more than when I meet with a photographer to review his or her book and an iPad is pulled out. It just makes viewing a photographer’s work so much easier and it shows that the photographer likes to keep things simple.

— William Morel, Photo Editor at Country Living

via Wonderful Machine Photography Blog.

The Daily Edit – Thursday

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National Geographic

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

Photographer: Martin Schoeller

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

Never Explain Your Work

- - Photographers

I asked Ethan Levitas to tell us a little more about the picture he took for GQ that we featured on The Daily Edit last week. Here’s his response:

Jean-Jacques Naudet, the legendary editor in chief (’76-’88) of French Photo, who looks like a leading man and lives like a gentleman – and who is a gentle man – told me not to. This was years ago, at his flat in Paris, while I was showing him some rough prints of my work Broken Arm. They were strewn all over the living room floor, and as he looked them over he told me, in his deep but quiet voice, “These are great.” Then he asked, “But how did you get all the police to cooperate and pose for you? What did you say?” A bit perplexed by this, I replied, “Well, Naudet, I didn’t. And that, to a large degree, is the work.” To which he seemed to take great delight, smiled wide and said, “These ARE great.” Then he added a four letter word, poured us another glass, lit another cigarette and after a long pause looked up and said, “Never explain your work.”

And though the paradox wasn’t lost on me, I generally agree. But at the risk of stepping on my own photograph, and because I truly appreciated hearing sincerely and positively from my peers about this work, that it spoke to them, a few words.

Sam Brown’s experience is at turns unique, tragic, and inspiring. (I hope those interested will take a moment to read the text of the GQ article as well.) As I considered this sitting, I struggled to avoid any simplification that would leave the individual behind: a skin-deep representation of the trauma, a lens-based impulse to voyeurism or imposed sentimentality, or any political polemic. At the same time, Sam’s story is also Capt. Brown’s story, and cannot, and should not, be separated from the Nation which he represented and served. It is personal and it is collective. Which, incidentally, is not unlike photography itself.

Other than that, and if I may, I’d prefer at the moment to get out of the way and let my portrait, and the medium, speak for itself.

The Daily Edit – Wednesday

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Golf Digest

Creative Director: Ken DeLago
Director of Photography: Christian Iooss
Art Director: Tim Oliver
Associate Art Directors: Riva Schwartz, Doug Wheeler 

Photographer: Peter Schafrick

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

Heidi: Was that commissioned or existing work?
Peter: The piece I shot for Golf Digest was commissioned. They saw some of my personal work I shot using paint and sporting equipment (baseball, football, hockey, and tennis) plus some of the work I’ve done with paint and flowers – and they wanted something similar. Their requirements were that the equipment not be brand recognizable in order to create an powerful image to open for their ‘hot’ new golf gear.

Is that a special type of paint for your splash and crash series?
Nope. Just regular paint.

Did you specifically set out to develop that body of work? How did that idea come about?
My first experiments were with a rose, that I dunked in paint and twirled around. I then expanded the technique by doing a sports theme.

Are you using fans or is it all real motion?
It’s all real motion. I hold the club, dunk it, then swing it.

“The Making Of” shows us this must be a difficult edit because there are so many options, how do you edit this work?
Edits can be a chore! It’s so subjective, and so many of the shots each have their own uniqueness and beauty. Some are very splashy and look really amazing, some more elegant and they too look great. It’s quite easy to come up with at least 6 very unique and interesting final from a shoot like this. Usually the client has a very specific look in mind, so many times the out-takes make it into my book.

Who cleans up the mess?
The mess is somewhat controlled with a lot of plastic. We just wrap it all up and let the paint dry (I also place a piece of optical glass in front of my camera/lens). Then we dispose of the dried paint properly. I’ve got my lucky boots I wear on set, and I have a selection of paint clothes I wear as well. Although the paint can linger on my hands for a few days.

Health Care For Photographers

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I got a question from a reader about health care:

I’m shopping around for health care and it would be real interesting and helpful to see what people say and recommend in the comments section.

If you have any tips leave them in the comments. I’m sure many readers will find this helpful.

The Notion Of A Cultural Elite Is Threatening

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We now live under the hybrid tyranny of middlebrow. No serious person believes the Oscars are a list of the best films, or the Grammys the best music. Charitably one could say they represent a kind of averaging out, an index of the taste of a group of informed people. At worst, critics acting en masse, with one eye on what’s popular and one eye on what’s good, end up praising work that doesn’t upset them. That’s why there’s so much stuff that looks like art, smells like art, but when you bite into it, it just tastes of cardboard.

— Hari Kunzru, writing in The Observer, via The Great Leap Sideways.

The Daily Edit – Tuesday

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Outdoor Life

Design Director: Sean Johnston
Associate Art Directors: Kim Eddy, Shayna Marchese, James A. Walsh
Photography Director: John Toolan
Photo Editor: Justin Appenzeller

Photographer: Jens Mortensen

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

The Daily Edit – Monday

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New York Magazine

Photography Director: Jodi Quon
Art Director: Randy Minor
Deputy Art Director: Hitomi Sato
Senior Photo Editor: Lea Golis

Photographer: Moises Saman

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

This Week In Photography Books – Ryan McGinley

- - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

A month or so ago, I was watching an episode of the new cartoon, “The Avengers.” (For the purposes of this article, let’s say my 4 year old was with me. Less pathetic that way.) Regardless, Captain America turned to Iron Man and said, “Leaders lead.” I’ve heard that line a couple more times in the ensuing weeks. I suppose it’s in the Zeitgiest.

The opposite sentiment, beyond ubiquitous, is, of course, “Haters hate.” Most popular in hip hop, but now everywhere, it refers to that ever-so-glib portion of the population that likes to tear down others’ efforts, but lacks the stones to put forth their own creations. And I used to be one of them.

Oh, how I enjoyed being a Ryan McGinley hater. I was so well suited to the job. Living in Greenpoint in 2002, when he was first getting traction, I saw a photograph at Priska Juschka in Williamsburg. The lovely Dakota, naked as the day she was born, was illuminated by flash while frolicking in the black ocean. OMG, I said. How hard is it to sell a photo of a gorgeous naked hot chick? Anyone can do that. Whatever.

Then, the legend grew. He too was from New Jersey, and ambitious. Plus, he was younger than I was. When I saw his solo show at the Whitney a couple of years later, my eyeballs almost liquidated in all the seething hater-dom. “Are you kidding me,” I wondered. “How is this different from Nan Goldin?” I fumed. “He’s just photographing downtown cool kids. BFD. Could it be any more derivative?” Yes, I was jealous. But it felt so good. Because in my heart, I was sure that I was better than he, and that was all that mattered. (Fools. I’ll show them all…)

Fast forward to 2012, and the release of Mr. McGinley’s brand new monograph, “You and I,” just published by New Mexico’s own Twin Palms. Can’t review this one, I thought. I’m the charter member of the Ryan McGinley hater club, and what’s the point of trashing his book? But then an odd thing happened. I checked back in with myself, and realized that I had, at some point, transcended the hate. I suppose, as I grew up, I realized that everyone walks his/her own path. Success comes to different people at different times, if at all. Mr. McGinley was an art star, and I was just some guy. C’est la vie. And that’s when I got very curious to see this book.

Yes, it’s filled with photographs of naked pretty young things. (Far more boys than girls, if that means anything.) But so what? It’s not like he’s selling these things at a porn shop. There are easily more than a hundred plates, shot over a ten year time range. What I mistook long ago as cynical booty-peddling has clearly become the artist’s obsession and passion, as valid as anyones’. In book form, it all makes sense.

Certain symbols are repeated, fireworks, falling, caves, rivers, trees, motion, all as backdrops or partner effects to the nude youths. (Or as Joe Pesci might say, the nude “Utes.”) Much as I once saw these subjects as hipsters trying ever-so-hard, in “You and I,” it’s hard not to imagine them as nymphs or wood elves, perhaps Roman gods on a time-traveling vacation throughout the American West. (Where it seems much of the book was shot.) Yes, it all happened, and these are real people, but they don’t seem so. The allegorical/metaphorical nature of work shines.

The color palette is lovely, blues, greens, yellows. The mood is consistent, as is the shooting style. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to hang most of these photos on the wall, (particularly the cum shot, which you know has to be there,) but in book form, they’re pretty great. Definitely his own thing. Nan Goldin’s name never came up in my head, which says a lot about Mr McGinley’s evolution as an artist, and my evolution from hater to open-minded artist/writer/whatever-the-hell-I-am.

As some readers believe everything I examine is a suggestion for purchase, please do read the above carefully. You might enjoy this book, you might not. Clearly, the subject matter is kind of a love it/hate it thing. But at the very least, I can say that this book is well worth looking at, as it coalesces the vision of an important American Artist. (And now, my 27 year old self is dying a slow, painful death, somewhere deep within my psyche. Good riddance.)

Bottom line: Fantastic book, perhaps not for everyone

To buy this book visit Photo-Eye.

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

‘Zoe Strauss – Ten Years’ at Philadelphia Museum of Art

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…she continues to identify as an amateur, or at least retains certain amateur tics. Her portrait subjects are centered in the frame and square to the camera. She shares details of her working process on her blog and eschews tightly edited, gallery-style installations.

[…] It’s fair to say that Ms. Strauss has accomplished more in the past decade than many artists do in a lifetime. With more gumption than wherewithal, she spun a single idea into a magnum opus.

via Review –

Still Images In Great Advertising – Bryce Boyer

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

In today’s feature, I reached out to Bryce Boyer, because the ads he shot show great lighting, clever concepts and the importance of showing your talent to an agency and creative person using a pro-bono campaign to establish a working relationship. The pay off can be huge, many times better than spending thousands on a direct mailer. Creative people look at award winning ads and find photographers to shoot their paying jobs. In the the begining of my career as an art buyer, Jim Erickson would shoot our creative work with little budgets and it was great creative work that got The Martin Agency and Jim Erickson on the map. It is best to look at some assignments based on how they can help the future of your career.

Suzanne: I would assume this ad is a pro-bono project for Burns Marketing? Is that true?
Bryce: I worked with Burns Marketing to create these images to promote entering work into The Denver Fifty (Note: The award show is tonight), a unique advertising competition sponsored by Ad Club Denver that celebrates the region’s fifty best ideas. To honor the spirit of this contest, we developed posters behind the concept “Great Ideas Can’t Hide.” In other words, if you won’t submit your ideas to this show, Ad Club Denver will find them. That’s why every poster has a creative individual who is suddenly aware that someone is stalking them to take their idea.

Through this process, I had the privilege of teaming up with Jennifer Hohn, a fantastic art director at Burns Marketing, who was in charge of developing a marketing campaign to get creatives to submit ideas. This was my first time working with this agency. It gave me an opportunity to further expose my work to them and the Denver ad community. Fortunately, the posters were scooped up in blogs nationwide. Score!

And as a bonus, I thought this was a good time to give back to this vibrant, active ad community. I believe my creative energy should sometimes do more than move products off shelves. Twenty years from now, I want to look back and see my body of work with a sense of pride. So every year, I partner with a few non-profits that I share common values with. It’s a responsibility that has returns that benefit the soul, not the checkbook.

One more quick note about pro-bono work. There is never a convenient time to do something for free. To make it work, I have to schedule it just like any other job and give myself a real deadline. It’s easy for me to do it in my head, but a deadline makes it happen in real time.

Suzanne: Tell me about the lighting on this as the drama of the image makes the viewer stop versus a great headline with supporting image.
Bryce: For years I have built a style around complex lighting that requires a sizable crew and carts of equipment. This job had no budget, so I wanted to keep it simple. Most shots had one Kino for the key light, a Lowell DP casting a shadow from a foam core cut out of the pursuing “shadow man,” and a small Lowell Omni for fill.

But this wasn’t a one-man show. Jennifer art directed all aspects of the campaign. I pulled a favor from a Denver modeling agency called Radical Talent. I wanted to use actors instead of print models. It worked out great. We also shot a video spot edited by Stephen Zinn, had special effects added by friends at Spillt, and final color was donated by Post Modern. The print retouching was also provided by XYZ Graphics. Even though we had no budget, the whole campaign felt like it was a large job because I was surrounded by such an incredibly talented team.

Suzanne: Since this ad was targeted to creative people, did you see an increase in awareness to your work? Increase in work?
Bryce: Absolutely! I didn’t follow it too close because I shot this a week right before my son Aaron was born. At this point, I unplugged and vicariously watched the rest of the team perform the final touches. I work with a lot of local agencies and I’ve seen the posters pinned to walls all over which I find extremely gratifying. Since returning to the studio, I’ve been slammed…in a good way. I have no doubt that most active creatives in Denver saw the posters and this project will lead to more work in the future.

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

Bryce Boyer is a commercial photographer based in Denver, Colorado who specializes in photographing dynamic images of people for ads and a few select magazines. Clients include Chaco, Olay, Miller/Coors, Johnson & Johnson, Cricket, The Brown Palace, Denver Children’s Hospital, Visit Denver, and The Sports Authority.

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.

Try Not To Be Someone Else

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People told me I wouldn’t find a true style for five or ten years, if not a lifetime. It’s held true. Just when I think I have it where I want it, I look back and think it’s crap. I would stress patience and not paying too much attention to other people’s work. Shoot because you love it; shoot the stuff that resonates with you.

I try to shoot in a way that pleases me and hope to connect with art directors and photo editors who resonate with the same things. Those are the relationships that will be fruitful and the jobs that will turn out well.

via The Great Discontent: Eric Ryan Anderson. thx, Charlie