The Art of the Personal Project: Steven Laxton

- - Personal Project

Personal Projects are crucial in showing potential buyers how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or show something I have never seen before. In this revised column, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: projects are found and submissions are not accepted.

This week’s Photographer: Steven Laxton

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Cypress Hills Brooklyn

I recently bought my first house. It was a grueling ordeal but well worth it because now I call Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, my home.

In the short time I’ve lived in this vibrant, multi-cultural neighborhood it has inspired me to create a new series of work.

This community welcomed me immediately. It feels like a small town where everyone knows your name even though there are 10 nationalities represented in 12 houses on my small block alone. It feels the way areas of downtown Manhattan did when I first arrived in New York: the melting pot that makes this city unique.

I love what I have found here, even though I worry about what it might mean that I am here. The Cypress Hills of today is going to change and I am part of that change, just as those who moved here 20 years ago were a part of a different kind of change. Whilst I love the community as it is, I am conscious of how the next 20 years might change it again.

Because of that, I am driven to document the community as it is now. New York is a city that is forever evolving, and I want to preserve this moment by celebrating the people that make Cypress Hills what it is today.

Over the summer I set up a portable studio in Highland Park where the locals come to play sport, picnic and escape the city hustle and bustle and heat I asked those I met to sit for a quick portrait. These are the many diverse faces of Cypress Hills.

http://www.ba-reps.com/photographers/steven-laxton/cypress-hills

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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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

The Daily Edit – The Red Bulletin: Justin Bastien

- - The Daily Edit

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The Red Bulletin

 

Creative Director: Erik Turek
Art Directors: Kasimir Reimann, Miles English
Photo Director: Fritz Schuster
Writer: Andreas Rottenschlager
Photo Editor: Rudi Ubelhor
Photographer: Justin Bastien

Heidi: How did this project stretch you as a photographer?
Justin: This project literally stretched me in half at times with the final shoot day being very intense. We had big waves coming from two directions, freezing cold water, 130 mph rotor wash from the helis ripping into the exposed skin on my face. I spent in total about 10 hours in my wetsuit freezing my ass off, about 3 hours were spent swimming big waves and bad current in a remote location. This whole article could easily be focused on that one day in the surf ops shoot and what it actually took to get the shot. Did I mention, I love this stuff!

Did you lose any of your motor skills due to the cold?
Of course, being in in cold water for that long everything stops working. You quickly see why people can’t last very long in the cold, open ocean. Even with our super warm Patagonia wetsuits, booties, gloves, mask and snorkel on, everything just become more difficult and exhausting. It’s especially hard to operate a water housing wearing thick gloves and numb hands. It’s funny,  your lips are the most exposed and by the time you come from the water and hit cold wind, you can’t talk at all (which my girlfriend would think is good thing at times). 

You live in balmy So Cal, did you do any cold weather training?
No, I didn’t do any cold-weather training for this job. I have surfed a lot Alaska and Southern Chile over the years for fun and really enjoy these kinds of conditions and the solitude it brings. I enjoy the remote and wild places other people generally don’t go; the cold is part of that. Also, climbing in the mountains teaches you how to suffer in the cold and to be honest I enjoy the challenge and kind of like suffering. It teaches you a lot.

Did you pitch this to The Red Bulletin? and how often do you work with them?
Yes, I pitched this concept to The Red Bulletin. My cousin is in the Coast Guard stationed in Kodiak, Alaska and I visit his family every year. We surf, camp, explore the island. My cousin gave me a tour of the Coast Guard base; after seeing the place, meeting his great crew and knowing how beautiful Kodiak island was, I knew this story had to be told. It was a passion project from the very beginning. The most difficult part was getting access, which took almost a year, and then getting the Coast Guard comfortable enough to let me get  into some wild outdoor conditions with them. They trusted me, were so cool to collaborate with and so much fun. I felt right at home with the crew. Of course they made sure to torture me a bit in the “sweat cage” during our helicopter evacuation training in the pool. The “sweat cage” simulates a helicopter that goes down in the water and flips upside down. You’re trapped in the helicopter (sweat cage) as it is sinking, and you have to maintain your reference point, release your seat belt, open the door and escape to the surface while you are upside down and can’t see. It’s a great thing to practice because in a real world situation it’s going to be a lot more scary and violent.

How many days were you out there and which was your favorite and why?
I pushed for the magazine to give me an extended period of time knowing weather and access we’re going to be key to the success. I wanted to get into  big surf with bad weather and terrible conditions showcasing what kind of environment these heroic lifesavers work in. The most difficult part was the long wait because we had beautiful, sunny weather the entire time; which is very rare for Kodiak. Then things changed. We had two storms collectiong to the south of us opposite directions, forming great cross chop, rogue waves and with tons of bad weather. There’s a fine line between bad weather that you can fly in and bad weather that grounds the aircraft. Luckily, we were able to fly last minute and get two MH-60s in the air along with a few rescue swimmers for High Surf Ops training. Let the fun begin!

Was anyone from the magazine with you, what type of direction did they give you?
Yes. The Red Bulletin sent Andreas Rottenschlager, a talented writer from Austria. He had worked on intense projects in the past. We both pushed really hard to get the access we needed, the interviews, coverage, he was so great to collaborate with. We also had a blast driving around in a rusty white construction van with a yellow siren I had rented for the job while listening to heavy-metal music. Andreas and the photo editor Rudi Ubelhor wanted me to keep things authentic and shoot everything from the perspective of the rescue swimmers or in some cases the survivor being rescued. They gave me so much support and creative freedom, telling me to just do my thing, keep it real and give the project some emotion. It’s so amazing to be supported like that and have creative freedom. It really pushes the work to a new level with that kind of support from the team at The Red Bulletin

Tell us about the spaces in between taking photographs.
Most of the space in between taking the photographs was spent trying to get the next photographs underway. I often think people have no idea how much hard work goes into just getting immersed in these phenomenal situations. It’s not easy convincing the Coast Guard to send two helicopters and a crew of 10 people into a storm to shoot photographs in high surf (good thing the Coast Guard trains so hard and loves their jobs so much).  The crew on the surf ops day had a total blast, most likely laughing at me “the photographer from LA,” doing donuts in the surf all afternoon. So, the space between was spent on working with the Coast Guard to get the next shot in place and then a little bit of sleep, eating bad food and drying out wet clothes and camera gear. That shoot just destroyed almost everything we had in terms of camera gear.

What are your thoughts on risk?
For the most part, I feel like the risks I take are pretty well calculated and reasonable. I spend a lot of time preparing for the more risky situations and often times they are in environments where I feel comfortable and have already spent a lot of time, most likely for personal activities or interests. I would say the things that worry me more than anything are the elements that are out of my control: the unpredictable behavior of wild animals and people, a catastrophic engine failure or environmental hazards like rock fall and avalanches. Those things, you can’t control and it could get bad quickly. Sometimes, there’s that space between hesitation and action, where you really need to keep your self in check and make a quick decision. In general, if I have any doubts about something being safe or not, I don’t do it. I also think that most bad things happen as a result of more than one bad decision, it’s generally a series of bad decisions that get you in trouble. I think safety is also very relative to your experience and comfort level in various situations. What seems risky to one person isn’t risky at all to another. The scariest thing I have done is gone shark diving without cages, but it was mainly because I was out of my comfort zone and not well educated in shark behavior. The shark scientist I was with thought it was a really mellow and fun day in the ocean playing with a few sharks. I was terrified! I am constantly humbled in my work every single day by the people I work with and the people I photograph. Everything is at such a high level so I am always trying to catch up with everyone; physically, mentally and creatively. It’s not exactly the easiest path, but it sure is fun!

What type of watermen skills do you have and why do you think the Red Bulletin picked you?
It’s funny, I don’t really consider myself to have “waterman skills”, I just like playing in the ocean and making cool photos. Real waterman are those big wave surfers that ride huge waves and free dive to unfathomable depths. To me the whole thing was fun,  none of us could believe we were working. There’s nothing like being out in the wild ocean, feeling all of that raw, natural power and getting tossed around with some like-minded individuals that enjoy the ride as much as you do.

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Any time survival is in a title surly that adds a thrill. I saw you were photographed with “Aviation Survival Technician’s”what was the hardest part of shooting rescue swimmers in high surf ops?
“Survival.” I don’t know how people survive normal life without doing cool stuff like this. All of the people I worked on thrips project really love their jobs and and work so well together as a team. Imagine going to work every day, training hard, flying over the beautiful Alaskan ocean and realizing you are doing all of it to save lives. That’s pretty meaningful for a day’s work. Most difficult part about this whole thing was almost not getting to do it. I would’ve been so disappointed if we didn’t get the big surf day and the bad weather that we really needed to tell the story well.

What advice do you have for anyone photographing high risk situations?
I would just say in a high-risk situation you want to be very competent in the environment you are operating in. It’s difficult enough to just be in certain environments like this or in the mountains,  you really want to feel comfortable, so being there is almost second nature. Adding the element of photography and all the equipment it requires, problem-solving on the fly creativity, makes for a big challenge but that’s what makes it so fun. I couldn’t image doing anything else but this path I am on and I feel so grateful for it everyday. To travel the world, meet interesting people, always learning, being humbled and challenged.

Here’s a behind the scenes video and some content showing what it was like out there for Justin.

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The Daily Promo – Danielle Tsi

- - The Daily Promo, Working

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Danielle Tsi

Who printed it?
Bay Photo

Who designed it?
I did

Who edited the images?
I did

How many did you make?
100

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Emails: once every 6-8 weeks. Mail promos: about 2-3 times a year.

Is there a backstory to this image?
This image recently placed first in this year’s APA awards in the Emerging category, so I saw to it that it got distributed as widely as possible online (with a blog post, social media announcements and an email promo), and a mail promo to a selected list of editors and art buyers that I would like to work with.

The image is part of an ongoing series, ‘Edible Beauty’, featuring DIY beauty products made with edible ingredients and was developed in collaboration with food stylist Zoe Armbruster. Having created food images for the past six years, I was looking for new, unique ways to visually present food and produce. Changing my frame of reference – food as beauty product vs food to eat – inspired a new perspective on the subject. Where I’ve often opted for shooting in natural light, I created all the images in this series with the ProFoto B2. Instead of a prop-filled set, we kept accessories to a minimum, allowing us to experiment with different formats of presenting the finished product. In retrospect, this series represents an intentional departure from my previous approaches to food photography, and it has invigorated my creative vision.

This Week In Photography Books: Curran Hatleberg

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was just talking to a friend about comment sections. Ours, in particular. It seems like a hundred years ago, but was really only 4 or 5, when anonymous trolls insulted me each and every week.

My god, did I hate that shit.

It’s easy to say, “Don’t take it personally,” but I most certainly did. Rob must have gotten tired of my complaints, because I couldn’t let it go.

These days, we moderate, and it’s a bit of a wasteland down there. Not much going on. Tumbleweeds drifting across the information superhighway. Tarantulas creeping along the asphalt, as there’s no one else around.

Except for Stan.

Every now and again, Stan Banos, who’s been reading for ages, will pop up with a comment to keep me in check. He was there back when it was crowded, and he’s there now that it’s chill.
I appreciate his feedback, as he is intelligent, and has a different perspective than I do, so that makes for good dialogue.

If I’m being honest, I even inserted a clause in last week’s column with him in mind, and he took the bait. As I was gushing about how much fun I had in NYC, LA and Chicago, I thought it important to mention that I had not visited places where life is hard.

Places lacking the glamour of a gleaming art museum, or a cool bar with expensive drinks. After-parties are great, of course, but I’m at least smart enough to know when I’m experiencing privilege.

Sure enough, Stan chimed in to stress that life is insanely difficult for a large swath of this country, and things just don’t seem to get better. We all know there are millions of people living rough, and I acknowledged that as well, but Stan stood up and said, don’t pretend it isn’t happening.

So in Stan’s honor, I was glad to look at “Lost Coast,” a new release by our friends at TBW Books, from artist Curran Hatleberg. It investigates a culture in California, in the far North, that most of us don’t get to see, and it’s not exactly pretty.

I’ve written about books like this before, so I won’t claim that it’s insanely original. But it feels authentic, and hit me hard just now, as we’re all anxiously awaiting the results of an election that is increasingly driven by race and class.

There is no introduction on this one, and only the end-note-thank-you’s ground this as taking place in Humboldt County. (Famous for its insanely strong weed. Or so I’m told.)

A CA license plate tips us off before that, and an image with a pile of logs in front of a shipping port hints that it’s up North, but we’re not sure until the end.

I wrote last week that I had not dropped in on homeless encampments along the railroad tracks, and sure enough, some of the people photographed here look like that might be their next stop.

Even though I’ve seen worlds like this before, what really interested me were the subtle details. A father and son peering in the window of a motorbike store. You can’t see their faces, and I guess we don’t even know if they’re related, but the implied narrative screams yearning to me.

We see pit bulls, sure, but also a man attempting to cut a watermelon on a piece of cardboard, just outside the boundary of a gas station.

Another gas station, replete with no loitering sign, features a group of people doing just that.

A man with a reconstructed nose makes me think of meth and coke, hard drugs that will warp your face and ruin your life. A burned up trailer reinforces that read, suggesting a meth lab fire.

Yet one house has pink trim and a satellite dish, and another has a perfect pink rose bush outside in the yard. Even in difficult lives, people still crave beauty and a sense of normalcy.

A man has his head shaved, while showing off a hairy back, and the next picture features a bearded dude drinking Olympia, (the World’s worst beer,) while he plays with a ball made of aluminum foil.

Kids run around barefoot, a creepy-looking guy fills a gas can at yet another gas station, and a front yard barbecue looks fun, I suppose, if the pit bulls leave you alone.

I have no idea if Stan will like this book, or appreciate that I keep him in mind sometimes when I’m writing. It’s hard to remember what goes on outside your own world, I suppose, and that’s why I love this job so much.

No matter how stressed you might be, it’s important to be cognizant that even in a rich country like ours, there are too many people suffering deprivation. That’s why some will occasionally turn to a savior who promises to make it better by himself.

By next week, we’ll find out if he gets the chance.

Bottom Line: A well-crafted, taut look at hard living on the Lost Coast

To Purchase “Lost Coast” Go Here.

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The Art of the Personal Project: Jesse Ditmar

- - Personal Project

Personal Projects are crucial in showing potential buyers how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or show something I have never seen before. In this revised column, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: projects are found and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s Personal Project: Jesse Ditmar

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I bring music to every shoot. James Brown is best. I don’t think it is possible to dislike some James Brown. He can bring you up; he can quiet you down. Mostly he just makes people want to dance.

Sometimes I’ll play AC/DC. It’s a bold play because AC/DC is not background music. John Oliver walked onto set while Back in Black was playing and said “Yeah! Who the hell doesn’t like AC/DC?!” Exactly. Who doesn’t like AC/DC?

I also love to play Al Green. Occasionally I get nervous that Al’s lyrics can get a little too smooth for someone I’ve never met. Then Love and Happiness plays and that song is too good to worry about excessive smoothness. When we photographed in Memphis, I got him singing and had a hard time getting him to stop.

I’m a big fan of Stevie Wonder on the playlist. He is great to sing along to. It can be difficult to ask someone to sing on a photo shoot, but my favorite pictures can be just after someone has stopped singing. There’s a cathartic release and then some calm. I like that calm a lot.

Everyone loves music. Not everyone loves the same music, but everyone loves music. It’s a human thing, and I’m interested in humans. I love asking questions. I love shaking hands, looking someone in the eye, and getting a sense of what they’re all about.

The people I grew up watching and listening to are the ones that make me sweat most on a shoot. You have one-way relationships with these people for years before you could ever know you will photograph them. Suddenly you have to let all of that go. You have to forget you’re a fan. After you do that you can learn a lot, like Tom Hanks is a doting grandfather who collects typewriters, Patti Smith handwrites thank you notes, talking about chess makes Sting smile, and Mike Myers cares most about being a new dad.

Anne Farrar hired me to take my first celebrity portrait a little over two years ago. Since then I’ve been asked by many wonderful people to do it again. This is a selection of some of my favorite portraits in my first two years.

To see more visit: http://www.twothebook.com

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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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

The Daily Edit – Gregg Segal: 7 Days of Garbage

- - The Daily Edit

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Gregg Segal and his family amongst their garbage.

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7 Days of Garbage

Photographer: Gregg Segal

Kickstarter Campaign:  Daily Bread

Heidi: What is your message with this series?
Gregg: The seed for 7 Days of Garbage is that I wanted to call attention to a problem (consumption, waste, excess, packaging) that most of us, including me, are/were oblivious to.
Even though there’s awareness about the problem, there’s a laziness to do anything about it.  You could say we’re all victims of comfort and convenience.

Where did your inspiration come from?
I figured if you’re laying in the garbage and packaging you generate in a week, you can’t ignore it. The pictures are meant to be a wake up call and to provoke action – or at least consciousness. In a way, the subject is both victim and perpetrator, which makes some audiences uncomfortable. We tend to expect issues to be black and white/good guys and bad guys, but in reality problems are more complex. Several years ago, People magazine assigned me to photograph Bea Johnson, who, with her family, produces virtually zero waste. One year’s worth of their garbage fit into a mason jar. Bea inspired me and was one of the seeds that led to my project.

Did you foresee Daily Bread as part of the 7 Days or Garbage? or was this more of an organic evolution?
Daily Bread sprang from 7 Days of Garbage; in the process of photographing people’s garbage, I began to look more deeply at food – what we’re eating and throwing away. Again, I’m calling attention to a cultural blindspot.

We know that eating processed foods loaded with salt, fat and sugar has serious consequences to our health – and that there’s truth in the old maxim, “you are what you eat” yet many of us have poor diets. We tend to put our faith in medicines that will make us better when we’re sick rather than going to the source of the problem. I chose to focus on kids because eating habits that form when we’re young last a lifetime. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Still, there are kids eating well both here and abroad and often indigenous cultures have healthier diets than we do here at home (simple whole foods & balanced meals prepared at home). My aim is to photograph children in other parts of the world surrounded by the foods they eat in a week – and I think the results will be inspiring and actionable; I plan to share recipes and menus with viewers, which will accompany the portraits in a book that is part social commentary, part public health initiative and part international cookbook.


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Is your travel funded by kickstarter alone?
The budget I created will allow me to shoot in two regions and cover the costs of travel, crew, and equipment – and all the food I’ll be photographing. The goal is to produce the first leg of the project thru kickstarter and have enough material to present to potential publishers.

How will you pick the children you are going to photograph; how will you find them?
I’m collaborating with Dr. Maya Adam, a Stanford professor whose on-line course, Child Nutrition and Cooking has drawn a quarter million students from around the world. We’ve reached out to her students (in 80 countries) inviting them to participate and have gotten a lot of interest! So, the next step is to cull and figure out which two regions to begin with.

What did this project teach you about yourself as a photographer? how about as a father/family man?
Shooting these projects has shown me that it’s possible to achieve social change through art without being pedantic! I think it’s key for the work to have a service component, which is why, with Daily Bread for instance, I plan to highlight diets that are balanced and healthy. I’m planning to photograph in parts of the world where you find longevity and unusually low rates of diabetes, heart disease, and many kinds of cancer.  With 7 Days of Garbage, I wanted it to be clear that we’re all in this together – and all of us are culpable on some level. I felt it was important for my son (7 at the time) to see that we’re part of the problem, so we lay down in our garbage, too. A few weeks later, Hank said, “soon the world will be covered with plastic bottles. They’ll have to make giant towers to keep all the plastic bottles in. Probably a tower to the moon. 1,000 years ago, there were no plastic bottles. There wasn’t even one plastic thing on Earth. Too bad, there sure are now!” My son’s comments showed me how he (and children in general) process their experiences; though at first they may not seem to get it, the seed is planted and germinating and when you don’t expect it, a light bulb is illuminated – which is why it is key to model well!

What are 3 simple things we can do to change our habits?

As a consumer (waste)

1) Compost – rather than toss food waste in the garbage, you can compost and add nutrient to your soil.
2) Buy products with as little packaging as possible. Even small changes make a difference. Instead of buying the package of pomegranate seeds, for instance, just buy the whole fruit. More work, but less to recycle. Recycling comes with an energy cost that you can help reduce.
3) Re-use whenever possible (try not to do use something once and then toss it – like a plastic cup for a drink of water). Better to bring your own water bottle with you.

As a consumer (food)

1) Eat something green every day (ideally you want a variety of colors on your plate).
2) Don’t eat anything that has a commercial – this may sound extreme, but if you think about it, foods that are nutritious aren’t made by a corporation. It’s the processed and packaged foods, loaded with additives – and salt, fat and sugar – that you want to avoid.
3) Prepare one meal a week with your kids. Find a recipe for a dish they like and prepare it together. Hopefully, they’ll take an interest, begin to develop their palate and next thing you know, you may have a burgeoning chef!

Have you made any of these changes to your shoots that call for catering? Those are notoriously wasteful.
Yes, they are – especially those cases of bottled water. The last couple shoots I’ve done with larger crews I’ve brought gallon jugs of water and asked crew to bring their re-usable containers – still have plastic bottles – but less of them.
I often end up being the producer on my shoots and if I cater, I ask for paper plates (biodegradable) rather than the dreaded plastic – or worse, styrofoam, which takes like a million years to decompose!

When you were shooting the garbage, did they clean out the containers? 
Yes, some people washed their garbage before showing up to be photographed.
One guy even washed his eggshells! Some cut corners and didn’t show up with the really stinky stuff.
Others included everything. I had an assistant who very nearly passed out when catching a whiff of liquid leftovers that appeared at first glance t0 be milkshake but which smelled like rotting chicken! One family called to cancel mid week; they had been saving their Chinese leftovers and the husband couldn’t stand the smell any longer. I suggested they just put their trash in the garbage and bring on shoot day, but they had already lost their initial enthusiasm for the shoot.

What were some of the most striking comments from the subjects?
In general, most were taken back by how much packaging was in their weekly trash. Some (subjects and viewers) were curious why I asked them to include recyclables since they weren’t being thrown away. I explained that I was
1) calling attention to how much excess packaging we unwittingly
consume
2) recycling has a cost; trucking it to a plant, melting it down, reconfiguring it, trucking it somewhere else in its new incarnation
3) Many of the things we think of as recyclable, really aren’t. For instance, most people assume pizza boxes are recyclable and, in and of themselves, they are, but when they’re soiled with grease and cheese, the paper is contaminated and can’t be effectively recycled (paper fibers won’t separate from oils during the pulping process).

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The Daily Promo: Aaron Sosa

- - The Daily Promo

 

 

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DESDE EL AUTOEXILIO Photography by Aaron Sosa Panama City - Panama 2010

DESDE EL AUTOEXILIO Photography by Aaron Sosa Panama City - Panama 2012

DESDE EL AUTOEXILIO Photography by Aaron Sosa Panama City - Panama 2011

DESDE EL AUTOEXILIO.Photography by Aaron Sosa. Panama City - Panama 2010

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Aaron Sosa

Who printed it?
Shenzhen Longyin Printing Packing Co. – China. Publishing House Igneo/Ediquid

Who designed it?
Gisela Viloria, a great Venezuelan designer of photo books.

Who edited the images?
Two great photographers Ramon Grandal, Ricardo Jimenez and me.

How many did you make?
500 copies

How many times a year do you send out promos?
First time I sent a promotion to aphotoeditor.com, I appreciate the opportunity

How did this promo come about?
I’ll share with you the text, presentation of IN-XILIOS:Everybody knows that to emigrate it’s not an easy process, a lot of things has been said about it. The exterior landscape changes but it also changes the inner landscape. How a photographer looks at both landscapes? How to commune within himself the exterior and the interior? What remains in his gaze and transfers from the old home to the new one? These are the questions I tried to answer through 76 images (76 keys) at In-Xilios: a visual essay my experience as an emigrant Venezuelan photographer who is watching and discovering Panama, my current living place and, at the same time, rediscovering myself because, at the end, travels are exactly for that. There is no objectivity in this book, every image is a frame of mind and there’s a long time that photography stopped pretending to be objective. Each one of these images is a notation about a process -the travel, the migration- that is a initiation ritual: we set out from a state of mind to transform ourselves and return being another. On the road, all the Circes and Laestrygonians, all the landscapes, all the times we dream about Ithaca. Aaron Sosa/Kelly Martínez,  Publishing House Igneo/Ediquid

What has the response been from the book?
The book has been very well received. It is selling the USA, Venezuela and Panama. also available on eBay and on my web site. In addition, the book is already part of many libraries of schools of photography in several countries.

What type of assignments were you hoping to get through this promo or was it more self expression with no real commercial target?
It was a rather free expression. Authorial photograph has an exclusive audience. It is not “pretty” but rather photos of photos with a great deal of subjectivity.

The Big 3

- - Art, From The Field

Make America Great Again.

It implies this country of ours used be great, but it’s not anymore. We’ve gone to seed, like Ron Jeremy, and only a strong man with ridiculous hair can bring us back.

Restore our luster.

Polish the family silver to a gleaming sheen. A massive shiny cock, like the Trump Tower in Chicago. (Bad example. I actually like that building.)

It’s hard not to think about Donald J Trump when you consider America. A man this delusional is still within spitting distance of the power to conduct nuclear war. That scares me more than knowing we had a President who couldn’t even pronounce the word. (Nook-u-lur. #GodblessGeorgeWBush)

Donald Trump speaks for a segment of America that has not fared well in the new Millennium. You could argue our national economy recovered from 9/11 only by absorbing crooked money into a bubble system that crashed so badly, it took down the Entire.Global.Economy.

For all of Barack Obama’s excellence, his skills were spent just getting America about back to where we were before the Twin Towers came down.

Make no mistake. America is a flawed place with a history of causing misery elsewhere. Places like Guatemala or Nicaragua. Iraq and Libya.

But despite our black marks, I still think this country is the best in the world. I really do.

Our freedoms, of speech, thought and movement, are profoundly important. Our system of regulated Capitalism, while imperfect, creates wealth and allows for entrepreneurial opportunity.

Our people, in certain cities, represent a true mix of the all cultures and races on Earth. Everyone mashed together, living parallel lives. Striving toward parallel dreams.

A nice place to live. A safe place for your family. A new 2017 Ford mustang GT, all black, tinted down.

The American Dream.

I visited Chicago, New York and LA in the last month, the three biggest cities we have, and came away thinking the US of A was in pretty good shape.

I’ll admit from the outset I did not see the neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago where so many people are being killed. Nor did I check in on homeless encampments near the train tracks in LA.

I visited each place for five days or less, and mostly stuck to the city centers and art destinations. So make of that what you will, whether I had a representative enough sample to make informed judgements.

But you know I’m never short on opinions, so here we go.

Chicago has the nicest skyline of the 3 cities. Which means it has the nicest skyline in America. Hands down, the best architecture.

It’s also much cleaner than New York. That perpetual layer of grime that covers the ex-New Amsterdam is a part of its character. A gritty charm, I suppose.

But at 42, I was attracted to a beautiful American urbanscape, filled with phallic buildings, that looked so very good without the dirt.

Nice people there, too. Good Midwestern values. And you know what I think of the Lake.

I walked along the Brooklyn waterfront with my friends and our children at night. It was safe and developed, in 2016. There is a magic in the air, in New York, that you just don’t get elsewhere. I’ve felt it before, and so have you.

That feeling like your life could be in a movie at any minute. New York is soooooooo cinematic.

We crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, on foot, for the first time. My daughter was on my shoulders. It was late. We dodged bikers in the narrow walker’s lane.

And I think of all three cities, that experience was the one that sticks with me now. New York is iconic on a level that’s hard to match.

But LA can do iconic too. There, the mega-architecture is less about how tall, and more about how cool. I’ve seen Frank Gehry’s Disney Center before, and didn’t get to check out the new Broad Museum. But I spent hours at the Richard Meier-designed Getty Center, and that is something that you just can’t get in New York or Chicago.

Standing in the baking sunshine, looking out over the Pacific Ocean, the city at your feet. Light glinting off travertine tile. Curved building overhangs cutting up the blue sky. World class art, for free, at your disposal for as long as you’d like to be there. (I hung out for 4.5 hours. Parking costs $15, but the museum does not charge admission.)

Speaking of museums, the Kerry James Marshall exhibit at MCA Chicago was among the best I’ve ever seen. I thought I’d have to taunt you with tales of its awesomeness, but I just read on Twitter that it’s opening this week at The Met Breuer, so you need to go see it, if you can.

I didn’t get to The Met Bruer, unfortunately. Nor have I seen the new Whitney. Instead, I went to the Morgan Library, which is underrated, and the Brooklyn Museum to see the Sports photography show. I’d heard through the grapevine, (via Bill Hunt,) that it was excellent. It seemed an odd topic for an art show, but as I love sports, I had an open mind.

It’s a killer, killer exhibition, and I fell in love with a profound portrait of Lou Gehrig in the opening room. (They don’t have the jpeg available, I’m afraid.) I saw the show with my friends Richard Bram, who used to live in London and just moved back there from NYC, and Matjaz Tancic, a Slovenian who used to live in London but is based in Beijing. (Confused?)

Anyway, the two of them were arguing, playfully, in front of a London Olympics photograph with perfect light. They were discussing the intricacies of where the photographer might have stood to get the shot. They gesticulated like a couple of Brooklyn locals bickering about where to get the best pizza.

Nearby, we saw a photograph of Olympians at the first Olympic Games in Greece in 1896. Of course I know that photography existed back then, but somehow, things like that seem more like memories or myths than simple organized activities. I was surprised at myself that something like that would seem so surprising, if that makes sense.

New Jersey had the best pizza, if I’m being honest. (And I’ll ask you to trust me.) I don’t feel much like a Jersey boy lately, but Luigi’s in Lincroft was totally brilliant. Big ups, guys.

I covered thousands of miles in the last month, and came away totally inspired. Chicago, New York and LA were fun as hell. Great art, great weather, great food. So many super-cool, interesting people.

Now that I’m home, and the road is behind me, I’d like to thank everyone I met who showed me a good time, and reminded me that we need no Orange King to make us great again.

We’re pretty fucking great already.

Thomas Pelham Curtis (American, 1873–1944). American Olympic Team at the 1896 Athens Olympics, 1896. Vintage photograph, 4 3/4 x 4 1/2 in. (12.1 x 11.4 cm). Collection of Thomas Pelham Curtis II

Thomas Pelham Curtis (American, 1873–1944). American Olympic Team at the 1896 Athens Olympics, 1896. Vintage photograph, 4 3/4 x 4 1/2 in. (12.1 x 11.4 cm). Collection of Thomas Pelham Curtis II

 

Donald Miralle (American, born 1974). Men's Beach Volleyball match between Brazil and Canada, London Olympics, The Horse Guards Parade ground, London, 2012. Archival inkjet print, 40 x 60 in. (101.6 x 152.4 cm). Leucadia Photoworks Gallery, courtesy of the artist

Donald Miralle (American, born 1974). Men’s Beach Volleyball match between Brazil and Canada, London Olympics, The Horse Guards Parade ground, London, 2012. Archival inkjet print, 40 x 60 in. (101.6 x 152.4 cm). Leucadia Photoworks Gallery, courtesy of the artist

The Art of the Personal Project: Tim Mantoani

- - Personal Project

Personal Projects are crucial in showing potential buyers how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or show something I have never seen before. In this revised column, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: projects are found and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s post is to honor the life of Tim Mantoani and his work http://behindphotographs.com
From a funding page to help benefit Tim’s son and his education: https://www.youcaring.com/lucas-mantoani-668304

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We are profoundly saddened to announce the passing of our friend and photographer, Tim Mantoani.

Tim was an internationally acclaimed photographer, a dedicated husband, father, son, brother and friend. His numerous professional accomplishments are surpassed only by his love and generosity to everyone who knew him.  Those of us who were lucky enough to know Tim have struggled to find a truly meaningful way to recognize his contribution to our lives.

Many of you know Tim’s son, Lucas, a bright, enthusiastic, young man.  Though only sixteen, Luke is wise beyond his years, sharing Tim’s relentless pragmatism, sense of humor and love of life.

Please join us in celebrating Tim, by helping to fund Luke’s college education.  Our goal is to provide Luke with the opportunity to find the same joy and fulfillment in his lifelong endeavors as his dad.

Thank you for your endless love and support.

—————

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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

The Daily Edit – Wired: Benedict Redgrove

- - The Daily Edit


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WIRED

Creative Director: Andrew Diprose
Director of Photography: Steve Peck
Deputy Director of Photography: Dalia Nassimi
Photographer: Benedict Redgrove

 

These never-before-seen photographs are part of an eight-year project that took photographer Benedict Redgrove deep inside three NASA facilities across the US. He uses Alpa MAX and 12 STC cameras, stitching together multiple images to create photographs with an epic quality. “I shoot about 40 images,” he explains, “then layer them to achieve the highest definition.” Redgrove’s project won’t be complete until 2018, but WIRED offered its readers an exclusive glimpse into his epic space journey in its 11.16 issue.

Was this photo essay presented to you by Benedict Redgrove with a six-year timeline in mind?
Benedict came to us when he was three years into the project – it was just a labor of love at that point. He got in touch with us in order to gain deeper access at NASA. He thought a bit of WIRED name-dropping might help, and it did – eventually. It took three years of negotiations, and about 400 emails, to get to this point.

What type of clearance was needed for such unprecedented access?
NASA is a bit like an onion – you peel off layer after layer. We encountered a lot of “We cannot help, you need to talk to so-and-so department” along the way. But the more Benedict shot, the more the various departments in NASA understood what we were trying to do, and the more doors opened to him. It was very much a case of finding the right person to talk to at each stage.

Where were the images taken?
Benedict gained access to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, Johnson in Houston and the Smithsonian in Virginia. Next up are the Lunar Lab and training facilities.

Six years is a quite a long time horizon. Was this difficult for the magazine to commit to?
Is it difficult to commit to an elaborate documentation of NASA technology by Benedict Redgrove? Absolutely not – we did not bat an eyelid. It didn’t matter how long it was going to take. We knew the results would be a groundbreaking body of work.

How long will this be a running theme within the magazine?
It’s running across 16 pages (on special paper) in our current issue, November 2016, and of course on wired.co.uk. We also have a photography exhibition planned at our annual WIRED conference in London on November 3-4, which will also have a Q&A with Benedict himself.

Future plans?
Benedict will conclude his work with the launch of SLS and Orion in 2018. After that, there are talks of a book and an expansive exhibition with virtually life-size prints!

NASA is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government, how did this end up in WIRED UK, and how much was published in the US version?
Interest in NASA is not restricted to the US – it has universal appeal. Benedict put it very nicely himself: “To me, there is no other organisation in the world that is more progressive, more exciting or stands more for the betterment of mankind and peace than Nasa. In my opinion, it’s the greatest institution in the world. It involves, science, art, design, engineering, manufacturing, passion, belief, education, information, creation and technology. It’s always moving forward, always seeking answers and finding them, then asking more questions. They educate us, inform us not only about the Universe but also about our planet, and pass down technologies into our everyday lives.”

This collaboration was solely with WIRED UK, but other international editions of WIRED are keen on running the story too. Watch this space.

 

The Daily Promo – Doug Human

- - The Daily Promo

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Doug Human


Who printed it?

Newspaperclub of the UK.  They are a news bureau and they print traditional and digital on news print stock.  They have begun to introduce a cleaner/brighter stock to offer a snappier color and sharpness.  Still having the properties of newsprint.  I loved the alternative approach and giving modern images a throwback to something nostalgic or reminiscent of a slowly dying print industry (newspapers).

Who designed it?
Art Director and Designer Marek Hosek of Boulder CO.  He was an Chicagoan and moved out west a year or so ago.  A friend and colleague.  I went to him for guidance and an approach I would not think of.  Amazing talent and offered this format when I suggested I wanted to explore Newsprint.  He is a fantastic idea guy and I knew his collaboration would allow alternative process as well as unconventional ideas.

Who edited the images?
The editing (like my site) was done primarily by me and Marek.  I made a collection of product ideas and concepts to Marek and he suggested this layout and image selection.

How many did you make?
I went for the traditional “digital tabloid” @ 52gsm.  200 pcs @ 4 pages.  I’m in the process of creating another sample like it with different and new work.  Piece included a embossing stamp that we created to stamp at leisure on the piece, on envelopes and biz cards.  Also a rubber stamp of Doug Human Photo to add yet another stamp/design treatment.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This piece is first run of small series of promos.  I had it printed and by the time I had all of my design and mailing snafus taken care of, I didn’t begin sending until early this summer.  (Had an envelope printed and created; USPS suggested this as a no go in terms of mailing success because of placement of addresses and return).  Transitioned into a black envelope.  About every quarter or so and keeping enough on hand for leave behinds of which this has had more success.

Filter Photo Festival 2016 – Part 3

by Jonathan Blaustein

Allow me to gather my thoughts.

In the last month, as your emissary, I’ve been in Albuquerque, Chicago, Denver, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Albuquerque again, Los Angeles, and now San Diego.

In my 6.5 years writing for this blog, I’ve never had a travel schedule like that. My brain is like a gelatinous bowl of rice pudding, and I’ve still got a portfolio review to attend
in a few hours.

As such, I’m sitting at a hotel desk, listening to the white noise of the window-box air conditioner. Even though it’s mid-October, it was 90+ degrees in LA yesterday, and it’s meant to be a scorcher here in SD today as well. (Hola, Climate Change. Como estas?)

I wrote a column earlier this week, but it didn’t feel authentic to reality. I was trying to synopsize part of my journey, but it’s all too fresh. How can you look back on something when you’re still in it?

Take my morning run, for example. I just returned, and the sweat is still dense on my dirty black T-shirt. I was jogging down the sidewalk, minding my own business, when I saw a massive black cat sitting stock still on a postage-stamp lawn. That the home’s front porch was decorated for Halloween made his sentinel-pose all the stranger.

Next door, two puppies railed at their fence, presumably so they could harass the neighboring feline. On the same block, in front of an apartment building, strips of grass were cut into the parking spaces so that cars could sit atop a swath of green each night.

Who does that?

It’s a question that kept popping up last night, as I watched the final Presidential debate in a public auditorium at the Hammer Museum in LA. Surrounded by strangers, who treated political theater like the Jerry Springer show, I catcalled a few times myself.

Who does that?

The truth is, this has been a crazy month for the entire country. We all just want it to be over, but now the conclusion teases us with visions of skinheads pulling out their assault rifles to fuck shit up when their orange King loses the election.

Like I said, my mind is in that stream-of-consciousness state you get when you’re perpetually on the road. So perhaps I ought to pivot, like Hillary did, when she called Trump a Putin Puppet.

I laughed, like the rest of the room. I screamed out in disbelief, all the while realizing it really isn’t funny.

But pivot I will, to the last group of portfolios I saw at the Filter Festival in Chicago last month. I’ll try to gather myself to write a piece next week about the Chicago/NYC/LA triumvirate, and then we’ll be on to articles from the Medium Festival in San Diego soon enough.

As always, these portfolios are in no particular order. It is dude heavy today, but only because the first story was mostly ladies. (You know I’m big on keeping the balance.)

Jeff Philips has the distinction of doing the funniest karaoke bit I’ve ever heard. In fairness, I’ve only sang twice, but his riff on the Rapture last year was a bit of genius. This year, Jeff had a review with me, and I liked his new series photographing from within death metal mosh pits. (Better him than me.)

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I didn’t actually meet Rachel Cox at Filter, though apparently we just missed each other several times. She followed up right after the festival to see if I’d take a look, and of course I loved her pictures about the end of her grandmother’s life. Sometimes, work needs a bit of context, (or actual text,) to make sense. Not so here. These photos are dynamite.

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Alan Thomas had some large-format work shot in Calcutta. As he publishes books at the University of Chicago, I assumed he’d be a craftsman, and so he is. I thought these pictures shared an aesthetic with much I’ve seen in Hong Kong, or elsewhere in Asia, but capturing India this way was new to me. (They’re so well-made.)

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Ben Altman showed me a project that I’d first seen on Critical Mass last year. I wrote to him afterwards, as I was so impressed with the insanely-ambitious/batshit-crazy idea he had to dig a ceremonial mass grave in his own backyard.

No lie!

To make it even more ridiculous, he also built a faux guard tower. In his own backyard? With his own hands? It takes some massive balls to do a thing like that. I think the stark, black and white photographs of his installation are super-powerful as well. (I know there are a lot, but I think there’s a poetry to the long edit.)

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Cruising through the portfolio walk at Filter, I came across Max Cozzi’s prints. In a room filled with work, they jumped off the table. Max photographs in the Upper Midwest, and I thought his combination of color and clarity was extremely engaging.

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Tom Wagner is a long-time photojournalist, and has photographed in North Korea many times before. I know it was a hot topic last year, photographically, but I like that these pictures have a bit of sparkle from a place I imagine to be rather grim.

photo copyright ©2016 tom wagner, all moral rights asserted

photo copyright ©2016 tom wagner, all moral rights asserted

photo copyright ©2016 tom wagner, all moral rights asserted

photo copyright ©2016 tom wagner, all moral rights asserted

photo copyright ©2016 tom wagner, all moral rights asserted

photo copyright ©2016 tom wagner, all moral rights asserted

Finally, I met up with Andre Avenessian, as we’d done a review together at Filter 2015. Back then, I told him his work was not nearly as visceral and engaging as the stories he was telling me. I challenged him to up his game.

On the last day of Filter, he busted out this group of new pictures, which he makes to approximate his vision of Hell. As in, the actual place. He is Armenian, and grew up in the Eastern Orthodox tradition of Christianity, so it as always felt real to him.

As Halloween is coming up, I think these freaky-ass pictures will be just right to end this series. (And yes, in case you’re wondering, I did hook him up with Rebecca Memoli. Scary-fetishes are best shared, I think.)

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Hasta la vista, and wish me luck, as I’ve got miles to go before I sleep.

The Art of the Personal Project: Uwe Duettmann

- - Personal Project

Personal Projects are crucial in showing potential buyers how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or show something I have never seen before. In this revised column, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: projects are found and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s Personal Project: Uwe Duettmann

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For a long time, I’ve wanted to visit Burning Man. I love the location—the desert, the light there, the mood, the vastness, and how everything stands out against the landscape and becomes important. I’m also drawn to the culture of the festival, the idea of creating an open society where everybody accepts each other. And from a creative point of view, Burning Man is interesting to me because all of these magnificent people build incredible objects and art and machines just for the event.

Still, I had no real idea what to expect when I arrived, and I told myself to be open to whatever I saw. On the opening day, I took a bike ride on the playa, which is the big open dry lake where the installations are shown. I was completely overwhelmed by the sight of desert in combination with these extraordinarily interesting-looking people. It seemed like everything was floating around, constantly in motion. Even most of the vehicles were made by hand, and they made me smile because were so funny and unusual. Everything had a positive energy.

After two hours, I returned to the RV where I was staying, completely exhausted. It was all almost too much. I thought to myself that if I had to go out there again and try to photograph the people in costumes, the landscape, the vehicles, the objects—I would just puke. It felt like a constant flow of pictures.

So I decided to stay away from taking portraits and to just bike around and hang out at the playa and let my mood determine when I would take a picture. So most of the photos are taken from a distance. That’s just what felt right.

I went out before sunrise for three hours, then again at around 1 P.M. for a few hours, and then again at around 5 or 6 P.M., into the sunset and back again. At night, I always spent a few hours scoping out the mood of the playa, which was filled with illuminated people and objects.

When I returned home, I tried to interpret the photographs I’d take with my own distinct palette. The pictures I’ve seen of Burning Man are more documentary in style, and I wasn’t going for that with my project. I wanted to show the Burning Man mood.

To see more of this personal project, you can see it here: https://www.instagram.com/uwe_duettmann/

More links to Uwe Deuttmann work duettmannphoto.com
stocklandmartel.com/duettmann

—————

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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

Tim Tadder Interview

- - Working

Tim Tadder is an internationally acclaimed photographic artist. Most recognized for his highly inventive conceptual advertising photography Tadder has been ranked in the top 200 photographers worldwide by the prestigious Luezer Archive Magazine 8 years running. In 2015 Epson, the world leader in photographic printing technology recognized Tadder as one of the top influential photographers, producing a TV commercial and worldwide ad campaign featuring Tadder and his work.

Tim Tadder Steph Curry

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer? I grew up on the set of a commercial photographer in Baltimore, Maryland. I knew that I was fascinated with photography from an early age when I saw my father developing images for the first time in the darkroom. He had a black-and-white and a color darkroom in a small studio in Baltimore, and I used to watch him print pictures using an enlarger and chemicals. That was magical to me. I always thought it was amazing that you could re-create life from a camera and paper.

Tim Tadder Website

What was your path to becoming a professional photographer? I have a unique path to becoming a professional photographer. I was a high school teacher for five years, and during the summers I did mountaineering adventures. During those climbs, I would make images and host slideshows. People were really interested, and through the slideshows, I found that people liked the images that I created. I found I wasn’t a great teacher but that I really loved photography and so I decided to give it a try. I moved from South America where I was teaching and climbing to Baltimore where I grew up and had connections in the photography world. I decided I would see if I could make it for a year, mostly because that’s all the money I had saved. I worked out of my father’s studio in Baltimore but mostly for the local newspaper doing journalism while I was trying to learn the craft

Simone Bile Images

What formal schooling or training did you have in photography? After two years in Baltimore, I was really in love with photojournalism, so I decided to pursue a Masters Degree in photojournalism from the Ohio University School of Visual Communication. That program is amazing, and I highly recommend it. I learned so much in the short time that I was there not only about photojournalism but also about creating images that were capable of telling stories. I learned so much about visual communications while there. Truly so much of what we do in photography is at its very essence visual communication. Before I was aware of that, I was just making images that I thought looked interesting, but after the program, I started to make images that spoke and told stories. The resulting images were much more intelligent images, so to speak, and that process really helped me become a better photographer in a short period

Tim Tadder Website

Were your parents supportive of your desire to be an artist? Ironically my parents were not very supportive me at all. I think that my father was concerned I did not have the talent to make it as a photographer. I also think that he never really made a lot of money and I think he felt that money equated to success, and in some ways, he felt that I did not have tremendous talent, and thus would not “be successful”. There was a lot of clashing as to what I felt was a good photographer and what he saw as good or great. I can remember my mother delivering me the Help Wanted section with jobs that she thought I would like even though I was making great strides in photography. She continued to show me job openings that she thought would be great careers. I can remember her distinctly telling me that that there wasn’t any money in photography and that you couldn’t make a living as a photographer anymore but I didn’t care. I just wanted to make images, and I wasn’t concerned about money. I was working for peanuts as a photojournalist, and I was really in love with photography. I will say, though, that my father is super proud of me at this point and I think that he honestly just wanted the best for me and realized how competitive and how difficult it is to succeed in this industry. The reality is, that if you love something and that you are passionate about it I think in America you can succeed

Tim Tadder Las Muertas

Do you remember your first published image and how it felt when it first appeared? Not really, I don’t think that I was all that enamored with having a published image define me as a photographer. Ink on paper does not a photographer make. But rather the communicative value of the image. I can remember the first image I made that truly moved people and how that made me feel. I think that was always more important to me, making an image that people reacted to. I can remember getting many emails from viewers responding to how much the image moved them. From all over the world it was a powerful image, and I knew at that point in time I had important skills.

Tim Tadder Cross Fit

You shoot both stills and video. Are you more passionate about one medium over the other? I prefer stills for sure. I like the less is more approach, and with motion, it just takes more people more equipment more blah blah blah…I hate the fat in motion productions. Give me a camera and a lens, and I’ll make it happen, motion you need all kinds of stuff to do commercial work.

Tim Tadder New Work

After all this time, what still makes you passionate about the visual arts?I think how freaking hard it is to make images that move people. Truly to make a great image, it’s very hard and takes a lot of things to go right. Sure if you are a photojournalist you can get lucky, but normally it takes a huge investment of time, energy, people, etc. Greatness comes from the communicative collaboration of energy revealing itself in the well-crafted moment. That elusive search for perfection makes me passionate. If it was easy, I think I would be over it by now. Knowing that I have not done my bet work yet keeps me grinding. I will not stop until my impact is undeniable and that’s the passion.

Tim Tadder Sports

You seem to have so much creative energy in all your work. How do come up with the concepts for your projects? I consume imagery, from TV to movies to art and Instagram, I consume and consume, and I get inspired by what I see but more importantly what I do not see. I try to find voids. I try to find things that have not been visualized. Bringing new visuals to life no matter how absurd or different is a great challenge in our world today. It’s hard to have a visual impact with so much noise. So I try to fill the empty spots with something new.

Tim Tadder Website

When you go into a shoot do you have a detailed vision for the finished project or does it tend to be a collaboration with the subject to determine the result? Always. I am a great pre-visualizer. I know exactly what I want when I go into every shoot, but often I fall short. It’s one thing to see it in your mind’s eye, but it’s quite another to capture it. That’s the illusive search for perfection. We know what we want, but it is sure hard to get it. That’s search is what keeps me passionate. I can feel though that the more I do this, the more my mind and my visions are aligning…so maybe I am getting closer. I do feel I am much much better than I’ve ever been.

Tim Tadder Website CGI

Many photographers take full credit for the finished product from a shoot, but you are quick to point out that without your “team” your success wouldn’t be possible. How large is your team, how did you build the team and how much collaboration is done with this group? I think when you start it’s a very big ego thing. However, as you gain knowledge and wisdom you begin to look around and realize that individually you can only accomplish small things, but collectively you can accomplish great things. True impact comes from people that can harness the collective spirit of passionate individuals and align that energy towards a defined goal. I saw this in the people around me and when I grew up and left my ego behind, I realized that I was only as good as the weakest link on my team. I realized that the people around me love what they were doing and that I needed to embrace not only their passions but honor their contributions. That’s when it all clicked. I can’t do what I do without the support of others. No way. I love them, and I hope they love me because they make everything possible. My core crew is excellent. They are the best, and I will put them up against anyone. My normal team is made up of a first assistant that has been with me for ten years, my producer, our production coordinator, stylist, hair and makeup (sometimes two people) and a gaggle of other freelancers that contribute. The productions swell when needed, by my core is four.

Tim Tadder Website Water Wigs

On average, how much of the finished product that we see in images on your website is done in camera versus in CGI or post production? That goes from zero to a lot. There is much of my work that is captured in camera and sometimes quite a lot of post. I would say what you see is 75 percent in camera, truly only what you see in the CGI section of my website is CGI. Yes there are composites here and there, but I find the less time in the post the better the image. Less is more.

Tim Tadder reflection of Cam Newton

How many man hours went into your Tecate Calendar project including the building of props, the shoot, and CGI/post? Now that project was very very CGI and post heavy. But my favorite image in that collection was all captured on camera (The Gemini Twins shot below), so the key is to mix everything so the audience can’t quite put their finger on it..there is a great Behind the Scenes video (www.timtadder.com) on my site that really shows how this was done. That shoot was huge, and I spent weeks in Pre-production on it. The wardrobe was custom stitched, the CGI sets crafted before the shoot, the animals cast, and the cast was pulled from all over the globe. That shoot was a mission…I would say three weeks solid of pre-production and four weeks in post…but it’s unique and quite amazing. Of course, you only see what was selected by the client and how hey wanted it to sell beer, but the images I love are far more subtle, but that does not sell beer.

Tim Tadder Tecate Zodiac

Of all the athletes you have shot over the years, which one(s) would you say brought the most personality to the shoot? That’s too difficult to answer. There are so many levels of shoot energy, and sometimes the creative requires more personality than others. I will tell you Cam Newton was spectacular as a comedian and told the most jokes. Simone Biles was spectacular and amazing. But there have been so many. I love when I shoot athletes year after year sometimes for the same client sometimes for other clients, but they remember me. Sometimes they greet me with big hugs, and I feel like an old friend. That’s always surprising. I guess they liked the images.

Tim Tadder Website

Your personal projects are amazing. What inspired your Bella Umbrella project? Was that project as messy to shoot as it looks? This project was inspired by things I saw on Instagram. I had been following this LA street artist, and he did all this rad stuff with military smoke bombs. I wanted to do something with him, but he is really dark and quite theatrical. Then I saw this image with smoke and a vintage umbrella in a forest and thought that if I could simplify and elevate the elegance that I would have a beautiful collection of images. The project was a mess and destroyed some expensive vintage clothing. I think it looks easier than it actually was. We took the smoke bombs and taped them to the umbrellas, but when the umbrellas caught fire and the clothes burned, I had to take another approach. So some of these were in camera, and some were composites of smoke plates and the talent. The stylist freaked out and I freaked because I did not want to hurt anyone but we decided we could make happen without any risk.

Tim Tadder Bella Umbrella project

What piece of camera equipment can you not live without? Hmmm, I don’t really have a piece of camera equipment I can’t live without. I don’t believe the tools make the image I believe that the concept, thought, idea the passion make the image. The camera and lens are no more part of the process than a burner on a stove is to a chef.  A chef can make a meal with any type of stove, just as a photographer make can make an image with any type of camera.

Tim Tadder Website

From the behind the scenes video’s on your website, it looks like you have fun on the set when shooting. Do you find that keeping things fun puts people at ease and allows them to open up? Always. It’s a blessing and an honor to do what we do. It’s fun, but it’s really important to do a good job because people’s careers are at stake. We really must remember that we are doing something that is amazing, creative and fun. back in the day I used to get all worked up, but that never helped. It never makes a better image, so let’s make it easy and let’s make it fun so that people leave with a good taste in their mouth.

Tim Tadder Badasses on White

What does the perfect Tim Tadder day look like? Making pancakes for my kids, creating some amazing images that make people go “holy shit”, having dinner with my family and watching the Ravens beat the crap out of the Steelers on Monday Night Football.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers looking to enter this ultra-competitive industry? You better absolutely love, love, love creating images. You must be willing to work 20 hours a day for years and years. You must be willing to lay it all on the line and never give up. You must have to have a thick skin, a really thick skin, and not be deterred by failure. You have to be willing to make thousands of mistakes and keep making them until you get it right. You have to be willing to produce new work always and you need to be planning your personal work all the time. It’s never ending even for me. You can never take the foot off the gas. If your not willing to do that, then it might not be for you.

Tim Tadder Conept

If you weren’t a professional photographer what would you be doing? I’d run for President, seems like not a lot of people want that job these days.


This post is sponsored by: photofolio-io

Why did you choose Photo Folio for your website? I think the system is simple and presents my work in a clean and clear way. Clients can get right to the point. All I want is for my images to speak to the audience with nothing else getting in the way. The content management system is great and makes creating edits super easy.

Many of the world’s top photographers, like TimTadder, showcase their work with a website from PHOTO FOLIO . Isn’t it time you put the power of PHOTO FOLIO to work for you?

The Daily Edit – Fortune: Michael Clinard

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Creative Director: Paul Martinez
Director of Photography: Mia Diehl
Photo Editors: Armin Harris, Michele Taylor
Art Directors: Mike Solita, Peter Herbert, Josue Evilla, Christine Bower-Wright
Retouching and Post-Production: Zach Vitale
Photographer: Michael Clinard

Heidi: How did this come about?
Michael: I met the assigning photo editor, Armin Harris, six years ago at a portfolio event in Manhattan. It took that long to get an email back in May from him asking as to my interest in shooting a feature for their annual 500 issue on Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie and the cloud services division he oversees.

Did you pitch the 500 cover idea or did you have the assignment and the magazine wanted to see what you could come up with?
Neither. Having already shot the portrait component a week earlier at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, I wasn’t really thinking a server room could be jazzed up all that much because it’s kind of ”blah” subject matter. I’m typically sketching before shoots, but I didn’t know the server facility was being considered for the cover until Armin gave me an “extra credit” assignment the evening before leaving for Quincy, Washington.

Because the magazine publishes what they call under covers — takeoffs on a Fortune 500 cover highlighting other companies featured in the list — he asked I look for details that I could later recontextualize in post. To this end, I thought the best I’d do is some retro-futuristic version of the numeral in glowing, server lights or big, puffy clouds to play on the cloud storage idea.

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Did you have to get any special clearance to get inside this room to shoot?
Absolutely, NDAs and special concessions were being shared in the week leading up to the Quincy shoot. Additionally, I was asked to drastically reduce the amount of gear and flash units I’d typically bring in, so I got my kit down to a few heads, some niche grip items and Hasselblad’s tilt shift adapter because there were specific elements (clouds, cords, blinking lights) that I wanted to utilize to help tell this story.

Did they disable the servers?
Ha ha! No, I wish we’d been given the time to create the image fully in-camera, but I only had a couple hours to shoot multiple locations. I should note that I was given a folder of scouting pics to study before the shoot, so the only big allowance was that I was given a ten minute window to shoot in complete darkness to create the long-exposure image that opened the article.
This blue and green image was created in-camera?
Yes, it’s a 16 second exposure balanced with off-camera strobe. It is the style and direction I’d intended to take the cover since laying the number 500 in the shadows of the composition seemed doable. It was imperative I left the facility with enough image assets to create the final cover magic conjured in my sketches.

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Was there a discussion about which typeface the number 500 would take?
Yes, font and typeface was very important. At one point, we entertained a big loopy five, but Armin shared a number of Fortune 500 covers throughout the years to help the entire team hone in on the best direction. In the end, we enjoyed the idea that the viewer might need do a double take to notice anything out of the ordinary, so our representation method mimicked the orderly presentation of wires and cables already evident on the server arrays.

How long did it take to create the final cover composite once the direction was chosen?
With retouching by Zach Vitale and under the esteemed direction of Mr. Harris, we delivered the final composite in a few days. A tremendous honor and privilege to execute, the image ran as both the international cover and national TOC page back in mid-June.

The Daily Promo: Alison Conklin

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Alison Conklin

Who printed it?  
Blurb printed the promo piece. What is nice about this is that you can order as many or as little copies as you need and then of course reorder without any sort of minimum requirement.

Who designed it?
The talented group over at Curious & Company – I had a great time working with them.

Who edited the images?  
I edit all of my own images as far as color and touch-ups. For this promo I gave the designers a collection of my favorite images with notes on which ones I really wanted to be highlighted in the book and they curated what went on the pages.

How many did you make?
I made 100. I have mailed about half and the rest I hand out to perspective clients in person when we have our initial meeting.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This year I have sent out two. The first promo I made in 2016 was an editorial one focusing on my food and portrait photography and then I decided to make this one which featured my wedding photography work.

I loved the concept of using popular song names with the photos. I thought it was sort of a whimsical combination and perfect for the collection of work I was featuring. Another piece of this promo that I love is the mailing label. I wanted it to stand out right away if you were sorting through your mail and I think it achieves that. I used one of the images that Palm Press turned into a greeting card in their 2016 Wedding line for my personal note; I thought it was a fun fit.