The Daily Promo – Nye’ Lyn Tho

- - The Daily Promo

Nye’ Lyn Tho

Who printed it? 
Moo printed this for me. 

Who designed it? 
I design all of my promotional material my background is in graphic design.

Who edited the images? 
I edited and retouched all of my work.

How many did you make? 
There are currently 15 pieces in that series.

How many times a year do you send out promos 
Funny you should ask.  Sending them to Rob was actually my first time. This is my 2nd year in business for myself and I have been getting by on word of mouth but it’s time to expand.

This Week in Photography Books: Ashley Gilbertson

 

Antidote is over, and I’m happy to report it was a big success.

Oddly, it was a lot like an art project, as I visualized something new, and then went about executing what I saw in my head, so it could come out into the world.

Unfortunately, the two days since the event ended have been filled with sorrow, as a good friend had to deal with tragedy here on our doorstep.

I don’t feel comfortable sharing the details, (since when?) but let’s just say that someone’s life fell to pieces, and my friend was left to deal with the aftermath. (And we became the support system for our friend.)

We spoke about how insidious PTSD is, as it basically perpetuates terror energy in an unbroken chain. Addiction, illness and War are representatives of the worst in life, and their fingers reach into many pies.

Take, for example, the soldier who signs up to serve his country, but ends up killing strangers on the far side of the world, for reasons he’ll never completely understand. With his guns, he perpetuates misery on others, even when his cause is noble and patriotic.

And then he, or she is killed in action.

Another life snuffed.
Potential lost.
Joy extinguished.

The soldier’s death then devastates his or her family. (Or when they come home broken, the effect is the same.)

I’ve gone morbid today, I know, but I just dealt with some heavy shit, on the heels of a weekend of intensely positive energy. I’m in a strange place, I admit.

But Antidote, a weekend of hide-out bliss, was counterpointed by what happened in Charlottesville. Open-faced Nazis, carrying torches, and screaming hate at the top of their lungs.

Violence is among us, and tensions are high.
As a columnist who often discusses what’s actually going on in the world, I must say, I don’t know where this is headed, but it doesn’t look good.

When countries go to War, which is what happened under the last Republican administration, young people die. That happens every time. But the normal ways of showing such things have lost the power to move people, I’d say.

So today, in light of all the aforementioned circumstances, I pulled an older book from the shelf, “Bedrooms of the Fallen,” by Ashley Gilbertson, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2014.

It was submitted last Fall, long after it had been introduced, but I’ve never had a hard rule about only reviewing new releases. It’s mostly worked out that way, but today, we’re mixing it up.

Ashley Gilbertson, an Austrialian-born-America-based photographer, has been a war correspondent for a long time. And at one point, while working in Iraq, a soldier was killed while protecting Mr. Gilbertson’s life.

That would leave an imprint on any psyche.
A PTSD of its own, if you will.

Eventually, Mr. Gilbertson’s wife suggested a project, as he grappled to deal with his feelings, in which he’d photograph soldiers’ bedrooms.

The ones that were intact, because parents couldn’t bear to part with the memories, which were enshrined within their homes.

Our childhood bedrooms, it’s well established, are where our identities first form. Are we neat or tidy? (Oscar or Felix?)

Do we have posters of sports stars, or bikini-clad women, or none of the above?

I noticed that the UK soldiers’ rooms had a lot of DVD’s. What’s that all about?

The pictures here, shot in black and white with a panoramic, wide angle perspective, are somber. How could then not be? And it’s not that I cried. I’m too numb for that.

The pictures are straight forward, and I’ll show a fair sample below. (As I always do.) Maybe a few extra, even.

Mr. Gilbertson’s well written, extensive afterword grabbed me more than the pictures. We all receive information differently, and in this case, the story about the story was more compelling for me than the images of the story.

I doubt many of you would agree, as the photographs are excellent, and it is a photo book.

We don’t need to have favorite children, though, and I commend the publishers, and the artist, for making a book that dripped with empathy in many ways.

I honestly hope, for all of our sakes, that the world calms down a bit, and that the USA is able to find a graceful, non-violent way out of the Trumpian mess we find ourselves in.

Fingers crossed.

Bottom Line: Poignant, important book about the true cost of war: our children

To purchase “Bedrooms of the Fallen,” click here

If you’d like to submit a book for review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com

Personal Projects: Michael Johnson

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Michael Johnson

Two-Wheeled World

My project, “Two-Wheeled World,” serves several purposes–the first being, simply, my passion for the bicycle. There’s what it can do for us as individuals and for the environment. We ride for fun, for fitness, to get from here to there. We ride to free ourselves from the daily grind or to lift our social conscience. Sometimes we ride for no reason at all. We love how riding creates a cool breeze on a still morning and how, after a long day at work, hopping on a bike makes us feel like the day has only begun. We ride to make familiar places new again. We see things in a different way, experience our environment more positively. Riding a bicycle in a metropolitan environment is one of the greatest feelings of freedom one can have. It’s amazing even to be able to feel this free in a modern city.

Then there’s the community that makes two wheels their form of transportation. The second and main purpose of this series is to put real faces to those who choose the bicycle over other forms of transportation. I want viewers to take the term cyclist out of the equation and replace it with “people who ride bikes.” My goal was to put people first so policymakers, motorists and everyone else recognize that these are your mothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors. They’re using this great tool—a bicycle—and deserve to be safe and respected like everyone else.

I’ve featured people who use their bicycle for work, school, travel, play, to race, or who just want to feel like a kid again. People who are activists, artists, messengers, and commuters. My intention is for the project to humanize cyclists and hopefully make dangerous drivers use more caution, as well as show how much better off society would be if it were a two-wheeled world.

To see more of this project, click here.

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 – Cade Martin: Southwest Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

Southwest Magazine

Creative Director: Kevin de Miranda
Photographer: Cade Martin

 

Heidi: Did Derek share any reflections about his injury?  
Cade: We did not talk about the injury itself but we talked about his gravitating towards a piano after the injury. Derek dove into the shallow end of a pool at a party. After being diagnosed with a severe concussion and resting for 5 days, he woke up with an unquenchable urge to play the piano. He doesn’t even read music, but the most complex and intricate works – spanning all genres – now flow from his fingertips. In some ways, the injury itself is just a moment that marks a before and after and so much focus is on how his life has changed.

Tell us about the concept behind this shoot.
It was an honor to be trusted with this story and I was super excited when I heard about the opportunity. Kevin de Miranda, Creative Director at Pace Communications, came to me with the conceptual idea of Derek playing the piano at the bottom of a pool, it was perfect…then I just had to figure out how to pull it off. At the time, I had only photographed one underwater image before – but I loved the idea of creating something ethereal and beautiful. It was a bit of challenge logistically as well as technically but Derek was amazing throughout – as generous with his time and energy as he is with his story and his music. He was up for anything and ready for the underwater adventure.

Did Derek have any hesitation about getting into the pool since a pool where his injury happened?
Not at all, Derek was amazing from our first call and was completely game for anything and going anywhere.

Did you photograph the piano in a pool or was this done in post?
I put a piano in a pool at Matt Hyland’s 4th of July party in 11th grade and vowed that I wouldn’t do that again. Joking.We created the piano and the bench with CGI in post-production.

What were the technical challenges of this shoot?
The biggest challenge was the location honestly. We found a great outdoor pool in the Ft. Lauderdale area. We arrived and it had rained the day before so the pool water was very murky. We ultimately embraced the look and plowed ahead. I love the otherworldly effect you get with how an image captures underwater, but other than that, it is surprisingly similar to any other project as far as focusing on capturing what is needed.

Did he play the piano for you on set?
The piano was created in post-production so there was no piano there but he was always diddling with his fingers as if we was playing an air-piano.

How did this shoot inspire you as a photographer?
It would be hard not to be inspired, as a person, regardless of profession. The idea that there are gifts within even our hardest days is one that we can all learn from. As a photographer I’m inspired by characters and their stories, and by the adventure afforded to me by seeking that out. Derek’s story is utterly unique and almost unbelievable, but he is so genuine and open and accessible, I thought that was such a cool juxtaposition to capture. It’s what I enjoy most about what I do. I don’t know if I’m interested in the camera as much as the adventure, but the camera has been my trusty vehicle and we’ve developed a pretty good relationship. A story like Derek’s reminds me of the surprises and gifts I find on the other side of the lens.

 

 

The Daily Promo – Zach Ancell

- - The Daily Promo

 

Zach Ancell

 

Who printed it?
Prints were done by PSPrint. Because each promo included seven cards, I wanted to keep the costs down. I’ve used PSPrint in the past and the quality is solid and the price very reasonable. I was able to catch them when they were having a sale. 

Who designed it?
I did it all myself. I took inspiration from actual Pantone cards as well as other promos I had seen on the aPhotoEditor instagram. The hardest part was finding all the different pieces but in the end it all came together.

Who edited the images?
Again, I did it all myself. I had done a project earlier in the year for a client where we shot people on a red background (done in post). After seeing it, I realized I always shot on black or white and wanted to explore color as well. To keep things efficient, I shot everything on white and then changed the background color in post. 

How many did you make?
There were 50 promos that had the box, cards, and jelly beans. There was another 50 that just had the cards that I sent out as well. It was tricky deciding which went to which but at the end of the day 100 people got promos from this project. 

What made you want to include the jelly beans?
Honestly? I think people love food so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with adding something in there. I wanted it to be one solid color to kind of play off the project theme. I looked at M&M’s for a second but figured it being so hot this summer they might melt in transit. 

Were they all green? How much did you buy and how did you package them?
They weren’t all green. In hindsight, I think I would have just stuck to one color for all. I ended up buying a little less than 20 lbs of jelly beans in green, purple, blue and orange to match some of the cards. I purchased some small bags and basically measured it out to the best of my ability. I’m so thankful I didn’t end up running out and actually allotted the perfect amount. I won’t lie though, a couple did get eaten during the packing process.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out promos around four times a year. Not always to this extent though. Some just postcards, some posters, and some that have a little treat like this. In the end, I like to switch it up or else I get bored of what I’m sending out (and I don’t want to send it to people and for them to get bored as well!).  I will say, this is the first time I’ve sent a promo out and received emails back from people. So, I might be doing more like this one in the future!

This Week in Photography Books: Rebecca Memoli

 

I’m a little distracted at the moment.

Antidote starts tomorrow, and somehow I find myself playing roles of caterer, landscaper, teacher, entrepreneur, tour guide, and raconteur, simultaneously.

Be careful what you wish for…

Truth be told, I’m very excited. I promised you guys earlier this summer that I wouldn’t promote the retreat here, but technically I’m not, as it’s already good to go.

Following the advice I dispensed in the column a few months ago, (Build it and they will come,) once I decided to go for it, and started buying plane tickets for my instructors, the event fell into place.

But not before.

As my Dad used to say, back when he had the guts to walk away from a lucrative law career, with no guarantee of what the future would hold, “Commit to the path, and you’ll find the way.”

Things are coming at me quickly these days, so it’s great to be able to hit the couch each evening, after we put the kids to bed, and watch some high-grade content on Netflix and Amazon.

After years of having sub-par, over-priced Internet, (Thanks for nothing, Centurylink,) I’ve now got a fairly priced 40mb/second set up, so we stream to our hearts’ content. (Like the rest of you.)

Lately, Jessie and I have gotten into “I Love Dick,” the extreme, fascinating, feminist tale set in Marfa, Texas. You probably wouldn’t recall, but I did a travel series here about a trip to Marfa, back in 2012, and found the place strange as hell.

The show captures the odd mix of high-brow culture and fabulously wealthy people inhabiting a shit-box, formerly poor town in nowhere West Texas. I’m not sure I’ve been to a weirder place, unless you count Van Horn, TX, the creepy spot where we spent the night on our road trip South to Marfa.

“I Love Dick,” while putatively about the Marfa-Art-World Culture, is really a meditation on female sexuality. There have been a million think pieces, posted on a million message boards, seriously discussing the female gaze.

Shows like this are arbiters of the cultural changes afoot in the 21st Century. I could not be happier to see edgy stories like this told from the female perspective, made by female artists.

And this coming from one of biggest male feminists out there. (As I may have said before, with a wife who went to Vassar and Smith, I was always going to end up here.)

“I Love Dick,” though, has helped me distinguish between the parts of the female experience a straight white male can understand, and those he can’t.

For instance, a recent episode featured a digital ghosting effect, in which an amorphous white blob was digitally overlayed on a few of the female characters.

“That’s cool,” I thought.

But when the show was over, I turned to my wife and said, “What do you think that was all about?”

I genuinely didn’t know.

Without missing a beat, Jessie looked at me sympathetically and said, “It represents female desire.”

She was neither rude nor condescending, but it was clear that something I couldn’t figure out was exceptionally obvious to her. (Point taken.)

Speaking of points, how about I get to mine, as I have breads to bake, schedules to build, furniture to move, tents to raise, children to feed, etc.

Yesterday, “The Feeling is Mutual” turned up in the mail. It’s an exhibition catalogue produced by Rebecca Memoli for a show she curated recently in Chicago. (Rebecca has herself been featured here in articles about the Filter Festival.) The catalogue includes four emerging artists: three young women, and a gay male artist.

And as Rebecca states in the afterword: “This collection of photographs examines the concept of family values through a feminist lens.”

I think that tells you what you need to know, as each artist looks at the families they were born with, or created. Rebecca also stresses that many people don’t find support, understanding, and love from the families into which they were born, and need to build a new system from scratch.

(There it is again: Build it and they will come.)

I’m not going to describe all the projects in detail, as I think the pictures speak well for themselves. Basically, today’s book is a hot-off-the-presses, photographic equivalent of “I Love Dick”: unconventional, edgy, poignant, and showing us things from perspectives that were traditionally voiceless.

As I’m not reviewing each artist separately, I’ll tell you that the pics below are in order, and the artists are as follows: Samantha Belden, Nydia Blas, Blane Bussey, and Sarah Hiatt.

Hope you enjoy it, wish me a little luck with Antidote, and see you next week.

Bottom Line: Cool, edgy exhibition catalogue for a feminist photo exhibition in Chicago

If you’d like to submit a book for review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com

Personal Projects: Ewan Burns

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Ewan Burns

Exit Altitude 13.5K

There’s a certain apprehensive joy in reaching out of a plane at 13,500 ft. with your right foot to find the “camera step”. About the size of an Apple track pad and riveted onto the fuselage of a jump plane, it can’t be seen without putting your head outside, which completely throws you off balance. So you have to do a bit of feeling about. The wind speed is about 100 mph, and then there is the prop blast (the wind generated by the propeller), which is considerable. I’ve noticed that thinking only about my immediate goals is very useful during this procedure.

Above the camera step, vertically separated by four feet, is a simple handle, about the size you might find on a kitchen cabinet. With my left hand holding the door frame, my right hand on the kitchen cabinet handle and my right foot on the step, I cling and crouch on one leg in preparation for the skydivers to set themselves in the exit. It can take 10 to 15 seconds for everyone to put their heads and hands in just the right place, for when the count comes it had better be so.

The dive leader, whilst grasping a bar inside the plane above the exit, stands on one leg on the lip of the exit and starts the count with a whole body movement in the direction everyone will go in another second. Out (1), In (2), Out (go). The rest of the skydivers are crammed into every spare inch available both inside and outside the plane. I’ve even seen skydivers standing on the plane’s wheel, although I haven’t figured out the acrobatics required to gain that particularly exposed roost.

Skydivers jump solo, sometimes in small groups and sometimes in the hundreds (no kidding). You can Google search “Skydiving head down world record” and will find 164 of the world’s most able skydivers wobbling and weaving their way through the sky in order to find a specific designated “slot” in the prescribed geometric formation. If a skydiver is in the wrong place, the record attempt is not recognized or validated.

The count is given, and usually I like to leave a fraction of a second before the group so I can get on my back and look up at the chaotic beauty of humans who refuse to accept that falling from great heights is bad or a finale.

I’m not saying that I don’t feel apprehension at some level, but the interesting thing is that once I commit and put my energy into the doing, the fear stops and the doing envelopes me.

To see more of this project, click here.

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 – Lisette Poole: ESPN

- - The Daily Edit

ESPN

Director of Photography Digital and Print: Tim Rasmussen
Director of Photography ESPN the Magazine: Karen Frank
Creative Director, Digital and Print: Ching Wang
Art Director: Eric Paul
Photographer: Lisette Poole

Heidi: How much of your work is based in Cuba vs North American/Carribean?
Lisette: I’m mostly based in Cuba but have worked all over Latin America and in the U.S. I have a lot of personal and assignment work in Cuba which I’d say makes up 60% of the work I do right now.

 Is there a large local talent pool?
 Yes, there are a large number of talented correspondents in Cuba. I feel lucky to have worked with them over the last two years. 

Tell us about this opening image. Did you shoot this particular image for the opener?
I hadn’t planned it as an opener. I discovered that scene when I went to meet the subject at his house, Dary. We missed Dary for our first meeting but it gave me a chance to scout our location which was his house. The next day I shot him prepping for training and when I knew he’d be coming up that hill, I ran ahead. I thought it gave a great sense of place for his life and current situation.

What were you trying to draw out of the subject here?
Dary was usually upbeat and funny, but I could tell deep down he was disappointed by some of the things that happened in his career. I hoped he would let his guard down for a moment. First thing in the morning (this was shot around 6-7am) he was tired, on his way to work, he had just introduced me to his newborn son. It seemed like he was more “himself” then without his guard up. On this quiet morning, I could sense that he was out of place, no longer home, and not having reached that dream.

How did you and Lerys connect during the shoot? (Lerys is the main character, the portrait shot with the green background)
We connected because I listened. I am also Cuban and have lived there for almost three years now so we had an automatic bond. It was fascinating to me to hear the players’ stories of leaving Cuba, especially Lerys. He said that he left his house, telling his grandma he was going to buy cooking oil and never returned. He was still visibly shaken from the migration experience, spending hours on a tiny boat which was ill-equipped for the trip to Haiti. He also missed Cuba and really wanted to be home. Lerys seemed to feel defeated and didn’t want to be photographed so it took time to build confidence with him. His story reminded me so much of all the Cubans I know who’ve left like my own family and the women I followed last year as they travelled to the U.S. from Cuba through 13 countries.

.

The Daily Promo: Shaughn and John

- - The Daily Promo

Shaughn and John

Who printed it?
We got it printed through the online service Modern Postcard.  It was our first time printing through them, so we weren’t sure how the process would go.  It turns out that it was very smooth and we were thrilled that one person at the company was assigned to us and was our point person throughout the entire process.  Huge thanks to Nick Kennedy at Modern postcard for taking care of us from beginning to end!

Who designed it?
We don’t really go around calling ourselves designers, but when it comes to our work we usually have a pretty clear idea of how we want it to be presented.  Often tackling the design ourselves means cutting out a lot of back and forth and getting to the heart of the piece quicker.  For this promo we basically locked ourselves in the studio for two days straight and were able to solidify the design of the book fairly quickly.

Who edited the images?
The images were edited by us as well.  We have a wall in our office coated in sheet metal so that we can display magnet versions of our work and rearrange the edit with ease.  We both previously interned for the amazing photographer Art Streiber and one of our many tasks as interns was to print new work onto magnets and maintain the editing wall.  Sometimes ideas are so good you just have to take them for yourself.  Thanks Art!

How many did you make?
We printed a run of 500.  350 were sent out to current and prospective editorial and advertising clients.  The rest have been given out at jobs, shows, trips…and of course you guys at A Photo Editor.  Each time we create a print a promo we push ourselves to order and mail out more than we did the time before.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
The last two years we have been averaging about 3/4 per year.  The process has evolved along with our shooting careers.  Past promos include printed coasters, postcards, newspapers, and now paperback books, We are hoping to start working on a new one soon as well as out first limited edition hard cover photo book.

The Best Work I Saw at the LACP Portfolio Review, Part 2

 

I haven’t written a Trump column in months.

I was going on about him weekly, for quite some time, so I decided to take a break. It seemed healthy, as this is not, in fact, a politics blog.

Rather, aPE is about photography, so I decided that #247Trump was not appropriate.

But it’s been a while, and this being the dog days of August, when most of you are on vacation anyway, it seems like the right time to exercise my First Amendment rights. (While I still have them.)

Now that I’ve given myself permission, though, the words don’t flow as easily as I expected. I feel like the Monty Python guy, who couldn’t eat another bite, because it really has been absurdity-overload lately.

I was discussing it with my Dad the other day, and we agreed that while the national crisis may have been bigger during the Nixon 70’s, with crazy protests and riots, the Trump political scandal is far worse.

I’ve got a good memory, and even I can’t keep all these daily dramas straight.

But here are a few.

The President’s chosen communications director sought an on-the-record interview with The New Yorker, for crying out loud, and then said, of the President’s chief strategist, that he likes to fellate himself.

Oh, and he also threatened to kill the President’s Chief of Staff. (Who was subsequently fired post haste.)

Ironically, the Mooch was out before his paperwork was filed. (And before godsend Mario Cantone could franchise this impression.)

What else?

Oh, right, there was that Trump Jr/Jared Kushner meeting with Russian spies who offered dirt on Hillary Clinton, after their government had stolen a trove of her campaign’s emails.

And Donald Sr started Tweeting about her emails the same day.

This, and so much more, has unfolded in the press while a non-partisan former FBI director looks carefully into the President’s shady-Russian-Mafia connections.

At one point this winter, as my mother likes to remind me, I said it all resembles “House of Cards” + “The Americans,” and that seems to get truer each day.

The stuff Netflix and FOX made up as dramatic fantasy is actually no less salacious, at this point, than the Real.Fucking.Thing.

Welcome to August of 2017.

As I wrote here last year, I had my first premonition things might go awry when I was in Los Angeles in late October, and watched the 3rd Presidential debate at a theater in the Hammer Museum at UCLA.

“Not a puppet, not a puppet, you’re the puppet” drew laughter like we were watching “Chapelle’s Show.” Trump read as entertainment, to us, and he was damn entertaining.

But we were in literally the bluest bubble in America, and I felt uncomfortable with the elephant in the room: that millions of our fellow countrymen took him seriously, and agreed with many of the deranged things he said.

Now, just minutes ago, I read on CNN that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the President’s own spokesperson, was forced to admit that Trump had told untruths about two things. (He said he’d received phone calls that he had not.)

But she shied away from the word “lied,” because she felt it was too harsh.

Yes, that trip to LA gave my spider sense the tingles, but when I returned a couple of weeks ago, 6 months into the shitshow that is Trump’s presidency, few people were talking about him.

It’s almost like he’s Voldemort for many of us. Keep your head down, and hope it ends before he kills us all. (North Korea can now reach LA with a nuke, they say.)

I didn’t talk much Trump in Los Angeles, but I did see a lot of photography. I don’t have the exact number, but I saw at least 25 projects at the LACP Exposure portfolio review, and am glad to show you the best work I saw.

I liked Lisa McCord immediately, as she seemed honest in a way I connect with. She showed me some work from the early 80’s, done on her family’s tenant farm in Arkansas.

Basically, Lisa said she’d felt more comfortable with the African-Americans who worked on the farm than she did with her people, who owned the place. So she hung out a lot, including with the Nanny who raised her, and people let her make pictures, because they knew and trusted her.

Images like this are seen as fraught these days, with so much tension around racism and white privilege. It’s hard not to see them as controversial, yet I sometimes think that says more about us than the pictures themselves.

Because if we take Lisa at her word, that these were her friends, more like family, than there’s nothing radical about the pictures save the color of everyone’s skin.

Dawn Watson had landscape photos in which she’d inverted the tonal curves in Photoshop, so the colors were reversed. I’ve seen similar projects, and told her about Adriene Hughes work we published here last year.

But I think showing digital’s unmistakeable hand can be a sound visual strategy, and I liked several of these pictures a lot. I told Dawn to be careful about whether she wanted to make pretty pictures, or edgy ones, as her aesthetic sensibility seemed to waver.

Douglas Stockdale, a fellow reviewer, has long run the excellent blog The PhotoBook Journal. He also makes his own books, and shared “Bluewater Shore” with me, his latest.

I’ve never seen a book that came in a plastic ziplock bag before, and that was a novelty. But I also like the re-purposed archival family images, which resonate with old school California beach culture.

I saw Eleonora Ronconi’s work at the portfolio walk, and it turned out she was engaged to my friend Paccarik, which I didn’t know. (He’s made a few appearances in the column over the years.)

She had pictures made in her native Argentina, and I thought they were lovely. Her color palette, in particular, with those rose-peach hues, grabbed my attention the most.

J. Matt is a surfer dude from Hawaii who recently moved to LA after many years in San Francisco. He’s an architect, by trade, but seems like a generally-creative-type person.

He showed me some pictures of LA that looked a bit like Dan Lopez’s from last week, and a little sample of work shot at the beach. As that’s a huge part of who he is, I checked it out on his website afterwards, and we’re sharing some of them here.

Linda Alterwitz, based in Las Vegas, had photographs made with a thermal imaging camera. I asked her if she knew of Richard Mosse’s work, the stuff with the expired pink film, and she said she did.

Little did I know, but he’s done work with thermal imaging cameras as well. So what, though, as I highly doubt Linda knew about it when she was lent a camera by a manufacturer.

The figurative images are wild, as are the horse pictures. And there’s a monkey in there too? WTF?

Finally, Mara Zaslove had photographs of an elderly friend, and they’ll include the only nudity we show today. (Hope that’s OK, as we’re normally SFW.)

Aging is a subject most people want to avoid. Hell, I was watching some old Westerns on TV the other day, and couldn’t believe how many old people there were.

Modern entertainment casts must be 25 years younger, on average. So I like that Mara’s work makes me think about that, while retaining some grace too.

Well, that’s it for the LA roundup. We’ll be back to book reviews next week, and I hope you’re enjoying the summer.

Personal Projects: Lise Metzger

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Lise Metzger

About six years ago, at a particularly isolated time in my life when I had less photo work and more domestic responsibilities as a single mother, I asked a farmer if I could photograph her. I’d been interested in all things food for many years, stemming from serious intestinal issues that started an exploration into how the food we eat and the way it’s raised and distributed impact our health. It’s not a new story that our industrialized food system is not serving us. The American system of mass production and the food policies that subsidize that system have created an unhealthy diet using unsustainable methods. Cheap, over-processed food poisons our bodies, exploits our animals and food workers, degrades our land, pollutes our water, and depletes our natural resources.

Such an inquiry into food, naturally, leads to the farmer.

So I started to visit Shannon’s farm to make pictures but also to hang out with her—to inhabit another woman’s life for a brief while and escape my own. The shooting I was doing was so unlike the work I was known for. It was just Shannon, me, and my camera. No styling, no lights. Just life as it was happening. I kept the work private for a very long time, because it was something I was doing just for myself.

I was curious about other women who took up the hard work of farming, and I wondered if there were many of them. Little did I know. One of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S. is women farmers, and they are more likely to pursue a kind of farming that really interests me: sustainable (organic, whether certified or not), small scale, independent.

I began to photograph more women. Each one has a rich story and a depth of knowledge about growing and raising food and is pursuing her vision of a life with meaning and purpose. The need to share each farmer’s story—in words as well as photos–was strong, and in 2016 I launched Grounded Women as a blog.

Life makes sense to me when I am on a farm; I feel centered and healthy. But farming isn’t a choice many of us want or can make. I share these stories of real women growing real food to inspire us all to create our own authentic life, to have our own healthy relationship to the earth and food, and to do our part—as each of us can—to heal our planet and ourselves.

 

 

To see more of this project, click here.

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.

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Stills and Video for a Pharmaceutical Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Individual portraits of three women against a white background

Licensing: Unlimited use (excluding OOH) of up to three images for two years

Location: A studio in the Northeast

Shoot Days: One

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Small, based in the Northeast

Client: Large pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: 

The concept was straightforward: the agency/client hoped to photograph three women of a specific demographic individually against a white background. The agency was redesigning a website for a new drug the pharmaceutical company was manufacturing, and while this would be the main use for the images, they also had plans to run a few consumer-facing print ads over the course of two years. Additionally, they were considering the possibility of creating cinemagraphs of each woman, however, the exact creative concept for this was still being developed.

While the simple concept put strong downward pressure on the fee, their requested usage drove it up. I decided to price the first image at $6,000 and the second and third images at $2,000 each as it was clear based on the creative brief that one of the women would be the “hero” talent and her portrait would be used much more heavily than the others. $10,000 felt a bit low at first, but considering the client’s intended use, the straightforward nature of the project, and the fact that there were a handful of other known local photographers in the mix for the project, I felt it was in the right spot.

As for the cinemagraphs, the agency asked to see ballpark costs to add them later if desired, so we noted an optional creative/licensing fee of $2,000 in the job description section of the estimate (we also noted the expenses, which I’ll detail later). I based this on $1,000 for the first, and $500 each for the second and third cinemagraphs, which would live on their website if they chose to move forward with this option.

Assistant and Digital Tech: The photographer was comfortable with just one assistant, and we included a digital tech for $500 while including another $500 for their workstation.

Producer and Production Assistant: This included two prep days, one shoot day, and one wrap day for a producer, and they’d bring along an assistant for the shoot day to be an extra set of hands throughout the production.

Hair/Makeup and Wardrobe Stylists: We just needed one hair/makeup stylist since there were only three women, and we’d have plenty of time to get each one ready on the shoot day. As for wardrobe, I included two prep days and one shoot day for the wardrobe stylist, and two prep days, one shoot day and one wrap/return day for their assistant. The agency anticipated that we’d shoot each of the three women in two different outfits, so I included $250 per outfit for six total non-returnable outfits.

Casting and Talent: This particular market had relatively affordable casting and talent rates, and we included one live casting day and a talent rate that would easily attract a wide pool of talent to choose from. The rate was a bit higher than I’d typically include for this market/usage, however, we wanted to provide the talent with an incentive for their likeness to be used to promote a drug while portraying them as a person who may be afflicted with a certain sensitive illness. Additionally, the client requested an optional rate if they were to acquire exclusivity on the talent for this within the pharmaceutical industry, and we noted the appropriate increase in the rate, which was based on a conversation I had with our casting director.

Studio Rental and Equipment: We included one day for a local studio, and added an equipment fee to either use the photographer’s personal equipment or cover rentals from the studio or local rental houses if needed. We also detailed that if they wanted to create cinemagraphs, that it would likely require an increase in the studio expense to afford a better-equipped space for capturing video (mainly appropriate power/electric access). Additionally, if video for the cinemagraphs were to be captured, we would need to light the entire set with continuous lights as opposed to strobes, so we detailed a price increase to include a grip, gaffer, grip truck and plenty of lighting in order to achieve this.

Catering: There would be 17 people on the set, and I included $65 per person for breakfast and lunch.

Parking, Production Supplies, Misc.: This just covered $100 in parking, $100 in supplies such as tables/chairs, and $100 for any unforeseeable expenses that might have presented themselves during the shoot.

Shoot Processing for Client Review and Retouching: We included $250 for the photographer to go through all of the shots and do a basic once-over in order to present a web gallery of options to the agency. Additionally, we included $375 per image to cover the time it would take a retoucher to process the images and swap background colors, which is something the agency mentioned would be a possibility as they developed new brand colors for the client.

Feedback: The estimate was well received, however, the agency had a few updates they wanted us to include. Primarily, they wanted to include four women, instead of three. Additionally, they wanted to include the fees/expenses for both still images and cinemagraphs within the estimate, and they asked for us to include the talent rates with exclusivity as well.

For the creative/licensing fee, we already quoted an optional rate of an additional $2,000 to include the cinemagraphs in the first estimate, so now we needed to figure out what one additional image and one additional cinemagraph was worth for the fourth talent. I determined the image was worth $2,000 (the same as images 2 and 3), the cinemagraph was worth about $500, so I rounded this up to an additional $3,000, totaling a $15,000 fee.

This of course also impacted our expenses. We added additional wardrobe along with the talent rates requested, adjusted for catering, misc. expenses, and retouching while adding a hair/makeup stylist assistant to help move the shoot along since we had one extra talent to prep. We increased the studio as well to accommodate the equipment, crew size, and electrical access needed for the video, and we incorporated the grip, gaffer, and additional lighting equipment into a single line item. We also noted a TBD overtime rate, as we were now proposing to shoot four talent, each in two different outfits, with stills and video for each. While that would take a while, I was still confident we could make that work in a 10-hour shoot day, but I wanted to note the rate ahead of time.

Here was the revised estimate:

Feedback: Again, the estimate was well received, however, they decided to revert back to three talent, instead of four. Also, at this point, the cinemagraphs became better defined as we started to inquire more about the creative concept. The success of a cinemagraph typically relies on some sort of environmental element moving or changing in some way, but since we were just capturing a few women in front of a white background, our options were pretty limited. After a creative call with the agency, it turned out that they just hoped to capture short videos of the women making subtle changes to their expression and slightly moving their bodies (often referred to as “video portraits”), and we were told that the agency would handle the video editing.

We made a few tweaks to our estimate, and submitted the following:

Results: The photographer was awarded the job, and we coordinated the production.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – Jeremy M. Lange: Men’s Journal

- - The Daily Edit


Men’s Journal

Creative Director: David Schlow
Director of Photography:
 Jennifer Santana
Art Director: Justin Long
Associate Photo Editor: David Carr
Photographer: Jeremy Lange


Heidi: Was this your first assignment with Men’s Journal?
Jeremy: No, in late March of this year I did my first story for Men’s Journal about rock climber Kai Lightner. Just a few weeks later, I got an email from DOP Jennifer Santana saying basically this “…interested in shooting a feature profile this week? It would need to be in a studio. It is a sensitive issue as the subject is in witness protection.”

I was obviously intrigued and pretty open the week so I immediately said yes and set about getting a studio rented in the area we had discussed. Some friends of mine run Shadow Box Studios in Durham, NC and they had couple open spots that week so I sent Jennifer back the possible dates.

What type of direction and information did you get about the assignment considering it was a sensitive issue?
Once we had a shoot date confirmed she sent over some details of what the images would have to be like. Martin, not his real name obviously, must be pretty much unidentifiable in the photos, so shoot in silhouette, or with directional like that obscured most of his features. Jennifer also sent over some examples of what was permissible in this situation so I could get thinking about how to get it done.

Had you done any images like this before?
Yes, I had made some portraits years ago of sexual assault victims that could not be identified so I had a little bit of experience with the general parameters, but those were outside so this situation was a little more difficult.

From there I made a few sketches in my notebook of what I was thinking and tested one or two at my little home studio to be sure it would generally work.

How much time did you have for this portrait and did you practice your light set up to be efficient?
There was no specific time frame for the session, but I generally planned on an hour in the studio. Given the constraints we had on the job, I knew that we would not be able to try too many things and spend hours playing with lighting set ups. I also have found that many “normal” people, i.e. people that are not used to being photographed all the time, are pretty exhausted by the whole thing in an hour or so. That is obviously not a hard and fast rule, but it has been my experience several times, especially in studio situations. And if they want to go home after work.

We, my assistant Ethan and I, got to the studio a couple hours early to set things up and make sure we had at least two working lighting scenarios so when Martin arrived we were ready to go. I like to take my time so it is nice to be able to show up early and play for a bit before settling on a couple things. The extra time paid off here as I was able to add a lighting element I had not considered before after Ethan and I experimented for a little while with what I had planned.

Did the subject request to see the images?
He did ask to see what I was capturing at one point but it seems more out of curiosity than out of concern. Under the circumstances, he was incredibly trusting of us to do what we had agreed upon.  He seemed to like what he saw when I showed him and we kept on going after that for a while

Did you direct him?
He had a good natural presence, comfortable in his own skin but I did direct him a bit after a while. I typically do not direct much at the beginning so I can see the gestures and positions people give of themselves and then perhaps have them repeat those, or we refine them to suit a photograph. This feels more natural and seems to give the person being photographed a sense of collaboration that helps us make better photographs. With this somewhat restrictive lighting set up, I did have to make sure his head and body were positioned in certain ways to disguise his identity but still give us a dramatic and powerful portrait. The photograph the magazine chose was one of the last setups we did, with the lights off center and raking across his face from behind. A little less standard, I think Jennifer chose a strong one.

I had produced a project in Mexico with a local celebrity where we spent $25,000 on security (24-hour armed guard and an executive evasion driver). Did this project require special security?
That sounds crazy! Here, surprisingly, no. Martin showed up on time with just his girlfriend with him, who sat in the lobby of the studio as we photographed Martin. He was incredibly low key about the whole thing, sharing some stories and some small facts about himself. Given the circumstances under which we were photographing him, it was very normal, not much different from the usual small talk that occurs during a portrait session. Some personal stories, some basic back and forth between shots.

The Daily Promo – Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj

- - The Daily Promo

Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj

Who printed it?
The promo has been printed by Gelato Globe. It’s a Norwegian company that has printing facilities around the world, so wherever you are they choose the closest facility to save shipping costs, and effectively, the environment. And as they put it on their website: “We believe that “collaborative consumption” can be the positive consequence of a “sharing economy”. We believe in sharing fixed assets – in our case sharing of print machines. And in allowing excess capacity to be intelligently allocated.”

Who designed it?
I designed it myself. I find your instagram page very inspirational and I always look at how other photographers have designed their promos.

Who edited the images?
The product shots on black background I have edited myself, the other two are edited by Martin Bo Kristensen of TheImageFaculty.

How many did you make?
I printed 50 in Danish and 50 in English, and send them out to specifically chosen people.

How many times a year do you send out promos?

I try to send out twice a year. My first promo went out in November last year, and this one went out in May.

The Best Work I Saw at the LACP Portfolio Review Part 1

 

Hollywood is hip these days.

It’s always been popular as an idea, of course.
As “Hollywood.”

But I’m talking about the actual part of Los Angeles; one section of the many that stitch together the Megalopolis. In that respect, Hollywood is just the North-Central part of LA where Hollywood Boulevard sits just above Sunset as they intersect with Vine.

The place where the Hollywood Walk of Fame resides, and Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

It’s like Times Square in New York, or Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, in that it’s clearly built for, and subsists off of tourists. There are trinket shops galore, hotels aplenty, and lots of bars next to drunk-food-restaurants.

No lie, on Selma, 1 block from my hotel, a high-end Tao sat across the street from Danny Trejo’s Mexican bar & taqueria, which was itself next to a Poutine joint. (Which I couldn’t resist.)

The guys working the counter, where they sling the cheese fries and gravy, were dressed like Canadians, in lumberjack patterning. They told me they only open up outlets next to bars or colleges. (Makes sense.)

I got accosted by some drunk guys, as I awaited my poutine, even though it was barely 8pm. They took me for Israeli, which never happens, and pretended to slap me in the face as I stood there, daydreaming.

Minding my own business.

Cursing myself for being gluttonous enough to order cheese fries and gravy for dinner.

They offered poutine topped with bacon, beef, chicken, or lots of other artery-clogging-to-the-point-they-should-have-a-cardiologist-office-next-door toppings, yet I stuck with the plain version.

And boy did it give me indigestion later that night. Big mistake, getting the cheese fries and gravy for dinner.

Wait.
Where was I?

Right.
Hollywood.

I was there to work, of course, so I didn’t sample the clubs or the bars. Instead, I limped my tired dad-bod around the neighborhood to grab food, (lacking a car, as I mentioned,) or I was next door reviewing portfolios at the LA Center of Photography.

The organization, which is now non-profit, was long known as the Julia Dean Workshops, so Julia Dean is now the Executive Director of the LACP. Apparently, they changed the structure and name about 4 years ago.

Their portfolio review, Exposure, is held in their school space there on Wilcox, and also at the DNJ Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. (Hence the multiple Ubers.)

It was a well run event, and the people in charge are genuinely helpful and friendly. (Here’s your shout out, Brandon and Sarah.) The organization has been around for a while, but the review is relatively new, as it was the first time they were bringing in reviewers from the outside. (I was joined by Brian Clamp and Elizabeth Avedon, two New Yorkers.)

Most of the people at the reviews have taken classes there before, and many had studied with Aline Smithson, who teaches Fine Art Photography for the LACP, and has for years. We’ve shown many of her students’ work here before, and I’ve been consistently impressed.

But others were less trained, so as usual, I tried to be helpful, and point out to people where their strengths seemed to lie, and where they were weak.

Today and next week, we’re going to feature the best work I saw at the review. As usual, my criteria for what to show you are based on a few simple concepts.

1. Are there enough contiguous images to show you a proper sample of someone’s ideas? (Meaning 2 or 4 good pictures is never enough.)

2. Does the selection show a well-executed vision?

3. Are these pictures at least visually pleasing, if not genuinely brilliant?

If I see that range in someone’s portfolio, I’ll try to show it here.

As I’ll be doing 3 more portfolio reviews for you guys this year, (in Chicago, Santa Fe and New Orleans,) I thought it was worth the slight diversion to explain how I choose what’s worth publishing.

So let’s get started, and, as always, the artists are in no particular order.

Silvia Razgova recently moved to Los Angeles from Toronto, having spent the previous few years living in the United Arab Emirates. (I think I’ve got that right.) She showed me pictures from the UAE, that were cool, but I was far-more-seduced by these medium format gems from her hometown of Hradok, in Slovakia.

Her color palette is pretty dreamy, and I liked a few of these very much. But overall, they fit the conditions above, as they’re well made, consistent, and show us a slice of her world, which we’d otherwise never see.

Anto Tavitian was amazed when I guessed he was Armenian. (I felt confident I was right, but you never know.) Later, he realized my trick.

“Was it the ‘ian’ at the end of the name,” Anto wondered?

“Yes,” I said, “you got me.”

That said, Anto showed me the deconstructed book pages from his BFA project at Cal State Northridge. He’d made a photo narrative about his immigrant Armenian-Syrian parents, and included the repeating motif of the tight shot of a coffee cup.

As coffee was so important to the story, he also stained the book pages with it, creating a dappled-brown effect. And the few text pieces, and one drawing, that were interspersed are cool too.

Jamie Siragusa is currently enrolled in a one year program at LACP, and was working on street photography. She’s interested in photographing children, but didn’t want to do it in a conventional way. So she’s focusing on kids at political protests.

We all talk abstractly about what our actions will mean for our children, or grandchildren, so she wanted to make pictures about those descendants now. In particular, kids who are being vocal with their disapproval by protesting in public. (Mostly with their parents, of course.)

Dan Lopez showed me a book, “Constellation Road,” which featured these LA cultural landscape photographs. I thought his sense of color and composition was really strong, and he definitely captured some of the bright harshness of the California sun as well.

(Sidebar: part of why I didn’t go on huge walks through Hollywood, rather than snobbery, was that the sun is so damn strong in July. Be forewarned.)

I told Dan I thought it was hard to separate his work from the photographers who’d come before in this tradition, as he admitted being influenced by the usual suspects. (Shore, Eggleston.) It’s tough to find an original voice, I admit, but the more we try to push away from the things we’ve seen a million times before, the more likely we’ll get there.

Last, but not least, we have Brian McCarty, whose work is the edgiest of the bunch today. Brian makes a living photographing toys, as it’s his commercial specialty. (So he’s really good at it.)

As such, he ended up doing a project in which he tries to use toys to help children in war zones, particularly in the Middle East, to process their trauma. He’d just gotten back from Mosul, in Iraq, which is an extremely active fighting spot, and admitted that he’d been shot at twice, and had been lucky to survive.

He and his organizational partners, (he mentioned the UN,) ask children to make drawings of their horror stories. Then, they re-create the situation, sometimes quite literally, with toys, and Brian makes the resulting photos.

They are strange and cool, and some of them are very sad. He often exhibits them side-by-side with the drawings, so people can see the source material. Not surprisingly, the drawings are quite tragic.

That’s enough for today, so we’ll be back next week with part 2.

Personal Projects: Kent Miller

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Kent Miller

It’s the lost processes of photography – old film, large format view cameras – that enticed Photographer Kent Miller to start this current and ongoing project. He returned to his roots and found new inspiration in the old ways of working. His commercial work began over 25 years ago before the digital rage, so shooting film again feels like returning to an old friend. Using black and white film, some dating to the early 1900’s, has caused him to adjust how he shoots, to slow down the way he makes images. This project involves finding old film, then producing images of friends, artists, creators, and everyday people who move in and out of his life. After exposing the film, he develops and scans it. When the series is completed, his plan is to print each image by hand, the old school way, in a darkroom.

Jamie McCarthy photographed in Westchester, NY for creators project. Photograph was made using a Linhof 5×7 large format camera with Ilford FP4. Developed in D76 for 8.5 min. ISO-3, F6.8 @ 1 second

To see more of this project, click here.

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 – Spencer Lowell: The New York Times Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

The New York Times Magazine

Design Director: Gail Bichler
Art Director: Michael Willey
Deputy Art Director: Ben Grandgenett
Photographer Director: Kathy Ryan
Associate Photo Editors: Amy Kellner, Christine Walsh, Stacey Baker
Photographer: Spencer Lowell

Heidi: How difficult was it to get to the location considering how remote the seed vault was?
Spencer: The seed vault actually isn’t that remote once you get to the town of Longyearbyen, which is only a couple of connecting flights from LA. You can actually see the vault from the airport up in the mountainside. It has to be accessible because it’s opened up a few times a year for deposits to be made. The biggest difficulty was dealing with the -20 degree temperatures once I was actually at the vault.

What was your security clearance process for the vault?
After some googling, I emailed the press department at the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food and told them I was working on a project for the New York Times and wanted to photograph the vault. They wrote me back saying the vault was actually going to be open the following week for a deposit and let me know I was more than welcome to come. I booked my travel and was there the next week. I assume they looked at my website but besides that, there was no security clearance.

Did you have to wear protective gear considering how precious the subject matter was?
For the shoot at the seed bank, I was wearing an obscene amount of layers because of how cold it was so no additional protection was needed. I could bare my hands being out of my gloves for a few seconds if I needed to change my camera and light settings but all the actual shooting was with gloves on.

Regarding the frogs, the staff who handled them were wearing gloves but my assistant and I didn’t touch them ourselves so we didn’t need to wear anything protective. However, we did have to clean the bottoms of our shoes before entering the facility to make sure we didn’t drag in any contaminates.

The biggest safety concern on this project was the shoot with the orangutan, Batang and her baby, Redd. Because their DNA is so similar to ours, they’re actually susceptible to our diseases. So I had to get tested for Tuberculosis the week before the shoot, which luckily I didn’t have and the shoot would’ve been called off if I’d had even a slight cold. Ultimately I had to keep my distance and wear scrubs, a mask and gloves.    

How long were you allowed in the seed bank?
I was allowed inside the vault for a total of about an hour between two visits. I also went back for another 3 visits to shoot the exterior.

How if at all do you think differently about food security, the fragility of life and our handprint on nature after this project; how did you try to convey that in your work?
We’re in the midst of the sixth mass extinction this planet has experienced. Four out of the other five extinctions were caused by climate change. The difference with what we’re seeing now is that human impact is changing the climate and it’s happening over decades rather than over thousands of years.

We know this because the ancient atmosphere is trapped in ice, which we’re able to extract from cores and study. I’ve seen a lot of images of ice melting but I felt like images of ice being artificially frozen would carry a powerful message. So, when Amy Kellner at NYT Mag asked me if I had any ideas for climate change stories, I pitched shooting the National Ice Core Lab. She was into the idea and asked if I could find any other facilities storing other natural assets. From there we collaborated on the story along with the writer, Malia Wollan until it became what it is.

It’s easy to forget that we’re a part of nature. We may live in cities and use tools but the fact is, we’re part of the natural world and are capable of causing natural disasters. With that said, we’re also capable of preventing them. That’s the main thing I learned from doing this project- that the hard work and dedication of a few can begin to counteract the mistakes our species is making as a whole.

How much underwater photography had you done prior to the reef shots?
I actually got certified to scuba dive for this job. Once I knew the coral nursery was going to be a component of the essay, I wanted to be the one to shoot it. I’ve always had a crippling fear of the ocean but I figured there wouldn’t be a better excuse to move through it. By the time I finished the scuba classes, the fear was gone.

Because I’d never shot underwater, I asked a photographer friend who has done some work underwater if he knew a good underwater assistant and he recommended a guy by the name of Mark Nakagawa. Mark is a seasoned diver and has worked in photo and video underwater so he helped me prep for the shoot and flew with me to the Keys to assist. We did four dives in the two days we were there and I couldn’t have done it without him.

Where there any technical obstacles for this project?
This was the most technically challenging project I’ve ever worked on because of the extreme shooting conditions. Between the below freezing temperatures, working underwater out in the ocean and being in the presence of living things that are either rare or no longer exist in the natural world, there was no margin for error. I like working with limitations because I’m forced to make decisions but this shoot left absolutely no room for second guessing.

What did you learn about your self creatively on this assignment?
I believe the creative process is in a constant state of refinement. I graduated from college almost a decade ago and I still strive for the same things that I did when I first started my career, I just have more clarity in vision and execution now. Creatively, my goal is to always keep things simple which I feel I was really able to achieve on this project because I didn’t have a choice. Passion for the subject matter plays a major role in my process and I find nothing to be more important than the future habitability of our planet.

What was the direction from the Times photo staff?
The whole project was a collaboration with Amy Kellner directly and Kathy Ryan and the rest of the photo department via Amy. With the exception of the Frozen Zoo in San Diego, I had multiple days at each location. So I would send Amy images with my notes from the first day’s shoot at each location and see if there was anything specific she wanted me to focus on the following day(s). If she asked for anything specific, I would do my best to deliver and regardless I would just shoot as much as possible. The clear stream of communication back and forth from the very beginning was the biggest contributing factor to the success of this project.