The Daily Promo – Rob Fiocca

Rob Fiocca

Who printed it?
CJ Graphics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Who designed it?
My team and I designed the piece together, with some help from CJ Graphics.

Tell me about the images?
The images are a collection of creatives and commissioned work over the last couple of years with a group of talented individuals. Creative collaborations with colleagues, in my opinion, always produce some of my best work.

The creative exploration on set these days is lacking. All too often the creative is already established long before scheduled shoot days. Spontaneity and happy accidents are looked upon as a negative rather than a positive in the production-heavy world we operate in today.

How many did you make?
1000 books

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
We advertise regularly in AT Edge, Workbook, keeping an Instagram presence, Facebook, etc. My Reps also advertise in a similar way, fortunately through the years because of promotion or not we have been a busy studio.

I try every couple of years to produce pieces like this, but everyday work gets the better of us. Promos effective? I certainly hope so. Digital promos are important but disposable, a unique printed piece could live for a long time.

This Week in Photography Books: Steven Bollman

 

The internet’s out, so I’m grumpy.

Yesterday, it was the electricity.

That’s life here in the Rocky Mountains. (And in New Mexico in particular.)

You learn quickly that everything is a trade-off.

On the one hand, we have the nature and the culture, both among the most unique and astonishing in the US. On the other, we have the poverty and incompetence, which compete daily in a twisted dance of darkness.

If you study ancient religion and philosophy, it’s clear that different groups of humans, in disparate parts of the planet, came to an understanding of the power and ubiquity of opposites.

In places as widely spread as Far East and Southern Asia, the Middle East and Peru, iconography or words developed to specifically describe the phenomenon.

We’ve all seen cheesy tattoos of the Yin Yang symbol, but that doesn’t strip it of its import. We Jews have the separation of Earth and Sky in the opening of Exodus, and the Chavin de Huantar culture, in the Andes, made art in which graphic lines had two purposes: strands of hair also functioned as snakes.

These days, when someone wants to discuss dualistic thinking, without any nuance, they describe it as being black and white. (We’ve all said it: he or she doesn’t understand complexity, and only thinks in black and white.)

Ironically, as any photographer knows, black and white photography is all about shades of gray. Tonal range is defined by it: how many different gray tones have you produced to create a rhythm with your whites and blacks?

Black and White photography was the gateway for almost all art students, before the 21st Century. It was the first language you learned, before moving on to color.

These days, only a tiny percentage of photographers learn one before the other. It’s almost all color now, and black and white is a niche, or a filter to slap on in Instagram when you want to be artsy. (Or when your light is crap.)

In the art world, there will always be black and white, but here too it has migrated into the realm of “alternative process.” It represents the past, from a McLuhan-esque perspective, so it can be utilized for nostalgic purposes, or to mess with viewer’s temporal expectations.

Occasionally, though, we’ll find a project that is straight-up throwback. It presents the kind of pictures that feel like they were made by a member of the Rat Pack, reincarnated for the Justin Bieber era.

That’s what I felt about today’s book, “Almost True,” by Steven Bollman, published this year by F8 publications in the Bay Area. He sent it in a few months ago, and it sat on the pile, patiently waiting its turn.

I popped it out of the cardboard yesterday, and was very glad I did. (Normally, I look and write, but this one required a bit of contemplation, as far as how to approach it properly.)

“Almost True” sounds like “Almost Famous,” another throwback project, when Cameron Crowe summoned his halcyon days as a young reporter onto the big screen.

The title also messed with me a bit, as I kept waiting until the end text to learn whether the book was something other than it appeared to be.

It seems, on surface level, to be an exceptionally well-edited group of old-school, black and white street photographs. We sense the stylistic influences of Cartier-Bresson, Frank and Friedlander everywhere, but that’s OK.

Who hasn’t been influenced by those lions, and how does one even begin to make work like this without seeming derivative?

Well, there are a few ways.

1. Make really damn good photographs, and show us a wide range of times and places.

2. Drop in temporal references that cement the project in the now, as opposed to the then.

3. Give the pictures a way to live together that doesn’t evoke someone else, thereby making room for your own voice.

I don’t think I’ve ever dropped into listicle form here before, so there’s a first time for everything. But it reinforces my point: structure can have power.

This book is broken down into sections, with clear themes, and I could feel it from the start, before I knew what it was. “Almost True” made me guess from the get-go, but I didn’t get it right away.

In Chapter 2, I noticed the contortionistic positions of the subjects, and that gesture and body positioning were the hook. So I flipped right back to Chapter 1, and noticed that every picture featured people looking up and away.

Chapter 3 was pictures within pictures, including a nudie poster, (Boobs Sell Books,) and a cool Tupac reference. Then we have people separated by barriers, and Chapter 5 is about connections between consecutive images.

For example, one image has a finger pointing, and the next is of a bird in the sky, in that exact spot. This section also gives us our first dead body. (Seemingly.)

In my read, the subsequent chapters were about women, then transcendence, men, and finally the last one screamed “film stills.”

The artist might quibble with me, for all I know, but that’s also part of creating these implied narratives: they always leave room for the viewer to complete the story.

Frankly, I think this is a killer book. I’m glad I waited a day to write, because the appreciation sunk in, despite the fact that I liked the book immediately.

Yesterday, I was in suspense, waiting to find out of any of this was fake, because of the suggestive title. But the well-written essay, by Alfredo Triff, and the simple, geographic titles, (from 1987-2017) prove it is a collection of straight photos.

There’s lots of chiaroscuro, and a high-key style in general, (not so many creamy shades of gray,) but it fits the neo-noir vibe perfectly. And including images of things like drones, (See Listicle #2 above,) also sets this apart from images made in earlier eras.

Basically, this one comes highly recommended.

Now if they can just get the internet running again, my mood might turn around completely.

Bottom Line: Excellent, compelling collection of black and white street photography

To purchase “Almost True” click here 

 

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers, so that we may maintain a balanced program. 

The Art of the Personal Project: Kip Dawkins

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 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:  Kip Dawkins

VACANT

In my everyday work as a commercial photographer I photograph luxury interior products, interiors and lifestyle. Everything, the setting, the light, the styling, is very tightly controlled. We have people combing fringe on pillows. The moments in my personal projects tend to be forgotten places, negative space. They have been allowed to decay or weather through neglect, poverty or the forces of landscape.

I happen upon them by chance. My only control is my ability to see and capture the fleeting moment when light and space and structure come together. I create an atmospheric moment that suggests chaotic forces at work. I got my original start photographing punk rock bands. I liked the chaos and the lack of control, trying to find the happy accident of the moment that comes together.

I’m drawn to these moments because I do the exact opposite every day of the week, but they’re all taken with the technical knowledge that I’ve gotten in all my years of photographing interiors and products. Technically they come out as highly refined as I can get them. It’s the highest level of processing I can do. The same amount of time goes into them as for the luxury projects, but there is no staging, no styling team and no tons of equipment. I have to wait for the clouds to part or the rain to come down on some castoff place.

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.  And on Instagram

The Daily Edit – Runner’s World: Jake Stangel

- - The Daily Edit

Runner’s World

Creative Director: Jesse Southerland
Photography Director: Amy Wolff
Photographer: Jake Stangel

When the direction is “do your thing” how do you approach/prepare for the shoot?
I’ve found my best approach to be a good night’s sleep so I can come in to the shoot with sharp mental/visual acuity, and to have some rough shot concepts/sketches in my back pocket, in case things are situationally different from that I’ve planned on. I’ve attempted to come into past shoots with a specific “plan” and exact images I want to achieve, but it ended up locking me in to a set plan and hindering the types of chance encounters I like to seek. Portraiture/sport work is also so very much about the subject and the rapport we quickly build on the shoot day, which is a beautiful unknown that I’ve learned to embrace and lean on. The best way to prepare is to keep my eyes open and observant, my attention on the subject and her environment—as opposed to my camera’s LCD—and to always have my focus and exposures dialed for every minute of the shoot, so I don’t ever miss a potential shot.

Since there was a new creative direction to the magazine what were you trying to bring that was different?
You know, if anything, it was just to stick to my guns more, make work that felt like personal work. I’d done work for RW before, including a cover, but the shoots were pretty art directed and it was one of those situations where I made images that didn’t really feel like they were mine, even as I was shooting them… I was more executing a concept. Which happens sometimes, and you just gotta move with that river as opposed to causing a ruckus and fighting the current too much. So I wasn’t necessarily trying to make “different” images for this RW cover (even though CD, Jesse Southerland told me to “not shoot for a cover”), but make work that felt intensely personal and really conveyed the story of this amazing woman, Amelia Boone, who has been through a phenomenal level of physical and emotional struggle and growth.

As an active person can you tell when you’ve pushed a subject too far for do overs? What are the cues you look for?
Mostly it’s a check-in with the athlete beforehand, and having really open communication of where she/he will be at on the shoot day. Are they injured? Are they tapering (reducing your training mileage before a major event, like an ultra)? Are they on a rest day? What does their coach say? I literally will have conversations about the mileage they can run on the shoot day, or duration of time. These athletes are often at the pinnacle of their career, and the last thing I want to do is jeopardize that in any way because of a photo shoot. I think it also helps convey to them that I’m serious about their well-being and understand their needs, and in setting clear goals and limits, it drops any apprehension they may have about being asked to physically do more than they can or should on the shoot day.

Was this all shot with natural light, if so why?
All natural light. There was no need to use lights that day. I think sometimes people forget that’s an option. Photo has gotten to be such a gear contest sometimes, and I think people whip out strobes automatically now, because that’s “what you do” on a “photoshoot”. There’s a time and a place for lights, but I was really happy with the atmospherics we had that day. Even though I had strobes in the trunk of my car, there was no need to use them, or even use a reflector. I’m puzzled by the compulsive need to use reflector to falsely open shadows. I’m not a religious person, but I believe in the power of mother nature and the atmospherics she brings out into the world, so I generally love to work with whatever she’s got planned for the day, whether it’s bright golden sun or some mystical fog or pouring rain. I love the range of natural light we see in our life, that’s my inspiration for my own lighting.

The Daily Promo – Ben Lowy + Marvi Lacar

Lowy + Lacar

Who printed it?
Smartpress

Who designed it?
We did – Marvi, Me and our graphic designer office assistant extraordinaire Nikki Auxilio

Tell me about the images?
They were all shot at the wrestling world championships in Paris. I had the exclusive responsibility to shoot every single athlete after their matches.

How many did you make?
Initially, we made 100 copies, but because of interest, we printed another 100. We will probably have to print another 100.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Honestly, it depends on the year and the project. We have been doing a lot of video work (which doesn’t translate on paper:) and a lot of underwater work (which doesn’t have a ton of clients to choose from).

How do you pick a subject and approach for your promos?
This year its been tough to come up with quarterly promos – either everything we have done is under embargo or its part of a longer-term project that would get repetitive to send to clients. I can only send so many pics of sharks. :)

With this design, the relatively simple approach I took to making the images was elevated to something more. Each image and face is interactive, in a way that one image alone cant be. That interaction is key, I hope, to future interaction with clients.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I think promos are a great way to showcase creative ideas that we image makers come up with. It might not be how clients originally intended to use our work, but it does illustrate how our vision works, and that is what clients need to see in a promo.

This Week in Photography Books: Sigrid Ehemann

 

It’s cool to be funny.

Funny has power.

It’s why a female comic with frizzy hair and a high-pitched voice went from little-known, to globally famous a few months ago. As I don’t regularly watch The Daily Show, (despite what a recent column suggests,) I certainly hadn’t heard of her before the Huckabee-Sanders-Kerfluffle of 2018.

(Try saying Huckabee-Sanders-Kerfluffle five times fast. I could only make it to four.)

Anyway, I was re-watching “Back to School” with my son last night, and unsurprisingly, it held up. (As did “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which we saw last month.)

Rodney Dangerfield, a fellow Jew, was a genuinely strange-looking guy. From our contemporary vantage-point, there is no f-ing way that anyone who looks like THAT would ever be the romantic lead in a comedy.

Ever.

But still, Rodney pulled it off, bug-eyes and all. (Seriously, he bugged out his eyes A LOT.)

And Sam Kinison, another not-looker with very strange style, (and crazy hair,) also held his own on the screen. (They don’t make them like that anymore.)

Funny has gravitas because it is often a coded way of speaking truth to power. (Or in Ms. Wolf’s case, not-so-coded.)

Funny allowed Donald J Trump to become the third most powerful man in the world. (Xi Jinping, Putin, then Trump, if we’re counting.)

Trump uses funny to disarm, but also because it allows him to say and do terrible things, and then deny he meant them.

“I was only kidding. Locker room talk.”

“I didn’t openly mock a disabled person, even though they caught it on tape.”

“God, why are you so serious. Can’t you take a joke?”

Funny is entertaining, and Trump honed his entertainment skills on NBC for ten-ish years before being famous and polished enough to claim his ultimate prize.

We all need to lighten up a bit, IMO, even in the face of a scary world. Because neither Trump, nor Putin, is coming into your living room this evening.

Nor are they coming into your kitchen. (Shout out to John Raztenberger, who’s an avowed Republican.)

It’s OK to have fun, crack jokes, and enjoy your life, even if you hate the President. Frankly, when I heard Tony Bourdain had killed himself, I wasn’t surprised at all.

In a recent episode in Uruguay, he’d said that Happiness was a sickness, and that he hated happiness and happy people. (I’ll find the segment and quote it, if I have time. It’s still on my DVR. I can’t bring myself to watch the episodes that aired since he died, nor can I delete them.)

Humor is powerful, but also a rational response to the irrational parts of human nature. Our logical brains are strong, but as much of what we do, and the outcomes of our collective efforts make no sense, (private prisons?) having a laugh, as the English say, can be wise as well as cathartic.

Speaking of English, I’ll have to ask Sigrid Ehemann why her new “Pussy Magazine” is written entirely in English, when she’s German. (Based in Dusseldorf.)

The obvious answer is that it’s the world’s default language, and she wants it read around the world.

Still, it’s curious there’s no German within, isn’t it?

No matter, because I absolutely love this new project, and if it weren’t in English, I wouldn’t have the chance to read it.

Sigrid sent in another publication last year, about a charming chihuahua, and I knew she had talent, ingenuity, and a great sense of humor.

I said as much here in my review.

This time out, she’s gone a step further and moved beyond Trump, (an obvious target for all of us,) and taken on the #MeToo movement, and the awful men’s behavior that spawned it.

Issue 1, which is by far the best, sets up the dynamic of image and text, which we had last time, but it’s pushed into a fashion direction this time. (Style credits and such.)

It’s aimed for women of a certain age, (older than 40,) whom society deems irrelevant. It tackles issues directly, whether grabby bosses, male/female pay imbalance, or the fact that women are still vastly underrepresented in exhibitions. (We see the statistic 10 men for every woman.)

Just yesterday, Jörg Colberg and some other colleagues on Twitter were questioning the demographics at Arles, where it was reported white-guy-exhibitions were totally dominant.

I chimed in that as it’s simply unacceptable not to have a more diverse representation these days, I went out and solicited more female submissions for this column directly. Outreach has made a difference, so ladies, please keep those books coming in.

“Pussy Magazine” is a perfect example.
No man on Earth should, would or could have made this.

And the world would be a sadder place without “Pussy Magazine.”

Like Sacha Baron Cohen pranking Sarah Palin, humor is sometimes the only way to get at an issue.

Speaking of issues, only Issue 1 here feels vital. It’s perfect, and as I looked through it, I wondered how it could be topped. (The answer is, it wasn’t.)

The first time out, the combination of the odd model, the insane bag-on-the-head fashion, and the text are shocking in their perfection.

Like “Glow” earning a “10” for Season 2, and then muffing the landing with a tone-deaf-2-minute-ending, (bringing its score down to a 9.90,) sometimes you have to know when you’re done.

Issues 2 and 3 felt like the second and third best ideas, and the repetition of the same model and style was just extra. There were two brilliant, laugh-out-loud-funny images in the 3rd issue, though, so editing is a tricky business.

I’m going to photograph all of Issue 1 down below, so you get a full sense of the rhythm of what Sigrid has done.

It’s so fantastic it should speak for itself.

But it definitely shows us why ensuring male and female artists have an equal voice is not just fair, but also to our massive benefit.

Pussy power indeed. (Can I say that?)

Bottom Line: Hilarious new Post #MeToo “magazine” from Germany

To purchase “Pussy Magazine” contact the artist here

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me directly at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers, in order to maintain a balanced program. 

The Art of the Personal Project: Angie Smith

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 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:  Angie Smith

Stronger Shines the Light Inside is an ongoing photography project that tells the personal stories of refugees in the United States. In 2015, Los Angeles-based photographer Angie Smith began documenting refugees rebuilding their lives in Boise, Idaho. She’s since photographed communities in Salt Lake City, Albany, New York, and Los Angeles. Stronger Shines the Light Inside helps Americans understand the complexities, struggles, and personal triumphs that refugees experience in their everyday lives.

Of the 65 million displaced people worldwide, only 1% will eventually be resettled in a host country. And of that 1%, each has endured a long and grueling screening process, often spanning years. This project presents refugees as individuals, each with a unique story, grappling with questions of self-identity, reconciliation with the past, and sifting through the emotions of adjusting to an entirely new culture.

Every story is different, but each one speaks of hope, of refusal to give up. Many point to a serendipitous moment, a right person at the right time—someone who saved their life while fleeing, who offered a ride to a supermarket on their first day in America, maybe a friendly face who helped them read a bus schedule, or someone who simply smiled and said hello. All speak of their desire to integrate and contribute to the community, and many express gratitude for those who have helped them to do so.

In May 2018, Smith began an artist residency with Wieden+Kennedy where she spent three weeks photographing refugees and immigrants in the Portland area and the organizations that support them. Through these photographs, films, and interview excerpts, this exhibition aims to amplify the marginalized voices of immigrants, migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers and highlight the many contributions they make to our communities.

To see more of this project, click here.

Some film stories for the project: http://www.strongershinesthelightinside.com/films/

It is important to talk about this terrible incident that happened in Boise last week… Since this is the city where everything started…
and the print sale I am doing in response to it- all of the proceeds will go to support the IRC fund for the families. http://www.strongershinesthelightinside.com/shop/

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.  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suzanne.sease/

Pricing & Negotiating: Marketing Materials for a Real Estate Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Cityscape images capturing the vibe of a neighborhood as well as portraits of the residents and business owners

Licensing: Unlimited use of 20 images in perpetuity

Photographer: Portrait and landscape specialist

Agency: Design firm in California

Client: Real estate and property management company

Here is the estimate:

image of redacted photographic bid for a case study in pricing and negotiating by Wonderful Machine Executive Producer Craig Oppenheimer

Creative/Licensing: The design firm was establishing the branding for their client’s new real estate development and intended to use a variety of landscape images of the neighborhood and portraits of people within the community in their marketing materials. They anticipated a need for 10 neighborhood shots and 10 environmental portraits and had originally requested b-roll video content to be captured as well. The design firm hoped to capture everything in 1-2 days, and while they would provide the talent without any need for styling, we recommended a 3-day shoot considering the logistics and timing needed to capture everything, and presented a comprehensive estimate.

While the requested licensing was for unlimited use of 20 images in perpetuity, the intended use was limited to their website and various collateral purposes. Considering the limited intended use and my experience estimating projects for similar clients, I based the licensing fee on $500/image, plus $3000 for the video, and separately broke out the photographer’s creative fee for each of the three shoot days. The photographer also planned to scout the area beforehand and handle some basic prep, so we included a fee for a pre-production day as well.

Assistants and Digital Tech: I included a first assistant and a second assistant on each of the three days who would lend a hand with grip/lighting and help keep the pace as the shoot moved from spot to spot within the neighborhood. I also included a digital tech for each of the shoot days, and in addition to a $500 fee for each day, I added another $500 per day for their laptop workstation.

Producer: The producer would be responsible for booking the crew, collaborating to develop a schedule, acquiring permits, and figuring out the best plan for meals, and we felt that 2 days would be sufficient to help line everything up. In an attempt to keep the crew lean and mean on set, we did not include them on the actual shoot days. While they would have been helpful on-site during the shoot, we were asked to keep the team as small as possible, and the photographer felt that he could do without them once the details were all lined up.

Permits: We included $500 to help cover fees charged by the local film office to issue a shooting permit.

Equipment: The photographer primarily relied on natural light along with a minimal lighting system for the portraits, and we included $500/day to cover his own gear. It was a bit on the low end, but we anticipated their budget would be tight, and the photographer was comfortable charging a nominal fee in order to keep the bottom line modest.

DP/Videographer and Video Equipment: We included a DP at $1,500/day to capture the b-roll content, and a similar equipment budget as we anticipate for the photography. The exact parameters for the video were still in the works, but based on the conversations up until this point and their minimal needs, we did not anticipate that an audio tech or any extra sets of hands would be necessary for the video.

Parking, Meals, Misc.: I included $100/day for a light lunch plus $50/day for parking and miscellaneous expenses for each of the three days.

Post Processing: $500 would be dedicated to the photographer’s initial import, edit, and presentation of the images to the client. Once the design firm made their selects, we included $100/image for basic color correction and processing for each of the 20 final images.

Video Editing: Since the scope of their video needs was still developing, the agency wasn’t able to articulate the total run time or style of an edit they might want, so we marked the editing as TBD.

Feedback: In an effort to be more budget conscious, the design firm asked what we might be able to do in order to keep production to two days. We felt that if we were to streamline the schedule and remove the video component of the project we could squeeze the shoot into two days by capturing five portraits per day and shooting as many cityscape images as possible while in transition from one location to another. We submitted a revised estimate that reduced the days for the crew (except the producer prep days) and adjusted appropriately for equipment and expenses. The licensing fees also came down a bit and the DP was removed since the video was stripped away, and all of these changes brought the bottom line down to a place we felt would be more palatable for the client.

Here is the revised estimate:

image of redacted photographic bid for a case study in pricing and negotiating by Wonderful Machine Executive Producer Craig Oppenheimer

Results: The photographer was awarded the project. Since the request for video wasn’t fully fleshed out, the client didn’t seem to mind us removing that element, especially since it allowed the project to be executed within two days, and ultimately help reduce the bottom line.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 or reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – 7 Hues Beauty: Anthony Rhoades

- - The Daily Edit

7 Hues Beauty

Model: Katherine Schule
Makeup: Becky Rothmaler
Hair: Damian Monzillo
Creative Director: William Mydell
Photographer: Anthony Rhoades

Heidi: Did you pitch them work or was this assigned?
Anthony: I submitted the story as a completed project. When testing, I like to conceptualize a bit beforehand with the team, pitch the idea with a mood board to the modeling agencies and go after publication later in the game—the more eyes on a project the better. I try to create new work as often as possible and editorials allow for more creative control and show my artistic range.

How did the collaboration come about with you and the hair and make up team?
Becky Rothmaler, the makeup artist, had written a kind note to me about my work and inquired about the possibility of collaborating on a project. This happens to me a lot, and generally I take people up on it. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a variety of talented people. One of the best parts about being in New York City is coming across so many creatives who are all trying really hard to be their best artist selves.

How often do you test, are the projects focused to specific clients?
I’m always testing and open to new ideas and people. Whenever I’m looking to shoot something, it’s either to produce new work focused on a specific client, fill a hole in my portfolio or push the boundaries a bit. Clean beauty is great, but it can be boring. For me, creating imagery that is aspirational to potential clients is key versus trying to produce work that is exactly what they already do; fit the clients’ needs with my signature on it, without straying too much outside of what fits their demographic target or brand.

How has your use of social media expanded your business? 
I’ve stopped with the mass emails. I’ll still send updates occasionally to a select few, but for the most part I’ve ceased the database email blasts. Because, I have heard from several entities that not only many of those emails don’t get opened but they are also an intrusion and often distracting. Their emails are for work and getting what’s often considered photographers’ spam keeps art buyers and producers from doing their jobs. It’s a tough balance of trying to get your work seen, kept, bookmarked and not put in the junk folder.

I don’t maintain a business page on Facebook but I do have a lot of connections to people relevant to my work on my personal profile. My main inspiration and collaboration comes from Instagram and Linkedin. It just sort of happened with Instagram, I didn’t pursue it as a way to grow my business, and in many ways I still don’t, but I’m constantly inspired. It’s also a great way to keep up with the work of those you admire and to find new artists. Similarly, I’ve made many connections on LinkedIn though I don’t know how helpful it is, I’m working on putting more times into that platform.

For this shoot Damian Monzillo and I initially started chatting on Instagram about working on a project awhile back.  Prior to this shoot, he wrote to me about some of my hair advertising work. I mentioned last-minute that I was shooting the next day and asked if he’d like to join us. Becky, the makeup artist, and I were going to do a macro story but the addition of a hair artist opened things up and let the bird of paradise theme shine.

When developing mood boards for your own projects, are the images sourced from your own archive?
Generally no—I do a lot of research, look at artists, photographers and nature for inspiration and then draw upon the team and their vision as well. When I’m working on a personal project or editorial I’m mostly trying to convey an idea that I haven’t expressed yet or seen through this specific lens in other people’s work. For this particular shoot, I made my usual mood board, showed it to the hair and makeup team and started shopping it around to my go-to modeling agencies to see about who might be interested in our concept. Luckily the package from Q Models contained Katherine Schule, who has great features for beauty and is really a consummate pro.

The Daily Promo – William Green

William Green 

Who printed it?
It was printed by a local printer to where I have desk space in East London. They’re called Calverts and are a Co-Operative too, totally employee owned and they have been going for years The whole experience with them from start to finish made me really happy, as it was my first proper bespoke printed mailer there was a lot of handholding from them.

I originally contacted some very high-end Lithographic printers who had high-end prices to match, these companies do a lot of printing for fine-art publishers and it was whilst visiting them to look at paper that someone quietly to one side and very kindly suggested to get my moneys worth and considering I was mailing them out to people (so a lot would end up in the bin), to not use litho but get them digitally print them instead. So after some hunting around and speaking to some illustrators Calverts came up, they were really helpful about suggesting different paper types and weights as the mailer was being folded and I didn’t want there to be cracking to the print. Equally as the promos were double sided on paper I didn’t want the images to show through, but the paper couldn’t be too thick as they were being folded up.

Who designed it?
My girlfriend and I in Indesign, she is an Indesign wizz. We spoke a lot about how we could do a cheap mailer but make it a little different and but with impact that it would stick in peoples mind.

So I thought about when I was a teenager I would buy a lot 12” records -as I used to DJ- and how a lot of bands included a poster with the record that unfolded out for you to pop on your bedroom wall. So the fold-out poster idea was born, including coloured pins matched to a colour in the image. With an address label and pin pouch, with coloured matched circular address labels. We sent off for a few different samples of things when we were popping it all together.

Tell me about the images?
I did a series of four different mailers, with 2 different images on each, 3 of them had paired up images selected from individual projects, so they were quite easy to get to work together. It was really important that they would work on the wall as posters either way round. For this particular pairing of images they were from a shoot titled ‘October Evenings’ shot on an Autumnal evening in Britain. I wanted to take the theme of an earlier documentary project on sleeping taxi drivers in Tokyo and place in a similar setting but in a British context, the models were shot in a very British Jaguar car, but alluding to a story behind the images too. I then pulled the gold and blues tones in post to really make the images more atmospheric.

How did you get the colors looking so good?
I originally spent nearly a day prepping the images and bringing the colours back in that had gone out of gamut and running some test prints. As I tend to push and play with colours and saturation in my work it was super important to me that they were on par. After all, if it did end up on a Art Directors wall it had to look really good. After having problems with one particular mailers images reds, I ended up speaking to the printer directly who said “F*ck it mate, good digital commercial printers don’t need you to profile your prints to the paper type, we can do it for you, just send ‘em over in Adobe 1998 as an Indesign file and it’ll be perfect, we can work it out together.” That sort of approach made think they were worth their weight in gold.

How many did you make?
250 of each so a 1000 overall

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first one and I sent out approximately 850, keeping the others back to hand to people directly, leave at agencies and act as business cards etc

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
That is hard to tell, I haven’t had any jobs in yet where people have directly mentioned them but I have had really positive feedback about them and people seem to like them. They have turned up on a few insta streams and stories which is always good.

This Week in Photography Books: John Divola

 

Growing older isn’t sexy.

(And it isn’t always fun.)

I rolled my eyes in deep mockery when I heard the millennial term “adulting” for the first time. As a bona fide adult, (with two kids, a mortgage, student loans and car payments,) I thought it was a cheeky way to trivialize how hard it is to keep all those balls in the air at once.

But as I thought it over, I realized it was kind of an absurdist word for an absurd concept.

Growing up.

Most people stop growing, physically, by the time they’re 18. Just yesterday, in the newspaper, I saw an 18 year old referred to as a “man.” Personally, I’d say an 18 year old boy, or a kid, but the Santa Fe New Mexican obviously disagrees.

People can grow, physically, by getting fatter or building muscles, but we mostly use it to refer to the process by which we get taller, and then it stops for a while, before we begin to shrink.

But growing, emotionally, is a process that need not be bound by age. Rather, in my experience, it’s a mentality.

Are you willing to look carefully at your flaws and weaknesses?

Are you willing to admit when you’re wrong and apologize meaningfully?

Are you curious about how your life might look if some of your flaws became strengths?

It’s that kind of attitude that allows people to grow, no matter their age. And it can take positive forms too, of course.

What have I always been dying to learn?
What would I like to try before I die?
Where am I desperate to visit, and am I willing to move mountains to make it happen?

You get the point.

Personally, I like being 44. Since I turned 40, I committed to a 4 year stint in therapy, (which I recently wrapped,) and have also invested in exercise and martial arts.

I’m fitter, happier, healthier and stronger than I was at 40. Or 35. Or 30.

I’m not saying I’m perfect, because lord knows I’ve made mistakes, (and pissed people off along the way,) but when I know I’m wrong, I say I’m sorry.

And as a part of “growing up,” I’ve found it fascinating when I revisit certain things, or ideas, and see them completely differently.

Take today’s book, for instance.

“Vandalism,” by John Divola, was published this year by MACK in London. I was excited when I heard it was imminent, because I’ve loved this project from the first time I saw it, and happen to know the artist as well.

I was fortunate to interview John about these pictures for a VICE story two years ago, and it was one of the few interviews I’ve ever done where I was consistently wrong-footed.

This dude was one step ahead of me, for most of the conversation, and never gave the answers I was expecting. Much of the time, it seemed like he thought my ideas about his work were hopelessly naive.

I saw the pictures in “Vandalism,” many of which are collected in this book, as an act of anarchic, early West Coast Punk and Graffiti art.

They were made in 1974-75, just as I was born, and from the contemporary perch, they perfectly channeled that sensation of breaking things to parallel a then-breaking America.

The pictures became counter-culture counterpoints to the gas shortages, Nixon and Carter, Vietnam, and America’s diminished standing in the world.

They felt like a colossal “fuck you,” and anyone who’s been a teen-ager can relate. (Or a rebel. Some of us are, some are not.)

John Divola told me I was way off.
It was all about mark-making for him.

It was about the abstractions.
The shapes.
The interventions.
The act of painting.

In this read, the pictures are documents of events and actions. The homes were well and truly abandoned, so it’s not like the graffiti was affecting anyone’s property.

Rather, they’re pictures that capture the actions of a heady, well-trained art student. A SoCal boy who went to good schools, and exercised theories while Zenning out and making abstract art in quiet places. (Which he still does.)

Though I eventually realized I was talking to an incredibly bright, talented, cool legend within the field, I still didn’t get where he was coming from.

I was sure I was right, even though it was his freaking art.

Needless to say, when I opened “Vandalism” this morning, and went page by page, I could only see it his way.

Shapes after shapes. Circles and patterns. Bulls-eyes and spirals.

Again and again.

The background, the houses themselves, with their dust and their rot, recede into the background. They become stages for the young artist who was playing with circles like a latter-day Malevich; these wall-forms competing for attention with the ghosts who roamed the halls.

In fact, while I appreciate the work differently, and perhaps more now, it was that sense of repetition that actually became the book’s Achilles heel.

MACK is rightly known as one of the best photobook publishers in the world. They make beautiful objects, and Michael Mack told me here in the column, in 2012, that they see the books as art pieces themselves.

I get that.

The production values here are phenomenal, as the tonal range of the images really comes to the forefront. There are no essays, or any text really, so that Zen vibe is strengthened by the quiet and the minimal design.

All to the good.

But in books like this, (and others I’ve seen them do,) I feel like the narrative becomes a record rather than an experience. It’s a collection of reproductions of important art, rather than a story to be unlocked, or a trip to be taken.

It’s not that I have such a short attention span, but as I look at and review books every week, I’ve come to appreciate the ones that try to vary their approach to keep me guessing.

It’s no different from the way most filmmakers use suspense.

I’m sure the book was produced this way intentionally, and as I said above, there are benefits to this approach. But as much as I like to focus on the details within each picture, after 50 of them, the eyes do begin to glaze.

Perhaps I’m quibbling, but then again, the other approach, which we’ve seen recently with reviews like “War Sand,” can also be pushed too far, resulting in mish-mash books instead.

Because “Vandalism” is spare, I’ll finish with my current, 44-year old version of why these pictures are so Rad.

The world often feels like it’s straight-up chaos. Pure insanity. It may always be crazy out there, but some time periods are certainly more rambunctious than others.

2018 is 50 years after 1968 and 100 years beyond 1918.

Whether you like round numbers are not, the symmetry with other times of great upheaval is difficult to miss.

But there is still order, and stillness, and quiet, even in the craziest of times and places. These photographs speak to that sense of order within chaos, because that’s exactly what they present.

In these sad, weary, abandoned spaces, shapes and patterns don’t just emerge.

They declare.
They stand proud, in their ugly beauty.

The creative act, and its aftermath, will continue to survive while are there are people alive to enact them. John Divola’s photographs in this project are twisted, hipster-youngster-driven-cave-paintings.

And I love them.

Bottom Line: A classic project, brought back from the 70’s

To purchase “Vandalism” click here

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers, in order to maintain a balanced program. 

The Art of the Personal Project: Doug Ross

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:  Doug Ross (originally posted in Nov. 2017 but again for the 4th of July)

Artist Statement:

“Coney Island, a black and white retrospective” is my photographic journey of the past ten years shooting at Coney Island. My photographs, of Coney Island, Brooklyn NY, represent my vision of an ever-changing canvas of people and experiences by the water’s edge, on the boardwalk and the streets that surround. They bring the viewer into a place that is intimate, gritty and untouched by society. The people are who they are and have no excuses or facades. The rich black and white tones strip away the screaming colors and even sounds of the seashore park and its patrons and leave the viewer to just be fixated by the subjects alone. I am pleased to present this compilation of some of my favorite images from the area I so love.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

To purchase the book, 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. And on Instagram suzanne.sease

The Daily Edit – Saveur: Andrew Hetherington

- - The Daily Edit

Saveur


Group Creative Director: Sean Johnston
Creative Director: Pete Sucheski
Photography Director: Thomas Payne
Associate Art Director: Russ Smith
Photographer: Andrew Hetherington

Heidi: What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Andrew: Thomas Payne, Photo Director of Saveur, sent me an email wondering if I would be interested in shooting the Peeko Oyster farm out on Long Island. To be honest, he had me at oysters, but we had a follow-up phone call where we dove deeper into the nitty gritty of what was involved on a practical level and discussed his vision. He also sent me a mood board referencing food photos of mine that he liked, a shot list and info on the story itself. Peter Stein, the oyster farmer, is relatively new to the business and that was an important angle to incorporate into the visual narrative. The theme was “growing” and the story is about what it takes to grow, scale and establish an oyster farm.

How much research do you do for shoots?
I like to get as much information up front as possible. This helps with my own research on the subject and the logistical and production needs to make it a successful shoot from my perspective. It is also really important to talk to the subject in advance on a shoot like this, after all they have more knowledge about the practicalities than anyone else so I arranged a phone call with Peter after an introductory email. Peter also sent me some photographs and video he had which was incredibly helpful.

I would not consider you a “food” photographer per se?
Ha, well I am a photographer who loves to eat and loves to cook so I think that qualifies me somehow. Food is featured on my website in it’s own gallery and in specific projects and commissions for clients like Bon Appetit, Men’s Health and Travel + Leisure. I also really enjoy photographing chefs and have been fortunate to shoot some heroes; Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, April Bloomfield, Sean Brock, Jean Georges, Wylie Dufresne.

You can’t visually tell a story like this – oyster farming – with a beautiful singular still life. It’s about the people who grow them, where they grow them, how they grow them, etc. It’s less about being a “food photographer” and more about the ability to tell a story. I try to tell that story in my own way; as candidly, authentically, imperfectly and humanly as possible.

Weather is key for a shoot like this, did you have a set of rolling dates on hold?
It was important to the magazine that the photos look “summery” as the story was running in their June issue. But we actually shot this, out on the North Fork, at the end of February.

After speaking with Peter, it turned out that the most important weather factor would be the wind and not sunshine or temperature. If conditions were not calm, we would not be able to take to the water on his oyster barge so we put several back to back dates on hold. Peter made the final call 48 hours before the shoot and irony of ironies we also had “summery” sun all day. As it was February, we were dealing with a short amount of daylight. Even though we had sun all day the bonus was it was low in the sky which only enhanced the quality of the light as it bounced back off water. We all really thought we were in for an early spring as it was so idyllic. Little did we realize at the time there would be still two more months of hard winter ahead.

Was this shot all in one day?
Yes, we drove out and back from NYC in one day. I had mapped out the day with Peter – I went through my shot list with him and we decided on what would make most sense and be most efficient in terms of what do to when. Besides weather, there were a lot of factors to take into consideration. After all we were going to spend part of the shoot on open water photographing on and off La Perla, his boat used to harvest the oysters. We decided that we would do these shots at the end of the day to make the most of the late day light as it was not going to be possible to be on the water for sunrise.

The other thing that was really key was to be able to shoot from another boat. I learned this the hard way from previous experience. It seems obvious but it’s incredibly limiting if you are stuck on the one boat. If you don’t have the second boat you can’t shoot the primary vessel in open water. This was one of my first requests for Peter when we spoke initially and he was able to organize and coordinate it. It really was a massive assist both creatively and logistically.

How did the day unfold? Was it just like hanging out and you just happened to be taking photos?
Apart from scheduling what to do and when we really sort of hung out for the day. Peter and his crew were great to work with and were super accommodating. Thomas was there too and the writer Jamie. For me, the best thing is to let people do what they do and to document it as I see it. I like it to be as real and natural as possible but obviously I stop people, direct a little, compose and finesse the scene for my frame. It’s all based on observation and if it starts to feel too posed I like to shake it out and have them start over.

I love your portrait of the oyster. Tell me about the making of this image.
It was the last shot at the very end of the day. We did it on the boat. Peter supplied the vintage plate, too, which really helped. It wasn’t something that I over thought. It was just one of those shots that happened. It helped doing it last, not just for the evening light but at that stage I was in a groove and the photos were coming easily. It really was a fun day. Of course then we got to eat the delicious oysters before driving back to the city.

The Daily Promo – Gentl And Hyers

Gentl And Hyers

Who printed it?
We had them printed in Canada by Hemlock. They print Gather Journal whom we work for, so we were familiar with the quality.

Who designed it?
Caleb Bennet designed the promo. It is the first one in a series. We met Caleb while he was at Traveler when he designed several of our favorite stories.

Tell me about the images?
We are known for our food and still life but shoot so much more than that. We wanted to send out a promo that featured our travel work and a deep dive into a culture we are inspired by, this one being Mexico. The work is from both commercial jobs and personal trips. We also wanted to show our love for portrait and travel photography to those clients that only see us as food and still life photographers and to showcase light which is very important to us. We see light the same way whether we are making a portrait on location or in the studio. For us, travel inspires everything we do. We look for light out in the world and then recreate it in the studio. We see and talk about light constantly.

We liked the idea of keeping the promos to a particular subject or place. The next one up is “Family” and while it is also portrait heavy it is more lifestyle and very personal after that will come India another country we have been to countless times and a place where we deeply connect. Caleb will be designing all of them and the circle will continue to be a theme. We saw it as a loose reference to a globe.

How many did you make?
We made 200. We would have liked to print more but they were a little costly. It was the first promo we sent out after switching agents so we wanted to make something special. We sent it to return clients and to new and targeted clients.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
We will print 3 others this year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
We think the promos were successful, they were meant to inspire more than to be a direct link to work.

We have had several requests to sell the promo so we may think about doing that later this year when we roll out a series of travel prints which will be available for purchase.

This Week in Photography Books: Kristine Potter

 

“I would argue that Manifest recapitulates the dehumanizing role of division in the conquest of the Frontier, by divorcing agency from lifeworld.”

–Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa, November 2017, in the official essay for Manifest

 

You might need to read that quote a couple of times to understand it.

I’m pretty bright, (so they tell me,) and I’m still not sure what it means. In effect, I’m tipping my hand about the book I’m reviewing today, but we’ll get to that later.

(As always.)

Rather, I’d like to focus on the use of language itself up above. One of the things that distinguishes this column from other spaces that investigate photography is that I endeavor to come across as a “regular” guy.

We talk about big ideas, sure, but I wrap them in jokes, or Pop Culture references. There was a time when I was a fan of flowery similes, but after the NYT got a hold of me, I began writing clause-packed sentences dense with information. (Like this one.)

Even so, it’s important to me that the language I use is accessible, as I want people to understand what the fuck I’m talking about.

In the tradition of the great inscrutable Frenchmen, (Derrida, Foucault,) some writers, and their attendant writing, rather aim to create barriers around their concepts. They utilize words like solipsistic, tautology, hermeneutics.

I’m sorry, but most Trump voters, the populi to his populism, would get angry reading a sentence like the one I lead with today. (And in fairness, the sentence that followed it DID include the word solipsistic.)

It makes people mad to feel like they don’t understand something.

That they’re dumb.
That you’re smarter than they are, and you know it.

I think that feeling, that sense of inferiority, of being looked down upon by rich people in the fancy house up on the hill, (Shout out to Luke Cage Season 2,) is at the core of what people mean when they say “elites.”

Elites are college educated urbanites. (Or in some cases, suburbanites.) They like arugula, and The Daily Show. Even better, they like the opera, and caviar.

Heartland America, when it rebels against “elite” culture, is reacting to a sensation. It feels bad to be looked down upon, but now, in 2018, these folks are having their moment.

(But before I get too empathetic, you have to watch this Daily Show clip about what Trump voters think of the Space Force.)

The history of the US is littered with pendulum swings: the liberal 60’s begat Nixon, the Reagan-era gave us Clinton, whose sleaziness made W. Bush seem wholesome. Then he ushered in Obama to clean up the Great Recession mess, and those who hated him have their savior in Trump.

But in classic Trumpian fashion, Il Duce managed to take the rhetoric to previously unseen heights at a recent rally.

He said, “We got more money, we got more brains, we got better houses and apartments, we got nicer boats, we’re smarter than they are and they say they’re the elite. You’re the elite, we’re the elite. Let’s call ourselves, from now on, the super elite.” (Courtesy of The Hill)

That’s where we are in 2018, people.

It’s all happening.

But still, I’ve been pushing myself lately to remember that Red America is still America. If we want to remain one country, at some point, we have to accept that the other “bloc” that has different opinions gets to win elections and enact policy too.

The American West has been solidly Red for generations, though places like New Mexico, Colorado and even Nevada have recently cleaved off from the herd.

Most of the West, with its wide-open landscapes, and unimaginable space and scale, still feels like it always has, at least in the 30 years that I’ve been around the joint.

Beyond the people who were born here, some places draw new residents with their “outdoor lifestyle,” “hip coffee shops” and (Insert random developer’s phrase here.)

Places like Denver.

And there are glamorous-view-spots throughout the West too, like Telluride, Sedona, or here in Taos.

Still, these spots are specks of dust compared to the enormity of the West. Most of it is dry and dusty. People are poor, and in some places live in conditions that one can reasonably call “Third World.”

In some cases, like The Mesa community here in Taos, people live simply, in trailers, huts or teepees, out of choice. Because they’re turning their backs on mainstream culture.

Desert rat types.

They’re all over this region, in ways that create their own kind of anonymity.

And ultimately, that’s why I liked “Manifest,” the new book by Kristine Potter, recently published by our friends at TBW books in Oakland.

I appreciate this one because it manages to capture that sense of the general-ness of the light, and the heat, and the landscape.

Rocks and scrub.
Glare and sand.

I also really appreciated the production values too. I rarely mention separations here, (the last I remember is the Henry Wessel book by Steidl,) but there was one image where the shadow detail in a rock face was so impressive that I almost gasped.

(I think that sentence would also draw the ire from our imaginary, aforementioned Trump voter.)

Then there are portraits of men, shirtless, which smack of the female gaze. (As the title of the book references Manifest Destiny.) These are cool too, and I get that they’re trying to be subversive, undercutting the traditional methods of representation, but even that feels a touch stale.

I made fun of the essay at the beginning today, (Sorry, Stanley,) but it mentions that Ms. Potter comes from a long line of Western families, and that she went to grad school at Yale. (The most infamous of photo-world mafias.)

It explains all the big-word-theory-driven sentences, and the attempt to try to make this work more conceptual, more theoretical than it really is.

When you go to Yale, you can’t say, “I like taking black and white photographs of the West.”

It has to be more than that. Justifications are created. It can’t just be, “I like it. It’s fun.” Or, “I want to make pictures that help me connect with the landscape of my lineage.”

Because those are the reasons I like this book. It keeps it real in ways I can respect, (and others I might mock,) but it definitely knows what it wants to be.

And it’s executed flawlessly.

Bottom Line: Dry, glaring, Western photos for a hot, dry summer

To purchase “Manifest” click here

If you would like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers, so that we may maintain a balanced program. 

The Art of the Personal Project: William Coupon

- - Working

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 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:  William Coupon

THE APPEARANCE OF PORTRAIT IMAGES:

When you are taking portraits the main thing to remember is you are capturing the veneer, the mask.   However, within that context you are also making a declaration, if you are fortunate, of a certain insight into the person.   Faces are like Jungian models ~ they are symbols only.  It is entirely up to the viewer to digest and make their own decisions about who these people really are.  It’s mostly point of reference.

When you photograph celebrities, the viewer has pre-conceived notions of the person.  They are recognizable.  We feel we know them already.  In fact, the celebrity is so used to being photographed that they oftentimes fall into a more familiar pose, and they have a tendency to appear more like “forced naturalism.”

With the many people ~ the non-celebrity ~ that I have sought out for portraits, they are much more raw, much more spontaneous in spirit.  And much more mysterious.   They are mostly unfamiliar with the process, as compared to a celebrity, who would tend to stereotype their own appearance.   It’s as if they, too, like the viewers, have already recognized their own preferential veneer, because it corresponds with their own self-image.

A common person does not have that burden of trying to “be someone.”

I have been lucky to have photographed a fair assortment of noted personalities as well as the unknown, the unfamiliar, since 1978 at Studio 54.  I then went to the Mudd Club and then on to making many cover shoots for the New York Times, Smithsonian, Esquire, The Washington Post, CBS Records, Apple, HP, and the Robin Hood Foundation.  In the end, I like them both, but shooting a celebrity for a Rolling Stone cover is very different from being in the villages of Italy or Brazil, or Panama, or Mexico.  Their masks are more raw, yet sometimes even more fearful, as their unfamiliarity with that type of environment makes them a bit unsettled, and because so, far less hidden.

Aboriginal Man

From a series on The Traditional Dutch, from Scheveningen, Holland, reminiscent of the early Dutch paintings of Rembrandt and Holbein

Haitian Mother & Child Photographed in Jamcel, Haiti

Kayapo Chief

Beauty Contestant photographed near Mountain Home, Arkansas

To see more of this project, click here.

To Pre-order this book, click (Amazon) here

Or here (Barnes & Noble)

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.  Or Instagram @suzanne.sease.

 

The Daily Edit – Runner’s World: Mark Davis

- - The Daily Edit


Runner’s World


Creative Director: 
Jesse Southerland
Director of Photography:
Amy Wolff
Photographer:
Mark Davis

Heidi: How did this story come about?
Mark: When I was a sophomore at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, I was in a photojournalism class taught by Whitney Johnson—who at the time was the Director of Photography at The New Yorker. For that class, we had to come up with half semester long documentary projects. I had no idea what story I wanted to pursue or how exactly to go about finding one. I was a competitive runner in high school in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, and one evening while trying to do research for a story for my class I was browsing a running website I used to look at during my high school days. I saw an article about a young Kenyan runner who was on scholarship running at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey. I was blown away by the times that he was churning out, so I decided to try to do a photo essay on him. With the encouragement of my professor, I went to one of his cross country races in the Fall of 2012 and approached Cheserek and his coach to see if they would be up for having me around. They both said it would be fine and that I could tag along to the races. Quickly after starting the project, I knew that this story wasn’t going to end anytime soon.

Did you pitch this to the magazine?
A good friend and a fellow photographer, Jonah Rosenberg, connected me with the Director of Photography at Runner’s World, Amy Wolff, who immediately expressed interest in publishing the work.

Why did you choose to shoot this in BW?
If you have ever been to running or sporting events, you know that there are so many colors involved. As I started to shoot this project, it became clear to me that there were frames that just wouldn’t work in color. Neon can be visually overwhelming and really distract the viewer from the subject in the frame. Shooting in black and white gave me the freedom to focus more on form and shapes and not worry about a neon jacket or jersey completely ruining an image.

Who funded this project?
This project was self funded. I had the feeling that Cheserek might become one of the great distance runners of our time and so I felt compelled to make it to as many races as I could over the past six years to see where Cheserek’s career went. I was thinking of other great athlete’s like Muhammed Ali and Steve Prefontaine, and the visual history of their careers. I felt that I was witnessing the rise of another sports icon.

This Week in Photography Books: Donald Weber

 

Hi everyone.

How’s it going?

Did you miss me?

I took last Friday off, as you may have noticed, as once a year Rob gives me a break from the weekly deadline. This time out, I wisely eschewed email and social media, got in the new family cruiser, and headed North with the wife and kids to Colorado for a little R&R.

Or that was the plan, at least.

We had a great vacation; maybe the best ever. It was fun, and filled with lots of family QT, (including swimming in pools and springs,) but relaxing it was not.

As it happens, my 10 year old son has become addicted to basketball over the last six months. At first, he was just watching it on TV, LeBron James in particular.

Then, about three months ago, he got interested in playing, and has been insanely obsessed ever since.

It’s all he talks or thinks about, and if he’s not practicing at the court, he’d like to be. (Just so you can visualize, our local hoops are behind the volunteer firehouse, next to an irrigation ditch and a goat/sheep pen.)

Luckily for Theo, there was a great park across from our motel, with a pristine basketball court, and another in the tourist district of the town we visited, so we played there too.

I dragged my tired, 44 year-old-carcass to the court three times a day, including in the blazing Rocky Mountain mid-day sun, to make him happy.

Also, because it seemed karmically appropriate.

I learned about sports from my Dad, and as I’ve written over the years, it has been a massive passion since childhood. I played three sports growing up, (one per season, including basketball,) and watched endlessly on TV. (Which I still do.)

I even blog about my favorite soccer club, Arsenal, FOR FREE, because it’s so much fun to be a sports writer, like the guys I read growing up. (Shout out to Joe Adelizzi of the Asbury Park Press.)

Lately, though, (Sorry, Theo,) the addiction seems a bit much. I mean, I’m 99.9% supportive of the new habit, but .01% of me finds it obnoxious as hell. “Take it down, a notch, bro,” thinks that tiny part of me.

But of course, so often in life, the things that annoy us in others are the things we don’t like about ourselves. I actually had someone complain to me recently about another person’s behavior, when this person had done the exact same things to me.

(Self-aware, he was not.)

With Theo, I feel deep pride, all the time, watching him grow and compete. He played his first five-on-five pickup game one evening, and got up in the face of the biggest, most-talented 15 year old in the park. (Ballsy, if unwise.)

Seeing behavior play out over the next generation, and then wondering if I don’t need to amend my own personality a bit, is one of the wonders of parenthood, and of the genetic encoding that underpins it.

How much of who I am is dependent on my Dad, who’s an energetic powerhouse? (To say the least.) Or my maternal grandfather, who defied the odds to be a professional musician for decades?

When I recognize my flaws, how much can I really do to make them better? I’ve always believed self-improvement is possible, (and still do,) but are there some levels of our personalities, some parts of our psyche, that will always lurk below the surface, like a miniature submarine?

I’m wondering, having just spent the better part of the morning with “War Sand,” a fascinating, well-timed, yet genuinely odd publication from Donald Weber, whose brilliant “Interrogations” was reviewed here in the column years ago.

As soon as I plucked this one off the book stack, I was sure I’d be writing my intro about Trump. You know, the whole setting up concentration camps thing. The taking babies from their parents thing.

That one.

As a 4th generation Jewish-American, I grew up hearing stories about the Holocaust, (all the time,) and about the greatness of America, facing down the Nazis and saving the world.

High School and College taught me about our darker history: slavery, the genocide of Native America, Japanese-American Concentration Camps, CIA assassinations.

Things like that.

So as a writer who spent years, in this very space, warning about Trump, and the ideas he represented, I’m obviously disturbed and upset.

Aren’t we all?

But instead, as I started writing about “War Sand,” it was the idea of lineage and legacy that came to the forefront, because it’s at the heart of this book. (If obscured until late.)

“Interrogations” was one of the freakiest books I’ve ever seen, as Weber photographed actual scenes of violence, like a B movie come to life.

I assumed he’s a tough guy with an extreme personality, or rather a personality that doesn’t shy away from the extreme. (Instead, he seems drawn to it.) Ultimately, that unlocks the puzzle this book presents: why it was made, and what ties it all together.

From an opening cover featuring embossed graphics of martial arts, to a set of sky photographs with scientific data and hidden-coded-crossword puzzles, to photographs of the ocean, this book doesn’t explain itself so much as force you to ask questions.

But then you consider the title.
War Sand.

The fighting, the sky, the beach: I think Normandy.

This must be Normandy.

And it is.

Subsequently, we see dry photographs of the landscape as it is now, then a whole section about microscopic and electron microscope images of shrapnel embedded in the “war” sand, followed by a long story, on pink paper, that also features a meta-criticism of itself via footnotes.

By that point, you’re on page 277. (Did I forget to mention this is a dense book?)

Buried in there, in all those competing image styles and different motifs, I found one line. Writing in the first person, Donald Weber says he collected the sand on the beach in a shopping bag, unlike his grandfather, who might have used a glass vial.

It was a small little detail, but it nagged at me, and I almost went to the Goggle. Earlier, one of the text sections had spoken about the team of British commandos who’d snuck into France to steal samples of the sand, so tests could determine if the beaches could handle heavy equipment during the D-Day invasion.

Unlike his grandfather?
What did it mean?

After the pink-paper-essay, we see a new section, in which toy photographs narrate the story of the commandos, which did, in fact, include Donald Weber’s grandfather.

What was only hinted at earlier is told explicitly, and even that isn’t the end of the weirdness. After that section, we finish with a montage of images of actors in movies about D-Day, including the obvious, (Lee Marvin, James Coburn,) and the less-expected. (Tom Selleck? Robert Duval as a Nazi?)

So odd. Especially as all these styles, or mini-series really, are mashed up in one book. (Which then ends with an index, and a story about the Englishman who learned Jiu Jitsu and Kung Fu in China and then taught it to the entire Allied army.)

This book reminds me a bit of Debi Cornwall’s “Welcome to Camp America,” or Laia Abril’s “On Abortion,” as that style of mixing up disparate image groups to tell a larger story is en vogue at the moment.

I think the technique is effective, insofar as it keeps people from getting bored, or tuning out. It keeps them guessing too, and allows for the rhythm of different chapters.  And “War Sand,” a book about what happened the last time the world faced a run of right-wing extremism, (Germany, Italy, & Japan back then,) could not be more topical.

It’s methodical as it forces us to contemplate where all of “this” might be headed, by facing the nasty past. (And with the shrapnel-sand, how the past still exists in the present.)

Books like this inform, using visual language, which is why they’re popular. But for me to be completely, totally entranced, I like art to get under my skin emotionally as well.

Bottom Line: Fascinating, multivalent look at D-day, and a photographer’s legacy

To purchase “War Sand” click here

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers, in order to maintain a balanced program.