This Week in Photography Books: Jo Ann Chaus


Control is an illusion.

Human beings, IMO, see themselves as far more important to the Universe’s ecosystem than we actually are.

It explains why we took over Earth, subjugating all other species to our needs. (Seriously, did you see that viral story about the baboons escaping from a Texas research facility by boosting over barrels?)

We are far from the only intelligent life form here, yet we act as if we are.

Perhaps I’m not telling you anything you didn’t know, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as I work to sublimate my ego. (I’m not trying to get all Buddhist on you, but I have been enjoying the Dalai Lama’s Twitter feed lately.)

What could be more 21st Century than the Dalai Lama, and the President of the United States, spreading their ideas around the planet, in real time, via an app created by (likely) stoners in NorCal?

Basically, I’m suggesting we’ve reached “Peak Absurdity” in 2018, and it’s time to admit that none of us know what the fuck is going on.

Not me.
Not you.
Not anyone.
(Especially not DT Junior. Boy, does that kid seem dim.)

Here’s the hard truth: not everything makes sense, and the good guys don’t always win. While that might be a great synopsis of “Westworld” Season 1, it’s also an apt description of our Global times, with authoritarianism on the march in so many places.

And that reality is the impetus for today’s book review, as I recently put down “Sweetie & Hansom,” a cool, self-published photobook that showed up in the mail a few months ago, by Jo Ann Chaus.

I met Jo Ann at Photo NOLA in December, and we hit it off. As I wrote in my post-review-review, she is a Jewish grandmother from Northern New Jersey, and I couldn’t shake this sense of familiarity, as we obviously come from a similar “tribe.”

She was making edgy self-portraits, including dressing up in a French maid’s outfit, and I loved the series. It was cohesive, and I understood her POV.

Which is a stark contrast to “Sweetie & Hansom,” which I could not suss out, no matter how hard I tried. (Editor’s note: As I was going back through the book again to photograph it, it seemed like maybe this was about three neighboring families? But I wouldn’t swear to it.)

Normally, I’d bristle at something that doesn’t explain itself, and is difficult if not impossible to parse. Normally, I’d criticize it for a muddy vision.

But as long-time readers of this column know, I often get onto multi-week themes, even if they’re not intentional. And our current module is about opening your mind, getting out of that blasted comfort zone, and growing by expanding your range.

To be clear, I like this book a lot. I like the pictures within, and I like its vibe. I never review a book I don’t find interesting, nor one that doesn’t make me think, and compel me to write.

I suspect you guys will dig it too.

At first, I assumed that Sweetie and Hansom were nicknames for Jo Ann and her husband, and it would be about them. When the book opened with an older, naked man’s ass, I thought of Susan Rosenberg Jones’s project about her oft-naked husband, Joel.

And the array of family photos, composted together, made me think of Nancy Borowick’s “The Family Imprint,” though this book precedes it. (Sweetie & Hansom was published in 2016.)

Then I read some poetry which alluded to loss, and the protagonists changed to another late-middle-aged couple. Who may have lost a son to a drug overdose?

Like I said, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, as Jo Ann & her husband return to the story’s forefront again, so it’s hard to get a proper sense of who the protagonists are, or what the narrative is here. (Second editor’s note: Or perhaps I guessed right in my first editor’s note?)

Death is a part of this book. I know that, because there’s a photo of a death certificate, and poem about someone discovering their dead son Larry.

But is it real?

Is any of this?

The images are obviously staged, and take inspiration from Larry Sultan and Gregory Crewdson, but they’re weird in a way that I appreciate.

There is a thank you page at the end, but even that doesn’t really explain WTF just happened.

And for once, I’m OK with that.
It feels appropriate to our moment in time.

The end notes do suggest that Jo Ann studied in one of the ICP programs, so perhaps this was her final student project? As with everything else, I can’t be sure.

So today, I might leave you slightly confused, rather than entirely satiated, but at least we’re keeping it real.

Bottom Line: Weird, cool, inexplicable book from Jersey…

To purchase “Sweetie & Hansom” contact the artist here

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at

The Art of the Personal Project: Amy Neunsinger

- - 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:  Amy Neunsinger

I adore taking photos of flora because of the intimacy, the ease and the beauty. In my everyday job I work with many people, hectic schedules and tight parameters so it’s invaluable when I can be quiet and intimate with my subject. The simple things can be the hardest to capture but in the end can have the biggest reward.

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 – Wired Magazine: Amy Silverman

- - The Daily Edit




Design Director: Ivylise Simones
Photography Director: Anna Goldwater Alexander
Photo Editor: Amy Silverman
Art Director: Ben Bours
Photographer: Nik Mirus

Heidi: Tell us about the sets.
Amy:The sets were made from pieces of plexiglass with colored paper or gels placed on them. We worked with a flat sheet of plexi with various colors of paper under it and then they placed the squares that were upright for each individual shot

What was the evolution of this idea, did it start one way and then evolve?
We started with a few different ideas- and i have to say this is one of the most collaborative issues I’ve ever worked on. We knew we were doing a special “life issue” broken down into various stages of one’s life (but including pre-birth and post-death). So the art department met a lot to talk about various ideas that were photo based and illustration based. We all brought ideas to the meetings with reference photos from different artists and across different styles. Eventually, art directors Ben Bours and Mike Ley put together a beautiful presentation for our editors that went through 3 different possible approaches we had agreed on. We called them Organic, Cellular, and Discovery and Decline. Each treatment had its own fonts and artists and colors associated with it. All focused on progression and stages and metamorphosis. When you are thinking about life and death it’s hard to avoid well worn metaphors so we decided to embrace them. Eventually we decided we wanted to use a photographic approach, our “organic” treatment. Our creative director, David Moretti, who left WIRED right as we were shooting, was excited about using flowers as a way to show the stages.



How long did they take to build?
We shot the cover plus the four chapter openers over two days. the cover taking most of one of those days. So to place the flowers and the evolving structure took only a couple hours for each shot because we had sketched it out and had a very clear idea of how each page would look.

How did you decide on what flowers to use?
Flowers were chosen for each stage of life based on their shape and color and the state of their flowering. We wanted it to feel like it was becoming more lush and complex as it went through the stages and then becoming more pared down in the final stage. The first stage 00-12 was elemental/simple shapes and not a lot of colors- no flowers, just hints of buds. 13-26 we really wanted to be about these simple flowers beginning to bloom- as well as the colors being bright and vibrant. 27-54 we wanted to be the most complex- referencing fullness of life and social networks- we brought in the most flowers here making it more lush, overflowing, bursting forth with more saturated colors. 55-death and beyond we wanted to circle back around to less complex shapes and colors and to bring in the idea of decline. We also grafted an orchid onto a tulip as a nod to science and the extended possibilities afforded to us through science and technology.

The cover was an encapsulation of this idea of progress/evolution/layers. We were trying to contain all of the chapter openers into one idea. The orchid felt like a natural choice here- with it’s intricate/complex shapes and as a reference to vitality. We wanted it to feel very alive and moving its way through different layers.

What direction did you give to the photographer?
As soon as we decided to go the photographic route, we got the photographer on board to bring his ideas into it. Nik had shot for WIRED once before and we loved his approach. He had a previous project that we looked at because it combined materials that felt futuristic with something that is somewhat timeless- maps. We went to him with the idea of the organic (flowers) and the use of the layers of plexi or some material that spoke to structure and technology. There were many discussions back and forth with sketches and reference pictures. We knew we wanted certain elements- transparency, layers, playing with optical illusions. We knew we wanted to use real flowers and build most of the effects in studio so that you see real shadows and reflections. We also knew we wanted the evolution to occur on various levels- so the changes are happening with the plexi structure that becomes more complex throughout, the colors loosely going from light to dark/summer to winter, and the placement of the text on the page moving as well. Nik has a set designer that he works with very closely, Camille Boyer, who was in all the meetings and had great ideas about how we could create shapes with the plexi and what kinds of flowers we might use. Especially for the cover- Camille suggested using a box with a layer of plexi in front of it that we could shoot into creating a really nice depth and the super vibrant colors.


The Daily Promo – Tony Luong

- - The Daily Promo

Tony Luong

Who printed it?
Linco Printing in New York.

Who designed it?
My partner, Emily Luong. The process usually starts with me making small prints, shuffling them around, going back into old pictures or printing new ones out. One difficult part about the design is figuring out how each image ends up on the page as the top right image is always the same size and in the same spot so the rest of the layout is kind of dictated by how everything falls from there. The other challenge is working with scale and how each image talks to one another and of course the biggest task is defining the ethos of the piece all the while making it seem like it is effortless. I am most surprised by how different the final piece looks than how I imagine it will be when the process initially starts.

Tell me about the images?
It’s a mix of commissioned and personal work.

How many did you make?

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I have been sending these posters once a year at the beginning of spring for the last few years. I also do email newsletters twice or so a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Definitely. I have received some very thoughtful and nice responses about these. I also think it is beneficial to see work printed regardless.

The Lost Rolls America Archive


Last week, I said I like to shake things up.

And I meant it.

So today, we’re going to pivot away from book reviews, and bring you a special feature about the Lost Rolls America Archive, a project led by NYU professor Lauren M. Walsh, and photojournalist Ron Haviv.

I wrote a piece about the endeavor for Lens in late 2016, just as it was getting started. The gist is that Fuji offered to develop and scan one roll of lost or forgotten film from anyone in America. All you had to do was dig the film canister out of your couch cushions, or the back of your fridge, and send it in. (Apparently, the archive is now closed.)

They sent back the scans, and then each person picked one (or more) of the photos to be included in an archive of lost images from contemporary America. (And occasionally beyond, as you’ll see below.)

Now that the Lost Rolls America archive has gathered steam, there are several hundred images posted online, in a database of forgotten moments.

Lauren and Ron were kind enough to answer a few questions about the project, and mass-culture-photography in general. They also allowed me to edit the following series for you, as a way of looking for through-lines in the burgeoning archive.

There’s an exhibition of images from the LRAA in an airstream in Los Angeles this week, in conjunction with the MOPLA, so if you’re in SoCal, go check it out.

(Photo credits: All images copyright Lost Rolls America Archive, and the photographer. The photographers are as follows: Rikki Reich, Ed White, Russel Gontar, Stephen Desroches, Scott Ellerby, Jessica Lipkind, Jeremy Harris, Jonathan Schaefer, Mary Croft, Beth Urpanil, David Burnett, Terry Bliss, Philip Maechling, Orquidea, William Bennett, Beth Urpanil, Nora Curry, Tamika Jancewicz, Alan Wong, Mary Keane, Valerie Ferrier, J Printen, Deb Treanor, Valentina Zavarin, Rikki Reich, Alex Cave, Linda Walker, Stephanie Heimann, Lisa French, Jeffrey Robins)


Q&A with Professor Lauren M. Walsh and Photojournalist Ron Haviv 


JB: Why did you think people would submit their personal memories to the public Lost Rolls America Archive?

LW & RH: The process allows participants to re-engage with a time from the past, to literally view a forgotten moment and re-experience it. And the experience isn’t just for the individual. In contributing to the archive, you become part of a collective dynamic, where you realize that there are points of commonality across these once-lost images and the memories they call forth.

Additionally, the memories written in the archive often reflect a desire to share deep feelings about life experiences. In consisting of all kinds of photography—not just professional, but the snapshots of amateurs and hobbyists—Lost Rolls America celebrates the average person’s personal experience. In this sense, it works to offer a sense of community and a space to acknowledge and commemorate all of our pasts.


JB: Do you think the archive, in its current form, says anything about contemporary America?

LW & RH: Today, when the perception is often that we are a divided country (politically, economically, and so forth), the archive stands a powerful reminder of the many ways that we are in fact more similar than different. There are shared themes that appear through the photos and memories, such as the attention to family, the celebration of youth, the nostalgia for lost loved ones, the exuberance of travel, and even the value of the mundane in all of our lives.


JB: Has the ubiquity of cellphone cameras changed the nature of photography, or are there just infinitely more photographs?

LW & RH: The ubiquity of camera phones has indeed influenced our photo-taking habits. We self-document with photos more than ever before, but what is the role of these sometimes enormous personal archives? Moreover, how has the ubiquity of cellphone cameras changed the way historical narratives are recorded? These are two of the central questions we address in a talk we’re giving on Sunday, April 15th, at 4pm at the LINE Hotel (3515 Wilshire Blvd) in Los Angeles. For those who can’t make it, it’ll be streamed and a record of the talk will eventually appear on the Lost Rolls America website:


JB: If you could go back in time and re-shoot one roll of film in your life, which would it be? (Or where would you be?)

LW: In college, at one point, I was traveling in France. My suitcase, in the back of the train, was stolen. The most important items (passport, laptop) were in my backpack with me in my seat on the train. So I mostly just lost clothes, which are replaceable. But in that suitcase were eight rolls of film. That was the worse part of the losing the luggage – because those were irreplaceable. If I could go back in time, I’d try to recapture those college travel memories. I imagine such photos would only become more valuable over time, taking on a wistful tinge as I look backward reliving those younger days.

RH: The dream of all photojournalists: to transport oneself to a moment in time where the history and future of humanity was being decided. From documenting a time when there were no cameras to pivotal events in war/politics/culture/etc, my choices are endless. It will remain an unanswered question as the answer changes moment by moment as I think I should go there or here or somewhere else…


JB: How would you describe the difference between the celluloid aesthetic, and the hyperreal digital aesthetic that’s taken its place?

LW & RH: One of the most significant differences that Lost Rolls America celebrates is the “delay” inherent to analog film. In the digital age you can see your image immediately. This changes the experience, both of picture taking and of the memory of the moment captured. With analog, you can’t see your photo right away, you don’t know exactly what the picture looks like. That slice of recorded time from the past is returned to the photographer only after the film is developed – that could be a few hours or a few days, or in the case of this archive it can be years and even decades. It has been nothing short of magical to view the responses of participants in the archive who are seeing moments from their past after such long periods of time. It’s a revelatory experience and for many, the memories, summoned up in response to the once-lost photo, are raw, fresh, powerful, and poignant.


JB: How will the photographs be exhibited in LA? What are the exhibition details? 

LW & RH: The photos from the archive are exhibited in a retro-style Airstream at The LINE Hotel. We invite visitors to step backward in time as they experience others’ photos and memories. It’s simultaneously a collective Americana experience and personalized one, as if stepping into someone’s home, seeing their old photos and hearing their memories. The Airstream–outfitted with a picnic table, rocking chairs, and picket fence–displays the archive contents in unique, interactive ways – through journals, photo albums, with large prints and small, in a bedroom, a kitchen, outside and inside the Airstream. We encourage anyone in the area to visit!

The Art of the Personal Project: Ian Spanier

- - 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: Ian Spanier 


There’s a world-record holder living just three houses away. In the home adjacent to yours resides a guy who worked as a set carpenter for The Sopranos but now just relaxes in blissful suburban anonymity.

Two blocks over is the home of the air-traffic controller who guided the “Miracle on the Hudson” jetliner gently down to its landing in the river.

People with stories like these are all over, in every neighborhood across this vast country. Do we know about them, though? Do we really have any idea who our neighbors are? Right Next Door will cross that threshold to show that amazing human beings with extraordinary lives aren’t just found on television or online.

They’re all around us — and many live far closer than we think.

Please note that I write the interviews with MUCH help of editor Brian Dawson.

Dane Elliott Lewis, Civil War Reenactor, Aerospace Engineer.

Growing up in a small town in NY with just a handful of African-Americans Lewis chose the opposite path and attended Morehouse College- a historically black all-male school in Atlanta. There he learned of Civil War reenactment. A lover of history he jumped in with both feet, continuing his side passion on the occasional weekends.

Chris Paparo and Red-Tailed Hawk Emmy, Falconer, Naturalist, Conservationist

Some might find it odd to have a full-grown bird of prey in your backyard — but Paparo and his wife, who both work at their local aquarium, regard it as a natural outgrowth of their passion for animals. Emmy isn’t just a freeloader, though — when Paparo isn’t writing or photographing articles about the environment, he’s often hunting with her.

Jon Hayman, Television Comedy Writer

Ever wonder why you never see Bubbleboy in the infamous Trivial Pursuit “Moops” episode of Seinfeld? Well after the producer couldn’t cast an appropriate teen that was enough of a “foulmouthed bastard” to play the part- he asked writer Hayman to pull it off, admittedly, more of a behind-the-scenes guy, his 38 years-old arm took to the stage for the memorable TV moment. He’s also written and appeared on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm amongst his other projects.

– Lena Marquise “Mistress Lady Wednesday,” Dominatrix

Not one to be hidden behind the curtain, Marquise is not a stereotypical dominatrix. With an ability to speak about her life like a TED talk, Marquise is a steadfast cheerleader for sexual liberation and the unabashed embrace all of one’s quirks and desires.

George Lois, Famed Creative Director.

An original Manhattan adman, Lois created many of the most memorable advertisements and publication designs of the last 50 years: Esquire magazine’s glory days in the 1960s, Volkswagen, ESPN, Ed Koch’s mayoral campaigns and many, many more. He’s also the inspiration for Don Draper- minus the cigarettes, booze and philandering.

To see more of this project, click here.

In the press, check this out

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.


Expert Advice: One-On-One Portfolio Reviews

- - Expert Advice

Erika Blatt, Wonderful Machine

One-on-one portfolio reviews should be an essential part of any photographer’s marketing plan. It’s an excellent opportunity to get your work literally under the noses of decision makers at ad agencies, publications, and brands. We’ve found that creatives are more likely to work with photographers they know, and meetings are a great way to solidify those relationships. It’s your opportunity to present your brand, your work, and yourself. However, many photographers find the idea of setting up meetings to be somewhat daunting, so I’ve put together a step-by-step guide to securing and preparing for your portfolio reviews.

erika blatt, expert advice, wonderful machine, one-on-one portfolio events


Before even setting up a meeting, your promotional materials need to be in order and ready to go.

  • First things first, make sure your website is up-to-date and fully functional. Nobody is going to make an appointment with you without first checking out your site. Make sure it’s solid (see our Expert Advice: Website Dos and Don’ts).
  • Make sure your book is up-to-date and well-edited. Get a second opinion on your edit from a friend or a consultant (see our Expert Advice: How to Edit Photographs).
  • Consider whether an iPad portfolio is appropriate for you. Print portfolios still get more attention from clients at our portfolio events than iPads do. But tablets are essential if you shoot motion, and they’re also a nice supplement to show recent projects or to go into greater depths on a particular subject.
  • Have an appropriate leave-behind ready to go. A simple postcard can work. However, you’ll score extra points for something unique like a small booklet or even an app (like Tony Burns’ Shooting The World). Whenever possible, your leave-behind should be memorable, inventive, and reflective of your brand.


Whether you’re traveling across the country, or just across town, take the time to do some research and make sure you’re barking up the right trees. Check out each client’s website to make sure that your photography matches up with their needs, so you don’t waste your time or theirs. Start close to home and then branch out from there. You will only be able to meet with a relatively small number of prospects over the course of your career, so make each appointment count.

As useful as list services are, nothing is more valuable than personal networking. When you find one client who responds to your work, ask them if they know any others who might be a good match for you. As you start to cultivate relationships with prospective clients, it will be essential to keep good records of your interactions with them.


After you’ve compiled your list of prospects that you want to meet with, the next step is to start reaching out. We’ve found that contacting people roughly a week before you’d like to meet is a good rule of thumb. Do it too far in advance, and you risk having them forget about the meeting or canceling on you. Too little notice may find them already booked up. Start with a casual email that includes the following:

  • The prospect’s name
  • A little about how your skills and interests might match up with their needs
  • A link to your site
  • The dates and times you’re available

There are a few tricks you can use that can help you get noticed:

  • Don’t attach images to your email. I find that this increases the chance of your email getting stuck in spam filters. But it doesn’t hurt to attach a JPEG to your follow-up email.
  • Give the impression that you’re going to be in town for other meetings (even if you haven’t set up any others yet). You don’t want anyone to feel the pressure that you’re making a special trip for them.
  • Don’t ask for too much time. “A few minutes” is what you should ask for. If you get more than that, then great! Here’s a basic template you can follow:

erika blatt, wonderful machine, expert advice, marketing consulting, prospect list services, face to face with clients

A couple of days later, if you haven’t heard back from them, follow up with a phone call. Keep the call short and sweet:

Hi, this is XXX, I’m a type of photographer based in city. I sent you an email a few days ago about meeting with you for a few minutes to hear about your creative needs and if there’s a way my style would fit in.

Sometimes it’s helpful to write out a script and practice it, so you’re comfortable with what you’re going to say. You might have to practice it a few times, so you don’t sound like a robot. Creating a succinct message that you can deliver in a relaxed way will give you the best chance of success. Creating an alternate script for voicemails is a good idea too.

Similar to the email, only ask if they have a few minutes to take a look at your book. If they don’t answer, or don’t get back to you, you can try sending one last email. But don’t get hung up on this one client, just move on to the next. Remember, the more people you reach out to for meetings, the more likely someone will have some interest or time available.

Once you start booking meetings, make sure you give yourself enough time for each meeting plus travel time to get to the next one. If you’re going to New York, try to book as many meetings as possible within walking distance so you can maximize your time. If you have to drive from one meeting to the next, account for the time it takes to get your car out of the parking garage and then find parking at the next place. Give yourself enough time for meetings to run long.

Build an itinerary for yourself including time of meetings, contact’s name, phone number, email address, physical address. Plan ahead how you’ll be getting around. (By the way, TripIt is a great (free) app for keeping track of meetings.)


Now that you’ve booked your meetings, time to do some additional research on the clients. One-on-one portfolio meetings are usually with one or two other people and quite casual, lasting less than 20 minutes. Check out their LinkedIn, Instagram, and social media sites in addition to their website. You’ll want to demonstrate that you know their business and you’ll have enough to talk about. If you’re meeting with an agency because you think you’d be a great fit for their client, make sure they still have that client. See if there are any similarities between the two of you, it’s nice to have those candid moments during the meeting that show your interest and preparation. Plus, the client will feel more at ease. If it’s in the morning, it can be a nice touch to pick up a couple of extra coffees to bring along to the meeting.

Make sure you’re dressed for the occasion. While most ad agencies have casual dress codes and work environments, that doesn’t mean you should show up for a meeting in a hoodie. Dress the part of someone that could command a high-value shoot.

erika blatt, expert advice, wonderful machine, one-on-one portfolio events

Once you’ve arrived at your meeting, it’s time to turn on the charm! Be relaxed, but energetic. I’d start with your elevator pitch and then walk them through your portfolio, explaining your creative process, and then offer up interesting stories or details about your experience on that shoot when you see them lingering on a certain image. You’ll find that some clients are expressive and chatty when looking through your book, while others like to flip through the pages quietly. You’ll have to gauge yourself whether or not they feel like talking while they look at your work.

Don’t ask clients to critique your photography or your presentation. That’s not their job, and it will make you seem like an amateur. Just guide them through your work and express an interest in their projects. Show that you’re interested in what they’re doing, but no hard sell. They may ask you about any personal projects you’re working on … sometimes to see if you are an inspired photographer with your own ideas or sometimes to see if it’s something they’d be interested in seeing.

Don’t expect to get an assignment on the spot and don’t be upset if you feel like you didn’t get the praise you were hoping for! The purpose of these meetings is for creatives/photo editors to get to know you and hopefully build up a comfort level so they will ask you for a bid when an appropriate project comes up.

Be sure to take your print book (obviously!), your print promo or leave-behind, as well as business cards. Again, if you shoot motion, it’s a must to bring an iPad or tablet.


A few days later, send a hand-written thank-you note. Keep it short and sweet, just to thank them for the meeting. If you have any additional promos or branded garb (t-shirts, mugs, notebooks, etc.) now’s a good time to send that as well.

From there, an occasional email or print promo update is appropriate (every few months), especially if you have some news to share. It’s also smart to connect on LinkedIn so you can keep track of their career path. Creative departments are continually evolving and switching accounts, or following accounts to different agencies – you never know when a good prospect moves to a new company that would be perfect for your photography. Plus, it helps you to stay on their radar.

If you need a hand building a client list or setting up meetings, please call us at 610.260.0200 or reach out. Or you can visit our consulting page to learn more.

The Daily Edit – AFAR: McNair Evans

- - The Daily Edit


Afar Magazine

Director of Photography: Tara Guertin
Photo Editor: Lyn Horst
Design Director: Jason Seldon
Photographer: McNair Evans


Heidi: How long where you down south?
McNair: When AFAR Magazine’s Director of Photography, Tara Guertin, received a story pitch about a Thelma & Louise style road trip through North and South Carolina, she emailed me immediately. Tara knew that I’m from North Carolina originally and had hired me for a project there four years earlier. AFAR Magazine takes an off-the-beaten-path approach to travel and photography. To provide in-depth glimpses from remote locations, Tara strives to find local photographers who will share a true sense of place rather than an outsider’s perspective. Not only did this story traverse my teenage haunts, it was pitched by British journalist Emma John, with whom I worked in 2012 on a project titled Playing By The Heart. Tara wanted to know how soon I could schedule the shoot. Working with an assistant to help with driving and equipment, I scheduled five days to retrace the story’s route and make pictures that would share the author’s experiences as well as my own sense-of-place as a native Southerner.

Was this a road trip?
The story Two For The Road consists of first-person experiences and revelations along an 800-mile road trip through the American South. Beginning in Charlotte, North Carolina and driving east to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, Emma and her host Genny crossed the Eastern Coastal Plain, a sandy, prehistoric sea floor currently quilted with large-scale commercial farms and dilapidated agricultural towns. From Pawleys Island they traveled south through tidal washes of the Atlantic Ocean and to the colonial cities of Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Finally they drove northwest into the Appalachian Mountains for a visit to Genny’s home and to conclude their trip in Charlotte, NC.

While road trips have long been the means and subject of American photography, photographers have mostly focused on expansive geography in the American West, notions of Manifest Destiny, and isolation or dislocation of photographers navigating disparate locations. This trip was different. The route circled through places often overlooked or challenged me to find greater significance through a manicured veneer of historic preservation.

How do you string together your narrative arc for these travel stories?
Emma had not yet written her story and would not be able to return to the United States to accompany the shoot. Instead we connected via Skype so I could learn more about her personal experiences and her vision for the finished piece. I needed to know the locations she had visited, where she had stayed, and the people she had met. Emma shared specific encounters with people and places, and I extrapolated the broader significances of these anecdotes. I was interested in the relationship between Genny and Emma and what they had learned while traveling together. What feelings did particular encounters evoke and how did their perspectives change throughout the trip? In addition to photographing their itinerary, Tara provided key restaurants and activities that might accompany the article. I made two lists. One consisted of specific places and activities and the other outlined broader themes, such as complex social remnants of a plantation society, challenging gender roles, race relations, social privilege, and generational expectation. My narrative goal was to find the latter in the former while maintaining a sense of discovery and movement through the landscape.

How many of these are set up shots and how many are you observing?
While trees, mountains, and buildings may not visually acknowledge the presence of a photographer, most people do. The idea that I might photograph people, regardless of how discrete, without influencing their behavior is something I’ve mostly given up. In most cases I prefer an opposite approach that begins with my introduction and explanation. Once a scene or scenario unfolds, I tend to photograph with little, if any direction. Portraits of individuals and still-life images often require complete direction. Otherwise, the instant a person realizes that they are being observed can provide a picture’s punctum. In this last scenario, I then explain my presence and intention in order to receive their permission to publish the image. This project required a variety of image making processes, from completely set up shots to found objects and fleeting moments.

Did the writer wrangle the subjects?
Emma, the writer, was in another time zone and on a different continent, so ‘the subjects’ were subjected only to direct enthusiasm and mutual respect from my assistant and me. I mean, projects like this, when a photo editor provides a loose shot list and then instructs, “just go and do your thing,” are a complete dream. Sure, all the details regarding where, when, who, and how to shoot become my responsibility, but with that comes the creative freedom to explore metaphor, symbolism, and allegory within every shoot scenario.

Tell us about the sharing a ride component, how did you address that photographically?
To photograph six cities and 800 miles in five days is no joke. Luckily Mark Quinnes, the San Francisco-based photographer who assisted me on this project, was a quick study on driving manual transmission. Mark would drive between locations and when the light was good. I’d look for interesting stops along the route or photograph through a sunroof. Each night, while downloading and backing up the shoot, we’d use the internet to search local newspapers and websites for interesting events during the days ahead. Mark would drop these onto a Google map previously loaded with our itenary. We’d always have a destination, even if just finding unexpected photographs along the route was our main objective.

The main character of this story, Genny, Emma’s road trip partner, met us on the last day. I rode shotgun while she drove and told stories connecting landscape to memory. We visited the site where she was born, her school, a favorite diner, and a site-seeing spot she believed Mark and I would enjoy. Using photography to simply illustrate a story has never interested me much, so a literal picture of her driving didn’t really appeal. Instead, I looked for pictures that might feel like shared moments between her and the absent author. I made pictures that might communicate her belonging, abandonment, and perhaps rediscovery of the place she defines as home.

How were you received in these out of the way places?
Born in Daly City, CA, lovingly dubbed Little Manila by its large Filipino population, Mark had never been to the American South. Likewise, most of the people we photographed had never seen a Filipino. As if cued by a teleprompter, approximately thirty-minutes into each shoot the same question arose in a slow Southern drawl, “Excuse me, but where are you from?” If inquirer was female and over the age of 65, they’d quickly justify the question, “You are so handsome.”

Back in the Bay Area and sharing stories from our shoot, a fellow photographer asked how we could spend so much time with ‘those types of people,’ ie. people so different from us. Rarely are people as binary or different as they appear from afar. Photography, like all art, provides a vehicle and voice to cross these divides. The history of slavery and a persistence of plantation ideology certainly clouds the American South, as well as many places across the United States, but collective guilt and shame can unite us in action as much as they separate us in anger. Photography might not be capable of really changing the world, but at least assignments like this one provide an opportunity to describe underlying nuances that define how we see each other.

The Daily Promo – Heather Sten

Heather Sten

Who printed it?
Magcloud, which I believe is now owned by Blurb. I’ve been printing with them since college and they usually do a great job with the zines. If you buy in bulk you get a nice discount.

Who designed it?
My partner, Doug Richard, who also happens to be an insightful, remarkable designer. We thought about how it should look and feel for a while. I printed out some of my favorite images that I shot last year, and we taped them all up on our studio wall, and moved them around trying to figure out pairing, which images should be in it, which should be taken out, etc. I completely trust his taste and opinion 110%, so that made this process easy and fun. He comped 5 or 6 different cover designs and taped them to our home office, and I lived with them and looked at them for a bit until I decided which one I liked best. I’m really happy with how it turned out, it was a labor of love that I’m proud of.

Tell me about the images?
They’re a mixture of commissioned work and personal work. I wanted all the images to flow well together, speak to one another, and be a reflection of the type of work that I’d like to be commissioned for in the future.

How many did you make?

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I usually like to send out 2 printed magazine promos, and 1 or 2 rounds of postcards (a more cost-efficient promo!) a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Definitely. I reflected on how I wanted this promo to feel for a long time, and I’ve gotten a lot of really wonderful responses from this one. I think it’s really beneficial to have editors see your work in print.

This Week in Photography Books: Gabe Wolf


Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t easy.

You’d think it would be, as the phrase has become a parody
of a cliché of an aphorism.

I dispense advice here, almost weekly, and pontificate on issues big and small.

(Politics. Economics. Art. Racism. War. Movies. Sports. Family.)

I’ve found it’s easier to give advice than to take it. Nobody likes to be told what to do, so teaching and inspiring work better without sanctimony.

Part of how I try to stay fresh is to force myself to grow and change, even though it’s hard. (Just the other day, I reminded a family member that not doing things, just because they’re hard, is the opposite of the artist mentality.)

But with respect to taking my own advice, (which I could be better at,) this week, I accepted help from a friend, when all my traditional instincts were pushing me to figure it out on my own. I’ve had print-head issues lately, and have to make a new portfolio for the NYT Portfolio Review later this month.

I was on the verge of paying a fair amount of cash for mediocre machine prints, when my buddy was offering to use his considerable expertise, badass printer, and high-end-Hahnemuhle paper for free.

My wife and friend both pointed out that it seemed reasonable and wise to accept his offer.

To take the help: better prints, no money.

But every part of me, which isn’t used to asking for favors, was trying to find a way out. Then I remembered a comfort zone
is the place where we do what we always do.

Our patterns and habits.

So I shut up for a moment, thought about it, thanked my friend profusely, and started thinking about some great presents to buy him to show gratitude.

Likewise, I try to keep this column from getting stale. Rather than be OK with showing more male artists than female, we engaged in some outreach last year, and are now able to alternate male and female artists each week.


(Keep those submissions coming in, ladies…)

I also get in habits in the kind of books I show. Weird, edgy, fine-art goodies, or journalistic, socio-political documentary books about those aforementioned major issues.

Along those lines, most of the books I review come from the perspective of the urban, artsy hipster/journo, rather than a regular dude living in the country.

Like, way out in the country.

Deep in the Heart of Texas.

I don’t feature a lot of books like that.

So…obviously…that’s what we’ll do today.

Gabe Wolf, who goes by the name Lone Wolf, sent me a copy of his self-published, hard-cover book, “XV: On the Road with Lone Wolf,” which covers 15 years of his documentary photographs of cowboys, and rodeo culture in general.

This book hails from Kempner, which is as close to the heart of Texas as you can get. (Near Killeen, Southwest of Waco, Northwest of Austin. I got a burrito near there two years ago, and it was delicious.)

It feels categorical in a way I appreciate. The series is lived-in, meaning you really got the sense that Gabe Wolf put in the miles.

Along those lines, the photos are taken all over the greater Southwest, including TX, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Tennessee. (Maybe I missed a few?)

The images are well made, and the consistent change in size, format and picture placement speak to the self-published aesthetic. It feels DIY, and I dig it.

At some point, I noticed a sub-series of images of a young rider who appeared to be a Native American. Given the 4 Corners locale, I figured he might be a Navajo.

The captions said his name is “Derrick Begay,” which is a Navajo surname. And then I re-looked at the title page, and it said the book was published by Ma’iitsoh.

Maybe I need to break my rule and use Google for a minute?


No, Lone Wolf does not appear to be a Native American guy.

And the word I’ve been hesitating to use so far, “commercial,” does show up on his website in several places.

There’s a lack of edge, here, that would normally preclude me from showing the book. But by opening my mind a bit, I’m appreciating the behind-the-scenes vibe. The book feels “authentic,” to use the parlance of our times.

And the best images, including the black and white silhouette of Begay set against the backlight, are pretty awesome.

If this came from a major publisher, it would be slicker. And there would less images.

I’ve leveled the criticism at a bunch of books lately, too many photographs, but I don’t feel that way here.

The captions in the end give detailed information, and the sponsors are not Aperture or some fancy gallery, but rather, The Original Team Roping Association and Lone Star Ag Credit.

How can you not love that?

Bottom Line: 15 years of cool cowboy photos across the West

To purchase “On the Road with Lone Wolf,” click here

If you would like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at

The Art of the Personal Project: Jason Schmidt

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: Jason Schmidt

Jason Schmidt

May 13, 2012

Brooklyn, New York

At this point, I have photographed more than five-hundred artists, starting from 1997, carting my Linhof 4×5 and Nikon cameras through boroughs, up what might amount to several hundred flights of stairs, and occasionally to far-flung destinations around the globe to take a portrait of an artist in her or his (and sometimes their) studio or work environment. Much of the earlier artist portraits were collected in Artists, which came out in 2007. This book is a continuation of that project: the artists range from young to old, emerging to career peaking, world-famous to as-of-yet little known. It includes those exploring traditional mediums to those down-right confounding the entire premise of the art world as it exists today. The pages are rife with internal connections—some of the artists are friends, partners, studio mates, mentors. A few came to me by way of a suggestion from a fellow artist, and, perhaps, some are even competitors or enemies. But, for me, the 168 artists here represent something of an improvisatory art community, not so much a “group show” in industry speak but a barrage of very different scenarios where very different kinds of work is being made under some kind of constraint. That constraint might be time, money, a deadline, a market hungry for more, or simply the fact that a photographer demanded anywhere from a half an hour to four hours out of their busy schedules..

Each experience with an artist is singular—the resultant photograph is often a mixture of collaboration, on-the-spot inventiveness, my attempt to capture the artist and the environment in a concise, material way, and the restrictions that the studio or location provides. What I don’t do is editorialize. I try not to impose my conception of what an artist should be doing, and, since my job is to document, I don’t create scenarios or forge clever, telltale demonstrations. (You will never hear me say, “pretend you’re painting!”) I do often speak with an artist in advance and discuss a possible concept or conceit, and I’m always impressed by the number of subjects who actively want to get out of their comfort zones and participate in the creative process., Just as often, however, I let my first impression right from the studio door guide me. The first view is often the best solution. Generally speaking, I like to frame a picture around the studio space or around an in-progress artwork and then to decide where to place the artist. The artist might recede into the space and become another object in the tableau or he or she might become the focus of the photo. I don’t see these photographs as portraits first and environments second—the two are not mutually exclusive. Mostly I am interested in understanding an artist in the context of the work. I try to capture how the art was being made or conceived—the circumstances and the conditions, which are often insanely messy or shockingly organized and usually somewhere in between. Unlike the final installation shot, the money shot as it were, the photographs in this book record a very specific moment in time—when the photographer went on a visit to see an artist. The artworks in these photographs looked different the day before I arrived and many of them surely changed dramatically in the days after I left. These are the instants when everything is up in the air and the art, the artist, the photograph, and even this photographer wait and wonder how it will all turn out.

To see more of this project, click here.

To purchase his most recent book click here

(Artist I is sold out)

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.

Jason Schmidt is a photographer and director who specializes in portraits of artists and cultural figures, as well as architecture and interiors. A New York native, he received a Bachelors of Arts in art history from Columbia University in 1992.

Schmidt has photographed over 600 contemporary fine artists since 2000. His first book, Artists, was published in 2007 and Artists II (Steidl), his second book on the subject, was published in the fall of 2015. This body of work has been exhibited at Deitch Projects, New York and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. His work is included in the Marguiles Collection in Miami, where 135 artist portraits are currently on view.

New York Times art critic Karen Rosenberg observes that Schmidt’s photographs “transcend Pollock-paints-a-picture clichés; each photograph has its own peculiar aesthetic, from Paul McCarthy’s being caught like a serial killer in a boat spattered with fake blood, to prankster Maurizio Cattelan’s installing his infamous sculpture of a fallen pope.”

Schmidt shoots regularly for magazines including Architectural Digest, New York Magazine, The New York Times T Magazine, Vogue, W and Wallpaper. In addition to his print work, Schmidt has been directing short films on both art and architecture for several years.




Pricing & Negotiating: Usage Extension of an Existing Lifestyle Library

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Original Shoot Concept: Real People Lifestyle Library License Extension

Licensing: 1-year extension for 48 images Web Collateral use

Photographer: Established Midwestern portrait, youth culture, and fashion specialist

Client: National For-Profit College

Here’s the quote:

When negotiating a given agreement, one is often faced with the challenge of balancing a client’s budget, their licensing requirements, and the intended use. As you no doubt have experienced, those three don’t often align. And just about as often, the client is resolute on the terms and unwilling to budge on any of those points. However when a negotiating window does open, I’ve found the limitation presenting the greatest upside on the backend is the duration, provided it’s short enough on the front end.

Certainly, there are instances when limiting the scope and image count can present a terrific opportunity for future revenue, and you should always press for limitations on those. But generally speaking, by the time we’re talking with a client, they’ve got a really good idea of how many images they need and how they plan to use them and aren’t likely to be open to limiting either. However, in spite of having a firm grasp on their intended usage, most clients can only anticipate, plan and budget for that use within a relatively short time horizon, typically a year or two. Beyond that, the additional duration they’re requesting is usually for peace of mind and not a concrete intention. This, combined with the facts that new budget is usually made available annually and the staying power of a given set of images is uncertain, clients are occasionally open to limiting the duration of use.

In 2015, I shared a post about a four-day library shoot, including unlimited use of the imagery for about 2.5 years. Just before the license was set to expire, we followed up with the client to see if they were interested in extending the usage. Unlike the initial agreement which included the license to all images, at this point the client was only interested in renewing the licensing to a subset of the library, 48 images, for just one additional year, and for Web Collateral use only.

Normally, we might have discounted the additional year along the same curve that we build out the majority of quotes (a doubling of duration yields a 50% increase in value, ie. 1year = x, 2 years = 1.5x, etc). Usually, that equation is applied on the front end when the value is less-than-certain to all parties. On the back-end, leverage shifts. Now the images are a “known quantity” and have enough value to the client to seek additional use. In this case, the approach we took was to simply prorate based on the original quote and duration, which came to $16,000 per year. Finally, we had to consider the pricing ceiling, which would be the cost to produce a new project substantial enough to generate 48 unique location-specific lifestyle images. It’s safe to say that would be considerably more costly than our re-use quote, so we weren’t in any real jeopardy of the client considering a re-shoot alternative.

Although it is becoming increasingly difficult, limiting licensing is an integral component of a sustainable commercial photography business model and can generate continual opportunities for residual income such as this. So keep pressing for limitations, on every project, and you may be able to generate these opportunities for yourself.

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 – Trupal Pandya: Tribal Portraits

- - The Daily Edit

Trupal Pandya: Tribal Portraits


Heidi: What is your process for gaining trust in these different subcultures?
Trupal: When I am traveling, I make an effort to be accepted and slowly assimilating their ways of life. The first few days that I spend with them I don’t photograph them, but instead wait until they accept and understand why am I there. Sometimes, this would mean I live with them in their houses, sleep where they sleep, eat what they eat and talk to them, show them my work from other parts of the world so they understand what am I there to do. It’s about making a connection. It’s very important to me that they feel comfortable and let their guards down before I start photographing them. I also carry a Polaroid camera which is my only camera for the first few days so I could share my photos with them. I feel if your intentions are right, people can sense it. I am also a big believer of the universal language where one doesn’t need words to communicate.

You mention “when your intentions are right” what are yours?
I find it more important now than ever to spread awareness of all that is contained in these precious tribes. I believe that man was meant to live on the earth, joyous and free, in harmony with his surroundings. These are qualities I’ve seen in the Konyak, the Huaorani, and the people of the Omo Valley.  Installed in all these tribes that are slowly being dissolved, is a peace of mind and heart that the people of the industrial societies are forever longing for.  It is ironic that the cycles of civilization have us forever coveting the lives of others.  The people of the western world, after centuries-long reliance on technology, are now beginning to look again toward nature. Herbal medicines, organic, sustainable farming and even wild foraging are coming into vogue in the major cities. Meanwhile, for these tribes there are repercussions of invading philosophies, removing from the “primitive” people their methods and magic, and their sacred ways have now been replaced with antibiotics and accusations of ineffectiveness and unsophistication. When the day comes that the developing nations find that modern is not always better, will the knowledge still be there when they return to seek it? I don’t know if it will, so it is with great care that I do my best to fulfill this inherent feeling of duty, this calling, that through my photography I may lend a voice to those who can’t always speak loud enough for others to listen. What I hope to be heard is, that no matter what the opinion may be of certain rituals or ideals, as a whole these communities, closely tied to the earth, closely tied to the wellbeing of their tribes as a whole, embody a greater happiness and wealth than could ever be found in the isolating madness of the material-driven world. 

.How do theses tribes benefit from your work?
I don’t really think I go there to benefit the tribes specifically, nor am I there to change the way they live or stop them from changing. I don’t think I am anyone to decide who changes and who doesn’t. What might seem like a loss of culture to you and me might be a better way of living for them. More facilities and a brighter future. I am not sure if my work benefits a particular tribe. What I am there to do is honor their culture and preserve a record of it so that it can benefit our whole human family. 

How much time do you spend with a group before you pull out the camera?
I usually spend 3-4 days with the tribe before I take out my camera. However, I use my polaroid sooner.
What tools do you use to make sure they don’t feel exploited?
I have a very close bond with every tribe I have photographed. I have made it a point to go back to them and give them back their photographs, do small exhibits for them in their villages. A lot of the people I have photographed have seen themselves on a printed form for the first time. It’s extremely rewarding. Hitting a shutter is only 5% of my job. I feel there’s a lot more than that. I don’t necessarily have any tools. It’s all family for me.
Tell us about the other 95%
A lot of research and planning. Finding the right person who speaks the right languages and understands what I do so they can convey my messages to the people I am photographing and get me access to certain places. There’s a lot which happens after I photograph them. I am very sensitive about where my photos go afterward, how are they printed and how are they presented. Their journey doesn’t end till they reach where they belong. 
If the roles were reversed, would you be open in having someone live with you and document you as well?
Yes, absolutely. My life goal is to have an exhibition in a space which has hundreds of portraits of people from around the world on a white backdrop. I want the distractions of culture and geography to fade into the background. I want to have no name tags, no location, no country name and call the exhibition ‘Human.’ Aren’t we all the same in the end? Of course, I would let someone come to my house and let them document my life.

The Daily Promo – Delaney Allen

Delaney Allen

Who printed it?
It was printed at home in my studio. I’ve got an Epson P8000 that I’ve been using for making small-batch promos. With that speech promo, I’ve been using Moab’s Lasal double-sided matte paper. I’ve found it to hold the ink without much bleed through of the images. It’s a very time-consuming effort to get these promos built. Each print takes roughly 4 minutes on the printer. With 10 images per promo, that’s 40 minutes alone just on the printer itself. There’s also the info insets that I’ve got to print as well as trim in occasions (I use a lot of various papers in my studio). All in all, it seems like from start to finish the print time for each individual promo is one hour.

Who designed it?
I designed it. I was hoping to create something simple that allowed for the images to be the focal point. I also attempt to make promos and takeaways that are hard for the client to discard. So making this loose leaf booklet was a strategy to give the client a book that could very well be made into individual prints that could hang on a wall as well. It also allows them integration with the book allowing them to mix and match the images and seeing how they can work as diptychs.

Tell me about the images?
The images are a various collection from the past few years. I’ve just signed with Redeye in LA so it feels a lot of people on the commercial side of photography aren’t familiar with my work. I wanted to put together something that showcased a variety of what I’m able to capture. A promo like this also gave me a template to create work that can be specific to individual clients as well. There seem to be a few images that are included in each booklet but I typically change out what is in there.

How many did you make?
With the one you received, I ran a batch of 20. I had been taking them to meetings as takeaways. Those specific promos are 11×14 inches. I’ve now changed to using the 8.5×11 paper for my promos I’m sending out.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I just started sending out promos a year ago. For that, I sent out a collection of 20 postcards to each client as well as these small handmade books I’d made. This is only the second promo I’ve sent out. I think I might need to find a way to make some that are a little more time efficient.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’m hoping so. I’ve been fortunate to find some success and contacts with what I’ve been able to get out there in the world.

This Week in Photography Books: Victoria Will


This is a true story.

Back in 2013, almost five years ago, I began writing for the New York Times.

Though I’d been blogging for four years by then, it still seemed like a major leap.

I remember thinking that people were whispering, can he write in a serious way? Isn’t he just the guy who obsessively talks about himself, and says fuck a lot, and makes jokes?

(Obviously, five-years-ago-me thought people actually talked about him. 44-year-old-me knows people are too busy just-getting-by to wonder what I’m doing out here in my horse pasture.)

Anyway, it will be five years in May, and I’ve written 45 articles, so I guess it was always going to come around again.

I recently sent a pitch to a local magazine, and included a few of my NYT clips. I heard back that they liked the idea, but wondered if I was also able to write in a more light-hearted, whimsical style?

After the LOL, I quickly sent them last week’s column. The one with an opening sentence that includes the word shit.

I admitted the subject matter was serious, mental illness and darkness and all, but the jokes showed I could handle it with a light touch. I explained that most documentary photo books, which include most of my submissions, often have a heavy socio-political theme.

I’ll admit that I’m writing on a Thursday, and my kids are binge-watching on a Kindle Fire in a bedroom nearby, because they don’t have school today.

I’m in Full Dad Mode.

That’s the context.

But the first book I picked up, which I’ll review in a different week, when I’m not on deadline, it was another one with a powerful, political subject matter.

And lots and lots of reading.

I rarely do this, but I put the book down.

After all the heavy books lately, it didn’t feel right for today.

I wanted something lighter.
Something visual.

(Like I said, this is a true story.)

I knocked on my son’s door, as my book stack is in his closet, and interrupted the digi-gorging so I could grab something else.

I swear I never do this.

The first thing I found, from the top the stack, had a woman’s name on the envelope, and I’m trying to alternate male and female artists each week.

This was the one.
I could feel it.

It came with a nice note, from someone named Victoria Will, and she complimented the column. (Thanks, Victoria.)

Very kind.

The cover featured what looked like a tintype of Maggie Gyllenhaal, and it reminded me of an image I once saw on Vulture’s best photos of the year, of Philip Seymour Hoffman shot in that style.

It stopped me in my tracks.

I included that one on a list of my favorite images, on fototazo, and then it receded into my memory.

Filed away, like so many other things.

LeBron James scorelines.
Restaurant names.
That sort of thing.

But the second I saw this Maggie Gyllenhaal image, it made me think of PSH.

That’s a powerful imprint.

That one was one of Victoria’s too, and this book, “Borne Back,” was published in 2017 by Peanut Press, and features a set of tintypes made at Sundance. (Including Robert Redford himself.)

I admit, in the context of this review, the book serves as the metaphorical “Us Weekly,” something light and easy, when I don’t feel like exercising my brain too hard.

(I’m saying it so you don’t have to think it.)

But, to be clear, that’s not true.
And this is a true story, remember?

Actors are professionals at communicating information through their bodies. It’s not just the eyes, though they’re of course the most important part, if we had to rank them. (And Hollywood loves a good ranking, no? A list, B list, C list_)

I know professional models do it too, but actors emote in real time, all the time, for a rolling camera. They master the subtle nuance of movement, and the good ones can bring that out for a still camera too, under proper direction, from someone who knows what they’re doing.

That’s the premise I felt behind this work.

An intro by actor Jason Momoa confirms that Victoria Will makes people feel comfortable in their skin, and then she makes tintypes, which naturally contrast the old school with the contemporary.

I’ve seen a lot of people work with tin types lately at portfolio reviews, and remarked on that in this column, after my trip to Photo NOLA last December.

Here, though, it has a defined purpose. It creates this temporal clash.

Add the textural power of the gloopy or sliding chemistry, and it allows for a stylistic structure that gives a boost to the famous faces.

Like a trampoline.

Which explains why that image of a dead actor came back to me
so quickly.

I remember him best as Brandt in “The Big Lebowski,” more than anything. And then how I felt when I read that his performance in “The Master” was closer to reality than I could have known.

Poor guy.

But of course I never knew him.

Celebrities are in the odd position of having millions of people know who they are, and feel some odd connection. They actually ARE gossiped about by people all the time.

People in Spokane.
Or Des Moines.

In that sense, we imagine celebrities perfect the public face; the extension. “I’ll show them this, this outer skin, and it will keep them happy, and they’ll buy their movie tickets, or downloads, or however the kids are consuming content these days, and the real me I’ll keep for myself.”

Kevin Bacon looks a little like an orangutan.
Elijah Wood looks like Billy the Kid.

Scoot McNairy looks like Caravaggio himself, and that dude
was so good in “Halt and Catch Fire” and “Godless.” (Shout out to Scoot McNairy.)

Flea really brings it.
Anna Kendrick looks like Morticia Adams.

Billy Crudup looks like an Edward Weston vegetable.
Lance Reddick looks like he knows what I’ve done when no one’s looking.

Nick Cave looks like he was drawn, not photographed.

And Scott Weiland stopped me in my tracks.

I was 19 when Stone Temple Pilots first got hot. Now that the 90’s are trendy again, we should give those guys their due. No, they weren’t Nirvana, but then who was?

STP were loud, and brash, and they had that theme song to “The Crow,” which I saw in the theaters with Evan Lucash back in Jersey. (Shout out, Evan.) It featured Brandon Lee, another tragic hero, and he died during the filming.

We mark our lives, sometimes, by the art we consume, popular or otherwise.

We use elements of culture to understand who we are.

The biggest movie stars become parts of America, be they John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, or Denzel Washington.

“Borne Back” gets this, which is why the edit leaves Scott Weiland for the final photograph. (And Sam Shepard as the first.) He’s far from the most famous, Weiland, nor the most important artist in this book.

But he died recently. And people of a certain generation (X) will know that.

It exacerbates that final part of why I like this work.
The permanence.

Sure, these are scans.
But they’re scans of plates.

Those plates are one of a kind, and if treated properly, should last for hundreds of years.

There’s a plate somewhere with Scott Weiland’s face.
It outlasts him already.

In this obsessedly-digital-world, reminders of the analog, of the 19th Century, give these pictures extra frisson.

It’s the perfect book for today.
See you next time.

Bottom Line: Dynamic, fun, excellent set of celebrity tintypes

To purchase “Borne Back” click here 

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at

The Art of the Personal Project: Gustav Schmiege

- - 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: Gustav Schmiege

I fell in love with Marfa at first sight, in 1993, but it took me many years to get back to far west Texas. My ongoing project now takes me there often. It’s an eclectic oasis of fifth generation ranchers going about their day-to-day, artist and writers from all over the world and travelers in search of a decompression spot that is almost off the grid.  The combination of its high desert light and minimalistic beauty keeps drawing me back to continue my work. 

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 – Dan Tobin Smith: Alphabetical

- - The Daily Edit





Alphabetical:  Dan Tobin Smith 

Heidi: Is there a secret message/anagram in the letter forms you’ve photographed thus far?
Dan: No, but its funny being able to spell more words each time you make a new letter, especially rude ones!

Where did your love of type come from?
I think there is something very satisfying about making the form of type but in reality. The form exists already so in a sense you are just filling in, and that can be done in so many ways.

Typographically what inspired you to create the 16 letters thus far?
They are all Helvetica, although they have been distorted somewhat in their photographic interpretation. I wanted to use a simple font that acted as a conduit for the different treatments. Sometimes there is a reason behind the letter and the content and sometimes there’s no reason apart from visually I thought they would work together.



All are stunning though I particularly enjoyed the textural and tactile quality of X. How did that specific idea develop?
We (the set designer Nicola Yeoman and I) liked the idea of marking a spot and we thought marking by cutting open would work with wood really well. Once it was done, it presented lots of visual opportunities by changing light and perspective.

Was there a thrill to the destruction into something beautiful for the X?
It was definitely fun watching it take shape from an outline in masking tape!

For your mesmerizing film T, how big of a space did you need for that?  and what was the genesis of this piece?
The space was a railway arch in Shoreditch, East London. The letter T is symmetrical back to front, ie you can flip it horizontally and it looks the same. Because of this I wanted to use the light very specifically so that two different light treatments could be achieved in one moment . This meant it could be filmed from two sides at the same time.


What exactly is exploding in that lovely form?
I’m pretty sure it was talcum powder! which is very fine, but wont kill you if you breathe a bit in.

Do you have a favorite font?
I think what I love most about typography is the variation, so pinning down one in particular would be impossible.

The Daily Promo – Rowan Fee

- - The Daily Promo

Rowan Fee

Who printed it?
The promo was printed by PCL Digital in the UK (

Who designed it?
I designed this one myself with help from Tom Ashton Booth ( I’ve collaborated with Tom on a number of projects including the Lightning Bolt image in this promo.

Tell me about the images?
This was a cross-section of my work both commissioned and personal.

How many did you make?
200 like this with the bags.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I aim for printed promos twice a year if possible, mixed in with online marketing.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I personally always enjoy receiving something unexpected in the post. I hope my clients/prospective clients feel the same and my printed work hangs around on their desks a little longer than an email.