This Week In Photography Books: Caleb Cain Marcus

by Jonathan Blaustein

A few years ago, I got a sore throat that was so bad, I ended up on Percocet. Even then, the pain was unbearable.

The thing about that virus, picked up in Mexico, was that the pain was so intense I couldn’t function as a person. Every time I swallowed, I felt as if The Grim Reaper’s scythe was bisecting my adams apple.

Every. Single. Time.

It was so bad, in fact, that my wife had to drive me over the Rocky Mountains, in the middle of night, in a snow storm, so that I could get to the doctor’s first thing the next morning. (We flew through Denver. Big mistake.)

La Veta Pass, in Southern Colorado, is not so scary, if you’re in the daylight, and the roads are clear. You barely even realize you’re ascending, heading East, and they it’s a long, slow descent to the Great Plains.

Unfortunately, we were headed West, slowly up the mountains, and it was 1am. The roads were icy, in April, but much worse was the mist.

The Mist.

It blanketed everything. Visibility is the wrong word to use here, because there was none. It was as if a mystical 1st Grader had taken a magical eraser to reality. We could see our car, and ourselves, but nothing more.

Even today, thinking about the risk, driving up and down a mountain, unsure if we were even in the proper lane…it makes me want to kiss the carpet and thank the mountain gods that we made it home alive.

One tractor trailer, coming downhill in the wrong lane, and my fingers would not be tapping the keyboard right now. I wouldn’t have fingers. They’d be ash, decorating the stream-front on my property here in Taos.

Mist.

It has a quality all its own, and is notoriously difficult to photograph. Mist is to light what down comforters are to top-sheets. It overwhelms; owning whatever it envelops.

And Mist is the reason I’m reviewing “Goddess,” a new book by Caleb Cain Marcus, recently published by Damiani. Our regular readers may remember his previous book, “A Portrait of Ice,” which I reviewed a couple of years ago. Caleb traveled to the ends of the Earth to photograph glaciers, but as he used a super-hi-res digital camera, the resulting images were beyond hyper-real.

They looked like little models George Lucas might have shot in an alternate version of Star Wars.

In “Goddess,” Caleb spent 44 days along the Ganges River in India. Now, I’m normally the first guy to wonder what some random American might tell us about a far off culture. Especially one that has been photographed to death.

India. The Colors! You have to see the colors!

Unless you don’t. Unless the world is shrouded in Mist. Unless you have to fill in the space yourself. (With your imagination.)

This book is a little different than the ones I normally review, in that I don’t love it all. Even with that mist, some pictures look too much like what I’ve seen before.

But others…

There is a set of images here of straw huts that make me want to get on a plane, meet up with Caleb Cain Marcus, and buy the man a beer. Sure, they channel Claude Monet, but that’s not a bad comp for any artist.

They emerge from The Mist, these huts, and feel as primal as a cave man walking down 5th Avenue with a briefcase. It just doesn’t fit, that such structures exist in 2015.

But that’s my 2015, with my Apple computer on my white table, my Ipad next to it, and my Iphone in between. We in the First World live in the future, compared to the BILLIONS of people not privy to our creature comforts.

Are the huts homes for people? Or storage facilities? Do the pigs live out there?

I don’t know. And honestly, I don’t care. Those pictures put me in a mood. They transported me back to that dangerous highway, on a night when perhaps my whole family might have died.

That’s good enough for me. If you ask for more than that from a photo book, it might be time to smoke a fat joint and take yourself less seriously.

Bottom Line: Misty, gorgeous photos of the Ganges in India

To Purchase “Goddess” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Erik Goldstein

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Erik Goldstein

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How long have you been shooting?
I started shooting in college but the visual mindset has always been with me for as long as I can remember. I critiqued the framing and angles of my Saturday morning cartoons.
 
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both. That is to say that I walked out of school with a good understanding of how my equipment worked but my biggest source of education was assisting photographers and throwing myself head-first into things. I am constantly learning and finding inspiration in the work of others and what’s around me. I think the day that stops is the day I hang the camera up.
 
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I grew up watching Marty Stouffer and sponsored a hump back whale with my allowance. Nature has always played a huge role in my life and we are living in a pretty exciting time for conservation and awareness. In a matter of seconds a story can reach the world. It’s a very powerful tool. 
 
I wanted to find a way to give back and bring attention to a conservation issue in the US. I wanted to inspire involvement and highlight a lesser-known issue having to do with a very significant portion of North America’s history.
 
How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This project has been on going now for over a year. The scope of it grew very quickly and I decided to cover it as a documentary along with the photo story. 
 
I presented the photo portion of it midway through and the movie is currently in editing. Look for the trailer soon!
 
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I typically have a list of possible projects. I like to write them out and live with them for a while. I find the right ones manage to surface on their own. In the case of this project, it resonated with me almost immediately.  
 
Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I would say there are a lot more similarities than there are differences. Clients want something genuine that connects emotionally. I want the same thing from my personal work. Its important to shoot what you love to bring authenticity and emotion that people can connect to. 
 
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post images to Instagram (erik.goldstein), and will post blog updates on Facebook (Erik Goldstein Photography) and Twitter (erik_goldstein).
 
If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I have not seen anything go viral yet.
 
Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I primarily show my personal work when reaching out to potential clients. It’s the most upfront view of who I am and how I think as an artist.

Statement:
The American Prairie Reserve focuses on the revitalization of the Northern Great Plains, an area that has played a huge role in America’s history and a type of habitat that is greatly under-protected globally.
 
Up until the 19th century this area remained fairly untouched. During America’s expansion in the West, much of the Plains were, and still are, utilized as agriculture and ranch land which has had a destructive effect on the ecosystem. At the same time, bison were hunted to near extinction. Finding the right approach to help restore this area is complicated due to the delicate balance among government, local communities, tribes, land owners and scientists.  
 
There are so many dedicated people behind APR. The physical size of APR was the biggest challenge. I lived on the prairie following the animals, volunteers and scientists. Telling the individual stories was essential to understanding how such a big project works. I also had the privilege of doing a fly-over which really puts things to scale.  
 
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Erik is a commercial photographer, videographer, and director. Located in NYC, Erik specializes in outdoor lifestyle, fitness and travel. Erik’s personal work focuses primarily on conservation.


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 has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Photographers Quarterly Issue no. 3

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I was never what you might call an “artsy” kid.
Not me.

I was a decent-enough jock in a suburban town, in the days before the Internet.

Sports were all we had.

I would have been fine, socially, if my younger brother hadn’t been better looking, more popular, and a better athlete than I was.

Rather than thinking myself well-adjusted, I spent much of my youth jealous of him. Brooding. The fact that we didn’t get along only exacerbated my sense of ennui. Eventually, my artistic soul outed itself.

Thank God.

Because the more I get to know myself, the more I realize something inside me craves to see new things, to make pictures that push boundaries, and to write from the heart, no matter the consequences.

As I’ve said in my regular writing gig at our parent blog, A Photo Editor, I like the edgy stuff. The things that aren’t for everyone. The visions that make you uncomfortable, so you can then ask why?

This is now our 3rd issue of Photographer’s Quarterly, the online magazine Rob and I dreamed up so we could show whatever we want. Long-form-visions that would otherwise be chopped. Pictures that may not need an explanation, but might well put you off as much as they engage you.

It’s fun to make up the rules as you go along.

Though there’s already snow on the ground here in Taos, it is still Autumn, technically. Fall is the time for change. The leaves drop, and so do our natural defenses. (Gotta get your flu shot.)

Now that you’re more vulnerable, we’re pushing this venture up to hyperdrive, to see if we can make a bigger impact on your psyche.

Consider yourself warned.

We’re always hearing about why there needs to be more diversity in the photo world. Some people blog about it, or Tweet about it, and others just take it as gospel. We need more opportunities for young artists, women, and people of color.

Right?

We’ll, we’re coming correct here in Issue 3. We’re showing 6 young, diverse, edgy female artists from around the world. Their work is dynamite, affecting, and bizarre.

I love it all, frankly, and hope you will too. But if you hate some of it…if it makes your blood boil and your eyes expand until they implode in your skull… that’s fine too.

We’ll begin with Courtney Crawford, a young African-American artist currently studying for her MFA at Columbia College in Chicago. She’s originally from the San Antonio, Texas area, so I do wonder how she handles those Windy City Winters. (We met at Filter.)

Courtney told me that she has a chronic gastrointestinal disorder. She’s not well, unfortunately. So she uses her art to explore her insides; to investigate what makes her ill. In this series, she’s used Deer guts as a stand-in for human innards, but does it really matter?

I met Katty Hoover at Review Santa Fe in June, alongside the rest of the ladies we’ll feature. She’s based in Reno, NV, where she tells me they’ve already had a boatload of snow. (Go, El Niño, Go!) Katty is originally from Florida, which most people know is the craziest place on Earth. (Though Nevada is not far behind. Guess Katty goes for the weirdos.) Katty photographed in a nudist colony in the FLA, and there are most certainly a lot of penises on display. Should it be penii, I wonder?

Hye-Ryoung Min is a Korean artist based in New York City, married to a Guatemalan Jew. (Yes, it is the 21st Century.) She travels back and forth between the two countries, which seem so different, on the surface. Her solution was to create a hybrid of her two worlds: Seoul and the NYC. These photos are composites, though you’d be hard pressed to find any seams. She’s made her own digital homeland, which represents neither, and both, of her selves.

Next we’ve got Jessica Martinez, who’s currently studying at Syracuse University. She’s originally from South Central LA, so I’m guessing like Courtney, she must be pretty sad once the gray skies roll into Upstate New York. (Cold. Gray. Monotonous. No thank you.) Jessica’s pictures, which she was uncomfortable showing here, depict a playful but twisted take on sexuality and identity.

Lots of people use those words, I know. They’re buzz terms in the art world, and always will be. But you show me another series with chicken feet on a naked back, and kittens in someone’s mesh under-pants, and then we’ll talk about whether she’s an original or not.

I’ve already written about Yvette Marie Dostatni for another publication which we shall not name. But from the moment I saw her project “The Conventioneers” in Santa Fe, I knew I had to have the jpegs for PQ.

They combine humor, pathos, irreverence, wit, and curiosity at humanity’s foibles, and I couldn’t get enough. That Yvette is an open-hearted Chicago girl that you can’t not love…had nothing to do with my ebullience. This work rocks.

Last, but of course not least, we’ve got Svetlana Bailey, who was born in Russia, raised in Germany, and then lived for years in Australia. Got that? Now, she’s studying at RISD in Providence, RI.

These pictures don’t make a lot of sense to me. I actually had trouble reading the first picture or two she showed me, and I rarely get fooled. I thought I was looking at digital composites, but Svetlana assured me they were all straight photographs.

These window displays and quick street scenes are so strange, but I can’t my finger on why. That’s the reason ambiguity never goes out of style in art photography. Always leaving them guessing…

Jonathan Blaustein, December 2015

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The Daily Edit – Beatriz Palomo: Vanity Fair Spain

- - The Daily Edit


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Vanity Fair Spain

Editor: Lourdes Garzón
Art director: María San Juan
Graphic designer: Cristina González Vieco
Photo Editor Mangaer: Beatriz Palomo
Photo Editor: Sara Ocón

Heidi: How much of your photography is assigned?
Beatriz: In Vanity Fair Spain aprox 20% of the photography is assigned. The rest of the content of the magazine is either syndicated from Condé Nast international titles, licensed by Condé Nast US archive, photo agencies, illustrators, photography archives, or other (film, music, fashion or beauty brands, personal archive from subjects that are interviewed, etc.)

What resources do you use to look for photographers?
In Vanity Fair Spain photo edition department, we search among almost all archives, websites, agencies and photographers. Our daily work is to look for the best and most unseen photographs for our features. Web/Internet is the most used resource, as well as other magazines work (both our Condé Nast International titles and competitors) and our unique Condé Nast US archive.

How many promos do you typically get in any given week?
I usually get between 50 and 80 in a week, many of them are not interesting for the magazine, but I love to receive good photo stories anyways, even if they are not what I am looking for the magazine I work for. I always try to save some time to review and see all the promos that I get (from photographers, from photo agencies, from illustrators, from representatives…). Even if the story is not related to the magazine I try to thank and send some feedback if I have liked the work (mostly in the times that I think ‘here is a very good photograph’). I truly think it is good to share this with photographers. If I would be -or when I was a photographer myself- on the other side, I would have liked to hear any feedback of my work (positive or negative, in my personal opinion, they both help).

(there is a Spanish phrase that says: always try to give what you would like to receive yourself).

Along with photo editing, I see you teach. What course do you teach and where?
I am also collaborating as a jury for ‘Visa pour l’image, Perpignan Festival ‘ since 2014 and as a photographer’s portfolios viewer with PhotoEspaña (biggest Photography Festival in our country) in 2015.

The course I teach is ‘Photo edition in magazines’. I have given classes here to name a few:

Escuela de Fotografía y Técnica de la Imagen which is Photography and Image Technique School

LENS Escuela de Artes Visuales  Visuals arts school  in the ‘Master de Fotografía de autor y proyectos personales’ which is Author and Personals Projects Photography Master

IED Istituto Europeo di Design in the ‘1 year Fashion Communication course’  where I taught 1 year fashion communications.

Universidad Complutense de Madrid, a the Science of Communications University is where  I taught in the 3rd year of Audiovisual Communications, documentation course.
This is also  is where I studied my major/degree.

The Daily Promo: Fab Fernandez

- - The Daily Promo


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Who printed it?
The printing was done by a company in London called the Newspaper Club. They also loved it so much that they are also doing a write up on their blog soon about this promo.

They were really easy and helpful during the whole process.

Who designed it?
The creative direction was done by the great Christina Dittmar at The Good Brigade.

The design and layout was done by the most talented Edward Taylor at Soft Gold.

Who edited the images?
The image edit was also done by Christina Dittmar at The Good Brigade.

How many did you make?
We had 50 printed and I’ve sent out about 40 so far.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try and get out about 6 printed promos per year. I love doing them. The whole process is as rewarding as shooting.

This Week In Photography Books: Jesse Burke

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. Mostly, how strange it is that none of us will ever know what’s to come, after we’re gone.

Will our children be OK? Will we save the planet? Will robots take over and turn us into meat slaves?

Such information is beyond our purview. Can you imagine what a Syrian wine merchant from Palmyra, circa 250 AD, would think of Siri? Or Robert Parker? Or ISIS?

Yet even then, parents loved their children, tried hard to provide for them, and likely wondered what would happen after they passed.

The human condition is cyclical, as much as linear.

It’s the reason we love our distractions so much. TV, Netflix, Ipads, Kindles, soccer matches, video games, anything to take our mind off the existential dread of knowing our lifespan is so limited, and that the world will continue to turn when we’re dust. (Until the sun dies too. In 5 billion years.)

Photography has always had a strong role to play here. It may not give glimpses into the future, but it allows us to retain a vision of life, just as we saw it, to help us remember when we’re nearing the end.

Photographs are totems that provoke emotion. They freeze time, and in a way, defeat it.

It’s odd, when you think about it, how little of our lives we actually recall. At best, it has to be .000000000000001% of our actual experience.

Glimpses. Moments. Nothing more.

But as artists, when we pour ourselves into a mission to combat that entropy, sometimes we end up with a marker of success. An object that we’ll cherish until we die, and hopefully, others might enjoy too.

Such is my mindset after looking at “Wild & Precious,” a new book by Jesse Burke, published by Daylight. The project was recently shown at ClampArt in New York, and also exists digitally as a short film, so there are multiple ways to interact with this tale.

That said, this is a book review, (nominally,) so I might as well explain why I like the damn thing.

Jesse Burke spent 5 years roaming the American Wilderness, intermittently, with his eldest daughter Clover. That’s what this story is about. There are many, many images of their travels. Pictures that are ours to engage with, but are really meant for Jesse and Clover, circa 2060.

That much is clear.

In an opening letter, the artist writes directly to Clover, and near the end, she writes back. This is a personal exercise, as so much of the best art is. We make it for ourselves, because we must, because we are driven by the spirit of creation, and then we share it with everyone else.

There are a few genuinely striking pictures, including several portraits of Clover, taken at points of distress. An eyepatch covers one eye, the other blood red, and the hint of a tear glistens on her cheek.

A bloody nose, which reminded me a bit of an Elinor Carucci image, makes us think of the liquid flowing through our veins. The stuff of life.

Many a photo shows Clover with animals in her hand, most of them dead. Trip after trip, and they’re exploring beaches, walking through forests, and finding the time to commune with Nature. Like in the Old Days, before the Entertainment Industrial Complex was born.

Personal as this project is, there was still time for a cultural gut punch, before I closed the back cover. About 3/4 of the way through, there is one photograph of factories spewing pollution into the air.

Only one, but it changes the context of the entire book. We think of Climate Change. Why all those animals, including a beached whale, might be dead.

The atmosphere is changing.

What will the world look like when Clover is my age? Or 80? Will there even be forests to explore?

Sadly, I’ll never know, and neither will you. Life, as precious as it is, is also something of a Devil’s bargain. And there’s nothing to do but live each moment to the fullest, and hope for the best.

Bottom Line: Poignant look at the love between a father and daughter

To Purchase “Wild & Precious” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Craig Pulsifer

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Craig Pulsifer

East Samar, Philippines - Nov. 8, 2013 - Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hits land in the central islands of the Philippines with wind gusts over 300 km/hr - 6,340 people died in the largest typhoon in recorded history. 100 days later, relief efforts were only just beginning to make an impact.

East Samar, Philippines – Nov. 8, 2013 – Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hits land in the central islands of the Philippines with wind gusts over 300 km/hr – 6,340 people died in the largest typhoon in recorded history. 100 days later, relief efforts were only just beginning to make an impact.

Tacloban, Philippines - A man looks in through the window of a jeepney (local taxi van) that is bound for Guiuan where typhoon relief is still much needed.

Tacloban, Philippines – A man looks in through the window of a jeepney (local taxi van) that is bound for Guiuan where typhoon relief is still much needed.

The death toll for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has reached 6,300, with 1,060 still missing. Whole communities lost power, water, transportation, medical and police services, housing and livelihoods.

The death toll for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has reached 6,300, with 1,060 still missing. Whole communities lost power, water, transportation, medical and police services, housing and livelihoods.

Operation Blessing International is the humanitarian relief wing of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/the 700 Club). One of the largest charities in America, Operation Blessing provides strategic relief in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis.

Operation Blessing International is the humanitarian relief wing of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/the 700 Club). One of the largest charities in America, Operation Blessing provides strategic relief in 23 countries around the world on a daily basis.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines - Makeshift classrooms shelter elementary students on the playground slab where once an entire school complex stood.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines – Makeshift classrooms shelter elementary students on the playground slab where once an entire school complex stood.

Doc Tiger Girrado helps Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) haul educational supplies for an elementary school trying to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

Doc Tiger Girrado helps Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) haul educational supplies for an elementary school trying to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

Children receive much needed educational supplies from Doc Tiger and Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) as part of efforts to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

Children receive much needed educational supplies from Doc Tiger and Astherio Blando (Operation Blessing) as part of efforts to reestablish classes in the devastated area.

A young girl joyfully clutches her new school supplies donated by Operation Blessing International, the relief wing of the US-based Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/700 Club).

A young girl joyfully clutches her new school supplies donated by Operation Blessing International, the relief wing of the US-based Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/700 Club).

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines - Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Kelly Yangco and others perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines – Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Kelly Yangco and others perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Dental instruments, cleaned with water and water, lie ready for the next wave of children visiting the makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

Dental instruments, cleaned with water and water, lie ready for the next wave of children visiting the makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines - Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Atom Kobayashi helps to perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Guiuan, E. Samar, Philippines – Working with a team of volunteer dentists, Dr. Atom Kobayashi helps to perform 75 extractions in a single shift at a makeshift clinic in Barangay Barbo.

Relief Operation Coordinator, Dr. Tiger Garrido, smiles at a young boy undergoing a tooth extraction at a makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

Relief Operation Coordinator, Dr. Tiger Garrido, smiles at a young boy undergoing a tooth extraction at a makeshift clinic during a medical relief operation near Guiuan, East Samar, Philippines.

How long have you been shooting?
I was shooting for fun back in the 70’s when it was a fad to frame an Instamatic diagonally. That migrated to 35mm and 6×7 for a time, but dad said I’d starve as a poet so I went into forest engineering. By 1999, I could see what industrial forestry was doing to watersheds and decided I’d rather starve. I’ve been shooting full time ever since.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m mostly self-taught through books, manuals, mentorships, workshops and a steady diet of trial and error. But I admire those who have taken time away from shooting to learn how to do it well.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) smashed into the central islands of the Philippines on November 8, 2013 and the news was really hitting home for us. My father-in-law (Tatay) has relatives in Palo, just outside of Tacloban near Cebu, and he wanted to get help-money in. He specifically intended it to go to a nephew Ryan, who was missing; so we made some calls and volunteered to help out where we could.

My wife, who has worked as a nurse, flew with me to Bohol where relief efforts were still underway for victims of a 7.2 earthquake that had hit the area 3-weeks earlier. While there, we got wind of a medical mission flying into Tacloban, a town that Typhoon Yolanda had all-but-flattened; so, we set out to find my wife’s cousin by chasing a separate story with the working title, “Saving Ryan Privately”, a story that has yet to be told properly.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
We’ve always had a big heart for S.E. Asia and have been doing photo-walkabouts to the Philippines for over 10 years. In 2013, when Typhoon Yolanda struck, organizers of our “Kids at Risk” project* (see footnote) wanted to contribute to an Emergency Disaster Relief Fund for Yolanda survivors. That fit nicely with other interests we had on the ground and it offered a chance to show donors and participants what those funds looked like in action.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Hmm… tough question. For me, a humanitarian story ‘works’ when it motivates others to get tangibly involved in the story – and that certainly happened with the Yolanda Gap Relief story. But I admit, without the metrics of opt-ins and dollars earned, boxes delivered and bellies filled, it’s pretty tough to quantify the success of most personal projects.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
My personal work is very different than the commercial portfolio work, and that can be frustrating – like that Ian Hunter album “You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic”. But the bottom line is that most creative challenges get me stoked – whether it’s a humanitarian cause or selling a bar of soap – because in the end, it’s the commercial work that frees me up to tackle personal projects.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Sure, all the time.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The humanitarian work hasn’t gone viral, but I’m more interested in qualified engagement than the number of views there.

On lighter stuff, I’ve seen some interesting metrics. There was a DIY blog post called “How to fix a stuck filter” with a hammer and hacksaw that F-Stoppers and PetaPixel picked up on. And there was a gear-related video for Lowepro called Watertight that hit 50,000 views, but both were a long way from viral.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes. Last year I collaborated with consultants Pedro & Jackie to print a tri-fold photo essay called Ukraine: Postcards from the Motherland. It was passed around at PDN PhotoPlus Expo last year and received some great feedback but no concrete work. That was probably the wrong venue for something as documentary/editorial as that. I’ve still got a few hundred kicking around if you want one.

Artist Statement: Creative talent is the most valuable currency an artist possesses. How better to spend it than on projects that bless others and hopefully feed the greater good of us all.

*Footnote: In 2010, my wife launched a small fundraising program called “Kids at Risk” in Salmon Arm, BC to educate her friends about the pressing needs of Filipino street kids and get solid help over to trustworthy feeding and educational programs in the Philippines. More on that, here: World of Good [length 4:45]

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Commercial lifestyle and portrait photographer, Craig Pulsifer thrives on that line between personal and product assignment work. He draws inspiration from Gully Jimson, Bruno Gerussi, Larry Towell, and some of today’s top news shooters who work to master the craft of fine-art storytelling.


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 has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Daily Edit – Mitch Feinberg: Marie Claire

- - The Daily Edit

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Marie Claire

Market and Accessories Director: Kyle Anderson
Fashion Director: Nina Garcia
Editor and Chief: Anne Fulenwider
Photo Director: James Morris
Photographer: Mitch Feinberg

Heidi: How did this project evolve?
Mitch:
I have a wonderful relationship with Marie Claire. It is one of the few American fashion magazines that treat fashion still life pages as an opportunity to advance passionate editorial views on accessories and not simply as a vehicle to please advertisers. Their Market and Accessories Director Kyle Anderson, Fashion Director Nina Garcia and Editor and Chief Anne Fulenwider all take a direct interest in demanding that the pages are strong and fresh. For a still life photographer, this is a thrilling context in which to make new work.

Months before a final art due date, Kyle sends me jpegs of the next accessories story.  The story subject might be based on a color, a design direction, materials or a cultural reference. It’s usually my responsibility to come up with a visual solution, although occasionally he or someone else will have a few suggestions. I pitch just one idea, including swipes from industrial sites or stores that refer to the environments I want to create. I do not like to make drawings or send “finished” images — it is better to keep things loose so that I have room for spontaneity. Once I send the pitch everyone weighs in and we go from there.

For the Haute Tech story, Kyle mentioned that he had a fine jewelry December story in search of an idea. Fine jewelry can be a tedious editorial subject because designs generally do not evolve much from year to year and diamonds are unforgiving in poor lighting conditions — a tough subject to make fresh.

I have been involved with a couple of technology projects and developed an appreciation for a well-designed circuit board. Apple’s boards, in particular, are very fine, all black, with an absolute, maniacal fidelity to minimalism. I immediately thought of making boards that in some way reflected or enhanced the design direction of the jewelry. Kyle worked hard to find pieces that would mesh well with the concept — no animals or organic designs, for example.

How long did the project take and tell us about your process with the engineer?
The editors loved the idea and I got to work in July.  We all figured no one had done this, at least not at this scale. My original intention was to design and order the prototype boards myself. I spent a day or so learning the nomenclature and general design principles. I already knew that board design can be devilishly difficult in the details, but straightforward designs are fairly easily to execute. There is a very large community of amateur board designers associated with platforms like Arduino, as well as many foundries that specialize in prototyping. I downloaded one of the popular free software packages and set to work. I started with a good drawing I had already made in Photoshop for the first design – the black Chopard board. Then I hit an unexpected wall. Circuit board software is designed to make circuit boards, not pretty patterns. Duh. A user first builds a schematic with all the components and only then moves on to “routing”, finding the shortest, most efficient paths to lay the “wires” between all the components. Clearly, I was not going to easily figure out how to build a schematic that would allow me to “route” the wires in a predetermined pattern.

Help was needed. I spent a considerable amount of time on tech blogs and the Web looking for an engineer that had both an aesthetic view on the world and the technical skills required. I came across one man, a fellow in England named Saar Drimer, who had a circuit board design company called Boldport. He had gone so far as to write a program that allowed him to import illustrator files into a circuit board-friendly design environment. I emailed him almost immediately. He quickly understood my project. I had found my guy.

I’d imagine the sketches were fairly in-depth in order to create the final “working boards,” tell us about that exchange.
We encountered many technical difficulties. I had to visit the jewelers and carefully measure the dimensions so that the jewelry would fit perfectly into the designs. This was very difficult to figure out, as cutouts also had to be drawn up for the rings and earrings. The magazine was extraordinarily helpful in opening doors, and we were lucky none of the pieces were sold before the shoot. Saar started with my drawings but soon added his own special sauce, making the boards more credible. By the end, we were going back and forth with very rough drawings and he took it from there. It was a lot of work for him, as he also had to design and solder functioning boards with the LEDs. I was also lucky he had a very good foundry in the UK that was willing to work hard on the quality and color of the shadow masks (the non-metallic surface of the boards). We spent about six weeks start to finish. The shoot took just two days, up in my Connecticut studio. There is almost no retouching, just a little cleaning up. I’m old school, I like my images real. We both feel that we executed something new, perhaps opening the door to new designs with circuit boards as a functional, aesthetic material.

How do your ideas manifest?
I wish I knew. they just pop in unexpectedly. On a long walk, in the shower, at an exhibition, anywhere, really. I read a lot, I look at design blogs,  magazines, many non-photographic sources. Unless there is a specific request I stay away from my colleagues’ Websites; too many voices in a photographer’s head can be deafening.

What was your break, meaning how did you get started?  Everyone has a breakthrough project though we all see you as superstar out of the womb.
Thank you. I do not know if I was a superstar out of the womb; I’ve been told that I produced a lot of spit up in my early years. Unless you are Guy Bourdin, many years of work will be required before you find a strong voice. That might be daunting to hear, but I think the best photographers love the process of making photographs. Your voice will come, sometime soon, hopefully. In the meantime, I suggest you make images simply for the joy of it. I have always felt that way, even during the years when my career was uncertain. As in all creative endeavors, this is a tough business. Do it because you love it. Still life photography has always felt like the best way to express myself, I have enjoyed a lifetime exploring how that happens.

What is another creative outlet for you?
Three years ago my wife and I moved to a small farm in Connecticut. I have learned a lot about fencing (not the epee kind), black bears (don’t run), and wild turkeys (not happy when challenged). More than enough new outlets for a guy who spent 28 years in Paris.

The Daily Promo – Nathan Seabrook

- - The Daily Promo

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Nathan Seabrook

Who printed it?
4 x 6.com

Who designed it?
I did. The back is an image of the backdrop from the front image. So if the sweep had some subtle gradient it would be the same. The design formed once I had the images. I just kept it simple really.

Who edited the images?
On the shoot day stylist Chuck Luter and I knew the ones that worked, so that was the initial edit. After that i whittled it down myself.

How many did you make?
About 250 sets. There are different ones also. I printed 7 of the series so some people have different sets. Maybe you can play swapsies one day . Ha!

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Two or three times a year.

How did the idea come about?
The initial idea came from seeing a maintenance man painting a ledge in a park. He walked past me with paint covering his roller, his hand and going up his wrist. He had just dunked everything in a massive bucket of paint, he didn’t care! Awesome.

This Week In Photography Books: IPG Project

by Jonathan Blaustein

My daughter loves pink. (Big surprise.) She’s a 3 year old girl, so it goes with the territory.

Just yesterday, we were in a little market near the mountains. She was wearing pink boots, pink pants, a pink shirt, a pink jacket, and her new pink glasses.

She made quite the impression on her fellow shoppers. One of them even asked, “Do you like pink, by any chance?”

“Yes,” she said. “Pink and purple and blue.”

We associate pink with little girls. With innocence and youth. It’s a happy and flippant color.

Right?

Well, that’s what I was thinking when I picked up “Sumimasen,” a new pink book by the IPG project, recently published by Editions du LIC.

Wait, you say. What are you doing? You can’t move on to the book review that quickly. Where’s your unexpected and witty transition? Are you mailing it in because it’s a holiday week? (Thanksgiving, here in the US.)

Fair point. It may seem like I’ve cheated you out of my trademark writerly aikido. And yet…

This week marks the 4th anniversary of the column in which I developed my now-signature style. I still remember the moment when my mother-in-law rapped on our door at night, brandishing a rather large gun, as there were trespassers in our field on Thanksgiving.

Somehow, the drama filtered down into my consciousness, and the next day, this column was born. I respect history, and appreciate that I might not have a job right now, had that gun not scared me shitless.

So do you really think I’m going to mail it in on the Thanksgiving column?

I don’t think so.

But then again, this little pink book is so adorable. With anime-like characters on the cover. So inviting. It makes me think of Hello Kitty, and crayons, and the little Winter stockings my daughter wears to pre-school.

Kittens and daydreams and Candyland!
Yay!

You know what I don’t think of?

A Hello Kitty-mask-wearing, naked, Japanese porn actress whose entire life is captured on four webcams embedded around her small apartment.

(Dramatic pause.) What now?

That’s right. This cute pink book is actually a weird-as-hell meditation on the way Japanese culture forces people to offer two faces to the world: their true selves, which remain hidden, and the public mask, which shrouds the interior reality.

Let me say it again: What now?

Nothing could be less Thanksgiving-y than this book. It’s got plenty of boobs, and screen shots of lady parts. (As I’ve said 1000 times before, Boobs Sell Books℠) Yes, this is nobody’s idea of a children’s book.

(This is Mayura. Hi Mayura. See Mayura make breakfast. See Mayura clean the dishes. See Mayura masturbate with her large and intimidating vibrator.)

Normally, if I showed an edgy book like this, you’d just roll your eyes and say, “Blaustein’s keeping it real today.” But on Thanksgiving, it has to be more than that.

Let’s just say I wanted to bring the rhetoric down a notch from last week’s impassioned screed. True. But in this time of global strife, I think it’s always good to be reminded that the weird shit is what separates us from the Apes.

Anyone can put on a suit every day, punch the clock, make the donuts, and then drink away their misery in a big bottle of vodka. That’s called life. (For too many people.)

So this week, while you’re eating obscene amounts of turkey, laughing at your uncle’s inappropriate jokes, and restraining yourself from killing your obnoxious younger brother, remember this odd little pink book.

Because if this bit of naughty Japanese insanity can’t help you lighten up, maybe nothing can?

Bottom Line: Pornographic Japanese book in a nice little package

To Purchase “Sumimasen” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Daily Edit – Cameron Davidson : New York City Aerials

- - The Daily Edit

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Early evening aerial view of Times Square in the Manhattan, New York City.

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Aerial of the Williamsburg Bridge in the early morning, New York City, New York, USA

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Aerial of Manhattan, New York City GPS DATA of shot location. LAT: LONG:

Aerial of Manhattan, New York City GPS DATA of shot location. LAT: LONG:

Aerial of Manhattan, New York City GPS DATA of shot location. LAT: LONG:

Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River shoreline in the late afternoon.

 

Cameron Davidson


Heidi: How long is a typical aerial shoot?

Cameron: It depends upon the project and location.  When shooting over New York City or London, we plot out the times and sun path to maximize our shoot times or to catch the quality of light that the assignment calls for.  Usually about one and half to two hours.

Have you even been both pilot and photographer?
In my early days of aerial photography, right after I earned my pilots license, I would shoot and fly at the same time.  Problem was, for me, the altimeter tended to spin left, which meant I was descending.  I know two fixed wing pilots that are superb aerial photographers and also a Gyro pilot who have mastered the ability to fly and shoot at the same time.  If I was to try it again, I would shoot from an ultralight aircraft.

The key thing to remember about aerials, is, safety comes first.  I fly with a fairly elite group of pilots who know how to fly for the camera and primarily fly for the film industry.  There are a few photographers who have the same or higher level of experience that I have, all of us, are focused on flying safely.  My goal is always safety of the crew, client and myself. Since I am also a pilot, (although inactive at the moment) I know and speak the same language as the pilots flying the ship.  I tend to fly in turbine helicopters and often in twin-turbine ships.  There’s a lot of planning that goes into these flights and we always have a pre and post mission brief.  I never bring unnecessary people along for a joy ride.  That comes from the mantra of “more people equals more weight, more weight in the helicopter equals less power.”  Power is your friend.

What was the genesis for this body of work?
In early 2009, I was on assignment for Vanity Fair in New York City.  The shoot called for recreating the views from the cockpit of US Airways Flight 1549 that crash-landed into the Hudson River.  After I finished the shoot, we flew back to the heliport, I asked the pilot if we could schedule a second flight for sunset and into early evening.  His schedule was open, so we went for it.  I shot at sunset and since it was fall, dusk came quickly.  In 2009, DSLR cameras were not especially good at high ISO and low-light photography.  I decided to keep shooting and cranked the ISO up and see if I could create a usable image.  I did and it became a best seller for one of my stock agencies.

I’ve always been drawn to the intersection of mankind and water.  My work is fairly graphic and the hard lines with dark and light of the city is similar in form and tone to my aerial landscapes of marshes, river and settlements along watersheds.

So far, I’ve published six books and one iPad app on aerials.  My last book, Chesapeake, was a twenty-year love affair with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that was the University of Virginia Press distributed.

My aerial assignment work is a mix of editorial, annual reports and advertising.  Earlier this year I shot a campaign for a automotive company.  The first shot was Manhattan from 9500 feet on a very cold 16 degree day.  The temperature in the cabin, at altitude, was minus three degrees.  Add about sixty knots of forward airspeed and we were a wee bit chilled.  The same project took me to the edge of the Everglades, where I shot as low at forty feet above the water. I’ve shot aerials in over thirty countries.

Discovery Channel assigned me to shoot shoot 360 immersive aerials for the Nik Wallenda walk websites his walk across the Grand Canyon and Chicago River.

That was very much a collaborative approach with their in-house graphics team, specialized software with quite a lot of testing and several pre-flight mission and weather briefs.  We had a half-hour window for these shots due to waiting for light to reach into into the canyons and before the winds picked up. I have flown for so long, that fear does not enter into my mindset.  I fly with good people in solid aircraft and everyone goes in with a safety first frame of mind.  I do say a prayer before every flight and ask for the safe return for all on board.

 

Is there a particular time of day you like to shoot these?
My favorite time of day to shoot is O’Dark early and O’Dark late.  I like working the edges of light.  The first and last light of the day is a challenge and a joy to work with: shadows hide and help create form with structure.  I rarely shoot aerials in the middle of the day.  I can only think of a couple of times in the past few years that I have.  One was in Haiti just after the January 2010 earthquake.  The only time I could schedule the helicopter was between NGO medical missions and that was 2:00 in the afternoon.  Recently I shot a series of B&W aerials of Manhattan in the middle of the day.  I wanted to embrace the hard cold light of late October.  I think it worked.

Are there scouting missions for project like this?
Sometimes, I scout by fixed wing.  Most often, I travel to the location and scout on the ground.  I take sun path plots, gps readings, look at shadow lengths and figure out the obstacles and opportunities.  I also use topographic maps plus satellite images via Google and Bing.

You’re a pioneer in this field, how did the love for aerial develop?
It came to me quite naturally.  I started off as a bird photographer.  I was working on a project for National Geographic Magazine in southern Maryland and I saw a Yellow Piper Cub behind a barn alongside a country road.  I asked the farmer who owned the Cub if he would fly me over the Heron Rookery I was photographing.  He did, for all of $15 to cover expenses.  I was hooked from that point forward.  It was the perfect viewpoint for how I like to shoot.  Graphic landscapes, targets of opportunities and hopefully, a unique image that challenges the viewer.

However, the real pioneers of aerial photography are William Garnett  and Bradford Washburn.  Mr. Washburn was also an explorer, and mountaineer.  He photographed remote mountain ranges in Alaska with an 8×10 camera at, 12,000 feet without oxygen.   I met Mr. Garnett and his wife a few years before he passed away.  In my office, I have a signed print of one of his favorite aerials, an image of Death Valley with rolling dunes and hard morning light. Mr. Garnett is considered by many, to be the grandfather of American aerial photography.

 

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What has been the most surprising/innovative application for this type of imagery that you’ve seen?
Outside of books and magazine stories, I’ve started shooting images that were intended of the movie poster market.  Two of my New York City images have been made into the lead poster for the Spiderman movies. The U.S. Post Office chose an aerial of Blackwater Refuge from my Chesapeake Book project as the image to show marshes in the Earthscapes series of stamps.

Photograph by Cameron Davidson All Rights reserved/© Cameron Davidson Cameron@camerondavidson.com for usage.

Photograph by Cameron Davidson All Rights reserved/© Cameron Davidson Cameron@camerondavidson.com for usage.

Photograph by Cameron Davidson All Rights reserved/© Cameron Davidson Cameron@camerondavidson.com for usage.

Quadopter/Octacopters (drones) have brought a raft of new uses and some of them are incredibly exciting and useful.  Everything from tower safety inspections to mapping, to wildlife counts and of course, aerials from a slower and lower altitude, which I might add, is significantly safer than flying a helicopter at 200 feet.

I have a long relationship with the good folks at Corbis and you can see many of my aerials there.  Also, I launched my own stock library, titled, AerialStock.

The Daily Promo: JD White

- - The Daily Promo

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JD White


Who printed it?
Moo.com

Who designed it?
My good friend Craig Wheat did my logo a while back but I designed the cards myself.

Who edited the images?
I edited these 5 down from my current 20 image printed portfolio.

How many did you make?
I made a short run of 20 cards for each image as this was my first go at a promo. Some people received all 5 cards, some got 3 and then I also sent out a few singles. There was 33 total recipients of the promo.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I’m really not sure yet. This was my first run and it was very small so I’m curious to see what happens if I send out 400. I’d like to do at least 4 promos a year but doing 12 small runs sounds fun too!

What have you learned from sending out promos?
As I mentioned before, this was my first run at any sort of promo. I had sent out a few emails prior to these postcards but this was my first attempt at getting my name out there without taking much of a financial hit. The month before sending these out I decided to go freelance. So you can say this was my attempt at getting me out of the “ohh crap” moment and getting my hustle on. Shortly after sending these out, I got booked for a couple jobs with local agencies. None of them had received the promos yet. I do feel that getting the cards out there had something to do with getting these jobs. I have learned a lot from this first mailer, for example how they can reach a bigger audience just by sending one to Rob. Also, sending good photos and vibes out into the universe can never hurt.

This Week In Photography Books: Lynn Saville

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’m sitting in a silent room, over-looking a lilting snowman.

Is there anything more beautiful than a snow-covered field? The sunlight reflects into your eyes, and the blue sky looms above, like an approving grandma.

Perfect.

It’s odd to feel tranquil and safe, in this week when illusions of such phenomena were shattered like the outer layer a frozen puddle, when you crunch it with your boot.

Paris.
Such horror.

As this is an opinion column, it’s hard not to comment on the miserable situation that played out on Friday, November 13. (OMG, I’m only now realizing those assholes did it on Friday the 13th. Sick bastards.)

But what do you say? How can I add anything to the discussion that hasn’t been said already, or isn’t so blindingly obvious that it need not be said?

I will say this: my heart goes out to all the innocent people who lost their lives. To their loved ones, whose time on Earth will never be the same. To the residents of all the cities out there who now feel so threatened. Who grapple with an underlying level of fear and anxiety that will not go away any time soon.

But I also think about all the people, tens of millions really, who live that way already. Who reside in places like Iraq, Syria, Mali, Yemen, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Israel, Ukraine, etc.

There are so many who live in situations where bombings, assassinations, destruction and mayhem are a part of daily life. Yet we collectively lose our minds when it happens in a place like Paris. In the West. With all the beauty and historic architecture.

I may not be a real journalist, (the jury’s out,) but I did write in this very column, not too long ago, about the banlieues in Paris. We looked at “Dédale,” by Laurent Chardon, and how he implied that the bleak, miserable surroundings in the Parisian suburbs must be wreaking havoc on the mentality of their inhabitants.

We are humans, and therefore flawed. Society, made up of humans on a mass scale, is therefore flawed as well. Should our species survive as long into the future as it has into the past, it will never lack for violence and misery.

But when chaos hits close to home, it feels that much worse. That’s how terrorism works. And lest you think I’m excusing anyone, I’ve already written on multiple occasions that ISIS are **the worst people on Earth**.

But the appeal of their recruitment pitch is not hard to discern.

They find young men, troublemakers already, who are of the lowest status in their home (or adopted) countries. They have no girlfriend, no job prospects, no future to speak of. These men most often live in the kind of miserable neighborhoods you might see in a Dardenne brothers film. (Brussels anyone?)

To these young men, they offer the chance to be heroes, to a certain audience.

Legends.

These recruits will get to play war, cops and robbers, spy vs spy, whatever clichéd story-book narrative you’d like to use. They will be famous, lauded by a crowd of social media well-wishers. And then, when it all goes wrong, as it always does, they won’t have to spend their lives in jail, tortured daily, nor confined to the hell of solitary confinement.

No, they will not.

Instead of facing decades of potential rape behind bars, with the push of a button, these sociopaths get to go to heaven, attended by 72 virgins. Permanent blowjobs, forever.

Which is to say that as long as there are oppressed, disturbed, and under-employed young men in the world, (and occasionally women) then this message will find fertile soil.

These ISIS killers don’t respect life, so it’s easy for them to take it from others. I may hope we wipe them all from the face of the Earth, but the ideas that motivate them are much harder to eradicate. (See Neal Stephenson’s seminal “Snow Crash,” for the best prediction on the power of viral information.)

It takes books and medical care and job opportunities to defeat that sort of nihilism.

Not bombs.

Because you can’t explode an idea.

In so many cities, here in the US, after 9/11, people did live in fear. Always looking over their shoulders. Is that backpack sitting by itself? Does that Muslim guy look shifty to you? If you see something, say something.

Eventually, those fears receded.

Cities without people feel scary. Emptiness, devoid of light, takes on a type of menace with which most of us are familiar. That’s why these assholes attacked social gatherings. They want to scare people away from drinking and fun. (Remember: no booze under Sharia law.)

Empty cities project a palpable energy, and the camera loves nothing so much as a cinematic scene. Which is why people have been so receptive to “Dark Cities, Urban America at Night,” a project by Lynn Saville, just released in book form by Damiani.

(Even today, I managed to make it back around to a photo-book.)

I have to admit, I like, but don’t really love these pictures. I’ve seen so many of them before, and I’ve even made some myself. (Haven’t we all?) But as a collection, it makes for a very attractive publication.

The pictures are moody without being outright scary. Taken at dawn and dusk, (dubbed the magic hours for a reason,) the images resonate calm and quiet, rather than “a bomb is about to go off” anxiety. As the artist is a New Yorker, I not-surprisingly appreciated the pictures taken out of town, when her discovery-meter was dialed up a little higher.

Upon second viewing, I became more aware of the construction metaphor. People are building, always building, whether it’s a pyramid or a skyscraper. And the empty storefronts, turning over, being re-energized, gives a temporal marker of American cities coming back after the wreckage of the Great Recession.

There’s one picture with a mural in it that says, “This is happening in your city right now.” I considered opening today’s column with that very quote, as Parisians, Londoners, Berliners, New Yorkers and Madrilenos are all worried more today than they were before. (The end notes credit Michael Conlin and William Butler for the Albany mural.)

Unless you’re reading this in Aleppo, or Mosul, or Donetsk, your city is likely safe enough to explore. You can go out for a coffee, and likely not have to worry about getting killed. So in this time of global sadness, let’s remember to appreciate the freedoms we often take for granted.

Bottom Line: Beautiful photos of American cities at night

To Purchase “Dark Cities, Urban America at Night” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Amy Mikler

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Amy Mikler

A 12 year old girl orphaned by the genocide in Rwanda

A 12 year old girl orphaned by the genocide in Rwanda

Masengesho helps prepare dinner by picking through the rice.

Masengesho helps prepare dinner by picking through the rice.

Masengesho walks to get water at dawn. Gisenyi, Rwands

Masengesho walks to get water at dawn. Gisenyi, Rwands

Masengesho's least favorite chore is carrying water back home. Understandably,  as the jug weighs around 44 pounds.

Masengesho’s least favorite chore is carrying water back home. Understandably, as the jug weighs around 44 pounds.

Masengesho mops the floors at her family's apartment after school.

Masengesho mops the floors at her family’s apartment after school.

Masengesho does the dishes outside on the ground with a basin of water and a bar of soap.

Masengesho does the dishes outside on the ground with a basin of water and a bar of soap.

Masengesho drinks her breakfast porridge before school

Masengesho drinks her breakfast porridge before school

Simple wooden desks and well used chalkboards are the standard classroom features in Uganda.

Simple wooden desks and well used chalkboards are the standard classroom features in Uganda.

Masengesho sits outside her apartment wearing her one pair of shoes.

Masengesho sits outside her apartment wearing her one pair of shoes.

Masengesho answers a question at the chalkboard at her school in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Masengesho answers a question at the chalkboard at her school in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Raising arms for class, Masengesho competes for the right answer with the other students.

Raising arms for class, Masengesho competes for the right answer with the other students.

A favorite fruit of Masengesho's.

A favorite fruit of Masengesho’s.

Masengesho playing drums and singing along with the fellow members of her church's children's choir.

Masengesho playing drums and singing along with the fellow members of her church’s children’s choir.

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Wearing a typical Rwandan mish mash of patterns, this stately lady waits at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Wearing a typical Rwandan mish mash of patterns, this stately lady waits at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Mothers wait with the babies at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

Mothers wait with the babies at a clinic in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

How long have you been shooting?
Full time since 2007

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Hobby, then school, then assisting, then topped off with a lot of self-prescribed “assignments.”

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The first time I went to East Africa I struggled upon my return to articulate the vast differences in a typical East African’s neighborhood structure and daily routines. Happy for an excuse to return, I set about finding a willing child I could document: someone old enough to articulate some dreams, but young enough to have that open innocence and time that is helpful to a documentary project. I didn’t want a starving kid, nor an atypical wealthy child either for my One Child One Week project. I was fortunate to find Masengesho Julien, a sweet 12 year old girl in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Because of the nature of travel time and costs to Africa, the project was a one week shoot from start to finish. I did sit on the images for a while, but did eventually add it to my site. Simply out of love for them. That said, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t come back from Africa with beautiful images, it is a place full of lovely light and gorgeous people. 
After I shot the project my hope was to repeat the process in another country, but I haven’t pulled that off yet. I’m eyeing Guatemala though.…

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I just started a new one, so I will let you know! The One Child One Week | Rwanda project was born of such love and curiosity that it seemed weird not to share it. The newest one is a little more challenging: one day, one old TLR, one roll of 120 film, and one final grid showcasing all the images after processing.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I still strive to achieve images that people will want to look at, but love the freedom and challenge of chasing ideas that aren’t constrained by advertising goals or editorial copy. That said, I go in knowing that the images may never be seen by anyone but me. If I feel it fits in with other work and won’t completely confuse the viewer, I might mix images into my website. But my latest personal project is just to challenge myself to slowly see the scene around me and to treasure each push of the button.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Not really.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
No. I printed a One Child One Week booklet of the little girl so I could send it to her, and gave it to a couple curious friends.

ARTIST STATEMENT
One Child | One Week | Rwanda was born out of equal parts love of the beauty to be captured in Africa, and a desire to show and share what day to day life looks like for a typical East African city child. What do the homes look like? How is the classroom environment? What do daily chores entail? Life in Rwanda is both beautiful and hard, and hopefully these photos capture a little bit of both.

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Amy Mikler is a lifestyle & kid photographer based in Austin, TX. Her journey to photography began with a Christmas present from her grandparents at age 9, and initially resulted in creating scenarios for the neighborhood kids to model in. For some reason she did not consider her beloved hobby when considering majors, but after spending most of her disposable income on photography throughout her twenties, she decided she either needed to find a cheaper hobby or go back to school for photography. Thankfully the latter worked out. She shoots for a variety of commercial and editorial clients, and deeply appreciates them allowing her to use her “hobby” to make a living.


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 has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Daily Edit: Isamu Sawa: Mercedes Benz Magazine

- - The Daily Edit


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Mercedes Benz Magazine

(Australia & New Zealand)

Managing Editor: Sarah Lewis
Editor: Helen Kaiser
Art direction & Design: Glenn Moffatt
Hair & make-up: Blanka Dudas represented by Hart & Co
Retoucher: Aaron Foster @ Studio ADFX
Photographer: Isamu Sawa

 

Heidi: How did the SHOWSTOPPER JPG project come about?
Isamu: In October 2014, the famous French couturier was bringing his retrospective exhibition ‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ to Melbourne Australia to be held at the National Gallery of Victoria. To coincide with the event, Mercedes Benz who was the Principal Partner of the exhibition wanted to run an editorial in their magazine and commission a photographer that could handle two disciplines; that of portraiture and automotive photography together. Collaborating with Mercedes Benz, Jean Paul Gaultier had created a unique one-off design of a Mercedes SL-Class exclusively for the exhibition and images were required of him and the car for the editorial.

Editor Helen Kaiser approached me and commissioned the photo shoot. Helen knew my capabilities as both a portrait and automotive photographer. She also knew that I was comfortable shooting high profile celebrities; we worked together previously when she entrusted me to photograph famous Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.An  ad campaign was realized by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne to promote the exhibition and I was subsequently commissioned to shoot that as well.

Have you shot for Merc Benz Magazine before?
Yes, a while ago though. If memory serves me right it would have been over 10 years ago when I was still shooting film.

What was the direction from the magazine?
The brief was to capture Jean Paul Gaultier with his uniquely designed Mercedes in the studio; covering off three to four different angles within a very limited time frame of no more than an hour.

Helen Kaiser initially sent me illustrations of the unique vehicle design by Jean Paul Gaultier with his signature stripes; we subsequently discussed shooting against a plain background due to the graphic nature of his design. The main issue however was the limited time allocated with the fashion designer. It would not have been possible to pre-light for multiple angles of the car together with the designer and achieve the sort of result that would do the story and publication justice. After a few days of brain storming I emailed Helen with the idea of shooting his portrait and the car separately…

“…in essence my idea based on the very limited time we have with JPG is to shoot him and the car separately and try to make up nice graphic images. So I suggest we do very graphic portraits of him and make up ‘double-exposed look’ collages of him around the car. I also like the idea of having him and the car in black and white apart from the blue stripes…I think this idea would make it more ‘editorial looking’ rather than looking like a typical advertising shot…”

 With the concept approved, we shot multiple angles of the car on the first day in the studio and concentrated on just the portraits of Jean Paul Gaultier the following day.

How difficult was it too keep the cyc clean and do they roll the car in?
Keeping the cyc clean was not an issue. We laid carpet down to avoid tire marks when driving the car into the studio and onto a revolving floor; once it was on the turntable it was quite easy to turn the car around for the specific angles we needed. The assistants wore protective plastic covers around their shoes when moving around the studio.

Is the car engine ever running at some point?
Yes but only when we initially drive the car in.

What is the biggest challenge with shooting a car, I’d imagine reflections? 
Reflections are ‘one’ of the main challenges when shooting cars in the studio. In this instance however we had the added difficulty of shooting a white car in a white studio; so the main challenge was to create enough light and shade in the bodywork to bring out the unique contours of the vehicle without losing definition against the background; at the same time highlighting the design created by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Was their any wardrobe direction for JPG?
We asked his management to bring some dark plain tops, ideally black and perhaps a jacket for some texture. We didn’t want to be too prescriptive; especially given his line of work, but emphasized that we needed something plain and dark for the ‘double’ exposure idea to work…

 

Isamu Sawa_JPG_signed print

I see you have a signed print. Do you often have people sign your prints?
A few days after the shoot I was printing out some proofs of the retouched images and had a wild idea about having them signed by Jean Paul Gaultier. With nothing to lose I contacted his personal assistant via email to see if there was any chance that I could have him sign a set of prints for my personal collection. She replied that, “in the ideal world it would be easy to organize” but she couldn’t promise anything as he had such a busy schedule including a talk and book signing that evening. She suggested trying to catch him at the book signing; which was easier said than done because the evening was booked out. I attended anyway and talked my way into the event and with the help of his personal assistant Jelka, managed to get one print signed. I waited for over two hours but it was worth it. The image hangs proudly in my studio.

I don’t often have prints signed especially these days when we hardly print anything but I do have a set of prints signed by famous Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel and a poster by one of Australia’s most famous bands Hunters & Collectors.

The Daily Promo: Fedele Studio

- - The Daily Edit

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Fedelestudio.com

Who printed it?
John: Donoson Printing for the video carrier and Bender Graphics for the booklet insert.

Who designed it?
I designed the piece. I began my career as a designer/art director so I still dust off those skills every once in a while to create new feature marketing and promo pieces. My studio has moved into shooting both stills and motion content over the past few years so we needed a way to showcase all of our work in the most efficient and memorable way we could find. It was designed to display all of our content while also having maximum flexibility for future print runs to minimize additional design time in front of my computer –I’d rather be shooting! The branded carrier has only general info about us. The video player has a USB port so we can upload custom motion content, as needed. The still imagery booklet is then printed short run so we can then be as targeted as we want to specific prospects/clients.

Who edited the images?
I edited the images wanting to include a broad overview of our portfolio & reel on this first run.

How many did you make?
We created a run of 100. Given the ridiculously high expense of each mailer we chose to do a small test run first to see how recipients responded. We’re planning a much bigger run for 2016.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
We try to send smaller printed mailers out quarterly/bi-monthly. The more expensive ones like this go out about once a year. Any more and I’ll have to pick up a second job to finance it.

What type of reaction are you getting from the piece?
This is a fairly new technology so it’s been hilarious to see the initial responses. People walk into a portfolio meeting expecting our book and iPad, then see these sitting there waiting for them. “Where in the hell did you get this?”, has been heard more than a few times.

Sometimes the button that auto-plays the video is tripped while in the mail so we’ve heard from a few people that the package arrived and it was playing music. It’s unintentional but guaranteed they’ll open ours first.

This Week In Photography Books: Adam Ekberg

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’ve got a stream in my backyard. One month every year, it turns into a river. Snow, freshly melted, descends from the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and snakes along the border of my property.

It’s as nice as it sounds.

But life being what it is, sometimes weeks go by, and I never even see it. Wake up. Drink tea. Feed the kids. Get the lunches packed. Take my son to school. Do work for my 7 jobs. Go to the gym.

You get the point.

Two weeks ago, I had a mini-epiphany. How many people in the world would love to have a gorgeous mountain stream in their backyard? (Obvious answer: Billions.)

And how many of those Billions would go weeks without sitting at their private Zen paradise?

Likely answer: not that many.

So I made myself a promise that I’d endeavor to sit by that stream once a day, listening to the gurgle of water running around rock, watching the light glint from odd angles, feeling the shadow of ravens as they glide overhead.

I’ve mostly kept the promise, aside from a day when I left before the sun was up, and came home after dark. (I thought of going out with my Iphone as a flashlight, but I don’t think the bears have hibernated yet.)

What can I report? Well, my stress level has gone down, for sure. And my appreciation for life’s brevity is at an all-time high. On Sunday, one of our “adopted” red-tailed hawks screeched not 15 feet above my head, while the sun’s rays warmed my cheeks, and all was right with the world.

It may sound trite to you, but appreciation is a highly-undervalued state of mind. It allows us to find peace with our lot in life, and focus on the small moments that ground us in the present. (Granted, if I were living in Syria right now, I might not preach inner peace so blithely. But I’m in Taos. Thank God.)

Sometimes, a good photo book can offer the same sensation. It reminds a jaded psyche that no matter how many donuts you make, and how much you might hate the taste of sugary-glaze, there is still joy to be found in child-like wonder and curiosity.

Will I get hurt if I jump off that swing when it’s at its apex. (Shout out to Joanna Hurley for schooling me in the proper use of it’s vs its, early in my writing career.) Will I burn the house down if I point a magnifying glass at those dry blades of grass just off the porch. (Never did it.) If I tied 5000 helium balloons to my house, like that Old Dude in “Up,” would it lift off its moorings and head towards the great beyond?

These are the types of questions you’re forced to ask when you look at “The Life of Small Things,” a new book by Adam Ekberg, recently published by Waltz Books in Indiana. (Yes, Indiana.) There is a forward here by Darius Himes that forced me to write a good column this week, because I didn’t want to look outclassed to those of you who subsequently buy the book.

(Short version: Dude can write. If he ever gives up his gig at Christie’s, I may well be out of a job.)

The pictures in this book do speak for themselves, so I’m loathe to describe too many. They are cool, funny, and clever. Warm and cool is a difficult mix, but he pulls it off with aplomb. Balloons repeat, as do disco balls. Items that symbolize fun and leisure. (Birthday parties and Studio 54)

A goldfish in a bag, plopped upon a field, shows up two photos before a splash in a sea. I like that they’re connected, but not sequentially, as many would do. Flashlights abound, reminding us of sleep-overs and camp-outs gone by.

Milk jugs are punctured multiple times, conjuring not just the obvious spilled milk, but the act of “peeing,” which gets a laugh out of my kids every time. (Say pee or poop to an adult and you get nothing. Try it with a 3 year old, and you’re guaranteed a giggle.)

Explosions, fires, soap bubbles, and a lit-up vacuum cleaner lonely in the snow-covered gloaming.

Great stuff.

Yes, this book fits the bill for my “preference for edgy pictures,” which makes it the right book to discuss in my first book review in a month. But don’t fret. This one is not just for the hipsters.

Everyone still has a kid somewhere inside. You just need to know where to look.

Bottom Line: Fantastic book of innovative, witty constructions

To Purchase “The Life of Small Things” Visit Photo-Eye

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