The Daily Promo: Brooklin Pictures

- - The Daily Promo

Brooklin Pictures


Who printed it?

Modern Postcard

Who designed it?
I have been working with Peter Dennen of Pedro + Jackie, he has really helped me fine tune my images to create more of cohesive look/feel.  Between the two of us, we came up with the design for the promo.

Who edited the images?
Peter and I decided on the images to be used and I did all of the retouching.
How many did you make?
I had 300 printed.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out 4 mailers p/year and then send out 3-6 email promos in between the gaps of the printed pieces.

This Week In Photography Books: Sol Neelman

by Jonathan Blaustein

It’s a Thursday. You know what that means. Yup, this is a column
I’m going to pull straight out of my _________.

Sorry. It can’t be helped.

It’s not that I’m lazy. Just the opposite. The last few weeks have been as busy as any I can remember, and I’m about to leave for Review Santa Fe to look at portfolios to publish here. My brain feels like it sky-dove out of a plane and landed on a concrete basketball court.

Ouch.

Normally, I’d like to be fresh heading into an immersive festival weekend, but as I said before, it can’t be helped. Instead, I’m going to make lemons out of lemonade, and listen more than I talk at RSF, because I’m too punch drunk to charm anyone, even if I wanted to.

But a column is a column, and that means I’m here to gut it out. Man up. Leave it all on the field. (Insert random sports cliché here.)

Are you sensing a theme? Shall I spell it out for you? Yes, we’re going to talk about sports today. And not just any sports. (Or sport, as the Brits say.)

Today, we’re going to riff on “Weird Sports 2,” a new book by Sol Neelman, published by Keher Verlag in Germany. Sol’s appeared in this column twice before. I wrote a blurb about “Weird Sports,” before I adopted my now-patented-ridiculous-rambling style, and then we chronicled his habit of wearing Lucha Libre masks in an article about the New York Times Portfolio Review in 2013.

Now he’s back, in all his Weird Sports-loving glory.

This is the kind of book that is very hard not to like. In fact, if you hate it, I’ll have to accuse you of lacking any sense of humor whatsoever. Which means you’re no fun, so I’d rather you spent your Friday reading time elsewhere.

Leave, I say. Leave.

Just kidding. But it is a book that chronicles the odd and sometimes depraved way that human beings choose to spend their spare time. Are there inspirational photos? Yes, like the picture of blind sprinters cruising down the track at the Paralympic games in Beijing.

But those are the exceptions, not the norm. Ostrich racing. Monster Wrestling. Zombie 5k runs. Sandboarding in Morocco. Musical chairs. Quidditch. Bog snorkeling in Wales. (Sorry, but that’s just gross. You might find Richard III’s crushed skull down there, if you’re not careful.)

What did I learn? That an astonishingly large number of weird sports seem to exist in the Pacific Northwest. Portland and Seattle, are you really that funky? What gives? Haven’t you ever heard of basketball and soccer? You know, normal past-times?

I might quibble about whether a Beard and Mustache Championship counts as a sport, and let’s not hate on Sol for including “World Naked Bike Ride,” (again in Portland) because, say it with me now, Boobs Sell Books.℠

As to the Lightsaber Fencing practitioners, can we really be surprised that they’re getting their game faces on in San Francisco? (No, we cannot.) And if George Lucas wasn’t cashing royalty checks from those nerds before the book came out, I’m sure he is now.

That’s what I’ve got for you today. The clock is running down, and I need to pack for RSF. Frankly, I’m a little pissed I’ve got to miss Game 4 of the NBA Finals tonight. I’d tell you to watch some Lebron James brilliance, but by the time you read this tomorrow, the game will be over.

To Purchase “Weird Sports 2″ Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Brinson+Banks

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: Brinson+Banks (Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks)

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How long have you been shooting?
We both started working at newspapers 10 years ago before moving to freelance photography, and then we teamed up to create Brinson+Banks a little over two years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A little both–we were both inspired by the same passionate photojournalism professor at The University of Georgia (Jim Virga, who is now in Miami) but we took only three classes each, which covered the basics of photojournalism ethics and how to manually use a camera and tell a story with photography.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
With Chameleons, we were incredibly inspired by the landscape in Southern California. We both grew up and spent the majority of our lives in Georgia and South Carolina and when we moved to Los Angeles a year and half ago, we were just visually awestruck by the diversity of the environment and it sparked something in both of us. Right away, we wanted to explore it all–we went to beaches and the desert and the mountains between and shot landscape photos in preparation for this project (and also because it was, and continues to be, a great adventure).

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Just one year.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I think that really depends on the project. Both of us have personal projects of our own (something we do as individuals, rather than a team) that we’ve worked on for years, and one that Kendrick is convinced will never be done because she enjoys working on it so much. Personal projects should be foremost about documenting/capturing something you’re really interested in–you’re doing it for the joy of doing it, not for business, but for sheer pleasure–so it could be one shoot or 10, one month or 15 years. It’s working if you feel your work, your eye, your creativity is growing. If you’re not excited about it anymore, that will show in the work, so give it a break and a rest or call it finished. Don’t force it.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
We both feel so damn lucky that we’ve found a job that we are so passionate about. We’ve talked to photography students at almost a dozen photography schools at this point and something we always drill to the students is personal work. It’s how you grow and evolve and keep from stagnating. It’s where we stumble upon happy accidents that then we’ll repeat on a shoot for a client. If you’re not getting paid to shoot the photos you want to shoot, build a portfolio on your own of personal work and maybe it will translate to future work.. Recently, a client hired us to duplicate a photo we shot while we were shooting just for fun. That’s the best marriage of the personal side of photography and the business side of photography when they blend like that, though it doesn’t happen every time. I would think that if your personal work is extremely different than the work you do for clients, then maybe you should share that work and see if you can expand your client-base to include that type of work, too, so you can create more of what you love to create and have it funded, as well. But some projects we do just for the sheer joy of doing them and wanting to branch out of our comfort zone and that’s good, too, to show off a different aesthetic.

Personal work is really important because it’s a place to mess up and have fun and experiment without any outside influences saying “no, do it this way” or asking for it to be tamed down. You get to have fun for the sake of having fun, and with all the meetings and emails and shooting we do for “work,” it’s a really important refresher and can really revitalize us.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yep! We love using social media to share our personalities–that’s how a lot of our clients keep in touch with us. We don’t see a huge line between the personal and the business because it’s all making photos and it’s all doing what we love. The jobs we do are personal, too, because we put so much of ourselves into them.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
We’re a married couple and do this pose with the camera on self-timer and last year that series of photos, that was hilariously dubbed “#BrinsonBanksing” went viral–it was published everywhere from CNN to the Weather Channel to Cosmo to Buzzfeed. It’s a funny thing how you can work your butt off putting your work-work out there and then something we do for fun, that is a truly personal family album type thing, goes all over the world.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yep! Almost half of our portfolio book is personal work. A lot of our emailers and postcards we send out to clients are our personal work. We get hired to do jobs because of the work we do for fun. How great is that?

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Artist Statement:

Chameleons was born from a fascination of the new landscape we’d landed in. We are two photographers who spent the majority of our lives in the green of the Deep South. We relocated to Southern California and discovered foreign flora where green was replaced by pink and tan, and dogwood trees were replaced by succulents and Joshua trees. We’ve always been inspired by the landscape, and a lot of our lifestyle and portraiture work is environmentally based, so when we first moved to LA we knew we wanted to explore the region more with our cameras. We concocted a plan to go to the ocean, the cliffs of Malibu, the desert, the mountains and to then project those images on models in a studio–it was the perfect excuse for an adventure in our new home and to experiment more with our portraiture as a team. We had fun collaborating with our models and creating something a little out of context for the viewer. And, as a bonus, it was a way for us to announce our new home in a visual way.

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We are Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks, a commercial photography team based in Los Angeles. We collaborate with each other, our team, and our clients to create portraiture and lifestyle imagery that tells a story or creates a mood.
We met in a photojournalism class in college and fell in love with photography and storytelling at the same time in the same place. But we didn’t fall in love with each other until two years later. Before we joined forces to create something more colorful and surreal as a team, we worked individually for the likes of TIME Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated and FADER for several years.

We love to be involved in every part of the creative process from the conceptual, storyboarding and planning stage to the execution on the day of the shoot and everything in between.

We have been interviewed by PDN, American Photography, TIME’s Lightbox, The New York Times Lens Blog, CNN Photos and PhotoShelter about our unique vision. Our images have appeared in exhibitions in Houston, New York, Atlanta, Groningen, The Netherlands, and are in the permanent collection of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection at the New York Public Library, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

Clients
R/GA, Target, Airbnb, Tiffany & Co., Audi, Garnier, Deutsch, ADIDAS, L’Oreal, Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Seventh Generation, Leisure Society, Bombay Sapphire, Vitamin Water, Hennessy, Google, Panera, Enterprise, SBE, Sanofi, PhotoShelter, Billboard, Huck, Wonderland, Rolling Stone, NME, Panda Express, The New Yorker, TIME Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Shape, NPR, Complex, Fortune Magazine, New York Magazine, XXL, GQ, ESPN The Magazine, The FADER, Stern, Smithsonian, Inked Magazine, Mother Jones, Newsweek, Le Monde, Juice, AARP, US News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wired, Forbes Magazine and Golf Digest, among others.


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.

Getting Into A Competition Is Cool, Not Getting In Means Nothing

- - Working

Not getting into Unbound! means nothing.  Rejection from other competitions, exhibitions, grant proposals… those rejections mean nothing.  Yes, getting into a competition is cool, over-the-moon excellent.  And we hope that if you get into Unbound4!  that you will see that as a genuine compliment.  If you get in to this show, we are going to spend our time installing your work, looking at your work, promoting your work, trying to sell it off the walls, maybe end up buying it ourselves, and finally returning it if it isn’t sold.  Getting in to this exhibition means we really like your work.  Not getting in does not, however, mean the opposite.   Not getting in means nothing.  We reject a lot, A LOT, of quality work.  Our gallery is only so large.  We have invited several artists, as we do each year, and so some of the space is spoken for, which means of the 400+ submissions, there are 1,300 or 1,400 images to consider and we are looking for maybe 25-30 pieces.  Sure, it is pretty easy getting down to the most serious contenders for the show.  But we probably begin the real struggle once we have maybe a couple hundred images or so to consider.

Source: Open Letter to Photographers / Artists ‹ Candela Books + Gallery – Copyright 2012.

The Daily Edit – Michael Becker : Ventura Blvd

- - The Daily Edit

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Ventura Blvd Magazine

Editor-in-Chief: Linda Grasso
Creative Director: Ajay Peckham
Graphic Designer: Elena Lacey, Michelle Villas
Photographer: Michael Becker

Heidi: Tell us about your commercial photography as a second career. What caused you to make the switch? 
Michael: I was drawn to both music and photography from an early age. When I was 11 my grandfather, who was a professional photographer in Manhattan, gave me his beautiful old 1950’s Rolleiflex. I was immediately hooked. When I hit my teens, I became increasingly interested in music, particularly blues and jazz. I started playing guitar and ended up going to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating I moved to Los Angeles and spent the next 15 years in the studio making music.

Several things happened that ultimately led me back to photography. In the year 2000 there was a commercial actors strike that had a dramatic effect on some of my clients and my business as a composer/producer. Shortly after that, both my parents became very ill. I decided to move back to New York to help take care of them and to deal with the difficult transitions. It was then that I rediscovered my grandfather’s old Rolleiflex. Taking photos of my parents and the town where I grew up became both an escape and a way of documenting what my family was going through. There was something about the immediacy of photography that resonated with me. I was hooked all over again.

I know your first career was as a successful music composer, how do the two interplay, if at all?
They both have the incredible power to move people, and to reflect and comment on social conditions. After years of making music, I found photography refreshing in that I could make a photograph relatively quickly, whereas writing and producing a song can be a rather lengthy process.

My professional experience has been that both require a strong, individual voice or vision, but they are also fertile playgrounds for collaboration. I loved playing in bands and working in the studio with other musicians. Photography is also a great collaboration, starting with the entire creative team, through to the subject interaction with the photographer.

My biggest lesson from music carried forward into photography is to trust the creative process. Don’t set out to make something perfect, set out to make something authentic and then subject it to a heathy dose of scrutiny and refinement.

How did you execute the Mark Jacobson story? I understand you turned over a completely researched idea both editorially and photographically. How long did this process take?
I have been working with a wonderful editor and photography consultant, Lisa Thackaberry. I was interested in doing more editorial work in addition to my entertainment work. My wife, Staness Jonekos, had also done a major career switch from television executive producer to published author. It was Lisa that suggested we find an interesting story to tell and work as a team doing the story and photography. She suggested we pitch magazines directly and thought going in with a complete article might be a viable way to get published. Since staffing and budgets are down in editorial, it made sense to try and create our own opportunity.

My wife immediately remembered our first encounter with Mark when I started working in entertainment and thought it might be an interesting story. I loved the idea and reached out to him to see if he would be open to doing it. After explaining our intentions, he agreed and we set up the first interview. It wasn’t until we sat down with him that we realized what a rich history there was with him and his father Irving. Irving had quite a remarkable career prior to inventing the first camera sound blimp. From the time I first called Mark to when the article was published this month, took almost a year.

What compelled you to share this story and why this magazine?
To our surprise, there had been almost nothing written about the sound blimp. Just Mark’s web site and a couple of mentions in users’ blogs. Such an obscure thing, surely there must be an interesting story. It’s been a part of film and television publicity and marketing for decades. Many film marketing one-sheets are made from the unit stills shot by the onset photographer. Shots that could never have been captured with a noisy camera snapping away during an actual take.

Once again it was Lisa Thackaberry that suggested we pitch it to Ventura Blvd Magazine (VB). She thought the local business angle was a great fit since his shop is in Studio City. VB does fantastic stories on local businesses and they still dedicate a luxurious amount of space to photographs.

Were you surprised that this story hadn’t been told as it’s such an important part of photo history?
We were definitely surprised at how little information was out there. In general, on set photographers are there for the publicity and marketing teams, not as part of the actual production. The very nature of the job requires a certain amount of stealth, thus I think it gets somewhat overlooked.

What compelled you to ask about the family history?
We were aware that it was Mark’s father who originally invented the first blimp. We were just curious what prompted him to design such a seemingly proprietary piece of gear. What kind of demand could there possibly have been at the time other than a few one-offs. Now blimps are used everywhere, from television and film sets to theater productions, golf tournaments, etc. Any place the clicking of a camera is a distraction to the action.

Was Mark surprised that the story made the cover? ( ie…not a publishers idea of a sexy subject )
He was completely blown away that he made the cover. We all were! Linda Grasso, Editor-in-Chief, and the amazing design team at VB literally picked our favorite photograph from the whole shoot to use on the cover. We couldn’t have been happier with the layout.

I think there’s great value in local publications and being connected to community, is that why you pitched this to Ventura Blvd?
Yes, it just seemed like a great fit given the proximity and the fact that VB is still prominently featuring photography. Plus we live in the hills above Studio City so it felt like it was relevant to us as both members of the community, and also the industry.

I know you shot Nancy Cartwright for the magazine, did you ask her to do her Bart Simson for you?
I did not, but I know she’s all too happy to oblige when someone asks.

What were you trying to capture when you photographed her and was it hard to separate her from that iconic voice?
Nancy is an incredibly talented voice over artist and an explosive bundle of energy. I simply tried to capture the exuberance she has for her new passion with sculpting. Clearly Bart is an inseparable part of her that she embraces and is protective of. I completely enjoyed the time the three of us spent together!

The Daily Promo: Cyndi Long Studios

- - Promos

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Cyndi Long Studios


Who printed it?
Grogtag.com printed the coasters. I went with the premium double sided. More expensive, but worth it in this instance.

Who designed it?
I designed it myself. I minored in Design/Art Direction in college, which doesn’t qualify me to handle the job, but I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted one side with an image and a very “low key” mention of my website, and then the other side to be very clear about what my name is and how to find me.

Who edited the images?
I edited myself. I had a plan to make a set of 4 coasters. I had three images I already wanted to incorporate, so I then shot an additional image (Peticolas)  to round out the feel of the set.

How many did you make?
I started small. Only 100 of each coaster. I wanted to target the local breweries, plus the more established craft breweries across the nation. I’ve had such a great response to them, I will either print more, or make a new set to send out.

How many beers did you drink to make this?
I love love love beer, but I generally won’t crack one open unless my client for the day wants to, or at least the final shot is on set.

For the Peticolas image, I needed to create several “pours” which means I needed to continually empty the glass until I got the hero shot. Of course I didn’t want to move the glass (I had focus/lighting exactly how I wanted it,) so I channeled my previous rookie-drinking-self and drank from a straw.

Anyone that has enjoyed the Peticolas Velvet Hammer understands why I quickly decided it was in everybody’s best interest for me to discard instead of consuming the beer. It is truly smooth like velvet, but will quickly hit you like a hammer if you’re not careful.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I TRY to send out quarterly, or at least twice a year.

I know you’ve been home brewing since 2012, it this what prompted a beer promo?
I’ve been a huge fan of craft beer for several years. Texas recently opened up the laws making it easier for small breweries to sell their brews. There’s been such an explosion of quality breweries here, I decided it was a great excuse for a promo. Unfortunately, the cost per piece is still out of reach for the smaller guys, but I look forward to working with them once they’re ready to make a bold marketing statement.

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Photo by Erin Davis Smithison

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This Week In Photography Books: Sachiko Kawanabe

by Jonathan Blaustein

The sun doesn’t care if you live or die.

It’s true.

The glowing orb, impossibly far away, hangs in the sky, while we spin around it. Its heat and light enable our existence, yes, but don’t fool yourself.

The implacable star has no feelings about any of us. It just is, and so are we. The only difference, near as I can tell, is that we are here for the briefest of times, aware our journey is finite.

The sun, on the other hand, will outlive us all.

I’m sitting at my white kitchen table, musing as usual, enjoying the ambient sounds of chirping crickets. Outside, the aspen leaves shimmer as only they can; proof of the slight breeze that animates them. Bird calls complete the scene.

There is nothing else, at the moment.

I just finished meditating, which is a practice I’m trying to adopt. It might explain my metaphysical mood. Meditation is one of those things that are clearly good for you, like spinach, but it takes dedication to adopt it properly. (We’ll see if it sticks.)

So I AM calmer than I might otherwise be. But it’s not just the silence, and the sweet muscle relaxation that comes from sitting still, breathing in and out in rhythm. No, my mood was further enhanced by just the right photobook, at just the right moment.

I’ve really come to love this job, because I have a routine that revolves around entering other people’s worlds, each and every week. I’m rather picky about what I like, when I see things on the wall. I want NEW. I want innovation.

But with books, I’m far more interested in crossing the threshold of an immersive experience. Losing myself, as I do when I have a camera in my hand. (Don’t we all.) Or when I’m swimming laps.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke. Breathe.

What engendered this New-Age-Reverie? “sononite,” a new book by Sachiko Kawanabe, recently published by Omoplata/Superlabo in Japan. I’m sure you’re not surprised, because nobody does Zen like the Japanese.

This is a genuinely lovely book. It ticks all the right boxes: beautiful, quiet, contemplative, philosophical, and well-made. I’ll do my best to write about it, but books like these really do need to be held.

It opens with a horizontal orientation, back to front. Immediately, we’re interacting with the book in a non-traditional way. After the cover, we get a short bit of thoughtful text that gives the crucial details: the story is about an apple orchard that the artist found, and visits regularly.

She loved the place so much, in fact, that she and her young daughter spread her beloved grandmother’s ashes among the trees. This is not just a grove raising food for people. It is also a final resting spot, but grandmother will not rot, as the apples do. The fires put an end to that.

Thereafter, the orientation shifts to vertical, and we begin in Winter. The snow reflects those sun rays, and the white set against the blue sky is just right. Nature may not care if we live or die, but it does know how to give the perfect backdrop on which to play out our daily drama.

Winter to Spring, Spring to Summer. At one point, despite the uniform loveliness of the images, I found myself wanting something new. On the next page, I noticed a picture with a blue cast that seemed unnatural, even in evening light. My attention returned.

That happened again when the artist’s daughter appears, and yet again when I turned the page and found a lovely burgundy book-mark-string. As always, pacing details are important, and respected, in well-made books.

Summer gives way to Fall, and the fully grown apples desiccate on the ground, as we all will, one day. (Unless we ask them to burn us.)

This book works on several levels. It allows you to contemplate your mortality without grief, because everything is impermanent. (Even the sun.) But it also gives us the opportunity to shut out those thoughts, if we so choose, and luxuriate in some very beautiful pictures of a sweet little apple orchard in Japan.

Bottom Line: Beautiful, Zen book that shows us the cycle of life

To Purchase “sononite” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Brian Kuhlmann

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: Brian Kuhlmann

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How long have you been shooting?
I started this business while still in high school, so 31 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
My inspiration was the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The seen and unseen effects on the wildlife were horrendous. I chose to shoot dancers with fabrics and petroleum products to recreate visuals of the spill.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This is still a rough draft .

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Not sure how to answer this. I work on the project until I feel it is complete. Every test works in one way or another.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I don’t draw lines between the two. I love to shoot, and all of my images are my portfolio; the only difference is where I decide they end up in my presentation.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Not really. With the current terms and conditions of social media sites, I am careful what goes into those venues.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I had a couple of these images picked up by magazines and books. Rangefinder did a short piece, and Weldon Owen also ran a page dedicated to one of the images, in the book “How to Photograph Anything”.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
My personal projects usually end up in gallery shows. I have used some of the images as special gifts for important people in my life.

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Brian Kuhlmann’s favorite part of being a photographer is… photographing. He’s been a working photographer for the better part of 30 years. While now based in Los Angeles, he started out in St. Louis and lived more than a decade in Chicago. His commercial work is based in creating energetic lifestyle for some of the largest brands in the world.
Into The Fray – Brian Kuhlmann

Capturing the controlled movement of dancers has long been a passion of mine; this particular body of work was a direct response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its effect on wildlife.

Working with professional modern dancers, I shot this sketch of what is to be a larger project. We explored different textures and materials, from the watery texture of silk to more literal petroleum-based products, letting the dancers bring their own personal interpretation to the subject matter.


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.

Pricing and Negotiating: Business Lifestyle Shoot for Technology Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental lifestyle images of professional talent working and interacting in various business scenarios alongside a video production.

Licensing: Worldwide Advertising, Collateral and Publicity use of up to seven images for one year.

Location: Multiple business and retail locations in the South.

Shoot Days: 2

Photographer: Lifestyle and portraiture specialist based on the West Coast.

Agency: Medium-sized, based in the Midwest.

Client: Large, multinational technology company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The art producer at the agency sent a very rough shot list with limited visual references describing situations in which people were interacting and using apps on a phone to conduct business. There were seven images they hoped to capture, many of which were in different environments with unique talent. The photographer and I originally assumed the shoot would take three to four days given the uniqueness of each environment, but we found out that a video production team was arranging all of the logistics to capture video prior to shooting stills in each environment, and that they would be dictating the pace of the project.

The art producer asked us to submit an estimate reflecting a two-day shoot (which is what the video production company estimated), and since we would truly be piggy-backing our portion of the project to the video, our estimate needed to reflect this. It was possible that the information provided and discussed with the video production company was a bit different than what we were presented with, but given that they’d be responsible for the majority of the logistics and details (and since it was their responsibility to cram it all into two days), we were comfortable presenting an estimate for the photographer and his crew to tag along to capture still images of their setups.

Even though most of the images were unique, I felt it was appropriate to determine a fee for the first image, and apply a discount for the subsequent images since it was most likely that the client would only take advantage of the full licensing for just a handful of images throughout the year. I decided that the first image was worth $7,000, images 2-3 were worth $4,000 each, images 4-5 were worth $3,000 each, and images 6-7 were worth $1,500 each, totaling $24,000. The agency asked us to give them an idea of what additional images would cost, and I decided that a pro-rated fee based on 7 images and $24,000 would be most appropriate. I rounded up the pro-rated fee a bit to an even $3,500 for each additional image.

On one hand, I initially felt the fee was low since this was for a major brand capable of taking advantage of the international advertising licensing that the photographer would be granting. For instance, Getty prices international advertising use for one year closer to $13,000 per image, and Corbis prices their “All Marketing Pack” for one year closer to $17,500 for one image (although this includes broadcast use and a handful of other uses that were unlikely for this project). On the other hand, I’ve compiled many “shooting alongside video” estimates recently, and due to the stills oftentimes being an afterthought, fees have frequently landed closer to $7,000-$10,000 per day including unlimited use of the images. I felt our pricing was appropriately calculated by the image, but if you were to look at our fee by the day, $12,000 per day for two days seemed pretty healthy considering that the licensing was limited to one year.

Photographer Travel/Scout Days: This accounted for the photographer’s time to travel in, scout the following day, and then travel back after the shoot.

Assistants: Even though the video production would be providing the majority of the production elements, we wanted to make sure there were enough hands dedicated to setting up, moving and breaking down the still photo gear, so we included three assistants. The first assistant would travel to the shoot with the photographer, and both the second assistant and third assistant would be hired locally.

Digital Tech: The digital tech would also be flying in with the photographer, and we broke out the fees for their travel/scout days from their shoot days, while also lumping in a fee of $750 for a workstation on each shoot day.

Producer: Even though the video team would be wrangling most items for the project, we still included fees for a local producer to get involved and offer support for the photographer to find crew, arrange travel accommodations and be the main point of contact between the video production company, agency and the still photography team regarding logistics. I included three prep/wrap days on top of the two shoot days for the producer.

Equipment: We were a bit in the dark about what types of environments the photographer would need to light, but to be on the safe side, we estimated needing at least $2,000 worth of camera bodies, lenses, grip and other gear per day, and figured most rental houses would offer a “three days same as a week” discount to account for the shoot days and the scout day.

Airfare, Lodging, Van Rental: I used kayak.com to acquire costs for the photographer, his first assistant and digital tech to fly in, spend four nights and then fly back home after the shoot while having a large van with them for the length of the trip.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Hard Drive, Misc: I included $50 per person per day for the photographer, his assistant and digital tech to cover each day they’d be out of town. I also included $100 for each shoot day and the scout day to cover miscellaneous expenses, $200 to cover a hard drive and shipping costs and $250 to cover parking and to add a bit of a buffer for any unforeseen expenses that might arise.

After submitting our estimate, the art producer told us there was a chance the video portion of the project might be removed. This meant that all of the production elements would then be the responsibility of the still photography team, and we were asked to draft an estimate detailing all of the fees and expenses for such a scenario. As I noted earlier, a two-day shoot seemed very optimistic at the onset of the project, and after a discussion with the photographer, we decided to estimate a three-day shoot which seemed much more comfortable based on the scope of the project.

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The licensing stayed the same, but we added a day to the shoot. In order to keep the fees palatable to the agency, we just increased the rate by $2,000 to account for the photographer’s time on the additional day. Also, they asked if we could offer a discount on the additional images and provide a pricing structure that was more affordable in case they wanted to license up to 30 total shots, rather than seven. We decided to offer five additional images at $2,500 each, and then included a discount for images 13-22 at $750 per image and images 23-30 at $350 per image.

Photographer Travel/Scout Days: Based on a discussion regarding the potential schedule, we included one day to travel in and attend a talent fit day, followed by two scout days before the shoot and a travel day after the last shoot day.

Assistants: Just as before, the photographer planned to bring his first assistant for the entire length of the trip (including the fit day and scouting) and hire two local assistants to lend a hand on each of the three shoot days.

Digital Tech: Again, the tech would also travel in with the photographer and his first assistant, and similar to the previous estimate, we broke out his travel/scout days from his shoot days.

Producer and Production Assistant: Since the scope of the logistics that would need to be coordinated drastically increased, the local producer’s workload needed to be accounted for. We included eleven days (four pre-production days, one fit day, two scout days, three shoot days and one wrap day) and also added a production assistant to lend a hand throughout the shoot and help with pre-production and scouting as needed.

Hair/Makeup Stylist and Assistant: This included the three shoot days, and we included the cost for them to bring along an assistant since there could potentially be a handful of talent that needed to quickly get prepped in the morning and touched up throughout each day. This rate was on the higher end for a stylist in this market (I figured $1,000 per day plus a 20 percent agency fee), but there was some discussion about moving the shoot to a more expensive market, and I wanted to lean on the higher end just to be safe.

Wardrobe Stylist, Assistant and Wardrobe: This included three shopping days, one fit day, three shoot days and one day to return the wardrobe, all of which would be accompanied by their assistant. Similar to the hair/makeup stylist, I leaned on the high end for their day rates and included an agency fee. Based on the rough shot list, I estimated that ten talent would be shot over the course of three days, and figured that $500 per talent would be plenty to cover the wardrobe. I leaned on the high end for wardrobe since a few of the comps mentioned branded employee wardrobe that could possibly have required custom fabrication.

Prop Stylist, Assistants, Props and Prop Van: Since we weren’t exactly sure what sort of locations the agency hoped to shoot in, and since part of our discussion with the agency was about outfitting a bare loft-type space, we had to factor in the possibility of needing to heavily prop out an environment. I therefore included nine days for the prop stylist and their first assistant (five prep/shop, three shoot, one return) and added on a second assistant for the three shoot days and one day on both ends to help with pickup and transportation of the props to/from the shoot. Based on the rough comps, it looked like there were four main scenarios that would need to be outfitted, and I estimated $2,000 per scenario as a starting point. We noted in the delivery memo that this was subject to change based on additional creative direction. Since some of the props could have possibly included large furniture, I included the cost for a van to transport everything. The rental could have potentially spanned over ten days, and I estimated $150 per day and then rounded up to include the cost of gas and to give a bit of a buffer.

Location Scout and Locations/Permits: I figured that many of the local scouts would likely already have the types of locations required in their library, but just to be safe I included four days to cover their time to dig through their database of files and also go out and scout for a few days if more options were needed.  A few of the locations would simply require a permit like an outdoor location might, and I figured $4,000 per shoot day would cover up to two locations within each shoot day. I noted that this cost was TBD and elaborated in our delivery memo that it was subject to change based on additional creative direction.

Casting, Talent and Payroll Processing: As noted in the estimate, the $4,000 fee for casting included a handful of items associated with one live casting day, and we anticipated outsourcing this to a local casting agent given the accelerated schedule. I don’t typically break out talent fees as I did in this estimate, but the agency specifically requested to see the costs broken out in this manner. There would be five unique talent attending some, but not all, of the shoot days. The first day would require five talent, the second day would have two talent and the third day would have three talent, totaling 10 “talent days” represented in the estimate as “session fees” which accounted only for their time. I included $2,000 per talent to account for using their likeness based on the same licensing being conveyed to the client by the photographer, and I based this rate purely on previous experience hiring talent in that market. On top of the session fees and usage, the talent would also expect to be paid to attend the fit day, and I included $500 per person, which is a rate I’ve negotiated with talent agents for similar half-day fit fees in the past. Talent agents would add on 20 percent to the session, usage and fit fees, and as I mentioned, I was asked to break this fee out on a separate line item. Lastly, I anticipated outsourcing the payment processing to a payroll service company so the photographer wouldn’t have to worry about managing that process and it’s complexities. The fee for such a service can range from company to company, but often times 20 percent of the amount they need to process is adequate, and I included that as a separate line item.

Equipment: We left this the same as the previous estimate, again basing it on a “three days same as a week” discount.

Production RV: With this many crew members on set, a production RV would serve as a staging and styling area away from the shooting space. The $2,000 fee included $1,500 per day plus an additional $500 per day to account for mileage and any miscellaneous dumping/cleaning/generator/wifi fees the RV company might charge.

Catering: I added all of the crew, talent, agency and client representatives that would be present on the fit days, scout days and shoot days, and I anticipated that $60 per person per day would afford breakfast and lunch catering for everyone. I then rounded up by a few hundred dollars to cover a client/agency dinner with the photographer.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc: Similar to the previous estimate, this covered $50 per person per day for the photographer, his assistant and digital tech for each day they’d be out of town. Additionally, I included an extra $1,000 per shoot day for unforeseen expenses since the scope of the project was still a bit vague at this point. I thought it would be advantageous to pad the estimate a bit and accommodate some reasonable creative scope changes without having to request an overage, rather than seeking an overage for every minor change of plan.

Insurance: It was possible that the photographer’s insurance coverage would be adequate, but the unidentified locations, RV rental and equipment rental reinforced a decision to add this in just in case he had to increase his coverage limits.

Airfare, Lodging and Van Rental: As I mentioned previously, I used kayak.com to determing costs for the photographer, his first assistant and digital tech to fly in, spend six nights and then fly back home after the shoot while having a large van with them for the length of the trip.

Feedback: After a day or so of back and forth creative development, the art producer let us know that they wanted to move forward with the project, but the video was back in the picture again. However, they decided that three days was more appropriate for the project, and therefore needed a three-day version of our initial estimate where the video team would provide the major production elements. With a bit more insight on the creative scope and potential budget, we drafted a new estimate with a few changes.

-We increased the photographer’s fee to $28,000. Even though we previously estimated three days and seven images at $26,000, it became clear that the shoot days would be very long (we noted crew overtime separately) and they’d be cramming in more scenarios within the timeframe, and we felt that was worth a slight increase to the fee.

-The travel and scouting schedule also changed a bit, and we anticipated that the photographer, his assistant and tech would fly in and do a bit of scouting, followed by a full scout day, shoot for three days and try to fly out the evening of the last shoot day.

-We added on a fourth assistant since there would be a lot of moving around on each day and another set of hands would be advantageous.

-We adjusted the producer’s fees to account for one prep day, two scout days and three shoot days. I was planning to add in another prep day for him, but after speaking with our local producer, he was confident that he wouldn’t need it.

-The photographer reached out to a local equipment rental house, and based on some new creative insight, he decided that he’d need much more in the way of equipment as previously anticipated. The rental house’s quote came in over double than what we original estimated for gear, but it also included the digital tech’s workstation as well as a van rental for all of the gear.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job. Here was the final estimate:

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

The Daily Edit – Nicole LaMotte: LA Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

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Los Angeles Magazine

Creative Director: Steven Banks
Art Director: Carly Hebert
Photo Editor: Amy Feitelberg
Photographer: Nicole LaMotte

 

Heidi: I know your astrology sign is cancer, how much to you think that plays into your love of shooting home/interiors and your philanthropic work?
Nicole: I definitely think my astrology sign plays into my love of interiors…cancers are home bodies at heart, always needing a home to call their own.  Even as a child, I was always aware of my sense of home, rearranging furniture in my room to create a different feeling (or maybe just trying to get a better pov for camera ;))  As an undergrad I studied photojournalism at Columbia College in Chicago and without realizing it until later was the very first books I bought were  interiors. I bought the “Family Houses by the Sea” by  Alexandra D’Arnoux and then Isle Crawford’s “The Sensual Home”.  I am drawn to the feelings that a curated space can provide.  The philanthropic work really helps to balance me out.  As a cancer, I am definitely sensitive and not just about my own feelings.  The first time I traveled to Haiti and saw the looks in the the eyes of the orphans, I had a visceral reaction that compelled me to go back and find ways to help.  One way was through my pictures, but I also recruited an artist friend, Rebecca Farr, to come along and bring the gift of art and self-expression to the children.

You were also a photo editor, where you always shooting and editing?
I have been shooting most of my life, it just has not always been my livelihood.  In my twenties I had a career in the corporate travel world which not only gave me a great business background but also afforded some amazing travel benefits…and that is when I would do most of my shooting–while on my travels.  I would love coming back from a trip and editing the pictures and making a book (the old fashioned way, with prints and albums).  But, when I turned 30, I decided it was time to get back to photography which is when I transitioned into the magazine world. My photo editing career started at Santa Barbara Magazine and then ended at  C Magazine. I worked with Margot Frankel at both places, she brought me down to LA to help launch C Magazine.

Is it hard to edit your own work? What’s your process?
Depending on what I am editing, the process can be very difficult.  Shooting a story tethered is relatively easy, with the exception of portraits, as you are able to watch the story develop. When not shooting tethered,  I will usually do a first pass edit with one rating and then wait as long as I can (depending on assignment due date) and take a second pass which usually consists of looking at the rated ones and knocking some down.  Sometimes I find it helpful to look at a shoot in the “proof shoot” view, again going back to my photojournalism training, and looking at images smaller to see what grabs me.  When editing for a show or my website, I always need an outside perspective as I cannot easily separate myself from my work.

When did you decided dedicated yourself to photography only?
After spending about six years as a photo editor, I decided that it was really time to go out on my own. Producing shoots became less fulfilling and I needed to focus on my passions.

What was your big break?
 My big break really came from a dear friend, Andrea Stanford, who had come from the magazine world and was launching a new division at One Kings Lane.  She needed a photographer to shoot the leading interior design tastemakers for online sales.  I helped her to establish the processes and then began shooting regularly which allowed me to support myself.  It was an incredible feeling to have such a supporter – someone that believes in you completely.  I ultimately started working at the company full time, and did so for 2 years, which granted me incredible access to the interior design world.  And I loved meeting all of the interesting people and shooting such a range of spaces from super layered to incredibly streamlined.

You have a strong understanding of the narrative arc, does that stem from your magazine editing work?
As a photo editor, I worked closely alongside an incredibly talented creative director, Margot Frankel.  I would sit with her while she laid out stories, so I really did gain an incredible understanding of how images can tell a story and the need for scale changes; she has an incredible way of laying out images that is unexpected and fluid.  Being on shoots as the photo editor also allowed me to observe the process of developing the story arc.

How often do you work for LA Magazine?
This was my first time working for LA Magazine. They had seen my other story on Lulu and wanted to house so there was not a ton of direction on the story.  The writer was on set for this one so we were able to collaborate on the important elements of the house/story as it unfolded.  It is always nice when you can get tidbits of the interview to help inform the richer part of the story; I find you can uncover a lot layers this way, like maybe a collection that isn’t full on display or pieces of art that are significant. The magazine asked for coverage and gave me a template of the house layouts to use as a loose reference.  They wanted to be sure I covered as much as possible in both a horizontal and vertical format to help with the layout and maximizing the images for a four page story.

What are some key tips for shooting people in their environments?
When shooting someone in their environment I like to have conversations with them about their house and what spaces they use the most so that they are comfortable in the environment.  Lulu is use to being photographed so I didn’t need to worry as much with her.  Sometimes it is nice to have the homeowner in a space that otherwise might not feel complete, in the case of Lulu, I loved the front entrance with the rug down and the assortment of jars but felt like it would be much livelier with her in it (and to avoid a dark whole which the door would be).

What happens on a cloudy day when you have a job? Do you try and simulate sunlight?
Cloudy days are actually good, except when you are shooting people as it brings down the overall light.  I try to avoid the harsh light when shooting interiors and move around the house accordingly.  I really like the feel of natural light.  The challenge is when I have to light someone and making it feel cohesive with the rest of the story which is natural light.  So I work from my ambient and then add just a pop to to give a little direction without looking too lit.

The Daily Promo: Stephanie Vovas

- - The Daily Promo

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Stephanie Vovas


Who designed it?
I designed it.

Who edited the images?
I did.

How many did you make?
It’s an ongoing campaign/process as I make them by hand, which takes some time. So I pop off a few every time I get a chance, and am sending them out gradually.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first time sending out a promo. I love printing them, bundling them up, and shipping them out. It’s like making a nice gift for someone you want to like you, and hoping they enjoy what they receive. I aim to send out a nice package 3 times a year from now on. I already have the next one designed in my head and I can’t wait to make it.

Where did you get the pencils and wood grain paper?
Pencils are from a local shop, and the paper and boxes are from Paper Source. Paper Source is full of cool stuff for making promos.

This promo stemmed from a very fun job, so I wanted to show it off in a nice little package. Michelle Kohanzo, the Creative Director of The Land of Nod hired me to make fine art photographs for their stores to sell. She was completely open creatively, and totally supportive to my team and I. It was a dream job working with her.  We got to shoot in Wisconsin, at a camp that has been many different things in the past, a speakeasy in prohibition days, a church camp, and a brothel! We got to stay overnight in the cabins there overlooking the lake. It rained and stormed a great deal on the shoot day but it all worked out great!

This Week In Photography Books: Alessandra Mauro

by Jonathan Blaustein

The cursor blinks. Blue on white. Blink. Blink.

Taunting me.

“What are you going to say this week, Blaustein? Are you going to tell us a story about your kids? Or deconstruct a Hollywood movie? How are you going to keep it fresh?”

It’s a surprisingly annoying cursor. Poking at my insecurities. And yet I’m fond of it. (Him? Her?) It’s kept me company for years, and only now have I even realized it’s blue.

I guess I’m not that observant. Blink. Blink.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty fried at the moment. Yesterday, I drove to Santa Fe, then Albuquerque, then Santa Fe, then home. 6 hours and 250+ miles of Wild West road-tripping, all to drop off pictures for an exhibition, and shop for clothes along the way.

Everything I bought was either made in India or Bangladesh. Some items were extremely inexpensive, others more reasonably priced. But it all came from a sweatshop, or so I’d imagine. Normally, I don’t think very carefully about that. But I recently saw a John Oliver rant on the truth behind the international clothing industry.

It’s not pretty.

And I was left with a mental image of children stuck behind sewing machines. It’s dancing through my mind, just now, and igniting some serious guilt about my purchases.

As I’ve learned, and tried to share with you here, sometimes you just need to turn your head sideways to see something with a completely new perspective. It can make obvious things that were obscured, like dropping a pair of corrective lenses over your young son’s faulty eyes.

Today, I’m going to review a book unlike any I’ve covered. And I’m going to do it in a way that’s different from the manner in which you’re supposed to review such a book. Watch, as I break two rules at once.

It won’t hurt a bit.

“Photoshow” is a recent offering from Contrasto in Italy. It was edited by Alessandra Mauro, and contains interviews and essays that explore the history of the photographic exhibition. Yes, it’s a publication that attempts to corral a 3-dimensional experience into 2-dimensions, and compress nearly 200 years into a few hours of reading.

Or so I’d imagine. Because I didn’t read a word.

This is a book you’re supposed to read. It even included an interview with Quentin Bajac, the head curator at MoMA, whose opinions and expertise are certainly worth exploring. (I’m sure I’ll get to it one of these days..but not today.)

Rather than skipping a review, because I write about pictures, not words, I decided to open the book and look at the photos. Why not review this as a photobook, and acknowledge that many of you would likely enjoy the essays too?

Why not indeed?

It’s the rare publication that starts with pictures by Talbot and Daguerre, and ends up with a photo of Erik Kessel’s room installation of 24 hours worth of pictures from Flickr and Facebook. In fact, it may be the only such publication ever made.

We see a killer image by one of my favorites, Gustave le Gray, and a trio of pictures by Roger Fenton, including the classic that shows his mobile horse buggy/ photo studio. My long-time readers know how much I love Fenton, so that selection got my attention.

Marcel Duchamp’s famed urinal at Edward Steiglitz’s gallery? Installation shots from “The Family of Man?” Joseph Kosuth’s seminal three versions of a chair? All mashed up with Jeff Wall’s work and lots of work on walls?

Skip the words, and this is one cool book. Read the words, and you come out with more education than you started. Either way, it’s a win win.

I’m sure some of you will be shocked at my perceived laziness. That’s understandable. You’re not supposed to review a book without reading it. But you’re not supposed to support a system that enslaves children either, and we all seem tragically OK with that.

Bottom Line: Cool pictures, lots of words, and a heap of photo history

To Purchase “Photoshow” Visit Photo-Eye

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The Art of the Personal Project: Jazzmine Beaulieu

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: Jazzmine Beaulieu

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How long have you been shooting?
5 years professionally

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
After graduating High School, I attended the Hallmark Institute of photography where I was enrolled in a 10-month program focusing on the technical, business and artistic sides of photography. Upon graduation, I moved to NYC, where I immersed myself in the world of photography, galleries, Fine Art and Street Art, developing close relationships with a wide range of talented artists in these and other fields. My experiences both professionally and socially since moving to NY, have taught me many things applicable to my field, that I could never have learned in the classroom, so in a very real sense, I was formally educated and self-taught.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I had seen some images from India’s Holi Festival and was incredibly inspired by the otherworldly effect that the application of this substance had on those who used it and immediately decided that I wanted to use it as an element in my work. A Colourful Life was born by my desire to use the powder as an incongruously playful environment for 65yr plus women. The inevitability of aging is mostly discussed or illustrated with a sense of dread. I conceived this project as an opportunity to instead, celebrate it. To communicate the idea, that spirit, beauty and joy do not have to diminish with age and in fact it’s life’s experiences that make us all that much more vital. The images I captured wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without the brass of the women in them.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This came together fairly quickly. From concept to capture it was about 6 months.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
The answer to this question is always going to be specific to the project itself. In this instance, I somehow always believed that it would work right from the start but my confidence in it grew enormously as soon as I met with my team. Their shared enthusiasm helped reinforce my feeling that this was going to be something very special.

By the time we walked into the studio, the only production left to do was to set our stage and capture the narrative that played out on it. As soon as we captured the first image that was a direct manifestation of our collaborative efforts it was clear the shoot would be a success. As a photographer that moment is the drug. It’s a high that keeps you moving through the entire project. At that point, no matter what, it’s a winner.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Human connection is the most important element in my work. I love interacting with people, hearing their stories, telling them mine. Whether the project is for portfolio or an assigned production, my relationship to the people in my images is what drives me. My hope is, no matter the content, that my audience sees and more importantly feels that when viewing my work.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Absolutely. All the time. But mostly selective edits and behind the scene images to my shoots that are meant to be teasers to the galleries I post to my own website. I also love to post images from my social outings primarily because I love my life and enjoy sharing, but also because my social adventures are direct influences on my work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Facebook licensed a selfie I had taken of my best friend and I last year and that image did go viral. It received 328,000+ Likes and 6,000 shares.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I think nowadays, printed promotions need to be really special to get the desired attention of it’s audience and justify the cost for the photographer. I have sent very limited, personalized cards out, but this project will more then likely be the one that gets designed into a stunning package and mailed as an edition to a wider audience.

Project Team:
Photographer: Jazzmine Beaulieu
Creative Director: Megan Yanchitis
Powder Design: Lee Milby
Hair and Makeup: Stacy Skinner
Wardrobe Styling: Jess Mederos

Jazzmine Beaulieu (1984) was born in Lewiston, Maine to an artist mother and a musician father. After graduating high school, she attended Hallmark Institute of Photography, completing a ten-month curriculum focusing on the technical, business and artistic sides of photography. She graduated at the top of her class, receiving an award for “Best Overall Portfolio” and “Most Promising New Artist”.

After graduating, she moved to Brooklyn NY, where she currently resides. Since her graduation, she’s done many successful campaigns for a wide variety of clients, including: Virgin Atlantic, Easy Jet, Azo, Taleo, Culturelle, Estoven, Mega Bus and Facebook.

(She also does non-profit work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Cre8tive Youth*ink/ Art Without Walls).

Her latest project entitled, “A Colourful Life” was just premiered by Vanderbilt Republic at (Un)Scene an exhibition in NYC that was part of the Armory Arts Week.

Follow her on instragram @jazzminephoto


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 Promo – Sarah Lim

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Sarah Lim


Who printed it?
Who designed it?

Who edited it?
The promo was printed, designed, edited, cut, glued and assembled 100% by me. I’m a maker of sorts (which is why I like to brand myself as a “Picture Maker”) and I hand make many of my own props and sets for shoots. If there’s something I’m looking for but I can’t buy it anywhere, I’ll just make it. I’ve done anything from cooking, sewing, building, screen printing, painting, hot-gluing – you name it, I have probably done it for a shoot or in life. I like working with my hands, so building and crafting are something that comes pretty naturally for me. I spend a lot of weekends at home with power tools and a glue gun.
How often to you send out promos?
The original idea for the promo was to make an old-school Valentine, but the downside of making everything by hand is it takes a lot of time.  So, I’m still in the process of sending some of them out!  But I think the message is universal, so I don’t think people will mind if they receive them post-Valentines day (I hope!) To date, I’ve probably sent out about 75, but have plans to send out about 200.
Did you also do the typography?
The typography is consistent with my branding (I also designed my logo out of a silhouette of my head);  Everything I do is hand made and hand-tailored for a specific subject or the client, so I’m really thoughtful of the “whole package” and how the design, layout, etc, all come into play for the final product. I also think people really like having an interactive experience, and getting mail with your name hand-lettered, adds to the interactivity of the promo.  The idea was to make the envelopes look kind of like a love letter (or I’m “in like with you”) and I really wanted them to pop when people saw them on their desks. I wanted to make something fun that people would want to share.
As a sidenote, a thaumatrope is considered to be the beginnings of motion pictures, and I’ve also recently began doing more motion and stop-motion type work. Just kind of another layer that helped personalize this promo for myself. I try to send out promos at least quarterly, and this year wanted to start thinking of at least one special, hand-made promo a year to send out, in addition to quarterly postcards.

 

The Daily Edit – Genome: Samuel Solomon

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Food as Medicine:
Photographer:Adam Voorhes
Editor: Rhonda Reinhart

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The Family Condition
Photographer: Randal Ford
Casting and wardrobe: Lauren Smith Ford
Retouch: Gigantic Squid
Editor: Rhonda Reinhart

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What is Personalized Medicine
Photographer: Adam Voorhes
Editor-in-Chief: Eric Celeste
Designer: Caleb Bennett

Genome


Creative Director: Samuel Solomon
Editor-in-Chief: Eric Celeste

Heidi: How did this job come about for you?
Samuel: Years ago, I worked with Genome’s founding Editorial Director, Eric Celeste, while at American Airlines’ inflight, American Way. We always had a great working relationship during our time there, so he reached out about the Creative Director position when things were first getting off the ground.I jumped at the opportunity because I felt like it would be a chance to build something meaningful from the ground up, and had a lot of potential to become a great product.

Did you choose healthcare consciously as an editorial pursuit? It seems as though that would be a very solid career path. Smart.
Not healthcare specifically, but I’ve always had a personal interest in science, and looking back I’ve often gravitated towards projects which had a philanthropic element or could contribute something of real value for the audience. Not to draw a comparison to Tibor Kalman, but I always admired the editorial work he was able to do at Colors, and that sort of social consciousness has always been very appealing. There is a lot of promise in the field of genomics and personalized medicine for helping people with chronic diseases, so to be able to work on a magazine that can have real impact is great. The bonus is that from a design perspective, science and medicine have such a huge visual vocabulary to draw from.

Who publishes it and how many times a year does it come out?
Genome is a quarterly published by Big Science Media, and is the core product around which the media company is built. All of our content lives in both the print edition and online at genomemag.com. We’re in the process of closing our fifth issue (Summer 2015) right now.

How big is your staff?
Well, I am the entire art department if that says anything. It helps that we publish quarterly, and I occasionally bring on some outside help when needed. So yeah, we are a pretty lean operation — 5 in our Dallas office, our Editor-in-Chief in the Bay area, and we are growing our sales staff outside the Dallas area.

Are you also the Photo Director?
More or less. I do all of the research, assigning, editing and color work.I’d say the vast majority of our imagery is conceptual in nature, so there’s also a good deal of illustration in the book.

Medicine can a dry subject, what is your creative mantra to combat that?
Well, our writers and editors are great at making these topics accessible for a broad audience, which in turn makes my job a lot easier.If you look at the existing visual vernacular of genomics, you see a ton of glowing 3-d helixes, walls of ACGT text, scientists hard at work in the lab. My challenge is to try to avoid the clichés, and find a fresh way to speak to these topics.For the first issue, I wanted to see if we could do an entire issue without a single helix. We came close — I think there was exactly one. But it was a super smart solution by the Milan-based illustrator, Alessandro Gottardo.

How did the idea of the suit come about for the disease story?
We work out which story will be featured on the cover for each issue during editorial meetings. Usually it’s something with broad appeal — topics that affect everyone like family, technology, food, etc.

For this particular cover, I had to find a way to communicate disease inheritance that would be really immediate for the reader. The idea came up to bring something that’s usually hidden inside the body to the outside, so we ended up using clothing as the metaphor for inherited genetic traits, with the genetic mutation represented in orange. There’s this sort of anxiety around the idea of an inherited disease, because it’s lurking away inside your genetics, and the jarring patterns help to reinforce that anxiety.

I reached out to Randal Ford, because I knew he could execute the concept and bring something extra of his own to the project. A concept like this could go south pretty fast if it wasn’t executed really well. Randal brought on Gigantic Squid to help with the retouch and creating the patterns, and in the end, everyone did an awesome job of making a pretty weird idea come to life.

What’s the creative direction for the brand?
Our overarching goal is making complex science understandable and compelling for the lay audience. I’d say the creative direction is idea-driven and bold, sometimes a little experimental or whimsical but always approachable. Someone with an existing health condition doesn’t need to fight against the design in order to get to information that could potentially change their life.

Are you hamstrung at all by newsstand sales?
Genome is actually not on newsstands, and goes primarily to subscribers and point-of-care settings: doctor’s offices, hospitals, personalized medicine facilities. Anyone that’s interested can subscribe for free at genomemag.com/subscribe.

Who is your competition?
We were the first producer of content centered around genomics and personalized medicine, so we have a leg up in that sense, but a few more have come along recently. Front Line publishes a genomics magazine, and Cure is a cancer publication which occasionally touches on personalized medicine. Ultimately, our competition is any publication in the point-of-care setting, so everything from medical journals to newsweeklies.

If a photographer wants to get in touch with you, what’s the best way?
A simple email or printed promo piece works just fine and we look at everything that comes through our door, digital or print. Submissions, messages, criticisms, whatever can be sent to art(at)genomemag.com.

Sandro Miller Interview

Jonathan Blaustein: Given the thickness of your Chicago accent, and the plethora of sports photos on your website, I have to ask… what do you think about Derrick Rose’s game-winning shot the other night?

Sandro Miller: The shot was absolutely, off-the-charts amazing. But unfortunately, the man down in Cleveland, Lebron James, answered right back yesterday. With the exact same shot, but from the side.

Both shots were amazing, but Derrick’s was just off-the-charts. He’s a killer basketball player. What I loved most about it was when he got into the arms of (Joachim) Noah, and there was no smile on his face, and he looked at the crowd and goes, “If you had any question if I was back, there you go.”

JB: Right. And he’s a local boy, isn’t he?

SM: Oh yeah, he’s local. He’s a Chicago boy. A South Side boy. He’s a really good kid. His Mom did a good job bringing those boys up in a very, very, very difficult neighborhood.

JB: Not only did he come up hard, but he lost essentially 3 seasons to injuries. You guys must be rooting for this dude on an almost-unprecedented level.

SM: You know, I think everyone in the league is. Even the other players are. He had three almost-career-ending injuries, so to see a kid like this, who plays the game so well, with so much honor… to see his career almost taken away, if you’re a basketball fan, you were rooting for D Rose to come back.

JB: And yet, when Lebron hit that shot yesterday, I imagine there might have been quite a few people choking on their Polish sausage sandwiches around the city.

SM: Arrgh. I was sitting here with my wife’s Mom, and all of her sisters, who are Moms. We had a big Mother’s Day feast over here, and when Lebron hit that shot, we just couldn’t believe it. But anytime Lebron gets the ball in his hand, you give him the rock, and he’s going to do something with it.

He’s the best in the game. And anything is possible.

JB: We’re talking about Chicago, and basketball, and everyone rooting for Derrick Rose.

SM: Yeah.

JB: We’re talking about Lebron being the best. And, I bet you’re more familiar with Michael Jordan than I am. But this weekend, my sister-in-law was in town, and randomly asked if I thought there would ever be another athlete with the sort of dominating presence and cultural import that Michael Jordan had, back in the 90’s.

What do you think? Could there ever be another phenomenon like Michael Jordan?

SM: I worked with Michael a lot, back in the day. In fact, ESPN magazine had an issue that came out, a 12 page spread, and it was all about how much I had shot Michael Jordan, and these great pictures I had done.

I worked with Michael really closely, and he was first class in every way he presented himself. On the court and off the court. Michael was the essence of perfection in everything he did. There will never be anyone as competitive as Michael. He hated to lose. There was something in his blood.

Michael would beat an 8 year old kid in ping pong, just because he couldn’t stand to lose.

JB: (laughing) He’s trash an 8 year old kid? I love it.

SM: He would. His competitiveness was beyond, beyond, beyond. I don’t know if there’s ever going to be another Michael, but does there need to be?

JB: I’ve learned, over the years, that when you talk to people from Chicago, and you bring up Rahm Emmanuel, that he’s not a very popular figure. Could Michael Jordan be the Mayor of Chicago?

SM: Michael Jordan, in 1995-6, could have run for President and won. Could he run for Mayor today? (pause) No. Michael’s absent from Chicago. It’s a known fact he’s no longer a Chicagoan. He spends very little time here. You don’t see him at a Bulls game, at a playoff game.

Michael’s gone through some changes. He’s bitter about the NBA, and he’s bitter about Chicago. About how he was treated. So today, no, he couldn’t.

But Rahm is the boss man. You don’t run Chicago with kid gloves. You’ve got to have an iron fist. I don’t know if you heard, but Spike Lee is coming to town to make a movie called “Chiraq.”

JB: I didn’t hear that.

SM: Yeah, he’s comparing Chicago to Iraq. We’ve got a huge, huge gang problem here, and there are a lot of killings. Most of it is not in the news, it’s completely overlooked. We’ve got SWAT in town, and almost an army-load of police watching what’s going on in Chicago’s South Side and West Side.

It’s do or die. Spike Lee is going to put out a powerful message, and Rahm was against the name of the film. It’s pretty embarrassing, when you’re known as Chiraq. But I think Rahm’s doing a good job. He was just re-elected, and as with any Mayor, he’s done some things that aren’t popular.

But we’ve got 4 or 5 films being shot in Chicago right now, and we’ve got a lot of TV series too. There’s a lot of different things he’s doing that are really good for Chicago. And it’s an extremely clean city for its size.

George Lucas is doing a museum here. It’s a great place of culture. We’ve got something like 50 million tourists coming in each year now, because it’s got pizzazz. And great restaurants.

JB: Well, that’s the reaction I was expecting. Rahm is an Obama guy, and most people I talk to are fans of Obama. But whenever I asked Chicagoans about Rahm, they really hated him.

SM: I don’t know if they hate him. He’s a tough, badass guy. He wasn’t very popular when he closed down about 14 schools, but in the long run, it really was a good decision. They were only 1/3 full, and in terrible running condition. When you’re in a position like that, you have to make some really tough decisions.

I wouldn’t invite him for dinner…

JB: You have standards.

SM: Yeah. But he’s got a job to do, and it’s a big job. Filling Mayor Daley’s shoes wasn’t an easy thing to do, and Mayor Daley made a bunch of mistakes.

It’s a tough job, running Chicago. It’s not an easy city.

JB: Fair enough. But this is not a podcast, so only I get to hear the purity of your Chicago accent.

SM: (laughing)

JB: That’s why we had to start with Chicago. But since we did, maybe we can pivot to photography. We’ll start at the beginning. How did you get into photography? Where did the bug come from?

SM: When I was about 16 years old, I picked up a copy of “American Photography” for the first time. I’m sure there was something very interesting on the cover, that made me pick up the issue, and I ran across two portraits by Irving Penn. I didn’t know who he was.

I saw a portrait of Picasso, and the French theater actress Celeste. Those two portraits changed my life. They were bold, gutsy, and very dramatic. There was a rawness to them.

I hadn’t heard of any of those three people, but two days later, I knew everything about all three of them, because the photographs were so powerful, they made me want to know more. That’s what a powerful portrait does: it stops you, it begs for you to ask questions, and you go research and you figure it out.

JB: After those few days, you thought, “This is what I want to do with my life?”

SM: No, it was after I saw those two portraits. I knew, sitting there on my bed. I didn’t have to do the research.

JB: OK.

SM: I already knew.

JB: That was that.

SM: I knew that I wanted to create great, great portraits. I wanted to photograph and document people: to surround my life with people who were important, and had something to offer to the world.

With that said, some of my greatest portraits have been of people that are normal. People outside of my studio door that are so interesting, I need to put them in front of my camera.

JB: One minute, your life was on one trajectory, then you see a couple of photographs, and it changes the course of your life.

SM: I came from a small immigrant family. My mother came over on the boat. I was raised by a single mom from Italy, and she had very little education, so education was not on the top of our list.

We were what most people would consider poor back then. So there wasn’t that big push for a college education, and there was no culture in our home. So it was a huge fluke that I would become this internationally world-renowned photographer.

It wasn’t in the cards. We didn’t have the money to send me to the big photography schools, so I had to become self-taught. It’s kind of miraculous that I am where I am, coming where I came from.

I think that when one has something that moves them, that moves their heart, and they become passionate, you can do anything. I was ready to do whatever it would take to become a great photographer.

JB: So what did you do? I imagine the first move would be to get your hands on a camera.

SM: Yeah. It was a few months later that I bought a used Nikon F film camera, and I took a course in high school. Learning the basics. I had no idea what composition meant. Decisive moment. Contrast. It was all so foreign to me.

I learned from the bottom. But I started to collect photography books at 16, and today, I have close to 800. It was those books
that have become my education. The pictures became ingrained in my head.

I did a couple of semesters at a community college, and then got a job with a photographer, when I was 18. I worked for other photographers for about 5 years, and then I opened my own studio. That’s where it all began.

I started with small accounts of mostly catalogue work. 90% of it was product related. But I was taking pictures, and making money. I gave up a lot to become what I’ve become, because it’s not an 8-hour-a-day job.

It’s every single minute of your life, if you want to become great. I can’t tell you how many dates, how many concerts, dinners, events, happenings that I couldn’t make because I was working.

My work always came first. Besides my family, my work always came first.

JB: It takes a lot to push to the top. The athletes we talked about at the beginning are no different. That’s how you got here. But what about now? Where do you turn for inspiration?

SM: My inspiration still comes from books, magazines, poems, theater, music. Children’s drawings. It comes from everything in the world, because I walk with my eyes wide open. I look, and I take in everything: the way people wear their clothes, or their hair.

My mind is like a train, and there are so many projects that I’m working on, or are going to work on. It’s almost a slight, slight illness. It’s an addiction. I’m grateful for it, because it makes me who I am today.

If I wanted, there would be no stopping me until I was dead. But I have other things I’d like to do in my life, so I don’t know that photography will carry through to the end. I’m sure it will in some aspect, but there are other things I’d like to do with my life.

JB: Like what?

SM: Well, I would absolutely love to paint, and this is going to sound strange in an interview like this, but I love to golf. Writing poetry, and creating artwork is going to become important for me. Something creative will always be close to me, and I’m sure photography will always be the nucleus.

JB: How does one come to have a muse like John Malkovich?

SM: I started shooting John about 17 years ago, when he was an ensemble member at the great Steppenwolf Theater. I got a call to photograph the ensemble team to start working on their ad campaigns, playbills and marquees, and I’m still working with them today.

Along with John, they had Joan Allen, John Mahoney, Gary Sinise, and Martha Plimpton. The list just goes on. They’ve all been in big films.

JB: Sure.

SM: It was probably the greatest ensemble of any theater company in the world. The first time I got the call about John, I just couldn’t believe it. I’d always wanted to photograph Malkovich.

I was really prepared for John, because I always do my homework. I set up the shots, and everything was perfected. And no matter who you are, I treat everyone the same, and that’s with a tremendous amount of respect.

John came in, and I was who I am. Just very respectful. We chatted for a half an hour, and then went into our photo session. He loved the way I worked and presented myself. He understood that I really got the light.

He loved what we did together, as they were extremely powerful black and white shots. We walked out of there with a deep mutual respect. Over the years, John spent a lot of time in Chicago, and when he’d come in, we’d get together for another photo session.

He became my white piece of canvas. He became my muse.

JB: That’s crazy.

SM: Over the 17 years, John has never once said “No, I don’t like that idea, Sandro. I don’t want to participate.” Never once. He has gone with whatever I’ve asked him to do, sometimes with very little explanation of what I was thinking about. He’d sit down, listen to the idea, and then say “OK, let’s do it.”

All together, we’ve produced about 110 portraits, and had a grand time doing it.

The latest idea was my homage to the master photographers, called “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to the Masters.” What happened was, about 3.5 years ago, I came down with a Stage 4 cancer. It was very much on the edge whether I was going to make it or not.

JB: Oh my god. I had no idea.

SM: I had a lot of time to think about my career, my past and my future. There was a point where I began to think, why did I make it to where I’m at today? Where did it come from? Was it one certain person? It came to me that it was the great photographers of the past, the iconic images from the masters that would make my knees buckle.

That’s why I am who I am. I wanted to be great enough to make images that did the same things to other people what these images are doing to me.

So I picked the 40 images that moved me more than anything in the world, and I went to Malkovich with a selection of those. I got on an airplane, went to the South of France, where John lives, and he loved the idea. I could see his head was turning, because this was perfect. He’s a theater guy. He becomes other people all the time.

This was going to be his greatest challenge. Becoming Marilyn Monroe. Dorothea Lange’s migrant mother. Bette Davis. Alfred Hitchcock. Warhol. Capote. Hemingway.

The idea is very powerful. And we both knew that we had to do this to perfection. Because, done incorrectly, it could have become a laughingstock. We both knew it.

JB: It’s interesting, because you’re talking about it in an earnest, straightforward, serious way…

SM: Yeah.

JB: …but the photographs themselves are almost the height of absurdity, because you played it so straight. Many of them are hilarious in their shockingness.

SM: Yes.

JB: But you’re not talking about this project as having had that kind of motivation?

SM: It was never to be a humorous project.

JB: It was NOT?

SM: No.

JB: You don’t see the humor in it?

SM: Yeah. How can you not, in seeing John Malkovich play Marilyn Monroe? I get that.

JB: OK.

SM: And I don’t mind that it brings a smile to your face, or a giggle to your heart. But it wasn’t meant for people to bust out laughing. It wasn’t a comedy.

It was a serious thank you. “You guys are the greatest photographers, my Joe Dimaggios, my Babe Ruths, and thank you for what you did. I wish I could have done what you guys have done. Thank you.”

It had to be done with such seriousness, every single detail had to be perfect.

JB: Right.

SM: Otherwise, it wasn’t going to work.

JB: Sure. I just went back and re-watched the scene on Youtube, just to remind myself, but the title of the project, “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich” comes from the Spike Jonze movie “Being John Malkovich.” The scene where he gets inside his own head, because other people have been getting inside his head. Just a classic.

SM: I thought very little about that film when I did this project with John. For me, it was so natural to use John. There was never a doubt about who I’d work with.

I love the film. Don’t get me wrong.

JB: Such a good movie.

SM: That film never crossed my mind. It wasn’t about the film. It was nothing more than to say thank you to the masters.

JB: But the success comes back to your muse relationship. People love this stuff.

SM: There’s no question the stars have aligned perfectly. The fact that I met him 17 years ago. The fact that it was John Malkovich, and not Sean Penn.

JB: (laughing)

SM: Other than John, I think Sean Penn could have pulled it off.

JB: That’s hilarious. Can you imagine Sean Penn as the Arbus twins? That’s awesome.

SM: (laughing) It’s impossible. But all the stars aligned. I can’t overlook John’s generosity of the time and the willingness to do this project.

When I look back on the time, the effort, the research. The perfection I had asked from every single person. The cost of recreating it. And while I was getting sicker than a dog, while we were shooting it. I had put every ounce of energy, everything that Sandro had left in him went into that project.

At first, people said, “Ah, you did it all on the computer.” No it wasn’t done on the computer. That’s the ignorance of so many of the younger photographers. They think everything’s done on the computer.

Well, I’m old school. We do it the right way. In camera.

JB: You’re not just old school. You’re old school, and you’re from Chicago.

SM: You got it. (laughing) You got it.

JB: I’ve never done an interview with someone who mentioned in passing that they had been that ill with cancer. Are you OK?

SM: Yeah. I’m fine now. I had a Stage 4 neck and throat cancer. I was never a smoker. Never a big drinker. It’s just so odd that some of the healthiest people get sick. Cancer doesn’t discriminate. You have that cell or that gene in your body, and it finds some place to land, and does its damage.

It was tough. It was a really hard-core part of my life, and thank god my wife is very, very strong, and willing to do whatever it took to nurture me, and make sure I ate. What happens with neck and throat cancer is you just stop eating, because of the pain.

It’s one of those cancers that a lot of people don’t make it through. But I was very fortunate. I wasn’t ready. I gave everything. I never thought for a minute that I was going to die. It never crossed my mind, because I didn’t believe it was my time.

But sometimes, reality, and what we believe are two different things.

It changed the way I thought about a lot of things in my life. How much I give to my work. At one time, it was what consumed me, but as I said, I always found time for my family.

JB: You’re in remission? You’re going to be all right?

SM: It’s been three years now that the cancer is gone. I believe they say remission is after five years, if it’s completely gone. I’m sure you don’t hear me back here, but I’m drinking tons of water. What happens is you lose all of your saliva glands, so you’re constantly dry. I have to drink a ton of water.

You lose your taste buds. I lost almost 100% of my hearing in my left ear, because of the radiation. You have to treat it very aggressively, because you don’t want it to spread. You want to get it that first time. If it recurs, your chances of making it through that are slim.

JB: Understood.

SM: I saw my mother go through cancer, and she did it with such grace. I tried to follow the way my mother was, and not make everything about me, and my illness, but to make it about good things in life.

It was the biggest challenge of my life. In the end, what came out of it was all worth it for me. How I see my life, my work, my family. How I love every minute that I have here.

You’re never sure that it’s gone forever. It’s always in the back of your mind. Little things that happen in your body, and I think, Uh oh, it’s back.

It changes your life.

JB: It certainly explains the desire to play golf. I’ll say that much.

SM: (laughing) You’re so right. That’s exactly why there’s this strong desire to play golf. The golf course is a beautiful place. It’s always on some pretty gorgeous property. Out in the woods.

JB: It’s quiet.

SM: Watching birds or squirrels. Watching the deer run across the course. There’s just something about it. It’s very spiritual.

I’ve always been a very spiritual man. But now it’s probably become much more important in life. To see the little things that are so beautiful.

JB: Have you ever been to Santa Fe?

SM: Years ago, I did a little trip out West, and I stopped into Santa Fe. I was really moved by the mountains. The color of the Earth, and how beautiful it was. In the back of my mind, I thought that I would partially move out that way some day.

I’m leaving this Wednesday to head out to Palm Springs, which I know is not REAL close to Santa Fe.

JB: What’s a thousand miles between friends. Right, Sandro?

SM: Exactly. My wife and I both ride motorcycles, so we’re looking for a place to do more riding. Play golf. Still do photography, but live in a part of the country where there’s a whole different type of spirituality.

JB: That’s why I brought it up. We’re famous for it.

SM: Yeah.

JB: This interview being sponsored by my friends at the Santa Fe Workshops. You’re going to be teaching a workshop there this summer?

SM: I am, and I’m very excited about it. It’s a lighting workshop. For 40 years, I’ve been working on lighting, and I think the Malkovich piece will show how I understand light, because I recreated the light of some 37 or 38 photographs.

Light is so important to creating an iconic image. I have so many different ways of lighting. If someone walks into my studio, I have an idea of how I want to light them, and in 10 minutes, it could change 180 degrees from how I end up lighting them.

So many people, when they look at their photographs, they don’t have any idea about lighting. So I’m hoping that I’m going to be able to take small, tight group and be very hands on with them, and share every bit of knowledge that I have about light.

We’ll bring it to another level.

JB: Most long-time photographers will say it takes a lifetime to understand light. The knowledge comes from experience, and comparison. And the light here in Northern New Mexico is pretty spectacular.

SM: Right.

JB: How does one go about imparting your experience to others? How do you condense things that took you years to learn into a workshop? What’s your strategy for that.

SM: I’ll be bringing in 400 of my images to share with them, and a lot of books from my collection. I think I need to introduce people to other types of lighting, and that will get their curiosities going.

Each day, we’ll be working with different models. I’m going to pull out my bag of tricks, and show people 10 or 20 different ways to light people. I’ll show them contemporary light, and classic light.

We’ll talk about why I choose to use certain lights at certain times. I’m going to bring in 40 years of knowledge and share it over a 5 day period. I’m sure the people will walk away with a tremendous amount of knowledge.

Even if they walk away with 2 or 3 really great ideas for them to like, that’s 10 years of my life that they’re going to walk away with.

JB: Are you planning on doing anything exterior?

SM: Absolutely. We’ll see if they’re ready to get up at 4am, or if they’re going to be shooting those portraits at 9 or 10 at night. We’ll see how passionate these guys are.

JB: (laughing)

SM: (laughing) I can go 14 hours a day if I have to.

JB: I’m glad we’re talking about this. You hear that, people? If you’re thinking about it, you better bring your A game.

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SFPW_APhotoEditor_Jan2015

This Week In Photography Books: Mike Slack

by Jonathan Blaustein

“Mad Men” ended this week.

Did you see it? Were you dissatisfied? Personally, I like to imagine Matthew Weiner’s recurring nightmares about “The Sopranos” last episode, and its less-than-stellar reception.

Can’t you see him tossing and turning in a king-sized bed, replete with high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets? Unconscious, with the Pacific Ocean shimmering out the window, he wonders how to live with himself if he fucks up the end of “Mad Men” the way David Chase faded to black.

He must have been a neurotic mess in the days/months/years leading up to Don Draper’s denouement. I’m certain of it. Because otherwise, he wouldn’t have over-thought things to the degree he did.

SPOILER ALERT

Ending the show with a meditating Jon Hamm’s beatific smile would have been just about perfect. The skeptical, stoic Don Draper, finally merging with the emo-boy Dick Whitman. The straight-laced beefcake, who looked Iconic in his 50’s hat, finally trusting in the Universe enough to go easy on himself.

To forgive.

That would have been a profound message about mankind’s ability to grow and change. (And woman-kind, of course.) But no. Matthew Weiner had to take it one step further, and ambiguously suggest that the momentary enlightenment was put directly in service of inventing that famous Coke commercial that we will all have stuck in our heads forEVER.

A classic bit of over-thinking, especially as he didn’t bother with the epilogue showing Don Draper’s triumphant return to pitch the idea. That would have made more sense, traditionally, than the half-done act of running the ad.

But then, most of us get in our own way, from time to time. We overcomplicate things. Normally, it’s better to keep it simple; to see your job as making the donuts, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. (What if we made the wheel square? Instead of round? We could build pyramids with this newfangled contraption.)

Today’s book does just that. (Keep it simple, that is.) Mike Slack’s “Shrubs of Death” had me at the title. I might have rushed past last week’s telling book cover, but this one grabbed me by my chakras and didn’t let go.

Shrubs of Death? How great is that?

And then, it delivered on its promise. We see a lot of shrubs. Each picture is cropped just right, to anthropomorphize a bit of shrubbery. (There’s a Monty Python joke in there somewhere. I’m sure of it.)

I giggled for the first few photos, and then started flipping more quickly. It was like a paper version of an animated gif. What would you call that? A flip-book? An analogue cartoon?

No matter. Halfway through, I thought to myself, “This is cute and witty, but honestly, Mike Slack could have shot this whole project in 25 minutes.”

I really thought that. I swear.

I even made puns in my mind about Mike being a Slacker, and making a book out of the experience just because he could. Then, the end notes claim that he did, in fact, shoot the entire group in one day. (The consistent light was a giveaway.) Apparently, he made the pictures at a cemetery in Indiana. (Hence the title.)

Let me be clear here. This is not a great book. And charging $32 for the thing requires some genuine hubris. But at least Mike Slack didn’t over-think anything.

He got a funny idea to shoot shrubs in a cemetery. Maybe he always thought it could be a book. And then he did it. The fact that I had it in my hands proves its existence.

Why am I highlighting it today, if I only like it ironically? Because art is in the making. We all have lots of ideas. But sometimes, it’s best to just get out there and make something. Anything.

The truth is harsh. No matter how smart you are, sometimes, you just need to photograph those shrubs… before you’re the one 6 feet under the ground.

Bottom Line: A funny little book that won’t change your life

To Purchase “Shrubs of Death” Visit Photo-Eye

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