The Daily Promo: Anthony Georgis

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Anthony Georgis

Who printed it?
The printing was done on a 24×36” engineering copy machine that is typically used for printing B+W graphics and construction plans. It’s not meant to print photographs, so the image quality is kind of crappy, but that’s part of the magic. Assembly of the finished piece is a pretty labor intensive process and all done by hand. The printer only does one sided prints on standard bond paper, so all the impressions need to be spray mounted together, then folded, hand sewn and trimmed to size. It’s a bit of a nightmare, but the result is this cool handmade thing that shows my work in a way that feels really authentic.

Who designed it?
I did the layout and mock-ups. My goal was to make something that looked like it was made at a Kinko’s Copies at 3am using a glue stick. I figured it was best to just make the images as big as possible and let them speak for themselves. To avoid folding the ‘zine for shipping, it goes into a huge 18×24” stay flat mailer with a Xerox print mounted on the outside of it that’s hand addressed in true DIY fashion using White Out.

Who edited the images?
I did the first edit, then enlisted the help of my friends and studio mates to help me get everything finalized.

How many did you make?
This piece is targeted to an extremely select group of clients that I really want to work with. I’ve made 5 so far and have 5 more in the works. The response so far has been amazing. I’ve been taking one to portfolio showings and it’s the first thing that everyone wants to look at.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send postcards 3-4 times per year and try to send special promos like this once a year.

The inspiration for this promo piece were the indie skate and music ‘zines that I grew up with. I wanted to make something with a youthful, fun vibe and the ‘zine format had been kicking around in my head for a while. I discovered that I could make giant prints using a black and white Xerox machine and scale everything up to poster size, so I figured I’d give it a try. When I shared the mock up with one of my art director friends, he flipped out and suggested I send it as a promo.

This Week In Photography Books: Alejandro Cartagena

by Jonathan Blaustein

I just watched a horse walk in circles. There were two gates, in front and behind, that marked his turf. Slowly went the horse. Slowly turned the rotor.

No one was there minding him, outside the barn. I happened by at the end of my run, and decided to play spectator for a moment. It seemed so obviously metaphorical. (And put there just for me.)

We believe ourselves so different, each from another, each race distinct. But the majority of people in the world will do these things, day in and out. Sleep. Eat. Wash. Work. Walk. Talk. Copulate. Procrastinate. Etc.

Our media, social and old fashioned, binds us together through an electronic web. It’s real enough, though we can’t see it. What have I learned from the great InterSphere?

Twitter is the news these days. And it’s also the reason I know that Donald Trump said some nasty stuff about Mexico. Or was it Mexicans? And what did he say exactly? Does it matter?

What I came away with was that racist, idiot Donald Trump offended an entire nation. Is that the gist? You can only glean so much from 140 characters at swipe speed.

Or what about “El Chapo” escaping a maximum security prison in Mexico? Did you hear about that one? Do you know who he is?

Was anyone surprised the most powerful cartel boss in Mexico got away from the authorities? If so, did they tweet their dismay? What might that have looked like?

“OMG. Can’t believe they let him get away again. #Corruption #Jailbreak #Oralé”

Personally, I would have said something like, “Of course he got away. If those monsters in New York State could figure it out, with nothing going for them outside of charm, paintings, and a large penis, then how could any prison hold a man with limitless money and power?”

Twitter didn’t exist when the Mexican Drug War started. We’re so self-involved here in the US that most people have forgotten about it entirely. After Enrique Peña Nieto went on his own charm offensive, after his election, the PR gurus pushed the story down below the fold. It was all about the Mexican economy. Let’s not rock the boat.

But now they have egg on their faces, or huevos, if you will, because this story perfectly fit the entrenched narrative that the inmates are running the country. If you can pay, you can play. (Insert further random cliché here.)

This is not a news site, and I’m not a proper journalist. But we do attempt to discuss big ideas, and pragmatically dispense advice about the way things are. As such, I interviewed Mexican photographer Alejandro Cartagena a few years ago, and he told what it was like living on the front lines of the Drug War, in Monterrey.

Alejandro is a friend, and a prolific artist, so I was not surprised when “Before the War” turned up in my mailbox the other day. Apparently, the pictures within were shot between 2005-7. (Hence the title.) So let’s take a look.

This is one of those publications that I pretty much had to review. Not because of my personal connection, but because it pushes the boundaries of what we’d call a book. The title is actually printed on the envelope, so even the packaging is a part of the production.

In that regard, it reminds me of something that TBW books might make. (As we learned from their publisher Paul Scheik, it’s the little details, done properly, that make all the difference.) It’s also note-worthy in that the pictures are really not that special, which is a subject we’ve highlighted of late as well.

Pull the tab to open the envelope, and you’re faced with some explanatory text. The war began in 2008. There are more than 80,000 deaths recorded since then. It has been a clusterfuck of tragic and enormous proportions.

Slide the plastic sleeve out of the envelope, and open that too, and there is a pile of smaller inserts, seemingly printed on newsprint. (Cheap to produce, and a built-in Marshall McLuhan reference to the old way news was disseminated, pre-Twitter.)

The first leaflet has text from a press conference in which President Felipe Calderon, who began the War, spoke directly to a heckler. There are pictures interspersed, and then stories. Poignant tales that make you feel something.

Kidnappings. Murder. Appropriation of property. All crimes that fester in the vacuum of Chaos.

There is a subsequent fold-out-poster with portraits, and text snippets that refer back to one of the previous stories. Then a faux-postcard. Then still more leaflets filled with the kind of empty, blurry photos, including soaring birds that make me think of vultures.

A few weeks ago, I critiqued another book for using the horror motif gratuitously. Here, it’s different. The pictures were made before-the-fact, but the production elements enable the pages to channel a certain type of emotional tenor, for a very particular reason. (You see people, you think ghosts.)

It’s almost Baroque, as the darkness that inspired the “book” drips back off the pages, taunting you to imagine what other people’s lives are like. Do you really want to know?

I’ll try to write something funny next week, as the last two reviews were a tad heavy. You know I like to keep the balance. But today, while it’s Summery, and hopefully you’re getting ready for a great weekend with your friends and family, maybe pour a little bit out for the homies now beyond.

Bottom Line: Innovative, experimental, and emotional “book” about the Mexican Drug War

To Purchase “Before The War” Visit:


















The Art of the Personal Project: Todd Selby

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects. A personal project is the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director/photo editor or graphic designer. This column features the personal projects of photographers who were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. Check out The Selby at

Today’s featured photographer is: Todd Selby




















How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been professionally shooting since 2001 but I have been taking photos my whole life.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I took a night class at SVA.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I’ve always been interested in people in their spaces and thought it would be nice to do my own thing and get it out there.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I did it for the purpose of posting it online so I would say it took me 3 days or so to get my first post up.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I shoot what I’m interested in, and hope other people are interested as well.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Its cool when commercial work can push you in new directions.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes I do a lot of Instagram and Facebook.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I think it’s done well online and has been picked up by the press too.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have published three books of my personal work (The Selby is in Your Place, Edible Selby and Fashionable Selby) and otherwise it’s mostly a digital affair.

Todd Selby is a photographer, director, author and illustrator. His project, The Selby, offers an insider’s view of creative individuals in their personal spaces with an artist’s eye for detail. The Selby began in June 2008 as a website where Todd posted photo shoots he did of his friends in their homes. Requests quickly began coming in daily from viewers all over the world who wanted their homes to be featured on the site.  The Selby’s website became so influential — with up to 100,000 unique visitors daily—that within months, top companies from around the world began asking to collaborate.

These projects have included ad campaigns and collaborations with Louis Vuitton, American Express, FENDI, Nike, Microsoft, Sony, Airbnb, Hennessy, Ikea, eBay, Heineken and a solo show and pop up shop at colette. Todd also has a monthly home column in The Observer Magazine, a monthly fashion column in Le Monde’s M Magazine and has frequently contributed to  Vogue, Architectural Digest France, Casa Brutus Japan and the New York Times T Magazine.

Todd’s first book, The Selby is In Your Place (April 2010) focuses on creative people such as authors, musicians, artists and designers in their homes and the second called Edible Selby (October 2012) focuses on the kitchens, gardens, homes and restaurants of the most dynamic figures in the culinary world. The third book in ‘The Selby’ series, Fashionable Selby, was published in March 2014 and explores the kaleidoscopic world of fashion, featuring profiles of today’s most interesting designers, stylists, haberdashers, models, shoemakers, and more.

Before working on this project full time Todd worked as a translator and Tijuana tour guide to the International Brotherhood of Machinists, a researcher into the California strawberry industry, a Costa Rican cartographer, a consultant on political corruption to a Mexican Senator, an art director at a venture capital firm, an exotic flower wholesaler, a Japanese clothing designer, and a vermicomposting entrepreneur. Todd currently lives in New York City. His pastimes include going to the airport, eating four square meals a day, breaking his computers, and working on his tan.

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 & Negotiating: Environmental Portraits for a Regional Insurer

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental portraits of two small business owners/customers
Licensing: Regional Advertising (Print and Web) and Collateral use of four images for three years from shoot date
Location: Subjects’ businesses
Shoot Days: Two
Photographer: Established environmental portrait photographer, based in the Mid-West
Agency: Mid-sized, based on the West Coast
Client: Regional healthcare insurer

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: We’ve noticed the trend toward campaigns that highlight small business owners and entrepreneurs as of late. It’s not a new concept by any means, it’s just that we’ve estimated a flurry of projects leaning in that direction recently. Most of these projects seem to be geared towards highlighting business owners who are reaping the benefit of some valuable service or product that helps them manage the daily challenges of running their own business—products and services like software, banking, staffing, logistics and, as in this case, healthcare insurance.

For this one, the photographer was contacted by a smaller West Coast agency to estimate a more conceptual, stylized version of the typical small business owner/customer testimonial campaign, although we’d still be working with real people in/around their own businesses. The client wanted to walk away with two images of each of the two business owners: one shot would be stylized, and the other would be more authentic. The stylized version would be used for a specific ad campaign, while the authentic version would be used within the client’s various collateral channels. Even so, the agency was unwilling to negotiate different usage parameters for the different versions because of the remote possibility that either version could end up serving needs on both fronts.

When assessing licensing value, we typically start by setting the value of the first image for the first year of licensing, based on our previous experience pricing comparable concepts/clients/usage. In this case, we set the value of the first year of use for the stylized, campaign image at $3000-$4000, and the first year of use for the authentic, collateral version at $1000-$2000, or $4000-$6000 combined. Based on one of our many rules of thumb (that increasing usage duration from one year to three years doubles the licensing value – presuming a slowly diminishing value to the client) the licensing fee for three years of use would fall in the $8,000-$12,000 range for the first subject’s imagery. We also recognize that in some instances the first iteration of a campaign can often stand alone, meaning that the second version/subject/etc. of the campaign will add value, but not as much value as the first. Usually, subject variations will be helpful and can extend the life and reach of the campaign, but is it unlikely to double the life/reach, so we will often assess these secondary versions at a lower value. In this case, because of the nature of the client, relatively low level of production required (on our part) and all of the above mentioned factors, we decided to price this on the lowest end of the value range, $16,000. After pricing out the rest of the production and weighing the overall effective fee (including travel, prep, processing and equipment) we decided to tweak the number down just a bit further to $15,000, which allowed us to bring the bottom line into the $35,000 range.

Client Provisions: We made sure to indicate that the client/agency/subject would provide all necessary locations, casting, subjects, catering, staging areas, wardrobe, props and necessary releases.

Travel Days: The way that the locations and travel itinerary worked out, the photographer would be able to comfortably travel in and tech/scout a given location/subject on the same day. This helped minimize travel fees and expenses for the production.

Digital Tech: $500 covered the tech’s day rate, and she was willing to travel for half-rate. There was a few hundred bucks in the equipment budget to cover a laptop rental as well.

Assistants: Since the photographer would be bringing his trusted digital tech (who also jumps in as a photo assistant when needed) along with him, he was comfortable with hiring local assistants in each of the two cities.

Preproduction Days: Although a producer is usually necessary for a shoot like this, the client and agency would be facilitating/providing the lion’s share of the production elements, so we were able to forgo the on-site producer. We did include two days of preproduction time to cover either a freelance producer or the photographer’s time to hire the local crew and make travel arrangements.

Equipment: The photographer routinely travels to shoot editorial location portraits and has a lean but comprehensive kit of gear he flies with. However, because we could conceivably rent that same gear in each of the locations, we estimated as if we were renting gear locally, which would technically save a day of rental costs. He felt that $2000 for local rentals in each location would cover all necessary camera, grip and lighting gear he would need.

Styling: For the stylized shots, the agency was considering props to help exaggerate the concept. Because the specifics were still being determined, and the incorporation of props was up in the air in general, we didn’t want to unnecessarily inflate the bottom line (particularly after we decided to tweak our fees to keep the bottom line around $35,000). We opted instead to mark the props and styling as TBD. As for HMU and Wardrobe, we would be working with local stylists to ensure a genuine look with the real customers. We usually like to include some shop time and wardrobe budget to cover our bases, but the client was adamant about using the subjects’ own clothes for authenticity and promised to adequately prepare them and communicate our needs and expectations.

Processing: This covered the photographer’s time, equipment and costs for the initial import, edit, batch color correction and upload of the images to an FTP for client review and selection/editing, along with the final processing and delivery for each of four client selects. Retouching would be billed separately as requested.

Travel Expenses: We used to determine suitable airfare and itinerary, lodging and car rental costs. We also included $60 per day per traveling crew member to cover meals and miscellaneous costs and added on $400 in buffer to help cover at least some of a big agency/client dinner and any other unforeseen expenses.

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: Triathlete: Matt Harbicht

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Triathlete Magazine

Art Director: Lisa Williams
Photo Editor: John David Becker
Graphic Designer: Olive Baker
Senior Editor/Writer: Jené Shaw
Photographer: Matt Harbicht

With such a big space and not much available light, what was your plan?
I knew we had enough lighting to really light up the corner with the track logo staring out.  We were shooting that setup with the idea that it would make a great double page opener if they ran the horizontal or a great vertical Table of Contents (which is where it ran).  The bulk of the spread was shot with the broadcast lights on during the track trials.  That gave us just enough light to shoot higher ISO handheld.  We also found a corner of the grandstands that would be tucked away from the rest of our shots where we could set up a small portrait studio for the rider profiles.

Is B/W a departure for the magazine? It works great with training images since the equipment and the kits are riddled with logos. Did you plan on BW the entire time?
I can’t remember seeing a full B&W story in Triathlete before.  I know that magazine has run B&W shots in the past, but nothing like this.  I thought it would definitely be a departure for the magazine, but I also thought it would be great if they ran with it.  B&W wasn’t my plan going into it, but it was a solution to our first setup.  Our first shots took place in the motion capture room and would involve having the riders on the bike trainer in a fairly small space.  Taking the time to light those shots would’ve interfered with what they were doing and just gotten the day off to a rough start.  I converted some of the first few shots to B&W and showed our Senior Editor/Writer Jené Shaw who was on set with us that day and emailed our Art Director Lisa Williams (who was back in the office) samples throughout the day so we were all on the same page.
I know you were a runner and now you’re into cycling. Is that why you were awarded the job?
Not originally.  I got this particular job because I had shot for the magazine in the past and their staff photographer (John David Becker) got really sick the day before the shoot.  They contacted me to fill in, because they already had a relationship with me and I was located near where the job had to be shot.  So my interest in cycling didn’t land me this job specifically.
Are you finding that it’s important to actually understand the culture of a specific sport in order to land an assignment?
I don’t know if it’s necessary, but it can’t hurt your chances.  I was told that I got one of my first jobs with Competitor Group, Inc (Triathlete’s Publisher) because they wanted someone with an endurance sport background to be able to talk shop with the athletes.  In the years since that first job I’ve become much more interested in cycling and triathlon because of my involvement with the magazine.  I think my interest and understanding of cycling helped me make better images for sure!  If you’re excited about what you are shooting, it shows!  In my case it helped me land that initial job and I think it’s great way to keep up relationships with the publications, especially specific sports markets like triathlon or running.
What do you think your excitement for road riding brought to the table?
Just that, excitement.  I love cycling and although I haven’t started measuring my watts on rides like the pro riders we had in the feature, I’m just excited to mix two loves of mine ie: photography and cycling.  I had never been to a Velodrome track let alone shoot on one so I was excited from the get go to be shooting in such a great location.
How long did the shoot take?
We had about 30 minutes per rider while they were tracking the bikes on the trainer, and then about 90 minutes so per rider while they were on the track.  It was enough time to get the shots we needed of them riding, but a lot of the story was about the techs at ERO figuring out what they could do to make the riders faster and more efficient.  We had a small side setup tucked out of the way to shoot rider portraits, so we got each rider for a few minutes as they were leaving.  From load-in to tail-lights we shot from 8am to 3:30-4ish.  I’m incredibly happy with the amount and variety of content we got in under a 10-hour day!
How many laps did they do until you got the perfect shot?
They would run in 3-4 laps per adjustment they made to the bikes or their kit so I would get one shot per lap.  All in all, I think we got 10-15 “keepers” per rider on our lit up corner shot.  We lit it in such a way that I could shoot it wide in profile, or straight on with a longer lens.  In some instances, I even had enough time to switch positions during a lap.  That way the magazine had some variation on the shots.
Who had the highest numbers of watts for the lap?
Honestly, I was so focused on getting our shot list and avoiding getting run over (I was laying down on the track really close to the riders for some of these shots) that I never found out!  I do know that Eric Lagerstrom won the Escape from Alcatraz Tri a month or so after his ERO test and fitting!

The Daily Promo: Ed Sozinho

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Ed Sozinho

Who printed it?
I used Moo Printing for this promo piece.  There print quality and sizing were great.
Who designed it?
I have a background in design, so I was very comfortable with designing the piece.  The concept was to produce something that could be taken apart if someone wanted to pin an image to a board.  First and foremost the images had to be clear without distraction, all contact information is on the back of each print.  The clip board was the finishing touch to add protection and a second usable leave behind.
Who edited the piece?
I did the edit and then ran it by a couple of colleagues that I trust to see their reaction.  I found they all enjoyed the physical and tactile act of taking it apart and looking at the images.
How many did you make?
I ran less than 50 for this piece.  This was a very pointed piece to specific individuals.  It’s part of a rebranding and directional shift with my work.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send out email promos every month.  I believe it’s important to be front of mind with art directors and clients.  This is the first mailer I have sent out in a long time.  I feel like we are all getting burned out with everything insta- and a flash on the screen.  I found myself enjoying and studying images in print more than on the screen, that instinct told me it was time to try an old school approach.
Where did the clip board idea come from?
A good friend and I were having a bourbon as we do and talking about the piece.  He is a great builder and suggested we build something out of acrylic.  The very next day I went to Lost Luggage to get some supplies for my new printed portfolio, again old school, anyway I was waiting around and found these great pieces.  They are used for menus, I instantly recognized their double use as the promo piece and as a clip board.  It was important for me to make sure whatever I send out could be re-purposed.  The concept developed further with the mini photo of the clipboard with a note pad and asking to repurpose the board, I would hate to see those beautiful boards being wasted.
What’s the backstory to this idea?
I have been wanting to produce a personal series of images that I had running around in my head for a long time.  So I sat down with my sketch book and started getting them on paper.  I then used those sketches to start producing each shoot.  The concept of double lit images was integrated from the very beginning.  It was important for me to create texture and volume with the fill light and an authentic outdoor adventure with the since of place and gesture.  All the models were also wearing Patagonia clothes for a consistent thread of product placement.  These images are not what Patagonia would typically use, that wasn’t the point it was about creating a body of work that was personal in conception but commercial in application.  I created this lighting system using three Canon 600 speedlites with a big soft box mounted to a heavy steel arm.  It weights maybe 15 pounds and acts like a sail.  The first day of shooting with the fly fisherman we had 20 mph winds and my poor assistant almost went into the drink, I have since modified the design so it’s less like a sail.


This Week In Photography Books: Zun Lee

by Jonathan Blaustein

I just stormed into my bedroom in a huff. I didn’t exactly slam the door, but closed it demonstrably, and then turned the lock.
Obvious message: Do Not Disturb.

From whom was I fleeing? My beautiful family, of course. We’re well into Summer, by now, and the kids have been out of school for seven weeks. Which means we’ve all been together, seven days a week, since then.

(Primal scream!)

As I suspect you’ve surmised by now, I love my family more than anything. My two children, 7.5 and nearly 3, are fantastic human beings. Sugar and spice we call them. I could not love them more.

But everyone needs some space to think, much less write book reviews, and I’ve had little of either for quite some time now. It’s mostly a pleasure and a privilege, to spend so much quality time together, but there is an element of claustrophobia as well.

I’m a Jewish guy from a good background with a very solid education behind me. Despite the facial hair, and perhaps because of the lack of tattoos, I know I look the part of a doting middle-class father.

When people see me holding my daughter’s hand in the supermarket, they smile. When people see me cheering at my son’s soccer game, they nod in approval. When people see me walking down the street, alone, they don’t recoil in fear.

It’s a freedom that so many people in the United States lack. The ability to be out in public space, and not seem a Menace to Society. I don’t know what it is like to be African-American, or Latino, and I clearly never will.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not familiar with the impact of racism on the lives of men of color. Racism is an inescapable conversation in this nation at present, for good reason. #BlackLivesMatter

It’s quite the conundrum. The stories are everywhere, and impossible to avoid. And yet the experience of living in someone else’s skin- skin that doesn’t look the same color as mine- is something I will never know.

Thankfully, I just finished looking at Zun Lee’s book, “Father Figure,” recently published by Ceiba, and it’s been the catalyst of the musings above. Given how cleanly this production shows us something we haven’t really seen, I’m sure you’ll be interested in the photos below.

This is one of those books that seems to support all the advice I’ve tried to give out here of late. If you want to make something original, and perhaps important, you’ve got to start from your own lived experience. It has to be personal. And the more honest, the better.

Apparently, Zun Lee was raised in Germany, with an abusive father. He took comfort in the home of American GI’s stationed there, in particular with a changing roster of African-American families. They offered him the support and nurturing he lacked, and craved.

Fast forward many years, and Mr. Lee learned that his biological father was in fact an African-American, (who deserted his mother,) as opposed to the man who actually raised him. Quite the Mind-Fuck, I’m sure. It troubled him to feel like one more statistic with an absent Dad. One more piece of kindling on the conflagration of stereotype.

So he decided to use his photographic practice to learn more; to see for himself what “proper” loving African-American fathers looked like. To search out the type of environment he wished he’d had, and in the process, provide ample evidence that what we think we know is far from the complete story.

I like these pictures. They’re really well-made, but surprisingly, they didn’t touch my emotional core. My eyes never teared, and my breath never left my chest for long periods of time. I’m not sure why that is?

Could it be that I’m callous? Or that my lack of understanding for what these men’s lives are really like clouded my heartstrings? I don’t know, but I always like to check in and see what I’m feeling and why.

The book contains some excellent writing, in particular Mr. Lee’s opening essay, which overshadowed the brief piece by Teju Cole that preceded it. If you want to learn how to share your secrets with others, reading his story will give you a boost.

But there are also interview blurbs spread throughout, on pages opposite the photographs. Each was poignant, giving solid parenting advice that resonated deeply with my own acquired knowledge. It was Universal, I felt, and in a way undercut the notion that races are inherently and irrevocably different.

Even though we are, to a degree. I can wear a hoodie without being shot.

I’m not surprised these pictures are popular, nor that they’ve gotten support from major African-American photographers, and photojournalistic power-brokers. (Including my editors at the NYT, apparently.) This is the type of messaging that people are desperate to see, because it’s real, and it’s a giant, bony thumb in the eyes of the Fox News assholes who demonize men like this, 24/7.

This is an excellent book of solid photographs, showing us something we really ought to see. As such, I’m happy to highlight it, and would not be surprised if many of you wanted to buy it. The more people who see these pictures, the better.

To tie it back to this little run of reviews, in which I’m lecturing a tad more than normal, I’d also suggest that it’s an inspirational book. (Beyond the way you might think.) Most photographers don’t have the courage to use their art process to dig deep into their gaping wounds. It’s painful, and difficult.

But as the great Roger Ballen told my students this past Spring, the darkness is where the very best material resides.

Bottom Line: Excellent book examining the lives of loving, African-American fatherhood

To Purchase “Father Figure” Visit Photo-Eye



















The Art of the Personal Project: Trevor Reid

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 Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Trevor Reid











How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting for 5 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
It depends on what skills we are talking about. I had a great photo teacher in high school and then attended RIT, both of which provided a solid conceptual and technical foundation. My assisting experience in New York City really taught me everything from large-scale production and lighting to talent management. I picked up business, marketing and personal skills on my own and of course learned a lot shooting for myself. I also had the opportunity to shoot side by side with one of my mentors for a few years, he taught me more than words can describe. You never stop learning, and there is so much to be learned from different people at different times.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
This was the third time I went down to shoot spring training in Scottsdale, AZ and I had previously noticed that most players and clubs are very generous with their time and access. Along with the desire to shoot something unique, I wanted to give the players something tangible after they gave me their time or I stole a moment. Polaroid just popped into my head and I always wanted to shoot with an SX-70. Every time I photographed a player for this series, I would shoot two frames and give them one to keep.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Years?! Some things take time, others come together quickly. This one came together quickly. I was down in Scottsdale for three weeks and shot almost every day. By the end of the project I had around 350 Polaroids to myself for an edit. In today’s digital age, it seems like so few…but I think so much more when shooting film…and even more when shooting Polaroid. I have no doubt that I will continue to shoot Polaroid over the next several years and this project will continue to grow.

I have another personal project, USA Handmade that has been in the works for two and half years now. There’s a glimpse up online, and I’m excited for the project to continually evolve.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Honestly, I don’t really think about if its working on not. It’s a personal project, ultimately it needs to resonate with the person who created it, if it does, then it’s working.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
It feels great! When I do my personal work I’m not thinking about meeting my clients needs or looking to fill a gap in my book. I’m simply doing what I love to do in its purest form, taking pictures and trying to make beautiful images.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nope, I need to do a better job of getting it out there; it’s also impossible to know what will go viral when or where.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Frequently! It’s a great way to get unpublished work out there for the world to see.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have some special plans for printing this project, and USA Handmade.

Trevor received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where he focused primarily on advertising photography and production. Trevor has been working in New York City and Boston for several years where he has established relationships with HBO, ESPN The Magazine, Titleist Golf, Men’s Health, and Boston Magazine, amongst other editorial and advertising clients. His work can be seen in several publications and advertisements nationwide.

Artist Statement:
The Polaroid project is an ongoing personal project by photographer Trevor Reid conceptualized to give back to the people who help create the moments Trevor captures. Each time Trevor photographs a person with his Polaroid SX-70 he shoots two Polaroids and gives one away to his subject. “In some ways, I feel guilty about capturing moments and feel the need to immediately give back. This project provides a way for me to do that.”

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.

Alec Soth On Taking The Photos You Want Versus More Commercial Images

- - Working

There are photographers who can juggle these two impulses, but most fail. Better to either take the path of making money or making art. In my case, I didn’t plan on making a living with my art. I had a job at an art museum and figured that would be my future, but kept doing my art as a separate activity. I’m glad I kept it separate. Had I tried to become a commercial photographer, I couldn’t have kept my focus.

Source: I’m Alec Soth, Magnum photographer and founder of Little Brown Mushroom. Ask me anything! : photography

The Daily Edit – Tony Luong: Popular Mechanics

- - The Daily Edit

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Popular Mechanics

Director of Photography: Allyson Torrisi
Associate Photo Editor Devon Baverman
Photographer: Tony Luong

How often to you work for Popular Mechanics? Was this your first assignment for them?
This was my first assignment for Popular Mechanics, I have done another since then which is great. The whole way the shoot came about was quite crazy when I think about it. Allyson Torrisi called me the day of the shoot pretty much, asked if I was available and asked if I would be interested in shooting it. I immediately said yes as I had been eager to shoot for them. I was actually shooting another assignment when she got in touch with me so I immediately wrapped up that first shoot, went home only to pack another bag, upload my memory cards and book a hotel room since there was a driving ban in effect starting that evening. All of this happened in a matter of a few hours, I can’t thank Allyson enough for putting that trust into me arranging for all of that happen and shooting the assignment as it was my first time being thrown into that kind of situation.

Are driving bans common in Boston around that time of year? And is that a regular line item on your checklist: Can I drive?
Driving bans, absolutely. Especially when there are anticipated snow storms like the ones we had this year. Boston has such small and windy roads that it makes it almost impossible to plow and have things run smoothly at the same time. It really becomes a mess. Luckily though, the city makes good calls during those times as the whole place is running back to normal in a day or so after just getting 3 feet of snow. As for driving, no, not at all. I usually carry 3 or 4 bags when I go on a shoot so a car is good to have and we do have public transportation but fortunately, I only needed one bag for this assignment.

What are your best tips for shooting in freezing conditions?
Hand warmers for your batteries and snow pants paired with good boots. I was constantly in knee deep snow trying to keep up with Jim since he’s a pretty active weatherman. He would randomly turn around while he was on set and go jump in the snow, snow show and make snow angels, I would then follow – I couldn’t have done that if I wasn’t wearing snow pants and boots. I also brought multiples of gloves to swap out, when one pair got wet, I would let them dry in the news truck and rotate them throughout the day.

Was it hard to light Jim for the portrait and did you use any of their lighting  ( when he was broadcasting the news… )
At times it was but you make do with what you have and think on your feet about how to apply the supplied light to the picture you’re trying to make. This type of shoot lent itself to a faster paced type of shooting so I had a flash on a bracket the whole but I also utilized the lights the camera crews use which were great and a lot of fun as well. Since the shoot started at 3am, I got to see the light temperature change dramatically and was able to bounce off of that throughout the day. Other times, I would ask Jim to move in a different spot or shift him to the other side and so on and so forth. For the most part, he was in front of the TV-camera being lit by their lights or in the truck tweeting his heart out.

How did you protect your gear and try and keep your fingers warm? I’d imagine adjusting cameras is hard if you have gloves on.
The night prior after checking into the hotel, I went down to a store and bought a bunch of plastic bags and rubber bands. I kept those items in my jacket along with some gaffers tape and would cut holes in the bags and tape/use the rubber bands to make seals around specific parts of the camera. I don’t have one of those fancy camera covers so it was super lo-fi but it worked. The thing I realized also was that after a certain temperature, the snow would just bounce off the front of my lens, once it started warming up – that was when things started to get wet and cause problems. Fortunately, since the news casting truck was only a few yards from where Jim was reporting from, I was able to retreat and dry off, warm up, have a snack and put a new bag on the camera if I needed to. I also used those gloves with the detachable fingers, but again, I only had a few hours to really prepare so I took out all the winter gear I had and brought it with me.

Why was the call time 3 am? and was it clear you’d be shooting for 12 hrs?
Jim and his crew were traveling to boston the day that I got the call about the assignment and since the storm was scheduled to begin that following morning at around 2am, it was only obvious enough to begin then. When Allyson briefed me on the shoot, we both knew it would be best to begin shooting as early as possible to catch Jim in his prime. Since Jim is also notorious for jumping into the thick of when weather gets intense, he wanted to be the first one out reporting on the snow before anybody. That said, I knew I would be shooting for a good deal of time but I also wanted to spend that time with Jim since I had seen so many videos of him on Youtube. All that said, we ended up walking back to his hotel together, had a good lunch together and said our goodbyes as he went back up to his room to sleep and rest back up before his next segment. It was a fun way to see both sides of Jim and make pictures of it all at the same time.


Some additional images form the shoot

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The Daily Promo: Lori Eanes

- - Promos








Lori Eanes

Who printed it?
Overnight Prints

Who designed it?
I did.

Who edited the images?
I did with the help of a photographer friend, Pamela Gentile.

How many did you make?
I made 50 5.5 x 8.5 inch booklets for $95.69. The cover is card stock. The inside paper is a little thin–you can see through the pages a little. Next time I’ll order the higher quality paper.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Several times a year I send out 5 x 7 inch postcards, this is the first booklet I’ve ever made.

How did this series start?
This series started with my (somewhat disgusting) interest in flattened food containers that I would find on the street. I first photographed them as objects either on a light table or on black.  I realized I liked the x-ray quality of the light table best. Then I started trying to limit the series to fast food, food containers and plastic forks, knives and spoons.  I was really limited by what I could shoot because everything had to be translucent. I tried a lot of ideas but gradually realized the best ones weren’t too literal.

This Week In Photography Books: Stephen Shore

by Jonathan Blaustein

I just got home from a family vacation. In Colorado. So my brain is not working as well as it normally does. (Must. Activate. Remaining. Braincells.)

In fact, I just deleted several paragraphs, and jumped right back to this spot. I never do that. These columns normally flow like the water in the Rio Hondo, right after the snow pack begins to melt.

But not today.

Today, I want to talk about nostalgia. Or, more correctly, the way in which some temporal markers take on a power that is far greater than what they have earned. I’ve got a handy example, so you know exactly what I mean.

I was at Review Santa Fe a few weeks ago, as I’ve mentioned. The articles highlighting the work I saw will be coming out in the near future, but I wanted to share an unrelated anecdote. (What’s that you say? I’ve never met an “unrelated” anecdote? Point taken.)

One of the photographers at the event had a previous career as a TV journalist back in the 90’s. It’s not important whom I’m discussing, but let’s just say that the person held an outsized place in the culture at the time, despite never being a superstar.

During the weekend, I watched as one GenX photog after another seemed starstruck and smitten. Again, this is not Tom Cruise we’re talking about. But some things that are important to us, at critical times in our youth, never really lose their power. (That’s why the rest of us can’t really understand how much Baby Boomer guys love Mickey Mantle.)

Speaking for the 90’s, I think that “Seinfeld” was such a cultural touchstone. (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”) It’s freaking 2015, and it still seems like Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer are America’s weird, narcissistic best friends. Who would have thought a show about NOTHING could make such a lasting impression?

Sometimes, NOTHING is the best possible subject, because it allows an artist to super-impose his or her own vision, or range of emotions, directly onto a historical stage. Even time can feel more important, when it’s supporting a flimsy premise; when all that matters is the way color, light, and composition meld together into an enduring scenario that would otherwise escape notice.

Am I talking about anyone specific?
Stephen Shore. American master.

The last time I wrote about him, I mostly-trashed his book of photographs made in Israel. I pined for the less-complicated, almost breezily brilliant pictures made in his heyday. Back in the 70’s.

So that’s what we’ve got for today: Stephen Shore’s “Uncommon Places: The Complete Works,” recently released by Aperture. It simply doesn’t get any better than this, my faithful readers. No irony required. This shit is fantastic.

It took me a lot of brain power just to make it this far, so that means I’m going to wrap it up rather swiftly. I’ll shoot an extra few pictures so you can enjoy the ride a little longer, but for once, there’s not much I can say.

The pictures really are about “NOTHING,” in the sense that the collection merely records one man’s travels, and the things he saw, back in the 70’s. There were many images made in mid-1974, and my imagination ran wild, visualizing this guy, moseying around with a big camera, while I was drinking formula and spitting up on my Mom back in Jersey.

The truly iconic pictures, like “Holden Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, July 13, 1974” stand out, in that we’ve seen them before. They’re etched in our minds, like our grandmother’s face. But they fit into the continuum of Mr. Shore’s journey, and deliver about as much pleasure as the other plates. (Beyond giving a quick jolt of nostalgic thrill, reminding us of the phase when we first discovered them.)

The last two weeks, I’ve talked about developing your own voice. It is hard, I admit. Starting from your own passion and knowledge base is a good idea.

Another way to go about it is to obsess about your favorites. Look at their work until your eyes bleed. That way, the next time you’re looking through the viewfinder, you’ll recognize when you’re about to snap one of “their” pictures, and then slowly let your finger off the shutter.

Bottom Line: A classic, meant to be appreciated over time

To Purchase “Stephen Shore’s “Uncommon Places: The Complete Works” Visit Photo-Eye






















The Art of the Personal Project: Matthew Johnson

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 Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is:  Matthew Johnson, based in Austin, Texas.




















How long have you been shooting? 
This is just my second year shooting freelance editorial and commercial work, but for the past 15 years I’ve assisted and worked on and off as everything from a staff photographer for a Major League Baseball team to an aerial photographer for a marketing firm.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Mostly self-taught.  I have a magazine journalism degree from University of South Florida, but the program was writing based with just a handful of photojournalism classes available as electives.  They really resonated with me though, so I signed up for every one available.  This was in 2000, so I was spending time in both the darkroom and in the computer lab learning some early version of Photoshop, but everything was still totally film based. 
Once I had taken all the classes provided in my program, my professor was kind enough to help me out by first recommending me for an internship shooting for the university’s PR department and then connecting me with my first job out of college shooting for a Major League Baseball team.
After a season of shooting baseball I ended up putting photography on the back burner for about 5 years as I started a charter fishing business and was working full time as a fly fishing guide.  By the time I came back to photography, things had changed so much I felt like I was starting from scratch again, learning anything and everything I could from experimenting on my own, assisting, and reading everything from library books to blogs and forums.
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
This project came about when I was hired for a commercial job shooting a handful of resorts down on the Yucatan Peninsula for a startup travel agency.  Being down in the center of this world-class fishing area of the Yucatan was the perfect opportunity to work on this project with a subject I’m really passionate about.
Fly fishing has been a big part of my life since I was a kid growing up in Oregon spending all my free time camping and fishing.  Before moving to Austin and getting back into photography full time I lived down in Key West where I had gotten my Coast Guard Captain’s license and started a charter fly fishing business.  For 5 years I split my time between Key West and SW Alaska where I spent the summers working as a guide at a remote fly fishing lodge.  So fly fishing and outdoor culture have always been favorite subjects. 
I have such a romantic idea about the lifestyle of fly fishing so it was exciting to work on a project trying to capture that feeling.  It was really my dream project: spending time on the water with good people, meeting local guides and even setting down the camera long enough to catch a few fish myself.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it? 
This was shot on a single trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in about a week.  My projects are often something like this, where I shoot them relatively quickly while on a trip.  On the other end of the spectrum, though, I have some projects going that focus on annual events that I only get a chance to work on for a few days every 12 months.  Right now I have portrait projects focusing on fireworks stands owners and the youth culture at the Texas Relays track meet that both fall into this category.  I’ll keep working on these projects for at least another year since I’m really enjoying them, but I like sharing the work while it’s in progress.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I’m not someone that is shooting a new project every week so I’ve usually put quite a bit of thought into what is interesting to me about a project and how I’ll want to explore the subject before I’m actually shooting anything.  So if I get to the point of taking the first photo it means the subject intrigued me enough that I’m definitely getting something out of it.  In order for a project to turn into a long term effort there has to be some challenge or lingering questions that I couldn’t quickly or easily answer, but every project that I’ve ever started has ended up working for me on some level.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
When I first started showing my book around I didn’t have much personal work in there, but I would often pull out some loose prints from my own projects and I quickly realized that people really enjoyed seeing that work.  The personal work is bound to be more inspired and unique, and is the type of work that I want to get more of, so I realized that separating the two just didn’t make sense.  I will have commissioned jobs that I don’t use for my portfolio, but I don’t really ever have personal work that I wouldn’t want to share in my portfolio or on my blog.  

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I’m a big fan of Tumblr, and I’ll post photos on Instagram as well.  I deleted my Facebook account about two years ago and the decision still brings a smile to my face.  It was never a good fit for me, I just didn’t enjoy it.  I felt really uncomfortable every time I posted something, like I was just highlighting the cool things in my life, while on Tumblr and Instagram posts are just about my work.  It’s also really nice to be connecting with and following photographers, artists, editors, etc. rather than having an endless social media feed of weird updates from distant relatives or people from high school that I don’t really even know. 

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nothing too crazy, but I’m always surprised by which images on my blog are shared the most.  I recently posted a set of images from the boardwalk in Santa Cruz that were taken early in the morning with nobody around so the park has an eerie deserted feel to it, and even though I liked the images I was surprised by the response.  You never know what might hit a cord with people. 

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Definitely, I sent out around 200 postcards highlighting this project and have tried to send printed promos out with all the projects that I’m most excited about, since they show exactly the kind of work I’m wanting to get commissions for.

Artist Statement:  Fly fishing is often romanticized as a quiet, meditative art practiced standing thigh deep in a mountain stream, but serious anglers have progressed the sport beyond rivers and lakes to the saltwater flats of tropical destinations around the world.  Combining the skills of fly fishing and hunting, anglers stalk the shallow waters looking for difficult to spot game fish like bonefish, permit and tarpon that can be individually targeted, often in water that is only a foot or two deep. 
This exciting form of fly fishing has it’s own culture and romanticism: early mornings at the boat dock as the sun rises, the smell of sunscreen and saltwater, gorgeous expanses of tropical water all to yourself, powerful fish jumping into the harsh equatorial sunlight breaking tackle, and the cold beer that invariably waits at the end of the day with labels from places like Mexico or the Bahamas.  This work attempts to capture that excitement and anticipation of the next trip to one of these tropical paradises to chase fish with a fly rod.


Matthew Johnson is an editorial and commercial photographer based out of Austin, Texas.  Before landing in Austin he grew up Oregon, and spent time in the Florida Keys, SW Alaska and Jackson Hole, Wyoming working as a fly fishing guide.  Prior to his obsessions with photography and fly fishing he spent all his time running, competing as a distance runner in multiple NCAA championships while at USF.   You can see his work at

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Daily Edit – Ben Miller: Edward Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

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Photographer:Ben Miller

What niche do you see this publication fulfilling?
I had been toying with the idea of this magazine for a couple of years, and when my daughter was born last year, I knew I finally had to do something. Its really concerning that we put unrealistic beauty expectations on our young women through ridiculous levels of retouching and body warping, so I wanted to start a fashion magazine to help change that. EDWARD features all natural, un-retouched models in raw, beautiful editorials. It highlights amazing styles and gives our daughters something to aspire to that is actually obtainable.

All black and white and no retouching? tell us about that– what type of photographic statement are you trying to make.
The aesthetic is all centered around creating a publication that is true and aspirational. Simplicity. Something that blurs the line between art and commerce. Retouching has gotten so out of control that models in fashion magazines barely resemble people. Just google “liquify in photoshop”, and you can see what I mean. This publication will be the opposite of mainstream fashion magazines in every way. We plan to have advertising, but only as native, sponsored stories, so as not to detract from the overall feel of the piece.

How much harder are the photos to take now that you’re not retouching?
Its really not difficult to make a beautiful woman in stylish clothes look amazing on film. Choice of lighting, posing, hair, makeup, and clothing make all the difference. We didn’t have these photoshop tools decades ago, and our idea of realistic body image was much more realistic and healthy. Our contributors see it as a challenge, and I agree. If you cannot make beautiful art without creating it all in the computer, you are not a true artist in my mind.

So you retouching NONE of the images, correct?  
Correct. Only basic light adjustments like brightness and contrast are allowed. No skin retouching, cloning, or body warping of any kind are allowed.

How does the casting go down?
Casting is a collaborative process with our artists. The photographers produce the shoots, and we simply ask for sign-off on the major players before the shoot date arrives. We hate to intervene in the creative process, so we rarely change anything, unless it is something that really needs remedying.

Are you shooting the bulk of the images?
I plan to shoot one editorial per issue. We have dozens of photographers from around the world, along with amazing stylists, models, and other crew who are all contributing their time to this project.

What’s the business idea behind this and are you seeking any funding?
We are actively seeking investors and subscribers. We know this project can be very viable as an art book style quarterly or monthly publication. In addition to the publication itself, we are working on other products such as art prints that can help better compensate the artists we work with in the longer term.

What was the catalyst for this idea? I know you recently had a daughter, are you trying to send out the right messages to men and women?

Yes I have been disgusted with the state of retouching in commercial photography for a while now. Having a daughter last year finally made me want to do something about it. We need to be creating a world where people are happy about themselves and their bodies. And while I do think it is important to eat well, exercise, pay attention to ones appearance, it is impossible for people to live up to models that have been warped and manipulated into something unobtainable. Women in American culture unfortunately have more unrealistic expectations to live up to, so that is why EDWARD focuses on them.

Do you think as society ( most female beauty images )  we are prone to not believe photography any longer? Are you trying to give us hope?
I think that most intelligent people are well aware that mainstream imagery in magazines is far from truthful. But even if people know that intellectually, it is easy to forget when looking at an individual image. I am not trying to give anyone hope, I am simply trying to steer the industry in a more truthful direction.

How much longer does it take to finding the correct angles to mitigate the need for retouching?
A good photographer should be finding those angles already, so for me it was not much of an adaptation. I think the lighting, and paying close attention to hair and makeup is the most important part. Softer, moodier lighting tends to be come conducive to creating the right mood for EDWARD.

Why did you call it Edward?
EDWARD is my middle name. For me, it brings up the image of a proper British gentleman, reliant on logic and truth. He appreciates the finer things in life, and values honesty and character above all else. He loves women, and more importantly, respects them.

What’s the best way for people to reach out to you?
They should email us at

The Daily Promo: Joshua Scott

- - The Daily Promo

Screen Wipes Promo 3

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Screen Wipes Promo 2


Joshua Scott

Who printed it?

The card was from Modern Postcard, and the screen wipes are from

Who designed it?

Yee Wong at 52kilo,

Who edited the images? Did it come with images?

I edited the images myself along with input from my agents Katie and Kristy at K2 Creative Management,

The screen wipes did not come with images. I shot all images.

How many did you make?

About 250. I think that was the minimum order allowed for the screen wipes.

How many times a year do you send out promos?

I try to send out physical promos about 4 times a year and intersperse an email promo between those mailings. So together I’m sending out about 8 pros a year. Depending on my available budget.

How did this idea develop?

This promo came out of my agent K2 Creative Management asking me to do a more involved unique physical promo piece. Before this I only ever send out postcards just because they are the most budget friendly. Sometimes the postage actually costs more than the printed card! Reluctantly I came up with a few ideas based on the end user receiving a product that they could actually use. That was important to me that the piece actually be a little useful.  Once we decided on what the physical item was going to be, the screen wipes, we came up with a few tag lines and I started to brainstorm image ideas that could relate to the product. This was the 1st time I actually shot images specifically for promo use. Before this I just used images I had shot for other jobs as just kind of an update of my work. I think actually shooting dedicated images for a promo concept really helped make this piece stand out and be a cohesive idea. Its good to have someone, my agent in this case,  pushing you to step it up.

Editor’s Note:
If you’d like to send promos for review I’d love to check them out:
21135 Colina Rd
Topagna CA

This Week In Photography Books: Yusuf Sevinçli

by Jonathan Blaustein

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, while I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. ”Tis some midnight visitor,’ I muttered, ‘rapping at my chamber door. Only this, and nothing more.'”

Edgar Allen Poe, “The Raven,” as I remember it from 7th grade

You never know what will stick in your head. Some things stick that we’d rather not, like an image of James Foley getting his head hacked off. Other things hang around, and we savor them, like the aftertaste of some magical Ecuadoran chocolate.

In general, it’s good to be memorable, if you’re a photograph. It means there’s an element, embedded in your pixel or grain structure, that enables you to stand out from the literally endless crowd.

The numbers of pictures made each day, week, or year, are simply too large to process. They might as well be infinite, these jpegs, because I can’t imagine anything stemming the tide. Even in the end of the world, as imagined by Sci-Fi genius Neal Stephenson, the jpegs and .mov files withstand the apocalypse.

Given this reality, (tons of pictures, not the end of days,) it’s the job of a conscientious photographer to try to figure out the secret code to originality. It’s often said that developing a voice, or Point of View, can help differentiate oneself.

I’d say that’s true, but perhaps it’s easier said than done. In a world of 7 billion people, it can be a tad tricky to figure out what makes you different from everyone else. Even self-awareness is not the magic bullet it might have been back in the day, when the “Average American Male” was as cognizant of his emotions as a pile of railroad ties.

Then again, you, the audience, are not limited to America. That’s one of the very best things about the Internet. It brings us all together. British photographers know what’s on the wall in Los Angeles. Japanese book makers know what’s on the shelves in Roman stores.

It’s all out there.

Normally, we think this is a good thing, in that we keep abreast of our community. Sure. That’s true.

But it can also make it that much easier to ape someone’s style. To allow the creative creep to happen, in which you’re subtly absorbing information you might not even realize. Before you know it, you’re not exactly appropriating, but your pictures are less original than they might have otherwise been.

Which brings me back to “The Raven,” or at least, what I remember of its opening stanza. How do scary movies work? They use scary music, with lots of low-timbre, asynchronous drums, strings, and piano. The color palette revolves around some shade of Black.

The world that Edgar Allen Poe conjured, before cinema even existed, haunts us still. (Pun intended.) Scary movie tropes are there because they work. Lots of light, with shiny colors? Not scary. Skeletons emerging from black muck? Scary.

It’s the same thing with a certain style of photography. Black and White. Grainy. Low light. Blurry. Creepy. Discomfiting.

Having said those words, do any images come to mind? I bet they do. I reviewed Ken Schles’ book “Invisible City” a month or so ago, and it would fit the bill. But it was done back in the 80’s, and those pictures conjured a mood that by all accounts resonated with the New York City that actually existed.

“Good Dog,” a book in my photo-eye pile, by Yusuf Sevinçli, made in Istanbul, may represent that city just as well. I have no idea, as I’ve never been to Turkey. (Though I’ve heard it’s a lovely.)

The book, though, reminded me of so many others that I was not able to take it seriously. I apologize, as normally I lavish praise on the books I write about. This one certainly has redeeming qualities, and some of you may even want to buy it.
(I’m not suggesting it’s worthless.)

Rather, it’s devoid of creativity, despite its edginess. Last week, I deviated from my normal style, and wrote a critique directly to a young photographer. Having received a thank you note, I feel I hit the mark. And the comments were favorable too, though one person did suggest I was in attack mode because the pictures were so traditional.

Everyone knows I like edgy work, but what does that even mean? I’d suggest it refers to photographs that contain an element of tension and surprise. They throw the viewer off-guard, with unexpected choices. I enjoy sitting with such pictures.

“Good Dog,” therefore, does not match up with that description. The trope does, with it’s darkness, grain, big eyed kids, dangling Eggleston light bulb, flowers, panty-covered vagina, flies, dogs and birds. It’s supposed to be edgy. I get that.

But after seeing such things more times than I can count, I was bored of this book well before I finished. I even made a game of it, saying, “Wait for it. Wait for it.” until the boob shots showed up. They had to be there. It was inevitable.

Because Boobs Sell Books.℠

I’m sure Yusuf Sevinçli is a talented artist. He shows in galleries, and might well sell a lot of his work. I’m not suggesting he’s a hack. Surely, these are the types of photographs he enjoys making. (And with Ken Schles thanked in the end notes, he appears to have some well-placed supporters.)

However, I didn’t want you, the audience, to think I took a shot at Seth Hancock last week because of the style of work he likes to make. Rather, I sought a teachable moment, where I could speak to all the image-makers out there. In particular, because it’s a message I’ve heard directly from other colleagues at portfolio reviews.

Make the pictures you want to make. Do what gives you joy, or satisfaction, or scratches the incurable mental itches that cloud your sleep.

But when it comes to making a book, and putting things out there for the rest of us to see, don’t sell yourself short. There are many ways to tell the same stories. And tropes can even be broken. In fact, it’s the subtle tweaking of tradition that tends to create the deepest resonance.

Bottom Line: Weird, dark photos from Istanbul

To Purchase “Good Dog” Visit Photo-Eye

















Art Producers Speak: Eli Meir Kaplan

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email:

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Eli Meir Kaplan because we love his editorial style of shooting. And from a producers standpoint, he is so easy to work with, gets along great and totally connects with our art directors, clients love him, and he can make something out of nothing.

Curtis Pope, trumpeter for The Midnight Movers, photographed for my portrait series of DC soul musicians Soul51.

Curtis Pope, trumpeter for The Midnight Movers, photographed for my portrait series of DC soul musicians Soul51.

This was a composite I did inspired by a wooden sled I bought at an estate sale.

This was a composite I did inspired by a wooden sled I bought at an estate sale.

This was from a shoot from an internship for a small community newspaper several years ago. The local swim meets were pretty intense.

This was from a shoot from an internship for a small community newspaper several years ago. The local swim meets were pretty intense.

This was a nice, natural moment between mother and daughter I captured while on a shoot for Dwell.

This was a nice, natural moment between mother and daughter I captured while on a shoot for Dwell.

I built that airplane myself. It took me four days.

I built that airplane myself. It took me four days.

Miniature horses from a story about a miniature horse dentist for The Wall Street Journal.

Miniature horses from a story about a miniature horse dentist for The Wall Street Journal.

This high school football team went without a winning season for 10 years until their 9-2 season last year when I photographed this.

This high school football team went without a winning season for 10 years until their 9-2 season last year when I photographed this.

This ice cream shop didn't have a phone number so I just showed up and thankfully they let me photograph.

This ice cream shop didn’t have a phone number so I just showed up and thankfully they let me photograph.

I was in the Cub Scouts as a kid so it was fun to visit a Boy Scout camp to take some photos.

I was in the Cub Scouts as a kid so it was fun to visit a Boy Scout camp to take some photos.

Two great models to work with. One was in a Chapelle's Show sketch and the other was Tim McGraw's brother.

Two great models to work with. One was in a Chapelle’s Show sketch and the other was Tim McGraw’s brother.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been in business for six years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied photography at the International Center of Photography and the University of Texas at Austin. Of course I’ve grown a lot since then, but those courses and teachers like Donna DeCesare and Eli Reed helped me discover my vision and produce strong work.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I started out as a documentary photographer. I was blown away when I saw Bruce Davidson’s East 100th Street. Through different experiences in life I had been really drawn to meeting people who came from different backgrounds than myself. I was already interested in photography. When I stumbled on East 100th Street at The Strand in NYC, I was like “Wow, this is what I want to do.”

Then I took a documentary course with Andre Lambertson at the International Center of Photography and he gave me the courage to pursue this field.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I think one of the best motivators for me has been going to portfolio reviews and getting feedback that helps me further refine the focus of my work. From those reviews I’ve seen what people respond to and what they don’t.

I talk to people, I read, I keep a long list of projects that I’d like to do, I look at a lot of photography, go to museums, and I shoot as much as I can.

I’ve also found that some of my best shoots have been situations that I was fairly uncomfortable in.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
If that happens, it’s extremely rare. I really love to collaborate and create images that are my interpretation of what an art director, creative director, or photo editor has described. That being said, not all work ends up going in my portfolio.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I meet in person often, I send eblasts and printed mailers, enter contests, I’m on Behance, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, portals, Wonderful Machine, and in Workbook. I also work on larger personal projects that I often try to circulate on blogs.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
It doesn’t work. I’ve certainly tried it and haven’t been successful. That being said, as a communicator, I’m making an attempt to create work that connects with my audience.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, I do test shoots, photograph portraits and short projects, and I work on longer term projects. I’m currently photographing an ongoing portrait series of Washington, DC soul musicians, called Soul51.

How often are you shooting new work?
I shoot for myself as often as I can between client work. It usually ends up being a few times a month.

Eli Meir Kaplan is a commercial and editorial photographer in Washington, DC. He became interested in visual media when his parents brought home an early black and white video camera. Always passionate about storytelling and beautiful images, Eli found that his purpose as a photographer was to capture genuine and intimate moments from the human experience.
(202) 600-9372

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 founding 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 fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.