The Daily Promo – Allison Michael Orenstein

- - The Daily Promo

Allison Michael Orenstein

Who printed it?
Smartpress

Who designed it?
Weston Bingham, an amazing Creative Director I met while shooting multiple assignments for his visionary East Village Boys project. We also worked together for a Knoll campaign. I regularly consult with Nancy Jo Iacoi for image selection. Collaborating and bringing in experts in design and editing are important to my promo process.

Our inspiration for the volumes are catalogs from photography exhibitions.

Tell me about the images?
This second volume 02:Fame focuses on my celebrity work. The majority of photographs were shot for various editorial clients. The different volumes are to showcase my ability to capture real moments with any subject from performers to celebrities to real people.

How many did you make?
600

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the 2nd round of promos I’ve sent this year. The first volume 01:Mixtape launched in February. (And 03 is in the making!)

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes definitely. It’s important to promote from every angle. Printed work gives clients the tactile experience of holding a photograph in their hands, turning pages, seeing the images come alive in print. And it’s easy for them to pin up and remember me for the right project!

And…. from 01:Mixtape I signed with my agent Jennifer Hutz. We are launching early September jenniferhutz.com

This Week in Photography Books: Ron Koeberer

 

I almost cut off my thumb in 2001.

It’s true.

I was making dinner for my girlfriend, and almost sliced it off on the jagged-lid of a Muir Glen tomato can. (Sorry for putting that visual in your head.)

After the blood spurted on the wall, and after I called my landlord who told me to go to the hospital, and after I almost got driven across the city by a couple of drunk-guys, luckily, Jessie got home and drove me the half-mile to the closest ER.

It’s 2018 now, and I’m only just getting my range of motion back in my hand, after the surgery.

Most of us know it’s the difficult times in life that make us better and stronger. We grow though challenges, even though most people will go pretty far out of their way to take the easy route.

(Go with me here.)

I never, ever would have chosen to almost cut off my thumb. But doing so meant that I had to defer graduate school a year, and move to NYC in the summer of 2002. (Rather than July 2001, if you catch my drift. 9/11.)

Not only that, but Jessie told me she wasn’t ready to move in 2001, (even though she’d previously agreed to go if I got into art school,) so had I not sliced through my thumb-flesh, I would have been forced to choose between my education and my girlfriend. (Now wife.)

Instead, we both stayed on in San Francisco another year, and then went East to get bitch-slapped by Gotham City for three years. (Again, growth through difficulty.)

In retrospect, from the vantage point of a 44 year old with two kids and a mortgage, those years when Jessie and I were in our 20’s, carefree, partying late into the right, relaxing on beautiful beaches each weekend… it seems pretty quaint.

We used to drive around the Bay Area all the time, and one favorite spot in particular was Guerneville, on the Russian River.

Everyone has a favorite California spot, (or two, or three,) but Western Sonoma County was always high on my list. Green hills in winter, golden colored in summer, with the winding Russian River valley cut with vineyards.

I haven’t been there in ages, but I’m pretty sure it’s the kind of place that was a raging inferno this summer, due to wildfires.

Or was it last summer? Or next summer?

Dealing with mega-fires will obviously become the new normal out in the Golden State, but people will continue to move there because the economy offers opportunity, the nature and culture are world-class, and the weather is impossible to beat.

The California lifestyle is as good as it gets, (minus traffic and pollution,) if you can afford it.

Today’s book embodies that glossy, shiny California dream almost perfectly. And it allows me to get out of my comfort zone, (something I’m always preaching about,) by showing the kind of book I rarely review.

Almost always, I review fine art and documentary photography books by established publishers.

Almost always.

Sometimes, I review self-published publications that look like they were made by established publishers.

But rarely, almost never, do I review self-published photo books that look like something my uncle made to give to his stock-broker clients as a present at Christmas. (Sorry, Uncle Keith. Hate to through you under the bus.)

Rarely, but not never.

When we became a submission-based column a couple of years ago, I was essentially agreeing to look at what you send me, and write from this selection. (Of course PR agents do offer me books, and I can’t write about everything.)

But I felt it meant I needed to be willing to write about things that didn’t fit my normal set of expectations.

Like “View from a Bridge, photography by Ron Koeberer: The Russian River, Monte Rio, California, USA.”

Ron tucked a letter into the front cover, so I read it first, in lieu of any statement or foreword. Apparently, he’s a commercial photographer who shoots for film, tv and stock. The book is a collection of images from a personal project he does for fun.

The colors and flattening of the picture plane scream hyper-digital, and some of the crops made the photo professor in me want to stick cocktail toothpicks into my eye-sockets.

But I kept turning the pages.

I won’t keep you in suspense here, nor will I make poor Ron think that I’ve chosen to review his book only to be snarky and ironic.

I like this book.
It’s fun.

And that’s the one part of the art-making process that should be absolutely necessary, on some level at least, but that often gets lost in our sense of mission, or journalism, or commercial profiteering.

Making art, whether you’re cooking, knitting, drawing, taking pictures, making videos, or songs, should be an inherently creative, positive experience for the maker.

Hell, even people who dredge up their worst bits for their work still benefit, because we feel better once the basement is clean of those nasty cobwebs.

I wanted to show this book today because this column is a part of my art-making process. You guys know I’ll show up here each week, each year, and that I’m trying to stay sharp for you. (If this place gets boring, there won’t be a place.)

You dig?

So today, one week after I froze you out with some winter hunting, let’s use Ron Koeberer’s book inspire us all to get out there this month, while the weather is good EVERYWHERE, and enjoy ourselves.

Bottom Line: Cool, fun, personal project about the California good life

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We currently have a several month backlog, and are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers. 

The Art of the Personal Project: Mike Smolowe

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Mike Smolowe

My name is Mike Smolowe and I am a commercial lifestyle photographer in Los Angeles.  I have always been drawn to animals and even went to school to be a vet in a past life.  I am a people photographer by trade, but after having my eyes opened to the incredible number of dogs being euthanized in shelters daily, I knew I had to get out of my comfort zone and do what I could as a photographer to help.

A little over a year ago I began a project photographing homeless dogs in shelters and rescues agencies across Los Angeles and posting them on an Instagram account along with their name, breed, and personality traits( @rescuesoflosangeles).   Approximately 3,287 dogs are euthanized in the United States each day due to minimal space in shelters and a lack of outward-facing advocacy for adoptable pets to the public.  The goal of Rescues of Los Angeles is to get these unfortunate pups a better chance at being seen and adopted.

Sometimes it’s hard to see a dog’s true personality through the cage in a loud, scary shelter environment.  By photographing each adoptable dog intimately, I want to help give them a chance to show off who they really are.  A goofy smile, droopy ear or sparkle in the eye of a happy dog may not be so obvious behind the bars of a cage surrounded by other barking dogs. This project started as a way to help show off the good side of those without a voice of their own.  Working with local shelters, fosters, and advocates,  we photograph as many pooches as possible and hope to get the word(and photos) out there that shelter pets are just as loving, entertaining, and beautiful as animals from anywhere else.

Please follow us!

@rescuesoflosangeles

www.rescuesoflosangeles.com

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

 

The Daily Promo – KC McGinnis

- - The Daily Promo

KC McGinnis

Who printed it?
Smartpress, in Minneapolis.

Who designed it?
Peter Dennen helped me come up with the edit, and Kallen Hawkinson in Portland, Oregon designed the back.

Tell me about the images?
These images are from a range of editorial assignments and personal projects I shot over the last year or so. While I would like for my next promo to be based around a single shoot or story, for this one I wanted to put together something memorable with a consistent style. Spiderman came out of a Comic-Con shoot for a local paper, and the hairdryer guy is from a Christian metal festival I photographed last summer. The TV is from the waiting room of a tiny Carmelite monastery I was photographing here in Iowa, where I’m based.

How many did you make?
100. I sent about 75 to agencies and the rest to current and prospective assignment editors.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I’d like to be sending out three or four a year, in conjunction with an email newsletter.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I do, but I don’t expect any work to come my way just because I sent a promo. I think print, email, phone calls, and in-person networking are all part of the process.

The Daily Edit – Mother Jones: Zach Gross

- - The Daily Edit

Mother Jones

Creative Director: Carolyn Perot
Art Director: Adam Vieyra
Photo Editor: Mark Murrmann
Photographer:
Zach Gross

Did the magazine ask you for this treatment or did you put it forward as an idea?
I’ve been wanting to shoot more double exposures editorially and Mark suggested that could be a good way to go for these and he was supportive of me exploring that direction.

Is the overlay directly related to each person in the portrait?
Yes I used bills and paperwork as well as a photograph that the last subject took of the boarder wall between Mexico and the USA, she represented unocompanied minors in immigration cases in her previous job. Also she had napkin art she saved with beautiful messages from kids and families thanking her for helping them…I asked her to read them and she translated from Spanish, the messages were so beautiful and heart warming, there are hints of a message from one of the letters between the slats in the wall.

Where did that overlay content come from?
I talked to each subject on the phone before the shoots so I could hear their stories and experiences to get a clearer impression of how I would photographing them and to find out what the overlays might be. I asked them to send me some paper work and bills and I printed them out on plastic transparencies. I also asked them to set aside any other objects they have that was connected to their experiences.

How did you direct the subjects during the portrait sessions?
My approach really depends on the subject. I definitely have preconceived ideas and directions for the types of images that I’m looking for…but the subjects individuality play heavily on the final images. The way I shoot is a collaboration. I want to get to a place where they feel comfortable…and I want them to participate.

This Week in Photography Books: Clare Benson

 

Autumn comes early in the mountains.

It’s true.

The East Coast may be boiling under a late-August heat wave, but my next-door-neighbor’s trees are already turning yellow, and we had to add an extra blanket to the bed last night.

It always fucks with my head, realizing that late-August isn’t entirely summer around here.

But you get used to it.

One minute, you’re swimming in the Rio Grande river, sunning yourself on the rocky beach like an over-grown lizard, and then, just a few weeks later, you’re dreaming of ski season.

Sure, the knees will be another year older once you buckle up your boots, and the freezing cold might penetrate your bones a bit more each season, but that’s the way it works.

Fall follows summer, and winter comes next.

Unless and until the Earth’s weather patterns are well and truly screwed, (a likely future scenario, we’re told,) rural humans will follow the seasonal cycles, and repeat the habits they learned from their parents.

Out here in New Mexico, there are plenty of people who grew up hunting with their Dad, uncles and cousins. (Or maybe a Mom or an aunt?) It’s deeply engrained in the local Hispanic and Native American cultures, for sure, to the point that camo is an acceptable form of fashion in the local burrito joints around town.

Not surprisingly, there is not a massive overlap between the hunting/4-wheeling/fishing culture, and the more bougie, gringo pursuits like skiing, snowboarding, rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, etc.

Some, of course, but not much. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met someone from Taos who’s never skied before, but could chop down an Piñon tree and cut it up for firewood blindfolded.

(Not that I’d recommend anyone operate a chainsaw without looking. Very bad idea.)

This concept even made a recent New Yorker cover. (I only know because my son asked me to explain it.) As a first, I’ll photograph it so you can see what I mean.

As I told Theo, it’s all about the Two Americas, where people can worship the same mountains, and pledge allegiance to the same flag, but feel like their neighbors inhabit a different universe, if not a separate country.

As always, I’m on a rant for a reason, as I just put down the strange and cool “The Shepherd’s Daughter,” by Clare Benson, published last year by photolucida.

The Portland-based organization runs the photo world contest “Critical Mass,” (which I’m currently judging,) and its top prize is a published photo book. Ms. Benson won the 2015 competition, and the book turned up in the mail last year.

Because I was a judge, I was sent a copy of the book, so it ended up on my bookshelf, rather than in the submission pile. But as you know, I’m always looking for opportunities to highlight female photographers, so today, I pulled it down to take a look.

Ironically, Clare Benson seems to embody a hybrid of the exact dynamic I mentioned above. We met coincidentally in April, when she came to an artist talk I was giving in New York. It took place in a German beer hall in Queens, and she asked me all sorts of intelligent, very art-world questions about my work.

At some point, she mentioned that she’d studied photography at the prestigious program at University of Arizona, home to the Center for Creative Photography, and the Ansel Adams archive. So I took her for a city art person, out for a night of cheap German beer and good conversation. (The room was populated by Yalies and Columbia students/professors, so you can imagine the demographic I’m suggesting.)

Boy did I have Clare Benson wrong.

Or rather, like me, she seems to be an artist who can navigate the ivory towers and gritty streets, while still having a foot firmly planted in raw America.

To be clear, the most mountain-man thing I’ve ever done is chop off a deer’s paw, and I’ve never killed anything bigger than a mouse. (Though I have killed a lot of mice and flies.)

Clare Benson, so this book shows and tells us, comes from an actually hardcore family of hunters in Northern Michigan. If you’re not a fan of chopped up animal parts, you might not want to look at the images below.

The photographs appear to be staged, or created, rather than found, as Clare is featured in some of them, and there is a constructed vibe coming across. (The text confirms it.)

These are art photographs in documentary photography’s clothing.
(Is that too far a stretch for a pun?)

They’re cold, and structured. They feel like they’re real, in the sense that Clare’s connection to the land and culture comes through. But we also understand the function of the animals as still lives, almost: as talismanic markers of a world she knows, but doesn’t inhabit on a regular basis.

In the words of a (very) famous television show, (and a series of books that probably won’t be finished,) Winter is Coming.

I know it is.

There’s a chill in the air at daybreak, and according to my neighbor Morris Arellano, the elk have come down from the mountains already. (He told me this morning.)

Before you know it, the leaves will drop, the snow will arrive, and I’ll have a whole new host of problems to bitch to you about each week. (Freezing snot, clogged chimney, shoveling the driveway, etc.)

So for today, while some of you are still sweltering, I thought a cold, smart, original book was just what you needed. And if you want to eat some rabbit in Michigan this winter, now you know who to call.

Bottom Line: Spare, bleak, poetic book about winter hunting.

To purchase “The Shepherd’s Daughter” click here 

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Agnes Lopez

- - Working

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Agnes Lopez

Over the past year I worked with filmmaker Eric Torres, directing a documentary about Filipino food and the Filipino chefs in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville has the largest Filipino population in the Southeast, yet Filipino foods are generally absent from the area’s culinary scene.

As a food photographer and a second-generation Filipino-American, I want the next generations of Filipino-Americans — and all food lovers! — to see and taste the rich and delicious culinary culture of the Philippines.

Our documentary, #MORETHANLUMPIA: JAX Filipino Chefs, is in the final stages of filming and will premiere in October at a special screening at the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville, Florida.

There is a global Filipino Food Movement taking place right now, and believe it is time for the city of Jacksonville to join it. We want people to see that our food is more than just lumpia and pancit, and that serious Filipino culinary talent is already here in some of the most revered kitchens in the region.

The JAX Filipino Chefs documentary is part of a larger campaign to highlight the incredibly skilled and accomplished Filipino chefs of Northeast Florida who are looking to share flavors and dishes from their backgrounds and imaginations, inspired by their culture, through events, pop-up dinners, social media, and community outreach.

You can see the teaser trailer for the documentary and read about the chefs at jaxfilipinochefs.com and @jaxfilipinochefs on Instagram.

James Victorino, Executive Pastry Chef, One Ocean Resort

Jojo Hernandez, Executive Sous Chef, The Florida Yacht Club

Leni Rose Magsino, Pastry Chef, Valley Smoke Restaurant

Melanie Cuartelon, Sous Chef, Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa

Rick Laughlin, Chef de Cuisine, Salt at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Wesley Nogueira, Executive Chef, Khloe’s Kitchen

To see more of this project, click here.

To attend one of their events, click here

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

 

The Daily Promo – Keena

- - The Daily Promo

Keena

Who printed it?
AlphaGraphics in Golden, Colorado printed it. I had the hardest time finding a printer I could trust to get exactly what I was looking for. I’m slightly obsessed with getting the correct paper, the way the ink is absorbed, how the color reads and all of that, so finding a printer that really cared about the details was trickier than I’d thought. Also, the zine has a mix of color and black and white so it was important to find a printer that could keep their black and white images neutral, not skewed cyan or green. I’m glad I only had to go through the printer search once because it’s too much of a rollercoaster to get your hopes up to see your work printed like you imagined it and then have your heart broken over and over.

Who designed it?
I designed it myself. Art buyers get sooo many mailers these days, and they’re all SO good, so it’s definitely a challenge to stay out of the recycling bin, but I love it. It pretty much comes down to “What would I want to keep?”, so that’s what I strive to make. I just imagine a huge pile of mailers on someone’s desk and then figure out how to actually stand out from it. I do zines for all my promos and every one is different, but still the same size, so I dream about people keeping them all on a shelf somewhere. Design can also make or break the photos, so until I meet some rad designers I can trust, I’m still in charge of my own fate. I also love writing out words and drawing so these zines give me the chance to do some of that old-school hands-on work. I still spend hours with a pen and ink, writing words out over and over till they look just right.

Tell me about the images?
I had reached out to a stylist, Taura Deacon, when I was moving near her and we had really wanted to work together, but she was already in the process of moving away to Phoenix. So we stayed in touch and I ended up flying down to Arizona a few months later where her and her husband picked me up at the airport before midnight on Friday, we met for the first time, hung out, produced and shot all Saturday until midnight, and then I flew out at 5 am on Sunday morning. The whole idea behind this zine was exercising “teenage logic”. As a teenager, I remember so many ideas popping up into my head and then just rounding up my friends to go do them! Back then no one asked if it was a good idea, if it was cool, if it was safe, or if there were consequences, but we knew it would be FUN. I had put together a shot list and a location wish list and Taura street cast the people and found two dream locations- one for the day shots and a second with both a pool for skating AND a second pool for swimming for the night shots. The images are supposed to be very experiential feeling, like the viewer is at the party with their friends, not just watching it. Of course, it was a produced party, but I like to think that everyone partied as they normally would, and I was able to find the moments in there. The dirtbike shot has been a dream shot for a few years now so I’m beyond psyched to see it come to fruition. I also shot a lot of film and underwater housing for this, which is also a fun part of promos made from personal work. You get to bring out all the toys and be as creative as ever.

How many did you make?
This zine was a run of 350 total. A limited run of 200 to send out to specific people I’ve worked with or want to work with, and then I kept 150 for meetings and my library at the studio. They’ll all find a home eventually, but I believe in “less is more” for promos. I think each mailer should be intentional as to whose hands it ends up in.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
When work and life are in balance, I try to do two zines per year, but on busier years I’ll just do one because they definitely take a lot of time to plan, execute, design, print, and mail.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’m never positive on how effective they are, but I think that if I get one good job out of them, then at least I didn’t lose money on it. Plus art buyers get so many emails that I think printed pieces are something special if you put the time into them. Sometimes printed promos seem like screaming in the dark, but it seems common to go into meetings and have people tell me they still have my past zines, so that keeps me believing in them. These days it’s also important to show agencies that you’re creative beyond just using a camera, and printed promos are great for that because you have to inject some of your personality into it. I’m always super inspired when I see other photographer’s killer promos so I constantly feel the burn to try to make something rad as well.

All business numbers and returns aside, mailers are super important for me to get out for me to feel creatively balanced. I’ve always loved photo zines and photo books since I was a kid, so now I have the photos to really fill out a zine and the resources to get them printed exactly how I would want to, how could I not? We’re living in such a digital world now and I grew up on analog when everything was handmade and hand printed, so it’s healthy for my creative brain to get my photos off the screen and into someone’s hands. If the internet died tomorrow, I’d still have zines out there with my photos in them, and for some reason, that feels comforting. I always hope that the types of agencies and producers that I’d want to work with still appreciate the process and the tactile feel of getting a zine on their desk, the weight of the paper, and the story behind it. If I was only shooting for money and never for fun, I would definitely burn out on photography as a career. Seeing people’s reactions to the zine always makes it worth to me and having a promo with a good story behind it also sparks some awesome conversations when doing meetings! I’ve already got the next two zines in the design phase and I never want to be predictable as a photographer, so they’re all different subject matter, but shot and designed to have my look to them. It’s a never-ending cycle of dreaming and making but it keeps me so excited about shooting and creating that I would never stop doing promos.

The Daily Edit – Santa Barbara Magazine: Peter Amend

- - The Daily Edit

Santa Barbara Magazine

Creative Consultant: James Timmins
Photographer:
Peter Amend

Heidi: How many days was your road trip?  
Peter:We spent about three days together on the road – which gave us time to enjoy the trip and not feel rushed or stressed out when the weather or light wasn’t right. Also – because we had plenty of time, it felt more like a ‘trip’ than a ‘shoot’, which always translates to a more authentic story and experience. Eryns boyfriend Michael accompanied too – bringing some good vibes to the mix as well.

Did you have a shot list or was the shoot more organic? 
I try to avoid having a shot list, whenever possible. We certainly had a moodboard of themes and styles we were hoping for – but there were few ‘shots’ that had been pre produced. I like to think that my production style involves 50% preparation, and 50% magic. I don’t like to be so pigeonholed into a location or ‘shot list’, that you lose the ability to float on the freedom of inspiration.

Did you also drive in a vintage rig?
Firstly, the vans from Dustie Wagens are sweet – you can have your own Volkswagen experience by renting them locally in SB, without having to own and maintain one.  But my ‘home base’ on the road consists of a 2011 Toyota Tacoma, with a camper shell & rooftop tent. Because most of my work revolves around remote locations, it’s really important to me to have a reliable rig for transportation, gear storage, and sleeping quarters. I’ll always have a soft spot for vintage vans – my first two vehicles were VW’s – but as any owner knows, you’re gonna need a tow truck company on speed dial. And that’s not an idea I can comfortably rely on – especially when a job is on the line.  Thankfully, we had it available to yank the van once it stalled out and starter died on a three-point turn on a windy road.

How many hours per day did you spend with Eryn? 
Aside from sleeping, we were together the entire trip! It’s really important for me to work with subjects that are not only talented and photogenic – but also genuinely enjoyable humans. Much of what I love to photograph revolves around human interactions with nature – and it’s important for me to have a relational connection based on trust and friendship.

Did you and she discuss the plans for the day and they figure out the key shots? 
We had a rough idea of what the day looked like as far as locations, and potential shots – although some of my favorite images were when we pulled over on a side road after seeing a poppy-covered hillside, perfectly matching the color of the VW. These kind of things can’t be planned – so that flexibility is important.

Did you have shots figured out in your mind before you started? 
One of my favorites was Eryn carving on her skateboard in front of the VW van that turned out just like we had hoped. There were a few images I had in mind that didn’t make the spread – a portrait of Eryn on her longboard in front of a gloomy gray Santa Barbara fog bank, and another of Michael throwing up a ‘shaka’ from underwater. Sometimes you imagine a photo and it turns out just like you saw it in your imagination – those moments are what gives you a lot of satisfaction as a photographer – aligning the technical ability with the imaginative forecast and creative preparation.

Did you have an assistant or was it just you?
I find that having an assistant is a huge distraction – so nope, it was just me. As much as I’d love to have assistance with lighting scenarios, gear loadouts, or even someone to drive when I’m exhausted – I feel like having a small footprint translates well to the experience I try to provide the client.

This Week in Photography Books: Caleb Cain Marcus

 

I keep it real hear at APE.

Always have.

In a 7-year-weekly-column, (and 8 years of service overall,) you’re bound to repeat yourself now and again.

I know I have.

One story that maybe doesn’t come around often enough, though, is how I came by this philosophy of honesty. (By now, perhaps I’m equated with it.)

The truth is, it wasn’t my idea.

When Rob first hired me, in 2010, and then proposed sending me to NYC to cover the PDN Expo, he gave me one particular piece of advice.

“Be as honest as possible,” Rob said. “Sure, it will turn a few people off, and maybe you burn a bridge or two. But you’ll gain far more than you lose by being honest, and most people will really respect you for it.”

Despite the quotation marks above, I admit this is a paraphrase, but I have a good memory, and this was a seminal conversation in my life.

I’ve had more than a few people approach me over the years and say they felt like they knew me, because of the way I write this column. I take that as a compliment, and don’t intend to change any time soon.

So here’s the fresh news: I just finished a two week run in which I was working 12-18 hours a day on Antidote.

Every day.

I’ve worked non-stop, dating back to my workshop in LA last month. Basically, I’ve never been challenged as much professionally, and thankfully it all seems to have come off well. So after I write this column, (and do an interview for the NYT,) I’m calling it a day, and taking a long-deserved rest.

My major lifelines at the end of Antidote, when I was REALLY dragging, were my two buddies, Caleb Cain Marcus and Kyohei Abe, who were on the faculty for Session 2. Seriously, you couldn’t ask for better friends, (nor teachers,) as they inspired our students, and helped me figure out how to grow as a leader.

In addition, they each gave artist talks that entranced our students, as the through-lines between their evolution as artists were so clear to behold.

I met Caleb at FotoFest in Houston in 2016. In an otherwise unsuccessful venture back across the table as an artist, I made a truly great friend, and that is worth more than its weight in chicken feed. (Odd metaphor, right? I told you, I’m fried.)

I’d previously reviewed his brilliant book, “A Portrait of Ice,” but we’d never met or spoken. I can go back and date when I reviewed his next book, “Goddess”…

(Pause)

OK. I’m back.

I reviewed “Goddess” in December of 2015.

Basically, I reviewed this guy’s last two books before I ever knew him.

But now he’s one of my best friends in the world, and was instrumental in helping me build Antidote from nothing.

So as I begin this review, honest about my connection to Caleb Cain Marcus, you can decide whether I’m biased about the impending “A Brief Movement After Death.” (By Damiani Books)

Being honest, I’ll also share that I prompted him to write the excellent, brief, foreword, and I also edited its text.

Can I be objective?
Now that you know?

Well, I’ll photograph the entire book below, so you can decide for yourself.

Am I hooking up a friend?

Or writing a review of the perfect, slim, (and perfect-bound) little volume for a short review today?

The title, and “heavenly” cover, tip us off to the book’s meaning, but that aforementioned foreword gets right to the point. These skyscapes, in ethereal colors, contain little repeating specks that look like flocks of birds, but are in fact the renderings of a pendulum-like grease pencil, swinging above the surface of a print.

The pictures, together, are ruminations about what happens to our souls after we die, as the artist contemplates his demise as his young daughter grows before him.

The title and the text direct the read here. The colors and skies could imply different things, under another context, but we know where to go because we’ve been told.

As for those bird flocks, they could also represent groups of souls, or the disconnected embodiment of even one soul, floating up to heaven. (Or whatever you might call the after-life.)

The pictures move up the page, and jump from side to side, in an obviously constructed rhythm. The colors, cool blues and warm oranges and yellows, provide contrast right out of color theory.

Just as I thought to myself, “I think this is enough pictures,” the book ended. Literally, that was the last page. So just as last week’s review was an example of getting the picture volume right, so is this. (But in the opposite direction.)

Honestly, I don’t know where we go after we die, and neither does Caleb.

But I do know that books like this can make us think and feel at the same time. The question, the premise, gets inside our head immediately. (It sets the tone, as does the placid cover.)

And the color speaks on an emotional level.

I’ll leave you contemplating mortality, today, and hope you enjoy your summer holiday.

Bottom Line: Slim, sleek, beautiful, visual poetry

To Pre-Order “A Brief Movement After Death” click here

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Those who got noticed in the press

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Personal Projects that get noticed the press and in broadcast.  I often hear from photographers they done know what to shoot for a personal project.  I think you have to shoot from the heart and make it unique and special to you.  When I am looking for personal projects, I like to post ones that are a personal vision, something I have not seen before.  I am always thrilled when I see someone’s personal vision published in the press or broadcasted on television.  I remember when Grace Chon’s work was posted on a Today Show segment, Bob Carey’s lovely tutu project was on a national news segment, Jaime C. Moore was a feature on CBS Saturday morning or trending right now on Instagram @notengaged.  Some of these folks are professional photographers and several are not.  What they have in common is they created a project and put it out there and the internet Gods listened.

http://www.bobcarey.com/#/portfolio/portfolio/ballerina

https://www.gracechon.com/+projects/zoey-and-jasper/1

https://conornickerson.com/en/projects/childhood

https://www.instagram.com/notengaged

Rafael Mantesso & Jimmy Choo, the dog

Sioin Queenie Liaoand Queenie Liao and Wengenn in Wonderland

Jaime C. Moore  and her daughter as Influential Women through History

Marc Bushelle credits above for his project of his daughter dressed as History Makers  and more refined as  The Heroines Project

Theron Humphrey  This Wild Idea and featured in Time Magazine

 

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

 

The Daily Edit: Interview with Frank Ockenfels Part Two

- - The Daily Edit

Heidi: Have you ever been hired for strictly illustration?
Frank: No. I’ve been hired to journal and collage, but I’ve never been hired to draw or  illustrate something.

If you were offered an illustration project would you take it?
I don’t know. That’s a good question. I think I’d become Beckett at that point. I’d be Beckett and go like, “Eh, no, that’s not me.” Which is what he says.

Since I’m not a skilled illustrator, I’d probably overthink it. But at the same point I might actually embrace it and dive into it and see what’s there. My ability to shoot faces and form is pretty much “this is what it is.” I follow a lot of illustrators that I think are amazing, and I’m a huge Ralph Steadman fan.

Do you find collage or design easier?
Years ago, Drew Hodges, who used to have a company that did all of the Broadway advertising  hired me for the Diary of Anne Frank. He wanted the advertising to be a visual diary using pictures of Natalie Portman as Anne Frank. I laughed because at the time I was a 40-year-old man and he wanted me to design a page like a young teenage girl. My handwriting isn’t the same. There’s nothing even close, though I can put the pictures together.

We agreed on doing two rounds and at the end of two rounds if they didn’t get it then that’s the time for me to walk away. We went through two rounds and sure enough they kept on… the powers that be were all freaked out, didn’t know what to do with it. They ended up using it just in a different context.

I’d done a couple of journal pieces for magazines but I started putting a disclaimer saying, “If you ask me to do this and you want to use the piece you have to use it as a whole, you can’t crop it. You can’t cherry pick out of what I’ve done because, to me, when I do every single edge of the page it’s connected by what’s happening on the page. If you don’t have the whole thing it doesn’t make any sense

How did you establish your own voice while assisting?
I look at the people that I worked for, and consciously didn’t work for portrait photographers for that very reason. I worked for interior photographers.

When Beckett talks to you, do you feel like he’s asking you questions as his dad or he’s asking a photographer?
That’s a good question. I don’t know. He so rarely wants to talk about photography.

How do you answer them? That’s probably the better question. Do you answer like a dad or do you answer like a photographer?
I answer as a photographer. I’ve taught enough that when people ask me questions and I realize what they’re asking me I make sure that I’m answering them honestly.

And how much of yourself do you see in him as far as being an artist?
Well, I think it’s funny, at 18, which is where he is right now, he is definitely very similar who I was at 18

Who were you at 18?
I knew I could take pictures, I liked taking pictures, I wasn’t committed to it, I didn’t do it 24 hours a day.

I grew up in a household where we’d do summerstock every summer with my mom because it was all about theatre and I’d take pictures. That made sense to me. It was my one thing but didn’t ever see it as an actual thing I could do professionally. I didn’t understand that. So Beckett is surrounded by a mother being a painter and father being a photographer. He’s surrounded by that. He see’s it can be a profession, it’s a lifestyle one can have. They have a nice home. They’re able to feed us. We live a good life, considering. I see him being kind of a  bit irreverent to the process and not really a 100% committed, and a little scattered.

When did it become more focused for you?
I would say it happened when I was in my– I think in my end of my second year in college when we started taking studio classes. I started going in to make sure I could do the studio stuff.

The work on your site now is varied, is that a good approach?
My website is an example of both a good and a bad thing.

I often get notes from industry people and enthusiasts, “I just spent hours looking at your website. It was just so enjoyable.” It’s so all over the place that if someone in advertising is going to hire me, it’s a tremendously hard sell because somebody’s who is not creative and who’s not visual, looks at a site like this and says, “I don’t know what they do. They’re all over the place. What is their style? What are we going to get if we hire this person?”

Isn’t the work Carol curates for you on EyeForward much more of a narrowed edit?
Probably so but not because people like everything. If you look at my website, I give people options of what they want to look at and I try to gear that towards let’s dumb this down. But at the same point, I think it’s interesting to see who you have to go talk to about getting a job nowadays and I think it even goes to the point of photography.

Tell us how things have changed.
You look at photography now, and most photographers, which I kind of make a joke about. Jeff Dunas does this photographers breakfast once a year and it’s  about 25 of us. We get together and sit around this table having breakfast at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club and discuss life. We discuss what happened in the last year and we’ll tell stories to each other.  Everyone from Douglas Kirkland to Gerhard Ludwig attends, it’s a wide variety of photographers, Claxton and Marshall and Herman Leonard.

We sit around and talk as if we are all on the same page and one of the younger guys was talking about something and an older photographers looked at him and said, “Have you ever shot chrome?” and the kid looked at him, ” I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He goes, “Like chrome. Like fly zone.” He goes, “Oh, well no. I haven’t.” He says, “Try it. Go do that one time. Go see what it’s like “THAT will teach you how to be a photographer.”

Shooting chrome film makes you really have to focus while digital has made it so much easier to fix mistakes so quickly. You see immediately that you don’t have the right exposure. You see what’s working and what’s not working. Where when I was a kid I had to shoot chrome. We’d shoot a polaroid and if something changed in the middle of it all, well it is what it is, and you had to be within a half stop of a decent exposure or the whole thing would go south and you’d be overexposed, or the color temperature was wrong, or the light was going off too much, or a good blend of shadow wasn’t there. It’s very similar in the sense of the people you might work for nowadays. Their education might not be in the creative industry. There’s more of a business aspect of it.

Switching gears a bit, did you know that David Bowie wasn’t well?
No. No, I didn’t.

I worked with him kind of on and off over the years. We did 16 shoots with David over a nine-year period. And toward the end that time he said, “We must have done enough for a book.” I laughed and I said, “Well, I don’t know.” that’s when I put stuff together to show him.

He and I sat and looked at it once and then I didn’t see him for a bit. Later he had that episode which happened in Europe where he was sick — then from there, it got quiet. He said to me when I saw him last he wanted to do, we needed to do one more shoot.

I was going back and forth from New York and I really wanted David to sit down with me and discuss each shoot because that, to me, would be an interesting book. Why’d you pick this kid, me, to go to? To constantly call and say, “Hey, I need pictures for this and pictures for that.” He could’ve asked anybody. But he asked me and it’s always been so baffling. I never was able to ask him that question “What did you see? You’re David Bowie. You could’ve asked anybody in to basically take your money and take pictures.” In my understanding of our collaborations, I think he asked me because I never wasted his time. I always tried to do something different each time and he appreciated that.

I’m sure he probably just didn’t want anybody to see him that way. When you found out that he had passed away, how did you feel?
Well, it was weird because it was in the middle of the night in Los Angeles when they announced it. And my phone started beeping which was in the other room and it wouldn’t just stop beeping. What’s going on?” It was all these people calling me, asking me, “Did you know David died?” Then people asking for pictures of David, obviously. And I was just kind of stunned and I kind of got back into bed. And I kind of woke up Diane and I said, “David’s dead.” David died.

I laid there very quietly thinking about it. And I’m not being surprised. I don’t know why I wasn’t surprised and then oddly enough, two weeks later, I’m in London and there was 10 times more news than in the United States. It was all over the press. It was on every magazine cover magazine, every newspaper every day was– the conversation about David all over the television.

There’s an amazing exhibition, ‘David Bowie Is’, that’s been roaming around,  prior to his death even. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel walking through it now, you know?

The Daily Promo – Martin Westlake

- - The Daily Promo

Martin Westlake

Who printed it?
It was printed by Harapan Prima printers ( http://www.harapanprima.com/ ) here in Jakarta where I’m based. We did some test prints on a newsprint style paper but in the end, decided on a better quality 70 gsm Lux cream book paper.

Who designed it?
The promo was designed in Jakarta by artnivora (http://www.artnivora.net/ ). I’m friends with their owner/creative director, and have worked with them on commercial projects in the past and really like their different approach to design and their use of photography.

Tell me about the images?
The images are from 2 commercial shoots from 2015 and 2016 at Katamama, an all-suites boutique hotel located in Seminyak, South Bali. The photos were used by the client for their website and main marketing collateral. The 1st shoot was pre-opening and focussed on the building exteriors/architecture, pool, and some interiors. Once the hotel had opened we returned to complete a full shoot of all the room categories and any areas that had been missed previously. The creative team from the owning company gave me the freedom to shoot in my own style which was a refreshing change from the strict corporate guidelines that I’m used to on most hotel + resort shoots. I love the contemporary Indonesian architecture and interiors of this property, it was a dream shoot for me and is a perfect showcase for my hotel photography.

How many did you make?
The print run was 250 copies. The printer custom made 150 envelopes + packaging for mailing and the remaining 100 I have for leave-behinds.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I’ve been a bit remiss with promos in recent years. In the past, I would send out cards 2-3 times a year to editorial and hotel clients, locally and overseas. More recently I’ve only produced Christmas cards with a photo from the previous year’s best work, or with an image from my travel archive. I’m a huge fan of print and had been playing around for a while with ideas for a larger format ‘zine’ to promote my hotel photography. The plan now is to try to produce a similar type/sized promo annually.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
It’s difficult to tell the effectiveness of printed promos here in SE Asia as most of my commissions from Asian clients have been through ‘word of mouth’. I’m not sure too that nowadays print media is particularly appreciated here in Indonesia, I’ve been to many meetings and given out promo cards, which have then been returned to me. Having said that the feedback from this promo has been extremely positive particularly from architects and interior designers.

This Week in Photography Books: Max Sher

 

There’s a sameness in writing a weekly column.
Each week, another book.

Each week, another deadline.
And another.
And another.

It’s gone on like this for nearly 7 years, and you’d think I’d resent it.

The sameness.
The monotony.
The routine.

Lather.
Rinse.
Repeat.

Surprisingly, though, I don’t resent it at all.
I enjoy my routine immensely.

At the moment, in-between Antidote retreats, with a chicken and corn mole to make, and some bison bolognese to prep, I’m fully out of my daily grind, and out of my comfort zone.

As of next week, though, with the kids back in school and Antidote behind us, I’ll revel in the sameness of it all.

Get up.
Make the kids breakfast.
Get them off to school.
Go for a hike.
Do my work.
Pick the kids up from school.
Make dinner.
Watch tv.

And then do it again and again, until Xmas break.

There’s a beauty in this routine, in that it’s life. It’s what we do. It’s the structure through which we share moments and meals with our loved ones.

Everyday life may not be where we make our most vivid memories, but it’s the meat and potatoes of the days of our lives. (If that’s not the cheesiest sentence I’ve written in this column, maybe somebody can find a better example?)

The truth is, I’m punch drunk at the moment, which you can probably tell. My earlier paragraphs look like a succession of William Carlos Williams poems.

Or maybe ee cummings?

Regardless, even now, half-useless as I may be, there’s always a point.

(I’m keeping it short today, given my life constraints, and the likelihood you’re on vacation anyway.)

“Palimpsests” is a new book by Max Sher, published by Ad Marginem Press, that was sent all the way from Russia. I’m honored he made the effort, and am glad he did, because it’s a very cool book.

And perfect for today.

This group of cultural landscape images was made across the former Soviet Union. It appears to be, and the text and excellent end-graphic confirm, a categorical look across an unimaginably big space.

We Americans like to think about things in comparison to Texas, so let me Google something… just give me a second.

(Pause.)

Nope. I couldn’t directly find how many times Texas fits into the Soviet Union. Though this link from Texas Monthly comes close.

Regardless, my point was simply that the Soviet Union, which Vladimir Putin may be keen to fully rebuild, was FUCKING HUGE. It contained many cultures and sub-groups, yet when the country was built upon ideological, rather than cultural terms, it led to a uniformity of architecture and assembly of public space that is amazing to behold. (Amazingly boring, if you catch my drift.)

I’m surprised these pictures don’t seem bitter, or condescending, though so many of them are bleak. Again and again, the light is flat. (ed note: When I photographed the book, I realized the light quality and quantity were more varied than I realized upon initial viewing.)

The colors, when they arrive, are often in a pastel palette. Oranges and pinks and greens and turquoise.

But mostly things are gray.
And boring.

There are few people in these images, which suggests perhaps the public sphere outside Moscow is under-populated? Or maybe Max just prefers landscapes?

It’s all so much the same, despite the wide geographic spread, and a shot at the beach. (Sochi?)

I’ve squeezed about as much as I can from this brain, but I’ll end with a couple of compliments. The compositions and color palette in this book are really top notch, but so is the volume of pictures.

So often, I find myself reminding you guys “less is more,” and this is not the case here. To create that feeling of the seductive repetition with slight variations, Max Sher was wise to include so many photographs.

I kept flipping the pages, waiting to see the next iteration, like an old Calvin and Hobbes calendar, circa 1995.

I’ll stop now, before my references get more obscure than the People’s Front of Judea.

Bottom Line: Sleek, smart book of Soviet landscapes

To purchase “Palimpsests” click here 

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Adam Ewing

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Adam Ewing

Early in my career, I realized the importance of shooting personal images to coincide with the work I was actually assigned to do. I started shooting as an editorial photographer after a long tenure of assisting editorial and commercial photographers. When I would get to a location I was assigned to shoot, I would quickly scan the area as I scouted for the job and take notice of things that interested me.

I made a habit of taking mental notes during jobs and then for a few minutes at the end of an assignment I would shoot something for myself in a style that wasn’t what I was professionally hired to do. After a while, I built a large enough library that my commercial clients took notice. One day I got a call from Anya Mills, an art buyer at the Martin Agency, an advertising agency I was doing a lot work for at the time. One of the art directors at the Martin Agency, Ty Harper, had seen some of this personal work on my site and wanted me to shoot a project for the paint company, Benjamin Moore. It was a dream assignment.

They flew me to different cities around the United States to find things I wanted to shoot, and to shoot them in my signature style. They sent me with an in-house producer, Ross Skinner, and together we spent a few weeks on the road, looking for buildings and townscapes that would fall into what the client wanted for an image library. I would see something I liked, and Ross would seek out the permission and get the proper releases so Benjamin Moore could use the images commercially.

I normally shoot portraits, but every so often someone sees this personal work and it leads to inquiries about licensing or to a new assignment to shoot in that same style.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Food, Product, and Lifestyle Library Shoot for a New Cookware Product Launch

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Food, product, and lifestyle library shoot for a new cookware product launch

Licensing: Unlimited use of 80 images in perpetuity, Owned-Social Media use of an additional 100 images in perpetuity

Photographer: Food and lifestyle specialist

Client: A Large Multi-National Brand

Here is the estimate:

Screenshot of a redacted real-world photographic estimate

Creative/Licensing: The creative called for a narrative approach to a series of casual family/friend gatherings, revolving around a meal and meal prep, at 3-4 residential locations. The photographer would be tasked with capturing the lifecycle of the meal, from ingredient details to recipe process shots, to product details, to kitchen lifestyle, to plated dishes, to lively dining experiences, and everything in between. Basically documenting a fun dinner party, four times over to cover a variety of recipes, locations, and demographics.
This was a somewhat unique ask from a licensing standpoint. The client wanted a reasonable number of “hero” or “library” images, 20 per day, to include in their brand library and about 25 outtakes per day (really subtle variations of the “heroes”) for owned social media use only. 45 images/day may (or may not) seem crazy, but we were sure to set appropriate expectations and explain that 25 of those, if not more, would fall squarely in the realm of “subtle variation.” With the client duly informed and in alignment, and based on how the photographer stages and shoots, and the narrative nature of the shot list/creative, she was confident she could deliver the 20 “heroes” and requisite outtakes.

This was a rare instance when a client not only provided a budget, but provided a reasonable budget. Though they were asking for “library” or unlimited use, the lion’s share of the images would be used in sales materials and brochures for the product. The occasional shot might find its way into an ad, but for the most part, the usage would be below the line. Normally, we might start a library day rate, including usage, around $7,500-$10,000, and push up (or down) from there based on the specifics. In this case, there was a limit on the number of images (which is not always the case for “library” shoots), a somewhat limited intended use, four consecutive days of shooting, and a fixed budget. As the industry continues to shift and evolve, we see these pressures/forces often and, unfortunately, have been conditioned to presume that the rates must be “discounted” accordingly. This wasn’t exactly a unicorn of a project, but it was close. The scale of the brand, volume of work, and scope of use called for a healthier rate, which we set at $65,000 (a shade off $16k/day). Fortune, and a realistic client smiled on us and the budget could bear the fees.

Photographer Pre-Production and Tech/Scout Days: We don’t often include straight pre-production days for photographers, but in this case, they were needed. We were working with an amazing, collaborative client without an agency. Even though the client knew what they wanted, and were pretty well buttoned up, during the initial conversations, it became clear that there would be a fair amount of conceptualization and oversight required of the photographer. Accordingly, we included four days of pre-production time to cover her considerable involvement in the lead-up to the shoot. We also included one tech/scout day for the location walk-throughs the day before the shoot.

Producer Days, Production Coordinator and PA Days: This was a substantial production: eight talent per day, three locations, product inventory, a total daily headcount around 30 clients, talent, and crew. Sort of an all hands on deck situation. We included a producer and production coordinator to oversee all the moving pieces for the fairly straightforward but relatively large production. Though they worked as a team, the producer ran the show, directing the coordinator through pre-production and clearly delineating roles during the shoot. We also included a PA to help out on the tech/scout day, shoot days and a wrap day.

Photo Crew: With the creative relying on a fair amount on available light, we went with the photographer’s preferred first assistant, second assistant, and digital tech, with the PA as a swing assistant as needed. The first and second assistant both had an extra day included so that the could help out with gear prep and wrap. The tech and her workstation would only be covered for the four shoot days, but the photographer asked that she attend the tech/scout and covered her day rate out of pocket.

Equipment: Though we were reliant on available light to a degree, with such a large production hinging on somewhat uncontrollable environmental factors, we needed to make sure we could replicate daylight, and light the entire scene if need be. This meant a healthy amount of lighting and grip equipment. We also factored in a medium format camera system and a few production supplies like pop-tents, tables, and chairs. Like most rental houses, our local shop offered “three days, same as a week” rates, meaning that we only paid for three days of rentals despite having the gear for six days.

Post: We quoted the post a little differently than I typically would. The photographer’s first assistant was actually on staff and managed most of the photographer’s post-production work. This gave her a fair amount of flexibility in post pricing, and also allowed her to quote/bill for it a little differently. Based on lengthy conversations about post expectations, we determined that, at the most, it would require ten days of her assistant’s time to handle the retouching. However, even though she had that luxury, we also had to prepare for the possibility that, despite a pretty generous post schedule, another project might come up, forcing her to outsource the post. Given the volume, ~80-100 hours, we were confident that many of our retoucher contacts would be glad to take the project on what amounted to about a $100/hr rate.

Location: The client wanted to shoot in four distinct residential settings, three inside the home/kitchen/dining room and one outside on a residential patio or in a backyard. Our local scout quoted us five days of scouting and five days of location management at $750/day plus $3,000/day for each location. We don’t always need a location manager, but with such a large crew we wanted to make sure we had one on set to ensure it was returned as it was found. We also included a location RV, primarily for hair/makeup and wardrobe styling. We’d be able to set up props, catering, etc. under tents in the driveways.

Styling: We were looking for real people to be enjoying their family/friends and food in authentic, luxurious spaces. We budgeted for an excellent team of wardrobe stylists, prop stylists, and food stylists to set the stage and build a believable, authentically layered scene. We also included the cost for the requisite assistants, prep/return time, supplemental props, wardrobe, and food.

Casting and Talent: Our local casting agent provided a quote for a three day live casting event, including prep and the costs for real people lifestyle talent. We would usually expect to pay a bit more for talent, but most of the models would be booked for multiple days, and the nature of the shoot (food being the main focus) meant that we were mostly looking for background talent rather than principals. We also included a talent payroll service to cover talent payments to ensure that we were complying with all of the tax and insurance regulations.

Catering, Insurance, and Misc: We estimated $50 per person per day for breakfast and lunch and $250/day for craft services. We also include insurance to cover the premiums for the gross production costs and a miscellaneous line to cover local transportation, working meals, and any other expenses that were sure to come up.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project and subsequently photographed another market-specific production for the same product line.

Hindsight: The food prep became a little more complicated and messy than we’d hoped. We could have added rented kitchen equipment or a catering truck to manage the food prep off-set. Otherwise, the production went off without a hitch!

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

The Daily Edit – Interview with Frank Ockenfels Part One

- - The Daily Edit

Photographs  by Beckett Ockenfels

 

Frank Ockenfels

We talk with Frank Ockenfels about fatherhood, photography, and raising boys one of whom is a budding photographer.

Heidi: Why do you think your older son Beckett is a good photographer?
Frank: Composition and light. He figured it out quickly which is kind of bizarre and he knew what good light was which is kind of funny because I would say that’s the biggest problem with a lot of younger photographers. He sees light really quickly and understands this is a good piece of light, or that over there is an interesting piece of light, even if it’s the most basic. I built the daylight studio upstairs and he immediately saw how beautiful the light was and how simple it was. Almost so much that he wouldn’t take a light out and try to light something differently.

So he just looks for the available light and well, he sees it. Now, will he use it is another question! But when he goes to take pictures for himself he’s always trying something. He’s done simple and when he does simple, he doesn’t think much of it.

A friend of his asked him to do a couple of lookbooks for friends who are young fashion designers. And he dismisses the pictures, but the light is beautiful and simple and exactly what is needed as people want to see the clothes and the fabric. But then on the same hand he’ll turn around and use a LED panel that we have here. It can be set to constantly change colors so he shot images with the it rotating like a party light, moving and flowing through things. Then he was doing slow-motion pictures of his friends blurred and the colors were moving through it. When I was 17 THAT was not my brain.

Has Beckett taken any formal photography classes?
Diane found a photo class for high school kids at SVA. He ended up taking a class from a photographer Clay Patrick McBride I met when I was just a kid.

Clay told me “Go be a photographer, man. Your work is great.” And so, oddly enough, without us knowing it, he ends up in Clay’s studio lighting class.

Anybody who was around me started laughing, “But, he stands around you all the time. Why would he go take a class like this?”  and I thought he should take the class and forget he know’s anything and listen. Listen and do it the way the instructor is telling you and then take it and learn that process. It’s not like telling you do it the for the rest of your life like that.

You’re learning and feeling how they see. But first, execute what they’re asking you to do. He and Clay totally butted heads because Beckett is very straightforward. If he likes something he likes it, if he doesn’t he doesn’t. If he doesn’t like to do a certain style he doesn’t want to do the assignment.

What do you say to encourage him?
My response:  “Well, welcome to the world of photography. You’re always going to get assignments you don’t want to do. But you have to go above and beyond what that is. I think the hardest jobs to do are the ones that everyone thinks you’re amazing at. And the ones that are the easiest sometimes, which people don’t really get praised for, are the ones where you are given something to push.

If the directive is “Shoot this can on this white seamless” I think that’s easy because you know you can do it, but the fun part is how much more are you able to push it?  It’s funny to watch your kid at 17 have just such an incredible eye and not really 100% embrace it.

Nowadays his generation of people do multiple things. You become a photographer, get connections, then become a fashion designer, you can be both. You can be an actor and a fashion designer. Actor, musician. Musician, actor. Everything is overlapped in using the opportunities to get you where you want to go. And using your education along the way to do so.

How much does Beckett talk about you influencing him?
Not at all.
When he wants to do something he’ll say, “Just tell me how you did this.”
And I’ll say, “Okay, and I still need to show you?”
“No. Just tell me.”

And then, he’ll go and try it himself and he’ll find his own answer to whatever that is, which is great. Clay told him, “Don’t be your dad. You’ve got to be yourself.”  Which at 17 or 18 years old can be tough, he’s going to be influenced by me. He’s standing around me, he works for me, he sees how I shoot. Like any assistant would be influenced by the photographer they work for when they go to do those things for themselves. They’re definitely going to have in their brain, “Oh, this is how I just saw it done.” The key is what you do with that knowledge, and where you push yourself to take it.

 

Paintings by Diane Ockenfels

How did you raise two boys?
I didn’t raise the kids, Diane did. She really was always here for them, when they were younger, they would always rely on her more. If something went wrong, they would immediately go to her, not to me, which was tough when I realized it.

At what point did you start worrying about your boys?
I think with the boys, it’s interesting to see them grow up and all of a sudden being worried.

Every parent worries about what the kid’s going to become. You want them to succeed at what they do. With Cooper, my younger one, he started out being the kid who needed more hands-on because he was not very focused. And all of a sudden he hit high school, we don’t worry about him at all. He goes to school at 6 o’clock in the morning and comes home at 9 o’clock every night. And he’s just tremendously active and proactive in the sense he’s A, B student plus he’s involved in the theatre program. He wanted to play bass about a year and a half ago and just started learning online. Essentially he taught himself how to play. Now he’s in the school jazz band and they’re teaching him how to read music.

Where Beckett is the complete polar opposite. He’s a tremendously talented photographer but doesn’t push forward at all — doesn’t have that thing to every single day stand up and go take a picture.

Did you take photos everyday as a teenager?
I probably didn’t have that till I got to New York and probably my third year of college is when I finally hit it where I was like, Oh! This is something you do every day. Every single day, you wake up and you have to take pictures and to basically answer that question that’s in your head. That is the reason why you would become a photographer. Why is it that one person figures it out while another person doesn’t figure it out? There is no rhyme or reason even though there’s a passion in photography on both ends equally. At my workshops people are looking for me to for the answer, I wish I had the golden ticket. “Look at my book and tell me why I can’t get a job.” I tell them,

“Don’t look at me. I can tell you what I think and what I see in your work and what I don’t see in your work and how you’re presenting it to me, but I’m not the one hiring.”

 

to be continued next week…

 

 

The Daily Promo – Jace Lumley

- - The Daily Promo

Jace Lumley

Who printed it?
The zine was printed by Mixam. I tried a couple of different printers and found Mixam’s quality and price hard to beat.

Who designed it?
I designed it myself. I design all my promos myself. It might be one of my favorite processes outside of photographing.

Tell me about the images?
I made the images for Lululemon’s 2016 Fall/Winter lookbook. We spent three days location scouting and another four days shooting at Trollstigen and inside the city of Oslo, Norway. It was probably one of the best personal and professional experiences I’ve had to date. The team I worked with was an incredibly talented bunch.

How many did you make?
I made a run of 10 to send out to some focused editors I had in mind.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I can’t say I have a set amount per year. If I am feeling stumped creatively, I like to turn to my work to create products like this.

It feeds my creativity and gives me an opportunity to reach out to new and sometimes the same editors I’d love to work with going forward.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
As a former photo editor, I always loved receiving physical promos from photographers. There’s something about holding a promo or any product for that matter, that shows workmanship or lack thereof.

The edits made, the design work, the information gathered, the opportunity to show a point of view, and the trips to the post office; it’s a beautiful process for young photographers like myself.