The Daily Edit – Mind Over Mountain: Jakob Reisinger

Patagonia Journal

Photo Editor: Jakob Reisinger

Heidi: Where did this all-female crew go and for how long?

Jakob: These photos were created on the prestigious Bugaboos to Rogers Pass ski traverse in British Columbia during the Spring of 2021. Our snow ambassadors Leah Evans, Marie-France Roy, and Madeleine Martin-Preney had their eyes and hearts set on this project for many years. When the stars aligned, filmmaker Nick Waggoner, with the help of Tucker Anderson and Alex Geary, tagged along to document it.

Why did you provide the crew with disposable cameras?

Early in the planning they had all expressed safety concerns with a large group over 6 people on such a long traverse in remote mountains with no room for error. More people equate to more possible complications. So, we were not able to send along a dedicated still photographer because moving picture was the priority. Single-use cameras seemed like the way to go because of their reliability, ease of use, no battery charging or electronic fails on a 10-day adventure with harsh weather conditions and varying temperatures.

What aesthetic were you going for with BW film?

I chose BW for an elevated but also simplistic aesthetic. I think it works very well in snow environments and big open spaces, like the glaciers on the traverse, and gives nice contrast. To me BW film does a wonderful job conveying the mood of snow—it’s purity and timelessness. We used cameras with Ilford XP2 film stock because those were the only ones available near Revelstoke, B.C. where Leah lives, and a friend of hers had to pick them up the night before the girls left on their trip. Later I learned that there’s actually a Kodak Tri-X single use camera which I would have preferred. We color corrected the images to match Tri-X a bit.

How did your love of the snow and mountains inform this project?

Skiing is my first love and moving through snowy landscapes will always feel like coming home for me. Snow is a gift from heaven and cannot be cherished enough. Using BW film was my attempt to celebrate winter a bit and replicate a sense of adventures past.  This project basically brought together my two biggest passions and I’m so stoked that Patagonia is a place where these photos can shine. I had to pinch myself a few times while working with these images that I’m getting paid to do this 😊.

Some of Patagonia’s founding photo principals are images on speculation, participatory POV, real people doing real things, and what YC calls an honest shot. What other principals did you call in?

The photography ties into our desire to offer a participatory point of view where the photographer is really part of what is happening rather than being an outside observer. This way the photos feel energetic, engaging, and authentic as opposed to staged and ‘commercial’ because that’s how the moments were. The photos came back so personal, fun, and gritty and it really feels like a trip report from the athletes’ personal perspectives. By removing the pressure of a professional assignment and letting the athletes really just have fun with the cameras added an element of realness. They never had to ‘pose’ for a photo, they just did their thing and went full circle by self-documenting it.

 

 

This Week in Photography: The Chicago Beatdown

 

 

 

 

I love Chicago.

Of the American cities I know well, Chicago might be my favorite.

(Though San Diego and New Orleans are in the conversation.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago offers everything, at a world-class level: beaches, architecture, art, food, music and diversity, in a walkable, clean, urban megalopolis. I’ve said it before, but the buildings are so gorgeous, it’s like walking around a massive, public art installation.

 

 

 

 

That Chicago has always been a little-brother city means it’s had to work extra-hard to distinguish itself.

New visitors are surprised by how big it is, how clean, and how picturesque is the setting, with the ocean-blue lake and serpentine green river.

 

Bikers at the Lake
Jet-skiers on the river

 

The Chicagoans are nice, hard-working, and humble as the day is long. So when I visited last week, (just got home Sunday,) I was expecting a tight-gripped, large-person, bear hug, as Chicago always treats me well.

This was my 7th visit since 2015, and I’ve spent well over a month in the city since.

Honestly, Chicago loves me.

I have great friends, always talk to strangers, eat well, and never have drama.

This time, however, I got a little cocky, (acted too big for my britches,) so I got a proper Chicago-style beatdown.

(Ouch.)

What happened?

Let’s dive in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While my trip was efficient, as I said, it left little time for stopping to buy food.

And as soon as I got to the 21C Museum Hotel, for the Filter Photo Festival, the rest of the reviewers were heading out the door to the welcome party.

(So that added time pressure.)

Trader Joe’s was literally across the street, and I’ve already told you about my room-booze technique, which saves a lot of money at the bar.

Bourbon sounded like the perfect thing to put some pep in my step, so I bought a bottle of Bulleit, but was too tired to think about searching for food, (and too intimidated to roam the TJ aisles.)  So I showered, threw back a few glasses of whiskey, and was out the door for the 1+ mile walk North.

Do I know better than to drink on an empty stomach?

Of course I do!

Then, I didn’t dig the food when I got there, and as I’d jumpstarted my evening with the bourbon, and switched to white wine at the party, I was quickly too inebriated to make good decisions.

So not eating, and mixing drinks.

Two bad calls.

At the bar afterwards, my friend Doug offered me a pint of Guinness, and then someone else gave me a light brown beer.

We stepped outside to smoke a couple of times.

 

At the bar. Don’t entirely remember taking the photo.

 

By midnight, walking home with Caitlin and Grace, I’d put whiskey, white wine, black beer, reefer, and brown beer into an empty stomach.

Because I was so tired from the travel day, and hadn’t bought any food at Trader Joe’s, there was also no late night grub in the room.

(Nor leftovers, as I hadn’t had time for takeout.)

And we weren’t in a part of town where there were restaurants open.

That was mistake 3, adding nothing to the sad stomach, after the fact, to soak up the booze.

Oh man, was it going to be a nasty morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier in the week I’d bragged on a group text, arrogantly saying I never get hangovers.

That I had the perfect remedy, and really, getting too drunk was for suckers.

(I’m no sucker.)

Unfortunately, I got cocky in Chicago, and the city doesn’t cotton to hubris.

No sir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To say I threw up four times before 8:30am is to be factually accurate, but contextually mild.

I wanted to die. I might have cried.

(Hard to be sure.)

I definitely called my wife, begging for empathy, and genuinely wondered if I might have caught a bug in the airports? At first, so sure of my own invulnerability, I couldn’t imagine my pain was self-inflicted.

I’m a dude who knows how to handle himself. It’s a part of my identity.

Yet there I was, curled in a fetal position in the shower, begging my poor body, which I’d just abused, to find enough energy to review 14 portfolios that day.

(Cut to the chase, I did it.)

I’m told I looked like death, with bloodshot eyes, raccoon-bags beneath them, and ashen, waxy skin.

By afternoon I’d rebounded, and by evening, I began my 3-types-of-pizza-in-3-days foray, which we’ll talk about next.

But the big moral of the story was explained to me a few times over the next few days.

If you’re going to be too full of yourself, stay out of Chicago.

If, however, you make an ass of yourself, but then learn your lesson, take your humbling like a pro, and grow from the occasion?

After the beatdown, Chicago picks you up, dusts you off, and gives you a hug.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the pizza.

My friend Louie Palu has railed against Deep Dish as long as I’ve known him, claiming it’s not pizza.

Every. Single. Chicago. Local. I know insists they never eat Deep Dish.

That it’s for tourists.

By now, I’ve tried Pizanos, (good,) Giordano’s, (OK,) and Lou Malnati’s, (very good,) but I’d never tried the OG Deep Dish spots in Chicago: Pizzerias Uno and Due.

They’re a block away from each other, and apparently begat the trend, back in the day.

They’d been recommended to me before, so I was down to try it, but truth is, it was the first food I was going to eat since I was sick, and as Pizzeria Due was on the corner of my block, that’s as far as I was going to order it.

 

 

The place reeked of character, and when I saw a pizza with spinach and broccoli on the menu, I was sold, because I needed a little nutrition to jumpstart my system.

Did I assume I’d be the only person ordering that pizza that night?

Yes.
Yes I did.

So when I got the pizza home, and after I took the picture, I was a little surprised not to see much green inside.

 

 

Still, I thought, the veggies have to be in there.

I cut into a slice, (which looked quite good,) and wouldn’t you know it, I bit into a piece of sausage, but no veggies.

Sausage!
Again!

(For those of you who don’t remember, last year, at Tempo Cafe, they gave me sausage in my eggs, rather than green veggies, in the most Chicago of all flexes, and I ate it, b/c sending it back would have taken forever.)

This time, though it tasted good, I didn’t feel I had an option.

My hung-over body was begging for green vegetables, (just like in Jersey,) so I called Due, the woman apologized and said my pizza was there waiting. I went down the elevator, made the quick walk, and came home with a veggie pizza.

Which was sad, I’m sorry to say, and definitely not as good as the pizza she made me return.

(Seriously, once I’d eaten from it, maybe let me keep it? What else are you going to do with it? It wasn’t my mistake. The sticker on the sausage pizza said spinnocoli.)

As to the pizza, the cornmeal crust was too-thick, and flavorless. The pizza had too little cheese, and the sauce was weak.

Overall, just a bad pizza experience.

(Shame on you, Due!)

Pizzeria Due
1 star out of 4

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, though, I had pizza at Eataly, the Italian food mega-emporium chain that was started by the (since-culturally-defenestrated) superstar chef Mario Batali, and his partners, the Bastianich family.

 

Inside Eataly

 

I’d done the walk-through the day before, and found it to be a well-stocked joint, but a bit confusing to figure out.

On my return visit, having done the proper scope, I knew just where to go: La Pizza & La Pasta.

I ate with a few friends and colleagues, and was clear that I’d only share my pizza once I was done with it, as I was terrified of getting stuck with an unfavorable pizza experience, given the nightmare that was Due.

(Good thing too, when anchovies and mushrooms were suggested as possible toppings. Gross!)

We began with some arugula and parmesan salads that hit just right.

 

 

The pizza was in the Neapolitan style, and I got an eggplant parmesan pie, which was sublime.

The pizza had char, for looks, a firm-yet-chewy, flavorful crust. There was plenty of melty, high-end mozzarella cheese. Overall, the perfect balance of texture and taste.

 

 

The eggplant was not deep-fried, and offered a nice melt-in-your-mouth component.

Frankly, it was pizza bliss.

 

 

Eataly La Pizza & La Pasta
4 stars out of 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last, but not least, I returned to Eataly to buy some Italian cookies for my wife, on Saturday, right before I needed to walk 30 minutes South to the Columbia College Student Center, where the Filter portfolio walk would be held.

(Plus, I needed a snack.)

After giving the store a quick once-over, I spotted a gorgeous $6 hunk of Pizza Margherita, in their Pizza Alla Pala station.

 

 

It’s where they attempt to recreate Roman style, but fail.

Here, there are pre-cut slices of gourmet, rectangular pizza.

In Rome, you walk up, tell them how much you want, and they cut you a rectangular hunk.

(Not the same thing.)

Then, after I waited 7 minutes, I got a little pushback from the pizza worker, just for choosing the piece I wanted.

(“Oh,” she said, “you want the REALLY cheesy one?”)

There was a $14 slice of burrata and fresh tomato pie, that included a full ball of burrata, which looked like art, and would likely have been amazing.

(But my stomach didn’t want to eat a literal ball of cheese.)

When I got back to the hotel with my takeout slice, (one block away,) and opened it up, my heart sank.

The Eataly-pizza-attendant has smushed some wax paper down into the slice, and nearly all the cheese had come up onto the paper.

She ruined it!

Cardinal sin.

I spent a few minutes scraping the cheese, which helped a little, before I ate it in a dejected condition.

And I was not impressed.

The sauce was zingy, at least, and the crust was thick and crunchy, with a bit of olive oil to it, so I could only wonder what might have been?

 

 

Eataly Pizza Alla Pala
2 stars out of four

 

See you next week!

 

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Stephen Voss

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:   Stephen Voss

A decade into living in Washington, DC, there were still vast swaths of it I had not yet seen. I decided it might be beneficial to walk the city’s entire border, making photographs along the way as a roundabout way of getting to know more of the city.

223 years prior, at the behest of President George Washington, this land was surveyed, and stone markers were placed along this diamond-shaped border at approximately one-mile intervals. Finding each stone became a forcing function to make sure I covered the entire distance.

In researching the trip, I came across a historian who had made a similar trek in 1906. He’d pose near various stones, including one near my house which at the time was part of a farm.

The walks (taken over a six-month period) were an exercise in attentiveness and a reminder of the rhythms and pace of life in the city. I witnessed a funeral on a gray day in February, the steady flow of tourists walking along the edge of the National Mall, and the deep, overgrown woods where I’d strain to find some of the more hidden boundary stones.

When walking, I often felt like I was just on the outskirts of somewhere, the forgotten area beyond the places most people go. I remember squeezing through a hole in the fence to get to one stone, walking through waist-high grass and coming across an elaborate multi-room homemade shelter, made of wood pallets, tarps and other castaway objects. In each direction was dense undergrowth and trees and I imagine this spot was picked for its privacy, save for the occasional intrusion of a bumbling photographer.

These walks were also a foundation for understanding the city as a pedestrian, and as a place in the midst of change. The remains of a colorful mural I photographed in Georgetown has long since been painted over, and a lonely memorial to those who perished on the Titanic now has a brand-new neighborhood a short walk from the park it sits in. The walk itself feels repeatable and I’m planning to make it again this Fall with an emphasis on portraits.

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

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 Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

Pricing & Negotiating: Membership Campaign For Prominent Art Museum

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle and architecture images of talent enjoying the museum.

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 30 images for 5 years from first use.

Intended Use: Web and print marketing materials.

Photographer: Interiors, architecture, and lifestyle specialist.

Client: Internationally known art museum.

I recently helped one of our east coast photographers quote and negotiate a project for a large, well-known art museum. The creative brief from their ad agency described images of people enjoying the art exhibits within the museum galleries and showcasing the architectural features of the building. The final campaign would use the photographs in web and print marketing materials to promote the museum’s membership program. At this time, no OOH placements were planned, but the agency requested an unlimited-use license for potential future placements.

Here is the estimate:

Client Provisions

We specified that the agency would handle location(s), location coordination, all location styling and cleaning, talent and talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, crew meals, craft services, COVID safety protocols, and any image retouching.

Fees

The agency would be handling all production elements and requested an estimate for up to 30 images taken over a 2-day shoot. I put the fees at $600 per unique image for each of the 30 images totaling $18,000, with consideration of the number of images. While the per-image fee is low for unlimited use if it were just a handful of images, the bulk license of 30 images justified the fees to the photographer. Our estimate included a line stating the cost of additional images at $750 each plus retouching. I also added $1,000 for the photographer to attend a tech scout day.

Crew

We added a first assistant to help with lighting and camera equipment management and to attend the tech scout day as well. We also added a digital tech to manage the files and display the content to the client as it was being captured. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid their team on past productions.

Equipment

I included $1,600 for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. While the photographer brought their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, they intended to rent a few specific modifiers and other items from a local rental house. The digital tech estimated $650 a day for their workstation rental and I also included $350 for 3 hard drives.

Miscellaneous

We included $350 for insurance and $250 to cover taxis, additional meals, and any other small expendables.

Post Production

Retouching was to be handled by the client and we chose to not charge for the first edit since we had a digital tech on set to compile all files on a hard drive for the client. This was done to keep the estimate under $26k.

Results

The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a phenomenal success! During the tech scout, the photographer discovered they needed a few intricate set-ups, as well as multiple lighting setups at the same time. The final invoice we delivered included an updated $3,100 to cover equipment costs. The client and agency were very happy with the final work, and we are expecting to see marketing collateral launch on the web any day now!


Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

This Week in Photography: Wrestling in Queens

 

 

 

When I was growing up, Mike Tyson was the baddest dude around.

(Bar none.)

I watched the Buster Douglas fight live on HBO, and was witness to the dethroning of the king.

At the time, my brain could not fathom Mike Tyson getting his ass kicked, but there it was.

 

 

Courtesy of Boxingnewsonline.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These days, boxing is not nearly as important.

Instead, MMA is the most popular combat sport around.

Everyone loves the UFC, which has great rivalries, amazing athletes, and a warrior-code-of-respect thing going that feels appropriate for the 21st Century.

(True story: a boxing-fan-relative recently told me he doesn’t watch the UFC, because he thinks it’s “gay,” as the fighters hug each other, and behave nicely in the cage, once the fight is over.)

But MMA didn’t even exist 30 years ago, and when it first began, guys from different, traditional martial arts battled it out, with the Gracies, (and their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,) proving supreme.

These days, every fighter more or less shares the same style of striking and kicking from Muay Thai, grappling from wrestling, and submissions and ground work from BJJ.

(So not only do cultural tastes change, but entire sports can too.)

And while the UFC, and MMA in general, are significantly more popular than boxing, I’m not sure there’s a UFC fighter alive who’d fancy their chances against the current Heavyweight Champ, 6’9″ 265lbs Tyson Fury, the Gypsy King.

 

Tyson Fury, Courtesy of Marca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like boxing, professional wrestling has gone through phases of popularity here in America.

Apparently, it’s huge again, (the WWE,) but I don’t follow it at all.

I know Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena became legit movie stars, and extremely charismatic actors, having started as pro wrestlers.

(And I know The Rock’s daughter is now wrestling, but I learned that from Twitter.)

When I was a kid, in the same 80’s Tyson dominated, Hulk Hogan, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, and Andre the Giant were massive cultural stars, with crossover films and the rest.

 

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Randy “Macho Man” Savage in 1987, courtesy of ESPN and the WWE

 

(You knew I was going to drop a clip of ATG in “The Princess Bride” right here, didn’t you?)

 

That said, back then, I didn’t know much about the previous generation of stars.

Nor had I ever considered attending a match.

For whatever reason, my taste in pro wrestling leaned towards “guilty pleasure” in middle school, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I watched even a minute of it.

So Jonathan Blaustein: not a fan.

Jonathan Panes, however, was a massive fan.

How is that important?

I’ll tell you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last October, Arthur Nager sent me a book, but that’s long enough ago that I was clueless when I opened it up today.

Rarely has a photo book stated its intent more clearly from the cover.

We see:

“Wrestling
Sunnyside Garden Arena
11/27/1971”

I mean, really?

What else could the book be about?

It’s a self-published affair, and I enjoyed it quite a bit, but did find myself torn out of the narrative a few times, due to quirks I’ll comment on, and then move forward.

There were too many essays at the jump, so I got impatient, and started skipping ahead to the photos, before coming back.

(I was curious, given the cover’s premise.)

And I’ve been in copy-editing mode lately for a client, (apologies for the typo last week, but I fixed it after the email went out,) so I caught a couple of mistakes in this one, including one sentence that was completely repeated in separate essays by Jonathan Panes.

And the term “Sunnyside Garden Arena” was utilized three times in a row, at one point, which my brain also noticed.

The motivation behind the project was a bit random, in that Jonathan Panes, the wresting fan, invited his older cousin, Arthur Nager, the photographer and art school student, (who couldn’t have cared less about wrestling, but wanted to photograph somewhere interesting,) to the wrestling matches at the (since razed) Sunnyside Garden Arena in Long Island City, Queens.

One day in the fall of 1971.

The fight-hall had been one of a string throughout NYC, we learn, now all gone, as the size was just right for boxing and pro wrestling, but not lucrative enough to survive into the 21st C.

Mike Silver, a boxing expert, (and friend of the photographer,) writes an essay for the book, and when he calls Arthur “Artie,” I could almost hear roar of the crowd and smell the cigars on a day out in Queens:

“Artie, go get me a beer, wouldya? I’ll get ya back the 10 cents next week, I promise! Be a sport, would ya pal?”

 

 

 

 

 

But back to the book.

The photos are fun. For sure.

How could they not be?

I just wrote about this recently, (with the Michael Lesy book,) but we all know that putting negatives in a box and waiting 50 years is a tried and true way to end up with fascinating photographs.

Design-wise, though, I loved it when the second half of the book breaks sections down by wrestling match, featuring stats and info about each wrestler.

So clever.

The less said about the little-people wresting photos the better, but I’m not sure if I’d have included or excluded them, had it been me?

(Is that a cop out? On the one hand, the photos are offensive to modern tastes. On the other, they’re quite compelling, and make sense in context of the era. Tough call.)

But they made the decision to include them, and that’s on them.

Anyway, cool book.

I dig it.

See you next week!

 

To purchase “Wrestling: Sunnyside Garden Arena” 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 books by artists of color, and female photographers, so we may maintain a balanced program. And please be advised, we currently have a significant backlog of books for review. 

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Carol Guzy

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:  Carol Guzy

 Originally found on NPR Picture Show

 

Haunting photos capture the remnants of everyday life in Ukraine

Six months after Russia has invaded Ukraine, and on the 31st Independence Day of Ukraine commemorating their departure from the Soviet Union in 1991, we look at the result of the war and what remains…

Eerie paintings in shades of burnt sienna. Remnants of everyday life, frozen in a macabre stillness at the precise moment time stopped when Russian bombs rained down on residential dwellings in the liberated towns of Irpin and Borodianka. Exquisite light kisses the scorched palette. Baby cribs and wheelchairs. Charred cameras that once held tender family photos. A coffee cup sits on a table near a recliner, singed and flaking. A kitchen table holds food left uneaten. What were they cooking that last day of normal?

Lives led, now put on hold. Or extinguished. Precious mementoes reduced to dust. Twisted metal, empty chairs, melted microwaves. Too painful to ponder what the power of these weapons of destruction does to human flesh at the point of impact.

Civilian things. Not the stuff of combatants. Humanity’s hopes, dreams, loves — in war, they are merely “collateral damage.”

A popular cat café, once the scene of camaraderie and conversations over cappuccinos, lies in ruins. Broken glass becomes a metaphor for shattered lives. Survivors, saved from the bombardment by a fickle destiny of circumstance, visit in bittersweet homecomings to pick through pieces of their former reality.

Others will never return. Their life’s breath now a faded memory among cherished keepsakes scattered in living rooms of ash.

Carol Guzy is a 4-time Pulitzer Prize winning photographer for her work in Haiti, Kosovo and Colombia. She worked as a staff photographer at the Miami Herald from 1980 – 1988 and at The Washington Post from 1988 – 2014. She is currently a contract photographer for Zuma Press. Follow Carol on Instagram.

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

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 Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

The Daily Edit – Linda Guerrette


Linda Guerrette

Heidi: How long have you been taking photos and how did your parents inspire you?
Linda: I’ve been taking photos for a long time but professionally for the last 10 years. Both my parents had a very strong work ethic but also knew the value of getting away to ski, fish, camp, ride bikes and adventure. I’m very fortunate to have grown up cherishing experiences as a family and individually.

You started out in the ski industry, how many women photographers/coach were on the scene when you started? 
When I started there were few women coaches and even fewer photographers. Times are changing some but there is certainly a large gap in numbers between the genders. It’s encouraging to see more young girls and women becoming creatives in the action sport world becoming role models for future young girls.

What constitutes a worthy spot to hang out while the participants come through?
I like to create a sense of place so I’ll scope out locations that will fulfill that criteria. I like to have the action come to me based on where I position myself. I will generally position myself where body movement and emotional expression can and will take place. I aim to have the subject shape the image. It’s most rewarding when I feel a connection with an athlete through the lens.

What emotions do you look for?
I look for physical engagement first which typically leads to exhibiting emotions of all kinds. The range is from focus, excitement, joy, satisfaction.

Tell us about your relationship with Queen of Pain, Rebecca Rusch and your connection to women’s cycling.
I met Rebecca through FB after one of her Leadville victories. I posted a few images of her race and she liked what she saw and that was my introduction to her. Over the years I’ve worked with various female cyclists. My main focus at any event is to work on giving coverage to the top women, middle of the pack and the up and comers. Women supporting women is vital to the future growth.

How has your process refined over the years?
I’d like to believe I’ve become more creative and innovative at storytelling. I’m more comfortable connecting with the athletes so we can work on creating images together. Let’s face it with social media as it is marketing of self is very important to the success of athletes as well as myself.  Building networks is something I continue to refine.

What would you tell your younger, creative self?
I would say trust yourself and believe that your passions can become a way of life. It certainly won’t be easy but staying the course will be worth it.

This Week in Photography: Jersey Pride

 

 

 

 

Friday night came together perfectly.

(And I didn’t have to plan a thing.)

That was the theme of my trip to New Jersey last week: easy breezy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drove around a lot, made all the right human and logistical connections, and while the threat of drama is there with all travel these days, for me, for nearly a week, it was all good.

That’s the first point to make.

If you recall, when I traveled in 2021, back to Jersey in May and then to Chicago in October, I reported that people were on edge, ready to blow, and the tension was palpable.

It was no fun at all.

But I’m thrilled to share that in September 2022, it’s gone.

In the security lines, in the airport terminals, on the planes, I noticed nothing but polite, chill behavior.

(Major, major difference.)

Such good news that civility has been restored!

When I mentioned drama, it’s just all these stories of air-travel havoc, with delays and missed/cancelled flights.

I did have one 3 hour delay, but thankfully it didn’t mess with my schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

It was all smooth that Friday, and my cousins invited me to a big-time High School football game, with a local rivalry, major schools, big plot lines, you name it.

My cousin Stefanie had ordered me a ticket, and sent the .pdf to my phone, plus provided directions to the field, so really, all I had to do was show up.

Watchung Hills Regional High School is coached by Rich Seubert, who won a Super Bowl ring as a starting offensive lineman for the NY Giants.

That makes him as close to local royalty as you’re going to get.

(One step below Bruce Springsteen, obviously.)

His team was at home, playing their rivals from Westfield.

When I got there a few minutes late, (needed to download the day’s photo files onto my iPad in the rental car,) Westfield was already up 7-0.

 

View from the home stands

 

As to my family involvement, my cousin’s daughter was cheerleading, her son was on the Freshman team, and my other cousin’s step-daughter was in the marching band, playing clarinet.

It was a competitive game, with a lot of turnovers and penalties, and the home crowd, wearing white, was super-loud.

The whole environment felt like being in a movie, replete with an obnoxious, annoying play-by-play announcer, who made me long for noise-cancelling headphones.

(The dude was screaming into the mic the whole game. Enough already, bro.)

The field was tucked into a forest, because everything in New Jersey is tucked into a forest.

But when I looked more carefully, my cousin acknowledged in one direction, the massive Highway 78 was right behind the stand of trees.

(Such a trippy setting.)

 

 

At one point, I noticed one player who was just bigger, and more solidly built than the rest.

He stood out, like a football aura.

My cousin’s friend, Lydia, who was involved with the team, told me it was Rich Seubert’s older son, Hunter, the center, who was destined for major college ball and the NFL.

The kid had a presence.

(Check out these highlights, and you’ll see what I mean. Hunter Seubert is 6′ 260 lbs, and plays with a nasty streak.)

Anyway, Watchung Hills came back and took control, and was winning 17-7 when I left with a few minutes on the clock, to beat the crowds, and the parking-lot-bedlam.

(Pro tip: If you’re not invested in the outcome of the game, time your exit.)

 

 

 

 

 

The next night, we stayed in at my cousin Jordan’s, drinking box wine, taking dog walks, watching Ohio State-Notre Dame, and eventually having a big Jersey Chinese feast.

It was almost a sushi night, but I delicately engineered a pivot, and lots of grub from Chengdu 1 Palace arrived.

The highs were high, and the lows were average, but overall I was very impressed.

As to the specifics:

The pork lo mein was greasy, as were the egg rolls.

The General Tsao’s Chicken, which was reputed to be so good that two portions were ordered, was probably the best I’ve had.

A 10 out of 10 dish.

The boneless spare ribs were also perfection, and some weird, green, veggie dumplings ended up being amazing, eaten cold later in the evening. (Yes, I had the munchies. Don’t judge.)

 

Chengdu 1 Palace
Green Brook, NJ
3 stars out of 4

 

 

 

 

 

On Monday, after the pool party debauchery at my Aunt and Uncle’s place, I woke up early.

Before anyone, before 7am, and I headed out to do laps around the neighborhood.

(Got to get those steps in, to help digest the previous evening’s beer, rose wine, red wine, weed, vape, mini hot dogs in puff pastry, mac and cheese, shrimp scampi, spinach ravioli, caprese salad with high end mozzarella di buffala, and Italian cookies.)

Two miles of walking before 8, just me and the neighborhood deer, was a must, as was blowing off breakfast.

I game-planned to hit the beach, asking my Aunt, (a Jersey Shore girl, and known perfectionist,) where she would go?

She said Avon.

But I chose Sea Bright, the closest beach to my childhood home.

Growing up, we hung out from Sandy Hook to Long Branch, which are the northern-most coastal beaches.

Sandy Hook and Sea Bright are where the NYC shipping channel harbor opens up, so the water is not nearly as clean.

As I got in the car, though, I called my other cousin, (on the Blaustein side,) as he lives 4 long-blocks from the beach in Belmar.

It was only five minutes extra in the car from where I was staying, and he was around, so I turned the car and changed the plan.

Luckily, Belmar is further South from NYC, so the water is clean and clear.

 

 

(Not blue, though, as it’s the Atlantic.)

Jeff and I chilled out on the 10th Avenue beach, in fold-up-chairs, taking the sun, and I swam twice.

The water was gorgeous and refreshing, and I’d been waiting for that moment for three years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As it was Monday, Labor Day, and the direct sun was intermittent, the beach had plenty of people, but was far from mobbed.

 

10th St Beach, Belmar, looking North

 

We walked up to the street and got pizza at J’s, and the slices were massive.

The young woman behind the counter was pretty, and had what sounded like a cool French accent, but by Monday I was punch-drunk, so I couldn’t be sure.

She confirmed she was from Strasbourg, and I dropped a few words of French to be polite.

Which was a huge mistake.

I got distracted, and the slices were just so big, ($7/piece with toppings,) so I did my usual thing of asking her not to warm them up in the oven, which kills the flavor.

(Room-temperature-to-warm is much better than reheated.)

She said they were warm, but trust me, they were not warm. So I spent $15 on cold, chalky pizza, but having skipped breakfast, I ate them anyway.

As to the area itself, North Belmar, (a half mile away from Avon, my Aunt’s preferred spot,) is not only pretty, chill and friendly, but it’s steeped in Jersey history.

My cousin lived in Freehold for decades, where Bruce Springsteen was from, and confirmed that part of Belmar was the closest spot he could reach.

(Due East.)

It’s where Bruce had come, as a youth, before he got into the neighboring Asbury Park scene.

My cousin lives on 10th Avenue, near E Street.

The tour groups show up now, he told me, because the E Street Band, and “10th Avenue Freezeout,” are part of the Legend of Bruce.

So there you have it.

 

J’s Pizza
Belmar, NJ
2 out of 4 stars

Belmar Beach
4 out of 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

Later on Monday, I had a precious evening to myself, and a good rental car.

After visiting briefly with my friend Mandi, in her creepy/lovely, ghost-ridden, 1750 farmhouse, it was time to make the most of the luxury.

 

Me and Mandi, outside her house, built 1750

 

Given how much I love the Jersey Shore, I used that free time to go back to the beach again for a stroll.

Sea Bright is the first beach town facing East on the open ocean, (instead of North, along the Bay,) and I used to work in restaurants there when I was in college.

Much of it was leveled by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, so the town beach’s infrastructure was very new, which was a trip.

The sky was gray, after 6pm, and I walked for 15 minutes or so.

Then I approached the ocean.

There was a line of super-tanker ships, launching East towards Europe, and I was glad I’d gone to Belmar to swim earlier.

I took this video for you, as it’s clear how different the ocean vibe is from the Big Blue Pacific I showed you, in San Diego, earlier this year.

 

 

 

It feels like you’re looking across the pond towards Ireland, that rainy green Isle, rather than Asia, a half a world away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I began the column by saying everything went smoothly last week.

Mostly true.

But I did make one additional mistake.

I never should have eaten both of those mega-slices of cold pizza in Belmar.

Such a gut-bomb.

By evening, in Sea Bright, all I wanted was a salad.

But you can’t eat salad on your last night in Jersey, can you?

After Sea Bright, I drove north to Long Branch, feeling the ocean breeze through the open car window, and then doubled back through Sea Bright, Rumson, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Red Bank, and finally Middletown.

Rt 35 was my jam, growing up, the perfect North-South highway, stuffed with forest trees and endless strip malls.

All that good food, and local businesses.

Accountants.

Pool Supplies!

You name it.

I’d settled on going to Crown Palace, (which I’ve featured here before,) a brilliant local Chinese restaurant, because at least I could get string beans and broccoli with garlic sauce.

That was my big plan, to ask them to mix both veggies together.

Green vegetables!

Almost as good as a salad.

But my even bigger plan was to pee as soon as I got in the door.

(I really had to go.)

I was not encouraged when I pulled in and there were no cars, but still, I tried the door.

Locked!

Closed Monday.

There are trees everywhere, as I keep telling you, and in New Mexico, I’d pee behind a tree, no problem.

I walked around to the side parking lot, trying to find a spot to do just that.

Do they have cameras, I wondered?

Is anyone going to come out and harass me?

I saw the edge of the parking lot ahead, and thought I might be in the clear.

Lots of trees.

But then I spotted children’s playground equipment behind the business next door.

A day care center?

Abort!
Abort!

I held my pee, and that was that.

(No use going to jail for indecent exposure. Man up and hold the pee.)

What to do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that area like the back of my hand, and headed further up the highway to one of the local pizzerias from when I was a kid.

But I didn’t want pizza.

Or a chicken parm sub.

My insides were sad, from all the heavy food.

I wanted a salad.

Fresh vegetables!

And wouldn’t you know it, but I drove by Simply Greek, in the Commons at Holmdel, on my way to Villa Pizza.

It was on the other side of the highway, and had been there for years, so I took the jug handle just up the road, and went back.

(Salad it would be.)

I walked around the parking lot while they made the food, and the dark skies against the electric light was a visual feast.

The staff at Simply Greek were super-nice, and the prices were more-than-fair, by inflationary standards.

So I liked the joint immediately.

I kid you not, the falafel sandwich and a small greek salad, with extra tzatziki, weighed about 5 lbs, and cost $25.

It was easily the best food I had all week.

The summer Jersey tomatoes wanted to sing me a song, they were so happy, and the feta cheese was better than anything that exists in New Mexico.

Magnificent!

 

 

Simply Greek
Holmdel, NJ
4 out of 4 stars

 

 

 

So there you have it.

My first travel piece in ages.

See you next week!

 

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: John Dyer

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:  John Dyer

 

           North American Indian Days is a yearly celebration of Indian ceremonial dancing that takes place in Browning, Montana, the headquarters of the Blackfeet Nation. It draws dancers from all over the western United States and Canada. It has been going on for many years. Except during the Covid pandemic. The celebration was cancelled in 2020 and 2021.

            I had been to the NAID twice before, once in 1987 and again in 2000. Both times I photographed the dancers using film. In the summer of 2022, I went again to photograph, this time using a digital camera. The celebration was billed as the “Recovery”.

            It was quite crowded. The tent where the dancing took place was too small and dimly lit and was not the best place to show off the incredibly beautiful, elaborate regalia (never call what the dancers wear a costume!). Nevertheless, the dancing took place and, as always, was accompanied by the drumming and singing…high, wailing male voices.  There are different categories of dancing: jingle dancers, grass dancers, traditional dancers, etc.

            My idea was to ask some of the dancers to allow me to photograph them. Most agreed, a few said no. Fortunately, near the tent was a ring of large tepees that gave me a somewhat neutral background to take my portraits. Otherwise, the background would have been a jumble of campers, cars, trucks, etc.

            I had a small notebook with me, and I took down the names of the dancers, their tribe affiliation, where they lived and their e-mail addresses. It’s my habit to always send the best shot of my subjects to them as a thank-you. I would also respectfully ask each if they would tell me their Indian name. Indians have an “English” name and many also have an “Indian” name that is given to them in a sacred ceremony.  I had been cautioned by a Blackfeet elder to tread lightly when asking for an Indian name. “It’s kind of personal,” she had said. Some told me their Indian names. Some didn’t. I decided not to include in my captions what Indian names I was given.

            The photographs here are what I think are my best.

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 Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

This Week in Photography: Embracing Change

 

 

Change is as good as a holiday.

That’s what my old friend Pappy used to say.

(And I happen to agree.)

 

 

 

 

 

Change is most often thrust upon us, as few embrace it willingly.

(Only after the fact, when we reap the spoils, do we begrudgingly admit it was worth the effort.)

That said, change has come to this column, and I’m all for it.

I’ll still be writing for you twice a month here, (which got slightly lost in my announcement last week,) but I went with the hubbub, because the week in, week out endeavor, over the past 11 years, helped define my life.

No lie.

But now it’s time for something new.

I can (occasionally) be as reluctant to change as the next person, but when we enter a new life phase, we see things differently.

Growing older, experiencing more life, and hopefully acquiring (some) wisdom means we’re able to attack the same problems with different solutions.

Or acquire different opinions from what came before.

And that last bit is motivating today’s column.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was talking with a client the other day, and referred to my un-reviewable book.

The one book I’ve picked up, time and again, but put down.

Each time, I shake my head and say, “No, not today. I don’t see how to tell this in a way that’s not offensive.”

And so I’d set the book back on the shelf, only to pick it up six months, or a year later.

Frankly, I’ve grabbed it three times in the last month, but think today, for whatever reason, I’ve finally cracked the code.

 

 

 

 

 

“Upstate,” by Tema Stauffer, published by Daylight in 2018, turned up in the mail three or four years ago.

As you already know, (having reading this far,) up until now, I’ve had a hard time expressing my thoughts about “Upstate.”

I don’t hate this book.

Not at all.

(Not even a little.)

But it is hard to write about, because I don’t like it that much either.

A few weeks ago, I discussed the idea that sometimes the established, expected format of a book, (essay, plates, essay) can do it a disservice.

(If the creative team takes no chances.)

And for me, these cultural landscape images speak to that even-steven, middle of the road, well-established, Alec-Soth-shooting-style we’ve come to know so well over the last 15 years.

Plus, the poverty reminds me of so many Appalachian books I’ve seen before, or just rural poverty porn in general.

(In this case, we’re seeing Hudson, New York.)

Yet I’m certain some of you will like the photographs a lot. Maybe even love the book.

(Art is subjective.)

For me, a book that is conventional, and reminiscent of so many other projects in its design, shooting style, and subject matter becomes, somewhat by definition, average.

Nice.

Fine.

More than acceptable.

Perfectly competent.

But it’s not memorable.

And historically, whether reviewing a book, or writing about portfolios from a festival, I like things to be distinctive.

To stick in my mind.

This book never did, until it finally did, for being something of a cautionary tale.

So there you have it.

Since this is an edgy take, I’m sure some of you will disagree with me.

(No worries.)

See you next week.

 

To purchase “Upstate” please 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 books by artists of color, and female photographers, so we may maintain a balanced program. And please be advised, we currently have a significant backlog of books for review. 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Deanna Dikeman

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:  Deanna Dikeman

 

For 27 years, I took photographs as I waved good-bye and drove away from visiting my parents at their home in Sioux City, Iowa. I started in 1991 with a quick snapshot, and I continued taking photographs with each departure. I never set out to make this series. I just took these photographs as a way to deal with the sadness of leaving. It gradually turned into our good-bye ritual. And it seemed natural to keep the camera busy, because I had been taking pictures every day while I was there. These photographs are part of a larger body of work I call Relative Moments, which has chronicled the lives of my parents and other relatives since 1986. When I discovered the series of accumulated “leaving and waving” photographs, I found a story about family, aging, and the sorrow of saying good-bye.

In 2009, there is a photograph where my father is no longer there. He passed away a few days after his 91st birthday. My mother continued to wave good-bye to me. Her face became more forlorn with my departures. In 2017, my mother had to move to assisted living. For a few months, I photographed the good-byes from her apartment door. In October of 2017 she passed away. When I left after her funeral, I took one more photograph, of the empty driveway. For the first time in my life, no one was waving back at me.

 

To see more of this project, click here

To order her book “Leaving and Wavy” click here

Instagram

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 Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

The Daily Edit – Colin Wiseman: Writer and Photographer

According to Gerry Lopez, “Bells are one of the things that Japan does better than anywhere else in the world.” Ringing the bells under heavy snowfall on our first day in Niseko at Hanazono, Hokkaido, Japan.


Colin Wiseman

Heidi: How has being both writer and photographer informed your photography?
Colin: The storytelling aspect of being a writer (and editor/photo editor) helps me approach photography with a deeper vision of the final product. It allows me to see the whole story and create a visual narrative that fills in the gaps between peak moments. Sometimes, in action sports and otherwise, the context in between the main objectives are where the true story lies, and it’s important to keep an eye out for the less obvious images that can be the most honest and impactful. It’s easy to forget that if you aren’t focused on a cohesive narrative.

Did you start out knowing you wanted to do both edit and photo/motion?
Ever since high school, writing and photography have both been interesting to me. They’re complementary pursuits, and I found storytelling through both copy and imagery to be a natural progression. Video came later. For most of my career, I thought I wouldn’t want to try to capture both stills and motion on the same shoot, but for some applications—particularly shoots where motion and moments are predictably repeatable—there can be effective balance without watering down the final product.

What have been the benefits of being a “dually” or multi-talented now that we have a thirst for content in the digital world?
For one, a brand or editorial title can save travel costs by sending a single person to get the whole story through copy, imagery, and potentially video. Second, the ability to understand the story in a holistic way—whether that’s a brand story or an editorial story—can allow me to provide a more cohesive and balanced final product as well. And third, photography serves as a visual notebook in a way—the photos bring me back to the moment and allow for vivid, detailed memories to draw upon while writing.

Big picture, with multiple levels of digital media, the content needs of any entity have grown exponentially. Being able to provide everything from stills to video and accompanying copy can feed the various levels of engagement that are all essential to successful tiered storytelling from print to web to social media. As someone who studied sociology for seven years, seeing the big picture is also fascinating to me, and being able to take a holistic approach to media creation is a fun puzzle to put together.

Were there any drawbacks?
It all takes time, and doing both a photo edit and copywriting on tight deadlines can demand a lot of creative energy. Writing, in particular, requires a spark that is hard to explain, and that happens after the trip, or interview, or engagement with the subject at hand. Sometimes when you sit down to write it flows almost effortlessly, but sometimes it doesn’t—the creative inspiration can arrive at odd hours, or even days or weeks after the fact. Photography generally has its creative moments before and during the shoot, but the back-end editing of my own work is more like hammering nails than playing music, which is the opposite of writing.

You recently finished a stint as a photo editor, did that role shed light on the art of pitching in stories and your photo work?
I recently spent about a year working in the photo and copy departments at Patagonia covering maternity and paternity leave for one of their photo editors and one of their managing editors of copy. Before that, most of my back end work had been as an editor, photo editor and content director for The Snowboarder’s Journal, which is an independent print title with a digital property, focused on a very specific core audience. My time at Patagonia certainly helped me understand the high volume of content required to support a larger brand in the outdoor space with strong and specific messaging, which speaks to a large and diverse audience. It certainly helped me understand how stories fit the brand message more effectively, and gave me a better understanding of how photography and copy flows between larger teams and how overall brand messaging flows into category-specific storytelling. Patagonia has a lot of moving parts and fitting work into the right spaces as a freelancer requires making everyone’s jobs easier through clear communication, clear understanding of the brand, and pitching work that fits into the aforementioned messaging pyramid.

Eric Jackson outside of Valdez, Alaska—the image that won Best Mountain Photo for Red Bull Illume 2021

Congratulations on the RedBull Illume award, why did you submit that image?
Thank you. Winning Best Mountain Photo at Red Bull Illume is a career highlight as someone who shoots action sports. I actually submitted that image to the Raw category, so it was a raw file with zero edits in post. The light, shadow, and immensity of the Alaskan landscape fit well into what I saw as a successful raw image, but it ended up winning the Best Mountain Photo award, to my surprise. It was one of a few peak moments from a week in Alaska where we only got a few cracks at shooting big lines in nice light—after two days up there, wind scoured the range, and effectively shut us down.

Getting a high-level snowboard image in Alaska requires both a lot of planning and a lot of luck, and this one worked in a year where not a lot of people had success up in Alaska, so I thought it might stand out from the crowd. To get that shot, I was perched on a giant glacial ice bulge with massive crevasses just below. it was getting late, and we had to get out of the mountains soon. The wind was starting to below, making navigation difficult. Every year I try to get up to AK to shoot, and some years we walk away with nothing, so any successful image from Alaska is special to me.

Photograph by Agathe Bernard: Interview with her can be read here

Photograph  by Ola J. Chowela : Interview with her can be read here


What have you been working on lately that inspired you?
A lot of my inspiration comes from moments outside of work—evening light on my mountain bike above my house, pedaling alone with time to think. A powder day at the mountain with friends. A hike through big trees in clean air. A good conversation with a deep thinker. Things like that. I’ve been consciously expanding my work beyond the action sports realm in the past few years, and that has been both challenging and rewarding. The unpredictability of shooting with kids, for instance, requires a different approach than setting up a portrait or an action shot with a professional athlete. Working with video is also a fun and engaging pursuit, building a story through a somewhat familiar yet somewhat different medium.

During my time at Patagonia, I was able to work closely with the photo director on two projects in particular that really inspired my creative vision as a producer and editor. One was coverage of the Fairy Creek logging protests on Vancouver Island. I grew up nearby, and old growth logging has long been a controversial issue. To be able to provide a platform for Indigenous people to tell that story in their own words was very meaningful to me. Same goes for Patagonia’s strong messaging following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe V Wade. Having a diverse crew of photographers across the country capturing the protests, and delivering a strong message within 48 hours of the ruling, was both challenging and inspirational. To make space for diverse and often underrepresented folx to tell their own stories is incredibly rewarding. I have a lot to learn in how to navigate those relationships, and I’m inspired to do so.

This Week in Photography: The End

 

 

 

 

This weekly column is coming to an end.

 

 

JB, 9:15 am MST, 08.26.22

 

 

 

 

I’ve sat on the news for a while, waiting for the right time to drop it.

(And today is the day.)

I should say, straight off, that I won’t be going away entirely.

You’ll still get to read my rambling, discursive musings every other week, here at APE.

But on October 7th, 11 years after I began writing for you each Friday, the streak will be snapped.

The photo industry is not remotely what it was, when I began the column in 2011, and change is a healthy and natural part of life. (Especially as this blog is supported by neither subscription fees nor ads.)

It is what it is, but I must admit, after living under the yoke of a weekly deadline for this long, I’m excited to see what it’s like without the structure.

So after today, only five (weekly) columns left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all began when I was on the hustle, during The Great Recession.

In the late spring of 2010, Rob Haggart put out a call for images of the cataclysmic economy on APE, (a colleague was looking for photos for a story,) so I sent him a project I had.

 

Gas station grocery shelf, Antonito, CO, 2009

 

I was psyched Rob replied, liking the pics, so I told him I was about to attend two big photo festivals, back to back, and as a burgeoning blogger, perhaps I could report on them from the field for APE?

He agreed to publish my articles, and liked the work, so he then offered to pay my expenses on a trip to NYC, to cover the PDN Photo Plus Expo for the blog.

(As you might image, I was blown away, and jumped at the chance.)

A guy I knew on Twitter, Richard Bram, told me he’d be there too, so we agreed to meet up in the cavernous Jacob Javits Center on the West side of Manhattan.

We connected, and I found Richard charming, knowledgable, agreeable, and just fun and easy to be around.

In the end, I mentioned Richard in the article, and so began a long and fruitful friendship.

He’s been featured in more articles than anyone else, as off the top of my head, I recall a festival in Houston, museum visits in Brooklyn and London, eating in a little Ramen shop in the East Village, and a fish and chips joint on the Thames in 2019.

 

Fish and Chips, Limehouse, London, 2019

 

And wouldn’t you know it, but for the first time ever, Richard came to visit last Friday, and stayed the night here at our place.

The timing was perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be in New Jersey next week for my first major photo/writing gig for a big-time, international publication.

(I can’t share details yet.)

As such, I’ve spent weeks checking my gear, ordering new equipment, and building a battle plan to be the mobile, nimble, 21st Century digital journalist on the go.

So of course Richard and I would end up testing equipment, talking endlessly about the intricacies of fill flash, and geeking out as hard as we could.

Richard admitted he’d been in the theater growing up, with parents who acted in local community productions.

He also has a distinguished face, and knows how to use it.

Therefore, Richard modeled while I switched cameras and lenses, tested out my lighting kits, and did a deep dive into a different type of photography.

(Most of the time, I think myself more artist than photographer, but I’ve shot my share of weddings, headshots, passport photos, graduation pics, etc.)

Here are a few of my favorites.

 

Richard was there with me at the beginning, in 2010, and was here at the end too, in 2022.

{Ed note: To reiterate, this is the end of an era, not my time here as a writer. You’ll still get me 2x a month.}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As gifts, Richard brought a lovely woodblock print he’d made in Oaxaca this winter, and a ‘zine that came out last year.

 

 

Normally, I look at submissions in the order they arrive, but have made exceptions over the years, (including with Nancy Baron’s ‘zine recently,) so we’re going to check it out, but keep it brief.

(Since I dropped some big news on you at the outset, we’ll go short and summery today.)

The ‘zine is called “The Red Cube,” was was published in 2021 by Bump Books.

It features many looks at Isamu Noguchi’s classic sculpture in Lower Manhattan, which was a block away from where Richard and his wife lived during their New York years. (In between stints in London, but in case it’s not clear, Richard is American.)

The ‘zine, too, (with that big red cube in the background,) spans an era, between 2011-2020.

There’s not much to say about this that the photos below won’t show.

It’s a series of street photographs in the Financial District of NYC, and feels like a love letter to the city, now that he’s moved on.

 

 

 

 

 

New York has been featured more times in this column than any other locale.

I’ve covered countless NYC gallery and museum exhibitions over the years, hit the High Line, eaten at the cronut shop, dodged snowflakes the week before Superstorm Sandy, gorged on pizza, and done a 6 year stint at the NYT, all during the time of this weekly column.

 

Me and Jessie on the High Line, 2018

 

I had a daughter, got two dogs, built a career, saved my wife from the ravages of clinical depression, made countless friends, lost some too, was a college Art Department Chair, traveled the US, blogged for The New Yorker, and learned more about the world, my craft, my community, and myself, than I ever could have imagined.

So I hope you enjoy this last 6-week run, (including today,) before I retire the weekly-columnist-mantle.

I appreciate all the time and energy you’ve given us over the years, and the opportunity Rob has provided.

Hope all is well, and catch you next week!

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Jennifer MacNeill

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:  Jennifer MacNeill

Assateague Island is a barrier island on the East Coast of the United States facing the Atlantic Ocean. The northern portion is part of Maryland, and the southern end is in Virginia. Children’s book author, Marguerite Henry, brought attention to the island in her 1947 classic, Misty of Chincoteague, acquainting young people all over the world to the spirited equines that call it their home. It was first through her books that I formed an interest in this land and its animals, however I had to wait until I was an adult to visit in person.

Since 2010 my family has been visiting Assateague Island every year at least once. We prefer to go off-season when the biting flies and beachgoers are lessened. Even in the middle of winter there is so much appreciate. I used to only go to view the feral ponies but they’re sometimes hard to locate in the cold months, so I learned to see the beauty in the overlooked elements, lichen covered branches, a mushroom growing out of a manure pile, a tree bent over time by the strong ocean winds. While the ponies are still my favorite part, Assateague has helped teach me to appreciate the beauty of nature in all seasons and I seek to show others what I have learned to see there.

  

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

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 Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

The Daily Edit – Forest Woodward: Personal work, Lake Powell

Lake Powell

Photographer and writer: Forest Woodward

Heidi: Why did you choose to photograph this only in black and white?
Forest: My entry point into the photographic world was, at a very young age, through the alchemical space of the black and white darkroom. It was a place that shaped the foundation of my vision, and my way of seeing in the world. Over the past two decades I have learned to work in color, and it has served me well for interpreting editorial and commercial assignments in the mode of the times. I have always however, reserved a special place in my practice for black and white, a place that I most often visit when I am working on personal stories. It is a way of seeing and working that helps distill the world around me into essence, light and form.

Was it exclusively shot on film? 
Yes – all of the work was shot on film, a mix of medium format and 35mm.

How did your connection to nature, movement and climate work inform this work?
There’s a lot in that question. My work and interest in the human relationship to nature and our effect on the climate goes way back. As does the process of movement through land as a way of coming into conversation with it. Growing up as a kid roaming game trails in the mountains around our home, and later working in the outdoor industry climbing and running and navigating rivers, movement across land has always connected me to a deep source of intrigue and creative inspiration.

Today so much of the work I encounter in the world comes from a place of talking about nature, about the human effect on climate, about what projections of past and future show us. Those stories are important. But I also think we need more stories that are in conversation with the land, that are informed by a process of immersion, a reappraisal of the importance of emotional and immersive relationship to specific biospheres. Lake Powell is running dry, the West is in a mega drought, Glen Canyon was drowned. These are things that we know – that the data reveal, that science supports, and history has catalogued. These facts are important to consider – they will shape the decisions we make going forward, the policies and actions we take both individually and collectively.

But beyond what can be extrapolated through the analysis of data sets in an air conditioned office in DC, I am interested in what the landscape might offer when it is involved in the conversation in a less abstract manner. This is where the “movement” comes in. The idea of immersing in landscapes and spending long periods of time moving by foot (or in this case by paddle) across the land. It is in this way of moving, watching, listening and interpreting (through words or images or other creative expression) that allows (in my mind) a more nuanced  and emotionally vibrant conversation to emerge around the human relationship to the land.

This was an immersive project, you did the writing as well as creating a body of work, what did you enjoy about that process?
Yeah I really enjoyed that way of working. There are some encounters in a project like this that call for a photograph, others for a words. Rarely do I find a single mode of working is the best for all situations. To have the opportunity to weave words and images together, to let them inform and come into conversation with one another allowed for a more relaxed and honest approach. Neither medium was asked to do more than I could will it to do, but through the relationship created between words and photos I feel at times a third creative form emerges in the space between them.

What did this 130 mile packraft* journey teach you about yourself as a creative?
(*it was a mix of packraft and sea kayak and hiking)
This project in particular was a good reminder to carve out longer periods of time to immerse in a landscape, to return multiple times, and to remain curious. I did a lot of research and reading prior to embarking on this project, and so came into the project with a lot of preconceptions. That was fine, important even, but then the work becomes letting go of those preconceptions in order to see what is actually there. This project reaffirmed my beliefs that the best pictures are not the ones that we set out to make – but rather the ones that find us along the way.

My role as a creative is to be disciplined and in touch with my craft in a way that allows it to be a nearly subconscious endeavor. This requires research combined with a technical and physical proficiency with the tools and in the landscapes being navigated. And then, those foundations being set, it requires a letting go, a release of preconceptions in order to actually be present and tuned to the complexities of that which is being experienced. Experiencing. In the rare instances that this is achieved I think the result is to make work that is honest. To me, that is the highest calling of the creative.

What would you tell your younger creative self?
I think actually I’m going to take some advice from my younger creative self, and give it back to my older creative self today. This is from the interview you and I did a few years back for aPhotoEditor, and it grows more true to me with each passing year:

“Do good work. Be kind to the people around you, and to yourself. Balance your idealism with healthy doses of action. Embrace failure and continually seek opportunities to learn – in whatever form or medium they might take. Question societal definitions of success. Make your own. Surround yourself with good people. And be one, as much as you can. Watch, listen, and when the time is right, act with conviction. Be willing to adapt, to move with the currents, to see from different angles, but don’t ever give up on the unique point of view that makes you you.”

Lake Powell

In the spring and summer of 2021, as Lake Powell plummeted toward its lowest recorded water levels since reaching full pool in 1980, Forest Woodward set out on a long unscripted meander through what was once Glen Canyon. Over two visits, in April and July, he sea kayaked and packrafted some 130 miles of the lake as the Colorado River muscled again through long-buried side canyons. When these images were made, the lake surface was between 3,565 and 3,559 feet, on its way down to this spring’s low of 3,522 feet—dangerously close to the level, at 3,490 feet, when the dam may no longer generate electricity. This April, the Bureau of Reclamation announced a plan to push more water down to the lake from Utah’s Flaming Gorge Dam, 730 miles upstream, while simultaneously slowing releases out of the lake from Glen Canyon Dam. Climate and drought may ultimately have the last word on Lake Powell’s future. Until then, these pictures and notes are Woodward’s attempts to hold on to threads of tangled beauty and the strange markings of a shifting world.

Images and words By Forest Woodward

April 4, 2021

I slept by the river last night. Smoked too many cigarettes. I watched a translucent spider weave a strange dance and woke to the Paria greeting the Colorado, the laughter of kindred currents gurgling downstream. Condors dozing, wings wrapped in clay, dreaming Pleistocene dreams in the cradle of a brown god that never sleeps. Breakfast in Page. Last-minute supply run, sunscreen, mezcal, apples, oats, coffee, jerky.

I have four days and a packraft, and I am fairly open to seeing where the wind and my stubby craft will take me. Emergent design if you will. In 2015, I sea kayaked 90 miles from Hall’s Crossing, on the lake’s western edge, to Glen Canyon Dam, and these two trips will mean I’ve paddled it end to end. A rather arbitrary achievement, and one that takes no account of the most interesting part—that the landscape here is never the same twice, and each canyon holds its own beauty and melancholy.

I walk out to a spot below the dam where someone not too long ago sat amidst the hum of turbines and carved the outline of a buffalo into the rock, along with an inscription that everything that was grasped by man would one day be free again. But now it’s gone.. Erased from the soft stone along with all the other marks of passing. I watch a canoe pick its way up the Colorado towards the base of the dam, slow strokes against deep current. It looks cool down there in the shade of the canyon, where the water moves again.

4.8.21
The body of a dead cow lies decomposing in the mud at the water’s edge when I arrive at Farley Canyon, on the north end of the lake. Even in the dark, I can see evidence of a struggle. I wonder how much this scene resembles what John Farley might have encountered when he ran cattle here back in the 1880s, when the Colorado River flowed free.

Trying to pinpoint the exact confluence of river and lake is a moving target, but Farley Canyon seems as good a launch point as any. Before the reservoir flooded this area, Utah State Route 95 crossed the river here, and I figure I can put in at the mouth of the canyon. In the morning, I push off past the dead cow and a couple fishing for largemouth bass. Swamp Donkey Jill, one introduces herself, and offers me some live bait. “Usually the lake’s coming up a foot a day right now,” she says. “It’s sad to see.” She motions towards the mud rings that stretch some 80 feet up from the water’s edge. It’s hard to imagine that a post office and general store sit somewhere under all this silt.

I paddle for a mile, only to find that this finger of the reservoir is orphaned, cut off from the main body of Powell by the receding water. I pack my boat up and hike across mud flats. I check my GPS. It shows me in the middle of the reservoir, surrounded by water on all sides. I look back down at the cracked mud below my feet and walk on, avoiding bubbling sinkholes and gaping cracks between shifting mud pillars. Eventually I reach water. Water moving swiftly in the form of a river. Still no lake.

Unsure of what lies ahead, I cautiously put in, floating quickly through high banks of silt. After a couple miles, the river widens, rushing shallow and fast across riffles of sand. The movement swirls me into a fitful sort of calm, punctuated by the splash of carp and the awkward flapping of seagulls and pelicans. Bewildered and excited, I paddle on until dark and make camp beneath a large sandstone formation called Castle Butte.

The names we name things are telling of our ambitions.

4.9.21

Nothing is fixed, nothing is quite as it seems. All of the death out here—the cow, the drowned cottonwoods, the fish turned wrong side up—is evidence of that, evidence of how this place is ever so slightly out of balance. It is something felt, that can’t be seen from a plane or a boat. You have to get mired in the mud. Struggle to escape. Clamber up rock after rock covered in sun-bleached quagga mussel shells, razor-encrusted tombstones of the nonnative species that have infested Powell. You have to see the death, smell it, hear the buzz of flies, the stench of stagnation. You must also hear the raven’s laughter and the fighter-jet hum of ducks landing in isolated sink pools, the juvenile heron shitting himself as he cautiously learns to hunt, the trio of otters, the coyote who trots away out across the mud flats, seemingly quite content with the state of things.

4.10.21

I stop for lunch at a nondescript break in the rocks. Nudge a beer can out of the mud with my foot. Wonder who held it last and when. Turning it over in my hands, one side is bleached by sun and water, the other side looks like it could have been set down yesterday. I can barely make out the words “Good Luck” in faded print below a logo of a horseshoe. Good luck to whom, I wonder? To the person who threw it overboard? To the one who finds it? To the waters that covered it? To the drought that revealed it? To Glen Canyon? To Lake Powell? I flip the can end over end. Horseshoe

up, goodluck, horseshoe down, bad luck. Or is it the other way round? I wonder at this place, at the way it holds paradox. Does a thing have to be lost to be loved, destroyed to be appreciated? I toss the beer can into the bow of the boat. Horseshoe up, let’s hope we catch some luck—whatever that is.

4.11.21
I don’t think I possess the language to properly convey the strangeness of paddling through the desert as cliffs of sand calve like glaciers around you, rounding a bend only to be greeted by flocks of pelicans and a stagnant lake.

From my camp at the confluence of river and lake, I survey an old uranium-mining road running along the base of an imposing band of red Wingate cliffs, leading back to where my truck is parked. I expected to be able to paddle back to my launch point, no walking needed. But there’s a metaphor here about best-laid plans. The need to adapt. What happens when our best-laid plans rest on a flawed foundation? What does the West look like without her brimming reservoirs?

Me, I can just pack down the raft, strap it to my pack, and hike back the way I came. If only everything were that easy.

7.8.21
My packraft had proved about as efficient in the wind-chopped lake as a unicycle in quicksand, and for my trip in July, I find an old British sea kayak on Craigslist and head for the old Hite boat ramp, four miles upriver from Farley Canyon.

There is no lake now, just sand and rock and the muddy muscular flow of the Colorado carrying the last winter snowpack out of the high country. The flow carries me quickly through the layers of lakebed, 30-foot mud gendarmes calving like rotten glaciers into the flow. I stay towards the middle of the channel, bobbing over 5-foot standing waves carved from the sandy bottom. Dust devils tower and dive. A coyote carefully leads her pups down to the river to drink, scrambling away to a safe distance when she sees me. Rich green grasses have sprouted across the silt plain, and a rogue herd of cattle pause their meal to watch me pass.

Later, I will sit quietly at the head of the lake and watch as three otters play on the long mud banks below Wingate cliffs. This feeling of quiet and space will change as I move down into the reservoir, closer to the marina traffic and weekend crowds, but here, in this landscape of flux, I feel acutely aware of my human presence.

7.9.21
You try to come to a place properly. To greet the raven at the canyon’s mouth. To whistle with the wren as she sits on the lone branch. To walk slowly. To look about. There is a gravity to some places that is felt, not spoken or measured. You give a prayer of thanks; whatever that means to you.

I find the first feather in Ticaboo Canyon, a raven tail, and place it as an offering by the dark pool. The second feather is covered in mud, hung up in some branches. Raven wing. I place it in the creek to rest. The third feather is unmarred, as if just left, curled upwards, the down of a dark chest, I think. I hesitate. Look around. Reaching for it, I place my thumb and forefinger gently on the quill. As I lift it, I hear the raucous calls of a pair of ravens watching from downcanyon. I do not know what they are saying. I don’t know the difference between a good and bad omen, only that it is an omen.

7.10.21
I wake to the sound of wind-pressed waves and the sun low but already scorching across the shimmer of the lake. Pushing off , I soon encounter a Forest Service research crew hauling in an endangered razorback sucker, monitoring the spawning range of the fish. There’s a surprising amount of animal life out here. I’m curious how when a landscape becomes less desirable for humans, it might in some ways become more desirable for other life forms.

Animals I’ve encountered on Lake Powell:

Ravens (a dozen)

Coyote and kits

Blue heron

Egret

American koot

Schools of stripers

Osprey

Golden eagle

Egret

Cattle

Sparrow

Bat

Swift

Weasel

Carp-eating clams

Razorback sucker

Lizards, 4 species

Otter

Human

7.10.11
Walking up from the water’s edge in the side channels of Moki Canyon is a walk through the many cultures of spring breakers that have come and gone here. Glow sticks. Sunglasses. Beach towels, a boomerang, ice bags, squattie potties. These canyons are sacred to many peoples, but none more so perhaps than the spring breakers—at least that is if we are to judge by the artifacts. I grew up on stories of Glen Canyon, but even if the reservoir were to fully drain, it would still leave us with a silted shifting world, far from the Glen Canyon of waterfalls and hanging gardens known by the ancestral Puebloans. I kick at a half-buried piece of towel, unearthing a red Solo cup.

It’s interesting how unaware of their wake people are. In one narrow stretch of canyon, a beefed-out wakeboarding boat throttles past me, shouting out a request for directions, which I give them with the motion of a hand. They wave a friendly thanks, disappearing around the bend as their 4-foot wake ricochets off the canyon walls and threatens to swamp my little craft. They mean no malice—they’re just unaware of their effect, the reciprocity between them and water and rock and me. Somewhere in there I suppose there’s a lesson. We all drive big boats some days.

7.11.21

I race a houseboat from Forgotten Canyon, where the ancient Defiance House sits just above the bathtub ring, to Moki Point. I don’t think they know we are racing, but still I win, and that feels good. I swim in the lake—well, I fall in, trying to get water, but it’s my first swim after many trips here, and it feels nice. The lake is a place of reciprocity, it seems. I pick an old Coors can out of the mud, and not ten minutes later am gifted a full Dr Pepper (my favorite!) floating in a side channel. Maybe the canyon is more like the giving tree—giving a place to keep water, then giving the water away.

People talk about caring about the earth, but what they’re usually talking about is caring about a select few playgrounds, curated parks where they climb or bike or hunt. Would we believe someone who said they loved us but only ever saw us dressed up for Sunday service? To really care for something, we’ve got to become acquainted with all sides of it—the dark, the ugly, and the painful alongside the beauty and softness. In my mind, if I’m going to say I love nature, I’ve got to go out and into these seemingly desecrated landscapes and see if I can sit within them, with the discomfort.

I struggle the 12 miles from Moki Canyon to Bullfrog Marina in a heavy headwind and stash my boat in a cove. The bustling energy feels harsh as I walk down the baking asphalt to the restaurant overlooking the marina. I slurp up a cold beer and fork down a salad, watching the Stanley Cup Finals as the sun ripples red gold across pockets of orphaned reservoir.

As I’m finishing my third beer and getting ready to head back down to my bivy bag, an older couple from Salt Lake City sidles up to watch the game. We get to talking about the glory days, decades past, when the reservoir sat high and proud on the land. They’re water skiers, and they tell stories of carving cursive lines across glassy expanses of water under deep redrock walls, secret canyons and sprawling bays blossoming up from dry earth. A place of endless possibility.

The water skiers mourn the reservoir of thirty years ago. I mourn the Glen Canyon I never knew. And while I get the feeling our political beliefs might be polar opposite, we sit here over our beers looking out onto a lake that is now miles away from where it once lapped at this deck, and we agree, this is sad. Ugly, beautiful, changing, and sad.

We agree the water is leaving the West, and something must be done. We agree that as long as this water is tied up in money, it will be difficult for people to agree what to do with it.

We agree that it would be better if more people understood the finite nature of the systems that support life in the American West. Water is what allows us to be here. When it runs out, so does our time on this land.

This Week in Photography: Breaking Good

 

 

 

“Better Call Saul” ended this week.

{Spoiler Alert.}

 

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman in the finale, “Saul Gone,” courtesy of imdb.com

 

 

 

It seems an antiquated concept: a “television program” that “came out” once a week, on a cable channel, with commercials.

(It ran on AMC, the network behind early century masterworks “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men.”)

“Better Call Saul,” if you’re not familiar, was set in Albuquerque as a prequel to “Breaking Bad.”

The two shows were part of the Vince Gilligan IP Universe that also includes the Netflix movie “El Camino,” and doubtless more to come.

But I digress.

That’s not what I want to talk about.

 

 

 

 

 

What I want to talk about is, “Better Call Saul” was a masterpiece.

10/10
*****
Five Stars
100%

 

I loved “Mad Men,” sure.

Not saying this is necessarily better. (Though it is probably as good, like “The Wire” level excellent.)

And just talking about all these anti-hero shows with straight White male leads gives me the queasies.

 

Courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

 

Despite his name being in the title, “Better Call Saul” was about so much more than Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman/Gene Takovic.

Week in, week out, the acting was inspirational. Along with Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn’s Kim Wexler performance was an all time great, as was Jonathan Banks as (for most seasons) co-lead Mike Ehrmentraut.

 

 

 

Among regular players, off the top of my head, Michael Mando, Giancarlo Esposito, Tony Dalton, Patrick Fabian, and Michael McKean all put in next-level work.

The legit heartbreak I felt as a viewer, watching Mando’s fan-favorite Nacho Varga sacrifice himself to save his father, earlier in the final season, was “Old Yeller” level sad, and that was just one part of the ride.

Or Tony Dalton swaggering around every scene he’s in as the menacing/charming, near-superhero level badass Lalo Salamanca?

So fucking good.

 

 

 

 

 

No day-player, walk-on ever slouched, either. (Can we give a shout out to “Parks and Rec” legend Jim O’Heir, who killed it in a late season cameo!)

 

 

The writing was mind-blowing, with respect to nuance, symbolism, plot and character development.

New Mexico was more an integrated backdrop than a heavy hitter, but that felt organic to the story too.

The cinematography so often made me think, or hit the pause button, with meticulous framing and camera placements.

Beyond that, I loved the emotional resonance, and non-traditional storytelling styles.

The way they used black and white versus color, as a way of separating timelines, and then weaving in entirely black and white episodes, with Carol Burnett at the end?

We’re talking Kurosawa-level craftsmanship.

 

Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran,” courtesy of RogerEbert.com

 

 

 

 

 

“Better Call Saul” was a slow-burn tragedy that always had Bob O around for a quick “sad clown” laugh.

And this is an actor talented enough to have won fans for his absurdist “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” in 1995, before morphing into a John-Wick-level badass in the 2021 sleeper action hit “Nobody.”

 

“Nobody,” image courtesy of Allen Fraser/Universal and the NYT

 

 

Who has more range than that?

For six seasons, no matter how many times it looked like Plucky Jimmy McGill might just turn the corner and make good, you’d remember you already knew where the finish line was: he ended up as Slick Saul Goodman, and then Sad-Sack Gene Takovic.

(Time to make the Cinnabons.)

This character would have would have no redemption, until the end.

Facing a mere 7 years in a cushy federal prison, he burned down an agreement with the government, and came clean in open court, in order to win back his self-respect, and the love of the great Kim Wexler.

They gave him 86 years in a freezing Colorado Supermax instead.

What an ending!

 

The penultimate scene in “Saul Gone.”

 

After six seasons spread over 7 years, the BCS creative team stuck the landing with a brilliant extended finale on Monday night, and maybe I’ll leave it there.

I guess you could watch the entire show, in a binge, on AMC+, if you were so inclined.

As an art critic, I’d highly recommend you do so, but hey, what do I know?

See you next week.

 

 

The Art of The Personal Project: Amira Karaoud

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:  Amira Karaoud

 

Eleven hundred years ago, a remarkable early Arab historian, al-Mas’udi, compares the task of telling the Arab story to that of ‘someone who has found a scattered hoard of gemstones of all different kinds and colors, and has then strung them in order and turned them into a precious necklace.

By contemplating the individuality of immigrant and first-generation Arab women living in the United States, Heya contemplates their relationship with their identity in contemporary society. By highlighting these women’s diverse beliefs, up-bringing, and experiences, this project strives to illuminate the unique color and nuance of these Arab Women, adding color to the precious necklace of an empire.

Aida Al Masalkhi, 28 years old lawyer, born and raised in Kentucky to Syrian parents.
Mette Loulou Kohl, 33 years old, born and raised in NYC to Palestinian Lebanese mother and Danish father. Mette is an artist and educator.
Nadia Al Masalkhi, 23 years old born and raised in Kentucky to Syrian parents. Nadia is a graduate student at UC Berkley in sociology.
Linda Omar, 30 years old born and raised in Chicago to Palestinian parents. Linda is a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of health promotion and behavioral science in the school of public health, University of Louisville.
Joy Ameena Garnett 52 years old born and raised in NY to Egyptian mother and American father. Joy is a painter and writer.
Dina Fahmi, 27 years old born and raised in Kentucky to Egyptian parents. Dina is a consular at a residential center for violent teenager girls.

To see more of this project, click here

Instagram

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 Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

Pricing & Negotiating: Ambassador Portraits For An Apparel Company

PRICING & NEGOTIATING: AMBASSADOR PORTRAITS FOR AN APPAREL COMPANY

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Studio portraits of four brand ambassadors for an apparel company

Licensing: Web Advertising, Web Collateral, OOH (out-of-home), and POS (point-of-sale) use in the US and Canada of up to 24 images for one year from first use.

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium-size, full service

Client: Apparel company

The client had four brand ambassadors that they wanted to photograph in a studio on one shoot day, and we were provided a creative brief showing them interacting with a few props while dressed in the apparel company’s clothing. They needed two looks with three poses each for all four talent, which would yield 24 images.

Fees

While the licensing could be limited to one year, they did have broad usage plans, including potential placement on large out-of-home displays and within the retail environments (POS) where the apparel would be sold. Even though they wanted multiple looks and poses for each talent, it was clear from the brief that they’d likely use one final image per subject. I decided to price the usage by the subject, and included $4,500 for each, totaling $18,000, and then added a $2,500 creative fee on top of that. While we typically combine creative and licensing fees into one line item, we were specifically asked by the agency to break these two line items out on our estimate. In addition to these two fees, I also added a pre-light/fit day fee for the photographer at $1,000, which included one day in the studio prior to the shoot — to set up lights and for the styling team to assess wardrobe with the talent.

Crew

We included a producer to help line up all aspects of the production, along with two assistants, all of which would attend the pre-light day as well. Additionally, we included a digital tech and a production assistant. Typically, I don’t include half days for crew members, but the photographer had crew at the ready who could jump in for a half-day to help set up lights on the pre-light day, and I based these numbers on local knowledge of rates in this specific market.

Styling

While the client would provide all of the apparel, we included a wardrobe stylist for both the pre-light day and the shoot day to manage inventory, prep the outfits, and help the talent try on and ensure proper fitting. We also included a hair/makeup stylist and a prop stylist to acquire a few minor items. We anticipated the prop stylist could procure these supplemental items and just drop them off at the studio, rather than needing multiple shop and return days.

Health and Safety

We included a covid compliance officer and testing as requested by the agency. As a cost-saving measure, they asked us if we could include PCR tests just for the subjects (two of which would have parents in attendance who would also be tested) as well as the two clients attending. Everyone else was approved to just use rapid tests prior to the shoot.

Location

The photographer had a studio in mind that offered a flat $2,000 fee for a half-day pre-light and a full shoot day.

Equipment

We included an adequate fee for both the pre-light and shoot day for cameras, grip and lighting equipment, plus a fee for the digital tech’s workstation on the shoot day.

Meals

I included $60 per person for a light breakfast and lunch on the shoot day.

Miscellaneous

I added a bit of a buffer for unforeseen minor expenses and also a nominal fee for insurance to contribute to the photographer’s existing policy.

Post Production

We included $500 for the photographer to perform basic color correction of the content and delivery of a gallery, plus $300 for a hard drive. The agency would provide further retouching on the selects.

Results

The photographer was awarded the job.