Featured Promo – Tanya Goehring

Tanya Goehring

Who printed it?
Blurb, Premium

Who designed it?
My rep/photo consultant Monashee. She is a master at pairing images from different shoots to create really nice stories and layouts.

Tell me about the images.
The images chosen were a combination of still life, portraits, and lifestyle. This was the first promo I was going to be sending out, so we wanted something that gave a good overview of my capabilities and style with an emphasis on how I approach storytelling and how I move between people, places, and objects fluidly. I shoot many different genres and what weaves it all together is my style. We also wanted to infuse my creative work (seen in some of the conceptual fashion work) into the promo so it felt connected through my overall style and creative viewpoint. In this promo, we chose to focus on conveying what I can do for a client and what I bring to the table creatively.

How many did you make?
I printed 40 promos. Because I’ve never sent a print promo before, I wanted to create a more comprehensive and special promo to introduce myself to a select few clients in a more impactful way.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first ever print promo and it was ready to go out into the world just as covid hit… so you are one of the first people to actually receive it ;). I’m looking forward to sharing it with the people I had planned, however, it’s definitely a challenge when people are still working from home. It’s a bit awkward not knowing where people are and if it’s cool to send it. My plan was to send out a larger promo every 1-2 years and do smaller print promos 2 x per year. We’ll see what happens once the world turns around.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’m very hopeful they are! I love print and I feel that seeing work in print helps show a client how it would and could be used and print is definitely one way that it would be used.

This Week in Photography: Guille and Belinda



I’ve been trapped on a farm for 13 months.

(Strange times.)


Given the state of the world, it’s not a bad place to ride out a plague year.

Most people would consider it paradise.

While so many others have to dodge people in cities, wondering whether the asshole jogger up ahead just spewed deadly virus-air in their jet stream, I’ve had no such issues.

While so many others chafe at the masks they must wear all day, I’ve spent each day with my face uncovered; not out of political belief, (you all know where I stand on that,) but rather because there are no other people around.

Living on a horse farm, at the edge of a box canyon, near the base of the Rocky Mountains, I never see people at all.

At least, no one beyond my family.


It’s been something of a fairy tale, as we’ve lived each day, our little clan, with the horses, dogs, cats, magpies, ravens, red-tailed hawks, rainbow trout, coyotes, gophers, deer, bear, and mountain lions. (I saw both mega-predators within a few days of each other, back in the fall.)

Yesterday, we had our first proper guest since September, as a photographer I met during the Denver reviews stopped by on his way home, and we went for a socially distanced walk.

It’s hard to believe I went half a year without seeing anyone but my family here, but this pandemic reality is anything but normal.

Living like this, while preferable to getting Covid in a Brooklyn bakery, (which happened to a dear friend of mine,) has been a bit of a mind-fuck, for sure.

It’s made things that might normally be ordinary seem symbolic, and the oddity of the local culture, which was built by Spanish colonists centuries ago, seem all the more evident.

Such is life.

But today, I looked at a photo book that reflected my experience back to me, as if through a window into Bizarro reality, where things seemed the same but terribly different. (While I’m a total Marvel movie-head, I was a sucker for the Superfriends cartoons on TV back in the early 80’s.)


Bizarro Superman


I opened up “The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Illusion of an Everlasting Summer,” by Alessandra Sanguinetti, sent to me in September by the fine folks at MACK in London, and am glad I did, as it put my life in the context of so many other rural-dwellers, populating backwater outposts of the former Spanish Empire, here in the 21C.

I requested this book a while back, in #2020, and then forgot I did, as my brain has turned to mush, and fortunately, so many books have come in since then.

But when I saw the date-stamp on the box, I had a feeling what might be inside, and got excited, as I saw the first part of this project ages ago, when I began exploring the photo blogosphere in early 2009.

Not to skip too far ahead, but that thought went though my mind, as I was looking at the book.

I thought, “I remember loving some of this work in 2009.”

Then, I turned the page, and the photo had a calendar on the wall that said 2009.

These days, it’s easy to find kismet in the tiniest of details. (And I had the same experience, feeling like the editors read my mind, while looking at Mark Ruwedel’s excellent MACK book a couple of months ago.)


To get back to the beginning, this book features a lengthy series the artist made about her two cousins, who lived on what is now an abandoned farm in the back country of Argentina.

They managed to grow up in one of the few enclaves of the former Spanish Empire that might be more remote than the one on which my wife was raised, and we’re rearing our kids.

But the horses, chickens, big skies, broken fences, I recognized it all.

(Though I should admit our home and family farm are decidedly more First World. I don’t want to exaggerate.)

Irrigation ditches, kids playing pretend, roaming the country side, staying busy through their imaginations, it’s all there.

And in the opening essay, Ms. Sanguinetti writes of her cousin’s desire to be singer, and or work with animals, and my daughter went though both of those phases as well. (Instead of a Youtube star, now she wants to be a dog trainer.)

This book undercuts much of the advice I often write, about having a book vary images sizes, or styles. It doesn’t break up the narrative, intersperse text, or really offer any bells and whistles at all.

Rather, because the narrative time-jumps, and the young girls become mothers, and all the images are great, and the printing quality is so high, the book holds your attention anyway.

(Rules are meant to be broken, and some books can keep you turning the pages without using new-style design tricks, so I guess it’s important to keep that in mind.)


The world, as I’ve written recently, is in the process of re-opening.

Our little bubble has been popped, as my children returned to school this week, and getting to play with other kids, to socialize in packs, to dunk on 8 foot basketball hoops, and re-engage muscles on the monkey bars, has made them happier than they’ve been in a long time.

Conversely, my daughter made a toast at dinner on Sunday night, (our last in official lockdown,) and thanked the three of us for giving her the best year of her life.

Our little fantasy-land might have been stultifying, but it also felt like there was magical fairy-dust in the air, giving us our own marooned life, in a sea of Trumpian chaos.

And her speech was a moment I hope to remember forever.

This book has that feeling, like we’re getting a window into a fantasy world that was existing right there, hidden in plain sight, in a quiet, remote corner of Planet Earth.

I’m sure you’ll love it.

I know I did.

To purchase “The Adventures of Guille and Belinda…” click here 


The Art of the Personal Project: Greg Funnell

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:  Greg Funnell

My interest in photography has always been in that of the unobtrusive observer. I want my work to feel as authentic and as involved as possible whilst highlighting the details and moments that I want to dwell on momentarily. Over the years I have been drawn to photograph sports and events that are slightly out of the ordinary. I find the contest itself takes all the attention of the crowds; the drama, spectacle and theatre that surrounds it then becomes a ripe arena for photography. There is something about the nature of sports and competition that gets to the very heart of our tribal roots.

To see more of this project, click here.


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

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 – El Salto: Byron Maher

El Salto

Art Director: Byron Maher

Heidi: How did this idea come about?
Byron: This idea came about to illustrate an article about racist bullying in schools in Spain. This is a delicate yet invisible topic and is not given enough importance by teachers nor senior leadership in schools. Because of this, we had to look for an image that expressed the true severity and consequences of racism going unchecked. Straight away we thought of the white pencil as a representation of the KKK but we did not know how to execute it. Then we remembered one of the posters of the movie Blackkklansman by Spike Lee. The idea of presenting a close-up of a pencil fit perfectly. In fact, I copied the hollow of the eyes in the exact same way as the Blackkklansman poster. I usually get a lot of inspiration from films.

How many issues have you designed? Is this job your act of resistance?
The newspaper I work for has already published 48 issues. I have put love into designing each and every one of them. One of my tasks (among other not so fun things) is to create designs and illustrations around social or political issues. This is my job. However, to work for a newspaper like El Salto, without bosses, self-managed and free from advertising revenues from dodgy companies, makes every day an act of resistance in a capitalist system.

When did you know art and social justice was your calling? What was some of your early work like?
At first, design was a way of making a living and I did advertising work for small companies and design studios from the age of twenty. I started to use design for social issues during the 15M indignados movement. There I saw a clearer objective for my designs and I began to make posters for protests against the government and visuals for self-managed film festivals. During these years, I also began artistic projects with other artists and activist groups.

You take images and also draw, does one inform the other?
Yes, without a doubt, although I am clear about the differences, I think that working with different disciplines enriches the projects and gives you more freedom when thinking and carrying out different concepts.

What role does art have in the world today, in your mind?
It is necessary to clearly differentiate between the art circuit/market and artistic processes that happen outside of the mainstream. In the art circuit, art plays a deactivating role and ends up serving as another spokesperson for reproducing discourses that perpetuate oppressive systems, even if they seek otherwise. The space and the environment ends up deactivating any act of dissent, turning it into a product. Fringe art is a wonderful field to explore and many projects and artists have been hitting hard.

What would you tell your younger self?
Everything will be turn out ok.

What are you working on now?
These days I am working on designing anti-fascist posters. The extreme right in Spain has carries a lot of support in the news media and there they are given a voice. We must prevent fascism re-entering Madrid via these extreme right parties in the next local elections.

Featured Promo – Joel Goldberg

Joel Goldberg

Who printed it?
I printed it with Mixam – they were extremely helpful throughout the process, allowed for a great deal of customization, and I was very pleased with their paper options/printing quality.

Who designed it?
I did! I’ve always had an appreciation for design and took a few classes in some of the appropriate adobe programs throughout my college career. Since my design skills are limited – I kept the book simple and practical. Imitating a cookbook style was the goal since I wanted this booklet to have a purpose.

Tell me about the images?
Throughout the year 2020, as work was sporadic (pandemic…), I had more time to dedicate and brainstorm about personal projects that I wanted to execute. I had dozens of ideas written down into a notebook, but an idea I jotted down which focused on citrus seemed the most relevant and intriguing. Originally, the project was going to cover lemons, limes, and oranges, with a sweet, savory, and drink image/recipe to go along with each.

I strive to provide a purpose, or message through my photography, which can sometimes be more challenging, or secondary, when comparing food photography to portraiture, or documentary photography. I kept brainstorming about how to make this project mean something, rather than just a collection of pretty food images…That is when the cliche phrase “When life gives you lemons” popped into my head. Although cliche, I ran with it — it was the perfect way to introduce my food photography, which might seem “irrelevant” during such a trauma filled time, and make it relevant, by reminding ourselves that throughout all of the stress, anxiety, sadness, and trauma we’ve all experienced this past year, it has been up to us to find the light to keep going. For years, I’ve worked on developing an artificial light setup that replicates a very specific form of natural light, not one that is direct and harsh with shadows that are dark and defined, and not one that is diffused by clouds, but a unique in-between. I finally nailed it about 2 years ago, and this book is a great example of that.

So, I decided to ditch limes and oranges (for now!) and run with just lemons. I put together 3 recipes with some inspiration from a variety of notable food publications.

The first pair of images of a Penicillin Cocktail – which is made up of a lot of immune-boosting ingredients, like honey, ginger, lemon, etc. I thought it was the perfect cocktail combination for the topic + time.

The second pair of images, Pasta Al Limone — is a classic Italian recipe, which incorporates all the works….parm, butter, carbs, etc. The addition of lemon juice and a lemon garnish really brighten and lighten up the dish.

The third pair of images – Candied Lemon Donuts is another riff on turning sour to sweet. It’s a simple recipe that doesn’t create a frying oil mess in the kitchen. Candied lemons are great for a number of things, and in this case, I loved how they photographed on a white glazed donut.

The book’s packaging is also carefully chosen – freezer vacuum seal bags which food is typically stored in, which was perfect for a book on food!

How many did you make?
3 dozen. The 3 dozen covered my current client base, a majority of prospective clients that I’m currently building relationships with, and a couple of close friends who wanted a copy for themselves.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Once or twice a year, no more than that unless it feels absolutely necessary. I would much rather put a great deal of time and effort into one solid promo, which will leave a lasting impression than send them out frequently, and be less effective. The timing is important too. I sent this out at the beginning of the year 2021…the book’s theme touched on turning a new page or finding light in a dark time, and the new year was a great time to capitalize on that.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Absolutely…just sending out a book won’t do it though. It still takes being consistent, building and managing your relationships with clients, and great work, to leave an impression. I have to remind myself that every day!

I think of it like hammer and nail. The nails are the client outreach, emailing, the social networking, relationship building, etc. A really good promo is your hammer. It’s your tangible work that shows your style and what you can do, allowing potential clients to pin you up on their board of people they might hire.

As a photographer, I know that my clients manage hundreds, if not thousands of emails from people just like me, who are trying to get their foot in the door. This promo has helped me get my work/name out there, but on its own, it won’t win me a job. It takes a village…

I once was told by an Art Buyer, when I showed up to a meeting with a physical portfolio, despite everything going digital, she said “there’s still nothing like printed, tangible work, nothing will replace it.” My printed portfolio allows you to remove+replaces an image at any time. She took advantage and kept one print for herself during our meeting!

This Week in Photography: Love in Wartime


“I am fighting this bureaucracy like a lion! I check every resource, I try every door, I talk to everybody I know. You will see, my darling, that I will succeed! It is only a matter of time, and time works to our advantage and it wants to unite us. Only us. Together.” Julek, January 12, 1946

“It seems sometimes that humanity is doomed. This is just a nightmare. And even a nightmare has its end.” Julek, June 30, 1947

“Americans are just big children and they are cruel; they don’t understand anything. Sometimes if feels that they are worse than the Gestapo and the SS. It pains me to write to you like this but don’t think, my love, that you are in paradise. This is not a land of democracy and freedom. No other country in this world has such cruel regulations. People have some empathy, heart, and feelings, but America is blind and just follows the rules.” Julek, July 15, 1948

“I feel more and more hatred toward this apparently ‘good’ America- everybody praises this country but it’s so far behind Europe in so many aspects of life.” Franusia, July 26, 1948

“I am full of suspicion against the Americans. They talk about this great freedom and they don’t let people in. They talk about all people being equal and they hang black men and kick out the Jews from colleges and elegant hotels. What is that?… I just heard that some white people just shot and killed a black man in your area and they were declared not guilty and released without any sentence. Such are examples of America’s democracy…Sometime soon it may be an embarrassment to be a US citizen, you will see!” Julek, January 28, 1949

“Today is Pesach and I am very sad- I miss you so much…When we will be together we will have real holidays. Here they just make a nice dinner. My uncle doesn’t believe in all this and my aunt has no idea what to do and how to behave. She just sits in front of the mirror and goes to the hairdresser and for massages to keep her waist line slim. I don’t understand how anyone can live like that. It’s an empty, vain life.” Franusia, April 21, 1949

“I am finally free. After all these years of suffering and obstacles, I am allowed to be with you and stay with you for the rest of our lives. I just want to take you in my arms now and press you to my heart, with no words- just us together in that embrace.” Julek, June 1, 1949


Some of my ancestors come from Poland, but I’m not sure where.

As an American Jew, I’m something of a rarity, as all my grandparents and one of my great-grandparents were born here. So I have no direct relatives who were killed in the Holocaust.

Rather, all my people, Blausteins from Poland, and Karstadts from Germany, were here in the early 20th Century.

These days, survivors are more and more rare, yet their stories are as important as ever.


I went to Poland once, on my first trip to Europe in 1997, but only to change planes in the Warsaw airport. I had plans for a longer stopover, but they fell through, and that was that.

The next year I went back to Europe, planning to stay for 6 weeks, but was so lovesick for my new girlfriend, (now wife,) that I lasted only 10 days in Italy.

My parents helped me change my ticket, so I could get back to America ASAP and visit Jessie, who was studying for the summer at Smith College, getting her Masters Degree in Social Work.

I remember seeing her come up the escalator, at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York, because reuniting with her was literally the only thing I could think about, even while I was roaming through gorgeous Italy, taking pictures with a Minolta SLR that I left on the train heading to the airport.

Love can cloud the mind, but also create a power that is difficult to defeat.


I’m writing this column during Passover, the Jewish holiday that honors my ancestors’ escape from Egypt, when ancient Jews were kept as slaves by the Pharaoh.

My kids are growing up in a part of New Mexico that actually looks a bit like Israel, the land of my people, even though New Jersey is my homeland, and one of their grandmothers is actually descended from French-Canadians, with an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.

We Americans are the world’s mutts, and many of us are proud of this fact.

Others, however, despise immigrants, or people who look or sound different.

Some of my fellow countrymen burn crosses, paint Swastikas, and or kneel on Black men’s necks until they’re dead.

As a society, we have at times embraced immigration, as we did during our Ellis Island phase, or restricted it, as when Chinese people were excluded for decades.

Like every society, our history is complex and bloody, but few others are as dualistic in their character, I’d suggest.

And these days, some of my countrymen are beating up old Asian ladies, kicking them in the street, as if such behavior is anything but the worst evil.

Welcome to #2021.


I’m going to keep it short today, as I opened with a series of quotes, which is something I’ve never done before. (Not to this extent, anyway.)

The come from a terrific, and very moving book that arrived in my mailbox more than six months ago: “Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime,” by Max Hirshfeld, published by Damiani in 2019.

It kept me reading for hours, and is riveting, though not a photo book in the traditional sense. Normally, such a publication would be built around the photography, but here, a series of letters between the artist’s deceased parents, Julek and Franusia, dominates, and rightly so.

There are also essays, and a set of images made on a trip the photographer took with his mother, back to Poland, in 1993.

But really, the letters steal the show.

During Passover, (which I don’t observe in the way I did when I was young,) we celebrate what is essentially an immigration tale.

All the Jews ran out of Egypt so quickly their bread didn’t rise, and then spent 40 years in the desert, before they found Israel, which Moses was forbidden from entering.

Heavy stuff.

In predominantly Christian America, that the Last Supper was a Seder, and Jesus lived and died as a Jew, is not widely discussed.

Yet every day, we hear stories of desperate Mexican and Central American children, alone, scared, running for their lives, who are met with nothing but scorn, and jail cells, at the Southern Border.

But there are also tales of brave people who hide bottles of water in the desert, or secretly offer housing and succor to those who risk baking to death in the sun, for a better life in America.

The letters in this book, written by two people who survived the Nazi Death Camps, reek of misery and desperation, as the lovers suffered further from a cruel, inhumane immigration system that might well have been tilted by anti-Semitism.

As with every good Hollywood story, this book has a happy ending, as Julek and Franusia were eventually reunited, had Max, and raised him in Alabama. (Too late for this advice, but if it were me, I’d have moved to New York. Dealing with Southern racists, after fleeing the Nazis, seems a bit too masochistic.)

You’ll read, in the quotes I published, a scathing take on America, back in the 1940’s, that feels like it could have been written today.

The Trump years, and the pandemic, have killed hope for so many.

But perhaps brighter days are ahead?

I’m no sooth-sayer, but I do think each and every one of us needs to ask ourselves, if Max’s parents could persevere, and ultimately reunite to love each other, and raise a family, perhaps we can re-open our hearts again too?

Just a thought.

See you next week.


The Art of the Personal Project: Tom Barnes

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: Tom Barnes

The Pemulung are scavengers, working on the dumps in Indonesia scouring through the waste to try and collect plastic to sell, or anything they can use. They work outside under brutal conditions, the smell is horrendous, and the heat unrelenting and they have no protective equipment. There is no shade apart from homemade shacks, and they work constantly – the sites operate 24 hours a day. With heavy machinery and ground giving way underfoot means it’s an incredible hazardous job and that is before we start talking about the trash they are picking apart.

Aiming to collect plastic to sell for processing, the Pemulung can earn about 6000RP/kg (Indonesian Rupiah) which is about £0.34/kg. If they find other things, they can use or sell that’s a bonus, and many have collected makeshift building materials and created shacks to live in on the dump. Their homemade carriers and tools help them to pick through the rubbish, tear open bags and carry huge amounts of plastic down the mountains of rubbish to sell.

This series shows the Pemulung as they go about their daily work on the dumps, working in the most miserable of conditions but always smiling. The scavengers work backbreaking long shifts in the worst possible conditions, surrounded by rotting rubbish they have some of the most resilient immune systems in the world and rarely get ill.

The portraits were taken at three major landfills, Bantar Gebang (Java, servicing Jakarta), Piyungan (Java, servicing Yogyakarta) and Suwung (Bali, servicing Denpasar) Each of the landfills differed in size and number of workers, Bantar Gebang is the largest of the three, at 200 acres and it is thought that over 100,000 people live on the dump.

I have to say a huge thanks to the wonderful people who stopped to have their portraits taken; you really are some of the most incredible people I have ever met. A massive thanks to Dery, Yusak and the local crews we met along the way, and thank you to the staff at the dumps for allowing us to shoot.

This was by far an away the toughest personal project I have undertaken. The conditions are terrible and the heat was unbelievable, I also dislocated my knee in one of the dumps trying to get out of the way of a charging bull, I need to say a special thank you to everyone at Piyungan dump who helped dragged me to safety, my fixers and the staff at Jogja Main hospital for resetting everything.

To see more of this project, click here.

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

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: Human Interest Video For A Restaurant

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Testimonial video of a real customer and employees

Licensing: Internal and Web Collateral use of all content captured in perpetuity

Director: Lifestyle and hospitality specialist

Client: Large restaurant chain

Here’s the estimate (click to enlarge):

Featured Promo – The Collective

What is the collective?
I have been working with photographers over the internet for over ten years. It is a small group of photographers and every assignment is drawn from real-life assignments. The Collective is a group of photographers who continue on with the community as legacy members. If a student completes the course they are de-facto in The Collective if they want to be. I have worked with and trained over 500 photographers in the past ten years, and some in the book are from the very first class I did. The Collective is a name we gave the book to feature the work of any member who wanted to be in it. We have a loose collection of members from all over the world. There is no additional cost for them to be in the collective issues, and we are hoping for two per year.

Who printed it?
It is a Blurb Trade book. I am super happy with the quality of the paper and the printing. And the price makes it affordable.

Who designed it?
I designed it. My background is in photography and design. (I once owned a very large ad agency in Phoenix where I was a partner and creative director.)

I am a bit of a minimalist in design, just get the photographs onto the page and make the viewer feel welcome and comfortable. Simplicity makes it seem more ‘portfolio’ like.

Tell me about the images?
The photographs come from all over the world and from photographers with diverse and multifaceted portfolios. Each photographer has two pages, and they are limited to one photo per page. Some of the photographers choose to make a more commercial shot and some stay in the editorial/art approaches. It is up to each to decide their imagery.

How many did you make?
The initial print run was 60. The photographers purchase a copy or three as well. The price for the book at Blurb are wholesale, no money is being made on the sale of the books, we just wanted to share them in book form. https://www.blurb.com/b/10321996-the-collective-ii-fall-2020

What have you learned teaching these aspiring photographers over the years?
I have been a photographer for many decades, and my entire life has been spent in the creative arts – jazz musician, designer, photographer, creative director, and creative consultant. I watched how the system had changed from the traditional learn to use a camera / become an assistant / start business. Harder and harder to do with smaller staff, digital, and the internet’s help. All the information that would have been learned by working with a busy photographer is all but lost to those starting out these days. Especially to those who are over forty (over 25?) and I wanted to provide that education on what to charge, how to handle clients, creating a portfolio that works, shooting to layout, working with AD’s and designers, marketing, and much more and pass it on to people wanting to work in this trade. Most of my students are over 40, and all of them are working as much as they wish to.

The book is a reminder that there are many ways to enter a creative life, and from any age.

This Week in Photography: Supporting Women


My daughter felt like shit this morning.


It’s been 12.5 months since she was in school with her friends, so that’s totally understandable.

But it’s rare, as throughout the plague year, her cheerful, positive, loving, considerate mood has rarely wavered.

(Unless she’s in a food crash, but again, that’s also understandable. Don’t we all get grumpy when the blood sugar drops?)

I spent a couple of hours helping her feel better, as that’s what parents do. But also because I owe her, as she always tried to help me this year, whenever I got down.

So we screamed out the door, into the field, cursing coronavirus.


courtesy of WebMD


Then I made her breakfast, and we commiserated.

She said it felt like rock bottom, (as they’re due to re-enter school in early April,) so I assured her it was normal to feel like it’s all too much, after such a long and unfair disruption.

We got through it, and once her brother and the dog woke up, (teenagers sleep late,) she didn’t feel so lonely either.

Honestly, I can’t believe what the world has expected of its children, as they’ve had to deal with the worst ramifications of collective behavior they played no part in.

We grownups made this mess.

That said, once moods turned for the better, she got excited to do an assignment I’d given her, writing a short story about what superhero she’d be, if she had the chance. (There was no school-work this week, as the teachers prepare for re-entry, thereby making parents full-time teachers again, like last spring.)

Amelie said rather than an existing super-hero, she’d want to be an Avatar, (From “Avatar the Last Airbender,”) named Amelie, who was from the water tribe, but she’d want to be able to fly without the assistance of a flying-staff. (Which Avatar Aang needed.)


Avatar Aang (courtesy of Nickelodeon)


We quickly switched to the topic of Korra, the female Avatar from the sequel series, “The Legend of Korra,” but Amelie said she would not want to be like her at all, and preferred to pretend that Korra didn’t exist.

Because unlike Aang, Korra always need help to defeat the big villains, as she wasn’t capable of doing it on her own. Also, Amelie described her as “selfish, self-absorbed and rude.”


Avatar Korra (courtesy of Nickelodeon)


Her brother joined the conversation, and both children suggested it was sexist, as the male Avatar was stronger than his female counterpart, and women could be powerful without being bitches. (Their word, not mine.)

So it came to be that my children, during Women’s History Month, critiqued Hollywood for its inherent sexism, even when attempting to be PC by making a female hero.

Hard to argue.

The truth is, I’ve been a feminist for decades, as my wife schooled me up when we met at 23. (I’m now 47.)

That it’s #2021, and women still face such violence, like the nightmare Sarah Everard had to endure, is beyond my comprehension.

Just yesterday, I saw a tweet from a female artist in Germany, bemoaning the fact that she wanted to learn to sail, but was too afraid to join a strange man on his boat, alone, for obvious reasons. (I immediately thought of Kim Wall, the Swedish journalist who was murdered on a psycho’s submarine a few years ago.)

Seriously, people, What the Fuck!

How are we living in a world where men, who claim to love their mothers, daughters and wives, so consistently subject women to sexual assault, harassment, or worse?

It simply makes no sense, and even though my daughter is tough, physically strong, and knows how to fight, I am constantly aware of how far she goes when she walks the dog alone, or who might be lurking in the shadows.

Can’t we do better, as a species?

I didn’t mean to start this column off on a negative, but am glad to say that today, we’re doing something a little different, and will publish a series of portfolios by some extremely talented female photographers, thanks to a heads up by my friend and colleague Jon Feinstein, of whom I’ve previously written.

Jon reached out a couple of weeks ago to point me in the direction of The Luupe’s print sale, in honor of Women’s History Month, and I was immediately intrigued.



The Luupe, founded by Keren Sachs, is a platform that connects female photographers with brands, and the sale was meant to support the artists, who also work commercially and/or editorially.

When I asked if some of the women might be willing to share their personal work with us here, five very talented photographers agreed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

We’re thrilled to publish these projects for you, and appreciate that the artists were generous in this regard, as I’m sure you’ll dig the work.

(The photographers are in no particular order, and if you’d like to support them by buying a print, all the better.)

Maria Louceiro is from Portugal, based in Berlin, and specializes in music photography. The images are dreamy, and I love her consistent, pastel color palette. Maria constructed her style by combining film and digital aesthetics, she wrote, in order to create an “ethereal/ otherworldly” vibe, which helps separate her from the crowd.



Penny De Los Santos, in contrast, was born in Germany, (from a military family,) but raised in Texas. She tends to photograph food, and we’re showing her series “Agave Spirit,” which documents families who work in the production of mescal in Central Mexico.

Her use of high-contrast black and white imagery amps up the tension, and if there is a better T-shirt out there than “Donald Eres Un Pendejo,” I’d like to see it. In our correspondence, Penny said “I have always been drawn to the cultural and spiritual connection people have with food. I’ve been lucky to spend most of my career documenting the way people gather and connect around it.”

We can only hope that by 2022, everyone in the world is able to share food, and congregate around tables again. Lord knows I miss it.


Jasmine Durhal is from Michigan, lives in LA, and goes by the name Jass in her commercial practice. She describes her style as being built upon “color theory, physical wellness and clean boldness,” according to her website.

Obviously, I spent a lot of time in my opening intro discussing female strength, and how rarely it is properly honored in popular culture. These images channel power and beauty in a way that just jumps off the screen, and I totally love them.


Amanda Lopez is also based in LA, and is sharing her series “Guadalupe.” She wrote a bit about the work for us, and this segment of the text seemed telling: “With the Guadalupe series, I wanted to pay homage to Mexico’s patron saint and capture the ways in which she’s impacted me. I also explore topics such as womanhood, masculinity, and piety. These photos ask, what does it mean to be divine? The project includes portraits of family and friends who share the same affinity to Guadalupe as I do, as well as images of apparitions found in various public places.”

The consistent use of pink and green is kind of amazing here, in particular the photograph with the sharp, painted fingernails contained within the mesh netting.



Finally, we’re featuring Natalie Jeffcott, who is based in Australia. (How’s that for a global article today?) Her series is called “Childhood Stories,” and I believe it’s the only one of the group that is explicitly related to the Coronavirus-lockdown.

All countries handled things differently, and according to Natalie, she was “limited to a 5km radius from my home.”

The pictures evoke a nostalgia for childhood, and hopefully one day, my children will be able to look back at this time and remember all the hours we spent together, snuggling on the couch watching movies, rather than the fear and anxiety that seemed to take over the world in #2020.

See you next week!




The Art of the Personal Project: Agnes Lopez

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


Today’s featured artist:  Agnes Lopez

With each portrait in The Faces to Remember Project I want to record my subject’s story indelibly. So far I have met and photographed Holocaust survivors, the first African-American schoolteacher at a historically all-white school in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, and Filipino veterans of World War II, who shed blood for the United States and then had to fight another 75 years to even be recognized for their service and sacrifices.

My process for creating these portraits centers on eliminating ornamentation. I want to take a simple photograph and yet have a strong impact on a viewer through my subject’s expression. This challenges me to connect with my subjects on a personal level.

It started with the portrait of a client’s grandmother, Ella Rogozinski, who survived the horrors of the Holocaust in Budapest, the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the death march to Bergen-Belsen. I expanded the scope of the project to include veterans in South Carolina, and eventually traveled across the country to San Francisco to a gathering of Filipino World War II veterans.

As a commonwealth of the United States before and during the war, Filipinos were legally American nationals, and the 260,000 Filipinos who fought for the U.S. were promised all the benefits afforded to those serving in the armed forces of the United States. In 1946, Congress voted to pass the Rescission Act, stripping Filipino soldiers of the veteran benefits they were promised. It was only in 2009 that the U.S. authorized the release of a small, one-time lump-sum payment to eligible World War II Filipino veterans. In 2016, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act was signed into law to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Filipino veterans of World War II, in recognition of their service.

My hope is that the people I photograph will see their participation in this project as an opportunity to receive a definitive portrait of themselves in the twilight of their life, so it can be an heirloom for their families, and that viewers of the portraits will be inspired to learn more about the events in history that each person endured.

To see more of this project, click here.


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

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 – Kate Powell

final composite

Kate Powell

Heidi: How many images did it take to composite this image?
Kate: The final composite is comprised of 29 separate photos, chosen from 1,500, and stitched together to create one seamless photograph.

How long did it take to capture those 29 moments?
Those 29 photos come from an entire day of shooting. The evening before, there were whispers of potentially epic conditions: “sand shaking Waimea,” a local friend told me. There was a lot of excited energy amid the community. I wanted to witness it—from beginning to end. My day began when the sky was still dark. By sunrise, the beach began to fill in with a crowd of onlookers. Soon after, the first surfer paddled out. There was no cheering, just the chatter of private conversations keeping track of the bobbing human. I claimed a stretch of guardrail along the highway and observed, camera at the ready. And there I stayed for 9 hours. By the time I left, the final few were exiting the surf and the sun was, once again, hugging the horizon.

How long have you been living in Oahu and what brought you there?
I have lived on Oahu for 8 months now. Prior to my move here, I was living and working on Catalina Island, employed as a marine science educator and scuba instructor with a company that provides hands-on marine science field trips for schools. When the pandemic was declared, we could no longer operate. It was devastating to be so abruptly uprooted from both my career and home of four years, but I am grateful to have stumbled across a silver lining. My move here was very serendipitous. Soon after leaving Catalina, a friend on Oahu reached out. I packed up what I had with me and landed on the North Shore. I was immediately drawn to the prospect of exploring a new marine ecosystem.

You picked up a camera at 13, studied marine ecology and became an educator, when did those two passions fully realize/intersect?
That particular convergence of passions has come to fruition in the last few years. The camera has held many roles in my life, but most recently it has become a tool that allows me the opportunity to encourage others to be curious about the natural world—particularly oceans. As a student of ecology, curiosity was my driving force. I chased great landscapes with my camera and questioned the interconnectedness of nature. As an educator, I saw students acknowledge their curiosity. I watched the smiles of kids as they played with algae or observed alien-like invertebrates. I made the transition into underwater photography here. I became comfortable in the ocean and, then, dedicated to it. All in all, I know this to be true: I have witnessed the impact of curiosity and it can be a powerful thing. This is what inspires my mission as a photographer.

The Waimea wave breaks 20+ footers consistently, what made this condition ideal?
It was a combination of good things: little to no wind, a long period of swell, impressive wave height, and a decent swell direction. Lots of factors aligned to create these conditions. Some people have called it the “swell of the decade.”

How big (or small) is the female photographer surf community?
We are out there, just not nearly in the same numbers. During peak season, it was always very inspiring to see a female photographer hop into the water with a surf housing. Often times, it seemed like most of the professional camera setups were operated by men. That being said, I felt very welcome.

Tell us about the backstory of the image from Modern Huntsman.
As it so happens, this image was also taken at Waimea—four months earlier. As I approached the water that summer’s day, there seemed to be a new rock formation in the shallows. Except, it moved: a massive school of young big-eye scad, I later learned, had made a home of the bay.

For weeks they meandered around together, mouths opened wide, sucking up plankton. In the beginning, the school was dense—a fluid wall of fish several feet thick. A dive into its center mostly obscured all sunlight. Eventually, though, the predators arrived. Mackerel tuna struck from below, barracuda from above. An endangered monk seal fed on scad for weeks. Humans, with their long-poles and dedication, fished from sunup to sundown. The population of scad slowly dwindled as nature ran its course. This photograph is from the beginning, from when the immense shadows of bait eclipsed the sun.

What are you working on now?
Currently, I am prepping for a 9-day diving expedition to the Revillagigedo Archipelago. These uninhabited islands protrude from the sea nearly 300 miles away from continental land, off of Baja Sur to be exact. The ecosystem out there is something to be admired. Born from volcanic activity at the convergence of some very productive currents, the region boasts incredible marine biodiversity. I will be continuing work on a photo series that I began over two years ago on my first trip out there.

Featured Promo – Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson

Who printed it?
I used GotPrint.com because I really love the double-glossy-trading-card feel of their postcards and that you can order small batches for a reasonable price.

Who designed it?
I made the cards based on the branding kit Sharon Wagner/Swail Studio designed for me. The zig zag I used was taken from some of the logo patterns she made, the placement of the contact information mimics the business card she designed, and the rest was my application of the branding colors and fonts she recommended in the kit.

Tell me about the images?
Curly Fry Ring is one of my favorites. I took the photo around the holidays one year when a lot of people I knew were getting engaged and married. It seemed like a good way to announce that I’m new in town. The fry came from Arby’s.

How many did you make?

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is my first year investing in marketing promos. The goal is 4 times a year with different clients getting different cards at different times of the year. One round of potential clients got the Ring postcard at New Years and another set got the Ring postcard at Valentine’s Day.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I just moved to Nashville and it’s a brand new market for me. I’ve never done targeted printed materials like this before but I think it’s starting to catch on. In addition to sending postcards out, I had a run of stickers printed that I’m posting up around town using the same patterns and logo block for additional brand recognition.

This Week in Photography: Projects from PhotoNOLA, Part 2


Metro Pictures is going out of business this year.


The NYC mega-gallery announced it a couple of weeks ago, and there were plenty of lamentations on Twitter.

Catherine Edelman, the long-time Chicago photo gallerist, closed her space to the public recently as well.

A week or two ago, a colleague wrote in a Facebook post that they didn’t make a lot of money in the arts, and felt like a failure.

These are not unrelated situations.

There is a significant lack of funding for creative fields here in the US, and I suspect even arts-rich places like England, France and Germany will be lucky to keep up their systems in the coming decades.

That’s where we’re at in the 21st Century.

But then again, someone seemingly dropped 69 million crypto-dollars on a massive jpeg, which set the world aflame, but also also begat questions about financial shenanigans rather quickly.


I’ve written extensively over the years, (but not in quite some time,) that the high-end-art-world is an unregulated commodities market, with all sorts of machinations, money laundering, and conflicts of interest.

Why am I writing about this, when there are so many other things to discuss?

Well, this is eventually going to be an article about the final batch of artists I reviewed at PhotoNOLA online in December, and as I didn’t go to New Orleans, there are no juicy travel details to share, nor tidbits about the humming sound in the review room, the yummy food at lunch, or the length of the bathroom breaks.

So I had to manufacture an opening rant out of other material.

But the more important reason is that I understand art very well, having devoted my entire adult life to the process, and I’m here to tell you making money off your pictures is not a good reason to be here.

Neither is fame, nor acclaim.

All three goals are elusive, unlikely, and fleeting.


Rather, art practice is about self-improvement and self-expression.

And those things are priceless.

I know that sounds cliché, or idealistic, but it is unquestionably legit.

In a world rife with stress, misery, and difficulty, making art on the regular makes us happier, more confident, and potentially more self-aware.

Those of us who commit our full souls to the endeavor, work extremely hard at our craft, and study art history, might occasionally have a moment where we make some real cash, or everyone is talking about us.

But that happens to very few people, and again, even if it does, it never lasts.

(Outside of a handful of photographers in the entire world. Seriously, the odds of becoming the next Cindy Sherman or Andreas Gursky are negligible.)


image courtesy of Artnews.com


I understand it seems like I’m being negative, or trying to project a “realistic” attitude, but I’m not.

Quite the opposite.

What we do as artists is extremely important, because like being a proper Buddhist monk or nun, it allows us to clean up the energy we put out into the world, and make the human collective healthier, even if it’s in small amounts.

That’s the big news.

Having shows, selling prints, publishing books, being written or talked about, getting compliments, they are all nice accomplishments, and fortunately I can speak from experience.

But beyond a year or two when I sold a lot of art, I don’t make a lot of money either.

In the real world, businesspeople would laugh at my annual income, and I’m cool with that.

Because Capitalism is an imperfect system, and just because something doesn’t have a high financial value doesn’t mean it’s not extremely valuable in other ways. (Karmically, for example.)

I say all this because the world is in the process of slowly re-opening, and only now are people beginning to realize that 2019 might not be the best model to shoot for.

I traveled so much in 2019 that I grew sick of it, and ungrateful.

The things I took for granted now seem like platinum-and-gold-plated diamonds, but all the same, being on the road that much was not healthy.

(Not for my carbon footprint, my children’s mental health, or my hangovers.)

I’ve been preaching for years that endless growth is not only unattainable, and unsustainable, but unachievable.

Efficiency of resources, and energy, is a far more important goal.

And if you push yourself in your art practice, the difference it will make in your self-confidence and self-esteem will give you back so much energy you would otherwise waste on anxiety.

That’s the truth.

So today, we’ll look at work from six artists I met during the online reviews at PhotoNOLA, and tomorrow I’ll meet a whole new batch of photographers at the online reviews for the Month of Photography Denver.

That said, let’s pivot to sharing the second batch of my favorite portfolios with you, and honor the hard work these women and men put in to get their projects in front of my Zoom screen.

(As usual, the artists are in no particular order.)

We’ll start with George Nobechi, whom I met at PhotoNOLA in 2017, and published his work after that festival as well. George is a perfect example of what I’m talking about today, as he switched careers to commit to his photography, and studied in workshops with people like Sam Abell to learn his craft.

As a half-Japanese guy who moved back to his ancestral homeland in 2017, after living away for many years, he has a complicated relationship with Japan, and its history. So he poured himself into a project to understand the country, and himself better.

I’ve written many times of my love for Japanese literature and the 19th Century woodblock printers Hokusai and Hiroshige, and these photos channel some of that genius. Not saying they’re at the same level of brilliance, but there are commonalities in the vibe, and energy the work projects.

I’m sure you’ll love these photographs.


When I met Eric Kunsman, I had a bit of a laugh, as I’d heard of him obliquely only a few weeks earlier, in one of my Antidote online classes.

A student was experimenting with the idea of photographing pay phones, and after a polite amount of time, someone cleared their throat, and announced there was an artist out there who had committed to the subject so well that it was kind-of off limits to others at the moment.

And that artist, who remained unnamed that night, was Eric Kunsman, a professor and master printer in Rochester, NY. Eric told me he’d moved into a lower-income neighborhood, and in order to get to know his community and surroundings, he looked very hard, and noticed that pay phones were broken down relics in plain sight, as not everyone can afford a cell phone, or the attendant bill.

So he became a legit expert in the social and community dynamics behind pay phones, both in Rochester, and then around the US. The images themselves are both bleak and beautiful, which is a style I always appreciate when it’s done well, as it is here.


Ruth Lauer Manenti is another artist I’d met previously, and I published her work after the Filter Photo Festival back in 2019. She’d been trained as a painter, and I loved the delicate and gorgeous sensibility she created with objects, though at the time, I recall re-editing her work on the review table, as I thought there were essentially two groups in one.

Ironically, I did it again this time, (virtually,) as Ruth had moved outside with her camera, in pandemic reality, and photographed poetic, artful landscapes in her surroundings in upstate New York. I was most enamored of the photographs that seemed to step out of time, and will share them with you here.


Fernanda de Icaza joined me from Mexico, but I fell in love with a series she made while living in Japan. Frankly, Fernanda had two series from Japan, with her primary project being in a monastery where she lived for some time, in silence.

Those pictures were cool, for sure, but during a short break from that monastic life, Fernanda went to Tokyo to party her face off at dance clubs, and the wild, colorful, chaotic energy she captured was dynamite.

I suspect she appreciated this world all the more, for living most days with the quiet, but we’ll let you decide for yourself.


Stephen Starkman, from Canada, is an example of an artist whose work grew on me over the course of our 20 minutes. At first, the images seemed disjointed, as they were not “about” a subject or concept, per se.

But as you look at them, there is a consistency of vision, and a sense of beauty, that I really came to enjoy. I think you’ll dig them too.


Last, but not least, we have Rosalie Rosenthal, who makes photographs with her teen-aged daughter that consider mid-life.

There are Dutch vanitas-style still lives, and quiet portraits, which were quiet and thoughtful.

So to wrap it up, I’d like to thank Rosalie, and all the artists, for allowing us to share their hard work with you, wherever you are.

The Art of the Personal Project: Jasmin Shah

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:  Jasmin Shah

“A painting is a friggin’ dream,” says Emmett, 15, who has been painting since he was 5. He says painting makes him feel.

Emmett’s paintings are displayed in every nook and against most walls in his parents’ house, and he also donates a lot of his work to charity, which he says feels good. The day I visited, Emmett’s dad, Paul, assisted him in prepping the paints, asking what method he had in mind so he could put them in the correct pan. As the Beatles played in the background, Emmett declared the color and method and began his magical process. The paintings have so many layers and methods. Emmett sometimes uses the roller without a brush on it to create lines.

He has taken art at school, but most of his technique has come through tips from an uncle who’s also a painter and incredible support from his parents. Emmett told me his painting titled “Like Me” is very magical to him. (Emmett with the B/W painting.) Paul added that one day they were at the Art Institute and saw the work of Franz Kline. Emmett said, “He paints like me.”

After working on his painting for a little while, with no hesitation, Emmett stood up and said, “All done.”

Check him out @emmettkyoshiart

More about this entire project:

Emmett is one of over 60 people I have photographed and interviewed for my documentary photography project, Reintroducing America. After the pandemic hit and the social, racial, and religious divisions in our country became apparent, I began traveling the US, meeting strangers, and recording their stories. Creating this body of work serves two purposes: first, to preserve my own mental health by maintaining human connections. Second, in the professional traditions of Studs Terkel and Robert Frank, my project combines oral history and documentary photography to create a record of ordinary Americans’ responses to these extraordinary times.

As I traverse the country from Los Angeles to Memphis, Minneapolis to Santa Fe, I’ve found themes of resilience and hope, grit and rebirth. Those themes are united under an umbrella of optimism, which is at the heart of my project.

The daily news cycle can be upsetting and distressing, which is why Reintroducing America was built on a foundation of optimism. This work serves as a reminder to Americans and the rest of the world that as a nation, our country can still stand united, instead of falling divided.

Since beginning the project in August 2020, I’ve posted the work on Instagram, and the comments and questions have shown that people are curious about one another. I’m utilizing social media to spark dialogues, and my work is helping people ask questions and find common ground. I’ve also built an interactive website with a map of my travels and a list of photos by state. I envision the project culminating with a traveling exhibit and book.


To see more of this project, click here.


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

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 – Mike Borchard

Mike Borchard

Heidi: How long has the ocean been part of your life?
Mike: The ocean has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. The first house I lived in as a kid was only a couple hundred yards from the ocean, so pretty much from birth I was at the beach. I feel extremely blessed to have grown up in and around the sea.

How has your love for the ocean informed or influenced your photography?
My relationship with the ocean has influenced the direction of my photography significantly. In the past, I viewed my commercial photography work as a separate entity from my ocean and outdoor exploits, and I was almost hesitant to mix the two. I was putting too much energy into photographing whatever subjects and scenes I thought would get me hired. Over the past year or two, I’ve really leaned into my connection with the ocean and pushed my work in that direction, both in terms of subject matter and style. I’m in this for the long haul, and shooting subjects I’m passionate about and know intimately seems to me to be the best way I can build a sustainable career. Subject matter aside, I find myself gravitating stylistically to images that feel more raw and honest and have a certain untamed energy. That’s definitely inspiration I’ve taken from the sea. The ocean is no bullshit, no frills, just unapologetically itself to anyone and everyone who comes in contact with it. My goal is to be able to say the same about my work. I’m not there yet, but it’s an ongoing process.

What projects have you been working on lately?
I just wrapped up two projects that I shot during the pandemic free time. The first was a study of surfing through double exposure film photography using iterations of old Nikonos cameras, which were some of the first complete underwater camera systems invented in the 1960s. The second project is a series of portraits of strangers I made immediately after they exited the ocean, still dripping wet. Since then, I’ve been a bit busier with commercial work again. As far as upcoming personal projects, I’ll be working on my first motion piece this spring, which will feature a story about connection to the ocean and quite a bit of spearfishing as well.

How soon after the fish was speared did you take that image?

Probably around 10 minutes, which is the time it took to fight the fish back up to the surface after it was first speared.

Was there concern with the blood in the water (will that bring predators?)
The blood can attract predators, but it isn’t a huge immediate concern. These tuna schools are often feeding on large bait balls and are found in areas of the ocean where there is already above average animal activity and life. Sharks or other predators are more than likely already prowling these same areas whether we see them or not. You’re never on top of the food chain out there, but the blood definitely isn’t helping.

What led you to spearfishing?
I got into spearfishing one winter when the waves were terrible in California. It was flat for months and we couldn’t surf, so a buddy and I went and bought used 3-prong pole spears off Craigslist. We just decided to go for it and figure it out. That was years ago, but it took off pretty fast, and quickly became my favorite ocean pastime.

How long can you hold your breath?
Breathhold really depends on the activity you’re doing. For example, it’s much easier to hold your breath freediving than it is while being held down surfing in big waves, but much harder than if you were just floating face down in a pool. If I can spend a couple minutes underwater actively photographing or hunting I’m happy.

Was this personal work?
Yes this was personal work, if you can even call it that! I wasn’t working on a specific project or anything in particular when I shot this image, I was just out on a trip for fun and had brought my camera. I only picked up my camera twice that day and just took about 50 photos, but thankfully I was in the right spot to get this frame and it was selected as a category winner for Modern Huntsman.

This Week in Photography: Projects from PhotoNOLA, Part 1


I was just standing outside, with my face in the sun.


The season change is always obvious here, in the Rocky Mountains, and it’s most definitely spring outside.

Thankfully, winter is over.
(I swear.)

I stood there, and after a moment, became aware of the musical arrangement of bird calls happening all around me.

(Mostly from the trees near the stream, as it’s no longer frozen.)

The chirp sounds were beautiful, and I noted them, but after another moment, realized they’d been gone all winter.

The bird music.

I hadn’t heard the calls since September or October. And you might not remember, but in the first week of September #2020, we had such an unusual freeze that birds fell dead from the sky.

By the thousands.

#2020 was that kind of year.

Back to the bird calls, though, and the truth is, over this evil-Covid-winter, I’d forgotten such things existed.

When you’re that deep in the hole, (or have lived in a cave for generations, like The Croods,) you begin to forget that light is a reality too, just like darkness.


And here we are.

Green grass is growing in our field.
My children are (supposedly) going back to school.
Checks are headed to many mail boxes.

After years of mental torture by you-know-who, capped off by a whopper of a year that gave us house arrest, (for some people solitary confinement,) and a half million dead people, we should all forgive ourselves if things like hope are slow to return.

It will take a while for the collective PTSD to wear off, for those who can shake it.

But spring follows winter.
That’s the way it works.

So what will you do when you emerge from your shell?

In a way, we can all honor the Americans, (and people everywhere, really,) who didn’t make it out of the pandemic alive.

We can love more deeply, cherish new experiences, embrace personal growth, make fresh things.

Because our art is an expression of our personality, our vision, our sense of self.

Even in the worst of winter, (you knew the hook was coming, right?) I was still able to look at photography portfolios, by a talented and diverse group of artists at the PhotoNOLA festival online, back in December, and today, I’m happy to share some of my favorite portfolios with you.

We’ll have a Part 2 as well, and as usual, the artists are in no particular order.

Cathy Cone showed me work that looked good on a computer screen, but is the kind of thing that I’d really love to see in person. Her work involves scanning old tintypes, and then painting directly onto the output prints.

They’re beautiful.

And in the “spring is here” vibe of this column, I can only hope IRL festivals come back this year, so we can all resume the habit of appreciating art in person, with our physical senses activated.

Diana Nicolette Jeon’s work is the perfect follow up, given the tactility, as her prints are mounted to, and exhibited in Altoids tin lids.

I first saw this work at Photolucida in 2019, loved it, and meant to publish it then, but a miscommunication on my part meant it didn’t happen. Fortunately, Diana, who’s based in Hawaii, gave me a second chance.

The images come from film noir, and definitely channel that energy, minus the scary soundtrack.

Elizabeth Clark Libert showed me a set of razor sharp images, shot with a medium format digital camera, of her young boys playing, fighting, and growing together. (The first two being intimately related, when brothers are close in age.)

It’s a meditation on masculinity, as the artist grapples with how to raise her boys in a post-me-too era. There are some nudity issues, which open another set of questions, but as we’re not publishing those, we’ll save that debate for another occasion.

Nathalie Seaver showed me some work that I didn’t necessarily appreciate. But as I’ve written many times, if you have other options to pivot to during a review, it allows the situation to be salvaged. (Proper preparation is key.)

The last project we discussed was quarantine related, as Nathalie made still lives of objects from her home, (since she couldn’t leave,) and they were grouped by color.

They’re kitschy, but also cool, IMO.

Rene Algesheimer shared images of ice caves in Alaska and Iceland, and I suppose they qualify as some of the least-lockdown-pictures I saw last December.

They’re haunting, and need little explication, right?

Last but not least, Suzette Bross will help us land the idea that travel, which was practically impossible in #2020, may rejoin us again in #2021. Exotic countries, or even just the county across the State line, will become more accessible, once things improve.

Suzette’s project was shot in Rwanda, and is a reflection of the grief she felt due to a family loss. Rather than photograph the countryside, Suzette presents hacked-panorama-iPhone-images shot from a moving bus, as she crossed the country.

The resulting photographs are strange and compelling.
Don’t you think?

See you next week!

The Art of the Personal Project: Ian Coble

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:  Ian Coble



To see more of this project, click here.

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

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.