Featured Promo – Paul Yem

Paul Yem

Tell me about your promo.
I used Paper Chase Press for these promos; they are a community-driven, environmentally conscious printing press based in LA. I had a lot of back and forth with Cole, and his knowledge and patience made a usually frustrating process seamless and rather exciting.

I designed these myself; I always laugh a bit at the overexertion of wanting to be found. I think it looks rather funny to list websites, email addresses, and Instagram handles, as they often are different combinations of my name: www.paulyem.com, info@paulyem.com, @paulyem, etc. etc., so I went a super minimalist route. I feel strongly about conveying a connection through my portraiture, so I didn’t want there to be much other than the imagery I’m passionate about. I trust that if the work resonates with who I am targeting, they’ll have no problem finding me through the one point of contact.

These images are a somewhat disjointed culmination of an exploration over the past 5ish years in finding my voice as an artist. I moved to NYC in 2017 to pursue a career as a photographer, and as many of us have come to find, being an artist isn’t exactly the easiest way to make a living. Through assisting other photographers, I started to identify the different tiers of what being a professional photographer could look like. I became very passionate about staying connected to my roots as a fine artist and started visualizing my identity being intertwined with my approach to photography as a career. I dreamed of the possibility of being hired for my voice, and I knew the more honest I was with what was bubbling up from my soul, the more compelling my images would be. Staying true to that voice has seemed at times ill-advised, as I never positioned myself as an attractive option for the low-hanging fruit, the e-comm jobs, the sort of mindless application of being a just technician. My goal was to be hired because I was Paul Yem not because I could own and operate specialized tools. More of this work can be found here https://www.booooooom.com/2021/04/15/fragments-by-photographer-paul-yem/

I printed 200 of these postcards, Paper Chase had a nice option where you can submit a handful of images per order, I thought it would be nice to send people a little stack of 5 through the mail or to have a variety of images in my pelican when I’m on set. They sort of act as free prints for me to give out.

Unfortunately, from what I’ve gathered through taking meetings with various photo editors, the printed matter is becoming a bit obsolete. I’ve found that our friends in the editorial world don’t often have the personalized desk space they once had, and the collecting of promos has become a bit cumbersome. I’d like to get into a better rhythm of printing things; I think it’s important for us to think about our work existing in the physical form as it gives the images more validity in my mind. I’ve found myself more in the habit of making PDFs; I’m on a much better consistency with reaching out through cold emails and to contacts I’ve made with a nicely designed PDF. It’s something that is minimally invasive and easily forwardable to other editors, and if I’m able to get a face-to-face meeting that’s where I’ll give out my printed promos. I’d say I’d send those emails once every 3 months. I’ve found following up after about a week of the initial email is the most successful in getting a response. Just make work and put it out in the world, and nothing bad can come of it (and emails are a lot cheaper).

I think what this industry lacks the most is honesty. Honesty in what we want to make, in what we want to be hired for, in how we truly want to convey a message through imagery. We are held so tightly by the anxiety of trying to make ends meet that we lose our unique voice. The beauty in art is being unique, pushing the envelope, and being unapologetically passionate. Being an artist is vulnerable, it’s daring, and it’s brave, and so we should let go and be all of those things. I want to see what people truly want to make, not what they’ve made to hopefully make money. I’m not exactly sure what my point here is, but if at the end of the day the rent is paid fuck everything else and just be free and true to yourself. I need our community to do that for my own inspiration and in return, I’ll promise to never compromise in the images I’m adding back into the pool.

This Week in Photography: Signing Off



Have you ever heard of behavior modeling?

(If not, that’s cool.)






I hadn’t, until I began teaching at Chrysalis High School, here in Taos, back in 2005.

(Shortly after we moved home from Brooklyn.)

The school started a few years prior, designed to help at-risk teenagers; children who who had abuse histories, and didn’t fit well in the structure of traditional learning.

It was a rag-tag place, for sure, (now since abandoned,) and art was a huge part of the curriculum, for all the reasons I’ve discussed in this column over the years.

Art can allow communication that is too painful, traumatic, difficult, or confusing for words.

It was at that school, teaching art in a therapeutic environment, (in a pilot program for UNM-Taos,) that I first learned the term “behavior modeling.”

And while it is much as it sounds, the concept is profound.








Basically, behavior modeling is the idea that acting in calm, measured, polite, adult, well-adjusted, healthy ways, around people who have not witnessed such things before, (or perhaps rarely,) can be cathartic.

We all need role models.

That’s a given.

But for people raised in dysfunctional, unhealthy families, or systems where poverty creates extreme conditions for addiction and abuse…

…just being around someone who’s nice to them, follows through on what he/she/they says, listens, doesn’t rush to judgement, gives positive feedback, doesn’t fly into a rage, or undermine one’s dreams…

…when I first started teaching there, it was stressed that behavior modeling alone could have a positive effect on the students.

So I learned to do check-ins, ask good questions, and care.

I learned how to teach a demographic with which I had little prior experience.

And ended up staying a decade.

(Because sometimes, showing works better than telling.)







I mention this all, because if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know this is my final column here at A Photo Editor.

It’s February 2023, and I published my first piece on the bog in June 2010.

Nearly 13 years, and my column lasted 11.5.

As I’ve written before, (and won’t get into today,) the community I’ve covered here as a blogger/journalist has changed enormously.

It’s like another Universe, as social media was not yet ascendant, when we started.

Back then, Trump was just a loudmouth on TV, and I’d never heard of Elon Musk.

I still felt like a kid, (in a way,) at 36.

Or at least, I identified with my 20’s, and still partied a bit.

Now, at nearly 49, my son is in high school, we somehow have four dogs, and I’m glad we got a decent interest rate on our mortgage.

Nothing about any of this feels remotely like my 20’s.

(Not even a little.)







Having four dogs is cool.

It started with a pandemic pup in August 2020, and while Summer 2022 brought her a companion, (Billy Bones,) it wasn’t until last month that our canine family became complete.

We adopted Sunshine and Olly nearly a month ago; fraternal twin sisters we brought home from Stray Hearts Animal Shelter in Taos.


Sunshine and Olly


You can choose to believe me, (or not,) but the twins are a tad magical, and kept each other alive, when they were abandoned in a box at the shelter overnight, unnoticed for more than a day.

Sunshine is hearing impaired, (not sure if it’s OK to say she’s deaf, but I am positive I’m not supposed to say she’s among The Deaf,) and has taken to following me everywhere I go.

Like a sidekick. (Or maybe I’m the sidekick?)

Frankly, it’s a long story.

But the twins have had such an impact on our lives, in a short amount of time, and between them seem to represent so many elemental things…

…I decided to name my new blog after them.

It’s called Sunshine and Olly.


From today’s first post on Sunshine and Olly


Because Sunshine and Olly is non-commercial, and just for me at the moment, I will iterate, and make it more professional over time. (The first post is live, but the homepage is broken, so I’ll try to fix it.)

I’ll learn WordPress better, (Rob was a pro at giving me an easy system to use,) and hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy reading me over there from time to time.

It is a culture and lifestyle blog, but I’ll def be writing about photography, as the whole impetus for Sunshine and Olly was to review the photo books people had sent me, before I quit.

Whether you care to read about sports, art, food, travel, politics, or such things from me, when they’re divested from photography entirely, is up to you.

(Or when they don’t come into your email inbox from Rob, or go out to his massive Twitter following.)

But it doesn’t matter.

I’m doing this for fun, as art, and because I thought it was the right thing to do, according to my personal ethical code.

That’s all.

Given how much I’ve tried to teach in this column over the years, choosing to leave, (and when and how,) seemed like some of the best behavior modeling I could do, in 2023.

(Having the guts to walk away, and the willingness to embrace the future, without knowing exactly what that future’s going to bring.)







If you’ve been reading for a while, (or maybe even all along,) you’ll be familiar with my style, and voice.

I mixed it up over the years, for sure, but then some things are probably just as they were in 2011.

Understanding when it’s time to go, or change, is so difficult.

So this is how it’s going to end.

I went to PhotoNOLA in December of last year, held at the International House Hotel in New Orleans, and as I’ve previously reported, it was a problematic affair.

Not going to land on the negative, in my last piece, so suffice to say, there were plenty of awesome moments as well.

More than enough to make great memories.

I met four artists, at the review table, whose work I thought was worthy of publication here.

One of them, Undine Groeger, (originally from Germany,) isn’t ready to release the project, before a major publication can do it justice, so of course we respect her wishes.

(But you can check out her website, and hire her!)

The other three women will share the distinction of being the last few artists I published/promoted/appreciated during my time as a world-famous-photography-blogger, who told stories to the planet from a little, horse pasture outside Taos, New Mexico.

As with all the articles in the past, the artists are in no particular order.







When I first started looking at Anne Berry’s work, it reminded me of someone else I’d met at PhotoNOLA before, and published here: Mary Anne Mitchell.

Mary Anne had shown me moody, Southern Gothic, mysterious narrative images, (often featuring grandchildren in costumes,) and they were great.

I didn’t love that they were presented kind of like fabric curtains, and told her so.

Last year, at PhotoNOLA 2021, Mary Anne showed the prints, large and slickly framed, in the Currents show at the Ogden Museum, and I was floored.

They were dynamite, and I told her so. (It was nice to reconnect.)

When I met Anne, I mentioned her own moody, grayscale, constructed narrative images reminded me of Mary Anne’s work.

After a moment’s confusion, Anne told me that she was friends with Mary Anne, and along with some others in the Georgia photo community, they made work in a similar style.

When I came up, we tried to differentiate our work from our buddies. It was a point of pride.

Larry Bird is always talking about how players in the 80’s and 90’s hated their rivals, but the soft NBA kids today are friends with their enemies.

Times change. It’s cool that hoopers are friends today.

I’m no hater, so I adjusted to the idea that they liked making similar types of work.

And Anne’s pictures are lovely. Really well done.

(That penguin pic!)

Anne and I then talked about editing, and refining her image choices to make the most surprising, edgy, and original grouping she could.

It’s beautiful stuff, and I’m sure you’ll like it.





So of course we have to talk about Anne Walker next.

Anne used to be a pastry chef, and reported she just had hand surgery. (We hope you feel better soon, Anne!)

She also had grayscale, constructed images, though these were less about narrative, and more about object resonance.

Anne admitted she was relatively new to this, but I felt her past incarnation as an artist/craftsperson definitely informed her growth, because the selenium-toned prints were gorgeous, and flawless.




Finally, we have Lily Brooks, who works as Assistant Professor of Photography at Southeastern Louisiana University, and was recently named Edward G. Schlieder Foundation Endowed Professorship in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. (But she came South from New England.)

Lily showed me two projects, mixed together, and both were environmental series focusing on weather, pollution, and the effects of Climate Change.

We discussed whether two projects were actually one, and I shared I saw a divide between more emotional, moody images, and ones that were clinical/dry/academic.

How one weaves those strands together, or even understands where one project ends, and the next begins, is why art is art, and not science.

Thanks, Lily.



So I guess this calls time on the JBlau era at APE.

If you like what I do, I’m easy enough to find.

Catch me at my website, Instagram, Twitter, or again, at Sunshine and Olly.

Everyone’s welcome to follow along on my next adventure.

(Except you, George. Fuck off!)

Take care, be well everyone, and thanks for reading!

This has been the best 13 years of my life!



“Thanks for reading, everyone!” JB 2023




The Art of the Personal Project: Hugh Kretschmer

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:  Hugh Kretschmer

Working Title: Boxed

This project’s impetus started with watching boardwalk chalk artists create elongated illustrations that, when viewed from a distance, foreshortened to appear three-dimensional, especially when people interacted with them. In my approach, the opposite happens- a 3D collage assemblage that ends up appearing in two dimensions.

I chose an outside corner as the overall shape because I wasn’t quite sure my theory would work. I had to keep it simple. I realized the “box” metaphor when I made my first sketches and thought about what that meant.

To me, a box can either be protection or a prison, depending on the subject. If in the form of protection, an environmental subject comes to mind. If in the form of imprisonment, then social issues seem applicable. So, I chose the latter as my first subject, and my friend, Cash Danielsen, came to mind.

When I approached him initially, I wanted to make sure the metaphor was something he could relate to in his experience as a transgender person. He confirmed that, indeed, it did, and away we went.

What I find so exciting about this project are all the possibilities in the vast array of subject matter and the technical aspects this process demands. It involves a precise workflow that I thrive on as an artist. For the illusion to succeed, all working parts must be duplicated over two capture sessions. Everything is marked, measured, calculated, and recorded throughout the entire project. Only in this way can the process deliver an illusion created in front of the camera. It’s that same outcome I’ve strived for throughout my 32-year-long practice, and I never seem to grow tired of its magic.


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.

The Daily Edit – The New York Times: Justin Metz

The New York Times Magazine

Photographer: Justin Metz

Heidi: I know you’re a trained illustrator, when did you switch from agency Art Director back to your roots as an artist?
Justin: My early agency days were spent mostly as an artist but as I became more established I started to contribute ideas for pitches and over time my role evolved into more of an art director’s one. As a digital artist specializing in CG I found it freed-up me creatively – anything was possible, both logistically and budgetary. Later I was part of a staff cull at the agency and had to consider my next move which in the end turned out to be an easy decision as all of the advice was to become a freelance artist.

What specific learnings did your agency work transfer to your current work?
Wit and originality. The culture there was incredibly focused on finding new ways of approaching a brief, there was a lot of friendly competition which led to ever more interesting ideas. Working in an agency requires you to think differently and once learned it stays with you forever – it feeds into everything I do now. Editorial work is slightly different in that it needs a faster response – not just to the brief (I often get just a single day for concept and artwork) but from the consumer as it will be fighting to be heard above all the other covers on the newsstand.

What inspires you from the real world?
Everything and nothing, it seems that for me inspiration strikes only when the conditions are right which is often removing myself from the process altogether. There are some things which will often jump start things – browsing through an art book for instance, and reading around the subject can often reveal a phrase which sparks an idea. That first idea, however poor it might be, is the most important one as it usually unlocks the mind.

Where do you look for inspiration since most of your work is conceptual?
I think I subconsciously draw from past experiences and observations, I’m always studying how things look, how they behave and their effect on the environment, and how people respond to it. I think the real world is the best source of inspiration for conceptual work.

Do you have a journal or have any analog processes to sketch ideas?
Yes, I sketch out all ideas very roughly on a pad but I have them all in my head too. Good ideas are hard won and stick around forever up there.

Where do you get your source images from?
The usual stock libraries. If I need to use them the image will be built around them as it’s the only part I can’t fully control and if something isn’t working I’ll build it in CG which means I get to do whatever I want with it.

How do you know when you’ve solved the creative problem, or when the piece is done?
I try to provide at least five ideas on the brief and with one or two I’m usually confident I have something that will work well, more often than not though my preferred concept is not the one that makes it to final. I don’t consider anything I’ve done to be finished, just cut short to meet the deadline.

How do you unwind your mind, or try and relax it in order for new ideas to flow in?
Yes, it’s hard not to be on duty all of the time but I’m lucky – I have a great family which is very successful at diverting my attention. They’re funny and entertaining we spend time away from my work as often as we can.

Did you research Tesla crash images for this cover story and what direction did the magazine share?
I’ve worked with the New York Times Magazine a few times before and they’re a great team to work with so I knew it would be an interesting project. They knew they wanted me to smash up a few different models in different colors. The white one was intended for the cover and for me it was mostly a question of the extent of damage and making the images bold and impactful whilst ensuring they are as accurate as possible – I had to specifically research Tesla crash images as they’re very different ‘under the hood’. I wanted the images to look as if the crash has actually happened in the studio so the undamaged parts should look like a beauty shot.

Featured Promo – Adrian Mueller

Adrian Mueller

Who printed it?
Modern Postcard

Who designed it?
I designed it myself

Tell me about the images.
It is a mix of new personal and new client work for brands such as McDonald’s, Patron, UBER EATS and Angostura Rum. Stylistically, I’ve paired the vibrant shots on one side, and the somewhat warmer ones on the other. I like the fact that there is a coherent theme and look. Those are really my favorite images from the previous 12 months, as I don’t like to select work in a calculated way. I hope that approach resonates with the creatives who receive the mailer.

How many did you make?
I’ve printed 250 of them

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I usually send out a promo with new work 1x a year to specific and select clients who have opted in to receive them. The rest I hand out during in-person portfolio reviews and meetings.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
As a targeted approach, I think it is an appreciated reminder for those who are connected to me and really want to receive them. I’ve stopped sending mailers out to contacts I don’t personally know, haven’t worked with or haven’t met. I have a curated, personal list of about 1100 creatives I’m connected to that way and about 200 have opted in to receive actual mailers. I see it as an old fashioned way of staying in touch and I would of course love it if everyone on my list would opt in. I understand though that many don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal address, which is absolutely fine. This way, I don’t waste natural resources, money and efforts and know that I don’t bother anybody with unwanted mail.

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

Mariachi-John Dyer

They file in one by one, these kids, carrying their instruments. A young man with his harp, three more with trumpets, two young women with violins. A tenor guitar or vihuela, a large bass guitar or guitarrón. These are mariachi musicians.

They arrange themselves on the stage in two semi-circular lines. Violins and guitars in front, trumpets in back.

Finally, the singer walks in and takes her place in front of the group facing the audience.  She is dressed in a colorful, form-fitting floral, floor-length dress.  Her black shiny hair is pulled back in a bun fixed with colorful ribbons. She carries a large black sombrero trimmed in gold.

These are high school kids from La Grulla, Texas and musically refined beyond their years.

They wear Charro-inspired uniforms. Men in beautifully embroidered pants with rows of buttons down the outside of their legs, a short, waist length jacket also embroidered, a white shirt and colorful silk ties.  The young women wear the same uniform except they wear long fitted skirts that fall to their boot tops.

Mariachi is a Mexican style of music dating from the 18th century. The groups play a variety of musical styles including rancheros, corridas, cumbias, huapangos, boleros, etc.

The music begins. A bolero, a romantic song. The singer is very dramatic and emotional in her delivery.  She holds the microphone with one hand and with the other gestures with outstretched hand to the heavens, then makes a fist and pulls her hand to her heart. Such emotion! She sounds like a mature woman who has loved and lost and loved again. I think to myself: this is a 17-year-old girl!  How did she learn to sing like that? How does she know to make her voice laugh and cry?

These portraits were done at the Mariachi Extravaganza in San Antonio, Texas.  It’s an important yearly contest that has been going on for more than 20 years.

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.

Featured Promo – Derek Reed

Derek Reed

Who printed it?
The cards are printed by https://www.4by6.com. I’ve been using them for several years and they print both my Promo Cards and my Business Cards. I really love them because they allow small orders so you can make multiple cards and not have to rely on just one design that you have to have a large number printed. Also their Satin finish is really nice.

The Promo Book was printed by https://www.blurb.com. It’s their Trade Book size. I just wanted to create something similar to a “zine”. And I see it as it can be updated or changed around as I create new work. As with the Promo Cards I like that Blurb will allow limited runs so I tend to order as needed.

Who designed it?
The cards and the Promo Book where designed by my Graphic Designer friend, Lisa Kay based on a rough design I had. Lisa is based here in New York and her resume and client base is extensive and impressive. I feel she certainly elevates my work. Also I think it helps to have another set of eyes, (especially someone who might not be so personally attached to the work) look at what works together and what might not.


Tell Me About The Images.

Essentially I like to do new physical cards whenever there is new work that I am really excited about or I feel will be a nice addition to the set.

When I first started working with this particular design it was only my work of cultural icons but about 10 months ago I decided to start incorporating some of my Beauty work into it with the thought that it complimented the portraits rather well.

How Many Times a Year Do You Send Out Promos?
This is a trickier question to answer. I primarily use promos as leave behinds when I have in person meetings or portfolio reviews. I find that with a lot of people now working hybrid it’s more effective to just send a digital PDF of new work via an e-mail. I also believe in personalizing or catering the e-mail to the specific and hopefully potential client who is on the other end of the e-mail. So I’m not really using an e-mail blast service.

I’m basically writing each person individually. I think this is effective especially if you are reaching out to a team of people who work together. At least this way it’s not just the same e-mail going to each of them. I do try to find a way to personalize the body of the e-mail to each team member even if the PDF that they are receiving is the same one that their colleagues are receiving as well.

Because my work is more portrait driven and not lifestyle advertising I think this approach has been beneficial. So the round about answer is for the past year whenever I’ve done new work, whether it be client work or just a personal Beauty shoot I will make a PDF of the new work and send it out to Editors and Clients I’ve worked with in the past and to new potential clients.

When there is a positive response from someone I have not met with in person before depending on the response I may ask if I can send them the physical package. But before doing that I like to ask if they are in the office these days first. Because if they aren’t, I feel asking for someone’s home address might be a bit of an overreach.

This Week in Photography: The Best Work I Saw at Filter Part 2




The end is nigh.

Today is my penultimate column at APE.







It’s been a long, fascinating run.

I’m both thrilled to have gone on the ride with you, and a bit relieved to move into a new phase of my life.







There are so many good things that have come from my time here at APE, it’s hard to quantify.

(Though I’ve reminisced since last summer about 11 years worth of adventure.)


Dog walk, Taos, NM, January 2023


Saguaro, Eastern Arizona, January 1, 2022


French Quarter, New Orleans, December 2021


Amsterdam, February 2020


Paddington, London, May 2019


Brooklyn, NYC, April 2018


Land’s End, San Francisco, May 2017


Peninsula Hotel Elevator, Chicago, September 2016



Without question, getting to meet and learn from countless photographers, over the years, has enriched my life immeasurably.

And one of my favorite things about working for Rob was that I had creative freedom the entire time.

He trusted me to write about what I wanted, and cover what was relevant.

If I wanted to change it up, spur of the moment, that’s what I’d do.

Today, for example, we’re going to pivot, even though there’s only one column left.







Two weeks ago, I featured 9 photographers from the 2022 Filter Photo Festival in Chicago.

You might think that was that, but a few of the photographers I invited to participate were off-line for the holidays, or not-quite-able to get me their work in time.

Therefore, when they popped back up again offering jpegs, how could I refuse?

To leave them hanging, and not publish their work, would not be cool.

And that’s been the core value of this blog all along: Be Cool.

With that said, today, we’ll be featuring an impromptu Part 2 of the best work I saw at Filter last year.

As usual, the artists are in no particular order.







I guess we can start with Yvette Marie Dostatni, as she and I go way back. (And I’ve shared her work here at least once over the years.)

Yvette and I met at a photo festival years ago, and then I featured her series “Conventioneers” in the one article I wrote for The New Yorker’s Photo Booth blog.

It would be fair to call me a fan of her quirky, odd, excellent work.

(Yvette is born and raised Chicago, and is as local as it gets.)

That said, when I saw her last in Portland in 2019, I challenged her to push her newer color work, “My American Dream” forward a bit.

It felt transitional, and needed tightening.

Therefore, I was super-psyched to check it out in its current iteration.

There is a vibrance to Yvette’s work that matches her personal energy, and I can’t think of a much bigger compliment.

(I’m going to share Yvette’s captions below the images, which I rarely do, because it’s important to understand the context here.)



My American Dream Captions:


1. A tatted biker tenderly holding his effeminately dressed chihuahua, wearing a pink sweat-shirt complemented with delicate pink pearls at The International Kennel Club Dog Show in Chicago, Illinois.

2. Anthony Alfano, living with cerebral palsy, wears a costume his Parent’smade him for Halloween.Tony and Deanna Alfano make their son an elaborate Halloween costume every year. In 2016, Anthony’soutfit was the Lincoln Memorial Snow globe.To the left of him are his neighbors, who were out trick-or-treating as well.

3. Joyce Berg is the owner-operator, curator, and docent of the Angel Museum in Beloit, Wisconsin. Shewears a glittering angel costume to give tours of her personally acquired collection of more than 15,000 angel statutes. Joyce poses next to one of three cases donated by Oprah Winfrey.

4. A professional groomer and her canine creation pose for a photo after the Creative Styling Category’ competition at the ‘All American Grooming Show’ in Wheeling, Illinois.

5. A Michael Jackson impersonator stands vigil next to the King of Pop’schildhood home in Gary, Indiana, on the ninth anniversary of his death, in 2018.Next to him, enshrined in glass, is a Michael Jackson sequinedglove.

6. Twin brothers and Professional Socialites Jon and Andrew Landon wear couture outfits in their downtown Chicago, Illinois apartment. 

7. American Patriots at a life-size diorama of a burning Twin Towers during a 9/11 outdoor memorial ceremony in Schererville, Indiana.

8. Tourists patiently wait for the jousting event at Medieval Times in Schaumburg, Illinois.

9. Michael Foley and his girlfriend Colleen wait for the doorbell to ring to pass out candy on Halloween in Chicago, Illinois. 

10. Susan Henderson puts her treasured collection of dolls away for the evening in the affluent suburb of Wilmette, Illinois. Thedolls remind Susan of her happy childhood. She changes their outfits seasonally. 

11. Vehemently anti-Trump, Bob Rogers poses with a Trump Pinata in a funeral home’sempty viewing area above which he lives.Bob was looking forward to burning the pinata during President Biden’s inauguration. 

12. King Jeremie and Haija Sidd, who work at New Style Comfort Furniture, pose in the store’sfront window display.New Style Comfort Furniture is located in the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois: Roger’s Park.

13. Samuel J. Lewis II, a professional puppeteer, holds a puppet modeled after his late Grandfather, James Aubrey Lewis, in front of his house in Skokie, IL. On this night, civil unrest was occurring less than 40 miles away in Kenosha, Wis., after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.





I’ve also known Meg Griffiths, whom I first met in Santa Fe in 2010, for quite some time too.

Meg’s been featured on the blog, for her co-curation of A Yellow Rose Project, and I’ve admired her art over the years too.

Meg showed me a Covid-era, studio project in which she got way out of her comfort zone, and made trippy, futuristic, sometimes off-putting, constructed images.

The metaphorical photos were edgy, and felt of the time they were made.

As with some of the artists I featured last time, Meg and I worked on an edit, with two piles, in which we pruned the few images that felt too safe, familiar, or both.






Jeff Schewe and I met the moment he sat down at the table, so it was a rather different experience than the previous two artists.

(Though he had sent me a FB friend request the week before the event, so I recognized his name. Smart move.)

Jeff had a long-time commercial photography career, and was something of a Photoshop wiz, having written more than one book on the subject.

I didn’t much care for the first project he showed me, but as is often the case, the second was more intriguing, in which Jeff made digitally-simulated-tintype-aesthetic images of Saguaro cacti.

I know some people aren’t in for the fakery, but IRL, the effect was convincing, the prints were luscious, and I thought the form and content matched each other well.

(Weird shit has always gotten my attention, and I hope that never changes.)




Lastly, we have Grace Tenneh Kromah, who is the current Filter Photo Fellow, and a graduate of the SAIC.

I didn’t review Grace’s work at the table, but we hung out several times, and definitely clicked on a human level.

(Despite the fact that being from Philly, she likes the dreaded Eagles, whom I very much hope the Giants beat tomorrow.)

Grace showed me her work briefly at the Filter Portfolio Walk, and it interweaves historical, family imagery with contemporary art pictures.

Grace’s history is dramatic, with an ancestry in Liberia, a move to the Midwest, a heap of whole and part siblings, and she weaves the narrative together in her art.

And a big Shout Out to Grace for communicating me with me (via IG DM) while she’s currently in Liberia, working on the project.

These pictures are so cool!

Anyway, that’s it for today, and in two weeks, I’ll say my final goodbye, and step away from APE, after a long and successful run.

Thank you all for reading!



The Art of the Personal Project: Adam Pass

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

Today’s featured artist:   Adam Pass


“As an artist, I am constantly seeking inspiration for my work. What could be more inspiring than the humble Icelandic hot dog? This legendary street food can be found on nearly every corner in the country. Their abundance and affordability make them a go-to snack for locals and visitors alike.

But beyond the delicious flavor and convenience, I was drawn to the quiet beauty of the experience. An empty late-night stand offers a sense of calm and solitude in the midst of a busy city. From the steaming sausages on the grill and the colorful condiment bars, to the vendor preparing the hotdogs with care, each photograph tells a story of tradition and the simple pleasures of life. Through my photography, I sought to capture the quiet, meditative side of this Icelandic staple.

Whether you prefer yours with ketchup and mustard or the more traditional toppings of sweet brown mustard and crispy fried onions, there is something for everyone to enjoy. If you ever find yourself in Iceland, be sure to grab a hot dog and take a moment to soak in the unique atmosphere and culture of this beautiful country.”


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.

Pricing & Negotiating: Travel Photography For A Large Financial Institution

By: Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: 4-day photo/video shoot capturing environmental portraiture, architecture, and scenic photography of a travel destination.

Licensing: Perpetual Web Advertising and Web Collateral use of all content captured.

Photographer: Travel, Portraiture, Interiors, and Architecture specialist.

Client: Large Financial Institution and their partner restaurants/hotel/hospitality clients.


A NYC-based photographer recently came to Wonderful Machine for help building an estimate and negotiating a project with a large well-known financial institution. The client brief and subsequent conversations described a multi-day travel shoot and production needs with multiple subjects/locations each day. It also described the need for scenic interiors and architecture imagery, as well as environmental portraiture of notable proprietors and chefs within various client partner establishments (restaurant, hotel, and hospitality). The final use of the photography would be on the client’s web platforms and web ads to promote their financial services while highlighting the various hotels and restaurants within the travel destination. The video needs included 10 second – 20 second clips mirroring the stills shot list, and would be used for social media and potentially a few banner ads.

While reviewing the initial shot list and scope of the project with the agency, the photographer estimated this would need to be accomplished over 8 shoot days, with a tech scout day prior to visit the locations, determine sun times, etc.

Take a look at the Estimate here:


I put the fees at $40,000 for the 8-day shoot, including Web Advertising and Web Collateral use of all images captured in perpetuity. We found this number to be appropriate for the client’s use, the number of potential locations/scenes that we anticipated per shoot day and considering the project scope and what the competition might charge. This fee was in line with what this photographer was accustomed to charging for a project with similar deliverables. I added $1,000/day for the photographer tech scout day and two travel days. The agency requested two “Hold Days” on location to account for potential weather delays, and we included this for the photographer at $1,000 for each day.


We added a DP/Camera Operator for 8 shoot days at $2,500/day, plus five Scout/Travel/Hold days at $1,000 each. We added the first assistant to help with lighting and camera equipment management and to attend the tech scout day to familiarize themselves with the shoot needs and help advise on equipment needs. The second assistant would be local, but we needed to account for the hold days as well. We also chose to bring the second assistant on the scout day, potentially as another set of hands or driver as needed. As a final member of the crew, we added a digital tech to manage the files and display the content to the client as it was being captured, and who would be traveling with the photographer and first assistant. These fees were consistent with previous rates the photographer had paid their team on past productions.


For all gear needs, we included $3,200/day for stills, video cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. The photographer would bring their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, and intended to rent some supplemental lighting, grip, and a few specific modifiers and other specialty items from a local rental house. An estimate of $350 per shoot day was determined by the digital tech for their workstation rental, consisting of: a laptop, external monitor, mobile power supply, and cables. We also included $2,500 for 3x 8TB hard drives.


The traveling party would include the photographer, their first assistant, and digital tech. I included an estimated $725 each for flights and baggage fees and $675 for taxis to and from the airport. We added Per Diems at $75 each for the 3-person traveling party.


Given the crew, equipment, and travel necessary for the project I included $1,200 for insurance coverage.

Post Production

Lastly, I added $2,500 for the photographer to perform an initial edit of all the content and deliver it to the client for review. We assume this process would consist of culling images, global curves, simple color balance needs, and export to jpg for client review and backup.  Even though there would be a digital tech on set, we estimated that going through 8 days of photo/videography would take approximately 20+ hours. At the agency’s request, we also included hourly retouching for up to 50 images at $125/hr.


After the agency reviewed this estimate with the client, they let us know that these shoot days and bottom line numbers would need to be reduced significantly. The agency followed up to provide a reduced shot list and a large reduction of video needs. They advised that we should include crew transportation on location and lodging, as the client previously was leaning on their partners to provide lodging for all. During these negotations it was established that the client wanted to keep the total to approximately $65k all in.

With this info, we discussed the shot list with the creative team, and ended up slimming the shot list a little further. As a result we estimated a 4-day shoot, plus 1 scout day. While we were reviewing the video shot list and budget parameters, it was decided that the photographer would now be able to handle all video needs themselves. The agency would be handling all on-site production including all location(s), location coordination, employee/staff talent, and talent coordination, wardrobe/hair/makeup styling, crew meals and craft services, and COVID safety protocols. We included a Client Provisions section within the Job Description to note who would be handling these items, as well as any/all final video editing.

Below is the updated Estimate:


As the agency was now anticipating a $5,000/day fee, I put the fees at $22,000 for the four days with an increase of $500/day for the photographer to now handle the video needs themselves. I added $1,000/day for the photographer tech scout day and two travel days. The previous “Hold Days” were removed so that if needed they would be approved on-site.


We reduced our first assistant and digital tech to seven days, including scout, shooting, and traveling. As noted above, we had removed the previous DP/camera operator need. At the agency’s suggestion, we added two producer days for pre/post-production assistance with securing travel and invoicing/paying crew.


We included $2,000/day for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. As we said before, the photographer would bring their own cameras, lenses, and lighting, and intended to rent some supplemental lighting, grip, and a few specific modifiers and other specialty items. The same $350 per shoot day was estimated by the digital tech for their workstation rental, however, we adjusted the budget to $1,500 for 3x 4TB hard drives and $1,000 for any production supply potential needs.


The traveling party would still include the photographer, their first assistant, and digital tech. As requested by the agency, we included six hotel nights for each based on anticipated rates in that area. We included an estimated $725 each for flights and baggage fees and $675 for taxis to and from the airport. Additionally, 21 Per Diems at $75 per day were added for the 3-person traveling party.


I added five days for passenger van rental, so the crew and agency personnel could move about town together. We were told that a local fixer/PA hired by the production team would handle the van driving and pick-up/return.


We adjusted the insurance to $1,000 for the project.

Post Production

We adjusted the first edit and client review of all content to $1,750. Because we reduced the amount of shoot days, we determined that going through 4 days of photo/videography would take 8-12 hours. At the agency’s request, we included hourly retouching for up to 50 images. Initially, we suggested $125/hr, but this rate was discounted to $75/hr by the photographer in order for us to slim down the bottom line.

Final Results

The bottom line was $3,575 above the client’s stated budget, but all needs were met and the additional funds were approved. The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a success! The client was thrilled with the work, and is currently running the project all over the internet!

Need help pricing and negotiating a project? Reach Out!

Featured Promo – John Lok

John Lok

Who printed it?
Newspaper Club out of the UK. This is my first time printing with them and I was impressed with their quality and customer service.

Who designed it?
I worked with Samantha Ricca, a talented designer and art director based here in Seattle. I love design so I found the process of working with her very exciting and collaborative throughout. We each provided input on the scope and direction of the promo, down to the small details. During one of the early brainstorming sessions, she came up with the idea to incorporate some of my behind-the-scenes stories from the photos, as well as my general thoughts/philosophies on how I approach my work. They appear as copy blocks and pull quotes in the promo, and help give it a magazine feel, which is exactly what I had envisioned.

Tell me about the images.
Ultimately, I wanted the piece to showcase my portraiture, which is my biggest love, and the area I feel I’m strongest in. The images come from many different projects spanning my career so the portrait theme was a natural way to keep the promo cohesive. The edit includes some favorites from my time as a photojournalist, where I first developed my affinity for portraits, and now as a commercial/advertising photographer. I not only wanted to show clients the style and quality of my work, but it was important to also convey its range and diversity of subject matter. Part of the reason why I enjoy portraiture so much is that I really enjoy working with all kinds of people, and am always excited at figuring out how to tell their story visually. These were some of the main things I hoped to convey in the piece.

How many did you make?
I made one copy as a test to make sure it looked good. I was happy when I opened the package to see that it was great, so I went ahead and ordered 100 more copies. Since this was my first time with Newspaper Club, I was a little concerned on whether the quality of the second run would be consistent with the single copy run, but they really nailed it again on the bigger order. They were identical in all respects.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
To be honest, this is the first promo I’ve ever made, so I’m still trying to find a good cadence that works for me. Overall, I think I will aim for once a year for promos of this size.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, I do. I feel it’s a wonderful way for clients and anyone else who receives it, to remember you. I have begun sending these out in an organic manner and the response has been extremely positive, and heartening. Given the feedback, I get the sense that it not only serves as a promo of your work, but also as a gift of sorts, in a gentle way. It fits the way I work and my personality, so this first experience with promos, so far, is extremely encouraging.

The Art of the Personal Project: Tyrone Turner

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:   Tyrone Turner

As frigid wind whipped across the ship’s bow, I held the railing with one hand and steadied my camera with the other. In front of me stretched the Bellingshausen Sea, off the coast of Western Antarctica. I was there — my second journey to the region around the southernmost continent — early this year on a five-week voyage as a photographic expert aboard the National Geographic Endurance. A small group of passengers and I stood on the deck together, wrapped up tightly against the below-freezing temperatures, documenting this otherworldly landscape.

Pancakes of sea ice covered the waters as far as the eye could see. A lone emperor penguin tucked its head into its chest of feathers. As we sailed past seals resting on the ice, they raised their heads and promptly slid into the water. This frozen world seemed so different and foreboding — and yet, at the same time, familiar. In a strange way, I felt connected to my subtropical birthplace thousands of miles away — in the coastal regions of southeastern Louisiana.

Antarctica/Lousiana Diptych Project
(Top image)A September 2005 aerial photo of a flooded New Orleans in the days following Hurricane Katrina. The storm’s surge of floodwaters burst through levees, flooding 80% of the city and killing more than 1800 people in New Orleans and on the Gulf coast. (Bottom image) Fractured sea ice near the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula in November 2017.
Antarctica/Lousiana Diptych Project
(Top image) Cracks in sea ice extend from the ship’s bow in the Lemaire Channel of the Antarctic Peninsula in November 2017. (Bottom image) Oil and gas pipeline and exploration canals cut into the marshlands near Larose, La., in November 2006.
Antarctica/Lousiana Diptych Project
(Top image) Spyboy Al Polite of the Mardi Gras Indian tribe Fi Yi Yi walks through the streets of downtown New Orleans on Carnival Day, February 2013. (Bottom image) A view of the glaciers and mountains from the Gerlache Strait on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula in February 2022.
Antarctica/Lousiana Diptych Project
(Top image) Maurice Phillips walks through marsh grass near his home in Grand Bayou, southeast of New Orleans, in March 2006. The village is only accessible by boat and is increasingly vulnerable to storm surge because of the loss of the surrounding wetlands. (Bottom image) Adelie penguins walk on sea ice near the Fish Islands in the Antarctic Peninsula in February 2022.
Antarctica/Lousiana Diptych Project
(Top image) Pete Vujnovich Jr. holds a photo of what was once his grandparents’ home as he stands in that spot in the marshlands near Empire, La., in May 2004. (Bottom image) Icebergs float on the Lemaire Channel waters off the Antarctic Peninsula in January 2022. The increase in sea level rise from glacial runoff has the potential to overwhelm coastal regions around the world.
Antarctica/Lousiana Diptych Project
(Top image) A king penguin colony on the South Georgia Island’s in February 2022. Scientists warn that, in the future, warming oceans and commercial fishing could negatively affect the penguins’ food sources. (Bottom image) An aerial photo of thousands of cars flooded by Hurricane Katrina near New Orleans in April 2007.
Antarctica/Lousiana Diptych Project
In the top photo (2004), dead oak trees line a highway near Leeville, La. Salt water intrusion from oil and gas canals and subsidence have degraded the area marshlands and contributed to the land loss in coastal Lousiana. In the bottom photo (2022), an iceberg floats in the Bellingshausen Sea in Western Antarctica. Icebergs come from the natural calving at the edges of the ice sheets on the Antarctic continent. However, recent studies have shown that the ice loss from calving is increasing and could cause Òsignificant sea-level rise in the future.Ó
Antarctica/Lousiana Diptych Project
(Top image) A portrait of Everidge Green Jr., 6 years old, in the window of his grandfather’s rebuilt home in New Orleans in August 2014. His older cousin and great grandmother died in the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. (Bottom image) The mountains of South Georgia and clouds are reflected in the windows of the National Geographic Endurance in February 2022.

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.

The Daily Edit – Mark Murrmann: Street Photography and Photozines

Action 2, May 1998 (all band images)

City Slang book dummy (2014)

Rat Crawl (City Slang #1; June 2015)



Another Wasted Night (City Slang #6; May 2017)

Cig Machine / White Glove Test (City Slang #8 & #9; late 2018)

Human Car (City Slang #11; Nov 2019)







Burned Out (Nov 2022)

Photographer: Mark Murrmann

I got a chance to connect with Mark about his passion for street photography and the zines that grew out of that. He was in the front row during the recent boom of photozines and has created an impressive collection of over 25 self-published photozines, a process he calls an “intuitive, spontaneous exercise.” You can see the collection of all his photozine covers images here. By day he’s the photography director of Mother Jones and has been for the past 15 years.

Heidi: Are you printing out images to sequence for your digital projects or do they stay in Lightroom?
Mark: For digital only projects, usually all the work stays in Lightroom. Sometimes for bigger projects I’ll make prints, but it’s rare. For zines though, I first compile a batch of images in Lightroom, then will often print out small rough prints and hang them on a wall. But when I do the layouts, it’s usually a process of dumping photos in a layout, moving things around to see how they fit, so the wall sequence is more of a rough guide than a final edit.

How has your eye or your thoughts around self publishing changed from your first zine to your most recent?
It’s changed significantly. I published my first zine in 1992, a really random zine that kind of focused more on skateboarding. I had no idea what I was doing. It was a cut and paste mess. Over the years I learned by doing, by making mistakes, by seeing other zines. That zine, Sty Zine, started including more photography as my interest in taking pictures (of skateboarding and punk bands) grew. Eventually the photos from Sty Zine branched out into its own zine, ACTION! Photozine. In the 30 years I’ve been doing zines I’ve come to really love certain aspects (the publishing side: designing, printing, physically putting the zines together) and not care for other aspects (marketing and selling them). There are fundamentals that have remained: it has always been something of an intuitive, spontaneous exercise for me, it needs to be fun otherwise; I like playing around with different formats and sizes; I like to keep them cheap if I can. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at making zines, but there’s always room to do better I’ve considered getting more serious about publishing but think it would sap what I love out of it.

Of course, the tsunami of digital photography influences (some would say erodes) how we consume rather than look at photography. How have these social platforms influenced you both good and bad?
One way Instagram has negatively impacted me and my work is that I’m less inclined to share images that don’t “work” on Instagram. They’re either too subtle or they might be a wider shot (or even panoramic) that reads small on the platform. I’m making fewer zines. Before social media to easily share and consume photography, there was more of a necessity to publish as a way to get work off contact sheets (or hard drives), to be seen. The positive side of course is that I’ve reached people beyond my usual cadre of photo friends. It’s a way to get your work seen and a way to publicize printed zines. For me, there’s no better way to enjoy or consume photography than in a book or zine form. The way the images work with or against each other on a page (or sit by themselves on a page), the way they interact with the photo that came before and comes after as you turn the pages. The physical design, the paper, the printing. If done right, it all plays into the body of work you’re presenting. That said, I spend far, far too much time idling away on Instagram. Blah. But I also have too many photobooks and zines! Haha. The more limited impact of what’s in a book or zine leaves more of an impression with me though than the endless stream of images on social media.

When looking back at your early work, are there clues that ground the viewer in a certain decade? (beside clothes and style) You were shooting pretty tight back then to give the feeling of being “pushed up against the stage” at the punk shows. Do these feel timeless when you revisit the set?
I don’t think they feel timeless, though I was kind of going for something like that, especially with my music photography. There’s a definite shift in my work. I still like shooting right up front at shows, but one big difference is I used to use a direct flash and was very loose in my shooting. It was all film, almost all black and white. So, it has a pretty specific look. These days, especially with the high ISOs available on digital cameras, I rarely use a flash and am composing more carefully. When photographing shows, I still try to capture that feeling of being right up front, in the thick of it. But I’m also going to slightly different shows. Not quite as raucous, so the images feel different.

My street photography has a more continuous look and feel I think, though in the past few years I’ve been working with more color and with a slightly tighter lens (50mm). Also, I’ve noticed my street photography has fewer people lately. Part of that is just not being in downtown San Francisco five days a week. That’s had a big impact on my photography.

If you were to give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
It would kind of be what I am still telling myself now: push yourself more; be more focused in what you’re photographing; take more risks; do more. Don’t be afraid to think of yourself as an artist.


I know books are expensive, why zines? They both have a tactile quality but what about the zines suits your style of image making?
Good question. A while ago I started editing my street photography for a book. I got as far as making a dummy. It was more or less ready to go – but it just didn’t feel right. I was having a hard time with a few aspects of it. The cost, sure, but more fundamental questions: Why am I making a book? Who cares? What am I trying to say? It felt more like making a book for the sake of making a book and there are already too many books. Also, a book felt like a period, an end to a body of work on which I was still photographing. So, I took a step back, broke down the pile of images I was working from and decided to make a series of zines. I thought of them as editing notebooks in a way. Editing different zines from more or less the same body of work, focused around a different theme. The series was called City Slang and each zine was titled after a song, which provided the theme of the zine. Some were more successful than others, but that’s one thing I liked – I could roll the dice a bit. They were cheaper to make and I could sell them cheap. I made them small (most about 5″ x 4″), which allowed me to always have one on me to give away or sell. The printing wasn’t perfection, but it fit the work, as did the small size and full-bleed spreads. All around, I think the zines fit that body of work better than a book. That said, I’m starting to come around to an idea of a book again for the City Slang work since it feels more finished. We’ll see.

The zines I’m doing now aren’t within that series; they have a different look and feel. Still street photography, but very different from the City Slang work. Flatlands and Flatlands II are color, digest sized, hardly any people in the photos at all. Burned Out is all photos of burnouts, donuts, skidmarks.

Are you part of any photo collective currently?
I am part of a photo group called San Francisco City Photography Club. It’s a loose group of street photographers. Before covid, we were meeting once a month for critiques and to hangout, talk, putting together group shows and group zines. Despite meeting regularly over Zoom during covid, things have gotten pretty quiet with the group.
As far as shows, I should be better about pushing to do shows around zines I put out. That’d make sense – get the work up on walls for people to interact with it in a different way, sell some zines, have fun. Doesn’t even have to be fancy. Just make something more of it. I’m bad about that. That said, I did have a great show in Altadena, California in May at the Alto Beta Gallery. Brad Eberhard who runs the gallery specifically wanted me to show work from my Flatlands zines – color work from West Oakland. It’s a basic thing, but putting together a show makes you think about the work in a much different way than throwing together a zine. It was great. And it was awesome getting to show work outside of the Bay Area. I’d love to do a show with work from my last zine, Burned Out. I just haven’t put the work into making that happen (this is where the advice to my younger self applies to my current self).

What are you most excited about for street photography as a genre?
I have gotten pretty picky about street photography that gets me excited. I like work that is more subtle or ambiguous, more emotional, dark, gritty, makes you question what you’re seeing, lets you get lost in the image or that makes you feel something. That’s broad sounding, but within street photography I think that’s a relatively small niche. I feel like there was a pretty big swell of interest in street photography before covid and I have to admit, I would be happy if it has piqued and dies down a bit.

This Week in Photography: The Best Work I Saw at Filter





My last column was fairly critical.

I threw grenades, and they exploded, but I didn’t notice any casualties.

(So it’s all good, brah.)

Today, I’ll revert to my more-typically positive self, and reiterate why I think festivals, and IRL events, are necessary for a vibrant community.






If there’s one lesson I learned over my years on the festival circuit, it’s that you never know WHAT will happen, when you put a bunch of creative people together in a room.

You just know THAT something will happen.

New relationships are the byproduct of IRL get-togethers, and represent our best chance for new adventures and opportunities.

(As all human businesses are built upon human relationships.)


JB at the FotoFest opening party, March 2020, w/ Jeff Phillips, the current Filter Photo Board President.



In my last article, I wrote extensively of the change in the demographics of the American photo world. (If not global.)

It’s been said.

But all these years, when I would meet second-career, hobbyist, and retirement photographers at the review table, I’d treat them the same as the pros, and the emerging artists.

In fact, my spiel went something like this:

Professional photographers and artists get to be creative all the time, but always worry about money. Day-job photographers and artists might not have to stress about paying the bills, but they do worry about getting enough time and energy to be creative.

Or they worry about the years they lost when they had responsibilities to parents, spouses, children, or maybe they were just conditioned that it wasn’t OK to choose a creative, money-challenged career.

Regardless, when people fall in love with the creative process, and/or discover its power to heal, it doesn’t matter the age.

The magic of what art does to the human psyche and soul is always to be admired, IMO.






At the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago last September, I met only a few “professional working photographers,” as with the other festivals this year, and most were professors.

But the vibe was great, and all the artists, regardless of their background, came to the table with open minds, having done their homework, and were very receptive to feedback.

The quality of the work was high.

Today, we’re lucky to feature nine photographers I met at the Filter Photo Festival, whose styles, backgrounds, and motivations were so different.

I dig all the work, and hope you will to.

As always, the photographers are in no particular order.





I’m glad we get to share Laidric Stevenson’s work one more time, before I wrap up the blog here, as we’ve been fortunate to feature it twice before.

Though we’d only known each other online, (and the phone,) before Filter, it was nice to meet a flesh and blood human, as I really love his work.

Laidric, in from Dallas, showed me a tight body of his large format, black and white photos shot around the city. I found some contrast issues with his prints, but the pictures always look amazing on screen.

For the record, Laidric does photography for the love of it, as a side career, as he works hard to support his family. And he’s tinkered with cameras since he was a kid.

A life long artist.

All of our journeys are valid, and can result in killer work, if we learn and grow over time.







Collette LaRue came from nearby Wisconsin, with a background in science, and was trying to test out the photo community waters, in her first review.

I found the photos of her husband, (who’s a veterinarian,) gardening in the yard, to have a proper freshness about them.

Very cool stuff.

Since it was Collette’s first festival, this is her first time sharing the work with an online audience, I believe.

Way to go, Collette!







Lyn Swett Miller definitely had the best story I heard during Filter, (and writing about her just reminded me of a humorous humiliation.)

Lyn is hard-core about her personal composting practice, as environmental activism, and incorporated it into her art, by photographing the compost piles.

The big hook is that Lyn once went to Harvard, (she lives in New Hampshire,) and actually composted her Harvard Degree!

For real!

Talk about edgy.
10 out of 10 for the idea.

(As to my humiliation…the more we said composting that day, again and again, the more it stuck in my brain. At our photo retreat two weeks later, during a critique, I kept saying composting instead of compositing, again and again, composting, composting, and everyone kept giggling, but I couldn’t figure out why.)








Jason Kerzinski was in from New Orleans, and we did cross paths last month down there too. (Only briefly, for fist bumps.)

Jason is a freelance journalist, who does a lot of work for leftist publications, and was hoping to figure out how to push his editorial practice forward.

I liked his portraits a lot, and thought they definitely showed that he could make people feel at ease, and that he knows his way around a camera.

We discussed the idea of a project, (as we so often do,) as I think a focus point helps us improve, as we return to the same idea/process/practice again and again.








Jack Long and I met at Filter a few years ago, and I published his work then too.

Jack’s a full-time commercial photographer, and last time out, he showed me some wacky images made by putting colored liquids into motion.

This time, I found his process to be super-dialed in, as the mandala-like photos are really gorgeous, and definitely have the “how did he do that?” quality.

The first time we met, there were some issues with kitschy pictures, but I found this project to be tight. (If occasionally repetitive.)







Beth Lilly was in from Atlanta, and showed me a black and white project made while driving on Interstates.

Atlanta is famous for them, but some of the photos were made elsewhere. It’s meant to be contemplative, and has a Buddhist title, (The Seventh Bardo,) but Beth and I worked at a tighter edit, to make sure the pictures were more memorable.

This style of work is a trope, but any time the form and content sing in an original, or fresh vision, we can tell a familiar type of story in a new way.

I thought there was certainly a strain of cool pictures, so we sifted through them for 20 minutes.

{Ed note: I just looked through the edit Beth sent me not long after our meeting, and she nailed it!}







Kelly Wright is an artist in Philly, and was showing her project “Preservation Society.”

As with Beth, the conversation turned to editing, and we sorted her pictures into two piles.

I’ve found, (over the years,) that once I introduce an editing principle, the photographers are always able to pick up on the themes, and then start editing themselves.

Kelly’s pictures are made in museums and preserved mansions, and grand homes, and I found the elegance was enhanced in the images that were more edgy and surprising.

{Ed note: Just looked at the edit Kelly sent, and it’s terrific.)






Rachel Portesi was new to visiting festivals, but had already had success with her work, as it was showing at the Griffin Museum in Massachusetts. (Nearby her home in Vermont.)

It’s not hard to see why, as the crafted narratives, which drip with magical realism, are great in tin-type form. And she also had a video, which you watched through an old camera lens, which showed some behind the scenes work with her models.

Beautiful stuff.

Rachel admitted she’d had to put her art career on hold for a long time, to raise her kids, but was now back into it, and I was thrilled to see it was working out for her.





Last, but not least, we have Jason Lindsey, whom I met very briefly at the Filter portfolio walk at Columbia College.

Jason wanted me to take a quick peek, since I wasn’t on his reviewer list, and I was pretty smitten by his photos of corn fields.

We didn’t talk much, but his assistant sent me these jpegs, so I gather that means Jason’s doing all right as a commercial photographer.

People with that skill set often have an easy time making things look good, and these photos certainly do. But they also had a mood/vibe that drew me in immediately.

I think you’ll like them too.

See you next time.


The Art of the Personal Project: Ian Spanier

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 Spanier


Two days before a quarantine order was issued (March 2020) I had begun my latest personal project. The concept was a series of portraits of motorcycle riders, chosen partially for the bike they rode, but more on the individual. Whenever I embark on a personal project, I do so in part to always have a project going on in the background to my normal commercial work, and secondly to find a new challenge for myself. Usually, this is in the form of creating a new form of lighting or in approaching shoots differently. I find this to be a great means of growing as a photographer and adding techniques to my arsenal of lighting options for my assignment work.

In my last body of work, Right Next Door, I chose to approach all my portraits with minimal lighting, and instead of my normal heavily technical approach for lighting, I chose to simply “bang” a light into a wall or ceiling to light my subjects. For MoTo, I wanted to shoot with a much deeper depth of field for my portraits, specifically an aperture of f20 in opposition to my normal comfort range of f8 and wider. This would of course mean the need for MORE lighting. To add to the challenge, I wanted to create this look in my home entryway and living room. This presented a series of challenges for space, obstacles and length and height limitations. What I did not realize, was how this shoot would shape how I would work for the rest of the pandemic.

Then the quarantine was ordered.

Like most, I had no idea what would be next, how long we would be quarantined, and what the next step would be. More so, how would be career be affected? An opportunity to take a free Covid Compliance Officer Training Course was offered by ASMP, so I decided to take the course. I had no plans to be an officer, but this would give me a better understanding of things to come.

Five weeks past, and I was churning out the results of my first shoot, and absolutely loving the results…but I was stuck. I really wanted to continue, but Hollywood was literally shut down. How could I continue to shoot when everything was shut down? Well, I now had some tools…I knew what a “safe” shoot looked like, and a way to turn my living room into a white studio. As was already my practice, I shoot with a CamRanger 2, a fantastic camera accessory that allows for a jpg to be wirelessly sent to an iPad, iPhone or computer. This allows for my clients on set to see images in near real time, and in this case, my subject to see from the recommended six-foot distance while we are working. I am not one to ever really sit still, so with the belief that I could work safely with my newly gained knowledge, I began to seek out more subjects. Some subjects I knew, either from previous shoots whom I knew were riders, or some pervious connections of mine who I just noticed they were motorcycle owners. From there, I used the likely/unlikely source of Instagram to do so. By searching through images of motorcycles, then whittling down to Los Angeles, I was able to make connections with more riders. I simply reached out, and asked, sharing my images along the way. With images, I was able to easily explain my concept. Sure, there was skeptical responses from some, Coronavirus or not, but it always helps to have images to back up the request. Slowly, I was able to add subject two, three, four, and so on. One unplanned benefit arose, which was this manner of shooting, combined with the knowledge of a newly appointed Compliance Officer, I began to reach out to clients, and let them know I was ready and willing to work, and how.

My next subject was found through a conversation with a model agent I regularly spoke with. She had wanted to connect me with one of her models, who just happened to ride a bike. I explained my new process and how we could safely do a shoot and check off another subject. Add to that, this inspired the same agent to suggest me to a contact of hers who needed a clothing catalogue photographed but was stuck how with the limitation of the now lengthy quarantine. I presented the process and BOOM, assignment! Now I truly had a means to keep working, despite the limitations. My new client stayed in Arizona, comfortably in her living room, watching my shoot on ZOOM, with the ability to talk to both me and the carefully scheduled models (who were separated by 30 min windows so I could clean/sanitize in-between), and see my images in real time thanks to CamRanger 2’s ability to be on a dual WIFI band from my home while ZOOM was also running.

From here, I kept rolling, seeking out subjects from IG as well as recommendations from my subjects, and on and on. Finally, my hope was to round out the project with a Motorcycle Club…easier said than done. Nearly six months later, after many rejections ranging from “we have members who are photographers, so we wouldn’t want to have any conflicts,” to simple “we are not interested” responses, I finally found a willing club. I sensed the reluctance of Venice Vintage Moto Club president Dayne Ashbaugh, but I persisted, and he ultimately agreed to help. It took a couple months, but finally we had a plan to photograph fourteen members, all in one morning, this included members, as well as probate members along with their bikes. Now, as I mentioned, the idea was more about the riders than the bikes, but per Dayne’s request, the guys would love to be shot with their bikes. Worth it for sure, as the vintage bikes are quite special.  Unlike my home location, we chose to shoot outside, which presents many other challenges, but as I always say, I call them challenges, not problems for a reason, because challenges are meant to be solved, and I love a challenge.

Shooting in the back of Dayne’s high end window company, the morning was spent mostly in the shade of the building, but I came prepared for sun with some 4×4 black floppy flags and thankfully, as it is LA, some of the guys were in the business, so they happily (and thankfully) lent a hand playing grip as well as shoot some great behind the scenes pics.

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.

The Daily Edit – Condé Nast Traveler Spain


Condé Nast Traveler: Spain

Photographer: Diego Martínez 
Art Director: Angel Perea

Heidi: How did this project come about?
Diego: I’m a photographer involved in editorial production and advertising, but my passion is the mountains, climbing and mountaineering. For some time, I’ve been introducing this passion to my daily work and getting involved in different expeditions around the world as photographer and videographer. The combination of passion and work has taken me to the Himalayas and Antarctica.

For this project… I always wanted to go to the Dolomites just because it’s one of the best places for enjoying the beauty and nature of the Alps, so I made a plan and started to design my route. Once I was happy with the route, I connected with the editor-in-chief and the project evolved from there.

What was the editing process for selecting the cover image?
I always make a tight edit, not many images, just the ones that inspired me and the ones that fit their editorial vision. The team created this beautiful illustration from my work.

What can you tell us about the collaboration?
As a frequent collaborator in this mag (this is my 3rd cover) I always feel comfortable and happy to be part of this great family.

Heidi: Was this cover stitched then photographed?
Angel: The cover is an illustration, it is not stitched. We decided to do it that way because we didn’t have much time but wanted it to be super realistic based on a photo by Diego Martínez. My art team and I spent a lot of hours and tests until we got it right.

What are you working on now?
I was just in Nepal where I’ve been working in a project for a non profit organization called SOS Himalaya. filming and taking photos in the Makalu Valley.



This Week in Photography: American Protest 2020-2021



A month ago, I reported on impending, slow-burn-end of the photo world.

No one made a sound.







A week later, I tweeted that I reported on the death of the photo word, and no one had made a sound.

The tweet got a small response.

Andrew Molitor wrote a response-blog-post, and an artist named Landry Major challenged my assertion, saying the fine art photo world was thriving, but admitted she had not read my article.




All in all, not a lot of ruffled feathers for such a grand pronouncement.

Secretly, I think a lot of people have been harboring these thoughts.

I traveled to four photo festivals this year, in San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago and New Orleans, and my observations finally came into focus in the weeks before PhotoNOLA.

So I spoke to some friends and colleagues, in person, or on the phone, to gauge their reaction.

Everyone agreed.

Let’s unpack the details.

(Trust me, this is VERY difficult to write.)









I went to Review Santa Fe in 2009 and 2010, as a photographer.

It made my career.

The first year, I took notes on the 99 other photographers, because I was so “Johnny Tryhard,” and therefore I remember the group well.

Some talented, emerging and mid-career artists, editorial photographers, and photojournalists were all together, and many have gone on to massive careers.

LaToya Ruby Frazier was there, (just like the rest of us,) and has since received a MacArthur Genius Grant!

Some other folks who went on to have success in various parts of the industry, (just off the top of my head): Susan Burnstine, Jesse Burke, Susan Worsham, Ben Lowy, Emily Shur, Matt Eich, Jeff Hutchens, Kurt Tong, Ferit Kuyas, Brian Buckley and Mark Menjivar.


JB with Emily Shur and Jon Feinstein at RSF in 2009.


Nearly everyone there was a trained, working artist, photojournalist, professor, editorial photographer, or perhaps a commercial photographer.

Easily, 90% or more were working pros.

There certainly might have been a few hobbyists, or lightly-trained, career-change photographers, but none that I recall.

That was 13.5 years ago.

I’ve since attended 30+ festivals, both as a photographer and as a reviewer.

The proof is in the pudding, as I’ve written scores of articles about these portfolio reviews over the years, all published here on APE.

Of all the festivals I attended, only the New York Times review was free, so it was the most diverse and international. By far! But it was also super-difficult to get accepted, so it’s not a viable option for most people.

Every other festival was run by non-profit, artist-founded, artist-run organizations. (Sorry, I did go to one by the Art Academy of SF, and they’re a for-profit school.)

In Houston, San Diego, San Francisco, LA, Santa Fe, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, and Portland, the trend was so slow that I never noticed it.


A photo of someone taking a photo of someone in front of the angel wings, Chicago, 2022


Mea Culpa.

I missed the story of the slow disappearance of the professionals, replaced by hobbyists.

But in 2022, Post-Pandemic, it was impossible not to see the pattern.

This year, the vast majority of photographers I saw at the portfolio review table were coming from retirement, as a long-time hobby, or rekindling the passion after many years, hoping to change careers.

I’ve previously written that I had such a hard time remembering work from the PhotoAlliance review, I only featured two artists.

You still meet a few full-time professional artists, or busy freelance journalists, and their work is normally better, so it stands out quickly. There are plenty of professional educators still on the scene, as professors are under pressure to exhibit and publish, for tenure.

The educators also have stable jobs, and some schools provide professional development funds, so stipends are available for the professors.

And their work also tends to be of a MUCH higher caliber.

Post-pandemic, though, the majority were coming to the festivals now, (which are expensive, in a world with inflation, and concentrated resources,) ready to get in on the action, without realizing how little action was left.

One post-retirement-artist even told me they were ready to level up to a solo show now, because they had done the group-show thing, so now it was time.

(Like ticking boxes off a list.)

And I am not being ageist here.

Please allow me explain further.








The shift was gradual, but when I attended the festivals as an artist, (in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2016,) I always made more money than I spent.


The marketing budget worked, because whether I sold prints to collectors out of the box, on the spot, sometime later on, or ended up with shows that sold work, it always panned out.

There was a professional artist/journalist class, of trained experts who’d gone to school, and put in decades of time.

There were also enough opportunities and resources to support those artists, journalists, and editorial photographers.

Now, (as I’ve previously written,) the gallery/newspaper/magazine/ad buy infrastructure is a fraction of what it was, chopped year by year, so of course the opportunities will have lessened commensurately.

Simultaneously, over those 13.5 years, the products of the photo world, glossy art on pretty white walls, or sleek photos on the home pages of the NYT or the Washington Post, were very visible markers of success.




And making pictures is fun!

So of course, with the photo world incessantly promoting itself, and photography getting ever easier from better digital cameras and phones, it makes sense people who put their passion aside, due to life obligations, would want to come join the party.

Who wouldn’t?

And year by year, I treated each person at the review table the same, and tried to honor and help motivate folks who were new to giving their heart to their art.

No matter the age.

Many of my consulting clients have come from this cohort, and I’ve busted my butt, and had a great creative relationship, with each of them.

But now the portfolio review community is made up primarily of people who have financial means, and many are willing to pay $35,000-$50,000 to publish a photo book, OUT OF POCKET, because it’s a marker of status and success.

(Also, because it’s a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.)









As I wrote a month ago, photography is now everyone’s passion.

It’s a visual language that belongs to THE WORLD.

Nothing has been so democratized; not even music.

A medium once dependent on cryptic chemicals, and tricky, expensive, mechanical cameras, is now fully point-and-shoot brilliant.

From Leica monochromes to great iPhones, it’s not hard to make a “professional” looking photo.

So we can cheer that our love now belongs to everyone, and we can also mourn that so many professionals have left the field.

To be clear, I’m not saying festivals don’t belong anymore.

But at PhotoNOLA two weeks ago, of the 9 official reviews I did, only two photographers seemed to be full-time professionals: both educators there to promote their personal work.

2 out of 9.

So I asked my colleagues, and they agreed:

Perhaps the model needs to be tweaked a bit, to accommodate the new reality?

As I said, the NYT runs free reviews, because they can.

But Filter Photo, in Chicago, has active relationships with local art schools, so you can always count on 5 or 6 students coming to the review table. The schools buy reviews in blocks, (or perhaps trade for sponsorships,) so the up-and-coming, committed students attend for free.

(That’s also a great way to keep it diverse, but I’ve only seen it done at Filter.)







I believe it’s important to note the demographic shift, and ask if perhaps there are other ways we as a global photo community can support regular, working-stiff artists, teachers, and freelance journalists?

We need to make sure there is still a photo world for the next generation to enter.

Maybe festivals can increase their emphasis on low-cost education and exhibitions, and make the high-cost portfolio review elements a smaller part of the overall financial reality?

Or perhaps some of the non-profits can start adding more and more next-generation artists to their boards and advisory committees?

Because I hung out with a handful of 20-somethings this year, in San Diego, Chicago and New Orleans, and I can legitimately vouch for Gen Z.


JB with Liv, (from London,) in the French Quarter, NOLA, Dec 2022. (Photo by Bayley Mizelle)


They are coming to save the world, with their empathy, multi-talents, and their Internet-charged brains.

I’m here for it.

But outside of the handful of students at Filter, none of the younger generation I met were at the festivals to be reviewed, as “paying customers.”

We can welcome later-in-life artists, and career-change photographers, and support their exciting, creative journeys.

And I have.

But given what I saw on the road in 2022, if they’re now the majority of the festival community, (and the ones primarily paying-to-play,) I believe it needs to be acknowledged.

Saying “Beetlejuice” three times can be scary.

But I said it.

So let’s move on.


image courtesy of IFC Center









I’m in an awkward position, as I’ve already told you I quit, but Rob’s allowing me to wrap up the column here in an elegant way.

I’ve got to share the best work I saw at Filter, and PhotoNOLA, so that’s two more articles.

And I’m sitting on a sizable submission-book-stack.

At first, I thought I’d try to cram 20 mini-reviews into two articles.

Little pods of information.

But that doesn’t feel right.

It wouldn’t allow me to honor the photographers who trusted me with their books. (Their artistic babies.)


So I’m announcing today that I’ll start a personal blog, in the next two months, so I can properly review every book that was sent my way.

It’s only fair, and after all, I love to write.

I promise to provide full details before I wrap up here, (and on social media,) and I’ll do a quick book review today, too, as a show of good faith.

Because I’d like to state one thing very clearly: I love the global photography community, and it’s been an honor to have such a visible platform here for so long.

If just a few of you come over and read the book reviews, (or whatever else I write about,) that’s cool with me.

I guess it will be my hobby from now on, since I’ll be doing it for free.

For myself. As art.








Even though there are only 3 columns left here, (after today,) I always keep it real.

I went to the book stack, and looked for the oldest submission.

Of course it’s perfect for today, because that’s how the column-magic has always worked, over the years.

“American Protest: Photographs 2020-2021,” by Mel D. Cole, was published by Damiani, and arrived in Nov of 2021.

January 6th, which is featured in the book, was still fresh, and these days, we wonder if the endgame is coming?

But man, does this book pack a punch.

The intros tell us that Mel D. Cole is, and has always been an independent journalist, and the end notes say that funding was provided by the Black Photographers’ Fund. (Which he created.)

Damiani is an expensive publisher, so clearly a lot of people came together to enable this creative vision.

It’s pretty much the best case scenario for how the photo world can support working pros. (As I wrote above.)

But it’s also a great example of how I’ve tried to promote diversity of culture, vision and perspective here, over nearly 13 years.


New Orleans, Dec 2022


This book is clearly the product of the combination of talent, grit, bravery, timing, community support, and the brilliance of the photographic medium.

History was preserved.

Art was made.

Perspective was offered.

It’s badass!

I saw no designer credits, so I’m assuming Mel D. Cole did it himself, and it grabs you from the first second.

Black men in handcuffs, but rendered in such a way that you think… Shackles… Slavery.

(The reference is not to be missed.)

That the book ends with raised firsts and Black Lives Matter signs held high, tells you what you need to know about call backs, structure, and progression.

The pictures are amazing, and speak for themselves.


But just as I found myself about to skip ahead, (because there are a lot of pictures, and the structure was getting repetitive,) BAM!!!

He drops a color photo on us, the first, of a blood-stained Philly cop in his bright blue uniform.


Seriously, it jolted me back into the present moment.

And that use of occasional color popped up again, a few times, always to smart effect.

This is just a terrific book.

Top class.

The critic in me will point out that I don’t love the font choice in the intro text, (including one by Jamie Lee Curtis,) and I particularly dug the honest, casual, loving, thank you page.

Today’s book is a great example of why I’d like to see the global photography community organize a bit, to make sure the life-long art voices, those countless creators who committed to the path, and continue to stick it out…

We need to maintain a system that supports these photographers.

Otherwise, what are we doing?


To purchase “American Protest: Photographs 2020-2021” click here


The Art of the Personal Project: Emily Hawkes

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:  Emily Hawkes


For this personal project, I collaborated with prop stylist/crafter Andrea Greco to conceptualize a retro-themed shoot for the holidays. We were inspired by a cover from a Patti Page Christmas album and started with the intention of recreating the cover with our spin. Our goal was to create something retro-inspired, but with a modern edge. From there, we thought about what other scenes might happen in this world and brought on food stylist Erika Joyce to create a fantastic 70s-era dinner party spread. We wove elements from our own childhood holiday memories through the scenes, as well as the poppy colors and vintage style I tend to gravitate towards in my work.

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.