Pricing & Negotiating: Social Media Shoot For International Beverage Brand

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Environmental 15-second video portraits of talent interacting with products and the environment. Videos needed to be vertical in format, and created on iPhone 12.

Licensing: Web advertising use of up to two 15-second videos on TikTok for three months, and web collateral use in perpetuity.

Photographer: Lifestyle/portraiture specialist with motion capabilities

Client: International beverage brand

Here is the estimate:

Fees: This shoot was a part of a larger motion project being simultaneously produced by a video production company. The production company’s charge was to find a lifestyle photographer to create two 15-second environmental portrait videos of up to 3 talent directed into action. While the content creation seemed rather straightforward, the client was smart to seek a photographer with a strong portfolio of lighting and a proficiency of directing talent into joyful emotion, as well as capturing people in motion within a frame. Another need from the photographer was the ability to capture strong content in a very short amount of time due to the talent’s limited availability. On paper, the assets could be captured quickly, but the larger ongoing production and talent schedule meant we needed to estimate for two 12-hour shoot days to mirror the video production schedule. These combined needs put upward pressure on the fee. For the licensing, the client requested 3 months Paid Social Media Advertising. I felt $12,000 would be appropriate for one year of usage for this client, and then we subtracted 50% for a shorter duration. This brought us to $6,000, which we further lowered a bit to $5,500 after learning about a very tight budget. We also added a $500 fee for the photographer pre-pro work on the shoot direction and social media platform research.

Crew: We added a first assistant to help with lighting and the ease of the photographer’s days. These rates were appropriate for an advertising production in the given market. The production company required the estimate account for a 12-hour day, so 2 hours of overtime were estimated for each day at a 1.5x hourly rate.

Equipment: We included $1,000 for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. Without knowing the specific location, we knew the photographer would need some LED and HMI lighting, modifiers and support. The specified camera, an iPhone 12, wouldn’t be able to support different exposure adjustments in aperture and ISO speed, so advance lighting tests were needed. The iPhone was brand new and provided in advance by the production company for the photographer to do some imaging and lighting tests prior to the shoot.

Miscellaneous: We had $250 as miscellaneous expenses. This would cover mileage and parking for the photographer and assistant, as well as any additional snacks/beverages before or after their time on set each day, and provide a bit of buffer for any unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Client Provisions: We included a Client Provisions note that all locations, product and product styling, all talent, wardrobe and wardrobe styling, hair, makeup, catering and craft services, Covid safety protocols, as well as all post-production, would be handled by the production company.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a success!

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

The Daily Edit – Skialper: Matthew Tufts


Photographer: Matthew Tufts

Heidi: How long were you in El Chaltén for this project?
Matthew: I reported on this project in El Chaltén for about three months–from late June till mid-September. Austral winter is the village’s offseason, and I planned to document both local culture (sans tourists) and the ski community, so the timeline was perfect. Three months is quite the investment on a story I pursued on spec, but there were two main factors that solidified my decision to commit that time:
1) The weather is wildly unpredictable in Southern Patagonia. Perhaps the most mercurial in the world. You could go for a week and ski six days; more likely, you could go for a month and ski three. I hedged my bets on volume and scored with some amazing, unprecedented weather windows near the end of my trip.
2) The purpose of the story wasn’t simply to shoot skiing in El Chaltén; it was to document the community culture. I immersed myself in the community at a variety of levels and built trust and friendships with locals that couldn’t be forged overnight.

The main story from this project was published by The Ski Journal – was that also spec?
Sure was. The whole concept was a passion project from the start, an idea I had since my first visit to Chaltén a half dozen years prior. And as most of my editorial projects go, this one was, you guessed it, on spec. I pitched a handful of publications and brands prior, but went into it without any guarantees or contracts–that was par for the course in my outdoor industry experience, so I wasn’t particularly disheartened. I don’t think guaranteed return on investment is a good measure of value for a passion project; maybe if I did, I wouldn’t find myself personally funding so many audacious storytelling projects… haha.

I figured there’d be interest in the final story from editorial publications, but I also intended to shoot for commercial clients that had expressed interest in licensing images on spec. While skiing, there’s not a big difference between the two–I typically take the same approach to capturing editorial and commercial deliverables. I want to keep things real and raw and let the scene do the talking. Let the athletes do what they’re naturally going to do while I adjust for composition. The athletes appreciate that approach because they’re out to ski, not shoot photos, and I come away with something that feels true to our experience in the alpine. Even when shooting product, I’d rather let the action and environment speak to the efficacy of the ski / apparel / equipment etc. I love shooting skiing when it’s dumping snow, windy, and whiteout conditions just as much as beautifully lit sunset powder turns. I just want my images to evoke a feeling–I’ll let the environment and the athletes dictate what that feeling is.

Back in town, my photojournalistic approach really hits its stride. I spent many a day walking through town with a camera in tow without a particular objective, simply observing. I looked for the unfiltered in-between scenes that serve as the connective tissue to a complete story: kids playing in the streets, “closed for winter” signs, the local bar scene, ping-pong matches at the climbing gym, a local guide tuning his skis. I did this on my first day in town and my last, and many times in between.

How do you know when to pull the camera out and when to enjoy the moment? Is that ever a struggle?
When you spend that much time in a locale on a longform project, there’s definitely a balance to be struck. In town, I’d be more apt to put the camera away during conversations and cultural moments where I wanted to feel present and engaged. However, on walks through town, I found that looking through the lens immersed me in otherwise trivial moments in a way I would never see without the camera.

When we’re out in the backcountry, I almost always have the camera accessible. The most powerful images often come from moments you don’t expect (or want) to shoot. When things get heavy and ice is freezing to the lens and I just want to pack up and go home, that’s when I remind myself I ought to shoot. And the same applies to those quiet moments in the tent or the refugio when your subjects are at their least guarded–that’s where the cover photo for Skialper came from. So although both those moments feel like they should be given space from the camera, they’re the scenes I find most imperative to document–when your subjects are vulnerable and simply being themselves.

What did the 4th day offer that was different from the previous days?
Funnily enough, I think that was the first day we skied! And what a difference that made in my ability to connect with the community. My Spanish was passable, but certainly not great when I arrived. (It often turned into a blend of Portunhol (Potuguese and Spanish spliced together), that I attribute to a semester of studying in Brazil many years ago.) However, when I went skiing with a handful of locals I’d only met the day before, we instantly connected over an experience that transcends words. That felt like the inflection point at the start of a long process of embedding myself within the community–every day thereafter, I learned a little more and grew a little tighter with that crew.

Describe the day’s rhythm.
There aren’t a lot of constants in El Chaltén. The region is known for some of the wildest and most unpredictable weather on the planet, so settling into a “routine” basically meant you were prepared for anything—I could get a text at 9:00 p.m. the night before, telling me the crew was planning a 12-hour ski day; I could get a text at seven in the morning that the wind came in too strong and shut down any plans to get into the mountains that day. The latter happened more frequently than the former.

When the mountains allowed us to ski, it was usually a full day affair. Up before the sun and back after it had set, we typically had to hike miles with our skis and boots on our backs to get to the snowline. That point would only be the start of our real ascent and then after skiing we’d have to schlep our gear back down through the forest again. While ski photography is often centered on perfect, steep powder turns, I’ve always made a concerted effort to document the approach and the ascent just as meticulously. It’s a matter of telling the full story, and in Patagonia, most of your time backcountry skiing is going uphill!

On days we didn’t ski, I’d typically walk down to the panaderia—the local bakery—grab some sort of baked good, walk through town with a camera in hand, and then eat and sip maté in the morning while I wrote and edited photos. I met with locals at the bar, at the climbing gym, and in their homes to chat about life in the winter and their day to day in the offseason. I enjoyed the rhythm and the intentionality of those moments. In the States, I live full-time in my camper and work and life can get rather frenetic; three months in El Chaltén during the offseason taught me to embrace a slower pace of life, and that showed in the intentionality and intimacy of the work.

It’s great to see images being shared globally and the words translated–how much of your work is getting repurposed/syndicated? More due to the pandemic?
This project in particular made the rounds through a number of different publications and outlets. The Ski Journal, Patagonia’s The Cleanest Line, and Adventure Journal all published unique feature stories and images from this project. Daybreak Magazine later ran a Q&A about the experience and then Skialper picked up the first European rights to the images and story. And there are still literally hundreds of unpublished selects I’m in love with sitting on my hard drive! Haha. It’s the story that keeps on giving.

The print editorial sphere is a tough place to navigate as a photographer and storyteller. The pay is quite variable and every year it seems another stalwart publication folds (RIP Powder). But simultaneously, there’s an emergence of beautifully crafted and curated coffee table magazines, each with a loyal audience that sees the value of these tangible collections of art. During the pandemic, so many folks spent countless hours on screens; it appears, now, that they’re looking for ways to engage with visual storytelling in a more tangible medium. Magazines are going up in quality, from image selection to the paper they’re printed on. People want something worth holding onto. And the fact that this project could appear in so many unique publications shows the value of a good story and its ability to reach audiences of widely varied backgrounds.

Feature Promo – neil favila

neil favila

Who printed it?
printed by newspaper club.

Who designed it?
designed by in LA.

Tell me about the images.
the images in this promo lean heavy into my lifestyle / advertising work, with a bit of personal work sprinkled in.

How many did you make?
i believe we made 500 copies on this run.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
we send out physical promos once a year, and we send out digital promos (newsletter) three times a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
i think promos can be effective if they’re thoughtfully curated, designed and printed. people seem to enjoy holding a physical copy, and seeing images printed (not on a device screen).

This Week in Photography: A Living Legend



I took some heat for last week’s column.

(About Grandpa Sam.)



There was no blowback from the haters. Those anonymous trolls that used do drive me and Rob crazy back in 2011.


This time, the negative feedback came from members of my family, (via social media,) who objected to my depiction of Grandpa Sam.



They say time heals all wounds, and of course some people find it unseemly to speak ill of the dead, so I’ll be kind and assume that’s what was happening.

(Plus, I’m washing my family’s dirty laundry in public, which can be objectionable as well.)

But I shared only a fraction of Grandpa Sam’s indiscretions, and didn’t even mention that Grandma divorced him, in her 80’s, as there were plenty of stories about him laying hands on her. (And not in a Pentecostal-Christian kind of way.)

Grandpa was so disliked, at the end, I don’t think anyone in my family even knows when or where he died, as once Grandma left him, (and got a new boyfriend named Sy,) we all lost touch with Grandpa Sam.

Now it’s 2021, and even though he was an abusive drunk, ranked his grandchildren by favorites, and bought people off with money and gifts, apparently I’m the asshole, (to some,) for writing about it.

These days, you can’t win.



These days, everyone has an opinion about everything.

I know I shouted out Bo Burnham’s “Inside” last week, but really, it deserves a bit more exploration here.

The Netflix special has been rightly received as a masterpiece; the kind of work only someone who’s been building a distinctive style, and obsessively working on craft for years, could even hope to achieve.

(It’s that entertaining, smart, touching, and nuanced.)



One of our favorite parts, (we’ve watched it multiple times as a family,) is his bit about what it’s like living in a world in which every single person seems to think it’s appropriate to share their thoughts about every single subject, all the time.

Like a good, self-aware Zoomer, Bo Burnham makes sure to mock himself as one of the endless opinion-sharers out there, and I’d have to do the same too.

But he’s a professional comedian, so it’s his job to share his thoughts, and I’ve had a biographical opinion column for a decade, so it comes with the territory here as well.



While some, among the younger generation, are able to understand nuance and gray area, others, perhaps from older generations, are more familiar with the norms and mores of bygone eras.

You know: when the planet wasn’t on fire, there were seemingly “unlimited” resources to plunder, the patriarchy was unquestioned, and proper men never said they were sorry.

I guess my big mistake last week was comparing Grandpa Sam to Donald Trump, because that tied it to partisan politics, though the connection was really about their mutual love of gold, casinos, and acting like a Mafia Kingpin.


DJT’S gold apartment

Obviously, I’m being careful not to name the relatives whom I offended last week, but I’m sorry I hurt your feelings!

Grandpa might have been a wife-beating jerk and a nasty drunk, who treated me like shit, but hey, it’s bad form to speak ill of the departed.

Mea Culpa!



But it wouldn’t be one of my articles if the opening rant was completely divested from the review at the bottom, right?

We have to talk about a book, or photography in some way, and hopefully, it will all make sense.




Well, today, I was put in this frame of mind after looking at the amazing photo book “Signs,” by Lee Friedlander, published by Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, in conjunction with a 2019 exhibition.

This is one of those books that needs little build-up, or explanation, because the one-word title tells you everything you need to know.



For the uninitiated, Lee Friedlander is as old school as it gets in American Photography; a living master who has such a distinctive style, it changed the way we all look at street photographs.


This dude, with his busy, head-ache compositions, constant curiosity, and wandering, black and white vision, is like Madonna, or Chuck Berry.



He changed the game so significantly, future imitators who drafted on his vision still did well, such is the joy we all feel at looking at the drama of the street.

We can name drop Walker Evans as a forebear, especially with the signage in this one, and of course Robert Frank was out there in the 50’s too, (and Garry Winogrand,) making work with some crossover.

But Lee Friedlander pictures, in the end, look only like Lee Friedlander pictures, whether it’s the constant inclusion of vertical sign-posts breaking up his compositions, or reflections in the windows, making us see ourselves in his work.

This book is a compilation, in which the editors have included images from the 1950’s through the 2010’s, and that’s why it’s so great.

Because we get to see all these American eras smashed up against each other.

Of course people who came of age in the 1950’s would see America through a vastly different lens than the Zoomers.

And how could irony-loving, ambiguity-friendly, slacker Gen Xers always make sense to Boomers, who were reared in a binary, zero-sum-game world of hip/square, good/bad, and Commie/Patriot?

The book is a literal trip down memory lane, (not that I’ve ever used that cliché phrase before,) and occasionally makes strong points, like having a George Wallace image above one of Trump, while JFK and MLK sit in a vertical diptych on the opposite side.

Everyone will love this book… unless they dismiss it outright, because it was made by a white, cisgender male who was using a camera as a tool of the patriarchy to appropriate other peoples’ cultures without consent.

(See, I can make fun of both sides. And I mock myself here all the time, so you know I’m willing to be the butt of the joke.)



Anyway, that’s enough for today.

Will I have to eat a new bunch of shit from my relatives for this column?


But it’s just, you know, uh, like, my opinion, man.

Take a chill pill.

And see you next week.

To purchase “Signs” click here


The Art of the Personal Project: Dawoud Bey

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:  Dawoud Bey

Original article can be found here.


July 11, 2021, 6:01 AM EDT / Updated July 11, 2021, 8:12 AM EDT

By Bianca Brutus

Dawoud Bey was given his first 35 mm camera at age 15. Several years later, in 1975, he’d begin one of the most influential careers in photography. Bey’s latest exhibition, “Dawoud Bey: An American Project,” captures the progression of four decades of communities in America. The exhibition, now on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, comprises 80 works and eight series.

Born in 1953 in Queens, New York, Bey used Harlem as the inspiration for his art at the start of his career. The interest stemmed from his family’s history in the neighborhood. His parents met at church there, and it was home to many family and friends he visited as a child.

Bey’s documentation of Harlem from 1975 to 1979 became a part of his “Harlem, USA” series. In a number of street portraits, Bey captures residents living their everyday lives. Bey gives no names or narratives to his subjects; instead, he lets viewers interpret his images.

The experiences of underrepresented communities are the basis of Bey’s work. Black communities across the U.S. are arguably his most consistent subjects.

Work by the late Roy DeCarava, the first Black photographer to receive a Guggenheim fellowship, inspired Bey’s use of black-and-white prints. DeCarava also primarily photographed lower-class African American communities. In an interview with Vogue in April, Bey said: “He was making photographs through his own poetic visual language, insisting on the beauty and complexity of Black people and making photographs that were equal to that. He became the earliest model for me.”

After exploring Harlem, Bey captured other parts of New York in the 1980s. His series “Street Portraits” explores his own neighborhood in Brooklyn. He exhibited his ability to produce shots with Polaroids and highlighted the connections he established with his subjects. That later influenced his shift from small-format street photography to an intimate studio environment.

From 2002 to 2006, Bey shot “Class Pictures,” a series exploring American youths in various social and human dimensions. High school students wrote short texts to go along with their portraits. Bey urged students to reveal something about themselves that people would not otherwise know. In 2010, he told ArtsATL in an interview, “I am just trying to create this kind of conversation of the human community with itself, using young people as a catalyst for that conversation.”

Bey’s work fosters dialogue about recollecting history in a contemporary manner. His series “Birmingham: Four Girls and Two Boys” in 2017 was a tribute to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, by members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1963. The project presented portraits of current residents of Birmingham — children the same ages as those who died, accompanied by adults who were the ages the children would have reached had they lived.

For Bey, weaving past and present imagery felt imperative as Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old high school student, died while he was putting together the series. “That Trayvon Martin, a young Black boy, could be killed for no reason while walking home suggests that the past doesn’t stay in the past,” Bey told Vogue.

In recent years, Bey has stepped away from portraiture for landscape photography. “Night Coming Tenderly Black” (2017) depicts historic stops along the Underground Railroad in grainy black-and-white prints. The link between African Americans and oppression presents itself in society both figuratively and literally.

For Bey, a professor of art at Columbia College Chicago, “An American Project” furthers dialogue about social, racial and economic disparities prevalent in history with photography.


To see more of this project, click here.


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

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


The Daily Edit – 400 Years Project: Sarah Stacke

This is a photograph of Genevieve Iron Lightning of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation from a series made to pay homage to our ancestors being captured in time and forever “changing the narrative” of our people in photography. Spearfish, South Dakota. January 2021. Photograph by Eunice Straight Head
Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge. Resides and works on Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Pediatrician & Adolescent Medicine specialist, Mother and wife. “Save our children, Save our future, Save sacred places. We are here to protect our land and our water. Our thoughts for the future go seven generations.“  Photograph by Erika Larsen

A young Cahuilla boy explores his tribal lands. Photograph by Gabrielle Norte

An Iraqi Golden Division Counter Terrorism Unit Humvee drives towards the frontline in Mosul as two residents carry a white flag on Nov 12, 2016. The Golden Division suffered over 50% casualties retaking the city from the Islamic State during the Battle of Mosul. Photograph by Gavin Bryan John
The work of Kali Spitzer (Kaska Dena & Jewish) embraces the stories of BIPOC, queer and trans people, creating representations that are self-determined. This traditional tintype photo of Larissa Lorraine Grieves (Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree, Blackfoot from the Pikuni Nation, Metis, Swedish, Irish and Scottish) was made in 2021.
Inside his studio in Asheville, North Carolina, artsist John Henry Gloyne (Eastern Cherokee, Pawnee, Osage) adds the finishing touches to a painting titled, “The Process of Weeding Out.” October 9, 2020. Photograph by Madison Hye Long
Courageously Take a Stand – July 3, 2021, marks the 300th anniversary of Hans Egede’s arrival to Nuup Kangerlua, Greenland, with the mission of reestablishing contact with the Norse settlers, who occupied this region in the southwest of the country from 986 until c. 1400. Egede’s mission was to convert the settlers from Catholicism to Protestantism. He found no trace of the Norse and instead found the Inuit. With permission from the Danish Crown, Egede shifted his mission toward converting the Inuit to the Christian faith and began the colonization of Greenland. With diptychs made from archival images by John Møller, the first Greenlander to work as a photographer, who was active in Greenland from the early 1890s through the mid 1920s, and images made by me, I’m having photographic conversations with the past. The theme of these conversations is centered around colonialism and its long-term effects. Photograph and words by Minik Bidstrup
Dana Daylight. From the series “Osage Cooks” Photograph by Ryan RedCorn.
This photo was created in 2012 to share Christopher Chavez’s concerns regarding water rights and the significance water holds in his culture and village of Kewa Pueblo (Santo Domingo) but also to engage others in thinking about the precious resource of water and how it affects all of us in New Mexico. Photograph by Shayla Blatchford.
Elder Joyce “Hoh Tin Ee Mi” Big Soldier stands in the dance arena of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma. She is a respected elder of the tribe and participates in many tribal dances and ceremonies. Location: Perkins, Oklahoma. 2019. Photograph by Tom Fields

The 400 Years Project

Founder: Brian Adams
Founder: Sarah Stacke
Founder: Sheena Brings Plenty

Background info:
The 400 Years Project looks at the evolution of Native American identity, rights, and representation, and provides opportunities to Native storytellers across the Americas. The Mayflower and its aftermath has become the first and most culturally iconic story told to many young Americans about the country’s founding and initial relationships with Native people. But the stories they’re told of flourishing friendships, discoveries, and untouched wilderness are harmful myths. It’s well documented that the Vikings explored North America in the 10th century, and of course Columbus landed in 1492 carrying disease, death, enslavement, and displacement. By 1650 –– 30 years after the Mayflower –– an estimated 90% of Native people had died from European diseases.

Using the Mayflower’s 400-year anniversary as a jumping off point, Brian, Sheena, and I wanted to create something that provided a narrative of Native empowerment and also recognized the devastating effects of colonization.

Have you noticed an increased interest in your project as we reckon with a long overdue shift towards greater cultural acknowledgement and representation?
We’ve received many gestures of support since we launched last year. 400 Years has been invited to speak at several venues including universities, photography summits, and organizations interested in archives. We’ve gotten a number of emails from people who are using the platform as a resource for research or have questions about where to find more information. Our Instagram community has also grown tremendously in recent months and we increasingly see the work of 400 Years contributors in major publications, which is awesome.

What were the challenges or unforeseen obstacles for this project?
The biggest expected challenge has been securing funding to commission more photo and text essays. As founders we haven’t paid ourselves. We hope to do that eventually, but the priority has been paying the authors, photographers, and photo editors for commissioned and licensed work.

We’re always looking for ways to raise funds for future photo essays and other work. The total compensation offered to the photographer + photo editor currently ranges between $2100 and $2900 for each photo essay. The texts and special projects vary in cost.

An unforeseen obstacle was finding a publication to feature the collective when we launched in November 2020. In The 400 Years Project, the issues addressed are not tidy and history is not linear. We’re grateful for recent press like NPR, BuzzFeed, and aPhotoEditor.

The resilience of the virtual pow wows was powerful. Did any other projects form due to COVID restrictions? (that project was particularly reflective of the times)
Tailyr’s story about the virtual pow wows in the times of Covid-19 was exceptional, I agree. As far as I know, none of the other projects formed due to the ways the pandemic was restricting cultural lifeways and traditions, but I imagine the processes the photographers used to create their series were affected in one way or the other by the pandemic.
Overall, the pandemic was a persuasive reminder how fiercely the keepers of knowledge need to be protected and why the commitment to preserving and recording stories is as urgent as ever.

How did this project inform your own work as a photographer?
As a photographer, storyteller, and human I am constantly learning and I have the people who share their lives with me to thank for that. I look for stories that bring a solutions-focused balance to the narrative of underrepresented people and places. 400 Years has informed that approach. It has also reaffirmed the importance of giving back and getting out of the way.

What power you see in collectives?
Along with helping storytellers document their own communities and providing avenues for the stories to reach broad audiences, our goal at 400 Years is to create a groundbreaking pictorial collection of Native America by Native artists and allies. We certainly want the opportunities and visibility generated by 400 Years to contribute to a more equitable media industry. We are also firmly dedicated to supporting the creation of work that falls outside of the editorial template, or any known template, and is a critical addition to the history of photography. That’s the power I see in the 400 Years collective.

Have any of these images gotten licensed?
NPR licensed photos for a recent feature. National Geographic has also been very supportive of 400 Years. Through an assignment they funded a portion of “Cherokee Lands.” And the National Geographic Emergency Fund for Journalists provided funding for the creation of work about the response to the Covid-19 vaccine by four 400 Years contributors

Who curates the library portion of the project and how is this list different from other collectives that bring balance to native storytellers?
Sheena Brings Plenty curates the contemporary photographers included in the library and I curate the historical photographers.

The 400 Years Library is different from other collectives because we include historical photographers plus a range of contemporary photographers from enthusiasts, to emerging, to professional. Our criteria is that the person is Native and is dedicated to the craft of photography.

Amos Dick (elder) and Joseph Glada tending to their moose meat in 2019 outside of Ross River at Amos’s cabin. Photograph by Robby Dick.
Cherokee Female Seminary graduating class, 1902. Oklahoma Historical Society, Jennie Ross Cobb Collection.
“A portrait of an Indian woman.” c. 1902-1933. Image courtesy of Richard Throssel Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

We chose this approach because it contributes to an understanding that cameras have been in the hands of Native photographers since the invention of the medium and Native people have incorporated photography into their lifeways since the 1800s, both as patrons and creators. We want to take concrete steps toward decolonizing the archive. The inclusion of enthusiasts and emerging photographers alongside professionals leaves room for vital stories, perspectives, and styles of photography that don’t typically find a place in popular media publications.

Tell us about the artist in residence program.
At its core it is a place for photographers and other storytellers to collaborate with 400 Years. It’s not a one size fits all residence. We’re interested in working with photographers, writers, archivists, historians, and others to create and share work that sheds new light on the understanding of Native America. With the first artist in residence, Minik Bidstrup, we supported him as he made a series of diptychs using archival and contemporary photographs. Vanessa Tignanelli, the second artist in residence, is working with Nippising First Nation on a story about the decolonization of the land and we are providing mentorship as she develops the work.

Had you done a collective previously?
This is my first rodeo with a collective. Brian Adams is founder of Indigenous Photograph.

Will you be adding to the photo essays?
Absolutely. In the coming weeks a new photo essay by Minik Bidstrup will be added to the collection. He was the recipient of our first open grant call. We’ll also be adding the work about the response to the vaccine that was funded by Nat Geo.

Click here for more information or how to include your photography in our 400 Years Project.




Featured Promo – Stefan Wachs

Stefan Wachs

Who printed it?
I had the promo printed by Smartpress ( They sent me a paper sample book from which to choose paper stock and paper weight and then I got a digital proof made of the zine before putting in the order.

Who designed it?
I worked with Jasmine DeFoore, a photo consultant based in Austin, Texas. She helped with the selection of the images and the sequencing. The layout and type were designed by Emily Kimbro, the design editor at Texas Monthly. The three of us went over several different layout designs and versions.

Tell me about the images.
This project is about falconers and falconry in the American West. It started with an assignment I did for New Mexico Magazine a couple years ago about an author and conservationist who also happened to be one of the main experts on falconry in the United States. We only spent a short time out in the field flying his hawks so that I could get some pictures for the magazine article. But it was enough to get me hooked. I started contacting various falconers throughout New Mexico and then started going to falconry meets in Texas and Wyoming. At first my fascination was primarily visual. But the more I learned about falconry and the more I got to know the falconers, the more I was interested in the history and the culture of this ancient form of hunting. The project is about the falconers, about their relationship with their birds of prey but also about the various environmental and cultural aspects that affect current day falconry such as environmental degradation, drought and the rapid decline in bird population. Falconry season is limited to the fall and winter months and the project is almost exclusively shot in medium and large format film so I work slowly and it has taken quite some time to put together this sequence of images.

How many did you make?
I only printed 10 initially so that I could view them first and make changes if necessary. The advantage with printing with Smartpress is that once you upload the printable PDF you can always order more at a later point in time. I have since ordered another 50 copies.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is actually my first time sending out printed promos. I didn’t start working as a freelance photographer until about 4 years ago, most of my assignments so far have come through referrals.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I always wanted to do a printed promo. I still believe in the power of a printed photograph, something that people can hold in their hand and revisit over time. I do think the printed promos can have more of an impact than simply sending out emails. It is also just nice to see my own work printed and be able to show it to friends. Most of the images we make never leave our hard drives these days….

I was talking to Jasmine (photo consultant) about the effectiveness of sending out printed versions of the zine in view of the current situation with the virus. A lot of editors are still working from home and may not receive the mail sent to their office address. So we decided to also do a “flip through” digital version of the zine on Hey Zine ( The flipbook can be sent as a link in an email and allows people to view and flip through the promo online as with an actual magazine. But if I know that the person will actually receive the printed version, I will send it. I think it is more effective than viewing the images on a screen.

This Week in Photography: Portfolios from the LACP Review



My grandfather was a criminal.

(Step-grandfather, actually.)



Grandpa Sam, (as he liked to be called,) came into our lives when I was about ten, since my actual grandfather died of cancer when I was three.

He was a larger-than-life character, Grandpa Sam, like a mini-Trump, as the dude couldn’t have been taller than 5’3″.

But Grandpa was as stout as he was tall, so there was nothing little about him.



While I was on the phone with my cousin Jordan the other week, we got to sharing stories about Grandpa Sam, and it occurred to me he’d make an amazing character in a film.

(Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, as we all know.)

As I was on my break from the column, (and all email and social media distraction,) I did a bit of research, and turned up proof that he was actually a crook, and not the wannabe we had assumed.

Grandpa Sam was busted by the Feds, the freaking ATF, back in the early 80’s, for running a scheme to pass French table wine off as high-end Burgundy.

They shut him down and fined him, but he avoided jail time, and given how close this was to when he met Grandma, I’m pretty sure she knew what was up.

The two of them were all about the gold and the diamonds; jetting off to casinos, where he was treated as a whale, or taking cruise ships to far-flung locales.



We all have our tales, like the time he tried to pick up my wife at my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah, and actually made Grandma show off her diamond ring, so that Jessie knew for sure how much better he’d treat her than I could. (As a poor, hipster artist.)

But memories are just that, and internet research is an entirely different thing.

I now have proof that he wasn’t lying about being shot down by the Nazis, in World War II, and kept as a POW until the war ended.

I even have the photographs for you: images that show his plane, the ironically named “Lucky 13,” on the ground with Hungarian fighters swarming over the wreckage.



Then, I found out his partner in the wine-scheme, a Frenchman, was himself accused of being a Nazi collaborator, so Grandpa Sam appears to have gone into the criminal business with someone who stood on the opposite side of the Holocaust.

(Again, you can’t make this shit up.)

And I only discovered it because I let my mind untether from email and social media.

There’s a lesson in that.



I’ve promised myself not to return to my previously addicted ways, because really, how many times do we need to hear Facebook manipulates its platform to maximize the hours we use it?

Or how many articles do we need to read about the toxicity of email, and how much we all hate it?

I can now see that spending hours a day, cycling between email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, was actually rotting my brain and my soul, from the inside out.

(Addiction is nasty.)



Creativity, on the other hand, keeps us young and mentally agile. It was the theme of my last couple of columns, before the break, and wouldn’t you know that while I was away, the WaPo published this great article that confirmed almost everything I’ve been telling you over the last ten years.


But that only works if we have the discipline to find the time to stay creative.

To focus, and grow.

(No easy task.)

Will I ever write that screenplay about Grandpa Sam?

I’m not sure.

Even without email and social media, parenting, work, bill paying, caring for elderly relatives, driving back and forth to town, all these things split our day into little chunks, which makes it difficult to find 2-5 hours a day to get the good shit done. (1000 words at a time I can handle.)

Then again, when I visit portfolio review events, (IRL or on Zoom,) I constantly meet artists who are transitioning from another career.

People who’ve taken a leap of faith, later in life, because they learned that living without art, without having that creative spark on the regular, is more trouble than it’s worth.

It’s why I constantly preach inspiration here, because many of you have day jobs, and it’s a struggle to find the juice to make things, when you’re worn out and weary.

When we do, though, it almost always gives more energy than it takes.

(I’ve recently rejoined my martial arts classes, post-vaccination, and even getting beaten and bruised gives more juice than it consumes.)

Now that I’m back from my thirteen days without writing, I can gladly say it feels good to have this sensation again.

Writing in flow.

And while Grandpa Sam may have just been an excuse for a fun opening rant, where we landed was not an accident.

I mentioned portfolio reviews because today, we’re going to jet back in my memory files to January 2021, but not for the reasons you’d expect.

Rather, that’s when I attended the virtual portfolio reviews by the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and while it’s taken longer than I might have liked, today we’ll peek at the best work I saw that day.

As usual, the artists are in no particular order, and I’d like to thank all of them for allowing us to share their creations with you here today.



Let’s start with Kat Bawden, as she’s one of the photographers I’ve met over the years who returned to show me work again, and totally blew me away.

I first reviewed Kat’s pictures in 2017, and was unimpressed by a social documentary project that didn’t seem specific, or driven by a deep need. I shared my thoughts, and according to Kat, it lit a fire in her to push towards a more authentic style that channeled her inner reality.

I tend to give credit to the artist in such situations, (and not the advice-giver,) but man, did Kat take that motivation and grow at hyper-speed.

This time around, we looked at a set of edgy, disturbing, film-noir-esque, black and white images that were inspired by childhood trauma and repressed memory.

The photographs are phenomenal, and Kat just reported she’s matriculating to get an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, so I expect we’ll be seeing much more from her in the future.



Galina Kurlat and I spent a few minutes trying to figure out where we might have met before, but I couldn’t place it. We were definitely at Pratt Institute at the same time, earlier this Millennium, so maybe that was it.

No matter, as when it came to checking out her new work, I was amazed from the jump.

Like Bo Burnham’s brilliant new Netflix special, “Inside,” this work could not have been made without the intense, miserable pandemic lockdown restrictions, which limited what artists could do, and where they could do it.

Living in New York during the worst of it, Galina had some photo paper, the sunlight coming in through her windows, and the fluids and hair that came out of her body. (It sounds gross when your write it like that, I know.)

The resulting images, in which she used her hair, blood, saliva and urine, along with old bathwater in the photographic process, are quite beautiful, despite the bleak reasons for their creation.

Major wow on this project, for sure.


Matthew Welch is based in SoCal, but showed me a series of “Flow” images he made around the world. The process is intricate and simple, in that he stands in one spot, and makes so many images that life’s natural drama is sure to unfold.

According to Matthew, in one instance he took 100,000 images near the waterfront, in Hermosa Beach, and I can’t really imagine what it’s like to do something like that.

It’s a pretty good expression of focus, determination, and drive, to which I alluded at the beginning of the column. Cool stuff.



Next, we’ve got Natalie Obermaier, who works as a lighting expert in the fashion and commercial photography community in LA. She mentioned how hard it is to do that work, and stay creative as a photographer, so her style evolved into something more tactile, and constructive.

Literally, as she makes collages out of strips of images, which critique the fashion industry, while still celebrating a bit of glamour.



At first, I must admit, I was dubious when I met Jamie Johnson, because I was aware she made photographs of Irish Travelers, the Gypsy/Roma community in Ireland, and that is a subject I’ve seen many times before.

Like Cuba, it’s on the photo-tour-circuit, so I told her I’d expect her more of a reason than just taking a trip with a guide, and she certainly had the right answers.

Jamie has photographed children for years, in various projects, and considers it her area of expertise, so she’s invested a lot of time visiting with the Traveler children, including a copious amount of interviews.

The series became a book, published by Kehrer Verlag, and it’s a compelling offering for sure.



Jacque Rupp is a photographer who made a later-in-life career change, in Northern California, and became interested in how little she knew about the community of people who grow the food that’s eaten in California, and across the country.

(The Central Valley grows much of the produce for the US.)

She did the deep dive, getting to know people in the farm-worker community, doing the research, creating relationships, and the resulting documentary photos are well worth looking at.

It’s another example of outside-the-community projects that have been frowned upon over the last few years, but I believe that if photographers are earnest, care for the right reasons, and put in the leg work, we should consider what they’ve made with kindness, and an open heart. (Not everyone agrees. I get it.)



Last, but certainly not least, we have Benjamin Dimmitt, whom I knew from social media, but not IRL. (I guess even these meetings were on Zoom, so Benjamin, hope we can connect in meat-space one of these days!)

Benjamin was a long-time New Yorker who relocated to the South, but he’s originally from Florida, where his project was shot.

Literally every day now, we’re reading stories about how bad Climate Change has become, and how reservoirs are drying up across the West, and sea levels are rising on the coasts.

It’s abstract, in a frog-getting-boiled-alive-in-a-pot-of-water kind of way.

Many of Benjamin’s photos, which were shot in Florida, about 70 miles North of Tampa, show the changes wrought, as they were made with large time gaps. (Between 10 and 34 years, depending on the diptych.)

But from a technical and asethetic perspective, I preferred the single, square images he showed me, which were made more recently.

They’re beautiful and disturbing at the same time.



That’s it for today, though, so see you next week, and stay cool out there!

The Art of the Personal Project: Slav Zatoka

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:  Slav Zatoka Blue Lens Factory

Earth – Chi

             On March 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in northeastern Japan, sound the automatic alarms in schools, factories, tv stations, radio stations and on cell phones. The message says: Major Earthquake. You have 32 seconds to seek shelter. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake strikes off the coast, triggering a towering tsunami that reaches land within half an hour. The quake was so strong it actually shifted Earth’s axis and moved the coast of Japan about 16 feet southwest and 3 feet down. NASA reports three day later that the earth axis shift that happened as a result of Tohuku Earthquake may have shortened the length of each day on Earth.

Water – Sui

The earthquake itself had a death toll of around 90, but the tsunami that followed it, resulted in in catastrophic damage to Northeast Japan and nearly 20,000 deaths. One of the cities I visited twice after 3/11 events was Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. It’s situated 100 miles north of Sendai and it’s famous for world’s biggest and most expensive breakwater ever built. A mile long, 207 feet deep and jutting nearly 20 feet above the water, the quake-resistant structure made it into the Guinness World Records. It took three decades to build, and it cost nearly $1.6 billion. Unfortunately, the 9.0 earthquake in 2011 generated waves that were larger than the breakwater. The breakwater not only crumpled under the 30 feet tsunami waves, but it is also said to have deflected the wave north of the Kamaishi bay, making it even more destructive to the communities inland. If you watched the news that weekend you most likely saw the horrifying images of the wave entering the Kamaishi bay with buildings moved like cardboard boxes and cars, boats, debris and power lines floating inland in a massive, steady tide, destructively coming inlands. Most of that footage was filmed from a terrace like trail that stretches on the hill side of the city. Kamaishi’s Buddhist Sekiozenji Temple, situated further inland with a scenic cemetery on a hill remained untouched. The Great Tohuku claimed 1069 souls in Kamaishi, damaged 5000 homes and damaged 97% of the local fishing boats. The city also mentions a survival rate for children of 99,8% (5). Local teachers attribute this low rate to the disaster mitigation education program, launched several years ago, which prepares students for disasters like the Great Tohuku. One of the principles of this training is not to trust the expert’s knowledge entirely and always rely on your judgement of the unfolding disaster events. The other two principles state: act according to training and adapt, and finally, take initiative and evacuate despite no obvious signs indicating an imminent disaster. Kamaishi High School students took that initiative and evacuated their building and assisted with evacuating Kamishi Elementary school on the way to safety. Kamaishi was supposed to be safest place in case a major tsunami. The world’s largest breakwater unfortunately could not save the city. The highest wave recorded on March 11, 2011, was over 40 feet.

Fire – Ka

             The Great Tohuku Earthquake was not the first one to be as destructive: July 9, 869, Sunriku, over 1,000 deaths, May 20, 1293, in Kamakura, major military base at the time, 23,000 deaths, September 11, 1498, Nankai Fault, 31,000 deaths. December 31, 1703, Edo, over deaths and 100,000 tsunami casualties, May 8, 1847, Nagano, almost 9,000 deaths and nearly 70,000 buildings destroyed, September 1, 1923, Tokyo, 140,000 deaths, January 17, 1995, 6,443 deaths.

Earthquakes in Japan strike daily. In my first visit to Japan in 2011 I experienced three earthquakes, all of them over 4 in the Richter scale. I live in California and have experienced a few in the Southland but never so many in such a short period of time.

What happened in Fukushima as a result of the 3/11 tsunami is a separate story. On My way to Kamaishi I actually made a stop in Fukushima to witness and document one of the anti-nuclear demonstrations. The nuclear crisis and the clash between the Japanese people and their government resulted in a worldwide movement to pressure governments to eliminate the nuclear power entirely. According to Associated Press, the Japanese government decided in April of this year to start discharging the radioactive water back into Pacific Ocean. The idea has been fiercely opposed by fishermen, residents and Japan’s neighbors.

 Wind – Fu    

            On July 5, 1997, the Central European Flood hit southern Poland and my tiny studio apartment I shared with my high school buddy was gone, together with our books, music collections and all my negatives, transparencies and my darkroom. It was a huge blow, but I was not even there to experience the horrific events. I was in London on my summer break. I moved on. The city rebuilt and it’s a vibrant college town and a local finance and industry hub today. The flood had a death toll of about 50 and it was one of the costliest disasters in history. Prior to going to Japan, I also did a story about post Katrina New Orleans parish, called Resurrection Parish, published by a local Orange County paper.

There was definitely something personal in my decision to go to Japan in 2011 but there was certainly nothing impulsive about it. I try to self-assign at least one visual project a year and I also happen to have been on flight benefits, so after 3 months of preparations, scouting online, a list of contacts in Japan, I was ready to go. 3 months seems a lot I had to negotiate time with my family, kids, and my two businesses. My plan was to reach one of the cleaning camps in Tohuku and a letter I got from a longtime friend and my former boss eventually helped me to do volunteer work in a photo cleaning site ran by Caritas Japan.

Among a dozen of photographers, I met in 2011 in Japan, I need to mention Ken’ichi Kikuchi of Kamaishi. Ken’ichi was a huge help navigating around his neighborhood. He lost his studio and house to the tsunami. I met him while photographing the Buddhist ceremony commemorating the victims of 3/11 in Kamaishi. When I mentioned I was staying at the Caritas camp and was helping with photo cleaning, he told me that most of the professional portraits that I may come across in the recovery process, may have been taken by his father’s studio. I visited Ken’ichi a year later and keep in touch with him ever since. We share a love of photography, bourbon and jazz. He rebuilt his studio and home.

I did my best to try to remain respectful with my camera. During first 3 months after the 3/11 disaster Northeastern Japan was flooded with photographers. The many temporary shelters that were set up in Tohuku quickly got tired of photographers wanting to interview and photograph the tsunami victims. It wasn’t just independent shooters trying to score some stock images but also weekenders from Southern Japan driving to Tohuku to take a selfie in the disaster area. I decided not to sell any images as stock and put together a Blurb book hoping to raise money to help photographers like Ken rebuilt their studios.

Also, what’s worth mentioning here is that the Ganbare spirit in Japan is stronger than anything. The Airbnb owner in Tokyo told me that everyone he knows regularly scheduled weekend cleaning trips to Tohuku. I spent one day in a clean-up headquarters in Kamishi and their groups of workers, teachers, friends and individuals who all volunteered to come to Tohuku and spend a weekend cleaning up. Helping their fellow Japanese rebuilt their lives.

Void (Aether) – Ku

             In an excellent book: “Ganbare, Workshops on Dying” by Katarzyna Boni and translated by Mark Ordon, soon to be available in the U.S., Boni describes the fascinating world of Japanese mythology and Ryujin, the dragon king, sea god, the master of tides and the grandfather of the first Emperor of Japan. If people were dragons, they could escape the tsunamis, but they are not. Everyone I spoke to accept the tsunami as a force of nature you should not be angry with. Kamo no Chōmei, a Japanese poet compared people to a sea foam, a surf that only last a moment.

On my last day in Kamaishi, on my second trip to Japan, Ken’ichi takes me on a morning walk to Sekiozenji Temple. It’s a weekday and he just finished a real estate job few blocks away. We stop by his father’s grave and then for a moment in front of six Jizo statues wearing red bibs, Buddhist statues made in the image of Jizo Bosatsu, guardian deity of children and travelers. He invites me over to his new house in a new neighborhood of temporary housing units built by the government. I meet his wife and two sons. The city is largely rebuilt. They seem to have some problems with the raising water levels that continue to flood the city. Something they hadn’t experienced before. Their sons are getting ready for school language competitions. His wife is going back to work the following week. We share a laugh as I try some phrases in Japanese and then we spend a memorable evening photographing Tiger Dance rehearsal on a temple parking lot and head to a local jazz club with a huge wall of vinyls, a barman with an expert knowledge of the Marsalis family and an impressive selection of bourbon.



To see more of this project, click here.

A film to compliment the project, here


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

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


The Daily Edit – The New Yorker: Evan Angelastro

The New Yorker

Senior Photo Editor: Marvin Orellana
Photographer: Evan Angelastro

Heidi: How did this project come about for The New Yorker?
Evan: I was contacted by Marvin Orellana, a senior photo editor from the magazine to photograph this scenario of a classic VW Bug being installed inside the MoMA. I’m so happy we were able to collaborate on this shoot and I was really excited that it was so focused on two worlds I love colliding, cars & art.

Did you scout the location for this image?
I had about 15 minutes prior to shooting the car to get my sense of the space & track the route the vehicle would take from the elevator to the gallery – although I’m a fan of the MoMA & have been many times before.

What was the direction from the magazine?
The magazine was looking for one standout image of the installation occurring – specifically the process of the installation, wheeling the vehicle in.

Did you follow the car drop point to the building?
I followed the car from exiting the MoMA elevator to its home in the gallery – probably about 200 ft. The whole process lasted about 3 minutes & to be honest it’s a type of scenario that I really love being in, with something very interesting happening very quickly. The thrill is wonderful. Also seeing the MoMA freight elevator & behind the scenes action at my favorite museum was very, very cool.

Overall, it was a quick, exciting experience & something I’m very grateful to have been able to work on with Marvin and the New Yorker.

The Art of the Personal Project: Caesar Lima

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:  Caesar Lima


Proving that beauty is indeed more than skin deep, Caesar Lima’s Unusual Beauty Project concentrates on models and even regular day to day individuals that have rare skin conditions, such as Congenital melanocytic nevi, or CMV, which involves visibly pigmented proliferations on the skin, and Vitiligo, discolorations on the skin caused by depigmentation.

While Lima’s lens is focused the topic on the skin conditions and unusual birthmarks, the intent is not to show them for how different they are, but rather to celebrate the beauty in the unusual.


To see more of this project, click here.

Instagram here

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

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


The Daily Edit – Vogue India: Snigdha Kulkarni

Vogue India Digital Cover

Art Director: Snigdha Kulkarni
Photographer: Shane McCauley
Fashion Stylist: Ria Kamat

Heidi: How did you art direct from Bombay?
Snigdha: The unexpected covid lockdown initiated art direction and shoots across borders. With remote shoots becoming the norm, team Vogue India could reach out to creatives across the globe and collaborate with them even more easily. I had the pleasure of remotely art directing the very exciting January 2021 Janina Gavankar digital cover in California; while pulling an all-nighter here in Bombay. It was my first cover experience, definitely a memorable one.
We started off with ample planning and prior discussions over several calls. The actual shoot was all done on one long zoom video call, while we coordinated with the on-ground team in LA. Shane McCauley, our very talented photographer was our eyes and ears. Four steaming cups of coffee, twelve look changes and about seven hours later when I almost caught the sunrise in Bombay we called it a wrap!

How did the concept come about?
For our January issue we were looking at a fresh start, a new beginning away from the initial chaos of the pandemic. Our theme was a ‘2021 vision board’ – all things we expected from this new year. We aspired to be outdoors, carefree, happy and joyous. Thus the fashion was kept minimal, the hair was wispy and natural, the make up balmy and bare. I visualised it to be a reflection of 2020, a year we slowed down and connected with nature.

Why California?
Our direction for the shoot was very clear and I could instantly picture it – organic and raw under the California sun. Los Angeles as it is surrounded by mountains made for a stunning backdrop and the most beautiful natural scenery.

How long have you been at Vogue and what are your duties?
It has been over 3 years at Vogue, in my time here my duties have vastly expanded. As a designer I have always been keen to broaden my boundaries. From editorial design, art directing shoots, working on brand design, digital events and commissioning artworks I have also delved into some illustrations for the magazine. I frequently write online articles for our website (with a little push from my editor Priya Tanna) which has helped me hone my communication skills – something I will always be thankful for.

How much digital work are you doing?
Amongst many, one of the largest digital assets I enjoyed working on has been our first digital event, the Vogue Beauty Festival. Spearheading the design language and supervising multiple design teams for two consecutive years now has been a thrilling experience. The design language extends onto the event website, social media promotions, event design, marketing and PR plans, etc. as I design and look into the details.




This Week in Photography: #2020 Flashbacks



It’s July 1st, as I write this.

(Which means #2021 is half over.)

How did we get here?



We’ve lived six months of this year already, but somehow, the horrific events of January 6th still feel fresh.

And the moment when a nice, male nurse first stuck a needle in my arm, in Amarillo, Texas, in early March, seems like it just happened.


The Amarillo vaccination clinic parking lot


I can taste the tang of the barbecue sauce from Tyler’s, as we slathered it all over a huge tin of baby back ribs, and a pound of slowly-smoked brisket.

The jalapeño creamed corn was amazing, and the bread pudding was even better.

It might have been yesterday, according to my consciousness, but then again, it was four months ago.



The Pacific Northwest, which is typically rainy and cool, has been trapped under something called a heat dome, and if I read the news correctly, it just killed 500 people in British Columbia.

Here in mountains of Northern New Mexico, where it’s normally hot and dry this time of year, we’ve had ten days of cold rain, with dense, gray skies, and people are starting to talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

My daughter’s always said she loved gray days, (since it’s sunny all the time here,) and even she changed her mind, claiming she doesn’t want to live in Portland anymore.

She misses the sun, and that’s saying something.

It’s almost enough to remind me of the time, early last September, when a snowstorm hit just after Labor Day Weekend, and birds literally dropped dead, falling from the sky in droves.

End times stuff for sure.



But then again, isn’t #2021 better than #2020?

I mean, much better?

Aren’t you happier?

Don’t you feel safer?

Have you gotten Donald Trump out of your head yet?

Have you seen “Mare of Easttown?”



Do you care the Phoenix Suns are going to the NBA Finals? Or that England beat Germany at Euro 2020?

Did you know Euro 2020 was being played in #2021, but they didn’t bother to change the name, likely b/c it would have meant a whole new round of paying the graphic designers and branding experts?

Were you aware the Olympics are about to start in Tokyo, even though vaccination rates in Japan are low, and the whole thing might turn into the biggest super-spreader event of all time?

Do you remember when you’d never heard the term super-spreader before?

Or Covid?

Can you recall #2019, when Corona was just a Mexican beer brand, or the Spanish word for crown?



The thing about terror is you feel it.

It’s not an intellectual concept.

Terror is visceral.

It’s a physical sensation, (a triggered state, if you will,) when fear is so overwhelming that parts of the body, like the pre-frontal cortex, shut down a bit, and we’re left as half-people.


Terror makes people hunt witches, or choose to die rather than get a little needle in the arm to prevent disease.

That kind of emotional insanity, when we do counter-productive things, and spin brain circles until we’re ready to explode, it’s hard to remember what it feels like, once passed.

Which is the reason Nazis made a comeback last year, because there are so few humans still alive who survived their reign of evil in Germany back in the 1930’s and ’40’s.

These days, tens of millions of Americans have been convinced there are “some very fine people” among the Nazi contingent, and that wasn’t even a #2020 quote.

(Just the 2017 opening act.)





#2021 is half over, and while I was desperate for #2020 to arrive, given #2019 left me breathlessly exhausted, I most certainly regretted my foolishness.

So I’m happy we still have another six months in #2021, because I’ve finally begun to feel human again, and safe, and I’m not ready to give that up.

Are you?



I admit, this column is stream of consciousness, (even for me,) and it might be because it’s the last week before my staycation, and my brain is mostly cooked.


Or it could be that I just finished looking at “Jesus Fucking 2020,” an absurd little ‘zine that showed up early last November, by the artist and critic Andrew Molitor, and it totally channels the energy from that space in time.

So let’s call that a trigger warning, shall we?

If you’d rather not be reminded how you felt back then, I’d recommend you skip the photos below.

It’s not that they’re disturbing, necessarily, though the deep-black-color-palette references horror films, and there are images of screaming.

Rather, I think it’s just weird and nonsensical enough to give you flashbacks to October #2020, right before the US presidential election, when it seemed the entire fate of the world hinged upon what happened in the subsequent months.

And didn’t it?



Knowing what we know now, do you understand why I obsessively wrote about DJT for five years?

Why I feared for my children’s future, from the moment I heard him exclaim, “Not a puppet. You’re the puppet.”

It all came to pass, the very worst of it, with millions dead around the world from the pandemic, and chaos in the streets of America.

And yet…

Here we are, in July of #2021.

And for much the US, things are so much better than they were back in the autumn of #2020.

When one might rightly have wondered whether we’d gotten stuck in a Groundhog Day loop, only every day was Halloween.

Which Andrew Molitor speculated, as he created his ‘zine back in October of last year.



He writes fake scenes in the ‘zine, which is a conceit I’ve played with in the column several times over the years, but not lately.

My favorite part is the repeating joke that Zoom is better than nothing, because how many times did we all say that?

I just decided to take a summer break from my Antidote online educational program, as the system we’d set up for a stay-at-home world, in which people were so very lonely, no longer seemed as relevant.

We’ve moved on, here in the US, (thanks to our abundance of vaccines,) but forgetting how we got here would be a huge mistake.




So please forgive Andrew’s blasphemous title, if you’re particularly religious, as I think he meant no offense.

It was the right combination of words, back in 10/20, to capture the flavor of the moment.

And as he lives in the Pac Northwest, I’m sure he’s currently baking his _______ off, trying to stay cool and not die.

That’s the thing with Climate Change, right?

It’s like that old expression: out of the frying pan, and into the fire.


So as Andrew wrote on the back of his ‘zine, “Be good to one another,” and I hope you have a lovely 4th of July weekend, if that’s a holiday you celebrate.

See you in a couple of weeks.


To learn more about Andrew Molitor, visit his blog here


The Art of the Personal Project: Ryan Dearth


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:  Ryan Dearth


India is a place of extremes. The streets can bustle in a way that can overload the senses of an outsider. Yet, amidst the robust movement and activity, vignettes of quietude are blanketed by an unwavering attitude of optimism, generosity, and warmth.


To see more of this project, click here.



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

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


The Daily Edit – Ankita Chandra: Vogue Arabia

Vogue Arabia

Photographer + Creative Direction: Ankita Chandra

Heidi: Was this the first time women were involved in UAE camel racing?
Ankita: Yes, the two all-women camel riding groups we trailed for this feature are both the frontrunners of women camel racers in the UAE: The Arabian Desert Camel Riding Centre (ADCRC) and Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC)

How were they received, smashing stereotypes doesn’t come easy.
Even though in camel racing is entrenched in Emirati culture, it has historically been male dominated. In a country where women have enrolled in the army and run for election, female representation in camel racing is a fairly recent development. Just this year in January, the first ever all-women racing team was set up and I think it’s only a reflection of the changing times in this region. Women are slowly but surely staking their claim in various aspects of Emirati culture and social norms – taking their equal place in society – which is largely encouraged and received well.

Did  you encounter any opposition pitching this idea?
Not at all, ideas like these are encouraged and welcomed at Vogue – that is actually one of my most favorite things about working here at Vogue Arabia – that we’re constantly pushing the envelope and dive into real women stories here in the Middle East. What I particularly find rewarding as a photographer and journalist is being able to tap into women’s stories and relay them from a woman’s lens – something I increasingly find to be a profoundly underrated perspective.

How long are the races typically?
Typically in a camel race, distances range from 2.5 miles (4 km) for younger animals to 6 miles (10 km) – and the race lasting anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes.

Were there any difficulties with the shoot, the desert is a harsh environment.
This shoot was probably one of the most difficult (and naturally, most rewarding) shoots I have ever done! Turns out, camels can be moody beasts! It was a 11 hour shoot, deep into the wild deserts of Dubai – with me running up and down the dunes for hours, orchestrating some of the group shots of the women on their camels, in the sweltering desert heat. It took everything in me to get it right. I also learned the hard way that Camels are very unlike horses – once they walk a stretch, there’s no going back!


Featured Promo – Britta Kokemor

Britta Kokemor

Who printed it?

I had it printed locally here in Calgary at a place called All Rush.

Who designed it?

I had my PR and marketing agency Gentle Lion co-design it with me.

Tell me about the format. Do you find explaining the process helpful to potential clients?

After reading the marketing book, They Ask You Answer (I highly recommend) I wanted to create something that answers my client’s questions and needs + evokes curiosity and comfort around what it’s like to work with me. So far this is the most client work I have ever received from a promo piece!

How many did you make?

I just went through a re-brand so I only made 75 copies this year. Next year I’ll send out way more!

How many times a year do you send out promos?

My goal is to send out a promo piece once a year in the spring.

This Week in Photography: Hunting Witches



I’d like to talk about creativity today.


It’s a big deal, summoning something out of nothing.

To birth an idea or object into the world, where it can exist outside of us, and live on its own.



This elusive nature of creativity, (and the fact it’s better understood through a metaphysical prism, rather than a practical one,) means most people believe art talent is a gift that some have been given, and others not.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t draw,” “I can’t cook,” or “I became a curator because my art wasn’t good enough?”



As a long-time educator, I assure you, I’ve heard all these exclamations before. (Many, many times.)

But in addition to being a teacher, I’ve also been writing every week for almost 10 years, which gives me a totally different perspective on creativity.

Weekly deadlines mean that being creative, for me, isn’t a choice.

I’ve got to bring the heat, every week, even when I don’t feel like it.

(When I’m tired, grumpy, or don’t find the world that interesting.)

That’s the aspect of creativity I wanted to focus on today.

The idea that we are not the master of our best impulses. That we do not get to dictate when, where and how the inexplicable elements of our psyches rise up from the depths of our consciousness.

It doesn’t work like that.



I often tell my students there is no such thing as an art boss.

If you’re an artist, making your own stuff for yourself, no one gets to tell you what to do.

You follow the whims of your instincts, and chase down stories you’re desperate to know more about.

For you.

In all my years doing this work, I’ve discovered that humans are interested in just about everything, so someone out there is going down a rabbit hole you didn’t even know existed.

And they’re likely doing it because they love it.

Because it gives them pleasure, understanding, information, or a fresh perspective on the world.

However, that well-spring, the ineffable part of us that drives our best efforts, also needs a break every now and again.

(Like the body, the mind occasionally needs rest.)

It’s why I’ve taken a couple of weeks off here, the last few years, because even I need those two chances to let my brain stop working. (A week in summer, and one at Xmas.)



I’m not quite there yet, at vacation time, so I’ve got to review a book eventually.

Before I do, though, I want to land one last point on this subject: stress, misery, unhappiness, and anxiety are really bad for creativity.

I remember how hard it was to make art, and generate any good ideas, when I was chair of the Fine Arts Department at my former college, 5 years ago.

I could feel my best self leaching out through cell walls, with each passing week, and the more I was pickled in cortisol and adrenaline, the less of an artist I became.

At the very worst moment, (and there were many,) an older, mentally unstable student came up to me, and screamed “Booooo,” in my face, like a witch, to unnerve and unsettle me.

(No surprise, it worked.)

It was a spontaneous act, which means she didn’t have any time to plan it, but invoking the vibe of ancient, black magic taps into a fear that has existed deep within humans for centuries. (If not longer.)

Here in America, we’ve all heard about the Salem Witch Trials in the 17th Century, and I even had a witch friend once. (Long story.)

If you haven’t seen the brilliant “The Witch,” which came out in 2015 and launched Anya Taylor-Joy, do yourself a favor and stream it, but I promise, you’ll never look at a goat the same way again.



Witchcraft holds an outsized role in the imagination of popular culture, mostly because of misogyny.

How hard is it to see that in a male-dominated world, the idea of super-powered women, conspiring by firelight at night, might scare the shit out of those in power, the men, who had no interest in relinquishing their control?

(Shout out to the Power and Control instinct.)

Even in the ubiquitous superhero stories of the 21st Century, witches are treated with suspicion, like Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch character in “The Avengers.”

And it’s a world-wide phenomenon, this belief in, fascination with, and fear of witches.

Which brings me to today’s book.



We’re taking a brief look at “Elf Dalia,” from Maja Daniels, published by MACK in 2019.

After this one turned up, it somehow ended up on my bookshelf, un-reviewed, rather than staying in the submission pile, so I magically discovered it today, when I was looking for some help from the creativity gods.

(I know I’m creatively limping, and promise to come back full of piss and vinegar after I take my summer break.)

Piss and vinegar don’t chase off witches, though, that I’m aware of, but as Monty Python taught us years ago, it is helpful to check whether they float or not.



All jokes aside, given the tens of thousands of years of shamanistic history, through the human record, I’m not surprised there are still stories of weird shit going down, far from big population centers.

What’s more human than creepy, little, out-of-the-way-places, in far corners of the globe, that give us things to wonder about?

Like Älvdalen, in northern Sweden, which actually has its own language, Elfdalian, spoken there, and nowhere else in the world.

And they executed 21 people under suspicion of witchcraft in 1668!

In 2012, Maja began exploring the place, because her family had a cabin there, I believe. (The book has very little text for context, but I think I have that detail right.)

Maja also discovered a trove of historical, black and white imagery, by Tenn Lars Persson, that also channels the occult, and those images are interspersed with the color photos, which she shot between 2012-17.

I admit, the portrait of the young woman with the “RETARD” tattoo on her neck made me blink a few times, and the ending images, with the creepy faces drawn on the black and white photos, are likely to give me nightmares tonight.

It’s a fun and creative book, this one, and it reminds me a lot of a “Some Kind of Heavenly Fire,” by Maria Lax, a Finnish offering I reviewed last year, so those Scandinavians must have some really weird shit in their collective mythology, for sure.

(If you doubt me, just watch “Midsommar.”)

So that’s what I’ve got for you today.

Some advice about not taking your creativity for granted, and a book that revels in the weird, strange, and unexplained, because really, there is so much out there we don’t know.

See you next week!

To purchase Elf Dalia, click here


The Art of the Personal Project: Andy Anderson

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:  Andy Anderson



I have lived in a small Idaho town for almost 30 years, it’s a town full of wonderful authentic hard-working folks. I love my town, but Covid 19 has affected all Americans in some way and has put undue hardships on us all. My work as a photographer always has me traveling out of state, that’s changed for me and most people for the time being.

Photography has always been my safe place, it helps me communicate, it helps me with the human connection, the connection that binds us all and since I cannot travel. I thought I would reconnect with my town and the people that surround me through photos. So, over the next few however days, weeks I’ll be posting portraits of these wonderful humans. They all have a place in OUR world and hopefully it will make you pause and think about this strange period and how that is affecting your community and the people that surround you and hopefully we will never pass this way again. Here is a link to follow this series on LinkedIn.

(I shot all these with the proper safety precautions, alone and kept my 6)


To see more of this project, click here.



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

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