This Week in Photography: Cruise Night

 

 

My cousin Jordan asked me to print a retraction.

From last week’s piece.

 

It was an omission, really, but he’s not wrong.

Jordan and my Uncle both mentioned the same thing: for the sake of brevity, I left out one important food experience in last week’s column.

They’re right, so let’s rectify it.

 

In my first actual travel article in more than a year, I chose not to write about the donuts.

Those special, special donuts.

Duck Donuts, to be exact.

At a Saturday pool party, Jordan’s daughter asked for some dessert, after we’d eaten the Luigi’s pizza, and through the wonder of Door Dash, (which I’d never seen in action,) they found a Donut joint in the app, and a variety pack was dropped on the driveway.

At first, I abstained.

I watched the crowd attack the donuts, like Roman crows to human hair, but stayed on my lounge chair, not wanting to give in to the munchies. (Like I said last week, it was a bender.)

Eventually, Jordan said I had to try them.

They were THAT good.

I relented, and within a minute had devoured small sections from three or four different donuts.

(Who am I kidding? It must have been five or six.)

Each donut was a bigger flavor explosion than the last, and the chocolatey browns and saturated colors made you NEED to eat them, even though you knew better.

Truth: they were the best donuts I’ve ever had.

 

 

Duck Donuts
4 stars out of 4

 

 

I mention my Jersey trip.

It reminded me of one thing: we all need to check in with our tribe, now and again.

Our personal clan, sure, but also the local culture where we’re from.

Most people, almost everywhere, prefer to stick close to their local culture, because it’s the operating system that makes us.

The symbols, rituals, in-jokes, music choice, beloved foods, weekend activities, they’re all specific to a place.

Some photographers love to enter cultural communities, spending so much time taking pictures, and asking questions, that eventually they become embraced by the people they’re observing.

In this case, I’m thinking of Kristin Bedford, a photographer I met at the Medium Festival of Photography, back in 2014.

She sat next to me in the lobby and started chatting me up, (not knowing I was a journalist,) and an hour later, I promised to pitch her work to the NYT Lens Blog, and they greenlit the story, which we published that December. 

We stayed in touch over the years, Kristin and I, and recently chatted on Zoom, for a new interview series I’m kicking off, in conjunction with PhotoNOLA and the New Orleans Photo Alliance.

Starting this month, I’ll be doing interviews every other month for their BookLENS program.

In our inaugural piece, I spoke to Kristin in a video interview about “Cruise Night,” her new Damiani book, which showed up in the mail here not to long ago.

You can see the interview in its entirety here.

 

June 2021 BookLENS: Kristin Bedford from New Orleans Photo Alliance on Vimeo.

 

 

But a chat isn’t a book review.

In a proper book review, the opening rant has nothing to do with the book.

Like those donuts, though, “Cruise Night” is so vibrant, saturated, and alive.

Colors this gorgeous, this bright, communicate a joy, a love, an infatuation with the lowrider culture so dear to the Mexican American community in SoCal.

The book is filled with sharply observed details, which suggest someone paying attention, looking carefully.

I think “Cruise Night” is an excellent book, and worth the praise it’s been getting in the media.

Thankfully, I don’t rank books by stars, (only Duck Donuts gets rated today,) but I have to admit, I might have inadvertently created a monster with this restaurant reviewing thing.

After last week’s column, my cousin Jordan seems to have discovered the thrill of rating things.

He’s texting me, giving stars to everything now.

3 stars for this.
0 stars for that.

I’m actually starting to wonder if he’s after my job?

See you next week.

To Purchase “Cruise Night,” click here

 







 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Kahran and Bethancourt of Creative Soul

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:  Creative Soul/Kahran and Bethancourt

The Afro Art series is a recognition and celebration of the versatility of black hair and its innate beauty. The purpose of this series is to illustrate the story of our royal past, celebrate the glory of the here and now, and even dare to forecast the future. With this series, we aim to empower children of color to embrace their natural curls and the skin that they’re in. This viral series has gained worldwide attention and has been featured on the BBC News, CNN, CBS News, Teen Vogue, Glamour Brazil and more.

To see more of this project, click here.

Instagram

 

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a 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

Featured Promo – Peter Prato

Peter Prato

Who printed it?
Edition One Books, which recently moved from Berkeley to Richmond. Brandon Tauszik, who’s an amazing photographer and a dear friend, turned me onto them. They printed his book, Pale Blue Dress, which made an appearance on this very site.

Who designed it?
Mcalman.co, which is a design studio founded by George McCalman, who’s made promos for many wonderful photographers. I worked directly with him and his Design Associate, Ali Cameron. George and I have collaborated on a few things together and it was extremely helpful to begin from a place where he was familiar with my interest in images and words. He brings experience as an illustrator, writer, fine artist, and having worked closely with photographers as an art director. A real powerhouse. All of this made for an experience in which the iterations on rounds of feedback were efficient and thoughtful. George also has the kind of chemistry I need in an editor. He knows how and when to say no to ideas that will cause a project to come off the rails.

Tell me about the images?
When I first read this question I thought, “I should ask him what the word limit is on this thing.” The images represent a range of experiences. Some were made for work. Some were made in my personal life. All of them are a kind of a creative non-fiction in which I’m carving a version of reality out of the light. It’s also the genre that comes most naturally to me and that I’ve practiced the most since studying creative writing in college. Of course, I’m interested in imagery without words, but this body of work isn’t about a collection of greatest hits. I wanted the people that are sitting with this to get a sense of how I think and what’s important to me. I also wanted to give them an opportunity for context. These images could live without the words but it would change the nature of how I want to relate to my audience. An image of a man staring off into the abyss of the night in a pensive stance is one thing. Knowing that man had an impact on me, and has passed away, changes that image. That said, a little bit of mystery provides endless satisfaction. I’m not trying to tell everyone everything. I want to start a conversation.

How many did you make?
I had 150 printed. 100 of them are going to people that work in various aspects of the photo industry, some of whom I’ve worked with, some of whom I want to work with, and some of whom are people that have helped guide my career through the work they do to support photographers. A Photo Editor comes to mind. The other 50 will be a limited edition, signed, and sold with an open edition print and most likely a unique piece of writing to anyone that feels inclined to spend their money on my work.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first time I’ve done this so I don’t have a structured routine. It’s laborious and expensive and an excellent creative exercise. I’ll probably do it again in the future, but I see this is a stepping-stone to my next goal, which is a monograph of work, and for which I’m talking with another designer that’s interested in working with me.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Because I’ve never done this before I can’t definitively answer it one way or another quite yet. That’s frustrating, but the question of attention is a problem all creative people face if they’re trying to make a profession out of their creativity.

I think printed work is a smart way to convey a commitment to the craft, especially to people that have dedicated themselves to careers in which they’re hiring photographers, but you have to find your way onto very crowded desks and then not get buried. I think about measuring the efficacy of the marketing in two ways. On one hand, there are the fixed costs, which I’m tracking. The production costs, the design fee, the shipping costs, and the like. There are also the soft costs, like the time it took to sequence the work, or the commutes to Lightsource to work with Ward Long on the film scanning, or the maintenance of the spreadsheet to keep track of everyone that I’m trying to reach and to whom I’ve sent it and whether or not I’ve worked with them yet (just a note here to my tech friends whose heads are swelling as they read that last line- yes, I understand there are CRM systems out there that help with this and yes, I use one of those, too). There’s the time spent trying to reach people to let them know I want to send them a copy. There’s the time I’ve spent standing in line at the post office, and hand-writing letters of thanks, and following up with people to whom I’ve sent it but haven’t heard back to gently ask if they’ve received it and, if so, to say thanks again. I haven’t tracked all of that and even if I had, I’m not sure how I’d quantify the cost unless I broke out my annual gross income into minutes. So a very basic way of determining efficacy would be, did I cover my known costs? Did I generate new business that led to a profit?

On the other hand, I brought this thing to life in collaboration with the help of hard working, talented people, along with all those that hired me, those that allowed me into their world, gave me their time, those that made themselves vulnerable, fed me, helped me navigate unknown spaces, assisted me, married me, and so on. I’m proud of this work, of this small temple and the people it represents. So with that in mind, a real profit, and a meaningful success, will be a function of the number of new relationships it generates with people that will enable the virtuous circle of making time to make work to make money to make time to keep telling stories about this world and the way I see it.

This Week in Photography: Going Home

 

 

I wasn’t on the road long, before I saw the wild horses.

It sounds metaphorical, but it’s true.

 

Wild horses in Southern Colorado

 

 

The entire drive north, I was salivating, excited to buy some tasty indica gummies from one of the many weed dispensaries along the way.

But I waited.

I had fantasies, visions of eating a few tasty-treats in the airport parking-lot, having them hit in woozy-waves, just as I was settling into my seat, ready for a sweet-warm-fuzzy nap, until I woke up in Newark, New Jersey.

 

Newark Airport

 

I raced to Denver so I could buy them, and have a nice meal, before I got on the plane.

Four + hours after I left home, I made it to The Clinic, right off I-25 at Colorado Blvd, and some tow-headed, blonde, chubby, frat-boy walked up to the door two seconds before I did.

Typical.

I watched through the glass as he fumbled for his ID, before comically dropping the entire wallet; his money and credit cards scattering in all directions.

(They actually hit the floor.)

What a schmuck, I thought.

I’m so much cooler than that guy.

When it was my turn, I sauntered up to the counter to present my ID, and the guy smirked, before saying, “Do you by any chance have any un-expired identification?”

“Say what now?” I said. “What are you talking about?”

“Look right there, your ID expired in April. Sorry, man, I can’t let you in.”

“I don’t care about the weed, man. I’m about to go to the airport. If I can’t buy pot, how’re they going to let me on a plane?”

The weed guy was stumped.

I was dejected, and limped to the back of my SUV, where I sat down and sent sad-boy-texts, before calling my Uncle to tell him I wasn’t coming.

I was fucked.

He and my brother, though, on the phone, encouraged me to go to the airport and wing it, bc the pandemic meant they’d loosened up the rules on ID.

There was traffic, of course, so I sped to the airport as quick as I could, after grabbing a bad piece of pizza and even worse burrito at Whole Foods, in a mad dash to eat, as I’d skipped breakfast. (Shame on you, Jeff Bezos.)

Cut to the chase: I made the plane.

But only because the parking-guy magically waved me into the closer, more expensive garage, assuring me I wouldn’t be up-charged. And all the nice-people in the security-line let me cut to the front, frogger-style, as I begged apology, and swore I was about to miss my plane.

Yes, I was THAT GUY, on my first plane trip in nearly 15 months.

I was that guy.

 

 

I made the plane by exactly 1 minute.

I had nice nap, and oh by the way, THE ENTIRE FLIGHT WAS FULL.

Every single seat.

Sure, people were wearing masks.

But any prior concept of social distancing, or enforcing the need for personal space, went out the window.

That was Thursday.

 

 

On Friday morning, my cousin Dylan and I agreed to go the pool store with my Uncle, if Dylan could get some coffee, and I could get some pizza, once it got to be lunch.

(I skipped breakfast, in anticipation.)

On the drive West, my Uncle, who had been a professional photographer in the 70’s, told me he had a little spot we should see, maybe for pictures.

I had no idea what he meant, but we headed even further into farm country, from my hometown of Holmdel, NJ.

We cruised out past Marlboro, almost into Freehold.

Right there off the highway, there was a little road, and then a parking lot, and then a totemic 18th Century building.

Right off the highway.

It was radiating power, this old house.

 

The 18th C Craig House

Ironically, a local, professional photographer had just turned up, to take some portraits of a child, set against the creepy structure.

There was a little kiosk with information and literature, and I learned this was the Craig House, at the edge of the Monmouth Battlefield State Park.

The famed Revolutionary War battlefield!

 

 

At its edge, this, the former residence of a Scottish family, who colonized the area in the 17th Century, and owned slaves!

This was the place where George Washington fought the English, and drove them back in June of 1778.

George Washington!

I’d been here with Jessie nearly 20 years ago, from the main entrance, on the other side of the park, by the visitor center, so I really had no idea where we were.

Such a gorgeous, important place.

And we’d just casually drove up on it, on our way to the pool store, by the side of the highway.

My uncle says it’s normally empty when he goes there.

 

 

I live in a part of America that was founded by the Pueblo Native people.

The history, here, is of long-extinct volcanoes, ancient migration, Spanish colonization, and the Wild West.

Where I’m from, in Central New Jersey, those pastoral suburbs by the Jersey Shore, the history is completely different.

Holmdel, New Jersey, was founded by Dutch Colonists, in the 17th Century, but belonged to the Lenni Lenape Native people before that.

England battled for, and won, colonial territory from the Dutch and the French, to control the East Coast, and then of course America rebelled against England to become its own country.

Out where I live now, (home for most of my adult life,) Spain took the land from the Native Americans, then Mexico became independent from Spain, and finally America took New Mexico from Mexico in the 19th Century.

 

 

The Monmouth Battlefield has miles and miles of walking and hiking trails, across some beautiful country.

 

 

It is free and open to the public, so if you live anywhere in the Tri-State area, or the Mid-Atlantic or New England regions, you might consider a Post-Covid visit.

And the Shore is just up the highway.

This is the landscape that made Bruce Springsteen, these farms that rolled East to the Sea, in Asbury Park.

In addition to miles of beaches, Monmouth County has 18th Century architecture wherever you look, and small downtown main streets in which old churches have been repurposed as real estate joints, or lawyers’ offices.

 

Scary old barn, across the street from Crown Palace

 

 

 

Dylan and I took a few walks through public land.

One was nearly 7 miles.

We needed it because we ate some gut-bomb pizza on the way back from the pool store, after the battlefield.

Dylan was in a food crash, and anxious to check his work email, and I wanted pizza, so the three of us compromised.

We went to Marlboro Pizza, for slices, in a strip mall on the corner of Rt 34 and Rt 79, and I walked in the door assuming any average, Jersey-strip-mall-pizza-joint would be awesome.

 

Marlboro Pizza

 

This was not.

They had so many choices in the window, so many fancy pies to excite the eyes, but they could not deliver on the pretty visuals.

Let that be a lesson.

Maybe stick to a few things, and do them well.

I got suckered by the specialty pies, and strayed from tradition, ordering a vodka sauce w/ fresh mozzarella slice, and a grandma pizza slice.

 

Vodka sauce pizza and Grandma pizza

 

Both were severely under-seasoned, and a bit greasy.

Not special.

Dylan was also underwhelmed by his slices, and my Uncle’s piece left drips of grease on his plate.

On the plus side, we shared 1 slice of chicken-parmesan-pizza, (cut three ways,) and that was pretty great, but I only got a few bites, and it wasn’t enough to overturn the very mediocre review.

Marlboro Pizza
1 star out of 4

 

 

To burn it off, Dylan and I headed into the nature trails in the Ramanessin Brook Greenway, which connects swamp land, creek trails, and beautiful, public meadows & farmland across the entire town of Holmdel.

 

The map to the Holmdel trail network

 

We walked 6.5 miles, all told, and barely scratched the surface, but it gave us plenty of time to talk about life, as Dylan is 26, with a great head on his shoulders, and just got engaged to his high school sweetheart.

(I gave lots of older-cousin-advice, but we’ll keep that between Dylan and me.)

 

Dylan, my wingman for the weekend
Approaching Bell Works
The back of Bell Works
Ramanessin Brook

 

We walked to the back of Bell Works, the super-fancy-redevelopment I wrote about in 2019, and they have restaurants and coffee shops in there now.

And plenty of parking.

You can check out the shops, (Exit 114 on the Garden State Parkway,) leave your car, and enjoy all the nature, for free.

At the far end of Holmdel, the public land connects, across a school, to Cross Farm Park, which has ball fields, walking trails, and an early 19th Century cemetery.

 

19th C Cemetery at Cross Farms Park

 

The massive Thompson Park, where we walked for an hour on Sunday, is across the street, linking further miles of trails.

 

Thompson Park

 

So a trip to the suburbs in Jersey, these days, can be a day-vacation with hours of amazing walking, in the footsteps of Native Americans, Dutch Settlers, and Revolutionary War soldiers.

 

 

The Chinese food we had Friday night from Crown Palace, which has one location in Marlboro, and another on Rt 35 in Middletown, was brilliant, as expected.

It’s been there forever, and has always been great.

My Aunt ordered way too much, sticking to classics, so the table was covered in food.

Inhaling the egg rolls, with the ground pork and cabbage marrying perfectly with the spicy mustard and sweet duck sauce. Gnawing on the chewy, moist pork spare ribs.
Slurping down the lo mein.

 

Interior, Crown Palace in Marlboro, Looking out at the parking lot

 

It was one of the big reasons I schlepped across the country at the end of a pandemic; to taste the flavors, and remember the smells of home.

To see where I come from.

To reconnect with the people who’ve known me my whole life.

Crown Palace
4 stars out of 4

 

On Saturday morning, Dylan took me for a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel at The Bagel Store in Colts Neck, the neighboring town famed for Mafia horse farms, but while at first he claimed he was bringing me to the best bagel sandwich, (to make up for the shitty Marlboro pizza,) he later admitted, under cross examination, that we only went there because his favorite coffee shop, Rook, was next door.

 

 

Still, it was a great sandwich.

The Bagel Store
3 stars out of 4

 

More pizza for lunch on Saturday, this time from Luigi’s Famous Pizza in Lincroft, (one of my traditional favorites,) as my cousin ordered a pizza margherita, and a half-meatball-half-plain, square-pie.

The margherita pizza was low on flavor, and it had cardboard crust. Not special.

 

Luigi’s Pizza Margherita

 

The meatball half was great. But the regular pizza was just OK, and I actually left New Jersey without having eaten great pizza.

 

Luigi’s half-meatball half plain square pie

(Sad but true.)

Lincroft Pizza
2 stars out of 4

 

After a Saturday pool party at my Uncle’s place, I walked the half-a-mile to my friend Mandi’s house, as she was throwing a birthday party/ mini-high school reunion, at my behest.

 

Putting my feet up

 

(It was her birthday, but I suggested the party, as I’m not in town often.)

Everyone thought I was crazy to walk, even though it’s just around the corner.

I was almost there, rounding the bend, really when a shiny, white Tesla rolled by, and like something out of an 80’s movie, it suddenly stopped ahead of me, the tail lights blazing, and slowly backed up.

It could be anyone, behind the wheel, but I was sure it would be good.

The reveal.

Who would it be?

The window rolled down, and it was: Brett Frieman, my childhood-best-friend, who dumped me when I couldn’t attend his wedding, (because of a last-minute scheduling change,) twenty years ago!

We made-up at the official 20th HHS reunion in 2012, but I hadn’t seen him since.

He’s known me since I’m 4 years old.
Since pre-school.

Those bonds are old.

 

 

And so was the house.

From 1750, though it’s been updated since.

Mandi put out a feast, and the crowd was a bit random, (if I’m being honest,) but there was as much booze as there was food, and several people had not socialized indoors yet, post-pandemic, so they let loose.

Mandi’s Mac and Cheese was pretty delicious, and probably better than my version.

 

Mandi’s Mac and Cheese is better than mine
The scary room was behind that door

 

We drank and caught up for two and a half hours, but as I’d been partying for two days straight, despite the nostalgia, it was time to go.

Mandi agreed to walk me out, but I was in the lead.

Immediately, we stepped into an old, wooden, pitch-dark room, right off the modern kitchen, and I got the super-creeps. The heebie-jeebies.

The hairs raised on the back of my neck.

No joke.

“C’mon, Mandi, that’s not fair,” I yelled.

“What,” she replied, “I’m right here with you.”

“Well, turn on the lights,” I said. “You might like getting freaked out in a pitch-dark, haunted, 300 year old house, but I don’t.”

 

 

On Sunday, before another pool party, my Uncle drove me to the beach in Long Branch, at Pier Village, which is 20 minutes away, but we were only there for 10 minutes.

Beggars can’t be choosers, so I put my face and feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

 

We walked along the water.

I felt the sun on my skin.

It was perfect, as I hadn’t seen the sea in nearly two years.

 

 

The last restaurant review has no photos, I’m afraid, as it was Sunday afternoon, on the third straight day of my bender.

I was no longer functional enough to get the photos. It’s true.

My Aunt catered the pool party from Livoti’s, and it was perfect Italian-American food.

 

 

Insanely good, so I finally ate too much, forgot to take that one final walk with Dylan, and regretted it later.

Chicken Parmesan, Eggplant Rollatini, Broccoli Rabe, Cavatelli and Broccoli, Penne with Vodka Sauce.

All flawless.

It’s a shame there are no photos, but we still have to rate them.

Livoti’s
4 stars out of 4

 

 

Today, to gather my thoughts, I went on a big walk around the farm.

I listened to the birds.

I washed my face and hands in the stream.

I ran into my father-in-law, as he checked on the horses.

 

My father-in-law, doing the rounds

 

I asked myself, why do we travel?

Why make the effort?

Well, it’s super-fun, and that’s a huge part of it, for sure.

But I think the crucial thing is, travel makes us smarter, and better.

It challenges us, so we can grow at hyper-speed.

Having new experiences, encountering other cultures, getting lost and having to figure it out, it allows us to evolve into wiser, more capable versions of ourselves.

See you next week.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Agnes Lopez

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

 

Today’s featured artist:  Agnes Lopez

During the pandemic downtime I started to review my body of photography work and had the realization that I did not have any Filipina-American women in my portfolio. While I am proud of the portfolio of the work, I have created over the past 18 years, photographing CEOs, professional athletes, chefs, community leaders, actors, and so much more, I decided that I needed to pursue a portrait project to highlight talented Filipina women in the Northeast Florida art community.

People are often surprised to find out that Jacksonville has the largest Filipino population in the Southeastern US. While we’ve quietly gone about our business in the past, I want to let people know we are here and have been a part of the fabric of Jacksonville’s community for a long time.

My goal is to challenge stereotypes, let the world see that Filipinos aren’t just nurses and doctors and members of the military, but that many talented Filipina artists exist here right now. I want to encourage these artists to show who they are and share their talents. I wanted to showcase each individual’s unique beauty, strength and skin tone. That is why I felt it was important to photograph them in color as opposed to the black and white portrait style I had used for The Faces to Remember Project. (Learn more, www.thefacestoremember.com)

Being Filipino-American, I feel proud to be Filipino, but I think as an American I question am I Filipino enough. As an immigrant group that has been taught to assimilate and blend in, many of us do not know how to speak our language or cook our food. Important traditions are being lost.

One of the ladies I photographed for the project initially questioned if she should be included because she is only half-Filipino. In that moment I realized how important this project really was. Being Filipino is a part of us and we can not hide it. We come in all shapes, backgrounds, and skin tones.

Colorism is another huge issue in the Filipino community. As an American being tan is seen as something to aspire to but in the Filipino community being darker is not considered desirable. Growing up, I would hear comments of how dark I was and at the time I didn’t really think anything of it. As I got older, I realized it had affected me to where I wouldn’t go to the beach and would wear long sleeves outside, so I didn’t tan. Seeing people of color in the media really had a big impact on me and made me realize that dark is beautiful too.

As a photographer, I realized I could help others come to this realization through this project and my work moving forward.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

IG: Agnes Lopez Photography

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 – Giles Clement

Giles Clement

Heidi: Do you travel with a mobile dark room?
Giles: When shooting tintypes or ambrotypes, yes.

What is your set up?
Really depends on the project I’m working on. For digital work I use a Fuji GFX medium format digital back and lenses. For my 4×5 film and wet plate work I use a Sinar 4×5 F2 body and a variety of lenses including an 1849 Petzval portrait lens. For 8×10 film and wet plate work I use a Calumet C2 body and a Wollensak 16” f/3.8 petzval lens. For 16×20 I use a camera I designed and built myself fitted with a 500mm f/4.5 Goerz Dogmar lens originally designed for aerial reconnaissance in WWI. Lighting equipment varies and ranges from small battery powered monolights for film and digital work up to 20,000 watts of power from several Speedotron power packs and heads.

If you need to send materials ahead of time, how difficult is that?
I’ve worked on streamlining my wet plate set up so my entire darkroom fits in one pelican case and the rest of the gear flies with me.

Do you take both traditional and tintype images on projects?
Yes, there’s often images I see which simply aren’t best suited for the tintype process and I don’t like to be limited by one medium. I had been working with the tintype medium for 8 years prior to covid and while I really enjoyed the process, it’s also been refreshing to work with digital again and be able to create color work.

What have you been working on recently?
During covid I’ve been making a series of images of fellow artists in different cities around the country. These images have been made into sets of postcards which have sold with the proceeds going to the artists featured. It’s a small way for me to highlight artists who inspire me and also to be able to give them a bit of a financial boost during difficult times. Those images can be seen here. (below images is a selection from the Seattle shoot.)

With things opening back up a bit more I’m also starting to prep for a couple of projects. Those include a cross country road trip music video with a Philadelphia artist, a shoot with a jean company out of North Carolina and a longer term project featuring art teachers from around the country.

This Week in Photography: Leaving the Nest

 

 

Nobody’s perfect.

 

I’m certainly not.

I make a lot of predictions here, and claim to have the proper “hot take” on so many global issues.

But I don’t get everything right, and when I make a mistake, I own up to it.

 

 

I just got back from New Jersey, (on Monday,) and I’m writing on my customary Thursday.

It’s been less than 72 hours since I returned, and the trip itself took 12 hours, (via Denver,) so what I’m mystified about is that travel leaves a resonance.

Most of me is here in New Mexico, but a shade of my soul is lingering in Jersey, for sure.

Back in 2019, and early #2020, I was traveling so much, it was one big blur, and I wasn’t able to differentiate the biochemical, or metaphysical reactions from each individual visit.

But with this large a gap, I recognized the sensation, and it’s real.

It’s like you left a glimmer of yourself, back where you just were, before an airplane whooshed you up into the sky, and deposited you thousands of miles away.

But that’s not what I’m apologizing about.

 

 

Rather, when I was in New Jersey, (and I promise a full write up in the near future, with photos,) it was amazing to see how much life looked like the “Old Normal.”

There were still masks around, in certain indoor public settings, but the general vibe allowed getting in personal space with loved ones indoors, sharing food, full airplanes, and no social distancing.

Things looked A LOT like they did, before the 15 month pause.

I had it wrong.

(I’m speaking here in America, where vaccinations have been available to all who want them. It’s not a global phenomenon, I know.)

 

 

Trees and rocks have souls, (if I understand things correctly,) in the Shinto religion.

My buddy Kyohei explained it to me once, in an outdoor exhibition space at the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Art objects can have souls too, if you think about it.

Photo books embody the energy the artist puts into each picture, and then the momentum developed over the course of the narrative.

I just put down “Strawberry Parfait,” by Jimi Franklin, published by Denton Books in #2020, and it totally captures the way I feel right now. (A little haunted.)

It’s one of those books that seems like a flip-book-animation from a movie.

Like a continuous narrative, broken down into frozen memories.

Food shots.
Hipsters.
Dimly lit scenes.

If you cross the Wong Kar-wai vibe of “In the Mood for Love” with some of Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” you might end up somewhere near the story this flip book would unspool.

The ending essay brings up Shinto, as a root element in Japanese culture, and also says the images were made over a decade.

I must say, I think this book is a gem.

With the rhythmic changes in the image rectangle shape, and the tactile paper that makes you WANT to turn the page, this one’s a winner.

Does it make me want to go to Japan?

Hell yes.

But it also makes me want to look at it again, to go on the ride through this vision, which is always the sign of a very cool book.

To learn more about Jimi Franklin, click here

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Cade Martin

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:  Cade Martin

 

Isla de las Munecas – The Island of the Dolls

I have always loved a good story, with great characters and the opening sentence “Legend has it…”

These are stories to tell around the campfire, to pass along and keep alive – but some stories, I’ve just got to see for myself. The Island of the Dolls is such a tale.

Legend has it, a little girl drowned entangled among the lilies of the Xochimilco canal. Her body was found on the banks of one of the islands by Don Julian Santana Barrera.

Julian was the caretaker of the island and, shortly thereafter, he found a doll floating nearby and, assuming it belonged to the deceased girl, hung it from a tree as a sign of respect to support the spirit of the girl. After this, he began to hear whispers, footsteps, and anguished wails in the darkness even though his hut – hidden deep inside the woods of Xochimilco – was miles away from civilization.

Driven by fear, he spent the next fifty years hanging more and more dolls, some missing body parts, all over the island in an attempt to appease what he believed to be the drowned girl’s spirit.

After 50 years of collecting dolls and hanging them on the island, Julian was found dead in 2001, reportedly found in the exact spot where he found the girl’s body fifty years before.

#LegendHasIt

 

 

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 – Indian Renaissance: Shahzad Bhiwandiwala


Shahzad Bhiwandiwala

Heidi: How did this come about?
Shahzad: I had started working on my graduate thesis project, Royalty, in the fall of 2019. The project was my way of commenting on the circuitous route of fashion where designs go in and out of style and make a resurgence at a later point in time. The primary focus was on how contemporary royals would adorn themselves while taking direct influence from traditional historic styles.

Unfortunately, by the spring of 2020 we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and I returned to Mumbai. As an Indian, I have rarely seen Indian artists tackle “what if” scenarios relating to Indian Art and cultural history. Keeping this in mind, I repurposed some aspects of royalty and came up with Indian Renaissance – What Could Have Been. A “what if” scenario where Indian royals were inspired by the European renaissance, specifically the high renaissance period, and how that historic change would have translated to modern day Indian fashion. I had always been curious about how the European renaissance would have influenced India and this project brings these thoughts and ideas to visualization and is presented through the perspective of a single fictional royal family, The Garhwal Gharana aka The House of Garhwal spanning generations from an alternate timeline 15th Century to the 21st century.

How did this story call on your culturally rich background?
As a Zoroastrian I understand the power of inspiration and adoption when it comes to attire and garb. My ancestors, having fled persecution many millennia ago, sought refuge in India when they landed at the port of Gujarat. This is spoken and recorded history that is passed down from generation to generation highlighting how we adopted and transformed, among other things, our attire at the time to blend in with our new home. As an artist I find myself revisiting this idea of transformation across many of my projects and it is most evident in Indian Renaissance. As for the visual approach for the project, in terms of lighting, posing and composition, I credit that to my love for cinema and my years of performing in musical theatre. I always ask my subjects to embody a character I create for them. The character has its own life, personality, desires, dreams and hopes. I ask my subjects to embody these characters and that is what I feel makes them feel larger than life.

How long have you been working on this series?
I started conceptualization for the project in March 2020 and completed the first phase in December 2020. I am currently planning out a second phase for this project that would focus on ordinary people as opposed to royals.

Who did you collaborate with for the styling, hair and makeup? 
To execute the styling of the project I reached out to the amazing folks at The Costume Team (TCT) who helped bring my vision to life by creating some pieces themselves and bringing on board both new and established designers and jewelers as Gaurav Gupta, Begada, Amani and many more.

For hair I worked with my frequent collaborator Sanam Jeswani and for makeup I had celebrity makeup artist Fatema Maqbool come on board.

How many models did you cast?
All the models were cast after going through a list of around 40 models.

Has this body of work been published?
It has been selected for Communication Arts Photography Annual 2021 as well as the AI-AP American Photography 37.

 

Featured Promo – Christian Tisdale

Christian Tisdale

Who printed it?
Metropol Printers in Victoria BC Canada.

Who designed it?
I designed the layout myself, but all of my design components are from my awesome designer, Lisa Korz.

I had a branding iron of my logo made a few months ago and so badly wanted to build that into this package. I ended up settling for only burning a logo onto the front envelope, but I experimented for literally days on that. Different papers burned differently, some got sticky, some smelled so bad, some ruined the images on the other side. I still haven’t fully figured out how to do it justice. But I’ve got some ideas for the next set…stay tuned.

Tell me about the images?
I was really torn on which images to include in this campaign. This was my first mailer, so I ended up including 5 standalone shots, rather than one contiguous series. I wanted these shots to be commercial enough to inspire potential connections with the creative directors I was talking to, but cool enough that if you pinned it to your wall, it didn’t feel like an ad.

How many did you make?
I sent 100 out to agencies and producers, 1 to Rob, and 1 to my mom.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first, but my current plan is to run a minor series like this once per quarter, then a bigger piece once a year. The next ones will be more focused on a series of images that are connected to one another.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’d love to think so, but I don’t have the data to prove it yet. I really enjoyed the process in any case, so if nothing else I found a lot of creative value in it for myself.

This Week in Photography: As It Was Before

 

 

It’s been raining for two days straight.

That never happens.

It’s so rare, when I asked my wife and daughter if they remembered the last time it rained like this, they said September 2019.

 

Getting a lot of rain in the desert is great, especially as we’re coming out of a historically bad drought.

When the heavens opened yesterday, Jessie suggested the drought might be over, and of course it felt symbolic.

How could it not?

Hearing the incessant patter on our metal roof, watching the freshly green aspen trees bend under the weight of the water, looking at the gray sky, where normally there’s blue, it feels like we’re somewhere else.

 

 

More than anything, it reminds me of spring in New York, where I once lived, and New Jersey, where I’m from.

Forgive me for having home on the brain, but as I wrote last week, I’ll be there, taking a few days of R&R, when this column goes live on Friday. (I’m writing on a Tuesday, which also adds to the sense of dislocation. I never write on Tuesdays!)

 

But here we are.

 

The mountains are hidden in the storm, their snow-topped peaks enmeshed in clouds, so all I see is green grass, green trees, gray skies, and lots of rain.

Which after two days of this, really does remind me of the East Coast.

Of New York.

 

 

Why am I stuck on this subject today?

Well, there’s always an easy answer, when it comes to a photo book review column. Today, I reached into the bottom of the book stack, and found a submission from October 2020, which was 8 months ago, back when our “old” life just about began to feel normal. (But before the awful horribleness of the Covid Winter.)

What was in the box?

I found a nice note, from Paul Matzner, thanking me for some advice I gave him at the Filter Photo Festival a few years ago, and a copy of “Seeing You in New York,” a self-published book, (printed by Edition One,) that came out last year, with a foreword by Aline Smithson.

Full disclosure, Paul also thanked me in the liner notes, at the end of the book, so I guess our conversation made an impression. (I also published some of his arresting street portraits in the blog as well.)

Time for more honesty: I don’t think this is an amazing book. (Sorry, Paul.)

It’s not bad, by any means, and on the right day I’d call it very good.

I like it, but don’t find it super-distinctive, within the genre.

So why am I writing about it?

 

For as long as I’ve had this column, my main criterion for review is whether a book inspires me to write.

That’s it.

If, after looking at a book, a column germinates in my head, and my fingers slide across the keyboard in rhythm, allowing the flow, then that book is worthy of review.

And that happened today.

Why?

 

Because of context.

You simply can’t look at these images, which were shot between 2008-18, and view them as you would have before the pandemic.

It’s not possible.

Paul captured a wide range of New Yorkers, from diverse cultural backgrounds and age groups, going about their previously “normal” lives.

We see skateboarders, lots of dogs, stoop-sitters, side-walk walkers, stroller pushers, subway-riders, it’s all here.

What once would have been a warm-hearted group of street photos, back in 2008-18, now looks like a naive record of humans doing things we all took for granted.

It’s a life we may have again, but as I wrote last week, we’re all different now.

Will anything ever feel “normal” again?

 

I’m getting on a plane on Thursday.

What comes next?

I don’t know, of course, and Paul Matzner’s book wound me up on this rant.

When sweet pictures feel sinister, as if they represent the last people frolicking on the beach before the Tsunami hits, you know I’m going to be curious.

 

Hope you enjoy the book, and see you next week.

To purchase” Seeing you in New York,” click here 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Gabriele Galimberti

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:  Gabriele Galimberti

For over two years, I visited more than 50 countries and created colorful images of boys and girls in their homes and neighborhoods with their most prized possessions: their toys. From Texas to India, Malawi to China, Iceland, Morocco, and Fiji, I recorded the spontaneous and natural joy that unites kids despite their diverse backgrounds. Whether the child owns a veritable fleet of miniature cars or a single stuffed monkey, the pride that they have is moving, funny, and thought provoking.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

This project featured on Nat Geo’s IG account but see more of Gabriele’s work on IG

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 – Brett Williams Childs: Against Monolith

 

Photographer: Brett Williams Childs

Heidi: Why did you title this series Against Monolith?
These portraits are part of a series exploring the individuality and historical representation of people of color. Using the history of film photography and also Kodak films and guide literature, I explore the struggle of maintaining individuality in a much larger social structure. Historically, individual people of color were often viewed as monolith, a singular mass distinctly lacking individual identity. “They all look the same;” the sentiment is unmistakable in American history.

In your mind, where did this sentiment begin?
This sentiment is echoed by the history of Kodak films. For decades Kodak film was unable to correctly capture the skin tones of people of color because their film emulsions were formulated to render a correct Caucasian skin tone. In addition to this, Kodak would send test negatives to color processing labs along with a color correct photographic print made from the negative. Using this, photo labs were able to calibrate their machines and the chemistry used to process the film in order to obtain color correct prints from any negatives they processed.

When were you able to frame this in your own life?
I first noticed the shifting of skin tones growing up when looking through family photos but didn’t read about the technical details behind it until many years later. My first time reading about the technical issues and Shirley Cards was in maybe 2011 or 2012 when I was working at Bart’s Books. I was very interested in visual media theory at the time and a book on that subject came in which included the paper by Lorna Roth titled “Looking at Shirley, the Ultimate Norm: Color Balance, Image Technologies, and Cognitive Equity” which outlined the history of Kodak film formulations and the Shirley Card. This was a couple of years before I even applied to ArtCenter but that paper stayed in my mind as I learned more and more about photography and began other projects.

What were the the scenes in the color photographic prints?
The negative that Kodak sent included a scene containing various textiles, a color chart, and a single white female model. Nicknamed “Shirley cards” after the Kodak employee who modeled for the negative, these were used all across the country to make sure that customer’s pictures were delivered with correct color.

How would you describe the images of darker skinned subjects?
Photographs featuring darker skinned subjects were often incorrectly rendered, sometimes as a smear of black in the photo completely lacking details – recognizable only by the whites of their eyes and their teeth, if they were smiling. From a distance these portraits are also textureless in appearance. Unvaried and lacking the possibility for details; a deep black on the surface of an unchanging white ground. The work of philosopher Paul Ricœur posits that the formation of individual identity is in large part shaped by ones ability to recognize another, and to be recognized by another. It was a compounding lack of recognition, however, that led to individuals disappearing from their film images. Film manufacturers being unable or unwilling to recognize the needs of a group directly led to the inability to see the individuals pictured. With the images from this series I aim to rework that failure to compel the viewer to recognize the individual pictured. As one gets closer to the artwork, details emerge, forcing you to confront the individual before you.

When did Kodak address representation in the calibration cards?
The first multiracial Kodak calibration cards didn’t actually appear until the 1990’s.

When did you begin Against Monolith?
It was after seeing the Kerry James Marshall show at the MOCA that I began to put together the Against Monolith project. I went to that show many times and couldn’t stop thinking about how he rendered and painted all the skin tones, it was so striking. I think often the conversations around this part of Kodak’s history get stuck in circuitous arguments debating whether or not Kodak films or employees were racist and I was much more interested in using this to explore the entangled web of individuation, individual agency, and its intersection with collective agency and behavior. I wanted to use the history of film photography, as well as Kodak films and guide literature, to explore the struggle of maintaining individuality in a much larger social structure. Because one form of recognition is intimately linked with individuation and another form of recognition is intimately linked with photography and visual representation it seemed to be an effective way to examine both.

This Week in Photography: The 2nd Annual Advice Column

 

I’ve never swung an axe in my life.

(Before today, that is.)

 

 

I suspect it was connected to do the dream I had, as I woke up at 3 am.

I was driving up a steep hill in my old neighborhood, where I grew up in New Jersey, and just as I was about to make a left turn, towards my old street, Shadow Ridge Court, I noticed an impediment.

Right there, in the middle of the road, was the biggest fallen tree I’ve ever seen.

It was massive in circumference, as big as King Kong’s middle finger, and there was simply no way around it.

Luckily for me, my childhood home, (and the cul-de-sac on which it was located,) was accessed from Galloping Hill Circle, which was appropriately named, so I was able to turn right, and go the long way home instead. (Ending up at the same point, but avoiding the road-block.)

 

The tree was right there, blocking my path.

 

I woke up in the morning, (after having fallen back asleep,) certain of what the dream meant: I needed to help my wife circumvent an energy blockage impeding her happiness.

For once, I’ll keep the details to myself, but she had the same feeling when she arose as well, so I was sure the dream was prophetic.

 

 

I’ve been doing a lot of life re-evaluation in the last few weeks, as the world has begun to open, and I suspect you have too.

How could we not?

(And I wrote this just a few hours before the CDC said it was time to ditch our masks.)

Everything we knew about reality was interrupted for 14 months, and we were powerless to do anything but stay home, if we had the luxury.

I’ve found that in May of #2021, I’m a very different person than I was in March of #2020, as are my wife and children.

We’ve changed in profound ways, and it’s impacting our relationships and decision-making, in cool and powerful directions. (I’ve even begun dispensing random advice in Facebook posts, because I want to share some of the things I’ve been learning through this mind-altering-experience.)

Recognizing a blockage, and either removing it, or going around it, is a difficult life-skill, but I believe it can be learned, if we’re aware of our emotional reality, and what’s causing our underlying feelings.

 

 

For example.

I’ve loved watching sports my entire life.

It was the one way I could communicate with my father and brother, as we didn’t have much to talk about, beyond baseball, football, and basketball.

I cannot even begin to estimate how many hours I’ve watched games on television, and in the last ten years, I’ve spent a fair amount of money for all the channels on satellite TV, and then for special streaming services.

All that time.
All that money.

This year, just in the last few months, I’ve lost the taste for it.

The joy is gone.

Ironically, my favorite basketball team, the former-New-Jersey-and-current-Brooklyn Nets, are the new powerhouse in the NBA, as they have three of the top 15 players in the world.

The Nets are likely to win an NBA Championship in the next few years, (if not this July,) yet I’m jumping off the bandwagon, instead of on.

What gives?

Well, the team radically re-invented itself, and invested heavily in some head-case-talent, while clearing its roster several times over, and treating the entire enterprise like a corporate re-brand.

Old-fashioned concepts such as loyalty, leadership, continuity, and respect for the fans, have all gone out the window, for specific reasons I don’t have time to enumerate.

But I’ve taken no pleasure from the Nets’ ascent, so after a bit of griping, I just stop watching.

Similarly, my favorite English soccer team, Arsenal, is run by an American Oligarch, who married Walmart money, and he’s basically run the club into the ground, slowly and steadily, since I became “addicted” to the team ten years ago.

 

Stan and Josh Kroenke, Arsenal’s owners

 

So again, I exercised the only power I have, and turned off the TV.

Stress relieved, problem solved.

At the moment, I despise the system that is delivering sports to me, as it is filled with the type of greed and inequity that I wouldn’t stomach in my real life.

So why would I want to pay to feel shitty with my “entertainment?”

 

 

Last year, a week or two after the Covid-19 lockdown began in earnest here in the US, I wrote an advice column for you.

It had nothing directly to do with photography.

I suggested things would get hairy, and even entering into other peoples’ physical space, their 6 foot window of safety, would likely lead to drama, and perhaps violence.

We all know that prediction came true.

My article, or the points within it, was featured by Michael Abatemarco, in the Santa Fe New Mexican, because that type of direct, let’s-talk-about-what’s-happening rhetoric felt of the moment.

 

Excerpt courtesy of the Santa Fe New Mexican

Today, I decided that America’s re-opening, and how we deal with it, was worthy of an Advice Column Part 2.

So here we are.

 

 

Next week, I’m going home to New Jersey, to my hometown, to visit with my family and high school friends.

It will be the first airline trip I’ve taken in nearly 15 months, and the first travel I’ve done since returning from Houston on the eve of the lockdown in March #2020.

I’m scared and nervous, but also excited and thrilled.

My wife and kids gave me permission to go anywhere, really, as a thanks for how I’ve been a support to them through this trying time, and I wanted to go home.

To see my people.
To eat my favorite pizza.

And visit the sea.

I’m going to write about it for you as a travel piece, and will share how it feels to get so far out of my comfort zone, all so that I can return to the place that made me.

As a new man.

 

 

Which brings us back to the beginning.

Why did I swing an axe today?

What was it all about?

Well, we had an aspen tree stump, and a dead aspen tree, clogging up our front garden.

They were eyesores, abutting our big red fence, and every time we sat outside, or came in from the driveway, they were a symbol of death and decay.

 

The stump
The dead tree

 

All around them, new aspen shoots were coming up, ready to take their place.

Life was trying to start anew, to begin fresh, but the deadwood, (a term they use in English soccer,) was blocking the growth.

And reminding us, visually, of what had come before.

Of what what we had lost.

So today, after having that dream about a fallen tree, and telling my wife I was willing to make some sacrifices to help unblock her Qi, I headed over to my in-laws, looking for a hatchet.

But there was no hatchet.

Only an axe.

 

The axe and the saw

 

Turns out, chopping down trees, and taking out stumps, is hard work.

 

Getting psyched up to swing the axe
Making friends with the tool

 

(Harder than I expected, anyway.)

And it requires a lot of concentration, to ensure the axe doesn’t rebound back and cut off your toes.

I had to shoo the dog away, so she didn’t get hurt, and then use a saw to finish the job.

It was gratifying, and the yard looks much better. (My wife said so, and she knows what’s up.)

In the end, though, as I tried to remove one last little stump, I found the axe and the saw wouldn’t work.

I tried, and tried, but to no avail.

I used my Kung Fu grip, (shout out to Eddie Murphy,) and still, no dice.

Effort upon effort, but no success.

This one little root just wouldn’t let go.

Then I had a new idea.
What about the clippers?

I climbed down the sloping rock wall, grabbed a new tool, and the tree stump came up in no time.

It was instantaneous, really.

 

Sweaty and sore when the job was done

 

So yes, I’m leaning into metaphor today, and if you came looking for a photo book review, I apologize for the disappointment.

But the world is so different from how it used to be, and you’re different too.

We all are.

My best advice is to embrace the change, think carefully about your world, and what you want it to be.

And when you hit a roadblock, go around it, or move it out of the way, gracefully and efficiently.

If you need the clippers, instead of the axe, no worries.

Just grab the tool that’s right for the job.

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Tony Novak-Clifford

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:  Tony Novak –Clifford

Rising Tides: A Photographic Rediscovery of the Tidewater Region of the Chesapeake Bay

My earliest, fondest childhood memories are of water. Lakes, ponds, great marshes, rivers and the Atlantic Ocean were my playgrounds and constant companions. It wasn’t long after I was old enough to venture out of sight on my own that I was whiling away the hours of hot, humid summer days under the shade of giant Beech trees dropping a bobber and hook, baited with bread balls, into the tea-colored water of the nearby Tony Tank Lake, angling for unfortunate crappies, sunfish and the occasional mud turtle.

In the warm summer months, I mowed lawns to make a little money. With that money, one of the first major purchases I ever made was an aluminum, flat-bottomed “john” boat. A neighbor donated an old two horsepower outboard motor to the cause. Suddenly I found a freedom I have never before known. The river became my highway to adventure, exploring its many creeks and tributaries searching for ducks, turtles, eagles and osprey, muskrats and the occasional elusive river otter.  As we grew older and our boats and motors became larger, we spent entire days water-skiing and venturing further up river to it’s source… the Chesapeake Bay.

In the evenings, we caught fireflies or, as the locals call them, “Lightnin’ Bugs” in the slow, lazy dialect of the region. We rode our bicycles or kicked soccer balls around in the darkness, illuminated only by the warm pool of light provided by the street light at the end of the cul-de-sac.

The Atlantic Ocean and the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland were half an hour’s drive away. As a child, my parents would pack picnic lunches, pile towels, coolers and umbrellas into our station wagon. A giddy sense of excitement rose amongst myself and my brother and sisters as we would cross the bridge over Assawoman Bay and enter the resort town. Here we would while away the day building sand castles or burying each other in the fine, white sand, digging for sand crabs, splashing and body-surfing in the gentle waves. Occasionally, my parents would reward us with an early evening trip to Ocean City’s famous boardwalk where the flashing lights of game arcades, carnival rides and ice cream, caramel popcorn and buckets of steaming french fries drowned in salt and vinegar would delight us to the point of exhaustion.

Life as a child in Maryland’s tidewater region was as idyllic as any Mark Twain novel.  There were great forests of pine and hardwood to explore. There was an abundance of wildlife… from almost every manner of waterfowl to reptiles, amphibians, agile deer, soaring eagles, raccoons, opossum, squirrels & fish. We feasted on the meaty blue crabs, oysters, clams and rockfish of the region. Wild game in the forms of duck, geese and venison, often gifted to my father by patients who worked the fields and waterways for a living, would often find it’s way to our table. We picked wild blackberries from their thorny stems and wild chestnuts from the tree at the end of the road. Fields of watermelon, corn and soybeans stretched out to touch the horizon.

As a child, it was easy to dismiss life in the tidal region as boring and unsophisticated. During my time there, it was all I knew. It has only been during the past several years that I have bothered to return to the Chesapeake’s Tidewater region with fresh eyes and a new appreciation for the simple lifestyle, folksy charm, historic relevance and southern hospitality and friendliness. With family still residing in the area, I have been returning annually and even several times a year to spend time and reknit those bonds. There are times when I think I could return here to live.

Life is simpler here.

The photographs contained in the collection are wistful snapshots of my rediscovered romance for this land of water. My longing for it ebbs and flows like the tides. These are glimpses of the life I once lived, perhaps still live, or at the very least, a life I still carry with me no matter where I find myself.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

Contact him here

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

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

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Lifestyle Photo/Video Shoot For A Hospitality Brand

By  Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Environmental Lifestyle & Architecture images featuring hired talent using client space(s)

Licensing: Unlimited use, excluding broadcast, of all images captured for three years from first use

Photographer: Lifestyle & Architecture specialist

Client: Mid-sized Regional Hospitality Brand

Here’s the initial estimate:

 

 

Fees: The agency contacted the photographer to put together an estimate for a three-day shoot featuring talent interacting at the client’s property to showcase the location’s uniqueness, amenities, and aesthetics. The agency provided us preliminary scouting images and a creative brief and wanted to see an estimate for both stills and video, as well as robust production to include talent and styling.

Deliverables initially included up to 20 final still images and a two-minute video edit. The client had requested unlimited use excluding broadcast. We priced each image around $500, plus $8,000 for a director fee and video usage, based on the client’s intended use of the content — primarily on client web and social media platforms — and possible regional advertising. While we would’ve liked the fees to be higher, the client didn’t have a media buy plan and we got some pushback from the agency on higher creative/licensing fee rates within their budget guidelines.

Crew: Given the nature of the project, I included a producer as well as a production coordinator to help schedule the days and hire/manage the rest of the crew and styling team. We added a skilled camera operator/Director of Photography along with a first assistant for stills, a gaffer for the motion team, and a second assistant to swing. Both the DP and first assistant would accompany the photographer on the tech/scout to help inform the lighting and equipment needs within each location. We added a digital tech/media manager to handle the files on set. These rates were appropriate for the given market; the digital tech’s day rate included a $700 fee plus an additional $650/day for their workstation.

Equipment: We included $7,500 for cameras/grip/lighting, $700 for hard drives, and a modest fee to cover production needs like tables, chairs, steamer, wardrobe racks, etc.

Casting & Talent: We included $2,000+20% per talent for up to 15 people to be used over the three shoot days. We also added a $2,400 casting fee for the director and producer to take on the casting, which was to be a mix of friends/family and professional talent.

Styling: We included a hair/makeup stylist plus an assistant, a wardrobe stylist plus an assistant, a prop stylist (who would also attend the scout) plus an assistant, and appropriate wardrobe costs based on the talent, scenes, and creative direction with a TBD caveat pending final creative plans.

Meals: We estimated $5,610 for catering and craft services based on $85 per person, per day.

COVID Safety: We included three days for a COVID compliance officer, plus a PPE budget advised by the CCO. Our CCO would arrive each shoot day with a screening questionnaire, check everyone’s temperature each morning, and monitor the set throughout the day with cleaning and guidance for craft services and meal breaks. We would have all crew/talent/agency PCR Covid tested before the shoot days and included $130/test x 27 anticipated people as the cost for doing this.

Misc.: We included insurance costs for the director to cover their premium — pending any additional client insurance requirements — as well as a line item to help offset parking, possible additional meals/craft, and any other small needs that would arise during the week.

Post Production: We included $1,000 for the photographer to perform a basic cull, curves/color correction, and provide a gallery of their selects. Simple retouching for up to 20 images was estimated at one hour per image, with a TBD as a caveat, to be based on final agency creative notes. The photographer would be doing all retouching at a $125/hr. rate. Video editing was estimated at $3,500, with a “TBD” added that this would be pending final client/agency creative notes and revisions.

Feedback & Revisions: As we’ve seen more and more lately, when the initial RFP (request for proposal) came to us, the agency had not yet sold the project to the client. This estimate was being used alongside the agency creative to have the client sign off on the project. This isn’t ideal, as we’ve seen photographers jump through hoops just for a project to never get off the ground. With that said, as the client conversations continued, there were quite a few adjustments to the creative plans and costs and, as a result, our estimate was revised a number of times over several months.

As the shot list grew, the on-set days increased to four and the talent needs expanded to hired professionals — though a decreased quantity. With a casting agent present, we added additional crew to our motion team, a drone operator for two days, and a props/set decorating team to help style the location. The post-production fees expanded to cover the additional images, video editing time, and an agency request for a colorist and audio licensing to be added.

While the shoot would be rather straightforward, the ten-hour shoot days would be stuffed and required a competent team with a concise plan. As stated previously, there was some pushback on our initial creative/licensing fee, but we landed not too far off and felt that a creative/licensing fee of $22,000 was fair. We previously had a fee for the director to attend a tech/scout day on the location, but with the increased SOW (statement of work), I added an additional $1,100/day fee for a few days of pre-production needs.

Our updated estimate still had the same tenets as the original, but the new needs increased the budget by more than $50,000 to the subsequent estimate below:

 

 

Results: The photographer was awarded the assignment, and the shoot is currently in post-production. It was a very successful project and the client and agency are very happy with the work created!

If you have any questions, or if you 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 – Frank Ockenfels 3


Variety

Creative Director: Raul Aguila
Photo Director: Jennifer Dorn
Photographer: Frank Ockenfels 3

Heidi: Where were both of these subjects located, did you have to go travel to them each time?
Frank: Lin was in NYC and Jon was in LA so I did the photoshoot before and after their interview on zoom. Jon was first and I created a light set up to matched the plates I shot weeks ago in NYC. While the interview was going on I worked with the videographer in NYC, setting the lights in a studio so I could repeat the same lighting with Lin.

How did the idea come about, aside from necessity?
When I was approached about the cover, I was heading to NYC for a job. Since Lin wasn’t available to shoot while I was there, I suggested that I shoot plates up and around Washington heights in a David Hockney style. The request from Jennifer and Raul was to come up with a collage idea that brought them together even though the weren’t.

What motion camera/lens were you using for the motion?
The videographers both use the Canon C200s. The higher quality the capture the better the image. Over Zoom I worked with them setting the lights, then directed both the videographers and subject.

Did you do anything special for shooting off the screen?
My digital tech, Chris Nichols and I tried many different cameras, lenses, monitors, and exposures to come up with the recipe that works. Along the way each failure created interesting outcomes and unusual abstract captures. If I just tell you you’ll miss out on the fun of the creative journey.

Was it an impossible edit?
It’s interesting when capturing images off motion because you can rewind to catch certain subtle things … if they weren’t moving too fast. It’s  interesting to see that moment before they look in the camera, moments that are less guarded or over thought.

What were you looking for in each of the stills for the final select?
I wanted to feel like I’d walked up and found them in conversation.

Was this more intimate?
I have done different approaches to this and it was most intimate when I shot the Chicago 7 cover for The Hollywood Reporter. I sent each actor a light kit and diagram how to set up the lights and then worked with them setting it up and placing the camera.

What other creative solutions have you discovered during COVID?
I have been lucky enough to do several projects on location since all this started. It’s great for a few reasons. One, to see that creatives aren’t letting what’s going on stop them from trying to push on with great key art concepts. Two, the trust they have in me because they cannot be present to execute on their ideas. I believe we must be open to learn new things everyday and must embrace change and the challenge of the moments we are given. This is how we grow.

 

Featured Promo – Augusta Sagnelli

Augusta Sagnelli

Who printed it?
Jukebox

Who designed it?
@minmoostudio

Tell me about the images?
Various editorial images I made between 2018 – 2020 that I feel emulate my style and brand that I want to present to clients.

How many did you make?
I printed 100 of each image.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I use them as thank you notes to clients/location/people on set/places I stay while traveling.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I want to use this model for each one being a part of a limited “set” that you can collect and once they are all gone, I will create a new set of imagery that follows its own motif.