Yearly Archives: 2012

I Love The Smell Of Sepia Tone In The Morning

- - Blog News

Over the past couple of days, both of these services [Flickr and Facebook] have pulled a move straight out of 2010: they launched new versions of their mobile apps with โ€” get this โ€” filters. Filters! These guys have millions of dollars and thousands of employees at their disposal and this is the kind of innovation theyโ€™re dicking around with.

Look, I love filters just as much as the next San Franciscan that is currently rocking a beard and drinking a soy latte. Share a photo of a tree in sepia tone and I will totally like the shit out of it. I may even comment โ€” but only if you havenโ€™t overdone the HDR.

via TechCrunch.

TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2012

- - Blog News

Ten percent of all of the photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year โ€” an astounding figure. More than ever before, thanks in part to cell phone technology, the world is engaged with photography and communicating through pictures. Nonetheless, a great photograph will rise above all the others.

via Time-LightBox.

Still Images in Great Advertising- John Huet

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column whereย Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

The theme for the next couple of posts for this column is winners in the 2012 Communication Arts Photography issue. If you promote yourself wisely in there, it can have great results for your career. ย I was pleased to see John Huet and the work he did for Playtex and Mazda as winners in this years book. ย I had the pleasure of hiring John on a campaign for Wrangler Jeans and we were extremely pleased with the results. ย And I think that is why John has had a long respected career.


Suzanne: ย John, you have been a consistent photographer and you continue to challenge yourself in how you shoot. ย What is your secret to take risks while striking that balance on staying true to yourself?

John: There are no secrets, just common sense. A look or style can get you a lot of work or awards, but the industry is always hungry for something new. A good photographer is always evolving. ย You need to evolve and grow, not conform or adapt. If you are following a trend, you will always be doing that, following. There are constantly new techniques and equipment being developed that open doors in the medium. The key is to try new things, but see where your work fits into those techniques. If it doesnโ€™t fit, move on. If you try to make it fit, it will feel forced, and your work will suffer. If you can find a path in a certain technique to accent your own style that is still unique to you, then your work is evolving.

Suzanne: ย You have so many repeat clients. ย In an industry that has no loyalty, what is your secret?

John: The best people to ask would be the people who hire me. Most people will tell you it’s a matter of personal chemistry or a social connection. These things are important, but they are not the number one factor. By thinking these are the most important aspects of getting hired, you create an excuse for yourself when you donโ€™t get hired. It is easier to say. “that person has a personal relationship with the client,โ€ or “that person doesn’t like my work” rather than saying, โ€œMy work wasnโ€™t right for the job.โ€

Loyalty is really the wrong way to look at it. Things are always changing. Clients, brands, agencies, looks, creative directors, everything is always in flux. Clients are going to go with what’s right for their project. If they move on to another photographer, it doesn’t mean they’re not loyal. The bottom line is – produce good work, build good relationships, and donโ€™t be a dick.

Suzanne: ย I remember when we were considering you for the Wrangler project, it was your personal work that sealed the deal. ย What are your thoughts about the importance of showing personal work?

John: There is no line between professional and personal work for me. I just shoot with the focus of mastering my craft and progressing my style. Doesnโ€™t matter if I am shooting with my iPhone or shooting my nieceโ€™s Promenade, I approach the work as an opportunity to practice and learn something. I think the biggest advantage of โ€œpersonal work,โ€ is to utilize the time explore and perfect new techniques. The end result might be a body of images that you can use to show a side of your work that clients may not have known you for, thus opening up more opportunities.

Suzanne: ย I remember when working with you, you were so pleasant. ย I think that is a huge part of your long career and success, do you agree?

John: Yes, no one wants to work with someone who is a difficult, especially now. There are a lot of great photographers out there, and if you are difficult to work with, the client may find it’s just easier for them to find someone new. Clients have a hundred different problems to worry about, you donโ€™t want to be one of them. ย That doesn’t mean that you don’t have an opinion or that you don’t contribute to the creative dialogue. ย It just means that you keep the bigger picture in perspective.

Suzanne: ย You have a very successful career. ย What would you tell a young photographer just starting out today about relationships, professionalism, vision and what would you have maybe done differently?

John: I wouldnโ€™t have done anything differently. Itโ€™s easy to say, if I did X, I could have gotten this job or been considered for that gig. Every pitfall and shortcoming that I’ve experienced has shaped my work and my career into what it is today. I am thankful for that, not regretful.

As for advice. What gets lost these days is that what we do is a craft. ย As a craftsman, you canโ€™t look at what you do as work. You have to look at what you do as an extension of who you are. Thus, your work is a part of you. So you have to be proud of what you do and do it because it is an expression of who you are, not because it’s something you’ve seen someone else do or it’s something that you think will be the next big trend.

Put as much time and effort into your work as you can. Then do more. It’s common with digital photography for people to say โ€œanyone can be a photographer.โ€ This is true. Anyone can go out, buy a camera, take a picture and be a photographer. Just like anyone can go out buy a football, throw the football and be considered a quarterback. It’s the person who dedicates the time and effort into throwing that football accurately, constantly, and uniformly that becomes the professional rather then the weekend warrior who plays pickup games at the park.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

On the court, in the rink, on the links or in the water, John captures the intensity of both athletic performance and the intimate athletic portrait with ease. ย Dedicated to his craft, John is inexhaustible in his drive to reveal his subject in an unexpected manner. ย From his published work including Soul of the Game, Images and Voices of Street Basketball, and The Fire Within, the official commemorative book of the 2002 Olympic Games, to his commercial photography campaigns for the worldโ€™s most noted athletic brands and sports-related products, John has captured the indomitable spirit of athleticism at all levels. Unsurprisingly his twenty-plus year, award-winning career extends far beyond sports. At ease with his subjects, a rapport is established, defenses diminish and time constraints have little impact. John reveals his subject, and his photography showcases the essence, emotional intensity and dignity of simply being human.

He lives with his wife and two children in Manchester, MA and is represented by Marilyn Cadenbach.

APE contributorย 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 founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.ย She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.ย  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Richard Misrach’s lecture at the Center for Creative Photography

- - Art, From The Field

by Jonathan Blaustein

The weather in Tucson is brutally hot most of the time. 115 degrees Fahrenheit for almost 7 months a year, so they tell me. But the other five months are beautiful, when much of North America is freezing its collective ass off. Not being a lunatic, I’ve visited in October and February, and, as a result, love the place.

I was overdue for a visit to hang out with my good friend Ken, his wife Lisa, and their lovely daughter. Ken and I were chatting on the phone one day, and I made that all-too-familiar, non-specific promise to come “as soon as I can make it work.” Generic meaninglessness.

Ken then mentioned that the great Richard Misrach was due to lecture at the Center for Creative Photography, on the campus of the U of A. “Misrach, dude. Misrach,” was the final refrain of his argument. I stammered. No obvious excuse came to mind. “Uh, uh, Misrach, dude. You’re right. I’ll buy a plane ticket today.”

And so I found myself, earlier this Fall, fresh off the airplane, handing Ken a breakfast burrito from an Indian Casino outside Albuquerque. Before you say yuck, I got it only a couple of hours before, and it’s designed to keep in long-haul trucks on the Interstate. Delicious.

It couldn’t have been seven minutes from the time I stepped off the airplane to the time we were driving away in Ken’s Prius. The hybrid car is not as out-of-place as you might imagine in Super-Red-State Arizona. Tucson is actually a liberal island in a sea of anti-immigrant hostility. (Though these folks do have to live on the fringe of the Mexican Drug War, with a strong Mexican Mafia presence in town as well.)

I’ll spare you any more details on what he and I did in the handful of hours we had before the lecture. But cruising on the Prius-driving-tour gave me a bit of perspective on where the town is situated. The city is actually surrounded by mountains, and pretty ones at that. I’d rank it highly on the natural beauty scale. But that probably doesn’t matter if you’re sitting inside with your underwear pressed up against the air conditioning unit.

We turned up at the CCP about an hour before kickoff, to get some good seats reserved. And to catch up with the other artists that drove into town from California and Phoenix. People pay attention when a big dog pops his head out in public.

The lecture began soon enough, and the audience was both packed and silent. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve been in a quieter crowded lecture hall since taking final exams at Duke all those years ago. But this was fun instead of hysterically stressful.

Mr. Misrach structured the lecture as a linear narrative of the projects he’d done throughout his career. I was familiar with all of the earlier work, the Desert Cantos photos upon which he built his career. The Salton Sea. The fires. The Bravo 20 Bombing range pictures. The salt flats.

The projection was excellent, and the pictures looked amazing at 15’x15′, or whatever it was. It made me want to create super-giant prints, or do projection installations. Anything to achieve that powerful sense of scale. He claimed inspiration for the Cantos series, in which the projects interlock to inform each other and the whole, from Dante and Ezra Pound.

Mr. Misrach continued on through pretty pictures, like “Golden Gate” and “On the Beach,” and also showed newer things I’d not seen. Images from Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, Iphone images, (of course,) and a return to working in Cancer Alley, Louisiana. The project, which began in the late nineties, originated as a commission from the High Museum in Atlanta.

I’d first seen one of the large scale color images at the now-defunct Friends of Photography in San Francisco many years ago. He showed dozens of these photos, each more compelling than the next. Factories, chemical plants, plantations, riverscapes, old shacks, all in that famously perfect light. I felt the work certainly on par with Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of corporate-sponsored environmental degradation.

I heard the first seat creaks from the crowd at the one hour mark, just as he was discussing his new Aperture book “Petrochemical America,” with design work by Kate Orff. Then, things took a strange turn. (And then stranger still, but I’ll get there.) Mr. Misrach wrapped up the lecture with a segment on the private salon he has at his studio with a handful of younger Bay Area Artists. He went on to show slides of their work, including Doug Rickard, Paul Schiek, Jason Fulford, and my previously-mentioned-friend McNair.

That the San Francisco collaborative scene made such a prominent appearance here in Tucson, just a couple of weeks after I was in SF, was totally surreal for me. I’m not sure people knew what to think. Was he promoting his younger buddies, blatantly, or showing off work that inspired and intrigued him? This was quickly followed by an excellent Q&A, in which Mr. Misrach seemed to enjoy responding directly, rather than sticking to the script.

Here are a few quotes I thought you’d find interesting. On the political impact of his work: “Whether they can change public policy? I don’t think that’s real.” On how he stayed safe in the dangerous situations in which he often found himself: “I was young and stupid.” On how he deals with delving into bleakness of eco-misery: “It’s a job.”

He also said, of art making, “the process is metaphysical.” Let me be the first to agree. Finally, speaking about switching from large format film photography to medium format digital, he said, “I’m making better pictures now than I could possibly do with an 8″x10″ negative.” Hard to believe, but I suppose he’s earned our suspension of disbelief.

Seconds after he finished speaking, Lisa waved to a friend, and her diamond engagement ring flew off her hand, in full view of dozens of people, and disappeared into thin air. I’m always telling my son that things don’t vanish, but it happened before my eyes. Fortunately, the ring was discovered a month later, in the bowels of the pocket book of the lady sitting next to her.

Then, we headed back to their place for a Taco Truck dinner, and a little impromptu, photo-geek-salon/taco fiesta. We had five photographers with five MFA’s between them: a Guggenheim Fellow, two artists showing at Klompching in Brooklyn, a photographer who went to school with Gregory Crewdson, and me.

The consensus on the lecture was that Mr. Misrach was too literal and linear, and didn’t provide inspiration for my colleagues. His target audience was clearly the many young college students in attendance, who were likely less familiar with his canon than we. Alec Soth was suggested as a model of the inspirational lecturer, as several of the photographers had recently seen him speak at the Medium Festival in San Diego.

Personally, I hung on Mr. Misrach’s every word. Beyond the countless incredible photographs, and the consistently relevant issues, seeing that many years of production inspired me. Just do the work, he implied. Keep doing the work. It was kind of Zen.

Back at our round-table, I mentioned the Cindy Sherman show at SFMOMA, and we kicked around comparisons of major artists who’ve lost it and got it back again. Robert Mapplethorpe came up in the photo world, but most comps were to music. Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen.

Finally, someone asked the following question, with which I will leave you. (Feel free to discuss it amongst yourselves.) Over time, what costs more, having a child, or an art career?

This sounded like a job for Tierney Gearon

- - Blog News

Sheโ€™s the fine-art photographer whose inventiveness, palette, charismatic way with her subjects and extemporaneous picture-making promised to whip up the magic.

(โ€œI can get anybody to do anything, and most of the time they donโ€™t even know they did it,โ€ Gearon says.) O.K., kids, now climb into these colored Plexiglas boxes. (โ€œI have thousands of creative thoughts and ideas sprouting through my head,โ€ she says. โ€œThere is a whole city living in my head.โ€) This wouldnโ€™t be her first time at the circus, as they say.

via Hollywood Heroines: Behind the Scenes –

The Daily Edit
Wired: Ethan Hill

- - The Daily Edit

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Wednesday – 12.12.12

Creative Director: Brandon Kavulla
Design Director: Leo Jung
Director of Photography: Zana Woods
Art Directors: Alice Cho, Bradley R. Hughes
Senior Photo Editor: Carrie Levy

Photographer: Ethan Hill

No Amount Of Technology Will Turn A Mediocre Photographer Into A Great One

- - Blog News

Nor, in conceptual terms, will it transform a bad idea into a good one. For that you would still need to possess a rare set of creative gifts that are still to do with seeing, withย deep looking.

Whatever upheavals it has witnessed, photography has endured. Itย continues to do so, even as we drown in a sea of uploaded images whose sheer quantity mediates against their meaning. Photography, in moreย ways than one, thrives on aย crisis. Theย instant endures.

via Art and design | The Guardian.

Pricing & Negotiating: Sports Apparel Advertising Shoot

by Jess Dudley Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Individual environmental portraits/lifestyle images of two sponsored athletes

Licensing: 3 images for North American Point of Purchase, Online, Out of Home, Print Advertising and Print Collateral

Location: One residential location and a practice facility (both provided by the client)

Shoot Days: 2

Photographer: Established portrait and lifestyle specialist

Agency: None. Client direct through a freelance art buyer

Client: National niche sports apparel brand

Hereโ€™s theย estimate:

Licensing: There were a number of factors influencing the fee. Though the usage was pretty extensive, it was limited to three images. The clientโ€™s apparel is widely available, but itโ€™s not a prominent brand outside of its very specific customer base. The client needed three years of use, but since their product line changes every year, the value of the pictures will likely drop significantly after that first year. The fact that the shoot would feature somewhat well-known athletes made the shoot more valuable than it might otherwise be, but if the client decides not to renew the sponsorship agreement because the athlete gets injured, falls from grace, retires, etc. the images would lose value fast. Lastly, the first two images were unique, but the third image was just a variation of the second โ€“ making it worth somewhat less in my mind.

All that considered, I initially figured on 10,000 for the first image, 10,000 for the second and 2500 for the third, for a total fee of 22,500 (and about 27,200 in production expenses).ย Getty suggested 12,000/image/year for their Print, Web and OOH pack.ย Blinkbid quoted 11,550-16,500/image/year. After some back and forth, the client decided they wanted the project to come in under 40k, so we had to figure out what to cut if our photographer wanted the job. When it became clear that they were unwilling to make do with less usage, I looked at which production expenses I could trim. But even after eliminating 5000 for the on-site producer, I still couldnโ€™t get down to 40k. At that point, the photographer and I discussed trimming the photography fee. She was willing to be flexible because the photography fee was reasonable to begin with, and the additional production fees (travel days, post-processing and editing) were healthy. So I dropped the fee down to 19,250.

Photographer Travel/Tech Scout Days: I estimated two days for the photographer travel to and from the location and to scout.

Production Days: Initially, I budgeted for an on-site producer (me). But when the client came back asking us to hit 40k, that was the first thing to go. Since the schedule was somewhat relaxed, and talent, catering, wardrobe and locations would be provided by the client, it made it possible (though not ideal) to ax that from the budget. Together with airfare and expenses, removing my on-site production time would account for a 5000.00 swing. I did still handle all of the pre-producton (sourcing, booking and coordinating crew, making travel arrangements, scheduling, production books etc.).

First Assistant Days: The photographer would be flying her first assistant in, so I included two travel days and two shoot days. The days would be short, so I wouldnโ€™t need to factor in overtime.

Local Assistant and Digital tech: We initially estimated for a full workstation and digital tech, but when we were forced to trim the budget, we pulled out the workstation rental, saving 1500.00 (750.00/shoot day), the trade-off being that the client would have to review images on the photographerโ€™s laptop. We also included a local assistant to help with gear and run last minute errands if necessary.

Wardrobe Stylist/Groomer Days and Supplemental Wardrobe/Props: We would only be shooting one subject per day and wardrobe and hair & make-up would be pretty low-impact. Accordingly, we felt it would be sufficient to use a single stylist capable of doing both.ย Also, that stylist would only need to be on-set for one of the two shoot days. One of the athletes would be providing all of her own stylists and supplemental wardrobe. The client would be providing primary wardrobe for the other athlete but still wanted a stylist to purchase a few supplemental items to round out their branded wardrobe. We normally account for a day of prop/wardrobe returns, but since I expected it to be pretty minimal, I decided it would be cheaper to just keep the stuff than pay someone to return it.

Images Processed for Editing: Lately instead of โ€œdigital capture fee,โ€ Iโ€™ve been saying โ€œImages processed for editingโ€ which is a little more clear. It covers the time and equipment necessary to organize, edit and rename the files and to create and deliver a web gallery for the client to edit from.

Retouching Hours and delivery of reproduction files by FTP: The client requested fairly extensive retouching and post-processing treatment of all three images. The photographer was skilled enough to handle that on her own and estimated 3 hours per image at a standard retouching rate (not only to compensate her for that time and expertise, but to cover her if she got busy and had to farm it out to a freelance retoucher).

Equipment Rental: We priced out the cost to rent two camera bodies (600.00/day), three lenses (150.00/day), two power packs (140.00/day), four heads, stands, soft-boxes (120.00/day), misc. grip and expendables (240.00/day) at a rental house local to the shoot.

Lodging, Airfare, Baggage, Car Rentals: Usingย, I priced out the costs for all travel expenses. I usually round up to the nearest $100.00 to give myself a little cushion and always included the costs for checked bags and gas/insurance for the rental car.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc: For this one, I figured on 150.00/day for miles, parking, and miscellaneous expenses and 50.00/person/day for meals for the photographer and first assistant (the client was providing the catering).

Housekeeping: Finally, I noted the items the client would provide, the possible travel cost variance, the advance requirements and that they would pay any applicable sales tax.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job and the clients were very happy with the pictures.

Hindsight: Although the photographer delivered great value for that budget, we both ended up feeling that an on-site producer would have allowed things to run more smoothly. Even though the client promised to handle the catering, the photographer still ended up managing that on the shoot day. And there were plenty of little questions and interruptions that could have been avoided if an experienced producer had been there to handle them, freeing the photographer up to concentrate more fully on creating great images.

If you have any questions, or if you need helpย estimating orย producing a project, please give us aย call at (610) 260-0200. Weโ€™re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needsโ€”from small stock sales to big ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit
Esquire: Craig Cutler

- - The Daily Edit

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Tuesday – 12.11.12

Creative Director: David Curcurito
Director of Photography: Michael Norseng
Photo Editor: Alison Unterreiner
Art Director: Stravinski Pierre

Photographer: Craig Cutler

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

Thereโ€™s so many talented people here, itโ€™s a constant source of inspiration

- - Blog News

I love NY. Iโ€™m in love with this place. I enjoy visiting LA, but I donโ€™t miss it all. I have been there three times this year for jobs. Some of my best friends are in LA. I got tired of living there, it turned out to be a very easy life. I found myself slacking when I was there, I felt like I was getting out of touch. I came to NY and something happened here. I embraced this whole idea of networking in a healthy and respectable way, and loved the sense of community among artists and creatives here.

via SHAUN FENN in Conversation with Photographer JOAO CANZIANI | POP | Photographers on Photography.

The Daily Edit – Monday

- - The Daily Edit

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Harperโ€™s Bazaar

Creative Director: Stephen Gan
Design Director: Elizabeth Hummer
Photography + Bookings Director: Stephanie Hughes
Associate Art Director: Gary Ponzo
Senior Photo + Bookings Editor: Barbara Tomassi

Photographer: Mitchell Feinberg

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

Having A Tool Isn’t Much Of An Advantage Anymore

- - Blog News

When everyone has access to the same toolsย then having a tool isn’t much of an advantage.ย The industrial age, the age of scarcity, depended in part on the advantages that came with owning tools others didn’t own.

Time for a new advantage. It might be your network, the connections that trust you. And it might be your expertise. But most of all, I’m betting it’s your attitude.

via Seth’s Blog: When everyone has access to the same tools.

This Week In Photography Books โ€“ Chema Madoz

by Jonathan Blaustein

Last night, my wife trudged to bed in her green bathrobe. At 7pm. She looked at me, forlorn, and said, “It feels like it’s always time to make the donuts.” Then she continued down the hall.

Much as I wished to say something witty or helpful, I was at a loss. Our lives are pretty wonderful, all things considered, but she hasn’t slept right in six months. Every day, from wakeup to bed, she’s responsible for helping someone out of a mess, or cleaning one up from the kids.

Some day, she’ll sleep through the night again. Schedules will develop, allowing for some planned “downtime.” Fun will return to her life, and someone else can make those blasted donuts instead.

Drudgery is a part of the human condition, as much as fun. Death never happens without the sex first, right? But Art is one of the best ways to try to cheat said mortality. And when we make it, we preoccupy those parts of the brain otherwise used for neurotic self-criticality, or constant to-do-list-making. (And the prints we leave behind will outlast us, we hope.)

Those negative thought trains are silenced while the hand draws a line, types a phrase, or clicks a shutter. We all know how much fun it is to be focused on both the present, and the matter of creation at hand. Looking at Art does much the same thing, with the additional benefit of giving us new information about the world around us.

When we’re exclusively literal, we miss out on many of the best parts of life. Photography is a literal medium, but we all know it can be cheated. (I was fooled by a fake shark-in-a-Long-Beach-Island-Front-Yard photograph. Even tweeted it.)

Literature and painting are all better known for delivering abstracted realities. Hence the love for writers like Murakami and Garcia Marquez. And Spanish painters like Picasso, Goya and Dali. (Not to mention the not-quite-Spanishly titled “El Greco”.)

Personally, I love the blending of absurdity married to reality that we see in Spanish culture. I speak from the experience of the bastard son. New Mexico has deeply Spanish roots, but our particular kind of lunacy is homegrown.

As anyone would tell you, life is crazy. But that need not be a sorry assertion. Absurd humor can be cathartic and profound, and is rarely seen in modern photography. Much rarer still in Black and White. So I was happy to find a new soft-cover book from Chema Madoz, a Spaniard, published jointly by PHotoBolsillo and La Fabrica.

I’d never heard of the artist, but that’s not unusual for this column. The pin-through-the-cloud cover gives a quick and not subtle nod to surrealism, and probably Photoshop. The pictures within are excellent. Formally, they’re super-tight. The tonality is always well-crafted too, as is the use of light. The subjects are sculptural as well as whimsical.

We see a chair wearing suspenders. A burned match in the center of a thermostat. A set of plates, stacked in a storm grate instead of a dish rack. A cactus made of stone. Scissors with eye lashes. Shoelaces made of braided hair.

Surreal images like these are ideal for expressing the dreamlike world of the subconscious. And for reminding us that life is not all about punching the time-clock.

Given my own work, and my taste, it was almost assured that I’d love this book. But I think most people would. Once you’ve flipped through it, you’ll likely feel a bit better than you did before. I should probably show it to my wife when she gets home from work.

Bottom Line: Formal, Surreal, Black & White photo gems

To purchaseย PHotoBolsillo visit Photo-Eye

Full Disclosure: Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.