The Daily Edit – Jelle Mul: Shifting Culture and Creativity for Change



Jelle Mul

Heidi: How often do you take your camera when riding? Do you ask, “Am I riding and taking photos today, or am I riding only?”
Jelle: It really depends. I got my hands on a Fuji x100f not that long ago, which fits in my jersey, this has changed quite a lot for me. The cliché that the best camera is the one you have on you, is pretty true so I was always dragging my SLR around, but not really on faster rides. This one fits in my pocket so I can bring it whenever I want. On bikepacking trips I always bring my SLR with a 50mm 1.4 This really is my go-to setup. For me it really depends on the light if I bring a camera or not, I really am a sucker for natural light.



What challenges or surprised you about surfing/photographing in Iran?
My friend Easkey Britton was the first person and women to surf in Iran. She started an organization that took women into the water and the ocean and was fostering positive relationships with the ocean through creative learning experiences. I had visited Iran before because it really interests me, the history but also the present. We westerners think everybody should think like us, but this is a way of thinking we do not share with many other cultures.  When Easkey asked me to join her, I did not have to think about it for a second. Heading to the south of Iran to search for surf and see what surfing does to a mindset & culture standards really has opened my eyes. It takes away so many boundaries and joining her and her organization twice is for sure one of those moments in my life where I started looking at things differently. A second one was when my friend broke his neck paralyzing him from the neck down. Just a week before his accident we were on a camping trip on Lanzarote and I took this one photo of him which reminds me every time I see it how luck we are to do the things we do, it also really thought me that there is no better feeling than helping others . I started doing that through my photography. Because I have an amazing job, I have the opportunity to give everything I make through photography away to small organizations that do the hard work in making the little place we call earth a better place.

How has riding in so many different countries informed your photography?
Taking photos really makes travelling a lot more fun. I am really curious to start with, so love strolling around or waking up before sunrise, but finding a nice shot really brings you to different places and you meet people along the way. However, guess it is not really the countries that have informed my photography, but my setup. About 90% of what I shoot is with a 50mm lens. All my gear was stolen ones and I did not really have the means to buy everything again. I bought a second-hand Full frame SLR and a new 50 1.4 and that really opened my eyes. Being stuck into one setup really challenged me to look at different angles, which I still enjoy till today. I am fortunate to have some really talented friends like Wouter Struyf, Lian van Leeuwen and Chris McClean, hanging out with them on trips always opens my eyes. Also my friend Natasa Lops, who is an extremely talented artist has opened my eyes and we have done many super fun exhibitions and projects where she draws on my photo’s.

Did you ride close to home during the Pandemic?
I have not really traveled at all since the pandemic hit 1,5 years ago.  When I was I used to race bikes and travelled all over the world to do bike races, when I stopped I kept travelling for surfing or snowboarding. So I am one fortunate son to have seen so much of the world, but being forced to stay at home has really opened my eyes. I started exploring little stretches of the Netherlands and spend loads of time in the dunes where I live. A bike, A board, some friends and a camera are all I really need to have a perfect day. At the start of the lockdown in Holland me and Lian van Leeuwen rode around Amsterdam and took shots which have been published on bikepacking.com So surreal to see that city as a complete ghost town. I really think we all got so used to everything we have and hope we all learn from this pandemic that our safe little world should not be taken for granted.

With the energy removed from the city, what did you see without hustle and bustle?
I am not really a city person to start with. Of course I love hanging in a bar with some friends but will choice a beach of forest over that anytime. So for me it was not about if I would move away from the city, but more when.  I also really believe that we humans have lost way to much of our connection to nature and therefore do not realize what is at stake. Holland does not really have nature, but the little stretch of beach and dunes with some fun trails is what I really appreciate. Friends joke that they enter my Instagram account when them join me for a surf or ride. Guess it is sort of true.

How do you collaborate with Shifting Culture
Shift cycling culture is a small NGO from a friend, Lian van Leeuwen. Shift is a global not-for-profit movement that thrives on the support and engagement of the cycling industry and wider community. They believe a transition to a more sustainable future for the cycling world can only be achieved from the inside out!  She is one of my favorite bikepacking friends and we have been doing some fun trips. One of them was a quite iconic one, Island hopping over the Dutch Islands in the north of the country. These Island will not be there anymore when we do not stop the rising sea levels. This story is featured in the newest Gestalten book about bikepacking. Another trip we did is on the potential future coastline of Holland. We Dutch pride ourselves by fighting the sea, but these same sea level rises are something we eventually will not win from. This will push the coastline a lot more east. This story was featured in the last Farride magazine. The latest one I am playing a small role in, is a film from Shift cycling culture about climate change as a whole and the impact it has on our cycling communities.How did you use your photography to address climate reality?
For me polarization of the issues we face is likely even a bigger issue than the issue itself. Climate change is not left or right, not blue or red of black or white. This is the time we just need to come together and start working together no matter what we believe. We can argue how we do it, but should stop debating if we do it. Facts like 100 companies in the world are responsible for 70% of the emissions and the last 40 years the wildlife population dropped 60% just blows my mind. I am fortunate to get asked to publish my photo’s quite often and the stories I write with them or in case of a collab with Lian she writes, always have a double layer. The trip and the beauty of nature, but also what is at stake. I always try to celebrate the positive and not get sucked into the negative too much. That will just bum people out. Not everybody is interested in these issues, but all readers are interested in images and words about the thing they love, which is riding or surfing. So that extra layer just might make them think about it, which is all you sometimes need. The butterfly effect. At the end we do not just need those that worry about the end of the world, but also those that worry about the end of the month, or when the next swell is coming in.


Do you hope your riding images encourage others to choose bikes over cars?

I never really think about it like that. I just take images and tell the stories that I think are important. Up to somebody else to do with it what they like. More people riding bikes or picking up boards is of course really great! Enjoying all good that nature has to offer might just bring back some realization why we should do everything we have to protect it, so we can keep riding great trails.


Tell us about this image with the drawing.
I have always liked Natasa her drawings and had been doing exhibitions here and there and was looking for something new.
Natasa and I talked about it and one conversations lead into an exhibition in Antwerpen followed by one in Amsterdam.

The goal really is to add some fun to my often empty photos, but also some food for thought through a bit of humor. The world and everybody is so serious all the time, and a bit of humor won’t make things any worse but for sure a bit better to handle.

Please share some parting words.
Of course you do not have to give everything away, but there are so many issues in the world right now, and I truly believe that the only thing that will help us fix them is creativity, in word, art, photography, music. By using that thing you love to fight for something bigger than you, you make yourself happier, the world a little better place and you can keep doing it forever.

The Daily Edit – Okii niitaniko Micheli Oliver


Micheli Oliver

Heidi: How did your photographic journey start and what memories do you have from your first images?
Micheli: Growing up my Dad captured photos and video of everything. He wanted to record it all, remember it all and later he would cherish it all. As a result my early years are a combination of photos, videos and real memories. Storytelling with cameras have been woven into my life for as long as I can remember. My first time really connecting with a camera, however, wasn’t until my junior year of High School when I took a film photography class. We developed our own film and I was fascinated with the tedious process, but after that it was many years before I picked up a camera again. I graduated from college and knew without a doubt that all I really wanted to do in this life was to tell stories. With money from graduation gifts from relatives I bought my very first digital camera.

How has your Niisitapi and Shawnee cultures informed your work and how has your eye evolved?
My cultures as a mixed person, from Blackfeet, Shawnee, Irish and Italian heritage, have shaped many aspects of my storytelling. My photos tell stories of resilience, of joy and of truth that are unique to my communities. In addition to the focus of stories I can tell the way I wield my camera is shaped by my Indigenous communities. It’s imperative to me to shoot with compassion, consent and reciprocity, understanding that the stories of who we are and the images created are extremely personal.

Did you always want to be an artist?
I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller. The moment I learned to write I began to write fantasy stories. Along the way, however, I stopped taking storytelling as a serious endeavor for my life. I started listening to what sounded good to relatives, what paid well and what was seen as a clearly successful job. I’ve also always cared for humans, so I began college as a pre-medical student. If I’m being honest I liked the way being a doctor sounded. Then I had a realization that I could be happy with my studies and fell in love with geography. It was a way to study the land and the integral relationships of humans with the land.

My family was at first confused by my decision to switch majors. Both my parents grew up very poor and they operate in a scarcity mindset because for them that’s how they’ve survived. They want more for me as an adult, they wanted consistent paychecks and a solid career path. My parents have always had my best intentions in mind, but they saw how happy Geography was making me and they eventually began to understand. Slowly I explained that because of their sacrifices I am now able to do what I love both as a geographer and a photographer. It was a combination of trusting my intuition and following what comes to me naturally.

You mentioned drawing inspiration from your ancestral lands and those who existed before you, how do you hope to use your gift reciprocally?
I believe to get to know a land, to protect and love a land, you must first know her people. I hope to tell the stories of original peoples and in doing so non-natives can truly learn how to protect the environment. To me that is the best gift I can give earth mother in return for all that she gives us.

Broadly speaking a portrait is the art of capturing the inherent character and essence of a person, why do you gravitate to this genre of photography as I know authentic representation is a cornerstone to your work.
Expression, eyes, the up close and sometimes uncomfortable, are to me an undeniable truth of what it is to be human. So as a storyteller the truth of being human is what a portrait represent. Each portrait to me is a human truth, a visceral moment of intimacy with a person, my camera and myself. There is also a simplicity to eliminating all other factors of a photo aside from eyes and expression. It’s the raw moments that create authenticity of story and personhood. Additionally I trust what comes naturally to me, taking portraits is not only natural, but sometime I truly love to do.

How are you using your voice and art form “to keep Indigenous languages burning bright, and steward Mother Earth and relationships” in your work?
Art of any form is resistance. Art centering Indigenous, Black, Brown, Queer and underrepresented peoples is way to resist a dominant heteronormative society. Art is born from counter culture change makers, rebels, loud mouthed lovers of life and truth, and my art is full of the latter people. With each story heard loud and clear, we are pushing back at a society that has tried to eradicate an Indigenous way of life. With this collective empowerment, too, we are cultivating a generation that is proud to be Indigenous, proud to keep our cultures, languages and practices alive.

What personal projects are you working on now?
Currently I’m working on a few different projects revolving around being a guest on Native lands that are not my own. I’ve been getting to know the ocean in particular. Recently I was on Tlingit lands fishing with my family, which has been a long standing tradition my Uncle traded for in years past. Then after that I traveled down the coast of California and got in the water nearly everyday. This lead me into some personal photo projects centering on joy, gratitude and what it means to be a guest.

 

The Daily Edit – John Brinton Hogan

Hikers Resting Under Boulders, near Tinajas Altas, Camino del Diablo, Barry M. Goldwater Range, Arizona, March 2014 (magenta with light blue pearl, glass beads, and light blue glitter blisters)
Recreational Hikers Near the Summit of Ghost Mountain, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California, November 2017 (black/turquoise/brown/red/orange with gold pearl and glitter blisters)

Botanist and Volunteers Identifying Invasive Species, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California, February 2015 (rainbow with blue holographic glitter flocking)

John Brighton Hogan
Marshall Contemporary 

Heidi: You started as a pro skateboard photographer, how did you evolve to landscapes?
John Brinton Hogan: I began my “professional” career photographing skateboarders who represented the manufacturing companies I worked for in the 1980s. In the ensuing years I found myself working as a commercial photographer and later spent more time employed in commercial filmmaking. I never received any formal technical training in photography so I had to learn on the job.

Once I was confident in my abilities, I began to use cameras as tools to investigate the subjects that had always interested me the most: how humans interact with the natural world, the ways in which they use land, and the artistic interpretation of wilderness.

When did you decide to combine illustration and photography?
Due to personal circumstances, I was away from art-making from 2010 through 2013. When I restarted my practice, I realized I was no longer interested in creating “straight” photographic images.

I began to explore the memories of pictures that had affected me emotionally during my boyhood. Some of the illustrations on sci-fi novels and rock album covers were intriguing and scary to me back then.

Once I’d returned the studio, I found myself distorting photos I’d made, rendering them increasingly unrecognizable.  As time went by, I began to experiment with visual adaptations of techniques some audio engineers use in their studio recording work.

Despite spending a great deal of time using image editing programs, I didn’t feel the work was complete until I began adding elements by hand (often by painting or otherwise embellishing the prints). In this way I found I was able to engage with the work physically- which I hadn’t done since my last darkroom days in the 90’s- and something I felt was missing from my process until then.

The past year and half has been full of turmoil, how did that affect your work and or reinforce your notions of extinction?
The period between late 2019 and spring of 2021 was a disaster for me personally. Strangely, the threat of Covid and the chaos of the US political landscape ranked below some other issues that can only describe as harrowing.

A number of people have remarked to me that “the Covid era must have been a productive time for artists.” Perhaps that’s true for some, but I made no work at all during 2020, and have only recently begun to get back into the studio, in late summer of 2021.

Without going into the grim details, life during that time felt like an ultra slow-motion plane crash: riveting and terrifying, with lots of time to ruminate on the mistakes I’d made leading to this moment. Frozen by fear, and powerless to change the aircraft’s trajectory, I was simply a witness to my own demise, observing myself falling, inch by inch, heading toward the dirt.

With regard to notions of extinction, humanity has done very little recently to convince me that it will make any significant efforts to save itself or begin to offer even a modicum of respect to the planet which sustains it. Perhaps, like some type of sentient tumor, humanity is programmed to consume our host, incessantly, until both expire.

For fans of the planet, there may be a type of hope, I suppose… in Abbey’s words: “Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear–the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break….I sometimes choose to think, no doubt perversely, that man is a dream, thought an illusion, and only rock is real. Rock and sun.”

You used metallic car paint in one work, was that a nod to fossil fuel extraction?
When choosing material for my work, I use what is expedient and will help me create what I’m imagining. I generally don’t choose tools or materials to reference a particular idea, rather, it is my hope that the finished objects will generate a conversation about ideas.

That stated, I do find it somewhat ironic that many “landscape artists” require so many resources in order to make work, that is, in many circumstances, about the ecological impact of unrestrained consumption.

I’m reminded of the story wherein a landscape painter travels by jet to Greenland from California to witness melting glaciers with his own eyes, so he may better paint them in a body of work addressing climate change.

I too am guilty of consuming those same resources. I am conflicted, to be sure. But I continue to carry on, just like the painter with his glaciers.

Which brings me back to the analogy of the plane crash: Frozen by fear, and powerless to change the aircraft’s trajectory, I was simply a witness to my own demise, observing myself falling, inch by inch, heading toward the dirt.

The Daily Edit – Miguel Casar: Photography as an instrument of freedom; the right to our own stories

Miguel Casar is a PhD student at the University of California Los Angeles, a doctoral researcher at the Center for the Transformation of Schools at UCLA, and an adjunct professor at Cal State Dominguez Hills. His work focuses on exploring the the tensions, contradictions, and possibilities that exist and emerge in the spaces between schools as places of social reproduction, racial violence, colonial and neoliberal assimilation, and the legitimizing of injustice; and schools as places of possibility, future building, community healing, and liberation. He believes in the transformational potential of re-claiming and re-imagining schools as foundational to imagining and building democracy, conviviality, and social change. Miguel also enjoys spending time in the mountains, taking photos, and sharing those two with the youth that he has the honor to learn from. We connected about a photography project he developed, the images shared above are from his students.

Heidi: How did this student photo project develop?
Miguel: It is always hard to trace back the genealogy of a project like this for me. At its heart, this project goes back to a deep belief in the power of stories, a commitment to justice, a group of young people, and the forging of a set of relationships and a community that has continued to grow.

Although I have never dedicated myself to photography, I have always loved taking pictures and the idea of taking photos as a way to interrogate the present and reclaim our right to storying began to grow on me a couple of years ago. Whether it is through challenging dominant perspectives, an oppressive and violent gaze, rushed notions of temporality, settler colonial values and aesthetics, or any of the dozens of layers through which normality participates in oppression; there is latent power to be claimed. At the same time, replicating larger patterns across our society, this power is often only recognized as if it was held only in the hands of some. This not only acts as a barrier to the surfacing of others’ stories but actively dismisses and deligitimizes a multiplicity of perspectives, imaginaries, and futures.

This project, alongside much of my work, rests upon the idea that these imaginaries and these futures are not only important but necessary to us building just, free, and kind futures.

What direction did you give the students for this exploration?
There were actually just a few directions, if we could even call them that. Pedagogically, there were “exercises” and “activities” where we all went out to capture things like beauty, struggle, and fear, among others. At the same time, we would collectively have dialogue around who takes pictures, whose representations become ubiquitous, and how stories and the representation and storying of others’ identities contribute to issues that are relevant to our lives, like criminalization, racism, sexism, and the reproduction of the carceral state, among others.

Being emotionally literate and staying  developmentally responsive is at the core of what you do, how did photography help that?
I don´t know how much being emotionally literate I actually am, especially having grown up as in a machista, patriarchal, misogynistic society where to feel was a sign of weakness… Having said that, a writer that I deeply respect (Fanon) wrote that when we possess language we also possess the worlds expressed and implied by that language, which makes me feel of all that I have learned and grown by engaging with language (photo as story) alongside the youth. It is a beautiful experience to allow ourselves and create deliberate spaces to name and to story our worlds.

What did you learn about your own work after reviewing the students’ images?
I think one of the biggest findings of this project, as I often find in my work, is both a recognition of the beauty and complexity of the human spirit, and a simultaneous reminder of how flawed and mistaken are many of our assumptions of what is actually happening in the world. Perhaps the most sobering lessons continues to be how invisibile oppression is, how these deep structures of racism, misogyny, settler colonialism, and “modernity” have been solidified into a complete “taken for grantedness”. Working alongside, and in community with young people that are actively marginalized by these very systems is not only a reminder, but a call to action…

How does your love for climbing transcend into your work life?
There are countless lessons that climbing has taught me, all of which are deeply connected to the work I do. From facing fear, to the power of our own minds over us, to the importance and power of community, to feeling small and deeply interconnected… I think most of these lessons I have etched into my being and are now deeply entangled with most of what I do.

 

 

The Daily Edit – New York Magazine: Tim O’Brien


New York Magazine

Design Director: Thomas Alberty
Illustrator: Tim O’Brien

Heidi: Were you aware they were not going to run cover lines or was that a surprise and a testament to the power of art?
I initially worked up a very quick comp, which was e-mailed back with a size adjustment and some minimal type.   I don’t really focus on type unless a client has a ton of type to deal with and needs me to know, to provide more area for it.  I do think that minimal type with a strong visual can make a cover more powerful, but a clever tag also adds to the art at times.  A story has to be fully understood, so universally known to be able to run without type.  I do not know the decision making in this instance but am glad it ran without type, of course.

How did this idea come about?
The prompt was that Cuomo may be leaving, and it is the end of a dynasty.  The initial sketch had a Mario Cuomo element.  Quickly it became about a resignation that already will have happened, so that was likely a more significant point to cover as a cover story.  Had the story started a resignation, perhaps this image might not have happened.  It is a story of leaving, of ending, of removal, of vanishing.  Visual analogies based on this premise would have been a starting point.  Removing a portrait from a wall meant as an honor is quite a demotion.  Naturally, a formal portrait would have a full upper torso involved, but to get Cuomo’s head bigger for a quick audience read, it had to come in closer.

How much iteration did you do from your first sketch?
This was a fast-paced situation, so it was pretty streamlined. Usually, a client needs to see a few approaches, but when something is fluid, and a quick sketch starts the conversation, we needed to build a boat while paddling.

Is this your first time working on a dynamic political situation/assignment?
No, I’ve been an illustrator for over 30 years.  I’ve done covers for New York Magazine for a few decades now and many covers of magazines, most notably over 30 time covers, including the Bin Laden X cover and the Trump underwater series.

How does photography influence your work? or what other creative outlets do you have aside from your illustration work?
As a student, to get photo-reference, I was trained as a photographer.  I really don’t follow other realist illustrators, though I admire and respect their work.  I tend to look for problem solvers and those with the ability to create evocative, poignant moments.  This is often photography.  Robert Frank was an early influence.  To be very honest, working with talented art directors has taught me so much about image placement and how to pare down an idea to essential elements.  I’m always a student.

Is your work space quiet or filled with the news and music in the background?
If I am doing sketches or reading a manuscript, I need the silence of music without words.  However, once I start doing the final art, I often listen to the news as it is happening, or listen to music or binge-watch things I’ve seen before, so I don’t have to look at the screen.

Tell us about your collaborations
As for collaboration, several years ago, I had a mid-career retrospective of my work at a local university. It was a nice honor, but in doing its curation, I began to really recognize that almost all of the work came from a talented art director who reached out. Some of the ideas were mine, some were from all these creators, and I really could see just how much of my career highlights is owed to working with others. I get to take a few bows here and there, but it is a collaboration that is the key to my longevity. These client platforms raise the art to a level that makes the pieces more meaningful. A TIME or New York Magazine logo drives home the poignancy.
For this project, I worked with New York Magazine’s Design Director, Thomas Alberty.

The Daily Edit – Plotting for Change: Kriston Jae Bethel


Photographer: Kriston Jae Bethel

Heidi: Along with taking photographs, what else are you involved in?
Kriston: I’m definitely the kind of person that needs to be doing something! Right now, I’m the head girl’s cross country coach at my high school alma mater in suburban Philadelphia. Cross country taught me so much about pushing past my limits and how hard work can lead to success, and it’s great to be able to pass on these lessons. It’s incredibly important to me that these young women gain these experiences, learning that they can accomplish so much, both on their own and with the help of a team.

I also teach from time to time as an adjunct instructor in the journalism department of my other alma mater, Temple University. I never saw myself as a teacher, but mentoring young journalists is a great way to give back to the university that believed in me and set me up for the success I’ve had today.

Aside from that, I started playing music when I was 8 years old, taking after my father in that regard, and play about four instruments, in addition to singing. I mostly spend my time singing at karaoke these days (aside from the pandemic). In the past year, I’ve also really gotten into rock climbing. Its been great seeing my progress from a beginner at V0 and no rope experience, to more intermediate sends of V6 and 5.11c, some getting lead certified. While this has mostly been in a gym with a mask on, I’m excited to see where these new skills will take me

How much time did you spend at the farm?

I spent a couple hours at the farm, as Devon and Daekweon showed me around. They’ve built up a lot! It was great to just meander about with them and hear about all the work they’ve put into it. They both were very generous with their time, despite Daekweon having another engagement scheduled. Having photographed politics and sports, it’s always a blessing to not feel rushed to photograph, edit and file!


How did you connect with Devon?
Devon and I mostly talked about the meaning of Life Do Grow Farm. You see, it represents more than just an urban farm, but the idea that Black people can have ownership of their land, something that has been kept from us for generations. First as slaves, then as share croppers, and even today, with the difficulty in which Black farms and businesses struggle to receive loans. I do think there’s something wonderful that only a century and a half ago, a man like Devon would likely have been forced to work the land. Now, he’s his own master and the prosperity he’s worked to build can be passed down, while benefiting his community. I think a lot of people misunderstand photographers as thoughtless button pressers. The truth is, we need to have an understanding of what it is we’re creating, if we want our work to have meaning.
Having covered Philadelphia for years, I talked to him about what it means to be a Black man with a farm in North Philadelphia, a section of the city that is often only talked about in terms of gun violence. I remember saying to him, “Who says North Philly can’t be beautiful?” And it’s true, as long as there is the will and proper support to help make that happen.

How long did you wait before pulling out the camera?
When I first pulled up, I don’t even remember if I took my camera out of the car. Sometimes I don’t, I just want to give someone a chance to know me before I start putting a camera between us. We probably had a relaxed conversation for about 5 to 10 minutes, just to hear about his day (spoiler: it was extremely hot) and what he was working on. Since this was for a brand, I also made a wardrobe suggestion and living near the farm, Devon was able to make a quick change. In the meantime, I hung out with Daekweon and some other staff from the farm. They had just come back from a trip to New Orleans and we’re feeling really inspired.
When the camera does come up, I make sure to tell people that I’m still listening to them, so they don’t feel like I’m ignoring them or that they need to do anything different. You never know what kind of experience someone has had with photographers in the past and establishing that trust is a key part of my process.

Tell us about the moment they were on the bench smiling.
So that was actually pretty simple. I saw the light and asked Devon and Daekweon to grab a seat on the bench. Then we all just talked. I positioned myself pretty far back with a long lens, so they could could feel like they were together, while staying engaged with them the whole time. They really do love one another and it was really important that I capture that. One of them made a joke and they both lit up with laughter. Again, when thinking of how Black men are frequently portrayed in media, I feel a responsibility to break those stereotypes and show that we are capable of strength through love.

 

Kriston Jae Bethel

610-213-6978

www.kjbethel.com

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The Daily Edit – Jeremy Koreski


Jeremy Koreski

Heidi: You’ve spent your entire life in Tofino, Vancouver Island, how has living there informed your photography?
Jeremy: Growing up in Tofino definitely influenced the way I see the world. My parents were always taking my siblings and I on adventures and would try to do at least one international trip a year. Looking back I didn’t realize how lucky I was at the time until I started seeing other parts of the world.

Have you ever lived anywhere else? 
After graduating high school I spent a few years living in Europe and then spent two years studying photography in Vancouver.

You published This is Nowhere in 2015, how did your work evolve from that process? 
When I first thought of publishing This is Nowhere, it was the first time I felt I’d created a body of work worth showing. It featured places I like to go, places I like to explore, my backyard and places that I feel are important to preserve. The process only deepened an interest in exploring and documenting more of my backyard.

Are you revisiting any of the same areas to show progress in preservation, or lack thereof?
There are places that have actually changed before our eyes while on trips. During evenings at one of my favorite camp spots we watched across the channel as trees were felled and logging trucks worked around the clock to extract an old growth hillside.

You recently photographed TJ Watt of the Ancient Forest Alliance for Patagonia’s The Cleanest Line. The photos are both haunting and beautiful, how does a project like that impact you?
It’s very impactful to be moving through active logging zones, one minute you are sitting next to a 1000 year old cedar in a pristine old growth forest  and the next you are in the middle of a clearcut the size of a football field where the destruction feels like a war zone. I do try and see both sides of the argument and would 100% back a well managed forestry industry, but I disagree with cutting any more old growth. Once the last of the old growth trees are cut they’re gone for good.

Does the impact change once you get distance on the work?
Honestly I feel more impacted when in the field shooting. For me it really hits home that even though not everyone agrees with each other we need to find a way to come together and figure out the best path forward. Unfortunately when it comes to environmental issues they seem to be more and more polarized and that’s not going to get us anywhere. I really do think that we as a human race need to find a way to work together no matter what our opinions might be.

How did you and TJ meet? 
TJ and I met at a photography show he and I were both participating in. It was organized by a mutual friend.

When TJ and I finally agreed on a day to meet up we drove for about two hours to one of the environmentalist roadblocks and unfortunately arrived 5 minutes after they’d put into motion a drill. For the next couple of hours we hung and chatted until the road was opened up again.

What struck you about TJ and his work?
Something that impressed me about hanging out with TJ was his passion for large old growth trees. He’d seen some new aerial imagery of the area and had spotted a massive crown of old growth cedar in one of the photos. He’d never noticed it until the forest near it was cutdown. We had to hike in a little ways to get to the base, but it was a must stop on the way home.

 

The Daily Edit – Skialper: Matthew Tufts


Skialper

Photographer: Matthew Tufts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Daily Edit – 400 Years Project: Sarah Stacke

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

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

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


The 400 Years Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

The Daily Edit – The New Yorker: Evan Angelastro


The New Yorker

Senior Photo Editor: Marvin Orellana
Photographer: Evan Angelastro

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

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

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

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

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

The Daily Edit – Vogue India: Snigdha Kulkarni


Vogue India Digital Cover


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

The Daily Edit – Ankita Chandra: Vogue Arabia


Vogue Arabia

Photographer + Creative Direction: Ankita Chandra

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Daily Edit – Christopher Dowell

Chris Dowell

Heidi: What circumstances led up to photographing that stand of trees? It’s much more abstract than most of your work.
Chris: After spending most of the winter cooped up in my tiny apartment in Chicago, I was determined to escape for a week to our family cabin in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I wanted to catch the last few days of small game season and to see our property in the winter for the first time. It ended up being an unsuccessful hunting trip due to the few feet of snow from a recent storm. I decided to relax, take in the harsh beauty of winter, and make some photographs. The thing that stood out the most was the view of the island from the sky, our family refers to it as “Blueberry Island”, but it has no official name. Usually cut off from the rest of the woods in the warmer months, it was now re-connected to the woods and the animals that surround it. It was such an incredible reminder of the ebb and flow of the seasons; something so inaccessible in perfect weather becomes shelter and fresh forage in a bitter winter.

Tell us about the tracks in the snow.
I always love finding tracks, especially in the winter when you can follow them for miles or until you bump into whoever has been making them. They are like a journal of that animal’s day; they stopped here for a bite, got spooked by something, bedded down for a nap. I wish I could identify all of the tracks going to and from the island. I know there are plenty of whitetail deer, coyotes, and even a pack of wolves. I love how the snowmobile mixed with the tracks, a visual reminder of how intertwined man and nature are.

Why black and white?
When I shot this image it was a fairly gloomy overcast. Any shades of brown in the trees that might of come through on a sunny day were completely washed out and grey. I decided to commit to the muted palette and let the beauty of the tracks and abstract patterns they made stand out. This image was a Finalist for Modern Huntsman‘s first photo contest.

What projects have you been photographing?
Right before Covid hit, I started to look into different types of sustainable agriculture and hunting. When the pandemic came down in full force and we watched the grocery store shelves empty, I decided to start photographing farmers in my area. I wanted to understand what the local agriculture system looks like and what it means to provide for yourself. I found it fascinating that a network of small farms can be much more stable than these large corporate producers. I started visiting local farms and started to learn to hunt in earnest. It is so fulfilling to not only learn about their stories but to get to see them in action as well. Each farm I visit becomes a short photo story of their land, crops, or livestock aided by portraits. These are the stories that need to be told in order to help us appreciate where our food comes from and what it takes to get it. My goal is that these small visual histories will help reach audiences that might not normally give where their meat and veggies come from a second thought.

How is your panic garden doing a year later?
Flourishing! My Fiance and I have since moved away but my dad has expanded it, and it is now a small community garden with some of the other families in the neighborhood planting and tending to it.

How has wildland firefighting influenced your photography?
It helped solidify a shift in my work and propel the next stage of my career. In school, I was shooting a lot of fashion and surf. But it wasn’t until I started working on documentary-style photography later in my college career that I started to know where my passion and purpose would be in photography.  When I first arrived in Montana, I really wasn’t sure which professional direction would help me fulfill my goal of being a documentary photographer. Having a life-changing opportunity to fight wildfires in Montana gave me some space from my photography work and showed me the power our world has to destroy and create despite any plans we might have. It taught me how capable people are when truly pushed, and how important training and preparedness are, no matter what you are doing. I wanted to bring these lessons into my work and what I chose to photograph.


 

The Daily Edit – Architectural Digest: Pankaj Anand

Architectural Digest

Art Director: Priyanka Shah
Editor in Chief: Greg Foster
Photographer: Pankaj Anand

Heidi: What does mango season represent to you? 
Pankaj: The mango season represents a lot of childhood memories for me as we had summer vacations from school in the season and would absolutely devour anything with mangos. Climbing trees to pluck the ripe mangos, hogging on a mango only meal etc.

It’s been a difficult year for India, was this a moment to find joy and celebration in color and creativity?
Indeed it was. Not just for me, the entire team. Everyone from Greg Foster the editor in chief of AD who remotely monitored everything,  the lighting crew, production helpers in the studio were thrilled to see the outcome on screen during the shoot. The 2 days of the shoot made us forget the challenges outside the studio for the duration. To be honest it hasn’t been easy to conduct shoots as often as before for obvious reasons and the mango shoot really filled in the vacuum for doing something satisfying creatively after a long gap.

What has this past year taught you as a creative?
The past year has definitely taught me to be more patient and flexible for approaching any kind of project. More importantly it made me realize that over a period of time only good work can sustain. The surge in the online consumption of creativity has given us more than enough options to find inspirations. So only something remarkable can be remembered.
 
How did this idea come about for AD, and what are the dates of mango season?
Priyanka Shah the art director and stylist of the shoot came up with this idea of romanticising the love for Mangos in the way that she knows best. She came up with some sketches and got us all hooked on the idea. From early March to late June is the approximate season for Mangos. There’s usually a bling of yellow every shopping place you go to thanks to mango-mania that is basically unanimous all over India.

How much time elapsed between the sketches and the sets?
It took a little over 2 weeks after the sketches were finalised to bring everything to life. From finalizing numerous products to organising a large enough studio space for the sets to accommodating the extensive inventory. The actual set making was about 3 days as the flooring and the walls had to be constructed and finished with a special texture and tone to give a sliced mango effect. The final touches happened right until we got our first test shot since the details needed a final approval from the camera view finder and lighting set up.

Did you have natural light in the spaces, or was that lit?
This was an artificially lit set to achieve the right amount of the shadow play and to light up the areas and products in the shot properly.
An elaborate plan for lighting was discussed as the space we shot in was not a conventional studio, it was an experience center area which we were generously allowed to completely transform for the shoot by Ishan Thacker of MAY Projects India.

What type of mood were you going for with the light and images?
The mood of the images was to bring the feel of open courtyards of traditional India homes that enjoy well lit spaces in the house throughout the day. The lighting was to bring in a sense of a summer afternoon and early evening. The attempt was to keep the look and feel realistic and natural, and to bring out the feel of mango in the photos.
 
Conde Nast International has gone through global change, how has that affected your work, if at all?
Indeed it is a big change and I think it will affect my work. Hopefully in a good way. I have been contributing to all four Condé Nast India titles (and international as well) for over a decade now. It took me a long time to find a sync with the various teams and deliver consistently. A lot of times I was entrusted with a shoot not just because of my talent but my temperment with the team and understanding of the particular editorial imagery. With an increasing trend of remote operations and teams merging nationally and internationally it will be a new ball game to find a sync with editors and creative directors from afar that you have never met before. Besides that, it’s a good time to explore the horizons of meeting creatives from everywhere.

What are you looking forward to this year in publishing?
Of whatever is left in the year and next I am looking forward to see how the print editions will perform. Theres has been big shift in the content creation already I feel. Lots of online creators have taken over and it will be interesting to see the contrast between quality and quantity.


When I was the Creative Director at Vogue India, we worked together photographing Chef Rene of Noma for a story by food editor Sonal Ved, tell us about this portrait.
It was win-win opportunity for me. To do a portrait of someone like Chef Rene, see the inside of a world class restaurant like Noma and to work with you. When Sonal Ved first asked me for the shoot it was an instant Yes. I firmly believe in the thought that, just like an athlete is as good as his/her coach, a photographer is also good as his/her creative director. To prepare better for the shoot apart from my home work of research about Rene I spent considerable amount of time in the restaurant a day before to familiarise with space and figure out different options for the next day. Rene is a busy chef, so to make the most of his limited time the test shots from the previous day were very helpful. Link to the story is here

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.