Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit – Social Studies Show: Stan Evans

- - The Daily Edit


Social Studies Show


Coca-Cola
Photographer:
Stan Evans
Producer: Verity Hoskins

Dual Dimensions
Concept: Val Harvey

Heidi: Now that you’re a few episodes deep in your Podcast called β€œSocial Studies Show” about Advertising and Activism, what is the common thread?
Stan: About a year ago I noticed a common thread: many of the gatekeepers in the advertising industry wouldn’t allow access or give their time to mentor minorities. I figured the only way to really have an impact and create measurable results was to do it myself.

Advertising and Activism share the same narrative β€œto get a message out to the masses” and on that path they’re parallel. Maintaining a full-time career and youth seeking internships can be difficult, so I started looking for a way to have a lasting and manageable impact on the industry. What if I could create a living library of information for minorities and women (really anyone) who were passionate about advertising and driven towards activism? Something that would live long after I’m gone and help future generations break into those fields.

After talking with Rebecca Williams VP, Group Creative Director at Burrell Communications about advertising and culture, what were your three biggest takeaways as a photographer over a podcast creator?
Stan:Β  Being a Producer
It’s a video series as well as a podcast, and I focus on tangible information. I conceptualize the shows, write the scripts, cast talent, direct each episode, shoot video, photos, and coordinate travel to make it all happen. I also coordinate video editing and graphic design around the series. The hardest part is finding the right guest and digging deep into their career challenges; both the highs and the lows. The key is walking that line between Advertising and Activism. One of the most telling and vulnerable moments on the show was Arturo Nunez talking about losing the opportunity to sign Steph Curry to Nike. It says alot about the process and the trust that’s built when someone like Arturo is willing to let down his guard to admit mistakes so others can learn, adjust, and avoid the same.

Being Vulnerable
Stepping in front of the camera and putting yourself out there for better or worse. As a photographer it’s so easy to hide behind the camera but in interviews guests often ask me pointed, sometimes surprising questions and put me on the spot. There’s no hidingβ€”the internet is a savage place. You have to be ready to respond and be ready to take the hits.

Handling Detractors
Negativity and detractors come with the territory. You start something new and everybody has β€œsuggestions” about how and what to do with the podcast. There were definitely people who didn’t get it.

β€œHow are Advertising and Activism Connected?” they asked….It got to the point where people would critique the work without taking the time to understand the concept or ask questions to learn; I’d just tell them to go do their own podcast. I’ve got my own thing over here, and it’s the work I want to create and leave for others. Honestly, I’ve failed at so many things, I know that even if I get knocked down doing this β€” I can get back up. I knew it was a good idea, and I was more afraid of not getting it done than doing it in a way that didn’t match someone else’s vision.

A year later we’re in a different climate of Activism in the United States and people totally get it now. A lot of Black voices weren’t being heard in the ad space, and I feel like I was actually ahead of the curve on looking for real ways to create change. I hope people are listening now. Black voices are going to save us. The economy and race relations are in turmoil and to survive companies are going to need to hire people of color to speak to those disenfranchised masses helping to course correct years of damage.Β  If companies ignore it, minority consumers will simply take their dollars and talents to businesses that appreciate them.

The Burrell campaignΒ  β€œWe Are Golden” shares the same inclusivity and representation as your recent Coca-Cola work, “History Shakers.” What does this work show you and tell us why it’s important.
Stan: The β€œWe Are Golden” campaign showed everyday black people in a positive light and gave them the respect they deserve. There’s a misconception in America that the Black man (or woman) gets treated equally, but it’s an illusion. Marketing at times fuels that illusion.

Dave Chapelle shares a real life example of this in his latest special. The police officer who pulled him over for speeding and let him off with a warning is the same officer who, a day later, shot John Crawford in Walmart while he was looking at a BB Gun.

Further and to put it in perspective, think about the differences between first responders and essential workers serving the public during COVID and celebrities who sheltered in place on private estates. We’re all going through lock down but our experiences are very different.

Everytime I shoot a photo I’m trying to challenge perception. Every person of color I shoot, from a background extra to Will Smith, deserves that equal level of humanity we all want. Advertising affects the message. I am the messenger.

Verity: There are so many reasons! First of all, I think any time you highlight someone who is excelling you increase the chance that a young person who looks like them, or has a background similar to them, or can relate to them in some way will see that and it will give them the confidence to pursue their dream and eventually excel themselves. I only really produce commercial jobs and of course, many of them are simply facilitating the creation of pretty pictures to help sell more stuff. I’m not a creative director or a brand manager – my job is to make it happen on budget and on time (with great snacks and a fab playlist! Haha). So any time I get a chance to work on something that has an ultimate purpose beyond just raising brand awareness, I feel like it’s important to jump on it. I was really excited and honored to be asked to work on this project.

Brands are admitting they are making mistakes and taking steps to address them. Right now we are in a cycle of mis-step, conflict, conflict resolution. Can you share the strides you and Verity have made which skip the need for conflict resolution?
Stan:Β I look at best case and worst case scenarios and work my way back. I ask a lot of questions with the client, and sometimes I have to go with my gut but as a Black man in America. My perspective is vastly different from many of my peers.

Growing up in a military family, having a camera at an early age and being genuinely curious gave me a broad perspective; most of all, though β€” I watch and I listen.Β I go through ad work of the past looking for what people did wrong or what people did right, and I apply learnings from all of that right now in the present.

Verity is a smart, strong woman who has worked with a lot of amazing photographers. A different set of eyes, realistic expectations of what we can produce within the confines we’re given and a female perspective are all welcome assets so I bounce the final ideas off her and we adjust, improve, and course correct where necessary. If we do the work and make it through all that, then we usually don’t have conflict resolution. Notorious B.I.G said .The key to staying, on top of things is treat everything like it is your first project. I take that to heart and have pride in my work.

Verity: I’m still learning, and while I know I have made mistakes, one piece of advice I received is to always be authentic and be curious. If the things that are coming out of my mouth and the actions I am taking feel authentic to who I am, which is a person who is always trying to do the right thing and to elevate others, then I am at least going to be on the right track. I try and approach each new situation with my mind wide open, ask a lot of questions and really listen to the answers. Production can be so hectic. You just want to cross things off your list as fast as possible. But if you can sit back a little sometimes and really be intentional in the midst of all of it, you can learn a lot more and as a result, make less mistakes. I ask Stan a lot of questions. He has never made me feel awkward for asking and has spent literally hours talking through things with me with humor and trust.

Can you share a vignette from your recent project together?
Verity: The second part of our Coca-Cola project was a three day stills lifestyle shoot to create assets for Black History month but also evergreen imagery that could be used throughout the year. It was December in Atlanta but we needed to create scenarios relevant to all seasons. On our last day we were shooting at Morehouse College, which is such a beautiful historic campus. It was raining and 43 degrees, and we needed to shoot a tailgate setup as well as various outdoor campus hangouts. I grew up in Canada, the daughter of British immigrants. Stan cracked up so many times watching me navigate various aspects of this shoot – there were many funny moments. I’ve never been to a tailgate in my life and have pretty much zero understanding of anything to do with American college life. I honestly didn’t know a single thing about Historically Black Colleges before this shoot. So while it was really important to solve the issue of shooting around freezing rain, and I wanted to figure it out fast, I had to really try and ask lots of questions and understand exactly the spirit of what we were trying to capture so I could find a solution. Everyone was worried about how to pull it off and everyone was offering a million ideas. Figuring out who to listen to and what questions to ask helped me prioritise the workarounds and compromises so that our client was happy and the images looked authentic.

Stan: Arriving on set that day it was cold and a torrential downpour. There were puddles 4 inches deep in some places and the wind was blowing sideways – placing gear and talent would be problematic. Looking at rearranging two mohos a gear truck and craft services to create a new set and avoid electrocution was gonna be tough ask and put us behind on an already challenging day but that is what was needed when I arrived. Verity made it all happen and luckily I brought 2 sets of clothes so we could get caught up and back on schedule making the creative shots happen, staying on schedule and keeping everyone safe.

The psychic toll of the recent weeks are heavy, chaos is the breeding ground for change. Movements are trying to hold community leaders, brands and gov’t accountable, are you hopeful for change?
Stan: I’ll put it like this. This race is a marathon not a sprint. Black people have been dealing for so long that this is just another day,Β  it’s like everyone else woke up from a coma. Β When I was young, my mother was afraid of me wanting to pursue photography because she thought no white people would hire me due to the color of my skin. Racism did that to her, made her set aside her dreams for herself and her children.

A few months ago I had a meeting arranged with a pretty high profile photo rep. I later found out the meeting was cancelled because the rep realized I was black.

Both those things are disappointments yet the significance of a black man shooting a black history campaign for a huge international brand is not lost on me.Β  No one is going to stop me because I have hope and believe in myself. Β  I don’t need the world to believe in me. I just need a few people who want to help change the world.Β  I dare to say, this movementΒ  feels a little different this time. I just want to share my knowledge, passion, bring people up with me and develop generational wealth. Β  Something the ad world needs to think about though is if you want to find the next Gordon Parks – you have to invest in the current, myself and Erik Umphery or Marcus Smith. We’ve been out here – it’s just time to admit, you just started looking…

Verity: I do think the movement happening here in America (and around the world) in the last month is causing me, as a white person, to actually wake up, ask questions and educate myself as much as I can. It’s not a case of being politically correct or ticking a diversity box. Becoming self-aware is inherently uncomfortable but it inevitably brings growth.

Since we both love riding, I must ask, what was the creative impetus for “Dawn till Dusk” besides your love of the sport?
Stan: After COVID19 hit Los Angeles a shelter in place order took effect,Β  shutting down most of the city. The somber aura of the city was unprecedented. Normally packed streets gave way to the framework and architecture that usually serves as a backdrop for larger than life personalities. While desolation hung heavy in the air, there were pockets of light and hope. I set out to find these spaces and uncover a bit of creativity that is often at times staring us in the face but is lost in the noise.

In a city of lights, camera, action – sets shut down and the only stage was the city itself.Β  I was a one man band of production, searching for meaningful sights and sounds.Β  Sharing scenes only available to pedal power and discovering pockets of optimism.Β  The tale of theΒ  corona virus is still being written… and it doesn’t have to focus on fear and animosity.Β  There’s room for a little hope in there….

What time did you start shooting and when did you end?
I started working on it April 3 and wrapped shooting April 21st, I had to work around Kollbi’s schedule because he was working at a bike shop, one of the few places open during COVID. We finished the edit about three weeks ago.
and made a BTS edit that describes how we did it under shelter in place conditions and our goals of seeing what a small 1 man op could produce in the way of compelling content.

 

The Daily Edit – Dope Heart Media – E. Mackey

- - The Daily Edit

E. Mackey /Dope Heart Media

Blvck Spades


Heidi: Can you tell us how you made your transition from rapper, fashion designer, and entrepreneur to photographer/creator? All are creative but what was different about photography/film?

Mackey: I have actually always been creative for as far back as I can remember. As I got older, I just found more and more ways to express myself. My transition from music and fashion to photography and video production pretty much came from my time as a marketing director for a club that used to be on South Beach. When I was there, part of my responsibility was to create video content that we would show on the screens that were all around the club. When I left that job, a rep from Remy Martin asked me to continue creating video content for them and before I knew it, I was creating videos for tons of brands and celebrities. Photography came about after about a year of shooting video with my camera. One day I just flipped the creative switch from video to photo and I’ve been shooting ever since.

You have some impressive stats! 4.0 GPA, 8 years in business in 16 countries and 626 projects, how do you stay motivated and inspired?
There was a time that I was homeless when I was doing my undergraduate studies in college. It was a very difficult period in my life, but it did a lot to shape and mold me into who I am. The memory of that experience keeps me centered and the thought of never wanting to go back to that life keeps me motivated to carry on. Overall, I draw inspiration from everywhere. It can be from songs that I hear,Β people that I meet, or experiences that I have. I genuinelyΒ enjoy creating, so it’s easy to stay inspired because my mind is constantly moving and making connections.


Tell us about these fashion images.

Much of my experience with fashion photography came from working with a lot of the ladies from America’s Next Top Model. I have two really good friends that were on the show and through them, I have had an opportunity to work with several more. Once I had access to more talented models, I realized that I really enjoyed fashion photography and actually try to shoot as much as I can.

Where do you hope to be in the next 8 years?
Alive

Where did you photograph these protes images?
The images that I have shot thus far are from Minneapolis and Brooklyn. However, I am planning on making trips to Houston, DC, LA, and Louisville as well. My goal is to document these protests in more cities than anyone else.


Doing this type of work is both documenting and protesting, did you ever feel conflicted about being there with a camera?
I actually consider myself to be an activist. So, I never felt conflicted being at the protests with a camera. My philosophy is that we all have a part to play in this movement. Some angry kid is going to throw a brick through a window, another will burn the building down, and people like me will be there to capture it so that we can not only have historical records but so that we can share the movement with the world and inspire others to act. I never feel conflicted because I feel like this is my purpose.


Did you have any police encounters, if so what were they like?
I have had SEVERALΒ encounters with the police in my lifetime. It comes with the territory of being a Black man in America and that is part of the reason for the protests. We (Black men) are often profiled for absolutelyΒ no reason, and thatΒ has theΒ potential to put our lives in danger. As far as encounters with police at the protests, I haven’t had any. Mostly just asking for directions or showing them photos that I took of them and cracking jokes. However, on my second day in Minneapolis, I was caughtΒ in the middle of a crazy situation when theΒ police got super aggressive and detonated several canisters of teargas. Being trapped in a cloud of teargas is not aΒ pleasantΒ experience at all.

What inspired you to create those videos on insta?
I actually own two companies. One is a lifestyle brand called Blvck Spades. The other is a creative agency called Dope Heart Media. I started creating videos at the start of the quarantine because I thought that it was the perfect time to share content because people were stuck at home with nothing to do but use socialΒ media. My plan was to create video content where I shared a lot of my knowledge and expertise to help other creatives and business owners while growing my following and influence by establishing myself as a thought leader.

The Daily Edit – The New York Times: Michael Kirby

- - The Daily Edit

April 5, 2020 – A man puts on PPE at Montefiore Medical Center Moses Division Emergency Room in Bronx, NY. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times.)

April 5, 2020 – A shift schedule at Montefiore Medical Center Moses Division Emergency Room in Bronx, NY. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times.)

April 5, 2020 – Dr. Michael Jones answers the EMS line at Montefiore Medical Center Moses Division Emergency Room in Bronx, NY. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times.)

April 8. 2020 – Reflections of a patient looking into a tent receiving station set up for possible Covid-19 patients outside the emergency department at Jack D. Weiler Hospital in the Bronx, NY. When patients first arrive they check in at a window outside of the ER. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times)

April 8. 2020 – Plastic barriers outside the emergency room at Jack D. Weiler Hospital in the Bronx, NY. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times)

April 8. 2020 – A patient in the ICU at Jack D. Weiler Hospital in the Bronx, NY. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times)

April 8. 2020 – Dr. Deborah White (right) leads workers in the emergency room with at Jack D. Weiler Hospital in the Bronx, NY. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times)

April 14, 2020 – Daniel J. Schaefer Funeral Home director Elysia Smith, 38, looks at paperwork taped on the wall of upcoming services in Brooklyn, NY. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times)

April 14, 2020 – Daniel J. Schaefer Funeral Home director Elysia Smith, 38, and Lily Sage, 25, unload decedents at the funeral home in Brooklyn, NY. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times)

April 14, 2020 – The Woodlawn Cemetery and Conservancy in the Bronx, NY. (Photograph by Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times)

The New York Times

Photographer: Michael Kirby Smith
Writer: Nicholas Kristof

Heidi: Photographically, how did this challenge you?
Michael: This assignment was challenging for a lot of reasons. At the point in which my colleague, Nicholas Kristof, and I were given access, the hospitals we visited in the Bronx had a vetting system in place to determine who would actually be admitted to the ER. This was due to the large number of people with Covid. The ERs were well beyond capacity, and the state of patients being treated was really severe. The hospitals were forced to improvise, creating additional space in the hospital for overflow. In addition to infrastructure issues, the staff was working well beyond normal shifts. There was a beautiful camaraderie in that, but it meant that the potential for an exposure mistake was increased. It was hectic and patients were in dire situations.

We didn’t have the ability to talk directly with our subjects and relied on following the medical staff as they worked. With strict HIPPA rules, if we didn’t have written consent we couldn’t photograph people. This is a huge challenge and something my colleagues and I have been discussing extensively. It’s important to show people what’s happening on the frontlines when a story of this scope is unfolding, and it’s really hard to do that and avoid photographing patients. When I’ve reported on large international stories there is not the same level of scrutiny and permissions required to work. This presents a huge problem for American journalists covering the crisis because we’re being forced to work on the periphery of the story. How do you make compelling, emotional work if you can’t photograph the human face?

Documenting social issues for Time Magazine and the New York Times is familiar territory. What made these three NYT Opinion pieces, “Heart Ache in the Hot Zone, Β A Young Doctor, Fighting for His Life and A Young Doctor, Fighting for His Life different for you?
What made this particularly different was the lack of understanding of the pathogen. In the past, when covering diseases I’ve been able to research and talk to colleagues about safety protocols.Β  We still don’t understand this disease, and that presents a difficult challenge, particularly in risk assessment. It becomes very hard to trust your intuition, which we greatly rely on when we’re on the frontlines.Β  I’m pretty sure in time as we learn more I’ll recognize mistakes that were made in that early stage assessment process.

How many days were you in the Bronx documenting this piece?
We spent two full days working on this piece. We followed up later with another piece on one of the ER doctors, who almost died from Covid-19, about his personal experience.

Did you go home between shoot days?
I went home between shoot days and implemented a quarantine protocol that I felt comfortable with after consulting the NYT team and my family.

Has your ability to create both motion and stills opened different opportunities for you?
I think my ability to work across different mediums, filmmaking and photography, is a benefit that has opened doors. When The New York Times reached out to me to work with Nicholas Kristof to cover the pandemic, there was concern about the number of people going into the ER with us. The diversity of skills, and the fact that I’ve had a long history with both the photography and video departments, was a consideration in thinking about the risk, and we were still maximizing assets we captured.

Does documenting history with moving pictures leave less room for manipulation and more room for veracity?
With both filmmaking and photography, you have the ability to manipulate because you’re holding the instrument of documen
tation. Sometimes I do feel like there is an added level of truth in filmmaking when you hear directly from subjects and help tell stories in their own words, but then again the purity and speed of taking a photograph and keeping a smaller footprint have a lot of viability.

The important part is knowing where you stand in terms of objectivity, and how your perspective and privilege influence it, and documenting history within the parameters you or the institution you’re working for set. Intention is something that evolves in the same way you do as a storyteller. Your abilities to bring scope and stylistic vision grow throughout your career

Describe the difficulties of working in your PPE? emotionally/creatively physically.
First, it’s really uncomfortable. You are wearing a lot of layers made with materials that don’t breath well, so it’s hot. There are a face mask, goggles, and a protective shield over your face alone, which trap heat and fog. This, of course, makes it hard to see which is our job as visual journalists. In addition, the PPE blocks you from being able to bring the camera directly to your eye, so a lot of times you are relying on your intimate knowledge of the camera and lensing if you have to shoot with limited vision.Β  You’re also just relying on a bag of techniques you’ve developed through experience when it comes to focusing, framing, etc.

One of the biggest challenges I didn’t expect was the difficulty of breathing in full PPE. I found it hard to rely on my breath as a tool of comfort. If I’m in a stressful shooting situation and find myself struggling, I’ll often pause, slow down, and take a deep breath. I wasn’t able to do this which was hard because there was a moment or two that it would have been really helpful.

We also didn’t have breaks for water or food because taking on and off the PPE was such a laborious process, and it wasn’t worth risking additional exposure.

What kind of impact has this historical project had on you, now that you’ve got some distance on it?
I’m proud of the project specifically because it had a large reach. A lot of people pay attention to Nicholas Kristof’s work, myself included, so I knew when my editors reached out that the project had a lot of scope in terms of reaching viewers. The editors were putting a lot of trust in me to deliver a film and photographs that meant something to me on a personal level.

The first piece of what is considered modern journalism was published in 1703 by Daniel Dafoe, (Great Storm of 1703 in Britain) 317 years later we have the same need for journalism, but why is this even more important now?
That’s a tough one to answer because journalism has alway served as a social service since it’s conception and we’ve always needed it.Β Journalism speaks truth to power and it is critical to humanity and civil society to keep those in power accountable for their actions. People’s lives are at stake.

One thing I can say about this moment in time that feels different is the state of journalism itself, which is under threat. The industry has drastically changed and there is a lot less of it being produced. This is a huge problem at a moment in history when we have an administration actively dismantling democratic institutions and pathologically spreading lies under the guise of journalism. Politics aside, this is fact.

Our role as documentarians is to capture and present the reality of what is happening in America and worldwide right now in this moment. It seems we’ve never been more divided as a country, and journalism is important to understand what is transpiring, to document both sides so we don’t allow biased systems to manipulate the American public. We should have no tolerance for people in power trying to write history with a false narrative. We should be beyond this as a society, but unfortunately we’re not. We’re documenting American cities burning while a pandemic devastates lives and huge parts of the American public won’taccept reality. It is a tragedy unfolding now.

Can you speak to your personal connection to journalism?
I think journalistically speaking I’m naturally drawn to what I consider important, historic stories. I believe in the social service aspect of good journalism, and I’m honoured and proud to contribute to institutions I believe in. Journalism is essential to the function of society and without it, there is no check on power. I originally got into photography as an art form, but my attraction to journalism was as a social service to better inform people and help us find similarities through human emotion and connection.

The Daily Edit – Caitie McCabe Face Time Portraits

- - Working

Facetime for charity


Photographer: Caitie McCabe

Heidi: How did this idea come about?
Kaite: I was extremely bored and missing production life and FaceTiming my family when I figured out you could take photos using the phone. I posted on social media that I was looking to do a few shoots for charity and it EXPLODED from there. Over 100 sessions and counting!

How do you direction the kids, they seem receptive, what do they think of this situation?
Not all, but many of the kids are from the model community which generally means they are super outgoing and LOVE to be in front of the camera which helps the shoots tremendously. We spend the early part of the session finding the best light and discussing what they want to do and then it’s all about collaborating and playing for the best shots.

What are the challenges?
Technology has been the hardest part- if the kids don’t have good service or are using an iPad/older phone it tends to be harder to get everything in focus. Much of my time is spent making sure they’re in the best environment for the tech to work and explaining what I need in order to get the shot.

How do you decide which charity?
The charities I’ve chosen to put on my site are 3 that I volunteer with often. I prefer for my subjects to donate to those charities but have left it open and on the honor system for them to donate to any charity they choose.

How are you getting the outside shots?
The outside shots are actually the easiest! Often I ask to have a parent or older sibling present for the shoot to make sure I have someone holding the phone and able to take direction so the child can focus on playing. Once we’re in the right environment, everything just falls into place honestly.

102 portrait is stout, which was your first session and what have you learned about your work?
My first session was the 1st of May and has been nonstop since. I was feeling in a real creative rut before COVID-19 so this project has actually been amazingly helpful for me to push my ideas and collaborate with the kids on really authentic portraiture. I always love to work with the kids on set when setting up a shot, they have the best insight on how to make something real and fun, there’s no reason for me to not involve them. I’ve reignited that style in this project and am really looking forward to bringing these fresh ideas to my client work.

The Daily Edit – Art Center College of Design Zoom Portfolio Review

- - The Daily Edit


2020 Spring Graduate Work

Everard Williams and Ann Field from Pasadena Art Center College of Design had their Final Crit Grad Review for photography students recently. Not surprisingly it was conducted via Zoom. Over the course of about 4 hours we looked at a variety of stellar work. You can see all of the graduate work here.Β  There is a tremendous amount of strong work, however I was struck by these two images in particular.

Photographer: Marly Ludwig

Marly: When I first heard the story of a girl from my former high school who lost her finger, I was immediately interested. One day during school, Victoria
decided to hop over the fence and skip class. Upon climbing over the chain-link fence, a ring she was wearing snagged and her finger suddenly ripped off. That is not quite the repercussion one would expect from ditching school. Being quite scared of losing an appendage myself, I wanted to confront that fear with my camera. I felt placing her in the shadow of a fence with her hand to her face would be the best way to illustrate the story. Victoria showed such stoicism, and she wiggled the little piece of finger for me, which I found endearing. The image came out exactly how I envisioned it, and I love how beautiful she is without her ring finger.

Photographer: Sohui Kim.

I enjoyed her interpretation of a Korean moon jar from. Moon Jars were originally created in the 17thΒ and 18th centuries as household food storage jars but have been admired as artworks since Korea’s colonial period (1910-45). They are formed as two halves thrown on a wheel before being skilfully luted together horizontally around their widest point before being glazed and fired. The joint line is visible and they are admired for their unintentionally artful asymmetry.

 

The Daily Edit – Ventura Covid-19 Protest: Angelo Partemi

- - The Daily Edit


Angelo Partemi

 

Heidi: How did you protect yourself while you were shooting?Β 
Angelo: I wore a mask the whole time but skipped the gloves as it would have been too hard to handle my cameras with them. Longs sleeves and pants were essential, and upon returning home I washed my clothing and disinfected my gear immediately as it was very difficult to keep with social distancing in crowds that don’t respect that advisory. I only went in close for shots when absolutely necessary, but I tried to not let that dictate my flow.

How did you approach people since you didn’t have a media pass?Β 
I’ve never had a media pass I didn’t make myself. I honestly treated it as any other day out on the street. I have been photographing strangers in public for 7+ years and am very comfortable approaching people and taking close photos. In this case, I felt people knew I wasn’t there as a supporter as much as an observer.

Did you get any resistance from the protestors?
I didn’t get a ton of resistance, but I did get a lot of questions. I was accused of being media by several different people because I was protecting myself with a mask. People asked if I was selling photos to China or working for China. To go back to my country, which is America. You know, the normal stuff you hear when you cover something like this and don’t fall on their side of the fence. I kept calm and rational and told them I was there because it was interesting, nothing more.

Were you concerned for your safety at any time?
Never.

How did photographing this protest push your work?
I’ve been working on this project since 2016 and because it’s been going on for so long, it has really pushed me to go to events where I don’t support what they’re doing. But to be honest to the project I have to see both sides as it’s part of the greater story. So, it pushes me personally as I wouldn’t be at an event like this if I wasn’t taking photographs.

How do you approach a project like this, do you think about your body of work, and then create a shot list?
I do not have a shot list in my mind before going out as I think it can stifel my creativity and close my mind to pictures that are in front of me. I usually find greater success when I have an open my mind and listen to my gut. I try to shoot first and edit later. If it’s interesting I try to put a frame around it. I don’t see this body of work as a whole yet, nor am I at a place where I can fill holes. I think my bucket is close to half full with a lot of work ahead.

Since you are shooting only film, what are the advantages?
I don’t know if there is an advantage, but definitely a preference. The look, feel, and tangibility of the negatives far outweigh any advantage digital would give me.

Do you keep a mental checklist of what you’ve photographed and do you take longer to frame up the image?
I think not being able to review my images keeps me in the moment, and constantly scanning for the next image which is good. I might take 5 frames at most on an amazing scene, though it’s typically 1-2. Like all photography, it’s a numbers game, but I think shooting film increases mine.

The Daily Edit – John Hryniuk: Covid-19 Portraits

- - The Daily Edit

Air Canada pilot photographed wearing mask at Toronto’s Int’l Airport.

Woman prays in front of Church in Toronto on street. Church closed due to Covid-19.

Decontamination workers pose for a photo before they clean a construction site.

A man walks his dog protecting him with a mask.

Misc. pedestrian poses for a photo wearing his surreal mask.

Costco shopper wears high endΒ  3M respirator mask to shop at the store

Chinese traveller on his way back to Shanghai on a 22 hour flight wears PPE suit.

Disabled shopper poses wearing his mask and gloves while driving motorized wheel chair.

Steel worker near construction site wearing his home made mask and steel work helmet.

John Hryniuk


Heidi: What have you been doing during lockdown?
John: When work came to a halt here in Toronto because of the pandemic, I needed to find a creative distraction. The need to be creative as a professional photographer during these difficult times isn’t a maybe, it’s a must.

How are you able to connect with people on the street?
I’ve been walking a lot and riding my bike around town.

How long have you been on lock-down?
This week in Canada we are entering our eighth week of a country wide semi-lockdown.
I decided to document the pandemic and the lock-down of my city in the best way I knew how, my photography skills. Little did I know that this distraction would turn into a full time on-going project.Β  While documenting this event I’ve photographed so many interesting individuals.

Which moments stuck with you the most?
There are so many moments that capture these dynamic times. It ranges from a woman praying on the street in front of her church because it closed and to a man wearing a full on heavy respirator while shopping at Costco and a Chinese student at the airport preparing to travel back to Shanghai, wearing full personal protective equipment. These are indeed historic times we are experiencing at the moment during Covid-19 and we as artists should all try and document this in any way we know how. I hope that the photos that I take during this time will someday allow others to experience what this period in time was like. Difficult, emotional and the our ability to adapt to the change.

 

For more portraits, please visit @johnhryniukphotography

The Daily Edit – Eric Bissell: Patagonia Catalog + Farm to Crag

- - The Daily Edit


Eric Bissell

Heidi: How long were you a ranger and were you also shooting back then?
I was a ranger in Yosemite for 8 seasons. I started when I was 19 years old, working in the park during the summers. Living in Yosemite was some of the most memorable years of my life, but I started to feel a bit claustrophobic living between the 3000’ granite walls and moved away last year.

I studied sculpture in college, and although I always wanted to make work in Yosemite, I could feel my creative energy being siphoned into the physicality of being a climbing ranger and spending so many days out climbing on the cliffs. I was accustomed to working in studios for sculpture and picking up the camera gave me an opportunity to engage aesthetically with the world without the burden of three-dimensional work. I wasn’t shooting much at the beginning, but started shooting more and more in later years as I drifted farther away from sculpture.

Were you shooting at the same time?
When I moved to Yosemite, I didn’t have the perfect studio space to make sculpture, which is what I was studying in college. I also didn’t have a ton of the motivation to be honest, because climbing was such a full energetic and creative outlet. When I would get back to college after the summer, the experiences in the park would be fuel throughout the year. It was a great reset each season and helped me realize the need for both time to collect and time to create. Trying to do both at the same time has always been a struggle that I’m trying to improve at.

What did the park teach you?
Living in the park taught me how incredible it is to live in a place that people are deeply excited about. I got the opportunity to meet so many amazing and passionate people because they were constantly making pilgrimages to my (temporary) backyard. Yosemite gave me a lot of opportunities born from the shared love of a place. I was taking photos inspired by this community and was also invited to go on some trips through people that I met in the park. On a trip to Kenya, I took a photo that sold to Patagonia when Jane Sievert selected it. The photo department sent me a handwritten note with the catalogue that featured the image, and I was hooked.
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How do you choose to climb only and not shoot, do you simply leave your camera behind?
Climbing at a high level is my passion and I’ve found it hard to accomplish that goal if I’m also thinking about my camera. It’s not an easy balance for me, so I’ve tried to minimize the conflict between shooting and climbing by creating a camera kit that is rugged, light, and easy to use.

There’s the mental capacity and the physical capacity of the trying to do both activities at once. If I’m climbing at my limit, I don’t really have the mental energy to also be thinking about documenting what’s going on around me. I’d like to challenge myself on that, but for now it’s a limitation I face.

On longer routes like multi-day walls every waking moment is spent on getting the team up the cliff, so taking time from upward progress to take photos can be a big deal. It’s important that I have climbing partners that trust me to get good images while not holding us back.

This is always a struggle for me, especially on expeditions. I want to be contributing as an equal member of the climbing team, but I also am responsible to document. Often it means running double time. Jogging ahead to get a shot when we’re all tired anyways, or climbing higher on a wall, or strategizing what shots I want to capture the next day when it’s late at night and I’d rather be going to sleep.


Now that you’ve returned from Kyrgyzstan, when you are presented with an opportunity again, how will that experience help you decide?
I’ve done a few international climbing expeditions with visual storytelling components. Each one was a unique process from the origin of the idea to arriving at the airport. I know that the decision-making process leading up to the next trip will be its own weighing of desire, opportunity, risk, and intuition.

Something I witnessed from the first trip, was that as time passed after returning home, gradually an appetite appeared desiring for another comparable experience. I got something deeply satisfying out of being physically, emotionally, mentally challenged in a place far from my own home. That lingering buzz meant made me realize I would be more inclined to say yes the next time an opportunity came up.

With Kyrgyzstan, I hesitated a little because I was trying to establish a life directly in contrast to the transient seasonal park service life. But a month isn’t really that long in the end.

Do you say no to trips?
I have said no to some trips, but I think it’s important to know that the more I say yes, the more I want to go on more trips. Like all experiences, big trips are a learning process. Looking back at my photos from Kyrgyzstan, I already see a lot of gaps in the images I chose to take. Being self-critical, I know that when I do something, I’m going to want to do it again if possible because I will have an opportunity to improve.

Climbing as a sport is both macro and micro, do you see your own photography different now? You study miniscule rock features, you see big sequences. Does that pivot transcend into your work?
In climbing we talk about β€œexposure” on a big wall like El Capitan. When you get that feeling most is when the micro and macro play off each other intensely – stepping from a ledge onto a blank face, traversing above a roof, leaving a corner system. Not every image needs to heighten exposure, but I think there are similarities in how we balance an action in a frame with the setting surrounding it and how the exposure of certain climbs can make us feel more present in a moment and place.

Photographing climbing is a neat challenge and perhaps has parallels to many documentary photography situations. At its most simple, the goal is to balance the climber against their setting in a way that a viewer can feel both intimate, but not lose the larger sense of place.

I’ve played with cameras my whole life, but climbing is what made photography into my work. I’m grateful to climbing for doing that for me.

During Farm to Crag did you search for that metaphor of the handle and the crack, or did that evolve?
The idea to place the farmer’s hands with the rake and the climber’s hands with the crack was an idea that developed while watching one of the climber’s (Alexa) hand appear around a corner on the climbing day of the event. I saw Alexa’s hand in isolation touching the granite and thought back to the day before when our hands were in the soil on the farm. I had been a little underwhelmed by the images I was getting out climbing and had encouraged myself to keep engaging and searching for a new way to look at the scene. It was a little pep talk and it paid off in that I was trying a little harder to see something new when Alexa’s hand catalyzed the visual metaphor. The next morning, I went back to the farm and got the image of the hands on the rake.

What was the most unique thing you learned about your own work shooting Farm to Crag?
That was probably the key learning moment from Farm to Crag for me as a photographer. Look hard for the little symbols that connect what is happening in front of the camera with the bigger idea I am trying to get at.


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The Daily Edit – Life on Pause: Kevin Steele

- - The Daily Edit
This is Jacqueline and Lucifer: β€œI’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ve lived through many national disasters and other viral outbreaks but never seen such a response. Β Will masks & 6 ft distancing become a way of life? We are waiting and watching to see what unfolds both socially and culturally.”

This is Simon: “Sitting on the deck overlooking Topanga Canyon eating half my bodyweight in hummus and chips I feel really connected to not just the abundance of nature around me but also to the gazillions of people all over the world living through this strange time. Β The level of connection with friends and family (I’m English) scattered around this planet of ours has surprisingly increased even as we are all hidden away. The days are blending, I’m binge-watching OZARK, doing makeshift β€˜Hillbilly’ workouts between endless cups of tea, and marveling at nature in full swing around me even as we are all are forced to re-assess our priorities.”

This is Ngozika making masks: “There’s something about this isolation that’s different.Being a freelance designer I’m home by myself anyway but there’s something sobering about the fact that my clients now are people all over the country that are helping to save lives and I don’t know them. I haven’t seen their faces and I don’t know their names. I just know that I’m trying to help as much as I can. So now my business is making masks. No more cocktail dresses. No more wedding gowns. Masks!”.

β€œI think that the hardest thing is being separated from other people. I’m cut off from my children, my grandchildren, and that’s been very hard for me. I’m a very outgoing person, I like people and I like to do things with people… I Have my dogs, this is it. And my husband. I don’t know how many people are feeling the same way, maybe some people are enjoying the solitude but I am not.”

This is Sade:Β  β€œI had three jobs. At noon I got a notification that one job had shut down and by five I got a notification that my second job shut down. I am not working at all, it’s been very crazy. I’m trying my best to meditate and journal and just be. Hopefully it will be over soon. My mother was getting her nails done two weeks Β ago and I had to tell her to stay inside, this is serious. My grandmother is more aware: she’s stayed inside for weeks. I call her every day to check in on her. Β I’m keeping the bonds alive, virtually. I hope that’s something that stays when this is over: that people don’t take things for granted anymore.”

This is Flavio our delivery guy from the pharmacy: β€œI’ve been waking up with this view of the city empty but a feeling of unity. As much as I see emptiness on the streets I see unity. Β It’s like running a 400 meter loop. The whole world is taking a loop around the track, cleansing, we never did as much cleaning. The air is clean, the water is clean, the houses are clean. We’re halfway around the track and we’re gonna come to the finish line more united than before. At the same time that I feel togetherness…I’ve experienced something I never thought would happen. My car was stolen a few days ago while I was delivering prescriptions. Ten thousand dollars worth of medicine. Β That something like that would happen while everyone is banding together is just…crazy.”

This is Michael: He hears news from Italy everyday. Here he’s listening to jazz & braising something delicious the whole neighborhood can smell.

Kevin Steele

Heidi: How are you expressing yourself during this unprecedented time?
Kevin: I’m photographing this personal project documenting life in quarantine, shot through the front door, being safe, into the space of self-isolation, revealing life apart and together.
We are all apart from each other but sharing a common experience. My productions and work shut down for likely months to come and I wanted to channel my creativity into a project that was meaningful. A project revealing how we live through these times, how we are feeling.

When did you start this project?
As the Mayor of Los Angeles announced Stay at Home guidelines, I photographed friends in their place of self-isolation beginning March 15th. As a commercial location photographer my work is full of color and emotion. Β This project brings me back to my roots documenting life. One camera, one prime, black and white. No assistants, simple

How did this scale?
Friends referred others and people began to message me to be subjects. Β After I had shot 9 scenes I created an Instagram project page @life.onpause and began posting the photographs on the homepage of my website.

How did the narrative unfold?
After each shoot I began to ask a few sentences to share: not who they are but rather how they are really feeling through all of this, and I began adding the stories to the posts. Those stories have became inspiration for others as they share common fears as well as the positive aspects of coming together. Everyone’s situation is different but there is a common feeling through all of this.

What has been the common observation thus far?
Now in the 5th week of shooting over 56 scenes. I’m struck at how the tenor of the photographs and stories have evolved over time. Initially there was shock, denial and anxiety amidst the uncertainty. Β As we’ve settled in and realized that this will be awhile there are now feelings of Β acceptance and positivity in our self-quarantining.

The Daily Edit – Sunhil Sippy: Mumbai Lockdown

- - The Daily Edit


Sunhil Sippy: Lockdown Diaries

Heidi: How was this work a result of recent growth or a maturing eye?
Sunhil: On March 13th I returned prematurely from a photo workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico. I cut my trip short amidst growing unease about the spread of the coronavirus, making it back into India with hours to spare before the border closed. I live in an unusual tower block in the city, a sequestered and self-contained β€œoasis”, one of many new developments dotted around the city in a bid to bring β€œquality of life” to people in a city that has burst out of its seams. The building itself was constructed on the plot of an old and sprawling slum, and under current law the developer must rehouse the slum dwellers in the form of low cost housing on 2/3 of the plot, with 1/3 being used for the new construction.

So what you have are an elite and well to do group of CEO’s and Investment Bankers living cheek by jowl with some of the city’s poorest inhabitants. There is nothing unusual about this in a city like Mumbai, which has always broadly been the case. However, while the slums used to lie flat and spread over large plots of land, many are now vertical in nature, with poorer sanitation, more divided and with a weaker sense of community. I think I’ve been trying to push myself out of comfort zones for a while, but this situation has made the place I live a perfect, if uncomfortable subject to explore.

When was the last time you left your apartment, and what are the latest restrictions?
I did a quick grocery shopping run about 4 days ago having been within the apartment for close to 20 days. I was lucky to find some food on the shelves. Yesterday the rules of the lockdown became more severe and I’m no longer allowed to be in a car on the street if travelling less than 2km, and only allowed out for a medical emergency or for provisions. However, all street vendors have been forced to close, and my suspicion is that the supply chains have been completely broken down. I don’t imagine there would be easy availability of food, fruit or vegetables any longer. One of my key concerns is drinking water and the fact that we have filters in our homes that need regular servicing byΒ  specialists. Obviously with a lockdown this severe nobody is able to carry out any of this work. Having said all this, I do believe this kind of a lockdown is necessary in a city like Mumbai and I think broadly speaking it has been effective if deeply uncomfortable.

How do these photos make you feel?
This juxtaposition has often made me feel uneasy, and while constructing my first and still incomplete body of work, A Disappearing City, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time wandering through many of these constructions in various parts of the city. I always come home with a sense of unease, being so directly segregated from the people living beside me cheek by jowl. And I think the photos do give a sense of discomfort.

What were you feeling making them? Do the two align?
While I have enjoyed photographing the city outside my doorstep, I’ve never had the courage to turn the camera inwards on to the place I live, out of a subtle feeling of guilt and shame at having the privilege of living in what a lot of people might call luxury. However, β€œluxury” for me is the ability to be able to walk on the streets of your city, and a good β€œquality of life” is less about an air-conditioned gym on your premises, and more about having a park to walk in nearby. Nevertheless, not a day goes by on which I do not say a prayer of gratitude for the comfort in which I live in a city where the blanket nationwide lockdown has left hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in the lurch, unable to return home, without food living displaced, like refugees living in camps on the border of their home states.

However even comfort and luxury develops its own spirit-crushing mundanity after an extended period in isolation. I live alone with a fine house help, Mohan, who looks after the home with love and dedication, allowing me to freely carry on with my professional and artistic pursuits. So it’s just the two of us, and no visitors.

What has the forced isolation made you confront?
I’ve always been comfortable in my own company and over the past few years have been less and less inclined towards larger social gatherings. I’ve also been learning, though it’s a complex and difficult journey, to embrace both uncertainty and the concept of discomfort. I’m not talking about physical discomfort, though living with a reconstructed left heel is certainly a physical challenge for a photographer, and physical pain is a part of my daily life. I’m talking much more about the upsetting of routines. I think as a society we have developed a disproportionate sense of dependency on β€œpredictable” and β€œcertain” outcomes. Β And we now have all types of artificial methods of coping with β€œpain”. This period is helping me to confront some these questions. And while I have been struggling with these kinds of issues for years, there is once again both a kind of luxury and struggle in being able to contemplate these in isolation, given the fact that the one commodity many of us seem to have copious amounts of, is time. On a more practical level, I completed the initial work on several new photo projects. I then decided to pick up the camera and document life in the lockdown from my reasonably unique perspective.

During my time in India, I became very familiar with your personal work, this marks for me a colorful and soulful evolution for you, what do you see?
When I look at the photos I do see a major evolution, having worked in monochrome for the better part of ten years. It has also given me a sense of confidence about finding β€œbeauty” in what I consider to be a very ordinary an aesthetically displeasing universe. It’s arguably β€œeasy” to make a monochrome picture on a grungy street, or create a sense of both β€œromance” and β€œotherness” in high contrast black and white, but to turn your camera inward in straightforward colour, can be both unsettling and challenging, forcing you to confront much of your complex inner feelings about your own privilege.

We often talked about belonging, has that shifted?
I’ve spent much of my life feeling like an outsider, whether it was growing up as a South Asian schoolboy in a predominantly Jewish, North London neighbourhood, or being brown-skinned in a white-skinned elite British Boarding School, or struggling with the language and culture in a tough-as-nails Hindi speaking film industry. And now perhaps that feeling of unbelonging continues to pervade my current habitat, as an aspiring artist in a deeply corporate universe. Making these photographs has given me a deeper sense of understanding of who I am, and helps me to believe in the fact that beauty is all around us even when we feel claustrophobic and constrained, frightened and uncertain.

 

The Daily Edit – Virtual Portraits: Jonas Jungblut

- - Working

 

virtual portraits photographed by Jonas Jungblut

 

Jonas Jungblut

Heidi: Is this satisfying your creative spirit?
Jonas: Overall I have to say I’ve had an incredible boost in creative thinking and sense of opportunity through this thing. I always preach that if you want to move forward you want to go down the rapids, less comfort but faster progress. This really feels like that. Just this morning, by 10 am, I had done a portrait session in Capetown, Lugano, Switzerland, Antigua and Los Angeles, pretty exhilarating.

Describe the project.
This project is all about everyday people during this crisis. There are no stylists, make up artists or prop stylists. The subjects are in full control of what I get to photograph and I just document. They aren’t models and mostly don’t know how to move for the camera so I have to pose them pretty diligently to get specific images.

What are the commonΒ themes in responses?
All of the subjects tell me about concerns with the situation or how the government is enforcing shut downs, we have a genuine conversation, exchange information, ideas and concerns. And then we laugh when we try get a certain shot and things are lost in communication or something. This project really has taken me away from worrying too much and I think most subjects enjoy the distraction and doing something creative. It’s good for the soul.

Do you direct the subjects?
The whole process is totally foreign and freeing at the same time. No technical control (exposure, lens, etc…) which, once you let go of it, makes the session become fully about communication. I have to move the camera with words not my hands. Years of building intuition and motor skills to get where you want to be are useless and you have to explain to someone who, often times, has no idea about composition how to position the camera. It’s not easy but at the same time entertaining. There are a lot of laughs. It is a little like directing but every shoot you have a different camera operator so you never get groovy with each other on that part.

What was your main takeaway?
My main takeaway would be that it is really nice connecting with people during this time and doing a fun project together even though you are, sometimes, on the other end of the globe. Sessions take anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour, depending on how much chatting happens. Also, sometimes it takes a while to find the right background/light/composition.

Is the lo-fi quality freeing?
The quality of the final images is brutal but it is also kind of charming, like really early digital files or badly digitized film images. These will never be printed large but creating compilations or possibly doing collage type prints will help with that. But if you are strictly going for a phone screen, or any normal size screen for that matter, it is also kind of scary to realize that this is a valid option. With the right light, internet connection and some experience you can get pretty clear images that just have a vintage, romantic, artsy type look to them. I took one this morning of a teenager in Lugano, Switzerland and when I looked at the final image I was really surprised.

Tell us how this scaled for you.
Obviously these are not medium format super beauty portraits but being able to do shoots across the globe in a single day is nuts, probably a sign of things to come. Not sure if I like it but it is what it is. If they somehow figure out how to get a 20 megapixel file out of this and maybe add selective exposure and focus I would definitely keep doing this. Actually I already have one of my magazine clients voice interest in potentially doing these in the future. And again, I love to get on the road and experience new places, not to mention the energy that exists between subject and photographer when faced in real life. But the environmental as well as economic impact of flying around the world to take a portrait (or product, etc…) will surely be challenged after this crisis. Things will change. They always do anyways.

The Daily Edit – Joe Pugliese: Social Distancing Portraits

- - The Daily Edit

Joe Pugliese


Heidi: Which was your first image, and how did they build on one another?
Joe: I started with a couple of my immediate neighbors, who are longtime friends and collaborators. As with all personal work, for me the biggest challenge is just getting the ball rolling. There is a huge unknown of what it will feel like to make the work and how the subjects will receive the experience. As I did a few of them, it became clear that it felt good and that I was being responsible in terms of my safety and that of my subjects, so I continued to reach out.

What was going through your mind during these portraits?
I tried not to overthink it. I had to disengage completely with any normal approach that I am used to, and that was challenging but refreshing. For instance, when my friends would come out to see where I was, they pretty much landed in a place that looked perfect for the photo. I did make some suggestions of moving to the left or right, etc but it was shouted from so far away that it Β was easier for the subjects to just be however they wanted to be. For the images of people inside looking out, I suggested that and Β they Β had to direct themselves since I was Β too far away to make any changes. The whole experience was fairly organic.

The magic of a portrait is the intimacy, describe the distance.
The approach here was to just record my friends in this odd moment. Luckily, there was a built-in trust that already existed since they are all close friends and know that I will not be taking advantage of them for my purposes. So even from 30 feet away there was this delicate exchange and I was surprised how similar it felt to an intimate portrait. In some ways, it may have made them more comfortable that I actually wasn’t so close. I’m learning a lot through this, and one of the things is that it takes radical change to understand how or why we do anything the way we do.

How much did you responsibly interact with each person?
Knowing that we are encouraged to get a moment or two of fresh air each day helped me wrap my head around the fact that I could do this in a very responsible way. The guidelines say to stay 6 or 10 feet from each other when outside but I wasn’t interested in pushing that in any way. I don’t think I got closer than 20ft to anyone that I photographed. I strongly believe in strict quarantine measures to quell this problem so I didn’t want to exacerbate the situation in any way. I also wanted to point out my distance and solo approach when I wrote the captions for my posts. I’m trying not to encourage a wave of photographers practicing unsafe methods to document the people in their lives.

Why do you feel people resonated with this work?
I think that it was inspired by the feeling I was having of not seeing new work of peopleΒ for a couple weeks. Most of the photo coverage revolves mourned emptiness, empty streets, empty shelves, anonymous people wearing masks, etc and I craved some honest images of people doing what needs to be done, and maintaining dignity while doing it.

The Daily Edit – Art of Freelance addresses the COVID-19Β world

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

Photo by Art of Freelance Alum Gina Cholick

Art of Freelance

CEO & Founder: Mathieu Young

Heidi: When and why did you start this organization?
Mathieu: Art of Freelance has been running 10-week online workshops since 2016. This spring will be our 10th. I love being a freelance photographer (well, maybe a little less so in the past two weeks), but was looking for a way to provide the accountability, community, feedback loops and deadlines that people working a normal 9-to-5 have baked into their lives, and we do not.Β  So we break into small groups, check in weekly, and help each other stay accountable to the goals we set for the 10 weeks. The workshop culminates in a Showcase where we can all show off the work we’ve made. It’s amazing how much more people get done when there is some structure, a deadline, accountability, and support.

What has this taught you about the industry and yourself?
Short term, I feel like COVID-19 just revealed our industry as fragile, and not particularly well organized. There is no one advocating for creative freelancers at a national scale, the way you see in other countries. Congress is discussing a massive bailout package for major industries, “small” businesses (which probably don’t include sole proprietors that don’t have payroll costs), and people who qualify for Unemployment Insurance, but independent contractors that have been getting paid via a 1099 may fall through the cracks. You have people literally wondering how they’re going to pay their rent next month, and not a lot of good answers. We’ve been trying to research and aggregate some info on FEMA/SBA loans, emergency grants, rent moratoriums and mortgage forbearance programs, etc, to share with the community.

Long term, I think that this crisis will force us to be the kind ofΒ intrepidΒ  innovative, creative problem solvers that we naturally are, and develop interesting solutions to continue to provide the world withΒ creative content. I also think thatΒ this crisis is going toΒ push a lot of us to reassess the age old wisdom that you should specialize specializeΒ specialize, and make aΒ diversification of skill sets something to aim for. I think this crisis may push a lot of people toΒ reassess their careers, and potentially pivot, or add additional layers to increase thatΒ resiliency in tough times like these.

Who are your members?
We’ve had hundreds of creative freelancers from all different industriesΒ participantsΒ in the workshop, and stay active in theΒ community. Photographers make up a good portion of theΒ participants, but there areΒ also musicians, writers, directors, designers, illustrators, and entrepreneurs of all kinds. Part of what makes it unique is the cross pollinationΒ between people with divergent skill sets, interested, and backgrounds.

How are you coping with the current climate?
We’re hosting a free Zoom call at 12p PST this Thursday to discuss “freelancing in a COVID-19Β world”, and I’ll be interviewing Andrea Stern (@asksternreps), Joe Pugliese (@joepug), and Hannah Soto (@greyhouseproductions).

There are also a couple spots open in the Spring 2020 workshop still available if people are interested in some additional community, accountability, and support over the next 10 weeks. The registration link is on the homepage here

And we’ve continued to update our resources for freelancers pageΒ here, and will continue to do so leading up to Thursday.

The Daily Edit – Chris Crisman: Virtual Shoot

- - The Daily Edit

Virtual Shoot

Photographer and Director: Chris Crisman

Heidi: Was Virtual Shoot a result of the outbreak or crazy synchronicity?
Chris: Around 6 months ago we had started preparing for early March to be a challenging time for our business. Not only was there launching the Women’s Work book but our executive producer, Robert Luessen, was scheduled to begin paternity leave the same week. Because of this, and also paired with our February decision to move to a commercial self-representation model, we were hyper-vigilant to everything that could possibly impact our work-flow. For years our team has wondered aloud how we could clone ourselves to be on more than one shoot at a time. But over the past 6 months preparing (with a side of panic) for Robert’s paternity, we half-joked that we would have to figure out a way to pipe him into the shoots with an iPad on a roller stand… And then on March 5th when clients were asking us for solutions, we began to develop bringing the idea of the Virtual Shoot to life. The β€œwhat if” now became a β€œhow?”. And that question fueled us to rapidly find creative solutions. I’m also the kind of person who is always searching for new ways to challenge myself and the team when it comes to thinking about how to transform so the first call for our tech approach was to a trusted Digital Tech and DIT. I told him that I wanted to create an option that showed a scenario with as few people as possible on a set, but allow for conditions for everyone who should be there to attend and interact virtually, in real-time.

These final images were all created with existing photographs from Chris’s library or CGI then combined with a shoot of a single person in studio.

How long have you been working on this video?
The timeline for ideation to shooting this video was 7 days. We finished the final edit on March 18th. Within that time period, we were hyper-focused on establishing a pre-production protocol that was current to what we were learning at the time about safety-first. We took particular precautions and protocols that were published by various respected industry groups, like AICP. We also communicated with our crew daily prior to the shoot as well as during the shoot about their physical health. Our equipment and our studio was cleaned and disinfected prior to our arrival. We also opted for a larger studio to assist with the social distancing. Hand sanitizer and medical grade gloves were provided. The on-set producer took new responsibilities to ensure all surfaces were constantly sanitized with disinfectant.

Why does the world need this now?
This is not a time to gather. That is the critical first point I make on every platform where we shared this video. Again, Right now is the time to stay at home. I closed our physical office on Friday, March 5th and we re-opened our virtual office the following Monday. As for why now? Because we wanted the video to serve as an example for anyone who will need to consider new, more efficient ways to conduct business. Our way of helping people see things not as they are but as they can be β€” and for us, more thought-provoking, the better.

What’s next?
Since launching, I’ve spent time hunkered down with family as well as time reflecting on how much gratitude, respect and hope I have for this industry. I am also looking forward to keeping conversations like these going β€” especially around what Is coming and more so than ever, how we keep safe. We also challenged ourselves along the way to explore the idea of shooting without physical interactions and what we found is possible there. So there will be more to show and then talk about. In the long run, challenging ourselves was also a reminder to everyone on the team of what’s ahead and how important it is to be able to contribute ideas to moving our industry forward, together

The Daily Edit – Selma Fernandez Richter: La Luz Workshops

- - The Daily Edit

Selection of images from β€œThe Ache for Home” by Selma Fernandez Richter.

La Luz Workshops

Founder: Selma Fernandez Richter

Heidi: What in your background led you to creating workshops?
Selma:I have been a photographer since 2001. I started my career en Monterrey, Mexico, where I attended college, primarily working on editorial projects for magazines. The desire to improve my photography led me to search for the most effective way to learn new skills. I found that photography workshops were an ideal way to do this. They provided an opportunity for me to immerse myself in a relatively short period of time, learn from some of the best photographers in the world, and apply the knowledge to my profession upon returning home.

Tell us about your relationship with Mary Ellen Mark and the connection to the photo center.
I was fortunate to have Mary Ellen Mark as my teacher, who ran an amazing workshop for nearly 20 years in Oaxaca, in Southern Mexico. I was able to attend her workshops for two consecutive years with scholarships from Conarte (Council for Culture and Art in Monterrey).

A desire to continue learning kept me close to the world of photography workshops. In 2007, I started working as Teaching Assistant for the Santa Fe Workshops and National Geographic Expeditions, also in Oaxaca, where I worked with photographers RaΓΊl Touzon, Eniac MartΓ­nez, David Alan Harvey and Kenneth Garrett, among others. With time, I started to develop photography classes, in Monterrey, for advanced enthusiasts. Facilitating the learning process and bearing witness to student growth brought me great fulfillment and joy.

In 2011, I was invited to produce Mary Ellen Mark’s workshops which turned out to be the best school I could ever attend. Not only did I learn about photography, but also about her commitment to her students and her close relationship with the community. She always pushed students and staff to their fullest potential. I was fortunate to also assist her on assignment.


Mary Ellen Mark taking a portrait of me during her workshop in 2005

For many years, I collaborated with Photo Xpeditions, the company that produced Mary Ellen’s workshops. I started working with photographers Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, whom I had previously studied with; Maggie Steber, Tino Soriano, among others.

It felt like the natural next step was to establish my own company.Β  And in 2018, I created La Luz Workshops, which truly reflects my values around photography and teaching.

Today, I am honored and deeply grateful to work with some of the world’s leading photographers and industry experts, who are also remarkable teachers. We currently have two workshops in Mexico with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, Finding your Vision, which is held every year, and The Art of Editing, which is held every 3 years (we just completed the first one this winter and it will happen again in 2023). I am really excited to have our first portraiture workshop with Richard Renaldi this Summer, also in Oaxaca, called The Engaging Portrait: A Stranger in Oaxaca. And, in the fall, we will run the second edition of Your Work and Its Audience: Making the Match, with Mary Virginia Swanson and Special Guests.

Art of Editing Workshop: Oaxaca, 2020 with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb”
Finding your Vision: Oaxaca, 2020 with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

Why in Oaxaca?
While I currently live in Minneapolis, MN, with my husband, photographer Andy Richter and our 3 year old son, Julien, I was born and raised in Oaxaca. Working in my home town is something that always makes me proud. I aim to share it with our students, who come from all over the world, in an authentic and intimate way.Β  We like to encourage meaningful engagement with the people and culture, not just taking things and perpetuating stereotypes.

Oaxaca is culturally rich, visually interesting, offers some of the best food in the world, has great weather year round, and it’s people love and embrace visitors that come to experience it. But there is also a history of colonialism on a number of levels. And that is why for us at La Luz is very important to engage in and promote fair business practices. We also encourage respectful relationships between our students and the people that they photograph. We are really lucky that our instructors and their work, attracts a crowd of experienced and sensitive travelers that come to Oaxaca with an open mind and heart.

To give you and idea of how Oaxaca is such a unique place, around 2003, McDonald’s tried to open a restaurant at the ZΓ³calo β€”the main square where traditionally locals gather to eat and hang out, and the late painter Francisco Toledo, one of Mexico’s greatest artists, who was originally from Oaxaca, and the organization Pro-Oax, stopped the construction of the restaurant. During the last years of his life, Toledo was also very active in protecting native corn and local farmers from Monsanto. Oaxaca is considered by many the place where corn originated and where the most diversity of species exists. And as you may know, it is also a very important part of our cultural identity.

Tell us about your the connection to the photo center.
The workshops in Oaxaca are held at the Manuel Alvarez Bravo Photographic Center, founded by Francisco Toledo. The new director, Fausto NahΓΊm and I are having conversations about how we can best collaborate and have the workshops be more involved with the community and vice versa.

Another important aspect is being able to offer scholarships to Mexican photographers. We currently offer the Friends of Mary Ellen Mark Scholarship every year, that is open to Mexican young photographers (18-32 years old) to attend Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb’s workshop in Oaxaca. This scholarship is partially funded by some of Mary Ellen’s former students and close friends as well as by the Webbs and La Luz. Our hope is to keep Mary Ellen’s memory and generosity alive in Oaxaca, a place that was so close to her heart. We are currently looking into ways to offer more scholarships.

Mary Virginia Swanson and Elizabeth Krist during the workshop Your Work and Its Audience: Making the Match, NYC 2019

Do you organize them anywhereΒ else?
Every year we run a workshop in New York with Mary Virginia Swanson and Special Guests called Your Work and Its Audience: Making the Match. Our Special Guests include: Elizabeth Krist, former Senior Editor at National Geographic; Alan Rapp, Editorial Director at Monicelli Press; Photographer and Photo Book Editor Joan Liftin; Karen Marks, Director at Howard Greenberg gallery; Jane Yeomans, Photo Editor at Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine; and photographer Elinor Carucci.

This workshop is for photographers who are ready to share their photographic work with the world. This class will help them identify appropriate audiences for it and discuss how to effectively reach out to them, whether it be through exhibitions, fine prints, publication or other formats. As artists, we spend most of our time, energy and resources, creating the work, but as Swanee says, sharing the work with others completes the creative cycle.

As you know, the gallery and editorial markets and basically everything in our industry is rapidly evolving. It is so important that photographers invest the time to really understand, speak the language and learn to make better negotiations when commissioned to create new work, granting licensing rights for their images, or when publishing their projects, to mention a few of the topics that the workshop covers.

 

 

The Daily Edit – BUST: Erin Patrice O’Brien

- - The Daily Edit

BUST

Creative Director: Laurie Henzel
Photographer:
Eric Patrice O’Brien

Heidi: How did Portrait of a Skateboard develop?
Erin: Portrait of a Skateboard developed because I became aware of the female and non- binary skate community through my daughter who skateboards. She was one of the only girls who skateboarded at her middle school at the time. And she was not comfortable going to the skatepark. The skateparks tend to be filled with mostly boys and men so it is intimidating for a young girl. I don’t skate and I have never been coordinated athletically. Maya, my daughter is pretty good for her age and it seemed like a waste that this was such a barrier. But it is. I found out about some organizations like @QuellSkateboarding and Skate Kitchen that had skate sessions for women and non- binary skaters so I brought her to one in New Haven, Ct.

When we arrived she and her friend looked at the scene said, β€œMom, No. Let’s go home. β€œ They were shy. It was an oasis of women skating and I was completely drawn in, wanting to document everything. I walked up to a woman who looked pretty good and asked her to help my daughter. Her name was Jules Moriah. She immediately agreed and took Maya and her friend Kaitlyn to the ramps and gave them some tips. This was so empowering, I had never experienced such kindness between women.

Why did you exclude men?
It’s not that I excluded men. I have just focused on women and non binary skaters. I think there is plenty of documentation of male skaters.

How long have you been shooting that series?
I started shooting the series in June of 2019.

What tools has skating given these women?
I think that the tools it gives them is confidence and determination. It takes a long time to learn how to do an ollie or any other skate trick. It also takes a lot of confidence to go to a skatepark and be the only woman or non binary person.

Did you pitch BUST or did they come to you after seeing this personal gallery?
I pitched Bust because I was looking for other ways to be able to photograph the skaters that I met. Laurie Henzel – the creative director and founder- loved the series and was totally open. I went overboard because I wanted to shoot so many skaters that I had met and loved. I think she said get 4 models and I came back with 8 skaters. I begged Keia Bounds (who I know from working together photographing Dave Chappelle for Comedy Central in 2002) to be the stylist. Christine Herbeck has always been my main hair and makeup person. For this shoot Christine did the makeup and I had Nappstar Salon do the hair. Everyone worked really hard and we had fun. I was driving all the skaters in my 2004 toyota minivan back and forth from my studio to the skatepark in Brooklyn .

When is the launch party, will you skate there?
Unless a Corona cancel happens, the party is on March 12 from 7-10 at 110 Studios in Bushwick. Through the skate community I found a very cool venue which is photography and skateboarding centric. The owner Paulie, who also skates built the cyclorama strong enough to hold skateboarders and skaters bands will be performing.

The Daily Edit – Modern Huntsman: Tyler Sharp

- - Working


Modern Huntsman

 

CEO and Editor-in-Chief: Tyler Sharp

Heidi: You’re a photographer, a writer and a CEO, how did all that braid together to launch this magazine?
Tyler: This may sound trite, but perhaps destiny and a bit of serendipity. I studied film and photography at USC, and in a random stroke of fate my first job out of college was in Tanzania working for a safari company. I went from Los Angeles to the middle of Africa and spent six months documenting fishing, Kilimanjaro trips and hunting. It changed my life completely. This led to that, I was whisked to over 35 countries in a few years, and exposed to a myriad of cultures, conservation issues and hunting traditions. I was photographing and writing about my adventures on the side, and eventually started to pitch to other magazines and brands, utilizing my access to remote locations as a way to get my foot in the door. It worked, and I was very fortunate to work with some great people over the years. But I was constantly frustrated by two main things regarding hunting: one, that hunters for the most part do a terrible job of communicating ethics and the majority role that hunting plays in conservation, and two, that many non-hunters are either not educated about this reality, or are mis-informed by false or sensationalized media. We started Modern Huntsman to bridge that communication gap, and have based a lot of the philosophy off the wisdom, beauty and respect for wildlife that I’ve been witness to, but is rarely highlighted. Our hope is to make the topic of hunting less taboo, and to showcase how it is still very much a part of the natural order. Then I lost a bet and got promoted to CEO.Β 

Your most recent theme was all about women (which is outstanding) how did that theme evolve?
From the very beginning, we’ve had women involved in this venture, and my dear friend Jillian Lukiwski (@thenoisyplume on IG) was actually the one who encouraged us to keep the more poetic β€œHuntsman” in the title, and to shirk any criticisms that we weren’t inclusive of both genders, in the same way that the word β€œhuman” refers to male and female. As we started to do research and collect more stories, it became very clear that not only was there a treasure trove of female creative talent in the hunting and conservation space, but that many of them were not being featured and celebrated the way they should be. So we decided to do an entire book about it, and rather than pretend like I know what the hell I’m talking about, I stepped aside and brought in four women editors to take the reins. What resulted was one of the most inspiring and rewarding experiences of my life, and to my knowledge is the first time it’s been done in this way for the genre. Feels like we barely scratched the surface with 272 pages, and while we could easily do another four books, we all feel proud of what we accomplished in showing a diverse range of women who hunt, fish, ranch and fight to save wild places. It’s really something special, whether you’re a hunter or not.Β Β 

Did you have any criticism from the female community?
Before we start on every issue, we lay out all of the possible pitfalls and potential criticisms, and do our best to be mindful and intentional as we move forward. We knew that people would say this was a β€œpublicity stunt,” or it was β€œmen talking about women,” and even that β€œthere should be no division between men and women in hunting and that it was patronizing to focus entirely on female hunters.” Our amazing team of tenacious women shot it all down, and forged ahead bravely with what they felt needed to be said to engage readers from diverse backgrounds, and hopefully generate more interest, despite the fact that women are the fastest growing demographic within the hunting industry. Surprisingly, our biggest criticism came from women within the hunting industry itself, claiming that our cover choice was not β€œhardcore enough to represent them as hunters.” Again, this was a deliberate choice. Yes there are many women who are just as tough, if not more tough, then men. There are photos of them with blood and dirt on their faces and animals on their backs as they hike out of the backcountry. We wanted a cover that showcased a more graceful and feminine side – that you can be both a hunter and a mother, killer and nurturer, angler and gatherer. The Salmon Sisters from Alaska are a perfect representation of that, and Dawn Huemann’s photo of them is so iconically idyllic, we knew right away that it was the cover. Being that our goal is to engage with non-hunters and hunters alike, we felt this image choice would help accomplish that, but no decision is without critics and this was no exception.Β 

How do you compensate your contributors?
I tried to base the model off everything that I didn’t like about working with other magazines: a lack of camaraderie or community, a simple exchange of services with little shelf life beyond the print release, and the sometimes β€œthank you, bye” tone of assignments. So in addition to pay, we do ongoing social promotion of our contributors work, website features of their portfolios, films or products, and pull them into podcasts, speaking events and newsletters. Every volume I also give some contributors a percentage of sales, which helps them feel a bit more invested in the cause, and incentivises them to help us promote the finished work. We also connect many of them with our brand partners to do additional commercial assignments. Modern Huntsman wouldn’t be anything without the contributors, so I do my best to advocate for them and provide as many opportunities as I can. We push our photographers and writers hard and demand excellence, but it’s a very involved, collaborative process that is rewarding for all of us in the end. I’d like to think that we’re doing things a little differently, and so far it seems to be appreciated with those we bring into the fold.Β 

How did you get started and how many issues do you publish annually?
While the idea for the brand and the book was in development for a year prior, we launched a Kickstarter in the fall of 2017. Our instinct that this was a much needed fresh take on hunting traditions was proven true, and we successfully raised about $110k to produce the first book. It took about four months to gather all of the content from our faithful contributors, and Volume One shipped in early 2018. We’ve done three additional books since then, and I say books because they are 250+ pages with no ads. So call it a biannual publication, and while I don’t foresee a way to publish more than two a year, we’re going to be launching some smaller collaborative projects this year in addition to a lot more digital content, podcasts, and educational events for those who want to learn more about food sourcing and conservation.Β 

How can photographers contribute?
While our next two books have been mostly commissioned, we’re always publishing stories on the site and across our social channels, and are always trying to diversify the voices and backgrounds that we feature. As much as possible, we try to present a wide array of perspectives that bring about constructive conversations. It’s not just hunters and anglers who contribute, and in my opinion, therein lies one of our strengths. Given the amount of unsolicited submissions we’ve been getting, we haven’t really opened a formal process for that yet, but hope to in the near future. For now the best channel is the submission link through our site, and typically story ideas that adhere to current or upcoming themes are the most relevant.


CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Tyler Sharp on assignment in Africa

The Daily Edit – Steve Peixotto: The Twilight Twirlers

- - The Daily Edit

 

Steve Peixotto

Heidi: Did you stage this bowling alley image, tell us how this photo came to be.
Steve: It seems like almost always; shoots are magical.Β  We work really hard to create the opportunity for chance to go the right direction and somehow it works.Β  Yes this image is staged, BUT there was no shortage of magic.

Do you grow up bowling?
I’ve been connected to bowling as long as I can remember. The couple in the photo was on a team in β€œThe Twilight Twirlers”, the Tuesday night league my mom and dad bowled in for something like 20 years. Β When my dad became ill my brother and I became fixtures in the league covering for dad when he couldn’t bowl. Β Pete and Marie, when they travel, they bring their bowling balls and they bowl basically everywhere they go. I understand taking your passion with you but traveling for bowling always just sort of stood out to me as a little unexpected but rad at the same time.

The traveling bowlers concept marinated in my head for several years, but not necessarily as a photo, it was just something that I thought of.Β  I’m not sure how to explain it, but I get these thoughts that are almost like recurring dreams. Β They evolve over time, then every once in a while, one will turn into a photograph. This one did.

I knew for sure that I would shoot it at Country Club Bowl in San Rafael, Ca. After all, it was our home field and it had all the perfect elements, the neon sign, the 60’s β€œinexpensive modern” architecture, a big parking lot, and I knew the owners so since it was a personal project I might be able to pay the location fee with a bottle of someone’s favorite spirit. Β Pete and Marie were the obvious choice for talent, they had the right look and even better the photo really was about THEM. Β The only problem was that they drive a minivan with no style. Β So the hunt was on for a big old Caddy or Lincoln, something from the late 60’s – mid 70’s was preferable.

Where did you get the car?
I got the green light from bowling alley (miraculously they had just finished redoing all the neon on the sign), and Pete and Marie were on board so I sent emails to a few art department friends to see if anyone had a line on the car I needed for my shot. Β Literally the next morning that Cadillac roll up my street, so of course I followed it. Β The owner was super stoked to let us photograph the car he had just finished restoring. Β His mom was the original owner.

What type of work have been doing lately? did it build from this most recent shot?
I don’t care if it’s a personal shoot or a big ad shoot, when you throw the right energy at it, you get magic.Β  β€œBowlers” is on the long list of magical shoots. Since that bowlers shot, I have done several senior lifestyle shoots for a variety of clients ranging from pharmaceuticals to senior living communities and banking. Β The first senior shoot I was hired for after the bowlers shoot was a direct result of having shared the bowlers shot, in fact, the client used the bowlers image in selling their concepts to the client. Β It’s been a few years now and I’ve been shooting for that client 2-3 times a year.

 


Has your personal work ever translated into paid work?

Yes, about 10 years ago. An Art Producer that I used to work with a bunch loved a personal project I did which was portraits of people with wandering eyes.Β  Her agency (Cutwater) was pitching LensCrafters. They wanted to create a book of portraits of people doing different things with glasses I think the ta line was β€œWhat will you do with them.”Β  Jen Worth, the Art Producer presented my Wandering Eye series to the Creative Director, Joe Kayser.Β  He liked the work, subject matter / concept / style and he asked Jen if she could get me in to shoot each of the employees at the agency with glasses and create a treatment for the body of work that would make it stand out. They got the business and eventually hired me to shoot portraits which were used in all of the LensCrafters stores as in print ads, direct mail and web advertising.Β  My personal project led to helping the agency win new business which led to a fun portrait project used in a national campaign.

What advice would you give your younger self as a photographer?
I would commend my younger self for starting a list of creative ideas for photography and other media. Β Then I would tell me to execute those ideas faster and more often, and most importantly I would tell me to make sure to share the results with the world regularly. Β I’m telling my older self the same thing.