Shooting for the NY Times Magazine

A reader sent me a link to a NY Times Magazine piece where photographer Simon Norfolk talks about several of the shoots he’s done (here). There’s good insight to his approach on each story but I love to read between the lines as he tells us about shooting this Sunday’s Perfect Drought story. He describes the photos as “Illustrative of the facts,” for a conventional story where “the pictures sit closely to the text.”

Sure, it’s a job, but handing someone a story and telling them to go shoot all the plot points seems so two dimensional to me. That story should have gone in the newspaper not the magazine.

Anton Corbijn is the MAN

Like usual Hetherington got the drop on me about Anton Corbijn’s movie but since he’s finally finished (here) maybe he’ll start shooting editorial jobs again.

What’s it like to work with Anton? Crushing.

Remember the photographer who sends one amazing print after a shoot is done? Anton sends 6 or 12. And, each and every one is the greatest photograph you have ever witnessed.

I’m not even talking about the printing technique. I’m talking about what’s in the pictures. I was shocked to discover, after my first shoot with Anton, that his skills lied not in his powerful style but in his ability to create instant timeless, iconic images.

The crushing part? No matter what 4 or 5 you pick to publish there are 4 or 5 more that are better, sitting in the box.




Who is this Dan Winters Fellow?

Can you spot a Dan Winters photograph a mile away? Yes, on a dead sprint past a newsstand out of the corner of my eye.

Is there more Dan than subject in those photographs? I don’t care.

When the editor professes a love for Dan Winters photography it only means he loves a photograph he once saw. Not, that he will love the photographs he’s about to get.

Could a Photo Directors job get any easier then giving Dan an assignment? Right up to the point where you’re told to give him art direction.

(Clarification: Dan is a Genius. I just think it’s stupid to art direct him and I’m not implying he doesn’t collaborate. He does.)Β 





Spencer Heyfron has flown the Coop

It appears that Jake’s long time assistant Spencer has flown the coop and is crushing it for Esquire among others. Maybe he’s picking up Jake’s overbooking but the work is strong so I wouldn’t doubt he’s landing it himself.

Either way I’ve never forgotten his name because of the difficulty the airlines have with it when booking travel for he and Jake.


Jake Chessum On Fire

One of my all time favorites, Jake has always been a very busy photographer, but it appears he’s exploded and his calendar is impenetrable. Jake is repped by Molly Logan and now consistently has at least 1-2 months of solid bookings.




On Set With Terry R.

An associate tells me what it’s like to shoot with the provocative Mr. Richardson.

Art Direction for Terry was a question of what he wanted to do…and we pretty much let him go.

I was really nervous to meet him, you know he’s too cool for school and I felt a bit like “the man”, but he’s a total sweet-heart while at the same time guarded. He’s a celeb unto himself!

He talked about the Lohan shoot and I asked how he had gotten her to crawl across the mirror, an obvious reference to cocaine. He smiled and said it was all about throwing so many things at the subject that they didn’t have time to say no. Which I think is his genius, no matter who he’s shooting he can convince them to be a little wilder and that’s why I love him.

Nice. Thanks for the insight.

Terry Richardson

I dig Terry’s work. He makes compelling pictures without the aide of expensive cameras, film and retouching (not always of course) through a strong point of view and a connection to his subject.

Alessandra Petlin is hot

I hear Alessandra Petlin is working on several big editorial projects. Repped by Rob Magnotta at Edge she’s been on my list for awhile now but it appears she’s blowing up. Go ahead and publicly shame me if she’s been hot since PDN 30’d her because I’m not exactly working on cutting edge shit here… if you can tell by my photographer posts so far. And, yes I realize she’s shot for the NY Times magazine since like, forever.

Oddly, it was a writer who made a strong recommendation and that convinced me I had to find something worthy ASAP.



Chris Buck


One of the great contemporary editorial photographers.

When the shoot arrives and you open the box it’s always something you never would have thought of.


The Former First Assistant

Of all the ways to get your foot in the door at a magazine this is certainly a very good one (of course that depends on what it’s like to be a first assistant but I wouldn’t know about that). I know photographers don’t like to be known as “former first assistants to so and so photographer” (especially when their styles look similar, as they inevitably do) but it certainly has an impact on me when I hear about it.

When I first started working with Martin Schoeller he was Annie’s former first and boy did he have some great stories to tell. Interestingly, Martin’s former first has given up photography to become a helicopter pilot… but I don’t think it has anything to do with his experience as an assistant. Maybe more to do with his experience trying to become a professional photographer.

I’ve recently started working with Dan Winters current first (guess there’s not a lot of work down there in Austin so he’s got two jobs) and I’ve had nothing but great results.


An up and coming young editorial photographer dropped by the office today to give me film from a small shoot he did. He got his start in action sports so when he reached into his pack to show me the new camera he’s been shooting with wasn’t I surprised to see him pull out a brand spankin new 4×5.

Sure, digital has taken over the photography world but I still love seeing film.

Antonin Kratochvil

Antonin is one of my favorite photographers of all time. I love giving him an assignment, especially something that’s not conflict related, because you’re guaranteed two things. 1. Amazing photography. 2. A fight with the editor. There’s really no two ways about it, Antonin’s photos are not conventional and most of us work at magazines that need and want and mostly publish conventional photography so there’s gonna be a fight with the editor(s) to get the good one’s published. At least, when you’re making the assignment, the fight is a long way off and all you think about is the glorious frames you will receive and the many endless possibilities for amazing 20 page layouts.