Feature Promo – Ashley Sullivan

Ashley Sullivan

Who printed it?
Printed by Paper Chase Press

Who designed it?
Designed by Demetra Mazria

Tell me about the images?
I worked alongside Megan Gonzalez (Art Direction and Prop Styling) and Diana Scanlon (Food Styling) to produce this test shoot. Megan and I worked together to put together a vision board with scrap images as well as rough sketches for our shot list. It was important to us to create lighting that was reminiscent of a sunny day in the tropics– I think we succeeded! We created a set of images that had an intentional pacing, diversity in angles, and a continuous color story.

How many did you make?
300 printed.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send out promos once or twice each calendar year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I thoroughly enjoy the process and result of concepting and designing a printed piece. I’ve always held in high regard the idea of bringing images beyond the screen. It may stem from my background in architecture — but carving physical space for something is both a beautiful and meaningful undertaking. To that end, I take care to ensure that each element is given the attention it deserves. I chose to have this booklet saddle stitched… a detail that caused my budget to stretch a bit, but it was important to me that the elements that surround the images would be of the same caliber.

With the seemingly infinite channels of digital marketing available, creating a tactile piece feels like purposeful work. Giving the images a place to exist, creating an experience for the viewer. While it’s nearly impossible to account for the effectiveness of one specific marketing piece, I do find that printed promos are ones that clients enjoy receiving, and will often make a point of sending a note to tell me so.

Featured Promo – Mike Borchard

Mike Borchard

Who printed it?
Printed by Ex Why Zed, based in the UK.

Who designed it?
It was designed by me.

Tell me about the images?
The images are from a personal project I shot in Hawaii last spring/summer. The images are made by double exposing 35mm film, shot on older Nikonos cameras. The Nikonos cameras from the 70’s & 80’s are fully self-contained waterproof units and were originally designed for underwater photography. I would shoot an entire roll of film while out in the mountains or jungle, then rewind it, reload it, and re-shoot surfing over it again.

How many did you make?
I printed a numbered run of 150.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
My goal is two promos per year, and I try to make them both more in-depth promos rather than just a postcard or a foldout. Taking a quality over quantity approach.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes I do, although it can be really difficult to measure. I’ve found sending out less promos to a more targeted group that I already communicate with or want to be communicating regularly with is more effective than just mailing out a bunch of promos to a large list of people that I have zero relationships with. I also enjoy the process of creating and bringing tangible works to life, so I’m never too stressed if I don’t see a huge direct response to a promo, because I’m usually stoked on the process anyway.

This project came to exist almost purely because of COVID. Last March, my travel and work schedule was completely vaporized, and I found myself with plenty of free time. Free time that I spent experimenting with trial and error burning up countless rolls of film while dialing in the double exposure process. It felt amazing to be out creating and trying new things purely for the stoke of it. No clients, no deadlines; just some old cameras, an idea, and plenty of time.

Featured Promo – Stephen Ambrose

Stephen Ambrose

Who printed it?
It was printed by Push Print London.
The book was printed on the fuji jet press using a process that gives a wider gamut of colours than litho.
Format: 28pp self-cover.
Size: 396 X 297mm portrait.
Printing: 4 colour throughout wide gamut Jet press both sides.
Materials: Fedrigoni Arcoprint Milk 150gsm.
Finishing: Centre singer sew x 4 thread colours

Who designed it?
Paul Belford at Paul Belford Limited

Tell me about the images?
This project is from an historical sports event that’s fought every year in the Piazza Santa Croce, Florence, Italy on the third weekend of June with the final being played on the 24th June which is the Feast of John the Baptist. Four teams play and they represent the four districts of Florence. I first became aware of Calcio Storico after seeing a film that Vice magazine had shot a couple of years previously and having spent the best part of a year shooting footballers for Adidas I was inspired to turn my lens to other less well known sports. Something where no money was involved and it was about camaraderie and passion for the team game. The players live, work in, and represent the four districts of Florence. The objective was to make a project out of two 50 minute games which was going to be difficult as I needed portraits, action, violence, details and landscapes/overviews to make it a coherent body of work.

How did you gain access to the event?
I applied for a press pass from the Florentine government in January 2019 and didn’t hear anything back until 5 days before the first game, I’d been approved, I immediately booked a flight and hotel. Unfortunately, meanwhile I had just ruptured my main bicep tendon in my right arm which meant I couldn’t take any weight with my right arm/hand but I could operate the camera and with a long lens on you take the weight with your left hand. My last minute flight and hotel were non refundable and I didn’t know if I’d get this opportunity again so I had to go.

I got to Florence on the Friday afternoon and had to pick up the press pass from the press office. When I arrived they issued me with a press pass for the stands only. I pleaded for access all areas but to no avail. I knew I could not get the shots I wanted unless I could get right up to the barriers on the pitch. I needed the position to be up close and personal.

On game day I joined the procession through the streets but after a short while I headed off to the pitch. A security guard showed me to the stands and then I asked if I could walk around the pitch. He looked at my pass and said no. I explained my predicament but there was a language barrier. Undeterred I went to the gates. I introduced myself to another security guard and again tried to explain my plight. Again we had a language barrier, but amazingly he got his phone out and called his English speaking wife to translate. I explained about the press pass and my desire to get closer than the stands allowed and after a short conversation back with her husband she told me to ‘go in and stay in, get in against the barriers and it should be ok’. It was such a relief, that moment, that conversation was a real turning point that made the project what it is. So for two days and the two matches I did the same, wandered in and stayed in and nobody bothered me. Everyone else with fully visible ‘access all areas’ badges and me with mine turned over and tucked away. In the chaos that is Calcio Storico I’d got away with it.

How many did you make?
I had 250 printed with Paul Belfords initial idea being to have them stitched with cotton in the four colours of the teams but that turned out to be almost impossible so we opted to split the print run in to blue, green, white and red cotton that represented the four team colours, Azzuri, Verdi, Bianchi, Rossi. Which is also the wording we used for the front cover.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I usually send out postcards only once a year and this is the first book promo I’ve done.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes definitely, at the moment more so as I think clients appreciate something tactile. But generally it is a good introduction to getting through the door with your folio.

Featured Promo – James Hartley

James Hartley

Who printed it?
Cryptic Carousel in Brooklyn, NY.
They do cassette duplication and manufacturing, and could make a custom cover that functioned as a photo booklet.

Who designed it?
I did. It’s a mixtape, had to keep it hand-written and personal.

Tell me about the images?
Block Rockers is an ongoing portrait series of New Yorkers i’ve seen out on the street, playing music through their boomboxes and outdoor speakers. When the portraits are made, the song they’re playing is noted, and later mixed with field recordings I’ve made around the city. The images, songs & recordings combine to create a visual mixtape of the city.

Tell me about combining images with sound?
The booklet functioning as a visual tracklist is what brought the project together for me. Seeing who’s playing what song brings personality to the photos and the music, like you’re walking the city and these are the characters you meet. It’s a quintessential New York thing!

How many did you make?
100. I sent about 10 out as press/promo, and the rest sold at the launch or online.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I’ll send stuff out whenever I release or self publish something. I’ll aim for one a year, but it varies.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I don’t think it’s essential, nor should anyone feel pressured to, but it can’t hurt. I think it’s good to see your work on different mediums, and I like having physical copies of personal projects I’ve done. Doesn’t hurt to share that…

Featured Promo – Michael Kleber

Michael Kleber

Who designed it?
Me

Tell me about the images and the promo.
At the beginning of 2020 I received an inquiry from Felix Rähmer an athlete from Berlin to accompany him to the triathlon 70,3 in Graz, Austria. I was intrigued by the idea, and we decided to work together right away.

My original concept was to document not only his participation in the triathlon itself but also to feature his preparation process prior to the event. We wanted to shoot a series of photos showcasing his daily routines, running, cycling and swimming as well as a performance test at the hospital.

Then came February and the Corona pandemic hit the world at full force. As restrictions came crushing down on us all cultural and sports events got cancelled. Graz triathlon was no exception.

At this point we had already started our documentation process and were quite frustrated to see the whole thing falling apart.

But every setback is a chance in disguise. As social contacts were heavily restricted at the time. Felix and I began a one on one sports routine and went biking together on a regular basis.

During a two month period my „urban cycling“ series came to be, was finalized soon after and finished of with wonderful retouches from vividgrey. This project was also the first time that I used “back on track“ as a slogan for the backside of my cards. I like to give my promos a personal touch, something a little more tangible and handcrafted. So I decided to write it by hand instead of just printing it.

How many did you make?
I made 500 sets with 3 cards each.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
At least two times a year. I send out postcards and booklets highlighting certain aspects of my work. Alongside with my digital newsletters you this will give you a good overview to the work I do.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
For sure. Even though printed promos make up for just a small fraction of my marketing, they are a vital asset.

Especially at times were in person meetings with my clients are very limited I still like to have a way to get through to them on a personal level. A postcard is a nice way to achieve that.

In my experience, a print on paper is appreciated so much more than another email getting lost in the infinite flood of messages.

Featured Promo – Daniel Hearn

Daniel Hearn

Who printed it?
I went with moo.com for this one. In the past, I’ve tried elaborate folding creations which I get custom made by ExWhyZed in the UK, but Moo’s premium postcards are actually pretty good straight off the shelf, as long as you do a couple of test runs to get the colours looking right.

Who designed it?
I designed it myself, which is why the design elements are all pretty minimal. My partner is a designer and always provides some guidance, but this time I just got a straight thumbs up.

Tell me about the images?
Ever since I started studying photography I was drawn to extremely concise images that contain a burst of visual information in as minimal a composition as possible. I remember walking into the photo dept at my college on my first day and seeing a framed print of a red handbag that looked unmistakably like a lobster. I always wanted to make something like that and I think I achieved it with my shaver/owl image.

It’s taken me a while to take my work in that direction and to hone my style, but I’m starting to get there. I actually wish I had the imagination and attention span to make more complex work, but it’s never as effective as I’d like it to be. But simplicity is a real challenge in itself, so I’m going to continue to focus my efforts in that direction.

How many did you make?
I made 200, but I can never distribute as many as that.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to do one per year, but there’s no particular schedule. Usually, they come about during a lull between projects. One day I’ll open up Illustrator and get started. Then a few weeks later I’ll work on it a little more. Finally, several months down the line, it’ll be ready to go having undergone many revisions and image swaps.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Occasionally they can be. They always pay for themselves, but it’s unlikely that they justify the time spent on their design and creation, for me at least. I think really what they provide is an opportunity to look back at some recent projects, reflect on the images, consider them together as a body of work, and figure out where exactly you are with your photography. If the images select themselves, then it’s a good sign.

Featured Promo – Stephen Denton

Stephen Denton

Who printed it?
The Promo was printed at Newspaper Club – www.newspaperclub.com. I have used them a couple of times over the years and really like the service they offer.

Who designed it?
I designed the piece myself with image sequencing help from my friend and amazing photographer, Jesse Rieser.

Tell me about the images?
The images are from a personal project of mine called “Handmade by MannMade.” They tell the story of the unique process used by two guys who share a small workshop in Fountain Hills, Arizona where they create completely custom and handmade putters. Each step of their process is done with such care, attention to detail, and deliberate intent from start to finish. Right away I thought their story was special and it was something that I would like to capture. In an industry that is fascinated by giving lengthily scientific explanations for club design, it was incredible to watch them both make putters by hand, without any CNC milling, simply “eyeballing” each part of their creations, and in the end creating top-rated, completely custom putters.

How many did you make?
I had 50 promos made. I created a more targeted list of people for this promo due to the cost of the piece and somewhat niche content of the promo.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out at least three promos a year showing new personal work.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I do think that printed promos are effective for marketing my work. I don’t always get responses to print promos, but when I do the recipients are often very thankful to have received one. To me, they seem more meaningful and thoughtful than sending out email promos. I have no idea if they’re received that way but a dear friend and longtime mentor of mine, Jeff Williams has always tried to instill in me the importance of print promotions and how effective they can be if done correctly

Featured Promo – Attila Janes

Attila Janes

Who printed it?
It was printed by Cric Print, a small printing company in Switzerland. I stage and photograph their portfolio from time to time and in return they print some editions for me. It’s a win-win situation! This one is offset printed on a special paper called Blocker, a paper with a super-opaque quality. It enables 100% opacity at 100 g/m². So I was able to use a thin paper without having the problem of the images shining through.

Who designed it?
That was me! I am a former graphic designer and art director, but I asked my nerdy design friends for their opinion. They are always up to date! Last year I founded Studio Attila Janes in order to separate my commissioned work from my art projects. Now my male Alter Ego stands for all commissioned work, while the art projects are grouped together under my name tamarajanes.ch. For the photographs on the promo I decided to have a strong layout grid, which starts generously and ends up smaller and smaller. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible and let the pictures talk for themselves. However, I like to add a handwritten note, because it makes it more personal.

Tell me about the images?
The images show what happened over the last couple of years. I set my focus on conceptual work and still life photography. I want to interface photography with visual ideas and stories – inspired by everyday life. Most of the time I start from an idea or a hand drawn sketch. Then I do a material research and try to find the right objects. When I start to photograph I always have two or three set designs to shoot and then I look out for coincidences.

How many did you make?
Something around 200 in total. The half was folded twice into a A4, the other half was folded three times into a A5. Personally I prefer the smaller version. It just works better for me and, not to forget, it’s cheaper send by mail.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
An elaborative promo like this one I would send out every three years. It’s always a big effort, and there a postage cost as well. The first official promo I did when I started as a self-employed photographer seven years ago. Currently I am working on something to add to my invoices, like a bunch of different stickers and cards.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I believe so. I still think people prefer to hold something in their hands instead of just looking at it on a screen. It is a fluid and digital world for pictures, and it seems they disappear so fast if I don’t print them. Besides I really love to edit images, to group and re-group them and to see what happens!

Featured Promo – Kara Brodgesell

Kara Brodgesell

Who printed it?
Newspaper Club https://www.newspaperclub.com/. I decided on them after diving into the archive of newspaper promo information on your website and was very happy with the results. I especially appreciated the informative samples they sent over before I submitted my order.

Who designed it?
My husband Noah, who works as a public programming director, but his InDesign skills are far superior to mine. We had a number of discussions about what I was hoping to achieve and which businesses should be featured, and then he helped me select the final images and he crafted the layout. I’d wanted to do a promo of this project for a few years and always stalled once it came to deciding how to format it, so his participation was invaluable.

Tell me about the images?
This was the classic personal project in that I pursued it all in my free time because I wanted to be hired to create photographs like this. I also loved having the chance to shoot such a wide variety of types of images. I lived in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco when I shot it, which has a unique patchwork of small businesses and manufacturing. It felt like I was surrounded by people making things and spaces and I wanted to celebrate that. It now also feels like a memorial for businesses that once were, as many have closed or moved out of the area.

How many did you make?
100

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first one. I’ve been fortunate to be freelancing in the Bay Area for 9 years and I set a bunch of goals in early 2020 about how I wanted to grow my businesses and find new clients – all of my work thus far has been through references. A significant printed promo was a big part of that plan. The shipment arrived in early March and I was going to send them out by the end of the month, and continue with two more over the year. Instead, we went into lockdown days later, everyone is working from home indefinitely, and the box of promos is sitting in the corner of my office. It’s a bit heartbreaking.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’ll let you know! I’ve listened to so many panels, read interviews, and talked to other photographers about how to promote your work and I feel like, in the end, it comes down to: do it all, as much as you can. Social media, emails, printed promos… whatever may keep you in people’s minds. I certainly value printed pieces. I save promos and magazine/newspaper features that I respond to. And I thought that this body of work lent itself better to a newspaper-like format with many spreads, rather than an email or post with just a few small images.

Why did you choose a personal project for a promo?
My favorite way to photograph is to take a documentary approach with minimal equipment, in a place I may never get access to otherwise. This project afforded me that so many times, and it was a great exercise in finding shots quickly in new environments – there were no scout days or pre-production meetings. I’m also deeply grateful to the number of artists and business owners who let me wander around their spaces and ask a lot of questions. It’s one of the many things I’ve missed during this pandemic, not being able to explore and be inspired in this way.

Featured Promo – Catherine Losing

Catherine Losing

Who printed it?
I was super trashy and went through Vistaprint.

Who designed it?
I did.

Tell me about the images?
They are my favourite images from my portfolio over the past 3 years. A combination of editorial, personal projects, and commissions for names such as Vogue and MoMA. I’m always keen to include technical examples of my still life work with a variety of products as this is important to my commercial clients. However, I like to balance it out with more fun and creative shots as I often get hired to put my own spin on commissions.

How many did you make?
Only 10. I’ve been super selective about who I’ve sent them to, just a few art directors and creative producers at ad agencies, and you!

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I’ve never done a promo before. It’s a result of my London photography rep closing down and Covid. I’m usually lugging my portfolio around London meeting people at agencies face to face. I thought mailing out a mini-portfolio could be a good way to bridge the gap.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, I’ve only sent out 6 so far and had 3 advertising enquiries.

Featured Promo – Ryan Duclos

Ryan Duclos

Who printed it?
Moo.com

Who designed it?
I designed the cards with help from my partner.

Tell me about the images?
I’ll start in the order that is posted on IG. The first image is a self-portrait I took in the Alaskan tundra on a 2-week moose hunt that I documented. The second image is a shot of our guide in Valdez Alaska on a 1-week Heli-snowbaord trip with Valdez Heli-Guides. The third image is the 2020 APA First place awards for Sports/Adventure. This was shot in the backcountry at Mt. Baker ski area. The peak in the background is Mt. Shuksan. One of my most favorite places on earth. The fourth image is of my good friend and pro snowboarder Johnny in the backcountry of Mt. Baker Skin area. The fifth image is a shot of our helicopter on a helicopter snowboard trip in the Canadian Rockies. The sixth and final image is of Mt.Hess and Mt. Dorothy in the Alaska Mountain Range. Both mountains sit at 11 thousand feet.

How many did you make?
I made 200. There are 4 different sets with 5 cards per set.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try and send out a new mailer twice a year. But to add to the mail out marketing, I started a monthly zine that I email out. The zine has new content that I shoot the month prior. This way clients can see new work and I stay on their minds constantly.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I do feel that printed materials are effective marketing pieces. More now than ever. I have had a great response this year over previous years.

Featured Promo – Jackie Dives

Jackie Dives

Who printed it?
East Van Graphics in Vancouver, B.C., which is where I am based.

Who designed it?
I did most of the layout design but my designer, Alicia Carvalho made it all happen.

Tell me about the images?
The images were all taken during the first three months of the recommended quarantine in British Columbia. I was living alone and spent most of the time in my apartment with my cat. Taking photographs is a tool for me to cope with whatever is happening in my life so it just made sense for me to keep taking photos, even if it was just the mundanity of living during that weird time. I find photography to be incredibly healing, and it has helped me deal with a lot of things over the years. The other books I made this year included a book about my solo cycling trip across South Korea, and my choice not to become a mother.

How many did you make?
100

How many times a year do you send out promos?
It’s pretty random. In 2020 I made 3 of these book/zine things and only sent them to very select people. I usually sell them through Instagram and my website as well. Before that, I have only sent out paper promos two other times.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
My personal experience is that the promos I have made have not brought me any work. I’m not entirely sure why. It could be that I’m sending them to the wrong people or that they aren’t very good. I don’t know!

Featured Promo – Robin Westfield

Robin Westfield

Who printed it?
Newspaper Club, based in the UK. I had read great reviews about the work they do, and the prints I received lived up to my expectations.

Who designed it?
I did… I am a fashion and beauty photographer by trade, but also comfortable as a graphic artist with Adobe InDesign.

Tell me about the images?
As with many of us that work in the creative field, I found myself with a lot of (unwanted) free time here in Montreal, waiting out the uncertainty of the lockdown during the late spring/early summer days of the pandemic, not knowing what would come of the rest of the year.

I gathered that there would be no better time than the present to put the finishing touches to a printed version of my portfolio. I had been working on it for a few months, but, before the lockdown, I was too busy to give it the time it needed to be completed. It is a collection of my favorite photos, from personal creatives to client briefs, that also included my personal travels. It starts with a fashion exhibition of Alexander McQueen in London, followed by shoots in Singapore and on the outskirts of Paris, and ends on a personal project done back home in Montreal. I also wanted to provide a short story for each shoot, which I edited with the help of my partner Sara. My main desire was to share either the inspiration or the circumstances that brought me to each personal photo essay.

How many did you make?
100

How many times a year do you send out promos?
It was my first time sending out physical copies to prospective clients.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Definitely. I was very happy with the reply rate to this portfolio (far better than any email blast). I feel that the process of creating it helped me to re-evaluate my archive and the direction I wanted to take with my photography moving forward. It was an invaluable tool to revisit my older work and to plan my future creative projects in the field

Featured Promo – Paul Dimalanta

Paul Dimalanta

Tell me about this promo.
At the beginning of the year, the marketing plan was to edit down my email list, go to more portfolio shows, and follow up with printed mailer follow-ups. After getting all my print collateral designed and printed the pandemic hit, and people could no longer meet and no one was at the office.

My initial reaction was to just wait. To pass the time I broke out some puzzles to complete with my wife that were saved from our yearly tradition spending time with friends in a cabin in Tahoe over New Years. We would snowboard in the day time, play drinking games, and dance into the night, but we always had a puzzle in the corner for a quiet semi-social activity whenever we needed to chill.

We quickly completed the few puzzles we had then ordered more of increasing difficulty. I fell in love with the flow state I would get into while finding pieces, analyzing textures, and subtle changes of color. It filled a void I had for visual problem solving, I felt like I was flexing similar muscles as when I retouch photos or mix colors when painting.

I was also fascinated by how I interacted with the image, and learn about the world piecing together. That interaction was what inspired me to create my own puzzle using images that meant a lot to me. It also made sense because so many people that I work with Art Director, Creative Buyers, Producers are visual problem solvers, and I thought sharing this gift would help people relax a little during these stressful times.

Who designed it?
I wanted the packaging to be simple and elegant like a coffee table book. I have just enough of a design background to use InDesign and Illustrator to take the style guide my designer, Joe Lee, created for my brand to create the packaging for these puzzles.

Who printed it?
I tried several companies, and in the process became a bit of a puzzle snob. The first company left a weird metallic residue on my fingers, another company had pieces that didn’t quite snap together the way I liked, another had a varnish that was too shiny. I also was looking for a place I could have total control over the design of the box.

I finally printed puzzles using https://www.createjigsawpuzzles.com/sell/dimalanta
They had a nice blend of all the things I wanted, and they gave me full control to design my template in Adobe Illustrator.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Prior to Covid I would send out mailers 2-4 times a year. I would generally shortlist people I found that opened or clicked through my emailers. This year the only promos I sent out were in the form of these puzzles. I will get back to my regular schedule when people are back in the office.

How many did you make?
This first batch I had printed 25. The hard part was tracking down people I have worked or have met with because I had to ask for an address I could ship to outside of the office.

Tell me about the images.
The image I used was captured in Lake Como while on vacation with my wife. We had just finished our gelato in the town of Menaggio and took a walk along the lakeside. I chose this image because I wanted to share that calm and content feeling I had when took this photo.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Print promos are just another tool in the toolbox. The best thing about print promo is that you have so much control over how the viewer will see the final image — the size, the scale, the texture. It feels finished, tactile and real. Those attributes can hurt you if you aren’t thoughtful about the process, but when it comes together it can be a great extension of your brand.

How did the campaign go?
The response I got was great, I got a few selfies with the box, and a couple of people showed off how quickly they put it together. One person said they aren’t into puzzles, but thought it looked great on their coffee table. So between the response, and the follow-ups needed to get all the right addresses, it was a total success, and I plan to do another round after meeting more people in the various virtual meetings I have been able to attend.

Featured Promo – Noah Webb

Noah Webb

Tell me about your promo.
The one I sent you is book #6 in an ongoing series of books. The first book was created after an editorial assignment from Monocle magazine back in 2007. The magazine had sent me to travel throughout Ecuador and cover the status of events in the country at that time. Being that it was 2007 I brought both my film camera and digital camera to shoot. Upon returning I was going through my film proof sheets and started to cut out specific frames I really liked. It came to me then that I needed a way to tell my story of this adventure with these small proof prints. My first passport was fairly simple with a craft brown color passport size book with the words “Ecuador, February 2007” “Noah Webb” embossed on the front. I hand adhered the proof prints into the pages and made a total of 30 books. They idea clicked and people responded in a way I knew I needed to continue the idea. Subsequent books became more fine tuned in the design and feel of the passport. Each book different colors and overall cover design to match the travels abroad. I hire different designer friends to collaborate on the cover design and have a local print shop do the foil embossing. I increased the quantity of books as I progressed since I was getting more demand. The latest book is and edition of 250 and I am still in the process of printing, cutting out and adhering the rest of the books. It’s a great pandemic project. One born out of my love of travel, a physical memento to hold onto which seems appropriate right now. Ecuador 2007, France & Switzerland 2008, Italy 2009, Berlin 2012, Rotterdam & Brasilia 2017, Seoul & Hong Kong 2019.

These books take a lot of time and energy but I love making them. I’m fairly certain some jobs opened up to me specifically from these books.

They have had coverage over the years, being included in “No Plastic Sleeves” book in 2010.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7646254-no-plastic-sleeves

And last year PDN did a cover story on my passport books:
http://digitalmag.pdnonline.com/pdnonline/may_june_2019/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=Cover#pg1

https://digitalmag.pdnonline.com/pdnonline/may_june_2019/MobilePagedArticle.action?articleId=1528742#articleId1528742

Featured Promo – Fred Mitchell

Fred Mitchell

Tell me about this promo.

I had it printed in Los Angeles at a place called Nonstop Printing. I actually found them when I was doing my wedding invitations last year and they were really pleasant to work with. So when I was looking at making these promos, I asked a friend who works with Curran Hatleberg for his maquettes with TBW books and he ended up pointing me back to Nonstop Printing for cost efficiency & quality. With them I did an ed. of 25, which I mostly used for marketing at photo fairs and conferences, but once the pandemic hit I had about 12 leftover and so I decided to offload the rest of them. I designed the book myself and did all the typography, layout and sequencing. This is actually the first time I have ever sent any printed media out blindly, but during the pandemic I started sending a digital PDF of recent work which includes this project (which is ongoing) along with some other ongoing personal work. If you’d like to check that one out, here is the link to that.

I believe in the printed object within the photo community, but I am also a strong advocate for photobooks. Most of my personal work is project/series based so a lot of it has turned into book projects. I actually have a book coming out through Yoffy Press that was set to be released this fall, but with the pandemic, it may get pushed back slightly. (Here is a link to that one) With my small bit of experience talking with commercial clients/agents, I have found mixed emotions on printed vs. digital portfolios. But a general consensus seems to be that if a project is intended as a book or zine people do seem to react positively to it rather than a digital portfolio. That being said, I try to have multiple tailored portfolios for different forms of marketing. So when I have done meetings, if it is with a photo editor, I try to lead with giving them a printed object they can keep and I let them know that they don’t have to look at that with me because it is for them to take away. Then I segue into a digital portfolio on an ipad which I also let them flip through at their own pace. When I was doing meetings with publishers to try to find a home for my upcoming book I also brought with me the hand-bound maquette of that project as well, but I have only a few copies of that one. That being said, people also responded positively to that and every now and then I will bring that with me to set if I am working with a client that I have a relationship with to let them check it out because it is a rather unusual project where the tactility and physicality are part of the concept.

I suppose for my work, if there is a reason the project should be printed then I try to do it, but I always want to make it something special. I have another project I am currently developing with my partner and fellow photographer, Alan Nakkash, that is also going to be a physical magazine/promotion tool. Part of our thinking was this is a special opportunity to make something different that gives us a reason to reach out to photo editors and potential clients. Additionally, our intention is for this to be a long term project where with each issue we create a visual dialog & narrative between two new featured artists. At this stage, a large part of this project highlights photographers similarities and differences in their artistic processes. This results in something truly collaborative because one artist takes the other artist’s work and they build the layout based on their interpretation of said work. So when this is printed it will continually evolve with each issue, thus giving a reason for us to frequently send these promos, and also hopefully help under-represented artists get their names out into the world. Sorry for such a long-winded explanation of my enthusiasm for printed matter haha!

Finally, the stories behind the images in Sweetwater. Inevitably, each image tells a story of its own, so I will try to give general context and then highlight my favorites so I hopefully don’t bore you!

I grew up skating and that largely shaped my life as a young adult. California was a dream to me because it always appeared that this was where all the best skating happened. But as I grew up and eventually moved out west (first to Las Vegas where I did my MFA and taught college for about 3 years) I was terrified to visit this place I had dreamed of. When I finally did come out here it was just as incredible as I had imagined it would be. But I didn’t move here as quickly as I would have hoped. At the time when I had the opportunity to make the move, my (now) ex-girlfriend’s mother had been diagnosed with cancer, so we instead moved back to Alabama to be close to her family. The relationship didn’t last, and I ended up leaving the academic world when I was offered an in-house photographer job at a fashion brand. After three years of working in fashion as what turned out to be an art director, I met my now wife who lived in CA and I drove west. That first few months was tumultuous to say the least. I sold my camera equipment to have enough money to buy food. I lived in my car for the first 5 months or so, then I found a room share on Craigslist where I slept on a massage table. And finally I got my own apartment. Because I had spent the past three years learning the ins and outs of the fashion world, I found a place working as an unpaid intern at Milk Studios. I think it was the week that I was finally hired that I found out my father passed away. For fear of losing my financial security, I was unable to go to the funeral. Then my mother ended up undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumor (which turned out to be benign) but I was also unable to visit her because I would have lost my job. My coworkers became my surrogate family. We worked overnight from 3pm-8/9am, doing backbreaking work (literally, one of my coworkers broke his back on the job). Another person nearly lost a toe, and I fractured or broke my heel when it was run over.

It was at this job that I began meeting many people transplanted from the midwest great lakes area. I didn’t know much about surfing but it always felt similar to the skating world. As I got to know these new friends they boasted of the surfing on the great lakes. Specifically how incredible but brutal the peak surfing season could be. I spent about 9 months researching this before my first trip to Lake Superior. I suppose my mentioning all the difficulties leading up to this because it informed where I was mentally & emotionally when I started this work. Essentially, I was broken and unsure about life, let alone making photographs. I had been fired from my position as night-time equipment manager at the studio and still without a camera, I told myself that if I got a flight and rented gear, I had to do it. I was photo assisting full time so I worked extra to save enough money for this trip and suddenly I was thrust into the frigid mid-western winter. I treated it as I had treated skating trips as a kid. I contacted friends of friends who introduced me to other people and I began making my way around the upper peninsula of Michigan. Across the Wisconsin Coastline on Lake Michigan. Over the Mackinac Bridge (terrifying to drive over in a white out). All over the Mitten that is Michigan. Whenever I encountered new people, they would always ask where I was staying and offer me a couch to sleep on or a spare bedroom. Literally the opposite of my experience in California when I was homeless. And then there is the surfing. I wanted to craft a narrative that was true to the experience and community. An experience consisting of days we would go out and find nothing but ice. Other times there were long fantastic sessions ending with long frozen ice beards and hair. All of these days, filled with incredible people in a foreign frozen tundra.

The day that stands out most to me can be seen in the image of the girl with the bloody lip. Her name is Jaime, and we had corresponded through text messages for about a week or so before meeting. On the day we were finally set to meet she told me that she was uncomfortable meeting with me alone because for all she knew I could be a crazy person. So I told her that I totally understood and if she wanted to bring someone along with her to feel more safe that would be more than fine. So Jaime agreed to meet and arrived with her springer spaniel Murph. We talked and snapped a few photos while Murph ran around the frozen beach. Eventually, while we were talking we realized Murph had made his way onto the icy break. He couldn’t figure out how to get back and he was more than comfortable swimming in the cold water. But instead of jumping into the side with open water, he leaped into the side of the break that was mostly chunks of ice. As Murph began to panic and try to get onto the ice we ran toward him. Jaime was in her wetsuit, but hadn’t put on her gloves yet. She entered the water and began to try to help her dog from drowning. I was close behind her but I had fallen making my way across the icy break. As I made it to the ladder Murph was pushing Jaime underwater and her hands were beginning to freeze. I threw the camera aside and climbed down the ladder as Jaime pushed Murph toward me. I grabbed him and helped him back onto the land but Jaime’s hands weren’t working anymore. We linked our arms at the elbows and I pulled her up and as I did blood streamed down her face. As Murph trotted back to the beach I first asked her if she was okay and she said she was alright, just glad Murph was safe. Then I told her that her lip was bleeding, and she asked “how bad?” I told her it was okay probably. Immediately she responded, “well, do you wanna take a picture of it?”

Honestly, most of these photographs are stories like this. Rental cars having blowouts in the middle of the night. There was a time some friends accidentally blew up a propane heater inside of a van (photograph of the orange wetsuit next to the van tires). Falling asleep inside camper vans in sub-zero temperatures (boards storage photograph with the plywood room). Late-night talks of philosophy in relationship to surfing while drinking freshly harvested chaga tea. Moments that felt like I was talking to Gary Busey’s character in point break when he jumps on the desk (someone literally did this haha). I could go on but I don’t want to bore, and if I have, then I apologize. It’s all really fun to discuss and relive for me.

Featured Promo – Eric Forberger

Eric Forberger

Who printed it?
Newspaper Club in the UK printed it after a design friend recommended using them. They even have an interface for you to layout your newspaper if you don’t have a designer.

Who designed it?
A client of mine named Wendy Sheaffer designed it. She takes on her own design work on the side as she works full time as a Director of Creative Services for a College. I knew she would be the perfect person to put it together as she has years of experience creating, printing, and mailing promo pieces of all sizes for higher education.

Tell me about the images?
Once lockdown started due to Covid-19, I knew I had to stay busy creating so the time not taking assignments wasn’t wasted. It started out as me experimenting with techniques and styles I wasn’t normally doing so I could expand my abilities and once I got it down, then I could add that lighting style or photo technique to my toolbox to offer to clients once they were tested. I only had access to one person the whole time which was my wife Gina. I thought making different portraits of the same person was an awesome challenge to take on its own, then adding experimenting with new techniques would really force me to be creative. Once I started sharing these shots every week and they started picking up steam, I thought it would make a great project to feature as a gallery on my website. But then, an even bigger idea came, to take the project and present it as a promo piece to agencies and clients I was trying to get in front of. So additionally, I ordered seamfoam green envelopes with my logo in pink from envelopes.com to really make the piece stand out on the desks of Creatives. I was super happy with how the print job and the envelopes came out.

How many did you make?
I had 200 printed of the 32-page project

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I was just wrapping up with a 15-month promo project with Agency Access. Together we had sent out 4 mailers in that 15-month span. I think every quarter is a good average.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
That’s always been my question. I think regular directed promo mailings help keep your name in the forefront of clients’ minds. I’ve always loved seeing “project” based promos. Multi-page print pieces that together show a cohesive project that a photographer put together vs. many strong portfolio images that aren’t associated. It is one of the reasons I added small snippets of info about the shoots throughout this piece and even behind the scenes images at the end of the publication and lastly, a paragraph on the back page wrapping it all up for an ending. I have to say, that even with the limited numbers I have already mailed since not everyone is back in their offices yet from COVID, I’ve received a lot of email from prospective clients thanking me for sending it and giving great feedback about how much they enjoyed the mailer.

The willingness of my wife to help me out with this project is just one of the reasons she is such a great person. She was able to continue working her job from home, and because she knew how excited I was to try new things and keep creating, she was just ask excited as I was to shoot nights and weekends. She even helped me source props and wardrobe and I could not have made the best of the lockdown without her.

Featured Promo – Joe Giacomet

Joe Giacomet

Tell Me about the images.
Notvery Athletic is a joint collaboration between myself and art director Mark Denton. Mark and I have worked together numerous times and the idea for this started as a tiny element to drop into a commercial job we were pitching on. The thought of a funny soccer card in the back of an advert- this was the idea that started it all.

A few months later, Mark and I decided to shoot a comedy soccer player. From there, we thought we should do a few more and then two years down the line, we’ve got 9 teams, a tonne of images and a full sticker album.

The images are designed to both satirise and evoke memories of a bygone era of soccer when the hairdo was almost as important as understanding the offside rule.

We had great fun shooting these, with myself even getting in front of the camera. Mark persuaded me to try on a wig. Initially thinking it would make a funny profile pic, I turned out to be one of the star players. (a.k.a Baqov De Nette).

A central part of these images was getting the hair right. We worked with expert hairstylist Anna Longaretti whose skill with wigs and 70’s hair creations are second to none.

The attention to detail that went into creating these is staggering, from casting to designing and creating teams, kits, backgrounds, lighting, and an exhaustive post-production process to authentically age the images.

Who Printed it?
The actual Zine is printed by a mid-level printing company called PrintedEasy.com, because in emulating soccer zines, a premium glossy print job wouldn’t have felt right.

It was printed digitally (as opposed to litho) which meant we could try out multiple paper stocks. We tried a number of uncoated and coated stocks of different weights and settled on 170gsm matt coated for the outside and 140gsm uncoated for the inside.

Although the print was better on coated stock, it had better colour repro and dynamic range. The uncoated felt more authentic for the images.

We ran a number of other print processes in order to create this unique look. All the cards were risographed once retouched, scanned back in, and then retouched again.
Although time-consuming, this analogue stage really made a difference.

One image was poster printed – we then creased it and rephotographed it to make it look like a pull out poster. The centre spread is also a photograph of a physical page we created. The cards were printed actual size and stuck to a print out of the background image and then rephotographed. Same with the inside front and inside back covers. A lot of extra processes overall, but all part of the endeavour to make it authentic and unique.

Who designed it?
It was designed by Mark Denton Esq. with the help of Kate Henderson and Tivy Jones.

How many did you make?
There are a few iterations knocking around with subtle changes to the print stock, images, and design but in total around 500 copies.

How many times a year do you send out printed promos?
Previously about 4 times a year, but in recent busy periods, it has been a lot less. This is the first thing I’ve sent out in 18 months.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
It’s really hard to say. In the past, I’ve been saddened by the lack of response but then equally, jobs come out of nowhere which could be down to printed promos.

This promo, however, has been a different experience altogether.

Being in lockdown, I sent this out all my existing mailing lists. It turned out a lot of these were no longer valid which meant I individually reach out to everyone I wanted to send it to. This turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to re-connect with old contacts, it helped me make new contacts and I believe this made the mailer more effective than usual.