Category "Working"

The Daily Edit – Virtual Portraits: Jonas Jungblut

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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 common 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.

Joe Baraban – One exposure, one frame, one click
 shot on Kodachrome 25

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Sometimes you think you’ve shot just about everything!!

I got a call from an Art Director I had worked with before, telling me that he’s now at a new agency. The agency he was at lost a big account, so everyone got the proverbial boot!

If you professionals out there ever thought that being a free-lance photographer was/is a precarious occupation, you should try being an Art Director back in the day. Your portfolio was always up to date and under your desk.

You went home on Friday after a successful meeting with the client (third in agency billing) who had just approved a new campaign, and over the weekend the client decides they no longer want to go in that direction and fires the agency. You come to work an hour late on Monday and twenty-five percent of the agency is gone; happened all the time.

I’ve seen it happen because I was going to be the photographer that was chosen to shoot an (eight day) new big campaign on a Friday for Bud Light and by Monday the agency had lost the account.
OUCH!!!!!

The creative team usually consists of a writer and Art Director. The writer usually comes up with a concept, and the Art Director makes it come to life; sometimes the other way around.

This client was fairly new to the agency, so it was important that the Art Director/writer team deliver “the goods”, as they sometimes said. The reason I was called was that I had “delivered the goods” once before.

The client was an insurance company whose customers were owners of expensive sailboats and motor yachts.

The approved concept, that also went into focus groups, was that you never knew when trouble was coming so you had to be ready for anything; even when you are about to be attacked by a giant crab. Whoever came up with this idea was probably stoned
everybody must have been stoned for this one!!

And that’s where I came in.  The Art director asked me if I thought I could make a giant claw attack a boat
” Hell yes!”

I learned a long time ago that the secret to the success I have had was/is because I always surround myself with the best (most talented) people possible, and I still believe it.

Having said that, I hired Danny Harries, a good friend and an amazing model maker/illustrator, to create a giant claw that we could position where it looked like it was about to attack both a sailboat and motor yacht.

Danny carved it out of a huge block of foam (to make it light), painted it, and from one end to the other it was eighteen feet long.

We took it down to a bay near Houston whose depth was only about four feet deep and tried to set it up
it wouldn’t stand upright, and as a result we missed a beautiful sunset!!!!!!

Since there wasn’t a plan ‘B’, we had to keep working with what we had
the original ‘A’ plan. We took it to a nearby garage so Danny could figure out what went wrong and what he needed to do. While he was scratching his head the Art Director and I were toasting to the Photo Gods with a few beers, thinking that it couldn’t hurt.

The next day we went out again to a great sky and this time it worked like a charm; Danny had worked his magic, much to the relief of the Art Director whose color had returned to his face
and of course, yours truly.

While my assistant and I were lying in a Zodiac, I had the sailboat and motor yacht follow directly behind one another, so I could take full advantage of the last rays before the sun hit the water
as in the sunset. I was very close to the claw with a 20mm lens on, so it would appear larger than life; the Art Director’s words, not mine!!

Those were great days where you could actually use your imagination and then create those ideas in the camera, and having a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Now, the claw would be about eight inches long, shot against a green screen, and with post-processing it would be added to the shot
computer art
UGH!!!

We finished the shoot and had a couple of celebration beers while loading up the claw. After about a mile I had to make a pit stop. Luckily, I pulled over on the shoulder next to a semi-dense forest to disappear into it.

As I was getting out I told the Art director that I had to see “a man about a horse”. When I got back everyone was laughing, especially the Art director.

It seems that while I was gone the account executive, a young woman named Beth (fake name to protect the innocent) said to the Art Director, “Oh I want to go, I love horses”.

One exposure, one frame, one click
shot on Kodachrome 25

To read more of Joe’s stories visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/joe.baraban

This Week in Photography: A Coronavirus PSA

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I’m doing something different today.

(Like proper different.)

It’s an advice-only-column.
Maybe think of this as a public service announcement.

Now that I think about it, in all my years here, I did do this once before.

After a near death experience.
In Mexico.

(No, it had nothing to do with dodging cartel sicarios across the Norteño desert.)

Rather, my wife and I almost drowned in Playa del Carmen, during a rip current, with our young children back at the apartment with my folks.

We were so desperate to swim in the blue Caribbean, after a week of shit weather, that we ignored any and all warning signs, and swam out deep enough, in a brewing storm, when no one else was around. (“Hint, hint,” the Universe was saying.)

But we thought we knew better, and only through a lot of luck, some fancy swimming, (and not much else,) did we make it back to shore, exhausted, breathing heavy, arms trembling.

Jessie and I made a promise to wise up that day, and I wrote it into an New Year’s advice column for you, as it happened to coincide with the festivities.

I think I did wise up that day, and am proud of it. After a 4 year stint in therapy, a ton of travel around the US, building a new photo retreat program, publishing a book, and getting back to Europe twice now, I’m definitely a more capable, smarter, more nuanced, emotionally intelligent person than I was then.

Yes, I almost died in Amsterdam last month, (I promise to tell the story,) and I’m no “super-genius,” so all I’m really saying is that I try to learn lessons from life, and am happy to admit my fallibility.

Geared up for the weather in Amsterdam.

So what am I on about then?

Why no photo book?
Or art exhibition review?

Haven’t I seen enough in the last month to write ten articles about things on the wall right now?

Yes.
Yes, I have.

But for all the shit I gave #2019, for all its legendary absurdity and insanity, I didn’t feel compelled to do what I’m doing now.

Somehow, (though I’m not hating,) #2020 has managed to earn its hashtag in just over two months. Like I wrote about 2010 reminding me that 2009’s ass-whooping was not done, our new year has seen a full-blown global pandemic begin to arise.

Is that right?

My terminology?

I’m not sure, but what I am certain is that panic behavior has set in, with a major stock market sell off, and humans acted like flock birds by simultaneously voting for the “safe pair of hands” Joe Biden, as if connected telepathically.

I’ve heard stories from a friend of empty food shelves in New York, seen a photo of empty toilet paper shelves at a Target in San Diego, and a tweet about hoarding in Cincinnati.

San Diego

Cincinnati

My favorite soccer team, Arsenal, was supposed to play today, (I’m writing on Wednesday,) and the game was postponed because Arsenal players were exposed to the since-ill-with-the-coronavirus owner of the Olympiakos soccer club 13 days ago.

(ED note: Thursday evening the Arsenal head coach, Mikel Arteta, was diagnosed with the virus.)

South by Southwest has been cancelled.

Italy is in complete lockdown.

Old people are dying, regularly.

And China’s Orwellian, mind-boggling movement restrictions of earlier this year are now being held up as a (kind of) model for perhaps controlling the spread elsewhere.

(Oh yeah, this is probably a good time to mention the virus was likely started because some human beings just can’t seem to stop eating wild-jungle-creatures. Fucking assholes!)

It’s scary and crazy all at once, and as I have been dispensing advice here for years, and doing proper travel writing since last year, I wanted to share my two cents.

First of all, remain calm.
Secondly, remain calm.

Just because other people are buying up everything in sight doesn’t mean you have to.

(I took my kids to the grocery store yesterday, just to demonstrate that we could shop rationally, and ignore the panic instinct.)

Wash your hands well, and often, (I’ve always been a bit OCD in this one way,) but please don’t buy all the soap in your local supermarket.

Or all the TP, tissues, paper towels or hand sanitizer.

This type of hive-mind behavior perpetuates itself, as panic is as contagious as this nasty new virus.

With respect to travel, you all know I went to Amsterdam, and am glad I did. It made my book much better, and that was very important to me.

But I’m not sure how much non-essential travel I’d be doing now. (Ed note on Thursday: Travel from Europe has since been restricted.)

Last weekend, I was in Houston for a major domestic conference, SPE, happening right before a major international one, FotoFest.

I chose to hug and shake hands as normal at my book signing, but the new etiquette was to ask people what their preference was, before getting into personal space.

“Is it OK to touch you,” I’d ask?

Some people preferred fist bumps, or elbow bumps, or nothing at all. Most, though, kept it normal.

That was Saturday, and I’m guessing that at FotoFest, which began this week, far more people will revert to caution.

May I suggest we all culturally appropriate from the Japanese, and simply bow?

You can hug your family, but maybe we can all “honor” each other by staying hands off for a month or two?

I didn’t do it the other day, admittedly, but things change fast with new information, and if I had the signing now, I’d trade bows for hugs.

Also, it’s probably wise to check in on your elderly neighbors. (Assuming you know you’re virus-free.) At times like this, they need more help than ever.

I’m supposed to do a book signing at Paris Photo New York/AIPAD, (they need a more efficient name next year,) but now everyone’s wondering if it will be cancelled?

I’ve already heard rumors as such. (ED note: it was postponed several hours after I wrote this.)

Given all the health data about how helpful social distancing can be, should any of these international conferences go on, in major international cities? (ED note: now they’re not.)

Does the call get made piecemeal, one festival at a time, or all at once, in a wave?

Will this story, written on Wednesday, feel dated by the time I publish it on Friday? (ED note: the answer is yes. The NBA was cancelled later the same day, and the last session of FotoFest was postponed too. Now all sports are on hiatus, and the State of New Mexico closed all schools Thursday night.)

Here’s another piece of advice: do what you have to to keep your stress levels down. Beyond the hand washing, a healthy immune system is the best defense against getting really sick, so amp up your self-care regimen.

Exercise, make art, watch Netflix, cook good food, go for lots of walks.

Do what you can to stay calm and mentally grounded.

Given Capitalism’s efficiency, it’s unlikely, (beyond a guaranteed recession,) that this virus will interrupt global supply chains in a massive way, causing the kind of shortages that panic is currently making appear possible.

The only way that could even possibly happen is if all workers got a nasty case of coronavirus at once, and no one could work.

Erring on the side of caution, therefore, with where and when you travel, again makes a nasty exponential growth curve that much less likely.

So, in conclusion, as one who’s been in many public spaces in the last three weeks, in major international cities and airports, I’m now going to ease off, knowing what I know.

(ED note: as of Friday morning, the NM governor asked all people like me, who were out of state, to self-isolate for 14 calendar days. So I’m now stuck at home…)

Stay safe, stay smart, and please remember to remain calm.

It’s back to normal next week. (I hope.)

The Daily Edit – Modern Huntsman: Tyler Sharp

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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. 

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 “Huntsman” in the title, and to shirk any criticisms that we weren’t inclusive of both genders, in the same way that the word “human” 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.  

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 “publicity stunt,” or it was “men talking about women,” and even that “there 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 “hardcore 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. 

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 “thank 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. 

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. 

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 – The New York Times Sunday Magazine: Dina Litovsky

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The New York Times Sunday Magazine

Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Former Art Director now Partner at Pentagram: Matt Willey
Photographer:
Dina Litovsky

Heidi: How much time did you spend with each athlete before taking their portraits, was it before or after Mavericks?
Dina: I did two trips for the story, to Maui, Hawaii and Mavericks, San Francisco. Traveling to catch the waves is tricky, there is only a 24-42 hour notice of when the waves will swell. I had to be packed and ready
, waiting for the last minute green light. When I got to Maui, the weather was too dangerous for me to get on a boat for the shoot so I concentrated on making portraits of the athletes.

Tell us how you got the cover image, where were you in the water?
This was taken at Mavericks. I had 3 days to shoot the waves before the swell was over. The shoot was done on a small boat, aboard with both of the surfers, Bianca Valenti and Paige Alms (cover). Each day trip took from 3-5 hours. The boat had to keep circling around the waves to avoid being overthrown. That, with the combination of looking through a 400 lens trying to pick out Bianca or Paige among the 30 other surfers, contributed to my first ever seasickness. The cover image was taken on the second day when I came more prepared with anti-nausea pills. Physically this was probably the most difficult shoot I’ve done. In the end, I came out with less than 30 images of the women surfing, and one of them ended up on the cover.

Was the photo direction in Black and white?
Mavericks is one of the most dangerous places in the world to surf the big waves and I wanted to translate that into a mood that was a bit threatening and ominous. Once I took away the bright blues and greens of the sky and sea, the waves seemed to turn into stone, both overwhelming the surfers and freezing them into a moment of stillness. Right away I knew that the images had to be black and white. I sent Kathy Ryan both options of each image, color and black and white, and was thrilled to learn that she chose the monochrome versions for the whole story.

Photo Directories & Sourcebook Review

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Guest Post by Amy V. Cooper

Sourcebooks, Photography Directories, Listings
 What are the differences between them, and which one will give me the highest return on investment? You asked, so I did the research.

I interviewed dozens of photographers and directory agents and conclude that there are no best or worst.  Your genre of photography, location, target market, how you prefer to interact, and of course your marketing budget will collectively determine which one (or more) of these resources is right for you. This review will help you decide which resources are best for your business.

The most important thing to know is, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. As with all of your marketing efforts, you have to be consistent, you have to be the squeaky wheel, and you have to be patient.

The majority of these source books and directories are by invitation or selective review, and I do not recommend them for photographers who do not yet have commercial or editorial experience.

Below you will find an abbreviated version of my full report which is available to my clients or subscribe to my newsletter to receive a download. Numbers and costs are based on research completed in October 2019.

THE ESTABLISHMENT

WORKBOOK is one of the oldest and perhaps most well-known bi-annual print directories for photographers and illustrators. Their hefty books are ubiquitous at most ad agencies and Workbook is known for great customer service and ROI. ”We are still relevant to creative buyers after 41 years. The Workbook is the most recognizable direct mail pieces in the world.” BORN: 1978 COST: Between $2000 (website) –$7500 (Pro tier includes a 2-page spread in spring and fall books as well as online and free portfolio presentations). Current number of photographers: 321

Best for (IMO/In My Opinion): Advertising photographers interested in print and online marketing support willing to update their work regularly.

LE BOOK is another one of the print originals, born in Paris in 1982, expanding to New York (1995) and further in Europe (1999) to include film, photography and other production and event resources. I actually purchased my one and only source book listing in Le Book as a photographer in 2007. Le Book still publishes directories annually in four markets but their business model seems to be more focused on events and production. BORN: 1982 COST: $110/mo. Current number of photographers: 126 in the U.S. (more internationally).

Best for (IMO): Fashion Photographers in larger markets.

ATEDGE is a series of print publications (5 books/year) sent to agencies and major brands in the U.S.  By invitation only, AtEdge limits their roster to 150 artists so that they can promote and provide their members with individual attention. “We focus on the most innovative photographers, directors and CGI/post-production studios and always make your image the hero. The AtEdge marketing program sets the bar for talent on our digital platforms, in our books, and at our exclusive industry events. Creatives know and love us for that reason.” BORN: 2003 COST: $8340/year (includes a spread in all 5 sourcebooks, a web portfolio, consulting, and one face-to-face portfolio event with 4-6 senior-level creatives.) Number of photographers/directors: 150.

Best for (IMO): Advertising photographers wanting a more personalized collaboration.

THE DISRUPTORS

WONDERFUL MACHINE began as a photography collective and has expanded into a global online-only directory of photographers in more than 40 countries. In my opinion, Wonderful Machine is one of the few directories that has an intentional foot in the editorial and reportage space (not solely focused on advertising agencies and direct-to-brand.) They also do a lot of production. ”We take a personalized approach when marketing, estimating, and producing for our photographers. We have a lot of photographers that have been with us for many years, lasting relationships. We enjoy seeing their careers grow.” BORN: 2010 (as a directory) COST: $192-$240/month (listing only.) Number of artists: 595.

Best for (IMO): Photographers wanting more global and editorial reach with the availability of a full suite of services like bidding and production.

FOUND ARTISTS is an online and print directory known as one of the best in design and user experience. It’s also one of the more affordable options. Found is unique in that it hosts portfolios showings without the artists in attendance. If you are an introvert, this might be your jam. Found Artists print curated sourcebooks twice per year (100 artists per book) and “Decks” (unbound) six times per year (50 artists per deck).  ”We’re unique in our team and passion as well as our price point. We know what it takes to market our artists and we’ve built rapport with clients over time and in doing so many portfolio reviews.” BORN: 2016 COST: $40/month (does not include portfolio reviews nor placement in print books) up to $3995/year. Current number of photographers: ~700.

Best for (IMO): Advertising photographers needing flexibility with their marketing budgets, wanting help with bids, less interested in or unable to attend in-person reviews.

BOULEVARD Artists is (more than) an online directory of photographers created by the founders of Fotoworks. They host in-person portfolio reviews several times per year in multiple cities. Although you do not have to be a BLVD Artist to attend some of these reviews, their members receive priority and discounts. ”We see ourselves more as a roster than a directory, we host portfolio reviews and focus on personal relationships.” BORN: 2014 COST: $1399/year or $4200/year for Select members, buy up to $6950 to include 3 portfolio review events. Number of photographers: ~40.

Best for (IMO): Advertising photographers & directors willing to hustle their physical portfolios, travel to meetings, and make face-to-face connections.

PRODUCTION PARADISE is one of the most internationally recognized online resources for finding photographers, stylists, producers and almost every category of production service you could hope to discover in 55 directories around the globe.  ”We are unique in our reach and have the highest number of email subscribers out of all of the online photo directories (over 200K).” BORN: 2002 COST: $2-$5K/year for photographers (less for stylists and other production resources, prices are determined by profession and location.) Number of photographers: ~500 in North America & the Caribbean (more internationally, supporting over 2500 creative businesses worldwide.)

Best for (IMO): Photographers wanting broader online reach and promotion.

THE NEW PIONEERS

KOMYOON is a digital directory offering services and tools for professional artists & the people who hire them. The app and soon to be desktop version allow artists to customize a searchable digital profile. Paid membership includes profile curation, portfolio/website reviews, spotlights on social media and access to varied in-person events. ”Our commitment to better unify our industry is aimed at addressing current pay for play models and making it easier for decision makers to find and track artists. We provide an affordable, useful solution that works fairly for qualified commercial artists of all levels.” BORN: 2019 COST: Free up to $3450 (4 tiers). Current number of artists: 265

Best for (IMO): Advertising photographers with zero to large marketing budgets who enjoy the social media model/experience of sharing their work, and are willing to stay active and update their content.

PHOTOPOLITIC began as a production services company in 2012 and expanded into its current online directory model in 2017. More than a photographer directory, PhotoPolitic is rapidly forming as an all-in-one stop for promotion, production, consulting, marketing, design, and soon to be direct casting model. PhotoPolitic is unique in many ways but notably in its mission to connect photographers to each other with a members-only discussion group and fireside chat style events. ”Our website is state of the art in functionality and speed. We make it easy for art buyers to find new photographers. Artists who join PhotoPolitic are side by side with some of the top photographers in the world.” BORN: 2017 (as a directory) COST: $900/year (going up to $1200 in 2020). Current number of photographers: 272 (limited to 25 photographers per category per major market)

Best for (IMO): Advertising photographers interested in community and more direct support.

The companies that I researched for this blog are the most well known in the space of promoting commercial/advertising photographers. I’ve discovered numerous other artist directories and listings in addition to the ones included here. There are many resources that blur or dilate the lines of what might be considered a directory, some that are free and many that are niche. So as not to overwhelm here, I will be posting future blogs to share what I have learned about these additional resources. Please sign up for my newsletter to be notified.

***

Pro-tips before spending your money:

1. Prepare and ask lots of questions. This is not a vending machine. Make sure to get a phone call or face to face meeting with a rep or salesperson before deciding to commit to a listing. Consider the professional background, experience, and vibe of the people you speak with. Some of these agents may be representing you and your work to potential clients in the future or advising you on your career and portfolio, make sure it’s a great fit. Take your time.

2. Look at the caliber of other artists in each directory that you are considering. They should be as good as or better than you. Call or email several artists using the same directories you are considering who are in your same genre and/or location and ask about their experience. Ask yourself if there are a lot of competing artists in the same directory, that can be a good or bad thing.

3. Define your goals and expectations. Different directories have different resources available to photographers. Some are more hands-on than others. Decide if you want to drop and run or if you are the type of artist who prefers a bit of handholding. Know if you are willing to attend reviews and if it’s realistic in your schedule and budget to travel and also update/submit/print new work regularly.

4. Know your budget. Some directories might start cheap, but ROI usually grows with “buy-ups” (buying in to email or print promotions, portfolio reviews, editing services, etc.) A sourcebook or directory should never consume your entire marketing budget.

5. Ask for a discount (politely). Most of these directories have discounts available, it can’t hurt to ask!

Still confused about which directories to choose? Shoot me an email or jump on my calendar here.

Hey, #ImRootingForYou!

                                                                             V.

Never miss a blog or event, sign up for my newsletter here.

Get inspired, keep up with my pro-tips, and meet some of my favorite clients and artists: follow me on Instagram @amyvcooper.

The Daily Promo – Jennifer Causey

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Jennifer Causey

Who printed it?
Print West in Woodinville, Washington

Who designed it?
Kaela Rawson
We worked together to create something that showcased the photos but also had a sense of design and aesthetic. I worked with some prop stylist friends to get feedback and help me choose and pace the imagery.

Tell me about the images?
The images are a combination of test shoots and assignments. I wanted to showcase some shots that don’t really get a chance to be seen. I started looking at some of my recent work to see what I was drawn to. The images that stood out seemed to have a similar color story and feel. The cover image was actually a last-minute addition. It came from a test shoot I did with prop stylist, Audrey Davis. I was looking at a final draft of the promo while I was editing this shoot and I liked how it looked with the yellow font we had chosen to use, so I went with it.

How many did you make?
I printed 1000

How many times a year do you send out promos?
1 to 2

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, I think it is nice to have something tangible to catch people’s eye and to hold on to, and to hopefully make them remember you for future assignments.

The Art of the Personal Project: Shawn Hubbard

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The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: Shawn Hubbard

My friend, mentor and fellow Baltimore native Tim Tadder brought the story of the St. Frances Academy football team to my attention a few years ago. St. Frances Academy, located in an impoverished neighborhood in East Baltimore is the first and oldest continually operating African American Catholic educational facility in the United States. For years, the school’s underfunded football program struggled mightily. However, after investment fund manager and philanthropist Biff Poggi and his staff adopted the team, they went undefeated and have since turned into one of the nation’s top programs. Aside from providing substantial financial support, Poggi’s primary mission was and is to provide a foundation for the players and guide them to be young men of character.

I met the team during their first undefeated season and pursued the story in hopes of shedding some positive light on a city that had only been a year removed from the death of Freddie Gray and the uprising to follow. At the time the Panthers had no home field, no practice field and no blocking sleds amongst many other deficiencies not shared by the wealthy and predominantly white prep schools they competed against. It was a story of a group of players, most of whom faced tragic upbringings and heartbreaking personal loss, which rallied together for the love of football and a chance to turn their lives around. After a year of unheralded success the team traveled to Florida to take on national powerhouse IMG Academy. The kids from Baltimore were humbled that day but that only added to their strength and resiliency and propelled them to the tremendous success that would follow.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Kris Davidson (reposted for July 4th)

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The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Kris Davidson

As an immigrant, Kris Davidson’s personal work considers the American experience. She’s recently embarked on a new project that will touch ever state in the union. The American Imagination: Myths, Tall Tales and Legends in the United States is a writing and photography project that seeks to contextualize stories from each of the American states as an entry point to looking at modern American culture. Stories — in particular, myths, tall tales and legends that incorporate elements of the fantastical and surreal — all contain fragments of truth, holding the history, fears, hopes and aspirations of a people. The fantastical elements of a culturally held story allows for heady hyperbole in celebrating triumphs, while also providing a buffering analgesic effect in making sense of dark tragedies.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Daily Edit – Colston Julian: Various Publications, Various Markets

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Colston Julian


Heidi: Tell us how the Kalki images came about? Was this a personal project?

Colston: I have worked with Kalki in the past; we have a close working relationship. She gives me a lot of space when we work together. She wanted to be photographed with her short hair and I was in town so we set up a shoot. She is someone that always gives to the project fearlessly. Yes, I would term it a personal project .

How do you know when a personal project is worth pursuing? do you have a journal of ideas? 
I find inspiration in cinema and travel.  Yes, I do maintain a journal with thoughts or images from my iphone  (for light I might see reflections or locations. Even thoughts in note format  and  sometimes in the form of embarrassing sketches.

 

You have a category called The Boys are Alright. tell us about that category and specifically the Bappi Laheri images. 
Since I shoot a lot of commercial and fashion work it can be predictable or part of a season trend, so I’m always looking for something I could photograph that is outside of that. This for me turned in to the “Boys are Alright”  specifically  men I have met with strong personalities or unique sense of style.  Bappi Laheri for example, I had the opportunity to shoot a portrait of him for RollingStone INDIA.  I was  so amazed by his warmth and humor that I requested that we shoot a few more portraits for which he obliged he even let me into his recording studio which was in a time warp of sorts in the 80’s. It’s not often that I have the opportunity to get such close access,  when I do,  I make it a point to shoot a series for myself as a personal project, that could potentially be part of a book.

I know you’ve photographed Gaurav before, what was the most interesting or different about this shoot?
Gaurav is dynamic and interesting as a person , he has a unique dress sense and personality, he also loves to be photograph so it s always fun and  exciting working with him. However, this shoot  was with you and Vogue India acknowledging his commitment to sustainability as well as his new fragrance launch; I knew it would get us different  images from the  other images I have made of him, as we had a strong narrative and direction.

Are you always shooting several different formats, if so why?
About the formats, I’m mostly a medium format person. I love what the large sensor can do to my image in terms of color texture and depth in an image, however that said, I love the flexibility a 35mm format gives me so I almost always shoot both formats, start with the medium format (Phase one IQ3 101 Trichromatic on P1Xf  platform w / Schneider optics)  I work around a few structured images, then shift to 35 mm and give my subject a bit of freedom to move because the 35 mm is faster  to work with (I work on the Sony alpha A7R3 with g master optics  & Zeiss optics), I also try and shoot some film when time permits that purely for the love of the medium and the intimacy the emulsion can have on the image.

How you straddle the Indian and the US market?  
India the US and European markets are different and diverse markets  I find keeping a focus on my people work has helped. In India I shoot a lot of fashion and celebrity /actors / cricketers / sportsperson the US market and Europe I normally get the calls for celebrity or location work. I find keep a balance on the kind of work is important. I think the key differences between the Indian and US market is that in India the agencies want the photographer to have a diverse style of work in his book, in the US I think it is critical to have a focused style and direction.

Do you have two different books that you share for those two markets?
Yes, I have two different presentations for Indian and international clients as they are two very different markets. In India the trend is for commercial large scale projects, with experience and a diversity in photographic style. While I think international markets want a defined voice and grammar in the visual direction. I am now looking strongly for an agent / agency in the US market to help bridge the markets.

You shoot both ad and editorial, what do you enjoy the most about your editorial work?
Yes I shoot Both commercial projects and Editorial , however  Editorial is what drives me and keeps me alive creatively I enjoy it the most , I love shooting fashion stories more than anything. I find it to be creatively more satisfying , it is important to find a Creative Director and a fashion Director that understand your style and sensibility so that they can use your talent and
that in turn makes for an amazing fashion story or Editorial ,  its the freedom to visualize , imagine and create is what excites me the most about editorials .

How do you promote yourself?
I find the most effective way is to showcase your work in the right manner , I prefer to always print a book of my work to show creative directors , I also have my social media channels active showing my new work. I also follow  interesting talent to work with on social media , Fashion directors , Creative Directors , stylist  , Make up artiste , I see their perspective  and mail them for a meeting , share with them my book and look at possibilities on upcoming projects .

Art Producers Tell All

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AP 1: I never look at mailers.
AP 2: I look at every single mailer.
AP 3: I got a bottle of tequila!

All joking aside, Heather Elder has an awesome podcast you should be checking out called “Dear Art Producer” where she’s asking the questions all professional photographers and reps want to hear the answer to. If you’ve been in this business long enough most of it is pretty reassuring stuff that we already know: some read every email, some look at every promo, some don’t. There is no magic bullet and you keep all channels open and active to reach them. There are a few surprises too like a mixed bag on use of instagram and that motion is not coming out of the broadcast department as much as in the past and they are looking for photographers who can do it all fast and loose (cheap).

Give it a listen and drop a comment if you find anything surprising. Looking forward to more of these.

The Best Work I Saw at the Denver Portfolio Walk

 

Tick tock, goes the clock.

Tick tock.

It’s counting down the minutes until I need to pull out of my driveway tomorrow.

(Tick tock.)

It’s an early departure to drive 5 hours to Denver, fly to Charlotte, change planes, and then end up in London on Thursday morning.

(If everything goes as it should.)

I’d by lying if I said I was back to normal after the NYC/NJ and Portland double-double.

I’m not normal at all.

But, (and this is a big BUT,) every now and again, being jet-lagged can be a good thing. Like my wife said, right now, for me, it’s the equivalent of hair of the dog.

Since I already feel like that, I should be able to get a lot more accomplished. (If I don’t sleep, so what? I’ll sleep for a week when I get home.)

If I get hungover, so what?

I won’t drink again for months.

London and more await, but first I have to get through SO MANY THINGS on my To-Do list, then pack, and then wake up before dawn too drive over the Rocky Mountains.

The likelihood of the sun being in my eyes as I drive East over La Veta Pass tomorrow? 100%!

All that hustle to get to Denver, because the flights were 1/3 the price of flying out of Albuquerque, which is two hours closer to my house.

$500 vs $1500?

One is doable, the other is not. (Editor’s note: I did pay to upgrade my seats later today, as they were going to put me in the middle, near the toilet, with no overhead bin space.)

So Denver International Airport it was.

The Mile High city.
Home of the Broncos and the Denver Nuggets.

A boom-town for sure, but are they all, these days? The good ones, I mean?

It is one thing I’ve begun to notice, as I’ve traveled around the past year or two. It seems like Denver, San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland and NYC are all booming.

Cranes everywhere.

Perhaps it’s time to extrapolate all those numbers about the rapid urbanization of America? I mean, I can’t speak to Des Moines, or Little Rock, or Baltimore, but I just read that they’re expecting 50% of America living in 8 states in the coming years.

That’s nuts.

People flock to places like Denver because of the confluence of economic opportunity, world class leisure activities, high-end-bougie-lifestyle, like-minded politics, clean air, (for now,) and (at this point) we have to mention legal marijuana too.

Denver just grows and grows. (Higher and Higher.)

Ask anyone who’s been around the Rocky Mountain West the last 25 years, and miles of what were once open prairie or farms, all along the I-25 corridor, have become suburbs to the point that distinct cities have nearly merged.

The Colorado Springs-Denver-Boulder-Ft.Collins metropolitan area is massive, with a serious population, and it’s nearly seamless in 2019.

(Nearly. There are still a few pockets in between, and even in places like Boulder, farms still maintain micro-pockets, like Gunbarrel.)

I was last up in Denver in late March, as you may know, because I wrote about my exploits here. It was a travel piece, sure, but it also set up the premise of today’s article.

In order to visit a few friends, I drove up to Denver to attend the open portfolio night at the Month of Photography 2019, which took place in downtown Denver on a Saturday night.

I parked in a spot that while convenient to the hotel bars, seemed like it would feel sketchy by the end of the night, and sure enough, I was griping my pocket knife like it was a Hattori Hanzu sword.

But that was the end of the night.

I turned up at the space, and after heading up the stairs, I met a very large crowd. The event was definitely well attended, but there was little of the pushing and shoving that you get in other cities. (Maybe none? I’m not sure anyone pushed or shoved at all.)

Almost immediately, after saying hi to a lot of people, I decided to look at the work seriously, and I met Stephanie Burchett, who reminded me we’d hung out at an after party at Medium in San Diego last October.

(For the record, as I learned the other week in Portland, I always remember a person’s name, work, face, or the circumstances under which we met. Sometimes some of the above, but always one.)

Stephanie had recently graduated from an MFA program in Tucson, and was displaying a small fabrication of images on both sides of the border wall.

I asked if it was a mockup, and she seemed surprised, even though she admitted she made large scale installation in grad school.

It was only meant to be what it was, she said. And I kind of like that, as its intent makes it weird and a little sad. Throw in the video-still she showed me from a grad school show, in which she facial recognition tagged white people in lynching photos, and I knew there was material in Denver to publish.

I told Stephanie that if I could find even a few more people to feature, I’d do an article. Then it became a game and a race, because my friends had worked all day, and wanted to leave to party.

Needless to say, there were enough people, or there would be no article.

 

So rather than go in order, which we never do anyway, I’ll tell you about Ellen Friedlander.

Ellen was one of those few people who stick in my mind, because these days, I try to publish as much work as I can. Very rarely, I’ll say no to someone, and then think about it afterwards, because I feel like perhaps I should have given them the benefit of the doubt.

Ellen qualifies, as I met her at Medium in October as well, (small circuit, the portfolio reviews,) and we spent the entire 20 minutes, or most of it, doing critical feedback. I spent so much time telling her how to improve that I didn’t really get to evaluate her work properly.

Well, here Ellen was, and with her daughter and sister to boot! I got to tell all three that I regretted not helping her, and then I offered to publish her work on the spot.

There was a very happy woman before me, it’s true, but she also said that the critique had been very helpful, and that her new work had grown as a result.

A win win for sure. As to the pictures, they’re street photography horizontal composites, as Ellen spent years living in Hong Kong, and traveling the world.

Chris Sessions was a good sport about my smash-and-grab approach. My friend and colleague, Jennifer Murray, the Executive Director of Filter Photo told me I needed to see his stuff, and within ONE photograph, I knew we were good to go.

Chris is doing a long-term personal project on Charros, Mexican horse riders in the greater Denver area. The image of the dude hovering in air may be one of the best individual photographs I’ve ever seen at a review.

A lot of what I saw that night was not to my taste, which is not uncommon in non-juried reviews. The community spirit and vitality are as important as anything. But it does mean that the good work jumps right out.

Especially when the light/color/sky leap off of an indoor table, at night, under artificial lighting conditions.

That’s what happened with Kevin Hoth.

I saw the images, told him who I was, and said I’d like to show them just for how beautiful they were.

Aren’t they?

Speaking of beauty, I thought Angela Faris Belt poetic landscapes were also gorgeous. Exquisite.

But then I learned they depict ancient, endangered Bristlecone Pines, and she photographed with expired Polaroid film.

Normally I’d write more, but sometimes it isn’t necessary.

It’s funny how sometimes you need to travel to see people from back home. (Not far, in this case.) I went up to Philip V. Augustin’s table like a shark, as he’s a Santa Fe guy, and I’ve seen his work many times over the years.

I wanted to look at some of his perfect gelatin silver prints, made of real light shapes in the studio. Coincidentally, I saw a few on the wall, framed, at Obscura Gallery in Santa Fe last Thursday, and they were really sharp.

Last, but not least, (as I often say,) we have Carl Bower, who I met on the portfolio review circuit 9 years ago, and probably hadn’t seen in 6 or 7 years.

I’d known Carl for his work about beauty pageants in Colombia, but this work was very different. The images were presented with text on the white background, as Carl was asking people to discuss their Private Fears, as he used his art to combat the same.

 

NYC in the 21st Century, Part 1

 

I’m just back from New York, and am off to Portland tomorrow, where I’ll be when this article drops.

(Yes, I have a headache.)

I’ve been traveling a lot lately, and there’s plenty more to come, so today it’s time to tell you what I observed, as a journalist, in New York and New Jersey earlier this month.

It’s important to date it, because in 2019, these places I know so well have finally stood up tall and joined the 21st Century.

Proudly.

They’ve developed, or grown, in ways that feel authentic, and at times exciting. (As someone who grew up and lived there.) It’s a funny word to use, development, because among a certain political class, it’s almost always seen as a bad thing.

Gentrification –> Development = Low-income residents getting pushed out.

That’s normally the equation, and I get it. (My MFA thesis project in 2004 was about corn fields in my suburban hometown getting turned into McMansions.)

Sure, it was a Dutch farming village for 300 years before my parents got there, but I didn’t want those farms to become more suburbs.

No more people like me moving in to spoil it!

I gentrified the Southern end of the Mission District in San Francisco in 1999, and then Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 2002, and left both places as they were getting too trendy.

Hell, Jessie and I moved back to Taos in 2005 expecting hordes of Gen Xers to follow us, but instead it’s been the Millennials who’ve gotten in on the action in the last three or four years.

All of which is to say, I’ve been a gentrifier, and one who took pains at each new farm that was plowed under for another house like my own.

In general, over the course of my life, I’d say I tended towards the condemnation of massive real estate developments, and appreciated when things stayed the same, as they did in San Francisco for 10 years after I left.

But now, the San Francisco skyline has been ruined by Salesforce, the local culture is supposedly all about tech bros, and I’d have to think hard about how many people I know who live in the city these days, rather than in the surrounding area.

New York City, though, is something different. (As is New Jersey, which we’ll get to in Part 2.)

Yes, it’s my home turf, and I’m biased. I’ve written before that I grew up able to see the Twin Towers from my hometown, gleaming across the bay.

I took it personally when the towers were destroyed in 2001, but I think something of New York’s soul was taken too. Not that it’s people were cowed, because that will never happen.

(Not in my lifetime, anyway.)

Old New York near Herald Square

Rather, the skyline was ruptured so badly, and then the local politicking, which is always dirty in New York, kept the Freedom tower from getting built FOREVER.

Really, you can look it up.

When did the Freedom Tower open to the public?

(Rare Google break…)

OK. I’m back. 2014.

That’s when the first tenant moved in.

It took New York City 13 years to replace it’s iconic Southern anchor to the skyline.

And even then, the building is just OK.

In the interim, there was a phase where some very average looking, minimalistic residential super-towers were built, which made the city lean wrong, and all that visual weight went towards the super-rich, with their part time crash pads. (I accidentally wrote cash pads, which is a good Freudian slip.)

Looking South from the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel

Nowadays, in 2019, finally, I’m thrilled to report that New York City has grown in exciting and beautiful ways. (Revitalizing growth that sometimes gets a bad rap, I think.)

In my experience, New York City has become a global tourism Mecca. In the sense that, like Paris, it now belongs to everyone.

And sometimes that comes at the expense of the locals.

Certainly, Manhattan, Brooklyn and now probably Queens are not affordable for “regular” people. Not unless you live “all-the-fuck-out-there” by the ocean.

And even where I’m from, in New Jersey, or in other outlying areas like Long Island or Westchester, the cost of living is high across the board. (Food, rent/home prices, transportation…)

Manhattan just adopted congestion pricing for the first time, to charge people for driving in the heart of the city, and the cost of tolls at bridges is nearly $20 as is.

In particular, though, I’d like to discuss Hudson Yards, the new mega-development by Stephen Ross, which recently opened in what used to be called Hell’s Kitchen on Manhattan’s in Midtown’s Far West Side.

Approaching Hudson Yards from the North

It was supposedly built on a $1 Billion platform over a railyard, and I’ve seen that tactic used in public parks in Chicago and Dallas to good effect. (In Dallas it was over highway, but still…)

Hudson Yards has gotten panned, from what I’ve heard, because it really was built for rich people, and tourists. (I guess I’m kind of the latter, these days.)

 

Looking East towards Old New York

Looking West to Hudson Yards

Looking up at the Hudson Yards skyscrapers

There are something like six new blue-glass skyscrapers by Starchitects, and they surround a big public courtyard with the the Shed, a public art space, and the massively expensive “Vessel,” a glowing bronze public art project for which you have to get a free ticket.

The Vessel

Getting the shot for Instagram

View from inside the Vessel

Looking down off the platform


It is literally a stairway that goes nowhere, built to be an Instagram backdrop, and it does that job well. I was little confused by the physical placement within the city skyline, if it’s meant to be iconic, but then I noticed this ad in The New Yorker, which about sums up the demographic.

The Vessel is apparently visible from New Jersey

On the lower levels of one of the buildings is a huge shopping mall and food court featuring very expensive and/or trendy brands. (Muji is not fancy, but it is cool.)

I understand my point may be somewhat controversial, but I’ve been to that part of town, over the years, and it was a bit of a wasteland.

I can also attest, at 45, that New York has always been about money.

It’s the heart of Capitalism, for crying out loud.

So as a former resident, and now regular visitor, I accept that it was always going to become too expensive for people like me to actually live there.

Hell, I don’t want to live there.

The air quality and weather suck, and it’s too busy for every day.

But seeing such beautiful, gleaming buildings in Hudson Yards, it inspired me.

They’re gorgeous.

And everywhere you look, including in odd places like the Lower East Side, there are new-looking skyscrapers that balance the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, and support the Freedom Tower, which was never meant to carry downtown alone.

(Brooklyn has tons of new hi-rise buildings too, so many that when my father-in-law last visited in 2004, there were none, he confirmed.)

Sticking with Manhattan, though, Hudson Yards blends right into the northern end of the High Line through Chelsea, which is itself a phenomenal piece of design and public space.

Whereas in the past, right at the junction between the two, there might have been a locally owned pizza place, now, it’s a restaurant by Jose Andres and the Adria Brothers. That’s a massive change, and I can see how some people might hate it. (I still miss the ubiquity of a great slice.)

Between the architecture that’s grown around the High Line, like the Zaha Hadid masterpiece, to the nature planted within it, the High Line is always popular, and rightly so.

(We went twice, and each time it was wall-to-wall people, speaking countless languages.)

The High Line ends in the new Whitney, which conveniently flows into Hudson River park, which goes south along the waterfront along the city.

Looking North from the beginning of the High Line

Zaha Hadid building along the High Line

It’s fantastic, frankly.

And none of it was there when I moved back to town in 2002.

I haven’t mentioned Hurricane Sandy, yet, which hit in 2012, but that was a real punch in the nose for the Tri-State Area.

Given that New York is a money town, between 9/11, the following market crash, the 2008 crash, and then Sandy, the city was properly down on its knees.

Maybe not like the big bad 70s, but New York looked stale, visually, and I’d argue maybe it was.

As cities like Shanghai and Dubai raced towards the future, New York seemed stuck in the past.

But no longer.

On a Pier looking South towards the Freedom Tower

These days, I think it’s pretty badass that New York has opened itself proudly to the world.

It’s thriving, and looks pretty great too. (Except for the garbage on the streets, because New York is always gonna New York.)

There’s so much more to tell, (including a few anecdotes about AIPAD,) but we’re nearing 1500 words, and I’ve got photos this time!

There’s no need to over-do it, so I’ll run it back with Part 2 next week.

Have a good one.

The Art of the Personal Project: Stephen Tayo

- - Personal Project, Working

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.  

Today’s featured artist:  Stephen Tayo

Featured on CNN 

Tayo, who grew up in Ikere-Ekiti, Nigeria, and now lives in Lagos, is not a twin himself, but he wanted to tell “a story that identifies my tribe.”

“It was really important for me to establish how twins are seen in our culture,” Tayo said in a phone interview. “Other tribes see twins as an abomination from the precolonial era onwards, but the Yoruba see them as a blessing.”

For Tayo, “Ibeji” signifies a more conceptual and multivalent approach to portraiture in comparison to the street style photography that has landed him on Vogue.com, Dazed Digital and Nataal. His subjects, friends or members of his wider community, were photographed at their homes or out on the streets of Lagos over a six-month period.


To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

The Best Work I Saw at the Medium Festival of Photography: Part 1

 

My kids are 6 and 11.

Right in that sweet spot where all the older people you meet say, “Cherish this time. It goes by so quickly.”

Seriously.
I’ve heard that a lot.

My wife and I are trying to appreciate it, but as my son told me the other day, (with respect to the natural beauty that surrounds him in Taos,) it’s hard not to take it for granted.

One thing I’ve discovered, one trick to make it last, is to try to make more memories.

To do it on purpose.

As a photographer, I’ll be honest, I don’t mean taking more pictures. (I might regret not doing more of that, I suppose, but whenever I have the camera out, I feel like I’m not living in the moment.)

Rather, traveling with my kids makes memories.

When we’re out of our natural environment, our senses sharpen, and we imprint more memories in the brain.

My wife and I realized that so much of our existence, living on the farm with the kids, was about the day to day. It was fun to go through, but not much stuck up in the cerebral cortex. (I’m guessing. It’s likely another part of the brain that stores memories, but I was lazy and didn’t bother to look it up.)

A couple of years ago, we made a conscious effort to plan more trips, even if it was staying overnight in a hotel in Albuquerque. (No offense, Burque.)

Visiting cousins in Colorado is an easy one, so we do it more.

Whether it was the Barbecue place we discovered off I-25 in Colorado City, (Shout out to Obies,) or the October blizzard on Theo’s birthday, or that great Thai joint we found in Boulder.

More experiences, more memories.

Along that line of thinking, for the first time ever, this past October, I had the idea to invite Jessie and the kids along on my trip to the Medium Festival of Photography in San Diego, and somehow we made it work at the very last minute. (Really cheap flights being the main reason.)

I’d already booked a rental car, and a hotel in ABQ to leave for an early flight, so it didn’t take much to make it work.

I did forget one minor detail though. (But we’ll get to that.)

This now the fourth time I visited Medium, at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park, and 5 years ago, it seemed like a transitional neighborhood. It’s inland, so it was less shiny than all the other parts of the city I’d seen.

In late 2018, though, there were gleaming-modernist-condo-projects everywhere, and a sparkling gentrification vibe that was unmissable. There were still some homeless people, as it’s a California-wide-problem I’ve written about many times before, but the overall impression is now of hip-trendy-neighborhood.

(For example, parking went from free to $5 to $10 to $18 per day.)

As I’ve said before, there are many excellent, affordable restaurants in the immediate vicinity, so if you visit Medium, you can eat very well on a budget. (Shout out to Mama’s Lebanese, Luigi’s pizza, and Bahia Tacos, all on El Cajon Blvd.)

Regarding my problem…I mentioned that I had it all planned out…but for some reason, I just assumed I’d get a room with two beds.

It was crucial to my delicate plan, yet I’d made no preparations at all.

So I checked in to the hotel, agreed to pay the parking, and just as I turned to leave, with my family smiling behind me, I casually asked, “The room has two beds, right?”

And I turned back to the front desk.

“No, sir, it doesn’t,” he said. “I’m afraid those rooms are booked.”

I stopped.
Crestfallen.
Downcast.
Uncertain.

“But, but, they’re here. My family. I’ve never brought them along to anything, ever. But this time I did. And I never thought to ask about the beds. How stupid of me. Can you please help?”

The young, Latino man behind the counter was handsome, and polite.

But there’s one key detail I may have left out.

His name was Jesus.

“Can you help me, Jesus,” I asked?

I swear.
I’m not making this up.

Jesus looked at me, with beneficent eyes and said, “Let me see what I can do.”

His hands flew across the keyboard, gracefully.

Tap. Tap. tap.
Tap. Tap. tap.

“Well, would you be OK with a family suite out by the pool? It’s all I have. No charge.”

“Thank, you, Jesus,” I said. “Thank you.”

And sure enough, there was a chalkboard on the wall for the kids to draw, two big rooms mere steps from the beautiful pool, (one with a bunk bed,) two bathrooms, two TV’s.

I’d say that Jesus was the nicest person in San Diego, but that might be an overstatement. Because there are so many nice people in San Diego, it would be hard to just pick one.

Honestly. They’re that nice.

As this is the first of two pieces about Medium, I’ll come right out and say it: San Diego might be the nicest place I’ve been in America.

The weather is great. The people are friendly. The beaches are gorgeous. The food is amazing. The views are spectacular. The traditional Mexican-American and other immigrant cultures are strong.

Honestly, if you set aside my general-California-critiques that I won’t reiterate here, there is nothing not to like about San Diego. (You could say traffic, sure, but the apps these days let you know what you’re in for, and suggest alternate routes, so even that is not quite so depressing as it used to be for me.)

In the end, I got my family memories, thank you very much. It all worked out just right.

(Normally I’d give you details, but I’m keeping those bits for myself.)

The point, rather, is that when we get out of our routine, out of our towns, and our regular lives, we enrich ourselves, and keep a more detailed record in our memory banks.

So as a New Year’s resolution, get out there and visit a festival in your local area in 2019!

Photo festivals like Medium are great places to make friends and create networking opportunities, to hear artist lectures and see exhibitions.

It’s a no brainer.

As usual, when I go to these events, I reviewed a slew of portfolios, and gave critical feedback when I was asked. Sometimes I might help photographers brainstorm about what to do with a project.

But I always write an article or two for you guys, so you can get a sense of what I’m seeing at the portfolio review table.

Which brings us to this part of the story, where I show you the best work I saw at the Medium Festival of Photography in October 2018.

As usual, the portfolios are in no particular order, and the projects ranges in style dramatically, which is always the most interesting thing of all.

Daniel Kariko is a professor at ECU in North Carolina, and was the first person I met, if my memory serves me. (It’s weird writing three months later, I must admit, but I’m good with the recall, and took solid notes.)

His images were made with electron microscopes, and zero in on the super-mega-pixel detail of insects faces. In light of news about the potential insect apocalypse, these pictures are important both as documents of a disappearing world, and visual reminders of why protecting the environment is important.

I was pleased to see Janet Holmes again, (we’d met at Filter in Chicago,) because I’d previewed her project “Rescued Chickens” in Critical Mass, and gave it the highest possible score. She featured vegan women who rescue chickens, and the chickens themselves.

As she writes, “How do you decide which animals are family, and which are food? Why are we surprised to see a rooster gazing out the kitchen window or a hen investigating the laundry? After all, chickens are present in most homes, as flesh and eggs, just not as individuals with personalities of their own.”

Really, I couldn’t love it more.

Mark Lipczynski, a commercial an editorial photographer, was visiting from Phoenix. I didn’t love one project he showed me, but as so often happens, I offered to look at his other series, because you never know.

When he emailed me a link to his pictures in the American West, I happily clicked through. The photos are witty and fun. What’s not to like?

Brian Van de Wetering is a SoCal artist I met at a previous review and published here before. (As I recall, he’s a part of the Aline Smithson mafia, and those students always marry strong craft with a personal intention.)

I didn’t review Brian’s work directly this time, but met him in the aisle during the portfolio walk, and he told me about his new project, in which he exposes photograms in direct sunlight.

The resulting images are scanned, and really, they’re just so beautiful. People think I’m a tough critic, and I guess that can be true. But I’m happy to enjoy visual objects for their own pleasure when they look like this.

 

Wayne Swanson did the double-double with me on the 2018 festival circuit, as we met at the Exposure review in LA in July, and I published a set of his images that were made with a pinhole polaroid. (I believe.)

This time, we got into something more personal. Wayne suffers from spinal stenosis, which I must admit has afflicted both of my parents. My Dad had 3 major spinal surgeries, including two fusions, and my Mom had a fusion surgery as well.

My uncle just underwent his second.

A lot of Baby Boomers have dealt with these structural problems, which can lead to debilitating pain, and affect lives deeply.

The pictures are dynamic.

And speaking of personal, big shout out to Christina Angarola Hsu, who had images of her triplet girls, in the years before two of them took extremely ill.

She only showed me photographs from a segment of their lives, and said she hadn’t been shooting for quite some time. I asked her if she had more, and if she’d consider shooting again, so we could see the girls now that they’re older, and thankfully healthy again.

Christina dug into her archive so I could show you this terrific selection today. Keep shooting, Christina! And I’ll bring you guys Part 2 next week.

The Daily Edit – ESPN: Randall Slavin

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ESPN

Creative Director: Chin Wang
Director of Photography, Print + Digital: Tim Rasmussen
Director of Photography, ESPN The Magazine: Karen Frank
Deputy Photo Editors: Kristen Geisler, Jim Surber
Senior Photo Editors: Nick Galac
Photo Editor: Kaitlin Marron
Associate Art Director: Linda Pouder
Photographer: Randall Slavin

Heidi:  Did you shoot this specifically as a cover or was it an outtake from the feature?
Randall: I was asked to shoot portraits at the 2018 ESPYS of 100+ victims of sexual assault who were receiving the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. So I had a portrait studio set up in the green room to shoot the former gymnasts.  It was extremely taxing emotionally and creatively as we only had 2 hours to do all of them and i try to make some personal connection to everyone I shoot, even more so with portraits like this.

As I was set up the people from ESPN said “as long as you are set up feel free to try to shoot anyone you can get into the studio.” So before and after my shoot with the gymnasts I was able to pull some people into the studio for quick portraits including NFL hall of famer Jim Kelly, The Villanova Wildcats , and a few other people, and I had seen Odell Beckham Jr. around the green room and with his bleached hair and his black and white Gucci shorts outfit I was aching to shoot him.

I’m not a big NFL fan but I’m a fan of interesting characters. I had told someone who was working the event to try to wrangle Odell into the studio. The night wound down and nothing, the broadcast had ended and the green room was emptying out.  I told my crew to pack it up as it had been an extremely long day. We were taking down strobe and packing up lenses when my friend poked her head in and said
“Odell is on his way.”

I  hurriedly told my boys set everything back up just as OBJ walked in w a drink in one hand; after quick introductions he stepped on the paper.  At first it was pretty normal; then I told him to reach out to me to infuse some energy into the shot. (that was the cover shot) I asked him what his newest tattoo was so he lifted up his shorts to show me the jungle scene on his leg.

He had a new diamond inserted in his incisor so he loved snarling his lip to show me the sparkling cross. When I’m shooting these portraits I get really close to the subject as I’m usually shooting these at 24mm. It feels very intimate and personal. He was leaping and jumping. We only shot about 30 frames but I knew we had something special. and then he asked me for camera, “my turn” he said so we switched places and he took my picture. Odell shooting me leaping and goofing around. Its not usually my vibe but it had been such a difficult day, I was a bit punchy knew Odell and I had just shot something special, so sort of in a way to thank him and not ruin the good energy that we had going I did it. 10 later minutes later it was over and he grabbed my phone put his number in it
“text me these pictures,” and he was gone.

I turned to Alison Overholt and Tim Rasmussen the EIC and photo editor for ESPN THE MAGAZINE with a  big smile on my face.
“You know,you just shot our NFL preview cover,” Allison said.
“I did?”
“We have been trying to get Odell to do a cover for us but we weren’t able to make it happen.”

Did you always see this in B/W?
I always intended this to be black and white, I’ve never even looked at it in color!

The Art of the Personal Project: Agnes Lopez

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The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Agnes Lopez

Over the past year I worked with filmmaker Eric Torres, directing a documentary about Filipino food and the Filipino chefs in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville has the largest Filipino population in the Southeast, yet Filipino foods are generally absent from the area’s culinary scene.

As a food photographer and a second-generation Filipino-American, I want the next generations of Filipino-Americans — and all food lovers! — to see and taste the rich and delicious culinary culture of the Philippines.

Our documentary, #MORETHANLUMPIA: JAX Filipino Chefs, is in the final stages of filming and will premiere in October at a special screening at the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville, Florida.

There is a global Filipino Food Movement taking place right now, and believe it is time for the city of Jacksonville to join it. We want people to see that our food is more than just lumpia and pancit, and that serious Filipino culinary talent is already here in some of the most revered kitchens in the region.

The JAX Filipino Chefs documentary is part of a larger campaign to highlight the incredibly skilled and accomplished Filipino chefs of Northeast Florida who are looking to share flavors and dishes from their backgrounds and imaginations, inspired by their culture, through events, pop-up dinners, social media, and community outreach.

You can see the teaser trailer for the documentary and read about the chefs at jaxfilipinochefs.com and @jaxfilipinochefs on Instagram.

James Victorino, Executive Pastry Chef, One Ocean Resort

Jojo Hernandez, Executive Sous Chef, The Florida Yacht Club

Leni Rose Magsino, Pastry Chef, Valley Smoke Restaurant

Melanie Cuartelon, Sous Chef, Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa

Rick Laughlin, Chef de Cuisine, Salt at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Wesley Nogueira, Executive Chef, Khloe’s Kitchen

To see more of this project, click here.

To attend one of their events, click here

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram