The Daily Edit – Christopher Dowell

Chris Dowell

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Featured Promo – Kah Poon

Kah Poon

Who printed it?
I printed the photos myself.

Who designed it?
I did the design. Back in college, I studied both graphic design and photography. When I first came to New York after graduation many years ago, I was doing both photo and graphic design. But I needed to focus on just one, so I gave up design. And yet my photos have remained very influenced by graphic design.

Tell me about the images.
I have been shooting for over 15 years. I started with fashion. Portraits came a little later, and I only started shooting dance 6 yrs ago.
In the promo box, I am showcasing all three. I shoot a lot of color as well but for this promo, I only focused on black and white.
I have been consistently told not to mix the genres but to focus on just one. I decided it’s okay to showcase the genres together as long as they reflect the same point of view and style.
For my portraits, I never have the models smile. I like for them to wear a more subdued look. This is just my personal preference.
For my dance work, it is about showcasing their unique abilities, strength, and grace. The dancers are not showing emotion in their faces but through their body language.
Finally, in the fashion pictures, there is still no emotion in the face. I am just trying to just showcase the clothes.

Tell me about your connection to dance?
I was a competitive dancer back in the day. It didn’t occur to me until many years later that I could combine my love of dance with photography. One day I was standing in the nosebleed section of a performance by the New York City Ballet with my wife. I wondered what I would need to do to photograph these beautiful dancers. It was just a passing thought. A little while later, I had the same feeling watching a performance by the Martha Graham dancers. So I befriended one of the dancers. I had a fashion shoot coming up and I convinced the creative director to use dancers instead of models. I was able to invite four dancers from Martha Graham Dance Company to my studio and the rest is history. Since then I have done several shoots with the wonderful Martha Graham dancers. They are disciplined, graceful, and simply a joy to shoot. There is an energy and power there that is quite different than what a photographer would usually find when shooting models. I discovered that combining dance photography with my black and white style had astonishing results. The musculature and shadow brought out things I didn’t plan for. It was thrilling. The dancers bring so much to the shoot and are used to pouring out every ounce of energy they have and leaving it all on the floor. They also bring a unique life experience to the set that makes them quite exciting to work with.

How many did you make?
I have made only 50 so far. They are quite time-consuming to produce. I haven’t sent out any since Covid but I plan to start again soon.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send them to a very targeted audience twice a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Absolutely yes. The reaction seems to be very positive. The promo boxes don’t look mass-produced, and the people who receive them seem to appreciate the effort I put into making them. Since photographers no longer send out hard copy portfolio books, everything is viewed on the screen. But having something tangible in your hands creates a special relationship of the body to the images. Online everything is impersonal. But when you hold something small and intimate in your hands, it can change the way you think about the work. It enters your memory differently. Holding an object can be more pleasurable than looking at one.

This Week in Photography: American Made Machines

 

I almost tried this last week.

 

I mean, I did, but then I chickened out.

I went back to my old edit one more time, put in more labor, then MORE, and finally muscled my way to a column I liked.

But what am I doing?

What’s so new?

I’m writing on Friday morning, just before I post the column.

It’s so daring!

So chic.
So risky.

I feel dangerous.

Like John McClane running around the Nakatomi Tower, just knowing he has the grit to deal with whatever they throw at him, and he’ll be good for a witty one-liner while he’s doing it.

 

 

That’s me right now.

Writing on a Friday morning.

It’s like: have you seen those guys who walk the high-wire between two buildings? With no net?

That’s me right now.

Winging it.

 

 

You know why?

Because it’s summer-time, and IDGAF. (If you don’t know the acronym, look it up.)

The United States is finally emerging from the Trump era, which ended with the worst pandemic in 100 years.

The world has been so fucked up, for so long, that I’m finally starting to get all this Roaring 20’s talk.

If staying in your house for a year isn’t enough to make you want to build back better, and get out into the world and do things, now that you can, then please, let me be the one to light a fire under your ass.

To you Americans, (sorry, world,) our country is now safe to explore again. Your IRL hobbies and social interactions can resume.

Grab your chance like a half-pit-bull with a stuffed animal its jaws!

I teach art all the time, (as you know,) and I swear, this process makes us better. We learn about the planet, ourselves, our craft.

It’s a potentially cathartic outlet.

Most artists do it because of that great phrase Kandinsky uttered all those years ago: inner necessity.

That deeply rooted need to create.
To make things.

 

Right now, I’m thinking of someone in particular.

In early January of this year, as the country was on the verge of exploding, I felt the need to do something different.

Here, in the column.

So when Twitter’s algorithm pointed me in a direction, I followed, and discovered the work of Laidric Stevenson, a Black photographer based in Dallas, who uses a large format camera to document his city.

I reached out to him directly, and within days, we’d published his “My Virus Diary project.”

I’d never done a story in that way before, as I always show photographic portfolios from exhibitions or portfolio reviews.

As thanks, Laidric sent me a ‘zine of another project I admired, “American Made Machines,” and it went into the submission pile nearly six months ago.

We got to know each other after that, Laidric and I, and he joined my Antidote online program for a few months this spring, culminating in a pretty great final critique.

I know this guy works two jobs, and is raising a family in Texas.

Yet somehow, he finds the time, in the margins, to cart around his massive film cameras, fiddle with the tripod, and make his art.

The ‘zine, “American Made Machines,” which I finally opened, is a testament to that. (And I think this one was shot with medium format film.)

The opening statement says back in 2014, with the birth of his first child, he didn’t really have time to make work.

Finally, a few small cracks opened in the schedule in 2015, at night, and he found himself inexorably drawn to these big hulking American cars, vans and trucks.

Metal sculptures from a bygone Era.

Carter.
Reagan.
Bush Sr.

Pax Americana.

The easy times.

Before the internet.

Before the pandemic.

Back when Donald Trump was just a rich, entitled, skinny, good-looking, NYC-shyster-rich-guy.

This ‘zine celebrates that America, late 20th Century America, through its car design, and the people who continue to keep their machines going today. (Which the statement mentions can be a tricky thing to do, older cars being fussy.)

So with Juneteenth and July 4th nearly upon us, I wanted to write a positive, short, summer column, and then be on my way.

See you next week.

 

For more info about “American Made Machines” click here

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Antoine Repesse

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:  Antoine Repesse

 

Born in Lille in 1979, Antoine Repessé is a self-taught photographer. While working initially in public institutions, in 2012 he cuts loose and started freelancing. He joined the photo agency Lightmotiv where he produced for major press agencies including Le Monde, Elle, Marianne, L’Express, Géo, Causette. At the end of 2015 he left the agency to join the collective Views Co.

 

Early on he took on personal projects around photojournalism inspired from socio-political issues. His travels from Lille to Romania, resulted in the production of “Bienvenue chez les Roms”, to India, and Mali with the NGO Acauped took him to further horizons.

 

In each of his projects, Antoine Repessé immerses himself and distances himself from the mainstream. Rather than freezing the person in front of the camera, he freezes his relation to the person. His photos relate moments, encounters, and social relations. They question the representation of the other in his/her own reality or in a real staging, which is directed to be better questioned. This specific work translated into the following photo series: “Jump Around” or “Le grand saut”, in collaboration with the association L’Entorse.

 

His latest project, “365 Unpacked” is the result of all of the above. The questioning of a major society issue: the production of waste on a daily basis, crosses the reality of the image.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

Instagram

 

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 @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

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.

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Headshots For A Law Firm

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Headshots and environmental portraits of law firm partners

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 20 images for 5 years

Photographer: Portraiture specialist in the Southeast

Client: Law Firm

Here is the estimate:

Fees: The client initially presented a project scope resembling a corporate lifestyle production with a seemingly endless shot list and a request for a one-day shoot (for what looked like a two-day shoot at a minimum). We had a discussion with the client, letting them know what we felt was feasible in a single day, and we were able to put a tighter box around the scope by just including portraits of their four main employees/partners in and around their office. It was at this time I asked about their budget, and we were told they had $10,000 to spend. This wasn’t a surprising budget, but I knew it would be a challenge to include appropriate fees/expenses across the board while capping the bottom line.

They had initially wanted 50 images, but given the budget, we limited that to 20 images and included a $6,000 fee, which happened to break down to $300/image. It felt light given the usage, but the straightforward nature of the newly defined project scope put downward pressure on the fee. Also, given all of the factors, the photographer was pleased with this amount. In addition to the creative/licensing fee, we also included $500 for a tech/scout day, so the photographer could see the location ahead of time and talk through logistics and creative approach with the client.

Crew: I included a first assistant to attend both the tech/scout day and the shoot day. I also included a digital tech who would double as a second assistant on the shoot day.

Equipment: This covered the photographer’s own equipment, and while I would have liked to charge more for the camera/lighting/grip he’d be bringing, we kept this expense to a minimum, given the budget.

Misc: I included $100 for any unforeseen expenses.

Postproduction: I included $300 for the photographer to provide the client a gallery of content to choose from, and then $100 per image to cover retouching for each of the 20 selects.

Feedback: The client demanded that they needed usage in perpetuity rather than be limited to five years. Typically, we would have gone back to them with an increased fee to accommodate that, but they essentially let us know it would be a deal breaker to increase the budget. The photographer was begrudgingly willing to simply include the perpetual usage to seal the deal.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.


Have questions? Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out.

We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – Architectural Digest: Pankaj Anand

Architectural Digest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

This Week in Photography: Cruise Night

 

 

My cousin Jordan asked me to print a retraction.

From last week’s piece.

 

It was an omission, really, but he’s not wrong.

Jordan and my Uncle both mentioned the same thing: for the sake of brevity, I left out one important food experience in last week’s column.

They’re right, so let’s rectify it.

 

In my first actual travel article in more than a year, I chose not to write about the donuts.

Those special, special donuts.

Duck Donuts, to be exact.

At a Saturday pool party, Jordan’s daughter asked for some dessert, after we’d eaten the Luigi’s pizza, and through the wonder of Door Dash, (which I’d never seen in action,) they found a Donut joint in the app, and a variety pack was dropped on the driveway.

At first, I abstained.

I watched the crowd attack the donuts, like Roman crows to human hair, but stayed on my lounge chair, not wanting to give in to the munchies. (Like I said last week, it was a bender.)

Eventually, Jordan said I had to try them.

They were THAT good.

I relented, and within a minute had devoured small sections from three or four different donuts.

(Who am I kidding? It must have been five or six.)

Each donut was a bigger flavor explosion than the last, and the chocolatey browns and saturated colors made you NEED to eat them, even though you knew better.

Truth: they were the best donuts I’ve ever had.

 

 

Duck Donuts
4 stars out of 4

 

 

I mention my Jersey trip.

It reminded me of one thing: we all need to check in with our tribe, now and again.

Our personal clan, sure, but also the local culture where we’re from.

Most people, almost everywhere, prefer to stick close to their local culture, because it’s the operating system that makes us.

The symbols, rituals, in-jokes, music choice, beloved foods, weekend activities, they’re all specific to a place.

Some photographers love to enter cultural communities, spending so much time taking pictures, and asking questions, that eventually they become embraced by the people they’re observing.

In this case, I’m thinking of Kristin Bedford, a photographer I met at the Medium Festival of Photography, back in 2014.

She sat next to me in the lobby and started chatting me up, (not knowing I was a journalist,) and an hour later, I promised to pitch her work to the NYT Lens Blog, and they greenlit the story, which we published that December. 

We stayed in touch over the years, Kristin and I, and recently chatted on Zoom, for a new interview series I’m kicking off, in conjunction with PhotoNOLA and the New Orleans Photo Alliance.

Starting this month, I’ll be doing interviews every other month for their BookLENS program.

In our inaugural piece, I spoke to Kristin in a video interview about “Cruise Night,” her new Damiani book, which showed up in the mail here not to long ago.

You can see the interview in its entirety here.

 

June 2021 BookLENS: Kristin Bedford from New Orleans Photo Alliance on Vimeo.

 

 

But a chat isn’t a book review.

In a proper book review, the opening rant has nothing to do with the book.

Like those donuts, though, “Cruise Night” is so vibrant, saturated, and alive.

Colors this gorgeous, this bright, communicate a joy, a love, an infatuation with the lowrider culture so dear to the Mexican American community in SoCal.

The book is filled with sharply observed details, which suggest someone paying attention, looking carefully.

I think “Cruise Night” is an excellent book, and worth the praise it’s been getting in the media.

Thankfully, I don’t rank books by stars, (only Duck Donuts gets rated today,) but I have to admit, I might have inadvertently created a monster with this restaurant reviewing thing.

After last week’s column, my cousin Jordan seems to have discovered the thrill of rating things.

He’s texting me, giving stars to everything now.

3 stars for this.
0 stars for that.

I’m actually starting to wonder if he’s after my job?

See you next week.

To Purchase “Cruise Night,” click here

 







 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Kahran and Bethancourt of Creative Soul

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:  Creative Soul/Kahran and Bethancourt

The Afro Art series is a recognition and celebration of the versatility of black hair and its innate beauty. The purpose of this series is to illustrate the story of our royal past, celebrate the glory of the here and now, and even dare to forecast the future. With this series, we aim to empower children of color to embrace their natural curls and the skin that they’re in. This viral series has gained worldwide attention and has been featured on the BBC News, CNN, CBS News, Teen Vogue, Glamour Brazil and more.

To see more of this project, click here.

Instagram

 

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 @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Featured Promo – Peter Prato

Peter Prato

Who printed it?
Edition One Books, which recently moved from Berkeley to Richmond. Brandon Tauszik, who’s an amazing photographer and a dear friend, turned me onto them. They printed his book, Pale Blue Dress, which made an appearance on this very site.

Who designed it?
Mcalman.co, which is a design studio founded by George McCalman, who’s made promos for many wonderful photographers. I worked directly with him and his Design Associate, Ali Cameron. George and I have collaborated on a few things together and it was extremely helpful to begin from a place where he was familiar with my interest in images and words. He brings experience as an illustrator, writer, fine artist, and having worked closely with photographers as an art director. A real powerhouse. All of this made for an experience in which the iterations on rounds of feedback were efficient and thoughtful. George also has the kind of chemistry I need in an editor. He knows how and when to say no to ideas that will cause a project to come off the rails.

Tell me about the images?
When I first read this question I thought, “I should ask him what the word limit is on this thing.” The images represent a range of experiences. Some were made for work. Some were made in my personal life. All of them are a kind of a creative non-fiction in which I’m carving a version of reality out of the light. It’s also the genre that comes most naturally to me and that I’ve practiced the most since studying creative writing in college. Of course, I’m interested in imagery without words, but this body of work isn’t about a collection of greatest hits. I wanted the people that are sitting with this to get a sense of how I think and what’s important to me. I also wanted to give them an opportunity for context. These images could live without the words but it would change the nature of how I want to relate to my audience. An image of a man staring off into the abyss of the night in a pensive stance is one thing. Knowing that man had an impact on me, and has passed away, changes that image. That said, a little bit of mystery provides endless satisfaction. I’m not trying to tell everyone everything. I want to start a conversation.

How many did you make?
I had 150 printed. 100 of them are going to people that work in various aspects of the photo industry, some of whom I’ve worked with, some of whom I want to work with, and some of whom are people that have helped guide my career through the work they do to support photographers. A Photo Editor comes to mind. The other 50 will be a limited edition, signed, and sold with an open edition print and most likely a unique piece of writing to anyone that feels inclined to spend their money on my work.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first time I’ve done this so I don’t have a structured routine. It’s laborious and expensive and an excellent creative exercise. I’ll probably do it again in the future, but I see this is a stepping-stone to my next goal, which is a monograph of work, and for which I’m talking with another designer that’s interested in working with me.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Because I’ve never done this before I can’t definitively answer it one way or another quite yet. That’s frustrating, but the question of attention is a problem all creative people face if they’re trying to make a profession out of their creativity.

I think printed work is a smart way to convey a commitment to the craft, especially to people that have dedicated themselves to careers in which they’re hiring photographers, but you have to find your way onto very crowded desks and then not get buried. I think about measuring the efficacy of the marketing in two ways. On one hand, there are the fixed costs, which I’m tracking. The production costs, the design fee, the shipping costs, and the like. There are also the soft costs, like the time it took to sequence the work, or the commutes to Lightsource to work with Ward Long on the film scanning, or the maintenance of the spreadsheet to keep track of everyone that I’m trying to reach and to whom I’ve sent it and whether or not I’ve worked with them yet (just a note here to my tech friends whose heads are swelling as they read that last line- yes, I understand there are CRM systems out there that help with this and yes, I use one of those, too). There’s the time spent trying to reach people to let them know I want to send them a copy. There’s the time I’ve spent standing in line at the post office, and hand-writing letters of thanks, and following up with people to whom I’ve sent it but haven’t heard back to gently ask if they’ve received it and, if so, to say thanks again. I haven’t tracked all of that and even if I had, I’m not sure how I’d quantify the cost unless I broke out my annual gross income into minutes. So a very basic way of determining efficacy would be, did I cover my known costs? Did I generate new business that led to a profit?

On the other hand, I brought this thing to life in collaboration with the help of hard working, talented people, along with all those that hired me, those that allowed me into their world, gave me their time, those that made themselves vulnerable, fed me, helped me navigate unknown spaces, assisted me, married me, and so on. I’m proud of this work, of this small temple and the people it represents. So with that in mind, a real profit, and a meaningful success, will be a function of the number of new relationships it generates with people that will enable the virtuous circle of making time to make work to make money to make time to keep telling stories about this world and the way I see it.

This Week in Photography: Going Home

 

 

I wasn’t on the road long, before I saw the wild horses.

It sounds metaphorical, but it’s true.

 

Wild horses in Southern Colorado

 

 

The entire drive north, I was salivating, excited to buy some tasty indica gummies from one of the many weed dispensaries along the way.

But I waited.

I had fantasies, visions of eating a few tasty-treats in the airport parking-lot, having them hit in woozy-waves, just as I was settling into my seat, ready for a sweet-warm-fuzzy nap, until I woke up in Newark, New Jersey.

 

Newark Airport

 

I raced to Denver so I could buy them, and have a nice meal, before I got on the plane.

Four + hours after I left home, I made it to The Clinic, right off I-25 at Colorado Blvd, and some tow-headed, blonde, chubby, frat-boy walked up to the door two seconds before I did.

Typical.

I watched through the glass as he fumbled for his ID, before comically dropping the entire wallet; his money and credit cards scattering in all directions.

(They actually hit the floor.)

What a schmuck, I thought.

I’m so much cooler than that guy.

When it was my turn, I sauntered up to the counter to present my ID, and the guy smirked, before saying, “Do you by any chance have any un-expired identification?”

“Say what now?” I said. “What are you talking about?”

“Look right there, your ID expired in April. Sorry, man, I can’t let you in.”

“I don’t care about the weed, man. I’m about to go to the airport. If I can’t buy pot, how’re they going to let me on a plane?”

The weed guy was stumped.

I was dejected, and limped to the back of my SUV, where I sat down and sent sad-boy-texts, before calling my Uncle to tell him I wasn’t coming.

I was fucked.

He and my brother, though, on the phone, encouraged me to go to the airport and wing it, bc the pandemic meant they’d loosened up the rules on ID.

There was traffic, of course, so I sped to the airport as quick as I could, after grabbing a bad piece of pizza and even worse burrito at Whole Foods, in a mad dash to eat, as I’d skipped breakfast. (Shame on you, Jeff Bezos.)

Cut to the chase: I made the plane.

But only because the parking-guy magically waved me into the closer, more expensive garage, assuring me I wouldn’t be up-charged. And all the nice-people in the security-line let me cut to the front, frogger-style, as I begged apology, and swore I was about to miss my plane.

Yes, I was THAT GUY, on my first plane trip in nearly 15 months.

I was that guy.

 

 

I made the plane by exactly 1 minute.

I had nice nap, and oh by the way, THE ENTIRE FLIGHT WAS FULL.

Every single seat.

Sure, people were wearing masks.

But any prior concept of social distancing, or enforcing the need for personal space, went out the window.

That was Thursday.

 

 

On Friday morning, my cousin Dylan and I agreed to go the pool store with my Uncle, if Dylan could get some coffee, and I could get some pizza, once it got to be lunch.

(I skipped breakfast, in anticipation.)

On the drive West, my Uncle, who had been a professional photographer in the 70’s, told me he had a little spot we should see, maybe for pictures.

I had no idea what he meant, but we headed even further into farm country, from my hometown of Holmdel, NJ.

We cruised out past Marlboro, almost into Freehold.

Right there off the highway, there was a little road, and then a parking lot, and then a totemic 18th Century building.

Right off the highway.

It was radiating power, this old house.

 

The 18th C Craig House

Ironically, a local, professional photographer had just turned up, to take some portraits of a child, set against the creepy structure.

There was a little kiosk with information and literature, and I learned this was the Craig House, at the edge of the Monmouth Battlefield State Park.

The famed Revolutionary War battlefield!

 

 

At its edge, this, the former residence of a Scottish family, who colonized the area in the 17th Century, and owned slaves!

This was the place where George Washington fought the English, and drove them back in June of 1778.

George Washington!

I’d been here with Jessie nearly 20 years ago, from the main entrance, on the other side of the park, by the visitor center, so I really had no idea where we were.

Such a gorgeous, important place.

And we’d just casually drove up on it, on our way to the pool store, by the side of the highway.

My uncle says it’s normally empty when he goes there.

 

 

I live in a part of America that was founded by the Pueblo Native people.

The history, here, is of long-extinct volcanoes, ancient migration, Spanish colonization, and the Wild West.

Where I’m from, in Central New Jersey, those pastoral suburbs by the Jersey Shore, the history is completely different.

Holmdel, New Jersey, was founded by Dutch Colonists, in the 17th Century, but belonged to the Lenni Lenape Native people before that.

England battled for, and won, colonial territory from the Dutch and the French, to control the East Coast, and then of course America rebelled against England to become its own country.

Out where I live now, (home for most of my adult life,) Spain took the land from the Native Americans, then Mexico became independent from Spain, and finally America took New Mexico from Mexico in the 19th Century.

 

 

The Monmouth Battlefield has miles and miles of walking and hiking trails, across some beautiful country.

 

 

It is free and open to the public, so if you live anywhere in the Tri-State area, or the Mid-Atlantic or New England regions, you might consider a Post-Covid visit.

And the Shore is just up the highway.

This is the landscape that made Bruce Springsteen, these farms that rolled East to the Sea, in Asbury Park.

In addition to miles of beaches, Monmouth County has 18th Century architecture wherever you look, and small downtown main streets in which old churches have been repurposed as real estate joints, or lawyers’ offices.

 

Scary old barn, across the street from Crown Palace

 

 

 

Dylan and I took a few walks through public land.

One was nearly 7 miles.

We needed it because we ate some gut-bomb pizza on the way back from the pool store, after the battlefield.

Dylan was in a food crash, and anxious to check his work email, and I wanted pizza, so the three of us compromised.

We went to Marlboro Pizza, for slices, in a strip mall on the corner of Rt 34 and Rt 79, and I walked in the door assuming any average, Jersey-strip-mall-pizza-joint would be awesome.

 

Marlboro Pizza

 

This was not.

They had so many choices in the window, so many fancy pies to excite the eyes, but they could not deliver on the pretty visuals.

Let that be a lesson.

Maybe stick to a few things, and do them well.

I got suckered by the specialty pies, and strayed from tradition, ordering a vodka sauce w/ fresh mozzarella slice, and a grandma pizza slice.

 

Vodka sauce pizza and Grandma pizza

 

Both were severely under-seasoned, and a bit greasy.

Not special.

Dylan was also underwhelmed by his slices, and my Uncle’s piece left drips of grease on his plate.

On the plus side, we shared 1 slice of chicken-parmesan-pizza, (cut three ways,) and that was pretty great, but I only got a few bites, and it wasn’t enough to overturn the very mediocre review.

Marlboro Pizza
1 star out of 4

 

 

To burn it off, Dylan and I headed into the nature trails in the Ramanessin Brook Greenway, which connects swamp land, creek trails, and beautiful, public meadows & farmland across the entire town of Holmdel.

 

The map to the Holmdel trail network

 

We walked 6.5 miles, all told, and barely scratched the surface, but it gave us plenty of time to talk about life, as Dylan is 26, with a great head on his shoulders, and just got engaged to his high school sweetheart.

(I gave lots of older-cousin-advice, but we’ll keep that between Dylan and me.)

 

Dylan, my wingman for the weekend
Approaching Bell Works
The back of Bell Works
Ramanessin Brook

 

We walked to the back of Bell Works, the super-fancy-redevelopment I wrote about in 2019, and they have restaurants and coffee shops in there now.

And plenty of parking.

You can check out the shops, (Exit 114 on the Garden State Parkway,) leave your car, and enjoy all the nature, for free.

At the far end of Holmdel, the public land connects, across a school, to Cross Farm Park, which has ball fields, walking trails, and an early 19th Century cemetery.

 

19th C Cemetery at Cross Farms Park

 

The massive Thompson Park, where we walked for an hour on Sunday, is across the street, linking further miles of trails.

 

Thompson Park

 

So a trip to the suburbs in Jersey, these days, can be a day-vacation with hours of amazing walking, in the footsteps of Native Americans, Dutch Settlers, and Revolutionary War soldiers.

 

 

The Chinese food we had Friday night from Crown Palace, which has one location in Marlboro, and another on Rt 35 in Middletown, was brilliant, as expected.

It’s been there forever, and has always been great.

My Aunt ordered way too much, sticking to classics, so the table was covered in food.

Inhaling the egg rolls, with the ground pork and cabbage marrying perfectly with the spicy mustard and sweet duck sauce. Gnawing on the chewy, moist pork spare ribs.
Slurping down the lo mein.

 

Interior, Crown Palace in Marlboro, Looking out at the parking lot

 

It was one of the big reasons I schlepped across the country at the end of a pandemic; to taste the flavors, and remember the smells of home.

To see where I come from.

To reconnect with the people who’ve known me my whole life.

Crown Palace
4 stars out of 4

 

On Saturday morning, Dylan took me for a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel at The Bagel Store in Colts Neck, the neighboring town famed for Mafia horse farms, but while at first he claimed he was bringing me to the best bagel sandwich, (to make up for the shitty Marlboro pizza,) he later admitted, under cross examination, that we only went there because his favorite coffee shop, Rook, was next door.

 

 

Still, it was a great sandwich.

The Bagel Store
3 stars out of 4

 

More pizza for lunch on Saturday, this time from Luigi’s Famous Pizza in Lincroft, (one of my traditional favorites,) as my cousin ordered a pizza margherita, and a half-meatball-half-plain, square-pie.

The margherita pizza was low on flavor, and it had cardboard crust. Not special.

 

Luigi’s Pizza Margherita

 

The meatball half was great. But the regular pizza was just OK, and I actually left New Jersey without having eaten great pizza.

 

Luigi’s half-meatball half plain square pie

(Sad but true.)

Lincroft Pizza
2 stars out of 4

 

After a Saturday pool party at my Uncle’s place, I walked the half-a-mile to my friend Mandi’s house, as she was throwing a birthday party/ mini-high school reunion, at my behest.

 

Putting my feet up

 

(It was her birthday, but I suggested the party, as I’m not in town often.)

Everyone thought I was crazy to walk, even though it’s just around the corner.

I was almost there, rounding the bend, really when a shiny, white Tesla rolled by, and like something out of an 80’s movie, it suddenly stopped ahead of me, the tail lights blazing, and slowly backed up.

It could be anyone, behind the wheel, but I was sure it would be good.

The reveal.

Who would it be?

The window rolled down, and it was: Brett Frieman, my childhood-best-friend, who dumped me when I couldn’t attend his wedding, (because of a last-minute scheduling change,) twenty years ago!

We made-up at the official 20th HHS reunion in 2012, but I hadn’t seen him since.

He’s known me since I’m 4 years old.
Since pre-school.

Those bonds are old.

 

 

And so was the house.

From 1750, though it’s been updated since.

Mandi put out a feast, and the crowd was a bit random, (if I’m being honest,) but there was as much booze as there was food, and several people had not socialized indoors yet, post-pandemic, so they let loose.

Mandi’s Mac and Cheese was pretty delicious, and probably better than my version.

 

Mandi’s Mac and Cheese is better than mine
The scary room was behind that door

 

We drank and caught up for two and a half hours, but as I’d been partying for two days straight, despite the nostalgia, it was time to go.

Mandi agreed to walk me out, but I was in the lead.

Immediately, we stepped into an old, wooden, pitch-dark room, right off the modern kitchen, and I got the super-creeps. The heebie-jeebies.

The hairs raised on the back of my neck.

No joke.

“C’mon, Mandi, that’s not fair,” I yelled.

“What,” she replied, “I’m right here with you.”

“Well, turn on the lights,” I said. “You might like getting freaked out in a pitch-dark, haunted, 300 year old house, but I don’t.”

 

 

On Sunday, before another pool party, my Uncle drove me to the beach in Long Branch, at Pier Village, which is 20 minutes away, but we were only there for 10 minutes.

Beggars can’t be choosers, so I put my face and feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

 

We walked along the water.

I felt the sun on my skin.

It was perfect, as I hadn’t seen the sea in nearly two years.

 

 

The last restaurant review has no photos, I’m afraid, as it was Sunday afternoon, on the third straight day of my bender.

I was no longer functional enough to get the photos. It’s true.

My Aunt catered the pool party from Livoti’s, and it was perfect Italian-American food.

 

 

Insanely good, so I finally ate too much, forgot to take that one final walk with Dylan, and regretted it later.

Chicken Parmesan, Eggplant Rollatini, Broccoli Rabe, Cavatelli and Broccoli, Penne with Vodka Sauce.

All flawless.

It’s a shame there are no photos, but we still have to rate them.

Livoti’s
4 stars out of 4

 

 

Today, to gather my thoughts, I went on a big walk around the farm.

I listened to the birds.

I washed my face and hands in the stream.

I ran into my father-in-law, as he checked on the horses.

 

My father-in-law, doing the rounds

 

I asked myself, why do we travel?

Why make the effort?

Well, it’s super-fun, and that’s a huge part of it, for sure.

But I think the crucial thing is, travel makes us smarter, and better.

It challenges us, so we can grow at hyper-speed.

Having new experiences, encountering other cultures, getting lost and having to figure it out, it allows us to evolve into wiser, more capable versions of ourselves.

See you next week.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Agnes Lopez

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

During the pandemic downtime I started to review my body of photography work and had the realization that I did not have any Filipina-American women in my portfolio. While I am proud of the portfolio of the work, I have created over the past 18 years, photographing CEOs, professional athletes, chefs, community leaders, actors, and so much more, I decided that I needed to pursue a portrait project to highlight talented Filipina women in the Northeast Florida art community.

People are often surprised to find out that Jacksonville has the largest Filipino population in the Southeastern US. While we’ve quietly gone about our business in the past, I want to let people know we are here and have been a part of the fabric of Jacksonville’s community for a long time.

My goal is to challenge stereotypes, let the world see that Filipinos aren’t just nurses and doctors and members of the military, but that many talented Filipina artists exist here right now. I want to encourage these artists to show who they are and share their talents. I wanted to showcase each individual’s unique beauty, strength and skin tone. That is why I felt it was important to photograph them in color as opposed to the black and white portrait style I had used for The Faces to Remember Project. (Learn more, www.thefacestoremember.com)

Being Filipino-American, I feel proud to be Filipino, but I think as an American I question am I Filipino enough. As an immigrant group that has been taught to assimilate and blend in, many of us do not know how to speak our language or cook our food. Important traditions are being lost.

One of the ladies I photographed for the project initially questioned if she should be included because she is only half-Filipino. In that moment I realized how important this project really was. Being Filipino is a part of us and we can not hide it. We come in all shapes, backgrounds, and skin tones.

Colorism is another huge issue in the Filipino community. As an American being tan is seen as something to aspire to but in the Filipino community being darker is not considered desirable. Growing up, I would hear comments of how dark I was and at the time I didn’t really think anything of it. As I got older, I realized it had affected me to where I wouldn’t go to the beach and would wear long sleeves outside, so I didn’t tan. Seeing people of color in the media really had a big impact on me and made me realize that dark is beautiful too.

As a photographer, I realized I could help others come to this realization through this project and my work moving forward.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

IG: Agnes Lopez Photography

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 @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

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 – Giles Clement

Giles Clement

Heidi: Do you travel with a mobile dark room?
Giles: When shooting tintypes or ambrotypes, yes.

What is your set up?
Really depends on the project I’m working on. For digital work I use a Fuji GFX medium format digital back and lenses. For my 4×5 film and wet plate work I use a Sinar 4×5 F2 body and a variety of lenses including an 1849 Petzval portrait lens. For 8×10 film and wet plate work I use a Calumet C2 body and a Wollensak 16” f/3.8 petzval lens. For 16×20 I use a camera I designed and built myself fitted with a 500mm f/4.5 Goerz Dogmar lens originally designed for aerial reconnaissance in WWI. Lighting equipment varies and ranges from small battery powered monolights for film and digital work up to 20,000 watts of power from several Speedotron power packs and heads.

If you need to send materials ahead of time, how difficult is that?
I’ve worked on streamlining my wet plate set up so my entire darkroom fits in one pelican case and the rest of the gear flies with me.

Do you take both traditional and tintype images on projects?
Yes, there’s often images I see which simply aren’t best suited for the tintype process and I don’t like to be limited by one medium. I had been working with the tintype medium for 8 years prior to covid and while I really enjoyed the process, it’s also been refreshing to work with digital again and be able to create color work.

What have you been working on recently?
During covid I’ve been making a series of images of fellow artists in different cities around the country. These images have been made into sets of postcards which have sold with the proceeds going to the artists featured. It’s a small way for me to highlight artists who inspire me and also to be able to give them a bit of a financial boost during difficult times. Those images can be seen here. (below images is a selection from the Seattle shoot.)

With things opening back up a bit more I’m also starting to prep for a couple of projects. Those include a cross country road trip music video with a Philadelphia artist, a shoot with a jean company out of North Carolina and a longer term project featuring art teachers from around the country.

This Week in Photography: Leaving the Nest

 

 

Nobody’s perfect.

 

I’m certainly not.

I make a lot of predictions here, and claim to have the proper “hot take” on so many global issues.

But I don’t get everything right, and when I make a mistake, I own up to it.

 

 

I just got back from New Jersey, (on Monday,) and I’m writing on my customary Thursday.

It’s been less than 72 hours since I returned, and the trip itself took 12 hours, (via Denver,) so what I’m mystified about is that travel leaves a resonance.

Most of me is here in New Mexico, but a shade of my soul is lingering in Jersey, for sure.

Back in 2019, and early #2020, I was traveling so much, it was one big blur, and I wasn’t able to differentiate the biochemical, or metaphysical reactions from each individual visit.

But with this large a gap, I recognized the sensation, and it’s real.

It’s like you left a glimmer of yourself, back where you just were, before an airplane whooshed you up into the sky, and deposited you thousands of miles away.

But that’s not what I’m apologizing about.

 

 

Rather, when I was in New Jersey, (and I promise a full write up in the near future, with photos,) it was amazing to see how much life looked like the “Old Normal.”

There were still masks around, in certain indoor public settings, but the general vibe allowed getting in personal space with loved ones indoors, sharing food, full airplanes, and no social distancing.

Things looked A LOT like they did, before the 15 month pause.

I had it wrong.

(I’m speaking here in America, where vaccinations have been available to all who want them. It’s not a global phenomenon, I know.)

 

 

Trees and rocks have souls, (if I understand things correctly,) in the Shinto religion.

My buddy Kyohei explained it to me once, in an outdoor exhibition space at the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Art objects can have souls too, if you think about it.

Photo books embody the energy the artist puts into each picture, and then the momentum developed over the course of the narrative.

I just put down “Strawberry Parfait,” by Jimi Franklin, published by Denton Books in #2020, and it totally captures the way I feel right now. (A little haunted.)

It’s one of those books that seems like a flip-book-animation from a movie.

Like a continuous narrative, broken down into frozen memories.

Food shots.
Hipsters.
Dimly lit scenes.

If you cross the Wong Kar-wai vibe of “In the Mood for Love” with some of Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” you might end up somewhere near the story this flip book would unspool.

The ending essay brings up Shinto, as a root element in Japanese culture, and also says the images were made over a decade.

I must say, I think this book is a gem.

With the rhythmic changes in the image rectangle shape, and the tactile paper that makes you WANT to turn the page, this one’s a winner.

Does it make me want to go to Japan?

Hell yes.

But it also makes me want to look at it again, to go on the ride through this vision, which is always the sign of a very cool book.

To learn more about Jimi Franklin, click here

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Cade Martin

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:  Cade Martin

 

Isla de las Munecas – The Island of the Dolls

I have always loved a good story, with great characters and the opening sentence “Legend has it…”

These are stories to tell around the campfire, to pass along and keep alive – but some stories, I’ve just got to see for myself. The Island of the Dolls is such a tale.

Legend has it, a little girl drowned entangled among the lilies of the Xochimilco canal. Her body was found on the banks of one of the islands by Don Julian Santana Barrera.

Julian was the caretaker of the island and, shortly thereafter, he found a doll floating nearby and, assuming it belonged to the deceased girl, hung it from a tree as a sign of respect to support the spirit of the girl. After this, he began to hear whispers, footsteps, and anguished wails in the darkness even though his hut – hidden deep inside the woods of Xochimilco – was miles away from civilization.

Driven by fear, he spent the next fifty years hanging more and more dolls, some missing body parts, all over the island in an attempt to appease what he believed to be the drowned girl’s spirit.

After 50 years of collecting dolls and hanging them on the island, Julian was found dead in 2001, reportedly found in the exact spot where he found the girl’s body fifty years before.

#LegendHasIt

 

 

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 @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

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 – Indian Renaissance: Shahzad Bhiwandiwala


Shahzad Bhiwandiwala

Heidi: How did this come about?
Shahzad: I had started working on my graduate thesis project, Royalty, in the fall of 2019. The project was my way of commenting on the circuitous route of fashion where designs go in and out of style and make a resurgence at a later point in time. The primary focus was on how contemporary royals would adorn themselves while taking direct influence from traditional historic styles.

Unfortunately, by the spring of 2020 we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and I returned to Mumbai. As an Indian, I have rarely seen Indian artists tackle “what if” scenarios relating to Indian Art and cultural history. Keeping this in mind, I repurposed some aspects of royalty and came up with Indian Renaissance – What Could Have Been. A “what if” scenario where Indian royals were inspired by the European renaissance, specifically the high renaissance period, and how that historic change would have translated to modern day Indian fashion. I had always been curious about how the European renaissance would have influenced India and this project brings these thoughts and ideas to visualization and is presented through the perspective of a single fictional royal family, The Garhwal Gharana aka The House of Garhwal spanning generations from an alternate timeline 15th Century to the 21st century.

How did this story call on your culturally rich background?
As a Zoroastrian I understand the power of inspiration and adoption when it comes to attire and garb. My ancestors, having fled persecution many millennia ago, sought refuge in India when they landed at the port of Gujarat. This is spoken and recorded history that is passed down from generation to generation highlighting how we adopted and transformed, among other things, our attire at the time to blend in with our new home. As an artist I find myself revisiting this idea of transformation across many of my projects and it is most evident in Indian Renaissance. As for the visual approach for the project, in terms of lighting, posing and composition, I credit that to my love for cinema and my years of performing in musical theatre. I always ask my subjects to embody a character I create for them. The character has its own life, personality, desires, dreams and hopes. I ask my subjects to embody these characters and that is what I feel makes them feel larger than life.

How long have you been working on this series?
I started conceptualization for the project in March 2020 and completed the first phase in December 2020. I am currently planning out a second phase for this project that would focus on ordinary people as opposed to royals.

Who did you collaborate with for the styling, hair and makeup? 
To execute the styling of the project I reached out to the amazing folks at The Costume Team (TCT) who helped bring my vision to life by creating some pieces themselves and bringing on board both new and established designers and jewelers as Gaurav Gupta, Begada, Amani and many more.

For hair I worked with my frequent collaborator Sanam Jeswani and for makeup I had celebrity makeup artist Fatema Maqbool come on board.

How many models did you cast?
All the models were cast after going through a list of around 40 models.

Has this body of work been published?
It has been selected for Communication Arts Photography Annual 2021 as well as the AI-AP American Photography 37.

 

Featured Promo – Christian Tisdale

Christian Tisdale

Who printed it?
Metropol Printers in Victoria BC Canada.

Who designed it?
I designed the layout myself, but all of my design components are from my awesome designer, Lisa Korz.

I had a branding iron of my logo made a few months ago and so badly wanted to build that into this package. I ended up settling for only burning a logo onto the front envelope, but I experimented for literally days on that. Different papers burned differently, some got sticky, some smelled so bad, some ruined the images on the other side. I still haven’t fully figured out how to do it justice. But I’ve got some ideas for the next set…stay tuned.

Tell me about the images?
I was really torn on which images to include in this campaign. This was my first mailer, so I ended up including 5 standalone shots, rather than one contiguous series. I wanted these shots to be commercial enough to inspire potential connections with the creative directors I was talking to, but cool enough that if you pinned it to your wall, it didn’t feel like an ad.

How many did you make?
I sent 100 out to agencies and producers, 1 to Rob, and 1 to my mom.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first, but my current plan is to run a minor series like this once per quarter, then a bigger piece once a year. The next ones will be more focused on a series of images that are connected to one another.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’d love to think so, but I don’t have the data to prove it yet. I really enjoyed the process in any case, so if nothing else I found a lot of creative value in it for myself.

This Week in Photography: As It Was Before

 

 

It’s been raining for two days straight.

That never happens.

It’s so rare, when I asked my wife and daughter if they remembered the last time it rained like this, they said September 2019.

 

Getting a lot of rain in the desert is great, especially as we’re coming out of a historically bad drought.

When the heavens opened yesterday, Jessie suggested the drought might be over, and of course it felt symbolic.

How could it not?

Hearing the incessant patter on our metal roof, watching the freshly green aspen trees bend under the weight of the water, looking at the gray sky, where normally there’s blue, it feels like we’re somewhere else.

 

 

More than anything, it reminds me of spring in New York, where I once lived, and New Jersey, where I’m from.

Forgive me for having home on the brain, but as I wrote last week, I’ll be there, taking a few days of R&R, when this column goes live on Friday. (I’m writing on a Tuesday, which also adds to the sense of dislocation. I never write on Tuesdays!)

 

But here we are.

 

The mountains are hidden in the storm, their snow-topped peaks enmeshed in clouds, so all I see is green grass, green trees, gray skies, and lots of rain.

Which after two days of this, really does remind me of the East Coast.

Of New York.

 

 

Why am I stuck on this subject today?

Well, there’s always an easy answer, when it comes to a photo book review column. Today, I reached into the bottom of the book stack, and found a submission from October 2020, which was 8 months ago, back when our “old” life just about began to feel normal. (But before the awful horribleness of the Covid Winter.)

What was in the box?

I found a nice note, from Paul Matzner, thanking me for some advice I gave him at the Filter Photo Festival a few years ago, and a copy of “Seeing You in New York,” a self-published book, (printed by Edition One,) that came out last year, with a foreword by Aline Smithson.

Full disclosure, Paul also thanked me in the liner notes, at the end of the book, so I guess our conversation made an impression. (I also published some of his arresting street portraits in the blog as well.)

Time for more honesty: I don’t think this is an amazing book. (Sorry, Paul.)

It’s not bad, by any means, and on the right day I’d call it very good.

I like it, but don’t find it super-distinctive, within the genre.

So why am I writing about it?

 

For as long as I’ve had this column, my main criterion for review is whether a book inspires me to write.

That’s it.

If, after looking at a book, a column germinates in my head, and my fingers slide across the keyboard in rhythm, allowing the flow, then that book is worthy of review.

And that happened today.

Why?

 

Because of context.

You simply can’t look at these images, which were shot between 2008-18, and view them as you would have before the pandemic.

It’s not possible.

Paul captured a wide range of New Yorkers, from diverse cultural backgrounds and age groups, going about their previously “normal” lives.

We see skateboarders, lots of dogs, stoop-sitters, side-walk walkers, stroller pushers, subway-riders, it’s all here.

What once would have been a warm-hearted group of street photos, back in 2008-18, now looks like a naive record of humans doing things we all took for granted.

It’s a life we may have again, but as I wrote last week, we’re all different now.

Will anything ever feel “normal” again?

 

I’m getting on a plane on Thursday.

What comes next?

I don’t know, of course, and Paul Matzner’s book wound me up on this rant.

When sweet pictures feel sinister, as if they represent the last people frolicking on the beach before the Tsunami hits, you know I’m going to be curious.

 

Hope you enjoy the book, and see you next week.

To purchase” Seeing you in New York,” click here 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Gabriele Galimberti

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:  Gabriele Galimberti

For over two years, I visited more than 50 countries and created colorful images of boys and girls in their homes and neighborhoods with their most prized possessions: their toys. From Texas to India, Malawi to China, Iceland, Morocco, and Fiji, I recorded the spontaneous and natural joy that unites kids despite their diverse backgrounds. Whether the child owns a veritable fleet of miniature cars or a single stuffed monkey, the pride that they have is moving, funny, and thought provoking.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

This project featured on Nat Geo’s IG account but see more of Gabriele’s work on IG

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 @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

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.