This Week in Photography: I Have A Dream

 

—“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children…

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone…

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., American hero, August 28th, 1963

 

—“At first I was self-conscious about photographing in these communities. What would the residents think of this white woman with a big camera photographing on their street, telling their story? But the people I met along the way calmed my fears. Although there were some exceptions, once they knew what I was doing, they were excited. The people I met were usually eager to point out things I should photograph and wanted to know when they’d be able to see the pictures.

Even though the residents I met seemed to accept me, I became acutely aware of the things I was choosing to photograph. What do my choices say about me? Am I recording a realistic picture of the communities? At several exhibitions of these photographs, people have been surprised to discover that I’m not African-American. That people don’t feel that these photos were made by an outsider is comforting to me.”

Susan Berger, photographic artist, 2019

 

Fifty-seven years ago this month, in the dog days of August, one of the most famous Americans of all time delivered one of the most famous speeches ever given.

You know it, and I know it as the “I Have AΒ Dream” speech, but I’m not sure I’ve ever read it in its entirety before today.

(Maybe I have and forgot?)

I was a little surprised to realize that it was given only one hundred years after Abraham Lincoln freed America’s slaves, (in legal terms,) via the Emancipation Proclamation.

That’s only the lifetime of a very old person.

Not much at all, when you think about it.

And as a forty-six year old American, I’ve spent many hours wondering what the 60’s were really like?

Protests, drama, riots, assassinations, chaos, near-nuclear annihilation.

The division of my fellow citizens into hippies and squares. Pro-segregation assholes versus others who craved a country where people could at least attempt to live together, or eat together, or sit in the same section of a public bus.

 

Square-jawed 1960’s square, Don Draper

 

I wondered, at the time, did people feel like the world was unraveling? Did they know that the Civil Rights movement would make changes to our broken society, without healing all the wounds caused by slavery and systemic racism?

Did they fear that things might break completely, leaving us two nations instead of one?

Did anyone have confidence that the turmoil would lead to “better” days, or were all Americans sitting on the edge of their seats, unsure if things would ever get “better” again?

Now I no longer wonder.

We’ve passed the threshold of fifty years since the sixties, and one hundred and fifty-five years since the Emancipation Proclamation, and now all Americans know what it feels like to fear whether our country can withstand the fissures that threaten to implode our historical experiment.

China and India, the two burgeoning global super-powers, are both thousands of years old.

Like, five thousand years.

By comparison, the United States of America is an extremely young society, and one that was built upon lofty ideals, but rotten realities.

You may be tired of being reminded that the institution of slavery and the theft of Native American land allowed this nation to thrive, but it is an inescapable history.

Hell, in #2020, jerkoffs like Tom Cotton have the balls to suggest that slavery was a “necessary evil.”

(You can’t make that shit up.)

And I’ve felt the need to write several columns asking you, and all of us, to open our minds to the fact that people of all races and genders “should” be able to appreciate each other, respect each other, and value contributions from those people who don’t look and sound like us.

Yet most of my friends are white.

I try, and have tried, to bridge the cultural and racial divide with friendships, and sometimes it’s worked, and sometimes it hasn’t.

Some may find me naive for thinking that our commonalities should be as important, or occasionally more important, than our differences.

If Kanye West and Jared Kushner can be friends, and plot to take America back to when it was “Great” again, why can’t we?

But enough with the sermonizing.

You come for the photography reviews, and won’t stay if you feel like I’m preaching too much each week.

Perhaps you like it when I’m funny, or say fuck and shit all the time, or maybe you like that I weave politics, cultural criticism and a deep-rooted optimism together with a love of art?

(No matter. It’s time to get on with things.)

This column was inspired by a photo book by a white Jewish lady curious about African-American culture, and I even published some of the photos already, after reviewing them at Photo Nola in 2014.

(Back in the Obama era, when despite the promise of an end of racism, we were met with no such thing.)

This week, Obama’s second-in-command, a white man from Pennsylvania, synonymous with the tiny state of Delaware, offered his second-in-command position to a woman whose parents came from Jamaica and India.

A child of immigrants, reared in that great American melting pot of California, which is supposed to represent the best we have to offer. (In my opinion, anyway, and I’m not alone, which is why nearly 40 million people live there.)

Of course I’m rooting for Joe and Kamala, not just because I respect their politics, but because I genuinely believe that if Trump wins again, America might cease to be a democratic republic by 2024.

Like a person can only take so many whip lashes before dying, America can only handle so many sustained attacks on our democratic institutions before becoming an autocracy.

And while we can hope and dream of better days, no one knows what will happen in November of #2020, one hundred and fifty five years after the end of our Civil War.

Having said all that, today I’m showing photographs from Susan Berger’s book “Life and Soul: American Streets Honoring Martin Luther King,” which was published last year by Dark Spring Press, and turned up in the mail in May of #2020.

It’s a thoughtful and well-crafted book, and one that takes a couple of risks, but it’s perfect to show today.

To begin with, in our current cultural climate, the mere fact that it exists, that it was shot by a non-African-American, would make it uncomfortable to some.

I get that, and so does Susan, which is why she wrote about it head-on in her excellent opening essay. (Accompanied by another strong essay by Frank Gohlke, a photo world legend for being a part of the seminal “New Topographics” show back in the 70s.)

They’re both a part of the tight-knit and talented Arizona photo mafia, and the end notes tell us that Susan worked for Mr. Gohlke back in day.

The end notes also give us a break-down of all the trips that Susan took to photograph MLK streets around the country, between 2009-14, trying to build a representative, (if not categorical,) view of where these streets are located and what they contain.

Apparently, but not surprisingly, they are almost exclusively in urban, African-American neighborhoods, some of which have absorbed Latino populations, and ironically the entire project was inspired by the artist driving by a sign for an MLK street in the middle of rural America.

Of course, it wouldn’t be #2020 if I didn’t point out that the resources required to fly around for one’s art, and the cost of purchasing and providing film for a medium format camera are marks of privilege.

Now it’s been said.

And I do find flaw with the other risk taken here, which is the repeating motif of reprinting close-up crops of images throughout, opposite blank, black pages.

That said, it’s an excellent book, and between the murals, statues, local restaurants, churches, small food markets, bleak vibes, (again, in the Obama era,) and hotels named after Dr. King, it certainly presents a vision of poverty and decline.

I suspect that Dr. King would be disappointed to know that this deep into the 21st Century, things are still as bad as they are.

Access to education and health care is still so uneven.

And among the tens of thousands of dead in this god-awful pandemic, too many are people of color.

But I also suspect that he might not like the manner in which like-minded people of different races distrust each other, and attack each difference, rather than building upon our common values.

Maybe it was always thus?

I’ll end here on a message of hope, just so you don’t feel like overdosing on sleeping pills.

We always have the opportunity to learn from the past, and the future has not yet been written.

Though many Americans have bought into Trump’s politics of hate and division, there are nearly 330 million people living in this Great country of ours, and I believe that a majority, enough to win the next election, (despite the obvious cheating he’ll try to engender,) desire a country in which we we can, indeed, all get along.

(Or at least most of us.)

To purchase “Life and Soul” click hereΒ 

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please contact me directly at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in books by women, and artists of color, so we may maintain a balanced program.Β 

The Art of the Personal Project: Jonathan May

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β 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. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Jonathan May

I was working on a photography series in Queenstown Tasmania calledΒ After they leftΒ which is an ongoing essay on mining towns that are a shadow of their former self when I first met Ingo Hansen. He was renovating an old hospital and turning it into a hotel, and we ended up having dinner together. I was captivated by his ability to recollect the past, and the town of Andamooka,Β whereΒ Rear View MirrorΒ is set, sounded like it was from another planet. I knew right then and there that I had something special, and he toldΒ me to come visit him as the town was having a reunion.

I work as a commercial photographer and director with large crews; I enjoy theΒ structured nature of this process and theΒ collaboration with specialists. However, I do love the freedom that comes with breaking the rules and getting on the road with just my camera. There is something special in working organically, and it is the excitement of the unknown that I am drawn to. There is an unmatched opportunity to really dive deep into creativity without the usual constraints of life getting in the way.

I think coming through the ranks as aΒ photographerΒ has made me much more resourceful than mostΒ directors, being able to compose and shoot my own frames. I love taking the time getting to know my subjects, really embedding myself in their world… similar to Louis Theroux, but then applying an Emmanuel Lubezkin lens to it. While I do look at some of the frames and think they could be technically improved if I had a bigger crew with me, there is also a power that comes from being nimble and as I try to push the emotion that occurs from trust formed over time.

I originally went to Andamooka for 10 days with Ingo, as he gave me the guided tour I was shooting B-roll. I then interviewed him properly and with delving into his past, IΒ realized how engaging he is and how vibrant life was in the days gone by. His ability to transport the listener into another world with his storytelling was impressive. Most of the past residents lived there in the hope of finding opal, and as I was sitting there in a small miners shack in the middle of an interview it dawned on me, Ingo was my rare stone… he was the rough and raw that you would expect to find in the desert, yet unique, articulate and polished.

Ingo had so many riveting stories from his days there, it was hard to limit it to just a few, but I wanted to really give the audience a taste of his world and leave them wanting more. Once I was in the edit, with theΒ assembly and the narrative sorted, I organized another trip back with Ingo and this time I could be more specific with a shot list to match the chosen frames. Just prior to shooting Ingo had a serious health turn and his license was temporarily taken away, so I flew to Adelaide and drove to Andamooka with him. During the 6-hour drive I realized the film’s narrative had evolved, he was doing some serious soul searching and I needed to interview him again and flesh it out.

Music is such a big inspiration in my daily life, and with the film I needed theΒ score to amplify the hauntingly beautiful landscapes and build emotion around Ingo’sΒ world. While Ingo is the protagonist, I felt like Andamooka and the land was as much of a hero as Ingo was. I remember seeing the sunrise one morning over the countless piles of dirt in what can only be described as an alienesque landscape and was listening to Tillman Robinson’sΒ Deer HeartΒ album, it was giving me goose bumps as I imagined my visuals together with his score. He is a composer I’ve wanted to work with and I really felt that his artistic sensitivity would accurately complement the desolate and evocative landscapes captured inΒ Rear View Mirror.

While I was only in Andamooka for a short time, I made some really good friends there and I can see why the desert has a strong pull. Countless others like Ingo keep returning to clear their minds and ponder on life. There is something about seeing an endless horizon that is good for the soul….void of skyscrapers, traffic lights and less disengaged people rushing around for unachievable happiness.

 

https://vimeo.com/431343377

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

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

 

The Daily Edit – Revolver: Kevin Scanlon

- - The Daily Edit

Revolver

Creative Director: Jimmy Hubbard
Design Director: Todd Weinberger
Sammi Chichester: Managing Editor
Photographer: Kevin Scanlon

Heidi: How did the project evolve?
Kevin: Jimmy Hubbard called me last summer and asked me to shoot High On Fire, a stoner-metal three-piece band with legendary musician Matt Pike at the helm. Β The assignment was to shoot group and individual portraits in studio, and reportage imagery of the band prepping and sound-checking for a music fest in Las Vegas. This is my favorite kind of assignment.

What do you like about these types of assignments?
The controlled conditions of studio portraiture, and the run-and-gun of reportage. Β The sound check was in the morning. Β Tuning drums, changing bass strings, testing mics. Β One of the best things about sound checks is the freedom I have to move around on stage while they’re playing songs. Β I can’t do that during a concert. Β It’s a more casual atmosphere, to be sure.

What makes the sound check different from a live show?
Musicians aren’t sweating, smoke and lighting isn’t as dramatic, the fans aren’t there. Β But with High On Fire, the performance at that sound check was as authentic and energetic as a live performance of most other bands. Β So being on stage, amongst the band, feet away from them, it was incredibly exciting. Β Wrap sound check, load into the studio.

What type of cover direction did you get from the magazine?
Jimmy wanted portraits that considered the legacy of Matt Pike for the cover. Β Stoic and introspective. Β I went with simplicity for a lighting approach. Β Trees for the background and an Elinchrom octabank key. Β I had a smaller umbrella on standby for a fill, but I didn’t want it. Β I shot mostly digital, but I spent a few rolls of film too.

Tell us about the shooting film.
I’d been bringing film cameras to set in recent years. Β Hasselblad 500c or Fuji 680. Β In most cases, the client opted for the digital images, relegating the films shots for after-the-fact darkroom adventures. Β But Jimmy and the team at Revolver wanted one of the film shots…and they wanted it for the cover. Β My first thought was the deadline. Β As photographers know, it’s one thing to quickly turn around a digital shot. Β But a darkroom print? Β Maybe not so easy. Β For safety, I had the shot scanned at Vista CRC in Manhattan. Β That way the Revolver team could start designing the cover with a hi-res image. Then, off to Bushwick Darkroom to print. Β I spent the day printing straight prints, and also variations using solarization techniques. Β In the end, Revolver went for a clean look for the cover.

Featured Promo – Eric Forberger

- - The Daily Promo

Eric Forberger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in Photography: Civil War Visions

 

My kids talk a lot.

 

It’s true.

And I’ve found that the older I get, the more I like quiet, though give me a few drinks at a party, and I’ll never shut up.

(A party? I wrote the word, but am now having trouble remembering what it might mean. Party? Sounds familiar, but like something from a pre-#2020 reality.)

So I like quiet, which can be hard to come by, and I also like to read my own column.

Occasionally, though, the two strands will overlap, and I’ll come to the point, reading the column back, where I can’t stand the sound of my own voice.

(In my head, as I’m reading it.)

I’m not talking about being crazy, or doing a full “Being John Malkovich” either. Rather, sometimes I write the column, and then it just doesn’t feel right.

On a handful of occasions over the years, I’ll write in flow, (as usual,) and then decide, when I’ve finished, that it’s crap.

I’ll be reading it back to myself and think, “Oh, just get on with it already, you old windbag.”

Or, maybe, “Gosh, could you be any more self-involved? Please, tell us more about yourself, or your kids.”

Now, if I’m being honest, this almost never happens, but it did today.

I wrote 1600 words, (over four parts,) and but it was all wrong.

Luckily, I’d grabbed an envelope from my submission pile before I got sidetracked by a different idea, and once I opened it up, I knew the book-reviewing-deities were smiling on me today.

Because it is literally perfect for the moment, (based upon what I’ve been writing about lately,) but it also allows me to stop talking, and let the pictures in the publication do the work.

Brandon Tauszik reached out to me early in lockdown, asking if he could send me a self-published ‘zine, and as I’d shown a digital project of his a bunch of years ago, so I said, “Sure, I’d be happy to check it out when the time was right.”

And that time is today.

It’s called “Pale Blue Dress,” and features some bright and sharp photographs of Civil War re-enactors in California.

There are so few photographs here, when most people would have wanted to show a book’s worth.

It’s brief, which makes it seem more like a poem than a novel.

We see Abe Lincoln, who’s been featured in the column a couple of times lately, and visions of a 19th Century war that, as I wrote just last week, still dominates the American cultural narrative in the 21st Century.

Photography records history, whether we like it or not, and in this case, it’s a record of people who like to recreate history, visually, for pretend.

It feels lighthearted, (like this column today,) but masks a much darker message.

In an essay at the end of the book, the Stanford historian James T. Campbell, PhD, writes,

“They are generous, even gentle images, devoid of irony or condescension, inviting not ridicule but curiosity about people whose commitments may differ from our own. In this polarized, perilous moment in the history of our democracy, this is an attitude worth cultivating. Societies that lose it sometimes fight civil wars in earnest.”

I often think that part of why history repeats itself is that once an event has receded from living memory, because no one is alive from when it happened, nor their direct descendants, then it becomes more likely to happen again.

No one outside of a few thousand truly insane individuals really wants another Civil War here, so let’s all do our best to put out good energy these next few months, and hope the national mood dials back from “11.”

Stay safe out there, and see you next week.

To purchase “Pale Blue Dress” click here

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please contact me directly at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in books by women, and artists of color, so we may maintain a balanced program.Β 

The Art of the Personal Project: Patrick Fraser

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β 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. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Patrick Fraser

This series originated on a road trip from LA to Indiana four years ago.Β  I knew I wanted to make a series while on the road but wanted a focus.

I have always been most interested in sub cultures.Β  As an expat from the UK moving to America getting on for twenty years now the vast landscape you have here and the open road depicted in road movies has always fascinated me and fueled my photographic desire.

The idea for Women Truckers came to me before I departed Los Angeles when I was planning the series.Β  I ran it by a few trusted friends in the film business and started to write a series of searching question to ask the women drivers who I met at the truck stops.Β  I came up with a list of about 12 written out in a sketchbook knowing that this would come in handy when I was faced with someone I had never met and would provide context for the story.

I use my iPhone to record the interview and then later transcribe them into a text document.

My first stop was late in the evening driving out of LA near Ontario on the 10 freeway.Β  There was no light left for a daytime exterior shot so I headed inside the truck stop and had a good scout around.Β  I got some strange looks from people inside as I had a vintage film Hasselblad 501 cm hanging from my shoulder and a light meter, which people always wonder what it is.

On my first look around a real working truck stop I realized this was predominantly a man’s world.Β  There were a plenty of men eating junk food, looking for spare parts in the store, paying for gas.Β  Then I discovered that they had areas for showers and washing clothes.Β  I was discovering a new underworld where drivers, men and women lived out of a suitcase on the road for around three months at a time.

Women truckers would be hard to find, they are about one in twenty on the road.Β  I found a games room with pool table and sitting there in this sparse dimly lit room was a women and her young daughter who was wearing headphones.Β  I opened the door, walked in and plucked up the courage to ask her if she would mind having a portrait taken and if I could ask some questions about being on the road and a female. Regina Campbell and her daughter Shelby who rode with her in the summer turned out to be open to my request.Β  She too was heading to Indiana so we discussed route to break the ice.Β  It turns out she has been driving for seven years, has a BA degree in sociology and formally worked in law.Β  One point she made stuck with me in her words β€œ its one of the fairest places for a female to earn what a male earns”.Β  She then told me many of the solo women drivers stay in their cabs and don’t come out at night for safety.

Regina was my first subject and over a period of about four years I now have about twenty-five subjects and interviews.Β  Once I did a commercial shoot in New York and booked a one-way flight knowing that I wanted to drive back to Indy in a rental so I could make more truck stop portraits.Β  Always with these kinds of portrait series you get quite a bit of rejection and resistance.Β  There were times I spotted a woman who had an interesting face or who seemed like a character but they were not interested to be photographed or talk.Β  That’s when you can feel deflated and start doubting your idea.Β  Then you find someone who is really open to it and can’t stop talking and you are back on track.

My first edit seemed a bit monotonous just having portraits only.Β  Luckily in most of the stops on the road I captured landscapes and details to tell the story of the road and show the truck stop as an American subculture.Β  I would drive through the entrance which said trucks only and park my car right next to these huge 18 wheelers and start shooting details of trucks and anything which I thought was worthy of setting the scene to go alongside my portraits.Β  Many of these wider shots included men, which I think is ok because they are a big part of this landscape.

Four years later and I’m still editing and pairing landscapes with portraits and wondering if this or that is a good shot.Β  Finally it was time to show this work and get some feedback from editors like Suzanne.

I continue to shoot this subject and I have a whole binder full of color negatives of women truckers and the truck stops landscapes.Β  One day this could turn into a larger body and printed book.Β  I plan to make a zine next of some of my favorites to try it out in print and start paring up more and seeing if I have something worthy of ink.Β  If anything it has been an exercise in documenting culture for me and I have learnt a great deal from talking with these strong women about life on the road.

 

To see more of this project, click here

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

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

 

The Daily Edit – Cedric Terrell

- - The Daily Edit

Cedric Terrell

Heidi: Why did you create that series, Marwang?
Cedric: Last fall I set out to capture the beauty and diversity of black skin, which is poorly represented and rarely celebrated in mainstream media. I wanted to create a project focused specifically on that. I’d worked previously with another model with a rich dark complexion and Marwang was on the same roster and riveted my attention. The conversation during our shoot was insightful; I was curious to know what kind of projects he typically worked on and whether the industry really understood how to represent models like him. And it was clear that the industry needed to do more. To do more than treating black representation as a trend. It was a reminder to me that this work was important.

What was your creative vision, I know you styled and also cast this project?
For this project I was drawn to the idea of contrast, so I pulled white and reflective wardrobe for the studio shots. I offered some direction for him to be physically expressive, and he responded by dancing. His movement through the light made each shot different. For the naturally lit images I actually used an ND filter to create a more dynamic image and really draw on the richness of his skin.Β 

How did your photo career begin?

I took up photography as a way to share my journeys abroad with family and friends back home in the states during my time as an active duty Marine in China, El Salvador, and Morocco. But it also became a creative outlet in an otherwise restrictive environment; I felt freedom behind the lens. The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was still in place during my time on active duty, and photography gave a true voice and allowed me to fully express myself in at least this one part of my life. The camera gave me a home and grounding when everything around me was foreign and temporary. Putting a lens between me and the people I encountered actually brought me closer to them. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that I could make a career out of it. So I taught myself technical skills and started to build a portfolio.

What was the catalyst for your start abroad?
My time in the Marines ignited in me a passion for experiencing the world. I documented everything; cultural sites and heads of state to local people in remote villages. I was constantly learning, absorbing, and inspired by the beauty of life and captured every detail. After establishing myself as a photographer I was eager to use my skills to build an international presence. The work I do abroad these days is often reportage, fashion or beauty. I’ve focused my international energy on working in places that inspire me, especially Mexico, France, and the UK. I feel fortunate to be able to blend my curiosity about the world with my livelihood in photography. The pandemic has thrown a wrench in those ambitions, but I am hopeful that the world will open up again and we will be stronger as we reconnect face to face.

How does your military experience influence your work today?Β 
From large scale productions to streamlined minimalist studio portraits, I love the complexity of a big idea and the refinement of simple elegance.Β  I think my time in the Marines sharpened my attention to detail and ability to work under pressure. I find myself always problem solving; just in case. Because having a few tricks in your back pocket in case something doesn’t go as planned on set it alway a good thing. I also see my time as a diplomat influence my ability to work with high profile subjects.

How were your portrait skills informed?
Because I always had a camera on me during my time abroad in the Marines I was quickly appointed as the unofficial photographer for the units I joined. With that came a responsibility to maintain the official headshots for each Marine unit. I had no portrait experience before that, and that experience gave me a great crash course.

Today those same early portrait skills have been influenced by the likes of Irving Penn, Gordon Parks and Jerry Schatzberg. I look to the clarity and simplicity of Penn’s approach. Portraits of the strong, graceful, and sensual bodies of both men and women are my continuation of his implicit challenge to see feminine and masculine as one. Even in commercial work and anonymous work I seek to express the precision and intimacy that his images teach.

 

You witnessed the the peace and the aftermath of the protest, can you share the two very different experiences?
I live in downtown Los Angeles and so was immersed in the initial uprising in response to the murder of George Floyd. The constant and overwhelming presence of police sirens and helicopters was almost unbearable. There was so much uncertainty about what would happen or when the violence outside my window would end. Needless to say, very little sleep found me that first night.

As I saw the sun start to peek through my window, I decided to sneak out of bed and go out and see what the city looked like. And I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. Armed with my camera, I documented my neighborhood: the remnants of burned trash cans and cars, and shattered store fronts in every direction. I couldn’t help but notice that many of the damaged shops were owned or operated by people of color and had been looted by people for reasons likely having nothing to do with the cause of racial justice.

How did you take ownership of the situation, by documenting it?
Documenting the aftermath of the initial violence left a touch of sorrow on my soul. I knew this destruction would cast a shadow over the massive uprising and critical issues at hand. But I wanted to bear witness; it felt so important. But in the days and weeks to come, I would also bear witness to the growing mass of humanity coming together in peaceful outrage over the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and so many others. I felt part of this movement by joining the protesters in the streets – not just a photographer documenting from the outside, but as a protester myself, capturing this movement that would change the world.

How does that experience linger for you today?
While the immediate unrest has settled and the size of the crowds in Los Angeles have gotten smaller, there is still so much work to be done. We all have a responsibility to use our skills and tools to witness and participate in this moment. The pandemic has made this moment harder; it’s tempting to feel helpless at times as our communities are under siege from so many different directions, and it’s difficult to know how to connect with each other and make a difference in this disorienting time. But being among the protesters reminded me that there are so many people all around us who deeply care and are willing to make sacrifices to uplift others and fight for them.

 

Featured Promo – Joe Giacomet

- - The Daily Promo

Joe Giacomet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in Photography: An Empire in Decline

 

“A new era has dawned in our country,
all the Earth is lit by the light of morn,
glory fills our hearts with an aura of greatness,
in the mighty state a happy time has begun.”

(From the state newspaper “Neutral Turkmenistan, “2012)

 

I’m writing on Thursday morning, (as usual,) July 30, 2020.

It’s the day that many of us have been waiting for, as Donald Trump has officially suggested postponing the presidential election here in America.

The times of our glorious leader are abundant, and let us hope they continue long into the future, when the son of dear leader, the great Barron, will guide is into endless prosperity, safety, and happiness.

Now, the cynics among us might suggest that Trump is baiting people into perseverating about one more distraction.

The quarterly economic numbers came out, and they were abysmal, like the worst EVER, meaning DJT’s plan to open the economy, believing that the coronavirus would simply “disappear” was wrong.

The Big Don doesn’t do “wrong,” so instead, he gave the media a big fat T-bone steak of scary, so that everyone would fret about that, rather than questioning him about the American economic free-fall.

So here we are.

We, as Americans, do a great job of thinking about ourselves, and our country, all the time.

The Trump collapse has even pushed Global Warming fears to the back burner, as who has time to contemplate planetary extinction when there is a fierce political battle going on right here in our own country?

(A colleague reminded me of that a few weeks ago, texting that most of the world lives with fear and difficulty all the time.)

We’ve officially reached the end of the road, with respect to the height of the “American Empire,” and the changes we’re feeling are not only about Trump, but rather a declining power settling down into a lower status.

It’s never easy.

But every great power that has ruled the world has then had to adjust to a time when they were relegated to #2, or #3, or even lower down the table.

(Even my favorite soccer team, Arsenal, is a declining power right now, having just finished 8th in the Premier League.)

Whether or not I start kissing up to China, (O great and wondrous Xi,) no sentient being would think that the US stands much of a chance of balancing their power in the coming decades.

Not if we’re this broken, and we don’t make things anymore, and we can’t seem to move past the divisions of a 19th Century war.

Basically, we’re fucked, and even if Joe Biden wins in November, and Trump is out in January, we’re firmly in the damage control portion of our history.

How can we salvage things, not how can me Make Everything Great Again.

Sorry to be a downer, but a cool dude like Obama couldn’t unite this country, and when there are White Power jerks out and proud in places like Northern Arkansas, we are where we are.

But why am I thinking this way right now?

Where did this particular, giving up isn’t so bad rant come from?

I’m glad you asked.

Like the old days, the glorious past which will always be better than the future, I’m writing about a photo book.

Perusing my book shelf this morning, I came across “Promising Waters,” by Mila Teshaieva, which was published by Kehrer Verlag in Germany, as a prize winning book in the Critical Mass competition. (Published in 2013.)

I’m sure they sent it to me for judging, but somehow, I never checked it out before today.

Thank goodness, because without it, I might not have written that sad bit of realpolitik above.

(We’re #2! We’re #2!)

This book is excellent, and smart, which are not necessarily the same things.

The photographs are bleak and beautiful, and seem to be set in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, though it’s hard to say which one.

Frankly, this is one of those books I like, which teases out the story, bit by bit, asking you to guess, before giving you all the information you need at the end, which then makes you want to look through it again.

Which I did.

(And you would too.)

So it’s excellent, because it’s well made, but it’s smart, as it considers the viewing experience, and then adjusts accordingly.

For today, I’m going to jump to the end, as is my prerogative as a reviewer.

There are two very well written essays, and the second tells us this was shot in several countries around the Caspian Sea.

Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

And the end notes also have a numerical list of places, with a map and a little description, but I didn’t understand how it functioned until my second viewing.

Each page has a tiny number, which I missed on first viewing, and it corresponds to the list, (and the map,) so that afterwards, you can try to figure out where each picture is taken, and then compare some places to others.

(Like a puzzle.)

So that’s why it’s smart…

As to the pictures, and the intermittent text, it all speaks to a place in the world that is reckoning with life after an Empire’s primacy.

These may have been far-flung outposts of the Great Soviet Empire, but now they’re not even that.

There are references to changed alphabets and languages, and rising, empty cites.

Of oil fields that leak and pollute, and sea borders that are in dispute.

One photo, of an abandoned library, is absolutely heartbreaking, but then you read the caption in the back, and learn it used to be a Jewish synagogue, which was decommissioned by the Soviets, and turned into a library, only to be left to rot, once the Cyrillic books were no longer relevant.

Everywhere, we see painted backdrops, to distract from the surroundings, and the text speaks of shiny facades added to crumbling Soviet buildings, or fancy buildings built for a world of rich people that likely never came. (Or will never come? I’m getting confused by time, and with my tenses, this deep into lockdown.)

There are tiny houses, meant to be destroyed for new construction, and an overwhelming sense of decline.

Still, a young man works out on improvised exercise equipment, a young woman has a fancy pocketbook in a washed-out-looking restaurant, and another young man stands before a computer with the word Democracy visible.

Nothing about this book was made for America in #2020, yet it all feels like a cautionary tale.

On a happier note, it is late-summer now, so at least you can go for a walk in the evening, if you wear your mask.

(Sorry, that’s all the optimism I’ve got for today.)

To purchase “Promising Waters” click hereΒ 

 

 

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please contact me directly at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in books by women, and artists of color, so we may maintain a balanced program.Β 

The Art of the Personal Project: Ian Spanier

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β 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. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Ian Spanier

MoTo

Personal projects have always been an important part of my career as a photographer. I’ve been lucky enough to have found some success from previous projects where they have been published in coffee table books, magazine articles and presented in print in various venues. The importance of personal work for me lies in the fact that unlike my commercial work the vision is completely my own. It’s also been a place for me to challenge myself. I love to have many options for lighting in my β€œbag of tricks,” and often it’s personal work that allows me the freedom to try new ideas out.

I’ve always been fascinated by motorcycles, although I’ve actually never rode one…yet. Sure, I’ve been on scooters and mopeds, but never have I experienced the thrill of the open road on one of these two-wheeled beasts. Personally, I tend to be drawn to the classic street bikes from Triumph, Indian and Honda, as well as many custom bikes. Being on the road a lot here in California I see bikes everywhere and thought it might be interesting to make photographs of the riders. I have been shooting the bikes as well, but it’s the riders that take center stage.

I photographed my first subject, Cortni Joyner, an actress I have shot several times here in Los Angeles on March 11, just before the Stay-At-Home orders were placed. I was crushed. The pictures were exactly what I wanted to make, and now I am handcuffed. Of course, I had no idea what was to come of the quarantine, but I began to prepare how I would work once things lifted…little did I know where we’d be still today. Thankfully, my regular workflow was already halfway there as far as being capable in the new normal needs of safe photo shoots. Using a CamRanger 2, I am able to send wireless jpgs to a tablet, computer or cell phone. An added feature allows me to also send near real-time images to a shared folder to anyone with Internet access and permission to that folder. Add all the face coverings, temperature checks, Lysol wipes and safe distance and much of the criteria are met. After about five weeks, I was of course antsy to work. Since LA was still frozen, I began to speak with some other subjects I’d been in touch with about doing a β€œsafe” shoot. We made the necessary precautions and arranged a shoot date.

From a technical standpoint with this project I began with the premise of pushing a new style of lighting that would at a much higher aperture than I normally shoot as I tend to lean toward f7.1 as my go-to and wider apertures for lower depth of field in other cases. Here I am shooting at f20 or f22 in most cases. As an additional challenge, I am creating a studio look in my home. To do so, I am contending with distance limitations, a stairwell, lower ceilings in the β€œstudio,” and furniture of course. I am using Westcott FJ400 Portable Strobes and modifiers, as well as V-Flat World V-Flats along with seamless paper and black velvet. I am shooting on a Canon 5DM4 with a variety of Canon Lenses, the Camranger 2, an iPad, Sekonic Meter, Hoodman Memory Cards and my Spider Holster Pro camera support.

The pandemic has certainly presented challenges as well, and I have been careful to make many precautions before agreeing to a photo shoot. That said, I am using that to also carefully curate the subjects I want to make portraits of, and not just choosing every motorcycle rider I see. Often the choice is made on the bike first, and then if I like the subject’s look, I approach them. Given the current climate, Instagram has been a great tool for this. My second subject was literally found from a random post that appeared on my feed, and I made two new friends as a result.

The most important aspect of MoTo has been to just create. I go nuts when I don’t have time to make images. Keeping my creative mind active is so critical because I am able to control that. So much, as we all are experiencing, is controlling us right now, so I feel it’s imperative to be able to choose a path now. Between shooting and retouching the images I have been able to continue to keep quite busy while the out of my control pieces start (hopefully) to fall back into place/become a new norm of how we will work.

Ikedi O. Onyemaobim photographed with his 2004 Triumph Thruxton 900 “Wolf”

I met Indian Motorcycle rider and Los Angeles Gym Owner Pieter Vodden for the first time during a commercial photo shoot last year. Then ended up at the same gym a few months later for another shoot and saw his bike parked in front of the location. This stuck in my mind so I approached him after I began the series.

 

Vodden’s Indian Motorcycle glove still life.

 

 

 

Actress Cortni Joyner (CW’s Into the Dark) was my first subject for MoTo. Thankfully, I had worked with Cortni a couple times so she was comfortable with me establishing the ideas I had scripted before beginning to make these portraits.

 

Muscian and Actress Nina Bergman stepped in like someone out of Mad Max. The Danish talent became a connection through her agent who represents many of the fitness athletes I photograph on commercial assignments.

Former BodyBuilder Stan McQuay was one of my first assignments for Muscle & Fitness Magazine in the early 2000s. Thanks to social media we have remained aware of one another. He posted about his new custom show bike and was very happy to ride it over to be a part of my project.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

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

 

Scam Alert: Freelance/Independent Photographer Needed For a Fashion Shoot

- - Scam

This scam is making the rounds again. You can see how determined they are to making it work if you check out the thread below. If anyone wants to pay you an advance and have you send part of the money to someone else (who you don’t know) DON’T DO IT!

–aPE

 

From: adambartlett70@gmail.comΒ 

Inquiry for your photography services

Hello,

I’m Adam, a beauty, fashion and lifestyle writer and editor at basementapproved.com. I saw your profile onΒ workbook.comΒ which led me to some of your work online and after going through your portfolio, I would like to learn more about your services.

I am working on a new project and I’m compiling shots for www.basementapproved.com β€œfashion page” segment and would love to collaborate with an experienced photographer on genres such as beauty, fashion, vintage, art, lifestyle, and outdoor.

As theΒ photographer on this project, you will concept, shoot, and produce 36 images, featuring 3 models. You will be required to work with a recommended hair/makeup artist and a wardrobe stylist, and bring a smart, fun approach and distinct style.

Please check the link below for some samples of my previous work and the attached PDF for a full job description and let me know if you find the project interesting and would like to know more.

LONDON FASHION WEEK STREET STYLE

BACKSTAGE AT PFW SS/20 WITH TOM GOT THE KEY

128 PLAYERS, 4 TOURNAMENTS, 1 GAME

Warm regards,

Adam Bartlett

Job Title: Freelance/Independent Photographer Needed For a Fashion Shoot

Job Type: Contract/Freelance

The Basement, one of the world’s fastest growing fashion and lifestyle media brands, is looking for a professional model/fashion photographer to produce an independent outdoor/indoor fashion photo shoot for the magazine’s fashion and style contents (Web, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube). The Photographer will shoot with our wardrobe stylist, three models and H/MUA.

To be considered you should be experienced on genres such as beauty, fashion, portrait, culture, art, lifestyle, and music.

Job details:

  1. You will be required to work with 3 models (a male & 2 female), H/MUA and a wardrobe stylist. 2. There will be 3 outfits per model, 4 images for each model and outfit, which totals 36 images
  2. Outfits/Wardrobe will be supplied by us
  3. Shoot budget: $9,200
  4. Photographer’s compensation: $3,000 ($1,500 upfront; and $1,500 balance payment).
  5. Talents’ compensation: $6,200
  6. You will hold full image right (Licensor)
  7. Images will be posted as an editorial content on www.basementapproved.com for 12 months

Deliverables:

  1. We want 36 professionally taken pictures in High Res Digital Copies
  2. Editorial Web Large images: 1080p
  3. Image type: JPG
  4. Transfer method: Fileshare or Dropbox
  5. Images delivery deadline: July 24th, 2020.

Responsibilities:

  1. Photograph six to eight hours fashion shoot
  2. Produce focused images for use online.
  3. You will evaluate and pick your Location, date, and shoot time
  4. All editing/post production will be handled by photographer (little retouching)
  5. After the shoot, photographer will upload the top 40-45 photos for the client to choose from
  6. Contact and work with a recommended talents’ agent for the shoot

As the photographer we want you to handle other aspect of the gig and dictate the creative direction.

If this seems like a project you would like to work on, please reply for more details.

——————–

Hello ________,

Thanks for the reply and the interest to work with us on this project. The details of the gig include an agency which will be providing three fashion models, makeup and hair stylists. The total budget for the project is $9200 (photographer gets $3000 and $6200 for the talents). You will be paid 50% ($1500) upfront plus the talents budget while your balance payment of $1500 will be paid after sending us proof that the job has been done; usually watermarked images.

Wardrobe will be picked by our in-house stylist but styling will be handled on location by the talent agency and their stylist; the outfit will be sent to them.Β  I’m a writer and an editor forΒ Basement Approved and I handle most of their content for North America. Images are guaranteed to feature as an editorial onΒ basementapproved.comΒ for 12 months and you will be credited for the images.

We want a gritty outdoor look with a clean product focused image; I’m attaching some pictures as samples. I will advise you to use 2 to 3 locations, doesn’t have to be city centre but must be urban; one could be very natural/parks while the other is gritty/old bricks/streets but clean. You will have to do little retouching if pictures can be taken with natural lighting.Β Final images will be 300dpi or larger, to be delivered via dropbox.

Photographers we hire usually take on the responsibilities of coordinating the shoot, selecting location, and disbursing fees. Your upfront fee will be issued prior to the shoot; this covers your upfront and extra for talents’ fee payable in advance to their manager.

Please confirm if you are comfortable with this arrangement by providing the name and address to be written on the contract as well as for your check then I can work on the contract and the mood boards.

Regards,Β Adam

——————–

Adam Bartlett <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Hello ________,

Thanks for clarifying things. I believe there must have been a misunderstanding. What I meant to say during our call was that the $3,000 budget covers stuffs like retouching/editing and parking fees but not EQ rentals and assistant’s fees, that was why I asked for your assistants fees so I can bring it up with my team head. I sincerely apologize for the mix up. We’ll be able to cover fees for both assistants, EQ rentals and refreshments for the crew in a new budget. I’ll get back to you with more info on this when I hear back from my team head.

Warm Regards, Adam

——————–

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Good Morning ______,

That sounds good. I’ll letΒ you know as soon as the new budget is approved. Thanks for accepting to take the job. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you with the mood boards and talents info.Β We just rounded up discussions with the talent agency yesterday.

The agency providing models, stylist, and H/MUA isΒ Keele & Barton Talent Management and I will want you to discuss possible dates and locations with the agent (Andrew Barton) while I work on getting your upfront and the contract; you can contact Andrew onΒ abarton@keeleandbarton.comΒ or text on 631-770-7240.

I have attached the wardrobe mood boards to this mail for your review, I hope this helps with the creative direction. Let me know what you think.

Regards,

Adam Bartlett.

——————–

Adam,

Thanks for getting back to me.

I have to ask: why doesn’t this talent agency have a working website?

Regards,

——————–

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi ————,

Thanks for your email. I believe they mentioned during one of our many meetings that theirΒ websiteΒ is currently under maintenance and should be back up shortly before a shoot date is finalized. You could reach out for a better explanation on their side.

Warm Regards

Adam Bartlett

——————–

Hi Adam,

I just tried calling you, but I got yourΒ voicemail. Not sure if you are already on holiday…

I have a few questionsΒ for you;

– When can you send the contract to me?

– Can you put in the contract what expenses you are paying for.

– When will I receive the advance payment?

– I heard from your contact Andrew at the agency. I’m a bit confused by some things in his email….

– I would prefer that Basement Approved pays his agency directly. He seems to think I am paying him?

– You mentioned in our conversation that you wanted β€œreal people” models for this shoot. However, Andrew is showing me β€œbeginner” models.

– He is also only showing me three models. Did you want me to look at more people before we decide?

– Andrew at the agency is asking to see location scouting images. Why? I have never had an model/hmu agency ask for location shots. Does he need to approve them? Just curious. :)

– You, and Andrew have said you will pay for β€œrefreshments” for the crew. I assume that means snacks only?

I feel that since we are shooting a full day, that we should also provide lunch for all crew members. If we only provide snacks then people will be hungry. And hungry people don’t work very hard. :)

Let me know on the above. I am going to be working on the shoot today, before the holiday weekend.

Regards,

——————–

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

toΒ me

Hi ————-,

Happy 4th of July. Sorry i missed yourΒ call yesterday, had to go be with the family for the holidays. Please find the answers to your questions below;

– When can you send the contract to me?

By Tuesday (7/7) or Wednesday (7/8), it should be fully drafted by then.

– Can you put in the contract what expenses you are paying for.

Yes sure.

– When will I receive the advance payment?

Once we receiveΒ the signed contract.

– I would prefer that Basement Approved pays his agency directly. He seems to think I am paying him?

We normally let photographers handle all aspects of the shoot including selecting talent agencies, casting of models and paying models but as i mentioned to you during our call, due to time constraints for the deadline, our clients who is also the sponsor of the shoot recommended an agency to source for the talents based on their specifications.

Β 

I haven’t worked with Andrew personally before but i’m told he’s good. I have had some bad experiences with talent agents in the past where they end up not being professional on shoot day because i wasn’t there to coordinate the shoot. This is why I thought being paid by the photographer who would be present for the shoot would be a better idea. Let me know your thoughts and if this is a deal breaker for you.

– You mentioned in our conversation that you wanted β€œreal people” models for this shoot. However, Andrew is showing me β€œbeginner” models.

We selected three models out of a total of six that were brought up thatΒ met the specifications of the project. However, I’ll suggest to Andrew to send com cards of the remaining three models so we can get your thoughts on them.

– He is also only showing me three models. Did you want me to look at more people before we decide?

Yes, I’ll let him know to send you the remaining three models to make a decision

– Andrew at the agency is asking to see location scouting images. Why? I have never had an model/hmu agency ask for location shots. Does he need to approve them? Just curious. :)

I was cc’d on the email. His responsibility isn’t to approve locations, I believe he wanted to know the locations selected in order to coordinate the logistics of getting his team there.

– You, and Andrew have said you will pay for β€œrefreshments” for the crew. I assume that means snacks only?

I feel that since we are shooting a full day, that we should also provide lunch for all crew members. If we only provide snacks then people will be hungry. And hungry people don’t work very hard. :)

Yes I understand. Light refreshment in the morning and lunch would be provided for the whole crew. (No one needs to shoot while hungryΒ )

Please let me know your thoughts on the answers and if everything looks good and i’ll send over the contract early next week. Have a lovely day and enjoy the holidays.

Warm Regards

Adam Bartlett

——————–

Hello Adam,

I hope you had an amazingΒ weekend.

Thank you for taking the time to answerΒ my questions.

I am fineΒ with all you have responded with, except for the issue around paying the agency. For tax reasons I do not want to have the responsibility of paying the agency fees. Thanks so much for understanding.

I spent a portion of my weekend looking at potential locations for your shoot. I have narrowed them down to two very strong locations. I think you are really going to like them.

I will send the location shots to you in aΒ separate email on Monday.

I look forward to receiving your contract, and moving forward!

Best regards,

——————–

Β Re: Upcoming Basement Approved Shoot

Β 

Inbox x

Andrew BartonΒ <abarton@keeleandbarton.com

toΒ me,Β adambartlett70

Hi ————,

I’m trying to touch base regarding the upcoming Basement Approved shoot.Β AdamΒ and team informed me you’ll be creatively directing the shoot andΒ requested we decided on dates, locations and details. We’re to provide 3Β models, a Hair/MUA, stylist and a mini van for the shoot you will beΒ coordinating.

Our total fee for the entire services is $6,200 including refreshment forΒ the crew.

My team will be available to shoot any of the days from July 8th to July 19th, but I will be waiting for you to pick a date that best suits you.Β Also what are your thoughts on shoot location and will i be getting someΒ scouting shots before the shoot day?

If you have any question, please feel free to email me or call on (631) 770-7240.Β www.keeleandbarton.comΒ is presently undergoing maintenance forΒ a 2020 new look and is offline at the moment but should be back up inΒ no time. So I have attached the models’ com cards; Ray, Tory and Hannah fitsΒ into the profile Basement Approved are looking for.

Looking forward to a great shoot with you.

Thanks

Β 

—Β 

Sincerely,

Andrew Barton

(631) 770-7240

——————–

dam Bartlett

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Good Morning Guys,

Β 

How are you today? ———-, thank you for sending in the scouting photos, I must say they look excellent and I do like them especially the graffiti walls and the combination of waterside, rail tracks and hills make for a good shot. These shouldΒ work well for the urban theme we’re trying to achieve. Well done! I’m excited to see how the images turn out at these locations.

One question though. How far apart are these locations?

Regarding your questions; Yes the clothings would be sent from NY to the stylist in California and i’ll make sure to add some cool face masks as well. I’m attaching our Covid-19 safety plan currently implemented in our studios and offices, maybe you might find some safety features you’d like to incorporate for the shoot. I believe Andrew should be able to provide the model releases for the shoot.

Β 

I’m glad and satisfied with the production plan so far. I’ll finish the contract draft today with all the expenses being covered stated inside and send to you either at the end of business day or first thing tomorrow morning.Β 

Thanks once again for the photos, I’ll share that and other details with my team head to keep him in the know.

Β 

Warm Regards

Adam Bartlett

——————–

Andrew BartonΒ <abarton@keeleandbarton.com

toΒ me,Β Adam

Hello —————- and Adam,

Β 

Thanks for the detailed brief. I will let the talents know of this and get them geared up and working towards it. Also, shoot on the 17th sounds good but i’ll suggest we have a back up date as well just to be safe. I agree with Adam, the locations images look great. Awesome choice.

Β 

Please find attached com cards of some of our female models of African descent (Esme, Taylor and Mzahni) as requested. I took the opportunity to include Gabe and Eric who i believe also meet up with the BA specifications and have been approved by Adam and his team. Let me know your thoughts on them so we can decide which to use for the shoot.

Β 

Adam is right, i’ll provide the model releases and send them over. Yes we’re also providing a van for easy movement between locations and I would be driving the van on the day of the shoot and handling the insurance. My brother in-law is based in Oakland (Adams Point) so i plan on travelling down from LA a day before the shoot. Maybe we could meet up over coffee to go through the shoot plans for the next day.

Β 

I also had some questions/suggestions i’ll like your thoughts on so as to be fully prepared for the shoot.

Β 

  1. I know you mentioned hair/mu to start from 9-11. I’m thinking that the models should come to the shoot all set on hair and make up with just little touch up left so as to save time. What is your thought on this?

Β 

  1. If you’ll be handling the meals/refreshments for the crew, is it ok to let you know the refreshment preferences of my team so you can factor that in as well. My team would consist of just myself, three models, a Hair/MUA and wardrobe stylist.

Β 

Let me know your thoughts on the questions and i’ll work on it. I’ll also look forward to receiving the call sheet once we finalized the shoot details and be sure to be at the photo studio meeting point on time

Β 

Myself and the team are all excited about the shoot and look forward to working with you and your team soon.

Β 

—Β 

Sincerely,

Andrew Barton

(631) 770-7240

——————–

Expenses

toΒ Adam

Hullo again Adam,

You are already proposing a $1500 advance that would cover 50% of my final fee. I would like to ask you for 50% of my estimated expenses as well. I generally alwaysΒ ask for both beforeΒ any shoot.

Are you ok with that?

I would then, after the shoot, provide you with receipts showing what my actual expensesΒ are.

So, in advanceΒ of our shoot, here are my estimated expenses:

Digital Tech Assistant: $450

Grip Assistant: $300

Crew Lunch and Snacks/Water/Coffee x9 peopleΒ @ $20 per person: $180

Covid Precautions – Gloves, Masks, and Hand Sanitizer: $40

Equipment Rental: $375

Total Estimated Expenses: $1,345.00

50% of Estimated Expenses due before shoot: $672.50

——————–

Adam Bartlett

toΒ me

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi ———–,

Thanks for working tirelessly on this project and being proactive with the production plans. You make working with you so easy and I appreciate that. I receivedΒ your request for 50% upfront for the estimated expenses and will submit that to the accountingΒ department so they begin workingΒ on it.

Also, I spoke with my team head today regarding your concerns about possible tax issues arising from paying the agency as you mentioned in your email, with that he reached out to Andrew to let him know about the situation of things and Andrew agreed to provide an invoice, W9 and any other tax documents when required. I hope this resolves the issue. LMK.

The contract is done being drafted and it just got signed on our end so i’ll be sending it over to you first thing tomorrow morning. Hope toΒ hear back from you soon. All the best.

Warm Regards

Adam Bartlett

——————–

toΒ Adam, bcc:Β H

Adam,

Thank you so much for your kind words. It is my pleasure.

And thank you for making arrangements for the payment for estimated expenses.

Regarding my being in charge of paying Andrew. I try to stay away from having any W-9s when it comes to tax time. It gets complicated as a freelancer. As well, I really would prefer not to have the responsibility. I hope for those reasons you will allow him to invoice you directly. Thank you so much.

I look forward to receiving the contract from you – and to your response to my emails today. I’m so enjoying this process with you!

Warmest Regards,

——————–

Adam Bartlett

toΒ me

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi ——–,

Sorry I couldn’t send over the contract yesterday as promised. This is due to the fact that although all estimated expenses have been included in it, the clause about having coordinate payments and plans with the agency was still in it. I had spoken to my team head regarding getting this edited but it seems like that might prove a bit difficult as a similar contract was signed with the talent agency which states that the photographer would be responsible for coordinating talent fees and directing the production of the shoot.

As it stands, i’ll have to refer the issue up the chain of commands to find a resolutionΒ which I fear might take a little longer than I hope for. I’ll be doing this today and lettingΒ you know. OnceΒ again, I apologize for the mix up and delay. Talk soon.

Warm Regards

Adam Bartlett

 

toΒ Adam

 

——————–

HiΒ Adam,

Am I in danger of losing this shoot over this issue?

I hope not. Please letΒ me know.

Regards,

——————–

Adam Bartlett

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:
toΒ me

Hi _______,

Not atall. Sorry if my last email startled you a bit. You aren’t losing the shoot, just that we might have to put it on a temporary hold and possibly push the delivery date till we’re able to sort out the issue. What i’m not sure of is the time in between it might take to resolve this (you know how it is sometimes with office bureaucracy). Whichever way it goes, I’ll do my best to keep you updated. Thanks.

Warm Regards

Adam Bartlett

——————–

toΒ Adam

Hi Adam,

Hope you had a good weekend.

I’d really love to know where we are with the shoot.

I have crew and equipment on hold for this coming Saturday, our shoot date.

Will I have the contract today or tomorrow?

PleaseΒ let me know.

Warmest Regards,

——————–

Adam Bartlett

toΒ me

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi ______________,

I had a great weekend, thank you for asking. I hope you had oneΒ as well. I have sent out a situation report to my senior editor already and just waiting to get a reply and how best to proceed from here. I’ll get back to you before the end of the day.

Warm Regards

Adam Bartlett

——————–

Adam Bartlett

toΒ me,Β Andrew,Β H

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi _________,

Here are the answers to the remaining questions for my part:

**I would like to change the tentative shoot date to Saturday, July 18th. Our back-up day will be Sunday, July 19th.*
Does this work for everybody?

If it works for you and the talents then i’m fine with it.

Adam: What do you think of Mzahni as our second female model? Are you ok with her piercings, or would we have to ask her to remove them?

She was originally one of the shortlisted models we looked at and I believe she looks great. She can also have her piercings on, we’re totally open to them.

Adam: Are you ok with Ray as our male model?

Yes.

Regarding Hannah, the second female model you sent over – She is awfully thin. Adam, would you be ok with me asking Andrew to send over more female/white models? Or have you decided on Hannah?

I think we can go on with Hannah as our client has approved her.

——————–

toΒ Adam, bcc:Β H

Hullo again Adam,

Thanks so much for answering my questions.

One more question: you refer in your email to β€œour client”.

I thought Basement Approved was the client?Β 

Regards,

——————–

Adam Bartlett

toΒ me

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi _______,

Basement Approved is the magazine I work for which will be publishing the images together with the article “Fashion In The Time of A Pandemic” on it’s website. The client however (Rag & Bone), like i mentioned in a couple of my emails to you is the sponsor of the project.Β Have you heard of them before? They are a clothing company based in New York and have been on the scene since 2002 and currently donate proceeds of each mask sold to health care workers acrossΒ the country and those most affected by Covid-19 through the Center For Disaster Philanthropy.

I just heard back from my senior editor and she advised that since the contract with the agency had been signed already, we’ll need to negotiateΒ new terms with them. I fear this might take a longer time. Would you be willing to go on with the original plan of coordinating payments with the talent agency or would you rather wait for a renegotiation?

If you decide to go on with the originalΒ plans, I’ll advise Andrew to provide all necessary documents like he promised. Also, if you’d prefer not to handle the payment and rather wait for the renegotiation, I’ll keep you in the know as things go. Please let me know your thoughts and we can go from there. Hope to hear back from you soon.

Warm Regards

Adam Bartlett

——————–

toΒ Adam

HiΒ Adam,

Can you let me know where we are with a contract?

Thanks so much.

——————–

Adam Bartlett

Adam BartlettΒ <adambartlett70@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi _________,

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get the renegotiation with Andrew going yet as he’s been on a trip to Maui for a shoot out there and communication is rather sporadic but he promised to reach out today so I’m waiting on that. Would you by any way be open to going on with the original arrangement so as to save time and avoid possible delays? I can have the contract which has been drafted already sent out to you today. Let me know.

Warm Regards

Adam Bartlett

The Daily Edit – Forbes India: Anjan Das

- - The Daily Edit

Forbes India


Creative Director and Photographer:
Anjan Das

Heidi: Did you shoot and series and then curate this work?
Anjan: I have been brainstorming in my head about this idea (Against all odds), revolving around how the livelihood of people have been affected during this pandemic. How to approach the subjects? What would be that common link/connection? Prepared a storyboard, listed down some professions which were badly hit & people who were associated with it. Started to connect with all of them, followed by brief phone conversations and lining up the shoots at various potential locations in and around the city of Mumbai. The idea was to create a particular style of environmental portraits with interesting backdrops which tells a story.

Pre covid, would you have noticed these people, how do they rise up in your eyes now?
Mumbai is a city of 22 million people, you are bound to come across a lot of people struggling for their livelihood every single day. You’ll most definitely crossΒ paths with many people with their survival stories. The city is brimming with working class people. Majority of that also includes the migrants and daily/weekly wage workers (cabbies/auto rickshaw drivers, construction workers, maisons, plumbers etc.) Each individual has their unique stories to share. While travelling in cabs/auto rickshaws I have heard many such stories of their survival every now and then. When the pandemic hit the urban population in mid march, they were the the first ones whose lives were altered in many ways than one. With no savings at their disposal the ongoing survival and struggle became even more difficult. Making ends meet and taking care of their families and keeping them safeΒ was becoming their single biggest challenge ever. I was truly amazed by their perseverance everyday in surviving the pandemic. While speaking to most of them I sensed a common connection of that fighting spirit, that can do attitude even though their livelihood were at stake with a gloom of uncertainty. There was a spark of positivity in between fear and frustration. There’s nothing they can do but to fight and keep hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel. EachΒ one these brave souls made me realise the groundΒ realities of life and why giving back to theΒ less privileged would be the mostΒ humane thing you could have ever imagined doing.

Was it difficult to convince people to be photographed? What did you tell them about this project?
Coordinating the whole thing was a logistical nightmare at some levels, especially reaching out to people during a lockdown was not easy. Thankfully with the help of a close friend who’s a partner with a popular production company here in Mumbai, eased up coordination hugely. With his help we reached out to them and began our conversations explaining to them the crux of the story in which they were going to be featured and shot. It was difficult to convince them at first with few reservations about their struggles and featuring their photographs. We had to go to that extra mileΒ of making them understand how they should portray their struggles & bravery so that it becomes a living example for others to fight the troubled times ahead. We insisted that everyone should know about theirΒ survival stories and it cannotΒ happen if they don’t volunteer to be a part of this project. Portraying them as ‘Warriors & survivors’ also helped to ease their reservations. We had to go through this exercise with every individual whom we had to convince with a completely different frame of mind & explanations.

What was the commonality amongst the subjects? I know the theme was everyday heroes.
For this particular photo essay the subject was purely based on ‘Survival during the pandemic’ I had outlined it with various titles namely; ‘An ode to survival’ ‘The lives of others’ Against all odds’ etc. So survival was a common link to all the subjects belonging from various work/professions. While talking to them I figured there was more than just survival spirits. Even through all these hardships no one seemed to give up, they want to fight on, for a better life, for their families and most importantly the pandemic.

Is this an ongoing project?
This was my third photo essay in a row which i have worked on for the last 3 months through the lockdown. TheΒ firstΒ oneΒ was titled ‘Frontline warriors’: It was about people (Doctor, traffic cop, city police force, Bus driver, medical shop owner, veggies & essentials shop owner) who are working tirelessly on the frontline to help others in many ways, theΒ secondΒ was titled: ‘Lending a helping hand’;Β  It was about group/team of people (Teams going out of their way to ensure the smooth functioning of banking, IT and health services). And ‘Against all odds’ is the current one. We have even started a hashtagΒ ofΒ #frontlinewarriorsΒ where we do a lot of social media posts (single story, photo of the day etc) on everyday covid-19 warriors. There has been a lot of traction on that lately.

How often are you shooting, as your main role at Forbes India is running the show as Creative Director.
Currently I am harnessing the power and potential of iPhone photography and this would be an ongoing process in the months & years to come. I shoot whenever I can and whatever I can. Digital photography has always been my passion but never really managed the time to pursue it fully. These projects were like an eye opener for me, I really felt thrilled, excited and rejuvenated completing these essays successfully and with such moving stories/subjects. The role of Chief Creative Director at Forbes remains unchanged with the workflow of the fortnightly editions back to back, managing deputies, designers, production artists plus off course manning shoots & storyboarding ideas. But I would definitely try to unhinge myself a bit to focus more on digital photography.

Tell us about the difference of designing this project, as you were the content generator in entirety. A trifecta!
Well, I was imagining the structure & layout of the feature whilst storyboarding the essay idea. I was absolutely sure of shooting them in B/W and thought about a well structured and clean design template. I wanted the photographs to speak for itself by doing justice to the title. The photos/portraits/expressions should convey a sense of uncertainty and that needed to be achieved from every subject. I chalked out a copy style (name, age, residence, Struggle & survival and Future) which should be common to all and was used as subheads in which the format should be self explanatory. Choosing the clean san serifs & serifs for the headlines, introductionΒ & rest of the text was part of the part of the style sheet. White spaces in and around the layouts was mandatory. The feature was part of the back of the book section of the mag called ‘Forbes Life’ and hence thought the connection with the word ‘Life’ was apt.

How are the cases in India in general, what are the lockdown protocols of late?
The current confirmed cases in India is almost 1.04 million with 654K recovered & almost 27K deaths. It’s increasing at an alarming rate with every passing day. We’re currently the 3rd country with the highest number of cases after the US & Brazil. The lockdown protocols are getting stringent every week due to the rapid rise of positive cases in every state in the country now. The nation has completed its lockdown 4.0 with partial lockdowns in between. Some state borders have been shut and there are movements of only essential goods & services. Amidst of all the chaos & commotion the authorities are trying their level best to ensure that the mortality rate is on check. But given the population and congestion in many unplanned urban areas across the country it’s turning out to be the worst nightmare. Every state government is trying their best to create containment zones to prevent further community spread. There have been extra hands on deck consisting of doctors, city police, health workers who have beenΒ put to work. Moreover disregarding protocols now and then has become an integral part of everyday lives and social distancing is turning out to be a myth.

This Week in Photography: Spoiling for a Fight

 

Part 1: The Intro

 

Donald Trump has unleashed secret police upon America.

For all my repeated criticism of the man, over many years, that is not a sentence I ever thought I’d write.

But here we are.

They are secret, because their uniforms are unmarked, and they have apparently been pulling people off the street into unmarked vans in Portland.

Now, he’s sending them to cities like Chicago and Albuquerque, because he sees his best shot at re-election dependent upon an uprising of Red State voters, who fear for their lives.

(By implying that urban chaos will soon be coming to their small town or cluster of farms.)

 

How did we get here?

One of the biggest causes of our national decline over the last 4 years has been the language of dehumanization.

It began during the 2016 Presidential campaign, in which Trump was willing to use name calling, and nasty language, in a way that no “normal” politician ever had.

Whether calling Mexicans rapists, insulting a Muslim Gold Star family, or saying, of Republican war hero John McCain, “I like people whoΒ weren’t captured,” Trump’s insult comic schtick was entertaining to a certain type of American, and it propelled him to the White House.

 

 

Whether or not a person likes Trump, and supports him politically, I doubt there are many, if any, Americans alive who would suggest he has attempted to unite the United States at any point in the last 4 years.

I’ve written about Divide and Conquer before, but really, it’s not a theory: it’s happening in real time. He has attacked cities, and “Blue” politicians all along, while denigrating minorities, banning Muslims from entering the country, jailing brown children, and defending White Supremacists.

And it’s worked so well that liberals are turning on each other by fighting over racial and/or gender-based lines, often trying to takedown those who don’t conform to a specific set of beliefs. (Making it that much easier to be conquered.)

Years of calling people libtards and fascists, thugs and gestapo, and now we find ourselves in #2020, with one faction of the country aggressively risking the health of others over a belief in science, and people who label themselves as Anti-fascists are being deemed fascists by others.

Everyone keeps calling the other side “they,” and there is serious risk in that, as “us” only refers to “our” side.

 

 

Words matter.

And the words that Trump encourages, which make people less than human, (as the Nazis did,) make it that much easier to treat people as less than human.

To risk giving them a deadly disease, because they’re just Blue Staters anyway. (As when conservative Texans come to Northern New Mexico and refuse to obey our laws around face coverings.)

We find ourselves at a crossroads, where protestors believe they can engage in destructive behavior, because it’s justified against Trump’s evil, and then he responds by sending in federal police, (because the military already refused, after the Lafayette Square debacle,) and we all sit here, holding our collective breath, wondering what will happen next?

 

Part 2: The fighting instinct

 

I used the phrase “takedown” a few paragraphs ago, but really, how many of you know where it comes from?

IRL?

It’s a wrestling term, now utilized in BJJ and MMA as well, in which one person attacks the legs and waist of another person, and then either trips or throws them to the ground.

(Including the vicious body slam.)

I have both executed single and double-leg takedowns, and been the recipient of them, and they are violent as hell.

It’s a real thing, and another example of language migrating from the literal to the metaphorical.

I mention it here, though, as I just finished binge-watching “Kingdom” on Netflix, and cannot emphasize enough how good the show was.

 

It is set in the SoCal world of MMA, (in Venice, where I almost moved in 2001,) and ran on a DirectTV streaming platform from 2014-17, which means that pretty much no one saw it.

I became aware of it in 2017, when I was doing some research on the actor Frank Grillo, but lacking DirectTV, I couldn’t watch it, and promptly forgot about it.

As soon as it came to Netflix this month, I jumped at the chance, and have rarely seen a better example of storytelling and acting fused together.

Because it’s a show about fighting, featuring very talented but not super-famous actors, (Like Grillo, Matt Lauria from “Friday Night Lights,” Kiele Sanchez from “The Purge: Anarchy,” Joanna Going from some 90’s movies, and the brilliant Jonathan Tucker,) I’m pretty sure most people would dismiss it as pulp entertainment without giving it a second thought.

However, like other superlative genre fare before it, (“The Wire,” “The Sopranos,”) Byron Balasco, the creator, managed to tell real, human, empathetic stories in a way that mesmerized, perhaps BECAUSE of the limitations of his genre structure. (To be clear, I’m not saying it’s as good as those TV pantheon shows.)

And I read in an interview that they were pretty much left alone, to do what they wanted, which comes across in the creative freedom they expressed.

Alcohol addiction, sex trafficking, the cycle of familial abuse, homophobia, drug addiction, mental illness, class difference, death, the penal system, and corruption; all are woven together deftly alongside positive values like love, loyalty, and determination.

It was just so good. (Though I’m pretty sure if it were shot in #2020, they would have a more diverse cast.)

One core message that comes through, again and again, is that fighting is a mentality, not just a sport.

Some people are trained to fight, and are often born into families that reinforce it.

(Like Trump, according to the new tell-all by his niece Mary Trump.)

Fighting perpetuates itself, and it requires a tremendous amount of discipline to not fight, when the situation presents itself.

 

Part 3: For example

 

For example, I recently came through the most difficult period of my marriage, as we diagnosed my wife with clinical depression in late-March, and were told the recovery would be rocky.

(It was.)

In the beginning of July, my wife went through a rage phase, where all sorts of repressed anger came to the surface, and for a few days, it was all directed at me.

Despite the fact that I was her support system, and she credited me with saving her life, I had said unkind things during the late stages of her illness, and the beginning of her recovery.

I used nasty words, thinking I was justified, because of the hurt her illness caused, and she did not call me on it.

It seemed OK.

But clearly, it was not.

When her anger finally flared, it was palpable, and scared the shit out of me, causing anxiety attacks.

With the help of some very good friends, (you know who you are,) we got through it.

But the key moment was when my amazing friend Ed advised me that the only way to break the cycle was to not bounce the anger back to her.

Not to absorb it into my body, which would make me sick, but to essentially channel it directly into the ground.

To admit what I said, apologize with kindness, and then not aggress back.

We never mentioned Jesus, at any point, but really, it was the theory of turning the other cheek.

And as a martial artist, I’m familiar with the concept of getting power from the ground, so the idea of sending this energy back into the ground, rather than rebounding it, made sense to me.

Thankfully, it worked.

In the weeks since, two readers picked fights with me, in emails responding to my column, and in each case, I used the same strategy.

Rather than perpetuating the anger, and participating in a fight, I refused, and responded with kindness, respect and peace.

It was clear that in each case, the other person was taken aback, and a bit frustrated that I chose not to engage in a disagreement based upon anger, but it defused the situation, and that was that.

On a macro level, that’s essentially what Americans need to do, if we’re going to heal from the misery of the Trump era. (If, god willing, he loses in November and moves on.)

We will somehow need to find the common humanity between political parties, between urban and rural, between cosmopolitan and sequestered.

The alternative is that we eat ourselves, and then eat each other.

 

Part 4: Another Example

 

Here’s what it looks like when you respond to anger with anger.

It backfires.

For example, last week, I saw a tweet by my colleague JΓΆrg Colberg, which drew attention to an Instagram spat involving the renown SoCal artist John Divola.

 

 

Apparently, William Camargo, a Latinx artist from Orange County, made a post about an image he shot that was a satire of, or homage to, or derivation of a series by John Divola, who’s from just up the way in Venice.

It references a series I’ve written about before, as I was lucky to interview John twice, for VICE and the NYT, and have spent time with him in person as well.

In fact, he gave me a copy of the book, which is named after the series: “As Far As I Could Get.”

Divola is known for conceptual rigor, and humor at times, and constantly wrong-footed me during our interviews, (another fighting term,) because his vision of what his work was about was always different than my expectations.

In this series, he set up his camera in the isolated California desert, set the timer, and then sprinted away from the camera, to see how far he could get before the shutter clicked.

I think it’s funny, as it speaks to a certain futility of the human condition.

 

Over time, as he aged, he would presumably cover less distance, but it was always a strategy, and done in an empty desert locale.

William Camargo, the artist who satirized him, set up a scenario in which he tried to see how far he could get from the swap meet parking lot to the liquor store, in ten seconds.

Seen by itself, I thought it was a smart update, an excellent photograph, and by re-contextualizing the scenario, was a takeoff on John’s idea, rather than a ripoff.

Kudos, for sure.

But in his caption, he tore into John for the fact that running is a sport of white privilege, and misrepresented the structure of Divola’s project.

 

William Camargo, who is a part of Diversify Photo, and espouses the language of the current progressive movement, chose to insult John Divola, who is white, in a public forum.

Isn’t it possible to draw attention to the fact that in certain communities, it is not safe to run, (a la Ahmaud Arbery, who’s mentioned,) without the concomitant need to attack someone else?

Especially when Divola’s work was not actually about jogging?

I get that it is fashionable at the moment, to “takedown” old white guys, (I critiqued Martin Parr last year, don’t forget,) but it was not the Instagram post that got John Divola in hot water.

It was his reaction.

He responded with anger, and put words in writing, in public, that looked really, really bad in #2020.

 

Indubitably, I am not defending what he wrote.

In fact, I just spent a whole bunch of words suggesting that letting anger go by, rather than fighting back, can be transformative.

(Not always: AOC was totally right to defend herself from that Florida man’s awful comments.)

But the glee with which some people then further attacked John Divola, as if it proved that all old white guys are unhinged, was equally unsettling.

And that is my final point for today.

If we on the left refuse to see the value of others like us, creative, passionate, liberal people of all races and genders, than how will we ever help heal these rifts with the rest of America?

Do we expect other people to do it for us?

(And there I go using “us” again. It’s so complicated!)

The Art of the Personal Project: Nigel Cox

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β 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. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Nigel Cox

 

DRIFTΒ by Nigel Cox

This ongoing series entitled DRIFT, named equally for wind blown snow and for my meandering outdoor search for subjects – not to mention a car steering technique-Β began in New York City in 2006.

The contrast between delicate individual snowflakes and the humbling and disabling power of a snowstorm has always fascinated me. I see vehicles becoming blanketed in snow representing that dichotomy whilst providing interesting forms, textures and color compositions.

Most of the images were shot close to my home in Brooklyn. As the cars are densely parked in that area I never have to venture more than a few blocks each time I shoot. Every vehicle provides a unique canvas but I’m often drawn to the ones with interesting colors,Β carefully studying every angle, seeking out elements that arrest my eye.

Snow dampens sound and for me, that tranquility, combined with bitter cold and scarcity of people, allows for a heightened level of concentration and patience. As a result, these images feel very personal and remind me of why I fell in love with photography at an early age.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

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

 

The Daily Edit – The Authority Collective

- - The Daily Edit

Aalisha Vasude: Gilbert Hill in Mumbai, India is one of three unique geological structures in the world.

Nickey Quamina Woo: Babacar Diallo swims in the ocean in Saly, Senegal on July 8, 2018.

Vatsala Goel: San Francisco Women’s March attendees gathered despite rain and cold weather outside the city hall in a historic event to mark their dissent against Donald Trumps inauguration as the 45th President of United States. 21st january 2017.

Danielle Villasana: A portrait of a couple that lives in a community along Peru’s MaraΓ±Γ³n River.

Danielle Villasana: A young girl walks along the streets of a neighborhood in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Elaine Cromie: Wail Aboajialo, an asylum applicant from Iraq who relies on Affordable Care Act coverage poses inside his home in Sterling Heights, Mich.

Elaine Cromie: The Rosarito Delfinas high school girls flag football team prepares for their afternoon game in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico.

Hannah Yoon: Lee Cha-Dol, 81, stands for a portrait in Tapgol Park in Seoul, South Korea. Lee is a traditional Korean calligraphy and fan teacher. In 2014, the suicide rate of the elderly in South Korea was the highest in the OECD countries. On top of this, almost 50% of the elderly population lives in poverty. Despite these grave statistics, many persist, are active and want to be presentable in society. They do not want to be forgotten.

Hannah Yoon: Choi Yoon-Ho shows off his fancy suit in Seoul, South Korea. Choi makes sure to dress up everyday and show off his expensive clothes when he’s in public. In 2014, the suicide rate of the elderly in South Korea was the highest in the OECD countries. On top of this, almost 50% of the elderly population lives in poverty. Despite these grave statistics, many persist, are active and want to be presentable in society. They do not want to be forgotten.

Mary Kang

Mary Kang

Mengwen Cao:Β  Nam Holtz, poses for a portrait at her apartment in Queens, New York. Adopted from Korea, she grew up in Chicago. She is an actor and dancer.
“I look this way, but I feel another way.”
– from the series “I Stand between”, a project on transracial adoptees, specifically Asians adopted by white families.

Mengwen Cao: Portrait of Luke Chang, Chinese American artist and designer, photographed in Catskills, New York in 2018

Tara Pixley: LOS ANGELES, CA.Β  One of the biggest attractions at the Leimert Park Juneteenth festival was a man on horseback who rode in circles carrying the Pan-African flag (also known as the Black liberation flag). The June 19 festival in Leimert Park, a historically Black LA neighborhood is one of Los Angeles’ largest Juneteenth celebrations, drawing several hundred people this year for art, music, food trucks and solidarity in light of recent protests for Black lives.

Tara Pixley

Authority Collective

The Photo Bill of Rights
The Lit List 2020
The
Photoshelter/AC Guide to Inclusive Photography
Exhibits, panels, talks, events and projects they’ve done over our two years as an organization

Instagram

Heidi: AC was formed during a symposium where you asked about who gets to tell marginalized stories. Since inception how has the script changed now that you’ve created these resources?
The beginning of AC came out of a desire for community and stability in a chaotic, unsupportive professional landscape for women of color media makers. Over the last two years, we’ve found that this is a movement, a reimagining and a reckoning for the old guard who hoard their resources, limit access and shut down attempts at progress. I don’t think we thought we would be attacked the way that we have been as we became more influential, but we also could never have imagined how powerful and necessary this community and the organization itself has become. I’ve seen a sea change in the last two years due to the labor of orgs like ours, Women Photograph, Everyday Projects, DiversifyPhoto and so many others. People are listening, they’re learning, they’re opening their spaces and those who are pushing back against diversifying and including more perspectives are showing the industry exactly why we need these changes.
β€” Tara Pixley, co-Founder and Board Member, Los Angeles-based independent visual journalist and professor at Loyola Marymount University || @tlpix || www.tarapixley.com

Since releasing the Do No Harm Statement, the Guide to Inclusive Photography, and the Bill of Rights we’ve discovered that many people were asking themselves these same exact questions. What we did was expose people to the thinking and language of decolonizing photography, which in itself sounds like a tall order. But, we aim for practicality, usefulness, encouraging action and ways of being. In these ways we make the work of decentering the western, gendered gaze accessible. What’s changed is that we’ve stopped asking the questions and started answering them ourselves, stepping into our authority.
β€” Bunni Elian, Board Member and independent multimedia journalist based in New York City || https://www.hellobunni.com/

Now that you’re a few years out, what would you tell your younger AC?
I would want to tell our younger selves that people will support us and people will believe in us. Despite the uncertainties and what seemed like slow or maybe hesitant reception, I would tell the younger AC to stick to what they believe in. I would tell them trusting friendships are growing out of it and so many people within the photo industry are taking AC seriously. AC is doing important work within the industry and you’ll see the fruits of your labor.
β€” Hannah Yoon, co-Founder and Board Member. Freelance photographer in Philadelphia @hanloveyoon || www.hannahyoon.com

I would tell our younger selves to get incorporated ASAP. We have had so many incredible opportunities and collaborations in this time, so many wonderful sponsors and kind individuals who have supported our efforts or amplified the message of decolonization and inclusion. However, the hundreds of hours of work put into building this community and making change through interventions, exhibits, talks, panels, community meet-ups, open letters and one billion meetings, etc. β€” all of that has been primarily volunteer labor on the part of a devoted 7-10 person crew (depending on the makeup of the Board at the time). If we could have incorporated earlier, we would have been in a better position to provide financial resources, grants, stipends, etc. to all the Authority Collective Community and work on much bigger scales. But that is all in the works now! And I wouldn’t trade a single thing from the incredible lessons learned from our grassroots, independent, scrappy efforts that built something really worthwhile and beautiful for our community. β€” Tara Pixley

What Hannah said above and that it is worth doing this because people who experience microaggression and discrimination in this industry don’t feel isolated. That they feel validated and affirmed.
β€” Mary Kang, Board Member and NYC-based independent photographer || @mary.kang || http://www.marykang.com

I would tell the younger version of our organization to focus on ideas in addition to the call-outs. Initially, we thought we could just single out corporations and institutions to help them do better individually, but we’ve found within the last few weeks that we provide more value in investigating the problematic conventions of journalism, rather than a case by case basis. Doing so took the conversation further, bringing more people to the table and fostering introspection among those who see our resources. Rather than saying one entity is a bad actor, people can internalize it and ask themselves β€˜When have I acted in a similar way?’ We’ve also shifted from demands to suggestions and considerations.
β€” Bunni Elian

With all the resources available, are you still stumped by content creators finding it hard to find diverse voices? Are you feeling like people are not doing the work? Is it budgets? lack of risk? all of the above?
At times, we are stumped and not sure why there is still a slow movement to be as inclusive as possible within our industry. We wonder if it’s a budget issue or if some editors feel comfortable working with photographers they’ve already worked with. We have formed relationships with some photo editors within the industry, but there are others we have not connected with. We understand there is a culture of the editor+photographer relationship within the industry that is difficult to change. β€” Hannah Yoon

We notice the efforts being made by some photo editors, but we also understand the bureaucracy within each publication or company. If people in the executive level think hiring photographers they have never heard of is risky, then photo editors who push for equity also don’t feel heard. There needs to be a structural shift in company culture that values diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility. β€” Mary Kang

I would second what Mary said here. There are so many organizations and databases at this point highlighting the myriad brilliant photographers available to work, so it can’t realistically be said that photo editors β€œcan’t find” photographers of color. In my experience, gatekeepers in journalism hire within their circles and known networks, relying on existing relationships. But also you can’t just make an intervention at the highest levels, saying β€œwell here, you could hire these people” and think that’s a done deal, you’ve made it inclusive and accessible! No. It starts well beyond that. It starts when Black and brown children don’t know this is a job they can have, when they go to college and aren’t encouraged to develop a photographic aesthetic or are encouraged to align their existing perspective with the status quo of the Western Gaze. When they don’t have the resources to buy all the camera equipment their wealthier (often White) peers can. When they can’t take unpaid internships or travel around the world to get the portfolio pieces their White and wealthier peers can. The complex and inequitable dynamics of the photo industry start well before any database or list. Those are the things AC is pushing to address and make the industry recognize. Lists are great if you use them. What is far better would be a complete reimagining of what we perceive to be valid perspectives, what aesthetics are valued and included, what voices are listened to and encouraged. Also we need a re-education of the photo editor profession and practice. I’ve been a photo editor for international publications and news orgs: I will say that some take the job seriously and love being an advocate for photos and photographers. Others coast with limited knowledge of the field or the impact that images have in the world. We won’t achieve real change if we aren’t addressing the problems at every step of the editorial process and dedicating ourselves to making our visual media better across the board. β€” Tara

It should also be noted that so much of the newsroom has been consolidated to the work of researching photographers, mentoring, nurturing relationships and people are stretched super thin. I’ve heard countless photo editors say they lost that aspect of the work, which they really enjoyed. So photo editor burnout is real, very human and can create the conditions where some choose the shortcut of people they know. COVID-19 for example, is NOT a time to experiment. You’ll contact your go to photographer over a new hire and not pressure people to take on health risks. That’s understandable. That’s why it’s paramount to incorporate diversity and inclusion efforts throughout the years so you can maintain diversity of perspective when news breaks. β€” Bunni

What makes this moment different and what are the tangible goals you hope we hit as content creators?
The progress I want to see… the photo bill of rights explains it all (haha). Mostly equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and fair contract and payment. Also, we need people to not only listen, but believe what we say and build actions. β€” Mary

The confluence of the unfair practices in journalism, the pandemic, and the narrow visual rendering of the Black Lives Matter movement in early June has put us in a unique position to rise to the occasion to use the current conditions as concrete examples we can all see. It also doesn’t hurt that the majority of people everywhere are stuck at home with plenty of time to spare! So often people want to engage, but life gets in the way. The truth is though, beyond the quick response of the Do No Harm Photo statement, the creation of these resources has been in the works for months. β€” Bunni

I am looking for the industry to want to be better. I understand progress is scary and some people won’t flourish with more competition. But if you’ve actually been working hard, doing great work and adhering to the ethics of our profession, a more inclusive and equitable industry will only positively affect you. Progress looks like recognizing the photo industry has passively been a part of the problem (of exclusions and stereotyping around race, gender and class) but now wants to actively participate in building a better world with more accurate and holistic visual perspectives. β€” Tara

There’s a big push to hire both in front of and behind the camera. How has the diversity and inclusion conversation progressed at this moment and how does the collective feel/what do they think about it?
I am seeing some progress, but still many POC photographers are being asked to work for free or at an unfair rate. I am seeing small incremental steps, but still the majority being hired are white cis male photographers. We are not hating on them, we just want people to think about that disproportion and bring more equitable changes as there is no shortage of talented photographers who are not a white cis male.β€” Mary

The conversation hasn’t changed, just more people are being loud about it. A sea change is bound to occur when photographers band together and demand for the hiring of black photojournalists to cover Black Lives Matter for example. The difference in coverage is immense. That’s been huge! Our members appear to be a part of this shift and cheer on the Authority Collective just as much as we cheer and uplift them. β€” Bunni

I would say that diversity and inclusion has become a very prevalent conversation in some realms and in other places people are doubling down on exclusion. However, the thing about forcing the conversation is it clarifies who is willing to engage and who is holding on to their white/Western/male/class privilege and uninformed stances for dear life. We’re in a historical moment for our industry and people are deciding what side of history they’re going to be on. They’re also very handily publicly stating those positions and uneducated/unethical/exclusionary approaches to visual media practices on social media. So, in a few years I think we’ll see really how our industry has progressed, how we’ve become better collectively, more diverse and more educated about social realities that affect our work as photographers and what more work there is to be done. β€” Tara

How do you celebrate your forward movement and big changes in the media landscape?
I think about the saying β€œwe are only strong as the weakest ones in our society.” I wouldn’t say anyone is weak, better word may be under-resourced. Whenever there is progress it is good for the industry as a whole as we can be stronger together and that serves everybody. β€” Mary

As a board we are constantly celebrating each other’s efforts and the achievements of our membership and larger photo community, so we’re not really celebrating, we’re just trying to keep up with the flood of emails! Ha! But, seriously, I’d say we feel encouraged more than anything to keep on the right track. We’re beyond thrilled to see all these conversations popping up across social media. Maybe we’ll celebrate when we can see sustained changes. But for now we are pleased that our work has reverberated.β€” Bunni

Who and what inspires the collective?
I’m personally inspired by people who work in depth to uplift under-resourced visual storytellers and call in problematic behaviors so that more of us can concentrate on just making the works instead of having to deal with microaggressions and other barriers. I am inspired by those kindness and passion that look out for each other even when we may not feel perfect. β€” Mary

I’m inspired by being able to empower people on how to navigate microaggressions and cultural and racial insensitivity. It’s like solving a puzzle by handing each member a piece. I’m also inspired by the groups that have arisen in this time of many questions and few answers. Unofficially, we refer to this collection of groups as β€œRECLAIM” and that we at times work in tandem or collaborate directly and are not in competition is so inspiring. Cooperation has taken humankind immensely further than competition. I’m inspired by our dedication to be a force for something better. I’d literally be depressed if not for this work. It gives me purpose and community. β€” Bunni

How do you try and stand out in the flood of social media? What is the one singular message?
We focus on amplifying the works of talented and underrepresented visual storytellers in mainstream media. This effort includes reposting their works on our Instagram stories as well as having people use our Instagram platform to introduce their works by doing Instagram takeover.Β  Additionally, we notice the discussions going around online discourses and try to amplify those messages as well, in support of bringing more equity and ethical values to the industry. Our social media platforms naturally grew over time through word of mouth. More so than trying to stand out, we focus on connectivity with people who share similar visions, building community and celebrating accomplishments of the members. β€” Mary

Our singular message, if we had to have one, is that the experiences, viewpoints and work of our membership are valid. We can be experts, we have a voice and we have something to say about this world through our work and we’re not going anywhere. β€” Bunni

 

 

Featured Promo – Pascale Weber

Pascale Weber

Who printed it?
I printed it at “Wir machen Druck” – www.wir-machen-druck.ch

Who designed it?
Graphic designer Lena Thomaka – https://lenathomaka.de/

Tell me about the images?
The chair picture was an editorial for the “SI GrΓΌn Magazine” in Switzerland. The story was for summer issue in May. And also the picture with the vase. The keychain was designed by Julian Zigerli – https://julianzigerli.com. The cosmetic pictures were a personal editorial with stylist Victoria Steiner – https://www.victoriasteiner.ch and also the picture with the cat. And the bag picture was created in collaboration with the designer RAΓ‹LLE ZURICH – https://www.raellezurich.com/.

How many did you make?
I made just 50 prints but I need to print more they almost finished. :)

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send a newsletter every two months. And I am also at Gosee and always send them my latest projects.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, of course. I always have a few cards or this new promotional flyer with me. It is always nice to leave a printed card after a meeting. And I also think people like to have a printed version in their hand.

This Week in Photography: Chaos and Class

Part 1: The Intro

 

 

I love it when a plan comes together.

That’s what George Peppard used to say, as Hannibal Smith, in the cheesy 80’s TV show “The A-Team.”

Then, the character was played by Liam Neeson in a pretty-bad movie version of the TV show, which came out in 2010.

This morning, on Twitter, I stumbled upon a video of the comedian Frank Caliendo doing a Liam Neeson impression, pretending to be his character from “Taken,” (which was shot in France,) in which Caliendo-as-Neeson threatens to give a telemarketer a bad Yelp review.

 

I also read in the New York Times today that France would soon require all people to wear masks indoors.

(Elsewhere, I read that a French bus driver was beaten to death for asking his riders to mask up.)

In the Washington Post, I saw that the Governor of Georgia would bar all cities and municipalities from requiring people to wear masks, during our American-dumpster-fire-outbreak.

In a normal year, many Americans of means might be taking their European holiday right now, but of course Americans are actually banned from Europe, due to our anti-scientific, highly politicized handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our leader, Donald J Trump, has made such a mess of things that I’ve had to officially apologize to my friend, about whom I wrote in this column early in the year, because Trump now does have mass deaths on his hands, if not nearly as many as Adolph Hitler.

DeSean Jackson, a football player for the Philadelphia Eagles, recently made an Instagram post in which he incorrectly attributed a quote to Hitler, while proudly promoting an Anti-Semitic agenda.

And also this morning, on Facebook, a friend posted that she and her family would be moving to Germany, for the rest of #2020, so their son could attend school, and have a “normal” life.

This same friend belongs to a family that famously fled Nazi Germany and came to New Mexico to found a ski resort, in which certain trails are named after members of a failed coup to take out Hitler.

The coup was featured in a movie starring Tom Cruise, who became mega-famous in “Top Gun,” in which Val Kilmer also became a super-star for playing Iceman, but then Kilmer lost a big part of his New Mexico ranch due to The Great Recession, which was the worst American economy until now.

In #2020.

Are you confused yet?

If so, my plan has indeed come together, because after a week off, I wanted to see if I could open this column in a manner that truly reflected the insanity of the moment.

Things change from second to second these days, and my fellow Americans are acting so irrationally that they’re willing to risk killing each other to prove a political point.

For example, in Red River, New Mexico, a town known at “Little Texas,” (which you can read about in a Reuters article written by my son’s former youth soccer coach,) apparently a man walked into the local health clinic, with Covid symptoms, but not wearing a mask, and he tested positive along with 3 other people, so that now the clinic has been shut for 14 days, and the town no longer has a functioning medical office, despite being in a valley surrounded by mountains, cut off from the rest of the world.

Like I said, welcome to #2020.

 

Part 2: Making some sense

 

The American Revolution was really about money, even if Freedom was a part of the mix as well.

Rich guys like George Washington didn’t like paying so many taxes to the King of England, given that the crown didn’t offer too much back in the deal.

We used to worship Old George here in America, but now he’s been cancelled because he was a slave owner.

Donald Trump chose to give a maskless speech on the 4th of July, to a maskless white audience, at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota’s Black Hills, on land that was stolen from the Lakota people, despite treaties promising them their ancestral homeland in perpetuity.

(Those treaties were not worth the paper on which they were printed.)

As to the white men enshrined in stone on that mountain?

 

Washington and Jefferson were slave owners, and in the current moment, are considered assholes. (Rightly so, I guess. We may have idolized them for centuries, but slavery was simply inexcusable.)

Teddy Roosevelt was a racist, and now even Abe Lincoln has been criticized, because he promoted the stealing of Native American land in the MidWest.

This section of the column was titled “Making Some Sense,” but I’m not sure that I have.

 

Part 3. Follow the money

 

I was trying, before jumping off the rails, to bring attention to the fact that money and power are, and have always been, intricately connected.

It’s the real reason that the Washington Redskins are finally changing their highly racist, despicable nickname: sponsors like Fedex came after team owner Daniel Snyder’s money, so he folded.

That is literally the only reason he did the right thing.

Money buys power, and historically, power is enmeshed with class.

Here in America, while we’re occasionally willing to discuss race, and are often obsessed with money, class is barely allowed into the cultural conversation.

It’s the hush hush, as nobody wants to be considered lower class, the middle class has been shrinking for decades, and the Upper Class likes to stick to its own, and does a damn good job of keeping everyone else out.

I was reminded of that while reading my friend Kevin Kwan’s new book, “Sex and Vanity,” which both features and skewers the world’s jet-setting .1%, at a fabulous wedding in Capri, on New York’s Upper East Side, and in the Hamptons as well.

Kevin updated E.M. Forster’s acclaimed novel “A Room with a View,” while simultaneously examining entrenched racism in America’s chicest Upper Class apartments and beach clubs.

(It’s a fun read for summer too.)

But it really resonated with me, as I was first introduced to the New York Upper Class as a freshman at Duke, and my clumsy attempt at social climbing pretty much ruined my college experience, and changed the course of my life.

 

Part 4. The Photobook

 

Even though I took a week off from writing, and am definitely hopped up on super-high-caffeine coffee, this column is actually building somewhere.

I promise.

It ties together threads from above, and even from my last column before I took my break, in which I mentioned the students from various ICP programs that I reviewed via Zoom a few weeks ago.

How so?

Well, a while back, my former photo professor, Allen Frame, who also teaches at ICP, wrote to see if I’d be interested in potentially reviewing a photo book by his friend, and former ICP student Martine Fougeron, and I said sure.

(She and I were once in a show together in the Bronx, but I wasn’t able to attend, so we’ve never met or been in contact.)

I opened the book today, and was immediately struck by the fact that she chronicles the lives of her two boys, Nicolas and Adrien, as they grow up.

It hit me quickly, as these last few months, my children, Theo and Amelie, have been each others’ best friends, companions, and social networks, as we live mostly quarantined on our farm at the edge of the Wild West.

The boys featured in the book, however, don’t share much in common with my kids, beyond the fact that my daughter has a French name.

“Nicolas & Adrien” was published by Steidl in 2019, which is always the mark of art world insiders. And the cover features scarlet and gold, the colors of Gryffindor house in the Harry Potter novels, and wouldn’t you know, but I’m reading Book 3 to Amelie, but I’m not sure if we should keep it up, now that JK Rowling has come out as an Anti-Trans activist on Twitter.

(I promise, no more off topic rants in this column.)

From the opening statement, in which Ms. Fougeron writes of her sons attending the Lycée Français de New York, and summering at the family home in the South of France, the book gives off whiffs of the Upper Class vibe.

From the chic fashion within, the strong chins, the subtly entitled body language, I was pretty sure the book represented a look inside the 1%, and as it builds, my suspicions were correct.

There is a reference to Le Bal des Debutantes, which also comes up in “Sex and Vanity,” and the end statement discusses the multi-generational wealth in which Ms. Figueron was raised in France.

That doesn’t make the book less interesting, though, as our prurient desires to see behind the velvet rope also drove work by Slim Aarons, and Tina Barney, among others. (Or even my much mentioned buddy Hugo, whose series, “Upper Class,” was his thesis show at Pratt in 2004.)

This book begins in 2005 though, and follows Nicolas and Adrien as they grow up, changing for the camera, smoking weed and frolicking with their good looking friends.

It it summer escapism?

I’m not sure.

Kevin’s book clearly satirizes the people with whom he fraternizes, and when “Nicolas & Adrien” depicts one of the boys in his Occupy Wall Street phase, I wasn’t sure if the irony was intended.

(I almost choked on my tea, which I drank before my coffee.)

Still, I found this book worth writing about, and recommending, as it crosses the threshold of making me think, making me want to write, and it’s also well-made, so that’s how we got here.

To stick my landing, I’d like to mention that the rich have always ruled the world, and likely always will.

Whenever they’ve been taken down, like when heads rolled in France, or when communists took over in Russia, they’ve always been replaced by other people who like to keep the money and power for themselves.

It’s why all those Chinese politicians are billionaires these days, (which Kevin chronicled in “China Rich Girlfriend”) or why the Soviet leaders kept all the good food and pretty dachas for themselves.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t press against that selfish mentality, (because we must,) but based on the history of human civilization, we should at least understand how big a fight we’re facing, to undo millennia of entrenched inequality.

See you next week.

The Art of the Personal Project: Art Streiber

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β 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. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Art Streiber

According to the websiteΒ farmworkerfamily.org, between 1/3 and 1/2 of allΒ farmworkersΒ in America reside inΒ California, which means that there are roughly 500,000 – 800,000Β farmworkers laboring in the state’s fields and orchards and approximately 1/3 of them are women.

Mily TreviΓ±o-Sauceda and MΓ³nica RamΓ­rez had both spent years organizing andΒ representing farmworkers before theyΒ joined forces in 2012 as co-founders of the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (The National Farmworkers Women’s Alliance). Β It was the first nationalΒ organization to represent the country’s 700,000 women farmworkers, uniting one of theΒ most vulnerableΒ groups in the American workforce. Β 

The intention of my group portrait was to have the dozen women farmworkers that agreed to beΒ photographed stand in for their (approximate) 200,000 counterparts. Β I wanted to create a sense of infinity with just a few subjects.

After the groupΒ portrait was finished my crew and I set up aΒ simpleΒ portrait station on the back of the equipment van in order to honor each woman individually.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture reports that California produces 1/3 of the country’s vegetables and 2/3 of the country’s fruits and nuts, which means that these women are responsible for providing Americans with lettuce, apricots, grapes, apples, almonds, broccoli andΒ avocadosΒ to name just seven of the 400Β agricultural commoditiesΒ produced in the state.

Keeping these women safe andΒ healthy is the mission of the Alianze and while the organization is addressing numerous issues from domesticΒ violence toΒ workplace environmental concerns and sexualΒ harassment, TreviΓ±o-Sauceda says,Β β€œThere’s still a lot of work out there we need to do.”

If you can donate to this organization and help these amazing women, please do as they are the ones keeping fruit and vegetables in the markets: https://www.alianzanacionaldecampesinas.org

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

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