The Daily Edit – New York Magazine: Tim O’Brien

New York Magazine

Design Director: Thomas Alberty
Illustrator: Tim O’Brien

Heidi: Were you aware they were not going to run cover lines or was that a surprise and a testament to the power of art?
I initially worked up a very quick comp, which was e-mailed back with a size adjustment and some minimal type.   I don’t really focus on type unless a client has a ton of type to deal with and needs me to know, to provide more area for it.  I do think that minimal type with a strong visual can make a cover more powerful, but a clever tag also adds to the art at times.  A story has to be fully understood, so universally known to be able to run without type.  I do not know the decision making in this instance but am glad it ran without type, of course.

How did this idea come about?
The prompt was that Cuomo may be leaving, and it is the end of a dynasty.  The initial sketch had a Mario Cuomo element.  Quickly it became about a resignation that already will have happened, so that was likely a more significant point to cover as a cover story.  Had the story started a resignation, perhaps this image might not have happened.  It is a story of leaving, of ending, of removal, of vanishing.  Visual analogies based on this premise would have been a starting point.  Removing a portrait from a wall meant as an honor is quite a demotion.  Naturally, a formal portrait would have a full upper torso involved, but to get Cuomo’s head bigger for a quick audience read, it had to come in closer.

How much iteration did you do from your first sketch?
This was a fast-paced situation, so it was pretty streamlined. Usually, a client needs to see a few approaches, but when something is fluid, and a quick sketch starts the conversation, we needed to build a boat while paddling.

Is this your first time working on a dynamic political situation/assignment?
No, I’ve been an illustrator for over 30 years.  I’ve done covers for New York Magazine for a few decades now and many covers of magazines, most notably over 30 time covers, including the Bin Laden X cover and the Trump underwater series.

How does photography influence your work? or what other creative outlets do you have aside from your illustration work?
As a student, to get photo-reference, I was trained as a photographer.  I really don’t follow other realist illustrators, though I admire and respect their work.  I tend to look for problem solvers and those with the ability to create evocative, poignant moments.  This is often photography.  Robert Frank was an early influence.  To be very honest, working with talented art directors has taught me so much about image placement and how to pare down an idea to essential elements.  I’m always a student.

Is your work space quiet or filled with the news and music in the background?
If I am doing sketches or reading a manuscript, I need the silence of music without words.  However, once I start doing the final art, I often listen to the news as it is happening, or listen to music or binge-watch things I’ve seen before, so I don’t have to look at the screen.

Tell us about your collaborations
As for collaboration, several years ago, I had a mid-career retrospective of my work at a local university. It was a nice honor, but in doing its curation, I began to really recognize that almost all of the work came from a talented art director who reached out. Some of the ideas were mine, some were from all these creators, and I really could see just how much of my career highlights is owed to working with others. I get to take a few bows here and there, but it is a collaboration that is the key to my longevity. These client platforms raise the art to a level that makes the pieces more meaningful. A TIME or New York Magazine logo drives home the poignancy.
For this project, I worked with New York Magazine’s Design Director, Thomas Alberty.

Featured Promo – Shell Royster

Shell Royster

Who printed it?

Who designed it?
Kat Slade, an AD I worked with on the Moe’s Southwest Grill account.

Tell me about the images.
The images were a selection of travel and food experiences blended with food shots from studio work, to tell a larger story as a whole about my style and skill set.

How many did you make?
It’s a weird story, but this was just pre-pandemic, I had this prescient feeling that something bad was going to happen. I got a proof and printed 12 copies to target travel and food editors. And of course, due to the circumstances it was bad timing. So I only sent out 6 to a selected audience.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Generally, I print 1-2 promos a year, as I strongly believe in the printed promo, especially if it tells a story or is simply a stunning photo. I’ve been on the other side of the aisle and I always kept the work that stood out, and pinned them on a cork board for future reference. And I actually hired a few of those individuals.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, I do, for the reasons above, and emails are so ubiquitous-that I feel they are often times relegated to spam, or ignored. But if you receive a beautifully crafted, printed promo, who doesn’t enjoy that? It’s like a small gift. It also creates an awareness for editors who are not familiar with my work.

How did you intimate your personality aside from the images and the story they told?
I love humor, it comes in handy on set and puts people at ease (I’ve also performed stand up comedy in NYC, but I digress) so we brainstormed and came up with the idea of these pithy quotes from famous authors (most notably Dorothy Parker, a huge fave) and inserted those as breaks. The quotes were carefully chosen as they had to speak to my life philosophies.

Literature and visual arts go hand in hand, and I love the marriage of the two, so I sought to achieve that marriage, as opposed to visuals alone.

The back page with the quirky ads was another collaborative effort. How did we end with a bang? I wanted to take a slight risk, because, why not? We looked at graphics and decided on these retro images, with a snarky element to them. They channeled the spirit of the quotes, and that sense of sardonic humor.

This Week in Photography: The Dude Abides



I saw our wedding album on the counter.

Just now.



I bumped into it, and flipped through the pages.

How could you not?

They’re visual representations of our memories.



In this case, I had dual motivations.

We’re hosting the second attempt at our son’s Bar Mitzvah here this weekend, (despite the Delta hazard,) so nostalgia dictates I spend a minute or two thinking about the old days.

We were married here on the farm in the Summer of 2004; the landscape and our family’s lives are so different.

My mother-in-law has advanced Alzheimer’s Disease, in her late 70’s, and it’s deteriorated badly over the Covid era. In the past few months, the last vestiges of her personality have extinguished.


The last Instagram photo I posted of Bonnie, from 03.07.21.


I looked to the album for a picture of Bonnie, 17 years ago, when she was healthy and vital.

That’s what photo albums do.

They hold our memories, while we’re busy doing other things. Or they did, and now we have digital versions.

I’m cool with that, but many people prefer the old ways.

I suspect Jeff Bridges might be kind of guy.




I re-watched “The Big Lebowski” for the hundredth time, to mood for this column.

There’s so much pressure to write well, as it’s one of my biggest artistic influences.

The 1998 film, by the Coen Brothers, (coming off their equally perfect, well-received hit “Fargo,”) has become a favorite of Generation X; its hero, The Dude, aka Jeff Lebowski, may well be the slacker King.

The Dude is the stoner ideal. Weed’s Übermensch.

He’s a wise-ass with a smart-mouth, but also inept in so many ways. He’s a cool guy, cracking jokes and dropping f-bombs, all while becoming an accidental detective.

He fails his way through, until he ultimately succeeds. (So American.)

The character takes in new information constantly, processing it through a Dudeness lens, so George HW Bush speaking on TV at Ralph’s comes out sideways as “This aggression will not stand, man.”



Back in the 90’s, when reefer was still illegal in America, there was a counterculture authenticity and absurdity to The Dude. His constant, instinctive, ironic rebellion made him irresistible.

And the film itself, “The Big Lebowski,” is flawless.

I’m sure I can shout out ten more brilliant performances off the top of my head: Julianne Moore, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Tara Reid, Sam Elliot, John Turturro, Flea, Ben Gazarra, and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Roger Deakins’ cinematography is beyond, with the bowling-ball camera placement and great angles galore, while the costuming is insanely good, the music is just right, (Credence and Dylan!) and the amount of things that had to come together for a production like this to achieve perfection is mind-boggling.



Still, people remember The Dude, as much as the movie’s intricate plot. (Wait, who are the Knudsens again? Big shout out to Jon Polito, who steals the show in his brief scene, much as he did in the criminally underrated “The Man Who Wasn’t There.” I’d have included him earlier, but I needed to look up his name. {Ed note, in searching for the screengrab photo, I just learned Jon Polito passed away in 2016. RIP.})


Jon Polito 1950-2016


The Dude was the embodiment of the California Dream, with his Ralph’s and his In-N-Out burger and rug-Feng-Shui.

At the end of 20th Century, back when the good life in California meant getting there first, or getting there early, and hanging on for the ride.

These days, NYT columnists wonder whether that California Dream is dead and buried.

It’s no wonder “The Big Lebowski” has aged so well.




Jeff Bridges grew up in a Hollywood family, as his dad Lloyd was an actor, and Gen X’ers have much love for the paterfamilias, given his seminal role in “Airplane.”



As Jeff’s been on film sets his whole life, they must feel like home to him.

Like the most natural places in the world.

Each movie’s particular combination of cast and crew becomes a little family, and then his actual family works with him sometimes too.


Wouldn’t it be cool if we could see that film-making world as he sees it?

To get the inside view?

I’m glad you asked.



I recently interviewed Jeff Bridges online, in reference to his 2019 photo book “Jeff Bridges: Pictures Volume Two,” published by powerHouse.

It’s a part of my guest blog for the New Orleans Photo Alliances’s BookLENS program.



I don’t want to spoil the interview, so please give it a read, as it was an honor and privilege to have him answer my questions.

But the book, (which is a companion to Part 1,) gives us a peek behind the curtain of the filmmaking process.

Using a panning camera and black and white film, Jeff photographs crew members doing their jobs, actors on set, props in the back room… all of it.

We see images from each film he’s made since Part 1, in sequence, from 2003’s “Seabiscuit” up through 2018’s “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

The photos are interspersed with bits of printed and hand-written-cursive-style text, these little thoughts in a voice that vibes exactly as you think Jeff Bridges would sound: cool, positive and hip.

I mean, check out this little bit about the late, great Harry Dean Stanton:

“Harry Dean was cast to play a wise man who, we find out late in the movie, is blind. Turns out on the first day of the shooting, he refused to do that, be blind. For some reason, Harry refused to play the guy blind. He’s a wonderful actor, but shit, Harry… that was the part, man.”



“But shit, Harry, that was the part, man.”

How could you not love a book where you hear Jeff Bridges’ unvarnished thoughts, and see what he saw on so many great movies? (“Crazy Heart” and “Hell or High Water” are two of my favorites from this phase of his career.)

His opening statement tells us he’s always given out photo albums to cast and crew, over the years, and that personal project evolved into the two powerHouse books.

So in honor of photo albums, I promise to take more pictures this weekend.

See you next Friday!


To purchase “Jeff Bridges: Pictures Volume Two” click here. Proceeds go to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.





The Art of the Personal Project: Patrick Ecclesine

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


Today’s featured artist:  Patrick Ecclesine



I’ve been posted up in Kula, Maui and living on a farm in the countryside at the base of a volcano. I never envisioned spending any real time in the South Pacific and yet end of last year I came to shoot the gallery for NBC’s “Temptation Island”. When it was time to fly back to LA, I said forget it, might as well stay in the place that has the lowest Covid infection rate in the US. So, I’ve been hiking the volcano, surfing almost daily, training to ride the big winter waves that are certain to hit the North shore. After surfing for thirty years, I’m sad to admit I’ve never gotten a proper tube or “barrel” as they call it, so I’m aiming to make this childhood dream come to life. Been reading and reflecting… taking the time to learn how to cook, ceviche, poke, Malaysian curry, ahi salad, vegetable soup, and even handmade chocolate coconut ice cream. I’m happy to leave my heavy cameras on the shelf for the time being and have turned to the iPhone which has been a faithful sidekick during this chapter…there is so much beauty here it’s impossible to contain it within a frame, but here are a few images I’ll share.

Every day there is so much to soak in and experience. I hope you are feeling optimistic about the future…Stay positive and be well. I am certain the best is yet to come.


To see more of this project, click here.


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

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


The Daily Edit – Plotting for Change: Kriston Jae Bethel

Photographer: Kriston Jae Bethel

Heidi: Along with taking photographs, what else are you involved in?
Kriston: I’m definitely the kind of person that needs to be doing something! Right now, I’m the head girl’s cross country coach at my high school alma mater in suburban Philadelphia. Cross country taught me so much about pushing past my limits and how hard work can lead to success, and it’s great to be able to pass on these lessons. It’s incredibly important to me that these young women gain these experiences, learning that they can accomplish so much, both on their own and with the help of a team.

I also teach from time to time as an adjunct instructor in the journalism department of my other alma mater, Temple University. I never saw myself as a teacher, but mentoring young journalists is a great way to give back to the university that believed in me and set me up for the success I’ve had today.

Aside from that, I started playing music when I was 8 years old, taking after my father in that regard, and play about four instruments, in addition to singing. I mostly spend my time singing at karaoke these days (aside from the pandemic). In the past year, I’ve also really gotten into rock climbing. Its been great seeing my progress from a beginner at V0 and no rope experience, to more intermediate sends of V6 and 5.11c, some getting lead certified. While this has mostly been in a gym with a mask on, I’m excited to see where these new skills will take me

How much time did you spend at the farm?

I spent a couple hours at the farm, as Devon and Daekweon showed me around. They’ve built up a lot! It was great to just meander about with them and hear about all the work they’ve put into it. They both were very generous with their time, despite Daekweon having another engagement scheduled. Having photographed politics and sports, it’s always a blessing to not feel rushed to photograph, edit and file!

How did you connect with Devon?
Devon and I mostly talked about the meaning of Life Do Grow Farm. You see, it represents more than just an urban farm, but the idea that Black people can have ownership of their land, something that has been kept from us for generations. First as slaves, then as share croppers, and even today, with the difficulty in which Black farms and businesses struggle to receive loans. I do think there’s something wonderful that only a century and a half ago, a man like Devon would likely have been forced to work the land. Now, he’s his own master and the prosperity he’s worked to build can be passed down, while benefiting his community. I think a lot of people misunderstand photographers as thoughtless button pressers. The truth is, we need to have an understanding of what it is we’re creating, if we want our work to have meaning.
Having covered Philadelphia for years, I talked to him about what it means to be a Black man with a farm in North Philadelphia, a section of the city that is often only talked about in terms of gun violence. I remember saying to him, “Who says North Philly can’t be beautiful?” And it’s true, as long as there is the will and proper support to help make that happen.

How long did you wait before pulling out the camera?
When I first pulled up, I don’t even remember if I took my camera out of the car. Sometimes I don’t, I just want to give someone a chance to know me before I start putting a camera between us. We probably had a relaxed conversation for about 5 to 10 minutes, just to hear about his day (spoiler: it was extremely hot) and what he was working on. Since this was for a brand, I also made a wardrobe suggestion and living near the farm, Devon was able to make a quick change. In the meantime, I hung out with Daekweon and some other staff from the farm. They had just come back from a trip to New Orleans and we’re feeling really inspired.
When the camera does come up, I make sure to tell people that I’m still listening to them, so they don’t feel like I’m ignoring them or that they need to do anything different. You never know what kind of experience someone has had with photographers in the past and establishing that trust is a key part of my process.

Tell us about the moment they were on the bench smiling.
So that was actually pretty simple. I saw the light and asked Devon and Daekweon to grab a seat on the bench. Then we all just talked. I positioned myself pretty far back with a long lens, so they could could feel like they were together, while staying engaged with them the whole time. They really do love one another and it was really important that I capture that. One of them made a joke and they both lit up with laughter. Again, when thinking of how Black men are frequently portrayed in media, I feel a responsibility to break those stereotypes and show that we are capable of strength through love.


Kriston Jae Bethel



This Week in Photography: Behind the Curtain



I wasn’t inspired to sift through submissions today.



So I dusted off my favorite trick, and stared at the bookshelf.

“What will jump out,” I wondered?


Would any random connections form, giving me a creative star around which to orbit?

First, I saw a book still in its bubble-wrap, but on the shelf, and it was “Glaciers,” by Ragnar Axelsson in Iceland, published by Qerndu in 2018.

“Well,” I thought, “at least I should take it out of the bubble,” so I set it aside, and returned to hunting.

The next book that popped out, kicking me in the subconscious groin, (metaphorically speaking,) was an all-time favorite, Taryn Simon’s “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar,” published by Steidl in 2007.

“Do they have anything in common,” I asked myself?

Then it hit me like a fist to the solar plexus, the buzzword from five or six years ago: Access.

Access is the key.




I wrote about RAX for the NYT Lens Blog, and he actually flies a plane to get his photographs of the famed glaciers of Iceland.

He’s a part of an airplane collective, a fractional ownership, I believe, so he has the rare ability to actually show us what “Icecaps” really look like, in a world in which they’re melting.



Climate Change is the new Trump, so people who can go into the eye teeth of dangerous, or out of the way places, who can do what photography often did in the 19th Century, and “bear witness,” will be doing all of us a solid.

(For example, this past week, the Washington Post featured Louie Palu’s photos of translators in the war in Afghanistan. It takes A LOT to tell those stories.)



But back to the books.

Taryn Simon goes behind the scenes in America in an absurd, clever, tragic, and addictive manner, showing us obscenely well-composed, and well-researched, formal photographs in places no regular person would/could ever go.

Most of us couldn’t/wouldn’t get in the door in ANY of these places, but ALL of them?

As a wise man once said, “Inconceivable!”




I could write a partial list, but really it would just seem like I’m making it up.

Among many other places, she visits: a nuclear waste facility, the CIA, the KKK, inside an inbred-white-tiger cage, with Jews who don’t believe in Israel, on military exercises, at the site of active explosions, on the Mexican border with detainees, or maybe you’d prefer to see the actual Death Star from “Star Wars?”

From what I know, Taryn Simon’s father was in the State Department, she went to Brown, and is well connected in the Art world, (meaning, Powerful International Rich People,) so throw in a research team, some photo assistants, and I can only imagine a lot of charm… and you get a book like this.

No small feat.



Like RAX’s book required he literally fly over glaciers repeatedly in a small plane, Taryn Simon’s work necessitates a host of very specific skills, abilities, and connections, to make her seminal series possible.

Using all of your talents and contacts, working it to the max in service of your art, is a gutsy, and occasionally risky strategy, but man, when it pays off, you do end up with some of the best stuff.

Just a thought.

See you next week!


To purchase the Icelandic version of “Glacier,” click here 

To purchase a used copy of Taryn Simon’s book on Amazon, click here




The Art of the Personal Project: Eugene Richards

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


Today’s Artist:  Eugene Richards

From NPR’s The Picture Show 

The town of Earle, Ark., is disappearing.

Or at least, that’s what it looked like to photographer Eugene Richards.

In the postscript of his new book, the day i was born, Richards writes about returning to the area in 2019 after years away and noticing the overwhelming presence of absence:

No men and women picking cotton. No old folks on the porch staring out at you. No children running and jumping around. The sharecropper shacks that were here 50 years ago have vanished. Once there were four or five of them every couple of miles — tin roofs, plastic sheeting over the windows, front yards rutted with tire tracks, littered with rusted-out cars, bed springs, things that once meant a lot to someone, but didn’t any longer.

In the book, that epilogue is the only time we hear Richards’ voice. The rest of the text to accompany his photos are the first-hand accounts of six people, all of whom are Black, over 50 and most have lived in Earle for much of their lives: Joseph Perry, Jr., Stacy Abram, Lovell Davis, Jackie Greer, Timothy Way and Jessie Mae Maples. The photos capture daily life for these six as well as other Earle residents, in addition to the stark and impoverished landscape of the Delta.

Though the town may look to Richards like it’s fading, its history is very much alive. In preserving them in the day i was born, Richards ensures that these stories — of racism and segregation, of voter suppression, of homophobia, of poverty, of gun violence and police brutality — won’t also disappear.

Richards’ relationship with the Arkansas Delta goes back decades. He first arrived in the Delta in 1969 as a VISTA volunteer. VISTA, which stands for Volunteers in Service to America, was designed to be the domestic version of the Peace Corps. Richards, who is white, spent three years in the Delta working in predominantly Black communities as a social worker and a photographer, and also running a small community newspaper. He looks back on that time not in a self-congratulatory way, but as a matter of course. In an interview with NPR, he remembered, “because of the Vietnam War happening and Dr. King happening, and the assassinations all happening all the time, you took the admonitions to get involved quite seriously. And that was it. So, it isn’t something that you think about later. It became kind of natural.”

the day i was born almost came about as an accident. In 2019 Richards was working on a project about abandoned houses for a large newspaper and went back to the Delta for material. Then, he said, “I drifted over into Earle because I was curious about what the towns look like today that I remembered from a long time ago.” Following Main Street, he came to an appliance store covered in paintings of people like Huey P. Newton, Angela Davis, Malcolm X and Tupac Shakur

When Richards entered the store a couple days later, he was greeted by owner Stacy Abram, and the two struck up a conversation. Richards had a recorder, and he turned it on while Abram told him about a childhood with an imprisoned father, a job as a teenager at the cotton gin and the first days of schools integrating. Soon, Lovell Davis entered the store and told Richards about growing up as best friends with Abram, about going to school hungry, about his own time in prison after robbing a bankTimothy Way, an eccentric gay man who painted the freedom fighter portraits on the store, also showed up and shared his life stories with Richards. “So, it wasn’t like I searched people out,” Richards said. “I never thought about any kind of book at the time. But the storytelling was so direct and compelling.”

When he returned home to New York City and turned in the photographs and the interviews to the newspaper he’d been working for, he never heard any response. “You have to create your own narrative when you don’t hear from anybody,” Richards said. He figured his dispatch from Earle had fallen flat with his editors. “So, the narrative was everything sucked, and I didn’t think it did. I knew there were stories there.”

He decided to make a book of the work. “I kind of went overboard,” he said. “It could’ve been a tiny book. But the [subjects] deserve a really nice book.”

The stories are all too familiar today, mirroring incidents that have sparked national conversations and worldwide demonstrations. “It’s not only this town, it’s the world.” says Lovell Davis in the book’s epigraph.

In 1970, a group of about 150 Black residents — including Jackie Greer and Jessie Mae Maples — marched to city hall to protest the continued segregation of the schools. A group of about 30 white people showed up, supported by local police, with clubs and guns and descended on the protestors. They fired shots, grazing Greer’s head and critically injuring Maples. No charges were ever filed against the white assailants, but Greer’s husband — the Rev. Ezra Greer, who was beaten by the mob and suffered a broken arm — was charged with inciting a riot.

“In these little towns, people rose up without any support,” Richards said. “I mean, nobody was coming in from other places. It wasn’t like protests now when people come from all over. All these people stood up in their little towns, all by themselves.”

“The march, it’s mostly forgotten,” Greer says later in the book. “Earle is nothing but a little out-of-the-way place that most people haven’t heard anything about. We never did really get much news coverage. We’re too far from Little Rock. And in Memphis, unless there’s a murder, they hardly holler, didn’t bother about coming.”

the day i was born provides more than just coverage; it’s an oral history straight from those who lived through it and live through it still.

“What people went through before was not at all dissimilar. But how brave they were to be doing it all by themselves,” Richards said.

Melody Rowell is a writer and podcast producer living in Kansas City, Mo. You can follow her on Twitter @MelodyRowell.

To see more of this project, click here.

Tp purchase this book


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

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


The Daily Edit – Jeremy Koreski

Jeremy Koreski

Heidi: You’ve spent your entire life in Tofino, Vancouver Island, how has living there informed your photography?
Jeremy: Growing up in Tofino definitely influenced the way I see the world. My parents were always taking my siblings and I on adventures and would try to do at least one international trip a year. Looking back I didn’t realize how lucky I was at the time until I started seeing other parts of the world.

Have you ever lived anywhere else? 
After graduating high school I spent a few years living in Europe and then spent two years studying photography in Vancouver.

You published This is Nowhere in 2015, how did your work evolve from that process? 
When I first thought of publishing This is Nowhere, it was the first time I felt I’d created a body of work worth showing. It featured places I like to go, places I like to explore, my backyard and places that I feel are important to preserve. The process only deepened an interest in exploring and documenting more of my backyard.

Are you revisiting any of the same areas to show progress in preservation, or lack thereof?
There are places that have actually changed before our eyes while on trips. During evenings at one of my favorite camp spots we watched across the channel as trees were felled and logging trucks worked around the clock to extract an old growth hillside.

You recently photographed TJ Watt of the Ancient Forest Alliance for Patagonia’s The Cleanest Line. The photos are both haunting and beautiful, how does a project like that impact you?
It’s very impactful to be moving through active logging zones, one minute you are sitting next to a 1000 year old cedar in a pristine old growth forest  and the next you are in the middle of a clearcut the size of a football field where the destruction feels like a war zone. I do try and see both sides of the argument and would 100% back a well managed forestry industry, but I disagree with cutting any more old growth. Once the last of the old growth trees are cut they’re gone for good.

Does the impact change once you get distance on the work?
Honestly I feel more impacted when in the field shooting. For me it really hits home that even though not everyone agrees with each other we need to find a way to come together and figure out the best path forward. Unfortunately when it comes to environmental issues they seem to be more and more polarized and that’s not going to get us anywhere. I really do think that we as a human race need to find a way to work together no matter what our opinions might be.

How did you and TJ meet? 
TJ and I met at a photography show he and I were both participating in. It was organized by a mutual friend.

When TJ and I finally agreed on a day to meet up we drove for about two hours to one of the environmentalist roadblocks and unfortunately arrived 5 minutes after they’d put into motion a drill. For the next couple of hours we hung and chatted until the road was opened up again.

What struck you about TJ and his work?
Something that impressed me about hanging out with TJ was his passion for large old growth trees. He’d seen some new aerial imagery of the area and had spotted a massive crown of old growth cedar in one of the photos. He’d never noticed it until the forest near it was cutdown. We had to hike in a little ways to get to the base, but it was a must stop on the way home.


This Week in Photography Books: Holy



I want to tackle a tricky subject today.

(Buckle up.)


I’ve mostly stayed away from Politics these last few months, as the Biden era has been a tonic to the collective, societal PTSD wrought by the DJT years.

I needed a break from thinking about it all the time.

So did you.


For a while, the vaccine rollout in the US was such it seemed the horrid pandemic might be drawing to a close.

Certainly, in April, and then in May, when I traveled to New Jersey, that was my mentality.

Things were on the mend in America.

Then something strange happened.

The virus numbers started climbing fast, again, and the percentage of vaccinated people began inching up at a much slower rate.



Just like Climate Change is pretty much what Al Gore told us it would be, in “An Inconvenient Truth” fifteen years ago, the predicted virus variants have shown up, spreading more quickly, making lots of folks freak out again.



People are still dying in hospitals all over America.

Mostly, it’s those who refused to take a vaccine that would have saved their lives.



It’s a phenomenon I’ve been stuck on for weeks now.

Why would someone rather die, than take a shot?

Who would rather die than admit they might be wrong, as to the necessity of the vaccine to “not die?”



It’s the most illogical thing I can think of, but I’m happy to admit humans are not essentially rational creatures.

Still, though.

To choose to die, for an idea?

Who does that?

And then it hit me.

Warriors do that.
In Wars.



If you fight and die for your country, or for any cause you believe in. If you’re a non-state actor, or a guerrilla, and you give up your life for your ideals.

That’s normal.


Isn’t that a version of what we’re seeing?

We’ve called it a Culture War for so long, red vs blue, liberal vs conservative, rural vs urban.

Then You-Know-Who stirred up the crazies for 5 years, and normalized awful behavior, unleashing hidden hatreds.

Are we really THAT surprised, in the aftermath of mass shootings, and people dying rather than wear a mask, that this is the next, natural evolution?

People die in Wars all the time.

Wars have victims, and collateral damage.



Sometimes, though, a group’s fight is so easy to believe in, it seems absurd the battle rages on.

In this case, I’m thinking of women’s rights, given women make up half of humanity: our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, partners, friends, teachers, colleagues.


My daughter, the other night.


How everyone doesn’t get behind equal pay, women’s right to control what happens to their bodies, safer streets, more political representation, anti-domestic violence laws, more humane systems for sex workers, or trans rights… the list goes on.

As I’ve trotted out before, my wife went to Vassar and Smith; she educated me directly on feminist issues back when we met in the late 90’s.

When we hear about the percentage of women who’ve been sexually abused, or physically assaulted, the reality of violence against women is unconscionable.

And for how important the issue is, it gets far-too-little play in the mainstream media, IMO.



What put me in this frame of mind, you ask?

Today, we’re going to look at “Holy,” by Donna Ferrato, published by powerHouse in 2021, and it will explain a lot of why I went postal up there.

(Maybe it’s time to retire that word, postal? I don’t remember the last time a postal employee was involved in a mass shooting, do you?)



As to the book, it’s in-your-face, unabashedly feminist, body positive, sex positive, honest and brash.

It’s confrontational, and positions Donna Ferrato as a warrior with a camera, fighting to tell vital stories about violence against women, as a photojournalist, for decades.

The book’s premise is that Christianity’s trinity is fundamentally flawed, because the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are all male figures.

So Donna Ferrato creates her own version: the Mother, the Daughter, and the Other.

Those three chapters become the structure of the book.

Throughout, there is hand-written-style text included with the image, to story-tell, fill in details, and set the context. (Captions at the end offer more details.)

I often recommend creating balance in a book’s emotional tenor, but sometimes, visions this intense will keep-it-real all the way though, with that energy ramped up.

(This one reminds me of Nina Berman’s “An autobiography of Miss Wish” in that regard.)



We see images of women who fought for their freedom; for the safety of their children.

Women who stood up to their abusers, or stood on street corners risking grim death to pay the bills.

There are women breaking into their houses to get their shit back from asshole ex-husbands, and women of all kinds, wearing full back-tattoos, or two black-eyes from the cover of a magazine.


There are girls, of course, and home births. Family photos.

We learn of her father’s bipolar disorder, and then his death is included too. As is her mother’s.

This book is Spinal Tap cranked up to 11.

It’s Pat Benatar on crystal meth.

Or Olivia Rodrigo smashing guitars like Pete Townshend.

(Wait, wasn’t there a female singer who just made the news for breaking her guitar? Give me a second. I’ll Google it…OK, I’m back. It was Phoebe Bridgers on SNL.)

As I was saying, I support the cause, and am all for the idea of this book, but also appreciate the book itself.

It’s so well-executed.

See you next week!

To purchase “Holy” click here


The Art of the Personal Project: Ben Van Hook

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


Today’s featured artist:  Ben Van Hook




“Don’t be too quick to give them a new home. Their new journey and story are only beginning. Like so many older objects, tossed in trash in a wasteful nation when a thrift charity store could have taken. This brings many feelings up. Like many older people disregarded. This roadside trash also makes me think of America’s homeless or those at the edge of homelessness.”



To see more of this project, click here.


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

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


Pricing & Negotiating: Social Media Shoot For International Beverage Brand

By Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Environmental 15-second video portraits of talent interacting with products and the environment. Videos needed to be vertical in format, and created on iPhone 12.

Licensing: Web advertising use of up to two 15-second videos on TikTok for three months, and web collateral use in perpetuity.

Photographer: Lifestyle/portraiture specialist with motion capabilities

Client: International beverage brand

Here is the estimate:

Fees: This shoot was a part of a larger motion project being simultaneously produced by a video production company. The production company’s charge was to find a lifestyle photographer to create two 15-second environmental portrait videos of up to 3 talent directed into action. While the content creation seemed rather straightforward, the client was smart to seek a photographer with a strong portfolio of lighting and a proficiency of directing talent into joyful emotion, as well as capturing people in motion within a frame. Another need from the photographer was the ability to capture strong content in a very short amount of time due to the talent’s limited availability. On paper, the assets could be captured quickly, but the larger ongoing production and talent schedule meant we needed to estimate for two 12-hour shoot days to mirror the video production schedule. These combined needs put upward pressure on the fee. For the licensing, the client requested 3 months Paid Social Media Advertising. I felt $12,000 would be appropriate for one year of usage for this client, and then we subtracted 50% for a shorter duration. This brought us to $6,000, which we further lowered a bit to $5,500 after learning about a very tight budget. We also added a $500 fee for the photographer pre-pro work on the shoot direction and social media platform research.

Crew: We added a first assistant to help with lighting and the ease of the photographer’s days. These rates were appropriate for an advertising production in the given market. The production company required the estimate account for a 12-hour day, so 2 hours of overtime were estimated for each day at a 1.5x hourly rate.

Equipment: We included $1,000 for cameras, grip, and lighting rentals. Without knowing the specific location, we knew the photographer would need some LED and HMI lighting, modifiers and support. The specified camera, an iPhone 12, wouldn’t be able to support different exposure adjustments in aperture and ISO speed, so advance lighting tests were needed. The iPhone was brand new and provided in advance by the production company for the photographer to do some imaging and lighting tests prior to the shoot.

Miscellaneous: We had $250 as miscellaneous expenses. This would cover mileage and parking for the photographer and assistant, as well as any additional snacks/beverages before or after their time on set each day, and provide a bit of buffer for any unforeseen expenses that might arise.

Client Provisions: We included a Client Provisions note that all locations, product and product styling, all talent, wardrobe and wardrobe styling, hair, makeup, catering and craft services, Covid safety protocols, as well as all post-production, would be handled by the production company.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and the shoot was a success!

Have questions? Need help estimating or producing a project? Please reach out.
We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs, from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – Skialper: Matthew Tufts


Photographer: Matthew Tufts

Heidi: How long were you in El Chaltén for this project?
Matthew: I reported on this project in El Chaltén for about three months–from late June till mid-September. Austral winter is the village’s offseason, and I planned to document both local culture (sans tourists) and the ski community, so the timeline was perfect. Three months is quite the investment on a story I pursued on spec, but there were two main factors that solidified my decision to commit that time:
1) The weather is wildly unpredictable in Southern Patagonia. Perhaps the most mercurial in the world. You could go for a week and ski six days; more likely, you could go for a month and ski three. I hedged my bets on volume and scored with some amazing, unprecedented weather windows near the end of my trip.
2) The purpose of the story wasn’t simply to shoot skiing in El Chaltén; it was to document the community culture. I immersed myself in the community at a variety of levels and built trust and friendships with locals that couldn’t be forged overnight.

The main story from this project was published by The Ski Journal – was that also spec?
Sure was. The whole concept was a passion project from the start, an idea I had since my first visit to Chaltén a half dozen years prior. And as most of my editorial projects go, this one was, you guessed it, on spec. I pitched a handful of publications and brands prior, but went into it without any guarantees or contracts–that was par for the course in my outdoor industry experience, so I wasn’t particularly disheartened. I don’t think guaranteed return on investment is a good measure of value for a passion project; maybe if I did, I wouldn’t find myself personally funding so many audacious storytelling projects… haha.

I figured there’d be interest in the final story from editorial publications, but I also intended to shoot for commercial clients that had expressed interest in licensing images on spec. While skiing, there’s not a big difference between the two–I typically take the same approach to capturing editorial and commercial deliverables. I want to keep things real and raw and let the scene do the talking. Let the athletes do what they’re naturally going to do while I adjust for composition. The athletes appreciate that approach because they’re out to ski, not shoot photos, and I come away with something that feels true to our experience in the alpine. Even when shooting product, I’d rather let the action and environment speak to the efficacy of the ski / apparel / equipment etc. I love shooting skiing when it’s dumping snow, windy, and whiteout conditions just as much as beautifully lit sunset powder turns. I just want my images to evoke a feeling–I’ll let the environment and the athletes dictate what that feeling is.

Back in town, my photojournalistic approach really hits its stride. I spent many a day walking through town with a camera in tow without a particular objective, simply observing. I looked for the unfiltered in-between scenes that serve as the connective tissue to a complete story: kids playing in the streets, “closed for winter” signs, the local bar scene, ping-pong matches at the climbing gym, a local guide tuning his skis. I did this on my first day in town and my last, and many times in between.

How do you know when to pull the camera out and when to enjoy the moment? Is that ever a struggle?
When you spend that much time in a locale on a longform project, there’s definitely a balance to be struck. In town, I’d be more apt to put the camera away during conversations and cultural moments where I wanted to feel present and engaged. However, on walks through town, I found that looking through the lens immersed me in otherwise trivial moments in a way I would never see without the camera.

When we’re out in the backcountry, I almost always have the camera accessible. The most powerful images often come from moments you don’t expect (or want) to shoot. When things get heavy and ice is freezing to the lens and I just want to pack up and go home, that’s when I remind myself I ought to shoot. And the same applies to those quiet moments in the tent or the refugio when your subjects are at their least guarded–that’s where the cover photo for Skialper came from. So although both those moments feel like they should be given space from the camera, they’re the scenes I find most imperative to document–when your subjects are vulnerable and simply being themselves.

What did the 4th day offer that was different from the previous days?
Funnily enough, I think that was the first day we skied! And what a difference that made in my ability to connect with the community. My Spanish was passable, but certainly not great when I arrived. (It often turned into a blend of Portunhol (Potuguese and Spanish spliced together), that I attribute to a semester of studying in Brazil many years ago.) However, when I went skiing with a handful of locals I’d only met the day before, we instantly connected over an experience that transcends words. That felt like the inflection point at the start of a long process of embedding myself within the community–every day thereafter, I learned a little more and grew a little tighter with that crew.

Describe the day’s rhythm.
There aren’t a lot of constants in El Chaltén. The region is known for some of the wildest and most unpredictable weather on the planet, so settling into a “routine” basically meant you were prepared for anything—I could get a text at 9:00 p.m. the night before, telling me the crew was planning a 12-hour ski day; I could get a text at seven in the morning that the wind came in too strong and shut down any plans to get into the mountains that day. The latter happened more frequently than the former.

When the mountains allowed us to ski, it was usually a full day affair. Up before the sun and back after it had set, we typically had to hike miles with our skis and boots on our backs to get to the snowline. That point would only be the start of our real ascent and then after skiing we’d have to schlep our gear back down through the forest again. While ski photography is often centered on perfect, steep powder turns, I’ve always made a concerted effort to document the approach and the ascent just as meticulously. It’s a matter of telling the full story, and in Patagonia, most of your time backcountry skiing is going uphill!

On days we didn’t ski, I’d typically walk down to the panaderia—the local bakery—grab some sort of baked good, walk through town with a camera in hand, and then eat and sip maté in the morning while I wrote and edited photos. I met with locals at the bar, at the climbing gym, and in their homes to chat about life in the winter and their day to day in the offseason. I enjoyed the rhythm and the intentionality of those moments. In the States, I live full-time in my camper and work and life can get rather frenetic; three months in El Chaltén during the offseason taught me to embrace a slower pace of life, and that showed in the intentionality and intimacy of the work.

It’s great to see images being shared globally and the words translated–how much of your work is getting repurposed/syndicated? More due to the pandemic?
This project in particular made the rounds through a number of different publications and outlets. The Ski Journal, Patagonia’s The Cleanest Line, and Adventure Journal all published unique feature stories and images from this project. Daybreak Magazine later ran a Q&A about the experience and then Skialper picked up the first European rights to the images and story. And there are still literally hundreds of unpublished selects I’m in love with sitting on my hard drive! Haha. It’s the story that keeps on giving.

The print editorial sphere is a tough place to navigate as a photographer and storyteller. The pay is quite variable and every year it seems another stalwart publication folds (RIP Powder). But simultaneously, there’s an emergence of beautifully crafted and curated coffee table magazines, each with a loyal audience that sees the value of these tangible collections of art. During the pandemic, so many folks spent countless hours on screens; it appears, now, that they’re looking for ways to engage with visual storytelling in a more tangible medium. Magazines are going up in quality, from image selection to the paper they’re printed on. People want something worth holding onto. And the fact that this project could appear in so many unique publications shows the value of a good story and its ability to reach audiences of widely varied backgrounds.

Feature Promo – neil favila

neil favila

Who printed it?
printed by newspaper club.

Who designed it?
designed by in LA.

Tell me about the images.
the images in this promo lean heavy into my lifestyle / advertising work, with a bit of personal work sprinkled in.

How many did you make?
i believe we made 500 copies on this run.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
we send out physical promos once a year, and we send out digital promos (newsletter) three times a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
i think promos can be effective if they’re thoughtfully curated, designed and printed. people seem to enjoy holding a physical copy, and seeing images printed (not on a device screen).

This Week in Photography: A Living Legend



I took some heat for last week’s column.

(About Grandpa Sam.)



There was no blowback from the haters. Those anonymous trolls that used do drive me and Rob crazy back in 2011.


This time, the negative feedback came from members of my family, (via social media,) who objected to my depiction of Grandpa Sam.



They say time heals all wounds, and of course some people find it unseemly to speak ill of the dead, so I’ll be kind and assume that’s what was happening.

(Plus, I’m washing my family’s dirty laundry in public, which can be objectionable as well.)

But I shared only a fraction of Grandpa Sam’s indiscretions, and didn’t even mention that Grandma divorced him, in her 80’s, as there were plenty of stories about him laying hands on her. (And not in a Pentecostal-Christian kind of way.)

Grandpa was so disliked, at the end, I don’t think anyone in my family even knows when or where he died, as once Grandma left him, (and got a new boyfriend named Sy,) we all lost touch with Grandpa Sam.

Now it’s 2021, and even though he was an abusive drunk, ranked his grandchildren by favorites, and bought people off with money and gifts, apparently I’m the asshole, (to some,) for writing about it.

These days, you can’t win.



These days, everyone has an opinion about everything.

I know I shouted out Bo Burnham’s “Inside” last week, but really, it deserves a bit more exploration here.

The Netflix special has been rightly received as a masterpiece; the kind of work only someone who’s been building a distinctive style, and obsessively working on craft for years, could even hope to achieve.

(It’s that entertaining, smart, touching, and nuanced.)



One of our favorite parts, (we’ve watched it multiple times as a family,) is his bit about what it’s like living in a world in which every single person seems to think it’s appropriate to share their thoughts about every single subject, all the time.

Like a good, self-aware Zoomer, Bo Burnham makes sure to mock himself as one of the endless opinion-sharers out there, and I’d have to do the same too.

But he’s a professional comedian, so it’s his job to share his thoughts, and I’ve had a biographical opinion column for a decade, so it comes with the territory here as well.



While some, among the younger generation, are able to understand nuance and gray area, others, perhaps from older generations, are more familiar with the norms and mores of bygone eras.

You know: when the planet wasn’t on fire, there were seemingly “unlimited” resources to plunder, the patriarchy was unquestioned, and proper men never said they were sorry.

I guess my big mistake last week was comparing Grandpa Sam to Donald Trump, because that tied it to partisan politics, though the connection was really about their mutual love of gold, casinos, and acting like a Mafia Kingpin.


DJT’S gold apartment

Obviously, I’m being careful not to name the relatives whom I offended last week, but I’m sorry I hurt your feelings!

Grandpa might have been a wife-beating jerk and a nasty drunk, who treated me like shit, but hey, it’s bad form to speak ill of the departed.

Mea Culpa!



But it wouldn’t be one of my articles if the opening rant was completely divested from the review at the bottom, right?

We have to talk about a book, or photography in some way, and hopefully, it will all make sense.




Well, today, I was put in this frame of mind after looking at the amazing photo book “Signs,” by Lee Friedlander, published by Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, in conjunction with a 2019 exhibition.

This is one of those books that needs little build-up, or explanation, because the one-word title tells you everything you need to know.



For the uninitiated, Lee Friedlander is as old school as it gets in American Photography; a living master who has such a distinctive style, it changed the way we all look at street photographs.


This dude, with his busy, head-ache compositions, constant curiosity, and wandering, black and white vision, is like Madonna, or Chuck Berry.



He changed the game so significantly, future imitators who drafted on his vision still did well, such is the joy we all feel at looking at the drama of the street.

We can name drop Walker Evans as a forebear, especially with the signage in this one, and of course Robert Frank was out there in the 50’s too, (and Garry Winogrand,) making work with some crossover.

But Lee Friedlander pictures, in the end, look only like Lee Friedlander pictures, whether it’s the constant inclusion of vertical sign-posts breaking up his compositions, or reflections in the windows, making us see ourselves in his work.

This book is a compilation, in which the editors have included images from the 1950’s through the 2010’s, and that’s why it’s so great.

Because we get to see all these American eras smashed up against each other.

Of course people who came of age in the 1950’s would see America through a vastly different lens than the Zoomers.

And how could irony-loving, ambiguity-friendly, slacker Gen Xers always make sense to Boomers, who were reared in a binary, zero-sum-game world of hip/square, good/bad, and Commie/Patriot?

The book is a literal trip down memory lane, (not that I’ve ever used that cliché phrase before,) and occasionally makes strong points, like having a George Wallace image above one of Trump, while JFK and MLK sit in a vertical diptych on the opposite side.

Everyone will love this book… unless they dismiss it outright, because it was made by a white, cisgender male who was using a camera as a tool of the patriarchy to appropriate other peoples’ cultures without consent.

(See, I can make fun of both sides. And I mock myself here all the time, so you know I’m willing to be the butt of the joke.)



Anyway, that’s enough for today.

Will I have to eat a new bunch of shit from my relatives for this column?


But it’s just, you know, uh, like, my opinion, man.

Take a chill pill.

And see you next week.

To purchase “Signs” click here


The Art of the Personal Project: Dawoud Bey

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


Today’s featured artist:  Dawoud Bey

Original article can be found here.


July 11, 2021, 6:01 AM EDT / Updated July 11, 2021, 8:12 AM EDT

By Bianca Brutus

Dawoud Bey was given his first 35 mm camera at age 15. Several years later, in 1975, he’d begin one of the most influential careers in photography. Bey’s latest exhibition, “Dawoud Bey: An American Project,” captures the progression of four decades of communities in America. The exhibition, now on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, comprises 80 works and eight series.

Born in 1953 in Queens, New York, Bey used Harlem as the inspiration for his art at the start of his career. The interest stemmed from his family’s history in the neighborhood. His parents met at church there, and it was home to many family and friends he visited as a child.

Bey’s documentation of Harlem from 1975 to 1979 became a part of his “Harlem, USA” series. In a number of street portraits, Bey captures residents living their everyday lives. Bey gives no names or narratives to his subjects; instead, he lets viewers interpret his images.

The experiences of underrepresented communities are the basis of Bey’s work. Black communities across the U.S. are arguably his most consistent subjects.

Work by the late Roy DeCarava, the first Black photographer to receive a Guggenheim fellowship, inspired Bey’s use of black-and-white prints. DeCarava also primarily photographed lower-class African American communities. In an interview with Vogue in April, Bey said: “He was making photographs through his own poetic visual language, insisting on the beauty and complexity of Black people and making photographs that were equal to that. He became the earliest model for me.”

After exploring Harlem, Bey captured other parts of New York in the 1980s. His series “Street Portraits” explores his own neighborhood in Brooklyn. He exhibited his ability to produce shots with Polaroids and highlighted the connections he established with his subjects. That later influenced his shift from small-format street photography to an intimate studio environment.

From 2002 to 2006, Bey shot “Class Pictures,” a series exploring American youths in various social and human dimensions. High school students wrote short texts to go along with their portraits. Bey urged students to reveal something about themselves that people would not otherwise know. In 2010, he told ArtsATL in an interview, “I am just trying to create this kind of conversation of the human community with itself, using young people as a catalyst for that conversation.”

Bey’s work fosters dialogue about recollecting history in a contemporary manner. His series “Birmingham: Four Girls and Two Boys” in 2017 was a tribute to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, by members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1963. The project presented portraits of current residents of Birmingham — children the same ages as those who died, accompanied by adults who were the ages the children would have reached had they lived.

For Bey, weaving past and present imagery felt imperative as Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old high school student, died while he was putting together the series. “That Trayvon Martin, a young Black boy, could be killed for no reason while walking home suggests that the past doesn’t stay in the past,” Bey told Vogue.

In recent years, Bey has stepped away from portraiture for landscape photography. “Night Coming Tenderly Black” (2017) depicts historic stops along the Underground Railroad in grainy black-and-white prints. The link between African Americans and oppression presents itself in society both figuratively and literally.

For Bey, a professor of art at Columbia College Chicago, “An American Project” furthers dialogue about social, racial and economic disparities prevalent in history with photography.


To see more of this project, click here.


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

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


The Daily Edit – 400 Years Project: Sarah Stacke

This is a photograph of Genevieve Iron Lightning of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation from a series made to pay homage to our ancestors being captured in time and forever “changing the narrative” of our people in photography. Spearfish, South Dakota. January 2021. Photograph by Eunice Straight Head
Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge. Resides and works on Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Pediatrician & Adolescent Medicine specialist, Mother and wife. “Save our children, Save our future, Save sacred places. We are here to protect our land and our water. Our thoughts for the future go seven generations.“  Photograph by Erika Larsen

A young Cahuilla boy explores his tribal lands. Photograph by Gabrielle Norte

An Iraqi Golden Division Counter Terrorism Unit Humvee drives towards the frontline in Mosul as two residents carry a white flag on Nov 12, 2016. The Golden Division suffered over 50% casualties retaking the city from the Islamic State during the Battle of Mosul. Photograph by Gavin Bryan John
The work of Kali Spitzer (Kaska Dena & Jewish) embraces the stories of BIPOC, queer and trans people, creating representations that are self-determined. This traditional tintype photo of Larissa Lorraine Grieves (Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree, Blackfoot from the Pikuni Nation, Metis, Swedish, Irish and Scottish) was made in 2021.
Inside his studio in Asheville, North Carolina, artsist John Henry Gloyne (Eastern Cherokee, Pawnee, Osage) adds the finishing touches to a painting titled, “The Process of Weeding Out.” October 9, 2020. Photograph by Madison Hye Long
Courageously Take a Stand – July 3, 2021, marks the 300th anniversary of Hans Egede’s arrival to Nuup Kangerlua, Greenland, with the mission of reestablishing contact with the Norse settlers, who occupied this region in the southwest of the country from 986 until c. 1400. Egede’s mission was to convert the settlers from Catholicism to Protestantism. He found no trace of the Norse and instead found the Inuit. With permission from the Danish Crown, Egede shifted his mission toward converting the Inuit to the Christian faith and began the colonization of Greenland. With diptychs made from archival images by John Møller, the first Greenlander to work as a photographer, who was active in Greenland from the early 1890s through the mid 1920s, and images made by me, I’m having photographic conversations with the past. The theme of these conversations is centered around colonialism and its long-term effects. Photograph and words by Minik Bidstrup
Dana Daylight. From the series “Osage Cooks” Photograph by Ryan RedCorn.
This photo was created in 2012 to share Christopher Chavez’s concerns regarding water rights and the significance water holds in his culture and village of Kewa Pueblo (Santo Domingo) but also to engage others in thinking about the precious resource of water and how it affects all of us in New Mexico. Photograph by Shayla Blatchford.
Elder Joyce “Hoh Tin Ee Mi” Big Soldier stands in the dance arena of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma. She is a respected elder of the tribe and participates in many tribal dances and ceremonies. Location: Perkins, Oklahoma. 2019. Photograph by Tom Fields

The 400 Years Project

Founder: Brian Adams
Founder: Sarah Stacke
Founder: Sheena Brings Plenty

Background info:
The 400 Years Project looks at the evolution of Native American identity, rights, and representation, and provides opportunities to Native storytellers across the Americas. The Mayflower and its aftermath has become the first and most culturally iconic story told to many young Americans about the country’s founding and initial relationships with Native people. But the stories they’re told of flourishing friendships, discoveries, and untouched wilderness are harmful myths. It’s well documented that the Vikings explored North America in the 10th century, and of course Columbus landed in 1492 carrying disease, death, enslavement, and displacement. By 1650 –– 30 years after the Mayflower –– an estimated 90% of Native people had died from European diseases.

Using the Mayflower’s 400-year anniversary as a jumping off point, Brian, Sheena, and I wanted to create something that provided a narrative of Native empowerment and also recognized the devastating effects of colonization.

Have you noticed an increased interest in your project as we reckon with a long overdue shift towards greater cultural acknowledgement and representation?
We’ve received many gestures of support since we launched last year. 400 Years has been invited to speak at several venues including universities, photography summits, and organizations interested in archives. We’ve gotten a number of emails from people who are using the platform as a resource for research or have questions about where to find more information. Our Instagram community has also grown tremendously in recent months and we increasingly see the work of 400 Years contributors in major publications, which is awesome.

What were the challenges or unforeseen obstacles for this project?
The biggest expected challenge has been securing funding to commission more photo and text essays. As founders we haven’t paid ourselves. We hope to do that eventually, but the priority has been paying the authors, photographers, and photo editors for commissioned and licensed work.

We’re always looking for ways to raise funds for future photo essays and other work. The total compensation offered to the photographer + photo editor currently ranges between $2100 and $2900 for each photo essay. The texts and special projects vary in cost.

An unforeseen obstacle was finding a publication to feature the collective when we launched in November 2020. In The 400 Years Project, the issues addressed are not tidy and history is not linear. We’re grateful for recent press like NPR, BuzzFeed, and aPhotoEditor.

The resilience of the virtual pow wows was powerful. Did any other projects form due to COVID restrictions? (that project was particularly reflective of the times)
Tailyr’s story about the virtual pow wows in the times of Covid-19 was exceptional, I agree. As far as I know, none of the other projects formed due to the ways the pandemic was restricting cultural lifeways and traditions, but I imagine the processes the photographers used to create their series were affected in one way or the other by the pandemic.
Overall, the pandemic was a persuasive reminder how fiercely the keepers of knowledge need to be protected and why the commitment to preserving and recording stories is as urgent as ever.

How did this project inform your own work as a photographer?
As a photographer, storyteller, and human I am constantly learning and I have the people who share their lives with me to thank for that. I look for stories that bring a solutions-focused balance to the narrative of underrepresented people and places. 400 Years has informed that approach. It has also reaffirmed the importance of giving back and getting out of the way.

What power you see in collectives?
Along with helping storytellers document their own communities and providing avenues for the stories to reach broad audiences, our goal at 400 Years is to create a groundbreaking pictorial collection of Native America by Native artists and allies. We certainly want the opportunities and visibility generated by 400 Years to contribute to a more equitable media industry. We are also firmly dedicated to supporting the creation of work that falls outside of the editorial template, or any known template, and is a critical addition to the history of photography. That’s the power I see in the 400 Years collective.

Have any of these images gotten licensed?
NPR licensed photos for a recent feature. National Geographic has also been very supportive of 400 Years. Through an assignment they funded a portion of “Cherokee Lands.” And the National Geographic Emergency Fund for Journalists provided funding for the creation of work about the response to the Covid-19 vaccine by four 400 Years contributors

Who curates the library portion of the project and how is this list different from other collectives that bring balance to native storytellers?
Sheena Brings Plenty curates the contemporary photographers included in the library and I curate the historical photographers.

The 400 Years Library is different from other collectives because we include historical photographers plus a range of contemporary photographers from enthusiasts, to emerging, to professional. Our criteria is that the person is Native and is dedicated to the craft of photography.

Amos Dick (elder) and Joseph Glada tending to their moose meat in 2019 outside of Ross River at Amos’s cabin. Photograph by Robby Dick.
Cherokee Female Seminary graduating class, 1902. Oklahoma Historical Society, Jennie Ross Cobb Collection.
“A portrait of an Indian woman.” c. 1902-1933. Image courtesy of Richard Throssel Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

We chose this approach because it contributes to an understanding that cameras have been in the hands of Native photographers since the invention of the medium and Native people have incorporated photography into their lifeways since the 1800s, both as patrons and creators. We want to take concrete steps toward decolonizing the archive. The inclusion of enthusiasts and emerging photographers alongside professionals leaves room for vital stories, perspectives, and styles of photography that don’t typically find a place in popular media publications.

Tell us about the artist in residence program.
At its core it is a place for photographers and other storytellers to collaborate with 400 Years. It’s not a one size fits all residence. We’re interested in working with photographers, writers, archivists, historians, and others to create and share work that sheds new light on the understanding of Native America. With the first artist in residence, Minik Bidstrup, we supported him as he made a series of diptychs using archival and contemporary photographs. Vanessa Tignanelli, the second artist in residence, is working with Nippising First Nation on a story about the decolonization of the land and we are providing mentorship as she develops the work.

Had you done a collective previously?
This is my first rodeo with a collective. Brian Adams is founder of Indigenous Photograph.

Will you be adding to the photo essays?
Absolutely. In the coming weeks a new photo essay by Minik Bidstrup will be added to the collection. He was the recipient of our first open grant call. We’ll also be adding the work about the response to the vaccine that was funded by Nat Geo.

Click here for more information or how to include your photography in our 400 Years Project.




Featured Promo – Stefan Wachs

Stefan Wachs

Who printed it?
I had the promo printed by Smartpress ( They sent me a paper sample book from which to choose paper stock and paper weight and then I got a digital proof made of the zine before putting in the order.

Who designed it?
I worked with Jasmine DeFoore, a photo consultant based in Austin, Texas. She helped with the selection of the images and the sequencing. The layout and type were designed by Emily Kimbro, the design editor at Texas Monthly. The three of us went over several different layout designs and versions.

Tell me about the images.
This project is about falconers and falconry in the American West. It started with an assignment I did for New Mexico Magazine a couple years ago about an author and conservationist who also happened to be one of the main experts on falconry in the United States. We only spent a short time out in the field flying his hawks so that I could get some pictures for the magazine article. But it was enough to get me hooked. I started contacting various falconers throughout New Mexico and then started going to falconry meets in Texas and Wyoming. At first my fascination was primarily visual. But the more I learned about falconry and the more I got to know the falconers, the more I was interested in the history and the culture of this ancient form of hunting. The project is about the falconers, about their relationship with their birds of prey but also about the various environmental and cultural aspects that affect current day falconry such as environmental degradation, drought and the rapid decline in bird population. Falconry season is limited to the fall and winter months and the project is almost exclusively shot in medium and large format film so I work slowly and it has taken quite some time to put together this sequence of images.

How many did you make?
I only printed 10 initially so that I could view them first and make changes if necessary. The advantage with printing with Smartpress is that once you upload the printable PDF you can always order more at a later point in time. I have since ordered another 50 copies.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is actually my first time sending out printed promos. I didn’t start working as a freelance photographer until about 4 years ago, most of my assignments so far have come through referrals.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I always wanted to do a printed promo. I still believe in the power of a printed photograph, something that people can hold in their hand and revisit over time. I do think the printed promos can have more of an impact than simply sending out emails. It is also just nice to see my own work printed and be able to show it to friends. Most of the images we make never leave our hard drives these days….

I was talking to Jasmine (photo consultant) about the effectiveness of sending out printed versions of the zine in view of the current situation with the virus. A lot of editors are still working from home and may not receive the mail sent to their office address. So we decided to also do a “flip through” digital version of the zine on Hey Zine ( The flipbook can be sent as a link in an email and allows people to view and flip through the promo online as with an actual magazine. But if I know that the person will actually receive the printed version, I will send it. I think it is more effective than viewing the images on a screen.

This Week in Photography: Portfolios from the LACP Review



My grandfather was a criminal.

(Step-grandfather, actually.)



Grandpa Sam, (as he liked to be called,) came into our lives when I was about ten, since my actual grandfather died of cancer when I was three.

He was a larger-than-life character, Grandpa Sam, like a mini-Trump, as the dude couldn’t have been taller than 5’3″.

But Grandpa was as stout as he was tall, so there was nothing little about him.



While I was on the phone with my cousin Jordan the other week, we got to sharing stories about Grandpa Sam, and it occurred to me he’d make an amazing character in a film.

(Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, as we all know.)

As I was on my break from the column, (and all email and social media distraction,) I did a bit of research, and turned up proof that he was actually a crook, and not the wannabe we had assumed.

Grandpa Sam was busted by the Feds, the freaking ATF, back in the early 80’s, for running a scheme to pass French table wine off as high-end Burgundy.

They shut him down and fined him, but he avoided jail time, and given how close this was to when he met Grandma, I’m pretty sure she knew what was up.

The two of them were all about the gold and the diamonds; jetting off to casinos, where he was treated as a whale, or taking cruise ships to far-flung locales.



We all have our tales, like the time he tried to pick up my wife at my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah, and actually made Grandma show off her diamond ring, so that Jessie knew for sure how much better he’d treat her than I could. (As a poor, hipster artist.)

But memories are just that, and internet research is an entirely different thing.

I now have proof that he wasn’t lying about being shot down by the Nazis, in World War II, and kept as a POW until the war ended.

I even have the photographs for you: images that show his plane, the ironically named “Lucky 13,” on the ground with Hungarian fighters swarming over the wreckage.



Then, I found out his partner in the wine-scheme, a Frenchman, was himself accused of being a Nazi collaborator, so Grandpa Sam appears to have gone into the criminal business with someone who stood on the opposite side of the Holocaust.

(Again, you can’t make this shit up.)

And I only discovered it because I let my mind untether from email and social media.

There’s a lesson in that.



I’ve promised myself not to return to my previously addicted ways, because really, how many times do we need to hear Facebook manipulates its platform to maximize the hours we use it?

Or how many articles do we need to read about the toxicity of email, and how much we all hate it?

I can now see that spending hours a day, cycling between email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, was actually rotting my brain and my soul, from the inside out.

(Addiction is nasty.)



Creativity, on the other hand, keeps us young and mentally agile. It was the theme of my last couple of columns, before the break, and wouldn’t you know that while I was away, the WaPo published this great article that confirmed almost everything I’ve been telling you over the last ten years.


But that only works if we have the discipline to find the time to stay creative.

To focus, and grow.

(No easy task.)

Will I ever write that screenplay about Grandpa Sam?

I’m not sure.

Even without email and social media, parenting, work, bill paying, caring for elderly relatives, driving back and forth to town, all these things split our day into little chunks, which makes it difficult to find 2-5 hours a day to get the good shit done. (1000 words at a time I can handle.)

Then again, when I visit portfolio review events, (IRL or on Zoom,) I constantly meet artists who are transitioning from another career.

People who’ve taken a leap of faith, later in life, because they learned that living without art, without having that creative spark on the regular, is more trouble than it’s worth.

It’s why I constantly preach inspiration here, because many of you have day jobs, and it’s a struggle to find the juice to make things, when you’re worn out and weary.

When we do, though, it almost always gives more energy than it takes.

(I’ve recently rejoined my martial arts classes, post-vaccination, and even getting beaten and bruised gives more juice than it consumes.)

Now that I’m back from my thirteen days without writing, I can gladly say it feels good to have this sensation again.

Writing in flow.

And while Grandpa Sam may have just been an excuse for a fun opening rant, where we landed was not an accident.

I mentioned portfolio reviews because today, we’re going to jet back in my memory files to January 2021, but not for the reasons you’d expect.

Rather, that’s when I attended the virtual portfolio reviews by the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and while it’s taken longer than I might have liked, today we’ll peek at the best work I saw that day.

As usual, the artists are in no particular order, and I’d like to thank all of them for allowing us to share their creations with you here today.



Let’s start with Kat Bawden, as she’s one of the photographers I’ve met over the years who returned to show me work again, and totally blew me away.

I first reviewed Kat’s pictures in 2017, and was unimpressed by a social documentary project that didn’t seem specific, or driven by a deep need. I shared my thoughts, and according to Kat, it lit a fire in her to push towards a more authentic style that channeled her inner reality.

I tend to give credit to the artist in such situations, (and not the advice-giver,) but man, did Kat take that motivation and grow at hyper-speed.

This time around, we looked at a set of edgy, disturbing, film-noir-esque, black and white images that were inspired by childhood trauma and repressed memory.

The photographs are phenomenal, and Kat just reported she’s matriculating to get an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, so I expect we’ll be seeing much more from her in the future.



Galina Kurlat and I spent a few minutes trying to figure out where we might have met before, but I couldn’t place it. We were definitely at Pratt Institute at the same time, earlier this Millennium, so maybe that was it.

No matter, as when it came to checking out her new work, I was amazed from the jump.

Like Bo Burnham’s brilliant new Netflix special, “Inside,” this work could not have been made without the intense, miserable pandemic lockdown restrictions, which limited what artists could do, and where they could do it.

Living in New York during the worst of it, Galina had some photo paper, the sunlight coming in through her windows, and the fluids and hair that came out of her body. (It sounds gross when your write it like that, I know.)

The resulting images, in which she used her hair, blood, saliva and urine, along with old bathwater in the photographic process, are quite beautiful, despite the bleak reasons for their creation.

Major wow on this project, for sure.


Matthew Welch is based in SoCal, but showed me a series of “Flow” images he made around the world. The process is intricate and simple, in that he stands in one spot, and makes so many images that life’s natural drama is sure to unfold.

According to Matthew, in one instance he took 100,000 images near the waterfront, in Hermosa Beach, and I can’t really imagine what it’s like to do something like that.

It’s a pretty good expression of focus, determination, and drive, to which I alluded at the beginning of the column. Cool stuff.



Next, we’ve got Natalie Obermaier, who works as a lighting expert in the fashion and commercial photography community in LA. She mentioned how hard it is to do that work, and stay creative as a photographer, so her style evolved into something more tactile, and constructive.

Literally, as she makes collages out of strips of images, which critique the fashion industry, while still celebrating a bit of glamour.



At first, I must admit, I was dubious when I met Jamie Johnson, because I was aware she made photographs of Irish Travelers, the Gypsy/Roma community in Ireland, and that is a subject I’ve seen many times before.

Like Cuba, it’s on the photo-tour-circuit, so I told her I’d expect her more of a reason than just taking a trip with a guide, and she certainly had the right answers.

Jamie has photographed children for years, in various projects, and considers it her area of expertise, so she’s invested a lot of time visiting with the Traveler children, including a copious amount of interviews.

The series became a book, published by Kehrer Verlag, and it’s a compelling offering for sure.



Jacque Rupp is a photographer who made a later-in-life career change, in Northern California, and became interested in how little she knew about the community of people who grow the food that’s eaten in California, and across the country.

(The Central Valley grows much of the produce for the US.)

She did the deep dive, getting to know people in the farm-worker community, doing the research, creating relationships, and the resulting documentary photos are well worth looking at.

It’s another example of outside-the-community projects that have been frowned upon over the last few years, but I believe that if photographers are earnest, care for the right reasons, and put in the leg work, we should consider what they’ve made with kindness, and an open heart. (Not everyone agrees. I get it.)



Last, but certainly not least, we have Benjamin Dimmitt, whom I knew from social media, but not IRL. (I guess even these meetings were on Zoom, so Benjamin, hope we can connect in meat-space one of these days!)

Benjamin was a long-time New Yorker who relocated to the South, but he’s originally from Florida, where his project was shot.

Literally every day now, we’re reading stories about how bad Climate Change has become, and how reservoirs are drying up across the West, and sea levels are rising on the coasts.

It’s abstract, in a frog-getting-boiled-alive-in-a-pot-of-water kind of way.

Many of Benjamin’s photos, which were shot in Florida, about 70 miles North of Tampa, show the changes wrought, as they were made with large time gaps. (Between 10 and 34 years, depending on the diptych.)

But from a technical and asethetic perspective, I preferred the single, square images he showed me, which were made more recently.

They’re beautiful and disturbing at the same time.



That’s it for today, though, so see you next week, and stay cool out there!