The Art of the Personal Project: Slav Zatoka

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:  Slav Zatoka Blue Lens Factory

Earth – Chi

             On March 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in northeastern Japan, sound the automatic alarms in schools, factories, tv stations, radio stations and on cell phones. The message says: Major Earthquake. You have 32 seconds to seek shelter. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake strikes off the coast, triggering a towering tsunami that reaches land within half an hour. The quake was so strong it actually shifted Earth’s axis and moved the coast of Japan about 16 feet southwest and 3 feet down. NASA reports three day later that the earth axis shift that happened as a result of Tohuku Earthquake may have shortened the length of each day on Earth.

Water – Sui

The earthquake itself had a death toll of around 90, but the tsunami that followed it, resulted in in catastrophic damage to Northeast Japan and nearly 20,000 deaths. One of the cities I visited twice after 3/11 events was Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. It’s situated 100 miles north of Sendai and it’s famous for world’s biggest and most expensive breakwater ever built. A mile long, 207 feet deep and jutting nearly 20 feet above the water, the quake-resistant structure made it into the Guinness World Records. It took three decades to build, and it cost nearly $1.6 billion. Unfortunately, the 9.0 earthquake in 2011 generated waves that were larger than the breakwater. The breakwater not only crumpled under the 30 feet tsunami waves, but it is also said to have deflected the wave north of the Kamaishi bay, making it even more destructive to the communities inland. If you watched the news that weekend you most likely saw the horrifying images of the wave entering the Kamaishi bay with buildings moved like cardboard boxes and cars, boats, debris and power lines floating inland in a massive, steady tide, destructively coming inlands. Most of that footage was filmed from a terrace like trail that stretches on the hill side of the city. Kamaishi’s Buddhist Sekiozenji Temple, situated further inland with a scenic cemetery on a hill remained untouched. The Great Tohuku claimed 1069 souls in Kamaishi, damaged 5000 homes and damaged 97% of the local fishing boats. The city also mentions a survival rate for children of 99,8% (5). Local teachers attribute this low rate to the disaster mitigation education program, launched several years ago, which prepares students for disasters like the Great Tohuku. One of the principles of this training is not to trust the expert’s knowledge entirely and always rely on your judgement of the unfolding disaster events. The other two principles state: act according to training and adapt, and finally, take initiative and evacuate despite no obvious signs indicating an imminent disaster. Kamaishi High School students took that initiative and evacuated their building and assisted with evacuating Kamishi Elementary school on the way to safety. Kamaishi was supposed to be safest place in case a major tsunami. The world’s largest breakwater unfortunately could not save the city. The highest wave recorded on March 11, 2011, was over 40 feet.

Fire – Ka

             The Great Tohuku Earthquake was not the first one to be as destructive: July 9, 869, Sunriku, over 1,000 deaths, May 20, 1293, in Kamakura, major military base at the time, 23,000 deaths, September 11, 1498, Nankai Fault, 31,000 deaths. December 31, 1703, Edo, over deaths and 100,000 tsunami casualties, May 8, 1847, Nagano, almost 9,000 deaths and nearly 70,000 buildings destroyed, September 1, 1923, Tokyo, 140,000 deaths, January 17, 1995, 6,443 deaths.

Earthquakes in Japan strike daily. In my first visit to Japan in 2011 I experienced three earthquakes, all of them over 4 in the Richter scale. I live in California and have experienced a few in the Southland but never so many in such a short period of time.

What happened in Fukushima as a result of the 3/11 tsunami is a separate story. On My way to Kamaishi I actually made a stop in Fukushima to witness and document one of the anti-nuclear demonstrations. The nuclear crisis and the clash between the Japanese people and their government resulted in a worldwide movement to pressure governments to eliminate the nuclear power entirely. According to Associated Press, the Japanese government decided in April of this year to start discharging the radioactive water back into Pacific Ocean. The idea has been fiercely opposed by fishermen, residents and Japan’s neighbors.

 Wind – Fu    

            On July 5, 1997, the Central European Flood hit southern Poland and my tiny studio apartment I shared with my high school buddy was gone, together with our books, music collections and all my negatives, transparencies and my darkroom. It was a huge blow, but I was not even there to experience the horrific events. I was in London on my summer break. I moved on. The city rebuilt and it’s a vibrant college town and a local finance and industry hub today. The flood had a death toll of about 50 and it was one of the costliest disasters in history. Prior to going to Japan, I also did a story about post Katrina New Orleans parish, called Resurrection Parish, published by a local Orange County paper.

There was definitely something personal in my decision to go to Japan in 2011 but there was certainly nothing impulsive about it. I try to self-assign at least one visual project a year and I also happen to have been on flight benefits, so after 3 months of preparations, scouting online, a list of contacts in Japan, I was ready to go. 3 months seems a lot I had to negotiate time with my family, kids, and my two businesses. My plan was to reach one of the cleaning camps in Tohuku and a letter I got from a longtime friend and my former boss eventually helped me to do volunteer work in a photo cleaning site ran by Caritas Japan.

Among a dozen of photographers, I met in 2011 in Japan, I need to mention Ken’ichi Kikuchi of Kamaishi. Ken’ichi was a huge help navigating around his neighborhood. He lost his studio and house to the tsunami. I met him while photographing the Buddhist ceremony commemorating the victims of 3/11 in Kamaishi. When I mentioned I was staying at the Caritas camp and was helping with photo cleaning, he told me that most of the professional portraits that I may come across in the recovery process, may have been taken by his father’s studio. I visited Ken’ichi a year later and keep in touch with him ever since. We share a love of photography, bourbon and jazz. He rebuilt his studio and home.

I did my best to try to remain respectful with my camera. During first 3 months after the 3/11 disaster Northeastern Japan was flooded with photographers. The many temporary shelters that were set up in Tohuku quickly got tired of photographers wanting to interview and photograph the tsunami victims. It wasn’t just independent shooters trying to score some stock images but also weekenders from Southern Japan driving to Tohuku to take a selfie in the disaster area. I decided not to sell any images as stock and put together a Blurb book hoping to raise money to help photographers like Ken rebuilt their studios.

Also, what’s worth mentioning here is that the Ganbare spirit in Japan is stronger than anything. The Airbnb owner in Tokyo told me that everyone he knows regularly scheduled weekend cleaning trips to Tohuku. I spent one day in a clean-up headquarters in Kamishi and their groups of workers, teachers, friends and individuals who all volunteered to come to Tohuku and spend a weekend cleaning up. Helping their fellow Japanese rebuilt their lives.

Void (Aether) – Ku

             In an excellent book: “Ganbare, Workshops on Dying” by Katarzyna Boni and translated by Mark Ordon, soon to be available in the U.S., Boni describes the fascinating world of Japanese mythology and Ryujin, the dragon king, sea god, the master of tides and the grandfather of the first Emperor of Japan. If people were dragons, they could escape the tsunamis, but they are not. Everyone I spoke to accept the tsunami as a force of nature you should not be angry with. Kamo no Chōmei, a Japanese poet compared people to a sea foam, a surf that only last a moment.

On my last day in Kamaishi, on my second trip to Japan, Ken’ichi takes me on a morning walk to Sekiozenji Temple. It’s a weekday and he just finished a real estate job few blocks away. We stop by his father’s grave and then for a moment in front of six Jizo statues wearing red bibs, Buddhist statues made in the image of Jizo Bosatsu, guardian deity of children and travelers. He invites me over to his new house in a new neighborhood of temporary housing units built by the government. I meet his wife and two sons. The city is largely rebuilt. They seem to have some problems with the raising water levels that continue to flood the city. Something they hadn’t experienced before. Their sons are getting ready for school language competitions. His wife is going back to work the following week. We share a laugh as I try some phrases in Japanese and then we spend a memorable evening photographing Tiger Dance rehearsal on a temple parking lot and head to a local jazz club with a huge wall of vinyls, a barman with an expert knowledge of the Marsalis family and an impressive selection of bourbon.

 

 

To see more of this project, click here.

A film to compliment the project, 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 – The New Yorker: Evan Angelastro


The New Yorker

Senior Photo Editor: Marvin Orellana
Photographer: Evan Angelastro

Heidi: How did this project come about for The New Yorker?
Evan: I was contacted by Marvin Orellana, a senior photo editor from the magazine to photograph this scenario of a classic VW Bug being installed inside the MoMA. I’m so happy we were able to collaborate on this shoot and I was really excited that it was so focused on two worlds I love colliding, cars & art.

Did you scout the location for this image?
I had about 15 minutes prior to shooting the car to get my sense of the space & track the route the vehicle would take from the elevator to the gallery – although I’m a fan of the MoMA & have been many times before.

What was the direction from the magazine?
The magazine was looking for one standout image of the installation occurring – specifically the process of the installation, wheeling the vehicle in.

Did you follow the car drop point to the building?
I followed the car from exiting the MoMA elevator to its home in the gallery – probably about 200 ft. The whole process lasted about 3 minutes & to be honest it’s a type of scenario that I really love being in, with something very interesting happening very quickly. The thrill is wonderful. Also seeing the MoMA freight elevator & behind the scenes action at my favorite museum was very, very cool.

Overall, it was a quick, exciting experience & something I’m very grateful to have been able to work on with Marvin and the New Yorker.

The Art of the Personal Project: Caesar Lima

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:  Caesar Lima

 

Proving that beauty is indeed more than skin deep, Caesar Lima’s Unusual Beauty Project concentrates on models and even regular day to day individuals that have rare skin conditions, such as Congenital melanocytic nevi, or CMV, which involves visibly pigmented proliferations on the skin, and Vitiligo, discolorations on the skin caused by depigmentation.

While Lima’s lens is focused the topic on the skin conditions and unusual birthmarks, the intent is not to show them for how different they are, but rather to celebrate the beauty in the unusual.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

Instagram 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 – Vogue India: Snigdha Kulkarni


Vogue India Digital Cover


Art Director: Snigdha Kulkarni
Photographer: Shane McCauley
Fashion Stylist: Ria Kamat

Heidi: How did you art direct from Bombay?
Snigdha: The unexpected covid lockdown initiated art direction and shoots across borders. With remote shoots becoming the norm, team Vogue India could reach out to creatives across the globe and collaborate with them even more easily. I had the pleasure of remotely art directing the very exciting January 2021 Janina Gavankar digital cover in California; while pulling an all-nighter here in Bombay. It was my first cover experience, definitely a memorable one.
We started off with ample planning and prior discussions over several calls. The actual shoot was all done on one long zoom video call, while we coordinated with the on-ground team in LA. Shane McCauley, our very talented photographer was our eyes and ears. Four steaming cups of coffee, twelve look changes and about seven hours later when I almost caught the sunrise in Bombay we called it a wrap!

How did the concept come about?
For our January issue we were looking at a fresh start, a new beginning away from the initial chaos of the pandemic. Our theme was a ‘2021 vision board’ – all things we expected from this new year. We aspired to be outdoors, carefree, happy and joyous. Thus the fashion was kept minimal, the hair was wispy and natural, the make up balmy and bare. I visualised it to be a reflection of 2020, a year we slowed down and connected with nature.

Why California?
Our direction for the shoot was very clear and I could instantly picture it – organic and raw under the California sun. Los Angeles as it is surrounded by mountains made for a stunning backdrop and the most beautiful natural scenery.

How long have you been at Vogue and what are your duties?
It has been over 3 years at Vogue, in my time here my duties have vastly expanded. As a designer I have always been keen to broaden my boundaries. From editorial design, art directing shoots, working on brand design, digital events and commissioning artworks I have also delved into some illustrations for the magazine. I frequently write online articles for our Vogue.in website (with a little push from my editor Priya Tanna) which has helped me hone my communication skills – something I will always be thankful for.

How much digital work are you doing?
Amongst many, one of the largest digital assets I enjoyed working on has been our first digital event, the Vogue Beauty Festival. Spearheading the design language and supervising multiple design teams for two consecutive years now has been a thrilling experience. The design language extends onto the event website, social media promotions, event design, marketing and PR plans, etc. as I design and look into the details.

 

 

 

This Week in Photography: #2020 Flashbacks

 

 

It’s July 1st, as I write this.

(Which means #2021 is half over.)

How did we get here?

 

 

We’ve lived six months of this year already, but somehow, the horrific events of January 6th still feel fresh.

And the moment when a nice, male nurse first stuck a needle in my arm, in Amarillo, Texas, in early March, seems like it just happened.

 

The Amarillo vaccination clinic parking lot

 

I can taste the tang of the barbecue sauce from Tyler’s, as we slathered it all over a huge tin of baby back ribs, and a pound of slowly-smoked brisket.

The jalapeño creamed corn was amazing, and the bread pudding was even better.

It might have been yesterday, according to my consciousness, but then again, it was four months ago.

 

 

The Pacific Northwest, which is typically rainy and cool, has been trapped under something called a heat dome, and if I read the news correctly, it just killed 500 people in British Columbia.

Here in mountains of Northern New Mexico, where it’s normally hot and dry this time of year, we’ve had ten days of cold rain, with dense, gray skies, and people are starting to talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

My daughter’s always said she loved gray days, (since it’s sunny all the time here,) and even she changed her mind, claiming she doesn’t want to live in Portland anymore.

She misses the sun, and that’s saying something.

It’s almost enough to remind me of the time, early last September, when a snowstorm hit just after Labor Day Weekend, and birds literally dropped dead, falling from the sky in droves.

End times stuff for sure.

 

 

But then again, isn’t #2021 better than #2020?

I mean, much better?

Aren’t you happier?

Don’t you feel safer?

Have you gotten Donald Trump out of your head yet?

Have you seen “Mare of Easttown?”

 

 

Do you care the Phoenix Suns are going to the NBA Finals? Or that England beat Germany at Euro 2020?

Did you know Euro 2020 was being played in #2021, but they didn’t bother to change the name, likely b/c it would have meant a whole new round of paying the graphic designers and branding experts?

Were you aware the Olympics are about to start in Tokyo, even though vaccination rates in Japan are low, and the whole thing might turn into the biggest super-spreader event of all time?

Do you remember when you’d never heard the term super-spreader before?

Or Covid?

Can you recall #2019, when Corona was just a Mexican beer brand, or the Spanish word for crown?

 

 

The thing about terror is you feel it.

It’s not an intellectual concept.

Terror is visceral.

It’s a physical sensation, (a triggered state, if you will,) when fear is so overwhelming that parts of the body, like the pre-frontal cortex, shut down a bit, and we’re left as half-people.

Shadows.

Terror makes people hunt witches, or choose to die rather than get a little needle in the arm to prevent disease.

That kind of emotional insanity, when we do counter-productive things, and spin brain circles until we’re ready to explode, it’s hard to remember what it feels like, once passed.

Which is the reason Nazis made a comeback last year, because there are so few humans still alive who survived their reign of evil in Germany back in the 1930’s and ’40’s.

These days, tens of millions of Americans have been convinced there are “some very fine people” among the Nazi contingent, and that wasn’t even a #2020 quote.

(Just the 2017 opening act.)

 

 

 

 

#2021 is half over, and while I was desperate for #2020 to arrive, given #2019 left me breathlessly exhausted, I most certainly regretted my foolishness.

So I’m happy we still have another six months in #2021, because I’ve finally begun to feel human again, and safe, and I’m not ready to give that up.

Are you?

 

 

I admit, this column is stream of consciousness, (even for me,) and it might be because it’s the last week before my staycation, and my brain is mostly cooked.

Perhaps.

Or it could be that I just finished looking at “Jesus Fucking 2020,” an absurd little ‘zine that showed up early last November, by the artist and critic Andrew Molitor, and it totally channels the energy from that space in time.

So let’s call that a trigger warning, shall we?

If you’d rather not be reminded how you felt back then, I’d recommend you skip the photos below.

It’s not that they’re disturbing, necessarily, though the deep-black-color-palette references horror films, and there are images of screaming.

Rather, I think it’s just weird and nonsensical enough to give you flashbacks to October #2020, right before the US presidential election, when it seemed the entire fate of the world hinged upon what happened in the subsequent months.

And didn’t it?

 

 

Knowing what we know now, do you understand why I obsessively wrote about DJT for five years?

Why I feared for my children’s future, from the moment I heard him exclaim, “Not a puppet. You’re the puppet.”

It all came to pass, the very worst of it, with millions dead around the world from the pandemic, and chaos in the streets of America.

And yet…

Here we are, in July of #2021.

And for much the US, things are so much better than they were back in the autumn of #2020.

When one might rightly have wondered whether we’d gotten stuck in a Groundhog Day loop, only every day was Halloween.

Which Andrew Molitor speculated, as he created his ‘zine back in October of last year.

 

 

He writes fake scenes in the ‘zine, which is a conceit I’ve played with in the column several times over the years, but not lately.

My favorite part is the repeating joke that Zoom is better than nothing, because how many times did we all say that?

I just decided to take a summer break from my Antidote online educational program, as the system we’d set up for a stay-at-home world, in which people were so very lonely, no longer seemed as relevant.

We’ve moved on, here in the US, (thanks to our abundance of vaccines,) but forgetting how we got here would be a huge mistake.

 

 

 

So please forgive Andrew’s blasphemous title, if you’re particularly religious, as I think he meant no offense.

It was the right combination of words, back in 10/20, to capture the flavor of the moment.

And as he lives in the Pac Northwest, I’m sure he’s currently baking his _______ off, trying to stay cool and not die.

That’s the thing with Climate Change, right?

It’s like that old expression: out of the frying pan, and into the fire.

 

So as Andrew wrote on the back of his ‘zine, “Be good to one another,” and I hope you have a lovely 4th of July weekend, if that’s a holiday you celebrate.

See you in a couple of weeks.

 

To learn more about Andrew Molitor, visit his blog here

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Ryan Dearth

 

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:  Ryan Dearth

 

India is a place of extremes. The streets can bustle in a way that can overload the senses of an outsider. Yet, amidst the robust movement and activity, vignettes of quietude are blanketed by an unwavering attitude of optimism, generosity, and warmth.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

Instagram

 

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

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

 

The Daily Edit – Ankita Chandra: Vogue Arabia


Vogue Arabia

Photographer + Creative Direction: Ankita Chandra

Heidi: Was this the first time women were involved in UAE camel racing?
Ankita: Yes, the two all-women camel riding groups we trailed for this feature are both the frontrunners of women camel racers in the UAE: The Arabian Desert Camel Riding Centre (ADCRC) and Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC)

How were they received, smashing stereotypes doesn’t come easy.
Even though in camel racing is entrenched in Emirati culture, it has historically been male dominated. In a country where women have enrolled in the army and run for election, female representation in camel racing is a fairly recent development. Just this year in January, the first ever all-women racing team was set up and I think it’s only a reflection of the changing times in this region. Women are slowly but surely staking their claim in various aspects of Emirati culture and social norms – taking their equal place in society – which is largely encouraged and received well.

Did  you encounter any opposition pitching this idea?
Not at all, ideas like these are encouraged and welcomed at Vogue – that is actually one of my most favorite things about working here at Vogue Arabia – that we’re constantly pushing the envelope and dive into real women stories here in the Middle East. What I particularly find rewarding as a photographer and journalist is being able to tap into women’s stories and relay them from a woman’s lens – something I increasingly find to be a profoundly underrated perspective.

How long are the races typically?
Typically in a camel race, distances range from 2.5 miles (4 km) for younger animals to 6 miles (10 km) – and the race lasting anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes.

Were there any difficulties with the shoot, the desert is a harsh environment.
This shoot was probably one of the most difficult (and naturally, most rewarding) shoots I have ever done! Turns out, camels can be moody beasts! It was a 11 hour shoot, deep into the wild deserts of Dubai – with me running up and down the dunes for hours, orchestrating some of the group shots of the women on their camels, in the sweltering desert heat. It took everything in me to get it right. I also learned the hard way that Camels are very unlike horses – once they walk a stretch, there’s no going back!

 

Featured Promo – Britta Kokemor

Britta Kokemor

Who printed it?

I had it printed locally here in Calgary at a place called All Rush.

Who designed it?

I had my PR and marketing agency Gentle Lion co-design it with me.

Tell me about the format. Do you find explaining the process helpful to potential clients?

After reading the marketing book, They Ask You Answer (I highly recommend) I wanted to create something that answers my client’s questions and needs + evokes curiosity and comfort around what it’s like to work with me. So far this is the most client work I have ever received from a promo piece!

How many did you make?

I just went through a re-brand so I only made 75 copies this year. Next year I’ll send out way more!

How many times a year do you send out promos?

My goal is to send out a promo piece once a year in the spring.

This Week in Photography: Hunting Witches

 

 

I’d like to talk about creativity today.

 

It’s a big deal, summoning something out of nothing.

To birth an idea or object into the world, where it can exist outside of us, and live on its own.

 

 

This elusive nature of creativity, (and the fact it’s better understood through a metaphysical prism, rather than a practical one,) means most people believe art talent is a gift that some have been given, and others not.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t draw,” “I can’t cook,” or “I became a curator because my art wasn’t good enough?”

 

 

As a long-time educator, I assure you, I’ve heard all these exclamations before. (Many, many times.)

But in addition to being a teacher, I’ve also been writing every week for almost 10 years, which gives me a totally different perspective on creativity.

Weekly deadlines mean that being creative, for me, isn’t a choice.

I’ve got to bring the heat, every week, even when I don’t feel like it.

(When I’m tired, grumpy, or don’t find the world that interesting.)

That’s the aspect of creativity I wanted to focus on today.

The idea that we are not the master of our best impulses. That we do not get to dictate when, where and how the inexplicable elements of our psyches rise up from the depths of our consciousness.

It doesn’t work like that.

 

 

I often tell my students there is no such thing as an art boss.

If you’re an artist, making your own stuff for yourself, no one gets to tell you what to do.

You follow the whims of your instincts, and chase down stories you’re desperate to know more about.

For you.

In all my years doing this work, I’ve discovered that humans are interested in just about everything, so someone out there is going down a rabbit hole you didn’t even know existed.

And they’re likely doing it because they love it.

Because it gives them pleasure, understanding, information, or a fresh perspective on the world.

However, that well-spring, the ineffable part of us that drives our best efforts, also needs a break every now and again.

(Like the body, the mind occasionally needs rest.)

It’s why I’ve taken a couple of weeks off here, the last few years, because even I need those two chances to let my brain stop working. (A week in summer, and one at Xmas.)

 

 

I’m not quite there yet, at vacation time, so I’ve got to review a book eventually.

Before I do, though, I want to land one last point on this subject: stress, misery, unhappiness, and anxiety are really bad for creativity.

I remember how hard it was to make art, and generate any good ideas, when I was chair of the Fine Arts Department at my former college, 5 years ago.

I could feel my best self leaching out through cell walls, with each passing week, and the more I was pickled in cortisol and adrenaline, the less of an artist I became.

At the very worst moment, (and there were many,) an older, mentally unstable student came up to me, and screamed “Booooo,” in my face, like a witch, to unnerve and unsettle me.

(No surprise, it worked.)

It was a spontaneous act, which means she didn’t have any time to plan it, but invoking the vibe of ancient, black magic taps into a fear that has existed deep within humans for centuries. (If not longer.)

Here in America, we’ve all heard about the Salem Witch Trials in the 17th Century, and I even had a witch friend once. (Long story.)

If you haven’t seen the brilliant “The Witch,” which came out in 2015 and launched Anya Taylor-Joy, do yourself a favor and stream it, but I promise, you’ll never look at a goat the same way again.

 

 

Witchcraft holds an outsized role in the imagination of popular culture, mostly because of misogyny.

How hard is it to see that in a male-dominated world, the idea of super-powered women, conspiring by firelight at night, might scare the shit out of those in power, the men, who had no interest in relinquishing their control?

(Shout out to the Power and Control instinct.)

Even in the ubiquitous superhero stories of the 21st Century, witches are treated with suspicion, like Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch character in “The Avengers.”

And it’s a world-wide phenomenon, this belief in, fascination with, and fear of witches.

Which brings me to today’s book.

 

 

We’re taking a brief look at “Elf Dalia,” from Maja Daniels, published by MACK in 2019.

After this one turned up, it somehow ended up on my bookshelf, un-reviewed, rather than staying in the submission pile, so I magically discovered it today, when I was looking for some help from the creativity gods.

(I know I’m creatively limping, and promise to come back full of piss and vinegar after I take my summer break.)

Piss and vinegar don’t chase off witches, though, that I’m aware of, but as Monty Python taught us years ago, it is helpful to check whether they float or not.

 

 

All jokes aside, given the tens of thousands of years of shamanistic history, through the human record, I’m not surprised there are still stories of weird shit going down, far from big population centers.

What’s more human than creepy, little, out-of-the-way-places, in far corners of the globe, that give us things to wonder about?

Like Älvdalen, in northern Sweden, which actually has its own language, Elfdalian, spoken there, and nowhere else in the world.

And they executed 21 people under suspicion of witchcraft in 1668!

In 2012, Maja began exploring the place, because her family had a cabin there, I believe. (The book has very little text for context, but I think I have that detail right.)

Maja also discovered a trove of historical, black and white imagery, by Tenn Lars Persson, that also channels the occult, and those images are interspersed with the color photos, which she shot between 2012-17.

I admit, the portrait of the young woman with the “RETARD” tattoo on her neck made me blink a few times, and the ending images, with the creepy faces drawn on the black and white photos, are likely to give me nightmares tonight.

It’s a fun and creative book, this one, and it reminds me a lot of a “Some Kind of Heavenly Fire,” by Maria Lax, a Finnish offering I reviewed last year, so those Scandinavians must have some really weird shit in their collective mythology, for sure.

(If you doubt me, just watch “Midsommar.”)

So that’s what I’ve got for you today.

Some advice about not taking your creativity for granted, and a book that revels in the weird, strange, and unexplained, because really, there is so much out there we don’t know.

See you next week!

To purchase Elf Dalia, click here

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Andy Anderson

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:  Andy Anderson

 

MY TOWN SERIES

I have lived in a small Idaho town for almost 30 years, it’s a town full of wonderful authentic hard-working folks. I love my town, but Covid 19 has affected all Americans in some way and has put undue hardships on us all. My work as a photographer always has me traveling out of state, that’s changed for me and most people for the time being.

Photography has always been my safe place, it helps me communicate, it helps me with the human connection, the connection that binds us all and since I cannot travel. I thought I would reconnect with my town and the people that surround me through photos. So, over the next few however days, weeks I’ll be posting portraits of these wonderful humans. They all have a place in OUR world and hopefully it will make you pause and think about this strange period and how that is affecting your community and the people that surround you and hopefully we will never pass this way again. Here is a link to follow this series on LinkedIn.

(I shot all these with the proper safety precautions, alone and kept my 6)

 

To see more of this project, click here.

Instagram

 

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

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

 

The Daily Edit – Christopher Dowell

Chris Dowell

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Featured Promo – Kah Poon

Kah Poon

Who printed it?
I printed the photos myself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in Photography: American Made Machines

 

I almost tried this last week.

 

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

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

But what am I doing?

What’s so new?

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

It’s so daring!

So chic.
So risky.

I feel dangerous.

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

 

 

That’s me right now.

Writing on a Friday morning.

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

That’s me right now.

Winging it.

 

 

You know why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a potentially cathartic outlet.

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

That deeply rooted need to create.
To make things.

 

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

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

Here, in the column.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Metal sculptures from a bygone Era.

Carter.
Reagan.
Bush Sr.

Pax Americana.

The easy times.

Before the internet.

Before the pandemic.

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

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

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

See you next week.

 

For more info about “American Made Machines” click here

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Antoine Repesse

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

 

Today’s featured artist:  Antoine Repesse

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

To see more of this project, click here.

Instagram

 

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

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

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Headshots For A Law Firm

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Headshots and environmental portraits of law firm partners

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

Photographer: Portraiture specialist in the Southeast

Client: Law Firm

Here is the estimate:

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

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

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

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

Misc: I included $100 for any unforeseen expenses.

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

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

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.


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

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

The Daily Edit – Architectural Digest: Pankaj Anand

Architectural Digest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

This Week in Photography: Cruise Night

 

 

My cousin Jordan asked me to print a retraction.

From last week’s piece.

 

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

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

They’re right, so let’s rectify it.

 

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

Those special, special donuts.

Duck Donuts, to be exact.

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

At first, I abstained.

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

Eventually, Jordan said I had to try them.

They were THAT good.

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

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

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

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

 

 

Duck Donuts
4 stars out of 4

 

 

I mention my Jersey trip.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can see the interview in its entirety here.

 

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

 

 

But a chat isn’t a book review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 stars for this.
0 stars for that.

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

See you next week.

To Purchase “Cruise Night,” click here

 







 

 

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

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

 

Today’s featured artist:  Creative Soul/Kahran and Bethancourt

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

To see more of this project, click here.

Instagram

 

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