The Daily Edit – Jay Kolsch


Photographer: Jay Kolsch

Heidi: Tell us the backstory of that shoot.
Jay: I had just wrapped up a string of jobs that really sapped the spirit out of me. I was rinsed and needed a change, personal work has always been a safe place to throw myself when I felt creatively stunted. I was talking with a good buddy over some beers when he started recalling some pretty gnarly trips sledding through Canada, that was the initial spark. I love jumping head first into a world I don’t know much about and dog sledding was exactly that. Christine Walsh, a fantastic photo editor I work closely with steered me toward Kristy and Anna Berington. January in Knik, Alaska is no joke. For several days we photographed the sisters in sub zero temps using only the SUV as shelter.

How has the outdoors informed your work?
I received some really great advice early on in my career “make sure you’re passionate about what you choose to spend your time photographing”. At the time, that directly translated into “stop shooting those beauty tests you clearly hate”. We’re always told to find a way to monetize our hobbies but I was very hesitant to bring my camera with me on long weekends hiking or on climbing trips, I didn’t want to mix work and pleasure and possibly infect my love for outdoor recreation. I was wrong though, the outdoors became such an incredible frame to hold the stories of people living amazing lives and accomplishing wildly difficult goals. That has become the core of my work.

You have work in and out of the studio, do you find it hard to transition?
Actually, I’m truly at home in the studio. Before I started photographing for myself I spent several years as a first assistant running crews, assisting and lighting for other photographers. I’d spend every day making gear lists, loading trucks, creating light, problem solving… This comfort level with the space and the equipment allows me to have a smoother transition between the spontaneous work I do on location and the more planned execution of ideas in the studio. I do hope to do more work in the studio though. After spending so many years trapped on white cycs it was necessary to put some distance between me and c-stands but I have recently started to feel the pull towards designed light again.

What are you working on these days?
I didn’t do much in 2020, January through March where whirlwind months spent traveling the country and working but by mid March all of my holds had dissolved. I spent much of the year grieving the loss of my ego and realizing just how much of my self worth I had tied to jobs and photography. Mostly I felt stupid. When work finally came knocking, I made sure I  spoke up when clients asked me to put myself or others in danger and I bent over backwards for the clients who treated me like family. Recently I have found a massive creative partner in FILSON and have spent the last few months working on some truly exciting projects around the country.

What the been rewarding about your work lately?
That it’s evolving. I’m not the photographer I was three years ago and I’m certain I’ll continue to change in the future. The work of being a photographer isn’t making photographs, it’s having the courage to continue to push for something better. It’s a process and that’s what you’re seeing me go through. I started out in fashion and ended up photographing twin sisters prepping to feed their iditarod dogsled team in -23 degree weather.

Feature Promo – Ashley Sullivan

Ashley Sullivan

Who printed it?
Printed by Paper Chase Press

Who designed it?
Designed by Demetra Mazria

Tell me about the images?
I worked alongside Megan Gonzalez (Art Direction and Prop Styling) and Diana Scanlon (Food Styling) to produce this test shoot. Megan and I worked together to put together a vision board with scrap images as well as rough sketches for our shot list. It was important to us to create lighting that was reminiscent of a sunny day in the tropics– I think we succeeded! We created a set of images that had an intentional pacing, diversity in angles, and a continuous color story.

How many did you make?
300 printed.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send out promos once or twice each calendar year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I thoroughly enjoy the process and result of concepting and designing a printed piece. I’ve always held in high regard the idea of bringing images beyond the screen. It may stem from my background in architecture — but carving physical space for something is both a beautiful and meaningful undertaking. To that end, I take care to ensure that each element is given the attention it deserves. I chose to have this booklet saddle stitched… a detail that caused my budget to stretch a bit, but it was important to me that the elements that surround the images would be of the same caliber.

With the seemingly infinite channels of digital marketing available, creating a tactile piece feels like purposeful work. Giving the images a place to exist, creating an experience for the viewer. While it’s nearly impossible to account for the effectiveness of one specific marketing piece, I do find that printed promos are ones that clients enjoy receiving, and will often make a point of sending a note to tell me so.

This Week in Photography: A Very Different LA

 

Everyone loves a good road trip.

(It’s as American as our now-faded dream.)

Over the years, I’ve driven across the West so many times, and remember them all.

These days, which resemble Bill Murray’s tortured existence in Punxsutawney, it’s hard to make memories. Days blend into days, and I find myself saying things in the afternoon like, “Honey, did I give you your gummy vitamins this morning, or was that yesterday?”

 

At first, when I went into lockdown 11 months ago, there was a sense of open-ended uncertainty, but also faith in the system.

I remember telling a friend in April that we’d likely be able to have our retreats in August, because by then, Americans would have access to instant-at-home-tests, so we’d know in a technological moment whether we were infected or not.

(It was obviously mis-placed optimism, which is a trait with which we Americans are often associated.)

It’s much harder to make memories in this new plague-year-lifestyle, and road trips are hard to come by, as where on Earth will one find a “safe” bathroom, if one needs to poop?

But I clearly remember the time my wife and I moved out of California, in 2002, and drove through the LA basin on our way East. (I foolishly diverted down from San Francisco to drop off some art I’d sold on the way out.)

We were stuck in traffic forever, but that’s not what I remember most.

No.

Rather, when we finally made it to the outskirts, in San Bernadino, I was shocked to my core when the mountains appeared out of nowhere.

The smog was so thick, the pollution denser than the QAnon theory, that I almost gasped for breath to realize there had been mountains there all along.

How could they be so hidden from view like that?

The grind of that drive across the megalopolis stayed with me, and the last time I drove across the LA basin, heading home with the family on a road trip in 2016, we woke up at 4:30am, and hit the road by 5, so we could cruise through the place without impediment.

It was so quick the second time around that we got cocky, and stopped for a leisurely breakfast in Victorville, at a 50’s themed diner, and I ate steak in the morning for the first time.

We gave back the hour we’d saved, and ended up in a traffic jam at the Arizona state line that traumatized me deeply.

Road trips!

So when I think of LA, I think of driving, as don’t we all?

Thankfully, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time there since the turn of the century, and have a feel for what the place is really like.

Despite the fact that I know the Westside beach communities best, I’ve seen enough to know that the glamour for which the city is known is an illusion.

Or perhaps a pocket.

There is so much endless asphalt.

So many places that don’t get our attention until things blow up, and buildings burn down.

It’s the LA of the immigrant narrative, or stories we know best from Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.

But it’s not the LA that has been packaged and sold around the world so many times.

It’s not the fame-driven economy that ultimately gave us a reality show President, even if he was from Queens. (Sorry. Now he’s a “Florida man,” as he was always meant to be.)

Last week, I featured a book that was made of and from the LA of the creators. The hipsters. Those that have a method of expression, and an audience ready to look.

And as often happens over the course of a nearly-decade-long book review column, the weeks flow together perfectly, because this morning I opened a box from Mack, in London, and something unexpected popped out.

It was “Seventy Two and One Half Miles Across Los Angeles,” by Mark Ruwedel, published in #2020.

This, my dear readers, is a book that taps into the monotonous LA reality that is there to be seen, if only one would choose to look.

If only one would step off I-10, hit the surface streets South of the big time, and pay attention to the endlessness of it all.

But apparently it’s not endless.
It’s 72 and one half miles wide.

The book doesn’t have much introductory information, beyond the title, but that alone, plus the manner in which it’s broken into sections, 12 miles a time, is enough to suggest the Eastward migration of the photographer’s camera.

And what do we see?

Shotgun shacks and highway underpasses.
Imperfectly cropped cars and sorry strip malls.

El Dorado, but not the famed village of Gold.
(Nor the fabled town from the Howard Hawks/John Wayne/James Caan western.)

There are few people, because nobody walks.

A divorce abogado charging only $499.
Drive-though burger joints.
And lots of taquerias.

(What I wouldn’t give for some proper California Mexican food right now.)

I’ve always felt that ideas tend to shift from West to East in the United States, and wrote here, with some alarm, as I watched the homelessness and environmental instability grow in California; bellwethers of Climate Change and economic inequality.

No fun.

But it’s an artist’s job to look at and process the culture, landscape, and time in which we’re living.

These pictures are often banal, because the place they were documenting is not that visually appealing.

(It’s anti-aesthetic, not Malibu.)

Then, you turn the page, and a visual masterpiece would pop out; perfect tonality and composition.

All mood; no boring.

That was a pretty cool trick in the editing.

Later on, halfway through, I remembered that I loved Mark Ruwedel’s older work of vanishing 19th century train tracks in the desert.

Sure enough, I turned the page, and there were vanishing train tracks.

I swear, it was as if they’d read my mind, which is also the sign of some great sequencing. (And attention to detail.)

Finally, we make it to smoggy San Bernadino, after some LA river aqueduct scenes that made me think of “Grease,” and we get to the final essays, which provide some context.

Apparently, the book was the brainchild of the writer Nigel Raab, who in fact walked the entire 72 and a half mile route from his home on the Southwest side of the basin, recorded it with a pedometer, and then invited Mark Ruwedel to make photos of his route. (The photographer used a car, wisely.)

The connection to Ed Ruscha’s “Every Building on the Sunset Strip” is strong, but why not, as that’s one of the seminal pieces in the History of Photography?

And Raab’s essay confirmed my read on the book in general, and the “Grease” reference in my mind, but corrected me, as it’s not the LA river, but the San Gabriel. (My bad.)

Personally, I’m looking forward to the days when I can drive around places like LA, bitching about the traffic. I learned to use the surface streets years ago, mostly to good effect, but I’ve certainly never walked very far there.

Much less 72 and one half miles.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to, because this book does it for us.

A healthy dose of distraction this morning, on another day in quarantine. (But at least the sun is out!)

To purchase “Seventy Two and One Half Miles” click here 

 

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

 

The Art of the Personal Project: James Payne

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:  James Payne

I am fascinated by how people interact with the places they inhabit particularly in their homes and on the streets.

I grew up near Chicago IL, attended Southern Illinois University, earning a degree in Cinema and Photography in 1977.

That same year I visited New York City to attend a conference, and began shooting the people I saw on the streets there. My interest in other topics fell away and I have pursued street photography and 3D portraiture ever since. How people adapt to and transform the places they live in and interact with reveals a historical and social context that is very intriguing to me.

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.

 

Featured Promo – Mike Borchard

Mike Borchard

Who printed it?
Printed by Ex Why Zed, based in the UK.

Who designed it?
It was designed by me.

Tell me about the images?
The images are from a personal project I shot in Hawaii last spring/summer. The images are made by double exposing 35mm film, shot on older Nikonos cameras. The Nikonos cameras from the 70’s & 80’s are fully self-contained waterproof units and were originally designed for underwater photography. I would shoot an entire roll of film while out in the mountains or jungle, then rewind it, reload it, and re-shoot surfing over it again.

How many did you make?
I printed a numbered run of 150.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
My goal is two promos per year, and I try to make them both more in-depth promos rather than just a postcard or a foldout. Taking a quality over quantity approach.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes I do, although it can be really difficult to measure. I’ve found sending out less promos to a more targeted group that I already communicate with or want to be communicating regularly with is more effective than just mailing out a bunch of promos to a large list of people that I have zero relationships with. I also enjoy the process of creating and bringing tangible works to life, so I’m never too stressed if I don’t see a huge direct response to a promo, because I’m usually stoked on the process anyway.

This project came to exist almost purely because of COVID. Last March, my travel and work schedule was completely vaporized, and I found myself with plenty of free time. Free time that I spent experimenting with trial and error burning up countless rolls of film while dialing in the double exposure process. It felt amazing to be out creating and trying new things purely for the stoke of it. No clients, no deadlines; just some old cameras, an idea, and plenty of time.

The Daily Edit – Field Outrider: Morgan Irons

Photo by Ronan Donavon

“After the Storms”

Miron husband and wife to the hillside

Irons Braid


Field Outrider:
Art Illustration Finalist/Modern Huntsman Field Outrider Contest
Illustrator:
Morgan Irons

Heidi: I know you are self taught, when did you first start painting?
Morgan: I started painting five years ago. I was 23 years old and had moved to Bozeman, Montana that year. I grew up in Idaho without much access to galleries or artists, so it wasn’t until I started meeting them here in Bozeman that I realized it was an option. I quickly left my ‘real job’ at the hospital and devoted everything to learning how to paint. I did this mostly by looking at master paintings closely (via the internet and books in a rural cabin in Montana), studying the history of art, and cataloging the ones that I was drawn to. That catalog became my North Star, and narrowed my focus to the type of art I wanted to create. I’ve made many bad paintings over the last five years, but have had enough moments of ‘I might be onto something’ that I keep trying.

How does the pace of painting transcend into your life?
I am a very slow painter. There are no shortcuts to the type of painting I do. It requires a lot of drying time, and many layers of paint. Because of this, my time in the studio is important to me to be able to create enough paintings to meet show demands. My lifestyle is built around protecting that, I live rurally and prioritize time alone. Technology is sparse up here, and can feel disconnecting when I spend a good amount of time working with my hands on creating an object in real life.

Why did you submit that particular painting to the contest?
The painting I submitted is a family history painting, of a great uncle that ranches sheep in Idaho. They lost a herd of 50 to a lightning strike on the high desert plain. In the painting I feel a sense of stewardship, of care and responsibility over the animals. I think that question is asked often in stories told by Modern Huntsman, “What is our responsibility?”.

What are you working on these days?
I am working on works for my next solo show in June at Old Main Gallery in Bozeman, as well as a grouping of new works for Sugarlift Gallery in NYC. I am trying to balance giving myself time to explore and be curious, while still meeting deadlines. I have a few large scale works that I’ve been tinkering with for many months now, which has been a very enjoyable way to work.

What inspires you?
 I think mostly I look to old master painters for what they were trying to convey, stories that we keep telling each other. As a figurative painter, I like to think a lot about archetypes, what each figure represents, what does this agrarian landscape represent in these changing times, what are the eternal truths here? Visually I get a lot of inspiration from a mediation process I use, visualizing the scenes I have created and wondering what might I see around the corner…etc.

When you do your figurative work, what is your process?
When I compose a new painting, I will have a general idea in my head and  on paper, large shapes, then go out into the field with model(s). We will spend time arranging that scene, collaborating together on new ideas, and taking lots of photos and video. In my ideal world, when weather and model cooperation permits, I also get time on site to do little painting studies of color notes specifically. Then I take all of this reference back to the studio, take parts of scenes and put them together on a usually imagined landscape. I look for specifics of posture of the figure, universality of their shape and archetype, expression, etc., and arrange things specifically to be most effective and efficient for the human eye and brain. This is one of my favorite parts of the process.

 

This Week in Photography: A Creative Community

 

I bought a new camera recently.

At the end of #2020.

 

This might not sound like a big deal, but it was my first new system in 15 years.

Like many of you, I’d been sticking to one company, as I had a lot of lenses, but my Panasonic/Olympus equipment was locked in at the 4/3 chip size.

Over the years, (since 2005,) I’d watch as new things came to market, and then full-frame chips became the norm. Some of you love Canon, others prefer Nikon, but I was stuck with the same things I always had, and eventually I got bored.

But I could never afford to switch to a new back, much less buy a great, razor-sharp lens to replace the one I purchased in 2007, and used for all four series I included in my “Extinction Party” book.

At the end of last year, though, I saw some amazing deals on Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras, and even with a top shelf lens, the price was now less than half of what it cost to change systems a few years ago.

(I could swing it, for once.)

Still, it seemed so extravagant, so selfish, to spend money on a new camera system, instead of paying down some credit card debt.

My old system was gathering dust, and my iPhone seemed sufficient, for now.

Plus, I kind-of had an idea for a new project, (sort-of,) but nothing concrete.

Then, I spoke to one of my best friends, Caleb, who’s also a creative partner, and he encouraged me to go for it. Invest in myself. Take the plunge. (As did my wife Jessie, who also pushed me to treat myself.)

It was a tough decision, but Caleb assured me I didn’t need to know what I would do with the Sony. Going for it, doing something risky and scary, and then the natural desire to play with a new “toy” would inevitably result in a fresh creative project.

He promised me that within six months, I’d be going again on something “real,” a new project to move past the studio, conceptual, still life stuff I’d grown tired of.

And it probably wouldn’t even be the idea I was kicking around in my head.

Thankfully, he was right.

I’m not divulging details, but I’m already excited and working again, and it took less than a month with the new machine, before I had my groove.

Why am I mentioning this today?

Because I just finished reading and looking at “Exposure,” a new photo book that Carmen Chan sent me in the autumn of #2020.

It features photographs of and interviews with nine, diverse, young-ish female artists living in Los Angeles, all of whom are working in various ways, but none seem to be using a camera at present.

I mentioned it last week, and didn’t have the brain focus to dig in, but as soon as I did today, I gave it a read in one sitting.

And while each artist had things to say that differed from the others, there were so many common themes, many of which I’ve experienced in my own life. (And some of which recur here in the column as well.)

While a third of the artists had moved from hella Northern locales, likely entranced by the perfect weather, (Canada, Wisconsin and Minnesota,) and a handful were born in CA, all of them made some mention of the value of their creative community.

How their friends and fellow artists helped inspire and support them.

John Donne may have said “No man is an island,” many years ago, but no artist- male, female, or non-binary- is either.

We need each other.

Additionally, many of the women discussed the fact that they had left one medium for another, at some point, or that they openly experimented with multiple media, as different ideas need to be birthed in different forms. (In my own #2020 story, my iPhone resuscitated my interest in photography, but was not enough to help me push on in my practice.)

Finally, there was a lot of discussion of the needs of the spirit, and how art practice allowed the artists to express things inside themselves that were non-verbal, or too difficult to process by using words and direct thoughts.

As Enna Ikuta said in her interview, “Growth doesn’t come from passive stagnancy. Sometimes you have to lift up that rug and acknowledge all the crap that you swept underneath it. Everyone has a different way of doing this, feeling this, and accepting this, but I do believe it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. I think having personal baggage is a universal experience, yet it’s not something another person can ever force you to think about.”

Beautifully stated.

Some of you have been reading this column for a long time, and know that I often encourage you to make things.

The art process offers each of us a pressure-release valve, so our emotions, and the artifacts of our Shadow, can come out in a controlled, positive way.

(When repressed emotions bubble up in people without expressive options, it leads to violence, addiction and misery.)

Making art is a win-win, because when we let our fears out, and our pain, we become healthier.

Furthermore, our artwork, the end product and the result of the process, allows us to feel pride in ourselves, or a sense of accomplishment, even if no one else sees your piece on a wall, or a pedestal.

Certainly, most-if-not-all of the female artists in this book shared some version of this theory, in their own words.

And my 13 year old, who’s been having such a hard time lately in lockdown life, wrote an amazing story this week, and his entire personality changed thereafter. (His second story followed two days later.)

Ironically, despite how often I teach these ideas, I had tried to push and cajole him to make art, to help himself.

I attempted to “force” him to do it, but of course that effort was doomed to failure.

Because as Ms. Ikuta reminded me, it doesn’t work that way. Not only is change hard, but a person has do decide to do it for him-her-or-theyself.

Hopefully, though, you’ve got friends you trust who’ll give you a nudge every now and again.

(Thanks, Caleb!)

I think you’ll dig this book, and I’ll be back again next week, as usual.

To learn more about “Exposure” click here 

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Jayme Halbritter

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:  Jayme Halbritter

“In 1929, Wally Byam built the world’s first Airstream trailer on a Model T chassis with a tent contraption on top of it. Apparently it didn’t work well in the rain, and his wife wasn’t a fan. He replaced the tent with a teardrop shaped permanent shelter, and the blueprint of the Airstream we know today was born. In 1970, several families who were members of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International were looking for a good place to have rallies, and pooled together their funds and purchased what has become The Minnesota Airstream Park. Today it is a 125-site RV resort situated on 80 acres near St. Cloud, Minnesota. The only catch, is that to be a member, you have own an Airstream-manufactured RV. One of only 11 in the country, The Minnesota Airstream Park is as unique as the trailers themselves.”

When I was looking into doing photo stories for my website, I remembered a friend of mine had told me about this Airstream Park he was a part of, and that he thought it would make for a good photo story.  I think I said something like, “Really? There’s an RV park that’s only for Airstreams?”  Of course there is!  When I was a kid, I can remember driving in my grandpa’s 60 ft. RV heading down to their second home in Texas, and seeing these big silver trailers on the road and talking to my grandpa about how cool they where.

So my friend was able to get me access to the park, and I ended up going out there about a half dozen times over the course of the summer. Each time I went, I ended up walking around the park and randomly going up to people and telling them what I was up to. I think everyone was “warned” that I would be out there doing a photo story, but it still felt like I was doing cold calls, explaining myself, asking if I could capture some photos for my story. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and more than open to being photographed, and proudly showing me their trailers. I had never really been inside an RV park, and there was definitely something unique about it being an Airstream only park. Everyone seemed to be really proud of their little oasis they had created for themselves, and there was such a cool vibe to the place. It was like I had gotten special access to this really cute niche community that, if you didn’t know about, you didn’t know about.

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: Pharmaceutical Product Shoot

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle content of a patient using a medical device and interacting with their caregiver

Licensing: Trade Advertising and Collateral use of up to 6 images for 2 years from first use.

Photographer: Lifestyle and portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium in size, based in the Northeast

Client: Pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

Pricing and Negotiating first estimate for a Pharmaceutical company production

Creative/Licensing Fees: The agency was in need of images showing a medical product being used, along with images of a patient interacting with their caregiver and family within multiple scenarios taking place in and around a house, as well as a few outdoor scenarios as well. The exact shots were a bit TBD at the time of estimating, but we did know they wanted to end up with six final images, and they’d be used for trade advertising and collateral purposes for two years. Based on recent similar productions and a knowledge of previously palatable fees/expenses for this client, we landed on a creative/licensing fee of $7,500. It broke down to $1,250/image, which we felt was reasonable for the intended use and the given variables.

Crew: We included adequate prep, scout, shoot and wrap days for a producer to help coordinate the production, and included two assistants, one of which would also attend the scout day. Additionally we included a digital tech on the shoot day and a PA to help with prep/shoot/wrap as well.

Styling: We would only be capturing one main hero talent, and three others, and we were confident that one hair/makeup stylist could handle that without an assistant. In an effort to reduce people on set, we combined the roles of wardrobe stylist and prop stylist, and included adequate shopping time in addition to the shoot and time to return the items procured, while providing them with two assistants to lend a hand. We included $500 per talent for wardrobe, and $2,250 for props, however we marked that as TBD since the shot list was still under development and the final scenarios would dictate the exact prop needs/costs. We also included $500 for stylist kit fees, shipping and misc. expenses.

Health and Safety: I’ve started to break out all things related specifically to COVID protocols and prevention into a new category when estimating projects, and here I added 2 days for our CCO, as she’d join us on the tech/scout and the shoot day, and $300 to cover PPE and supplies. I’ve found that $300-$500 is an appropriate amount for PPE and cleaning supplies for a shoot this size.

Casting and Talent: We had to find one main adult hero talent to portray a patient, a secondary adult talent to portray their caregiver, and two children to portray grandchildren. The casting agent we worked with would hold virtual casting sessions remotely, rather than have talent attend an in-person casting session, and I knew this price would cover their time for at least 2 days work of casting to help find the talent we needed. I included $1,800/day, which was appropriate for this particular market based on the usage.

Locations: Since the shot list was still a work in progress, it was a bit of a challenge to estimate location scouting and location fees, but I felt confident that we had enough time/money built in to handle the anticipated request of finding a residential property and a couple nearby outdoor locations. We also included $1,000 for location cleaning to address the anticipated concerns from the homeowners regarding COVID.

Vehicles: In order to try and keep the bottom line down, I marked a production RV as TBD, as there was a chance we could use the house and the exterior locations as a staging area, rather than an RV. I also added modest funds for van rentals to help with equipment and supplies.

Equipment: I included $1,000 for the photographer’s gear, $750 for the digital tech’s workstation, and $500 for production supplies such as tables, chairs, tents, heaters, etc.

Meals: I included $75 per person for breakfast and lunch

Misc.: To address potential mileage, additional meals and miscellaneous expenses that might arise, I added $500. I also included $300 for insurance.

Post Production: I included $500 for the photographer’s time to go through the images and make initial edits and provide a gallery of content to the client, and then $200/image for 6 images to handle the retouching.

Feedback: The numbers were well received, however we were informed that they wanted to add a video component to the project. They weren’t sure exactly what would need to be captured, but they asked for a quote and told us they had an extra $15k budgeted for it.

Here is the quote we provided:

Pricing and Negotiating first estimate for a Pharmaceutical company production

Crew: We got a quote from a local team and consolidated their numbers into this bid. We anticipated bringing on a DP, along with one or two assistants.

Casting and Talent: We increased the talent fees by an extra $500+20% to account for the video usage.

Vehicles: Now that we had extra crew with the video team and a padded budget, I took the opportunity to add the production RV into the estimate as I felt it would be necessary.

Equipment: This covered the minimal gear rented from the videographer.

Meals: We added a small amount to include extra meals for the additional crew.

Misc.: I added $800 to cover miscellaneous expenses that might arise.

Overtime: Now that we planned to shoot video, I felt that the time necessary to do so would cause us to go past a 10-hour shoot day, so I included an extra hour for everyone involved with the production, billed at time and a half.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job.

 

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 or 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 – Lindsey Ross


Lindsey Ross

Heidi: Who pours your plates?
Lindsey: My mentor told me he was the only one who had the “wingspan” to pour and develop a plate that size.  And people sometimes ask me if an assistant pours the plates for me.  No, I pour and develop the plates. Actually, I look forward to the day when someone pours my plates and I can focus more on directing the shoot.  But for now, yes, as a 5 foot 4 inch woman I pour the 32x24in plates.I mention this to underscore that physical stature is not an absolute for pouring plates.  I think it is more about balance than it is about wingspan.  Furthermore, I don’t think just because you pour your own plate by yourself it makes your work more legitimate than those who do not.  Perhaps, I won’t always pour my own plates and it won’t make me less of a collodion artist for it.

add the credit here

Photo by Andrew Schoenberger/Bimarian Films

Lindsey Ross, the Alchemistress, using a mammoth camera in Grand Teton National Park. the mammoth camera is a custom built 32x24in Chamonix view camera. It is sixty pounds (an upgrade from her 20×24 inch levy process camera from the 1920’s which was 200 lbs). Photo courtesy of  Bradly J. Boner/Jackson Hole News & Guide

Photo courtesy of  Bradly J. Boner/Jackson Hole News & Guide

When did you start the landscapes of the mining ruins?
In June 2016 I had started taking 20x24in landscapes of mining ruins in Telluride, CO.  This particular photo was taken up at the Tomboy Mine.  This mining ghost town was bustling in the 1880’s with a population of about 1,000 people. The town sits at 11,500 feet high above Telluride.  I started photographing the mining ruins because the landscape and mountains are so dramatic and grand and I was drawn to the mining ruins. They were shiny, like jewels adorning the mountainside. And despite being 140 year old and existing in a harsh environment, the ruins were really well-preserved.

This was all a part of a body of work of high altitude mining ruins for an exhibition with my friend and artist R. Nelson Parrish in September in Santa Barbara.  After shooting mining ruins near Telluride I wanted to shoot some mining ruins in California.  The highest altitude mining ghost town I could find was Cerro Gordo which sits at 7,000 ft above Death Valley.

How are you getting all your gear to these high altitude locations?
I was given permission to shoot at Cerro Gordo, which is several miles up a steep, windy canyon road with sharp cliffy drop offs.  I was driving my 1992 F-250 truck with all of my equipment in the bed, scouting locations to take ambrotypes at Cerro Gordo.  On my way down the canyon I started gaining speed and tried to slow down.  I realized my breaks stopped working.  I pulled the emergency break and that was not working either.  I gained more speed and realized I didn’t have my seatbelt on as I barrelled over rocks and lifted off the drivers seat.  Careening down the road I realized that I might have to bail out of my vehicle if I could not stop since the road was winding so much.  I came around a tight turn and saw a gravel pile and drove right into it.  The gravel pile stopped my truck.

Tell us about the perfect diagonal crack.
I was safe but shaken.  Some pieces of my equipment had fallen out of my truck, several sheets of glass stashed behind the passenger seat had shattered.  The plate from Tomboy Mine which was behind the passenger seat was broken in a perfect diagonal.

How did you get the gear to the location after you totalled your truck?
My friend who was assisting me, Macy Pryor and Telluride local, came to pick me up.  I had totalled my truck.  We still shot up at the mine with the help of some locals who hauled my equipment.
Nymph images in the trees (ongoing)
This body of work started with an accidental photo when I was on a weekend trip with some of my friends.  Coincidentally I brought my photo equipment on the trip and set it up.  And the shot just happened.  A big part of my work is about my physical labor and struggle to make it.  I have always felt struggle was necessary for me to make work.  And the first Nymph photo happened kind of effortlessly – a feeling that was new for me in my work and something I felt I should follow.   It also marks a point in my career (Spring 2017) when I was ready to depart reality due to the overt racism and sexism that was revealing itself in our culture and politics.
How did your Budapest residency come about?
This work was made as a part of my artist residency with Budapest Art Factory in April and May 2019.  I learned about the residency when I went to one of John Chiara’s exhibitions at Yossi Milo in September 2018.  I inquired with the Art Factory about the residency, applied and was accepted.

2020-2021 Photography Directories & Sourcebooks Report

© Amy V. Cooper, Photography Consultant https://www.amyvcooper.com

In 2019 I wrote the first ever Photography Directories & Sourcebooks Report, an analysis of all of the major paid directory-style resources for commercial advertising photographers in the United States.

This year I was excited to follow up with my clients and contacts to discover how these companies managed the challenges of 2020, pivoted their businesses and adapted to better support their artists.

While this is not a scientific analysis, I’m grateful for the insight that I received both from a survey of photographers based in the United States as well as input from the directory representatives, including advice for creatives going in to 2021.

With all of the directories, this year and in past years, I’ve received both positive and negative feedback from my clients. Different directories are better for different photographers depending on your experience, genre, location, service needs and preference for hands-on or hands-off maintenance of your listing. If you are not sure which directory is right for you, I invite you to jump on my calendar for a free call to discuss.

One of the positive aspects of the constraints of the 2020 pandemic is the shift toward virtual reviews, which has allowed more photographers and creatives to participate. Interestingly, photographers report that these virtual reviews feel more intimate and that they often get more time with the reviewer than when meeting in person.

In 2020, the directory Wonderful Machine received the highest praise from photographers in regard to pivoting and supporting them, with Found Artists coming in at a close second. Here is a selection of feedback I received about all of the directories, edited for length:

Wonderful Machine
https://wonderfulmachine.com/

Photographer Feedback: (I am respecting the privacy of the photographers who contributed by publishing their input anonymously.)

Wonderful Machine stepped up, both by lowering the cost of membership and increasing their marketing and exposure for members. They have been doing a weekly photo prompt and then promoting that work in their newsletters. They’ve been really great.”

“I’m happy with the conversion of traffic I’ve been getting from Wonderful Machine. They have also been sending out requests for stock imagery with more frequency. They have great resources and information on their website for photographers and seem to be more connected to their members. I received a few smaller job requests through my listing and they promoted one of my projects on their blog and Instagram.”

Bill Cramer, CEO, Wonderful Machine:

How have things changed at Wonderful Machine in 2020?

“In the past, we’ve arranged in-person meetings with publications, agencies, and brands on a regular basis to learn more about their needs and to share our photographers’ portfolios and to share our shoot production capabilities. Now that most of those clients are working remotely (and reluctant to have visitors), we’ve pivoted to video calls.

“We also added a section of our website called Creative In Place where our photographers can share a mini portfolio of shoots they’ve done during the pandemic.

“In March, when we saw how the pandemic was affecting our photographers, we significantly reduced membership and consulting rates and we guaranteed that through the end of 2020.

“In 2021 we’re launching a completely new website early in the new year. We’ve added some features including bookmarking and sharing features for clients, and a calendar feature that allows our photographers to update their travel plans so clients can find them wherever they are.”

What is your best advice for photographers navigating physical distancing and decline in photography production right now?

“I think there are several things photographers can do to stay competitive. First, they need to educate themselves on appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols so their clients can feel confident hiring them and so their subjects are comfortable. Next, photographers need to consider whether there’s any technology they need to incorporate into their process that will allow them to shoot remotely or that will allow their clients to monitor the progress of a shoot remotely. Finally, they have to continue to push themselves creatively, update their marketing materials and connect with clients that are right for them. Yes, that’s a tall order!”

Found Artists
http://foundartists.com

Photographer feedback:
Found rolled out #shootsolutions, which highlighted creative solutions photographers were offering during physical distancing.”

“The biggest job I got this year was through Found, and I was able to take advantage of their bidding services.”

Jennifer Perlmutter, Director, Photography & Creative Services, Found Artists:

How have things changed at Found Artists in 2020?

“We launched our Shoot Solutions page to help creatives find artists who had workable solutions to shooting and creating through all phases of quarantine and lockdown. Our Executive Producer, who helps many of our non-exclusively represented artists with estimating and negotiating projects, educated herself in COVID-safe production guidelines to make sure we knew how to safely produce during this time.

“We stopped sending printed materials from March through August and focused our efforts on collecting information. We were thrilled to receive many home addresses and direct quotes from creatives to share with our members that showed a genuine interest in receiving (print materials).

“Volume 12 of our book will drop in late February to an adjusted list of creatives who provided those home addresses and updated office information. This book is also turning into a beautiful collection of personal projects created during this time as well as interesting and thoughtful commissioned work. These addresses are only to be used for our books and promo decks, so we are still being very careful with single mailers.

“We have retired our reviews for now but are hopeful we can resume those in 2021. Time will tell. We are planning virtual showcases to launch in early 2021 that will be pre-recorded and then promoted for the creatives to view at their leisure, which has always been more our speed.”

What is your best advice for photographers navigating physical distancing and decline in photography production right now?

“Keep creating. I have seen so many beautiful personal projects, projects that inspire creatives and clients, come out of this time. Keep reaching out. Email creatives and share your solutions to keep productions rolling. We can all continue to help each other make it through this unprecedented time.”

Workbook
https://www.workbook.com/

Photographer Feedback:
Workbook did a great job navigating the challenges and their Where Are We Now webinar series helped with much needed and wanted answers to figure out how to move forward.”

Heidi Goverman, Senior VP, Development & Client Relations, Workbook:

How have things changed at Workbook this year?

“Our company is built on the printed book, and the spring 2020 book had already been created when the pandemic hit. Additionally, the fall 2020 book was deep in production. So, we reached out to creative buyers to see if they would like to receive their own book at home. The responses were very positive, and many books were shipped right to their doorstep. For anyone who preferred to get their books at their offices, we continually monitored the situation and shipped when appropriate.

“We have been working on a new enhanced digital edition that will debut around spring 2021. But in 2020 we’ve launched a new website, upped our social presence, and showcased our clients’ work with all-new campaigns. We also took a look at pricing and added a new subscription level with the understanding that tiered pricing is a way to help more artists.

“We have launched a nationwide virtual portfolio event for our Pro level clients and have six events on our calendar for 2021 and are planning even more.

“We’ve also found webinars to be powerful tools for information. We have a series called Where We Are Now. We discuss the current state of the industry with expert panelists. Another of our webinars is First Impressions. We evaluate websites in real time with a panel of art producers and art buyers.”

What is your best advice for photographers navigating physical distancing and decline in photography production right now?

“Consistently marketing your work is key right now. Now is the time to be nimble and bold. The good news is there will always be marketers and they will always need imagery, so stay with it; keep marketing. It’s also really important to keep adding to your skill set and create fresh work. There’s always that chance during a time like this that something interesting gets created out of necessity. Creative buyers are always looking for the person who brings a new take on things. Every brand in the world has been pivoting; think about that when reaching out to them and show them your vision for their brand.”

AtEdge
http://www.at-edge.com

Photographer Feedback:
“I had two high-profile meetings through AtEdge this year and hope to do more. I’ve seen some website traffic conversion from the directory as well as new Instagram followers when they promoted my work.”

Francesca Galesi, Associate Director of Photography, AtEdge:

How have things changed at AtEdge this year?

“This summer AtEdge launched a new website to include a more robust search engine that can further pinpoint photographers, directors, post-production studios and imagery. Our new ability to filter by location is especially relevant in today’s industry given travel restrictions.

“Our revamped Campaign Spotlight and eBlast have resulted in a 25% uptick in overall traffic to our site in 2020.

“Face-to-face events have morphed into virtual one-on-one meetings, which will be a permanent additional perk for AtEdge photographers. Our virtual meetings are scheduled Zoom calls, 20- to 30-minute meetings, though we hear that many are lasting for an hour (or more). Each creative has a profile on our proprietary platform that shows the company they work for, along with the clients and accounts they service and an availability calendar. AtEdge photographers can peruse these profiles and schedule virtual meetings directly via the creative’s availability calendar.

“We are still sending out our printed books. Our team has reached out for home addresses, and we’re also making note of creatives who are still picking up their mail at work.

“We now offer an à la carte approach to pricing, allowing our talent to choose where they would like to spend their marketing dollars. There is a base price of $3,400 for an AtEdge Digital presence (website, Campaign Spotlight and social shout-outs). Add-ons for the printed books and virtual meetings are purchased separately.”

What is your best advice for photographers navigating physical distancing and decline in photography production right now?

“It is important to continue to photograph, to work on those personal stories that so often are what draws attention to you and makes you unique. The ones that maybe you never had time for. Focus on those.

“It is also vitally important to continue to market and continue to share your work. Advertising does not hit pause. Creatives are looking. Those who show strength in slower times are always the first to prosper when economies come roaring back. Now is not the time to fade into the background. Quite the opposite — now is the best time to boost your marketing and poise yourself for the expected surge in opportunities.

“Photographers have risen to the very real challenge to include COVID protocols and have created incredible campaigns since March 2020. The world will continue to open and close, but work continues.

“Your messaging is important. How one works, what are your current capabilities, where are you located…To be in tune with the current market happenings, to be positive and flexible, and above all, to be safe.”

Boulevard Artists
https://www.blvdartists.com/

Joshua Herman, Director of Operations, Boulevard Artists:

How have things changed at BLVD in 2020?

“Instead of being able to host our series of agency visits around the country and our portfolio review events, we’ve instead had to find ways to supplement those opportunities from a distance; from monthly agency-wide conference calls with art producers to online portfolio reviews to increased email marketing.

“There are several pros of this (virtual review) format: a longer amount of time to meet, a more intimate setting since it isn’t taking place at an event where there’s a significant amount of background noise, a seamless showing of video and still work, and it’s highly cost-efficient and convenient since there is no travel expense and meetings are scheduled according to the reviewers’ and photographers’ availability. This provides continuous opportunity for photographers to meet with creatives all over the country instead of just during set event dates.

“As we continue to roll out our online reviews, we are beginning to focus on smaller markets that we aren’t able to host events in, such as places like Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Portland, Atlanta, Houston, etc. Once our in-person events are back in the larger cities, I think this will make a good ongoing opportunity for photographers to personally connect with creatives in the second- tier cities that may not be able to support a larger in-person event.

“Although I sometimes hear photographers say they prefer to show a book, which is understandable, I think there’s much more to be gained by showing their website (in online reviews) as the feedback from the reviewer will be focused both on the work itself as well as how the photographer is presenting themselves ‘publicly’ in terms of branding.”

What is your best advice for photographers navigating physical distancing and decline in photography production right now?

“Giving advice within this ever-evolving industry, especially during this unprecedentedly difficult time, may be a bit audacious, but what I can say with certainty for photographers and directors is that given the new working reality, putting forward your “turn-key” solutions is vital. Agencies aren’t just looking for great content creators now, they need problem-solvers who are able to bring solutions to the table. Therefore, I would suggest that photographers present a summary on their website regarding where their capabilities lie in creating work under these new circumstances and what assets they have at their disposal to address those issues. From having a comprehensive understanding of your state’s guidelines and regulations to having access to talent you may know personally to produce shoots amongst family and friends. The more solutions one can offer to overcoming these challenges, the more attractive one becomes for hiring. When this pandemic first struck, everything came to a standstill. Now agencies are playing rapid catch-up, and they’re continually looking for content producers who can produce quality content under these new working restrictions. So, address that directly on your website.

“Other than that, I would suggest taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible to connect directly with creatives working at agencies. The best way to keep your finger on the pulse is to stay personally in touch with as many art producers and creative directors as possible so as to anticipate what they’re looking for and where things are heading.”

Production Paradise
https://www.productionparadise.com/

Mark Peel Lewis, Head of Creative Relations, Production Paradise:

How have things changed at Production Paradise in 2020?

“During the first main lockdown in March when 90% of our members were unable to produce content, we thought it would be a good idea to start organizing live talks with our community. The first talk we did was with producers and photographers based in China who had just come out of their own lockdown and were therefore able to relate with what everyone else was going through, give tips on how to make the most of their time and share their new reality with the rest of world. We also organized online courses and classes to share our knowledge on how to best promote your work online.

“Apart from this we kept publishing our spotlights and showcases as it was important or our members to keep being visible even if they weren’t working. Finally, we automatically extended all of our members memberships for 4 months so they wouldn’t lose any time on their current yearly membership with us.

“In terms of new services, we are about to launch new marketing consulting services for Instagram, LinkedIn and Portfolio Review/Personal branding with industry experts.

“We care a lot about the branding of our members so with our new services and the support of our experts/coaches for Instagram, LinkedIn and Personal Branding we can now help our members cover their most crucial marketing needs and make the best impact possible when being seen by their potential clients.”

What is your best advice for photographers navigating physical distancing and decline in photography production right now?

“Stay positive, spend time doing more personal projects, keep pushing your work out there and show that you are still here and kicking. I would also make sure that you get into 2021 with a proper marketing strategy, goal and plan so you won’t miss out on any opportunities that will occur during the year.”

Although I did not receive feedback from other directory sources, I know that LeBook shifted their Connections event to online and Komyoon has been adding new features to their app as well as their website. PhotoPolitic suspended events but continues to send emails.

I was happy to see an increase in support for photographers as well as shift in attention to diversity at some professional photographer associations such as ASMP and APA. The two offered portfolio review opportunities, grants, help with applying for federal aid, and resources for producing during COVID-19.

Black Women Photographers, Natives Photograph, Women Photograph, Color Positive, DiversifyPhoto and other listings gained much deserved media attention and support this year and provided community to their members.

Interested in investing in a photography directory? Read my extensive directories report and consider these steps:

  • –  Take your time and do a lot of research.
  • –  Define what services and levels of support are most important to you.
  • –  Understand who your competition is within each directory. (Is it over or undersaturated?)
  • –  Reach out to existing members who are similar in location and/or genre and ask abouttheir experience with the directories.
  • –  Speak to directory reps over the phone and ask lots of questions.
  • –  Pay attention to how these businesses are able to pivot and innovate with changes in theindustry, economy, and social influences.
  • –  Be a squeaky wheel. Check in with your directory rep(s) frequently to ask aboutanalytics, changes, initiatives, as well as more opportunities to be featured, promoted or introduced to creative buyers.

How to Survive (and Thrive) During the Pandemic:

  • –  Keep shooting and producing.
  • –  Work on your personal projects.
  • –  Stay consistent with networking and marketing yourself.
  • –  Be a problem solver, equipped with the information and resources to produce safely intoday’s environment.
  • –  Share that information on your website and with your clients.
  • –  Highlight capabilities, including remote shooting options, access to talent or locations.
  • –  Include your location on your website and in your marketing materials.

As with all marketing, you get back what you put into it. Good luck, #ImRootingForYou

This Week in Photography: New Beginnings

 

 

These are difficult times.

The hardest I’ve ever seen.

(It is what it is.)

 

I’m writing on Thursday, as usual, which means yesterday was President Biden’s inauguration, marking the end of one of the darkest periods in American history.

Honestly, I’m so sick of thinking about you-know-who that I’ll try to keep his name out of this column as much as possible, going forward.

It’s like Voldemort, when almost all the wizards in the Wizarding world preferred uttering “he who shall not be named.”

We’ll try that here for now.

Because this week, this moment, should be about new beginnings.

Looking forward.
Rebuilding hope.
Finding solace.

But I’ve seen mentioned with regularity on social media in the last few days, (and I’ve been telling people for weeks now,) much of America is suffering from PTSD.

All the hate, the constantly-aroused feelings, the unexpressed sadness, the repressed rage.

The frustration at our inability to do anything, on an individual level, to stop the Covid death count from going higher.

And higher still.

We’re now past 400,000 dead here in the US, and President Biden is predicting we’ll hit half a million corpses before too long.

How do we even process numbers like that?

Mostly, I feel numb.

The fight has left me for the moment, and I know many people who feel the same.

So this afternoon, after doing seven portfolio reviews in the morning for LACP, (which means I get to share more photo portfolios with you in the future,) I found myself empty.

Bereft.

I tried to look at a book submission to write this review, a book I’ll definitely feature soon, but my brain couldn’t focus on the words. (It required a lot of reading.)

Instead, I utilized my trusty trick of staring at my bookshelf, asking the heavens above for some help.

Would anything jump out at me?

Anything that might make me feel better, or give me the opportunity to share some peace with you?

Because if I’ve realized anything in the last couple of weeks, it’s that a lot of people read this column, and over the years have come to care about me, and what I write here.

Two weeks ago, I admitted I hit an inflection point in my marriage, and my wife and I would figure things out, or we wouldn’t.

No more dicking around.

In the 14 days since, (including 10 seconds ago, when a text just came in from a friend in Rhode Island,) the amount of people who have called or written to offer support, and check on me, has been one of the best things that’s ever happened.

Thank you so much!

Jessie and I decided we would not let all these external stresses from a crazy world break us up, so we’re forging ahead.

Still, the drama comes at us from other places, and just today, one of the people I reviewed went ape-shit, yelling and screaming, as if it were my job to eat the shit.

Please remember, the energy we put into the world affects so many other people. If you feel bad, and dump it on others, that creates a chain reaction.

After 5 years of incessant negativity from you-know-who, amplified 1000 times via Twitter, Facebook, TV, radio, and every other form of mass communication, it only makes sense that we’d all be wounded.

Beaten down.

Ready for President Biden, his diverse team of professionals, and that amazing young poet, Amanda Gorman, to give us some positivity juice.

That, however, is only the electric shock needed to restart our hearts.

The real healing will take a while.

So, as luck would have it, I looked at my book shelf and spotted one of my all-time favorite books; “Cultivated Landscapes,” an exhibition catalogue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Shout out to the Met!)

It features work from a show I once saw, of a collection of Chinese landscape paintings, which is a historical genre that has always inspired me.

These ancient paintings and scrolls are some of the most peaceful, meditative, quiet, lovely, magnificent pieces of art you will see.

The calming, Buddhist juju literally jumps off the page.

As bad as I felt when I opened the book, within minutes, I felt a bit better.

Because making art helps us manage our stress, and process our emotions.

It also takes our mind off things, for a little while.

And looking at art can serve the same purpose.

So no, it’s not a photo book today. But it is a gift from me to you. (Sharing something I care about, and love.)

See you next week.

To download a .pdf of “Cultivated Landscapes” click here 

The Art of the Personal Project: Fred Greaves

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: Fred Greaves

I was invited to tour The Abalone Farm facility in Cayucos, California, with some marine scientists that were headed to look at the facility months after it had been shut down. The owners of the property were hoping to find a group (or groups) who would be interested in taking it over and restoring it to become a research or conservation facility.

Abalone, as a species, has struggled to survive on the west coast due to a number of different challenges, the main ones being disease, overfishing, and a serious decline of the kelp forests where they feed.

These researchers saw the potential for the facility, but also wanted to see first hand what it would take logistically and financially to make it viable again.

Having previously photographed smaller abalone research/restoration programs at the university level, I was really excited to see this giant facility and also, hopefully, to be able to tell the story of a massive commercial abalone farm that is dusted off again to help restore one of California’s hardest hit marine invertebrates.

This work was all shot in early March 2020. At the time I imagined it would be the beginning of the story showing the transformation of this facility. But, like just about everyone, I was blindsided by the changes that COVID-19 was going to bring to just about everything, including most of the momentum on the restoration of the abalone farm.

So nearly a year later, it is still not clear if this is going to be chapter one of a bigger story or nothing more than a photographic obituary of what could have been.

Fred Greaves is a commercial and editorial photographer, specializing in traditional visual storytelling, based in Sacramento, CA.

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 – The New York Times: Erinn Springer


The New York Times: How to Survive Winter

Photographer: Erinn Springer
Producers: Produced by Gray Beltran, Clinton Cargill, and Heather Casey

Heidi: Did the images for this come from your archive or from your Dormant Seasons?
Erinn: All of the images were shot specifically for this article. It was very exciting to get this assignment because I’ve been shooting winter in Wisconsin for the last few years (which is how my series Dormant Seasons came about) so, How We Survive Winter felt like a natural progression.


If they were photographed for the text, what was the direction?
The brief was very poetic and open. The editor and I had spoken on the phone about the feeling of winter and the solstice being the longest night of the year in a year that has been metaphorically darker than most. I wanted the result to be representative of my home and my experience growing up in such a cold place like northern Wisconsin, that in actuality is filled with so much life.

Did you travel home to Wisconsin to photograph any of these images?
Luckily, I was already in Wisconsin for some other projects, so I just extended my stay. The timing couldn’t have been better! I generally split my time between Wisconsin and Brooklyn and I’m usually on the road quite a bit, but the pandemic has allowed me to spend more time at home. I’ve been able to focus on (and actually start) projects I’ve twirled around for a long time. The people and landscape here haven’t changed a whole lot since I was a kid, so I feel like I’m playing catch-up for all the years I didn’t have a camera in my hands growing up. These projects are an investigation of my origins and archive of what will eventually be the memories of where I was raised.

How much time passed in making these images? Were they all shot on the solstice?
I shot for a couple hours ~almost~ everyday for about two weeks. I tried to think of all the places and situations I could put myself in to get the best photos for the narrative I was building. There was an element of surprise because I was working in tandem with photographer Devin Yalkin, but hadn’t seen any of his images until the story was published. I was so curious to see how our images would be edited together. The pairings of our work really made the story come to life.

“Look for the smallest bit of beauty around you,” Dr. Safi explained. “That very much resonates today, at a time where it seems like the mega-systems are all broken or falling apart, to return your gaze to the small.”

The simplest solutions are always the most magical. And all the magic you need is ~probably~ in your backyard. That’s sort of the case for me and realizing rural Wisconsin is my most rewarding subject.

During these times what has kept your creative seeds ready for spring?
I’ve always been a planner and daydreamer for all the seasons. This year, of course, I hope that spring brings the renewed life we’ve all been waiting for, but I think it’s helpful to focus on the present. I tend to feel that acting in the ‘now,’ while setting the pieces and daydreaming of tomorrow (of spring), is the most advantageous. I honestly find so much joy in every season and look forward to each for various reasons. I think growing up in Wisconsin has something to do with that :).

*For more images, please see this carousel of outtakes.

David Alan Harvey Credibly Accused of Sexual Misconduct

In late December a bombshell article by Kristen Chick for Columbia Journalism Review detailed 13 years of inappropriate behavior from Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey. Eleven women described a wide range of disturbing behavior that you can read about here:

https://www.cjr.org/special_report/magnum-photos-david-alan-harvey.php

It seems that his behavior is an open secret and many are questioning Magnum and fellow photographers for letting it slide over the years.

Personally I’m sickened by what is described in the article and the thought of young female photojournalists having to endure harassment from Harvey. We need to root this despicable behavior out of our industry and I support anyone who comes forward to help do it.

Additionally, a former assistant is saying he stages his photographs which follows along with his abuse of power as pointed out by Biz Herman in this excellent thread:

https://twitter.com/bizherman/status/1341541896653590529?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Finally, there’s this Statement calling for collective accountability against sexual harassment in photography that you should read that was signed by many in the industry:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZD3G2mVplqXn-BBau7q31kogBskbMwBQACVMHahOPUCwnvw/viewform

This Week in Photography: The Cycle of History

 

Do you remember 9/11?

 

I sure do.

After the shock, and the inability to look away from the television screen all day, (Thank you Peter Jennings, RIP,) I vividly recall walking around for a couple of weeks in a haze.

 

Image courtesy of the Television Academy

 

What happened was so far outside my frame of reference, it felt like life was a movie, and I just wanted the credits to roll.

“Please,” I thought, “let things go back to normal.”

But they never did.

Sure, after a few years things chilled out a bit, at least until the Great Recession, yet life never returned to the way it was before the Twin Towers came down.

(No more Pax Americana.)

In the aftermath, we heard a lot about how so many young, angry, under-or-unemployed Muslim men around the world had nothing better to do than fume about America, and plot our downfall.

How they couldn’t afford to have girlfriends or wives, and they sat around all day, waiting in coffee shops.

How they had been “radicalized” by information that was essentially brain-washing. How certain clerics spoke directly to them, to their fears and anxieties, and convinced them violence was the only answer.

Though there had been major attacks in the lead-up to September 11th, like the first Twin Towers bombing, or the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, afterwards, there were no similar-level terror events on American soil.

It became much more about changes in airport routines, and the repetitive drone of “If you see something, say something” announcements on the NYC subways. (I lived there from 2002-05, when the city was still shell-shocked.)

Nearly 20 years have passed since that last epoch-shaking event in the US, and now we have ourselves another.

That’s how big a deal the attack on the US Capitol was: whether you call it a riot, a coup attempt, an insurrection, or the opening salvo of a 21st Century revolution.

Needless to say, I can’t think very straight 8 days later, and am surprised to even be writing this column. (Never missed a deadline; not about to start now.)

Thankfully, the photo-book-dieties are friendly to long-time columnists, so as I reached into my thick book stack today, looking for the oldest book there, I found something that came in just about this time last year.

It arrived before the pandemic hit, at a time when Donald Trump, for all his pure-awfulness, did not have the blood of nearly 400,000 Americans on his hands.

(Nor had he tried to destroy Democracy to protect his man-baby, hyper-fragile ego.)

When a year goes by, from submission to perusal, you can be sure I know absolutely nothing about the book in question, and take it on its merits.

Today, we’ll look at “Late Harvest,” by Forest McMullin, published by RIT press in 2019.

Given my limited brain capacity, I’ll tell you from the jump that this is a good book, perfect for the moment, but the photographs are not something at which I’d hurl superlatives.

Despite the fact that the artist’s opening statement makes mention of the brilliant Southern light, which illuminates colors with intensity, and the essay by Nancy McCrary that suggests these are not cliché, Southern-poverty-porn pictures, I disagree on both counts.

The light is often flat, and the portraits really could have used some fill flash. As to the subject matter, I have seen decrepit and abandoned Southern spaces many, many times before.

However…

The artist was a life-long Northerner who moved to the South on the cusp of the Great Recession, to shake up his life. (Along with his wife.)

They ended up in Atlanta, Georgia, (which has been in the news a lot lately,) and subsequently, Forest began a long-term project cruising only the smallest roads of the Deep South, with paper maps. (No GPS.)

I reviewed a book with a similar premise a few years ago, “True Places,” by Jack Carnell, published by Fall Line Press in Atlanta, and found those photos to be superior, technically speaking.

But this book feels like it dug into a vein of truth in the contemporary South, as there are interviews that both give a strong sense of the artist as a down-to-Earth, likable guy, and also one who displayed curiosity, kindness and empathy to the people he met along the way.

There are white people inside, including a small shopkeeper who longs for Trump to make gun silencers legal, and a bar owner who once brained her man with a baseball bat, and claims it’s the only “white bar” in her town.

Racism!

But there are also African-Americans who run makeshift bars, hair salon/sandwich shops, or are Mayors and Preachers simultaneously.

Taken together, the Deep South comes off as the kind of place that opportunity forgot.

A place that is still very rooted in the impact of the Civil War.

A place where you have to leave for the city if you want to have any chance at a decent living, or if you want to meet a partner in mid-life, because you’re tired of being alone. (Actual details from within.)

I guess what I’m saying is I don’t LOVE these photographs, but I find this to be a powerful, anthropological book that gives us a window into the vanquished Confederacy.

I know not all the insurrectionists last week were poor and white, (only most of them,) but they certainly felt like today’s America had let them down.

In fact, just this morning, (Friday, as I’m editing,) I found this quote in WaPo, about the QAnon-Shaman-asshole, from his lawyer:

“He took seriously the countless messages of President Trump. He believed in President Trump,” Watkins said. “Like tens of millions of other Americans, Chansley felt — for the first time in his life — as though his voice was being heard.”

Sure, the Trumpists have had the Presidency for 4 years, the Senate for longer, and just packed the Supreme Court for a generation.

But if your life sucks, you see no hope of improvement, and the President of the United States, your hero, keeps telling you whose fault it is, and then begging you to start breaking shit, can we really be surprised when the statues topple?

Are not Arizona and Florida Southern states, after all? (With AZ’s history as a slave-friendly territory.)

The answer is yes.
Yes they are.

So, how does any of this get better?

If I knew, I’d tell you.

For now, we can only hope.

To purchase “Late Harvest” click here

 

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Kevin Arnold

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:  Kevin Arnold

Kevin Arnold – Tombstone Series

Located in the Yukon Territory of Canada’s far north, Tombstone Territorial Park is a truly prehistoric landscape. Its mountains, cliffs and valleys are largely unscathed by the omnipresent scars of industrial human activity. Places like this are few and far between, but they are important because they offer us a glimpse of what the earth might look like without us. They offer us a fresh perspective that might, if we are lucky, draw us away for a moment from our human-centric view of the world.

Each of the wild places that I have tried to capture seems to call for their own unique approach. In Tombstone, I found that the immensity of the landscape and its unique textures and colors needed to be captured from the above. I created this series out of the door of a small two-person fixed-wing aircraft with a high-resolution medium format camera. At first, the landscape of Tombstone feels barren and vast: dramatic cliff faces, sweeping mountainsides, and rocky river ways. But, as we look closer and closer, we realize that this is a landscape literally teaming with details that tell the story of how the land was – and is being – formed. I think we tend to see places like this mountain range as standing against test of time, immovable and unchanged. In reality, the patina of the earth is ever shifting with the whimsies of water and weather.

Bringing these massive landscapes to life required shooting in extreme resolution and also presenting the work in very large prints. Standing next to the prints, the viewer can see the pathways etched into the earth by the daily movements of animals, the folds and grooves left behind by constantly moving water, the piles of rock formed by eons of crumbing hillsides. Like all mountain ranges, water plays a key role in in forming the Tombstone landscape and I also wanted to capture this. Depending which side of the mountains you are on, the melt water from Tombstone peaks travels either down into the Yukon River towards the Bering Sea of the North Pacific, or into the great Mackenzie River into the Beaufort Sea and out to the Arctic Ocean. The waterways are like umbilical cords that literally connect this land to the rest of the earth.

I created this work in the fall when the spectrum of color blanketing the hills and valleys is truly spectacular. In post, I wanted to make sure that this color came across as both surreal – because in person it truly is – and completely natural at the same time. The way the blues and yellows play off each other in the images speaks to me deeply, providing a visual calm that I find soothing at the most basic level. My soul. After months of working with these images from capture to print, the thing I love the most about the work is that I am still finding new textures, patterns and details that surprise me. The complexity of this seemingly simple landscape continues to astound me. My hope is that the viewer will come away with a sense that there are still places on this earth that are powerful and mysterious on a scale that we have yet to fully comprehend.

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 – Mel D. Cole: Washington D.C. January 6, 2021

Hip Hop Work

Badu 6.20.13 Drake & Trey Songz London 2017Drake Sade London 2017Kanye at Fools Gold Anniversary Party BK Bowl 10.24.10

Mel D. Cole

Photography + Directing and Collaborations

Charcoal Pitch F.C.  Mel D. Cole founded the first Black owned sports photography agency dedicated to creatively exploring soccer/football.

Heidi: In the forward to GREAT, Questlove symbolizes you with THE ROOTS.  “I’ve heard music compared to many things. Some say it’s a game. Some say it’s hell. I say it’s a war. Photographers are correspondents in this war documenting every battle. Every step of the way.  The invading Beatles had Harry Benson. Jenny’s Lens was the West Coast Punk scene’s eye. Run DMC & The Beastie Boys had Ricky Powell and the Roots had Mel D. Cole— or should I say Mel D. Cole had us?” – Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

Mel: Yeah that obviously is HUGE! Questlove has been a big part of the reason I am where I am in my career. Without him I might be in a different place.

You have a history of documenting culture. This past week you documented a battle, what made this instance different for you?
It felt more like a war, an invasion. It was hostile, people died. That’s the major difference. That day was more life or death than any other day for me. 

You covered the BLM protests, obviously topics were very different this time. Describe any differences you experienced in terms of the crowds, the energies, your safety, etc..
As always most of my safety issues come from the cops. I have not had any major issues with members of BLM or pro Trump supporters. The major difference is what each side is fighting for. Both side passionately want their side to win!

How did you prepare for your own safety, was it adequate?
I came with goggles and a helmet. I left the helmet at the Trump rally. So to be honest I was not very prepared. But that won’t happen again. I ordered a gas mask and other items to make sure that I am ready for the next time.

Did you formulate your interview questions in advance? I noticed in all instances you were extremely polite using, please and sir. Was it difficult to stay calm in the chaos?
No I kinda wing it. I go with the flow. I know having good manners will take you places and using a calm tone in my voice lets the person know I mean them no harm at all.

Did you ever feel threatened?
Yes. It was very scary at times.

What would you like your peers and viewers to know about this experience?
That there’s a human behind every photo that I captured that day and they all have stories to tell. Right or wrong, there’s a story and it’s important for history’s sake to continue to tell those stories.