The Art of the Personal Project: Sandro

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:  Sandro

Jessica Lange: Icons of Progress

Jody Quon, the renowned photo editor of New York Magazine, was inspired by a series of work I did with John Malkovich a couple of years back. Jody contacted me soon after she saw the Exhibition “Malkovich, homage to the Masters” and asked me to think about a series of important women that have changed the world. I fell in love with idea and was given the opportunity to work with the world-class actress Jessica Lange.  I re-created iconic images of Mae West, Simone de Beauvoir, Frieda Kahlo, Gloria Steinman, Georgia O’Keefe, Janis Joplin, Marlene Dietrich, and Diana Vreeland with Jessica impersonating and playing the role of each iconic woman. This work came to me from a personal project I did, again emphasizing the importance of doing personal work. From this project and the Malkovich Homage to the Masters project, I was commissioned by David Lynch and the SQUARESPACE Group to do a film for David Lynch Transcendental meditation foundation. I know personally I continue to get hired Nationally and internationally because of my long history of doing personal projects. I feel Art Directors and Creative Directors are looking for photographers and Directors that have their own ideas, not just people that can execute their ideas. The power of the personal project not only feeds my heart and creative soul, but it continues giving back in terms of commissioned work.

 

 

 

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 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.

 

Save The Date: ASMP Colorado Presents A Day With Wonderful Machine

Wonderful Machine has a fantastic event planned that you should check out:

The Business of Photography

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Wonderful Machine is teaming up with ASMP Colorado for a fun and informative virtual event covering the business of photography. You’ll learn about current trends in branding, marketing, social media, SEO, estimating, and shoot production from our photo editors, marketing specialists, and producers!

Event Schedule


Opening Conversation

10:30-11:00am ET / 8:30-9:00am MT

As our viewers settle in, moderators Rick Souders of Souders Studios and Bill Cramer of Wonderful Machine will share some thoughts about what they’ve learned in their combined 70 years in the photography business.

Rick Souders | LinkedIn | Website | Instagram
Bill Cramer | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Rick Souders
Souders Studios

Bill Cramer
CEO of Wonderful Machine


Building a Compelling Photography Website

11:00am-12:00pm ET / 9:00-10:00am MT

Join Senior Photo Editors Honore Brown and Deborah Dragon as they discuss what makes a great photographer’s website and share a few examples of successful sites. They’ll cover how to create a cohesive edit and how photographers can present their pictures effectively online to cater to their target audience.

Honore Brown | LinkedIn | Articles
Deborah Dragon | LinkedIn

Honore Brown
Senior Photo Editor

Deborah Dragon
Senior Photo Editor

Read More…
Expert Advice: Building A Functional Photography Website
Expert Advice: Web Design Basics For Photographers


Self-Published Photo Books

12:00-1:00pm ET / 10:00-11:00am MT

We’ll learn how two photographers turned their self-assigned projects into self-published books – and the impact on their photography business. Joining us will be photographers Muhammad Fadli and Tadd Myers. Wonderful Machine Creative Consultant and Daylight Books Cofounder Michael Itkoff moderates.

Michael Itkoff | LinkedIn | Website

Michael Itkoff
Senior Creative Consultant

Muhammad Fadli
Photographer

Tadd Myers
Photographer


Creating Memorable Marketing Materials

1:00-2:00pm ET / 11:00am-12:00pm MT

Senior Designer Lindsay Thompson provides us with a bird’s eye view of the many ways to share your photographs with clients (including emailers, print promos, print portfolios, promotional gifts, PDF presentations, Adobe Express, stationery & business cards).

Lindsay Thompson | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Lindsay Thompson
Senior Designer

Read More…
Expert Advice: Visual Identity For Photographers
Expert Advice: Photographer Logos


Email Marketing for Photographers

2:00-3:00pm ET / 12:00-1:00pm MT

Join Senior Project Manager Nicole Poulin as she breaks down how to identify your elevator pitch and target clients that match up with your goals (touching on client research, individual emails, email campaigns, and client meetings).

Nicole Poulin | LinkedIn

Nicole Poulin
Senior Project Manager

Read more…
Expert Advice: The Best CRM Apps For Photographers
Expert Advice: Why Photographers Need A CRM
Expert Advice: Email Marketing For Photographers
Expert Advice: Client Types: Brands
Expert Advice: Prospect List Services
DemandScience: Which EU Countries accept B2B Emails post-GDPR?
Komyoon: Liz Miller-Gershfeld, V.P Exec. Art Producer, BBDO on How to Show Your Portfolio


Instagram & TikTok for Photographers

3:00-4:00pm ET / 1:00-2:00pm MT

Project Manager Marianne Lee moderates a conversation with two photographers who are producing content for (as well as promoting their business with) Instagram and TikTok. Joining us will be Taylor Brumfield and Andre Rucker.

Marianne Lee | LinkedIn | Website

Marianne Lee
Senior Marketing Specialist

Taylor Brumfield
Photographer

Andre Rucker
Photographer

Read More…
Expert Advice: Instagram For Photographers
Expert Advice: Insight From Instagram Gurus


Top 7 SEO Tips for Photographers!

4:00-5:00pm ET / 2:00-3:00pm MT

SEO Specialist Ashley Vaught shares his thoughts on best practices for attracting organic web searches. He’ll also show how to track and understand the traffic coming to your site.

Ashley Vaught | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Ashley Vaught
SEO Specialist

Read more…
Expert Advice: Search Engine Optimization for Photographers
Expert Advice: Google Analytics Setup
Expert Advice: Google Analytics FAQ


Pricing & Negotiating Commercial Photography

5:00-6:00pm ET / 3:00-4:00pm MT

Executive Producer Craig Oppenheimer explains the basics of creative briefs, estimates, terms & conditions, treatments, and creative calls. He’ll also provide insight on how to negotiate effectively with clients.

Craig Oppenheimer | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Craig Oppenheimer
Executive Producer

Read more…
aPhotoEditor: Pricing & Negotiating
Expert Advice: Treatments
Expert Advice: Terms & Conditions
Expert Advice: Estimate Worksheet


The Photographer & Producer Relationship

6:00-7:00pm ET / 4:00-5:00pm MT

Senior Producer Bryan Sheffield will explain his process of producing a big-budget photoshoot including crew, talent, styling, and location needs, how to manage a budget, and put together a comprehensive production book. Bryan will be joined by photographer Emily Andrews to discuss a recent project they worked on together.

Bryan Sheffield | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Bryan Sheffield
Senior Producer

Emily Andrews
Photographer

Read More…
Expert Advice: How To Create A Production Book
Expert Advice: Hiring Crew


Closing Remarks

7:00-7:30pm ET / 5:00-5:30pm MT

Bill and Rick share their highlights from the day’s events and open the discussion up for anyone who wants to jump in!

Bill Cramer

Rick Souders


As this is an all-day event, please pop in and out of the sessions as needed. We hope to see you there!

The Daily Edit – Andrew Hetherington: Wired Magazine


Wired Magazine

Photo Director: Anna Goldwater Alexander
Photo Editor: Samantha Cooper and Beth Holzer

Photographer: Andrew Hetherington

Heidi: Tell us how this assignment hit home for you.
Andrew: Who would have thought as a teenager in Dublin watching the telly and seeing cyclist Greg LeMond win his first World Road Race Championship back in 1983 or his first Tour De France victory in 1986 that I would one day meet the legend, let alone take his photograph and do so in Knoxville, Tennessee of all places. Well, that 13 year old had no idea where Knoxville was and could never have dreamed any of that could or would happen.

Were you always interested and following in cycling?
Yes, I have always been a keen cyclist so in November 2020 I was super excited to see the @lemondbicycles announce on IG the release of two carbon commuter E-Bikes, the Prolog and the Dutch, to be followed in 2022 with road and gravel versions.
Greg has always been a pioneer in cycling technology and design especially when it came to the use and development of carbon fiber. Even in his racing days he was at the front of the peloton when it came to innovation, aero dynamics and geometry and launched his own manufacturing company LeMond Bicycles.Long story short and after a licensing deal with Trek, that created what would become one of the nation’s top road brands, went bad, ended up in lawsuits and was eventually settled in 2010. Greg has since pivoted to the research and development of disruptive carbon fiber technology leading to the creation of his company – LeMond Carbon

Was this assignment was a perfect mix of work and play?
So when I got an email from Beth @wired wondering if I would be up for photographing the new bikes and Greg himself for an upcoming feature in the magazine it was a no brainer yes.

How long have you been in Atlanta?
I have been based in Atlanta the last couple of years and have been road tripping to assignments throughout the south. FL, AL, LA, SC, NC, AR and TN are all well within driving distance so was an easy-ish commute to and from the location in Knoxville.

Did you get a ride in?
The weather was pretty wet that day so that limited the shoot to inside the facility and office space. Although I did get to test ride a Prolog around the assembly floor have to say it’s a winning ride as well as being an absolute looker!!!

Was was the direction from the magazine?
The creative was to shoot as much of the building and assembly process as was allowed and wasn’t top secret. Samantha Cooper who had taken over as the photo editor on the shoot from Beth by the time it became  reality put together a shot list and an image pull from my site for creative. The one must get was a shot of a bike itself dismantled with all its parts showing. This was pre-approved by LeMond and we had help piece it all together from their Creative Director on set which was a huge help. I also got an edit of the story in advance (which is not always the case) and that’s was super helpful to help wrap ones mind around creative and indeed logistics.

Were you star struck?
I heard Greg’s voice down the hall before I met him and have to say I was a little nervous. He is a legend after all. Happy to report he is an absolute class act, a true champ, one of the most engaging, animated, passionate, honest, open and panache filled folk I have ever had the pleasure of photographing. He wanted us to shoot everything, even the secret stuff and had to be reined in a couple time there. Obvs, I was totally star struck fan boy but dug deep and managed to hold it together (I think) like a pro for the shoot.

We shot with Greg first and then wrapped the shoot with the bike parts as that took a little time and finessing…

Featured Promo – Charlotte Schreiber

Charlotte Schreiber

Who printed it?
Gutenberg Beuys Feindruckerei GmbH
www.feindruckerei.de

I had worked with them on one of my books ’SUD’ (http://www.charlotteschreiber.com/sud/ https://shop.charlotteschreiber.com/product/sud-photographic-notes-from-south-america) before and was really pleased. I’m very particular when it comes to colors and handling paper and they did it very well.

Who designed it?
My dear friend and brilliant designer Max Weinland https://www.maxweinland.com/ who I have been collaborating with for years.

Tell me about the images.
Over the years I have come to realize that my body of work is not easy to categorize so it was important to show a variety of what I do, still making sure they stay connected through what I would say is essential to my work: the warmth, the stillness, the colors, the light and atmosphere.

Except the portrait of my friend Bettina, who I have been photographing regularly over the years, it’s all commissioned work, and I like to show that as long as you want my way of seeing things, I can photograph anything. No matter if it’s a magazine story about a family and their allotment in the suburbs of Hamburg, a story about the new S-Class for Mercedes or a portrait of the relationship coach of a new established Dating Agency for Best Agers. The image it completely unfolds to is from a commissioned travel story that took me through a more rural part of Japan. I like the idea of making people stop and take a breath when they look at the greenness/freshness of that captured moment, and maybe even put it up in their office. When people ask me what I do, I always say, I get paid to tell you stories and make you dream about it, to make you long for and wonder. – That’s what all these images do.

How many did you make?
We ran a print of 300.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I used to send them out twice a year. They were mostly postcards in a bigger format, with one big image printed on thick matte paper.
I did a similar one to this here that also unfolded into a A3 poster a few years back. Max Weinland designed it as well: http://www.maxweinland.com/charlotte-schreiber-portfolio/ Since then mailings have become less regular and then the pandemic made me stop completely. This one is the first I’ve sent out since and I wanted it to shine bright.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes. The postcards began as something I would hand out after portfolio meetings and every time I came back I would see them hanging in offices, cubicles or on Instagram that they found a new place in an editor’s home/fridge/postcard wall, and these collections grew when I started sending them out regularly. I still find it a good way to be kept on their mind/eye.

Also while everything and everyone needs to be available on social media all the time, without pausing ever, I feel like people appreciate touching work once in a while. Seeing having someone put thought into layout, image selection, paper, into the feel, smell, the importance of that photographers work and simply the effort that went into making something. I believe the way you handle your work goes a long way and adds value to it, it also leads the way to how others, i.e. potential clients handle your work.

This Week in Photography: The Best Work from PhotoNOLA, Part 2

 

 

 

“Just as a bow kept strung loses its usefulness, so humans cannot stand continuous tension.”

Koichi Tohei, Japanese Zen/Aikido master (1920-2011)

 

“Laissez les bons temps rouler.”

An old Cajun French saying

 

 

 

 

Last week, I went all Zen on you.

What with the meditation advice and such.

 

 

I know it can seem preachy, sometimes.

So I try to be careful.

(And as I tell all my students and clients, I never give advice I don’t apply in my own life.)

Happiness doesn’t just come from self-care, be it exercise, kung fu, or movement meditation.

Humans are social creatures, and need contact.

Isolation, and even worse, loneliness, make us sick.

But wait, I promise this won’t be a heavy column!

(Nor a long one.)

So let’s move things along, shall we?

 

 

 

 

 

Having fun, hanging out with friends, keeps us emotionally and physically happy.

Even if you don’t drink alcohol in your daily life, or stay out late, tying one on every now and again, hitting the town with your buddies, is a pre-pandemic habit that needs to come back ASAP.

(Or for most of you, maybe it already has.)

I went to my first post-pandemic, IRL photo festival in mid-December, as the Delta wave receded, and just before Omicron hit.

New Orleans draws certain people in, like a dumpling restaurant in the back corner of a forgotten strip-mall.

More invested, knowledgeable people than I have tried to write about New Orleans, and understand it.

I make no pretense.

I’ve been there five times in my life, always in December, and had a shit ton of fun on each occasion.

I feel comfortable in the town.

As different as it is from where I live, here in the high desert, at the base of the Rocky Mountains, there is somehow a connection between the places.

Honestly, it has to be the Spanish and French roots.

 

 

It shows wherever you look.

The 18th and 19th Century architecture is insanely gorgeous, and evokes a historical glamour I haven’t seen elsewhere in America.

 

 

(Though admittedly I haven’t been to Charleston.)

 

 

 

 

 

There’s music on the streets, on the regular, and it transforms any ordinary moment into something truly special.

Like the time I sat on some concrete steps, down at the Mississippi River, and listened to a talented busker behind me belt out “Ring of Fire.”

 

 

It was a moment.

(And yes, I gave him money.)

 

 

 

New Orleans is a city that enchants, and really, do you ever remember me saying anything like that before?

As usual, I stuck to the French Quarter and the CBD, getting bussed around the city a few times, never knowing where I was, because it was evening, the city is a maze, and I’d let loose and drank more than a few.

(So much fun, those few days.)

Let’s cut to the chase.

That’s the moral of the story, today.

Please, loosen up when you can, and have a jolly good time.

Live a little.

We’ve all gone through, or more likely are still going through, a seismic global catastrophe, with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Which is now two and a quarter years old.

No one can stand constant tension, as the great man said at this column’s outset.

We all need to break it, sometimes.

Having fun is a great way to do it.

And I speak from experience.

New Mexico weed stores opened on the first of the month, and April is normally my least favorite month, for a variety of valid reasons.

This year, though?

April’s been pretty, pretty, pretty good.

 

 

 

 

As to the real purpose of my trip to New Orleans?

Beyond eating, drinking, walking, listening, talking, and having a great time, (for the travel article I wrote in December,) my main goal was to look at photographic projects.

I went to PhotoNOLA to review portfolios, offer feedback, and then write about my favorites, here, for you.

Last week, we offered Part 1, and it was a pretty excellent mix of work, if I do say so.

This time out, as before, the artists are in no particular order.

And thanks to all of them for allowing us to share their wonderful work with you!

 

 

 

 

 

To begin with, Laurie Peek had a sad story.

Let’s get that out of the way. (Call it your trigger warning.)

She lost her son, Jackson, during the pandemic, when he tragically drowned.

Like many others, he had no funeral.

So she began making new work, “In Lieu of Flowers,” in mourning, and the pictures are quite beautiful.

Or so I imagine, as I met Laurie while Zooming from a comfortable chair in the IHH event building, during the online portion of the review.

Each image, she told me, represented one person who couldn’t have a funeral, due to the pandemic.

Like I said, super-sad.

But processing that grief through art is a powerful way to go.

(Just ask Marvin Heiferman.)

 




 

 

I met Vikesh Kapoor at a festival in Los Angeles a few years ago, (shout out to Exposure,) and have happily followed his career’s ascent.

He’s had a nice array of exhibitions lately, in Philly and Chicago, with accompanying lectures, and Vikesh had a solo show, with a talk, at the New Orleans Photo Alliance gallery during the festival.

But when we met at the the review table, he showed me something different.

Work from a commission from Leica and the BJP, in which he photographed people who were impacted by Vikesh’s mother, who was the local ob/gyn in a small, rural Pennsylvania town.

There’s a video as well.

Together, they tell a visual story of an immigrant in a far different culture, whose life intertwined with, and impacted so many people in that small world.

(Vikesh told me she delivered 3000 babies in a town of 9000.)

It’s an excellent project, for sure.

 

 

 

 

Pam Connolly and I got along swimmingly, and when I found out she lived in New Jersey, of course it all made sense.

Seriously, though, Pam showed me very-well-executed, sharp, lovely photos of constructed, tin, old doll houses.

They’re not creepy, though, as the bright colors, and seductive use of light, make it more fun and nostalgic, than anything.

(She also includes landscapes that are imaginary views out the widow of the mini-homes. )

Pam’s work made me think of Jane Szabo, who’s created some very cool work by moving miniature houses around the natural environment.

Seriously, someone needs to give these two a show together!

 

 

 

Next, we have Peter Hiatt, whom I ultimately owed an apology.

(Or, at least, I offered one.)

At the review table, Peter showed me a set of images of paint ball courses, near where he lives in Indiana.

They were nice, but not super-distinctive.

I told him I didn’t see a lot of passion there, and wondered why all the people, the crazy culture, were being elided, when that’s where many of the best details likely reside?

I suggested Peter focus on subject matter to which he felt a more intense, personal connection.

And it was a pass for this article.

However…

When I went to the portfolio walk at the Ogden Museum, I saw Peter’s work spread out on tables, with the prints arrayed in a group.

Like bashing a door-handle with your funny-bone, I immediately saw that his handling of color, in a weird, consistent palette, was spot on.

And the repeating use of shapes and compositions eluded me, viewing them one at a time, under less optimal lighting conditions.

So I apologized, and told Peter I’d be happy to publish his work, if he wanted to be included.

He did, and here we are.

Thanks, Peter!

 


 

Last, but not least, we have Sarrah Danziger, whom I briefly met at the aforementioned portfolio walk.

(Friday night of the festival.)

We didn’t get much of a chance to talk, but I thought her environmental portraits about people in the local culture, (she lives in New Orleans,) were really well done.

I offered to publish them on the spot, and again, here we are.

Thanks so much to all the artists, to the crew at PhotoNOLA for having me, and see you all next week.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Emanuel Hahn

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:  Emanuel Hahn

Emanuel Hahn (he/him) is a Los Angeles-based commercial and documentary photographer/director. As a Korean Third Culture Kid growing up in Singapore and Cambodia, he developed an interest in storytelling, especially on topics of identity, culture, diasporic experiences, and the question of what it means “to belong”. His deep observational and listening abilities have led him to tell the stories of the coffee farmers in Colombia, Chinese grocery store owners in the Mississippi Delta, the Korean Uzbeks in Brooklyn, and most recently the Koreatown community in Los Angeles through his photo book Koreatown Dreaming.

 

To see more of this project, click here

To purchase this beautiful book, 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 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.

 

Supporting Photographers with NFT’s

Part 1 – Getting my feet wet

I decided to dive headfirst into the NFT world a few months back. I wanted to understand how it all worked, and I gotta say, it’s not really something you can dip your toe in… so I decided the only way to do it was to become a collector.

If you don’t know already, Twitter is the place where most of the NFT action takes place and you will hear lots of discussions about how the photography world on Twitter is so supportive and kind to photographers. After spending lots of time building an audience on Instagram, many are coming over and seem to be having a much better time of it.

I have been on Twitter for a long time and have to say it’s been refreshing to see all the photography discussions on there now. In the past, Twitter was dominated by news organizations, and during the Trump presidency, it was simply unbearable with all the breathless takes every 5 min. Once I started following more people engaged in the NFT photography world, my feed filled with photos.

Another aspect of photo NFT and crypto, in general, is that the slang and abbreviations make it difficult to understand what’s going on. If you are just getting started, you will spend lots of time googling terms and concepts. Here’s a glossary you can start with: https://www.finder.com/nft-glossary Unfortunately, the terms people use make it difficult to follow along until you have memorized and studied a bit. At the root of all this is the blockchain and a token called Ethereum. It’s helpful to watch some videos or visit the official Ethereum site: https://ethereum.org/ to get familiar with the underlying tech. Many photographers would be happy to “onboard” you to this world as well.

As a collector, once you’ve identified an NFT you want to own, you need a wallet to buy it and store it, and before you get a wallet, you need some ETH to make the purchase in the first place. A quick note on Ethereum… the price is volatile, making messing around with this world difficult if you don’t have money you can afford to lose. Since I’ve been involved these last 3 months, I’ve seen the price of 1 ETH in USD go between $2,500 and $3,500. If you buy some ETH at the peak, you can easily lose thousands.

I opened an account at coinbase.com, linked my bank account and bought an ETH. Then I got a Rainbow wallet https://rainbow.me and tried to transfer the ETH over but soon found out that for your own safety, there are delays in purchasing crypto and transferring it out of your account which in my case took a week before I had it in a wallet where I could make a purchase. This is a good thing but be aware that moving between USD, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs can take time.

I should also mention that it’s somewhat trivial for someone to steal all your money (your wallet address is public, and everyone can see what’s inside the wallet). There’s a private key that only you have access to with a passphrase of 20 words that you have to store somewhere that gives anyone access to your wallet. You can put this in a file cabinet in your house (don’t lose it or the wallet is lost forever) but putting it on your computer or backing up to iCloud or google drive leaves you vulnerable to hacks. You can also accidentally click a link and authorize someone to wipe out your funds. If you are playing with lots of money here, you need to take security seriously and it’s not an easy topic to understand. Here’s a thread that explains it: https://twitter.com/punk6529/status/1506175497834795012

Are you still with me? Once you get all set up it’s very easy and fun but there’s a steep learning curve to get started.

Once I found an NFT, I wanted to buy… I realized I had no idea what I was buying, and further research was needed.

Without getting into the weeds too deep, my research revealed that most NFT transactions happen on the Ethereum blockchain because it’s where a contract can be written. You can start here if you want specifics: https://ethereum.org/en/nft/ but what I was really interested in was the license associated with the image you are buying. Turns out there isn’t one. In very simple terms, an NFT is a digital receipt that points to an image. You own the digital receipt in the form of a token. I think it’s common knowledge that you do not own the image, but I don’t think most people know you don’t have any rights to the image either. ZERO. The erc-721 token, which most NFTs use, simply creates a unique digital receipt in the form of a token that points to an image.

But there must be rights associated with NFT photography because marketplaces, wallets, Twitter posts, and virtual galleries display images all the time. I discovered that these rights are given to you by the marketplace where you purchase the NFT. For example https://foundation.app, a popular marketplace with photographers, states the following:

When you collect an NFT on Foundation: 
* You own the NFT that represents the artwork on the blockchain.
* You can display and share the piece.
* You can exhibit the piece on any platform or in any virtual space. 
* You can resell or trade it on a secondary market.

What you can’t do as a collector:
* You can’t claim legal ownership, copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights.
* You can’t use the artwork in a commercial context.
* You can’t make any changes to the artwork.
* You can’t share the work in a hateful, cruel, or intolerant context.
* You can’t create additional NFTs that represent the same artwork.

The actual terms of Service spells it out even further: https://foundation.app/terms

So what happens when you resell the NFT, or the marketplace disappears, or the NFT is delisted because of a copyright dispute? I don’t know, but I have experienced this firsthand and will address it in another article. Let’s just say that as a photo industry veteran, the whole licensing aspect of NFT is stupid. It’s such an afterthought right now, but I’m hopeful that this will change as more people who understand that licensing is everything get involved. We shall see.

I’m finally ready to buy my first NFT, which I will get to in Part 2. But there’s the elephant in the room I haven’t even addressed that makes NFTs a nonstarter for most people. Energy consumption. I believe this will be solved very soon with changes proposed many years ago that Ethereum seems to be on the verge of implementing. If these changes are not implemented, I don’t want to participate in the photography NFT world. Here’s an article that covers the changes https://coinmarketcap.com/alexandria/article/how-will-ethereum-2-reduce-energy-consumption. This series of articles assume the wasteful energy consumption of doing things on the blockchain will be addressed.

The Daily Edit – Brendan Davis: Patagonia Spring Journal 2022


Photographer: Brendan Davis
Photo Editor: Jakob Reisinger

Heidi: The use of natural light for the portrait is striking, how did that come about?
Brendan: This whole run was meant to shed light on the impacts of the potential catastrophe of copper mining in the Boundary Waters. I have gotten to know Alex fairly well over the course of this project and I have become aware that a lot of his life is dedicated to shining light on how amazing the Boundary Waters are to different people, whether it’s doing this run, bringing his kids on canoe trips, or in his work as the government relations director for the Save The Boundary Waters organization. He wants people to feel its importance. I wanted this photo to put the light on Alex and bring the important, yet often quiet, work he is doing out of the shadows.

For this image set Alex completed a 110 mile traverse in wild temperature swings, how much running did you do and what was your approach?
I ended up doing about 46 miles that day. Which is probably close to the longest I have ever gone and definitely the longest I have gone with a camera in my hand. While photographing something like this I find it really important to be with the subject as long as possible. Alex was going 110 miles and moving as fast as he can do that and I didn’t want to slow him down with setting up shots. I took photos stride for stride with him. Often in motion or I’d run up ahead and wait for him to pass. I press the shutter between steps as both feet are off the ground and I am floating for a fraction of a second. In the rare moments of pause, or exhaustion however you might look at it, I’d take notice of how Alex was feeling or how I was feeling and attempt to capture that how ever it may be. I was only doing less than half of the running Alex was doing so when things got hard for me I knew he must be feeling it to. Running and feeling it all with him I am able to get as close to the experience as possible leaving very little room for over romanticizing anything.

What was the biggest challenge for this shoot?
Well, I think just running 46 miles is hard. The trail is grueling with constantly going up and down or making windy turns. There is a reason most people experience the Boundary Waters by canoe instead of on foot.

It was hard to focus on making sure Alex was moving along the way he needed to be, taking photos on assignment, and taking care of myself all at the same time. Something had to fail a little bit. On the day of the run temps got up into the 80s with very noticeable humidity. Early on in the run I had thought there would be more opportunities for water refills and  I drank my two flasks early and was left with no water for about 2-3 hours. Eventually, I got what I needed, but my body was already going through the motions of crazy dehydration and the water consumed couldn’t catch up fast enough. Which culminated in my quads locking up rather intensely at mile 26. So intensely that it looked like there was a softball about to burst out of my muscle. It was so painful I actually fell to the ground and then threw up. This put me in a strange place because we were really far out there and obviously I was not going to ask Alex to wait for me. The only way out was the 20 miles of trail ahead of us, the 26 miles behind us, or hitch a ride on a canoe.  Alex and Clare Gallagher, another runner helping pace and crew, kept going ahead as I figured out how to get my legs moving again. Before Clare left me she shared some salt pills and said see you later.  I envisioned all the possible scenarios, the worst being that I would just sit there in the middle of the trail unable to move for hours in the middle of the incoming storm. Thankfully I got moving again and caught back up to Clare and Alex as they stopped to refuel with friends who had canoed in the day earlier.

Thankfully my hydration mistake wasn’t worse.

How much planning goes into a project like this, since you’re working with multiple people, one being mother nature?
No matter how much planning is done, while documenting an adventure there is always some acceptance of chaos. I am able to control the gear I bring, the amount of training I do beforehand, study maps, set visual goals, and just expect it to be hard.

Logistically, this sort of trip has so many moving parts so everyone needs to know they can trust each other to be organized and situationally aware to keep each other safe. Nature is rapidly changing in the spring and obviously not able to be controlled so we did what we could to prepare.

Thankfully, Alex is a master planner. He had multiple spreadsheets, the whole map labeled with mileage markers, and had coordinated with friends and family on where they had to be, and how they would get there. Which sometimes involved canoes. There were a few other runners who helped support him on the trail by keeping him company and making sure he was eating, drinking, and moving properly.

You’re known as a high peak runner, how did that translate into this project?
I’m really lucky to live a life that allows me to run in mountains all over the country. I have been running since I was a kid and competed throughout college. A lot of my closest friendsI made friends by running. It’s how I enjoy spending time and I owe a lot to the people and places I have shared miles with. Running has been a deeply important part of my life and I am grateful to be able to join people like Alex who also see running as something greater than logging miles.

It is easy to hear about someone doing a 110 mile run and understand that it is a difficult task. I like to think that being a runner myself and understanding the nuances in the process of even simply trying to accomplish something like this helps me know where to look for meaningful moments during the physical and mental highs and lows.

What have you been working on recently?
I am just finishing up a multimedia project called “Home 2 Home” with fellow photographers Forest Woodward, Joe Grant and musician Christopher Parker. A couple years ago Joe ran the entire 500 miles of the Colorado trail and we all photographed the experience on 35mm and 16mm film. The culmination of the project is a zine, short film, and an album. It’s all being presented this week at 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale. The whole concept is about home and the humbling and joyous journey of being there. I am really excited about how it all turned out and that we were able to put it in print!

This Week in Photography: The Best Work from PhotoNOLA, Part 1

 

 

 

I just began reading “Ki in Daily Life,” by Koichi Tohei.

Fascinating stuff.

(Tohei Sensei was a Japanese Aikido master, the most skilled in the world, after founder Morihei Ueshiba, and a major proponent of understanding ki, which is synonymous with the Chinese concept of Qi, or Chi.)

 

 

 

Though I’m not finished with the book, right off the bat, Tohei Sensei establishes we all have ki, or life energy, and can choose whether it flows in positive or negative directions.

We develop our ki by the thoughts we make, the breath we take, and the ways in which we move our bodies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In particular, Tohei Sensei guides us to drop our “one point,” or center of gravity, (what the Chinese call the Lower Dantian,) towards the ground, focusing on relaxing it, as well as our posture.

It’s really making a difference in my overall happiness, and I just began experimenting with the practice.

But once again, you’re wondering…why is he telling me this?

Because Chinese martial arts, (the various forms of Kung Fu,) use Qigong, or energy-based, movement meditation exercises, to develop fighting power, and life energy.

Koichi Tohei Sensei, one of the great Japanese martial artists of all time, advocated doing the same thing.

 

 

And he drew acclaim for helping non-martial-arts, just regular people, understand and utilize their ki, by encouraging certain movement mediations and thought-patterns.

He was explicit in teaching the extension of ki though your fingers, out towards the world, to spread the positive energy you cultivate in yourself.

Sample quote:

“Our lives are a part of the universal ki enclosed in the flesh of our bodies,” and “…practice emphasizing the sending forth of ki aims not only at improvement in the martial techniques, but also at facilitating the conflux of our ki with that of the universal. That is an extremely wholesome way to make the maximum of one’s life power.”

That’s some secrets-of-the-Universe type shit right there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only two weeks ago, I published an advice column, suggesting you figure out new ways to chill the fuck out, while the world was going insane around you.

(Buck the trend, as it were.)

So now I’m giving you some concrete suggestions for how to accomplish that lofty goal.

These ancient practices, in which we trust old-school traditions, can help us learn to meditate, calm our minds when we’re stressed, and build up our ki, so life will get better.

(Knowing how to defend oneself is a cool side-benefit, but martial arts are really about developing internal control on a deeper level.)

If you’re not interested in Japanese or Chinese martial arts, things like Yoga, Zen meditation, Tibetan Buddhist meditation, Tai Chi, walking meditation, any of these are worth integrating into your life, to better prepare you for 2022.

I was thinking about all these things this morning, on my walk, right before I wrote this for you.

So I stopped by the stream, to capture a moment of Zen.

Hope you like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you add movement or sitting-based meditation to your self-care regimen, along with exercise, eating well, and making your art, you’ll likely find yourself a bit happier, day by day, than during the darkness of the early pandemic.

(I had to discuss photography eventually, right?)

Making art is still the most powerful self-care arrow in our quiver.

It’s why you’re reading this blog.

Because even in a world with seemingly endless forms of creative expression, so many people still love using the camera to make art.

And I’m fortunate to be able to meet a lot of photographers, view their work, and hear their stories, now that photo festivals are back, IRL.

Today, though, I chose not to do another rant about how great photo festivals are.

(As I’ve sung that song a lot lately.)

But it is finally time to show the first batch of the best work I saw at PhotoNOLA back in December.

I met a host of talented, cool, interesting artists, and am thrilled to share their work with you today.

(We’ll have another group next week.)

As usual, the artists are in no particular order, and we hope you enjoy the portfolios.

 

 

 

 

Ash Margaret is based in Houston, and showed me a bonkers project, for sure. The through-line to the series was a set of old-school gas masks, integrated into staged environments, featuring models as well.

(Talk about creative expression.)

They’re really strange, and I made a radical edit for Ash, in which we divided the images I thought were too kitschy, from the ones that were ambiguous, cool, and foreboding.

Regardless, they seem the perfect example of how to use healthy ways to get your crazy out, so you don’t shine it on others.

 


 

 

Ellen Mitchell is from the Jersey Shore area, (like me,) but unlike me, she still lives there.

While I spied a series about seagulls that I loved, at the portfolio walk, when we met for our official review, Ellen showed me a group of street photos taken on the boardwalk at Seaside Heights.

(A bit South of where I’m from.)

We must have discussed consent, as it was 2021, and considering how we commodify the visual identity of strangers is a tricky topic.

I also suggested she take good care with certain techniques, like light quality and cropping.

Overall, though, the pictures definitely represent something different, (which is hard to achieve,) and I’m glad Ellen allowed us share them with you.

{ED note: I just went through the files Ellen sent, while posting the column, and have to say, upon second viewing, I think these photos are pretty great. It was very hard to edit down even to this large selection.)

 

 

 

Chad Schneider is based in Minnesota, and also has a background making films.

We’re all familiar with the genre of creepy/seductive twilight photographs of homes and buildings.

(I doubt Todd Hido invented it either, but it’s certainly something we know him for.)

However, some tropes are alluring for a reason.

Chad’s illuminated evening shots sucked me in, for sure.

They’re gorgeous in just the right ways, and I love them, even if we’re familiar with the style.

 

 

 

John Hesketh is a cool guy, and certainly knows New Orleans.

(He said an ancestor had been run out of Louisiana, at gunpoint, so he didn’t grow up down there, but had deep roots.)

John showed me multiple-image-composite photos of Mardi Gras revelers.

I would say I liked them; didn’t love them.

I mean, they’re fun.

What’s not to like?

But when John suggested he was done, that surprised me, as he didn’t seem bored or disengaged with the subject.

He agreed he was still excited, and then reconsidered, deciding to return to Mardi Gras 2022 to make more art.

Nothing gives me more pleasure, during an event, than knowing I can help get someone fired up to use their creativity, which is so good for our health.

 

 

 

Last, but not least, we have Diane Meyer, whom I met via Zoom, during the online portion of the reviews.

They happened simultaneously, and each reviewer found a nice spot in the hotel’s events building, (across the street from the International House Hotel,) to connect via WiFi to a photographer elsewhere in the country.

Diane is based in LA, and showed me some really amazing work.

I don’t normally disclose such things, but I voted for her for the PhotoNOLA Review Prize, and others must have too, because she won.

Congrats, Diane!

As to the work, they’re photographs of the location where the former Berlin Wall stood, in which parts of the photos have been sewn over.

Like fabric art had a baby with photography, and I loved it back in December.

That was before the Berlin Wall, and the resurrected Clash of Empires, was so firmly ensconced in everyone’s consciousness, under a resurgent, imperialistic Russia.

It’s just a killer project, technically and symbolically.

 

 

We’ll have more portfolios for you next week.

See you then!

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: John McDermott

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:  John McDermott

Six years ago, I and my wife, Claudia Brose, who is from Germany, moved from San Francisco to Appiano, a small town in the far north of Italy, close to the Dolomites. Claudia has her own company, the IF/Academy, which organizes photography events and workshops, mainly for clients from Germany and Switzerland, including an annual four-day Summer Academy with a group of top photographers at an historic winery. During the rest of the year several 3-4 day workshops are offered for smaller groups of 5-8 people.

A few years ago, we traveled for the first time to Naples (Napoli in Italian) for Claudia’s birthday and we were impressed by the energy and warmth of the historic southern Italian city. In recent years the IF/Academy has offered workshops in Venice, which were successful. But we always had the idea to return to Napoli one day to do a workshop there. Two years of Covid restrictions placed that idea on hold. But this year we were finally able to offer it and the idea was so well-received that we ended up doing two workshops, back-to-back, in March. We made a scouting trip a few weeks before, to shoot, make some local connections and plan what we would do and where we would go during the workshops. The theme was to be Street Photography and Napoli is a street photographer’s absolute dream location. It is a city which is a non-stop theater of life with a population and culture that is warm, open, and vibrant. And fun. Very, very rarely does anyone object to being photographed, especially if you are just friendly and kind in your approach. The sensory stimulation in Napoli is intense and more or less constant, so much so that at times it can be overwhelming, and you may feel the need to retreat to a quiet space for a while. But at the end of some long days of shooting, always traveling light, with a minimum of gear and walking, a lot, we usually returned home with a very good and diverse selection of images.

So… I fell in love with Napoli. It’s a wonderful, sometimes difficult place, with a long history. It has a glorious past but a not-so-glorious present, thanks to lots of poverty and years of neglect. The well-documented history of organized crime and its grip on the city, as well as the popular, long-running TV series Gommorah, about the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia, have also not put the city in the best light. It’s a chaotic and dirty place for sure, and more than a little run-down in many places. But the people win you over, cheerfully and admirably just improvising and getting on with life in spite of the obstacles. Napoli definitely has its more prosperous neighborhoods, like Vomero, Posillipo and Chiaia. But the really interesting places are elsewhere, in historic areas like Spaccanapoii, Rione-Sanità and the Quartieri Spagnoli, those crowded, poorer neighborhoods of narrow alleys and busy streets where life is largely lived loudly and out in the open. Napoli, and Neapolitans, are unfortunately frequently looked down upon by much of the rest of Italy, especially by those from the more prosperous north of the country. Although I suspect many of the city’s critics may have never even been there and are just repeating what they’ve heard, the common belief that it is simply wiser to avoid Napoli if you can.

Two things you see everywhere are motor scooters and pictures and murals of Diego Maradona. The Argentine soccer legend, who died prematurely in 2020 after a long period of post-career drug and alcohol addiction and personal turmoil, in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s led the local professional soccer team to unprecedented glory, winning two Italian championships and the UEFA Cup. He will always be revered almost as a saint in Napoli for having brought respect and dignity, nationally and internationally, to a city that had rarely ever received much of either. The week after his death the gigantic San Paolo soccer stadium in Napoli was renamed after him. The ongoing veneration of Maradona probably explains a lot about the city’s collective psyche.

I have been warned many times over to be wary of pickpockets, thieves and tricksters while in Napoli. While they surely exist, in truth I have never encountered any. I have had only positive experiences that make me want to just get up every day and go out to make more and more pictures of this enchanting contradiction of a city. And to return as soon as possible so I can do it all over again. My desire to do a street photography workshop here has now evolved into an ongoing personal project. It feels almost like a mission at times. I want to give this place its due, I want to reveal it as it really is, or at least as how I perceive it to be. And in so doing bring more awareness, if not respect and dignity, to this complicated but always magical place.

 

To see more of this project, check out my Napoli Street Photography video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzQ0sWtFK24

My portfolio: www.mcdfoto.com

Instagram: @johnmcdermottphoto

IF/Academy: https://if-academy.net

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 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: Industrial Images For Energy Company

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine< Concept: Images of employees at work in industrial settings

Licensing: Collateral and Publicity use of all images captured in perpetuity

Photographer: Industrial and Lifestyle Specialist

Client: Energy company

Here is the estimate:

 

 

Fees: The client had three facilities across the country, and while the scope included one shoot day at each facility, the overall production including travel time would equate to a 10-day project. There wasn’t a defined shot list, but we knew the shoot would involve a combination of employee lifestyle images, and shots of the equipment within each facility as well. Rather than basing the fee on a certain number of setups/scenarios, I used previous knowledge of similar shoots to come up with a fee of $6,000 per shoot day, which felt right for the limited usage.

Crew: The load would be light, and the photographer only needed a first assistant for the production.

Equipment: We included $1,000 per shoot day for use of the photographer’s personal cameras, lenses, and grip.

Travel: I included appropriate rates based on local research for the 10-day production details in the job description

Misc.: This covered any unforeseen expenses that might arise during the production and while traveling.

Post Production: We anticipated about 20 images per location needing some basic processing, and we noted $100 per image, which would include up to 1 hour of retouching.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

The Daily Edit – Gdje Su Svi Dobrodošli (Where Everyone Is Welcome) : Andrew Burton


Patagonia Cleanest Line

Photographer: Andrew Burton
Activist: Denis Tuzinovic

Heidi: How much time did you spend with Denis before taking out the camera for this portrait?
Andrew: Denis was very generous with his time with me, for which I am forever grateful. Broadly speaking our time together was split into two portions – the first portion was a traditional reportage / documentary photo shoot while Denis volunteered at SR3 (a marine wildlife response, rehabilitation, and research nonprofit vet clinic just outside Seattle). The second portion was the portrait session at a variety of locations. The first portion, at SR3, was relatively quick and immediate, I probably spent about 15 minutes photographing while he fed a few different groups of seals. We probably had 5-10 minutes to “get to know each other” and build a rapport before he started the volunteer work. The second portion – the portrait shoot – was rather long and organic, lasting a few hours at 5-6 different locations. The vision I had been given by the photo director was to use natural light in a variety of locations around Seattle to show Denis, and specifically a jacket he frequently wears, to show him proud and empowered in an urban environment. During the portrait portion of the shoot we had a lot of down time without cameras, driving between locations and walking the streets of Seattle, getting to know each other and learning more about each other. Even when I was making portraits of him, Denis’ story is so powerful and compelling that I found myself setting down my cameras to talk more and continue the conversation throughout the portrait session.


Do you have any type of process for your portrait work before meeting subjects?

I come from a strict photojournalism and documentary background, which is to say that when I make portraits I usually approach the assignment from a reportage lineage – environmental portraiture using a majority natural light – occasionally one strobe or a reflector to help a bit . Before the assignment I research the subject  as thoroughly as possible so that I know as much about the person as possible and I use online tools (google street view, etc) to research the location as much as possible so as not to be surprised by what the location is offering. Once on the scene I try to let things unfold organically, relying on conversation and collaboration with the subject to achieve a finished photo. This process can be trickier with subjects who don’t have much time to give or aren’t interested in collaboration, but in this specific case, with Denis, the system worked quite well.

Avedon famously said in his book The American West “A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” At Patagonia, we look for, “an honest shot, real people doing real things.”  How are you creating an environment for this moment or emotion to unfold?
I’ve worked as a professional photojournalist and documentary filmmaker for the past 14 years and the deeper I get into my career, the more I think about this line of thought – is the photo or film I create “honest and accurate?” How do you define truth, objectivity, accuracy? Is the photo both factually and emotionally accurate?  Am I manipulating the scene to achieve my own vision but at the cost of what the feeling on the scene really was? Coming from a journalism and documentary background, where “truth” (whatever that is) is paramount, I’m frequently hesitant to use my camera to manipulate a scene or subject to achieve my own goals or vision (whatever they maybe). That said, I’m of the opinion that the deeper into the rabbit hole you go in a search for capital-T “Truth,” the more you realize it’s impossible to achieve and a bit of a fool’s errand- the very nature of a camera being in a room – another person observing something – undeniably shapes and shifts the scene. And yet. I believe intention matters, that as a journalist and photographer you can aim be as unobtrusive as possible and visualize a scene relatively undisturbed – or in the case of a portrait – that you can attempt to document the essence of a person in an honest manner that doesn’t manipulate them or visualize them as something they aren’t. To that end, that’s why I try to be as collaborative, open and communicative with a portrait subject – so that I can get to know them as much as possible in the time given and try to make a portrait that feels relatively “accurate.”

I see an honest, brave moment of self reflection and courage, what do you hope to capture in this portrait?
More than anything I hope the portrait accurately reflects who Denis is and compels the audience to read Denis’ story and get to know more about him – he’s an amazing man who lives by his values, is actionable about his convictions and who has been shaped by harrowing backstory. I won’t attempt to summarize Denis’ story for him but suffice to say I was deeply moved by the time I was able to spend with him and hope readers are moved by his story, as well.

What can you share about working with film and digital for our assignment?
I would simply say, it was a joy mixing the mediums of reportage and environmental portraiture. Denis and I had the opportunity to walk the streets of Seattle for an hour or two, chasing the light and location, chatting and finding unexpected scenes and environments. Ultimately the final photo is a clean, powerful portrait of Denis but there were dozens of other options that leaned into the visuals of Seattle and the mix of urban landscape amidst the beautiful Pacific Northwest. It felt like a rare and special assignment – most portraits don’t have that sort of latitude and flexibility. I”m very grateful to both the photo director and to Denis for the opportunity.

Film is often more intentional, anything that is analog slows us down, tell us about shooting both mediums.
Yes, I shot both digital and film on this assignment. I’ve been working more in film photography for the past few years which has been a total joy. I spent the first eight years of my career in the daily news and wire photography business – on the best days I was on the front lines of history documenting the most incredible moments of the human experience. But the turnover of work is incredibly quick – deadline is always 5 minutes ago and there’s always another assignment. Some days I might have four assignments. Modern digital cameras are made for this work – a photographer can make thousands of photographs with little effort. But the overall effect of that lifestyle, at least on me, was to water down the value of the photos I was making – it increasingly felt like “quantity over quality.” This may be trite and obvious, but working with film cameras slows a photographer down. It makes a photographer more intentional. It demands a photographer to ask themself what they’re trying to say by releasing the shutter. It has made me fall in love with the medium of photography again – the physicality of slower cameras, the limited number of frames – it makes me appreciate the medium. I would say it’s akin to digital music (Spotify etc) versus listening to a record. It forces you to be more present minded and appreciate scarcity.  All that said: I worked in both mediums for this assignment a bit out of fear – I wanted the digital cameras on the scene as a safety net in case anything went wrong with the film cameras. Ultimately it was an unfounded fear and the film photos were the ones I was most proud of.

Thank you to both you and Denis for working with us, I’m so grateful to have crossed paths on this special assignment. Read the full story here.

Featured Promo – Tracey Mammolito

Tracey Mammolito

Who printed it?
Gotprint https://www.gotprint.com/home.html
Being on a tight budget, I took a chance with this lower priced option. However, I did do a bunch of research and thankfully most printing companies will send a free sampler pack which is super helpful to see/feel the quality. I was impressed with the wide selection they have and was a fan of the Square orientation in multiple sizes. Unfortunately there was an initial printing issue on one of the cards but their customer service was great & very responsive.

Who designed it?
I did. Once again – on a tight budget, but my background in design came in handy. In a previous career making moodboards was my specialty so I took that ‘thoughtfully curated’ approach. I like how each card is a mini moodboard that could stand on their own or altogether. Having said that, I spent more hours, days, weeks, months on it than should be humanly allowed. Call it being a recovering perfectionist … or just terrible at editing down my own work. Probably both.

Tell me about the images.
Since this was my first promo card, I went with the “Overview Sampler” concept to introduce my work in three main categories. Mostly I selected images with a similar color scheme to further drive the curated idea. Also to illustrate a cohesive energy in the shooting angles, light+shadow. The images cover products, people, & places — all things I enjoy photographing and wish to offer a potential client. There’s action, stillness, texture, expression, directional lines… but overall a clean style. I aim to connect the dots across Fitness, Wellness, and Adventure whether it’s in the studio, out on the city streets, or out in rural nature spots.

How many did you make?
100 qty of each. Roughly half for mailing out and half for handing out in person.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is my first time so we’ll see how it goes. But I’d say once or twice a year seems sufficient.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Definitely. Perhaps because I’m old skool and started a design career when waiting for white-out to dry before re-faxing a sketch was a thing… HA! But seriously, I still believe in printed materials for the visual creative art world. It makes a more lasting impression and a more professional appearance. Beyond just snail mailing, I have found promos also helpful for physically handing out at tradeshows, meetings, etc. Especially now in such a saturated social media universe.

This Week in Photography: Road Trip to San Diego

 

 

 

I need time after a trip, before I write.

(To let things settle.)

Everyone’s different, of course, but I allow experience to morph into memory, then share the stories.

Occasionally, I’ll rush to judgement, (as I did with the New-Orleans-travel-piece late last year,) but only when I know we’ll be doing more articles down the line.

As it happens, I’m going to break down the best work I saw at PhotoNOLA into two articles, but ironically, this will not be one of them.

 

Owen Murphy, long-time APE fan and Co-founder of the New Orleans Photo Alliance, during the PhotoNOLA portfolio walk, December 2021

 

No.

As I’ve written many times, to encourage the creativity spirits to shine upon me, lo these 10.5 years with a weekly deadline, I’ve learned I am but her/his/their humble servant, and follow the energy where it takes me.

Today wasn’t quite the day for New Orleans.

So I promise we’ll get down to NOLA soon enough, (twice,) but today we’re going in a different direction.

Literally.

Instead of going South-East to the bayou, we’re heading due South, then due West, to drive through Arizona, all the way to the Pacific Ocean in sunny, Southern California.

(San Diego, if we’re being general. South Mission Beach, if we’re getting specific.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truth be told, the first vacation Jessie and I ever took together was a road-trip from Northern New Mexico to North County San Diego.

We stayed in a little, now-defunct, beach motel in Leucadia, on the North side Encinitas.

That was early ’98.

It fit our style, so we’ve been back a dozen times over the years, for vacation, or the Medium Festival of Photography. (Where I’m headed next month.)

 

The kids at Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, 2018

 

In 24 years, and all those visits, I’d never been to Mission Beach before.

Was Sea World over there, maybe?

But I trusted the internet, and found us a screaming-deal on a big condo on Airbnb, just three houses off the sand in South Mission Beach, with a private roof-deck-hot-tub.

 

View from the “shared” roof-deck, but I never saw another person there.

 

(I know that sounds like a lot, but I swear, it was super-reasonably priced.)

The rub was, I booked four of five months in advance, which was early enough, (because the condo was popular,) and we rolled the dice on Winter season, which can be rainy.

Plus, the ocean is cold then, as it is most of the year.

In July and August, the Pacific is beautiful to look at AND warm enough to swim, but it’s super-crowded, and more expensive.

(Just a heads up.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the massive state of Arizona sat between us and the Golden State, on our huge New Year’s Eve adventure.

We booked a hotel in Tucson, (morning of departure,) and for the first time, I can properly recommend one chain as being distinct from the others.

(Though it was a small sample size, so maybe it was just one solid hotel.)

Assuming it’d be close to the Interstate, I went with something near the airport, and found the Home2 Suites by Hilton.

Not sure which marketing firm rigged-up the concept, but consider me their target demo.

The rooms were a bit more expensive than your average joint, maybe in the $160/night range.

 

View from the hotel room, Tucson, the morning after a massive desert storm

 

But you get a very-large-suite, with a sitting room, a kitchen, and a big, two-bed sleeping space. (They separate with a well-designed curtain.)

The place had sleek, “design-y” details, and the room rate included a huge, all-you-can-eat-breakfast-buffet, filled with a surprising variety of options

(Waffles, fruit, muffins, bacon, egg & cheese tarts, fruit, cereal, coffee, you name it.)

If you’re not on a budget for two rooms for the family, (or you’re just spending a few hours to sleep, on a road-trip,) it’s great value to get one huge room, but the kicker is, breakfast for 4 costs $40-$60 at a restaurant, in these inflationary times.

So if you factor in not spending for breakfast, the hotel, (which was also immaculate,) seemed a cost-and-time-efficient option.

My other travel-hack for the two-day drive was to stock up on great New Mexican road food: carne adovada burritos from the Frontier Restaurant in ABQ.

 

 

It’s a not-large amount of shredded, long-stewed, sweet/spicy red chile pork, in a house-made flour tortilla.

Only two ingredients.

But man, the depth of flavor and complexity are insane, and they keep well in the car all day. (The Frontier sells them by the six pack.) We put the left-overs in the hotel fridge, and ate them on the way to San Diego the second day too.

For my New Mexican readers out there, I’m telling you.

This is the way to go.

Frontier Restaurant
4 out of 4 stars

 

 

 

 

 

But we’re not here to write about New Mexico.

(Or even Arizona, really.)

Before we made it to SoCal though, we did pull off the Interstate to see some Saguaro cactus, up close. We were miles from anywhere, in Western Arizona; the desert beauty captivating in every direction.

These Saguaro cactus trees, though, they have gravitas.

 

 

Theo unintentionally modeled his streetwear fashion, among the trees, and I remember telling myself, “Make this a memory.

Make this a memory!”

 

 

Later in the trip, Theo would intentionally model some streetwear, so we could show the photos to the Taos-based fashion designers, whom the kids had befriended in their store near the plaza. (I totally forgot until just this second, but now that it’s back on my radar screen, I’ll see what they think.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reason why I can so firmly recommend this part of San Diego to you, as a little spot to drop out and chill, is it’s easy to live with no cars. (Or at least, minimal exposure.)

South Mission Beach, as a little neighborhood, is actually surrounded by water on three sides.

 

South Mission Beach, a mostly-car-free slice of California Beach Paradise

 

And the residential streets, going East-West, are pedestrian only, with little sidewalks, and nothing else.

Additionally, the Strand, or boardwalk, is also car-free, just for pedestrians, scooters and bikes.

(It runs along the beachfront for miles.)

 

View along the Strand

 

So we parked our car in the garage, when we arrived in South Mission Beach, and didn’t take it out again until we left town.

 

 

 

 

 

While it was winter, we still walked around in T-shirts, shorts and flip flops at the hot point of each day, as the mid-60’s California sun felt like 75.

And having the place to ourselves, (more or less,) in perfect weather felt like the thanks-for-gritting-out-the-pandemic gift to our kids we hoped it would be.

Lucky us.

No, seriously. For real.

Lucky us.

 

 

The week before we got there, there were ferocious rainstorms, and in some places it even snowed!

Like, Climate-Change-level record rains.

That would have sucked.

And then, the weekend after we left, they had a Tsunami warning, and the entire beach had to be evacuated.

But we were lucky.

We had perfect weather, and walked miles each day, along the beach and the bay, to burn off the burgers, pizza, tacos and burritos we ate.

(And boy, did we.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first night there, we went for takeout at the closest possible place.

One guy owns both Capri Pizza and Grill, and Sara’s Mexican Food, which share one building on Mission Blvd.

We tried pizza the first night, and got a good Margherita pizza with meatballs.

I thought it was solid, if unspectacular.

 

 

The next morning, desperate to be a teenager, free and alone in a city, Theo went out to bring back some breakfast.

Not knowing it was the same owners, he ended up at the Mexican place, and got excited, ordering Carne Asada burritos with guacamole. (Something I’d told him was a staple in the local Mexican food culture.)

They were excellent, and along with the accompanying salsas, much better than anything we can get in Taos.

Unfortunately, the third time was not a charm, as we went back to Capri one too many times, and got a kind-of-dry chicken parmesan sub, and an almost-inedible Taco Pizza.

We’d chatted up the counter-guy the previous night, and because he liked us, he gave us extra meat, to be generous. But lacking nearly enough fresh tomato, or chile-heat to cut the richness, it was waaaaaaaay too much for me.

 

Capri Pizza and Grill
2 stars out of 4

Sara’s Mexican Food
3 stars out of 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a killer restaurant corner, on the other side of the Belmont Amusement Park, that was worth writing home about.

My cousin, Daniel, who’d told us about the excellent, if expensive sports bar Guava Beach Bar and Grill, also recommended Mr. Ruriberto’s, which is quite the name.

 

Waiting for fish tacos at Mr. Ruriberto’s

 

Their fish tacos had a bit too much remoulade for my liking, but were otherwise flavorful and excellent.

The Carne Asada burrito was standout too, so I would make friends with Mr. Ruriberto, if he wanted to be my friend.

 

 

Can you imagine?

{“Hello, Jonathan. Como estas?”

“Well, hello, Mr. Ruriberto. I’m fine, thank you, how are you?”

“I too, am well, Jonathan. I have a question for you, Jonathan. Would you like to be my friend?”

“Yes, Mr. Ruriberto, I would. I would like to be your friend.”}

 

Mr. Ruriberto’s Taco Shop
3 stars out of 4

 

As to the NY Style Pizza joint next door, ZoZo’s, that place was legit.

I only felt bad we discovered it at the end of the vacation, as I would have eaten myself sick on their food for sure.

The Margherita pizza was special, alive with flavor, and the slices I spied on their mega-pie were monstrously big.

 

Inside the pizza place

 

It was also more-reasonably-priced than Capri up the street.

 

ZoZo’s Pizza
4 stars out of 4

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to make memories on our vacation, and so we did.

I remember Jessie telling me, on the first full day there, “The cops must be brutal here, because there are no homeless people.”

She meant it mostly as a joke, but also not, if you know what I mean.

Given what I’ve seen in San Francisco, and read recently about LA, it was true, the lack of a sizable unhoused community was noticeable.

But as San Diego was known to lean conservative politically for a long time, and has a big Navy base one bay to the South, I could see how things landed where they did.

I also noticed many of those cute little side streets, (and accompanying alleyways,) weren’t very-well-lit, so it is likely the cops keep it quiet and “safe,” given how much all those condos are worth these days.

(Daniel asked how much I thought the place we were staying would run, and I guessed, “$2 million?”

“Yeah,” he replied, “that’s about right.”)

 

 

 

 

Daniel lives in a beach bungalow a few miles north, in Pacific Beach, and not only did he steer us right with Guava Beach and Mr. Ruriberto’s, but he also invited us over to his apartment, for grilled monster-burgers, with grilled zucchini sticks and potatoes.

 

Drinking a White Russian with Daniel

 

(He went to culinary school years ago, but doesn’t work in the field.)

After dinner, we took his massive rescue dog, Rudi, down to a nearby beach in the dark of night, so he’d get one last walk before bed.

The moonlight on the black Pacific Ocean made it shimmer and shake, like rustling charcoal.

 

 

Daniel drove us home, as our legs were tired from the walk North, but it’s a great reminder if you go on holiday where you have family or close friends, that can help with the memory-making as well.

(Plus with local’s tips on food, it’s like having your own personal fixer. Daniel also told us about an Ice Cream Sandwich place the kids insisted on trying, and I’m not sure it’s quite as appetizing in the photo as it was in real life.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking along the waterfront makes you feel good.

(Most of us, anyway.)

The entire peninsula is barely more than 2 blocks wide, and the Bay beach has it’s own visual charm, with boats and bridges.

 

 

Walking along one morning, Jessie and I saw a family of cranes, like something out of a Chinese Landscape Painting.

 

Crane in the foreground

 

We stopped and watched for a while in the quiet, and it felt like the California Dream was still alive.

(For a steep price, as long as it doesn’t burn down, fall into the sea during an earthquake, or get subsumed in a Tsunami.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theo and I made a friend, Orrin, while shooting hoops at the public court at the beach.

He had his own portable music, which was a little trend we spotted on the Strand, (especially people on bikes or roller blades,) but it made for a great soundtrack.

I made a quick video of Theo taking in to the rack, just for fun.

 

 

We met up again the next day, and Orrin specifically chose this track for a longer video. (With his friend Brandon shooting as well.)

 

 

(BTW, I’ve finally added audio to the videos, and hope you like the step-up in my content-game.)

Further up the Strand from the basketball court, (and past the countless beach-volleyball-courts,) there’s a mini-amusement park, Belmont Park, with all sorts of games, food options, a huge pool, and rides as well.

On the last day, we decided to try the roller coaster, (a first for both kids,) and they let you buy tickets, by-the-ride, instead of only having to pay a steep entrance-fee, which I thought was pretty cool.

As to the roller coaster itself?

Well, Amelie was so scared, (and preferred to wear her mask,) that I couldn’t help making a quick video.

Listen to the way she reacts, when I say, “Good luck.”

 

 

The meta-commentary: “Good luck? What the fuck do you mean, good luck? This thing should be so safe, we don’t need luck. Asshole!”

She lived through that terror moment, (on camera,) and we were shocked at how they made it super-fast, with legit G-force we felt a few times.

The cars shook you around, with quick changes in speed, so you really felt it in your gut.

Surprisingly great roller coaster, for such a small one.

 

The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster
4 stars out of 4

 

 

 

 

 

Last, but not least, the photography part.

Sometimes I do a travel piece, and photography doesn’t come up.

But not today.

On the last day, just as we were driving East for home, we stopped at my friend scott b. davis’ house, and he showed off his new Radius book, “sonora,” which features his beautiful work, made over many years.

(After we did a quick studio visit. Check out all the old-school chemicals…)

 

 

It’s a gorgeous book, totally austere, and the high degree of craftsmanship was appropriate, given scott is an expert platinum/palladium printer, and meticulous in general.

 

 

Theo showed me that scott, and his wife Chantel, had hung one of my images in their kitchen, and I took a trippy-reflection-portrait of the three of us.

 

 

(Weird, right?)

From there, we drove through the rock mountains, windmills, and sand dunes.

 

 

 

Then on to Tucson, (this time NOT in a huge, dark-of-night rainstorm,) and we had In-N-Out burger for dinner there, as somehow we’d made it in and out of California without eating it.

 

 

(No pun intended.)

After destroying our burgers, (In-N-Out is always 4 stars, every time,) we visited with my friend, photographer Ken Rosenthal, who was recovering from an awful fall he’d taken out in nature last year.

(Wrecked his knee something fierce.)

Jessie and I checked out his studio as well.

This photo of a geyser at night stopped me in my tracks.

 

 

It is just so exquisite.

(Perfectly capturing that mysterious power one feels, in so many parts of the Great American West.)

We drove through more majesty the following day, (hundreds of miles of it,) on our way home.

Elephant Butte Lake in Southern New Mexico looked worthy of a return trip, and nearby Truth or Consequences is set in a killer locale.

 

Elephant Butte Lake, Southern New Mexico

 

On we drove, to the North, through Albuquerque, Santa Fe, then Española, before we got home.

 

 

 

Road-fried, with bellies full of gas-station-burritos.

And all was right with the world.

(See you next week.)

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Nia MacKnight

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:  Nia MacKnight

 

Family heirlooms central to Indigenous photographer’s reflections on identity : The Picture Show : NPR

Photographer Nīa MacKnight never met her great grandfather John B. McGillis, but she did have a window into his storied life as an Anishinaabe man in early 20th-century America: a steam trunk where he stowed away undated photographs and stray objects such as an address book, a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, and a single eagle feather. McGillis lived through decades of oppressive actions against native peoples by the U.S. government, and MacKnight says that in a world where he couldn’t fully be himself most days, this collection reveals how her great grandfather worked to reclaim his identity.

“I was filled with joy to be able to hold his personal items,” MacKnight writes in a Q&A with NPR. “I was also haunted by the fact that the only photographs that he left behind marked a time of trauma and violence that Native Americans faced due to assimilation policies.”

Like many Indigenous people his age, McGillis was forced to attend federal boarding school for Native American children. He also fought in WWI and later secured a position at the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs where he worked towards improving employment opportunities for Indigenous people. MacKnight’s family recounts a man who spoke his tribal language in the company of friends and relatives, while learning the language of the white dominant culture to expand opportunities for his people in his professional roles.

Using her skills as a documentary photographer and interviews with relatives and family friends, MacKnight is piecing together McGillis’ history and reflecting on questions of identity and self-determination that persist to this day. She shared some insight into her process with NPR.

 

What story do you hope these photographs tell? 

It is my hope that my Great Grandfather’s story will invite viewers to expand their perceptions of Indigeneity, and further acknowledge the diverse contributions of Native Americans within the framework of American history. Contrary to dominant Eurocentric narratives, Indigeneity did not vanish when the United States was founded. Instead, folks like my Great Grandfather applied their Indigenous knowledge in a new way to carve out spaces for his people. His story ultimately conveys the creative tactics used by our ancestors for survival, and the fight for self-determination that Indigenous people still face today.

 

How do you decide which objects to photograph and how to construct each photograph? 

Initially, I sifted through the hundreds of photographs in this trunk to piece together the different chapters in his life. As I began interacting with the images, I noticed the photographs that he left behind conveyed his life post-boarding schools. I discovered letters and diary entries that expressed the obstacles he faced as a Native American man navigating a rapidly shifting world in the early 1900s.

I felt that the intensity of the modernization of the times and the use of natural textural elements in the background conveyed the duality of my Great Grandfather’s experience. It was also important for me to photograph this project in the South Bay region of Los Angeles, also known as Tongva Territory, where my Great Grandfather spent his last days before transitioning to the spirit world.

 

Would you say this has been a personal project for you and in what way? 

This project started out as an inquiry into my relative’s life and evolved into experiences of deep inward reflection and healing. I was confronted with the violence and trauma that my Great Grandfather experienced at the time as an Anishinaabe man forced to leave his ancestral homelands due to federal assimilation policies. However, the contents of his trunk that he left behind embody a spirit of resistance through images of growth, change and joy. His efforts to reclaim his identity through the trauma that he endured is inspirational and serves as a reminder of the importance of sovereignty through storytelling.

 

Tell me a little about one or two things that have surprised you since you started this process?

In order to further understand the impact that my Great Grandfather left on his relatives, I reached out to multiple relatives about their memories of him. I was surprised to find out aspects of his personality through various family stories that are not conveyed in the contents that he left behind in the trunk. One relative reported that his exceptional hunting skills were what helped the family get through the Great Depression.

Another relative described him as a deeply loving man who loved being in the company of his family. I was also surprised at the creative ways that my relatives connected, despite our geographic distance, to share stories about my Great Grandfather John B. McGillis. This project demonstrates the power of intergenerational storytelling, and the ability of our ancestors to transcend place and time.

Special thanks to Kevin Locke, Sheridan MacKnight, Winona Flying Earth, and Thelbert Milligan for contributing their knowledge about the life of John B. McGillis to this project.

   

 

To see more of this project, click here.

 

Instagram @nia.macknight.

NPR Writer elizabethgillis

 

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 – Gathering Growth: Brian Kelly


Lock 26 Maple

Three Sisters Swamp
Ransom Sycamore audio included
Grandma Tree
Millersville Bur Oak
The Big Poplar Tuliptree

Pacific Ponderosa Pine

Gathering Growth
Photographer: Brian Kelly 

Heidi: Why is this project important to you and what got you started?
Brian: After seeing old growth/big trees in the PNW of the US and Vancouver Island I couldn’t stop doing research into why the forests of the east coast US were nothing like the west.  Why weren’t there big trees here in the East? Come to find out, the East coast US has been logged over several times and multiple species that fell to disease and insects. All of this was an initial motivation to document what was left. We lack proper documentation of what the forests and trees once looked like. For me, this is what drives me to dedicate my life to document what is still standing; it’s a reminder for future generations of what it all once was at a specific moment in time.

In a data and asset rich world, this is one of the more refreshing practices of archiving. What assets are you collecting?
Over the last four to five years of documenting these trees and forests I’ve been creating large format images, soundscape recordings, leaf and seed documentation, and the occasional video recording.  Not every tree gets the full suite, but I try to.

What format are you shooting, can you share your process?  How long is each tree session and what are you trying to capture?
When shooting the trees and forests for the archive I use Kodak Portra 160 sheet film with a Toyo Field Camera. I’m a big believer in not only the quality of film but also the physical aspect of the negative for the archive.  Of course I’m also shooting digital because mistakes do happen when shooting film. I’m shooting on a Fuji GFX 100 at the moment, but the digital format has already changed once since I started this archive, so I’m looking to the film to be the constant. The amount of time I spend at a tree can vary.  I’ve had roadside finds that I’ve documented in 45 min and been on my way, then I’ve had other trees where I’ve spent two days knowing the light could be better.  It’s all different, but I like to imagine that when I put in time with a tree I’m paying it respect. That this organism has been living and growing for 800 years in order for it to be something special and recognized by humans. You have to show love and respect when you start thinking like that.

What is the taxonomy of your archive?  
The archive is organized by the year, and then going into either Tree of Significance, Forests, or Champion Tree,  then it gets broken into state, followed by species.

Are you planning on another book similar to Parks?
I would love to do a tree book someday.  I’ve been wanting to do a series that would be broken into the major regions of the U.S.  Highlighting the largest/old trees and old growth or unique forests.  This would be my life work I think….


How many have you photographed thus far? What are your discovery and tracking tools?  

So far the archive has roughly 300 trees and forests documented.  I’m able to find a lot of the trees just through googling key words, and being specific in a state or town. For example: “Big – Tree – New – York”  I’ve also found a lot through Real estate Apps like Zillow.  Finding a big tree in a photo and then looking on google maps street view.  I get the occasional submission from someone too. We have a tree/forest submission page on our website.   At the moment I have roughly 1,300 trees and forests marked on google earth.  A lot of work ahead of me still!

How can folks support you or get involved?  
There are many ways that people can support Gathering Growth. You can check the website www.gathergrowth.org to learn more about what we’re doing, how to get involved and make a donation. We have a bi weekly newsletter you can sign up for and follow us on social media for new trees and forests that were documenting. @gatheringgrowth. Were also always looking for brands that align with our ethos and want to help amplify our voice and mission.


Do you have a favorite tree or any favorite moment you’d like to share. Trees are also called knowledge keepers, what have you learned so far?

I’m not sure I have a favorite tree, but I have a favorite memory while shooting a tree. While photographing a tree in the Lost Forest Research Area in southeastern Oregon I experienced silence like never before.  The drive into the Lost Forest is an experience in its own.  Bumpy roads and potholes on unmaintained BLM roads nearly destroyed my van.  Getting into the forest around sunset I parked the car, turned it off and the instant I opened my door it felt like a vacuum had just sucked all the sound out.  I felt unsure, like I wasn’t supposed to be there, or something was watching me.  I wasn’t used to silence like that, so much so that the only sound I heard was the blood rushing through my ears. That level of silence was so foreign.  I wasn’t able to find the tree that night and had to wait till morning.  Eventually finding the tree in the morning I was finally able to start to acclimate to the silence.  I’ve never been anywhere else and felt that way.  I don’t think most people have or ever will know that type of natural silence.

Feature Promo – Ben Girardi

Ben Girardi

Who printed it?
I printed the promo with Moo.com. I’ve tried a few different printers in the past, but I have found that Moo seems to be the highest quality for a reasonable price.

Who designed it?
The layout of the cards was done by myself. However, in the past year I worked with graphic designer Helen Bradford (http://helenbradford.com) to create a new logo and color palette for my brand which I used on the cards.

Tell me about the images?
Most of my work is in a niche world of winter action sports. For this promo piece I wanted to choose a group of images that represented this work specifically. Throughout the series of cards I wanted a similar feel, to showcase my style, but also wanted each card to stand alone in case an individual card got passed along.

I tried to make a selection of images to showcase different styles of imagery to appeal to people either on the brand side who are interested in more product specific images, or on the editor side who might be more interested in the action. Some of this imagery was from commercial shoots, and others were shot on spec for editorial all within the previous two winters.

How many did you make?
This specific promo piece was very targeted towards the winter action sports industry, so all in all I probably sent out about 50 pieces just prior to the winter. I have a more extensive list, but this includes people who are outside this specific space and I thought a card like this would miss the mark.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I don’t have a specific schedule. I’ve usually sent them out once a year, but would like to bump it up to twice per year as lots of my work if very season specific so being just ahead of that time is relevant.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Overall I think the promo piece is an important part of my marketing. While it’s not a major effort in the digital age I think it is a great way to get in front of people that is different than just sending an email, or connecting via Instagram. I believe delivering something tangible is a good way to differentiate my work when many people are purely focused on digital marketing. I always send cards to people I have worked with in the past as I find it is a good way to stay relevant and remind them of your work, without expecting any obligation of a response such as you might get with an email.

With this specific promo piece I had a handful of people I knew reach out directly saying thanks for sending the card. For the effort put in I would call this a success as you know they thought about you, which means your top of mind next time something comes up.

With people I don’t know who I send cards to it’s a good non-invasive introduction to your work and when I do reach out in the future, they’ve ideally already seen my name at least once. That being said since it’s via the mail I didn’t have any confirmation that people actually received them. It’s quite possible that they never even make it to the desk of the intended person.

This Week in Photography: The 3rd Annual Advice Column

 

 

Happy April Fool’s Day!

(And whatever you do, don’t eat the yellow snow.)

 

Courtesy of keepcalmandposters.com

 

 

 

 

So….today’s column is going to be weird.

After last week’s controversial, explaining-the-NFT-world long-read, my brain is pretty burned out.

(I’m sure you’ll understand.)

It was hard to find the juice to write anything at all today, much less the article I’d planned, which will feature the best work I saw at PhotoNOLA back in December.

That one gets pushed to next week, I’m afraid, as I just don’t have it in me.

So I went for a walk up the hill, (on the only sunny day we’ve had in ages,) and conjured a new idea.

 

Me, brain-fried on a sunny Thursday. (Unfortunately, it’s gray again today.)

 

This week, we’re going to do something unexpected, and deliver what is now the 3rd Annual Advice column.

Hooray!

 

 

 

 

It began on a whim, two years ago, as the global pandemic lockdowns were setting in, and I had a powerful intuition the world was about to go to shit.

(Got that one right, unfortunately.)

With all the news media attention about hoarding, empty toilet paper shelves, and the newfound suggestion that humans should keep 6 feet apart, I had a compulsion to chime in.

My first advice article got quoted in the Santa Fe New Mexican, a proper newspaper, so I guess my instincts were solid.

I did it last year as well, so now we’re back again, as the world begins to open in earnest, even though the virus is still alive and kicking.

(Photographer J A Mortram reported to me, this morning, that the UK virus numbers are basically the highest they’ve been, though we’re in a temporary lull here in the US.)

But I don’t want to write about Covid today, nor to “advise” you on how to handle it.

Rather, it’s time to take stock of the world, and consider how to act in a new reality that is much, much crazier than the one that existed in November 2019.

(Before the first reports came out of China. Do you remember how the Chinese doctor who blew the whistle ended up dying of the virus? Poor guy. What a shit way to go.)

 

RIP Li Wenliang. Image courtesy of the BBC.

 

 

 

 

My brain is fried because I haven’t been sleeping well, the last week and a half.

(Since I got back from California.)

We had another horse die while I was away, (of colic,) so I came home to a stressed out 9-year-old daughter, who needed a lot of consoling.

Then I wrote that monster of a column, which was both a weight off my shoulders, and a massive mental burden to accomplish.

But then things got even stranger.

By Friday afternoon, a narcissistic, mean-spirited neighbor accosted me over dog drama, and eventually screamed at Amelie, just as she got off the school bus, for an incident that happened while she was still riding down the hill from school.

It was batshit crazy, but I kept my cool, never raised my voice, and stuck with logic, which kept the conflagration from turning even nastier.

(Or physical. You can’t put your hands on anyone and get away with it, unless you’re a super-famous, rich movie star.)

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, I was so tired I couldn’t even make it past the porch, and just sat on the couch, drooling on myself, watching the excellent Netflix show “Top Boy,” Season 2.

(Shockingly, I haven’t started calling everyone “Fam” yet, or saying “Innit” all the time, but as Curly famously said, the day ain’t over yet.)

 

Courtesy of AllPoetry.com.

 

Finally, by afternoon, I had just enough physical juice to walk the 100 yards down to the stream.

My plan was to listen to the water, rub a bit on the back of my neck, bask in the quiet for a minute or two, then go back to my couch to feel sorry for myself.

(I was staying off Twitter, as the NFT article had gone photo-world-viral, and I knew battling trolls, and/or basking in compliments, would not be good for my soul.)

When I was nearly to the stream-front, I heard voices, which is not rare, as sound travels really far in our box canyon.

But as I got closer, I saw there were two people between me and the water, and they should definitely not be there.

Trespassers.

What the fuck?

 

 

 

 

 

Immediately, though, I recognized two neighborhood kids with whom we sometimes play basketball.

(One used to bully my son in elementary school, but somehow we moved past it.)

They were uncle and nephew to each other, though one is only 17, (and a Dad already,) and he once pelted his 11-year-old nephew with a rock, for no particular reason, opening a huge gash over his eye.

(Like I’ve always said, life in the Wild West is no joke.)

In the past, I’d have lost my shit to see the boys there, especially as they were in the process of destroying a set of tree stumps that surrounds a fire pit, but this time, that’s just not the way it went.

(I credit my return to martial arts training, as oddly, learning to fight makes you much less likely to ever be in one. The mental discipline and emotional control one learns is powerful.)

Rather than yelling at them, or escalating the situation, I began with a simple question:

Did something bad happen to you guys today?

Though they come from a difficult background, they’re both good kids, and we’re kind of friends, so rather than assuming malicious intent, I figured someone dumped on them, and lacking healthy outlets for their anger, they’d ended up on my land, taking it out on my tree stumps.

Turns out, I was correct.

A random drunk guy had shown up on their road, in a big pickup truck, and done donuts in their yard, before throwing beer bottles at their trailer, one of which broke a window.

The boys had been home alone, were scared, angry and freaked out, and ended up at my place, beating on some rotten old wood.

Of course I didn’t call the cops, or threaten them in any way, and by the end of our make-shift, 30 minute therapy session, I’d given them my cell phone number, so they always had someone in the neighborhood to call if a random asshole showed up again.

(I was clear not to include me in family disputes, or dial my digits at 3am. Both conditions were quickly accepted.)

And what is my point in sharing this story, exactly?

 

 

 

 

 

Like I said, this is a stream-of-consciousness advice column.

As I told those boys, I’m here to help.

The last two years have been so stressful, and awful, with Bad Guys like Putin and Trump getting away with all their awful deeds.

People on social media are now claiming that Russians aren’t human, and some Facebook troll actually had the gall to call me a “Grump Old White Man.”

(As Wayne and Garth used to say, “As if!”)

 

 

The homicide rate is up in America, the roads are super-dangerous, and anti-social, narcissistic behavior has been normalized to the point that a super-rich, über-famous actor actually thought he could assault another famous person, on global television, and get away with it!

(Seems his calculations were correct.)

I’ve been warning you since last summer that people were “this” close to snapping, and resorting to violence, and it seems I was right.

(It gives me no pleasure to say that, though.)

So here’s where the “How To Safely Navigate 2022” advice comes in.

Please, people, chill the fuck out!

Remember to belly breathe.

Take more walks.

Appreciate your loved ones.

Watch more funny movies, so you can laugh.

Invest heavily in your self-care.

(And seriously consider studying a martial art. It’s good for self-defense and self-control, obviously, but many of the ancient arts are also rooted in philosophy, be it Zen Buddhism or Taoism, so you might learn a thing or two about the world as well.)

 

Bruce Lee Instagram images courtesy of the Bruce Lee Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

As artists, we’re trained to delve into the Zeitgeist, and go against the grain.

So if it seems OK for people to lose their shit these days, try the opposite.

Keep it together.

Be your best self.

And rather than assuming people are out to get you, maybe set your default to giving others the benefit of the doubt. Because 99% of the time, someone is having a really bad day, (due to the crazy, war-torn world,) and they’re just taking it out on you.

Try to be the bigger person, and worry less about your pride.

I know this sounds trite, or easier said than done, but I’m telling you, the combination of patience, compassion, empathy, emotional control and understanding is powerful medicine.

And we can’t just sit around and watch the world burn.

We have to do something about it.

In this case, I’m recommending you work hard to self-improve, as if we all do that, (or some of us, anyway,) the world will literally be a healthier place.

See you next week, when we’ll get back to the photography criticism and whatnot.