The Art of the Personal Project: Agnes Lopez

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:  Agnes Lopez

During the pandemic downtime I started to review my body of photography work and had the realization that I did not have any Filipina-American women in my portfolio. While I am proud of the portfolio of the work, I have created over the past 18 years, photographing CEOs, professional athletes, chefs, community leaders, actors, and so much more, I decided that I needed to pursue a portrait project to highlight talented Filipina women in the Northeast Florida art community.

People are often surprised to find out that Jacksonville has the largest Filipino population in the Southeastern US. While we’ve quietly gone about our business in the past, I want to let people know we are here and have been a part of the fabric of Jacksonville’s community for a long time.

My goal is to challenge stereotypes, let the world see that Filipinos aren’t just nurses and doctors and members of the military, but that many talented Filipina artists exist here right now. I want to encourage these artists to show who they are and share their talents. I wanted to showcase each individual’s unique beauty, strength and skin tone. That is why I felt it was important to photograph them in color as opposed to the black and white portrait style I had used for The Faces to Remember Project. (Learn more, www.thefacestoremember.com)

Being Filipino-American, I feel proud to be Filipino, but I think as an American I question am I Filipino enough. As an immigrant group that has been taught to assimilate and blend in, many of us do not know how to speak our language or cook our food. Important traditions are being lost.

One of the ladies I photographed for the project initially questioned if she should be included because she is only half-Filipino. In that moment I realized how important this project really was. Being Filipino is a part of us and we can not hide it. We come in all shapes, backgrounds, and skin tones.

Colorism is another huge issue in the Filipino community. As an American being tan is seen as something to aspire to but in the Filipino community being darker is not considered desirable. Growing up, I would hear comments of how dark I was and at the time I didn’t really think anything of it. As I got older, I realized it had affected me to where I wouldn’t go to the beach and would wear long sleeves outside, so I didn’t tan. Seeing people of color in the media really had a big impact on me and made me realize that dark is beautiful too.

As a photographer, I realized I could help others come to this realization through this project and my work moving forward.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

IG: Agnes Lopez Photography

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 – Giles Clement

Giles Clement

Heidi: Do you travel with a mobile dark room?
Giles: When shooting tintypes or ambrotypes, yes.

What is your set up?
Really depends on the project I’m working on. For digital work I use a Fuji GFX medium format digital back and lenses. For my 4×5 film and wet plate work I use a Sinar 4×5 F2 body and a variety of lenses including an 1849 Petzval portrait lens. For 8×10 film and wet plate work I use a Calumet C2 body and a Wollensak 16” f/3.8 petzval lens. For 16×20 I use a camera I designed and built myself fitted with a 500mm f/4.5 Goerz Dogmar lens originally designed for aerial reconnaissance in WWI. Lighting equipment varies and ranges from small battery powered monolights for film and digital work up to 20,000 watts of power from several Speedotron power packs and heads.

If you need to send materials ahead of time, how difficult is that?
I’ve worked on streamlining my wet plate set up so my entire darkroom fits in one pelican case and the rest of the gear flies with me.

Do you take both traditional and tintype images on projects?
Yes, there’s often images I see which simply aren’t best suited for the tintype process and I don’t like to be limited by one medium. I had been working with the tintype medium for 8 years prior to covid and while I really enjoyed the process, it’s also been refreshing to work with digital again and be able to create color work.

What have you been working on recently?
During covid I’ve been making a series of images of fellow artists in different cities around the country. These images have been made into sets of postcards which have sold with the proceeds going to the artists featured. It’s a small way for me to highlight artists who inspire me and also to be able to give them a bit of a financial boost during difficult times. Those images can be seen here. (below images is a selection from the Seattle shoot.)

With things opening back up a bit more I’m also starting to prep for a couple of projects. Those include a cross country road trip music video with a Philadelphia artist, a shoot with a jean company out of North Carolina and a longer term project featuring art teachers from around the country.

This Week in Photography: Leaving the Nest

 

 

Nobody’s perfect.

 

I’m certainly not.

I make a lot of predictions here, and claim to have the proper “hot take” on so many global issues.

But I don’t get everything right, and when I make a mistake, I own up to it.

 

 

I just got back from New Jersey, (on Monday,) and I’m writing on my customary Thursday.

It’s been less than 72 hours since I returned, and the trip itself took 12 hours, (via Denver,) so what I’m mystified about is that travel leaves a resonance.

Most of me is here in New Mexico, but a shade of my soul is lingering in Jersey, for sure.

Back in 2019, and early #2020, I was traveling so much, it was one big blur, and I wasn’t able to differentiate the biochemical, or metaphysical reactions from each individual visit.

But with this large a gap, I recognized the sensation, and it’s real.

It’s like you left a glimmer of yourself, back where you just were, before an airplane whooshed you up into the sky, and deposited you thousands of miles away.

But that’s not what I’m apologizing about.

 

 

Rather, when I was in New Jersey, (and I promise a full write up in the near future, with photos,) it was amazing to see how much life looked like the “Old Normal.”

There were still masks around, in certain indoor public settings, but the general vibe allowed getting in personal space with loved ones indoors, sharing food, full airplanes, and no social distancing.

Things looked A LOT like they did, before the 15 month pause.

I had it wrong.

(I’m speaking here in America, where vaccinations have been available to all who want them. It’s not a global phenomenon, I know.)

 

 

Trees and rocks have souls, (if I understand things correctly,) in the Shinto religion.

My buddy Kyohei explained it to me once, in an outdoor exhibition space at the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Art objects can have souls too, if you think about it.

Photo books embody the energy the artist puts into each picture, and then the momentum developed over the course of the narrative.

I just put down “Strawberry Parfait,” by Jimi Franklin, published by Denton Books in #2020, and it totally captures the way I feel right now. (A little haunted.)

It’s one of those books that seems like a flip-book-animation from a movie.

Like a continuous narrative, broken down into frozen memories.

Food shots.
Hipsters.
Dimly lit scenes.

If you cross the Wong Kar-wai vibe of “In the Mood for Love” with some of Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” you might end up somewhere near the story this flip book would unspool.

The ending essay brings up Shinto, as a root element in Japanese culture, and also says the images were made over a decade.

I must say, I think this book is a gem.

With the rhythmic changes in the image rectangle shape, and the tactile paper that makes you WANT to turn the page, this one’s a winner.

Does it make me want to go to Japan?

Hell yes.

But it also makes me want to look at it again, to go on the ride through this vision, which is always the sign of a very cool book.

To learn more about Jimi Franklin, click here

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Cade Martin

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:  Cade Martin

 

Isla de las Munecas – The Island of the Dolls

I have always loved a good story, with great characters and the opening sentence “Legend has it…”

These are stories to tell around the campfire, to pass along and keep alive – but some stories, I’ve just got to see for myself. The Island of the Dolls is such a tale.

Legend has it, a little girl drowned entangled among the lilies of the Xochimilco canal. Her body was found on the banks of one of the islands by Don Julian Santana Barrera.

Julian was the caretaker of the island and, shortly thereafter, he found a doll floating nearby and, assuming it belonged to the deceased girl, hung it from a tree as a sign of respect to support the spirit of the girl. After this, he began to hear whispers, footsteps, and anguished wails in the darkness even though his hut – hidden deep inside the woods of Xochimilco – was miles away from civilization.

Driven by fear, he spent the next fifty years hanging more and more dolls, some missing body parts, all over the island in an attempt to appease what he believed to be the drowned girl’s spirit.

After 50 years of collecting dolls and hanging them on the island, Julian was found dead in 2001, reportedly found in the exact spot where he found the girl’s body fifty years before.

#LegendHasIt

 

 

To see more of this project, click here.

 

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

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

 

The Daily Edit – Indian Renaissance: Shahzad Bhiwandiwala


Shahzad Bhiwandiwala

Heidi: How did this come about?
Shahzad: I had started working on my graduate thesis project, Royalty, in the fall of 2019. The project was my way of commenting on the circuitous route of fashion where designs go in and out of style and make a resurgence at a later point in time. The primary focus was on how contemporary royals would adorn themselves while taking direct influence from traditional historic styles.

Unfortunately, by the spring of 2020 we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and I returned to Mumbai. As an Indian, I have rarely seen Indian artists tackle “what if” scenarios relating to Indian Art and cultural history. Keeping this in mind, I repurposed some aspects of royalty and came up with Indian Renaissance – What Could Have Been. A “what if” scenario where Indian royals were inspired by the European renaissance, specifically the high renaissance period, and how that historic change would have translated to modern day Indian fashion. I had always been curious about how the European renaissance would have influenced India and this project brings these thoughts and ideas to visualization and is presented through the perspective of a single fictional royal family, The Garhwal Gharana aka The House of Garhwal spanning generations from an alternate timeline 15th Century to the 21st century.

How did this story call on your culturally rich background?
As a Zoroastrian I understand the power of inspiration and adoption when it comes to attire and garb. My ancestors, having fled persecution many millennia ago, sought refuge in India when they landed at the port of Gujarat. This is spoken and recorded history that is passed down from generation to generation highlighting how we adopted and transformed, among other things, our attire at the time to blend in with our new home. As an artist I find myself revisiting this idea of transformation across many of my projects and it is most evident in Indian Renaissance. As for the visual approach for the project, in terms of lighting, posing and composition, I credit that to my love for cinema and my years of performing in musical theatre. I always ask my subjects to embody a character I create for them. The character has its own life, personality, desires, dreams and hopes. I ask my subjects to embody these characters and that is what I feel makes them feel larger than life.

How long have you been working on this series?
I started conceptualization for the project in March 2020 and completed the first phase in December 2020. I am currently planning out a second phase for this project that would focus on ordinary people as opposed to royals.

Who did you collaborate with for the styling, hair and makeup? 
To execute the styling of the project I reached out to the amazing folks at The Costume Team (TCT) who helped bring my vision to life by creating some pieces themselves and bringing on board both new and established designers and jewelers as Gaurav Gupta, Begada, Amani and many more.

For hair I worked with my frequent collaborator Sanam Jeswani and for makeup I had celebrity makeup artist Fatema Maqbool come on board.

How many models did you cast?
All the models were cast after going through a list of around 40 models.

Has this body of work been published?
It has been selected for Communication Arts Photography Annual 2021 as well as the AI-AP American Photography 37.

 

Featured Promo – Christian Tisdale

Christian Tisdale

Who printed it?
Metropol Printers in Victoria BC Canada.

Who designed it?
I designed the layout myself, but all of my design components are from my awesome designer, Lisa Korz.

I had a branding iron of my logo made a few months ago and so badly wanted to build that into this package. I ended up settling for only burning a logo onto the front envelope, but I experimented for literally days on that. Different papers burned differently, some got sticky, some smelled so bad, some ruined the images on the other side. I still haven’t fully figured out how to do it justice. But I’ve got some ideas for the next set…stay tuned.

Tell me about the images?
I was really torn on which images to include in this campaign. This was my first mailer, so I ended up including 5 standalone shots, rather than one contiguous series. I wanted these shots to be commercial enough to inspire potential connections with the creative directors I was talking to, but cool enough that if you pinned it to your wall, it didn’t feel like an ad.

How many did you make?
I sent 100 out to agencies and producers, 1 to Rob, and 1 to my mom.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first, but my current plan is to run a minor series like this once per quarter, then a bigger piece once a year. The next ones will be more focused on a series of images that are connected to one another.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’d love to think so, but I don’t have the data to prove it yet. I really enjoyed the process in any case, so if nothing else I found a lot of creative value in it for myself.

This Week in Photography: As It Was Before

 

 

It’s been raining for two days straight.

That never happens.

It’s so rare, when I asked my wife and daughter if they remembered the last time it rained like this, they said September 2019.

 

Getting a lot of rain in the desert is great, especially as we’re coming out of a historically bad drought.

When the heavens opened yesterday, Jessie suggested the drought might be over, and of course it felt symbolic.

How could it not?

Hearing the incessant patter on our metal roof, watching the freshly green aspen trees bend under the weight of the water, looking at the gray sky, where normally there’s blue, it feels like we’re somewhere else.

 

 

More than anything, it reminds me of spring in New York, where I once lived, and New Jersey, where I’m from.

Forgive me for having home on the brain, but as I wrote last week, I’ll be there, taking a few days of R&R, when this column goes live on Friday. (I’m writing on a Tuesday, which also adds to the sense of dislocation. I never write on Tuesdays!)

 

But here we are.

 

The mountains are hidden in the storm, their snow-topped peaks enmeshed in clouds, so all I see is green grass, green trees, gray skies, and lots of rain.

Which after two days of this, really does remind me of the East Coast.

Of New York.

 

 

Why am I stuck on this subject today?

Well, there’s always an easy answer, when it comes to a photo book review column. Today, I reached into the bottom of the book stack, and found a submission from October 2020, which was 8 months ago, back when our “old” life just about began to feel normal. (But before the awful horribleness of the Covid Winter.)

What was in the box?

I found a nice note, from Paul Matzner, thanking me for some advice I gave him at the Filter Photo Festival a few years ago, and a copy of “Seeing You in New York,” a self-published book, (printed by Edition One,) that came out last year, with a foreword by Aline Smithson.

Full disclosure, Paul also thanked me in the liner notes, at the end of the book, so I guess our conversation made an impression. (I also published some of his arresting street portraits in the blog as well.)

Time for more honesty: I don’t think this is an amazing book. (Sorry, Paul.)

It’s not bad, by any means, and on the right day I’d call it very good.

I like it, but don’t find it super-distinctive, within the genre.

So why am I writing about it?

 

For as long as I’ve had this column, my main criterion for review is whether a book inspires me to write.

That’s it.

If, after looking at a book, a column germinates in my head, and my fingers slide across the keyboard in rhythm, allowing the flow, then that book is worthy of review.

And that happened today.

Why?

 

Because of context.

You simply can’t look at these images, which were shot between 2008-18, and view them as you would have before the pandemic.

It’s not possible.

Paul captured a wide range of New Yorkers, from diverse cultural backgrounds and age groups, going about their previously “normal” lives.

We see skateboarders, lots of dogs, stoop-sitters, side-walk walkers, stroller pushers, subway-riders, it’s all here.

What once would have been a warm-hearted group of street photos, back in 2008-18, now looks like a naive record of humans doing things we all took for granted.

It’s a life we may have again, but as I wrote last week, we’re all different now.

Will anything ever feel “normal” again?

 

I’m getting on a plane on Thursday.

What comes next?

I don’t know, of course, and Paul Matzner’s book wound me up on this rant.

When sweet pictures feel sinister, as if they represent the last people frolicking on the beach before the Tsunami hits, you know I’m going to be curious.

 

Hope you enjoy the book, and see you next week.

To purchase” Seeing you in New York,” click here 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Gabriele Galimberti

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:  Gabriele Galimberti

For over two years, I visited more than 50 countries and created colorful images of boys and girls in their homes and neighborhoods with their most prized possessions: their toys. From Texas to India, Malawi to China, Iceland, Morocco, and Fiji, I recorded the spontaneous and natural joy that unites kids despite their diverse backgrounds. Whether the child owns a veritable fleet of miniature cars or a single stuffed monkey, the pride that they have is moving, funny, and thought provoking.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

This project featured on Nat Geo’s IG account but see more of Gabriele’s work on IG

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 – Brett Williams Childs: Against Monolith

 

Photographer: Brett Williams Childs

Heidi: Why did you title this series Against Monolith?
These portraits are part of a series exploring the individuality and historical representation of people of color. Using the history of film photography and also Kodak films and guide literature, I explore the struggle of maintaining individuality in a much larger social structure. Historically, individual people of color were often viewed as monolith, a singular mass distinctly lacking individual identity. “They all look the same;” the sentiment is unmistakable in American history.

In your mind, where did this sentiment begin?
This sentiment is echoed by the history of Kodak films. For decades Kodak film was unable to correctly capture the skin tones of people of color because their film emulsions were formulated to render a correct Caucasian skin tone. In addition to this, Kodak would send test negatives to color processing labs along with a color correct photographic print made from the negative. Using this, photo labs were able to calibrate their machines and the chemistry used to process the film in order to obtain color correct prints from any negatives they processed.

When were you able to frame this in your own life?
I first noticed the shifting of skin tones growing up when looking through family photos but didn’t read about the technical details behind it until many years later. My first time reading about the technical issues and Shirley Cards was in maybe 2011 or 2012 when I was working at Bart’s Books. I was very interested in visual media theory at the time and a book on that subject came in which included the paper by Lorna Roth titled “Looking at Shirley, the Ultimate Norm: Color Balance, Image Technologies, and Cognitive Equity” which outlined the history of Kodak film formulations and the Shirley Card. This was a couple of years before I even applied to ArtCenter but that paper stayed in my mind as I learned more and more about photography and began other projects.

What were the the scenes in the color photographic prints?
The negative that Kodak sent included a scene containing various textiles, a color chart, and a single white female model. Nicknamed “Shirley cards” after the Kodak employee who modeled for the negative, these were used all across the country to make sure that customer’s pictures were delivered with correct color.

How would you describe the images of darker skinned subjects?
Photographs featuring darker skinned subjects were often incorrectly rendered, sometimes as a smear of black in the photo completely lacking details – recognizable only by the whites of their eyes and their teeth, if they were smiling. From a distance these portraits are also textureless in appearance. Unvaried and lacking the possibility for details; a deep black on the surface of an unchanging white ground. The work of philosopher Paul Ricœur posits that the formation of individual identity is in large part shaped by ones ability to recognize another, and to be recognized by another. It was a compounding lack of recognition, however, that led to individuals disappearing from their film images. Film manufacturers being unable or unwilling to recognize the needs of a group directly led to the inability to see the individuals pictured. With the images from this series I aim to rework that failure to compel the viewer to recognize the individual pictured. As one gets closer to the artwork, details emerge, forcing you to confront the individual before you.

When did Kodak address representation in the calibration cards?
The first multiracial Kodak calibration cards didn’t actually appear until the 1990’s.

When did you begin Against Monolith?
It was after seeing the Kerry James Marshall show at the MOCA that I began to put together the Against Monolith project. I went to that show many times and couldn’t stop thinking about how he rendered and painted all the skin tones, it was so striking. I think often the conversations around this part of Kodak’s history get stuck in circuitous arguments debating whether or not Kodak films or employees were racist and I was much more interested in using this to explore the entangled web of individuation, individual agency, and its intersection with collective agency and behavior. I wanted to use the history of film photography, as well as Kodak films and guide literature, to explore the struggle of maintaining individuality in a much larger social structure. Because one form of recognition is intimately linked with individuation and another form of recognition is intimately linked with photography and visual representation it seemed to be an effective way to examine both.

This Week in Photography: The 2nd Annual Advice Column

 

I’ve never swung an axe in my life.

(Before today, that is.)

 

 

I suspect it was connected to do the dream I had, as I woke up at 3 am.

I was driving up a steep hill in my old neighborhood, where I grew up in New Jersey, and just as I was about to make a left turn, towards my old street, Shadow Ridge Court, I noticed an impediment.

Right there, in the middle of the road, was the biggest fallen tree I’ve ever seen.

It was massive in circumference, as big as King Kong’s middle finger, and there was simply no way around it.

Luckily for me, my childhood home, (and the cul-de-sac on which it was located,) was accessed from Galloping Hill Circle, which was appropriately named, so I was able to turn right, and go the long way home instead. (Ending up at the same point, but avoiding the road-block.)

 

The tree was right there, blocking my path.

 

I woke up in the morning, (after having fallen back asleep,) certain of what the dream meant: I needed to help my wife circumvent an energy blockage impeding her happiness.

For once, I’ll keep the details to myself, but she had the same feeling when she arose as well, so I was sure the dream was prophetic.

 

 

I’ve been doing a lot of life re-evaluation in the last few weeks, as the world has begun to open, and I suspect you have too.

How could we not?

(And I wrote this just a few hours before the CDC said it was time to ditch our masks.)

Everything we knew about reality was interrupted for 14 months, and we were powerless to do anything but stay home, if we had the luxury.

I’ve found that in May of #2021, I’m a very different person than I was in March of #2020, as are my wife and children.

We’ve changed in profound ways, and it’s impacting our relationships and decision-making, in cool and powerful directions. (I’ve even begun dispensing random advice in Facebook posts, because I want to share some of the things I’ve been learning through this mind-altering-experience.)

Recognizing a blockage, and either removing it, or going around it, is a difficult life-skill, but I believe it can be learned, if we’re aware of our emotional reality, and what’s causing our underlying feelings.

 

 

For example.

I’ve loved watching sports my entire life.

It was the one way I could communicate with my father and brother, as we didn’t have much to talk about, beyond baseball, football, and basketball.

I cannot even begin to estimate how many hours I’ve watched games on television, and in the last ten years, I’ve spent a fair amount of money for all the channels on satellite TV, and then for special streaming services.

All that time.
All that money.

This year, just in the last few months, I’ve lost the taste for it.

The joy is gone.

Ironically, my favorite basketball team, the former-New-Jersey-and-current-Brooklyn Nets, are the new powerhouse in the NBA, as they have three of the top 15 players in the world.

The Nets are likely to win an NBA Championship in the next few years, (if not this July,) yet I’m jumping off the bandwagon, instead of on.

What gives?

Well, the team radically re-invented itself, and invested heavily in some head-case-talent, while clearing its roster several times over, and treating the entire enterprise like a corporate re-brand.

Old-fashioned concepts such as loyalty, leadership, continuity, and respect for the fans, have all gone out the window, for specific reasons I don’t have time to enumerate.

But I’ve taken no pleasure from the Nets’ ascent, so after a bit of griping, I just stop watching.

Similarly, my favorite English soccer team, Arsenal, is run by an American Oligarch, who married Walmart money, and he’s basically run the club into the ground, slowly and steadily, since I became “addicted” to the team ten years ago.

 

Stan and Josh Kroenke, Arsenal’s owners

 

So again, I exercised the only power I have, and turned off the TV.

Stress relieved, problem solved.

At the moment, I despise the system that is delivering sports to me, as it is filled with the type of greed and inequity that I wouldn’t stomach in my real life.

So why would I want to pay to feel shitty with my “entertainment?”

 

 

Last year, a week or two after the Covid-19 lockdown began in earnest here in the US, I wrote an advice column for you.

It had nothing directly to do with photography.

I suggested things would get hairy, and even entering into other peoples’ physical space, their 6 foot window of safety, would likely lead to drama, and perhaps violence.

We all know that prediction came true.

My article, or the points within it, was featured by Michael Abatemarco, in the Santa Fe New Mexican, because that type of direct, let’s-talk-about-what’s-happening rhetoric felt of the moment.

 

Excerpt courtesy of the Santa Fe New Mexican

Today, I decided that America’s re-opening, and how we deal with it, was worthy of an Advice Column Part 2.

So here we are.

 

 

Next week, I’m going home to New Jersey, to my hometown, to visit with my family and high school friends.

It will be the first airline trip I’ve taken in nearly 15 months, and the first travel I’ve done since returning from Houston on the eve of the lockdown in March #2020.

I’m scared and nervous, but also excited and thrilled.

My wife and kids gave me permission to go anywhere, really, as a thanks for how I’ve been a support to them through this trying time, and I wanted to go home.

To see my people.
To eat my favorite pizza.

And visit the sea.

I’m going to write about it for you as a travel piece, and will share how it feels to get so far out of my comfort zone, all so that I can return to the place that made me.

As a new man.

 

 

Which brings us back to the beginning.

Why did I swing an axe today?

What was it all about?

Well, we had an aspen tree stump, and a dead aspen tree, clogging up our front garden.

They were eyesores, abutting our big red fence, and every time we sat outside, or came in from the driveway, they were a symbol of death and decay.

 

The stump
The dead tree

 

All around them, new aspen shoots were coming up, ready to take their place.

Life was trying to start anew, to begin fresh, but the deadwood, (a term they use in English soccer,) was blocking the growth.

And reminding us, visually, of what had come before.

Of what what we had lost.

So today, after having that dream about a fallen tree, and telling my wife I was willing to make some sacrifices to help unblock her Qi, I headed over to my in-laws, looking for a hatchet.

But there was no hatchet.

Only an axe.

 

The axe and the saw

 

Turns out, chopping down trees, and taking out stumps, is hard work.

 

Getting psyched up to swing the axe
Making friends with the tool

 

(Harder than I expected, anyway.)

And it requires a lot of concentration, to ensure the axe doesn’t rebound back and cut off your toes.

I had to shoo the dog away, so she didn’t get hurt, and then use a saw to finish the job.

It was gratifying, and the yard looks much better. (My wife said so, and she knows what’s up.)

In the end, though, as I tried to remove one last little stump, I found the axe and the saw wouldn’t work.

I tried, and tried, but to no avail.

I used my Kung Fu grip, (shout out to Eddie Murphy,) and still, no dice.

Effort upon effort, but no success.

This one little root just wouldn’t let go.

Then I had a new idea.
What about the clippers?

I climbed down the sloping rock wall, grabbed a new tool, and the tree stump came up in no time.

It was instantaneous, really.

 

Sweaty and sore when the job was done

 

So yes, I’m leaning into metaphor today, and if you came looking for a photo book review, I apologize for the disappointment.

But the world is so different from how it used to be, and you’re different too.

We all are.

My best advice is to embrace the change, think carefully about your world, and what you want it to be.

And when you hit a roadblock, go around it, or move it out of the way, gracefully and efficiently.

If you need the clippers, instead of the axe, no worries.

Just grab the tool that’s right for the job.

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Tony Novak-Clifford

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:  Tony Novak –Clifford

Rising Tides: A Photographic Rediscovery of the Tidewater Region of the Chesapeake Bay

My earliest, fondest childhood memories are of water. Lakes, ponds, great marshes, rivers and the Atlantic Ocean were my playgrounds and constant companions. It wasn’t long after I was old enough to venture out of sight on my own that I was whiling away the hours of hot, humid summer days under the shade of giant Beech trees dropping a bobber and hook, baited with bread balls, into the tea-colored water of the nearby Tony Tank Lake, angling for unfortunate crappies, sunfish and the occasional mud turtle.

In the warm summer months, I mowed lawns to make a little money. With that money, one of the first major purchases I ever made was an aluminum, flat-bottomed “john” boat. A neighbor donated an old two horsepower outboard motor to the cause. Suddenly I found a freedom I have never before known. The river became my highway to adventure, exploring its many creeks and tributaries searching for ducks, turtles, eagles and osprey, muskrats and the occasional elusive river otter.  As we grew older and our boats and motors became larger, we spent entire days water-skiing and venturing further up river to it’s source… the Chesapeake Bay.

In the evenings, we caught fireflies or, as the locals call them, “Lightnin’ Bugs” in the slow, lazy dialect of the region. We rode our bicycles or kicked soccer balls around in the darkness, illuminated only by the warm pool of light provided by the street light at the end of the cul-de-sac.

The Atlantic Ocean and the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland were half an hour’s drive away. As a child, my parents would pack picnic lunches, pile towels, coolers and umbrellas into our station wagon. A giddy sense of excitement rose amongst myself and my brother and sisters as we would cross the bridge over Assawoman Bay and enter the resort town. Here we would while away the day building sand castles or burying each other in the fine, white sand, digging for sand crabs, splashing and body-surfing in the gentle waves. Occasionally, my parents would reward us with an early evening trip to Ocean City’s famous boardwalk where the flashing lights of game arcades, carnival rides and ice cream, caramel popcorn and buckets of steaming french fries drowned in salt and vinegar would delight us to the point of exhaustion.

Life as a child in Maryland’s tidewater region was as idyllic as any Mark Twain novel.  There were great forests of pine and hardwood to explore. There was an abundance of wildlife… from almost every manner of waterfowl to reptiles, amphibians, agile deer, soaring eagles, raccoons, opossum, squirrels & fish. We feasted on the meaty blue crabs, oysters, clams and rockfish of the region. Wild game in the forms of duck, geese and venison, often gifted to my father by patients who worked the fields and waterways for a living, would often find it’s way to our table. We picked wild blackberries from their thorny stems and wild chestnuts from the tree at the end of the road. Fields of watermelon, corn and soybeans stretched out to touch the horizon.

As a child, it was easy to dismiss life in the tidal region as boring and unsophisticated. During my time there, it was all I knew. It has only been during the past several years that I have bothered to return to the Chesapeake’s Tidewater region with fresh eyes and a new appreciation for the simple lifestyle, folksy charm, historic relevance and southern hospitality and friendliness. With family still residing in the area, I have been returning annually and even several times a year to spend time and reknit those bonds. There are times when I think I could return here to live.

Life is simpler here.

The photographs contained in the collection are wistful snapshots of my rediscovered romance for this land of water. My longing for it ebbs and flows like the tides. These are glimpses of the life I once lived, perhaps still live, or at the very least, a life I still carry with me no matter where I find myself.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

Contact him here

IG

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

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

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Lifestyle Photo/Video Shoot For A Hospitality Brand

By  Bryan Sheffield, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Environmental Lifestyle & Architecture images featuring hired talent using client space(s)

Licensing: Unlimited use, excluding broadcast, of all images captured for three years from first use

Photographer: Lifestyle & Architecture specialist

Client: Mid-sized Regional Hospitality Brand

Here’s the initial estimate:

 

 

Fees: The agency contacted the photographer to put together an estimate for a three-day shoot featuring talent interacting at the client’s property to showcase the location’s uniqueness, amenities, and aesthetics. The agency provided us preliminary scouting images and a creative brief and wanted to see an estimate for both stills and video, as well as robust production to include talent and styling.

Deliverables initially included up to 20 final still images and a two-minute video edit. The client had requested unlimited use excluding broadcast. We priced each image around $500, plus $8,000 for a director fee and video usage, based on the client’s intended use of the content — primarily on client web and social media platforms — and possible regional advertising. While we would’ve liked the fees to be higher, the client didn’t have a media buy plan and we got some pushback from the agency on higher creative/licensing fee rates within their budget guidelines.

Crew: Given the nature of the project, I included a producer as well as a production coordinator to help schedule the days and hire/manage the rest of the crew and styling team. We added a skilled camera operator/Director of Photography along with a first assistant for stills, a gaffer for the motion team, and a second assistant to swing. Both the DP and first assistant would accompany the photographer on the tech/scout to help inform the lighting and equipment needs within each location. We added a digital tech/media manager to handle the files on set. These rates were appropriate for the given market; the digital tech’s day rate included a $700 fee plus an additional $650/day for their workstation.

Equipment: We included $7,500 for cameras/grip/lighting, $700 for hard drives, and a modest fee to cover production needs like tables, chairs, steamer, wardrobe racks, etc.

Casting & Talent: We included $2,000+20% per talent for up to 15 people to be used over the three shoot days. We also added a $2,400 casting fee for the director and producer to take on the casting, which was to be a mix of friends/family and professional talent.

Styling: We included a hair/makeup stylist plus an assistant, a wardrobe stylist plus an assistant, a prop stylist (who would also attend the scout) plus an assistant, and appropriate wardrobe costs based on the talent, scenes, and creative direction with a TBD caveat pending final creative plans.

Meals: We estimated $5,610 for catering and craft services based on $85 per person, per day.

COVID Safety: We included three days for a COVID compliance officer, plus a PPE budget advised by the CCO. Our CCO would arrive each shoot day with a screening questionnaire, check everyone’s temperature each morning, and monitor the set throughout the day with cleaning and guidance for craft services and meal breaks. We would have all crew/talent/agency PCR Covid tested before the shoot days and included $130/test x 27 anticipated people as the cost for doing this.

Misc.: We included insurance costs for the director to cover their premium — pending any additional client insurance requirements — as well as a line item to help offset parking, possible additional meals/craft, and any other small needs that would arise during the week.

Post Production: We included $1,000 for the photographer to perform a basic cull, curves/color correction, and provide a gallery of their selects. Simple retouching for up to 20 images was estimated at one hour per image, with a TBD as a caveat, to be based on final agency creative notes. The photographer would be doing all retouching at a $125/hr. rate. Video editing was estimated at $3,500, with a “TBD” added that this would be pending final client/agency creative notes and revisions.

Feedback & Revisions: As we’ve seen more and more lately, when the initial RFP (request for proposal) came to us, the agency had not yet sold the project to the client. This estimate was being used alongside the agency creative to have the client sign off on the project. This isn’t ideal, as we’ve seen photographers jump through hoops just for a project to never get off the ground. With that said, as the client conversations continued, there were quite a few adjustments to the creative plans and costs and, as a result, our estimate was revised a number of times over several months.

As the shot list grew, the on-set days increased to four and the talent needs expanded to hired professionals — though a decreased quantity. With a casting agent present, we added additional crew to our motion team, a drone operator for two days, and a props/set decorating team to help style the location. The post-production fees expanded to cover the additional images, video editing time, and an agency request for a colorist and audio licensing to be added.

While the shoot would be rather straightforward, the ten-hour shoot days would be stuffed and required a competent team with a concise plan. As stated previously, there was some pushback on our initial creative/licensing fee, but we landed not too far off and felt that a creative/licensing fee of $22,000 was fair. We previously had a fee for the director to attend a tech/scout day on the location, but with the increased SOW (statement of work), I added an additional $1,100/day fee for a few days of pre-production needs.

Our updated estimate still had the same tenets as the original, but the new needs increased the budget by more than $50,000 to the subsequent estimate below:

 

 

Results: The photographer was awarded the assignment, and the shoot is currently in post-production. It was a very successful project and the client and agency are very happy with the work created!

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – Frank Ockenfels 3


Variety

Creative Director: Raul Aguila
Photo Director: Jennifer Dorn
Photographer: Frank Ockenfels 3

Heidi: Where were both of these subjects located, did you have to go travel to them each time?
Frank: Lin was in NYC and Jon was in LA so I did the photoshoot before and after their interview on zoom. Jon was first and I created a light set up to matched the plates I shot weeks ago in NYC. While the interview was going on I worked with the videographer in NYC, setting the lights in a studio so I could repeat the same lighting with Lin.

How did the idea come about, aside from necessity?
When I was approached about the cover, I was heading to NYC for a job. Since Lin wasn’t available to shoot while I was there, I suggested that I shoot plates up and around Washington heights in a David Hockney style. The request from Jennifer and Raul was to come up with a collage idea that brought them together even though the weren’t.

What motion camera/lens were you using for the motion?
The videographers both use the Canon C200s. The higher quality the capture the better the image. Over Zoom I worked with them setting the lights, then directed both the videographers and subject.

Did you do anything special for shooting off the screen?
My digital tech, Chris Nichols and I tried many different cameras, lenses, monitors, and exposures to come up with the recipe that works. Along the way each failure created interesting outcomes and unusual abstract captures. If I just tell you you’ll miss out on the fun of the creative journey.

Was it an impossible edit?
It’s interesting when capturing images off motion because you can rewind to catch certain subtle things … if they weren’t moving too fast. It’s  interesting to see that moment before they look in the camera, moments that are less guarded or over thought.

What were you looking for in each of the stills for the final select?
I wanted to feel like I’d walked up and found them in conversation.

Was this more intimate?
I have done different approaches to this and it was most intimate when I shot the Chicago 7 cover for The Hollywood Reporter. I sent each actor a light kit and diagram how to set up the lights and then worked with them setting it up and placing the camera.

What other creative solutions have you discovered during COVID?
I have been lucky enough to do several projects on location since all this started. It’s great for a few reasons. One, to see that creatives aren’t letting what’s going on stop them from trying to push on with great key art concepts. Two, the trust they have in me because they cannot be present to execute on their ideas. I believe we must be open to learn new things everyday and must embrace change and the challenge of the moments we are given. This is how we grow.

 

Featured Promo – Augusta Sagnelli

Augusta Sagnelli

Who printed it?
Jukebox

Who designed it?
@minmoostudio

Tell me about the images?
Various editorial images I made between 2018 – 2020 that I feel emulate my style and brand that I want to present to clients.

How many did you make?
I printed 100 of each image.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I use them as thank you notes to clients/location/people on set/places I stay while traveling.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I want to use this model for each one being a part of a limited “set” that you can collect and once they are all gone, I will create a new set of imagery that follows its own motif.

This Week in Photography: Time to Party?

 

 

Cultures change.

 

Everything changes, as entropy is the natural state of the Universe.

 

Often, the major drivers of cultural change are technological, biological, or because of human migratory patterns.

The first is obvious, as inventions like the airplane, the automobile, and the internet radically altered the way people engage with society.

 

The second should be beyond-obvious, as the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 upended just about everything, with respect to the way life is experienced on Earth.

The last, though, is least understood, as far as when and why it happens, and is often reduced to terms like gentrification, when it’s on a small scale.

Big things like climate change, or war, can cause massive amounts of humans to move at once, as we saw in Europe a few years back, when people were fleeing places like Syria and Afghanistan, en masse.

On a micro-level, though, it’s often tied to economics, or what people perceive to be the hot, new thing.

I experienced gentrification first hand, back in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 2005, yet mostly denied the reality that I had been on the first wave of artsy-hipsters moving into an almost-entirely-Polish neighborhood in 2002.

By the time is was properly trendy, in ’05, I wanted no part of it, because if I’d planned to live around a bunch of people like me, I would have chosen Williamsburg, or the Lower East Side.

 

 

Right now, I’ve noticed the first hints of cultural change here in Taos, as we’ve seen thousands of new people move here, during the pandemic, for the wide open spaces, clean air, and relatively rich culture, for a micro-city. (Though I still insist the restaurants suck.)

I’ve had lots of discussions about this in the last few months, as we could see people had come here, with California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado license plates, altering traffic patterns, but it was hard to know for sure, as almost everyone was locked down.

And the Instagram-nature of life these days, where beauty is seen as a backdrop, with locations appreciated as something to stand in front of for a photo, plus the reality of remote work, meant that many-if-not-all of the new-comers have not assimilated into society yet.

 

 

What will that look like when they do, I’ve mused to anyone would would listen to my ranting?

Won’t the waves of Californians look around, notice Taos lacks a lot of the base-level things they’ve come to appreciate about life, and then decide to leave, or change things?

I’m no Nostradamus, but just yesterday, I saw my first evidence, as my son was invited into a free, youth basketball program, as no such thing existed.

Everywhere else, they have youth sports, but outside of soccer season, Taos was a barren desert.

Sure enough, the coach is from NorCal, and took it upon himself to start something up for the community, because he had a boy in that age-group, and there was no basketball to be had.

Things change, and sometimes for the better.

 

New York City is poised to have a party summer, so says the media, as America’s biggest megalopolis gets sweaty in the hot season, and people have been cooped up for So Damn Long.

Throw in the high rates of vaccination in the blue states, (relative to the red ones,) and it’s shaping up to be a rockin’ good time, with dancing in the streets, block parties galore, beer and weed on the stoops, and diverse people getting to talk to one another again, face to face.

But I’m guessing this will mostly happen in the outer boroughs, as who can afford to live in Manhattan anymore? (Unless the Covid-rent-drops stick around.)

 

Manhattan used to a borough in which people lived, worked, and celebrated, but over the years, it morphed into a culture for the mega-rich to keep investment homes, the worker bees to head to office towers, and the tourists to come in droves to shop.

The changes, in the form of gentrification, came when certain downtown neighborhoods turned from dangerous to chic, (like SoHo and Tribeca,) and the internet began broadcasting the NYC way of life to the rest of Earth.

So obviously it affected the city, with diners giving way to cafes, and night clubs becoming WeWork offices. (OK, so I skipped a step on that last one. But you get the point.)

Back in the day, before the advent of social media, people who wanted to know what was up had to stay up late, drink lots of alcohol, (or do some blow or X,) and then wait behind a velvet rope to get into a club, unless they were rich and/or famous.

That scent of exclusivity was intoxicating for the masses, as they really wanted to get into that room, where they could drink, dance, observe, talk, kiss, grind, look at art, revel in fashion, or perhaps embrace a persona that would be verboten back in Bay Ridge.

So much of that is gone now.

Unless…

 

Unless there were a photo book that captured the purity of that 90’s vibe: the mashup of drag queens, models, actors, wannabes, pretty people, and stylish regular folks.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could see all that, in front of our eyes, hold it in our hands, as if it were still alive today?

(You know where I’m going with this.)

There is such a book, and it arrived in my mailbox back in October, shortly before the Covid surge that killed half a million people, and rocked New York, America, and the world. (Sending lots of love to everyone in India right now.)

It’s called “In the Limelight: The Visual Ecstasy of NYC Nightlife in the 90’s,” by Steve Eichner, edited by Gabriel H. Sanchez, and published by Prestel in 2020.

Not sure why I never made the connection, when I glanced at the press release, but Steve is brothers with Billy Eichner, one of the funniest people alive, and a man whose entire existence would have been altered by the pandemic.

(I mean, have you seen “Billy on the Street,” in which he charges at strangers on the sidewalk, like a drunk bull, and screams absurdist, often genius, questions at them on camera?)

 

 

But we’re talking about Steve today, not Billy, and his book was a trip down memory lane for me, culturally, if not literally. (I did party once at Nell’s on 14th Street, in 1996, when I was working on “The Devil’s Advocate,” but it was a one-time thing.)

The photos show off the vibe, and are colorful and alive. The mise-en-scene is just right, because Steve Eichner was the house photographer for Peter Gatien’s club empire, including the Limelight, the Tunnel, Club USA and more.

Apparently, these slides sat in boxes in storage in Long Beach, Long Island, for decades, before being rescued, to give us a vision of what Party City NYC #2021 might look like, come July.

(But with different fashion, obv.)

So many bold faced names, including De Niro with Chazz Palminteri, Tupac, Madonna, RuPaul, Leo DiCaprio with Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, Kris Kross, the Supermodels, Jim Jarmusch with Joe Strummer!, TLC, Don Knotts???, the Olsen Twins??????, Mickey Rourke, and more.

We get a shot of Mark Wahlberg and his “entourage,” and I swear, if you can’t tell which guy was Turtle, and which was E, you’re really not trying.

 

 

Of course, this being New York, we get a photograph of Donald Trump, with appropriate red-eye and red tie, holding his belt like the gunslinger he’d become 20 years later.

(Seriously. Fuck that guy.)

The introductions tell us that Peter Gatien got busted for tax evasion, like his Studio 54 predecessors, and was deported to Canada, his home country.

The rents got too high, the clubs closed, and that was that.

End of an era.

Like I said, cultures change, for good and for bad.

 

These days, if you want to know what a celebrity is wearing, you hit up Instagram.

 

 

If you want people to be jealous, you photograph yourself in front of a pretty, exclusive, or expensive backdrop.

(If it isn’t photographed, it didn’t happen.)

But in the 90’s, you had to be there, or you had to hope a good nightlife-photographer took your picture, and that at some point down the line, other people would see how fly you looked.

Who’s ready to party!

 

To purchase “In the Limelight” click here

 

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Shahzad Bhiwandiwala

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:  Shahzad Bhiwandiwala

As an Indian, I have rarely seen Indian artists tackle what if scenarios relating to Indian Art and Cultural history.  My passion for art history coupled with my creative instincts has often made me wonder about India’s approach to fashion had it been influenced by the European Renaissance as it swept across the known world at the time. This project brings these thoughts and ideas to visualization and is presented through the perspective of a single fictional royal family, The Garhwal Gharana aka The House of Garhwal spanning generations from an alternate timeline 15th Century to the 21st century.

There are two distinct fashion styles in the project:

  • The first represents portraits styled in the fashion of an alternate timeline of the 15th century, where India is in the midst of its renaissance influenced by the High Renaissance period.
  • The second details portraits styled in the fashion of an alternate timeline of the year 2020 where society has gone back to its roots of clans and kingdoms while taking fashion cues from the previously established renaissance style and adds a modern take to it.

The project is focused on fine art fashion and portraiture using opulent traditional Indian clothing with a European aesthetic and has been a collaborative result with Indian designers, jewelers and stylists such as Gaurav Gupta, Dhruv Singh, Begada, Amani, Studio Simone, Akankshaa, Outhouse Jewelry & The Costume Team having come together in providing and creating outfits and accessories towards the project.

To see more of this project, click here.

 

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

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

 

The Best Way To Register Your Copyright

by Varun Ragupathi, Wonderful Machine

Yes, you own the actual copyright to your work when you create it, but you do not have the full protection of the law unless you register it. That one little [online form] from the copyright office will change your life.

This is how longtime director and photographer Michael Grecco sums up the process that ensures your photographs are protected. The first step is, of course, creating the imagery itself. But what’s also important is registering that work with the U.S. government’s copyright office to prevent outside parties from unjustly using your imagery. Your ability to defend yourself against an infringement depends on your timely registration of your copyright. Most photographers don’t realize that while they own the copyright to their photos the instant they’re made, it’s only by registering the copyright that they’re truly protected from infringement.

As with just about anything related to our government, the process by which you register your copyright is, to use Michael’s words, “deceptively complicated.” Across three detailed videos, Michael breaks down and simplifies the step-by-step guide to protecting your work, covering the “why” as well as the “how” regarding this vital action. Let’s take some time to highlight the key points of each video, all of which can be found below.

PART ONE: BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION

As a primer of sorts for this rather involved topic, Michael takes the time to explain the definition and importance of copyright registration. Here are some of the big takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Why the difference between having and not having your work copyrighted could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
  • Why you can earn up to $150,000 — plus legal fees — per image if you register your copyright before someone tries to steal it.
  • Why published and unpublished work needs to be registered separately and differently — and why every image registered at one time needs to come from the same year.
  • The number of images you can copyright per registration, and how much time you have between publication and registration to receive full protection for your published work.
  • How to determine if your work can be considered “published.”

PART TWO: REGISTERING YOUR UNPUBLISHED WORK ONLINE

In the second of his three videos, Michael sits down and goes through the actual process of registering your property on the U.S. Copyright Office’s website. This is where we get into the nitty-gritty of ensuring your work is protected by the law. The biggest thing to note here, other than how to navigate the online form, is that organized archiving is key. Make sure that all your files are grouped logically and labelled consistently — after all, you may very well be uploading hundreds of images at once, so it’s imperative you know where they are and why they go together.

PART THREE: REGISTERING YOUR PUBLISHED WORK ONLINE

While the process for registering your published work is quite similar to what you’d do for unpublished imagery, there are a few extra steps you need to take. Whereas unpublished work can be dated by the time it was created, published images must be labeled by when they were, well, published. If you did a shoot for a magazine in, say, July of 2019 but the issue featuring your work didn’t run until October 2019, you need to date your images with the latter month and year (the day of publication is irrelevant). Take a look at the video above to see the other differences between registering unpublished and published work; Michael’s also got some tips on how to best keep track of the images you upload to the copyright office’s website.

And that about covers one of the most important and necessary aspects of protecting your intellectual property. You busted your butt to not only create images, but also to earn a living from them, so complete this process regularly to ensure you get fully compensated for your work. Hopefully this seemingly daunting task becomes a little less scary once you hear from Michael!

For more information on the subject, check out Honore Brown’s how-to guide and chat with photographers on the subject.

Need help registering your copyright? Send Wonderful Machine an email with any questions or concerns!

The Daily Edit – Jason Thompson: Patagonia Journal

Anne Gilbert Chase on her first climbing expedition in Pakistan. A country with beautiful people and big mountains.
The experience was unique for Anne Gilbert, being 1 of 2 western women on the trip in a country that, for the most part, doesn’t treat women with much respect. The climbing aspect of the expedition was frustrating with weather that didn’t play nice. 30 days were spent in base camp to attempt Pumari Chhish off of the Hispar glacier. The team never had more than 1 -2 days of good weather. Six days were needed to attempt the unclimbed Pumari Chhish East.


Patagonia Catalog

Photographer: Jason Thompson

Heidi: How has your mountain guide experience informed your work?
Jason: I spent from 2005 until 2013 working for a mountain guiding service throughout the PNW, Alaska and a bit in South America. I used this opportunity to hone my knowledge of being in the mountains as safely as possible. I know I wanted to be a photographer but I also wanted to be an asset to any creative project in the mountains. Guiding taught me more about understanding empathy and supporting others emotionally and physically. When photographing, immersing myself in other cultures, viewing my experience through my lens, I try to put myself in my subject’s shoes and try to express the emotions that they are feeling. I search for an understanding of what it might be like, to be in their shoes at that moment in time. Practicing how to ask questions to aspiring climbers, I was able to work with, allowed the climbers and me to build trust with each other in the mountain environment. I met people in a space that was, most of the time, completely foreign and new to them while trying to provide an exceptional experience in the mountains. I could empathize with them when climbing North America’s highest mountain, Denali, 20,320ft. It is physically and mentally challenging. Teamwork and grit can achieve big goals. Risk/hazard assessment is an essential component of guiding. Some percentage of my work is performed in venues with hazards, avalanches, seracs, weather, etc My brain is on overdrive assessing factors of the hazards that I and along with the people I am working with exposing ourselves too. Mountains are not an inherently safe and tranquil space. I think there is this misnomer in American society that wilderness, mountains are this calming grounding space though they certainly can be, they are also savage and have the potential to cause emotional pain to us.

Guiding requires constant assessment, calculations, risk vs reward. Has your photo decision-making become more refined with this deliberate practice?
Yes, completely. First, I choose to accept the risk associated with making a shot, or not. In skiing, I might have a frame idea/angle that would put me in an exposed situation, i.e. on a slope steep enough to avalanche at the same time as the skier. Climbing is a little different, I feel like I have a more significant margin of safety using ropes and other technical gear. But there are still many hazards packed into alpine climbing in the mountains.  But anticipation, and an understanding of how the climber or skier will move in the terrain, helps me to compose something that meets the requirements of being safe and making a compelling creative visual. I find satisfaction in being able to anticipate when that next “moment” might happen. My creative approach is much more documentary or photojournalistic in style, and I think that is what I strive for in my work. At the same time, checking all the boxes of creativity, composition, anticipation, right moment, and safety of all involved.

Is your enjoyment of nature ever in conflict with enjoyment of making images?
No. There is not a right and wrong way to experience nature so long as we respect the land. My connection with nature is with my camera – it always has been since I was a young person tromping around in Olympic National Park. I found beauty in capturing the light as it changed, intricate details on fern leaves, nasty weather, and other people’s physical and emotional experiences in that space. This connection to nature helped ground me and teach me humility as a young person because I realized the power of mountains. Like earlier, when I talked about experiencing cultures and newness that I am not familiar with, through my lens and how intensely engaged I am, it is the same when in nature for me. I am drawn in, more profoundly, by the experience of looking through my lens.

How do you process not making a summit?
The self-talk usually starts with disappointment, then acceptance, then asking what I learned, identifying progress points to be implemented next time. Obviously, we all want to summit and achieve our goals, but in moments of struggle, we learn, grow, and creativity can flourish. A quote I once heard and have forgotten who said it went:  “The summit is for the ego but the journey is for the soul.” I’d share this with the climbers I worked with when I was guiding and it still rings true for me. Time on the summit is probably less than 1% of any trip.

Do you feel like you still succeeded?
Yes, because as long as I am with good people and present in the experience, coming out of the mountains safe, as better partners while honing my craft is a positive experience to me. At the end of the day, if a summit happened or didn’t happen that is the story, that is what I document, the moments that did happen.

How did this trip advance your growth as a photographer?
In two ways.

The first was realizing how stressed I felt during the trip not having shot any climbing. The weather was just not working with us and we never had a weather window to confidently commit to starting up the wall. But I think I grew into the belief that I am there to document, as creatively as I can, the moments that were happening. Not the ones in the future that I couldn’t control. It’s tough though, right? Knowing I am there in part to make visuals of products with specific climbing intended use and not having a chance to do that was tough. I think that is disappointing from a creative standpoint similar to the climber perspective of not having a chance to summit or even try to climb! But I think this trip helped me let go and realize it’s ok and that I document the moments that do happen. That is how it is.

Secondly, I’d been feeling really restless with my growth as a photographer leading up to my time in Pakistan. I think, mostly, because I didn’t have a personal project going and hadn’t for a while. I was too focused and maxed out on hustling for enough gigs to pay the bills (reality!). My Dad had instilled in me a love for growing fresh vegetables. Maybe a year before this trip to Pakistan I started getting interested in researching, networking, and learning about holistic agriculture practices, organic regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and Indigenous agriculture beliefs, etc. I was fascinated by what I was learning. Looking back, the Pakistan trip was a marker for me to branch out and try to shoot something that would push me as a photographer. I think I needed a subject to shoot that would provide me with a different sense of purpose in using my camera.

What are you working on now?
Kind of a lot. I feel like I’ve had the gas pedal pinned for a bit now. As I mentioned, my Dad instilled in me a love for healthy food and gardening. About 3ish years ago, I became curious about holistic agriculture practices, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, growing healthy soils and producing healthy foods. So I started to research these topics, and I got excited about storytelling around it. It felt like I had discovered a way that my camera could make a positive impact in society. Researching and networking and getting to know who has a story to share has been productive. This topic is so out of my scope of everyday work, but something I love about photography are the many different ideas and people my camera has exposed me to. Currently, Emily Stifler Wolfe and I have received a grant. We are actively looking for additional funding for a three-piece story in collaboration with Montana Free Press about how regenerative agriculture is transforming the economics of rural Montana communities. I am a firm believer that healthy communities have healthy food access. Storytelling in this vein excites me because of the impact my images could have on the health of the land and other human’s physical and mental health.

I also have nearly completed a 12 month UX/UI program. This is something I fell into with the arrival of Covid-19. I decided my skill set needed to diversify. I see this space of UX and holistic agriculture practices merging with storytelling of growing healthy soils, and healthy communities. Some percentage of my work needs to have a purpose and a positive impact. The UX program has been a good challenge in learning again! Learning about human behavior and how crazy we all are is really fascinating! What excites me about adding a UX design skill set is the chance to use a design thinking approach to solving problems with the human at the core. I believe storytelling and creating a narrative is an integral part between us that produces a conversation to develop solutions to problems. Literally designing applications to make people and our land healthier through storytelling is really appealing to me. We’ll see how everything shakes out but I am looking forward to seeing where UX design, storytelling, and agriculture intersect. Of course, I plan to continue shooting projects that are focused on climbing and skiing in remote regions of our home planet.