The Daily Promo – Darrin Haddad

- - The Daily Promo

Darrin Haddad

Who printed it?
Bestype Imaging

Who designed it?
Joe Haddad

Tell me about the images?
I began this project with the conceptual focus on “Rocks, Paper, Scissors”. The game’s title has an obvious material parallel to stone, paper, and metal, subjects which align with my practice as a still life photographer. I took the material focus as an opportunity to strip back and abstract my usual approach, pushing the combinations of flat and reflective material into extreme geometry. The cyclic nature of the game, however, has another connection. I worked in tandem with my designer on this project, delivering ranges of compositions and angles on each subject as the shoot progressed. He would, in turn, punch in on the subject, further cropping and abstracting each piece of metal or paper until the composition for the book felt completely different from my initial shots. These crops would then inform my new explorations of each composition. In this way we had a back and forth, where each of our practices informs the other.

How many did you make?
500

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first one in a series that I plan on sending out every 6 months.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes. Printed pieces are great way to reach creatives who wouldn’t ordinarily see your work. It’s also an opportunity to showcase an interesting personal project or a long-term collaboration. In the end, any way of getting your images in front of prospective creatives is an opportunity not to be dismissed.

This Week in Photography Books: Alexa Vachon

 

It’s Passover coming up this weekend.

(Or Easter, depending on your religious affiliation.)

It’s a holy time of year for the Jewish people, as it represents the Israelites escape from Egypt, fleeing slavery. According to the Torah, (or the Old Testament,) the Jews then spent 40 years in the desert before being allowed into the kingdom of Israel.

To Christians, Jesus was killed during Passover, crucified for his beliefs. Then, according to the New Testament, he was resurrected, as Jesus was the son of God.

I know that in Iran, they have a New Year, or renewal celebration in Spring as well.

Maybe it’s called Narwaz?

(Pause…rare Google break…)

Nowruz. (So close.)

Just like pagan mid-winter celebrations became Christmas, and Catholic churches were built atop Aztec religious sites, ancient belief structures are embedded within later ones, and some human behaviors have remained constant.

Chief among them: when groups of people are threatened with death, they flee.

Whether Jews from the Pharaoh, (or the Nazis thousands of years later,) or Syrians and Afghans in the 21st Century, running for your life is nothing new.

And even countries like ours, famed for the Statue of Liberty-Ellis-Island ethos, have also turned backs on immigrant groups in the past, be they Chinese, Jewish, or Mexican.

To me, little in life is more evil than demonizing the very people who are running from killers. Whether threatened by criminal gangs, like MS-13 in El Salvador, or political groups like the Taliban or ISIS, refugees choose between certain death if they stay put, or the hope of a better life if they make way successfully to the US, Germany, or Sweden.

That a nationalistic counter-reaction was also launched is no surprise, given what we know of history. That DARK, DARK past, from the 19-teens through the mid-1940’s is a reminder that we must take nativism very seriously.

Propagating positive narratives, and humanizing refugees is a pretty excellent way to spend one’s time, if you believe any of what I wrote above to be true.

So big shout out to Alexa Vachon, who sent me her new book “Rise” late last year. It arrived from Berlin with a nice note, and the book is in English, German, and several Central Asian languages I didn’t recognize. (Persian, for sure.)

I think it’s self-published, and there is grant funding thanked at the end, so it seems plausible, despite the excellent production values.

Early on, I parsed that the hand-written text, on certain picture pages, was diaristic by the artist. It is in English, and she mentions being an immigrant, so while I’d normally think American, something reminded me that she could be Canadian as well.

The end notes confirm a Canadian Council for the Arts grant, so we can assume that Ms. Vachon is a Canadian artist living in Berlin, and it seems like she’s been around a while.

The narrative, which I’d call super-inspiring, centers upon CHAMPIONS ohne GRENZEN, a Berlin organization that hooks up native Germans with new refugee immigrants, so they can play soccer together.

Many of the young women have not played before, so it’s a way of integrating people and culture simultaneously.

There are a lot of excellent photos, and also various forms of interview text confirming that running for your life from ISIS, or the Taliban is not for the faint of heart.

If I have any criticism, (and I do,) it’s that there is probably too much of everything here. It could do with a trim of images and text, just because it would tighten the impact of both, I’d suggest.

On balance, though, it’s an excellent book, and in particular I like the subsection of dot-grain-type-black-and-white pictures. I always recommend something to break up the narrative, and this is both clever and cool.

The aforementioned thank you page includes some big names, (including oft-thanked-Alec-Soth,) so it’s clear that Ms. Vachon has some good mentors and/or teachers.

No surprise, given the book’s quality.

But since she sent it to me, I’ll stress the lesson that sometimes, or most of the time, really, less is more. Especially when the heart of your story is so compelling.

Overall, though, a great, inspiring book for the season of renewal and rebirth.

See you next week.

Bottom Line: Lovely, heart-warming book about refugee soccer players in Berlin

To purchase “Rise” click here

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We’re particularly interested in submissions from female photographers, and artists of color, so we may maintain a diverse program. 

The Art of the Personal Project: Sara Forrest

- - Personal Project

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:  Sara Forrest

Prom night featuring six juniors in my home town of Topeka, KS. This series is part of an ongoing project on youth in America. I started my photography career in small town Kansas and always am thankful for it. I work now all over photographing ad campaigns and editorials worldwide and owe my drive to this place in the middle of the US. This vast landscape isn’t anything particularly special to many on the coasts, but it is very special to me. It’s a unique perspective to be from here and to have left for so long and to come back and appreciate it. Today it has the faint smell of the spring grassland burns – lush regrowth soon to follow. When life feels spun out due to the crazy work and travel schedules or other circumstances, I always come back and feel grounded and recentered working on this project in this space. It is my hope I can always continue to learn and understand people anywhere in the world, starting with where I started too.

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 @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

 

The Daily Edit – Kodachrome: the lab, the article, the movie.

- - The Daily Edit

Photo by Steve Herbert for the New York Times

For 75 years Dwyane’s photo lab in Parsons, Kansas had been processing Kodachrome film. It’s closing in 2010 inspired many photographers to make the trek to the lab back then, and more recently, a Netflix film called Kodachrome.  The New York Times published an article in 2010 about the lab’s closing and it sparked the idea for the film. The last roll of Kodachrome 64 was handed to none other than Steve McCurry, a long time fan of the film, and you can read about his process along with the 36 images he shot here. Closing credits from the movie include McCurry’s images below


Photography by Steve McCurry: Villagers Celebrating the Festival of Holi, Vrindavan, Rajasthan, India, 1996

Photography by Steve McCurry: Djenne, Mali

This Week in Photography Books: Katherine Longly

 

America is a fast food nation.

We know this.

You may not eat at McDonalds, or Wendy’s, or Burger King, but millions of other people do.

Why?

Because it’s fast, cheap, and packed with flavor and fat. (Of course, all cooks know those last two go together.) Sure, chemical companies supply products that boost the food’s tastiness, but most people don’t care what’s in the crap, as long as it fills them up.

This is not news to you, of course, as billions of words have been written about America’s obesity crisis, and whether anything can be done to slim down our collective waist line.

I know how to keep myself fit, these days, mostly because I’ve had phases in life when I put on weight. I was never obese, thankfully, but chubby, fat, heavy, puffy, or rotund would not have been inappropriate adjectives for me at different times. (As a youth, at my wedding, or the summer of 2016, when I had knee tendinitis.)

Eventually, I realized the body weight math is pretty simple. If you burn more calories than you ingest, you won’t get fat. If you eat a lot more than you burn, consistently, you’re screwed.

In my life, times of weight gain tended to track with stress and unhappiness, but were ALWAYS accompanied by a lack of exercise.

If you eat lots of pizza, drink plenty of beer, and don’t exercise, you’re going to gain weight.

It’s just math.

These days, I’ve added exercise into my life in several ways, and it can be as addictive as the bad substances. So keeping fit, and not going too heavy on the sweets has helped me reach an equilibrium.

(But it took 42 years to figure that shit out, which is nothing to brag about.)

People’s relationship to food often determines whether they’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight, but even more, it depends on their relationships with other people. Over-eating and under-eating, both of which can make a person sick, are often coping strategies, or outlets, for people with unresolved emotional issues.

It’s a fact.

Once the pounds are on, of course, they’re much harder to take off. And when it happens to an entire society, as it has here in America, who the fuck knows how to solve the problem?

Today, though, I’m not actually thinking about it as an American issue. Rather, as most of the world knows, the United States has exported many, if not most, of our major fast food franchises.

So other countries, and their citizenries, are now forced to deal with the same issues, even in places that have long had their own, indigenous, healthy cuisines.

How messed up is that? Our corporations actively make some people, in far-flung places, fat and sick.

USA!
USA!
USA!

(Yes, that was an ironic chant.)

Why am I on about this today? Why not write about all the brilliant food I ate in NYC this week? (I’ll get to that in an upcoming travel piece. With photos this time!)

Well, my musings were inspired by “To tell my real intentions, I want to eat only haze like a hermit.”, a small-batch photo-book that turned up in the mail late last year by Belgian artist Katherine Longly.

Man, is this book cool. Honestly, if I can get more edgy, artsy projects like this from you guys, I’m willing to step off my soap-box and stop bitching about how all photo books look alike.

This submission is different than any before, as Ms. Longly reached out, and offered to send the book to me, if I’d sent it back. (She provided return postage.)

When she explained that it was a prototype, one built by hand, with countless hours of exacting labor, I said, “Sure, why not?” and eventually it turned up in the mail.

Apparently, Ms. Longly spent some time doing residencies in Japan, and this amazing little object was the result.

It opens up with a photo in a sleeve, facing backwards, and when you take it out, you see a photo of a chubby young girl. Right away, I assumed it was the artist. (Not sure why.)

Overall, the book does a deep dive into Japan’s relationship to food, as men have seen an uptick in obesity over the years, some of which is directly attributable to a more Americanized diet. (In particular in Okinawa, due to its US Military history.)

Women, though, face the opposite problem. Due to cultural pressures that are, and are not unique to Japan, (media saturation with young, skinny models and actresses,) many young Japanese women are underweight.

In a society of plenty, (as opposed to their Post-WWII scarcity,) Japanese women are seeing higher rates of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

This is not something for which we can blame Trump, (despite his love of fast food,) but it does seem as if the West has made Japan sicker. (Simultaneously, we fell in love with sushi, which we’ve imported over here like crazy, despite the falling rates of fish in the sea.)

The book features some slick, weird photos at the outset, but then switches to a conceptual approach, in which a set of people living in Japan were asked to make disposable-camera-photographs of their food intake, and share stories about their relationship to it.

Some have eating disorders, some battle with childhood fears of being fat, and others long to cook the best food they possibly can. (Even if it means changing up the type of apples in a family cake recipe.)

Throughout, really cool graphics and research documentation are included, so that facts and stats are mixed with the personal narratives.

And then in the end, we get to see another 4×6 photo of the artist, this time as a grown-up, in a plastic sleeve. (A nice connection to the beginning.)

Like last week, this is a book begging to be photographed, so I’ll make sure to include a lot of pictures down below.

Today wasn’t the day to brag about my New York gluttony, but I’ll get to that in the coming weeks. (Thankfully, I walked so many miles in the city that I came home without any extra pounds.)

Rather, I’ll leave you to contemplate this killer book, which somehow manages to be personal, while also exposing the artist, (and by extension, us,) to an alien culture filled with flavored kit kats and fermented bar snacks.

Bon Appetit!

Bottom Line: Fantastic, original maquette about Japanese food culture

To contact the artist about the book, click here 

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We’re particularly interested in submissions from female photographers, and artists of color, so we may maintain a diverse program. 

The Art of the Personal Project: M&P Curtet

- - Personal Project

 

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:   M&P Curtet

Is there a city more inspirational than Los Angeles?

A city that never stops evolving.  Each street, each corner holds the possibility of a story.  We have always worked to make stories with our images to capture moments in our own cinematographic style.  Up until now, most of these stories have revolved around the automotive world.  We wanted to explore outside of that world.  For this new series we wanted to take advantage of the ever-changing ‘set’ that is downtown Los Angeles and project our style to create an energetic sport/lifestyle story.  In this series we think of Los Angeles as more than just a backdrop, but as the co-star to our strong female lead.

 

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 @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

M&P Curtet are a husband and wife, photography/director team now based in Los Angeles. Marlyne and Patrick work in a symbiotic relationship, their combined talents add a unique depth and quality to their images. Their photographic skills and the emotive resonance of their partnership makes them storymakers with a cinematographic vision. They always relish the challenge of creating a unique and compelling vision for their clients.

 

 

Pricing & Negotiating: Headshots, Stills and Video

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Concept: Corporate headshots of 50 employees

Licensing: Unlimited use of all content captured in perpetuity

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Large, based in the Northeast

Client: Pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing Fees: At first, the project seemed rather straightforward. The request was to capture about 50 employee headshots against a solid background on one shoot day. While 50 people would be a lot to cram into one day, the client was in charge of scheduling the employees, and we discussed spending just a few minutes with each subject, so it seemed doable. The client/agency also requested unlimited use of all images captured in perpetuity. In this case, the images would primarily be displayed on a website with no intention of advertising use. Nonetheless, we were told that we could not limit the licensing in any way. Unfortunately, we see this quite often, when a client’s requested use varies drastically from their intended use. While I always do my best to limit usage when I can, I knew the client could easily find a photographer willing to grant unlimited use on a project like this. Taking that potential competition into mind, the photographer was willing to throw it all in and trust that the usage would not escalate. I’ve quoted a lot of similar projects in the past, and I’ve had success starting with a fee of $1,500 and adding $100 per subject. In this case, that totaled $6,500.

Tech/Scout Day: The photographer planned to do a walkthrough of the location prior to the shoot to ensure that there would be adequate space, and to talk through the project with the client. We included $750 for their time to do so.

Assistants: The photographer would bring their first assistant along for the tech/scout day, and both the first assistant and a second assistant would attend the shoot day.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: We included one stylist to perform very light touchups of each subject prior to being photographed.

Equipment: This covered the cost of the photographer’s own equipment, including two camera bodies and the lighting and grip that he’d need for a basic setup.

Mileage, Parking, Misc.: The photographer was local, and this primarily covered parking and miscellaneous expenses that might pop up during the shoot day.

Delivery of Content on Hard Drive: Simply put, the photographer would provide the images on a hard drive to the client; this covered that expense.

Color Correction and File Cleanup: The agency planned to handle the retouching, as detailed in the job description, but asked for a cost to cover basic color correction and cleanup, should the photographer take on that task. We detailed a fee of $40/image for this if needed.

As we were compiling the above estimate, we were asked to also provide an estimate to add video. In addition to the 50 headshots, they hoped to capture short videos of 12 leadership team members. There would be no speaking (and therefore no audio capture needed) but rather minor expression changes and small movements captured in a very short clip. We felt this necessitated an additional day, so we compiled an estimate for a two-day shoot. Shooting over two days was actually advantageous as it would allow for more breathing room with the 50 portraits, and the ability to have them overflow on to the second day if needed, with half a day dedicated to the video. Here is that estimate:


For the creative/licensing fee, I added $1,500 for a modest creative fee to account for the additional day, and then added $200 per person for the video, which brought me to $10,400, and I then rounded up to an even $10,500. We increased the crew to account for the additional day, and increased equipment as well to $1,500 to cover extra equipment that the photographer might need to rent for the video. We also added a digital workstation rental at $750 so the client could see the video that was being captured of their leadership team, and the photographer planned to have his first assistant jump in to play the role of a digital tech in this regard. We increase our mileage/parking/misc. line to account for the second day, and kept the expense the same for the delivery of a hard drive.

Feedback: After speaking with their client, the agency reported back and told us that rather than capturing headshots of 50 people, they wanted to focus primarily on the leadership team. They asked for a new estimate to capture individual portraits and short videos of just the 12 members of the leadership team, plus a group shot of 20 people. After speaking about the reduction/change with the photographer, and knowing the client’s intended use and desire to keep costs down (ideally under 10k), we decided to include a creative licensing fee of $5,000. This was loosely based on a $1,500 fee plus $300 per person and then rounded down a bit to make it more palatable. We made a few other small tweaks to equipment and were asked by the agency to add basic post-processing of 8 portraits, which we included in the following estimate:

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at 610.260.0200 or reach out. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – Departures Magazine: Sean Fennessy

- - The Daily Edit

Departures Magazine

Photo Editor: Skye Senterfeit
Photographer: Sean Fennessy

Heidi: How did this job come about, did you pitch it to the magazine?
Sean: Whenever I hear from Skye Senterfeit, the photo editor at Travel + Leisure and Departures, it’s always a ‘pinch myself’ moment. When I saw Madagascar in the subject line of this email it was particularly exciting, although I’m ashamed to say that my knowledge of the country before this trip came exclusively from the animated kids movie.

How many days were you there; had you been to Madagascar before?
7 days. No I’d never been there before.

What was the overall directive from the magazine?
Despite the exotic destination, the direction from the magazine was surprisingly low-key. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Skye several times (starting with some assignments closer to home and then gradually moving further afield) so I think I’d built up some trust! However there was some dramatic emails in the lead up to the trip when news broke of an outbreak of The Plague. A last minute visit to my doctor and the prescription of some obscure antibiotics later, and I was good to go.

Did you have a shot list to fulfill?
Often on assignments like this, the writer has travelled in advance and has made a start on the story which can then be used to build a shot list. But in this case I was traveling with the writer so everything was a little unknown. The hardest thing about this particular assignment was the vast visual contrasts in what we were experiencing. From arid landscapes and poverty of local villages to a brand new $2500/night resort on a private island. To find a visual cohesion was the biggest challenge.

Are you editing as you shoot? 
Yes absolutely, to make sure everything is backed up and also to ensure that I’m managing to shoot a good variety of images. I love working on travel stories because they are a great excuse to make a mix of details, landscapes, portraits and interiors. I’ve always preferred to work to a series rather than in single frames and I get pretty excited about the idea of crafting a narrative.

You have a broad range of work, is there a common thread you pull on for each category?
I’ve always been much more interested in subject matter and atmosphere rather than photographic techniques, and in a broad sense I hope that ties my work together. I’m always striving for a simplicity and clarity from an observational viewpoint.

How much of your work is local and how much is international brands asking you to shoot in AU?
Probably 50-50. It’s more convenient to work close to home but as a photographer I think it’s so important to constantly be presented with new environments. It’s the best way to stay motivated and inspired.

The Daily Promo – Ian Bates

Ian Bates

Who printed it?
Smartpress out of Minnesota.

Who designed it?
I’m not a designer at all but did it myself.

Tell me about the images?
The images are from commissions and personal work from 2018. I thought my first promo of the year would be my version of the “best 9” Instagram trend. I wanted to highlight pictures I made from the commissions and see how they worked with my own work. This year, more than ever, I tried to make work that I wanted to make for commisisons. Because of that, I think it feels cohesive.

How many did you make?
I printed 400.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
It really depends on how much work I am getting. You kind of need new work to make promos, at least in my mind. I try to keep them current since I want people to hire me for the work I’m currently interested in making. That said, I want to be consistent in my face of promos. I think every 2-3 months is a good pace. Not too much, not too little.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Promos are good at breaking the ice with new connections but also showing editors that you already work with that you do care and it’s not just a paycheck. I wouldn’t take the time and money to do all this if it was all for the money. I’d get a job.

This Week in Photography Books: Oliver Wasow

 

Last week, I dropped 1800 words on you.

That’s a lot.

I also resuscitated a dormant format here on the blog, by writing what was essentially a straight travel piece. (And only one measly picture at the end?)

This morning, I received an email from a Denver-based reader suggesting that they have quite enough people living there, thank you very much, and perhaps I shouldn’t entice any more.

Point taken.

Before too long, they’ll have a solid line of helicopters flying the rich folks West to the ski areas, while the plebes sit in 7 hour traffic on I-70.

I mention it here today, because it felt good to fire up my creativity and take the column in a new direction. But also… because after asking you to read what was essentially an extra column last week, today, as I strive for balance, I’ll keep it short.

Might it have something to do with the massive to-do list I’ve got to check off before I leave town Thursday morning?

Yes, it might.

But the bigger reason is that I love the week-to-week connections that develop in a platform like this. The way ideas can drop with the last period of a column, and pick up again the next week.

One of the things I’ve been banging on about lately is that so many photo books look alike. Just last week, in an unsuccessful 3-book-run through the book pile before I decided to go off-script, I looked at a book for the second time, and still, couldn’t get to the end, because it looked so much like everything else.

Landscape.
Portrait.
Interior.
Pretty picture.

Landscape.
Landscape.
Portrait.
Interior.
Ugly landscape.

Pick any place, anywhere, and then substitute all the other places that look like it, (or are similar culturally,) and your mind slowly begins to rot from the inside.

I also made a plea for more submissions of the weird, small batch, artsy stuff I used to get from photo-eye, in the years they lent books for the column.

So imagine my surprise when I reached into the same stack, sifted through a box of books, and came out with “Friends Enemies and Strangers,” a photobook by Oliver Wasow, published last year by Saint Lucy Books in Baltimore.

(Speaking of Baltimore, random tangent, but I’m sure you’ve all seen David Simon’s seminal “The Wire” by now. But if you haven’t seen “Treme,” his subsequent, far-less-well-known love letter to New Orleans, check it now for free on Prime Video.)

I gather from reading the stellar essays by Rabih Almeddine and Matthew Weinstein that Oliver Wasow has been around for a while, and is something of an art world darling. Certainly, the essays suggest he was messing around with digital manipulations in the 80’s, and that Photoshop is his jam.

The title, and the structure of the book hint at the concept, as it contains “made” photos of people Mr. Wasow knows, found images that we later learn were sourced from the internet, and then tackily-on-purpose altered renderings of Republican political enemies, as an act of post-2016 rebellion.

Honestly, I wish I’d thought of fucking with pictures of Bannon, Miller, Trump, Don Jr, Eric, Ivanka, Jared, Sarah Sanders, Sean Spicer and the whole lot of them.

You may be surprised that I didn’t write a Trump column after the Mueller report landed, but really, what is there left to say that I haven’t already said?

I promised you a short column, and I aim to deliver.

This book is mental, as the English might say, but I mean that as a compliment. It’s strange, weird, odd, and off-putting in all the right ways. But it also has a heart, as the photos of friends and family against painted backgrounds are cool, and not totally ironic either.

I’ll photograph a few extra pics below, so you can get a proper feel for this one.

Now I’m off to strike another item of my to-do list. (Yes, I wrote it by hand on a yellow legal pad. Old school!)

Bottom Line: Odd, fun, political, cool book of manipulated pictures

To Purchase: “Friends Enemies and Strangers” click here

PS: I normally don’t notice (or mention) these things, but this book is only $30 with free US shipping

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at jonathanblaustein@gmail.com. We’re particularly interested in submissions from female photographers, and artists of color, so we may maintain a diverse program. 

The Art of the Personal Project: Doug Menuez

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:  Doug Menuez

I am deeply interested in both history and culture and how innovators and influencers such as Jeff Ho shape it. With this short film, I was very lucky to be introduced to this truly legendary but humble artist and get to spend a day hanging out with him and his colleagues from Juice Magazine. This film does not cover Jeff’s incredible history or details of his accomplishments and influence and someday I hope to do that longer piece. This is more of a haiku, a visual tone poem, a sort of glimpse into Jeff’s philosophy about street art, searching for the perfect wave and his life’s work.

Originally I was going to produce a short film for Leica about their lenses for the Leica SL camera. As I got to know Jeff and his friends Terri and Dan at Juice Magazine I decided instead that I needed to make this one a personal film. I felt very attracted to their totally independent spirit and approach to living life with an artistic integrity that is hard to maintain these days. I’m definitely an outsider to skating and surfing, but have a great appreciation. When I was 10 I really got into skateboarding with early boards. I migrated into go-carts and mini-bikes and then ended up channeling all my teen energy into photography and blues.

So for this film, I serve as the witness and storyteller, which is what I love doing above all else. And of course we used the Leica SL and the astonishing Leica Cine lenses. We are very grateful to Leica Camera USA and everyone else in the production for their generous help getting this done.

To see more of this project, click here.

a video of this project, can be seen 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 @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

 

The Daily Edit – Marie Claire: Lynette Garland

- - The Daily Edit

Marie Claire


Creative Director
: Kate Lanphear
Fashion Director: Joseph Errico
Accessories Director: Julia Gall
Director of Photography: James Morris
Photographer: Lynette Garland

Heidi: Did you cast the models as well as style them and shoot them?
Lynette: Yes, I like to chose the models myself so that they suit the feel of the shoot that I have in my head. The mood I wanted to create was a kind of low key sensuality, hence using the underwear and hosiery, which I asked to be called in. It was Kate Lanphear at Marie Claire who suggested the idea of using the natural elements/woven accessories.  I always have a pretty firm idea of what I want the images to look like, so on the day of the shoot  it’s mainly about putting all the different aspects together. I tend to work quite fast with very few people around. I’m always trying to keep it instinctive.

How long have you been doing both photo and styling?
Around two years or so. Initially I was using my i-phone to create images just for myself. It developed from there, really. People saw what i did and liked it.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
I had certain pieces that needed to be shot but other than that Kate gave me complete freedom.  Basically, she liked my work and trusted me to do what I do.

What do you look for in photo compositions?
It depends on the subject, really. I do like to crop into the image and home in on certain details. It’s often about creating a mood by being a bit more abstract.

What are you inspirations?
I like photographers whose work is intimate and looks natural –  Saul Leiter, Joan Colom, Raoul Hausmann.

 

 

The Daily Promo – Joe Buglewicz

Joe Buglewicz

Who printed it?
Magcloud (8.25”x5.25” digest)

Who designed it?
Self-designed

Tell me about the images?
Got a call from Brent Lewis at The New York Times, and he wanted to try something a little different covering the Consumer Electronics Show here in Vegas. We thought about it for a day then came up with doing multiple exposures in addition to a little video and traditional stills
huge props to Brent for green-lighting everything.

Speed was a factor (had to file a few times during the day) so all multiple exposures were done in camera in real time
basically find a scene/backdrop, take a picture, find another scene to layer over, take a picture, etc. Most frames consisted of 2-5 exposures. Other edits I would pick one scene and shoot several images in succession for a bit of motion.

Was only commissioned by NYT for one day, but between other CES shoots kept at it to build the edit up a bit more.

How many did you make?
120 + 1 proof for color corrections
shorter, more targeted run to keep costs down.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Try for seasonally, but if a cool shoot comes up that works as a promo I’ll get something out a little quicker.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Absolutely, especially being in a smaller/medium-sized market. Moved to Vegas about a year ago and aside from emailing with editors I regularly work with, I needed a way to get the word out that didn’t involve email/internet/travel. Plus if you’re targeted and lean with costs it’s low risk, high reward
one small run can yield several jobs, which pays for the promo and then some.

Traveling to Denver for the Month of Photography 2019

 

There was a time, years ago, when I wrote travel pieces in the column.

I regaled with tales of cities near and far.

I also reviewed photography exhibitions, and for years I interviewed photo industry types, transcribed them myself, (yes, it was laborious,) and shared lightly-edited-long-reads with you, our loyal audience.

That this column has evolved into mostly book reviews, with a few portfolio review stories sprinkled in is mostly a function of habit, and the fact that I am a much busier person than I was when I began writing here nearly 9 years ago.

But…(there’s always a but,) I do try hard to freshen things up from time to time, because lord knows I don’t want to bore you.

This year, my upcoming travel schedule is immense. Like, I’m not sure how I’m going to make it all work.

It’s a good problem to have, and I promise I won’t complain about it, but I’m hoping to turn it to our advantage.

With Portland upcoming, two trips to NY and California, plus Chicago and possibly Europe, I’m going to eat a lot of great food, meet fascinating people, see interesting things, and hopefully listen to great music.

Most, if not all of the trips will have a photographic context, so I’m hoping to review more exhibitions this year, and write about the cities themselves. (Like the old days.)

I bring this up because last Saturday morning, shortly after breakfast, I hopped into my black SUV and hit the road North to Denver.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with going into Casa Cannabis, the first weed dispensary across the state line, and buying some legal marijuana. That the guys working there know your name when you walk in, and hand you a $4 Willie Nelson joint as soon as you say “I’m heading north to Denver,” makes it all the sweeter.

You’ve likely heard about the fact that legal marijuana has become a more frequent occurrence here in the US, with 10 of 50 states legalizing it. (And more that allow it for medicinal purposes.)

That New Jersey and New Mexico, my OG and adopted homes, both narrowly rejected legalization in the same month was a cruel irony for me.

From San Luis it’s only 15 miles or so up to the feet of Blanca Peak in Ft Garland, and then it was a straight shot over La Veta Pass, crossing the Rocky Mountains at a fairly low point. (Fairly low being only 9.426 feet.)

On the Western side of the pass, you’re in the San Luis Valley, at 8000 feet, and the places smells more like the Wild West than Bill Hickok’s underwear.

Cross over, through last summer’s fire damage, and you find yourself staring at 1000 miles of the Great Plains. The light and colors are different.

(The altitude is lower on the Eastern side, so much so that heading home I lost 20 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 miles.)

After a quick pee stop at a surprisingly crowded gas station in Walsenburg, (an insanely photogenic town, if you’ve never been,) at the junction to I-25, I got on the interstate and made great time, at 80 miles an hour, until I hit the north side of Colorado Springs.

C Springs, as we call it in Taos, or The Springs, as I’ve heard it called elsewhere, is one of the most conservative places in America. The Evangelical preacher James Dobson has his Focus on the Family there, and gobs of churches abound.

The Air Force academy is there as well, and you can add the military to Evangelical Christians as the two most consistently conservative blocks in the US.

It’s a pocket, though, one that sits above the predominantly New-Mexican-derived Southern part of the state. (Pueblo is traditionally considered the dividing line between Northern and Southern Colorado.)

All was well, and I was imagining the food treats I would buy at the outlet mall at Castle Rock, when I ran into a nasty construction-traffic-monster-fuck just outside Monument.

If I were smarter man, I might have gone online to discover such problems. Instead, I drove straight into a 1 hour cluster-bomb, and found myself licking the barbecue flavor off my fingers, after eating every potato chip in my car. (Yes, I’m exaggerating.)

Now, I was about to tell you about my shopping adventures, because I got a great deal on a cheap suit, but realized that was just one step too far. (Even for a travel piece.)

Plus, I want to give Denver some love before this column is over.

Really, it’s about Denver up there in Colorado.

They call it the Mile High City because it sits just above 5000 feet. (These days, Gen Z might get confused and assume it’s because of the Green Rush.)

As you know, I’ve been to most of the major cities in America, and Denver is the biggest boom town I’ve seen in this country over the last ten years.

I had a couple of shows there years ago, but because I have
family in Denver and Boulder, every trip gets eaten up by the kids and cousins.

Every time.

I never carve out a chunk of time to work, so I haven’t been to the galleries or the museums, with few exceptions.

Why was this time different, you ask?

What changed?

Well, the fact is, I give you all so much advice. It became my motivator. I always say, “Get out of your comfort zone. Do things you haven’t done before. Go see people in the real world.”

Right?

Don’t I say that a lot?

When I heard that one of my best friends was invited to be a portfolio reviewer at Denver’s Month of Photography 2019, I told him I’d drive up to say hello and check out their scene.

I admit, it was a first, going to a portfolio walk at a place where I wasn’t invited. (The portfolio walk in downtown Denver, like at most festivals, was free and open to the public.)

There were a few “what are you doing heres?” and a bunch of people who came up to say hello with a bemused look on their face.

When I was asked why I’d come, I told the truth.

I get flown around the US to all these festivals, but I didn’t really know the folks in the Denver scene. So I took it upon myself, on my dime, to go see what things were about.

(And to visit my friends, as another had decided to come hang out as well.)

If you want to meet people, sometimes, it’s better not to wait around and hope.

You just make it happen.

As it turns out, I saw enough cool work that night that I’ll be writing an upcoming article about “The Best Work I saw at the MoP2019 Portfolio Walk.”

The folks at the review told me it had been run for years, (as had the festival,) by Denver’s photo guru Mark Sink, but that CPAC, the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, would be taking it over for the 2021 festival. (It’s a biennial.)

My friends and I walked around downtown Denver a bit, which was quiet, and then Ubered it to Union Station. (Thanks, Jeff.) My brother, who’s a Republican and works in commercial real estate, told me its the most exciting development in the State of Colorado.

There were trains right outside that you had to walk around, in the open air, which was kind of cool, and inside are a bunch of food shops and a big restaurant/bar, The Terminal Bar, where we had some drinks and food.

The Apricot beer I drank was pretty badass, if I’m being honest, but the blackened chicken and prosciutto sandwich that the perky, nose-ringed waitress recommended was bland.

The bread was very white, as is the city, in most cases. And it’s hard to feel like there’s a strongly beating soul within.

But maybe I was looking in the wrong place?

Maybe the skyscrapers, grand public spaces and business auditoria are not best to judge the city?

What about a little strip mall, miles from LoDo or the hotel strip?

What about a place, on South Colorado Blvd, just off the I-25 highway interchange, a bit past a big Dave and Busters.

Not much to look at, really.

Kind of a dump.

But what if I told you that this little strip mall contained a Salvadoran restaurant, a Lebanese restaurant, a Middle Eastern market, a Syrian restaurant, and Moroccan joint, all all within 100 yards.

There’s a great recreational dispensary called The Clinic a block away as well.

Is that cool or what?

Does that count as soul, when judging a city?

I’d say so.

The next morning, I met my artist/curator/filmmaker friend Jina for breakfast at the transcendent The Delectable Egg in Lowry. It is officially my favorite breakfast place in America, so that’s something.

The waitress was sassy like out of a sitcom, and I let her steer me gently, as I’d apparently chosen her favorite thing on the menu, a tortilla pie, (like enchiladas but with flour tortillas,) but she said I needed to sub bacon for boring old chicken.

She never rushed us, not for a second, even as the tables turned around us and the line formed outside. (Our conversation was engaging enough, in fairness, that neither of us noticed the crowd.)

But it was that table turnover that I want to mention, specifically.

It’s where I’ll end.

I’m only outing my brother’s politics because he expressly complained that the new Democratic regime, which controls the governorship and legislature, might mess up this mega-boom, which has gone on for so long that they’ve begun lighting the cranes purple at night. (No lie.)

Denver is now so blue that it’s hard to believe it’s changed this fast.

Changed, like that table to my right.

When I first got there, a friendly couple of African-American women were sitting opposite each other to my right. They looked like friends in their late thirties.

The woman on the left said, “Happy Sunday, how are you!”

We had a nice little chat, as we were both excited to be there. Her daughter, who hadn’t been there before, was more dubious. (I would have guessed sisters before mother and daughter.)

They were replaced, after 30 minutes or so, by a heavy-set, middle-aged lesbian couple. One wore a baseball hat, and we never really spoke or made eye contact at all.

Only on the third seating did a nuclear, young, white, (probably,) Christian family sit down next to us.

1 out of 3.

In the recent past, it would have been 3 out of 3.

(That kind of energy, where diversity is burgeoning, is exciting.)

Now, I know that a thriving, wealthy city, with all sorts of undiscovered pockets and cultural resources, is only 4 hours from my house in Taos.

I’m ready to spend more time in Denver.

I’m convinced.

The Art of the Personal Project: Mark Laita

- - Personal Project

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:  Mark Laita

I’m always working on personal projects and a few times art book publishers have decided to turn my projects into books, like Abrams did with Serpentine a few years ago. I use my personal projects as a way to do something pure which is in no way aimed at generating money. Ironically, they usually do in some way, either as a published book or gallery show or as an advertising project. I’ve shot many campaigns that art directors admitted were meant for me from the start since their ideas come from some of my personal images. For me, Serpentine was simply a project about form and color with a little danger and symbolism thrown in for interest. Personal projects always draw me back to why I chose photography as a career as a teenager. To this day they’re the life blood of my career as well as the key to my fulfillment as an artist. As with any marriage, it isn’t always perfect, but my advertising work and my personal work have a symbiotic relationship. Commercial work funds my personal projects and personal work inspires my advertising images.

 

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 @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

 

The Daily Edit – Outside Magazine: Nate Bressler

- - The Daily Edit

Outside Magazine

Design and Photo Director: Hannah McCaughey
Associate Art Director: Petra Zeiler
Photographer: Nate Bressler

Heidi: How did this story come about?
Nate: I’ve been fortunate to develop a working relationship with Outside that supports “no amount of time is too much” for an assignment, combined with my archaeology background, 37 years on a horse and months with native youth camps, we both knew being embedded would be vital to getting the story.

How long did you spend with riders/racers?
I ended up spending four months with the teams, splitting my time between Pine Ridge and a ranch where I run cattle just north of the reservation. Most nights were spent on floors, couches, the bed of my truck or the ground below the Sun dance tree of a new dear family where we spent long hours talking about problems and solutions of the wounded Lakota nation.

What direction did you get from the magazine?
I’ve been a contributor with Outside over 15 years so Hannah stressed the importance of portraits, knowing I should have plenty of reportage moments, from there, the rest was up to me.
Before meeting the writer and racers, I had many lengthy calls with them about what I did not intend to do w my camera, Pine Ridge is infamous for being the worst living conditions in the US and I didn’t want to add to all that press, I let them know that I was there to capture this story in a positive light and leave the depressing stuff to others.

Tell me about the suicides and last second wins, did that relate to any of your images? How did that impact you while you were there?
Summer race season is an incredible distraction from life on the reservation, where childhood is difficult for many growing up in the third world conditions. You can feel the weight lifted off these team members when they load their horses for another race weekend. Unfortunately, the Brew Crew had suffered more than their share of loss, the months I spent with them was never quiet with talk of their virtuoso rider who had taken his life the summer before, just days after winning the World Championship. With friends and family of my own suffering the same fate and an epidemic four times the national average on Pine Ridge, I knew what these young kids were up against. Between high drug/alcohol abuse, an 80% unemployment rate and 17 people per single wide trailer, their life of hard times was very apparent though my camera lens. As our relationship grew, so did the thoughts of a safe shelter for kids to ride during winter months and a classroom to finish the days studies. From these talks a nonprofit was started with the aim to educate native youth and support them through early spring also known as suicide season on many reservations. There’s a need and an obtainable solution to help the native youth that’s been the cause of many sleepless nights, turning my embedded assignment into a project beyond the story itself.

Was it easy to be accepted into the group of riders?
The groups of riders were very accepting by all teams w a weariness of only a select few, unsure of the nonnative w a camera, the jokes flowed freely along w the herbal medication and the commandery of a Kansas born outdoorsman and the Great Plains natives I was camping, cooking and riding horseback with. We all had some form of ranching backgrounds, an understanding of the importance of youth programs affiliated with horsemanship and the hardships of life on the reservation. The race community is small amongst the enormous backdrop of the America’s west so with enough race weekends under my belt their acceptance into the worlds first extreme sport felt as though we had known each other for years.

How difficult was it to shoot the race since the laps were so fast?
Shooting the races had its challenges with the obvious factors of light, angle and the ability to get clean shots came the moments of laying on the track in some blind corner, under the rail, my head out just enough to get the riders who will entering the corner at 40+ mph and unaware of the photographer at their feet. These horses are hot-blooded and warmed up to frenzy come race time, with their high hips and pulsing veins the thoroughbreds will deliver the pic as long as you move just as fast in this chaotic 2 minute race.

Did you also ride?
With surfing being so popular and my local breaks becoming too crowded and overly aggressive, I found myself seeking out horse adventures, still wanting to fill that craving for a connection with the outdoors and the elements out of my control, my last ten years on horseback has taken me on 500 mile endurance rides, cattle drives to brandings and hosting week-long group rides for adventurers looking to sleep under stars.
Between the nonprofit riding arena, the cows I own and ranch w others just outside the reservation and 1,000 miles on the pony express, this summer will keep me horseback daily.

How did you grow as a photographer from this assignment?
I’ve kept a full-time job since I was 15 and as an artist, your life of projects is never finished, with that said I realized through my bond with a this incredible nation and seeing ways to help, I’ve felt a sense of purpose that never came from the grind of being a struggling artist with a bachelor lifestyle. The desire to see things change has ignited a fire within, changing my life for many years to come, the thoughts of happy kids laughing together, leaving their worries behind for a couple of hours a day is my drive well beyond this photo world filled with so many unknowns.

 

 

The Daily Promo – Natasha Lee

- - The Daily Promo

Natasha Lee

Who printed it?
The Newspaper Club, a UK-based printing company.

Who designed it?
I did (prior to photography, my background was in design/art direction for fashion and entertainment companies).

Tell me about the images?
The images are a combination of work from assignment, personal projects, and personal travel. The Tahiti images were from an assignment for Hemispheres Magazine last year; a few were selects and others were outtakes I liked and felt told their own story. Earlier that year, I shot a personal project on an eco-durian farm in Penang, Malaysia that will be in an upcoming issue of an indie magazine called Compound Butter – a few of the images are from that series. Others are from personal travels when I’m simply exploring and capturing subjects and spaces that catch my eye.

How many did you make?
150 – i mailed out about 100 and kept the rest for meetings/reviews

How many times a year do you send out promos?
1-3

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’m actually wondering that myself right now! ! I’ve always thought it was a good way to communicate your style of work but was at an APA event just a few days ago where the art buyers on the panel all mentioned how much they use Instagram to find photographers. So I’d be curious to hear from others about what they think of the future of the printed promo and if it’ll become obsolete in our increasingly digital world. But personally, I love sharing my work in printed format to photo editors/art directors, especially since I have a huge passion for travel editorial and visual storytelling. For me, creating printed pieces gives me complete control of a story I want to tell and the audience I want to tell it to, beyond the limitations of an on-screen square.