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October 29th, 2013

PDN Video: Gregory Heisler on How Clients Really Decide Which Photographer to Hire

In this final clip from our video interview with portrait master Gregory Heisler, he tells the secret to getting hired by clients. Hint: it has far less to do with your portfolio than you might think.

Heisler recently released 50 Portraits, his first book, which is a retrospective of his career, as well as a rich tutorial in the art and craft of portraiture. Check out the excerpt of the book in this month’s issue of PDN, and also the three previous video clips featuring Heisler’s tips on lighting, relating to subjects, and other topics.

Gregory Heisler on How Photographers Get Hired from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

Related:

Gregory Heisler Shares the Techniques That Go Into His Portraiture
PDN Video: Gregory Hesiler on How to Relate to Portrait Subjects (Even If You Are Shy and Bumbling)
PDN Video: Gregory Heisler on His New Book and Best Portraits
PDN Video Pick: Gregory Heisler’s Tips on Lighting Portraits
How Top Photographers Shoot Great Portraits
PDN Video Pick: Miller Mobley’s Tips for Landing Clients

October 4th, 2013

If We Spend $25K On A Photo Essay, Readers Should Pay to See It, Says Harper’s Publisher

Harper’s publisher John R. MacArthur wrote a letter for the October issue of the magazine in which he took a strong stand against publishing free writing and photography on the web. He tackles the question of how journalism should be funded and distributed today, arguing that publishers, readers and journalists should reject the idea that good journalism should be given away for free in hopes of gaining page views. When he talks about good journalism, he includes good photography. (We’ve noted previously that Harper’s has become a great publisher of photography, winning National Magazine awards and other accolades.)

MacArthur says he has been distressed in recent years as publishers give away the work done by journalists and editors “in the quest for more advertising. Instead of honoring the reader, writer, and editor, this new approach to the publishing business instead insulted them,” MacArthur writes, “both by devaluing their work and by feeding it—with little or no remuneration—to search engines, which in turn feed information to advertising agencies (and, as it turns out, the government.)”

MacArthur says advocates of free content are peddling “nonsense.” “Who needs fact-checkers when we have crowdsourcing to correct the record? Why doesn’t Harper’s give away a particularly good investigative piece… so more people will read it?”

He also has the temerity to suggest that publishers, journalists and editors “have to earn a living.” He singles out a recent photo essay by an anonymous photographer, who risked arrest and imprisonment to report from inside Iran. The assignment cost the magazine $25,000, MacArthur says. “Shouldn’t Anonymous be paid for this courage and skill?” MacArthur asks. “Shouldn’t Harper’s be compensated for sending Anonymous into the field?”

“It is unreasonable to expect that an advertiser would directly sponsor such daring photography,” MacArthur writes. “It is wishful thinking to believe that parasitic Google, now bloated with billions of dollars’ worth of what I consider pirated property, will ever willingly pay Harper’s, or Anonymous, anything at all for the right to distribute Anonymous’s pictures…”

MacArthur will hopefully forgive us for quoting him at length on our blog, which is not behind a paywall. Those who want to read the rest of his statement, and see Michael Christopher Brown‘s fantastic photographs from Libya, or Misty Keasler‘s touching images accompanying a report about a controversial Montana orphanage for Russian children, will have to pick up the magazine on the newsstand, or subscribe for $20, about twice what I will probably spend on lunch today.

September 12th, 2013

Are Women Photographers Being Discriminated Against in the Editorial Market?

A week ago editorial photographer and artist Daniel Shea published a post on his Tumblr, titled “On Sexism in Editorial Photography,” hoping it would “initiate a broader conversation.” Shea began the post with the disclaimer that he is “a white, cis male photographer” who didn’t claim to speak for anyone but himself, before pointing out that, to him, “It would seem that the biggest magazines with the most hiring power hire mostly male photographers.”

The post has generated nearly 550 likes and reblogs on Tumblr, as well as a number of comments.

Without naming names, Shea cites informal conversations with photo editors who offered some interesting explanations as to why a gender imbalance might exist. Some editors said they didn’t know women photographers whose esthetic fit with their magazines. “To further complicate this issue,” Shea continues, “one editor mentioned that most media, art and literature is made to fit a masculine perspective, and perhaps that’s why men are more ‘apt’ at photographing that content.”

Shea notes also that most photo editors are women; one editor floated the idea that women are “natural nurturers” of men. Shea says he’s “skeptical” of that explanation. Instead, he suggests other reasons. One is that sexism in editorial photography is a microcosm. “Larger systems of oppression, like sexism and misogyny, replicate themselves very effectively on smaller scales,” Shea wrote. (more…)

September 10th, 2013

Tired of Getting Passed Over for Ad Shoots That Go to NY and LA? You’re Not Alone

A perennial complaint of photographers working in small and medium-sized markets is that big ad clients in their local markets ignore them in favor of photographers in New York and Los Angeles. Photographers from around the country reminded us of the indignity when we were interviewing them for “5 Great Markets to Live and Work In,” a series of articles now running on PDNOnline.

“We get passed over for talent on the east and west coasts,” said photographer David Turner of Minneapolis, one of the five cities we feature. (Minneapolis has 68 ad agencies, plus another 75 graphic design firms and in-house agencies).

Jacob Pritchard told us the big disadvantage of being a photographer in Denver is “be[ing] overlooked for the bigger budget ad campaigns…in favor of NYC and LA-based photographers.”

Therese Gietler, partner and producer at the Andy Batt Studio in Portland, Oregon, says the studio has never been asked to bid for a job at Wieden + Kennedy (a national agency based in Portland) even though she knows creative directors there. But Gietler is philosophical about it.

“It’s easy to be bitter about it, but [clients]  have a lot on the line, with giant budgets. They’re going to choose the person who they can trust to deliver. It’s a sad fact they make presumptions that the local guy can’t deliver.”

In other words, it’s nothing personal, and it’s a prejudice that is unlikely to disappear. But Gietler and others listed numerous advantages of their markets to compensate for the inattention of those national clients. Details can be found in our stories about those markets, which are now posted online.

Smaller Markets Photographers Are Big On: Portland, Oregon
Smaller Markets Photographers Are Big On: Charlotte, North Carolina
Smaller Markets Photographers Are Big On: Denver & Boulder, Colorado
Smaller Markets Photographers Are Big On: Atlanta & Athens, Georgia
Smaller Markets Photographers Are Big On: Minneapolis & St. Paul

September 9th, 2013

APA Names Juliette Wolf-Robin to Be Executive Director

American Photographic Artists (APA), the not-for-profit trade association and advocacy group, has selected Juliette Wolf-Robin to be its new executive director. She will report to the APA board and work with directors of local APA chapters.

Wolf-Robin was previously business development and marketing director for The Brand Union NY. She has worked at FoundFolios, Creativity’s Spare* and Alternative Pick and has been a frequent speaker at PhotoPlus Expo and APA events. In announcing the selection, APA president Theresa Raffetto said, “Juliette understands the ever-changing playing field the photo world has become and the importance for photographers to not only understand their value but to evolve and stay relevant.” Raffetto also said, “Throughout her career she has put an emphasis on education and knowledge for both the photographer and the user and we are excited to see where we can take APA with Juliette by our side.”

“Her industry experience combined with the fact that she’s married to a photographer [David Robin] has given her a unique understanding of the business end of our industry as well as an emotional investment in its success. She’ll be a potent advocate for not only APA but for all professional photographers,” notes APA Executive Vice President Ric Kasnoff.

September 5th, 2013

Facebook Makes Alarming Changes to Terms, ASMP Breaks Down the Changes

Facebook has altered their terms of service to make it possible for companies that pay the social media network to utilize Facebook users’ content and likeness without compensation or permission. The changes are sure to alienate Facebook’s users in the creative community, who make a living from licensing their work and content.

Among the changes is this gem:

“You give us permission to use your name, and profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related that content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.”

ASMP created a handy Q&A about the new terms of use that helps break down the changes and what they mean for photographers.

This comes on the heels of the ASMP-led criticism of Instagram that was recently issued.

We have to wonder, at what point will a social network take the step to actually compensate the users that make it tick and protect them from unauthorized exploitation and surveillance? Seems to us like a network that figured out how to do that would find a community very quickly.

Related: Photography Trade Organizations Take Aim at Instagram Terms
AFP, Washington Post Violated Daniel Morel’s Copyrights, Judge Rules
Morel Case Highlights Copyright Risks of Social Networks

August 26th, 2013

Reuters Phasing Out Use of Freelance Sports Photographers in North America

Reuters is phasing out its use of contract freelance sports photographers in North America and will instead rely on USA Today Sports Images, a wire service, for sideline coverage of major professional sports and some college games. “I can confirm that we are expanding our ongoing relationship with USA Today Sports and will be adding a subset of their North American Sports photography to our file,” a Reuters spokesperson told PDN.

NPPA first reported this change at Reuters on Friday. The NPPA report quotes an unnamed source at Sports Illustrated and a freelance photographer in Toronto, Jon Blacker. Blacker told NPPA that he spoke with Peter Jones, the North American Sports Photo Editor at Thomson Reuters on Friday morning, as he was making calls to inform their freelance sports photographers of the change. “He said it was purely a business decision, and that their business plan calls for using the money that Reuters saves on covering sports to re-invest in photo covering more news,” Blacker said.

USATSI is owned by Gannett, which purchased the company in August 2011.

(via NPPA)

August 22nd, 2013

Photography Trade Organizations Take Aim at Instagram Terms

Several professional photography trade organizations have banded together to study Instagram’s Terms of Service, and today the American Society of Media Photographers issued the following press release:

Photographic Community, Led by The American Society of Media Photographers, Deems Instagram Terms Too Far-Reaching

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), joined by National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), The Digital Media Licensing Association (PACA), American Photographic Artists (APA), This Week in Photography (TWiP), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), Coordination of European Picture Agencies Stock, Press and Heritage (CEPIC), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) and American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP), has mounted a campaign to address the far-reaching Terms of Use of the image sharing service Instagram. Since 2010, more than 16 billion images and movies have been uploaded to Instagram. The organizations believe that few of the users who share images on the site understand the rights they are giving away. ASMP has issued “The Instagram Papers,” information in the form of essays and analysis about the Terms of Use in which the key issue is that users should have the ‘right to terminate’ their agreement with Instagram, allowing them to remove permissions for the use of their identities and content at any time.

Specifically, the Terms of Use give Instagram perpetual use of photos and video as well as the nearly unlimited right to license the images to any and all third parties. And, after granting this broad license to Instagram, users also relinquish the right to terminate the agreement. Once uploaded, they cannot remove their work and their identity from Instagram. Additionally, in the event of litigation regarding a photo or video, it is the account holder who is responsible for attorney and other fees, not Instagram.

Moreover, while Instagram’s agreement includes the right to sublicense images, it specifically excludes the need to ever pay creators, regardless of the way the company may use or sell their work. The photographic community believes strongly that fair compensation for the creators of work is a vital component of a fair agreement.

According to ASMP Executive Director Eugene Mopsik, “While clearly benefiting Instagram, the rights of imaging professionals and general users stand to be infringed upon in an unprecedented way. We are concerned that not only have Instagram’s Terms of Use gone beyond acceptable standards, but also that other social media providers may use these onerous terms as a template for their own agreements.”

Peter Krogh, ASMP’s Digital Standards & Practices Chair, said, “As online services become larger repositories of intellectual property, power has shifted away from the user and toward the company provider. Unless changes are made by Instagram, we believe the terms will have a profound and negative impact on imaging professionals, publishers and general users.”

In the coming weeks and months ASMP, along with the other listed organizations, will continue to reach out to gain support in addressing these egregious terms before they become the industry standard.

Related: Bowing to Pressure from Users, Instagram Retracts New Terms of Use
Now That We Know Instagram Isn’t a Charity, What Would You Be Willing to Pay?

August 19th, 2013

RED Founder Jim Jannard Steps Down, Says He’s Tired of Criticism

In a “final post” in the REDUSER forum for RED Digital Cinema cameras, Jim Jannard announced today that he is stepping down as “the face” of RED Digital Cinema, the company he founded in 2005.

“I read on CML and other idiotic forums, that I an [sic] a hypester, a scam artist,” Jannard writes in reference to Cinematography Mailing List, the mailing list for professional cinematographers founded in 1996 by cinematographer Geoff Boyle. “I just have to wonder what these guys are smoking. But I have to say… they have gotten to me. I don’t need this. I don’t deserve this. Life is short and I am tired.”

In the post Jannard singles out critics, in particular Boyle and director of photography Art Adams, as well as other members of “CML and other idiotic forums.”

He also outlines his reasons for founding RED, and delineates what he believes are the company’s accomplishments. “My thought was to create a film alternative that actually was the equal or better to film in every aspect,” he writes.

According to Jannard, RED president Jarred Land will take over as the public face of the company. “I will now sink into the background, I hope with my reputation intact,” Jannard concludes. “I will work on the future of digital cinema… behind the scenes.”

Jannard previously founded apparel and eyewear company Oakley, Inc., which he sold in 2007 for more than $2 billion.

August 16th, 2013

Photographer Partners with Billboard Company On Public Art Project

© Chi Modu. An early portrait of rapper Snoop Dogg as it appears on a billboard in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood.

© Chi Modu. An early portrait of rapper Snoop Dogg as it appears on a billboard in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.

Wanting to get his portraits of Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and other images from the early years of hip hop stars in front of the public, photographer Chi Modu decided not to go to a gallery or a museum: Instead, he’s taken over billboards around New York City. Modu, a former director of photography at the hip-hop magazine The Source, contacted a billboard company, Prince Media, when he saw that they had unused billboards.

The company had worked before with artists and were eager to provide him with unused billboard space, he says. “They were fired up about it.” Within days he and the company had come to an agreement on a deal that allowed Modu to put up his photographs on four billboards in Manhattan and Brooklyn through the end of September. “[Photographers] don’t need Nike to get us a billboard,” Modu says. “You can get a billboard without Nike; go ahead and show your work.” (more…)