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April 22nd, 2014

Video Pick: In Bed With Chanel

Laurel Pantin in Chanel from Ann Street Studio on Vimeo.

It’s not easy to create an engaging video, let alone a brief, engaging video. Jamie Back and Kevin Burg of Ann Street Studio recently did just that with this 15-second flick featuring Lucky Magazine market editor Laurel Pantin in a big white bed wearing colorful fashions from Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection. The video is part of a collaboration between Ann Street Studio and Chanel. The brand reached out to Beck and Burg, who are best-known for their creation of Cinemagraphs, as part of their marketing for their new collection, Burg told PDN via email.

The concept for the video “came together organically,” Burg says, evolving from the still-image shoot they did with Pantin. “On set we were thinking about motion, and I had the idea that she could change outfits after every time she pulled the covers over herself. And then we had fun with it. Jamie would be at her feet pulling [the covers] off her, like a parent waking their kid up when they want to sleep in.” The idea to show a new outfit for each day of the week, Burg says, “came together in the editing process, and it became this kind of ‘waking up for school’ idea… in luxury fashion.”

The images and video were featured on the Ann Street Studio site and social media channels. The video was created with Instagram in mind, hence the 15-second length. Brands often ask Ann Street Studio to create editorial-style work and release it via their channels, Burg says. “Sometimes brand work is for [the client] and sometimes it’s exclusively published by us.”

Related: Building a Better GIF

March 27th, 2014

PDN’s 30 Photographers Provide Career Tips to Aspiring Photographers

pdn30-2014-sva-blog2
A panel featuring three of this year’s PDN’s 30 photographers discussed strategies for building a successful career and offered a wealth of useful tips to an audience of students and industry professionals at the School of Visual Arts theater in New York last evening.

The PDN’s 30 photographers, Bobby Doherty (still life), Billy Kidd (fashion), and Bryan Derballa (editorial/lifestyle), discussed how they found their visual styles, how they use social media to get noticed, build networks and land jobs, and the importance of learning and practicing good business skills. Photographer Tony Gale, a Sony Artisan of Imagery who has taught photography, and photo editor Emily Shornick of The Cut at New York magazine, also provided insights on navigating the industry. The evening was sponsored by Sony, Offset, Canson Paper and ASMP.

Describing how they launched their careers, Doherty, Kidd and Derballa all said they developed their visual styles by shooting whatever interested them a lot–even obsessively.

“It’s important to be making the kind of photos you would want to get paid to do, before you get paid to do it,” Doherty said.

Bobby Doherty's early makeshift studio.

Bobby Doherty’s early makeshift studio.

A 2011 graduate of SVA, he started by experimenting with conceptual still life work in his apartment at night. “I didn’t have any money. I had two flashes, and [bar] stools” and broom handles that served as stands (shown at right). Doherty says he was focusing on “how to accomplish an idea with as little as possible, technically.”

Kidd says when he moved from Arizona to New York, he did test shoots with models four, five, or six times a week–”whatever I could do,” he says. “I experimented with light, to find out who I was.”

Shornick emphasized the importance of developing a distinctive personal style. When it comes to hiring a photographer, she said, “”I don’t want to be surprised. I want to pre-visualize” what a photographer will deliver.

One of the biggest challenges for photographers is getting noticed. All the photographers on the panel said they take as much pleasure in sharing their work as they do in shooting it, and they use social media–particularly Tumblr–to build audiences.

Kidd said he posted images from his test shoots on a Tumblr blog. “That’s how my rep found me–from my Tumblr page,” he says. On his Tumblr page, he says, he posts “everything I shoot, and want to show people.”

“Be liberal and fun with your Tumblr,” advised Derballa. Years ago he started Lovebryan, a blog that features not only his work, but that of several other photographers whose work he likes. Derballa also noted that he uses Tumblr “to follow trends” by looking at what other photographers are shooting.

Panelists also discussed the importance of personal connections and face-to-face networking. Doherty says working as an assistant eventually led to a job with Lucas Michael, who shoots for New York Magazine. That led to a meeting with Director of Photography Jody Quon, and a couple of weeks later, Doherty had his first assignment from the magazine.

Kidd says he got access to models for test shoots through a friend who worked for modeling agencies. Derballa got his first assignment from The Wall Street Journal after a chance meeting with former photo editor Matthew Craig while Derballa was talking about a self-funded assignment at a bar with another photographer.

The discussion also turned to business practices, particularly the importance of good communication skills, dependability, and presenting a professional appearance in your emails and invoices.

Here are some tips the panelists offered:

On networking:

Connect with everyone you can while still in school, including teachers, fellow photography students, and students in other departments.

Attend industry events and meet everyone you can, without thinking: Who can I talk to who can give me work?

If you’re shy, and feel uncomfortable schmoozing at events, force yourself to go with a goal of meeting just one person. Those connections multiply, Gale said. “Then you’re the person who everyone wants to meet because you can introduce them to other people.”

On assisting:

Be an assistant. By assisting, Gale explained, you connect to people and resources, “and you learn so many things it’s not possible to learn in school” about technique and business.

To get assisting jobs, a good attitude is more important than technical know-how, Gale said. “What I need is someone who is going to be paying attention, and not be upset that I said ‘everybody is going to need coffee’ or ‘sorry, but you have to stand out in rain and watch the gear.’”

When you send e-mails asking about work as an assistant, personalize them, Gale advised. “Don’t send an e-mail addressed to 30 other photographers.” And don’t talk about what a great photographer you are, he said. “I don’t care.”

On approaching photo editors:

“Email with a link. That makes it easy to bookmark you,” Shornick said. Mailers just get thrown in a drawer and forgotten. Email “every now and then” about a recent assignment or new personal work, she added. “Quarterly is a good approach.”

No cold calls. “I’m really busy, I just don’t have time,” Shornick said.

Don’t show up unannounced. “That’s really inappropriate.”

Make sure your web site loads fast, and is free of bells and whistles. “I hate Flash websites. I just want to see your work,” said Shornick, who has discovered photographers at portfolio reviews and through Flickr.

Provide multiple contacts and Indicate your physical location. “If I can’t figure out where you live I’m never going to hire you,” Shornick said.

On providing good service to clients:

Be dependable. “The most important thing is [meeting] deadlines,” Shornick said.

Be responsive. “I always pick up [phone calls]. It’s probably someone who wants to hire you, or wants to know why the photos aren’t there,” Derballa said.
“Yeah, pick up the phone,” Shornick said, or she’ll just call another photographer.

Related article:

PDN’s 30 2014: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch

9 Tips for Getting Hired (and Re-Hired) as a Photographer’s Assistant

March 26th, 2014

How Should Clients React to Sexual Coercion Allegations Against Terry Richardson?

Now that another model has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against photographer Terry Richardson, his clients face a difficult question: What ethical obligations, if any, do they have to take a stand?

Over the past several years, reports have periodically flared up that Richardson has manipulated some models to engage with him in unwanted sexual contact during photo shoots at his studio. The models have described the incidents as casting couch situations that occurred when they were students or aspiring models, not established models working on set for ad campaigns or editorial shoots.

The allegations surfaced again in recent weeks after former model Charlotte Waters published a graphic account of a shoot with Richardson that spiraled out of her control. “I was completely a sex puppet,” she recounted anonymously in a post on a Reddit thread. The post has since been removed, but after her story was widely circulated, Waters identified herself as the author.

She has spoken to New York City police, according to Styleite.com, but she reportedly never said “no” to Richardson’s advances, and she isn’t pressing any charges.

In the hot seat of bad publicity once again, Richardson issued an angry denial to all the allegations in a letter to the Huffington Post, calling them “hate filled, libelous tales.” In the letter, he painted himself as the victim of a “witch hunt.”

Richardson says in the letter, “I collaborated with consenting adult women who were fully aware of the nature of the work.” Overlooking the disparity in power between himself and the models, he adds, “I have never used an offer of work or a threat of rebuke to coerce someone into something that they did not want to do.” (more…)

October 24th, 2013

New Law Regulates the Use of Child Models in New York

New legislation in New York State demands that models under the age of 18 receive the same protection as child performers. Photographers and clients who hire models under the age of 18 will have to provide them with more protections and services on shoots in New York State under a new law that takes effect November 20. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the new child labor law on Monday night.

State senators Jeffrey D. Klein and Diane Savino, Democrats from New York City, proposed the legislation earlier this summer.

Lawyers writing for The National Law Review broke down the implications of the legislation in an article published in July. According to the article, “the new legislation will provide that companies employing models under the age of 18 will be required to obtain certificates of eligibility, to provide chaperones and tutors and to limit their work hours,” among other requirements. Under-age models will now receive the same protections as child performers.

The law also stipulates that 15 percent of a child model’s gross income be placed in a trust by the model’s employer.

Advocacy organization The Model Alliance, which supported the legislation, created a guide to understanding the new law, “Under 18 Models and the Law,” which can be downloaded here: http://modelalliance.org/child-models

September 16th, 2013

Bruce Weber on David Bailey, Diane Arbus, Lisette Model and Romance

David Bailey photographed by Bruce Weber. Photo: David Bailey and Bruce Weber for Nokia Lumia 1020

David Bailey photographed by Bruce Weber. Photo: David Bailey and Bruce Weber for Nokia Lumia 1020

I recently got the chance to interview legendary photographers David Bailey and Bruce Weber. The two photographers – who are old friends–had spent a day together shooting in Harlem with the new Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone, taking photos that Nokia is showing in an exhibition and in their marketing. The day after the shoot, as PR people hovered near us in the rooftop bar at New York’s James Hotel, I was given precisely 30 minutes to interview both photographers for The Telegraph Magazine, which published the interview and several photos from their shoot this weekend. Half an hour turned out to be enough time for the photographers to tell me more good stories than I could fit into The Telegraph article.

For example, Bailey told a story that demonstrates the usefulness of keeping a pocket-sized camera with you at all times.

Once he was shooting a commercial in South Africa. Model Naomi Campbell turned up for the shoot three days late. (“The crew was very happy,” he said.) To make it up to Bailey, she offered to bring him along when she had breakfast with Nelson Mandela. Bailey was told by Mandela’s handlers he couldn’t bring any cameras. So, Bailey said, he stuck a video camera in one pocket, and a still camera in the other. When he arrived, President Mandela greeted him with open arms and said, “Ah Mr. Bailey, I hope you’re going to take my picture.” And he got a portrait.

Weber said, “Isn’t it funny how many times …you’re told, ‘You can’t bring a camera’? You have always got to stick one in your pocket.” Bailey said, “I always think: What do you mean, ‘Don’t take a camera’? That’s like leaving my head behind.”

The day in Harlem shooting with the Nokia Lumia 1020 was not only Weber’s first time shooting with a phone; it was his first time ever shooting digitally. But the two talked less about the tools they use to shoot photos than about the personal feeling they try to express in their images. Bailey, for example, said he doesn’t care what his subjects think about the portraits he takes, “I just take the picture that I want to take in that moment.” He said his motto is “Be true to yourself.”

(For more on Bailey’s attitude towards his picture taking, see PDNOnline’s Legends Online interview with him from 2001 here.

When asked what they admire most about each other’s work, they said it’s that their images always bear a personal stamp and style.  Weber said he can see Bailey’s feelings and curiosity expressed in all of his portraits. He calls Bailey’s images “romantic,” a description that surprised Bailey. “Romantic” is also the word Weber uses to describe images by his mentor, Diane Arbus, whom he met when he first moved to New York City.

After Arbus got him enrolled in classes with her old teacher, Lisette Model, Weber says, he and Model sometimes talked about Arbus’s work. “We would meet at Howard Johnson’s after class and have hot fudge sundaes and talk about the romance in Diane’s pictures.” That sounds like an amazing teacher-student conference.

Weber said Model was one of several people who encouraged him early in his career to express his emotions in his photos. “I think that most photographers are basically pretty shy, except for David maybe,” he said, laughing. Model’s classes,  “gave me a lot of courage to go out and speak the truth about my feelings about what I saw and what I wanted to see.

Another important mentor was Bea Feitler, the renowned art director of Harper’s Bazaar. Once when he showed her some portraits, she asked if he liked what he’d shot. Not really, he had to admit. She said, “Do your pictures. I don’t want to you to do what you thought I’d like. I want you to do what you have in your head and your heart.”

Weber also said that when you look back over the history of photography, all great photographers “like Cartier-Bresson and Lartigue” have something in common. “Their pictures, no matter what they’re photographing, are really portraits of themselves.” Thinking of the sexually adventurous teens photographed for Abercrombie and Fitch and old-money aristocrats he depicted in Ralph Lauren campaigns, I asked Weber if his photos are autobiographical. “I hope so,” he said.

I tried to ask about Weber and Bailey how they created the commercials and ad campaigns that have made them famous. Bailey insisted that he shoots what he wants to shoot, no matter how the photo will be used. Weber agreed, and said he gives his assistants the same advice about shooting advertisements that Richard Avedon once gave him: “Always take a picture for yourself, so you can go to bed at night and go to sleep soundly.”

The Telegraph article includes Weber’s tale about the making of the ground-breaking Calvin Klein underwear ad in which athlete Tom Hintnaus posed in tidy white briefs against a blue sky in Santorini. The story is so cute and innocent, it’s hard to believe. He also told a story about one of the many shoots he did over the years for designer Ralph Lauren. The location was a farm by the sea in California, and Weber took time to photograph the landscape. When the producers told him several models were being kept waiting, Weber said, “Yes, but this is the farm that Ralph always dreamed he would have.” Lauren chose to include some of Weber’s images of the farm in the campaign.

Having learned to express his own aspirations and dreams in his work, clients like Lauren were willing to entrust Weber to express their dreams as well.

The photos from the photographers’ day-long shoot can be seen in The Telegraph Magazine. The exhibition “Weber X Bailey by Nokia Lumia 1020” is on display through September 21 at the Nicholls and Clarke building in Shoreditch, London.

Related articles
Legends Online: David Bailey

September 9th, 2013

Inez and Vinoodh Launch Perfume Based on a Photo

Fashion photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin collaborated with the Swedish fragrance company Byredo on a perfume inspired by one of their own photos. In an interview on the Barneys New York blog The Window, van Lamsweerde said their fragrance, called 1996, is based on their photo Kirsten 1996. “Ben Gorham of Byredo created the perfect interpretation of the dualistic tendencies in this photograph,” she added.

The fragrance launched on Saturday, September 7, and is available on the Byredo and Barneys New York websites for $175. The packaging includes a copy of the Kirsten 1996 photo that inspired the scent, which is described as having floral notes ranging from juniper berries and black pepper to violets, vanilla and patchouli.

Related Article:

The Best of Both: Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

May 20th, 2013

NY Times Public Editor Questions T Magazine Photoshopping Policy

In an editorial published yesterday in The New York Times, the newspaper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, questioned the rules regarding Photoshopping at T, the monthly style magazine published by the Times, and suggested that readers should be notified when fashion images have been digitally manipulated. She also pointed out that editors shouldn’t assume that readers understand the difference between the standards for a news photograph and a fashion photograph.

Responding to comments last week from readers that a T cover model was too skinny, T editor Deborah Needleman told Sullivan that T editors had considered “adding fat” to the model using Photoshop.

Another Times reporter called the comment “jaw-dropping” because journalistic standards would never allow for photography manipulation.

Drawing on comments from other Times picture editors including Michelle McNally of The Times and Kathy Ryan of The New York Times Magazine, Sullivan affirmed the Times’ photography standards: “The Times does not stage news photographs, or alter them digitally.” Except, Sullivan noted, in T‘s case, where it’s deemed acceptable to alter fashion and glamour photography. The assumption being that readers are aware that fashion and glamour is a “different genre of photography,” and therefore the Times’ obligation to those readers is different.

“It would be best if all the photography produced by the Times newsroom could be held to the same standard,” Sullivan wrote. But, she said, if fashion photography must exist as its own world of assumed fantasy, there should be a disclaimer for readers.

Is it realistic to expect that the Times could hold fashion photography to the same standards as news photography? Do readers need to be told that fashion images aren’t “real?”

May 3rd, 2013

National Geographic and W Win Photography Categories at National Magazine Awards

The August 2012 cover of National Geographic. This issue was part of the winning submission in the Photography category of the National Magazine Awards. It features an image from Aaron Huey's series on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. © National Geographic/Photo by Aaron Huey.

The August 2012 cover of National Geographic. This issue was part of NG’s winning submission in the Photography category of the National Magazine Awards. It features an image from Aaron Huey’s series on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. © National Geographic/photo by Aaron Huey.

 

The American Society of Magazine Editors announced the winners of the 2013 National Magazine Awards last night in New York City. National Geographic won in four categories, including Photography and Multimedia. For the Photography category, National Geographic submitted three issues of the magazine, which included work by Aaron Huey, Andrew Parkinson, Carsten Peter,  Alex Webb and Michael Yamashita (August 2012); Robert Clark, Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky, Rob Kendrick, Stephanie Sinclair and Brian Skerry (September 2012); and Robert Clark, Carolyn Drake, Tim Layman, Michael “Nick” Nichols, Paolo Pellegrin and Mark Thiessen (December 2012). National Geographic won the Multimedia category for “Cheetahs on the Edge,” which included still images by Frans Lanting.

In the Feature Photography category, W magazine took home the prize for “Good Kate, Bad Kate,” a fashion editorial shot by Steven Klein and featuring model Kate Moss. The work appeared in W’s March 2012 issue.

Other notable winners last night included New York, which took home two awards including top honors as the Magazine of the Year, and TIME, which won the Design category.

Since 1966 the trade organization, in association with the Columbia University School of Journalism, has been recognizing excellence in publishing. This year almost 260 publications entered work for consideration in the annual awards. The 330 judges included magazine editors, art directors, photo editors and journalism educators.

For a complete list of winners, visit www.magazine.org.

Related Articles:

Helping Communities Speak for Themselves: Aaron Huey’s Pine Ridge Community Storytelling Project
Photojournalist Aaron Huey sought a new way to tell the stories of the Oglala Lakota living on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and found it with an online tool that enables the residents to create and share their personal histories. (For subscribers only.)

From Volcanoes to Glaciers, Carsten Peter on Shooting in Challenging Conditions
The National Geographic photographer talks about doing whatever it takes to get the shot, whether it’s from the crater of a volcano to the interior of a glacier. (For subscribers only.)

Anatomy of an iPad App: A Photo Archive That’s Also an App
Michael “Nick” Nichols grew weary of offering his wildlife photography for free online, so he relauched his Web site as a low-cost iPad application. (For subscribers only.)

W Magazine: Past, Present, Future
Stefano Tonchi on the importance of photographers to the magazine’s history, how the popularity of online video is influencing editors, and what he sees for the future of W and the magazine business. (For subscribers only.)

April 12th, 2013

Recap of the PDN’s 30: Strategies for Young Working Photogs Panel at SVA

During this week’s PDN’s 30 panel discussion at the School of Visual Arts Theatre, perseverance, personality and community emerged as common themes in the early careers of 2013 PDN’s 30 photographers Geordie Wood, Lisa Elmaleh and Bon Duke.

PDN editor Holly Stuart Hughes moderated the panel, which also included Readers Digest photo director Rebecca Simpson Steele and Sony Artisan of Imagery Brian Smith.

Wood, an editorial photographer who is also the photo editor at the Fader, said that he chose to assist rather than working an unrelated day job while he was starting out as a way to stay in the photo community. He also emphasized the importance to his career of a group of fellow photographers who share information, introduce one another to clients and exchange ideas in person and online. “Photography,” he said, “is much more fun as a team sport.”

When the bottom dropped out of the economy right after she graduated from SVA and she found herself out of work, Elmaleh, a fine-art photographer and teacher who works with alternative processes, asked friends in the photo community for leads and found work teaching carbon printing at the Center for Alternative Photography. She also assisted photographers Joni Sternbach and Mitch Epstein, before beginning to teach classes at SVA. “We really have to cobble it together,” Elmaleh said of making a living as a fine-art photographer.

Internships with magazines and production companies, and connections to fellow SVA student working in design or cinematography helped Duke, who does editorial and commercial fashion work and films, learn about different aspects of the creative business and make connections. Talking with design students, for instance, helped him understand how his images would work with text in layouts for ads or editorial pages. He also pointed out that students studying other creative disciplines go on to become art directors.

Duke also emphasized that learning how to communicate with creatives in a collaborative way so he could stick up for what he wanted creatively was an important step. Duke says that, on set, he is nice to everyone and “treats everyone as equals.”

Elmaleh’s work has been supported by several grants, and she underlined the importance of perseverance in applying for funding. She said she’s never gotten a grant the first time she applied for it, and suggested several resources for grant-seekers (see the list at the bottom of this post).

On the subject of perseverance, Smith, a veteran celebrity portraitist who began his career shooting news and sports, argued that careers are built not through one big break, but a series of smaller breaks.

And Wood pointed out that working hard to shoot new images, and to promote that work to editors and online audiences, have been important elements of his early career.

Offering a client perspective, Rebecca Simpson Steele spoke about sometimes following the work of photographers for long periods of time before finding a job for which they are a good match. “I pay attention to photographers when they don’t know I’m watching,” Simpson Steele said.

Grant resources: Creative Capital, Foundation Center, Brooklyn Arts Council, New York Foundation For the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Note: The next PDN’s 30 panel takes place the evening of April 25 at Santa Monica College, Humanities & Social Sciences Building, 1900 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA. The panel will include Brian Smith, Jessica Sample, Michael Friberg and Ian Allen.

February 25th, 2013

DKNY Atones for Unauthorized Usage by Donating $25K to Photog’s Community YMCA

brandon-stanton-DKNY

Brandon Stanton’s images were used without permission in a window display at a DKNY store in Bangkok.

 

When DKNY used several photographs by Brooklyn, New York-based street photographer Brandon Stanton in a display window without permission, Stanton took to social media to get the word out and ask the clothing company to donate to a local YMCA in his community, the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. The multinational clothing company responded by giving the YMCA a $25,000 donation in Stanton’s name.

“I didn’t want to take on a powerful company in any sort of litigation,” Stanton told PDN via email. “I don’t have time for that right now. I also didn’t want to try to personally enrich myself by drawing attention to the matter. So I decided on the YMCA.”

He added, “I’ve seen firsthand how much they help the community.”

DKNY had originally approached Stanton months ago and had offered him $15,000 for use of 300 images for store windows. When Stanton asked for more money, the clothing brand balked, and the deal fell apart, the photographer claims.

Then Stanton discovered his images were being used anyway in a DKNY store in Bangkok. He took to Facebook to share his story and demand that the company make a charitable donation rather than

compensate him. Stanton wrote: “I don’t want any money. But please SHARE this post if you think that DKNY should donate $100,000 on my behalf to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. That donation would sure help a lot of deserving kids go to summer camp. I’ll let you guys know if it happens.” The post spread, earning more that 60,000 Facebook shares and likes, and several thousand comments.

This afternoon DKNY responded with a statement on their social media sites, saying their Bangkok store “inadvertently… used an internal mock up containing some of Mr. Stanton’s images that was intended to merely show the direction of the spring visual program.”

“DKNY has always supported the arts and we deeply regret this mistake,” the statement said. “Accordingly, we are making a charitable donation of $25,000 to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn in Mr. Stanton’s name.”

After DKNY agreed to make the donation, Stanton published their response on Facebook and thanked everyone who supported him. “$25k will help a lot of kids at the YMCA,” he wrote. “I know a lot of you would like to have seen the full $100k, but we are going to take them at their word that it was a mistake.”

DKNY may have another problem, though. Stanton doesn’t have model releases for his images, he told PDN. “Part of DKNY’s original pitch to me was that I would obtain model releases from 300 of my subjects. Seeing as though no agreement was reached, that was never done.”

Whether that could come back to bit the DKNY and its parent company, LVMH, Inc., remains to be seen.

Amy Wolff contributed reporting to this article.