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May 24th, 2016

Get sporty with the new Backpack Adapter on Kickstarter! (Sponsored)

Courtesy of SpiderHolster, this little beauty extends the functionality of the Black Widow Holster so you can carry your mirrorless camera on any cushioned vertical backpack strap or messenger bag strap.

A quick snap-in connection securely fastens our Black Widow Holster to your bag’s strap with an ergonomic shape designed to work with the body’s natural contours.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign here!

Spider-1

April 4th, 2016

Video Pick: Magnus Wennman Pushes Boundaries with “Fatima’s Drawings”

FATIMA’S DRAWINGS from Magnus Wennman on Vimeo.

Among three finalists for the World Press Photo short form multimedia prize is Magnus Wennman’s outstanding 5-1/2 minute video called “Fatima’s Drawings.” His “Where the Children Sleep” project was widely published last year, and “Fatima’s Drawings” is a continuation of his work documenting the plight of refugee children from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The video features a five-year-old Syrian refugee in Sweden, recounting (in a voiceover) the trauma and loss she experienced in Syria and while fleeing to Europe. It’s an example of spare, exquisite filmmaking, with care and attention to all the creative and technical details, from the storyboarding and shooting, to the sound recording and mixing, to the atmospheric hue of the lighting. It also includes animation: Wennman shows Fatima by the light of a window, making stick-figure drawings of scenes from her past. One shows her playing with the best friend she left behind in Idlib, Syria; another shows airplanes bombing her old neighborhood. The drawings suddenly come to life as the camera lingers overhead. Some purists might argue the technique strains the limits of journalism, but Wennman’s video adds up to more than the sum of its individual parts, and documentary storytelling doesn’t get much better than this.

Related:
Video Pick: “Denali,” Film about Photographer Ben Moon and His Dog, Goes Viral
Video Pick: Chris Jordan’s “Midway,” on Beauty in Environmental Activism

February 8th, 2016

Sponsored Video: Spider Holster NEW Spiderlight Hand Strap

Our friends at Spider Holster are releasing their groundbreaking and NEW SpiderLight Hand Strap for mirrorless cameras through Kickstarter this March 2016!

The SpiderLight Hand Strap brings all of the great features of their pro hand strap to the world of mirrorless and other smaller lightweight cameras.  A few things you should know about our new hand strap for lightweight cams:

  • hand in and out easily and quickly
  • will work with any tripod
  • s-curve shape puts your hand in a perfect shooting position
  • easy access to your camera controls
  • super quick to get on and off your camera
  • nice and sturdy
  • includes adapters for compatibility with all leading mirrorless cameras
  • feels great and looks beautiful

Learn more about the SpiderLight Hand Strap at: http://spiderholster.com/kickstarter

August 3rd, 2015

W.M. Hunt on Making “Art” and Artists’ Statements

Veteran collector, curator and photography consultant W.M. Hunt has a reputation for his straight-talking career advice. In this exclusive PDN video, he talks about a strategic mistake made by many aspiring fine-art photographers, and how to avoid it. He also demystifies the process of writing a good artist’s statement, and makes a case against spending a lot of time or energy sweating over it.

Related:
PDN Video: W.M. Hunt on How to Build Career Bridges (Not Burn Them)
PDN Video: Mary Virginia Swanson on How to Get the Most Out of a Portfolio Review
13 Tips for Building Your Fine-Art Network (PDN subscribers can log in to
read this article)

Is the Art World Biased Against Commercial Photographers?
Career Advice: Photographer Kitra Cahana on Elevating Your Work
PDN Video: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists

July 29th, 2015

PDN Video: W.M. Hunt on How to Build Career Bridges (Not Burn Them)

Photography careers are built on talent and hard work. But they also depend upon relationships–with mentors, editors, art directors, curators and others who can provide the critical support required for any career to grow and thrive. Veteran collector, curator and photography consultant W.M. Hunt explains in this exclusive PDN video how to build those important relationships, with tips on how to find a mentor, how to make an impression on the people who can help propel your career, and how to get industry professionals to look at your portfolio–including tips on what NOT to do.

Related:
PDN Video: Mary Virginia Swanson on How to Get the Most Out of a Portfolio Review
13 Tips for Building Your Fine-Art Network (PDN subscribers can log in to
read this article)
Is the Art World Biased Against Commercial Photographers?
Career Advice: Photographer Kitra Cahana on Elevating Your Work
PDN Video: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists

July 29th, 2015

Video Pick: Rep Maren Levinson: Being a Good Photographer Isn’t Enough

Seattle-based photographer John Keatley recently posted a video interview he did with his rep, Redeye’s Maren Levinson, in which she touched on several changes to the photography industry. Her frank assessment of the market in which professional photographers and their reps operate has earned the video nearly 30,000 views on YouTube. (more…)

July 22nd, 2015

PDN Video Pick: Casey Brooks and Acre Creative for Aéropostale

In a new 30-second spot for Aéropostale set to appear on a video billboard in Manhattan’s Times Square, Casey Brooks directs a squad of midriff-baring female dancers to illustrate the extreme elasticity of the brand’s new jeans. Creative director Brad Shaffer at the agency Acre Creative brought in Brooks to make the spot for Aéro, giving her a brief to capture an “appropriately sexy” vibe, evidenced by sweeping steadicam closeups of the stretchy jeans hugging the dancers’ curves.

“It’s not provocative, more positive,” Brooks says. She credits choreographer Mishay Petronelli with bringing an abundance of energy to the screen, choreographing seven different 30- to 45-second routines to seven different songs for Brooks to choose from when assembling the final cut with editor Manuel Barenboim. “It’s better for editing,” Brooks says of the music selection. “It gives you different energies to pull from.” The final spot features the Angel Haze track “New York.”

The dancers rehearsed for three days for the two-day location shoot in New York City. One took place on a rooftop in Brooklyn, and another in a warehouse in the Bronx. Petronelli, who has served as Beyonce’s stand-in on a recent world tour and will tour with Janet Jackson later this year, also appears in the video (you can catch her freestyling in front of a giant window). Brendan Stumpf was director of photography, and Ruy Sánchez Blanco the post producer.

The spot will run online as well as on a video billboard.

June 16th, 2015

Video Pick: “Denali,” Film About Photographer Ben Moon and His Dog, Goes Viral

Denali from FELT SOUL MEDIA on Vimeo.

Our cover story last September was about DamNation, a film about dam removal and river restoration by director Ben Knight and the production company Felt Soul Media, which he cofounded with Travis Rummel. Outdoor apparel and equipment company Patagonia commissioned that film because the company’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, is an advocate for dam removal and river restoration. In our article, Knight predicted that we’d see more companies sponsoring documentary films about issues that matter to them. That relationship has continued, with Patagonia supporting Felt Soul Media’s latest short film, Denali, about photographer Ben Moon and his dog.

The seven-minute video, which Moon produced, chronicles the relationship between he and Denali, both of whom suffered through bouts of cancer with support from the other. It tells their story from Denali’s perspective, which is both charming and incredibly moving.

There is a very good chance at this point that you’ve seen or at least heard about the film. It has 8.2 million views since June 8 and was a Vimeo Staff Pick. But if not, we suggest you take the time to watch it with a best friend and a box of tissues.

Also: We hear Ben Moon will be speaking about building a photography career at PhotoPlus Expo this year. Maybe he’ll even tell a dog story or two.

Related: DamNation Documents the National Debate Over Dam Removals and River Restoration

May 13th, 2015

PDN Video: Gillian Laub on Winning Over Reluctant Subjects to Film “Southern Rites”

Gillian Laub: "Southern Rites" And The Challenges of Access from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

In 2009, Gillian Laub’s story in The New York Times Magazine about segregated high school proms in Mount Vernon, Georgia, stirred national outrage, which finally forced the community to integrate the proms. Afterwards, Laub faced down the hostility and threats of locals to work on a documentary film about race relations in the area. In this PDN video, she describes the challenges of filming where she was unwelcome, and how she managed to win the confidence of her subjects– including a murder suspect who had granted no media interviews before he sat down with Laub. Titled “Southern Rites,” the film debuts May 18 on HBO. Laub’s still photographs are showing at Bonnie Benrubi Gallery in New York City from May 14-June 27, 2015. Damiani will also publish a book of the work in June.

Related:
PDN Photo of the Day: Gillian Laub’s “Southern Rites”

Shaul Schwartz’s Reel Peak Films: A Production Company Devoted to Editorial Documentaries

April 22nd, 2015

PDN Video: How to Take Your Career to the Next Level

At a turning point early in his career, veteran celebrity photographer Brian Smith had a brazen (and slightly cringe-worthy) encounter with John Huston, the famous movie director. He got away with it–just barely. At the time, Smith was a staff photographer on assignment for the Orange County Register. He was trying to take his career to the next level, and the shoot with Huston was an object lesson in how to do that, as he explains in this video. (Smith is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and author of Secrets of Great Portrait Photography.)

Related:
PDN Video: Photographer Brian Smith on How to Get a Striking Celebrity Portrait

PDN Video: Gregory Heisler on How to Relate to Portrait Subjects

PDN Video Pick: Miller Mobley’s Tips for Landing Clients

How Top Photographers Shoot Great Portraits