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August 23rd, 2013

Crusade for Collecting: A Controversial Experiment Meant to Create New Photo Collectors

Instagram grid by @crusade4art

Instagram images from the @crusade4art Crusade for Collecting organized by Jennifer Schwartz.


Earlier this year Jennifer Schwartz, a gallerist and the founder of the non-profit arts organization Crusade for Art, traveled to cities around the country in an effort to create demand for the work of emerging photographers by encouraging people she met on the street to consider collecting art. Working with five photographers in each of the cities she visited, Schwartz organized street-side exhibitions, asking the photographers to talk with passersby about their work, and to give away signed, non-editioned prints to those who wanted them. The project drew both criticism and skepticism, but it also, Schwartz says, created positive dialogue between artists and would-be collectors.
PDN invited Schwartz to explain the motivation behind the trip and recap her experiences.

Nearly five years ago I began a journey to cultivate audiences for art, specifically the work of emerging photographers. By creating innovative programs that make art immediately and affordably accessible to new audiences, both online and through special events, my goals have been: to promote and develop the careers of talented, emerging, contemporary photographers and to educate and cultivate a new crop of collectors.

Working with emerging photographers, I recognized from the beginning that the challenge is to find an audience for these artists. Too often as gallery owners, we hang the art and then wait for an audience to come. With that in mind, I created Crusade for Art, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating demand for art by creating opportunities to introduce new collectors to artists and their work.

In my Atlanta gallery, I have discovered that the most successful programs to get new people interested in art involve meeting the artist and making a personal connection. They give people who have had only a limited relationship with art a unique, fun experience where they engage with photography and the artists in a thoughtful way. These programs also give photographers an opportunity to interact directly with an audience and advocate for themselves and their work.

In April 2013 I took this concept on the road with a special project, the Crusade for Collecting Tour. Traveling to ten cities over the course of three months in a 1977 VW bus (affectionately named Lady Blue and purchased through funds raised on Kickstarter), I staged spontaneous pop-up events to give away original, signed photographs and bring grassroots art appreciation to the streets, moving outside the traditional boundaries of the art world. (more…)

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…)

July 9th, 2013

New Look PhotoShelter Adds Portfolio Sites and Social Media Integration

The homepage of photographer Robin Moore's new PhotoShelter Beam portfolio site.

The homepage of photographer Robin Moore’s new PhotoShelter Beam portfolio site. Moore was among the photographers who beta tested Beam.

Today PhotoShelter launched Beam, its new portfolio website platform, which is connected to its e-commerce, cloud storage, image delivery, client proofing and marketing tools for professional photographers.

The launch also includes integration with popular social media, blogging and video tools like Instagram, Tumblr, Vimeo and WordPress, allowing users to add content from those platforms to their Beam site, and to easily share content from their site to other platforms.

Beam is available immediately, at no cost, to current PhotoShelter users with Standard and Pro accounts, and to non-users on a 14-day trial basis. After the 14-day trial, new PhotoShelter users can pay either $29.99 per month for a Standard account, which includes a Beam site, 60GB of storage and all of PhotoShelter’s other tools, or $49.99 for a Pro account with 1000GB of storage.

At launch, Beam offers four different portfolio website designs that were created using HTML5 and CSS3, which the company says will allow images to render on “virtually any” digital device.

The “Site Builder” tool allows photographers to quickly update the look of their site and requires no coding experience.

“The biggest upgrade is the user interface, which means that I now use Photoshelter as my primary online portfolio to showcase my images,” said Robin Moore, a DC-based conservation photographer, in an email interview with PDN. Moore was among the beta testers for Beam.

A longtime PhotoShelter user, Moore used to use PhotoShelter for storage and WordPress for his portfolio. “Now,” he says, “I don’t have to fuss with that integration, and I can display my images, blog and videos on one site that I would be happy to share with prospective clients.”

Though Moore says there were “some hiccups” in the beta testing process, he is pleased with how easily he can modify his new portfolio site. “For someone who gets goosebumps every time they see code, I have really enjoyed the user-friendly interface,” Moore adds.

For more information, visit the PhotoShelter Beam microsite.

June 14th, 2013

An Unusual Tactic For Portfolio Reviews

© Amy Wolff

 

Photographer Jordan Hollender was scheduled to do portfolio reviews at NYCFotoworks in New York City this week but was called away on a job. Rather than abandon the reviews, he made a cut out of himself, and had an assistant show up to the reviews for him, placing everything on the table in front of each reviewer. The photo we took shows the assistant’s set up: the cut out of Hollender, portfolio, letter to the reviewer from Hollender, notebook for the reviewer to write notes in, and business cards.

Although PDN did not get the opportunity to meet with “him”, it was a memorable encounter.

June 10th, 2013

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

Photographer Miller Mobley: How to Build Relationships with Clients from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

Miller Mobley built a successful business as an editorial and commercial photographer in his native Alabama, then gave it up to start all over again in New York City. In this video produced by PDN, he discusses how he landed jobs in both places, and the importance of showing new work to potential clients every time he approaches them. To learn more about how Mobley launched and then re-launched his career, see our story, “Miller Mobley’s Transition,” at PDNonline.com.

May 16th, 2013

Photolucida: Portfolio Reviews From the Photographer’s Side of the Table

Lamb-HopewellFurn

© Eliza Lamb, from her series “Hopewell.”

By Eliza Lamb

As a photographer I find that portfolio reviews are the perfect combination of exhaustion and exhilaration, community and competition, motivation and humility. After I returned from a whirlwind four days in Portland, Oregon at Photolucida I was still coming off the high of it all. I found myself trying to integrate the connections I’d made and the feedback I’d gotten with the life I knew and the assumptions I held before I left. Sorting through piles of leave behinds, business cards, signed books and pages full of notes, I was struck by feelings of accomplishment and uneasiness, and by my downright good fortune for being able to be a part of such an amazing community.

The process of creating visual art can be very isolating and often involves years of self-reflection, pondering and personal expense, punctuated by both excitement and doubt. It can feel antisocial as we create our images and crawl back into our studios or sit in front of our computer screens for hours upon hours of editing, processing and contemplating. Having trained for years as an actress and receiving instant gratification, I find it can be near maddening putting your work out there to radio silence. But portfolio reviews are a way for photographers to join together to gain feedback, camaraderie and opportunities, to gather despite their home locations or educational training and present their work to the community as equals with common passions, goals and frustrations. (more…)

April 12th, 2013

Ballet and Skateboarding Mix in Limited Edition Decks From Henry Leutwyler

leutwyler-ballet-skate-decks-pulse

Earlier this year we wrote in our Exposures column about Henry Leutwyler’s project photographing the New York City Ballet. One of the photographs in his book and exhibition depicted the grit behind the grace of ballet, contrasting a ballerina’s bandaged and bloodied bare right foot with her left foot as an audience might normally see it, wrapped in a pointe shoe.

Leutwyler, an appreciator of both the artform of ballet and the sport of skateboarding, sees the parallels between the two, so he created a limited edition set of decks from the image. Check them out, here.

November 20th, 2012

Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Appoints Jason Groupp WPPI Director

The Nielsen Photo Group, which owns PDN, has announced the appointment of Jason Groupp as the director of Wedding & Portrait Photographers International. We’d like to welcome Jason to the Nielsen Photo Group. For more information on the appointment, please see the press release below.

Photo By Zack Arias

PRESS RELEASE

New York, NY (November 20, 2012) – Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) announces today the appointment of Professional Photographer Jason Groupp as the new WPPI Director.

Groupp will be responsible for overseeing the growth of membership and education, setting up speakers for the annual WPPI Conference and Expo and maintaining speaker relations for the conference, WPPI U and WPPI on the road. Groupp will also act as liaison for WPPI to the photography community, supervise photo competitions and work with teams to help provide editorial content for Rangefinder Magazine, WPPI blog and the InFocus newsletter.

“I’m so excited to be joining The Nielsen Photo Group as WPPI Director. The annual WPPI Conference and publications such as Photo District News and Rangefinder Magazine have been such an important part of my career as a professional wedding photographer,” said Jason Groupp, WPPI Director. “After graduating college in 1989, I utilized the ‘assistants wanted’ section of Photo District News to help launch my career.  It goes without saying that 25 years later, I’m excited for the opportunity to help today’s new photographers find those ‘help wanted’ ads that helped me back then. I’ve loved and appreciated every minute of my WPPI experiences, and I couldn’t ask for a better place to now call home.”

Manhattan, NY-based Jason Groupp studied fashion photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City graduating in 1989. He’s been shooting weddings for 23 years. Sophisticated but instantly accessible, Jason Groupp’s wedding photography celebrates the individuality of every couple he works with. Having honed his style on the streets of Manhattan, Jason instinctively creates a sense of place and style in every client’s photograph. Whether it’s a free-spirited portrait of a newly engaged couple astride a motorcycle or a rare quiet moment shared by a bride and groom against the splashy backdrop of a Las Vegas cityscape, Jason captures the relationship between a couple and their surroundings.

For more information about Jason Groupp visit: http://www.jasongroupp.com/

All WPPI 2013 classes, events and the expo will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, from March 7-14, 2013. WPPI is the biggest event in the world for wedding and portrait photographers. Last year, nearly 16,000 registered attendees and over 180 speakers from throughout the United States as well as from 46 foreign countries as far away as Latin America, Australia and Russia gathered in Las Vegas, NV for WPPI. Attending professional photographers and those looking to begin their career in photography were able to learn from the best and see the latest and greatest products from 330 exhibitors that participated in the expo.

The 2013 conference will feature specialized education programs like Platform Classes, Master Classes, Plus Classes and WPPI U. WPPI U is a university-style, two-day workshop providing the fundamentals of photography to help today’s up-and-coming photographers strengthen their shooting skills, learn to market their photography services and how to run a profitable business. Also, the 16×20 Print and Album Competitions provide an extra measure of excitement and recognition during the event, culminating with the WPPI Awards Night extravaganza.

Registration (Http://registration3.experientevent.com/ShowWPP131/?flowcode=ATT) for WPPI 2013 and is open now. The early bird registration rate for access to the WPPI 2013 Conference and Expo is $199 for WPPI members and $379 for non-members through December 14, 2012. On December 15, 2012 registration rates increase to regular prices online; $275 for WPPI members and $399 for non-members. These rates include one (1) free guest, all Platform classes, special events and a 3-day pass to the biggest photography expo for wedding and portrait photographers.

For more information about WPPI 2013 and all of its workshops and events, please visit: www.wppionline.com.

About WPPI

Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), a division of Nielsen Photo Group, is an international membership organization that serves the educational and business needs of wedding and portrait photographers. WPPI is a professional organization that exists to help its 3,500 active member photographers by providing them with exclusive information, programs and professional services to assist with their photographic artistry and business needs. WPPI routinely supplies its members with new benefits and valuable industry information enabling them to succeed in today’s active photo market business. WPPI membership gives photographers the resources they need to succeed and the tools they require to build and develop a strong personal support network.

In 2012, WPPI completed its 32nd annual Conference and Expo, featuring 320 exhibitors in its convention space at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.  The annual WPPI 2013 Conference and Expo is set to take place next year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, from March 7-14, 2013. For more information visit: www.wppionline.com.

November 12th, 2012

Marketing Jordan Matter’s “Dancers Among Us” Photos

Photographer Jordan Matter helps out as a PDN product tester from time to time so we were pleased as punch to see his new book of photographs, Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday, debut on The New York Times‘ best seller list recently.

Matter’s images, which feature professional dancers performing in everyday situations across the United States, premiered on PDN’s Photo of the Day blog back in 2010 and then returned in March of this year. (See a few of his images below.)

Since then, the Dancers Among Us project has really taken off. Along with the book, the Internet has fallen in love with Matter’s joyful images. He was featured on Reddit in a Q&A with readers last week and several photography-related websites and blogs have run his images (often without his permission, it’s worth noting), turning the shots into the latest viral photo sensation.

Along with crediting PDN for helping him get his first early exposure of the project, Matter says the below marketing video created to promote Dancers Among Us has been successful at getting him and his work featured on the Today show and in The Washington Post.

Bravo Jordan!

© Jordan Matter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Jordan Matter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Jordan Matter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Jordan Matter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Jordan Matter

October 30th, 2012

PPE 2012: 8 Dos and Don’ts for Crowd-Funding Campaigns

It seems like nowadays every photographer is launching a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for a book or to shoot personal work. But how many of those photographers are actually meeting or surpassing their fundraising goals? At the PhotoPlus seminar “Crowd-Funding Your Photography Project,” five panelists shared their thoughts on how to raise money using two crowd-funding platforms, Kickstarter and Emphas.is.

Gerd Ludwig moderated the panel. He used Kickstarter in 2011 to raise funds for his long-term series on Chernobyl, because traditional media outlets weren’t interested in commissioning the work. Ludwig raised over $23,000, which he used to travel to Chernobyl, and publish a book and iPad app of the work.

The panelists were Karim Ben Khelifa, co-founder of Emphas.is; Aaron Huey, a photojournalist who used Emphas.is to raise over $26,000 for a billboard and information campaign surrounding his work on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; Justin Jensen, a photographer who used Kickstarter to raise over $485,000 for his product CineSkates, which are wheels that snap onto the bottom of a Gorilla tripod; and Jon Pack, who used Kickstarter to raise over $65,000 for his photography project “The Olympic City” and the resulting book. Below, some campaign dos and don’ts they learned along the way.

1. Do make a video for your Kickstarter or Emphas.is page, which tells visitors about the project. Ludwig noted that a video provides an opportunity to address your audience personally as well as to give your credentials and background so people feel comfortable investing in your work. Huey added that the video is essentially the elevator pitch for your project, so it’s important to make it as professional as possible. Meanwhile, Ben Khelifa advised photographers to avoid the words “help” and “support” in their videos since Emphas.is sees the relationship as more of an exchange between the photographer and his or her audience.

2. Do create a reward structure that awards every donor regardless of the amount of money they give. Huey said some of his rewards had a dollar value that was worth more than the donation amount, which was a good incentive for people to give. Ludwig noted that he had a reward for every size pocketbook.

3. Don’t only think of rewards that cost money. Ben Khelifa said some of the most successful rewards offered on Emphas.is only cost the photographer time, such as one-on-one photography workshops or portfolio reviews. Ludwig added that every person who donated to his campaign was included on a donors’ list, which is posted at the exhibitions of the work.

4. Do collaborate with the people who donate to your project. Park and his partner, filmmaker Gary Hustwit, agreed to let backers vote on one of the former Olympic hosting cities that would be included in their project. He also noted that when he and Hustwit were traveling to the various cities, backers would sometimes e-mail them with recommendations about where to shoot. Jensen had some backers help with the testing of the initial CineSkates product. He also made additional product lines based on suggestions given by backers.

5. Don’t forget to communicate with backers during and after the campaign. Emphas.is was started because Ben Khelifa believes that people are interested in the experiences of photographers and photojournalists, which is why the “Making of Zone” is such a crucial part of the site. Pack said many people were into “collaborating” on his project, so he would answer e-mails throughout the campaign and then launched a website afterward so donors could stay up to date on the status of the project. He also posts updates on his Facebook page and e-mails backers regularly.

6. Do try to get funds from people outside of your personal and/or professional networks. Huey said he didn’t even ask for money from his personal networks. Instead, he appealed to the street art world, since Shepard Fairey created some of the posters, and to Native American rights groups, because his work focused on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. By identifying influential bloggers in both worlds, he was able to spread the word about his campaign to people who are passionate about these two things. Ludwig noted that you get your backers’ e-mail addresses to contact them about future campaigns, but Ben Khelifa added that this only works if you’re good at communicating during the first campaign (see above).

7. Don’t underestimate shipping costs. One of Ludwig’s rewards was a copy of his book Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR. Over 25 percent of the donations at this $100 reward level were from overseas, and it cost him $31 (not including packaging) to ship each book internationally. Jensen also made this mistake, by offering all backers in the U.S. free shipping once the product came out; international backers were charged an extra $20 for shipping. The problem was that shipping overseas ended up costing more than $20 and many backers in the U.S. wanted their products shipped overnight.

8. Don’t assume that all you have to do is launch the campaign and you’re done. All the panelists agreed that crowd funding is very time consuming. Huey even went so far as to say he couldn’t do another crowd-funding campaign anytime soon because the billboard campaign took over his life for two months and he just doesn’t have that kind of time right now. Ludwig noted that his studio manager was a crucial part of his campaign, while Jensen said he ended up hiring a staff of five to help once it looked like they were going to get enough money through Kickstarter to fully launch the product.

Related Articles:

Helping Communities Speak for Themselves: Aaron Huey’s Pine Ridge Community Storytelling Project
Crowd-Funding Success Story: Gerd Ludwig
Object of Desire: CineSkates