October 31st, 2012

PPE 2012: What Photo Editors Want

At the PhotoPlus panel “Your Picture Here: How to Get Published in The New York Times, Time, GQ and Wired” photo editors from all four publications spoke candidly about what photographers can do to get their attention. There were, of course, things specific to each publication. Carrie Levy of Wired, for example, noted that it’s difficult for her to hire photographers who shoot exclusively in natural light because the magazine has a look that demands poppy and highly produced images. Meanwhile, Krista Prestek said GQ likes photographers who have a fine-art sensibility and a strong body of work that demonstrates their ability to successfully fulfill assignments.

But on a number of topics, they all seemed to agree. One was promos. Almost all of the panelists preferred printed promos to mass e-mails or cold calling. Paul Moakley of Time compared the promo process to courting: Only after a few introductory mailers is it OK to call or e-mail him to request a meeting. Prestek noted that since her first priority is the magazine, hard copy promos are better because they let her see what the work looks like on the printed page. She also suggested photographers pick an image that is in line with the magazine to use on their promo. Levy doesn’t mind e-mails, but noted a few things photographers shouldn’t do: send e-mails first thing in the morning (when she has the most e-mails in her inbox); compose mass e-mails instead of personalized ones; and embed images in the body of the e-mails because they don’t show up. Finally, The New York Times Magazine’s Clinton Cargill noted that sometimes years go by between the first time he first sees a photographer’s work and when he gives the photographer an assignment, so it’s always good to keep the photo editor up to date via mail or e-mail in terms of what you’ve been working on.

Personal work was also something that the photo editors like to see. All four pretty much agreed that a personal project is more interesting to look at and speaks to the photographer’s originality and personality better than assignment work. But when you do include assignment work in your portfolio, Prestek and Levy preferred seeing the actual image to the tearsheet. Other portfolio tips: Moakley noted that the images in your portfolio should relate to the magazine; Levy said some people aren’t interested in seeing the work on an iPad or laptop, so be sure to bring prints as well (preferably a box of prints rather than in a portfolio case); Prestek said a portfolio should demonstrate that your images will look good in print; and Cargill added that if you’re doing the work you want to be doing, then that’s the work that should be in your portfolio.

During the seminar, all four panelists answered questions from audience members. The following were mentioned as places where they found new photographers: The Wall Street Journal, Connections by Le Book, galleries, Paris Photo, The New York Times, The New Yorker, self-published books, agency e-mails, competition annuals, through colleagues and other photo editors, portfolio reviews, drop-offs, Eddie Adams Workshop, Review Santa Fe, Les Rencontres d’Arles, PhotoNOLA, Aperture, Photolucida’s Critical Mass, Foam magazine and W. Eugene Smith Awards.

Their parting advice: Apply for everything.

October 23rd, 2012

APA and EP Join Forces

Today two professional photography trade organizations‚ American Photographic Artists (APA) and Editorial Photographers (EP)‚ announced that they will merge to create one organization with a membership of approximately 3200 photographers.

The move will see the creation of the first national chapter of APA, which will be known as the APA Editorial Photographers chapter.

EP president Brian Smith told PDN the move would revitalize that organization while also giving APA a presence in smaller cities in the United States and internationally. (EP is an internet-based organization without a chapter structure, and has members throughout the country and the world, Smith notes.)

“It was a case of trying to revitalize everything and offer something more,” Smith said of the decision to merge. “EP was founded as an opportunity to get together and actively seek better editorial contracts. It was formed in a day when the magazines were making money by the bushellful. Times have changed in the editorial market and really the board felt the best thing we could do would be to come up with additional resources for our members.” (more…)

March 6th, 2012

Obituary: Photographer Paula Lerner, Leader of Photo Advocacy Group

Photographer Paula Lerner, past vice president of the Editorial Photographers trade association and creator of an Emmy-winning multimedia piece, died today at her home in Belmont, Massachusetts, according to her family. The cause of death was breast cancer.

Raised in Hudson, Ohio, Lerner attended Harvard University and became a photojournalist in1985. Her clients included Time, Inc., People, and Harvard Business Review. In the Nineties, she became a leader of Editorial Photographers (EP), the volunteer organization supporting the rights of editorial photographers. She was a frequent lecturer on photographers’ rights and business practices.

“Paula dedicated a good portion of her life to help make life as a editorial photographer better for others,” notes Seth Resnick, past president of EP. “Paula always fought for what she believed in and always eloquently conveyed her position. At times she sacrificed  her own career to better the industry.”

Brian Smith, EP’s president notes that as the organization’s founding VP, “[Lerner] was directly involved in negotiating the Business Week and Forbes contracts that raised the bar for fair deals for editorial photographers. Paula remained committed to educating and inspiring others and it is extremely sad to lose her just as she was producing the finest work of her career.”

Her photography often focused on women’s issues. In 2003, she began volunteering her time to photograph the work of Business Council for Peace (Bpeace), a non-profit organization that helped women in conflict zones develop businesses. She eventually began recording sound and shooting video. From 2005 to 2006, she traveled to Afghanistan five times, on her own and with Bpeace, to document the lives of women in Kandahar.  She spearheaded the multimedia piece “Behind the Veil,” a six-part multimedia series published by the Globe and Mail newspaper. In 2010, it won an Emmy award for New Approaches to News and Documentary  Programming: Current News Coverage. “People in the West know very little about Afghan women…This feature tells some very important, untold stories that we need to hear in order to inform our policy decisions,” Lerner told PDN.

Lerner also co-authored the book Why We Walk: The Inspirational Journey Toward a Cure for Breast Cancer, published in 2005. While working on the photos for the book, she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Lerner is survived by her husband, Thomas Dunlap, their two daughters, her brother and her parents and stepmother.

A memorial service will be held March 9th at 10 am at Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Avenue, Belmont, Massachusetts. Lerner requested that donations be made in her memory to Bpeace www.bpeace.org and to Metavivor, which supports research into metastic breast cancer and supports the families of patients with metastic breast cancer.

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