Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bliss Photography Contest

BlissPR Photography Contest BlissPR, a boutique marketing communications firm specializing in professional services, financial services and healthcare, is seeking to commission a photography contest for the art adorning the walls of its renovated NYC office. Criteria: The requirement is for multiple large-scale, brightly colored images which will adorn four conference rooms and two public spaces in the office. The images can be a series or a single theme or can each be stand-alone pieces that maintain a flow from one to the next. The overall style and subject matter is unrestricted with the understanding of upholding an appropriate level of art for a corporate public relations environment. The pieces must be digital and colorful; no black and white images will be accepted. We are a dynamic and creative marketing communications shop but our clients are bankers, lawyers, consultants, entrepreneurs and academics. Judging: art must be submitted in digital format and will be judged by the staff at BlissPR. The Winner: The winning pieces will be printed by BlissPR and displayed in the company’s new corporate offices at 500 Fifth Avenue in New York City beginning April 2012. The winner will receive recognition on the company website and at the offices with a printed bio on the wall, be featured in a press release about the contest, and be given a $500 cash prize. Submissions: Images should be submitted in digital format to no later than March 1, 2012. Copyright will stay with the artist but the printed images will be the property of BlissPR. Questions: please contact Lara Martin or Cortney Stapleton or

Assisting a Fashion Photographer

Here’s the facts: I’m super busy. I hit the ground running in 2012 and I’m still running. I spent 6 weeks in Los Angeles and shot 4 editorials, 2 commercials, collaborated with Dimitrios Papagiannis on 3 experimental films and even found time to shoot some personal work!! I have literally thrown myself back into my photography and it feels amazing! With upcoming work trips to Berlin and Brazil, this year is promising to be rather stellar! With all this said, though, I have to keep up with this blog! And that’s going to be a little difficult with all the work. So what do we do when we realize we’re going to have to switch up the game? We decide to expand the blog and invite guest writers to post about their experiences in the fashion photography business. You’ll hear from assistants, make up artists, agents and other young, aspiring fashion photographers about their journey’s in the industry. I promise to review each post and only provide the most interesting content. And of course, as my work becomes published, I will keep you updated on what the latest and greatest happenings are going down in my world. Along with a whole new re-design, The Fashion Photography Blog is going to continue to take you on the epic journey of what it’s like to be a fashion photographer but we’re going to take it the next level! So without further ado, I’d like to introduce our first guest writer. A person very near and dear to me because he is vital to my process. Tyler Mitchell has been my first assistant for over 2 years and I rely on him more than I rely on any other person in my life. Without a great assistant, I can’t do what I do as well as I do it. So now that I’ve introduced him- Let’s hear what Tyler has to say about being an assistant to a fashion photographer: So you’re fresh out of school or you’re trying to change your job, and you want to get into fashion photography. Where do you even begin? For a lot of people, working as an assistant is the best way to get a peek into the industry and learn the standards and etiquette that are required in order to succeed in this industry. In fact, from my own experience, I strongly recommend that anyone who is serious about trying to shoot fashion needs to start by assisting. I feel like I have learned in a couple years what would have taken a lifetime on my own. Rest assured, there are plenty of hungry kids who already know this and who are out hunting for every job they can get. Getting assisting jobs, though, is not as easy as it would seem. The reality is that there are jobs out there, but there are also a lot of talented people looking for them. The majority of photographers that are working consistently already have a team with a 1st assistant, digital tech, and maybe a studio manager and an intern or two, and then they hire other assistants from lists of people that they have met or that come recommended from someone that they trust. As much as assisting is a fun job, it is hard work and at times you can be responsible for tasks that are vital to the shoot. This makes it hard to break into working as an assistant, because photographers want to know that you’re not going to mess up. They also want to know that you will know how to use the gear properly, safely, and quickly. Working as an intern for a little while is a good way to meet people, and to see everything else that goes into running a photography business, and although you probably won’t be that involved in the actual lighting, you will get to see a crew work together and pick up things that will help you later on. Do’s and Dont’s If you decide that you want to try to find work as an assistant, be it freelancing around or trying to get yourself into a full-time 1st position, there are a few things that you need to do, and not do. Most of it you will figure out on your own, and that’s how it has to be because that’s how the rest of us ended up where we are. We love what we do and we study it and think about it every day. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you probably won’t get hired back. Your Resume The first thing that will most likely happen if you are lucky enough to get in touch with someone when they are looking to expand or replace someone is you will go meet them. Sometimes they will want to see a resume but you most likely sent this when you contacted them in the first place. And when you created your resume, you definitely kept it on one page, because people who will click off your site in 3 seconds if it doesn’t load certainly don’t want to read your life story when they’ve never even met you. Experience Hopefully, you also have some relevant experience from interning, or you know some equipment/cameras/software from school or your own gear that you can list, and if you’ve been freelancing you can list some photographer’s you have worked with. If you have looked at capture one twice, don’t say you know it. If you’ve never set up a superboom or an octabank or bi-tubes, don’t lie about it, but make sure that you’re eager to learn and when you do get on set, pay attention to everything you see more experienced people doing. Stealing a Photographers Contacts Another very serious “don’t” that I want to go over is that you are not ever on set to promote yourself. If you work with a certain photographer enough, you may get comfortable enough that they will give you a contact, but it is never something you should go after on your own while working for someone else. We had a second assistant in LA, who came on set and was more or less doing a good job, and at the end of the day he was nowhere to be found. As it turns out, he was showing his book to the stylist and the client. Guess who got a talking to, and their phone number changed to “do not answer”? This is very, very important. You are there to help the photographer in any way possible. While you get to learn form your job, it is never OK to approach anyone on set in regards to your work unless suggested or approved by the photographer. And if you like your job I’d try and wait a little while before asking, as it is a tight, competitive industry and some people will be more open to sharing their contacts than others. “You Have to Really Want it” I guess what I’m getting at is that there’s a lot that goes into assisting, but it’s an extremely valuable opportunity to anyone trying to come up in the photography industry. If you move to a city and are trying to get a job, don’t be surprised if it takes a while. You have to really want it. We get people asking to assist or intern all the time, but the reality is.that we have a crew of people that we use and trust that is usually deep enough to cover our needs, and as long as those people are available, it’s going to be extremely hard to get in. That’s just how the industry is. There are a lot of talented and hungry people so you have to make yourself stand out. There is also something to be said for simply getting along really well with a photographer. If you both like being around each other everything is easier. The more you can educate yourself on the trends of your specific piece of the industry, and get yourself up to date on a lot of different gear, the better chance you have of getting called back and getting regular work from someone. Same goes for your actions on set… you should be anticipating what the photographer or next assistant is going to need, be ready to problem solve if something goes wrong, and most importantly you can’t stress out or start throwing attitude around. If you start doing that, there’s a huge chance you’ll never get called back. There is always something to be done, and don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know where to start. Keep Yourself Busy The last thing that I want to say about this crazy process of becoming a photographer is that you have to remember to shoot for yourself. Its easy to keep yourself busy just trying to keep money in your bank to eat, and to forget to shoot. Even though you might be working around photography almost every day, if you aren’t actually shooting something for yourself you are just getting rusty. Most likely, even though you think your photos are cool or you did well in school, you don’t really have a book yet. It takes time shooting good stuff and bad stuff to try to figure out your style, so use this time that you have working a side job or assisting to shoot for yourself. My roommates were a Godsend for this. I live with three photographers from the college I went to and a writer. Ian (the writer) recently started a magazine, which is a huge project, but I hopped right on it because its a chance to force myself onto a schedule of shooting for myself. With everyone working together on projects like RELAPSE mag, we are able to really push each other do do more, and do it better. I think thats why we get the jobs that we do, and why we’re generally lucky enough to have the life we have. We didn’t get handed a loft in SOHO, we didn’t get into fashion to sleep with models, we didn’t get into photography for cameras. The fact that we are all clear in what we want, and love every second of donating our blood sweat and tears into our art, makes us both better assistants, and better photographers. Good luck, keep it real.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Street Fashion 5th ave

Alex and Alicia lighting

beauty dish front
 beauty dish side
 bounce umbrella 3/4
 bounce umbrella side
 bounce umbrella front
 grid reflector 10 side
 grid reflector 10 3/4
 grid reflector 10 front
 grid reflector 20 side
 Grid reflector 20 3/4
 grid reflector 20 front
 grid reflector 30 side
 grid reflector 30 3/4
 grid reflector 30 front
 reflector 3/4
 reflector front
 reflector side
 shoot through 3/4
 shoot through front
 shoot through  side
 soft box 3/4
 soft box front
 soft box side           

beauty dish 3/4

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Letter by Ernst Haas

The Letter by Ernst Haas
Ernst Haas (1921-1986)
Letter To Wilson Hicks Editor of Life Magazine, November 1949

”There are two kinds of photographers – the ones who take pictures for a magazine to earn something, and the others who gain by taking pictures they are interested in. I am the second kind. I don’t believe in the in-between success of becoming famous as quickly as possible. I believe in the end success of a man’s work as developing into a real human being, aware of the connection in life between earth and the cosmos; a person able to understand the mistakes, and to admire the achievements, of other people.I have always felt better taking a risk than an easier route for what I believe in. I am young enough to do that, and I am full of energy and hope to reach my goal. I prefer to be noticed, someday, first for my ideas and second for my good eye. Maybe you will think I have not got my two feet quite on the ground, but if a photographer wants to show an overall view, he must find a point higher up. What I want is to stay free, so I can carry out my ideas. I don’t think there are many editors who can give me the assignments I give myself.”

Friday, March 9, 2012

What every photography school student needs to know.

What every photography school student needs to know.
By Jamesnyc
February 21. 2010 14:00
During the last 6 years of teaching workshops promoted through my sites, I have come in contact with hundreds of photo school / college grads that have felt cheated after spending up wards and beyond $160,000 for an education that has left them unprepared and unqualified for working in the real world of commercial photography.

So here is some of what I have come to find, and what they have personally revealed to me, in no specific order.
Unless you absolutely positively can not live a full life with out taking pictures or making images every single day of your life, do not pursue a career in photography.

If you are the type of person that needs emotional, financial, and job stability do not get into photography.

Know your photographic history. you can not move forward without acknowledging the past.
And know whom from the past you can stealthy "barrow" from.

If you believe that by taking photography classes in high school, college, or other will make you a photographer it won't

If after taking photography classes you are under the impression that you will be able to move to a major photo market like New York and become the next Avedon you will not.
Photographers are competing on a world stage and there are thousands of highly skilled over qualified photographers that have worked as assistants, digital techs, lighting techs, and producers for some of the most famous and infamous photographers in the world and you will have to wait your turn behind them as you are competing for the few jobs available.
(Many of those have been doing this for nearly 20 years and have been cultivating business contacts for as long.)

A question to all:
How many of you have the type of personality that allows you to walk into a room and begin introducing yourself to strangers and in 60 minutes have been able to make 20 new contacts?
(After a show of hands)
Those of you that did not raise your hand will probably never make it in commercial photography because networking is as important as being able to push a button and make a great image.
Those of you that did raise your hand probably have a 1 in 250,000 shot at being able to make a living at photography and a 1 in 200 million shot at becoming the next Avedon.

Knowing Photoshop does not make you a photographer, nor does it make you a qualified digital tech.

Big name photographers are looking for highly skilled people to work with. (link is to a job listing for Mark Seliger from last year)

If all you know is digital you are severly under qualified.

If you do not know lighting you do not know photography.
Study sales, marketing, contract law, business, finance, advertising in school. Learn photography from photo assisting.
Professional photographers do it in the camera not in Photoshop.

Becoming a photo assistant is the best way to learn what to do and what not to do in running a photo shoot and the business of a photographer.

As a photo assistant never ever bring your portfolio to a shoot, never pass out your business cards to clients, do not date models or anyone else in the industry, keep your drink and drugs at home, show up on time always, wear clean clothes, shower, shave, ...

When trying to get work as an assistant work for as many photographers as you can and for as many types of photographers as you can.
The best being still life and editorial or corp. portraiture photographers. They will teach you lighting and production skills that you will never learn working for the fashion guys.

If you only speak 1 language start learning another: Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese.

All photographers are insecure and most are frustrated musicians too.

When you are not working on a shoot you need to be looking for that next job, when your not doing either you need to be working on your portfolio or next series of images.
If your not doing this or something that will drive success to your business you are not serious about becoming a photographer.

Very few photographers have successful marriages or relationships.
Decide early on what your priorities are so that neither you or your potential partners are disappointed.
How ever there are those very rare occasions when you may meet someone that is willing to tolerate playing second to your photography.
When you find them keep them at all costs.

Photography is about communication(s). you need to develop your verbal communication skills as well as you photographic skills.
Clients do not always,...well actually they almost NEVER know what they want and it is sometime up to you to be able to pull their thoughts out of their heads.
If you do not have good communication skills as well as a good vocabulary you may not be able to express yourself adequately to your potential clients and both they and you lose out.

Beginning today,...Do not burn any bridges EVER.
Odds are that someone here to day or in your graduating class will be in a position to advance you or your career in the future.
Piss someone off now and they will only remember that aspect of your personality later.

With that in mind, "Always pay it forward" it costs you nothing and helps down the road.

Have a backup plan, and no, being a rockstar is not a back up plan.
Realize that hundreds of thousands of students graduate every semester believing that they will be on the road to fame and fortune.
What no one has told them is that most of us have spent a great deal of time living with roommates or a small east village apartment, eating Mac & Cheese and tuna out of a can on those none shoot days when there is no catering to take home as our next meal.

If your not working, shoot every day.

Edit Edit Edit. and then edit the crap that you kept as filler.

You must be proactive, make those cold calls, send out promo pieces regardless of the type of jobs you are looking for.

Maintain good credit, pay your bills, pay your freelancers first, and keep your reputation in tact.

Everyone talks in the photo world and everyone knows most of everyone else's business.
Bad news travels very fast in the photo world, so make sure the only thing people have to say about you is positive.

Keep your private life private and your opinions to yourself.
Even after you think that your becoming friends with a photographer your not, your still a freelancer hoping to keep working with them.

Internships are not positions of indentured servitude.
Do not take an internship unless there are clear guide lines as to your responsibilities and clear statement of on the job learning opportunities.
Too many students have ended up walking the dog, picking up dry cleaning, doing house work, parking cars, cleaning up after the dog, baby sitting, taking the kids to ballet or karate class, or picking up after the homeless guy that dumps in front of the photographers studio every morning.

When you get a phone call and the person on th eother end hems and haws on the type of job, terms of payment or other details about the job they are trying to book you for,
the odds are you will never get paid for that job.
Tell then your not available to work that day.

Never tell a photographer that you do not like his work or do not wish to work with them.
Try 1 of the following.
"I'm sorry but I'm booked for the next week, perhaps another time in the future."
"I'm sorry but another photographer has first option on me for that week, if it opens up I can call back."
I'm sorry but I'm out of town on those days."

This is a business and you need to treat it as such.
It's all well and good that we get paid to make pretty pictures but at the end of the day you need to get paid for your work, be it photographer, assistant, catering, hair & make up, stylist, location van driver, location scout,
If you can handle the fact that the photo industry operates like the wild west and has no standards or practices, it's the best job in the world.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, Dirt in contemporary art and design at Mad Museum

Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design

February 7 - August 12, 2012

Museum Information:
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
Museum Hours
Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Thursday and Friday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
closed Mondays and major holidays

The Radical Camera New York's Photo League

Photograph by Jerome Liebling

The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951

November 04, 2011 - March 25, 2012
Jewish Museum Information:
1109 5th Ave
at 92nd St
NY, NY 10128
Saturday through Tuesday
11:00am - 5:45pm
Wednesday - Closed
Thursday - 11:00am - 8:00pm
Friday - 11:00am - 4:00pm 

I highly recommend going to see this exhibit if you like photojournalism or photography in general.

Yinka Shonibare Exhibit at James Cohan Gallery

Yinka Shonibare
Addio del Passato
Feb 16 - Mar 24, 2012

James Cohan Gallery Information:
533 West 26th Street New York NY 10001
TEL 212.714.9500   FAX 212.714.9510
HOURS Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 6pm