Thursday, January 31, 2013


The compositional element of your still life work is an absolutely crucial part of ensuring that your work is engaging and unique. Consider the rule of thirds, how can that be applied to your shoot to create a strong composition. Ensure there are no distractions within the frame, just the subject and the backdrop.

Be sure to vary the composition of the subject matter through the shoot and think outside the box. Where are you leading the eye within the image? Are you utilizing negative space or might it work to try and fill the frame? Engage with the subject, what are its defining features? What is it used for? Are you able to put it into context or does it work as a stand alone subject?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


A bit of inspiration to start the day:

'Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.' 
~Peter Lindbergh

Changing New York: Berenice Abbott’s Stunning Black-and-White Photos from the 1930s by Maria Popova

Changing New York: Berenice Abbott’s Stunning Black-and-White Photos from the 1930s

A breathtaking time-capsule of this ageless, ever-changing city.
New York City loves its streets, loves its dogs, loves its heat waves, loves its apocalyptic fictions — but, above else, loves its timeless dignity. Between 1935 and 1939, photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) made 307 black-and-white prints of New York City that endure as some of the most iconic images of city’s changing face. In advance of the 1939 World’s Fair, 200 of them were gathered in Berenice Abbott: Changing New York (public library), along with a selection of variant images, line drawings, period maps, and background essays — a lavish time-capsule of urban design organized in eight geographical sections, documenting the social, architectural, and cultural history of the city.
Many of the photographs are now in the public domain and have been made available online by the New York Public Library. Here are some favorite images Abbott took between November 1935 and May 1936, as part of the Federal Art Project (FAP) — a Depression-era government program related to the Works Progress Administration, enlisting unemployed artists and workers in creative projects across advertising, graphic design, illustration, photography, and publishing.
Stone and William Street, Manhattan
Gasoline Station, Tenth Avenue and 29th Street, Manhattan
Seventh Avenue looking south from 35th Street, Manhattan
Ferry, West 23rd Street, Manhattan
Henry Street, Manhattan
Fulton Street Dock, Manhattan skyline, Manhattan
Cliff and Ferry Street, Manhattan
23rd Street Surface Car, West 23rd Street, Manhattan
Oldest apartment house in New York City, 142 East 18th Street, Manhattan
Radio Row, Cortlandt Street, Manhattan
'El', Second and Third Avenue lines, Bowery taken from Division St., Manhattan
Lyric Theatre, Third Avenue between 12th and 13th street, Manhattan
And, hey, is that time-traveling Don Draper?
Department of Docks and Police Station, Pier A, North River, Manhattan
A few blocks around my studio:
Jay Street, No. 115, Brooklyn
Brooklyn Bridge, Water and Dock Streets, looking southwest, Brooklyn
Warehouse, Water and Dock Streets, Brooklyn
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Joel Meyerowitz Part 1

Joel Meyerowitz on What He’s Learned: Part I

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By David Walker

Joel Meyerowitz New York City Street Photography
A scene capturing the energy of a New York City street. Joel Meyerowitz explains in his book: "I was trying to unlock photography from the esthetic of 'the decisive moment'--a difficult thing to give up." To see more images, click on the Photo Gallery link below.

Photographer Joel Meyerowitz recently released a 50-year retrospective monograph of his work called Taking My Time. The two-volume set, published by Phaidon, showcases his wide-ranging oeuvre. Starting with his formative 35mm street photography dating back to 1962, the book includes various projects that he shot over the past few decades, mostly with a large-format view camera, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and in St. Louis, Europe and his hometown, New York City. In November, PDN Executive Editor David Walker visited Meyerowitz at his studio, where he talked about the book, and the inspirations and experimentations that shaped his work and career. You can read Part II of our Q&A with Meyerowitz here. (Check PDNOnline later in the week to hear audio excerpts from the interview.)

PDN: Going through all of your archives, were there things you discovered about yourself that you hadn’t realized until you started putting this book together?
Joel Meyerowitz:
 Part of the pleasure of making a book like this is going back through the work and recognizing aspects of bodies of work that project themselves forward a number of years—where you didn’t quite understand that that’s where your work was headed. Once you have the advantage of looking back from this moment in time, it all seems to line up. So I could see that I had instincts back in the 1960s to do certain kinds of things that didn’t play out until a few years later.

There’s a quote from Robert Frost in a wonderful essay that I love, called “The Figure a Poem Makes.” He says something to the effect of: We’re like giants, hurling our experiences ahead of us, like stones. And that’s so true for photography. Every time you take a picture, it’s a moment in your present that is of a certain immediacy and necessity. And you accept it, you say yes to it, but you don’t know how to integrate it.

PDN: We’re talking about intuition here and your comfort with it.
 I think what differentiates artists from each other [is] the degree to which they trust their intuition and shape it. As it shapes them, they shape it. Because if you don’t trust your instinct, you won’t survive.

PDN: Was there a particular point, or maybe even a particular image, where you realized that something clicked? That you had found your own voice?
 Yeah, yeah. The earliest pictures were bull’s-eye pictures: something in the center of a frame, right? You shoot at it. Huh! I got it. You learn how to get a frame around an object. But objects, after a while, aren’t enough. Because it’s almost like pointing your finger: See the guy with the dog? See the baby? See the sunset? So you ask yourself: What else is there to see? And I saw in that first year that there was a way of making a picture about the relationship between things.

PDN: Which picture was it?
 [There’s] a girl in [a] window and she’s holding onto a window ledge in the background and she’s crying or yelling, and then on the street in front of her a parade must be going by because there are some parade barriers … I could see these people clustered near to me looking in all different directions and I could see the girl in the window screaming and there were people on her steps. So the picture was filled with stuff all over it. And I thought: Oh, it’s a photograph! Because the temptation would be to run as close to the girl as possible and take a picture of this screaming, in-distress little girl in the window. And instead, I held my ground and took a picture of the entirety of the space.

The recognition of that was like a release. Suddenly, you thought: Oh, there are other options for making pictures. I think that that developmental recognition is part of the way you lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. You suddenly think: Oh, there’s more to this than shooting the arrow into the bull’s-eye. And I think with each succeeding phase of my inquiry about photography, I’ve had to let something go in order to try on a new, riskier way of looking at something.

PDN: I wonder if you can talk a little bit about your switch to color and how it changed the way you shoot.
 Well, I was shooting color all along. I was using two cameras to try to take the same photograph so that I could analyze the difference between color and black-and-white. I saw it as a problem that photography was negating the use of color because “art” was black-and-white. Color was for amateurs. I thought: Fuck that, I don’t believe it. The whole world is in color, and it should be in color, and I’m going to stand up for this medium. I had been moving in that direction all along. In the early 1970s, John Szarkowski [then director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City] had written a book called Looking at Photographs. His theme was: All a camera does, it describes what’s in front of the camera when you press the button. I thought: If description is what it’s all about, black-and-white description is half of what color description is. So I thought: I’m going to try to take this to that level.

Before I had the Guggenheim show, around 1972, I stopped shooting black-and-white. But once you start working only in color, you want to have description, [and] to me on the street, description was everything. From five feet in front of me, to the buildings on 59th Street, I wanted everything there to be rendered as exquisitely as Kodachrome could do it. Because in black-and-white, you rack the ASA up to 1,000 and you have everything in focus. With Kodachrome, the ASA was 25. That meant you had no depth of field. So if you wanted description that a color slide could give you, you had to find a strategy that gave you a greater depth of field. For me that meant stepping back from the plane that I normally would work in.

PDN: This was an example of leaving behind what you were accomplished and good at to take a risk on something unknown?
 It was a trade-off. If I wanted to have this [description]… of the entirety of the street, I needed to step back enough to get all that fullness, and by stepping back, the event, or the incident between two people or two sets of people, became further away. Many of my friends at that time were looking at the photographs I was showing and saying, “Oh, you’ve lost your touch.” Because “the touch” was to be closer and to catch those incredible moments when somebody did something. I thought: No, I have that touch—but I want to go beyond that and so I have to go dumb, in a way, to learn what is it that is possible to photograph in New York City right now that doesn’t concern itself merely with an incident. 

PDN: Is [“Camel Coats, 5th Avenue, New York City, 1975”] with the pedestrians in the camel hair coats an example?
 That is. The space, the obscured space of the steam, the deep space of the sky and the architecture behind it, the people in the shadows on the side of the street—it all enhances what looks like a kind of coincidence and mystery at the same time … That distance was where I was working at. There are a lot of other pictures in the book that are fragmentary that way. I kept on thinking of them as nonhierarchical. Because any picture that has something in [it] that you immediately go to sets up a hierarchy: Here is the first stage of the picture … I wanted to try to make a field photograph, not unlike the field paintings that were going on then in which everything in the painting was what the painting was about—not a [single] gesture in it.

PDN: What made you move on to the view camera?
 I continued making [pictures] with 35mm, but what I wanted [was] a greater degree of description because when I started making these new kinds of pictures, I started making large dye transfers. They showed everything, to the degree that I thought: I want these even bigger; I want these wall size. But I couldn’t print bigger than [11 x 14 inches] because it was far too expensive to make a dye transfer. I thought: I’ve got to get myself a camera where I can shoot color negative film, so I can print. I had a darkroom here by that time. I tried other cameras: medium-format cameras and medium-format films and everything. They were too slow to work on the street, and I kept on thinking to myself: Shit, if I have to use a tripod—I don’t want to use a tripod, I’m a street photographer—but if I have to use a tripod, I might as well get an 11 x 14 camera, if I’m going to do this. So I went looking for an 11 x 14 camera, and I only found an 8 x 10, so I bought it. I still use that camera. And I decided: I’m making this leap in the name of description.

PDN: Talk about how this changed the way you photograph people.
 On the street, the game is to be invisible, so that you can be as close to people as you wish, and they don’t know you’re taking the picture. Much easier back in the 1960s and ’70s when people didn’t have the idea of their 15 minutes of fame, or of the Internet, onto which you are going to spread their picture, and steal their souls. However, when I was walking around with an 8 x 10 view camera on 6-foot tall tripod legs with a big black cloth hanging on it, people would see me, and they would ask, “What are you doing? What’s that? Why the wooden box?” Before you know it, you’re talking to strangers.

What I did notice was that when I would speak to them, they were fantastic. You looked at their faces, their hair, their breasts, their shorts, the way their clothes fit them. Everything about them became like a landscape—a human landscape. And so I found myself saying to people, “Ah, you know what? Let me take your portrait right now,” and learning: How do you make a portrait? … It’s a picture of you and them, to some degree.

When you focus on them and you come out from the dark cloth and you put the film in, you step aside, and you’re standing alongside the camera with your shutter release, and they are looking in the camera, not at you. There’s no longer any kind of game and you are basically saying to them, “It’s just you and the camera now. I want you to be as open and true to yourself as you possibly can be right now. And I will watch. And when I see you appear, I’ll take the picture.” These people can reveal something hidden about [themselves] and that moment is transcendent.

PDN: There’s a commonality between your athletic street photography and recognizing an instant when that personality in a portrait appears.
 It’s exactly right, and I’m fortunate that I started on the street. I said that at the very beginning of this [interview]: By starting on the street, I had to learn about human nature. So I recognize … when something is a revelation. You pounce on that—with the shutter—as fast as you can. Even if it’s a long exposure, like a half a second, it’s that moment that you open up and you welcome it in. I earned it on the streets.
Note: The interview continues in "Joel Meyerowitz on What He's Learned, Part II."

Joel Meyerowitz Part 2

Joel Meyerowitz on What He’s Learned: Part II

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Interview by David Walker

Joel Meyerowitz Empire State building
From Joel Meyerowitz's "Empire State" series: "New York City, 1978." 

On the publication of his new, two-volume monograph Taking My Time, Joel Meyerowitz talked to PDN’s David Walker about the evolution of his photography, from his earliest street photography to his large-format work. In Part II of the conversation, Meyerowitz recounts some important turning points in his life and his career, and why he wanted to revisit his 50-year archive.
(You can see Part I of our interview with Joel Meyerowitz, and view a slide show of his work, here.)

PDN: Can you describe your new book, Taking My Time?
Joel Meyerowitz: 
In the making of this 50-year retrospective book, I decided that I wanted to lay the book out in some way [that] showed the changes in photography over the last 50 years, and my own understanding of myself as an artist and a human being.
We all grow. If you are involved in any medium profoundly, you find yourself having to let go of things you do well. If you take the risk, you move on. So sometimes it's a decision that comes from a period of time, and sometimes it's a decision that comes from a photograph. You don't always know it at the moment that it happens. You sometimes have to have that picture insert itself in your consciousness again and again and every time you look at it you think, “I'm going to throw this in the garbage,” and then you can't. I call those sticky finger pictures. Pictures stick to you because there's some latent meaning that you haven't quite gleaned just yet. You have to kind of grow into it.

PDN: Why was it important to trace your development as a photographer rather than just show your best work?
 I'm a living photographer, thank god, and this is my chance to talk about the work and the process, rather than leaving it to a curator or a historian to look at the pictures and make their deductions. Now that the pictures are out there, anybody can say anything they damn please about the evolution, what I did or didn't do, but I felt it was important—since I'm a verbal person and I've been thrilled by the medium to this very moment—to try to talk about it and in a sense demystify it.

You often hear people talking about the intricacies and the mechanics of the medium, more than about the emotional content—the ephemeral characteristics of the way time and moments change. I felt that ambiguity is an important characteristic in my work, as it is in life itself.

PDN: Can you recount the story of how you got your start in photography?
 I think it's really indicative of those life-changing moments that are based on pure instinct. I was a painter, studying art history in graduate school, and had a day job as an assistant junior art director in a small agency in New York City. We had a company that I designed a booklet for. And my boss, said to me, "OK, we're going to shoot your booklet, and I've hired a photographer to do it. Go to this address …" So I get there and I meet this guy Robert Frank—a kind of crusty, snarly guy. He said, "Yeah, OK, what do you want? This is the booklet?" He laid it out and he started shooting. Basically, he ignored me.

And I was watching over his shoulder, and he moved and took photographs at the same time, and that was for me the eye-opener, because my experience with photography, as limited as it was, was about people shooting models, and saying to them, "Hold that pose. Turn your head. Bring in the wind machine so the hair blows." Everything was fake and it was the last thing I could care about. But when I saw him move and press the button, and each time I heard that little Leica click go off, I would see something that one of his subjects was doing—putting on lipstick, or taking a bite of a cookie, or bending over her homework. They all seemed to have drama to them. It was just thrilling to me to see that you could stop life with a camera.
I left the shoot, I went out on the street and every innocent gesture seemed to have portent to me. I thought: My god, the world is incredibly rich with these opportunities. And it was as if the skin had been peeled off my eyes. And by the time I got back to my office, I knew that I wanted to be a photographer. And I went up to my boss, he said, "So how did the shoot go?" I said, "It was terrific. It was really terrific. Harry, I'm quitting on Friday. I want to be a photographer." He opened his drawer and he took out his camera and he said, "Here, use this until you get a camera."

There I was in the world and I didn't know what to take a picture of, but I had these few instincts, you know: watch people. They're going to do something totally unexpected and surprising, and if you're quick you might be able to get a picture of it. So that's basically how it began.

PDN: Why did you go to Europe, and why was that so important to you?
Some guy hired me to shoot a small ad campaign, and it got bigger and bigger, and I made $29,000. [I had been earning] $6,000 a year, and suddenly this job comes along and I make 29 grand. Unbelievable! I was married at the time and I said, "Let's take the money and run away. Let's go to Europe." And so we went away for a year. It was my coming of age year, you know?

PDN: How was it important to you in terms of becoming a photographer?
 I learned how to be a man, actually, in some essential way. This friend was writing a book on gypsies in Spain, and he said, “If you ever come to Spain, come and see me.” We wound up living in Malaga with gypsies for six months. My wife studied guitar with a flamenco master and I roamed the streets. And one of the things I learned there is that “you spend yourself freely,”—[that’s] how the Spaniards would put it. This is your life; spend it. What are you holding onto it for? Just use it! Live it! Very interesting philosophy, and very open hearted, I felt, and that changed the character of my photography. In a way you go away to see who you become.

PDN: Can you put in words how it changed the character of your photography?
 I was more open to the unpredictability of everything. More willing to just, on the slightest whim, change direction, do something, rather than [being] an organized observer, where you tell stories or you do bodies of work that are proscribed by your sense of what's going to happen. I just went out every day and I wandered the streets and I let chance blow me where it would.

PDN: What made you move [from 35mm] to the view camera?
 What I wanted [was] a greater degree of description because, when I started making these new kinds of pictures [which Meyerowitz describes in Part 1 as “non-hierarchical,” “not unlike field paintings”], I started making large dye transfers. And they showed everything, to the degree that I thought: I want these even bigger. I wanted wall size, because the film had the capacity to show that. But I couldn't print bigger than that because it was far too expensive to make a dye transfer. To give you some idea, a dye transfer in 1974 was $350 to make a print. If you extrapolated that to today, that would be $3,500 for a print. I couldn't afford to make tons of dye transfers. So I thought, I've got to get myself a camera where I can shoot color negative film so I can print. I kept on thinking to myself: Shit, I don't want to use a tripod, I'm a street photographer, but if I have to use a tripod, I might as well get an 11 x 14 camera, if I'm going to do this. So I went looking for an 11 x 14 camera, and I only found an 8 x 10, so I bought it. I decided: I'm making this leap in the name of description.

A friend of mine said, “Look, why don't you go to Cape Cod, [Massachusetts]? It's got a main street in Provincetown. It's just like 8th street—full of street life. You can shoot all you want there. And it's a good place for your kids.” So I went to Cape Cod and it turned me around.

I realized I had another dimension to my character. I was fast and jazzy on the street; I was always moving. And at the same time there was always a part of me that loved the meditative stillness of drinking in, being in one place, and looking at something. Because when you stand up an 8 x 10 camera and you go under the dark cloth and enter the theater of that space, it's beautiful. It's thrilling. You are immediately in communion with [Eugène] Atget and August Sander and Edward Weston. You're in communion with the greats, and you suddenly find that they knew something that you didn't know they knew. Because I never thought about 8 x 10, I thought, you know, the eye-rolling thing: Oh, the old guys on the West Coast with the kelp and the sea shells and the nudes in the dunes, the dark skies, Ansel [Adams]. Lighten up! I was like: Who cared about them? Old fuddy duddies. And suddenly there I was, saying, “This is beautiful.” You could see everything and it's all being rendered at f/90. I made every picture at f/90.

PDN: I wanted to ask about the “Empire State Building Series.”  Once again, the camera was forcing you to change how you were shooting, right?
 Absolutely. Two months [after going to Cape Cod] I was back in New York City and I was thinking: I love this camera. How could I make this camera work in Manhattan? It's too slow, basically, for action. I don't know how it happened, but at some point I came across [Katsushika] Hokusai’s “36 Views of Mount Fuji.” If you look at that work, Hokusai was probably the first street photographer, before street photography, because his drawings are all about life on the Hokkaido Road, and it's all about peddlers and fishers and farmers and geishas and bandits and warriors and rich men. And they're all out there on the road, and they're doing business. They're selling things, they're reaping things, they're fucking in the fields, they're killing each other: Life on the Hokkaido Road. And in the background, Mount Fuji. It sits there in mist and rain and storm and sun and lightning, and it's always present. I remember looking at that work and thinking: Suppose I took the Empire State Building, and I cast it as Mount Fuji. And then, that was my nominal subject: the Empire State Building. And then I use it as a pylon, and I go around it from close up to far away in Queens. And I just looked at life wherever I found it, in relation to the Empire State Building. It was a way of giving me the street without having to make street photographs like I used to make. And it allowed me to work with everything in the frame, near and far, which is sort of what I was trying to do with those last street pictures, the non-hierarchical pictures.

PDN: The title of your book suggests photographing your time, but also a deliberate unwillingness to hurry.
 Taking My Time was a title that just popped into my mind one day when I was looking at all of the work and I was dividing it into the segments that evolved every so many years. Almost every seven years or so, I would have a kind of revolution in my work, and I've realized that I've never been in a hurry. I'm fast, when I'm on the street. When I was a kid playing ball, when I swam, I was fast. But in terms of the way I think about things, and the way I evolve, I took my time and I let the clues come to me and rise up in my consciousness in some way. I like to kind of mull it over, and see how it goes. And I realized that I never rushed to publish a book, I never rushed to get a job done, I don't like to give myself a named subject to do. I like to let things accrue naturally. And so, in fact, I had taken my time.

That's what happens when you're actually living your life and you're not in a race. What's the race? To where? To [what] end? I don't want to get to the end too fast. I want to enjoy the languor of just living, recognizing, acknowledging, taking it in, sort of amplifying it in some way. [Photography] is a great medium for that. It happens in an instant, but it gives you hours or days of time to reflect on things. It’s a beautiful system, this game of photography, to see in an instant and go back and think about later on. It's pure philosophy. And poetry.

8x10 Instant Film


So a good friend of ours, Justin Goode, recently started a great, great group in Dallas, TX. Called the Instant Film Society. All based on the usage of instant film! Like Polaroids. Remember those? They totally still exist. And while we’ve been shooting with them recently for fun, we got the chance to go to the society’s latest meetup, and get two 8×10 Polaroids shot of us. Which was amazing! For those that don’t know this already, it’s basically a once in a lifetime opportunity for some people… So we obviously had to be there for that.
Above are the shots of Daniel and I! They were $20 per image, so we had one chance to attempt to not look totally dumb. And I think that we pulled it off slightly, haha. To make this post slightly more interesting, I thought that we’d throw some cell phone collage images from the afternoon below too. It was a blast, and we definitely can’t wait for the next meetup!

Social Media

How Photographers' Audiences Land Them Work: Steph Goralnick

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By Conor Risch

Steph Goralnick Instagram
Steph Goralnick says posting images daily and interacting with commenters landed her on the Istagram "suggested user list," which caused her follower numbers to balloon.

Photographer and graphic designer Steph Goralnick’s Instagram notoriety, which has led to jobs from clients like Delta Air Lines, Evian and the Israel Ministry of Tourism, and which has also earned her a fair share of recent media attention, isn’t her first experience building an online audience for her photography.Goralnick’s Flickr stream, which she began in 2005 and still updates regularly, has earned her a substantial following on that platform—views for some of her photo sets number in the tens of thousands—as well as image licensing through Getty’s distribution deal with Flickr.

“Any photography job I’ve ever gotten has technically been a result of the exposure I’ve created for myself through social-media networks like Flickr and Instagram,” Goralnick says.

Flickr is actually a better tool than Instagram in many ways, Goralnick points out. It is “much more conducive” to engaging viewers in a story, the organizational tools are superior and the text-editing options allow the user to link to other pages on the Web, which means that “viewers are more likely to explore and become interested and dig beyond just the most recent image. The simple fact that images stored on Flickr are searchable forever means that older posts still have potential for a lifetime longer than three hours,” she adds.

But Instagram has Flickr beat in the most important way: “Instagram is where the audience is, and at the moment, that is what trumps everything else,” Goralnick notes.

Goralnick (@sgoralnick) says she hasn’t “actually done anything specific” to translate her Instagram following into promotional exposure for her business or jobs for clients. “I started using Instagram soon after it was released. I posted every day, snippets of my life that I thought would be interesting to my friends or the few strangers following along, [and] responded to people who happened to stop by.” (Goralnick says people have mentioned that they like her willingness to engage with commenters and “try and connect with people.”)

“By being diligent about all those things, I ended up on the suggested users list, which is the major factor that resulted in a large audience,” Goralnick says. “Being consistent and engaging is a great way to build an audience.”

Art buyers, photo editors and other potential clients have been drawn to photographers’ blogs, Flickr streams and, more recently, Tumblr and Instagram feeds because they offer an understanding of how a photographer sees and reflects the world around them, which has made these platforms valuable promotional tools. “Composing, creating and telling stories as part of your everyday life beyond your commissioned projects is [an ability that’s] valuable for any creative professional to show,” Goralnick says.

Social-media tools also offer photographers a chance to promote their more polished work, whether it’s personal or for a client. “Instagram is a great platform for sharing ‘behind-the-scenes’ images, which you can then use to point to a final project,” whether it’s a personal project or an assignment for a client.

Some brands that have approached Goralnick about Instagram projects have shown an appreciation for what she does creatively, while others are just looking for access to her audience. In the latter cases, “It’s clear that what the ad agency is really after is a number of impressions, and quality of images or creative storytelling is treated as being almost inconsequential,” Goralnick explains. “It feels like a force-fit, and I think audiences are sensitive to being ‘fed’ advertising.”

Agencies that have showed a “forward-thinking approach” by enlisting photographers as guest artists who “lend their talent to creating great content for [a brand’s] official Instagram streams” are taking a better approach, Goralnick says. She recently worked on a project with Evian water, shooting their limited-edition Diane von Furstenberg bottle in various locations for the brand’s Instagram account (@evianwater).

There are instances where Goralnick allows a brand to hire her to create something that she would share with the audience on her personal Instagram account. For her project for MKG client Delta Air Lines, for instance, she was given all access to a New York Rangers hockey game and carte blanche to create whatever images of the experience she liked (Delta is a sponsor of Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers play). She was also given a similar opportunity for a trip to Israel that was sponsored in part by the Ministry of Tourism. In these cases, “I feel that the images and viewpoint are still ‘mine,’ and would be interesting to followers,” Goralnick says.

“If it’s an assignment that involves doing something or going somewhere that I would not normally get the chance to experience or have access to, these would likely be images and stories that would be compelling to a broad audience. Simply promoting a brand or product or posting someone else’s message is not something I would use my own Instagram account for.”

Rates for Instagram-based projects are “generally low,” Goralnick says, as people are “still searching for creative ways to build a place for Instagram into an overall brand story.”

Goralnick says she’s prone to sharing her recent work with her audience, whether it’s personal or for a client, just as most photographers do through social media or on their personal blogs. But, she says, “I avoid agreeing to do that in a contract, since I want to be able to decide on a case-by-case basis whether I’d like to talk about it.”

Despite her notoriety as one of the platform’s popular users, Goralnick says she’s not actively pitching Instagram projects to potential clients. “I’ve been trying to take some time to consider the balance between using a space for personal posts as a space for promotion,” she says. “I think there’s a fine line between being a source for interesting content and completely alienating your audience. But after using it for a while, I have a lot of ideas for how it could work.”