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photo editor online change eye color - November 8, 2018 -

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: 

Personal projects are hard! I’ve been trying to do one for years.  I kept thinking…. what do I care about? Empowering women…. the first thing that came to mind was a project featuring the super badass high achieving women who have defied all odds, shattered glass ceilings… survived cancer.  But what about those of us who haven’t crushed chemo or invented Spanx? I started thinking about doing something more simple. Just something very “every day” and relatable…. more me.

I’m lucky to have a large group of amazingly talented and hilarious female friends and I’m one of three sisters. So I drew inspiration from the stuff we talk about and the things we find funny.  My sister and I have always joked about our “mirror faces” we make when we are trying to get ready and the way we must have our mouths hanging wide open to do our mascara (try to do it with your mouth closed, it’s impossible).

That was the idea. For the execution I had a giant mirror behind me while shooting and I told the models to do the things they would normally do in front of a mirror.  I practiced at home with my own mirror faces and wrote down about 50 different kinds of faces incase we ran out of ideas. I’m pretty sure if anyone had seen me preparing for this shoot they would have thought I was mental.  I also had an excellent team of two hair/makeup people and two wardrobe stylists.

Then I sent the work out in an email blast.  I specifically said in my email that this was a personal project. I didn’t say much else however, just a couple quick sentences. Within about 15 minutes of sending my second round of emails out I got an email back from a creative director who wanted me to bid on a job for Samsung.  He liked that I had my own ideas and wanted to work with someone who could get authentic moments from people. I was awarded the job AND I was able hire a couple of people from my original crew for the shoot, which was awesome.  That’s the long explanation. But to put it simply, the important question is — “what’s your mirror face?”

To see more of this project, click.

APE contributor  currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @. 

 

- November 6, 2018 -

 

Creative Director: Chin Wang
Director of Photography, Print + Digital: Tim Rasmussen
Director of Photography, ESPN The Magazine: Karen Frank
Deputy Photo Editors: Kristen Geisler, Jim Surber
Senior Photo Editors: Nick Galac
Photo Editor: Kaitlin Marron
Associate Art Director: Linda Pouder
Photographer:

Heidi:  Did you shoot this specifically as a cover or was it an outtake from the feature?
Randall: I was asked to shoot portraits at the 2018 ESPYS of 100+ victims of sexual assault who were receiving the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. So I had a portrait studio set up in the green room to shoot the former gymnasts.  It was extremely taxing emotionally and creatively as we only had 2 hours to do all of them and i try to make some personal connection to everyone I shoot, even more so with portraits like this.

As I was set up the people from ESPN said “as long as you are set up feel free to try to shoot anyone you can get into the studio.” So before and after my shoot with the gymnasts I was able to pull some people into the studio for quick portraits including NFL hall of famer Jim Kelly, The Villanova Wildcats, and a few other people, and I had seen Odell Beckham Jr. around the green room and with his bleached hair and his black and white Gucci shorts outfit I was aching to shoot him.

I’m not a big NFL fan but I’m a fan of interesting characters. I had told someone who was working the event to try to wrangle Odell into the studio. The night wound down and nothing, the broadcast had ended and the green room was emptying out.  I told my crew to pack it up as it had been an extremely long day. We were taking down strobe and packing up lenses when my friend poked her head in and said
“Odell is on his way.”

I  hurriedly told my boys set everything back up just as OBJ walked in w a drink in one hand; after quick introductions he stepped on the paper.  At first it was pretty normal; then I told him to reach out to me to infuse some energy into the shot. (that was the cover shot) I asked him what his newest tattoo was so he lifted up his shorts to show me the jungle scene on his leg.

He had a new diamond inserted in his incisor so he loved snarling his lip to show me the sparkling cross. When I’m shooting these portraits I get really close to the subject as I’m usually shooting these at 24mm. It feels very intimate and personal. He was leaping and jumping. We only shot about 30 frames but I knew we had something special. and then he asked me for camera, “my turn” he said so we switched places and he took my picture. Odell shooting me leaping and goofing around. Its not usually my vibe but it had been such a difficult day, I was a bit punchy knew Odell and I had just shot something special, so sort of in a way to thank him and not ruin the good energy that we had going I did it. 10 later minutes later it was over and he grabbed my phone put his number in it
“text me these pictures,” and he was gone.

I turned to Alison Overholt and Tim Rasmussen the EIC and photo editor for ESPN THE MAGAZINE with a  big smile on my face.
“You know,you just shot our NFL preview cover,” Allison said.
“I did?”
“We have been trying to get Odell to do a cover for us but we weren’t able to make it happen.”

Did you always see this in B/W?
I always intended this to be black and white, I’ve never even looked at it in color!

- November 5, 2018 -

Who printed it?
My designer and I looked at several local printers. In the end I decided to go with J.S. McCarthy Printers out of Augusta, Maine.

Who designed it?
I worked with a good friend,. Danny is a hell of a designer and really brought my initial concept to the next level.

Tell me about the images?
The images in the promo are from a story I photographed for Down East Magazine a few years back. The story focused on a wilderness survival camp in Northern Maine that has been experiencing a boom in student enrollment from recent veterans. The writer, Brian Kevin and I stayed at the camp for a week, documenting a class of recent veterans as they learned the skills necessary to survive in the wilderness. It was incredible to see how being in nature and learning these skills helped them readjust to their civilian life.

How many did you make?
I did a small print run off 100 units to target specific clients.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I typically create one major promo a year and will send out postcard touch base promos 3 times a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I do. Our lives are dominated by screen time these days, and I think getting a piece of mail still brings a certain level of curiosity and excitement.

- November 2, 2018 -

 

Holy shit, has it been a crazy week.

Sometimes, I feel like I can’t catch my breath, because no matter how hard I work, and how much positive energy I try to push out into the world, everything is just too big.

Too wild.
Too raw.

I’m helpless.

Most days, almost every day, honestly, I know who I am, where I’m going, what I’m doing, and what my goals are.

Be a good husband and father.
Make good art.

Write smart, entertaining and beneficial things for you, my large (and largely faceless) global audience.

But every now and again, I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and I just can’t understand how the world is so fucked, with people constantly talking about the impending extinction of humanity, the onslaught of fascism, or the likelihood of Donald Trump’s 3rd Term.

Since the Enlightenment, it has generally been accepted that human beings are predominantly rational creatures, and that we make decisions based upon our own self-interest.

Capitalism, the big idea that drives all global commerce, is essentially built upon the concept of rationality. It accepts that because people are greedy, governments are necessary to serve as a counter-balance to that greed.

Dirty rivers and dirty air are guaranteed, unless there is a bulwark to force corporations, (or in the past, rapacious individual owners,) to spend additional money to dispose of their waste properly.

Still, I think most of us believe we’re normal, as are our neighbors, and that almost all of us share a common goal: to provide for our families, give them the best life possible, live in a nice house, have time for leisure, and get to eat food that is better than the insect-jello they had to eat in that super-depressing movie (Damn that Chris Evans looks good in a beard!)

I always tell people that Taos, where I live, has a particularly high incidence of mental illness, and anti-social behavior. If you live here long enough, it’s super-obvious to see. (And it makes sense, when you know the history.)

Taos was the one place to rebel, when the US claimed and invaded New Mexico after the Mexican-American War, and the Taoseños killed all the White folks and fed them to the pigs. (No lie. You can look it up.)

And since dropped in 1969, misfits, outlaws and malcontents have flocked here like they’re giving away free reefer.

My personal experience with the Taos Crazies, (as we call them,) changed radically a few years ago. I took over as the Chair of the Fine Arts Department at the college where I taught, despite being repeatedly warned that the student body change was unruly TO THE MAX.

Foolishly, I assumed that because I’m a nice guy, and relatively high functioning, I’d be able to straighten the place right out. My bosses assured me they had my back, and were serious about reforming the place, to make it work better for the next generation. (Ron Howard voice: They weren’t.)

If you’ve been reading for the last few years, (Hi Rob, Hi Jessie,) you’ll know how it all turned out.

There’s a reason people use the expression “driving me crazy.” It’s not that mental illness is contagious, like the flu or Ebola, but when a healthy person is continuously exposed to a sick environment, eventually it gets to you.

Without exaggeration, I remember the time I was accosted by a woman who shrieked at me for not inviting her into an art show, when I had verifiably done so in several ways. (Including an email that I retained, making her assertions “fake news.”)

Or the time a guy who was actually friends with Jessie’s family got so angry, when I was forced to deliver bad news from my superiors, that the spittle flecks flew at my face like snow flakes in a beautiful blizzard.

Or the time an older woman, who admittedly did look a bit like a witch, came up to me, got right in my face, and screamed “BOO!” before cackling and walking away, gobsmacked at the fear that was plainly registered on my face.

(I could go on, but I won’t.)

I will admit, though, that I became progressively testier, and grumpier, to the point that I was being short-tempered with my kids, and knew I had to quit.

I began this ramble by talking about our collective crazy week, and boy was it. One lunatic tries to blow up the entire power structure of the Democratic Party, while living in a van, another shoots a bunch of elderly Jews while they pray, and all the while, the Saudi government changes its story about the Jamal Khashoggi murder more times than Eli Manning got sacked by the Washington Redskins on Sunday. ()

The plain truth, as near as I can gather, is that the world is genuinely bat-shit, and the best we can do is try to keep it all straight.

Human beings are not entirely rational, as Jung and Freud figured out, and expecting us to behave “normally” is a fool’s errand.

Or as my therapist likes to say, “Crazy always wins.” You can’t convince crazy with logic, or reason. Better to recognize it, and then figure out a workaround.

If you’ve followed along so far, and didn’t decide that Blaustein must have eaten a bag of mushrooms before writing today, I applaud you. (And I’m stone cold sober, other than some really strong coffee and a healthy dose of late-October sunshine.)

Instead, I’ll blame these musings on “Mind The Gap,” an excellent, mind-bending, and genuinely insane new book by Joshua Lutz, published by Schilt Publishing in Amsterdam. (While we’re being honest, I did once go half-mad after eating an Amsterdam space cake, before boarding an inter-continental flight, and recall trying to talk myself down, looking in the mirror of the airplane bathroom while flying over the Arctic Circle.)

Rob wrote to me, after last week’s review of “Hidden Mother,” that he’d never seen a book quite like that one. I heartily agreed, and passed the compliment along to the publisher.

As always, I never plan the connections between books, but this week, I can clearly declare that I’ve never seen a book like this one either.

And that’s probably a good thing.

Given what I’ve learned about mental illness, this book channels it better than any I’ve previously read or perused. It is a genuinely crazy photo book, which explores actual insanity, for our sadly twisted times.

(Before you say it, I know there were assassinations galore in the 60’s, and that Michael Douglas was a sex symbol in the 80’s, but really, 2018 feels like it hits new heights on the WTF scale.)

This book doesn’t make sense, and clearly isn’t supposed to. There are interludes that refer to history, blending 17th Century Indian attacks and Walt Disney with Robert Moses stories, and others that relate the 1-10 scale for people contemplating suicide.

A couple considers buying a house where a family was killed, (outside on the swings, not in any of the bedrooms,) and a parable is included about a Prince who’s the heir to the Mad King.

The photographs, (this is a photo book after all,) seem straight, and mostly black and white, but they could easily include digital composting, and you wouldn’t know it.

At first, I felt like the references were mostly about New York, but then I picked up New Orleans and Florida. (There’s definitely a picture that speaks to the mass shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando.)

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the book opens up with an admission that the writer might be suffering from schizophrenia, which he may have inherited from his mother?

We’d normally assume it’s real, but for some reason, right away, I gathered it wasn’t.

The pictures are strange, and compelling, but by themselves don’t answer any questions. We’re trained to figure things out, or at least to try, and I have to say that’s impossible here.

Which, thankfully, is the point.

This book drives you crazy, and what better way to explore the experience of insanity?

Finally, in the image-title page at the end, we get a tad of closure. The photographic locations are more comprehensive than they seem, and include pictures made at Sandy Hook, Columbine, Pulse, and other places that contain the resonance of terroristic violence.

On some level, all the mass shooters are crazy. They have to be, because their actions are in no way rational.

Even if you think George Soros is funding the migrant caravan, how does killing an elderly 80-something Jewish couple stop the brown people from getting to the border?

It doesn’t, and every time you try to understand where that kind of hatred comes from, your head hurts just a little bit more.

Bottom Line: An excellent, appropriate look at our crazy culture

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at. We currently have a several month backlog, and are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers so we may maintain a balanced program.

- November 1, 2018 -

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: 

Centurions. I started thinking about all that time on this earth that these beautiful people have seen good and bad.  Each of my subjects were so kind, generous, and loving.  I was humbled by their insights on their longevity on this earth.  For every one of them, the LOVE they gave and received was the main factor of why they felt they had such a long life.  Their family and friends played equal importance in sharing that love. I was particularly moved with empathy when I was given the honor of photographing the three African-American Centurions.  I thought of the hardships, the injustices they have seen and felt.  I thought of the unthinkable hatred from whites they have all sadly have endured.  I held each and every one of their hands and stroked their beautiful soft cheeks as I photographed them. It is my way of letting them know that I truly care and love them.  For this they gave me a split moment of their time, over 100 years on this earth.  There is so much to learn from these gifts from God that we can all learn from.   I was an honor to sit with each of these beautiful members of our society.

To see more of this project, click.

APE contributor  currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @. 

 

- October 30, 2018 -

Creative Director: Chris Nosenzo
Art Director: Alexander Shoukas
Deputy Photo Editor: Aeriel Brown
Photographer:

Heidi: How did this idea come about?
Victor: We originally shot the story months ago where images of a specific motherboard were potentially going to be on the cover. Bloomberg was able to get ahold of a few chips months after, and we did another shoot after based on an idea with the chip.

Did you cast a hand model?
We worked with two employees at Bloomberg who had been casted prior to the shoot day to be the hand/finger models.

Why did you feel it was important for a male finger?
I think it was finding someone with a short trimmed nail who was available at the time, so that the emphasis of the cover would be on the chip itself. We tried some cover idea options without fingers like a penny and pencil next to the chip and two different fingers.

Were you looking for any finger print in particular?
For the fingerprints, we first weren’t sure of how close the crop would be, and happened after that the crop was to be so up close that the fingerprint is really detailed.

Was it difficult to place the chip?
It was a bit difficult to position, and worked with tweezers because the chip was so small, like a speck of dust.

- October 29, 2018 -

Who printed it?
Got print

Who designed it?
I collaborated with my friend who’s a designer, Tessa Law. I really wanted something minimal and clean.

Tell me about the images?
Two of the images are commissioned still lives for editorial clients and one is a personal portrait of a Brooklyn Drag Queen. I always try to include one piece of personal work in my mailings. I think its important to show editors what you’re really interested in making and your point of view.

How many did you make?
I sent the cards to about 250 photo editors and art directors.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I send out promos 3-4 times a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Printed promos are definitely effective for marketing my work. Most of my first shoots for clients came in due to printed promos. I’ve heard from editors that receiving a printed piece is more impactful than an email, which can be easily ignored or looked over. I always keep my promos really consistent (with three full bleed postcards) and I’m really careful about which images I choose to send together, as they are initially viewed as a group.

- October 26, 2018 -

 

Have you ever heard of Bitty Schram?

(Probably not.)

Don’t worry. It’s a pretty obscure Pop culture reference. (Even for me.)

Bitty Schram is an actress who’s best known as the player in “A League of Their Own” at whom Tom Hanks shrieks,

But if you think this is a column about the World Series, (Red Sox vs Dodgers,) you’re very wrong. I don’t give a shit about baseball anymore. The steroid era, (and the fact that baseball’s boring,) quashed any love I might have previously had for America’s former pastime.

Some of you might know Bitty Schram, though, as the sassy, spunky, spirited, Jersey-girl foil to Tony Shalhoub’s famous-early-aught’s OCD detective Adrian Monk, in the long-running USA series “Monk.”

Bitty Schram, (yes, I love typing that name,) co-starred as his assistant and sometime nurse Sharona Fleming, who was as Jersey as Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi combined. (It helped that the actress was a Jersey girl herself.)

My wife and I occasionally watched the show back in the day, (it first aired in 2003,) and recently re-discovered it in its current incarnation as a streaming option on Amazon. (Or Prime Video. Whatever. Same shit.)

I remembered that they replaced the Sharona character at some point with a very bland, far-less-talented actress, and that we eventually stopped watching because the she kind of sucked. (No offense, Traylor Howard. If you’re reading.)

So this time around, I began to feel wistful for Bitty Schram, as the show evolved, knowing she was not long for this world. I even did a bit of Googling and discovered that she and two other co-stars had advocated for more money, (so they say,) and she was summarily fired and replaced mid-way through the 3rd season.

The male actors, who according to the internet were in solidarity with her, (including Ted Levine, ) were not fired however.

And Bitty Schram was essentially never heard from again. (According to IMDB.)

We counted down the episodes until we knew she’d be kiboshed, and wondered how they’d handle it. An astute viewer could see that the chemistry was not quite right, towards the end, but as there was little warning for what the producers would do, Bitty Schram was there one week, and gone the next.

(They said she moved back to Jersey, and that was the end of it.)

Ironically, though, as they essentially cleansed her from the opening credits, there was one shot left in which her curly hair, just a hint of it, can be seen at the edge of the camera frame as she supports Monk’s arm.

It’s impossible to miss, if you know what you’re looking for, and that little bit of Bitty haunts the show each time I see it. (Sorry, that was a terrible pun.)

For a week or so, I felt really bad for her, and internalized her struggle.

Poor Sharona, treated so unfairly.

But then you could see the creators clearly wanted to pivot, as the meta-narrative became less about Monk’s paralyzing OCD and germaphobia, and less of a who-done-it murder procedural.

Rather, they wanted to increase the physical comedy, and give the brilliant Tony Shalhoub more time to shine. His new assistant, as bland as a piece of wheat toast with no butter, was there as straight-woman only.

No personality necessary.

Still, the hint of Bitty Schram sits at the edge of that frame, each episode, reminding me of all the under-appreciated women who stuck their necks out, only to get their heads chopped off. (Metaphorically. There’s no decapitation in “Monk,” to be clear.)

We take women’s issues seriously here at APE, which is why I’ve been on a year-long-crusade to increase our submissions from female photographers. Rob and I agreed that having balance was necessary, and vital, and it wouldn’t happen on its own.

You may have noticed our repeated request for such submissions at the end of each column, and you can trust that I also respond enthusiastically each time a publisher offers to send a cool book by a female artist.

And today’s no exception.

“Hidden Mother,” a recent photo book by Laura Larson, published by Saint Lucy Press in Baltimore, turned up in the mail recently, and I’m so glad it did.

Photo geeks are probably aware of the 19th Century trope of child portraits taken with mothers stabilizing their kids, hidden beneath a cloth so they didn’t become photo subjects themselves.

It leaves most people to question, “Why not just include Mom with little Timmy or Sally, (more likely Harriet or Woodrow,) and it’s a question the book poses directly too.

I assumed, when the book was offered, that it was a collection of these creepy pictures put together in one volume, and wouldn’t it be perfect around Halloween? (Coming next week, making this my official Halloween column.)

Boy, was I wrong.

Laura Larson has instead created a hybrid project that includes some intellectual-speaky essay writing, (replete with obligatory Roland Barthes reference,) but even that is a feint.

Mostly, the super-strange and unsettling “Hidden Mother” pictures are interspersed with poetic, lovely, personal stories about the process through which the artist adopted a little girl from Ethiopia.

As a single mother, no less. (Just like Sharona Fleming.)

Honestly, this is an excellent little book, and I love everything about it. The size is perfect, making it intimate, and just-right in the hand.

The writing is wonderful, and manages to straddle the line between formal language and a vulnerable spirit. And of course the pictures are great, in particular the set in which the “Hidden Mother” has literally been scraped away.

Sometimes, rather than leave her covered in the frame, they removed the emulsion, a complete eradication that is symbolically resonant in ways I need not explain in 2018.

Later, rather than expose the pictures she took of her daughter, Gadisse, (which she wants to keep for herself,) Ms. Larson describes the imagery in words.

Never too many, and never too few.

(It’s just right, like that fairy tale about the sassy, spunky, spirited girl who ate porridge that did not belong to her.)

According to the book, before she was united with her daughter, Laura Larson felt an almost umbilical-like connection to Gadisse via photographs she received through the Interwebs.

In turn, she sent selfies to Ethiopia that she made using Photo Booth on her Apple computer.

The 21st and 19th Centuries marry so well here, as do the imagery and text. It’s a killer book, and I hope you’ll read a few of the text pages below, rather than just look at the pictures.

It’s a great reminder, (to the many parents out there,) to take nothing for granted. If you’re lucky enough to have healthy kids, hug them tight, and make sure they don’t eat too much candy next week.

(But you can. You’re a grown up. Kit Kat’s for everyone!)

Bottom Line: Gorgeous, poignant story of the birth of maternal love

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at. We currently have a several month backlog, and are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers so we may maintain a balanced program.

- October 25, 2018 -

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: 

Regarding the project,

Plaster & Bone began as a meditation on addiction.

We all have our vices. Some are innocent and some are brutally self- destructive. But as a society, a global society, we are raging addicts with no concept of control or consequence. Much like the way tobacco creates a body that can’t sustain life, humanity’s addictions to oil and coal compounded with the rapidly growing human population seems doomed to destroy its self.

It sounds dramatic, but can you deny it?

We are living in a glimmering golden age, yet we can all see what’s on the horizon.

Regarding the experience,

This project has been an outlet to express themes of anxiety, decay, famine and hopelessness. But also, it has been a venue to explore more traditional imagery at a time when we spend so much of our energy on contemporary visuals. Given that there were no rules, I was able to explore and play. I could re-shoot an image again and again on my own timeline, or abandon a direction if it wasn’t working. That is a luxury I’m not used to. This was the first time in years that I put so much energy into not just testing an idea, or technique or exploring something for a specific project or portfolio development. This body of work exists for no reason other than to exist. Yet, I’m so happy to have put the energy into creating this body of work, and I look forward to developing it in the future. Or maybe not! That’s the freedom of the personal project.

To see more of this project, click.

APE contributor  currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @. 

 

- October 24, 2018 -

In the past two weeks: Droga 5 just got Hershey’s from CP-B; EP+Co got the social media business for LinkedIn; Heat got an assignment from Levi’s to tap the millennial market; Deutsch got Neiman Own’s account and Peter Mayer lands the Mississippi Tourism account.

First: Why is this important? Because if you are going to do your marketing efficiently then you will stand out in congratulating your marketing targets on the work they do and the brand wins they receive.

Second: What is the difference between assignment and account (technically AOR- agency of record). Years ago a brand would assign their creative work to just one agency, but these days many brands are awarding assignments to several different agencies to handle a portion of their marketing needs. For example:

Droga 5 is added to the creative roster of the Hershey’s brand. They have split with Crispen, Porter & Bogusky. According to AdAge, the Hershey’s account is working with Droga 5, MDC’s Anomaly and Dentsu’s McGarryBowen.

EP+Co (formerly called Erwin Penland) Greenville, SC office is doing the social media for LinkedIn.

Heat (SF) got an assignment from Levi’s for one market-the millennial market.

Peter Mayer (NOLA) has landed the Mississippi Tourism account.

I have been in this business for years and have witnessed the changes in not only how brands award their business but also the mediums in which the work is awarded.

I have said you should do your marketing as it was done before computers but now with a computer. The most effective photographers and agents read the trades (Adage, Adweek and others) and called us or sent a promo piece congratulating the agency for winning the brands business. Now, you should send an email to congratulate them on their recent win.

Why does this stand out? Because not only are you congratulating them on a win in this market, but it shows you are researching current information about them. It is a more direct way to do your marketing in addition to sending out epromo’s about recent work you have done in collaboration with the company that hired you.

APE contributor  currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @. 

- October 23, 2018 -

 

 


Heidi: Can you share some of the highlights and surprises of your 30 year career?
Rick: The highlights that come to mind most easily are shoots with people I admired – Patti Smith, Tom Wolfe, John Waters, Fela Kuti, George Clinton, etc. If your specialty is editorial portraiture – it was called celebrity portraiture for most of my career – then you obviously have to have an interest in the work and personas of some famous people. As I said in the introduction to my photozine Stars, everybody’s idea of celebrity is subjective; these people were a big deal to me. Apart from that, there’s those moments of inspiration, when something you’ve had in your mind suddenly comes out through the camera. There were some photos I took during a stormy day on the lakefront here in Toronto that had been in my mind for years – longer than I’d had a camera. It was as if I had a photo in my head that was trying to get out. That opened up the floodgates for a whole world of non-portrait work that I had no intention of pursuing, really.

 

What made you revisit these old photos?
Frustration, really. I had been applying for newsroom jobs for a few years after I’d been laid off from the paper I was working, and my wife finally said that this wasn’t going to work out for me, and that I should probably find something else to do with my days – a project. She pointed to all my old negatives just sitting in binders on the shelves in my office and said I should see if any of them were worth sharing. That I should set up a cheap, simple blog and post things that looked interesting.

What did you see in them now that you didn’t see then?
I always second-guessed myself when choosing work – I had a hard time finding the best shot, or I’d go for the most obvious, flattering one as opposed to the interesting one buried further down. With years of distance it became easier to find the interesting frames. Also, my skill with Photoshop far exceeds my skill in the darkroom, so I was finally able to produce finished images much closer to what I had in mind when I shot them twenty years ago, like my portraits of Bjork and Patti Smith. Then there are the shoots that I dismissed as flops, or ones from periods of my life that I didn’t recall fondly. I really undersold my portrait work at Metro in the 2000s; it turned out to be much better than I remembered.

The blog got me shooting again; I was doing travel work but I made an effort to shoot portraits. I set up with a really basic lighting kit at a skinhead night at a local club that a friend was promoting and did a sort of photo booth – anyone who wanted to get their picture taken just had to sign a release. It was very DIY, very punk rock. A while after that the Texas outlaw country singer Kinky Friedman came to town – I’m a fan and I talked him into doing a portrait session. Then I talked another friend who had an entertainment and movie website into having me shoot portraits again at the film festival in 2016 – it had been eight years since I’d shot at the film festival, which was once a big deal for me. I had stripped down to the basics trying to find a way back to the portrait style I had in the ’90s, and the shoot I did with British actress Rebecca Hall was the moment I felt like I had my stride again.

What would you tell your younger self?
Don’t shoot weddings. I’m half serious about that. I’d probably have told him not to be so cheap, and to go out and shoot more often – do work that isn’t assigned, that doesn’t have a paycheque attached to it. Some of the most popular work I posted on the blog – my Fela Kuti portraits, a portrait of writer Jay McInerney that ended up in the New Yorker a couple of years ago – were done on spec, and never published until the blog.

What advice do you have for new photographers?
Shoot, shoot, shoot. Also, are you doing this because you want to be “a photographer” or because you want to create images? Because it’s harder than ever to make a living doing this, while it’s easier than ever to take photos, to make them look the way you want, and to get them in front of an audience. You just might not get paid for a long time, if at all. Photography now is a lot like punk rock, which was my first big cultural moment and inspiration – everyone can form a band or make a record now, but you have to worry more about what you want to do and not the audience you want to have, or how big they are, or if the mainstream industry will accept you.

In a few works, describe how the industry has changed and how you changed with it?
Editorial portraiture, which was my bread and butter, seems to have very nearly disappeared. I’m not sure what’s replaced it, if anything has. It’s so much easier to distribute images and find an audience than it was when I started. Back then, you had to have an assignment for a newspaper or a magazine, or publish a book, or show in a gallery to get people to see your photos. Now it’s literally as easy as a couple of taps on a phone. That’s revolutionary, though I’m not sure if there’s a revenue model to match it yet. Maybe there might never be one. I don’t know. I do know that my photos have longer life out there in a digital ecosystem than they ever did on fading newsprint, or sitting in my negative binders or hard drives.

See more of Rick’s work at his 

 

- October 22, 2018 -

Who printed it?
I wanted to print with magcloud initially but I decided to print it locally at the Printing House () in the end.

Who designed it?
Lyndsey Matoushek in consultation with the lovely folks at Wonderful Machine.

Tell me about the images?
All the images in the promo are from my personal projects/ work. I reached out to Wonderful Machine to assist me with a new print portfolio and a mini promo. They felt that due to the strong body of my travel/documentary work, perhaps a separate promo entirely dedicated to my documentary storytelling will be best so we just focused on Lifestyle and some portraits with this mini promo. The promo is a mini cohesive edit that is a similar concept to my print portfolio in terms of image curation.

How many did you make?
I only printed a small batch of 300 copies for targeted prospects and clients.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first promo that I’ve ever sent out. I had always relied on face-to-face meetings and phone calls but I felt it was time I switched things up and send out promos. Email campaigns are not as effective as they used to be, in my opinion, especially in Canada with the new CAN-SPAM Legislation.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
The reactions have been positive so far. This is my first printed promo that I’ve been sending out and it’s only been just over two weeks, it’s too soon to tell.

- October 19, 2018 -

 

“If fiction has given more to us than fact, then this is the greatest truth.” Ryoichi/Patrick Nagatani

 

There’s no such thing as truth.

That’s what they teach you in college or grad school, anyway.

Ever beholden to the French Philosophical titans Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, endless professors teach countless students that each piece of information is inextricable from the power dynamics that created and disseminated it.

It is the ultimate example of occupying the intellectual high ground, because the idea can’t be attacked.

If you try to undermine the principles, your counter-argument can be dismantled more easily than an Ikea Lack table. (Unscrew the four legs and you’re done.)

No matter what you say to critique the core essence of Post-Modern theory, your words will be deflected by attacking the vessel that hosts them: you.

Only a person from a very specific cohort, gender, or culture can critique that group, so if you’re not one-of-us, your words are too much a construction of your gender/status/culture for your opponent to give them credence.

(Each word must be parsed for its deeper social construct, like Bill Clinton musing about the definition of the word “is.”)

Unlike a few weeks ago, I’m not actually writing about the powers that be today, nor the intersection of varying levels of privilege.

Nor even will I attack Donald J. Trump. (Well, maybe just a little… for a laugh.)

Rather, I want to poke at some dead French guys, and the manner in which their very important ideas have come to undermine the collective fabric of society. (Since they’re dead, and French, we can mock them all we want. C’est vrai?)

There was something truly revolutionary in Post-Modernism, as it opened the door for various perspectives to be assimilated into the mainstream. (Going back to two weeks ago, Po-Mo was the operating system that allowed for minority voices to be taken seriously.)

By the time I got to grad school in the early aughts, though, I found the ideas a little restricting, with respect to helping us understand the burgeoning digital reality of the 21st Century. How would a philosophy that split the 80’s from the 60’s help us understand a world that was built on binary code?

Now it’s 2018, and we have a definitive answer.

Taken to an extreme, Derrida has given us Orwell, in the form of the President of the United States.

Like him or hate him, most people would be hard pressed to deny that Trump has a problem with the “truth.” He believes the larger narrative, the story he tells himself and his followers, is more important than what’s “true,” because there’s no such thing as true anyway.

I was concerned these radical leftist ideas would be co-opted by the right at some point, and that point is now. Unfortunately, given the stratification of media and information sources, these days there is essentially no way to provide new ideas to people that might challenge their entrenched worldview.

Even speaking for myself, I wonder whether I would be able to give Trump credit if he verifiably saved a young toddler from drowning in a Mar-a-Lago pool?

Can you imagine?

SCENE

A young child, drunk on too much ice cream, is stumbling around the edge of the resort pool. His parents, their backs turned, (they assumed the Burmese nanny was watching him,) are busy drinking gin and tonics, chatting with their neighbors about whether they should invite Brett Kavanaugh to dinner now, or wait until spring when it will seem less trendy.

All of a sudden, little Tad slips on the edge of the pool, and while he’s worrying about dropping his ice cream cone, he loses his balance and falls directly into the deep end.

(Unfortunately, he can’t swim.)

Thankfully, the President of the United States in is residence that day, and happens to be eating a triple-guacamole-bacon-cheeseburger, two tables away.

One might imagine the Secret Service would save poor Tad, but their job is to protect the President. So it’s up to DJT to jump into the pool, still wearing his Gandolfini-esque-POTUS-track-suit, and fish little Tad to safety.

END SCENE

Let’s say that happened.
For real.

How many Democrats in this country would come out and publicly say, “Great job, Mr. President. I really appreciate that you saved that pipsqueak from drowning!”

Would you?

I know this seems like a convoluted thought experiment, a stoner’s version of Schrodinger’s Cat, but bear with me here. In an era of fake news, where any sense of objectivity has been obliterated, what does the word “fact” even mean?

Or “real?”

True story: my 11-year-old told me the other day that he was more interested in the “virtual” LeBron James in his NBA 2K19 video game than he was in watching the “actual” LeBron James play an exhibition game against the Denver Nuggets. (Of course, the “actual” LeBron would appear on the same “digital” TV screen either way.)

To him, in that moment, the “fake” was more intriguing and compelling than the “real.”

I’m thinking about this today, if I’m being honest, having just put down “Buried Cars: Excavations from Stonehenge to the Grand Canyon,” by Patrick Nagatani. (Published by the Museum of New Mexico Press.)

I reviewed one of Patrick’s books last year, as he was my professor at UNM many years ago, and he passed away in the autumn of 2017 after a long bout with cancer.

He probably didn’t need to see 2018, though, as he had a pretty good handle on “truthiness” back when I studied with him in the late 90’s.

This book represents one of his stranger projects, and I recall him describing it to me before I’d read any of the French canon. (I was confused, but excited.)

The book presents this story as straight, all the way until the end, when they release the “truth.”

According to “Buried Cars,” Patrick collaborated with a mysterious Japanese archaeologist named Ryoichi, who had discovered some scientific evidence that would turn world history on its head.

Apparently, a series of sacred sites around the world included contemporary luxury cars that had been buried in previous centuries. The book features diary entries, and carbon dating information that proves that the cars, (like a Ferrari Testarossa,) were embedded in the Earth hundreds of years before they were actually built.

It is suggested that alien beings might have played a role in the car-burials, but whether they did or didn’t, worm holes were definitely to blame.

Wormholes that connected parallel universes in the multi-verse.

Now, if you’ve been reading for the last 7 years, you know I’m a sucker for parallel universe stories. (Though watching “The Flash” with my kids may have cured me of the predilection. Multi-verse stories get confusing VERY quickly.)

Patrick Nagatani conceived and created this project in the late 90’s, but had gone to graduate school at UCLA in late 70’s. These Po-Mo ideas would have been as familiar to him as his favorite dish at the Fronteir Restaurant across the street from the UNM campus.

When I first heard about this, like I said, I had a lot of questions.

What do you mean you have a fake-alter-ego?
What do you mean you made up a bunch of scientific data?
What do you mean you built models and pretended they were real?

You can just…do that?

These days, it seems quaint to think that photography tells the “truth” or provides “evidence.”

But in 1998, in just my second year as an art student, it was revolutionary.

Art is what you want it to be.

If you call it art, it’s art.

It’s not hard to see how that line of thinking connects directly to the underpinnings of contemporary, digitally-enhanced Global society.

Jamal Khashoggi left the Saudi embassy of his own recognizance. The water in Flint is safe to drink. The Arctic icecaps are not melting.

(You get the point.)

That this is a photo book, and one that was tied to a major exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum, seems almost secondary. The pictures of models painstakingly created are cool for sure, but they don’t have the same power they likely had when they were made. (Like Jerry Uelsmann’s stuff.)

Digital fakery is so easy these days that the “fools-the-eye” analog photography here doesn’t seem “real.” It’s more “cute,” and one can see how such work might have inspired contemporary model-makers like Lori Nix.

The “truth” is, I always found this work a tad kitschy, and much preferred “Nuclear Enchantment,” which I reviewed here glowingly last year. (I also preferred his meditative, contemplative, slightly-batshit, masking-tape-Buddhas.)

But I’m very glad this book was released this year, and the project lauded on the walls of New Mexico museums, because it could not be more timely.

As artists, we hope to make sense of the time and culture in which we live. We process those ideas into art for our own reasons, (often because of our need to make things,) but “Buried Cars” is proof that those musings might just be used by future humans to figure out what the fuck happened back then.

(Meaning now.)

Bottom Line: Trippy, intricate, false narrative about the multi-verse

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at. We currently have a several month backlog, and are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers so we may maintain a balanced program.

- October 18, 2018 -

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist: 

I recently was able to visit my hometown in southeastern Washington… a place that I couldn’t wait to leave growing up and now a place that speaks to my soul. My hometown isn’t traditionally beautiful or really noteworthy for much. But what I’ve come to learn is that it’s rolling hills of alfalfa and open blue skies had a huge influence on my sensibilities as an artist. Locations that are expansive and free of distractions with simple color palettes challenge me to create.

Before my trip I had arranged a lifestyle photo shoot with a Dodge Challenger in Texas where I live full-time. While traveling back from my hometown the concept for the shoot radically changed. Inspired by my recent trip I ditched the complications of sourcing talent and wardrobe and decided to put my focus on the car. Essentially deciding to strip away everything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. Once that decision was made everything else came together and I was free to focus on framing and light.

Simplicity is nothing new, in fact it’s a principle I employ in my commercial work all the time. Going home and seeing the simplicity of the landscapes just reminded me why it comes naturally to me. Less really can be more.

To see more of this project, click.

APE contributor  currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @. 

 

- October 17, 2018 -

Guest post by

I’ve developed a large body of personal work but have never shot commercial assignments. How do I get started?

I suggest you do something that is truly unfashionable these days: Assist. Technology—digital photography, the Internet, social media—has been wonderfully democratizing, making it super easy for anyone to make and distribute work. But the low barrier to entry has also inspired people to skip steps that are essential to their education as a professional photographer. When you assist, you’re getting paid to learn while enjoying remarkable access. You’ll be watching how a pro runs their set, works with their team, collaborates with their clients, and solves problems. You can learn about lighting, directing talent, gear, logistics. You’ll also meet people, from crew members to clients. If I were you, I’d commit to assisting for at least a year. It’s a small investment of time, and you can still shoot your own work on the side. Yes, there are successful young photographers who never assisted. But behind the scenes, you sometimes hear that the producer or art director on these photographers’ shoots is actually running the show because the photographer doesn’t know how to light, what to do when the weather doesn’t cooperate, how to lead a crew. In those cases, it’s unlikely that the photographer will be hired again. To survive beyond a few lucky breaks, you need to prepare yourself, and spending a night or two asking Dr. Google for information does not count. Go the old-school route and find yourself someone to apprentice with.

I’m a portrait, entertainment, and advertising photographer planning to go on meetings with magazines, ad agencies, and movie & TV studios, and I want to print a two-sided promo card as a leave-behind. How do I choose which images to use?

The first step is acknowledging that one card for these three different audiences will not serve you well. To be effective, a promo should be relevant to the recipient. For the magazines, you want to show off your portrait capabilities but not ads or key art that you’ve shot—generally speaking, photo editors don’t want to see campaigns. So consider a card featuring two of your strongest celebrity portraits, ideally ones that either contrast each other in some notable way—serious/humorous, studio/location, natural light/stylized, a single/a group—or that work together to make a strong, consistent statement of your style. For the movie & TV studios, demonstrate your narrative and production skills. Consider showing key art on one side and a publicity image on the other. And for ad agencies, aim to inspire the art buyers and creatives to want to work with you: Show two of your strongest portraits that speak to your capabilities in terms of lighting, production, style, and uniqueness. They’re visual people and love photography as much as you do. Dazzle them; show them what makes you special. As an alternative to all of the above, if you’re presenting to a group, you could print four or five cards, each with an excellent image one one side and your branding on the other, set them out in stacks on the table, and let people choose which card/s they want as they leave. No matter which route you choose, though, make sure you’re making decisions with your audience’s needs in mind. Otherwise, all you’ll be leaving them with is the impression that you didn’t do your homework.

is a marketing consultant based in Los Angeles and the former creative director of Stockland Martel. If you have questions about marketing send her an email and she can answer them here:

- October 16, 2018 -

TIME

Editor: Andrew Katz
Photographer:

Heidi: Athlete shoots can be notoriously short, how much time did you get with the talent?
Christopher: Not always short. Depends. In this case we were supposed to have an hour to set up and an hour with him. We probably could have gotten that but PSG PR was completely disorganized and seemed  not to have even briefed him properly nor prepared on their end. I was quite shocked, frankly. Hence no set up time which is the most ridiculous part of it was we were kept in a holding room, no chance to scout the area or set up until moments before he arrived. I am used to shooting fast but having no chance to set up or understand the space where the shoot will happen is crucial. My advice to photo editors and producers would be negotiating the set up time for the photographer is even more important than the amount of time you negotiate with the subject.

Since he’s a rising star, how did you direct him?
I quickly showed him a photograph I had made of Ronaldo and explained that I wanted to shoot him as a human being, not an object and that it needed to be a collaboration between us. I talked to him like a thinking person and said that, yes, I hope that he looks good in the image but if the image didn’t feel real, no one will care about it or remember it.

What was his reaction?
His face changed and he got into it.

Do you remember the first time you had a shoot where the timing suddenly got cut down to minutes? If so, what was your reaction then, and what is your reaction now?
It happens all the time. Too many times to describe them all here. The main thing I have learned is to always trust yourself and what you do. Know what you want from an image going in. That doesn’t mean to be so planned out that you can’t react. I am talking about knowing what you want an image to be about. For me it’s about authenticity. I stay focused on making a real image and I don’t get distracted or rattled by the time or the “tricks”. Never panic

- October 15, 2018 -

Who printed it?
This promo was printed through Modern Postcard.

Who designed it?
I did the heavy lifting on the layout, design, and production of the booklet. Of course, I went through several layouts and asked for impressions from friends and colleagues before landing on the final piece.

Tell me about the images?
Throughout the past couple of years, I have been working to build up my advertising portfolio to supplement my editorial work. A big goal has been to produce several test shoots each year with an emphasis on higher production and a more refined look. This project came together after a meeting with a producer and all around great guy Jonathan Biebl and his production company Go Atticus ( ) based out of LA. I knew I wanted to go to move beyond Colorado in scope and LA offered a larger pool of models to work with. After throwing around concepts and locations we settled on shooting in Venice to create an athletic piece that I could target a very specific list of sports brands and companies. I wanted to keep true to my style while mixing action, fashion, and portraiture. We got a great crew together and had a fantastic shoot.

How many did you make?
I made 250 promos. I sent out 200 and kept 50 for in-person meetings.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I usually send 1-2 booklets a year and 4-5 single postcards as part of my larger marketing strategy.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’ve found marketing to be a tough game that requires persistence and a broad approach over a range of mediums. I still send emailers, but focus more on printed promos, individual postcards, group portfolio reviews, all in an attempt to get as many in-person meetings as possible. It’s difficult to pinpoint any single method as the best approach, but I love the process of developing, shooting and making a printed piece, so there is a personal enjoyment that comes from making a printed piece. Certainly, larger promos get more attention than an email and I usually get a handful of responses from each booklet I mail out. I’d say a goal of the printed promo is more to get a foot in the door for in-person meetings that expecting work directly.

- October 12, 2018 -

 

I’ve lived through three seasons in the last ten days, and it’s making me crazy.

It was 80+ degrees here in Taos until October 1st, when fall arrived in earnest, with yellow trees and cooler days. (Nothing too bad, but definitely not summer.)

Then we drove into Colorado at the beginning of this week, and some freezing rainstorms blew in at 7000 feet, where we were staying.

It was the worst of cold-wet-nasty-late-autumn for sure.

It snowed at the higher elevations, so on Tuesday, we drove over the Rockies, near 10,000 feet for two hours, and there was a blanket of thick snow covering everything.

Sub-freezing temperatures.
Icy roads.

Total winter in every way.

You’re not supposed to experience three seasons in ten days. That’s not the natural order of things.

It’s like living in a jet-lag bubble.

And to top it off, I just got out of the car after a six hour ride, coming back across to the Western side of the Rockies yet again.

More storms. Cold rain this time.

There were sections of slick road where the slightest misstep would have meant peril. We passed chunks of the landscape that had been ripped through by wildfire in June, and already green things had grown up in between.

What I’m saying is, I’m in one of those mind-spaces where I’m a bit bleary, or punch drunk. I’d be willing to consider almost any strange idea with an open mind, because I’m a tad woozy.

Almost boozy.
You know what I mean?

I remember one time when I was jet-lagged, just back from Rome to NYC, and I got hired to scan an old, highly damaged piece of nitrate film. (The kind that could spontaneously combust.)

I’ve never before or since seen a negative as scratched up. It was more like a Seurat painting than any proper photograph. No sane, regular person would have attempted to retouch it.

But I wasn’t sane. I was jet-lagged.

So I started, (just to start,) and constantly moved around to different parts of the negative, in random ways, so that it didn’t seem to repetitive.

In honor of that woozy-brain moment, (and the fact that the film didn’t catch fire and kill me,) I’m going to consider another seemingly impossible idea: what if Evolution had played out in a completely different way?

What if human beings didn’t descend from apes? What if we’re not cousins with chimps, but rather evolved from a common bird ancestor?

What if human-bird hybrids were real, and the god-creatures we see in Mesopotamian relief sculptures were actual beings, rather than scary masks?

What the hell am I on about? Am I actually drunk, as opposed to metaphorically?

This week’s book, “Aunt Paloma Was A Pigeon: An Alternative Theory Of Evolution,” created by Alice Garret-Jones, turned up in the mail recently.

I’m glad it did, because this is one of my favorite books in a long time.

It’s strange and absurd and thoughtful and surprising. The book is exceedingly well done in every way, and as photography makes an eventual appearance, we’re going to consider it enough of a photo book to review here at the column.

What if we evolved from birds?

Pigeons, no less.

In New York City, (and likely elsewhere,) they call pigeons flying rats. People have concocted these metal-spike-impediments to prevent them from nesting in many places. (Have you seen them?)

But Ms. Garrett-Jones presents a parallel universe where things played out differently.

I must admit, I studied Biological Anthropology at Duke, as I needed to take two science classes, and they were reputedly the easiest.

I remember learning the difference between Australopithecus Afarensis and Australopithecus Africanus. Or when Homo Hablis morphed into Homo Erectus.

That we were literally apes, all hairy and making chimp noises, is pretty fucking strange, when you think about it.

Is it that much weirder to imagine we were Bird-People?

Coooooo, coooooooo.
Coooooo, coooooooo.

Or what about Simon and Garfunkel?

“Coo-coo-ca-choo, Ms. Robinson?” Is that some coded shout out to our avian ancestors?

I’m being silly here, and in fairness, the book is serious about it’s charmingly funny conceit.

It has statistics about how male pigeons are better Dads than humans, and uses drawings, graphics and type-face to great effect. Ms. Garrett-Jones considers attention span, so the reading/looking pace is smart and snappy.

I think my favorite page, (though it’s hard to pick one,) is the side view comparison between a human arm and a bird wing. It’s printed on vellum, (one of several surfaces throughout,) and the similarities are so striking.

“Why not,” I thought?

Is it any weirder than coming from monkeys?

That’s about all I’ve got for you this Thursday evening. (Yes, I’m writing at the last minute, by my standards.) I hope you have a great weekend, and that more books in my submission pile turn out to be this good.

If so, we’re all in for a treat this autumn.

Bottom Line: Marvelous, imaginative, mixed-media book about evolution

If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at. We currently have a several month backlog, and are particularly interested in submissions from female photographers so we may maintain a balanced program.

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