If you want to find out how to take pictures at 8km per second, or how to really be an ‘out of this world’ photographer, then check out this recently posted video from Chris Hadfield.
It’s a quick primer from a Canadian with a neat ‘stache hanging out in the space station and taking some darn good pictures that, I am willing to bet, you can’t match. But do prove us wrong!
Chris takes us through his kit and his technique. He tells us about his three-point process and what time of day he really likes to look down on the Sahara. He tells us a few other things that makes it seem like a jolly photo expedition hanging around in a glorified tin can in space, prey to a whole universe of equipment malfunction.
The overall effect is to make you feel like a big kid and just fall in love again with the romance of being an astronaut.
And if you want to know how this celeb photographer keeps his facial hair quite so neat, or brushes his teeth, cooks his dinner, etc. you can go to one of the other videos also uploaded by Chris and the Canadian Space Agency and view-able at youtube.
To share or not to share? Remain in the dark or step into the light? In the over-sharing reality-tv-mobile-social-insta-googling world in which we live, it’s hard to remember a time when photographers made the conscious decision to rarely, if ever, share their work. Yet, in spite of the ease with which photographers can share their work today, even among professionals, there is often a reluctance to share work with peers, potential clients and other artists. So the question should be asked: can you afford not to share your work?
On one end of the extreme, I offer the case of Vivian Maier. Maier’s work came to light in the last few years when a cache of her unpublished, unseen images were discovered by a realtor, who sight unseen, bid on Maier’s remaning life possessions contained in an abandoned storage locker. The realtor got more than he bargained for unearthing more than 100,000 photographs Maier captured during a more than four-decade period of daily shooting. It was also learned that during her lifetime, Maier never shared any of the photography which she produced at a prodigious rate.
While Maier’s talent and tenacity as a photographer is undeniable, I can not help but wonder: How much further would Maier have been able to push her craft, range and talent had she only taken the simple step (but obviously difficult for her) of sharing her work and getting valuable feedback from editors, photographers or other image professionals?
In contrast, flash forward to an event I participated in last week: “Portfolio Perfect” co-hosted by ASMP and ASPP where the spirit and intent of the evening was expressly designed for photographers to improve their craft by listening to and integrating feedback from peers and respected industry professionals. Dozens of photographers from the greater Portland-area turned out for one-on-one portfolio reviews conducted throughout the evening. I especially applaud the 37 photographers who submitted images for the “live audience review” as they offered themselves up to be particularly vulnerable, but in fact, extracted probably the greatest value from the event by getting unedited, unfiltered yet constructive feedback about their work.
As one of the reviewers, I was struck, that even among this group of professional photographers, whose very livelihood are dependent on sharing their work with others, how many photographers were either reluctant to share their work or openly admitted that they did not regularly seek feedback about their work. Whether drawn by the mystique of executing a singular, artistic vision or the pursuit of creating self-inspired work, withholding your work from critique is a flawed approach– especially for photographers yet to establish a reputation or distinctive style that they can truly call their own.
It can be argued that all creative pursuits— writing, music, dance, design, painting, photography– benefit from considered critique, editing and feedback. In fact, it is all too easy to spot work that is highly self-indulgent where the only audience being satisfied is the ego of the creator.
So if you’ve been hiding your work from others, yes, you can take your chances that one day you too could be immortalized after you’ve left this life as another great talent “undiscovered” during their lifetime. A more pragmatic approach, one which yields more predictable and realistic results, would be to start sharing your work with others today. Integrating constructive feedback will more likely lead to your producing consistently improved, memorable and satisfying work.
Get out of the shadows and into the light.
With our eldest daughter in the last few months of her third year of high school, our household mailbox has become the target of college recruiters from around the country. Filled each week with numerous brochures, postcards and flyers from colleges around the country, the mailer we received from Vassar College got the desired result: “Hey Dad, how come we didn’t visit this school when we toured the East coast schools last summer?”
A well designed, large format brochure filled with compelling images supported by smartly crafted copy certainly caught the attention of the future co-ed in our household.
Julia Vandevelder, Editorial Director at Vassar shared with me some of the inspiration behind the creation of the campaign. Referring to the “inspired design” Vandevelder openly admitted to “struggling with the role of print” in marketing campaigns targeted at post-Millennials. She informed me that many colleges have abandoned print mailing pieces in favor of greater investment in digital and social campaigns. However, hoping to “have an emotional impact especially with those students not familiar with our campus and the overall beauty of the Hudson River Valley” Vandevelder elected to push forward with a printed piece.
For inspiration, rather than look at collateral from competitor campuses, Vandevelder took her cues from retail catalogs hoping to “leverage the powerful branding devices so prevalent among retailers and apply those same principles” to communicating the strong values of Vassar.
To help execute the strategy, Vassar commissioned legendary New York City design firm Chermayeff & Geismar known for its signature use of bold typography to communicate memorable brand messages. While founders Tom Geismar and Ivan Chermayeff consulted on the project, partner Sagi Haviv provided creative direction and collaborated with Vandevelder on the photographer selection.
Knowing it was critical to create high-impact imagery to complement Haviv’s strong design, photographer Holly Wilmeth was commissioned for the project. Wilmeth was selected for “her ability to capture both the unique campus environments at Vassar as well as intimate interactions between Vassar students and faculty.” And she delivered the goods.
Copywriting duties also fell to Vandevelder. After opening the large format brochure and double page gatefold, the reader is invited to take a closer look with the headline: “We don’t know you yet. But we do know some things about you. You’re smart.” The plucky style and confident tone deliver both emotional and intellectual punch that hits the mark with aspiring co-eds whose sometime fragile self-confidence gets a much needed boost from this writer.
Given the visceral and immediate reaction of at least one recipient of the final design, clearly Vassar hit the mark. As I sit here writing this post with the catalog on my desk, the future college student in our household leans over to me and asks “Hey, can I have that back?” fulfilling every direct marketer’s dream.
Client: Vassar College
Editorial Director and Copywriter: Julia Vandevelder
Creative Director, Sagi Haviv, Chermayeff & Geismar
Photographer: Holly Wilmeth
Before the glow of the holiday season is but a fading memory, I thought I would take a moment to share a gift that a friend was kind enough to share with me (Thank you Jim!).
Published by Taschen in 2012 and edited by Jean Claude Gautrand, Paris, Portrait of a City, is a photographic tour d’force. Weighing in at 9 pounds and 542 pages, the 450 published photographs document not only the last 150 years of seminal events in the City of Light, but also provide a survey of technical and artistic invention in photography spanning from the silver plated images of Daguerre to Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment.”
The sheer heft of this book requires you to slow down and consider each of the beautifully reproduced images. The thorough, yet concise captions (translated in German, French and English) provide quick insight to the significance of each photograph. Sequenced by date, the images are organized into five historical periods each of which begins with a 3-5 page historical summary of the events taking place in Paris during the timeline being documented. The short narratives provide deeper context for the conditions– social, cultural, economic– under which these images were created and certainly enhanced my appreciation for the works included.
Working with an expanded format allowed the editor to include more than 100 photographers (and many Anon.) while also going deep into the catalog of several individual photographers most notably Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, George Brassai and the wartime occupation propaganda images of Andre Zucca.
The inclusion of relatively few images created after 1960 makes me pause and consider whether the editor is making a commentary on the quality of images created over the last 50+ years or whether Paris’ influence has waned as a cultural or economic touchstone that perhaps it once enjoyed. That said the images and scope of work are deeply satisfying. Whether you have an affinity for all things Parisian, are a lover of photography or history, there’s a lot to like in this wonderful book.
Give yourself a gift that keeps on giving and bring Paris home this year.
‘Art is the affirmation of life’, so Alfred Stieglitz once said to Ansel Adams.
And at Evolve Images that’s how we feel when we get to see great photography.
As we’ve been editing into our collection some conceptual landscapes of late, thoughts were in the zone to inspire reflection on Ansel Adams. A keystroke or two delivered a discovery on YouTube, where you can watch 20 minutes of a beautiful archive documentary:
It starts with a wonderful sequence of Adams playing the piano (he first trained to be a concert pianist) before then giving a detailed breakdown of the approach he took to his work. We see extensive kit, which he packed into an eight-seater limousine with roof platform for shooting from. We see him on location, exploring and composing an image. And later we see him dodging and burning prints in the darkroom, his hands moving with a grace similar to that he showed on the piano keys.
Technology-wise it is a world away from how most images are made today – and yet has a strange relevance. For all the change in tools, and for all that Adams was a very practical and rigorous man in his work, the prevailing truth is that art transcends its materials and its media. What Adams saw and captured in his images is as powerful today. It is in part thanks to his contribution to environmental awarenesss that many of the views seen are little changed today.
And, of course, the artistry, the concepts, and the documentary of the images all survive as powerful forces that transcend their method of manufacture.
The same survival measurements chart whether we make powerful communications today. For any image, or ad, or magazine cover, and so on, we have to ask ourselves: Is it fresh, meaningful, truthful in some regard? It has to hit those filters if it is to stick in our minds and emerge from the innumerable other images that flow through the digital ether.
And so, recharged, back to the editing… we’ll post a gallery or two of our best landscapes soon but on this occasion we commend you to try and find a moment to enjoy the Adams film.
post by Lewis Blackwell, Chief Creative Officer, Evolve Images
Seattle’s creative community will be out in force at this (now) annual event. Evolve is thrilled to be a sponsor along with AdClub Seattle, AIGA, GAG, APA, ASPP, Spaces Images, Corbis, Danita Delimont, Museum Quality Framing and (of course) our many friends at The House. Look forward to seeing you there!
Shortly after launching Evolve earlier this year, our friend Jon Lund was kind enough to write a nice piece in his blog about our launch. Widely read by both photographers and creatives. our inbox immediately began to fill up with submissions from photographers around the globe who were attracted to our vision and wanted their images to be considered for our curated collection. One of the submissions we received was from Alexey Poselenov a photographer living and working in the remote landscape of Siberia. We were immediately taken with his beautifully composed, lyrical landscapes and asked Alexey to tell us more about his approach:
“I was born in 1969 in city of Kemerovo in Siberia. This is a place deep in Russia with harsh climate, but very beautiful and I love it. Photography always was in my life in a varying degree. But I began to photograph truly only few years ago. At that time I became a military retiree and was able to do what I love much more time. And I was only 34.
I avidly studied photography and I am continuing to do this so far. I can say that I like to photograph everything but nude and glamour. If it is not possibile to shoot for a long time, my mood deteriorates and I get depression. Then I take my camera and go anywhere to find something for photographing.”
“It was beginning of winter. Snow was not too deep, so I could walk in forest without ski, just on foot. It was easy to walk far. Weather was pretty warm and snow was very clammy. Once after night blizzard all trees in close birch forest became covered by snow. The scene of snow covered birches was very graphic. Of course I couldn’t stay at home. I took my camera and went to photograph. The result you can see now.”
“Landscape is most lovely theme to photograph for me. I often walk and drive to find new scenes. On the South of Kemerovo region in Russia there is the place named Salair Ridge. It is a chain of not too high mountains. Once upon a time I went to shoot these hills. One of them you can see on this image. It was dawn of the night. Behind of me there was sunrise which colored the Moon in red. The weather was 30 below zero, but orange colors on the photo make it much warmer.”
“This image was captured in autumn when fogs are very often in the mornings. It’s a good time for those photographers who want to get misty photos. All you have to do is to find appropriate lake or pond, wake up before sunrise and go there.”
“As many photographers do I usually always take my camera with me. Truly the photo you can see here was taken by chance. I was driving in my car through some village and my camera was with me. I saw this landscape and liked it. Then I stopped and did my usual job in such case. So here is no intrigue, just some luck, a quick eye and close camera.
My main aim in photographing is not money, but to do something what can give people good emotions, smile, lovely memories, feelings of our beautiful nature.
And I give many thanks to God that I can do this.”
So do we.
See more of Alexey’s work available exclusively at evolveimages.com.
On April 28th more than 100 photo professionals gathered in Seattle for ASPP’s 2nd Annual All-Day Workshop. The theme of the workshop was “Branding & Marketing That Works For Photographers and Creatives.” Among the many presentations delivered, Eric Baumgartner, Chief Creative Officer at Wunderman provided one of the days most succinct and memorable insights for photographers to consider before investing time and money in promoting their work to creatives:
Just Be: Inspiring. Astonishing. Beautiful. Hilarious.
When I reflect upon the photographer’s and images that resonate with me long after the page turns, these attributes pretty much nail it for me. Show me beauty, humor, inspiration and innovation, I’m yours.
For more reflections and other highlights from this workshop, check out Bill Cramer’s post on The Wonderful Machine Cog.
Invited by a friend to attend a fundraising luncheon for Wellspring Family Services, I was on my way to the event when I encountered a “child army” clutching sign boards on the sidewalk. In the mid-day sun, I had to do a double take. For a moment I thought these were real kids. The images were rendered perfectly to scale and beautifully reproduced.
Originally created as a guerrilla marketing campaign, Wellspring partnered with Hydrogen Advertising in Seattle and Getty Images photographers provide assignment photography services pro bono. To protect the privacy of Wellspring clients, the talent used for the shoot were Wellspring staff, board members and friends.
Patricia Gray, Community Relations Manager shared the back story of the campaign: “When we first launched the “Don’t Just Look Away” campaign, we covered an 11 block radius in Seattle’s downtown core with 300 signs. Volunteers started at 7AM and posted the signs at heavily trafficked intersections to catch early morning commuters. After the initial event, we then scheduled impromptu ‘appearances’ of the kids in neighborhoods throughout Seattle which really helped extend awareness of our message throughout the community.”
And talk about results: The first campaign generated more than $450,000 in donations. And Hydrogen netted an ADDY Award for their terrific work. This year’s event netted another $473,000. But most importantly, during the last year, the financial support generated by the campaign helped provide housing and family services for more than 4200 Wellspring clients in King County.
Smart Campaign + Powerful images + Effective Execution = Big Results.