Adventures in Art Buying with Andrea Rosenfeld

After a career in the stock industry as an art director for Getty, PictureArts and Corbis, Andrea Rosenfeld took a leap into the ad agency world as an art buyer and producer. Andrea worked for DDB, RPA, Saatchi & Saatchi and other agencies before landing at David&Goliath, a top creative agency in LA, as a senior art producer. We asked her to share some thoughts on her job and the production process.

By: Michael Masterson

Photo: (c)Stephanie Smith Artwork:(c)Isabelle Harada

Photo: (c)Stephanie Smith
Artwork:(c)Isabelle Harada

What types of accounts do you work on and how do you source the imagery for them?

Right now, I work mainly on KIA and CA Lottery, but have worked on many different brands throughout my career. Each project is different from the one before and we source imagery everywhere from stock photos to hiring photographers, CGI artists, and illustrators, to installation and street artists. To find the right one, I rely on my years of bookmarking, looking at source books, blogs, promos, social media, going to industry events, doing portfolio reviews and referencing my network of reps and photographers. It’s a mix of all that plus a little secret ingredient of just knowing.

Describe your role in a typical production at your agency.

Overall my role is a balancing act between producing the best creative work while staying on budget and meeting deadlines. It is really great combination of right-brain and left-brain functioning.

A typical production begins with one of my favorite aspects of my job: matching the visual artist to the campaign. When I am first presented with a campaign, my brain instantly kicks into creative-search mode of who would be the best fit for the look and feel of the campaign. I enjoy this aspect because it’s my chance to have an impact on the work by bringing the appropriate artist to the table. Sometimes it’s a needle in the haystack kind of search and other times, it is immediately obvious to me whom to put forward. Oftentimes the campaigns can be executed in several ways, so finding the best method is also a large part of my role.

Next comes bidding mode. This means overseeing communication of the creative vision and production needs to the artists. When the bids come in, the left-brain portion of my job kicks in when I review line items and fine-tooth comb the numbers, lest we forget something we need like a water truck, or funds to cover the 99 basketballs in the comp, and stuff like that.

The next part of my process happens when we award the job. At this stage, I manage approvals of casting, locations, set design, props, etc. Each component needs to be agency and client approved before we go for it. Once we get to set, all things should be in place and the magic unfolds.

Are clients asking you to create assets for social media?

Yes, we are creating assets for social media more and more. Sometimes we are able to leverage imagery from existing shoots, and sometimes we shoot solely for this media. I like the loose style and free form that usually comes with it. It’s almost like an improvisation at times, but within our production protocol of course.

You mentioned “influencers.” How are your clients using them and do you think they’re effective?

AR: Internet stars, Instagram sensations and bloggers are all opening up avenues to reach audiences that didn’t exist in the old model of advertising. Clients are tapping into this area in a big way, most often on experiential or digital projects. At the most basic level, hiring influencers to post about our brands helps bring new attention to the brands. It is also a smart way to reach harder-to-find and fickle, younger audiences. If the influencers are hosting an event, or contributing to a piece of art we are creating, they will organically bring a lot of eyes and ears to the work that aren’t reachable through traditional advertising channels. I’ve noticed that teens idolize and admire YouTube stars and these influencers are now starring in their own Netflix shows. In this way, they are very effective.

The trick is bringing the right influencers to the project without diluting or mismatching with the creative. It’s a balancing act between finding a personality with a large following as well as someone that is aligned with the message. There’s a sweet spot in there somewhere.

Tell us about the gallery space that’s been created at David&Goliath.

I am very enthusiastic about this, as it is a passion of mine. We just opened a gallery space, called Ampersand, in one of our lobbies. We picked the name as a nod to David&Goliath as well as the idea of collaboration – collaboration with artists, and with the viewers. Our first show was a rotating group show from the APA LA, and from there we are showcasing visual artists from all over the spectrum including photography, illustration, painting, muralists, etc. There really are no rules. We are a creative agency and it makes sense to see artwork as we walk into the office each day. It sort of sets the tone for the day. Everyone seems to really enjoy it.

Can you share any war stories about productions gone awry (without naming names of course)?

This question makes me want to knock on some wood. What comes to mind are stories of slightly absurd and funny moments. Here are a few that just popped into my head:

  • We needed a group portrait of a very well known heavy metal hair band to tie into a TV commercial they were in for one of our clients. We arrived on the TV set to find out that they won’t actually pose together anymore; after all these years they’d had enough, I guess! They each come out of their trailers, one at a time, posing alone. But the funny part is that they each knew how to pose “as if” they were together…. leaning, arm bent as if around another’s shoulder. It struck me as hilarious!
  • One of our concepts called for a very large hog and we did an actual hog casting. “Bob the hog” got the part. He weighed 800 pounds! It turned out he needed his own carpet all the way from the truck that brought him to the center stage of the studio so he wouldn’t slip and fall. But he was a total super star. It should have been a red carpet now that I think of it!
  •  Our 89-year-old talent was riding in a gold-covered chariot led by a team of donkeys. The donkeys were a little over zealous and lurched too quickly. The whole chariot went down in an instant and took the senior gentleman with it. We all gasped in horror. But without missing a beat, he bounced back up and said, “Did you get that on film?!”

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 3.35.52 PMMichael Masterson has a broad range of experience in marketing, business development, strategic planning, contact negotiations and recruiting in the photography, graphic design and publishing industries. In addition to his long experience at the Workbook and Workbookstock, Masterson owned and was creative director of his own graphic design firm for several years. Masterson has been a speaker or panelist at industry events such as Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, Visual Connections and the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) national conference. He is past national president of the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP). He currently heads Masterson Consulting, working on projects ranging from business development for creative companies and sourcing talent for them to promoting and marketing industry events as well as providing resume and professional profile services for job-seekers. He can be reached at michaeldmasterson@gmail.com.

 

100 photos that shook the world

It’s that time of year again: there’s something about the impending close of one year, and the dawning of another, that brings out the “list maker” in us all. Film fan are drawing up their best of the year movie lists, as are book critics, and music aficionados; but Time has come up with a candidate for most ambitious of the year: assembling a list of the “top 100 most influential photographs ever taken.”

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Editors Ben Goldberger, Paul Moakley and Kira Pollack set about this daunting task by interviewing a host of photographers, subjects, friends and family, and just following the trail wherever it took them. As one might imagine, the very definition of “influential” was subjected to close scrutiny. What makes a photograph stick in the memory? Is it just because the photographer was there at the right time? Sam Shere’s record of The Hindenburg Disaster was clearly taken on the hoof, in the footsteps of history; but there is also a powerful aesthetic to the image, that perfectly captures a sense of combustible scale.

Is it because the subject matter is so important to our socio-political history? It’s no coincidence that there a number of choices in the list that document the effects of the Vietnam War (Malcolm Browne’s The Burning Monk, and Nick Ut’s The Terror of War); perhaps the first time when photojournalists fully broke with ‘official’ media-controlled narratives of a war effort.

Is it the intrinsic value of the photograph as art? The totemic shock of Andres Serrano’s Immersion (Piss Christ), or the ingenious deconstruction of feminism in Cindy Sherman’s Untitled series (#21 makes the grade, one out of her many diversions into examinations of fluid identity), point to a different dynamic than roving reportage, but have become as equally iconic (and of their time) as David Jackson’s terrifying real-life portrait of the remains of racism victim Emmett Till.

Goldberger, Moakley and Pollack manage to broadly identify at least one key aspect of the project:

In the process of putting this list together, we noticed that one aspect of influence has largely remained constant throughout photography’s nearly two centuries. The photographer has to be there. The best photography is a form of bearing witness, a way of bringing a single vision to the larger world. That was as true for Alexander Gardner when he took his horse-pulled darkroom to the Battle of Antietam in 1862 as it was for David Guttenfelder when he was the first professional photographer to post directly to Instagram from inside North Korea in 2013. As James Nachtwey, who has dedicated his life to being there, put it some years ago, “You keep on going, keep on sending the pictures, because they can create an atmosphere where change is possible. I always hang on to that.”

Whatever your own choices – no list is perfect, and, doubtless, some will quibble with the list not including their own favorites – there is a wealth of information here. In what, ironically, may be the most telling comment on the state of contemporary photographic dissemination, Time’s online version of the list is more comprehensive, and satisfying, than the print version (which only displays 17 out of the 100 images); not least because Time has attached an amazing amount of supporting materials that goes much deeper into the photographs themselves. A four-minute documentary of Richard Drew, explaining the selection process of which of his Falling Man pictures would editorially encapsulate the horrors of 9/11, makes for heartbreaking viewing, and a reminder of the power of the medium.

Conversely, click on Pillars of Creation, shot by NASA on its Hubble telescope, and one gets a sense of serenity and majesty far removed from earthly atrocities, delineated in a huge range of supporting images.

The cumulative experience is immersive, thought-provoking, richly informative and entertaining; almost like a Photography History 101; so take a little time to dip your toes in the river of history…

http://100photos.time.com

Tales by Light

Wildlife photographers must get the best air-miles; not only that, they get to go and see, in person, the natural wonders of the world. Luckily for us, they bring records back for us armchair explorers; so that, after a day of commuting, or cubicle-dwelling, or whatever we do to make a living, we can imagine ourselves connected to a larger world, by seeing images of a humpback whale teaching its calf new tricks; or vast penguin colonies living a hardscrabble collective existence in the outer areas of Antarctica; or the silent contemplations of gorillas in Ugandan forests.

Tales by Light Season One is now appearing on Netflix, (as of November 11th, 2016

) and it affords us some inspirational and compelling portraits of five photographers at the top of their game. Conceived and commissioned by Canon Australia, this high-resolution 4K feast is a six-part series.

“Having Tales by Light Season One available on Netflix is a wonderful acclamation of the quality and broad appeal of our Australian-made photography series and we are excited that it will now entertain millions of subscribers around the world,” says Canon Australia Director of Consumer Imaging and Executive Producer of the series Jason McLean. “This series is unique and started from our simple aim of celebrating the amazing visual storytellers who push the creative boundaries and it’s great that this concept resonates so well across regional divides.”

As a behind-the-scenes depiction, there is a certain fascination in seeing us ‘pull back’ from that original static image that the photographers selected (presumably from hundreds, if not thousands, of shots; photographers may get great air-miles, but they spend a LOT of time to get that one essential image). In these documentaries we hear their spoken thoughts, see their methodologies and processes; and thereby pull back one more time into moving video footage of them at work, combatting tides and jungles and language barriers.

The series was produced and directed by internationally award-winning Australian filmmaker Abraham Joffe, who has filmed professionally in over 40 countries on all seven continents. He is also an experienced underwater filmmaker and drone pilot (talents on evident display throughout the series).

Of the photographers, Art Wolfe (who has photographed for the world’s top magazines such as National Geographic, Smithsonian and GEO) is the only photographer to get two episodes, of the six, dedicated to him. Maybe this is no wonder, given that Sir David Attenborough, who has guided the world through various iterations of his own ground-breaking portraits of the natural world, states that: “Wolfe’s photographs are a superb evocation of some of the most breathtaking spectacles in the world.”

Wolfe shows us him capturing, on film, the great brown bear of Alaska’s mountains and glaciers, and migrating wildebeests in the plains of East Africa. Likewise, we see underwater and nature photographer Darren Jew peering down into an active volcano in Papua New Guinea.

Likewise, Peter Eastway (AIPP Grand Master of Photography) captures the wilderness and wildlife of Antarctica and South Georgia.

In addition, we see that “man” is an anthropological creation of the world, cohabiting with nature, with his/her own engaging rituals; and some of the photographers spend the same amount of time capturing human cultures as they do the intricacies of those species that share the planet with us.

Wolfe, once again, captures the famous mud men and the Huli people in Papua New Guinea, and works on his human canvas project with the Surma people of Ethiopia.

Krystle Wright (herself a pioneering extreme sports photographer, who pushes herself to almost the same limits as her subjects) captures the immersive world of free-diving in Vanuatu; a world in which humans almost transcend their limitations and join with other aquatic life.

Travel photographer extraordinaire Richard l’Anson (founder of Lonely Planet Images and the author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography) captures the scintillating Festival of Holi in India, as Hindus celebrate a sharing of love realized in vivid real world pantones of spice and fabric.

Each photographer’s approaches – and idiosyncrasies – are totally their own; their ‘passport’ to a new land of riches; but if they share one thing in common it is a dedication to capturing their subjects in moments of truth and enlightenment. Tales by Light Season One shares this with us.

 

The President’s Photographer

President John F. Kennedy was always the most telegenic of US presidents; so perhaps it’s no coincidence that he was the first to appoint an ‘official’ photographer. In previous administrations, a random line of either military or park services photographers trailed the most powerful man in the world; but Cecil Staughton was the first to be plucked out from the press pool, and quickly began to record the glamorous iconography that was to establish the idea of a modern Camelot in the minds of US citizens.

There have been eight photographers since then, working with the nine presidents since JFK; except for Jimmy Carter who – perhaps unsurprisingly, given his well-known lack of airs – decided against one specific appointment. Some of the work of these photographers, tasked with recording fragments of events both intimate and literally world-changing, has been gathered in a fascinating photo book: The President’s Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office.” , companion to the National Geographic Television Special: The President’s Photographer ( Part 2 is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hNb-_YbYkc ).

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As a whole, it forms a fascinating mosaic, stitching eras together; shifting from black-and-white to color, from film to digital. The bulk of the book is dedicated the White House’s current incumbent, President Barack Obama (and there is an extensive foreword by his photographer, Pete Souza), who has more photographs in this volume than the other presidents combined (depending on your politics, this may be either a plus or a minus).

Perhaps also unsurprisingly, Richard Nixon was one of the opaquer of presidents, and there seems to be little behind-the-scenes material. Most of the work that Ollie Atkins recorded seems pre-programmed, with Nixon’s smile a consistent fixture for specific photo opportunities. Like the man’s term itself, he seems full of secrets, and an unwillingness to allow more relaxed behind-the-scenes material to be shown to the public gaze.

The rest of the material is a real treasure trove. Ronald Reagan hugging and helping his wife off of a horse in a moment of affection (by Michael Evans); the Bushes, father and son (numbers 41 and 43, respectively) in an unguarded moment with Barbara Bush on the White House lawn (by Eric Draper); and a strangely lyrical image of LBJ, incongruously, laying down in a field of wildflowers (by Yoichi Yokamoto).

What is also engaging is how these images have changed in purpose over the decades. All of them are, of course, vetted to a major extent; and this accounts for a blurring between the lines of documentary and PR opportunity; neither one nor the other, but, rather, a strange mix of the two. A couple of years back, the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) took issue with the White House releasing an official photograph of President Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama today, an event that was “closed” to the press.

The WHNPA issued a press release: “A government photographer is no substitute for an independent, experienced photojournalist. We are disappointed the White House has reverted to their old strategy of announcing a closed press event and then later releasing their own photo. The WHNPA also urges news organizations to refrain from publishing and circulating this handout photo, which is a visual press release of a news worthy event.”

As Pete Souza explains, in the Obama era, he became pretty much the first generation of White House photographers wherein the delay between record and dissemination became instantaneous; distributed via social media platforms such as Instagram and twitter. Just as the news cycle has changed vastly since the JFK era, so does the pressure on both photographer and president to manage a presidential narrative in a matter of seconds rather than weeks.

As of writing this, the latest election is finished; and we will have a new president installed this coming January; and it will be interesting to see if and how the dynamic will change between Donald J. Trump and his choice of photographer. A President-Elect who has made very public statements about his willingness to curtail press freedoms – especially those that may be critical of his administration – it is not hard to speculate that he might revert to a more secretive, Nixonian approach; with a focus on a very staged and self-serving narrative? Regardless, we will all still be interested in portraits of the most powerful individual in the world; and that fascinating interstice between public office and private life.

Honoring our Volunteers

Trade associations depend upon volunteers who are dedicated and steadfast. Sonia Wasco is such an individual. Recently honored by the DMLA for a career steeped in service to the Stock industry, this interview(reprinted with their permission) gives insight into not only Sonia’s good works, but speaks to the staying power of small agencies.

She was the winner of the first ever DMLA Lifetime Achievement award last year and it was more than well deserved! Most President’s serve their term and a year as Past President and then move on.  But that isn’t the case with Sonia, as we learn here:

What has been your role over the years at PACA/DMLA?

I began working at Grant Heilman Photography in the spring of 1986. Grant Heilman, Jane Kinne, and Bob Roberts were good friends and confidants who spoke regularly by phone. Before the end of the year, they had me signed up for my first New York City PACA meeting and sharing conversations with Susan Turnau. At that time, she owned and operated Miami based Sharpshooters stock photo agency and was the chairperson of PACA’s Ethics and Grievance Committee. I became a member of the committee along with Bob Zentmaier from Photo Researchers (now Science Source) and quickly found myself surrounded by some of the best ‘Movers and Shakers’ of the stock agency world. I could not help being impressed and motivated to be successful like them. I served on the Ethics and Grievance Committee for six years before moving to Chairperson for another six years. From 2000 to 2002, I served as President, a role that became extremely challenging as PACA found itself without an Executive Director and in difficult financial straits at the end of my term. I take pride in being part of the team of strong PACA leadership who helped to rebuild and bring the organization out of the brink of destruction. Then PACA President, Patrick Donahue (Corbis); Vice President, Cathy Aron (Photo Network) (these two offices switched places shortly after elections); Secretary Dexter Lane (Peter Arnold); Treasurer, Doug Segal (Panoramic Images); Members at Large, Jeff Burke (PictureArts) and Roger Ressmeyer (Getty Images) along with Jeff Shultz (Alaska Stock); Sharon Dodge (Illustration Works); Nancy Wolff (PACA Council); Bob Roberts and Roberta Groves (H. Armstrong Roberts); Jane Kinne (Consultant) and Chris Ferrone (Retrofile) spent many hours re-writing the PACA Bylaws and Operating Manual and running the organization. Special note needs to be given to these dedicated individuals who I believe saved the Association from demise. PACA’s Executive Office of Past President also was quite memorable for me. Following my term as President, the next four Presidents left the industry following their terms and I was asked to step back on the Board to fill the role of Past-President. We often joked that my office was unending. Lately, I have served on the Program Committee for conferences and as Nominating and Elections Committee chair.

What does winning the lifetime achievement award mean to you?

It is extremely humbling to receive this award. So many PACA/DMLA members over the years have given so much to the organization. I have met incredible people and made life-long friends with other members from all around the world through my experiences with PACA/DMLA. To be recognized by my peers with an award of this nature for something that I have enjoyed doing for nearly 30 years seems overwhelming. I have the deepest respect for those PACA/DMLA members who have served before and after me and feel very privileged to be the recipient of the first Lifetime Achievement award. Perhaps it has something to do with being the Past-President for so many years? I certainly hope it doesn’t mean I am getting put out to pasture!

Looking back at the organization’s success, which contributions of yours are you most proud of?

As each new PACA/DMLA President comes into office, they establish goals they want to achieve. When I became President in 2000, the photo industry world was very fractured among the different photography related associations. No one trusted what each other was doing, and I was troubled by this. I set out to mend the issues that drove us apart. We began inviting other associations to our meetings and opened discussions among us. These steps resulted in much healing and mutual efforts that benefited photographers. I also had a personal mission to visit or talk with every PACA member during my term. I was so impressed by what my colleagues were doing and how great their individual companies operated. I left the office of President a richly inspired person. Over the many years of my involvement with PACA and now DMLA, this inspiration has been what has driven me to stay involved and want to jump in with both feet to work to get things done!

You studied animal science and agriculture in college. How did you that transition into a career in stock photography?

By never closing a door. When I graduated from Delaware Valley College (now University) I was looking to go to grad school to study veterinary medicine. Just prior to graduating, Penn State University came to our graduating class and dangled teaching jobs in front of us because they did not have enough certified teachers of agriculture to fill open positions. My degree from Delaware Valley was in Large Animal Science with a minor in Small Animal Science. I took Penn State’s offer of a guarantee to teach in September if we took their summer intensive studies in Education (and went on to get a Master’s in Agriculture Education) and found myself teaching high School Agriculture at Shippensburg. Following this six month position, I was hired to teach Agriculture at Warwick High School in Lancaster County. One of our science teachers who did science research and experiments for Grant’s science photos gave him my name as a candidate for an opening for the Director of the photo library. Grant flew in from Colorado for my interview and I was the lucky candidate to be offered the job. Grant wanted someone who could ‘talk agriculture’ as 60 percent of the company’s business was supplying images to the animal health and crop advertisers and magazines. The other sector of business was the high school science textbook market. My ten years of teaching agriculture couldn’t have given me a more perfect background for working with the clients that purchased images from our collection. Grant was also looking for someone to run the business as he incorporated and transitioned to retirement. In 1987, I was named Vice President of Grant Heilman Photography, Inc. I was promoted to President and COO in 1995. Over the years I received stock bonuses and purchased additional stock whenever possible. In 2011, I purchased Grant’s final shares of stock as he officially retired from Corporation to officially become the owner of the company. One of my fondest PACA memories was watching Grant receive the PACA Member Emeritus award in 1996. He was one of the most inspirational people in my life, and I was so fortunate to receive that phone call back in 1986 that put me in touch with him. I know I speak for the many people who have had the opportunity to stay that he enriched their lives by knowing and working with him.

For more about Grant Heilman Photography, look here: http://www.heilmanphoto.com ,

for the DMLA: http://www.pacaoffice.org

Success, Illustrated

A departure this week for the Visual Connections blog as we branch out to include the Illustration community with an interview with Stacy Endress, who heads up the U.S.branch of Illustration, Ltd. – an agency for commercial artists.

by Michael Masterson

(c)Zoe More OFerrall

(c)Zoe More OFerrall

  • How did you end up working as a commercial agent? What path did your career take?

I went to art school in Colorado and earned my BFA. I had art teachers tell me in high school that I was crazy to leave NYC to go to Colorado for college but I loved living out West. After I moved back East after college I hand block painted clothing in Frenchtown, NJ. It is a cute little riverside town outside of NYC.  From there a friend let me know that Houghton-Mifflin was hiring art buyers for a math program and I was hired. I really enjoyed negotiating and seeing all of the gorgeous artwork that the illustrators were creating. I then moved on to doing ad sales for an outdoor magazine in NYC.  It was a great experience but wasn’t the right fit for me so I went back to art buying at a design house in the city and from there transitioned into my current role about ten years ago. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Illustration team. They are some of the kindest and hardest working people I have ever known. And I always love seeing the artwork that our amazing illustrators create.

  • Illustration, Ltd. has been around for a long time. Tell us a bit about its history.

Yes, they have been around since 1929 in London. The agency changed hands and names over the years but a lot of the illustrators have stayed on the books throughout the transitions. Of course we have a lot of new talent as well.  The agency officially started with a rep in NYC in 2000 and has grown since then becoming a U.S. company in May 2014. We are always working on building up our American artist team. We are also working on expanding and reaching new creatives here in the U.S.

  • In your ten years there, what changes have you seen in both the company and the industry?

I think technology is the biggest game changer. When I first started we still sent out actual books to clients for pitches. The requests for physical portfolios really started dwindling and now our artist portfolios are downloadable from the website. This is much faster and more efficient for clients. Aside from that we have really seen the progression from still Illustration into animation. Of course animation has been around for some time but moving illustrations are requested daily now whereas that was not the case years ago. It is really fun to see all of the styles come to life.

  • What trends do you see in illustration styles and subjects? What are clients using these days?

When I first started working for Illustration there was a lot more digital looking artwork being created especially in the fashion world. Then it moved on to ink or watercolor hand drawn work and now pencil work seems to be the most popular. But of course this is not the rule of thumb and we actually have all styles requested all of the time. Clients seem very into everything being Vector based these days. It is very cool to see so many styles that look hand drawn being created entirely digitally. It offers clients so many more options.

(c)Cube

(c)Cube

  • Many illustrators and their reps are struggling these days. Why do you think Illustration, Ltd. has endured for so long and been so successful?

I think the agency owner is very forward thinking. He is always pushing the agency to new territories worldwide and into new technologies that keep us relevant. I also think that we have a fairly large roster of illustrators covering most styles. So we can be a one-stop shop for many needs like other larger agencies are as well.

  • Finally, outside of work, what consumes your time and fuels your passions?

My number one priority outside of work is my family. We have an 8-year-old son so he keeps us busy along with our dog, Tash. We moved out to New Hope, an art-filled riverside town about an hour outside of NYC.  It has been a wonderful place to live, I love being surrounded by nature and wildlife everyday. I enjoy fall runs alongside the river, hiking and eating out around town. We enjoying traveling whenever we can and fixing up our little bungalow house that we bought a year ago. Life is good!

 Here we are attending our annual NYC illustrators lunch. It was a great time! From left to right: Jongmee, Jennifer Maravillas, Stacey Endress, Soleil Ignacio and Sarah Beetson.

Here we are attending our annual NYC illustrators lunch. It was a great time! From left to right: Jongmee, Jennifer Maravillas, Stacey Endress, Soleil Ignacio and Sarah Beetson.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 3.35.52 PMMichael Masterson has a broad range of experience in marketing, business development, strategic planning, contact negotiations and recruiting in the photography, graphic design and publishing industries. In addition to his long experience at the Workbook and Workbookstock, Masterson owned and was creative director of his own graphic design firm for several years. Masterson has been a speaker or panelist at industry events such as Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, Visual Connections and the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) national conference. He is past national president of the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP). He currently heads Masterson Consulting, working on projects ranging from business development for creative companies and sourcing talent for them to promoting and marketing industry events as well as providing resume and professional profile services for job-seekers. He can be reached at michaeldmasterson@gmail.com.

Tender Souls – Another Side of San Francisco

The Tenderloin’s reputation goes before it: supposedly the most dangerous area to visit in San Francisco, it’s a central district of about fifty square blocks, nestled beneath the much more gentrified Nob Hill at its northern boundary. Yet amidst the usual (and justified) statistical information about crime, prostitution, drug use and gang activity, the reality – like all cities – is that a district is made up of real people, of real stories that cannot be recorded simply as demographics, or forced into statistical curves.

Two photographers – Brenton Gieser and Felix Uribe – have embarked on an ongoing project Tender Souls to record some of those people living in the Tenderloin. Their subjects range from the disenfranchised through to those working with them, and the intention is to build a living record of a caring community. In their own words: A soul that not only experiences deep suffering but triumphant redemption, a soul that meets the needs of their neighbors with the little gifts they have, a deeply tender soul.

At a time when the rise of dot coms in San Francisco has been well documented in terms of forcing even tenant dwellers out of an increasingly expensive city, the plight of the Tenderloin homeless become even more attenuated and relevant; an acute outlier of a wider trend towards dispossession and marginalization.

The Tender Souls website releases a new story each month of a community member in the tenderloin; a mixture of photographic portraits, and an audio interview. Combined, they provide a riveting insight into the people that are often walked by, relegated to the margins. Some of the anecdotes are profoundly touching (Eva Hart, 72, is ex-army and speaks nine languages; but all her money is spent on trying to reopen her erroneous army records, following expenses incurred by a fight with breast cancer); all of them contain steel and dignity.

In addition to these in-depth accounts, there is also Faces: a larger archive of street portraits; single shots of great sensitivity that project multitudes from the subject. We talked to Brenton Geiser, and asked him about Tender Souls.

How does the collaboration between yourself and Felix work?

First and foremost, Felix and I are great friends. He has not only been one of – if not the – most important person in helping develop my photography, but a person I trust, respect and have an incredible amount of love for.

So our work together is built off a solid foundation of trust. Felix and I are both responsible for finding our own subjects and cultivating those relationships. We constantly chat about the new friends we have made in the neighborhood, and discuss the possibilities of working on their stories. When it comes to documenting stories, we work separately.

For example, I photographed, interviewed, and wrote the stories of Eva and Paul, he did the same for Dax. I have put more of a focus on the stories themselves, as Felix has been capturing amazing portraits around the Tenderloin; although we each contribute to both the stories and faces sections of the site.

I manage the site and write most of the copy, while Felix is a wizard in crafting compelling audio.

Mr. Holman (c)Tender Souls

Mr. Holman (c)Tender Souls

With so many potential subjects, how do you choose?

Deciding on who to photograph and document is always a challenge. Of course, working with a subject is a two-way street; people need to be brought into the vision; they need to trust us; they need to be courageous enough to tell us their unadulterated story.

With that being said, I think that most people will be surprised about how many people in the Tenderloin are ‘open books.’ Many times, the suffering and pain our subjects have endured is so immense. For some, telling their story is cathartic; for others. the acknowledgement is what moves them. Most just want to be part of something they believe may be special.

Most of the people we end up working with are people we either meet organically, on the streets while walking around with our cameras; or have been introduced to us by a community member or an organization we have ties to. Both Felix and I really try to be conscious of the rich diversity of the TL, which means we are not aiming just to photograph our un-housed neighbors, or people with substance abuse problems, but also the community leaders, the youth, small business owners. The tapestry of this neighborhood is intricate and nuanced.

Andre (c)Tender Souls

Andre (c)Tender Souls

How long do you envisage this project lasting?

There is no end date for this project. Felix and I are Bay Area natives, and intend on being part of our regional community for as long as economically possible.

We also have a commitment to the TL community beyond Tender Souls. From the very real friendships we have cultivated with people on the streets, residents, and neighborhood workers, to the neighborhood organizations we now work with, we have plans to be here for quite a while.

How do you see the city evolving, based on what you see at ground level?

I believe the city of San Francisco is creeping up on a pivotal inflection point. At this inflection point, the social fabric of our city is either going to tear and become a microcosm of the social tension we see brewing around the globe; or we can practice compassionate, authentic, human connection across classes; allowing for not only a strong community, but more sound local policy, housing regulations, and business practices moving forward.

We believe photography is an accessible, collaborative art form, which when done right, can facilitate a better understanding of others and ourselves. We hope that Tender Souls provides a spark for a deeper inquiry into social issues that prevail in our back yard, but often go unrecognized.

Ahmed (c)Ahmed

Ahmed (c)Ahmed

The Tender Souls Project: http://www.tendersoulsproject.com

Tracking Down the Copyright Infringers

Image theft seems to grow and expand. Here, we find out what options are available for recourse and hear of success in protecting one’s copyright.

Guest Post by Julian Jackson

David Hoffman is a UK photographer, and a bulldog who chases copyright infringers. While I was on the phone, interviewing him for this article, a British city council coughed up 12,500 pounds ($16,000) for stealing his images and using them for four years. That is a pretty big victory. He chases infringers in any jurisdictions he thinks he can get a result, which includes the USA. I am going to outline his methods later on in the article but first let me tell you a bit about his career.

Brixton riots, London 1981. Police advance on barricades in Railton Road as they clear the streets.(c)David Hoffman

Brixton riots, London 1981. Police advance on barricades in Railton Road as they clear the streets.(c)David Hoffman

He has been a photojournalist for 40 years. His beat is “social documentary photography” – he covers social issues, riots and protests, drug use, marginalised and homeless people. Although he used to work for photo agencies, he now licenses his own images, and gets a good proportion of his income from chasing up infringers.

His images are still in demand. Two films are going to be using them and he also has pictures published on websites and magazines. He is working on digitising his whole collection and then starting on a book and putting on exhibitions of his photography next year.

(c)David Hoffman

(c)David Hoffman

He says, “The commercial photography industry is losing billions in unpaid fees.” He cites Google Images and Facebook as companies which are effectively using other peoples’ creative work for commercial advantage without payment. He has obtained payment for unauthorised uses of images from The Huffington Post, MSN, Vice, and other major businesses.

He subscribes to various services which search for usages, and then he divides the infringers into two categories – either they are in jurisdictions where it is impossible to pursue, like China, or they are bloggers where the money is not worth chasing; or they are commercial companies who can, and should pay for the use of images, including major publishers, big pharmaceutical companies, and a “UK City Council” – who really ought to know better. They used 14 pix of his over four years in print publications and on their website, after cropping out David’s copyright information, so it is not as though they didn’t know what they were doing. David does a lot of the tedious business of pursuing infringers himself as well as using anti-infringement services like ImageRights .

David works closely with the Boston-based company, who offer three services to photographers and agencies: they track usages of images; they have an automated process to register images with the US Copyright Office; and they pursue infringers and recover damages.

Joe Naylor, founder and CEO says, “We’ve been going since 2008. We have a team of assessors and partner with nearly 50 law firms in the USA, Europe, Australia and other jurisdictions. Our software helps us assess the cases. We have three stages – cases that are not worth pursuing, cases that we will chase ourselves – we have a 60% success rate – and then ones that merit pursuing via our legal partners.”

ImageRights photographers receive 50-60% of the net recovery amount. If the court case is lost, or they cannot collect any damages, the photographer is not on the hook for fees, which must be a relief for many creatives.

Joe is particularly proud of the automated registration system, which allows ImageRights’ 7000 photographers to register their work with the US Copyright Office via the ImageRights application. This has probably saved numerous snappers from stress-related heart attacks, given the general frustration the USCO seems to engender.

Joe says that if an image is “Registered Timely” that makes a significant difference in the money that can be recovered. He quotes $1000-2000 in cases without, and perhaps $15K-40K for fees where the images have been correctly registered. “We have settled cases for upwards of $250,000.”

David says that he receives “at least 5 times” his subscription fees to ImageRights each year, which seems like a good deal. Although mainly representing individual photographers, ImageRights also represents Magnum, New-York based CPi and UK agency Lickerish.

David also recommends imagewitness as well as Google Reverse Image Search for tracking down uses. He is trialling PicScout at the moment. He also thinks highly of PixelRights.com as a portfolio site that makes it very difficult to steal images from.

He does feel that the courts systems often do not penalise infringers sufficiently – if they only have to cough up the fees they would have had to pay anyway, there is little incentive for them to pay, rather than if they had to fear stiff financial penalties for the blatant infringements and misuse of his work that he uncovers. However, at least one infringer is feeling $16K worse off in the wallet today!

http://www.hoffmanphotos.com

 

juliancoffeshopcuJulian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment. His portfolio is here: https://julianj.journoportfolio.com/ He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course www.picture-research-courses.co.uk. Linked-in profile.

 

 

 

 

 

A Constellation of Images

How things have changed! This researcher remembers thick, well thumbed-through paper bound catalogs with grainy images of the earth from space with impossibly long identifying numbers that one would note, and then order(snail mail) copy negs from and wait…6,8,10 weeks to receive!

ISS036-E-012464 (26 June 2013) --- One of the Expedition 36 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station captured this image of a waning gibbous moon from a point 225 miles above a position on Earth located near the Equator and the Atlantic coast of northern Africa.

ISS036-E-012464 (26 June 2013) — One of the Expedition 36 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station captured this image of a waning gibbous moon from a point 225 miles above a position on Earth located near the Equator and the Atlantic coast of northern Africa.

NASA, as will surprise nobody, is great (no: change that: the best: because they need to be) at recording stuff; so it will come as no surprise that they have an amazing archive of space-related imagery. Their website (see below) is updated on a daily basis, providing glimpses into the many facets of their incredible projects.

To focus on just one: an image titled “Expedition 48 Crew Lands safely on Earth” is a magnetic portrait of three astronauts – NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, and Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka – having made landfall in rural Kazakhstan on September 2016, at the end of their mission on the spacecraft Soyuz TMA-20M.

There’s something endearingly human, seeing these fragile space adventurers sitting on field chairs (presumably to help them recover from experiencing earth’s heavier gravity) in their cosmic uniforms, being attended to by an appreciate ground crew. It’s a group effort – the three attended by huge numbers of support staff – and it’s collegial and humane. Even more so, when one realizes that only sixty years earlier, Cold War anxiety meant that America and Russia were waging a literal propaganda war using space as a public relations chess piece.

This shot from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies.

This shot from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies.

Examining this image for larger meaning is one thing; and might be called looking at the bigger picture; but NASA has MUCH bigger pictures than that if you want. Consider an image “Hubble Peers into the Storm”: of the Large Magellanic Cloud as viewed by the Hubble: a mix of dark dust and glowing gas in one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies. According to NASA’s contextual information, this is capturing a stellar nursery known as “N159.” That’s right; not just one star, but a nursery of stars… in one corner of the frame…

So… pretty big (try not to think about it too much).

The good news for those who will never venture beyond this planet, is that we can navigate through an incredible array of imagery that takes us through every aspect of space exploration. NASA has always been interested in promoting its efforts to a wider public, both in terms of using the material to engender public relations support for its tax-payer funded efforts, as a non-commercial educational usage; but also with the less prosaic urge of a community determined to simply share the spoils of these fantastic labors: to share their “answers” to “everything” over a period of “infinity” with their fellow humans.

This is why, and this may surprise some, that NASA has a fairly benign usage policy for these images, often free for both commercial and non-commercial use. Of course, they are not beyond commercial exploitation of their imagery (and so they shouldn’t be); but the guidelines of usage are accommodating:

(http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/guidelines/index.html)

News outlets, schools, and text-book authors may use NASA content without needing explicit permission. In some cases, there are restrictions, especially with regard to usage of the well-known NASA logo; and likenesses of NASA employees (in a quaintly human scale perspective, it seems we can look into the heavens, via Hubble, and gas giants, and dwarf stars, and thereby into the face of “God” without fear of recourse; but the face of Neil Armstrong might require a more earthly contract of enforced engagement…).

Infrared Echoes of a Black Hole Eating a Star. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Infrared Echoes of a Black Hole Eating a Star. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Getty’s Open Letter to U.S. Senators

Many thanks for the DMLA for keeping us informed on this important issue!

Getty Images has written an Open Letter to U.S. Senators regarding Google’s anti-competitive practice of image scraping.  This policy change on the part of Google was implemented in 2013 and greatly impacts anyone who displays images on the internet.

Getty is asking for support from visual associations and image licensing companies, as well as the photographers that we represent.  We ask you to read the letter and if you agree with it, please add your name.

You can read the letter here.