The San Francisco APA held a very successful and well-attended event, Social Getworking, on Thursday, July 21st at Dogpatch Studios—summary here. The focus was, of course, on how photographers can integrate social networking into a larger marketing plan. The panel was moderated by photographer and APA board member Josh Bobb and led by Miki Johnson, Online branding coach, who opened with a presentation. A panel Q&A followed with Heather Elder of Heather Elder Represents, photographer and blogger Timothy Archibald and Miki Johnson.

Lasting for well over two hours, I still left with more questions than I came with and even mentioned to Miki that I thought it could have been a weekend seminar. This is fairly new ground and there is a lot of knowledge and experience to share and perspectives and approaches to consider.

I suggested a Part Two that would take place online and be disseminated to a wider audience than those who attended the SF event. All agreed and Miki suggested we invite an art buyer to participate. Heather contacted Jill Hundenski, Art Producer at Team One, who agreed and Social Getworking: The Missing Panelist was born. I formulated some questions, but handed the reins over to Heather who led the call and an incredibly interesting and engaged discussion in which Jill, Heather, Timothy and Miki talked candidly about how art buyers are using social media in their discovery and hiring process, the role of the blog, why photographers need to learn to write well about their work and the increasing importance of the treatment.

Thank you to the SF APA for such an inspiring event and for allowing us to continue the conversation and for publishing it on the APA blog where it will reach the widest audience.

How often are you looking for new photographers and how do you use social media in your search?

Every week, 50% of our job is to find new talent in addition to producing our work. So we’re constantly getting inundated with emails and invites and Linkedin and Facebook requests. Every single day we’re looking at new work.

It’s a combination of all of those. I actually use Linkedin a lot. There is an art buyer and photo editor forum we all contribute to. We talk with each other and give recommendations and find new work and new photographers. We ask each other who we’ve worked with. If you have a good reputation, we all talk with each other. It becomes a small world.

There’s a lot of sharing information. My way is different from Jason’s way and Lisa’s way. But we all like to share information. I’m big on Linkedin and Facebook and they are bigger on Twitter. Everyone operates a little differently but as a whole, we all use the same resources.

To read the full interview, click here.

I got an email from San Francisco photographer Michael Winokur letting me know that the first in a new motion series Life’s Small Pleasures was up on his site. Michael is a portrait and lifestyle photographer specializing in casting and shooting real people for commercial and editorial clients. As everyone builds their motion portfolios, it’s fun to see how they evolve with this new medium, to see who embraces it and is having fun learning something new and how the people and even the fog and landmarks of San Francisco that they’ve been shooting for years abandon their watch as guardians of the still image, leave the page and come to life in time, space and narrative.

Will the music match the action? Will they let their actors ‘act’ or will they play it safe and pan the camera, keeping their actors frozen in 2D? What from their still work is expanded upon in their motion work? And sometimes, what finds its expression in motion that wasn’t there in their still work?

Life’s Small Pleasures is an ambitious 2.38 minute piece based on a deceptively simple and sweet idea—the delight of having clean sheets. The complexity came later as Winokur layered on the creative and technical challenges: he cast a couple, shot it in a house with two floors, told a story with gesture, expression and detail shots all perfectly synched with a fun score that helps tell the story. I don’t usually post submissions or projects that friends share with me, but loved this one and think it’s such a great example of what can happen when one jumps into something with inspiration, dedication and heart.

I thought a short Q&A would be fun and Michael agreed to answer a few questions. Enjoy!

POP: How long have you been working on motion?

I dove into teaching myself about filmmaking about a year ago. The whole thing seemed daunting before I started. Now I’m really happy I took the leap. I’ve discovered that motion combines the best parts of photography with a set of storytelling tools: pictures, time, sound that are limitless. I did a behind-the-scenes video for Yoga Journal who is also a still client. I expect that more and more clients will become interested in integrated campaigns.

I believe strongly in life-long education, so I’m always looking for something new to teach myself. Learning to shoot and edit motion has been incredibly rewarding. Each of the motion projects I’ve tackled over the last year has been conceived to be a creative challenge as well as a technical one.

POP: This is such a fun marriage of personal and commercial work. You’ve been shooting real people and lifestyle campaigns for many years. The models in this piece carry it very well and seem relaxed, natural and happy. How is directing people in motion work different than directing them for still projects?

I’ve been working for 10 years as a commercial photographer. I’m not trying to reinvent my work as much as use a new tool set and language to accomplish the same things for my clients. So, it makes sense for my motion projects to come form the same sensibility as my still projects. This project was intended to have a very commercial format with a narrative and a clear payoff at the end but with a little more freedom in the edit and time-line since it’s a personal project.

Directing people in motion is much more challenging than for still. Next on my list of self education is a deeper understanding of working with actors on performance. I knew that directing people in an ongoing scene would be a very different challenge than creating a moment for still. I prepared for the shoot by writing an extensive shot list that included notes on camera angle, camera movement, lighting, location, and motivation. By breaking my story into this minute level of detail I knew for each setup exactly what I needed to capture—this gave me confidence that I was directing not just the actors but the whole crew to create all the puzzle parts I would need at the editing stage.

POP: You had a knee injury earlier this year and have had quite a recovery. Though you stayed busy the entire time, it must have slowed you down in some ways and given you a new perspective. What impact or influence did this have on your work and your motion projects?

My knee injury has been really inconvenient. I don’t recommend skiing. It’s just not worth 6 months of recovery. There are several still and motion projects that got put on hold while I was off my feet. My energy comes from working so it’s been hard being injured. However video editing requires lots of time in front of the computer, so I’ve got that going for me.

The thing about having a bum leg is I was forced to become more of a director. I have always worked with a crew but forcing myself to stay in my chair and give instructions made me better at explaining to my team what needed to happen and then letting them execute. Seeing and believing that I could work well with my hands off the gear is really the one good thing about this injury and long recovery. I’m lucky that some of my clients, in particular Yoga Journal, trusted that I could work after the injury. I shot three jobs from the wheelchair and several others working from crutches.

Thank you again to Michael. Can’t wait to see the rest of the series!

Lou Mora is an LA advertising and editorial photographer who specializes in portraits and lifestyle photography for a client list that includes Ford, Bank of America, Asics, Nike, Intel, Shure, Hill Holiday, Rue, Heeb, Huck, and Universal Music Group among others. I was referred to Lou by a colleague I met while working on Future Snowboarding Magazine. I worked for the parent company in corporate communications and had the privilege of being asked to help launch the action sports group.

This was my first immersion in the snow/skate market and it was an amazingly humbling experience. They were the nicest group of people I’d ever worked with—there was no discernible competition and in its place was a sincere appreciation for and willingness to just see the best in each other and a sense that every day was a great day because they were doing what they loved. And somehow this translated into an authentic respect for other people. I hadn’t encountered this before and it caught me by surprise. In looking back, I think it has much to offer the world.

When I first saw Lou Mora’s work, I was reminded of this through an authenticity and relatability and the aesthetic expression of this. There’s a genuine appreciation for his subjects made evident by the open and warm expressions he elicits from them and the care with which he frames and lights them. They seem at ease and happy and engaged with the moment in which he’s caught or staged them and genuinely enjoying what they are doing, a blissful being in the moment that is easily missed.

Lou is also a very smart marketer and seems to have mastered the art of using the various social media tools including Pinterest, a well-crafted blog, Tumblr and Twitter to build a complete picture of oneself as an artist. He graciously shared some of his strategy and successes including how he uses Twitter to reach out to and build relationships with art buyers. Be sure to check out his blog which features links to all his accounts.

It was a pleasure to get to know Lou and his work and to be reminded once again of the simple power that presence and authenticity to one’s self and therefore to others can have. Thank you to Lou for his time with the interview and for sharing his work with POP.

To read the full interview, please click here:
Continue reading ‘Q&A with LA Advertising and Editorial Photographer LOU MORA’

Kim Lowe is a Boston-based photographer specializing in kid’s lifestyle photography. I first saw her work in the June PDN Photo Annual in which she won an award for her website which is beautifully art directed and designed and showcases her bright, fun, and vibrant images that seem to effortlessly and perfectly naturally capture the essence of what it feels like to be a kid. I was immediately enchanted. Their graphic sophistication, uncluttered composition, and spirited and playfully captured emotions pull back the curtain and reveal the sense of wonder, joy and delight that is front and center in childhood and almost imperceptibly becomes eclipsed over time, harder to find as life and the years accumulate.

When I read that she’d made the transition from art director to photographer, I knew I had to interview her. I emailed her that day and heard back immediately with a a big “yes” and a phone call that felt like I was chatting with an old friend who made me laugh out loud one time after another. She was as fun, smart and engaging as her work and I couldn’t wait for her full interview and to feature her work on the blog.

Kim has been shooting for eight years and has built a client list that includes B. Toys, Wondertime, Fitness, Working Mother, Timberland, Stop & Shop, Fidelity, Smart Money, and Golf Magazine. A big thank you to Kim for an informative and completely entertaining interview!

POP: Any thoughts before we get started?

First off, it’s not fair that you’re interviewing me after Andy Anderson. The comedian that comes on after Chris Rock just never seems as funny does he? When I was an Art Director I always wanted to work with Andy. Even called his book in for a few jobs. And secondly, you make me sound waaaay cooler than I am. Clients will be disappointed when they actually meet me.

POP: You were an agency art director for nine years. What prompted the career change?

Because I no longer wanted my job title to be “Meeting Attender.” I wasn’t doing anything creative. I was pretty much jumping from one meeting room to another. There was no balance between managing projects and being inspired, being creative. Art Directors/Designers/Creative Directors have it tough — they need to come up with these great, imaginative, out-of-the-box ideas while actually sitting in a box and in under an hour it seems! I wanted to love my job again, it was that simple. And I’d been shooting for so long at that point that it was a natural transition.

To read full interview, please click here:
Continue reading ‘Q&A with Photographer KIM LOWE’

I’ve wanted to interview Andy Anderson since I launched POP. When he agreed to an interview (on one condition: that I not ask him about how good looking he is), I was excited and then a little intimidated with the task of doing justice to someone whose work is among the best of the commercial photographers working today. He said repeatedly that he felt advertising in its highest form is art. And by the end of our interview I was convinced.

With each body of his work, whether it’s wild animals in the Serengeti, mountainscapes of the Grand Tetons, a campaign for Ram Trucks, or resort images in Punta Brava, the images are beautiful, quiet, expansive. At once monumental and relatable. Conveying awe and presence. They carry the unmistakable stamp of someone who is deeply passionate about life and their work, who is a very talented artist and has mastered the art of infusing his images and subjects with this appreciation, respect and vision.

When I first saw his Ram Trucks campaign, I immediately loved the images for their exceptionally smart and beautifully executed concepts. Then I felt that familiar, deeper appreciation for what a Ram Truck is, this great powerful truck that can help us build, haul and tow things and keep the world going. I didn’t feel I was being sold some macho idea of a truck, but truck in the real sense.

And this is where it becomes art. Not by creating a need that isn’t there, but by recognizing what is and what is so great about it because life is already inherently amazing and doesn’t need to be sold to us. It just needs to be recognized. And this is what connects with people and ultimately helps sell people products that they actually need or will make their lives a little more fun. And a real artist is one who creates images from this place and allows the rest of us to glimpse it and inspire us with a moment of recognition. Authenticity at its deepest level. The world as we know it may be ending, but a truck in itself is a great thing and a pointer to something even greater. And capitalism as we know it is a bit broken, but do we really want to scrap the whole thing and start over?

A big thank you to Andy for his time and for such a fun and tremendously inspiring interview.

POP: You said in an interview that to be a photographer, you have to stay curious, not only visually but spiritually. Can you talk more about this?

You can’t buy into making photographs only for the money. I think you have to stay true to your art by doing personal work of your own. Stay a little soulful with the work. The guys that have been been in the business for a while—Sandro, Winters—they do this.

I’m really inspired by so much. I try to always stay in that space of being inspired. For example, I love watching documentaries. I just watched Lessons of Darkness about the Iraq war and its aftermath. I also love films of firefighters putting out fires. I was inspired by Patina and wrote to the producer about a project I wanted to do. I’m reading Travels in Siberia by Ian Frasier and want to go to Siberia some day. I’m also reading The Rising Tide about the Mississippi River. I get inspired to go shoot tugboat captains on the Mississippi river.

To read the full interview, please click here:
Continue reading ‘Q&A with Photographer ANDY ANDERSON’

I’m introducing a new feature, SNAPS, in which I will be posting current projects by photographers and stylists that have previously been interviewed by POP. I interview people and always wonder what they are currently shooting. With this feature, I will be able to keep up with them and showcase current work. In the future, this section will be its own tab and hopefully a nice archive of projects by those featured on POP.

For the inaugural post, I am featuring one of POP’s earliest interviewees and supporters, Dwight Eschliman. Dwight shot the July 4th Time magazine cover and feature images shot for the cover feature “Does it Still Matter?” on the state of the U.S. Constitution. I had seen the image, loved it and thought it might have been shot by Dwight (and styled by Nissa Quanstrom—which it was), so was happily surprised when these were the images he sent over for the first Snaps post.

Busy working, but have several great interviews coming up in the next two weeks: Andy Anderson, Kim Lowe, Jonathan Saunders and Lou Mora. Also had a very fun first interview meeting with Susette Blackwell of the Blackwell Files tonight. Stay tuned!

I was referred to Shannon Amos, an Advertising Wardrobe and Prop & Set Stylist, by San Francisco photographer Mark Madeo. Her response was ‘yes’ without a moment’s hesitation followed by an invitation to meet for coffee and a ‘friend’ request on Facebook. As I was to learn during the interview process, this is reflective of both her engagement, love for the photo community and her openness and commitment to social media as a way to build this community and a very successful and strategic freelance career.

We met at The Summit in San Francisco. While looking at her portfolio of consistently smart, clean, conceptual work for photographers, we had one of the most interesting conversations on POP to date, both in terms of how she approaches her work (with tons of talent, a clear sense of her style, hard work and a lot of love for her work and the people she works with) as well as with regards to a lived philosophy that informs the way she works and builds community: simply that there’s enough for everyone.

When I read Gladwell’s Outliers, it rang true somewhere that was hopeful, that it’s our beliefs about life that are fixed, not life itself. And that if we were willing to let go of some of our closely held ideas, prejudices and fears, we could create a more cooperative world where we live and work from a place of trust and sharing rather than from fear and competition. Like any new idea, one wonders if it will take hold, if there will be any willing to take the necessary risks. After a few minutes with Shannon, it was clear that in addition to being incredibly talented, she is one of these pioneers, living in a way that’s true to this place with a lot of trust, generosity and integrity.

Photo by Cody Pickens for 7x7

Amos has worked with still photographers and filmmakers Timothy Archibald, Marla Rutherford, Martin Schoeller, Robyn Twomey, Ethan Pines, Dwight Eschliman, Erik Almas, Roger Hagadone, David Stuart, Jason Madara and many more. Her clients include Vanity Fair, GQ, American Express, Nike, Casio, Discovery Channel, Hewlett Packard, Subaru, Banana Republic among others. Her work can be seen on billboards, kiosks, in magazines, and in stores in the US and internationally. Shannon’s business, Amos Styles, can be found at and on Twitter under amosstyles.

A very big thank you to Shannon for an incredibly inspiring interview.
POP: How did you choose styling as a career?

I wish someone would have come to career day and talked about being a stylist. That would have been an Ah-Ha moment. It also would have made my parents understand a little better why I was compelled to redecorate and paint my bedroom on a weekly basis.

I am completely visually driven and have been since I was a kid. I would find a way to skip math class and go sit all day in the art room. Otherwise I was always reading design, fashion and art books in the library. Luckily, I went to a very liberal high school and actually felt a great deal of encouragement.

I finally put all of these interests together and started working at our local theaters doing wardrobe and building sets. And let me just say there is nothing that will teach a stylist to work on a budget like live theater.  After high school I moved to San Francisco and got a job at the New Lab developing film. I had no idea when I took that job how greatly it would effect the rest of my life. Suddenly I was spending eight hours a day viewing the work of the photography world greats. It was a usual Saturday afternoon to sit around with Jim Marshall while he waited for his film and hear all the stories behind the legendary photographs that he had taken.

In the process of proofing film I started developing an eye for what works and what does not in a frame. How color and texture are effected by lighting. And how much is needed or not to tell the story or sell the product. There was also a lot to be learned from what photographers were leaving on the cutting room floors.

Now the majority of my work is advertising. I enjoy working with ad agencies and photographers that also feel a drive to promote humor, beauty and awareness in a commercial industry.

Molly Shannon and Selma Blair photographed by Marla Rutherford

Photo by Timothy Archibald for Fast Company

To read the full interview, please click here:
Continue reading ‘Q&A with Prop & Wardrobe Stylist SHANNON AMOS’

Jason Madara is a San Francisco-based advertising and editorial photographer who is best known for his trademark cinematic style and for bringing a conceptual and aesthetic sophistication to his images. Represented by Apostrophe, Madara has a roster of regular clients that includes HP, Sprint, Microsoft, Audi, Fast Company, Wired, New York Times magazine, Fortune, Interview and ESPN magazine among others.

Jason and I met several times and spent hours looking at and talking about his work. We had one of the most engaged and inspired conversations I’ve had with a photographer. He  brought equal passion and enthusiasm to each body of work with story after story not only about the images and what went into each shot, but about his inspirations which  all seem to find their way into his work—he scouts locations like the Frank Sinatra house for an HP shoot; Radiohead sets the mood for his night shots and drives decisions about color and light. The conversation would start with Larry Sultan and Vermeer and find its way to his favorite architects, interior design, mid-century furniture, music and film and end up with up with him explaining how he incorporated his love of landscape photography into a shot for Blu-ray of a giant eyeball watching TV.

What emerged was someone totally passionate about the aesthetic and narrative experience and who brings this level of dedication to creating technically perfect and inspired images that are as compelling for the viewer as I imagine they are for him to create.

I so appreciated spending time with Jason and his work and all the time and energy he spent on his interview. A big thank you from POP.

POP: What is your background?

I was born back East and raised in LA by parents working in the film and music industries. The path was there for me if I’d wanted it—I grew up on film sets and had already worked as a PA, camera assistant, location scout and film editor by the time I was in college. I wanted to get out of LA, so I enrolled at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara as a film major. When the session began, I realized I’d done all of it! It seemed pointless to go to school for three years and not learn anything new. I loved film, visuals and music but in the end I wanted to try something that I wasn’t familiar with.

The film students were required to take a basic still photography class and the turning point came when I saw a 4 x 5 camera. Our first assignment was to photograph the Santa Barbara Mission. I worked with two guys and had such a great time doing it that within two weeks, I’d moved to the still photography department.

I worked in Europe after school and moved to San Francisco in 2000. When I got here, I had no rep, no money, anything. But I had worked hard on my book while I was in Europe and was determined to get an agent. Within two weeks I had a local agent and started working. Initially, I was shooting people and fashion exclusively—no landscape or interiors. I also did a lot of testing and personal work. I was doing anything to build my career and my book.

A couple years later, the work started getting to a place where I felt I was ready to pursue agents in NY. One week after I got home an art director friend in San Francisco suggested I check out Apostrophe. I called Kelly Montez and we clicked right away. I signed with her one week after I got home from my honeymoon six years ago.

POP: Does film have a big influence on how you see and compose still images?

Absolutely. The movies I like all have a similar quality. They’re musically and visually driven, every detail adds an important element to the story and there is lots of drama. It’s the details that make it complete. My favorite directors are David Fincher, Sofia Coppola, Paul Thomas Anderson and Wes Anderson. Punch Drunk Love. Boogie Nights. Magnolia. Fellini’s lighting. Old French silent films.

The movies I like inspire me. I can be feeling flat and then pop in one of these movies and feel inspired— two hours that are completely outside of my life and inspire the hell out of me. I try to make my photographs as inspiring.

To read the full interview, please click here:
Continue reading ‘Q&A with Advertising & Editorial Photographer JASON MADARA’

This week I am featuring a compelling interview with Diane Eames, a former art buyer who opened her doors 7 years ago as a photography marketing and creative consultant to some of the top photographers in the business. Specializing in developing custom marketing programs, she has helped them land clients and reps, generate considerable PR and build long-standing relationships.

Her passion for photography and for helping photographers refine and deliver their message is apparent in the level of attention she brings to the strategic programs she develops and the unique and beautifully executed promotions and events she produces. I first met Diane at Taking Liberties, a fine art show she produced in partnership with Tidepool Reps. The pop-up show ran for three weeks and featured the personal work of Tidepool photographers Erik Almas and Timothy Archibald and Digital Artist Michael Tompert.

With the increasing challenges of getting the time and attention of art buyers and the growing interest in photographer’s personal work, it seemed a very smart approach to showcasing the artists in a relaxed environment that invited engagement and added a personal dimension to professional relationships. We chatted for a few minutes at the opening about her marketing consultancy and the custom services she provided to photographers beyond standard portfolio consultations and general marketing plans and support. I know from experience that highly targeted marketing promotions and events are unique in their ability to generate results and build relationships and was very interested to learn more about some of the programs she’d developed and how effective they had been.

We met again at another flawlessly executed event she worked on with Tidepool—Erik Almas’ San Francisco APA presentation at Dogpatch Labs. Again impressed, I asked her on the spot if she would do an interview for POP. We had a very interesting conversation about what has changed in the market that requires photographers to be more strategic with their marketing, what types of targeted marketing gets results and best practices for traditional marketing.

A big thank you to Diane for all her enthusiasm, hard work and sense of humor (I kept her parked in her car for an hour at one point asking some final questions—which she handled by wondering why the neighbors in Piedmont hadn’t called the police) on her interview!

POP: What is your background and when did you launch your consulting business?

I was an art buyer in San Francisco for about 15 years — Y&R, Hal Riney and Digitas + freelance. I transitioned out of art buying when stock started to take hold and my affinity was more with the photographers and what they were doing — their creative and production processes. I started Eames Marketing and set it up as a general marketing consultancy that offered a menu of options: Portfolio development, competitive research, production calendar and implementation, etc. This lasted for several years but started to become an antiquated way of viewing the marketing experience for photographers.

A few years ago, many things were changing within the commercial industry and few felt that things were ever going back to “normal.” With the downturn in the economy lasting longer than anticipated, it was becoming increasingly difficult to break through the clutter of mass email and direct marketing. There were a lot of photographers relying on the same more/less “affordable” types of marketing to get their name out, many times sending to huge non-targeted lists. This resulted in art directors and art buyers getting inundated.

For full interview, please click on link below.

Continue reading ‘Q&A with Marketing and Creative Consultant DIANE EAMES’