Editorial Insider – Why Garden & Gun really is the soul of the south.

People always ask me how we think of ideas for our blog and is it hard to ask people to contribute.  We are very fortunate to have a network of friends and colleagues that we can draw from and ask for their input.  It is of course easiest with the people we know personally, but those that we do not are just as generous with their time.

Andy Anderson has photographed for Garden & Gun in the past so I have always been a fan of their photography.  He spoke so highly of their photography director, Maggie Kennedy, that I thought she would be a great person to contact and ask to contribute.  Even though we never worked together personally, she was more than willing to share her thoughts.

Even though Garden & Gun is a national magazine, it is often mistaken for a regional one because it is based in the south. This couldn’t be more far from the truth.

She and I agreed that a post about the little things that people may not know about Garden & Gun and her job would be a great way to share with others how special the publication really is.

Here is what she had to say.

I was honored when Heather asked me to contribute to her fabulous blog and thought it could be an opportunity to share not only my passion for photography and the magazine but share a few things about Garden & Gun and my job that you may not know.

•  Garden & Gun is a national publication about Southern lifestyle and culture with an emphasis on photography. We have a nuanced view of the South so it’s not uncommon to find varied topics in one issue such as the best barbecue sandwiches in the South, a profile of Emmylou Harris, a photo essay focused on falconry or a feature on New Orleans artist Noel Rockmore.

 In one weekend in May, Garden & Gun won a National Magazine Award for General Excellence and a James Beard Journalism Award. We are still pinching ourselves.

•  The magazine’s name comes from the old Garden & Gun Club in Charleston, South Carolina. The happening club/disco late 70’s, early 80’s. Our building, built in 1808, was once a girl’s school, Civil War hospital, and the city’s best apothecary, whose inventory was donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 1978. The doors, windows, and floors are all uneven.

•  I love how the country seems to have a genuine interest in the South. Magazines covering food, shelter, outdoor, sport, etc. continue to highlight our region as well as dedicating entire issues to a Southern topic. This wasn’t the case a few years ago and it’s exciting to be part of this trend.

•  The South is such a beautiful place so I consider myself very lucky to work with a publication where photography is a driving component of its’ design and reader interest.   There is care and thoughtfulness put into each issue, each article and each photograph.  I’m proud to have been a part of the team since the first issue in 2007.

•  I love photography. I love my job. I love meeting photographers, sending them on assignments, hearing the war stories. To us in the office, the photographers are the rock stars on tour.

•  I like to work with a combination of up-and-coming Southern shooters and nationally established talent. There are so many talented photographers based in the South. Some have spent years traveling the globe and have made their home here. Others have lived in the South their entire lives and are making a national name for themselves.

•  Our photography strives to be iconic Southern, not kitchy. Soulful images that make our readers want to be there, in the moment. Lots of natural light, lifestyle, rarely conceptual. You’ll find gritty as well as a more polished look which supports our editorial range.

•  We love to run full page photos and print on high quality paper stock. I pay close attention to color proofs and reproduction of the images to ensure the photography is going to look its’ best.

•  I want to put our photographers in a position to succeed by allowing them to express their creativity during assignments. I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to work with so much talent. Shooters are hired based on their individual style. They get what the magazine is all about and bring their interpretation visually. If a project is too controlled beyond the basic who/what/when/where, I believe the end product will suffer. I love it when I see Garden & Gun images on their website or in a portfolio.

• I get to assign/edit projects ranging from taxidermy to five-star cuisine and everything in between. Did I mention I love my job?

•  I enjoy continuing to build a strong stable of shooters both nationally and in the South. I always welcome pitches from photographers when ideas fit within our content. We’re also increasing our photo essays online so I’m always on the hunt for creative material.

If you are a photo editor and would like to share with us what it is like to work at your publication, please email us.  We would be happy to feature you.

Dear Rep, Love Photo Editor

© Richard Schultz – www.rschultz.com

After the success of our Dear Art Buyer, Dear Rep letters, I thought it would be interesting to hear from a photo editor to know what makes for a successful relationship on their end.

I reached out to a few photo editors and received this letter back from Amy Feitelberg of Outside Magazine.  It struck me once again that we are all up against the same challenges and that mutual respect, open communication and common courtesies are the keys to any successful relationship.

Thank you Amy for letting us know how to best work with you.

Dear Rep:

One of the best parts of my job is to get to know all the great talent that is out there.  I love photography and feel so fortunate to be in this business and surround myself with such amazing imagery and fantastic talent.   When Heather reached out to me and asked me to write a letter letting photographers know how to best work with me, I came up with a list of the top five things to consider if you want to work successfully with me. 

Here they are:

1. Phone calls

I want to hear about your photographers and I want to hear who’s going where. I promise I do!  But phone calls are really hard for me. Email me. I promise I’ll look. I am really good at that.  Those of you who know me, know that If I had the time, I would chat with everyone!

2. Direct Access

I need direct access to your photographers as soon as we have agreed to work together – if not sooner.  So, as soon as you and I have agreed on the details of the shoot please put me in touch with them right away.  I know sometimes it is easier on your end if the coordination comes through you but I much prefer at that point to be in contact with the photographer; especially if I have not worked with this photographer before.  I don’t want to take the chance that something will get lost in translation.  Besides, this is the best way that I can get a feel for how a photographer and I will work together.  Feel free to be involved, but please do make sure I have direct access as well.

3. Contracts

I know there is a lot to read and review, but please return photographers contracts in a timely manner. We have so many rights to negotiate these days that many departments need to know immediately from us if we can use the images in our foreign editions, online, on our ipad, etc.

4. Scheduling

Scheduling is so hard nowadays – on both ends I am sure.  So, let’s agree to be very clear on which dates are available as well as any changes.  I know this is a dance between us, the photographer, the subject, the location….and when that other job comes in while we’re trying to make this all work. But if I’m given parameters from the outset and I work within them – you should have to adhere to them as well.  Please.

5. Websites

I know this sounds obvious, but you would be amazed at how many sites are still a challenge to use.  Please make sure they load quickly, the photos are big and the site is easy to navigate. Fancy flash and graphics take a lot of time and I just want to see the photographer’s work.

Also I love, love, love when it’s made clear where a photographer lives and if they’re a travel photographer, where they’ve been. It’s also so great when an agent has their photographers broken down by category. When a rep’s site is organized like that, I go back time and again to look at what’s new, who’s shooting what, what I can use for stock, etc.

Thanks again for all of your interest in Outside Magazine and your passion for your craft.  We are fortunate to work in such a creative industry and I am honored to be able to get to know as many of you I have.


Amy Feitelberg

Outside Magazine

Looking for some eye candy today? Ann Elliott Cutting delivers in blue and red.

© Ann Elliott Cutting - www.cutting.com

Ann Elliott Cutting has a knack for everything conceptual so when I asked her to send me something  visual for the blog I wasn’t surprised when she sent me these images.  None of them were shot together nor were they for the same project.  This is just Ann pairing images that go well together.  That common thread that runs through all of her imagery sure does runs deep with her.

A sneak peek at a weed by Kevin Twomey

A sneak peek at a weed by Kevin Twomey
I remember as a kid, every summer, pulling dandelions out between the beautiful blades of green grass on the front lawn of my house on Long Island, cursing at them never to return. Little did I understand how tenacious that weed was or the role it played in a garden’s ecosystem. It wasn’t till last summer while exploring some flora for an Emeryville public art works project (images to be displayed fall 2011), that i discovered the beauty, the variety and the the complexity of that little weed.
The image in the June issue of Discover Magazine is just one of a series of photographs on the dandelion weed due to be completed this fall.


Ann Cutting in the Running: Ann has been on a recent editorial run. Covering hot topics from healthcare to the economy, see if you can keep up? Publication/Creative Director as follows: Fortune Magazine/ Amy Wolff, Good Housekeeping/Jean E Lee, Kiplinger Cover/Wendy Tiefenbacher, Prevention/Donna Agajanian, SmartMoney/ Jane Clark and Time MagazineCover/Chrissy Dunleavy.

Devon Jarvis continues to shoot Self magazine accessories page with CD Cynthia Searight & AD Petra Kobayashi.

Kevin Twomey Evolving:

Kevin Twomey’s relationship with the California Academy of Sciences started in 2008 with imagery he shot for a promotional piece announcing their newly renovated museum. Creative Director, Rhonda Rubinstein, saw Kevin’s butterfly compositions and thought he would be a good match for an upcoming project. She liked the clean, crisp, textural style that is signature of Kevin’s imagery.

Months later Kevin reached out to Rhonda with an inquiry to gain access to some of the unique specimens in museum’s permanent collection. A trade agreement was arranged. In exchange for access to their rare specimens, the Academy could use the images for a book they were producing for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s Origin of Species.

Kevin’s initial interest was in shooting their butterfly collection for a personal project. Yet, once he gained the ALL ACCESS pass, curiosity quickly led way to chamelions, frogs and tortoises to name a few. Kevin converted a tiny office into a studio and a week later produced the images seen here.

Kevin shares,” One of the more interesting searches through the collection was picking out a fine Galapagos tortoise specimen to shoot, looking for that perfectly preserved tortoise with just the right pose. We walked into a room about 20′ x 20′, that had shelves filled with these giant tortoises, many of them preserved for about 100 years.”

Check in soon for an upcoming project where Kevin collaborates with Hillary Duff.