When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

© Kevin Twomey – http://www.kevintwomey.com

Kevin Twomey spent a few magical weeks in Italy this summer. When he shared his photos and stories with us, we suggested he share them on the blog as well.  Kevin’s account is very beautiful and reminded us of the importance of slowing down.  

“”When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”   When it comes to food, that saying won’t steer you wrong anywhere in Italy you happen to visit and enjoy a meal.

This past August I went to see the in-laws in northern Italy with my wife. We spent a week in the Alps eating, hiking and eating some more. I am a big proponent of eating home cooked meals and locally grown food and I am happy to report there was no shortage of either on my trip.

A mile up the road from my in-laws summerhouse, close to the town of Oltre il Colle, is an abandoned ski resort where a handful of cows graze at the granite peaked base of Monte Alben for the summer months. These cows belong to a local herder, Tobia. Tobia and his brother have lived amongst these mountains their whole lives. Things are much simpler than my current urban city life and it was good to see the old methods of doing things were just the present day routine for people in the surrounding villages.

© Kevin Twomey – http://www.kevintwomey.com

We met Tobia and his brother as they were milking their cows. Sonoyo, my sister-in-law, gets her milk products from Tobia and thinks nothing of the daily errand that I found to be such a luxury. Tobia didn’t have any fancy milking machine, no weird tools or suction devices.  A bucket and an old wooden stool to sit on was all that was required, go figure.

After a few introductions and a brief conversation about weather, health, family and how two of his cows will be turned into Bresaola this fall, Tobia took his bucket full of fresh milk and filled up Sonoyo’s liter bottle.

A few days later we went to Tobia’s house to buy cheese. The first thing I noticed was the breathtaking view surrounding his home. Lush green rolling hills as far as the eye can see, mountains upon mountains towering over on all sides. And the garden! He had a rich array of so many different kinds of vegetables, it was quiet a sight and put my town’s community garden to shame.

© Kevin Twomey – http://www.kevintwomey.com

There was a separate room devoted to storing and aging Tobia’s home made cheese. He had some that was days old to a couple years and he wanted us to taste them all. We had our tasting and made some hard choices of what to schlep back to the states. We walked away with about a two month supply.

It was refreshing to see things done old school style with little fuss producing such high quality product. Tobia has been doing things the same way his father and his father’s father and so on and so forth. Generations not obsessed with doing better but instead knowing what works is sometimes the best way to do it.”

© Kevin Twomey – http://www.kevintwomey.com

If you would like to read more of Kevin’s blog posts, please link here.  He has a particularly moving post that he wrote after the earthquake in Japan.

Birth Water- sharing a powerful series by Andy Anderson on Baptism rituals in the south.

Andy Anderson always makes time to shoot for himself.  He schedules it like it is a commercial shoot and is so committed to it that isn’t easy to get him to move the dates!  I have always admired that about him and think that so much of his success is his insistence on making time for his personal work.  He has traveled all over the world photographing more things than many will see in a lifetime.   From bull fighters in Spain to transvestites in Cuba his images are epic and enthralling. We are never disappointed when he shares what he discovered.  That is why when he returned from a trip to the deep south we were expecting something amazing.  And, boy did he deliver.

This series has been the most talked about series in his portfolio. Every portfolio show we attend, people want to know the story behind the series. I asked Andy to let us know about his inspiration.  Here is what he shared.

“A major motivation in my photography is curiosity.  So much so that I named the photography book being published by Rizzoli,  just that; Curiosity.  I am constantly exploring things and seeking out those people that excite me most.  Over the years, many of the relationships with the folks I have met have become more important to me than many of the images.  I value so much the friendship and intimacy that goes into each one of my photographs.

That said, I tend gravitate to the moments in peoples lives that are magical, powerful and sometimes even raw.  I understand that there are very few times in your existence that you are able to actually witness such sacred times so when I do I am very appreciative.   I was fortunate enough to do just that at Camel Lake Campground in Bristol, Florida.

Since I spent my childhood growing up in the deep south, I constantly am drawn back to explore a place that I love dearly. One of my dearest friends that I have gotten to know on my travels is Reverend Shearer.  Over the years I wandered into her town many times and saw countless baptisms taking place.  I always felt privileged to be there but understood that  those were private moments not to be tampered with; but only to witness.  Over the years, the friendships with both Reverend Shearer and her congregation grew.

Well, last spring, I received a call from Reverend Shearer. She told me that she would love for me to come and photograph a baptism that she would be preforming in her home town. So I “Criss Angeled” myself  the next week to Florida.  There are no words that can explain the experience.  Trust me,  the human spirit is alive and well. ”

To see more of Andy Anderson’s work, link here.  And, be sure to consider subscribing to our blog so that we you can be the first to read via email our latest entries.  (Upper right hand corner of the blog)

Birth of a Gummy Bear

When the trend started a few years back where photographers started learning to shoot video, many people wondered how a still life photographer could utilize video and still make it interesting.  Kevin Twomey has shown once again that it is entirely possible to do so by exploring yet another interesting subject, The Birth of a Gummy Bear.  When I asked him about it, here is what he had to say.

“I look at food as a still life challenge, asking myself how I would represent it in a way that stimulates the senses beyond the predictable “mmm, delicious”.   How might I evoke an emotional, rather than salivary, response?

The gummy bear imagery emerged after toying with ideas for a holiday card a couple of years ago, where I explored the after-effects of destroying
candy (mostly by smashing them to bits).  Experimentally melting some pieces, I saw how beautiful they looked as their sugars liquified.  That
led to the microwaving of gummy bears, which then led to my seeking a more precise way of melting: the hair dryer.  As I strategically melted the
gummy bears for my still shots, I noticed how beautifully the thick liquid flowed.  The dynamics were so compelling, I had to film them, not just
melting to their demise, but in a way that celebrates the creation of the beloved candy.”

To see more videos by Kevin Twomey, link to previous blog posts about other videos he created or to his website.

Hunter Freeman is NOT responsible for this!*

© Hunter Freeman – http://www.hunterfreeman.com

When I first saw Hunter Freeman’s new series of work, “Kids with Power Tools,”  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!  Did he really do this?   When I asked him what he was thinknig giving power tools to kids, here is how he replied.

“It’s not like any of you haven’t thought of doing something like this yourself.  Of course you have (it’s ok to admit it, especially the guys).  Everyone’s been a kid, and as you recall, one of our young life’s goals was to maximize the fun we had.  So, why not do that again?  In my case, since I am no longer seven years old (except, perhaps, mentally), I thought that I’d just grab some little munchkins and some power tools and see what the h*!! would happen.
As we all know, you need the right tool for the right job.  In a bit of a switch (if you’ll pardon the pun), I started with a tool.  First up, a Milwaukee brand Hole Shot Corded Electric Drill with 1/2″ chuck – an awesome piece of equipment that can drill through anything.  Next, where shall we drill?  Why not a little home improvement?  There’s always room (several rooms in fact) for improvement.  So, cabinets it is! And, of course, they can always use some ventilation! Next, ask one of the neighbor’s sweet kids to make some nice, pretty holes in another neighbor’s cabinets. (Mazie was such a dear, hard-working helper, btw)  Then, just capture the fun.  Here’s how it all went…
Hunter:  “Ok, Mazie, the little trigger makes the drill work, so just press it and push the drill nice and slowly into the cabinet.”
Mazie:  “Mr. Freeman, are you sure it’s ok that we do this?”
H:  “Oh, yes, Mazie, it’s just fine.”
M:  “Um, are you sure, ’cause the Lerners aren’t home right now.”
H:  “I’m sure they won’t mind at all.  Ok, let’s go ahead!”
M:  “Ok.”  (sound of drill)
M:  (shouting)  “This makes a lot of noise, but it’s really fun!”
H:  “It sure is, Mazie!  It sure is!”
When we finished, we packed up my gear and swept up (didn’t want to leave a mess).  Mazie asked if she could borrow the drill, but I told her that I don’t lend my tools to just anyone.  But, I told her, I would be happy to let her use another one, like my disc sander.  I told her how it could make tons and tons of pretty sparks when you grind on a metal surface, like on a car.  She was really really excited about doing that.  I asked her to start looking for a really nice car to try it on.  She was totally up for that.
*Hunter Freeman is not responsible.  And is shocked, shocked he says, that your son/daughter said he gave them the idea to do something like that.

© Hunter Freeman – http://www.hunterfreeman.com

© Hunter Freeman – http://www.hunterfreeman.com

What is the story behind those Animal Mask images Ron Berg?

Ron Berg recently shared with us a series of images that are getting some attention.  When we were at Le Book Connections in NY, the images were a big hit and everyone kept asking what the story was behind them.  When we got back, we asked Ron to share with us what his inspiration.  Here is what he had to say:

“Over the last couple of years, I traveled some in in France, Italy, and Croatia and it was in those magical places that the root of the idea began.  Like most typical photographers I love to seek out areas that are not the norm and strive to find the areas were the locals hang out.  I occasionally venture out on my own or wander off from my wife.  She would say that I “get lost,” but really I am just exploring the sights and sounds of the local culture and go wherever my instinct takes me.

During these particular travels there were these string of occurrences where I kept seeing someone in a mask. Of course this never happened when I was near my wife and it always happened so quickly that I would never be able to document it.  She thought I was crazy or seeing things. And who knows, she could have been right.  Who knows if I was.  Sometimes those local libations have a somewhat unusual effect!

Needless to say, between the masks and the architecture (and local flavors!); I was inspired.

As far as the meaning of the images, I honestly don’t know.   I just know they were in my mind and I had to photograph them.  Maybe they will inspire others to make up a story to go with them.  As Shakespeare wrote for Hamlet, “God hath given you one face, and you make yourself another…”

© Ron Berg

© Ron Berg

© Ron Berg

Great imagery always tells a powerful story. Blurb wants you to tell yours.

Recently, Justine Barnes,a producer at Duncan Channon in San Francisco reached out to us to see if any of our photographers had exsiting imagery for an upcoming campaign for Blurb photo books.  We were honored when they chose an image from Andy Anderson and one from Richard Schultz.

Thank you Justine for seeing the story in their imagery.

© Richard Schultz - http://www.rschultz.com

Want to market your personal work to art buyers? Consider these 8 tips.

© Hunter Freeman - http://www.hunterfreeman.com

Our latest contribution to Agency Access’  blog The Lab is posting today.  It tries to answer the question of how to market your personal work to attract clients.   Be sure to link to the blog directly to read answers from industry experts on many more questions.

Question: How can I make my personal work work for me – as in how do I market it to attract clients?

We believe that it is often personal work that attracts creatives and the assignment work that sells the client. Because of this, we encourage our photographers to shoot personally as often as they can.

There are many different ways to market your personal work. Here are some things to think about when deciding how to do so:

1. Consider a Blog

Blogs are great ways to share work that doesn’t necessarily fit within your current strategy or vision for your work. They provide an opportunity for you to share the story behind the image and engage the viewer on a different level. They also allow you to be more casual with your work and experiment without the confines of any current perceptions of your work.

2. Add a Personal Work Section to Your Site

Creatives are always seeking inspiration and a personal work section on your website would be the natural place for them to search for it.

3. Print a Personal Work Portfolio

If you have a large enough body of work, you can print a portfolio that showcases your work. Use the portfolio as a reason to reach out to clients and other creatives you would like to have as clients.

4. Create a “Coffee Table” Book as a Promotional Piece

This is a great way to share your work without the need for individual appointments. It could get expensive, but if you are very-targeted with the list that you send them to, you can control the costs. Creatives hold onto these books for quite some time when they are relevant to them.

5. Create a Unique Mailer

Similar to the coffee table book, a unique mailer allows you to showcase your body of work and add a personal flare to it that will help you to stand out. You can also keep costs manageable by sending it to a very-targeted audience.

6. Keep the Series Going

Do you have a body of work that people like and often talk about? Do they call you and ask you for prints? Do you see your mailers hanging on their walls, or do people often tell you that they have seen that image or series before? If they do, it would be worth considering how you can continue the series. Looking for ways to evolve the idea will help keep the viewer’s attention. Hunter Freeman has been taking photographs of astronauts in everyday life situations for the last ten years. People still ask for prints and wonder what is coming next.

7. Submit Photographs to Contests and Websites that Share New Work

It is always nice to be recognized for your hard work. There are countless contests available to enter. And, websites such as PDN’s PhotoServe allow photographers to submit their new work for consideration on their website.  Having someone else brag about your work is always a great thing.

8. Share the Work of Others

I know this might sound counter-intuitive to marketing yourself, but it could be a powerful secret weapon. If you are active in social media, the idea of sharing someone else’s work can bring attention to yourself. Not only does it show your appreciation for the craft, but it may motivate someone else to share your work as well.

We hear all the time that the to-do list of a professional photographer is long – and personal work is often at the bottom of the list. We encourage our photographers to make shooting personal projects a priority. Not only does it provide them with more work to share with their clients and prospects, but it also allows them to explore their creativity. And doing so often leads to great things.

The Power of Public Works. Kevin Twomey participates in Art in Public Places.

In early 2009, there was a call for artists from Emeryville to submit work for a public arts project based on the theme of Flora & Fauna.  Artists, including Kevin Twomey, were awarded grants from the city to create imagery for Emeryville’s Art in Public Places.   The idea  of this project was to display imagery of the artist’s work in bus shelters, normally reserved for commercial advertisements, bringing the exhibition space to the public.  The exhibition started in October 2009 and runs through September 2012, giving each of the 9 artists four months to display  their work individually in the bus shelters around the city.  Kevin’s photographs are now exhibiting through January 2012. 

The following is a list of the additional artists involved in the project:  Nora Pauwels, Catherine Courtenaye, David D’Andrea, Robert Ortbal, Lenore McDonald, Dean Hunsaker, Laura Anderson, Exhibiting Feb-May 2012, Shawna Peterson, Exhibiting June-September 2012.

When I asked Kevin to share with us what inspired his submission, here is what he had to say.

“I had collected specimens for this project during my many weekend hikes in Marin, covering the beloved Dipsea trail, the trail from Muir Beach to the Marin Headlands and the trails from Muir Woods up to Mt Tamalpais.  My first attempt to bring a dandelion back to the studio was somewhat a naive and comical experience;  trying to protect the fragile flower in its post blossomed state from the wind while attempting to hike a couple of miles back to the car. I think I barely made it 100 yards before I lost the flower head.  The dandelion problem was easily resolved by modifying a small cardboard box that kept the dandelions standing straight up, safely during the hike.

Given the luxury of 6 months to create the images for this project, it allowed plenty of time for the flora to cycle through to the right stage for the photograph.  Such a contrast to the timelines we are given for commercial projects.  Thank you to the City of Emeryville for their great support of the art community.”

That in between place as described by David Martinez in his own words.

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I love it when photographers take time for themselves to shoot what has been on their mind.  I love it even more when it is not in their own backyard and they venture out to chase their vision.  David Martinez recently headed east and was thrilled with what he discovered.  Here is what he had to share about it.

“I had wanted to do a personal project on New York City surf culture for some time now. After a little talking around, it seemed like Rockaway Beach was the place –  a beach accessible by subway from Manhattan. My producer and I arrived in New York City on one of the hottest weekends of the year.  As temperatures rise in the city, so do the number of Manhattanites wanting to take the A train out to Rockaway. It was going to be a busy weekend out there.

3 trains, 2 transfers and 6 bottles of water later, we arrived in Rockaway. We had done a little research before the shoot and through a dizzying tangle of personal connections, we found who we had heard was the unofficial mayor of Rockaway Beach. TJ, was a local guy, a lifelong surfer who was kind of enough to meet us at the subway stop and show a couple of us left-coasters around his neighborhood. Among hoards of other city people, we surfed, ate at the local taco shop, and met TJ’s Uncle Rick on the boardwalk (pictured above). Late in the afternoon – blazing sun and humidity turned to torrential downpour- and all 6 of us piled into TJ’s truck to head to the local pub for shelter. I was a little disappointed at first that the weather had turned just when the surf was about to get good.

Amongst the running and laughter and cursing the rain as we piled into TJ’s truck, a beautiful thing happened that always makes for the most interesting and dynamic images. We all just let go. We stopped trying to get on the perfect wave, get the perfect angle, the sun in just the right place.   It happens that most of my favorite images from the trip were created in this way.

Moments between moments.

When the veracity of feeling replaces orchestration. All of these images were made in this space in between….”

To see more of David Martinez’s work, please link here.

Dandelions are not just for salads and wishes.

© Kevin Twomey – http://www.kevintwomey.com

In his own words, Kevin Twomey shares his obsession with all things dandelion.

“Last month while at a restaurant in Brooklyn, I saw that they were offering a Dandelion Salad as an appetizer.  After spending countless hours photographing them, I could not pass up the opportunity to experience the plant in another way beyond sight.

I wonder why we spend so much energy trying to eradicate them when right out on our lawns is a nutritious salad just waiting to be harvested? And what about the medicinal uses, not to mention the ever so important relationship it has with the bees?

For me, my obsession with the dandelion lies after the flower blooms and turns into that white fluffy ball, so fragile, just waiting for a subtle breeze to release the seed-bearing parachutes. ….and so many wishes.”

Kevin has a wide collection of ‘organic’ imagery that he showcases on his website.