Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's alive!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oh dear

From an anonymous Art Buyer on Bitter Photographer via Jackanory:

"I wish I too could be honest at my job. When I review a car photographer's portfolio I wish I could say: "wow thanks for showing me this amazing car book that looks like every other photographer's portfolio. You really nailed it. I love the moody skies. How did you think of that? I also love how your trying to sell this piece of crap like it's real art and not just another advertisement for a fucking car."

Please keep up the great postings.

Anonymous Art Buyer"

Friday, January 25, 2008


I am meeting with potential agents this week and it is going well. The response to the work has been really positive and I am anxious to see where it will lead.

I got to meet with fellow bloggers Robert Wright and Andrew Hetherington and I think after a few hours we were able to solve all the isssues in contemporary photography.


New website is close to completion.
You can see it here:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Looking for a new Pad

Back in the day Doug Adesko, Timothy Archibald and I all had reps. Doug had been with his for a while but Archibald and I had just signed with new reps. Tim's reps were a couple of women who started an agency called Tidepool.

Doug (on the phone to Tim) : How is Lilly Pad treating you?

TA: What?

DA: Lilly Pad. Didn;t you just sign with Lilly Pad or something?

TA; Tidepool. Not Lilly Pad.

DA: Same thing.

TA: Not Pad. Tidepool.

So of course, hours later, Archibald recounts this story to me and from that day four years ago a new word has entered the lexicon:

Pad :meaning agent.

As in:

Have you heard back from the Pad about that job?

Oh yeah I know Lars' work. Who is his Pad?

Here in SF, the retouchers have Pads. The stylists have pads. You are no one without a Pad.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I am in the process of

putting together an application for Review Santa Fe. I have never liked having to explain an image and felt that any image that needed explanation was a failure. The closest I have come to putting words to my pictures comes from the T is silent:

"love the cacti from el paso on the blog - i can feel the search your on in this photo and some of the others from reno - this "quest" is very earnest and it shows in the photos. When these photos are working(the cacti definitely is), as a viewer, i feel i'm wandering, searching for nothing important and at the same time the most important thing, meaning. steven shore and alec are great but i see a yearning in these images of yours that is inthralling - A professor of mine explained the deference between documenting or illustrating a project and embodying an idea or concept- the difference between lauren greenfield documenting kids and jim goldberg or larry clark embodying their projects. this difference seemed barely noticeable at first but the more i looked at photos i could start to tell the difference- the embodied works were the ones where i felt something, they were the books i checked out again and again, i think your work is on this path, very exciting. i commend your search and hope you are finding what you are looking for -"

Monday, January 14, 2008


In an effort to trick a new rep into thinking I am not just a big old commercial hack I have been making a bunch of books through Blurb and have been pretty impressed by the quality. I only include work that I have made since the beginning of last sumer and it only includes work from the Copy Stand and urban landscapes.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Is there room in commercial photography for photography?

I have noticed something interesting during my discussions with potential reps. There seems to be a east coast vs west coast difference in terms of what is the best kind of photography to show.

The WC reps prefer to show work that looks very much like advertising. The idea is that agencies need to be able to demonstrate to a client that a photographer not only is capable of executing an image but has in fact made the image previously.
I shot a cow once. It was part of a personal project where I shot the interior of an old movie theatre, shot farm animals in a studio and composited them together in post. The series got some attention and an art buyer saw it in CA. She had a campaign for a giant cow feed conglomerate and needed a cow shot. She saw my series and I was hired to shoot a cow for the agency. I used the same animal wrangler from the movie theatre series and we shot the same cow.

The art buyer moved from a midwest agency to a NYC agency. I talked to her and she assured me if she ever needed a cow shot at her new agency she would be sure to call me. I have been shooting for 20 years and have only shot one cow (twice) but I will always be seen as the bovine shooter by this one art buyer. Talk about being pigeon holed.

On the other end of the spectrum are agencies that bring me in early in the process of coming up with a campaign. I got a call from an agency. They had a client and needed help coming up with an idea. They gave me a rough outline who the customers for the product were and I was charged with putting together the campaign. I pitched my idea and we shot in a few weeks later.

I am in the process of changing the kind of work that I show. The new criteria will be the strength of the image and no longer whether the picture looks like an ad. I used to be puzzled when I saw the pictures other photographers showed. What the hell was Nadav Kander thinking when he showed those pictures of empty hotel rooms? Yeah they were emotionally compelling and looked like real photographs but what product did it look like he was selling? What about Carlos Serrao's pictures of a lion on a dock? Yeah they were cool and looked like nothing else out there but they looked like nothing else out there. You are supposed to show work that looks like other work that has been published. That's the rule right?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Last One

My productivity definitely fell off as the week went along. Because there is such a small window when I like to shoot in the day it is really important for me to have a plan. I saw this water tower from the freeway and made a point of coming back at dusk.

Entry Point

From Tim Archibald:

Entry Point-An image that works in both the commercial and art world.

El Paso Day 2

I got up early and checked out the area around the hotel. I scouted it the night before.

Call Sheets: How not to do it

I am in the process of booking a hotel in New York for an upcoming trip to meet with reps. I used to stay just stay in the cheapest hotel I could find but as I get older my personal comfort is becoming all important.

We shot a job in LA last year. There was a little wiggle room in the budget for a nice hotel so I ended up staying at L'Ermitage in Beverly Hills. This is by far the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in. I think the room had more square feet than my house and put the P in Phat. They provided me with letter head and business cards with my name on it with the hotel contact info on it. So I settled into my room and checked my email.

Oh look the producer has sent call sheets. I see my name and my assistants name with our respective numbers and rooms numbers at L'Ermitage. Let's see where everyone else is staying: Oh Dear. They are all staying at a Best Western in Long Beach. All of them the client and agency people. Yikes this does not look good.

The next day at the preproduction everyone made small talk and made sure to stay clear of discussion of accommodations. The weather is always safe. Or at least in LA you can always talk about the traffic.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

El Paso Day 1

My plane landed at 430 and the sun set at 530 and managed to grab this on the way to the hotel. I shot this plant a bunch of ways but liked this approach the best.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Photo Safari

When I worked as an intern at a newspaper in Florida when I had a day off I would jump in the car and just drive and take pictures of things that interested me along the way.

All my children and my wife has been sick for the last three weeks and I am starting to go a little stir crazy. Everyone is on the mend so I am off. A big storm is about to hit all of California so after some weather searching I have picked El Paso to begin my safari.

Flight leaves at 1130.