Victory Tischler-Blue @ SPOT Photo Works

Rice Gas (Speed of Light)

Rice Gas (Speed of Light)

Victory Tischler-Blue: Of Beauty and Ruin
September 20 – November 11, 2014

Opening Reception: Saturday September 20 – 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Victory Tischler-Blue’s stunning landscape photographs capture the epic beauty of the Southwestern desert and with it the remains of failed dreams under crystalline skies. The fine line between life and ruin shows on the faces of her raw-boned outlier portraits: some androgynous, some damaged but rich with life and as fragile as an empty tank of gas, a well gone dry or a faded love.

Spot Photo Works
6679 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

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Filter Photo Festival September 24-28 2014 – Chicago

© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.

© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.

Filter Photo Festival
September 24th-28th

Primary Venue: Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel
Keynote Speaker: Carrie Mae Weems

Filter Photo is pleased to announce the 6th annual Filter Photo Festival! The five-day Festival celebrates fine art, contemporary, photojournalistic, and documentary photography through diverse programming including gallery talks, lectures, panel discussions, workshops, and portfolio reviews with world-renowned photo professionals; special receptions for two juried exhibitions; and a portfolio walk showcasing the work of over 100 emerging, mid-tier, and professional photographers. The Festival will take place from September 24th-28th at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel with evening and other programs taking place at partner galleries, institutions, and organizations.

Evening Public Programming, 9/24-9/27 (FREE)
Daily Workshops, 9/24-9/25 (FREE AND PAID)
Daily Portfolio Reviews, 9/26-9/28 (PAID)

The 2014 Filter Photography Festival is organized by Filter Photo, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Filter Photo’s mission is twofold: first, to connect emerging, mid-level, and professional photographers with gallerists, educators, academics, curators, and other elite photography professionals from across the country, with emphasis on those of the Midwest, and in particular those of Chicago; and second, to secure Chicago as a vibrant center and destination for the national photography community, in part by uniting the city’s different groups and institutions in one event.

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On Making and Publishing a Book, For Photographers – Part 2: Working with a publisher

ytj04 copy

A journal page also use as Maquette of “Along the Yellowstone Trail”

The advantages of working with a publisher are many. The most important benefit you gain by working with a publisher is credibility. Additional advantages of working with a publisher are less or no financial risk, distribution and warehousing services ( you don’t want a garage full of 5000 books and be running to the Post Office for every order ), guidance in editing, quality book design, production expertise and solid marketing. I can’t stress this enough. Publishers want your book to succeed. Remember it’s all about the bottom line for them and sales of your books make a better bottom line. In addition more sales of your book means more credibility for you.

Be prepared for non appropriate deals to come your way from some publishers and have the strength to say no to them. You have no negotiating power if you are not prepared to walk away from a deal. I encourage the first time author to be patient and wait for the right deal, to persevere. It took 7 years to get the right publisher for my first book. It was frustrating at times but I am very pleased I waited for the right publisher to work with. I consider producing a book a partnership with the publisher, a joint effort with mutual benefit.

If you decide to approach publishers here are several key items you need to know to assure your book receives the best possible opportunity to get published.

  • Define your goal with the book.
    What is it you want from the book? Write down your goals think about them and be specific.
  • Select a topic that has a purpose.
    Research is very helpful here. Look at where there are gaps in the medium. Does there need to be more coverage of a certain genre.
  • Select a topic you are passionate about.
    People can feel if you are passionate about your pictures. Passion is conveyed by your demeanor but even more so from your pictures. If you are not passionate about what you are working on stop working and find something you are passionate about to do.
  • Be sure the book engages the audience.
    Tell the story in your voice. Lead don’t follow, but never loose sight of who your audience is or you will loose them.
  • Estimate production costs of photography.
    Be sure you can complete the book before you start. Find funding if needed through grants or corporate sponsorship.
  • Edit.
    Remember you are only as good as your weakest link. A great picture diminishes when in the company of mediocrity.
  • Edit again.
    You never get it perfect the first time.
  • Go ahead and edit a third time.
    And rarely on the second.
  • Create a maquette or book dummy (these are the same thing but “maquette” sounds smarter).
     “Maquette” is French defined as a sculptor’s rough test sculpture done before hitting the marble or casting the bronze. The maquette is very important in bookmaking. It is a rough of the book made prior to publishing. It’s also a very tricky item to get right as you want it to be rough but also enticing. Too finished and the publisher may feel pigeonholed and limited in input. Too loose and they may not be enticed to investigate further. I recommend you share a few pages from the book as a maquette, a “this is what I was thinking” sample and follow up with a color corrected and detailed PDF of just pictures. You may find other avenues better suited to specific publishers. Read the publisher’s submission criteria and adhere to it.
  • Research publishers that are appropriate for your work.
    Like photographers publishers specialize. Fashion, documentary, landscape, reportage, narrative are all genres that some publishers limit themselves to. Be sure the publishers you contact are appropriate for your book. They like knowing you do your research as well.
  • Respectfully approach publishers with the maquette.
    Publishers are dedicated hard working people trying to survive in a dwindling and ever more competitive marketplace. It’s a tough job, be nice to them.
  • Negotiate a favorable contract for all.
    Be sure you are happy with the deal you make. You will live with it. I assure you the publisher will be comfortable with any deal they make. You want a pleasant and honest partnership surrounding your book.
  • Be realistic in negotiations and prepared to walk away.
    What are you getting from the publisher in exchange for all your hard work, original photography financial investment and passion? Be sure they have a finely tuned operation capable of supporting you and your book. Design, production quality, warehousing, distribution, marketing, PR, and payment are the areas you should be concerned with. Ask other authors about the publisher. Bring up these areas when negotiating with the publisher. If you are a first time author it’s a tougher go negotiating.
  • Persevere.
    I doubt the first publisher who sees your book maquette will publish it. Probably not the second, third, fourth, fifth….. You can not let rejection be a reflection upon the merit of your book or more importantly you. There are many publishers and most won’t be right for your book. When your book is rejected politely ask what it that the publisher is looking for. If you see a common denominator from publishers possibly adjust your book to eliminate the problem.

I hope this brief and somewhat opinionated synopsis proves beneficial to those of you wishing to publish a picture book. While extremely difficult, authoring a picture book is a rewarding, satisfying undertaking. Your book can serve as the instrument to inform, elicit response, effect positive social change and open doors for you to continue to do even more with your pictures. Just remember these three words and you’ll be off to a good start: Passion, Purpose and Perseverance.



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Charlotte Dumas @ Silver Eye Center for Photography

unnamedCharlotte Dumas: Anima
Opening Friday, August 8 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

These intensely personal and up-close portraits of draft horses that serve the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, the Army’s oldest active infantry regiment known as “The Old Guard,” reveal a powerful human connection to these honored animals. Using only the natural light that reaches into the stalls, photographer Charlotte Dumas captures the horses as they relax and move towards sleep after a day of work.

Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

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BRAD WILSON @ photo-eye Gallery

Raven2BRAD WILSON –Avian: Selected Works from the Affinity series
through September 13th, 2014

Opening, Artist Reception & Book-signing Friday, August 22nd from 5-7pm

photo-eye Gallery
541 South Guadalupe
Santa Fe, NM 87501

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Brian Rose @ Dillon Gallery

ws003_1985Brian Rose: Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013
through August 15th

Dillon Gallery
555 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001

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Common Ground New Documentary Photography from Scotland & Wales @ Street Level Photoworks

From the series Unsullied and Untarnished. Photograph © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert.

From the series Unsullied and Untarnished. Photograph © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert.

Common Ground
New Documentary Photography from Scotland & Wales
26th August to 19th October 2014

Inspired by notions of ‘home’ and ‘community’, Common Ground brings together new work from two photographic collectives taking an outward-facing view of their respective home countries of Scotland and Wales. Working with diverse themes and ideas associated with distinctive national and cultural visual inspiration, this collective exhibition welds them together into a cohesive narrative, at times overlapping and continuously referencing and complementing each other.

Street Level Photoworks | Trongate 103 | Glasgow | G1 5HD | United Kingdom

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Basically Forever @ Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

Invitation - Exhibition 'Basically Forever' at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography - KMoPA - 20th Anniversary - 01
Basically Forever
9th to 24th August

opening is on 8th August, from 18h30 to 20h00.

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, B1 Gallery
1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo (Ebisu Garden Place)

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Book Review: Jasper Morrison’s The Good Life


The title of this tome, The Good Life, immediately made me think of another work with the same title that I have a special fondness for. It is by Gerald Roscoe and happens to be A Guide to Buddhism for the Westerner. One of the features of buddhism is its focus on right mindfulness. It seems to me that Jasper Morrison’s Perceptions of the Ordinary were put to paper in a spirit of light-hearted mindfulness. And with a great sense of humour.

I feel irresistibly drawn to seemingly ordinary things and situations. For reasons unbeknown to me, they seem to emanate something magical. Hence the appeal of this very nicely done tome. There is however an additional reason: the “rigorous practical thinking and the logic of common sense available to all of us” that can not only be found in the objects that Morrison decided to present but also in his ponderings about these objects.

Let me start with the image on the cover which happens to be the detail of a pic which can be found inside the book and is accompanied by these words: “There are some images which cannot easily be explained and this is one of them! The facts are the following: 1. The pink, pressed cardboard-pulp packaging was originally used for transporting melons. 2. The blue structure is a Corse-Matin newspaper rack. 3. They were noticed together outside a village shop in Corsica. 4. We cannot be sure who placed the melon packaging on the newspaper rack, or why. 5. The resulting composition is a satisfying one.” Looking now once again at this image fills me with affection and puts a big smile on my face.

The first pic shows a log bench outside a railway station restaurant in the Japanese countryside: “It exhibits a determined conceptual rigour, as if its maker said to himself: ‘I’ll make this bench from a single log of wood, 1.5 metres long, without using any screws, and it will be strong enough for an elephant and heavy enough to survive a typhoon.’” Wonderfully said, I thought and felt joyful about Morrison’s playful presentation of what went through his mind.

Jasper Morrison notices what many very probably pay no attention to. And, he gives his discoveries quite some thought by letting his mind wander and wonder. In Porto, for instance, he comes across a small street of shops which offer wooden spoons in all sizes. Outside the Archaeological Museum in Pondicherry, he asks himself whether one of the museum’s staff or a visiting professor of archeoogy has parked his of her bicycle behind a headless buddha sitting on a patch of grass. In the much visited, traditional Japanese village of Shirakawa-go, he spots a former PET bottle now used to display wild flowers, and outside Doha, at Sheikh Faisal’s Museum, he detects ship’s nails and ponders the various acts involving a nail – “hanging a picture, repairing a cupboard, re-fixing a floor board, putting up a calendar.”

Jasper Morrison, born in London in 1959, works as a designer between London, Paris, and Tokyo. He uses his camera, a small Canon Powershot, “for a simple documenting of things I notice.” Over the years he took several thousands pictures and eventually, thanks to the easy visibility a computer affords, “noticed certain patterns within their number. One of these groups of images is of clever solutions to everyday problems solved with modest resources.” Two brilliant examples (Chandelier, Japanese Plumbing) you’ll find below.

I think “The Good Life” to be highly entertaining, philosophical, and inspiring. I’m glad it exists.

Chandelier Copyright@Jasper Morrison, The Good Life, Lars Müller Publishers, 2014

Copyright@Jasper Morrison, The Good Life, Lars Müller Publishers, 2014

Japanese Plumbing Copyright@Jasper Morrison, The Good Life, Lars Müller Publishers, 2014

Japanese Plumbing
Copyright@Jasper Morrison, The Good Life, Lars Müller Publishers, 2014


The Good Life
Perceptions of the Ordinary

by Jasper Morrison
Lars Müller Publishers, Zurich 2014
For more information and to purchase the book:

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On Making and Publishing a Book, For Photographers – Part 1


6257-Todd :Lead Pressman of Worzalla Book Makers holding press sheet from “For Love and Money”

“Passion and Purpose” – The credo put forth by Robert Frank as the necessary ingredients to creating successful and meaningful photography. In any endeavor it would be impossible to attain true success without Passion and Purpose. I would add to that another, “Perseverance”. Many photographers exhibit either passion, purpose or perseverance but the ones that succeed exhibit all three.

To create a successful photography book your work must have a purpose, it must communicate and strike a chord with the audience. This will be impossible if you are not passionate about your pictures and it will not get done if you can not persevere through some failure. Good work requires one to take risks and everyone who takes risks occasionally fails, however those failures can and will make you stronger if you allow them to.

I strongly recommend you research the work which has preceded you. Look at the masters’ books and then look some more. Determine what it is about these books that makes them successful. You’ll see lots of passion on those pages, the work will have a purpose and clearly exhibit such. It will strike a chord with the viewer and hopefully initiate a creative or intellectual a response from them. If you wish to have some of that limited shelf space allotted picture books then your work must elicit a strong response.

Assuming you have a strong body of work it needs to be edited into a stronger body of work to meet this publishing criteria. Editing is a very important component to creating a cohesive and strong book. It is also a very difficult process. We all know how hard it is to toss a picture we love because it just doesn’t fit. We all become infatuated with the newness of recent pictures or those that proved technically difficult. Unfortunately no one cares how hard it was technically for you to complete, or how fresh the picture is to you. It is the content that matters and good editing will assure that your content is as strong as it can be.

Many of us tend to work in a vacuum, focused on the task at hand while completing a series of pictures. Once photography is completed it is very helpful to get a second or even third opinion on the book edit. You may find you need to create some new pictures to round out the book. I appreciate working with a good picture editor and find that their contribution manifests itself in the success of the book. If you are serious about your project I encourage you to solicit the help of an experienced picture editor working in your genre.

Keeping the work as simple and honest as possible works best. This does not mean you need to make simple pictures but rather should strive to eliminate any element that does not contribute to the purpose of the picture and subsequently also the book. Adhere to the credo that you are only as good as your weakest link. Show less but stronger pictures that engage the audience, don’t over tell the story. Leave a little open to interpretation for the audience to connect with.

Work with the best designer you can and be sure they are as passionate about the book as you are. It’s their work on those pages that will show yours in the best light possible. I like simple design. I adhere to the Bauhaus principle of “less is more”. I believe good design is unobtrusive and efficient but also compelling. Remember you are making a picture book and it is about the pictures. No amount of flashy design can mask poor picture content.

If income is the only goal you desire from your book, invest the money and time elsewhere. The actual financial return pales when compared to other investments you can make. In my workshops and seminars I break down the associated costs of book making, the business of publishing and the ways you can use your book to help generate a livelihood.

The decision to self publish or work with a publisher can only be made by you. It’s your book and your career. The same goes for ebook vs ink-book. The ebook has made it easy for anyone to put together a “book” and I use the ebook format as an editing tool. It helps to see content in book order and adjust/edit accordingly. While I am not affiliated with any companies I find the new version of Lightroom® 5 to be very accommodating in this regard. If you are not familiar with the Lightroom® book options you may wish to investigate it.

Self published books and those created by “vanity” presses can be excellent promotional pieces for the photographer, but only if done very well. Should you be fortunate enough to self publish a best selling book your profits will be substantially better. You may actually recoup all the original photography and book production expenses and break even. That is a big “IF” however, and quite hard to almost impossible to do with out a publishers expertise behind it.

Another advantage to self publishing, if you view it as such, is that you will have complete control over the edit, design, production specs, warehousing, distribution, marketing and PR. However you will also have the expenses and responsibilities associated with the above.

Publishing is a business. Businesses need to turn a profit and while some publishers are quite passionate about their titles and authors they never loose sight of the bottom line. This is responsible business practice and necessary for success. A first time author is a big risk. Picture books present even more risk, as they are very expensive to produce. Publishing is a tough business and getting less profitable, therefore the publisher’s risk allowance is diminishing. Sometimes your only option may be to self-publish.

Next week in Part 2 I will address making the pitch and working with a publisher.

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