Every time I hear a photographer state, “I’m a natural light photographer”, it can carry a suggestion that they are a more honest type of photographer, better attuned to reality, and purer in motive. What I hear is, “I haven’t learned to use my flash.” This may sound harsh but I can’t help it; right or wrong, I want to call them out on it. It is time to question why natural light shooting has, in many circles, become the more virtuous form of photography.
I guess I’ve always been different; I’ve never really yearned for a big studio space. As a freelance photographer, the majority of my clients require that I come to their location and shoot on-site. I have a strict organizational-mobile system to transport all my equipment which includes over 8 strobes, 2 scrims and a plethora of staging props and modifiers. I’m asked quite often about my studio and where I shoot all these incredible portraits and dramatic fashion editorials. The answer is easy; my living room.
Everything starts from nothing. Thousands dream of being full time photographers, but knowing how to start a business - and how to grow it - are really tricky parts of a complex equation. Emily Soto today celebrates 4 years of full time professional photography. In this exclusive interview, she shares insights on how she has grown her business, as well as the struggles, hardships and rewards she's encountered along the way. If you're curious about what it takes to make it as a successful photographer today, this might just provide the answers you've been looking for.
At the Photo Plus Expo a couple months ago in New York, a new photo management software solution was introduced to much fanfare: Mylio. Mylio aims to solve a lot of problems that other companies seemed to be floundering around. It would give us complete access to our images no matter what platform we were on, and would regularly back them up across platforms and in the cloud or through whatever system you were currently working. It also brought something else to the table that immediately caught my interest: an in-house, custom built raw editor that worked on iPad, iPhone and desktop computers.
Let's face it, it is about to be 2015. As in, 15 years after the change to the new millennium. We are firmly in what we used to call "the future" when I was a kid, and technology is overwhelming us with brutal amazingness every couple of weeks. The youth of today have no idea what life is like sans smartphones (read: access to almost every piece of information in the world at any time in your pocket) or social media platforms. To them, life is one big pile of over shared, overseen and overly celebrated schlock mixed in with useful bits of knowledge, and it is all taken for granted. The digital world isn't coming, it is here, and has been. So who in the right mind gives a crap about a printed photograph anymore?
People often forget that all successful photographers started from the bottom. This knowledge should be an aspiring photographer's motivation that fuels every action and re-touch. Each person has the ability to exceed beyond expectations; to set goals and reach them. In the future, you may look back at your work with embarrassment. Remembering where you started from should be a source of pride. The growth of 20 popular photographers in their retouching skills might be the greatest source of inspiration.
A new photo series on display at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts explores the handful of countries that have declared sovereignty that no one knows about. In his “Lands in Limbo” project, photographer Narayan Mahon documents the seemingly non-existent countries of Abkhazia, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, Somaliland, and Northern Cyprus, all share one thing in common - the lack of international recognition. In many cases, he was surprised to find that many of them actually functioned better than he thought. “It’s not chaos. It’s not lawless,” he tells Slate.
These days it's hard to come by a fashion shoot that's not shot with a digital camera. That's why when Fstoppers discovered on a Facebook Film Shooters group that Indonesian based photographers Wirawan Sanjaya and partner Gaillard Mathieu had convinced the editors at Bazaar Magazine to allow him to shoot the entire editorial on film, we just had to reach out! The stakes were high, but his results were stunning.
Artificial lighting can be overwhelming, there are thousands of options to modify one single light source and there are dozens of companies that claim they have the best product and best bang for your buck. Regardless, photography equipment is expensive and I know I'd rather not waste money on a gimmick product when the same result could be achieved with just the right strobe placement or accessory.
Allow me to state that for the record before we dive in here, gear does not make the photographer. A talented artist can make an image with whatever falls into their palm, but for those of us who have the luxury of choice, be it the pocket sized Ricoh dangling from Moriyama's wrist, or Crewdson's cherrywood 8x10, a powerful image is about the framing of a moment, the machine it is seen through only serves simplify and streamline the process.
Reviewing our old photographic work can be a little daunting. As styles change and skills improve, we start to notice what was once a hero image is now sorely lacking in quality and perhaps even embarrassing to look at. I propose that it is a good thing if you hate your old photographs because it could be a sign that your taste is improving. Having a refined visual taste is arguably one of the most important factors to developing as a photographer. It guides all our creative and technical decisions, but it is also one of the most elusive qualities to develop.
While it’s a part of life most people try to avoid, for her latest project, Danish photographer Cathrine Ertmann decided to put death right in the spotlight. “About Dying,” a photo essay she created in collaboration with journalist Lise Hornung, takes on the subject of immortality in an anonymous and universal tone rather than through the stories of the specific subjects she photographed. In a sense, by doing this, it comfortably helps bring the viewer much closer to the intimacy of their own fates.
Each year, TIME Magazine picks and highlights the best photography books of the 12 months prior. This year, they’ve put a special focus on the growing trend of bucking the traditional publishing system as many of their choices fall in the realm of self-publishing and self-promotion. This was made most evident when many of TIME’s editors picked the same book for the top spot, Magnum Photographer Peter van Agtmael’s self-published Disco Night September 11, an often brutal look at America post-September 11.
You never know what’s going to happen in New York. Last week, photographic gold was struck in Times Square in the deep cavernous archives inside the Conde Nast building. Two thousand prints shot by Edward Steichen, one of 20th Century’s most influential photographers, were found after lying hidden for over eighty years. The story behind them, and of Steichen’s rise to photographic fame and acclaim, are almost too unbelievable to be true.