Giving Thanks with Food
Traditionally, the Thanksgiving feast is an opportunity to give thanks for the bounty of food, bestowed by a successful summer and fall harvest.
Given however that most people don't hunt or grow their own food these days, it just becomes a beautiful ceremony - a chance to gather around the table with family, friends and loved ones, and share some good chow.
If you're lucky like me though, and accidentally surround yourself with foodies who cook up the perfect storm of dishes, it becomes an opportunity not just to feast the stomach, but also the eyes...
Labels: Bend Oregon photographer, Bend photographer, editorial photographer Bend Oregon, food images, food photographer Bend OR, food photographer San Francisco CA
TIME, Ice and Equilibrium
I think my editor at TIME Magazine has some sort of special radar. I may not talk to her for eons, but she seems to know exactly when I'm either gone
on vacation, or when I'm about to
leave on vacation.
Point in case: last week, I was scrambling to get my work organized in order to leave on a 10 day trip to California. Tuesday was a day of solid meetings, and I had a 2-hour shoot scheduled for Wednesday at 10am. So who calls me on Tuesday afternoon with an assignment, completely out of the blue? My TIME editor. Just like she did last time
Now - alert readers will note here that my bread and butter consists of architectural
, and product
photography. To spice things up though and keep it lively, there's the occasional editorial/corporate portrait
. But what really trips my trigger (literally) is shooting an editorial
- telling or illustrating a story with my camera.
So doing the occasional shoot for TIME, Canoe & Kayak, or some other magazine is always fun. Yet this particular assignment was different. No heads-up to the subject. No fuzzy, happy "let's make this look good" approach. No. This was going to be complete clandestine. A "no comment" shoot. My instructions were *not to be seen*, and not to talk to anybody.
The target? Mount Bachelor Academy, about 20 miles east of Prineville.
The private school had been recently in the news
about the State investigating possible abuses. TIME was picking up on that, but because the story was going to be negative, they couldn't ask for PR images from the school. So they called me.
The deadline was tighter than usual - less than 24 hours. As I had already scheduled that other shoot (which was impossible to postpone due to a unique subject unavailability), I decided to get up at 5am and drive the hour and a half to the location in order to be able to return to Bend in time for my 10am.
April in Oregon can be unpredictable however. As it turned out, it had snowed the night before. The road froze, coating the tarmac with a 1/4 inch of black ice. Which literally turned the surface into an *ice rink*. I got only a few miles past Prineville before I had to turn around - or risk breaking my neck.
A quick call to my editor later, she agreed to postpone the deadline to the early evening so I could go back in the afternoon (and after the ice had melted off the road).
So I drove back to Bend, did my other shoot, then returned to Prineville in the afternoon. The road was clear now. Thanks to Google Maps/Earth, I knew exactly what to expect from the location: a big, semi-fenced compound with several buildings, situated clear up against a deserted stretch of highway, high up in the Ochoco National Forest. No real way to sneak up and carefully compose a shot. Oh, well. Drive-by shooting it was then.
Hours later I delivered the finished shots to my editor. She wrote: "Success! This is better than expected." Thursday morning I delivered high-res. Friday, the story ran
High pressure deadline.
As much as I love being able to take my time styling, tweaking, and lighting my photo subjects, and through the resulting images help my clients gain new business - I have to admit, the editorial way of working has its appeals too. There's a certain soul satisfaction in contributing to a story that might alter someone's life, change someone's mind about a topic. Especially when you know that millions of people will read it.
What it boils down to for me however is balance
- keeping my interest in the craft fresh, knowing that I can tackle any challenge that presents itself, and maintaining that equilibrium that gets me up out of bed every morning, ready to shot the next big challenge.
I love my job.
Labels: architectural photographer Bend Oregon, Bend Oregon photographer, Bend photographer, Central Oregon photographer, editorial photographer Bend Oregon, Editorial Photography
Know Your Rights (And Responsibilities) - Vol. 1
Over the years of working as a professional photographer, I've come to realize that at least 50 percent of my job consists of educating and guiding my clients through the confusing labyrinth that is the photography industry.
So I thought I'd share a recent story as example for clients and photographers alike. Note: names have been replaced by generics for reasons that will become obvious shortly. In summer of 2007, I was hired by Client A to photograph a building. The following October, the occupant of the building (let's call him Client B) requested to license three of the images from the shoot for their own advertising uses. The person I was dealing with was billing himself both as the marketing contact and in-house photographer.
A 1-one year license was issued for the 3 images. As part of my standard contract, it was stated clearly that a byline (a small copyright notice usually next to the image or somewhere on the page) needed to appear in conjunction with any website usage. Given that my Client B contact was a photographer himself, I trusted that he would observe the rules of the contract, and didn't bother checking up on them.
A few weeks ago, Client A alerted me that Client B had contacted them, asking to obtain a (free) CD from their firm, featuring all the images from the original shoot, for use on a new website. Client A (whose marketing department is incredibly knowledgeable and respectful, and has always adhered to all licensing rules) instead referred Client B back to me.
Realizing that they were overdue on their license anyway, I searched their website to see if they were still using my images. As it turned out, they were indeed featuring one of my images in both their website header's 5-image rotation, and on their 'Contact Us' page. I politely emailed Client B, offering to renew their license at a reduced price.
They responded with "no, we don't want to pay for outside photography anymore. We will take your image down." I told Client B that was fine, but that they still owed licensing fees from last October until now. We went back and forth a couple of times, solidifying which image exactly the license was going to refer to. All seemed well.
Within the span of only half an hour after that, Client B emailed me with the following statement: "Actually, *I* took that picture. There used to be one similar, but I got rid of that one and took my own."
I was befuddled. How could he claim that? We had just gone through confirming the image. At which point I realized that I hadn't seen that required byline on their site anywhere, which of course made it easier for them to deny my copyright.
So I went back to their site to take another look. As I hit 'Refresh', I found that the image had been erased, both in the header rotation and on the contact page. So now there was no more trace of my image on their site - ergo, no way for me to prove that they should have to pay up. Right?
Wrong. Enter ... Google Cache. In order to be able to serve pages that may have gone offline or changed, Google keeps a copy of every website as a cached version, usually about a week or so old.
So I retrieved the cache, took a screen shot of the contact page, and attached it to my response email as a jpeg. I also added a url to the same image in my online portfolio. The proof was undeniable now - right down to the matching cloud formation in the background. I wrote that I disagreed with his statement, and cited the screen shot and portfolio link as proof that the image had been indeed mine. In addition, I pointed out, my copyright was nowhere to be found, neither live nor cached.
The silence in response was deafening. I decided to make it easy on him, and sent him an invoice. It contained the license fee, and a penalty for omitting my copyright.
The following morning, a meek one-liner: "I will put a check into the mail today." Not a word more. Two days later, an envelope with the payment showed up in my mail box.
So what is the moral of the story?
In my trade, I know that creating and maintaining trust and good relationships with my customers is absolutely paramount - and not just to assure repeat business. It's simply a matter of good practices. I'm up front with my fees, have a detailed and easy-to-understand standard contract, and am always available to answer any questions that might pop up.
In return, I expect that the client shows me the courtesy of being respectful and professional towards the service and images I deliver to them, and that they are considerate when it comes to my copyright and the specifics of the mutually-agreed upon contract.
So if you're a photography buyer - don't be afraid to ask your photographer questions about any area of licensing, or the industry in general. We are always happy to explain in an effort to avoid confusion and costly misunderstandings later.
And if you're a photographer - it's tempting to abandon your rights in this economy in order to maintain good relations with a client. But please remember that not only aren't you doing yourself any favors - you are also hurting your peers, the industry as a whole, and in the end your client, by not making sure that your services, products and rights are assigned their proper value and protection.
In the end - who is going to produce those high-quality, custom images for our clients if we photographers are unable to make a living and have to abandon our profession?
Labels: Bend Oregon photographer, Bend photographer, Central Oregon photographer, client education, licensing rights, photographer advocacy, photography industry
On Book Publishing - Vol. 2
A week ago, I wrote about the perils and joys of selling your images for book projects
In volume 2, it's pretty much all about the joys. Because this time, it didn't take very long - and the image wasn't for some far-away Midwest book publisher, but rather for a friend who lives in my own town.
I had had conversations with Stan about his book before. It sounded like an intriguing story
, and I was thrilled when he called me last December to tell me he was ready to publish. All's he needed now was a fitting cover image.
So I went over to his and his wife Rika's house, tripod and camera in tow - and as it turned out, Stan had a painting of the city of Portland he himself had painted many years ago that looked perfect in layout and context.
So here's the evolution:
I shot the painting ...
... cropped it, cleaned it up a tad, then sent the file to the graphic designer, who turned it into this:
And so for the second time in only a few weeks, I was able to hold a book in my hands I had contributed imagery to. How cool.
Labels: Bend, Bend Oregon photographer, Bend photographer, book publishing, books, Central Oregon photographer, product photography
Copyright and Your Image on Facebook
I admit - when I signed up for Facebook
While this all may seem like legalese to most people, to me, it's not. I've read, edited, and written enough legal contracts for the photo industry over the past 12 years that verbiage like this sends shivers down my spine (and those who know me, also know that photographer advocacy is a cause close to my heart).
Because in plain English - the second you upload an image to Facebook, they'll forever have a copy of it, and they'll also forever be able to use it. Because, as they claim, you've granted them a full and irrevocable license to your image, and they are from now on able to use it, modify it, give it away and - yes - license it to a third party. (Take a deep breath now, and ask yourself: why would they want to, and what for exactly, if there was no exchange of money?)
Naturally, Facebook has already caught a lot of flack for these terms. Founder Mark Zuckerberg justifies them like this in his response
: "When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people they've asked us to share it with. Without this license, we couldn't help people share that information."
Part of me understands that - another part of me cringes at the mere thought of opening myself up to yet another way my images could potentially be abused. And yet another part of me knows that it's a spectacularly difficult situation people don't usually have the bandwidth or knowledge to truly grasp, and therefore their initial reaction is to simply cry wolf.
? Here's what I found:11. Content license from you11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
11.2 You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.
11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.
Hm. Sounds an awful lot like Facebook's license, no?
Taking a step back, it occurred to me that too often do we take the Internet and its vast resources for granted. When we use Facebook or Google, we don't think about the enormous amounts of time, effort, and money it takes to run these companies and sites. Or that we can access their services 24/7, from literally anywhere - FOR FREE.
For us pro photographers that means: having our websites show up in Google, or being able to upload our portfolios to Facebook (and share them with our friends, peers, clients) - which (let's be honest) gives us a whole new (and huge) channel of marketing. FOR FREE.
Should we have to trade the potential of having our images abused by a company such as Facebook or Google for the opportunity to display (and market) our services? Maybe not. We certainly have a choice. We can choose not to put our images out there, based on the rationale that if nobody can see them, nobody can abuse them. But if we don't put them out there, we also forever stay in the stone age with our businesses, doomed to having forever missed the train to the digital age. I, for one, readily acknowledge that over the past few years, the main bulk of my business has been generated by my website, its vast portfolio - and its excellent Google rating.
In his note, Zuckerberg talks about respect and trust. How do we know Facebook won't turn to the dark side one day, and start to utilize that trust (and that licensing agreement) for their own profit? We don't. We can only trust that they won't.
In the meantime however - we can be responsible digital citizens, protect our content as best as we can (by keeping your FB privacy settings restricted to only your friends, or watermarking all of the images on our website), and hope that FB does the right thing.
In the same meantime - let's not forget that we all reap the rewards of an open web of connections, such as the Internet or Facebook, to promote our businesses and help us earn a living.Update: this post was originally published on Facebook, where it generated some interesting feedback links. I thought I should add them here to further the discussion and let other voices speak as well: Photo Business ForumAPhotoEditor.comSportsshooter.comUsePlus.com
Labels: Bend Oregon photographer, Facebook, photographer advocacy, photography
On Book Publishing
Book publishing can sometimes be such a sluggish venture. In this impatient age of instant gratification - fueled by the net, Facebook, Myspace and, yes, blogging - the thought of selling an image for a project that's not going to come into existence until 6 or 8 months later, can be a trying thing.
Luckily, I have plenty of experience in the field, having worked for four years in PR and marketing for a technical book publisher
. I know that from the time of idea conception (ie. sitting around with your buddies, brain storming over a glass of beer) to the proud and satisfying moment of actually pulling the finished book off the store shelf, it can be a long and rocky path - littered with endless rewrites, changes of direction, fights over cover design, marketing snafus, wheelin' and dealin' with retail outlets... and so on.
That's why when I sold a few images for a how-to book on concrete
to a client last Spring, I literally forgot all about it. Right after I cashed the check, anyway...
A few weeks ago though, while organizing my tax stuff, I suddenly remembered... that's right ... the book was supposed to publish last Fall! And sure enough - a quick check on the website confirmed it - it was out! Whoohoo!
A quick reminder email to my awesome editor, and a comp copy was at my doorstep two days later too.
Truly - there's hardly anything more satisfying than leafing through a book, seeing your images printed in it, and knowing that someone will assign space for it on their bookshelf for years to come.
Labels: architectural photography, architecture, Bend, Bend Oregon photographer, Bend photographer, book publishing, books, Central Oregon photographer, concrete, interior architectural photography
New Year's Resolutions
One of my biggest and most stout resolutions this fine new year will be to EAT LESS
, eat more modestly, and consume food with greater attention paid to nutrition and calories.
For example, my breakfasts will likely look like this every day (eggs = protein. protein = good):
Something like this for lunch will probably address my nutritional needs (I see fiber in there! I swear I do...), in conjunction with also looking pretty:
And me thinks that a serving of protein such as this will be appropriate for my dinners. Oh, yes, it will.
In closing: Thanks for humoring me
. I'll go back now to gnawing on that side of bacon. Mmmmm. Bacon. Dishes created by the talented and fabulous Chef Adair and photographed by yours truly.
Labels: Bend Oregon photographer, Bend photographer, Central Oregon photographer, commercial photographer Bend Oregon, food, food images, food photographer Bend OR, food photography
Mmmmm - Beer. --- Vol. 2 (with Food)
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote
about the fun I had shooting the Deschutes Brewery's
annual Fresh Hop Tasting
Last Saturday, I went back to the fabulous Mountain Room. This time to get some shots for the brewery as they were getting ready to host a fundraiser for the Bethlehem Inn
. The venue had gone from casual to elegant in a snap...
...and the food accompanying the affair was equally sophisticated: Entree One - Fresh Pacific Prawns Crusted with Quinoa, Served with Causa Morada & Sofrito. By Hola!Entree Two - Rack of Lamb, Stuffed with Spinach, Feta & Fennel. Served with Lemon-Oregano Roasted Potatoes and Wilted Chard. By Deschutes Brewery. Paired with Jubel Ale.Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramelized Bananas and Toffee, by Jody Denton @ Merenda/Deep
And then there was beer too.
Need I say more?
Oh - and in case you haven't seen it: check out the brewery's rockin' new website!
are particularly cool. Way to go, DB!
Labels: beer, Bend, Bend Oregon photographer, Bend photographer, commercial photographer Bend Oregon, Deschutes Brewery, food, food images, food photographer Bend OR, food photography, product photography
I'm sure Homer Simpson would have thought he'd died and gone to heaven - if he'd only
taken time out of his cartoon life to attend Deschutes Brewery's
annual Fresh Hop Tasting
in their beautiful Mountain Room.
Indeed, the beer flowed free and strong, and Homer would have been quite certainly delirious, trying to decide which to grab first: the Mt. Angel Fresh Hop Stock Ale
or the Harvest Moon Fresh Hop Strong Pale Ale
? Or maybe the Fairweather Fresh Hop Golden Ale
Incidentally, Deschutes Brewery hired me to shoot the event and venue
that evening, so while I can provide visuals, Jon over at The Brew Site
has a far more educated and ind-depth review
of the affair than I'd ever be able to conjure up.
Did I mention though that the desserts rocked too?
Labels: beer, Bend, Bend Oregon photographer, Central Oregon photographer, Deschutes Brewery, drink photography, Editorial Photography, Event Photography, food photography, product photography
Diamond of the Kitchen
One of the finest, most highly-priced ingredients in cooking: the Black Truffle
A member of the fungi family, the truffle reveals its subtle nutty flavor best when thinly sliced. On a recent photo shoot for Chef Adair
, I had the pleasure of shooting the fabulous truffle and letting a piece melt on my tongue.
More information about the truffle and its legendary qualities right here on Wikipedia
Labels: Bend Oregon photographer, Bend photographer, commercial photographer Bend Oregon, food, food images, food photographer Bend OR, food photographer San Francisco CA, food photography
Sometimes, in my line of work, it happens that I have to wrestle beasts, brutes and monsters. And I'm not just talking about a particularly finicky photo editor or client...
And so it was then last week, that I got to work with a special kind of monster. It had a purple tongue. And scaly skin. And claws. In short - it was the newest addition to the wildlife area of the Bend High Desert Museum
: the Gila Monster.
Wikipedia generously provides us with the following account (and so much more
) about the charming qualities of above creature: The gila monster (pronounced "HEE-la") is a species of venomous lizard native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is a heavy, slow moving lizard, up to 60 cm (2 feet) long, and is the largest lizard native to the USA.
Unlike snakes which use hollow upper teeth (fangs), the Gila monster injects venom into its victim through grooves in the teeth of its lower jaw. The teeth are loosely anchored, which allows them to be broken off and replaced throughout their lives. The Gila monster produces only small quantities of its neurotoxic venom, which is secreted into the lizard's saliva. By chewing its prey, however, it tries to put as much of the venom into the bloodstream of its victim as possible. The Gila monster's bite is normally not fatal to humans (there are no confirmed reports of fatalities), but it can bite quickly and holds on tenaciously.
From the kind and most informative creature wrestler at the museum (a brave soul who stood in the terrarium only inches from the lizard and tried to coerce it into posing for my camera for a full hour), I learned that the Gila monster is shy and spends 98% of its life underground. Which I suppose explained why it apparently didn't like my lights too much and - fussy as it was - constantly tried to crawl into cracks and holes in the exhibit.
The lizard also showed off an incredible gift for climbing and moved at surprising speeds on the slick rock. Again, the handler related that should one come across one of these lizards in the wild (unlikely, but it's been known to have happen), one should just back away slowly - and quietly hope that the lizard may be too full from a recent feast of mice and other small animals to be in the mood to chase after you.
Knowing all that, I was pretty happy that I even got the shots I did
- without having had to sacrifice any small animals, handlers, or even editors.
I think the museum was overjoyed too.
Labels: Bend Oregon photographer, editorial photographer Bend Oregon, Editorial Photography
Why I Love Food Photography
Freshly back from my trip to chocolate-infused Switzerland, I got the opportunity to shoot some really yummy sweet treats during an event at Balay in downtown Bend.
They were tiny delicate cups of chocolate, filled with silky mousse. And lush, juicy strawberries, dipped in dark chocolate and decorated to look like tuxedos. And did I mention the heart-shaped truffles?
And yes - after I shot them, I ate them
(thank you to Sweet Tooth
for letting me take some home too. They didn't last very long ...).
Being Swiss, I'm very picky about my chocolate. But this stuff rocked. And it reminded me of why I love to shoot food. Because I get to eat it afterwards.
Labels: Bend Oregon photographer, chocolate, commercial photographer Bend Oregon, Editorial Photography, food, food images, food photographer Bend OR, food photography, photography
Win One of 10 Holga Cameras and Get Creative!
Slideluck Potshow in the NYT
For the past two years
, I have been co-organizing the Bend Slideluck Potshow
writer Matt Preusch. He brought the concept with him when he moved to Bend from Seattle, where his friend Casey Kelbaugh
had casually started the gatherings in 2000.
Over those years, the Slideluck Potshow concept took off like wildfire - culminating with a piece in the New York Times today
. Slideluck Potshow in NYC - photography Michael Nagle for The New York Times
And Casey writes: As we announced at the show, there are several Slidelucks coming up, both nationally and internationally. Alys Kenny and I will be going to Europe for a month to launch SLPS in five European cities. In each place, we will be looking for artists, volunteers, participants, and in the case of London and Berlin, spaces. If you know people in any of the cities listed below, please feel free to connect them with us as we would like to make each show as rich and diverse as possible.
March 30th: Seattle
April 14th: London (in conjunction with the VII seminar)
April 21st: Madrid
April 26th: Copenhagen
April 28th: Berlin (over April2006Berlin gallery weekend)
May 5th: Milan
May 19th: Minneapolis
June 29th: Los Angeles
Also in the works are San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, DC, Portland, Santa Fe, Milwaukee, Boston, Mexico City, Art Basel Miami and New York City public high schools. It is amazing to consider what this non-profit might be able to accomplish with proper funding. In each of these places, we are seeking to present the work of artists working in that community for that community.
Yay to our international brethren! The most recent Bend SLPS was last Friday, but for anybody interested in attending the next Slideluck Potshow in Bend in May, email me
and I'll put you on the announce list.
Labels: Bend Oregon photographer, photography, Slideluck Potshow
A Luscious Award
Last Saturday night, the annual Drake Awards
were held at the Tower Theatre in Bend, Oregon. The event is put on by the Advertising Federation of Central Oregon
and honors the best of last year's creative efforts in the advertising arena.
While I had entered the Obsidian Stock
website for my own company (props for the kickass design go to my biz partner and designer Lance Hardy
), another one of my photographic projects ended up winning a Silver Addy for best "Consumer Website" in the Interactive Media section: the Tigerlily Home
Yay! Good job, Kristi
- and congrats to Mindy
What's really rewarding for myself is that after shooting product for the site in many, many sessions over the span of last year
, Mindy ended up with a website that is not only visually interesting and functional, but also exudes a luscious, tropical feel that perfectly fits the wares she sells. Kinda like browsing through a Thai market - only that it's located online (and downtown Bend)...
Labels: Bend Oregon photographer, commercial photographer Bend Oregon, product photographer Bend Oregon, product photography
Mt. Bachelor Village Lodge Reborn
Anybody who remembers Mt. Bachelor's West Village Lodge
two years ago, and for some unknown reason hasn't been back since (uhmmm - me? because I don't ski?) - get ready for a pleasant surprise:
That's right - the interior of the lodge (which previously had a bit of a strong nolstalgic 70s feel to it ...) has been completely updated. Large, modern steel beams now rule the spaces, rugged floor tiles add color and texture everywhere, and open, light areas invite to linger, rest, snack or warm up with a drink.
The formerly cramped and lackluster bar area has been completely transformed into a hip, inviting space with neon signs, Bachelor-branded chairs and lots of open room.
And in a nod to the environment and green building, modular panels out of recycled wood now protect the walls - and once they are banged up pretty good by the crowds, they can be easily replaced with new ones (as can the floor tiles).
Overall - a very cool remodel. And a fun shoot too.
Labels: architectural photographer Bend Oregon, architectural photography, architecture, Bend Oregon photographer, commercial photographer Bend Oregon, Mt. Bachelor, photography