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Tag Archives: Business
The New Barrier to Entry?
We start off with Rick trying to dial back his (seemingly) hatred of the French but then he turns his attention to the Basque region of Spain. But, hey, he does an Irish friend. If you’re familiar with the other podcasts that Tony is involved in, you’ve gotta be shocked that he is the voice of reason and sanity on Polarizing Images!
And don’t forget the new segment! Send us the name of a drink via our Twitter account – @PolarizingImage – and we’ll have Rick drink it through a Red Vine straw. Remember to tag the Tweet with #RedVineDrink.
Anyway, lots of good stuff in this episode once you get past our usual goofiness (A.K.A. the reason you keep coming back). Topics today include:
- Do we really expect Tony to do any heavy-lifting? *Can* he?
- If E&J is good enough for us, it’s good enough for hillbillies. Let’s just call it “domestic”… I wonder if Rick is blind yet?
- With the cost of software, does that make it a barrier to entry? How about the learning curve of software?
- Does keeping on top of software updates prevent the guys from updating their gear?
- Is there a perfect tool or piece of software?
- How terrible or lazy are actions and filters? (hint: Rob has changed his opinion)
Even just 20 years ago, it was quality camera gear that posed the greatest barrier of entry to being a professional photographer. You would never have dreamed about becoming a wedding photographer with “just” a 35mm camera and a couple of inexpensive zoom lenses. Today? Different story! But you need something for post production. Whether you’re buying high end applications like Photoshop (still the “gold standard”), paying less for a more appropriate version of Light Room, or stand alone apps and filters, your collection and library of software is going to grow and, regardless of how much you spend (or don’t) it all takes time to learn. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the time required to hone your craft as a photographer!
Starting with our photographer, we look at Italian photojournalist Clay McLachlan. Want to see how a working (and successful) photojournalist sets up a seemingly easy food shot? Check out this behind the scenes video called Blue Bottle.
As an homage to Rick’s father, Rick chose the German-American architect, Helmut Jahn. Jahn was the architect behind the United Airline’s terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. And yes, at one time, O’Hare was an example of modern architecture. Chicago is a city filled with architectural history and relevance but, beyond that, a city of artistic importance. Anyone who wants to be a travel or architectural photographer will, at some point, need to travel to Chicago and see the works of influential designers such as Jahn.
Photography: You Ready to Go Pro?
Holy shit, this sucker is one long show. Two freaking hours! Anyway, this show is based on a question that Rick and I (Rob) get on a regular basis. It usually goes something like “I’ve been shooting for a while and I get lots of positive comments on my photography and now I’d like to start charging. Am I ready?”
It’s a tough question. Hell, we don’t mind answering it and for sure as shit’s sake we’ve been there, too. Rick and I are certainly tainted by their own experience, having been through the school of hard knocks, and would love to tell everyone asking this question to hang tight for a bit. But we also know that they won’t, so we try to talk about what we wish we had known and what we think every new photography professional needs to know before diving in. Here’s a hint, it’s a business so treat it like one!
Just as we were wrapping up the show, Rick asks an “innocent question” and then he and Tony start arguing for another damn half hour while I played Words with Friends. I think, dear listeners, that if you can make it through to the end of the show, you’re going to tilt on either what Rick says or what Tony says!
Since wedding photography is often the attempted path into professional photography, we look at one of the best wedding
photographers in the country, Chicago-based David Wittig. David’s photography shows his depth of experience with the wedding niche, an ability to connect with clients, and an ability to shoot great photographs that are unique to his style. If you’re thinking that wedding photography is an area you might want to get into, David Wittig is a photographer you need to be aware of.
Tony, never wanting to do anything normal, chose Adrian Newey as this episode’s artist. Newey designs Formula 1 race cars. They’re pieces of beauty and he creates game-changing designs.
Photography? No, really, we do talk about it eventually! As usual, the guys take the long way around to getting on topic as we have our usual discussion about what we’re drinking, why Rick will eventually play all seven dwarfs, whether Rob or Tony has the larger breasts and, well, you know by now…
Oh, and thanks to Mr. Sadie Breeze for preventing brain damage.
Photography, Dinosaurs, and When You Won’t Change
After the last episode’s emotional tirade about whether or not the photography industry still needs a traditional sales force, things come down in this second part. Instead, we talk about whether the film shooters and even the dSLR users today are being left behind by the advances of technology. Is there still a place for traditional print portraits? Is there still room for the fine artists? How about the RAW vs JPG argument: is that argument going to be irrelevant in the near future? And what about those guys who insist on only selling prints and not providing CDs? That’s an issue we need to deal with.
Let’s face it, photography is indeed changing and, as much as we want to believe differently, we don’t have the actual answers about what will still be viable five years from now. But one thing is clear – if you’re not going to be a visionary in photography then you’ll end up a dinosaur and, historically, we now how that ends.
Artists of the Fortnight
Tony points us toward the amazing photography of Dennis Hopper. Sadly, Dennis is no longer with us but his work in photography remains with us. Rob believes that actors often make great photographers because they live their lives being creative. Regardless of why, Hopper himself has a body of work that is poignant and strong. Anybody who wants to get into the fine art side of portrait photography would do well to take a good long look at Dennis Hopper’s work.
For our artist, we look at the well-known Rembrandt. If there was ever a true Renaissance Man, Rembrandt was it. Schooled in math, science, art, literature and history, Rembrandt used that learning to develop a style of portraiture known for its sharpness and, of course, it’s lighting.
Don’t forget – Our Photography Book Review
Head on over to www.PolarizingImages.com now and take part in our book discussion, The Art of Photography!
Elisha and Anne: are you available next week?
Tony is out sick for this episode and it’s left to Rick and Rob to record the show. Listen to what happens when two guys with attention deficit issues try to remain focused on a conversation. Witness for yourself Rob’s amazing talent of taking 5 minutes to set up a 5 second answer or Rick giving an awesome answer that has nothing to do with the question.
It’s a rather personal show, with R² (that’s shorthand for Rick and Rob) discussing their goals for 2013, their regrets of the past year, and their dream assignment. Of course, there is the usual oddball stuff liberally strewn throughout.
BTW, since we forgot to do the opening segment, Rob was drinking whiskey and Rick was drinking his homebrew. So now you know.
What else do we talk about? Well:
- The difference between allowing mistakes and accepting mistakes
- How the business of photography interferes with the art of photography
- Can a style atrophy if you’re not careful?
- Buy stuff from our CafePress Store (it’s a recurring theme)
- Will Rob continue with figure studies in 2013?
- Why photography can still be a viable profession
- How the opening sequence to our first episode was like Masterpiece Theatre… on quaaludes
There’s neither a featured photographer nor artist this week but that will be back.
Happy New Year and, before we forget again, it’s absolutely critical that you never, ever… oh look, a puppy!
Video Becoming Common?
Is video going to be the end of still photography? Does video present an opportunity for the professional photographer? Do we apply the same level of quality to a video as we do to stills?
This week, the guys chat – and argue – about the role of video in today’s photography. It’s a good thing and we all agree on that, but how do we introduce it to clients and how to offer it in a package sows some seeds of discord. But video is definitely here to stay; Rob and Rick think that photographers definitely need to shit or get off the pot! Tony argues that the true value for a client comes from hiring a videographer who specializes in the art.
We know that a lot of you are going to disagree with us about the role and importance of video and that’s cool. Rob and Rick are pretty certain that the days of the traditional digital SLR are numbered and it’s the focus on video by the manufacturers that is going to bring about the new technologies. Don’t believe us? Look at the number of new mirror-less cameras coming to market versus the number of new dSLR bodies. And there’s not a single manufacturer who isn’t working on it. But it’s video-capable cameras that are allowing this new change. Just watch!
Our photographer of the fortnight (thanks Tony) is erotic portraitist Aeric Meredith-Goujon. Not Safe For Work!! Rob decided that we’ve spent a lot of time looking at great photographers whose work, although wonderful, is “safe”. But what about those photographers who don’t work in the mainstream? They often have to do it better and more consistently than the rest because of the amount of judgement based on the content. The images in her Erotic Portraits sets will not be for everybody and if you’re easily offended… well, if you’re easily offended we’re surprised you’re listening to our show! But, if you are, be forewarned. There are sexually explicit images, images of piercings, and violence. If you can get over the content (if you’re not already cool with it), you’ll see a wonderfully experimental photography with an obvious mastery of light.
Our artist this week is Credence Clearwater Revival. Tony, ever the musical one of the group, once again looks to musical artists. He talks about how he grew up listening to their music as his mom was a huge fan and that she was a creative influence on him. Since he associates CCR with his mom and growing up, it’s not a stretch to understand why he chose them.
See you next week for our shooting event when Tony is in town!
Heads-up – we had some technical issues with Skype this week so the show is a bit rough in places. Close your eyes and it will soon pass.
Generalist vs. Specialist
It’s a common position taken by new photographers – the idea that you can shoot pretty much anything. From family portraits in the park to “fine art” to landscapes to urban to flowers… It’s understandable that we all want to highlight everything we are capable of doing but, on today’s show, we look at whether that can actually harm our photography instead of helping. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about running a business or just developing our skills – being (and remaining) a generalist will only let you get so far. You’d be surprised at how fast you hit that wall.
By now, you should us well enough to guess that all three of us are firmly on the side of the specialist. Look, we’ve all been there – Rob’s first foray into charging money and being a “pro” had him list at least four different areas of photography he could shoot. Rick did the same thing. It didn’t serve either of us well and we try to argue that it won’t serve you, either.
So stop it!
Rob chose Eddie Soloway, a photographer he stumbled across and whose work all three of us were immediately attracted to. Eddie’s work with color and concept is a perfect example of
why becoming a specialist in an area is so important. Look through his various collections and you’ll quickly realize that such a body of work could never have been created by someone who “dabbled” and remained a generalist.
Tony, again, goes outside of the box to find our artist and chooses Heston Blumenthal. Yup, the famous chef. Rick (if you didn’t know) is a classically trained chef and he’s all over this one. We all love Blumenthal’s work and it shows. Fuck, now I’m hungry.
Just a couple of things:
Remember, October 2 is PI-Con and it’s coming up soon.
Buy some PI swag (like the “Wine Stein”) from our CafePress store and help us keep the show going.
Wow, our first two-part series! Into the Looking Glass continues this week with a greater focus on the art and business of photography. In episode 14, we ended up being pretty technology-heavy which is never the intent of our podcasts. And, as time ran out on us (yet we continued to blather on and on), we didn’t have time to address the other areas of where we have seen the business and the art of photography come from and where we see it going.
Today, we try to right that wrong.
Business & Art as Seen Through the Looking Glass
So many topics and rants in today’s episode. From Rob bitching (again) about the cavalier approach that people have toward intellectual property (and the unintentional theft) to the value we place on the art we hang on our walls. From the bad signal-to-noise today to a great quote (well, “great” according to Rob):
Many of the pix out there on the internet are such a no-frills, in-your-face slam dunk of plastic sexiness that the creator with his camera seems not to be an inquisitive, interested gentleman, but more like a drunk at a bar sidling up to a hot chick and blurting out, ‘Wanna boff? (Joe McNally)
Also, by listening to this episode, you’ll hear a for-realz disagreement between Tony and Rob as to the role of the traditional business model vs. the idea that maybe it’s okay to let your work get stolen. Spoiler alert: Rob thinks that Tony is fucked up!
Today’s Photographer and Artist
When talking about the Looking Glass and where photography has come from, you can’t skip over Arthur Fellig (aka Weegee)
Tony’s choice for photographer today is the New York City street photographer, Arthur Fellig. Also know as Weegee, he was known for start black and white crime photography. Don’t know him? We’re willing to bet that you know his work!
Our artist is Anna Mary Robertson Moses, much better known as the renowned American folk artist Grandma Moses. Want to know our opinions about her? Make sure you listen to the show and leave us your comments. We have some listeners who have been fantastic about leaving comments – even though sometimes they disagree with what we’ve said – and we could not appreciate that more!
A final thought… There is no “X” in espresso!
Thanks for listening to Part II of Into the Looking Glass - don’t forget to leave us your comments!