Intro by Skip Cohen
Although Dave Stock and I have shared a whole bunch of mutual friends over the years, we didn't officially meet in person until a Panasonic Luminary meeting in Sarasota in 2015. Starting his career as a sports photographer over forty years ago, today Team DSP is one of the country's very best experts at sports team photography. From monster size teams to individuals, they're the best, primarily working with schools and kids of all ages throughout the year.
There's another side of Dave that extends into his passion for imaging. From landscape to macro I'm not sure there's anything he hasn't photographed, as this macro shot of a bumble bee from the LUMIX Lounge demonstrates. But there's one more side of Dave I want to share in this special guest post. It's his passion to simply help.
The post below ran on Dave's Facebook page this morning. Obviously I asked him if it was okay to share before posting it here at SCU. Dave's message to all of us, no matter what our age, is about responsibility - to ourselves, our families and our friends.
Nobody can be a better guardian of our health than each of us!
And Dave...thanks for sharing buddy. We're all wishing you a speedy recovery!
I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit that my stubbornness, arrogance, ignorance and cowardice almost claimed my life yesterday, but I share this hoping that my admission might save you or a loved one’s life.
I woke up at 3am with chest pain coupled with signs of gastric distress. I took some Alka-Seltzer and returned to sleep. The pain subsided, so I went out on a shoot and returned to the office until two guardian angels in the forms of my office mates Angie and Jamie insisted I pay a visit to a local urgent care clinic to get some medical attention. Absent of any of the other signs of heart attack (pain and numbness in the extremities, shortness of breath, sweating, etc.) I was convinced that I was just a good night’s sleep away from recovery.
But Jamie didn’t let up, prodding me yet again to take action, and somewhat reluctantly I did. Partly because it really was the smart thing to do, largely because I wanted to put an end to whatever worrying she might be experiencing. At 1:30 pm the doctor initially confirmed my self-diagnoses and ordered a “GI cocktail” which would quickly fix my problem.
It wasn’t until he ran 3 EKGs and saw the results from the blood sample that he knew I had experienced and was in the last stages of a ten hour long heart attack. Minutes later I was in the back of an ambulance, complete with lights and sirens, running red lights on the way to the ER. I had yet another attack while they were clearing my completely blocked right coronary artery.
The moral of this story is clear. If you or a loved one experiences any of the symptoms of a heart attack, you cannot go to a web site and determine if you should immediately dial 911 or simply down a couple Tums. Listen to your body, be brave enough to get a doctor’s opinion, even if you are afraid of what they may tell you.
Be your own guardian angel if you’re showing the signs, or be willing to intervene when somebody you care about is being stubborn or just plain dumb. Angie and Jamie did, and I thank them and God for that, they likely saved my life.
Intro by Skip Cohen
I first met Lou Jones back in my Hasselblad days and we've caught up to each other at least once a year at a convention ever since. It's a nice friendship, even though we never seem to get the time to have anything more than short conversations. However, each time we talk off the convention floor, it's usually on the phone and it's as if we ended the last conversation with a comma. We just take up wherever we left off.
I got the email below from Lou last week. I love it when artists can express themselves with their cameras as well as with the printed word. After I read what Lou wrote I sent him back a request for few images to go with it. He sent me a few favorites...who says there's no fine art in photojournalism? LOL
To find out more about Lou click on any image, and check out his panAFRICAproject. He definitely should be on your radar.
early on public transportation my nose is buried in someones armpit
& anothers knee in the small of my back
in UBER we anchor all the traffic jam installations
the sports are familiar but the athletes names are alien
at the XXXI olympics nationalism reigns grandstands
fans are obnoxious on the international stage
flags unfurled replacing patria
the competitors define poetry
dancing tumbling swimming paddling fighting to their own inner rhythms
arching millimeters above us mere mortals
late return home to edit the photographs
rinse & repeat the experience on SPORTV
dateline: rio de janeiro brazil
All images copyright Lou Jones. All rights reserved.
Here's the true fun of social media - it's simply making the world a smaller place! Meet Wes Simpson from the UK.
A few weeks ago on Twitter he posted this image. I happened to catch it and loved it. It's simply fun, unusual and especially whimsical. So, I commented. Wes liked my commented and fired back a "thanks". That lead to a post he did on Facebook and a few minutes later we had a conversation back and forth on an IM on Facebook as he was getting ready to photograph a wedding.
I'm still amazed at the process. I'm sitting in my office on a Friday morning in Sarasota, Florida and Wes is in the UK getting his gear set up for a wedding. He's over 4000 miles away; in another country and five or six hours ahead of me. We've never physically met, yet, the common denominator, our mutual love for the craft, has us talking like two old friends in a pub!
Even more fun is the image below that Wes shared with me. I asked him if he'd be interested in sharing the original image above in a guest post some time. He then sent me the original image. The image he posted was just a segment of the primary shot he captured.
The graffiti wall Wes chose for the photograph is one of Banksy's pieces of art. I didn't know who Bansky was until Wes gave me the name. A quick Google search and I had the background on this old car park in Liverpool. Wes gave me the following back-story.
The Groom is an art collector. When I arrived at the wedding breakfast I parked at a car park close to the venue and noticed the "Banksy" on the wall, I assumed it was a fake. I'm more of a documentary photographer but during the wedding breakfast (in between courses) I asked the bride and groom to step outside and follow me 'I have a great idea for a shot and I think you'll love it" and they did!
The Groom too had no idea there was a real Banksy so close by. We did the shot and they where back inside for dessert without any of the guests even noticing they'd gone. It was the last shot of the day with the groom saying "We won't top that!"
A big thanks to Wes for sharing the additional image and allowing me to share his work on the SCU blog. Feel free to join me in making the world a smaller place. You can see more of Wes Simpson's images on his website, just a click away.
Images copyright Wes Simpson. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
I've often referred to myself as one of the luckiest guys in photography because I've been fortunate to work with and get to know some of the finest artists in the world. One of those artists is Howard Schatz and his business partner and wife, Beverly Ornstein. They're a remarkable couple and looking back, the friendship kicked off in the nineties, back in my Hasselblad days.
He had just released "Pool Light" and the images were spectacular. They were unlike anything we had seen before. In fact, that's one of my favorites on the right.
Today Howard and I were recording an upcoming episode of "Why?" with one of his images. (Check out "Why?" on Monday, May 9.)
It's always great to catch up with him. I hung up the phone and wandered over to his blog. There's so much great content on his blog with images that span years of a unique perspective on his subjects, lighting, creativity and special projects, all combined with stunning photography.
Howard's post below is all about a portrait session he did with Mike Tyson on request from Jim Colton, the photo editor of Sports Illustrated. I love the way Howard takes you through his thought process and makes his point about portrait sessions being "intimate encounters".
The title of Howard's original post was "Mike Tyson: Human Being". When you read the post and see the images he shared, that's exactly the story Howard has shared.
Howard needs to be on your radar. Just click on any image of Mike Tyson and you'll be linked to Howard's blog and the opportunity twice a week to catch up with one of the all-time great people in this industry! And, if you've got an interest in Howard's books or just seeing more of his work, click on the images of his new book below.
A BIG thanks to Howard for allowing me to share this post on the SCU site. And, to both Howard and Beverly for being such great friends for so many years - we might only catch up live at a convention once a year, but that doesn't change how much I value the friendship. What a kick to share the same passion for imaging!
by Howard Schatz
All portrait photography sessions are intimate encounters, both for the portraitist and the subject. In the best of these encounters, the process, and the results, are memorable. Of the thousands of portraits I have done during more than three decades of studio and location work, none was ever more memorable than the time I spent with one of the most ferocious heavyweight champions in the history of boxing.
Since Tyson has a giant and well-known reputation for bad behavior, from depraved to vicious to monstrous, the chance to photograph and talk with him about his life, career, and his feelings about boxing seemed to be a rare opportunity; an opportunity that turned out to be a gift. The experience ended up revealing a very human Mike Tyson, one that at the time had not been widely seen.
I share it here, now.
I do all I can before a portrait shoot to interview my subject. A pre-shoot interview allows the subject to see that I am thoughtful and very interested in them as human beings, that I am serious about the undertaking and intent on making a great portrait. Just as important, the interview also teaches me something about the subject. Often there are revelations that are fascinating, some of which can be utilized as directions during the shoot.
Here are some of the images we made, and some of the things he told me about himself and his life both in and out of boxing.
Tyson: "In the first stage of boxing, the infantile stage, you win only because you are stronger. The second stage you win because you’re tougher. The top stage, the apex stage of boxing, you win because you are smarter. You watch the guy moving, you are tough enough to endure. You see the bigger picture, you may give up rounds for the bigger picture.“
"I don’t care how great you are, how talented you are, without discipline you are nothing. Under the slightest trouble you give in without discipline.”
“I’m a predator. I’m very distinctive; I actually study my opponent, I study my opponent’s parents and children. I study everything about him, and by studying him and knowing myself, out of a thousand battles, I’ll know the results.”
“I’m sure I have brain damage. When I get involved with something, I don’t go check chapter one, chapter two. I don’t even know what I’m getting myself into because I go full speed. My whole goal to success was depriving myself of pleasure. That was my thing…. I can torture myself for a goal, that’s just how my mind works. If I want to accomplish something, I will suffer; I can do anything if I have that desire for that goal, to be something, to be the best fighter in the world.”
“All my hero’s were schmucks. They all got ripped off, got used by women and everyone else, like me. Look at these guys now, they are in a horrible place. But when they fought they could do something, they had this magic; they could make the whole world stop and watch. And then they’re going to end up in the gutter, they are going to end up miserable. They have nothing. But these guys, when they were on they were ON! The world noticed them. I admired those guys, but I don’t want to be like them. I don’t want to finish up like that.”
“I go to boxing matches just for the excitement now, more than the fight. When it’s done magnificently, it’s just hard not to love boxing.“
After I had made a wide range of images I told him that he had done tremendously well and that we were essentially finished. Then, I said, "So, how about we’ll do something "different?” He responded, readily, “Sure, like what?”
I gave him a few ideas and he produced, among a few other things, this image.
I sent this one in to the yearly American Photo contest and it won “Image of the Year" and made the cover.
After seeing the published images in SI, RING Magazine asked me if there were others. They chose this one for their cover.
When our session was at its end I asked him if we could make a portrait of his family who he brought with him to the shoot. He gently called out “Milan,” and his 18 month-old daughter came running onto the set and into his arms. She looked at his oiled body (done for the initial photography), wondered, then touched his chest hesitantly and giggled.
Tyson: “I think my wife and my daughter deserve the best of me. They need to have the best of me physically, spiritually, and mentally. So I have to work on becoming the best and find out how this path has got to go.”
After he was showered and dressed, we asked his wife, Lakiha, to complete the picture.
by Skip Cohen
Now into SCU's fourth year, most of you are aware I'm a contemporary "town crier". Only instead of wandering the streets in the 18th century shouting, "Hear ye, hear ye," I'm sharing ideas about marketing, business, presentation and now and then, even technique all on the "streets" of cyberspace. My sources for the material I share come from just about everywhere, including photographers who I meet, conferences I attend and often friends on Facebook and Twitter.
My good buddy in Boston, Brian Malloy, sent me the link to the video below, and I loved it. Within a minute of watching it, I sent a note to Trish Hadley and asked for permission to share it, but I want to explain my reasons because it's a significant list!
Interested in seeing more of Trish's work from the session? Just click on the portrait above to read her blog post about Melissa and Cortney.
A big thanks to Trish Hadley Portrait and Drew Mason Video for allowing me to share this video. You guys make me proud to be in the industry. Nicely done!
Intro by Skip Cohen
This is one of my most favorite archived posts by my buddy Scott Bourne, and it's so relevant for many of you today.
During one of my workshops at ShutterFest last week, I talked about the importance of every artist's "About" page. It's one of your two most valuable pieces of website real estate. Your galleries hook the clients into getting excited about your work, and your "About" page gives you a chance to share what's in your heart.
So many of you waste space talking about awards, your gear and how you got started when the only thing a potential client wants to know is whether or not you can be trusted to capture images the way they see them in their mind's eye. Your "About" page needs to be a statement about why you're a photographer, not what you know how to do.
Relationship building is your strongest marketing tool and your artist statement is your first opportunity to start to build that relationship. Share the love you have for working with people, capturing memories and the importance of the trust your past clients have put in your work.
Remember, your goal is always to exceed expectations and make yourself habit-forming!
by Scott Bourne
“ YOU are not your photography.”
So tell us something about what it’s like for you to make a photo. Share your heart. That’s how you write an artist’s statement.
Rather than give you a checklist of what to include in your statement, I’m simply going to show you mine. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do this. I think you just have to write from your heart or be inspired by someone or something else who shares your vision. I re-wrote my statement a few years ago when some comments I received on my images helped me to see what others were seeing in my work, but which I lacked the proper mirror to see.
Note: The image above was photographed by Scott during the tragedy of the BP oil spill. It's one of my most favorite images and does a great job of explaining his position with photographing animals. "I speak for the creatures which have no voice," he said. The images below were shot last week and just recently shared on his Facebook page.
Scott Bourne's Artist Statement
For me, wildlife art photography is about two connecting themes: extraordinary craftsmanship in terms of technical mastery of photography and a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of the nature behind the image.
At a deeper level, however, I pursue this art form because of its almost religious qualities.
One day, I can have a vision in my mind that represents a photograph I want to make. This vision exists only in my head and my heart – it’s a silent vision which has the power to bring me out into the field, month after month, year after year, for a chance to turn that vision into something tangible that I can share with others.
The other religious aspect of my work is focus and devotion to an idea over which I have absolutely no control.
I learn all that I can about the natural factors behind each photographic opportunity, but I never know how they will play out. My artistry focuses on the beauty of things which are random. Wildlife operates within its own free will. The bird flies its own path.
It’s different than working in a photography studio where I have control over the set, the model and the lights. As a wildlife artist, my gift is to know how to “show up prepared” to interact with beauty that I do not control. I must learn to be at peace with my subject on their terms, not on mine.
I struggle with finding the patience and the path. But when that struggle becomes the hardest, I remember my calling. I speak for the creatures which have no voice. Perhaps this is why the experience is so emotional for me.
Each time I get a perfect moment and capture that with my camera, I experience joy and sadness. I am joyful because the finished work provides me with a lifelong memory of a successful vision. But I also feel sadness that the pursuit is over.
After that moment, the cycle begins again, and I launch the pursuit of the next creative vision. I hope to share that vision well enough that others may someday wish to help speak for the animals too.
Images copyright Scott Bourne. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Over the years, I've heard so many poignant stories from photographers about how important their images became after the loss of a loved one they photographed at an event previously, usually a wedding. However, nothing has touched my heart like the images New Hampshire photographer; Jay Philbrick shared the other day in the Facebook Wedding Photographers forum.
Jay posted the image above, with the following comment:
"First Kiss - Most difficult wedding we've ever photographed. Bride was very ill, wanted to stand for the ceremony but was unable to. She passed away two weeks later. These are some of the most important images we've created."
The advantage of social media is sharing images and ideas, but a sidebar benefit is being able to pick up the phone and just talk. Well, that's what I did. I called Jay after seeing the image above, and we had a great conversation. I made the request for a few more images to share in order to make a point about the importance of never compromising on your skill set.
The definition of a professional photographer is centered around your responsibility to your clients. You owe them your very best images and in turn, you need the skill set to be able to deliver.
Think about this particular wedding. There was no room for error. No excuse to the couple would make up for lost images or memories. Jay had one chance to get the images they were expecting.
There are too many photographers today, especially in the wedding category, who think capturing a wedding is just a matter of pointing their camera in the right direction and clicking the shutter. Well, there are no shortcuts to quality. There's no room to compromise on the responsibility you have to your clients and their families. Last on the list, if you call yourself a professional, then there are no excuses for not having the skill set required to meet a client's mindset.
A big thanks to Jay for not only sharing more images but taking the time to talk about his work and the industry. If you'd like to see more of Jay's work visit his website. You'll find an artist focused on so much more than just great photography. He knows how to focus on his clients!
I was contacted some time ago by the sister of a bride for a very special wedding. Her sister was marrying the love of her life after having lived with him for many years. She had been fighting a long and courageous battle with a serious illness and had just realized it was a fight she could not win. Her sister wanted to be married to the man she loved when she passed.
I was immediately overwhelmed by the story and at the prospect of covering such an emotional event where there was no room for mistakes or do-overs. While sad, in retrospect the wedding, it was also very uplifting. The incredible courage and love displayed was something I'll never forget.
This brave woman was able to marry the man she had always loved. She passed away two weeks later.
Intro by Skip Cohen
I've written a lot about the importance of friendships in this industry. Building those relationships is one of the top reasons to attend every possible convention, workshop and local meeting of photographers you can cram into your schedule.
Well, meet somebody who's become a very good friend, Dr. Joan Whitman Hoff. She's a college philosophy professor, but more important to all of us; she's a photographer, along with her husband Stephen and son Charles. I had a chance to catch up with them in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago.
This particular post is destined to become one of my favorites. Joan addresses the challenge we all share in analyzing our business - analyzing ourselves! Over the years, I've heard so many artists blame the challenges in building their business on the economy, competitors, the absence of cash, etc. The list of reasons/excuses are endless and always somewhat valid, but rarely does anybody take a serious look in the mirror. Rarely does anybody ask, "What's my image in the community?"
Sheila and I have been together as a couple for almost eight years and married for almost six. With every project I've ever questioned about getting involved with, she's always reminded me of one thing, Shakespeare's line of "To thine own self be true."
There are ten questions below that Joan has shared to help us all look at ourselves just as much as we look at our customers. She couldn't be more timely in this guest post. For most of you, it's the slow season, and you've got time to think about the answer to each question, and even better, you've got time to modify the process.
Being a great photographer or business owner of any kind isn't just about your product, but about your reputation and how you're perceived. Success is only 20% ability and 80% motivation, passion and relationship building!
by Joan Whitman Hoff
I have read, and heard, many lessons on the importance of knowing our clients, or our ideal clients, and there is no doubt it is important. Knowing our clients will help to identify their needs, wants, etc., and help us to offer better service to them as individuals. Likewise, as I noted in an earlier post, serving clients entails good ethics, which usually results in good business for us, and good (business) relationships.
It is important, however, to keep in mind relationships entail our knowing ourselves. This requires us to be aware of ourselves and to be good critical thinkers. This might sound rather simple, but sometimes we are unaware of the extent to which poor critical thinking undermines relationships and how it undercuts our awareness of how we might truly be treating others, and ourselves. As Skip Cohen has noted, trust is most important in relationships.
Trust requires our distinguishing between feelings and thoughts. Trust requires truth and honesty. Though both feelings and thoughts are important in business, and life, they require continual monitoring and assessment. Just as we grow and learn throughout our lives, we need to actively decide who we want to be and what feelings, thoughts, and actions we ‘own’ and how they play a role in our relationships.
We ‘try on ideas of others’ to see if they ‘fit us’. What ‘fits’ we keep; what doesn’t, we can ‘delete’. The continual, dynamic process of self-development requires self-awareness. (See George Herbert Mead.) This helps build our integrity.
Here are a few questions to reflect upon in this process.
These are just a few of the critical questions at the foundation of self-reflection that can aid in the process of knowing ourselves and our clients, and they can help us to foster better relationships with the people around us, personal and professional. If we want other to trust us, we have to trust, and be able to depend on, ourselves.
George Herbert Mead. “The Social Self” in Philosophies for Living; Robert M. Timko and Joan Whitman Hoff, eds. (Pearson Ed. 2001)
One of the fun things about the Internet is how small the world has become. Photographers from all over the world share their passion for their surroundings every day in cyberspace. One of those "space" travelers is Scot Weaver.
I often post in the Cache Valley forum on Facebook, introduced to me by my long time buddy, Levi Sim. This is a wonderfully creative group of artists, most of whom live in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States. Well, after a comment on a blog post one day by Scot, I contacted him and made a special request asking him to share images and some of the history of Cache Valley.
I love the way he's shared the story of this area of Utah. To enjoy more of his images, visit his website. You'll also find him on Instagram as "scotweaver" and Twitter, "scotdweaver". Scot shared a short bio on his travels with a camera in his hand and I love what he wrote about his passion for his family and running.
For more than 20 years I have enjoyed making pictures. My travels around the world have inspired World Photo Creations. I’ve been fortunate to travel to Zanzibar, Australia, Kazakhstan, Tanzania, Germany, Dominican Republic, Czech Republic, England, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, Egypt, Jordan, and more. Now residing in Cache Valley’s Wellsville, I've lived in Utah most of my life with brief stints in North Carolina, Texas, Switzerland, and Israel.
Besides travel and photography, my passion is running. I have run over 15 marathons and a handful of ultramarathons. Whether photographing or running, there’s nothing better than watching the sun rise from the top of a mountain. I also like to camp and hike and bike and cook. I am grateful to my wife, Lisa, and six children who support me in pursuing my passions.
I don't know about you guys, but Cache Valley is now at the top of my bucket list for 2016. I spent a lot of time in Utah over the years hanging out with Don and Gary Blair, but never got to Cache Valley. A BIG thanks to Scot for taking the time to give us a quick tour of his backyard.
by Scot D. Weaver
Whether under a blanket of fresh winter snow, green from the spring rains, or showing off the earthy colors of fall, northern Utah’s Cache Valley is a mecca for the outdoor enthusiast and photographer. Settled in 1855 by Mormon pioneers, Cache Valley is made up of largely agricultural small towns surrounding Logan, home of Utah State University—and its famous Aggie ice cream. But for many people including myself, the biggest draw to this mountain valley is the easy access to incredible mountains, trails, and scenery in almost any direction.
To the west of Cache Valley—and in my backyard—are the Wellsville mountains, widely reputed as the steepest mountains in the world. Originally known as Maughan’s Fort, Wellsville was the first settlement in Cache Valley, founded in 1856. Nestled in the far southwest corner of the valley, Wellsville is home the Rattlesnake trailhead, one of the few trails that lead to Box Elder Peak, the highest point in the narrow mountain range which is known as a popular site for monitoring raptors that migrate along the Wasatch Range in Utah.
The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest to the east of Cache Valley is the home of Logan Canyon, Green Canyon, Smithfield Canyon, Blacksmith Fork Canyon and more…a seemingly endless continuum of rivers, trails, and peaks. The aquamarine waters of Bear Lake—straddling the Utah-Idaho border—are one of the crown jewels of northern Utah and are just an hour’s drive up Logan Canyon.
Whether your interests are hiking, camping, mountain biking, fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or skiing, there are activities for every age and interest. The Limber Pine trail is a kid-friendly 1.3-mile loop with minimal elevation gain that takes you into a fantastic area of the forest with views of Bear Lake.
If you’re looking to push your limits just a little more, the hike to Naomi Peak—the highest point in the mountains surrounding Cache Valley is only 3.3 miles from Tony Grove and the Crimson Trail climbs over 1,000 feet in just one mile. Both are worthy hikes but the views are stunning and well worth the effort.
I’ve been fortunate enough to call Cache Valley home for nearly 20 years and don’t have any intention to change that anytime soon. For me, it is paradise—literally and figuratively. There is almost no end to the trails to the adventure accessible less than one hour from my front doorstep.
Images copyright Scot D. Weaver. All rights reserved.
Last week Betty Huth posted this family portrait on her Facebook page. While it would be a challenge for any studio to do a 30 person plus four dog grouping, this one took place over ten sessions and five different photographers. The final image done by Betty Huth and Ed Booth is a testimonial not only to their skill set, which is outstanding, but also modern technology!
Interested in seeing more of their work? Check out Huth & Booth Photography here in Florida. In the meantime a big thanks to Betty for allowing me to share this as a guest post. For whatever reasons, this was a family that wasn't going to be together over the holidays, but that didn't stop Betty and Ed.
When Betty posted the image, she wrote the comment below.
I can finally post the favorite image we did for the Christmas season this year. With out the help of 4 of our colleagues we would not have been able to create this "Drake Busath" style family portrait. Helene Cohen Glassman-DiVitale, Kevin Jiminez and Jerry Costanzo, and Beth Irvin from up in PA helped create this 10 session, 5 photographer, 3 state portrait. The portrait was given yesterday and there were tears from "Grandma and Grandpa".