Last week I shared a post about a photo exhibit of images by my good buddy Terry Deglau at St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania. It was an amazing night, all centered around many of Terry's most iconic images captured over the years.
Often the fun of going to a photographic exhibit or gallery opening is about the people you meet. For the most part, everybody is there because of their love for imaging or the artist. Well, in this case, Brother Etienne is both. He was instrumental in helping Terry with the exhibit and has a deep love for photography.
After he described some of his gear, which includes a modified Pringles can for a flash extension, I couldn't wait to see his images. Meet Brother Etienne with some solid roots in photography. I asked him for a short bio, not knowing he had recorded a video a few months back. So, I'm sharing both with you.
I've said it many times before, the best thing about the photographic industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
My start in photography began with my parents giving me a Pentax SLR. Although I shot in automatic mode I loved the process of discovery and capture. Through the promptings of a friend I was able to get a job at a photography store called Lawrence Photo in Wichita, Kansas. I sold cameras and photographic equipment (and helped with the small art gallery attached to the store) for both professionals and amateurs alike. Here I learned all that I could about every make, model, feature, and brand. I interacted daily with professional portrait and wedding photographers, fine art photographers, and photographic experimenters of all sorts. I learned from each what I could. I got paid to learn from professionals!
When I purchased my first 'professional' camera (Nikon N90s) I chose to go with film so that I could really learn the craft of photography. I turned to the simple and small things that surrounded me in abundance: flowers and bugs. Over these years I've continued to hone my skills, and although I've mostly switched to digital for my macro work I've been able to keep that film mentality and look forward to eventually publishing my own book.
Images copyright Brother Etienne Huard, O.S.B. All rights reserved.
All of the artists I've featured in the spotlight have shared beautiful images, but this one today is especially fun to post. I've know Mike since 7th grade, going back to a time when neither of us had any idea what we wanted to do when we grew up. Although,we did know we didn't want to grow up and according to Sheila, we still haven't!
We've kept in touch over the years, seeing each other at annual high school reunions and following each other's lives through social media. During all this time, even though I knew he was a great professional photographer, I never took the time to look at his work.
Recently he posted some images of his mother's 90th birthday. His mom and mine were friends and as we were growing up. Wandering through his Facebook images I got introduced to Mike all over again and loved his work. I gave him a call and these are some of my favorites from the images he sent. He also gave me a short bio.
Mike shared two of his favorite quotes by Minor White with me. They tell you so much about who he is as an artist.
“One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are.”
“Photography is a language more universal than words.”
So gang, meet a good friend who goes back to the days when we both probably hoped we'd grow up to be cowboys.
My name is Mike Demeter. I am a Northeast Ohio based photographer. My involvement in photography dates back 40 years when I first saw an 8x10 black and white image come to life in a developing tray. Terms like: Kodachrome, Kodak Vericolor(VPS) , Agfa Portriga Rapid Paper, Acufine Developer, and Kodalith, were some of the tools of the times.
I took inspiration from the names: Weston, Stieglitz, Adams, Cunningham, Callahan, Frank, Strand, Caponigro, Lange, Steichen, and Minor White. The darkroom has evolved to my lightroom.
Photography has had numerous technology changes during my involvement. However, the artist behind the lens that breathes his/her unique style into image capture remains the constant.
For me, photography has become the conduit for my creativity.
Images copyright Mike Demeter. All Rights reserved.
Part of the fun of social media, together with great conventions, is the people you meet and the friendships. I met Justin Bassett online, although I don't remember in what forum. Then, we had a chance to catch up to each other face to face at ShutterFest last April.
He posted the two images below this morning and gave me credit for my Throwback Thursday post. It inspired him to take a look at some of his older images.
Justin, the truth is, you've got this amazing passion and you're giving me far more credit than I deserve. With every image you capture, every new skill you practice and additional time you spend working to be a great artist you get closer and closer to that goal. You have indeed come a long way, but what a kick for you to share your starting point with where you are today!
I've said it many times in the past - the best part of the industry has nothing to do with photography but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft! Thanks for allowing me to share your FB post here on the SCU blog.
by Justin Bassett
It's amazing looking back to see how far you've come from a certain point. The image on the left is a photo I took of a friend back in 2007, when I knew next to nothing about photographing people. I was just a guy with a camera that knew just enough to be dangerous...lol.
The image on the right, was taken a few weeks ago. Truth be told, until about a year and a half ago, pretty much all of my photos looked like the one on the left. I've definitely come far in that short amount of time, and yet I'm nowhere near where I want to be with my skill level. I see photos taken by people like Roberto Valenzuela, Sal Cincotta, Michael Anthony, Susan Stripling, Lindsay Adler, and a whole host of 'Heavy Hitters' in the Photographic Industry and that's where I want to be.
One can almost equate it to the Martial Arts -- you start off with no knowledge (White Belt) and gain all this knowledge and skill to attain the level of Black Belt, which is a good place to be; you're competent and can handle yourself well, yet despite all the knowledge and skill that you now possess, your journey toward mastery is only truly beginning.
I guess my point is, despite how far I've come, I still have a long way to go before I step up to that level....but I'm proud of where I am now in my photography skills. Thank You to all who have taken the time to work with me and teach me - I wouldn't be where I am without you.
Even though he's working hard to be the best artist he can be, the majority of you have never heard of Ulises Pedra. That's because Ulises, like at least fifty percent of the professional photographic industry is a part-time photographer. His day job is with the US Post Office and over the last few years, I catch up to him on just about every trip to my P.O. Box.
What I didn't realize until he showed me some images recently, was just how good his work is!
He's only been at the craft for a few years, but when you talk to him about anything related to photography, his passion couldn't be more obvious! There is no substitute for passion and hard work, but one key to Ulises building his skill set is a terrific relationship with his mentor and good friend, Max Kelly.
Having a mentor who can teach, coach and advise is an incredible asset. It definitely speeds up the learning process and after spending some time on Max's website, it's obvious Ulises is being supported by one of the best!
I picked a few of my personal favorites, but check out Ulises website and you'll see a lot more nice work. What a kick it's going to be following his career as an artist as he continues to grow and fine-tune his skill set!
Images copyright Ulises Pedra. All rights reserved.
By Skip Cohen
I've known Luke and David Edmonson for a lot of years. They're a terrific father/son team both individually and working together. We met in my early WPPI days and manage to bump into each other at least once a year at a convention. Luke posted the collage of images below on his Facebook page and it just put a smile on my face for two reasons.
First, he's a great guy and I couldn't be happier for him. Second, none of the images will ever win an award in print comp, but what a great way to tell a story. He and his wife have shared a memory with all of us and even better will be a Throwback Thursday post from Luke twenty years from now!
My only advice to Luke and his wife...appreciate each other and the kids every minute of every day. Time flies faster than you can imagine and before you know it your favorite shirts will be in the kids' closets and there'll be an unexplained dent in the car!
Thanks for sharing!
Luke wrote the following: Over 2 years ago we announced our excitement of Ms. Holland. Today, we explained to her what her new shirt really means. Her reaction to Baby #2 was priceless!
Between digital imaging and the Internet, everything has changed in the way photographers especially promote their work. As an artist today, you've got a level of reach that only a few years ago was exclusive to newspapers and magazines. What I find sad is how few photographers take full advantage of all of the creative tools available.
Here's a prime example from Ara Roselani. I won't deny for a second that she's become a good friend over the years, so I'm a little prejudice about her work. Yeah, I like it a whole lot, but let's see what you think.
She sent me her promotional video the other day with a wonderful line thanking me for my support and help in getting her exposed to a long list of great educators and artists over the years. It was all through SCU and Skip's Summer School programs, which is where we first met. Since that first summer program many years ago I've watched her skill set grow and blossom.
The image above is from one of her sessions shown on the video, along with the additional two images I wanted to share below. Ara can walk the talk and never compromises on the quality of her work or the effort she puts into each client relationship. She does her best to make each relationship an experience.
If you're not using video, a slide show or both to help capture and share your passion for the craft with your potential clients, you're missing an incredible marketing opportunity. Technology has given you a chance to put a voice to your work and even better a way to share what's in your heart.
Jeffrey Hall isn't a full time photographer, but I'll match his passion for the craft against anybody I know in photography, full or part time. By day he's a Ph.D. scientist working for the CDC in Atlanta, but his love for imaging comes out through Dr. LAW's Photo Lab, owned by Leigh Willis in Atlanta. I didn't get to meet Leigh, but I did get to watch Jeff in action during this year's Dragon Con.
For those of you who don't know about Dragon Con, it's been going on for close to thirty years. It's held in Atlanta every Labor Day weekend covering 4-5 different downtown hotels. My guess is they broke 70,000 attendees this year, all with several common denominators - a love for gaming, sci-fi, role playing along with TV, radio and movie entertainment. At least 5-10 % of the audience come in costume, some of them pretty amazing.
There's a small park across from the Hyatt and during the day characters wander over to be photographed. I had gone over to have some fun with a LUMIX FZ1000 and found Jeff photographing a group of college students. Meet the "Ninjetti Rangers". They're a group of incredibly enthusiastic college students who also redefine passion.
I love watching artists interact with their subjects, especially when it's an even match of enthusiasm on both sides of the camera. The image above is of Jeff with his subjects. I got them to stand still for a quick group shot. While I'd love to take credit for the image below, they were really captured shooting over Jeff's shoulder. The group shot and the video were shot as they did a quick performance for some incredibly excited kids on the scene.
The images were all shot with the FZ1000. The last piece, a six second video, was just on impulse. No planning, but when the Ninjetti Rangers went into their routine it was impossible not to hit the video button on the camera! Everything is right out of the can. I can't wait to see some of Jeff's images, which will obviously be more professional.
We all have friends in the photography industry, but just because somebody is a buddy, doesn't mean we always stay on top of what they're working on.
Meet my good pal, Matt Meiers. We met for the first time at ShutterFest 2014, and the friendship just took off. We rarely get much time together, but it's still great to catch up at the various conventions, especially ShutterFest. The cool thing about Matt is his ability to keep in touch via the phone.
Recently we had a conversation about things he's doing that fall under the "special project" category. He's shooting for his own pleasure and constantly changing things up. He's started reaching out to gym owners in the area and is focusing on competitive athletes, and those who are working hard to stay fit.
What I didn't know was just how good Matt's work is. He told me about the project and we talked a little about marketing, etc. but I had never seen his work. I caught one of his images on the Facebook page for ShutterFest and immediately called him. The work is terrific and Matt is totally focused, no pun intended, on building his brand within the fitness and bodyscape category.
From podcasts to guest posts, I've shared comments from Matthew Jordan Smith, Kevin Kubota and Don Komarechka, just to name a few. Each one has talked about the importance of special projects to keep your passion for imaging alive when the bread and butter business might be different from a topic you're more passionate about.
Well, with Matt's work it's only a matter of time until this project turns into a permanent aspect of his business. If you're at an upcoming convention, check to see if Matt's going to be there and then make it a point to just catch up to him. He's a kick to hang out with! Follow him on Facebook so you know where he's headed next.
Meet my good buddy, Joe Elario. We've been friends for a lot of years, going back to the late 80's when he first came by the Hasselblad booth at the Photo East show (now PPE). We've hung out together at various conventions; watched his son, JP, who many of you have met at WPPI, grow into a great photographer and essentially shared a lot of laughs and meals together.
Every summer for the last six years or so the marketing department at Saratoga has contacted Joe for images from the races. They're stunning and Joe's helping me make a point. Just because Joe's specialty is wedding photography doesn't mean he doesn't have other interests. He applies the same outstanding technique he's used on everything he's photographed since he started in this business. He never compromises on quality and that's become part of his reputation and brand.
Whether it's a wedding or a day at the races, you can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't in it! Obviously, Joe's heart is in every click of the shutter!
Check out Joe and JP's work by visiting their site. You won't be disappointed.
Images copyright Joe Elario. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
A couple of weeks ago I shared a post in Luminary Corner by Giulio Sciorio. Giulio talked about one of the ways he's using 4K video - street photography and capturing images he wouldn't have been able to get. It was a great post, and Charlie Sill of Blueberry Productions commented on Twitter.
He agreed with Giulio's point. If you know my reputation, I love the social side of social media. I went to Charlie and Federico Vasquez's website, Blueberry Productions. There was a combination of still imaging services with video, essentially a full-service imaging business. I picked up the phone and called Charlie, and asked if he wanted to do a guest post on the importance of video today, and here we are.
Here's the point - it's so important for photographers to be diverse today. Technology is constantly changing, and video is playing a role in products you can create for your clients, as well in your own video introducing potential clients to your services.
Suzette Allen has written a lot about hybrid technology, mixing still images with short video clips for client holiday cards, for example. And, in the Photodex Annex there are two new Building Your Business spotlight profiles on Sal Cincotta and William Innes, which both include samples of their Proshow Web videos.
If you're a photographer who's traditionally been shooting still images, you have a unique opportunity to bring video into your skill set. Or, if you don't want to, then develop a relationship with somebody who understands video and work to build a stronger more diverse presentation of services to your client base.
A big thanks to Charlie for coming through after just a phone call. It's a great guest post and right on point with an aspect of the business every photographer should be looking at.
by Charlie Sill
In this rapidly changing landscape of media, advertising, creativity and imagination, we are always looking to the next best thing. The next best thing sometimes involves learning a new skills set. Scary? Only if you dwell in that head space.
As artists we are naturally curious about how we can be better at our chosen craft, photography. As Hollywood went from silent films to talkies the comfort shifted and the artist adapted, some faster and more willingly than others. Your skills, as photographer, can be used to create a more engaging experience for your clients through video. Really, video can do this? Yes. Your business will also rank better in the SEO chain by using video!
It is amazing to learn that within the world of search engine optimization those web sites with video rank higher than those without. How much more? The latest numbers suggest, as indicated by Michael Hoban of Blur Group…
“ Videos are generally more engaging for users. A study by Statistic Brain found that the average viewing time of an internet video is 2.7 minutes. Considering that this study also found that 17% of all non-video pageviews last less than 4 seconds, the argument that video content is more engaging seems to have substantial foundations.”
Video can be used in many ways too. In its most simple form, the slide show is like video in that it moves, changes and there is an anticipation of what is coming next. On a more complex level, video can tell a story using sound, as we did here with a local Atlanta architecture firm.
Yes, learning video is challenging but can benefit you and your business and who does not want that? Some ideas for where to begin...we use a prosumer video program from Corel called Pinnacle Studio which has a not-so-steep learning curve. For more advanced users there are other programs like Adobe Premier which is a cloud based element. If you prefer the Mac side of life they have Final Cut. Take some time to learn this skill and you will open up to a whole new sense of the aesthetic art we call video! As we found, the more you learn...the more you want to learn. Enjoy the journey.