Interview

Mac Is Back + Better Than Ever

Our annual large-format collection of the world’s best commercial photographers has now made its way into the hands of creatives and art producers.

Macroview 17 features a hauntingly beautiful cover image by Montreal-based Damian Siqueiros, plus 155 more hand-picked photographers who are among the most talented advertising and editorial image makers.

Haven’t received your copy yet? Select creatives can request a complimentary copy of our publications.

You can also Browse the Book and view full portfolios from all the photographers on www.at-edge.com. 

Be sure to reference AtEdge in print and online when considering talent for your next assignment.

Here are some sample pages from this Macroview 17:

 

 

Roberto Chamorro’s Recent Project Explores a World Without Art Education

Originally from Spain and raised in Miami Florida, Roberto Chamorro moved to New York City in 2001 where he began working as an assistant to Annie Leibowitz. After a short period of time, he launched his own career as a commercial photographer and has since traveled all over the world shooting campaigns for clients like Mercedes-Benz, Warner Bros Records, Univision, and LG.

Roberto’s most recent personal project, “Without Art Education,” draws from his positive experiences working in the art world and aims to bring attention to the importance of art education in the development of school-aged children.

We sat down with him to chat about the execution of the project and where he hopes to take it in the future.

To view more of Roberto’s work, visit his AtEdge portfolio and his website, robertochamorro.com

kids_music_arts-6861_final_lores

©Roberto Chamorro

What personally motivated you to begin this project? Have you ever done anything like this before?

It began at a dinner party with a few friends. We started discussing the ongoing issue of public schools cutting art and music education due to lack of funding. Sadly, those programs are usually the first to go. We were all creative people with young kids in the school system, so it struck a nerve with us.  Just the thought of kids being denied the opportunity to be introduced and educated in the arts had me fuming. Creativity is something I’ve spent my whole life pursuing.  I have always felt lucky to have been exposed to the arts at an early stage in my life.  After that party, I spent the next few days trying to figure out how to shine a light on this topic.

Being a photographer who specializes in advertising, and with a subspecialty in shooting kids, it seemed natural to do something campaign driven. It was just a matter of hashing out a concept.

I started thinking about how different I would be if I had gone to a school that cut these programs.

This thought eventually sparked the concept of imagining who else would be different today if they had never been introduced to art and music. To be relevant and to engage with a bigger audience, I decided to portray current, well-known artists as school children. The idea being that without an early introduction to the arts, these well-known artists might not be the creative and accomplished individuals they are today. They might not have ever given the world the beautiful gifts they have bestowed upon us already. If Pharrell for example, did not follow the path he did in music, then the world might be a little less HAPPY.

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©Roberto Chamorro

What outcome are you hoping for with this campaign?

I hope that people will see this and realize how important it is to teach our young minds about art and music. How introducing them to it at an early stage is a huge factor in a child’s development. I won’t bore you with numbers, stats, and figures, but there is a ton of data on the benefits this type of education has to our kids growing up.

kids_music_arts-7369_final_lores

©Roberto Chamorro

Tell us about your process while working on this project. Was it produced in-house? What challenges did you face?

Being a passion project that was self-funded, I had to produce this in-house and pull a few favors along the way. The location was tricky. I wanted a school that had character and resembled the elementary schools of my generation. Most schools these days look a bit sterile and too modern with their digital dry erase boards and technology-driven classrooms. Finally, I found the perfect school and after a few negotiations was able to secure it for our production. When it was time to cast the models, I knew that not only would they be styled in the same way as our artists’ iconic looks, but I needed them to have similar features and physically resemble the celebrities I was portraying. This was especially important for our Pharrell character, who was to be our featured hero of the shoot. After location and casting, everything else fell into place. I had an amazing team helping me every step of the way. From my usual rock star assistants and studio manager to my good friend and prop stylist Rachel Barker, who came on board to help source and custom build some of our props.

kids_music_arts-6951_final_lores

©Roberto Chamorro

Will there be a “phase 2” for this project (i.e. plans to expand it beyond these still images)?

While the primary focus was on still photography, I wanted to take advantage of the production and also capture motion. I recruited another friend of mine, Davy Gomez and his team to come on board as my DP. We storyboarded and planned out the motion shots in pre-production so that we could capture video in between the still shots. The concept footage will be used as an intro to a longer, documentary-style film that is currently in pre-production. The doc film will focus on interviews that feature students and teachers who have faced these tough budget cuts and the elimination of creative programs. In stark contrast, we will also see the point of view from the other side, the ones that did have the education in place and the benefits they feel they have received from art and music being in their curriculum.

kids_music_arts-7120_final_lores

©Roberto Chamorro

Where do you think you would be today if you had not been exposed to art and music programs in your youth?

Who knows what my career would be today if I had never been introduced to the arts?  Maybe I would have pursued business or finance as many of my childhood friends had.  Today, I can only assume that I probably would not be as happy doing that. I truly love what I do every day. Being a photographer is my dream job and I sincerely feel lucky to have a career that I very much enjoy. I honestly believe that my early exposure to art and music programs helped plant seeds that led to my creative path.

 

Edo Kars’ Latest Personal Project Proves That Size Really Does Matter

Edo Kars’ latest personal project is a gorgeous series titled Size Does Matter. This project started in early 2015 when Edo was considering that, although everyone who works within advertising expects a photographer to deliver to the highest standards, photographers are almost always chosen based on the quality of their images as seen on a computer monitor. This shift in the way we view photography inspired Edo to show that photographs are most impactful when presented as large prints, proving that size really does matter.

Fascinated by Mother Nature’s artistry and the intricate details in these tiny little bugs, Edo decided to photograph them specifically with this project in mind. He photographed the bugs very close up, but instead of using the expected macro lens in a natural setting, he brought the bugs into the studio where he photographed them using the same technical approach he uses when shooting a car, the difference being that the bugs are two hundred and fifty times smaller than a car! The final prints were done in a range of sizes, the largest being roughly 6.5 ft. x 3.5 ft. which obviously showcases these little creatures in amazing detail. These large-scale prints were officially shown to the public for the first time during the LXRY Fair last December in Amsterdam.

We spoke briefly with Edo’s representative Marilyn Cadenbach to hear more about the project.

To see more work by Edo Kars please visit his AtEdge portfolio and his website, edokars.com.

©Edo Kars

©Edo Kars

What inspired Edo to start this personal project?

Because photography is more accessible than it’s ever been, and images are captured and consumed at such an alarming rate, we no longer know how to really look at photographs. Smartphones are ubiquitous, and we use them frequently to communicate via the social media channel of our choosing. Everyone is able to quickly see and share images anytime and anywhere. And we do. Facebook alone has on average 350 million photos uploaded DAILY. This doesn’t mean these are quality images, but the sheer volume is staggering.

Because of this accessibility, we rarely view actual printed photographs any longer. We see images on a screen, no larger than a couple of inches. This has become customary, and as a result, we’ve lost touch with the impact of large, high-quality photographic prints. We no longer ‘look into’ a photograph. We look ‘at it’, and we do it very quickly. When it comes to photography, images have a very different impact when seen as large prints than when seen on a handheld device. Size Does Matter.

©Edo Kars

©Edo Kars

What specific awards and special notice has the project received?

The series received two honorable mentions in the 2015 IPA and was included in Communication Arts 2015, as well as Lürzer’s Intnl Archive’s 200 Best Ad Photographers 2016/2017. In the Netherlands, Edo was nominated for the 2015 Craft Photography Award with the Dutch ADC (ADCN) for this series.

What process did he use to capture the extraordinary detail in these images?

Edo wanted to isolate the bugs from their natural habitat and to photograph them in a more unexpected way. By bringing them into the studio and lighting them the way he would light a car, he was able to make a departure. Technically speaking, he captured the bugs using a Phase One digital back that has 80Mp on a sensor of 53×40 mm, each pixel is 5.2×5.2 micron, and he used the highest quality Schneider lenses. When shooting, he extended the distance between the lens and the digital back to make sure that he could get close enough to capture the intricate detail of the bug. Being this close, his depth of field was only about 1mm, so he did 8 shots of each bug, and then he combined the shots in layers in post production to ensure that the bugs were entirely in focus. Talk about attention to detail!

The final prints are roughly 6.5 ft x 3.5 ft which certainly puts the viewer up close and personal with these little creatures.

©Edo Kars

©Edo Kars

©Edo Kars

©Edo Kars

Where will the images be exhibited?

In addition to being shown at the LXRY Fair in Amsterdam, the images are currently being shown at Okker Art Gallery, also in Amsterdam. They are also being exhibited in advertising agencies throughout Europe, and Edo is doing presentations where he speaks about the concept, the images and the process of making them. He feels it’s important to help people understand and experience the art of photography, and this is one way he’s making that connection.

©Edo Kars

©Edo Kars

©Edo Kars

A Week in the Life of Celebrity Photographer Michael Grecco

Michael Grecco is an award-winning commercial photographer and film director noted for his celebrity portraits. Combining a strong conceptual vision with his signature dramatic lighting, Michael creates incomparable images that are famously dramatic, evocative, sophisticated, ironic, and comedic. Known not only for his high-concept imagery, Michael also has an innate ability to connect with each subject to bring out surprising nuances that make even the most recognizable faces unexpected, fresh, and new. Michael’s client list includes NBC/Universal, GE, Pfizer, HBO, Kodak, ABC, IBM, Yahoo!, ESPN, Wired, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Premier, MAXIMand more. His work is regularly featured in prestigious galleries such as Louis Stern, G. Ray Hawkins, Stephen Cohen and Fahey Klein.

We had the opportunity to catch up with Michael recently in between shooting the first national cinemagraph television commercial and photographing Will Smith for Sports Illustrated. Here’s what he had to say about his recent projects, his career, and what he’s doing next.

Michael Grecco is represented nationally by Clare Agency. See much more of his work through his AtEdge portfolio and at michaelgrecco.com.

You’re well known in the photo industry for creating outstanding celebrity portraits. Give us an insight into your methodology.

It’s all about being a people-person and making connections with the subject. There has to be a great level of communication. Normally, I introduce myself and set the expectations for the shoot. Then I listen. Is there excitement? Trepidation? Hesitation? It’s important to pay attention to how they feel, and not just be there dictating. As a photographer, you can have some of the best concepts in the world, but without the cooperation of the subject you might not be able to get the image you’d hoped for. The second level is potentially a bonding process, where if it’s comfortable, I might sit with the talent in hair and makeup and get to know them more. I always go with what feels right, and it’s not the same for every subject.

Screenshot 2016-03-02 10.44.34
You were approached by Sports Illustrated to photograph Will Smith for the cover of the December 2015 issue. What was the original concept and how was the final image achieved?

We shot the cover of the issue ahead of the release of Will’s latest movie, Concussion. The film is about Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-American physician who helped discover CTE and linked it to football-specific head traumas. In the article, author Ben Reiter shines a light on Will’s role in the movie and the possible implications for the NFL and the players. Originally, the client wanted us to shoot Will against a white background, but I always like to try to bring something more to the table. I wanted to explore more intriguing lighting that would play on reality. I was thinking about Dr. Omalu and I got the idea to put Will against a different background and backlight him with a strobe while letting the flash behind him flare into the lens. My lighting concepts tend to go with this loose emotional connection, especially when I have a lot of freedom. I like to be as organic as possible for two reasons: you don’t need to enhance in post, and the client gets to actually see it.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

The same week you photographed the Sports Illustrated cover you were also creating the first cinemagraph TV commercial for Pizza Hut. How does the creative process for cinemagraphs differ from traditional still photography?

Like any process, there’s the ideation part – either by myself or the creatives. Depending on the concept, there are so many ways that we have to basically deconstruct it to see what we’re doing. This particular spot was all shot as stills, utilizing a Panasonic GH4 camera. The talent was shot in 4k on a Red camera. Because each process is different, the workflow can be different each time too. The spot was created using Flixel software and we laid the motion elements on top. Flixel made a great behind-the-scenes video that gives more of an insight into the process.

 

Why did you start producing cinemagraphs? Why do you think they’re important for advertising? 

Cinemagraphs got my attention early on. It’s something I’m fascinated with because I always try to have a very long view and approach to the future. When more content became mobile and moved to the web, I really started thinking about this particular mixture of stills and motion. It’s interesting, because people are starting to use them slowly. Watching the market it seems like they’re more of a novelty right now, but soon they’ll be part of the complete package. In a world of over-saturation, overstimulation, and overexposure, the cinemagraph is what the advertising world needs; a visually fresh approach different enough to catch the viewers attention, yet familiar enough to be effective. It’s a very natural way of using new media. The Pizza Hut spot was cool and revolutionary. When I was asked by the Emmy’s to produce cinemagraphs for social media, they saw about four times more traffic than ever before. There’s time for stills and video, but this creates a brand new medium where you can just engage. I think it’s a very sophisticated way of storytelling.

 

What’s next on your plate?

My biggest project right now is a 4-6 part network documentary and feature film on my early video and photography work, tentatively titled Punk Invasion. Boston was the first city in the U.S. that all the big punk/rock bands toured in – The Police, The Cure – I have footage of all of them. I documented the first show for many, many bands and so the story will revolve around how punk invaded this country and changed music forever. Before then, rock and roll stations were mostly album-oriented. Punk music changed the music industry and the radio world by moving from an album-oriented approach to playing more singles. With this there will also be a book and an exhibition. My staff kept pushing me to do something with it, so I ended up showing it to David Fahey of the Fahey Klein Gallery in LA and Judith Regan from Harper Collins. Judith said I needed to do a documentary and David also was very supportive. I’m very excited about it. It’s a side of my work that no one has ever really seen before.

 

Lead singer Lux Interior (born Erick Lee Purkhiser) of the punk rock band "The Cramps" performing on stage at a theater in 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ingredients: A Conversation with Dwight Eschliman

Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products is the latest book from world-renowned photographer Dwight Eschlimanand author Steve Ettlinger. Newly released at the end of September, Ingredients: is a combination of fine art and evocative food science which aims to help people understand exactly what goes into processed foods. While many of us have an understanding that much of our food is processed, this book brings ingredient lists to life in a whole new way and makes unpronounceable names real, forever changing how we read food labels.

The subject of Ingredients: is especially pertinent today, with more and more people caring about what’s actually in their food. While the photos and information in Ingredients: may be surprising, even alarming, the book is not meant to be a polemic against Big Food. Instead, the authors’ intention is to make readers into more informed shoppers.

“If food ingredient labels make your eyes glaze over, we hope that this book will open them instead,” writes Ettlinger in the introduction. “We hope that this little bit of art and science … will make you think about food additives as real stuff, not just some strange words on a label.”

The authors were first inspired to collaborate on Ingredients: because of a mutual intrigue in what exactly we’re eating – and the Twinkie. Eschliman created a visual treatment of Twinkies ingredients in 2012 called 37 or So Ingredients that went viral and led him to Steve Ettlinger, author of the acclaimed book Twinkie, Deconstructed.

We caught up with Dwight to learn more about the making of the book, the most surprising thing he learned, and to learn more about what he’s working on next.

Dwight Eschliman is represented by Apostrophe. More of his work can be seen through at-edge.com, apostrophe.net andeschlimanphoto.com.

INGREDIENTS_55_Red 40 and Yellow 5

Red No. 40 and Yellow No. 5: Two additives that are manufactured similarly from a mixture of powders that come from petroleum products such as benzene.

When did you first start deconstructing objects in your photography?
I’ve always organized things. Recently my parents showed me a picture that I’d taken as a child of my dresser after perfectly organizing all those items that a 10 year old cares about – a model airplane, Garfield shrinky-dink, Legos, books about baseball and jet airplanes, etc. Traditionally it’s been more about the organization than the deconstruction, but I do love the organized deconstruction! Organization has been a career-long theme. My first organized composition, or grid, was a promotional poster for a paper company I did when I was still in school. I collaborated with Todd Richards, a very talented designer. It’s still an image I love.

INGREDIENTS_34_Isoamyl acetate

Isoamyl acetate: An ‘ester’ used in artificial scents and flavors. It can be found in beverages as well as ice cream, candy, baked goods (it was the original flavor of Twinkies’ creamy filling), chewing gum, and gelatin desserts.

How did you end up getting involved with Ingredients:?
Ingredients: had its start as a personal project. In 2009 I deconstructed the Hostess family of baked goods after some on set discussions about the state of the American diet. I singled out the Twinkie and self-published a book entitled 37 Or So Ingredients. We created a website for the project and it went viral. I guess there’s something about the Twinkie! After all the attention that 37 Or So Ingredients received, this book project basically fell into my lap. I immediately knew I wanted to expand beyond baked goods and explore the world of food additives. I recognized that the world of food additives (or functional ingredients as the food scientists would prefer we call them) is a subject matter that elicits strong opinions regardless of position. I wanted to put a face to the names that you hear all the time: Acesulfame K, Agar, MSG, Xanthan gum, etc.

INGREDIENTS_58_Shellac

Shellac: A preservative made from insect excretions. Shellac helps keep foods fresh and is also used on vegetables, chocolates, baked goods, and even coffee beans and chewing gum.

Tell us about your process for shooting this book.
Most of our time invested in the book was spent doing research and sourcing. I wanted to bring a balanced, expository approach to the book and put a lot of effort into creating a balanced edit in terms of both perception of additive (good vs. evil) and functional purpose of that additive. To accomplish this, I had to read an awful lot about food and the food science world. Along the way I ran into Steve Ettlinger, a great writer that ended up being my collaborator for Ingredients:. The book includes 75 additives and 25 deconstructed foods. In the end, we sourced close to 700 additives and ingredients. Most were not too difficult to source, a few were challenging, and one was impossible.

INGREDIENTS_XX_Corn group

Corn: Used to make more food additives than any ingredient other than petroleum. Pictured are cornstarch, chemically altered “modified cornstarch,” maltodextrin, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup.

Were there any particular challenges you faced when photographing these items?
Perhaps the greatest challenge was preventing viewer fatigue. It was important to me that the book remained clinical and consistent to allow the viewer to access sometimes rather subtle variations in a world of white powders and clear liquids. Most additives look quite similar. Just think of salt and sugar. Not too different! There simply aren’t a lot of people out there that are going to get excited about looking at 280 pages of nearly identical photographs.

We photographed additives from two perspectives and included environmental photographs of grocery stores to help round out the story and create some visual variation while still staying true to the clinical and consistent visual approach that was critical to my vision of the book. It also helps to have a talented design firm to work with. Manual did an amazing job with the book.

INGREDIENTS_65_SoyLecithin

Soy lecithin: One of the most common emulsifiers used in food processing. It improves dough handling, moisture retention, texture, volume, browning, and shelf life. It is typically used in place of egg yolks.

What was the most surprising thing you learned?
I was surprised to learn that MSG may not be responsible for each headache I get, that although it’s in nearly everything, High Fructose Corn Syrup is nearly impossible to obtain, and that Diacetyl smells really, really awful.

INGREDIENTS_25_Diacetyl

Diacetyl: Primarily used in artificial butter flavor. Has an intensely gross odor when freshly manufactured.

What will your next project be?
Right now we’re looking at cows.

All photographs © Dwight Eschliman, from Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products (Regan Arts, September 2015)

Interview with Lennette Newell

Lennette Newell’s series Seduction (also known as Ani-Human in the states) will be on display at Gallery Photo12 in Paris from September 8th through October 17th. To commemorate the opening of her new show, Lennette has done a great interview with the online blog Taste of Blue Jean in which she talks about her love for animals, how her passion for photography was born, the themes behind the series, and the recent controversy of the killing of Cecil the lion.

Read the full interview here.

To see more of Lennette’s work, please visit her AtEdge portfolio and website, lennettenewell.com.

ani-human python

Ani-human python, Copyright Lennette Newell

ani-human connection series

Ani-human connection series, Copyright Lennette Newell

ani-human black panther

Ani-human black panther, Copyright Lennette Newell

ani-human cheetah

Ani-human cheetah, Copyright Lennette Newell

A Conversation with Sean Izzard and Simon Harsent of The POOL Collective

There is something satisfyingly serendipitous about the similarities between photographers Simon Harsent and Sean Izzard. They first met more than 25 years ago and discovered they had been born on the same day in the same year – just six hours separating them. Well, that and 17,000 miles. A shared sensibility led to an immediate and long-standing friendship and a close working relationship.

In 2008, the pair founded The POOL Collective with the idea of giving artists a way to contribute freely to all aspects of the commercial creative process in order to maintain the integrity of their work, improve collaboration with agencies, clients and other artists during production and also to initiate a wider conversation on how to share their experience to cultivate the next wave of image-makers.

Just this May, Simon and Sean launched their first ever joint exhibition: Fifty/50. Marking both of the photographers’ 50th birthdays, the exhibit featured 50 portraits taken over a period of 12 months. The show was greatly received by Simon & Sean’s professional colleagues and the general public alike. The pair received praise not only for their own work, but for how the exhibition worked as a joint show, providing viewers with a stunning and perfectly fitting celebration of their unique bond.

We had the pleasure of catching up with Simon and Sean recently to discuss Fifity/50, to learn more about The POOL Collective, and to take a closer look at their individual styles and personal work.

SimonHarsentFifty50

Simon Harsent, Photographer Ken Schles, Fifty/50

Was there a collective approach to the portraits you displayed at Fifty/50?

Harsent We both shot without talking to each other much about what we were going to do because we didn’t want to plan it in a way that we felt might restrict our approach. It wasn’t until we started laying our photos out to hang that we really saw each other’s work. It was only then that we considered the relationship of the work and that was from the point of view of the hanging of the exhibition. It just happened quite organically.

Sean Izzard, Beijing

Sean Izzard, Beijing, Fifty/50

Being two different photographers with different visions, how do you think the show portrayed and tied together your artistic relationship?

Izzard: Even as seasoned professionals I believe we are both still getting better. The quality of Simon’s work is incredible. He has developed a voice with his work. It sounds odd, but there is a really beautiful stillness to his portraiture. The challenge to me was to meet the mark I knew he would achieve. We have always held great respect for each others work and this has always been our way – to push each other.

Simon Harsent, Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Simon Harsent, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Fifty/50

Which photos were your favorites and why?

Harsent: I loved the stuff Sean shot in China and South Africa. In those pictures you could really see Sean’s voice as a photographer. There is a pace that you feel in those images that really reflect who Sean is. Of my own that’s always a tough one as it’s hard I find to have favorites, it’s a bit like children in that way. I really like the portrait I shot of Usain Bolt and also the portrait of Ken Schles. There is calmness in those images that I love. The portrait of Seamus Heaney was fantastic to see on a gallery wall. I made the picture 4 months before he passed away and the sitting was an incredible experience. Seeing the portrait on the wall bought back the happy memories of that sitting.

Izzard: My favourite images of Simon’s were the portrait of photographer Ken Schles, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Usain Bolt – there is a restraint and sensitivity that show an inner aspect of these outwardly highly successful people. Of mine, I really like the awkwardness of the Vietnamese ‘Spiderman’ with the buck teeth, and the strength of the subjects from Capetown.

Sean Izzard, Spiderman

Sean Izzard, Spiderman, Fifty/50

In your words what makes The POOL Collective unique?

Harsent: It’s an open door and open book and an open forum for all involved. All of the photographers that have joined are basically vetted by the existing members. We are very careful of how POOL grows and we talk to each other about not only that but the direction for us as a group. We do projects and exhibitions together and are constantly supporting each other with what we are up to personally as well. It’s really like a family.

Izzard: We do what works for the photographers first and foremost. The traditional model has the agent at the top and a stable of photographers underneath. This isn’t necessarily a bad way to go, but we have both been represented by many different agents and had some good ideas on how to make it work better. Specifically, we have hand-picked our photographers such that there isn’t too much overlap – that’s not to say we can’t all shoot similar subjects, but our styles are vastly different. Each of these photographers must also have an energy and eagerness both to contribute and to be contributed to. As a collective, we are able to pull each other upwards through our tenets of sharing, inspiring and motivating. As the senior members, Simon and I have a vast network of contacts within the industry across the globe and an ability to open doors to new opportunities for all of us as a group. In return, our young’uns provide exuberance and energy that keeps us fired-up and constantly on our toes. Together with this we have employed a forward thinking team headed up by Cameron Gray who also work towards improving our offerings and creating the vehicles by which our work is constantly out and working for us – whether the more traditional publications and exhibitions to the more unconventional – such as events and iPad apps.

SimonHarsentFifty50Portrait

Simon Harsent, Fifty/50

What have been some of the moments you’re most proud of?

Harsent: For me, the Grant is what I’m most proud of. Each year we award $10,000 to an emerging artist to develop and produce a body of work that culminates in an exhibition which is shown during the Head On Festival. We have just awarded our 6th recipient. It really is the essence of what we are about – not only does the recipient receive the money and support from the production department but they also get mentoring from any or all of the members – they choose who they want. The quaterly app for iTunes that we produced, where we would all shoot new personal work, was a highlight for me as well. I loved the drive it gave me to produce new work. Working to a deadline on personal projects tends to make me act more intuitively, and I like that approach to my work. We are working on bringing that back in the not too distant future. Also our first group show, which was called Blow Up, where we set up a pop up space in an incredible location in Sydney opposite of the Sydney Opera house. It conceded with a publication of the same name.

Izzard: I’m most proud of the reputation we have forged in such a relatively short amount of time. We have set a very high bar for ourselves and are careful to produce quality at every turn. Our first event was a publication and exhibition called ‘Blow Up’ which really put us on the map. Since then we have developed an app, hosted many events and developed partnerships with many diverse creative entities. I also think one of our most important contributions to the creative landscape has been the Pool Grant. We have awarded this for the past six years and it is fundamental to our core value of supporting emerging talent.
 

Simon Harsent on His Personal Style and Work

Simon Harsent, The Beautiful Game

Simon Harsent, The Beautiful Game

How did you develop your personal style/aesthetic?

Harsent:I think it’s an accumulation of a lot of things over a long period of time; my taste in art and music is very diverse and I think that’s reflected in my work. I’ve never been the type of person who could just do one thing over and over again, for me that would be like working in a factory. I’m as happy shooting landscapes as I am a portrait or even a still life. When I first picked up a camera I just loved taking pictures no matter what it was and that’s just never changed. So I think through a myriad of reasons and influences I’ve just ended up where I am with my work, and hopefully it’s still evolving. Having said that I think being the son of a poet gave me a certain aesthetic on how I looked at the world growing up. It’s kind of a Proust thing I think, you become the sum of all your past experiences and that ends up being reflected in your work.

Simon Harsent, The Tears of Hinehuakatere

Simon Harsent, The Tears of Hinehuakatere

A few years back, you shot The Tears of Hinehuakatere glaciers in New Zealand. What made you want to photograph this striking geological anomaly?

Harsent: The Tears of Hinehuakatere came out of having produced the book Melt/Portrait of an Iceberg back in 2008. I have a fascination with glaciers since spending time in the Arctic. I was invited to New Zealand to give the keynote talk at Image Nation and whenever I go somewhere I always try to take out some time for myself to shoot some personal work. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to shoot the Fox Glacier. After I decided to do the project, the planning started. I knew I didn’t want to just shoot the face of the glacier, so I decided to hire a helicopter and shoot it from the air. It wasn’t until I was there that I discovered the Maori legend that the project is named after. I felt it such a poetic and beautiful story that it seemed like the perfect title for the work.

Simon Harsent, Tears of Hinehuakatere

Simon Harsent, Tears of Hinehuakatere

The Beautiful Game is another one of your personal projects. Can you tell us a bit more about this ongoing body of work?

Harsent: The Beautiful Game came to me. It wasn’t a conscious decision, although I have always wanted to do a football related project. I’m a massive football (soccer) fan and have been obsessed with it since I was a kid growing up in England. It was the only thing I ever wanted to do. I used to dream about playing for Chelsea (the team I’ve followed since I was 5) until I discovered photography, so to me it’s really no surprise that a project like this has become an ongoing body of work for me.

The first images were shot when I would take my son to football training. Most of the time it would be early evening when the floodlights were on. I remember seeing these old broken goal posts next to a wooded area to the side of the pitches. I took the picture and knew I had something, but didn’t really know what to do with it. That image was really the nucleus of the project. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when my son and I were in England and I took him past a ground I used to play on when I was a kid, that I knew where the project was headed. The ground was completely overgrown and looked abandoned. I made 3 visits to that ground during our time in England. Since then I’ve continued to shoot football grounds of all shapes and sizes of different parts of the world.

Simon Harsent, The Beautiful Game

Simon Harsent, The Beautiful Game

What motivates you to keep taking pictures?

Harsent:I love it, It’s just as simple as that. I still get the same buzz as I did when I was a teenager taking pictures, and I don’t know if I could do anything else. I’m a photographer plain and simple it’s not something I could or would want to change.
 

Sean Izzard on the Role of Personal Work and Commercial Jobs

Sean Izzard, Heatwave

Sean Izzard, Heatwave

What is your view on personal work and what role does it play in your career?

Izzard: Personal work is really where the juice is. In terms of my career, it allows me to explore new directions both in subject matter and technique, giving an insight to prospective employers about what makes me tick and what I may bring to any particular assignment. It may also inspire new ideas for them. Personally, it is vital in many ways. From the very basic of levels it has been the form of practice that has honed my eye from the very beginning. To experiment and see what works or what doesn’t, and to allow the camera as a natural extension of who I am and how I see. I never switch off – always noticing light, potential subjects and/or ideas for future projects. I see the world through photographic lenses, intuitively knowing which to bolt on at any given time. Both a blessing and a curse – it is my life.

Sean Izzard, Heatwave

Sean Izzard, Heatwave

Heatwave is a personal project of yours based on a family camping trip. What was the story you wanted to share with the viewer?

Izzard:Each year we travel a few hours down the coast to camp with the same group of families. Each time I pull the camera out at various times to document the occasion. Camping allows the kids to have a real freedom and independence from their parents and I love to take pictures of the children isolated in this way. This particular year saw extreme temperatures and bush fires and we were evacuated to the beach. Heatwave tells the story of the kids, totally oblivious to any danger, immersed in their own innocent world and safe in the knowledge that their protectors aren’t far away if need be.

Sean Izzard, Heatwave

Sean Izzard, Heatwave

Another Place Another Time explores places and memories of your childhood. Why was it important for you to document these moments?

Another Place Another Time surfaced when I had revisited Burning Palms, where we had holidayed many times when I was a child. Back then before my parents divorced we were a family, and we stayed in shacks with other families. It occurred to me how it really seemed like someone else’s life and I started to explore the notion of memory. I could begin to segment my life into different eras – all of which seemingly of a different person. I realized that my memories are really the only thread tying all of my life together. Yet they are so tenuous. Physically, at a cellular level my body has been regenerated many, many times over which also begs the metaphysical question, was it really me?

Sean Izzard, Another Place Another Time

Sean Izzard, Another Place Another Time

How has your process evolved from when you first started shooting until now?

Izzard:Having so much more experience now I spend far less time trying things that won’t work. I have an innate sense of what needs to happen for a story to be told. Even from a personal work point of view, I question myself before taking a picture. What am I saying, or what is this picture saying? I was far more inclined to shoot something for it’s own sake in the past, whereas now I’m looking for more substance – and often thinking in terms of a series of pictures rather than a one-off. My evolution as a photographer continues though what hasn’t changed is the importance of taking a step back to evaluate my work. Am I happy with it? and if not, what is missing such that I will be?

Sean Izzard, Another Place Another Time

Sean Izzard, Another Place Another Time

How does your personal work ultimately influence your commercial jobs?

Izzard: My personal work allows me the confidence to approach commissions in much the same way. In the beginning I was a an editorial shooter, largely finding the stories in front of me which is very similar to my approach with personal work. The challenge now is to know how to recreate this ‘reality’. How to start with an image in my head and to work backwards putting all the elements in place. If I’m struggling on a commercial shoot I have taught myself to stop, take a step back and figure out what isn’t working. My aim is to create a beautiful, strong image just as I would if it were for myself, so I ask myself the same questions. What is missing? I reconsider the fundamentals – lighting, compositon and basic photographic priciples and I’m then able to reset.


To see more work from Sean Izzard, please visit his AtEdge Portfolio and Website.
For more of Simon Harsent’s work, take a look at his AtEdge Portoflio and Website.
Learn more about The POOL Collective here.

Howard Schatz at School of Visual Arts New York

Featured Image ©Howard Schatz

On Monday, June 15th renowned photographer Howard Schatz will be giving a lecture at the School of Visual Arts New York.

Howard will be discussing his new book, SCHATZ: 25 YEARS, a magnificent and luxurious boxed set including work  from 32 individual and personal projects made over the course of the last 25 years.

3 copies of this beautiful publication will also be given away as part of a raffle sponsored by Epson America.

This event is free and open to the public, so we highly recommend stopping by if you’re in the area.

You can view more information on Howard Schatz and his new book here.

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Matthew Turley: A Month in Namibia

Photographer Matthew Turley grew up in southeastern Idaho, backpacking and skiing with his family in the nearby Teton range.

His love of photography coupled with a lifelong affinity for exploring the natural world has led to over a decade of working on locations worldwide.

No stranger to far-off destinations, Turley had been longing to shoot in the African desert for quite some time. In 2014, after several years of dreaming, Matthew Turley decided to make his dream a reality.

His agent, Marianne Campbell tells the story:

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© Matthew Turley

Matthew Turley said he’d been wanting to shoot a fashion series in Namibia since South African producer Kim White showed him some photos of the country in 2010.

But there was never an opportunity to pull the project together.

After four years of dreaming of the desert, he bought a ticket and headed to the airport.

I finally just decided to go by myself,” he said. “I booked my return ticket for a month-long trip only eight hours in advance.

He landed in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, without a plan or even a reserved hotel room. Turley says the “no plan” plan usually isn’t a problem for him since he can work things out as he goes, booking rooms and excursions on his smartphone. Unfortunately, AT&T shut down his phone and data access shortly after he picked up his rental vehicle for security measures—he had run up nearly $1000 in data charges.

Matthew had already purchased the Southern Africa map set for his Garmin GPS and the Land Cruiser he rented had its own GPS system, so getting around should not have been problematic. In another twist of fate however, the map file on his Garmin had gotten corrupted and the Land Cruiser’s GPS didn’t have a map for Namibia. “I was essentially lost in Windhoek for nearly 18 hours. I couldn’t find my way back to the rental car agency and public Internet access is virtually impossible to find,” he said.

But he would not be deterred. “Finally, I was able to buy a Namibia SIM card, a satellite phone, and he found a place where he could re-download the Garmin map. I was ready to go!

The Land Cruiser came equipped with camping gear, including a tent, fridge, water, and stove, two spare tires and an extended-range fuel tank.

With the second-lowest population in the world, a month alone in Namibia’s vast emptiness was a sublime personal experience for Turley. “I often prefer simple, graphic compositions and was thus drawn to the country’s stark landscape,” he said.

Turley was virtually alone for the next three and a half weeks.

He headed to Sossusvlei, an area known for having some of the largest and most expansive sand dunes on earth, where he hired a pilot and shot aerials of sand dunes and Atlantic coast, which is accessible only by air.

It took an hour just to reach the coast, flying over an endless expanse of dunes, leaving only 35 minutes of fuel for actually photographing the coast.

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© Matthew Turley

 

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© Matthew Turley

 

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© Matthew Turley

In Kolmanskop, a deserted diamond-mining town from the early 20th century, Turley shot homes filled with sand.

At night, he sat alone on the quiet desert salt pans, as far away from another person as he’s ever been, and under the brightest night skies he’s ever seen.

“I’ve never experienced solitude quite like that. It was incredible.”
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© Matthew Turley

 

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© Matthew Turley

 

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© Matthew Turley

And, as luck would have it, on the second to last day of his trip, he met a beautiful Namibian waitress with an interest in modeling who was excited when he explained his original creative vision for shooting in Namibia – somewhere between a fashion series and ethnic portraits.

The next day, they went out and shot together in the desert.

“It was such a random, unexpected encounter, but those images ended up being my favorites from the entire trip!”
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© Matthew Turley

 

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© Matthew Turley

 

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© Matthew Turley

AtEdge Conversation Series: On the Track with Andy Batt

Andy Batt‘s approach to photography is built out of a strong commitment to creating an intersection of image and story. Whether it’s working on a large scale project with a huge crew and bigger personalities, or a quiet portrait session in his own studio, his work shows a love for the act of discovery and the creativity of crafting with light.

In 2013 Andy began working with a new high-profile client, Verizon, to photograph their iconic IndyCars and the drivers who operate them.

“This project is all about the power and strength of the IndyCar; that awesome feeling comes from the sound of the engine, the grip of the tires and the sheer speed. That feeling also comes from the successful bridge between driver and car; without a driver with skill, determination and power, an IndyCar can’t win a race.”Andy Batt

While shooting, Andy found himself visiting various different racetracks, mounting cameras onto cars, and using remote-controlled helicopters all in the name of telling the Verizon IndyCar story.

We sat down with him recently to get all the details on what goes into capturing the raw power of these automobiles, what the shoot days were like, the scariest moments, and to get a glimpse of what we can expect to see from him in the future.

The images below are selected pieces from the series. View the complete project here.

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Verizon IndyCar Drivers © Andy Batt

How did you get involved in this project?
Andy: Art buyer Hillary Frileck put my name in the hat and creative director Cliff Skeete believed in me. They are amazing people to work with who love and understand photography and its importance in advertising. We’ve worked on four amazing rounds of Verizon IndyCar — two multi-day shoots at a track we had locked down, and two different racetracks capturing real racing in a way that matched our production shoot.

What was your strategy for photographing these cars and their drivers?
Andy: I’m going to quote myself here — this is from the treatment I put together,

Verizon IndyCar © Andy Batt

“[…]I’m going to deliver that spine tingle to that fan. I’m going to make the photos that take them right to the track…

To get a point of view that you can’t get from a TV, the bleacher seats or the box suites. It’s putting the fan in there, in the moment.”

I needed to deliver and create images that would resonate and create that story with a fan. IndyCar is an exciting sport—it’s about the scale of the track, hearing the engines roar and feeling the immense speed as those cars dive into a corner. Putting that into a series of images was the good kind of hard creative work.

What were shoot days like and what kind of challenges did you face?
Andy: We had half a day of testing and two shooting days to work on the first round of this project, and two more days for the second round. The days were long — sunrise to sunset.

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Verizon IndyCar © Andy Batt

Were there any scary experiences?
Andy: Nothing felt that scary — for me. For the people watching I think there were a few moments of fear seeing me flying around the track like a lunatic. There was a brief panicky moment when I was sitting on the “front porch” of the insert car, behind the IndyCars going around the track at 70mph when I became aware of just how crazy this was, but I was able to shut that down and get on with the shooting. It’s true that looking through a camera makes you feel protected somehow. There is something about working through crazy stuff that lets you just ignore the ramifications. I would like to add that the insert car operator was amazing, and had me strapped in very safely.

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Verizon IndyCar © Andy Batt

What was post-production and editing like for this project?
Andy: The post look was a collaboration between myself, the agency and my retoucher. The call was to take the images into a dark, gritty and aggressive place. If you look at lot of the marketing for other IndyCar teams, you’ll find a very slick, polished look—almost video game like—and with this campaign we wanted to go away from that. There’s a great boutique retouching agency in Portland—Willamette Valley Color. I work directly with the owner, Craig Ferroggiaro on most of my projects. On IndyCar Craig was indispensable, helping craft the look we wanted.

Do you have a personal favorite image from the series?
Andy: I really love this image from the first round; it’s from one of the cameras we mounted right over the front wheel with a super wide lens.There’s a real sense of the speeds these cars are capable of and the light is amazing. It’s a shot that, for me, fulfills the mission of creating a new image for this sport.

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Verizon IndyCar © Andy Batt

From the second round, this pit stop photo is one of my favorites. We brought a genie lift out to the track so I could shoot hand held from directly above the car. There were a bank of strobes positioned up high as stadium lights to add some of the flavor of a night race.

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Pit Stop © Andy Batt

What would you say is unique about your photographic approach and what do you think sets you apart from other photographers?
Andy: That’s one of those difficult questions for me. From my perspective, I throw myself into a project like this one full force. All the choices I make seem like the obvious ones — I do what seems right. It’s hard to see outside of that bubble. When I talk to other photographers or clients, I get the sense that the paths I take, and the way I do things is unique. But from the inside? It’s hard to know. I have to answer the same questions as everyone else. What story am I telling? Whose story is it—clients, subjects or mine? How do I tell it in an interesting way? I try to make the answers my own—the game is to create original photographs that have some special sauce. Not that everything is a complicated, complex idea—sometimes it’s just about getting the right smile on someone’s face.

A project like IndyCar is literally a lot of moving parts; it’s about creating a palpable sense of exhilaration and excitement.

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Verizon IndyCar Driver © Andy Batt

Where do you see your photography going? What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Andy: My photography is always in a constant state of evolution—it’s easy to look backwards and see where I’ve been, but much harder to look forwards. I just know that when I find myself repeating things, I get a little itchy to make a change. That could mean discovering a new technique or finding new subjects, I’m not sure. For me it also means looking at current styles and trying to see either past them to what’s coming, or looking closer at what’s 180° from them. I tend to steer away from the current trends—I’ll take advantage of them when appropriate, but if I’m trying to move my artistic self forward, it’s about doing what others are not. That means that what I’m doing might not always align with current tastes, but hopefully I’m always ending up in a slightly different place than everyone else.

Do you have any words of advice for emerging photographers?
Andy: Well, I guess the baseline would be to believe in the paradox. This entire industry rests on the ability to hold two alternate concepts of the same idea in your head at the same time. For example, being a small business owner means that it’s necessary to be profitable — that’s not a luxury — and you need to minimize financial risk.

On the other hand to pursue the career of an artist means it’s necessary to take risks. Sometimes those are creative risks, but often it’s linked to taking a financial one. Being an artist is all about vision and creative ideas, and sometimes you need to follow that vision with money.

To be both of those things is paradoxical, but being a successful commercial photographer requires both.

You need to create work that satisfies your soul, that makes you happy and inspired. You also need to create work that satisfies your clients, that puts money in your pocket. If you are very lucky, you can get paid to do the work that you love. Most of the time you need to find both kinds of work so you can feed your soul and your body. Too much of the work that just gets you paid, but doesn’t feed the artist means you’ll wake up one day with no desire to do the work you need to keep doing. Too much work done purely for your artistic vision, with no financial return means you’ll run out of money. Finding balance in what you do is incredibly important.


For a deeper look into Andy Batt’s body of work please visit his AtEdge Portfolio and Website.