Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Art Report

First Light, Prambanan Temple Complex, Jogyakarta, Java, Indonesia

The weekend started off with the the Saturday "soft" opening of Maui's newest contemporary art gallery. Located in Kihei on Maui's south shore, Maui Art Hale promises to be a fantastic new showcase for emerging and established island artistic talent. With very little fanfare & publicity, Saturday's opening was respectably attended by artists, friends, family and island visitors alike. Things are coming together here very nicely and the reports I received from those in attendance were that the gallery looked amazing... the art hung beautifully and uncluttered. Kudos go out to owners & directors Ken Norris & Steve Rose for pulling off a really nice event. The collected work presently on display has a distinctive East-West flavor which suits me just fine and has sent me back to the image files for recent images from Asia collected during my visit at the end of last year - perfectly suited to work with the collection currently on display. The studio printer has been working overtime today, getting the new work ready for framing and exhibition. Look for announcements here & elsewhere for the real Grand Opening event, expected to be held sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Gallery Director Ken Norris welcomes guests to Maui Art Hale

Sunday afternoon brought the highly anticipated opening and artists reception of ART MAUI 2012. It's always challenging to gauge the show and the selected work during this event due to the crowd & heavy socializing going on. First impressions are that the show is well put together, most of the work selected of high quality and an amazingly uncluttered arrangement of the work on display thanks to the volunteer installation team headed by Joelle Perz.

The show runs though April 20th. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Weekend Art Happenings

There's lots going on this weekend in the island's art community. Takes some time, venture out and explore what island artists have been up to...

Friday Evening, March 23rd:

A soft opening for what promises to be Maui's newest contemporary art gallery -  
95 E. Lipoa Street, #104 A
(located next to Fabiani's Bakery & Pizza)
Kihei, Maui

The Maui Art Hale opens tomorrow night, stop by for a peek at some Great Local Maui Contemporary Art and a have a toast with us if you are on Maui ...6-8pm tomorrow (Friday)

“The Maui Art Hale features contemporary works by local Maui Artists in a clean well lit environment that will showcase the Art as it will be seen in a contemporary setting”, is the way Senior Art Consultant Ken Norris, the Hale’s director of Art and Sales descibes the new venture. He adds, “This approach allows a complex work of Art to be seen the way the Artist envisioned.”

The first show at The Maui Art Hale will feature the paintings of South Maui Artist Kim Mosley. Ms. Mosley is well know on the Maui Art Scene for her sculptures and will for the first time showcase her paintings at the new Gallery.  Her paintings will be joined at The Maui Art Hale with photographs by Maui Photographer Tony Novak-Clifford and two new artists to the Maui Art Scene.

“Ken saw a need for a great space to showcase Art in South Maui . “The Maui Art Hale has long range plans to not only feature many contemporary Maui Artists both famous and upcoming but to also become a center for more Art awareness in South Maui and maybe some wonderful Music and Poetry happenings will also be added in the future”.

The Maui Art Hale is open Mon-Sun,  2PM  till Late Night!

Yes, having new gallery representation is South Maui is a good thing. The folks running the show here are still working on putting the finishing touches on the space and already it is looking sweet... simple, clean, uncluttered and well lit. The work on the walls has room to breathe. Tomorrow night will be a little sneak peak with bigger and more work & events things to come... drop in, see some new work, enjoy a glass of wine and engage with the art & artists on hand. I'll be there and hope to see you there too.

Here's a preview of a couple of the artists already on the roster:

Works by: Travis

Work by: Kim Mosley

Saturday, March 24th

It's that time of year again when Maui's most anticipated, juried exhibition ART MAUI rolls into the Schaefer International Gallery at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Jurying took place last weekend. The monumental task of weeding thru the mass of submitted work, this year, fell to one of the exhibition's founding members, professor emeritus and founding director of the University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Tom Klobe.

Always interesting, usually controversial, this year's show received 513 submitted works of art from 327 of the island's artists. From that work, 128 artists made the cut with 144 pieces selected for the exhibition.

I am happy to say that for the third year in a row, one of my two selected entries made the final cut.

Saturday at 2:00pm, the gallery will host a reception for the selected artists where we can mingle, be recognized and get a sneak peak at the show. The exhibition will officially open the following day and run through Friday, April 20th.

My selected work below:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Bakers Half-Dozen

This morning's mission - full assault on the local bakery. Telling their story visually was an easy task when I'm surround by the smells of yeasty breads, pastries, and other delightful confections providing the internal inspiration. Staying out of their way as they busily prepared the day's goods was the hard part...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Finally! New Website Completed!

After over a month of daily effort, I'm happy to say that the new website update and galleries are, for all practical purposes, complete. At least complete for the time being... it's always an ongoing process trying to stay fresh and keep the best of the newest work up and on display.

A few screen shots: 

Opening/Home Page:

Architecture Gallery:        

Interior Design:



And More Food:  




Product/Still Life/Table Top:


You can see the whole new site here:   
Comments & feedback are most welcome.

Now it's on to getting the print folio printed and lashed together...


Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday, March 12

M dropped 'round the studio of friday to lend her curator's eye to new website layouts, offering several suggestions for pairings of verticals that made very good sense. Work continues getting together & uploading the last of the new images & layouts and with any luck at all, will be completed today. Took an afternoon meeting with CD @ InfoGrafik to determine a scheme & course of action for a new client's website. Shooting begins this afternoon... Scott & Don dropped by late in the afternoon to borrow the kit of focusing fresnels for a weekend video project.

Wet, chilly & windy weather kept us indoors for much of the weekend, 'cept for a short little gig in town on saturday morning. Artist & inspirator Tom Faught & his lovely bride dropped by the homestead for dinner later that evening. Spinach Salad w/ warm bacon dressing and a pasta made of caramelized onions, garlic, lemon juice, braised chard & roasted pine nuts were served up along with a couple of nice Pinots. Several pressing world problems were solved during the meal. 

Sunday brought drier weather though winds persisted. Best part of the day is the morning walk with Chester & members of the Giggle Hill Canine Social Club though many of the other usual suspects remained absent. Chester didn't mind at all...

After a short afternoon nap, a hearty pot of stew was lashed together & left to simmer as Chester & I took advantage of the dry skies and headed back down the hill for a late afternoon walk amongst picnickers and families enjoying the playgrounds and afternoon sunshine.

Rain & winds have returned this morning. Just as well, really... there's still plenty of indoor work to fill the working hours before today's shoot.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Agencies Share many Of the Same Issues We Do When Pitching Work...

Fantastic read this morning on the issues faced by Ad Agencies when pitching work to clients... it seems many overlap with the issues we face when pitching ourselves and our work to them... loss of IP, budget concerns, clients not understanding our business models, inordinate amounts of useless paperwork, RFP requests & fulfillment.

Of special note in the article are ideas that creatives & clients are entering a partnership, aiming for the start of a long & mutually beneficial relationship... 

I would encourage agencies to remember these very same points when it comes to dealing with the freelancers... we, too, wish to work together, form partnerships and provide work that is beneficial to not only the client, but to the agency brand and to our own businesses. 

Read it here: 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Paula Lerner 1960-2012

Being that today is International Women's Day it seems only fitting to mark the loss of Boston-based photojournalist Paula Lerner,  a tireless advocate for women everywhere and especially for the women of Afghanistan, tireless advocate for working photographers, founding member and former president of the Editorial Photographers group.

Though I didn't know her well, I had the opportunity to spend a few days meeting, talking & working with Paula many years ago. She was a close friend of my original mentor, Steven Minkowski. At the time of his untimely death, it was I who was handed the task of calling Paula in Boston to pass on the news. We've sporadically kept in touch over the years and I have followed her career ever since our first encounter. I remember seeing her images of Rwandan refugee camps on the cover of PDN a few years back and calling her to congratulate her. I watched with glee when she was awarded an Emmy for her work on the film Behind the Veil: An Intimate Journey Into the Lives of Kandahar's Women. From the moment I first met Paula, I knew I had encountered not only a new colleague & friend in an ego-driven industry, but a powerhouse of a woman passionate about her craft, an advocate for the things I hold near & dear about this industry and about life in general. During the couple of days we worked together, we laughed, we sweat and I came away from the experience so much richer for having had the opportunity to meet Paula, her trusty Leica always at the ready.

She was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. After initial treatment & surgery, Paula was able to return to a somewhat normal life until it was discovered that the disease had metastasised to her bones and eventually her organs. Paula left us on Tuesday. The world and the photographic industry are a better place for having had her during her all too brief life. Our thoughts & prayers go out to her family and friends.

Aloha Paula...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Steady Progress - Lessons Learned - Upcoming Exhibition

Work on the website & print book continue at a steady snail's pace. It's taken a solid month now of going through stacks of storage drives to search for fresh work to show... a serious review of the hits, near-misses, even the epic fails. Images have now been selected and work on the website is now roughly two-thirds complete. A few more images to edit, put together in some way that makes visual and/or thematic sense or resize for consistency, a new bio to invent and then we can move on the the print book... another monumental task of printing and assemblage. 

At this rate, the book ought to be ready by this time next year. Ha!

It's been years since I've gone thru the amassed work with such a critical eye and overall, the exercise has been instructional, educational and at times grueling. Two lessons have come from the experience so far:

One: For many years I was, let's just say, less than comfortable with photographing people. I don't know the reason for this other than sometimes felt as though I was imposing upon their person or taking something from them. There were even times when I felt as though I was simply using them as a means to tell my own story or to illustrate an idea that really had little to do with them at all. As I have dug through the work, I was quite happy to find portraits & lifestyle images of which I am very proud. In most cases (there are a few occasions where the subject might have felt otherwise), I believe I portrayed them all in a flattering light, sometimes hitting heroic notes and once in a while even revealing a little something about their personality through the photographs.

Two: Here comes the "critical eye" part... a signature style seems to elude me still. I'm the poster boy for ADHD... Attention Deficit Syndrome. Once I've done something one way, I am eager to move on & try doing it some other way, whether it's a style of lighting, a method of composition... I bore easily and wish to challenge myself constantly with attempts at something maybe I haven't tried before. I see so much workout there from colleagues I admire and both consciously and unconsciously attempt to emulate. If I were working in some major center or metropolitan area like LA or New York, I would imagine this might be the kiss of death to one's career. Fortunately, here in Hawaii, if one is working the the commercial & editorial realm, being a generalist and proficient at several methods of working and subject matter seems to work. Obviously, the best earning types of work here center around the resort & travel markets, high end architecture & interior design and the watersports industry. One day, it's hotel rooms & lobbies, the next day - food & beverage work with an occasional celebrity, rock star or other person of note's portraiture thrown into the mix from time to time... these are commercial assignments in most cases and for many years they have sustained me. Editorial work in this state pays very little (with a couple of notable exceptions) with fewer & fewer print publications of quality out there to display work, let alone attempt to derive any sort of meaningful income from. Fortunately, an interest in all that Hawaii has to offer remains in publications around the world. Most of these pubs offer fair compensation & usage terms, so my marketing efforts are more targeted there as far as editorial work is concerned.

There's the opportunity to also produce and sometimes exhibit personal work here in the state. I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to exhibit in a couple of galleries over the years and have just been offered the opportunity the hang work in a new gallery opening on the South Shore in the next week or two... check here for updates on this soon. The other artists showing work here do really great work but I can't reveal the details just yet. Stay tuned...

And, the island's most prestigious juried exhibition is just around the corner. ART MAUI 2012 will be receiving works for jurying next Thursday, March 15, and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Schaefer International Gallery between the hours of 9:00-5:00. Artists are able to submit up to two works of art created during the past two years. Entry fees are $20 per submission. This years jurist is the distinguished Tom Klobe, professor & founding director of the University of Hawaii Art Gallery. There are a few changes to this year's entry rules so be sure to read the Prospectus.

I have been fortunate enough to have had work selected for the past two years and have two submissions ready for entry to this year's show. Both images were culled from my trip to Java, Indonesia back in December. In fact, my framer just called to inform me that the prints were ready for me to sign the mats and pick up... a week before the deadline. I will take this as an auspicious sign for my chances at being accepted this year.

See you on receiving day and, hopefully, at the artist's reception prior to the show's opening. Good luck to all entrants!

Now, back to the website... 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

No Laughing Matter

" All you photographers have to do is show up, click the shutter and you're done while we writers have to do the research......" 
 - A Magazine Editor today via telephone call

I paraphrase the above, but only marginally, because my eyes rolled back in my head, my ears shut down and foam began spreading across my lips even before she finished her first sentence...

The call had come in relation to a request for a stock image in my files. The editor's art director had received the low-res preview thumbnails I had sent earlier in a response to his request for a specific image. Just before, his email had indicated that he liked 2 images of the four I had sent, along with an attached "rate sheet" for both assigned photography and for stock use. The email indicated that the magazine intended to run the photograph full-page, plus two separate online versions... one a mirror of the print version, and a second use on the magazine's website. The fee for full-page print use plus the two online versions was a total of $100. 

At first glance I had to laugh, just like those disembodied heads pictured above. Then, I decided to check for myself regarding fees for similar use using a copy of Cradoc's Fotoquote® and going to my stock agency and seeking similar images, plugging in the same use, circulation information, etc. 

The magazine, perhaps Maui's best known, if not only "Lifestyle" publication, has a circulation of somewhere between 25k & 35k according to the editor. Plugging that data, along with full-page, one-time print use only into Fotoquote®, I got a range of prices starting at the low end of $321, high end at $642 with a median fee of $428. Then I logged into my stock agencies site & found a couple of similar images. Again, plugging in the same use and circulation info, the agency quoted me a fee of $369 for one-time print use only.

OK... my gut reaction to the offered fee was validated. And to be fair, the editor making the quote above is a very good friend, an advocate for freelancers of all stripes who's hands are bound by her publisher. Her line above, I sincerely hope, was uttered tongue in cheek. Afterall, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and were her publication forced to resort to publishing only the printed word, sans photographs, she knows well that circulation would drop faster than current GOP approval ratings. No circulation... no advertisers or advertising revenues. 

Yet, here is the conundrum... A publisher needs images to fill her pages. The same publisher publishes a rate sheet listing the fees she will pay, rates that fall far below any use fees I have ever been offered by any other publication... whether the publication was a consumer editorial magazine, a corporate communications news letter...

Now I ask you, in what other business or industry can the buyer needing a service or commodity set the price they will pay and get away with it other than the photographic industry? Try it with you local supermarket, hair stylist, family doctor and see how they react.

So what can we do? I can only speak for myself here. I called the editor and explained that I had researched the intended use from multiple sources and these were the prices for use I came up with... more than 3X the offered use rate from the magazine and for use in the print version only. At this point, the issue was left there with a promise that the art director would call me back.

To walk away from $100 left sitting on the table will not break my bank. Could I use an extra $100? Sure. Do I have a right to place my own value on the work I produce? Absolutely. Until you are able to say no and turn the conversation towards a negotiation rather than a take it or leave it situation, you will have no  recourse but to let the client set the terms. I know the image this magazine wants has value. I have licensed it previously. They called me looking for the image, not the other way around. To allow them to set the fee they are willing to pay for it may be good for their business but it sucks for mine. It would only serve to potentially lower the value of that image the next time a request for use comes around. Once the buyer becomes accustomed to that lower use, it will be next to impossible to get a better deal in the future.

To be in a position to successfully negotiate fair fees and terms in this business, you must first be willing to say no & walk away, but only as your final option. It's not an US vs. THEM situation by any means. Both sides are working towards their own best self interests. No fault there. It's up to you, me, us to learn the art of negotiations so that we can prevail when the time comes. Information is the key here.

You MUST be informed, educated about the value of photographic work, similar prices for similar assignments, similar stock use, etc. There are lots of good resources to find this information. I mentioned one of the tools I use in pricing assignments & stock above, Cradoc's Fotoquote®. It's good but certainly not the only resource available. But, for the cost of under $150 for this software, I think you will find that it will pay for itself very quickly and become a vital tool in your negotiations tool box. You can find it and other Cradoc software products by clicking HERE. (Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Cradoc products, just a very happy and dedicated user for many years). A quick GOOGLE search for "stock photography pricing guides" will turn up a number of alternative resources for this type of information, some of them even free. Use them!

 Talking to established, successful photographers doing similar work is another great way to gauge the marketplace for the value of your talent & creative output.

Remember... information & knowledge can be powerful tools that can & must be used when confronted with situations like these.

Oddly enough, as I was typing this screed, an email arrived from an old friend, a sports photographer based in Europe. In his email was a link to this video on negotiating in the photography marketplace. Thanks Thorsten! Very timely!

Here's the video: