Thursday, January 31, 2013


Keanae# 1

Keanae# 2

Whoa... so much done and so much left to do. Precious little time for blog updates despite my best intentions. 

Busy putting together music group poster materials for a forthcoming tour of Japan, etc... preparing new work for a forthcoming juried black & white photo exhibition and helping a couple of friends get their work together for the same show, writing a prospectus for another juried exhibition I will be organizing and jurying in April, designing & organizing new business cards, letterheads, envelopes & shipping labels reflecting the new studio location, managing a radio station & getting it's new website & program schedules updated along with future fundraising efforts & improvements to the broadcast studio, completing, editing and delivering a pile of editorial assignments, scouting locations for a new resort project slated to happen at the end of next month, getting end-of-year tax documents together for my most excellent bean-counter, hounding clients to fork over payment long overdue... have I left anything out? Yep. Too tired and overwhelmed to go into them now...

Brother Chris arrived from the east coast last weekend, taking up residency in the newly emptied guest quarters. Together, we drove out to the remote east parts of the island yesterday as I completed yet another editorial gig, scouted locations for a future gig, visited with cherished friends, made a new friend, immersed ourselves in some really local color,  ate some really "ono grinds" (that's local-speak for delicious food), shot some scenic pics and wound our way back thru winding jungle roads just as darkness was falling. A stellar day not to be forgotten anytime soon.

But, rather than bore you with any more of my going's on, I thought I would share with you the contents of an email I received yesterday from respected east coast photographers consultant Selina Maitreya. Selina's been doing this for even longer than I have, which is to say... forever. Find out more about her services for photographers at:


Here are Selina's thoughts on preparing your best portfolio effort... quite similar to a blog post I made on the subject a few weeks ago:

Clients today want to look at a website, portal or a print book and very quickly
see what you shoot and “get” your visual approach to your topic.
For that reason, you don’t sell photographs. You sell vision. Vision is the
value clients seek and it’s expressed throughout a “body of work” that is
focused on a topic with a specific visual approach attached; one that you
have worked hard to define and one that you will continually refine. I’ve
been building portfolios with my clients for overs 30 years. I’m a teacher
and for that reason I’m excited to share my process with you.
When I work with my clients before building or adding to a portfolio
we first go through a series of assignments I’ve designed in order
to identify their topic of choice and then we use descriptive words
to define the photographers visual approach. Once we have defined the
“visual integrity,” I edit all existing images in using our definition of my
clients visual approach as my editing tool. If there are enough images,
I paginate so that we can clearly see the images that currently represent the vision.
Once we can see what we have that constitutes the current body of work,
we see how many images we still need to complete the portfolio.
We set a goal of images to create and a timeline for completion
and only then do we go about the task of brainstorming
Most photographers start shooting, without taking the steps listed above.
Big mistake.
Many other photographers edit based on what other people like or
they simply choose their favorite shots.
Not suggested.
Many consultants today edit based on their own idea of what a good image is.
Who died and made them the client?
Your vision is the editing tool. Period.
The world of commercial photo is way competitive and the bar was raised
quite some time ago in regards to  the level of quality that clients ask
assignment photogs to deliver. You can’t afford to casually put a portfolio together.
You need to develop a vision first and then apply it to your topic. If
you don’t have a vision yet, work hard to develop one. If you do,
identify it, and develop it more and own it.
Celebrate and be grateful that clients ask you to show up as
the artist that you truly are!

Selina Maitreya
44 Ethan Allen Dr
Acton, MA 01720

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So Far, So Good....

Finished up the past year with a bang. Many assignments flooding in over the months of November & December, several involving off-island travel, added substantially to the coffers as we exited 2012. This trend has continued into the first two weeks of 2013 and shows no signs of abating at the moment. A welcome trend to be sure and a small indication that either I & my work remain relevant or that the economy is finally showing signs of life or both. I am definitely hoping for the "both"!

Work has begun culling images and beginning the initial layout of galleys for my first foray into the world of self-publishing. The book... an exploration into the architecture, spiritual practices & rituals of the Balinese Culture may end up containing over 150 photographs... digital, analog, color & B&W... as well as excerpts from travel diaries and armchair-anthropological essays gathered from my many trips to the island over the years. The process will be long & arduous, requiring the calling in of a favor or two from friends in the graphic design industry (you have now officially been warned). 

Feeling safe enough that potential art buyers both old & new had returned to their desks after the holidays and were ready to begin focusing on new projects for the year, the first email campaign was prepared and sent out to over 500 lucky recipients early last week. Receiving positive initial feedback from multiple recipients, it was time to grab the "book", board a plane and head for the bright lights & big city of H'lulu to put in some much needed face-time with a handful of clients, flogging the new work and all but begging for more.

January 2013 Email Promo

First stop was the downtown district of Bishop Street-Fort St. Mall, home to two of the state's largest Ad Agencies. As the first meeting was to be over lunch and H'lulu's Chinatown is only a couple of blocks stroll away, it was mutually decided that a tiny hole-in-the-wall Dim-Sum joint would serve our meeting & eating purposes nicely. Maui is so very lacking in any decent chinese fare, so I could not have been happier with the choice.

No Valet Parking

Steaming Baskets of Delicacies Tempt Sidewalk Pedestrians

Lunch With W

After lunch, walking W back to her office, I marveled at the storefront windows packed with dubious looking & unidentifiable produce packed tightly in giant glass jars of viscous liquid..

Several productive meetings later, I was finished for the day. Stopped again in Chinatown for an evening bite and back to my marina-side hotel to sleep and gear up for the next day's drive around the back side of Oahu to the North Shore surfing meccas of Pipeline & Waimea, stopping from time to time to explore unknown beaches and shoot scenic stock. The weather was magnificent and I was lucky enough to have worked out a deal on a cheap rental Mustang convertible for the long day of driving. Then it was back to the airport just in time for sunset and a 7:30 flight back home.


Immediately upon my return, renown musical duo HAPA turned up at the studio for a new round of promotional photography for upcoming local dates & international tours. As I shot, my neighbors & I were treated to a free unplugged concert courtesy of Barry & Ron. Lovely voices! A couple of hours & several hundred images later, we wrapped up the studio shoot, packed up the instruments and the boys headed to their evening supper-club gig down on the south shore.

Chester Offers Final Art Direction

Yesterday, 1/2 of HAPA returned to the studio, this time with elegant hula dancer Radasha Ho'ohuli in tow. Again, Barry picked up the guitar and serenaded us as Rashada danced & swayed in time, conjuring up long ago images of classic hula beauties of a bygone era.

This morning it was up bright & early, into the shower... grab a fast cup of java and off to Wailea beach to capture editorial portraits for Texas-based Virtuoso travel magazine. Friday, it's more of the same for a magazine called T+D.

All in all, the year is shaping up nicely if the past two weeks are any indication of what might be in store. Lots of work and even better, a whole host of clients that are paying on time. May the trend continue...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Keokea, Maui - January 2, 2013

Holidays have passed rather uneventfully for the most part... 

Pulled a double radio shift Christmas Day, flogging jingle bells for 8 hours on-air. Thank God we won't have to hear another one of those for the next 11 months. A subdued gathering around the traditional cioppino pot just before new years eve with fellow refugees from Baltimore & other members of the tribe. Kept awake most of the night new year's eve by neighborly pyrotechnics exploding well beyond the wee hours. Awoke the next "morning" at 3:30am only to find them still at it as I prepared for yet another pre-dawn holiday radio program. 

Returned home from the station in late morning to work on the installation of the new "library", requiring the dismantling and reassembly of a massive, custom wood bookshelf, the aid of another neighbor and several hours of sweat.

Word came early today of the overnight death of a friend & fixture of the local art scene... a deadly car accident, the island's first for 2013. The weather brisk, wintery, wet & foggy. Appropriate... as if the island mourned the loss. Aloha Connie.

End of year bookkeeping & bill paying occupied much of today until I could take no more and headed out into the mist & fog in search of a photo or two.

Happy New Year! Holidays are over. Let's get on with it...