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Blog » Interviews

Making a Photograph: An Interview with Jeff Kauck

Posted by Workbook on 07/15/2014 — Filed under:  FeaturesHeadlineInterviewsPhotography


On July 16th photographer Jeff Kauck will present a lecture on the subject of inspiration at the Chicago Apple store on Michigan Avenue. It’s hard to believe someone can reinvent the wheel and make artists’ inspiration sound less cliché. But sit and chat with the man whose passion is to solve the equations of his art, and you find inspiration that can assist you far beyond photography.

How did you start your career in photography?

“I started as a watercolor painter. I had ten plus years of watercolor training. At the end of (art) school I knew all the concepts, but my hand couldn’t keep up with what I wanted to accomplish. That’s when I picked up a camera and turned to photography as the solution.”

How has your watercolor background influenced the way you approach photography?

“With me, when you start with explaining my photos, you first need a quick lesson in painting. With most oil painting, you paint from the mid-tones down, meaning highlights are added at the end. With watercolor you must paint from the mid-tones up, guarding the light areas you have because there is no white watercolor paint, that’s it. Most photography approaches light similar to oil painting. For me, light and highlights become priority.”



Jeff, July 16th also marks an announcement for your fine art photography.  Where do you draw some of your inspiration from?

“Photography, like most things, presents its own set of unique problems because there are many things I want a photograph to do. I get so many ideas on how to conquer these problems, which rarely get tackled by commercial photography. Most of the time you create a portfolio and clients want exactly what they see, no deviations from the main path. Nothing may ever come from these images or test runs, but sometimes solutions become personal work. It’s like if the Rolling Stones tried to play something new. People don’t want to hear that, they want to hear the old songs they know and remember.”



What sorts of problems are you solving in your latest fine art?

“I’m interested in exploring the atmosphere between myself and the object. People might argue images are out of focus, but to me there is more clarity and emotion evoked in those images. To explore magnificence in light, something not usually appreciated in commercial work…light is everything to a painter: the color of light and the movement of light. I want to tell a story with my photos.”



Tell me about the subject of your latest fine art photography.

“My wife and I went to visit my brother in Atlanta, and he suggested we take a long weekend on Cumberland Island. We stayed at a B&B, and there I fell in love [with the island]. Cumberland is about the size of Manhattan and has three ecosystems interacting with each other. The project is in black and white and so far, it has taken four months (three visits) to shoot. We plan to return in December.”





Why black and white?

“I had just shot in Paris, where that magic light and surrounding love is a real thing.  I aimed to create impressionistic photography, and with that came color. I couldn’t capture it all in black and white.

“When it came to Cumberland Island, black and white made more sense. With B&W images you are immediately shifted to another place. Tonal photography serves as a gateway to take you to different places. It moves your emotions so much more.”

Part of what makes Jeff’s career so rich is the anecdotes he’s obtained from learning under the greats. No stranger to art school, he continues to make the world his university, taking workshops that in turn open doors to seeds of motivation and opportunities of a lifetime.

“Mary Whyte (watercolor painter) has a lot of workshops. What I always remember about her is she says don’t ask about the tool and technique, ask ‘why did you make that hand move that way? Why did you pick that color for that mood?’  For her, the value and the importance are the details in the image composition itself…what choices are made to achieve the highest emotional response.

“I took a workshop with Ansel Adams, a very nice man, who is passionate as the day is long. John Sexton, his last assistant, once came in to the workshop and said no one was working hard enough. Everyone began to complain they were in the darkroom from 9-5 every day. Sexton said, ‘Stay 9a.m. to 9a.m. the next morning in the darkroom and you will come in with the best print.’ From him I learned you have to go all the way through. It’s like what Arnold Newman (portrait photographer) once said, ’You’re making, not taking, a photograph.’

“I wanted to pursue a particular look for the Cumberland photos. I attended a workshop by George DeWolfe, an early student of Ansel Adams, and afterwards asked him to mentor my project, which he has ever since. He has a skill to get the edges to lift. Being his pupil is not easy. One time I had worked tirelessly over fifty images I then sent to him, all of which he rejected, saying the highlights were all off by one to two percent.”



How has your artistry matured?

“I believe in moving artistry. If you stick to something long enough you get to a point where you can make, in my case, the images do what you want them to do. You already have mastered the tools you have to achieve the photos you want. You are always striving for the fundamentals, but true skill comes from the content of a picture.

“To me making a powerful picture makes the viewer stop in his or her tracks. You cannot accomplish that with just technique, you have to do that with content. “



Walking away from this interview, can you leave our readers with some snippet of the inspiration to come on July 16th?

“Before you make a picture, sketch it out, even if it is a stick man. Don’t take the shot until sketched and [you have] thought every detail through. It is critical to slow down; the photographic process [is] in slow motion. Photographer Robert Frank took over 20,000 shots in one and a half years and walked away with only eighty-seven images. Really think and make your picture. You’ll know you’ve succeeded if it comes out the way you see it in your head.”



To visit Jeff's portfolio, click here.

Jeff is repped by Emily Inman Aritsts' Rep.

Workbook 36 Cover Interview with David Krovblit

Posted by Workbook on 04/29/2014 — Filed under:  FeaturesHeadlineInterviewsPhotography
Workbook 36 sourcebooks were just released and sent out around the globe. We recently had a chat with the man behind the Photography book cover, David Krovblit.


First off, let’s just get this out of the way, how do you pronounce your last name?


Krov - blit, the O is long. The Kro is pronounced crow. The V and B together, that's what really throws people. I jokingly say that I cannot pronounce my own name before about 10 am. But it’s kinda true. ;)



Your cover photo seems largely inspired by the many fashion shoots of famous pregnant women. When did you first get the idea for your version, and was there a specific shoot or celebrity that particularly inspired this photo?


This photo was inspired by the Annie Lebovitz’s Demi Moore shoot for Vanity Fair. The shoot itself was created for a new beer being launched. The ad line was “Expecting Soon.”



Was this image for a personal project or a client?


The client was Hops City.



Much of your image’s hilarity comes from the model’s,  errr, "curves." How did you find this guy, and is he related to Santa Claus?


Funny you should ask. I had recently shot my Christmas mail campaign, and I found Richard through a friend. He posed as Santa for me. So when the agency came to me with this project, I was like, “I got the perfect guy for this!"



One aspect of the image that stands out along with its poignant satire, is its relative simplicity: a big guy and a gray background. Do you prefer simple shoots that require relatively little setup or more expansive projects involving CGI and/or larger scale production sets?


I really love shooting people. I do a lot of big set production with lots of people and things going on. But, I also love being in the studio with one person and a camera. That said, conceptual, quirky images are what I'm really into.



The humor and satire seen in your cover photo is prevalent in much of your other work as well. Did you make a conscious decision to focus on this type of photography, or did it happen naturally?


I guess that is just me. I love humour. I think it is the quickest way into someone’s heart or mind. I also love that “ah ha” moment: you know, the moment when you see the picture within the picture and you have a new love and interest of the image.



How do you come up with the ideas for these types of series?


The ideas come from all over: movies, a book, walking down the street. But a lot of the time, it's just me and my buddies hanging around and talking smack when the ideas come to me.



Do you prefer personal projects or professional assignments? Over your career, what has been your favorite shoot for each, personal and professional?


I love to shoot professionally and prefer it. Each time I come up to bat, I see the opportunity to not only create great ads, but to make them something special to look at. My favorite pro shoot has to be for Ballistik Hackey - Goalie skin rug. I had the opportunity to build the most amazing set with all the bells and whistles that made it an award-winning piece. The personal project that comes to mind is a medical anatomy book I created that is called Krovblit Living Anatomy. It is a look through the many layers of the human body and soul.



You have a substantial amount of experience in motion as well as still work. How does your mentality and shooting process change when working on a motion project?


Really, it is a natural extension of what I already do. I am used to working on large-scale stills projects, which encompass many of the same characteristics as directing a video. For example, when I shot BudCamp for Budweiser, we had over 100 extras on set and shot over three days on a sound stage. There I was, fifteen feet above the crowd with a megaphone



What is your dream project? (motion or still, working with anybody, anywhere, anytime...sky’s the limit)


Right now my dream project is to direct a film inspired by one of my favorite authors, Roald Dahl.



Lastly, what advice would you give to fellow photographers looking to combine strong imagery with a sense of humour?
10,000 hours. It's just true. Whatever you want to do, and do well, will take at least this amount of time. Don’t be lazy. Chase your ideas and make them happen. It's the only way to get to the really great stuff, professionally and personally.
















Virgin Gaming from Dave Krovblit on Vimeo.

T-fal Steam Signals from Dave Krovblit on Vimeo.

Workbook 36 Cover Illustrator Interview with Aad Goudappel

Posted by Workbook on 04/28/2014 — Filed under:  FeaturesInterviews
Workbook 36 sourcebooks were just released and sent out around the globe. We recently had a chat with the man behind the Illustration book cover, Aad Goudappel.



Who is Aad Goudappel as a person and as an illustrator?

I’m a 41-year-old Dutch guy, happily married and father of two daughters. I think I’m quite like the stereotype illustrator who likes to spend his time in his studio all by himself. I’m not a man of many words, which is also visible in my work. Everything is stripped to it’s bare essence, trying to say as much as possible with the least amount of words, hoping to be as clear as possible. The side effect, however, is that behind these bold statements a complete world can be hiding. People sometimes assume that I’m very confident or even arrogant, but it’s actually my insecurity that shaped this way of communicating.

How did you get your start in illustration?

I studied illustration at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In addition, I did an exchange program following courses at the Camberwell College of Art (London) and after graduation at the Art Institute of Boston. During the fourth year at the Academy, students have to make appointments with people in the field to get feedback on their work. These meetings led to my first assignments, and so I started my business as a freelance illustrator.

How has your style evolved since you began?

Even after my graduation I still wasn’t very satisfied with my work, always thought it could be better. So I kept experimenting a lot with all kind of techniques and styles. I was lucky to have a client who commissioned me to illustrate up to six or seven articles for each issue of their monthly magazine, and I could do pretty much what ever I liked. So I committed myself to approach every illustration differently than the previous. In this process, this style emerged as a style in which most of the ideas I have can be executed, and I reached a point where I could be satisfied with the final images. The way I illustrate came in line with who I am. My work/style is still evolving by the way. I guess I’ll never stop learning, trying to improve what I’m doing: no big changes, but small, some sudden, some only visible in retrospective.

What inspired your cover illustration?

I did this one for City Theatre Utrecht as part of their program in which each art form they stage had to be illustrated. This one was for dance. I love dance, the absence of words, no distractions, just the body that speaks. What I mostly like about dance is the strength and raw power of the dancers, even when movements are graceful, it’s still pure power and control. I wanted to show that and stay away from the obligatory graceful ballerina imagery. I love animals and I love drawing them, using them as metaphors. Sum this up and you have a gorilla on spitzes.



Do you have a name for your Gorilla? If not, would you like to name him/her now?

Hahaha, no and no. ☺

What would say are the biggest influences on your work as a whole (past illustrators, where you live, specific movies or characters, anything else imaginable)?

I think evolving as an artist is all about finding your voice and being able to visualize your thoughts, learning to communicate visually. I think the biggest influences on any artist’s work are his/her parents and childhood. The way you look at the world, at people, and at yourself is determined in your early years. There is no escape from who you are, all else is just circumstance.

What have been your most effective strategies for promoting your style and attracting new clients?

Actually I don’t have a strategy, I’m not much of a self-promoter. I advertise in some of the books, and I enter competitions. I think it helps to have your work in all these different places.



Have you ever experimented with animation? If not, have you considered it?

It has been a while since I have been experimenting with it. When a client wants an animation with my artwork, I collaborate with animators in my or the client’s network.

What do you hope to accomplish as an illustrator in the next five years?

Good question. I don’t really plan things; I live by the day. I have a lot of interesting and challenging projects. At the moment I’m really happy with how things are going. Just being able to continue what I do would be great. That's not to say there aren't many corners of the illustration field I still would like to explore. Of course, I hope I will grow and find time and peace of mind to do some self-initiated projects like picture books and work on great projects with nice people.



Besides anything illustration related, if you could be the best in the world at any profession or talent, what would it be?

If I hadn’t chosen an illustrator career I might have become a vet. But if I can choose anything, I would love to be the best tennis player, the philosopher with the most influence. the funniest comedian, the best cello player. No, no, no, wait…the world's best dad.

Last but not least, describe your perfect day.

On a perfect day I would be able to combine the two things I love but always feel I have not enough time for, family and work. I would be waking up because I have slept enough and not because of the alarm clock or the kids. I would have breakfast with the family in the garden. I would walk the dog in the sunshine listening to the birds sing. I would sneak off and take the bicycle to my studio for a couple of hours preferably working on a book about birds. It would be great if my wife and daughters would pick me up to do some fun stuff downtown, or better yet, go to the beach or forest. Eat out, some decent food with great wine, outside. Go home, put the kids to bed and do some gardening, drink a whiskey. Pretty boring actually, nothing spectacular. Come to think of it, some of my weekends come close to this. There are just not enough hours in one day!





Lisa Adams Interview with FUSEVISUAL

Posted by Workbook on 04/07/2014 — Filed under:  FeaturesHeadlineInterviewsPhotography
By FUSEVISUAL

Lisa Adams's obsession with detail, passion for lighting, and unique color palette are the defining attributes of her work. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, her clients pursue her talent to create rich and impactful still life, food, and home interior images.






CD: Your work is clean, precise, and graphic (which is fantastic). If you look back to your earliest photographs, was there a hint of the precision to come or was it always there? If it was there, where did it come from? If not, how did it develop?

Lisa Adams: That's such a loaded question! I think my photographic style has developed over a lifetime. As a little kid, I grew up with parents who kept a very orderly and neat home...no clutter and everything was always in its place. They weren't obsessive about it, it's just how they lived, and I was very influenced by that sense of order. As a teenager, I tried to live in chaos, but I just couldn't do it. I realized I liked order and specifically liked creating order. I've always gotten immense pleasure out of creating an arrangement of objects that feels visually "right," whether it's on set or on my coffee table.



CD: What drew you to studio shooting and photographing food?

Lisa Adams: My first job out of college was assisting a product shooter who worked in association with a fashion/lifestyle shooter. After watching them both at work, I knew I was much better suited working with the crazy tyrant product shooter (he liked to throw things). I couldn't really handle all of the waiting around for talent to be done with hair, makeup, and wardrobe and FINALLY come out on set.

I was fascinated with lighting and how the look of a simple object or fruit could be so radically transformed with different lighting setups.

Food photography is edible product photography, plus the added benefit of working with a really talented food stylist.



CD: You live and work outside of the major markets and have an incredible studio. Are you from Charlotte? How do you balance what is important to your career and to your life?

Lisa Adams: I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and moved to Charlotte right after college. I completed an internship here and then worked as an assistant for several years for a variety of product and still life shooters.

I was so young and naive when I went out on my own, which turned out to be beneficial, as I had few expectations, and the idea of failure never even occurred to me. I'm very fortunate to have had a small measure of success and am grateful to have clients who value my work and are willing to travel to Charlotte. My family and I enjoy Charlotte; its proximity to the coast and the mountains makes it easy to visit both very often.

Regarding balance: I've gotten better at the balancing act as I've gotten older. The worst time was when my daughter was young; I felt sorta schizophrenic. If I was at home with her I fretted that I wasn't at work, and if at work I fretted that I wasn't home with her. I've learned that being happy with myself is what allows me to be the best (insert any role here... photographer, wife, mother, friend) I can be.



CD: Your bio mentions that you love to photograph mushrooms but can't stand to eat them. I am the same way about cucumbers, but can't even stand the sight or smell of them. I would not be able to photograph them. How did you come to terms with photographing foods you dislike?

Lisa Adams: Oh, I absolutely love the way the underside of a mushroom cap looks with all those perfectly aligned gills; just don't make me eat it!

And mushrooms are nothing compared to a slimy, stinky little octopus...thought the permeating smell of them was gonna make me vom…. But just look at this little guy, perfectly round suction cups, the graceful curve to his tentacles, and he has those amazing little freckles all over his body. He's a great example of "Phi/Golden Ratio." My accosted sense of smell pales in comparison to the intrinsic beauty of this little creature.



CD: Tell me about your choice of gear and how that helps you accomplish your vision. I am interested in how you built your team and how you collaborate with clients if they are not on set?

Lisa Adams: I shoot with Sinar P2's outfitted with Multi-shot capable Hasselblad CF-39 backs. If I must, I also shoot with a Hasselblad H3D-31.

I love all the control available with a 4x5. I've always shot large format..., it's my preferred.

Clients love the live video available with the Phocus software. They can see everything as it's happening; it's a great collaborative tool!

Even more important than the equipment, team is crucial and that everyone contributes to the fun and success of the shoot.

Over the years, I've developed an amazing team of creatives I can call on, from food stylists to prop builders, producers, animal wranglers, assistants, digital techs, etc.

You ask about collaborating with clients if they are not on set. We do occasionally work virtually with clients, but of course we prefer their actual presence. It's just more fun to interact personally.

But if being on the shoot isn't possible, technology makes it fairly easy to work virtually as long as the CD/AD is available to respond immediately as soon as we start sending images.



CD: What advice would you give to a young photographer about to embark on a career in photography?

Lisa Adams: Assist with a variety of photographers, concentrate on the type of work that impassions you, then just go for it.  Be fearless: test, test, and test some more. Listen more, talk, less, and learn good business skills before you step out of the nest.

Incredibly talented photographers who don't know how to run a business will become incredibly talented photographers without a business.

Bio: Lisa Adams's obsession with detail, passion for lighting and unique color palette are the defining attributes of her work. Images which visually enhance your brand are her trademark.

Her inspiration unfolds from an ability to see the complex simplicity and intrinsic beauty within everyday objects. Her aesthetic vision has continued to evolve for over twenty years, capturing a broad audience. Clients pursue her talent to create rich and impactful still life, food, and home interior images.

Lisa is known for her ability to collaborate and problem-solve, tenaciously executing consistent imagery that exceeds clients' expectations.

Her studio is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and daughter, plus her dog Bailey and cat Leo.

Lisa's Website

Lisa's Portfolio

What's in Lisa Adams' Bag?

Special Thanks to FUSEVISUAL!

Heather Elder Represents and Brite Productions Wrap Up Another Community Table

Posted by Workbook on 04/02/2014 — Filed under:  Community TableEventsFeaturesHeadlineInterviewsMusing Onbehind the scenes
Yesterday marked the end of the latest post from another insightful and inspirational Community Table blog series

Over the course of a meal, Heather Elder and Lauranne Lospalluto of Heather Elder Represents, along with Kate Chase and Matt Nycz of Brite Productions, discussed top-of-mind industry issues with eight Chicago Art Producers.

We got to chat with Heather and Kate about the Community Table and this table's topic:

“The Art Producer, Past, Present, and Future.”




1.  How did the idea for Community Table originate?

The Community Table started when Kate Chase and Matt Nycz of Brite Productions and Lauranne Lospalluto and I wanted to host an event at the first Le Book Los Angeles. They saw the excitement building around the event and thought it would be nice to draft off that and find a reason to get the community together. The more we talked, the less they wanted it to be another cocktail party or purely social event. They settled on a lunch to which they would invite industry leaders as part of a conversation about the industry with the intent of sharing the information with the community.

2.  It seems the meal setting is not only complementary to how you’ve broken up your blog, but is also conducive to all guests answering much more freely. Was talking over a meal planned from the beginning?

Yes, it was integral to the event. The idea of sitting around a table with friends, enjoying a meal and some friendship, was key to making the event a success. It adds to the community spirit of the event. And, a nice meal in a special place is a great way to say thank you for their time and enthusiasm.

3.  What is something you hope readers will glean from these conversation blog posts?

One of the most important things about the blog posts is fostering a sense of community and providing a place to share ideas, start conversations, and educate our colleagues. People gravitate to the blog to not only gain a little more insight, but to confirm things they already know. Sometimes in our industry, we do not all have someone to whom we can ask a question, and if the blog can help answer some of those questions, or even start new conversations, then it is a success.

4. What’s different this year from last year's posts?

Over the years, we evolved the topics to match the conversations that were happening in the industry already. Our first posts focused on broader ideas in marketing and then we evolved into the finer aspects of estimating. Our latest from Chicago touched on how the art buyer role came about and how it is evolving. Our next post will be with a group of agents who gathered before the Le Book in San Francisco.

5.  It seems you can’t walk away from a meal with a group of people such as this and not feel you learned something. What is one thing you took away from this year's dinner that sticks out in your mind?

Something we were experiencing before the event was the growing involvement of the account representative in the estimating process. The round table provided an opportunity to explore that conversation. The group had a sense of relief that they were not alone in what they were experiencing, and they were grateful to have the opportunity to learn new tools and ideas on how to best connect with their teams.

To read the entire series on Heather Elder's blog, please click here.

To read the series on the Brite Productions blog, please click here.

JonPaul Douglass: Instagram Direct

Posted by Workbook on 03/06/2014 — Filed under:  Advertising CampaignsFeaturesHeadlineInterviewsMotionPhotography
For those of you in social media know, Instagram is nothing new. When Facebook added a new feature to the photo sharing app, they called on Workbook contributor JonPaul Douglass, who served as Director and DP on the video (below).  We spoke with JonPaul on his latest motion work for Facebook, unveiling Instagram Direct, and his thoughts on social media and the professional photographer.

Introducing Instagram Direct from Instagram on Vimeo.



How did you get approached for the Instagram Direct Video?

I have been lucky enough to work on a few projects with Facebook prior to this one. They contact me from time to time if they have a project where I might be good fit. They have a tremendously talented team over there, and I’m very happy I can occasionally be a part of what they are building.

This motion project would become the introductory look at a new software feature. How well versed did you become on the Instagram Direct Video feature before you had to capture it on film?

We had quite a few meetings simply talking about how the Instagram community might use the software. It was tricky at times because we didn’t want to show people “Direct Sharing” something that they might normally “Share to all.” So the challenge was trying come up with realistic situations where someone would share to a few or one other person. Personally, I use the feature to share inside jokes with close friends, but we couldn’t exactly show inside jokes to such a broad audience. We filmed many more situations that did not make the cut, but I like where we landed in the end.

One nuance of this film that makes the software seem less menacing is the organic approach to filming. As the Director and DP, what was the quality you wanted to capture most?

One of the things that really makes this video organic is the fact that the three community members we followed are all very close friends. It wasn’t like we were telling actors to pretend to laugh; these were real relationships we were filming, and it really shows. A few days into our journey, we all became very close: it was never us and them, it was always us. We all still keep in touch, and of course, follow each other on Instagram.

This video spans many mini stories in multiple locations. Can you elaborate on the filming timeline and dealing with the multiple locations and story lines?

We started with a very loose timeline and schedule. We made it that way because we knew there would be some surprises along the way, and there were surprises. We did have a list of possible moments that we would reference, but much of the trip was reactive to where we were and what everyone was actually doing. The scenes that are not from the road trip were filmed afterwards, and we chose what to shoot after we picked which situations we wanted to use. The most daunting task was going through and reviewing the massive amount of footage we obtained. In many ways it was like we were shooting a documentary and filling in the blanks later.

What is your take on the advent of social media and the professional photographer? Do you see applications like Instagram as a detriment or help to the working photographer?

I was late in joining Instagram because I didn’t take it seriously at first. I already had a Flickr and a Tumblr for sharing my personal photography. As time went by I noticed that every person I knew was on Instagram and using it heavily. I then realized it was much more than just an app that let you use filters, it was thriving photography-based social network. I knew I had to get involved or continue to feel left behind.

I’ve seen professional photographers curate their Instagram feeds in different ways. Many use them as personal windows into their working world by posting behind-the-scenes photos or snippets of their commercials. I didn’t want to go that route; that stuff isn’t that interesting to me. I decided to use my feed as a separate creative outlet for my personal work. I like that Instagram levels the playing field for everyone by sticking to the unsaid rule of only using your phone. I feel like you can get a great sense of someone’s creativity by looking at an Instagram feed. That said, I think it’s still crucial for a working photographer to have a portfolio site linked from an Instagram account.

A good example of how social media can be used by a professional photographer would be releasing photos from a series as it’s created. It keeps the series in everyone’s minds, instead of posting all at once. A few months ago, I started running around LA and putting pizzas in different locations and photographing them. I created a hashtag for it, and people really seemed to look forward to my #pizzainthewild posts. The creative director for the Instagram Direct promo actually snuck a couple of my pizza photos into the spot. If you look closely at some of the phone screens you will see them. The whole pizza series is so much fun for me, and I was very happy to see them in the final cut.












To find out more about JonPaul, click here.

Workbook Interview with Michael Newhouse

Posted by Workbook on 02/20/2014 — Filed under:  FeaturesHeadlineIllustrationInterviews


From maps and infographics to logos and lettering, Michael Newhouse is truly a jack-of-all-trades among illustrators. Working out of Bozeman, Montana with decades of experience, Michael has quite the resume and plenty of knowledge to share.

What first interested you in creating maps and infographics? I worked at a design firm that specialized in information design. This was one of my favorite jobs – from day to day it was different, and always challenging, one day signage, the next web, then packaging, then corporate ID. It was the most challenging job I'd ever had. After going out on my own, I found an affinity for that kind of work and was lucky enough to find markets for it.


In a few sentences, how would you describe your style as a cartographer? I don't consider myself a cartographer even though I draw a lot of maps. True cartographers are working on a much different level. I'm more of a cartophile. If I would call myself something, it would be a designer who illustrates.

What is the collaboration process like between you and your clients? Is it largely hands-off or is it more consistently back-and-forth throughout the development process? Mostly, I am commissioned to do a map to solve a problem; style and design are worked out after the map goals are defined. Mostly hands-off.


How do you try to balance achieving the desired look of your designs while still maintaining a high level of functionality? Maps must be attractive; they're no good if people don't look at them. Then they have to be functional – educational or entertaining. I have interests in vintage graphic and information design and illustration; I collect science and other schoolbooks, plus a lot of children's books. I also go to a lot of junk/antique/used bookstores. I have quite a large library of reference material. Unfortunately, it's here in Montana with me, so I'm trying to find ways to share it via Tumblr and Flickr.


What's the most fun you've had on a project? I like writing and design together, so I'd have to go with info graphics, really any job where I get paid to learn something. Some of my favorite work allows me to do historical visual research.


Which project was most difficult? Anything with committees or a job that drags on too long. Maps with committees are the worst.


Working out of Montana, I've got a hunch not many of your clients are nearby. Has the ever-increasing prominence of of communicating and conducting business online made things significantly easier? I've never had much face-to-face interaction, even when I was in Texas. I'm hired to do a project, get all the information, and do it. We communicate a lot, but my location isn't a problem. We spent quite a bit of time in Italy the last couple of years, and it didn't affect anything. If I just keep track of time zones, it's not a problem.




Does working in such a rural, open location help your creative process? It's nice to be able to go on hikes whenever we want, but I really like the dusty, cramped feeling of library stacks.


Between Maps, Infographics and Lettering, which do you enjoy working on most? Infographics would win I guess, just because that term is so open-ended.


Any advice for aspiring cartographers? I've taught college design students for several years now and the biggest issue I see is they don't know what choices they have – the old saying is “you don't know that you don't know.” My advice is to really research something so you can make more informed decisions – visual and conceptual. The more information, the better.


What's your dream project? You can illustrate anything, anywhere, and work with anyone you want. What would it be? I'm inspired by research, and I'm a collector. It would be nice to find a way to wrap all that up into a project. I'm working on a book about kitsch American tourism and typography in the 1950s-60s and then some funny “kids' books for adults” about how to use maps.

What If?

If I had to reconsider my career...I'd go for librarian or archivist, for retirement, maybe a used bookstore owner.

If I could do it all again and know what I know now...I'd start scanning/documenting every piece of ephemera and every library book about graphic design, information design, and illustration pre-1970, and posting it online somehow, lots of keyword tags, cross-referencing, super useful to students and researchers. That would be my dream job.

To see more from Michael, take a look at his portfolio and website.



Santa Stats (below)






iPhone Once A Day: an Interview with Paul Elledge

Posted by Workbook on 12/02/2013 — Filed under:  Editor's PicksFeaturesHeadlineInterviewsMarketing IntelligenceMusing OnSuccess Stories



Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat…the list seems never-ending as the demand and creation of social media apps grows on what feels like a daily basis. Many perceive social media as more casual than professional.  The detriment to this way of thinking is not just the networking opportunities, but with the trend of advertising money toward social media, the future proves more costly for those who do not embrace it.


That’s where Paul Elledge comes in. A veteran photographer with over 20 years of experience, Paul has evolved from fledging Facebook user to Social Media Photo Guru. What started as a forced experiment by his agent has turned into a way of life, not only providing a creative outlet for Paul, but also new and exciting business opportunities, cultivating skills for projects to come. For Paul’s first foray into social media, he used Facebook to create “iPhone Once A Day,” now an online phenomenon, boasting its own website and Tumblr feed. We sat down with Paul to talk about his experience with social media, how to get in, and what do to once you’re in there. What we came away with was insight and an appreciation of an artist jumping headfirst into the unknown and reaping the spoils of success.



How did the “iPhone Once a Day” project come to you?

Several years ago my agent Candace Gelman requested I become active in social media (at that time mainly Facebook). I came up with an idea that would address my love of image making, Apple products, and something visual over verbal.

What’s the process like from shot to post for the “iPhone Once a Day” project?

I have some criteria I’ve developed for the project: the images all have to be vertical and black and white; they need to have a consistent use of processing (I use one called CameraBag1962), and they all have to be mobily uploaded. The images can’t come from anywhere but my phone.

I generally shoot pictures all day long, and then its usually after dinner that I edit and put up the photos at night (around 8:00-10:00 p.m.). Although late at night is not the best time to post, I have a lot of European followers, so they start viewing the posts and making comments. That way, by the time I wake up I already have strong traffic coming in from the previous day.

(Read more)

Interview with Vegard Breie

Posted by Workbook on 11/20/2013 — Filed under:  FeaturesGalleriesHeadlineInterviewsPhotography
By Goblin Magazine



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Skiing and commercial photographer Vegard Breie spends his days traveling to some of the planet's most beautiful skiing locations, where he navigates all sorts of technical complications in search of the perfect shot. Despite obstacles such as shooting commercials in Afghanistan or photographing Paris Hilton on a Caribbean island, Breie continually manages to capture the moment, the beauty of the landscapes, and create iconic photographs. The skiing magazine/commercial photographer has traveled the globe, been working for brands such as Red Bull, and is represented by Tidepool Reps (USA).

Name: Vegard Breie
Year of birth: 1985
Nationality: Norwegian
Based in: Oslo/LA
Website: www.vegardphoto.com

Breie
Hey Vegard, where are you right now and what was the last thing you did before we started this interview? Home, my real home in my house on my parents farm in Ål, Norway. I watched a episode of SOA and slept a little, writing this before going skiing.

Give us an insight into your background! Who is Vegard Breie and where is he from? I’m a pretty stoked dude from the countryside of Norway. I grew up on a farm and have been into sports and skiing all my life.

When and why did you start with ski photography? I studied media since playing with computers for fun at the age of sixteen, and a skiing career seemed a little unrealistic to pursue. But all my projects ended up being skiing-photo-website…whatever.

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So you have been in the ski business for quite a while now. The business and the sport has changed over the last five – ten years. What are the biggest changes that ski/sports photography is confronted with currently? Less cash flow and the same as everyone else: the low doorstep of getting a camera and starting shooting for everyone. Also, the inclusion of post production work is getting a bit more normal since more and more photographers are getting better at Photoshop, etc. When we started shooting XC Skiers on the training ground and putting them into wild mountain scenes for Swix, we revolutionized how those kind of action photos were done. Now everyone is copying it.

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What does that mean for you as a photographer? That I get a lot of nice inspiration, and that I need to keep evolving to stay on top. Also, a proper skill set and education are key. I think a lot of people are stressed about low prices on digital cameras and that so many are shooting now, mostly because they lack the real skill to separate themselves from the rest. I have a strong belief that no matter what the craft, quality never goes out of style.
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What do you think about the future of photography with all the new technology like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter? Still bright. Like I said, the need for good imagery will always be there, maybe even more so. There will always be a overwhelming mass of hipster shooters and “art” creative people online and coming and going in trends in general. But there will also be room for the more high-end technical stuff needed for ads. Relying on the word “creative” on a big budget shoot is somewhat the same as taking risks and leaving things to chance.

What can you recommend to other up and coming photographers in terms of self-marketing? What should they do to get attention for their work? Everyone need to start somewhere. Start by being in the scene you want to shoot. Then work your way through giving people images for websites and blogs, then magazines and so on.



Location and weather conditions seem to be a crucial aspect to a successful picture. How do you handle these unpredictable factors? In my work we do a lot of composites, so we just shoot the talent when planned, and I shoot the backgrounds when the conditions are right.



Can you walk us through the actual process that you use to set up a ski shoot? Sure. You start by talking to the brand you are shooting for, and bounce ideas and mood boards back and forth a little on how you want things to look in terms of the mood and such. Then you travel with some athletes and chase the good snow around if it’s a freestyle or freeride skiing brand. The crew is usually a person or two from the client to ensure everything runs smoothly and handle logistics, me, and 2-4 skiers.

Was there any one project that was especially difficult for you to realize? Going to Afghanistan with the special forces took some extra planning. I needed a lot of security clearances and medical things to be in order. I also needed to get a lot of training to be prepared that didn’t have anything to do with photography. So that was a long process.





What makes the good picture stand out from the average ones? In my mind, it's having a plan behind the usage of the light in it, using it to give depth, composition and so on.



What are the five most important items you always pack besides camera gear when working on set? I have an extreme variation in types of assignments, so there really is almost nothing that always comes along besides my cam and lights. But it’s hard to live without the following: my brain turned on, my phone, my car, food: cookies and water. And some $$.



Where do you draw your inspirations from? I spend a lot of time on Workbook and At Edge types of sites. And also in movies and other photographers work.



Shooting stars versus shooting skiers? Depends on the project. My passion is for skiing as a hobby, but a really big and cool advertising project can be more challenging and interesting photography-wise.

Inspirations and influences? My agent is a big influence these days. She’s really good at keeping me fed with great blogs and such. I am also fortunate enough to be friends with some really amazing fellow Norwegians like Ray Kay, Directors Hal and Erik Almas, who are huge inspirations to me in how to approach life as a creative and think a bit big.



Three people you would love to work with? Tough one. For me it’s more about the subject matter rather than famous people. But I guess it would be really fun do get a shoot done with Håvard “kickalicious” Rugland. He’s a friend of a friend so we seriously have to make some personal work happen soon! Also, I hope to get to do a job including CGI with Michael Thompert at Raygun. He’s incredible and we have been bidding on some jobs together already. Or some crazy fight shoot with Chuck Norris would be rad!

Who do you think is one to watch? Hmm...so many. Olav Stubberud is insane for sure. He’s a really good snowboard and music video shooter, but his passion for fashion is just so hilarious to follow. Love that stuff!

Where do you see yourself in five years? Still doing what I love: shooting conceptual sport images and advertising with the goal of some big global work in the bag.



A question for the next photographer? What’s your one-line definition of your style of photography and what you shoot? How would you explain exactly what is your unique style of photography in one sentence if you met a creative in a elevator?

The Unspoken Speech

Posted by Workbook on 11/19/2013 — Filed under:  FeaturesHeadlineInterviewsPersonal WorkUncategorized


On November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, President John F. Kennedy was scheduled to address the nation and the eyes of the world at the Dallas Trade Mart Building when his life was cut short.


About a year ago, UK transplants Cliff Simms and Peter Wood, from the creative consultancy Resident Alien, decided to set those words to sound using the voices of Dallas residents.

The UnspokenSpeech.org project is a compilation of seven videos highlighting the most significant themes of the President’s final address. Simms and Wood collaborated with various directors to work on motion projects creating personal expressions of The Unspoken Speech. Workbook contributors Dennis Murphy, Tom Hussey, and Stewart Cohen had the opportunity to add their respective visions to the project.

We had a chance to speak with Cliff and Pete about unspokenproject.org and working with some of Workbook's finest.

1. How did you two come across JFK's Unspoken Speech?

It starts with Pete. He was working at Saatchi & Saatchi in 1985. A creative director had visited the states and been in Dallas. They had heard about Stanley Marcus’s Unspoken Speech and told Pete.

Why? Peter was trained as a typographer and was a type freak. And the speech? Stanley Marcus commissioned typographer and master printer, Carl Hertzog of El Paso to produce a hand-typeset, bound edition of President Kennedy’s unspoken speech.

Of the 500 copies, the very first was given to the late president's widow, Jacqueline Kennedy.

2. I've read that JFK has been a subject of study for you and Pete. What is it about him that each of you gravitate toward? What was it about the character of the man (event anniversary aside) that served as inspiration for creating this project?

In 1963, Peter was at St Joseph’s College, a Scottish Catholic boarding school in Dumfries. He heard the news at 7.30 in the evening. Although young, Pete remembers this well, as he burned his finger on a radiator. The first Catholic president meant a lot to Pete, the faith, and in turn, it’s many congregations.

One of Kennedy’s greatest quotes: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what can you do for your country”…the character of the man resonates with Pete here, in this way: “Ask not what people can do for you; ask what you can do for your people.”

Kennedy was asking us to become a country of givers, not takers. Look around; we are as a city, as a country are big on “taking.” We very rarely give back without exacting a price. As to the project, we wanted Dallas as a population to have the opportunity to give back. I’d like to think that Cliff and I believe these seven films do just that.

3. Is it fascinating to watch the varied interpretations in each segment? Could you go a little further into the collaborative nature of the pieces, as well as working with Dennis, Tom and Stewart (from Workbook)?

Peter and I were very much of the opinion that we wanted this project to be a community-based initiative and that as such we also wanted to let as many creatives be involved as wanted to be included. The premise however, was that you could only work on one segment. By default this meant each would be very different and be unique from the next, which was something we actively encouraged. We wanted people to be expressive and create their own tribute to JFK using the project as the vehicle to do so.

Dennis Murphy: Dennis was great to work with. He's very thoughtful and has a great sense of artistic vision. He instantly understood the project and became absorbed in what we were trying to achieve. His piece, Only An America, was a particularly difficult one because its all about civil rights. It needed a great deal of sensitivity and thought to make it work effectively.

Tom Hussey: Tom's piece was part music video, part fashion shoot. His attention to detail, right down to getting the fibers of the muslin cloth to come through in post, really helped give the piece that extra something. Some of the still shots of the model, Julie, are fantastic and really capture the 60s glamour of Jackie.

Stewart Cohen: Stewart had the idea of taking high school students and shooting them in Oswald's actual cell, which we thought was simply brilliant. He was really able to draw out some amazing performances from the kids. Its really moving to hear these young teenagers articulating Kennedy's words about peace through military might in such an iconic location.

4. With interpretation so varied, was there ever a sense of missing the mark with the end product?

Yes, very much so, that is until Cliff came up with the thought that we try and deliver the 2,549 words through seven films. I think we started out with one long one, 2,549 holding a word each, as in our first film. Anyway, to Cliff's point, maybe we could extract the message of the speech in a simpler way. Otherwise it would stretch to forty minutes and after a few minutes, snoring would set in among our audience. The mark would be missed, so to speak.

Cliff broke down the speech by subject. Military Might, Social Justice, and Peace on Earth, to name but three of the seven. The word count was now 388, and the message of the piece in our minds still intact. Now we were able to deliver the overall message of the JFK Unspoken Speech in a more engaging way, and in turn give all of our directors, including ourselves, some focus on the first film without taking creative interpretation away from anyone. After all, the speech is heavy, [about] the cold war.

5. The project seems to hold private moments with the city of Dallas and with Texas itself. Can you speak on that subtle personalization?

Peter and I felt this project had to come from the citizens of Dallas, in their own voices and be expressed in their own way. Because of this approach, I think those who collaborated on the project felt a sense of passion about expressing both what JFK means to them, as well as their home, the city of Dallas. This created some very touching and personal moments that could have only come from people who know Dallas for the city that it has become over the last fifty years.

"Words Alone" The JFK Unspoken Speech Project. Dallas. TX. from Resident Alien on Vimeo.

6. You used the citizens of Dallas to help tell your story. Did you notice a change in them after their experiences with the speech? Did you notice a change within yourselves?

It was interesting to see just how willing everyone was to participate in the project, from folks we literally just stopped on the street and asked to hold a sign, as in our first film Words Alone, to the people at the Dallas Trade Mart, who were only too happy to let us film where JFK planned to give the speech. It was clear to us from people's reaction to the project just how much they revered JFK and wanted to pay tribute to him. For some, I also think our project, and other projects that are going on in Dallas, represent a coming of age for the city and show that finally after fifty years it's coming to terms with what happened here.

7. It seems like speeches made by public figures today are not regarded as preciously as they used to be. Would you agree and if so, do you have any thoughts as to why speeches of today have less of an impact?

I don't think there as many true leaders in the world today as there have been in the past, and I don't necessarily just mean of countries and in politics. There are very few people who truly inspire and can stir up a passion or pride in people the way JFK did. I think it also comes down to belief. People believed in JFK, that he was going to lead the country through difficult times and keep its citizens safe; he represented the future.



For more on Unspokenspeech.org, click here.

To check out more work from Resident Alien, click here.
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