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wolf-picture-001The Natural History Museum in London announced this week that it is stripping wildlife photographer of the year of his £10,000 prize because they believe his prize-winning photo was made with a hired tame Iberian wolf. Photographer José Luis Rodriguez strongly denies that the photo was staged, according to organizers, but the images was still removed from the exhibition of winners at the museum. Jörg Colberg at Conscientious uses this story as a jumping off point to examine our expectations of “truth” in photography — it’s worth the read.

The Court of Human Rights declared Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 unlawful, Giles Turnbull reported Tuesday on the PhotoCineNews blog. Section 44, which became law in the UK in 2000, gives police officers the right to stop and search anyone, for any reason, inside a designated but undefined “area” and has been the source of frequent conflict between police and photographers. Despite the ruling, the law and its enforcement is unlikely to change soon, Giles says. Photographers are not turning down the pressure though, continuing the very successful I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist campaign, with a rally in London’s Trafalgar Square planned for later this month.

OleilPDN reported Tuesday that the French picture agency Oleil had closed after 15 years. While agency closings are hardly uncommon these days, this comment from the Oleil website forces us to confront the full weight of what they suggests for the industry: “The press economic crisis has now made the production of photo-stories impossible.”

We can’t help but wrap up with a couple positive stories from liveBooks. CEO Andy Patrick has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Mohawk Fine Papers, an industry leader that is particularly dedicated to environmental responsibility. We’re also excited to announce the integration of Get Satisfaction with our support dashboard. Get Satisfaction‘s dynamic support communities with easy social media integration have been sweeping the Web — if you’ve ever seen one of those vertical “Feedback” tabs on a website, you know what we’re talking about.

Posted in Agencies / Contests / Nature Photography / Photography and tagged with

Stockland Martel, founded in 1980 by Maureen Martel and Bill Stockland, is one of the best-known and respected photo-representation agencies in the country. In this interview conducted by Kristina Feliciano, who runs the Stockland Martel blog, Bill and Maureen explain how they built their auspicious roster, which includes Nadav Kander, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, and Doug Menuez, and what makes them decide to work with a new photographer.
David Lynch by Nadav Kander (Courtesy Stockland Martel)

David Lynch by Nadav Kander (Courtesy Stockland Martel)

Kristina Feliciano: How do you find photographers? Through referrals?

Maureen Martel: Always. We’ve never solicited photographers. Except for Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who we approached after viewing his work at Mary Boone Gallery. I think it was 1986. And Nadav Kander — I had met his studio manager at the time [in 1984]. And when I saw his studio, met him, saw his work on the walls, I had said very casually, “If you’re ever looking for a rep in the States, we would absolutely be interested in talking with you.” He was very methodical about how he was rolling out his career, and he contacted us nine months later.

BS: We’ve been in this industry so long that even if they didn’t come by referral, there’s some association through art directors or other people. We got John Midgley through Liz Von Hoene and Jeff Lipsky through Kwaku Alston.

MM: And Matthias Clamer also knew Jeff.

BS: But I knew of Jeff myself. You could see Jeff in all the editorials.

By Jason Hindley (Courtesy Stockland Martel)

By Jason Hindley (Courtesy Stockland Martel)

KF: How do you know a photographer is right for you?

BS: Personality is huge.

MM: A huge, huge part. Application for the marketplace is also key. Key key, key key, key. If you can’t apply it, you can’t satisfy the client. You also have to be dedicated to the medium. Some photographers want to love them and leave them. They want to come in and make a lot of money, and leave. More »

Most photographers are interested in commercial work, but orchestrating big photo shoots can be daunting. Luckily producers — like Susan Shaughnessy, who runs SKS Productions in N.Y.C. — are here to help. We asked Susan to walk us through a recent advertising shoot she produced on location in L.A. (with an extra post explaining each crew member’s responsibilities). Whether your team is sprawling or a dynamic duo, Susan lends insight into the process and organization of a complicated shoot.

The Players

Producer Susan Shaughnessy

Producer Susan Shaughnessy

Client: AstraZeneca
Digitas Health and
Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare Communications Group
Jayne Wexler
Artist Rep:
Kevin Schochat
Susan Shaughnessy/SKS Productions
Los Angeles
Total people on set: 30

1. Making the Call

The ad agency had three photographers in mind for the shoot, and the photographer Jayne Wexler was considered a favorite. The agency called her directly, and Jayne called her rep, Kevin Schochat. Together they talked about the concept, dates, and availability. Next, Jayne and Kevin considered which producer they wanted. Usually, the photographer or the rep has a relationship with a producer. Sometimes the ad agency has a relationship with a producer, and they will recommend one. In this case, Jayne decided she wanted to work with me.

2. Crafting the Estimate

Campaign layout

"Then and Now" concept

"Then and Now" concept

There were three bids submitted for this job, and the estimating process took more than a week, including several rounds of back-and-forth with the agency. We were trying to meet the agency budget, but we were the only team estimating traveling expenses, so our costs were higher. The agency was very fair and understood our numbers, but it took time to get the estimate and photographer approved.

I typically work with my favorite program, Excel, for bids, as does the rep. I turn my document into a custom-designed PDF, so it looks like a neatly presented document with my logo and client info on it. Excel allows you to make changes quickly and frequently, which is so useful when estimating and making revisions.

3. Getting Approval

During the estimating process, I have a crew in mind. Typically they are on hold from the beginning, especially the stylists. Once the agency awards the whole job and the money, then I book. I review the costs, rates, and expectations with each person, to confirm we are all clear. Sometimes the rates, expenses, and layouts have altered during the estimating process, so it’s essential to clarify at this point.

In this case, the casting and location line items were approved first, and then days later the rest of the job was approved. We began right away with a creative call between the photographer, agency, and myself to review layouts, casting specs, and location needs. I hired Eastside Studios in L.A. to cast, and I began researching locations with my coordinators.

Then stylists, photographer, producer, and agency have creative calls. These calls solidify the wardrobe direction and the prop needs. From there I can build a firm schedule, and manage expectations and deliverables for the team. As soon as the job is approved, the rep and I submit a request for the advance, to receive the appropriate percentage of the expenses up front. This money will get the job rolling and secure locations, studios, and all immediate out-of-pocket expenses.

4. Building the Crew
Wardrobe stylist Gillean McLeod, makeup artist/hair stylist Stephanie Daniel, photographer Jayne Wexler

Wardrobe stylist Gillean McLeod, wardrobe assistant Lauren Burns, and photographer Jayne Wexler

When assembling a crew, I consider the photographer, the project and style, the budget, and the personalities that fit with the requests. It’s also important to have crew members who can work closely together to support each other. The wardrobe stylist and prop stylist know each other, work together often, and were able to help each other styling vintage clothing and props.

With Crestor, because everything was being shot in L.A., I suggested and hired the crew for Jayne. Jayne brought her first assistant, Piero Ribelli, with her, but I introduced Jayne to Mark Gordon, digital tech, along with Ubaldo Holguin and Joe Klecker, who were local photo assistants we used in L.A. Based on temperament, professionalism, and personality, I knew they would fit great with this team.

Having team members who know each other and work well together adds another layer of efficiency. Photographers often get in a groove with certain stylists, and definitely photo assistants and digital techs.

Often the crews stay the same, but sometimes we’ll add or lose somebody because of availability. Like Jayne in New York, we’ll have almost the same crew every time we work with her. For every photographer I work with, I specifically craft a crew that seems appropriate for them, based on their personalities, needs, styles, how fast paced they are, and what they expect in terms of styling.

5. Scouting Locations More »

If you’ve ever wondered what all those people on a big commercial photo shoot do, here’s the nitty gritty details. Meet Susan Shaughnessy’s crew for a recent shoot in L.A., complete with all their vital statistics: Who (they are), What (they do), Where (they live), and How (to find them).

Who: Susan Shaughnessy, Producer

What: Manage people, schedule, communicate, delegate, problem solve, have fun, take responsibility; write checks; provide deliverables/links to casting, scouting, and visuals that need approvals; take care of photographer; organize everything; insure everything; handle travel, catering, transportation; create production books; answer questions, ask questions, provide confidence; do due diligence; be flexible; stay on budget, get overages approved as needed; work closely with art buyer-producer/agency, accept praise on behalf of crew.

Where: Brooklyn is home, but I produce anywhere


Who: Jayne Wexler, Lifestyle and portrait photographer

What: I find a producer if the budget allows one. Go over the layout, all the details, and shot list. Discuss the casting with the producer. If a location is needed, we find a scout and start scouting. On shoot day my assistants and I set up lights. Then they usually get the set ready and shoot a digital-Polaroid for me to see. In the meantime, I discuss the details with the prop and wardrobe stylists and the hair and make-up artists. Once we are set up and I’m happy with my lighting and composition, we start shooting. After the shoot we edit the images and choose the best selects for the job, then we either make a website or send a disk or hard drive to the client with jpegs. Depending on the size and complexity of the retouching, the client will either retouch in-house or I will use one of my retouchers. Then there is the billing, which can take as long as the production.

Where: I live in NYC — “Nolita” — been in the same apartment for almost 23 years! My studio is on Vandam Street, west of Soho.


Who: Kevin Schochat, Photographer’s agent

What: When a request comes in, I  go over the specifics of the job with the creative in charge. I then work closely with the photographer and producer to prepare a detailed photography estimate. I negotiate all fees and rights for the photographer. Once the job is awarded, I follow it closely to make sure everything is running smoothly and we are staying within budget. I also go to the shoot, if it is local, to see how it is progressing, meet the client, and deal with any last minute questions or changes. After the shoot, the photographer and I usually review the invoice together. Then I contact all the key people involved to make sure they are happy with the results and thank them for their business.

Where: New York City


Who: John Robinson, Prop stylist and set designer More »


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