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Inspirational Work

Kike Calvo is an award-winning photographer, bilingual journalist and author represented by National Geographic Stock. The nature of his work is primarily cultural documentary and editorial. He has lectured at the Leica Akademie and is a freelancer for the New York Times. He shares with us a little about his journey as a storyteller, his most memorable moments, and what inspires him.

Melissa Dubasik: How did you get started in photography?

Kike Calvo: This question makes me sad as it was one of the worst moments in my life that drove me into photography. I was studying economics in Spain when my father, a radio personality and one of the most fascinating characters I have ever met, was diagnosed with cancer. I dropped everything and devoted that year to join him on his last journey through hospitals and chemotherapy. Before he died I promised him I would graduate. And I did. More »

January 23rd, 2013

Documenting The PANGAEA Project

Posted by liveBooks

Luke Johnson is the Operations and Logistics Coordinator of Mike Horn’s PANGAEA Young Explorers Program. This program aims to inspire young adults to create sustainable solutions between nature and mankind by taking them to some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Luke shares some amazing photos from the expedition as well as his experience documenting The PANGAEA Project by creating a photo book using Pinhole Pro.

Mike Horn is acknowledged globally as one of the greatest modern day explorers of all time. In short his feats include traveling solo around the equator, ascending two 8,000 meter summits in the Himalayas without additional oxygen, circumnavigating the Arctic Circle, and being the first man to travel (without dogs) to the North Pole in permanent darkness. All of which were done without motor transport.

Canadian Arctic Ocean Expedition to the Magnetic North Pole

Canadian Arctic Ocean Expedition to the Magnetic North Pole

After 20 years of solo exploration, covering nearly every inch of the planet, Mike was ready to turn his dream into a reality: The PANGAEA Project (Pan Global Adventure for Environmental Action). The PANGAEA Project is a 4-year circumnavigation of the world through a series of 12-scheduled expeditions, each to different terrain including mountain, desert, ocean and the arctic. For each expedition Mike and his team select students between the ages of 15 and 20 to accompany him.

The African Expedition Team

The African Expedition Team

The goal was to show the younger generation the most beautiful places on the planet, the fragility of the ecosystems and the impact that human activity has on the environment… and do something to improve it!

Working for the Pangaea Project I have had the opportunity to see, first hand, the most beautiful places on the planet and witness lives that have been positively impacted and changed forever.

A Pink dolphin as seen on our Amazon Expedition

A Pink dolphin as seen on our Amazon Expedition

When asked about the project, it’s virtually impossible to put in words all of the incredible experiences I’ve had. The great thing about the younger generation is that they have their own eyes, ears, feelings, personalities, and unique way of learning. What I take out of an experience may be completely different than the next person. Sometimes the only way to really express these things is through the photos we take.

Icebergs from the Clyde River on the Nunavut Expedition

Icebergs from the Clyde River on the Nunavut Expedition

A few months back we chatted with Chase Jarvis and team about how awesome it would be to put a book together with photos taken by our young explorers and team throughout the entire expedition. Then we would be able to see the 4-year expedition though the eyes of those who were involved.

I was thinking what a great idea, but impossible to get photos from hundreds of people and choose the best ones to properly tell the story. It would take months if not longer. Chase’s team told us about liveBooks and their affiliation with Pinhole Pro. Pinhole Pro allows the average photographer (like myself) to make beautiful photo books and have them delivered in as little as two weeks.

Initially, I was a bit skeptical, especially when Mike said it needed to be finished before the expedition finale in Monaco (which was 3 weeks away). With nothing to lose I decided to simply attack the project. I sent out 100’s of emails, shuffled though thousands of photos, (that could seriously make the front cover of any Nat Geo Magazine) and dove into Pinhole Pro.

Mike Horn and Luke Johnson looking at their Pinhole Pro photo book

Mike Horn and Luke Johnson looking at their Pinhole Pro photo book reliving some of the best memories from the last 4 years

After the photos were selected I started the creation process. First I downloaded Pinhole Pro’s Studio’s software then I uploaded the images. Next I chose the book size, number of pages, type of paper (recycled paper is an option) and the front cover. It wasn’t long before the book was finished!

I would highly recommend using Pinhole Pro to anybody wishing to document a special memory or occasion to treasure it forever.

The beginning of a new year is an opportune time to reflect on last year and set goals for the year ahead. We decided to check in with longtime friend and photojournalist Christopher Morris to see what his most memorable moment was last year and what he plans to do in 2013.

What was your most memorable moment from this past year?

From the past year, oddly enough the most memorable moment for me came, when I was able to pull off getting a model onto the floor of the  Republican Convention in Florida. Shooting for the French fashion magazine L’Officiel. Anyone who works or is involved in the world of politics will understand the near impossible feat of being able pull this off. Here is an image from the Convention.

Photo courtesy of Christopher Morris

What is your biggest goal for 2013?

To survive!

How has liveBooks changed your business?

liveBooks, is a very liberating experience for me.  The seamless ability to edit and re-edit my work, is priceless. It has given me the opportunity to showcase my work in a style and format that suits my ever changing workflow.

The beginning of a new year is an opportune time to reflect on last year and set goals for the year ahead. We decided to check in with longtime friend and director and photographer Mark Fisher to see what his most memorable moment was last year and what he plans to do in 2013. (We are really looking forward to the documentary firm!)

What was your most memorable moment from the past year?

Aside from the birth of my son, my most memorable career moment was being selected for PDN 30. This is one of my favorite ski photos from this past winter. Griffin Post skiing Pyramid Peak at sunset in Valdez, Alaska.

Photo credit Mark Fisher

What is your biggest goal for 2013?

To continue to expand and grow my business in the United States and abroad. I’ve just launched an aggressive marketing campaign with the hope of reaching many new and diverse clients. But my most important goal is to complete my first documentary film, “64.5*North, an 1100 mile self-supported Alaskan Snowbike Journey”.

How has liveBooks changed your business?

liveBooks has grown with me. When I added motion 3 years ago, liveBooks was right there with me. Actually they were ahead of me. When I completed my rebranding last year, they were able to help me transform my vision into a reality with a custom designed website. liveBooks hasn’t so much changed my business, they’ve allowed me to seamlessly execute and share my business vision with the rest of the world!

As the end of the year approaches it’s an opportune time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. We decided to check in with longtime friend and director and photographer Justin Francis to see what his most memorable moment was this past year and what he plans to do in 2013.

Justin Francis shooting The Fray’s latest video.

What was your most memorable moment from this past year?  

I had a chance to travel to Argentina for a B.o.B. music video back in February. Normally when you direct a video you are given the job specs and the location is already decided. This, however, was one of the rare cases where my concept dictated the filming location. So I was there for a week – shooting, scouting, working with incredible talent in South America. I have been fortunate to travel around the world for one job or another. It is without a doubt the biggest perk of being a Director/Photographer!

What is your biggest goal for 2013?  

My goals remain the same from year to year –  to get better across the board and to do work that I can be proud of.

How has liveBooks changed your business?  

On a basic level, liveBooks has provided me with an incredibly versatile platform to view, edit and showcase my work. But beyond that, liveBooks has acted as a sort of loudspeaker – getting the word out about both me and my business. Most creative people I know would rather be creating stuff instead of talking about themselves. liveBooks allows me to focus on my work and I leave my marketing and web presence to them.

Check out Justin’s behind the scenes coverage of Carly Rae Jepsen’s video.

As the end of the year approaches it’s an opportune time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. We decided to check in with longtime friend and fine art and commercial photographer Claire Rosen to see what her most memorable moment was this past year and what she plans to do in 2013. We are looking forward to seeing the conceptual fashion shoot with real giraffes!

What was your most memorable moment from this past year?  

My most memorable moment of 2012 was playing with baby tigers while on a fashion shoot in Thailand. The photo below is from that shoot.

What is your biggest goal for 2013?  

To create a conceptual fashion shoot with real giraffes!

How has liveBooks changed your business?  

liveBooks has been an essential part of my business as it relates to my online visibility and the way I connect with people. Most of the time, sending a link to my website is the first point of contact whether I am requesting a meeting with a potential client or reaching out to a new stylist, modeling agency, location etc. With liveBooks I am confident that my work will look good on any screen or device, and that the site is a clean design that is easy to navigate. I also appreciate not having to spend time fussing with it and when I want to add new images or projects it is a super easy workflow for me.

Photo courtesy of Claire Rosen

Story: “A Leopard Among Tigers”

Credits: Photographer: Claire Rosen, Model: Josie of Red Models

Location: Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai Thailand, H&M: Chai Surasen, Styling: Kate Lee

As the end of the year approaches it’s an opportune time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. We decided to check in with longtime friend and celebrity photographer John Russo to see what his most memorable moment was this past year and what he plans to do in 2013. And the answers sound fabulous!

What was your most memorable moment from this past year?  

Shooting the Hugo Boss Fragrance Campaign and getting to travel all over the world to do it.

What is your biggest goal for 2013?  

To play more tennis and see the Greek Islands!

How has liveBooks changed your business?  

liveBooks plays a huge role in my business. My clients love how my photographs are displayed. We are constantly uploading new images to our site. It’s so easy and fast!

Photo courtesy of John Russo

Gerald_Ratto_liveBooks_Photographer

How does one become a better photographer? To find the answer I decided to ask industry veteran Gerald Ratto. For over half a century Gerald has used film photography to capture the world. Gerald is a former student of Ansel Adams, Minor White, Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston; the list of industry legends he has worked with is extensive. His work has been displayed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and his client list includes some of the largest architectural firms in the world.

Gerald has worked with film since he was 12 and began photographing with a 15-cent box camera. Many of his most celebrated images (See his Children of the Fillmore and Vintage Collections) were shot traditionally. I began by inquiring about what differences exists between photographing with film and digital.

“Photography is really about seeing. We are in an age where people confuse photography with image capturing. When you hold up your phone or high megapixel camera are you really being a photographer? I don’t know. That depends on how intentional you are in the process. It’s easy to capture a huge amount of space today and then use Photoshop to retroactively tell a story, but something is lost in that process. You can make adjustments in Photoshop but you lose some of the expression because you didn’t really consider the content and the story that is being told.”

Is there any correlation between the physical developing process and the creation of an authentic photograph?

“Developing isn’t really a huge part of the process because of previsualization; seeing the story in your mind before you capture it with a camera. If you are doing it right you already know what the story is once you capture it. Then, it’s about going through a process to bring it from a small format to something people can see and display. Each camera is really the same. Each is simply a different instrument. If your process is the same then you can use different instruments to more accurately tell the story.”

Herein I realized the error of my initial question. The question is really not of whether we gain or lose something using film or digital methods, the question is how we remain intentional in an age where technology removes our limits. What are we doing as photographers to keep our content intentional and relevant?

I ask what advice Gerald can provide for how to stay relevant as a photographer.

“Photography is like discovery; every time you look in the viewfinder you’re closing in on an image that is part of something bigger—a little vignette of the greater world. You don’t want to go into any project with preconceived notions of what you are going to capture because by doing that you impose yourself upon the subject. Authenticity is the key to staying relevant. Allow the subject to tell the story and use your mastery of the instrument to capture it.”

Gerald’s work over the last 50 years showcases many different thematic elements; a testament to the depth of his abilities as photographer. I encourage you to take a look at Gerald’s portfolios and pay special attention to his mastery of light. From architecture models to portraiture, Gerald’s work showcases the breadth of his abilities as a photographer. As we finish up I ask Gerald what his favorite photo is. He smiles and replies, “The one I’m taking tomorrow.”

Gerald Ratto and his wife Marla manage a studio and reside in San Francisco, CA. You can view more of his work on his liveBooks site; www.geraldrattophotography.com.

liveBooks wants to know: how do you view your work as a photographer? What tools/best practices do you use to stay relevant? Share a comment on our blog and start a conversation. “Like” us on our facebook page and be the first to receive exciting liveBooks news and content.

Have you ever noticed how animals have an emotional body language that we as humans can relate to?  Working from her Berkeley studio, Tara Tucker creates art that reflects the subtle similarities between animals and humans.  Her exploration into emotional / psychological states and relationship irony is a central theme in many of her works.  Tucker goes to great lengths to research what animals look like and how they have been depicted in history.   She strives for accuracy and at the same time, is a strong believer in not having rules in art.  Her works are exquisite in detail and rich in story.

Check out the fine details of her work here.

Why do we often assume that art is not functional?  On the other hand, why do we rarely view the purely functional as a work of art?  Bayview artist Ian McDonald delves directly into the world of form and function in his bright and austere studio.  With ceramics as a current focus, McDonald also works with wood, textiles and various other materials that allow for direct manipulation.  When asked about his source of inspiration, McDonald revealed that it is the begun process of work itself that serves as his guide on where to go next.

Read an interesting interview and see more images of his beautiful artwork here.

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