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Inspirational Work

We just got back from 3 days in Las Vegas for the WPPI conference, and we’re still catching up on sleep. The best way to describe WPPI is that it’s three days of education, conversation, and fun – and WPPI 2015 was certainly no different!

The liveBooks team had an absolute blast in Vegas. We approached our time there with a “work-hard, play-hard” mindset, and were thrilled to see some new and familiar faces (we scanned 632 people!) at the liveBooks Booth.  (Hopefully everyone got the orange bags before they ran out!)   As always, we enjoyed seeing our clients in person — as much of our interaction is done via phone or email — and showcasing the new features liveBooks has to offer. Plus, WPPI was a great opportunity for us to hang out with our co-workers that we might not see as often as we would like.

WPPI Recap

From bags, to stickers, to sunglasses, our orange swag seems to have been a huge hit! We gave out 400 totes, 350 sunglasses, 700 lens cloths, and 100 stickers! (It certainly didn’t hurt that our colors perfectly aligned with the World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants, as was pointed out to us by many of you.)

Check out our Senior Support Specialist, Laura, and her mom showing off their liveBooks swag!

                                                   WPPI                                         swag

Finally, congratulations to Heather East for posting her photo of the liveBooks sticker and winning our WPPI social media contest! Thank you again for everyone that stopped by our booth and participated in our contest. We can’t wait to see you all next year!



Posted in Blogs / Photography
September 15th, 2014

A Visit to the Island of the Sharks

Posted by liveBooks

Cocos Island was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997 and has no inhabitants other than the Costa Rican Park Rangers who strive to stem off illegal fishing within the protected area surrounding the island. With little resources and only one boat available to them they do their best under circumstances to keep the marine environment thriving. Photographer Li Westerlund takes us on her latest trip.

There are many hidden wonders in the world still to explore even for the most adventurous. As a photographer and scuba diver with the love of remote dive-areas, my passport is filled with all kinds of destinations which makes immigration officers at the airports on my return raise their eyebrows. Places like Komodo, Alors and Northern Sulawesi in Indonesia, Papua Guinea and Sudan’s Red Sea waters to mention a few. One of my absolute favourite escapes is located about 35-40 hours of open water travel by boat off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Its name is Isla del Coco, or Cocos Island, at times referred to as the Island of the Sharks.

Whitetip on the lookout

Whitetip on the lookout. Image courtesy of Li Westerlund.

The abundance of marine life surrounding Cocos island, which is the only emergent island of the relatively minor Cocos Plate, comes with some of the strongest currents you will encounter as a diver. Thus in many ways this marine preserve not only provides one of the most intensive adrenaline rushes but also some intriguing challenges for divers and underwater photographers.

Abundance of life

Abundance of life. Image courtesy of Li Westerlund.

In August of this year I made my fifth trip, deliberately choosing the rainy season – and does it rain in Cocos Island! – with the hope of encountering enormous schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks that grace the pinnacles around the island. There may not be a real on or off season for encountering these sharks and we all have to remember that the sea gives you what the sea wants to give you, not what you desire when descending into its depth. My preferred time though is between July and September, which also coincides with the time of the year when in the past I’ve encountered the giant whale sharks. And for this year, my trip truly became the trip of whale sharks.

Whaleshark in the deep

Whaleshark in the deep. Image courtesy of Li Westerlund.

Even though we saw scalloped hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks, whitetip reef sharks, yellowfin tuna, the enormous school of jack fish that is always present, bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales on the surface, the mantra “May the whale shark be with you” was forever coined among some of us. There are several destinations around the world known for whale shark encounters but most only permit encounters while snorkelling or scuba diving in fairly shallow waters, when they come closer in to feed on plankton. Yes, the biggest shark on the planet lives on the smallest plankton, which is quite incredible in the bigger scheme if you think about it.

Hammerhead in for cleaning.

Hammerhead in for cleaning. Image courtesy of Li Westerlund.

Compared to other encounters with whale sharks, what mesmerized me the most diving with them in Cocos was the thrill of mingling with them in the greater depth of the ocean and how gently, gracefully, they interacted with us divers. How they were curious and almost inquisitive, and not anxious or troubled by our presence. The monsoon rain pouring down over the island affected the visibility most times, making lighting quite challenging for photography but it also creating an opportunity to capture these magnificent creatures in the mysterious fashion they suddenly appear from the depth.

See more images from her trip in her series “Gentle Giants of the Deep” and “Galenaea” at

Photographer and humanitarian Sarah Fretwell has been called an unreasonable activist. She formed The Truth Told Project to help the girls and women of the Congo share their stories of sexual violence with the world and serve as a catalyst for change. She tells us about the project and with what we can do to help.
The Truth Told

Kavira Kabambi, 15 year old survivor. Photographed by Sarah Fretwell.

The Truth Told Project

One girl or woman is raped every minute in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The rape is not random, as you might think. It is a power play that targets those who are not in a position to fight back. The rebel and military groups use rape as a scare tactic and way to control and destroy local communities. The DRC’s society is so broken rape is now “normalized.” Millions of girls, women and men have been raped. Many more will be raped in the time it takes you to read these few paragraphs. More »

A climber and visual storyteller, Cory Richards was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2012. Cory’s camera has taken him from the controlled and complex studio to the wild and remote corners of the world, from the unclimbed peaks of Antarctica to the Himalayas of Nepal and Pakistan – all in the attempt to capture not only the soul of adventure and exploration, but also the beauty inherent in our modern society.

Cory dropped out of high school and was practically homeless by the time he was just 14 years old. His education came from observing what was happening around him and discovering the richness that comes from struggle. His video “A Tribute to Discomfort” takes you through his journey from recounting the avalanche that almost took his life and led to the moving self-portrait that appeared on the cover of National Geographic, to describing what drives him to tell stories of people and places.

“My job is communicate a real raw visceral experience. Despite the fact that we are experiencing massive problems as a human family we are still experiencing each other, loving and having a ton of fun. I mean life is fun.” – Cory Richards

A Tribute to Discomfort: Cory Richards from Blue Chalk on Vimeo.

May 30th, 2014

What Makes a Moment?

Posted by liveBooks

Each of us defines a moment in a different way. For food photographer Penny De Los Santos a moment is where people, culture and food come together.

“I am inspired by and in love with that space where a scene vibrates with an energy. And when it’s combined with light, composition and color – that’s when I make a picture of a moment.” – Penny De Los Santos

In her TEDx Talk she takes us from a candlelit dinner table in war torn Lebanon to the grave of a loved one, asking us to stop, connect and take the time strengthen and honor the bonds between us.

February 13th, 2014

Myanmar: Bridges to Change

Posted by liveBooks

Photographer, filmmaker, and climber Mark Fisher was asked to join an expedition that would make a first ascent of Gamlang Razi, Southeast Asia’s disputed highest peak. He created a film called Myanmar: Bridges to Change about the experience which will be released on June 14, 2014. In the meantime he has shared the trailer and these beautiful images with us. We can’t wait to see it in its entirety!
Myanmar Bridge. Photo courtesy of Fisher Creative.

Myanmar Bridge. Photo courtesy of Fisher Creative.

In August 2013 a group of 7 climbers, 5 Americans and 2 Myanmarese climbers, traveled to the farthest reaches of northern Myanmar to make a first ascent of Gamlang Razi, Southeast Asia’s disputed highest peak. All told, the climbers traveled over 270 miles on foot through some of the harshest terrain on the planet, braving extreme heat and moisture, as well as the gambit of jungle creatures. Despite these challenges, they were rewarded with rare access to one of the most remote and untouched corners of this planet, living with villagers along the trail that have never seen westerners before. In fact, there have been less than a dozen or so westerners in history to have ever been to this part of the world, and only one climbing expedition in history have been to these mountains. More »

Claire Rosen is a photographer that blends a fine art sensibility with commercial work to create whimsical imagery inspired by fairy tales, fables, and other children’s stories. Her fashion art and advertising work touch on the bizarre and unusual with the themes of vintage circus, burlesque, magic, curiosities and natural science interwoven throughout the images. She tells us what her favorite moment was this past year and what she’s hoping for in 2014.

What was your most memorable moment this past year?

Taking an overnight train from Budapest to Bucharest…

What is your main goal for 2014?

To find gallery representation in NYC.

What is it that keeps you picking up your camera everyday?

Admittedly it’s not “everyday” but the adventures that my camera allow me to have keeps me picking it up as often as possible!

Fine art fashion photographer

Series: Pre-Raphaelite, 2013
Locality: Bucharest, Romania
Fashion Story
Credits: Model – Marta mraModels, Styling – Raluca Racasan, Hair – Claudiu Alex Sarghe, Makeup – Irina Selesi, Location – Institutul de Arheologie

Connect with Claire and view more of her work on her photography website.

Fine art wedding and portrait photographer Karen Hill loves photography, the history of photography and shooting with film. She is known for her ability to create emotionally powerful images. Karen has shared some of those images with us in addition to what keeps her motivated.

What was your most memorable moment this past year?

There are so many memorable moments in a year of photographing weddings. It’s such an intimate job where so many things are happening all around you at the same time. It’s hard to name just one! So I’ve included a few of my favorite images.

Photo by Karen Hill Photography

Photo by Karen Hill Photography

What is your main goal for 2014?

To keep getting work and making my couples happy.

Photo by Karen Hill Photography

Photo by Karen Hill Photography

What is it that keeps you picking up your camera everyday?

What I love is the feeling I get when everything seems to align, when the perfect moment is in front of you, when the light is just right and the right camera and lens are in your hand. When the sun and the stars align perfectly, so to speak, to me, that’s photography magic and that’s what keeps me picking up my camera everyday.

Photo by Karen Hill Photography

Photo by Karen Hill Photography

Connect with Karen and view more of her work on her photography website.

Robin Layton is an award-winning photojournalist and renowned artist. Her exquisite work has been nominated for a Pulitzer prize and featured in the Smithsonian. She shares some of her favorite moments from this past year with us.

What was your most memorable moment this past year?

I’ve got a few! Becoming a Nikon Ambassador, the release of my second book, hoop: the american dream, and completing my 8th film for The Oprah Winfrey Network.

hoop: the american dream

What is your main goal for 2014?

To keep growing as an artist and to keep creating art.

What is it that keeps you picking up your camera everyday?

I’m at a point in my career where I’m just focusing on creating fine art. After being a “hired gun” for everyone else my entire career it’s my turn. Finding out what I have inside me is very exciting! This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my career.

To connect with Robin and view more of her work visit her website.

Award-winning fine art photographer and instructor Craig Varjabedian recently won Best Art Book at the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards for his book Landscape Dreams: A New Mexico Portrait published by the University of New Mexico Press. He tells us about the book and what he is currently working on.

What was the genesis of this book?

My publisher approached me with an idea to create a piece that would celebrate New Mexico on its 100 years of statehood. But really, this book is a natural progression of my work. It presents a selection of my photographs, made over the nearly three decades that I have lived and worked in New Mexico. Some of the images are from my archives while others are newer, based on my desire to have a more complete geographical coverage in order to best represent the varied landscape of the state. More »


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