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Guest blog post by liveBooks client Ed Asmus
“Stunning” is a word that I don’t often use. But in this particular case, my trip to visit Ethiopia’s Omo Valley was not only aesthetically stunning, but strange and otherworldly. Almost ancestral.
This magical place is also known as “The Cradle of Mankind” – home of the oldest hominid fossil, #AL288-1 or “Lucy.” 3.5 million years after her, I went to photograph and visit her descendants.
This life changing journey started in a strange way. I am a long time user of the Broncolor lighting in my professional photography business in Sacramento, CA. One day, when I was reading their monthly newsletter, I saw a featured photographer and read about his trip to Ethiopia. His images were immediately captivating. Eerie, almost. It was hard to believe that what I was looking at really still existed in the world today. I contacted Ken, the photographer, who told me that things were rapidly changing over there, that I should go for at least two weeks, and that I should go NOW. He gave me his trusted guide’s name and shoot organizer, Ayele Sode, and all the pieces began to fall into place.
We planned our trip in November, just after the Ethiopian rainy season – their springtime – so native flowers would be in bloom. With equipment loaded atop our SUV, we headed to our first stop to see the “Surma Tribe.” It took three long days of driving in the bush to get to their village; the dirt roads were horrible. Not many Western people get to this tribe because they are so far off the beaten path, and there are no accommodations or running water. Our guide had organized tent camping and an enormous bottled water supply. He brought with us a chef and a hired bodyguard with an AK-47. I forgot we were in the bush and a long ways away from any cell service or modern conveniences.
We planned to stay five days with the Surma people, but it was cut short by tribal tensions one night, so we departed a day early. We still experienced rain, which made the roads even more difficult. On our way out, some roads were washed out and we ended up getting stuck four times. It crossed my mind more than once that we were all going to spend the night in the Landcruiser. The first little town we came to is where we found pension for $2.00 a night – and I gladly picked up the tab. The rain made our travels longer as we had another three days of driving to get to our next tribe. We saw seven tribes total, each more different than the last. The one commonality is that they all live and depend on the land; most are either farmers of teff, corn, wheat, or coffee, or they free range cattle and goats. Our accommodations ranged from $2 to $120 per night/USD. This really is a National Geographic wonderland, and what you will see and experience is worth every penny. All I can say is stunning.
I’ve been back for only two weeks and am already missing the ET native people. They seem to get by on what they have and are happy. My plans are to go back again next year, fine tune the logistics, and shoot more beautiful work.
Please check out Ed’s website for more stunning images!
liveBooks Ambassador Marcela Taboada’s exhibit, Sanmigueleñas, is currently running through the end of January at the Centro Cultural San Pablo in Oaxaca, Mexico.
These Mexican girls are daughters of farmers who learned how to grow vegetables organically. They are the future mothers who will transmit to their children how to stop the use and abuse of pesticides and to eat healthy. I photographed them the day that the harvest was done. My idea was to raise awareness that we all belong to Mother Earth and that by having a healthy and conscious society we can respect our planet in this globalized world.
Due to lack of information, children are fed sweets and processed drinks that affect their physical development. Although corn is the basis of our diet, at schools and other institutions, junk food abounds.
I decided to make these portraits of girls and young Zapotecs of San Miguel del Valle, a district of Tlacolula in Oaxaca, when the harvest of an organic garden that participated in the global collective project “I Have a Dream” was made. The vegetables they carry as “crowns” are what they themselves planted, irrigated, tended and harvested with their parents. My intention is to raise awareness to all women that we are related to land and fertility. We feed our children who will carry this message to future generations. I consider it very important to rescue organic home gardens that help make a healthy and conscious society, obtaining a sustainable supply in this globalized world.
Now that we’re back in the office and able to reflect on the amazing three days at Photo Plus Expo in New York City, we are reminded once again how truly awesome our clients are! We had an absolute blast meeting new people and catching up with old friends, chatting with you about your websites, and facilitating one-on-one Support help.
We scanned over 600 people at the liveBooks booth, gave out tons of swag including our signature orange tote bags, sunglasses, lens cloths, and stickers (hope you got some before we ran out!)
If you stopped by our booth hopefully you were able to check out some of the exciting new things that are coming to liveBooks in the next few months. If you didn’t get a chance to stop by or attend PPE – stay tuned for the big unveiling very soon!
When it comes to the end of October most people are thinking about their latest Halloween costumes and stocking up on candy for the parade of ghouls and goblins about to descend on their doorsteps. For those of us in the photo industry the end of October is also the time of year when 22,000 photographers and enthusiasts from every corner of the country converge on the Jacob Javitz Center in Midtown Manhattan for the annual PhotoPlus Expo in New York City! With tens of thousands of square feet, 220 exhibitors, 80 conference seminars, myriad special events, and a ton of parties, attendees have a lot of ground to cover in just 4 short days. As a longtime denizen of PhotoPlus, here are my top 10 recommendations for getting the most out of this great expo:
1. Pace yourself
As mentioned above and below you’ve got a lot of ground to cover during PhotoPlus, there’s a ton to take in. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, take it slow and resist the urge to try and accomplish everything the first day. Slow and steady wins the race here.
2. Bring snacks
Full conference and expo days easily top 10 hours, definitely qualifying them as endurance events. You’ll need energy and hydration to keep up, brave the crowds, stay on your feet, and explore the miles of exhibitors without falling over. Cover your bases and bring snacks like protein bars, apples, nuts, and bottled water to provide the fuel you’ll need.
3. Staying on track
An iPhone is my go-to tool for staying organized and on point during the show. At a glance I can view the expo schedule, keep track of planned meetings, locate exhibitors, take notes and photograph cool new gear to reference later.
In late October early November the weather in New York starts getting chilly and windy so come prepared. During the expo you’ll be dealing with two temperature zones, one outside the show where it’s potentially cold and windy and another inside the expo where it’s not! In this situation a backpack to stuff an overcoat or a few extra pieces of clothing into is your best friend. This way you can layer up and down as needed. A backpack is also indispensable for holding show collateral and snacks.
5. Go for comfort
This isn’t the time to break in that new pair of killer shoes you’ve been dying to show off. Comfortable shoes rule the day during PhotoPlus! That doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish if that’s your thing, just be sure and choose shoes that are well broken in. Consider using a padded insole for extra comfort and pack a few bandaids just in case things get dicey with your dogs.
6. Make a plan
With so many classes and exhibitors all in one place knowing where to start can be overwhelming. It’s easy to miss the important and get diverted by the trivial. Make it a point to have a plan and prioritize. Let the exhibitors list be your guide. Map out the manufacturers who’ve got that must have gear you’ve been considering. This is your chance to see it all up close and personal, get your questions answered, and take advantage of show discount specials!
7. Take at least one class
PhotoPlus isn’t just the place to ogle the newest lust worthy gear, it’s also your opportunity to meet and learn from your photography heroes. Consider arriving prior to the trade show to take advantage of one or more of the many great classes being conducted. Be sure and reserve ahead of time, seating is limited.
8. Network, network, network
PhotoPlus is your chance for some rare face time with everyone from photography executives, marketers, manufacturers and other photographers, famous and not so famous. If you’ve been dying to get on someones’s radar this is your opportunity. Bring your A game, an iPad portfolio and plenty of business cards!
9. Affordable lodging
Accommodations in NYC typically run the gamut from expensive to very expensive. However there are deals to be had if you know where to look. Many people prefer the Pod for reasonably priced digs, but if you’re a good camper like I am and don’t mind a shared bathroom arrangement, you’ll love Larchmont Hotel in the West Village. At about $100 a night it’s hard to beat. Airbnb is also a great option and the one I opted to use myself this year. For $70 a night I was able to book a room in a clean, modern, well reviewed apartment with a full kitchen located in midtown, a stones throw from the Expo.
10. Enjoy NYC
Fall is one of the best times of the year to visit New York. Set aside some time to enjoy the city and all it has to offer. Explore the beauty of Central Park, check out a museum, take in a show, hang in the village, dine in Tribeca, take a ride on the Staten Island ferry – there’s no shortage of options in the city that never sleeps.
Bonus tip!! Don’t forget your Badge
I hate wearing a badge almost as much as I hate forgetting my badge back at my hotel! There are a lot of things you can do without during PhotoPlus, your badge isn’t one of them. Save yourself the headache and double check to make sure you have your badge with you before leaving for the expo.
If you have other suggestions please leave them in the comments below. And don’t forget to visit the liveBooks team at Photo Plus in booth 566!
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.
Jessica Dimmock, a young photographer who won acclaim while still a student at ICP for her intimate portrayal of heroine addicts in The Ninth Floor, recently released a music video for Moby. It’s an intense piece, an unconventional music video, and interesting new territory for both Jessica and Moby. The Photography Post ran a nice little interview with the photographer about the piece on Thursday.
We’re happy to help spread the word that award-winning photographer Judith Fox has an exhibition opening on Thursday, March 4, at FiftyCrows Gallery in San Francisco, which was founded by liveBooks CEO Andy Patrick. The exhibition will include images from two bodies of work, Sea of Dreams and I Still Do, which documents her husband’s descent into Alzheimers and which was named one of 2009’s best photo books by Photo-Eye.
Irving Penn, one of the masters of photography, died Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at the age of 92 at his home in Manhattan. Penn leaves behind him a wealth of iconic imagery, from portraits of cultural leaders to obsessively exact still lifes. Photography Now has a great selection of Penn’s work online and the Getty Center in Los Angeles is showing Penn’s exhibition “Small Trades” now until January 10, 2010.
Scientists Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, inventors of CCD (charge-coupled device), will be sharing this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics with Charles K. Kao, the “Father of Fiber Optics.” Although the duo had moved onto other research projects, their discovery made digital imaging possible, from point-and-shoots to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Both Outside and Esquire launched a moving magazine cover this month, with the full videos available on their websites. Alexx Henry, the photographer behind the new Outside cover, made a name for himself doing a “Living Movie Poster” for the movie Mrs. Washington. It’s the second time Greg Williams has shot a moving cover for Esquire, after the first one featuring Transformer star Megan Fox.
Fashion label Ralph Lauren landed in hot water this week with a “poor imaging and retouching” job on one of their advertising images. After Boing Boing brought attention to a photograph of already thin Filippa Hamilton photoshopped to unltra skinny, Ralph Lauren’s legal department sent the blog a take down notice. Bad move. Now The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post, Yahoo!, Jezebel and ABC News have jumped on it. PDN has the details.
I recently had an exhibition of my work from Chinese Turkistan, or Xinjiang, China, in Toronto, Canada. It was my first solo exhibition, but similar shows will happen in Europe and China next year. Putting on a gallery show can be a very trying experience for any photographer, emerging or established. But as I learned, the rewards outweigh all the hard work that goes into it.
In the early days of my time in China, I realized that I had a strong connection to the province of Xinjiang, the mainly Muslim region in northwest China. The Chinese portion of the Silk Road, once known as Chinese Turkistan, is changing before our eyes. Ancient mud brick homes and labyrinth-like towns are being torn down in the name of “progress.” I had traveled in the region often and felt an immediate passion to tell the stories of its people, but I didn’t actually make images there until some years later, in 2005, when I visited the region on assignment.
I’d made the images for myself, but wanted to share them with the world. I like to contact the galleries I’m familiar with by email and set up face-to-face meetings to show prints. Some galleries are very open minded and want to meet emerging photographers. Most galleries don’t even reply. It’s a competitive, in some cases cut-throat, industry — and the economic crisis has made it that much more difficult to get started. More »
The Associated Press announced that plans are underway to create a registry that will track online usage of AP content, including text, photos, and videos. The registry is expected to launch early next year, which will cover only AP text content initially, and be extended to AP member content as well as photos and videos eventually. Click on the image on the left to see a diagram explaining how the registry works.
Back in April, we talked about Chris Usher’s lawsuit against Corbis. Turns out Judge Sotomayor was one of three judges who ruled on the case. While most in the photo community are concerned that the case will become a judicial reference, consultant Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua disagrees. Read her well-versed argument here, here and here.
Although there is no final word yet, edvidence suggests that Robert Capa’s iconic “Falling Soldier” photo was likely staged. Interest in the authenticity of the image has been rekindled as a result of a new traveling exhibition in Spain, which was organized by the International Center of Photography. Philip Gefter has a thoughtful essay on NYT’s Lens regarding this and other iconic staged images.
Kudos for Judge Tomar Mason for upholding the rights of photographers and journalists – a photojournalist student at San Francisco State University, whose name was not identified by request of his lawyer, does not have to surrender his photographs of a murder scene to police under the state’s shield law. Wired has the full story.
The arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. this week has not only been the latest topic of racial profiling, but also of citizen journalism. The widely distributed photo taken at the time of the arrest did not come from a news agency, but from the London-based “citizen journalist” site Demotix. PDN has more on the story, as does Fred Ritchin at After Photography.