Posts by: Alison Zavos

The Best Links of the Week (March 21-27)


From highbrow to lowbrow (and everything in between), this is what we found of interest in photo-land this week.

  • Color-Saturated ad shows that love comes in all shapes, colors, and genders [Bored Panda]
  • The astonishing effects of medical marijuana on children suffering from seizures []
  • Alec Soth sells Snapchat conversations for $100 [TIME]
  • Moving photo series showing transgender life wins Foam’s Paul Huf Award 2015 [Foam]
  • ‘Historical NYPD Crime Scene Photos to be Digitized and Released to the Public’ [PetaPixel]
  • Instagram deletes menstruation photo by feminist poet, proves exactly what’s wrong with the way we censor female bodies [Emaho Magazine]
  • ‘Ruddy Roye on Instagram, Storytelling, and Risking the “Angry Black Man” Label’ [Vimeo]
  • We can’t get enough of ‘Felines of New York’ [Facebook]

We Asked 17 Photographers: What’s the Biggest Lesson You’ve Learned in Your Photography Career?


© Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis: To be confident. I’ve been shooting long enough to see current trends in our industry come and go. Although aware of these changing tides; I’ve always tried to continue to refine (and further define) my unique point of view. I’ve seen other photographers try to bend their aesthetic to fit in the mold of the current flavor of the week. For me, part of staying confident (and true to your vision) is standing your ground and doing what feels true to yourself.

Jamie Diamond: Don’t be afraid to take risks or to get it wrong sometimes, your successes and your failures are equally valuable.

Ricky Rhodes: I’m learning more and more to just stay true to yourself. This might sound like common sense, but I think being a good person goes a long way in this industry. Photography is based around relationships, it’s all about who you know and who knows you. People want to work with people they enjoy being around.

Thomas Alleman: As I consider not only my own career, but the successful careers of my friends and colleagues in this field, I find that the greatest resource one has is his or her own character, and the biggest lesson one learns is that that character is the only constant advantage you can wield.

Joan Lobis Brown: Are you persistent? Are you driven? Do you read novels? Are you a gearhead? Are you empathic? Are you generous? Can you take a punch?

How are you communication skills? Can you write a compelling paragraph about your work for a grant application or a gallery submission? Can you explain yourself to people on the street? Can you persuade someone to let you photograph them, if they’re initially wary?

Can you get on an off a plane with competence, and find a location in a strange town and wrestle a shoot into shape? Can you transmit pictures on deadline? Can you deal with asshole editors? Are you a hothead? Are you a wimp? When the job goes bad, will you blame your assistant? Will you stay up all night for two straight days to finish a project?

Can you weather the hard times that beset all creative entrepreneurs? Do you have backbone? Are you flexible? Can you make short-term sacrifices for long-term goals? Can you diversify? Can you teach? Can you take assignments? What’s your feeling about money and material possessions? At what point will you begin choosing convenience over excellence, and comfort over accomplishment?

These are character issues. They’re about your skill-set as a grown-up person. The greatest lesson I ever learned was that these are where your power and advantage and success will come from, over time.

Announcing ‘The BlowUp NYC': A New Photographic Storytelling Event Presented by Feature Shoot


We are very excited to be announcing a new quarterly event series happening in New York City called The BlowUp. Presented by Feature Shoot, The BlowUp will bring together 15 sought-after photographers for an evening of short-form storytelling and insight with each photographer speaking for a few minutes about the story behind one of their favorite images.

The inaugural event will run from 6:30 – 9:00 PM on April 3, 2015 at ROOT, 443 W 18th St, New York City, and will be devoted entirely to music, featuring a diverse set of music photographers ranging from established icons to emerging young talents, including: Bob Gruen, Chris Stein, Sacha Lecca, Danny Clinch, Michael Lavine, Rebecca Smeyne, Janette Beckman, Jessica Lehrman, Roberta Bayley, David Godlis, Ricky Powell, Tod Seelie, Paris Viscone, Amy Lombard, and Gretchen Robinette.

From Chris Stein’s quiet portrait of a glance shared between Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop to Michael Lavine’s portrait of The Notorious B.I.G. in a graveyard and Amy Lombard’s portrait of a juggalo eating the head off a live lobster, the stories they tell will be as varied and interesting as the photographers behind them.

Intrigued? We have a limited number of tickets available for Feature Shoot readers. Tickets are $20 each and will include an open bar from 6:30-7:30. RSVP here and see you there!

The BlowUp is sponsored by our friends at Squarespace, ROOTAgency Access and Voss. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

The Best Links of the Week (March 14-20)

From highbrow to lowbrow (and everything in between), this is what we found of interest in photo-land this week.

  • ‘John And Yoko Shine On In These Rarely Seen Photographs From 1980′ [Dangerous Minds]
  • Photographic Armageddon and how “the most photographed generation will have no pictures in 10 years” [Amateur Photographer]
  • ‘Look out Instagram, here comes LinkedIn’ [Digiday]
  • ‘Acid Attack Survivor Calendar Shows Beauty Is Much More Than a Pretty Face’ [WSJ]
  • Photographs that are ‘Too Hard to Keep’ [VICE]
  • ’10 Amusing Reenactments Of Romance Novel Covers Featuring Real People’ [Beautiful/Decay]
  • How Instagram helped a father and son cope with illness and grief [TIME]
  • “The photographer said his night-vision photos evoke the internal circuitry of microchips.” []
  • Neil Selkirk to talks Elizabeth Avedon about Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, and making $3,000 a year [The Eye of Photography]

We Asked 14 Photographers: What is the Most Precarious Situation You’ve Found Yourself in While Photographing?


The wall after the fight © Brett Gundlock

Brett Gundlock: When I was younger, I shot a project on Neo-Nazi Skinheads- the entire time was a precarious situation. But the one event that stands out was one winter night in Calgary, Canada. I was with a new group who were known for being pretty violent (and generally psychotic). Two of the skinheads got into an (drunken) argument, and I started to shoot.

The bigger of the two (Tyler) told me to stop shooting and that this wasn’t a side he wanted to show of their life. But the smaller one (Rob) defended me and my role there as a journalist. I had been shooting different groups in Canada for three years at that point, so I had a track record with them, and they understood what I was doing.

The argument escalated pretty quickly. Rob put on brass knuckles, Tyler ran upstairs and grabbed a samurai sword. It was one of those cheesey swords that you buy at a truck stop and leave on the top of your fridge. But it turns out they are pretty sharp.

So Tyler hit Rob with the sword (blood everywhere) and Rob hit Tyler with the brass knuckles. Tyler went down, one punch KO. I had never seen someone get knocked out with a single punch. I thought he was dead for a second. But this was my opportunity to start shooting. Tyler was knocked out for a minute, until Rob woke him up with a steel toe kick to the head. Pretty crazy five minutes for sure, but I shot quickly and quietly and then decided to exit before someone actually did die in that basement.

They called me the next morning, I guess they made up and they invited me back that night to have some more beers. Both Tyler and Rob are sitting in jail on murder charges for randomly beating a disabled man to death.

Brooke Frederick: Most recently would have to be an impromptu tour of a slaughter house in the middle of Louisiana. I pulled over to check out the place and the owner himself came out and offered to give me a tour and let me photograph it. I was wearing flip flops and a summer dress… Needless to say I could not turn down his offer.

Giles Clarke: I was on patrol with police in El Salvador one Saturday night a couple of years back. My wife once phoned me while there was gunfire going off in a rough suburb of San Salvador. I had a heavy anti-gang police officer on top of me and my nose was pressed to the dirt and, for some still inexplicable reason, I decided to take her call. I told her I was at a fairground and everything was fine.

The other time was arriving at Stephen Spielberg’s office to photograph him on the Universal Lot in Hollywood and realized I had left the rolls of film at home. More embarrassing than precarious!

Jeffrey Stockbridge: Photographing while hiking over a Gillespie Pass in New Zealand during a rainstorm was pretty precarious. More interesting and relevant, however, is when I embarked on Kensington Blues (2008-2014). During the course of the project, I was spending a lot of time walking up and down Kensington Avenue in North Philly. The Ave is infamously known for drug abuse, prostitution and violent crime. The first couple weeks of photographing were some of the most challenging times I’ve ever faced as a photographer. At first, I was too scared to get out of the car. Every woman on every corner was making eyes at me- they thought I was looking for a date. I worked up the courage to ditch the car and just walk around. In order to make portraits with my 4×5, I had to get people to trust me, which means that I had to trust them first. This wasn’t easy, but through sharing stories and showing prints, I was able to find common ground between myself and the people who were hard-up on the Ave. Communication and respect were key.

As my relationships within the community grew so did the project. A year or so later, I found myself feeling at home on the Avenue, and then one day I saw a young woman get shot in the back of the head right in front of me. Although I had immersed myself in my subject and felt entirely comfortable in the neighborhood, I knew that such things happened. Still, this was a stark reminder of the violence that plagues economically depressed inner-city neighborhoods throughout the US. A violence that we consistently hear about but don’t often witness first hand.

The Best Links of the Week (March 7-13)

From highbrow to lowbrow (and everything in between), this is what we found of interest in photo-land this week.

  • ‘This Arresting Ad Wants You To End Discrimination Against Homosexuals’ []
  • Pieter Hugo on ‘South African identity, colonial legacy and the impact of Instagram on Art’ [Cool Hunting]
  • YES! to these Brooklyn Club kids [NOWNESS]
  • Village gravediggers shot by Romanian photographer Remus Tiplea [Oitzarisme]
  • ‘See the Artworks Billionaire William Louis-Dreyfus Is Gifting to Harlem Kids’ [artnet News]
  • Winners of the ‘1st Annual NYC Drone Film Festival’ [Indiewire]
  • “I often hear photojournalists talk about making a difference, but once the story is published, they’re paid a paltry editorial fee, maybe win an award, then they move on” [Medium]
  • Photographer Takes Drone Into the Largest Cave in the World [PetaPixel]

Martin Schoeller Discusses the Portrait that Launched His Career and Gives Advice to Emerging Photographers

It probably would have been safer to launch our first Feature Shoot video with a photographer a little less high profile than Martin Schoeller, but thankfully, it worked out great. I caught up with Martin during a busy time in which he had two exhibitions featuring his commercial portraits (yes, you read that right) up in NYC at Hasted Kraeutler Gallery and CWC gallery in Berlin. The shows coincided with his new photo book Portraits, published by teNues.

I peppered Martin with questions for over an hour or so, which we’ve boiled down to a mere 6 informative and inspiring minutes in which the photographer speaks about the portrait that launched his career, celebrity photo shoots, and advice for emerging photographers.

This video is generously sponsored by Squarespace, the innovative website publishing platform perfect for photographers. Squarespace makes it simple to create professional websites that are 100% customizable, making web design accessible to everyone. Complete with award-winning designs, hosting, domains, commerce, and 24/7 support, Squarespace offers photographers more ways to market themselves and grow their business.

Feature Shoot readers receive 10% off a new Squarespace website with code FS15.

We Asked 13 Photographers: ‘Has there ever been a time when you felt guilty for taking a photograph?’


Dr Jorge Chiu tries in vain to save a life of a multiple shooting victim in a hospital in Guatemala City, Guatemala. January 2014′ © Giles Clarke / Getty Images Reportage

Giles Clarke: When I was taking the image above, I had the victims daughter screaming just behind me watching her father die…that was tough and I felt a little guilty at the time but that’s not something I can think about too often..

Brett Gundlock: Covering some of the violence here in Mexico, yes. Funerals are always very difficult for me. I have lost some close family recently, so I can get a little soft at times. I am never really 100% welcome at these events, so I do generally really feel pretty guilty about hovering over someone going through a pretty shitty time. But I remind myself that my reasons for being there are honest. I am sure the people I am shooting would appreciate my intentions if I had the chance to explain myself.

Irina Popova: Yes. Basically, I feel guilty most of the time – not only for taking photographs, but for being alive, eating, sleeping, looking, etc. That’s why I try to become better and establish better communication about what I’m doing and why. I feel secretly guilty for photographing my mom washing my granny in a miserable bathroom of a hospital, when my granny was practically disabled. I was making a film about her, with an interview as a main part, where she was telling how beautiful she was and how all the men were after her and how she suffered all her life for loving the wrong one… I never finished the film and never used the images in the bathroom, and am not sure I will.

Noah Rabinowitz: I’ve never felt guilt in making an image, only its distribution. Context is paramount to image-based communication. The more age, experience and perspective I accumulate, the more thought I put into the implications about every image I put out into the world.

The Best Links of the Week (February 28 – March 6)


From highbrow to lowbrow (and everything in between), this is what we found of interest in photo-land this week.

  • “Vince Vaughn and Co-stars Pose for Idiotic Stock Photos You Can Have for Free” [Adweek]
  • Stirring Photos from “The Big Apple to the Big House, and Back” [Medium]
  • World Press Photo takes back first-prize award after realizing submission was partially falsified [World Press Photo]
  • “Mankind fell and was doomed to Pittsburgh”: Revisiting the photos of W. Eugene Smith [Belt Magazine]
  • JR teams up with ‘Save Ellis Island’ [Juxtapoz]
  • ‘China’s immense marketplace of colorful crap’ [Boing Boing]
  • A new worldwide database of fixers [dvafoto]
  • ‘Canadian Photogs Now Officially Own the Copyright to All of Their Photos’ [PetaPixel]
  • “Jennifer Lawrence, Steven Spielberg & Warner Bros Land Lynsey Addario’s Memoir ‘It’s What I Do’” [Deadline]

25 Photographers Share The Worst Job They Had Before Becoming a Professional


(Photo: Shutterstock)

We asked 25 photographers: ‘What’s the worst job you had before becoming a professional photographer?’

Brooke Frederick: A “Fan Photographer” at Lakers and Kings sporting events in LA. You basically had to chase people down and convince them to let you take their photo and then buy it. People would run away from me, completely ignore me, or yell at me to leave them alone. It was not fun.

Carli Davidson: I had a lot of pretty craptacular jobs before I became a photographer. I think jiffy lube grease monkey and truck stop porn shop cashier tie for the worst. I always came home with great stories thought!

Eirik Johnson: I worked as a landscaper and garbage collector for a housing development while in college. Pardon the pun, but that stank.

Elinor Carucci: I was a professional belly dancer for 15 years while developing a career as a fine art photographer (also published a book about my life as a professional belly dancer – Diary of a dancer – SteidlMack 2005), but i loved it! The worst job i had was babysitting a (the poor thing) colicky baby…