Posts by: Alison Zavos

Announcing Our Flora & Fauna Photography Show Winners to be Exhibited at Photoville


© Brooke DiDonato
Blending In
11 x 17 inches
Edition of 10
$375 (40% of proceeds to Hempstead Town Animal Shelter)


© Brooke DiDonato
11 x 17 inches
Edition of 10
$375 (40% of proceeds to Hempstead Town Animal Shelter)

Flora & Fauna, presented by the photography website Feature Shoot at Photoville, is a show about plants and animals curated by Feature Shoot’s Instagram followers opening Friday, September 10 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Over a period of 3 weeks, we sorted through over 9,000 images and posted over 400 images to Instagram, inviting our followers to vote. Our followers cast their votes simply by “liking” the image(s) on Instagram, and the 25 most popular images (from 22 photographers around the world) are presented in this show.

Photojournalist Nancy Borowick on the Most Important Photo She’s Ever Taken


© Nancy Borowick

Nancy Borowick: My answer to this has certainly changed over time and will continue to change. I think right now, the most important photograph I’ve taken is one I took of my parents last year. They are in their bedroom, shirtless, hugging. They loved each other so much, and this image just means the world to me. They were very exposed in front of me, trusting me, and allowing me to tell the story of their lives, as they were dying. I look at that image and I remember their strength, together and alone, and their love for one another, and our family. They have both since passed away, and that image brings me comfort.

18 Workshops, Panels, And Events You Shouldn’t Miss at Photoville 2015

Photoville - Niko Koppel

© Niko Koppel

Featuring everything from a dog friendly photo booth to exhibitions on ebola, child marriage and poverty in America, Photoville, NYC’s largest annual photo event, is right around the corner, and from the lineup of happenings, it looks like once again there is something for everyone.

Feature Shoot will be presenting the Flora & Fauna exhibition featuring 25 works chosen by our Instagram followers, and I’m moderating a panel presented by PhotoShelter entitled PR For Your Photography: The Secret To Getting Featured. We’ll also be going on a photo walk with @thenytimes.

Here are some of the other exhibitions, events and panels on our radar. We’ll be Instagramming from the event over the next few weeks so make sure you’re following us on @featureshoot!

‘Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs of People’

ReadThis - People_ High Res COVER

Photographer and writer Henry Carroll has a great little book coming out simply titled “Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs of People,” which promises to help you figure out “how and why you want to photograph people.” It’s perfect for aspiring photographers and anyone looking to learn more about taking portraits without being weighed down with too much technical information. I particularly enjoyed his curation of images to go along with the tips and have included a few of my favorites below. The book features work by 50 photographers ranging from August Sander to Mike Brodie and is published by Laurence King.

South Africa-Based Photojournalist Corinna Kern on Her Most Important Photo Project


© Corinna Kern

Corinna Kern: At this point in time, I would not be able to class one particular photograph as a most important one. Nevertheless, the most important body of work I produced is probably my project Mama Africa, documenting the life of transgender women in South Africa’s townships and rural areas. Due to the strong social stigma that is attached to transgender people in African culture, it is a topic that is highly relevant and in need of awareness in order to provoke social change. Despite the harsh realities that transgender women in South Africa face, my project Mama Africa resulted in a colourful and celebratory series. It documents four African transgender women in their confident endeavors to integrate themselves into a hetero-patriarchal society, while experiencing a surprisingly high level of acceptance. By conveying the ambiguity and fluidity of gender, my project challenges the stereotypical notions on African gender identity. Mama Africa was selected as one of the five finalists for the Alexia Foundation Professional Grant. Even though it did not win, it is a strong affirmation for me that this story is of high interest and needs to be told. I am still planning to continue my project with a stronger focus on the issues surrounding individuals’ lives. So I think my most important photo is still to come.

Baltimore Photojournalist J.M. Giordano on the Most Important Photo He’s Ever Taken


© J.M. Giordano

J.M. Giordano: The summer of 2013, I gave up fashion and advertising to commit fully to Photojournalism. I started a series about the homicide rate in B’more called Summer of The Gun. During the course of the three month project on Baltimore streets, I met a woman whose nephew, Davon “Lil’ Daddy” Ockimey, was gunned down near his home in the Park Heights neighborhood on the city’s Westside. As she was talking to me, she burst out in tears but didn’t stop me from taking photos. At one point she sobbed, “When will it end” and I snapped the photo. I’ve hundreds of photos since then, but the shot of her expression of sheer exhaustion at the death of her nephew and the shootings throughout the city as a whole summed up the whole project. It’s very difficult to sum up a series with one photo. It made the cover of the City Paper that year and was nominated for several awards, was featured on Al-Jazeera America, and landed me a staff position with the paper where the series ran. I keep a copy of the cover pinned to my wall at my desk to remind me the importance of photojournalism.

VII Co-Founder and Photographer Ron Haviv on the Most Important Photo He’s Ever Taken


© Ron Haviv / VII

Ron Haviv: My most important photograph is probably from my first foreign trip, to the country of Panama. I photographed a just elected Vice-President Guillermo Ford, covered in blood, being beaten by a member of a paramilitary group. The photograph wound up on the cover of three US news magazines in the same week: Time, US News and Newsweek. Six months later, in 1989, when the United States invaded Panama, President Bush spoke about the photographs as one of the reasons for the military action. It was then that I realized that photojournalism could play a role in the world.

We Asked 19 Photographers: ‘Would You Ever Work For Free?’


Nancy Borowick for The Touch A Life Foundation

Nancy Borowick: I’ve certainly snapped a few friends’ head shots for a bottle of wine here and there, but generally, no, I would not work for free. Starting out, I took a few small jobs for pretty much pennies, but I also had no work to show in my portfolio, so who was going to hire me with no experience? I was in Ghana years ago, when I was still very much an amateur photographer and had been working on my own project when I came across an organization that worked with trafficked children. I fell in love with the children immediately and wanted to help raise awareness for this program. I asked if I could photograph the children and get to know them, and I ultimately shared those images with the org free of charge. They didn’t pay for the images, but I not only took advantage of the opportunity to shoot and connect with a this cause now dear to my heart; I was able to build up my body of work and prove to the org that I could be an asset. Since then, they have hired me and flown me back to Ghana numerous times. I think you have to make smart decisions about how you charge and your relationship development with clients.

Seth Casteel: My entire career is based on working for free. I started out as a volunteer photographer at animal shelters which led to a part-time gig as a lifestyle pet photographer. My general advice on working for free is that there are situations where it absolutely makes sense, but as a full-time photographer, you have to be careful to find a balance between paid gigs and non-paid since you have bills to pay. But there is no question that working for free has unexpectedly opened many doors for me.

Peter Dench: I’m answering these questions for free, which is beginning to feel like work in contrast to the sound of tinkling of wine glasses from the bar opposite.

In terms of providing a service as a photographer, I would never work for free. Personally, I think it’s an insult to my profession, colleagues and family. I understand the argument and that the decision, particularly for those starting out in the profession, can be a tricky one, but it must be up to the photographer to say “NO! I have a skill and that skill has a value.” The photographic industry must unite to end unpaid work and send a message to those who are culpable that there must be change; as long as photographers keep saying yes to unpaid work, the question will continue to be asked for them to do so.

Photographer Renée C. Byer On the Most Defining Work of Her Career


Cyndie French holds her son Derek Madsen, 11, on May 8, 2006. He is on medication that hinders his speech and keeps him awake all night. Cyndie spends nearly 24 hours a day at his side, except for a few minutes while hospice nurses are with him. “I was exhausted beyond belief but I had to do this. He would call my name and always expected me to be there,” Cyndie said. One of the twenty images from “A Mother’s Journey,” that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography 2007. The series profiled the heartbreaking love of a mother and her son as they struggled emotionally and financially with childhood cancer. © Renée C. Byer/The Sacramento Bee

Renée C. Byer: I think my collection of images that earned the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography A Mother’s Journey are the most defining work of my career. They are important because the images go beyond illness to the struggle that families share balancing the emotional and financial toll of catastrophic illness. I’m also very proud of my most recent book project Living on a Dollar a Day: The Lives And Faces Of The World’s Poor, and hope those images will be a catalyst to improve the face of extreme poverty. The book was published in advance of the United Nation’s Millennium development goals that are up for review this year. It’s hard to judge the most important image because the issues I photograph shine a light on a broad spectrum of world concern including our environment, economy, healthcare, domestic violence, poverty, prostitution, as it relates to women and children’s rights. I like to think the most important photo I have yet to make.

We Asked 17 Photographers About the Biggest Mistakes They’ve Made in Their Careers


Lupo © Seth Casteel

Seth Casteel: I always struggle with a life-work balance. Even though my work is my passion, I don’t want to have a camera in my hand 24 hours a day. Sometimes I just want to take a time out and experience things with my eyes and not through the lens. But then I feel guilty sometimes because I’ve been given such an incredible opportunity – I want to make the most of it! I’m extremely proud of what I have accomplished thus far, but always wonder, could I have accomplished even more?

Benjamin Lowy: Not being a hedge fund manager? I think not running an effective business straight from the get-go was mistake. But not the biggest. Probably thinking that I just had to be one kind of photographer, that I had to specialize.

Ron Haviv: One of my great faults is thinking too much about whether I should go photograph a story or not. The best options are always to go with your gut feeling and start shooting.