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Ziqian Liu Creates Fragmented Images of the Self in her Ethereal Portraiture

An ethereal touch, a ghostly presence, a soft whisper of a still life: these are the tender elements present within the work of Ziqian Liu. She creates photographs that capture a sense of nostalgia, but with a modern aesthetic. Fleeting reflections of the artist are included in almost every photograph, hinting at self-portraiture but with an air of mystery—like a moment we cannot remember, fragmented in our memory. The Shanghai-based artist cleverly uses simple objects like a hand-held mirror or a piece of fruit to create undeniably striking compositions. The distinct simplicity and balance in her work invokes a feeling of satisfaction, something Liu says she strives for when constructing her compositions. Her minimal sensibility and attention to the form of the human body create spellbinding images that will have you look and look, and then look again.

Master Photographer Adrian Mueller Is Hosting a Workshop in NYC!

Find the detailed outline for Adrian Mueller’s NYC food and beverage workshop here, and sign-up for a spot here.

Photographer Adrian Mueller is a magician in the studio and on location. When he’s not shooting for brands like Hershey’s, CÎROC, Kellogg’s, Pepsi, and The Food Network, he’s collaborating with world-class chefs like Daniel Humm, Matthew Kenney, and David Bouley. His food photographs have graced the pages of Martha Stewart Living, The Wall Street Journal, Elle, National Geographic Traveler, and beyond.

Unlike most magicians, Adrian is always willing to share his behind-the-scenes secrets. Fresh from his sold-out workshops this summer in Europe, he’ll host an intensive food and beverage workshop in his home base of New York on Sunday, November 24th.

Taking place at the stunning Noho Productions Studios in Manhattan, this masterclass will cover everything from lighting techniques (daylight and strobes) to styling and post-production tricks. Adrian will also guide attendees through best practices on the business end of things, including tips for treatments, client communications, and promotions.

“The main reason why I want to teach is grounded in the fact that I was always looking to attend a workshop with an established photographer who has a proven track record and produces work I like,” the artist admits.

The NYC workshop includes a food stylist, the use of all studio equipment (digital & lighting), as well as breakfast & lunch.

In anticipation of the event, we caught up with Adrian about some of the most exciting things happening in food photography right now. If you’d like to attend the workshop, you can review the detailed outline of the workshop here and sign up here: Adrian Mueller Workshop NYC.

What are you most excited about these days in the food photography industry?
“Food & Beverage photography is a dynamic field with lots of creative ways to use your craft, from stills to videos. And it has a huge potential client base, especially with the exponentially expanding health food market. I’m now working with more mission-based and health conscious food companies than ever before.”

How has the food photography world evolved in recent years?
“Everything is going faster nowadays, from initial call to estimates, to treatments and production. Workloads are higher. To move and change sets quickly (and know how to light on the fly) is really important.”

You were inspired to teach workshops in part because you would have liked to attend one earlier in your career. What’s your favorite technique to teach?
“My favorite skill is definitely lighting techniques, for strobe as well as for daylight. If you can expand your repertory in this area, you will likely find your own style and voice faster. It doesn’t have to be complicated nor do you need to know how to use seventeen strobes. Lots of things can look lovely with very few light-shaping tools and elements. If you already have a distinct style, learning new techniques will be a good way to see your own work in a new light and evolve creatively.”

What do you like most about teaching workshops?
“I like the fact that I’m providing something of real value with which each participant can achieve excellent results in his or her own work. The interactions and feedback are always inspiring, and often lasting friendships are formed among those who attend. I’m happy that my workshop can facilitate that.”

How will your New York workshop be different from other workshops you’ve done in the past?
“This workshop is much more detailed and specific, since we have nine hours in which we cover several different lighting set-ups for food and drinks, strobe and daylight. Those who will attend will leave with a nice new toolkit!”

Why is it important to you to cover the business side of being a photographer in this masterclass, in addition to the creative side?
“It’s an added value that I provide. If you don’t know the business side, your images can be the most beautiful in the world, but you might find it hard to succeed.”

What advice would you give to emerging photographers who want to follow in your footsteps?
“Try to assist the photographers whose work you like and would want to emulate. Make a real effort to get their attention (emails don’t count) in sincere and creative ways. See them as your first clients. Ask yourself how you would want to be approached by a prospective assistant.

“Also, instead of contacting commercial clients at an early stage, I’d recommend getting in touch with agents who can give you their honest feedback or even get you on their roster on a trial basis. You can also offer to be an intern with an agent. That will also give you insights into the business and the day-to-day operations. Agents can also refer you to other agents if they don’t have time to meet.”

Can you describe the ideal attendee for this workshop?
“I’m looking for photographers who are open to elevating their work and who are open to expanding their lighting technique repertory. I’m looking for those who are interested in engaging with the other attendees as well–just positive and excited people.”

This is a sponsored Feature Shoot post.

Life Inside the Hotel Chelsea, New York’s Last Bohemian Haven, in Photos

Susanne Bartsch

Few landmarks to bohemian life continue to stand tall and proud in New York; most have disappeared from the landscape during the twin plights of benign neglect and gentrification that have reshaped the city over the past 50 years. But the Hotel Chelsea remains one of the last grand dames still on the scene today.

Built between 1843 and 1885, the Chelsea, as it’s colloquially known, was one of the first cooperative apartment buildings in New York City, and briefly among one of its tallest buildings. Under former owner Stanley Bard’s leadership, the hotel became a magnet for writers, artists, actors, directors, musicians, fashion designers, and other assorted luminaries, immortalized in books, film, television, and song.

The Chelsea the place where Sid Vicious killed Nancy Spungen, the place where Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, the inspiration for Andy Warhol’s The Chelsea Girls, and countless other moments in art and pop culture history. Now, it is the subject of the book, Hotel Chelsea: Living in the Last Bohemian Haven (The Monacelli Press) by photographer Colin Miller and writer Ray Mock, as an ode to the Gilded Age residency in the new millennium.

Welcome to the Utopian-Dytopian Universe of Karen Khachaturov

In Walden; or, Life in the Woods, Henry David Thoreau recognized: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” It was a simple, serene statement on the muted tragedy of life — the longer we are here, the more wore down we become. Not just by our own experiences, but those we observe about the world in which we live and the nature of the system.

We learn to temper expectation, adjust our desires, forsake our dreams, yet we never quite escape the burning rage these needless sacrifices demand. We start to mutate, distend, distort, delude, deny, demand, deform. “It is not measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society,” Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote — and yet many do their very best to pretend it is so.

But as we see everywhere all around us, from the devastation of the earth to the horrors that befall the innocent, the human ability to adapt is a tool of survival, though that does not make it a good, or even moral thing in and of itself. Instead, we simply comport and compose ourselves, hoping that what gets lost will disappear, rarely realizing that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, until it is too late.

Enchanting Photos from a Cabin in the Woods

Night Swimming, 2017

Zephyranthes (Rain Lilies) at Dusk, Near the Cypress Swamp, Early Spring 2018

Ark Lodge, a cabin tucked away in the woods of South Carolina, has been in Jen Ervin’s family for generations. Built between 1939 and 1940 by her husband’s grandparents, it sits between two rivers, where Ervin, her husband, and their three children have spent countless hot and sticky summer days.

Ervin first visited the cabin when she was seventeen years old, just a few years older than her three daughters are now. Throughout the decades, their ancestors have left behind vintage photographs, many of mysterious origin. In 2012, Ervin picked up where they left off, creating portraits of life at the cabin using an old and compact Polaroid Land Camera.

She continued to document her family and this landscape for six years, culminating in The Arc, a book published this year by Aint-Bad.

Arlene Gottfried’s Mesmerizing Photographs of New York in the 1980s

Boy with Knife, late 1970s

Heroin Series, Man With Beer And Cigarette, late 1970s

Hailing from Coney Island, Arlene Gottfried (1950-2017) grew up on the streets of Crown Heights during the 1960s just as white flight was reshaping the face of New York. She moved to Greenwich Village in 1972 as a young photography student enrolled at Fashion Institute of Technology and soon thereafter her family moved to the East Village when it was more familiarly known as Alphabet City — one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Manhattan.

But the ragged, jagged edges of the city didn’t frighten Gottfried. Rather, like a moth to the flame she found herself drawn to the people living on the margins, whose lives often fell between the cracks, and made it her business to create some of the most sensitive, compelling portraits of an era that has all but vanished.

“New York City street photography is genre of photography itself. How many photographs of New York have been made?” gallerist Daniel Cooney asks. “What makes Arlene’s work special is Arlene herself. We see New York as Arlene sees it. It is not the subject matter, because the subject matter is not new. It is Arlene. She was an original.”

Announcing The Print Swap Exhibitions in Sydney and Los Angeles!

‘Morning Swim’ © Carl Henry (@wildlightphotographer), Houston, TX, part of the showcase at Chapter One Cafe and Wine Bar in Sydney

‘Only 50% Contained’ by Christine Carr (@christinecarrstudio), Petersburg, Tennessee, part of the showcase at Endorffeine Coffee Bar in Los Angeles

For the first time ever, Feature Shoot’s international project The Print Swap is headed to two creative cafes on opposite ends of the globe: Chapter One Cafe and Wine Bar across from Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, and Endorffeine Coffee Bar in Chinatown, Los Angeles.

The Photographer Who Used the Camera as a Passport to Freedom

After knocking repeatedly on Pablo Picasso’s door hoping to meet the master, a young college student by the name of Fred Baldwin was turned away. Then inspiration struck. Baldwin decided to pen a letter replete with illustrations hoping that the Spanish artist would chuckle in recognition and grant him access to his private villa in Cannes.

“Dear Monsieur Picasso,” Baldwin penned in script on July 28, 1955. “I am a student at Columbia University and this summer I am a freelance journalist. I know that you’re very busy but I am here in my car and each day that you won’t see me, my beard grows longer and loner. I will soon look like Moses. If you would let me take some color photographs then I could go to Florence where I have some money and cut off my beard.”

The extra effort finally did the trick, and the 74-year-old legend opened his doors to the ambitious young Baldwin. Perhaps he had recognized himself in another upstart who was both tenacious and unafraid to look the fool in order to pursue his dream.

Sing It From the Mountain Tops: The Women Reclaiming Cholita Identity in Bolivia

Zongo glacier with the Cholitas 

Huayana Potosi Mountain 6088m/19,974ft

Originally from New Zealand, Todd Antony first got involved with photography when he was 15 and his father brought a Canon EOS 650 home from work. He was immediately hooked and studied photography at college and university for a year, before spending three years traveling around the world, working on cruise ships as a photographer.

Fifteen years ago he moved to London work as a commercial photographer and pursue personal projects such as Cholita Climbers, a series documenting Aymara indigenous women of Bolivia, who summited the 22,841ft peak of Mt Aconcagua — the highest mountain outside of Asia — in January 2019. They made this historic climb eschewing traditional climbing clothing in favor of their traditional, vibrant, billowing dresses, using their traditional shawls to carry equipment rather than backpacks.

“The word ‘cholita’ has previously been used as a pejorative term for the indigenous Aymara women of Bolivia. But these woman are reclaiming it as a badge of honor,” Antony says.

This June, Antony spent ten days in La Paz, documenting the climbing Cholitas and share with us his experiences making this vivid body of work.

Rediscovering “The Hampton Album,” a Renowned Record of African-American History After the Civil War

Credited as the first female photojournalist in the United States, Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) received a commission in 1899 to photograph the Hampton Institute, a private historically Black university located in Hampton, Virginia.

Founded in 1868, just four years after the Civil War, the Hampton Institute was dedicated to the education of African-American men and women — and from 1878 to 1923, also maintained a program for Native Americans. The campus was located on the grounds of “Little Scotland,” a former plantation. Among its many illustrious alumni was no less than Booker T. Washington who taught at Hampton after he graduated before going on to found Tuskegee University.

Over the course of several weeks in December 1899 and January 1900, Johnston created a series of work that came to be known as the Hampton Album, a series of 159 luxurious platinum plates offering a window into daily life for Hampton students. Displayed in a cabinet with folding leaves, the work was first exhibited in the American Negro Exhibit at the Exposition Universelle in Paris as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to rebrand its international image following the decimation of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

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