Image Magazine #08

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KEEP MOVING Getting a break in photography can be tough, which is why the Association of Photographers is putting a renewed emphasis on practical workshops and seminars. From evening one-to-ones for assistants to how-to sessions devoted to editing your work, it’s aiming to give photographers young and old the tools to take control of their careers. This issue of Image aims to reflect that good work, gathering together some of those who’ve taken part in the assistants event to find out what they learned, for example, and tapping into experts’ insights into building a decent book ahead of the editing course. We’ve also included an interview with Nick Dunmur, the AOP’s new business and legal adviser, who’s filling big shoes after Gwen Thomas’s departure – but who’s more than equipped to do so, having run a successful photography business for 30 years and served as chair at the British Photographic Council and non-executive director and chair of the AOP board. We’re also featuring an interview with AOP member David Clerihew, a small-town boy who’s transformed a childhood love of sport into a stellar career shooting world-class athletes such as Usain Bolt, David Beckham and Lionel Messi for brands such as Nike, Adidas and Speedo. Clerihew is restlessly creative and always looking for the next opportunity, which has allowed him to hit the big time shooting portraits but also to keep moving, and he’s currently transforming his reputation for shooting sports celebrities into shooting big names full stop. “It just goes to show you can do a bit more that’s not such a big step away,” he says. “The trick is to think laterally like that.” Image Magazine editors







Cover © David Clerihew









The Association of Photographers (AOP) is a not-for-profit member organisation representing commercial photographers, agents and assistants globally. Based in London (UK) the AOP supports its members with business and legal advice, workshops and talks, a member forum and an annual Awards programme to spotlight the best in commissioned and noncommissioned photography. For more information go to Contact us at Office +44 (0) 20 7739 6669 Image magazine is the publication of the Association of Photographers, UK.


Discordia Moises Saman, Self-published

Discordia was the Roman goddess of chaos and strife, an apt figure to conjure up given the scenes Moises Saman has captured: people fighting, protesting, suffering the wounds of battle and even its deadly effects. But it could also reference the way he has arranged the images, which were shot between 2011 and 2015 in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Libya, Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia but are presented as an impressionistic mass rather than a conventionally structured narrative. Saman is a member of Magnum Photos and works for titles such as Time, The New York Times and The New Yorker but his book is not photojournalism per se – and very deliberately so. The result is overwhelming, bewildering, alienating. It is a huge book but you don’t come away from it any the wiser; if anything, quite the opposite. That’s also very deliberate. Discordia is an attempt to strip away the cliches and assumptions, the simplistic stereotypes that underpin tidy news packages, and get to a more positive and honest state of confusion. “We as Westerners see the world from a particular point of view and search for narratives that fit in with our ideas,” says Saman. “In reality, I found that the truth lies somewhere in between and this is an important point that I hope is reflected in the book.”



Fuck It Michele Sibiloni, Edition Patrick Frey

Italian photographer Michele Sibiloni moved to Kampala, capital of Uganda, six years ago; initially covering the lead-up to the general election, he soon tired of the standard coverage and decided to do something more original. The result is Fuck It, an eye-opening insight into Kampala’s outrageous nightlife that has now been published by the prestigious Edition Patrick Frey. Sibiloni was a raver as a teen and his taste for the anarchic comes across, with full-page bleed after full-page bleed recording drinking, dancing, smoking and dancing; the title of the book comes from a tattoo on one woman’s leg, which also features an erect penis. There are also shots of nocturnal birds and animals though, and of the military police who patrol the streets of a country that’s had the same president for 30 years – hinting at a wider context to the all-out nihilism seen elsewhere. A shot of three cranes is both a metaphor for the country, for example, and a reminder of a terrible paradox. “They’re the symbol of Uganda, and a symbol of prosperity and serenity, but people keep them as pets,” explains the photographer. “They cut a nerve so that they can’t fly and keep them in their gardens.” “Some nights I was out and it was all fun and happy; other times it felt really sad,” he adds.



Dark Rooms Nigel Shafran Mack Books

Nigel Shafran started out as a fashion photographer but he never toed the line, working with style magazines such as i-D and shooting street style in locations such as decaying shopping precincts. Since then he’s developed a successful career in fine art, publishing books with Steidl and Photoworks and exhibiting his work at Les Rencontres d’Arles festival, continuing to focus on the everyday, the apparently unremarkable, and the easily overlooked. His new book, Dark Rooms, is published by Mack Books and shows supermarket conveyor belts, his home, his family, women on escalators, and disability shop interiors – prosaic sights in the here and now, but a treasure trove for future historians. The palette is dark and the tone sombre, unlike his previous books which tended towards the sunny, both literally and figuratively; a shot of his son sleeping somehow suggests the child’s mortality, the disability aids an older generation’s decline. Both Shafran’s parents have died since he published his last book, and there is, perhaps, a renewed sense of time in this work, the shots of the escalators and conveyor belts literally freezing motion, and the images from home halting the ever-changing flotsam and jetsom on the kitchen shelf. “The photographs I make are connected to the magic of photography to transcend time,” he told Charlotte Cotton back in 2004. “It’s about keeping something alive, in a sense.”



Got to Go Rosalind Fox Solomon, Mack Books

Got to Go is a retrospective of Rosalind Fox Solomon’s work, including images from as early as 1974 and as late as 2009, but it’s far from a standard retrospective. Mixing locations and times freely, it’s a collection of portraits that somehow ends up saying something about the artist herself, with the help of sparse text recalling incidents from her youth. A shot of a kissing couple taken in Naples in 2002 is accompanied by the text “someone let the cat out of the bag”; the next two images show more couples but the third records a man sticking knives in a worktop – in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1975 – and is accompanied by the words “father is having an affair”. Elsewhere a shot of an older woman smiling tightly for the camera is accompanied by a text that starts: “My mother says youth is my god, I hate age, everything is such an effort, I take benzedrine to cope with my aches and pains”. The result is both funny and chilling, and – perhaps – suggests how some of the dark scenes Fox Solomon witnessed as a child stuck with her, informing her vision throughout her life. Fox Solomon started taking photographs at the age of 38 after the women’s lib movement helped persuade her she could be more than a wife and mother; now 85, her work still feels like a little revolution.



One Second of Light Giles Duley, Benway Publishing

Giles Duley lost two legs and an arm in 2011 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan; on hearing of his injuries his first thought was that he still had his right hand and his eyes, and could therefore still be a photographer. Accordingly his new book, One Second of Light, gathers together stories he’s shot from 2005 to 2015, emphasising the continuity in his work; the introductory texts by surgeon and EMERGENCY founder Gino Strada and novelist AL Kennedy reference his accident, but in the images themselves, it’s only a series of full-bleed shots of explosions taken in Afghanistan in 2011 that speak of it. Duley started out as a music photographer but switched to photojournalism at the turn of the century; his images record hard-hitting stories such as Angolan war widows, Bangladeshi acid attack victims and Syrian refugees, and it would take a heart of stone not to be moved by his shots of civilian amputees in Afghanistan, which include numerous shots of children. Duley has always been a good photographer but his shots of refugees arriving in Jordan in 2013 to 2014, taken at night in freezing conditions, speak of both his and their sheer will; in this book he’s firmly putting the emphasis on his subjects, though, and telling their stories rather than his own.



Little Road North. Africa in China Daniel Traub, Kehrer

Daniel Traub is a Brooklyn-based photographer and filmmaker who’s had solo shows at Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago and the Print Center in Philadelphia, but here he’s quite literally put others centre-stage. Little Road North is a pedestrian bridge in the centre of Guangzhou, China, but Traub’s images of it in this publication bookend the work of two other image-makers – Wu Young Fu and Zeng Xian Fang. Working on the street with digital cameras, the Chinese photographers take portraits of Africans who have come to the city to work, printing the images there-and-then to give them a momento of their time. “Scrolling through the images on the back of his [Wu’s] camera, I became increasingly fascinated with what I saw,” says Traub. “The photographer, without intending to, had been documenting the stream of people from the various parts of Africa who had arrived in Guangzhou to trade and conduct other business. And, despite encountering a certain degree of prejudice and discrimination, they often remained for extended stays. While Wu’s images were mostly formal and direct, some were personal, unguarded and poignant. The gestures, clothing and sense of presence of Wu’s subjects reminded me of images by well-known African studio photographers, but instead of a studio backdrop, the architectural pastiche of contemporary downtown Guangzhou served as background.”



Lost in the Wilderness Kalpesh Lathigra, Self-published

Kalpesh Lathigra was born in east London but his family’s from India, and that meant he never played the hero in cowboys and Indians childhood games. “It’s funny how as a child we don’t question the games we play and the slow burn of what we take in via popular media like film, books and the simple conversations that we have,” he says. “It’s difficult to think of a child of my generation not having played cowboys and Indians, or watched John Wayne or Gary Cooper in action against the Indians, who were always the enemy.” It’s an experience which has informed his publication Lost in the Wilderness, shot on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Keen to avoid perpetuating stereotypes or taking the role of voyeur, he took a quiet, personal approach, simply recording the people, places, moments and things he connected with. One image shows a modest house, painted with the Stars and Stripes, which is captioned Fort Robinson; the Fort has an important place in American history – it’s the place where Lakota warrior Crazy Horse was killed – but Lathigra doesn’t labour the point. “I’m not an expert on the politics of this place,” he says. “I work in the visual. I can only photograph what I feel is right.”



Merthyr Rising Tom Johnson, Self-published

Tom Johnson is a rising star in fashion and portraiture; born in 1991, he dropped out of art college after a year but has already published work in i-D, The Telegraph, It’s Nice That, Vice, Dazed and BJP. In January 2015 Vice made a documentary about his work for its series Picture Perfect; in April he was shortlisted for the D&AD Next Photographer Award; and in May he was selected for an exhibition of up-and-coming photographers at Downstairs at Mother. He shot Merthyr Rising with the stylist Charlotte James, who comes from the town, taking ordinary people who live in the post-industrial area and shooting them in high-fashion and vintage items. A personal project celebrating the strong characters and vibrant community of an area hard-hit when the mines closed in the 1980s, it was exhibited at Box Shoreditch and is now transformed into a self-published book. Johnson cites British realist cinema as an influence, and his stripped-back aesthetic is clear in Merthyr Rising, which teams images of the models with shots of the nearby landscape. From retired nurses to little kids, Johnson’s choice of models is eccentric but it works, creating a fashion story that also works outside the usual industry confines. Two of the models, sisters Kyra and Evie, proved so inspirational that Johnson returned to shoot them for Pylot Magazine, itself a rising force in fashion.



Noroc Cedric van Turtelboom, Self-published

You may not have heard of Cedric van Turtelboom before, but the young Belgian is steadily making his way – having graduated from the Brussels School of Art in 2010, he’s already reached the finals in the Magnum Expression Award, the PhotoEspaña Descubrimientos and the Arles Prix Voies Off. In 2012 he exhibited Noroc in the prestigious BlankPaper in Madrid, and in 2013 he showed it at the Arles Prix Voies Off. Now he’s made a book of the project, designed by the celebrated Dutch book specialist SYB (Sybren-Vader-Juiper). Shot in Romania from 2009 to 2015, its title means both “good health” and “good luck”, but many of those depicted seem to have little of either. There’s a shot of a man dressed up in white for a wedding, whose trousers have got smeared with mud; there’s a man standing topless on the beach, contemplating the sea while the snow falls all around. There’s a shot of a goat being killed, and of a chicken head lying in the snow. But if it’s an offbeat look at life, it’s more about van Turtelboom’s vision than Romania – one series of images is labelled “Family portrait in the hospitality room” and starts with a shot of a conventional group portrait, but ends with an image showing a grandmother and child with their backs turned to the camera. Van Turtelboom has an original take on the world, and this book shows it off to perfection.



Pentax K-1

Pentax has launched the K-1 full-frame DLSR - long top of Pentax fans’ wish list. It features a 36.4-megapixel sensor, a newly developed 33-point AF system and significantly faster image processor, along with five-stop shake reduction, HD video capture, wifi and GPS. The ISO range is 100 to 204,800, Sigma has dispensed with an anti-aliasing filter and bursts of up to 70 JPEGs (or 17 raw) can be captured at 4.4fps in fullframe. The £1600 weather-sealed, magnesium-alloy body will be supplemented with an optional battery grip and two new full-frame lenses; an all-purpose 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 and a wide-angle 15-30mm f/2.8.



Sigma mirrorless cameras

Sigma has launched two new mirrorless cameras sharing the same SA lens mount found on its DSLRs. The sd Quattro utilises an APS-C Foveon sensor claimed to equate to a resolution of 39 megapixels, while the H version camera uses an APS-H chip, which the maker claims is equivalent to 51 megapixels. They are built around the same body, incorporating a 2.3-megapixel viewfinder and on-sensor phase detection (within the hybrid AF system) that will prove effective with the maker’s SA lenses. Also on their way are two lenses: the 30mm f/1.4 DC DN for Micro Four Thirds and Sony SA mounts (on which they will equate to 60mm and 45mm primes in 35mm format), and the 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM ‘Art’ zoom, designed for Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts.



Canon EOS 1D-X Mark II

Canon has launched its highly anticipated new DSLR, the Canon EOS 1D-X Mark II, plus the new EOS 1300D, the EOS 80D, and the PowerShot G7 X Mark II. The manufacturer has included a newly developed CMOS sensor in the 1D-X Mark II, which it claims means it can offer 20.2-megapixel effective resolution, and enhanced ISO performance. The 1D-X Mark II can also shoot 4K films up to 60p, up to 29 minutes 59 seconds long, and features 61 individually selectable AF points. The 1300D features an APS-C 18MP CMOS sensor, while the 80D is a 24.2-megapixel DSL; both feature the ability to shoot 1080p movies and wifi connectivity, allowing you to instantly share images. Canon claims both cameras also perform well in low light, while the G7 X Mark II has substantially improved performance speeds compared to the original G7 X and better battery life.



Nikon DL

Nikon has announced a new quality compact camera series, the DL. The first three cameras are based around the same body, with a one-inch sensor giving a 20.8-megapixel resolution, coming with fixed lenses of three different lengths: 18-50mm, 24-85mm and 24-500mm. The lenses are treated with Nikon’s fluorine coating, which the maker claims will actively repel water, dust and dirt, and make it easier to clean the glass without damaging the surface. The DL cameras feature ISO 518 hotshoes, which accept Nikon accessories such as DSLR speed lights. Dedicated DL accessories include an optional tiltable electronic viewfinder. The DL cameras can also be connected to SnapBridge via Bluetooth, which allows them to be operated via a smartphone or tablet computer.



After a barn-storming first ceremony at The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane last year, the AOP’s Awards are once again open for entries


The AOP’s Photography Awards are now open for entries, for the 33rd time. Members are welcome to enter a slew of categories including commissioned and non-commissioned work, and single images and series prizes; for the first time, assisting photographer members are invited to enter any of these categories, and if selected they will be given an AOP Discovery Award plus one year’s Photographer membership. Everyone is welcome to enter the Open Award categories, which include a single image prize, a series prize, and a moving image prize. The winners will be announced at a prestigious ceremony and party on 13 October at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, East London, which will also show off an exhibition of the shortlisted images. The exhibition will be open to the public from 14-17 October, and the AOP will run a series of talks and events over the four days. An early bird discount is offered until 20 May, and the standard price-entries are open until 30 June; the main Photography Awards are closed for entries from 7 July, the Open Awards close for entries on 4 August. Judges include the renowned photographer, artist and director Nadav Kander, who won international acclaim for his series of portraits for The New York Times, Obama’s People, but who has also worked for clients such as Time Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, Levis and Nike, and as had solo shows at galleries such as Flowers, London and New York; M97 Gallery, Shanghai; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. The AOP’s awards are supported by sponsors, so far confirmed as Holborn Studios, Direct Photographic, Fixation, Swan Turton and MOT Models, more to follow.



Image Š Harry Borden, from a project that won the Open Series prize in the 2015 AOP Photography Awards.


Image Š Tif Hunter, from a project that won the Commissioned Design Series prize in the 2015 AOP Photography Awards.


Image Š James Day, from a project that won the Commissioned Editorial Series prize in the 2015 AOP Photography Awards.


Image Š Joseph Ford, which won the Non-Commissioned Portraits Single prize in the 2015 AOP Photography Awards.


Image Š Richard Seymour, which won the Non-Commissioned Environment Single prize in the 2015 AOP Photography Awards.


Image Š Nick Meek, from a project that won the Non-Commissioned Environment Series prize in the 2015 AOP Photography Awards.


Image Š Robert Wilson, which won the Non-Commissioned Objects Single prize in the 2015 AOP Photography Awards.


Image Š Marcel Christ, from a project which won the Non-Commissioned Objects Series prize in the 2015 AOP Photography Awards.


Image Š Sam Robinson, from a project which won the Non-Commissioned Fashion and Beauty Series prize in the 2015 AOP Photography Awards.



Indie record label Rough Trade brings Liv Siddall on board to boost music magazine presence



Independent record label Rough Trade recently launched monthly magazine, edited by Liv Siddall. Formerly features editor of the popular art and design blog It’s Nice That, Siddall went freelance in last May and by November “was sitting in my flat saying to my boyfriend, “I really just want to make a music magazine. I want to work in a team again and I’d love to live in New York for a bit”. No sooner had she uttered the words than Rough Trade had got in touch, offering a job on a new-launch music magazine with plenty of travel to NYC. Siddall intends to bring a personal approach to the magazine, and will commission new photographs for nearly all of the features. How did the idea come about? Rough Trade has a printed publication called The Fold, which is released monthly and features the top 10 albums of the month. They wanted the release to be in a more official capacity – something they could offer to subscribers who receive an album in the post every month to make the subscription service meatier and more enjoyable. More importantly, they wanted to celebrate what Rough Trade is about in magazine form and take advantage of the opportunities they can get with editorial. For instance, there are sometimes four in-store performances a week at Rough Trade East, plus more in the other stores worldwide, so there are always bands and artists coming in who I can just grab before they play for a quick interview. Not many other magazines can get great stories almost daily that they can shove into a magazine. What can readers expect? I’m trying to make the magazine less about gig and album reviews, and more about great informal chats with fascinating people; maybe not even asking them about their new album or tour. Maybe they want to talk about something else. Maybe they have a really great hobby. I want the content to dig a bit deeper into the people, rather than the music they make. What does photography mean to you? When I was at It’s Nice That, it was mainly photography for me. I’d spend hours online trying to find people who hadn’t been written about. Luckily, my job allowed me to write about, interview and establish relationships with photographers, and they would usually recommend someone else. And of course students and young people from all over the world were sending in

pictures. Photography can affect you in such a different way from other media; I had huge folders of photos I kept over the years that I couldn’t get rid of, which are now coming in handy. How will you approach photography? When I was a teenager I’d read magazines like i-D and Dazed, where on every page there’d be a photo of a person smiling or laughing, and you’d just want to be a part of it. I want the people to look like they’re enjoying it – hopefully it will affect the vibe of the magazine. Often, other mags use pap shots or press photos; a lot of them are quite moody. Even a band like Fat White Family, who are hilarious and crazy and amazing, just look boring in their press photos. I want the band’s personality to come across. How big a role will photography play? It’s incredibly important, because we’re showing the artist in a more personal way. The photographers have spent a couple of hours with them, and they’re getting on and hopefully having a really good conversation. That’s really important. If I’m going to spend my small budget on photography, I want it to portray that person’s character. I also want to do a visual feature in each issue. Other options are if I want to interview a band we can use the photobooth in the Rough Trade East store, or they can send in photos themselves. Which photographers will you use? I won’t be going for music photographers – I’d go for people like Francesca Jane Allen, who can photograph musicians but treats them like pals. She just puts them at ease and has fun – it’s definitely the relationship you can see between the photographer and subject. I like it if the person being photographed is a friend, or if there’s a real connection between them.


Canadian band Black Mountain, whose fourth album IV was Rough Trade’s album of the month in April, were shot amongst the tools of their profession Š Jennilee Marigomen


Canadian band Black Mountain, whose fourth album IV was Rough Trade’s album of the month in April, were shot amongst the tools of their profession Š Jennilee Marigomen


Canadian band Black Mountain, whose fourth album IV was Rough Trade’s album of the month in April, were shot amongst the tools of their profession Š Jennilee Marigomen


Canadian band Black Mountain, whose fourth album IV was Rough Trade’s album of the month in April, were shot amongst the tools of their profession Š Jennilee Marigomen


Canadian band Black Mountain, whose fourth album IV was Rough Trade’s album of the month in April, were shot amongst the tools of their profession Š Jennilee Marigomen


US soul singer Charles Bradley Image Š Cait Oppermann


US soul singer Charles Bradley Image Š Cait Oppermann


US soul singer Charles Bradley Image Š Cait Oppermann


David Clerihew fell into photography but hit the ground running, grafting his way into shooting for sports brands and now breaking through to celebrity portraiture more generally, finds Diane Smyth



David Clerihew has photographed Usain Bolt and David Beckham, Stanley Tucci and David Grohl; he’s worked for Nike, Adidas, Speedo, Guinness, Samsung and Hugo Boss; and he’s represented by Visual Artists, the same agency that represents David Bailey. Not bad going for a (very) small town Scot who fell into photography by accident. “I couldn’t get on any courses, and had just started taking a year out when I went to visit my granny and bumped into a friend from my art foundation,” he says. “He said he had already taken up his place at Edinburgh, but had been offered a fine art place doing drawing and painting at the University of Dundee so why didn’t I take it. “I didn’t even think about it. My sister was studying medicine there so I just phoned her up and said, ‘Look, I’m coming to stay,’ and headed up there with my portfolio. I think anyone would have done, they just needed to fill the place. It was like ‘You’ll do!’” At that point he had never taken photography seriously – “I’d just used it because of my poor painting and drawing skills.” But, while studying, he discovered Albert Watson’s work, and the fact that he had also studied at Dundee in the 1960s. “I looked at Albert’s work and thought ‘My God, the guy that’s done everything, one of the most successful photographers in the world, studied here,’” says Clerihew. “The fact that this Scottish laddie had gone off and done it made me feel that I could, too.” From that point on he was inspired, and started pushing his photography as far as possible on his degree course. Once he’d graduated, he headed down to London in the late 1990s, determined to make his mark. Like many commercial photographers he started out assisting, and got his first contacts through the Association of Photographers. “A few friends ended up becoming art directors, so that was useful later on, but initially I had to do a lot of mailing,” he says. “I ended up working with a little studio in Kilburn, which was a massive awakening to the commercial world. “My longest-term colleague from that time is a food photographer who I assisted. He was a great help to me in learning about the financial side of it – how to get a job, how to cost it and so on.” Assisting soon wore thin though, especially when he was badly paid for work that he knew the photographer was being paid handsomely for; motivated by this factor, he soon struck out alone. He got by shooting interiors for magazines, but creatively it wasn’t what he wanted, and the money wasn’t that good either. Sitting in a supermarket car park off the Old Kent Road – still a shady part of London – he hit a low point that turned out to be another pivotal moment. “I hadn’t done any work for three months, I had a young family, it was a really dire time,” he

says. “Then Ajaz Ahmed from [digital agency] AKQA rang, saying, ‘Dave, we might have a really interesting job for Nike, shooting all their athletes’. I didn’t get it, but it was an epiphany. I did a lot of sport at school, I played to quite a high level up to age 18, and I realised, ‘This is what I should be doing. I know sports. When I meet a sportsman I know about it, I know about throwing up on the side of the track!’ So I just put my head down for a year and worked, kind of lifestyle work but enough work, and eventually I landed a job for Adidas.” Big breaks Other jobs followed, shoots for UK charity Sports Relief and the magazine Men’s Health, and it turned out his timing had been impeccable, lighting on sports just as the big manufacturers were transforming into multimillion-pound fashion brands – just as, as he points out, Nike Towns were springing up and turning buying a pair of trainers into a consumer experience. By 2008 he had won his first really big commission – shooting football teams Barcelona, Inter Milan and Juventus for Nike. “Of course, I was ecstatic,” says Clerihew. “But I was also thinking ‘Oh my God!’” Despite his nerves he pulled it off, creating a highly successful campaign; he was buoyed up, he says, but then struggled to get an agent. “I’d be going to agents thinking this is really odd – the budget on this was £400,000, you’d think they’d be snapping me up, but they’d send their assistant along and they’d be flicking through my book,” he says. “So I gave up, I thought ‘I’ll do it myself with production companies’. “Then I did some work for The Sunday Times and I photographed Tiger Savage, creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, and she was really kooky and cool,” he continues. “She said, ‘A friend of mine is setting up an agency, who’s your agent?’ and I was like, you know if you don’t have a girlfriend you’ve got like ‘desperate’ written across your forehead. I was like, ‘Er, well, actually I’ve given up trying to find one’. Then about a year later I get an email from my now-agent Matt, saying, ‘Tiger says hello’.” This was back in 2009, and Nicholson had already signed up David Bailey and Dan Tobin Smith. “I was like, what – David Bailey?” he says. “David Bailey, Albert Watson and Richard Avedon were my big influences coming up.” Working with an agent really helped him see how to run his business, he says – and it also helped him line up work, firmly establishing him in an upper echelon of sports brand specialists, shooting the biggest players in the world for campaigns structured around big events like the World Cup or the Olympics. It’s a high-pressure environment, and it’s one where the photographer is under just as much pressure to perform as his subjects.


“I’ll be shooting with [fellow photographer] Rick Guest, and I’ll get eight minutes to shoot Lionel Messi with his agents on my back the whole time,” he laughs. “I’ve done one shoot, a football shoot, where there were 70 people in the room. It’s a lot of pressure – it’s untold pressure – but you get used to it, and I have the confidence to deal with that. I was doing another shoot, where the talent’s PA was like, ‘Can you hurry up, we’ve got a jet waiting,’ and I was like, ‘I’m not even listening to that, it sounds so pretentious.’” Despite the pressure, Clerihew has continued to push himself, taking risks where others might be tempted to play it safe – and reaping the rewards because of it. When Speedo commissioned him to shoot 12 of its sponsored athletes in 2013 he chose to shoot in daylight, in the pool, for example, rather than in a more easily controlled studio setting. “There was no part of the brief that they wanted to be particularly underwater but I took it on myself, I was going to do it, so that involved my assistant pushing me down five metres with my camera, and me thinking, ‘I’m properly out of my depth, I need to breathe now!’ and having to scramble up, gasping for air,” he laughs. “I had 13 of the best swimmers in the world looking at me like, ‘Are you ok?!’” More recently he’s chosen to push his images – and himself – still further, taking his proven track record with sports brands and using it to win celebrity shoots more generally. He’s shot Stanley Tucci for a poster campaign for Sky Atlantic, for example, and he’s shot Mad Men star Jared Harris for The Sunday Telegraph; he’s also photographed stars such as Jensen Button in fashion shoots for Hugo Boss, positioning them as international faces outside the sporting realm. “It just goes to show you can do a bit more that’s not such a big step away,” he says. “The trick is to think laterally like that.”



Client Speedo Global. All images Š David Clerihew


Client Speedo Global


Client Speedo Global


Client Adidas Global


Client Nike


Client Nike


Nike Inter


Client Rugby Football Union


Client Virgin Media


Personal project


Decathlon, personal project


Joey, personal project


Client Redbull


Dave Grohl shot for Redbull


Client Samsung


Seb, personal project


Hand, personal project on the Holocaust


American 1, personal project shot in the US


Ahead of a new series of AOP workshops designed to help photographers edit and promote their work, Lauren Heinz speaks to the experts about how to pick out your best work



Many photographers find editing their own work daunting, whether it’s for an exhibition, a project displayed online, a portfolio, or a book. The final selection, and narrative, will become a calling card, and poor choices can easily mean that image-makers with sound projects are dismissed by picture editors and commissioners in a matter of seconds. The problem often centres in photographers’ emotional attachment to their work, which means they choose images they feel strongly about rather than images that communicate to others. It’s understandable, as they are often presenting personal stories that took years or months to complete, but it needs to be overcome. That’s why the AOP has started a workshop dedicated to editing, run by commercial photography consultant Zoe Whishaw. Whishaw has been working in the photography industry for over 24 years, including a very long stint at Getty Images, first in creative management and then as European director of photography. She now works as an independent consultant advising photographers at all levels of their careers, with particular interest in their creative direction. The workshop she’s running for AOP is a one-day event limited to four photographers, and in it she’ll encourage the group to edit each photographer’s work together. “A vital part of the editing process is to establish reasoning behind the decisions to accept or reject an image and to find language that supports this,” explains Whishaw. “I want photographers to experience this in the workshop; to find the language that clearly expresses their point of view. It’s all too easy to simply say you ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ a picture – there has to be a greater depth of explanation. By analysing and deconstructing imagery, editing can make much more sense and photographers can more easily distance themselves from the emotional closeness they may have to their work.” Whishaw stresses the fact that photographers must actively choose each image in the edit, and that “a weak picture will be remembered as much as a strong one, if not more in some cases, especially if it’s sandwiched between other striking pictures”. “A weak image may seem strong to a photographer because of the emotion of the story or the process they went through to take the shot, but could jar when sitting alongside the rest of their work,” she continues. “This could lead to misconceptions about the photographer’s ability to make the right choices in terms of image selection, which could have a knock on-effect of questioning their overall creative abilities.” She recommends taking time over a good edit, advising photographers to do a rough and then walk away, or even sleep on it. “Often your perspective may have changed a little as you see things afresh; distance may even help you feel less attached to the work, and invariably you will tweak your choices for the better,” she says. “When I’m editing, it’s not uncommon for me to feel a shoot is weaker than I had anticipated, often to be proved wrong later. Only after I have done a pre-edit,

left it, come back and made further adjustments to my selection do I feel things come together and I can then be pleasantly surprised. It’s important to stress that editing is an enormously creative process, both in the selection of images and the sequence in which they are placed thereafter. “By working with the group through their work, I want to demonstrate and involve them in the thought processes that I go through in the hope that they can feel more confident in editing,” she continues. “The workshop will be very intimate – no one is going to feel like they are on a stage. I’ll be there to facilitate, moderate and discuss a range of thoughts and opinions as we edit the work together.” Portfolios In fact, Whishaw adds that the best edits are often done with others – sometimes picture editors or curators, but often, in commercial photography, with agents. Lisa Pritchard, who founded her agency in 2001, works closely with her photographers to perfect their portfolios, for example. “When we first take photographers on we usually give their portfolios a bit of an overhaul, rearrange the order, take images out and perhaps suggest areas where there might be some gaps,” she says. “The photographers we represent pop in regularly when they have shot new work, and we can then work out how that best fits in the book. It’s an open-door policy to the photographers we represent in terms of editing. “Photographers have usually only had experience of editing their own work, but editors have generally built up accumulative experience editing all different types of images, so the bigger task becomes quite instinctive,” she continues. “Having said that, it’s important that both parties agree on the direction the edit is taking and therefore the direction in which it might push the photographer. The edit should be representational both of what the photographer is interested in shooting and has experience in. An editor can only do so much – the ideal situation is when the photographer has a real passion for their work and a unique way of seeing things. We can then shape and mould this, based on our commercial awareness and knowledge of the market place.” When editing photographers’ work into portfolios, Pritchard follows a loose set of guidelines to ensure she presents them most favourably. “The first thing I do is work out a criteria for each image in the edit – what message or memory do we want to leave the viewer with?” she says. “It’s also important to consider at this stage what sets you apart from your competitors. It could just be a subtle thing, but that’s enough – interesting angles or punches of colour, for example. “Then I start to think about a beginning, middle and end – the first couple of images are so important, as people like to define a photographer straightaway. Commissioners and agents see loads of books, so it’s important to try to make things clear and memorable. If it’s not obvious whether an image should be in or out,



I imagine if I had to select only one image to send out as a promo. Would I consider it? Is it good enough and representational enough? If the answer is no, I don’t include it.” A portfolio serves a very specific purpose – to get a commissioner or editor to be impressed enough with a photographer’s work to hire them. It is also very much focused on the single image, meaning that although its structure is important, it doesn’t have the same narrative flow as a photobook. In fact, photobooks are a very different beast, and as a result they are nearly always created along with someone else. Gordon MacDonald, publisher of GOST Books, usually begins working with a photographer at the concept stage of a book, for example, to work out whether the project will even work in the format. “There are so many books that exist as collections of images rather than bookworks,” he says. “In the current, highly saturated market, it is not enough to simply bind images together – the book has to be made to be part of the experience of the project.” Once the project looks set to work, MacDonald will start editing with the photographer, often calling in a designer to help, too. “Editing should be a collaborative process,” he says. “The editor cannot work without the photographer’s understanding around the subject and the photographs – but the photographer, usually, cannot work effectively without an outside view of the work from an experienced editor. I always start a project with a photographer by describing myself as the eyes of the rest of the world – those who have no direct experience of the image-making process for the work.” Publisher Dewi Lewis stresses the importance of the narrative, and even suggests starting with the end of the book first so that you can create a clear sense of direction. “The first point is really to focus on what you are trying to say with the work – if this is clear then the process of the edit is also clear,” he says. “But there is no real formula. “Essentially, I am trying to build a flow that allows the viewer to follow the narrative, in the loosest sense of the word, of the work. Photographers often think about the first image, but not the last. And yet, for me, it is the last image which shows what the photographer wants to

leave you with – the feeling, the mood, the impact they want to make, their summation of their work. If you can determine how you want to end a book then it can help provide you with the route to get there.” Photobooks, unlike portfolios, can also include text, and MacDonald argues that this too requires very careful thinking. “Some projects demand it, some would be ruined by its inclusion,” he says. “Whichever way, this should be decided at the outset, and either way, it will have a big effect on the photo editing. This part of the process is probably where the book is defined, and should be considered and discussed more carefully than the inclusion of this or that image.” The amount of time this takes varies widely, he adds – but you should definitely know when you’ve finished. “Each book takes its own time,” he says. “Some have been edited in weeks, some take years. Our record at GOST is three years. Agreement between the editor, designer and photographer is usually defined by an eerie silence. You know when the project is complete when all of the paper has ink on it.” “For me, it’s complete when you can move from page to page without feeling that anything is out of place,” agrees Lewis. “Any doubts and you have to make a change. This is why it is important to create a working dummy, a physical form which you can change easily, moving pages around, etc. I create a dummy. I then live with it for a while, a few days, a few weeks. I get to see the bits where the flow is uneasy. I then move pages to try to get it right, then live with it a bit longer. “Eventually, I either feel that it’s working or that there is something missing, in which case the photographer and I have to go back to the original body of work, look at our rejects and try to understand what the problem is. Sometimes it can be that the work is not complete and that the photographer is trying to make a book before the body of work is ready for it.” All in all, picture editing, like editing, is much harder than it looks, and that’s why bringing in someone else is so helpful. But what’s really important is that the photographer has something to say in the first place, and a clear idea of how to say it. Then the edit, design and all the other aspects will fall into the creative direction.


Tim Atkins worked with his agent, Lisa Pritchard, to produce this hard-working portfolio of his food photography. All i mages Š Tim Atkins




Tim Atkins worked with his agent, Lisa Pritchard, to produce this hard-working portfolio of his food photography. Images Š Tim Atkins





Photographer and photographers’ rights advocate Nick Dunmur fills big shoes as the AOP’s new business and legal adviser, finds Shana Ting Lipton



Nick Dunmur © Mark Enstone, 2011

Gwen Thomas had a long and distinguished career at the AOP, advising photographers on business and legal affairs for nearly 30 years and once even fielding a call from a member in the process of being arrested at a shoot on the Eiffel Tower. Thomas retired last September but she’s left quite a legacy behind her, including the how-to guide, Beyond the Lens, which has been called “the Bible for photographers and commissioners”. “To lots of members she was the AOP – that’s how much of a connection she had to the organisation,” says Nick Dunmur, who has taken on most of her duties in a consulting capacity as business and legal adviser. “She has been a bastion of the AOP in terms of copyright awareness. That’s a big pair of shoes to fill.” Indeed. But if anyone is up to it, it’s Dunmur, a commercial Nottinghamshire-based photographer, who is also a self-professed autodidact in the ways of copyright law – a requisite dark art for creators, particularly in the internet era. He knows his way around the Copyright Design & Patents Act but also brings a wealth of practical experience with him, after three decades working in the photography industry, including the time when digital came into the mix. In fact, one of his largest bodies of work, Edgelands, consists of approximately 60 images – diptychs, triptychs and groupings of four – produced using two distinct techniques. One set of pictures was taken on a high-resolution digital camera, the other using a pinhole camera – “digital and analogue techniques existing side by side”, as he explains. Both series of photographs were shot in the same desolate locations – waste grounds, shuttered factories, disused retail parks – but yielded starkly different qualities depending on

which medium was used to capture them. This juxtaposition of digital and analogue techniques found its way into a tonally sophisticated digital negative printing process, which Dunmur co-developed in collaboration with Derby-based portrait photographer and platinum and palladium printer Richard Freestone last year. It took up the better part of a year and a half of the pair’s free time – tapping into each of their respective knowledge bases and resources. Dunmur created the negatives on his printer and Freestone printed from them, in his darkroom facility. Materials were fairly rarefied – ink and special transfer film used to print negatives, French mill printing paper, platinum and palladium chemicals. Dunmur summarises the process: “You’re drawing a curve in Photoshop that translates the terms from the digital image in such a way that when you print it, it’s perfect,” he says, adding: “I’ve always enjoyed that kind of balance between what analogue and digital photography can offer.” As such, Dunmur is well suited to grapple with some of the thornier issues facing photographers these days. “The internet has driven so much of how pictures are viewed or ‘consumed’,” he says. One of the biggest problems is the inefficiency of takedown notices — notifications which require an internet service provider, for example, to remove copyright-infringing work from an online space. “The content just pops up somewhere else. It’s like whacking moles,” observes Dunmur, adding that he sees this as a continuing menace for creators. Such issues are unfortunately commonplace for photographers today, which makes the legal advice provided as part of the AOP membership all the more necessary. It is a key part of Dunmur’s new role within the organisation, though he’s not a qualified solicitor – and neither was his predecessor. Instead he has access to one of the UK’s bestrespected intellectual property lawyers, Charles Swan of Swan Turton, who has been the AOP’s solicitor since 1990. The two work together closely, particularly on more complex legal queries from members. And he also has his own highly refined sense of legal nous to draw on, built up over years of protecting his own work, and through his experience with Pro Imaging – a photographers’ trade body that he helped launch, which required its members to eschew the royalty-free business model. “Fundamentally I have a well-developed sense of fair play,” he says, adding that royaltyfree benefits the archives and collections, not the photographers who provide them with their content. And while Dunmur is enthusiastic about “for the greater good pledges” he’s also a robust supporter of legal reinforcement – just as Thomas was.



During this early interim period, in the wake of her departure, the new business and legal adviser has picked up the baton on her campaigning efforts, although much of it is behind the scenes in steering committees and meetings with the Intellectual Property Office rather than “out there waving banners and placards and banging on gates”, as he puts it. By educating government bodies on how photographers actually operate in practice, and by responding – and when necessary objecting – to proposals for legislative changes to intellectual property law, he can quietly but confidently continue the work he started with Thomas before his new appointment. He worked with her closely for years in his capacity as chair of the British Photographic Council, and also when serving as non-executive director and chair of the AOP board. For example, Dunmur and Thomas officially objected on behalf of the AOP to sections of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2013 – which unfortunately received parliamentary approval and is now the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. One section in the bill which they fought hard against proposed allowing photographers’ proprietary creative work to be used without permission when a ‘diligent search’ had been (unsuccessfully) made to contact the owner. This photographer-unfriendly loophole to usage without permission of so-called ‘orphaned’ works was a major setback for creators, but demonstrates how much such trade union efforts are needed – even if they don’t always work. Pirate bay Chief among the concerns for AOP member photographers these days is the unauthorised, unlicensed use of images, often pulled from photographers’ own websites – partly because the time and effort creators can spend chasing down a licensing fee may be disproportionate when such sums are only in the hundreds. “If I’m only looking for a £500 licence fee, do I spend three weeks of my life pursuing this, which is going to cost me even more than I might get back?” Dunmur asks rhetorically, explaining that photographers must conduct a cost-benefit analysis when pursuing infringers. “It gets really complicated when you remove the boundaries because it’s a global market,”

he continues. “That’s the biggest problem that photographers I speak to are having at the moment.” Although, in the United Kingdom, there is a clear, straightforward, do-it-yourself fast-track intellectual property small claims court system for pursuing offenders who don’t have permission to use images, there is currently no comparable intraEuropean system. “That’s the real frustration at the moment. There’s very little redress,” says Dunmur, lamenting that at times he’s had to tell members to “take it on the chin”. Sometimes, though, the risks which photographers weigh up come with hidden opportunities. “There’s an acceptance that the work will be used without permission, but the balance is that it’s raising [a photographer’s] profile and awareness and that’s therefore something they’re happy to engage in,” says Dunmur. “It’s by no means ideal.” He proposes a relatively low-tech solution – digital watermarking. People need to be more inventive about it, he says, suggesting going above and beyond the standard corner or bottom placement. A very fine cross-grid overlay of black or white lines, which doesn’t interfere with the experience of viewing an image, may well make the photograph difficult to co-opt and retouch; equally, he recommends that watermarks with big, thick text be ghosted into images in lieu of black or white text on the left or bottom half of the photograph. In the meantime, as the European Commission incrementally pushes a ‘digital single market’ agenda and a concomitant unified Europe-wide copyright law, and as techies and rights holders debate whether image files should be embedded with digital rights management code, the AOP and Dunmur will keep battling to protect photographers’ original creative works. And of course Dunmur will continue to produce his own photography. One of his current series is a collection of images of insects dubbed Lepidoptera & Coleoptera – the former refers to butterflies that are aesthetically beautiful and unique, the latter to the likes of beetles, which benefit from a sheath of protection.


Kinetic, 2015 Š Nick Dunmur


Untitled (Annesley) One, 2011 Š Nick Dunmur


Untitled (Annesley) Two, 2011 Š Nick Dunmur


Untitled (Clifton) One, 2011 Š Nick Dunmur


Untitled (Clifton) Two, 2011 Š Nick Dunmur


Untitled (Clifton) Three, 2011 Š Nick Dunmur


Untitled (Long Eaton) One, 2011 Š Nick Dunmur


Untitled (Long Eaton) Two, 2011 Š Nick Dunmur


Perfect in Print. Tailored for Tablet. Made for Mobile. Print | Online | iPad | iPhone | Social


Getting an agent is top of many photographers’ to-do lists – but what do they actually do? And could you be better off without one? Maisie Skidmore reports



At their best, agents are sales, marketing and communications managers, therapists and editors, all rolled into one. They’re willing to thrash out conflicts over licensing or fees, and can soothe their clients’ nerves at the subtlest sign, but they expect little more than a humble percentage in return. At their worst, though, they’re demanding of time and energy, and take a cut of your work for little return. So how do you know if you need one? How do you go about finding them? And what should you expect once you do? Paul Meyler, a London-based photographer specialising in commercial and editorial work across the charity and public sectors, says he hasn’t felt the need to have one – until recently. Ten years into his professional career, he’s now looking for an agency to help him branch out into new fields. “I shoot a lot of campaigns for charities and social housing groups, but I also work a lot in the eyewear industry,” he explains. “So my name tends to be passed around a lot in those areas.” It sounds ideal but, he says, he’s now feeling a little typecast. “I spend so much time now shooting eyewear that I don’t have time to do much else. I actually stopped it for a couple of years, but people kept requesting me, so I’ve recently gotten back into it again. I really enjoying shooting big lifestyle campaigns, with models and make-up artists and the like, but I don’t get many of those jobs coming my way.” But Oliver Haupt, a Cologne-born, Londonbased image-maker working in photography and video, says just the opposite. Lucky enough to be commissioned for a broad range of jobs, he feels getting an agent would end up being a straitjacket. “The most important thing about working on my own is the variety of my work,” he explains. “I’m human, with many facets and sensations, and what applies personally for me is true for my pictures too. Too many agents will try to put you in a drawer, forcing you to specialise in one genre of photography, and in my opinion this is a real shame because different kinds of work enrich one another. I love doing natural, sensitive portraits of children, for example, but I also love doing stylish sports shots or dramatic jet-fighter images, and in the end all these different themes coexist in my book. I am sure that my fascination for one makes my appreciation of the other all the stronger.” Generally speaking, Haupt continues, clients find their way to him anyway, either approaching him directly, having received a recommendation by word of mouth, or getting in touch through an advertising agency or production company who came across his portfolio. “Clients like the immediate dedication to their project,” he says. “You talk directly to the person who is responsible for the image, and they like knowing that their

needs are being catered to. “I’ve worked as an art director in advertising in the past, and for me the image starts long before the shoot,” he continues. “Every decision made in the run-up to it plays a part in the final result. My clients like this approach – everything is carefully planned and the shoot goes smoothly, and if the creative happens to come up with a second version during the shoot, the thorough preparation means there will always be time and budget available to do it.” He adds that new technology has made agents’ marketing prowess less essential too, using social media and platforms such as the AOP’s website for promotion. For Meyler, on the other hand, the sheer amount of admin that involves is problematic. “As a photographer, you tend to work as a oneman band, so dividing time between marketing, invoicing and advertising can be difficult,” he says. “I feel like I’m always running around like a lunatic.” Back office Josh Redman has been working in photography since 2012, and was recently signed up by Mark George. For him, the marketing and communication are an added bonus to having professional representation – what’s more important is having someone on side who can manage his time schedules, book travel arrangements, plan meetings, polish his portfolio and – especially – negotiate fees and dig into the nitty-gritty of contracts and image licensing arrangements. “My agent takes a cut of each job he gets involved with, but he increases the budget so that I end up getting more anyway,” Redman reasons. “I’m left with just the photography to deal with, while he does the rest. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me, because it’s only the photography part that I’m really interested in.” “I recently got a call from a client for a TV show who I’d worked with once before, and the brief was very similar to what it had been the last time around,” he continues. “The first time, I had been told that the budget could not go over a certain low number, and that I’d need to sign an image release which would allow them to use the images in all of their media, for all time. This time around, my agent managed to double the budget and sort out a much more sensible image licence. This meant the client benefited, too, because I could afford both a decent DigiOp and the use of two computers, all of which turned out to be essential on the day.” Redman was incredibly lucky too, falling in with his agent just a couple of years into his career – without even being that clear about what an agent did. “I’d been photographing for two years when



I won an Association of Photographers award, the judge of which was Mark George,” he says. “I vaguely knew what an agent was, because I’d been to crits which involved talking to them to get advice on portfolio building, and I had treated those crits as a chance to get to know how those industry people think, rather than trying to get representation. Around this time Mark wanted to talk to me, so we had a meeting. He was really impressed with my work, and said that if I went down a clearer creative direction he’d represent me.” Redman wasn’t ready to take the plunge at that stage, but kept in touch for the next year. “I kept sending Mark little prints to keep him interested, and I was going to one-to-one crits held by the AOP, which involved talking to lots of agents and getting advice. From chats with multiple agents I started to understand what made them tick, and as my confidence in editing increased, the response to my work was going from good to really overwhelmingly positive. By the time Mark took me on in January, I’d had some strong hints that I could have gone with at least one other agent.” Redman’s very happy with how it’s going, but he asked around before signing up with George to get a handle on common pitfalls. Many photographers he spoke to had had a bad experience of working with an agent, he says, often complaining that their agents required them to put in a lot of time and effort without actually winning them any work. “The worst was one from a successful car photographer, who got an agent while at the top of his game,” he says. The agent then proceeded to take 25% of his decent income without ever getting him a job or increasing his earnings.

“The only success story I heard was one from a photographer who was happy finding his own editorial work, and whose agent was successfully finding him advertising work off the back of his editorial images,” he continues. “That relationship is ideal.” Match-making So if you are hoping to get representation, where should you be looking? Awards, competitions and open crits with other photographers and professionals offer an invaluable opportunity to get your work seen, and receive some honest, impartial feedback on what you could be doing to improve – or get an agent on board. Ultimately, the more visible your work to the professional world, the better: books, participation in gallery exhibitions, or getting editorial work published in magazines can all help plant a seed with somebody you’d love to represent you. Alternatively, there is ‘cold calling’ – sending out your portfolio to as many agents as possible – but it’s worth bearing in mind that agents are busy people who will receive hundreds of such approaches, and you might get lost in the crowd. If you are in the business of approaching organisations in this way, make sure your emails are short and snappy, your website is easy to navigate, and your portfolio contains only your very best work. Anything else is just noise.


Burnt Breakfast, for ResMed’s Do it in bed campaign © Paul Meyler


Dirty Washing, for ResMed’s Do it in bed campaign © Paul Meyler


From personal project 12° Below...The Swimmers of Tooting Bec © Paul Meyler


Personal project. Models: Elsa and Mila. Š Oliver Haupt


From Little Heroes of the Laboratory for El País Magazine. Director: Goyo Rodríguez; Production: the unknown artist studio. © Oliver Haupt


Personal project. Model: Mila. Š Oliver Haupt


From a personal series which won Josh Redman the single image prize in the AOP’s Assistant Awards in 2014 Š Josh Redman


From a personal series which won Josh Redman the single image prize in the AOP’s Assistant Awards in 2014 Š Josh Redman


From a personal series which won Josh Redman the single image prize in the AOP’s Assistant Awards in 2014 Š Josh Redman


Assisting is a great way to get to know the industry but the trick is in leveraging the contacts you make into a professional photography career – which is where the AOP’s Assistant One-to-Ones event slots in. Nazrene Hanif went along to meet the emerging image-makers and their advisers



“What do you think of my work?” It’s a question asked by almost every up-and-coming photographer, but for those in the know, there’s much more to being a successful commercial photographer. Lisa Pritchard, an agent at LPA, believes photographers need to understand the industry and how it operates if they are to achieve more than just an impressive body of work. “What makes me notice a new photographer as an agent?” she asks. “Initially, great work that’s relevant to my agency’s client base and the potential to be a good fit with the rest of my roster. But there’s so much more to consider than simply what’s in your portfolio. Look at it from the customer’s point of view. It’s easy to get caught up in yourself and your work as a photographer. However, as with any service you want to market, it’s important to focus on what clients want to buy.” Pritchard has worked with and advised photographers for over 20 years and is known for supporting emerging talent through her LPA Futures programme, in addition to authoring two guides, Setting Up a Successful Photography Business and its 2016 sequel Running a Successful Photography Business. Approached by the Association of Photographers to curate an event for its assistant members, her instinct was to “create a situation where assistants would get some guaranteed, quality time with top industry players on a one-to-one basis and get their thinking caps on in terms of how the business works”. She’s as passionate about the next generation as the AOP, which has always nutured its emerging members and has a special membership tier for those currently making a living by assisting other image-makers. The resulting Assistant One-toOne event, held in February this year, paired a select group of AOP assistant members – including finalists from this year’s Assistants Awards – with a range of insiders, from agents and art buyers to creative directors, plus award-winning photographers Ray Massey and Julian Love. “It’s the kind of thing I wish I’d had,” says Love, “to spend time with different people in the industry and ask their advice. It’s really important to get that network of contacts and mentors, people you can turn to as you grow your career.” Love was able to draw on his own experiences on the night, in particular sharing his move from editorial to more commercial photography five years ago. “That was a big transition for me,” he says. “I knew I wanted to do it; the hard part was building a team around me, getting to know producers, art directors, stylists and model agencies. “Starting out can seem very intimidating. Getting your work out there is as important as having good work in itself. For a photographer, it’s very easy to think your work’s not ready yet; I’ll do a few more shoots. Get your portfolio out there


The AOP’s Assistant One-to-One event in February paired selected assistants with industry mentors. Images © Flo Lewis-George

straight away, even if it’s not quite ready. People want to see you grow.” How that portfolio is put together is a moot point though, because digital media has opened up so many ways to show off work. At the event all approaches were evident, from the traditional printed portfolio to its modern-day equivalents – PDFs, hard drives, cloud storage and websites, displayed using laptops or iPads – but many still felt print holds say. “A printed book is still pretty much a necessity,” noted Ian Kirby, one of the AOP Assistants Awards finalists in 2015. “However, new avenues for exposure and recognition are emerging, like online blogs. It is still important for your portfolio to have focus. Although you may have a broad interest in photographic subject matter and styles, the people who commission work want to hire the best person in their field, not someone who is pretty good at a range of things.” Lu Howlett, head of art buying at Iris Worldwide, also acknowledges this technological shift, but still has a preference for print: “Many have moved completely digital; I’m a true believer in physical presence making a lasting impression”, she says. “Digi is of course a total necessity and great for searching out talent, but for me sealing the deal still happens in hard format when possible. Engaging with printed matter elevates connection to the work.” “In my early years, the options seemed so limited compared to today,” agrees Pritchard. “You would have go-sees with your portfolio, printed mailshots, advertising space in industry handbooks and magazines, maybe a bit of networking at events. Then I guess about 10 years ago digital marketing started to become very prevalent; photographers could send ‘emailshots’ and their websites became their shop window. Potential clients now bookmark websites, just as they used to



collect printed promos. In the last five years or so, along came social media as a new way to raise your profile and create a buzz. And, what with many clients defaulting to Google to find photographers these days, social media has become something that probably shouldn’t be ignored, as it increases your search engine optimisation. “But do you know what? Even though the specific, tangible methods of selling yourself might have shifted and expanded over the years, the most important thing when it comes to a photographer selling him or herself has remained constant: reputation. If you consistently deliver a good service, keep your portfolio fresh, retain a contagious passion for your work and are a nice person to deal with, before you know it, you’ve built up an excellent reputation – and that’s your best method of selling yourself.” Industrial art As Pritchard’s advice suggests, clever networking and personal recommendations still win work – which can make it feel even harder for emerging photographers, particularly when they’re entering the industry during an economic downturn. “I think it’s been tough for my generation of photographers, as the recession has had a massive impact – a lot of smaller jobs that up-and-coming photographers would have traditionally taken were absorbed by the existing photographer community,” says Mark Griffiths, another Assistants Awards 2015 finalist. “It’s been extremely hard to move up, especially if you are aiming at the higher end of the photographic market. “I think some people commissioning imagery are less likely to take a risk on trying someone new, I think maybe the recession also had an effect of making the industry a little more conservative,” he continues. “As a result, a lot of assistants are staying assistants for much longer than they used to. It’s a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it’s easy to become jaded, on the other, the amount of experience you gain gives a depth of knowledge and a huge range of approaches to image-making.” The assistants I spoke with were all keen to avoid this trap – valuing their assisting work for the experience, contacts and money it brings, but hoping to move on to make their own work soon. Fortunately, some of the more experienced hands at the event were able to reassure them. “I drew a lot of motivation on how important it is to shoot what you love shooting,” says Jo-Anna Rohmann, who had a one-to-one with Ray Massey. “More

importantly, Ray’s confidence in the fact that photographing what inspires you will eventually pay off, provided you work hard, become technically proficient and shoot lots.” “Experience assisting photographers has been important to prep me for the world of owning your own business, from contract negotiations to types of insurance I need, from dealing with clients to working methods and finding work,” says Charlotte Hazeldine. “Each photographer is unique in his or her approach and style. It’s kind of like mentoring. This information has been invaluable. It also supports me, while I continue to develop my portfolio.” “When I came into the photography industry, my goal was to do something that I love while also making a living,” adds Griffiths. “It’s been a tough route. I’ve worked more 20-hour days than I can remember, but I had an epiphany a few weeks ago. My realisation was that I’ve actually been doing this for a long time now. Your career path isn’t always as straight as you think it’s going to be when you leave college, and I imagine that if I’m still doing photography in 20 years’ time the path will be even more twisting and turning. You have to be adaptable these days – I’m a photographer, an assistant, a digital operator, an editor, a retoucher.” Griffiths’ Bar Fight series was born out of a desire to create a large-scale vignette full of movement and action; it’s a self-funded, selfassigned piece of “personal work”, and his tenacity in making it is palpable.“It was essential for me to plan everything down to the finest detail as it involved a cast of 38 people,” he explains. “Time was extremely tight. We were allowed in at 3am and only had 12 hours to get the kit in, get all three shots and be completely out before the pub reopened.” It seems that, although there are many routes into professional photography, your work will only resonate if you love it. “Pushing your creativity as a commercial photographer, I think, is simply continuing to shoot the type of work you love, what comes from the heart, how you see the world. It’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes,” says Pritchard. “There is no set of rules that tells you what makes good commercial photography; different styles, subject matter, techniques, moods and even colour palettes in photography are relevant to all manner of different brands. I also don’t think you can tell a photographer how to push themselves, it needs to come naturally, and from a genuine desire to do so.”


Image from the series Bar Fight, personal work by Mark Griffiths, one of the emerging photographers who took part in the AOP’s assistants event. Š Mark Griffiths


Image from the series Bar Fight, personal work by Mark Griffiths, one of the emerging photographers who took part in the AOP’s assistants event. Š Mark Griffiths


Image from the series Bar Fight, personal work by Mark Griffiths, one of the emerging photographers who took part in the AOP’s assistants event. Š Mark Griffiths


Roderick Š Mark Griffiths


Image from the series Tokyo Rockabilly, personal work by Ian Kirby, one of the emerging photographers who took part in the AOP’s assistants event. Š Ian Kirby


Image from the series Tokyo Rockabilly, personal work by Ian Kirby, one of the emerging photographers who took part in the AOP’s assistants event. Š Ian Kirby


Image from the series Tokyo Rockabilly, personal work by Ian Kirby, one of the emerging photographers who took part in the AOP’s assistants event. Š Ian Kirby


The V&A is hosting the first UK retrospective of Paul Strand’s work in more than 30 years this summer, explains curator of photographs Martin Barnes



Wall Street is synonymous with the fast-paced world of global finance, invoking a relentless stream of exchange tickers and illuminated dollar signs. In 1915, American photographer Paul Strand shot a black-and-white image of the New York trading hub, depicting a cluster of silhouetted workers dwarfed by the huge building they are passing. Rather than celebrating dollars and cents, it seems to pull this kingdom of commerce’s social impact into frame, and its chronicler went on to become a photographic champion of the working class the world over. The image comes from the start of Strand’s career, when he was experimenting with abstraction, and more of this early work, plus impressionist-inspired pictorialism, architectural, nature and travel pictures, and his seminal avantgarde film Manhatta, go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum this spring. The final stop of a touring show, which began in Philadelphia in October 2014, Paul Strand: Photography and Film for the 20th Century is the first retrospective of his work in the UK in over 30 years, and includes extra work pulled from the V&A’s collection by its curator of photographs, Martin Barnes. Strand is one of the canonical greats of photography, and was a major influence on the socially engaged British documentary photographers of the 1970s and 80s. His work has also informed image-making by art photographers such as Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and contemporary photographers such as Vanessa Winship, especially in his approach to portraiture. Nevertheless, Barnes says: “A British audience is perhaps less familiar with the whole range of [Strand’s] work.” For him, the dearth of shows devoted to the photographer in the UK has meant a whole generation has missed out on fully understanding his trailblazing contribution. The exhibition was organised in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the MAPFRE Foundation in Madrid, and the impetus for it came when the Philadelphia institution bought Aperture Foundation’s Paul Strand archive. Combined with the V&A’s collection of Strand prints, the retrospective helps to understand his entire body of work, says Barnes. “We wanted to contextualise our holdings, show this work to a new generation of people, and connect with an increased social agenda within the museum about how art and design matter to people and communities.” The show highlights Strand’s fascination with both the human body and man-made machines – juxtaposing, for example, his 1921 portraits of his first wife, Rebecca, with his shots of the Akling movie camera that he bought at around the same time. The V&A is also displaying an original model of the camera. “This really encapsulates the creative struggle he had throughout his life, wanting to

make very rigorous pictures of the machine and to embrace the technology and dynamism of the modern age, but he is also fascinated by poetic pictures, human characteristics, human values,” says Barnes. Another dichotomy involves the disparate perspectives of his two mentors – Lewis Hine and Alfred Stieglitz. Strand studied under Hine at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in his native New York when the older photographer was already well known for his images of child labourers, slums and newly arriving European immigrants. But Hine also took his students to visit Stieglitz’s gallery, where the man behind the high-end photography magazine Camera Work exhibited artists such as Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brâncusi and Georges Braque. “That’s [when] Strand seriously embraced high-art poetic photography and combined it with his interest in [the] social conditions of Hine,” says Barnes. Under Stieglitz’s guidance, Barnes speculates, Strand experimented with his approach to street and nature photography, and with an abstraction that, though never fully adopted, informed his 1930s work in Mexico and Colorado. In 1917, the final issue of Camera Work showcased a portfolio of Strand’s images, accompanied by comments from Stieglitz commending the work as “brutally direct. Devoid of all flim-flam; devoid of trickery and of any ‘ism’.” Sadly, their connection didn’t last. “They have a friendship...and a mentor/student relationship which tails away in the middle of the 1920s and certainly by the mid-1930s,” explains Barnes. Strand’s growing involvement with socialist politics and groups such as the left-leaning Photo League in New York, and his increasing “quest to find poetry in working people and working conditions” may have prompted the split, speculates Barnes, coming just as “Stieglitz becomes increasingly interested in photography as a poetic metaphor devoid of particular subject matter. At that point, they become quite opposed in their approaches.” From the 1930s through to the 1960s, Strand’s work went international, reflecting his passion for travel as well as for social documentary. Teaming up with writers to publish books, which are also featured in the show, he chronicled his journeys to New England, France and Luzzara, in the Po valley in Italy. “He really hits his stride in looking at a kind of portrait of a people and a place, embedding himself in that community and spending a long period of time there,” says Barnes. “Drawing out the subtleties of people’s faces, their lifestyles and their history, how they’re deeply embedded in a community and in a history.” An important component of this work – particularly in a UK exhibition – is the Hebrides series, shot in 1954. Newly acquired by the V&A,



Milly, John and Jean MacLellan, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Image © Paul Strand, Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation

these photographs evoke a studio photography sensibility in the open air, says Barnes. He contrasts Strand’s methodology – using a large camera on a tripod, carefully posing his subjects and taking ample time to capture the images – with that of Henri Cartier-Bresson, who worked quickly using a small camera, shifting around to find his subjects. “Everything [in Strand’s work], apart from the studio lights and the room, feels a bit like the way you might make a [19th-century] studio portrait,” Barnes says. “In some ways, it’s like the antithesis of the decisive moment.” The exhibition ends with the closing years of Strand’s career and life, encapsulated in his photographs of his home in Orgeval, France, where he and his third wife, Hazel, resided until his death in 1976. Barnes finds this series moving because,

he says, “here is a person who’s spent his entire life travelling and seeking out places and people, and towards the end of his life he finds a revelation at the bottom of his garden”. Exploring the annual life cycle of plants from spring to their death, these images “become very metaphorical”, says Barnes. Barnes hopes that the retrospective will broaden viewers’ understanding of Strand’s oeuvre, which goes far beyond the powerful single images of “those breakthrough years”. But he adds that the best way to sum Strand up may be in his own words, taken from his 1963 letter to the Royal Photographic Society’s journal. “The true artist, like the true scientist, is a researcher,” wrote Strand, “using materials and techniques to dig into the truth and meaning of the world in which he himself lives.”



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