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Spring 2016

Felicia Perretti Breaks Down Our Food

t e e h s f o o r p th

Magazine of The Quarterly rk Chapter rtists | New Yo A ic h p ra g to ho e American P


Supporting Photographers and the Business of Photography

S p ri n g 2 0 1 6

www.apany.com


proof shee t Spring 2016 • Vol. 1, No. 3

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Transformative Sustenance Felicia Perretti Breaks Down Our Food Written by Michelle Slieff

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Making the Most of the Time We Have Kevin J Mellis uses an old way of making photographs to see the world in new ways Interview by David Byron Rice

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How... ? How to-make a Photo realistic composite image before Photoshop existed. Featuring APA Pro Photographer James Porto

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Board Member Profile: Scott Nidermaier

Consultant’s Corner: Elaine Totten Davis – The Benefits of Building a Personal Board of Directors

Ramona Reps dishes it all Interview by Dhrumil Desai

The APA|NY Proof Sheet is a quarterly magazine, published by the New York Chapter of the American Photographic Artists. Copyright 2016 APA|NY; all rights reserved, collectively and individually. Content, either images or text, may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent from the photographer, writer and APA|NY.


Supporting Photographers and the Business of Photography

About APA|New York APA|NY is the Northeast regional chapter of American Photographic Artists (APA), covering the entire area from Pennsylvania and Ohio up through Maine. As part of the country’s leading non-profit organization for professional photographers, we organize events, negotiate benefits for our members, hold seminars, promote our members’ work, organize photo contests, and much more. Our mission is successful photographers; our goal is to establish, endorse and promote professional practices, standards and ethics in the photographic community as well as provide valuable information on business and operational resources needed by all photographers. We seek to motivate, mentor, educate and inspire in the pursuit of excellence and to speak as one common voice for the rights of creators. APA|NY is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit organization run by and for professional photographers. Our all-volunteer Board works hard to promote, within our creative community, the spirit of mutual cooperation, encouragement, sharing and support. APA, and APA|NY, continue to expand benefits for its members and works to champion the rights of photographers and image-makers worldwide. APA Members include professional photographers, photo assistants, educators, and students. We also welcome professionals engaged in fields associated with photography, advertising, or visual arts but who themselves are not professional photographers. Membership types can be found at http://apanational.org/join. We welcome you to join and get involved.

Reach us at: office@apany.com 217 E. 70th Street, #1514, New York, NY 10021 212.807.0399 Twitter: @apanewyork • www.twitter.com/apanewyork Facebook: @apanewyork1 • www.facebook.com/apanewyork1

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rental studios list

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contributing writers Angela Krass, David Byron Rice, Dhrumil Desai, Elaine Totten Davis, James Porto, Michelle Slieff, Ramona Soriano, Scott Nidermaier contributing photographers Andre Schneider, Beth Perkins, Felicia Perretti, James Porto, Kevin J Mellis, Scott Nidermaier, Spencer Gordon, Chris Hetzer, Bill Bert, Matt McKee and Brad Trent advertising | email or call for a media kit Dhrumil Desai

dhrumil@dhrumildesai.me • 213.255.5145

Ron Jautz

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APA|NY Board of Directors Michael Seto Co-Chairman Ron Jautz Co-Chairman Bruce Byers Treasurer Adele Godfrey Secretary Scott Nidermaier Social Media Director Alley Maher Assistant Liaison

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Thank You to our volunteers membership Sharlene Morris events committee Bill Bert, George Njiiri, Jennifer Taylor, Nicole Pereira, Tony Falcone proof sheet Dhrumil Desai

APA | National APA National Office 5042 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 321, Los Angeles, CA 90036 President Tony Gale Executive Director Juliette Wolf-Robin Membership Representative Jeff Kausch • members@apanational.org


Letter from the Chairmen Spring Cleaning It is Spring in the City - the trees are blooming, those winter airlocks are coming down from doors, chairs and tables are back on the sidewalks and there is a feeling of renewal and rejuvenation everywhere. Spring is a good time for photographers to do a little spring cleaning as well, and we don’t mean just getting those sensors cleaned. When was the last time you refreshed your website, blog, or portfolio with new images? Move those old RAW files to your backup drives to free up space on your workstation. Prune down your client list to allow new shoots to emerge (pun intended). Clean up that To-Do List - those old lingering items weigh you down like mental and spiritual cobwebs, so get rid of them. Wipe down your cameras, lenses, grip, and modifiers. Wash those backpacks and roller bags with some soap and warm water. Get rid of that natty old softbox or dirty reflector or broken lightstand that clutters up your gear locker. Sell or donate that old body or lens you never take out on shoots. APA|NY has overhauled our Annual Photo Contest to showcase personal work this year. We encourage everyone to put their best to the test by entering your best shots or best series of work. The Contest is open for submissions through May 15th. Our Portfolio Review on May 4th sports new reviewers, including video experts. Sign up now to see those photo editors and art buyers who will offer a new perspective on your work. APA is here to support photographers and the business of photography, so put away your winter clothes then come out and join us. (www.apanational.org/join)

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Photo by Chris Hetzer, Professional Member www.chrishetzerphoto.com


Photo by Spencer Gordon, Professional Member www.spencergordon.com


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear “proof sheet”, We at Glasshouse Assignment wanted to share a quick note to the APA New York team to say thank you. We were so excited that one of our artist, David Bishop was chosen to be featured in your Inaugural Fall 2015 issue. Your team did a fabulous job with the images and the interview and your publication is a great help in promoting exceptional photographers throughout the Northeast. Thank you for making our job at Glasshouse Assignment a lot easier. We have shared a pdf of the publication article around the country and overseas to promote David’s talents. Keep up the great work! Kari Anderson & Sandy Murray, Artist Representatives, Glasshouse Assignment New York, NY http://www.glasshouseassignment.com/

Thanks APA for organizing the HOW TO LAND THE JOB: A CAREER IN FINE ART panel discussion. A great evening at the Foley Gallery. I felt I got plenty of useful and motivating tips on how to take my fine art work to the next level. Now it is up to me to make it happen. Thanks APA for being part of making it happen. Stefan Radtke --Associate member

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www.stefanradtke.com


UPCOMING EVENTS May 4th – Portfolio Review. Open to APA Members only. Get your work seen by leading industry editors and art buyers. We will have reviewers for motion/video, too. Also new this year, time to mingle with reviewers and other participants--refreshments provided by Agency Access. Event will be held in the beautiful Wix Lounge on 23rd Street in Chelsea.

May 11th – Capturing Motion: Introducing Motion to Your Storytelling Process. APA is partnering with AbelCine to bring you a lively discussion about transitioning from stills to motion, or doing both together! Free for all APA members.

May 13th – APA|NY Emerging Photographer Series with Adorama. Contributor member Dan Lidon will be sharing his work in the Adorama Learning Center Space at 4:00pm

May 15th – “Give Us Your Best Shot”. The APA|NY Annual Photo Contest deadline is May 15th. Put your best to the test to win both recognition and great prizes. (Contest open now)

June – (TBA) Creative Networking Party and Announcement of the Photo Contest Winners. Watch for details of this blow-out event and be on hand for the awarding of prizes to the Photo Contest winners.

July – Details to come, but we are planning an event in the Boston area. If you are one of our Boston area members or part of the creative community in New England, contact us to get involved in the planning.

August – Look for our Annual Summer Party! September 28th – STEPS TO SUCCESS. Consultant Selina Maitreya will share the steps to take in order to reach your creative, financial and professional goals. The discussion will center on the exact steps used by three highly successful photographers to manifest the success they envisioned.

October 8th - STEPS TO SUCCESS / DO THE WORK. This all-day program is the follow up workshop to Selina Maitreya’s evening event and will allow participants the opportunity to work more closely with her in smaller groups; attendees will leave having determined where they are in the process of achieving success and the knowledge of what actions to take in order to move their business forward.

Find out all the info at www.photoplusexpo.com and look for APA at the show!

Spring 2016

For more news about upcoming events, go to http://ny.apanational.org/events/upcoming/

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October 20th-22nd – Photo Plus Expo at the Javitz Center.

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Transformative Sustenance


Felicia Perretti Breaks Down Our Food

Written by Michelle Slieff

Felicia Perretti, APA/NY food and beverage photographer, punches you in the mouth (in a good way) with her vibrant lighting, along with her use of clean composition in her series,Transformation. Some might see this series as controversial, while others see the transformation of our food culture refreshing. We had the chance to speak to the artist herself, and as she dishes it out, we discover the meaning behind the meal. Michelle Slieff: What is the message behind your project Transformation? Felicia Perretti: It’s a personal project showcasing the transformation of frozen food to the fresh state it takes once defrosted. It explores the contrast of reality and perception in today’s food culture. I wasn’t trying to say fresh food is healthier than frozen food but to show a new way of looking at how we live in our fast paced environment. It allows the viewer to reevaluate everyday habits. Not that I’m saying frozen food vs. fresh food is better or worse for you but we may be more inclined to pick up the frozen pack of spinach and not take the time to just buy it fresh or walk through the produce. We pick up this frozen square, and, magic, after it boils it looks like a leafy spinach! That’s funny to me! How did the project come about? I feel like there is always an interesting story on how the idea came along. Personal projects I believe are very important in a professional photographer’s career. We can get caught up in producing work for our clients, among other business things, and forget where this all started for us. For me, I like my personal projects to be completely out of the ordinary to what I normally shoot. I enjoy playing with hard light and bright colors. Sometimes my ideas are influenced by what’s in current news or my humor toward food. I think for my frozen food series that I shot a couple years back, healthy food was a hot topic. Also, our culture was and still is living in a fast paced world.

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I grew up on frozen food and that’s because my parents were both busy and working, and that’s really what they had time to feed us. Honestly, since growing up and living on my own I don’t think I’ve really bought frozen food. I enjoy going to the produce stands and supermarket and looking at the fruits and vegetables. Cooking and eating fresh and healthy is big for me — just by personal choice.

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Has this series affected your personal emotions regarding prepackaged frozen foods?

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What are your go-to tools when capturing food and in the best light for your Transformation series? The trick for shooting this frozen food was figuring out how to prop it up without it falling. It was cold and melting like ice once on set. It was being shot on a slick black plexi surface, so I needed to create friction. I had a combination of small A clamps in back and black gaffe tape under the food to help stabilize it. Was your inspiration for Transformation, Irving Penn? I’ve seen frozen food photographed numerous ways, but I actually didn’t realize Irving Penn did a frozen food still life until you said his name! I certainly admire his work as one of the greats. I felt the way I light and styled my series was unique and I haven’t seen it done like this.  Do you plan on growing the series? 

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Normally when I have a personal project idea, I make notes and write out different scenarios for different shots. Usually my personal projects can take a couple months to be finished or at a point where I’m satisfied with what I’ve shot and move on to the next idea. I’m not sure I will continue on this one, but I could see myself revisiting frozen food items and shoot something differently.


What are the biggest barriers to creativity? I think finding inspiration around you and letting yourself be influenced by everyday occurrences. You strive to be the best and create everyday. Some days it comes easily and others it doesn’t at all. You just have to let it happen and not overthink the process. How do you keep the passion and fire alive for your work? Create new work constantly. Like I mentioned earlier, just let yourself be a part of the work and the process. Don’t overthink and test shoot any chance you get. What is the biggest risk you have ever taken? Ha! Starting my business! Being a business owner and working for yourself is a huge risk in itself. It’s harder now than ever with everyone that owns a camera thinks they are a photographer. I enjoy every day of it. If your not feeling it, than it’s not for you. What fascinates you about life and photography? It’s exciting to have the capability to create work I’m passionate, about and other people enjoy viewing. Running a business is fulfilling, too, and being able to take pictures and run a business together is the best deal. I see from your blog that you also love to cook. What are your go-to week night meals? Cooking comes with the territory. You have to be able to speak food working with clients and food stylists. It adds value to yourself and your business. If there’s time, I love to make homemade pasta, fettuccine or spaghetti style. I’m not a huge meat eater so I enjoy buying produce such as bok choy, or broccoli rabe, and sautéing that and eating over brown rice or couscous. What do you drink after you wrap up a photoshoot? (Laughs.) After a long hectic day of shooting, a nice chardonnay. 


How long have you been in the industry of photographing food and beverage? Are there trends that you’ve seen evolve over that period of time? What do people want to see right now when looking at food and beverage photography?

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I’ve been professionally shooting five years. There’s certainly a trend from the polished perfect food shots, to a more “slice of life” approach. I feel like client’s want darker moodier photos, possibly shot from top down. However there are still clients that enjoy brighter light shots with everything perfect. Can you talk about a big accomplishment when you were starting out, how it had affected your progress then, and how that made you successful today? I think working with clients producing original photography for their brand for advertising is exciting every time. I learn new things working on set, like how to be more efficient and professional. I’ve worked with high profile clients and you have to have your “A” Game on! Clients like to work with people that are nice, not jerks. One specific example I can think of,


Proof Sheet Spring 2016

was shooting the limited edition 7 anos bottle of Patron for advertising. I worked with, Cramker-Krasselt, the advertising agency, and Patron, to shoot the bottle in it’s iconic form. We shot on a white background on plexi to get the reflective surface. It was a BIG project, and just starting out, I was a little nervous. It wasn’t the technical lighting aspect, as much as just the logistics of working with such big names for the first time. I wanted to make sure the day went as smooth as possible. I triple checked everything from the call sheet, studio, assistant and food stylist. I’d rather be over prepared, than under prepared. It was a real test for me; how professional I could be, how easy I’am to work with, and how they would react to me. At the end of the day, everything went smooth. There was a lot of retouching back and forth, and it was important that the bottle looked perfect for the brand, so that was a little stressful. What knowledge I walked away with is to always be yourself on set, always be organized, and plan in advance as best as you can. I still do that today and I think that’s why my shoots go very smoothly. Since then, I have worked with the agency again so that’s a good sign!

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It’s harder now than ever with everyone that owns a camera thinking they are a photographer.


When people look at your photographs, are they like, this is a Felicia Perretti shot, hands down! What is it in the photo that they identify as you? I hope they see my attention to lighting, punchy colors and contrast. I don’t want my work to be perceived as too soft. I want there to be energy in the shot, like me. n

Felicia Perretti is a commercial photographer specializing in food and beverage photography. She is based out of New York City, and is working nationally with clients. Perretti’s goal with each of her client’s is to deliver the best imagery and treat each project with detail and quality. Contact Info:

Felicia Perretti NY: 646-564-5586 PHL: 215-873-1110 347 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1402-226 New York, NY 10016 felicia@perrettiphotography.com @perrettiphoto

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Neo Studios

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212-533-4195

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Making the Most of the Time We Have

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Interview by David Byron Rice Social work is hard work. So perhaps it is no surprise that when Kevin J Mellis took an educational leave from his position as a medical social worker in a large trauma center to study photography, he was drawn to a demanding, 175-year-old way of making prints. Despite not declaring himself a photographer until his mid-thirties, this 42-year-old native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, is now gaining international notice for his skill at applying the venerable art of wet-plate collodion photography to the most divisive issue of our time. Not merely an antiquarian, Kevin is also a fine videographer, and he hasn’t quit his day job. In an interview, he described his passions, his plans, and how witnessing a tragic death led to a new way of looking at life.


Kevin J Mellis uses an old way of making photographs to see the world in new ways


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David Byron Rice: Tell us about your upbringing. Kevin J Mellis: I was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, which isn’t that far from the Minnesota-Ontario border along Lake Superior, on a cold winter’s day, January 7, 1974. I’m the youngest of three brothers – one still lives in Thunder Bay with his family, while the other lives on Vancouver Island in Comox. My mother also lives on Vancouver Island, about an hour away from Comox in Nanaimo, British Columbia. My father died in September 2006 from a heart attack. I’m now 42 years young, no children and not married, and living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


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Before diving into the highly complex world of photography in March 2011, I first was (and still am) a social worker. I started around 1992 at age 20. Since then I’ve been on the front lines of the human services working alongside young people who were mixed up in the law, as well as in other areas including: education, palliative care, long term care, and senior care. I now work in the largest trauma center in Southern Alberta as a Medical Social Worker in the Emergency Department. One of my primary roles is to support families through events that could be either life altering or life ending.

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Many photographers fall in love with the discipline as children or teenagers, but you came to the discipline relatively late, after building a career in another field.

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You’ve lived in western Canada – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Victoria, Whitehorse, Yukon – for a quarter century, but have plans to the east side of Canada. At some point, I will need to transition out to the east of Canada, but for now, however, I love the west. I hope to develop a traditional film enlarger darkroom, studio, and gallery in Sooke, British Columbia in the next couple of years. I already have a house on Vancouver Island, so it really shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to build a space in the basement. Over and above my passion and drive for traditional large format photography, I’m an avid outdoors enthusiast who is often found in the backcountry of Banff National Park. This is a mountainous region with roaming grizzly bears, wolves, and cougars, so I’m always carrying one or two cans of bear spray on my hip. I also love getting out on my canoe and exploring many of the fresh water lakes.


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How I came to become a photographer-slash-social worker hybrid is directly related to my intense work as a medical social worker in the ER. Over the course of several years, I had been a witness to hundreds of deaths, but one in particular changed my life forever. She was just four years old and had died after a boating accident at the end of the summer season in 2010. Just like any other day, I started my shift at 7am. She had already arrived via our emergency helicopter. I met her family within the first hour of my shift. Unlike other deaths where there is an obvious color change in the skin, her color stayed the same because she was deeply hypothermic. She looked like she was sleeping, so it was excruciating for her family (and myself) to understand that she was

Proof Sheet

You chose a career path that brought you into daily contact with human suffering, but one day in the emergency room changed your life.

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dead. I will never forget her father’s response when he (and the rest of her small family) walked in the room to see her. I can still hear their screams and see their painful tears. I stayed with them the entire day. I went home that night, turned off the lights, turned on the music and drank myself into intoxication (I’m not normally a heavy drinker). I was numb. I needed to be numb. It was from this moment on that my life would change forever. You struggled for several weeks to regain your focus at work before deciding further changes were in order.

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I had always challenged the people who I worked with to change their lives, so I thought I better put what I have been speaking about into practice for myself. It was then that I decided to go into photography, perhaps to change all the images of all the death, dying, and sadness that I had seen over my time in the ER. In February 2011 I took a one-year education leave, moved to Vancouver, and started learning how to create images. I made sure that I read the manual a few times before starting class, just so I wasn’t completely out of the loop (so I naively thought to myself many times over). In essence, it was this young girls’ sad and very unfortunate death that gave me life ... a life that I’m deeply humble for.


Until purchasing a Nikon d7000, your experience with photography was limited to the disposable cameras that you occasionally picked up when buying groceries. You graduated from photography school in 2012 and returned to the trauma bay, but even with a new outlook on life and a different way to engage your mind, body, and soul, you wanted to go deeper. As I was already an academic researcher from all my previous schooling, I decided to dig a little further into the history of photography. I subsequently stumbled upon the wet-plate collodion process. I immediately fell in love with the aesthetic. I found a well-established photographer in Denver named Quinn Jacobson from Studio Q (studioq.com) who was offering workshops and signed up. Over an intensive weekend I learned how to create images on tin and glass. I was hooked. After I returned, I continued on with the process and in early 2013 I decided to submit a portfolio to a local Masters in Fine Art program through the University of Calgary and was accepted into their Art Program under the direction of Dr. Dr. Jean-RenĂŠ Leblanc. Over the course of two intensive years, I diligently worked in the darkroom and hand-crafted a body of work exclusively with the wet-plate collodion.

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How did this new/old way of making photographs affect your work? Using my work with people as a social worker, I created unique individual portraits using 3 mm black glass plates (4x5 & 8x10). As a visual artist, I conceptualize these glass portraits as being representational of life itself – fragile and one of a kind. If the glass plate breaks, the portrait will be altered. If it shatters it will be gone forever. Just like bones, they can be fixed, but they will be altered. And if someone dies they sadly will be gone forever. I very much see and understand my art creation process as being a blend between photography and the real world. The portraits you have selected to accompany this article are from a series called “Viewing Black.” They are disturbing – immediate and ancient at the same time. The images were inspired by my outsider view looking into the United States and sadly seeing (and not understanding) the colonial discourse between “whites and blacks.” I created a number of individual glass portraits of African male descendants using a process that originally was used to categorize and subsequently sell off “black slaves” to their new “owners.” And to think that such deeply misunderstood, disconnected, and archaic views still exist today is beyond my personal understanding, so I created an art project to open up a dialogue about the importance of diversity and embracing difference regardless of one’s personal narrative. I first exhibited these glass portraits during Black History Month in February 2015.

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You subsequently began experimenting with analogue film, first with 4x5 and now with 8x10, which led to a very different set of images from those in the “Black Views” collection. I recently created a series of images representing the importance of slowing down, if not better stopping altogether, and being more present to what is around me. I titled this series “Just Be...”. I flew out to the west coast of Vancouver Island to explore the beautiful rain forests near Tofino, British Columbia. Whenever I went out for a walk on the trails, I purposely chose to take my large format 8x10 camera because I knew it would be heavy and awkward, thus forcing me to slow down (something that I often forget to do).  I also purposely chose to walk alone as such to feel more deeply connected to the heavily textured surroundings. Rather than focusing on the larger context of the forest (the massive trees and beautify ocean views), I actively chose to photograph the finer details of the forest; details that I would normally walk past and not pay attention too.  As I walked the path, I listened to the slight breeze in the air coming from the ocean. I just walked and walked until something small caught my eye. You see the world as a social worker and as an artist. How do the two complement one another? As a medical social worker, I’m continually reminded about the importance of deeply appreciating the time that I have right now and what time I have in front of me. I have no idea how long I will be on this beautiful world, but whatever the length it is my personal goal to feel deeply connected to the land and the people around me – whatever it is and whoever they are. Even if it’s just a minute, my artistic intention is to encourage deep thought of what is important and what isn’t. Sadly, we live in a time that is counterproductive to engaging our minds at a deeper level. It is my artistic intention to challenge this limiting and corroding reality. For we only have one life and it’s not a rehearsal. For me, it was the death of the young, beautiful 4-year-old girl who continues to remind me of this increasingly fragile reality.  n

Kevin J. Mellis is an APA Leader member from Calgary, Alberta, Canada; he’s been a registered Social Worker in the largest trauma/medical Center in Southern, Alberta for almost 10 years and in 2011 decided to learn how to use a camera as a therapeutic escape from all the death and sadness he’s witnessed while being part of the Critical Care Team in the Emergency Department. After numerous exhibitions throughout North America, Kevin has become one of few Canadian Large Format Photographers who have been internationally recognized for his work. See more of Kevin’s work at: website: www.kevinjmellis.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kevinjmellis Facebook: www.fb.com/kevinjmellis Proof Sheet Spring 2016 31


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ASSISTANTS Alessandro Casagli 4 years, 1st-3rd Assistant 646 881 4793 • ale@casagli.com www.casagli.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Still Life, Product, Portraits, Location

Michael Cardiello 3 years, 1st-3rd Assistant 929 242 9072 • mikecardiello@gmail.com www.michaelcardiello.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Portraits, Location, Video, Celebrity & Music Portraits

Adam Coppola 203 415 9851 • adam@coppolaphotography.com www.coppolaphotography.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Still Life, Product, Portraits, Location, Video

Dhrumil Desai 213 255 5145 • dhrumil@dhrumildesai.me www.dhrumildesai.me Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Portraits, Location

Sinziana Dobos 2 years, 2nd Assistant 347 337 0795 • dobos.sinziana@gmail.com www.dobossinziana.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Portraits, Location, Video

Tony Falcone 1st Assistant 718 702 5563 • tonyfalconenyc@gmail.com www.tony-falcone-9pqb.squarespace.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Product, Portraits, Location

Rebecca Grant 1 year, 1st-3rd Assistant 917 710 2570 • rebeccagrantphoto@gmail.com www.rebeccagrantphoto.com

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Specialites: Editorial, Fashion, Portraits, Beauty

James Gentile 4 years, 1st-3rd Assistant 781 561 5670 • info@jgentilephoto.com jgentilephoto.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Portraits,

Location, Retouching, Digital Tech


Dan Lidon 5 years, 1st Assistant 610 905 0208 • dan@danlidon.com www.danlidon.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Portraits, Location, Video

Alley Maher 4 years, 1st-3rd Assistant 203 733 7981 • alley@alleymaher.com www.alleymaher.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Fashion, Portraits, Location Danielle Maczynski 1st Assistant 908 268 6142 • dani-mac@live.com www.daniellemaczynski.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Portraits, Location

Alyssa Meadows 1st Assistant 484 788 5534 • ameadowsphoto@gmail.com www.ameadowsphoto.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Portraits, Location

Jeffrey Morgan 1 year, 1st-3rd Assistant 404 333 2941 • jeff@jeffwmorgan.com www.jeffwmorgan.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Still Life, Product, Portraits, Food

Sharlene Morris 1 year assisting 949 929 9509 • sharlene.m.photo@gmail.com www.facebook.com/smorrisphoto Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Portraits, Location

Dan Orlow 18 years, 1st-3rd Assistant 617 460 5773 • dan@danoassists www.danoassists.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Still Life, Product, Portraits, Location, Video, PA

Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Still Life, Product, Portraits, Location

If you are an assistant and would like to be listed, join APA and request our assistant form by emailing office@apany.com

Spring 2016

All assistants are APA Members in good standing and have the work experiences listed.

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Andrea Patton 9 years, 1st Assistant 508 254 3131 • andrea@andreapattonphotography.com www.andreapattonphotography.com

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ASSISTANTS Rocio Segura 1st Assistant 917 993 1021 • hello@rociosegura.es www.rociosegura.es Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Portraits, Location, Video, Celebrity & Music Portraits

Darren Sabino 7 years, 1st-2nd Assistant 206 914 7406 www.DarrenJSabino.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Portraits, Location, Video

Jordan Tiberio 2 years, 2nd-3rd Assistant 585 645 3292 • jtiberioart@gmail.com www.jordantiberio.com Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Product, Portraits, Location Tina Zarbaliev 1 year, 1-3rd Assistant 646 684 8101 • tinazarbaliev@gmail.com www.tinazarbaliev.com/ Specialities: Lifestyle, Editorial, Fashion, Portraits

All assistants are APA Members in good standing and have the work experiences listed.

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If you are an assistant and would like to be listed, join APA and request our assistant form by emailing office@apany.com

Photo by Matt McKee, Professional Member, Boston, Mass. www.mattmckeephoto.com


Photo by Bill Bert, Professional Member, New York City www.billbertphoto.com


HOW...

How to-make a Photo realistic composite image


Featuring APA Pro Photographer James Porto before Photoshop existed.

In this current age of digitally manipulated imagery we are used to seeing any possible idea or vision perfectly realized in a photorealistic composite. Using the digital tools available there are no limits to creating unbelievable, impossible, and fantastical worlds that only exist inside the artist’s mind. Photoshop, CGI, and other digital tools are getting easier and easier to use which makes composite imaging even more prevalent. So rather than publish another How To article on photoshop or computer techniques, I’d like to take you all on a little historical journey into the past before the invention of Adobe Photoshop, and elaborate on how composite images were made using only film. I doubt anyone will actually try these techniques, which were thankfully made obsolete by digital imaging (because they were excruciatingly labor intensive and also very limiting). Using the “Cigarette Stomp 1984” image shown here, I will outline the steps made that resulted in this seamless photorealistic composite, which was made in 1984. I specialized in these techniques from 1983-1991 then transitioned to digital compositing. Very few people were working this way at the time because the process was so difficult. Interestingly the methodology for making a photorealistic composite in Photoshop uses virtually the same process as was done with film. Essentially it’s a process of deciding on a composition, shooting all the separate elements with the right perspective and lighting, cutting out each element precisely and making a positive and negative mask and combining them in perfect registration. Sounds easy right? Well, hold onto your hats, this is how it was done old school, back in the day.

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1-Preparing the elements

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The idea was completely pre-visualized and the photography of each element was planned and executed starting with the background image and working forward, one element at a time, with forethought as to how the image grain would match once enlarged to the correct size. In “Cigarette Stomp” there are 4 elements: Sky, Building, Figure, and Cigarette. The sky was shot on Kodachrome 25, the Building was shot on Ektachrome 4x5, the Figure was shot on Kodachrome 25, and the Cigarette was shot on Ektachrome 4x5. The final composite would be made on 8x10 Ektachrome 6121 duping film so each element was scaled to the correct size with the enlarger and made into an Ektachrome dupe at that scale. So what’s a “dupe”? It is the result of exposing a color slide onto

color slide film (Ektachrome 6121), a positive-to-positive process that does not require a negative. The result is 4 pieces of positive color film with each of the 4 elements scaled correctly. These film elements are then taped in position on an 11x14 sheet of opaque black film that has been punched with two precise pin-registration holes to ensure exact registration. Frisket (plastic adhesive film) is adhered onto the film and precisely cut to the edge of the image with a scalpel. The waste frisket is removed and the film is painted with black opaque resulting in each film element isolated in a field of black and pin registered to line up on the vacuum easel exactly in the same place each time. See the examples below of the final elements of Cigarette and Figure.


2-Making the masks With all 4 elements in position, a mask is made for each. Alpha channels and layer masks in Photoshop serve the same function in the digital darkroom however making a mask with film is a more elaborate affair. Each image is exposed onto 10x12 Kodalith film (a film which produces only opaque black or clear). A clear frisket is applied to the mask and using a scalpel and a steady hand, looking through magnifying lenses, the frisket is precisely cut just inside the edge exposed onto the film. The interior frisket is peeled away and all the detail is painted with opaque

black paint. This process had more pitfalls than can be mentioned here, not the least of which was getting exact registration. If the mask is off the tiniest amount it would result in a black or white line on the final transparency, and there was no Photoshop to correct it. Doing this correctly was an art in itself. Additionally, a single piece of dust on any of the masks in a composite would create a black mark on the final Dupe and would thwart the entire process; extreme cleanliness was imperative.

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3-Exposing the Film So now that we have all four elements and their masks, the final step is to expose each onto a single sheet of Ektachrome 6121 Dupe Film. Everything that follows happens in total darkness: •

A sheet of film is taped onto a vacuum easel (which sucks the film straight down and enables precise registration).

Cigarette is placed onto the easel and exposed onto the film.

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Remove Cigarette and then the mask for cigarette is placed onto the easel.


•

•

Figure is placed onto the easel on top of Cigarette Mask and exposed onto the film.

Remove Figure and then the mask for Figure is placed onto the easel.

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Then place the mask for the building windows/sky onto Cigarette and Figure Masks.

You guys still with me? •

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Building is placed on the 3 masks and exposed onto the film.

Remove building and add building mask to the 3 previous masks


•

Place sky onto the easel and expose.

Send the film to the lab and run it -1/2. Done, a seamless photorealistic composite. Total elapsed time for this complete process if done without working on anything else, about 3-4 weeks.

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Here are a few other images made using the same techniques Pre-Photoshop Era.


Broccoli NYC 1983 – This was the breakthrough image in which I first got these techniques to work perfectly.


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Floating City at Night 1987 – Three months of work resulted in this image which is manifested so closely to my original previsualization that I reached a new level of proficiency.


Television Man 1987 – Inspired by the Talking Heads song of the same name, a much simpler but refined film composite eventually became the cover of American Photographer. Proof Sheet Spring 2016 49


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Transmission Terminator My very last film composite before immersing into digital compositing.


James Porto has constructed fantastical worlds that balance the real with the unreal for advertising and editorial clients during his entire career. James is a restless experimenter, a problem solver who loves a challenge, a focused, engaging director of talent and an energetic, enthusiastic, conceptual thinker. James resides in New York City and can be reached at 212.966.4407 or info@jamesporto.com. He is represented by M Represents, ralph@mrepresents.com. See more of James’ work at www.JamesPorto.com

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BOARD MEMBER PROFILE

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Scott Nidermaier


When I was given the honor of being asked to be in the spring issue of Proof Sheet, I thought, “Wow! Sure! No problem, this will be easy!” - famous last words. Several days have passed and there is this looming blank page staring back at me and glowing at all hours of the night. Photography is kinda like this - a blank canvas, just waiting to be filled with a little piece of you. We stare out at the world in our own unique way then try to translate our minds eye through a lens. I read recently that a pho-

tograph is not done until it is printed! Not just seeing, but the process of capturing and then sharing. Being a photographer is so much more than just a person with a camera. We are artists, scientist, mathematicians, accountants, marketers, social media influencers, designers, foreman, bosses, and laborers to name a few. If you really think about it, only certain people have the attitude and attrition to follow through on this long path to simply “make a picture.”


My path was really never one of intent. Since I was a child, I’ve always had a camera with me, though I never grew up thinking, “one day, I am going to be a photographer.” I really got started by getting a job in an E-6 lab back in college. This led to working all aspects of the photo lab world. Becoming an assistant manager of a lab in Colorado, and then manager of a lab in New York. Within the first year of moving to NY, I really saw how digital was taking off. It doesn’t take a genius to see where our industry was headed. I decided to change gears entirely and throw myself at becoming a photographer. Somehow I convinced a stylist to get me in with a photographer as an assistant. I will never forget the day he put a Mamiya RZ67 in my hands and said, “Any monkey can learn to use a piece of equipment. Its what you do with it that will define you as a photographer.” Working as an assistant, you learn about gear, lighting, business, relationships, what works…and what doesn’t. One of the key things I learned was to be nice. Nobody wants to work with a douche, and you never know who will be an element in your team. I assisted for several years, learning from some of the best photographers in the industry. A lot of these relationships helped foster and direct my career. One of my photographers called me up one day and said, “hey man, you ever thought about being a digital tech?” So I decided to become a tech. For the first year, it was all learning. I was comfortable as an assistant, terrified as a tech! All this technology on set and so many things out of that could go wrong. But by putting ourselves into new places to learn new things, we only grow. Eventually it all came together and I was making a great living, traveling as the ‘nerd on set’ as I like to call it. Still, there was this desire to be seen as a photographer and to share my vision with the world. One day, finally, the phone call came out of the blue. One of the guys I used to assist with had got a gig shooting cars. There happened to be one of his clients on the east coast he couldn’t get to and gave them my name. Once again I was in a position of terror. Stomach knotted with nausea, thinking, “Can I pull this off”?

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Throughout life we find that it is never a one-man show. Every change in my career has been done with the help of someone else. I like to call them my team. Think about a commercial shoot – there are so many people, all with different expertise, that help in the creation of that photograph.


Any monkey can learn to use a piece of equipment. Its what you do with it that will define you as a photographer.


APA is a big part of my team. It is an organization that fosters our community, building photographers up, and giving them the resources to create and learn. Having access to information and people you can count on is a point of success for any career. I joined the APA board to help grow this team. I am proud to work with such talented individuals who care so much about our industry and the people in it! n

Scott Nidermaier is a professional photographer in NYC working for over 15 years in catalog and advertising industries. He was an Adjunct Professor at Parsons School of Design for five years, and is currently the Education Outreach Coordinator for Phase One. Scott volunteers with the Josephine Herrick Project, teaching photography to veterans and people with special needs. He is also a Director of Art Media and Technology for YPI camp, a youth arts organization.

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CONSULTANT’S CORNER The Benefits of Building a Personal Board of Directors By Elaine Totten Davis As a coach, I work with my clients to accomplish their strategic goals, whether they are personal, professional, or in most cases, intertwined. Many of my clients are creative professionals, and offer their services as freelancers, contractors, permalancers, entrepreneurs, and let’s face it, “lone wolves” when it comes to getting work done. In my role as an art producer, consultant and coach, I often ask young photographers starting out and those changing their focus, “If you were given a huge project today, would you be able to pull a team together quickly to produce and deliver what they are asking for?” Having a cohesive and highly functioning team is key to creating a successful production, and instrumental in building your business, your brand and your reputation. This question can make people pause for a moment, then they either know who they will immediately contact, or they begin the process of exploring who and what their support team would look like.

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Congratulations if you do have a creative team. Now I am going to push you one step further. Do you, as a business owner, have a team that supports and guides you through the process of creating a successful business? You are a skillful photographer, but are you a skillful business owner?

Let me remind you, you are a business owner. This is equally, if not more important, to remember in the evolution of becoming a successful photographer. Now, not everyone is incredibly savvy in business. It’s OK, don’t stress if you’re not. Take a moment and then decide how you might be able to navigate the challenges of becoming a successful business owner. The first step is awareness. Here is the thing, no company or corporation goes it alone. Companies have a mission and usually have an executive management team or Board of Directors to support and guide them with their mission. Most large companies attribute their success to talented employees who collaborate to develop solutions, guided by the expertise and experience of their Board or executives. As a small business owner, why wouldn’t you want that too? I propose that this might be a great time to create your own Board or as I call it, your Personal Board of Directors (PBOD). By definition a BOD or a PBOD are the same thing. They are a diverse collection of individuals that offer guidance, encouragement, accountability and inspiration when making decisions that potentially can affect a goal or a successful outcome. With your own PBOD behind you, you won’t have to go it alone.


So how do you do this? Here are some suggestions:

1.

Influencers and Advisers that make up your PBOD

I share an exercise with all my clients to get them thinking about who might be part of their PBOD. I divide it into 4 categories. They are: • Cheerleaders – People who truly root for your success. They encourage and support you for what you are trying to accomplish. They want you to be happy. • Experts - People who have expertise in areas where you may need help. You can navigate these challenges, but why reinvent the wheel? These folks offer strong insight, intelligence and talent that is not in your wheelhouse. Plus, they are happy to share their knowledge with you. • Connectors – People who are really networked, highly productive and love it! While you describe your business issues, they are thinking about who they know, how to connect you, and what the potential advantage is to you and their connection. They are highly intuitive and make appropriate, strong and most often, lasting introductions. They see opportunities and love to make things happen. The better you are able to communicate what you are doing, the better they are able to lend their support. • Leaders - Individuals who have risen to a level of success in areas that interest you or those you admire for their journey and achievements. They are highly inspirational. They are supportive, share tips or information in ways to build upon your strengths, and offer suggestions about how to deal with challenges along the way. They are the “pied pipers of good stuff.”

2.

Building Your PBOD

You probably have people on your PBOD already and some of them could potentially fit in all four of these categories. The beneficial part in creating categories is to help you to easily identify and actively engage your PBOD. How you build your PBOD is up to you, but here are a few things to consider: • Diversity - Young/old, male/female, in or with no relationship to the photography industry, linear/creative, anyone from whom you can gain fresh insight. Remember, you ultimately make the decisions, but gathering perspectives from others affords you the opportunity to make more confident and grounded decisions.

• Now + Later - Your PBOD is always evolving. There are people in your past that you may not be connected to in the same way now, and you will connect to new people in the future. Your life evolves, your goals evolve, and the people you want to spend your time with evolves. Keep in mind the people you want to spend your time with as you move forward. • Pay, Barter and Ask - There are people on your PBOD that you may pay, you may work out a deal with, and then there are people that you just ask. The more you frame your “ask” the better people will be able to support you in one of the ways I’ve mentioned above.

3.

Asking For Support

When I talk about support, I generally use the example of the Xfinity commercial, “Hey, Can You Help Me Move?” Everyone has an excuse for why they can’t help, with the exception of Xfinity. Why? Here are a few tips on how you can ask for support: • Own your “Ask” - If you have a goal or a business plan and you are committed to following your dreams, then ask for support or perspective. This is meaningful to you and you would do it for someone else. So go for it. • Ask out of your comfort zone - There are people you go to all the time for support, but if you want some fresh ideas, try to go to someone that you have not approached. You never know what little bits of wisdom or involvement people are willing to share unless you put it out there. • Be specific - Honestly, people just want to understand what to do with you. If you don’t make it clear, then you might not get a response or the best solution. • Make it a step, not a fix - Just as in the Xfinity commercial, people want to support you. If it is a huge “ask”, they won’t necessarily jump on board. Show people that you have a plan and how their engagement will be incredibly valuable for you to move forward. You are in motion with or without them. Demonstrate action. People do not have time to fix you.

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• Acknowledge expertise in the ask - In all situations, be sure to be thoughtful about connecting with people. Let them know why you see their involvement as valuable and how much you appreciate their time.

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• Formal vs Informal - You can make your PBOD as formal or as informal as you like. Formally, you can set up times on an ongoing basis to reconnect with individuals or meet as a group. You can set up rules and guidelines as a client did when she was establishing her own company. Informally, you can approach people (your cheerleader, expert, connector and leader) when you reach a sticking point and you need support to move forward in the right direction. There are so many cool, “outside of the box” ways to approach how you establish your PBOD and all can be uniquely based on your management style.

• Know vs. don’t know well - It is, for many reasons, less complicated to approach people you already know. If there is someone you would like to approach that you may not know, you might consider asking someone for an introduction, or write a formal letter/email. Approach people in a way that makes you feel most comfortable. When you are your authentic self, you are more confident and therefore people will be more comfortable in trusting and ultimately supporting you with what you are trying to accomplish. Relationship building is an important ingredient in building a PBOD.

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As a photographer, you have a unique gift that can bring a vision to life and successfully communicate a message for your client. That is important to remember, but as a business owner, you don’t have to go it alone to achieve your goals. Find your PBOD and make those dreams come true. n

Elaine Totten Davis is a professional, certified, creative coach (P.C.C., LCA), with more than 25 years of experience in advertising, publishing and consulting, she partners with clients to explore their strengths, identify barriers and develop strategies for achieving long- and short-term goals. Through both one-on-one and group consulting, Elaine guides and supports artists to success in their businesses. After spending a large part of her career in the creative departments of BBDO Worldwide (NYC) and Arnold Worldwide (Boston) and with leading industry, marketing companies such as the Black Book and ATEdge - Serbin Communications, Elaine is uniquely qualified and comfortable coaching people to the next level in their careers. ETD Coaching YouMakeItPossible.com elaine@youmakeitpossible.com

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617.283.6546

Photo by Brad Trent, Professional Member www.bradtrent.com


Photo by Andre Schneider, Professional Member, Brooklyn, NY www.andreschneider.com


Ramona Reps Dishes It All


Interview by Dhrumil Desai

Ramona Soriano enlightens us on how her humble beginnings led to representing some of the best photographers she picked up along her journey in the business side of photography. We had a chance to talk with her, and she tells it all. We find out the meaning behind being a Rep to what it takes to have one as well where this industry is moving towards in terms of having a connection.

Dhrumil Desai: Ramona tell us how you got started as a photo rep. How did it all happen? Ramona Soriano: I’ve been in the business since I was 14, started off as a commercial model and was pulled out of school to go on photo shoots for ‘Teen and Clearasil and catalog shoots. At 18, in college I got my first job as a legal secretary making 10 bucks an hour and when I started to compare how much I made working hard in an office versus being in a shoot, the wheels started spinning in my head. I was curious about how much the photographer made, the makeup and hair stylists, the producers. I knew modeling wasn’t really my thing (I’m short), but I loved being on set and working with creative. So I started interning for a photographer, and that’s when I started to learn about the business. From interning, I worked my way up to office manager, then producing shoots, and eventually working at an agency that reps photographers in Dubai, and I found myself back in the U.S., wondering if it’s a good idea to join another agency, or just start my own thing. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so felt compelled to take the risk. I told my parents at the time what my plan was, that it could all go down hill, but fortunately, luck was on my side. I started at the time a bootleg website and gathered 3 friends who were excellent photographers and had enough trust in me to make things happen and here I am 5 years later with 6 photographers on board. Some have come and gone, but 2 of the photographers that I began repping from the get-go are still with me, as well as the one photographer that I started interning for years ago, whose a complete honor to rep. I was never into shooting; I never had any interest in being a photographer, but was fully hungry for the business aspect, which is something that usually doesn’t mix well; business and photography. How do you describe your board of artists? My board is a curated mix of all the different things I love about commercial photography that I picked up along the way throughout my life.

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Portrait of Ramona byTimothy Bailey

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Is there too much competition when you have similar photographers you rep like you do? How do you deal with that? There are some similarities, as I like to have some kind of common thread so my agency isn’t all over the place, which is why I focus on photographers who are interested in people over those that focus on food, still life or fashion. My whole board does portrait photography pretty well, and because of style, our clients are pretty clear with me in terms of who they want to work with.  Adidas is pretty much looking at Ja Tecson for the lifestyle in-the-moment commissions he’s doing and Marriott loves Braden Summers for his painterly luxury environmental portraits and key-art clients know Patrick Hoelck is the choice for celebrity portraits. I haven’t really ran into competition, a couple of times, I’ve put up some of my photographers for the same potential gig. And I don’t really think they’re all that similar when you start to really look at their style, and the clients seem to agree. I did have one lifestyle client that hired 3 of my photographers for 3 different seasons, and that was fun.


Photo by Patrick Hoelck Client: Crooks & Castles

What is your process for picking the Photographers you represent? Do you find them or do they find you?

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We pretty much find each other. Each of the photographers I represent, I have a special story to share, but could talk to you all day about that. In a nutshell, for example, I met Ja Tecson at a backyard boogie with him and his wife when they used to come hang out with my roommates back in college. Mark Sacro, I’ve known since I was in high school, he was dating a mutual friend, ended up doing real estate, quit that, picked up the camera and managed to be a rock star overnight, and we had a beautiful friendship with his editor at 944 Magazine, Katie Pegler, who is now my soul sister. Braden Summers, he was repped by a sister agency, and I ended up picking him up when that agency had changes and he’s grown so much as an artist, it’s a challenge and a thrill to see his transformation and how much he’s connecting with creatives. Patrick Hoelck is the photographer I interned for, and I met him because I modeled for Flaunt Magazine when I was 19, and he ended up being one my favorite people of all time. Dirk Karsten, I produced a shoot for him in Doha, Qatar, and he was nervous when he met me, thinking I wouldn’t be able to deliver on the

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Photo by Braden Summers Client: Atout France

2 week shoot. I gained his trust, and we developed a special relationship throughout the years. Timothy Bailey, I met him through an art director friend, who happened to have a birthday party when I was only visiting NYC before I moved there, and he’s been on my board from the beginning. They’re all really special and we all found each other. What I really like about my board is that not one of them emailed me in hopes of me signing them, it all happened organically. What do you look for when a photographer first approaches you in person? A couple of things: 1. Has she/he assisted anyone respectable for a good amount of time? I recently met up with a photographer that I’m thinking about taking on, and not only has he assisted for notable photographers that work hard for over two years, he spent a few months interning at an agency that repped artist, and during his working career as a successful photographer, things just started to click. I already know he “gets it” and won’t be a pain in the ass, and all of that is super valuable.

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2. Is she/he logical and confident? Confidence in self and taking responsibility for your actions are so important to me. It’s never anyone else’s fault as to why you didn’t succeed, why you can’t pay your bills, why things didn’t go the way you wished. Once the conversation starts going down the negative path, I start losing interest. 3. I think it’s given that the portfolio is worthy. After a while, this is expected. If the portfolio has obvious holes in it, I wouldn’t even look at it anymore after a while. Sometimes I throw photographers a bone, but if they’re too wrapped up in their own story to listen or defensive, I realize at that moment it’s not worth making a point and just move on.


Photo by Braden Summers Client: Atout France

What do you look out for on a Photographer’s website? Consistency, ability to edit concisely and I tend to go to their “about” section and see how they share with the world who they are. I always look for personal projects, what they do when their not paid.  These are artists, and if the whole site is dedicated to trying to land a commercial gig, they’re probably not the right fit for me.   There needs to be a delicate balance between doing passion projects and doing jobs you’re paid to do. Do you pick up photographers who you see have a potential to be rockstars? Or do they already need to be working frequently? What does it take to get a rep?

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I really haven’t picked up a photographer that is going to be a rock star. That doesn’t really work for me. It helps if a photographer is working frequently, but I really have to like them as a person for me to invest all that time and energy into their career, as to why I keep my board so small. What does it take to get a rep? Well, for starters, I think it’s important that a photographer asks themselves if they’re “rep-able” and the right kind of photographer that a rep will dedicate time and resources into getting in front of their clients. I do believe that assisting for about 2 years for notable photographers is a good start, so you understand what it’s like to work hand-in-hand with clients and to be professional. I also like the right attitude. I’ve heard too much “I need a rep to take me to the next level” and quite frankly, it doesn’t work that way. You take yourself to the next level, not the rep. A rep isn’t a magical unicorn that’s going to get you tons of shoots and make you famous, and I think that’s where a lot of photographers fall short when they approach me. The ones that keep cool, that keep the conversation about the business and about their experiences and that have me sold on their craft are the ones that intrigue me.

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Do you look for if a photographer works on personal projects besides their commercial work? How important is it? A photographer that works on personal projects on top of their commercial work is so important to me. I will name no names, but I did get one of my photographers to create a personal portion of his site. When I asked him why he didn’t have one, he said “because I like to shoot for advertising” and although that’s his passion, it’s important to poke and provoke and push the limits and see what he can create that is beyond those boundaries. He created a beautiful series and I’m proud he did so. Yes, the commercial work is important. It proves that you can work well with creatives and take direction and work in a team. I find the personal projects the first place I go to on a site because it shows vulnerability, I want to see how an artist sees the world, how they are showing up besides how they’re showing up to get paid to do so. It’s real, it’s interesting how it’s done, and everyone does it differently. What role does social media have in representing your Photographers? What other ways do you market your talent to get them work? Social media is a tool and it works for you in conjunction with how well you work with it. Some photographers, that’s currently not their thing, although I’ve found it a useful way to connect with our audience in a compelling and honest way. It allows us to show a side of my photographers and my vision that is outside-of-the-box. I think the old-school way of showing up to an event, talking about who you are and what you’re working on is a good way to get those conversations going. I also work at a members only collective space, called NeueHouse, which has given me the opportunity to network with other creatives and speak about the work I’m doing and hear about so many possible opportunities to get my photographers in a good fit. What’s the best foot forward? The best foot forward is an honest connection that is beyond the surface.  You cannot look at my board and think yourself a good fit, nor can I approach a photographer and dig their style and think they’ll jump on joining my board.  When pitching my photographers to a potential client, it comes down to a combination of timing and being in line with what the client is looking for and understanding their needs, and while representing artist, these connections can be fleeting, because it’s not just as easy as saying, “well, you guys do sporty campaigns and my photographer does sporty” it’s beyond that.  You need to connect on many levels, sometimes take chances on your boundaries, and all in all, it’s as simple as clients wanting to trust that your photographer and team are professional enough to handle working well with celebrities and cool enough to take a few days away from the office to create cool shit. The “good remarkable portfolio” becomes a dime a dozen at that level.   Proof Sheet Spring 2016

Photo by Mark Sacro Client: Styles for Less

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When’s the last time a photographer has inspired you?

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Proof Sheet

Spring 2016

I just went through my Instagram feed, and I think I fall in love with someone’s work every time I’m on there. Rob over at @aphotoeditor does a great job of showcasing some brilliant photographers. I was out to dinner with some friends, and someone told me about @tutes and I was blown away by that feed. I think I’m inspired every day, it doesn’t take that much to impress me. How do you inspire your Photographers? My photographers and I have pretty a pretty good dialogue going on. We check in all the time, I ask about new personal projects, are they travelling, is there anywhere or anything they would like to shoot. We sometimes put together mood boards and conceptualize together. I send them a ton of articles that I run across. I send them similar photographers doing similar things to raise awareness. I might be digging a certain art director, I’ll send their portfolio to my photographer. When they’re feeling down, I lift them up, I remind them about their privilege to be doing what they love in life. We celebrate victories together, we cry when we loose bids. We’re in this ride together.


Photo by Ja Tecson Client: Adidas

What’s the difference, if any, between having a career in photography and being a good photographer? Having a career in photography is being both business savvy about your craft and staying consistent with the work, always delivering an expected quality of work, and having a healthy mindset and realistic approach, setting goals, working well with a freelance team. There are a ton of good photographers out there, some are only photographing with their iPhones, but that is a hobbyist (although a few have made a living off of iPhone photography, and I dig that too). The change to having a career as a photographer is implying what you love to do into a healthy business sense. This takes a lot of finesse. What’s the current state of the photo industry? It’s changing, it’s exciting! Depending on when you entered the industry (i.e. someone that started in professional photography in 1995 will have a completely different opinion than some that entered in 2010).  You need to remain flexible.  I don’t believe in “the good ole days” because that’s looking back and limiting your progress.  The current state of the photo industry is competitive and thrilling.  You have to connect on a genuine level to really make it, and that’s the change I’m seeing. We’re having better access to truth, to really connecting with one another, and I believe that we’re moving towards a state of genuine connectiveness.


What kind of change in the industry has made the biggest impact on how you work with your photographers in the current economy? Because I’ve been in the industry since I was 14, which was the 90’s I know that mind-state of the individual who still thinks that portfolios are still shared via courier and you’ll get booked based on your portfolio. Now, you have to have everything going for you. Being “good” is bottom line. You’re probably a good photographer. You need to be fun, yet professional at the same time. You need to be current. Being flexible and finding creative ways to work with one another is the most important change I’ve seen. The photographers that are too stuck thinking about how it used to be will remain stuck in that environment and won’t progress. Although, I have a huge respect for how things used to be, I also like some styles that are somewhat dated, and if that is one of my photographer’s styles, we have to be making sure they’re doing other things to offset being labeled “dated.” Where is this change heading? The change is headed into a cycle. Some styles that are currently in, like the sun-burst-laughing-in-the-sunshine-holding-hands-on-the-beach style might be here to stay, but I want to push those boundaries and make sure my photographers are staying true to themselves, shooting what they love, yet, remaining current. Some styles stay, others go out of fashion and come back in a few years. What does Ramona do to stay ahead of the curve? I never thought of myself to remain ahead of the curve, but what has kept me focused is the ability to listen, to be empathetic and be flexible. Thinking outside-of-the-box and if there are moments that seem a bit too much for me, I take a moment to meditate on it and see what comes up. I don’t want to be a hustling-type of agent that’s always go-go-go, I want to be thoughtful, I want to connect and be okay with my shortcomings. Living in authenticity and connecting is a priority and has served well in the decisions I’ve made. n

Ramona Soriano is the owner and founder of Ramona Reps, a boutique artist management agency for photographers in commercial advertising and editorial photography. With a handful of photographers on board, all whom are diverse in style and approach, the one preference Ramona has is a photographer that loves to photograph people.  Currently based in Manhattan New York with roots in Los Angeles, in her personal time, Ramona is active in kundalini yoga and meditation, and enjoys 90’s hip hop and caring for her boxer rescue.  Ramona Reps 110 E. 25th St. 3rd Floor New York, NY 10010 Phone: (213) 393-2129  info@ramonareps.com   www.ramonareps.com Proof Sheet Spring 2016

Photo by Timothy Bailey Client: Arc Worldwide for P&G

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PARTING SHOT


Photographer: Beth Perkins • www.bethperkins.com • Rockaway Beach, NYC • Photo taken in Troncones, Mexico


Spring 2016 "proof sheet" by APA|NY  

The third issue of "proof sheet", a magazine for photographers, by photographers. Published by the New York Chapter of the American Photogra...

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