Archive: July 2012

Steven Wallace ©

Steven Wallace is currently a Dallas based photographer who grew up in Houston and has been traveling back and forth to New York recently. A couple months ago he photographed the cover of ON Magazine for their Fashion issue.

Steven Wallace ©

Steven Wallace ©

Steven Wallace ©

Steven Wallace ©

 

 

 

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Sara Kerens is a fashion and editorial photographer splitting her time between Dallas and New York CIty. Some of her recent clients include Anthropologie and Marie Claire.

Were you always interested in photography? How did you get started?
I started out Pre-Med and wanting to be a cardiovascular surgeon. My parents are still disappointed I’m sure of it. I took an Intro to Photography class in college because it was a hobby. My professor, Cade White, encouraged me to apply for an open position at the newspaper. Within the year I was the Chief Photographer. I kept shooting even after leaving the paper to be involved in student government. I shot engagement pictures in college to make extra money and charged $35. I know. Learning the business side of photography was a bit painful for this Rio Grande Valley girl.

Could you elaborate a little on learning the business side of photography? How do you manage business, marketing and promotion?

the business side of being a freelance photographer is a beast!

Yes, the business side of being a freelance photographer is a beast! I love the creative aspect of photography. I had to learn how to manage the money, the marketing, producing and much much more. Being a freelance photographer without an agent is like having 5 jobs. I sought the advice of many people in photography as well as public relations directors, and marketing gurus. At the end of the day, it falls on me. Social media has been a huge way to get my work out, especially to audiences that I may not already be in contact with. It’s important to present yourself genuinely. Who you are and what you enjoy and are doing. I am a very extroverted and positive person, and you get a feel for that through my tweets and posts.

How are you developing your personal vision?
I have several goals that I desire to accomplish with my career and personal life. My work and life often overlap because of my interest in certain subjects. At this point, I am both shooting and showing my book to a wider audience. This helps see how my style and interests work with a variety of publications and clients. I desire to travel and live in Europe, so that influences the track that I am pursuing and the type of work that I spend my time on, even personal work. My style overall is consistent, but I like to push myself and even challenge myself to try different techniques or subjects. It’s fun and keeps it interesting.

How often do you take photos?
I photograph daily. Even if it is my iphone, I snap at least 5 photos a day. I Instagram consistently because for me, this is such a fun way for me to share my life and work with those who care to look and be a part of it.

Do you mainly use digital?
I shoot mainly digital because that’s generally the most economic route. Clients usually want digital as well, especially with fashion as they can see the images immediately on screen and take home images from the shoot the day of.
I take Polaroids when I am able. I photographed a Dallas band, Fox and the Bird, on tour last summer. I shot over 100 Polaroids in the two weeks I was with them along with video and still shots. A printed piece has been in the works for a while and I’ll let you guys know when it’s finished. Very excited about it.
I have a lot of film cameras that I play around with, and do personal projects with.

I know you go back and forth between Texas and New York, could you discuss your reasons for doing this a bit?
I grew up mainly in Texas and have lived there since graduating college. I first visited NYC two years ago on a last minute trip. There is a huge market here, and I see this city as a place to pursue my foreign interests as directly as I can from the U.S. I have amazing clients in Dallas that I want to continue working with a well, so I found that working in both cities was a great fit for me career wise. There are extremely talented creatives in Dallas and the city’s art culture is really taking off. It is an exciting time to be connected there. There is a strong Texas presence in NYC. I have many friends who have moved here, and several of my favorite stylists and makeup artists are Texas transplants.

There are extremely talented creatives in Dallas and the city’s art culture is really taking off

Do you have someone you look up to in the field?
I have had several teachers and photographers guide me and push me along. Dallas specifically has been an incredible place to learn and grow. I have been very fortunate to work along side extremely talented and kind photographers. People want to help you. You have to remember that.

Do you have a dream assignment?
I have many. I would love to shoot a catalog for Anthropologie and Free People, do a piece on Iceland for National Geographic, as well as document Sufjan Stevens’ next tour. I photographed his Age of Adz tour performances in both Dallas and Brooklyn, and they were both incredible. I would love to join the Cousteau family on a sea adventure and document that as well.
How do you stay motivated?
The girls in my sorority in college joked about never seeing me without a camera. It’s true. I love what I do. It is internal and my desire to express myself through photography is pretty strong.
Was there one project that gave you that “ah ha” moment, where you knew this is where you wanted to take your work?
There was a point that I decided I was going to photograph things of interest to me, even if that meant I was hustling all week and shooting nonstop in my spare time. Once I started doing that and posting it, I began to get requests for similar paid assignments. That process was a huge “ah ha” moment for me. I will continue in that way.

Do you have any favorite photo books?
Can I count Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants as a photo book? Laura Wilson’s Hutterites of Montana is a favorite. She is the photographer that documented Richard Avedon when he was shooting “The American West.” I remember contacting her when I first moved to Dallas because I wanted to meet her and learn from her. About a year after emailing and calling her rep and not getting a response, I realized that she was Luke and Owen Wilson’s mother, and why I never got a response. Laura, if you’re reading this, I would still love to meet you and hear your stories, and I am not after your sons.

What was the most helpful part of your ‘education’ that wasn’t photo related?
Connecting with people is the most important and helpful part of my ‘education’ that was not photo related. Life doesn’t make sense without relationships. I work with people who have stories, and great depth. I connect with the people that I’m photographing. It makes a difference. I learn so much from the people that I come in contact with. Letting your subjects tell their stories will translate through the photos.

Connecting with people is the most important and helpful part of my ‘education’ that was not photo related

What are you inspired by?
Music definitely inspires me. I often have thoughts or ideas of shoots or movement by the particular music I am listening to. I’m also inspired by a variety of people and environments. Wes Anderson’s genius is inspiring as well as Tim Walker, and I think that I have whimsical dream inside me like that.

I like the grit and dirt of life as well, and maybe it’s just my generation, but I am inspired by life as it really is.
I am inspired by people who are passionate about life or passionate about what they do, or actively working to change things for the better, and those that have compassion for people, for the human spirit.

As Jack Kerouac wrote in one of my most favourite books, On the Road, “They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

People inspire me. The human condition inspires me and motivates me. In the depth of depravity there is great hope.

People inspire me. The human condition inspires me and motivates me

How do you define ‘success’ in your own career?
I define success as quality of life. That means relationships and living. My day to day life is enjoyable and challenging. At the end of the day I believe that I am working hard, and I do not think that the work I’m doing is changing the world. I think I express beauty and show the reality of the world.

What’s next? Any exciting projects coming up in 2012?
I moved to NYC in May to pursue more editorial, lifestyle and fashion work. I will be splitting my time shooting in both Texas and NYC. I have been working on a book of some of the subjects that I have photographed. I would like to get that finished this year. I have some projects on the horizon in LA and in Europe.

We all are dying to know, how did you get the Anthropologie gig?


The short and sweet of it is that I was contacted by a scout. Being at the Mothership was certainly a dream. I shot their online merchandise in studio. That was so much fun because I got to see all the beautiful apparel and shoes before anyone else had seen them. I met their copywriter as well who names and describes all the clothing. Fantastic job. I was there for a week shooting and stayed in their bed and breakfast on the Navy Yard – which is completely decorated with Anthropologie bedding, furniture, EVERYTHING. I am looking forward to opportunities to work with the company again.

For more information about the Anthropologie shoot, check out Sara’s blog post.

Favorite fried chicken?

I have two places that are relatively new to Dallas that I have frequented and have photographed both places; Sissy’s and Chicken Scratch. Go there.

Favorite breakfast taco?
Taco Joint. They have my heart. Jalapeno ranch! It’s incredible. Plus everyone that works there is so welcoming and they remember your name.

Favorite libation?
Drink specifically – Anything with gin in it. Place to get drinks depends on the night. School night: Strangeways and the Windmill. Weekend: The Gin Mill, The Londoner (also great fish ‘n chips). Mimosas: Smoke – they make them right and they are bottomless.

Do you collect anything?
Dresses perhaps. I also at one point had 4 copies of Settlers of Catan – all the same 483 Mayfair version. Klaus Teuber has a hold on me. I have since narrowed it down to just one copy with the expansion pack as well.

Any hobbies outside of photography?
I make notes of inefficient traffic areas or lights and make reports to the city. I also collect those paper miniature scale models of iconic city buildings and monuments and never actually put them together, even though I promise that I will. I also love to watch dance movies. I cannot wait until this summer for Step Up 4 Miami: Come for the Sun, Stay for the Heat. Please tell me that MTV contacted you and that I will be spending one day on the set of Missy Elliott’s music video learning the choreography.

 

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Sarah Wilson is an editorial photographer based in her hometown, Austin.  Her approach to environmental portraiture is documentary in nature; focusing on subjects and stories that give a sense of community and culture.

Tell us about your early years in photography.

After high school, I decided to major in photography in college, and pursue it as a career.  I attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Photography and Imaging Department.  In my last two years, I spent semesters interning for several photographers including Mary Ellen Mark, Robert Clark, and Ken Schles. Then I moved out to Marathon, a little town of four hundred people in the middle of the West Texas desert, to do a summer internship with a photographer named James Evans.

The experience in Marathon was a turning point for me.  Within a couple of weeks, I had met nearly everyone in town, which quickly made me feel like I was part of the community.  I realized that Marathon was the perfect place for me start a portrait project, so I borrowed James’s 4 x 5 field camera and I began photographing the locals: the weathered, hunched-over cattle rancher, the Marathon High School six man football team, the constable, the teenaged boys that would hang out on the street corners, and the ninety year old woman that would drive around the 3 squares miles of town in her pickup from sun up to sun down.  Each individual portrait came together to tell the story of the community as a whole.

The Marathon project became my NYU senior thesis show, which I submitted for a grant called the Daniel Rosenberg Traveling Fellowship, and won.  This grant allowed me to complete and exhibit another portrait project one year after graduation about the Cajun community where my mother was born, and where much of my extended family still lives.  With two solid projects under my belt, I had the confidence to dive into another project about the community of Jasper, Texas, where in 1998, three young white men chained an African-American man, James Byrd, Jr., by his ankles and dragged him three miles behind a pickup truck.  It was a hate crime that threatened to fragment this small East Texas town.  Texas Monthly published a selection of this work, which in turn jump-started my editorial career.

I feel fortunate to have had several opportunities to complete and exhibit full bodies of work

I feel fortunate to have had several opportunities to complete and exhibit full bodies of work within a few years after graduation.  This filled out my portfolio and quickly solidified my intentions as a photographer.  Over time I was able to move away from assisting, and began working for myself.  I do however highly recommend that young photographers spend a few years interning and assisting- I learned more about photography as an assistant than I did in four years of college.

Lots of people think you need to move to a bigger market (LA, NYC) in order to make it in this business.  Outside of your education, do you think that living in NYC was helpful or made a difference in starting your career?  

I believe that it’s a good idea to spend some time in either New York, LA, or Chicago if you can.  If these big cities are not in the cards for you, it would be beneficial to attend a few of the portfolio reviews, where art directors, photo editors, curators, and art buyers can take a look at your work.  If they like your work, you can make solid connections very quickly, over the course of a weekend.

Your work can be described as “documentary portraiture.” How did you establish and evolve your personal vision?

I aim to tell the story of a community through portraits of individuals within that community.  For the Jasper, Texas project, I photographed law enforcement officers, family members of both the victims and killers, church leaders, the men convicted of the crime, the prosecutor, the young boy who discovered the body of James Byrd, Jr, and many others.  From an outsider’s perspective, many of us were ready to condemn Jasper as an evil place all together, but I hope these images tell a deeper story than what was seen on the nightly news.

Your award-winning personal project Blind Prom has been published all over the place, including, in Texas Monthly, BLINK, Fraction Magazine, Marie Claire South Africa, NewYorker.com, and several other blogs.   It’s also won the PhotoNOLA Review Prize, a nomination for Santa Fe Prize, and Critical Mass Top 50, and has exhibited in Chelsea at the Foley Gallery and at the Lishui International Photography Festival in China.  Can you talk about your experience in photographing blind teens and working with your boyfriend, Keith Maitland, on the PBS documentary, The Eyes of Me?

In 2005, my boyfriend Keith Maitland and I moved back to Austin from New York to work on a documentary film about four blind teenagers that attended the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin.  Keith directed, edited, and produced the Emmy-nominated, The Eyes of Me, and I was his stills photographer when he needed me.  The film followed one academic year.  We made it a point to cover prom, and since then, I have volunteered as the school’s prom night photographer each spring.

After hair, makeup and final primping in the dorms, the students travel by bus to the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Dinner is served, followed by an eager progression to the dance floor.  With an hour left in the night, prom court crowning begins. The room erupts with applause, as crowns and tiaras are placed upon the heads of that year’s favorites.

 With each new couple or individual that enters, there is a unique set of circumstances

Over the course of the evening, couples leave the dance floor to have their formal portraits made. Each year, I create a painted backdrop appropriate to the prom theme, which often stretches my limited painting skills, but I enjoy the creative problem solving.  In the quiet separation of the portrait room I have the opportunity to interact more directly with the students.  With each new couple or individual that enters, there is a unique set of circumstances.  Some students have a good amount of usable vision, many are completely blind, and still others have additional physical and mental challenges.  But no matter what, on this night, there is pride and joy, and it is my pleasure to share in it.

These images not only memorialize prom night for the attendees and their parents, but I hope they introduce a larger audience to what life might be like as a blind teenager.

How important do you think personal work is?  How important has it been in your development and your style?  

Personal work is very important- it’s an opportunity to hone your style and show prospective clients how you see the world.  A majority of my portfolio consists of personal work mixed with particular assignment work that felt like it could be personal work.

Who or what influences/inspires you?  

I have always loved the portraits of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Diane Arbus, and Dan Winters.  These are my heroes. They show both the greatness and the imperfections within their subjects.  They honor the glowing humanity within people.

How do you stay motivated?

I’m starting to learn how to take things one day at a time.  The life of a free-lancer is very unpredictable.  A job that exists this month may not exist the next.  Once I figured out this fact, the challenge has been to have faith and continue to do work that is fulfilling to me.  I try not to think too far ahead because it’s already been proven that completely unexpected opportunities come my way when I am open to them.

the challenge has been to have faith and continue to do work that is fulfilling to me

What’s the most helpful part of your “education” that wasn’t photo related?

Meditating; reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood; listening to public radio, especially This American Life; and wandering the halls of the European Portrait wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Best career decision so far?

Moving back to Austin has been the best career decision so far.  Working for Texas Monthly has been often as fulfilling as doing personal work, and I have become a satellite photographer for some national magazines, which has been great.  I’ve stayed busy, doing a mix of things, so I can’t say that I’ve been bored.

Favorite thing about shooting in Texas?

There are so many different kinds of people in Texas that are in to all kinds of good, bad, and strange things.  This makes for interesting subject matter.

Do you have a favorite or memorable photo shoot?

Back in 2001, I was photographing one of the church leaders in Jasper.  I could sense that for this man, having his portrait made was real proud moment.  As we talked about his life and his congregation, he suddenly said to me, “Photography is your ministry”.  I would consider myself more of a spiritual person than a religious person, but I took what he said to heart. Through photography, I have the opportunity to serve humanity.

Do you have a current dream assignment?
I would like to follow in the footsteps of the FSA photographers, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, and Walker Evans.  I would move from town to town, photographing the people and places that shape our country.

What else would you want to do if you weren’t a photographer?

If I weren’t a photographer I would want to be a psychologist or a chef.

Any other hobbies or talents outside of photography?

Cooking, hiking, taking my little boat out on Lady Bird Lake.

Weirdest thing in your camera bag?

Perhaps we should talk about what I don’t have in my camera bag.  I don’t have a waterproof housing for my camera or a pelican case for my equipment.  These items would have come in handy on a recent assignment to photograph an afternoon canoe trip.  We went down and so did some of the equipment.  Lesson learned the hard way!

Photo books you love? 
Avedon’s In The American West, the Aperture Monograph of Diane Arbus, Keith Carter’s From Uncertain to Blue, Shelby Lee Adams: Appalachian Lives,Dan Winters: Periodical Photographs, Heber Springs Portraits: Continuity and Change in the World Disfarmer Photographed, and William Eggleston’s Guide.

Do you have any advice for someone just getting started?

 If you narrow your portfolio down to your strongest work, you will direct your clients towards hiring you for what you’re passionate about

Make sure that you only present examples of the style of photography you really want to pursue on your website, in your portfolio, etc.  You don’t have to show that you are capable of being a sports photographer, a wedding photographer, a still life photographer, and a fashion photographer.  If you narrow your portfolio down to your strongest work, you will direct your clients towards hiring you for what you’re passionate about.

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Austin-based photographer Casey Dunn‘s recent work for Texas Monthly.

Dunn writes about his process:

“Last month I was commissioned by Texas Monthly magazine to photograph the new installation at Rice University by artist James Turrell.  Turrell is known for his architectural installations, referred to as “skyspaces.” These works illustrate the effect of color and dimension on how we perceive the world that our senses create around us.

Turrell says,”It’s about perception. For me, it’s using light as a material to influence or affect the medium of perception.”

Being that the subject was a work of fine art, I decided to approach the assignment with the goal of keeping my photography in the background as much as possible. With that in mind,  I studied the structure with the aim to represent the piece as honestly as possible while still creating a compelling photograph.

It was an exercise in restraint for me, both in the shooting process and in the post-production phase. The piece had such intentional vibrancy that the best thing I could do as a photographer was to stand back and let it speak for itself.”

BeH1_905

There’s a new gallery opening in Houston!

BeHuman Gallery aims to bring a new perspective to the local arts scene with an intimate space adjacent to Eddie V’s.  The gallery’s founders, a trio of commercial artists, including Houston-based Shannon O’Hara, who regularly shoots for the pages of Houston Modern Luxury magazine, will focus on message-driven pieces meant to inspire and create dialogue. The gallery is dedicated to promoting intelligent, powerful work from diverse disciplines of both emerging and established contemporary artists.

 

The main gallery space will exhibit multiple solo and group shows a year as well as smaller quarterly shows that engage various public spaces around CITYCENTRE. The gallery will also be responsible for programming content for an additional 10,000 square feet of indoor commercial environments within CITYCENTRE, as well as the plaza.

They are having an opening reception Saturday, July 28 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm:

MOTION + LIGHT

Illuminating the path of movement as captured by the lenses of:

Adam Brackman, Andy Hemingway, Christian de Leon, Luqman Kaka, Richard Brandon Yates and Shannon O’Hara

full color / texture overlay

July 28–August 30, 2012


 
Address: 12848 Queensbury Suite 204 Houston, Texas 77024

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