Archive: April 2013


I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Cindy Sherman exhibit since hearing the Switcheroo episode (#468) on This American Life.  In the intro section at the beginning of the episode Ira describes a recent visit to the exhibit at MoMA wherein a woman approaches them saying she is Cindy Sherman.  It happens at a moment when Ira’s companion is just realizing that all the photos are of Cindy, playing the different roles, when this woman approaches the two of them and says she visits the exhibition every day to see how viewers react to the work.

The woman is in her late 50’s, appearing to be well-educated and upper middle class, blends in perfectly with the crowd at MoMA… and as Ira and his friend keep talking to her they look at her face, look at the pieces, look back again trying to discern whether or not it is her, she says, “Oh I’m not really Cindy Sherman”.  Ira is now convinced it is her.  But is Cindy Sherman really showing up at her exhibition to see how people react, or is there a woman pretending to be Cindy Sherman to see how people react?  Which is more interesting?  Which is the better story?  It speaks so perfectly to the exhibition, and as only Ira can do, he calls up Cindy to find out the truth.  I’ll let you listen to the episode to see what happens, but seriously, what better introduction could there be for an exhibition?

Usually, I like to look around an exhibit and see what speaks to me, what I glean on my own, but this one was a bit different in that I knew the gist already and really wanted to dig a bit deeper.  Female photographers who speak to what it is like to be a woman are always interesting to me, for no profound reason other than I myself am a woman, that I like to just spend more time there.  I used the museum’s smART guide, those little iPhone looking icons next to the images with stop numbers, to hear a bit more about each piece.  Really cool once I got the hang of it… pro tip that I didn’t learn until about 20 minutes in is that the museum has a guest wifi network you can use so that the audio and video pieces download faster.  Waiting for that to come across 3G was infuriating in a Sunday-afternoon-at-the-contemporary-art-museum sort of way.

Untitled 463 had a little smART icon next to it and it was interesting to hear that that year (2008) was the first where Cindy started using digital processes for making her images.  There was a little interview with her where she speaks to her lack of a personal life with switch to digital, commenting on the days where the two hours it took for film to be processed would give the opportunity to at least go food shopping.  You get the sense that she’s speaking more to her own interest and desire to work and shoot, as opposed to a reference to inescapable deadlines and turnaround times you would hear from, say, a journalist.  This shift seems not to have only affected her workflow from a logistical standpoint, but an artistic one as well.  Cindy’s more recent work has her making small adjustments to her appearance in Photoshop as opposed to hair, makeup, and styling alone.  I begin to look at the images from a distance to see if I can tell whether or not they are film or digital, only later coming close enough to check the year.  Anyone who knows me is aware that I still shoot on film, and prefer it in most cases.  I shoot digital as well, but film just feels different and you can see and feel it in Cindy’s images.

 film just feels different and you can see and feel it in Cindy’s images.

Cindy’s commentary on women is only half the story, half of the conversation.  Every piece is untitled.  Every piece is “Untitled #” such and such, which at first feels impersonal, but you come to realize (or be told by the smART audio and video pieces) that this is intentional and its purpose is to have the viewer complicit in the interpretations of these characters.  You notice details that she has put into the piece, or you don’t, and you have your own back-story to bring to the table. You begin to think of women you know or you have met who could be these characters. You think of who that woman is and what she means to you.  You start to look around the room and see these women looking at the same images you are, and you wonder if they see what you see.  Cindy has left the door wide open… you don’t know if she reveres or pities a particular character.  The logical voice in your head says her opinion is somewhere in between, but you know she has some opinion, and you know that she knows you will have an opinion as well.

You begin to think of women you know or you have met who could be these characters

Not only does one come to think about things in relation to other women known or met, but I also came to think about myself while looking at the pieces.  Cindy’s fashion work has its own interpretation on image and what role clothing can have… whether it supports or refutes the intention of that clothing is in many ways, once again, left up to the viewer.  I catch a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the glass for one of the prints, and start to question how much of my “look” comes from who I am deep inside, and how much is just what I want to project to other people.  I didn’t wash my hair or put on any mascara that day, but I’d be lying if I said my black jeans and South American vintage sweater weren’t put together with at least the smallest of intentions.  Effortless is kind of my jam, but I still want to look like a woman.

 I catch a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the glass for one of the prints, and start to question how much of my “look” comes from who I am deep inside

I just started kind of sort of seeing someone.  It’s new though, brand new, so there’s a lot of awkwardness in just getting to know each other.  That said, I do quite like him, so there’s also this dance of not letting myself like him too much, not letting on too much, and still having a great time when we’re together.  Who knows what will happen.  I live in Austin so seeing this show in Dallas was actually part of a larger trip home to DFW for my father’s 60th birthday, and a good friend’s baby shower.  Meaning that, I’ve been gone for a few days, so me and the guy haven’t talked since our last hang out.  I’m fine with that, I’m cool… but I come to the part of the exhibition that is my favorite, unexpectedly so.

It’s the centerfold series, which is all in a stereo format and brings to mind correlations between the images and cinema.  The dude is into film, we’ve had many a long chat, and I’m just overcome with the need to share something with him that has hit me like a ton of bricks with the show.  We text a bit back and forth, nothing special, when I realize I’m standing in front of the centerfold image of Cindy staring with a forlorn expression on her face as she waits by the telephone.  What the fuck.  I mean… you know Cindy is photographing all of these images, posing in all of these images, in a way that speaks to things that women encounter all the time.  As a woman, you relate to her images.  I’m aware of this.  It’s no secret.  But how could I be standing in front of an image made around the time of my birth and be confronted with my own modern-day identical scenario.

Details on the show and corresponding events 

Lindsay Hutchens

Lindsay Hutchens is an award winning photographer and burgeoning art educator living in Austin, Texas, whose perspective and style span a multitude of subject matter and medium. Brooks Institute of Photography graduate, former assistant to Lauren Greenfield, and until recently the Lomographic Ambassador to ATX, she cut her teeth photographing musicians on stage, on the road, in the studio, and at home.


Dallas-based photographer Matt Hawthorne recently shot several covers for JCPenney’s. Matt answered a few questions about the shoot for I Love Texas Photo.

ILTP: How did you get hired to do these JCPenney shoots?
I had worked with JCP in the past, shooting lots of their catalogs, mailers, and online imagery, even hired a couple of times to create the lighting diagrams for Spring and Winter that all studios shooting JCP would reference.  This time they were asking me to do much larger productions and bring my own style into the images.  My agent, Jen Butters, was definitely in the conversation for scheduling and billing, but JCP was a client that I had before shooting these covers.



ILTP: What was the process like of putting these shoots together? Did the JCPenney team tell you exactly what they wanted or was the process more collaborative?
JCP at that moment was working very rapidly throughout the entire process of conceptualizing the covers, to booking crew and talent, to shooting, post production, and straight to print, a matter of several weeks.  It was a very collaborative process, but deciding what the concept was going to be was handled by the creatives at JCP and when they were finally approved we would start the production process.  We would usually know only a few days before shooting what the concepts were for the next shoot giving us only a few days to hire set designers to construct sets and gets models figured out.  Luckily JCPenney has very good talent bookers that handle picking all talent and getting them scheduled, and incredible producers that book all crew while getting everything in order for studios, deliveries, and so on.  My role was to help bring the sketches from the art directors to life by deciding the scale and dimensions of everything, creating lighting scenarios for each cover, then making sure we stayed on track and brought the concepts to life just the way the Art Directors were envisioning.  We would also have 3 day shoots doing one cover per day, so while shooting one cover, set builders would be building the next days set behind the current set, it was Tetris in there constantly, trying to figure out how to design and manage such large sets.

Most sets had between 8-12 lights, one going up to 16 lights

ILTP: Could you talk a little about the equipment you used? What kind of cameras, lighting, etc?   
We used mainly Profoto gear with a few pieces of Broncolor, and the Canon 5d Mark ll for cameras.  Most sets had between 8-12 lights, one going up to 16 lights.  We were constantly hanging 20-40 foot sky backgrounds from the ceiling and also using cars.  Large studio spaces were a must to complete productions like these!


Norah Levine‘s project, Lifelines, is on display at City Hall in Austin.

Lifelines is a project dedicated to honoring the bond between people and their pets.  This multi-media exploration documents the unique lifestyle shared by people without shelter and the animals they rely on for companionship, protection, and in some cases, their emotional and psychological well-being.

For more information, click here.


Photographer Donna DeCesare has released her new book, Unsettled Desasosiego, and will be having an artist talk & book signing on April 25, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.2nd Floor Gallery, Benson Latin American Collection, SRH Unit 1, University of Texas, Austin, TX

For more information click here.


Austin-based photographer Kenny Braun recently shot the cover and story for Texas Monthly May 2013: The Hidden Coast.

Read below what Kenny had to say about the shoot.

“My assignment was to find a great beach scene with dunes, grass and water in the background on Padre Island National Seashore. I spent the day walking through the dunes, trying to heed the following advice given from the website: “If someone is injured in the backcountry and cannot reach medical attention on his or her own, he or she may not be found for a long time. Also, please be aware that rattlesnakes range throughout the island and therefore, although it is not illegal, visitors are advised to avoid walking in the dunes, grasslands, mudflats, and all other backcountry areas.”

The image used on the cover was from the Holga which was loaded with Kodak Portra VC400 film

I had my DSLR, Hasselblad and Holga cameras with me so that I could try different perspectives from each camera. The image used on the cover was from the Holga which was loaded with Kodak Portra VC400 film. I also held a polarizing filter over the lens for the shot.

Most of the time I don’t carry 3 different cameras with me on a shoot, especially if I’m going to be hiking and trudging through thick underbrush and deep sand, but this time I’m glad I did

Most of the time I don’t carry 3 different cameras with me on a shoot, especially if I’m going to be hiking and trudging through thick underbrush and deep sand, but this time I’m glad I did. My unpredictable, 18 year old Holga proved to be the right tool for the job.

The “Silver Kings” spread was shot off of a fishing boat with my DSLR during a calm, foggy sunrise in Aransas Pass. “

©Bruce Jackson

Free admission to the museum with mention this book event and Inside the Wire available for purchase at 40% off list price.

For more information click here.

©Bruce Jackson

Justin Clemons ©

Justin Clemons, a University of North Texas alumni, is an editorial and commercial photographer based out of Dallas. Some of Justin’s clients include Texas Monthly, NY Times, and American Airlines. While Justin travels some for work, he says he is most inspired by Texans!

How did you get started in photography? 
I started taking some photo classes in college, and enjoyed the classes so much that I just kept taking more and more until I decided to make it my major. Strangely, I never really considered myself very creative growing up. I was actually an embarrassment in high school art class, but I absolutely loved the process of creating. In college, I learned to loosen up and not to be so controlling, and I  also learned about design, composition, textures, concepts, etc.

The biggest component that pushed me into pursuing photography on a professional level was my professor Dornith Doherty.  She saw something in my work and told me that I could make it in the real world doing photography. I interned for a summer putting together kitchen appliances and cabinets to be photographed by a JCPenney’s photographer and loved every minute of it! During this time, I learned about lighting techniques, business strategies and dealing with clients, and I finally started to make the leap toward having my own business. From then on, I worked on building up my portfolio and started pursuing editorial work.

I think it’s really important to have your business and brand spread out like fingers in lots of different areas instead of just one single promotion tactic.

How do you manage the business side of photography? How do you promote yourself to potential clients?
Oh my gosh! So much time and energy is put into getting estimates together, producing jobs, managing assistants and crew, dealing with clients, billing, TAXES, post-production, promoting, updating websites, updating blogs, updating work on other websites and being active on social media. I am forced to do the business side. Business isn’t my strong suit, but I make it happen.

I think it’s really important to have your business and brand spread out like fingers in lots of different areas instead of just one single promotion tactic. I have both an editorial and an advertising list.  I try to do a printed piece about twice a year.  I am working on a magazine size promo piece at the moment. I am on some websites that show photographers and their work in order for creatives to go and find good shooters.  Some of these have a monthly fee and some are free like: PhotoServe , Wonderful Machine , and FoundFolios. Hopefully, I Love Texas Photo soon too, haha. Carissa (my rep) sets up lots of book showing at ad agencies and I try to stay pretty consistent with updating my blog.  Social media is playing a decent size role in promoting these days as well.  It’s just a good way of showing that you are busy shooting cool stuff and helps keep your name and work on people’s minds. I mostly use Instagram (@justinclemons).

What would your ideal/dream assignment be?
I recently shot a job for a publication called Whiskey Advocate. The piece was focused on a small whiskey distillery in Waco, TX called Balcones.

It was one of those jobs where at the end of the day, I got in bed thinking, “Today was a really amazing day!”  And then I thought, “I actually get paid to do this!”

It was just so much fun walking around this whiskey plant having Chip (head distiller and owner) explain the whole process while showing you the storage of old wood barrels and letting you taste all of their amazing whiskeys  (After I got my shot of course)! I love learning new things and experiencing new things. I love people that are specialists in what they do and love doing it – people that had a dream and followed it. So, maybe my dream job would be traveling around shooting people that are creating something they love and learning about their process while I’m there.

Justin Clemons ©

Why have you chosen Dallas as the place to work and be?
It’s pretty simple really… family. Dallas is where both my wife and I are from, so we have a huge web of friends and family around here.  It would be difficult to leave that behind.  And since graduating college in 2003, I have had 10 years of making connections and relationships in the Dallas photo world, connections that continue to lead to jobs. It would be really hard to start that whole process all over again somewhere else. I really like the people in Dallas. I just wish we had better weather and terrain.

Who have been or are your influences and mentors?
Like I said earlier, my professor Dornith Doherty was a huge mentor for me. I share studio space with Andy Klein, Scott Slusher and Matt Hawthorne, which is an amazing privilege. All three guys are extremely talented in different areas, and we all get along really well.  It is so helpful putting together a series or promo piece and being able to get them to come look at it and get their opinion. Specifically those who Influence my work and style, I would have to say people like…  Eric Ogden, Peter Yang, Dan Winters, Chris Buck, Chris Crisman and Julia Fullerton-Batten to name a few.

Where do you find inspiration in Texas?
I find inspiration in the people of Texas rather than a location.  There are some extremely talented and interesting people that are doing really creative things that I am challenged by.  If I were forced to name a place, I would have to say my backyard.  Just sitting back there on a nice day smoking a cigar and sipping on scotch relaxes me to the point that my mind can wonder.      

Justin Clemons ©

Do you feel that social media (twitter, facebook, and instagram) has impacted or changed the way you do business? Has it helped more than hurt?
For better or worse, it has changed things somewhat. Negatively, it adds another thing for me to do.  I always feel like I’m not Instagraming, tweeting or on Facebook enough.  I always feel behind in those areas, and when I do make time for it, it seems it’s when I’m at home or at dinner with my wife and daughter and should be paying attention to them. On the positive side, it is a way for people to see that I’m busy and I’m shooting interesting work.  Social media is a good way to keep on the front of job giving people’s minds.  I do have some art directors and creative directors I know that follow me on Instagram. It just raises their perception of you. When you are posting images from shoots or BTS shots from locations or you are just able to make everyday life look cool in photos, they put a higher value on you and your work.  They feel they can trust important shoots to you.

Who are some of your most recent or notable clients?
Some recent clients include: Texas Monthly, D Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine, DFW Airport, and Walmart.

When you are posting images from shoots or BTS shots from locations or you are just able to make everyday life look cool in photos, they put a higher value on you and your work.

What is the must have item in your camera bag aside from the camera? Most interesting thing in there?
Wrigley’s Doublemint gum is a must.  No matter how cool or good you are, if you got skanky breathe nobody wants to talk to you.

Justin Clemons ©

What goes into setting up a portrait shoot for you?

 I just like to be as prepared as possible, because I don’t like surprises.

I’ll answer this as if I was shooting an editorial portrait….

I want to shoot in a place that describes what they do visually, but isn’t cluttered or boring.  If people will give me the time, I try to show up at least an hour and a half before I am supposed to shoot the portrait.

When I get there, I meet the contact person and get them to give me a tour of the facility in order to scout where I want to shoot.  While I am doing this, my assistant is unloading all of the equipment from the vehicle.  I’ll pick out two locations (minimum) where we can shoot.  I explain to my assistant what lighting I want to use and where we will be shooting first, and we get to work putting it all up.

Once the lights are up and placed in the area I feel is good, my assistant stands in as the subject, and I photograph him. We make tweaks and changes until I’m excited about the image.  We will do this at the two or three locations I have picked before the subject arrives.

The subject is sometimes in a hurry and doesn’t have a whole lot of time to shoot, so we are as prepared as we can be.  If the subject is in a hurry or doesn’t like pictures, we still get good shots, because we have everything set. They can just walk up, shoot and they are done.  If the subject is cool and doesn’t mind pictures, its even better.

We can take our time, try different things, add in some relevant props, have him move around some, and get amazing shots. So much of it depends on the subject. But even if you have a boring, crabby subject, if you have cool composition, great lighting and interesting background, you can still get a good photo for your client.  I just like to be as prepared as possible, because I don’t like surprises.



Cody Hamilton is an Austin-based advertising and editorial photographer specializing in the creation of images with a visual twist and an off-beat humor. His style reflects his love of the great surrealist painters with a modern and clean aesthetic. He is also the founder of the newly-opened Whitebox Studio.

Are you from Austin originally?
I grew up in Wyoming and went to school at the Art Institute in Colorado. I lived in Missouri for a bit then moved to Austin about four years ago.

What inspired you to open a studio space?
It’s something I have always wanted to do. I’ve had the name for the studio in mind for about six years. The time finally came around, and we got the right people together to do it.

Is the main focus of the space to foster collaboration? Or was it to fill a void in the Austin studio scene?
Both. All the members wanted a space to create more community but also offer it as space to rent. More and more studios are closing which makes it harder to find a space to shoot in. So, that was a big motivational factor for me to get everybody together and to get us a space. I wanted something that was nice enough and that we could all afford. Collaboration and community are a big part of what we do.  Also, we’re hoping to do quarterly industry parties as soon as we get settled in a little more and finish building the studio.

Collaboration and community are a big part of what we do

I saw the “Making of” video on your Brew Methods project.  How did you come up with that concept?
Well, I was talking to my dad actually, about trying to come up with ideas on personal projects and he asked me what I was passionate about and of course, he knew that it’s photography and coffee. So that got me thinking of ways to try to showcase coffee that have not been done before and trying to do something that’s not cheesy or the typical coffee related photo. I played around with building some lettering before so that naturally came together. Then, building the words on the different ways of brewing coffee came after. It took a ton of time but it was fun… six pounds of coffee later.

How long did it take to produce from start to finish?
Since it was a personal project that I did on the side, it took about three months because it was done in the evenings in between jobs. The longest thing was gluing all the beans on. My wife helped a little with that but did not like gluing beans as much as I did. Then, the actual cutting of the letters and space structure actually only took a couple of days.

What is the best part of producing a new body of work, from conception to the finished product?
Actually doing it. Having people see the work is fun and hearing that they enjoy looking at it is great but for me my favorite part is the actual process. I started doing more and more constructed pieces to where it’s almost like creating sculptures and then photographing them. That’s probably one of my most favorite things about it because there is the challenge of figuring out how to do that but also how to do it in a way that photographs well. That’s why I’ve done some of the behind the scenes stop motion stuff because I want people to see that’s it’s not CGI. It’s actually being crafted versus being done on the computer. As good as CGI is there’s still this soul that’s missing from it.

What are your views on extreme postproduction in any of your images, advertising or otherwise?
I have nothing against excessive retouching as long as it’s done tastefully.

What is your thought process in set design as far as using props and developing color schemes? Do you have a background in set building?
As a kid, I grew up building different things. When I was in high school my dad and I built a log house. My grandpa was an electrician so he showed me how to wire the house. It was always a part of my life growing up and I like to apply that in my photography. Color scheme is important but I like to let my wife handle that. She’s the color guru.

Is there a new project that you’re working on now? If so, could you tell us about it?
I’m experimenting a lot right now trying to figure out how my style translates into motion. I’ve been avoiding the transition but there appears to be a need in the direction my clients are taking. Not necessarily full on commercialized videos but clips that can be used for additional billboards and things like that. My next project, I’m playing with the idea of that but nothing too specific yet. There will be something soon though.

I’m experimenting a lot right now trying to figure out How my style translates into motion.


How did you know you wanted to be an advertising photographer? Was it your first choice?
No, actually. It’s funny because if people were to look at my portfolio when I was in school, they would have had no clue that it was the same person. Everything in it was a lot of editorial portraits. So now if you look at my website you can’t find editorial portraits even though I still shoot them. Advertising just seemed to happen naturally. I always found myself going back towards my digital roots of Photoshop and retouching. Compositing was always a thing I loved doing in high school and it just seemed to rear it’s head up every now and then with whatever I was shooting at the time. After living here for a couple of years and getting a lot of guidance from Adam Voorhes, it definitely steered me in that direction. The same thing happened with The Butler Brothers. I sat down with Marty Butler one day and and asked him to look through my portfolio and give any advise he could muster. He specifically pointed out a lot of my conceptual work and said not many people in Austin can pull this off so perhaps focus there.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to pursue commercial photography?
I think specializing is a smart thing to do. It seems that people tend to generalize their work, but I think if you want to do advertising then specializing is a must because clients are going to come to you with a specific thing and you want to be the person they go to. I think if it’s too general they won’t come. Another is to shoot a ton and just shoot what you love.

I think specializing is a SMART thing to do

What photographers are you inspired by lately?
Simon Duhmal is one. Duhmal has a collaborative studio in Canada called Made of Stills. Duhmal and some of the other guys at Made of Stills do a lot of projects similar to what I do.

I am also drawn to the work of European photographers. I go to the site Ads of the World often, and I’m most drawn to the photographers from European counties like Poland and the Czech Republic. Brussels has a lot of cool work too. That whole area seems to be willing to take more risks in advertising.

Do you have any favorite photography books?
Archives’ 200 Best Advertising Photographers is my favorite thing on earth to flip through.

There are also great blogs out there like, A Photo Editor and No Plastic Sleeves.

What are your favorite places to hang out in Austin?

El Tacorrido Drive-thru and Salvation Pizza are some of my favorites.

I also like hanging out at the dog park with my daughter and dog.

Editor notes:
Whitebox Studio has one more spot open & they’re looking for someone that can fill it. They also want students that are looking for internship possibilities and maybe have collaboration with surroundings schools with that.

+ Get ready! Whitebox Studio will be having Grand Opening party as soon as they finish the last of the construction process.



Matt Wright-Steel recently sent some tear sheets our way. The first tear is from Texas Monthly, April 2013 and the second is Rigamorale Spring/Summer 2013 (Corporate publication for Diamond Offshore). Below is what Matt had to say about each shoot.

TxMonthly Tear:

“At the end of March, I was contacted by photo editor Leslie Baldwin to create an image for their Lead section. Creative Director, Tj Tucker had already comped together an image, which was great as they needed the photo produced and turned around in three days.

Being this is Texas and we have a rather well defined iconography, we needed an old truck with a gun rack and a couple of Texas pride bumper stickers, in particular the “Come and Take It” motto of our independence.

I sourced a truck from a friend of friend who works in construction and had mentioned to me a few weeks back that one of his workers had a great old Ford truck. It never hurts to keep a running mental list of props, locations, and faces. I borrowed a few guns from friends and headed out to a Ranch in Driftwood to shoot.

The driver in the truck is Austin photographer, Evan Prince who works as my assist on occasion; that is his personal LBJ hat.

Post-production was performed by Gretchen Hilmers.

I love this image, it would be a great album cover.”

Click here to read the article.


Rigamarole Tear:

“This  was an interesting shoot.

I was contacted by Houston based agency, Rigsby-Hull to make a series of portraits for Diamond Offshore’s corporate magazine, Rigamarole. The assignment was to make a series of portraits with similar lighting to work I had done for LIVESTRONG a month earlier. The subject was a group of seasoned industry folks, who act as an ‘advance team’ when the company sets up offshore drilling operations in new global territories. These individuals are seldom in the same place at the same time and the art director and company wanted to capture all of them while they were in town, we kept the shoot simple and shot in a conference room at the company headquarters.

I love assignments like this, you get to meet interesting people and rather than having a bloated production team of hair and make-up, stylist, ADs, CDs, etc you get real folks in their own clothes and their own style. It is an enjoyable challenge to get people, who are not often photographed, to relax and work with you to get the moment you need and make them look their best.

Its corporate, but has an approachable modern feel.”

©Joel Sartore

National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore will be speaking at The Long Center on April 22, 2013. Click here for more details.

©Joel Sartore