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What serendipitous timing! Wade Griffith just shared new work he shot for the Houston edition of the Wallpaper* City Guides. I’ve been daydreaming of a weekend trip to the oil town for a while, now I know all the best places to check out!

 

Wade shared his experience with ILTP:
I have photographed 5 travel guides for Wallpaper* – Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston and most recently Austin. For each guide I’m the main photographer on the project and usually spend two weeks in each city photographing around 60 venues that include restaurants, hotels, landmarks, architecture, retail shops, spas, sports venues, a portrait of a city insider, a panoramic of downtown and the best of the city in 24 hours.

 

Since there was already a guide produced for Houston in 2008, I was only shooting an update for this one. The writer from Texas, Jim Parsons, spent several weeks in Houston scouting it out for the best new places to include. Based on his recommendations a shot list of 25 new venues was created for me by Elisa Merlo, the photography editor, who is based in London, UK. I was given around 5 venues a day to photograph and a contact name and time to be there, along with instructions on what to photograph.

All photos are shot in an architectural style. Wide angle, very clean, no cars or people, natural light and not styled. Emphasis always remains on architectural interior/exterior and design. The guide includes large pictures on each page along with a small paragraph of information below it. I photographed Houston in November of 2013 and the guide is now available as of June 2014.

 

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Bayou skate park

Austin-based Julia Robinson recently traveled to Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico for The New York Times travel section. She shared her experience with ILTP:

(all photos © Julia Robinson, more photos after the jump)

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“I recently had one of those dream assignments to photograph Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico for the New York Times travel section. The writer took a first-person, travelogue approach to the story which gave me a blank canvas to fill in the sweeping vistas of the tiny village just across the border from Big Bend National Park. The border had recently reopened to tourists after a 11-year closure after 9/11.

I visited the town as a kid, mucking through the shallow Rio Grande with a childhood friend and her family. I don’t remember much from that trip – enchiladas with a warm bottle of Mexican coke, an onyx horse statue I bought from the restaurant, colorful buildings, dusty streets, and the sing song tone of Spanish that I had yet to learn.

Twenty years later, little has changed. The streets are still unpaved, many houses have spotty electricity, though some sport new solar panels. The colors have different, but remain variations of wow.

I walked up the hill into town, into Falcon’s and found a row of onyx horses in the window, just as I remembered them. The owner, Lilia, had taken over the restaurant from her father, Boquillas’ most famous resident, after he died in 2000. We talked for a few hours on the patio of the restaurant facing the main street through town.

The handful of tourists were gone for the day (the border closes at 6pm), and I was staying overnight in the room of a local I met on the horse ride up from the river. For all the pretty and empty travel pictures to be made in a place like Boquillas, it was this connection to Lilia that made the trip for me. Her uncle had just arrived from Midland, Texas – his first trip back since the border closed in 2002.

In a few hours, I was standing with Lilia and her uncle in a family cemetery, visiting her father’s grave and listening to them telling stories in the fading twilight. The photos of Lilia and her uncle didn’t run in the travel piece. Too emotional? Too specific? Too off-topic from the easy, breezy travelogue from the writer? The east-coast editors never say, but these are the photos that fulfill me as a journalist.

You better believe I’m going back.”

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iltp spring happy hour copy

Thursday, April 17th
6-8pm
Lee Harvey’s 

It’s I Love Texas Photo’s second Dallas meet-up! We’re getting together with area photographers, photography lovers and other creatives to get social and grab a drink. The last one was a blast so come out and join us!

The first round is being generously sponsored by The Photo Division!! 

We’ll be giving away 2 ILTP T-Shirt’s.

Please RSVP on Facebook.

 

This post also appeared on Pro Photo Daily

SXSW Interactive is one big photo op. In fact, the event turns Austin, Texas, into a playground of image making every March. There are the Instagram meet-ups and street-style portrait studios, and of course lots of brands with a big presence on the streets, urging passersby to post a photo of their products to Twitter.

Inside the convention center where the event is held, the lineup of panels related to content and audience engagement gave promise that the conversation would turn toward the economics of being a content creator. But unlike the SXSW music conference, which has a large panel on enforcing copyright, this year’s Interactive conference did not really touch on the business of being a photographer.

escalator

One exception was Getty Images, which had a large presence to coincide with the recent controversial announcement about the company’s new embed tool, which will make most of its archive available to blogs for free. The massive crowds of content-hungry bloggers and brands at the conference were the perfect audience for Getty, which conveniently did not have to address the many photographers who are unhappy with the move.

convention center lounge

One of the ideas floating around the conference came from the ZERO Paid Media presentation, where Joseph Jaffe and Maarten Albarda were quick to point out that the advertising market could soon reach a saturation point that is unsustainable—which of course would have a huge impact of the photography industry and other businesses, since monetizing content (online and off) now depends almost exclusively on advertising.

Jaffe and Albarda are the authors of a book (crowdfunded at Kickstarter) called Z.E.R.O: Zero Paid Media as the New Marketing Model. ZERO stands for Zealots (advocacy), Entrepreneurship (innovation), Retention (customer-centricity) and Owned Assets (direct to consumer channels), and, simply put, they think the future for content creators lies in cutting out distribution channels and paid advertising and instead promoting and delivering products directly to customers. Jaffe touted Beyoncé as the “queen of ZERO paid marketing,” for instance.

makeshift office

In light of Getty’s move to generate revenue (through ad sales and data collection) on the backs of photographers’ content, the idea of photographers distributing their content directly sounds promising. Photographers are the “O” in ZERO (they own the assets), but they lack a product that the general public will pay for. People will pay to listen to Beyoncé’s albums—even if vast numbers of them still illegally download them.

“If you have a great product, and you have fans, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy” said Jaffe. Sounds like an easy formula, but for most photographers, I don’t see how it works out. Photographers have in fact been trying to reach customers directly, through crowdfunding, self-publishing, and print sales, but it’s a hard battle to wage when you are a freelancer responsible for all aspects of your business.

The idea of monetizing content came up, briefly, at the Instagramming the News panel, which drew large lines to an almost packed 800-seat ballroom. Panelists included Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder (@dguttenfelder), Time magazine (@time) Director of Photography Kira Pollack, and Instagram Community Manager Dan Toffey (@dantoffey).

It was Toffey who mentioned people selling prints of their Instagram photos directly to fans through Instacanvas (now Twenty20) and similar sites. But beyond that, most of the talk centered around the work that Time, Guttenfelder, and a handful of other photographers with compelling Instagram accounts are doing.

Guttenfelder talked about his roots in photojournalism as a staff photographer for the Associated Press, and why he joined Instagram. “The photographers who I admire the most were not participating in this space when I started. I didn’t want to be left out of the conversation,” he said.

When AP opened an office in North Korea in 2012, he became the only western photographer with regular access to the country. “I’m able to get beyond the scripted, guarded version of the country,” he said. “I use my phone when I want to be discreet or when I want to post something that I wouldn’t put on the AP wire.”

Not surprisingly, given North Korea’s lockdown on communication within the country, Guttenfelder added, “Until last March it was against the law to bring any mobile device into the country. I had Internet access, unlike pretty much everyone else in the country. Then they opened a 3G network, and I could post pictures from the streets. This opened up a whole new world professionally for me.”

@dguttenfelder

@dguttenfelder

The North Korean government does not preview or censor Guttenfelder’s work. But, he said, “We have difficult discussions after they see it published.”

Toffey told the audience that his job is to tell the story of the Instagram community by showcasing the diverse events that are being documented. “We try to shape people’s view of Instagram,” he explained.

How news coverage is featured at Instagram is a topic of much discussion within the company, he said—especially lately with the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. Unlike Guttenfelder, whose job is to travel to wars and natural disasters, everyday users on Instagram can show a glimpse of their lives in a different way. This is especially important in areas like Syria that are, as Pollack pointed out, “severely under-reported. Many of the images [we see] are from the activists”.

Toffey shared images from Malek Blackhatoviche, aka @syriandeveloper. Backhatoviche, who describes himself in his Instagram profile as a “Freedom Fighter,” started posting pictures before the Syrian civil war exploded. “I was being brought along on this person’s existence,” he said. “There would be four or five photos of rubble and then a cat photo.” The images by Blackhatoviche allow viewers to ride along amid the chaos. “The dust hasn’t settled in his photos,” Toffey added. And unlike a journalist who needs to maintain a neutral stance, individuals can caption and hashtag images that show they are not unbiased viewers.

On the domestic front, Toffey highlighted the images of Instagram user @greggboydston, a USFS Hotshot and brewery worker in Mammoth Lakes, California. His feed, a mix of backcountry snow sports, hanging out with friends, and fighting fires, gives people an intimate look at his life.

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@greggboydston,

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@greggboydston,

Pollack shared the feed of @satyaar, whose work was discovered when he started following the Instagram account of Time’s international photo editor. “As an editor, you’re finding talent in places you wouldn’t know. He’s an interesting example of the kind of people you find when you go down the rabbit hole of people’s feeds,” Pollack said.

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@satyaar,

All three panelists talked enthusiastically about the speed by which images can be distributed through Instagram. Guttenfelder reflected on covering Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. “Photographers cover natural disasters because we want to get an immediate response from people by photographing the needs on the ground. I wasn’t prepared for how immediate [the response] was. Filipinos were so grateful that I was using [Instagram].”

Guttenfelder posted photos of a Filipino hospital with no neonatal care. “They moved all these babies into a chapel and [were] manually pumping oxygen to try and keep them alive. The commenters rallied to get a generator there,” he said. “It was an immediate response in a way I wasn’t prepared for. This started lots of conversations about the power of this immediacy.”

Time’s Hurricane Sandy coverage also leveraged Instagram’s speed. “We put five photographers on assignment,” said Pollack. “It was a highly visual story and we gave the photographers the keys to the car. These pictures moved so fast. We were seeing the images for the first time as [the photographers] were filing.”

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The idea that everyone is experimenting, and that no one has any real answers about the impact of Instagram, came up repeatedly. Asked what Instagram’s role in the future of news photography was, Toffey mused, “We’re still trying to figure out where we fit in.”

In the world of photography, many groups and organizations work to promote photographic education and serve as a platform for up-and-coming photographers; we have the American Society of Media Professionals, the American Photographic Artists, Professional Photographers of America, and the Society for Photographic Education to name just a few. While any group of like-minded individuals with a common goal aids in bring new ideas and conversations to existence, arguably none has been as influential or as hard working as FotoFest.

Dating back to 1983, FotoFest was already a promising organization with its highly-regarded co-founders Frederick Baldwin and Wendy Watriss. Born in Switzerland, Frederick Baldwin moved to the United States at a young age and served as a Marine in Korea where he would later receive two Purple Heart Medals for wounds taken in battle. His early years were spent freelancing for such behemoths as Life, National Geographic, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, and many more. By 1981 Baldwin was teaching at the University of Texas at Austin in the School of Communications and also directed the Photojournalism program at the University of Houston. That same year, Wendy Watriss was presented with the prestigious Oskar Barnack Award for her work that exposed the effects of Agent Orange as experienced by Vietnam Veterans. After receiving the award from Leica Camera AG at the oldest European photography festival, the Rencontres Photographiques d’Arles, Wendy along with Frederick Baldwin and the European gallery director Petra Beneteler incorporated FotoFest into the Houston, TX photographic ecosystem.

FotoFest 1 Pic Credit W_Pickering

Photo by Walter Pickering

Since, FotoFest has served the community of photographers through fourteen international biennial exhibitions, numerous educational programs such as Literacy through Photography, international exchange programs, and the coveted portfolio reviews referred to as The Meeting Place. Together along with various multi-cultural organizational spin-offs, FotoFest serves as the most important platform for new ideas, exchanges in inter-cultural art, and looks to the future to sustain a relevant interest in all photographic happenings around the globe. for new ideas, exchanges in inter-cultural art, and looks to the future to sustain a relevant interest in all photographic happenings around the globe.

For the Fifteenth FotoFest Biennial, VIEW FROM INSIDE, the world takes a look at contemporary Arab photographic art and highlights 49 Arab artists from 13 different countries. With the War on Terror in the Middle East still fresh in American’s minds, this collection of work showcases introspection and expression from a culture that most Americans have yet to experience. “This generation of artists grew up when satellite television, photo digital technologies, the internet and social media became widespread in the Arab world,” says FotoFest Senior Curator Wendy Watriss. With the internet and social media offering channels between different cultures, it’s not the differences but the similarities that will most likely be talking points for discussions among students and artists, alike. This year’s biennial also comes on the heels of the new executive director, Steven Evans. As a revered artist and curator, Evans looks to bring a fresh vision to the organization but intends to keep the basic principles of spreading knowledge the same.

FotoFest is a biennial multimedia festival that is held in Houston, TX. There are various reasons as to why artist attend each year, whether you want to network, experience new culture or view amazing art. Creators have their most recent work reviewed; empowered and enlightened minds will be surrounding the event giving them a chance to connect with other well-known artist. Curators, art buyers, book editors, and art enthusiast will be attending assuring that countless opportunities to network ¬¬will be available. In addition, you can admire the work of talented artists that had the privilege of being selected for such a prestigious exhibit. Each artist creates a body of work that impacts the viewer making it an invigorating experience that will last long after the event is over.

“What’s great about FotoFest is the photographers and artists that you meet. They fly from all over the world and sometimes it’s a once and a lifetime chance to meet certain people. There are friends that I’ve met at FotoFest that I still keep in touch with today.”- Photographer, Walker Pickering

 

Karin Adrian Von Roques, a renowned curator, will be providing her assistance and knowledge of middle-eastern art. She studied Islamic history and has a background in contemporary Arabic and Iranian art cultures.

“The FotoFest 2014 Biennial will be the first presentation of contemporary photo-based and video art from the Arab countries to be done in the United States in recent years. We are looking at the work of the most important artists from several Arab countries.” – Curator, Karin Adrian Von Roques\

FotoFest 3 Pic Credit W_Pickering

Photo by Walter Pickering

 

Other programs and events include Arab conferences, lectures and symposiums. Topics to be discussed are: The History of Visual Art and Photography in the Arab World, Photography in the Arab World Today, Religion and Spirituality in Contemporary Art, The Role of New Media in Contemporary Art, and Gender Art in the Middle East and North Africa. This will be held Saturday March 29, 2014 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH). Artists will be presenting to local schools, colleges and universities. Arab literature, music, poetry and films will also be showcased at the event. Visit http://2014biennial.fotofest.org/ to stay informed on all dates and locations.

FotoFest 2 Pic Credit W_Pickering

Photo by Walter Pickering

Arab exhibitions will be held from March 15 – April 27 2014. The following are the four venues where the art will be displayed and open to the general public.

Spring Studios, 1824 Spring Street, Houston, TX 77007
Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street, Houston, TX 77007
Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards Street, Houston, TX 77007
Williams Tower, 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056

2014 Texas Photo RoundUp Social Media Panel. Photo courtesy of David Weaver.

2014 Texas Photo RoundUp Social Media Panel. Photo courtesy of David Weaver.

I attended the Texas Photo Roundup Panel: Social Media, Brands and Photographers last week in Austin. Moderated by A Photo Editor’s Rob Haggart, the panel included talent from across the country. Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography at The New Yorker, presented work from The New Yorker’s two Instagram accounts. The @newyorkermag account is PR focused and supports the magazine. The @newyorkerphoto account pays a day rate for photographers to take over the account for a week at a time. The latter works as a supplemental publishing platform and highlights the photographers with whom the magazine assigns print work. Johnson said allowing photographers this kind of freedom is a risk for The New Yorker; but it allows them to publish in real-time, even faster than on their own website. She showed some compelling photography by Radcliffe Roye who was shooting for her during Superstorm Sandy. Conflict photographer Benjamin Lowy captured our attention with some serious (and occasionally hilarious) images and insight. Lowy discussed Instagram as a publishing platform and also as a photographer’s legacy.

Without our pictures, the story doesn’t exist. They need us.

Lowy also discussed the state of being a photographer in the digital age.  “Sometimes we get treated as the help… but without our pictures, the story doesn’t exist. They need us.” The conversation often changed to photographer’s rights and compensation, which is always on our minds. Lowy even challenged The New Yorker’s rates at one point during the discussion; to which Johnson replied: “We’re really lagging behind (on updating photographer’s day rates).” The discussion then moved into the audience, where an editor for Bloomberg maintained that it’s up to photo directors to push for higher rates for photographers. “The day rate hasn’t changed since 1984,” Lowy replied.

A modern vibrant brand is passionately visual, speaks fluently agnostic of platform, and is a true patron of the arts.

Maury Postal is an eloquent and inspired Associate Creative Director from Ogilvy, who presented some beautiful work and philosophy from a campaign he produced with The Lincoln Motor Company. Postal has a unique, forward approach towards visual branding. He not only challenges his clients to see differently but also his photographers. Postal asserted that a modern vibrant brand is passionately visual, speaks fluently agnostic of platform, and is a true patron of the arts. Mobile photography superstar Steph Goralnick let us in on her secrets of luck, collaboration, and building a six digit social media following. Postal reminded us that quality is just as important as quantity. The panel also discussed what to post: where and how often; from Instagram to Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook (with its punishing algorithms). Lowy commented that awareness of your following can sometimes get the best of you. Knowing what is going to get you likes versus what will get you unfollowed can start to inform what you choose to post. Matt Heindl from Razorfish presented a unique interactive campaign for Mercedes in which the photographer with the most likes got to keep the car he was loaned for the project. You can view the campaign here, they might even let you borrow the car.

Social media is the new print.

Overall takeaway: Social media is the new print, and creatives are challenging their clients to do new things. Advertising is being reinterpreted as well as how we publish editorial photography. This evolution into social media commands the ongoing conversation about fair compensation for photographers. That conversation has to include informing clients of the value in paying fair rates, especially when photographers can bring in potential clients from their own following. It was definitely an impressive panel of experts this year and it would be an honor to work with any of them.

We are so excited to be hosting our first fundraiser, with 100% of proceeds benefitting SafePlace, at the kick off party for the 3rd annual Texas Photo Roundup.

Nationally and internationally recognized Texas photographers have donated prints for the auction including Dan Winters, Jody Horton, Wyatt McSpadden and many more. Agave Print has generously donated printing services and Hops & Grain and Treaty Oak will provide libations for the evening. ALC Steaks will be on hand to share their signature appetizers.

In keeping with ILTP’s mission of giving back to the Texas community, 100% of proceeds from the auction will go to SafePlace. Safe Place is an Austin-based non profit that provides safety for individuals and families affected by sexual and domestic violence. They have been working in Austin for 40 years, providing extensive community outreach, education and prevention programs.

Here are just a few of the prints that you can bid on! Bidding will take place Thursday, February 28, 7:30 – 9:30pm. Hope to see you there!

GSD&M
828 West 6th Street
Austin, Texas 78703
7:30 – 10:30 pm (bidding from 7:30 – 9:30 pm)

Parking available in the parking garage directly behind GSD&M (enter on Henderson).

Huge thanks to Jennifer Whitney for organizing this print auction!

AVoorhees

© Adam Voorhes

DDarling

©Dennis Darling

LKrantz

© Lisa Krantz

Scott_Dalton

© Scott Dalton

 

safeplace_sponsors

Who: Jeff Stephens

What: D Magazine Home Design Special Issue

Jeff Stephens ©

Jeff Stephens ©

Jeff Stephens ©

Jeff Stephens ©

Wood styled by Jay Evers

Blue Tape was a personal project.

Special thanks to all of the sponsors of the 2014 Texas Photo Roundup!

  

    

      

      

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Media Sponsors

      

Creative Community Support by
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The Roundup is right around the corner (Feb 27 – March 1) and although many events are sold out, there are still some great, and affordable, opportunities to be a part of the festivities.

The following events are $10 or less, or free!

 

Thursday:
Behind the scenes tour of Magnum Collection at Ransom Center - Free but Space is limited so you MUST Register. (Update: As of 2/14/14 this event is sold out)

 

Public kick off party at GSD&M - Free Space is limited so you MUST RSVP.

Friday:

Guerrilla Marketing, presented by Photoshelter - Free for ACP, ASMP and Photoshelter members, $10 for others

 

Larry Fink lecture and book signing - ACP Members $5, ASMP Members, Students, Military, Retired $15, Non-members $25

 

©LarryFink_Fashion, Detour_1-99(Plimpton)

Saturday:

Websites that Work, presented by Wonderful Machine - Free for ACP, ASMP and Wonderful Machine members, $10 for others

 

 

© Scott Newton

© Scott Newton

 

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© Dennis Burnett
We’d love for you to join us! Registration links at http://www.texasphotoroundup.com/register