September 9, 2014

BIZ of photography- Copyright- that sticky issue!

I recently found this blog post through an alumni posting for the Rhode Island School of Design. The author- Greg Kanaan, is a RISD alum like myself. He went from working in the arts to being a lawyer for the arts- which is kinda cool. Copyright is such a tricky issue- that is why what he says makes sense- always good to consult a lawyer- a professional. As a photographer, our copyrights are our assets.  They are part of our business so it is important to manage those rights carefully. Anyway- here is what Greg says:  And dont' forget to check out his blog: thelegalartist.

Advice From Attorney > Info From Internet > Nothing

Advice From Attorney > Info From Internet > Nothing
Happy Friday dear readers! I had a post planned this week about the whole GamerGate debacle sweeping through Twitter like wildfire, but then my wife went into labor on Monday night and long story short, I’m a dad now and all my energy has been spent taking care of my wife and infant daughter Hannah.
But in the very little downtime I’ve had at the hospital, I found this chart online and thought I’d share it with you. It lays out in fairly clear terms when you can and cannot use someone else’s copyrighted work. I initially hesitated to share this chart because while the information is generally correct, the law in reality is never this clear cut, and reducing it to a simple phrase or image can be a dangerous proposition. As I wrote last October:
I like to give away lots of free legal information on this blog because I think it’s important for artists to have a basic understanding about how the law interacts with them. I was once in your shoes. I’ve had my ideas stolen, my copyrights compromised, and been in situations where a little legal knowledge could have saved me from a jam or two. At the same time, you can’t cut lawyers entirely out of the equation simply because you possess that knowledge. Legal information without analysis is just raw data. It can’t give you advice or insight. It can’t examine your specific situation and provide you with synthesized options based on that data (i.e. just because you know the fair use factors doesn’t mean you know how to apply them). No two situations are the same and everyone’s needs will differ depending on a variety of unforeseeable factors. Only a properly trained lawyer familiar with your circumstances will be able to navigate that minefield.
This is a reasonable view and I stand by it. Law without anlysis is just data, and data without analysis is useless. That said, I’m sharing this chart anyway because some of you may not have the finances to hire a lawyer, and having some information is better than having none. In fact, I’ve whittled it down to a pretty simple formula.

Advice From Attorney > Info From Internet > Nothing

So hang onto this chart and use it when you need to, but just remember that this is only part of the story and it may not apply to your situation. Be careful out there and call me or another qualified attorney if you have any questions about what this all means.
I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on GamerGate and some other recent news items. Until then, Cheers!

September 3, 2014

"Essences of Wine" Gets Published and Already Some Press

Wine: Vinography's Alder Yarrow pens first book

Alder Yarrow is widely regarded as the original and most 
influential wine blogger on the Internet. His award-winning site, 
Vinography, has been around for nearly 11 years, and in 2011, he 
was a finalist for the James Beard journalism award.
Yarrow has managed to lead this niche by blogging only at night. By day, he is the chief experience officer at Cibo, a brand experience agency whose clients include Tesla and Volcom. Before that, Yarrow ran his own interactive design and strategy consulting firm.
Now after more than a decade online, Yarrow has turned his attention to print, marrying his eye for design and penchant for poetic writing into a 150-page hardcover coffee table book that celebrates the singular flavors and aromas found in wine.
James Beard award-winning wine blogger Alder Yarrow, photographed here atop Mount Etna in Napa, has written his first book, "The Essence of
James Beard award-winning wine blogger Alder Yarrow, photographed here atop Mount Etna in Napa, has written his first book, "The Essence of Wine," due out in October. (Courtesy of Alder Yarrow)
"The Essence of Wine" which was funded via Kickstarter, is due out in October. Half the copies of the self-published book have been presold; the rest will be available for $70
By all accounts, this book is Yarrow's baby (especially since daughter, Sparrow, is now 6). It is odd to hear an Internet pioneer speak so lovingly about "durable library binding" and paper quality -- Mohawk ProLine Pearl Photo 140#, "the highest quality photo paper I can get" -- but Yarrow is guilty as charged: He's an old-school book nerd.
Books "have a special place in my life," Yarrow says. "I grew up without a television, and I still don't have one. I've read voraciously my entire life, and have always read books."
What's so special about this book? The title is benign, but wait until you see the vignettes. Yarrow captures 47 aromas and flavors, everything from wet stones to violets, cured meats and salty sea air, in romantic, succinct descriptions accompanied by the gorgeous photography of award-winning food photographer Leigh Beisch. Have a taste of graphite:
"There may come a time when, like the clack of a typewriter or the stutter of a rotary phone, children do not recognize the smell of a freshly sharpened Number 2 Ticonderoga or FaberCastell," he writes. "In the wine world, the scent of graphite might as well be the scent of money, as it most often emanates from the alchemy of expensive wood and wine. Cabernet kissed with finely toasted French oak most often proves the source of such aromas."
He follows each description with eight wine recommendations featuring that aroma or flavor. "Editing those was like stabbing myself with a fork over and over," Yarrow confesses. "Making them consistent, making sure they were widely available and spelled correctly. I'm just really anal retentive." And, unlike with a blog, you can't post a correction.
Arty and poetic, "The Essence of Wine" is Vinography blogger Alder Yarrow’s first book. It was 100 percent funded through his Kickstarter
Arty and poetic, "The Essence of Wine" is Vinography blogger Alder Yarrow's first book. It was 100 percent funded through his Kickstarter campaign. (Courtesy of Alder Yarrow)
"The Essence of Wine" actually began in January 2012 as a blog collaboration with Beisch and art director Sara Slavin. Yarrow posted one or two a week, and they quickly became one of the most popular features on the blog. "But the photos and prose were meant to be savored one after the other, and that was difficult to do online," he says.
Publishers have been clamoring to ink a book deal with Yarrow for years, but when he offered them the idea, he got shut down.
"They all thought it was too arty," he says.
Last November, Yarrow launched a Kickstarter campaign and sought out a designer and copy editor to meet his standards. The book features a laminated four-color dust jacket with front and back flaps and a printed spine. The cover is made of a hard-wearing cotton blend that has been coated with water-based acrylic for extra resiliency. Such details make Yarrow proud.
For those who prefer to read books digitally, he has produced a high-resolution eBook version, available for $35 at How does Yarrow compare working in both media?
"(Print) is certainly a different mode," he says. "When I blog, I sit down for three hours and it's out and gone. This was a major project. But the book is gorgeous. It's everything I hoped it would be."

May 26, 2014

Feeling Human

When you create art, you must reflect on it. Thinking about what it is to be an artist occupies a lot of time. My teachers along the way have made it clear that as an artist you have to be willing to share your humanity. To not be afraid to reveal yourself in some way. If you are to reveal something true about yourself you need to know who you are and your weaknesses- your humanity. Every year on May 26th I feel my humanity, my loss, my sacrifice, my pain. It may seem sappy- get over it- move on. This is the day I lost my mother to breast cancer four years ago. Each year this day rolls around I remember the pain of losing her. It makes me human, it makes me feel weak. It makes me understand loss. It makes me feel human. I share her poems on this day because in them she is not afraid to show her humanness though her observations of simple moments. Her poetry not only reveals something new about her every time I read them, but they make me look more carefully at the life around me. Each thing gurgling up a new truth. Sharing her poetry lets me keep her alive and show others what a beautiful mind she had.  I am not posting a photo for this entry as the poem conjured up it's own image.

Animal Uncertainty
Spotted at the edge of a clearing, the doe
freezes and in that moment of hesitation,
carelessly exposes a brown flank
with all the insouciance of a woman undressing.

She lifts a delicate hoof and then
reurns it to the snow with all the grace
of someone who was born to run. Once, long ago,
I watched and elephant near Madison Square Garden

being coaxed up onto a ramp. He carefully
placed his giant foot down, then stepped slowly back,
remembering, perhaps, a former collapse.
The elephant knows his great weight in the world,

how the earth opens up, sometimes without warning.
So much of our lives, we spend paralyzed
by indecision, or excessive ambition.
On good days, we go forward...

And sometimes, that elephant's look comes back,
that great moving mountain of animal sorrows
in moonlight in Manhattan. And that memory of that
midnight scene, that exquisite moment of

an elephant remembering.

  © June Beisch Here is a link to a video of her last reading- only 3 months before she passed away.
June Beisch Reading

May 20, 2014

Blogger Baker Cookbook Shoot for Shauna Sever

I wanted to share a post that one of my blogger clients just wrote. We just wrapped a cookbook shoot for her latest book which was heaps of fun. I am still dreaming of the delicious things we photographed. Included are some behind the scene photos I took during the project.
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Hi hi! I'm writing today for no other reason than I've been missing you guys and this space and wanted to keep you updated on everything that's been going on in the Piece of Cake kitchen and beyond, lest you think I've been trapped under something heavy. Of course there's the business of that behemoth called cookbook number three, which, if you've been following on Twitter or Facebook, you've heard about plenty already. Sometimes I share actual details specific to the book, other times I just reveal personal neuroses:
— Shauna Sever (@shaunasever) March 14, 2014 In any case, I am officially in the homestretch of creating this third title, all baking and sweet treat making with natural, unrefined, and lower-refined sugars. No white sugar, no corn syrup. Basically a complete 180 from my first book, which ran completely on the white stuff. But for me, baking is about playing with all kinds of ingredients and every type of sugar, and it turns out that stepping away from the usual suspects can make all kinds of delicious things happen.
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April 1, 2014

Crowd Funding a Book and the Power of Social Media- Essences of Wine by Alder Yarrow Gets Over Funded Through Kickstarter

For the past year I have been collaborating on a project with popular wine blogger Alder Yarrow. His writing, the subject matter and his formidable following online made the project very appealing. It proved to be an extremely gratifying subject to photograph over the course of a year. Working for a relatively new medium (the blog) was interesting as well. It's potential for exposure is enormous, and yet because blogs generally are authored by one person and therefore reflect one person's voice, they tend to allow for creativity and exploration.

The culmination of the project has taken book form. With that said, a Kickstarter campaign was launched and Essences of Wine is now over-funded. The beauty of crowd sourcing is that as an artist, writer, film maker, dancer, inventor, educator or whatever, you are not limited to the traditional avenues of getting your work out there- you have an opportunity to follow your creative instincts and see if there is an audience for it. This is important for all creatives and I am grateful that things like Kickstarter and Blurb Books have opened up the possibilities for both the creators and the audiences.

March 4, 2014

Photo Studio Experience - A Client's Experience of My Studio

I wanted to share a post from my Rep, Heather Elder's blog: Notes from a Rep's Journal. She put together a nice perspective from one of my clients who took some lovely photos while attending one of our shoots at my studio.


Travis Kramer is the Creative Director at Blacktop Creative.  He is a wonderful client and has become a great friend to Leigh Beisch, her studio and our office.  On a recent shoot, he took out his phone and captured some nice moments and interesting perspectives at Leigh’s studio.  Leigh has always said how important it is to her for clients to feel at home in the space, and obviously Travis does.
What one word would you use to describe Leigh’s Studio?
 Where is your most favorite spot in the studio?
The back Garden. Great for lunch, conference calls, or just a change of scenery.
What do you think client’s most like about the space?
Shooting at Leigh’s is the “anti-studio” experience. It’s not stressful. It’s not cold and expansive. It’s a very professional experience but with a homelike environment. It’s charming, intimate and thoughtful.
What’s the best afternoon treat the studio provides?
The Latte’s. They should consider opening a coffee shop next door.
What is your favorite season to shoot at Leigh’s studio?
Fall, when the leaves in the garden change and the apples come off the tree.
Thank you Travis.

February 5, 2014

Infused Liqueurs Cookbook Out Now!

I am always excited when one of the cookbooks I work on gets published. Looking through the freshly printed pages is like looking through a yearbook-bringing back the memories of each shot. Since Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits by Andrew Schloss is a book for the "home mixologist" we wanted to be approachable and inspirational with the photography. That allowed for playfulness with color, presentation, ingredients and packaging. Bringing the idea of gifting into the shots added another dimension to the project. I like to take that idea and treat it in an elegant way, supporting rather than downplaying the recipe. With all the array of interesting bottles and jars out there we had some great choices to support this without getting too cluttered or too craftsie. In the end it was a project that was enjoyable to do and to give as a gift itself. And no- we didn't sit around drinking the liquers all day during the shoot- as tempting as it was!