This Is How the Photo Industry Can Be Saved

The more I think about it, the happier I’ve become with the idea. The photo industry has become a lively place filled with sparks and new energy. And I think it’s time for a significant change. In some ways, the photo industry needs a complete overhaul. I’m not just talking about the galleries, but the manufacturers as well. There needs to be something new, something totally different from everything else. This starts with company management.

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The Powerful Story Behind this Photo by Newsha Tavakolian

“In Iran, women are not allowed to sing solo, following the 1979 revolution,” says Magnum Photographer Newsha Tavakolian to The Phoblographer in an interview. “However, singing is part of our culture…I dislike this so much that I refuse to go to any concert in Iran where men sing.” This photo is part of a much larger series called Listen. Newsha tells us that she went as far as creating actual CD album jewel-cases as gifts. But there was a catch: the cases were empty. This is part of the statement she’s trying to make.

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This Is the Perfect Time for the Photo Trade Show to Be Reborn

The photo trade show desperately needs to be reborn into something else, and this is the time for it to happen.

If you’re reading this, you’re wondering why there’s no interest in a photo trade show from new photographers. And you’re probably missing the times where the industry got together and hung out. Those times, at least for the moment, are gone. And the photo trade show, in general, has changed a bit over the years. But the progress has been plodding. In truth, it feels like you could age an award-winning whiskey much faster. The photo trade show, in general, tries to be incredibly avant-garde, but it instead ends up being incestuous and out of touch. The global lockdown was and still is the perfect time for the photo trade show to evolve. I’d even like to argue that the show doesn’t need to evolve; it needs to die and be reborn brand new.

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Shanyn Fiske: Why the Fashion Industry Should Heed Peter Lindbergh

All images by Shanyn Fiske. Used with Permission. Be sure to follow her on Instagram.

“I agree with Eliott Erwitt’s idea that black and white photography is interpretive,” says fashion photographer Shanyn Fiske. “I do think of photography as interpretation, and monochrome most easily lends itself to that goal, especially when I’m trying to capture an emotion or a fleeting thought.” Shanyn doesn’t describe herself as a typical fashion photographer. She’s a late bloomer. She came from the academic world and adores the study around paintings, photography and literature. What’s more, Shanyn is working to try to change the ideals of what the fashion photography world is all about. She joins the fight with many other women and POC to get the word across, and during my time supporting it, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone put it as eloquently and plainly as Shanyn does.

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Guys: Please Stop Objectifying Women in Facebook Groups for Likes

The real title of this should be, “Please stop objectifying women.”

Objectifying women has gone on for a very long time, but I feel like it’s gotten way worse in the age of Instagram and Facebook groups. It seems like the golden formula for success is to have an attractive woman with beautiful lighting, and that’s it. You’re then bound to get likes, comments, etc. It’s time that we, as photographers, start trying harder and stop reaching for low hanging fruit. We need to start coming up with creative ideas and reasons why a woman needs to be nude or barely clothed. And for that to happen, we have to really justify it to ourselves.

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Stories From Set: I’m a Photographer and a Woman. And I Don’t Want Kids

Stories from Set are the stories of photographer Alyssa Meadows and others about the pains of being a woman on the modern photography set. This series is 100% endorsed by the Phoblographer in an effort to convey a critical message.

Working on set can be challenging in a multitude of ways, from demanding clients, high-profile talent, tech, equipment, and doing undesirable or frustrating things. We sometimes forget that navigating what we can discuss on set and how can be just as difficult. Frequently we’re thrown together in a mishmash of producers, other assistants, or photographers we barely know. We’re stuck contending with how to work closely together. We try to collaborate, create conversation, and find ways to connect with each other in the span of a few hours. It can often feel like walking through a minefield, unsure if what you’re saying will land well. If you’ve been in this game long enough, you learn the art of the quick connection, or how to thicken skin and work insulated and unaffected by this social quicksand.

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Boys! Boys! Boys! Further Shows Objectification of Women in Photography

To follow the full scope of this article, please see the prior piece written on this gallery’s approach to online auctions.

Sometimes people throw out the modern cultural adage ‘stay in your lane,‘ with varying degrees of validity. Thanks to Black Box Gallery, this is a particularly evident case of “more than warranted” – it’s undeniable that the respect and representation of the queer/gay male community are held in much higher regard by the curators than their respect for women. In their previous auction, Girls! Girls! Girls!, Black Box showed lewd, borderline pornographic (and I don’t mean that in any anti-porn capacity: we as a culture need to embrace more sex positivity and end slut-shaming. Rather, I’m speaking to the hypersexualized nature of the curation), male-fantasy driven imagery portraying ‘women’s powerful sexuality’ through the lens of the male gaze. In this new auction which, for the purposes of this comparison piece, could not be more appropriately named, we see an exploration of the queer/gay male community via male sexuality.

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Every Woman I Know: A Sad and Honest Look at Sexual Violence

All images by Alyssa Meadows. Used with permission.

”…very rarely are the brave women who speak out doing so with any expectation of reparations – we know the odds are against us.” These are the worrying words of Alyssa Meadows as she opens up about victims of sexual violence. After almost a decade working as a photographer, all whilst being deeply concerned about women’s issues, Alyssa has been able to bring the two elements together. Her project, Every Woman I Know, takes a brave and honest look at the range of examples of sexual violence women have experienced. In this portrait series are women Alyssa knows personally. And whilst they share their story, she also shares hers. Through public and anonymous portraits, and with the use of the written word, she has created a photography project that aims to educate and give a safe space for others who may wish to come forward and discuss their experience. Two years after starting it, we spoke to Alyssa to learn more about this ongoing series.

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Street Photographers: Are You Genuinely Enamored with Moments, or Are You Just a Voyeur?

I’ve come across images from street photographers on social media that have genuinely made me question the format.

I think the love affair with street photography and everything about it is fantastic when the photographer has good intent when putting the camera to their eye and capturing a moment. I think anything and everything else isn’t acceptable. The idea of empathy for your subjects should be expanded to what the long term effects of the image may have on a person. To that end one should think about whether hurting someone else’s reputation is worth Reddit Karma, Instagram likes, etc. But unfortunately, even though there are loads of tutorials online about street photography, there isn’t a single tutorial on ethics or how to have empathy for others. For far too long, the community has pretty much mandated common sense.

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Rant: Shooting Pretty Women from Behind on the Streets Is Not Street Photography

In street photography, you should really check your intentions.

I once was told by a man as enamoured with street photography as I that he admired a photo of a lone woman in a park looking away at something. “I wonder what she’s looking at,” he said. “She’s sort of really fixated on something.” Whatever she may have been fixated on, a part of my mind wondered what the hell he was talking about. In the most abstract sense of the image, it was nothing more than just a woman staring off at something, perhaps watching her kid/pet run around, waiting for someone to catch up, or just standing there. It was the mind that went somewhere else, and as far as how the image was shot it didn’t seem like the photographer really cared so much about her expression as he did just the fact that there might have been a slight sense of attraction.

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Marcos Alberti Breaks Barriers Surrounding Female Sexuality with The O Project

All images by Marcos Alberti. Used with permission.

Brazilian photographer Marcos Alberti is back with another daring project that explores and reinterprets a mostly taboo topic. Following the success of his Wine Project, he has recently launched another portrait set done in the same fun style. The goal this time is to encourage the conversation on female sexual well-being and break the barriers surrounding it.

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Creating a Photography Blog Dedicated to Featuring Fantastic Women Photographers

All images by Nicole Struppert. Used with permission.

Photographer Nicole Struppert is not only a photographer, but also the Editor of the Women in Photography blog. She’s been running it for a fair amount of time now, and continues to update it and profile the work of fantastic women photographers. On a more personal basis, Nicole and I have been friends for a while and I’ve been working with her to help build the site. We feature a lot of photographers here, but not a whole lot of bloggers. And in a situation like this, I find what Nicole is doing to be particularly interesting.

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List: 30 of Our Favorite Inspiring Women Photographers

All images used with permission in our interviews.

Over the years, we’ve interviewed quite a number of photographers. While the industry is very much male dominated, there are a lot of fantastic women photographers who deserve special recognition for the work they do. These strong women put a major emphasis on creating and capturing fantastic images that will inspire many out there.

Here’s our roundup of some of the best women we’ve interviewed over the years.

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Exploring Heterosexual Masculinity Through Black and White Portraits (NSFW)

All images by Liam Warton. Used with permission.

“Women are often over-sexualized under the notion of art.” says photographer Liam Warton about his views on portraiture. “Shot in strips of beautiful light and shade on grainy black and white film. Their bodies are consciously bent and curved, lead onto display to indulge a particular crowd.” Liam describes the way that many women are portrayed is being vulnerable, weak and naked. To him, they don’t really seem to own their own bodies. To that end, he compared it to the way that men are portrayed and their own stereotypes.

That’s all part of what Liam is trying to explore in his series.

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German Roque: Developing a Rapport with Portrait Subjects

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All images by German Roque. Used with permission

German Roque is a 27 year old New Orleans, LA-based portrait photographer who, through his photography, demonstrates incredible relationships with his subjects. Any portrait photographer will tell you how important this is: from senior portraits to film shooters. German not only does this, but balances out the technical aspects through his incredible and creative use of lighting and shadows to tell stories about people and make them look their best.

Most of all though, German is all about developing a rapport with his portrait subject before the shooting even begins. And as some photojournalists will tell you, trust is the biggest part of any photographer’s work.

But it wasn’t always that way: German started out photographing cars just for fun.

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Jason Arber: Creative Fashion Portrait Ideas

Arber-Persons-Uknown-2

All images by Jason Arber. Used with permission.

Photographer Jason Arber spent a number of years as a print designer mostly creating record sleeves, including a limited edition boxset of Oasis singles in the shape of a cigarette box (and an even rarer version in the shape of a Vox amplifier), and a limited edition metal box version of Janet Jackson’s Design of a Decade. As the internet era arrived, he migrated into web design, creating sites for the BBC and MTV, and co-founding the hugely popular online design and culture magazine, Pixelsurgeon, with my illustrator and photographer buddy Richie May, who is a frequent collaborator to this day.

He now heads up Phantom Limb–specialising in moving image and photography. He is now represented in the UK as a photographer by Werewolf.

During our recent call for strobist style portraits, Jason reached out to us showcasing a specific project for a fashion label called Persons Unknown. But we also discovered lots more of his excellent and unorthodox portraiture.

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The Phoblographer’s Introduction to Shooting Better Portraits

 

Shoulders meticulously positioned to emphasize evenness. You'll have to move one behind the other, Bring the hair to the side side opposite of the key light, part the lips slightly and bring the chin out forward a bit more

Shoulders meticulously positioned to emphasize evenness. You’ll have to move one behind the other, Bring the hair to the side side opposite of the key light, part the lips slightly and bring the chin out forward a bit more

When it comes to creating portrait photos, you’ll need to understand that the process is in some ways a collaborative effort. But it also requires empathy, understanding and a creative vision. You’ll need to be specific about posing, and have a knowledge of how the person will actually look on camera. The best way to do that is to go ahead and make lots of mistakes, figure out solutions, apply them and re-shoot.

But to help you along the way, we’ve got an Introduction to Shooting Better Portraits compiling lots of information right here for you.

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Useful Photography Tip #126: Bring Seated Subjects to the Edge of the Seat

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer 85mm vs 50mm portrait test Sigma 50mm f1.4 other (1 of 1)ISO 2001-640 sec at f - 2.8

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

Besides straightening a subject’s back and adjusting the shoulders, another really important part of the body to look at when shooting portraits are the thighs. Human beings are taught from day one to sit back and sit up straight. When shooting a portrait, this is a giant faux pas.

If a subject sits all the way back in a seat until the backs of their knees touch the edge, then all of the weight is distributed on the rear and their thighs. What this ends up creating is outlines and arches that make your subject look much wider than they actually are. So to make them look more flattering, ask your subject to bring themselves to the near edge of the seat. But in order to make them not fall off, have them sit so that their thighs aren’t on the seat.

In effect, what you’re doing is putting all of the weight on the rear, and making the thighs look much thinner. From here, you can do a multitude of different poses: and we have lists for men and women.

Beyond this, other strategies that you can do have to do with the overall body shape of the person and it can number anything from:

– Crossing their legs

– Sitting with the legs apart

– Stretching them out and having one foot crossed over the other

It all depends on what kind of body language you’re trying to get across in the photo.