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Seven Questions for Lisa Martin, InStyle’s Director of Photography

LisaMartin_StBartsLisa Martin started at InStyle in 1999 as a freelance photo editor. Fifteen years and several promotions later she is director of photography at the Time Inc. magazine-cum-media brand, which prides itself on “delivering the knowledge and confidence to make the everyday fabulous.” On the occasion of InStyle‘s 20th anniversary mega-issue, Martin (pictured at right, sailing in St Barts while on a shoot with cover girl Cameron Diaz) took a break from overseeing the photo department, hiring photographers and stylists, and conceptualizing photo shoots to tell us about some of her favorite images, how she views the magazine’s signature aesthetic, and more.

What are a few of your favorite images from the September fall fashion/20th anniversary issue?
There are so many outstanding pictures in our September issue that I love, but the beauty story we did with Haley Bennett (below), shot by Jan Welters, was extraordinary. It was one of those shoots when all the pieces come together—the makeup artist, Wendy Rowe, achieved beautiful, clean skin texture with subtle neutral tones on Haley’s eyes and lips; the lighting was beautiful; and the styling, perfect. I don’t wear makeup, but if I did, I would try those makeup looks.

instyle sept haley bennett

How do you describe the aesthetic or visual signature of InStyle?
Our visual aesthetic is sophisticated but accessible—the photos are rich in texture and color, so readers want to linger and look at them, especially because they’re inspired by what they see. Our fashion looks luxurious—and in many cases, it is—but it also looks like clothing you would want to wear. We want to make images that are modern and iconic while celebrating the recent fashion trends and celebrities.

How have you seen that aesthetic change over the 15 years you’ve been at the magazine?
InStyle was the first magazine to give readers access to the stars’ everyday lives, seen through a lens of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. Now, we’ve evolved into a luxury fashion brand—we went from shooting lifestyle and home stories to creating beautiful fashion and beauty stories in the well. We’ve also broadened our photography roster to include more fashion photographers. In addition, there’s a huge front-of-book section and in the back of the book there’s the “Life Etc.” section, with incredible food and lifestyle photography. We give the InStyle reader 360-degree celebrity access.
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Fashion Writing

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Quote of Note | Todd Hido

stieglitz“My photobooks are organized by genre, and they are definitely not alphabetized. They’re sequenced and clustered together based on my twenty-five-year knowledge of who taught who, and who preceded them. It’s almost a little family tree of lineage. I find it to be an interesting way of approaching the collection, because you can see patterns of influence and how they fan out into the world we adore….Believe it or not, I have a strange little hobby of leaving books out and open to certain pages, sometimes for years. One of my favorite books, which has remained opened on my table ever since the day I got it, is Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set. It’s an exhaustive examination, which I believe includes every single Stieglitz photograph that Georgia O’Keeffe inherited and ultimately donated to the National Gallery of Art. Also, I often create sequences and juxtapositions between various open books; I’ve made some unique connections and combinations that way.”

-Photographer Todd Hido, who has amassed a personal collection of more than 3,200 photography books, in an interview with Aaron Schuman in The PhotoBook Review

Lucie Foundation Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Photographers

(Patricia Dinu)
A photo from Patricia Dinu’s “Desert of Souls” project, for which she is seeking to raise money through Fotofund.

camera moneyFor photographers who seek dollars but don’t want to get lost in the vast sea of Kickstarter projects, there is Fotofund, a new crowdfunding platform exclusively for photo-based works. The site is the latest initiative of the non-profit Lucie Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting, honoring, and cultivating photographic talent.

Fotofund was created “to provide financial backing to photographic projects through online contributions and to support photography worldwide by bringing photographers’ visions to life.” Distinct from other crowdfunding sites, the platform offers two models: a flexible funding model in which the project creator receives all donations whether or not their full funding goals are met or alternatively, they can select to only receive funding if the full amount of their goal is reached. Among the first campaigns to hit Fotofund are those aiming to create an official archive of the late Jerry Stoll’s photography from the California jazz era, a documentary project showcasing men and women who live off the grid throughout Europe, and a personal interpretation of the music and lyrics of Tom Waits—we suspect “Picture in a Frame” will figure prominently.

Quote of Note | Mitch Epstein

(Mitch Epstein)“I used to make pictures without thinking about how they would relate to one another as a series. When I went to Vietnam in the early ’90s to collaborate with a Vietnamese dissident writer, a novelist, I started to conceive of my individual pictures as part of a greater whole, as projects. I began to conceive of these projects as photographed from the inside out, not the other way around. In other words, I let go of the conventions of supposedly neutral ‘street photography’ and began to find ways to insert and invest myself into a situation and yet still remain somewhat detached. Family Business is an example where I photographed something I knew intimately and cared about deeply, but did so with emotional restraint. I’d absorbed my lessons from strict documentarians, which allowed me to make something personal without sentimentalizing it.” —Photographer Mitch Epstein

Pictured: Mitch Epstein, Flag (2000), from Family Business, a film and photographic project about Epstein’s father and the demise of the family furniture store.

Oh, Canada! Edward Burtynsky, Fred Herzog Among Photographers Honored with Stamps

herzog stamp

stampsCanada knows how to have fun with stamps, eh? Current postage options in the Great White North include a set of spooky stamps devoted to “haunted Canada” (featuring beloved phantoms such as Alberta’s Ghost Bride and the burning ship that is often spotted in Prince Edward Island’s Northumberland Strait), pop-country songstress Shania Twain, and Superman, but our favorites are the new set celebrating Canadian photography.

Designed by Stéphane Huot, the stamps—five domestic-rate stamps, one U.S. denomination, and one international stamp—feature Fred Herzog’s Bogner’s Grocery (1960, pictured above), Lynne Cohen’s Untitled (1970), Michel Lambeth’s St. Joseph’s Convent School (1960), C.D. Hoy’s Unidentified Chinese man (circa 1912) and Louis-Prudent Vallée’s Quebec City in Winter (1894). William Notman’s Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill (1885) graces the U.S. denomination while Edward Burtynsky’s Railcuts #1, shot at Skihist Provincial Park in British Columbia in 1985, appears on the international stamp. And for philatelists, the Canadian photographic fun doesn’t end there: the Canadian photography series is set to continue for three more years. Sorry, Superman!

Friday Photo: Monkey on Board

(Garry Winogrand)In 1959, Bronx-born photographer Garry Winogrand (1928–1984) captured what is surely one of the most wonderfully—and perplexingly—absurd scenes in the history of photography: a snow monkey perched on the rear of a Chevy convertible paused at an intersection on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The man and the woman in the car look over their shoulders to regard the primate with gazes of barely suppressed annoyance, as if poised to answer the are-we-there-yet? whines of a bored child. Meanwhile, the monkey, having spied Winogrand and his trusty Leica, looks straight at the lens with his mouth open.

“One day I asked Winogrand what actually was happening when he made that now-classic photograph,” said Jeff Rosenheim, a former student of Winogrand’s who now serves as curator in charge of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s department of photographs, at the recent press preview for the museum’s exquisite Winogrand retrospective. “He smiled at let rip a common refrain: ‘Forget about the original situation, Jeff. It’s gone. Look at the picture. A photograph is a new thing. An illusion. A lie. A transformation.’ It was important lesson for me to learn then, and even today I revisit its truths as I work to understand this ever-changing nature of this medium of photography.”
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Mark Your Calendar: Bill Cunningham at 92Y

The METROPOLITAN OPERA Season Opening Night GALA

The indefatigable Bill Cunningham has been prowling the streets for stylish types since World War II, child, when his camera of choice was a Brownie. Come September 3, the 85-year-old aesthete will pedal up to the 92nd Street Y—not to snap photos but to join Fern Mallis on stage for a rare interview. The event, announced today, will kick off the fourth year of Mallis’s “Fashion Icons” series, during which she has interviewed everyone from André Leon Talley and Bruce Weber to Tom Ford and Vera Wang with a surgical, this-is-your-life approach that inevitably reveals all manner of fun facts (did you know that Penelope Tree was a college classmate of Wang’s? Or that she herself had seven wedding dresses, in a nod to Chinese tradition?). Those interested in getting a peek at the man behind the blue French work jacket should grab tickets here, and fast. They’re likely to be gone in a flash.

Sim Chi Yin Joins VII Photo Agency

(Sim Chi Yin)
A view of the Yangon River, March 23, 2012. From Sim Chi Yin’s “Burmese Spring” series.

Beijing-based photographer Sim Chi Yin is the newest member of VII, the photo agency founded in 2001 with the goal of “documenting conflict—environmental, social and political, both violent and non-violent—to produce an unflinching record of the injustices created and experienced by people caught up in the events they describe.” As the collectively owned agency’s nineteenth member, she joins an esteemed group that includes Ron Haviv, Stephanie Sinclair, Ed Kashi, and Marcus Bleasdale, who worked closely with Chi Yin in the VII Mentor Program.

In just a few years, Chi Yin has made a name for herself by tackling stories on migrant labor, income inequality, and urbanization in China. She also shoots regularly for The New York Times and has completed assignments for publications including The New Yorker, Time, The New York Times Magazine, and Le Monde. “I’ve been thrown into the assignment world rather quickly,” says Chi Yin, who became a freelance photographer in 2011. “And now, I would very much like to do more thoughtful, meaningful group projects on global issues, and work on more social/community engagement with photography-based work. VII is already well-known and respected for its ethos: socially-concerned photography, so that befits my personal direction.”

Surface Brings Back Avant Guardian Photo Contest

(mario testino)Surface magazine’s Avant Guardian contest is back—and better than ever. Among the tantalizing opportunities up for grabs in the competition (returning after a few years’ hiatus) is the chance to share an issue with the man, the myth, the Mario Testino, who is fronting the October Surface in honor of his upcoming “Alta Moda” exhibition at Dallas Contemporary.

“The contest is all about nurturing rising talent—from getting entrants’ work in front of an exceptional jury, awarding free studio time to produce an original spread in the magazine, and exhibiting their work to a crowd of influencers in New York and Miami during Art Basel,” associate editor Aileen Kwun tells us. Among those who have signed on to judge the submissions are architectural photographer Iwan Baan and Johan Lindeberg of BLk DNM. Entrants may submit a portfolio of up to ten images in one of five categories (fashion, architecture, portraiture, fine art, and technical/still life) before the July 24 deadline.

Photo: Mario Testino

‘Detroit—Bruce Weber’ Exhibition Debuts at Detroit Institute of Arts

(bruce weber)The Detroit Institute of Arts has been busy lining up pledges—$26 million from Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and General Motors Foundation; $10 million from the Mellon Foundation; $3 million from the J. Paul Getty Trust—toward its goal to raise $100 million as part of a “grand bargain” that will help the City of Detroit emerge from bankruptcy, support city pensioners, and protect the museum’s art collection for the public. An exhibition that opens today should bolster hometown pride. The DIA has partnered with Condé Nast to present “Detroit—Bruce Weber,” an exhibition of approximately 80 photographs by the celebrated fashion photographer, filmmaker, and golden retriever enthusiast. Weber began photographing the city and its citizens in 2006, and the images range from portraits of famous locals such as Aretha Franklin and Patti Smith to legendary locales such as Belle Isle, where he came upon a wedding and captured a poignant image of the flower girl. “Detroit—Bruce Weber” is on view through Sept 7 at the DIA.

Pictured: Christopher Gardner, Artist, and Von Jour Reece, Fashion Designer, at Bert’s Marketplace, Detroit, Michigan, 2006, gelatin silver print. © Bruce Weber

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