Photographer of the Day

Photographer of the Day - Richard Avedon


I have a ton of favorite photographers. They range across a wide swath of disciplines from fashion to journalism to celebrity portraiture. The one photographer who's constantly at the top of my list is the late Richard Avedon, who I believe should be on the short list of the greatest American artists of our time.

I grabbed the recently-released Avedon Archives app from the app store, produced by the Richard Avedon Foundation. The app is great; it gives you a bird's eye view of the breadth of the highlights of Avedon's work - it's really amazing to see. I've mentioned him a few times on my blog but I realize his story may not be well known outside of photographic circles, so I wanted to take a little time to talk about him here.

I think if there was any one photographer's work and career I could replicate moment for moment, it'd be Avedon's. He was able to maintain a signature that transcended technique, and apply it fluidly across a wide range of photographic genres. I especially love his fashion and celebrity work, but he was equally brilliant working outside of those contexts, as can be seen in his book In The American West.

Richard Avedon's career spanned from the '40s all the way to 2004, the year he died. Some of the most iconic images of some of the most iconic people of the past century were produced by him. He shot for Look, Life, Graphis, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, The New Yorker, and the french magazine Egoïste. He's done ad campaigns for Revlon and Versace, shot the Pirelli Calendar, released numerous books and photographed nearly every important person of his time, from Marilyn Monroe to Dwight Eisenhower to Pablo Picasso and Audrey Hepburn, Malcom X and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Louis Armstrong, Prince and, in something of a stroke of prescience, a young Senator Barack Obama in 2004.




In 1964, he- along with high-school classmate, lifetime friend and another of America's greatest artists, James Baldwin- collaborated on the book Nothing Personal, full of each of their artistic musings on the country they called home. Some of Avedon's landmark images fill these pages.

His photographic style was characterized by his abillity to communicate the vitality of his subjects - or lack of such - so viscerally in still image. Fashion model Erin O'Connor described his style as wanting to capture the moment before the moment; the intention of a movement before the body would actually reach a particular movement - readily apparent in his photographs of Veruschka and Twiggy.






He helped introduce movement and life into fashion photography, which at the time of his ascendance into notoriety was very much a static, stoic landscape. Models were posed and statuesque; Avedon danced with his subjects and snapped them in motion, the results of which would revolutionize the way photography featured in fashion magazines. I assume much of his technical skill - especially as it pertained to print magazines - was honed under the guidance of such legendary figures like Alexey Brodovitch and Diana Vreeland, his creative director and fashion editor (respectively) for many years at Harper's Bazaar. He had a flawless sense of design in his photographs, from symmetry and asymmetry to contrast, color and general composition. Most importantly, though, he was able to couple all of that technical skill with the skillful presentation of the human condition - devoid of bias - in his portraits.

The way he deftly moved from portraiture to fashion to reportage without missing a step was a thing of beauty, and when you look at the overview of his legacy, it's quite staggering. That kind of insatiable curiosity to see the world through his lenses is something I try to emulate everyday. There's endless things to say about Avedon, but really, nothing communicates his greatness like his photographs.


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Photographer Of The Day - Peter Hapak

I belive I came across Peter Hapak’s work during a random search of photographer portfolios on the popular portfolio platform, Cargo Collective. I like to try to keep abreast of what other photographers are doing and how they’re presenting their work, and this particular time I was also considering making an image-only portfolio with less bells and whistles. Still up in the air about that - trying a few more things here.

Anyway, something about Peter’s work froze me immediately - his portraits were powerful and emotive, simple yet provocative, and extremely intimate: they bring you almost uncomfortably close to the sitter, catching them in a brief burst of laughter, a wry glance, a moment of action - some short conversation between the eyes, mouth and camera that quickly ushers you past formality and pretense, and into a sort of understanding of the subject. It’s really brilliant work.

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One of my favorite portraitists (photographers for that matter) is the late Richard Avedon, and he was famed for having mastered the intimate celebrity portrait, stripping away excelsior and retrieving something from a sitting the viewer hadn’t seen before from the subject. It set a very high bar for portraiture for me and I’ve seen few photographers hit that mark consistently. I don’t mean to draw an unfair comparison between Avedon’s work and Hapak’s, but I will say that I feel some of that same emotional strength in Hapak’s portraits.

I’m excited to watch his work over time.

(You can see more of Peter Hapak's work at his site, here. It stretches beyond celebrity portrait commissions, into documentary/photojournalism. There's a nice video/BTS of a project he shot for Time Magazine about protesters here.)

All images © Peter Hapak.






Photographer Of The Day - Oliver Stalmans

Mc1-950x600 Been excited to talk about Oliver Stalmans for a while. I can’t really remember where I happened across his work - more than likely one of the many fashion blogs I follow. there’s not much more to say about his photography that - for his age, especially - he’s freakishly talented.

Oliver, 25, is a french-born fashion/commercial photographer. He’s been racking up accolades of late, including 2013’s Danish ELLE photographer of the year award, and rightly so. He’s shot covers for ELLE, Tomorrow Journal and Muuse Magazine. His simple, crisp, and extremely mature approach to fashion portraits reminds me of Peter Lindbergh. I personally enjoy his black+white photography the most, his understanding and control of light and tone contribute to help him create incredibly dramatic images.




I think he hits a lot of the marks I’d try to achieve to in his work - simple, strong compositions. The subjects look strong. The fashion looks good. Good fashion photography is a complex task: there’s the portrait, then there’s the commercial considerations, the art… photographers who can combine all 3 seamlessly are veritable geniuses in my book.

I’m going to enjoy keeping up with his work.

You can keep up as well here on his site, and on his instagram feed.

(all images © Oliver Stalmans)

Photographer Of The Day - Julia Galdo & Cody Cloud (JUCO).

a66881a2b3be435b8dc61be78249704b Part of my process to keep inspired and driven to create is keeping an eye on the industry around me and the people working in it, the people making great images and building awesome bodies of work, the people fashioning awesome careers for themselves. I do a lot of investigation along these lines, so I figured it'd be a nice addition to the blog to talk about some of these photographers and share their work with my readers. We'll see if I can make this a series.

Today I wanted to talk about Julia Galdo and Cody Cloud, otherwise known as JUCO, an advertorial/fashion photography team located in Los Angeles, who've been killing it for the last few years. Their work's been popping up all over the place - shooting for a wide range of advertising clients and publications, and constantly making new work that has a super distinct style and point of view.

One of my favorite things about their style is their awareness and fearless sense of color, and the way it plays into their images as a compositional element. intentionally invoking color is a daunting ideal for me; I feel like I need 4 years worth of color theory to even approach it comfortably. They are heavy on the use of pastels and it may not be for everybody, but it's definitely their voice and I'd think their clients know what they're getting when they commission them for work, and they desire that specifically.







Another thing I find so impressive about them is that they are constantly making ( and presenting!!! ) new work. I follow their portfolio updates on Behance - they're pretty nonstop with it, and I'm consistently floored with what they're doing. Sometimes it won't be a commissioned shoot, sometimes just personal work, but either way, you get the feeling they're making new work because they thoroughly enjoy shooting ideas they have.

It's super inspiring.

You can follow Julia and Cody's work on their website, Behance portfolio , and their tumblr page. Check 'em out.

( all images © JUCO )