ChatterLog February 2012


Aquarius, the Water-Bearer

Greetings everyone and welcome to the February ChatterBulletin, and the sign of Aquarius. From our “Frosty the Snowman” sign of Capricorn who ushers in the season of Winter, we continue to feel the cold, because the Planet Saturn rules both of these signs and Winter is far from over. But from the frozen Earth and crystallized emotions, we now have crisp, clean Air and spiritual communication. Aquarius has taken all of the knowledge passed on to them and is now pouring it back down onto the Earth again for the benefit of all mankind. Aquarius preaches to the masses – they are “people people” and can pretty much talk to anyone. Remember how Capricorn doesn’t really like people that much? They prefer instead the company of children, seniors or animals. Well, with our Aquarius, we have the exact opposite because they are the Social Butterflies of the zodiac, whose friends and social networks are of utmost importance to them. I have heard and observed many an Aquarian talk about how important their friendships are. The down side of this social ability is that although they do function and feel better in group situations, they are not nearly as comfortable when having to speak one-on-one. My father was a perfect example of this. He loved, in fact thrived on his social networks, but ask him to sit down and talk about his feelings or something emotional – not bloody likely!

You may recall last February we talked about the Aquarius characteristic of “individuality” and I highlighted a few famous Aquarians, some of whom were aviators naturally drawn to being up in the Air, but for this time around, I decided to go with the theme of Light. Why Light, you might be asking yourselves, when it is still pretty dark at this time of the year, let alone cold, and we suffer from a lack of light due to the shorter days? Well, the co-ruler of Aquarius is Uranus, the planet connected with Light, Electricity and the Ether – our 5th Element. Ironically, or not, the Ancients described Uranus as “The Watery Planet” which takes us back to those “Spiritual Waters” again, but at the root of it all was ANU (whose same three letters are found in the word Uranus) the supreme God of Light, and it is the Ether that gives us the Light. And without light, there would be no photography. Even with digital and Photoshop and all of the clever technologies we have today, if you want to call yourself a photographer, than you must have a basic understanding of light, and what it does.

Late afternoon sun on the Staten Island ferry, March 2011 – photo by Louisa Curtis

I mean, who doesn’t love a beautiful sunrise or sunset, right? But how many of us stop to acknowledge and truly understand how important the Sun is to life itself? There’s a reason why photographers’ refer to the “magic hour” – that special time of the day, either early in the morning or late afternoon, when the Sun is transitioning between night and day, or day and night. It is truly magical light. This image is one I captured on my iPhone last year when I was riding on the Staten Island ferry with my friend. It was the anniversary of my mother’s death and I wanted to go to a body of water somewhere to toss some flowers in for her memory. It was one of those crazy days and we didn’t have enough time to go to the ocean, so I decided that a ride on the Staten Island ferry would do just as well. It was cool but sunny and we stood at the front of the ferry in the chilly breeze. And as we neared the Statue of Liberty I threw the flowers in to the water.

Years ago I was speaking with my mother about the sign of Aquarius and although it is an Air sign, it is depicted with an urn pouring the spiritual Waters down on the Earth, thus confusing many people. I looked at the illustration and said, “Typical Dad, there he is throwing everything away as usual” because in my mind I saw a figure symbolically pouring away his life, which he did when he left us, his family. My mother appreciated the reference! As with all the signs, there is a price to be paid, an up-side and a down-side – the basic Yin Yang principle of life itself. So although we can call our Aquarius the “Captain of the Ship”, the one who can talk to the masses and lead the people, their humanitarian efforts will only be shared if they are allowed to keep their own personal freedom. Do not attempt to tie these people down, they are Air, and Air needs to move and to breathe. Give them space, and they will do special things. You may recall I mentioned that it is Sagittarius who writes the laws, Capricorn who enforces them, and now here comes Aquarius, the one who thinks that they are actually above the law, so they break them! Aquarius dances to the beat of a different drum, so they want to tear down the very structures that our dedicated Capricorn has so painstakingly built.

Original Broadway Poster for the Musical “Hair”

On a higher level, where Capricorn may have restricted, Aquarius is now able to free us from conventional bondage and thinking, so that we may tap into our “inner light” – our Soul. This “inner light” is your “inner sight” because Uranus is the “clairvoyant.” With this “inner sight” Aquarius is able to “take a step beyond where they are.” And when you see who I selected for this month’s ChatterQuote, you’ll notice they are a perfect example of individuals who stood up and went a step beyond everyone else, and for the good of everyone else. They raised their game. These people are the revolutionaries of society, the ones willing to stand up for change and to lead the people into a promising future. Many of you will have heard reference to the “Age of Aquarius” – my own first recollection was hearing the song from the ever-so daring (!) and revolutionary 60’s rock musical “Hair” which tells the story of the “tribe” – a group of politically active, long-haired hippies, living a Bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription and the war in Vietnam. This groundbreaking musical and the story it told demonstrated the Aquarian rebellion and the people’s thirst for change at that time. The 60’s were about “making love, not war.”

From the point of view of Astrology, each “age” corresponds to one of the 12 signs of the zodiac, and takes approximately 2,150 to 2,160 years to move from one to the next, resulting from the very slow movement of the Earth’s rotation, and corresponding to the time it takes for the Vernal Equinox to move from one constellation of the zodiac to the next – put it this way – it is a very long time! When we talk about the 12 signs, we start with Aries and move anti-clockwise around the Archetype until we reach Pisces. With the “ages” however, we move in the opposite direction, so right now, we are slowly moving towards the Age of Aquarius from the Age of Pisces. But don’t panic, it’ll be a few hundred years before we get there… it is after all a very slow, shift, not a quick jump.

Wishing all you Aquarians a Very Happy Birthday, and Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I couldn’t resist showing this wonderful red VW bus, courtesy of Kwaku Alston (the image, not the bus!) This is just one of many VW buses he has photographed as part of his personal series “Venice.”
I mean, who doesn’t love a VW bus? And it’s red – perfect for Valentine’s Day!

© Kwaku Alston

ChatterQuote February 2012

With so many great Aquarians to choose from for this month’s quote, coupled with my indecision, I decided to bring you, not one, not two, but three of them!

Our first quote comes from one of the greatest basketball players of all time, my lucky number 23, and a true Aquarian “Captain of the Ship”, Michael Jordan, who said:

Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation… I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed…  I realized that if I was going to achieve anything in life I had to be aggressive. I had to get out there and go for it… I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it’s an illusion to me.

© Jonathan Daniel/Allsport

Followed by another inspirational and African American leader, this time a woman and television media mogul, Oprah Winfrey, who said:

I don’t believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.

© Jemal Countess/

And last, but not least, we have a quote from one of my favorite musicians of all time, Bob Marley, who said:

One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain.

ChatterArtists February 2012

So with this month being February, and Mercedes Fashion Week is February 9 – 16, 2012 – naturally I considered showing photographers that shoot fashion, but February is also Black History Month, so I decided instead to highlight some African American photographers, some of whom do shoot fashion, but not necessarily!

George Pitts
What can I say, other than it’s an honor to be including George Pitts in my newsletter? For those of you who may not be aware, George’s impressive resume includes founding Director of Photography at Vibe Magazine followed by Director of Photography for LIFE Magazine, and in 2006 he was honored with the Lucie Award for “Picture Editor of the Year.” He is currently Director of Photographic Practices at Parsons The New School for Design, and I have had the pleasure of reviewing the graduating classes portfolios for the last couple of years. George is also an accomplished photographer, artist and writer himself, known for his portraits and nudes. He is currently working on a book project entitled “Mature Women” for which he is shooting portraits and nudes of women over 35 years of age.

Lorna Simpson
© George Pitts

Marcqui T’Jon Akins

I met Marcqui Akins through my dear friend and Director of Photography at the Miami Ad School, Darryl Strawser. When Marcqui moved to New York from Miami, Darryl connected us and I went to see a show of his work. I was very taken with his beautiful retro story-telling style, and when it comes to shooting “preppy” – Marcqui has it down! I love his mixture of fashion, street and retro, all at the same time – so keep doing what you’re doing… Marcqui’s website is currently under construction, so to see more of his work, check out his agent Seed Reps.

© Marcqui T’Jon Akins

Jeffrey Gamble
I met Jeffrey Gamble a few years ago now, way before Chatterbox even existed. We got along instantly and even discovered that we had contacts in common as he had worked with several photographers that I knew as well. Jeffrey was one of my early consulting clients, as well as a friend, and over the years we have stayed in touch and enjoyed many long conversations together about photography, philosophy and common interests such as Astrology, and I am very happy to be including him in this month’s bulletin.

E. Lee White
Lee White and I met a while ago now, and have crossed paths at numerous photography events here in New York. So it was my pleasure to invite him to be a part of this February bulletin. We spoke on the phone to discuss his image selection, and while we were speaking he revealed to me that he is an Aquarius, so how perfect is that? As I said to Lee, Aquarius is connected with the light, so it is natural for him to be doing what he is doing. With a career spanning almost four decades, Lee shoots for a wide range of advertising, corporate and editorial clients, so for this bulletin, we went with a fashion & beauty image, which also lends itself beautifully to the Valentine’s day theme! Be sure to check out all of his work on the website.

© E. Lee White

Kwaku Alston

I had the privilege of meeting Kwaku Alston a few years ago when he was one of my panelists at Photo Plus Expo. This was a major coup for me as Kwaku is based primarily on the West Coast, and always so busy! I was immediately taken by his charming personality as well as his beautiful work so I am thrilled to have him in my newsletter this month. His website describes him as a “spirited artist with a charismatic personality” – and that he is! Kwaku may be known for his celebrity portraiture, but he also has a great passion for social documentary photography and donates his time and energy to several charitable organizations including the The DesignACure Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and the Venice Family Clinic. The image we have selected is from his ongoing personal project “Venice” which was also just recently written up in the NY Times’ Blog, Lens. And to read more about Kwaku and see all of his work, be sure to go to his website.

Lou Jones
I haven’t officially met Lou Jones, but I certainly know his name and his work and I’m very excited to be including him this month. As his website states, “Lou Jones is one of Boston’s most diverse and inspiring commercial and fine art photographers, known for his courage, creative skill and humanity.” What else can I say really, because this seems to sum Lou up perfectly? His client list is stellar, and over the years he has literally traveled the globe, shooting not only for his advertising, corporate and editorial clients, but also as a social documentarian. Lou has been exhibited in numerous galleries throughout the world, and is also a past president of the New England Chapter of ASMP.

Bar, Vedado, Havana, Cuba, December 2001
© Lou Jones


Be sure to check out my latest article on Agency Access Blog, The Lab, which deals with a very pertinent and popular topic for many photographers.
The question was, “How do I focus my diverse work into a strong marketing plan? Can you provide examples of how other artists with diverse portfolios successfully marketed themselves?” And I do, I give three different client examples and how we solved this issue with each one of them.

And here’s the latest Podcast live on The Lab where we talk about “Moving into New Markets.”

ChatterTip of the Month February 2012

Tips for Healthy Ankles

Last year, we talked about tips for healthy blood and circulation, because Aquarius rules over these areas. The sign of Aquarius also rules over your ankles, so this time we’re giving you some tips for, yes, you guessed it – Healthy Ankles! As with the other joints in our physical bodies, we need the ankles for flexibility, to allow us to flex the foot and rise and fall as we walk. It’s one of those areas we can easily forget about too. With so much else to remember, who thinks of their ankles?

Ankle Stretches
A very easy way to stretch the ankle and Achilles tendon is doing Heel Raises. Stand on a step or stair, with your weight on the balls of the feet and the heels hanging over the edge of the step. Gently and slowly rise up onto your toes and then lower them down again, but instead of lowering the feet back down to horizontal (or flat) allow the stretch to continue so the heels go down below the level of the stair. This way the ankle, foot and heel get a good stretch below the step, as well as above.

Another good stretch is the Towel Stretch, where you simply sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you, then take a towel (or a belt) and put it around your feet. Keeping the back straight, gently pull on the towel so the feet and ankles get a good stretch.

Ankle Flexibility
To keep your ankles flexible with a good range of motion, check out these simple exercises. First of all, Foot Circles – while sitting at your desk, one leg at a time, simply lift the foot off the floor and while still keeping it relaxed rotate the foot in a circular motion several times in both directions.

Then we also have Point & Flex – again this can be done while sitting, one foot at a time – simply point and flex your feet, up and down, several times, but feel the stretch throughout the whole foot, do it nice and slowly so you feel it.

Ankle Strength
To maintain strong ankles, see how good your Balance is – simply practice standing on one leg. If you feel pressure in the knee of the leg you are standing on, then flex the knee slightly, but still keep the torso nice and straight. When I was doing a lot more dance and physical training, I would often practice my balance exercises while waiting in line for something, or standing on the subway platform.

And then we have the Alphabet Exercise – again, while seated on a chair (and perfect for our intellectual air sign of Aquarius) write the entire alphabet in the air with one foot. Then change legs and repeat with the other foot. This exercise will use all the muscles of the ankle.

ChatterRecipe of the Month February 2012

Tarte Tatin

© STOCKFOOD/William Reavell Photography

When it comes to deserts and pastries, the French have my vote, and one of my all-time favorite deserts has always been Tarte Tatin – and it’s really not that difficult to make. It is also equally delicious if you make it with Pears, instead of Apples. Aquarius enjoys its healthy seasonal fruits, such as Apples, Pears, Dates and Figs, as well as citrus fruits including Oranges, Lemons and Grapefruit. My father was an Aquarius and a big lover of Grapefruit – and I continue his habit to this day by having a half grapefruit with my breakfast! So for this month’s recipe, I decided to give you something sweet and delicious for Valentine’s Day, but made with fruit instead of chocolate!

Ingredients – for the Fruit
6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
½ cup Soft Brown Sugar
5-6 Desert Apples (could use Pears instead)
1 Lemon (zested & juiced)

Ingredients – for the Pastry
1 ½ cups All-purpose Flour
4 oz Unsalted Butter (chilled, cut into cubes)
¼ cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1-2 tablespoons Water (ice cold)

– To make the Pastry – put the Flour into a large bowl and add the cubes of cold Butter. Rub the Butter into the Flour (or cut with a knife) until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the Confectioner’s Sugar, and add the Egg Yolk, plus enough cold Water to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

– To prepare the Fruit – peel, core and slice the Apples (or Pears), and toss them with the zest and juice of the Lemon. The Lemon stops the fruit from turning brown, as well as giving a little kick of flavor.

– To prepare the Caramel – put the Butter and Soft Brown Sugar into a pan or skillet and heat gently until the Sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and cook gently for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture turns a dark golden brown, and is thick but still pourable. Be careful not to burn it! Now, when I learned how to make this in France, we used a skillet to melt the Caramel in, and then instead of transferring the Caramel into the bottom of a pie dish, we used the same skillet as our pie dish. If you prefer to use a pie dish, then transfer your Caramel from the skillet into the pie dish and cover the bottom with a generous layer.

– To make the Pie – arrange the slices of Apples (or Pears) in a circular spiral pattern on top of the layer of Caramel. Make one single layer, and then cover evenly with any remaining slices. Roll out the chilled Pastry on a lightly floured work surface, to a round slightly larger than the size of your pie dish or skillet. Lay the Pastry over the Apples, tucking the excess down the side of the pan/skillet. Bake in a 400° oven for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.

– To serve the Pie – invert a serving plate on top of the pie, turn the pie dish and plate over and remove the pan to reveal the caramelized Apples. Serve your Tarte Tatin either warm or cold, perhaps with a little Ice Cream, or Crème Fraiche.

ChatterEvents February 2012

Thursday, February 9th, 2012 – 6pm
APA NY: Building an Estimate, with Jess Dudley

@ Chelsea Daylight Studio
236 West 6th Street, Suite #1104
New York, NY

Cost: APA Members – $10 in advance; Non-Members – $20 in advance (additional $5 at the door)

Jess Dudley, © Robb Scharetg

From the website:
“We each work hard to find new clients and are elated when someone shows interest in our work. But that elation often turns to panic when we’re asked to submit an estimate for a project. How do you structure an estimate, what are the line items, what is the client expecting, how do you look professional?
Creating a professional estimate is not an exercise in black magic and secret sauce. Jess Dudley will demystify the estimating process for us by breaking it down into a logical structure. Come and hear a pro talk about the entire process of building a professional estimate.”

For more information and to register please visit:

Monday, February 13th, 2012 – 7-8pm
APA NY Presents: Matt Hoyle – Storytelling

@ Apple Store SoHo
401 West 14th Street
New York, NY

Cost: Free! Space is limited

© Matt Hoyle

For more information please visit:

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 – 6:30pm
ASMP NE Presents: CDIA Big Shots with Jack Reznicki

Studio C
274 Moody Street
Waltham, MA

Cost: Event is free but space is limited

From the website:
“ASMP New England in association with Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts will be hosting a Big Shots presentation by Jack Reznicki, one of Canon’s EXPLORERS OF LIGHT. (This is a part of CDIA’S Big Shots Program).”

For more information please visit:

Also Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 – 6:30pm
NY Monthly Photo Salon

@ SoHo Photo Gallery
15 White Street
New York, NY

Cost: $10 at the door

Presenting the work of: David Carol, Robert Herman, Jaime Permuth, Jay Maisel. Line-up is subject to change.

For more information or questions please contact: Beth Ackerman, Emmanuel Faure or Bill Westheimer

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 – 6-8pm
Barry Rosenthal: Margins – Opening Reception
Exhibition on display through Saturday, March 17th, 2012

@ DIB Gallery
547 West 27th, Suite #533
New York, NY

For more information please visit:
To view more of Barry Rosenthal’s work please visit:

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 – 7-9pm
ASMP NY Presents: Stock is Not Dead

@ Capsule Studio
873 Broadway, between18th and 19th Streets
New York, NY

Cost: Free for Members; $25 for Non-Members; $15 for Students

© Bill Bachmann

From the website:
“Bill Bachmann will present a lecture with many positive & inspiring ways to add both the enjoyment and more lucrative methods to do the same photography.   Bill has given lectures around the world and seen countless photographers experience more fun and find greater success in their careers.  He will present ways to earn considerably more money and have the freedom to create images we all love.  He also will give suggestions on how he markets his work to get bigger & better-paying assignments, both nationally and internationally.”

For more information and to register please visit:“stock-is-not-dead”/

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 – 6:30pm
Adhesive NYC Meet Up: Sticking Creatives Together

@ Sweet & Vicious
5 Spring Street
New York, NY

ASMP and the Copyright Clearance Center Present a Series of Webinars

The Future of Licensing – Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 – 1-2:30pm EST

(re)Imagining the Future – Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 – 1-2:30pm EST

To view the full list of events and to register please visit: