Tony Gale – ChatterArtist April 2014

Tony Gale – ChatterArtist April 2014

Our ChatterArtist for this month is New York-based portrait and lifestyle photographer Tony Gale, an Aries, born on March 26. Tony was recently a participant on the PDN 30 Panel held at the SVA Theater on West 23rd Street, during which it was revealed to be his birthday on that same exact day! As I thought about it, I recognized some of the Aries characteristics in him, starting with when Tony mentioned during the panel discussion (about how to survive when you are first starting out) that he worked as a cook part-time to help pay the bills, until he had enough work photographically to sustain him.

Sony DSC © 2011 Tony Gale

As we know, the Planet Mars, God of War, rules the sign of Aries. Mars is therefore associated with all weapons, especially knives – they like to cut. Besides the military and law enforcement Mars is also connected with other professions that like to cut including butchers, cooks, chefs and hairdressers. So even though Tony’s dream was not necessarily to become a chef, the kitchen was a natural place for him to be. Another connection with cooking is that Mars is associated with the Tongue and your sense of Taste.

Ingrid Hoffman, host of Simply Delicioso on the Cooking Channel © 2013 Tony Gale

On his website About Page Tony says: Tony Gale is an award winning, portrait/lifestyle photographer. Tony was raised in Bellingham, Washington (90 miles north of Seattle) and spent most of his time as a child exploring the woods behind his parents’ house. At 19, after visiting Bruce Lee’s grave in Seattle, and taking his first photo with a disposable camera, he bought his first camera. He promptly broke it and bought his first SLR. At 21 he moved to Seattle to pursue photography and in fall of 2000 moved to NYC, the center of the world.

Three things popped out for me – the 1st is that fact that he spent his childhood “exploring” the woods… Aries is the Adventurer and the Explorer – that’s what they do. And we see much of Tony’s adventurous nature not only in his photography but also in his personal life. Which brings me to the 2nd thing in that statement, which was visiting Bruce Lee’s grave, and his natural attraction to Fighting and the Martial Arts. And the 3rd was where he mentioned he broke his first camera – Aries is connected with Accidents.

Aerialist © 2009 Tony Gale

One of my favorites of Tony’s personal projects is a series entitled Some Interesting People that has evolved and grown over time, and even has its own separate URL now. For this particular project Tony asked people to nominate “interesting people” to have their portrait taken. The subject had to be specifically nominated by someone else and say why it was they were nominating this person. Aries (and all Fire signs) are connected with Inspiration, so here for example is one of Tony’s favorite stories, which embraces both Accidents, Athletes and Inspiration.

Vic Calise, Paralympian, Accessibility Coordinator NYC Parks © 2012 Tony Gale

Vic Calise: Vic is a paraplegic; he was injured in a mountain Biking accident almost 18 years ago in Forest Park, Queens. We became friendly about 2 years after his injury.  When you speak to Vic for about 2 minutes you forget that he is in a wheelchair and you think of him as someone who can do anything that you or I could do. And he does. We have two young daughters, 9 and 6, and they think their Dad can do or fix anything. He is a disabled athlete who competed in the Winter Paralympics games in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and who has stayed involved in the sport of sled hockey since. He works for NYC parks as the ADA coordinator to make all parks accessible to people with disabilities. He also organizes events throughout the 5 boroughs for kids with disabilities. He is frequently asked to speak at different events and organizations around the city. He is also about to complete his Masters degree, all while being totally involved in our daughters’ activities (soccer coach) and working full time. And he has a great personality; most everyone who meets him is drawn to him in some way. [Nominated and described by Susan Calise]

Boxer © 2014 Tony Gale

So when Tony’s not holding (or breaking – just kidding, he only did that when he was younger) a camera, he is most likely to be found training or competing somewhere in the wild outdoors, because he is also an avid and accomplished Triathlete himself (yep, that is swimming, biking & running folks!) and he volunteers with The Brooklyn Tri Club. Aries and people with a strong Mars are usually very tough physically. They may not be the largest fighters on the team, but they are strong and tough! This also explains why Tony enjoys and is very good at photographing Athletes.

Triathlete, Hawaii © 2014 Tony Gale

The Brooklyn Tri Club is not the only place where Tony gives generously of himself and his time. He has also been on the Board of APA NY (American Photographic Artists) for many years and has taught workshops on Photographic Lighting around the country and classes here in New York City at Parsons The New School for Design.

Charles Reinhart, Director of the American Dance Festival © 2010 Tony Gale

Now, I have known Tony for years, and run into him at just about every single photography event there is in New York. I truly believe that Tony Gale is in fact, the originator of The Selfie because no matter what event or where you run into him, he will immediately whip out his camera and take a photo not of you, but with you. That’s why, if you go to my Facebook page – you’ll see this – almost half the photos on there are of me with Tony… and he probably took the majority of the other ones he’s not in! If you think about it, the basic principle of The Selfie ties in nicely with the Aries trait of being shall we say a little “in-your-face” at times? But Tony does it in such a nice way that you forget what it is he’s doing, and before you can even get home from the event, or get mad at him, you’ve already been loaded onto Facebook and “tagged!”

Screen Grab from Facebook

Frank Villafãne – ChatterArtist January 2014

Frank Villafãne – ChatterArtist January 2014

Our ChatterArtist for this month is a new client I started working with last year, architectural photographer Frank Villafãne.  I received an email from Frank recently informing me that some of his images would be appearing in a show in New Brunswick, NJ and the timing was kind of well, perfect. Why? The sign for this month of January is the Earth sign of Capricorn, and although Frank is not a Capricorn himself, he is one of the other two Earth signs, a Taurus. Frank photographs Architecture and man-made industrial structures – and it is our Capricorn who builds these very structures!

Rockefeller Center © Frank Villafãne

In particular, think about very large structures, monuments and bridges – buildings that are large enough to be named after someone, that kind of thing… and that is something that Frank happens to love to photograph. When he first described to me what he does, he said, “I shoot cityscapes, bridges and industrial imaging” – which he certainly does, but what I also particularly liked was that he was often focusing on one place, a particular theme or a specific series of similar structures.

Under Route 18, Piscataway, NJ © Frank Villafãne

And yes, Frank definitely has a thing about bridges, so I wanted to make sure we showed you some of those! Not all of the bridges are necessarily working bridges – in fact, I find some of the derelict ones the most interesting and beautiful.

Derelict Trestle, Kearny, NJ © Frank Villafãne

Plus I thought it would be nice to show you some other bridges besides the usual Brooklyn Bridge, but I have to admit I couldn’t resist including one of the George Washington Bridge, especially after the recent “Bridgegate” scandal forcing Governor Chris Christie to come out and publicly apologize to the city of Fort Lee, NJ!

GWB at Night © Frank Villafãne

As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, Frank contacted me to let me know he was one of the featured photographers in the “New Brunswick Thru Photographers’ Eyes” exhibit at the Alfa Art Gallery. The exhibition will run from January 10 through January 29, 2014.

Albany Street Trestle © Frank Villafãne

From the gallery website: “The Alfa Art Gallery is proud to present its fourth annual Photography exhibition, “New Brunswick in The Eyes of Photographers”, in cooperation with New Brunswick City Market. This Photography Exhibition is a part of the New Brunswick Art Salon series, in which Alfa invites established and emerging artists to present their works as a tangible presentation of their artistic expression. This winter, we invited photographers to open the audience towards their images of New Brunswick, a cultural and diverse city with various perspectives and viewpoints.” Frank has been shooting for the city of New Brunswick, NJ for a while now, and recently posted one of his signature images (see below) to their website.

New Brunswick from 27 floors up on the rooftop of The Vue © Frank Villafãne

Frank shoots a lot, which is great, so he always has something new to show you. The challenge with him and many of my clients, is not to overpopulate the website galleries, otherwise there is simply too much for the viewer to look at. So my advice is to constantly put the best work up there, keep editing down the portfolios, so you will always have plenty of additional archived images in case you need them. Frank also chose to have a slide show on the home page of his Urban Industrial Imaging website that showcases a selection of his best images, plus he has a blog.

Rutgers Business School at Night © Frank Villafãne

Frank has spent the last few months shooting a new series entitled, “On The Passaic” featuring city and bridge shots all along the Passaic River. His interest is not only in the structures that he photographs, but also in the history and whatever interesting facts and information he can find along the way. For instance, did you know that the Passaic River has the singular distinction of being the most industrialized river on the East Coast? Or that it culminates with the Great Falls of Paterson, which just so happen to be the largest falls next to Niagara east of the Mississippi? – I thought not!

Great Falls of Paterson © Frank Villafãne

Now as a Taurus, Frank is naturally going to enjoy the finer things in life – good food, art and music – so it came as no big surprise to learn that when he’s not photographing architecture, he is also a performing musician and can be found playing in his Latin Jazz Quartet, Frank & 3 To Clave, which performs every weekend at CubaCan, a very tasty-sounding Cuban restaurant in Asbury Park, NJ – wish it was nearer the city!

J.D. Scott – ChatterArtist July 2013

J.D. Scott – ChatterArtist July 2013

Our ChatterArtist for this month is Atlanta-based photographer J.D. Scott – a Cancer, born on July 19 – a “late” Cancer making him close to the next sign of Leo. When you are born on the “cusp” between two signs, you will naturally take on some of the characteristics of the other sign, as well as your actual Sun sign. So with J.D., for example, we see the “nurturing” Cancer in much of his work, which is all about education, family, healthcare, humanitarian issues and so on. And then the Leo comes out in his love of the creative arts, and his ability to have fun with what he does, which in turn allows his subjects to have fun too.

Self assigned work documenting senior citizens in Atlanta. © J.D. Scott

One classic example of J.D.’s connection to Cancer’s nurturing nature, combined with his love for the creative arts is his 15 year pro-bono work for a local dance group Moving in the Spirit, which works mostly (but not exclusively) with inner city kids, using dance as a vehicle for the kids to learn about responsibility and trust. We talked about the importance of having other influences besides your immediate family, and this is a place where the kids appreciate being treated as adults.

Darion Thompson, 17 year-old Dancer with Moving in The Spirit. © J.D. Scott

J.D. says, “It’s not just about the dance, but also about people learning from one another. Many of the kids come in very raw, and then they become polished, well-spoken people… I literally see these kids grow up – that’s the beauty of working with them over a period of time. It is an honor to give to this worthwhile cause.” Over the years, J.D. has photographed their rehearsals, and just recently as part of their 25 year anniversary, they had an exhibition of life-size dance images taken by J.D. that were 4 x 8 feet tall, which were shown alongside images of them in street clothes along with copy about their stories and the changes they had been through.

Women's garden project workers in Elliot, South Africa. These women initiated a garden collective, sold their produce and then used the proceeds to form a sewing collective to employ many other women. © J.D. Scott

J.D. and I first met when I was working at the Black Book, and he was one of my favorite clients in Atlanta. My territories back then were half of New York, and the South East, so I made quite a few trips to Atlanta, Charlotte and Miami, which I didn’t mind at all! In fact, I quite miss those days. It was always an interesting challenge figuring out how to get to each photographer’s studio for my appointments, driving in a strange city, in a strange car, and yes, on the other side of the road! I clearly remember my sense of accomplishment when I managed to find my way out to see J.D. for the first time, and no, there wasn’t any GPS back then, so I had to put my map-reading skills to good use and hope that the instructions I had been given also made sense!

Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa. One of the highlights of my professional and personal life. Mandela is one of the people on the planet that I've always wanted to meet. I was able to spend over an hour photographing him while a small private audience (my client) of about 10 people were able to banter with the brilliant man. As he was leaving the event he beckoned me over to say, " I don't believe that I''ve shaken your hand young man." Thrilling! © J.D. Scott - And by the way, Nelson Mandela is also a Cancer!

We hit it off right away. It was as if we had known one another for ages. And we could talk about business without it feeling like it was all business. When we talked on the phone in preparation for this article, it had been several years since we had spoken, let alone seen one another, and yet, it was like no time had passed at all. Except that it has, and much has changed in our industry. J.D. is thankful to have survived and continues to stay busy.

Assignment for the Carter Center Praziquantel drug distribution program in a small village in Plateau State, Nigeria. The drug treats Schistosomiasis and other parasitic diseases simultaneously. © J.D. Scott

From his website: J.D. Scott specializes in imagery that captures the spirit of people, whether they are corporate CEOS, children in a daycare center, symphony musicians, or farmers in South Africa. His photography has taken him to Bosnia and Croatia, during the conflict in the early 1990s, as well as to a host of other countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa. In the U.S. and internationally, J.D. has documented humanitarian and social projects, created evocative photographs for advertising campaigns, and pursued his own projects. Clients include a range of national and international organizations and businesses.

Ivan and Ivana, Lipik, Croatia. Siblings whose orphanage was one of the first buildings targeted for mortar attacks. Portrait for "Innocents, The Trials and Triumphs of Children of War." "Innocents" compares the psychological similarities between children in declared war zones and America's inner cities. © J.D. Scott

J.D. has helped bring the efforts of a number of humanitarian organizations to the attention of a wider audience. These include CARE, The Carter Center, World Vision, and the Synergos Institute. In addition, he has independently pursued projects such as Innocents, a traveling exhibit that shows the similarities between children living in deprived neighborhoods in the U.S. and their peers in international war zones. Shortly after 9/11, J.D. was part of an expedition into a remote desert region of West Africa that was organized by the U.S. Ambassador to Niger to highlight Muslim areas, people and culture seldom seen by Americans.

Doll factory worker in Capetown, South Africa. This small factory run by the NGO Ikamva Labantu provides employment for disabled women. I came to know Ikamva Labantu and their founder Helen Lieberman while on assignment for another client. I fell in love with them and stayed for an extra week making pro bono photographs for the organization. © J.D. Scott

At the end of that day, J.D. says he is committed to telling people’s stories. I told him how perfect this was since the sign of Cancer is associated with and loves History, and when you break the word History down, it is simply “his story.” J.D. added that he is grateful even after all these years making photos, and after the economic downturn, that he is still passionate about making beautiful images and telling stories – hoping that they will help change something and make the world a better place.

Ikamva Labantu trained this beautiful woman, who happens to be blind, to be a massage and aroma therapist. © J.D. Scott

Louisa J. Curtis

Jill Waterman – ChatterArtist June 2013

Our ChatterArtist for this month is Jill Waterman, who ironically introduced me to last month’s ChatterArtist Linda Rutenberg, and they both like to photograph at night! Jill is a Gemini, born on June 5th and we first met when I was still working at PDN and PhotoServe. We immediately became friends, and I will never forget when my back went out and I was stuck in my apartment for several weeks, it was Jill who came by to see me and bring me some of my work from the office!

FYI – I chose this beautiful image of the Aurora Borealis to head Jill’s article because it fits the Gemini theme so perfectly – Gemini is connected with Electricity and your Nervous System!

Nightscape: Aurora Borealis, Iceland © Jill Waterman

You could say Jill is a typical Gemini – she is certainly very smart, like all Air signs, and she is definitely multi-talented and always working on more than one thing at a time! Initially, she was hired at PDN as managing photo editor for IPNStock, but she was quickly assigned numerous other roles, including senior editor of the ASMP Bulletin, contributing editor for PDN Custom Media and Events/Photo Plus Expo and editor of PDNedu (PDN’s student publication).

Miami Doorman, New Years Eve 2002 © Jill Waterman

As a photographer Jill is best known for her wonderful, longtime and ongoing project, where she shoots in a different city every year on New Year’s Eve. I love the idea of this project – so simple and exciting each time she goes to another venue. She can keep doing this one for ever! And it must be so interesting to see not only how the celebrations and cultures differ, from city to city and from country to country, but also how they have evolved over the years, from the buildings and landscape to everyone’s fashions and hairstyles…

London Bobbies, New Years Eve 1985 © Jill Waterman
Edinburgh Castle, Midnight, New Years Eve 1999 © Jill Waterman

From her website: New Year’s Eve is the holiday of anticipation. For more than a quarter century I have photographed this event around the world, annually traveling to a different city to research local customs and record the festivities with my camera. My pictures reveal intimate narratives about ordinary people filled with the spirit of an extraordinary night. The subjects of my photographs are all willing participants, flattered by the prospect of a moment in the spotlight. In every destination or venue for this work, I meet people who respond to my images and find they evoke a connection to a story or memory. I have gathered such experiences, traditions and prophecies to present with my photographs in homage to this great event.

Paris Fireworks, New Years Eve 1984 © 1984 Jill Waterman

The idea for Jill’s New Year’s Eve project was born in Paris while she was studying at the Sorbonne. [Where better than Paris, since it is The City of Light!] She was making the transition from printmaking to photography and was looking for a project with which she could track her progress over time. [Well, she certainly accomplished that!] It was December 31, 1983, and Jill was also curious to see what the year 1984 would bring and how George Orwell’s novel would play out! And what began as a whim has turned into 30 years now and a lifelong commitment! Besides Paris she has photographed in Edinburgh, Scotland for Hogmanay, Reykjavik, Iceland, London and Berlin, Shanghai and Rio, New York and New Orleans, Mexico City and Philadelphia, to name but a few… She has witnessed the Rose Parade in Pasadena and the welcoming of the Millennium in Bethlehem.

Nassau, Bahamas Junkanoo, New Years Eve 2009 © Jill Waterman
Philadelphia Mummer, New Years Eve 2003 © Jill Waterman

In 2008 Jill published her first book “Night and Low-Light Photography: Professional Techniques from Experts for Artistic and Commercial Success.”

From the Amazon website: Author Jill Waterman looks at the work of 30 top professionals, examining their real-life projects as well as their tips, techniques, and unique approach. The result is a beautiful yet practical compendium of every aspect of night and low-light photography, indoors and out, black and white and color, digital and film, fine art and commercial. The moon and stars, atmospheric effects, cityscapes, industrial light, night events, night landscapes – every night effect is revealed in this lavishly illustrated one-volume resource.

Nightscapes: Star Trails, Phone Lines, Topanga Canyon © Jill Waterman

So yes, besides being a photographer Jill is also a writer, a teacher and a lecturer on the topic of night and low light photography. Remember, Gemini’s are communicators – that’s what they do. My Moon is in Gemini, so I should know – look what I do every month in terms of “communication!”

Shanghai Lucy, New Years Eve 1995 © Jill Waterman

Over the years, Jill’s project has been featured in numerous publications, many of which appeared as newspaper features in the city where she photographed. Her television coverage includes an interview with Katie Couric on NBC’s The Today Show, which aired on January 1, 2003 – click here to view the interview!

Her documentation of New Year’s Eve 2007 in Berlin was filmed for a segment on the show Arts Unlimited, which aired internationally on Deutsche Welle TV – click here to view the film!

So where will Jill be as we move from 2013 into the year 2014? You’ll just have to wait and see…

Linda Rutenberg – ChatterArtist May 2013

Our ChatterArtist for this month is Linda Rutenberg, a Fine Art photographer from Montreal whom I met last year at Photo Plus Expo. My friend Jill Waterman introduced us, since Linda was on Jill’s panel about night photography. But the reason I selected Linda for this month’s bulletin is not because she likes to photograph at night, but because she photographs gardens and is a Taurus, born May 13 – how perfect is that? You may recall I featured a whole bunch of garden photographers a couple of years ago, and I have to say, that was one of my all-time favorite issues!

Globe Thistles, Reford Gardens, Quebec – where the project began… © Linda Rutenberg

Linda didn’t set out to photograph gardens at night; it came about by accident really, as many great ideas and projects do. She was shooting for Landscape Architect magazine at the time and had been sent to shoot a garden festival at the Reford Gardens in Quebec. It was agreed that she would shoot in the early morning when the light was best, so as the gardens were locked at night, she asked if she and her husband Roger Leeon could literally spend the night in the garden parking lot in their 1982 Westfalia camper, thus they would be there ready to go when the sun rose. However, the garden at night was all too tempting, so with flashlights taped to their tripods, off they went to explore after dark. What they witnessed beneath the moonlight was so mesmerizing, Linda knew right then that she was on to something. Remember Taurus is the sign associated with our senses, and clearly, Linda’s senses were extremely heightened by her nocturnal expedition!

Japanese Garden (left) and Heliconia or Lobster Claw (right), Brooklyn Botanical Garden © Linda Rutenberg

Now since then, the project has grown and Linda and her husband Roger have explored numerous gardens all across North America. The 1st book The Garden at Night published with Chronicle Books in 2007 included 16 US gardens and 4 in Canada. From there the project evolved into a yearlong study of The Montreal Botanical Garden, resulting in book number 2 and a 6-month exhibition aptly titled After Midnight and published by Verve Editions in 2008. As Linda herself said, the next logical path led them to England – Land of Gardens and Gardeners Galore! I should know, I grew up there, and yes, everyone loves their gardens… So naturally, they had a plethora of beautiful gardens to select from, resulting in the book The English Garden at Night published by Thames & Hudson in 2009.

Calla Lily, Montreal Botanical Garden © Linda Rutenberg

However, one particular garden kept coming up in her research, and that was the Eden Project, located in Southwestern England, in Cornwall. Not your archetypical English garden, for sure, but more of an environmental and social project that combines conservation with art and nature, and a mission that certainly spoke to Linda. So much so that she reached out to them and was granted a residency during which she could spend time creating her own images of the project.

Umbrella Topiary, Levens Hall, England (left) and Biomes, Eden Project, Cornwall, England (right) © Linda Rutenberg

Next up will be another logical progression in the garden theme, and that is The Japanese Garden at Night. But before you start to think that gardens is all Linda photographs, not so fast. Linda has not only been a passionate photographer for the past 30 years – she is also a dedicated teacher and continues to lecture and give master workshops and classes. She was the co-founder and artistic director of Galerie Mistral in Montreal, and the owner of a darkroom rental facility called Camera Lucida Image Center. Linda has created images for a total of 15 books and her work can be found in galleries, museums and private collections all over the globe.

Tulips, Montreal Botanical Garden © Linda Rutenberg

She is currently working on a landscape series on the Gaspe Coast in the wintertime, a very remote area with not a lot of vegetation, and due for publication next year. So from the oh-so familiar darkness of those nighttime gardens she is now stimulating herself to capture the beauty of all that white snow and ice-cold water! As she says herself, “Quite different and quite challenging…”

From her new series on the Gaspe Coast © Linda Rutenberg

Lori Nix – ChatterArtist April 2013

Our ChatterArtist for this month, Lori Nix, is one of my absolute favorite artists, and was my April ChatterCorner a couple of years ago for PhotoServe. Naturally, Lori is an Aries, born on April 13th, so it’s a perfect opportunity for me to remind you just how talented she is and to show you yet more of her extraordinary work. And to prove the point that there are no coincidences in life, as you will read from this month’s ChatterLog, the sign of Aries is connected with Accidents – and the fact that Lori’s personal email address includes the very word “accidental” in it is surely no accident?

Library, 2007 © Lori Nix

But why is that? Lori may think her fascination for accidents stems from her childhood, growing up in Kansas where tornadoes and natural disasters were a frequent thing and her immediate source of inspiration – little does she know that it is also in her nature to either be attracted or prone to having accidents – hence her love of classic 1970’s disaster movies as well! The Sun sign shows us how a person organizes their life, so Lori organizes her life around the Aries theme of “accidents” and it comes out through her artistic expression. Therefore it should also come as no surprise that one of the portfolios on her website is entitled “Accidental Kansas!”

Great Hall, 2006 © Lori Nix

Personally I have always loved models and miniatures, so to find out more about how Lori constructed her incredibly detailed dioramas before photographing them when I interviewed her was indeed fascinating. I had also attended a lecture at CAP (The Center for Alternative Photography) in which she talked more about her journey and her process. Currently Clampart represents Lori in New York, and she is also represented by galleries in Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Seattle and Italy!

Laundromat at Night, 2008 © Lori Nix

Lori and I first met when she was showing at the NY Photo Salon and I was immediately taken by her somewhat dark sense of humor. Why a photograph of a miniature set depicting some terribly tragic scene had me so voraciously hooked is an interesting thing to ponder, but you can’t help but chuckle when you see her work. The attention to detail is extremely satisfying, and the dedication to accuracy – even more so. Often the replicas parody the real thing, but leave us satisfied enough with both her own rendition as well as the original in our head.

Anatomy Classroom, 2012 © Lori Nix

Unlike her earlier work with all of those wonderful miniature landscapes, the later City series brings us to the world of abandoned buildings and more confined spaces. From the classical Library, Map Room and Museum dioramas, we also have the abandoned Mall, Laundromat and one of my own early favorites, the Vacuum Showroom. Since our interview, Lori has continued to add to her City series, including Anatomy Classroom, Circulation Desk, Subway and Violin Repair Shop.

Violin Repair Shop, 2011 © Lori Nix

The City series shows a more evolved Lori with far more detailed sets than her earlier work. For example, in her early piece Train, 1998, we see a model train, overturned with what looks like a chemical spill flowing into the reservoir. With Subway, 2012, Lori has re-constructed the interior of a New York City subway car, with those oh so familiar two-toned orange seats! Making sure everything is to scale is very important to her, and sometimes it is not necessarily the environment that dictates the scale of the props, but it might be that a particular prop is so perfect, that everything else will have to be built in proportion to work with that.

Subway, 2012 © Lori Nix

The only downside to Lori’s brilliance is that we have to be patient with her process and how long it takes her to complete each piece. But with Lori, you simply can’t hurry this kind of thing along. It can take her months and months to build a set, filling it with all of those intricately detailed and painted props, and then one click of a button produces a single image that barely represents so much of the labor of love that it truly is, so who wouldn’t want to own one of her prints, the wait is always so worthwhile!

Circulation Desk, 2012 © Lori Nix

Stephen Flint – ChatterArtist February 2013

Our ChatterArtist for this month is a client with whom I have been working for several years now, and that is Miami-based lifestyle & resort photographer Stephen Flint, naturally he’s an Aquarius, born on January 31st in Haiti to English parents. Interesting, right? Steve then lived in Jamaica and Trinidad for 10 years before moving to the U.S. in the early 1980’s, where he has lived ever since. And, as an “Island Boy” at heart, it really comes as no surprise to me that he primarily (though not exclusively) shoots hotel and resort lifestyle, and a lot of water sports, mostly in Florida and the Caribbean!

 Stephen Flint

Now, in case you hadn’t noticed, paddleboards have become very popular in the last couple of years, and Steve has already taken some beautiful award-winning images of them. This time around though, he took it to a whole new level by combing paddle boarding with yoga! This crazy combo may look wonderfully serene, but as far as executing the shoot was concerned, Steve told me it was quite challenging and far more physically demanding than the end result implies, thus they are all bona fide yoga instructors and no models were hurt in the making of this image! I had a hard time selecting which one to show you, but this one was so bizarre, and when you think about what it took for them to be all doing that pose simultaneously, on those boards? Crazy!

 Stephen Flint

I also couldn’t resist showing you this next image of the original, yes, I said the original “African Queen!” Apparently, this is the very same boat that was used in the famous 1951 movie of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Originally built in England and used by the East Africa British Railways Company to shuttle cargo, missionaries and hunting parties (though not necessarily in that order) across the Victoria Nile and Lake Albert, the boat was eventually brought over from Africa to America in 1968. Steve told me that at one point, the boat was in a state of disrepair, but a true enthusiast by the name of Captain Lance Holmquist, has painstakingly restored and preserved this cinematic artifact, which is now available for picnic pleasure cruises in Key Largo, Florida. Notice all of the fabulous attention to detail, including the Union Jack flag, as well as the crate of Gordon’s Gin (but of course, wouldn’t go anywhere without it darling!)

The African Queen  Stephen Flint

It was another of my favorite photographers Pete Barrett who originally referred Steve to me for some consulting, and ever since that time, I have watched him, his work and his business grow considerably. Part of Steve’s success is due not only to great images and listening to my advice (!), but also to a lot of hard work, a dedication to his craft and clients, as well as having a positive attitude and a great sense of humor! As I mentioned earlier, Steve’s parents are English, and he still has relatives in the U.K. This next image is from a wonderful spontaneous shoot with his nephew and three nieces – who subsequently became known as “The Converse Kids!

The Converse Kids  Stephen Flint

When I asked Steve to write me a testimonial a while back, he mentioned how I had helped him grow his business, even through these tough economic times. I simply gave him the tools and the advice, he took it, he made sure he promoted on a regular basis, worked his “local” and regional markets really well before going after the national, and made sure he was consistently shooting new work. If he wasn’t busy with assignments, he would work on one of his personal projects. This way, he always had something to show. Then, once he had accrued enough new work, we would book a session and edit in the new work, weed out some of the older images.

 Stephen Flint

Over time, the number of portfolios has grown on his website, and Steve has been able to show a variety of categories without compromising his overall aesthetic. His type of clients need to see a range – so Steve shoots both the interior and exteriors of the resorts, the food and the chefs that create the sumptuous dishes, and all of the activities ranging from sensuous spa treatments to wild water sports and beach activities. I mention food, and this is another body of work that Steve has recently been expanding to show his clients that he can shoot multiple subjects, situations and stories. He can shoot where you might be dining, as well as what’s on the menu!

 Stephen Flint

I also want to give a mention here to Steve’s lovely wife, Sandrine. In the early days, both Steve and Sandrine had a consumer family portraiture business together, but once Steve’s commercial career took off and needed his full attention, Sandrine took over that side of the business exclusively, and also shoots really beautiful work, by the way, so be sure to check out her website as well as Steve’s, which was recently updated. And speaking of Sandrine, this next image is one of my favorites of Steve’s portraits and is part of an ongoing personal project about retirees and what they are doing in their retirement. In this case, Jackie, who happens to also be his mother-in-law, works as a flight attendant! She looks like the kind of customer service employee that I would want to help me!

"Jackie" from the People of Retirement Series  Stephen Flint

You see, as much as Steve loves to shoot all the scenic lifestyle and beautiful, tropical destinations, at the end of the day, it is also all about the people. Aquarius is a “social” sign by nature, so they, including Steve, are very good at making everyone feel comfortable. When the subject feels comfortable, and the crew feels confortable, chances are the photographer and ultimately the client, will get a better shot. Everyone loves the Aquarius, that’s just the way it is!

Mark Segal – ChatterArtist December 2012

Naturally this month our ChatterArtist is going to be a Sagittarius, and I happen to know several photographers born under this sign, but the one I selected is such a perfect fit, and you’ll see why. Mark Segal, and I have known one another for a long time, back from when I worked with American Showcase and Archive Magazine. I have seen Mark’s work evolve over the years, and his business change through both desire and necessity, yet all with one consistent thread – his innate ability to “see” the bigger picture. Sagittarius is the sign that says, “I see, I see so much, where do I start first?” You’ve heard of the expression when someone is said to “not see the forest for the trees” – well, in Sagittarius’ case (and Mark’s) they do see the forest, they see the bigger picture – literally.

The DC Band © Mark Segal

And why is that, you might be asking? Well, The ruling planet of Sagittarius is Jupiter, the planet of expansion, higher learning and wisdom. Just look at the size of it – it’s the largest planet in our Solar System! How does this relate to Mark? Mark has been interested in and shooting Panoramas for years! It’s one of his specialties! So if that isn’t a classic example of someone who “sees the bigger picture” I don’t know what is! But how did it all start?

Mark began his photographic career in 1982 in Washington, DC, after giving up his job as a construction manager on the DC Metro subway system (leave that job for the Capricorn!). By this time he had already been experimenting with big old Cirkut cameras and was shooting in unusual places all around the DC area, whilst learning the issues of lighting, composing, motion, and people, all with a slowly rotating large format system.

Chicago Aerial © Mark Segal

Two years later came the big move to the “windy” city of Chicago, where Mark has been based ever since. Having discovered his love of Panoramics, he proceeded to shoot samples, stock and portfolio work for the next three years. Then, after a painful divorce, Mark threw himself even more into his work and started the photo library Panoramic Images, with his brother Doug, as well as Skypan, an aerial panoramic business. Mark says he took on a whole new level seriousness and devotion by being creatively different, and learning better business practices.

Mt. St. Michelle © Mark Segal

Another love of the Sagittarius is traveling. Not little trips like the Gemini prefers, but longer trips to far-off places. And yes, Mark has definitely done his fair share of long-distance travel to far-off places. I also know this to be true since many years ago we traveled together for a couple of weeks in South Africa. Talk about “seeing the bigger picture!”

Elephant © Mark Segal

I have never seen such breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, horizons and skies as I did in Africa – they literally went on forever. They say Africa is God’s Country, and it is. Pure Panoramic Bliss! So during the late 80’s and most of the 90’s, Mark traveled the globe and spent months developing and building relationships with new clients, such as Mon Tresor, Samsung, SAA and Hilton, all the while finding different applications for “Pans” without “Polaroid’s,” which required a large amount of trust on the client’s side! In 1991 Mark totally maxed out his traveling by shooting a total of 12 Annual Reports – crazy – and one year he went back and forth to Japan 3 times – imagine all the frequent flyer miles he must have accrued that year… ah, the good old days…

Sage Software © Mark Segal

So fast-forward a few years as we leave the 90’s and Mark was preparing to pursue another long-time passion, that of the movie business. However, after producing a couple of features and several spots, 9/11 hit and funding opportunities for future projects disappeared. So he stayed with stills, shooting stock whenever there were gaps in the assignment work, all the while continuing to promote Panoramics as one of his specialties. At the same time, Mark was also pursuing his remote control helicopter experimentation with digital video, then stills, and then remote control 360-degree pans. At this point he had also remarried, not surprisingly to a beautiful woman from another country, Cinzia is originally from Italy, and they now have two beautiful daughters, Sara and Alina.

Tiny Planet New York City © Mark Segal

Ironically, one of Mark’s newer galleries on his website is called “Tiny Planets!” Not very Jupiterian, but it’s a very cool 360 degree perspective and almost reminds me of Christmas decorations and snow globes! And, little did Mark know that shooting 360-degree images like this ties us right back into Astrology and the 360-degree circle!

Louisa J. Curtis

Arnie Zann – ChatterArtist October 2012

This month our featured photographer is Arnie Zann, a Libra born on September 25th! As with many Libras, Arnie is naturally charming, a great communicator, and a class act with a resume to match! He started out his 45-plus year career shooting for LIFE and Time, and since then Arnie has traveled the globe creating stunning images for numerous corporate libraries, private museum collections, galleries, major magazines, and more… I first met Arnie and his wife Margo Pinkerton a while back in 2007 when I went down to North Carolina and participated on a panel for their local ASMP Chapter. Margo and I then combined forces and presented a program together at the Miami Ad School later that same year.

Provence & Her Charms

Between the two of them, they have nearly eight decades of combined experience, but they did not come together until later in their lives, having both had prior marriages and children. I, for one, am so happy that they did find one another and combine forces because they fit together so well. Zann and Pinkerton Photography became early Chatterbox clients and we worked together on editing and creating a new website. But with these two, it always felt more like a friendship than simply business or work associates, [and since that time, a lot has changed!]

Springtime on the Outer Bank
Summertime on the Maine Coast

For many photographers and the industry as a whole, business was hit hard when the recession hit in 2009. Many of us had to reinvent how we made our living because either our income changed completely, was de-valued in some way, or disappeared altogether. So by the time I featured both Arnie & Margo in my newsletter in June 2010 [when I was showcasing photographers who work in pairs or husband & wife duos], they were already heading in a new direction because they could no longer depend on their corporate clients and licensing their images as stock. For them, a lot of the fun had gone out of the business, because clients were adopting an “It’s good enough” attitude and no longer demanding perfection because of shrinking budgets and other restrictions.

Paris & la Fête de la Musique

Remember I said that Libras are great communicators; in fact all Air signs need to communicate and make great teachers, so this new direction they chose was perfect for this duo. With Arnie being a Libra and Margo an Aquarius, they are both Air signs; therefore they value the same things and share an innate ability to communicate. And not only are they interested in intellectual and artistic pursuits, as Air signs they also need their space and freedom. Combine their experience, their love and passion for photography, teaching and the need to travel, they did what made the most sense and expanded Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures, a business that started out in the early 80s as adventure trips featuring photography. Arnie and Margo had both been teaching and speaking at seminars for years, and yes, Margo is the Barefoot Contessa, so I guess that makes Arnie the Barefoot Count?

Paris & la Fête de la Musique

And one of the reasons for the success of this current venture is because they love what they do and are truly doing what they love! It has now grown into their full-time occupation, and they have a blast. Students who travel with Arnie and Margo will be guaranteed excellent sharing of their expertise and knowledge, fantastic locations, a lot of laughs and good food and wine! Libra is after all the natural host of the party, able to exhibit “grace under pressure”, while the Aquarius is the most social sign of the zodiac! These two are charming people who can make anyone feel comfortable – and that’s what Arnie certainly does, he makes you feel welcome.

Paris & la Fête de la Musique

When I was emailing them for images, I asked, “When do you leave town on your next trip?” and they responded with, “Leave town? We’ve been on the road since late July and will not return home until early-mid October! We are in Colorado for a week visiting one of Margo’s daughters. After that, we will be on the road, heading back to New England for New England Fall Foliage, stopping with Arnie’s kids near Chicago en route, then home via DC where Margo’s elder daughter works for the White House.” And that pretty much sums up their life! So be sure to visit both the website and blog. Louisa J. Curtis

Stephen Mallon – ChatterArtist August 2012

This month our featured artist is New York based photographer and filmmaker Stephen Mallon, a Leo born on August 2nd. I have known Stephen for quite a few years now and have watched his career evolve, grow and progress during that time. We first met when Stephen was just starting out, one of the skilled and talented young shooters to come out of RIT and start a successful career initially shooting stock. Did somebody say stock? Yes, that’s what I said.

Stephen was smart enough to not solely rely on shooting stock for the rest of his life, especially once he married his lovely wife Sacha and they had their daughter Josephine. So what else has Stephen done? Well, Stephen has always been and continues to be involved in the photo community, including serving as the ASMP NY Chapter President a few years ago. Regarding his photography, he has always pursued the “fine art” avenue as well as commercial assignment and editorial work right from when he graduated in the mid-90s. A photographer is still first and foremost an artist, so it is fine if you present yourself to multiple markets, as Stephen does. Stephen is currently represented by David Laidler, and Works Artists.

Flight 1549 ©Stephen Mallon

Everyone has defining moments or opportunities in their career and certainly one of the most powerful in Stephen’s was when he had the amazing and yet humbling opportunity to photograph “The Salvage of Flight 1549” – the plane that was successfully landed by Captain Chelsey B. Sullenberger in the Hudson river on January 15th 2009. Stephen first showed the images at the Front Room Gallery in Williamsburg, and then again at Calumet in Manhattan, where I saw them. The prints were beautifully bold, printed nice and large, and the effect was both powerful and ominous.

Next Stop Atlantic ©Stephen Mallon

Prior to the success of this series, Stephen had also photographed another unusual opportunity where dumping large man-made metal machines into the water was not due to a death-defying emergency, but an actual planned burial – the sinking of old New York City subway cars entitled “Next Stop Atlantic.” And as if that wasn’t enough to whet his appetite, he went on to photograph the “USS Radford” as well. Another hunk of old, abandoned metal.

USS Radford ©Stephen Mallon

Reclamation ©Stephen Mallon

It’s clear Stephen is interested in the environment around him, in particular industrial structures, mostly those that are hauntingly uninhabited or void of life. And even though the structures  are man-made, the focus is on the end result, not those that made it, as can also be seen in his “Reclamation” series for example.

A Bridge Delivered ©Stephen Mallon

But he didn’t stop there, because perhaps one of my absolute favorites is his more recent foray into filmmaking and “A Bridge Delivered,” a film that captures (in time-lapse motion) the replacement of an entire section of the Willis Avenue Bridge – brilliant! I love it every time I watch it. Once again, Stephen had something very cool and interesting to show prospective agents and clients, which brings us nicely to his new film “The Volare,” which was recently included in ATA’s (Artists Television Access) screening “Sight Unseen” along with 7 other filmmakers. Commissioned by the Wall Street Journal, “The Volare” is an accelerated look at the construction of the 1st new roller coaster to be built in 70 years at Coney Island, New York.

The Volare ©Stephen Mallon

And what is also interesting (for me anyway) is how in contrast to all of his still photographs of dilapidated and discarded metal, in his films, he’s still showing us big hunks of metal and man-made structures – but this time they are literally being constructed, not recycled. I get the distinct impression that Stephen is somehow able to photograph things or situations that most people don’t usually get the chance to do! And from those opportunities he is able to deliver images that are bold, creepy and awesomely beautiful all at the same time! Be sure to visit his website to see all of his work.