_PhotoPlus Expo Rocks. Graham Nash sets the stage.


New York, NY – November 2016

NYC’s PDN PhotoPlus Expo Rocks. Keynote speaker Graham Nash sets the stage.

New York City is a fabulous place to be especially if you are a photo enthusiast. The recent PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo (October 19-22) offered an amazing, well-defined image-based agenda that captured the attention of shooters worldwide. Welcoming over 21,000 image-makers, the event, held yearly at NYC’s Javits Convention Center, did not disappoint. Those eager to set eyes on a never-ending assortment of new cameras and equipment, software and hardware, and a bevy of top-of-the line digital capture products ready for market, had the opportunity to participate in a series of talks and walks, workshops, product demonstrations, lectures and portfolio reviews _ all designed for the amateur as well as the pro.

A crowd pleaser for sure, was a “Keynote Conversation” featuring two icons in music and photography. Rock legend Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) revealed private thoughts and public commentaries on the music industry and his love of the photographic medium with Rolling Stone’s chief photographer, and musician himself, Mark Seliger. And with Seliger, can it get any better? The two, relaxed and unrehearsed, captured the audience’s attention with an impressive and spontaneous delivery of ideas and thoughts about both mediums. Nash, years before he garnered fame as a rock icon, held his first camera as a child and never lost interest. Storytelling was a big part of the conversation while his images were displayed on 2 large screens. They were poignant and deeply personal, and reflected the sensitivity of an artist with a soul deep and caring.

“It’s not the process. It’s the vision.” _ Graham Nash

2017 Dates: 26-28 October / Javits Conventions Center, NYC / photoplusexpo.com



images 1_ copyright / renay elle morris

images 2, 3_ copyright / graham nash


_toasts to the toastmaster – photographer david derex

A touch of the provocative filled the Stable Gallery in Ridgewood, New Jersey this past April as David Derex hit a milestone with a retrospective celebrating 50 Years of photographic imagery. No stranger to the celebrity world, he worked the room of curious onlookers with joy and spontaneity, as they were welcomed into a beguiled world of bewitching beauty. Aptly titled, “Guys and Dolls” – Character Studies and Glamour Portraits, the gallery’s 2 floors revealed images of actors and performers; character types with familiar grins and poses captured in time while others, those of fashion models, beckoned visitors to take a closer look – revealing Derex’s style of seductive post production execution.

Say’s Derex, “I aim to seduce viewers with aesthetics – vitality and unity – in order to sensitize them, as they recognize and take pleasure in their own physical, emotional, sensory, or spiritual vibrations.


2 Briauna GL103

1 Jerry Orbach - chair

Derex’s work is of a painterly quality, achieved with hours of tedious attention to detail. He challenges and champions the use of the photographic medium to achieve precise and colorful options to fit the range of his subjects, and his interest in portraiture is a strength that is created in many genres, including family and pet studies. As an expert in the subject of framing, Derex offers solutions for presentation for a range of clientele. And, in his publication of Studio Portrait Photography in Black & White,he discusses the importance of lighting in photography, spelling out in great detail a plethora of instructive information for studio photographers and for the amateur as well.

Derex is a member of the Professional Photographers of America, and past President of its New Jersey chapter.The organization has bestowed additional honors on him in consideration of his photographic achievements.

For more information, log on to davidderex.com

All images copyright David Derex 2016.

_jean pigozzi: photovocateur

The 16th of April proved to be a beautiful Saturday in Manhattan. I found my way into Madison Avenue’s Gagosian Gallery where the glitterati hold court. The event du jour was a conversation with photographer Jean (Johnny) Pigozzi and NY Times best selling author, Derek Blasberg. The French born and Harvard educated Pigozzi was in town to reveal moments; private and public from his new book Pool Party: Sixty Years at the World’s Most Famous Pool. Blasberg engaged Pigozzi in lively talk, revealing Pigozzi’s quick and passionate humor and his photographic love of “capturing the moment” – referencing one of the great photographers, Robert Frank, whose photojournalistic efforts defined an era. Gagosian’s walls hosted images of delicious soirées at the Villa Dorane, Pigozzi’s manor in Cap d’Antibes, France. He enticed the audience with scandalous tales of celebrity romp. A “to die for invite up to the villa” was most likely on the minds of the standing room only crowd that sipped champagne while Pigozzi set stage.

My life in the art world is very simple. I’m very focused. I enjoy it. I have a lot of friends and artist friends. It’s an industry that I enjoy, and I think we can agree that it’s much more interesting than, for example, the roofing business. —Jean Pigozzi

“Jean Pigozzi’s pictures are a great way to start collecting art and photography, and they represent an intimate, insider’s point of view to a rarefied world.” – Derek Blasberg

Gagosian Gallery
APR 12 – MAY 28, 2016
976 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075
T. 212.744.2313

image: renay elle morris / photopresseimages.com
*Johnny Pigozzi IMG_1074

Paris Photo 2015 – with gratitude

Given the cruelest of intentions by the discontent, and the course of terror that has captured the Paris light in an unforgiving campaign, I offer my deepest condolences to the city I love. And, of course, to all my friends, colleagues, and fellow artists at Paris Photo whose remarkable expertise and talent are not in vain. It is still an opportunity to pay tribute and honor these individuals, and all the innocents who stand united in the midst of this horror.
Though you are forced to close the portals of the 2015 expo, I await 2016. For the finest of the photographic medium.
Je suis Paris.
– Renay Elle Morris, photographer / journalist    November 2015
Paris photo 5 2015 blog IMG_6747
Paris Photo 3 2015  blog IMG_6823
          © paris photo renay elle morris / photopresseimages.com

The VoomaGo Effect.*

*The state of exhilaration, heightened awareness even giddiness one experiences by travel itineraries designed and offered by VoomaGo. Stoked. Lucky, lucky me. I am watching the sea reflect hues of intoxicating blues off the coast of Trapani, uninterrupted, sans for echoes of bathers’ delight. I am present in this moment, drawn to faint whispers of […]


Under looming greys, Paris, the city of lights, flickered even brighter with a spotlight on its annual fete–The Month of Photography. From the 15-18 of November, the landscape was transformed. This remarkable tourist venue became a destination designed “en exclusivité” for photographers, where the amateur as well as the pro, gallerists, curators, collectors and whole community of creatives could engage in dialogues about the “fluidity and impurity of the photographic medium.” And it didn’t disappoint. Museums and galleries from the right to the left (bank that is) were positioned to present important works, both analog and those adopting highly advanced photographic techniques. Of note, the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Centre Cultural de Chine, Centre Pompidou, Foundation, Cartier Pour L’Art Contemporain, Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian, Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Christie’s Paris, and Sotheby’s France were part of what became an extraordinary learning center.

Offerings of champagne and culinary delights were on the menu as VIP’s hosted soirees for prospective buyers. The center of this yearly event, Paris Photo 2012–the crème de la crème of photo fairs was housed in The Grand Palais–a magnificent Beaux-Arts monument, “dedicated by the Republic to the glory of French art.”  Now celebrating 18, Paris Photo has, for the past 2 years, retained the Palais’ original purpose–to house the great artistic events of the city of Paris.  And, while still boasting over its 50,000 attendees in 2011, this year’s expo held court to 128 French and International galleries, and introduced 23 photography publishers and booksellers, invited for the 4-day fete to one of the finest expositions in praise of photography.


This year marked the launch of Paris Photo vu par David Lynch (Paris Photo seen by…), a soft cover publication featuring approximately100 images curated by the visionary image-maker. The book highlights the photographs that Lynch praised as his favorites. It was seen as a personal companion to experience the show as well as a keepsake reference. The tradition will continue with extraordinary talent presenting their selections in future editions of the Paris Photo. www.shop.parisphoto.fr

Recent Acquisitions

Sponsored by the event’s official partners Giorgio Armani, and JP Morgan, three international institutions were invited to showcase their recent photographic acquisitions. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presented “Face to Face” with outstanding self-portraits from legendary artists the likes of Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Man Ray and William Wegman. Huis Marseille Museum’s exhibition “Doubling Presence” was an exploration into the art of multiplication in imagery and included the works of Koos Breukel, Anton Corbijn and Hellen Van Meene. And Fotomuseum Winterthur’s “Cut and Paste”, curated for the expo, offered the works of Hans-Peter Feldmann, Thomas Galler, Sherrie Levine, among others.

Paris Photo Platform

Created in association with the Luma Foundation and directed by Roxanna Marcoco, Curator of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), this 4-day event was structured for critical exchanges, performances and interactions. These debates and presentations were hosted by a selection of leading artists and scholars such as Taryn Simon, Rem Koolhas, and David Lynch.

SFR Jeune Talents – The 2012 Laureates

The 6th juried photo competition celebration of young emerging artists, and an exhibition of the winning talent’s work. Other highlights of the fair included, Private Collection with “Collected Shadows” from the London based Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC)–a stunning exhibition of works of Gustave Le Gray, Robert Frank, Bertha Jacques, Josef Sudek and Bruce Gilden, among them. Assembled and curated by Timothy Prus, the show was fascinating mix of imagery that displayed all styles and periods of the medium. The Official Partners Exhibition featured, “Spectacular Vernacular”–a showing of 32 photographs from the internationally renowned JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, and Giorgio Armani’s “Aqua 2” previewed a new selection of works based on the theme of water. The Open Book Exhibition presented “Bernd and Hilla Becher – In Prints 1964-2012”, viewed as an historical reading of the couple, it used only printed material including reviews, museum catalogues, posters, and brochures. And BMW Art and Culture sponsored its young artist in residence program presenting “Ici, Par-Dela Les Brumes”, honoring Alexandra Catiere and her award-winning images.

The launch of the juried Paris Photo – Aperature Foundation PhotoBook Awards presented “The First Photobook”, and “The Photobook of the Year Awards” while the New Galleries Projects premiered Solo/Duo and Group shows. The Book Signing Program rounded out the major events at this year’s expo.

After days perusing the likes of Gagosian, Paris; Howard Greenberg; New York, Magnum, Paris; Stevenson, Cape Town; and Yossi Milo, New York, I am struck by the magnitude of possibilities open to all interested in elevating skills and engaging in an extensive network of dialogues. The expo experience is priceless. All photographers, no matter what level, must seek out these venues as well as other photo-related opportunities. Get connected, as these events will alter your ideas on what is possible, change the way you look at photography, and add new dimensions to your work. Finding what is relevant and marketable in an ever-expanding photographic climate is key.

Last but not least, it’s official. Paris Photo Director Julien Frydman has announced the first US Edition of Paris Photo to be held this side of the Atlantic in Los Angeles at the Paramount Pictures studios­–25-26 April 2013.  Log on, as details are in the works.

For further information:  www.parisphoto.com

Images – copyright Renay E. Morris 2012

Light and Play: Portrait Study in Travel Photography: An exercise for the emerging photographer 

Eye to Eye

The opportunity to travel is, in my opinion, one of the greatest pleasures on the planet. And the opportunity to document it – to preserve that moment in time – is unparalleled. Please note that this article is dedicated to the emerging photographer and is written to encourage shooting through the intimidation. With advanced cameras and sophisticated accessories; including those exhaustive manuals, the shooting experience can be quite daunting. To start, this is about travel portraiture and the ability to intellectually, physically and emotionally connect with individuals and be granted permission through a smile or a nod. As there are many ways to approach portraiture, first you must see it as more than a studied or orchestrated image. It features the posture of the individual, willing or perhaps caught off guard and the challenge of the photographer to capture the essence of that person close-up or engaged in activity. Don’t be afraid to partner with your camera to explore contemporary culture by shooting in new ways. Celebrate the spontaneity and embrace these challenges in finding that you have only seconds to define that moment. And note the light; this is key. There is no set-up, no complex lighting design and details, just the raw nature of light and the dance it does to define and tell a story. Your studio is a wide open-space and your subjects are inconsistent and many.

“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”

” The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt.”

– Henri Cartier-Bresson, father of modern photojournalism.

Exercise Mode
You are about to journey to an exotic location – a place that screams out “take my picture”. For the proposed exercise it’s just you and your camera. Or is it? This is the time to forego your tripod, additional lenses and the camera bag of “must haves”. You have enough to contend with as the chaos of crowded streets and markets compete with “see this, see that”, the countless ooh’s and aah’s of travelling companions–so cause for photographic methodology changes. It is when less becomes more. Now, every second counts. Not to panic, just make a few adjustments and you will be all set to immerse yourself in that landscape and find your subjects. This is “Photo on the Fly” and for entry-level photographers, there is no greater opportunity than to shoot on the fly as it allows for you to take charge and go for the contest.

Recently I spent 5 weeks wandering throughout India where I was drawn to meditate. While quietly reaching for higher consciousness I realized “Photo on the Fly”. Although Indian settings are spectacular with awe-inspiring locations and filled with an assembly of diverse ethnicities, my set up time was not. A critical part of travel photography is to use all the resources at hand – to make do and improvise. Your exercise requires both mental and physical trials. Forget the idea of snapshots; we are moving toward pro-mode. Position your camera in odd directions, while you linger in odd positions. Use your body. Stand on higher ground, or reach for lower angles. Squat. Think of the gym and move those limbs. And for the close-up, where you are dead on – face-to-face, just go for it. It may feel awkward, strange and even embarrassing, but this is the dance and you need to learn the steps. Then from your vantage point, think composition. Frame the subject so that it tells a story. Your subject should be the highlight, and all the other elements surrounding it, enhance and support it. Contours and colors as well as blurred backgrounds define it. Study the light and note the shadows. Learn what time of the day suits you best. For me, the morning brings freshness to my imagery. For others late afternoon and dusk presents opportunity. Portraiture by design is limitless, if you are willing to set out of your comfort zone.

Whether you are using a professional level SLR or pocket-sized camera with a built-in zoom, the choice here is for flexibility. A medium telephoto can offer that flexibility and if someone catches your eye, and close up and personal isn’t an option, you have the best shot for digital capture. For me, a 70-300mm works to my advantage. Continuing with this exercise set your camera on automatic or program mode as it about eliminating distraction and concentration on capture, and keep in mind, the result you are after is a portrait study that captures the moment – unique in its composition, and relies only on available light.

Before you take that trip, start your practice now and spend your travels with limited gear – its freeing and so rewarding. As a student of photography, your understanding of the technical aspects is an ongoing learning process that varies from camera to camera; so find a quiet place for study.

All Images: © Renay Elle Morris

COMPOSITION AND THE ART OF STORYTELLING: An exercise for the emerging photographer in travel portraiture

Hopefully you have been mastering “the dance” as proposed in Exercise #1; the dance being your ability to capture an image while your body moves in ways that allow for unusual approaches to documentation. If you missed it, or any part of “Capturing The Light” in my prior blog which can be found here [http://masteringphoto.com/portrait-study-in-travel-photography/]. Take a read and combine it with this one (Exercise #2) – an introduction to Composition and the Art of Storytelling detailing fundamental properties of the art of the photographic image. To begin with, you are still on assignment with travel portraiture as your objective. The exercise requires a camera with a variable focal length zoom lens (average range –70-300mm) for flexibility. Once again, for simplicity sake, leave the flash at home as available light is part of the plan. And, since you are getting into advanced photographic territory, I strongly suggest additional reading and in-depth study of the elements that make up composition.

Aesthetically speaking

“One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.” – Annie Leibovitz

Granted you may not have been born with that “eye”, but with a few essentials outlined in these Quick Tips you will gain insight as to what the pros look for in capturing an image, as it is a complex mixture of artistic sensibilities that complete the picture. Understanding the art of composition or the arrangement of objects visible in your camera’s viewfinder is key to achieving successful or pleasing portraiture. And, not to be left behind is the impact or story that is told.

To begin with composing the shot and framing, which leads your eye to a desired subject, includes using your camera alternatively in horizontal or vertical positions, as the subject placement within the picture area is the most important factor. Composition may include “The Rule of Thirds”. This entails breaking down your images into a grid that is composed of two lines across and two lines down resulting in nine equal squares – a guide to the proper placement of important compositional elements. Consider the point of interest in your shot and where you are intentionally placing it. Placement may be made along these lines, or their intersections – power points. Some cameras, including Nikon allow for a menu option to display the grid. Many photographers, including myself agree that there are no fixed rules. Nonetheless, it is a basic formula and will serve the beginner with an opportunity to work in a format designed for laying compositional ground rules.

What you choose to focus on must be carefully regarded as you may decide to zoom in on a subject positioned in the distance to gain importance. Note the foreground/background relationships and don’t be afraid to lend blur to those parts of your image that are not the center of interest. Allow for symmetrical or asymmetrical imagery, as both have merit – and can make for a striking composition. Pay attention to positive and negative spaces – essential to create proper balance. Enhance your travel portraiture with the use of dynamic color to add contrast, and heighten moods. (Note: black and white to be discussed in another article.) Lines, patterns, shapes and textures add dimension and are an integral part of the choices you have when composing your shot. If it shouts, “notice me,” chances are it should be included. You are invited into an array of choices and with time you will learn what to keep in and what to cut out – crop. And, of course, light – the consistent player – the crowning glory that adds richness by offering shadow and definition.

Much can be done in Photoshop© with composition and cropping, but this is not about using computer programs or other applications for a resource. For the purposes of this exercise, mastery of composition is confined solely to your placement of subjects and objects in your field of vision. Generally speaking, it is left to your own devices.

Legend has it…
In concert with composition, is the motive behind the photograph. Each picture tells a story and you are the storyteller. And by this, I mean your personal commentary or narrative. Photography is a visual language that replaces words with images, and what you record will communicate and/or convey a message about a subject and of a culture. How remarkable it is to capture a moment in time through a smile, a stance, a pose, and, of course, the eyes – the windows to the soul. Look for every nuance, every subtlety. At every turn there are countless individuals begging to be noticed – each with a story eager to tell. Whether your subject is engaged in an activity or perfectly still, this is your opportunity to present something rich and spontaneous. For those who view your work, you may find they offer different interpretations.
Travel in itself will inspire you to structure a tale or a theme. As the storyteller, you decide what should be dominant and what is supportive in every shot, every frame, as you learn to craft the compositional elements. This is key to making a great image not just a good one. It will take practice, as you proceed in your quest for photographic excellence.

In a nutshell
In travel portraiture, time is fleeting, and capture takes practice. Be fast on your feet; yet ground yourself in knowing that patience is required. Every step you take to learn the aesthetics of photography will prove to satisfy the creative energy you possess. Review the following items and consider them a steppingstone to powerful imagery. To recap:
1. Identify your subject.
2. Determine your light source.
3. Position your body for capture.
4. Compose/frame and check for balance.
5. Note the relationship of your subject to surroundings elements.
6. Identify patterns and lines, contours and colors and, embrace blurred backgrounds.
7. Ask yourself, is this a compelling image?
8. Click and shoot.
9. Click, shoot again and again, each time adjusting your angles/zoom.
10. Is there something more than a shot – a story?
As rules are meant to be broken, and in art so many of them are successfully, this exercise is designed to present you, the emerging photographer, with a photographic platform of foundation. With a concentrated effort to practice Exercises #1 and #2, you will have entered a new arena of study where each image brings you closer to mastering the art of the image. I suggest, you make a slide show, or create thumbnail prints of the images to review your progress.

“Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.” – Edward Steichen

All Images: © Renay Elle Morris

Simply Gorgeous – More Than Just Eye Candy, Paris Photo 2013

Sumptuous Fair
Looking back at the inventory of art exhibitions, photo expos and openings offered in 2013 and evaluating what was the most impressive, I say, hands down, it was the French capital’s Paris Photo – a 4-day annual fete of tantalizing imagery. The 17th edition of the fair revealed the most delicious assortment of imaginative delights beginning with the participation of 136 galleries worldwide. As the glitterati of imagemakers championed the haute impressions of their craft they were greeted en mass by an enthusiastic crowd of eager photofiles. According to Sandro Parotta, the Stuttgart (Germany) based gallery that bears his name, “The most important curators and directors gather here and, of course, who can resist Paris.” Frish Brandt of the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco (CA) enthusiastically gave it 2–thumbs up. With partner and co-owner Jeffrey Fraenkel, they share 35 years showing major artists including Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander. Ms. Brandt noted, “It is the single best exclusively photography expo in the universe, bringing together an incredible slice of photographers, curators, collectors, publishers, and dealers.

For its second year, Paris’ Jerome Poggi Gallery devoted an entire booth to the work of Sophie Ristelhueber, an artist whose vision is committed to areas of conflict and its ravages. Pleased to be back, Mr. Poggi, explained that the retrospective “details her desire to capture images in a radical way. She doesn’t document, she photographs.” The dynamics changed for the Michael Werner Gallery, Cologne (Germany) with the discovery of a contemporary photographer. Known for dealing exclusively with paintings, the gallery presented, as a first-time exhibitor, a solo exhibition of the photographs of Jeff Cowen. The response to the images acknowledged that entering the photo market with a booth at Paris Photo proved to be the right venue.

As I have already confessed my joy of such an expo, I still marvel at the site dedicated to house the event. Home to Paris Photo for the past 4 years, the Grand Palais is situated in all her majesty on Avenue Winston-Churchill – convenient via metro. The palace’s interior plan included archival to current currency strategically placed throughout a labyrinth of legendary galleries, while impressive dignitaries from far and wide gathered to support, educate, and host a myriad of events and seminars. I have to thank Director Julian Frydman and his remarkable team of talented associates whose attention to detail did not disappoint. In addition to the glorious Palais, lists of additional venues were on hand boasting a plethora of museums and galleries that filled the Parisian landscape in celebration of the Month of Photography – not to forget the festive parties and gatherings. And a well deserved kudos to the VIP sponsors and contributors for keeping the tradition.

“In contemporary photography it is easy for an artist to get lost. Keeping your vision is paramount. And, whatever the medium, it needs to remain interesting.” – Michael Werner Gallery
I was taken with the scope and scale of the photographs. The emphasis appeared to be on the creation of large works – works rich with multi–layers of inventive mediums. Collage was evident. Texture was delivered by substrates other than paper. Otherworldly images featured subjects taken from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Well thought-out sophistication ruled. And, with 28 new and inventive galleries, 28 booksellers and publishers added in 2013, a cohesive plan from solo shows to themed presentations was delivered.

Giorgio Armani, presented “AQUA #4”, a theme based on water, along with J.P. Morgan’s “Best Picture: Highlights from the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection” in the Official Partners Exhibition. The Recent Acquisitions Group supported by Armani featured works from three international institutions; The Art Gallery of Ontario (Canada), entitled “Proposed Performances”, Brazil’s Instituto Moreira Salles selection of works witnessing the development of Brazilian cities, and the Germany’s Museum Folkwang offered a study in contrast with war reportage from the beginning of the 20th century to a commentary on the Egyptian Revolution. Moving on to the Private Collection, J.P. Morgan, invited visitors to Hamburg Germany’s Harald Falckenberg/Deichtorhallen collection. The contemporary works (over 2,000), of which photography plays an important part, are multimedia in nature and presented in a 6,000 square meter former factory. For Paris Photo, selections included the works of Walker Evans, Phil Collins, Richard Prince, Jerry Berndt, among others. At The Associate Partner Exhibition, BMW Art & Culture’s “Les Glorieux”, showcased photographer Marion Gronier, winner of the 2012 BMW Residency at the musée Nicéphore Niépce. And with Leica’s support, an exhibition of the works of photojournalist Cedric Gerbehaye gained honor.

Other striking presentations included The Open Book Collection. Compiled from a selection of the private collections of master photographer Martin Parr, “Protest Book”, is an examination of the turbulent 1960’s and 70’s anti-establishment eras. The SFR Jeunes Talent Laureates competition, in its 7th year, is dedicated to emerging photographers with 5 artists selected to display their work at the fair. And, now in its 2nd year, the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, a collaborative effort, featured two awards categories, aptly titled; “First PhotoBook” and “PhotoBook of the Year”, and a pre-selection of 30 books chosen by an international jury were on display in the PhotoBook section. Always a crowd-pleaser, The Platform, organized by Nicolas Bourriaud, featured 4 days of conversations that set the stage for debates and challenges that are relevant today in the world of art and photography. Rounding out the big event were a host of Book Signing sessions and the addition of the new online presence –The Paris Photo AGENDA, offering current trends and events of partnering galleries and institutions worldwide and yearlong. www.parisphoto.com/agenda

The Take-Away
OK, so now you attended and have perused the landscape. You are inspired. Your head is filled with great ideas and you can’t wait to capture. But what have you learned? As a photographer, emerging or a professional, shows like Paris Photo offer much more than a visual context for learning. The words, the advice, the person to person contact are what will set you on course. This is an opportunity to make new friends, establish a dialogue, and ask questions. Look to the galleries and the curators, booksellers – even strangers. As I discussed the work with the gallery directors, what was clear was that one must have a concept and maintain a strict concentration on that subject. Why? So that others recognize that signature. Ms. Brandt’s advice is to be very aware of what a particular gallery shows, not just the medium, but to understand its sensibilities. She added, “Any new work that we can consider has to stand shoulder to shoulder with the artists we represent.” As for Michael Werner’s director Dr. Sebastian Neusser, “In contemporary photography it is easy for an artist to get lost. Keeping your vision is paramount. And, whatever the medium, it needs to remain interesting.”

With all these goods on the table do you observe or partake? These events provide exposure and not just for the celebrated. So engage. It worked for me.

For further information on Paris Photo and its activities, including online access to the current events of galleries and partner institutions log on to www.parisphoto.com and please visit www.focalpress.com for a wealth of publications designed in appreciation of the photographic medium. And, if you are stateside, visit the Paris Photo Los Angeles 2014 – 25-27 April. www.losangelesparisphoto.com

Images: © Renay Elle Morris,
with exceptions:
First Image © Renay Elle Morris / Fraenkel Gallery
Second Image © Renay Elle Morris / Sophie Ristelhueber, Jerome Poggi Gallery
Third Image © Renay Elle Morris / Yuki, Jeff Cowen Michael Werner Gallery

Stuck? Think Stock.

At the 2013 PDN PhotoPlus Expo I sat in on a remarkable seminar, “Today’s Changing Marketplace For your Photographs,” presented by Mary Virginia Swanson. The one-hour session was, for me, terribly short and it would have been divine to spend a weekend at a retreat to grab note of all the details presented. I applaud Ms. Swanson for the valuable information she had to deliver since it inspired me to share some of her program’s objectives, as well as my own thoughts and opinions. This article is dedicated to the option of taking your craft to another level and adding value – bringing photographers to explore an important marketing resource – stock-related imagery.

After working and fine-tuning your craft you might reach an impasse. If so, it’s time to stop and re-evaluate your work. Does it “cross platform”? By that I mean, have applications for untapped & multiple markets? Have you locked yourself into a self-imposed network of the obvious? For example, you may be a wedding photographer who has achieved a modicum of success in that arena, so you set sail on a strategy that only includes marketing to that sector. Perk up, your work may have greater potential. The question is, what’s in your portfolio and how can you shift gears to increase value? Adjust your course and discover where stock related imagery comes into play. Stock fills the needs of organizations that include a bevy of institutional outlets as well as various print and web related mediums. A recent article in The International New York Times reported that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s nonprofit organization, LeanIn.org, announced a partnership with Getty Images, one of the biggest providers of stock photography, to offer a special collection of images that it says represent women and families in more empowering ways. What is needed in stock is ever changing. So, why not make it your mission to keep abreast of stock related information and carefully study the content of stock websites, as you may have images that meet the needs of key players? You might have a trove of fine art imagery. They may include travel, the arts, and architecture and may be inventive and creatively finessed. After sharing them with family and friends, these images may be of value to an art director considering selling dream vacations or become a fit for a high tech sector. Search the Internet for sites that carry images of your favor.

We already know that establishing a cohesive body of work is your primary concern. Whatever your discipline – fine art, weddings, portraiture, sports, fashion, or breathtaking photojournalism, it is essential that you create a well designed and dedicated portfolio of images to promote. It must be unified, cohesive and relevant to be taken seriously in an already overcrowded arena of photofiles. Re-evaluate your promotional materials and press forward to employ new marketing materials/directions. Initiating this, of course, is a well conceived website that reflects your aesthetic by way of integrating design elements and text to showcase that portfolio. With customized website designs, there are a number of ways you can set up your site to include categorization to meet stock requirements. Another option includes building an off-site library of folders containing your categories and relevant photos that can be accessed and presented in a slide show format to a potential client. According to Ms. Swanson, by 1984 the market for fine art photography stock was really taking hold as it often less expensive for a creative director to license the rights for images as opposed to setting up a photo shoot.

Note the importance of editing in your craft. You may need to discard images from your categories that “just don’t make the cut.” It is not the quantity but the quality of the photos you have selected. At the end of the day, you want to create a well-thought out campaign. Carefully designed promotional literature that supports your online presence must be updated on a timely basis. Much must be done to allow for efficient and effective campaigns before you “go to market,” and the idea of working with a portfolio reviewer or art director can add support. Reflect on your creative directions with the inclusion of stock offerings carefully. At this juncture, I advise the study of definitions when venturing into the stock industry. The areas to understand and consider are Rights Managed, Royalty Free, Subscription, and Micro along with stock-related licensing and usage agreements.

Next, identify your audience(s). Start with a plan to develop comprehensive marketing lists – accurate, and updated often to connect. Search corporations, hospitals, educational outlets, including textbooks, news and lifestyle publications – web and print, galleries/museums, private collections, residential and interior design/architectural firms and direct mail companies that maintain an updated inventory of resources. Catch the eye of photo editors, corporate buyers, art consultants and curators. Be proactive and network wherever you can to build your file. Many of the organizations have artists’ submission pages on their sites. The contact list you secure is your holy grail – the most valuable marketing tool, so guard it well.

A terrific resource is the International Art Alliance, and its publication, The International Directory of Corporate Art Collections. As its website notes, it is a publication that will help you identify opportunities, develop sales strategies, and target your services, as it provides an understanding of the corporate environment and its art-related needs. The NY Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) also provides an amazing opportunity for artists with invaluable information – programs and directories that will support your skills as a photographer as well as your search. Curate NYC presents a festival of art exhibitions and an online showcase of New York City visual artists with a mission to gain exposure and career opportunities. Identify the partners on the home page of ArtSpace.com, as they maintain relationships with museums, galleries, cultural institutions and other partners to curate the best collection of contemporary art in the world.

My credo: Create, Edit, Market, and Engage. To Engage, means attending photo expos and fairs. At these venues you may participate in conversations with prominent industry insiders, sign up for portfolio reviews, attend specialized seminars, and have that one on one conversation. Engage also means be on the lookout for a potential client, around the corner or remote destinations. After a recent trip to Tanzania, I licensed images for an online campaign to the travel company that planned and prepared my safari. As one who is never to miss an opportunity, I say, take what you have and open your eyes to the possibilities. Start your search and discover the stock market and its potential for growth.
To contact Mary Virginia Swanson for further information including seminars, workshops, and portfolio reviews, log on to mvswanson.com.

Additional Resources:
International Art Alliance –internationalartalliance.org
Curate NYC –curatenyc.org
The NY Foundation for the Arts –nyfa.org
POWERHOUSE Arena –powerhouseportfolioreview.com
Connect 2014 Palm Springs Photo Festival information@palmspringsphotofestival.com
Paris Photo Los Angeles 2014 www.parisphoto.com
Artistsorganizedart.org – artistorganizedart.org
Images: © Renay Elle Morris