Wednesday
Feb092011

Editorial Love

© Jorge Dirkk/Redux

You may have been noticing a trend lately in regards to which magazine I am really behind right now. This is not only because the content is fantastic and relevant but also because they are flaunting one of the best designed magazines out there right now. At a time when more and more magazines are playing it safe with their design and use of photography, Bloomberg Businessweek continues to take risks (and it pains me to say that about the Economist as they are such a good read). I would assume that the majority of readers are business minded individuals who are most likely hitting up this bi-weekly read between metro stops or skips across the Atlantic and could really care less about sexy columns, nutty infographics, contemporary illustration and double truck imagery – Which makes this magazine even more exciting to me.  The redesigned magazine was launched in April 2010 and was headed up by Creative Director Richard Turley and has only gained steam since. This spread in the most recent issue proves once again that great photography and great design can live happily together. It is also a great example of how conflict photography can be used to drive the headers. Oh and hats off to the photo department for the excellent research. Keep it up! 

Wednesday
Feb022011

On the Wall this month - Adam Krawesky

© Adam Krawesky

A few years ago while I was working at the great yet fateful Toro magazine, I was researching images for a news story in Toronto. While in the middle of this research I came across a photographer whose work I had not seen before. The work on the site was amazing and it seemed it was being produced at a fairly rapid rate. There was no name attached to the site though so I decided to contact the photographer through the blank contact form in hopes they would get back to me.

A day later I received a reply from Adam Krawesky the photographer behind the images that I was digging so much. There was something to his photos that struck a chord with me. They were an obvious product of hard work, practice and patience and in an age where it seemed everyone with a 5mp camera or better was jumping on the highkey/hdr/offset/bypass trend that was sweeping the city industry it was refreshing to see that someone wasn’t falling for it and shooting for the sake of themselves. Adam is a prolific photographer, often spending hours a day wandering the streets around his Toronto home waiting for a moment. Much like the images taken by the greats – Davidson, Winogrand, Erwitt et al – Adam’s street photos don’t just happen, they happen because he was there, either waiting or following. Unlike a lot of other street shooters there is a graphic element present in his photos that is created when he steps along side his subjects (which he regularly does) this is also often enhanced more by his decision to shoot when the light is at a lower angle. And because he is stepping off of the curb to shoot we are seeing the moments in a context that is rather unfamiliar to us. Thanks to this the subjects almost invariably become characters within the environments they are in – a man searching for his head, another stepping blindly off of the curb as if he is testing himself for a more fateful moment, the hand of a woman placed gently on a head of someone as if it were a re-enactment of a scene from the bible. His pictures left me wanting to know more. And what is more important in a photograph then to force the viewer to ask questions?

I am totally stoked as Adam has agreed to show some of his work in the gallery this month. He can be reached through his website inconduit.com. He is also represented by the Patrick Mikhail Gallery which is based in Ottawa. Thanks Adam.

All images copyright Adam Krawesky.

Thursday
Jan132011

UPDATE - My Current Obsession 

 

UPDATE: Photographer found! Thanks to some good online sleuthing the photographer of the above image has been located in London! Great shot Christopher Pillitz and I look forward to hopefully hearing more about the shoot one day soon. 

My most recent obsession is this image. Since Christmas it has been sitting there teasing me in all its glory. The content of the magazine has been long forgotten (It was an issue of Time if that matters to you) but I digress. What matters to me is this image.

It seems like a pretty normal ad at first, it was after all produced for an oil company - Shell to be exact. At first glance, the photo looks like something we would expect for a car advertisement. A car, human connection, colours close to that of the logo, a vague reference to the environment (which Shell has been focused on for some time). It all seems so normal. So what then has made me obsessed with this photo? 

For all its intentions – the realism, the journalistic feel – this image seems so produced. The light, the traffic, the ‘ubiquitous-yet-still-NYC/CHI’ cityscape. And how can we forget the snow; That perfect flake, big ‘n slow moving snow that makes me want to quit it all and move to the mountains. The more I looked at it/obsessed over it, the more I needed to know about it. 

Let's not forget that talent. Ohh the talent! Was she cast? She had to be, the image would lose impact if she were a he (no one cares for a guy carrying coffee in the cold) Did she sign a release? She must have, it is Shell afterall. Or maybe not and they are hoping she is just unrecognizable enough. If this was a true street shot and she did sign a release how did the photographer track her down? I am not aware of many street shooters that get releases for semi-recognizable people in their shots! For that matter the spontaneity of such an image, almost impossible to recreate in a controlled setting. And the woman in blue, perfectly placed on the left side of the frame - taking up space that would otherwise be void without her presence. Plus, it looks cold. Miserably cold. Which is why this cab, presumably filled with Shell gasoline, is present to help our young heroine home with her coffees. 

Or she could just be crossing the street to work. Which would render our cab, and in turn the copy, useless. 

Or this could all be CGI which makes more and more sense the longer I think about it as I have never seen a photo journalist pull off this type of produced perfection.

And if it is CGI where does that leave you and I who want to create ads this damn good in camera and Photoshop? 

Suffice to say the hunt is on. I will get to the bottom of this photograph. And a serious tip of the hat to the photographer and creative team behind it. This is one of the best ads I have seen in a very long time. 

Wednesday
Jan052011

2011, A New Space Odyssey

© Cass Bird

So this is day one for 2011 here at Coalition Yes! Thanks to the plague 2010 ended quietly with a feebly raised glass at 10pm New Years eve. Here’s to health in 2011!

Before succumbing to the hacking cough and chills that accompanied the illness I was able to scribble down some goals for the Coalition in the New Year. After 6 months of business I am happy for what I have started though not satisfied with the pace of growth. I want more, more, more! Call it a character fault but I always want more. And I think that is a good thing! So here is the list of business goals for 2011. I will be asking some of you how to help achieve these more effectively and others I will be asking to trust your business with me. And if you catch me dressing down I urge you to point it out in the kindest way possible!

  1. To grow the business into new areas other that production. Creativity is something that is in continual need of releasing and I don’t believe that photography is the king of the mediums. We get no where without creative play and I am challenging myself to be more creative and to find ways to bring this creativity into the Coalition.
  2. Quote with a new client every month. This is pretty straight forward and will hopefully translate into 12 new clients by years end. I have a sneaky feeling this is a lot more difficult than it seems. Time to polish my self marketing skills off.
  3. Expand into a new (shared) space. Right now I am working out of our home office. While it is nice to not have to fight traffic to get to work, working form home is bad for a few reasons. A. Too much stuff to store. I take a min. of 4 large containers of supplies to each shoot. Storing these here is wrong. Not to mention the tables and chairs and mats. They need their own home. B. The social aspect. Working recently at Hamin Lee’s studio I loved being back in an environment where I could talk with people about work. Hard to do all by yourself. C. Too easy to enable goal 4! See below.
  4. Dress better. Sounds funny as I don’t think I dress poorly now but it is too easy when not meeting clients or working onset to take an off day with the wardrobe. Untucked and casual is not becoming of my 38 year old frame.
  5. Update Blog Regularly. If you go back in my blog archives you’ll…wait, there are no archives. And that is a problem.
  6. Have 12 different photographers in the gallery by years end. One of the things I miss about photo editing is being able to show work of people I like. The gallery on this site is meant to replace this.
  7. Scout more. The Oddball hey! I enjoy scouting. I enjoy talking with photographers and getting a sense of who they are and what they are looking for. Getting out there with a camera and digging through the dirt to find the perfect location is something I enjoy but don’t do enough of. It is something the Coaltion offers and should promote more.

Not a bad list and time to get at it as it seems like I have some work to do!

 

 

Tuesday
Nov302010

Sightings 

It is pretty great to wander the streets of Toronto as the city itself often offers amazing sights. Aside from the usual zaniness it can provide - speaking of which has anyone seen Zanta lately? I happened upon a couple recent productions as they lay within their temporary homes.

I find advertising fascinating in this regard. The way the product is often tucked away in locations that are not the most easily seen; As if the message should seep into your subconscious mind. And I believe it does. These little gems are part of the fabric with which we surround ourselves with and I find it pretty awesome to see some of the work we do trying its hardest to blend in.