Leveraging the Old to Make Way for the New: The British Journal of Photography embraces the iPhone

December 18 2013

Hold on to your iPhones, photographers! The venerable British Journal of Photography has launched FLTR, a new weekly magazine dedicated to iPhone photography, published ONLY on the iPhone. This is a very progressive and forward-thinking move for a magazine with such strong historical roots, founded in Liverpool in 1854 (one hundred years before the Beatles appeared on the scene), and is typical of the smart leveraging of historical brands taking place these days in the UK.

So, about the magazine. The British Journal of Photography has a kind of fusty name, one that is a bit disconnected from how modern they really are. (That is a different brand topic for another day.) They have carved out an important role in the UK photo community, spanning the realms of commercial, fine art, critical analysis, news, events, job listings, and more. In creating FLTR, they are embracing what is going on NOW and what will be taking place in the future of the photo world, rather than pushing against the tide and ignoring or complaining about how bad things are for professional photographers. There are some compelling articles in the first issue, one by the uber-influential Kathy Ryan, and another about the impact smartphones would have had in recording dramatic events such as the attacks on 9/11.


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These days, non-professionals fluidly take pictures with their phones all the time, freely documenting what they are eating, doing, where they are going, and who they spend their time with. It is estimated that more than 880 billion images will be taken over the next twelve months, with many of the images shot and shared by phone. That’s a whole lot of photos! Some of my photographer clients shoot campaigns on their iPhones, adding special lenses to bring more flexibility and refinement to the shooting process. Other clients of mine are asked to create the feel of iPhone photos – in other words, the naturalism and real life qualities of phone images, but with more technical backbone. Instagram has changed the way that we all relate to photography, and is used very actively as a major marketing tool for professionals, one where technology provides the bridge for a very personal connection between photographer and client or prospective client.

I would pay attention to this magazine, photo people. It’s another way of putting yourself out there beyond your own social media, and a great way of being part of the important conversation about what is going on in photography today.

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Pinning for Money and Fun in the USA and abroad

February 21 2013

How many of you are on Pinterest these days? It has become a vital tool for those of us who are highly visual, or in a visual profession, and who want a fluid and easy place to park their online image “scrapbook” for easy reference. Personally, I’m obsessed with it! In a funny way, I find that how I approach collecting images on specific topics and areas on Pinterest has much in common with the way that I edit photography for portfolios, books, websites, etc. I like to begin with a huge pull of images, frequently in the many hundreds, and then I am able to tunnel down into the core visual through-line in a photographer’s work. Now I'm doing the same for myself, and it’s a pleasurable exercise in collecting and editing.

Many American brands and retailers are also very much on board with Pinterest. In interviews, they state again and again that Pinterest is driving sales in a quantifiable way that they don’t necessarily see in other social media. It allows consumers to paste and share products in an appealing way, and to go back to their scrapbook, have a holistic view of the things that they love, and then to easily purchase the products they’ve pinned. Sometimes it’s not so easily quantifiable, as consumers frequently use Pinterest as a research tool which might then indirectly drive a purchase through looking at their own, or other pinners, collection of aspirational fashion or home décor or design images. Pinners are also repinning other images they find on Pinterest, or pinning from all over the online universe. Magazines have a strong roll to play in this environment, as they provide a great source of many aspirational images that then drive a more down-to-earth purchase.

Interestingly enough, in the course of my own time spent in pursuing images for my Pinterest board, I’ve found that it’s really difficult to pin from European home décor magazines. Whereas most American magazines have made a major push into providing ancillary and original content on their websites, most of the European magazines I visited online are far behind. They seem to see the online environment as one in which they should hold back content and force (or frustrate) the consumer into buying the print magazine. I’m curious to know how that’s working for them. Is World of Interiors more successful at retaining their print subscribers with their opaque website than a comparable magazine like Architectural Digest, which is making at least some content of value available? I don’t know, but I can say that in the new Pinterest world, I find myself more interested in interacting with brands that make my pinning most inspirational and easiest. 

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Josh Rothstein en Vogue

June 05 2012

In this month's issue of Vogue, our wonderful, long-time client Josh Rothstein was serendipititously included as part of their extensive coverage of US athletes who will be competing in the Summer 2012 Olympics in London, England. Josh was on set with Usain Bolt, "the world's fastest man", who he has been filming and following all over the world over the past year n a series of short films for PUMA. Josh's work as a photographer and a filmmaker has developed simultaneously, and his PUMA affiliation is one in a line of projects he has done with famous athletes. 

What's so exciting about this, though, is that Josh is building this part of his career based on a core element of his brand. He forms long-term relationships with his celebrated clients, and has filmed and photographed the likes of actor/philanthropist Hugh Jackman and NBA star Tracy McGrady in their charitable efforts. Josh's longstanding commitment to humanitarian efforts intersects well with the concerns of his subjects, and is definitely on-trend with many companies all over the world. While the Vogue story was not about Josh, sometimes being in the right place at the right time can help to push your own branding and marketing efforts forward in a big way. And c'mon guys, it's Vogue! Really cool!

Check out the article and slide show from Vogue.com!

 

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The Sporting Life

November 23 2011

                                                                                                                    Joseph Altuzarra. Spring 2012     

One thing that really interests me is how effective magazine publicity can be in building brand notoriety, and I mean this in a truly positive way. Take the case of this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner, Joseph Altuzarra. Championed by Vogue editor Lauren Santo-Domingo (who we worked with on a big branding project for her full-price, couture flash sale site, Moda Operandi), Altuzarra has received serious coverage, support and love notes in the pages of the magazine.

No doubt, his forward-thinking, comfortable design sensibility is in tune with today’s busy gal. But there are also plenty of other worthy young designers (for example, the struggling ones on the FashionStake site) who are not getting the same level of free publicity, celebrity attention, income or awards.

Altuzarra walked away from the evening with $300,000 to put towards his business, as well as CFDA brand and business mentoring. So think about this when you are thinking about how you are building your career. Historically, shooting editorial was a surefire way to garner free publicity and buzz about your pictures. Today, maybe less so, as editorial jobs are not always so adventurous. But many of my agency clients are firmly committed to using strong editorial as a way of moving their photographers towards lucrative ad jobs.

Ponder that, young-uns.

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