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Invaluable agent: My rep, Alyssa Pizer Management, constantly pushes me to create new work, even if it’s not commissioned. I consider the time they invest in my career growth priceless.

Inspiring read: I just read two small books from architect Peter Zumthor, Thinking Architecture and Atmospheres. He talks about space, light, composition, materials and the fact that some spaces make you feel more than others. Every single theme discussed in his books can easily be applied to photography. Pure poetry.

Guilty pleasure: Polaroid film.

Photographer to watch: Justin Fantl always surprises me with his highly constructed still life compositions and surreal land-scapes. His use of color and his eye for composition are delightful. Definitely an emerging photographer to watch!

Smile-inducing photo: Dali Atomicus by Philippe Halsman. It explores the idea of suspension and features three cats flying and Salvador Dali suspended in the air. Halsman said that it took them 28 attempts to achieve the perfect shot. Amazing.

Most valuable platform: Undoubtedly Instagram. I hated it for years because of that putrescent Polaroid filter that almost everyone used in the beginning. But you can also find stimulating profiles on Instagram. It’s a useful tool for a photographer to establish new contacts and to offer a second look at his or her work. I’ll admit it: I have Instagram to thank for several commissions I got in the last year.

Must-read photography book: Sacrifice Your Body, by Roe Ethridge, the sum of all Ethridge’s work. His ability to recombine and recontextualize images makes him one of the most meaningful photographers of our time. To me, Sacrifice Your Body is one of those books that in 30 to 40 years will be considered a benchmark for understanding and interpreting the aesthetics of our time.

Photographers to follow: Japanese artist Go Itami has a special magic in his photographs, a conscious quality that values the beauty of banal details.

Research archive: The photographs I’m perusing these days were used in old advertisements from the 1950s and 1960s. They have a surreal pop style, and it’s striking to discover how current these bizarre, grotesque images still are. They were conceived during the economic boom. Intended to appear cute and ironic, instead they communicate restlessness.

Timeless gear: My glue gun is by far the most utilized tool in my studio. My work is scupltural and we’re constantly gluing objects and food to make intereseting compositions.

Splurge-worthy: Broncolor strobes are one of the costliest lighting systems, but they emit a beautiful quality of light, and the flash-duration controls are instru-mental to my liquids photography. 

Crucial conference: When I began shooting, I did NYCFotoWorks three times, and I started booking jobs with people I had met there. The idea of paying for face time with an editor is a bit uncomfortable, but everyone is so busy today. Just fifteen minutes in front of someone important
is very valuable.

Clever marketing: I’m working with a designer to develop a printed promotional piece, something more inventive than a postcard, but won’t cost a million. And I follow @aphotoeditor on Instagram, who shares the promos that he receives daily. There are some beautiful and unique pieces there, and with every one, I wonder, “Crap! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Reliable rentals: As you begin a career in photography, it’s important to foster a relationship with a good photo house. I’ve always rented from Foto Care in New York. The rental department extended me many favors when I was starting, which helped me test gear and also shoot very low-budget jobs. I love those guys more than I love a good deal.

Key to success: My Canon 5D Mark III is what keeps my business running. The shutter count is up to 280,000 clicks.

Must-read photo book: John Berger is just as important an author to read as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes. In Understanding a Photograph, he approaches photography not as a curator or a historian, but as an essayist. He is able to articulate the essence of photography.

Tool for the future: A camera with Wi-Fi and basic Photoshop skills that processes a raw file quickly and then shoots out a JPG—without even touching a computer—is probably the future, but we are still a ways out from that. Maybe ten years?

Underappreciated app: I just found out about the ImageBrief app, which lets you upload images for purchase. It gives you details on images that creatives are looking for, their time frames and the amount of money you could receive if your image is chosen. It’s like an instant stock app.

Secret to success: Basecamp, the online project management tool, keeps every production detail organized and every team member on the same page. It’s been invaluable at helping me manage pre- and post-production, and everything is archived automatically.

Splurge-worthy investment: I collect compact cameras and buy a new one every year. The latest is the Fuji x100t, and it’s the best small camera yet. Funny how I say that every year...

Worrying trend: The cover of one of my favorite photo magazines recently featured a badly overexposed image of a person walking on the beach. It made me think that the industry has lost its mind with “Instagramification.” We’re paying too much attention to bad craft, and even rewarding it, which ultimately devalues the entire industry. Mistakes should not be the lead of our news—well-crafted, significant moments and innovative thinking should be. That would help clients respect and value our craft, not give them more ammunition for the “I have a camera, I can shoot it” argument. 

The next big thing: The convergence of small cameras and 4K motion, which will enable you to pull a 12-megapixel still from a moving camera image. Motion and still cameras will truly be the same.

Lugging gear: I have an amazing Pelican bag. It’s the best camera backpack I’ve ever had, and it has a laptop case: the S115 Laptop & Camera Backpack. Well done, Pelican!


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