Happy New Year's from President of United Photo Press

Good evening to all present here tonight. We are grateful for the presence of All.

All these different individuals from UNITED PHOTO PRESS have their own values and norms, and together they form a multitude of Being, which is what we would like to discuss tonight.

We would like to talk about welfare. What does welfare mean to each of you? What makes you feel prosperous at times? Welfare is often based on matter. The welfare state and welfare states are slaves of the economy. If the economy is in decline, welfare declines too. As a result, welfare states − which are based on matter and on collecting matter − will become increasingly vulnerable.

The reason being that if matter disappears or diminishes, the welfare state will become shaky and cracks will appear. In fact, the first small cracks are already present.

The credit crisis has been perfect for the inhabitants of planet Earth. Again it shows that people are hugely dependent on each other. Everything that is based on matter and on the current economic model will become shaky. There are no securities anymore. Predictions cannot be relied on anymore, so where is welfare to be found? What is welfare based on? Know that every prosperous welfare state will become very vulnerable − not only for attacks but also for credit crises.

Whatever may happen, your current system of norms and values will change. The credit crisis has shown that countries are very much dependent on another. Even countries that do not have any ties can influence each other. Mass production and everything that has to do with the economy creates vulnerability, for you cannot guarantee the production of a product if a certain part cannot be delivered anymore. If a certain kind of energy cannot be supplied anymore, things will go wrong. These are the pillars of what you call welfare. Welfare in all its forms has become unsteady because it is based on the wrong norms and on the wrong values. They were very valuable for a long period of time but modernisation cannot be stopped anymore. There will be a different form of solidarity. People will see the need for creating a new kind of solidarity, to which the climate contributes as well.

Greater cooperation will be required, a more global cooperation of all forces on Earth. Individual forces will not change things; only cooperation can prevent disasters. Let’s go back to the topic of welfare. If we would have to define welfare, our definition would include: food, water, healthier air and, naturally, investing in the individual. In this way each human being will be able to develop his or her unique qualities to become an even more valuable human being for society, which will create a valuable sense of belonging to a group, to the people of a nation. Imagine all inhabitants of the Earth, its people, each single one, would feel valuable – there would no longer be any conflicts anymore.

Look at the youth which en masse gets together on the streets and cause uproar. Which norms and values do they represent? What does so-called welfare have in store for them? They feel turned away. They feel misunderstood and hence they create uproar. They do not count, they do not feel valuable. If you look at groupings which create terror and suppression, look at their norms and values and their sense of being valuable. Often these groupings consist of individuals who have a huge inferiority complex. If the value of each human being will become important again, if people invest in their personal individual norms and values – not in welfare, which aims at matter – many conflicts could be avoided. Those groupings that create uproar − know that they do this because of their inferiority complex, because of a feeling of being misunderstood and of a sense of not belonging. Solidarity is what it is all about. And, dear all, it is not about anything to do with masses, such as mass production, mass distribution or suppression of the masses in the name of the economy.

The individual will triumph, because through crises and shortage people become creative again. They will bring forward creative solutions which will not necessarily result in mass production. Eventually it will turn out that these creative solutions are less vulnerable, for it is mass production which is incredibly vulnerable. So prioritise yourself. Invest in yourself. What are your values? What are your qualities? Get a job in which you can fully express those qualities. Let your norms and values be important for yourself as an individual, and do not impose them on someone else.

Let everyone live their lives according to their own norms and values. And set an example, especially for children. They are the future. If you watch closely, a lot is happening to children right now. New age children are about to swing into action and the newer new age children are on their way. They are more sensitive, more vulnerable and at the same time more powerful. They will not accept norms and values which do not feel right for them. They will not blindly accept things. They know that they know a lot. They know that they are wise. They know that they are valuable. Consider each child to be a valuable addition to your life and know that rebellious children actually feel inferior; they feel that their qualities do not matter.

If people invest more in these children, in individuals and not in the masses, there will be much more harmony. So try to be your individual self for the upcoming year 2015, according to your values and to your norms. Try to be valuable for yourself and for others. In this way you will help creating a new sense of welfare. The old notion of welfare will anyhow disappear, because it is based on old norms and old values. Modernisation will set in more and more quickly. You think that things are moving fast and things do move quickly, but they can move even faster. If you take a look around, you can already notice the change. Conflicts that now arise, are often solved more quickly too. Areas in which conflicts have prevailed will gradually move along with the modernisation, and slowly but surely peace and harmony will settle there because of changing norms and values.

Take a look at yourself. Forgive yourself for what you would have done wrong. Forgive yourself for the judgements and prejudices you still hold. And send this feeling and energy to the areas which have been in conflict for ages. The conflicts seem insolvable between the different groups, different norms and values, which are often based on pride and self-interest. Send the energy of forgiveness to these areas. The conflicts can only be solved if people forgive, if people put themselves aside and prioritise their society and their children, who are the future of those areas. So take a look inside – many things have already happened this year, in 2014.

We have already mentioned it before. Being connected with things known as ‘paranormal’ will turn out to be a privilege. Paranormal, just outside the normal and yet not the abnormal – it will turn out to be more and more valuable to be connected with your intuition, with your feeling, or with your higher guidance. This is the best navigation you can have in these stormy times. And you will feel increasingly normal, because many people will awaken. Many people become more inquisitive, they will become more familiar with what they consider to be paranormal, which will become increasingly normal. The tide will be turning and it cannot be stopped. Things ‘paranormal’ will become normal.

And the normal will become paranormal. We will get another society, which is based on different norms and values. True brotherhood and sisterhood − gone will be the times when people thought they were merely an inhabitant of planet Earth. As a tiny individual you are part of a large community, of a family, of a street, of a village, town or city, of a country, of a continent, of the Earth, of the Universe – and in this grandeur you, as a tiny individual, are important. Just one small seed can spread and multiply, so stay in tune with your navigation. Invest in your personal values, express your qualities and live your individual life. Do not let others decide for you, and the more you are able to live your own life, the more easy it will be to regularly adjust to the needs and wishes of other people.

You will not feel that you neglect yourself. So balance investing in yourself and investing in society – indeed, both aspects – and it will be a win-win situation. You as an individual will become more and more valuable. Try to smile at a stranger at least once a day. It would be a blessing and it would bring about an enormous flow of harmony in the year 2015, because just one smile can set off a chain reaction of smiles.

Go for it – we wish you a year full of welfare.


To all a Christmas Light and Harmony and a New Year filled with Peace and Prosperity !

Carlos Alves de Sousa / President of United Photo Press 

Dear members, colleagues, friends and employees in general

During 2014, once again you were companions of our daily toil. In the balance of the days we rely on the strength and the support of each of you, is attending our activities, is helping us in spreading our various actions held around the world.

We can not always thank one by one the way as you or deserve, but I would note that in these 21 years of international leadership of President of United Photo Press , felt so supported and attended by all my co-workers worldwide, as this arduous undertaking to chair an international organization with recognized prestige. The year 2014 was marked by days of joy, sharing, intense walk, great discoveries, a harmony that can not be translated into simple words. One would have to feel, to live each moment, be every move, to have an understanding of this year, the picture remains more than some think and others dream ... like marriage ...!

As some more direct members of United Press Photo know, it took nine months of continuous work on four continents, to put the exhibition and the international book "WORLD 2014" in the air, which had a total of 900 selected photos from 300 photographers and painters United Photo Press worldwide.

International recognition came for the "European Photo Safety", in which we will present the photographic exhibition and the book "WORLD 2015," as well as start the year 2015 with a photographic and painting exhibition at the House of Culture Setúbal, Portugal.

Since time is of reflection and climate changes that affect us all, are already part of our day-to-day, United Photo Press, always attentive and participative in the "green lines" of our ECO page | WORLD with a large environmental component, will prepare the project for 2015, along with several environmental and other partners, a mega international competition for future exhibition and book, called "ECO | WORLD" which will be part of the photographic component and plastic arts in all its aspects.

It's Christmas, the good will be away from us sorrow, and not allow ourselves to grieve with concerns, the future belongs to all of us ... I just want to thank you all for walk these 20 years.

To all a Christmas Light and Harmony and a New Year filled with Peace and Prosperity!

Carlos Alves de Sousa
President of United Photo Press 

This photo just went for a world record $8.3 million

Australian photographer Peter Lik sold his photograph named 'Phantom' for $US6.5 million ($7.85 million). Image cropped from Lik.com.
Australian photographer Peter Lik will rarely pass up an opportunity to show his biceps. There he was, wearing a cowboy hat, trekking up a snowy mountainside, arms bare. There he was, behind the wheel of a green truck, flexing. And there he was, straddling an arid dune, triceps sunburned.

Lik is even less shy about his accomplishments. He describes himself both as the "world's most influential fine art photographer" as well as "one of the most important artists of the 21st century." It's obvious promotional hype, but Lik does indeed now command worldwide distinction.

This week, he sold a photograph named Phantom, showing a shaft of light cutting through a monochromatic Arizona landscape. The price: US$6.5 million (NZ$8.3 million). That's reportedly the most ever paid for a photograph. (The identity of the buyer wasn't disclosed, but his lawyer, Joshua Roth of Los Angeles, vouched for him in a press release.)

The sale was only the latest big-time score for the Australian photographer, who has made a career out of shooting landscapes and wearing cowboy hats. Despite Lik's "dismissal by art critics," as one paper put it, his shtick nonetheless has great resonance among buyers — to the consternation of staid art experts.

"In 2014, Peter shattered all world records by selling the most expensive photograph in history," his website said. "… To accompany this sale, Peter's images Illusion and Eternal Moods were also acquired for US$2.4 million and US$1.1 million, respectively. Along with his sale of One for US$1 million in 2010, Peter now holds four spots out of the top 20 most expensive photographs ever sold."

The list he joins includes some of the world's most-established photographers, including Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall. They're all considered artists of the highest order who broadened the conceptual limits of photography and held exhibitions in some of the world's most prestigious galleries. Most of their priciest work sold at auction houses. And now, there's Lik, whose US$6.5 million photograph sold privately. How has this relatively unknown outsider done it?

Peter Lik
Australian photographer Peter Lik has sold four of the world's 20 most expensive photographs, according to his website.

It begins with a level of salesmanship unusual for an artist: Lik did a short-lived reality TV show called From the Edge, for example. He also advertised on the Jumbotron in Times Square.

But to Guardian Art Critic Jonathan Jones, Lik's "Phantom" says more about the growing role of technology in photography than it does art — a label he doesn't think Lik's work warrants. "Phantom is a black-and-white shot taken in Antelope Canyon, Arizona," he wrote. "The fact that it is in black and white should give us pause. Today, this deliberate use of an outmoded style can only be nostalgic and affected, an 'arty' special effect. We've all got that option in our photography software. Yeah, my pics of the Parthenon this summer looked really awesome in monochrome. Lik's photograph is of course beautiful in a slick way, but beauty is cheap if you point a camera at a grand phenomenon of nature."

But that's pretty much all Lik does. He describes himself as "synonymous" with "pristine images" of nature, which he pursues with the restless ebullience of the Crocodile Hunter. "The quality of production and [his] imagery is great," Megan Dick, the director of Australia's MiCK gallery, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "The quality of art is not." She said art was driven by ideas — not documentation. "Being such a literal interpretation of the subject, landscape photography is more in the realm of documentary rather than art."

Some art experts haven't been able to figure out how, then, his artwork has sold for so much. They're pretty, no doubt, in the way that your desktop background and screensaver are pretty. But with millions of dollars at stake, does prettiness cut it? "These prices are very high and certainly, in terms of other successful photographic artists, seem somewhat bizarre," the Herald quoted art consultant David Hulme saying. Commenting on one of Lik's pieces that went for $US1 million (NZ$1.28 million), he added: "I don't fancy the owner's chances of recouping anywhere near what he paid for this one."

That assessment hasn't stopped Lik from selling. Take it from photographer Scott Reither, who also sells pictures and once worked as one of Lik's salesmen. He wrote a lengthy blog post on his travails in which he spoke of hustling photographs like a used car salesman and pushing fine art on a Las Vegas clientele caught up in "impulsive behaviour while visiting Sin City." Reither said he sold $US700,000 worth of Lik's photography in seven months and quit, unable to "stomach it any further."

"I felt like I had to feed people a bunch of lies," he wrote, questioning the "absurd pricing structure for the not-very limited editions of 950″ prints: "I know the subject of art and value is a touchy and sensitive subject, and I know there's plenty of foolish people that will pay a ridiculous amount of money for something solely because it's priced at a ridiculous amount of money … the discussion with prospective buyers had to become about value, [and] I was done because I did not believe in the value of the product."

The Guardian's Jonathan Jones likewise questions the value of the US$6.5 million Phantom. He said Lik merely took an already stunning view and "added nothing of value to what was already there. … Someone has been very foolish with their money, mistaking the picturesque for high art."

15 Health Foods That Are Actually Bad For You

15 Health Foods That Are Actually Bad For You
More and more people aware of how important it is to avoid unhealthy food. However, there are some unhealthy foods that are considered healthy and that can be a great problem. Some of them may come as a surprise, like those marked as low fat or fat free. Surprisingly, many of the foods on the list are still unknown as hidden junk food and you will be quite shocked when you realize how many of them you buy on regular basis. So take a good look at this list of 15 health foods that are actually not so healthy and that you should avoid buying and eating.

1. Salad dressings are loaded with sugar, trans fats artificial chemicals and vegetable oils. Although the are considered to be based on vegetables and vegetables are supposed to be healthy, they are not so tasty on their own. Commercial salad dressings have such great and rich taste thanks to all these additives that are not good for our health. So try eating your veggies without additional flavor, because it adds too much junk to your healthy plate.

2. Lately, more and more people conclude that whole “war” on saturated fat was just a big mistake. It was based on few strong evidences from the very beginning, but many “low fat” and “fat free” foods have made their way to buyers just because people thought these foods were actually healthier. The things is, when you remove fat from foods, it becomes less tasty. To change that, many commercial food producers have started to add sugar to compensate the fat and taste loss. As you can see, this has nothing to do with your actual weight loss, on the contrary, it may be more harmful to your health than you think!

3. Fruit juices are believed to be very healthy. On most of them you can see how they contain great amounts of vitamin C or how them come from the ripest and extremely fresh fruit. But, the truth is- the juice you can find in the supermarket isn’t really fruit juice. In some cases these fruit juices don’t contain any fruit at all! They just taste like fruit because of the chemicals in them. So basically, you are drinking water with fruit-flavored chemicals. Don’t think that products that guarantee 100 % quality fruit juice are any better. The sad truth is- all of them are loaded with sugar.

4. Cholesterol lowering phytosterols probably sound like something good to your health. Phytosterols are actually plant versions of cholesterol and according to some studies, they have shown the ability to lower blood cholesterol in humans. Because of this, they are frequently added to processed foods and marked as foods that lower bad cholesterol. Some other studies have shown that even though they lower cholesterol levels, these phytosterols have negative impact on cardiovascular system and therefore may increase the risk of heart disease.

5. Whole wheat products are not always made of whole wheat. Whole wheat bread may even contain similar glycemic index as white bread. In fact, the whole story around whole wheat bread may be a bad idea. The reason for this is that the wheat we know nowadays is very unhealthy comparing to wheat our ancestors ate. In sixties, scientists made some changes in wheat genes to increase the yield. Because of this, modern wheat is much less nutritious and it may even cause health problems for people who are intolerant to gluten. They may even cause inflammation and cholesterol levels, so the best solution may be to avoid bread in general.

6. When you think of butter, you probably think of it as something extremely unhealthy, even deadly. Instead of eating butter, some health experts suggest margarine. Few decades ago, margarine was very high in trans fats. Nowadays, it contains less trans fats but still, it is has a lot of refined vegetable oils. But let’s define what margarine actually is. It is not food, but an assembly of chemicals and refined oils that make you think it looks and tastes good. According to some studies, people who have transferred from butter to margarine are more likely to suffer from a heart disease. So try to avoid margarine instead of replacing butter with it.

7. Low carb junk food may be the only worse thing than the regular junk food. However, many people still believe in power of low carb being printed on the bag of their favorite chips. This is because low carb diets have been very popular for many decades. But, don’t be fooled by quality of low fat junk food. If you take a closer look at the ingredients, you will see that there is no actual food there, just a bunch of chemical and highly refined ingredients. In short, everything that can seriously harm your health. Of course, low carb junk food is harmful when eaten regularly.

8. Sports drinks were initially made for athletes and people who exercise a lot. They contain electrolytes and sugar, which are good for athletes in many cases. On the other hand, most of other people who do not exercise on regular basis do not need any additional electrolytes (salts) and they most certainly do not need more sugar. Also, don’t be fooled by “lower amounts” of sugar in these drinks. The only difference between sports drinks and regular sodas is that sport drinks contain a bit less sugar than juice you buy in your supermarket. If you want to stay hydrated, try drinking water and avoid drinks with too much sugar.

9. Agave nectar is considered to be one of alternatives for sugar. It is also called agave syrup and it can be found in many health foods, but the problem is- agave syrup or nectar is not that healthy at all. The main problem with sugar in the first place is that it contains large amounts of fructose, which can give you metabolic problems when we consume it excessively. Sugar is 50 % fructose but agave nectar contains, wait for it, impressive 70-90 %. The conclusion is- agave nectar is actually not better than sugar, it is worse.

10. Vegan junk food is getting more and more popular since more and more people are becoming vegan and they kind of miss junk food from their past lives. Vegan diets are promoted in order to improve health, but vegan junk food is not as good for you as you may think. Many processed vegan foods on the market are often sold as a replacement for yummy junk food you know is very bad. The most important thing is to keep in mind that even though it is vegan, junk food is junk food. In other words, processed food will always be bad for your health, no matter how close to vegan it may get.

11. Processed organic food is another example of brands using the word “organic” just to make the buyers believe they are actually buying something healthy. Here’s one example: they use ingredients like organic raw cane sugar, which is basically the same as the regular sugar. It still contains the same amounts of glucose and fructose and it contains nothing nutritious whatsoever. So the real difference between processed organic and processed regular food does not exist. Processed food means a lot of additives in both cases. If you are not sure, just check the ingredients and if all you can see are chemicals, put down the bar and get away from the store.

12. Brown rice syrup (you may also know it as rice malt syrup) is another wrong sugar alternative. By wrong we mean it is not any healthier than regular sugar. Brown rice syrup is mad by exposing cooked rice to enzymes that break the starch into simple sugars. This sweetener has a glycemic index of 98, which actually means that the glucose spikes blood sugar very fast. Another reason why brown rice syrup is bad for you is because it is highly refined and has no nutrients. Also, there were some concerns about arsenic contamination in syrup, so maybe it is better to avoid these kinds of sweeteners in general.

13. People mostly use seed and vegetable oils, including soybean oil, canola oil and others. The reason for this is the fact that these oils have shown to lower cholesterol levels (in short terms, at least). However, keep in mind that cholesterol is actually a risk factor, not a disease. That means that vegetable oils cannot guarantee prevention of heart attack, heart diseases or lower cholesterol in some cases. There are even some studies according to which vegetable oils, despite lowering cholesterol, can increase the risk of heart diseases or even death. Instead of eating foods prepared with these oils try coconut oil and olive oil.

14. Gluten-free junk food is a real superstar in holy world of food. This is because about a third of the US is actively trying to avoid gluten. Since gluten has become the world’s biggest enemy, many food manufacturers have come up with a whole bunch of new gluten-free products that are supposedly the best food choice you can make. Don’t forget these products are still junk food, besides the fact they contain no gluten. These are highly processed foods and contain absolutely no nutrients. Instead of lying to yourself, eat foods that are naturally gluten-free and not gluten-free junk foods.

15. Many popular breakfast cereals are marked as healthy day start and are marketed towards children. Many of them also have signs such as “whole grain” and “low fat”. But at the second glance, the list of ingredients shows that only thing you can actually find in your box of cereals is sugar and some more sugar. Refined grains and artificial chemicals are also often included. The sad truth is, when a box says its healthy in lots of font sizes and styles, it probably isn’t. A regular oat meal is not as fun as colorful box of chemicals, but it can save your life if you think in long terms.

The sex dolls that look REAL: Fashion photographer makes the fake women look startlingly life-like in glamour shoot

Female sex dolls have been around for decades. 

But until now, the rubber women have taken on an extremely fake quality, with even the untrained eye able to spot one from a mile off. 

But in this new photo shoot by New York fashion photographer Stacy Leigh, many of the toys appear very human-like.
The collection of love dolls worth up to £4,000 each, have been carefully dressed and posed as if they are taking part in a glamour shoot.

Stacy, 43, decided to create her project, which she calls 'Average Americans' to prove how anyone could find themselves fancying mannequin-like dolls, taking the stigma away from those who use them.

She said: 'Men and women both use the dolls as replacements for human companionship, whether by choice or necessity.'

'I believe it's perfectly fine if it makes one's journey through life more bearable.'
She continued: 'My photos are about life and relationships and sexuality.
'Some people are repulsed by the dolls, while others are empathetic towards them.
'As the world becomes more digital and less personal, dolls and robots will become more commonplace as surrogates for relationships.

'I can only hope that my photos spark an emotion or connection in the viewer.'

A world away from blow-up sex dolls of the past, love dolls or real dolls as they are also known, have become increasingly popular as they have become more realistic looking.

Many collectors refer to their love dolls as their 'girlfriends' and have full sexual relationships with them.When buying a love doll, customers can choose to customise everything from hair, eye and skin colour to boob size and even the shape and style of the vagina.

Stacy, who owns 12 real dolls, explained how she became involved in collecting and photographing her plastic subjects.

She said: 'I watched a TV show called REAL SEX on HBO that featured Real dolls.'
"I had always wanted a life size doll, as I have been collecting small fashion dolls since I was a child.

'I perused the internet with the intention of using a love doll as my sitting model for photography.

'When my first doll arrived, I began to photograph her and the rest is history.

'Over the last decade, my job has become far easier as manufacturers add more realism to their products.'

She continued: 'These days, for my personal projects- I add make up to completely confuse the viewer.

'I've added wrinkles and depth to the face, much in the same way I would a painting.
'I received accolades for my ability to pose, and 'breathe life' into them.
'Immediately, it became my goal to get better with each photo.'

Portugal awarded a record 17 Michelin stars

The 2015 Michelin Guide, widely considered to be the world’s most prestigious list of restaurants, has awarded Portugal a record 17 stars, with three restaurants boasting two-star prestige - two of which are in the Algarve.

At the Iberian unveiling of the 2015 guide in Marbella, Spain, last night (November 19), the Michelin Guide’s international director Michael Ellis said both Portugal and Spain are “two of the most gastronomically dynamic destinations in the world”, considering 2015 a “record-breaking” year for both countries.

Together, 183 Iberian restaurants received Michelin stars.

In Portugal, once again among the coveted two-star category are the Algarve’s Vila Vita Parc’s Ocean restaurant (Porches) led by Chef Hans Neuner (pictured) and Vila Joya (Albufeira) led by Chef Dieter Koschina, as well as Lisbon’s Belcanto, which reached the two-star ranking for the first time.

On the list of one-starred restaurants are the Algarve’s Willie’s (Vilamoura) and Henrique Leis (Almancil) restaurants, as well as Casa da Calçada (Amarante), Eleven (Lisbon), Feitoria (Lisbon), Fortaleza do Guincho (Cascais), Il Gallo D’ Oro (Funchal), L’And Vineyeards (Montemor-o-Novo) and The Yeatman (Vila Nova de Gaia).

Almancil’s São Gabriel restaurant in the Algarve regained its Michelin-star after its ownership and chef changed in 2013, while Porto’s Pedro Lemos received its first star.

In Spain, 169 restaurants received Michelin stars - eight of which now boast the maximum number of three.


Today, we meet them at every corner, they sit with sad eyes and mangled bodies.

Above is a mug a worn mug from a café or MC Donalds. They are dirty and eyes pray, pray for your coins something rattles in their mugs. If we look back in time was the most "A-puncher" or alcoholics on the street that disturbed environment with an unsteady gait and voice.

Those days are gone, we do not see alcoholics longer on the street, now is the beggar who has taken over every corner and in front of our stores around Sweden.

The creation myths of these people who all believe in, it's been prepared, you have cars driving them out around to beg, but is not always as you might think, I meet them every day, especially in the city, where they sit and waiting for the local bus that can take them to a store where they can sit and beg money for survival.

Many come in seasons often over the summer time when the weather is comfortable, now you can see them even in the fall when the cold has come, they bask in their worn throws and showing off photos of their children that waiting for there parents anywhere else in the world, pain, suffering in their eyes, and the tears to sit for a whole day outside a shop where all normal people buy their daily goods.

The looks from most people avoided and you feel a little uncomfortable, the old rumors about organized activity has taken effect, even if there is a poor man begging for his life, at home waiting poverty and a life without a future.
The world is changing...

Tommy Hammarsten United Photo Press 2014





The Origins of Aerial Photography

Our interest in aerial photography dates back to more than a hundred and fifty years ago. In 1858, Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, who used the pseudonym Nadar, captured the first aerial photographs, photographing Paris from a tethered balloon at an altitude of sixteen hundred feet. Two years later, aerial photography came to the United States by way of James Wallace Black, who took photographs from a hot-air balloon above Boston, in 1860.

As photographic technology advanced—with roll film, lighter cameras, and long shutter releases—it became possible to affix cameras to unmanned flying objects. Between 1887 and 1889, Arthur Batut took aerial shots of the South of France using just a kite, a camera, and a fuse. George R. Lawrence used a similar technique to photograph damage, from two thousand feet up, from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

In 1908, Julius Neubronner, who had used carrier pigeons in his work as an apothecary, filed a patent for a miniature camera that could be worn by a pigeon and would be activated by a timing mechanism. Pigeons were also used by the French to capture the position of the German army in the First World War, most notably at the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of Somme. Following the Second World War, the C.I.A. developed its own pigeon camera; according to the agency’s website, the details of the camera remain classified.

Picture Desk: “Ed Ruscha,” by Jerry McMillan

Ed Ruscha with six of his books on his head, 1970.

I first saw Jerry McMillan’s portrait of Ed Ruscha two years ago, when it appeared as the press image for the group exhibition “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird,” at the David Zwirner gallery. The portrait was taken, in 1970, during an impromptu photo session at McMillan’s studio, on North Western Avenue, in Los Angeles, in the same compound as Ruscha’s own studio.

McMillan and Ruscha had grown up together in Oklahoma City, and, with three other friends, came to Los Angeles in the late sixties. “We shared a house and called it ‘Students Five,’ ” McMillan told me. “We all rented studios in the same compound, and we’d all get there around 8 A.M., 9 A.M. at the latest, and just get straight to work.”

McMillan said that his initial intention had been to take pictures of Ruscha’s wife, Danna. “Ed wanted me to photograph her, and I said certainly,” McMillan said. “So Danna and her friend came by, and, after a little while, the two of them decided to go for lunch. Ed and I stayed behind, and we kept on shooting. He said, ‘Can I get some of my books?’ We tried a few different things with them, assembling them around him on the floor, and so on. We were having terrific fun. Then Ed put them in a pile on his head and looked at me with that deadpan expression. Ed’s always fun to photograph. As soon as the roll was exposed, I developed the film right there in my studio. The image works because it’s so simple, and it’s so Ed.”

Photograph by Jerry McMillan. Courtesy the artist and the Craig Krull Gallery.

Ute Mahler’s Portraits of Life Behind the Wall

Ute Mahler’s Portraits
In the early nineteen-seventies, at the age of twenty-three, Ute Mahler began to photograph daily life in Lehnitz, in what was then East Germany, where she grew up. Lehnitz is just north of Berlin, a city that, when Mahler took these pictures, had been divided by the Berlin Wall for over a decade. Most East German photography at the time, Mahler recalled, was “sugar-coated” propaganda. Mahler, along with a few others, set out to photograph the less promising realities of life in East Germany.

Mahler photographed acquaintances and strangers alike, aware that her work might never reach a larger audience, and that she risked being chastised by the government. She continued to take portraits until the year before the Wall came down, on November 9, 1989, twenty-five years ago next month. Mahler told me that, in retrospect, photography took less effort for her during that era. “It is always easier to shoot against something,” she said.

Zusammenleben” (“Living Together”), a book of Mahler’s photographs from the Soviet era, was published in September by Hatje Cantz.

In the Same Space: Eirini and Andreas Vourloumis

Eirini Vourloumis
As a child in Greece, the photographer Eirini Vourloumis was very close to her grandfather, Andreas Vourloumis, a figurative painter who was part of the group of significant Greek artists known collectively as the Thirties Generation. Vourloumis, now thirty-five, said that her grandfather helped to raise her and showed her “how to look at things” as an artist. “He was curious about the small things in life, how people moved on the street, how a cement apartment building could be beautiful, how his mother played cards,” Vourloumis told me.

In homage to her grandfather, Vourloumis began a visual dialogue with his watercolor paintings and his drawings of Athenian streets, which he walked nearly every day on the way to his studio. Called “In the Same Space,” after a poem by the Greek poet C. P. Cavafy, the project was featured on the New Yorker photo department’s Instagram feed earlier this month. Vourloumis, who works as a photojournalist, and has focussed on the negative consequences of the Greek economic crisis, said that she has enjoyed engaging with her grandfather’s more positive approach to the texture and depth of Greek life. “His art was an extension of his love for his country, the light of Greece, the people,” Vourloumis said. “He celebrated daily life in Athens through his art.”

Dear New Photographer…

Photo-by-Paul-Colley / United Photo Press
Dear New Photographer,

I’m writing this post because I was up late last night on a Facebook forum, reading close to 200 comments about new photographers and what slime they are to the industry. How they’re stripping photography of it’s “art” and destroying any decent business practices. I read every comment, feeling more and more sick to my stomach the further I scrolled down the page.

“Who do these people think they are? Don’t they remember when they were new and making all the same mistakes?”

I know this year has probably had it’s ups and downs for you; the excitement of booking your first paid gig, the confusion of all that “must have” photography gear and the hurt and guilt of being single-handedly blamed for “ruining the industry.” I know the phrase “what to charge for engagement photos” is probably one of the first things to come up in your Google search bar, and secretly you’re still wondering why using the eraser tool in photoshop is such a horrible thing.

I also know that you’re afraid to ask for advice at every turn because for every established photographer that is willing to help, you’ve got 30 more breathing down your neck that are doing everything they can to cut you down. I’ve been there too – I’ve had my work ripped apart online by a “reputable” photographer (who went out of business earlier this year), I’ve bought things I didn’t need because some famous photographer endorsed them and I thought it would make a dramatic improvement in my work (it didn’t), and I’ve used the crap out of the eraser tool (layer mask, folks).

So what I wanted to do here is give you a heads-up. A bit of a rant mixed with some advice I wish I had known in the beginning, this is just about everything I wish someone had told me the first day I got that used and slightly beat up (but still very new to me) camera in my hands.
Beware The Vultures
“Clients” will use you for free photos.

Countless people are about to ask you for free photos. New parents will adamantly lend you their newborn baby to “practice” on or will offer up their family to help you grow your “portfolio”. Magazines and businesses will ask for those landscape photos of yours in exchange for “exposure”. Don’t confuse these requests with paid shoots or even as complements, they are neither. These are people wanting free shit, plain and simple.

Now in the beginning, you are going to have to do some things for free – you need the experience and you need to build your portfolio – but know this: anything you shoot for free that isn’t related to what you eventually want to be paid for, or a personal cause, is a waste of your time. I knew from the beginning I didn’t want to shoot newborn photos, but I was interested in shooting weddings. So between two non-paying jobs, I took the one that added to my wedding portfolio and referred the newborn shoots to someone else.

Don’t take this to mean you should specialize immediately – you shouldn’t. You should shoot as many different things as you possibly can to try and find what your really passionate about, but don’t feel obligated to take any free job that comes along.

Other photographers will use you as an unpaid assistant.

I highly, highly recommend interning, but the point is to get something out of it. If all you’re doing is running errands, getting coffee and carrying heavy gear, you’re getting taken advantage of.

If you’re in an internship, ask questions. Ask about the camera settings, the lighting, the posing; everything! Why are they using one light when earlier they used another? Why do they keep telling the model to put her chin down? What aperture do they shoot at for large groups? Is there a reason they prefer one lens to the other? Some of these are questions better asked at the end of a session, when the client is gone, but if you have a question, ask. If the photographer you’re interning for blows it off or won’t answer your questions, find someone else to intern for. This person is after the free labor, not in mentoring an upcoming photographer.

P.S: Look out for any mentor that requires you to sign a No Competition Clause or a waiver saying you’ll work for free for any given amount of time. If they bring this up – RUN. Oh my god, run.
More experienced photographers will try to sell you things.

As a newbie, you are actually part of a growing market; a market where you’re willing to pay money for a short track to success, and there are a many other photographers ready to pounce. People are going to try and sell you workshops, gear, actions, presets, tutorials and more. All taking advantage of the fact that you’re willing to pay for something you don’t already have.

Now, I am a huge supporter of photographer education: I teach workshops, have tutorials and action sets and give away gradient and texture packs all the time, but you should know how to find the good ones. If you’re thinking of attending a workshop, ask to see references or testimonials from other workshop attendees. Ask to see an itinerary of everything you will be learning. Email the instructor to start a dialogue and see if your skill set is at the right place to be learning what they are teaching, and make sure any images you take at the workshop belong to you. You want to walk away feeling like you’ve actually grown in your development, knowing that all images taken by you belong to you, and that the money spent was worth every penny.
Seek Out Meaningful Criticism
Know where to go for the feedback you’re looking for.

I love my mom and I love my fiancé, but when I’m looking for good, constructive feedback on my latest work, neither of them are the best people to go to. For one, they’re incredibly biased, and two, they know nothing about photography.

When I need good, quality feedback, I approach a successful photographer that is knowledgeable in the field my photography is in. I shoot fine art portraiture; a landscape photographer or photojournalist that loathes the use of photoshop isn’t going to get me anywhere. In addition, neither is a Facebook, self-proclaimed photography “Pro”. Seek out the people that will give you unbiased, professional, relevant feedback. That’s how you grow.

It takes a little bit of effort to get that kind of feedback. Email a photographer you respect or try and schedule an appointment with a local gallery or editor. Sometimes you have pay for these kind of things, but it’s worth it.
Be impartial about gathering advice, but very selective in applying it.

No matter the advice you receive, people don’t know you. I was once told that my images were far too commercial to be considered art, and I should instead pursue work in fashion. All fine and well, except I didn’t want to do fashion work – I wanted to sell in galleries. Convinced I needed to shoot more fashion, they gave me plenty of advice about how to further commercialize my images, so I sat there and I took all of it – and then did the opposite. Their advice wasn’t necessarily right for me, but the knowledge was still very valuable. Now gallery sales are a large part of my income.
Know you probably aren’t going to like what you hear.

The whole point of feedback is to get better, which usually means something you’re currently doing can be improved. It never feels good to hear you’re weak in a particular area, but the sooner it’s pointed out to you the sooner you can do something about it. I’ve stated in other posts how valuable my time at Fotofest was – not because of the positive feedback I received (I did sell 4 pieces), but because of the feedback where I was slaughtered. Brutal honesty hurts, but I learned more in two weeks than I had in two years, and my work has made a dramatic improvement because of it.
Shrug off the jerks.

There are plenty of people out there just dying to give feedback to a new photographer, simply on the basis of cutting them down. Some old, jaded, bitter photographer that still can’t get over the fact that this whole digital “fad” hasn’t worn off yet. Yes, film is awesome, but so is digital and wet plates and colloidal tin types and God knows how many other forms of photography there are in the world today. Be very aware of the narrow-minded.
Value Business Skills AND Photography Skills

Just because there are a lot of photographers does not mean there is no room for you.

As with any other business, the quantity of vendors does not determine the success of a new vendor. A new vendor’s success is determined by the quality of their product or service, their reputation, their marketing plan, their community involvement, their prices and countless other things. Every business is different, just as every photographer is different. Figure out what it is that you can offer that is different than what is out there already and run with it.
Get ready to work… a lot.

I can’t honestly remember the last time I had a day off. If I’m not shooting, I’m editing, or answering emails, or sending out submissions, or planning, designing, and budgeting the next shoot. Every ounce of free time is spent doing something photography related – which is pretty awesome… mostly because I’m utterly obsessed with photography. If you aren’t obsessed though, this isn’t going to be the best career for you. You need to know your workdays will be long and your days off will be few, and if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, than welcome aboard.

Use the business model that works for you.

Hey guess what, when it comes to client work, I’m a shoot-n-burner. I shoot entire sessions, edit out the best photos and give clients the digitals. It’s what works best for me. I don’t build my business around the idea that I need to make money on prints. I make money on the cost of the sessions. Could I be making more if I sold prints? Probably. Would it be worth my extra time? Not to me. I don’t want clients coming back 8 months from now asking for 8 x 10s. I’d rather focus on booking another wedding, teaching another workshop or emailing another gallery. Each of those things has a much better value to me than filling another order of 11 x 14s and 5 x 7s.

Don’t feel bad, for one second, about begin a shoot-n-burner, charging less than everyone else, shooting for free or doing anything else other photographers are going to berate you for. The fact is, you have to shoot some things for free in the beginning and you have charge less in the beginning. It would be unethical not to. You don’t have the skills, the experience or the portfolio to be charging what established photographers do. And in all honesty, if your low price is taking business away from them, they’re doing something wrong, not you.
Raise your prices when you’re worth it.

All that shooting for free or at very low rates is no way to make a living though. As soon as you’ve got a decent portfolio together, you’ve got to start raising those prices to something more reflective of the kind of images you can produce. And yes, you’re going to lose some clients, but the truth is anyone paying you $50 for a full photoshoot isn’t a client anyway – it’s someone taking advantage of an exceptionally good deal.
Never underestimate the value of social media.

Learn how to use social media or get left in the dust. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a magazine, saw an ad for a company, remembered that company, went home and googled them, ended up at their website, searched for whatever product I saw in the magazine, and bought that product. I can, however, remember the last time I saw something scrolling through my Facebook news feed, clicked the link and bought it. That happened earlier today.
Other photographers are your best friends.

Great photographers slowly become more specialized over time. It’s only natural that the more we shoot, the more we begin to refine our skills in certain areas. Which means every photographer in your town won’t be shooting the same thing you are, and the ones that do, won’t all be going after the same target audience. If you’re a wedding photographer, be friends with other wedding photographers. There are countless weddings in various price points; way too many for one person to shoot them all! If you shoot weddings, refer newborns to the newborn photographer, lingerie shoots to the boudoir photographer, seniors to the senior photographer and they’ll all refer weddings to you. It’s a two-way street where everyone wins.
Get over your goddamn watermark already.

No one wants to steal your images right now. You’re not that good. There are a lot better photos out there that people could steal.

Putting a giant watermark in the middle of your photo does not keep people from stealing it, it keeps them from enjoying your work.

If they really want to steal it, a watermark isn’t going to stop them. Hell just last week I had to use one of my photos for a flyer, and I didn’t have the original on hand. So I took one from Facebook, cloned out the watermark and pasted it on the flyer. Worked for exactly what I needed it to do and it took all of 6 minutes. The watermark didn’t even slow me down.

“But my watermark let’s people know who took the photo!” So does your page link, but fine, if it’s really that big of a deal to you then put it in tiny letters in the bottom. If it’s not taking up the whole photo people will be much less inclined to crop it out.
Redefine How You Feel About Failure
“Getting it right” is subjective.

So much about photography is finding your own personal style, and that’s usually done through making a lot of mistakes. I remember the first time I accidentally left my shutter speed too low (because in the beginning I didn’t know how fast a shutter had to be to stop movement) and a huge number of my photos were blurry – and I LOVED it! Soon I learned how to control that blur and use it in a way that I wanted. What would’ve been a complete failure by conventional terms was actually a huge step forward for me.
Welcome the mistakes.

Learning from mistakes now will help you from making them in later, probably more crucial situations, so be a little more liberal with risks in the beginning. A mistake in your first wedding probably isn’t going to kill you; no one knows who you are and you’re shooting it for free for a family friend anyway. That same mistake at a wedding where they’ve put down $6K and you have a business and a reputation to uphold is probably going to be much more damaging.
Learn all the rules, then break them.

As much as I hate rules, they’re there for a reason. The first time I heard about the “Rule of Thirds” my mind was blown. I quickly began rearranging all my images to fit, and I was pleasantly surprised. And then I was bored. The “Rule of Thirds” is now one of my favorite rules to break – but it’s broken with intent, not by accident. There’s a difference.
Challenge yourself.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in this industry. A 365 day project or a 52 week challenge is a great way to change things up a bit. In addition, start shooting things you aren’t necessarily familiar with. If you’ve only ever shot families, take on a pet shoot. Take a drive to somewhere new and shoot a few landscapes or try your hand at some street photography. You may not completely switch gears, but you’ll no doubt learn some new skills you can apply to your current photography.
Keep Reminding Yourself Why You’re Doing This

I love my job. I love waking up every day to take photos. I even kind of love slaving away in front of the computer spending 40+ hours editing a single photo because I know at the end of it all it will be worth it. I also know that there is plenty of room in this industry for newer, upcoming photographers and the world would be a lot better place if more people loved going to work every day just as much as I do. So overall, dear New Photographer, don’t ever forget that end goal. Keep plugging along, keep learning, keep growing, keep researching, keep shooting and keep taking things one step at a time.

I can’t say that this roller coaster ever really stops, and I can’t say that you’ll ever stop feeling like a newbie, but in a way, I don’t think we ever should. The second we think we know everything is the second we should probably pack it in. I hope I’m a newbie forever :).

And if you ever need someone to talk to about said roller coaster, feel free to talk to me – I answer best through email or on my Facebook page, Jenna Martin Photography :).

About the author: Jenna is a fine art and underwater photographer based out of Billings, Montana where she lives with her fiancé Chris, their 2 dogs (Smoltz and Maddux) and their 4 cats (Flo, Study Buddy, Tank and Carl). After acquiring her Master’s in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, she made a drastic career change into the field of photography where she has been producing surreal images for the past 2 years.