Required Reading

• How do you handle getting your camera stolen? Turn it into a viral meme like Andrew McDonald did!

• Looking to fund that personal project you’ve been dying to work on? try kickstarter

• Because I will be obsessively watching World Cup coverage for the next month, I love these wonderfully done national posters for this years campaign, standouts are the japanese and North Korean versions

• As a response to their previous article 13 Ways to Piss Off an Editor, photoshelter comes back on the flipside with 10 Ways to Piss of a Photographer

Required Reading

• Nostalgia, timeless illustration, and the slick promise of the American Dream abound in this extensive collection of classic American car brochures. So extensive you can follow the evolution of the industry’s design aesthetic within a single manufacturer’s line, often from the 1920’s right through today.

• Via Permission to Suck – The Vernacular Photograph as Accidental Masterpiece – time, nostalgia, and chance create a beautiful link to our visual past.

• A group of unique creative professionals chime in on the future of flash as a medium for photographers to present their work. Presented by Photo Shelter and including Rob Haggart of aphotoeditor.com

• If you are at all interested in or related to the advertising industry, than I strongly recommend that you watch Art & Copy. An engrossing documentary about the history, philosophy, evolution, and rebellion of some of the great figures in contemporary advertising that will change your misconceptions about a field which is often accused of pandering to the lowest common denominator. I think George Lois is my new hero.

• I found this link to Smashing Magazine’s article on the Principles of Minimalist Web Design via Nubbytwiglet.com. So many photographers and creative professionals can benefit from the web design ideas and principals espoused here.

Quick Cuts – Molly Hoeltke

Fashion stylist molly hoeltke

Fashion stylist, friend, and collaborator Molly Hoeltke needed a bio shot for an interview and profile piece thats being done on her.  Heres a quick cut from those images. Molly has worked with me on a variety of projects ranging from magazine editorials to my own self directed projects for promotional images. Molly has a unique eye for combining vintage pieces with unique one of a kind contemporary designs. You may have seen her pop up once or twice in behind the scenes photos here on the blog as well.

Runway 3.0

Last week I got to attend the latest incarnation of Runway 3.0, an annual fashion event put on by the Buffalo State College fashion and textile technology program created to highlight the designs of their students as well as more established designers working in or connected to the Western New York area. In this odd circumstance, I was not there to work as a photographer, but rather as a writer for a regional fashion publication who wanted me to document the show from a photographer’s point of view. I was however able to grab some quick iPhone images of the event to share, even in low quality, some of the stunning designs that were created by the students and designers involved.  The amount of production put into the show by Erin Habes, the coordinator of the Runway 3.0 program, is astonishing. This was no typical school event, all the elements of a major market fashion show were in place; a collection of wearable fiber art in a private VIP exhibition, catering and drinks to shame the most opulent parties, an amazing venue, professional stage production and lighting to present the garments in the best possible light, and the participation and support of major designers like Adam Lippes.

There was nothing about the show that was not impressive, well produced, and visually stunning. There was a definite sense of the future and innovation in the show, especially in the work of standout designer Tess Hinterbichler whose forward thinking designs combined a sense of simplicity with a modern aesthetic and chameleonic mutability. also represented was Morgen Love, a more established designer who I have had the pleasure of working with many times. Morgen unveiled several new pieces from her latest collection, a combination of classic aesthetics mixed with a modern primitive influence. For a long time, Buffalo has sat between the circle of influences of Toronto and NYC, especially in terms of fashion and the arts. People often ignore that Buffalo is a style conscious and fashion forward city because it is not a major fashion market itself. Impressive events like Runway 3.0 are beginning to prove that Buffalo is a viable venue for fashion education and consumption.

Antiquarian Luxury

Antiquarian luxury web tear cyberoptix

Cyberoptix Tie Labs has long been one of my favorite designers of unique men’s accessories. Bethany Shorb runs one of the largest ecologically friendly and solvent free screen printing shops in the country, making thoughtful and bold statements in the creation of unique neckwear while minimizing any environmental impact in her hometown of Detroit, MI. Outside of her work as lead designer for Cyberoptix, Bethany has also toured the country with her experimental musical project Toybreaker and designed riveting couture fashions outside the accessories market, including the touring wardrobe for Skinny Puppy’s 2004 world tour.

I photographed several of the Cyberoptix Tie Lab designs last year for a designers feature run in an independent alternative fashion magazine. A small series of editorial images were created for the piece using one of Western New York’s most decadent and luxurious restaurants as a backdrop, it was a brilliant location to shoot Bethany’s ties in, awash in rich red velvets, dark woods, and accented with stunning collections of distinct objects ranging from avian taxidermy to a collection of rare vintage spirits.  It was the perfect setting to allow some interesting vintage menswear to be infused with the punky edge and  darkly intelligent tie designs that Cyberoptix provided. I knew that I had become an instant fan of Bethany’s work when I had decided on the spot to buy several of the ties she had provided for the production rather than returning them to her, most notably Raven and Gasmask, they have since become favorite pieces of my wardrobe.

I was excited when Bethany wanted to use one of the images from the original editorial, after it had initially run, on the Cyberoptix homepage to promote her ExLibris tie. The combination of her tie design laid over part of the image as well as the typography she come together to create an alluring whole, one that I was extremely happy to be a part of, especially given Bethany’s reputation as a young, popular, and passionate designer who is creating stunning yet environmentally responsible garments in a city generally held to be outside of the major fashion markets.

Artvoice's Best of Buffalo Poll

Luke Copping - Celeb Portrait - Thanks Sean Hus Var for the Pic

Me and my friend,  fellow WNY photographer Clark Dever, have both been named as nominees in the Best Photographer category in Artvoice Magazine’s annual Best of Buffalo readers poll. Along with three other local photographers we will find out who wins along with the nominees of several other categories in this important local event this monday at the Best of Buffalo Bash, an annual free event featuring live entertainment and food from several of the local restaurants that have been nominated this year. Stop out to support Clark and I, as well as several other local artists, vendors, and personalities whose hard work and efforts keep Buffalo the vibrant and artistic city it is.

(Thanks Sean Hus Var for the iPhone pic)

2010 Best of Buffalo Bash
Monday, April 26, 6-9pm
Town Ballroom

Aesthetic

I recently had the chance to work with model Kerry Quaile for a new regular column I am both creating imagery for and writing in Auxiliary Magazine. The new regular contribution, called Aesthetic, is a breakdown of the hybridization of various counter culture styles with the aesthetics and mindfulness of well styled fashion and beauty editorials. It is an attempt to break these subculture style trappings out of their own stereotypes in order to create something new and impressive. Its been a pleasure to be working on this new column as Auxiliary has given me a great deal of creative control to work with my stylists and various fashion figures in trying to predict these new hybrid styles based on trends in both the alternative and mainstream fashion industries.  This installment of Aesthetic, featuring Kerry Quaile and Lauren Mentkowski is featured in the April issue of Auxiliary, and the first installment Metropolis Androgyne, ran in the February issue.

Supreme General Promo

Supreme General – Promo from Luke Copping on Vimeo.

Now that I have finally recovered from the respiratory infection and throat injury that have kept me out of commission the past few days, I wanted to share the final version of the small promotional video I shot and edited together for Supreme General. Getting used to working with motion has been quite the learning experience, I know theres some kinks to work out but Im excited to keep moving forward with it.

Auxiliary Magazine Teaser Video

A short behind the scenes preview at a shoot I recently worked on for Auxiliary Magazine’s february issue. I have discovered that my Kinoflos do great double duty in terms of lighting both still and motion pieces, and were used extensively on both aspects of this project.

Auxiliary Magazine Shoot – Preview Video from Luke Copping on Vimeo.

Required Reading 12.14.2009

I’ve been doing my best to avoid the weather and stay indoors this weekend, but to no avail, I keep having to leave the warm cocoon of my apartment to brave the cold temperatures and insane winds that have been demolishing my neighborhood and most of Buffalo the past few days. Today things seem to be lightening up a bit, and hot morning beverages are helping.

Action Method

After months of searching for a to do list / project management app that worked on my iPhone, I have finally fallen in love with Action Method. From my phone or anywhere with an internet connection I can check on the status of all my projects. Break them down into manageable steps, and even delegate those steps to stylists, assistants, etc. Rather than other solutions I have tried, which are always context based, I like having one whose interface is project based instead, it works very well for shoot production as well as managing marketing projects. And its very simple to adapt it to day to day uses as well. Right now I only have a free account and use it mainly on my phone, but will most likely upgrade to a full account in the future as it seems that Action Method has quickly become one of my most valuable tools.

The Quentin Tarantino Guide to Creating Killer Content

VIA copyblogger.com

An interesting article aimed at writers but applicable to any creative endeavor. Tarantino’s method of selling a story through owning it provides many great tips, especially useful for photographers writing blogs. Working on your writing skills can help you in many aspects of your business.

Fashion Photography Blog

In a sea of photo business and technique blogs that exist on the internet so few are specifically targeted and offer real world advice in a such a specific industry, Melissa Rodewell’s blog and online community are the best example of a community that relates real life experiences in the fashion, style, and music photography industries to those just emerging into the industry.  The tutorials, stories, and anecdotes that she shares with her readers are topical and valuable. Featuring everything from behind the scenes looks at her photo shoots, tutorials on lighting, discussions on post processing, info on general business, and thoughts on developing ones own style and conceptualizing ideas.

Mark Miller

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Images are a powerful factor in how we form our impressions and opinions on things, especially in regards to people. And this is doubly true in the image conscious worlds of  music, fashion, style, and art, where often times an individual is not just the defining force behind their own brand, but the brand itself. Changing your image can be a tricky thing and often polarize others opinions about you, even if that change is a natural growth that happens organically. Enter Mark, a friend of mine for years, Mark is a musician and well known concert promoter in the northeast, especially in the Western NY area. Already a polarizing figure, his years playing in hard rock bands, and bringing some of the best niche acts in the punk, hardcore, and rockabilly scenes to the area gave him a reputation that was inexorably linked to the rock genre and lifestyle, It seemed that Mark, occasionally known as Mad Dog, was a long haired fixture of the rock scene in Buffalo.

But when Mark contacted me about creating images for his new musical project, a departure from previous acts and ventures that boldly moves away from his rock roots, we decided to start crafting images that, much like his music, moved in different directions than he had been working towards in the past. It was important to create images that were simply about him, and to move away from alot of the artifice and overproduction that is often utilized in music photography today. These shots are meant to reintroduce him to his audience as a more cerebral and lyrically versatile musician that they can connect with, rather than the very physical and wild persona he had performed under for years.

Cover Shoot – Auxiliary Magazine 1 year Anniversary Issue

AuxIssue7_cover1

My friends over at Auxiliary Magazine just celebrated their one year anniversary with the release of their December issue. For the last year this growing publication has developed its unique take on counterculture fashion and style and this is the finest issue that this small independent publication has released. I was honored to photograph the anchor editorial, WET, for the beauty section as well as the cover of this important edition. WET features a modern take on mass produced plastic jewelry from great independent designers and artists like Plastique, Isette, and CBST’s Closet.

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Supreme General

David Adams

A preview from a new series of promotional images I did for hip-hop artist Supreme General (AKA. David Adams). David has become one of my favorite subjects to work with over the past few months because of his enthusiasm for both his music and in collaborating on these photo sessions.  An extremely talented musician as well as a shrewd self-promotor with a talent for marketing himself, we have worked together on everything from his press and album images to a series of candid photographs documenting his recording sessions and personal life. The last time I had worked with David was in creating pictures for the artwork of his soon to be released album, a reasonably large and styled studio production that resulted in some great images. But this time David wanted to work on creating some promotional photographs that were simpler and more stripped down, images that put him center stage, and were less specific to his album.

Free Writing and Spontaneous Photography

In writing there is a structured exercise that is often undertaken to help writers develop ideas or to overcome blocks, it is called free writing. Based on a series of basic guidelines it allows an author to write freely, in a stream of consciousness style, without any regard to form, grammar, or topic. This action allows the writer to create raw output absent of self criticism or over conceptualization. Whether the end material is usable or not, the process serves multiple purposes. First, it allows the writer to build momentum, the actual act of writing can serve to exorcise a block that may prevent one from writing in a formal method. Secondly, it allows a cathartic purging of the half formed ideas that may prevent the writer from focusing on more urgent ideas or formal projects. Finally, in some free writing sessions it allows the writer to develop and record seed ideas that may later become fully formed concepts.

Jessica

During a slow night I found myself with the itch to just pick up my camera and shoot… anything. I decided to call up my friend Jessica and have her drop by the studio for an impromptu session, we were walking into this with no expectations regarding the final product, it was simply taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures. There had been no discussions of concept, wardrobe, styling, lighting, or mood, all we knew was that Jessica would bring bags of clothing, and also that she would be bringing her pet rat. All other decisions would have to be made on the spot, in the limited amount of time that we had available.

From her pile of wardrobe and accessories, a decision of styling was made on the spot, we would attempt to create two looks with radically different styling and moods in just under 2.5 hours, thankfully Jessica is a talented stylist and was able to take care of hair and makeup with no problem. Concepts were quickly decided by choosing the first two that came to mind, we would do something vaguely inspired by Louise Brooks, a 1920’s silent film star, which involved Jessica cutting and styling a wig on the spot, as well as a warmer image using her own candy colored red hair. The entire process was put together quickly and on the fly, and the concepts were only loosely adhered too in terms of execution and final look, each look evolved and changed throughout the shooting session.

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It was an interesting change from my normal workflow, which usually involves hours of script development, styling choices, scouting, casting, wardrobe, lighting etc.. What is normally a very structured process for me became very loose and intuitive by necessity of the parameters I had to work within. It was a beneficial experience that led to the development of a few other concepts that I’ll probably revisit in later projects, as well a chance to experiment in a situation with no expectations or pressure of self criticism. The rules of free writing can be  tweaked for a more visual medium like photography with some of the suggestions below.

Limit yourself to a specific window of time

All decisions must be made within this time frame, not outside of it

Subject does not matter

There are no bad ideas

Attempt more than one concept

Concepts should evolve organically as the shoot progresses

Team size is irrelevant

Experiment both technically and creatively

If you find yourself with nothing to photograph, photograph anything