ON ASSIGNMENT: 84 LUMBER FOR FORBES

Maggie Magerko of 84 Lumber for Forbes Magazine. 84 Lumber is the largest privately held building materials supplier in America.

Orchestrating one of the biggest business comebacks of the decade can be a lot to deal with, but imagine adding some major family drama, billions of dollars, and thousands of at-risk jobs into the mix and you have the recipe for Maggie Magerko’s life.

One of my most recent out-of-town assignments took me to Pittsburgh, PA for Forbes Magazine – more specifically to Eighty Four, the town from which the largest privately held building materials supplier in the country, 84 Lumber, takes its name. The job was to create a series of portraits for a stranger-than-fiction story of Maggie Magerko – the current president and owner of 84, and her father, Joe Hardy – the company’s founder. The once thriving no-frills lumber yard and building supplies chain had gone through a rough period, having had to close a large number of stores and lay off thousands of employees in order to stay afloat through a brutal housing recession that had a devastating effect on the business. An untimely investment in a resort property that soon grew to over $600 million in costs by the traditionally frugal Joe just added fuel to the fire and increased the growing tensions between father and daughter.

Despite all of this, Maggie, once at risk of bankruptcy both personally and professionally, has put it all on the line to rebuild the business, and it’s working.

This was one hell of a story to work on, and I can’t even begin to do justice to the engrossing saga the actual article is – I suggest you pick up the latest issue of Forbes (Feb 9 – 2015 edition) and check it out for yourself.

On a side note ~ I’m no stranger to shooting in cold weather, being the strapping and tough snow loving Canadian that I am, but this one was a little chilly even by my standards. I’m super thankful that I had the foresight to invest  in some quality winter gear just before shooting outdoors in a lumber yard in the middle of a Pittsburgh winter.

ED PETTINELLA FOR MFE MAGAZINE

MFE magazine tear sheets

MFE magazine called me up last month about a project, and I was pretty excited when I found out I would be heading to Rochester, NY to photograph Ed Pettinella – the CEO of Home Properties Inc. for the cover of their April issue. I went to college in Rochester and lived in the city for years, so any assignment that takes me there always presents me with a great chance to see some old friends and visit some of my favorite old haunts, and this trip gave me the opportunity to photograph a very interesting and very funny subject.

As the leader of the Home Properties team since 2004, Ed has focused on rehabilitating and repurposing older, run down buildings into higher income rental properties – a strategy that has allowed the company to consistently outperform its peers. Ed was an enthusiastic and affable subject who kept me and the crew laughing throughout the day-long shoot at the Home Properties headquarters, both trading jokes with us and sharing his thoughts on his company and business philosophy while we photographed him in his offices and on the building’s rooftop terrace overlooking Rochester (a seriously amazing view). This was a great day on assignment – the shoot went wonderfully, we had a great subject, an awesome location, and we even capped the day off with a fun crew dinner at one of my favorite places in Rochester – Dinosaur BBQ (I can’t wait until the new Buffalo location opens right around the corner from my studio).

The images above are tears from both the cover and the interior feature, while the one below is one of my personal favorite outtakes from the portraits we made on the building’s terrace.

Ed Petinella - CEO of Home Properties Inc.

Read the full MFE feature on Ed here.

 

BUFFALO SPREE

Cover for the April 2013 issue of Buffalo Spree Magazine.

In late January I got a call from the staff at Buffalo Spree Magazine to be part of a special project they were planning for their April issue.  This was my first assignment working with the editorial team from Spree and they tasked me with photographing several subjects for a feature on Buffalo’s most beautiful/fascinating people.

Here’s a look at the cover featuring television personality Lydia Dominick I shot for the issue. I’ll be sharing a few of the interior features in the coming weeks.

ALTERNATIVE PRESS – AP TOUR ISSUE

Alternative Press AP Tour Cover

Last month I was invited to be part of a very cool project. Alternative Press was putting together the cover for their new AP Tour issue and needed to create images of the singers of each band involved in the tour, the problem was that these groups  were on tour in different parts of the world and getting them together on such short notice for a shoot wasn’t logistically feasible at the time. So the assignment went out to me and two other photographers to capture the members individually and coordinate with each other to build this cover. I photographed Jerry Roush from Glass Cloud and Chris Roetter of Like Moths to Flames along with their respective bands for features in the issue as well as their portraits for the cover. You can check out both bands below or on the AP Tour through the month of November.

Special thanks go out to Jonathan Weiner who photographed both Levi from Miss May I and Jonathan of The Ghost Inside; and to Kane Hibberd who photographed The Amity Affliction.

Papercut Magazine

papercut magazine lead image

Kyle Makrauer and I recently collaborated on an online feature for Papercut Magazine that delved deeper into Molly Hoeltke’s reclaimed fashion concept label Once Vintage – a design label I have shot with before. I very rarely find myself collaborating with another photographer in such a direct way as I did on this shoot, but Kyle and I wanted to try it as an experiment.

Below is a small gallery of my contribution to the project, you can see the rest of the images including those shot by Kyle on Papercut’s web feature.

Marie Vaccarello wearing Once Vintage collection

 

Making My Own Magazine

I am always looking to change things up and add different elements to my marketing mix to keep things fresh – partly to move away from the too many generic e-blasts / too many generic postcards burnout that a lot of photographers get stuck in, and partly because I just love making cool things and sharing them with others. To kick of 2012 right I wanted to share a project that I have been crafting with the help of the phenomenally talented Nubby Twiglet (Who I have worked with on my identity and branding projects for a couple of years now. I never cease to be impressed with how well her design and layout work complements my photography), a 58 page magazine that collects some of my personal favorite  images and series. I have used the MagCloud service in the past in my work with Auxiliary Magazine and always been impressed with their quality, which has just gotten better and better over the years, so they were the clear choice for me when it came time for me to print the small runs needed for my publication.

I grew up obsessed with reading whatever DIY music, art, and literary zines I could track down at local record stores in Buffalo and Toronto and made my own hand bound photo-digests for years – and I think that services like MagCloud keep that spirit of self-publishing alive in a new tech and design savvy iteration. There is something pleasurable about holding a magazine or book in your hands, turning those pages, and finding something new on every page that never gets old. I was so excited to create a vehicle  for my artwork that was in the same vein as those zines and underground art rags that I loved so much when I was in my teens.

Update: You can read about designer Nubby Twiglet’s take on the project here.

A grid of proof layouts from my recent magazine promo

This will be going out to a pretty targeted list of recipients (and some long time dream clients of mine), but you can still check out the design with the digital edition available below.

I have a lot of plans this year to keep making cool stuff and finding new ways to share my work and I promise that I will keep you all posted as I finish putting them together.

Update 2: Thank you all so much for the wonderful response to this project. I had not initially planned on doing this but I have received so many requests from people that want to get their hands on a copy (far beyond even the small print runs I produced for my promotional needs) that I have made the MagCloud version public. If you are one of those people that wanted to get your hands on a copy you can now do so.

 

Black Enterprise Magazine – July

Black Enterprise Magazine July Tear Sheet

Black Enterprise Magazine July Tear Sheet

Lots of projects getting wrapped up, and lots of new ones starting. I have some new work in this month’s issue of Black Enterprise Magazine covering SLR Contracting and its President, Sundra Ryce, as a follow up to the company’s presence in the Black Enterprise 100 issue last month.

In addition to the images that ran in the feature, here are a few added portraits from that day’s shoot.

Outtake from the set

Alternate portraits from shoot

Alternate portraits from shoot

Quick Cuts – Nomadic

Aesthetic - Photographed by Luke Copping

Another quick cut from the latest issue of Auxiliary Magazine, this time from the monthly Aesthetic feature I contribute to. You can see the whole article on Auxiliary’s website. This month’s edition featured model Jason Sokody, the first time that the magazine has featured a male model in one of their regular beauty features.

More work can be seen at lukecopping.com

Quick Cuts – Outré

Outré - Photographed by Luke Copping

Auxiliary Mag just published their June issue which includes an editorial series by me as well as the monthly beauty column I photograph. heres some quick cuts from that editorial, titled Outré. I worked closely with stylist Molly Hoeltke, who created these looks from a combination of ultra modern swimwear and vintage lingerie culled from several design houses.

Outré - Photographed by Luke Copping

More work can be seen at lukecopping.com

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.

Required Reading

• Check out the new blog and site over at Hero Design and see some of the best hand screen printed music posters around. Created by  the team of Mark and Beth Brickey.

Nubby Twiglet recounts her first year of freelancing, applicable to anyone working in a freelance creative field. Some interesting anecdotes and important lessons.

• Post symposium thoughts from ASMP president Richard Kelly regarding the Copyright Symposium that took place in NYC this past week featuring Chase Jarvis, Jeff Sedlik, Lawrence Lessig, and others

• A collection of vintage photographs of New York from the 1940’s

• An archive of brilliant magazine cover photography and design stretching back decades and covering thousands of images at the NMCA: Magazine Cover Archive

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.

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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Required Reading: Round Two

I’m on my third cup of coffee and have pulled a few links from by bookmarks bar for your ante meridiem perusing pleasure.

Zack Arias

Zack Arias started out his blog as an Atlanta based music photographer and ended up becoming a guru somewhere along the way. Sure, the blog of course contains occasional helpful technique posts and great displays of his new work, more importantly it contains posts like THIS and THIS .

I read Zack’s blog because its a constant call to action and because I can relate to his story. He went to photography school, tried freelancing for a while without finding much success, ended up working at a Kinkos, and then one day had a chance to come back to photography without looking back. The sign shop I worked at wasn’t a Kinkos, but the trajectory is not wholly unfamiliar to me.

Coilhouse

A magazine and accompanying blog that are important for two reasons. First, they clearly shows what can be done by a small magazine with a willingness to experiment very early into its existence. Coilhouse boasts excellent articles, fantastic photography, and stunning design and layout. They have taken the idea of an alternative arts and fashion magazine and raised it up above the bad stereotypes of the genre, through they may not be large, for pure quality I would rank Coilhouse as equal among several other more mainstream boutique magazines.

Secondly, the Coilhouse blog regularly posts extremely interesting and engaging articles about the arts and culture. Though they do have a somewhat alternative flavor to them on the surface, their value indeed runs deeper than that. Especially interesting is the focus paid to Eastern European artists and film, I have definitely been introduced to compelling and numerous bits of art, style, and design that I may have otherwise missed if it were not for the Coilhouse blog.

Photo Business News Forum

Whether you like John Harrington’s blunt style or not is irrelevant. This is one of the single most informative blogs about the business of photography that I have ever come across. Everyone, regardless of experience, age, or skill can find resources in this blog that will prove useful. And, on occasion, some of the rants can set off a rather entertaining string of arguments in the comments.

Its OK to Suck

Hammer-1

Hammer-2

Hammer-3

Aside from photography I also do a fair bit of freelance writing. Auxiliary Magazine recently afforded me the opportunity to interview Doc Hammer from Adult Swim’s The Venture Brothers for their october issue (and to collaborate with my good friend, NYC based artist Ron Douglas, who went above and beyond to get an 11th hour photo session in with Hammer). In addition to writing one of the most intelligent and funniest animated shows on television, Hammer is also a musician and accomplished oil painter with an interesting view on how sucking motivates him to excel in his chosen fields.

Too many people fall in love with their own work to the degree that they become overconfident and sloppy. This overconfidence can sometimes lead to stagnation in their evolution as a creative. When you feel there is no need to improve and love every single piece you create as if it were your magnum opus, quality begins to suffer and motivation will disappear. For some people its the adversity of constantly trying to improve that allows them to thrive. I wanted to share a passage from the interview that I feel sums this idea up perfectly, it relates specifically to oil painting, but as Hammer goes on to say later in the article, it can be applied to any endeavor.

…Painting is showing up and dealing with sucking, that’s the big tip, that’s what I want people to walk out knowing.

A lot of artists want people to think that they are magicians, that it’s easy and no one else an do it and that they just shit this stuff out, and it’s untrue. People with skill and passion can do it, that’s the talent. The thing that you are born with isn’t the ability to render figure, you can always learn that. What you are born with is the drive to fucking do it, and to want to do it in the face of constant failure. Painting is entirely failure, and if your painting wasn’t failure then your not moving forward and you are not correcting your own mistakes. What’s the point of making another one if you’re so fucking good that you have painted your masterpiece already. Every painting that a good painter does, they hate it, it sucks, and that’s what gets them going to do the next one so they can learn. That’s a hard thing to do, to have your occupation, hobby, life, be a place where you suck and you know you suck. People will get on me and tell me that I need to relax and take it easy, that I’m not really that bad. What they are missing is the arrogance of what I am saying, the fact that I know I suck proves that I know I am better than this, which is a very arrogant thing to do, so people should not be concerned with my self esteem. When I say I suck, it actually means that this is not a representation of my ability, I know that inside me is better. Dealing with my sucking and proudly saying this sucks is how I get up and do it again. I can’t let that thing get out there, I have to apologize for it with my next piece.

– Doc Hammer

To read read more about Doc Hammer’s thoughts on style, menswear, music, painting, and his show The Venture Brothers; or to view the rest of  October issue of Auxiliary Magazine, go HERE

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