WNY Attorney James Harrington

Defense attorney James Harrington for Super Lawyers Magazine. This WNY based lawyer has, for the past few years commuted between his home office in Buffalo, NY to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where he has been involved with one of the most notable cases in recent American memory – the defense of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the man once known as “The 20th Hijacker”

Harrington is sometimes reviled by critics for his role in the case, but just as often celebrated for his dedication to the American legal system and the ideal that all accused, regardless of of how heinous that alleged act, deserve competent representation and a fair trial in court. I think his philosophy can be best summed up in a quote he gave to the magazine I shot tis assignment for: “If the law doesn’t work for the worst of us, it doesn’t work for the best of us.”


Robert Caplin of The Photo Brigade and I sat down a couple weeks back at Adorama’s event space in NYC to talk at length about my work with rescue dogs, amazing rust belt entrepreneurs like Wrafterbuilt and Lake Effect Ice Cream, how ASMP helps photographers run smart and sustainable businesses, and how Project Prescription can help you build amazing relationships with clients.

Check it out in the video above!


I’m very excited to have been a recent guest on This Week in Photo with Frederick Van Johnson!

We talk about my experiences developing Project Prescription for photographers and how it can benefit creatives who have troubles with workflow and dealing with clients. We also touch on my work with ASMP, and the importance of not just being a great artist, but also a great business person in order to be successful in today’s photography environment.


This is the story of how one conversation, a healthy dose of dissatisfaction, and a few glasses of wine helped me decide to make a major change in my photography, how I thought about where I live, and the kind of stories that I was really interested in telling.

At the beginning of the summer I found myself afflicted with a worrisome and specific case of writers block –  I would shoot a project, but when I sat down to write about it the only things I could think of were “Here is a picture I took and I really like it” or “I shot this assignment recently for a client, the art director was super nice and brought sandwiches” basically the kind of disposable posts you have read on every photography blog, ever, in the history of everything (Okay, except for some of the really good ones like those written by John Keatley, Rodney Smith or Chris Buck – I’ll gladly read those any day), and I had gotten sick of it. I stared at blank screens for hours feeling like my brains were slowly leaking out of my eyes and that my writing skills were failing me (thankfully this mental state was contained only to my writing and did not affect my ability to take kick-ass pictures). It’s not that I didn’t like the aesthetics of the work I was producing, I just didn’t feel like these were the kind of stories that I was really having much fun telling. Continue reading “NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT”



If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you might have noticed me dropping teasers and talking a lot about some of the projects that have consumed most of my summer. Well, the truth is I’m finally wrapping some of these stories up and some significant changes to this blog and my work are coming soon. I’m going to take a bit of a break from this blog during september as I gear up to unveil this change of direction, and I plan to spend this time writing, retouching, and frantically editing so that when October rolls around I can share some cool new stuff with you. I’ll still be active on social media and posting iPhone portraits on 4AM Knows All My Secrets – so keep in touch with me through those channels as I get things ready behind the scenes here.

See you soon!


Self portrait of Buffalo ny professional editorial and commercial photographer Luke Copping

This is the third in a new series of monthly self-portraits that I have been working on since the New Year (inspired primarily by my girlfriend’s declaration before the holidays about my natural tendency to avoid being in pictures outside of the realm of iPhones and candid pictures at bars). I am finally starting to get a little more comfortable with the idea of being in front of the camera. Even in my day-to-day life I have noticed that I have stopped going out of my way to avoid being in pictures.

I also have an exciting announcement to make – and it is appropriate to mention it because this is likely one of the last pictures I will take in my current studio. In fact, the space was in the early stages of being packed up and stripped bare while this was taken. After months of searching, Scott Gable and I have finally found an ideal property for an expanded studio space in Buffalo’s downtown Theatre District. We are leaving the old Larkin District behind and moving to the 700 Block of Main Street. We are aiming to have the new space open and fully functional by the beginning of April. The next few weeks will be hectic as we complete renovations, pack and transport gear and fixtures from the old studio, and stay on top of  our assignments and projects, but we are excited for this change and to start working in our amazing new space – and I cannot wait to start sharing pictures as we get the studio finished. This is a really exciting time for us. Keep an eye out for more updates about the studio coming soon.


While I was away on vacation I got an email from my old pal and fellow photographer Douglas Sonders to contribute to a post he was writing for Fstoppers about the work ethic and sacrifices that are needed in many people’s journeys to become successful photographers. Naturally, I was supposed to be on a work-free holiday for a few days without my laptop, so I ended up writing a lengthy contribution to Douglas’ post on my iPhone while sitting in a hotel lobby (the irony is not lost on me). It is a great post and I think a lot of creatives could benefit from reading what Douglas, myself, and the other contributors wrote.

“It is a given trade off that we need to make sacrifices to achieve success in any field that we want to truly excel at. But I firmly believe that our mindset and how we approach those sacrifices has a lot to do with how we perceive our situations. My work is part of my life, I integrate it into so much of what I do that often it does not feel like work, but rather something I am excited to do. For a long time I found it hard to maintain friendships and relationships outside of the photo industry because very often people did not understand the requirements and dedication needed to run a successful freelance business. But over time I did learn that my true friends wanted nothing but success for me, and they don’t resent the fact that it may be weeks or months between times we hang out because of my travel and work schedule, but when when we do meet up they are excited for me, and it is often like no time has passed – and I am quite content with that”

Read more at Fstoppers


Welcome to 2013… let’s get started.

I just returned from a brief holiday trip to NYC where I spent a week with my girlfriend and family enjoying the city, eating, and listening to them grumble as I dragged them to art galleries and museums (you should all go see MoMA’s exhibits on both the Quay Brothers and Tokyo 1955-1970). Despite ending the trip with a six-hour flight delay and a bad flu that I am still fighting off, I am mentally recharged and revived and ready to kick some butt heading into the new year.

I spent a lot of time over the holidays thinking about this blog and where I want to go with it in 2013. I know that over the last few months of 2012 my posting schedule had become a little erratic due to the heavy travel and shooting schedule that I was working with (I’m not complaining – it was great to be so busy and work on so many cool projects as the year wrapped up) but it used to be that I was able to post 2-3 times a week, including some of the regular features like Personal Record and Required Reading that readers really seemed to enjoy. I fell into a bit of blog quicksand and with each post that I felt I missed or posted late, it just got worse and worse –  but there is no time like the new year for a fresh start! After reassessing the direction I want to take this blog in and how I want it to serve my readers, I have decided that I would rather take the route of quality over quantity. In the coming months I will be posting on a more stable schedule of at least once a week (with the occasional extra post as warrented), and regular features will be posted on a monthly schedule that will allow for denser and better curated posts. You can look forward to me sharing new work a few times a month, a new and more expansive monthly link roundup, the regular appearance of a new self-portrait project, news, updates about marketing, behind the scenes and mobile images, and more. You can also look for me to be more active on twitter and more responsive to questions asked on the blog and via email

I also have a big announcement that I want to share with all of you.

The American Society of Media Photographers reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked me to become a regular contributor to their daily Strictly Business Blog, so a lot of my business and industry-based writing will be moving over there. In fact, my first post launched early this morning. I will be writing new content for them every few weeks going forward. I am really thrilled to be a part of this blog which features writers and photographers who have been mentors to me the last few years as I restarted my career in photography.


A painting by Nick Butlak

This weekend my friend Nicholas Butlak presented my with an amazing gift for my 31st birthday – a large oil painting he entitled Photographic Overdose. For as long as Nick and I have been friends / collaborators I have wanted one of his amazing paintings, and over the last few months he has been working on this piece as a surprise for me.

I love it. Thanks Nick!



Covers of Blink Magazine and positive negative magazine

Magazines made me fall in love with photography in the first place – I remember hanging out in my school library to read through racks of magazines both old and new and spending nights every month sitting among piles of magazines flipping through them. As I got older the habit stayed, but in new forms, I might spend a night rifling through some of my favorite photo books, or checking out new magazines on a trip to the book store. These days I get a lot of my fix online, a lot of print magazines have moved into electronic publishing, services like Issuu and Magcloud have made it more practical for niche and independent magazines to distribute their publications, and some have even moved directly into a browser based magazine/digest format – My iPad has become my favorite way to browse new work. Here are nine of my favorite magazines full of inspiring images that are available digitally.

Blink Magazine

Blink is a visually stunning non-profit Korean publication created by Kim Aram, the former art director for PHOTO+. Every issue features an eclectic collection of personal work by photographers all over the world; edited, curated, designed, and promoted solely by Kim, who used a large chunk of personal savings to start the project. Blink is simply one of the most interesting and best designed photography magazines on the market today, and a constant  source of first-rate visual stimulation.

You can get their most recent iPad edition here or follow their great Tumblr feed.


+/- is an annual student publication produced by the senior photography and design majors at the Rochester Institute of Technology (my Alma Mater). Constantly metamorphosing with each years student staff, this small publication has an insight and visual focus that evolves from issue to issue based around the changing collective aesthetics of the student artists behind it.

You can help fund this student production now by visiting +/- on Kickstarter, which will net you the newest electronic edition or more.

VII and the 37th Frame


This in-house magazine of the VII Photo Agency, renowned for the conflict and news images produced by its member photographers – features illuminating, starkly human and sometimes uncomfortably confrontational imagery covering myriad topics from both its full members and those in its mentorship program. An ever-changing stream of the some of the finest documentary photography in the world.

The 37th Frame

An ad free and reader supported online digest featuring an every growing and beautifully curated showcase of emerging photojournalistic talents. The 37th Frame points readers to the some of the best photojournalism from across the web.

The unexposed and See Saw

The Unexposed

Created by Natasha Dominguez to showcase the talents of other emerging photographers like herself, The Unexposed is a series of thematically distinct editions that are distributed online through Issuu. If you are into the subdued and sometimes melancholy style of imagery that the publication leans towards you can be sure to find The Unexposed becoming a fast favorite like I did.

See Saw

Often accompanied by in-depth text pieces and interviews that shed light on the processes and motivations of the artists featured – See Saw Magazine’s articles expose photographers with unique and real experiences to a world of new viewers. The mix of artists presented encompasses both known and newer talents.

Positive magazine and aperture magazine


Focusing not just on photography, Posi+tive is a publication that combines art, culture, fashion, photography, reportage, and architecture into a bird’s eye look at what is happening in the worlds from an artistic, political, and cultural point of view. While its focus may not strictly be on the photographic, the imagery presented in the each issue is incredible.

They have a really useful archive of their back issues available for those that want to catch up.


One of the big names in photography publications, Aperture has been around and well-regarded for a long time, You might even already be reading it, but I wanted to mention them because of their awesome iPad edition available through Zinio. Having aperture with you wherever you go is a real treat, and worth the subscription fee.

You can also follow Aperture’s blog

Deep Sleep

A thematic publication from the U.K. that strives to expose incredible photography within each issue’s given theme, without concern for market trends or commercial influence. Produced quarterly, the 7 issues released so far have grown in scope and the editorial sense becomes sharper and sharper with each edition.

Deep sleep cover

Do you have any of your own favorites to share?

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.


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.