Revolved Forms
A study of repetitive forms and color from Crtomir Just’s Project Revolved Forms

Required Reading is a monthly roundup of things that catch my attention: news, links, videos, blogs, and cool projects by other creatives that I want to share with you – fun, inspiring, and a little addictive. 

Urbio is one of the coolest organizational systems I have ever seen – completely modular and usable in so many ways. I adore the idea of being able to mix plants in with a desk or kitchen system in such a cool way.

Sivu spent three hours in an MRI machine to make this surreal video for Better Man Than He

Ten excellent e-mail tips from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, I truly need to adopt numbers one and seven.

With so much rampant abuse out there I am so grateful for this refined guide to social media etiquette.

Just so you know – how to coil your cables. 

This gorgeous black & white video for Woodkid’s I Love You rivals his earlier video for Iron, which I raved about in a previous edition of required reading.

An interview with artist and olympian Casey Legler, on her work as a male model.

Keeping your sense of authenticity can be hard as you start working for bigger clients with stricter brand guidelines, here is how photographer Alexa Miller keeps it a little bit more real. 

In 1961 Playboy Magazine put America’s greatet designers together in one room. 

The strange differences between how actors wore makeup in silent films and talkies.

A interesting writing exercise with the goal of helping you sell anything.

Crtomir Just explores themes of repetitive shape and color in his project Revolved Forms.

A new episode of the Reserve Channel photography series Capture. Host Mark Seliger talks about photography with Ben Lowey & Baryshnikov – I love this show.

Have you seen the trailer for the commercial fishing documentary Leviathan yet? Just based on the visuals and sound in the trailer I cannot wait to see it.

Hessian is a brand in search of a product, and it is up for grabs. Wired recently featured a post on this strange but interesting brand for sale.

Silencio is a David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti homage band that is strangely addictive to listen to.

I have two old 50 mm lenses sitting on my desk right now, and I think I just found something fun to do with them – time to break out my tools and have some fun freelensing. 

A short documentary on the home of photographer Jay Maisel 

Koken is an interesting new online portfolio solutions for photographers that just launched.

Weirdly effective advertising from Herbaria directed by Andreas Roth – Selling a calming tea by tapping into primal nightmares (If you don’t like clowns, be warned)

Required Reading 5.18.2012

Required Reading is a weekly listing of all the bits of visual inspiration, cool videos, news, hip links, and miscellaneous information that rattles my head during the week. The stuff that’s worth bookmarking and gets my brain-juices flowing.

Above: Yours truly, on set a few weeks back, trying to look serious with poor results. 

• This is what happens to innocent bystanders when you trust a photographer with an industrial strength wind canon.

• I really enjoyed Kathryn Shulz’s missive on being a night owl writer.  I think all creatives have had those desperate and explosive moments of creativity at 4:00 am, I know I have.

I re-read this a few times this week when things got hard, when I was trying to get some deadlines finished in spite of the fact that I should have been in bed resting and trying to recover from the nasty stomach virus I came down with this week ( Danielle LaPorte’s blog has become the first stop on my reading list ever since I picked up her book The Fire Starter Sessions)

• Is scientific curiosity part of our nature that leads to understanding and creativity? Is originality different in science vs art?

• What do  you do when you start to hate your own blog?

• And people complain about Photoshop now? dig into these before and afters from Pin-up paintings of the 1950’s.

• If you are going to play it safe it is time to quit.

• A very cool collection of vintage portraits of young royals in India over 50 years. 


Required Reading 4.6.2012

Required Reading is a weekly listing of all the bits of visual inspiration, cool videos, news, hip links, and miscellaneous information that rattles my head during the week. The stuff that’s worth bookmarking and gets my brain-juices flowing.

A look at a fascinating new board game that uses conductive jelly to make music, I really like this combination audio and visual elements coming together to create a tactile DIY instrument. | Noisy Jelly

My newest photography blog addiction is a collection of interviews and photo stories of people who the author has met around his home in Brooklyn, NY. | Backyard Bill

Thoughts on adapting to change, dealing with clients, falling too in love with your own ideas, and over-romanticizing your own creativity, and being a professional. | Counterpoint: What the Fuck Makes You Too Good For Advertising

Douglas Sonders has been dropping some welcome philosophical thoughts about photography the past few weeks, like this one about building meaningful relationships with your clients, taking chances on them, and how loyalty will pay you back in the end. | Loyalty – One Of the Biggest Keys to Career Longevity

Masters of Photoshop show you how its (not) done | Masters of Photoshop

Try some of these exercises to get you brain revved up next time you hit a road block or need to sharpen up your mind. | Five Classic Creative Challenges

Another great article on freelancers developing their sense of pricing and understanding how self-worth plays an important role in it. | A List Apart

There is a lot to be said about tenacity. | The Dirty Little Secret of Overnight Success

The big difference between using tools and being an idea-maker. | Using Your Creativity to Its Full Potential

Pretty minimalist t-shirts | Swiss Miss

Required Reading 7.29.2011 -The Heat Can't Slow me Down

Elvis Glasses Portrait



Elvis Glasses Portrait

Required Reading is a weekly listing of all the bits of visual inspiration, cool videos, news, hip links, and miscellaneous information that rattles my head during the week. The stuff that’s worth bookmarking and gets my brain-juices flowing.

This ridiculous heat and humidity is not going to slow me down at all, I’ve been out of the office a lot this week, doing what I love. Seems like as soon as I leave one set this week I am headed directly for another. Next week looks to be just as busy, but I am hoping to be able to start working on a new personal project over the weekend. That personal project mainly involves me wearing Elvis Glasses while I make a series of new images

• I have been spending a lot of time on Behance this week, there are a lot of projects that have really caught my eye as of late. The first is War by Sebastien Vincent.

• My jealousy is rearing up, this is one hell of an amazing one of a kind gift to receive.

• Though it originally made the rounds a few weeks ago, I really do love John Keatley’s on assignment video from Liberia.

• An amazing collection of interesting info-graphics for pretty much everything

• Finally, a perfect site for artists who share my sentiment that the pretentious artist’s statement is one of the most annoying and pointless notions out there. Now you can generate your very own!

• An amazing series of fluid images from Alberto Seveso.

• A punk rock flyer archive 1982-1984

• Being that loose cables are the bane of my desk, I have a feeling I will be investing heavily in these in the future.

• Another project from Behance, that I just love – BodyBag, by Pierre Manning.

• I wanted to wrap this post up with two music videos that I really can’t stop watching. The first is the video for PIeces of The People We Love by The Rapture. Directed by Ben Dickinson. The second is the incredible video for Saul Williams Dance, directed by Cédric Blaisbois.





Required Reading 7.15.2011 – Post Party

Photo: Aaron Ingrao

Required Reading is a weekly listing of all the bits of visual inspiration, cool videos, news, hip links, and miscellaneous information that rattles my head during the week. The stuff that’s worth bookmarking and gets my brain-juices flowing.

It has been a big and exciting week because me and my friends Scott Gable and Aaron Ingrao opened the doors of our new studio space, Victory Studios, last night with a gala party (more pictures coming next week in a full blog post) As we all clean up and recover from the party last night we are looking forward to creating some amazing new work in the new space in the coming weeks.

• I am a big fan of the music video as a format, here are some of the best music videos you have probably never seen, I particularly like the one for Liars “Scissors” – Via Flavorwire

• An unbelievable behind the scenes video of combining long exposure photography and the human body to create some otherworldly and haunting images.

• Some fantastic tips from the 99% on beating procrastination. 

• An essential tip, how to lay a seamless perfectly flat. 

• The DKNY Fall 2011 images shot by Inez & Vinoodhe is amazing.

• I love the work of Tom Gauld a lot lately. So simple, wonderful, and perfect.

• Visually, Tarsem Signh is one of my favorite directors (The Fall is absolutely gorgeous) I cannot wait to see Immortals when it is released.

• Cannot get enough of the Flickr stream of Brooke Shaden, such beautiful and inspiring images.

• I really want to get a few of these wall sconces for the new studio.

10 apps for more efficient tweeting opened my eyes up to some great apps to make my life a little easier.

• This guy has a seriously sick camera collection. 

Required Reading 7.8.2011 – Extra Pretty

Washing paintbrushes at victory studios

Washing paintbrushes at victory studios

Required Reading is a weekly listing of all the bits of visual inspiration, cool videos, news, hip links, and miscellaneous information that rattles my head during the week. The stuff that’s worth bookmarking and gets my brain-juices flowing.

Back from both the holiday weekend and several days of feeling under the weather, but I did manage to get up to some illness related adventures and catch up on quite a bit of work while I was convalescing. We are about a week from opening the new studio and could not be more excited, we can finally say goodbye to the ever-present paintbrush (especially the one above… it’s cursed I tell you) that seemed to magically appear in my hand every time I reached for my camera.

And, as you may have noticed, I have been quite busy revamping and updating the blog over to a new look, one that I feel presents my visual content a little better than the old layout. This is just stage one of a few more planned updates I have slated for the next few months.

• An ever-growing photography tumblr centered around the idea of vintage photography of men – My Daguerreotype Boyfriend

• Warren Ellis’ espousing the importance of an analog notebook,  I keep uncovering more and more creatives I respect who share this outlook on the value of a simple pen and paper.

• Great piece for young and upcoming photographers over at Chase Jarvis’ blog, Yes is for wimps, get used to hearing no, is the perfect rundown on how “no” may end up being your very best friend in this crazy business.

Fashion Gone Rogue is featuring an editorial from Amanda Pratt for Karen #12 that I am just madly in love with.

Blk - Black bottled water

• I have a new obsession with this water I found in the natural foods section of the store while I was sick and looking for vitamins to chase the germs away. I can only describe Blk as the gothest water ever made, the bottle itself is clear… clear and most likely filled with the opaque and refreshing essence of darkness….

Agenda, my new calendar app of choice

• Oh, how I love this new video by the Horrors for Still Life, directed by Oliver Murray

• As an old analog Holga enthusiast, I am really fascinated by the possibility of a digital Holga-D, especially as an innovative open source camera platform.

• On the hunt for some new mixes and work music? I strongly suggest that you stop by the Illuminated Mixtapes for hours of sonic pleasure.

• Been perusing a lot lately on the recommendation of my assistant, Jason (above). Been using it as sort of a quick hit visual research and inspiration clearing house, I log on for five minutes here and there just to click around and see what I come across.

• An important and insightful entry from the inimitable Nubby Twiglet about the importance of starting your journey now and doing what you know you are meant to do.

• Australian fashion label Ksubi presents this short film by Daniel Askill, apparently to reintroduce their colored denim line… and make me re-watch it ten times in a row, this is definitely the one video piece I have not been able to stop watching all week

Required Reading

• Dennis Hoper, the actor and director passed away a few days ago, we lost a great talent from the arena of film, what several people neglect is that we also lot a great talent from the world of photography and painting as well.

Imagination – The sensation thats sweeping the nation

• Chase Jarvis remixes another Seth Godin post, this time about the importance of photography to photography.

• Stressed out by your naysayers? Learn to manage your critics with the 99%

• Are social media logos becoming the new small print? The Ad Jerk on the broadcast misuse of social media badges

Required Reading

• Showing what can be done with a single camera, and great visual storytelling, The Julien Henry directed video for Vitalic’s Second Lives will truly impress if you can stop laughing long enough to pay attention. A second, but definitely NSFW edit of the video is available here.

• Stop motion photography videos have started to become a little dry and repetitive as of late. Thats why I am glad to see something that pushes the boundaries of creativity of that genre a little bit more. Olympus’ sequel to the their original PEN story really does push those ideas into something really cool and impressive.

• SLC photographer Jake Garn demonstrates some of the powerful abilities of using light room and photoshop together with his post production demos that make you think outside the box.

• Though he is responsible for most of my internet time wasting, I still think Michael Swaim from Those Aren’t Muskets is a true genius of web comedy and geek humor.

• For those working in the editorial field, Rob Haggart of at has a great breakdown on real world estimates and contracts for the editorial market.

Required Reading

• A follow up to last weeks article on regarding the proper presentation of a treatment and pre-production book.

• Another one from interviewing head Keith Gentile

• Weekend warriors are one thing, but are you a week long warrior, blazing away on a laptop right through the weekend? maybe you’re not alone according to freelance switch

• Smiths legend Johnny Marr’s guitar collection is a thing of beauty to behold

• Via – astounding and surreal constructions by Minimaforms,  and the philosophy of letting your ideas find their form

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

Required Reading: Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets: Chase Jarvis – The Portrait Sessions

A special update today, something I am quite excited about. My pals at Trade Secrets has decided to release a second volume of their wonderfully educational card sets featuring beautiful images along with lighting info and tips. I was lucky enough to be featured in the first volume alongside a great pool of photographic talent and the results were fantastic, the set was beautiful and extremely informative to anyone trying to better their lighting. Today, Trade Secrets and Chase Jarvis announced the release of the second series of cards, featuring twenty two images and lighting diagrams pulled from Chase’s collection of portraits; perfect for creative inspiration. Hopefully this is just the beginning of more pro signature lines for Trade Secrets. And don’t forget to check out volume one if you haven’t already


Heather Morton: Art Buyer

A Canadian art buyer based in Toronto, Heather posts invaluable information that is useful to photographers on either side of the border. Most important, is that her musings and thoughts come from the art buyers perspective, giving it a different spin than most industry bloggers. Currently the most interesting feature of the site is a documentation of one year in the life of two photographers: Grant Harder and Jamie Hogge

Required Reading: Week Four

Up extremely early today, in fact, I just got back in from an early morning assignment. I’ll be forgoing coffee for the time being so that I may possibly sleep for a few hours before I head back out for a day full of meetings. In the meantime, heres a weekly round up of reading material to get your morning going.

Burns Auto Parts

Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua is a photographic consultant and marketing specialist. Aside from the numerous services offered on her site including: consulting, marketing services, and a number of manuals of various topics relating to creative business, she also maintains an extremely interesting and helpful blog. Recent articles include her thoughts on protecting your concept treatments with NDAs, and the correlations between marketing and dating and their similar strategies. This blog should be considered essential reading for anyone interested in the current movements in photographic marketing.

Feature Shoot

An interesting blog featuring interviews and in-depth looks at the work of both up-and-coming photographers and well as established professionals whose work has taken a new or interesting turn. The work presented is of a high caliber and cover s multitude of genres and styles. Its always exciting to discover a new and talented photographer like François Coquerel or to see a known favorite like Angus Rowe MacPherson get some exposure.

The 99%

Tips and articles on productivity and creative business from the common sense to the experimental. The 99% is another one of the great sites brought to you by the Behance network. While not always practical, many of the entries are thought provoking and innovative. An recent post about the benefits of working on short deadlines offers just a taste of the true benefits if reading the 99%. Though it may not always be applicable to  your specific venture, it is always an intriguing read.

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.

Required Reading

Part of my morning ritual, aside from groggily stumbling over every inanimate object in my home and the consumption of what may be medically dangerous quantities of caffeine, involves reading a variety of professional blogs and other sites. Some of these are photography related, some… less so; I also try to keep up with whats going on in other industries, art, and the occasional smart humor site for those early morning chuckles. These pages serve variety of purposes, they help me keep abreast of the industry, allow me to see beautiful and inspiring work, and provide the occasional tidbit of overlooked common sense that I need so early in the morning. They also  remind me to occasionally think about things other than the actual taking pictures part of my job like marketing, design, food, sleep… etc

Earlier this week I received an email from an inquisitive art student, who, in addition to requiring a small bit of technical advice , was very interested in trying to find other resources to help them learn about being a photographer and a professional creative. Rather than blasting him with the entire list of links all at once I forwarded him a best of digest of what sites I hit up in the Early AM. and I figured I would do the same here. Over the next few weeks i’ll be dropping some link love on the sites that I like to visit and new ones that I discover. I’m positive that many will be familiar with some of these links, I cannot hope to provide 100% pure revelation all the time (I would totally put that on my business card if I could) but hopefully you might find one link on this list that helps you out or makes your morning just a little bit better.

Rob Haggart’s site is one of my first stops everyday. Engrossing insights on business, marketing, and photography from an editor’s point of view is the daily norm for this site. Rob goes out of his way to generate content that is actually of great use to his readers and often gets them involved in asking questions of the other industry professionals that he occasionally interacts with through his blog. The fact that there is an active community of readers asking thoughtful followup questions is also a bonus. Don’t overlook the snippets of other blogs the Rob Re-publishes on the sites sidebar, there are often little nuggets of photo zen to get you about how you approach photography.

The End Starts Here

For years, since a professor first introduced me to his work when I was in college, Rodney Smith has been one of my favorite photographers. Naturally I can not be blamed for reading his blog with a near fanatical fervor. The End Starts Here brings a new spread from Smith’s upcoming book every week. More importantly, it attaches to these beautiful images quirky and thought provoking stories about the images he creates as well as musings on his working process and photography in general.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Most definitely NOT a photography site, McSweeney’s is all about words. Daily bits of well written creative humor, short stories, and columns of all sorts. There is a sort of blissful randomness in the range of material that they publish on the site that has, on more than one occasion, caused strange and alien ideas for new creative endeavors to grow in my brain. Its also one of the few sites I read regularly that can cause me to fall on the floor in near cataplexic laughter.