Required Reading: Archive 200 Best

It’s not often that we have the time to slow down, and really immerse ourselves in a good article, book, or magazine. When the opportunity affords itself, we’re often looking far and wide for a good read that’s worth the time. Whether that can be found on the bookshelves in the studio, the stack of magazines on our desk, or queued up in an RSS feed on the web, the sheer amount  information is plentiful out there – it’s just a matter of filtering out the junk. Lucky for you, we have a new monthly series on the blog that cuts through the crap and shares inspiration and information that we find especially valuable. Consider it required reading.

chris crisman required reading archive 200 best luerzers archive

Sometimes it feels as if there’s a glut of industry publications. Magazines and source-books span the gamut from amateur technical manuals to fine art publications, monthly gear reviews, and industry news – each title providing an equally endless number of contests, exhibitions, and opportunities for photographers to pay to share their work. In the past few years I feel like I’ve noticed the number of these contests and paid entry showcases rising to a level of almost absurdity; contest for portraiture, landscape, food, wedding, landscape photography, nightlife photos – it seems to never end.

With the increase in the number of competitions, the trend-line seems to show a shift in the quality of photography that is winning in all of these newfound competitions. Forgive the negativity, but all of the contests need photos to win and I’m just not sure if the cream is still rising to the top.

chris crisman required reading archive 200 best luerzers archive

That being said, there are a few longstanding contests and features that I find genuinely inspiring – one of the most viewed in the studio being Luerzer’s Archive 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide. The biennial contest and resulting publication provide an incredibly well curated and very global perspective into the best photography worldwide from commercial artists at the top of their game.

Aside from providing a visually interesting and thorough cross-section of the industry, the images within 200 best are always inspiring. No photographer exists in a bubble, cut off from the rest of our industry and in that same vein, no photographer should deny seeking inspiration from what his or her contemporaries are working on. The rising tide of creativity can raise all ships – if we seek to be enlightened by the work of those around us.

chris crisman required reading archive 200 best luerzers archive
If you’re not familiar with Archive, or their 200 Best publication – do yourself a favor and take the time to get inspired. You’ll gain insight into some of the best photos that are out there today.

Required Reading: Edward Hopper

It’s not often that we have the time to slow down, and really immerse ourselves in a good article, book, or magazine. When the opportunity affords itself, we’re often looking far and wide for a good read that’s worth the time. Whether that can be found on the bookshelves in the studio, the stack of magazines on our desk, or queued up in an RSS feed on the web, the sheer amount  information is plentiful out there – it’s just a matter of filtering out the junk. Lucky for you, we have a new monthly series on the blog that cuts through the crap and shares inspiration and information that we find especially valuable. Consider it required reading.

chris crisman required reading edward hopper

I’ll be honest. It’s not every day that I have the time to sit down with an art or photography book and leisurely leaf through the pages, admiring the mastery of the artist. When I do, it’s honestly refreshing to spend time with such great work. Since there isn’t much reading to be done here, I also suppose that the title of this blog post might be changed to “required looking” – but bear with me here, viewing and learning about the work of Edward Hopper should be required for any photographer.

Aside from his most famous painting, Nighthawks (which is also one of the most recognizable paintings in American history), Hopper’s career spanned more than four decades in which he painted dozens of incredibly beautiful, quiet, and evocative pieces of art.

chris crisman required reading edward hopper

As a realist painter, the parallels to photography are prominent. Hopper creates a unique sense of mood and feeling through the interaction of his subjects in their environment; a technique that any environmental portrait photographer must master by guiding their own photo subjects to interact with and feel comfortable in their environment. His use of light and shadow within the environment also helps to create mood in his work, while simultaneously guiding the viewer’s eye throughout the painting; the technique is subtle but present in almost all of his work.

Much in the same way that we create portraits that express and reveal Chris’s perception and distillation of the world around him, Hopper painted his personal vision of American Life. Many of his paintings offer the viewer a look into the moment just before the action, begging the question “what will happen next?” and extending the narrative beyond the canvas.

chris crisman required reading edward hopper

Even a cursory look at Hopper’s work can show a great deal of overlap with modern environmental portraiture – both in our work and the other top photographers shooting out there today. If you’re unfamiliar with his paintings, set aside a few moments and take a look. Trust us, it’s time well spent.

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

Required Reading: The Community Table San Fransisco

It’s not often that we have the time to slow down, and really immerse ourselves in a good article, book, or magazine. When the opportunity affords itself, we’re often looking far and wide for a good read that’s worth the time. Whether that can be found on the bookshelves in the studio, the stack of magazines on our desk, or queued up in an RSS feed on the web, the sheer amount  information is plentiful out there – it’s just a matter of filtering out the junk. Lucky for you, we have a new monthly series on the blog that cuts through the crap and shares inspiration and information that we find especially valuable. Consider it required reading.

chris crisman required reading heather elder community table

Entire books and endless magazines are devoted to the craft, technique, and technology of photography. With enough time and enough patience, almost anyone with a camera can learn the skill-set and train themselves to see light, shape light, and make beautiful photos. Alternatively, there are countless artists in our creative industry that create beautiful work but have no experience or knowledge in the business of photography. It’s not easy. The business is not often discussed; mainstream attention tends to focus on the “how-to” of making photos, not becoming a commercial photographer. Thankfully, the information is out there. Our rep Heather Elder writes an excellent blog that often delves into the business side of photography.

One of the most insightful articles she writes is The Community Table, a series of conversations held directly with the top minds in our industry. Most recently she sat down with a dozen Art Producers in San Fransisco to discuss topics touching on everything from the state of the photography to licensing and usage, copyright, and the bidding process. In all honesty,  you’d be hard-pressed to find a more informative yet personal look into the business of photography today. Do yourself a favor and set aside some time to read through The Community Table San Fransisco:

Community Table SF – The Appetizer Part I

Community Table SF – The Appetizer Part II

Community Table SF – The Main Course Part I

Community Table SF – The Main Course Part II

Community Table SF – Dessert Part I

Community Table SF – Dessert Part II

Community Table SF – The Digestif

 A big thanks to everyone at Heather Elder Represents and Brite Productions for making the Community Table series possible. Any questions? Thoughts? Let us know @crismanphoto or in the comments.