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chris crisman animal portraits

We’re honored to announce that one of our animal portraits was selected and featured in the Communication Arts Photo Annual! One of 154 winners, whittled down from over 5,000 entries we are proud to included in the best of the best, those shooting at the top of their game.

chris crisman communication arts photo annual 2014 pengiun porta

You may remember back in 2013 we photographed a handful of animal portraits as part of our Unforgettable San Antonio tourism campaign with the fine folks from Proof Advertising – well that was our shot that made the cut this year! Thanks again to everyone at SeaWorld San Antonio as well as our amazing team to help bring it all together.

Questions? Comments? let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

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Four years in, it’s hard not to repeat the same adages about what being a studio manager entails; long hours, tons of work, odd hours, unique experiences, and tons of miles on the road. All of these are truths about this job, but in a way, they only scratch the surface of what it all entails.

Every year that passes by allows me to pause and think about where I was exactly a year ago writing this blog post. In this particular instance, I think I was on a plane, in transit to the next shoot; exactly where I am now. This moment also proves me with the transcendental pause to really reflect on what the past 365 days have afforded me in terms of what this job means and what I do.

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In a way, it’s like chasing a moving target. As soon as your skill set has you adequately equipped to handle any of the challenges on your plate, a curve-ball is thrown and you feel like you’re effectively back to square one. Granted this feeling only lasts for about 10 seconds (that’s all it is allowed to last for) but it still as the impact of pushing one out of their shell and forcing yourself to grow and evolve.

What I’ve really learned this year is about tearing down walls – it’s about taking care of whatever needs to get done regardless of wherever we are or whatever we’re doing. That may mean a lot more moments when I’m rushing off set to answer a phone call or reply to an email, but let’s be honest here, it’s the year 2014, what can’t be done when you’re shooting in the middle of goddamn nowhere or cruising down the highway at 85 mph in the vast expanse of nothing in southern Idaho.

In that same vein, I’ve learned that you can tear down the division between personal time and work in such a way that each facet is equally important and equally portioned in the much grander scheme of life – the result? A helluva lot less stress and the ability to afford more time to everything that’s not qualified as “studio managing” while still effectively steering the ship.

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I find humor in the fact that my easiest days are spent building out and breaking down a few octabanks, there’s a certain zen-like calm that comes over me while I’m immersed in our gear. This feeling may never change; the best days are still those when we’re making pictures, however they may come.

Here’s to all of those days that have come to pass and every single day in the future. I have no doubt there are countless more ahead.

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crisman_TNC_cuba_012There’s no doubt about it, winter in Philadelphia isn’t fun. This particular winter brought more freezing temperatures and more snow than we’ve seen in recent history – anyone in the northeastern United States can related as to how nasty the first few months of this year have been. Naturally, when our editors at The Nature Conservancy called with a cover shoot assignment in the Florida Keys, it was hard not to start packing our bags before we hung up the phone.

Wintry weather circumstances aside, Chris and I hopped a flight down to the Florida keys to meet and spend a few days photographing the TNC Caribbean Program Director Phil Kramer for this months cover of Nature Conservancy Magazine. How did the shoot come together? Keep reading to find out the whole story…

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chris crisman field and stream heroes archive

It’s been a wild few weeks. We’ve been on the road all over this great nation, landing in far removed places and meeting people we otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to know. That’s right, it’s that time of year again – we’re up in the air and on the road crossing the country to shoot the 2014 Field & Stream Heroes of Conservation.

Almost seven years in the running, it’s hard not to reflect on previous adventures, looking back on the amazing images and people we’ve met in the process.

chris crisman field and stream heroes archive

chris crisman field and stream heroes archiveSince 2007, we have had the honor of being involved in the project, hitting the road and making photos with people who have devoted themselves to making the world a better place.

chris crisman field and stream heroes archive

chris crisman field and stream heroes archiveWe’ll be sharing this years images in the near future, but for now it’s worth taking a look back in the archives our history with this great project. Thank you again to our editors and friends at Field & Stream for the opportunity!

chris crisman field and stream heroes archive

Questions? Comments? let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

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We work like crazy. As a studio manager/producer/assistant/blogger life very rarely slows down to the point where I can step back and reflect on it. When it does though, I find myself mulling over aspects of this job that might seem so inconsequential, but for me hold deeper meanings. I’ve decided to start this monthly series on the blog to take a minute and stop, reflect, and write about some of the aspects of being a studio manager that really impact me. These are my studio manager meditations.

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Way back in 2010, one of the first things I did as an assistant and studio manger working for Chris was promptly wreck my Achilles Tendon. Blame it on vanity, or maybe just purely on stupidity, and take my advice when I say to never assist in Sperry Top-Siders (they don’t make great shoes for hauling photo gear).  Months of physical therapy later, I was stuck per doctors orders, with sneakers for the rest of my photo assisting days. Since the wound was still tender, I rounded out the year of 2010 in a pair of very sporty and very lame running shoes.

2011 was a new year and I knew that it required a new beginning in the footwear department. The Crisman team had arranged for an awesome expedition down to Florida to shoot a self-funded and self-produced lifestyle project, and I felt this was the prime opportunity to break out a new set of sneakers – not just any trainers, these would be my assisting shoes. These would be the sneakers to take me to Florida and well beyond.

Enter the Saucony Bullet. Certainly an athletic shoe, but with a touch of modesty. Supportive yet stylist – these were my compromise between a sensible shoe that would protect my feet and a style conscious decision. Damaged Achilles or no, as an assistant you spend a lot of time on your feet – you might as well be comfortable.

Starting in 2011 and lasting well beyond their expected or reasonable lifetime, these shoes grew to be a part of my assistant kit. The first item packed into my travel bag, as time went on and they began to wear and tear, my connection with my sneakers grew ever fonder. Beyond any reasonable lifespan, I pressed onward, refusing to let these shoes go.

In my tenure on the Crisman crew, these shoes coincided with a clear shift in our process – for lack of a better explanation, we hit the road. From 2011 onward, my Saucony’s and I have logged hundreds of thousands of miles, spanning cities, states, and countries. We’ve hit the north, south, east, west – deserts, tropics, great plains, and everywhere in between. It’s hard not to grow attached to the well worn companion that you trust to get you from point A to B.

Two years is a long tenure for a shoe and by  the fall of 2013 I knew it was time. The tread was bare, the fabric was soiled, the seams were splitting – sadly it was time to retire my trusty pair of assistant shoes. At that point, there was only one solid option in my mind for a replacement; same shoe, new color.

Six months out on my replacement pair, I can’t help but looks towards the future. Where will these new soles take me? What adventures lie ahead for myself and my trustworthy trainers? Only time will tell.

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chris crisman christina bothwell american craft

Our shoot with artist Christina Bothwell occurred under some pretty unique circumstances. We had worked for weeks trying to line up the best day for a shoot, and ultimately it fell on a Friday in March where Chris and I had just redeye’d back to the East coast and hopped straight into our truck to head out to spend the day with Christina making photos.

Normally this could be a recipe for disaster, but in the case of our day, things just happened to work out. Call it magic, call it whatever you want – keep reading for our (slightly jet lagged) account of the day…

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Earlier this year we shared a handful of photos and stories from our experience shooting in the remote and beautiful Escalante region of Utah for The Nature Conservancy. In addition to the still photos, we captured a motion and interviewed key players in the conservation effort going on in the region. We were tasked with the unique job of with creating a video that not only highlighted the voices of the people in the region, but also starred the Escalante River and the ecosystem around it as a main character – one who the cast of characters we encountered are all trying to strengthen and preserve.

With Chris as director, the talented filmmaker Shea Roggio as our camera operator and yours truly running field audio, we were ready for anything and willing to capture whatever the Escalante had for us – and as usual we have the behind the scenes to prove it. Keep reading for more from our adventure…

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