Paula Puffer: “Journeys” – A Show in Houston

"Journeys" - A Photography Show in Houston

Artist/Photographer: Paula Puffer

“Journeys”

Photographs by Paula Puffer

Journeys consists of selected images from several bodies of work photographed by Paula Puffer since her mother’s death in 2010. Works that are a part of the show include:

Watching Alzheimer’s: Focusing on aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and how it’s progression changed her Grandmother’s life.

Will Travel for Sea Turtles: Photographing Kemps Ridley and other endangered turtle species along the Texas Gulf Coast;

Transient Art: Graffiti across the Southern US;

The Spanish Missions of Texas;

Canyons of the American Southwest.

Puffer explores the physical world around me as well as themes of life, aging, and death. Puffer also explores her place in the world as a documentary, commercial, and fine art photographer.

Artist Statement 

Paula Puffer is a writer, photographer, and mixed media artist located in Houston, TX. She spends the majority of her time along the Texas Gulf Coast although she regularly travels through the Midwest, Great Plains, and the Desert Southwest.

Paula is currently working on two projects.

“Secret Selves” focuses on documenting the secret selves that women have created for themselves and the impact those selves can have on their lives. Each image in the series uses upcycled and recycled props where appropriate to create the images portraying each  hidden self. The images will be created in color. 

“Family Farm” is a long term documentary project that focuses on building a sustainable farm in Iowa while deep in the heart of Big Agribusiness. The images will be a mix of monochrome and color images of the work Paula’s brother Charlie has undertaken after retiring from the United States Air Force and pursuing his dream to create a farm that connects people and their food.  

The show will run from July 30-August 7 at Texas Art Asylum (www.texasartasylum.com).

Address:

1719 Live Oak, Unit L,  Houston, TX  77003

Reception Hours

Saturday July 30th 1-8 pm
Sunday July 31st – 1-5 pm

Paula Puffer will be on site to answer questions about her images during both of those times.

Paula became a Project 52 Member a long time ago. I have watched her work mature and grow for several years now. She uses her camera to explore her fascination with the world around her. From Sea Turtles to Missions to Food Trucks, her work always gives us a unique and intimate view of subjects we have known, but not in the way she presents them.

This will be a great experience for anyone wanting to attend a photography gallery and speak with the artist herself. I am proud of Paula, but even more proud to call her my friend.

Meet Yechiel Orgel, Commercial Photographer in NYC

MEET YECHIEL ORGEL

NYC COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHER

I read about Yechiel Orgel in an online publication a few weeks ago, and instantly knew I wanted to meet him and get an interview for Lighting Essentials. This is the interview I read, and please go over for a complete view of how hard and long Yechiel worked at his dream, perfecting and experimenting and developing a strong body of work along the way.

“Taking the jump was HUGE and it took me a good 8 months until I was actually able to say “I’m leaving” to B&H. I was missing days regularly at work, taking on photography jobs during the day. I’ve got to hand it to B&H: they were wonderful and extremely patient with me. They knew this was my long term goal and as long as my job wasn’t suffering, they pretty much gave me a lot of leeway.

That is, until the day they told me I have to choose what I want. I couldn’t have both anymore. I was pretty much only a part time worker at this point and they couldn’t hold onto me much longer.

 

When that happened, things escalated from scary to terrifying… I knew I had to make the jump and I had to make it fast. This step I imagine is really hard for anyone. Leaving a day job and a secure paycheck is never easy.”

We tried a few different times to get together for the interview. Once we simply missed the time, then I was stuck in the most remote part of Southern Utah I had ever seen. No internet, no service – no nothing.

We finally got together for this webinar-interview last week and I am very excited to share it with you.

Three takeaways from this interview:

  1. Yechiel worked two jobs to make this dream a reality. This took precious time from his family but he kept his eye on the prize. Work/Life balance is a myth to entrepreneurs who are driven to succeed.
  2. He is a very savvy business person. He knows the value of his work, and demands his clients meet that value with compensation that is commensurate.
  3. He shoots for his book at every opportunity, and at least once per week. Yechiel knows that the portfolio IS the marketing tool that gets you assignments. His commitment to keeping the portfolio strong is one of the reasons he is as successful as he is,

In addition to great talent, Yechiel is one heck of a nice guy. I feel I made a friend in that hour, one that I will chat with again. He generously offered to speak with the Project 52 and FPCN students and we will set that up for after my Alaska trip.

Some images from Yechiel’s portfolio.

Thanks so much, Yechiel.

Meet John Covington, Photographer – Musician

JOHN COVINGTON: PHOTOGRAPHER

MEET JOHN COVINGTON

I had interviewed and had lunch with John early in June of 2016. We met at his studio which is built in his backyard in a wonderful little neighborhood full of trees and greenery. I have been aware of John for a few years, but this was the first time we sat down to have some conversation. Lunch was at Tokyo Express, and their California rolls are just as I remembered them.

John is a busy photographer these days. He was in the middle of a product shoot for one of his clients and waiting for info on a shoot. He showed me his classic Cadillac, new Victory bike, and a real find – one of his old Steed bikes that he purchased for his girlfriend. Now that is cool.

John’s bio quickly:
Studied industrial design and Art Center.
Began designing restaurants.
He also plays drums professionally in his off restaurant design times.
His love of motorcycles led him to build custom bikes, designing the framework and the brand.
His need of better photographs of his bikes led him to photography.
His love of photography is what he is following now.

He started full-time photography in 2007, right in the middle of the financial meltdown. This was one of the worst times for starting a small business, and a ‘terrible time’ for photographers. Just ask all the photographers that lived through that time and expected to be able to do this business without working at it. Everyone will tell you it was a horrible time to start a photography business.

BUT…

John knew how to work. He had built businesses from the ground up, and he knew it took ambition, commitment, careful planning and a strong work ethic. He just made it happen.

He built a studio in his backyard in 2009, and clients love coming to him for his no-nonsense approach to making the shots, doing them right, and getting them delivered. From automotive, to motorcycles, to portraiture and tabletop, John stays true to his style, and elegant use of light.

John’s studio:

John doesn’t usually work with ad agencies. He prefers direct client work, and has an impressive list of clients locally, regionally and nationally that he works for. The studio is busy with a couple of studio shoots a week, and he does location work as well.

John is not a ‘bargain budget’ photographer and gets commission rates commensurate with any photographer in the southwest. He has developed his own, exceptional list of customers, and watched that list grow year after year.

Even during the financial crisis.
Even during the ‘terrible times’ for photographers.
Even through the downturn in advertising.

You see, John Covington has a plan.

His plan is simple. Find clients, service clients, get paid, and bring the client back for more.

So while we read blogs and FB posts about how terrible this business is, and how nobody is making money, and oh whoa is us, John is out doing his thing, shooting for clients, playing drums in his own recording studio, and riding his new Victory custom motorcycle when he has a little down time.

John has a very small social media presence, a small circle of FB friends, and does all of his contacts the old-fashioned way… with a plan. (His plan and my system are a perfect fit, so another glimpse of how it really works.)

Stop listening to the negativity, begin investing in your own future – and for goodness sake when someone starts whining about how terrible everything is, remember John. And know that he isn’t listening to that crap.

interior

John’s Photography Website
John’s Drumming Website
Steed Motorcycles

Thanks John, keep doing what you’re doing, man.

Oh… and a little something to play us out…

img-book-main-box

BOUNDLESS

John’s book boundless is still for sale. I have a copy and to say it is unique is a total understatement. The book is bound with a supercool finish, and the design of the book both from an aesthetic and product definition is incredible.

BOUNDLESS LIMITED FIRST EDITION
50 numbered units, large vertical format (11″ X 17″) handsome coffee-table book with numbered certificate of authenticity signed by the artist, including 50 deluxe framable prints. More info on the book and a link for purchase here.

Let’s Uncheck Boxes That Kill Our Creativity

Let's Uncheck The Boxes That Kill Our Creativity

Sooner Rather Than Later

Let’s Uncheck Boxes That Kill Our Creativity

I recently listened to a speaker talk about unchecking the boxes he had that put an artificial hold on his career, and how that had helped him in his pursuit of sports excellence.

I realized how many boxes we photographers have checked that keep us from reaching our peak creativity as well. Perhaps it is human habit that makes us take inventory of all the things that we don’t have, or can’t possibly get, or “need” in order to succeed.

I wonder why we don’t take the same type of assessment on what we have, what we can accomplish, and why we should create more? Lots more.

But that assessment is for another time, for now I want to focus on the boxes we already have checked in our minds – and uncheck a bunch of them.

The “I Am Too Old” checkbox.
No, you’re not. You have checked that box because so many others in society have checked it and we are all expected to follow suit. Starting a business is not age related, nor is being creative, ethical, or smart with money. In fact, a bit of age gives you advantages over being youthful.

For one, you recognize the value of time. You know it goes by quickly, and you take advantage of every moment. Young people have their own advantages to starting a business, and one is they have not checked this box.

Time is an asset and a motivator. I will turn 67 somewhere near Lake Louise in British Columbia on a motorcycle heading to Alaska. I am also starting another business. I know how time works, and I know how precious it is, and I know I am not going to waste any of it with pre-conceived notions of failure. Far too many people have told me that they think I am crazy to do this at “my age”. I think I am crazy not to do it. Asset. Motivator.

Gary Vaynerchuk on “Age” – Watch.
Gary Vaynerchuk on “Turning 50” – Watch.

The “I Don’t Have the Right Gear” checkbox.
This affects photographers more than some other businesses, but I hear it all the time as well.

The “photographic community” has decided that there is a level of gear you MUST have in order to take a professional photograph. But in the world of clients, that simply isn’t so. (Yes, we have heard of the NY AD’s insisting on Hasselblad and Broncolor… but that is an anomaly, not a rule.) I don’t think it is possible to buy a camera that cannot make professional level images for most, and I mean MOST clients.

I shot for major clients with a Rebel and a 5D. I know a photographer selling fine art prints and he shot for years on a 40D. Photographer Jens Lennartsson travels super light, with only one small camera, and great assignments. An entry level camera and “kit lens” can make extraordinary photographs with a good photographer at the controls. The key is knowing what you can do, and focusing on clients who are more interested in the work than the gear. And that is MOST of them.

Petapixel: My Camera Gear Sucks
Petapixle: Which Pro Camera Do You Really Need to Shoot Like a Pro?

The “It’s The Economy” checkbox.
You see – here’s the thing. It’s always the economy. It is either hot or cold, heating up or cooling down. And businesses keep opening no matter what. We are led to believe that there is a ‘right time’ to start a business, and we better wait for it.

And we will wait and wait and wait. There is never going to be a ‘right time’ to start a business in photography. I can save you that waiting.

But there are strategies, models, and systems that make it easier, more accessible, and definitely within reach. We are not victims of the world, we are participants in it – and participants can aggressively create their own paths.

We start by making sure we know all about the business we are starting, pay attention to finances, create multiple channels of income, and forge new and exciting alliances as often as we can.

We participate. We engage. We follow through with actions designed to keep us participating.

A Photo Editor: The Personal Project. (Keep scrolling…)
Forbes: Why Now is a Good Time to Start a Business
Entrepreneur: 7 Myths About Starting a Business That I Used to Believe

Recommended Reading:
Choose Yourself by James Altucher
The Hundred Dollar Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk
What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn) by Seth Godin

There are more checkboxes for sure, but these are the most common three I see being checked before they are thought through. Let’s uncheck them, and get moving on the creative life we deserve.

———–

We started the next session of Find Photo Clients Now on Saturday, June 11. I still have a few openings if you are interested. The summer is a great time to focus on getting your system up, and building your list. This is the enrollment page for more information. Join us for a great class, and get your photography business moving.


Header image courtesy Unsplash