More Than a March: A Global Call-to-Action Movement

0ba2cdbf-9fa2-45d4-bd12-b7cf26a5cfd8As I made my way to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on 47th and 2nd – the meeting point for the New York Women’s March, I was filled with anxiety, dread and just plain fear. I had attended a preliminary Women’s March meeting  earlier in the week  held by a group of professional women’s video and documentary filmmakers. “How to properly record immoral acts of violence?” “How not to get arrested.”What happens when you do.” These phrases kept lingering in my head throughout the week. I’m not a person who typically demonstrates. Yeah, I’ve been to a few Revlon Run/Walk 5Ks and previous March of Dimes walks and felt good about myself. Exercise was the motivator, really, and then yes, supporting the cause too – this was an after thought.

Two nights before the march I abruptly texted my friend Sandra. “Do you want to march on Saturday?” I asked. “I would like that. I’m in.” She said. I was taken aback. I was happy that she wasn’t indecisive. I didn’t think any of my immediate friends would want to march. The day of: I was running behind, The gypsy and NJ Transit buses were nowhere in sight to get me to NYC. I saw a young mom carrying a toddler. She must be off to go to the mall or visiting her parents, I thought. NOPE! Was I wrong. And, I loved that I was. “Look! Baby.” She said to her daughter after glancing at the two signs I was holding. “She’s marching too!” This warm feeling swept over me. I couldn’t believe that this mom and I had the same cause in common.

As I fast-walked through from West-to-East on 42nd Street, I halted. There it was. My first glimpse of all these different people coming together as one to protest our causes: Women’s Reproductive Rights, Human Rights, Equality for All, Embracing Diversity, The Future of America.

We are at a standstill on 42nd and 2nd Avenue. So many people had amassed in that central location that no one could really move. Streets were closed off. “This is a conspiracy!” I thought. “Why aren’t I getting any service?” “Trump’s people are behind this.” We stood there for over 3 hours before the march actually started. “What is going on?” “My feet hurt and I haven’t gone anywhere yet, Uggh!” My thoughts were getting to me. “Stop being a wuss!” “You have to find Sandra.” Sandra’s was coming from Queens and there was lots of construction going with the trains. Sandra and I finally met up and we started marching. I couldn’t express at how elated I felt that I was part of something so much bigger than myself, the marchers around me, New York, Hell! the world.

8c1e6b2a-ea7c-4587-88e4-5df0b9d62b88I had been interacting with teens, men, women in their 60s and 70s of various ethnicities being friendly to one another, courteous, singing and chanting alongside one another. We marched all the way up to 55th and 5th Avenue; 2 blocks shy of Trump Towers. I was disappointed at first that the cops had barricaded the streets, but then remembered what the march was about and how many people from different walks of life and age groups came out to protest for what they believe in. What a beautiful day!

 

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Cafés and Career Insights with Photographer Extraordinaire: Monica Buck

 

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courtesy of Monica Buck

Meeting a colleague, friend or interview subject for coffee and learning about their drink order provides you with a glimpse into their personality. Large translucent, refreshing iced-tea with lemon – understatedly simple with no fuss is what Monica ordered. I imagined how she would shoot her drink. With a plate of lemons on the side or multi-colored plump tea bags, whimsically arranged with beautiful porcelain tea cups, perhaps some natural light too – streaming in overhead. If you see Monica’s work, you’ll know what I’m referring to. I, on the other hand, ordered an iced-latte with everything added under the sun. I try to make my coffee beverages taste like anything, but coffee!

The San Francisco-born photographer began to tell me about her career trajectory as a photographer; her German engineer-by-trade and adventurer-by-spirit dad, who motivated her to pursue a career in the arts. The industry’s highs and lows and what inspires her to stay in the photography game.

MV: What drew you to photography? 

MB: My father was a big photography enthusiast. He photographed all sorts of people – sailors, exotic animals. Usually beautiful exotic birds and monkeys. I would love to sift through the images classify them for him.

MV: When did you get your start as a photographer?

MB: I became involved with photography 23 years ago. My family moved from California to Miami and I received my training in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. I did apprenticeships with numerous photographers. My mentor at the time, Laurie Hale, pushed me to achieve my goals; she really believed in me.

MV: Did you have a particular style of photography you wanted to pursue?

MB: I went through BlackBook (Photographer’s bible) and started searching for different types of photographers in my area. I called up Greg Heisler and Craig Cutler and ended up assisting them and learning so much. Initially, I wanted to shoot fashion. I loved this type of photography, but as I started getting gigs, I quickly realized it wasn’t for me; I didn’t fit in. The over-the-top personalities are pretty extreme.

MV: What was your next move, knowing fashion wasn’t your ideal type of work?

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courtesy of Monica Buck

 

MB: I began with a still-life book. I loved arranging props and products and creating interesting compositions in the studio. Plus, I was in control of the shots – to some degree and really enjoyed that freedom. But, after doing it for some time, I found the in-studio work to be constricting. I started to venture into different photography genres. Lifestyle, people, interiors and exteriors and found my groove. I started shooting for more editorial, catalogue and commercial clients. It was great.

MV: What are some the current challenges you face with editorial and commercial clients?

MB: There are many more photographers than there are magazines today. And many of these magazines are shutting down at an alarming rate. Like my parents, I’m a hustler and have embraced the fact that you have to pursue new ways to stay relevant and keep shooting projects that won’t just pay the bills, but are worthwhile and will enable you to grow as an artist.

MV: What recommendations would you give to aspiring photographers? 

MB: Assist the people you admire. Look for apprenticeships in your area and outside. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Constantly research to see what type of styles you like. Go out and shoot! I follow few photographers on Instagram to see what trends are currently out there. I’m inspired by beautiful things and love to interpret their existence with photography.

To see Monica’s work and to hire her for your next creative project, click here: http://www.monicabuck.com/about/1

 

 

Photographer Antonis Achilleos Gives us his Insights on the Love for his Craft and the State of the Industry

 

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courtesy of Antonis Achilleos

Make room for Biscuits and Muffins! This isn’t some new pop group on the music scene or new restaurant that popped up in a trendy cosmopolitan enclave. It’s the latest book project photographer Antonis Achilleos is busy working on. In today’s ever-changing editorial and commercial landscape, there are few that can survive the ups and downs of an industry that is wrought with dwindling budgets and musical-chair appointed creatives at the helm – tasked with executing photography campaigns. I was fortunate enough to land an interview with the always consummate, talented professional to give his thoughts on the business of photography.

DSMC: Did you always have your mind set on becoming a photographer?

AA: I have many relatives that are photographers in my family. My father and uncles had cameras around the house. My father lent me his equipment and I’d bicycle around town in Cyprus and take pictures. I think it was inevitable for me to become interested in photography. You could say: It was in the genes! I wasn’t sure it was going to be a career or just a hobby until I came to U.S. for a Media Arts program in photography. Turns out, I found my passion and I’m still working in the field.

DSMC: What inspired you to become a photographer?

AA: The magic of the darkroom. I remember being part of the photo club in high school and I got a whiff of the developer (developing photos) and saw the images forming in the dark. I was hooked.

DSMC: Did you study photography in the states or abroad?

AA: For me, the states are abroad. I left Cyprus when I was 21 and came to the U.S. I considered the photography programs in England and Germany, but the ones in America seemed more attractive to me. I chose the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. It’s a small school affiliated with the art institute in the city. The program split the curriculum into photo and film. It was a great experience for a freshman from Cyprus. After 2 years, I transferred to Rochester NY at RIT, which has a renowned program in professional photography.

DSMC: How would you classify your type of photography?

AA: I consider myself a still life photographer who occasionally shoots different genres.

DSMC: What genre of photography do you enjoy most?

AA: All types. I follow all different types of photography to see what’s new and engaging.

DSMC: Is there a particular genre you identify with?

AA: I have been photographing food a lot more. I enjoy the collaboration it brings with a bigger team of people. I love making food look pretty and delicious.

DSMC: Have you noticed emerging trends in editorial and commercial photography within the last 4 – 5 years? If so, what are they?

AA: Yes, I have. Photographers are experimenting more with focus on a subject; they alternate between soft and sharp focus on objects. Warm tones from the 90s and cool tones from the 2000s are making a comeback. Donna Hays magazine used completely blue tones a few years ago and I loved it! I use 1/4 blue on with my daylight to turn the shadows blue. There is great work being done now. The development of digital and new technologies has liberated the industry. If you have a vision you can become a great photographer and it’s evident with the emerging new blogs out there. Check out: http://www.ourfoodstories.com/search/label/drinks

DSMC: How do you stay relevant and continually land photography jobs in this changing industry?

AA: Staying relevant in any field is super important. I try to look at the work created around me and simultaneously stay true – and produce – the work that’s important to me. I’m not going to jump on every new trend bandwagon, because it’s popular, if it doesn’t make sense for me to grow as an artist.

DSMC: Is working with an agent more or less advantageous to your business?

AA: Yes, having an agent is important for me. I have been with Big Leo and Mary Dail for two years now. And, I love being part of that family. I like having someone on my side to share the marketing/business side of the job, which is the most difficult part. Taking the photos is easy. Continually promoting yourself and landing new clients is not.

DSMC: What tips and/or advice would you give aspiring photographers?
Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done. Be open and willing to do anything and everything in this business. Assist photographers and absorb how they work, learn the trade and stay current. Be a nice person, nobody wants to work with a jerk: at least not at the beginning.

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courtesy of Antonis Achilleos

From shooting cookbooks with top chefs to beautiful editorial stories and advertising campaigns – that take him all over the country. Antonis has made his mark in the photography industry. The sought-after artist is always eager to learn new tricks of the trade and expand his portfolio. You can find his inspiring and extensive range of work at: http://antonisachilleos.com