love of photography

Volunteering and the ASPP

It is seldom that we get an opportunity to really truly effect change or make a difference. Time is limited, agendas and motives are clouded, volunteering means meetings, and commitments and calling in favors and pushing..and pushing.

This morning, I was looking at the new issue of TPP, the flagship publication for the ASPP, the trade association for picture professionals. It is so well done. That cover story on Kirsty Mitchell and her lush, dense imagery is intoxicating. You can almost smell the perfume of the blossoms in her ‘Wonderland’. Then, right after that, the spare, arresting ‘Muchloved’ series by Mark Nixon, showcasing his pictures of cherished stuffed animals. The successful juxtaposition of the two and general excellence of this issue is testament to the skills and dedication of Art Director Mariana Ochs and Editor April Wolfe, our Executive Director Sam Merrell and a whole host of writers, contributors and photographers – mostly volunteers.

How many people will get to enjoy the magazine and be introduced and caught up to date on the world of the picture professional?

Not enough.

I am  the National Secretary for the organization, taking and transcribing minutes and working with our tireless and talented board to figure out how to continue to be relevant, how to recruit new members to not only write a check but to dive in and get involved. Its tough right now with the business shifting away from print and the economy still in recovery, but there is wonderful programming going on around the country, mega benefits for members(helped me get this shiny new MacBook Pro), job boards(I have gotten gigs there) and opportunities to meet colleagues and have a voice(I like that part..having a voice).  Headed to our annual meeting in a couple weeks in New York, I will join the board and Chapter leaders from around the country and we will work together in person and remotely to lay out our strategy for the next year. We are bringing in experts and industry leaders to advise and to help us lay out a roadmap that we can follow, picking up passengers as we go along.

I want a lot more people to get to see this issue of TPP and the next and the next. So I will write my check, block out my schedule and probably talk to you about the ASPP the next time I see you. It will be a great conversation, I promise.





Perfect Summertime Project


What a joy working with Matt Armendariz and Adam Pearson!

What a joy working with Matt Armendariz and Adam Pearson! More about this shoot on

Happy Hearts and Desserts Day!

Wonderful project, with the delightful Matt Armendariz. You can see more over at P.F.Changs. Yum!

If it is not broke…

originally posted on the Visual Connections Blog

My step-dad will be 90 years old in a few months. He is the son of homesteaders, a finish carpenter known throughout the South for his lovingly crafted rocking chairs and birdboxes, a WWII decorated Veteran, a farmer and rancher. And a much loved husband and father.

His pear preserves are un-paralleled, and his neighbors come from farms across the county for his council on everything from baling hay, to when to de-horn cattle, to how to make blackberry wine.

These days, various pesky physical ailments keep him close to home and his own rocking chair, although this time last year he was still splitting his own wood.

I have shown him all my gadgets – iPhones, tablets, laptops, the Farmers’ Almanac sites, and all the weather apps, that he could instantly access, if only he’d invest in digital delivery. He shows polite interest; but if you really want to engage him, ask him about his print subscription to National Geographic. I have been making this his annual present for over 20 years.

Every month, he reads it cover to cover: in his chair by the fire, in bed before he turns in, and at the breakfast table. He is hard of hearing, and hates the phone, but will call me to talk about a feature he is taken with. Just after surgery in January, as we visited in the hospital, he was less interested in canes and rehab than he was in the story about the giant redwoods and Nick Nichols’ pictures.

I make my way back to the farm every chance I get, these days, to see my folks and can’t wait to talk to him about this month’s special edition of 125 years of National Geographic Photography .  It is a mixture of old and new, that delineates the incredible variety of life on our planet, and how mutable it has been over the last two centuries.

Here is a bit about the history of the ‘Geographic’:

It tells us that: “Judd & Detweiler began printing the National Geographic magazine in 1896, when it had a circulation of just 5,000.  By 1926… National Geographic alone then had a monthly subscription of nearly 1 million issues that required almost ten days of press time.”

Over 85 years later, in 2013 it is published in English and 39 local-language editions, boasting a global circulation of around 8 million.

I want to know what dad thinks about the James Balog photos of glacial melting and the accompanying article by Robert Kunzig. I bet that he will have a thing or two to say about “The Price of Precious,” (photos by Marcus Bleasdale, article by Jeffrey Gettleman.). He will study Joel Sartore’s picture of endangered species, long and hard.

I guarantee you this will be a more stimulating conversation than the one I had, in a hipster coffee bar today, about upgrading the operating system on my smartphone.

Sure, National Geographic Digital Media receives more than 27 million visitors a month and that is wonderful. Let’s forget the delivery mechanism for a minute: NGS captivates people, who have seen new worlds that they would never otherwise see.  The 125th edition takes us from negatives to digital capture, but it’s the simple truth of the image, however we consume it, that grabs us, enraptures us and transports us.

Some people just plain old prefer print. And my dad does not have to upgrade the operating system on his magazine…

Pat Egleston (c)Ellen Herbert

Mr. Brown Schools Us

I believe this is what is known as a ‘don’t miss’:

Retinette Reboot!

While on a trip back to the UK last Fall, we found another box of old slides and family photos. Scanning and retouching close to 100 of them for a personal project and posting again on the Retinette. Love these images and the legacy of my husbands’ family:

Don't know what I love more, the lawn mower or the shoes! Simons' twin, Jeremy.

The Crack

Years ago, a friend gave me a copy of ‘The Crack, A Year in Belfast” by Sally Belfrage. With a strong and pure voice, Ms. Belfrage wrote about the ‘Troubles’ through interviews with women Protestant and Catholic who brought home the bleak horror of living in a war zone and the price exacted no matter where or how one prays. Those stories left me with a bitter taste in my mouth that has only worsened as the human race cries amnesia and repeats age old cycles

Today, my friend and colleague Julie Grahame, AKA ACurator( gave me a heads up on a project by photojournalist Marissa Roth, an upcoming show at the Museum of Tolerance that is the culmination of a decades long journey into war from the perspective of women round the world – from Cambodia to Northern Ireland to the USofA: One Person Crying: Women and War.

She needs a bit of help to finish mounting the exhibition, so give a sister a hand, huh?

Kickstarter is making it easy:

Thanks…oh and if you find a copy of ‘The Crack’, let me know, ok? I lent mine out years ago and its out of print. Would really like to revisit it.

Dream project… no, I mean deviantART project

For a great deal of last year I was working on building a Microstock collection for deviantART to be distributed on Fotolia . It has been truly one of most engaging, visually compelling and diverse projects of my career. DeviantART is the world’s largest online community for artists and art enthusiasts. Created to entertain, inspire and empower artists and art lovers, deviantART features an extensive and evolving platform used to exhibit, promote and discover art and interact with members. After many initial meetings, and wrapping my head around the brief, I was able to enlist a dream team of techies, project managers and photo editors to build the infrastructure, dive deep into the talent on the site, and recruit the artists.The artists span the globe, and range from the very young, who have just discovered the voice that a camera can provide, to established photographers curious about stock.

The results of our labor launched this week. A collection that, if we did our job, will successfully illustrate stock concepts with a …well… slightly deviant slant.

Mad props to the team – Jim Hudak, Stephanie Fowler, Sheridan Stancliff and Brantlea Newbury, to deviantART for the opportunity and creative freedom; but, most of all, to the artists of deviantART.

If you have not dug in to explore all that deviantART has to offer, its worth a stroll…

Of Silent Auctions, Saturday Nights and the Gulf of Mexico

I will bet that on Saturday, October 23rd throughout the course of the day, we will all spend $25.00 on entertainment, dining, holiday shopping (uh, yes…its getting to be that time of year…). In view of this, NEAT has a suggestion:

This is the only place  we can think of where your 25 bucks will provide an evening with amazing food, drink, the opportunity to bid on an amazing array of goodies (Need a new flatscreen tv? How about a site from livebooks? career coaching? Gorgeous prints from acclaimed photographers?) with all proceeds going to support the NWF and their work in the Gulf Cleanup.

You can get your tickets and more info at the ASPP site. You can still donate items too. You just can’t bid against me, I mean NEAT.

Mr. Brown

So, everybody blogs and then blogs about everybody blogging, right? Well, kinda…

Do we really have that much to say that matters? That depends…

But this is really good and we are not saying that just because we know Mr. Brown personally.

Mr. Brown’s Blog

(c) Noe Montes