Jim Graham Needs A Publisher

I have a friend who needs a publisher, and because I adore his work so much, I am reaching out through my networks and beyond to see if I know anyone who can help. I’m a good connector, so I have to believe this can work. Can you help?

Jim Graham and I have been friends for a crazy long time. We met in 2001 at a workshop in Santa Fe, and have worked together intermittently over many years, shooting incredible weddings around the country.

His work is exceptional, no matter where he chooses to focus his lens. His ability to see minute detail, sweeping dramatic panoramas, bold graphic compositions, and everything in between, has always been spectacular. He captures subtlety and nuance the way few photographers do, and even then, only when they are deeply passionate about their subject. Jim takes a lot of workshops as an excuse to keep traveling and honing his vision, and creates beautiful pictures in Iceland, Nantucket, and  everywhere he goes.

But this particular body of work focused on fox hunting takes my breath away, and he shoots them right next to his home in Delaware. Jim loves these people, their dogs, the horses, and the land, and I can feel it in his pictures.

I don’t hunt, don’t know much about it, and don’t hang out with horse people. I'm personally against hunting on principle, and I get that this is a very privileged glimpse of a controversial activity in today's world. And still, I cannot deny the beauty of this work.  And apparently everyone is happy to let the fox get away.  It was all for the fun of the chase!

Jim captures the best of it: the solitude,  the connection, the thrill of the chase,  the beauty of the present moment. And above all,  he shares the love of the land, of the animals, and the seriousness of the sport with a sense of humor.

This book brings me so deeply and magically into a world I could not easily enter. I would buy this book,  for the sheer beauty, elegance, and creativity of the images, which feel both awe inspiring and intimate depending on the page. I am amazed one photographer has created this gorgeous range of photos, so many of which feel like paintings, all of which feel infused with love and passion.

I recently finished a book incubator course where I learned all kinds of things about publishing a book. Probably the most depressing realization was the idea that you need a platform and a whole lot of followers BEFORE a publisher will consider you. I get it. Publishers are struggling too, and they want to take advantage of your network. They want to know you are a sure thing before they gamble on you.  Where's the fun in that?

Well, I'm not much of a rule follower. And I'm probably a generation too old to buy this story. I want to believe that inspired creativity can still come out of nowhere....from invisible to visible in the blink of an eye (am I supposed to say click of a shutter?) I want to prove the theory wrong, show how the system is broken, or perhaps share an outlier with you. Because honestly, the best photographers I know absolutely suck at self promotion. And Jim is one of the best photographers I know.

I want you to see what I see, and KNOW that this is a book worth publishing, even if you have never heard of this guy before.

Have a look. These are a few of my favorite spreads from the version he sent me.

Feel free to reach out to me, or to Jim directly if you want to be his fairy godmother or godfather.

Any day is a good day to make someone's day!

all photos © 2020 Jim Graham Photography

Are you ready with your photos for the press?

Natasha Schlesinger in Poets and Artists blog
Allison Kanders in Architectural Digest
Nathalie Molina NiƱo in Forbes

Are you ready with your photos for press?

In the past 2 hours, I have received two completely different, urgent requests for images. One came from a client, the other from the magazine directly, both with huge circulation. Both wanted images to illustrate profiles about these women in leadership roles in their communities.

In each case, my client was ready. She had a fabulous image to offer, retouched (but not overly so!!) and ready to go. In each case, people were reaching out to me for the highest resolution image available. (My clients already had them, they just didn't know it)

In one request, an assistant photo editor asked me for access to more images from our shoot (and showed me the one my client had sent them).

So did I give her access? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I told her I'd ask the client, and get right back to her. I also asked what her editorial usage rate was. (Please tell me you know that publications need to pay photographers for usage, and that "credit" is not payment!!).

I texted the client. She said "no, please don't send other images. I want them to use the one I sent" (her eyes are closed, she is laughing, and we both love this image!)

So I wrote back to the photo editor, apologized for not being able to send other choices, and asked where to send the invoice should they choose to run the photo. Notice my client always comes first, and just because a magazine has one photo does not mean my client wants them to have more!

Here's the thing.....publications WANT images that haven't been seen before. But you don't HAVE to give them anything you don't want to. And you DO need to check in with your photographer about usage. Are you allowed to give these images to anyone, anywhere, without further compensation to the photographer? Do you know the difference between editorial and commercial usage? Do you need to pay your photographer if the magazine won't pay for usage?

Already, the publication responded that they don't have the budget to pay for usage (which is how they respond about 80% of the time...even a the highest levels) So as the photographer and copyright owner (whoever pushes the shutter owns the copyright, unless otherwise agreed) the choice is mine.  In this particular case, I decided to let them use this photo, because they reach my exact target market of upscale New Yorkers plus many hotels in the city, and because I love the image so I would like to see it in print. Otherwise freebies are a non-starter.

I don’t need "exposure" which is always what the publication is offering, and when someone else benefits financially from the use of my images, so should I. My exceptions are limited. My other option would be to ask my client to pay for this extra usage. In some cases I do that, and the fee for them is nominal given the advantage of the exposure for them.  People DO look at the photos in an article, often before they read a word.  They DON'T look at photo credits.

So what if the magazine or publication is send a photographer to photograph you?
A photographer shooting for a publication is generally paid an editorial rate, though the publication typically asks that the photographer not release any other photos until 6 mos after the publication is released, which is usually 3 months after the shoot. For you, as the subject, that means you wait 3 months to see yourself in print, then you have to wait 6 more months to get any images from the photographer. (Always ask about these terms....a lot of people I photograph are surprised by them). Not only that, magazine editorial rates are typically between $100 and $500 (far less than a day rate for any serious professional photographer), so if you want copies of those images, and a look at what the magazine didn’t print, you should expect to pay a fee for them. All photographers work differently, so be sure to ask!

Lee Harris, multi- page feature story in Face The Current magazine

So when the media comes asking you for an image to go with a story about you, ARE YOU READY?

-If you have done professional photos, do you have the print-ready, high resolution images at your fingertips?

-Are you super clear whether you can have these published without your photographer being paid further? Do you own the copyright? Or just the right to use an image for your own media? For how long? Do you know the difference in usage agreements?

-Are the images being published in a magazine or blog that makes a profit? If so, THEY are benefit from your images (this is a type of commercial usage), and chances are high your photographer needs to be paid above what you paid for the shoot originally. Check before you end up in a copyright infringement situation! Professional publications generally know better, but younger bloggers may not remember to ask!

-Do you know exactly what the photo credit on the images should be? Will the online version have links or tags, for you AND your photographer?

Why I love photographing women over 40.

I love photographing women over 40. They bring such beautiful energy to the process.

I instinctively know a lot about the psychology of photography.  This juicy TedX talk by a photographer and a psychologist really nailed some key issues we portrait photographers face.  I have lived it for over 2 decades as woman and as a professional photographer, primarily of women. Do you "Own it", "Pose", "Diminish" or "Avoid/Run" (in life, and in front of the camera)?   What a great observation by Peter Hurley!   I have worked with ALL of these types of clients over the last two decades.   Now I prefer to work with people who are really ready to "own it"....because my life is too short, and these are the people I can help most. If you are afraid to really see yourself, warts and all,  you will probably not like what I show you.  I am very good at getting to the heart of people, and exposing something deeper.
One of the reasons I now love photographing women over 40 is that they have come through the other side of this issue of self-acceptance. They are ready to own it.

I know what it feels  like to be 20-something with a warped self-image, always comparing myself and falling up short. It didn't help that I worked in the fashion photography business with gorgeous models on a daily basis.  At 5’6” and 120 lbs, I was always the shorter, fatter woman in the room by comparison.  

I have met so few women in their 20s who are truly comfortable in their own skins. Even many of my model friends back then were deeply insecure about how they looked....just like the Miss Universe in this TedX.....because imagine a life where every job you apply for (and you apply almost daily for jobs) involves sitting in a room of stunningly beautiful women...and sometimes the client just wants a redhead instead of a brunette...and it isn't really about you....but that isn't how it feels in the moment.  Most young women, if they are honest, find that "it's not about you" idea hard to understand. Thank goodness we can grow out of this stage.

Surprisingly (or maybe not), I find that women over 40  are so much more loving and accepting of themselves. They have bridged this "gap of self acceptance" Peter Hurley refers to. They bring confidence, not a mask, to the experience of being photographed because they WANT to see themselves as the world sees them, as I see them. They WANT that authenticity. They dislike the gimmicks, the excessive retouching, the excessive makeup....the "tricks" of the commercial fashion photography trade.  They want to look beautiful, yes, but they want to look REAL even more.

I love how so many women over 40 have baggage they are not ashamed to carry. I appreciate the way they show up and seem to say "This is my baggage. I am ok with it. But I'd prefer if you could just crop it out of the frame, or put it in the corner while we shoot" And we laugh knowingly....and get on with the work of making beautiful images.  They show up for themselves, as themselves.  I love that.

Of course, for women, a lot of this growth happens in our 30s.....I call it the transition decade.....the decade where we grow into our strength and power.  For some it happens earlier. For some it happens later.  Because none of this is really about age. All of this is about emotional growth and self acceptance.  And from that place, we find our real radiance....because it comes from within, not from some external source.  There can be no 'external validation' if we don't believe in the beauty within.  A pretty picture is meaningless if we feel ugly or unworthy.  So we may criticize the picture, but what we really don't love starts in a deeper place. (Unless it is just a bad picture...and of course we all have plenty of those...different issue...)

Anna says, "The larger the gap between who we think we are, and who we think we should be, the more likely well feel badly in front of the camera....the lens becomes an extension of our own harshest critic, ourselves"  I agree, and I wish I could help people close this gap, but I am afraid it is an inside job.  I can certainly help, because I have always tended to see the best in people.  I see radiant beings, even if they are covered in mud.  The uncovering takes time.  I know.  I have been there.  A good photograph can be a wonderful reflection of who we are, and where we are in our personal evolution.  Photography is not magic.  It is a collaboration between two people and when they are in sync, the results can look magical. When the subject and photographer are not in sync, someone, and possibly everyone,  will be unhappy.

Now I prefer to work with people who approach life and being photographed ready to 'own it'.  These people are in my tribe. A lot of people aren't really ready for this level of exposure. They want to look 'perfect', whatever that means.   So I tend not to work with those people, because I believe imperfection is what makes us awesome, and deeply beautiful.

PS: If you follow my blog or FB page, you know I have been photographing Malala Yousafzai for the last year more or less.  She is not over 40.  In fact, she is probably the most photographed 17 year old on earth.  And she is wonderfully comfortable in her own skin...more than most women at any age.  She brings her full self to every photograph.  She never runs, avoids, or hides.  She knows her value and her mission, which come from a deeper place than her image.  But then, you knew this post was never entirely about age, right?

Youngest Ever Nobel Peace Prize WInner: Malala Yousafzai


I couldn't be more thrilled for this wonderful young woman. She is a true role model who works so hard for others and has done so much already.

At 17, she is the youngest winner ever of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Congratulations, Malala, on this incredible achievement. I know it will encourage you to work even harder on behalf of young people and their right to an education all over the world.

What I love as well is that the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize this year was an Indian man, Kailash Satyarthi.  Even the Nobel Committee emphasized the point: "The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism," said Thorbjoern Jagland, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

I couldn't agree more!  How insightful of the Nobel Committee to make a choice like this.

Portrait of Malala, then 16, in a classroom in the Masai Mara region of Kenya. May 2014 © Tanya Malott

 I am so honored that I have been asked to photograph Malala and the Malala Fund team in action on several occasions this year.
Visiting Syrian refugee children in Jordan

Above and below are photos of Malala and the Malala Fund in action that I made on two different trips with them this year.  She does this work on her school breaks, and she brings her homework with her!

On this trip to the Masai Mara, Malala and the Malala Fund visited several schools created by Free the Children