Op-Ed: Giving Respect Where It’s Due

From time to time, we offer up Op-Ed pieces on various aspects of photography for your consideration. Please note that these articles are the personal opinion of the writer, not necessarily of BorrowLenses.com.  I’m going to start this post off by sharing a video created by Zack Arias. Next up, read this post, also from Zack: “Wedding Photographers Deserve Our Respect.” Now, the video here introduces a different topic, but at the beginning of the video, Zack actually talks about tipping your hat to wedding photographers. White the rest of the video is something that you absolutely, positively, mush watch. I won’t even try and summarize it for you – just go watch and read, then come back here. I’ll wait. At first, I thought about just doing what we call a “blurb” post, which just serves to quickly highlight something we’ve seen or heard of. Call it the blog equivalent of a “+1” or “Like.” After all, Zack’s post is in-depth and lays out his argument twelve ways to Sunday, so I didn’t really have anything to add that he hasn’t already said. Then I changed my mind. Good arguments, I think, are made better and stronger by virtue of voices added to it. Every additional experience you relate to support a point of view shores it up further. With that in mind, here’s where I come down on the issue of wedding photographers. I’ve always wanted to be a commercial and editorial photographer. The running joke is that I want to be Joe McNally when I grow up. Being a wedding photographer just never crossed my mind – it wasn’t...
Photo Finds – June 11, 2012: Zack Arias

Photo Finds – June 11, 2012: Zack Arias

Welcome to Photo Finds, a feature where we point you to some of the best photography around the web. This week’s Photo Finds is a very specific one. We’re not just going to talk about a specific photographer; we’re going to talk about a specific photographer shooting a specific genre. A lot of you have already heard of photographer and teacher Zack Arias before. We’ve certainly mentioned him on our blog repeatedly, and his lighting workshop on creativeLIVE ranks as one of our top lighting resources to date. He’s also easily one of the most eloquent and honest photographers I know of. That same honesty and eloquence has, of late, manifested itself in a style of photography that’s pretty different from the portraiture that brought Zack his initial acclaim. Yet, despite its difference, there’s something uniquely Zack about it, and that’s why I’m talking about it today. Recently, Zack was named one of the top 50 street photographers around today by Complex magazine. And, despite being someone who’s been following his street photography since he starting blogging about shooting film back in April of last year, it took me a moment to digest that. That’s because I hadn’t really thought of Zack as a street photographer. Yet it’s his images of street scenes in New York, Atlanta, Dubai, and Bombay that are among my favorites right now. I have always equated Zack with his studio work, and my mental image of him is forever linked to white seamless backgrounds with gorgeously crafted light in a studio. Avedon, I once mused, would shoot like Zack if he’d been into urban hip-hop culture. So...
Photo Finds – June 4, 2012: Michael Cali

Photo Finds – June 4, 2012: Michael Cali

Welcome to Photo Finds, a feature where we point you to some of the best photography around the web. When I picked wedding and portrait photographer Michael Cali as the person I wanted to talk about in today’s Photo Finds feature, I didn’t remember right away that he and last week’s Photo Finds photographer, Brad Moore, had something pretty significant in common. Both Brad and Michael have served as assistants to one of the most amazing photographers alive today, Joe McNally. Brad is his former assistant (he works for Scott Kelby now) and Mike is Joe’s current assistant. I first came across Cali’s (apparently, everyone calls him that) work via Zack Arias’ blog, where he mentioned that Cali had been shooting with the Fuji X-Pro1 lately. So I followed the link to Cali’s blog and ended up spending a good hour there, just going through his images. So here’s something interesting to note about Michael Cali. The Fuji X-Pro1 notwithstanding, one cool thing to know about Michael is that he’s a film shooter. Yep, that’s right. The assistant to Joe McNally, who shot National Geographic’s first digital cover, who was among the elite that got to work with Nikon’s D4 before its release, that photographer’s assistant is primarily a film shooter. The thing is, to peg him as a “film shooter” is to sell him grotesquely short. Michael Cali is a photographer – and he’s a damned good one. Film happens to be his medium of choice, but if you look at his images with the X-Pro1, you’ll quickly see that his photography transcends a particular medium. He’s not a...
5 Photographers’ Blogs You Should Read

5 Photographers’ Blogs You Should Read

If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you already have bookmarks or RSS feeds for some of the leading photographer blogs out there like Joe McNally, Scott Kelby and Chase Jarvis. But as engaging as they are (and as much as we tend to read them every day), there are other, less-famous photographers who are nonetheless doing a stellar job in their fields and whose blogs are incredibly stimulating and interesting. In this piece, we introduce you to five of them. Martin Prihoda. Martin Prihoda’s story,  and his fascinatingly Zen-like approach to his life and work – make for amazing fodder. Martin now shoots for the biggest magazines in India, including the Indian editions of Vogue, Marie Claire, GQ and Cosmopolitan. We wish he’d update his blog more often, but go rambling through the archives; they’re worth your time. Daniel Milnor. He’s Blurb’s Photographer at Large and a deeply interesting, quirky and smart guy. Daniel Milnor’s blog Smogranch makes for some marvelous reading as he ruminates on his travels, his deep love of his Leicas (which are his primary cameras) and how much he loves the thunk of the shutter of his Hasselblad. Daniel shoots film (though he has shot with digital as well, he returned to film some time ago and doesn’t appear to have looked back). Check out the entries on his Peru workshops – they’re a very interesting take on what goes into making a good photo book. Drew Gardner: We were introduced to Drew’s blog by way of David Hobby over at Strobist. Drew is… well, it’s not easy defining him. His portfolio has a...
Pros you should know: Syl Arena

Pros you should know: Syl Arena

“Pros you should know” is an ongoing Q&A series with photographers that the folks here at BorrowLenses.com admire and follow. Welcome to the first in a series of articles talking about some of the professionals in our field that the folks here at BorrowLenses.com think you should know. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Syl Arena. Syl Arena’s profile is pretty distinctive. If you want to spot him in a crowd, look for a head of fiery red hair. Chances are, if it sticks out in a halo, it’s Syl. Friendly, gregarious and blunt, he’s likely also talking to five people at once about everything from small flashes to motion and more. Syl first gained a steady following as a teacher and photographer when he started into the wilderness that was Canon flash photography at that time. His book, The Speedliter’s Handbook, is now considered required reading for anyone getting into Canon Speedlites, and has been recommended by no less a master than Joe McNally. The level of detail and effort that went into the book is staggering, especially when you consider that Syl was suffering from major back issues at the time. But if you think that speedlites are all that Syl is into, you’d be wrong. As you’ll see below, he’s into a whole lot more, from studio still shoots to location video shoots. Talk to him and you get the sense that Syl isn’t going to be known just as the guy who pretty-much conquered Canon flash photography. We were fortunate to get Syl to take time out of his schedule to answer the Q&A...