Meet Eric Black, Owner/Creator at Revolver Underground:
Meet Eric Black, Owner/Creator at Revolver Underground:
Meet Susan Angstadt, Staff Photojournalist for the Reading Eagle:
I grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania – in the backyard of Amish country – and have worked as a photojournalist at the Reading Eagle newspaper since 2001. After earning a degree in film production from Hunter College in New York City, I studied photography at the International Center of Photography, also in NYC. My love for journalism started while living in the Hasidic area of Williamsburg Brooklyn where I was fascinated by the culture. This was further enhanced by a class I took at ICP called “documenting a community” where I went to Columbus Park in Chinatown nearly every day for weeks to document the people who practiced Tai Chi or played poker. As a photojournalist I have won numerous awards, including four Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors awards. In my spare time, I enjoy photographing anything cute and furry, older gentlemen, and documenting cultures.
Everyone talks about finding the one thing in life that makes them truly content and for me that is photography.
For more info: www.susanangstadt.com
On Twitter: @susanlangstadt
1. This was one of the hardest assignments I had covered in my then 10 years at the paper. The family allowed press to attend the services and gave us very little restrictions. It was cold and raining and I was drenched at this point–wondering if I had crossed the line of decency–was I too close to the family? I cried through the entire service and this photo happened at the very end as the body was loaded into the hearse. I had read prior to the service that Sean requested that if he died he wanted people to wear bright colors to his funeral. The red coat his fiancee wore combined with the American flag she held was absolutely heart-wrenching and beautiful at the same time. I cry each time I look at this photo. This photo placed first in the 2010 Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors awards in the Spot News category.
2. This was one of those assignments I was absolutely dreading. Just the word hospice sends a shiver of dread through my body. I don’t do well with death. So, I went there thinking I’m going to see volunteers sitting with people on their deathbeds. To say I was surprised and relieved is an understatement! When Lina, 91, laughed as Jamie pushed her around the floor melted my stereotype of hospice care. Lina was a “silent” laugher so the look on her face says it all as she didn’t make a sound. I have this picture hanging at work in the room I keep my equipment stored. This photo placed first in the 2009 Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors awards in the Feature category.
3. This photo from the shooting scene didn’t run in the paper. Photos of dead bodies at crime scene rarely if ever run in the paper I work at. However, this is a scene I will always remember because I got there almost at the same time as the police. Multiple calls were coming in over the scanner in what seemed like an effort to confuse first responders as to where the shooting occurred. I found it by following a man running down the street, clad only in a tank top at the end of November, and stopped as he stopped. His brother was on the ground in front of him, dead after being shot in the face. I remember not knowing what to do. This was a dangerous area of Reading and police were just arriving—the brother was freaking out telling me “don’t you take a f*ckin photo, that’s my brother”. The reporter was telling me “take the photo” and the police sergeant coming up behind me telling me “don’t you dare take a photo”. After police arrived and surveyed the scene is when I took this photo. It was the 10th murder in the city of Reading in 2008. The body remained uncovered until the coroner arrived, more than an hour later. I had to be escorted to my car by the police.
4. This photo never ran in the paper. It sits in their archives. A big influence on me when I was just getting into photography was Brassai, Paris by Night series, and while probably a stretch, this really reminds me of his photos, only in color. It was 3 AM and I had just finished covering the midnight opening of The Hunger Games for the paper and it was so beautiful outside. I’m a sucker for light and fog. So, against all rational thinking, I took off on foot and walked onto the Penn Street bridge in Reading and waited for a car to drive past me. I thought the pickup truck mixed with the rear red lights was just gorgeous. In 2011 Reading was declared the poorest city in the nation, just barely passing Flint, Michigan. I was happy to make a pretty photo in a city most consider pretty awful.
5. It was nearing the 5 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the paper wanted to do a series on people who were from Berks County but worked and/or lived in NYC at the time of the attack. Since I lived in NYC for 14 years prior to returning to Reading, PA I was asked to spend the week in the city photographing former folks from Berks. This photo taught me a lot about dealing with unplanned circumstances. I met Lenore at FDNY Engine 10, FDNY Ladder 10 on Liberty Street across from Ground Zero. I thought her portrait needed firefighters that were working the day of the attacks and felt this was the perfect location. I had just positioned Lenore in front of the guys when a call came over the scanner. I think I took 3 photos and the guys scattered to get into their gear. Fortunately, one of my “test” photos worked.
Meet Ian Spanier, Freelance Photographer:
There is nothing original anymore, there’s new, and different, but everything can be traced back to some influence at sometime or another. As photography has changed, mostly through technology at this point, finding your voice has become harder and harder. For me, reminding yourself of your influences is a necessity to stay focused on where you want to go. There’s a reason, at least for me, the masters are the masters. How they affect me now I feel continues to force my eye to a certain place, allow my brain to interpret things I see and create images the way I choose. Limiting this number to just five is not quite accurate, and not listing the great painters that influenced me like Sargent, Hopper, Chuck Close and Homer leaves out much of what formed my vision. Nonetheless, here’s five of my favorites:
1. My ultimate influence is Richard Avedon. Although Irving Penn was really my first influence, Avedon’s images of the American West introduced me to the beauty of loneliness and forced me to teach myself large format photography. His fashion is world-reknowned, and what I think I respond to most about it and use in my own work is that the fashion becomes just a part of the image. As I am primerily a commercial photographer, the opportunity to make artistic images in that world is limiting, it’s about the product. Avedon mastered the mixing of both selling the product and creating an image that could be in any gallery.
2. For my senior thesis in college I wanted to make a study of nighttime. I was a double major in Art and Psychology and was very interested in the mystery of night, and how the invention of the electric light opened up the world of night to humans more than fire or gaslight ever did. Low-light has become an ever-present conversation now with the advancements with camera sensors and faster lenses. Brassai had an appreciation for night, and pushed the envelope of what film could do long before the digital world was even an inkling of an idea. I had found this image on a postcard at a gallery when I was about 19 years old, and it sunk in through my senior year in college when I chose my thesis topic.
3. Along the same line as Brassai, Edward Steichen’s haunting images of New York always attracted me. Being a lover of New York City, his iconic images attracted me always, and as I learned about more of his work, what truly influenced me was the breathe of his work. Steichen, along with many of his peers, shot everything. I have always followed that path. I’ve said in the past that there was no “one” subject for me. I shoot what I see. Steichen, and even more so, Penn, did the same, and always made me know I could do the same. The tendency of putting photographers into categories never fully applied to me, and I’ve always fought it because they were able to do- so can I.
4. My first job in the magazine industry was as the photo assistant in the GQ Magazine photo department. There I met my mentor, Harry Benson. I knew Harry’s work in college, and when he walked into the magazine office for a meeting my mouth dropped open. Soon after Harry and I became friends, and I was fortunate enough to have many lunches and visits with Harry over the years. Harry has witnessed so much history, and his stories influence me always. Photography is very much a game- who is in charge, the photographer or the subject. Harry is a master at getting his subjects to do what he wants. This psychological battle is constant, and being able to witness Harry do this in person was invaluable.
5. Albert Watson is a master lighter. Before I even knew what the difference was between a studio strobe and a Hydrargyrum Medium-arc Iodide(HMI) lights. Watson’s work had an impact on me. Whatever he was doing fit my asthetic and I needed to learn how he made his subjects come alive not only in what they were doing in the image, but the story that the lighting told. I truly believe that successful images are not soley about what the subject is doing, and that the lighting- be in artificial or natural, helps to tell the story of that fraction of time when the shutter button is pressed and an image is burned onto the film or sensor. As I developed my own lighting, Watson’s influence was a constant reference point, the main reason? He understands the sun. For me, understanding the way the sun is in all the many forms we see it not just in time of day and year, but diffused, direct, indirect, broad and tight and so on. Applying that understanding when shooting with or without strobes, modifiers and any light shaping tools was and is key to how I see lighting.
As the new year approaches, I have decided to add a new feature to this blog. Starting on 1-1-2014 I will begin a regular feature titled “Five Fab Fotos with(insert persons name), A Visual Conversation with Imaginative Professionals”. I will ask people which five photos or images have made an impact or have inspired them and why. It could be photos they took, about them, taken by their favorite photographer or about their favorite subject.
For now it will publish about once every 2 or 3 weeks, but I hope to make it a weekly post. If you are interested in participating or know of someone I should interview, please let me know by leaving me a note in the comments or email me at fotomex2 at yahoo dot com.
Be sure to stop by tomorrow for my first interview with Lisa Fernandez.