For the 5th year, I’m headed down to SXSW Interactive. Since my first visit, I’ve been convinced that the future of visual media can be seen here, as it is making its way from idea, through doomed startup, successful startup, into the marketplace, and on to reiteration.
There’s no doubt that visual communication – journalism or entertainment – is highly dependent on the new platforms, business models, and distribution channels that are technology-driven. SXSW is the speed-dating phantasmagoria of media tech. If you want to see where media will be in 2, 5 or 10 years, there’s no better place to see it than at SXSW.
And it’s becoming obvious that tech companies are increasingly dependent on visual imagery for core capability. Photographic communication, writ large, is perfectly suited to the mobile era, with onboard cameras, beautiful screens, and a premium placed on jamming lots of attention-grabbing information into a 2×4 inch space. In recent years, visual storytelling and visual media have been a constant thread through much of the programming.
This year, we see some real love given directly to photography at SXSW. National Geographic photographer Cory Richards is a keynote speaker, and graces the cover of the SXSW magazine. NatGeo will have a Further Base Camp at the Vulcan Gas Company on 6th St.
I’ll be interviewing the amazing Aaron Huey at Further on Saturday at 6pm, discussing how he balances authenticity and passion vs. risk and vulnerability in his life and work. I’m so impressed with the way he has leveraged great photojournalism into awareness, advocacy, fundraising and cultural impact. Seriously, this guy is a poster child for visual creators owning their media stack and putting it in service for the things they believe in.
(Technically, being on stage at the NatGeo venue means I’m sharing the bill with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jason Silva, Cory Richards, Steven Kolter, David Guttenfelder and Aaron Huey.)
In a little more than a week, I’ll be headed to SXSW for the fifth year in a row. I’ll be speaking again this year, discussing how to programmatically add meaning to photos and other visual media (more on that later). I will have the pleasure of sharing the stage with Anna Dickson from Google and Ramesh Jain, professor of Information and Computer Science at UC Irvine. 2016 SXSW presentation with Dennis Keeley
Anna and I have been talking about these issues for years, ever since we met at the Palm Springs Photo Festival in 2013. We’v been on stage together a number of times, and it’s always an entertaining and enlightening discussion with her. Anna’s current work at Google is centered on deriving a deeper level of context about photographs through computer vision, linked data and more.
I met Ramesh at the LDV Vision Summit last year, and we immediately hit is off with a shared interest in pushing computer vision beyond simple recognition of objects and into the complex realm of meaning. He’s working with his grad students on the creation of a data model describing an Internet of Events which can describe and link geotemporal events. He’s a brilliant guy, and coincidentally was Thomas Knoll‘s professor at the University of Michigan when he wrote the first version of Photoshop. What goes around, comes around.
In our presentation, we’ll be examining how to think beyond what can simply be added by computer vision and analysis. How does the intent of the user get factored in? How can you use external data to understand visual media objects, and how can visual media – as the carrier of rich data – help to better build out an understanding of real world events.
Thanks to Photoshelter for helping to make this possible. I’m really excited that our CEO Andrew Fingerman will be attending.
I’m headed out to Austin for SXSW again (now, with more Obama.) This year, I’ll be presenting with Dennis Keeley, the Photography chair at Art Center in Pasadena. I first met Dennis at the Palm Springs Photo Festival faculty dinner, and we quickly found out we have a lot of common interests.
The Faculty dinner at PSPF – I met 2 people I’ve brought to SXSW here.
Dennis is intensely interested in the future of imaging and visual communication. We found that we see these opportunities in some very similar ways. The conversation that started 4 years ago has continued as each of us has pursued this future in different ways. I’m delighted that we can take this time to make this conversation public.
Here is a description of our program. I’ll work on expanding on some of these topics, and we’re hoping to have a recording of the program available.
If you’re going to be in Austin, and can come by the Hilton Friday at 3:45, I’d love to say hello. If you’re in town but can’t make the program, I’ll be around until Tuesday evening.
As the need to visually communicate explodes, organizations of all shapes and sizes face the need for a new kind of staff, new tools and more nimble mindsets. This goes far beyond an Instagram account manager, or a person who works in IT. It looks into the heart of an organization’s mission, brand, legacy and value. But in most cases, the approach to visual narrative is ad hoc, at best.
Solving this problem will require an integrated approach that is grounded in education, technology, business needs, and an understanding of visual semiotics. Dennis Keeley has been addressing this from the education side, while Peter Krogh has been working on technical development. They will discuss the new role of the professional visual strategist and the opportunities it presents… as well as what education, skills and experience will be needed.
I’m headed out again to the wonderful Palm Springs Photo Festival. This is my sixth year as a seminar teacher. And each year, I find it one of the best places to connect with people in the photographic industry. And even more important, it’s a great place to connect with photography itself.
Festival diretor Jeff Dunas manages to bring an amazing line-up of photographers, picture editors, and thought leaders together. (Check the list out below!) It’s both laid back, and really engaging. A place to recharge and get inspired.
I’ll be doing two seminars. In my Wednesday Lightroom program, I’ll be showing some of the great new features from Lightroom CC. On Thursday and Friday I’ll be presenting a more general DAM program that includes a lot of new material. I’ll be talking about what’s new, and in particular, how to integrate cloud services into your workflow.
Here’s the faculty list for 2015. This includes people running workshops and Seminars, participating in Symposia, or doing portfolio reviews. It’s a very impressive list
The PSPF 2015 FACULTY
William Allard, Photographer, Author
Daniela Agnelli, Telegraph Magazine, UK
Genaro Arroyo, Market Specialist
Gordon Baldwin, Independent Curator
Anthony Bannon, Executive Director & Research Professor, Burchfield Penny Art Center
Susan Baraz, International Director of Photography, At Edge
Suzee Barrabee, Director of Art and Print Production, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Ron Beinner, Senior Photography Producer, Vanity Fair
Sherrie Berger, Photography Consultant, Sherrie Berger Consultancy
Kraige Block, Gallery Director, Throckmorton Fine Art Gallery
Peter Bohler, Photographer
Victoria Brynner, Director, Stardust Visions
Dana Buhl, Curatorial Coordinator, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Bonnie Butler Brown, Producer/Sr Art Buyer
Marianne Campbell, Director, Marianne Campbell Associates
Keith Carter, Photographer, Author
Jerry Courvoisier, Photographer / Author
Anna Dickson, Photography Editor
Crista Dix, Director, Wall Space Gallery
McNair Evans, Photographer
David Fahey, Gallery Director, Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles
Deborah Fleming Caffery, Photographer
Mary Fletcher, Photo Editor, Teen Vogue
Taj Forer, Editor, Daylight Magazine
Jeff Frost, Photographer
Susan Getzendanner, Photo Editor, Dwell Magazine
Sonja Gill, Senior Associate Photo Editor, US Weekly
Valerie-Anne Giscard d Estaing, Director, Creative & Editorial, Fine Photographs LLC
Tim Griffith, Photographer
Marta Hallett, President & CEO, Glitterati, Inc.
Jolene Hanson, Director, G2 Gallery
Jillian Harris, Associate Creative Director, Fly Communications Inc.
Ron Haviv, Photographer
Stephanie Heimann, Photo Editor, Fovea Exhibitions
Charlie Hess, Creative Director, Chess Design
Maiza Hixson, Chief Curator, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
Mac Holbert, Co-Founder, Image Collective
Charlie Holland, Consultant
Holly Hughes, Editor, Editor, Photo District News
Peter Hurley, Photographer
Michael Itkoff, Founder, Daylight Magazine
Rupert Jenkins, Executive Director, Colorado Photographic Art Center
Dennis Keeley, Chair of Photography & Imaging, Acuity Press
John Kenney, Owner, JK AND Artist Management
Jennifer Kilberg, Creative Consultant, Fluidvision, Inc.
George Kinghorn, Director & Curator, University of Maine Museum of Art
Laurie Kratochvil, Consultant, Nomad Editions
Peter Krogh, Photographer, Digital Asset Management Guru
Vincent Laforet, Photographer, Filmmaker
Sarah Laird, Agent/Owner, Sarah Laird, Inc.
Jennifer Lamping, Art Producer, Saatchi & Saatchi LA
Patricia Lanza, Director of Talent & Content, The Annenberg Space for Photography
Carol LeFlufy, President, Eye Forward
Emily Leonardo, Senior Agent, Stockland Martel
Leah Levine, Commercial Photography Rep, L2 Agency
Gina Liberto, Photo Editor, New York Times
Karmen Lizzul, Creative Director, Family Circle
Ben Lowy, Photographer
Mary Ellen Mark, Photographer, Author
Karen Marks, Director, Howard Greenberg Gallery
Lisa Matthews, Director of Art Production, Team One Advertising
Michelle Dunn Marsh, Executive Director, Photographic Center NW, Minor Matters Books
Rana Matar, Photographer / Author
Laura McClintock, Assistant Photo Editor, Marie Claire
Shannon McMillan, Senior Art Producer, GSD&M
Karen Meenaghan, Senior Art Producer, Digitas Inc.
Kevin R. Miller, Director, Southeast Museum of Photography
Andrea Modica, Photographer, Author
Robert Morton, President, Robert Morton Books
Janice Moses, Founder / Agent, Janice Moses Represents
David Muench, Photographer / Author
Mark Murrmann, Photo Editor, Mother Jones Magazine
Frank W. Ockenfels 3, Photographer / Educator / Author
Lisa Oropallo, VP/Director of Art Production, 76
Chris Pichler, Publisher, Nazraeli Press
Alex Ramos, Leica Gallery SF
Jodi Rappaport, Director, The Rappaport Agency
Chris Reed, Copyright Lawyer
Renee Rhyner, Owner, Renee Rhyner & Co.
Sari Rowe, Art Buying Supervisor, Rubin Postaer & Associates (RPA)
Alice Sachs Zimet, President, Arts + Business Partners LLC
Dana Salvo, Director, Clark Gallery
Deborah Sandidge, Photographer, Author
Barry Schwartz, Photographer
Sarah Silberg, Wired Magazine
Mark Seliger, Photographer, Author
Karen Sinsheimer, Curator of Photography, Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Monica Siwiec, Photo Editor, Real Simple
Michelle Stark, Photo Editor, The Hollywood Reporter
Amanda Sosa Stone, Creative Consultant, Agency Access
Art Streiber, Photographer
Jock Sturges, Photographer, Author
Elisabeth Sunday, Photographer / Author
Mary Virginia Swanson, Consultant/Educator/Author
Lena Tabori, Founder, Welcome Enterprises
Barbara Tannenbaum, Curator, Cleveland Museum of Art
Lisa Volpe, Curator Wichita Art Museum
Judy Walgren, Director of Photography, San Francisco Chronicle
Rex Weiner, Market Specailist, A&I Photographic And Digital Services
Colin Westerbeck, Curator, Independent Curator
Ross Whitaker, President, RW Studio Inc.
Matika Wilbur, Photographer
Dan Winters, Photographer / Author
Tracey Woods, Associate Photo Editor, Essence Magazine
Kenneth Zane, Senior Art Producer, Leo Burnett Agency
Once again, it’s World Backup Day! While it’s not as fun as Talk Like a Pirate Day, it’s arguably more important. All of us have important digital stuff that we’d hate to lose. So if the lack of a solid backup plan is something that’s bothering you (even a little), take the opportunity to do something about it. Here are some suggestions.
Send in the Clones
If all your stuff can fit on one single hard drive, then you’re in luck. You can make a clone of your drive. A clone is simply a copy of the drive, written out to another hard drive. It’s really useful if your hard drive crashes. And a clone that lives in a separate place from your laptop will give you protection in the event of loss, damage or theft of the computer.
Clones are easy to make, and offer a high level of protection (as long as you update them regularly). I think of a clone as a disaster-recovery backup. As someone who really values my data, I like to keep an extra clone stored offsite, in case there is a fire or theft that destroys both my laptop and my main clone.
I’ve been using this nice little WD My Passport Air for my clone, it’s small, light and durable. It also has built-in encryption so your stuff is protected even if the drive is lost.
While I think everyone needs a clone for fast recovery, I’m also a big fan of Backblaze for continuous off-site backup. It’s a real set-it-and-forget-it system. It costs $50/year per computer to make a duplicate of your entire computer up to the cloud. This protects against the threat of total loss of onsite data, as well as any files that have not been backed up to offsite storage.
Backblaze is particularly valuable for family members or other who are not vigilant about backing up their stuff. I set up both my daughters before they went off to college, and, wouldn’t you know it, one of them dumped a pitcher of water on the keyboard of her laptop during freshman year.
Note that Backblaze is not really designed for large image libraries that many photographers have.
PhotoShelter or other web service
You can also use a photo-oriented service for backup. If you are a PhotoShelter customer and you use Lightroom, you can automatically publish images to the cloud. I have mine set to publish high quality JPEGs from all 4 and 5 star photos.
Lightroom’s Publish Services can be used to backup images to the cloud mostly automatically. This can provide a current JPEG (or original file) backup that is updated as new files are added to the catalog.
If you have a lot of data like photos and videos, you might want to get some big drives for backup. WD is now shipping 6 TB drives that are about $250. That’s a heck of a lot of data in a small package at a reasonable price. There’s no excuse not to keep those photos backed up.
(Back them up twice if possible – once on-site, and once off-site, for a total of 3 copies.
Here’s a really economical way to backup files. Get a bare drive and a “toaster”. You don’t want to use the toaster for everyday use, but they are great for backup.
Don’t let Perfect be the enemy of Good
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the considerations that go into a perfect backup system. So don’t try to be perfect, try to be better. If you don’t have a clone, get one. If you travel a lot, then online backup may be a good addition. And if you have only onsite backup, consider adding an off-site.
Each time you make an improvement to the system, you add more protection, and reduce the chance that you’ll lose important data.
I’ve recently been working a bit with the folks at WD. They have sent me some equipment to evaluate, and they sponsored my last talk at PhotoPlus Expo. And a few weeks ago I went to a Product Summit in Laguna Beach. I still have to buy most of my own hard drives, and I’ll typically buy WD when I’m spending my own money.
I have also been working with PhotoShelter to create a new service for people who buy photographs. Again, I’m working with a company I really believe in, because I really believe in them.
Here’s a little more about our panel presentation on Saturday at SXSW. This is an extension of conversations I’ve been having with my three other panelists for years.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there
The Panel Mikkel Aaland is our moderator. I’ve known Mikkel for about 15 years, and we’ve had the pleasure of working on a number of projects together. We’ve both been involved with Adobe and ASMP since the last century. I was part of the Lightroom Adventure book projects in Iceland and Tasmania that Mikkel created, and Mikkel invited me to the Nordic Light Beyond Pixels Unfestival two years ago.
Mikkel is a poster child for embracing change and thriving on disruption. Coming from his roots as a traditional photographer, he was an early digital pioneer. He’s written and photographed many books – some about digital tech, some about ancient technologies, and some that are just about people.
Anna Dickson is the former Director of Photography for the Huffington Post/AOL, and now deputy Director of Photography at the Wall Street Journal. She also came out of a traditional photo background as a photo editor for major magazines back in the film days.
Anna has also embraced change with gusto. She has done extensive development with the Huffington Post tech team to develop an enterprise DAM system. And she has kept the pulse of nearly every new photo startup claiming to provide the firehose of content needed by online publishers. And she has been able to put them to the acid test – can they actually deliver.
Anna and I have shared the stage twice before: at PhotoPlus in 2013 and at last spring’s Palm Springs Photo Festival. Although we get to take opposing perspectives on stage, we’re good friends with broad agreement about where the future of media is going.
Leora Kornfeld was introduced to me by our mutual friend Eric Drysdale, with whom she shares comedy roots. She has a long background in traditional media, including radio work for the CBC.
When we met over Facebook a few years ago, Leora was working as a Research Affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. She’s been studying the effects of the fragmentation of traditional media entities. We hit it off immediately, and spent a lot of time comparing the experience of the practitioner (me) with the analysis of the academic (her).
We’ll be looking at the effects of shifting market forces on the independent photographer. It seems as though everything about the way photographers built their businesses has changed. Media companies are in turmoil. The tools and methods of the trade have changed radically. The availability of crowd-sourced images has eroded some markets completely. And people’s concept of a photograph’s value is all over the map.
How do we carve out a place in this tumultuous ecosystem? Well, there are some ways forward, and we’ll look at them from each of our different perspectives – photographer, client, academic. While the way forward is not clear, and certainly contains risks, we think we can help identify strategies that can work.
Our panel comes at the end of a day-long track that presents pieces of the very same changing landscape. what is the historical context, how are big media companies coping with the issues, how does social media push new norms legally and socially, and how are new hardware and software developments going to affect us?
I’ll post some of the more promising ideas here, as well as some of the new stuff I run across. Like the SXSW of the last two years, I expect it to be a fertile place to see how photography, technology, media and culture move forward.
It’s that time of year again: the annual convergence of tech, content, entertainment, music, film and general weirdness that is South by Southwest, or SXSW. I’ve been going for the last two years, and I find that it’s the most mind-expanding event I attend.
This year, I had the pleasure of working with the festival to curate some of the programming. I’ve been working with David Fox, the festival’s archivist to make a day of photography, content and distribution. We’ve got a really interesting day, exploring some of these issues in a multi-faceted way.
We’ll be presenting on Pi day, 3.14.15, which is pretty awesome.
Our Day’s Programs Here’s the list of other programs in our stack. Most of these were people I’ve met over the years and encouraged to submit a proposal. All of these programs take place in the same room at the Hyatt Regency Austin, Texas Ballroom.
We’ve had a number of requests for a status report on The DAM Book 3.0 . Our original intention was to publish the book in electronic form by the end of July. Unfortunately, as they say, life gets in the way.
Photo of Dot Krogh by Paul Krogh.
People who follow me on Facebook know that my mother died suddenly in May. Since that time, I’ve had to turn my attention to family matters. I’ve had to put a number of projects temporarily on hold to concentrate on planning, details and simply spending time with my family. Those who have gone through this know what I’m talking about.
In the last few months, I’ve been focused on these people.
I’ve been hesitant to write about this for a couple reasons. First, it’s a family matter, and second, I have not been able to announce a new delivery date. While I’m still not able to provide any dates, I know it’s important for me to break radio silence. So that’s what I’m doing.
As my daughters head off to college this week, I’ll turn my attention back to completing the book. I’m hoping that within a few weeks I’ll be able to provide a good estimate on a completion date. Much has been done, but much remains to be done.
Thanks to everyone for their patience, and for the many kind words of encouragement over the last few months.
Buried in the recent Adobe Creative Cloud rollout was a revolutionary change to the way Lightroom licensing functions. When the license expires, the program keeps on working.* This is a radical development. If you’ve been paying attention to the sturm und drang around the Creative Cloud licensing model (here, here, here, here) , this is a mind-blower.
First, the * part. Not all functions of Lightroom keep working. The sliders in the Develop module become inactive. Develop will still render the photo, but it won’t let you run the sliders. (You could still use Quick Develop in Library to make further adjustments if you like.)
Quick Develop will still run in an expired version of Lightroom 5.5
And the Map Module will stop working. The map technology is licensed through the Google Maps API, so Adobe has to pay for each Lightroom copy that uses it. If Adobe is not getting paid, they don’t want to pay Google, so the Map Module will be disabled for non-revenue users.
But other than Develop and Map, everything else works. You can make new catalogs, add new photos, add keywords, make collections, books, web galleries. prints, slideshows, exports, published copies… Basically, you have Lightroom LE. For free, if you want it.
You can download the trial version of Lightroom and, at the end of the trial period, it mostly continues to function. Free.
Hopefully, this will quiet most of the fears that people have about Adobe’s motives in moving to the Creative Cloud licensing model. In the last few years, they have dramatically reduced the price of their photo software. Buying Photoshop Extended and Lightroom four years ago would set you back $1300. You can buy a decade of CC software and services for that price. And now Lightroom LE is free for those who are even cheaper.
Read more about getting the most out of Lightroom
This is a bold play by Adobe. Here’s how I interpret it. Basically, they are betting that photographers will see enough value in the subscription services that they will continue to pay for Lightroom, Photoshop, Lightroom Mobile and Lightroom Web ($10/month). Even when they can get most of Lightroom for free.
Stephen Colbert would say that a move like this takes big balls. You only do this if you are all-in on providing ongoing value to your customers. It’s the opposite of lock-in. And it illustrates the core values of the company. Your stuff belongs to you, and it’s up to Adobe to provide compelling value in order to deserve your software dollars.
There’s no guarantee that Adobe will get this right. Even though their software powers much of the creative services industry, they have not been able to hit a home run in web services. But they understand that the future of media is squarely pegged to APIworld, and the only way to survive is to go all-in.
I’m really stoked about this decision (and I’m almost never “stoked” about anything, even those things that I’m quite enthusiastic about.) It’s gutsy, forward-thinking, bet-the-farm confidence on making some kick-ass software and services.
To those folks at Adobe who had the vision to move this forward, hats off.