Ron Berg Reveals More about his Passion for Kentucky Derby Fashion in the Hopes of Getting a Sponsor.

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After reading Ron Berg’s Photo District New article about his passion for Kentucky Derby fashion, Alison McCreery of POP Blog approached him and asked if she could interview him to delve a bit deeper into what inspired and connected him to the this project.  To see what he reveals, the interview is in its entirety below.

How did this project come about?

My wife is from Kentucky and through her I became interested in all things Kentucky: Bourbon, horses, and of course Derby fashion. I did some research and saw that no one had done a project on derby fashion. You see snapshots everywhere, but there was no cohesive, formal project.

I decided to shoot it like Avedon’s American West project, but in color because of the fashion element. I’ve been in the biz  for 20 plus years and that project has stuck with me the entire time. I grew up in a rural area and appreciated the slice of life that he captured.

From my research, fashion has always been a big part of the Derby experience. The tradition of the southern gentleman and lady has been behind this, mixed with the need to wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun or rain. Add in the celebratory atmosphere of the Derby and you get Derby fashion.

Because everybody is excited to be there and people are proud of their Derby attire, it’s a positive, fun, party atmosphere. It doesn’t feel like a football game where people are there to compete against each other. They are there to show off their Derby fashion and enjoy themselves.

I ended up shooting in excess of 500 people over two days and I had 15 seconds to one minute with most of the subjects. It was one of those typical mid-western summer days—hot, humid, and sticky. But as most may know, there is a lot of fanfare and people are super excited to be there. I got the sense that the people we photographed for the most part were not the serious gambler types.  I’ve never gotten that feeling from people who go to the Derby weekend. But, then again I’m not rubbing elbows with the high rollers.

How important was the location of your setup and how did you get people involved?

I thought after talking with our location scout Dan LaBorde we both agreed that we should setup  and get our permit to shoot near the infamous Wagner’s Pharmacy & Diner. It is on the main thoroughfare for the infield gate among the food, t-shirt and souvenir vendors.  Also, for the fact that most of the pedestrian traffic walks by that area. Wagner’s has always been an icon for many reasons—their proximity to the infield gate, their history providing pharma for the horses, and the silks they make for the jockeys and horses. Then to top it off they are a diner, in which you might find yourself eating right next to a horse trainer or jockey.

My team was my studio manager/producer Melissa Dean and KC art department & location scout Dan Laurine (Melissa’s boyfriend). Essentially, they were carnival barkers and recruited people with flyers—people weren’t necessarily just going to come up to us at first. We explained it was for a book project and that we would email them an image for free. Once they knew there was no catch and saw how much fun people were having being shot, they lined up. It was pretty much a slam dunk from then on. The lines never died down and eventually the local news station got wind of it and I was interviewed by that news crew and featured on the nightly news.

What was your lighting setup and what were the challenges of shooting throughout the day on location?

We had strobe mixed with daylight and the sun was going in and out behind clouds because it had just rained. We would be in the middle of a shot and the sun would disappear. There was no time to adjust the packs, so I made all my adjustments in camera.

[For lighting we used Profoto 7B, and Honda Generators for power. And a Canon 5D Mark II camera & lenses. We shot tethered to a large Apple monitor so the people waiting in line and walking by could see what we were doing.

What was the size of the crew?

Besides the indispensable Melissa Dean and Dan Laurine I spoke of earlier, we had two local Louisville assistants that also worked their tails off. Michael “Goat” Goatley & Alexander Brown. Goat was my digi-tech and Alex helped in every way possible. We all were grips before the masses ensued!

How much pre-planning did you do?

We treated this like it was any other client’s project. It took the typical amount of time to pull together like anything else would, so we started a few months before the Derby weekend. We (Melissa and the location scout Dan LaBorde – from Louisville) produced it and got our permits like we would for any other shoot. Dan and Melissa didn’t run into any road-blocks—everyone was very accommodating.

I expected to maybe shoot approx. 200 people total. I had no idea the level of participation we would have. When the numbers started to exceed our expectations all I can say is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

To feature the hats, you often chose not to have your subjects looking into the camera or to have their faces partially obscured by the hats themselves. How did you handle this on set?

At first, some would ask “Why am I not facing the camera?” I would tell them that I was trying to get options to try to show off their great hat and fashions.  Then, I really went with my “gut” instinct on how to direct and pose people. Since I didn’t have much time to goof around, I really wanted to come away with images for the project, but also images for the subject that they would love whether it was for Facebook or to hang on their wall. So quickly after I got a few under my belt I figured out to first shoot a series for them and then shoot a series for me. While people were waiting in line, they got a feel for what I was doing and what to expect.

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With such a short window for each portrait or group shot, how much directing were you able to do?

I’ve had many people who have seen this book of portraits ask me how much I directed the people. It was a combination of both directing them and also letting it unfold. It took a lot of directing on my part because most of these people had never posed for a portrait like this and they were front and center on the set with a lot of people watching them. When most of the people stepped onto the set they approached it like they were getting a mug shot or party pic. I learned to act quickly, go with my gut, and direct them as best I could. Like the guy in the seersucker suit with the crazy Australian guys in the bright patterned coats with their pants down is a great example. I was photographing the guy in the suit when 20 – 25 of the Aussies rushed in. It was crazy. At first the guy who was being photographed was a bit thrown off, but he just went with it and it ended up being really fun.

I appreciated being able to work that fast. Most of the people really enjoyed the moment and said it was really fun and made them feel special at the same time.

How did you decide whom to photograph and whom to include in the current edit of the book?

Once I was thrown into it, I felt like I had to document what I saw and felt: from the women in their outrageous hats to the souvenir vendor and the ticket scalper. All these characters and people were important to capture the full essence and all aspects of Derby Fashion.

So this diversity of the people was the most exciting thing I had done in awhile. I’ve always loved meeting new and different people, from farmers to CEOs. Because even in that brief moment of time, you learn something about them or their vocation and appreciate them for this. And going back thru the images  you relive that moment of time with them. So including everyone felt very natural to what motivates my photography.

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I understand you are looking for a sponsor for this event?  What types of clients would work and how would their partnership with you be beneficial?

Of course I think a any bourbon Company would work great!  This year, Woodford Reserve is a sponsor and I would be honored if they were interested.  There are so many other brands too that would of course be a great partner.  Brands like  Makers Mark, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, or Knob Creek.  And, of course, the boutique brands like Eagle Rare or Buffalo Trace or the incredibly hard to find bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle.  I know that Finlandia Vodka is a sponsor this year, and even though they are not bourbon, they might find the fashionable aspect of this project appealing. Or if any of you fashionistas think a “Fashion Label” out there should know about this project bring it on!
I think partnering with me on this would be beneficial because I already have the vision and the passion.  There is already a buzz about it so sharing it with a brand name will bring so much more attention to the project.  Together I think we can bring another element of fun to an already great party.  And, who doesn’t want to be part of that?

You’ve shown the book at NYCFotoworks and PhotoPlus and the project got a lot of attention from art buyers. Why do you think they were so drawn to this project?

I had my general portfolio along with a couple other personal projects I’ve been working on. People really gravitated to this book because of the story and the people in it. Many were of course were intrigued by the people, hats and fashion but I feel it  came down to the fact that this was an ambitious, formidable project. And the enormity of it really became the underlying  spectacle. Many said it made them smile and wish they were they to partake in the festivities while many more said that the Derby was definitely on their Bucket List.

What was your Derby fashion?

I have a seersucker suit and started out in the seersucker slacks and a simple dress shirt. But it was so hot that I had to switch to plaid shorts, of course trying to stay in the mode of Derby Fashion.

Favorite Kentucky Bourbon?

Never tasted one I didn’t like! Every trip back to see my wife’s relatives, I drag her to many tastings and tours. At least she loves those Bourbon Candies!

What is the format and design for the final book?

The book measures 7 x 9” and was designed by Cheryln Quan in San Francisco and the covers were printed by Kansas City letterpress printer La Cucaracha Press. We printed the photo pages in-house and hand assembled them ourselves as well.So far, we’ve printed 10 copies. My rep, Heather Elder and I are actively pursuing some of the Bourbon makers for PR possibilities and also have chatted with a couple publishers. Everything looks positive, but it is too soon to tell what the possibilities are for the printing of a formal photo book.  Interested? Email us at office@heatherelder.com.

6 Days, 7 Airplanes, 18 Taxis, 4 Hotels, 40 Appointments and 100s of Handshakes and Hugs Later.

In all the years I have been repping, these last two weeks have been some of the most productive.  I traveled to two great events and met with so many of the art producers and creatives that I have gotten to know so well over the years.   While I was busy doing my thing, three  of the photographers in our group attended At Edge’s Face to Face in NYC,  two attended Debra Weiss’s One on One event in LA and three of them ventured out on appointments.

All of those events and appointments together amounted to connecting with well over 200 people.

I have always said that the single most important thing I can do for my photographers is to make a connection.  And, if a photographer isn’t shooting, the single most important thing they can do for themselves is to make a connection. Doing so in this industry goes a long way.  And, having done this for quite some time now, I can say the relationships that have come from these connections – both personal and professional – have indeed been beneficial for everyone in our group.

Even though each event is very different, they all provide a very powerful path to making important connections.   See below for how we made each event work for us.

AT EDGE -FACE TO FACE

For those of you who have never attended an At Edge Face to Face  event, the goal is to connect top level creative talent with leading photographers.  (Link here to learn more)

Each photographer is scheduled for three 15 minute meetings with people they would like to meet.  When I attend the event, I accompany the photographers and help them to present their work.  Attending with them allows both of us the chance to connect one on one with the reviewer.

Our photographers made their own connections- without me.

Well, even though attending with them has worked well in the past, this time I decided to do things a little differently.  I learned a long time ago that if there is an opportunity for a photographer to have a meeting one on one without me, it can be more powerful than if I were present.   I have found that when I am present, the conversation can turns social and the photographer is left without the opportunity to tell their own story.

The fifteen minutes At Edge allows is not a lot of time, so why be a distraction? We decided that this time, I would merely make the introduction, say a quick hello and leave them to their conversation.

Hunter Freeman, Chris Crisman and Kevin Twomey all agreed that it was their time to shine at these meetings and all came back enthusiastic and excited about their new connections.  Connections that were entirely theirs.

Our photographers know that the quick, fifteen minute meeting, is just the beginning of their connection and it is up to them to keep it going.

I have heard photographers question how they can adequately show off their work in just fifteen minutes.  And I have also heard them say that it wasn’t worth the time and money to attend an event if they were only going to meet a few people.  I have always thought this was short sighted because all it takes is one person, one connection or even just one image that makes that next job happen.

Hunter Freeman had a great strategy.  He knew that he only had fifteen minutes and recognized that he was one of many that would be presenting their work that night.  Hunter started off each meeting telling the person that they would end the meeting with three things to remember him by;  Kids with Power Tools, Apple and Dreams.  His reviewers were intrigued and when he got to those particular images he would point them out and remind them that these were the images they were suppose to remember him by.   When the meeting ended each person – on their own – mentioned all three images back to him.  It was a successful connection.

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In addition to Hunter’s strategy, everyone in the group spent the next few days following up with email and hand written thank you notes and not just to the people on their meeting list, but to everyone at the event.  There were so many flying around I could not keep up.

As we all discussed,  having a reason to connect with someone is half the battle.  At Edge provided so much more than that.

LE BOOK CONNECTIONS LA

At first glance, you may describe a Le Book Connections event as chaotic or even overwhelming.  There are so many exhibitors, countless attendees and too many portfolios, ipads and images on display to count.

If you had never attended before it would be natural to ask, “How can you digest all of what you are seeing so that the event is meaningful?”

Here is how we do it:

•  Create a compelling and colorful environment. 

We make sure our booth is inviting and shows off imagery, not just portfolios. We use a combination of music stands and tables to showcase the work.  Every book is kept open to an image.  People often comment that the booth draws them in every time.

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•  Curate our work so that we can easily show what is the newest.

The question most asked is, “What do you have that is new?” This is an obvious question and helps people digest all the work they are viewing.  We ask each photographer to update their books before the event and also provide us with any special presentations of their latest work.  Since so many people are already familiar with our photographers this is an easy way to get them to take a second look.  This time, Ron Berg’s Kentucky Derby Fashion promo was a big hit and fun for people to flip through.

•  Provide an Agency Portfolio

We learned after the first Le Book that not everyone has time to review every book like at a regular portfolio show.  So, to combat that, we created a AGENCY PORTFOLIO.  However, rather than group the portfolio by photographers like most other agencies do, we group the book by  SPECIALTY.  That way, a reviewer can see which photographers in our group shoot still life, food, lifestyle, landscape etc and if they see something they like we can direct them towards a particular book.  It is amazing how many times someone goes from book to book once we show them the group portfolio.

•  We Know How to Throw a Good Party

At the Le Book Connections NY event last year, we hired a very nice looking bartender (can’t hurt, right?) to mix martinis for the cocktail hour.  The shake shake shake and the martini glasses wandering around the room were a hit and drew people to our booth for sure.

Well, this year, we upped the ante and partnered with Brite Productions.  We asked to be placed next to them and together we hired the bartender, served martinis again and added pigs in the blanket for a little Mad Men style.  It was a party not to be missed.  And, the sense of community was unsurpassed.

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DEBRA WEISS’ ONE ON ONE EVENT

I have never personally attended one of these events because they are by invitation only for the photographers. However,  whenever I receive an invitation for them to attend another one, I always encourage our photographers to do so.

Her event is similar to FotoWorks in that photographers meet one on one with many art producers and creatives to present portfolios. They are allotted 25 minutes and they see upwards of ten or more people.  It is a very productive time and many connections are made.

I am sometimes asked why photographers in our group attend events like this.  People wonder why photographers at this particular level would need to do this?  Why wouldn’t they just reach out to the creatives and art producers on their own.  Surely, they would get an appointment.

My answer is simple.  Efficiency.  There is no other way that a photographer (or a rep for that matter) could see that many people in that short amount of time.  Ron Berg and Hunter Freeman saw 10 people each at Debra’s One on One. Chris Crisman and Richard Schultz met 20 people each when they attended FotoworksNYC.  Any rep will tell you that coordinating 20 appointments for one photographer would never happen in two days, ever.  You would be lucky if this happened over a week and to get a photographer to commit to a week on the road promoting their work is a long shot as well.

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CHRIS CRISMAN’S LAST MINUTE ROAD TRIP TO NYC

3:30PM (West coast time) on Wednesday of last week, I received an email from Chris Crisman.  “I am headed to NYC tomorrow for appointments, can you help me out?”  3:30 my time is 6:30PM in New York.  YIKES!  While I was thrilled that he was hitting the pavement with his new portfolio, I was not quite sure what I would pull off for him given that most of NY was headed home.   Regardless of the time, I began sending emails.  I started with the art producers that have called in his work or estimated a job with him in the last year.  I then reached out to friends, knowing that I would at least get a reply from them!

Well, by the time I got back at my desk the next morning, Chris had eight appointments.  Eight!  I was so grateful for everyone for even considering such a last minute request.  On top of the eight appointments, countless others replied with their regrets – which I thought was amazing given how busy everyone was and I never expected that many people to even reply.  And, as I said to Chris, even a regret means they had to think about you for a second.  Who knows, maybe they even clicked on his website.

When it was all over, Chris had an opportunity to show off his new portfolio, talk about potential projects and meet new friends.   Something he would not have otherwise been able to do from behind his desk at his studio.

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A special thank you goes out to Glen Serbin, Susan Baraz, Elizabeth Owens, Alex Orlowski , Debra Weiss and all the NYC Art Producers that took time to schedule appointments and reply to my emails  for making our time on the road very very productive!  We are part of a very special community of creative, talented and generous people and we are very grateful.

Heather Elder Represents Rethinks the Agency Portfolio.

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Last year, we decided that it was a good time to create an AGENCY PORTFOLIO.  We had a fantastic group of photographers and many opportunities to show it off.  We didn’t want it to be a typical group book that had a section for each photographer.  While we like those and they are always very strong, we wanted ours to be a little different so that it would stand out more at events such as Le Book’s Connections.

What we came up with was a portfolio divided by SPECIALTY instead of by PHOTOGRAPHER.  We liked this idea because it allowed us to showcase the type of work our group can offer while allowing the viewer to file our group away by different specialities.  Of course it is always our main goal for a creative to learn who our photographers are and what they shoot individually.  This will never change.  But, by offering an alternate way for them to view the work in our group, we are opening up another opportunity for them to remember the work.

More often than not the Agency Portfolio is shown in conjunction with the individual portfolios so if a viewer is interested in seeing more, they can choose to do so right then and there.  This is particularly helpful in a setting like Le Book Connections because there are so many books to view and it can get overwhelming for some. We have found that our agency book provides a breath of fresh air in a crowded market.

Take a look for yourself and see.  It is no mistake that we chose the song, Breathe by Sia as the background music.  Enjoy!

Click here to see the video of our Agency Portfolio

Click here to see the video of our Agency Portfolio

Ron Berg Goes to the Races for Derby Fashion. So Says Photoserve.

© Ron Berg

© Ron Berg

Last year, Ron Berg decided that he was going to photograph a long time passion of his, the people who attended the Kentucky Derby. His hopes were to showcase all that is special and unique about its people and their traditions, specifically the fashion.  The result was a vast collection of imagery that he just began sharing at the end of this year.

It is gaining a lot of attention from the mini portfolios he created and the imagery we are sharing online.  I think the introduction that appears in the mini portfolio sums up the project best.

“My introduction came about by marrying a Kentucky bride eons ago. I then became enthralled with the many things that make Kentucky what it is.

One of those things that always came to forefront was the Derby, it’s traditions, and it’s fashion. Be it the hats, the dresses, the suits, or the crazy infield attire,  I am intrigued by it all.

After some research I was unable to find any efforts to document the Derby fashion. Sure there are snapshots galore, but nothing extensive.

So we made it our mission to document DERBY FASHION!  And after a little rain, 95 degrees, and 100% humidity, and 500+ people we created the collection I was looking for all along.”

Just recently Photoserve featured the project on their website.  Link here to read the article and see which photographer was his inspiration for the project and how he pulled it all off.

And, enjoy the slideshow below.  To see the mini portfolio, just email us. 

Happy Holidays from Heather Elder Represents! Enjoy our recap of a great year of blog posts.

© Chris Crisman

© Chris Crisman

Happy Holidays everyone.  Lauranne, Taya and I hope you are surrounded by friendship and family this holiday season and are able to take some time off to enjoy everyone you love.

We wanted to take this time to thank all of you for your support for our blog.  We had no idea when we started this almost two years ago that it would be embraced by the community as it has.  The conversations we have had this year are compelling, interesting and fun!  We really appreciate how you all engage with the blog and help keep it alive.  It is a special part of who we are at Heather Elder Represents and we have you to thank for that.

Since our offices will be closed until Monday, January  7th we will be taking a break from posting.  Until then, enjoy some of our most popular posts this year.

•  Have you read the post about One of The Original Mad Men?  Leigh Beisch’s dad, Chuck Beisch.  He worked with some of the greats, Diane Arbus, Avedon, Hiro and Bruce Davidson.  Link here to read the post.

•  Did you catch the controversy brewing on Chris Crisman’s blog on What defines a photograph?  This one went viral.

•  Did you get to attend Le Book Connections Chicago?  Link here to see what it was all about.

• How about the Community Table NYC posts?  Very informative conversation with NYC art producers.  A three part series that followed up our Community Table NYC posts.  Link here to see all of the Community Table posts.

•  We had some really wonderful Art Producers interviews for our Art Buyer Insider  and Solving Mystery Series.  Sandy Boss Febbo, Char Eisner, Suzee Barabee, Jason Lau, Lisa Crawford, Beverly Adler, Julie Rosenoff , Cindy Hicks and Ken Zane just to name a few.

•  Were you ever a waitress?  If so, you will enjoy reading this one.  I am Good at my Job because I was a Waitress.

•  How about Andy Anderson’s post about his series Birth Water?  Powerful.

•  Want to schedule 64 meetings in 3 days?  Ron Berg, Chris Crisman and Richard Schultz did just that. See how here.

  Why do we print?  Let Chris Crisman answer.

•  What the heck?  Birth of a Gummy Bear?  How is that even possible?  Kevin Twomey shows you with video.

•  Hunter Freeman shares how partnering with a CGI artist is a powerful combination.  Link here for the story.

•  Sheri Radel Rosenberg offers some tips on being freelance. A must re-read for the New Year.  Link here.

•  Looking for a new playlist?  Link here to see what David Martinez plays for his clients during a shoot.

•  Considering redesigning your website?  Good luck!  Ron Berg offers some helpful hints in this blogpost.

3 Photographers, 3 Days, 64 meetings, Endless Possibilities

In order of priority, here is what I think are the most effective ways for a photographer to generate more business.

1) Produce current projects, complete estimates

2)  Create new imagery

3) Make connections; new and old

In other words, if a photographer isn’t creating estimates or new imagery, the single most effective way to generate new business is to get out there and meet people.

I say all the time that when a photographer presents their portfolio or reaches out to a new client to share work on their own, the effect on their reach is exponential.  An agent cannot effect this same change on his/her own.  This is not because they are not capable, but because there is a different value in the photographer being present; a value that no agent could provide on their own.

Well, two weeks ago, Chris Crisman, Richard Schultz and Ron Berg proved me right.  They spent 3 days in NY attending the At Edge Face to Face event and the Fotoworks portfolio review.  Combined, they met with 64 art buyers, creative directors and photo editors.  How else but through these events could any of them (or even me?) meet with that many people in such a short amount of time?  It was a powerful and very effective way to spend the week.

Here are some insights and comments from the week:

•  They have a stronger insight into their work.  They heard first hand what people like (and don’t) and have experienced for themselves the connections that people make to their work. And, they have heard for themselves the feedback that we have been sharing with them already.  Now, when we talk about imagery and strategy they have an insight they would not otherwise have had.

•  They made or enhanced their own connections.  Now, these industry colleagues know them.  They engaged with their work, looked them in the eyes and connected with them on personal level.  The photographers can keep the connections alive on their own now and begin to foster a relationship when relevant.

•  They heard what other people in the industry think of their reps  first hand.   Our reputation is strong and it is nice for them to hear that for themselves.

•  They have added a layer of recognition to their work.  Our office creates a marketing plan that  focuses on us promoting their work over the course of the year.  By attending these events on their own, they added an extra layer of recognition and connection; one that we could not have provided on our own.  This personal connection is invaluable and the effect they have caused is exponential.

•  They have heard what other people in the industry think of their group.  This is important because as a group we share ideas, co-market and refer projects to each other.  Knowing that you are in good company always feel good.  And, in some instances, the photographers referred each other to the creatives they met.

It is also worth noting that a few creatives questioned why these particular photographers would be attending seeing that they could meet with the art buyers anytime on their own.   While a one on one, longer meeting is always preferable, the idea that Fotoworks and At Edge gather the top level creatives in one space for a set amount of time is very important.  It would be too challenging for each of our photographers to make all the calls necessary to yield 20 or so appointments each.  And, realistically, could they all happen over 3 days?  Never.  These events provide the most efficient way for our group to take time away from their studios.  Without the organization and the structure of the events, Ron, Chris and Richard would not have made one of those connections last week.

Overall, the investment that these photographers made in their future, their business and their relationship with us was well worth the money they spent.  I know how hard it is to be away from family, to push aside projects and to leave those emails behind.  And, for this we are so very thankful.  The time and effort they put into this week did not go unnoticed and we know it will pay off for them in dividends.

Want to see Ron Berg’s new portfolio? Just click here and think of the Fedex charges you will save.

As we all know, it is pretty rare when we get to send out a portfolio for a request. Nowadays, they are used mostly for portfolio shows and events.  It doesn’t make them any less important of course.  In fact, I would argue they are even more important now.  They are rarely seen so when they are they need to shine!

We thought it would be great if more people were able to see Ron Berg’s portfolio so we asked Marc Virata, a videographer, to video tape someone reviewing the book.  We added some fun music and posted it to Vimeo.  We will be adding Ron’s video as well as videos from the rest of our group,  to our websites soon.

If you would like to see the portfolio in person, please email us – we would love the request!  And if you would like to see Ron Berg’s work on line, please link here.

Click here for a video of Ron Berg’s portfolio

What is the story behind those Animal Mask images Ron Berg?

Ron Berg recently shared with us a series of images that are getting some attention.  When we were at Le Book Connections in NY, the images were a big hit and everyone kept asking what the story was behind them.  When we got back, we asked Ron to share with us what his inspiration.  Here is what he had to say:

“Over the last couple of years, I traveled some in in France, Italy, and Croatia and it was in those magical places that the root of the idea began.  Like most typical photographers I love to seek out areas that are not the norm and strive to find the areas were the locals hang out.  I occasionally venture out on my own or wander off from my wife.  She would say that I “get lost,” but really I am just exploring the sights and sounds of the local culture and go wherever my instinct takes me.

During these particular travels there were these string of occurrences where I kept seeing someone in a mask. Of course this never happened when I was near my wife and it always happened so quickly that I would never be able to document it.  She thought I was crazy or seeing things. And who knows, she could have been right.  Who knows if I was.  Sometimes those local libations have a somewhat unusual effect!

Needless to say, between the masks and the architecture (and local flavors!); I was inspired.

As far as the meaning of the images, I honestly don’t know.   I just know they were in my mind and I had to photograph them.  Maybe they will inspire others to make up a story to go with them.  As Shakespeare wrote for Hamlet, “God hath given you one face, and you make yourself another…”

© Ron Berg

© Ron Berg

© Ron Berg

Ron Berg talks about updating his website – it is never easy, is it?

Recently, I wrote a  post for Agency Access’  The Lab about what photographer’s should consider when redesigning their website.  I answered the question, “Do clients expect cutting-edge design from your website or are they just interested on the work being displayed? ”  Well, recently Ron Berg redesigned his website and it is not surprising that he and I talked about all those same things that I mentioned in the post before starting the project.  When I asked Ron to share with us some of his thoughts on the process, here is what he shared.

“Some of you may or may not know, but my old website had won approximately twenty awards; including being selected into Tashchen’s Book of ICONS for the Top 200 Web Design Portfolios Worldwide in 2006. Since it was not a contest or something we submitted for judgment, we were totally surprised. When we received the call from Taschen to say that we were giddy was an understatement. I still love going into a bookstore and seeing it on the shelf.

Of course, nothing can last forever.  So in 2011, when Heather Elder began representing me, we knew it was time to evolve the site.  The awards had done their job well for us but the needs of the viewer had now changed.  Our goal would no longer be that of of winning awards, but of functionality (with some nice deign added in too!).

We understood that the users wanted to be able to get in to and out of the site easily.  Navigation was key.  Also, we needed to show the images larger, add video and enable the site for sharing images via social media.  I was hesitant at first but after discussions Heather had me convinced that we were going to turn the existing award winning site on its ear and start fresh.  As we all know trends and techniques in the worldwide web change exponentially. Therefore five years had become a lifetime.

It was no surprise that the design took almost a year.  From designer, to photographer, to programmer, to rep….then back again, then back again, then back again….It almost takes a perfect storm to make it literally picture perfect in the end.

We chose LiveBooks because we liked the ease of which we could customize our look and upload images.  Livebooks‘ design allowed us to duplicate the loading feature of my previous site, (my favorite part) which we was important to us.  The rest though,  is new design that compliments our new portfolio, direct mail, emailer and source book ad templates.

While I know I won’t be seeing this site in one of Tashchen’s books, I do know the site is current with how people are utilizing websites nowadays.  The feedback we have been getting is strong so we know all the work was worth it.”

If you like Ron Berg’s new website, please help us brag about it and share with others.

Ron Berg celebrates the unsung hero.

Awhile ago I asked all of our artists to consider the question, “Who is your hero?”  Hunter Freeman and Kevin Twomey sent along responses that were not surprising at all.  Now it is Ron Berg’s turn and once again it is proved that everyone is true to their brand.  Ron is a thoughtful and caring person.   So, of course he wrote the following.

“When Heather gave me this assignment over a year ago. It had become a true albatross for me. A writer I am not!  I had thought about it often and finally, one day, ‘what defines a hero for me’ came to me as I was “people watching”.

Since a child I have always been a subconscious intent observer of people and the human condition.  My parents would have to continually remind me to quit staring.  And, as many who know me, I’m a bit of the quiet type and more of a listener and spectator.  I swing from humility to repulsive as an observer. Lately, there seems to be a lot of head shaking in disbelief. Deep breath, Ron!

So when it hit me, it reminded me that those that continue to inspire and humble me are those who are NOT heroic in the true sense. They are the people I wish I were more like. Isn’t that what makes a hero? Not athletes, celebrities, reality stars, and the beautiful.  Why is it that we continue to celebrate and revere? I’m guilty…it’s all too easy to fall for them.  I find it as easy as the next guy to get sucked-in to fame and stardom due to the inundation of information and all forms of media we are subjected to.

I have to goose myself back to reality often. We are ALL only human after-all…right?

Or do those in the limelight fall into that just super human category?  I think not!

So for me it is those that are the unsung. Those that daily, hourly, and probably most every second of their lives make sacrifices; for themselves, for their families and for strangers alike.

As the saying goes… Pay It Forward, Smile to a Stranger, and make an extraordinary sacrifice!”