Tag Archives: books

Want to learn more but don’t have the time?

I’m still in learning mode after finishing my MBA in December, 2011. So I take the time to read all the leadership and new/social media books I can find because my WPM, words per minute, is still in overdrive. You may not have the time to go back to school or read a tone of the latest books but what if you could listen to a lecture series from a top University over your lunch break? With iTunes U you can. You know you have seen the link in your iPhone or iPad for iTunes U , Have you ever clicked on it? I’m currently watching a series of business leadership lectures from MIT, free! Sadly, these great lectures only have 52 reviews because so few people know they can literally go back to school on their phones, with no tuition. Pick a topic and learn from the best academics in the world. I may not matriculate from MIT but I can be as sharp as their grads! Isn’t getting the knowledge the real point?

A new feature! Guest blogger Al Diaz

I had the wonderful opportunity to work alongside a fabulous talent during my stint in Miami, Al Diaz. Here is a brief Bio of Al who I hope will share content here with us on a regular basis. Following his bio is a wonderful Q&A featured on Al’s blog AL Diaz Photo. You can also find his link in my blogroll. Thanks Al, welcome to the HSSC blog! – Hill

 Miami photojournalist Al Diaz is a member of The Miami Herald news team that won the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for the newspaper’s coverage of Hurricane Andrew and the McClatchy President’s Award for Journalism Excellence for coverage of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. In 2010 he was awarded a Green Eye Shade Award for sports and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for portraits of disadvantaged families during the holidays in 2003. Over the years, Diaz has received numerous honors from various journalism organizations.

Back in the day, when shooting on film for the Miami Herald, photographers often made film runs for each other to meet deadline. The photographer would continue shooting while the first batch of Tri-X would get processed in our lab. On this day I made a run for Brian Smith at a late night press conference. There was Brian all set up with light stands and his portable Norman 200B’s on either side of the makeshift platform assembled for the speaker. I was amazed at how he would go through so much trouble to light up such a mundane event. No one else was doing it.

Q. Brian, what motivates you to strive for the extraordinary in your work?

A.It’s probably just my mid-western work ethic showing through. If you’re going to do something – do it well.

Q.Who influenced you most in your career?

There are a lot of photographers who I look up to for different reasons. Gregory Heisler was a mentor for his expertise in lighting and the thought he puts into his portraits. George Hurrell and Irving Penn were two of my favorite portrait photographers. No one has ever captured Hollywood glamour better than Hurrell and Penn’s portraiture continued to evolve through his remarkable career. Elliott Erwitt’s photographs prove that photography is a great way to share a smile. Elliott loves what he does and it shows in every photograph he takes.

Q; You travel for days at a time and work long hours including weekends. So often that puts a strain on a marriage. How do you balance your busy schedule and family life with Fazia?

A.I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to work and travel with my wife Fazia for the past 20 years. You really need a crew on most portrait shoots and she’s so versatile that she can do anything from hair & make-up to styling to production on our shoots allowing us to work and travel together as we collaborate on everything.

Q. What is your relationship with Sony and why?

A. I’m one of seven photographers in Sony’s Artisans of Imagery program. We speak at schools and trade shows around the country. Sony approached me when they were developing their pro a900 camera. They gave me their previous camera and asked for feedback. I was blown away by the quality of their Zeiss lenses, so I gave them a list of what I thought should be included in the new camera. When the new camera came out with all the stuff I asked for I was even more impressed that they asked what they should do next.

Q. You have a talent for impersonations, has that ever helped you put a subject at ease?

A.Getting your subjects to laugh can really help the mood of a shoot, but since many of the people I shoot make people laugh for a living, I never try to upstage a professional. Of course it’s a huge compliment when you make a comedian crack up.

Q. How did you begin to conceptualize the ART & SOUL book project?

A.Kayla Lindquist of Sony approached me with the idea for ART & SOUL which was to partner with The Creative Coalition to photograph stars during Oscars Week 2009 and get them to write in a journal something about what the arts means to them. From our very first shoot of Tim Daly we realized we’d struck gold. So we just kept shooting and building upon the idea. When an incredible great project gets dropped in your lap, you’ve simply got to take it all the way.

Q. Start to finish, how long did it take you to complete the book?

A.The book was shot in 20 days over a 15 month period. It then took another 6 months to get our publisher to green-light the book and then production took another 6 months for me to edit, retouch and lay the book out.

Q. Did all your photo sessions for the book go as planned? Better than I could have possibly imagined. There was something really special about this project from the very start. Because the project was about the arts, so we naturally focused upon that first defining moment when the arts clicked for them. Even the most celebrated star were transported back to their first school play when their biggest stage was shared with school assemblies and their entourage and stretch limo were their friends in the back of mom’s minivan.

Q. Regarding photography equipment used for ART & SOUL, what’s in the bag?

ASony a900 camera Sony Zeiss 24-70/2.8 lens Sony Zeiss 85/1.4 lens Sony Zeiss 135/1.8 lens Sony 100/2.8 Macro lens PocketWizard Transceivers

Q. What’s your advice for a young photographer?

A. Learn to work with people. If you’re going to be a photographer you have to know how to work with people. The best advice I was ever given was to go out and shoot portraits of 50 strangers that reveled something about who they were. It’s an exercise that I’ve done throughout my career.

Q. Do you always hang out at nudist colonies?

A. Just for work…the true joy of portrait photography is meeting all types of people and finding a way to tell their stories. Sports Illustrated called with the best words a photographer can ever hear are “We have a shoot that is perfect for you..” the only way that gets better is if their next words are “Nudist Golf…”

Art & Soul: Stars Unite to Celebrate and Support the Arts By Brian Smith, Robin Bronk ART & SOUL is a large-format glossy coffee-table book, featuring intimate portraits of celebrities from the entertainment industry including film, television, music and stage. The stunning images, shot by Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Brian Smith, are accompanied by personal testimonials from each artist expressing the importance of the arts in our culture and the positive impact it has on our lives. The notes – in each artist’s own handwriting – range from whimsical to weighty, but all offer insight into the individuals background and how their lives were shaped by art. Celebrities photographed for the book include such luminaries as: Anne Hathaway, Samuel L. Jackson, Adrien Brody, Adrian Grenier, Kelsey Grammer, Joe Mantegna, Alyssa Milano, Harry Belafonte, Amanda Peet, John Turturro, Kerry Washington, Zooey Deschanel and many more. The book is created in partnership with The Creative Coalition, the premier public advocacy charity, founded by prominent figures in the entertainment industry. It is an important part of a campaign to focus national attention on the need to ensure that arts in America thrive and flourish. A terrific gift, ART & SOUL helps to support the arts, inspiring future generations of creative artists.

What’s your reach job?

You remember when applying to college you had that one school that it might be a stretch to get into but If you were accepted you knew you’d rise to the occasion? OK so now focus that feeling toward the job you know you’d rise to the occasion for. What is it? Have you set your sights on it? Why not? While reading another of my favorite business author Daniel H. Pinks’ books “Drive.” In the book, Pink talks about the intrinsic motivators that drive people to be successful. The carrot and stick approach as he calls it is so “2000 and late.” Intrinsic motivators are how to inspire your staff, and yourself. So that same feeling you had about your reach school is what will compel you to rise to the occasion at your reach job. Ok I’m over simplifying but I challenge you to read the book, define your reach job and set your sights on it. You’ll rise to the occasion.

Yes, photojournalism is great training for business!

In his book, “A Whole New Mind,” Daniel H. Pink makes a great case for the artistic mind in today’s business world, I agree. I am often asked “How relevant are your photojournalism skills in business and new media?” I refrain from the puzzled look then respond, “Extremely!” You need to be analytical, social, open to change, part geek, part therapist and part artist. I am a trained photojournalist, experienced manager, MBA and professor. The first career trained me for all the other accomplishments.

Photojournalists are typically the gadget geeks in the newsroom. This lends itself to ease of learning when faced with new equipment and software. We have also navigated a series of industry changes. The transition from dark rooms to PhotoShop, the near death of the film camera and learning to shoot and edit video all while producing quality audio required a lot of flexibility. The photographer in me has learned to be a Jack-Of-All-Trades and master of many! Simply put, successful photojournalists are fast creative problem solvers with technological savvy and people skills.

Photojournalists have to deal with an awful lot on an assignment. We need to document the news visually and be artistic about it. We meet and relate to new people every day.  Often we deal with people at the single worst moment of their lives, so empathy is a given. Building relationships quickly gains us the trust needed to photograph naturally apprehensive subjects. The deadline pressure is often insane, so the fast pace of new media suites us just fine.  Did I mention you need to find ways to get into places that are not necessarily safe for the general public, and avoid injury or equipment loss?  I’m not going on the record about how useful these skill are! Suffice it to say I’ve been hit by a NASCAR  and still made the picture. We are professional, behaving appropriately on Air Force One.  Photogs are natural competitors, comparing our photo play daily in news outlets across the country.

Photojournalists do much more than this. We have breadth and depth of experience that easily translates into today’s tech heavy business world. New media, no problem.  With the trials of the newspaper industry, it is worth it for photogs to consider a new path. So colleagues, while this is a trying time for photojournalists across the country, have no fear there is a place for your training in the private sector! Employers, it may just be time to start hiring “A Whole New Mind.