Photograph: Jim Hendin

I spent close to an hour this morning on my elliptical trainer listening to “What’s Going On” in it’s entirety. This is something I have not done in quite a while and the same goes for the elliptical. This has nothing to do with photography except for the 1971 Jim Hendin photo of Marvin Gaye that was used as the “What’s Going On” album cover. However, it  does have something to do with the notion of fighting for what it is you believe. For artists this is paramount.

“What’s Going On” was a song written by The Four Tops‘ Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Al Cleveland, another Motown writer. Gaye was given  a 1/3 ownership in the song to sing and produce it. A suite of songs followed written by Gaye and others that resulted in the landmark concept album. There are conflicting stories about its release.  One is that Berry Gordy, upon hearing the song, proclaimed it to be “the worst thing he’s ever heard”, and tried to block its release. If you’ve ever seen the movie version of “Dreamgirls“, this scenario will seem familiar.

Supposedly the release slipped by Gordy as he was tending to the solo career of Diana Ross and the song became an instant hit, selling 100,000 copies in  the first week of release, landing the #2 spot on Billboard’s Top 100 pop songs and remaining at #1 on the R&B charts for 5 weeks.

The other version is that upon hearing the song, Berry relayed to Smokey Robinson that he did not like it because he didn’t believe it was commercial and feared that it would never get played on the radio. Gaye offered an ultimatum to Berry which was “Put it out or I’ll never record for you again”. I am inclined to believe this version, as an old acquaintance of mine, writer David Ritz is the author of “Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye“. David conducted a series of interviews with Gaye for a projected “autobiography” and following Gaye’s death, finished writing it as a biography. Berry lost that battle and with that signaled the shift from the power of the producer to the power of the artist. The music industry, and certainly Motown were never to be the same again.

Robinson called the album “the single greatest record ever made by anyone”. It is difficult to argue with that as its relevance is even greater today than when first written forty two years ago.

I always advise photographers to get a point of view and stick to it. If you have something of substance, standing by it will be easy.

Photographer Alberto Guglielmi’s SURFER DNA exhibition will be held in NYC on Wednesday, June 5 from 6-9 pm at Sohotel Art Space, 345 Broome Street.

A skilled surfer himself,  Alberto created this body of work in order to promote continued awareness of the efforts made by Waves For Water Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative.

This work will also be shown in Los Angeles at Aesthesia Studios on Thursday, June 13.

Mesmerizing imagery from Japanese artist Lieko Shiga. To see more visit here.

In an attempt to re-energize an oxygen depleted brand and attract a younger demographic, RadioShack has teamed up with Robin Thicke and bikini clad girls who dance and do various sundry things with the very phallic looking Pill speakers from Beats by Dr. Dre. I wish RadioShack the best of luck. The ad can be seen here.

SURFER DNA, a portrait series by photographer Alberto Guglielmi will be exhibited at an evening to promote continued awareness of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and the efforts of Waves for Water Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative. The event will take place at Aesthesia Studios, 12130 Washington Place, Los Angeles on Thursday, June 13th from 6-9pm.

“Surfer DNA provides a visual allegory for the change that occurs when someone becomes a surfer: it doesn’t just affect your life; it becomes part of your DNA. A surfer’s relationship to the ocean is deeply personal; they learn to live in, love, and respect it. The board becomes an extension of one’s self – the means by which they make a connection to the water, both physically and spiritually.”

© Gerd Ludwig

SLEEPING CARS, a wonderful body of work from photographer Gerd Ludwig examines how and where cars sleep. With more than seven million automobiles clogging our streets in LA, it’s good to know that some take a break.

Gerd Ludwig is the real deal. For an incredibly enriching experience, visit his website and spend a lot of time there.

With or without representation, it’s still your career to manage and control. I will be in Chicago to present my HOW TO BE YOUR OWN BEST REP seminar on May 22nd. Joining me will be photographers Eric Klein, Ted Tamburo and Ogilvy Senior Art Buyer Susan Hatten. Please click on the image for details. Register by 6 pm May 22nd and your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free YODELIST subscription.

YODELIST is a new platform for members from all sides of the commercial art work to connect and promote themselves. Their creative contact lists are highly verified and include art buyers, creative teams and the production community in ways that benefit everyone. Building on and improving the former Workbook Directory, YODELIST will offer artists more comprehensive marketing capabilities than ever before, with a solid history that spans 35 years. While YODELIST has sourced Workbook data, it is a separate company. I will also be available for a limited number of consultations. If interested, please contact me here.

TALK!

TALK! is a new program I’ll be presenting at ON THE ROAD, a two day workshop from PDN Photo Plus, WPPI, ASMP and KELBY TRAINING geared toward a broad range of photographers on Monday May 20th and Tuesday, May 21st. I will be speaking on Monday with guest panelists, photographers Saverio Truglia, Kevin Miyazaki and a third guest to be announced. Please check out the details here.

HOW TO BE YOUR OWN BEST REP

Let’s face it. Now more than ever, there are way too many photographers and not enough reps. Many photographers believe that in order to be successful they must have representation. While a good agent can help to make a difference, there are no guarantees. Even with representation, the photographer must always take an active part in shaping and maintaining their careers. Join creative consultant Debra Weiss and guests for a frank and open discussion including topics such as the cost of having an agent, expectations—real and imaginary—from both sides of the table, how to get meetings and what to do once you’ve got them, getting the work you want, understanding negotiation and formulating a career plan. This program is geared toward any photographer, represented or not, who wants to have a better grasp on how to run their business more efficiently and effectively.

Andrea Kaye, VP of Art Production and photographer Reed Young will be joining me at 1:30 today at the Javits Center for this very informative program. 

Many thanks to my great panel yesterday that included photographer Erik Almas, agent Candace Gelman and creative director Kevin Jordan for their participation in HOW TO GET WORK FROM AD AGENCIES.

“We make the tools and services that allow people to feel human, get together, open up.” Rebecca Van Dyck, Head of Consumer Marketing at Facebook.

Quite a shock to learn that one not only needs permission to feel human, but they also need Facebook in order to do so. It kind of makes you wonder how it is we humans “felt” b.fb. (before Facebook). I can remember how I felt and I’m sure that it was a lot better.

Facebook announced today that it has reached a billion users. Personally, I prefer dinner parties of six or less, but that’s just me.  To commemorate this milestone, they have released a “film” – I wasn’t aware that films came in the form of a minute and a half commercial, but since I prefer dinner parties of six or less, I may be out of touch.

The “film” entitled “Things That Connect” from Portland, Oregon agency Wieden and Kennedy is a series of vignettes beginning with people in chairs  (okay, they have one up on Clint Eastwood), which then moves on to show us other means of people coming together through various modes of transportation and a sporting event.  All to remind us that we are not alone. With a billion users, you sure as hell aren’t.

The spot – oops – film while well executed  (and it should be coming form Wieden) would have been better served by eliminating the condescending voice-over.  As if it isn’t enough that large type spelling “doorbell”, “airplanes” and “bridges” was displayed when showing us a doorbell, airplane and bridge, I got the feeling  (as a  human of course) that they are addressing five year olds. For all I know, they are. But when I was five I never would have been spoken to in such a banal manner.

To view please visit here.

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