APPLE has pulled their widely criticized “Genius” ad campaign. Apple’s agency TBWA/Media/Arts Lab claimed that this was their strategy all along as the ads were intended to run only during the first weekend of the Olympics.

Does one miss negate all the great advertising that came before?

Just once I’d love to hear the responsible parties stand up and say “We tried something and it didn’t work.” Is that really so difficult a thing to do? Human beings make mistakes. Everything can’t be a home run.

After all, as Alexander Pope stated, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”

To read more please go to

Is spending several hours of the work day “networking” on Facebook a legitimate professional activity? Is this productive in producing new business or is it a simply form of procrastination?

Comments welcome at my Facebook page.

Contemplating the greater mysteries - like your time on Facebook. Photograph © Patricia van de Kamp

Yesterday, I said goodbye to a dear friend of nearly thirty years. Tony Ringo Law was a wildlife animal trainer, photographer, painter and writer. More importantly she was someone with a huge heart, infectious smile and a willingness to help everyone and everything.

For those of you old enough to remember a television show called “Daktari”, it was Toni, along with then husband Ralph Helfer who owned and trained those wonderful animals that the country grew to love on a weekly basis – Judy the Chimp and Clarence the cross-eyed lion.

Daktari was filmed at Africa USA, a 600 acre wild animal ranch and training compound  in Soledad Canyon, CA created by Ralph and Toni. Tragedy struck in 1969 when a powerful storm over Soledad Canyon resulted in severe flooding and mudslides, destroying the compound.

I met Toni somewhere around the mid-eighties. Her sister Stevie (also at one time a trainer) was my best friend who passed away at much too early an age. Toni gave me one of the more incredible moments of my life when she took me to the compound that housed movie star animals. Her lion, the face of the MGM logo lived there along with a couple of her hyenas, the Exxon tigers, the wolves from from the feature film Wolfen, the Mercury car commercial cougar, (Toni preceded Farah Fawcett as the the woman in the Mercury car commercial (now there’s a bit of trivia) and countless other famous animals.

Toni and I decided to take the two Exxon tigers out for a walk. There are no words to describe what it felt like to be standing in between the majesty of those two creatures with just a leash and a simple stick. The stick was there to put in front of them should they get playful and want to jump on us. That, of course would have resulted in an immediate lights out situation. We had to cross a two lane road in order to get up into the hills where they liked to walk. A car passed and after traveling a couple of hundred feet beyond us came to a screeching halt. The driver, straining to look back through the side view mirror must have thought he was hallucinating.  It was an experience I will treasure always.

Original art from a June 22, 1968 TV Guide cover

Toni will be sorely missed by all who new her and never forgotten. If heaven exists, it is now a better place for both humans and animals.

An extension of each other

The problem with blogs is that you actually have to create content. Judging by my last entry it is obvious that I’m not terribly diligent when it comes to writing blog posts. (So much to do,  so little time). I have decided to make an effort to change this. Since these posts will be visible on my Facebook page, for the sake of expediency, I’d appreciate comments being placed there. The link is on the left side of the page. Thank you.

I will be presenting HOW TO GET WORK FROM AD AGENCIES on Thursday, October 27th at 8:45 am at PDN PHOTOPLUS EXPO. Joining me will be panelists Agent Ray Brown, EVP, Senior Creative Director, BBDO NY Dennis Lim, Photographer Glen Wexler and Sr Art Buyer, McGarry Bowen Amy Zimmerman. This program is geared toward any photographer who is looking to get work from ad agencies. To register, please visit here.

On Friday at 1:30 pm, I will be presenting HOW TO BE YOUR OWN BEST REP with panelists Photographer Robert Whitman and Patti Zarkin, V.P. Senior Art Producer at Publicis New York. Whether or not you have an agent, you still have to be the one in control of your business. To register, please visit here

I will be presenting COPYRIGHT: KNOW IT OR BLOW IT  on Wednesday, October 26th at SVA with guests Photographer and Author John Harrington, Photographer and PLUS CEO Jeff Sedlik and Attorney James Silverberg. This is a free program sponsored by APA National. Panel discussion is from 10am – 1 pm and a tutorial with John Harrington who will teach you the correct way to register your images with the US Copyright Office is from 2pm – 4pm.  PLEASE RSVP HERE.

And on Wednesday, November 2nd, I’ll be in Rochester, NY presenting at RIT from 6pm – 10 pm, and in Washington, DC on Saturday, November 5th at 3pm at FOTOWEEK DC. If you’re in or near any of those cities, I’d love to see you.

Not permitting the economic downturn of the past few years dampen his drive, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Brian Smith along with generous support from Sony Electronics photographed celebrities from film, music, television and theatre working with The Creative Coalition for ART & SOUL: STARS UNITE TO CELEBRATE AND SUPPORT THE ARTS. The book features 123 stunning portraits (all photographed with Sony’s a900 DSLR camera) along with handwritten notes from the celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Spike Lee, Tony Bennett, Adrien Brody and many others who all share their personal thoughts on how art has influenced their lives and our culture.

ART & SOUL is the cornerstone of a grassroots campaign that focuses national attention on the need to ensure that arts in America thrive and flourish.  According to Smith, ““This project provided a wonderful way for all of the artists involved to give back and encourage future generations of creative artists.”

A generous portion of the proceeds from the sales of ART & SOUL goes toward supporting the work of The Creative Coalition, the premier nonprofit advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment communities. The book can be purchased here.

October is National Arts Month and this is a perfect way for all of us to help.

MIchael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. Photograph by Robert Whitaker.

Few people got to see this album cover that showed the Beatles in white butcher coats wearing chunks of raw meat and dismembered dolls that was to be officially released on June 15, 1966. The day before its release, Capitol Records killed it due to distributors’ objections. Known in Beatles lore as “the butcher cover”, the album was a compilation record offering songs from previous albums in addition to songs from the then coming “Revolver’ album.

Hundreds of thousands of copies were believed to have been recalled, but 25,000 may have been sold. While this was the only Beatles record to lose money for the record label, it did make it to Number 1 on July 30th and remained there for five weeks.

Robert Whitaker said the idea for the cover was solely his. Unopened copies of the album, originally sold for $2.99 have gone for more than $20,000. The photographer never owned one.

Robert Whitaker passed away on September 20th. RIP

Georgia O'Keefe and ranch hand. Ansel Adams © 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

This photograph is one of 70 from The Museum Set portfolio,  a collection of hand printed images by Adams that he considered to be his best work. While the portfolio includes images most frequently associated with Adams, it also contains portraits and architectural imagery. Thanks to his daughter, Anne Adams Helms, “Classic Images: Ansel Adams” can be seen at Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois through January 8, 2012. If you’re in the Chicago area, you won’t want to miss this exhibit.

Romania 1968 - Josef Koudelka-Magnum

This photograph is one of the many amazing images from the revised and expanded version of Koudelka: Gypsies from Aperture. Originally published in 1975 and considered one of the most influential photography books of the 20th century, the book features 109 images of Europe’s Roma populations in Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, France and Spain. To read more please visit here.

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