Thursday, January 22, 2009

Photographer Sighting: Inaugural Ball

Josh and Gary at the Environmental and Clean Energy Inaugural Ball. Unfortunately no sordid stories to report from the evening.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catch GHG in person

There are a series of meetings/festivals/conferences we will be attending through the end of the year to promote the agency, catch up with old friends, and generally just have a good time. Here are two favorites that we recommend you drop everything and check out:

Art Basel Miami

December 4-7 but Josh is already down there with the gallery he shows with.

NCSE: Biodiversity in a Rapidly Changing World

December 8-10. Josh will be there, Gary is a sponser and has a table/photos everywhere.

Drop a line if you're in attendance at either of these great events.

Also Henry Gregg Gallery is having a NYC opening December 11th...we are always at those.

Josh a New Thinker

World Changing profiled Josh Wolfe as a "New Thinker" for his work on climate change and with GHG Photos. Check it out here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

People Saying Nice Things: Part IV

We've been out of the office the last couple of days pitching the agency to potential clients. In that time a couple of people have written nice things about us. Here are some highlights:

"From polar bears on thin ice to killer smog clouds smothering Asia, pictures play a hugely important role in shaping our understanding of the world and the threats posed to it. That’s why it's so great to hear about the birth of GHG Photos, a coalition of science, environmental, nature, and documentary photographers who have spent the last several years focused on greenhouse gas emissions and effects of those emissions on our planet."

From Sami Grover in Treehugger

"Joshua Wolfe, one of GHG's photographers, tells BJP that the agency's goal is to raise the standards of photography on the subject by producing scientifically accurate images that will better explain climate change and help influence discussion."

From British Journal of Photography

Monday, November 10, 2008

People Saying Nice Things: Part III

Ron Steinman of the Digital Journalist profiled and interviewed Josh Wolfe, GHG Photos President in the November issue:

"I know a young photojournalist in Brooklyn named Joshua Wolfe who devotes his time and craft to making pictures of climate change. Wolfe is also an entrepreneur, a young man with big ideas."

The full article and a gallery of images from the agencies members can be seen here.

Back in 2005 Ron also reviewed a gallery show that was the first collaborative effort of the group. It featured Josh, Gary, Peter and Ashley. Check out the review here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The State of the Industry

So in the last couple of weeks US News and World Report became a monthly magazine, Christian Science Monitor canceled their print edition, and Scripps is cutting 400 jobs. Pretty much opening up MediaWeek's magazine news page is a prescription for depression for anyone working in print journalism. It is in that context Ron Steinman of the Digital Journalist profiled GHG Photos with an article titled Bucking the Trend. In the worst of possible times in our industry (knock on wood) we decided to launch a photo agency, and Ron's article (in which he says incredibly nice things about us that are covered in another blog posting) is a good launching pad for a discussion of our goals in the current business climate.

For the last couple of years things have been getting progressively worse for photographers. Some might argue the trend is decades old (and they would be right) but that is a different discussion. There have been a collection of recent factors: declining budgets, rising costs, too many photographers, less work to go around, the proliferation of low cost stock agencies, more restrictive contracts, we could make a list three pages long. That was the situation when we decided to found the agency a couple of months back. Now with the financial crisis things have gone from bad to worse. Just think of the industries that won't be buying as many ads (cars, banks, insurance, luxury goods, etc...). Plus with all the job cuts there are going to be a lot more freelancers out there (more of a problem for writers...there have always been too many photographers...just ask around at any bar in NYC, if your bartender isn't an actor they are probably a photographer). A second challenge is NGOs, educational institutions and foundations, another source of work for us. If the value of their endowments is down, the 5% of their assets that foundations are required to spend is down. Hence less money for NGOs to sponsor work like ours. We could go on about doom and gloom for a while but we are still optimistic and here is why:

While photographers are going to take some major hits in the next year, the signs were there. No one expected for all the factors to come together at the same time but we built our business model around the decline of traditional sources of income. Our concept is to work as a group to secure long term sources of funding and to create opportunities where they didn't previously exist. We are still chasing after magazine work (and derive a lot of our income from them) but it is increasingly unlikely they will underwrite some of projects we work on. To photograph a scientist taking ice cores on a glacier in Peru is a two week endeavour at best. Start with acclimating to the altitude, then you have to get there and climb to the research site...and then you have to get back. It would have been hard to get a magazine to underwrite that a year it will be near impossible. There will be more local assignments and more purchases of already existing images for things like ice cores. (Note: If you are a magazine editor looking for a photographer to work on the above concept, we have at least two photographers itching to go)

But this was factored in. We needed to start looking for alternative funding sources. The goal of GHG Photos is to find those sources as a group. We are much more attractive to work with as a group than individuals. Already since our launch last week organizations that haven't previously worked with photographers are interested in pursuing new projects. It is a depressing time to be a photographer but we are excited to explore new ways to get our work out there. And if all else fails we are documentary photographers, we are used to being broke.

People Saying Nice Things: Part II

This morning Walter Winch posted a note about our agency on the Kansas City Star's environmental blog "KC Earth Notes." He wrote:

"Some stunning pictures taken by environmental, nature, and documentary photographers. It seems to me that if more people can see these images and understand what is happening, the more likely "sustainability" will be more than a curious, intellectual abstraction."

Check out the post here.