Friday July 25th, 2014
Thursday July 24th, 2014
by Liz Ream
Recently, DC-based photographer Eli Meir Kaplan took a jaunt down to Goshen Scout Reservation in Virginia to shoot some personal work for the Boy Scouts of America. This was a natural light project, like most of Eli’s work, and filled with iconography that hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years.
I chatted with Eli about his inspiration for the project:
Goshen Scout Reservation first came to my attention because I had an intern who worked at one of the main Boy Scouts of America camps every summer, which sounded interesting. I did a quick Google search and found Goshen Scout Reservation, which exclusively serves Scouts from the Washington, DC area. It was set in the Shenandoah Valley, which is beautiful. Also, I was a Cub Scout as a kid and went to a similar camp for a week.
It was a two day shoot, with the first being mostly location scouting.
Eli plans on putting together a print promo piece featuring the project. For more of Eli’s work, check out his website.
Wednesday July 23rd, 2014
by Liz Ream
One of the main skills Art Meripol learned while working as a travel photographer for Southern Living for 25 years was that “great travel shoots are about letting the people tell the story of the place.”
His recent project for the State of Alabama Department of Tourism required him to photograph 60-80 places, all with one thing in common: southern barbeque. The photos are for a book on barbeque in Alabama, scheduled to come out this fall. Art has already documented 40 places, with another 30-40 to go.
Art said he was thrilled to get the job, but it’s also a challenge: “How do you make sure it’s not page after page of brown food?”
The solution to the challenge of incorporating variety into his shots included making them not just about the food, but about the people.
The writer I’m working with is researching in advance of my shoots. Her shot lists have been good at helping me decide what to shoot at each place. The pit masters and personality photos are the most fun.
Although the pit masters add an important aspect to the book, at the end of the day, people want to see what the food looks like. Art found himself going for close-up shots more often, focusing on all the yummy details:
I want people to see the detail in the burnt edges, the smoke ring and whether it’s pulled, chopped or sliced. The basic repertoire of shots consists of the staff, exteriors, interiors, customers, signs, plate shots and grills, pits and smokers. Within that I look for as much variation as possible.
Another challenge has been keeping himself fresh and energized despite shooting so many locations in such a short amount of time. (In the heart of southern summer at that!) Art keeps ample amounts of water and apples within reach, and does everything he can to limit taste testing. He has been updating his fan base via Instagram and Facebook (hashtag: #mysummerofsmoke). He had his annual physical before he started shooting, and is aiming to keep his cholesterol consistent despite all of the delicious temptation!
Although there’s a plethora of yummy food and variety of locations, Art says that this book is all about great craftsmen, with each location a new challenge and new story to tell. He will rise at 4:30 a.m. most days, sharing the quiet pre-dawn hours with just the pit masters, talking barbeque and life in Alabama.
Art’s favorite part of the project thus far? Getting to explore his own state:
I traveled out of state and across the south for almost 25 years for [Southern Living] magazine. When I came home from trips I stayed home to be with family. I’m now going down the back roads and seeing all the towns and rural areas that were just places on a map before. There’s some real beauty I never knew existed.
The project is scheduled to wrap in early August. For more of Art’s work, check out his website.