Don't get me wrong ... I really liked it here.  The freedom, the words etc. etc.  But it's time to change formats.  If you want to catch my new work, and see what's cracking with me go to ....


Thanks for all of your support and viewership.  The Doc the Artist, vol. I book is in the works as we speak.

Love, Brandi


You know I particularly like Lady Gaga, not because I’m a fan of dance music (which is something I that I forget because I see her out of context more than I listen to her music) but because she is in control of her image. I also like the route that Erykah Badu has taken in making sure that none of her songs leaked by anyone but herself so she can maximize her creative control as well as her monetary gains (do you know that she has never had a manager - INSPIRING!).

I must admit that my journey in photography has at times been like feeling around in the dark trying to find my way. At times it works and sometimes things fall flat, but I’m working and I’m trying. For better or worse it all brings me to this point in my life. I love shooting and sharing my work, but I don’t like finding out that images that I have taken have made their way into publications (some big, other’s indie) without my knowledge or permission. I even have seen images that I have taken for agencies out there and have never received a check for it. To paraphrase Erykah, “damn, can a bitch eat?”

I know there is a solution for this, part of it is that I have to put my big girl panties on and really mind my business. The other part is that I will be switching over to a different format while I wait for the formation of my new website that will debut this summer. I appreciate the love and will keep everyone posted but as of right now this blog will be shut down March 20th, this Saturday. Please feel free to stop by the blog and leave your comments and most importantly leave your email (you can either email me or enter the info in on fanbridge).

Catch yall on the flip flop!
Peace and Love,

Brandi Pettijohn

I believe I heard that Doc the Artist on Dawud Anyabwile will be playing at the Opening Reception of the Brotherman III artshow at the Auburn Research Library this Saturday.

Also check my homegirl Sheba's Rough Lauguage crew event on Saturday at 595 North Avenue Poetry Slam and Performances by Eva Kennedy and Phillipia.

If you are in the D.C. area please check my work out at Art Beats & Lyrics. It's an amazing event, free booze (but really look at the art work and enjoy it...there's some incredible pieces in there) and dope music. HAVE FUN YALLL!

Here's the last photo I took for Maurice Thompson (shout out to paying clients!!!), he wanted a headshot and I really like the way this one came out.

Making Music Photography Lucrative

Making Music Photography Lucrative

Jan 5, 2010

By Conor Risch (

As the music industry evolved over the last several years, the business of photographing musicians and bands for record labels changed with it. Despite declining album sales industry-wide, reps who get their shooters work with music labels say they have just as many jobs now as they did a few years ago. They also say there are still big-budget commercial music jobs to be had. What’s changed, they say, is that the fee structures now vary greatly, and that labels, like every other photo client, want more for less.

What can make working for a record label worthwhile for photographers, especially jobs with smaller budgets, depends on a number of intangibles, such as the potential for licensing, future assignments in the music industry or the chance to build a portfolio that appeals to advertisers.

Negotiating Usage is Key

Reps whose photographers regularly work for record labels say that negotiating fees for usages like publicity, packaging, album covers, t-shirts and other merchandise, and celebrity endorsed advertising is key to running a successful business.

Jen Jenkins, a Los Angeles-based rep who founded Giant Artists in 2006 after managing bands in the music industry for several years, says a larger number of labels are asking “for usage in perpetuity and for all usage, meaning whatever [the photography] fits now and whatever it fits in the future. They’re anticipating format changes now, which they weren’t before.”

Jenkins says that if a label wants to pay more she will grant all usage, but her normal practice is to grant usage for publicity only, and then to negotiate additional fees for things like packaging and album covers. She also says she tries to limit usage terms, and leaves “merchandise for sale” out of her deals if possible. “That’s a good negotiating point—if the band comes back down the line and wants to use three images on t-shirts, then we would charge.”

Well-negotiated usage fees can help make up for shortfalls in day rates, says Caryn Weiss of Weiss Artists, Inc., a Los Angeles-based rep who has worked with music industry clients for more than 17 years. “I’ve had jobs where the day rate isn’t that great but [the client comes] back and does a full buyout for merchandise for sale, and we do end up making some good money on it.”

Weiss also tries to withhold celebrity endorsed advertising rights so that her photographers are compensated if an advertising agency decides they want to use shots for an ad campaign based on a musician’s endorsement.

For example, when Kate Turning shot the package for Britney Spears’ album "Circus," Weiss was able to sell additional usage for the photos to a major advertiser who was featuring Spears in a campaign.

Most labels also try to get a full copyright buyout, in perpetuity, but Jenkins notes that if photographers give up their copyrights, they also give up the rights to sell prints or publish a book of their images in the future.

Making sure photographers are properly compensated for usage is increasingly challenging, though. “I do feel all the reps need to start holding together on this because it’s getting harder and harder to hold back rights,” says Weiss.

How Lower-Budget Jobs Can Pay Off

When budgets are low, photographers and reps have to weigh other factors in deciding whether or not to take jobs.

If an art director at a major label like Sony music is a regular client, Weiss says, she has to consider the “loyalty factor.” “They’ll say, ‘Caryn, I need a really big favor, I want so and so to shoot this band, they’re a new band and I don’t have a budget.’ But then the next month they’ll come back and say ‘Hey we’ve got this great budget and really great creative.”

Working with smaller labels who rarely have large budgets, or working directly with unsigned acts, can also be worth a photographer’s time. “Some of the smaller bands are the most popular,” Weiss says. If a photographer is up for a big-budget job with a major band and that act sees the smaller band with cachet in their portfolio, it can help the photographer get the big-budget job.

Smaller jobs also give photographers an opportunity to work with acts they are passionate about. “If the photographer is into the band or we see the potential for the band to take off, whatever it is, then I say do it,” Jenkins says. “You’ve got to have those fun jobs to balance out the [big commercial jobs].”

If a photographer has a great experience with a band, no matter the budget, it can also lead to further opportunities as the band grows and becomes more successful. “A lot of times we’ll have a great day with the band and then that relationship will continue on for years,” says Jenkins.

For more of the article go to or click the link above

Roy DeCarava Dies - From the New York Times

I've been very busy lately, but this caught my attention. If you are into photography - you should know him. When I need inspiration I go to his book.


Roy DeCarava, the child of a single mother in Harlem who turned that neighborhood into his canvas and became one of the most important photographers of his generation by chronicling its people and its jazz giants, has died. He was 89.

His death was announced by Sherry Turner DeCarava, his wife and an art historian who wrote frequently about his work.

Mr. DeCarava trained to be a painter, but while using a camera to gather images for his printmaking work, he began to gravitate toward photography, in part because of its immediacy but also because of the limitations he saw all around him for a black artist in a segregated nation. “A black painter, to be an artist,” he once said, “had to join the white world or not function — had to accept the values of white culture.”

Over a career spanning almost 70 years, Mr. DeCarava — who fiercely guarded how his work was exhibited and whose visibility in the art world remained low for decades — came to be regarded as the founder of a school of African-American photography that broke with the social documentary traditions of his time. While an outspoken crusader for civil rights, he felt that his pictures would speak louder as a record of black life in America if they abandoned the overtly humanist aims of mentors like Edward Steichen.

“I do not want a documentary or sociological statement,” he wrote in his application for a Guggenheim fellowship, which he won in 1952, becoming the first black photographer to do so. His goal, he explained, was instead “a creative expression, the kind of penetrating insight and understanding of Negroes which I believe only a Negro photographer can interpret.”

His books, like “The Sweet Flypaper of Life,” a best-selling 1955 collaboration with Langston Hughes, and his most famous photographs were hugely influential, paving the way for younger photographers like Beuford Smith and Carrie Mae Weems. Among the memorable images were those of a girl in a pristine graduation dress heading down a desolate, shadowed street; a man ascending wearily from the subway; and a stage portrait of John Coltrane playing with closed-eyed fury.

“One of the things that got to me,” Mr. DeCarava said in an interview with The New York Times in 1982, “was that I felt that black people were not being portrayed in a serious and in an artistic way.”

Peter Galassi, the chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, who organized a retrospective of Mr. DeCarava’s work there in 1996, said of him on Wednesday: “He had a really natural talent. He just made one beautiful picture after another. He was looking at everyday life in Harlem from the inside, not as a sociological or political vehicle. No photographer black or white before him had really shown ordinary domestic life so perceptively and tenderly, so persuasively.”

A fuller obituary will follow later.

The Quiet Power of Microsites by David Walker from

In the final months of his father’s life, photographer Phillip Toledano began taking pictures that culminated in a project called “Days With My Father.” It is a bittersweet reflection, told in portraits, still-life images, and short narrative text. “I didn’t think anyone would have interest. It felt like such an incredibly personal thing. It was this thing within me that I had to get out,” Toledano says. 

He created a Web site for the project,, and mentioned it to a couple of friends. Before he knew it the site was getting 15,000 hits per day, and people from all over the world were e-mailing him with stories about their own fathers and grandfathers. To date, the site has attracted more than a million visitors. Toledano is now turning the project into a book, and his publisher has asked him to start work on another book about becoming a father (his first child, a daughter, was born in July).

“Days With My Father” is just one of several projects sites Toledano has created. It’s also one of many Web sites photographers in general have created to showcase a specific project, apart from their commercial portfolio sites. The projects often reflect creative ambitions, and the sites emphasize the work while barely mentioning the photographer. Self-promotion, in other words, is not the primary intent but executed well, project sites can lead photographers to new assignment opportunities, print sales, and offers for exhibitions and book projects.

All of Toledano’s projects, he explains, get a dedicated site because they are “radically different,” and he wants each one to have a site with a design that reflects the idea of the project. (They include projects about video gamers, phone sex workers and other subjects, and can all be accessed

Toledano says he also tries to use a different designer for each one of the sites. “I want the Web designer to bring something to the party,” he says. Part of the appeal of “Days with My Father” was undoubtedly its elegant and quiet design, created by the Web design firm Fashion Buddah. 

“It’s hard to design something that’s beautiful and invisible at the same time,” he observes. “I didn’t want something flashy for “Days with My Father.” [The design] felt really organic, which is what I wanted.” (Fashion Buddah ended up winning a variety of design awards for the site).

Toledano says he negotiated a deal for the design, and added that photographers shouldn’t underestimate their bargaining power. “If you’ve got really great work, a Web designer is going to want to do a site for you,” he says, at a reduced rate, on a trade, or even for no more than their own self-promotion. 
Photographer Finn O’Hara traded prints for Web design services for his successful project site, “A Moment Before.” The project was inspired by his curiosity about the life-altering decisions that turned people into subjects of news stories. “I asked myself, ‘Why not try to recreate those decisions?’” he says. At the time, he’d been shooting a lot of editorial portrait work, and wanted to experiment with conceptual narrative. The result was a series of images unlike any of O’Hara’s other work. So rather than upload it to his commercial portfolio site, he created a separate site, and watched traffic spike after some influential bloggers took notice.

It took O’Hara in new creative directions, demonstrating production capabilities and ideas that his regular clients didn’t associate with his work. “It definitely opened the door for new jobs,” he says. He landed a commercial shoot for Nike on the basis of “A Moment Before,” and several new editorial clients inspired by the project have also hired him.

O’Hara is now working on another project site, inspired by the multimedia narratives he’s seen on FLYP magazine and some multimedia work he’s done with fellow Canadian (and Magnum photographer) Larry Towell. 

The new project is a collection of images he’s shooting on Kodachrome, along with stories of the people who are donating old Kodachrome film stockpiled in their refrigerators. The donors stepped forward after seeing an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail about O’Hara and his father and their love of Kodachrome. O’Hara’s father is a former Kodak employee, and the paper ran the story after a reporter read a post on O’Hara’s blog about the demise of Kodachrome film.

“I don’t think just pasting photos up tells the entire story,” says O’Hara, explaining why he’s collecting stories from the Kodachrome donors. “There’s a way to round out the story with a good essay, maybe a few interviews, that doesn’t have to be massive project, but offers information about a process and really puts hooks into readers.” 

Another photographer who recently launched a project site is Brooks Reynolds, who says he was inspired by Toledano’s “Days With My Father” project. Reynolds’s site is called “We are Sleeping Giants.”  It began when he heard a song called “Night of the Creeps” while traveling with a musician friend, and imagined it as a soundtrack for a series of photographs that capture the mixed emotions—desire, isolation, anticipation, mystery—that 20-somethings might feel late on a warm summer night.

“It was something I connected with on a visceral level,” says Reynolds, who shot the images during the summer of 2008, when he was 22. Though he had been shooting personal work all along, “We Are Sleeping Giants” was his first big project with a cohesive theme. And it was something of a creative and technical stretch for him.

“I was experimenting [to] try something new,” he says. The images are more conceptual, with more elaborate production, than he’s used to shooting. He scouted locations, cast models (from Facebook photos), and set up lights, generators, fog machines, and other gear he needed to execute his vision. “It wasn’t Gregory Crewdson, but still…” Reynolds says, referring to Crewdson’s elaborately constructed suburban scenes.

Reynolds didn’t set out to use the project as a self-promotion, but now that he’s completed it, clients “can see what I do, and take ideas from it. It could be a style I apply [to assignments] in addition to what’s in my portfolio,” he says. “I thought of it almost like a viral portfolio. It was saying, ‘Hey, here’s a personal project I did.’ It’s without a doubt a portfolio, but it has a Trojan Horse way of getting to the audience.”

Other photographers have launched project sites with specific goals and audiences in mind. Jim Garner, a commercial and wedding photographer, recently created a site for a personal project about the storied past of his partner’s doting grandfather, who was a career criminal. Garner and his partner went through newspaper and justice system archives to dig up his story, photographing his files, his cell at Alcatraz, and scenes of his escapes from various prisons (he “escaped” Alcatraz by feigning psychosis).

Garner created a dedicated Web site to get feedback from friends and colleagues prior to turning the project into a self-published book. “The idea is to try something new and completely ‘out there’ and see what colleagues think about it,” Garner says. “That’s where new ideas come from. It’s all about personal growth, and ultimately that benefits our clients.” (He has since taken the site down.)

In July 2007, photographer Andy Freeberg set up a Web site for his project called Sentry, a series of images of art gallery desks in New York, Freeberg’s intent was to establish himself as a fine art photographer, so he launched the site just before calling on galleries.

“I wanted to separate it from my commercial and editorial work,” he explains. “You don’t want to confuse them [gallerists]. It was a way to make clear that [the project] was something I was serious about” and not simply a temporary diversion from his commercial work. 

The strategy paid off: several galleries expressed interest; someone mentioned it to Jorg Colberg, who posted a link on his influential art photography blog, Conscientious; and Gallery owner James Danziger, who saw the link on Conscientious, called Freeberg for prints the next day and mounted an exhibition of the Sentry project just two months after Freeberg put up his site. 

Last year, just prior to entering Photolucida’s Critical Mass competition, Freeberg posted a new project to the Sentry site called Guardians. That project is a series of quirky portraits of guards in Russian art museums. Blogs including Boing Boing and Iheartphotography took note, posted links, and drove in the traffic. Freeberg was named one of the Critical Mass Top 50 photographers for 2008. It’s hard to prove that his Web site and the bloggers who noticed it were a deciding factor, but they certainly didn’t hurt.

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