Author Archives: Seth Jacobson Photography
Stephanie and Nick got married at the Hyatt in Newport RI earlier this year this is a small showcase from their beautiful wedding!
I had the great pleasure of photographing the wedding of a beautiful couple this week. Keri and Jess got married, and what a day it was! I have long been a proponent of equality (see this post) when it comes to gay marriage, and gay rights. These two beautiful woman brought me as a part of their day and I am so grateful. Thank you for trusting me with your memories!
I woke up this morning in San Francisco, and snuck out of bed in the dark. Luckily we had amazing light today. Here are a couple photos I created of The Golden Gate Bridge
This is Chris Simpson, creative director at The Contemporary Theater Company This small theater has brought vitality, energy, and enthusiasm to the hundreds of shows they have created over the years. Just last year they found a home in Downtown Wakefield which immediately created a place for the community to not only be entertained, but call their own. I am proud to add Chris to the list of portraits in this series, and hope you like it as much as I do!
As some of you know, I work for Grace Magazine creating portrait style covers for them as well as editorial features inside. Grace is getting a new look as well as an expanded mission. Asking the readers to “Read Deeper” check out the most recent cover I made, I love it, and hope you do to!
Here is a link to Grace’s homepage go check out some of the compelling stories Grace tells here!
Special thanks to Jeanne, Steve, and Mark at The Garde Arts Center for their help and kindness in creating this portrait!
Here I am lying down on the job again on the stage of the beautiful and historic Garde Arts Center
People often comment on the strange positions I put my body in while taking photos. For me it’s kind of and unconscious maneuvering. I just move my body until the composition looks correct through lens. After I’m done, if someone has snapped a photo of the moment, I am usually as surprised as everyone else at the way I look…
We were creating the next cover photo for Grace Magazine This one is going to be really FUN, can’t wait for it to go to print!
*Edit #2* So in less than 24 hours this story has been seen, commented on and shared by about 10,000 people. I received what seemed to be a genuine apology from the person that wrote me originally, and a personal apology from the owner of the magazine. I accepted both and felt like they meant it. I’m definitely not getting hired by them in the future… But even so, this seems to have made a small difference. Thank you all so much for the incredible support, kind words and for standing up for not only me but all artists. I believe this is an important issue that we need to stay vigilant about.
*Edit* I have gotten a ton of very supportive kind and thoughtful responses to this post. THANK YOU! As it turns out this is a universal experience for artists of all kinds… I have also had quite a few people asking me to publish the name, email address and publication that I am referring to. But I’m not going to do that, I don’t want to hurt the publication, or get anyone fired, I DO want to take this experience and use it to make a positive instead. Please share this blog post around on social media. I have already had many thousands of people see it. Wouldn’t it be something if this message could reach 150,000 people? This is the number that they were using to try to make me give up my work for free, in order to be exposed to… Let’s use the power of the internet to spread this message around. Maybe just maybe we can do it!
As a photographer I get TONS of requests for free work. It is an unfortunate part of doing what I do. Today after the 3rd email of its type this week (and its thursday),
I snapped… It is SO HARD to be a small business owner. Some days it feels like I am floating in the sea by myself on a small life-raft constructed from only my ability to create nice photos.
I got approached by a large local magazine for free work, and according to their website, the publication goes out to 150,000 people a year. Now the back story here is that I already do work for a number of publications and they pay me well for my work. Here is a link to some of the covers I have made
And for those of you that don’t already know, a magazine works like this: They create interesting things for folks to look at and read, this is called “content” and then hopefully people will want to look at the magazine and read it. The tourism publication in question was asking for “content” from me. That means the actual magazine part, because without “content” all they have to print is Ads and who wants to read a magazine of only Ads? Depending on how many people it gets distributed to the magazine then sells ad space with varying prices. So in short they are willing to accept payment for the ad space but not pay the content creators of the substance for what the magazine actually is.
If you are a photographer and are reading this now, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t give away your photos for free. No one can eat “exposure” you can’t pay your rent with “exposure” it undermines not only you, but the other professional photographers out there. They stated in an email to me that they have some “extraordinarily talented photographers who are willing to let us use their work for free” and when I said that I wouldn’t give them my photos for free, they responded like this.
“I will happily oblige your request to bow out.And I will be sure to pass along this response to the other three art directors on our staff, not including myself, to let them know—paid or unpaid—your attitude does not warrant consideration for any future work here. They will be copied on this email.Further more, if someone ever asks me for a reference of a local photographer—which surprise, surprise, happens in a small state with a burgeoning art community—who shoots anything related to people, landscapes, still-lifes, editorial, or any other form of photography, I’ll make sure to let them know the same. There’s your long e-mail explanation on how we do things here at this large organization.“
Now to be clear, I understand when an organization like The Matty Fund or The Domestic Violence Resource Center, or The Jimmy Fund, or Camp Carefree, or Butler Hospital come to me and ask for donations. I have, over the years donated tens of thousands of dollars worth of photography to these very organizations, and will continue to do so. But this organization in question is a for profit (and doing quite well I might add) business.
I will end by saying this. While I do get discouraged by interactions like this, I have had the opportunity to photograph thousands of grateful, kind and generous people who have kept me in business since 1999. THANK YOU to these folks. Tomorrow is another day.
My series of self portraits highlighting the disconnect that I see around me from the use of the little magic boxes we all carry with us. I am guilty of this myself from time to time. These images are meant to show me missing out on the beauty around me because I’m looking at my phone. To steal a quote from John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” I do love what my phone allows me to do. Please don’t mistake my intentions, I just need a reminder (as I believe many of us do) to put the phone down sometimes and take in the beauty around us
Marcus Roberts has been a musical hero of mine for many years now. I had the distinct pleasure of seeing him perform last night with the great Béla Fleck, Jason Marsalis, and Rodney Jordan at the Historic Garde Arts Center go check out some of the wonderful events they have at their incredible theater in New London CT. Below are some of the photos I made at last nights performance. They were touring together to promote the album “Across the Imaginary Divide”
Here is a video about their project together
The Towers in Narragansett in Hosted their annual event “Taste of the Towers” featuring the regions best catering companies preparing food and drinks for all to enjoy. This has been a favorite of mine for a long time now. I make sure to arrive hungry and they didn’t let me down! I was wowed by some incredible food, thank you for all the great tasting, finger licking delectables!
Here is a list of some of the great companies represented with links to their websites
Gay Marriage was made legal yesterday by the state of Rhode Island! I am so proud to have witnessed this historic event! I want to tell you a short story of the changes I have seen in my lifetime in public opinion regarding gay folks.
In 1991 when I was 17 years old and a senior in High school, I was given an assignment to give a persuasive speech to my fellow students. The topic I chose: Gay Rights. As a young person living in conservative Wisconsin, this seemed like a worthy topic, and something that seemed SO basic and easy to explain, but as it turned out, I didn’t persuade very many people. In fact I really angered quite a few folks. I should say that I am not gay, but just for suggesting that gay people ARE people, and deserved a basic level of respect, I received a huge amount of grief from the community. A fellow classmate of mine punched me in the face, I got death threats written to me, and people left terrible mean messages on my family’s home phone machine, saying they were going to beat me up and cut off my hair (which was quite long at the time) etc… Being the stubborn person that I am and supported by a wonderful group of friends and family, I pushed back against that bad behavior and thumbed my nose at those people. Somehow I got my hands on a button that said “bend over, I”ll drive” I wore this to school and my friend Karl and I walked down the hallway holding hands. I was a rebellious young man and it felt at the time that I was making a difference, or at least I was speaking the truth in the face of bigots and that felt right. Looking back, I don’t think it changed anyones mind, or helped make any bit of a difference but I could hold my head high and know that I stood up for what was right.
Here I am now 22 years later living in RI and yesterday Governor Chaffee signed into law the Marriage Equality bill. I was on hand to see this historic gathering with a TON of Media, and about 1,000 other folks. It was a joyous and happy event. It is amazing to me that so much has changed in my lifetime. I can only hope things continue to move in the same direction for all people. Look at this couple if you can’t read the notes they are wearing it says “waiting since 1976″ WOW
I had the pleasure of being the very 1st presenter in front of a sold out crowd at the very 1st Ignite Southern RI put on by The Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce
This was an exciting and inspirational evening of speakers that was an honor to be a part of! Thank you to everyone that worked so hard to make it come together!
I just had the incredible pleasure of seeing one of the worlds best string ensembles live and in person. What a moving and inspirational performance. The Berklee World Strings on Facebook check them out!
I co-hosted yet another “Light The Way” photographic workshop with my friend and fellow photographer Brad Smith this past weekend. This one took place at Manic Training Which by the way is an EXCELLENT place to workout!
We had a blast with lots of photos created and lots of learning happening I LOVE to teach what I love… I believe we had about 15 photographers in the room with 5 models and 2 hair and make up professionals. Thanks also to Trevor Holden and Matt Jacobsen for some behind the scenes photography and assistance in setting up and breaking down the piles of gear we brought with us, as well as taking some participants under their wing as needed.
Check out this really fun video we made of the event!
Thank you very much to Lynda Williams of Formal Hair Design her hair styles keep getting better and better! Check out these ladies!
And Thank you to Jennifer Hodge of Spectrum Make up Artistry Always does just the right amount of makeup so the ladies look their best!
Here are some photos that I created
A big THANK YOU to our Models who really stepped up to the plate!
This is a very complicated photo I pieced together from 3 separate images. I took all of the photos in the same session with all the participants on hand the whole time. But I simply didn’t have enough lights to adequately cover everyone in my composition. So what I did was place my camera on a tripod and move the lights around to where I needed them for each grouping and then blended it all together in Photoshop later on.
The Roller-rink was closed and quite dark (if you look in the back you can see the concession stand is closed and dark looking something I wish I had seen when I was shooting)
Here are 2 set up shots
Once I got my Composition figured out, what I needed to do was light each group but make it look like they were all lit the same way even thought they all had completely different lighting. I placed one of my lights right in the photo (top left hand corner) on purpose this gave the illusion of a unified lighting scheme. Your eye automatically wants to believe photos and this helps inform the lighting so you can believe what you are seeing.
You can see here I had 3 lights on this 1st photo. A 7′ reflective umbrella, a bare bulb light and on the right hand side in the back a gridded light just on the Ref. who was showing up too dark in test shots.
The Next photo was taken with a very similar lighting set up just moved closer toward these ladies the 7′ umbrella is off camera here but still in use and the gridded light was set behind them exactly to give a little back light in addition to the back light you can see on the top left.
The last photo was shot using 2 lights a smaller shoot through umbrella up and over the subjects the spot gridded light creating the shadow on the wall. With all the photos taken all I had to do was stitch them together in Photoshop Here is how it appeared in the magazine.
This portrait was created as a part of a series of photos I am calling the Rhode Island Portrait Project. You can see some of the other photos in this project here
I created this portrait with the intention of showing Bethany’s ability to transform herself as an actress. We chose 3 vastly different women from different time periods as our characters for this portrait rather than Bethany herself.. Going as far as to give them names, back stories and motivations for what was happening for them in these moments. I shot 3 photos with my camera on a Tripod to keep the same position and then photoshopped them all together later. We shot the Gibson Girl 1st (her name is Edith) here are some set up shots. The costumes, hair and make up were pretty extensive Than you Becky! We put a lot of time into making the details just right! Thank you to The beautiful Stadium Theater for letting us use their space to work in. Visit their website here and you can visit Bethany’s website here
Here is the photo we did of Bethany as the Gibson girl pre photoshop. You can see my Octabox in the photo which was later taken out in addition to this light I also had a light up the stairs camera left shining down. You can see that light on her face and arm. And one big 7′ umbrella camera left out of the frame feathered across her front to just fill in gently. You can see the 7′ umbrella in another frame below.
The next shot was our 50’s lady named Audrey here is a set up shot.
I used a very similar lighting set up for this lady as for the 1st shot. We had Becky stand in to give Bethany someone to interact with where our Edith character would have been standing. You can just barely see a light camera left if you look close. Also of note thank you to Faye for holding the christmas stuff out of my frame :) we shot this just after Christmas so the place was decorated for the Holiday and we had to take it apart and put it all back together for our shot…
last we made the Courtney character shot. For this one I just used 2 lights on her right and left you can see both here if you look close on camera right you can just see my octabox our of frame.
I have another installment of my very exciting portrait project. I love my community and there are some amazing people making Rhode Island a wonderful place to live. I have decided to photograph the people who are really making “IT” happen here in my community in a (hopefully) creative and fun way that tells a story about who those people are and what they are doing for their little section of the world.
This is Bethany Geaber she is an actress. You can visit her website here We wanted to create a really unique portrait for Bethany. As an actress she has to transform herself into many different people to tell stories, and I really wanted to tell a short story with three characters. What do you think the story is? What just happened? What happens next? I am fascinated by these three ladies and by Bethany’s ability to change into different people.
This portrait was created as a part of a series of photo I am calling the Rhode Island Portrait Project. You can see some of the other photo in this project here
I created this portrait with the intention of showing off John Ford’s incredible physical presence mixed with the feeling of aspiration, determination, and hope. I wanted the focus to be entirely on John for this so I went with a studio background instead of working in the “real world” the setting for my camera were:
ISO 141 Shutter 1/160th aperture F 4.5 with 3 light sources shown here
I used a bare bulb flash no modifications set camera right about 1/32nd power results shown here
Then I added another bare bulb flash about 1/8th power pointed at John from the back and very much toward my camera this added some wonderful back light and beautiful lens flare shown here
I used an Octabox up and camera left about 1/8th power. After a little photoshopping (I cleaned up the background and made the portrait a little more punchy but that is it)
here is the final photo
Some other tricks we did:
Baby oil smeared all over John to give him a nice sheen, and I sprayed him down with water to make it look like he was sweating. Open the photo to see it at a proper size