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This Year’s Award Winner Is…

Didn’t even know there was a contest did you? Yeah, no one did. That is what makes it special! By not knowing, no one was able to cheat! There is a winner though and that winner is

Aimco Apartment Homes!

AIMCO

Aimco is the proud winner of the Michael Albany Photography Client of the Year Award. This award is given to the client that meets the following criteria.

  • Has an  annual spend of $1000 or more
  • Contracted for a minimum of 2 photoshoots in the calendar year
  • Has included diversity in their photography needs

Aimco Apartment Homes owns and operates some of the most stylish and comfortable apartment homes in the country, not just Philadelphia. The Sterling, Chestnut Hall, Riverloft and Park Towne are just a few of the apartment buildings they own and manage nationwide. Currently the opening image on this site is of the Riverloft at 23rd and Walnut St. Other images of their properties, events, portraits, street photography, and cityscapes that you see here were requested by Lauren Ware of the Interactive Marketing department.

Help me in congratulating Lauren and all of Aimco on their award. Take a look at the galleries on my site and see if you can pick out which ones are images I shot for Aimco.

Philadelphia, Photographer, Michael Albany, award,

 

2014 in Review

I know its been a long time since I posted. It’s been a very busy year! my first shoot of 2014 was doing my own portrait, then off to New York to work with Beate Chelette. That was just the beginning!

Rather than bore you with the details check out the video. It is just a few random shoots from this this great year. Enjoy!

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Outlawing Photography

What is going on in the world today? In the last 2 months I have seen two bills proposed in two states that could seriously outlaw photography. This is ridiculous!

The first bill that I learned about is New Hampshire HB 619-FN that states, “This bill prohibits images of a person’s residence to be taken from the air by a satellite, drone, or any device not supported by the ground.” Here is the bill as introduced. I know a number of photographers that make their living in just this manner.

The bill in NH was just written in a very vague manner and the representative was very receptive to a colleague of mine that chatted with him via text. Jim Cavanaugh, a former national president of American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) spoke to Representative Kurk the author of the bill saying this bill may “prevent many businesses from obtaining aerial photographs that they routinely use in their businesses. This may be construction documentation, road planning, news gathering, urban planning, images for companies’ marketing use, crowd estimation, environmental documentation, airport planning, wetland conservation, tourism and many others.” Representative Kurk said he would revise the language to resolve the issues Jim mentioned.

The problem is that it isn’t the only legislation being introduced.

FelonyPhotoYesterday I was reading my local news source and came across new legislation proposed in Pennsylvania that would make photographing a farm a felony offense. A felony!? Really? State House Representative Haluska (R-Cambria County) put forth a proposal that would make it a felony to take photos or record video or audio. I’m sorry but for me, this is just a bit of overkill and a true example of over legislation.

In New Hampshire the bill proposed had limited scope in that it would most likely only effect professionals. Rep. Haluska’s proposal would affect enthusiasts, real estate photographers, nature photographers, aerial photographers, and just about anyone that wanted to just capture an image of a beautiful landscape. The effect on tourism alone could be devastating!

Haluska stated that the idea for his proposal came from farmers in his district who are afraid of people trying to photograph or record farm operations and show them in a less than flattering way. He was quoted on NewsWorks.org (full article) as saying, “Sometimes you can take some things out of context, if you have a sick animal or something or if you have to (kill) an animal, which is just a normal part of doing business in the farming community, and sometimes it gets trumped up.”

Below is what I wrote to Rep. Haluska (and CC’d my local representative, Rosita C. Youngblood of Philadelphia. Neither has yet to reply.

Dear Representative Haluska,

Your proposed bill that would ban the photographing of farms is a dangerous bill. First of all how often does a tourist or day tripper actually take a Photo of farm where something that can be misconstrued actually happen? Yes farmers have to kill animals. Yes some things that happen on farms on a daily basis are unpleasant for people that don’t have a history of country living and understand the nature of how food gets to their grocery store. But is hiding that a good idea? I think not.

Don’t let my Philadelphia address fool you, I was born and raised in Delaware county when it was considered the boonies. My home town wasn’t on the map until the early 80s. But my knowledge of farming is not why I am writing.

I am now an architectural photographer and a good portion of my business is aerial photography of farms that are being considered for development as well as the completed projects.

The bill you have proposed will make it a felony for me to take those photos. That will stop me from renting planes, hiring pilots, and hinder the construction companies from developing the lands. This will then cut the potential for new jobs in the commonwealth and put us behind other states that don’t have such laws. The ripples of your proposal will go much farther than I believe you anticipate, and in my opinion, will do much more harm than any good, not to mention what it will do for my own income.

What you are proposing is to make a felony for someone’s curiosity, and subsequently their ignorance, about the “idealistic farm life” they believe our hard working farmers have. This law is trying to outlaw ignorance. If ignorance were a felony, most of Washington would be in jail.

Representative, please withdraw your proposal. Rethink your goals and why you proposed it in the first place and lets educate people about farm life, not outlaw the observation of the reality of it.

Sincerely,

Michael Albany

To me making any type of photography a felony is well, a felony! Keep an eye open in your area and make sure that legislation against photography isn’t pending. If you hear of something, write your representatives and call everyone you know and have them write them too! If you don’t you may be hearing the click of hand cuffs right after the click of that shutter.

 

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An Arresting Smile

Recently I was hired to do a portrait shoot for a wonderful woman about to celebrate her 40th birthday. Jessica is a vibrant woman who I would have thought was much younger than she is and her images prove that. The images here are her and they are basically untouched except for size and a little color correction. The flawless smile is all Jessica.

I actually met Jessica while she was at work one evening. I was on my way home from an event where I was meeting a potential client and I stopped to get something to eat at a local convenience store  .  When I pulled up there were a couple of Philadelphia police officers there taking a break (OK, it was a doughnut shop but they didn’t go inside!) and we started talking about events that made the news that day. After a few minutes there sergeant pulled up. In that squad car was Jessica. We started talking as well and she saw my logo on the back of my car and asked if I did portrait work. A few minutes later we had set and appointment to do portraits for her birthday.

We decided to shoot at Jessica’s school Chestnut Hill College. We set the appointment for later in the day when the light would be warm and not too harsh. The weather was perfect, the light was fantastic, the grounds picturesque and Jessica was wonderful! She had a blast too. After the shoot she mentioned how much fun she had and how much she enjoyed the experience.

After the prints were delivered to her last week, Jessica called me and mentioned again how much fun she had and how empowering it was to work with me. She said that she felt beautiful and spoiling herself was such a wonderful feeling. The idea of playing ‘model’ made the fact that she is about to turn 40 an fantastic experience and one she enjoyed immensely.

That is what a portrait shoot is all about, empowering yourself, reveling in being the center of attention for an hour or two. Just enjoying who you are and how you feel. Portrait photography shouldn’t be stressful or something to fear. Having your portrait done is something to spoil yourself with and a way to savor how you feel today. The experience is all about you and it is my job to make you feel and look special.

For the record, Jessica didn’t arrest me, but her smile sure did!

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Gabe, Kate and the Old Mill

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by a friend and fellow photographer Alix Passage (alixpassage.com) to assist her at a wedding. Alix is a fantastic wedding photographer and she and I often assist each other on photo shoots of all kinds. This wedding though was to be a bit different and Alix knew that I wouldn’t want to give up the chance to shoot this one.

These was at an old mill in south central Pennsylvania and not only were the bride and groom going to be barefoot, but the entire wedding party went without shoes. The idea of shooting a semi-formal wedding with barefoot wedding party, in the country, in an old stone building that used to be a mill, heaven! This location was beautiful! Only the bride herself was more awe-inspiring.

The mill at night

When you combine a location like that with a beautiful couple there is nothing that can get in the way of a wonderful, memory packed day. The friends and family were amazing and the bride and groom looked hopelessly in love. I am not big on weddings usually but this one tugged at my crusty old heart strings. Rather than me ramble on I will let the images tell the story.

By the creek

A moment alone

Looking at a future together

Togetherness

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Special Moments

 

How important can images be? I mean everyone has a digital camera these days and the ones in our phones are dynamite, right? Meh, they are OK if the image you want is only going to be displayed on your phone or your friend’s phone. Professional portraits cannot be replaced because it’s not just that image that means something. The memory of you at this age, this time in your life, perhaps your partner’s life and your time together; maybe it’s not about you or your partner but the magic of life the two of you share. The magic of a child.

 

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Portrait Shmortrait

 

“Portrait shmortrait. All my portraits look the same, why do I want to have another one done?”

 

I have written on this blog before about how often it is recommended that people get their portraits done in the articles “Has Your Company Lost Its Face,” “Putting Your Best Face Forward,” and many others. But that seems almost like useless information if each time you get a new portrait it looks just like the last one. That can happen if you go to a place that is creating images en masse and all they focus on is bulk; lots of people with a simple formula that gives consistent results every time.

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It’s Also About Having Fun!

 

First my apologies for not posting recently but I have been busy shooting some great people. Why are they great? Because they embrace the idea of having fun throughout the shoot!

 

This past Monday was the most recent portrait shoot: a mother and daughter that just have a kind of chemistry that really comes through in the images. These two danced and relaxed and really played it up. I had so much fun shooting them that I want to do it again and again! Then even played “Patty Cake” together.

 

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Memories Are Priceless

Just this past Tuesday I saw a post from another photographer that about knocked me out of my chair. In short it is a letter that the photographer had received from a former client to thank her for the years of memories that she captured for her family. The client had the note hand delivered as she was too sick to deliver it herself. You can read the article here and I encourage you to do so. Warning: have tissues nearby.

 

Welcome back. I will wait while you wipe the tears away. Now that you can read the screen again I will continue.

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