Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Artistic Photography of Peter Treiber

Peter Treiber’s photography is a pleasure to contemplate. With incredible attention to detail and an impeccable eye for composition, he has a very versatile talent for seeing the beauty in different subjects. He has photographed a wide variety of both commercial and fine art material and is highly skilled at creating visually fascinating images.

When we look back on Treiber’s history, it is easy to see why his work is so compelling. His career has taken him on an impressive journey through a series of professional photography positions, endless projects, and a heavy peppering of fine art exhibits.

Peter first started taking photos in high school when he was given his first camera: a hand-me-down Rollicord, He discovered a love for creating beautiful images that would last his entire lifetime. After briefly studying painting, a series of events led him to become studio assistant in New York for advertising photographer Hobart Baker, the inventor of front projection. In the meantime, he earned an associates degree in Advertising Design at the State University of New York, then later a bachelor of fine art degree in Photography from the Art Center College of Design in California.

All of this laid the foundation for the next ten years at NYC Studios where he worked in several positions, including Chief Photographer and Manager of Communications Services at International Nickel. He then spent five years as staff advertising photographer for Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

One of the major accomplishments on his journey was the publication of the book: Inside Bethelehem Steel: The Final Quarter Century with photography by Peter Treiber and words by Elizabeth Kovach. This visual tour of the formerly second-largest domestic steel company’s struggle for survival in the last years of its life celebrates the majesty and might of the late steelmaker and chronicles the long decline of the company that literally built, transported, and defended America for nearly 99 years. This gorgeous representation reveals the artistic beauty of an industry that most people don’t normally get the opportunity to see and discover.

When the BSC closed in 1982, he opened his own photography studio, Peter Treiber Photography, where he continues to shoot commercial photography assignments and fine art projects to this day. In his spare time, he enjoys sailing and growing orchids. He is currently represented by

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Custom Bathroom Remodel

This bathroom remodel was one of our latest projects here at OC Designer Source. Looking at the completed design, you might think. “That’s a beautiful bathroom. It came together well.” However, sometimes photographs can only say so much, and that’s where I come in. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes on every project that people don’t get to see – and how everything came together is sometimes a lot more intensive than you would think!

Check out these before photos:

And now for the transformation...

From this beautiful interior, you would never guess that this homeowner was just 3 weeks away from losing their permit. There was no design in place, no contractor, and engineering was needed to approve the window for the sheer wall. On top of that, they were going to be out of town for the next 3 weeks, and had incredibly tight budget needs.

Where many people might throw up their hands and postpone the project, OC Designer Source was able to help this client complete their project on time and on budget. Our expertise in dealing with regulations, permits, and codes enabled us to create and execute a plan of action that resulted in meeting all of the permit requirements just 14 days later.

In the first two days, we solidified a design. Four days later, the client had two contractor bids to choose from. Once a contractor had been decided upon, we approved the plans with the city and engineer and construction began. Not only did our client not lose their permit, everything was completed in compliance with all regulations and codes. 13 inspections later, we met the deadline of the city inspector and her dream bathroom became a reality.

Much of what you see in these photos was custom designed. Right over the sink, there was a vent that could not be moved. Due to space constraints, a standard tub simply would not fit. We had to build a completely custom tub deck for it to sit in as well as doors on either side to access Jacuzzi equipment and plumbing. The niche she wanted next to the shower was created in a meeting roofline to the home. All of the lighting had to be title 24 and the recess on the ceiling was difficult to install since there were supportive beams right above it.

Additionally, a normal configuration for the toilet would not fit, so a large sheet of frosted glass was designed for privacy. There are also two side closets that were different sizes which our client wanted to be made equal. In order to accomplish this, we had to move walls and rearrange interior lights and adjust the access stairs to the attic. She had many details that she wanted, but the space could only house so much of it, and we went out of our way to include as much as was physically possible.

It was a challenging project, but OC Designer Source is pleased that we were able to make it happen for our client, bringing everything together with function, flow, and beauty. We pride ourselves on our ability to transform tricky spaces into personal or professional paradises.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Creativity Booster: Discovering Uncommon Connections

As a creative individual, I am constantly looking for ways to boost my creativity. Sometimes the best way to do that is to look at things that have worked in the past – things that I have done that have helped me to come up with my best ideas. Then I ask myself, “How could I do this again? How could I use this same principle to my advantage?”

Discovering uncommon connections is one of my favorite ways to think outside the box and generate fresh ideas. It involves brainstorming in a way that is somewhat backwards, but moves thought forward in a unique way. It’s a simple process, but packs a lot of punch.

You begin with a project in mind; something that you are wanting to create. Let’s use photography as an example. Say you are wanting to take a series of photos, but you want it to be completely different than the typical run-of-the-mill photographs you usually take; something that really blows the lid off the box. So you grab a piece of paper and begin brainstorming.

The goal here is to make several different lists. You might make a list of types of photography: landscape, portraits, still life, animals, etc. Then you might make a list of photography styles: black and white, color, HDR, stylized digital art, etc. Then you could make a list of household objects: paper clips, glassware, fruit and vegetables, potted plants, etc. You could make a list of places you’ve always wanted to photograph: Europe, New Zealand, The Great Wall of China. You get the idea. Basically you want to create several different lists of things that are related to your project or topic – and maybe even lists that aren’t related at all.

Why? Well, that’s where the uncommon connections come in. Once you have your lists, then you sit down and pick two completely random things off of them and ask yourself: how might you create something new that includes these two things? This forces you to think about old standards in new ways.

For example, you might choose “paper clips” and “Great Wall of China” and have the idea of constructing the Wall out of paper clips. Or “stylized digital art” and “fruit and vegetables” might spawn a whole series of psychedelic still lives. Or “glassware” and “black and white” might give you the idea to take close-up black and white abstract photos of things distorted by glass. The following photo is a piece I created by using this process: I constructed a waterfall out of mugs and ties that resulted in a truly unique still life.

"Mug & Tie Waterfall" © Tien Frogget

This is a really fun process that can take a lot of experimenting and toying with before you think of the perfect idea. Often times, you will come up with a lot of ideas that won’t be feasible. But what this process does is cause you to look at things differently and come up with unusual solutions. It gets your mind wandering down paths that it otherwise wouldn’t have contemplated, and gets your creative juices flowing.

You could even try cutting up all of your lists on strips of paper and mixing them together in a bowl, then pulling two or three at a time that way. Regardless of how you do it, the key to success with this process is a willingness to be open minded and consider every option longer than you normally would.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

So You Want to License Your Artwork – Part 5

The number one thing that you can do as an artist or photographer in order to succeed in art licensing is to be flexible, willing to work quickly, and teachable.

That was really important, so you might want to read it again a couple of times.

You have no idea how difficult some artists can be to work with. Many of them expect for things to be handed to them on a silver platter for next to no work, and then complain that they’re not making any sales. Their agents or publishing company will ask them for simple things that they NEED in order to even think about selling their work (like contracts, high resolution images of their art, and changes) and the artists will simply not get back to them. Or if they do, it takes them several weeks, and they only do half of what is requested of them.

I’m not exaggerating. This is a reality. It sounds negative, but actually this is really good news for you if you are willing to do what everyone else is not. You can be an incredibly talented artist, but if you can’t follow directions, you are not going to succeed in the licensing business. These companies have been doing this for a while, and they know exactly what they need from you, and they will tell you! All you have to do is listen and do what they request in a timely manner, and you are ahead of the curve!

Isn’t that good to know?

When you make yourself available and easy to work with, you make them want to work with you!! In fact, they might even go out of their way to request certain styles and collections from you because they know that they can count on you. This is a major advantage in the licensing industry, and is far more important than you know.

This means that if you are looking at a publishing company’s website and wanting to submit your work to them, read the directions carefully and follow them exactly. This means that if you are fortunate enough to have an agent who is working hard to promote your work, listen to their directions carefully and follow them exactly. Am I being redundant? Maybe, but it’s that crucial to your success, so I’ll say it again if I have to.

  • When you get a phone call or e-mail from an agent or publishing company asking for you to get that contract signed and back to them a.s.a.p., read it over, show it to your lawyer if you need to, and then sign it and get it back to them quickly!
  • Be able to provide high resolution digital files of all of your images that they select to license from you. This means 300-350 dpi, full size! If these terms are new to you, do a few google searches and read about image resolution. A company cannot make a high quality print or reproduction from an image that does not meet these standards, so if you don’t do this correctly, you will not sell anything. Period. Usually companies are very clear about the file specifications that they need, so follow them. (And if you aren’t sure what they mean, either ask for find someone who understands it to explain it to you.) You will need to either find a professional imager or photographer who can take your originals and scan them at the right size and quality.
  • Be willing to take suggestions!! If they love a piece of art that you have, but it’s blue and they would prefer it in tan, be willing to find a way to give them a high resolution image that is tan instead. This doesn’t mean that you need to re-paint it. You can simply take a high resolution digital image and either alter it yourself in Photoshop, or find someone who can do this for you. Or if they love a particular piece you have but think it would sell better if there were two similar images to pair with it, be willing to consider creating them. I know that we as artists like to keep our art as pure and true to ourselves as possible – but if a few minor changes mean the difference between making sales and staying a hobbyist, well… the choice is yours.

These tips are so important to your success! If you really want to do well in this industry, heed this advice and run with it. It will make all the difference. You will build a reputation for yourself as being someone that the company loves working with because they know that they can count on you. And when the time comes for them to promote their newest artists, they are much more likely to promote you first over Joe Schmoe who never gets back to them.

The keys to succeeding in the licensing industry are patience, persistence, and a willingness to be flexible. Keep at it, and you will find your niche!