Category Archives for "Book Review"

Podcast Review: Founders Podcast by David Senra

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and one of my favorites is called ‘Founders,” hosted by David Senra. Every week for about the last 90 weeks, Senra has shared insights and quotes from many amazing biographies and autobiographies in a very friendly, “let’s learn and grow together” type of way. I can’t put into words how much I’ve learned from his synthesis of so much information. I have also purchased a number of the books, including the one pictured below, which helps support the hard work of the authors.

Cover of the book: Insisting On the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land by Victor K. McElheny

I especially enjoyed David Senra’s overview of the book: Insisting On the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land. Polaroid cameras and instant film have been such an important part of my life, both personally and professionally. Much like with electricity, automobiles, planes, etc. (Senra covers the people behind those stories as well!), it’s easy to take for granted the incredible amount of time and effort that went into creating Polaroid’s various instant films and cameras. It’s also fascinating to learn how much Edwin Land influenced Steve Jobs. I doubt Apple would be the same company today had it not been for Dr. Land and Polaroid.


I can remember my family taking photos with Polaroid cameras from a very early age, and the sound of a Polaroid sheet of film coming out of a Polaroid film pack is one that’s etched deeply into my memory banks. For years, as a photographer in New York City, I also used Polaroid film backs on a Hasselblad camera, which gave me and my clients a sense of security re: the exposure and the overall look of an image before shooting the job on 120 roll film. I also have fond memories hiking with a dear friend and using a Speed Graphic 4×5 camera with a Polaroid 545 Film Holder and Polaroid Type 55 Pos/Neg film. If you want to see those exact items on one page, I found a website with them HERE. And I can’t leave out Polaroid Transfers, which I created for years using 35mm slides and a Vivitar Polaroid Instant 35mm Slide Printer. This page has a nice overview of Polaroid transfers and “emulsion lifts,” which you have to see to believe!

To see thumbnails of all the books David Senra has read and distilled on his podcast, as well as podcast episodes, you can visit his show’s website HERE. He has decided to have a premium model for his show, which means that some of his podcast episodes are reserved for those who become supporters of his show. That’s why you’ll see that some of the episodes are short “previews.” But more than half are full episodes, which probably totals about 75-100 hours of audio. I would recommend downloading his episodes through a podcast app on the Apple App Store (Overcast is my favorite, but you can use Apple’s Podcast App) or Google Play Store (Pocket Casts is free and an excellent choice) so that you can listen to them on the go.

Hugs and all the best,

P.S.- As I mentioned a few days ago, I’m a partner once again for The Complete Photography Bundle VII from the folks at 5 Day Deal, and this year, it has an estimated value of just under $3,000 for only $89.  The amount of video training, presets, e-books and much more from a wide range of professional photographers and video professionals is incredible. Also, 10% of all sales is donated to charities (about $1.5 million has been donated to date, and more than $50,000 has been raised in the first three days of the event). Whether or not you decide to purchase the bundle, you can enter a $10,000 giveaway that includes a free copy of a piece of software for everyone who enters from Skylum Software called AirMagic. Just look for the entry form toward the bottom of the 2019 Bundle Page. There are only two days left to take advantage of the bundle (ends on 10/8/19), and you can find it HERE.


BookCon 2015 Returns to NYC 5/30-31 – Tips for Navigating the Show and Links

Love Books? I know I do. For the last three years I’ve been attending the BEA (Book Expo America), which is primarily an industry show for the book business. Last year, someone got the idea of running a consumer book show akin to Comic Con, which is a huge event that celebrates all things related to the comic book industry, held annually in multiple cities. I must say that it was a very good idea! Last year’s BookCon show was packed with people celebrating the very wide world of literature, from romance novels to stunning photography picture books (I personally favor these over the romance novels, but that’s just me).


BookCon will be returning to the Jacob Javits Center in New York City on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31, 2015. Last year was the first running of BookCon, and it was held on one day, but this year (undoubtably due to its success), it’s running for two days.


One of the entrances to Book Expo America 2015 (same location as BookCon 2015). I think Snoopy is starring in a new movie and some new books too!  Photo © Andrew Darlow.

There are panel discussions, author interviews on a big stage and in conference rooms, as well as many, many book signings. One of my favorite interviews/presentations last year was with author and photographer Brandon Stanton of Humans of New YorkBrandon is returning this year, and here’s a link to Brandon’s presentation and poster signing schedule at the 2015 show. I also got to see Grumpy Cat up close, which she didn’t appear too excited about, but I didn’t take it personally :).

Children's Books at BEA/BookCon

An example of what you’ll find at some of the booths at Book Expo America and BookCon. Booth Photo © Andrew Darlow. For more information about this vendor, visit Beaver Books.

A Few Tips for Navigating the Show

Walking the show floor without a plan can be overwhelming, so I recommend taking a look at what’s happening at the show, then decide which talks/booths you’d like to visit. If you want to get a book signed by a specific author, you can bring your own copy (they may or may not have copies of the book available that you’d like to own).

BookCon Ticket Information

BookCon Adult Tickets for Saturday are $35 when purchased online prior to the show and $45 when bought onsite. Sunday tickets for adults are $30 when purchased online prior to the show and $40 when bought onsite. And as I noted last year, definitely consider bringing the kids! A good portion of the show contains children’s books, games, etc. Tickets for children 6-12 are just $5. If last year is any indication of the attendance, I would recommend purchasing tickets in advance. It’s a good way to reduce wait times when you pick up your badge for the show, and to avoid the possibility of it being sold out. I noticed that all the VIP tickets are already sold out for this year’s show.

Viva le Book!

BookCon 2015 Quick Links

Main Show Page
General Info/FAQs
Link to Buy Tickets
BookCon Twitter Feed
BookCon’s Facebook Page


Would you like to read more breaking news and other information about all things related to photography? Visit our Facebook Page here.


A Review of AURA, An Adam Lambert Tribute Publication, and Behind-the-Scenes Publishing Info

There are few things that have had an influence on humans as much as music. For thousands of years, we have created sounds with voice and various instruments in ways that have had a profound effect on cultures around the globe. And like photography and moving pictures, music reaches us in many ways. One of those ways has been through TV-based competitions, which combine real-life experiences with a competition that ends with a “Champion,” “Idol,” or winner by another name.

I’ve been a fan of these shows from the days of “Star Search,” which, if you are not old enough to remember (or if you haven’t seen replays on TV or, was hosted by Ed McMahon of the “Tonight Show.” And no conversation on the topic of music competition TV shows would be complete without the inclusion of “American Idol.” It first aired in 2002, and was based on the British show “Pop Idol,” which was, according to the Wikipedia entry, inspired by an Australian TV show.

Season 8 of “Idol” in 2009 included an audition by Indiana born, California-raised Adam Lambert. Lambert ended the season as runner-up in the competition, and if you watch some of the thousands of his “Idol,” pre-“Idol” and post-“Idol” performance videos on YouTube, I think you’ll agree that Lambert is an exceptional singer and performer.

About a year ago, a friend and former colleague, Alice Miller (editor of Studio Photography magazine from 2000 to 2007), informed me about a tribute publication she was creating about Adam Lambert. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I held a copy of AURA: Celebrating the Life-Changing Connection Between Adam Lambert & His Fans in my hand.

Alice’s Editor’s Letter provides context as to how and why this project came to be: “In 2010, I had a vision: create a hold-in-your-hand keepsake, an enduring tribute that showcases and celebrates the impact that Adam is having on lives and music around the planet . . . and the extraordinary and powerful connection that has evolved between Adam and his passionate, diversified, rapidly expanding fandom. Today, that vision is realized. In AURA, you will find essays and poems by fans conveying profound gratitude for newfound freedoms, recently discovered talents, release of long-suppressed secrets, first-time feelings of joy, beautiful new friendships and the bliss of accepting and loving one’s self, at long last. Sharing space within AURA’s pages are drawings, paintings, photo compositions, photographs, and crafts that soothe, amaze or gratify us by their sheer beauty, mastery, levity, message or universality. . .

According to Alice Miller, “The title AURA reflects the joyful positive glow that emanates from Adam in person and on stage.”

Review of AURA

Here’s my brief review of the book after spending quite a bit of time looking through and reading some of the 100+ feature articles, poetry and other content:

I’ve seen hundreds of magazines and fine art books over the years, and to start, this one looks and feels incredible. At 140 pages, this 9” x 12” publication weighs more than a pound and has the feel of a soft-cover art book. Although conceived as a magazine to give it a more flexible, creative layout, “magazine” really doesn’t do it justice. The design is fantastic. It’s tastefully done with outstanding photographs and other artwork—some by professionals but mostly by amateur photographers and artists—from 27 different countries. The text choices are elegant and easy to read. The colored pens drawing on the back cover by Russian artist Svetlana Egorova (@ListoffSay) is truly spectacular. The striking cover photo was captured by Singapore fan Claire Low (@GlambertPianist), during a local performance.

This book is not filled with “Why I Love Adam Lambert” quotes from adoring fans, though you will find some. Rather, it explores the impact Adam Lambert is having on people worldwide.

Some of Adam Lambert’s recent accomplishments include performing with Queen in the televised iHeartRadio music concert, and performing as a guest star on GLEE. Search YouTube for a number of videos from these performances.

I highly recommend AURA and believe that the world needs more positive things like this. I also think it will make a beautiful holiday gift. For reader feedback and to order a copy, visit this page. NOTE: For holiday discounts, visit this page.  To preview AURA in full (with watermarks), visit this page.

Some Self-Publishing Information

I asked Alice Miller if she would tell us about her self-publishing experience. Here’s some of what she shared. If you are considering printing a soft-cover book or magazine, you may find this information valuable:

“Conceptualizing, researching and marketing AURA were relatively routine. I sought material and promoted the project through Facebook, Twitter, on relevant fan sites, at concerts, and by word of mouth. Identifying a printer capable of producing and shipping a high-quality product within my budget was challenging. Originally I wanted a local/regional printer, preferring easy communications and minimal logistics hurdles. I wound up going with a South Korea-based printer, Heidelprint, which had been recommended by a business partner. Their sample publications, reasonable prices and New York customer rep seemed to be the best solution.

“Most transactions were via their website,, e.g., selecting specs, delivery options, uploading and proofing PDF files, status updates. For my 9×12-inch perfect-bound book, I chose gloss #92 stock with gloss lamination for the cover and matte 70# text stock. Payment was via wire transfer, which featured a 3% discount.

“The first print run of 500 books (minimum order) went to press 4 days after I uploaded my 132MB PDF (inside pages) and 8MB PDF file for outside/inside covers & spine. After the standard 4-day printing and binding processes, the books were shipped in 18 separate boxes, weighing 615 pounds, via 5-day UPS Air Expedited. The shipment arrived as scheduled. When the books sold out, I ordered 500 more copies a month later. I sent an updated interior PDF and identical cover/spine PDF. Out of the 1,000 total copies, eight arrived with dented corners or imperfect lamination. The others were perfect. Although the printer was half way around the world and 13 hours ahead, the advantages of using them far outweighed any inconvenience.”

Questions? Email


Special Offer for Readers

When you purchase 1 copy of AURA (US$24), a second copy is half price. Visit this page for instructions on how to order (just adjust your PayPal total for the half price second copy when sending payment). For the holidays, postage is free on 1 copy mailed within the U.S. For more information about the holiday offer, visit this page.

Please note: I receive no compensation for these special offers.

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of AURA to write this review. I plan to keep it in my library for many years to come.

1 2 3