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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 YouTube.com), 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, www.heidelprint.com, 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 alice@plumcomm.com.

——

Special Offer for ImagingBuffet.com 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.

PhotoPlusExpo 2013 Booth Highlights and Observations

An exhibition on the show floor of glossy metal prints (near booth #176) featuring photographs of the Space Shuttle. See below for more info, as well as information about another show in the same location.

I had a great day yesterday at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. As usual, I had photo gear and photo print overload! Below are 14 booths that really impressed me (there were many more, and I will share more in the upcoming days). I want to get these out quickly for those who are visiting the show on Saturday, so I will add more web links in about a day. For now, I’ve listed the company name and their booth number. If you won’t be there for the last day of the show, you can visit other trade shows where these companies are exhibiting or you can visit the show next year if the companies return to exhibit at the show. You may also want to refer to my previous articles here and here on ImagingBuffet.com for more booth suggestions and tips for getting the most from the show.

There are also a number of photo exhibitions on the show floor that should not be missed. Two that are in the same location (near booth #176) are: “My Favorite People and Places,” sponsored by Canon, and another show sponsored by Sony and printed by Bay Photo that showcases many stunning glossy metal prints related to the Space Shuttle and NASA.

A table filled with print examples and  print sample packs at the White House Custom Color (WHCC) Booth at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. One of the best reasons to come to a show like the PhotoPlus Expo is to quickly compare many different print and mounting options (I particularly liked their mat board-mounted prints).

1. American Photography/Pro Photo Daily/DART (Booth #266)

I’ve been reading DART and Pro Photo Daily for as long as both have been available. They are outstanding resources with a lot of news and insight from people who have a very long history in the photo and art world. The company also publishes books of Illustration and Photography from contests that they run each year. If you can visit their booth, you can see many of their booths, and I promise that you won’t be disappointed! The range of work and print/binding quality of the books are truly spectacular.

The site to subscribe to their free publications is https://www.ai-ap.com/register/.

2. AcrylicPress.com (Booth #176)

I was extremely impressed by this company’s face-mounted plexi prints. If you know anything about the process, it is very difficult to do right, and the print quality (prints are made with Canon pigment printers) and edges are outstanding. I highly recommend taking a look. They also have 1″ thick plexi products available which are pretty amazing. They are giving away cards at the show with a 50% off special offer code.

3. Black River Imaging (Booth #443)

Black River Imaging has many interesting products, but three that stood out in my mind were their LOFT line of cards and ornaments (these are printed or mounted to a super-thick board material…think paper coaster (and they make those too)), their books, and their new “Folio Collection” of print boxes and mounted prints. The cover options they have for their boxes and books are absolutely beautiful.

4. Canson (Booth #437)

The print samples on the walls of Canson’s booth are truly stunning. As with most companies who make photo papers, the primarily reason to stop by Canson’s booth is to see their fine-art papers on the walls of their booth to better help you decide which paper might be right for your work.

5. Datacolor (Booth #162)

If you are interested in learning more about color management (it can be a bit complicated if you don’t “see it in action”), or if you’d like to see some powerful tools for color balancing your camera, I recommend stopping by the Datacolor booth. One of my favorite products for getting the right color balance in any light is a simple but ingenious item called the Datacolor SpyderCUBE. They also have a product called the Datacolor SpyderLENSCAL that helps you to determine if your camera/lens autofocus is accurate at different focal lengths (some cameras have a micro adjustment capability built in). If you see a real problem with your autofocus and if your camera does not have the micro adjustment, you can speak with your camera/lens manufacturer about possibly fixing the issue. The folks at Datacolor can also give you more advice about this at the booth.

6. Epson (Booth #701)

As usual, Epson has a great booth with many prints on the walls, and a display rack filled with papers that really helps to compare different prints without glass or other glazing in front of them. What I really like is how they’ve displayed groups of the same image, printed on different papers in a few different areas of the show floor. They also just introduced a new paper called Exhibition Watercolor Paper that has a strong texture and a very nice overall look and feel. It’s Mould Made and contains no OBAs (Optical Brighteners).

7. FLORIcolor USA (Booth #1169)

The quality of this company’s boxes and albums are absolutely amazing. They have cards on the display tables with a 50% off studio sample special if you’d like to produce some samples for your studio, or do testing for a fine art project.

8. Fotodiox Pro (Booth #345)

Fotodiox Pro has many products at the show, but their LED products impressed me most. Some are really innovative because they contain white and amber LEDs for good color balance in different lighting conditions. Two products that blew me away were their LED studio lights (Fotodiox Pro LED100WA-56 Daylight Studio LED and the Fotodiox Pro LED100WA-32 Tungsten Studio LED). At full power, the Daylight model appeared to me to be brighter than the sun 🙂 (I’m kidding, but it had a lot of intensity)! Truly incredible. Just ask them to turn up the brightness to full power to see what I experienced. As I indicated, there is a daylight and tungsten-balanced model available. If I were going to purchase one, I’d get the daylight version and use gels to correct for other color temperatures.

9. Innova Art (Booth #1149)

Innova Art always has impressive paper samples (they make a range of fine-art papers), and this year they had a few items worth mentioning. First, they have a beautiful new fiber inkjet paper called FibaPrint® Warm Cotton Gloss 335gsm. The thickness of this paper is truly impressive, and the overall look and feel of the ink on paper is beautiful. They also have a new easy to use system that allows you to easily mount any print on either a 5×7, 8×10 or 11×14 thick block with a series of holes on the back for easy hanging or display on a table. Their inkjet-printable cards are also worth a look.

10. Josephine Herrick Project (Booth #1067)

This organization has been helping others through photography for over 70 years. They are also featuring a new Benefit Photo Contest that’s running on Phoozl.com, and that’s juried by acclaimed photographer and author Robert Farber. The contest will help raise money for the organization, and you can read about the contest on their site here: https://jhproject.org/2013/10/phoozl-announces-photo-contest-benefiting-the-josephine-herrick-project/

11. Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd. (Booth #1127)

Kenko Tokina has a wide range of products that you can try out on the camera bodies that they provide, or on your own camera. I was very impressed by the look and feel of their two newest wide angle autofocus lenses, the Tokina 11‑16mm F/2.8 ATX Pro DX, and the Tokina AT-X 12-28 PRO DX (available for a number of different camera bodies). If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a teleconverter, they have some nice ones under the Kenko brand name. The Kenko-brand variable NDX Neutral Density Filters are also impressive. Their Zéta brand filters are also very interesting, and they claim to have “zero reflection,” which can be an issue with filters, especially when shooting at longer focal lengths.

12. Red River Paper (Booth #255)

Red River Paper has many impressive paper samples at their booth, and what really stood out in my mind were three new surfaces: San Gabriel SemiGloss Fiber paper (300 gsm), 80lb. Polar Pearl Metallic, and Blanco Matte Inkjet Printable Canvas. They also have many inkjet-printable cards on display that helps to compare the different options. They are participating in a free print program with Canon, and they have cards at the show to learn more about how you can get a free print of your image printed on one of their papers.

13. ShootProof (Booth #443)

ShootProof provides websites geared primarily toward the wedding/portrait/event markets. I was very impressed by the look and feel of the sites (the bottom left of the galleries allows you to switch views easily), and I like their pricing model. Since they charge based on the number of images that are “live” at any time, you can save by “archiving” previously posted galleries for a very small fee per gigabyte.

14. White House Custom Color (WHCC) (Booth #147)

White House Custom Color had a number of books and some small accordion books on display that are really spectacular. I especially liked their press printed books with hinged bindings. They are very elegant and sturdy. I also liked going through the 30+ printed samples on the table at their booth. They also have a very useful print sample pack with many examples of their prints (photo, inkjet and press printed).

 

PhotoPlus Expo Returns to NYC This Week, and a Quick Review of the Mobile App

One of the highlights of my year is the PhotoPlus International Expo + Conference, held in New York City. This is the 30th Anniversary of the show, which is being held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center from 10/23-10/26, 2013 (trade show runs from 10/24-10/26). Over the last 20+ years I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of the event in many ways, from being an attendee (like most of the 20,000+ people who are expected to attend this year), as an exhibitor, as a speaker and as a member of the Press. All of the experiences have contributed to my love for photography and my overall education. It’s also been a place where I’ve met and have had a chance to catch up with many of the people whom I respect and with whom I’ve become good friends.

Quick Review: PhotoPlus Mobile App

This year, the company who runs the Expo built a new app for iOS, Android, Blackberry and other Smartphones to make the experience of finding everything at the show a lot easier. I downloaded the iOS version for my iPhone and found it fast, easy to navigate and extremely useful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to go to the main website in the past and hunt around to find the trade show hours, or information about the Keynotes, seminars, special events, etc. The fact that all the exhibitors are listed both alphabetically and by product category (with their booth number just under their name) is fantastic, and you can even press the star in the top left of just about any page to add it to your Favorites (a list of Favorites will then be visible on the page for each category (Exhibitors, Seminars, Special Events, etc.), as well as under the Star on the main page of the app (you can find it just under Special Events)).

The main page of the PhotoPlus Mobile App

The main Exhibitor Page of the App

 

 

 

 

 

 

A “Show Special” section of an Exhibitor Page

 

There is even an option to view “Exhibitors with Show Specials,” and if you click through, the specific show special will be listed. If you are really organized, you can press the “Add to Agenda” button on any exhibitor page to bring up a calendar where you can insert the item into whatever time slot and on whatever date you choose.

To download the PhotoPlus Mobile App, visit this page: https://app.photoplusexpo.com/landing/

Quick Tip for Testing Lenses and Cameras at the Show

The ability to see different papers, print processes, try out different cameras, lenses and other equipment on the show floor are main reasons why many people come to the show, and I highly recommend bringing a few extra SD and/or CF cards to put in any cameras that you’d like to test out. Also have a safe and dust-free place for your current lens to go while you are testing a lens (or better yet, just keep a body cap on your lens, and place it in a small zipper bag to keep dust at a minimum while you are testing lenses).

Related Articles

Below are articles with my “First Day Impressions” and “Second Day Impressions” from last year’s show (Oct. 2012). The vast majority of the companies listed in the articles below will be there again this year, so this information can be very useful for planning your walk through the trade show.

https://imagingbuffet.com/2012/10/26/photoplus-expo-2012-first-day-impressions-from-the-show-floor/
https://imagingbuffet.com/2012/10/27/photoplus-expo-2012-second-day-impressions-from-the-show-floor

And here are links to two more articles from past shows:
https://imagingbuffet.com/2009/10/23/photoplus-expo-new-york-city-1st-day-observations-5-trade-show-booth-suggestions/
https://imagingbuffet.com/2010/10/29/2010-photoplus-expo-review-day-1/

As in the past, I’ll be posting my thoughts and sharing photos from the show floor on Facebook and Twitter. I will also be sharing links to information like booth presentation schedules from different exhibitors. The amount of information you can learn at the talks happening on the show floor is truly incredible. You can keep updated by “Liking” my page here and/or by following me on Twitter here.

Enjoy the show, and if you see me running around the show floor, please say hi!

Link to the main page for the PhotoPlus International Expo + Conference.

Link to a PDF with a pricing guide for the show.

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