Chapter Members Mentor Young Photographers

ASMP South Florida Chapter members Dennie Cody and DK Khattiya are the first team to bring the Young Photographers Alliance Mentoring Program to Thailand, where they live and work part of the year.

E-mailing today from Bangkok, Cody says “We see this as a great opportunity to open doors to different cultures and bring unique new perspectives from the other side of the world to the YPA mission.”

Photograph by YPA Thailand mentee Suntuk Talek. Mentor Dennie Cody says Talek “photographed this image of smoke as part of this years theme which is “Energy is Everything”. He sees the smoke as an indicator of the energy expelled from fire, from the universal saying “Where there is smoke there is fire.”

Editorial Note: the following has been edited from news release provided by Deborah Free of the YPA.

The Young Photographer’s Alliance (YPA), an educational foundation dedicated to developing the talent of young photographers, announced today in New York City its second international mentoring opportunity for students and recent graduates of college-level photography programs. This year’s theme, “Everything is Energy,” focuses on the powerful forces that shape our world, our politics, our environment, our lives and ourselves.

“YPA’s inaugural mentoring program in 2010 was a resounding success and we’re thrilled to offer this tremendous opportunity to a new group of aspiring image makers,” commented Jerry Tavin, YPA Co-founder and president. “Energy is anything and everything,” he continued. “It can be human, physical, mental, spiritual, a force of nature, mechanical, technical, invented or created. The goal of this project is for young photographers to look beyond the obvious and explore the theme metaphorically in a way that sheds new light on the human condition.”

Thai photographers being mentored by South Florida Chapter members Dennie Cody and DK Khattiya , photographed by Cody in Bangkok. 

Developed with the support of a grant from the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), the YPA mentor program pairs emerging photographers with a leading photographer. Each student is encouraged to push boundaries and shed light on the subject in new and innovative ways within the context of their photographic specialty, including portraiture, photojournalism, landscape, architectural photography and more. The deliverables will be not only a collection of thought-provoking images, but also a written essay from each mentee that offers insight and inspiration to viewers. In addition to helping these protégées fine-tune their artistic talent and build their portfolios, the program offers them an unparalleled opportunity to develop business skills and explore markets for their work.

More than 50 students will be participating this year. The North American teams include students from colleges across the country mentored by 17 renowned photographers, including Barbara Bordnick, Lynne Damianos, Dirk Fletcher, Rafael Soldi and others. In addition, students in China, Thailand and the UK will partner with celebrated artists such as Sophie Batterbury, Dennie Cody, Shannon Fagan, Duangkamon Khattiya, Justin Sutcliffe and John Wright

Young Photographers Alliance is a global community where young photographers connect with the inspiration, resources and contacts they need to build successful and sustainable careers as the artists and communicators of the future. The foundation brings together a wealth of industry experience through its board and membership and offers real-world knowledge, insight, experience and contacts to help students and other emerging photographers develop their artistic skills and business acumen as photography professionals.  Likewise, through its programs, YPA helps established photography professionals connect with the next generation of innovative image-makers.  For more information, visit YPA online at

In the weeks ahead, YPA will be seeking volunteers to assist with the 2011 YPA Awards Ceremony and Benefit, which will take place on Wednesday October 19. To volunteer or for more information, please contact Deborah Free at 585-768-7880 or

Dead Queen Emerges From Watery Grave

ASMP South Florida member George Kamper is a native of New York City, and has been working in Florida for several years. He shoots fashion, lifestyle, tourism and sports and works with motion creating TV advertisements. The following is adapted from his blog.

Presented with a wonderful challenge and having a can do attitude,  I was recently tapped to produce the 30 second video spot for the Queen Mary “Dark Harbor” Campaign as well as simultaneously creating the outdoor billboard and web banner images.

View the 30 second Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor spot on Vimeo.

From the high tide and full moon to the underwater lighting, every detail had to be planned in advance.

From start to finish this project had an open dialogue with the executive creative director Rob DeLuke of the Y Partnership. Utilizing Rob’s and my point of view and eagerness to create something fresh and new, the sky – and the depths – had no limits.

Believe it or not, this actually evolved from a predominantly studio shoot utilizing stop motion, to a full blown outdoor, nighttime, on the water production utilizing the Canon 5D MkII.

The project was taken on because it was a challenge and Rob kept saying he wanted our input and vision. He wanted it to be super cool and scary, and not the least bit canned.

I should mention that this project had a pretty challenging budget.  Which is one of the reasons I took it on. If this was a full blown Hollywood production, we probably wouldn’t have come out with something as fresh and raw. Our motto is less money, more freedom!

We love the idea that we had to do everything ourselves, produce, scout, direct, light, camera operate, right down to providing the bug spray on site. That’s not to say that we didn’t have a wonderful crew,  everyone contributed in a big way because we all saw this as a portfolio piece.

The first challenge was finding a location on the water where we could control the environment, didn’t have to fight the waves,- remember the movie “Water World” – and could have some power availability and necessary shelter, rest rooms, food availability on site. There was no budget for a RV

We also wanted to shoot in an isolated area so we didn’t have to fight off onlookers, other people’s flash cameras, potential theft and the like. And it was sea turtle nesting season, another challenge because you can’t shoot on the beach in Florida at night, as any light would confuse the hatchlings.

Lighting is the key to my work. I love it. When it works it can bring magic to a shoot! In this case, we knew the look we were trying to achieve and the key light had to come from underwater.

A tidal creek became the perfect location, located at John U. Lloyd State Park in Fort Lauderdale, and at night the creek was the perfect eerie location.

One of our greatest challenges was finding an actress who would be willing and strong enough to stand in water on cinder blocks in five feet of water, for five hours, at night, wearing a tattered ball gown, prostheses glued to her face and hands, blood dripping from her eyes, with seaweed entwined in her hair with a crown on her head.

We must give credit to Ashley DeLuke, Rob’s daughter, who models and is a budding actress. She swam a marathon for us and was willing to go the extra mile.

We could see fish and crab moving around in the water. Ashley didn’t know this, but part of the diver’s job, armed with a spear behind her in the water, was to fend off any sea creatures that got too close.

Under the watchful eye of a helpful park ranger, we were a little nervous we might get stopped after the first take lighting on fire the Queen Mary life preserver ring floating in the creek. Everything went smoothly with several takes of flames in the water.

Many people contributed to the success of the project:

We talked with Robert Carmichael, Brownie Marine Group’s CEO, who volunteered his services and equipment along with Mikkel Pitzner. They became our underwater diver and lighting solution. Brownie Marine is known for it’s depth of knowledge regarding anything that has to do with diving and being around the water. They also work closely with Halcyon and the EUE, and hold several patents for diving solutions.

One of the first phone calls I made was to makeup artist June Ellis who does wonderful work and was up for the challenge of working with prostheses, blood, seaweed and water! In addition to all the research and testing she did, she was a great presence on set, and constantly checked in with Ashley to insure she was doing OK. In all makeup took five hours in studio and then five hours standing in the water. You gotta love crew that loves their job!

The wardrobe and jewelry were handled by stylist Melanie Whittle.  I’ve got to say, from all the research she did identifying just the right style and fabrics, to personally sandpapering and distressing the gown, she’s become one of my new heroes.

Peggy Chase Jordao, one of my go to people, handled props for me and made arrangements with Melanie and June to work on this production.

Gearing up for this shoot took me a couple of weeks since I hadn’t fully made the transition to shooting video on my 5D’s from motion picture 16mm and 35mm film. Chris King, who helped guide us through outfitting our 5D and was on set.

Special thanks has to go to my first assistant Jim Wenger who through thick and thin, was right beside me in five feet of water managing the dry ice. We had three different devices for managing the “smoke” on the water, and in the end, it was Jim’s ability to use a gloved hand that made the photo. Even though the dry ice burned his hand, he just kept taking it for the team.

The sound on the project had everything to do with setting the mood and making it interesting.  Mark Sunderland composed and engineered the sound as well as voice over talent Zach Miller and Danielle Lillig. Lillig also wrote the spot with just the right amount of cleverness and restraint and we love her for it.

Every film maker knows it’s not only what’s in the can that counts, but how it’s cut together. I’ve got to give super special thanks to the tech and editor, Zach Scheffer, who had the vision to put the spot together with the effects that really push it up a notch.

 We wouldn’t have those hands on that shot of the Queen for the billboard if it wasn’t for fantastic retoucher and budding editor Christine Craig. She did a fab job on the Queen’s skin and interpreting the lighting.

And lastly the person that deserves the most credit for this project is Rob DeLuke. He has a great eye, is always willing to go to battle for a great idea, who is willing to step out of a comfortable zone and back us up all the way.

Member Spotlight: David Benoliel Provokes A Feeling

David Benoliel, who recently joined our South Florida chapter after moving to Miami from Paris, is featured in this Member Spotlight, an occasional series of articles introducing the photography of chapter members to each other.

David, who specializes in fashion and still life, reports he discovered photography only a few years ago, and since taking several workshops at the International Center of Photography in New York City on lighting and editing, he’s learned the rest of his craft by himself during studio sessions. Working with a Hasselblad H4D, he works with clients in the United States and around the world.


“Fragility” was created for the exhibition “Arts For A Better World” during Art Basel 2010. David created 13 original works depicting beauty and nature. “It was a really exciting challenge and this one represents the fragility of earth getting old (with the white hair)”, David says. (Makeup and Hair by Eliut Turin)

David distills his creative philosophy as follows:

“The collaboration of light and beauty is what breathes life into my work, the unique images are produced through my appreciation for strong features and sharp colors. I feel that an image should provoke a feeling and it should inspire or trigger something very deep within the observer. I like to reveal the beauty of each woman’s personality and individuality through my photographs.”

Model and reflection in mirror photographed for editorial fashion spread.

 David is the owner of AD013 Studio that features shooting space, instruction and a “creative emporium”, and is located North of downtown Miami in the Little River neighborhood.

“Cotton dream” was also shot for the “Arts For A Better World” exhibition, in which 40 artists participated. David says that “because the model looked so natural and fresh we decided to go with this mood of clean and pure with a touch of nature in it. The makeup on the lips to accentuate her doll-like innocence.” (Makeup and Hair Eliut Turin)

Focus Your Passion With Portfolio Therapy

After conducting a successful series of workshops in the “Land of Smiles” better known as Thailand, two South Florida ASMP photographers have returned to Miami to share their professional guidance with interested photographers here.

Bangkok, Thailand © 2010 DK and Dennie Cody

DK Khattiya and Dennie Cody, partners in a new consulting firm known as “Portfolio Therapy” are now planning a series of workshops in our area beginning with the first one on March 19, 2011. It is entitled  “How to Become a Better Photographer” which is aimed at professional, emerging and advanced amateur photographers who are looking for direction in defining their career goals and creating a portfolio that tells their story.

Denny Cody, left,  DK Khattiya, right. © 2010 DK and Dennie Cody

 Dennie and Dk have also been doing “One on One” private sessions with many photographers, both here and in Thailand with success stories which include a newly minted fashion photographer, a new food photographer, an underwater photographer who has a new career shooting resorts and several others who are doing books based on their portfolio analysis.

 Man with 3D glasses. © 2010 DK and Dennie Cody

Their “One on One” sessions focus on finding the passion and pattern in the photographer’s work, which will define their best chances for success in the photo industry. Dennie says “most photographers are their own worst editors so we help them see what they cannot and when we make a suggestion, they almost always say wow you are right, I just never realized it before. That is when you know you are making a difference.”

ASMP SFL Member’s Spotlight: Jose Manuel Vidaurre

©2010 Jose Manuel Vidaurre

Dear ASMP SFL members

 This time, the Spotlight goes to Jose Manuel Vidaurre, a spanish-born shooter, who has lived in Miami for the last 8 years, and is one of the remarkable photographers who belongs  in our South Florida Chapter.

Jose Manuel has been selected in Germany by Luerzer’s Archive publisher for the book “200 BEST ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHERS WORLDWIDE”, and he has a long list of 65 award certificates and trophies from three continents including The London International Advertising Award, The New York Festivals, FIAP, IPA, The Color Awards, Prix de la Photographie Paris and Creativity Annual among others. Jose Manuel has also been selected by Kingston Technologies for the program “Icons of Photography”.

About the image: This is one of the 24 images created by Jose Manuel Vidaurre for the Miller ”BE PART OF IT / IT’S MILLER TIME” campaign, currently being launched throughout 68 countries. Jose Manuel was first hired by the Agency to develop the photographic concepts of the images. After SAB Miller’s approval at the Annual Convention, Jose was then commissioned to create the high resolution files required for oversized billboards and a vast array of other media.

For more spectacular images of Jose Manuel Vidaurre’s work, just visit his website:


Reminder: all ASMP South Florida Members are cordially invited to submit their recent shootings, be it  an Advertising/Editorial Campaign, Gallery opening, or even a personal project, to be showcased in the Member’s Spotlight.
Submit your images and text to