Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New post...

Some of you follow this blog and I'm grateful.  Thank you.

This blog is not being used, but because you might be linked to it, I haven't shut it down, yet.

I have a new post at http://blog.TonyBlei.com.  Check it out.  It's a fun slideshow of Saturday bike ride (you may need to download a Quicktime plug-in if you don't already have it).


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good News...

Part of this who rehab thing-a-ma-bob is change.  I'm changing some things that are ALL for the best.  The big change for today is that I'm leaving this old blogspot blog because I've gotten a blog that's connected to my Web site.  Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have a link on my site.  In the mean time, I would like it if you were to update your blog link to:  http://blog.tonyblei.com/ 

As you can see, that URL is all about the Tony Blei Photography brand.

The nice thing about my updated blog is that it helps with my SEO and things like that.

So please, come on over and lets get to know each other at my new address.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The 12 Steps of Photographic Rehab

Joey, a writer and friend of mine and I, were talking in regards to our business and vision for the future.  I mentioned that my photography (and business plan) were in a state of "rehab."  Before the lyrics of Amy Winehouse could get stuck in anyone's head, Joey blurted out Step 1 of The 12-Step Program:  "Step 1, admit that you have a problem."

My "problem" isn't a physical problem or addiction.  My issue is the same one that's plagued every photographer during this Great Recession.  I've just come to the realization that it's time to stop complaining, and start working! 

Rehab is my best option.

Time marches on and technology waits for no one.  Canon has created a camera that rivals medium-format photography AND it shoots video.  It's got other problem-solving bells and whistles too.

I have a list of projects that I want to work on.  It's time to get crackin' so that my portfolio can be updated.

Expect to see my work in various sourcebooks.  And just wait until you see my 2011 promos!

I've got a lot of work to do.  It's all good.  It's an investment into myself and my work.  While you are waiting for me to work through my program, I leave you with my tongue-in-cheek 12-Steps.

  1.  I admit I am powerless without doing good photography—that without it, my life had become unmanageable.
  2. I came to believe that there is no Power greater than Photography that could restore my sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of Photography as I understand It.
  4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of my camera bag and cleaned all camera sensors.
  5. Admitted to God, to myself, and to other art directors, the exact vision of my photography.
  6. I am entirely ready to have God remove all distractions and from my Photographs.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove digital noise and keep images sharp.
  8. Made a list of all persons that I could market to, and then began sending promos to them all.
  9. Made direct friendship with such people wherever possible, except when to do so would piss them off.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory of marketing materials and kept them fresh.
  11. Sought workshops and consultations to improve my conscious contact with Photography as we understood It, praying only for knowledge of Its will for me and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a photographic awakening as the result of these steps, I tried to carry this message to art buyers, and to practice these principles in all my affairs.

No Pictures (yet)!

If you know me, you know that I'm a fan of Photo Consultant Leslie Burns.  She's a guru.  She's written a few books, has a blog and continually gives out great advice.  In a couple of her books, she mentions something she calls a "Sparkie Folder."  You can name it whatever you like but this is the drill.  Find images that match your style.  Tear these prizes out of whatever magazine you find them in and put them in the "Sparkie Folder."

You're not done yet.

Create a plan to shoot stylized images such as these.  Now when I say that, I don't mean to copy them.  (That would be copyright infringement.)  Create your own works.  Do this so that you have personal projects that get you going.  The point is to get you (me) shooting (and shooting a lot of work that is relevant).

Later we'll revisit the folder so that we can contact the appropriate art directors.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the bookstore.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


For the first time in a long time I feel really good.  The clouds are behind me and I'm seeing a lot of sunny, blue-sky days.  It's been two years since the sun has shone. And now I need sunglasses.

As my brother, son and I hugged and parted company, in Las Vegas last week, we realized that we had started writing a new chapter in our lives.  Over the course of the summer months, we had refined our character and bonded.  We worked through horrible issues we'd never seen before and dealt with them in the best ways we could find.  I pray that my character is never strengthened again.  It's been a summer of growth, it's just a shame that our dad had to pass away in order for that to happen.

This blog, at times in the past, was used as a tool to help me deal with my parents' passing.  It has served its purpose.  The Grim Reaper has been given his eviction notice and no longer lives here.  This blog is about photography and being creative.  I plan to discuss my future photography plans, shoots that I'm working on, fresh gear, and ways to overcome issues that pop up.  Look for some photography too.


Before I left Las Vegas, a few people asked what my plans were.  I've developed a laundry list.  All of the items fall under the category of:  Rehab.

I don't want to get into the mushy details of how I got to be where I am, and how I got here.  Instead, I'm going to tell you how I'm getting out of here:  Shoot, shoot, shoot!

For quite some time I've been keeping a folder of images that I like.  It's mainly inspirational work I've torn out of magazines.  Just to get me going, I'm going to emulate those styles and ideas and use it to get me shooting and also to add to my portfolio.

Secondly, I plan to travel.  I've seen Las Vegas and Arizona.  I want to shoot in places that have more of a trademark appearance.  New York.  Boston.  San Francisco.  Even if I never get a single image published by Vanity Fair, I will at least gotten out of this office and done the work that I got into this business to do.

Let's get down to business.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Whole Kitsch And Kaboodle

Stealing is wrong. Steal from me and you've opened a can of worms.

In my previous post regarding "bloominidiot" and his decision to infringe my copyright, someone said, "woah dude, the person totally gave you credit..."

I would like to say that giving me "credit" is cool as long as you've had permission in the first place. What if I stole your car and drove around and told everyone, "Dude, look at my car. I took it from Eugene. He has others, too." You would be telling everyone that Eugene is your bitch and that you might go get another. Unless Eugene said, "You look like you need a car. Here, take mine." You would say, "Eugene was really cool and gave me his car." Unfortunately, Eugene woke up in the morning and didn't have a choice on which car he was going to drive.

I've been in touch with "bloominidiot." He said, "It would have been nice if you had contacted me first prior to threatening me with litigation..." I see that the shoe is on the other foot. He wanted to be contacted first — what about me? Shouldn't I have been contacted before the image was stolen? I've afforded "bloominidiot" the same courtesy that he afforded me.

Why did I head straight to the attorney? Ha! Imagine waking up one morning and your car is gone. You go searching and you find it a couple streets over in your neighbor's driveway. The doors are open and he's putting luggage in the trunk. Clearly, he has taken your car and he's not giving it back. What do you do? You could fight him (and maybe lose). You could shoot him (and go to prison). Or you could call the police and show that you are the owner of the car and let them recover it.

I sought legal council so that I didn't have to argue with some guy on the Internet.

Here is what my attorney had to say: "...you will be eligible for statutory damages since you timely registered your copyrights... it sounds as though you also have a claim for breach of contract. You may want to pursue this on your own in small claims court.... It technically is a willful infringement... Note that you have three years from the date of infringement to sue for copyright infringement." Hmm.

This site spells out the remedies for infringement. It's the US Copyright Office, so the info is straight from the horse's mouth. I suggest reading to the part about $150,000 for statutory damages.

Sometimes people can be so right that they are wrong. I don't want to be wrong.

If Mr. "...idiot' could find it in his heart to come to this blog, leave a comment (on this post) and admit his mistake, apologize and promise to never download anything without permission, I will call off the dogs. I believe in grace and forgiveness when a mistake has been made. I hope Corby is willing to wave The White Flag.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Sort of Birthday

Today is a special day for Tony Blei Photography (or should I say TONY BLEI PHOTOGRAPHY). Today is a day of rebirth. A sort of Birthday.

I don't think we should ever be happy with where we are. I think it's important to continually strive for excellence — and once excellence is achieved — find ways to improve. Resting is not an option.

I use to work at a couple of places where certain people didn't embrace the concept of e-mail. Oddly, one of the guys was in charge of the technology section of the newspaper (and we wonder why newspapers are in decline).

Not only is it important to be an early adopter, it's important to look for ways be be better. If you aren't continually moving and climbing, someone will step on you on their way to the top — and "The Top" is a mythical place. Our lives and careers are on an incline — or a decline — you choose.

Today, the caterpillar has shed its cocoon and a butterfly has emerged. Gone is the previous design that, for four years, was "SmartAz Photography" and in its place stands TONY BLEI PHOTOGRAPHY . This has been a long time coming and has involved a team of consultants, designers, printers and Internet gurus. TONY BLEI PHOTOGRAPHY is reborn and rebranded.

The graph for business for many photographer has gone from resembling a treacherous jeep trail to a cliff. Some have gone over, never to return. We didn't. Me an' Mrs. TONY BLEI PHOTOGRAPHY had a board meeting and decided that all of our resources would go into not only surviving in this market, but in positioning ourselves, so that in better times we would quickly recover, be stronger and in a better market position.

We aren't out of the woods yet, but clearly we're not a Babe in those Woods. If you haven't done so yet, go to our Web site and look at our new portfolio. We have a new addition that I call "Fresh Squeeze." It's new work. And that new work will be changed from time-to-time. I want it to stay fresh.

Adversity brings about change. I can't say this is a new beginning. It's a birthday. It's not a first birthday, but one of many. And like a birthday, it marks time and looks ahead to a future. A future of more change — and success.