A studio visit with Ed Panar

photographs by Nathan Ward

Where is your studio exactly and how long have you been working there?
My studio is in the attic of a little row house where I live in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I have been working here since April 2011.

What are the pros and cons of your studio?
Pros: It’s the first time I’ve had a dedicated work space (ie, not in my living room or bedroom) so it feels like a lot of space to me, and a luxury to have a separate room to work in after years of cramped one bedroom and ‘studio’ apartments. The only other time I had a dedicated studio space was in graduate school. I also really like the view through the seasons.
Cons are that it’s on the 3rd floor, and the only bathroom is in the basement. It’s a long walk in the middle of the night down some pretty steep and narrow steps in the dark. I have to be careful. Another occasional con is the fact that it is still in my house, so sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have to go somewhere else to work. I work strange and erratic hours though so I really like being able to wake up and go to work straight away and working at odd hours.

How many hours do you usually spend there per week?
Too many to count. When I am awake in my home I’m in my studio at least 80% of the time.

Do you have your own daily routine within the studio? For example, do you usually start by answering your emails then get to work etc?
For better or worse, I don’t have much of a routine. Besides working on personal projects I’m also doing other freelance work here so the routine of the day normally depends on the projects that are happening at the moment. I try to work on things in order of importance, but sometimes I have the urge to work on something completely unrelated, and time permitting I try to be open to those kinds of detours as they often lead to new ideas and insights. I work very erratic hours as well, some days starting at 5am and other days wrapping up at 5am.

Are there things you deliberately forbid yourself to do/have within the studio in order to be more productive?
Unfortunately, no. There are very few rules and sometimes I’m amazed that I get anything done. I have an aversion to rules though, so I don’t think I would be very good at following them anyways.

Do you sometimes wish you shared your studio with one or a few other artists?
While I have my own space, it is still in the house I share with Melissa Catanese and our cat Mo  - so it’s sort of the best of both worlds. Her studio is on the second floor and when one of us needs a hand with something or an extra set of eyes it’s easy enough to help out. Mo helps out too on occasion.

What is your favorite track to edit photos to?
It’s really tough to pick just one, but a typical playlist on shuffle might come up some of these:

for more of Ed’s work, please visit www.edpanar.com

From an upcoming series I’m hoping will be finished soon, White Sands 2013.

From an upcoming series I’m hoping will be finished soon, White Sands 2013.

I answered a few questions about the studio visits features and my own practice on Matt Martin’s B-Rad Magazine. Read it here, thanks Matt!

- above photos by Alexi Hobbs, Damien Maloney and Johannes Romppanen

A studio visit with Ron Jude

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photographs by David Lurvey

Where is your studio exactly and how long have you been working there?
Our studio is in the Fall Creek neighborhood of Ithaca, NY. It’s about a six-minute walk from our house. We’ve been in this space since August of 2011. It’s the first real studio I’ve ever had. In the past I always used a spare bedroom in whatever house I was living in as my “studio”.

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What are the pros and cons of your studio?
The main pro is having a defined work-space, without domestic distractions. When I’m there, it’s work time, and I’ve found I’m more productive in this space. Another big pro is having a place where I can make large-format prints without having to set-up and break-down every time I have a printing session. I always used to use the facilities (printers, etc.) at whatever college or university I happened to be teaching at. This is a great fringe benefit to teaching, but ultimately it’s a real pain in the neck sharing your work-space with dozens of students. It’s really nice not worrying about what condition the equipment is going to be in every time I need to make a print. The downside is that our studio seems a bit cluttered and small these days. I bought a big printer about a year ago and the studio got much smaller once I started making big prints in there. The downside to owning your own equipment is the maintenance. I have to keep a humidifier running in the studio 24 hours a day in the winter so the nozzles on the printer don’t dry up and clog. It’s a real pain.

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How many hours do you usually spend there per week?
It’s a pretty standard 40-hour work-week in the studio when I’m not teaching (summers, breaks). When I’m teaching, like right now, it’s much less. I have a couple of afternoons and mornings, all day Friday, and about 6-8 hours each weekend that I can spend in the studio. It’s very limiting and drives me crazy most weeks. I’ve got a couple of shows I’m preparing for right now that I’m having a hard time finishing. But, it’ll get done. It always does.

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Do you have your own daily routine within the studio? For example, do you usually start by answering your emails then get to work etc?
The first order of business, every day, is to figure out what music I’m going to listen to while I’m working (unless I’m writing, in which case I can’t listen to music). The next thing I do is I run a nozzle-check on my printer. I do this whether or not I’m actually going to be doing any printing that day. Otherwise, I think it’s different every day, depending on what’s on the list of things to do. I usually put email off until later in the day because if I start in on that first thing, half the day is gone before I get any real work done. It’s often the case that I’ll put email off long enough that I run out of time, and it gets pushed to the next day. Email is such a time suck – I dread looking at my inbox most days!

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Are there things you deliberately forbid yourself to do/have within the studio in order to be more productive?
As I mentioned, I can’t listen to music when I’m writing. Otherwise, no, I don’t really have any rules about that sort of thing. I suppose limiting my time on the internet would be helpful, but I’m not that puritanical about things.

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Do you sometimes wish you shared your studio with one or a few other artists?
I share my studio with Danielle Mericle (my wife). It’s sort of the perfect arrangement because we’re rarely there at the same time. We have a four year-old son, so when we work on the weekends (which is pretty much every weekend), we switch back and forth between parental duties and studio time. When we are at the studio together, there’s no opinion I trust more than hers. Danielle vets pretty much everything I make at some point during production. She’s the perfect studio mate.
As far as the cons go, you’d have to ask her about that. I’m kind of a space hog and I tend to take the studio over at times. There are no cons for me.

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What is your favorite track to edit photos to?
My tastes in music tend to vary, depending on what I’m working on. While I was working on the layout for Lick Creek Line, for instance, I listened to this piece by Henryk Górecki over and over again:



I listened to a lot of classic rock while I was working on emmett:



And lately, whenever I get the chance to work on Lago, I’ve been listening to a lot of God Speed You! Black Emperor. I listen to this a lot when I’m in the desert shooting, too. Something about it suits the sweltering heat. (I really love this track. Unfortunately it got turned into a movie soundtrack a while back, which diminished its  potential for surprise a bit, but I still like it):

for more or Ron’s work, please visit www.ronjude.com

A studio visit with Mark Steinmetz

photographs by Michael McCraw

Where is your studio exactly and how long have you been working there?
I recently moved my studio from an old tobacco warehouse that was five blocks away to a new studio I built behind my house. I was in the old location for over 12 years and it was one of the reasons I’ve stayed in Athens, Georgia so long. The rent was inexpensive and it had a lot of floor space and the ceiling was very high and held up by wooden columns and rafters. You could roller skate in it on the concrete floors – it was that spacious. I have been able to develop film in my new darkroom for about three months and to make prints for the last two months. It is smaller than my old one but efficiently designed. I have an outer room that for now has drying screens and cabinets and a computer and scanner. There is a floor below the darkroom for the storage of prints. My studio extends into my house as I have one open room with two tables and lots of shelving – in this room I store my negatives and contacts sheets – it’s where I do my editing.

What are the pros and cons of your studio?
There are a lot more pros than cons. When my studio was further from me, it was sometimes harder to get the energy to do something simple like develop film. Now that my studio is just a step behind my house, I can have dinner and a glass of wine and still go and develop film. Then in the morning the film is dry and it’s easy to drop in and cut it down. Everything works very nicely so far. Maybe I won’t be bumping into as many people as I will be working more from home so perhaps I will be more isolated.

How many hours do you usually spend there per week?
It varies so much. My schedule is very irregular. Now I am on a train from Paris to Avignon, so this week, zero hours. Before I left for France, I was printing everyday for a future book on little league baseball and I was working around 10 hours a day, each day, for over a month.

Do you have your own daily routine within the studio? For exemple, do you usually start by answering your emails then get to work etc?
No, I go with the flow. Sometimes I am photographing or taking care of my daily life, and sometimes I am editing or printing. I often am working in response to some sort of deadline and I use assistants from time to time and I often schedule my time to work within their schedules.

Are there things you deliberately forbid yourself to do/have within the studio in order to be more productive?
When my darkroom was far from home I would have to work a minimum of six hours in a row – that way I would make the best use of the chemistry and water I was using – so you could say I forbade myself from taking long breaks. Now that my darkroom is at my home I can pop in the house and check for emails or the real mail or make some tea. I prefer the more relaxed, more comfortable regimen I have now. Life is better.

Do you sometimes wish you shared your studio with one or a few other artists?
No. It takes a lot of discipline to keep a darkroom clean. I need to know that the fixer hasn’t somehow migrated to the enlarger or the light switch or, worst of all, the drying screens. Also, I need to work when I need to work. I can’t keep a regular schedule which is probably what’s needed if you’re sharing a darkroom.

What is your favorite track to edit photos to?
I like silence when I edit. Listening to music while editing is a little like multi-tasking and not so good for my concentration, except maybe if it’s something like Bach. Some people can’t stand silence but I think an acceptance of silence is necessary in order to connect with yourself deeply – you can think and feel more deeply. Music can help me keep going in the darkroom, which is an activity that requires a lot of stamina. Music is very important to me but I am careful not to use it as a way to distract myself.
Here’s a video I like of REM, a band from my hometown of Athens, Georgia – by an English photographer/artist Sam Taylor-Wood, featuring her partner, the actor Aaron Johnson.

for more of Mark’s work, please visit www.marksteinmetz.net

A studio visit with Joao Canziani

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photographs by Amanda Jasnowski

Where is your studio exactly and how long have you been working there?
My studio is in Park Slope, but actually just on the edge of Park Slope with a wonderful area called Gowanus. So if you know this area, it’s on the very edge of where the strollers meet the stinky water.
I’ve been living and working here since a moved to NYC in 2009.

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What are the pros and cons of your studio?
The con is that I live here, so keeping work and life – or pleasure – separate is a little bit more difficult (but not impossible). Yet I also love the fact that I can get up from my bed and take a few steps to my computer. I subscribe to the idea that my work and life are one, as long as I can keep some discipline. Discipline in avoiding cabin fever, by taking a break, going for a run, etc. But I love this space. It’s spacious enough to shoot an intimate portrait or have a dance party. Eventually though, I’d love to have a separate portrait studio where I can investigate my ideas further. But for now I travel so often for work that it’s not necessary just yet.

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How many hours do you usually spend there per week?
It depends. Obviously I’m not here if I’m traveling. But if I’m in town, I’m here most of the time except for the aforementioned runs or breaks, or if I have meetings or a shoot in the city.

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Do you have your own daily routine within the studio? For example, do you usually start by answering your emails then get to work etc?
I feel like I’m always purposely changing my routine, because when something becomes routine I start feeling the boredom setting in. Often I try to post an image or two on Subliminous.com (my Tumblr) in the morning, so that it’s fresh and I’m not lagging behind in the social media aspect. Then I can move on to different tasks, such as emails, yes, or billing… But every day is different.

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Are there things you deliberately forbid yourself to do/have within the studio in order to be more productive?
None that I can think of. Every time I procrastinate or get sucked into scrolling image after image on tumblr (a by-product of posting on it), I tell myself that I’m going to avoid that next time around. But then I catch myself procrastinating again. Can’t avoid it; it’s human nature. Might as well accept that we’re not neat little machines with time-clocks and an absolute capacity for concentration. There’s an ebb and flow to our brains. So procrastinating or looking at (countless) other images triggers in me ideas, or reminds me or something. At the end, procrastination can be inspiring.

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Do you sometimes wish you shared your studio with one or a few other artists?
I thought of that. Even if I didn’t live here in my studio, I think I still wouldn’t share it with others. I like my studio private, so I have the freedom to work and investigate on ideas and even fail on these ideas without having someone over your shoulder.

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What is your favorite track to edit photos to?
So much music! A few tracks that I’ve been listening to lately, whether I’m on the road, in a different country, or in the studio, editing (or not!)

for more of Joao’s work, please visit www.joaocanziani.com

A studio visit with Gregory Halpern

photographs by Nick Marshall

Where is your studio exactly and how long have you been working there?
My studio is a room in my house. I live in a big, old house in Rochester, NY with my wife, Ahndraya Parlato (also a photographer)—one of the things we love about where we live is that it’s affordable for us to live our lives, make our work, and have lots of space. And not just physical space; there’s a kind of mental and creative freedom, at least for me, living here. I love New York City, and I go often, but it’s easier for me to make work here.

What are the pros and cons of your studio?
The pro is that it’s easy to be here. Every day I can do at least a little something related to my work. The con is it’s too easy to be distracted by other things in my life and home. There is not much separation between my life and work.

How many hours do you usually spend there per week?
It varies, but maybe twenty-five on average.

Do you have your own daily routine within the studio? For example, do you usually start by answering your emails then get to work etc?
I don’t really have a routine. It just depends what needs to get done on any given day. Most of my work doesn’t happen in the studio. My creative time is spent mostly out taking pictures or in the darkroom printing. I print analog and I try to put in one long day of printing a week. The studio is mainly a place for me to edit, which means going through contact sheets, cutting them up, hanging workprints, thinking about them, moving them around into various clusters, groups or sequences. I tend to think in terms of making books, so there’s no rush, usually. Which is good for me. The longer I have a picture around, the easier it is to see it clearly, to know if it was successful or not. The studio is a good place for that. If I don’t want to look at a picture, or I get sick of looking at it,  I put it away in a box. If a picture has been up for a while and hasn’t been put into a box, it’s more likely to be a picture I’ll keep and use for something someday.

Are there things you deliberately forbid yourself to do/have within the studio in order to be more productive?
No. But I should. Sometimes I use a program called Freedom (aptly titled). It shuts down the internet on your computer for as long as you want. It’s amazing how much more I can get done.

Do you sometimes wish you had your own studio? What are the pros and cons of sharing your workspace with someone else?
I really like having my own space.

What is your favorite track to edit photos to?

for more of Gregory’s work, please visit www.gregoryhalpern.com

A studio visit with Joe Leavenworth

photographs by Harry Gould Harvey IV

Where is your studio exactly and how long have you been working there?
I live and work in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn. I’ve been there since January.

What are the pros and cons of your studio?
Pros: Great light, I don’t have to manage two rents and I can roll out of bed into a stack of prints.
Cons: I’m essentially working out of my bedroom and my place ain’t lofty, so spreading out and making a mess is difficult. There’s also a kitchen nearby (I’m always hungry) and I often spend time chasing my roommate’s cat from my work surface. He always sits on my stacks of prints or threatens to jump out my window!

How many hours do you usually spend there per week?
Average, 35 hours.

Do you have your own daily routine within the studio? For exemple, do you usually start by answering your emails then get to work etc?
I always stretch first. Then I select music to compliment my mood, make a list of priorities and attempt to quickly address emails.  Often this ends up taking longer than anticipated, leads to internet surfing and eats away from concentrated art making, reading and editing time. It’s all a balance. I often work on scans or files and sculptural arrangements later in the night, using daylight hours for more “work” related tasks (I double as a freelance photog and art preparator). I always have a camera around, so the studio can really be anywhere. Walking is as important as interior studio time. I generate many ideas on walks around the city.

Are there things you deliberately forbid yourself to do/have within the studio in order to be more productive?
I try to eliminate internet unless the objective is web related.  Keeping the phone tucked away helps - both are major distractions. And no ice cream until I’ve accomplished a couple of goals.

Do you sometimes wish you shared your studio with one or a few other artists?
I thrive on isolation. I like the idea of working in an environment with other artists for community and feedback but I don’t ever wish I shared a studio. My goal is to have my own studio proper by fall.

What is your favorite track to edit photos to?
This always gets me pumped. So heavy.

Actually, really, this is my current favorite:

for more of Joe’s work, please visit www.jleav.net

A studio visit with Stephanie Gonot

photographs by Julian Berman

Where is your studio exactly and how long have you been working there?
My “studio” used to be my living room, but I recently moved my photographic operations into a space in the fashion/warehouse district in downtown Los Angeles. I share the studio with two super talented friends from Chicago, art director/production designer/artist Adi Goodrich and builder extraordinaire Eric Johnson.

What are the pros and cons of your studio?
Pros, we can play music as loud as we want. Cons, the car stereo shops the next street over can play music as loud as they want. Haha, but really, the studio’s in a pretty colorful area, which is both good and bad. It can be sketchy at night but we’re right next to a super crazy Mexican piñata street and just adjacent to the rad textile and flower districts, so it’s easy for me to go out and grab fun props, or just walk/drive around for inspiration.

How many hours do you usually spend there per week?
I have a day job as an artists’ rep, so I really only make it to the studio a few nights a week and weekends.  This last month has been really hectic with shoots and a photography show I curated, so studio time was sporadic, but I hope to have regular studio days now that things have calmed down.

Do you have your own daily routine within the studio? For example, do you usually start by answering your emails then get to work etc?
I do all my computer stuff at home, so studio time is just for shooting… and maybe drinking a beer or two. I keep my lights and backdrop set up, and I have a rack of food and other props, so I just show up with my camera and get to work!

Are there things you deliberately forbid yourself to do/have within the studio in order to be more productive?
My area of the studio is pretty minimal, just the things I need for making pictures, so I don’t have many distractions. When I used to shoot from home I would shoot a bit and, if it wasn’t working out just right, I would go watch an episode of something on my computer. Or I would go relax before cleaning up, which is a problem when you’re working with mounds of ice cream (I went to read a book once instead of cleaning up first and I heard a splash… Melted Rite Aid cotton candy ice cream all over the floor). Having a studio makes me get it all done at once AND clean up after myself immediately, and then I go home to edit. It’s a tidier way of working, in more ways than one.

Do you sometimes wish you had your own studio? What are the pros and cons of sharing your workspace with someone else?
I need to have some noise and movement around me to get stuff done, and it’s especially helpful when that noise and movement is coming from others getting work done as well, so I love sharing the space! Except when I find my “art food” missing… Then I’m pissed.

What is your favorite track to edit photos to?
I love comedy and I also love jazz, so you can usually find me editing to episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:

Or something like this, Anita O’Day live in 1958:

But when I’m shooting in the studio it sounds a lot more like this:

for more of Stephanie’s work, please visit www.stephaniegonot.com

A studio visit with Maciek Pozoga

photographs by Stefano Marchionini

Where is your studio exactly and how long have you been working there?
I rent part of a studio in Northern Paris, near La Villette. It’s in a building where there are only lofts and artists studio. I share mine with an older and more experimented photographer who’s been working there for 20 years. I’ve been working here for a year; prior to that I used to do everything in my bedroom.

What are the pros and cons of your studio?
It’s very important to me to separate spaces, home and work, because since this job is also a passion, it’s already all mixed-up and confusing enough : work, leisure, travel, personal relationships, professional relationships, productive daydreaming, loafing around, etc. I end up working from home too a lot though. But it’s really good to have a physical space to work, to cycle there from home, put mess on the floor, doing photocopies and pin them to the wall, instead of just being in front of the computer all day. I wish Photoshop was a place you’d have to go to, and curves & masks were taking a physical effort to do, like real handcrafts. The down side of the studio is having to pay a rent, it means you need to find more jobs and work more, and working too much sometimes put me in a ‘not so contemplative’ mood.

How many hours do you usually spend there per week?
When i’m not shooting outside or traveling, I have a 10 AM to 7 PM daily routine, which makes a big difference from when I was working from home, because I would basically work 24 hours a day. Now I also get to focus more on the annoying part of the job, like filling out forms, accounting, emails, etc. If you’re at the studio and need to sort those boring things out, you’re less tempted to avoid them by doing a nap. You’re far from home so you’ll be like “oh well I might as well fill those paper, it’s not 7PM yet”. Napping was a big handicap for me, I love to sleep, it’s my favorite thing to do. Working in the studio definitely helped me get over that.

Do you have your own daily routine within the studio? For exemple, do you usually start by answering your emails then get to work?
My daily routing is usually having to cycle all around Paris with a heavy bag, from appointments, to shoots, to the lab, etc. But when I’m working at the studio, I usually start the day doing creative things, or the kind of work where I have to use my brain. Finding ideas, sketching, researching, editing eventually, etc. Afternoons are for filling papers, answering emails and photoshop.

Are there things you deliberately forbid yourself to do/have within the studio in order to be more productive?
Eating too much, it makes me want to nap.

Do you sometimes wish you had your own studio? What are the pros and cons of sharing your workspace with someone else?
Besides the other photographer, I share the office space with a Jordanian girl doing anthropology and journalism. I can hear her speaking arabic to her mum over the phone, or derushing interviews of an old Rabin talking about history of Judaism. It takes me out of my own ‘sphere’ and I like that. I also tend to get a bit recluse when I don’t see people, so sharing the space kind of helps me being more civilized in general.

What is your favorite track to edit photos to?

for more of Maciek’s work, please visit www.maciekpozoga.com