An Empowering New Gaze in Commercial Photography

Photographer Jass Durhal uses electric, colorful hues, and deep, eye-locking connection to empower the people in front of her lens.

Whether she’s photographing a campaign for Nike or making personal portraits like “Soul – Gangsta Grandma,” Durhal elevates her sitters with passion, strength, empathy, and spirituality.

The self-taught, Detroit born, LA-based photographer began her career ten years ago and quickly learned on the go. She excelled through DIY ethos and with the help of generous mentors who inspired her, refining her impeccable use of lighting and nuanced attention to how color can impact psychology and mood. Enamored by these qualities, we invited Durhal to join our community.

The Luupe speaks with Durhal about her exciting career, her influences, and her belief in photography-as-celebration.

The Luupe in conversation with Jass Durhal

How to Be a Photo Director: In Conversation with Tracey Woods

For more than fifteen years, photo director Tracey Woods has helped shape and create positive narratives as a photo researcher, editor producer, and director. Her wide range of work includes beauty, lifestyle, politics, human rights, and celebrity culture.

Shortly after receiving her MFA in photography, Tracey Woods‘ career quickly spun into working with photographers. She began working as a freelance photo researcher for Essence Magazine, which soon evolved to full-time-photo-editor and then photo director. In her time at the magazine, she commissioned hundreds of photographers to shoot features and cover stories with celebrities, political figures, and luminaries like Michelle and Barack Obama, Mary J. Blige, Hillary Clinton, Yara Shahidi, Janet Jackson, Issa Rae, and countless others.

Woods regularly works with a slew of impressive clients including Billboard, Bon Appetit, InStyle, Wiley Publishing, Revlon, L’Oreal, Kraft, General Mills, Verizon, Bulova, Marriott, and Samsung. She is incredibly active in the photography community and (now often via Zoom) regularly participates in portfolio reviews like The New York Times Portfolio Review, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, The Palm Springs Photo Review.

The Luupe speaks with Woods on her inspiring career and her return to consulting and producing after 15+ years at Essence.


How to Create Content and Stand Out: A Conversation with Gem Fletcher

“Women still need to fight every day and those in power need to look around.” – Gem Fletcher

Gem Fletcher wears many hats. A photo director for Riposte, she regularly writes about photography for Creative Review, collaborates with brands, and launched the successful podcast The Messy Truth last year. Rocket Science Magazine founder and Luupe photographer Pauline Magnenat speaks with Fletcher to discuss how to best introduce yourself to her, what women can do to support each other in the photo industry and why those in power need to address representation in a meaningful way.

A Career of Reflection: The Philosophy of Photography Icon Susan Meiselas

After nearly 50 years in photography, the iconic photographer still questions her artistic practice.

It always seems self-evident,” Susan Meiselas says, reflecting on the title of the exhibition that was to be at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Through a Woman’s Lens. “You’re so often asked that question, what’s it like to be a woman, and I wonder what it would be like to be a man.” 

The exhibition was slated to open mid-April before the coronavirus pandemic had other plans. It positioned to share the legendary photojournalist’s previously unseen images alongside several series focusing on stories about women. Included were Meiselas’s iconic 1972-1975 series “Carnival Strippers,” “Prince Street Girls,” her series documenting the lives of young women on Prince Street in Manhattan between 1975 and 1992; and a selection of her images of women at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, a time when women were becoming more and more present in the democratic process. 

The Luupe Launches Creative Briefs To Help Brands and Photographers Collaborate

Using insights from brands, photo editors, art directors, and photographers, The Luupe launches fast, efficient creative briefs to help brands and photographers make great work together.

A common obstacle in creative production is clear communication. Convoluted goals and unclear instructions are some of the largest obstacles. They can lead to unanticipated reshoots, delays, stretched budgets, and conflicts between brands and photographers. Using learnings from our team’s years of experience as photo editors and content producers, we’re proud to launch Creative Briefs. This simple addition to our production process will help brands outline the most important details for visual projects and campaigns.