Chris Hunt is a fashion and advertising photographer, based in New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City. Originally from California, he has spent the last 15 years living and working in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Moscow and across the United States. Beginning his career as a photojournalist, Chris then moved into fashion photography after working as a model agent for several years in L.A. He has recently broadened his portfolio into film, directing TV commercials for fashion and lifestyle brands.
Chris balances outstanding creative talent with an impressive level of technical expertise, delivering impeccable professionalism and work of the highest quality with a relaxed and friendly attitude.
On the rare moments he is not in his studio, Chris can be found pedaling his road bike through Italy, SCUBA diving in the South Pacific or riding a motocross bike in the mountains of California.
His advertising clients include Google, TELCEL, Mitsubishi Automobiles, Pond's, Samsung, GNC, Chevrolet, Knorr and Garnier. He also works for fashion and beauty clients such as BCBG Max Azria, Herve Leger, Forever 21, bebe, ALDO, Nine West, Macy's, GAP, Banana Republic, Wet Seal, Arden B., Jockey International, Avon, Liverpool, Skechers, Fox Girls, Billabong, Stila Cosmetics and C&A. His work has been published in international magazines including VOGUE, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Interview, Maxim, Surface, Men's Health, Nylon and InStyle. High profile clients include sports stars Maria Sharapova and Wayne Gretzky and rappers Ludacris, Ice Cube and 50 Cent.
Photographer Sues Netflix for Using His Storm Photo for ‘Stranger Things’
A Montana photographer has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Netflix, accusing the media juggernaut of using one of his storm photos without permission for the hit sci-fi show Stranger Things.
We first covered photographer Sean R. Heavey’s complaint against Netflix back in May 2018 after he discovered a portion of his photo being used in concept art seen in the behind-the-scenes special Beyond Stranger Things.
The cloud had apparently been extracted from one of Heavey’s 2010 photos, titled “The Mothership”:
Comparing the two images reveals the identical features of both clouds:
In his complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Great Falls, Heavey states that the photo was made with great effort: he hunted the storm for hours across a great distance. The photo itself was made by shooting four photos in portrait orientation and then stitching them together into the supercell panorama.
Heavey registered the copyright for the photo with the United States Copyright Office in late 2010.
The photographer also says that he subsequently found additional uses of his photo in the TV show How It Ends. Screenshots from How It Ends are included in one of the filing’s exhibits:
Heavey says that Netflix continues to claim that he has no case.
“The only similarity that exists between the Artwork and Mr. Heavey’s photograph, The Mothership, is the use of similar cloud formations,” Netflix attorney Jarin Jackson wrote in a letter to the photographer, according to the Great Falls Tribune. “Copyright law, however, does not protect objects as they appear in nature.”
Netflix believes it was within its rights to use the photo because the concept art is not “not virtually identical” to Heavey’s photo.
After failing to work things out directly with the company, Neavey is now turning to the legal system.
“Netflix’s appropriation of ‘The Mothership’ photograph has encouraged further, widespread copying of ‘The Mothership’ photograph,” Heavey’s complaint states. “Despite being repeatedly made aware of the above-detailed information, as of date of this filing, Netflix has refused to remove the infringing material.”
Here’s a copy of the lawsuit:
In our original coverage of this dispute, over 65% of 21,000+ respondents in our poll believed that Heavey deserved to be paid by Netflix for the usage of his photo.
Heavey’s lawsuit seeks to prevent Netflix from further using “The Mothership” without permission. The photographer is also seeking an unspecified amount in damages and legal fees.
Netflix was also accused by a photographer of stealing a photo of a VHS tape for the Collector’s Edition box set cover art of Stranger Things. In that case, however, Netflix agreed to settle with the photographer by paying a licensing fee.
Stella’s Obsessions: Camila Coehlo is My YouTube Girl-Crush
At times, the looks that inspire us are editorial and hard to pull off but there are other times when you’re looking to re-learn beauty tricks to update tried and true looks. Cut to 2 hours of obsessively watching Camila Coelho, a Brazilian beauty living in Boston. Her tutorials are approachable, direct and translate to real life beauty looks. Meaning, you won’t walk out of your apartment looking like a hologram filter. It’s no wonder Lancôme chose to collaborate with Camila on 10 shades…
Ride Along: Photographing a Protest in Los Angeles
My name is Jayrol San Jose, and I am a photojournalist based in Los Angeles. I’m a professional photographer, but being new to journalism, I’ve found that covering protests is a great place to start. I’ve covered around 25 protests this year in the Los Angeles area. This one, in particular, was put on by Occupy I.C.E. Los Angeles.
Warning: The video above contains some strong language.
The group has been camping outside of the LA detention center since August 3, 2018, in opposition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (AK I.C.E.). This time I used to a body cam to bring you all along for the ride.
It was a very hot L.A. day, especially downtown. I biked to the metro to get to the detention center. I wasn’t sure what to expect, LA is pretty tame in terms of any action that goes on during their protests so I thought it would just be a typical day on the job.
It started with Occupy I.C.E. speaking about the creation of I.C.E. after 9/11. The real fun started only moments after the speeches were done when a van exited the detention center. The protesters had decided they were going to blockade any cars trying to enter or exit the detention center that day with their bodies.
As soon as this happened, DHS officers who were watching the protest decided to step in. The protesters peacefully refused to comply with their demands and the DHS officers then attempted to physically move the protesters out of the way and start making arrests.
It’s always exhilarating when people start yelling and officers start to get involved. It feels like things are about to get out of hand, and though it rarely does, it gives you that adrenaline rush we look for as photojournalists. It’s fun to get right in the crowd where the action is.
I shot with a 16mm lens on my Fujifilm X-T2 for most of the day; it’s my favorite focal length, and the Fuji 16mm f/1.6 is my favorite lens. It brings me really close to the action and gives me a nice wide perspective of the other things going on.
In 5 hours, we witnessed 2 dozen LAPD officers called on to the scene, four arrests, a DHS officer who refused to give out his badge number, another DHS officer shooting video with a pop-up flash, and even a man who got out of his car to give the protesters a Nazi salute.
About the author: Jayrol San Jose is a photojournalist based in Los Angeles. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website and Instagram.
Was the Fujifilm GFX a Mistake? Should Fuji Have Gone Full-Frame Instead?
Of all the current camera manufacturers, if you were to call me a fanboy of any of them, Fujifilm would be the most accurate. There’s good reason too: it produces some of the best cameras on the market and its commitment to offering meaningful updates, after the fact, is uniquely wonderful.
Its latest addition, the Fujifilm X-T3 is a fantastic update, offering incredible video features and image quality rivaling that of full frame. The issue is that although the company’s APS-C cameras rival full-frame cameras in some respects, there is an upper limit both in regards to resolution and lenses.
To address this issue, Fuji decided on making a brilliant mirrorless medium format camera, the $5850 Fujifilm GFX 50S. Although this is a fantastic and relatively affordable camera, I believe this was a huge mistake for Fuji.
The Problem with Medium Format
For the vast majority of the market, medium format is just far too niche. Medium format cameras tend to be slow, lacking in many useful features, and simply unusable for many types of photography.
The main draw of medium format cameras is image quality and considering the kind of lenses Fuji have available for their GFX, image quality is definitely an area where it performs extremely well. The lenses that Fuji has produced are astoundingly good but this is just when it comes to image quality.
Focusing is one area in which the GFX will not be able to compete with many current full-frame cameras. This is not to say the focusing system in the GFX is poor or unusable — it’s simply that full frame cameras are significantly better at it.
Frames per second and speed of operation are also other factors that make the GFX too niche for many types of shooting. Sports, wildlife, weddings, press photographers, and many other types of photography are extremely difficult with medium format cameras. Not to mention the whole host of incredible video features that are available in many new full frame cameras.
For the most part, medium format cameras are only really effective in slow, controlled environments. This essentially means that Fujifilm has removed themselves from huge portions of the photography market.
Now I do understand why medium format cameras are slower, but that’s not the point. The point is that they are slower and therefore, do not have as much appeal to most photographers.
Image Quality Is Not That Important
Having used the Fuji GFX 50S extensively, I must say the image quality is fantastic. The lenses are able to capture incredible amounts of detail and the dynamic range gives you a great deal of flexibility in post. But the thing is, the image quality differences aren’t as significant in real-world use.
The differences are only really noticeable at the extremes. If you need to recover your images by 5 stops then sure, you’ll notice a difference. If you’re zooming right into the pixels to see the details, then sure, you’ll notice a difference. Most photographers, however, do not shoot at the extremes and most images aren’t viewed at pixel level.
In my use, I found the difference to be about a stop at the extremes when comparing it to the Sony a7R II. For that extra stop, you’re losing a huge list of very valuable features.
Yes, image quality is valuable, but, in real-world use, it’s actually not that important when comparing cameras at a certain level. The extra features, speed of operation, native lens options, accessories, and flexibility that are offered by full frame cameras are far more useful for most photographers.
There are far fewer photographers that need the absolute best in image quality than there are photographers that need the extra practical features. This essentially makes the GFX far too niche for mass market appeal.
The $5,850 Fuji GFX is one of the cheapest and most affordable medium format cameras on the market but even still, it’s just slightly out of range for many photographers. It’s difficult to make a super affordable medium format camera purely because the cost of the actual sensor is significant enough. Sure, there are rumors about a cheaper rangefinder type medium format camera coming soon but even then, it’s still more than double the price of many full frame cameras.
If you were to buy the Fuji GFX with the 110mm f/2.0 you’d be looking at spending over $8,000. Compare that to a $3,300 Nikon D850 and the $1,200 Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art lens — the cost is almost half the Fuji system.
In terms of image quality, the differences between both systems are negligible. The usability factors, however, are not negligible, and the D850 is significantly better in many areas. Full frame cameras offer far more value for your money and as discussed above, image quality isn’t that important (for most).
Point being, the price of this system makes this camera far too niche for mass market appeal.
What if Fuji Made Full Frame?
The Fuji GFX 50S was released in February 2017, which is over a year and a half before Nikon and Canon announced their full frame mirrorless cameras. Imagine if at the time Fuji had released a full frame camera instead.
For the last few years, the two major manufacturers of mirrorless cameras were Sony and Fuji. Sony decided on going into the full frame market whereas Fuji opted to stick with APS-C and before eventually developing medium format. The difference in market share and units being sold is clear: Sony is winning.
This is not because Sony makes better cameras or lenses. Instead, it’s because they made full frame cameras. If you have used any of the X series cameras and lenses, you’ll know just how amazing Fujifilm’s system is. Both manufacturers offer lots of valuable features and in some respects, Fuji cameras might even be better.
Even still, Fuji remains a relatively niche company. Even Sigma doesn’t want to currently develop lenses for Fuji. In my discussions with Sigma, the company confirmed that the reason is purely that Fuji currently has a tiny share of the overall market — it’s simply not worth developing lenses for them.
Considering the X series system, we can assume a hypothetical full-frame Fuji camera would be a very feature-filled camera. Sony has managed to make huge gains in the photography industry because it has consistently released very attractive feature-filled cameras. Fuji could have been one of the pioneers of this market.
With Canon and Nikon validating mirrorless with their announcements, it’s clear to see that mirrorless is the future.
Fuji has essentially overshot things with medium format and underplayed their hand with APS-C. A full-frame Fuji camera would have been the perfect balance between the two.
Personally, I think Fuji’s X series cameras are more than effective for professional use. As discussed earlier in the article, they rival full frame in regards to performance and I’m a huge fan. The problem is, like it or not, Fujifilm’s cameras carry the crop sensor stigma. I don’t personally agree with the stigma but it’s still present. On the other hand, Fujifilm’s medium format camera is still more expensive and less effective in many ways than most full frame cameras.
It comes down to one thing: Fujifilm is a company in business and income and profits are its main priorities. It had the opportunity to develop a full-frame system and take advantage of the gap in the mirrorless market. Unfortunately, it didn’t take that opportunity and left it open for Sony.
The fact is, the full frame market is significantly larger than the medium format one. Fuji could have been the main competitor to Sony and its market share could have been significantly greater than what it is right now. We can assume that based on Sony’s performance: it was recently named the number one supplier of full frame cameras in the US.
With Canon and Nikon announcing their full-frame mirrorless cameras now, it might be too late for Fuji. Ultimately, Fuji will now retain their niche position and continue on the outskirts of the industry because they made the mistake of choosing medium format over full frame.
About the author: Usman Dawood is the lead photographer of Sonder Creative, an architectural and interior photography company. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and YouTube.
TIFF Was a Dizzying Oscars-Race Appetizer
The 2018 Toronto Film Festival, which wrapped this past Friday, will likely be remembered for hosting the North American premiere of A Star is Born. Despite this awards season shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent film history, not to mention the sky-high expectations that followed its splashy Venice world premiere, A Star is Born received a thunderous ovation from the TIFF community, sealing stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s perch atop Oscars predictions lists .Cooper, who…
What if you had the same camera, lighting and subject matter as everyone else. A groundhog day for a photographer so to speak. If we all have the same gear what would make you different?
Imagine you had no way of visually showing someone any of your work, and they ask you to describe what you’re about, not your genre, but what is the essence of what you’re trying to achieve? —Katy Niker
This quote is something we should all think about and consider when pressing the shutter button. What is it that you’re trying to achieve beyond visuals?
The world is saturated with photographs and many of them are technically perfect, so what matters now? Most people rely on lighting, subject matter and/or camera gear to distinguish themselves from others. Instead of striving for something technically perfect, strive for something meaningful, personal and unique.
To achieve this, photographers need to show or expose something raw and real about themselves in their work. What can you bring to the table that would drastically set you apart from everyone else? What makes your photos unique? Or a better question to ask yourself: “What makes yourself unique?”
I have asked myself this question to see if I am a photographer or just another camera operator. Do you have any creative expression or an artistic vision beyond the camera gear you use? When you are honest with yourself, this question can be quite scary.
First off without gear, we wouldn’t be photographers — the camera is what defines our profession. Put that aside — what else makes a photographer beyond gear, lighting, and subject matter? I struggled with this for a while. I boiled it down to two things: story and meaning.
What is the intention behind the photograph? That is what sets you apart from every other photographer. If you don’t have a meaning or a story behind your work then you are sadly just a camera operator or an Instagram clone, pleasing microsecond engagement and likes without any lasting thought or influence.
So what is the meaning and story behind your work? Why did you take the photograph? What does it all mean, and why should I care? These are the questions we need to think about before we press the shutter button or at very least what we need to contemplate during the editing process. Why take this photo? Why share this photo?
For me it started out as self-expression, then it turned into finding myself and self-reflection. Then my photographs started to become a meaning and megaphone for Zen and being alone and content with one’s self. Now the influence of social media likes has started to creep into my choices, and I hate that. This need for acceptance, dopamine, and endorphins from a numbered icon has sickened my soul.
But I am aware of it, I have acknowledged it and admitted it. Now I can change and get back to what really matters, meaning and story. Because without that then we are all just camera operators using the same cameras and light, shooting the same subject matter. Just another social media clone chasing likes on the endless digital feed.
About the author: A.B Watson is a New Zealand photographer based in Auckland. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. To see more of his work, head over to his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram. This post was also published here.
Despite Brazil being a massive market — it has a population of around 210 million (the US is around 326 million) — Nikon failed to thrive in the country. Its struggles were apparently due to both the country’s policies and its thriving gray market. Brazilian hobbyist photographer Renato Murakami weighed in with some background info when sales were shuttered in November 2017:
“Not only [is the] Brazilian bureaucracy […] extremely horrible for foreign companies, […] but also there’s a huge grey market of not only cameras but all sorts of electronics and other types of products to contend with.
“[T]ax on electronics are around 60% of anything that’s over $50. But the rule is extremely confusing. […] In the end, any end consumer buying imported products in Brazil might have to pay over double the price and wait an extremely long time to actually get what they want.
“The situation is so ridiculous that it’s often cheaper to fly to Miami, purchase a bunch of electronics there, spend the weekend, and fly back… and still pay less than if you bought those products in Brazil. Particularly for expensive gear like cameras.”
Nikon Brazil says that valid warranties on photography equipment it sold will still be honored by the Nikon mothership and that those assistance and repair requests can continue to be submitted through its website’s form. Out-of-warranty products will now have their technical assistance services handled by Nikon USA.
Photographer Says Artist Stole His Photo, Artist Claims ‘Remix’
South African photographer Graeme Williams was attending the opening of the Johannesburg Art Fair earlier this month when he was shocked to see his own photo on a gallery wall with credit being given to African American artist Hank Willis Thomas.
Here’s what Williams saw on the wall of the Goodman Gallery:
The photo wasn’t exactly Williams’ version: it had been “remixed” by Thomas. Here’s the original photo Williams shot in Thokoza in 1990 during a Nelson Mandela rally:
“By slightly whitening part of the image (possibly some comment on whiteness vs blackness) African American artist, Hank Willis Thomas, has attempted to make this image his own,” Williams wrote on Facebook after his discovery. “My unaltered image has been published and exhibited many times. In 2008, as Barack Obama sought the Presidency and raced for the position against John McCain, Newsweek magazine ran a story asking each candidate to discuss what best personified their world view. This image that I took […] was used to illustrate Obama’s world view.”
The Guardian reports that Williams was even more disturbed when he saw the price tag on the photo: it was being sold for $36,000, or 25 times more than what the photographer has ever sold the photo for (around $1,200).
Thomas is an artist well known for taking advertisements, stripping away the commercial context, and then presenting the resulting images as art.
“The changes were absolutely minimal,” Williams tells The Guardian. “It’s theft, plagiarism, appropriation. It’s a kind of fine line where you say it falls. Within the art world there’s an acceptance that you can use images within the artistic framework to create something that has meaning different to the original image. This was the exact same of my original photograph and all he had done is take an image that he likes and call it his own.”
“I can see why [Williams] would be frustrated,” Thomas tells artnet News. “He said to me that he didn’t feel like I had altered the image enough. The question of ‘enough’ is a critical question.
“This is an image that was taken almost 30 years ago that has been distributed and printed hundreds of thousands of times all over the world. At what point can someone else begin to wrestle with these images and issues in a different way… much the way that people would quote from a book?”
A day after Williams publicly complained, the gallery space removed the photo from where it once hung:
Thomas reportedly called Williams and offered to let the photographer keep his “remix” for a year.
“I asked him to take the work, look at it, live with it, and then have a conversation with me about it in a year because I think the reaction is a kneejerk reaction,” Thomas tells The Guardian.
Williams wasn’t too enthusiastic about the proposal.
“It’s utterly bizarre,” Williams tells the British newspaper. “I take this artwork and keep it for a year and then we’ll chat after that? F**k knows what that means. Perhaps that after a year I’ll understand the complexity of his artwork. I said no thanks. I have my own version of the photograph and I really don’t need an American to give that image some kind of significance and meaning.”
“He says that he feels that his work is ’sufficiently’ different from my original image, but also said that it is now up to me what I want him to do with his art piece,” Williams tells PetaPixel. “I don’t want anything to do with his art piece.”
This dispute is reminiscent of photographer Patrick Cariou’s copyright infringement lawsuit against American artist Richard Prince, who took Cariou’s photos, applied some edits, and exhibited them as his own.
My Experience With Apple as a Photographer and Creative Pro: In Short, Not Good
My name is Pye Jirsa, and I’m a wedding photographer and the co-founder of SLR Lounge. Before I get started, let me say that I feel like the most unlucky person when it comes to electronics and major purchases. But, even with my bad luck, perhaps you will find this experience odd and worth sharing.
What you are about to read is not doctored or manipulated to get more views — it’s simply my experience this past year with Apple products.
In the past, I respected and held Apple in high regard. However, I am by no means a “fanboy” of anything. I will use whatever it takes to get the job done, and I will tell you the pros and the cons of the tools I use. This is not a sponsored article, nor would Apple pay me to write this. They’d probably pay me not to. But that’s exactly why I feel it is important to share my experience using the new iMac Pro, MacBook Pro, and iPhone X.
Born Of PC
I was always a fan of Apple’s iPhone and iPad, but up until a year ago, I was by and large a PC user. Almost my entire world belonged in PC. It’s what I’d known since my teenage years, dividing my time between building my own computers, programming, and working at CompUSA (I really loved that job).
I really loved PCs for all the typical reasons. They are generally cheaper with plenty of DIY options for upgrades and more. Outside of that reason, I wasn’t particularly married to either side of the PC vs. Apple fence.
Over the years, I found myself having less and less time to build, modify and troubleshoot my own rigs. On top of that, Apple was consistently providing more reasons that made it possible to justify switching ecosystems. I loved their software to hardware integrations and the performance of Apple operating systems. A seamless experience between mobile and desktop seemed wonderful.
On top of that, there was the App Store. However, what I appreciated most was the fact that their hardware/software systems were of the utmost quality and extremely reliable. At least, that was my perception.
Either way, less than a year ago (late 2017), I had enough motivation and justification to completely make the switch.
Swallowing The Bitter Cost Pill
When jumping into the Apple universe of products, we each have to accept the fact that we’re going to spend significantly more money than we would on other devices. For comparable performance results between a PC and an Apple, expect to pay 25-50% more on the Apple side of the spectrum. It’s no doubt a significant difference in price.
However, we can accept this price difference more easily when we consider Apple’s sleek design, solid build quality, reliability, display quality, OS ecosystem, and more. That is until we can no longer expect those things from Apple. That’s where I stand today.
Let’s jump into the story.
Cupertino, We Have A Problem
My business partner convinced me to jump into the new iPhone X upon release. Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t twist my arm. I’m always game for an upgrade. But, immediately upon receiving the new phone, I was frustrated by the fact that it felt as though Apple took a step backward in usability.
The lack of a home button, the swiping left and right and from corners, all felt more difficult. Even getting the phone to flip on and recognize my face seemed more cumbersome than the simple home button design. Not to mention the new button layout leading to all sorts of wonderful screenshot mistakes. Still, I was game for learning the new design. However, even today, almost a year later, I still find the iPhone 7/8 to offer a better user experience.
Regardless, that was a small issue. Let’s get to the bigger one. Within roughly two weeks of using my new iPhone X, the smartphone started having issues. It would often freeze and crash. Very soon after, it completely died. I took it in for service and they said that it had a logic board failure. Then, they replaced the iPhone X without hassle. The Apple store is wonderful in that department.
I also appreciated being able to take the phone into a store rather than having to mail it in for service. I made an appointment at the Genius Bar and they took care of it. Not a big deal.
Unfortunately, the issues haven’t stopped. The phone still crashes quite often. The OS is buggy, sometimes turning on and freezing for minutes. Now, with only a few months of use, my vibrate on/off toggle is also stuck.
Oh, by the way, my phone also fails to connect to the Internet quite often. Despite having a full LTE signal (as you can see above), I can make calls, but I can’t send/receive data.
T-Mobile and Apple do this amazing thing where they blame each other for the errors. T-Mobile says it’s the phone, Apple says it’s T-Mobile’s service. Odd, considering we have five iPhone Xs on the T-Mobile plan, and mine seems to be the only one having data issues. I’m siding with T-Mobile on this one.
No biggie, though; it’s just a phone, and AppleCare will take care of this latest issue. I just have to make the time to go get my third iPhone X back to the store. Something I’ve yet to do. Let’s move on.
In late 2017, I purchased a new MacBook Pro, which represents my first major step into the Apple ecosystem. This was the 2017 MacBook Pro and I purchased it nearly fully upgraded. It came equipped with a two-terabyte hard drive, as well as the fastest processor available at the time, 16 gigs of RAM, etc. I think the only additional option was a four-terabyte SSD. This required an amount of money that I wasn’t willing to pay.
Needless to say, this was an expensive piece of hardware. With Apple Care, I was looking to pay around $5,000 for this laptop, compared to $3,000-$4,000 for a comparable high-end PC. But, the price didn’t matter. I knew I was getting a reliable machine that I could use for live broadcasts, content creation, and presentations with both CreativeLive and SLR Lounge. I expected a machine that could keep up with my need to edit images/video as I was preparing over 3,000 keynote slides over the next several months.
Unfortunately, a reliable machine is not what I received. Within a week of using the computer, I started noticing strange issues. For example, the mouse would regularly stutter; as I would move the trackpad, my mouse and keyboard would freeze temporarily as you can see in this video.
Later, depending on which USB-C ports were in use, the machine wouldn’t even start up which you can see here.
Shortly after, the laptop also started freezing and crashing on occasion. At the time, it was no more than a little odd considering it was a brand new machine and that it was an Apple. “Perhaps I just got a bad unit,” I thought to myself.
I took it to the Genius Bar to evaluate the situation. A day or two later, they said, “Your logic board is going bad and we need to replace it.” Just like before, when I took in my iPhone X, they replaced the logic board and it seemed like I had a new machine. Minus a day or so worth of time, I was back up and running. Sadly, within about week or two, it started having the same issues. This time, however, I started seeing other issues as well, like a graphics card failure. Here’s a video of the second machine.
Usually, when experiencing an issue with your computer, you can shut down the system or restart it. When I tried to do that here, the system went into a crazy, pixilated matrix view and it wouldn’t shut down properly.
When I returned once more to the Genius Bar, they informed me that the logic board was failing again. They replaced the MacBook Pro, again. After having been replaced twice, it seemed to be operating pretty well until recently, when it started having the same issues once again as shown below.
I am on my third MacBook Pro, and it’s still not without problems. But, wait, you’ll find out that it gets even worse. For now, let’s move on to the iMac Pro.
In January 2018, I made the final switch of upgrading my workstation to the iMac Pro. For the new workstation, I bought a specced out version of iMac Pro for roughly $7,000 with AppleCare. That represents a significant premium for what you’re actually getting.
It has a beautiful screen and a beautiful design, but even then, you’d only spend $4,000-$5,000 on the PC side for the equivalent of $7,000 worth of Apple hardware. Again, I justified the premium because I wanted the quality and seamless experience Apple was known for.
In less than two weeks from the time I received the iMac Pro, I started experiencing the same exact stutter issues that I had with my MacBook Pro. Once again, I called into tech support. The cursor would freeze and stutter as you can see in the video above. Early on, it happened only upon startup. Within a few weeks, it started occurring during regular use of the computer as shown below.
While my MacBook Pro was in service, I had to make the iMac Pro work as it was my only machine. When I got my third MacBook Pro back, I finally reached out to Apple Support regarding the iMac Pro. This is where things went further south.
The Mysterious Disappearance Of Apple Support
I reached Apple Support fairly easily. I was quickly given an Apple Case Support person who was assigned to my case from beginning to end. She ran system analytics and other diagnostic before stating that she would need to send the information to the engineers for analysis. She told me they would be in touch within the next week. Meanwhile, the $7,000 iMac Pro sat on my desk as it would freeze/stutter too often to be used.
Keep in mind that during this time, I was using my MacBook Pro as my primary machine. I purchased external monitors just to be able to work more efficiently. Needing more screen real estate as I was creating content for the Complete Business Workshop, which we are currently releasing! (shameless plug).
At this point, taking the MacBook Pro or iMac Pro onto a production set was causing me severe anxiety. We always film with an in-studio audience, or via live online broadcasts. During each presentation and production event, I was constantly worried about the machines crashing or stuttering mid-presentation. My worries were justified when it did indeed happen. Oh, and by the way, the MacBook Pro we are currently editing this article on is also stuttering through nearly every word we type.
Back to the iMac Pro. After a week of waiting without any follow-up, I reached out to my caseworker. I could not get a hold of her, but I did leave a message and informed her about the status of my iMac Pro. She never responded, and I couldn’t get ahold of anyone who could help solve the issue. I soon found myself busy with productions for clients, Creative Live, and SLR Lounge. All of which took me out of the studio for a couple of weeks.
When I got back, I still hadn’t heard back regarding the iMac Pro. In total, I sent four follow-up emails starting on March 23rd going to April 8th, and none of them had been responded to. The final email was sent to an escalated Case Manager to show them my experience (which we will discuss shortly).
Eventually, I just made an appointment with the Genius Bar and took the machine into the store. Apple of South Coast Plaza said that they needed a bit of time to run diagnostics, so I left it there. There was no loaner, despite the experience I had thus far. I was left without an office workstation while they attempted to fix the situation.
During that time, it was back to using the MacBook Pro as a primary machine. Something that I am not a fan of considering it’s far more efficient to work from a more powerful desktop. A week later, I was informed that the issue was software related and that I’d have my computer back soon.
I relayed my doubts to them about the issue being software related. “If it’s just a software issue, why is it experiencing the same problems as my MacBook Pro?” I asked. I described to them the same stuttering, crashes, and graphics card failures, which mirrored what happened on the MacBook Pro when its logic board went out, not once, but twice.
Regardless, they repeated that it’s just a software issue and they told me I’d have my computer the next day. When the next day rolled around, they called to confirm that it was indeed a hardware issue, not a software issue. The said that the computer would soon be back with the engineers in Cupertino, and would take a few more days to complete. It took close to three weeks before I could get the iMac Pro back into my office, fixed and ready to go. And guess what? They had to replace the logic board and internal components once again.
Unfortunately, the story isn’t even over. The instant that I first turned the computer back on, I could see that my information had been wiped (this wasn’t the problem). The problem was that upon startup, it required an Apple ID set to an administrator Apple account that I wasn’t given the password to. Nobody from the store explained this.
I soon found myself back on the phone again, calling Apple support, who then called the specific store at South Coast Plaza to provide me the password. Later that day, I was contacted and given that password to log in. At that point, I had to log in, restore my account, then remove the administrative account manually. Typically, Apple support has always returned the machine ready to restore via Time Machine.
Finally, A Breakthrough In Customer Service
After getting my computer setup, I reached out to customer service to let them know that I needed to talk to somebody about my overall experience with Apple. They sent me to a manager and I explained everything that’s happened. That’s when I also forwarded along the ghosted email correspondence. I also calmly shared with her my experience with my iPhone X, MacBook Pro and now iMac Pro.
In return, she responded with regret and asked, “Well, are there any products that you would like in the Apple store?” I initially declined the offer. I told her, “I kind of own what I want already. The only thing I don’t have is the HomePod, but not sure if I want that.”
She then said, “How about I send you out a HomePod to thank you and compensate you for your troubles?” I explained the countless hours through the year that have been wasted on tech support. She responded back that sending me a HomePod was the best that could be done.
Honestly, I was grateful that they were willing to do even that. Few companies would do anything to acknowledge such an experience. So, that’s a small plus there. I knew there was nothing that could truly compensate me for my time or experience over the year. I accepted the HomePod, and just hoped this whole thing was done.
For those asking, “how was the HomePod?”: Well, I don’t have much positive to report there. The speaker sounds great. It looks nice. But, beyond that, you shouldn’t be expecting much else. The HomePod is tricky to set up with the iMac Pro and once online, Siri can’t really do much. She can’t even play Spotify as she responds with “I’m sorry, I can’t do that” and requests that you use iTunes instead. Unfortunately, Siri has a long way to catch up to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.
It was in that moment, listening to this glorified speaker that I began wondering, “Where has Apple gone in their quality and product development? Where is the Apple that we all once knew?”
If Only It Were Over
I so desperately wished this was the end of this article, and of my experience. Unfortunately, it’s not. If you think I want to write/post more, you are wrong.
My third MacBook Pro is now experiencing the same issues that lead up to each of the previous logic board failures as can be seen here.
In addition, the iMac Pro has begun stuttering, freezing and crashing just as it did prior to being replaced. Now, it’s simply a matter of time before each machine stops working entirely, and has to go back to be serviced again.
Now, you won’t believe this part. I had an opportunity to upgrade to the 2018 MacBook Pro. A family member, knowing the issues with my 2017 model agreed to purchase it from me since it’s still so new and has AppleCare. So I bought the 2018 MacBook Pro.
Can you guess what’s happened?
Yep, already started to see issues with the 2018 MacBook Pro as can be seen in this image. This was, by the way, the same shutdown screen that we previously showed side-by-side on the 2017 model above. I see this lovely image every time I shut down the laptop.
Do I feel stupid? Yes. I feel like the idiot who’s made the same mistake repeatedly while giving Apple the benefit of the doubt that they clearly don’t deserve.
Apple, as I once knew it, no longer exists in my mind today. In my opinion, the company that we all looked at as the pinnacle of innovation and quality control, is quickly vanishing.
If Apple were reading this right now, I would say that at a point in time I very much understood why someone would pay the extra money to buy Apple products. I understood what came with the Apple brand and you could say at that time that “you get what you pay for.” But today, that understanding, quality, reliability, and goodwill behind the Apple brand have been completely eroded away. At least, in my experience.
When Steve Jobs passed away, I had my doubts about whether the company would continue to do what it did so well. Year after year, we’ve seen product lines receive modest updates as Apple throws out marketing terms like “revolutionary” for a touch bar that is anything but. Premature and underdeveloped products are released to capitalize on Apple’s goodwill (the HomePod). In the least, I expected Apple to keep up with the quality and reliability of the products that they have come to be known for. Unfortunately, it seems that year after year, quality control has dwindled as well.
On top of this, Apple’s product lines have expanded and become more complex. This goes directly against Steve Jobs mission to always simplify and focus on their core products and customers. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the Bluetooth AirPods. These were sold to me from a salesperson quoting a Steve Jobs line of “they just work.” Well, they work, most of the time. Sometimes I have to put them into the back into the base, reconnect, take them in and out of my ear, and after all of this… “they just work.” But, like all Apple products, when they work, I sure do love them.
Today, I buy AppleCare on every Apple Product I purchase. It’s not because I want it, it’s because I’m fearful that everything I’m going to buy is going to fail. This is a deceptive consumer practice. Apple has made each of us pay $300-$500 more for each product we buy because like me, other people are afraid that a day past their warranty they will fail, and they do!
As it stands, I will use these products until they quit and AppleCare has expired. From there, unless Apple has changed, I have no reason to stick to a platform that has caused me so much more grief than the world of PC.
This has been my experience without bias or exaggeration. I will continue to always be open about my experiences with each of these companies and their products. I will also say that it’s not all negative. Beyond the hardware issues I’ve faced this year, I can honestly say that I love Apple’s ecosystem consisting of their OS, App Store, and software suite. In my mind, this is a huge reason to stay with the platform, if they can get everything else back on track.
I genuinely hope that they are able to do so.
About the author: Pye Jirsa is a wedding photographer based in Southern California and the co-founder of SLR Lounge, which offers photography content, tutorials, and training. This article was also published here.
Lens Case Duo: Protective Lens Cases for Both Bags and Waists
Think Tank Photo has launched its new Lens Case Duo series of protective lens cases. The quick-access, dual-opening padded cases are designed to protect your lenses both in camera bags and on a belt.
Each of the six cases features a zippered lid on top as well as a zippered opened on the side. The two ways of accessing the lenses within allow the cases to be used for transporting gear in rolling cases, backpacks, and shoulder bags.
When you need to start shooting, the cases can be turned into a modular system that provides quick access to lenses on a bag or a belt, which can be slid through the loop on the back of each case.
The larger cases also come with shoulder straps for an alternative method of wearing them.
The size different sizes are the Lens Case Duo 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, and 40. The smallest size can hold kit lenses and small prime lenses, while the largest size can hold telephoto zoom lenses such as the Canon, Nikon, or Sony 70-200mm f/2.8.
Other features and specs of the cases include a water-repellent coating, stretch pockets on the front, and high-density foam.
Here’s a 2-minute video introducing the Lens Case Duo line: