• Derek and the Art of Windows. feat. Jordan Hollender

    Jordan Hollender is happiest when he is on set. To be in a place its where he gets to create, collaborate and connect with people. And that mission is easy to see in the piece he chose to talk about today, a video called Derek and the Art of Windows.

    Jordan Hollender is a photographer based in New York City, and he's one of those people who is so great to work with because you can tell he loves what he does. Jordan's work has appeared everywhere, from Fast Company to ESPN to Smithsonian magazine. 

    Host Dan Morrell sits down with Jordan to talk about photography as a line of work, what he learned creating this video piece, how it differs from his traditional photography ethos, and living life outside of the box. 

    My Finest Work is a production of Dog Ear Creative and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    What makes Jordan work distinct?

    14:36 - I'd like to think that I'm completely unique—a hundred percent unique in my approach to my art, and there's aspects of how I work that might be unique to me. And let's say, I guess my life experience is going to make my approach, the places I've been, the people I talk to. My insecurities, vulnerabilities, passions, and confidence all inform my process and how I'm going to create.

    Photography is a gateway to confidence

    03:12 - Photography was a way to find confidence and comfort within adolescence and growth. And that was what probably made me fall in love with it. It was the art, but at that point, it was less about the art, more about the confidence, and more about finding something I could do that I enjoyed.

    On how Jordan’s passion for photography evolved over the years

    27:10 - There's been a big shift in how I tell a story and where the passion is going to come from now, whether it be in the post or during the shoot. But my passion shifted and I care a lot less about having people tell me they love the work. 

    The courage to live in uncertainty

    13:13 - The way that I approach life is outside the box, and that takes courage. And to see someone else living with that courage in much more extreme circumstances helps to inform confidence, helps to inform that you're not alone, and helps to make you realize that there's a real uncertainty about all of this, about every day we walk through.

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    S1E8 - 17m - Dec 1, 2023
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma Magazine Cover of Meghan Markle feat. EmDash

    Everyone who is a content creator dreams of going viral online one day. But what actually happens on the other side, once your art is everywhere? This happened to EmDash when Beyonce & Jay Z blew up the image they used on the cover of a 2018 Kappa Kappa Gamma Magazine Cover with Meghan Markle.

    Em Dash is Erin Mayes and Kate Collins met when they were both working for Pentagram Design in Austin Texas. Most mornings, Kate’s 1972 yellow International Scout broke down—and Erin offered the 5’11 Kate a tight ride in her Mini Cooper. 

    Those Austin, Texas, commutes eventually led to a partnership in EmDash, an award-winning design agency, whose clients have included everyone from the National Geographic Society, Simon & Schuster, Texas Observer to Denison University, the University of Texas, and Harvard Business School.

    Today, they talk to Maureen Harmon & Dan Morrell about that from Illustrator Tim O’Brien in an effort to avoid the expected—and what really happens when you get that Beyonce bump.

    My Finest Work is a production of Dog Ear Creative and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    On what makes a great magazine article

    15:23 [Erin] Our ultimate goal is for the magazine to go to the bathroom. And if you can, with the cover, make it interesting enough that somebody wants to hold onto it and they want to make sure that they read it, like that is the goal. And however we achieve that goal is, how we go about it.

    Why is print still important?

    25:23 - [Kate] It's something that is you're not gonna skim it and just read the headline. You can actually sit and have a relationship with it. 

    Alt quote on magazines & staying power

    24:40 [Erin] It doesn't take any effort. Like when you get a magazine in the mail, it's there and it's in your hands and you're already a part of it. 

    On working & doing business with your friends

    04:58 [Kate] We had everybody tell us it was the worst idea. We had accountants and people be like, don't do this. If you value your friendship, don't become partners. And it was the best decision I could have ever made, she’s the best work wife ever. 

    Storytelling through alumni magazines

    10:07 [Kate] There are good stories in alumni magazines; why not push the boundary and make them so people actually want to pick them up and read them? So we're always trying to keep that in mind as we attack something, and then we love collaborating with other people.

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    S1E7 - 22m - Oct 20, 2023
  • Faces of Addiction // Glaciers in Retreat with Eric Hatch

    Photographer Eric Hatch has covered the world. He's photographed fragile environments from above the Arctic Circle to New Zealand, as well as the countryside in cities of Europe, Tahiti, and much of the United States. He's an architectural photographer with a special interest in infrastructure, and he also creates award-winning black-and-white environmental portraits.

    Eric puts his values right up front in his work. And on the latest episode, host Maureen Harmon talked with Eric about two of his most well-known photo series, Faces of Addiction, which gives voice to those in addiction and recovery, and Glaciers In Retreat, which documents the beauty and demise of Earth's glorious masses of ice.

    He shares the methods behind these 2 projects, working in photography with bad vision, shares stories from his travels to Utah and Alaska, and tells us a bit about writing his memoir.

    My Finest Work is a production of Dog Ear Creative and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    On working on things that have social impact

    21:30 - There's a difference between being artistic and being committed to the art involved in your work. I don't do portraits anymore. I mean, I will do black-and-white environmental portraits, like faces, but I don't go out and sell them. I'm not after them. I'm after things that matter—that have social impact.

    12:03 - What I try to do as a photographer is capture not only the reality of the scene but the feeling that I was feeling with it.

    Glaciers as a subject of his finest work

    07:45 - So it's my finest work because I've gotten better in the 12 years I've been doing it. It speaks to what people know as an intellectual reality unless they're living in a catastrophe. But it doesn't speak to what we're losing this project does, and I hadn't realized it was a project until I'd gotten a fair number of glacier shots done.

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    S1E6 - 16m - Aug 10, 2023
  • What Katrina Gave Michael feat. Vicki Glembocki

    Today on My Finest Work we welcome Vicki Glembocki, an award-winning journalist, editor, and consultant who has worked inside both the ivory tower and in the commercial world. 

    Her work has been published in a number of places including Parents, Reader’s Digest, and Women’s Health. Vicky is also the author of The Second Nine Months: One Woman Tells the Real Truth about Being a Mom.

    Vicki’s career started at The Penn Stater magazine before she headed to Philadelphia Magazine, where she wrote the piece she will discuss today: What Katrina Gave Michael, the story of a man with a failing heart and the tragedy that gave him new life. 

    Join hosts Maureen Harmon & Dan Morrell as Vicki discusses the jump from higher ed to commercial, mixing the personal with the professional, her writing process, and the art of being flexible as you approach a story.

    My Finest Work is a production of Dog Ear Creative and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    On choosing a writing environment

    20:38 - I'm an “anywhere” writer. Except in an office where people knock on your damn door. Nobody likes to write in their office, right?!

    On where stories start

    15:04 - You know those moments where you're interviewing someone and they say something that you have never considered in your experience or your life—words or something that truly blows your mind. And every story might not be like a huge, massive, mind-blowing - but in this case it was. But you know, those moments when you're talking to someone and you go, “Oh my God.” And that's always where the story starts to me.

    On her methods for interviewing

    14:13 - I'm not sitting there writing notes the whole time when I'm talking to them. I'm at their dinner table. I have a tape recorder on and I'm eating, you know, potatoes.

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    S1E4 - 28m - Jul 6, 2023
  • Cincinnati Bengals New Stripes Campaign feat. Aaron Conway

    Aaron Conway was born and raised in the Midwest, and now he surrounds himself with creatives in his studio located in Cincinnati, Ohio. After brief forays into painting and sculpture, Aaron found his passion in photography working for national brands, companies, and organizations. 

    He is a passionate creative, as well as an outdoors enthusiast and a dog lover who gets a kick out of creative challenges and adapting to what he calls a wild industry. Today on My Finest Work, Aaron chats with host Maureen Harmon about a project he tackled for the Cincinnati Bengals, which included a space in need of love and care, jungle plant backdrops, and the need to sell it all to team management.

    My Finest Work Podcast is a production of Dog Ear Creative and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    On collaborating with other people in the industry

    26:50 - I like to surround myself with other people in the industry or just other creatives in general because I think that you get to stumble across things, like this project, you get to stumble across little opportunities by conversations, and you get to help other people as well.

    Sometimes the more difficult path is the right way to go. 

    10:19 - “We brought them up there, and they said, 'Yes, let's do it.' We were super excited about it—like, I can't believe this. And then there was an  "Oh shit” moment where we were like, "Oh. They said 'yes.' Now we have to actually do this.”

    Client trust is important for a creative's success

    22:15: One of the reasons why I chose this project is because I came in at the last minute. And so, I hate to say a bonus because it wasn't a bonus, but they rode off on we trust you to do what you want to do. So I think in this specific instance, we got to do whatever we wanted, and they were happy with it.

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    S1E4 - 20m - Jun 22, 2023
  • The Divorce Colony feat. April White

    At the turn of the century, “going to Sioux Falls” was a euphemism for “getting a divorce.” South Dakota’s permissive divorce laws made the small frontier city a magnet for socialites and celebrities seeking to end their marriages. It was, the newspapers breathlessly reported, “a Mecca for the mismated” where “the ‘electrocution’ of marriage” was underway.

    These stories of the women who traveled thousands of miles in search of their freedom are at the heart of April White’s finest work “The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier.”

    April White is a senior writer and editor at Atlas Obscura. She previously worked as an editor at Smithsonian Magazine, where she oversaw the publication’s history-focused coverage. She holds a master’s degree in history and has told surprising tales from the archives for publications including the Washington Post, The Atavist Magazine, and JSTOR Daily. In addition, April has authored and co-authored eight cookbooks and several other books on food and drink.

    She sits down with host Dan Morell to talk about her writing process, the story of Sioux Falls, and why it's better to write about the dead over the living. 

    My Finest Work is a production of Dog Ear Collective and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    On the importance of telling the story of the people

    05:07 - Being able to tell the story of people is really important. So, I'm not interested in this grand sweep of history. I'm interested in the really small decisions, the individual relationships that reshaped how something happened. And so, getting as close to people as possible and understanding why they made the decisions they did is important to me as a storyteller.

    What made April fell in love with writing

    02:13 - One of the things I liked about writing and storytelling was that you could talk about anything you wanted. It was a way to sort of explore all kinds of different worlds.

    How April came across “the divorce colony”

    03:47 - I knew I liked grand hotels, which were these huge structures at the turn of the century that were basically small towns in and of themselves. And so, lots happened in these public spaces. And I was interested in that. And I was researching that. And along the way, I saw the words "the divorce colony." And that was just a left turn for me. It was; what is that, and how do I learn more? And that's how it started.

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    24m - Apr 24, 2023
  • Untitled Series feat. Max-O-Matic

    Max-O-Matic, also known as Máximo Tuja, is a Barcelona-based artist and image maker. As a collage artist, Max works to create “an imaginary world from torn pieces of the real one.” 

    He is founding member and director of The Weird Show, showcasing the most outstanding contemporary collage worldwide in exhibitions, internet, and printed matter. .

    Max’s finest work is a series he calls “Untitled” from late 2014 to early 2015. He tells hosts Maureen Harmon and Patrick Kirchner about starting this project on vacation, working late into the evenings, and prepping for a show 2 months before its debut.

    We also talked with Max about his own creative process—and how setting boundaries for your work can help you break out of a creative slump. 

    My Finest Work is a production of Dog Ear Creative and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    The idea of limits in Max’s work

    21:21 - The idea of limits, it's something that it's embedded in my work, even since I started working as an illustrator or as an artist. Limits are always something that I take very seriously into consideration because the time that I realized that not drawing was something that wasn't a limit, but just an opportunity to find another ways of expressing myself.

    From concepts to art

    07:03 - I was trained to express my ideas verbally, and that helped me to have a clear way to understand ideas and put them into words. And then I had to learn the other way, like putting words, ideas, and concepts into images.

    A bit on his process & commercial work

    26:49 - So the way I found to make them interesting is mostly playing with colors and texture and adding layers of colors that add information and help to support the narrative. I'm trying to convey with the illustration, but also take like the ugly side of the images I'm using and add some like beauty into them.

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    S1E2 - 29m - Mar 31, 2023
  • Notre Dame Magazine & Covering Complicated Subjects feat. Kerry Temple

    When Kerry Temple came on board as the editor of Notre Dame Magazine in 1995, he was told that any topic was fair game for the Catholic university's quarterly. Except homosexuality. 

    For nearly 10 years, he and his team steered clear. But by 2004 Kerry says it was just time. Together with his magazine team and willing writers, Notre Dame Magazine tackled the taboo subject. And not just with an article, but with an entire issue dedicated to the complex conversations around religion, sexual orientation, vulnerability, and stigma. It was also the first time Notre Dame welcomed an openly gay individual to write for the magazine. 

    Kerry, whose work has been cited in Best American Essays more than a dozen times, talks to host Maureen Harmon about this particular issue of Notre Dame Magazine, the love that dare not speak its name, and why he considers it his finest work.

    My Finest Work is a production of Dog Ear Creative and is produced by University FM.

    Episode Quotes:

    Notre Dame Magazine on covering complicated topics

    10:50: At the time, we were going against the current, and it was something people didn't want to talk about. And it was something that I felt like we should. And I'm not a contentious person, I'm not a crusader, but there are times when you just have to step up into it. And I just felt like now's the time to do it.

    19:27: Good writing comes from the feelings inside. It's not just the intellectual content. 

    17:27: When I'm working on something, I love that process—being in a zone and doing the writing.

    On homophobia

    07:41: Life's hard. It's hard, whatever you do. And then to add on to people, they've gotta come to terms with their sexuality in a culture that isn't welcoming and open to it. And then you lay on all this religious guilt and it just makes their lives that much harder. It just seems to me unchristian.

    On the magazines impact

    21:18:  Somebody told me about a month after it came out that doing this issue probably had saved lives. And that was a really good thing to hear. 

    13:28 - Notre Dame, it's a very traditional place. And when I was there [as a student], for two years, it was all male. And so you can imagine the environment and the mindset and the thinking about manhood and masculinity. It just hung on there for a long, long time. I think the place is better now.

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    S1E1 - 24m - Mar 24, 2023
  • My Finest Work Trailer

    What are the stories behind the stories that move us? What is the creative process of some of our favorite writers, photographers, designers, and illustrators? And where do they go for inspiration?

    On My Finest Work, the team at Dog Ear Creative talk to artists about their favorite projects to help understand what makes a Magnum Opus, and what everyone can learn from that process.

    Tune in every other Wednesday starting March 8th!

    My Finest Work is a production of Dog Ear Creative and is produced by University FM.

    S1 - 0m - Mar 8, 2023
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My Finest Work