If you want "stories behind the stories,” I am the guy to give you ALL the stories behind the stories you want — enough to choke on. :—)
Canon’s “Explorers Of Light” program was created and managed by me from December 1994 through March 2003. Anybody that has a desire to question my credentials, as an image-maker should take the time and make the effort to look at my Linked-In page —the URL is: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=21441632&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic
Here is a huge story behind the story fact — I original brought the “Explorers” concept and idea to Nikon USA where I had worked as a Nikon School Photographer in 1974. It was, unfortunately, rejected, but I still had to take care of my family and eat. So I took it to Canon, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The initial concept of the “Explorers” was an educational program linked to marketing, advertising and ultimately sales — at least it was during my watch. The program started out with 55 photographers all signed to the exact same two-year contract and the same amount of money for the use of their name — that was it, and contrary to popular “rumors” it was NOT a lot of money — under $10,001 for a 24-month contract just for the use of their name. However, they did earn additional fees for lectures, seminars, workshops, and advertising. I was allowed to add ten (10) more photographers to the program because it was a huge success — even more than I imagined. The “Explorers” totaled 65, but, in a brief period of time, it became a “FAMILY” consisting of the finest image-makers ever assembled — all with the same contract and under one roof. I handpicked all but three of the original 55, and selected all 10 of the additional photographers making the total 65. My criteria had nothing to do with friendships but everything to do with talent, creativity, and “star power.” I wanted to bring East Coast photographers to the West Coast and visa versa. I produced over 800 events and shows with the “Explorers.” After my “departure” from Canon in March 2003, contracts changed, deals where not the same for all, and, in my humble opinion, the quality and exclusivity of the “Explorers Of Light” was decimated and diminished. Some photographers were brought in because they had a “friend” who was either a tech rep or in the camera division at Canon USA. In any event, the group grew to over 90 “Explorers.” Canon cut the group back once they figure out the program had become watered down. Unfortunately, and unwittingly because they began using “metrics” to determine who stays and who goes — the best of the best were eliminated along with some who never should have been anointed “Explorers,” in my opinion, of course.
Seth Resnick was, and still is, an incredible image-maker even before digital, and then he became even better. He not only makes terrific images but also teaches including the “Explorers Of Light” under my watch. You know how they say, birds of a feather flock together — well that’s exactly what happened with the “Explorers” during my watch. Seth Resnick and Jeff Schewe became the ultimate “digital gurus” for the “Explorers,” and that’s a FACT. They were both powerhouses and I don’t know if they ever slept, but they had more energy then anybody. Unfortunately, they were both excised from the “Explorers Of Light.” For anybody on this forum or anywhere insinuate Seth Resnick was let go because he is “…not good enough for Canon's "Explorer of Light," but Nikon is not so picky…” needs a reality check. Nikon leans more toward photographers who exhibit creativity; style, innovation, productivity, and the ability of do it with consistent results. Canon is now all about their stable of photographer’s metrics, and the least of which has to do with creativity or style.
The following are the list of image-makers who were “Explorers Of Light” while I was in charge, but have since been let go — would you dare to say they are not good enough for Canon’s “Explorers Of Light…” or any imaging company’s stable?
Paul Aresu • Harry Benson • Barbara Bordnick • Patrick Demarchelier • Anthony Edgeworth • Arthur Elgort • Robert Farber • Dick Frank • Beth Galton • Larry Dale Gordon • Timothy Greenfield-Sanders • Dirck Halstead • Ryszard Horowitz • Carol Kaplan • Steve Krongard • Harvy Lloyd • Mary Ellen Mark • Robert McNeely • Susan Meiselas • Eric Meola • Sheila Metzner • Duane Michals • Sarah Moon • Arthur Morris • David Muench • Co Rentmeester • Seth resnick • Roger Ressmeyer • Jeff Schewe • Larry Silver • Gil Smith • Melvin Sokolsky • Albert Watson • Stephen Wilkes • Art Wolfe • James Wood.
These image-makers are some of the most highly productive and creative photographers anywhere — especially Seth Resnick. Next time do some research before spewing out disinformation, misinformation, and pure “dribble.”
I consider myself very fortunate the original “Explorers Of Light” allowed me to be their “captain.” They trusted everything I did for them, the group and the company footing the bills. In essence, I literally walked with the giants of the photo-imaging industry.
I must also include those “Explorers Of Light” who died, and may G-d bless them:
Arnold Newman • Henry Wolf • Brian Lanker • James “Jimmy” Moore • Monte Zucker.
We are still a “FAMILY.”
Sorry for the length of this but at least now you know…All the BEST, and keep me in your “loupes”
“Captain Explorer — Emeritus”
(a.k.a. Michael Newler)