June 24th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography & Filmmaking

mrhayata | Flickr

mrhayata | Flickr

“And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect. Read as a nourishing staple of life.” ― David McCullough Jr.


The Role of Photography in Presenting Innocence and GuiltTime

Champions of Monster Polaroids Go DigitalNew York Times

Guillermo Del Toro’s 11 Rules for Visionary FilmmakingNo Film School

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand – Ken Burns

Photography’s Shifting Identity in an Insta-WorldNYT

On a Life of PhotographyCrave

Nepotism in Photography? Blame Social Media FStoppers

19 Fine Art Shooters on Their Daily RoutineFeature Shoot


Weekend Video

Gain insight into how Ansel Adams “composed” one of his best-selling images through his son Michael.

June 24th, 2016

LA Times Photographer Pleads No Contest to Resisting Arrest After Reagan Funeral

Longtime Los Angeles Times photographer Ricardo DeAratanha has pleaded no contest earlier this week to resisting and obstructing police during the March funeral motorcade of former First Lady Nancy Reagan. The photographer was at the scene covering the funeral for the Times and was sitting in his car transmitting photos from his laptop when police—responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle near the viewing—approached him. The photographer suggested in a March statement to police that officers were targeting him because of his race (DeAratanha is Brazilian), but the deputy district attorney said there was no evidence of that, according to the Times report.

DeAratanha entered the plea on the misdemeanor count before Ventura County Superior Court Judge F. Dino Inumerable, who sentenced the photographer to 12 months of unsupervised probation and 16 hours of community service, according to the Times. DeAratanha may request the conviction be expunged from his record if he successfully completes probation.

Related Links: 

For more details about the arrest, read PDN’s “LA Times Photographer Of Reagan Funeral Motorcade Charged After March Arrest” coverage.

For more information on photography and the First Amendment, read PDN‘s report on the legal cases photographers should know.


June 23rd, 2016

FAA Releases Rules for Commercial and Media Drone Operation

Yesterday the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a new set of rules for the use of drones in the United States for “non-hobby and non-recreational purposes,” i.e. commercial production and journalism. The rules introduce a certification process for drone pilots, address drone operation when people are present, and spell out when drone operators must clear their flights with local air traffic control, among many other provisions.

The rules will go into effect in early August.

The FAA released a summary of Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, for those who don’t want to read the full, 624-page document. Some of the highlights include:

  • A person operating a small UAS must either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who does hold a remote pilot certificate (remote pilot in command).
  • To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, a person must:
    • Demonstrate aeronautical knowledge by either:
      • Passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center; or
      • Hold a part 61 pilot certificate other than student pilot, complete a flight review within the previous 24 months, and complete a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA.
    • Be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration.
    • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS. Alternatively, the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the visual observer.
  • Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle.
  • Daylight-only operations, or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting.
  • Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission.
  • Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without ATC permission.

Matt Waite, the founder of the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska has a good breakdown of the different airspace rules in his explainer for NiemanLab, here.

Related: Own a Drone? You’ll Have to Register It with the FAA
FAA’s Proposed Drone Rules Won’t Bar Photography

June 23rd, 2016

LOOK3: Chris Morris on Shooting War, Fashion and Politics

The candid conversation between Christopher Morris and MaryAnne Golon at the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Viriginia, highlighted the varied paths Morris’s career has taken, from documenting conflict and politics to shooting fashion, and the struggles photographers face in a changing industry. Morris, a founding member of the VII photo agency and contract photographer for TIME Magazine since 1990, and Golon, a former photo editor at TIME and now the Assistant Managing Editor and Director of Photography at the Washington Post, “grew up together in the industry,” she said.

Mesmerized as a boy by photographs of soldiers and death emerging from the Vietnam War, Morris was first taught to use a camera by his stepmother. While visiting his father, who was based in the Philippines as a contractor, Morris witnessed the press photographing the POWs who had been held in North Vietnam returning to Clark Air Base. The seed of his desire to become a photojournalist was firmly planted.

“I was always in pursuit of the ultimate conflict photography, basically pursuing the man with the gun,” said Morris of the years he spent covering conflict. “Eventually I started to realize I was pursuing a bunch of idiots with a gun.”

In 2000, on his sixth trip covering the conflict in Chechnya, Morris was nearly killed. In that moment, he told the audience, he realized that he hadn’t taken any pictures of his two-year-old daughter. “It became crystal clear to me that I didn’t want to do [conflict photography] anymore, that it was a very selfish profession, a profession that was driven by my own internal desires of wanting to experience man at his worst,” said Morris.

Having covered scenes of violence in Croatia, Bosnia and Chechnya, he said, “I basically started to hate mankind.”

He showed photos of a man cut to shreds in his vegetable garden by a piece of metal falling from the sky, and 4-year-old boy with his throat slit open by shrapnel. Morris said, “These kind of pictures were more to shock my editors…it’s the stuff they won’t publish.”

Morris and Golon noted that magazines have to appeal to advertisers, “And they would never stand for some of these images to be published in the same place” as their ads, Golon noted.  Covering conflict “became my job, a way of paying my mortgage,” Morris said, “The pictures didn’t really change anything…In this country we sanitize war, we sanitize the true brutality of it.”

Morris told TIME he couldn’t cover war anymore. From 2000 to 2009, he was assigned to the White House. With editors from TIME in the room, he admitted that while on assignment he shoots 70 percent of his photos for himself and 30 percent for the client. “The problem with publications and media is that there is a certain product that they want and it does not usually fit what you want to carry on for your legacy,” Morris said. His solution? Once he felt he had want TIME needed, he made images for himself.

Morris said that the job as White House correspondent “terrified me because it was going to be photographing a man in a suit for the rest of my career.” He explained, “In conflict, we had such freedom, you go where you want, you wake up when you want, there’s no writer, there’s no editor, there’s no fixer. At the White House you’re told where to sit, where to stand, when to eat, when to go home, when to be there.”

An Italian fashion magazine contacted him around 2009 to shoot a story on retail store mannequins. “I thought well, I could photograph Republicans, so that’s how I got this.” He continued shooting fashion assignments for magazines and clothing companies for the next five years. Morris said, “the problem with this type of photography is that it goes against everything I had done in my career for 20 years. Everything is staged, everything is manipulated, everything is created, it’s the complete opposite of photojournalism, but I found it challenging and it was photography so I thought I would try it out.”

Today, Morris is primarily shooting celebrities: actresses Laetitia Casta and Selma Hayek, and the Princess of Monaco and her young family. Referring to the royal family, Morris said, “They brought me there to do their Christmas card, so now I’ve gone from war to being a baby photographer.”

“Are you always looking for a new way to see?” Golon asked near the end of the conversation. Morris said, “It’s like there are different ladders in life, if one isn’t working then I get on another.”

Of the work that first made his name and reputation, Morris said, “I still miss it. I still miss conflict photography.”

Speaking before an audience of photographers, Morris said, “I’m like everyone in this room trying to survive.” He said, “It’s an industry of constantly clinging on with your fingernails, finding jobs, having to wait 90 to 120 days to get people to pay, but I wouldn’t change it for anything because you’re not locked in an office. You see the world. You can hang with homeless people, you can hang with refugees, you can hang with presidents, you can hang with celebrities. There’s no other profession in the world that gives you that kind of life.”

What’s next for Morris? Golon asked. Without hesitation, he answered, “That’s a fantasy question, but I’d like to make a movie, a full documentary.”

—by Sarah Stacke

LOOK3: Doug Dubois on Creating Images “Based on a True Story”








June 22nd, 2016

Q&A with Michael Hejtmanek, President of Hasselblad Americas on Breaking the Medium Format Mold


With the X1D, Hasselblad is attempting to redefine the medium format category.

We sat down briefly with U.S. President Michael Hejtmanek for his take on the camera and its place in the Hasselblad universe. What follows is a condensed version of the talk that’s been edited for length and clarity.

On new lenses for the X1D

“We’re going to be very aggressive out of the gate with lenses for the camera,” Hejtmanek says. First up will be a 30mm f/3.5 at Photokina, “then we’ll get feedback to see what’s next.”

On the X1D’s limited video capability at launch

“We want to see how the market will use it for video,”Hejtmanek says. “It’s a still camera with video functions, but we can improve the feature set with feedback from our users. We’re very excited to see what people will do with video—it’s 1080p but it will look and feel very different than what people are used to.”

While some of the X1D’s video features can be changed via firmware, the 1080p video can’t be upgraded to 4K, he adds.

On why Hasselblad built the X1D

The goal wasn’t to build a camera that users would use in lieu of the H6D or other medium format backs but one that would tempt mirrorless shooters to step up to medium format, he says. “This gives them a way to buy a medium format camera that looks and feels like a compact camera.”

What it is not, Hejtmanek stressed, is the Hasselblad name on another manufacturer’s product. “This was conceived by and built by Sweden, through and through. It’s the camera our engineers have wanted to build—it’s the pinnacle of our development. We’ve created the future of medium format. We’ve redefined it.”

Read: Early hands-on with the Hasselblad X1D

June 22nd, 2016

Hasselblad Shakes Up Market with Mirrorless Medium Format X1D


One of the Internet’s long-running photo gear rumors was that Sony would introduce a medium format mirrorless camera, but it’s fallen to Hasselblad to take the first stab at it. [Update: we’ve published a short hands-on preview below.]

The X1D sports a 50-megapixel medium format CMOS image sensor (43.8mm x 32.9 ) with 14 stops of dynamic range, 14-bit color and an ISO range of 100-12,800 (expandable to 25,600). It’s housed in a compact, lightweight body that promises to handle more like an advanced compact camera than a bulky medium format body.

It will sell for $8,995 and is due to ship by the end of August. It’s available for pre-order now.

Shutter speeds will range from 60 minutes to 1/2000 sec. with flash sync throughout the range. Frame rates clock in at between 1.7 and 2.3 fps in continuous shooting.


You’ll compose your image through a 3-inch touch display with a 30 fps refresh rate or through an 2.3-million dot EVF.

Key features of the X1D include:

  • contrast-detect AF system
  • Wi-Fi
  • GPS
  • HD video recording at 25 fps (24 fps will be added via firmware)
  • dust and weatherproof build
  • dual SD card slots
  • USB 3 Type-C port
  • mini HDMI out


The camera will work with a new line of XCD autofocus lenses with full flash synch up to 1/2000th second. Two lenses will be available at launch: a 45mm f/3.5 ($2,295) and a 90mm f/4.5 ($2,695). A 30mm f/3.5 lens will be launched at Photokina in September of this year. Hasselblad will also sell an adapter for use with H system lenses.

UPDATE: We had an opportunity to get a few minutes with a preproduction model–the build was final but the firmware wasn’t. It’s amazingly lightweight but feels incredibly well built. It’s sturdy and the ergonomic grip has a nice, rubberized feel. We don’t have the precise numbers in front of us but we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s lighter than Leica’s SL full frame mirrorless. When Hasselblad calls the camera “compact” they’re not kidding.

The mode dial pops up to allow you to change modes and then pops into the camera body to lock your choice. The rear touch screen is very responsive–you simply swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up a menu with all your shooting settings (shutter speed, ISO, etc.) that can be changed with the press of a finger. All the icons are large and easily manipulated by touching and swiping. There are two dials (one on the front and one on the rear) to adjust exposure settings.

In addition to three custom slots on the mode dial, potentially three more of the camera’s button will be programmable so you can reassign functions if you want to customize the body. There’s no dedicated video recording button.

The EVF isn’t the sharpest we’ve looked through, but is relatively responsive. Live view on the display was fairly crisp. The AF system in the pre-production model is single point but touch focusing and continuous AF should be active in the final model, we were told. Shot to shot time wasn’t blazing–and as suggested by the continuous shooting rate cited above, this isn’t a speed demon (though we’ll reserve judgement until the firmware is finalized).

What’s still to be determined is battery life, which won’t be announced until the company has tested the final firmware.

X1D_Front X1D_Front34_View X1D_Side_View X1D_Top_View X1D_Lifestyle_Sitting X1D_Lifestyle_InHand

June 21st, 2016

Adobe Updates Creative Cloud, Giving Photoshop New Powers

Adobe is updating a number of its Creative Cloud apps today, including Photoshop, giving them a speed boost and several new features.

Among the new goodies in Photoshop is the previously teased Content-Aware Crop, which automatically fills in the gaps when you rotate or expand a canvas beyond the original image size.

A new Face-Aware Liquify feature uses the Liquify Tool while keeping the face in proportion by automatically identifying eyes, noses, mouths, and other facial features, making them easy to adjust. It can be used for traditional retouching or for creating funny effects. 

What’s New in Adobe Stock

Adobe is embedding its Stock market deeper into Creative Cloud apps with a new “one-click workflow” that lets you select an asset from Adobe Stock and place it in your creative canvas with a click. Photoshop users will be able to make in-app licensing purchases from Adobe Stock in the layers panel. Users browsing the Adobe Stock site will also be able to open images directly from the site in Photoshop.

Starting in July, Creative Cloud customers will be able to contribute to Adobe Stock directly from the Lightroom CC, Adobe Bridge CC, Photoshop Fix and Photoshop Mix apps. Work sent to Adobe Stock can have keywords and tags added automatically.

Adobe is also adding a Premium Collection to the Stock market that will consist of “nearly 100,000 curated images that meet the standards of top advertising agencies, leading brands and digital and print publications,” the company said in a statement. 

June 21st, 2016

Plugin Lets You Upload Images to Instagram from Lightroom

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 7.48.06 AM

Instagram’s genesis as a mobile app has meant that basic desktop functionality, like image uploading, is often lacking and falls to third parties to develop. While there are many third party desktop uploaders, a new Lightroom plugin integrates Instagram publishing deeper into many photographic workflows.

Dubbed simply LR/Instagram, the free plugin lets you add Instagram to Lightroom’s publish service. Once you’ve authenticated your Instagram account, publishing Lightroom images is a drag-and-drop away. If you manage multiple Instagram accounts, you can set them up individually as their own publish collection in Lightroom.

The plugin supports your original image’s aspect ratio or the Instagram square crop. It also, naturally, supports hashtags and captioning.

While the plugin is free and compatible with Lightroom CC or v. 3.0 onward, its publisher suggests a $10 donation if you find it useful.

Hat tip: Digital Trends


June 20th, 2016

LOOK3: Doug DuBois on Creating Images “Based on a True Story”

© Doug DuBois. An image of Shauna and her new baby, from My Last Day at Seventeen (Aperture, 2015).

© Doug DuBois. An image of Shauna and her new baby, from My Last Day at Seventeen (Aperture, 2015).

Over the course of five summers, Doug DuBois photographed teenagers living in public housing in a small Irish city of Cobh, depicting scenes of the kids drinking, carousing and coping with the boredom and restlessness that characterizes the period between childhood and adulthood. Photos from the project, published in his book My Last Day at Seventeen (honored in the 2016 PDN Photo Annual) were shown at the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph alongside Olivia Bee’s images of teenagers in exhibition curated by photographer Phil Toledano. While Bee’s romantic photographs show her friends and contemporaries, DuBois made his images in Cobh by collaborating with “a core group of players” he’d gotten to know and who were willing to act out scenarios or suggest scenes for him to photograph. The project, DuBois told PDN in an interview, was not “documentary” or “diaristic”; it represents his subjective view of the place, the teens and his interaction with them. He likens it to literary nonfiction or memoir.

In all his work, Dubois says, “subjectivity is at the forefront.” His 2009 book, All the Days and Nights, about tensions in his family, included photos he made of his mother reenacting moments DuBois had witnessed. “It’s like the movies say, ‘Based on a true story,’” he says. About his Cobh project, he says, “Invention is too strong a word, but I would say it’s my story based on their lives and how I saw them and what I understood and what I didn’t understand.” But while it is his own story, DuBois felt a responsibility to depict his subjects in a way that they would recognize.

He first arrived in Cobh in 2009 as the recession was taking hold. He had accepted a month-long residency, and had agreed to hold a community photo workshop with some local teens. “I asked them to take me to where they hung out,” he recalls. “I spent one long night encountering 15-year-olds some of whom were very drunk.” Dubois, who shoots with large- and medium-format cameras, got up close to a boy named Lenny and, while other kids joked and teased, asked him to blow smoke from his cigarette. In the close-up portrait, Lenny is bemused and looking tough. DuBois recalls, “I said: This is the image. It’s all about the bravado. You can see his past as a child and his future.”
Read the rest of this entry »

June 20th, 2016

Woods Wheatcroft on the Great Outdoors

The work of photographer Woods Wheatcroft is imbued with light, energy and play. In fact, those are the names of three portfolios on his website that present his work. Wheatcroft shoots travel, lifestyle and stock photography that is true to his West Coast upbringing: laid back, cheery and sunlit.


A long exposure of a surfer in Baja California, Mexico. Photo © Woods Wheatcroft

His work has attracted outdoor clients such as Keen, Outside and Patagonia, and his job often takes him to far-flung locations. Last year, a shot of BASE jumpers in the Italian Dolomites—shot for KAVU outdoor wear—garnered him Grand Prize in our annual competition The Great Outdoors (open for entries for 2016 at www.greatoutdoorscontest.com). We asked Wheatcroft to talk about the striking award-winning image and what goes into his outdoor photography.

PDN: How long have you been shooting professionally, and how would you describe your style?

Woods Wheatcroft: I earned my first photography paycheck in my early 20s and have now been full time for about 16 years. My style is very much connected to the life I choose to live: fun, spontaneous, authentic, humorous. I am most happy capturing the in-between moments.


Two beachgoers are caught by an unexpected shorebreak wave in Baja California, Mexico. Photo © Woods Wheatcroft

PDN: Where are some unique locations that your travel work has brought you to?

WW: Unique and memorable travel locations for me include Japan, Nicaragua, Baffin Island in Canada, and the west coast of Scotland, to name a few. Baja California, Mexico, is still my favorite.

PDN: What’s the story behind your Grand Prize image from The Great Outdoors?

WW: That image was taken on a two-week trip through Europe with a group of sponsored wing-suit jumpers. KAVU is one of my long-time clients and I shot stills for them on a multimedia shoot. We traveled to Switzerland, Italy and France. This particular image was taken in the Sass Pordoi region of the Dolomites in Italy. Ironically, two days after this image was taken our car was broken into and all of my camera gear was stolen. That hurt. I shot the remainder of the trip on a Polaroid and a cardboard disposable camera I bought at a gas station!


Wingsuit BASE jumpers leaving the exit point in the Sass Pordoi area of the Italian Dolomites. Grand Prize winning image of The Great Outdoors. Photo © Woods Wheatcroft

PDN: Was there only one opportunity to get that shot, or did the BASE jumpers do multiple runs?

WW: There are few angles and options to shoot wing-suiters. I will say there was only one opportunity to shot this particular moment because of the weather closing in. The BASE jumpers did do multiple runs but this was the last jump of this day, as the clouds filled the exit point. We were in a downpour shortly after this. We did explore another angle that involved a three-hour hike to be in the middle of their flight as they flew past a cliff. That result was an award winner as well.

PDN: Are there any rules you live by when photographing outdoor work?

WW: Rule 1: Any rule I give myself, I must be willing to break it at anytime. The moment rarely repeats. Besides that, I always try discover and explore new angles—such as my experience with the BASE jumpers—and not just ones that take five or 10 minutes. I think about the bigger environment and do my best to pre-visualize how the subject will best communicate in that space. Other rules of thumb: Always keep shooting until you “feel” you have it, and love what you do! I love my life outside of my photographic pursuits, and it feeds me and inspires me. Wherever life takes me, I usually take my camera.

Enter this year’s edition of The Great Outdoors at www.greatoutdoorscontest.com before the June 30, 2016 deadline. See more from Woods Wheatcroft at www.woodswheatcroft.com.