Note to photographers covering the United Nations General Assembly: It pays to carry a telephoto lens.
Yesterday, Michael Shaw at Bag News noted that Getty Images photographer Mario Tama had managed to zoom in on the text of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the General Assembly on September 23, capturing the prime minister’s handwritten notes, cross outs and revisions.
Six years ago at another UN gathering, President George W. Bush slipped a note to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice saying he would need a bathroom break. The text of that note was captured by a sharp-eyed Reuters photographer who, like Tama, was shooting from a booth above the hall.
Though slightly less amusing than a request by a world leader to go to the boys’ room, Netanyahu’s revised speech came 40 minutes after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had called on the UN to establish a Palestinian state. Comparing Netanyahu’s typed text with the speech as he delivered it, Shaw speculates that Netanyahu had scribbled down changes in reaction to Abbas’s statements.
Tama tells PDN that he had been covering the UN assembly for three days from locations among the roughly two dozen booths above the assembly. “Some are filled with photographers, others with video people, others with translators,” Tama explains. “As photographers we have a bit of leeway to explore angles from a few different booths, as long as we stay out of the way of the official UN camera crews and the like.”
As Netanyahu’s speech went on, “I began to notice some heavy blue-ink scribblings on the side of his notes,” says Tama, who has covered the UN many times in the past ten years. “I don’t recall ever seeing such prominent markings and corrections on a world leader’s speech before.”
He notes, “After shooting all the angles of him delivering the speech, I decided to try and just focus on the notes for the latter part of the speech.” He shot several photos of the notes with a 400mm lens, but couldn’t make out the words through his viewfinder. “I could only properly make them out once I blew them up in Photoshop.” The images, he says, “obviously had to be cropped quite significantly, hence the less than perfect image quality. I felt in this instance the unique content overrode quality concerns.”
Tama adds that if he had seen similar notes on Abbas’s text, he would have photographed those as well; he only recalls seeing that Abbas’s speech was in Arabic.
More of Tama’s close-up images are shown in “Over Netanyahu’s Shoulder” on Bagnewsnotes.com. Tama says to his knowledge “Bag News is the first significant publication of the images.”
Dutch photojournalist Jeroen Oerlemans, 45, was killed in Sirte, Libya, on October 2 while on assignment for the Belgian magazine Knack and other publications, Al Jazeera reports. His body was taken to Misrata, where a doctor reported that Oerlemans had been shot in the chest by a sniper for ISIS, which has been fighting for... More ›
©Dotan Saguy A former tech entrepreneur now pursuing photography as a second career, Dotan Saguy has gained notice for his project about the vitality, energy and spectacle of Venice Beach. National Geographic, ABC News, and others have published the work online, and Saguy, 46, has been invited to attend both the Missouri Photo Workshop and... More ›
Mary F. Calvert, Kirsten Luce, Katie Orlinsky, Sergey Ponomarev and Jonathan Torgovnik have each won a $10,000 grant from Getty Images through its annual Grants for Editorial Photography program. The program aims to “showcase and support powerful and inspiring photojournalism projects,” says Getty Images, which announced the winners today. Ponomarev, based in Moscow, was recognized for his... More ›