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March 24th, 2015

Heidi Levine Wins First Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award

American photojournalist Heidi Levine has won the first Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism award, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has announced. The $20,000 prize was established in memory of Niedringhaus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer who was killed while covering the elections in Afghanistan in 2014.

Levine, who lives in Jerusalem, has covered the ongoing conflict in Gaza. ““Her courage and commitment to the story in Gaza is unwavering. She documents tragic events under dire circumstances while displaying a depth of compassion for the people she encounters,” the jury wrote in a statement announcing the award.

Jurors included former photographer Corinne Dufka of Human Rights Watch, Washington Post photographer Carol Guzy, Associated Press director of photography Santiago Lyon, New York Times assistant managing editor and director of photography Michele McNally, Time director of photography Kira Pollack, and IWMF board member Bryan Monroe.

Levine will receive her award at a ceremony in Berlin in June.

The jury awarded honorable mentions to photojournalist Anastasia Vlasova, for her coverage of the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine; and AP photographer Rebecca Blackwell, for her work in the Central African Republic.

“We are proud to honor and celebrate the courage of women photojournalists who risk their lives documenting conflict and war while shedding light on moments of humanity,” IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz said.

Niedringhaus was traveling with a convoy of Afghanistan election workers in April 2014 when a police officer approached her and opened fire with his AK-47.  Another journalist, AP correspondent Kathy Gannon, was also shot, but survived the attack.

Afterwards, Washington, DC-based IWMF established the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award with funding from the Howard G. Buffet Foundation. The award will be given annually, according to IWMF.

Related:
AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus Killed in Aghanistan
AP Photographer’s Killer Given Death Sentence in Kabul
Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award Announced

March 18th, 2015

Nike Seeks Dismissal of Photog Rentmeester’s Copyright Claim over “Air Jordan” Logo

© Jacobus "Co" Rentmeester

 Co Rentmeester sued Nike in January for unauthorized use of this 1984 image to create the “Jumpman” logo used for decades to promote Nike’s Jordan brand.  © Jacobus “Co” Rentmeester    

The Nike shoe company has asked a federal court to dismiss photographer Co Rentmeester’s copyright claim over the iconic logo used on Jordan brand sneakers and clothing, on the grounds that the Nike logo is substantially different from Rentmeester’s photo of former basketball star Michael Jordan.

Rentmeester says the company illegally created its so-called “Jumpman” logo from a photograph Rentmeester shot in 1984. Nike, which has used the logo for more than 25 years, called Rentmeester’s claim “baseless.” The company is accusing Rentmeester of trying to claim a monopoly on images of Jordan’s trademark slam-dunk move. And Nike argues that its iconic logo copied none of the “protectable” elements of the Rentmeester photograph–ie, camera angle, lighting, background and other elements of expression that are protected by US Copyright law.

The alleged "Nike copy" of Rentmeester's 1984 image.

The alleged “Nike copy” of Rentmeester’s 1984 image.

Rentmeester filed his copyright infringement claim in January in US district court in Portland, Oregon. He alleged that Nike had based its “Jumpman” logo on an image made by the company that illegally copied Rentmeester’s 1984 photo. Rentmeester had made his image for Life magazine. His image, the Nike “copy” image and the Nike logo all depict Jordan in a move for which he was famous: sailing through the air on his way to slam dunking a basketball.

Nike had temporarily licensed the Rentmeester image in 1984. Rentmeester alleges that Nike copied the image while it was in the company’s possession. He also says Nike paid him $15,000 in 1985, after he complained Nike was infringing his photograph by plastering the “Jumpman” logo all over billboards and posters promoting Air Jordan sneakers. The payment allowed for use of the image for two years in North American markets only, according to Rentmeester’s claim, but Nike has continued to use it ever since.

The "Jumpman" logo, used for more than 25 years to promote Nike's Jordan brand.

The “Jumpman” logo, used for more than 25 years to promote Nike’s Jordan brand.

In its motion for dismissal, Nike asserts that federal case law has established that infringement “can only occur where two photographs of the same subject are virtually identical” [Nike's emphasis].

“Rentmeester falls far short of that standard here given the
significant—and self-evident differences in the mood, lighting, setting, expression, color, style, and overall look and feel of his photograph, on the one hand, and Nike’s photograph and logo, on the other,” Nike says in its motion.

The dispute boils down to a question of whether Nike copied the idea behind Rentmeester’s image, or whether it copied Rentmeester’s execution. Under US Copyright law, ideas are not protected. Only the execution of an image–lighting, camera angle, setting, etc–is protected.

“Simply put, Rentmeester does not have a monopoly on Mr. Jordan, his appearance, his athletic prowess, or images of him dunking a basketball—his copyright begins and ends with his specific original expression of that subject and theme…[He] cannot show that Nike copied any protected expression,” the company said in its brief.

Nike went on to cite a number of unsuccessful claims by other photographers who mistook unprotected elements of their photographs (such as ideas and/or inherent qualities of a subject) for the protected elements. Among the cases cited were Kaplan v. Stock Market Photo Agency, Mannion v. Coors Brewing Company, Harney v. Sony Pictures Television, and Bill Diodato v. Kate Spade.

Nike also said, “Rentmeester’s decades-long delay in filing suit speaks volumes regarding his own assessment of the merits.”

Rentmeester is seeking statutory damages for the alleged infringement, but Nike alleges that he is ineligible for such damages because he did not register his copyright to the image in a timely manner. According to Nike, Rentmeester registered his copyright in December 2014, shortly before he filed his claim.

Related:
Infringement Claim Fails Because Law Protects Expression, Not Ideas (Harney v. Sony Pictures Television)
In Court, Copycats Prove Elusive (for PDN subscribers)
Court Says Lookalike Photo Doesn’t Infringe (Bill Diodato v. Kate Spade–for PDN subscribers)

March 11th, 2015

Tim Matsui, TIME Win Top Prizes in 2015 World Press Multimedia Contest

Time magazine has won first prize for short documentary in the World Press Photo contest for film titled Behind the Video of Eric Garner’s Deadly Confrontation With New York Police. In the long feature category, photographer Tim Matsui has won first prize for The Long Night, a documentary he produced in conjunction with MediaStorm about teenage prostitution in Seattle. Last month, Matsui won POYi’s Documentary Project of the Year for the film.

A film titled {The And}, which explores the dynamics of relationships between couples, won first prize for Interactive Documentary. It was written and directed by Topaz Adizes and Nathan Phillips

Runners up in the multimedia competition included The New York Times, which won second place in the short documentary category for a video by Ben C. Solomon about the Ebola outbreak in Monrovia. Carlos Spottorno won third prize for his video called At the Gates of Europe, about a wave of refugees from Africa since the Arab Spring uprisings.

The second place winner in the long feature category was Charles Ommanney, who won for his documentary The Fence, about the barriers along the US-Mexico border. Photographer Shiho Fukada and MediaStorm won the long feature third prize for Japan’s Disposable Workers: Net Cafe Refugees, about white collar workers with low-paying, dead-end jobs.

There was no second or third prize winner in the Interactive Documentary category.

Winners of the multimedia prizes were announced today by World Press Photo organizers in Amsterdam. Jurors for the contest included Dan Chung, Hussain Currimbhoy, Barbara Davidson, Bob Sacha, Samuel Bollendorff, Louis-Richard Tremblay, Adnaan Wasey, and Sarah Wolozin. Marianne Lévy-Leblond, a web producer at ARTE France, chaired the jury.

The winning videos can be viewed on the World Press web site.

Related:

Ed Kashi, Tim Matsui Win Top Multimedia Prizes at 2015 POYi
PDN Video Pick: A Spotlight on Underage Victims of the Illegal Sex Trade
Picture Story: Japan’s Disposable Workers (PDN subscription required)

March 6th, 2015

Feds to Pay Toledo Blade $18,000 Over Arrest of Photographer, Reporter

The federal government has agreed to pay The Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio $18,000 to settle a lawsuit over the detention of two journalists last year at a military tank plant, the Associated Press reports.

In settling the case, the government admitted no wrongdoing. And the newspaper agreed not to publish photos the journalists took of the plant on the day they were detained, the AP report says.

Photos of the of the Joint Systems Manufacturing plant in Lima, Ohio are all over the internet. But The Blade has agreed not to publish its pictures.

The Blade has agreed not to publish its photos of a tank manufacturing plant, even though many images of the plant have been published previously by other sources, including other news outlets. (Google Images)

The Blade had sued the US Secretary of Defense and several military police last April, alleging unlawful detention and violations of First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights of two of its journalists. Photographer Jetta Fraser and reporter Tyrel Linkhorn were detained and questioned March 28, 2014 in Lima, Ohio outside the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, a manufacturer of tanks and other armored military vehicles, after they photographed the facility from a public way.

Military police allegedly threatened the journalists, and confiscated Fraser’s cameras and deleted the photos. They told the journalists they had violated unspecified federal laws “and army regulations” by photographing the facility.

Dozens of photographs–by journalists, amateurs, government photographers, and surveillance satellites–are readily available online.

Related:
DOJ Report Blasts Ferguson Police for First Amendment Violations
Department of Justice Warns Police AGasint Violating Photographers’ Rights
If Photography Is Not a Crime, When Will Police Get the Message?

March 5th, 2015

DOJ Report Blasts Ferguson Police for First Amendment Violations

Ferguson, Missouri, police officers “frequently infringe on residents’ First Amendment rights, interfering with their right to record police activities and making enforcement decisions based on the content of individuals’ expression,” according to a report released yesterday by the US Department of Justice.

The DOJ report, titled Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department (FPD), says “FPD engages in a pattern of First Amendment violations.” The investigation was  conducted by the DOJ’s civil rights division in response to citizen complaints and civil unrest in Ferguson following the police shooting death last year of Michael Brown.

The DOJ says in the report that FPD arrests citizens “for a variety of protected conduct,” including talking back to officers, recording public police activities, and lawful protest.

The report cites a number of examples, including several involving recent arrests of citizens who recorded–or attempted to record–police carrying out their duties in public. (more…)

March 4th, 2015

World Press Photo Disqualifies Controversial Prize Winner

After questions over whether Giovanni Troilo staged this image, new questions arise about his "Dark Heart of Europe" project.

After questions over whether Giovanni Troilo staged this image, new questions arise about his “Dark Heart of Europe” project.

World Press Photo has revoked a prize awarded last month to photographer Giovanni Troilo, on the grounds that Troilo’s entry “was not in compliance with the entry rules,” according to an announcement on the World Press Photo web site.

Troilo had said his project, “The Dark Heart of Europe,” winner of 1st prize stories in the Contemporary Issues category, was shot in Charleroi, a town near Brussels. But World Press re-opened an investigation into the work yesterday after reports surfaced that not all of the images were shot in Charleroi.   (See PDN Pulse: “Controversial World Press Photo Winner Under New Scrutiny.”)

“Troilo confirmed over telephone and email that the image had not been taken in Charleroi, contrary to what he submitted to the contest. This falsified information is a violation of the 2015 Photo Contest entry rules,” World Press Photo said in its statement today.

As a result of the disqualification, Giulio di Sturco, winner of second prize for stories in the Contemporary Issues category, has been named the first place winner. His winning entry is about the film industry in China. And third place winner Tomas van Houtryve has been elevated to second place, for a project about surveillance drones.

Controversy over Troilo’s project erupted last week over questions about whether he had staged some of his photos, in particular a photograph of a couple having sex in a parked car. One of the subjects in the photograph turned out to be Troilo’s cousin, and Troilo says he placed a flashlight in the car with the subjects’ consent to help him light the picture.

But World Press Photo initially defended Troilo and the jury’s decision to award him the prize, on the grounds that Troilo argued the photo was not “staged,”  because the photograph depicted something the subjects normally do.

Accusations yesterday that Troilo didn’t shoot all of the images in Charleroi gave World Press a chance to reconsider its earlier decision to sustain the prize.

Related:
Should Photogs Disqualified from World Press Be Banned? Org Say No, For Now
Mads Nissen Wins World Press Photo of the Year 2014 Prize
Tomas van Houtryve Drone Essay Longest Ever Published in Harper’s

March 3rd, 2015

Controversial World Press Photo Winner Under New Scrutiny Today (Update)

After questions over whether Giovanni Troilo staged this image, new questions arise about his "Dark Heart of Europe" project.

© Giovanni Troilo. After questions over whether Troilo staged this image, new questions arise about the integrity of his “Dark Heart of Europe” project.

Photographer Giovanni Troilo’s controversial prize-winning entry to the World Press Photo competition is under new scrutiny today because of reports that Troilo did not shoot one of the images where he said he shot it, according to Lars Boering, Managing Director of World Press Photo.

Troilo had said his project, “The Dark Heart of Europe,” winner of 1st prize stories in the Contemporary Issues category, was shot in Charleroi, a town near Brussels.

But a journalist investigating the project in the wake of controversy it has generated has reported that one of the images was shot in Brussels, which is 50 km from Carhleroi.

“There’s new information out now that one photo was shot 50 kilometers away from Charleroi,” Boering says. Bruno Stevens, a Belgian photojournalist,  announced the finding on his Facebook page.

“Of course this is going to be looked at again,” says Boering, who has been on the hot seat for several days over the controversy surrounding the Troilo project and prize.

The controversy began with questions about whether Troilo had misled the World Press Photo jury about the project and how he had shot it.

In particular, questions have been raised about whether Troilo staged a photograph of a couple having sex at night in a car. One of the subjects in the photograph turned out to be Troilo’s cousin, and Troilo says he placed a flashlight in the car with the subjects’ consent to help him light the picture. According to its own contest rules, World Press Photo “requires photojournalists do not stage pictures to show something that would otherwise have not taken place.”

But World Press Photo has defended Troilo and the jury’s decision to award him the prize, on the grounds that Troilo argued the photo was not “staged,”  because the photograph depicted something the subjects normally do.

*Update: Visa Pour l’Image director general Jean-Francois Leroy announced March 4 on Facebook that the photo festival will not mount the traveling exhibition of World Press Photo winners at the Perpignan photo festival this summer. “The photojournalists we want to represent do not call upon their cousins to fornicate in a car,” Leroy said in a statement explaining the decision. “It is a painful decision. But the values we stand for are non-negotiable.”

March 2nd, 2015

PDN Video: Ruddy Roye on Instagram, Storytelling, and Risking the “Angry Black Man” Label

Photographer Ruddy Roye has attracted 116,000 Instagram followers despite–or perhaps because of–his gritty, difficult subject matter and the long captions he posts to help humanize his subjects. Using Instagram largely as a tool of social activism, Roye draws attention to racial and economic injustice primarily in New York City, and often in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he lives. “A lack of black images [and] black photographers has created this void for people like me,” says Roye, who was born and raised in Jamaica. “Instagram has allowed me a light that didn’t exist before.” In this video, he explains how he found his Instagram voice, and discusses the professional risks he is taking by refusing to look away and remain silent.

Related:
Q&A: Instagram Editorial Director Pamela Chen

February 23rd, 2015

Ed Kashi, Tim Matsui Win Top Multimedia Prizes at 2015 POYi

From "Syria's Lost Generation," by 2015 POYi Multimedia Photographer of the Year Ed Kashi. ©Ed Kashi

From “Syria’s Lost Generation,” by 2015 POYi Multimedia Photographer of the Year Ed Kashi. ©Ed Kashi

Ed Kashi has won Multimedia Photographer of the Year honors at the 2015 Pictures of the Year International competition for his project called Syria’s Lost Generation, while Tim Matsui won Documentary Project of the Year for The Long Night, a film he produced with MediaStorm about teenage prostitution.

Winners of other categories in POYi’s Visual Editing Division included Katie Falkenberg of the Los Angeles Times, who won first place in the Motion News Story category for a story about a Utah town torn apart by an FBI sting operation; Eugene Richards, winner of the Motion Feature Story prize for his project in the Arkansas delta called Red Ball of Sun Slipping Down; and Lisa Krantz and Jessica Belasco of the San Antonio Express-News, first place winners of the Motion Issue Reporting category for “A Life Apart: The Toll of Obesity.”

Earlier this month, during judging for POYi’s Reportage Division, Krantz won the 2015 Community Awareness Award for the obesity project.

Judging for the Visual Editing Division ended Friday. The category included a number of editing awards for magazines and newspapers.  National Geographic magazine took Best Publication honors. The Los Angeles Times won first place for Editing Portfolio-Newspaper, while Time magazine won the top prize for Editing Portfolio-Magazine.

A complete list of the 72nd annual POYi contest winners is available online. Links to galleries of the winning entries are also on the site.

Related:

Daniel Berehulak Wins Reportage Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Brad Vest Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Cameron Spencer Wins POYi Sports Photographer of the Year Honors
PDN Video Pick: A Spotlight on Underage Victims of the Illegal Sex Trade

February 18th, 2015

Gerd Ludwig Wins POYi’s Best Photo Book of the Year Award

Gerd Ludwig has won the 2015 POYi Best Photo Book of the Year honors for The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, his book about the lingering environmental, social, and economic consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The award, part of the Reportage Division of the POYi competition, was announced on the POYi web site.

Ludwig’s book stands out as a case study in the challenges of photo book publishing. Not only did he pursue the project at great personal risk, as he explained in this PDN video interview last year, but he struggled to find support. He undertook two separate Kickstarter campaigns to fund his travel to Chernobyl, as well as the printing and distribution of the book.

Gerd Ludwig: The Long Shadow of Chernobyl from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

The project dates back to 1993, when Ludwig first visited Chernobyl while working on a story for National Geographic. “From that point on, I always wanted to return,” because he didn’t get as much access as he had hoped for, he told PDN last year.

He  returned in 2005, after Ukraine’s so-called Orange Revolution enabled him to gain better access. He planned to return again in 2011, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the disaster. “The general media was not interested,” he said, so he collected funds for the 2011 trip through a Kickstarter campaign.

Ludwig left for Chernobyl while his Kickstarter campaign was still underway, and while he was there, the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred in Japan. That stimulated more contributions to Ludwig’s Kickstarter campaign–a total of $23,316, which was almost twice his goal of $12,000. After his return, he used the extra money to publish an iPad app titled The Long Shadow of Chernobyl.

With plans to produce a printed book in time for the 30th anniversary of the disaster, in 2016, Ludwig made another trip to Chernobyl in 2013 on an $8,200 grant from Kulturwerk der VG Bild/Kunst, a German artists’ rights organization.

Meanwhile, publisher Lois Lammerhuber of Lammerhuber Editions (Austria) had approached him at the Lumix Festival of Young Photojournalism in Hanover, Germany. “He said, ‘I want to do your book,’but then the  distributor said to him, ‘Bad news doesn’t sell and Chernobyl is bad news,’” Ludwig recounted.

So he and Lammerhuber turned to Kickstarter once again in the spring of 2014, and managed to raise $45,571–well over twice his goal of $20,000–in pre-order book sales.

In a telephone interview today, Ludwig emphasized that the total funding he raised on Kickstarter “sounds like a high number” but only covered his expenses for the production and printing, and helped promote the project “It’s not a money maker,” Ludwig says. “If I count all my time, I definitely didn’t make money on this project. It’s a labor of love and an important piece of history that should be told. It’s a warning, a document to human hubris.”

Ludwig says he is continuing work on the project, and most recently had a story published in National Geographic about tourism inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. “There are constant surprises” at Chernobyl, he says, and it stands as an archetype of nuclear disaster. “From Chernobyl, you can see what’s going to happen to these other areas” like Fukushima, he says.

Related:
Daniel Berehulak Wins Reportage Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Brad Vest Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Cameron Spencer Wins POYi Sports Photographer of the Year Honors