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June 15th, 2015

LOOK3 2015: Walter Iooss Jr. Shares Advice and Lessons from His Encounters with Great Athletes

Walter Iooss Jr, a sports photography superstar for more than 50 years, regaled a 2015 LOOK3 audience on Friday with some of the best tales from his storied career. Steve Fine, former director of photography at Sport Illustrated, joined Iooss on stage at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville to prompt Iooss about his encounters with many great athletes: Roger Maris, Dave Parker, Joe Namath, Muhammed Ali, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan, to name only a few.

Iooss was a teenager without a driver’s license when he got his first assignment from Sports Illustrated around 1961. His father had to drive him to the job. The subject, an 83-year-old man who had built a sailboat and sailed it to Florida and back, looked at the 17-year-old photographer and said incredulously, “This is my moment?”

Iooss was, by his own account, born with a passion and a talent for photography. “Photography’s not that hard. It really isn’t,” he said during his talk. “It’s just instinctual. I’ve never had another job. I don’t know anything else. [I’m an] idiot savant.”

Equal to his passion for photography is his love of and fascination with sports. “When you play, the moment a pitch is thrown, or you shoot, or hit a golf ball, the whole world stops. There’s nothing that’s really happening except that moment with you, and that’s the escape of sport,” he said. “Sport is a real fantasy world, and in some ways, I try to project my childhood fantasies continually in pictures because you need a child’s heart to get the energy of these guys.”

Asked by Fine to talk about the defining characteristics of his work, Iooss offered what amounted to advice for aspiring sports photographers. (more…)

June 15th, 2015

LOOK3 2015: David Alan Harvey’s Reunion with a Long-Lost Subject (and Other Surprises)

David Alan Harvey greets Lois Liggins on stage at the the 2015 LOOK3 festival, in front of a portrait of Liggins that Harvey shot in 1966. ©Jessica Earnshaw

David Alan Harvey greets Lois Liggins on stage at the the 2015 LOOK3 festival, in front of a portrait of Liggins that Harvey shot in 1966. ©Jessica Earnshaw

David Alan Harvey’s artist talk on the main stage at LOOK3 in Charlottesville on Saturday included several surprises: a peek at some of Harvey’s precocious early work, images from his latest project (called Beach Games, an exploration in black and white of beach sports culture in Rio), his insistence (against much evidence to the contrary) that he doesn’t consider himself a color photographer or an extrovert–and a heartwarming guest appearance by a long-lost subject from a project he shot when he was 22. (more…)

June 8th, 2015

Photojournalist Charles Mostoller on the Advantage of Shooting Photo Projects Close to Home

Seventeen-year-old Shahir Drayton rears back on a horse in a vacant Philadelphia lot. ©Charles Mostoller

Seventeen-year-old Shahir Drayton rears back on a horse in a vacant Philadelphia lot. ©Charles Mostoller

Philadelphia-based photographer Charles Mostoller was on assignment in the city one day when a group of African-American teenage boys rode by on horseback. It was an incongruous scene, which Mostoller turned into a personal project that was eventually published by The Wall Street Journal. The project is the subject of “Picture Story: Urban Cowboys,” which is now available on PDNOnline.

When we interviewed Mostoller, he made a persuasive case for shooting personal projects close to home. He picks it up from here:

“As a freelancer who is not making tons of money, doing personal projects that are in my backyard makes sense financially. But also, I truly believe in general [that] running to the exotic, or running away and looking to do a story somewhere else because you think that’s where people want to see you, or that’s where the story is, I think that’s a backwards way of going about it. I think the best way to make quality work is to do it in a place that you’re familiar with, where you can actually understand the situation and can really say something about what’s  going on.

“Also, if you’re trying to show [potential clients] you can hack it, it’s much more difficult to make very good stories that are kind of pedestrian, or where nobody would expect them. Nobody would expect this story [about teenage urban cowboys] out of Philly, but everyone is expecting young photographers to want to go to Haiti. So I could show Haiti pictures, and no one’s going to care, but this one story has people everywhere coming up to me, saying, ‘Oh my god, I saw this!’ It made the rounds because it was so surprising. I’m not always looking for something exotic in Philadelphia. this one just happened to be that. but I think it’s important to focus on where you’re at as a young photographer doing personal work, rather than saying, OK, I need to go somewhere else to do my work.”

Related Articles:
Documenting Philadelphia’s Teenage Urban Cowboys
PDN Video Pick: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists
How to Find Projects in Your Own Backyard

May 28th, 2015

Photographer Cotton Coulson Dies in Diving Accident on National Geographic Expedition

Cotton Coulson ©Doug Menuez

Cotton Coulson ©Doug Menuez

Photographer Cotton Coulson, a former National Geographic contributor and Baltimore Sun DOP, died yesterday as a result of a diving accident last Sunday, according to NPPA‘s News Photographer magazine. He was 60 years old.

Coulson was participating as an instructor in a 17-day National Geographic adventure photography workshop in Norway when the accident occurred. According to the NPPA report, Coulson signaled trouble to a diving partner, who then dragged him to the surface of the water. The diving partner administered CPR, and rescue workers were able to re-start Coulson’s heart, but he never regained consciousness. He died at a hospital in Tromsø, Norway.

“We are devastated,” says photographer Doug Menuez, who along with his wife was close friends with Coulson and his wife, former National Geographic photographer Sisse Brimberg. Menuez remembers Coulson as an iconoclast “with a wicked sense of humor,” and adds, “Cotton wasn’t blowing his own horn. He was content to do excellent work, and let it speak for itself.

“It’s heartbreaking to think he’s gone.”

A National Geographic spokesperson told PDN that the publisher will soon issue a statement about Coulson’s death.

Coulson began contributing to National Geographic in 1975, after graduating from film school at New York University. He was hired as a contract photographer the following year, and produced more than a dozen stories for the magazine.

Around 1987, he became associate director of photography at US News & World Report, and several years later, joined The Baltimore Sun as Director of Photography.

In the mid 1990s, Coulson relocated to San Francisco, where he was senior VP/Product Development at CNET. About a decade ago, he and Brimberg moved to Copenhagen, and founded a production company called Keenpress. They produced photography and films about travel, climate issues, the environment and other subjects for various media outlets and corporations.

In addition to his wife, Coulson is survived by his son Calder and daughter Saskia, as well as by his sister and his mother.

May 14th, 2015

Federal Judge Sanctions City of Atlanta for Continuing to Violate Photographers’ Rights

In the wake of recent violations of news photographers’ rights by Atlanta police, a US federal court judge has held the City of Atlanta in contempt of a 2012 court order to reduce interference with citizens documenting police activity.

US District court judge Steve Jones handed down the civil contempt ruling against the city yesterday, and imposed sanctions intended to force compliance with the 2012 order and “address future monitoring of [Atlanta’s] compliance with the order.” (more…)

May 13th, 2015

PDN Video: Gillian Laub on Winning Over Reluctant Subjects to Film “Southern Rites”

Gillian Laub: "Southern Rites" And The Challenges of Access from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

In 2009, Gillian Laub’s story in The New York Times Magazine about segregated high school proms in Mount Vernon, Georgia, stirred national outrage, which finally forced the community to integrate the proms. Afterwards, Laub faced down the hostility and threats of locals to work on a documentary film about race relations in the area. In this PDN video, she describes the challenges of filming where she was unwelcome, and how she managed to win the confidence of her subjects– including a murder suspect who had granted no media interviews before he sat down with Laub. Titled “Southern Rites,” the film debuts May 18 on HBO. Laub’s still photographs are showing at Bonnie Benrubi Gallery in New York City from May 14-June 27, 2015. Damiani will also publish a book of the work in June.

Related:
PDN Photo of the Day: Gillian Laub’s “Southern Rites”

Shaul Schwartz’s Reel Peak Films: A Production Company Devoted to Editorial Documentaries

April 28th, 2015

U.S. Copyright Office (Once Again) Studying Copyright Struggles of Photographers

The U.S. Copyright Office has published a call for comments from photographers and visual artists about how their works are “monetized, enforced and registered” and about “obstacles” artists face protecting their copyrights “when navigating the digital landscape.” The U.S. Copyright Office announced the research initiative April 24 in the Federal Register. The written comments are due by July 23.

What action, if any, the U.S. Copyright Office takes as a result of its research remains to be seen. “We just want to get an overview of the landscape,” says spokesperson Catie Rowland. “We’re just researching it, to see where it leads. There are a lot of concerns. We want to see if we can address them.” (more…)

April 22nd, 2015

PDN Video: How to Take Your Career to the Next Level

At a turning point early in his career, veteran celebrity photographer Brian Smith had a brazen (and slightly cringe-worthy) encounter with John Huston, the famous movie director. He got away with it–just barely. At the time, Smith was a staff photographer on assignment for the Orange County Register. He was trying to take his career to the next level, and the shoot with Huston was an object lesson in how to do that, as he explains in this video. (Smith is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and author of Secrets of Great Portrait Photography.)

Related:
PDN Video: Photographer Brian Smith on How to Get a Striking Celebrity Portrait

PDN Video: Gregory Heisler on How to Relate to Portrait Subjects

PDN Video Pick: Miller Mobley’s Tips for Landing Clients

How Top Photographers Shoot Great Portraits

April 20th, 2015

PDN Video: Photographer Brian Smith on How to Get a Striking Celebrity Portrait


Nothing is more important on a celebrity shoot than engaging your subject, says photographer Brian Smith. “The lighting, the locations, and the props all matter, but if you’re not actually making a connection with the subject, the pictures really fall flat.” Smith, the author of Secrets of Great Portrait Photography and other books, has been photographing celebrities, athletes and executives for more than 30 years. In this video, he explains one of his best strategies for connecting with a celebrity on set.

Related:
PDN Video: Gregory Heisler on How to Relate to Portrait Subjects (Even If You Are Shy and Bumbling)
PDN Video: Brian Smith on How to Take Your Career to the Next Level
How Top Photographers Shoot Great Portraits

April 16th, 2015

Kevin Frayer Wins Fourth Annual Getty Images & Chris Hondros Fund Award

©Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

©Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Kevin Frayer has been named winner of the 2015 Getty Images and Chris Hondros Fund (CHF) Award of $20,000, and Diana Markosian has won the $5,000 emerging photojournalist award, the photo agency announced today. Both photographers are represented by Getty. They will receive their awards April 30 at a reception in New York City.

CHF was established to support the work of photojournalists whose work reflects the legacy and vision of Hondros, who was killed in 2011 while on assignment covering the Libyan civil war. The three previous CHF Award winners were Daniel Berehulak, Andrea Bruce, and Tomás Munita.

Frayer, a Canadian photojournalist based in Beijing, has documented conflict throughout the Middle East, and currently covers stories in Asia. “I aspire to use this opportunity to create meaningful photography that would move Chris in the same way his images reached me and so many others,” Frayer said in a prepared statement.

Markosian, a Moscow-born photographer and 2014 PDN’s 30, has shot assignments for National Geographic, The New York Times and other publications. She has completed several long-term projects, including “Inventing My Father,”  a widely acclaimed work about reconnecting with her estranged father.

“Chris encouraged me to take a chance on myself, to find my own way,” she says in a prepared statement.

Jurors included Getty Images Vice President for News Pancho Bernasconi, New York Times photographer Todd Heisler, freelance photojournalist Jeff Swensen and CHF Board President Christina Piaia.

Related Articles
Daniel Berehulak to Receive Getty Images  & Chris Hondros Fund Award

Tim Hetherington, Chris Hondros: Remembering Them as They Lived