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June 12th, 2015

LOOK3 2015: Larry Fink on Experience, Empathy, and Being “Stuck” with a Successful Career

Photographer Larry Fink appeared on the main stage of the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph last night for a freewheeling conversation with his friend, author Donald Antrim. Fink talked frankly about his formative experiences, the evolution of his motivations and his work, and the path of his illustrious career. It all added up to plenty of practical advice about how to approach subjects, follow your instincts, and make good photographs.

Fink’s career, spanning more than 55 years, has included shows at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and other museums. He has published several monographs, including Social Graces (Aperture, 1984) and, most recently, The Beats (powerHouse, 2014), a retrospective of his earliest work from 1958. Fink is perhaps best known for his unflinching black-and-white photographs of society parties for Vanity Fair, W, GQ and other magazines. His work is delicious visual eavesdropping: It reveals the emotion and human interaction roiling below the surface of polite manners and social grace.

Fink told a packed house at Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater,  “I’ve photographed everything. Nothing was beneath me or above me. I’m just alive. I’m just hungry, hungry to experience, and the camera can translate these experiences in certain ways other things can’t.

“The idea is, is it possible for me…to make a picture that somehow or another assimilates that experience, and then has the miraculous transference to be able to be understood by many others?” Fink said. “How do I enter into you [the subject], pull you through me, clicking all the way, so that we merge inside? And that’s empathy on the deepest, primary level.”
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June 11th, 2015

Photographer Lectures Expand “Emerging” Exhibit (And They’re Free)



Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles will host a series of informative and inspiring photographer lectures over the next three months during the run of “Emerging,” the exhibition co-produced by PDN’s editors and featuring photographers selected for the annual PDN‘s 30 issue since 2008. The “Iris Nights” talks, to be held at the Skylight Studios across the park from the Annenberg, feature exhibited photographers discussing recent work, their career paths, and their approaches to a range of subject matter.

The series begins June 11 with a talk by Lauren Dukoff, the celebrity and music photographer, and it continues through September:

June 18 – Dina Litovsky
June 25 – Ilvy Njiokiktjien
July 9 – Olivia Bee
July 16 – Katie Orlinsky
July 23 – JUCO (Julia Galdo & Cody Cloud)
July 30 – Nicole Tung
August 6 – Peter DiCampo
August 13 – Marcus Smith
August 20 – Pari Dukovic
August 27 – Toni Greaves
September 3 – Bryan Derballa
September 10 – Corey Arnold
September 24 – Diana Markosian

The schedule is subject to change, of course, but we’re delighted to see some of the most thoughtful, articulate participants in past PDN’s 30 panels are scheduled to share their stories with the public.

More information is available on the events page of the Annenberg Space for Photography website:  annenbergphotospace.org/events

Related Articles:
New Perspectives: “Emerging” at the Annenberg Space

PDN Video: Marcus Smith on How to Attract the Clients You Want

PDN Video: Olivia Bee on Instagram, iPhones, Expectations and Envy

May 22nd, 2015

In Memoriam: Environmental Portrait Photographer Seth Kushner, 41

Seth KushnerSeth Kushner, a photographer who shot environmental portraits for The New York Times Magazine, Time, Vibe and Businessweek and was selected for PDN’s 30 in 1999, died May 17 of leukemia. He was 41.

A native of Brooklyn, Kushner knew he wanted to be a photographer when he was in high school. After he graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, he began shooting a number of editorial assignments and was syndicated by Retna. When he was profiled for the first issue of PDN’s 30: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch in 1999, photo editor Michelle Molloy, then at Newsweek, praised the vibrancy and energy of Kushner’s portraits, and noted, “He also hits it off well with people, which is important for a portrait photographer, yet he never loses perspective of the person he’s shooting.” Kushner said, “I want to say either by location or action or clothes or composition what my subjects are about, aside from simply what they look like.”

Kushner turned his passions for two of his favorite subjects – Brooklyn and comic books—into photo books. In 2007, he published The Brooklynites (powerHouse Books), which combined his environmental portraits of Brooklyn residents, both famous and unknown, with interviews by Anthony LaSala (former senior editor at PDN). Years before “Brooklyn” became synonymous with “hipster Mecca,” The Brooklynites celebrated residents from every part of the borough and every walk of life: writers and actors, a sanitation worker, a handball player, a pizza maker, clergy, teachers, British émigrés raising toddlers in Park Slope.

Stan Lee. Photo © Seth Kushner

Stan Lee. Photo © Seth Kushner

A collector of super-hero memorabilia, Kushner co-founded the website Graphic NYC in 2008 with writer Christopher Irving to celebrate pioneering comic book artists. Kushner expanded the website into a book, Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comic Books, published by powerHouse Books in 2012. It featured Kushner’s portraits of such artists as Stan Lee, founder of Marvel Comics; Joe Simon, co-creator of Captain America; Frank Miller, creator of Sin City; and Art Spiegelman, author of the graphic memoir Maus.

Kushner was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2014. Members of the communities Kushner was most involved with – the photo community, comic book artists and fans, and his neighborhood in Brooklyn—contributed to an online fundraising campaign set up to raise money for medical bills and living expenses while Kushner was unable to work. Memorial contributions to the campaign will now help support his wife, Terra, and their son, Jackson, who survive him.

Related article:
PDN Photo of the Day: Real-Life Comic Book Heroes

May 21st, 2015

Winner of Kraszna-Krausz First Book Award 2015 Has Best Title We’ve Seen This Year

The cover of Ciarán Óg Arnold's award-winning book.

The cover of Ciarán Óg Arnold’s award-winning book.

Irish photographer Ciarán Óg Arnold‘s book, I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed. but all I could do was to get drunk again, has been named winner of the Kraszna-Krausz First Book Award 2015. The award is presented by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation in partnership with MACK Books.

It was one of three prizes awarded at a ceremony on Tuesday by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation. The prizes celebrate books which have made “original and lasting educational, professional, historical and cultural contributions to the field.”

Also awarded Kraszna-Krausz prizes were Amore e piombo: The Photography of Extremes in 1970s Italy (published by Archive of Modern Conflict), a reappraisal of reportage from Italy in the period associated with paparazzi documenting La Dolce Vita. A 10,000 pound award accompanies the prize. The book was chosen by jurors from among a short list that included The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip (published by Aperture) and Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful (published by Yale University Press).

The judges for the 2015 prizes were publisher Michael Mack, Polly Fleury of the Wilson Centre for Photography and the National Media Museum’s Greg Hobson, along with guest judges Simon Baker, photography curator of the Tate Museum, and Lucy Kumara Moore of Claire de Rouen Books.

The winners and finalists for the Kraszna-Krausz books are being exhibited at the Media Space at the Science Museum in London through June 28.

April 20th, 2015

South African Photographer’s Images of Attack on Immigrant Lead to Arrests

© Sunday Times/timeslive.co.za

© Sunday Times/timeslive.co.za

James Oatway, a photographer with the Sunday Times of South Africa, managed to capture a mob of men fatally attacking a Mozambique man on April 18 in Alexandra township. Oatway’s photos, published on the front page of the Times yesterday, lead to the arrest of three suspects, according to the newspaper. Another suspect is still being sought, and local police have offered a reward of 100,000 Rand for help finding him. Oatway, a veteran photojournalist who has covered stories in Central African Republic, Congo, Haiti and South Africa, had gone to Alexandra to cover the looting of immigrant-owned businesses that broke out two weeks ago.

Though Oatway sought medical attention for the victim, Emmanuel Sithole, the photographer has had to answer questions about his actions in the midst of the attack.

Oatway told the BBC that he saw a man wielding a monkey wrench knock Sithole to the ground and beat him. Oatway ran closer to get photos. When Sithole managed to stand, a man with a knife ran up and stabbed him repeatedly.

Oatway says the attack lasted “two minutes.” After Sithole collapsed, Oatway got the bleeding-but-still-conscious man into his car and drove him to a nearby clinic where he was told they couldn’t treat him. According to the Times, the clinic’s only doctor, a foreigner, had stayed away out of fear of xenophobic violence. When Oatway reached a hospital, medical professionals tried to perform CPR on Sithole but “they declared him dead,” Oatway says. “I really wish we could have saved him,” Oatway told the BBC.

Sithole was identified by the cellphone found in his pocket.

The government of South Africa has reported that over 300 people have been arrested in connection with the looting and violence against immigrants from across Africa.

April 10th, 2015

11 Photographers Win 2015 Guggenheim Fellowships

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced the recipients of their 2015 fellowship grants. Among the 175 scholars, scientists, mathematicians, and artists chosen from over 3,100 applications this year are 11 photographers. As Guggenheim Fellows, they receive grants of varying but undisclosed amounts to pursue a proposed project.

The 2015 Guggenheim Fellows in photography are:
Gary Briechle
Miles Coolidge
Susan Lipper
Susan Meiselas
Arno Rafael Minkkinen
Richard Renaldi
Stuart Rome
Richard Rothman
Moises Saman
William S. Sutton
Terri Weifenbach

Also, Maria Gough, professor of modern art at Harvard, received a fellowship to pursue a project in photography studies.

The John Simon Guggenheim Foundations awards its annual Fellowship to artists, scholars and scientists on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.
Past recipients have included Robert Frank, Brian Ulrich, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Brenda Ann Kenneally, Jason Fulford, Alex Soth and Penelope Umbrico.

Related:
11 Photographers Win 2014 Guggenheim Fellowships

Joseph Sywenkyj Wins $30,000 2015 W. Eugene Smith Grant (Moises Saman, Fellowship Winner)

April 7th, 2015

Photojournalist Andy Spyra Deported from Turkey on Allegations He’s a Jihadist

Photojournalist Andy Spyra was barred from entering Turkey on March 28 because Turkish authorities suspected he was an Islamic militant, according to press reports. Spyra, who was on assignment for Der Spiegel, was stopped at an Istanbul airport, searched, detained and deported to Germany the next day. While in Turkish custody, the German General Consulate protested his detention and attempted to explain that he was a journalist.

Spyra, selected for PDN‘s 30 in 2010, has covered Afghanistan, Egypt, the Syrian refugee crisis, fighting in the Kurdish region of Syria and, last fall, Iraqi Christians currently fighting the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He was on his way to Turkey to work on a Der Spiegel story about the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

According to a post on Spyra’s Facebook page dated March 29, he was stopped at immigration at Sabiha Gökcen Airport in Istanbul and questioned for only an hour, while police looked through photos on his phone and went through his luggage. They then returned his phones, but informed him that he would be deported in the morning. He spent the night in what he calls “a cell.” When he arrived in Dusseldorf the next day, German federal police told him that Turkish authorities had reported he had been deported because he was carrying “military-style equipment.” According to Spyra’s Facebook post, “the military equipment in question” was his camera dust-blower, army-style boots and khaki-colored clothing.

That Spyra was covering the anniversary of the Armenian genocide appears not to have been a factor, but Turkey has for decades officially denied that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Turkey at the end of World War I constituted genocide.

According to Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey currently ranks tenth in the world among the worst jailers of journalists. Last year, Der Spiegel pulled its reporter in Turkey after he received death threats over his reporting on a mine collapse that killed 301 miners in Turkey.  Last year the country banned access to Twitter ahead of national elections in March 2014.

In his Facebook post, Spyra advises other photographers who want to cover Turkey: “delete questionable images on your phone, anything that COULD potentially be read and seen in a military context.” He adds, “They WON’T listen to you and don’t give a shit about your papers and press-credentials and whatever else you may carry.”

March 25th, 2015

Staging News Photos: Take This Ethics Quiz

AssignmentChicago.com, Alex Garcia's blog.

AssignmentChicago.com, Alex Garcia’s blog.

Inspired by the uproar over the staged photo included in a series that won a World Press Photo prize (later rescinded, for different reasons), photographer Alex Garcia has posted an ethics quiz for photographers. Garcia describes five  situations in which photojournalists can find themselves in ethical gray zones, and asks: What would you do?

What his quiz adds to the current debate is a heavy dose of reality.As Garcia points out, “In this debate, I haven’t seen a lot of candor about how difficult it can be to uphold standards in the myriad of situations that photojournalists face.” Garcia, who says he has shot 6,000 newspaper assignments, tells PDN that he describes two of the situations exactly as they happened to him. The others are mash-ups of problems he’s encountered and that every news photographer will recognize: meddlesome PR people, subjects who offer to rearrange their routines or schedules for the photographer’s convenience, or ask “What do you want me to do?”

How do you portray to your readers what the “truth” is in these situations that you’ve only got an afternoon to shoot?

After the sometimes heated talk about the World Press Photo controversy– and outrage about the photographer posing his cousin– Garcia says, “the quiz was a fun way to make a point without getting hot and bothered.” Garcia’s quiz is short. There are no grades. But he does suggest certain parameters for quiz prep:  “Make sure to go hungry for the whole day, pull an all-nighter, promise delivery of images to a client within an hour–just to simulate other factors in a photojournalist’s workday that can affect decision-making.”

You can find it here on his blog, AssignmentChicago.com

Related article
World Press Photo Disqualifies Controversial Prize Winner

March 18th, 2015

Video Pick: Chris Jordan’s “Midway,” on Beauty in Environmental Activism

MIDWAY a Message from the Gyre : a short film by Chris Jordan from Midway on Vimeo.

Chris Jordan, the photographer and conservationist, has spent his career exploring the harmful consequences of our thoughtless consumption and the pollution we create, while also making images that are often eerily beautiful. At the Society for Photographic Education (SPE) National Conference in New Orleans on March 13, he showed a trailer and clips from “Midway,” inspired by his years photographing the albatrosses of the Midway Atoll, located in the north Pacific 2000 miles from the nearest continent. Jordan and a film crew have documented the birds mating, laying eggs, and also dying as a result of having consumed plastic garbage from the ocean. Many choke to death, gasping for air on the shore; others die from toxicity or from starvation when their stomachs become full of indigestible materials.

The theme of the 2015 SPE conference was “Atmospheres: Climate, Equity and Community in Photography,” and during his talk, Jordan shared his approach to activism and the reactions he hopes his film evokes. He doesn’t want simply to highlight a problem, but to change the way people feel and act. (more…)

March 3rd, 2015

WPPI Panel: Photographers Test Canon’s 5DS and 5DSR

© Karen Seifert

© Karen Seifert

Canon’s recent announcement of it new  50-megapixel 5Ds and 5Ds R cameras excited a lot of comments, and a lot of speculation. The cameras won’t be on the market until June, but at the WPPI trade show yesterday, attendees got to see sample images shot with the new cameras. Four photographers–all members of the Canon Explorers of Light program– shared their experiences shooting with the new models. They were joined  by photographer Peter Hurley, who typically shoots medium-format, and PDN‘s Technology Editor Greg Scoblete for a panel on the new cameras: Photo Forward, the blog of PDN’s sister publication, Rangefinder, has a recap of the panel.

It includes comments by Hurley as well as photographers George Lepp, Hanson Fong, Ken Sklute and photographer/cinematographer Bruce Dorn about the cameras’ resolution, speed and performance when shooting stills and video.

To read more, check out the Photo Forward blog.

Related
Canon 5Ds Takes Aim at Medium Format with a 50-Megapixel Sensor