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February 8th, 2012

In Syria, Photojournalist Bears Witness to Violence

photojournalist Alessio Romenzi in Homs, Syria

© Time/Photo by Alessio Romenzi

With Syria strictly limiting access to foreign press, most foreign journalists trying to report on the uprising in Homs, Syria, have had to remain in nearby Lebanon while relaying reports from locals on the scene.  Italian photojournalist Alessio Romenzi, however, has managed to move through the besieged city. More than two dozen of his images of civilian casualties, women and children taking shelter during shelling, and fighting between the army of the Assad government and the rebel Free Syrian Army were posted today on Time’s Lightbox. Patrick Witty, Time‘s International Picture Editor, edited the pictures.

Romenzi, whose previous work from the Middle East and elsewhere has been published in Time, The New York Times, Washington Post, Le Monde and other publications, has been in Al Qsair and Homs, Syria, since late January. Previous posts to his PhotoShelter page include his images of Syrian journalists as they have tried to file reports on the fighting.

On assignment for Time, he has moved among fighters in the Free Syrian Army and at one point he took shelter from the shelling in the basement of a home in the southern Homs neighborhood of Bab Amr, according to a report on Lightbox. He reported seeing 25 civilian casualties in two hours of shelling. In an email to Time he wrote, “The word ‘safe’ is not in our dictionary these days.”

*Update:
The Committee to Protect Journalists reported on February 8 that Syrian journalist Mazhar Tayyara, a stringer for AFP and other news organizations, was killed in Homs on February 4, when the Syrian government shelled the neighborhood he was reporting from.  “The Syrian conflict is growing increasingly dangerous for all kinds of journalists, from citizens who have taken the role of documenting unrest in the country to international journalists who report from the frontlines,” says the CPJ.

January 11th, 2012

On Marrying a Photographer: Alec Soth, Martin Parr, Zoe Strauss, Spouses Weigh In

On Alec Soth’s blog, Little Brown Mushroom, the Magnum photographer has responded to a reader whose partner is a photographer, and wants advice about planning a future life together, “marriage and babies included.” His post has inspired loads of comments (51 so far) from photographers and people married to photographers.

Martin Parr, who has been married for 35 years to a woman “who is bored with being Mrs. Martin Parr,” cites the challenge of constant travel. Zoe Strauss says if it weren’t for the support of her wife, “I doubt I’d be a photographer.”  Rachel Cartee Soth, wife of Alec Soth, notes that when you live with an artist, things can be fantastic when “the creative juju is flowing,” and not so great when the juju is blocked.  She also warns, “It’s easy to lose yourself, especially when your partner is successful.” Photographers Rebecca Norris Webb and Alex Webb are thoughtful and candid about the problems and rewards of life in a two-photographer household.

Having met lots of photographers struggling with the demands of family and a freelance career, I was touched by photographer Paul Shambroom’s comment about what sacrifices have to be made when both partners are “accomplished and busy”: “Many of us (some posting here) could probably also be wealthier, but we made career adjustments in order to have functional marriages and try to be good parents.”

Take a look: littlebrownmushroom.wordpress.com.

December 27th, 2011

Is Rihanna Risking Another Copyright Fight?

Two months after she settled a copyright suit brought by photographer David LaChapelle, pop singer Rihanna once again has the blogosphere in an uproar. Recently, a LiveJournal blog posted screenshots from her new video, “You Da One,” alongside images by photographer Sølve Sundsbø. The scenes from the video show Rihanna in a bowl-cut wig wearing what appears to be a nude bodysuit with the shadows of various shapes projected on to her body. The shots are remarkably similar to editorial work Sundsbø has done, which Fashionista reported appeared in a 2008 issue of Numero magazine. Neither Rihanna nor Sundsbø, who is represented by Art+Commerce, have released statements regarding these latest accusations.

Earlier this year, Rihanna was sued by LaChapelle for copyright infringement, who claimed scenes from her video “S&M” borrowed heavily from various sadomasochistic images he’s made. The two reached an out-of-court settlement agreement, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Related articles:

Rihanna Settles Lawsuit with David LaChapelle

David LaChapelle Sues Rihanna for Infringement

November 30th, 2011

National Geographic Photographers Launch “Photo Society” Web Site

The Photographer’s Advisory Board for National Geographic magazine has launched a new Web site to showcase the work of National Geographic photographers. Membership in the group, dubbed “The Photo Society,” is limited to photographers who’ve published at least one feature story in the magazine.

The purpose of the group and their Web site is to promote the work of the photographers, and to inform the public about their work. It also appears the site is meant to help would-be (or wannabe) National Geographic photographers understand what it takes to work for the magazine.

“Explaining the diversity and composition of this group is the easiest way to answer the question, ‘How do I become a National Geographic photographer?’” writes photographer Randy Olson on the site. “‘It is not easy or glamorous,” he explains, “And this is not where you begin your career. You are competing with world-class documentary photographers and within that genre there are men and women who are the absolute best at their specialty.’”

Check out The Photo Society site here: http://thephotosociety.org/

October 28th, 2011

PPE Panel: Photogs Ignore Online Pub Opportunities at Their Own Peril

During a seminar titled “The New World of Online Magazines and Curator Web Sites” this afternoon at PDN PhotoPlus Expo, photographer Sophia Wallace posed a question to photographers who’ve been hesitant to harness the full power of the internet for fear that their work might be stolen: Should you be more afraid of image theft, or of working in obscurity?

This rather direct question, which had resonated with Wallace after she heard it at another talk recently, gets to the heart of the decision that photographers must make in today’s market. You can embrace online publishing on blogs, online magazines, Tumblr pages and the myriad other platforms on which people are looking at imagery these days, or you can keep your work to yourself.

Suffice it to say that nobody in the audience was interested in the latter option. But in case they were, Wallace and fellow photographer Manjari Sharma shared stories about their own experiences that made a strong case for diving headlong into promoting one’s work online.

By getting their work featured by online platforms, such as those run by moderator Stella Kramer (StellaZine) and panelists Julie Grahame (aCurator) and Michael Itkoff (Daylight), each of the photographers had built momentum for bodies of work that eventually led to concrete achievements like exhibitions, advertising commissions and essential project funding.

After having her work circulate one image at a time across various online publications (and in a couple of print magazines), Wallace received what she termed “the email she’d been waiting for.” It was from a curator asking if she would show her work in a three-person show at Colgate University’s Clifford Gallery with photographers Catherine Opie and Jo Ann Santangelo. During her presentation Wallace also showed how, through Google analytics, she could track who was looking at her site and where they came from. It was amazing, she said, to realize that people all over the world were looking at her photographs.

Sharma showed two projects that she’d promoted online. A series of portraits of people taken in the shower in her Brooklyn apartment was discovered by art directors at the ad agency JWT in Delhi, which lead to a commission to replicate that work for ads for a German maker of shower heads that was expanding their business in India. Sharma’s photographs appeared on billboards in 23 cities, she said.

After she created a well-produced Kickstarter video to raise funds for her project Darshan, several photo blogs and other online publications wrote about the work. She ended up raising $26,000 of funding over the course of three months.

Each of the panelists encouraged the audience members to build networks online through Facebook and Twitter, and to help promote other photographers whose work they appreciate. Wallace made the point that opportunities for group exhibitions often come from other artists, and introductions to clients often come from fellow photographers.

Kramer also made another useful point for photographers who might still be hesitant to publish their work online: “The more you are associated with your work, the harder it is to steal it,” she said.

September 16th, 2011

Q&A: Zombie Engagement Photographer Speaks!

©Amanda Rynda

Photographer Amanda Rynda’s “zombie engagement photos” were an Internet sensation this past week, ending up on blogs and websites all over the world.

We caught up with the Los Angeles-based Rynda and asked her a few questions about how it felt to “go viral” and whether she thinks her ghoulishly good photos might start a new trend in wedding photography.

See the full zombie sequence and Rynda’s other work here.

PDNPulse: Please give us some background on you and your photo business.
Amanda Rynda: I’m a color stylist for Disney by day and took up photography this year in my spare time to have a new creative outlet. I’ve been working as an associate photographer with LA-based wedding photographers, Jen Harris and Charise Proctor on the weekends.

PDNPulse: How did the idea come up to do the zombie engagement shoot?
Amanda Rynda: Juliana and Ben asked me to shoot their engagement session but they weren’t into a soft, PDA filled engagement session. They wanted something fun and quirky to show off their fun-loving and creative personalities. Juliana came to me and said, “Ben and I want to survive a zombie attack and then hug because we’re in love.” It was such a fun idea, I knew right away we’d have a great time making it happen.

PDNPulse: Had you ever done anything like this before?
Amanda Rynda: No, I’ve never shot anything like this before. I’m pretty new to photography so I haven’t worked with too many clients of my own yet. I’m just so happy to have been given the opportunity to work with people as fun, creative and eager to open up as much as Ben and Juliana did for this e-session. I hope that trend continues.
(more…)

August 26th, 2011

Friday Pre-Hurricane Fun: Blog Reenacts Silly Stock Photos

It’s Friday and everyone here in New York City is more than a little on edge because of this supposed “Storm of the Century” that’s headed our way.

To take our mind off fast approaching Hurricane Irene, we’ve been getting a few laughs from this Tumblr blog entitled “Stocking Is the New Planking” where stock photos are reenacted for fun and general amusement.

We really know what the point of it is but that’s probably the point.

Stay dry, friends.

(Via psfk)

August 25th, 2011

You Just Found Out Your Subject Is a Bully. Do You Shoot? Or Cancel?

Last week, photographer Jennifer McKendrick of Indiana County, Pennsylvania discovered that four high school seniors that she was scheduled to shoot for their yearbook had been bullying a fellow student on Facebook. So McKendrick sent e-mails to the students canceling the shoots. She explained why, attached screen shots of the bullying comments they had made–and cc’d the students’ parents. (more…)

August 10th, 2011

Twitter Launches Photo-Sharing Feature

Twitter has launched its native photo-sharing feature, allowing Twitter users to post photographs to Twitter without using a third-party service such as TwitPic or yfrog.

Images of 3mb or less can now be posted to Twitter by clicking a camera icon in the bottom left of the status update window. The image will only appear as a thumbnail in Twitter feeds, but users can click on a particular tweet to see the photo enlarged on the right-hand side of the page.

The launch of the function is good news considering the once-popular TwitPic signed a deal in May to license users’ photographs without compensation through World Entertainment News Network, provoking the ire of many its users.

Still, photographers should be aware that Twitter’s terms of service still give them the right to use your content or let others use your content.

Here is the relevant verbiage:

“You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods  (now known or later developed).

“Tip: This license is you authorizing us to make your Tweets available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same.

“You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use.”

Last year, photographer Daniel Morel sued AFP and Getty for unauthorized use of his images of the Haiti earthquake, which he uploaded to Twitpic. The defendants tried to argue that, according to the Twitter terms of service, whatever is posted on Twitter is free for the taking by anyone with access to Twitter. A federal judge rejected their argument as a misreading of Twitter’s terms of service. While those terms give Twitter and its “partners and affiliates” the right to use, copy, reproduce, publish and distribute content uploaded to Twitter, the judge noted that AFP, Getty and other defendants were merely users of the service.

Related story:
Daniel Morel Wins Pre-Trial Victory Against AFP, Getty

August 1st, 2011

Joao Silva’s First Assignment Since His Injury a Fitting One

Photojournalist Joao Silva, who lost both of his legs last October after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan, took on an appropriate first assignment for The New York Times last week: photographing the closing of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the hospital where he worked to recover from his injuries alongside soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As detailed in a post on Lens, the Times’ photography blog, Silva was already covering the hospital’s closing ceremony when the assignment came in from national picture editor David Scull and Michele McNally, the Times’ director of photography.

Silva’s image of a crowd observing a parachute demonstration at the closing ceremony ran on page one of the newspaper on Thursday.

Related:

Photographer Joao Silva Wounded in Afghanistan

Fund Established for Injured Photog Joao Silva and Family

Joao Silva Being Treated at Washington Army Hospital

Joao Silva Takes First Step on Artificial Legs