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January 13th, 2014

Danny Lyon Criticizes Media; Says How He Would Edit National Geographic Magazine

Photojournalist Danny Lyon delivered a sharp critique of the media, explained the main goal of his career, and reminisced about his work on the civil rights movement, motorcycle gangs and Texas prisoners at a rare public appearance last week.

Lyon was the headliner at the 2014 National Geographic Photography Seminar, a day-long event held January 9 before a standing-room-only crowd at the National Geographic offices in Washington, DC.

“I took it for granted that all the magazines lied, and since I chose the media as my field I was determined to create an American media that was truthful,” Lyon said during his talk.

He also imagined himself as editor of National Geographic, and suggested story ideas that would probably rile the magazine’s audience (read on for details).

In addition to Lyon, photographers Tyler Hicks, Wayne Lawrence, David Maisel, Newsha Tavakolian, and Vince Musi lectured about their careers and past projects. Media artist Hasan Elahi also gave a talk about his surveillance project.

Following is an edited transcript of Lyon’s talk.

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December 16th, 2013

New Elliott Erwitt Book Comes With Hidden Flask of Rare Macallan Whisky

An image from Elliott Erwitt's new book with The Macallan. © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

An image from Elliott Erwitt’s new book with The Macallan. © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

Scotch whisky producer The Macallan announced the latest release in its “Masters of Photography” series—a book of photographs Elliott Erwitt made on commission in Scotland. The book, Elliott Erwitt’s Great Scottish Adventure, features 158 images the Magnum photographer made during an open commission to photograph in Scotland.

Erwitt is the fourth photographer to work on “The Macallan Masters of Photography” series; Rankin, Watson and Annie Leibovitz preceded him. (more…)

November 15th, 2013

Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Award Winners Announced

An interior spread from Karma, photographs by Óscar Monzón (Dalpine, Madrid / RVB Books, Paris) © Óscar Monzón 2013

An interior spread from Karma, photographs by Óscar Monzón (Dalpine, Madrid / RVB Books, Paris) © Óscar Monzón 2013

The winners of the 2013 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards were announced this evening in Paris.

The self-published book A01 [COD.19.1.1.43] — A27 [S | COD.23] by Rosângela Rennó was named PhotoBook of the Year. The book considers the disappearance due to theft of the material in 27 archival boxes housed in the General Archive of the City of in Rio de Janeiro.

KARMA by Óscar Monzón (RVB Books, Paris / Dalpine, Madrid) is the winner of $10,000 First PhotoBook prize. KARMA is comprised of photographs of automobiles and their drivers made in Madrid between 2009 and 2013. (more…)

November 14th, 2013

Judge Dismisses Authors Guild’s Copyright Lawsuit Against Google

A federal court judge has dismissed a long-standing lawsuit over the Google Books project, ruling that Google’s initiative to scan the contents of millions of books to make them searchable online falls within the bounds of fair use.

Bloomberg Businessweek has reported that Judge Denny Chin has dismissed a lawsuit filed eight years ago by the Authors Guild, which had claimed that Google was violating the copyrights of authors by scanning books without permission. A similar suit against Google, filed by photo trade groups, is still pending.

According to the Businessweek report, Judge Chin wrote in his ruling: “Google Books provides significant public benefits. It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.”

Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, told Businessweek: ““In our view, such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense.”

The decision doesn’t bode well for a nearly identical lawsuit filed against Google in 2010 by ASMP, the Graphic Artists Guild, the North American Nature Photographers Association, the Picture Agency Council of America, and the Professional Photographers of America. Those organizations want to prevent Google from scanning visual works in books without permission from copyright holders.

They filed suit against Google after Judge Chin refused to allow them to join the Authors Guild lawsuit.

Eugene Mopsik, executive director of ASMP, told PDN that he could not make specific comments about the ASMP claim against Google, which is still pending.

But he said of the dismissal of the Authors Guild lawsuit, “I think that it’s a terrible expansion of fair use [doctrine] to the detriment of individual rights holders.” He added, “I think it will further contribute to abuse of the fair use statute by other businesses. A lot of entities will look at this and say, ‘If Google is allowed to use [copyrighted] works this way, why can’t we?’”

Related:
ASMP, Other Trade Groups Sue Google (subscription required)
APA, NPPA Join copyright Suit Against Google
Judge Blocks Google’s Divide-And-Conquer Strategy in Big Copyright Cases

October 29th, 2013

Gilles Peress’s Post-Sandy Book Tests “Generosity-Based” Publishing

© Concord Free Press/photo by Gilles Peress/Magnum

© Concord Free Press/photo by Gilles Peress/Magnum

Starting tomorrow, the day after the anniversary of when Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the U.S., the publishing house Concord Free Press is giving away copies of The Rockaways, a new book which features Gilles Peress’s images of the storm’s devastation in one of the hardest hit areas of New York City and essays by high school students and other residents of the neighborhood. All 4,000 numbered copies of the book are free, but in exchange, everyone who receives a copy is asked to make a donation to a charity of their choosing or to a person in need, and to pass along the book so the giving continues. The Rockaways is the eighth book published by Concord Free Press, which co-founder Stona Fitch calls an experiment in “generosity-based publishing.”

“Like everybody else, I was really moved by the distress of many of the people affected, especially the poorest part of the population in the Rockaways,” says Peress. “I think of all of us felt on some level: How can we help?” Hamilton Fish, former publisher of The Nation and a member of the Concord Free Press advisory board, edited The Rockaways and approached  Peress about donating images to the effort. “It was a no-brainer. I said yes after the first sentence,” Peress says. He adds, “It’s up to you and your conscience and your wallet to donate to what you think is a worthwhile cause–hopefully dealing with the Rockaways and hopefully dealing with income disparity.”

“We’re about linking art and activism,” Fitch says. Concord Free Press’s other seven books have each raised $50,000 to $60,000 in charitable donations. Designers, writers and publicists donate their time; Kodak provided digital printing for The Rockaways and for Concord Free Press’s previous book, Round Mountain, a collection of short stories set in a small town in Vermont, which was released after Hurricane Irene caused massing flooding in the state. The Rockaways is the publisher’s first photo book. Fitch calls Peress’s images of the ravaged working-class neighborhood  “powerful.” He says, “When you’re given something so beautiful and powerful for free, it has a great effect for inspiring generosity.” By stirring donations, Fitch says, the book can “help address the problem that was being photographed.” He acknowledges that people might be reluctant to pass The Rockaways along, “because Gilles’s book is so beautiful.”
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October 28th, 2013

PDN Video: Gregory Heisler on How to Relate to Portrait Subjects (Even If You Are Shy and Bumbling)

Portrait photographer Gregory Heisler says people constantly ask him, “How do you get people to pose?” In our latest clip from our video interview with Heisler, he explains the importance of putting yourself in the shoes of your subjects, and figuring out how to interact with them in ways that suit your own personality. He also explains how he learned to relate to subjects despite his early handicap as “the shyest kid ever.”

Heisler recently released 50 Portraits, his first book, which is a retrospective of his career, as well as a tutorial in the art and craft of portraiture. An excerpt of the book appears in this month’s issue of PDN.

Portrait Master Gregory Heisler on How to Relate to Subjects from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

Related:
Gregory Heisler Shares the Techniques That Go Into His Portraiture
PDN Video: Gregory Heisler on His New Book and Best Portraits
PDN Video Pick: Gregory Heisler’s Tips on Lighting Portraits
How Top Photographers Shoot Great Portraits

October 22nd, 2013

PDN Video: Gregory Heisler on His New Book and Best Portraits

Master portrait photographer Gregory Heisler has just released a book that is both a retrospective of his work, and a guidebook on the art and craft of portraiture. Heisler says it is the kind of book he always wanted to buy as an up-and-coming photographer. “What I wanted to know about was sort of the creative process, what went into each picture. Not how you took it, particularly, but why you made the decisions you made.”

In an excerpt of the book published this month in PDN, Heisler describes how he photographed Hugh Grant, Muhammed Ali and other subjects. He also sat down for a video interview to talk about his work and career. In this clip, he explains how he thought through an assignment to photograph former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for the TIME Person of the Year cover in 2001. Later this week, we will post clips of Heisler discussing his lighting technique, how to connect with subjects, and how clients choose photographers.

Heisler will hold a seminar called The Evocative Portrait at Photo Plus Expo this Friday, October 25, from 8:45 to 11:45 a.m.

Creative Tips from Portrait Photographer Gregory Heisler from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

Related:Gregory Heisler Shares the Techniques That Go Into His Portraiture

September 10th, 2013

Aftermath Project Accepting Applications for $20K Grant

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Aftermath Project Grant, an award of $20,000 that will be given to a photographer working on a project that explores the aftermath of violent conflict. The 2014 Aftermath Project Grant is supported by the Foundation to Promote Open Society.

Photojournalist Sara Terry founded the non-profit grant-making organization The Aftermath Project in 2003 with the belief that quiet stories of people rebuilding their lives after war or other conflicts have a vital role to play in how the international community understands the effects of armed conflicts on populations.

The deadline for applications is November 11, 2013, with the winner to be announced in mid-December. In addition to the grant, The Aftermath Project will also recognize four finalists, and their work will be published alongside the winners in a book, War is Only Half the Story: Vol 8.

Recent Aftermath Project grant-winners include Stanley Greene, Andrew Lichtenstein and Davide Monteleone.

For more information and to submit an application, visit: http://theaftermathproject.org/2014-Application

Related: Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application (about Lichtenstein’s Aftermath Project Grant application)
Stanley Greene Wins 2013 Aftermath Grant
$20,000 Aftermath Project Grant for 2012 Awarded to Andrew Lichtenstein

August 14th, 2013

How to Submit a Book Proposal to Gerhard Steidl

Gerhard Steidl (right) and photographer Mitch Epstein. © Torsten Nyström

Gerhard Steidl (right) at work with photographer Mitch Epstein. ©Torsten Nyström

Photographers who have had books published by Gerhard Steidl tell PDN that the process is an unforgettable creative journey with a master printer who spares almost no expense to realize their visions. “Being there in Steidlville is almost a religious experience,” says photographer Christopher Morris, who had a second book published by Steidl last year. “You don’t want it to end.” No wonder Steidl gets 1,200 unsolicited book proposals every year. Gerhard Steidl reviews every one of them, and publishes only the rare few that challenge him politically or intellectually, or that surprise him in some way, as he explains in a profile that is now available at PDNOnline. For those interested in submitting book proposals, one option is to send e-mail directly to gsteidl@steidl.de with the word “Submission” in the subject line. Steidl says it doesn’t matter whether he receives submissions in analog or digital format, but Morris advises, “Definitely do not send anything in digital format. He’s a man who likes to touch things, and look at paper. Scotch tape and photographs on paper is what you need to send him.” For hard copy submissions, the address is: Gerhard Steidl – Druckerei & Verlag GmbH & Co. OHG, Düstere Straße 4 – D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.

Related:
Why Gerhard Steidl Is a Book Publishing Master

August 8th, 2013

Fed Up with Self-Serving Noise from Photo Bloggers, Zack Arias Started a Blog, Then Published a Book in His Spare Time

Photographer Zack Arias is the accidental “Dear Abby” of the photo industry. He started a Tumblr blog last year called Photography Q&A, inviting readers to “ask me anything about photography.” He has since fielded more than 1,000 “Hi Zack” e-mails with questions about gear, technique, art and creativity, and business.

The blog is popular not only for the information Arias provides, but because of his honesty, good humor, and horse sense. He often recounts his own mistakes to instruct and encourage his readers, and isn’t afraid to cajole them, or challenge the industry’s conventional wisdom and egos.

Arias, who is also a popular workshop instructor, recently compiled some of the blog’s best installments into a book called Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers, published by New Riders. An excerpt of the book appears in the August issue of PDN, and is now available on our web site. We asked Arias how his blog got started, and he replied with his usual candor.

“It was because I got pissed off at another photographer [who] came out with a web site that was this ‘Top Ten Steps’–like a system to help get you started becoming a photographer. There was just a lot of bad information in it. A lot of people were in an uproar. I was staying out of the fray, but people kept asking me, ‘Zack, what do you think of it?’

“Finally I said, ‘The hell with it. Here’s what I think of it: I think it’s a bunch of trash, and nobody should listen to it for these reasons.’ Then I was in the fray, and then I was pissed off, and it was just one of those things: OK, you’re going to do a top ten? I’m going to do a top 100–no, I’m going to do a top 1000. There’s a lot of noise in our industry right now. There’s a lot of top ten lists, and ‘get this going quick’ [schemes] and people just walking all over the craft and people not preaching that you have to be patient, you have to work hard, and this is going to take a long time and it’s not easy. If you think it’s just about taking pictures, you’re missing the other 90 percent of what it means to be a professional photographer. And I wanted to create something that had more signal, and wasn’t noise, and wasn’t just an affiliate link aggregator, like hey, we’re going to bring a lot of people to our blog, and hope they click on our links so we can monetize it.

“So it [the blog] started because I wanted to create something that had a more honest look [at the profession] than have a shiny, happy infomercial that was getting a lot of traction.”

Meanwhile, Arias is taking a break from teaching workshops, but that’s another story.

Related:
School of Hard Knocks: Zack Arias, Lost and Found (subscription required)
PDN Reader Survey: The Best Workshop Instructors