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February 1st, 2012

Magnum Foundation Announces 2012 Emergency Fund Grantees

© Justin Maxon/Prospekt

The Magnum Foundation has announced the 2012 class of Emergency Fund grantees. The Emergency Fund supports photographers who are working on long-term documentary projects that address “critical global issues that have not received the attention they deserve, or budding crises that are still over the horizon,” according to the EF Web site.

This year’s grantees are:

Evgenia Arbugaeva, for her project “Tiksi, the Far North”; Rena Effendi, for “Capturing Coptic Life: Egypt’s Sectarian Struggle”; Eric Gottesman, for “Baalu Girma”; Sebastián Liste, for “The Brazilian Far West”; Benjamin Lowy, for “iLibya: Libya’s Growing Pains”; Justin Maxon,  for “Murder That Goes Unsolved and Unheard”; Donald Weber, for “War is Good*”; and Paolo Woods, for “Poor Rich.”

The Magnum Foundation, established by the cooperative photo agency to promote and finance independent documentary photography, began its Emergency Fund grants in 2010. Past grantees include Jonas Bendiksen, Tomas van Houtryve, Emily Schiffer, Larry Towell, Bruce Gilden and Krisanne Johnson.

Grantee candidates are nominated by an international committee and evaluated by a selection committee. This year the Emergency Fund received 93 nominations, and 76 photographers from 28 countries submitted proposals.

The Magnum Foundation also announced the its 2012 scholarships for the NYU/MF Photography and Human Rights program, a 5-week summer intensive at New York University that teaches photographers skills for creating documentary projects on human rights. This year’s scholarships went to: Poulomi Basu of India; Arthur Bondar, of Ukraine, Liu Jie of China; and Pooyan Tabatabaei of Iran.

October 31st, 2011

PhotoPlus Panel: Why Licensing Matters

There’s no better argument for eschewing a buyout or work-for-hire contract, than Michael Grecco’s real-world example of how he earned more than $140,000 in licensing fees over an eight-year period from one advertising client. Because the contract had a set licensing period, every time the client wanted to use the images after the license expired, Grecco had to be paid again. John Harrington, Grecco’s partner for the 2011 PhotoPlus Expo seminar Licensing: Putting Money Back in Your Pocket, presented a similar case study to demonstrate how he earned $940 from an editorial client who wanted to use additional takes from a cover shoot for two sister publications not included in the license.

Of course, none of these fees would have been possible if their licensing agreements, which should always include the terms of usage (length of time, type of medium, region, etc) and exclusivity, were not clearly defined. Harrington is a big proponent of PLUS (Picture Licensing Universal System), a non-profit organization with the goal “to simplify and facilitate the communication and management of image rights.” On its site, UsePLUS.com, there is a License Generator tool that allows users to create a license based on the criteria entered. The trade organization American Photographic Artists also has licensing information on its site, APANational.com, or you can work with an intellectual property attorney who specializes in artists’ rights. Grecco also mentioned the importance of obtaining model releases and keeping them on file, especially if you plan on selling images commercially.

An important component of licensing is copyright protection, which Grecco and Harrington also discussed. Though as the photographer you technically own the copyright of an image at the click of the camera’s shutter (unless you’re doing work-for-hire or you’ve ceded the rights of the image), actually registering the photo at the U.S. Copyright Office will make prosecuting an infringement case much easier—a lesson Grecco learned the hard way when his photos were infringed: once when a derivative work was created and another time when a work was reprinted, both without his permission.

Grecco briefly touched on his system for registering his images with the Copyright Office, which he does en masse while the photos are still unpublished (once they’ve been published they must be registered individually): He fills out the necessary forms at Copyright.gov; creates CDs or DVDs with the files, organizing them using Print Window for Mac software; and sends the discs via a shipper that provides proof of receipt, such as FedEx or UPS. This last part is particularly important since the copyright goes into effect on the date it’s submitted, which means the date it’s received by the U.S. Copyright Office.

Though the licensing process seems onerous, it’s worth the extra work; both Grecco and Harrington use their knowledge of copyright and licensing to negotiate better fees from clients. And making extra money on photographs you’ve already taken, that’s just a smarter way to do business.

October 31st, 2011

PhotoPlus Panel: Getting a Tastemaker’s Attention

Aiming to shed some light on how photography mavens find innovative work, W.M. Hunt moderated the seminar Your Picture is Fabulous: The Tastemakers and Why We Look at What We Do during the 2011 PhotoPlus Expo. The panel featured a gallery owner (Yossi Milo of Yossi Milo Gallery), a magazine photo editor (Caroline Wolff of W) and an agency director (Kelly Penford of Jed Root)—in other words, a wide array of influential people every photographer dreams of impressing.

Though it’s not easy to articulate what makes a photograph cutting-edge, Hunt, a photo collector and former gallery director, noted that he needed to be excited by the work and told the story of traveling to Paris to see photojournalist Luc Delahaye’s Taliban Soldier, a large-scale image of a Taliban fighter lying dead in the dirt. Though Vanity Fair and The New Yorker both passed on the photo (American Photo ended up publishing it) when he returned to the U.S., Hunt was able to sell the image to a collector for $15,000—using just the color Xerox of the print—proving he had indeed discovered something new. Milo seconded Hunt’s sentiments, saying he wants to be blown away by a work and cited the example of Kohei Yoshiyuki’s series “The Park,” which not only excited him, but also had an amazing concept he was intrigued by.

Yet Hunt readily admitted that it’s hard to be fresh and pressed the panelists to find out what is trending now. In a word: technology. Milo said he’s been looking to younger photographers and is currently captivated by innovations in the picture-making process. An example is Matthew Brandt’s series “Lakes and Reservoirs,” in which he develops the photographs using water from the lake or reservoir featured in the photo. Wolff explained that she recently commissioned on online video from Santiago & Mauricio in which still images contained moving droplets of water, while Penford added that digital is the only acceptable method for his clients, who expect to see instantaneous results.

So how do you get your work in front of a tastemaker? Wolff said she reads a variety of magazines and newspapers, and used the examples of a few up-and-coming photographers she’s either commissioned or is keeping tabs on: She discovered Santiago & Mauricio through their submission in W’s Fashion on Film series; Chadwick Tyler was featured on the cover of Grey magazine; and Elle Muliarchyk’s “Dressing Room” series was published in The New York Times Magazine.

Penford said he looks at everything and anything, but emphasized the power of photo blogs. His agency currently represents Scott Schuman whose blog The Sartorialist receives millions of visitors each month, the popularity of which lead to new assignments, and recently signed Bill Gentle largely due to the photos on his blog Backyard Bill. Milo said he also reads a lot, both print and online, as well as travels and goes to shows. However, he tends to track photographers and follow them for a couple years to see how their style evolves before contacting them.

The moral of the seminar? Though there’s no way to guarantee your work will be deemed worthwhile by influential people in the industry, one thing that’s for sure is that it has to be out there in order to get noticed in the first place. Start a blog, enter a contest, send an introductory e-mail—do whatever you can to get your photographs seen by the right people.

October 28th, 2011

PhotoPlus Panel: Finding Funding for Your Documentary Work

At the 2011 PhotoPlus Expo, Aidan Sullivan, vice president of photo assignments for Getty Images, moderated the seminar, Your Picture is Important: The “Concerned Photographer” Today and How Projects Get Funded. With a panel that included both grant recipients and foundation employees, the goal was to help attendees get a better understanding of the various avenues of support available for advocacy photojournalism.

Shrinking editorial budgets throughout the media world have made grant and fundraising more important than ever for photojournalists. As Sullivan pointed out at the beginning of the seminar, a simple Internet search will produce numerous grants available for photographers. However, the more elusive part of the process is figuring out how to actually get awarded those funds.

Amy Yenkin, a director for the Open Society Foundations, explained what her “advocacy oriented” foundation is looking for when it comes to funding projects: a long-term commitment and thorough knowledge of the issue, an engagement with the community being photographed, the respect of non-governmental or non-profit organizations working on the issue, an awareness of what other photographers are doing regarding the issue and past success on previous projects or partnerships.

While Yenkin noted that her foundation is open to projects that highlight both the problem and/or solution regarding an issue, Emma Raynes, Emergency Fund program director at the Magnum Foundation, said her organization prefers to focus on underreported issues “in anticipation of powerful stories” rather than in the aftermath of them.

Both speakers emphasized the importance of working with non-profit organizations, not just for funding, but also to build a partnership. The effect a non-profit can have on a photographer’s work was exemplified when photographer RaMell Ross spoke about his experiences shooting in the economically depressed “Black Belt” of the Southern United States. Ross works at the non-profit Youthbuild and began phootgraphing his students as well as abandoned schools in the area. His photography came to the attention of the non-profit For | By | For, which helped him set-up a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for an exhibit, the proceeds of which were donated to Youthbuild.

Kickstarter actually played an important role in many of the case studies presented at the seminar. Yenkin listed seven different sources of support, including a Kickstarter campaign, for Saiful Huq Omi’s project photographing Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Raynes also noted that the Magnum Foundation helps set up Kickstarter campaigns for Emergency Fund recipients, including one for this year’s W. Eugene Smith grant recipient, Krisanne Johnson.

Persistence and patience seems to be the key when it comes to applying for grants and raising funds. This was evident when photographer Darcy Padilla spoke about her experiences after she turned down a job at The New York Times and “made a choice to be a freelancer.” Padilla won her first grant in 1990 and describes living on very little income as she continued to apply for grants and awards while shooting projects she felt were important, including The Julie Project, which consists of photos taken of the same subject over an 18-year period. She applied for the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship three times before receiving it in 1995 and the W. Eugene Smith Grant close to ten times before she was awarded it in 2010.

Padilla noted that she rewrote her winning proposal for the W. Eugene Smith Grant in order to “give it intimacy and closeness.” Perhaps this is the biggest takeaway from the seminar: the issue has to be something you’re passionate about; something you’re dedicated to documenting regardless of whether you’re on assignment or not. This passion and commitment will not only influence the photographs, it will also show foundations and donators that it is a cause you truly wish to eradicate, which may just inspire them to support your journey.

October 20th, 2011

Chris Hondros Fund Announces Fellowships, Grants, New Web Site

The Chris Hondros Fund, a non-profit established by the late photojournalist’s fiance, Christina Piaia, with support from the Hondros Family, announced the launch of the Fund Web site today. Hondros was killed earlier this year in a rocket attack by Qaddafi forces in Misrata, Libya. The Fund, which will “support and advance photojournalists” also announced the establishment of fellowships and grantmaking activities.

Getty Images director of photography Pancho Bernasconi, and New York Times photographer Todd Heisler have joined Piaia on the board of directors for the Fund.

The Fund recently awarded it’s first fellowship at this year’s Eddie Adams Workshop to Enrico Fabian.

Their programs and goals were outlined in a press release as follows:

Fellowships

Chris Hondros Fellowship in Photojournalism: Each year, the Fund will select an outstanding photojournalist who is committed to creating a visual history that brings shared human experiences into the public eye and whose work shows exceptional promise to receive a fellowship for the study of photojournalism. The Fund anticipates soliciting the first round of applications in 2012.

Hondros Fellow at Eddie Adams Workshop: The Fund will award an annual fellowship to one of the attendees of the Eddie Adams Workshop based on the photography created during the workshop and a portfolio review. Recipients should demonstrate a commitment to documenting a visual history of newsworthy events in the “spirit” of Chris Hondros; his imagery, and continuous drive to tell a story always made his work compelling and the successful recipient of the fellowship will share and demonstrate a similar vision and approach. Hondros attended the Workshop as a student in 1993, and returned as a team leader in 2007. On October 10, 2011, Enrico Fabian received the first Hondros Fellow award based on his powerful body of work created during the workshop, his telling portfolio and unyielding commitment to photojournalism.

Grantmaking

The Fund will provide grants to non-profit organizations and academic institutions to support projects that advance the work of aspiring photojournalists and working photojournalists and to protect and assist journalists whose work demonstrates the Fund’s mission: to create a visual history that brings shared human experiences into the public eye. These grants may also assist in raising public awareness of the effects of conflict on civilians, combatants, and society. The Fund plans to work with select organizations to develop appropriate projects and will not initially accept unsolicited proposals.

Awareness

The Fund seeks to raise awareness and educate the public about the work of photojournalists, which the Fund anticipates will include operating a lecture series, curating and promoting exhibitions, and providing direct support, in the form of fellowships and awards, to photojournalists.

Related: Hondros, Hetherington Prizes Awarded at Eddie Adams Workshop

October 12th, 2011

Hondros, Hetherington Prizes Awarded at Eddie Adams Workshop

Among the awards given out at the 24th annual Eddie Adams Workshop, held October 7 through 10 in Jeffersonville, New York, were two prizes created in memory of photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who were killed in Misrata, Libya on April 20, 2011.

The Chris Hondros Fund, created after his death to support young photojournalists, gave a $2500 prize and a print to Workshop attendee Enrico Fabian.  The Tim Hetherington Memorial Award, a $2,000 prize, was given to Dominic Bracco II. The prize was funded by a collection taken at a gathering of Hetherington’s friends and colleagues held at New York’s Bubble Lounge days after his death.

Each year, the intensive, four-day Workshop ends with a memorial to photojournalist Eddie Adams, the Workshop’s founder, and six of his Vietnam-era colleagues who were killed covering war. This year, the memorial was made more poignant with the addition of tributes to Hondros and Hetherington.

Hondros, a 1993 Workshop alumnus, was remembered with a screening of short interview excerpts from the 2007 documentary In Service: Pittsburgh to Iraq. In one segment, Hondros, who had covered the Iraq war for Getty Images, spoke about the gap between American and Iraqi culture, saying, “Our government is infatuated with Iraq but our people are not.”

Jamie Wellford, international photo editor at Newsweek, told the audience that Hetherington had been looking forward to attending this year’s Workshop. On the day he died, Hetherington had emailed Wellford, but he didn’t receive it until after Hetherington’s death, because it  “spent a week in digital purgatory.” Wellford introduced a screening of Hetherington’s 19-minute film Diary. Made in 2010, it is a kaleidoscopic, deeply personal compilation of footage showing Hetherington’s view of his life as a war photographer.

Among the other prizes given out during the Workshop to Barnstorm participants:

The Colton Family Award, for the student who best embodies the spirit of the workshop, a $1000 Award and a spot on the Black team at next year’s Workshop:
Scott Mcintyre

$1000 Cash Awards From National Geographic (two):
Kiana Hayeri And Arthur Bondar

$500 Awards From LIFE Magazine (Two):
Gregory Gieske, David Maurice Smith

Assignments from Newsweek, People, Sports Illustrated, Esquire Digital, AARP and AARP Bulletin, AP, Getty Images, The Los Angeles, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and publications were also given out. Additional awards of services or gift certificates were offered by Altpick, B& H Photo, Mac Group and PDN.

A full list of 2011 participants is available on  www.eddieadamsworkshop.com.

–with reporting by Jill Waterman

September 1st, 2011

Bronx Documentary Center Holds Fundraiser for Hetherington Exhibit & Public Programs

The Bronx Documentary Center, the new non-profit photography exhibition space in the South Bronx, will hold a silent auction on September 12 to raise funds for an exhibition of photographer Tim Hetherington’s final images from Libya. Hetherington was killed on April 20 in Misrata, Libya in a rocket attack that also killed photojournalist Chris Hondros.

Proceeds from the event, to be held at the Bubble Lounge in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, will also benefit education initiatives and public programs at the BDC, according to a release by BDC founder Michael Kamber and project director Danielle Jackson. The Hetherington show is also supported by Committee to Protect Journalists and Foto Care.

Kamber, a photojournalist, founded the BDC as a “new place for photography, film and new media from around the globe.”  Located at Cortland Avenue and 151st Street in the South Bronx, it began hosting events this summer, including a showing of Zana Briski’s documentary, Born Into Brothels, and a talk by New York Times photographer Joao Silva, who lost his legs while embedded with US troops in Afghanistan.

In anticipation of its first exhibition in September, the BDC’s site, powered by Tumblr, has been updated throughout the summer with photographs documenting the surrounding neighborhood as well as photography news. Tonight the BDC will host a “Movies at Sundown” event, featuring the film Fernando Nation, to be followed by Q & A with the director, Cruz Angeles.

You can buy tickets to the fundraiser here.

–Kayla Epstein

August 30th, 2011

The Art Institutes: Legitimate Photo Schools, or Accessories to Fraud?

The Art Institutes, a for-profit chain of colleges that offers degrees in photography and other fields, is training aspiring photographers by the hundreds at locations all over the country, as well as online. Many of the students graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and dim career prospects.

The US Department of Justice recently sued the owner of The Art Institutes–Education Management Company–for using illegal recruiting methods to collect $11 billion in government-backed student loan money since 2003. EDMC, which is partly owned by Goldman Sachs, denies the charges.

EDMC owns several chains of for-profit colleges, so The Art Institutes doesn’t account for all the student loan money going into the company’s coffers. But former AI recruiters, career counselors, and students interviewed by PDN say that EDMC and AI are preying on low income students who lack the skills and preparation they need to succeed in college, or who lack the knowledge to explore far less expensive educational options available to them. “You’re really kind of ruining peoples’ lives. There’s no nicer way to put it,” one former EDMC career counselor told PDN.

EDMC see it differently, of course. “We offer a pathway to a higher education for many students who are not being served by traditional higher education,” a company spokesperson said.

The full story is posted here at pdnonline.com.

Students, faculty, alums and employees of Art Institutes programs can post their comments and experiences, or their reaction to the Department of Justice law suit, here.

August 24th, 2011

ICP Director Willis Hartshorn to Step Down

Willis “Buzz” Hartshorn, director of the International Center of Photography since 1994, confirmed today that he will leave his position as soon as his replacement is hired. Hartshorn, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, says he is leaving his role at ICP for health reasons. The board of trustees announced his decision publicly in a press release issued this morning. The board has formed a search committee and hired an executive search firm to find his successor.

Hartshorn told The New York Times that he first informed the board of his diagnosis five years ago, and they asked him to stay on. Now 60, Hartshorn said, “I’m seven years into this thing, and I can feel the difference physically.” He also said, “It’s not fair to them [the ICP staff and trustees] and the best thing for me and my family is that I pace myself in an appropriate way.”

In an email he sent to donors and supporters yesterday in advance of the museum’s press release, Hartshorn said he plans to “transition to a different role at ICP.” He had recently begun a strategic planning initiative for ICP.

Hartshorn was named the director in 1994, succeeding the museum’s founder, photographer Cornell Capa.  During Hartshorn’s tenure, the museum moved from its historic building on E 94th Street to its current location in midtown, across the street from the campus of the ICP school. Hartshorn also lead the capital campaign which raised more than $20 million to fund the move and the renovation of the facilities. In 2003, ICP held its first triennial, its survey of contemporary photography around the world. The growing stature and ambition of the museum’s exhibition schedule, permanent collection and photography school is reflected in its operating budget, which has grown from $6.5 million in 1995 to $17 million in 2010, while also balancing its budget, according to the ICP board.

“Buzz and his team have lead ICP from strength to strength throughout his 17-year tenure, from its exhibition programs, to its greatly increased endowment, to the breadth and depth of its educational programs, and the photography talent trained by ICP, to its leading position in the world of photography,” said Jeffrey A. Rosen, president of the ICP board of trustees in the statement announcing Hartshorn’s departure.

Hartshorn received his BA at the University of Rochester and his MFA in Photographic Studies from the Visual Studies Workshop/SUNY Buffalo. He worked at the George Eastman House in Rochester before he joined the staff of ICP in 1982.  Among the exhibitions he curated for the museum were “Annie Leibovitz: Photographs 1970-1990” and “Man Ray: Bazaar Years.”  He had served as the museum’s deputy director under Capa before he was named to the position of director.

June 24th, 2011

Leica Helped Jews Escape Nazi Germany (VIDEO)

Ever heard of the Leica Freedom Train? We hadn’t either until we saw this compelling video by that same name on YouTube.

Everyone now knows about “Schindler’s List” thanks to the Steven Speilberg movie but less have heard of Ernst Leitz II, heir to the founder of the Leica company, and his daughter Elsie Kuehn-Leitz, who helped many German Jews get reassigned overseas after Hitler came to power. Some of Leitz’ Jewish employees were assigned to sales offices in New York City.

Fascinating stuff.  (Read more about the story here.)

Via Helen Oster’s Twitter feed.