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January 18th, 2012

4 Useful Lessons from La Redoute’s Nude Man Fiasco

Was the photographer blind, inattentive, or just following the, ah, brief?

Somewhere, a photographer has been scolded–or worse–for a catalogue image that embarrassed his or her client.

The image in question, for La Redoute, a French clothing company, shows happy kids frolicking on the beach in bathing suits–with a naked man emerging from the water in the background. The company removed the image from its Web site and apologized publicly after some shocked customers complained.

A BBC report about that apology notes that the error was “compounded by the fact that La Redoute provided a magnifying glass so that people could examine the beachwear close-up.”

This piece of news made the viral rounds a couple of weeks ago, so perhaps you’ve already heard about it. But we wanted to point out the silver lining: There are lessons to be learned from the unfortunate mistakes of others. In this case, they include:

–When location scouting for a kids’ catalogue shoot, avoid nude beaches.
–If someone on set says, “There’s a nude guy in the background, but we can fix that in post,” don’t just say, “Yeah, yeah” and forget about it.
–Have someone review your images for nude guys (and other glitches you’ve tuned out) before you send them to the client.

The magnifying glass raises pesky questions, though. Was the nude man really an error, we wonder? Or was he planted intentionally in a perverse kind of “Find Elmo” game–that came complete with a magnifying glass–in order to generate publicity for the company?

So that brings us to Lesson #4: If a client asks you to plant a nude guy in a catalogue image, go ahead and oblige them. Just ask them to leave your name out of it, so when they send their public apology to the BBC, it doesn’t look like you screwed up.

December 21st, 2011

PDN Video Pick: Jerry Ghionis’s WPPI Speaker Video

This year, organizers for the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Convention and Trade Show invited their headlining speakers and renowned industry leaders to express what WPPI means to them. They got a lot of great videos in response to the request, but one of our favorites was done by Melbourne, Australia-based Jerry Ghionis. Inspired by the recent Old Spice commercials, check it out to find out what WPPI means to him.

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.

August 31st, 2011

PDN Video Pick: On Assignment with Jimmy Chin in Yosemite

Adventure photographer Jimmy Chin recently shot a feature story for National Geographic about the derring-do of modern day rock climbing, and Renan Ozturk of made this behind-the-scenes video of Chin at work. It’s full of spectacular views, sweaty palm moments, and insight about how Chin works while dangling from a climbing rope on El Capitan and other Yosemite cliffs.

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)

July 26th, 2011

If Photography is Dead…

Why are there still so many boring panel discussions and blog articles asking if photography is dead?

Joerg Colberg, creator of the photography blog Conscientious, confronts this question head on in a new YouTube video. His solution: We admit photography is over. “I think it was good while it lasted,” Colberg deadpans for the camera.

Of course this leaves some issues unresolved. Like, what should Colberg do with all his photography books? And what else can we discuss in seminars and panels? The death of Facebook?

Colberg’s declaration of the death of photography has been met with good cheer. As one commenter on Colberg’s video says, “Now that that question is over, we can go out and take pictures.”

July 8th, 2011

Jason Groupp Appears to Survive Hungarian Challenge to Guinness Flash Record

Guinness record holder Jason Groupp appears to have survived a challenge to his world best mark of lighting 300 flashes in a single photo.

According to a least one published report, an attempt was made to break Groupp’s controversial record this past week in a public square in the northern Hungarian town of Eger.

Apparently, Mother Nature may have played a part in the failed effort. Or maybe the record was, in fact, broken but Guinness was not on hand to verify the feat. (Scattered news reports are still coming in and being translated by our crack team of linguists.)

From this Google-translated blog:

“Unfortunately, time was not kind to us, because when the rehearsal began, the rain burst (in a few minutes after our arrival). The villanj pears and only then, but diligently shining. A few minutes later I poured properly, had to hurry. The distributors have ensured that the power villanj pears to have swam in the rain water, but it worked well.”

Groupp did not seem worried that his record was in jeopardy. “Looks like someone ‘tried’ to break my Guinness World record,” he bragged on Facebook. “I think this record is safe for a little while.”

In May, the New York-based Groupp attracted the admiration (and ire) of his fellow photographers when he harnessed the power of 300 small strobes to light a group portrait at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. The photograph broke the Guinness record for most flashes used in an image.

Could this emerging rivalry become the Kobayashi vs. Joey Chestnut of the small strobe lighting world? Time will only tell.

July 7th, 2011

How Rene Burri Herds Photographers (Video)

Do photographers make the worst portrait subjects?¬† That’s a question for Rene Burri, who has been taking group portraits of the members of Magnum Photos at the cooperative’s annual meeting for over 30 years.

At Magnum’s recent meeting in Paris, Chien-Chi Chang shot a short video of Burri as he attempts to direct and cajole the members in three languages. The resulting portrait appears at the end of the video.