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August 21st, 2013

From Twitter to TIME: An Egyptian Photojournalist Finds His Voice Amid Violence

A difficult reality of photojournalism is that photographers often define their careers by covering conflict. Egyptian photojournalist Mosa’ab Elshamy is the latest example. Elshamy began photographing as a citizen journalist during the Arab Spring protests in Egypt in 2011, when he documented demonstrations against then-President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Two and a half-years later, he’s made the transition from being an amateur to being a photojournalist who is watched by top photo editors and a nearly 40,000-strong Twitter following.

Elshamy’s work in Egypt, and from Gaza during the 2012 war there, has been published by the likes of The Economist and Harper’s among others, and he’s won awards in the Egypt International Photography Contest and Arab Union of Photographers competition. Yet during the last few weeks his photos of Egypt’s descent into violence, particularly his images of the clearing of a pro-Morsi sit-in at Rabaa at the end of July, have earned him the cover of The New York Times and bylines for TIME International and AlJazeera English, among other publications.

Patrick Witty, international picture editor of TIME, says he first heard about Elshamy’s work on Twitter at the end of July. “After the massacre at Rabaa Square on July 27, someone I follow tweeted about a picture he made,” Witty told PDN in an email. “I tracked it back to his Flickr account and reached out to him.” (more…)

August 14th, 2013

Newsweek: An Autopsy (And an Ex-Photo Editor’s Lament)

Newsweek-Autopsy-CoverA new exhibition co-curated by Marion Durand, a Newsweek photo editor and James Wellford, former senior photo editor who left Newsweek last year, celebrates some of the magazine’s achievements in visual storytelling, and also features images that were never published.  On display through September at Cortona on the Move, the photo festival in Tuscany, Italy, “Newsweek: An Autopsy” mixes magazine covers, framed prints and layouts from both the US and international editions of Newsweek from the past 12 years, and offers a window into editorial decision making. In a very candid interview, published in www.emahomagazine.com, Wellford talks about the exhibition and the “painful experience” of being unable to rally interest in serious photo essays. He says he was frustrated by the lack of support even before Newsweek became what he calls a “pamphlet” that covered more personality journalism than hard news. “There’s a lot of compromise,” he says.

Wellford says the problem was partly due to the downturn in print advertising, and Newsweek’s lack of subscription revenue, which meant  “the ability of the magazine to produce pages…and support writers and photographers went down the drain.” But he also talks about much earlier incidents when, according to Wellford, Newsweek failed to support photographers in the field.

In 1994, when Wellford was freelancing for the magazine, for example, he says the magazine supported several photographers who were covering the genocide in Rwanda, including Gilles Peress. “But the fact that you support it doesn’t mean that the magazine is going to run it, because remember the appetite for showing harshness constantly compromises the conversation in the newsroom.” He notes that at certain moments of history-making news, “It’s embarrassing what they were putting on the covers.”

He says, “The biggest regret was not being able to support people in perilous situations.” When photographer Laurent Van der Stockt, who was then a contract photographer with Newsweek, traveled on his own to Fallujah, Iraq, the site of two bloody battles of the Iraq war, Wellford wanted to “make sure he was secure.” However, he says, “someone came up to me at Newsweek” and asked first if Van der Stockt was there on an assignment from Newsweek, and was then “relieved” to learn he wasn’t – so Newsweek didn’t act to ensure his safety. When Teru Kuwayama, working in Pakistan on assignment for the magazine, was injured in a car accident in which the driver was killed instantly, Wellford says only people he knew in Pakistan and “friends of mine at The New York Times and CNN…kept an eye on him.” Wellford still doesn’t know what money Newsweek gave to the driver’s family. “I have never forgiven them for that,” he says.

Wellford connects the lack of concern for the welfare of magazine contributors to a lack of regard for journalism in general. “It was about morality and ethics,” he says.

“That to me has been lost, narcissism and the self seemed to take over. Of course you can’t generalize, but there seems to be no cumulative sense of making statements that in time, historically, will reflect on genuine concern for the world.”

The interview on emahomagazine.com includes a slide show of images by Alex Majoli, Paolo Pellegrin, Charles Omanney and other photographers in the show, as well as Wellford’s explanation of how he chooses to edit and assign photojournalists.

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July 26th, 2013

French Editor and Photographer Charged Over Topless Kate Middleton Photos

The editor of French Closer magazine and an unidentified photographer have been charged with violation of French privacy laws for their alleged role in the publication last September of topless pictures of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge (and now new mother of baby Prince George).

Last spring, Closer’s publisher and photographer Valerie Suau were charged in the case.

The Telegraph reports that Closer’s editor, Laurence Pieau, was charged earlier this month for her role in the publication of the photos, which show Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, sunbathing topless while on vacation in France last September. Authorities did not announce the charges until yesterday. Pieau has defended her decision to publish the photos in various interviews, saying “I did my job as a journalist,” according to the report.

A third unnamed photographer may soon be charged as well, The Telegraph says.

Suau and Ernesto Mauri, the publisher of Closer, were charged in the case under France’s strict privacy laws last April. Suau has admitted taking images of the Duchess sunbathing topless, but Suau says the pictures she took were “all decent.”

Suau is suspected of having helped other photographers take topless pictures of the Duchess, according to The Telegraph report.

Kate Middleton and her husband, Prince William, have pressed authorities to charge Closer with “grotesque breach of privacy” and have gained public sympathy and support for their efforts, in part because of bitter memories of the death of William’s mother, Princess Diana. She died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. The driver of the car was intoxicated, but many people have blamed the princess’s death on the paparazzi, who were in pursuit of the car to get photos of Diana and her boyfriend when the crash occurred.

Related stories:
French Photog Could Go to Jail Over Topless Pictures
French Court Orders Magazine to Hand Over Topless Photos of Kate Middleton

 

July 18th, 2013

Startup Aims to Help Media License Amateur News Photos for $20 Apiece

An image sourced by CrowdMedia from a Twitter user who was on the tarmac at SFO during the Asiana Airlines crash was used in a gallery on Huffington Post.

© Huffington Post. An image sourced by CrowdMedia from Twitter user @mcc_maryland, whose plane was on the tarmac at SFO during the Asiana Airlines crash, was used in a gallery on Huffington Post.

A six-week-old company that connects media organizations to amateur photographers who have taken newsworthy photographs is creating some buzz, and could add yet another wrinkle to the market for news photography—one professional photographers and their photo agencies may not like.

CrowdMedia, the Montreal-based startup, uses a combination of an algorithm and a manual process to analyze more than 100 million images shared everyday via Twitter. The company identifies the .03% of these images that they consider valuable and newsworthy, reaches out to the creators via Twitter, and asks them to click a link if they would like to make their image available to media organizations. Once the creator of the photo creates an account, images are uploaded to the CrowdMedia platform, where media companies can find and purchase them for roughly $20 apiece, regardless of the usage.

Roldan says, “News outlets want [photos shared on social media] but it’s really cumbersome.” CrowdMedia promises to streamline the process, connecting editors directly to social media users.

CrowdMedia launched in June, shortly after the Chicago Sun-Times layed off its photo staff.

To read the full interview with CrowdMedia’s Roldan and learn more about the company’s pricing and functionality, see our full story, now on PDNOnline.

Related: Chicago Sun-Times Eliminates Photo Staff

July 15th, 2013

Hearing Set in Arrest of Aerial Photographer George Steinmetz

© National Geographic/Photo by George Steinmetz. A recent cover story for National Geographic shot by George Steinmetz.

© National Geographic/Photo by George Steinmetz. A recent cover story for National Geographic shot by George Steinmetz.

George Steinmetz, the National Geographic contributor known for the landscapes he captures from a motorized paraglider, faces a court hearing in Kansas this Thursday following his arrest on June 28 for criminal trespass after he flew over a cattle feedlot in Finney County, Kansas.

The Hutchinson News of Hutchinson. Kansas, reported last week that paragliding instructor Wei Zhang, who was waiting for Steinmetz by a parked SUV, was also arrested. Steinmetz and Zhang were held in jail for about five hours. They were released after paying a $270 bond.

Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue told the newspaper Steinmetz and Zhang did not have permission to be on the cattle ranch. A feedlot employee had contacted the sheriff’s office after seeing Steinmetz taking photos of the ranch from the air. The employee also reported “an unknown vehicle” on the property.

Steinmetz and Zhang had moved by the time officers arrived, the paper reports, but “feedlot executives” wanted them arrested.

Although a Finney County attorney said in a statement that the charges are not about Steinmetz’s right to take pictures, Kansas and other states have criminalized unauthorized photography of farming operations. Under the Kansas law, it is illegal for a person to enter an animal facility that is not open to the public to take pictures or video.

Agri-business interests have lobbied for such laws to stop negative publicity about factory farming by PETA, a leading animal rights organization, and other groups.

Steinmetz was on assignment for National Geographic, shooting a story on food, at the time of his arrest. “National Geographic intends to provide counsel for George and his assistant in defense of the charges,” a National Geographic spokesperson says.

An attorney for the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA), a lobbying group for cattle ranchers, told the Hutchinson News that Steinmetz’s arrest was a reminder to his organization’s members to be alert to “unauthorized and suspicious activity.” “Everyone knows safe food starts with healthy animals,” the KLA attorney said. “We have to have those animals healthy in order to produce a safe food supply.”
–David Walker

Update July 18: At a scheduling hearing held today, a Finney County court judge set another hearing on August 29, 2013 for Steinmetz and Zhang. A local attorney hired by National Geographic to represent them appeared on their behalf at today’s hearing, a spokesperson for the publisher told PDN.

Related articles
Agribusiness Pressing States to Criminalize Photographs of Farms

PDN Photo of the Day: George Steinmetz, Up in the Air

June 18th, 2013

Pop-up Shop Brings Indie Photo Books to Brooklyn Subway Travelers

Photo courtesy ALLDAYEVERYDAY

Photo courtesy ALLDAYEVERYDAY

If you’re riding on the New York City subway and happen to notice photo books and ‘zines replacing iPads or free newspapers in the hands of your fellow passengers, this may be why: This past Saturday a subway newsstand at the Metropolitan Avenue subway station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, opened as a temporary shop featuring independent photography and art books produced by a handful of well-respected small publishers.

Aptly called The Newsstand, the store is put together by creative firm ALLDAYEVERYDAY in partnership with 8-Ball, a ‘zine fair created by photo editor and curator Lele Saveri.

The shop will be open through July 20th, from 9am-8pm on weekdays and 12pm-5pm on weekends, which is probably a good idea given the level of pawing the books would be subjected to by the Williamsburg weekend night crowd. Participating publishers, artists and bookstores include:

Desert Island books
Dashwood Books
Ed Varie
Jason Polan
Hamburger Eyes
Nowork
Miniature Garden
MOSSLESS
Pau Wau Publications
Peradam
Swill Children
Rumore Nero
Toilet Paper Magazine
Karma
Dan Murphy Zines

The shop also has a selection of magazines put together by McNally Jackson bookstore in Manhattan, and a selection of music from Co-Op 87 record store in Brooklyn.

The Newsstand is accessible by both L and G subway lines.

May 20th, 2013

NY Times Public Editor Questions T Magazine Photoshopping Policy

In an editorial published yesterday in The New York Times, the newspaper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, questioned the rules regarding Photoshopping at T, the monthly style magazine published by the Times, and suggested that readers should be notified when fashion images have been digitally manipulated. She also pointed out that editors shouldn’t assume that readers understand the difference between the standards for a news photograph and a fashion photograph.

Responding to comments last week from readers that a T cover model was too skinny, T editor Deborah Needleman told Sullivan that T editors had considered “adding fat” to the model using Photoshop.

Another Times reporter called the comment “jaw-dropping” because journalistic standards would never allow for photography manipulation.

Drawing on comments from other Times picture editors including Michelle McNally of The Times and Kathy Ryan of The New York Times Magazine, Sullivan affirmed the Times’ photography standards: “The Times does not stage news photographs, or alter them digitally.” Except, Sullivan noted, in T‘s case, where it’s deemed acceptable to alter fashion and glamour photography. The assumption being that readers are aware that fashion and glamour is a “different genre of photography,” and therefore the Times’ obligation to those readers is different.

“It would be best if all the photography produced by the Times newsroom could be held to the same standard,” Sullivan wrote. But, she said, if fashion photography must exist as its own world of assumed fantasy, there should be a disclaimer for readers.

Is it realistic to expect that the Times could hold fashion photography to the same standards as news photography? Do readers need to be told that fashion images aren’t “real?”

May 6th, 2013

Katie Quinn Davies and Gather Journal Win 2013 James Beard Awards for Food Photography

From the Starters section of the Summer 2012 issue of Gather Journal, which was part of the publication's award winning submission. Photography by Joseph De Leo; food styling by Maggie Ruggiero; creative direction by Michele Outland; editing by Fiorella Valdesolo.

From the Starters section of the Summer 2012 issue of Gather Journal, which was part of the publication’s award-winning submission. Photography by Joseph De Leo; food styling by Maggie Ruggiero; creative direction by Michele Outland; editing by Fiorella Valdesolo.

 

The James Beard Foundation announced its Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards winners in New York City on May 3. Katie Quinn Davies, a commercial photographer based in Sydney, Australia, won the Photography award in the book category for What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits & Pieces. The cookbook is based on her website, WhatKatieAte.com, for which Davies develops and prepares recipes that she later styles, photographs and posts online.

The Visual Storytelling award, which recognizes excellence in photography, photojournalism and graphic design, was given to Gather Journal’s Creative Director Michele Outland and Editor Fiorella Valdesolo. Gather is a bi-annual publication that focuses on all aspects of food—from recipes and cooking to dinner parties and unique culinary experiences. The magazine’s winning submission included two sections from the Summer 2012 issue, Starters and Desserts, as well as the article “Smoke & Ash” from the Fall/Winter 2012 issue, and featured photography by Grant Cornett, Joseph De Leo, and Gentl and Hyers.

The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit based in New York City that organizes lectures, workshops, events, and other educational initiatives around the country to promote the exploration of American culinary history and culture. For the past 23 years, the organization has hosted the James Beard Foundation Awards to “recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and [who] continue to emphasize the Foundation’s mission: to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity,” according to its website.

To see the complete list of winners, visit www.jamesbeard.org/awards.

Related Articles from the PDN Archive:

Jeff Scott Wins 2012 James Beard Award for Photography
Fine-art photographer Jeff Scott won the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the Photography category for Notes From a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession.

Cookbooks Come Out of the Kitchen
A slate of new cookbooks are using extraordinary photography to entice consumers (PDN subscribers).

How I Got That Shot: Fooling a Leica Rangefinder
Portrait and still-life photographer Grant Cornett discusses his technique of using a flash outside while shooting with a Leica.

May 3rd, 2013

National Geographic and W Win Photography Categories at National Magazine Awards

The August 2012 cover of National Geographic. This issue was part of the winning submission in the Photography category of the National Magazine Awards. It features an image from Aaron Huey's series on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. © National Geographic/Photo by Aaron Huey.

The August 2012 cover of National Geographic. This issue was part of NG’s winning submission in the Photography category of the National Magazine Awards. It features an image from Aaron Huey’s series on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. © National Geographic/photo by Aaron Huey.

 

The American Society of Magazine Editors announced the winners of the 2013 National Magazine Awards last night in New York City. National Geographic won in four categories, including Photography and Multimedia. For the Photography category, National Geographic submitted three issues of the magazine, which included work by Aaron Huey, Andrew Parkinson, Carsten Peter,  Alex Webb and Michael Yamashita (August 2012); Robert Clark, Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky, Rob Kendrick, Stephanie Sinclair and Brian Skerry (September 2012); and Robert Clark, Carolyn Drake, Tim Layman, Michael “Nick” Nichols, Paolo Pellegrin and Mark Thiessen (December 2012). National Geographic won the Multimedia category for “Cheetahs on the Edge,” which included still images by Frans Lanting.

In the Feature Photography category, W magazine took home the prize for “Good Kate, Bad Kate,” a fashion editorial shot by Steven Klein and featuring model Kate Moss. The work appeared in W’s March 2012 issue.

Other notable winners last night included New York, which took home two awards including top honors as the Magazine of the Year, and TIME, which won the Design category.

Since 1966 the trade organization, in association with the Columbia University School of Journalism, has been recognizing excellence in publishing. This year almost 260 publications entered work for consideration in the annual awards. The 330 judges included magazine editors, art directors, photo editors and journalism educators.

For a complete list of winners, visit www.magazine.org.

Related Articles:

Helping Communities Speak for Themselves: Aaron Huey’s Pine Ridge Community Storytelling Project
Photojournalist Aaron Huey sought a new way to tell the stories of the Oglala Lakota living on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and found it with an online tool that enables the residents to create and share their personal histories. (For subscribers only.)

From Volcanoes to Glaciers, Carsten Peter on Shooting in Challenging Conditions
The National Geographic photographer talks about doing whatever it takes to get the shot, whether it’s from the crater of a volcano to the interior of a glacier. (For subscribers only.)

Anatomy of an iPad App: A Photo Archive That’s Also an App
Michael “Nick” Nichols grew weary of offering his wildlife photography for free online, so he relauched his Web site as a low-cost iPad application. (For subscribers only.)

W Magazine: Past, Present, Future
Stefano Tonchi on the importance of photographers to the magazine’s history, how the popularity of online video is influencing editors, and what he sees for the future of W and the magazine business. (For subscribers only.)

May 1st, 2013

New York Mag Wins ASME’s Cover of the Year for Post-Sandy Issue

ny-mag-cover

Iwan Baan‘s iconic aerial photograph of a blacked-out lower Manhattan in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy helped New York magazine earn top honors in the American Society of Magazine Editors Cover of the Year contest for 2012. The New York cover also won in the News and Politics category.

A majority of the winning covers and finalists featured photographs or photo-based illustrations.

The finalists for Cover of the Year included Harper’s Bazaar‘s cover featuring a Terry Richardson photograph of Gwyneth Paltrow, and TIME‘s Martin Schoeller-photographed cover showing a woman breast-feeding a 3-year-old boy. The Harper’s Bazaar cover won in the Fashion and Beauty category.

The New York Times Magazine‘s Finlay MacKay-photographed cover featuring Jerry Seinfeld won in the Entertainment and Celebrity category.

The Times Magazine was also recognized in the Sport and Adventure category for its cover featuring Damon Winter‘s portrait of Venus and Serena Williams.

The cover of the New York magazine Sex Issue, which won in the Lifestyle category, featured a photograph by Tim Flach.

And a food photograph by Johnny Autry graced the Garden & Gun cover that won in the Most Delicious category.

Click here for a gallery of the winners.