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January 29th, 2016

Burundi Releases Photojournalist Phil Moore Without Charge

Authorities in Burundi have released photojournalist Phil Moore and Le Monde Africa bureau chief Jean Philippe Remy, French ambassador Gerrit Van Rossum told Agence France-Presse. The journalists were picked up in raids in Bujumbura on January 28 along with 15 other men, some of whom where deemed “armed criminals” by Burundi’s security ministry.

Earlier today the French foreign ministry, AFP, Le Monde and other media organizations demanded the journalists’ release in statements addressed to Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Moore and Remy were in Burundi covering the violence between President Nkurunziza’s government and armed opposition groups. The conflict there continues to escalate, and United Nations and African Union officials have been urging Nkurunziza to allow an AU peacekeeping force into the country to prevent an ethnic conflict.

The ambassador said Moore’s camera equipment and Remy’s notebooks had not yet been returned to them.

Related: Photojournalist Phil Moore Arrested in Burundi

January 29th, 2016

Update: Photojournalist Phil Moore Arrested in Burundi

British photojournalist Phil Moore was arrested early Thursday morning in a police raid in Bujumbura, Burundi, according to reports. 17 other people, including Le Monde Africa bureu chief Jean Philippe Remy, were also detained in raids that swept through two neighborhoods in the capital.

“The two foreigners were arrested in the company of armed criminals,” Burundi’s security ministry said, according to Agence France-Presse. The report also quoted police spokesman Moise Nkurunziza, who said the journalists “have not been charged” and would be released “If there is no evidence against them.”

Burundi is the focus of international concern as violence between President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government and armed opposition groups continues to escalate following Nkurunziza’s decision in April 2015 to seek a third term. Nkurunziza won a disputed election in July. United Nations and African Union officials have been urging Nkurunziza to allow an AU peacekeeping force into the country to prevent an ethnic conflict.

Moore has been covering the situation in Burundi since the violence began last April. Before his arrest, Moore tweeted, “Several young men rounded up and questioned by police in Jabe neighbourhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, following gunshots last night.”

UPDATE: On Friday the French government, Agence France-Presse and Le Monde demanded the release of both journalists.”I call on Burundi’s authorities to proceed with their immediate release. Diplomatic procedures are underway,” said French foreign minister Laurent Fabius in a statement. In a separate statement addressed to President Nkurunziza, AFP chairman Emmanuel Hoog said, “There is no justification for the arrest of these two experienced reporters who are widely respected in the profession. We ask you, Mr President, to immediately intervene to obtain the release of these two reporters and to take all the necessary steps to ensure their safety”

November 20th, 2015

NYT Mag Hires Male Photographer for Sexism in Hollywood Cover Story

This week's New York Times Magazine cover, featuring portraits by Art Streiber.

This week’s New York Times Magazine cover, featuring portraits by Art Streiber.

For a cover story this week by Maureen Dowd about how challenging it is for women to build a career in the male-dominated world of Hollywood, The New York Times Magazine needed portraits of 60 female directors, actors and executives. They hired a male photographer to shoot the portraits.

To be sure, that photographer—Art Streiber—is a renowned editorial portrait photographer. But women photographers have been expressing their disappointment on social media over the irony of the Times Magazine’s decision. “There are actual women photographers based in L.A. who shoot great portraits,” wrote Jill Greenberg on Instagram. Greenberg is a New York-based editorial and commercial photographer who has spoken out against sexism in photography. “It just makes no sense for this story. Sadly though, the photo industry is exactly the same as the film industry and women just aren’t the go-to shooters.”

The New York Times Magazine Director of Photography Kathy Ryan told PDN that she understands that women photographers might look at the situation and be discouraged. “But I don’t think that they should feel that because this particular story didn’t have a woman photographer assigned to it, that there aren’t opportunities for women photographers in this magazine.” She points out that the other major story in this week’s issue was photographed by Stephanie Sinclair, and that two weeks ago the cover story on displaced people–which Ryan calls “one of the biggest ever” assignments for the magazine—was photographed by Lynsey Addario.

Ryan says the idea of having a woman photographer shoot this week’s cover was discussed briefly, but they quickly moved on to thinking Streiber was the right person for the assignment, which required as many as ten to 20 shots a day, and had a challenging deadline. “It was clearly going to call for somebody very nimble and fast and versatile, and we thought of Art. We weren’t thinking about gender, we were just thinking about, ‘How do we pull this off?’ And he came to mind and I think he did a terrific job.”

The decision making is “always about trying to figure out for a given project who would be the right person based on the look of the pictures, the artistry, the eye, the visual sensibility as well as experience,” Ryan adds.

In the article, “The Women of Hollywood Speak Out,” Dowd writes that one executive told her: “A lot of [women] haven’t tried hard enough. We’re tough about it. It’s a hundred-year-old business, founded by a bunch of old Jewish European men who did not hire anybody of color, no women agents or executives. We’re still slow at anything but white guys.”

Do women photographers face similar challenges? “I would say yes, they do,” Ryan acknowledges. “One of the things that’s always surprising is when you see how many women photographers graduate from the various photo schools and photo programs and then ten years on, not as many stay in the field. So there are certainly some disparities still.”

That The New York Times Magazine, a client everyone wants to work with, didn’t hire a woman to shoot a cover story about women fighting for a voice in a male-dominated industry may be a missed opportunity for a symbolic gesture of solidarity.

But Ryan says she doesn’t want women photographers to “think that somehow there aren’t opportunities [at the magazine], because I feel very passionately that there are, and that’s important to us: To have women’s points of view, that diversity, that range in our pages is important.”

Related: Photographer Maggie Steber on Women, Minorities, and How to Nurture Talent
Why All The Articles in PDN’s New Issue Are About Women Photographers
How One Magazine Strives for Gender Balance in Assignments
Are Women Photographers Being Discriminated Against in the Editorial Market?

November 18th, 2015

Details Magazine to Close After December Issue

The November 2015 issue of Details featuring actor Norman Reedus, photographed by Mark Seliger.

The November 2015 issue of Details featuring actor Norman Reedus, photographed by Mark Seliger.

Condé Nast will shutter Details, the men’s general interest magazine, after it releases the December issue, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Condé Nast president Bob Sauerberg, who will take over as CEO in January, 2015, told The Wall Street Journal “that at least 20% of the 60 staffers who work at Details will find other jobs inside Condé Nast.”

Details photo director Ashley Horne told PDN via email that she and photo editor Stacey DeLorenzo would be looking for new jobs “and are both available for freelance work while we explore future options.”

Mark Seliger has photographed a majority of Details’ covers in the past twelve months. Greg Williams and Katja Rahlwes have also shot covers for the magazine this year.

Related: Approximately 180 National Geographic Employees Being Laid Off, Others Offered Buyouts

November 16th, 2015

New Services Helps You Automate Photo Posting on Social Media

screenshotOne of the key challenges in growing a social media presence is keeping various social media outlets fed with content. A variety of services, like Buffer and HootSuite, are available to automate Facebook and Twitter posts, but a new service dubbed PhotoBuffer promises to tackle a variety of photo-friendly social sites.

With PhotoBuffer, you can upload a single image and automatically schedule a posting to Facebook (profile and pages); Twitter, 500px, Flickr and Tumblr (no Instagram yet).

The service is broken out into tiers. A free tier allows you to queue up to 10 posts to PhotoBuffer with a file limit of 10MB per image. Facebook posting isn’t available in the free tier and a PhotoBuffer message will be attached to images you share.

To remove the branding and expand your buffer to 20 images at 15MB in size, you’ll have to pay about $5/month (pricing is listed in Euros at the moment). A $10/month tier provides Facebook support, up to 30 photos in your queue and a 20MB file size limit. Step up to $20/month and your buffer grows to 50 photos with a 35MB file size limit and the ability to add your own custom text on the bottom of each share. Finally, a $40/month tier allows for an unlimited photo queue, 50MB file size limit and customized messages with each share.

There’s no contact info to speak of on the PhotoBuffer site and no terms of service yet, though when we reached out through an online chat on the service, we were told one is coming soon and will be geared around a simple theme: “the photos are yours and we will use them only to post them on your photo account.”

Given the recent contretemps with InstaAgent, photographers may want to wait a bit until PhotoBuffer has its legal ducks in a row. Still, it sounds interesting.

Via: Hacker News

Read More:

Using This Instagram App? Delete It

How Photographers With Huge Followings Grew Their Social Networks

This Is the Most Liked Photo on Instagram

October 28th, 2015

Keeping Your Photo Business Profitable During the Holidays

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Sponsored by Zenfolio

The holidays can be a stressful time when you may find yourself spending more money than you’re making. But if you’re a photographer, fear not! You can turn the holidays into a very profitable season. The experts at Zenfolio provide five easy ways to market your photography business during the holidays, because let’s face it: what says “personal” more than giving a photo gift to loved ones?

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Here, Zenfolio provides five ways to advertise your site (and how to host a sale) during the busiest shopping season of the year:

  1. Offer Coupons and Gift Certificates

Everyone loves a good deal. Offer clients a coupon during the holiday season for an incentive to buy. Zenfolio offers three types of coupons: amount-based, percentage-based and base cost. Amount-based coupons subtract the discount amount from the order total, percentage coupons subtract discounts as a percentage of order total (sales tax excluded) and, lastly, base-cost coupons allow customers to order products at their base cost, bypassing any markup you may have added. You also have the option with Zenfolio to create a huge batch of coupons all at once.

Gift certificates are foolproof: they allow the gift recipient to pick exactly what they want for the holidays. Zenfolio offers gift certificates that act as a credit where the photographer creates the code to share with clients, and can be a form of payment during checkout to make the process simpler.

  1. Banner Advertisement

What’s better than advertising your sale front and center on your homepage? Zenfolio allows users to display banners in several different ways: photo, video, slideshow or a horizontal photo strip. It’s easy to display a sale you’re having, and you can even link it directly to the products offered for sale.

banner-ad

  1. Expiring Galleries

A different approach to getting customers to act is to set a deadline on their galleries. This means you can put an expiration date on when their photos will be available for viewing online. This will give them a gentle nudge to buy before their photos disappear. Zenfolio gives the option to set expiration dates on galleries, and after that date it is only seen as private. A notification email is sent to clients to remind them of this date.

  1. Visitor Sign-In

A great way to build clients is to have a visitor sign-in page, so you can market to your visitors later. Think of it as a modern day guest book for your website. With Zenfolio, you can apply a sign-in page to a group or gallery to gather information from those interested in your photography. This will be a helpful list to have on hand when you have sales so you can share the sale details to your entire list.

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  1. Email Campaigns

Once you have that list of followers (even if it’s a small group, at first), Zenfolio allows you to send emails to your entire list, or to a selected tagged group of contacts. You can send out promotional emails for your sale with coupon code information inside, and push it with an expiration date (for example: two-day sale!). If it’s a previous client, it may be wise to direct them to a specific gallery. For example, you can entice them to buy framed prints from an old portrait that they can give to a loved one.

For more detailed information about how to advertise during the holidays, watch this free Zenfolio webinar. Get started on your own website with the two-week free trial today.

October 22nd, 2015

How Photographers With Huge Followings Grew Their Social Networks

Photographers looking to build their social media presence are often focused on the tactical questions of who to follow, how often to post and what networks to exploit. But according to photographers at the PhotoPlus Expo #Trending panel, the route to success in social media doesn’t follow a neat script and has far less to do with a given tactic and far more to do with honesty, positivity and having something of value to share with the world.

The panel, moderated by PDN senior editor Conor Risch, saw photographers Sue Bryce, Vincent Laforet, Jeremy Cowart and Chase Jarvis discuss before a packed house how they grew their substantial social followings–and the challenges that come with feeding a ravenous Internet.

Bryce’s approach to social media follows a basic formula that consists of 40 percent positive opinion, 40 percent knowledge-sharing, 10 percent sell and 10 percent personality–all anchored, she said, by consistency and positive intentions. Having a strictly mercenary view of your social media presence, where all you try to do is sell your followers, is a dead end, Bryce insisted. “You need your followers to be entertained and engaged,” she said.

“You have to think of how you add value,” Jarvis seconded.

For Cowart, engaging on social media begins with humility. “I don’t want to the be the guy speaking down to people on Twitter and Instagram,” he said. His advice: tend to your social presence humbly and feel free to share. “I’ve always debated whether I should share my personal life [online] and I landed on the side of sharing, being honest and real.”

If Cowart is open to sharing his personal details, not every platform earns his personal attention. “Google+ is a useless platform for me,” he said, despite the fact that he has 1.5 million Google+ followers. “I gave up on SnapChat…. I think Periscope has a long future.”

The tactics of growing a social media audience shouldn’t be the first thing photographers worry about when they go online, Jarvis noted. “It’s all about the why. Why are you doing something?” Humans naturally gravitate to a narrative, Jarvis said, so photographers with a story to tell and the patience to tell it over social media will grow their followers organically. In this game, Jarvis said, “the reality is that stamina wins.”

“If you treat [social media] like a marketing exercise, you’ve failed from the get go,” said Laforet. Of all the photographers on the panel, Laforet was the most ambivalent about social media, admitting that acquiring a large following can be a curse as well as a blessing. “The more followers you get, the less honest you can be,” he lamented.

Laforet confessed that he had grown “tired of the ever-expanding black hole” of social media and also the medium’s “lack of intonation” and emotional depth.

Bryce, however, maintained that a positive self image and positive intentions online were the wellspring of social media success. Her approach to any new technology, she said, was simple. “Will it help evolve my career? If it doesn’t, I don’t need it.” But, she warned, failing to adapt and evolve with new technology was a one-way ticket to extinction. One thing we know from nature, Bryce said, “is that if a species doesn’t evolve, it dies.”

August 12th, 2015

Why All The Articles in PDN’s New Issue Are About Women Photographers

© PDN/Photo by Lauren Dukoff

© PDN/Photo by Lauren Dukoff

The articles in the September issue of PDN, now available to subscribers and in the iTunes store, offer our standard mix of technical advice, interviews, and insights into the photography business. The one difference is that all the photography we are featuring, from our news pages to End Frame, is by women photographers. Why are we interviewing and showcasing only women photographers in this issue? Because we can.

It didn’t take much extra effort to find women photographers who could provide valuable insights and inspiration on every topic we wanted to cover: lighting, video post-production, pursuing and publishing a long-term project, marketing, meeting the demands of fashion and portrait clients, and many other issues relating to establishing a name in today’s photography business. Women photographers have to contend with lingering stereotypes about what women can or can’t excel at. By filling every section of this issue of PDN with images and insights by women photographers, we hope to emphasize the breadth of talent, expertise and experience of women photographers working in every genre and style.

This issue, whose theme section focuses on portraiture and fashion photography, seemed like an opportune time to make such a statement. Zanele Muholi’s beautiful, searing exhibition “Isibonelo/Evidence,” which opened in May at the Brooklyn Museum, exemplifies a powerful (and empowering) use of portraiture in social activism. In the spring, Aperture announced it would be publishing a compilation of celebrated photojournalist Mary Ellen Mark’s advice on portraiture. When we arranged to publish an excerpt, we didn’t know that Mark was ailing, or that the book would be published posthumously. It seems fitting, however, that PDN‘s first all-women issue includes words and images by a photographer who blazed so many trails.

Another timely story is our feature on the proliferation of groups formed by and for women photographers. We’ve noted before that, in today’s fractured marketplace, photographers have benefited from forming peer networks, both online and in person, to exchange advice, support, and job referrals.  A few of these groups, we’ve noticed, look like all-boys’ clubs. Women have responded by creating their own networks and gatherings. Some, like Women Photojournalists of Washington, have been around for years, but new ones seem to be forming every day.

Why now? Organizers of these groups point out that while there are more women working in photography than ever, men still get the majority of solo gallery shows, editorial assignments, and other opportunities that lead to greater recognition. In an interview in the current issue, photojournalist Maggie Steber notes that the market is hard for every photographer now—not only women. Competition can be particularly intense for the few token slots set aside for more diverse voices and talents. Expanding the opportunities for success requires new ideas and cooperative effort. “Instead of going back to the same shrinking pie, we should be thinking differently,” says Jennifer McClure, who recently formed the Women’s Photo Alliance in New York City. “We should be thinking, ‘How do we make more pies?'”

–Holly Stuart Hughes, editor

August 3rd, 2015

Amanda Demme on Photographing Bill Cosby’s Accusers for New York Magazine

A photo posted by Amanda Demme (@amandademme) on

When New York magazine posted a blockbuster story in the early hours of Monday, July 27, to its website, many of the names involved were familiar: Bill Cosby, the iconic entertainer accused of drugging and assaulting dozens of women, outspoken victims such as Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson, and Jody Quon, the magazine’s director of photography, who got the story on the magazine’s cover. But one name was relatively new: Amanda Demme, the photographer who shot the striking cover. Featuring seated portraits of 35 of the women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault (plus one photo of an empty chair)—its visual impact was arguably as important as all of the interviews inside the magazine.

Demme has had multiple careers as an artist manager, music supervisor and nightclub producer. Relatively new to photography, she’s landed credits in LA Weekly, Rolling Stone and New York, and a solo exhibition at Obsolete Gallery in Venice, California in just two years. Because of her work for New York, she was fresh in photo editor Sofia Guzman’s mind when it came time to assign the ambitious project (“She’s the one who kind of spearheaded the whole concept,” Demme says of Guzman). Demme’s portrait style is both stoic and expressive, well-suited to capture the quiet dignity of Bill Cosby’s victims. “I was telling them to sit erect, don’t smile,” Demme says of her directions to the subjects. “When you look at me, you’re not looking at me, this is not a camera. You’re looking at Cosby. And you’re not mad, you’re not in pain…what you are is empowered.”

Demme was able to photograph 35 of the 46 women who have come forward to accuse Cosby of assault, but when she began, there were only 18 on board. She started shooting at her studio in Los Angeles in March, and would repeat the process six more times at multiple locations across the country as more women were recruited into the project. She describes a general uneasiness among the subjects at the start: “There’s always an uncertainty,” Demme admits, “because nobody knows why I’m shooting it a certain way.”

A video posted by New York Magazine (@nymag) on

Though Demme “wanted to immortalize these women in a really beautiful way,” she was still a stranger to these women. In the course of each shoot, she earned their trust. The network of victims has become quite large, and after she had photographed a few of the women, they spoke to each other (or their lawyers) and vouched for Demme and her work. “They were like, ‘Oh no, they’re really cool,’ and so the word of mouth amongst their community helped bring in others,” Demme explains.

Quon gave her minimal direction, asking merely that the portraits not be “dark,” like much of Demme’s published portraiture. Quon insisted that the women not be styled. “She wanted to keep it journalistic,” Demme says. “So the only request we made was that each of the women bring a set of black clothes and a set of either white or cream or really light gray clothes.”

At the first shoot at her studio in Los Angeles, Demme and her producing partner Stephanie Westcott set up multiple sets, then decided afterwards on which one to re-create at the subsequent shoots. To maintain consistency, she recorded the location, distance and settings for her lighting setups. Some locations required adjustments, like when a smaller studio necessitated the use of a different focal length than she had started with. “I would also have each woman turn their body, put their heads down, and in that moment, I said: ‘What you are showing me is where your head has been at for all these years. What are you feeling at this one moment that you used to feel when you were alone or in pain, or just trying to figure it all out?”

She shot some in pairs, and several group portraits. The shoots could be intense, with lots of laughing, crying and hugging, but Demme says having several women at each shoot helped put the women at ease, that “as each woman saw the next woman doing it, they knew how to handle themselves.” She also shot video interviews, and encouraged the women to support and converse with each other.

Demme shot tethered with a digital camera, but she always imagined the shoot in black-and-white. “I shot it with an intention and a look that was monochromatic…where it looked like an army,” she explains. “I wanted it to look like clinical and army-like, so you didn’t see what they were wearing, you didn’t notice the body language.”

As Demme’s images came rolling into the New York offices, Quon realized they had something, and began to campaign for the story to be on the cover. There were concerns about it not being in color, so Demme went back and tried converting a few files to color. But it didn’t have the same impact, so Quon pressed for the atypical black-and-white cover. It’s “why Jody is so dope at what she does,” Demme says.

Demme filed portraits of each woman sitting and standing, and several that featured “clusters” of the women in group portraits. Then the team at New York conceived the cover, with all 35 women seated in a grid, with a single empty chair at the end of the sequence. Demme calls the empty chair “an invitation” to not only the women that Cosby abused that they couldn’t get in the story, but also to “an entire movement of women speaking up. That is their chair and these women are behind them, supporting them all the way.”

July 29th, 2015

Video Pick: Rep Maren Levinson: Being a Good Photographer Isn’t Enough

Seattle-based photographer John Keatley recently posted a video interview he did with his rep, Redeye’s Maren Levinson, in which she touched on several changes to the photography industry. Her frank assessment of the market in which professional photographers and their reps operate has earned the video nearly 30,000 views on YouTube. (more…)