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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 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.)

March 12th, 2013

Photogs Dish Anonymously About Clients’ Rates Via New Tumblr Site

A new site on Tumblr set up by an anonymous editorial photographer seeks to provide a platform where photographers can share information about what clients in all fields, from editorial to advertising to non-profits, pay photographers.

Still in its infancy, the site, Who Pays Photographers, is based on a similar Tumblr, Who Pays Writers, which, you guessed it, lists fees paid to writers. According to the anonymous founder of Who Pays Photographers, the response has been a bit overwhelming, indicating a serious interest among photographers to talk about, and read about, the fees clients pay for photographic work.

Thus far the site has information about The New York Times, Getty Images, AP, AFP, The Wall Street Journal, ESPN and several other clients in the US and abroad.

We exchanged emails with the creator of Who Pays Photographers to find out a bit more about her/his goals for the site.

PDN: How long have you worked as a photographer and in what field?

Who Pays Photographers: I’m an editorial photographer with 6 years experience, about half of that time as a staffer at a magazine, and more recently, as a freelancer.

PDN: What inspired you to start the site? Was it just a natural reaction to seeing Manjula Martin’s Who Pays Writers, or was there more to it?

WPP: The site was a simple reaction to Who Pays Writers, a site that was linked to a number of times during the recent Nate Thayer kerfuffle with the Atlantic. It seemed obvious that the photo industry could really benefit from having such a resource and I found it surprising that nothing of the sort existed. (more…)

January 29th, 2013

Newtown Photograph Sparks Discussion of Photojournalism Etiquette

In Emmanuel Dunand's photograph of Aline Marie, once can see the reporters gathered behind her. To see a larger version of the image visit NPR's The Picture Show.

In Emmanuel Dunand’s photograph of Aline Marie, once can see the reporters gathered behind her. To see a larger version of the image visit NPR’s The Picture Show.

A photograph by AFP/Getty Images photographer Emmanuel Dunand of a woman mourning on the night of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings sparked a bit of controversy and a lot of discussion about journalistic etiquette on NPR’s The Picture Show blog yesterday.

NPR had run the photograph of Aline Marie praying in front of a statue of Mary outside a Newtown church with a story about the shootings. Marie got in touch with NPR to voice a complaint that her very private moment had been interrupted by photographers, and none of them had asked who she was. “I felt like a zoo animal,” Marie told NPR. “No one introduced themselves. I felt violated.”

Marie’s response was measured. She didn’t ask NPR to take down the photograph. And her story ended up on NPR’s blog.

There Coburn Dukehart wrote that he’d spoke with Dunand, the photographer, who said, Dukehart writes, “He thought that leaving her alone [with her grief] was the most respectful thing to do.” Dunand also told Dukehart that AFP did not require photographers to get their subjects’ names when making images in public places.

Getting the name of a subject helps a photographer deliver a more detailed caption that gives editors more information with which to work. This clearly isn’t possible during a fluid situation, especially one that involves large groups of people or takes place in the midst of a conflict. But when a photograph captures an intimate moment, and the power of their image is predicated on the emotion of a single person, being unable to identify that person runs contrary to the feeling of the image.

As one commenter noted: “I’ve been a professional photojournalist for nearly 30 years, and if I ever went back to an editor with that photo and no name, the first thing they would say is “‘nice photo, but we need a name.’”

On the other hand, there were clearly a number of photographers and videographers around Marie. Would she have wanted each one to introduce her or his self? Was it realistic to do so?

What would you have done?

January 23rd, 2013

500px App Booted from Apple Store Due to Nudity

TechCrunch is reporting that Apple removed the 500px app from the App Store due to “pornographic images and materials.” Apple says in an official statement that it has “also received customer complaints about possible child pornography” being accessible via the app. This action continues what appears to be Apple’s conservative attitude toward nude imagery, but also raises questions about how far the tech company is willing to go to curb access to photos it deems inappropriate.

The app, which is owned by the photo-sharing site 500px, allows users to access the images hosted on 500px.com via their smartphones. According to the article, Apple flagged a recent update for the app “because it allowed users to search for nude photos.” While this search functionality does exist as part of the update, 500px COO and co-founder Evgeny Tchebotarev tells TechCrunch that precautions were made so that the app would default to a “safe search” mode that would not display nude photos. In order to change the search mode, users would need to access the 500px website and make the change manually.

Tchebotarev says that 500px does not allow its users to post pornography. He notes that many professional photographers and photo enthusiasts use the site, and that there is a difference between artistic nudes and pornography. Currently 500px community members flag inappropriate images, though the company is in the process of developing technology similar to facial recognition software that would automatically flag questionable images.

Apparently, 500px had been working with Apple to make the necessary adjustments to the app update. However, the changes would take at least a day to implement and during the interim Apple chose to pull the app from the App Store. To date, nearly one million users have downloaded the 500px app.

Aside from the usual question about what constitutes “pornography,” we have to wonder how far Apple is willing to go in terms of regulating apps that would allow adults to view nude images. Does this apply to search engines as apps, a la Apple’s own Safari browser? What about popular photo-sharing sites like Instagram and Tumblr, both known to have their fair share of nudity? Furthermore, what about third-party apps such as Flipboard and Google+ that allow their users to easily access 500px’s content?

Related Articles:

PDN Product Review: 500px
12 Stunning iPad Photo Apps
6 Great Web Services for Promoting Your Work

November 27th, 2012

Texas Photo Roundup (Sponsored Blog Post)

The Texas Photo Roundup is an event and fundraiser geared toward emerging and professional commercial and editorial photographers that will be held February 7 through 9, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Produced by the Austin Center for Photography (ACP) and ASMP’s Austin/San Antonio Chapter, this year’s event features three days of programming with an incredible lineup of photography industry experts. Sign up by December 1, and you’ll receive 10 percent off registration fees at www.texasphotoroundup.com.

Some programming highlights:

  • A BBQ road trip to Lockhart, Texas, with photographer Wyatt McSpadden.
  • Workshop with photographer Chris Buck covering career building, the strategies and pitfalls of executing fascinating portraits with celebrities and regular folks alike, managing time crunches, shy subjects and one’s own fears.
  • Negotiating 2.0 Panel Discussion: Sponsored by PhotoShelter, this panel explores the negotiating challenges facing commercial photographers today, featuring Jess Dudley of Wonderful Machine, Kaia Hemming of JWT, advertising photographer Adam Voorhes and more.
  • Two days of portfolio reviews with industry experts from Pentagram, Dwell, TracyLocke, JWT, Wonderful Machine, Razorfish, Smithsonian, Fortune, GSD&M and many others.
  • Lecture, slide show and book signing with legendary Austin-based photographer Dan Winters.
  • Photographers Monte Isom and Andrew Hetherington’s Covers to Billboards Talk: From their beginnings to where they are now, Isom and Hetherington discuss their journeys in the editorial and advertising world.
  • Slideluck Potshow Closing Party

Visit www.texasphotoroundup.com for more information.

 

November 14th, 2012

The Failure in Crowd-Sourcing News Photos

© Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

At a time of cost cutting for media budgets, lots of news organizations imagine that user-generated content can fill the void. But the recent failure of crowd-sourced news photos of Hurricane Sandy, and the shortage of coverage of other climate change-fueled disasters around the world, demonstrate how far we are from truly democratizing the medium of photography. Photographers worry that the lowering of technological barriers means “everyone’s a photographer now,” but in fact, the number of people who can take and share news photos is still limited by economics, infrastructure and geography.

Now that news organizations have quit crowd-sourcing instantaneous images of the approaching storm, we are seeing enterprising professional photojournalists who are focused less on flooded tunnels and wrecked cars, and have been seeking out the less obvious stories behind the slow process of rebuilding, rehousing the displaced, and supporting those underserved by relief efforts. (The New York Times photographer Ruth Fremson’s November 2 coverage of people coping without power, elevators, heat or  a sense of security on the upper floors of public housing projects is one example.)

Among the critics of the media’s immediate response to the storm, photographer Kenneth Jarecke  and Prison Photography’s Pete Brook  (who gathered a round-up of storm coverage) seem most irked by the poor quality of many of the images editors chose to publish (by professionals commissioned to shoot on iPhones and by amateurs).  “Most of the photographs are REALLY bad,” Jarecke wrote. “It’s history. It changes people’s lives. You’re not allowed to make excuses or drop the ball, but sadly most of you did.”

As a New Yorker who was seeking up-to-date information about friends and loved ones the day after the storm made landfall, I’ll forgive esthetic lapses in favor of timely and useful information. The problem was, amateur photographers don’t seem to know how to write captions, and they lack  journalistic instincts.

(more…)

October 29th, 2012

PPE 2012: James Balog on Using Art to Alter Perception About the Environment

As the Northeast braces for Hurricane Sandy to make landfall this evening, with schools and offices—including PDN‘s—closed in preparation, it seems an appropriate time to recap photographer James Balog‘s keynote address this past Saturday at Photo Plus Conference + Expo. Balog’s talk covered his Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) project, which shows through time-lapse video the recession of 27 glaciers around the northern hemisphere, from Greenland to Iceland to Alaska to Montana and Nepal. The time-lapses are remarkable: viewers the recent spike in the earth’s temperature manifested in the shrinking of massive glaciers over the course of just a few years. Balog also introduced and screened a documentary about the EIS project, called “Chasing Ice” (see the trailer here).

Balog has dedicated his life and career to photographing the environment and nature, and his talk was more focused on how humans are changing the planet than on photography. But it did present the photographers in the audience with some insights into how photographic tools can be used to change public opinion and into how one photographer is accomplishing that task.

“Art in combination with science has proven to be effective” in shifting the public understanding, Balog noted in explaining his methods and thinking. “We are visual witnesses. [Cameras] are not just tools, they are vital parts of the sensory apparatus of the human race.” Indeed the EIS time lapses, enabled by digital camera technology, have allowed Balog and his team to show us something we could never have otherwise seen.

Balog was a budding scientist when he decided he was more interested in photography than in statistics and crunching numbers, he recalled. As a young adult he “realized that one of the pivotal issues of our era is the intersection of humans and nature,” and his work has focused on “probing that boundary,” he explained.

The EIS project grew from assignments from National Geographic and the New Yorker to photograph glaciers. Through those assignments Balog discovered a way to visualize the idea that humans “are changing the basic operating system of the earth” by burning hydrocarbons, and that that reality could be understood through looking at the planet’s ice. Glaciers serve as barometers and thermometers for the planet, Balog noted, and “everyone knows what happens when ice melts.”

When he launched the EIS project five years ago, Balog and his team created digital camera systems with custom-made timers and solar panels that would capture an image of a glacier every 1/2 hour during daylight hours. Those systems were mounted in modified Pelican cases and trekked into remote areas around the planet to record the changes to some of the most massive glaciers in the world. The results of the project address the “need to introduce more understanding of the truth” of how humans are changing the basic functioning of the earth.

During his talk Balog noted that “Chasing Ice” has been sent several times to President Obama, and to every member of Congress. The film will open in 24 theaters nationwide in November, expanding to more theaters if the public response is positive. Balog also said the EIS group is engaging with the Evangelical Creation Care movement to spread the word about the project and film among that group, which is dedicated to preserving the environment. A book of Balog’s glacier photographs, Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, was also released last month from Rizzoli.

Balog envisions the EIS project going on indefinitely, he noted. He also spoke about a new non-profit organization he is establishing called Earth Vision Trust, which will look to fund other people’s environmental projects through fellowships.

October 9th, 2012

Luc Delahaye Awarded $106,000 Prix Pictet

Luc-Delahaye-Ambush-Ramadi

“Ambush, Ramadi, 22 July 2006,” by Luc Delahaye.

French photojournalist-turned-artist Luc Delahaye has won the fourth Prix Pictet, the organization announced in a ceremony this evening at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The theme of this year’s prize was “Power.”

Founded by Swiss private bank Pictet & Cie in 2008, the Prix Pictet is awarded to photographers whose work engages with themes of sustainability.

180 experts from around the world nominated 673 artists for the prize. From those the jury selected 12 shortlisted artists, all of whom will be included in an exhibition opening tomorrow, October 10, at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The exhibition will also tour internationally.

Delahaye submitted a portfolio titled “Various works: 2008-2011,” about which he wrote in his artist’s statement:

“I try to put myself in situations that I feel have a certain relevance regarding what we call a shared destiny. The reality I’m interested in is that of people who struggle to act upon it as much as they are subject to it. I sometimes work where power presents itself as a spectacle, as an event produced for or with the media, and my pictures may then take an ironic undertone. But I photograph the ordinary man more often than the leader. I usually stay at the distance where the human relationships are visible, multiple, active and where they remain problematic. I’m interested in narration and in photography’s phenomenological hold on the real.”

Among the other shortlisted photographers were Robert Adams, Rena Effendi, An-My Lê, who just received a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, and Joel Sternfeld.

Pictet & Cie, the company that founded the prize, also awarded a commission to nominated photographer Simon Norfolk to travel to and photograph a region where the Bank is supporting a sustainability project.

Previous Prix Pictet winners include Mitch Epstein, Nadav Kander and Benoit Aquin.

Related: Prix Pictet Announces 12 Photographers Shortlisted for Prize

October 8th, 2012

Call for Applications: €20,000 Tim Hetherington Grant

World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch have announced the call for applications for the second annual Tim Hetherington Grant, named for the photojournalist who was killed by a rocket attack in Libya in April, 2011. The €20,000 ($26,000) grant supports photographers who are working to complete a human rights-themed photographic project.

The grant not only bears Hetherington’s name, it also utilizes as its criteria the ideas and characteristics that defined the late photographer’s work: “Work that operates on multiple platforms and in a variety of formats; that crosses boundaries between breaking news and longer-term investigation; and that demonstrates a consistent moral commitment to the lives and stories of the photographic subjects.”

The inaugural Tim Hetherington Grant was awarded to Stephen Ferry for his project “’Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict,” which focuses on the history and current dynamics of the war in Colombia, while exposing the role of the distinct parties in the conflict.

The selection committee for the 2012 grant includes:

Marcus Bleasdale, documentary photographer VII Photo Agency; Carroll Bogert, deputy executive director for external relations Human Rights Watch; James Brabazon, journalist and documentary filmmaker; Whitney C. Johnson, director of photography The New Yorker; and Michiel Munneke, managing director World Press Photo. Adriaan Monshouwer, the founder of Picture Inside, will serve as the selection committee secretary.

The deadline for applications is November 15. The recipient will be announced in early December.

For more information and to apply visit: http://www.worldpressphoto.org/2012-tim-hetherington-grant