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December 16th, 2011

The Biggest Photo News Stories of 2011

Over on PDNOnline we’ve gathered together the biggest photography news stories of 2011, a year marked infringements on the rights of photographers, by sticky legal cases whose results will be felt long into the future, and by tragedy. The 15 stories we highlighted were the most-read news articles and blog posts on PDNOnline and PDN Pulse this year.

Which of these stories do you think was the most important news story of the year? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

October 20th, 2011

Obituary: Rock and Roll Photographer Barry Feinstein, 80

© Columbia/photo by Barry Feinstein

Barry Feinstein, who covered Bob Dylan’s 1966 tour after the musician went electric, and also photographed the covers of iconic albums by Dylan, Janis Joplin, George Harrison and Eric Clapton, died today at his home in Woodstock, New York, the AP reports. He was 80.

His agent, Dave Brolan, told the AP that Feinstein had been hospitalized for an infection.

In his career in the entertainment business, Feinstein worked as an assistant at Columbia Pictures, and eventually photographed stars like Steve McQueen and Judy Garland. He got to know Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman, and photographed the cover of Dylan’s 1964 album “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” In 1966, Feinstein photographed Dylan on tour after the musician began playing electric guitar, to the chagrin of many loyal fans of his folk music. On that tour, Feinstein took the well known photo of Dylan in the back of a limo while fans peer through the window at him.

© Capitol/ photo by Barry Feinstein

Feinstein also photographed the album covers for Janis Joplin’s “Pearl” and George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass.” Feinstein rock and roll images were used in director Martin Scorcese’s  No Direction Home, about Dylan, and the recent HBO documentary about George Harrison.

He is survived by his wife, Judith Jamieson, and his two children.

Rolling Stone magazine is running a nice slide show of some of Feinstein’s most famous and intimate photos on its web site, rollingstone.com.

October 19th, 2011

AP Photographer Ed Reinke Dies After Assignment Injury

AP photographer Ed Reinke died yesterday, two weeks after sustaining head injuries from a fall while covering an auto race at a racetrack in Sparta, Kentucky, according to the Associated Press. Reinke was 60 years old, and had been an AP photographer for more than 25 years.

Details of the accident, which occurred on October on October 2, are sketchy. AP declined to provide further information.

“We’re not sure what happened to him. It’s been a big mystery,” says John Flavell, photo editor of The Daily Independent of Ashland, Kentucky and a long-time professional acquaintance of Reinke’s. “I’m sure somebody’s looking into what happened, and eventually that will come out.”

Santiago Lyon, director of photography at AP, described Reinke as “a first-rate professional with an extraordinary knack for being in the right place at the right time to get the picture.”

Reinke covered news and sporting events in Kentucky, including every Kentucky Derby since 1988. He also covered major sporting events outside the state such as Super Bowl and World Series championships, Summer and Winter Olympics, Masters and PGA championships, and the Indy 500. Major news events he covered included President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration and Hurricane Andrew.

Reinke began his career in 1972 at the Cincinnati Enquirer, according to the AP obituary. He went to work for the AP in 1979. Four years later he returned to the Enquirer and served as director of photography. In 1987, he returned to the AP, where he continued to work until the time of his death.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

October 6th, 2011

Steve Jobs: Visionary, Inventor, and Very Challenging Photo Subject

©Doug Menuez/Getty Images

The media is heaping accolades on Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died yesterday of cancer at the age of 56. Tributes have poured in from all over the world. Jobs was a  visionary who changed the way we use and interact with technology. The iPhone and iPad have certainly helped re-make the photography landscape.

But Steve Jobs also had a reputation among photographers for being a difficult subject–and not just run-of-the mill difficult, but the archetype of difficult.

“It was the joke among photographers. He was like the nightmare subject,” says San Francisco photographer William Mercer McLeod, who photographed Jobs on assignment a total of five times, and once worked for Apple, helping to develop the company’s Aperture software.

Asked to recount his experiences photographing Jobs, another photographer said,  “I don’t really want to be the guy who pans iGod during this hour of national mourning!”

Photojournalist Ed Kashi, who photographed Jobs about 10 times between the early 1980s and early 1990s, recalled via text message, “He was one of the most difficult subjects I ever dealt with during my Silicon Valley years but I appreciated his awareness of identity, setting and message of the images. There was one time I had to get a picture with him and Ross Perot and when Jobs acted up Perot turned to him and like a stern parent said ‘Steve, Grow up!!’ No matter how dreadful he could be as a subject, I am deeply saddened by his early departure.”

McLeod says his first encounter with Jobs was as an assistant for Kashi. “It was in the late 80s. [Jobs] walked into the the photo shoot and started moving the lights around. Then he picked up the phone and called the art director in New York and said he wanted to do something different.”

McLeod recalls how he and Kashi stood there watching in disbelief. “He’s the only person I ever saw do that,” McLeod continues. “Photographing Steve was like a dance. He had such a thing for control like nobody I’ve ever seen. He loved to be in charge. He wanted to have his say.”

“From an editor’s standpoint he could be difficult,” says Scott Thode, a former Fortune magazine photo editor. “[He was] not unlike a political candidate. The main difference is that he had a real sense of design and how things can look.”

Doug Menuez spent more time photographing Jobs than just about any other photographer, after Jobs agreed to let him document the development of the NeXT computer. Menuez had access to the labs and boardroom for three years.

“In all those years, Steve only screamed at me at the top of his lungs once,” Menuez recalls. It was in 1988, when Fortune hired Menuez to shoot a portrait of Jobs for the cover of the magazine. Menuez wanted to photograph him in the NeXT offices, on a staircase that Jobs had commissioned architect I.M Pei to design. Jobs arrived for the shoot, looked at what Menuez had in mind, “then [he] leaned in and says, ‘This is the stupidest fucking idea that I’ve ever seen.’ Right in my face, like  5 or 6 inches away,” Menuez says. “I felt like I was 10 years old. He went off on a tirade. He said, ‘You just want to sell magazines. ‘And I said, ‘And you want to sell computers.’ And at that he said, ‘OK,’ and sat down.

Menuez concludes, “ I’ve been in war zones, but I like to say that I became a man learning how to stand my ground with Steve.”

Albert Watson, who photographed Jobs just once for a portfolio of people in power that Fortune commissioned him to shoot in 2006, had a different experience from other photographers. “The one thing I insisted on was that we have a three hour window of set up time,” Watson says. “We were prepared…we set up to make [every shoot] as greased lightning fast as possible for the [subject].’ Watson says he had also read “a massive amount of stuff” about Jobs to help him conceptualize the shoot, and so he would be able to converse with Jobs intelligently.

When Jobs walked in, Watson says that his power, charisma and genius were palpable. “It was like when Clint Eastwood walks in to the room.”

Jobs didn’t look immediately at Watson, but looked instead at the set-up and then focused on Watson’s 4×5 camera “like it was something dinosauric,” Watson recalls, “and he said, ‘Wow, you’re shooting film.”

“I said, ‘I don’t feel like digital is quite here yet.’ And he said, ‘I agree,’ then he turned and looked at me and said, ‘But we’ll get there.’”

Jobs gave Watson about an hour–much longer than he ever gave most photographers for a portrait session. “I had wanted to do the shot in a minimalistic way because I knew that was going to suit him very well. He said, ‘What do you want me to do?’ I said I would like 95 percent, almost 100 percent of eye contact with the camera, and I said, ‘Think about the next project you have on the table,’ and I asked him also to think about instances where people have challenged him.

“If you look at that shot, you can see the intensity. It was my intention that by looking at him, that you knew this guy was smart,” Watson says, adding, “I heard later that it was his favorite photograph of all time.”

Apple cleared its home page today to post that photograph as a tribute to Jobs.

(correction: an earlier version of this story said Fortune commissioned Albert Watson to photograph Steve Jobs in 2008. The date was actually 2006.)

October 5th, 2011

Sipa Press Founder Goksin Sipahioglu Dies

©Alix William/Sipa--Goksin Sipahioglu in 2003.

Goksin Sipahioglu, a former photojournalist and founder of the Sipa Press photo agency, died earlier today at the American hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, at the age of 84. He was surrounded by family and friends, according to Guillame Delpech, who is Photo Editor of Sipa Press USA. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Sipahioglu founded his photo agency in 1973 with American journalist Phyllis Springer. Sipa Press became part of the triumvirate (along with Gamma and Sygma) of French pictures agencies that dominated international photo news coverage in the 1970s and 1980s.

The three agencies relied on couriers to gather film from contributing photographers stationed all over the world, duplicated the original film en masse, and distributed so-called “picture packages” of duplicate images to magazine and newspaper clients throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

Robert Dannin, who worked for Sipa from 1978 to 1981, remembers Sipahioglu as a shrewd businessman who invested in a state-of-the-art commercial processing and printing operation “to subsidize his dream of a world class photo agency. No one else did this,” Dannin says. “They did work for event photographers, political campaigns, retailers, etc. One extraordinary job was a 1980 contract from the Iranian Ministry of Religious Guidance to make hundreds of large format color prints to decorate their embassies worldwide in celebration of the first anniversary of the revolution. In this case, it was no coincidence that the photographer, Hatami, covered the revolution for Sipa.”

Dannin also says Sipahioglu “viewed the world through the eyes of an Ottoman pasha” and hired beautiful woman “as accessories to his business…to drive every male in the place insane with lust. They were like sirens on a Venetian prow head.” Dannin says, “[Sipahioglu] was an anti-management manager” and adds, “Sipa’s highly eroticized agency was inspiring to say the least.”

A number of Sipa’s contributing photographers complained bitterly, however, that the agency cheated them out of royalties by not reporting sales of their images. Dannin says that was “consistent” with how the other agencies treated entry-level photojournalists, and that Sipahioglu “got away with it because he was giving people a start in the business.”

Sipahioglu was born in Izmir, Turkey in 1926. He graduated from the French Lycée Saint Joseph in Istanbul, and began his career as a sports reporter for the Istanbul Ekspress newspaper in 1952. In 1961 he began covering international stories for various dailies, and began taking pictures while on assignment. His images were distributed by Black Star, Gamma and other agencies before starting his own photo agency.

In 2001, he sold the agency to Sud Communications (which is owned by French industrialist Pierre Fabre). He continued as director of Sipa Press  until 2003.

He is survived by Phyllis Springer, whom he married in 2002.

September 22nd, 2011

Beatles Photographer Robert Whitaker Dies

©Robert Whitaker--the original "Yesterday And Today" cover

Photographer Robert Whitaker, best known for the hundreds of behind-the-scenes images and album cover shots he made of The Beatles from 1964 to 1966 when the band was rising to international fame, died September 20 in the UK. The cause of death was cancer, according to a UK Press Association report.

Whitaker was part of the Australian art scene in the early 1960s when he accompanied a journalist friend to interview Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles. At the time, the band was touring Australia and Asia. Epstein was impressed by Whitaker’s work, and invited him to accompany the band as a tour photographer.

Whitaker accepted, moved back to London where he had begun his career in the late 1950s (he was born in the UK in 1939), and went to work photographing various bands for Epstein’s management company, NEMS Enterprises.

Whitaker accompanied The Beatles on their second tour of the US in 1965, photographing them at their famous Shea Stadium concert, among other venues.  From 1964 to 1966, he had almost complete access to the band while it was on tour and in the studio.

©Robert Whitaker--the hasty replacement image for the same album.

He is credited with several Beatles album covers, including the original–and highly controversial–”butcher” cover for the album Yesterday And Today. It showed the four Beatles dressed in lab coats and wearing false teeth while holding dismembered dolls and pieces of raw meat. The cover was quickly withdrawn amid public outrage and some speculation that it was intended as acerbic social commentary.

Capitol Records, the band’s record company, told the Associate Press that it was the band’s idea of “pop art satire.” John Lennon told an interviewer in 1980 that the band posed for the picture out of boredom at having to pose for yet another picture.

The image was replaced on the album cover with a photograph that Whitaker shot hastily in Epstein’s office of the band gathered around a trunk. Whitaker later described the replacement image as “far more stupid than anything else I could think of,” according to various accounts of the image. Copies of the album with the original “butcher” photo now fetch thousands of dollars on the Beatles memorabilia market.

Whitaker left NEMS when The Beatles took a break from touring in 1966. He stayed in London to photograph other musicians, including Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger, and also covered news events–Including the Vietnam War–for Time and Life magazines.

Whitaker’s books include Eight Days A Week: Inside the Beatles Final World Tour (2008), Unseen Beatles (1998) and In the Company of Dali (2007), which is a collection of images he shot of the Spanish surrealist in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

June 29th, 2011

Death of a Photojournalist (and Super Hero) Announced

Peter Parker, who was arguably the most famous newspaper photojournalist (albeit a fictional one) and superhero, has died. The final installment in the “Death of Spider-Man” comic book series went on sale June 22, Marvel Comic announced last week. (Speculation that Parker, Spider-Man’s alter ego, committed suicide after scathing reviews of his Broadway musical, “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark,” are currently unfounded.)

Longtime fans of the web-slinger needn’t fear, though. The Spider-Man killed in this month’s Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160 is a re-imagined version created in 2000 under Marvel Comics’ Ultimate Marvel imprint as part of an effort to appeal to a younger audience. One recent storyline involved Parker being fired from the Daily Bugle for doctoring photos.

While the Ultimate Marvel version was being published, the original Spider-Man was having his own adventures in several series that were published concurrently. The more seasoned Spider-Man, created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, will continue to grace his own monthly titles.

Somehow we knew the real Peter Parker would never Photoshop photos meant for publication.

May 25th, 2011

Hetherington Memorialized by Family, Colleagues and Subjects

Tim Hetherington’s friends and family were joined by soldiers from the platoon depicted in Restrepo, Hetherington’s award-winning documentary, to celebrate the photographer/filmmaker’s life and recall his talent and generosity at a memorial service held May 24 in New York City. Hetherington was killed in Misrata, Libya, on April 20 in a rocket attack that also killed photographer Chris Hondros and wounded two other photographers.

Standing at the pulpit of the First Presbyterian Church with three other soldiers from the platoon with which Hetherington had been embedded in Afghanistan, former Sergeant Brendan O’Byrne spoke before a crowd of several hundred mourners. He began to deliver a prepared speech, then stopped. He said the speech “didn’t feel right,” and he wanted instead to speak directly about “what Tim meant to us,” the soldiers deployed to the remote Restrepo outpost in the Korengal Valley. “He came a stranger and left a brother,” said O’Byrne. “He went out there again and again and again. He didn’t have to.” He noted, “If it weren’t for him, our stories would have been lost in the chaos of war.”

O’Byrne said Hetherington continued their friendship after their time in Afghanistan.  “I came home with a massive amount of PTSD. Tim let me stay in his house,” and asked for nothing in return. “He said, ‘Get your feet on the ground, and don’t drink.’ ” O’Byrne said he had no words to describe what Hetherington meant to the platoon. “We cared about him so much.”

In his eulogy, writer Sebastian Junger, Hetherington’s frequent collaborator and co-director on Restrepo,  explained how Hetherington earned the respect and trust of the soldiers. “He was terrifyingly brave, and he made them laugh. If you can do only those two things and not fall behind on patrol they [the soldiers] are good to you.”

Junger said, “Tim changed the world with his work, and the world changed him. He was seeking those changes.” He said Hetherington “allowed people access to his heart.” In his work in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, Junger said, Hetherington was a better journalist thanks to his openness to experiences and people.

Idil Ibrahim, Hetherington’s girlfriend, said many mourned him as a talented photographer, filmmaker, teacher, colleague, friend, “and brother from the front line.” To Ibrahim, however, Hetherington was, among other things, “partner, love, future, friend,” as well as “movie star,” “preferred dance partner,” “poet,” and “fashion stylist.” Though she said, “I mourn the loss of our future together” and “the children we’ll never have,” she noted that shortly before Hetherington left for Libya, they had a conversation about death. “I’ve truly lived,” Hetherington told her. She said Hetherington “exuded joie de vivre,” and was “the most brilliant person I know.” She said, “He taught me most about love and for that I’m truly grateful.”

Photographers Chris Anderson and Mike Kamber talked about the Hetherington’s photography. Anderson said that while poring over Hetherington’s work recently, he forgot about photographic craft, and felt that he was seeing into people’s lives. “His work was not about reporting a story but about recording an experience he shared with people,” Anderson said, before reading an impressionistic passage from the foreword to Hetherington’s first book, Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold, in which he had described the sights and rhythms of a street in Monrovia.

Kamber said that for a generation of photographers, Hetherington seemed to be “leading us forward. He was changing photojournalism. He was also leading us forward as a human being” through his humility and imagination. Hetherington, he said, was capable of “flights of fancy,” like an idea he had to do a piece on soldiers sleeping in their outpost in Afghanistan. The idea became Hetherington’s acclaimed multimedia installation, “Sleeping Soldiers.”

Hetherington’s sister and brother, Victoria and Guy, shared stories of how Hetherington’s energy, curiosity and desire to engage with people were evident even at a young age. Both siblings emphasized that Hetherington, who was born in England, “loved his life in New York,” and in particular, Victoria noted, “the lifelong friends” he made there.  Victoria noted how much Hetherington enjoyed the company of his friends’ children and his own nephew and niece.  After she informed her children of their uncle’s death, she said, her four-year-old daughter worried that God wouldn’t let him into heaven: “Because he’s the naughtiest person. He throws us in the swimming pool with all our clothes on.”

Victoria quoted a line attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “In the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” and expressed her gratitude that her brother had experienced so much in his 40 years.

At the end of the memorial service,  O’Byrne and the three soldiers from his platoon walked up the aisle of the church and presented Hetherington’s family with a folded US flag.

After the memorial, a reception was held at the Aperture Gallery, where an installation of “Sleeping Soldiers” and Hetherington’s video, “Diary,” about his work covering conflict, are on view through June 23.

Related Stories:

Tim Hetherington Killed in Libya

Hetherington, Hondros Families Choose Memorial Charities

Chris Hondros Remembered as Humanist, Friend

Hondros Dies of Injuries in Libya

May 16th, 2011

Tim Hetherington Memorial Service in New York To Be Held May 24

Friends of photographer Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Misrata, Libya on April 20, have organized a memorial service to be held in New York City, where the UK-born Hetherington had lived for several years.

The memorial service will take place May 24 at 4pm at the First Presbyterian Church, located at Fifth Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets in New York City.  (The church’s address is 12 W. 12th Street. Directions can be found on the church’s web site.)

A funeral was held May 13 in London, which was attended by Hetherington’s family and several hundred friends and colleagues.

The photographer’s family has also designated three organizations important to Hetherington where donations can be made in his memory:

Milton Margai School for the Blind,
Sierra Leone
www.miltonmargaischool.org

Human Rights Watch
www.hrw.org

Committee to Protect Journalists
www.cpj.org

Related articles:
Tim Hetherington Killed in Libya

Hetherington, Hondros Loved Ones Choose Memorial Charities

May 4th, 2011

Hetherington, Hondros Loved Ones Choose Memorial Charities

The family of photographer Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Libya on April 20 in an attack by pro-Qaddafi forces, has chosen three charities where donations should be made in  his memory. They represent work Hetherington supported throughout his career:

Human Rights Watch, the independent organization dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, for which Hetherington worked often.:  www.hrw.org

Committee to Protect Journalists: www.cpj.org

Milton Margai School for the Blind in Sierra Leone, a school where Hetherington photographed and worked with students, who had been intentionally blinded by the Revolutionary United Force:  www.miltonmargaischool.org

The family has invited friends and colleagues to a funeral May 13 in London. No public announcement has been made of a memorial in the New York area, where Hetherington lived.

The fiancee of photographer Chris Hondros, also killed in Misrata on April 20th, has formalized plans for a fund in memory of Hondros that will support aspiring photojournalists.  Christine Piaia has set up The Chris Hondos Funf and is now working with financial advisors at Davis Wright Tremaine in New York. Says Piaia, “We are setting up this fund to honor Chris’ memory, protect his colleagues in war-torn areas, and help aspiring journalists and photographers cover these events.”

Contributions may be sent to The Chris Hondros Fund, c/o Getty Images, 75 Varick St., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10013.