You are currently browsing the archives for the Photojournalism category.

April 13th, 2016

How Winning a Pulitzer Changed Deanne Fitzmaurice’s Career

Saleh draws an airplane dropping bombs, after nurses taped a felt-tipped pen to his arm in an effort to soothe him. ©Deanne Fitzmaurice

Saleh draws an airplane dropping bombs, after nurses taped a felt-tipped pen to his arm in an effort to soothe him. ©Deanne Fitzmaurice

The 2016 Pulitzer Prize winners will be announced on Monday, April 18, marking the 100th awarding of the prizes since they were initiated in 1917. We recently asked photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice how winning the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography has affected her career. Now a contributor to Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, National Geographic and other publications, Fitzmaurice was a staff photographer at the San Francisco Chronicle when she won her Pulitzer. The story she won for was about an Iraqi boy named Saleh who was undergoing treatment at an Oakland hospital after he was nearly killed by an explosion in Iraq.

PDN: What went through your mind when you heard your name read?
Deanne Fitzmaurice: it was complete disbelief. I had been a staff photographer at the Chronicle for maybe 15 years. I thought the Pulitzer was so far out of my reach. But it was a story I felt was so important for people to see, and winning the Pulitzer brought it to a much larger audience.

PDN: What immediate effect did winning the Pulitzer have on your career?
DF: The Chronicle pretty much said, What do you want to work on? It gave me independence to work on stories I really cared about. But in some ways, life was back to normal two weeks later. I was out on assignment for the real estate section, photographing a guy who was up on a ladder. He goes, “Gee, wouldn’t it be funny if I fell off the ladder? You’d probably end up winning a Pulitzer if I did.” And I said, “You’re not going to believe this, but a couple weeks ago I actually did win the Pulitzer.” I’m sure he didn’t believe me.

Deanne Fitzmaurice hears she has won a Pulitzer Prize, April 4, 2005. ©AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Brant Ward

Deanne Fitzmaurice, reacting to the news that she had won a Pulitzer Prize, April 4, 2005. ©AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Brant Ward

PDN: Does it go to your head? Don’t you think, “Why am I shooting these stupid real estate assignments? I’ve won the Pulitzer!”
DF: I didn’t want the other staff photographers to think I was a prima donna, so I wanted to do those ordinary, everyday assignments. Of course, I wanted to do some high level, in-depth projects as well.

There was another funny story about people’s reactions. I was at a wedding, the priest had heard I won the Pulitzer, and he was telling everyone. After the ceremony, he got really drunk, and well into the reception, he’s still telling people about my award, but at that point, he’s telling people I had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

PDN: The Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize are among the few prizes you get to wear for the rest of your life, like: “I’m a  Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.”
DF: Right, and sometimes it’s awkward–you feel weird doing that, like you’re full of yourself, but at the same time, you’re proud of it and it’s important.

PDN: What effect has it had on your career in the long run?
DF: I stayed at the San Francisco Chronicle as a staff photographer for three years after winning. A lot of opportunities came to me, and I became really busy.

PDN: Who was calling? What kinds of projects?
DF: There was a Pulitzer exhibit in some museum in Minneapolis. Some [art] buyers happened to see it, and they were looking for a photographer to work a project for Target. It was a commercial project but they wanted it shot in a photojournalistic style for Target. So they contacted me, and I got that project, and that was great. I was working on weekends doing things like that. I reached a point where I was too busy, and I was making a decision: Do I stay as a staff photographer, or take this moment to try to make it as a freelancer? I spent about six months of sleepless nights. I thought, photographers are getting laid off, the industry is changing, and I’m thinking of walking away from a perfectly good job. But I thought, If I’m ever going to do this, now is the time. I think I would have regretted if I didn’t, so I took a chance. I was scared to death, walking away. If I had stayed at the Chronicle, my life wouldn’t have changed that much. By going independent, it has given me lots of options and lots of opportunities.

PDN: Does winning the Pulitzer carry any kind of burden?
DF: After I won the Pulitzer, I was putting pressure on myself, saying, “You need to continue working at this level.” I didn’t want to be a one-hit wonder. The feeling that I could produce that kind of work, I wanted to keep doing that.

PDN: What’s your advice to photographers about how to make the most of it if they win?
DF: When you win, your phone is going to start ringing like crazy, your inbox is going to fill up and there are going to be lots of opportunities to to go out and talk about your work and your process. It’s easy for it to become a distraction. After I won, I spent the following year doing speaking engagements and other things related to that project. It was a great honor and privilege, but then I felt like: enough talking, just start producing some work.

Related:
Photography Pulitzers Go to Daniel Berehulak, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Staff (for PDN subscribers)
Josh Haner, Tyler Hicks Win 2014 Pulitzer Prizes for Photography (for PDN subscribers)
Instagram: @deannefitzmaurice

April 4th, 2016

Video Pick: Magnus Wennman Pushes Boundaries with “Fatima’s Drawings”

FATIMA’S DRAWINGS from Magnus Wennman on Vimeo.

Among three finalists for the World Press Photo short form multimedia prize is Magnus Wennman’s outstanding 5-1/2 minute video called “Fatima’s Drawings.” His “Where the Children Sleep” project was widely published last year, and “Fatima’s Drawings” is a continuation of his work documenting the plight of refugee children from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The video features a five-year-old Syrian refugee in Sweden, recounting (in a voiceover) the trauma and loss she experienced in Syria and while fleeing to Europe. It’s an example of spare, exquisite filmmaking, with care and attention to all the creative and technical details, from the storyboarding and shooting, to the sound recording and mixing, to the atmospheric hue of the lighting. It also includes animation: Wennman shows Fatima by the light of a window, making stick-figure drawings of scenes from her past. One shows her playing with the best friend she left behind in Idlib, Syria; another shows airplanes bombing her old neighborhood. The drawings suddenly come to life as the camera lingers overhead. Some purists might argue the technique strains the limits of journalism, but Wennman’s video adds up to more than the sum of its individual parts, and documentary storytelling doesn’t get much better than this.

Related:
Video Pick: “Denali,” Film about Photographer Ben Moon and His Dog, Goes Viral
Video Pick: Chris Jordan’s “Midway,” on Beauty in Environmental Activism

March 21st, 2016

Civil Rights Photographer Bob Adelman: Interview by Photographer Matt Herron

Bob Adelman (left), Steve Shapiro, Charles Moore, and an unidentified LIFE magazine film courier at the Selma march in 1965.

Bob Adelman (left), Steve Shapiro, Charles Moore, and an unidentified LIFE magazine film courier at the Selma march in 1965.

Civil Rights photographer Bob Adelman, who died over the weekend at the age of 85, was profiled recently in an essay titled “Shooting Civil Rights” by photographer Matt Herron. A friend and colleague of Adelman’s, and a fellow Civil Rights activist, Herron wrote the essay for a traveling exhibit called “This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement.” The exhibit, which Herron curated, is currently at the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania through May 15, and will open next in Cincinnati. The following excerpt is reproduced with Herron’s permission.  

Bob Adelman was working in New York in the early 60’s as a darkroom assistant at Reader’s Digest. “When the sit-ins started, it seemed to me the country was paralyzed as far as dealing with discrimination was concerned, but I saw the sit-ins as a way an average person could do something about an insoluble problem, so I volunteered with New York CORE.” As a teenager, Adelman had had no contact at all with black people, but he loved jazz and used to sneak out at night to Birdland, one of New York’s principal jazz clubs. “I didn’t think of black people as oppressed, I thought of them as from some other planet, with this fantastic talent. Because I was Jewish, I had my own problems with discrimination, so I identified with black discrimination. My college thesis was on slave breeding farms in the upper South.”

Shooting for CORE, Adelman covered attempts to integrate eating establishments along Baltimore’s route 40. Eventually magazines began asking to see his contact sheets, and from this beginning Adelman gradually found his calling as a magazine photographer. He continued shooting for CORE in the deep South, handling magazine assignments on the side and documenting life in remote black communities in Louisiana and Alabama. But he is best known for his incredible pictures of Birmingham police attempting to hose down demonstrators in Kelly Ingram Park.

. . . . .

Most of us had our personal strategies for staying safe while staying in action. But one overriding principle governed us all: our job was to get the pictures and get them out into the wider world, not to collect glory or jail time as some civil rights hero. As photographers we worked fully exposed and if we got arrested and/or lost our film, we had failed at our job. Consequently, any tactic or ruse that kept us going, no matter how cowardly, was perfectly acceptable. On occasion we lied, used fake press credentials, toadied up to police, or pretended to be someone else — all in the service of our cause. Mostly, we never admitted we were working for or with the Movement. Simply being there was tough enough.

Bob Adelman is a big man and a charming one, and he often used his charm on the Powers That Be. He remembers shooting in Sumter, South Carolina during a CORE voter registration drive.

“When I wasn’t busy I would wander around town taking pictures. A city official asked me what I was doing. I told him I was a service man from the nearby Air Force base and had pleasant memories of the town, so I was taking some pictures for memory’s sake. He was so won over that he took me on a personal tour of the town. In the courthouse I saw blacks lined up to register and I asked him, ‘Do those people actually vote here?

“I had the reputation in the movement of being rather fearless. I thought I was doing the right thing and that I had a right to photograph. It was probably a stupid idea, but that was the way I felt. I was routinely arrested. They’d feed you some turnips and when the demonstration was over, they’d let you go. I wasn’t bound by non-violence because I wasn’t a demonstrator, so occasionally I would use my Leica as a weapon, whipping it around when I felt threatened. Toward the end of 1965 driving through Mississippi and Louisiana I got so paranoid I carried a gun in my car. And everywhere I went both blacks and whites had guns.”

Related:
Bob Adelman, Civil Rights Photographer, Dies at 85

March 18th, 2016

“Make This Picture Invisible” – On the Consequences of Going Viral

Many photographers would like nothing more than for an image to go viral, spreading their work and name to the far corners of the Internet. For some, though, the experience is anything but thrilling.

Photojournalist Nina Berman recounts her own viral experience with an image she took while working for People Magazine that ultimately won first prize in the World Press Photo competition. That image of a badly-burnt Marine and his wife on their wedding day was originally intended to show the horrors of war. Once it won the World Press Award, Berman said she fought off numerous requests for people seeking to appropriate the image for ends that were, for her, off her central message. (One such caller was Donald Trump, who wanted the picture for a book he was writing.)

Eventually, Berman showed the image at a gallery, at which point she lost control and her worst fears–losing control of the message of the photo–were realized.

In this talk at the recently concluded TheBlowUp conference, Berman recounts the experience and what happened next.

Via The Feature Shoot

February 29th, 2016

Andrew Ellis, Casper Dalhoff, Stephen Dupont and National Geographic Win Top Awards in Late Round POYi Judging

From "A Commitment to Life" by Casper Dalhoff, winner of the World Understanding Award at the 2016 POYi competition. ©Casper Dalhoff

From “A Commitment to Life” by Casper Dalhoff, winner of the Community Awareness Award at the 2016 POYi competition. ©Casper Dalhoff

Andrew Ellis of MediaStorm has won Multimedia Photographer of the Year honors at the 73rd anual Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition, while National Geographic has won Documentary Project of the Year and the Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award.

Ellis submitted a portfolio that included stories about a farmer at risk of losing his farm because of drought in California, and a video game collector who has been selling his collection to care for his family. National Geographic won Documentary Project of the Year honors for its November 2015 single topic issue on climate change

The awards were announced late Friday after judging ended for the Visual Editing Division of the three-week competition.

Winners of top awards in other divisions included Casper Dalhoff, who won the Community Awareness Award for his project titled “A Commitment to Life,” about life in a home for the mentally and physically disabled in Denmark. Stephen Dupont won the Best Photography Book award for his book Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars 1993-2012.

As previously announced in PDN, Reportage Division winners included Paolo Marchetti, who won Photographer of the Year honors, and Hossein Fatemi, who won the World Understanding Award. In the News Division, Carolyn Van Houten of the San Antonio Express-News won Newspaper Photographer of the Year, while Al Bello of Getty Images won Sports Photographer of the Year in the Sports Division.

Judging took place at the Missouri School of Journalism from February 8-26. News Division judges were Muhammed Muheisen, Marvin Joseph, Mary F. Calvert and Michael Hamtil. Judges for the Sports Division were Wally Skalij, Nate Gordon, and Seth Greenberg, and Reportage Division judges were Ken Geiger, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Janet Jarman, and Matt Campbell. Editing Division judges were Travis Fox, Deb Pastner, Leslie dela Vega, and Pat Davison.

The judges selected winners in 40 categories. A complete list of winners and runners up, as well as their entries, are posted at POYi.org.

Related:
Paolo Marchetti, Carolyn Van Houten and Al Bello Are Top POYi Winners So Far

February 22nd, 2016

Paolo Marchetti, Carolyn Van Houten and Al Bello Are Top POYi Winners So Far

From "The Price of Vanity," by Paolo Marchetti, winner of Reportage Photographer of the Year honors at the 73rd annual POYi competition. ©Paolo Marchetti

From “The Price of Vanity” by Paolo Marchetti, winner of Reportage Photographer of the Year honors at the 73rd annual POYi competition. ©Paolo Marchetti

Photographer Paolo Marchetti has won Reportage Photographer of the Year in the 73rd annual Picture of the Year International competition. His portfolio, selected as the winner over the weekend, includes stories about exploited and abused children around the world, and the industrial harvesting of animal hides for the fashion business. The latter project, called “The Price of Vanity,” also won first prize in the Science & Natural History Picture Story category.

Other POYI winners so far include Newspaper Photographer of the Year Carolyn van Houten of the San Antonio Express-News. Her portfolio includes stories about the oil bust in south Texas and the aftermath of the May 2015 floods in Blanco, Texas.

Al Bello of Getty Images won Sports Photographer of the Year honors for a portfolio that shows Bello’s eye for decisive moments, as well as dramatic action, light, and camera angles.

Francine Orr of the Los Angeles Times won top prize for Issue Reporting Story in the newspaper category for her story about families living on the social and economic margins in a down-and-out motel.

Végh László of Magyar Nemzet, a Hungarian daily, won first prize for Feature Picture Story in the newspaper category for a project titled “Subcarpathia in the shadow of the Russian-Ukranian War.”

Photographer Hossein Fatemi won POYi’s World Understanding award for his portfolio titled “An Iranian Journey,” about the hidden complexity and modernity of Iranian society.

Brent Stirton, recent winner of National Geographic Photographer’s Award, has won POYi’s Environmental Vision award for his project about the ivory wars in central Africa.

Iranian photographer Sadegh Souri won first place in the Issue Reporting Story category for her project about young Iranian women on death row, called “Waiting for Capital Punishment”

POYi contest judging began February 8 and continues through February 26. Winners have been selected in more than two dozens newspapers, sports and reportage categories so far, but POYi has a tradition of withholding the names of winners until all judging is competed. This week, judges will select winners for the competition’s editing categories, which include Documentary Project of the Year and Multimedia Photographer of the Year.

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

Great Weekend Reads in Photography and Filmmaking

quattrostagioni | Flickr

quattrostagioni | Flickr

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” ― Fran Lebowitz

Photojournalism and the Middle East – Lens Culture

Keep it Simple: The Life of Magnum’s Dark Room Printer Gup

The Quandary of the Unreliable Narrator Documentary.org

Two Takes on Virtual Reality FilmmakingPost

The Master of All Photo TradesRangefinder

How Birth of a Nation Became Sundance’s Biggest SaleWired

Kodak’s Old School Response to DisruptionNew Yorker

Photography as ProvocationThe Economist

Funding and Distributing a Full-Length Documentary – PDN

Not enough? Find past weekend reads here.

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”

January 28th, 2016

Why Muslim Woman’s Suit Against AP for Hijab Photo Will Probably Fail

Fifi Youssef is suing photographer Mark Lennihan and AP for distributing this photograph, shot at a New York City Starbucks,  without her permission. ©Mark Lennihan/AP

Fifi Youssef is suing photographer Mark Lennihan and AP for distributing this photograph of her without her permission. ©Mark Lennihan/AP

A Muslim woman has sued Associated Press (AP) and photographer Mark Lennihan for unspecified damages over the unauthorized use her likeness, claiming violation of her civil rights. The case is a legal long shot, but if she wins, wire services and freelance photojournalists—at least in New York state—would have to get the consent of everyone in the photographs they offer for licensing to publishers.

Fifi Youssef filed suit in a New York State court last week, claiming AP and Lennihan violated her rights of publicity under a state law that prohibits the use of anyone’s name, likeness or voice “for advertising purposes or the purposes of trade.”

According to the claim, Youssef was having coffee in a Starbucks coffee shop on December 16, 2015, wearing a hijab, when she was photographed without her knowledge by Lennihan. The picture shows Youssef staring downward at her cell phone.

Two days later, the image appeared for license on AP’s website, listed “as part of AP’s commerce trade,” according to the suit. Then, on December 21, The Washington Post published the photo as an illustration for an op-ed piece titled “As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the hijab in the name of interfaith solidarity.”

“Clearly, the article attacks [Youssef’s] fundamental beliefs,” Youssef’s lawsuit says.

Youssef says in her claim that AP’s “sale” [ie, licensing for fees] of images—including the image of her—amounts to commercial use, in violation of the state law. But she faces an uphill battle.

The focus of New York’s right of publicity law “on advertising and trade means that a use designed to solicit sales of products or services is forbidden,” says Harvard University’s Digital Media Law Project on its website. “But this category of advertising uses is somewhat narrow [and] contains a long list of exceptions, which include protections for professional photographers against suits by their subjects.”

Nancy Wolff, an intellectual property attorney in New York, says the ruling in the case of Foster v. Svenson established “that the First Amendment trumps privacy and that a license or sale does not make a use commercial.” In that case, New York courts rejected arguments that art photographer Arne Svenson was violating New York’s right of publicity law by offering unauthorized photographs of the plaintiffs for sale in an art gallery.

“I have argued many times that the aggregation, display and offering for sale of images is a right under copyright [law] and outside any state right of publicity law,” says Wolff, who is not involved with the Youssef case, though she has done work for AP in the past. “You only look at the end use to determine if the right of publicity is invoked. Any other position would interfere with the distribution and licensing of images [and] with first amendment uses…No book , magazine or art print could ever be sold without the subjects’ consent.”

Such a result, she notes, “would be absurd.”

Significantly, Youssef did not name the end user–The Washington Post–as a defendant in her lawsuit, because a mountain of case law has given news organizations wide berth to publish images of individuals without permission under a “newsworthiness” exception to New York’s right of publicity law.

Related:
Arne Svenson Exonerated on Appeal in Privacy Invasion Case (subscription required)

What Photographers Need to Know about Model Releases