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June 23rd, 2016

LOOK3: Chris Morris on Shooting War, Fashion and Politics

The candid conversation between Christopher Morris and MaryAnne Golon at the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Viriginia, highlighted the varied paths Morris’s career has taken, from documenting conflict and politics to shooting fashion, and the struggles photographers face in a changing industry. Morris, a founding member of the VII photo agency and contract photographer for TIME Magazine since 1990, and Golon, a former photo editor at TIME and now the Assistant Managing Editor and Director of Photography at the Washington Post, “grew up together in the industry,” she said.

Mesmerized as a boy by photographs of soldiers and death emerging from the Vietnam War, Morris was first taught to use a camera by his stepmother. While visiting his father, who was based in the Philippines as a contractor, Morris witnessed the press photographing the POWs who had been held in North Vietnam returning to Clark Air Base. The seed of his desire to become a photojournalist was firmly planted.

“I was always in pursuit of the ultimate conflict photography, basically pursuing the man with the gun,” said Morris of the years he spent covering conflict. “Eventually I started to realize I was pursuing a bunch of idiots with a gun.”

In 2000, on his sixth trip covering the conflict in Chechnya, Morris was nearly killed. In that moment, he told the audience, he realized that he hadn’t taken any pictures of his two-year-old daughter. “It became crystal clear to me that I didn’t want to do [conflict photography] anymore, that it was a very selfish profession, a profession that was driven by my own internal desires of wanting to experience man at his worst,” said Morris.

Having covered scenes of violence in Croatia, Bosnia and Chechnya, he said, “I basically started to hate mankind.”

He showed photos of a man cut to shreds in his vegetable garden by a piece of metal falling from the sky, and 4-year-old boy with his throat slit open by shrapnel. Morris said, “These kind of pictures were more to shock my editors…it’s the stuff they won’t publish.”

Morris and Golon noted that magazines have to appeal to advertisers, “And they would never stand for some of these images to be published in the same place” as their ads, Golon noted.  Covering conflict “became my job, a way of paying my mortgage,” Morris said, “The pictures didn’t really change anything…In this country we sanitize war, we sanitize the true brutality of it.”

Morris told TIME he couldn’t cover war anymore. From 2000 to 2009, he was assigned to the White House. With editors from TIME in the room, he admitted that while on assignment he shoots 70 percent of his photos for himself and 30 percent for the client. “The problem with publications and media is that there is a certain product that they want and it does not usually fit what you want to carry on for your legacy,” Morris said. His solution? Once he felt he had want TIME needed, he made images for himself.

Morris said that the job as White House correspondent “terrified me because it was going to be photographing a man in a suit for the rest of my career.” He explained, “In conflict, we had such freedom, you go where you want, you wake up when you want, there’s no writer, there’s no editor, there’s no fixer. At the White House you’re told where to sit, where to stand, when to eat, when to go home, when to be there.”

An Italian fashion magazine contacted him around 2009 to shoot a story on retail store mannequins. “I thought well, I could photograph Republicans, so that’s how I got this.” He continued shooting fashion assignments for magazines and clothing companies for the next five years. Morris said, “the problem with this type of photography is that it goes against everything I had done in my career for 20 years. Everything is staged, everything is manipulated, everything is created, it’s the complete opposite of photojournalism, but I found it challenging and it was photography so I thought I would try it out.”

Today, Morris is primarily shooting celebrities: actresses Laetitia Casta and Selma Hayek, and the Princess of Monaco and her young family. Referring to the royal family, Morris said, “They brought me there to do their Christmas card, so now I’ve gone from war to being a baby photographer.”

“Are you always looking for a new way to see?” Golon asked near the end of the conversation. Morris said, “It’s like there are different ladders in life, if one isn’t working then I get on another.”

Of the work that first made his name and reputation, Morris said, “I still miss it. I still miss conflict photography.”

Speaking before an audience of photographers, Morris said, “I’m like everyone in this room trying to survive.” He said, “It’s an industry of constantly clinging on with your fingernails, finding jobs, having to wait 90 to 120 days to get people to pay, but I wouldn’t change it for anything because you’re not locked in an office. You see the world. You can hang with homeless people, you can hang with refugees, you can hang with presidents, you can hang with celebrities. There’s no other profession in the world that gives you that kind of life.”

What’s next for Morris? Golon asked. Without hesitation, he answered, “That’s a fantasy question, but I’d like to make a movie, a full documentary.”

—by Sarah Stacke

Related:
LOOK3: Doug Dubois on Creating Images “Based on a True Story”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 16th, 2016

Want to Make Virtual Reality? 6 Rules for Starting Out

Jenna Pirog, virtual reality editor for The New York Times Magazine

Jenna Pirog, virtual reality editor for The New York Times Magazine.

Photographers and filmmakers may imagine that virtual reality is “the next big thing,” but Jenna Pirog, virtual reality editor for The New York Times Magazine, warns that the technology is best suited to certain types of stories. “I get many pitches for VR films and most of them all sound like really great 2d docs or photo essays,” Pirog told an audience at the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph on Wednesday. Pirog  recommended one criteria to consider. “If you were bringing readers to this location to experience it first hand, would that help them understand it better? If the answer is no, then it might work better in other media.”

Pirog, speaking via Skype at a LOOK3 presentation on visual storytelling, offered her tips on what storytellers need to know to produce VR experiences. She says it took two months to make “The Displaced,” the first VR experience presented on The New York Times Magazine VR app in November. The experience took viewers to refugee camps in South Sudan, the Ukraine and Lebanon. The idea, she says, was to examine the issues facing the millions of displaced persons around the world by focusing on just three refugee children and using the technology of VR to help place viewers within the camps where the children are now living. Since the debut of “The Displaced,” the Times has produced eight VR experiences. “We managed to learn lessons along the way,” Pirog said. She presented the lessons as six rules for making successful VR.

Rule #1: You have to be into tech. Pirog said the equipment for making VR is ever changing. There are some cameras on the market that capture 360-degree images and are aimed at the consumer-level enthusiast (Pirog mentioned the Samsung Gear 360, priced at $350 ). Pirog said these cameras offered “a good place to start” to experiment, but noted that most VR is made with more expensive setups, usually using multiple GoPro cameras mounted on rigs to capture every angle on a scene. The post-production required to make seamless 360-footage is also labor-intensive, she noted. Currently, she said, most VR work is being done by production companies that have invested in or created their own rigs, and they are “hiring crews” to handle shooting and editing.

Rule # 2. Choose the right story. Pirog says that “The Displaced” was an attempt to give Times readers a more immersive and empathetic look at the lives of refugees than they could get through countless articles that had already been reported last year as waves of migrants fled conflicts around the world. In their VR production titled “Ten Shots Across the Border,” The Times used VR to go to the site on the Texas-Mexico border where a border patrol officer had shot and killed a teenager on the Mexico side of the fence. The VR experience allowed viewers to  look at the height and size of the border fence, and to consider allegations that the teenager had thrown rocks over the fence with the intent to harm border patrol officers. Pirog said this was “an attempt to use virtual reality in a more investigative way.”

Rule # 3. Place your camera and adjust your height to where your audience might stand. Pirog called this rule her “pet peeve.” In VR, the camera is a stand-in for the viewer’s eyes on the scene. “If it’s too high, readers feel like a seven-foot-tall giant.”

Rule #4. There is no longer a place for the filmmaker to stand. Pirog showed some behind-the-scenes footage of filmmakers setting up their camera rigs, turning the cameras on, then ducking, rolling or dashing to crouch behind the nearest sandbag, doorway or piece of furniture to avoid being caught on camera. “If there’s no place to hide, you become part of the story,” she noted.

Rule #5. Moving shots should be made with care and practice. In watching a VR experience, viewers move their heads to determine what they see. If the camera moves independently of the viewer, the effect can induce motion sickness. “I think it’s our responsibility not to make people sick watching our content,” said Pirog, who added that “If you can keep the camera very steady,” some panning shots can be used effectively without inducing nausea.

Rule #6. Audio is more important than the visual. Sounds alert the viewer where to turn to look for action. The Times is experimenting with 360-audio, which records live sounds from all around the environment where a camera is recording footage. The recording devices are expensive, and they are still experimenting to get the playback right, she said. “But done properly, it can feel very natural,” she added.

—by Holly Stuart Hughes

Related:

Should Photographers Jump on the Virtual Reality Bandwagon? (For PDN subscribers only.)

Five Technologies Shaping Photography and Filmmaking Today

GoPro’s Next Tricks: A Virtual Reality Rig and a Drone

April 18th, 2016

2016 Photography Pulitzers Go to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Thompson Reuters

Migrants arrive by Turkish cruise boat near village of Skala, Lesbos island Greece, Monday November, 16, 2015. The Turkish boat owner delivered some 150 persons to the Greek coast and tried to escape back to Turkey, he was arrested later in Turkish waters. Photo © Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times.

Migrants arrive by Turkish cruise boat near village of Skala, Lesbos island Greece, Monday November, 16, 2015.The Turkish boat owner delivered some 150 persons to the Greek coast and tried to escape back to Turkey, he was arrested later in Turkish waters. Photo © Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times.

Two photo teams have won Pulitzer Prizes for Breaking News Photography this year: one prize went to Mauricio Lima, Sergey Ponomarev, Tyler Hicks and Daniel Etter of The New York Times and the second went to the photography staff of Thompson Reuters. The Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography went to Jessica Rinaldi of The Boston Globe. The prizes were announced this afternoon at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York.

Lima, Ponomarev, Hicks and Etter were recognized for their work that captures the “resolve of refugees and the perils of their journeys, as well as the struggles of host countries to take them in,” according to the Pulitzer citation.

Thompson Reuters has been recognized for its photographs that follow migrant refugees hundreds of miles across uncertain boundaries to unknown destinations, the Pulitzer Board noted.

© Jessica Rinaldi for The Boston Globe

© Jessica Rinaldi for The Boston Globe

Rinaldi won the Feature Photography prize for her story about a boy who “strives to find his footing after abuse by those he trusted.” The finalist for the award was the Photography Staff of The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Pulitzer Committee says that it received more 1,100 journalism entries for this year’s prizes.

Related: 2015 Photography Pulitzers Go to Daniel Berehulak, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Staff (for PDN subscribers)

How Winning a Pulitzer Changed Deanne Fitzmaurice’s Career

Josh Haner, Tyler Hicks Win 2014 Pulitzer Prizes for Photography

April 15th, 2016

How Winning Three Pulitzers Changed William Snyder’s Career

From William Snyder's Pulitzer Prize-winning story about subhuman conditions in Romanian orphanages. ©William Snyder

From William Snyder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story about subhuman conditions in Romanian orphanages. ©William Snyder

In anticipation of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize announcements on Monday, we talked to photographers who have won in the past about how the prize affected their careers. Today, William Snyder talks about his experience as a three-time Pulitzer winner during his tenure as a staff photographer at the Dallas Morning News. In 1989, he shared the prize for Explanatory Journalism with two colleagues. In 1991, he won the Feature Photography prize for his story about children living in subhuman conditions in Romanian orphanages. He shared the 1993 prize for Spot News with colleague Ken Geiger for their coverage of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Snyder also led the Dallas Morning News photo team that won 2006 Breaking News Photography prize for coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Snyder is currently chair of the photojournalism program at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

PDN: What went through your mind the first time you won a Pulitzer?
William Snyder: I was really excited. It’s one of those things you dream of. My little tiny disappointment was that it wasn’t in photography, but that’s just being selfish.

PDN: How did the subsequent wins compare?
WS: The [second] one was for a story I did on Romanian orphans that was near and dear to my heart, that I really worked hard on, and it was all my story. I could die happy. I felt like I accomplished something.

William Snyder, in his "lucky" Pulitzer shirt, celebrates in 2006 with the Dallas Morning News photo team that won the prize for Breaking News Photography. ©Mei-Chun Jau/Dallas Morning News

William Snyder, in his “lucky” Pulitzer shirt, celebrates with the Dallas Morning News photo team that won the 2006 prize for Breaking News Photography. ©Mei-Chun Jau/Dallas Morning News

PDN: Does winning the Pulitzer go to your head–not your head, of course, but a photographer’s head?
WS: On the eve of winning the first one, I was talking to the executive editor. He said to me, “Grace and humility William, after this happens.” I said, “If you’re worried about that, I can’t be any bigger of an asshole than I already am.”

We all know stories that have been great, and photographs that have been fantastic, that haven’t won. Is there luck involved? Are there things that are out of your control that are involved? Absolutely.  What I learned was:  You don’t rest on your laurels. You’ve got to keep working, day in and day out.

PDN: Is there a burden to winning?
WS: I’ve heard of people who win once and they’re frozen, because they’re so afraid that everyone’s going to be looking at them to produce something of Pulitzer quality every time they walk out the gate. There’s only a burden if you let there be a burden.

PDN: Did you always dream of winning the Pulitzer? Was that the Holy Grail for you?
WS: It wasn’t the Holy Grail, but it was pretty close. I never won Photographer of the Year in POY. This is the sick thing about me: I feel incomplete because I never won that. That should tell you about me: I was never satisfied. That’s the kind of person I am. [As journalists] we want to do great work, but we want the medals, because the medals live even longer than the great work.

PDN: What do you mean?
WS: There are people who you know as “Pulitzer Prize winner” and you have never seen their work. You’ve never read their book, seen their play, heard their music, but you see that phrase, and you know they’re good.

PDN: Is the Pulitzer as coveted as it used to be, after the decimation of the newspaper business? Does it have the cache that it used to?
WS: I think more so now. [Now] it’s difficult to win for a picture you happen upon. Most Pulitzers now are for involved stories, whether they’re news or features, right? So if you win a Pulitzer now, you’ve put in the time. You’ve done a great story. In an age when many media companies say “good enough is good enough,” the Pulitzer is still the high water mark, the beacon.

PDN: Did anything change for you after you won?
WS: The first one, absolutely not.

PDN: How about the second one?
WS: There were a ton of offers for lectures, workshops and freelance gigs. My boss just said, “Do ‘em.” Also it was the main reason I was accepted as a Michigan Journalism Fellow (now called the Knight-Wallace Fellowships) and why I was chosen as the inaugural James Burke Fellow.

Things really changed after I won the third Pulitzer. My boss and I got along better. There wasn’t this constant conflict. I just wanted to be able to work. That was the best thing about it: Just to be able to do the work, and be supported. From 1993 to 1998, when I stopped shooting, those were the four or five best years of my career because I was supported and listened to. Did I get what I wanted all the time? Absolutely not.

PDN: Why did you give up the shooting?
WS: There was no one reason. I was traveling a lot back then. I was getting burnout, and I had two young boys I wanted to see grow up and spend some time with. I got to the point where I saw nothing on the horizon—no story that I wanted to do–and my boss was pushing me to be an editor.

PDN: What’s your advice to this year’s Pulitzer winners?
WS: Enjoy it, and then go back to work. If you watch the end of Patton [1971 Oscar winner for Best Picture], he’s talking about how in the old days, there’d be this great parade, and the triumphant warrior would come in with the adjutant standing behind [him], holding the golden crown over his head, and whispering in his ear, “All glory is fleeting.” And that’s it: Enjoy it, and then you gotta go back to work.

Related:
How Winning a Pulitzer Changed Deanne Fitzmaurice’s Career

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.