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May 28th, 2015

Photographer Cotton Coulson Dies in Diving Accident on National Geographic Expedition

Cotton Coulson ©Doug Menuez

Cotton Coulson ©Doug Menuez

Photographer Cotton Coulson, a former National Geographic contributor and Baltimore Sun DOP, died yesterday as a result of a diving accident last Sunday, according to NPPA‘s News Photographer magazine. He was 60 years old.

Coulson was participating as an instructor in a 17-day National Geographic adventure photography workshop in Norway when the accident occurred. According to the NPPA report, Coulson signaled trouble to a diving partner, who then dragged him to the surface of the water. The diving partner administered CPR, and rescue workers were able to re-start Coulson’s heart, but he never regained consciousness. He died at a hospital in Tromsø, Norway.

“We are devastated,” says photographer Doug Menuez, who along with his wife was close friends with Coulson and his wife, former National Geographic photographer Sisse Brimberg. Menuez remembers Coulson as an iconoclast “with a wicked sense of humor,” and adds, “Cotton wasn’t blowing his own horn. He was content to do excellent work, and let it speak for itself.

“It’s heartbreaking to think he’s gone.”

A National Geographic spokesperson told PDN that the publisher will soon issue a statement about Coulson’s death.

Coulson began contributing to National Geographic in 1975, after graduating from film school at New York University. He was hired as a contract photographer the following year, and produced more than a dozen stories for the magazine.

Around 1987, he became associate director of photography at US News & World Report, and several years later, joined The Baltimore Sun as Director of Photography.

In the mid 1990s, Coulson relocated to San Francisco, where he was senior VP/Product Development at CNET. About a decade ago, he and Brimberg moved to Copenhagen, and founded a production company called Keenpress. They produced photography and films about travel, climate issues, the environment and other subjects for various media outlets and corporations.

In addition to his wife, Coulson is survived by his son Calder and daughter Saskia, as well as by his sister and his mother.

May 14th, 2015

How Greg Constantine Keeps a Human Rights Story in the Public Eye, and the News Cycle

An outdoor exhibition of Greg Constantine's photographs in the Plaine de Plainpalais park in central Geneva. Photo courtesy Greg Constantine.

An outdoor exhibition of Greg Constantine’s photographs in the Plaine de Plainpalais park in central Geneva. Photo courtesy Greg Constantine.

For more than a decade, photographer Greg Constantine has worked to document the lives of stateless people—people who have no nationality and are denied basic human rights—in places such as Sri Lanka, Kenya, Malaysia and Ukraine. Constantine has also photographed Burma’s Rohingya Muslims, hundreds of thousands of whom live as refugees in Bangladesh, who are trapped “in a cycle of misery that has no borders,” he writes in a statement about his work.

Creating photographs is just the start for Constantine. By exhibiting his work in cities all over the world, and by engaging with universities and non-governmental organizations, Constantine has developed a unique and effective approach to building an audience for a serious topic.

Developing new methods for getting his work out is essential, says Constantine, who is exhibiting his Rohingya photographs through May 28 at PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, and is participating in a panel discussion about Burma and the Rohingya at the Open Society Foundations on May 18. Traditional media outlets tend only to cover the plight of the Rohingya during tragedies. In the past two weeks, the Rohingya have been in the news because a mass grave was discovered at a human trafficking camp in Thailand, while other traffickers, fearing a crackdown, abandoned trafficking boats, stranding thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshis at sea, prompting global media coverage. “Whenever something really tragic happens it pops up in the news and then it just kind of evaporates,” Constantine notes. (more…)

May 14th, 2015

Federal Judge Sanctions City of Atlanta for Continuing to Violate Photographers’ Rights

In the wake of recent violations of news photographers’ rights by Atlanta police, a US federal court judge has held the City of Atlanta in contempt of a 2012 court order to reduce interference with citizens documenting police activity.

US District court judge Steve Jones handed down the civil contempt ruling against the city yesterday, and imposed sanctions intended to force compliance with the 2012 order and “address future monitoring of [Atlanta’s] compliance with the order.” (more…)

May 7th, 2015

Getty Images and Instagram Launch $10K Social Media Photo Grant

Photographers who use Instagram to document and share stories of underrepresented communities are eligible for a new $10,000 grant announced today by Getty Images and Instagram.

According to an announcement from Instagram, the judges will pick three winners based on “the existing body of work represented on their Instagram account, focusing on the quality of their imagery, their photographic skills and on the project and stories told through their photos.”

“Photographers in all corners of the world use the Instagram platform to share unique and authentic stories that otherwise rarely come into focus,” Getty’s senior director of content partnerships Elodie Malliet Storm said in a statement.

“This grant captures the global enthusiasm from photographers to continue to push their craft to new levels,” added Instagram community director Amanda Kelso.

In addition to the grant money, the work of the winners will be shown at the Photoville photography festival in September in New York City. Winners will also receive mentorship from a Getty Images photographer.

The grant boasts a distinguished list of judges. They are: TIME magazine director of photography Kira Pollack; photographer Malin Fezehai; photographer Maggie Steber; photographer and National Geographic Fellow David Guttenfelder; and photographer and @EverdayIran co-founder Ramin Talaie.

Applications will be accepted through June 4, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. GMT. Getty and Instagram also released a hashtag to help spread work of the grant: #GettyImagesInstagramGrant.

For more information or to apply, visit: www.gettyimages.com/grants

Related: PDN’s 30: Malin Fezehai
PPE 2014: Leading The Revolution in Smartphone Photography
Why TIME Chose an Amateur Photographer’s Image for Its Cover
Q&A: Instagram Editorial Director Pamela Chen
Maidan Moment: Anastasia Taylor-Lind’s Book of Portraits From Kiev

April 20th, 2015

South African Photographer’s Images of Attack on Immigrant Lead to Arrests

© Sunday Times/timeslive.co.za

© Sunday Times/timeslive.co.za

James Oatway, a photographer with the Sunday Times of South Africa, managed to capture a mob of men fatally attacking a Mozambique man on April 18 in Alexandra township. Oatway’s photos, published on the front page of the Times yesterday, lead to the arrest of three suspects, according to the newspaper. Another suspect is still being sought, and local police have offered a reward of 100,000 Rand for help finding him. Oatway, a veteran photojournalist who has covered stories in Central African Republic, Congo, Haiti and South Africa, had gone to Alexandra to cover the looting of immigrant-owned businesses that broke out two weeks ago.

Though Oatway sought medical attention for the victim, Emmanuel Sithole, the photographer has had to answer questions about his actions in the midst of the attack.

Oatway told the BBC that he saw a man wielding a monkey wrench knock Sithole to the ground and beat him. Oatway ran closer to get photos. When Sithole managed to stand, a man with a knife ran up and stabbed him repeatedly.

Oatway says the attack lasted “two minutes.” After Sithole collapsed, Oatway got the bleeding-but-still-conscious man into his car and drove him to a nearby clinic where he was told they couldn’t treat him. According to the Times, the clinic’s only doctor, a foreigner, had stayed away out of fear of xenophobic violence. When Oatway reached a hospital, medical professionals tried to perform CPR on Sithole but “they declared him dead,” Oatway says. “I really wish we could have saved him,” Oatway told the BBC.

Sithole was identified by the cellphone found in his pocket.

The government of South Africa has reported that over 300 people have been arrested in connection with the looting and violence against immigrants from across Africa.

April 16th, 2015

Kevin Frayer Wins Fourth Annual Getty Images & Chris Hondros Fund Award

©Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

©Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Kevin Frayer has been named winner of the 2015 Getty Images and Chris Hondros Fund (CHF) Award of $20,000, and Diana Markosian has won the $5,000 emerging photojournalist award, the photo agency announced today. Both photographers are represented by Getty. They will receive their awards April 30 at a reception in New York City.

CHF was established to support the work of photojournalists whose work reflects the legacy and vision of Hondros, who was killed in 2011 while on assignment covering the Libyan civil war. The three previous CHF Award winners were Daniel Berehulak, Andrea Bruce, and Tomás Munita.

Frayer, a Canadian photojournalist based in Beijing, has documented conflict throughout the Middle East, and currently covers stories in Asia. “I aspire to use this opportunity to create meaningful photography that would move Chris in the same way his images reached me and so many others,” Frayer said in a prepared statement.

Markosian, a Moscow-born photographer and 2014 PDN’s 30, has shot assignments for National Geographic, The New York Times and other publications. She has completed several long-term projects, including “Inventing My Father,”  a widely acclaimed work about reconnecting with her estranged father.

“Chris encouraged me to take a chance on myself, to find my own way,” she says in a prepared statement.

Jurors included Getty Images Vice President for News Pancho Bernasconi, New York Times photographer Todd Heisler, freelance photojournalist Jeff Swensen and CHF Board President Christina Piaia.

Related Articles
Daniel Berehulak to Receive Getty Images  & Chris Hondros Fund Award

Tim Hetherington, Chris Hondros: Remembering Them as They Lived

April 15th, 2015

Åsa Sjöström, Amirtharaj Stephen Win 6th Annual Activist Awards

From "The Secret Camps." ©Åsa Sjöström

From “The Secret Camps.” ©Åsa Sjöström

Åsa Sjöström has won the $15,000 Activist Award for professional photographers, while Amirtharaj Stephen has won the $5,000 award for emerging photographers, Catchlight has announced.

Formerly known as PhotoPhilanthropy, Catchlight sponsors the Activist Awards to recognize photographic excellence in service of NGOs addressing a variety of social issues.

Sjöström’s winning essay, called The Secret Camps, explores the issue of domestic violence through her images of women and children taking temporary refuge in summer camps operated by the Women’s Rights Association of Malmö, Sweden. “I want to create awareness and also to induce a genuine situation between me and the people in my photographs,” the photographer told Catchlight.

In a prepared statement about this year’s award winners, jurors praised Sjöström’s project for a “visually distinctive approach” that captures a transformational time for victims of domestic violence and that “brings attention to an issue that affects women and children all over the world.”

Finalists for the professional prize were Annalisa Natali Murri and Sergi Camara. (more…)

April 7th, 2015

Photojournalist Andy Spyra Deported from Turkey on Allegations He’s a Jihadist

Photojournalist Andy Spyra was barred from entering Turkey on March 28 because Turkish authorities suspected he was an Islamic militant, according to press reports. Spyra, who was on assignment for Der Spiegel, was stopped at an Istanbul airport, searched, detained and deported to Germany the next day. While in Turkish custody, the German General Consulate protested his detention and attempted to explain that he was a journalist.

Spyra, selected for PDN‘s 30 in 2010, has covered Afghanistan, Egypt, the Syrian refugee crisis, fighting in the Kurdish region of Syria and, last fall, Iraqi Christians currently fighting the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He was on his way to Turkey to work on a Der Spiegel story about the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

According to a post on Spyra’s Facebook page dated March 29, he was stopped at immigration at Sabiha Gökcen Airport in Istanbul and questioned for only an hour, while police looked through photos on his phone and went through his luggage. They then returned his phones, but informed him that he would be deported in the morning. He spent the night in what he calls “a cell.” When he arrived in Dusseldorf the next day, German federal police told him that Turkish authorities had reported he had been deported because he was carrying “military-style equipment.” According to Spyra’s Facebook post, “the military equipment in question” was his camera dust-blower, army-style boots and khaki-colored clothing.

That Spyra was covering the anniversary of the Armenian genocide appears not to have been a factor, but Turkey has for decades officially denied that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Turkey at the end of World War I constituted genocide.

According to Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey currently ranks tenth in the world among the worst jailers of journalists. Last year, Der Spiegel pulled its reporter in Turkey after he received death threats over his reporting on a mine collapse that killed 301 miners in Turkey.  Last year the country banned access to Twitter ahead of national elections in March 2014.

In his Facebook post, Spyra advises other photographers who want to cover Turkey: “delete questionable images on your phone, anything that COULD potentially be read and seen in a military context.” He adds, “They WON’T listen to you and don’t give a shit about your papers and press-credentials and whatever else you may carry.”

April 7th, 2015

Revenues for Thomas Franklin’s 9/11 Image Top $1 Million

Thomas Franklin’s iconic 9/11 photograph has generated $1 million in revenues to date, according to court papers recently filed in connection with a copyright infringement claim over the photograph. It is unclear whether Franklin has benefited financially from the famous photo.

The picture shows three firefighters raising the American flag over the site of World Trade Center after it was destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Franklin shot the image as an employee of The Bergen Record, making the photograph a work for hire. As a result, the copyright owner is North Jersey Media Group (NJMG), which owns The Bergen Record.

The revenue information was disclosed in the case of NJMG v. Jeanine Pirro and Fox News Network. NJMG had sued for copyright infringement in US District Court in New York over Fox News’s unauthorized use of the photo on a blog promoting a TV program hosted by Pirro. Fox argued unsuccessfully that its use of the image didn’t cut into NJMG’s revenues from licensing the image.

The court papers say that licensing of the photograph peaked in the period between 2002 and 2004, but has continued over time. Between January 2013 and June 2014–an 18-month period–licensing revenues totaled $10,221.71 for editorial uses of the image, and $4,698.91 for commercial uses. That averages out to revenues of less than $1,000 per month for the period. (more…)

March 24th, 2015

Heidi Levine Wins First Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award

American photojournalist Heidi Levine has won the first Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism award, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has announced. The $20,000 prize was established in memory of Niedringhaus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer who was killed while covering the elections in Afghanistan in 2014.

Levine, who lives in Jerusalem, has covered the ongoing conflict in Gaza. ““Her courage and commitment to the story in Gaza is unwavering. She documents tragic events under dire circumstances while displaying a depth of compassion for the people she encounters,” the jury wrote in a statement announcing the award. (more…)