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May 27th, 2014

Photojournalist and Translator Killed in Eastern Ukraine; 1 Photographer Injured in Mortar Attack

Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli, and his Russian interpreter, Andrei Mironov, were killed May 25 by mortar fire near Slavyansk in the Eastern Ukraine, the Italian foreign ministry reported.

They had been covering fighting between pro-Russian rebels and government forces in the region. William Roguelon, a French photojournalist who was  traveling with Rocchelli and Mironov, told news organizations that they came under mortar fire and had taken shelter in a ditch when they were hit. Roguelon is now recovering from injuries sustained in the attack.

Rocchelli, 30, had previously covered stories in the Caucuses, Afghanistan, India, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, the NPPA reports. This year, he covered the protests in Kiev’s Maidan Square. In 2008, Rochelli cofounded the photo collective Cesura. He is survived by his girlfriend and their son, age 3.

Mironov, 60, was a human rights activist who had been imprisoned as a dissident during the Soviet regime.

May 20th, 2014

Open Society, Smith Memorial Fund, Burn Magazine, Boulat Association Calling for Grant Applications

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund,  Open Society Foundations, Association Pierre et Alexandra Boulat, and Burn Magazine are all soliciting applications for major photojournalism grants. Deadlines are fast approaching.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund has issued its last call for entries for its $30,000 Grant in Humanistic Photography. There is a $50 application fee, and the deadline for entries is May 31.

The grant is awarded annually to a photographer whose past work and proposed project follows the documentary tradition of legendary photojournalist W. Eugene Smith. Recent winners include Robin Hammond, Peter van Agtmael, and Krisanne Johnson.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial fund is also calling for entries for the $5,000 Howard Chapnick Grant, which is awarded for education, research, or special projects undertaken in support of the field of photojournalism. Applications for that grant are due July 15, and there is no application fee. See smithfund.org for full details.

The Association Pierre et Alexandra Boulat, based in Paris, has put out a call for entries for the 8,000 euro (about $11,000) Pierre & Alexandra Boulat Grant for photojournalism. The grant is given “in order to allow the winner to produce a story that has never been told but that the photographer cannot find support for within the media,” the association says on its web site. Past winners include Arnau Bach, Maciek Nabrdalik, and Lizzie Saadin.

Applications are due by June 7. There is no application fee. See the association’s web site for an application and guidelines.

The Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project is soliciting proposals for its 2014 Audience Engagement Grant program. The grants, in varying amounts, are designed to help documentary photographers and photo-based artists use their work to affect change by engaging with NGO partners to reach targeted audiences. The deadline for applications is July 8, 2014.

For the first time, OSF is awarding Audience Engagement Grants for training workshops, to help applicants develop their projects, as well as grants for project implementation. See the OSF web site for additional details and application guidelines.

Burn Magazine has announced a call for entries for its $10,000 Emerging Photographer Fund grant. There is a $25 application fee, and the deadline for entries is July 31. The grant, initiated in 2008 by Burn magazine founder David Alan Harvey, is intended to support the continuation of the winners’ personal projects. Past winners have included Diana Markosian, Matt Lutton, and Davide Monteleone. More information is available on the Burn magazine web site.

Related:

Open Society Announces 2013 Audience Engagement Grant Winners
Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Joseph Rodriguez on the Audience Engagement Grant (PDN subscription required)
Robin Hammond Wins $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Fund Grant

May 14th, 2014

Kidnapped, Beaten, and Shot in Syria, Photographer and Writer Manage to Escape

Photographer Jack Hill and reporter Anthony Lloyd of The Times of London escaped to Turkey after they were kidnapped, beaten and shot by a rebel gang in Syria, the newspaper has reported.

The two journalists had been in Aleppo accompanied by bodyguards, and were returning to Turkey when their car was forced off the road and they were taken hostage by about seven men.

Hill was forced into the trunk of a car, and “savagely beaten” when he tried to escape, The Times reported. Lloyd was held in the back seat of the car, and was shot twice in the leg during the ordeal.

The two journalists eventually fled to safety in Turkey, although details about how they escaped were not immediately available.

Related:
Spanish Journalists Freed After 194 Days in Captivity in Syria
Freelance Photographer Killed in Syria

May 6th, 2014

New Free Web Service Claims to Offer Solution to Runaway Image Fakery

San Jose-based Fourandsix Technologies has announced plans to capitalize on “a growing distrust of manipulated images” with the launch of new forensic tool “to prove that hosted photos have not been modified with Photoshop or other tools,” according to a press release.

The tool is available for free to individual users at izitru.com. A developer API making it possible to integrate the photo authentication software into any website is available to third parties for a fee.

“Viewers are unsure of what to trust, whether they’re looking at a selfie on Facebook, an item for sale on eBay, or a dramatic storm cloud photo on Twitter,” the company says in its announcement.

The izitru.com website prompts users to upload their JPEG images, which are then subjected to six different forensic tests to distinguish original camera files from “subsequent derivations”–ie, files altered with Photoshop or other tools.  “Images that pass all six of these tests get the highest trust rating,” the company says in its announcement.

One of our first questions was, Can this tool be used to determine the authenticity of images already posted online–such as winners of major awards in photojournalism contests, or any other news images, for that matter? (more…)

May 1st, 2014

George Steinmetz Wonders: Was It Worth Getting Arrested for National Geographic Cover Story Photos?

Brookover Ranch Feed Yard near Garden City, Kansas, with adjacent crop circles of grain used to fatten cattle. © 2014 George Steinmetz/National Geographic

A picture worth being arrested for? Brookover Ranch Feed Yard near Garden City, Kansas, with adjacent crop circles of grain used to fatten cattle.                © 2014 George Steinmetz/National Geographic

This month’s cover story of National Geographic, about how to meet growing worldwide demand for food, is the story that got photographer George Steinmetz in trouble last June, and he’s still stinging from the experience.

Caught in the political crossfire between animal rights activists and agribusiness interests trying to make it illegal to photograph factory farm operations, he wound up in jail in Kansas while on assignment to shoot the story, called “The New Food Revolution.”

“It was quite a surprise to me,” says Steinmetz, who is renowned for the beautiful aerial landscapes he shoots all over the world, and who is used to encounters with authorities. “I’ve been detained in Iran and Yemen, and questioned about spying, but never arrested. And then I get thrown in jail in America.” (more…)

April 29th, 2014

ICP Celebrates Infinity Award Winners (Recap and Video Links)

Last night the International Center of Photography honored photographers working in photojournalism, fine-art and fashion at the 30th annual Infinity Awards. The awards were inaugurated in 1985 as a way to recognize outstanding achievements by photographers working in various genres within the medium.

It was the first Infinity Awards ceremony for new ICP director Mark Lubell, who promised the crowd that the organization would remain at the “center of the conversation” about the medium. Perhaps as a way to illustrate that point, ICP arranged for a drone to photograph partygoers during the cocktail hour, then put those photographs on-screen at the beginning of the ceremony.

The Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement Award was given to German-born photographer Jürgen Schadeberg, who as an expatriate in South Africa during Apartheid, made some of the most famous images of Nelson Mandela, and encouraged black South African journalists to pick up cameras and tell their stories.

James Welling was honored for his contribution to fine-art photography; Steven Klein for fashion; Stephanie Sinclair and Jessica Dimmock were honored for photojournalism; Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin were honored for their publication Holy Bible; and Samuel A. James received the Young Photographer award.

Sinclair and Dimmock received a standing ovation from the crowd for their work documenting the practice of child marriage and its effects on adolescent girls, their families and their communities. The project, “Too Young To Wed,” is a decade-long pursuit for Sinclair that has spawned a non-profit that she hopes will help young girls and communities do away with the practice of child marriage.

Samuel A. James, who in his young career has worked extensively in Nigeria documenting the impact of oil extraction on the culture—including photographing the illegal tapping of oil pipelines and makeshift refining operations by impoverished Nigerians—thanked the Nigerians who “gifted me these stories” during a short acceptance speech. James also dedicated the award to a friend who was killed in an explosion while attempting to refine black-market crude oil.

In accepting the Publication award for their book Holy Bible, for which they combined the King James Bible with images from the Archive of Modern Conflict, Broomberg and Chanarin called the book their “attempt to somehow illustrate this text,” and said they hoped it would be an invitation to others to make their own attempts. They also paid tribute to their publisher, Michael Mack for his production of the book, and to the Queen of England, who owns the copyright to the King James Bible.

In a slightly incongruous presentation, pop star Brooke Candy spoke about Steven Klein and introduced a high-octane video that reviewed much of Klein’s work. The fashion photographer briefly thanked the crowd after noting that, “photography pretty much saved my life.”

MediaStorm produced short documentary films about all of the recipients except Klein. Watch those films on the MediaStorm site here.

Related: Tour de Force: James Welling’s Artistic Versatility
Best Photo Books of 2013

April 24th, 2014

Tyler Hicks Wins Robert Capa Gold Medal Award

A Westgate mall visitor shelters children during an attack by Somali gunmen last September. ©Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

A Westgate mall visitor shelters children during an attack by Somali gunmen last September. ©Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Tyler Hicks of The New York Times has won the 2013 Robert Capa Gold Medal Award for his coverage of the attack last September on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, the Overseas Press Club (OPC) has announced.

Continue reading at PDNonline.com.

Related:
Josh Haner, Tyler Hicks Win 2014 Pulitzer Prizes for Photography

April 24th, 2014

Exhibition in Bangladesh Remembers Garment Workers Who Died Tragically

lives-not-numbers-pulse

Photo © Taslima Akhter

A group exhibition currently open through the end of this week at the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute remembers the 1,134 garment workers who died on April 24, 2013 when Rana Plaza collapsed after years of neglect. The show, “1134—Lives Not Numbers,” was curated by Mahbubur Rahman and Munem Wasif, and includes contributions by photographers, performance artists, actors and others.

“Through the photographs of the needless deaths, through performance art reflecting the sorrow of the deprived, [the exhibition] attempts to leave a lasting mark on our collective psyche,” writes Pathshala founder Shahidul Alam about the exhibition.

The effort reminds us that our own understanding of this event has been heightened by the work of photographers like Taslima Akhter, whose photo of bodies in the rubble became famous around the world, and Abir Abdullah, whose project, “Deathtrap,” on the ongoing dangers of the garment factories in which millions of Bangladeshis work, won an Alexia Foundation grant.

Visit Alam’s blog to read more about this exhibition and check out a schedule of events.

April 24th, 2014

If Photography Is Not a Crime, When Will Police Get the Message?

In February, just as the City of Baltimore was hammering out a legal settlement to end police interference with photographers, Baltimore police forcibly removed a Baltimore Sun photo editor from the scene of a shooting on a public street. That action underscored a seemingly intractable problem: getting the message to rank-and-file police officers that people have a constitutional right to photograph police carrying out their duties in public.

Judges have repeatedly thrown out criminal charges against photographers arrested while photographing police activities in public. Cities have had to pay to settle claims of civil rights violations stemming from some of the arrests. The City of Boston, for instance, agreed in 2012 to pay $170,000 to settle a videographer’s civil rights claims over his arrest for videotaping police arresting another person on the Boston Common. Baltimore ended up paying $250,000 as part of its recent settlement with Christopher Sharp, who alleged that police erased the videos on his iPhone after detaining him for using the iPhone to record the arrest and beating of another person.

And yet the incidents of police interference with photographers continue apace. No sooner is one case settled, when another incident or claim pops up.

“It certainly is like playing a game of whack-a-mole,” says attorney Mickey Osterreicher of the National Press Photographers Association. (more…)

April 17th, 2014

Baltimore To Pay $250K for Videos Deleted by Police: A Vindication of Photographers’ Rights

Christopher Sharp, plaintiff in Sharp v. Baltimore City Police Department

Christopher Sharp, plaintiff in Sharp v. Baltimore City Police Department (source: ACLU video)

The City of Baltimore and its police department have agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a claim of unlawful seizure and destruction of cell phone videos that belonged to a citizen who allegedly recorded police arresting and beating another person.

Police have admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed as part of the settlement to issue a written apology to Christopher Sharp, the plaintiff in the case.

In addition, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD)  has agreed to adopt a comprehensive and detailed written policy intended to protect the rights of citizens to photograph and record police activity from anywhere those citizens have a legal right to be, without interference or intimidation from police. (more…)