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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…)

March 6th, 2015

Feds to Pay Toledo Blade $18,000 Over Arrest of Photographer, Reporter

The federal government has agreed to pay The Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio $18,000 to settle a lawsuit over the detention of two journalists last year at a military tank plant, the Associated Press reports.

In settling the case, the government admitted no wrongdoing. And the newspaper agreed not to publish photos the journalists took of the plant on the day they were detained, the AP report says. (more…)

March 5th, 2015

DOJ Report Blasts Ferguson Police for First Amendment Violations

Ferguson, Missouri, police officers “frequently infringe on residents’ First Amendment rights, interfering with their right to record police activities and making enforcement decisions based on the content of individuals’ expression,” according to a report released yesterday by the US Department of Justice.

The DOJ report, titled Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department (FPD), says “FPD engages in a pattern of First Amendment violations.” The investigation was  conducted by the DOJ’s civil rights division in response to citizen complaints and civil unrest in Ferguson following the police shooting death last year of Michael Brown.

The DOJ says in the report that FPD arrests citizens “for a variety of protected conduct,” including talking back to officers, recording public police activities, and lawful protest.

The report cites a number of examples, including several involving recent arrests of citizens who recorded–or attempted to record–police carrying out their duties in public. (more…)

March 4th, 2015

World Press Photo Disqualifies Controversial Prize Winner

After questions over whether Giovanni Troilo staged this image, new questions arise about his "Dark Heart of Europe" project.

After questions over whether Giovanni Troilo staged this image, new questions arise about his “Dark Heart of Europe” project.

World Press Photo has revoked a prize awarded last month to photographer Giovanni Troilo, on the grounds that Troilo’s entry “was not in compliance with the entry rules,” according to an announcement on the World Press Photo web site. (more…)

March 3rd, 2015

Controversial World Press Photo Winner Under New Scrutiny Today (Update)

After questions over whether Giovanni Troilo staged this image, new questions arise about his "Dark Heart of Europe" project.

© Giovanni Troilo. After questions over whether Troilo staged this image, new questions arise about the integrity of his “Dark Heart of Europe” project.

Photographer Giovanni Troilo’s controversial prize-winning entry to the World Press Photo competition is under new scrutiny today because of reports that Troilo did not shoot one of the images where he said he shot it, according to Lars Boering, Managing Director of World Press Photo.

Troilo had said his project, “The Dark Heart of Europe,” winner of 1st prize stories in the Contemporary Issues category, was shot in Charleroi, a town near Brussels.

But a journalist investigating the project in the wake of controversy it has generated has reported that one of the images was shot in Brussels, which is 50 km from Carhleroi.

“There’s new information out now that one photo was shot 50 kilometers away from Charleroi,” Boering says. Bruno Stevens, a Belgian photojournalist,  announced the finding on his Facebook page.

“Of course this is going to be looked at again,” says Boering, who has been on the hot seat for several days over the controversy surrounding the Troilo project and prize. (more…)

March 3rd, 2015

Ukrainian Photojournalist Serhiy Nikolayev Killed During Ceasefire

Photojournalist Serhiy Nikolayev was killed Saturday by a mortar shell near the village of Pesky, Ukraine, Reuters reports. The wire agency cited online reports from Sevodnya—the Ukranian daily newspaper for whom Nikolayev was shooting—that there had been artillery fire directed at Pesky, which is northwest of the rebel-held city of Donetsk. Nikolayev had been on assignment with his colleague Bodgan Rossinsky, Sevodnya reports. Rossinksy was not seriously injured.

According to Reuters, the shelling took place even though a ceasefire had been in place since February 15, when government troops and rebel forces pulled “heavy weapons” from the frontline. Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, says he will introduce a bill to parliament to formally request deployment of U.N. peacekeepers to monitor the ceasefire.

The Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ) called yesterday for the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists to ensure the safety of journalists covering the conflict in east Ukraine, following Nikolayev’s death. Nikolayev’s editor, Olga Guk, called him “the bravest of professionals” in a statement.

March 2nd, 2015

PDN Video: Ruddy Roye on Instagram, Storytelling, and Risking the “Angry Black Man” Label

Photographer Ruddy Roye has attracted 116,000 Instagram followers despite–or perhaps because of–his gritty, difficult subject matter and the long captions he posts to help humanize his subjects. Using Instagram largely as a tool of social activism, Roye draws attention to racial and economic injustice primarily in New York City, and often in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he lives. “A lack of black images [and] black photographers has created this void for people like me,” says Roye, who was born and raised in Jamaica. “Instagram has allowed me a light that didn’t exist before.” In this video, he explains how he found his Instagram voice, and discusses the professional risks he is taking by refusing to look away and remain silent.

Q&A: Instagram Editorial Director Pamela Chen

February 18th, 2015

Gerd Ludwig Wins POYi’s Best Photo Book of the Year Award

Gerd Ludwig has won the 2015 POYi Best Photo Book of the Year honors for The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, his book about the lingering environmental, social, and economic consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The award, part of the Reportage Division of the POYi competition, was announced on the POYi web site.

Ludwig’s book stands out as a case study in the challenges of photo book publishing. Not only did he pursue the project at great personal risk, as he explained in this PDN video interview last year, but he struggled to find support. He undertook two separate Kickstarter campaigns to fund his travel to Chernobyl, as well as the printing and distribution of the book.

Gerd Ludwig: The Long Shadow of Chernobyl from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

The project dates back to 1993, when Ludwig first visited Chernobyl while working on a story for National Geographic. “From that point on, I always wanted to return,” because he didn’t get as much access as he had hoped for, he told PDN last year.

He  returned in 2005, after Ukraine’s so-called Orange Revolution enabled him to gain better access. He planned to return again in 2011, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the disaster. “The general media was not interested,” he said, so he collected funds for the 2011 trip through a Kickstarter campaign.

Ludwig left for Chernobyl while his Kickstarter campaign was still underway, and while he was there, the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred in Japan. That stimulated more contributions to Ludwig’s Kickstarter campaign–a total of $23,316, which was almost twice his goal of $12,000. After his return, he used the extra money to publish an iPad app titled The Long Shadow of Chernobyl.

With plans to produce a printed book in time for the 30th anniversary of the disaster, in 2016, Ludwig made another trip to Chernobyl in 2013 on an $8,200 grant from Kulturwerk der VG Bild/Kunst, a German artists’ rights organization.

Meanwhile, publisher Lois Lammerhuber of Lammerhuber Editions (Austria) had approached him at the Lumix Festival of Young Photojournalism in Hanover, Germany. “He said, ‘I want to do your book,’but then the  distributor said to him, ‘Bad news doesn’t sell and Chernobyl is bad news,'” Ludwig recounted.

So he and Lammerhuber turned to Kickstarter once again in the spring of 2014, and managed to raise $45,571–well over twice his goal of $20,000–in pre-order book sales.

In a telephone interview today, Ludwig emphasized that the total funding he raised on Kickstarter “sounds like a high number” but only covered his expenses for the production and printing, and helped promote the project “It’s not a money maker,” Ludwig says. “If I count all my time, I definitely didn’t make money on this project. It’s a labor of love and an important piece of history that should be told. It’s a warning, a document to human hubris.”

Ludwig says he is continuing work on the project, and most recently had a story published in National Geographic about tourism inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. “There are constant surprises” at Chernobyl, he says, and it stands as an archetype of nuclear disaster. “From Chernobyl, you can see what’s going to happen to these other areas” like Fukushima, he says.

Daniel Berehulak Wins Reportage Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Brad Vest Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Cameron Spencer Wins POYi Sports Photographer of the Year Honors