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January 14th, 2015

PDN Video: Jay Maisel on How to Be a Better Street Photographer

Jay Maisel on How to Be a Better Photographer from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

Based on the lessons he’s taught to photography students over the past five years at PhotoPlus Expo and elsewhere, legendary photographer Jay Maisel recently published Light, Gesture & Color (New Riders Press). He describes the book as one “for people that are tired of bullshit books that tell them exactly what to do, and so they get rote results.” In this video, Maisel shares advice from his book on how to take better photographs, including tips on how to be a more successful street photographer. In a separate PDN video, Maisel explains what he means by the term “gesture,” why it is an important element of good photographs, and how to recognize and use it to your advantage.

Related:
Jay Maisel on the Importance of “Gesture” in Photography

January 9th, 2015

National Geographic’s Photo Engineering at Work

Striving for new and unusual ways to photograph subjects from land, sea, and air, National Geographic photographers often turn for technical assistance to NG photo engineers Kenji Yamaguchi and David Mathews. The two men, who are the subjects of an article in January PDN and now on PDN online, devise ingenious tools for making pictures that would otherwise be too dangerous or difficult for photographers to make. ““These guys are the unsung heroes of the Geographic,” says long-time contributor George Steinmetz.

Yamaguchi and Mathews worked behind the scenes on Nick Nichols’s Serengeti lions project, Steve Winter’s snow leopards project, and various projects by underwater photographer David Doubilet, to name just a few examples. Here are some videos that show their technical ingenuity in action:

 


Nick Nichols and his assistant, Nathan Williamson, at work on the Serengeti lions project with a robotic camera tank and a camera drone.

 


Steve Winter explains how he used camera traps to photograph a mountain lion at night under the Hollywood sign.

 


The Photo Engineering department faces possible budget cuts, but National Geographic recently profiled of Kenji Yamaguchi, with this video showing him at work in the publisher’s Photo Engineering lab.

 

Addition videos on National Geographic’s web site:

Steve Winter describes his 2008 snow leopard project in northern India. Scenes of Winter setting up remote cameras and strobes on snow leopard trails start at 2:47.

An encounter, narrated by Steve Winter, between a tiger and a robotic camera vehicle developed by NG Photo Engineering.

Scenes from the sinking of a ship for the creation of an artificial reef, featuring David Doubilet’s remote camera images from the ship’s deck as engineers set explosive charges, then detonated them. Remote camera images begin at 1:21.

Related Article:
The Technical Ingenuity of National Geographic’s Photo Engineering Department

December 23rd, 2014

Amazon Sells iPhone Accessories Infringing Copyrighted News Images of War, Death

Amazon page offering a smartphone case decorated with Daniel Berehulak's image from Liberia.

Amazon page offering a smartphone case decorated with Daniel Berehulak’s image from Liberia.

Dealers of cellphone and iPad cases emblazoned with copyrighted news images by Tomas Van Houtryve, Daniel Berehulak, Tyler Hicks and other photojournalists are using Amazon’s marketplace to sell their wares without permission from the photographers. All the images had been featured by TIME magazine on its “Picks of the Top 10 Photos of 2014.” In addition to the cases featuring news images—such as a photo of a child dying of Ebola and a child killed in an air attack on Gaza—the sellers listed on Amazon also sell cases featuring photos of nature, pets, cars, celebrity actors, major sports teams and other subjects.

A Tyler Hicks image from Gaza on a cellphone case sold by a vendor via Amazon.

A Tyler Hicks image from Gaza on a cellphone case sold by a vendor via Amazon.

One of the infringed photographers, Tomas Van Houtryve, had complained that Amazon removed some of the items infringing his photo, but not all. Van Houtryve tells PDN that after he discovered the unauthorized use of his black-and-white image on cases being sold through Amazon, he contacted the online retailer through the email it provides to report copyright infringement. An automated form asked for more information verifying that he holds the copyright to the image. He says, “I provided that along with a detailed list of links to all of the products infringing on my copyright. I also requested the contact information of the vendors/manufacturers providing the illegal cases,” he says. The following day, some of the products were removed, but many remained. He received another automated email from Amazon saying, “We trust this will bring the matter to a close.” He says, “As you can imagine, I’m not satisfied with this response.” On December 20, he took to Instagram and Facebook, posting images of the pages where the products decorated with his image were sold.

The Massimo Sestini image, cropped on a smartphone case.

The Massimo Sestini image, cropped on a smartphone case.

A search of Amazon for the names of other photographers featured on the TIME list turned up cellphone and iPad cases featuring Tyler Hicks’ image from Gaza of a boy carrying a dead child, Daniel Berehulak’s image of health workers in Liberia carrying a child suffering from Ebola (who later died), and part of Massimo Sestini’s photo of a crowded boat transporting migrants from Africa to Malta, and a tight crop on a portion of Whitney Curtis’s image of police pointing automatic weapons at a protester in Ferguson, Missouri.

Erik Fairleigh, PR spokesperson for Amazon, declined PDN’s request for comment, except to tell PDN “the item is no longer listed for sale,” referring to the product Van Houtryve had complained about. On December 23, however, products made with images by Berehulak, Hicks and Sestini remained on the site.

JP Pappis of Polaris Images, which represents Sestini, says that purusing the makers of the cases would be too costly, since they would be difficult to identify and locate and, if they are overseas, would be beyond the reach of U.S. federal courts. (All the cases “ship from China,” according to the delivery information listed on Amazon.) Sarah Lochting of Getty Images, which represents Daniel Berehulak said the agency is “pursuing the matter. We find it particularly egregious given the content of these images.”

The cases sell for between $12 and $15 through Amazon’s third-party vendor system, which allows any individual or company that fills out an online form to sell their products on Amazon. Amazon’s only requirement is that the seller pay a fee, agree to let Amazon take a cut of sales, and agree to the “Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement,” which includes a clause indemnifying Amazon against “any claim, loss, damage, settlement, cost, expense or other liability” arising from “any actual or alleged infringement of any Intellectual Property Rights.”

Recognize this photo? Let us know.

Recognize this photo? Let us know.

The sellers offering the photo-emblazoned cases use many names, including David Ray Floyd, Sonja B Williams, DODO7899, Janice Lee Curry, NicoleWilliamHarris. 

Take a look. And if you see your photo on one of the cases being sold, let us know.

Recognize the photo? Let us know.

Recognize the photo? Let us know.

December 23rd, 2014

PDNPulse: Top Stories of 2014

As another fascinating year in the world of professional photography comes to a close, we look back on the stories that drew the most interest from PDNPulse readers this year.

From manipulated news photos, to photographers arrested for doing their jobs, to collaborative efforts between photographers and an interview with one of photography’s most influential star makers, these stories capture some of the highs and lows of the photography business today.

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

2: 2014 Winter Olympics Op-Ed: Everything You’ve Read About Problems for Photographers in Sochi is True

3: PDN Video: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists

4: Photographers Share Intimate Images of Loved Ones for Curated Photo Website

5: AP Severs Ties With Photographer Narciso Contreras Over Photoshopped Image
5a: Photographer Fired by AP Says Decision Was Fair, But Process Wasn’t

6: How Much Do Editorial Clients Pay? “Wiki” Gives Names and Fees

7: If that Kim Kardashian Photo Looks Familiar…

8: Calumet Photographic to Liquidate, Closes U.S. Stores

9: Photographer Creates Free iPhone App for His Signature Style

10: Wal-mart Sues Photographer’s Widow Claiming Copyright for Decades of Portraits of Walton Family

11: Suffolk County Pays $200K to Settle News Photographer’s Unlawful Arrest Claim

12: How Should Clients React to Sexual Coercion Allegations Against Terry Richardson?

13: AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus Killed in Afghanistan

14: Cowboy Lifestyle Photographer David Stoecklein Dies, 65

15: Photojournalist Camille Lapage, 26, “Murdered” in Central African Republic

December 19th, 2014

Project on Ukraine Wins $20,000 2015 Aftermath Grant

Justyna Mielnikiewicz has won the 2015 Aftermath Project Grant for “A Ukraine Runs Through It,” a project exploring tensions in modern Ukraine using Dnieper River as a symbolic dividing line. The $20,000 grant, offered by the nonprofit Aftermath Project, supports documentary photography that addresses the legacy of conflict.

The Aftermath Project also announced several finalists, whose work will be published in War Is Only Half the Story, the annual publication of the Aftermath Project. The finalists are:

Bruno Boudjelal, whose project, “Mapping of Massacre Sites in Algeria,” explores the sites of massacres that occurred in 1997 and 1998.

Glenna Gordon for her project, “Artifacts of a Kidnapping: The Things They Carried Home,” a survey of the objects brought home by ransomed kidnapping victims of terrorist groups around the world.

Adam Patterson for “Men and My Daddy,” a project on Northern Ireland, exploring how former terrorists function during peacetime and whether aging ex-paramilitaries find purpose in their lives.

Donald Weber for”War Sand,” a landscape and archeological project about the beaches of Normandy, which still contain particles of shrapnel from the 1944 D-Day invasion of  France during World War II.

A special discretionary grant of $2,500 was given to buy gear for two Syrian refugee teenagers, who have been photographing their lives of Syrians in refugee camps. The money will be administered by photographer Brendan Bannon, who has run UNHCR-sponsored arts education programs for children in refugee camps.

The judges for the 2015 grant were Denise Wolff of Aperture; Amy Pereira of MSNBC; Stephen Mayes, Executive Director of the Tim Hetherington Trust; Elizabeth Rappaport, photographer and Aftermath Project board member;  and Sara Terry, photographer and founder of the Aftermath Project.

Related articles:
Post-9/11 War Business Project Wins 2014 Aftermath Project Grant

Stanley Greene Wins 2013 Aftermath Grant

Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Andrew Lichtenstein’s Aftermath Grant

December 18th, 2014

Police Intimidation Watch: Photographer Wins $1.1 Million for Malicious Prosecution

A New York woman who was arrested and jailed for four days after photographing an Air National Guard base from a public thoroughfare was awarded $1.1 million in compensatory damages by a federal jury last week.

Nancy Genovese sued the town of Southampton, New York, the Suffolk County sheriff’s department and several individual officers in 2010, alleging violations of her constitutional rights, assault, battery, false arrest, use of unreasonable and excessive force, and malicious prosecution.

In a trial that concluded December 11, jurors concluded that Suffolk County sheriff’s deputy Robert Carlock had maliciously prosecuted Genovese. But Genovese failed to prove that Carlock had initiated criminal proceedings because of her political associations. Therefore, the jury found that Carlock was not liable for violating Genovese’s First Amendment right of free speech.

Although jurors reached agreement on the $1.1 million award for compensatory damages, they were unable to reach a unanimous decision on punitive damages, so deliberations are continuing.

According to court papers, Genovese was driving home in July, 2009 past the Gabreski Airport Air National Guard base in Suffolk County (Long Island) when she stopped her car to photograph a helicopter on display in front of the base. Genovese made the photograph from inside her car, intending to post the photo on a “Support Our Troops” website.

As she was preparing to drive away, a Southampton, New York police officer approached her and asked what she was doing. Genovese explained what she was photographing, tried to show the officer the images on her camera’s LCD, and then ended up giving the officer her camera card to protect her camera, which the officer was treating roughly, according to Genovese’s lawsuit.

At that point, the Southampton police officer ordered Genovese to remain where she was, and called the county sheriff’s department to report Genovese’s presence outside the base, “falsely and wrongly informing” the sheriff’s department that Genovese “posed a terrorist threat,” she said in her claim.

Authorities from the FBI, Homeland Security, the ANG base, and the local police and sheriff’s department rushed to the scene. Genovese was questioned on the roadside for “five or six hours.” She alleged that her car was searched without her consent, and because she had just come from a local shooting range, authorities found an AR 15 rifle, as well as a shotgun and ammunition, in her car. Southampton police seized the guns, which were legally registered, according to court papers.

According to the suit, Suffolk sheriff’s deputy Carlock said to Genovese, “You’re a right winger, aren’t you?” He and another unidentified officer proceeded to taunt Genovese, repeatedly referring to her as a “right winger” and “tea bagger” and allegedly threatening to arrest her for terrorism “to make an example of her to other ‘tea baggers.'”

After hours of questioning, federal authorities concluded that Genovese wasn’t a security threat. After they left the scene, however, an unidentified sheriff’s deputy handcuffed Genovese, and transported her to jail, where Carlock allegedly told her that although authorities “had nothing to charge her with,” they would “find something in order to teach all right wingers and tea baggers a lesson.”

She was charged later that night with “terrorism,” and arraigned the next day on criminal trespass charges. Bail was set at $50,000 because of sheriff’s “inflammatory accusations” that she was a terrorist and a flight risk, she alleges in her lawsuit.

Genovese spent four days in the county jail, until she was finally able to raise the money for her bail. While in jail, she alleges, deputies continued to taunt her, subject her to sleep deprivation, deny her medical care for a leg injury that became infected, and instigate alarmist media coverage by releasing to reporters false information about Genovese and the circumstances of her arrest.

The criminal trespass charges against Genovese were dismissed in November, 2009. She filed suit on July 29, 2010.

In her lawsuit, she alleged violation of her First Amendment right of free speech, as well as violations of her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments rights of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. She also claimed she was subject to fear and terror, humiliation, degradation, physical pain and emotional distress.

In 2013, a federal judge dismissed Genovese’s claims against the town of Southampton and its police officers. The judge ruled that the Southampton police officer who originally stopped Genovese had probable cause to do so; that the officer didn’t use excessive force; and that Southampton police seized a gun in her car “under a lawful exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment” because it was in plain view insider her car. Therefore, the court said, Southampton police did not violate her constitutional rights.

The judge also dismissed false arrest claims against Suffolk County sheriffs, on the grounds that they acted on the “probable cause” determination of Southampton police. But the court declined to dismiss Genovese’s malicious prosecution claims against Carlock and the sheriff’s department, clearing the way for the trial, which began December 8 and lasted for three days.

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December 9th, 2014

Obituary: LIFE Photographer Ralph Morse, 97

Photographer Ralph Morse, who covered war, sports, science, celebrities, theater, and other assignments during his long career as a staff photographer for LIFE and TIME magazines, died December 7 at his home in Florida. He was 97.

Morse’s death was reported yesterday by TIME magazine, which said on its website that “no photographer in the history of LIFE magazine had a more varied, thrilling and productive career.” Morse became LIFE’s youngest World War II correspondent when he joined the magazine in 1941 at the age of 24.

He covered the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942, and later on, the liberation of Paris in 1944 and the surrender of Germany at Reims in 1945. After the war, Morse covered a wide range of assignments for LIFE, beginning with Broadway and the London theater, and eventually sports, science and technology, and other subjects.

Besides the major events of World War II, Morse was witness to other historic moments of the 20th century. TIME describes his iconic shot of Jackie Robinson “one of the greatest baseball photographs ever made.” Morse also photographed Babe Ruth’s farewell at Yankee Stadium, Einstein’s funeral, the Ali-Liston fight, and other events.

According to TIME, Morse was the first civilian to fly on a Strategic Air Command B-47 Stratojet, a nuclear bomber developed during the Cold War. He was also the first to shoot color photographs of the caves of Lascaux. He also covered NASA’s Mercury space flight program.

He remained a staff photographer for LIFE magazine until it folded in 1972, then joined TIME magazine. He retired in 1988, and told John Leongard, author of LIFE Photographers: What They Saw, that he sold all his cameras and and stopped taking photographs to avoid “everybody and his brother” asking him to photograph their weddings.

December 8th, 2014

Luke Somers, Killed in Failed Rescue Attempt, Remembered for Compassionate Photos

© Luke Somers for Al Jazeera. Thousands of male and female protesters marched to the residence of President And Mansour Hadi to demand political reforms, December 7, 2012.

© Luke Somers for Al Jazeera. Thousands of male and female protesters marched to the residence of President And Mansour Hadi to demand political reforms, December 7, 2012.

Kidnapped photojournalist Luke Somers was killed December 5 in the midst of a failed attempt by US forces to rescue him from al Qaeda militants holding him hostage in Yemen. Somers, 33,  had been kidnapped in Sana’a, Yemen, in September 2013. He had been working in the country as a freelance photographer.

After President Barack Obama announced Somers’s death on Saturday, several news outlets that Somers had worked for, including Al Jazeera, and his agency, Corbis, shared samples of his photos, starting with images from Yemen’s revolution ousting President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011. Writer Tik Root of National Public Radio, who had crossed paths with Somers while they were covering Yemen, said the photographer’s work “reveals his deep and persistent love for the country.”

Last week, the photographer’s captors released a video threatening to kill Somers if the US did not meet their unspecified demands. According to CNN, The Yemen Times and other news outlets had pleaded for Somers’s release, noting days before his death that he “loves Yemen.”

Citing an anonymous source, BBC reports that Navy SEALs had tried to rescue Somers from the compound where he was being held, but a gunfight broke out when the militants spotted the SEALs. Somers was shot, and then evacuated to a US navy ship, where he died.  Committee to Protect Journalists reports that this is the third attempt by US special forces to rescue hostages held in Syria and Yemen; all three failed to rescue captured journalists.

December 8th, 2014

How Photographer Stephen Crowley Works Around White House Photo Ops

A little Washington drama: Bill Clinton keeps Barack Obama waiting at a White House photo op. ©Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

A little political drama: Bill Clinton keeps Barack Obama waiting at a White House photo op in September. ©Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

New York Times photographer Stephen Crowley, an astute, keen-eyed observer of Washington politics, explains in an interview appearing in this month’s edition of PDN how he built his career working around obstacles to access. “They have their stage,” he says of politicians and their handlers. “I’m content to walk behind the cavalcade and observe.”

His series of images (above) of a September 19 meeting between President Barack Obama and ever-popular former President Bill Clinton is a case in point. Clinton was invited to the White House to celebrate the anniversary of AmeriCorps, a volunteer program his administration launched in 1994. It was supposed to be a feel-good photo op for Obama, whose ratings are low. But the mutual dislike between Obama and Clinton is no secret, and it wasn’t far from Crowley’s mind. He picks up the story from there:

“[They were] walking back to the oval office, right along a rope line. I was on a high ladder, missing that picture. Obama was working the rope line, then he walked off, and thought Clinton was with him. But Clinton was slowly working the rope line, making the President of the United States wait for him. And Obama was standing off by himself. He puts on his jacket, walks [back toward the rope line], and he’s still waiting for Clinton. That’s a gem of a moment. I made a whole sequence [out of it].”

Crowley notes there’s an element of street photography in his approach. “I had a lot of experience in Florida”–at the Palm Beach Post, where he started his career–“doing street photography. You went out and looked for features. I came up here [to Washington] and translated that, and it’s been an effective way of telling the story, pulling away from the press conferences.”

For more about Crowley, his approach to covering politics, and his alternative take on the controversy over diminished access by photographers to the Oval Office, see our interview in this month’s PDN.

December 4th, 2014

PDN Video Pick: A Spotlight on Underage Victims of the Illegal Sex Trade

(click “Play All” option for a two-minute trailer for the web version; click “Theatrical Version” to launch a 2:45 introduction to that version.)

Seattle photographer Tim Matsui and MediaStorm have just released The Long Night, a documentary film about teenage victims of illegal sex trade in King County, Washington. Matsui has focused on stories about sexual violence and human trafficking for more than a decade, and his new film is part of his multi-pronged project called “Leaving the Life.”

“I see the film as a broad audience outreach tool; it builds awareness,” he says, with hopes that it also serves as a catalyst for community dialogue.  His ultimate goal, he says, is to facilitate “a shift in cultural and institutional norms.”

He explains, “Some of the solutions lie in harm reduction, criminal justice reform, and police training,” to treat underage prostitutes as victims rather than criminals. “Others [solutions] are more generational: Are we teaching our daughters to be strong and self confident? Are we showing our sons how to respect and value women?”

Support for The Long Night included a $25,000 Women’s Initiative Fund grant awarded to Matsui by the Alexia Foundation in 2012. The Alexia foundation also provided post-production funding to MediaStorm.

The film is available in two versions: a 70-minute “theatrical release,” and a web version that’s presented in a series of short chapters. “We felt that breaking it down into components makes it a little more usable” to viewers who often can’t or won’t sit through an hour-long video online, says MediaStorm principal Brian Storm.

Both versions are available free-of-charge through December 7. The theatrical release is available on Matsui’s website; the web version is at MediaStorm.  After December 7, MediaStorm will charge a fee for the theatrical version, which will be available only on MediaStorm’s Vimeo feed. The fee, to be determined, will help defray production costs, Storm says. The web version will continue to be available for free on MediaStorm’s website.

Related:
Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Tim Matsui on the Women’s Initiative Grant (for PDN subscribers)