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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”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 29th, 2016

Secret Service Investigating Agent’s Bodyslam of TIME Photog Chris Morris

Video by Joe Perticone of Independant Journal shows Chris Morris swearing at a Secret Service agent, who then grabbed the photographer by the throat.

Video shows Chris Morris swearing at Secret Service agent, who then grabbed the photographer by the throat.

After a U.S. Secret Service agent was videotaped throwing TIME photographer Chris Morris to the floor in a chokehold during a Donald Trump rally in Radford, Virginia, yesterday, the Secret Service issued a statement saying that its field office is investigating the incident. TIME has also issued a statement saying that it had contacted the Secret Service “to express concerns about the level and nature of the agent’s response.” According to TIME, Morris has “expressed remorse for his part in escalating the confrontation.” Video had captured the photographer swearing in the agent’s ear just before he grabbed Morris.
TIME Responds to Confrontation With Secret Service at Trump Event

TIME issued the statement after videos circulated showing Black Lives Matter protesters moving through the crowd at the Trump rally.

One video, taken a few feet from Morris and posted on Twitter by Joe Perticone of Independent Journal, shows Morris leaning forward and saying into the agent’s ear, “Fuck you. Fuck you.” The agent says “What?” then reaches for Morris. In another video, showing the full auditorium, Morris is seen standing near a pen with other photographers in the middle of the crowd, speaking to an agent. The agent can then be seen grabbing Morris’s throat and throwing him to the floor. Once Morris was on the floor, he tried to kick the agent away, saying, “Don’t touch me.” Moments later, he demonstrated how the agent had choked him by putting his hands on the agent’s throat. Morris was escorted out of the auditorium and, according to TIME, detained by local law enforcement. He was released later in the day.

A TIME spokesperson said, “We are relieved that Chris is feeling OK, and we expect him to be back at work soon.”

Some news stories originally reported that a member of Trump’s security, not a Secret Service agent, had thrown Morris down.

An article posted today on TIME Lightbox notes that “unlike other presidential campaigns, which generally allow reporters and photographers to move around at events, Trump has a strict policy requires reporters and cameramen to stay inside a gated area, which the candidate often singles out for ridicule.” Morris was near the entrance to the pen when the Secret Service agent first confronted him.

The journalism site Poynter today posted an article noting that during campaign events, Trump incites crowds to boo pool photographers and camera people after they refuse his demand that they turn their cameras away from the stage and pan the crowd, something pool photographers (responsible for covering the stage) can’t do. TV cameraman Grant Hansen told Poynter, “He rallied the crowd against us. It was frustrating, but I’m there to do my job just as he is there to do his.”

January 29th, 2016

Burundi Releases Photojournalist Phil Moore Without Charge

Authorities in Burundi have released photojournalist Phil Moore and Le Monde Africa bureau chief Jean Philippe Remy, French ambassador Gerrit Van Rossum told Agence France-Presse. The journalists were picked up in raids in Bujumbura on January 28 along with 15 other men, some of whom where deemed “armed criminals” by Burundi’s security ministry.

Earlier today the French foreign ministry, AFP, Le Monde and other media organizations demanded the journalists’ release in statements addressed to Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Moore and Remy were in Burundi covering the violence between President Nkurunziza’s government and armed opposition groups. The conflict there continues to escalate, and United Nations and African Union officials have been urging Nkurunziza to allow an AU peacekeeping force into the country to prevent an ethnic conflict.

The ambassador said Moore’s camera equipment and Remy’s notebooks had not yet been returned to them.

Related: Photojournalist Phil Moore Arrested in Burundi

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…)

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 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 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.

June 23rd, 2014

Photographer Wins $2,501 for Infringement in Anti-Gay Attack Ad Case

 

©Kristina Hill

©Kristina Hill

Photographer Kristina Hill has won a $2,501 judgment for copyright infringement against Public Advocate of the United States, ending a federal case in Colorado over unauthorized political attack ads. The judgment was entered June 4 in the US District Court in Denver.

Hill and her wedding photography clients, Brian Edwards and Thomas Privitere, sued Public Advocate of the United States in 2012 for unauthorized use of an engagement photo of Edwards and Privitere in political mailers produced in 2011 to defeat two Colorado lawmakers who supported same-sex marriage.

The mailers show images of Edwards and Privitere kissing each other. They were created from an engagement photo of the couple that the defendants found online and used without permission.

Kristina-Hill-Attack-AdHill alleged copyright infringement for unauthorized use of her photograph. Edwards and Priviter claimed misappropriation of their likeness for commercial purposes, in violation of their privacy and state right-of-publicity laws.

The court dismissed the couple’s misappropriation claim in March on the grounds that the ads were primarily non-commercial, and because they related to a matter of public concern. Therefore, free speech rights under the First Amendment shielded the defendants from the couple’s claim, the court said.

But the judge rejected Public Advocate’s motion to dismiss Hill’s copyright infringement claims on fair use grounds, because the ads didn’t pass the legal tests for fair use.

According to court papers, Public Advocate finally agreed to accept a declaration from the court that it had infringed Hill’s copyright, “without any finding or admission that such infringement was ‘willful'” under federal copyright statutes.

Public Advocate agreed to pay Hill $2,501 to cover costs related to her claim. The judgment agreement notes that Hill was not entitled to attorneys’ fees because she didn’t register her copyright in the disputed image before the infringement.

For the same reason, she was not entitled to statutory damages, but was limited to actual damages, which tend to be much lower than statutory damages.

Hill was not immediately available for comment.

Related:
In Fight Over Anti-Gay Ad, Misappropriation Claims Are Dismissed
Richard Prince Settles with Photographer Patrick Cariou

 

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 3rd, 2014

In Fight Over Anti-Gay Ad, Misappropriation Claims Are Dismissed

©Kristina Hill

©Kristina Hill

A federal court in Colorado has ruled that the unauthorized use of a gay couple’s engagement photo in a political attack ad was protected by the First Amendment. But the judge in the case rejected a request by defendants to throw out the photographer’s copyright infringement claims on fair use grounds.

Photographer Kristina Hill and her wedding photography clients, Brian Edwards and Thomas Privitere, sued conservative advocacy group Public Advocate of the United States (PAUS) in 2012 for unauthorized use of an engagement photo of Edwards and Privitere in political attack ads.

The ads, showing an image by Hill of Edwards and Privitere kissing each other, were part of a PAUS campaign to defeat two Colorado lawmakers who supported same-sex marriage.

Hill sued for copyright infringement because PAUS used the photo without her permission. Edwards and Priviter claimed misappropriation of their likeness for commercial purposes, in violation of their privacy and Colorado’s right-of-publicity laws.

gay-attack-adBut the court has thrown out the couple’s misappropriation claims on the grounds that the political ads were “primarily non-commercial,” and that they “reasonably relate to a legitimate matter of public concern”–same-sex marriage. Therefore, free speech rights of the First Amendment barred the couple’s misappropriation claim, federal judge Wiley Y. Daniel wrote in the decision.

However, Judge Daniel rejected a motion by PAUS to dismiss Hill’s copyright infringement on fair use grounds, ruling that the ads didn’t pass the standard four-pronged test for fair use.

The first factor, relating to the character and purpose of the unauthorized use,  went against the defendants for two reasons. Language of the copyright law protecting unauthorized use for educational purposes “suggests that the educational purposes contemplated by the statute’s drafters relates to schooling, not mailers circulated during an election,” the judge wrote.

Furthermore, he explained in his decision, “while the defendants placed the lifted portion [of the image] in a different background and placed a caption on the mailer, such actions cannot be characterized as ‘highly
transformative.'”

Other prongs of the fair use test also went against the defendants. For instance, the image is a creative work, not merely informational, which mitigated against a fair use finding, Judge Daniel said. And he rejected the defendants’ argument that they used only used a small part of Hill’s image, countering that they used the qualitatively most significant part, which shows the subjects kissing.

“I find that the plaintiffs have stated a plausible copyright infringement claim under the Copyright Act,” the judge concluded.

The ruling allows Hill to proceed with her copyright infringement claims, and was not a final decision on those claims.

A trial date has been set for January 26, 2015.

Related:
Anti-Gay Group Sued for Unauthorized Use of Photo in Attack Ads

Anti-Gay Group Pleads Fair Use, Free Speech in Infringement Case