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June 15th, 2015

LOOK3 2015: Walter Iooss Jr. Shares Advice and Lessons from His Encounters with Great Athletes

Walter Iooss Jr, a sports photography superstar for more than 50 years, regaled a 2015 LOOK3 audience on Friday with some of the best tales from his storied career. Steve Fine, former director of photography at Sport Illustrated, joined Iooss on stage at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville to prompt Iooss about his encounters with many great athletes: Roger Maris, Dave Parker, Joe Namath, Muhammed Ali, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan, to name only a few.

Iooss was a teenager without a driver’s license when he got his first assignment from Sports Illustrated around 1961. His father had to drive him to the job. The subject, an 83-year-old man who had built a sailboat and sailed it to Florida and back, looked at the 17-year-old photographer and said incredulously, “This is my moment?”

Iooss was, by his own account, born with a passion and a talent for photography. “Photography’s not that hard. It really isn’t,” he said during his talk. “It’s just instinctual. I’ve never had another job. I don’t know anything else. [I’m an] idiot savant.”

Equal to his passion for photography is his love of and fascination with sports. “When you play, the moment a pitch is thrown, or you shoot, or hit a golf ball, the whole world stops. There’s nothing that’s really happening except that moment with you, and that’s the escape of sport,” he said. “Sport is a real fantasy world, and in some ways, I try to project my childhood fantasies continually in pictures because you need a child’s heart to get the energy of these guys.”

Asked by Fine to talk about the defining characteristics of his work, Iooss offered what amounted to advice for aspiring sports photographers. (more…)

March 18th, 2015

Nike Seeks Dismissal of Photog Rentmeester’s Copyright Claim over “Air Jordan” Logo

© Jacobus "Co" Rentmeester

Co Rentmeester sued Nike in January for unauthorized use of this 1984 image to create the “Jumpman” logo used for decades to promote Nike’s Jordan brand.  © Jacobus “Co” Rentmeester

The Nike shoe company has asked a federal court to dismiss photographer Co Rentmeester’s copyright claim over the iconic logo used on Jordan brand sneakers and clothing, on the grounds that the Nike logo is substantially different from Rentmeester’s photo of former basketball star Michael Jordan.

Rentmeester says the company illegally created its so-called “Jumpman” logo from a photograph Rentmeester shot in 1984. Nike, which has used the logo for more than 25 years, called Rentmeester’s claim “baseless.” The company is accusing Rentmeester of trying to claim a monopoly on images of Jordan’s trademark slam-dunk move. And Nike argues that its iconic logo copied none of the “protectable” elements of the Rentmeester photograph–ie, camera angle, lighting, background and other elements of expression that are protected by US Copyright law.

The alleged "Nike copy" of Rentmeester's 1984 image.

The alleged “Nike copy” of Rentmeester’s 1984 image.

Rentmeester filed his copyright infringement claim in January in US district court in Portland, Oregon. He alleged that Nike had based its “Jumpman” logo on an image made by the company that illegally copied Rentmeester’s 1984 photo. Rentmeester had made his image for Life magazine. His image, the Nike “copy” image and the Nike logo all depict Jordan in a move for which he was famous: sailing through the air on his way to slam dunking a basketball.

Nike had temporarily licensed the Rentmeester image in 1984. Rentmeester alleges that Nike copied the image while it was in the company’s possession. He also says Nike paid him $15,000 in 1985, after he complained Nike was infringing his photograph by plastering the “Jumpman” logo all over billboards and posters promoting Air Jordan sneakers. The payment allowed for use of the image for two years in North American markets only, according to Rentmeester’s claim, but Nike has continued to use it ever since. (more…)

February 10th, 2015

Cameron Spencer Wins POYi Sports Photographer of the Year Honors

©Cameron Spencer

©Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Photographer Cameron Spencer of Getty Images has been named Sports Photographer of the Year at the 2015 Pictures of the Year International competition, organizers announced today. His portfolio included a variety of dramatic sports action and feature images from a wide array of sporting events, including the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Runners up for the award were second place winner Al Bello of Getty Images and third place winner Patrick Smith.

In other sports categories, first prize for a Sports Action photo went to Al Bello of Getty Images for his dramatic shot of New York Giants receiver making a one-handed touchdown catch.

The winners of other sports categories are:

Sports Feature: Robert Sabo/Getty (1); Cameron Spencer/Getty (2); Ricky Carioti
Recreational Sports: Jacob Ehrbahn (1); Sol Neelman (2); Austin Anthony/AP (3)
Sports Action: Al Bello/Getty (1); Alex Livesey/Getty (2); Joel Marklund
Winter Olympics: Lucas Jackson/Reuters (1); Joel Marklund (2); Ezra Shaw/Getty
Sports Picture Story: Jacob Ehrbahn (1); Cristina Aldehuela (2); Yasuyoshi Chiba (3)

Judging for the POYi competition began at the University of Missouri on February 2, and will continue through February 20. Sports photo categories fall under the competition’s News Division. Judging of Reportage Division entries begins tomorrow.

Related:
Brad Vest Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition

September 24th, 2014

PDN Video: Marcus Smith on How to Attract the Clients You Want

Marcus Smith: How to Get Hired by the Clients You Want from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

When photographer (and sports fan) Marcus Smith stopped assisting to go out on his own, he wanted to shoot for Nike and other national athletic brands. But he was an unknown photographer with almost no sports photography in his portfolio. So he took some wise advice that his mother gave him about how to succeed in business, started a personal project, and soon had assignments from Nike and its subsidiary Jordan Brand. Busy with advertising assignments ever since, Smith explains how he got the attention of the clients he wanted.

Related:
Personal Work That Lands Assignments: Marcus Smith (for PDN subscribers)

July 9th, 2014

Jasmin Shah’s Impromptu “Team” Portraits of World Cup Soccer Fans

 

© Jasmin Shah

USA team of fans photo from the USA v Ghana game on Monday, June 16th, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Chicago-based photojournalist Jasmin Shah spends a lot of time outside of Chicago, finding ways to tell visual stories about her trips, and stretching her creative and technical skills. She’s been to India five times within the last five years, as well as Ethiopia, Mexico, Tonga and Brazil mostly for Operation Smile, a children’s medical charity, as well as for personal projects. Shah just returned from another trip to Brazil, this time to celebrate her passion for soccer and to challenge herself with an ambitious personal project.

© Jasmin Shah

Portuguese team of fans photo from the USA v Portugal game on Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Before she left for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Shah brainstormed photo ideas about what it was she was excited to see. Shah says via email, “I was excited for the fan diversity I knew I’d be able to capture—in cultures, races and vivid colors.” She decided to re-create the commemorative 11-player starting lineup photo taken before each match –  two rows, with six players standing in the back, and five players crouching in front. During the pre-game buildup, Shah gathered and posed groups of 11 fans from various countries. For all of the photos she used available light and her 5D Mark III with a 50mm lens. She had to keep gear to a minimum since she was inside the stadium and did not have a press pass.

© Jasmin Shah

German team of fans photo from the USA v Germany game on Thursday, June 26th, 2014 in Recife, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

But equipment was the least of her worries.  Trying to corral and pose exactly 11 people from the same country proved to be the biggest challenge. “There’d be too few, so I’d have to go grab more…while keeping the already assembled fans from wandering off. Or there’d be too many (excited passersby would jump in, thinking it must be an “official” photo of some kind) and I’d have to urge them out.” Out of the 10 group shots, only one fell short of a full 11 “players.” Before USA’s match against Ghana, dressed in full USA fan gear, Shah ran to the Ghanian side of the stadium and asked some fans to come out to the concourse with her for the shot. She lost a few on the way – but that shot, she says is her favorite of the series.

© Jasmin Shah

Ghanian team of fans photo from the USA v Ghana game on Monday, June 16th, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Fans loved her idea once they figured out what she was doing, Shah says. On a few occasions, fans assisted her by wrangling their “teammates” into the lineup. For the most part, Shah played both photographer and coach, shouting over excited fans.

© Jasmin Shah

French team of fans photo from the France v Switzerland game on Friday, June 20th, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Shah self-funded her trip to Brazil, as well as tickets for all 4 USA soccer games. (Sidenote: Shah purchased her tickets from fellow USA fans and all for face value!). In addition to personal work, she also shot for Howler, a US-based quarterly soccer magazine, regularly uploading snaps to their Instagram. Her primary photographic goal was to shoot the crowds and capture the exciting 2014 FIFA World Cup atmosphere. “The chants, the flags, the scarves and face paint, the march to the stadium, and the drinking (cheerfully and nervously) that leads to the unruliness…they’re all part of the collective excitement.” Her self-assigned project, she says, has given her both production experience (“talk about an exercise in patience and persistence!”) and confidence.

© Jasmin Shah

Swiss team of fans photo from the France v Switzerland game on Friday, June 20th, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

April 2nd, 2014

In Copyright Infringement Case, A Defendant Ends Up Owning Disputed Photo

Desmond Howard's iconic Heisman Trophy pose. Shot by Brian Masck. Now owned by Desmond Howard

Desmond Howard’s iconic Heisman Trophy pose. Previously ©Brian Masck. Now ©Desmond Howard.

Former football star Desmond Howard, the subject of a well-known photograph and a defendant in a copyright claim over the use of that same image, will end up owning the copyright to the image as part of a settlement with the photographer who shot it.

That photographer, Brian Masck of Linden, Michigan, is still pursuing infringement claims against Getty Images, Sports Illustrated, Nissan, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and others.

Masck confirms that he agreed yesterday to settle his infringement claim against Howard by transferring copyrights to the image over to Howard. In exchange, Masck got “a very generous royalty agreement on [Howard’s] uses of the picture, including at [public] appearances by Howard,” according to his attorney, Tom Blaske.

“This allows [Howard] to use his favorite photo of himself and make money on it,” Masck told PDN. Blaske adds that Howard “has more resources to best use this historic photo” and thereby ensure that it “remain[s] part of the cultural currency.”

The photo in question shows Howard striking an iconic Heisman Trophy pose after scoring a touchdown against Ohio State University, when he was playing for the University of Michigan. Masck shot the image in 1991 as a freelancer, and licensed it to Sports Illustrated for publication.

SI allegedly never returned the original 35mm transparency to Masck; it ended up in the Allsport archive, and finally in digital format on Getty’s web site around 2005. From there, it “traveled through sports memorabilia channels” onto merchandise sold through retailers, Masck says, and it also appeared in Nissan ads published in Sports Illustrated.

Masck sued in January, 2013, claiming infringement against Howard for unauthorized use of the photo on Howard’s website. Masck claimed unauthorized use by other defendants for distributing the photo and using it in ads without permission.

But Howard counter-sued Masck for unauthorized commercial use of Howard’s name and likeness on a website called TheTrophyPose.com. Masck used that site to sell products featuring the image, including framed prints and life-size, cut-out stand up. He splashed Howard’s name all over the site, confusing visitors into thinking Desmond Howard was behind the site and its products, according to Howard’s counter-claim.

Masck says he’s prohibited by the settlement agreement with Howard from disclosing the financial details. But he says Howard, a TV football commentator who uses photos for publicity and marking, wanted to buy all rights to Masck’s photo several years ago. “At the right price and right terms I was ready to entertain that,” Masck says.

They couldn’t reach an agreement, however.

“What spurred the lawsuit was, after I had sent Howard a print [during their early negotiations] as an example of what the picture could look like, and he took that picture and put it up on his web site,” Masck explains. “That picture had some tells in it. I digitally altered it so I could track it.”

With a trial date approaching, they resumed negotiations and finally reached an agreement.

Meanwhile, Masck is trying to negotiate settlements with Nissan, Sports Illustrated and the other defendants before the case goes to trial. They tried unsuccessfully to have Masck’s claims thrown out on the grounds that he hasn’t done enough over the years to assert his copyrights to the image.

(Editor’s note: This story has been altered from its original version, which included two quotes from Brian Masck that he has asked PDN to remove.)

February 24th, 2014

Nikon Announces Details for New 16.2MP D4S Flagship Full-Frame Digital SLR

Nikon-D4s_58_1.4_front-1Nikon unveiled its new D4S flagship digital SLR tonight, which seems, on paper, to be a minor upgrade to the previous model. (PDN was pre-briefed on the Nikon D4S, under NDA, prior to tonight’s launch but we were not given any hands-on time with the camera.) Like the D4, which was introduced in 2012, the new D4S uses a 16.2-megapixel, FX-format (full-frame) sensor, which Nikon describes as “newly designed.”

The revamped imaging chip in the D4S has an expanded ISO range, going all the way up to ISO 409,600 (Hi-4), which should be able to let it capture visible subject matter in near total darkness for forensic photography and other scientific applications. That extremely high ISO range could also, potentially, have photojournalistic applications such as war photography when flash is not permitted or advisable.

The Nikon D4S also has a new EXPEED 4 image processing engine designed to cut down on image noise when shooting at high ISOs in low light, and for better HD video quality and improved overall performance speed. The Nikon D4S can shoot at 11 frames per second with full autofocus (AF) and auto exposure (AE). (The previous camera could shoot at 11fps but AF and AE were locked on the first frame.) Nikon says the D4S has an “overall 30% increase in processing power.”

The Nikon D4S first premiered, under glass, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, but details about the camera were not officially announced until tonight.

Read the rest of this story and see more photos of the new Nikon D4S here.

February 14th, 2014

Patrick Smith Named POYi’s 2014 Sports Photographer of the Year

©Patrick Smith

©Patrick Smith

Freelance photographer Patrick Smith has won Sports Photographer of the Year honors at the 2014 Pictures of the Year International competition (POYi). Smith won for a diverse portfolio that emphasized his NASCAR coverage, but included sports action, portraits and feature photos of athletes and fans of various sports.

National Geographic magazine has won the top prize in the Sports Story Editing category for a story titled “On the Trail with the First Skiers,” a story about skiers in a remote area of China and the clues they offer about the evolution of the sport. The story was photographed by Jonas Bendiksen.

Other categories in the 2014 POYi Sports Division contest and their first-place winners include:

Sports Action: Mark J. Terrill of Associated Press for his photograph of welterweight boxer Pablo Cesar Cano landing a punch on the face of opponent Ashley Theophane.

Sports Feature: Jabin Botsford, a student at Western Kentucky University, for an image he shot at a Kentucky high school cheerleading competition.

Recreational Sports: Alex Goodlett of the Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), for an image he shot at a high school volleyball match.

Sports Picture Story:  Daniel Ochoa De Olza for a story about bullfighting in Spain.

Judges for the Sports Division entries were James Colton, Elsa Garrison, and John McDonnell

Judging for the Reportage Division (formerly Magazine Division) entries begins tomorrow and continues through this weekend. Editing and Multimedia Division entries will be judged next week.

Related
Barbara Davidson Named 2014 POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

POYi Posts Winning Entries for Its Newspaper Division Contest (And PDN Names the Photographers)

February 12th, 2014

Does The NY Times’ Sochi Photo “Firehose” Do Photogs a Disservice?

Today The New York Times launched a live stream of images from Sochi, which they’re dubbing a “Firehose.” It funnels images by Times photographers and from the paper’s wire service feeds, and evidently there will be roughly 14,000 images per day coming through the, ahem, hose.

The images are running without captions. And while there are many great photographs, there are many others that leave us to guess what’s happening in the image, and which are pretty ho-hum without context (see: athlete celebrating win, for something, who knows what?)

There are good things about the site. It has a simple design and big photos. It’s giving a lot of images that wouldn’t make it into media outlets a run in a central place. And the site is presented by United Airlines, so they aren’t just giving this away. People who love sports pictures and can’t get enough of them can watch them stream by, and so what if there are no captions? Most of them you can figure out. And it’s not as if this replaces galleries of edited and captioned pictures.

But does this diminish not only the perceived value of the images, but also the editorial selection and captioning process at a time when the public perception of photography is that it’s so abundant it’s worth very little? Maybe. The name “Firehose” seems like self-parody, an admission that the flow of images has devalued photography to the point that the Times has decided to just throw up their hands and open the valve.

Perhaps we’re making too much of this? Maybe we should sit back and let the stream wash over us? What you do you think, dear reader?

February 11th, 2014

Barbara Davidson Named 2014 POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

Los Angeles Times photographer Barbara Davidson has won Newspaper Photographer of the Year honors in the 2014 Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition, contest organizers announced this afternoon.

“[T]he judges noted a strong balance of powerful aesthetic with solid journalistic content” in Davidson’s portfolio, POYi organizers said in a prepared statement. Her portfolio included two picture stories: “A Healing Bond,” about a girl from Afghanistan who came to the US for medical treatment; and “LA’s Shooting Season,” about the trauma team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Runners up for Newspaper Photographer of the Year honors were James Oatway of The Sunday Times (Johannesburg) and Lacy Atkins of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Winners of all the POYi Newspaper Division categories were identified by PDN earlier today.

Meanwhile, POYi judges also selected winners in two Sports Division categories today. They include Alex Goodlett of the Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), who won first prize in the Recreational Sports category; and Daniel Ochoa De Olza won first prize for Sports Picture Story.

Related:
POYi Posts Winning Entries for Its Newspaper Division Contest (And PDN Names the Photographers)