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February 5th, 2014

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

(The following op-ed was written by photographer Jeff Cable who is in Sochi, Russia covering the 2014 Winter Olympics. The story originally appeared on Cable’s blog in a slightly different form. You can follow Cable’s experiences at the Winter Olympics on his Facebook page.)

By Jeff Cable

2014_Winter_Olympics_logo.mYou know all those articles that talk about the problems at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? Well, guess what…they are all true.

Yesterday, my day started off great. The drive to the Moscow airport was perfect, with little congestion and Wi-Fi in the taxi. I got to the airport in Moscow and navigated the system really well, running into some friends from Canon, and I even managed to get my camera bag on carry-on this time.

The flight to Sochi was smooth and we arrived early. I got all my luggage, got my credentials blessed at the airport, found the right press bus and I was feeling great.

Then we got to the “hotel” and I use the word loosely.

We arrived at a cluster of 16 buildings that look like dormitories. There was no reception area for us to check in, there was just one building which had a large dirty room with people scrambling to get us situated.

They obviously did not have rooms assigned to anyone as each of us that showed up were given successive hotel rooms, me in 256, the next person in 257, etc. So my new neighbors and I went up to the 4th floor to our rooms and were shocked when we saw our living space.

©Jeff Cable Photography

©Jeff Cable Photography

Remember, these are brand new buildings! The floors are so filthy that I don’t think they were ever vacuumed after the construction was done. There is almost no furniture in the room, and what is there is almost unusable.

There are small TVs in the rooms, but they do not work. There are no phones in the rooms and worse yet, there is NO Internet at all. No hard wired and no wireless. I am writing this blog from a downstairs common room in a different building (with 15 other pissed off media), and I swear the Internet is running at dial-up speeds.

How is it that a country that spends almost $50 billion on the Olympics can end up with accommodations like this? Seriously, it is embarrassing. If I told you how much I paid for this “hotel room” you would choke.

©Jeff Cable Photography

©Jeff Cable Photography

The good news is that I do have four walls around me, and I do have a bed. I am not sure if I have hot water yet, since I tried running the sink to get hot water and it didn’t work. I found a lady who looked like she might work here and she told me to let it run for 10 minutes. It might get warm then.

©Jeff Cable Photography

©Jeff Cable Photography

I visited some friends at the Main Press Center tonight (which is an amazing building, by the way) and they were all laughing about the showers with no shower curtains, the cleaning service which does not exist, and the lack of communications in 20 press buildings.

I even heard a story of one of the guys from the USOC who showed up to his hotel in the mountains, only to find a construction site. So I guess I should be happy to have a room.

©Jeff Cable Photography

©Jeff Cable Photography

Starting in a couple of days, I will spend very little time in this building, as the Olympics will be all consuming. But for now, it is incredibly frustrating.

I would post more photos but the Internet is so bad that myself and 15 other photographers are just trying to post text.

Read Cable’s follow-up post on Sochi here.

October 23rd, 2013

NFL, Getty and AP Hit With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Seven photographer are suing the National Football League and two image distributors–Getty Images and Associated Press (AP)–for copyright infringement over widespread use of their images in NFL ads, products and promotions without fair compensation, according to an October 21 report from Courthouse News Service.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, is a legal tangle because Getty and AP represented the photographers, and were authorized to license their work at the time of the alleged infringements. But the case boils down to allegations that Getty and AP breached their fiduciary duty to the photographers because of conflicts of interest.

Both distributors had incentive to curry favor with the NFL in order to gain and hang onto an exclusive contract to license images of NFL events to third parties for commercial use. Getty won the contract in 2007, then lost the contract to AP in 2009.

According to the lawsuit, the photographers “recently discovered that both Getty Images and AP granted the NFL nearly unfettered access to plaintiffs’ photo collections and, either expressly or by inaction, allowed the NFL to make free or ‘complimentary’ use of plaintiffs’ copyrighted photos.”

According to the Courthouse News Service report, the photographers are also accusing Getty of using bare-knuckle tactics to keep them from moving their images to AP, after AP won the exclusive NFL contract in 2009. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that Getty threatened to stop marketing all of their sports images–including Major League Baseball photos–for commercial use, if the photographers moved their NFL images to AP.

Photographer Paul Spinelli is the lead plaintiff in the case. The other photographer plaintiffs are Paul Jasienski, David Stluka, Thomas E. Witte, David Drapkin, George Newman Lowrance and Scott Boehm.

AP and Getty both declined PDN’s request to comment about the lawsuit.

October 9th, 2013

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue a Key to Walter Iooss’s Access to Top Athletes

iooss coverWhen you’re trying to get access to top professional athletes, there’s no calling card like a steady gig shooting swimsuit models for Sports Illustrated.

Walter Iooss Jr, whom we interviewed in our October issue about his close professional relationship with basketball legend Michael Jordan, has been photographing sports and athletes for 50 years, and photographing the models for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue for about 40 years.

“You have to ingratiate yourself [with athletes],” Iooss told us. “I’ve done it for so long, so my reputation helps me. They [star athletes] already think you can do something, so you’re not wasting their time.

Then he adds, “The swimsuit issue is obviously a big help with all these horny athletes. They love that. It’s remarkable how I could walk into a clubhouse and photograph anyone, as long as I give them a phone number of someone (in the SI Swimsuit issue).”

Not that he ever does that. “I’m not going to give it to them. They have their people contact the [model’s] people.”

But he shakes his head with wonder. “They think I can pimp for them. Some days I feel like a 69-year-old pimp. It’s disgraceful that they need me to find a woman.”

See more about Iooss and his work with Michael Jordan at PDNOnline.

August 26th, 2013

Reuters Phasing Out Use of Freelance Sports Photographers in North America

Reuters is phasing out its use of contract freelance sports photographers in North America and will instead rely on USA Today Sports Images, a wire service, for sideline coverage of major professional sports and some college games. “I can confirm that we are expanding our ongoing relationship with USA Today Sports and will be adding a subset of their North American Sports photography to our file,” a Reuters spokesperson told PDN.

NPPA first reported this change at Reuters on Friday. The NPPA report quotes an unnamed source at Sports Illustrated and a freelance photographer in Toronto, Jon Blacker. Blacker told NPPA that he spoke with Peter Jones, the North American Sports Photo Editor at Thomson Reuters on Friday morning, as he was making calls to inform their freelance sports photographers of the change. “He said it was purely a business decision, and that their business plan calls for using the money that Reuters saves on covering sports to re-invest in photo covering more news,” Blacker said.

USATSI is owned by Gannett, which purchased the company in August 2011.

(via NPPA)

May 21st, 2013

The Highs and Lows of Photographing an Italian Cycling Competition

© Manual For Speed

© Manual For Speed

Manual for Speed (MFS), a website covering professional cycling created by writer/photographer Daniel Wakefield Pasley and photographer Emiliano Granado, is currently featuring daily reports from the Giro d’Italia, a cycling race through Italy that dips into neighboring European countries.

Granado and Pasley created MFS in 2011 with sponsorship from Castelli, a cycling apparel company. Pasley’s reporting on the Giro d’Italia has included access to two cycling teams that Castelli sponsors: Garmin-Sharp and Team Colombia, the Colombian national team.

MFS’s coverage of the Giro d’Italia is unique not only for the quality of photography—action, landscapes, crowd portraits, and a typology of cycling team buses, among other goodies—but also for its diaristic tone. Pasley’s account of the highs and lows of photographing a month-long sporting event is honest and highly entertaining.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to persevere through maddening daily logistical challenges, to “lite-stalk” professional athletes, to be heckled by spectators, to drop one’s expensive camera in a puddle, or to see Italian children cursing in English at a race helicopter, the daily reports by Pasley are worth a read.

Or you can just look at the pictures.

April 24th, 2013

Sangosti, Weatherwax Win BOP Photojournalist of the Year Honors

RJ Sangosti of The Denver Post and David Weatherwax of The Herald in Jasper, Indiana were named Photojournalists of the Year in the Best of Photojournalism (BOP) competition, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has announced.

There are two winners because NPPA recognizes a winner for both larger and smaller markets. Sangosti won in the larger market division. Runners up were Damon Winter and Tyler Hicks, both of The New York Times.

Weatherwax won the Photojournalist of the Year title for the smaller market division for the second year in a row. (The Herald has a circulation of 11,300). Runners up this year were Tom Kelly IV (Daily Local News, Westchester, PA) and Gerry Melendez (The State, Columbia, South Carolina).

Patrick Smith, a freelancer for Getty Images, won the Sports Photojournalist of the Year title. Runners-up were Quinn Rooney (Getty Images) and Bill Frakes (Sports Illustrated).

Aaron Huey, shooting for National Geographic Magazine, is the winner of Cliff Edom’s “New America Award” for his photographic essay, “In The Shadow Of Wounded Knee.”

In the competition’s editing division, Mark Edelson of The Palm Beach Post won Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year, and Jamie Wellford of Newsweek was named Magazine Picture Editor of the Year.

Judges for the BOP still photo competition were photographers Amy Sancetta of the Associated Press and Jack Gruber of USA Today; and Boyzell Hosey, the director of photography and multimedia for the St. Petersburg Times. More details about the still photo competition are posted on the NPPA site at this link.

Judges for the BOP photo editing awards were picture editor Molly Roberts of Smithsonian magazine, photographer Matt Moyer, and Bert Fox, photography director of The Charlotte Observer. More information about the photo editing awards are posted on the NPPA site at this link.

Related:
Paolo Pellegrin Named POYi Freelance Photographer of the Year
Paul Hansen Wins POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

April 12th, 2013

Ballet and Skateboarding Mix in Limited Edition Decks From Henry Leutwyler

leutwyler-ballet-skate-decks-pulse

Earlier this year we wrote in our Exposures column about Henry Leutwyler’s project photographing the New York City Ballet. One of the photographs in his book and exhibition depicted the grit behind the grace of ballet, contrasting a ballerina’s bandaged and bloodied bare right foot with her left foot as an audience might normally see it, wrapped in a pointe shoe.

Leutwyler, an appreciator of both the artform of ballet and the sport of skateboarding, sees the parallels between the two, so he created a limited edition set of decks from the image. Check them out, here.

March 22nd, 2013

Photo of Skateboarder Jumping Subway Tracks Goes Viral

© Allen Ying

© Allen Ying

A photograph showing a skateboarder doing an ollie over train tracks at a New York City subway station is causing quite a stir and much speculation on the Internet. The anxiety-inducing image was made by photographer Allen Ying and appears in Issue 3 of 43, an independent skateboarding magazine. The image was posted on the Web by a reader who photographed the magazine spread with a cell phone.

In the 43 article, which focuses on a crew of skateboarders who go on covert skating missions throughout the New York City public transportation system, Ying describes how he stood on the subway tracks around 4am to capture the unbelievable shot. He notes that the skateboarder, who is referred to as “Koki” in the article, didn’t use a ramp on the platform to launch over the tracks and made the jump on the first attempt, though additional tries were made and the skater only fell onto the tracks once.

Yesterday the New York magazine blog Daily Intelligencer spoke with Ying about the shot. For last year’s DIY Issue, PDN interviewed Ying about 43, which he launched in October 2011 and publishes quarterly.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area next week, you can see more work from the magazine at the 43 Photography Show and Issue 3 Release, which opens on March 26 at The Gallery @ The Burgundy Room. Visit www.43magazine.com for more information.

Related Articles:

How to Start Your Own Magazine: Allen Ying on 43

Photo of the Day: The Art of Skateboarding

February 25th, 2013

Obituary: Sports and Portrait Photographer Ozzie Sweet, 94

Ozzie Sweet, whose photographs have appeared on approximately 1,800 magazine covers, died on Wednesday, February 20, according to an obituary in The New York Times. He was 94 years old.

Sweet started taking photographs after joining the Air Force at the start of World War II, and his “war-time” images frequently landed on the cover of Newsweek—despite the fact that some of them were staged. A 2001 interview with SeacoastOnline noted that Sweet “hate[s] to use the word ‘faked,’” when describing his images and instead said that his shots are “carefully planned and staged.”

After the war, the self-described “photo illustrator” photographed a number of notable subjects including Albert Einstein, Grace Kelly, Joe DiMaggio, John Wayne, Mickey Mantle and Ernest Hemingway, for publications like TIME, Sport, Saturday Evening Post, Ebony, Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated and Look. He later became known for his sports photography and co-authored two books on baseball: Mickey Mantle: The Yankee Years: The Classic Photography of Ozzie Sweet and The Boys of Spring. In 2005 he won a Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sports Photography.

Read his full obituary at www.nytimes.com.

February 15th, 2013

Ezra Shaw Named POYi Sports Photographer of the Year

Gabrielle Douglas on the beam at the 2012 Olympics in London. ©Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Gabrielle Douglas on the beam at the 2012 Olympics in London. ©Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw of Getty Images has been named Sports Photographer of the Year in the 70th annual Pictures of the Year International competition. His winning portfolio includes dramatic action and feature photos from a a wide range of sports: cycling, snow boarding, America’s Cup sailing, baseball, football, and the 2012 summer Olympics.

Quinn Rooney of Getty Images and freelancer Donald Miralle were first and second runners up, respectively, for Sports Photographer of the Year.

POYi jurors awarded first prize for Sports Editing to The New York Times, for a story titled “Their Golden Years,” a portrait-driven story about U.S. athletes who competed in the 1948 Olympics in London.

In other POYi developments, Swedish photographer Casper Hedberg won top prize in the Sports Picture Story category for a story about Afghanistan’s national sport, called buzkashi. The description accompanying Hedberg’s pictures says: “Every Friday, thousands of spectators goes to the fields north of Kabul to witness this grand spectacle in which hundreds of men on horseback [fight] for a dead calf or a carcass of a lamb…It’s crowded, sweaty and speedy.”

Judging for the POYi Reportage division began yesterday. Iwan Baan’s aerial photo of the blackout in lower Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy took first prize in the Science & Natural History category.

Other Reportage division categories will be judged through Sunday, culminating with the selection of Freelance Photographer of the Year. Judging for the Editing Division prizes begins Monday, February 18. The final round of judging–which is for the Multimedia Division prizes–begins February 22.

Here’s a re-cap of top winners for each category so far:

Newspaper Photographer of the Year: Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter, Sweden.
Spot News: Manu Brabo, AP
General News: Bernat Armangue, AP
Feature: Ng Han Guan, AP
Newspaper Picture Story: Kevin Sutherland, The Sunday Times, Johannesburg (unconfirmed)
Issue Reporting Picture Story: Liz O. Baylen, The Los Angeles Times
Feature Picture Story: Dave Weatherwax, The Herald, Jasper, Indiana
Campaign 2012: Carolyn Kaster, AP
Presidential Campaign 2012: Brian Snyder, Reuters
Campaign Picture Story: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Portrait: Daniel Ochoa de Olza, AP
Portrait Series: Oded Balilty, AP
Sports Action: Jessica Hill, AP
Recreational Sports: Jessica Rinaldi, freelance
Sports Feature: Mike Roemer, AP
Olympic Action: Alberto Pizzolo, AFP
Olympic Feature: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images

Related:

Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter Wins POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

Associated Press Wins Top Portrait Prizes at POYi

POYi Announces Campaign, Spot News, and Feature Category Winners