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October 27th, 2014

Obituary: David Armstrong, Age 60

Photographic artist David Armstrong, who first made his name as a member of the “Boston School” with Jack Pierson, Mark Morrisroe and Nan Goldin, and eventually shot for Vogue, GQ, and other fashion clients, died October 25, in Los Angeles, from liver cancer.  He was 60 years old.  Vogue.com reported that Armstrong’s agent, Jed Root, had confirmed the news.

Born in Arlington, Massachusetts, Armstrong was also very much of New York City, his long-time home. With intentions to become a painter, he attended the Boston Museum School and Cooper Union in New York. He received his B.F.A. from Tufts in 1988.

Along with fellow “Boston School” contemporaries like Stephen “Tabboo!” Tashjian, Armstrong and his friends made art of their lives in the counterculture. He first met Nan Goldin as a teenager, and their work was first shown together at PS1′s “New York/New Wave” exhibit in 1981.

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The cover of David Armstrong’s 2011 monograph 615 Jefferson Avenue. © Damiani/Photo by David Armstrong

Armstrong is often cited as having had a significant influence on Ryan McGinley, who also turned an interesting life with beautiful young friends into photographic art. Much of Armstrong’s work features lots of natural light, and his gaze is unmistakably erotic. Throughout his career, he made sharp-focused portraits of beautiful young boys, but he also made cityscapes in soft focus, especially after moving to Berlin in the early 1990s. His work was included in the 1995 Whitney Biennial.

Armstrong ushered into the universe of fashion by designer Hedi Slimane, who first commissioned him to make backstage photos of his work at Dior Homme. He would go on to be published in the French, Italian and Japanese editions of Vogue, Arena Homme+, GQ and Out, among other magazines, and counted Ermenegildo Zegna, Kenneth Cole, Burberry, Puma and Rodarte amongst his commercial clients.

Over his career he published several books, including a 1994 collaboration with his old friend, Nan Goldin/David Armstrong: A Double Life; he also published1997′s The Silver Cord, and a 2012 pressing of 30-plus-year-old photographs called Night & Day. His final monograph, 615 Jefferson Avenue, is comprised of bright portraits of male models taken at his house in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

In a conversation with old friend Jack Pierson about his process and motivation, published in Out magazine in 2011, he said, “I always think you want to come away with some beautiful, beautiful picture of the person, the boy, that’s really everything you want to express about them. Or, at least something you can rub one out to.”

October 22nd, 2014

Tumblr Photo Community Calls Out Sexist ‘Recommended Photogs’ List

Social blogging platform Tumblr boasts a robust community of professional photographers, some of whom have used the platform to raise issues of social equality in the photography business. Most recently a handful of photographers called out a quarterly French photography magazine, Selektor, for publishing a list of 100 photographers to follow on Tumblr that included just eight women.

Selektor generated the list, which it published on its own Tumblr, by simply compiling the blogs of all of the photographers it had featured. After both female and male photographers pointed out the disparity, Selektor‘s founder, Loïc Thisse, admitted in a subsequent post that he “never thought to check the proportion of women photographers” he was featuring, he was simply operating based on his personal taste.

His mistake, he writes, was that he didn’t recognize that “Selecting and showing artists publicly is not like sharing one’s personal tastes. It is quite another thing. There are other issues. The representation of women is one of them.”

Tammy Mercure responded to Selektor’s list by generating one of her own, which included more than 70 women photographers to follow on Tumblr. “There is still systematic sexism at work in the photo world,” Mercure wrote in her post. But, she notes, she’s seen “great strides in equity for women and people with diverse backgrounds” in publications and “most places” on Tumblr.

Interestingly more than 1100 people noted or shared Mercure’s post, while fewer than 900 noted Selektor’s post.

Related: How One Magazine Strives for Gender Balance in Assignments
Are Women Photographers Being Discriminated Against in the Editorial Market?

October 6th, 2014

Adobe Updates Creative Cloud with Focus on Mobile

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Adobe announced a series of updates to its Creative Cloud suite of software products in an effort to better unite the desktop and mobile experience into a unified whole.

Among the changes is a new profile setting that lets Creative Cloud users upload brushes, styles, fonts, photos, textures and more so that they have access to them on any device. Touch screen support for Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface devices has been also been expanded as has support for 3D printing in Photoshop. Adobe’s Premiere video editor has been updated for GPU-optimized playback and editing of 4K video files.

For those in search of extra vectors, brushes, icons and other design elements, Adobe is introducing a Creative Cloud market which will house all of the above in a freely accessible library for both desktop and mobile users.

Adobe was also busy renaming and updating its mobile apps. Among the highlights:

  • Photoshop Mix is now available on the iPhone.
  • Lightroom Mobile has been updated to allow online commenting as well as syncing iPhone GPS data with the desktop Lightroom.
  • Adobe Ideas has been renamed Illustrator Draw.
  • Premiere Clip is now available for iOS devices to perform light video edits on the go.
  • A new Adobe Brush app lets you photograph a design and turn it into a Photoshop brush style.
  • A new Shapes app will convert any photo into a vector drawing.
  • Adobe Kuler has been renamed Adobe Color and lets you photograph a color and add it to your themes (which are tied to your Creative Cloud profile).

Finally, a major update to Adobe’s Behance online portfolio service will add a Talent Search feature so prospective employers can comb through the Behance network in search of qualified editors and artists. There will be a public job board and a recommendation engine that will help surface user profiles for those searching the site for creative talent to hire.

The Behance Talent Search is live now and Adobe’s Creative Cloud update will roll out to users by the end of the day today.

October 2nd, 2014

“How Come This Stuff Isn’t Animated?” The Story of Mr. GIF

Pop star Miley Cyrus and the rapper 2 Chainz backstage at Jeremy Scott's S/S 2015 show at New York fashion week. © Mr. GIF

Pop star Miley Cyrus and the rapper 2 Chainz backstage at Jeremy Scott’s S/S 2015 show at New York fashion week. © Mr. GIF for Milk Made

Mr. GIF wants to animate the Internet. The creative duo has made photographing and illustrating GIFs—the 27-year-old bitmap image format that supports crude animation—their calling card. They’re the team that Marc Ecko, Evian and Transamerica tap when they need to quickly make strong, easily shareable moving images for whatever they’re selling. In just a few short years, they evolved from a pair of daydreaming MTV plebes to shooting Miley Cyrus and 2Chainz backstage at fashion week. To them, still images that move were obviously taylor-made for the Internet and its thousands of screens. But can you really make a career of making GIFs?

The duo, Jimmy Repeat and Mark Portillo, are college buddies. They studied advertising design together at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Their studies were almost irrelevant—Portillo didn’t even finish—but the renowned art and design school is where the two would meet. Less than seven years later, they would quit their jobs to make GIFs—the full-time for clients like and others. Even an insurance company.

Having gone their separate ways after school, Repeat and Portillo reconnected under the umbrella of Viacom, at MTV’s “Geek” vertical, which covers cartoons, comics and videogames. Doing research for work, they devoured the same comics, but were struck by the format’s limitations.

Maria Sharapova for Evian at the U.S. Open © Mr. GIF

Maria Sharapova for Evian at the U.S. Open © Mr. GIF

“We were like, ‘How come this stuff isn’t animated yet?’” Portillo remembers. “We read Akira and we were like, “If this background was giving me seizures, it would be so much better.’”

So they dreamed up a GIF comic over smoke breaks outside Viacom’s Times Square HQ, and quickly learned why animation was so expensive (it’s a lot of work!). They abandoned the book idea, throwing the frames they’d finished up on Tumblr. But they were having fun. Illustrations gave way to photos, and a thought: “How is the GIF better than the JPEG?”

“We saw the potential,” Repeat says. “Everywhere you look, there’s a screen.”

As relative neophytes—Repeat especially—they were intrigued by the technology of photography. They experimented with odd cameras well-suited to the medium; at first, digital models like the Fujifilm FinePix Real3D W3, but they would later become obsessed with the aesthetics of analog. Toy cameras like Lomography’s Pop 9 (a nine-lens camera that makes nine exposures at once) and ActionSampler (four lenses, four consecutive frames), even 3D film cameras like the Nimslo 3D. The multi-exposure cameras helped streamline their workflow—helpful, as they had to develop and scan each frame to animate their GIFs. They found creative ways to merge digital and analog, using a DSLR to make time-lapse clips of instant film as it developed. They have a lot of cameras.

Marc Ecko, founder of Eckō Enterprises, Mr. GIF’s first big client. © Mr. GIF

They spent their nights and weekends making GIFs and posting them to Tumblr for free. It wasn’t long before Mark Ecko came calling (tweeting, actually) with their first paid gig, animating his upcoming TEDx presentation. They powered through it in three days. “I think we made 200-300 GIFs in one night,” Portillo says. “It was intense.”

“That was the beginning of the end for our day jobs,” Repeat says. “Like, ‘Oh, this is what a good client’s like?” Ecko dug the work, and they started to get more gigs. They GIF’d the U.S. Open for Evian, and fashion week for Tumblr. By 2013, they had quit MTV, and would soon score a huge project: a year-long Tumblr promoting the San Francisco-based insurance company Transamerica’s “Transform Tomorrow” campaign.

The pair convinced Transamerica to send them across the country making GIFs of America’s cities. They flew drones over rooftop gardens in Detroit, Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota and, of course, San Francisco and the iconic Transamerica building. They booked a room at a luxury hotel with the perfect view for a 24-hour time-lapse of the skyline. Transamerica was skeptical of the format—until they saw the popularity of the first clip they posted. Now, when you go to www.transformtomorrow.com, their fancy hotel view of San Francisco graces the background, the current time of day reflected by the time of day in the 24-hour time-lapse they made.

A time-lapse GIF of the San Francisco skyline, that Mr. GIF made for Transamerica, prominently featuring their iconic headquarters. © Mr. GIF

A time-lapse GIF of the San Francisco skyline, that Mr. GIF made for Transamerica, prominently featuring their iconic headquarters. © Mr. GIF

Now certified pros, they’re still almost instinctively inventive with their resources. When a client that was supposed to fly them out and put them up in Austin, TX, to shoot a SXSW panel told them that they had to pay their own way, they got their drive down to Texas sponsored. Their friends at Tumblr would connect them with Transamerica, but it was the GIFs they shot on the trip to Austin that would help them land the gig. When a job for St. Ives took them to Hawaii, they stayed an extra week and shot Honolulu for Transamerica. Since they like to shoot film (which is expensive to buy and process), rather than go to a professional processing house, they trained the local CVS employees how to prep and cut their negatives, adding a healthy tip for their trouble.

One thing they learned early on is that new work leads to new work. They needed to show clients they could make the work, so before they had paid work to show, they just did it for free, and for fun. The fun shows up in the work, and it works.

September 17th, 2014

Sportsnet: Assigning Sports Photography, Canadian Style

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A multiple-expsoure composite of Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman for Sportsnet © KC Armstrong

If you’ve never heard of Sportsnet, you probably don’t live in Canada. The brand is a Toronto-based cable sports network that publishes an award-winning print magazine with a tablet edition and website. And although the bi-weekly publication relies heavily on photography from wire services—particularly Getty Images’ National Hockey League coverage—Sportsnet photo director Myles McCutcheon commissions photography in almost every issue.

“We certainly don’t have the resources of Sports Illustrated, [with] an army of photographers on our payroll,” McCutcheon admits. “A lot of the time it’s [about] getting creative with pickup, and when we do feature stories, we’re doing in-depth profiles, interviews, stuff that we want a little more punch to.”

One strategy McCutcheon uses to get photography that stands out from competitors (and wire service fare) is to hire photographers with specialties other than sports.

Last year, for instance, McCutcheon sent photographer Mark Peckmezian to shoot the Arnold Sports Festival, a bodybuilding show and convention in Columbus, Ohio. Peckmezian rarely shoots sports, but it was his outsider perspective that McCutcheon hired him for.

“I was encouraged to shoot it the way I saw it,” Peckmezian says. “I [viewed] the festival and the bodybuilding culture critically, and [found it] a bit funny.” He delivered a series of portraits that were bizarre—almost alien. “I was really happy, because I was given a lot of creative freedom,” he says. “That’s always very exciting.”

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Layout from a feature on the Arnold Sports Festival, a bodybuilding convention & competition in Columbus, Ohio. Shot on medium-format and 35mm film © Mark Peckmezian

Sportsnet’s editorial budget is lean, so assignment fees are modest. But McCutcheon argues that access to elite athletes can make up for the lower rates.

“If an up-and-coming photographer gets [Pittsburgh Penguins star] Sidney Crosby in his book, whipping down the ice, that could mean a Nike campaign in the future,” he says. “I’m lucky in that regard, because I can say, ‘Our budgets aren’t the biggest, but you’re shooting Sidney Crosby.”

McCutcheon does hire veteran sports shooters, especially when an idea for a particular story calls for it. For a cover story earlier this year on Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect Marcus Stroman, the Sportsnet editors wanted a multiple-exposure composite of his pitching motion to illustrate his transition from the minors to the big leagues. McCutcheon hired photographer KC Armstrong, who had already demonstrated a mastery of the multi-exposure technique for clients such as ESPN.

Sportsnet’s take on SI’s Swimsuit and ESPN’s Body issues is its annual “Beauty of Sport” feature. This year’s iteration from Toronto-based commercial photographer Mark Zibert featured half-naked athletes posing with exotic animals, posing on sandy beaches and rocky shores.

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Evander Kane, left wing for the WInnipeg Jets, in Sportsnet’s Beauty of Sport feature © Mark Zibert

McCutcheon estimates that on average, he commissions about 40 percent of the photography published in Sportsnet. But there’s a catch. Because Sportsnet is subsidized by the Canada Periodical Fund—which helps Canadian publications survive tough competition from US publications—it is required to rely on Canadian citizens to produce at least 80 percent of the magazine’s content. So the best way to get an assignment is to be good, but also Canadian.

McCutcheon does still hire photographers from the US and other countries, and says he’s looking for the best voice to tell a story, regardless of nationality.

September 17th, 2014

Ricoh France: Full Frame Pentax Camera Coming in 2015

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.51.46 AMWe tend to pass on most of the camera rumors swirling endlessly around the web but this one comes straight from the horse’s mouth Facebook, so it must be true, right?

Well, not just any Facebook page. Specifically, Ricoh France posted the following in two separate comments on their Facebook page:

“Le full frame est en développement en ce moment même ! Nous vous tiendrons informés sur cette page !” Which translates to: “The full-frame is in development at this very moment! We will keep you informed on this page!”

A second Ricoh France comment said: “Grande nouvelle qui va ravir ceux qui attendaient un PENTAX full Frame: le développement du produit est lancé !” Translation: “Great news that will delight those who have been waiting for a Pentax full-frame : the product development is underway!”

We’re awaiting word from Ricoh’s U.S. HQ on this. In the meantime, feel free to speculate about what Ricoh is cooking up. Maybe a mirrorless full frame?

[Hat tip: Photography Blog]

September 16th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Ricoh Tips K-Mount Lens Plans

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Ricoh didn’t bring much in the way of product launches to Photokina 2014, but they did let it be known that some new K-mount lenses are in the works.

The most detailed of the bunch, set to launch later this year, is the Pentax DA 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6ED DC WR (pictured above). It will have a quiet AF driving motor, “high grade” HD coating and a weather resistant construction.

Two other lenses were tipped with scant details. Ricoh said it had a high magnification super telephoto zoom lens and a large diameter telephoto zoom lens in the works. Design mock ups for both are below, starting with the super telephoto.

Stay tuned.

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August 5th, 2014

Photogs Marcus Bleasdale, Steve Ringman Win Environmental Journalism Awards

The Society of Environmental Journalists announced their 2014 awards for reporting on the environment yesterday. Seattle Times staffer Steve Ringman and VII’s Marcus Bleasdale were among the honorees.

Ringman was recognized for his work with writer Craig Allen Welch on “Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn,” the Seattle Times‘ multi-part investigation of ocean acidification and its impacts on the Pacific Ocean. (PDN spoke with Ringman and the Seattle Times about the creation of the “Sea Change” for our December 2013 issue. Read that feature here.) Ringman and Welch received the Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-depth Reporting for a large market publication, the top award given by SEJ.

Bleasdale received the award for Outstanding Environmental Photojournalism for “The Price of Precious,” his story on conflict mineral mining in Congo, which was published by National Geographic. (PDN featured Bleasdale’s long-term project on conflict minerals in our December 2013 issue. Read that story here.)

Second place in the Environmental Photojournalism category went to J. Carl Ganter, Matt Black and Brian Lehmann for their photographs examining the effects of water scarcity, published in Circle of Blue. Jenny E. Ross received a third place mention for her photo essay on polar bears, published by Natural History magazine.

The awards will be given out during a ceremony at the SEJ’s annual conference, which takes place in New Orleans in early September.

Related: MSNBC.com: A Place for Serious Photo Stories (Subscribers only)

July 9th, 2014

Why a Corporation Got a Religious Exemption, But a Photographer Didn’t

After the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, granting a corporation an exemption to a federal law on the grounds that the law “burdens the exercise of religion” of the company’s owners, we wondered: Why did the Supreme Court grant a religions exemption to a corporation, but decline to give a hearing to a New Mexico wedding photographer who refused to photograph a same-sex wedding for religious reasons?

In 2006, Elane Photography of Albuquerque declined to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony because of owner Elaine Huguenin’s religious objections. Elane Photography was found  in violation of New Mexico’s anti-discrimination law, which explicitly bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Elane Photography was ordered to pay more than $6,000 in attorneys fees and costs to Vanessa Willock, who filed the discrimination complaint.

After exhausting her appeals in New Mexico state courts, Huguenin tried to appeal her case to the US Supreme Court, which declined without explanation in April to hear her case. Two months later, on June 30, the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby was exempt from a requirement under the Affordable Healthcare Act to provide employee health insurance coverage for certain types of  contraceptives because the requirement “substantially burdened” the company owners’ exercise of religion.

Did Hobby Lobby simply make a better legal argument for a religious exemption than Elaine Huguenin did? Could some other wedding photographer now win an exemption from photographing same-sex weddings for religious reasons by arguing that if Hobby Lobby got a religious exemption, then it’s only fair that a small business owner should get one, too?

It turns out that the cases are quite different. Hobby Lobby, a federal case, would have been no help to Elaine Huguenin, who broke a state law. Photographers opposed to shooting same-sex weddings, but who are subject to anti-discrimination laws, can’t invoke the Hobby Lobby decision to make religious freedom arguments, at least not in cases involving state laws.

“The Hobby Lobby [decision] doesn’t apply to state laws,” says Andrew Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern University who has analyzed the Elane Photography case. He also emphasizes that the Hobby Lobby decision didn’t address an issue of constitutional law, which would trump state law. “Hobby Lobby was an interpretation of [federal] statute and it only modifies other federal statutes. It doesn’t modify state statutes.”

The court reached the Hobby Lobby decision on the grounds of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). That law, passed in 1993, prohibits the federal government from taking any action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion–unless the action is the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest. The Supreme Court said there were less burdensome ways to provide the disputed insurance coverage to Hobby Lobby employees than to make Hobby Lobby provide it against the owners’ religious beliefs.

In the decision on the final Elane Photography v. Willock appeal, handed down last August, the New Mexico state supreme court upheld lower state court rulings against Elane Photography for discrimination. The court rejected Huguenin’s religious freedom and free speech arguments.

She had argued that under the New Mexico Religious Freedom Restoration Act (NMRFRA)–the state’s version of the federal law–her religious beliefs should be accommodated. But New Mexico’s high court ruled that the NMRFRA doesn’t apply to private disputes; a government entity has to be a party to the dispute, and that wasn’t the case in Elane Photography v. Willock.

Moreover, the court said, the wording of the NMRFRA bars state government agencies from restricting a person’s free exercise of religion; it doesn’t bar the New Mexico legislature from passing generally applicable laws, as long as they don’t directly discriminate against religion. For instance, a law that applies to everyone, but doesn’t interfere with the exercise of religion, is legal under New Mexico state law, even if some people have religious objections to the law.

Koppelman wrote in his analysis of the Elane Photography case, “After the loss in New Mexico…there was no hope of bringing the religious liberty claim to the Supreme Court. Huguenin lost her case under a [state] law that did not target religion, and the [US Supreme] Court has held that the Free Exercise clause does not create an exemption from neutral laws of general applicability.”

In other words, Huguenin couldn’t appeal to the US Supreme Court on the grounds that her constitutional rights of Free Exercise had been violated by the New Mexico anti-discrimination law; the state law passed muster according to an earlier Supreme Court ruling (Employment Div. v. Smith, 1990).

In response to that 1990 ruling, politicians of all stripes were outraged, so Congress passed the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA] to restore protections of individual religious freedom from infringement by other federal laws. But even if Hobby Lobby had successfully invoked the RFRA before New Mexico courts found Huguenin in violation of state anti-discrimination laws, the Hobby Lobby decision wouldn’t have helped Huguenin because the RFRA has no effect on state laws.

In addition to rejecting Huguenin’s religious freedom claims, the New Mexico  supreme court also rejected her free speech claims. The state supreme court said, “The United States Supreme Court has made it clear that the First Amendment permits [anti-discrimination] regulation by states,” and that the New Mexico anti-discrimination law didn’t deprive Huguenin of her rights to free speech.

Huguenin tried to appeal to the US Supreme Court on Free Speech grounds, not Free Exercise grounds, but the Supreme Court declined without explanation to hear her case. Koppelman asserted in his article that the court rightly rejected the case because the New Mexico anti-discrimination law is “not a serious burden on free speech.”

It’s worth pointing out that the Elane Photography v. Willock decision applies only in New Mexico. Wedding photographers in about 30 other US states can refuse to photograph same-sex weddings for whatever reason–religious or otherwise–without consequence. That’s because federal law doesn’t bar providers of goods and services from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, and those 30 or so states also have no laws barring such discrimination. New Mexico just happens to be one of the 20 or so states where discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is now illegal.

Related:
US Supreme Court Declines New Mexico Wedding Photographer’s Discrimination Case
Photographer Who Refused to Shoot Same Sex Wedding Loses Another Appeal
NM Wedding Photogs Can’t Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples, Court Confirms
Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same Sex Wedding Jobs (PDN subscription required)

May 13th, 2014

Photojournalist Camille Lepage, 26, “Murdered” in Central African Republic

In her most recent post on Instagram on May 6, slain photojournalist Camille Lepage shared a photograph of people she was traveling with and details about her location.

In her most recent post on Instagram on May 6, slain photojournalist Camille Lepage shared a photograph of anti balaka [Christian militia] she was traveling with and details about her location.

Camille Lepage, a 26-year-old French photojournalist, has been killed in the Central African Republic, say reports from the Associated Press and Reuters.

According to the Reuters report, citing a statement released today by French President Francois Hollande, Lepage’s body was found when French-affiliated soldiers stopped “a car driven by anti-balaka [Christian militia] groups, in the Bouar region.”

The Associated Press report, citing Lepage’s colleagues, says the photojournalist was caught in fighting “while traveling in a village about 37 miles (60 kilometers) west of Bouar, near the country’s border with Cameroon.”

Lapage, who is from Angers, France, last posted on her social media accounts on May 6. In the caption to a photograph posted to her Instagram she wrote: “Travelling with the Anti Balaka to Amada Gaza, about 120km from Berberati, we left at 3.30am to avoid the Misca checkpoints and it took us 8 hours by motorbike as there is [sic] no proper roads to reach the village. In the region of Amada Gaza, 150 people were killed by the Seleka between March and now. Another attack took place on Sunday killing 6 people, the anti balaka Colonel Rock decides to send his elements there to patrol around and take people who fled to the bush back to their homes safely.”

In addition to covering Central African Republic, LePage had also photographed stories in South Sudan, and had been published in The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, The Guardian and Le Monde among other publications. Lepage had also worked with Medecines Sans Frontiers, Amnesty International, the World Food Program, and other non-governmental organizations.

In their statement, the French President’s office called Lepage’s death a “murder,” saying, “Everything will be done to uncover the circumstances of this assassination and to track down who murdered our compatriot.”