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April 28th, 2015

U.S. Copyright Office (Once Again) Studying Copyright Struggles of Photographers

The U.S. Copyright Office has published a call for comments from photographers and visual artists about how their works are “monetized, enforced and registered” and about “obstacles” artists face protecting their copyrights “when navigating the digital landscape.” The U.S. Copyright Office announced the research initiative April 24 in the Federal Register. The written comments are due by July 23.

What action, if any, the U.S. Copyright Office takes as a result of its research remains to be seen. “We just want to get an overview of the landscape,” says spokesperson Catie Rowland. “We’re just researching it, to see where it leads. There are a lot of concerns. We want to see if we can address them.” (more…)

April 27th, 2015

Follow the 2015 PDN’s 30 Photographers on Tumblr, Instagram

An image from “Lumière,” a series by Sarker Protick, 2015 PDN's 30.

Photo © Sarker Protick

PDN’s April issue included the annual PDN’s 30 feature, in which we profile 30 new and emerging photographers to watch. As we’ve done in years past, we’ve put together a list of links to their Tumblr blogs. This year we’re also throwing in links to their Instagram feeds.

Social media serves as an important marketing tool for many photographers—not just those in the early stages of their careers. Increasingly, clients who hire photographers for social media-based campaigns pay attention to the way photographers engage with their audiences on platforms like Tumblr and Instagram. Following these photographers not only allows us to see the great images they’re posting to social media, it also provides insight into how they are using these platforms to promote themselves and their work. (more…)

March 25th, 2015

Staging News Photos: Take This Ethics Quiz

AssignmentChicago.com, Alex Garcia's blog.

AssignmentChicago.com, Alex Garcia’s blog.

Inspired by the uproar over the staged photo included in a series that won a World Press Photo prize (later rescinded, for different reasons), photographer Alex Garcia has posted an ethics quiz for photographers. Garcia describes five  situations in which photojournalists can find themselves in ethical gray zones, and asks: What would you do?

What his quiz adds to the current debate is a heavy dose of reality.As Garcia points out, “In this debate, I haven’t seen a lot of candor about how difficult it can be to uphold standards in the myriad of situations that photojournalists face.” Garcia, who says he has shot 6,000 newspaper assignments, tells PDN that he describes two of the situations exactly as they happened to him. The others are mash-ups of problems he’s encountered and that every news photographer will recognize: meddlesome PR people, subjects who offer to rearrange their routines or schedules for the photographer’s convenience, or ask “What do you want me to do?”

How do you portray to your readers what the “truth” is in these situations that you’ve only got an afternoon to shoot?

After the sometimes heated talk about the World Press Photo controversy– and outrage about the photographer posing his cousin– Garcia says, “the quiz was a fun way to make a point without getting hot and bothered.” Garcia’s quiz is short. There are no grades. But he does suggest certain parameters for quiz prep:  “Make sure to go hungry for the whole day, pull an all-nighter, promise delivery of images to a client within an hour–just to simulate other factors in a photojournalist’s workday that can affect decision-making.”

You can find it here on his blog, AssignmentChicago.com

Related article
World Press Photo Disqualifies Controversial Prize Winner

March 11th, 2015

Tim Matsui, TIME Win Top Prizes in 2015 World Press Multimedia Contest

Time magazine has won first prize for short documentary in the World Press Photo contest for film titled Behind the Video of Eric Garner’s Deadly Confrontation With New York Police. In the long feature category, photographer Tim Matsui has won first prize for The Long Night, a documentary he produced in conjunction with MediaStorm about teenage prostitution in Seattle. Last month, Matsui won POYi’s Documentary Project of the Year for the film.

A film titled {The And}, which explores the dynamics of relationships between couples, won first prize for Interactive Documentary. It was written and directed by Topaz Adizes and Nathan Phillips

Runners up in the multimedia competition included The New York Times, which won second place in the short documentary category for a video by Ben C. Solomon about the Ebola outbreak in Monrovia. Carlos Spottorno won third prize for his video called At the Gates of Europe, about a wave of refugees from Africa since the Arab Spring uprisings. (more…)

March 5th, 2015

DOJ Report Blasts Ferguson Police for First Amendment Violations

Ferguson, Missouri, police officers “frequently infringe on residents’ First Amendment rights, interfering with their right to record police activities and making enforcement decisions based on the content of individuals’ expression,” according to a report released yesterday by the US Department of Justice.

The DOJ report, titled Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department (FPD), says “FPD engages in a pattern of First Amendment violations.” The investigation was  conducted by the DOJ’s civil rights division in response to citizen complaints and civil unrest in Ferguson following the police shooting death last year of Michael Brown.

The DOJ says in the report that FPD arrests citizens “for a variety of protected conduct,” including talking back to officers, recording public police activities, and lawful protest.

The report cites a number of examples, including several involving recent arrests of citizens who recorded–or attempted to record–police carrying out their duties in public. (more…)

February 12th, 2015

Mads Nissen Wins World Press Photo of the Year Prize

2014 World Press Photo of the Year. ©Mads Nissen/Politiken

2014 World Press Photo of the Year. ©Mads Nissen/Politiken

Danish photographer Mads Nissen of the daily newspaper Politiken has won the World Press Photo of the Year 2014 prize for an image showing a gay couple during an intimate moment in St. Petersburg, Russia. The image, which was part of the news coverage last year about rising discrimination and hate crimes attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Russia, also won first prize in the Contemporary Issues category of the World Press Photo competition. The winners of the contest were announced February 12 in Amsterdam.

Read the full story at PDNOnline.com.

 

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

February 5th, 2015

PDN Video Pick: Vincent Morisset’s Interactive “Way to Go”

Promotional still from "Way to Go"

Promotional still from “Way to Go”

When you travel from point A to point B, what do you see? How does the experience change when the route becomes familiar? These are questions asked in “Way to Go,” a new interactive video project funded by the National Film Board of Canada and premiered at the recent Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program.

Part film, part game, “Way To Go” takes players through a 3D environment with a 2D character, following a predetermined path through an immersive, interactive environment. Players control a blockheaded animated figure, deciding whether to walk, run, stop, jump, fly, or investigate elements in the environment recorded on video.

“I’m really interested in the notion of space and time,” says Vincent Morisset, the project’s director, “and how we relate to our environment in real life, and if there was a way to transport or put into perspective this really universal premise of going from point A to point B.”

The visuals—art directed by Caroline Robert—are a striking mix of video footage, hand-drawn animation and live GL effects. Morisset captured the live video with a DIY pole-mounted 360-degree camera rig comprised of six GoPro cameras. He’s visible in the game as the black figure holding a pole that follows the main character everywhere through the interactive universe.

“In 2015 it’s less and less easy to get lost, we’re constantly knowing where we are,” Morisset says. “There’s something to the line and the path that resonates with how we deal with our environment.” As the character is confined to traversing the universe along a pre-determined path, the exploration is in the changing perspective—what do you run past, what do you stop and investigate?

The NFB previewed the project at a virtual reality at Sundance’s New Frontier utilizing the Oculus Rift VR headset. While the game is playable on any computer with a Web browser, the Oculus experience took full advantage of the 360-degree camera footage to provide a truly immersive experience.

Sounds are synced to the movements of the character. Composer Phillipe Lambert designed a Euclidean rhythm console so that the complex rhythms interweave seamlessly with the pace and movements of the character.

Lambert, Robert and Morisset, along with Édouard Lanctôt (a developer and technical director), make up AATOAA, Morisset’s Montreal-based digital studio. Their commercial clients include Red Bull and Google, and they’ve produced an interactive video for Arcade Fire’s “Just a Reflektor.” “Way to Go” is the team’s second personal project; their first, “BLA BLA,” was an interactive short film exploring human communication.

To experience “Way to Go” yourself, visit a-way-to-go.com. For more on the interactive projects produced with support from the National Film Board of Canada, visit: www.nfb.ca/interactive.

Promotional still from "Way to Go"

Promotional still from “Way to Go”

January 22nd, 2015

Magnum Foundation Announces Emergency Fund Grants, Fellowships

Gaza, Palestine. 2014. Schoolchildren head to class at the Sobhi Abu Karsh School in the Shujai'iya neighborhood. Operation Protective Edge lasted from 8 July 2014 – 26 August 2014, killing 2,189 Palestinians of which 1,486 are believed to be civilians. 66 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians were killed. It's estimated that 4,564 rockets were fired at Israel by Palestinian militants. (Peter van Agtmael / Magnum Photos)

Gaza, Palestine. 2014. Schoolchildren head to class at the Sobhi Abu Karsh School in the Shujai’iya neighborhood. Operation Protective Edge lasted from 8 July 2014 – 26 August 2014, killing 2,189 Palestinians of which 1,486 are believed to be civilians. 66 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians were killed. It’s estimated that 4,564 rockets were fired at Israel by Palestinian militants. (Peter van Agtmael / Magnum Photos)

Today the Magnum Foundation announced the recipients of its 2015 Emergency Fund grants, which support the production of in-depth documentary photography projects “that can no longer be funded through the media alone.”

The 11 grantees were selected from more than 100 nominees from around the world. Their projects include investigations of Pakistan’s legal system; the trafficking of Nigerian women to Italy; Turkish television studios; income inequality in the United States; and failed foreign aid projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The grantees are:

Asim Rafiqui, Curran Hatleberg, Elena Perlino, Emine Gozde Sevim, Guy Martin, Massimo Berruti, Matt Black, Nii Obodai Provencal, Pete Muller, Peter DiCampo and Peter van Agtmael.

An international committee of 15 photo editors, curators and educators nominated photographers for Emergency Fund grants. In addition to monetary support that will allow the photographers to travel to complete their projects, the Magnum Foundation also offers mentorship and distribution support to grantees.

The Magnum Foundation also announced the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography, which supports projects focused on issues critical to China. Yuyang Liu and Souvid Datta are this year’s fellows.

Finally, the foundation announced seven recipients of the Human Rights Fellowship, which offers young photographers from the global south scholarships to train at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in New York. This year’s Human Rights Fellows are Muyi Xiao (China), Nour Kelze (Syria), Anastasia Vlasova (Ukraine), Xyza Bacani (Hong Kong), Basel Alyazouri (Palestine), Sipho Mpongo (South Africa), and Chery Dieu Nalio (Haiti). The Human Rights Fellows were chosen from 576 applicants.

Related: Matt Black and Ed Kashi Bring California’s Dried-Out Central Valley to The New Yorker
Magnum Foundation Awards 2014 Emergency Fund Grants
Photo Tastemaker: Magnum Foundation Program Director Emma Raynes

January 15th, 2015

Under Pressure, FAA Issues Handful of Exemptions for Commercial Drone Use

phantom-2-vision-dji

For as long as inexpensive camera-toting drones have been popular, their commercial use in the U.S. has been in a precarious proposition. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the division of the U.S. Department of Transportation that governs the use of our airspace, waited years after the proliferation of drones to issue any guidelines on their use in commerce. Until recently, if you were an architectural or real estate photographer looking for inexpensive ways to capture bird’s eye views, or a production company itching to take advantage of new perspectives in your video, the word from the FAA was clear: No, you can’t use drones for commercial purposes.

But that isn’t stopping businesses from using drones. DJI Global, the manufacturer of the wildly popular Phantom remote-controlled camera drone, skirted the FAA’s ban on commercial drone usage by donating the use of its DJI Inspire 1 during NBC’s broadcast of the 2015 Golden Globes for some free publicity. And under pressure from Congress—who included directives for the FAA to begin to develop the framework it will use to regulate commercial drone flights in a 2012 appropriations bill—the administration has begun to issue exemptions to its six-year-old ban.

In June 2014, it issued the first exemption to British Petroleum, who wanted to use drones to survey Alaska’s North Slope. In September, it issued six exemptions to film and television production companies, and in December, it issued four more exemptions, including one to a construction company. In the first week of 2015, Douglas Trudeau, a 61-year-old real estate agent in Tuscon, Arizona, received the first exemption to use drones for a real estate business. He had applied for the exemption back in July of 2014, after being informed that even though he was not selling his drone footage, using photos and clips shot from drones in his real estate listings constituted commercial use.

CNN—who wants to use drones for newsgathering purposes—has also appealed to the FAA. It recently entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the administration, working with the Georgia Tech Research Institute to collect data to help the FAA develop its framework for regulating drone usage in journalism.

While the FAA was called out by Congress more than two years ago and urged to get started on their regulatory framework, there is still no timetable for the process to be completed. For now, the FAA is issuing exemptions on a case-by-case basis, but if the red carpet at the Golden Globes and Amazon’s drone delivery plan are any indication, it will have to move quickly to keep up. As the FAA attempts to levy fines on drone pilots it feels are violating its vague guidelines, U.S. judges have already found in favor of at least one pilot: A federal judge tossed out a $10,000 fine on the grounds that the guidelines were not specific enough. The National Transportation Safety Board later overruled the judge and re-affirmed the FAA’s right to regulate, but it’s clear that the guidelines are doing little to stop commercial flights.

In the meantime, the administration has put together a website with safety tips for recreational, business, and public service users.

Related articles:

Commercial Drones are Legal, Federal Court Says

Court Refuses to Hear Challenge to FAA’s Drone Cease-and-Desist Orders

DJI One-Ups Phantom With More Powerful, 4K-Recording Inspire 1 Photo Drone

Drone Photographers Take To The Skies To Find New Perspectives