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February 17th, 2014

Robin Hammond Wins 2014 POYi World Understanding Award

©Robin Hammond

©Robin Hammond

Photographer Robin Hammond has won the 2014 World Understanding Award at the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition for “Condemned,” his widely acclaimed project about the neglect and mistreatment of the mentally ill in African countries ravaged by war and natural disaster.

The World Understanding Award is a category of POYi’s Reportage Division, which is open to freelance and agency photographers. Other categories and first place winners in the Reportage Division so far include:

Science & Natural History: Michael “Nick” Nichols, for an image of a black-maned lion on the Serengeti that he photographed for National Geographic as part of a feature story about lions.

Science & Natural History Picture Story: Pedro Armestre, for a story he shot for Greenpeace about the impacts of climate change on native communities of Greenland.

Environmental Vision Award: Erik Messori, for a story about the social and environmental costs of coal mining in India.

News Pictures Story: K M Asad, for a story about the rescue efforts after the collapse of a garment factory building in Bangladesh that killed more than 1100 workers, and the toll that the disaster took on the survivors.

Issue Reporting Story: Daniel Berehulak, for a story about the sudden and unexplained increase last year in life-threatening malnutrition among young children in Afghanistan.

Feature Picture Story: Fatemeh Behboudi, for her story about aging Iranian women who still await the return of bodies of sons they lost in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88).

Jurors are judging entries today for the Community Awareness Award, Photographer of the Year–Freelance, and Best Photography Book.

News Division and Sports Division category winners were selected last week. Editing Division and Multimedia Division entries will be judged over the next week.

Related articles:
Robin Hammond Wins $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Fund Grant (subscription required)

National Geographic Experiments with a New Form of Digital Storytelling
(Nick Nichols’ Serengeti Lions)

Barbara Davidson Names 2014 POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

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

February 14th, 2014

John Stanmeyer Wins 2013 World Press Photo of the Year

© John Stanmeyer

© John Stanmeyer

American photographer John Stanmeyer won the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year for an image depicting African migrants standing on the beach in Djibouti, holding mobile phones aloft in an effort to get an inexpensive wireless signal from neighboring Somalia so they could reach family abroad. The World Press Organization announced the winners of the 57th annual contest at a press conference February 14 in Amsterdam.

Read the full story on PDNOnline.

December 23rd, 2013

Freelance Photographer Killed in Syria

Molhem Barakat ©Reuters

Molhem Barakat ©Reuters

A Syrian freelance photographer was killed in Aleppo December 20 while covering a battle between rebels and government forces for control of a hospital, according to a report from Reuters.

Molhem Barakat had contributed “dozens of photographs” of the conflict to Reuters since last May, according to the report, which provided few other details about the photographer.

The fighting between rebels and government forces for control of Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, has been intense in recent days. The government has launched air strikes on the city for the past week, according to news reports.

Twenty-two other journalists have died while covering the civil war in Syria during 2013, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. More than 50 have been killed since the fighting there began in 2011.

December 16th, 2013

We Know Africa Is Not a Single Country, Newsweek Says

© Newsweek/photos © Tadej Znidarcic/Redux Pictures

© Newsweek/photos © Tadej Znidarcic/Redux Pictures

Today Newsweek.com published a story about the increasing dangers that gays face in Ethiopia, where sexual activity among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people has been criminalized. The only problem: The story is illustrated with photos taken not in Ethiopia, but in Uganda. The portraits of LGBT individuals were taken by Tadej Znidarcic in 2009 as part of his project about anti-gay legislation that had been proposed in the Ugandan parliament. The photos appear in the Newsweek story about Ethiopia’s anti-gay laws without a caption or clarification about their subject  or location.

When we reached Newsweek for comment, we were told that, yes, the editors there do know that Ethiopia and Uganda are two different countries. Yes, there was concern at the magazine about using photos taken in one country three years ago to illustrate what’s happening in a different country today. But no, a caption won’t be added.

It wasn’t a simple error. It sounds like a tale involving limited photographic options, bad website design, a few bad choices and some embarrassment on Newsweek’s part.

The LGBT Ethiopians quoted in the story by writer Katie J.M. Baker had asked that their faces not be shown in the story, so options for portraits were limited. Baker  provided photos she had shot on a cellphone at a gathering of gay friends in Addis Adaba, Ethiopia, with their faces cut out of the frame, but her photos were small and pixelated. Wanting something more photographic, Newsweek photo editor remembered Znidarcic’s photos, which were exhibited in the Open Society’s Moving Walls exhibition in 2011 and shown on several blogs.

Znidarcic had photographed gay activists in Uganda facing a wall, their faces hidden, because at the time, the Ugandan parliament was debating a bill that would have imposed the death penalty for anyone convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.” Newsweek contacted Redux Pictures to license the photos, and informed Znidarcic about the subject of the story.

Though an editor at Newsweek was concerned that the images might be confusing or misleading, since they weren’t shot in Ethiopia, Newsweek ended up running them with the story anyway, above the words: “In many countries, it’s getting better for the LGBT community. In Ethiopia, it’s getting worse.”

That’s not the caption to the photo, a Newsweek staffer explained; that’s the deck to the story. The web page is designed with no caption. And for some reason, the writer or editors chose not to insert a photo caption into the text (for example, where comparisons were made to the 75 other countries in the world where same-sex sex has been criminalized). The lack of clarity about the photos mars a rare international story about topic under-reported in mainstream media.

Yes, we know that there are deadlines, and contingencies, and that web templates can be rigid and aren’t often designed with journalistic concerns in mind. But we have to wonder: Would the editors have illustrated a story about news in Germany with an image taken in Denmark?

November 25th, 2013

Sponsored Post: Interactive Portrait Studio Featuring Celebrity Photographer Mark Mann

Leica-Mark-Mann-Basel

Leica invites Art Basel attendees to be part of a living art exhibition on Thursday, December 5th. Celebrity photographer Mark Mann will be taking portraits of participants using the Leica S from 10am-4pm at Trendy Studios. The on-site printing of each image is supported by Image Pro International and print specialists Gady Alroy, of Art Media Studios, and Sean Black. The portraits will be printed on Hanhemühle FineArt photographic paper and displayed outdoors across the entire Trendy Studio space to create a living street art exhibit that will be in constant transformation as each new image is added. The exhibit will remain hanging for the duration of Art Basel, capturing a unique moment in time at this year’s Art Basel. All attendees who pose for a portrait will be given digital copies.

To sign-up please select an available window of time. Portraits will be shot on a first come first serve basis so in order to help us accomodate all guests please arrive during your designated time slot. Guests are invited to hang out and enjoy the event before and after their portraits have been shot.

*All guests posing for their portrait will be required to sign a model release.*

We look forward to seeing you there!

September 26th, 2013

Sony QX100 Teardown Video

Wonder what’s inside the Sony QX100 lens camera? Check out this very cool teardown video. The QX100, which features the same sensor and lens as the Sony RX100 II, and the QX10 just started shipping. For more information, you can read our blog post here.

Sony promises another video tomorrow with a re-assembled lens.

September 12th, 2013

Are Women Photographers Being Discriminated Against in the Editorial Market?

A week ago editorial photographer and artist Daniel Shea published a post on his Tumblr, titled “On Sexism in Editorial Photography,” hoping it would “initiate a broader conversation.” Shea began the post with the disclaimer that he is “a white, cis male photographer” who didn’t claim to speak for anyone but himself, before pointing out that, to him, “It would seem that the biggest magazines with the most hiring power hire mostly male photographers.”

The post has generated nearly 550 likes and reblogs on Tumblr, as well as a number of comments.

Without naming names, Shea cites informal conversations with photo editors who offered some interesting explanations as to why a gender imbalance might exist. Some editors said they didn’t know women photographers whose esthetic fit with their magazines. “To further complicate this issue,” Shea continues, “one editor mentioned that most media, art and literature is made to fit a masculine perspective, and perhaps that’s why men are more ‘apt’ at photographing that content.”

Shea notes also that most photo editors are women; one editor floated the idea that women are “natural nurturers” of men. Shea says he’s “skeptical” of that explanation. Instead, he suggests other reasons. One is that sexism in editorial photography is a microcosm. “Larger systems of oppression, like sexism and misogyny, replicate themselves very effectively on smaller scales,” Shea wrote. (more…)

August 27th, 2013

Ricoh Introduces Prime Lenses and Weather-Sealed Flashes for Pentax Cameras

Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation (the company formerly known as Pentax Ricoh) just announced five new prime lenses and two new weather-sealed flash units for Pentax DSLR Cameras.

Five New Prime Lenses

HD Pentax DA 70mm lens

HD Pentax DA 70mm lens

The K-mount, HD Pentax DA Limited series lenses include a 15mm f/4 ED AL, 21mm f/3.2 AL, 35mm f/2.8 macro, 50mm f/2.8 and a 70mm f/2.4. Lens barrels, hoods and caps are constructed of high-grade aluminum and the glass is treated with an HD coating to help reduce flare and ghosting. (That little red anodized marking on the front of the focus ring indicates the lens is treated with the HD coating.) Additionally, each lens is designed with a rounded diaphragm to optimize bokeh. All lenses will be available in silver or black in September.

 

 

Prices:

  • 40mm f/2.8: $550
  • 15mm f/4: $700
  • 21mm f/3.2: $700
  • 35mm f/2.8 macro: $750
  • 70mm f/2.4: $750

Two New Weather-Sealed Flashes

RESIZED Flash_backside_image

Ricoh imaging also introduced two flash units for Pentax interchangeable lens cameras: the AF540F GZ II and the AF360F GZ II. Like the Pentax medium format 645D and some Pentax DSLRs, the flash units are weather-sealed. With the addition of an LED, the flash units can produce a constant source of light for video and stills. The LED can also be used to produce catchlights and as an AF assist light (with updated firmware on the 645D as well as most K-series DSLRs). Nine custom flash functions, wireless flash and a host of other features are available on both flashes. Powered by four AA batteries, the flash units will ship in September.

Prices:

  • AF360F GZ II: $430
  • AF540F GZ II: $630

http://www.us.ricoh-imaging.com

August 23rd, 2013

Photographer Gang-Raped in Mumbai

A photographer on assignment to document abandoned textile mills in the financial district of Mumbai was raped by five men on Thursday, the BBC reports.

She is currently in stable condition after being treated for multiple injuries. A male colleague who was with her and also taking pictures at the time was assaulted and tied up during the attack. The Mumbai police commissioner reported this morning that one suspect has been detained.

The police also released sketches of the five suspects; they can be found on the BBC site.

Yesterday’s attack comes nine months after a 23-year-old student died after she was gang-raped on a city bus in Delhi, an incident that made international headlines and inspired passage of tougher punishments for sex crimes in India.

Police report that the victim in yesterday’s attack, an intern at an English language lifestyle magazine based in Mumbai, and her colleague were photographing inside a dilapidated mill in the Shakti Mills district when a man accosted them and asked why they were on the property. He then called four other men to the site.

*Update: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which documents attacks on the press, has called for Indian authorities “to investigate this attack with urgency and sensitivity.” CPJ ranks India twelfth on its Impunity Index, based on the number of attacks on journalists that have gone unpunished. CPJ’s report on sexual violence against journalists can be found here.

  

August 22nd, 2013

Corel Announces PaintShop Pro X6

COREL PSPX6ULTEN_Left jpegCorel just announced the latest versions of its image-editing software, PaintShop Pro X6 and PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate, as well as Photo & Video Suite X6. Don’t go rushing to the Corel site yet. It’s a two-stage release: Today’s release is available to current users only; everyone else will have to wait for the global launch on September 4 to purchase or download updated versions or a free trial.

Based on the results of a major research study–the largest the company ever conducted in the history of product which is now in its 16th iteration–Corel concentrated on several aspects of the software. While the previous updates for X5, focused on social media and creative effects, the big news for X6 revolves around performance. PaintShop Pro X6 has been completely re-architected  as a 64-bit product with much faster performance (a 32-bit version is available and, if necessary, can be installed along with the 64-bit version). Some of the benefits of 64-bit include 10% faster launch speed, the ability to access more than 4GB RAM, better handling and processing of  large files (e.g., 400MB) and opening and batch processing of upward of 50 RAW files. Corel estimates that batch converting 50 RAW files to PNG, for example, works 57% faster than in X5.

Specific tools and tasks such as the Smart Carver and HDR are direct beneficiaries of the 64-bit processing with faster, smoother performance and Corel has added two new selection brushes, auto grouping of sequential images, searching by IPTC data, to name just a few of X6′s enhancements. Other major improvements revolve around a refined user interface, which simplifies the application’s visual look and feel as well as the workflow with easier access to resources, the ability to drag and drop an image to the layers palette to automatically create a new layer and more.

Like PSP X5, the new software is available in a standard version, Ultimate and as part of a photo/video suite. X6 Ultimate is only $20 more than the standard version but offers extras like a full version of Athentech’s Perfectly Clear, portrait enhancement software Face Filter 3 and a creative collections of brushes and picture frames.

Interestingly, the research study conduced by Corel took place before Adobe’s Creative Cloud was introduced but Corel was thinking along the same subscription-based line. As part of the study, Corel asked its users what they thought about a subscription-based delivery model for PaintShop Pro. The response was very clear: users wanted PaintShop Pro to remain a perpetual license product. And, Corel listened, so you can purchase the software outright with no subscription required.

Corel did, however, introduce a standard membership program, which is free with the purchase of a perpetual license product. Membership takes the place of registration, although members will have to register on an annual basis. According to Corel, the company wanted to “connect with the customer on a different level. It’s not just about buying the product and never hearing from each other. It’s a way for us to keep in touch, provide more value and find out what’s valuable to them. An annual membership makes it more organic.” Some of the benefits of membership include the Kai’s Power Tools collection (KPT, for those of you who remember this amazing batch of effects plug-ins), a scripting guide and members-only webinars, among other options.

Mac users are out of luck, though. PaintShop Pro is a Windows-only program but it’s compatible with Windows XP (32-bit and 64-bit), Vista, 7 and 8. Be sure to visit the Corel website on September 4th for more details.

Price:

PaintShop Pro X6: $80 (new); $60 (upgrade)

PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate: $100 (new); $80 (upgrade)

PSP Photo & Video Suite: $129

–Theano Nikitas