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March 4th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography & Filmmaking

ami photography | Flickr

ami photography | Flickr

“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.”  – Elizabeth Hardwick

Improving Your Lighting By Thinking Like a CinematographerD. Jackson

When Filmmaking Met YouTubeThe Young Folks

What Does Sundance Mean for Middle Class Filmmakers?William Dickerson

Google’s Artificial Mind Is Now Creating ArtWired

Japan’s Curious Revival of Disposable Film Cameras – Rocket News

Humans of New York: Activism Beyond the Photography Politic

The Myth of the Neurotic CreativeThe Atlantic

When a World Press Win Is Fulfilling a PromiseNuba Reports

Patti Smith Doesn’t Want to Change the World (Through Photography)The Guardian

Find past Weekend Reads here.

February 26th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography & Filmmaking

michelE spilleR | Flickr

michelE spilleR | Flickr

“Reading brings us unknown friends.” — Honoré de Balzac

How Portrait Photography Can Rock Your RealityDeutsche Welle

This Is the Best Car for PhotographersResource Mag

Investigating the Documentaries Nominated for

5 Photographers Hitting it Big in 2016Creator’s Project

The Propaganda of Pantone ColorLoki Design

Leila Alaoui Pointed Her Lens at the UnseenEconomist

The Great Depression Through Photographers’ EyesWashington Post

Photographing Hip-Hop’s Golden EraLens

Michael Moore’s Fight for InfluenceGlobe and Mail

Want more? You can find past Weekend Reads here.

February 23rd, 2016

What PDN’s 30 Has Taught Us About Photo Education, and Lifelong Learning

PDN April 2016. © PDN/Photo by Ina Jang

© PDN/Photo by Ina Jang

This morning we launched our April issue and our online gallery of PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch. In the new issue, you can read part of an interview with a photojournalist who decided to get a master’s degree because there was “something I didn’t know.” She explains, “I had to continue to grow to be capable of telling other people’s stories. And stories I was telling were more and more complex.” That’s not a quote from one of the PDN’s 30 emerging photographers. That’s a quote from veteran photographer Lynn Johnson, who had been shooting photo essays for LIFE and National Geographic for years when she returned to school.

Johnson’s quote is among the excerpts we’ve reprised in the issue and on PDNOnline from our favorite interviews and artists’ talks by some renowned master photographers. (See “Great Photographers on How They Make Work That Matters.”) They are photographers who continue to experiment and to reexamine what they want their photos to achieve. The stories of their artistic journeys, and those of the PDN’s 30 emerging photographers we profile, got me thinking about the need for constant education and lifelong learning in a changing marketplace.

As we gathered portfolios from photographers nominated for the 2016 PDN’s 30, we heard from some of last year’s PDN’s 30 who participated in the seminars we hold at photo schools and festivals. In prepping the PDN’s 30 photographers for those panels, I ask them to remember that the photo students in the audience want to hear how the panelists got from where the students are now—unsure how to run a business, uncertain how to approach clients—to being working professionals. The photo schools we visit typically have teachers who can explain how they launched their own careers decades ago. But in the 16 years I’ve been arranging PDN’s 30 seminars, the media and the photo industry have changed so much, the career paths that past PDN’s 30 photographers described just seven or eight years ago now sound quaint. What I’ve appreciated about PDN’s 30 photographers is that they know the old industry models are gone, but they’ve figured out their own ingenious, enterprising ways to fund and share their work.

Students in the audience for our PDN’s 30 panels demand candid answers. The best PDN’s 30 panelists are honest about the lessons they learned from their mistakes. As senior editor Conor Risch says in his introduction to the 2016 PDN’s 30 gallery, nearly all of them learned from experienced photographers or photo industry professionals willing to teach, advise, encourage and make connections for others. This year’s PDN’s 30 photographers work very hard, and in spite of setbacks, they persevere with passion. That’s a trait they share with many of the master photographers we’ve profiled.

Photographers my age sometimes grouse about why PDN devotes an issue to emerging photographers. I’ve always responded by talking about the responsibility we in the photo community have to introduce the next generation of photographers to professional business practices. I’ve also realized that in this rapidly changing market, all photographers, no matter how experienced they are, have to keep experimenting and learning. It’s equally important to be open to advice and new ideas, no matter where they come from.

Related Articles
So You’ve Just Graduated with a Photography Degree. Now What?

PDN’s 30 Photographers on Building Support for their Work

February 19th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography and Filmmaking

Daniel Horacio Agostini | Flickr

Daniel Horacio Agostini | Flickr

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Joseph Addison

Are Photographers and Audiophiles Alike?CNET

The DMCA Is Broken for Filmmakers Like MeMotherboard

Ambushed by Anxiety at the Democratic ConventionVDC Photo

The Importance of Photography in the Fight for Civil RightsHuffPo

My Life As a Food StylistLife & Thyme

Is British Fashion Photography More Fun?NY Mag

What It Was Like to Shoot Our Issue Entirely on an iPhoneBon Appetite

The Secret Lives of Tumblr TeensNew Republic

What I Learned Taking MoMA’s Photography CoursePhoto Shelter

My Shocking Discovery Watching 78 Multimedia StoriesMedium

This Is the Future of CinemaVideo & Filmmaker

Not done? You can find past Weekend Reads here.

February 12th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography & Filmmaking

Mathrong | Flickr

Mathrong | Flickr

“That I can read and be happy while I am reading, is a great blessing.”
Anthony Trollope

The Photo Industry’s Atomic SecretImaging Resource

Does MoMA Even Know of This Great Photographer? –  Hyper Allergic

When Does Travel Photography Become ExploitationVirtual Wayfarer

Photographers vs. Pollution in Steel CityLens

The Playboy Centerfold That Helped Create the JPEGThe Atlantic

How Sundance’s First VR Residency Came to BeThe Verge

From Illustrations to iPhones, a History of Fashion PhotographyCNN

“For Politicians, the Flash Is Like Crack”Time

Telling Stories on a Camera or a Computer?Filmmaker

What Happens When Someone Fakes Your Instagram AccountWired

On Street Photography and Social MediaCreative Boom

Want more reads? Check out past Weekend Reads here.

February 9th, 2016

Why Color Calibrate? Outdoor Photographer David Cardinal Weighs In

Sponsored by Datacolor

© David Cardinal

© David Cardinal
















As an award-winning travel and nature photographer, David Cardinal knows a thing or two about color. Some days, he’s up at sunrise on the African savanna to capture a pack of lions hunting. Other days, he’s wandering the Bogyoke Market in Yangon, Myanmar, photographing intricate fabrics and vibrant spices. Making sure that the colors in his final printed images will precisely match the colors he is seeing on his screen is important to Cardinal, and his display-calibration system of choice is the Datacolor Spyder5.

Cardinal says the Spyder5 is cost-effective and both easy to use and to travel with. He explains: “[This latest version] includes a counterweight that doubles as a snap-on cap, making it easy for me pack anywhere.” In just five minutes, the Spyder5, which is the latest in Datacolor’s world-class display-calibration tools, easily calibrates laptops and desktop monitors for accurate color, gamma, white point and grey balance so that images stay consistent from editing to printing.

Monitor calibration, according to Cardinal, is one of the most important parts of your workflow. “It’s crucial,” he says. “I don’t see how you can properly work on your images without calibrating.” To help you properly and precisely work on your images, Spyder’s patented, 7-detector optical engine has been redesigned to deliver up to a 55-percent improvement in low luminance accuracy, providing more accurate shadow detail and smoother gradients. In addition to this, the Spyder5PRO and Spyder5ELITE contain a room light sensor, which measures the room’s lighting conditions and alerts you if there’s been a change among the ambient light levels (Spyder5PRO: three room light levels / Spyder5ELITE: five room light levels) —this allows you to either modify your calibration settings or adjust your room lighting, further enabling optimal color accuracy in your images.


© David Cardinal

© David Cardinal


Cardinal cannot stress the importance of color accuracy enough. On the photo tours and safaris he leads, he says there are always photographers who don’t understand the importance of calibration and are disappointed when they compare their final images with his: The colors in Cardinal’s images look vibrant and true-to-life, while the colors in theirs look flat or inaccurate.

Cardinal shows participants a “Before and After” evaluation of their own images using the Spyder5, and he says it encourages them to begin calibrating their own display. “It [makes] a huge difference.”

The problem, according to Cardinal, is that most monitors are inherently calibrated to make software like Microsoft PowerPoint look great, but are not specifically tailored to work as well for photography. With its Display Analysis feature, the Spyder5PRO and Spyder5ELITE allow you to compare color, brightness, contrast, gamut, tone response and white point across all of your various monitors. This is key, because if you are unaware of differences in characteristics of your displays, you could unknowingly make adjustments on your photos that will ultimately look bad when you print.


Spyder5ELITE's Display Analysis.

Spyder5ELITE’s Display Analysis feature.














The best part about the Spyder5, Cardinal maintains, is how easy it is to use. Whereas other colorimeters require technical know-how and a lot of time, the Spyder5 is designed to make the entire process painless. The default settings are so good, according to Cardinal, that he rarely needs to customize. “[When calibrating,] people used to have to answer a bunch of complicated questions they didn’t understand. Datacolor has put so much work into the software that it takes care of everything,” Cardinal says. “In the time it takes me to grab a coffee, it calibrates everything perfectly.” And, when you’re trying to make it out of the hotel room in time to catch the sunrise over a remote Buddhist temple, every second counts.


Datacolor Spyder5 is available in three versions (EXPRESS, PRO, ELITE) ranging from $129 – $279.

Learn More:

January 22nd, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography and Filmmaking

Kate Ter Haar | Flickr

Kate Ter Haar | Flickr

“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” – P.J. O’Rourke.

The Blind Eye and the Vision MachineDisphotic

Why Do We Think It’s OK to Devalue Photographers?Resource Magazine

Images of Starving Children Can Still Shock Us into ActionThe Guardian

10 Things We Learned from the 2016 Oscar NominationsRolling Stone

How Sundance Is Pushing into the FutureThe Verge

Instagram Is Fostering the Next Generation of Photojournalists Artsy

Revisiting a National Geographic Cover Girl – Proof

This Photographer Sold a Potato Picture for $1 MillionSF Gate

“The Grain of Super 16 Gives the Film Another Layer”Filmmaker

Find past Weekend Reads here.

January 11th, 2016

Spotted @ CES 2016: Your Photos on Coffee

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.34.25 PMLet’s face it, there’s no greater way to consume photography than with coffee. And there’s no better way to consume coffee than with your photography on it.

That’s the premise behind the Ripple Maker, a $1,000 coffee maker that “prints” images and text using coffee extract and the foam atop your latte or cappuccino. The company hit CES with a new app that lets users upload their own personal images to a Ripple for printing/consumption.

The app is free and available now for iOS devices. An Android version is due in February. The app lets you send images from your camera roll, with the ability to edit, scale and add text before it’s printed. You can also select from the Ripple content library if your own images aren’t cutting it. The app tracks your location so is able to alert you to any nearby coffee shops that are using the Ripple machine.

Unfortunately, you can’t own your own Ripple Maker. The company that produces it, Steam CC, is only selling them to commercial coffee shops, restaurants and hotels at the moment. That said, you can submit your own images for Ripple’s content library and be memorialized, however briefly, on foam.

Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.

January 7th, 2016

CES 2016: Slimmer SSD Storage Coming Soon to a Gear Bag Near You

While CES has plenty of surprises (like a buzz-generating Super 8 camera), it’s a given that we’ll be treated to new storage devices that are slimmer and faster than last year’s models. Not that we’re complaining!

Here’s a look at some of the new drives and memory cards announced at CES 2016:


SanDisk added a water resistant portable SSD drive to its lineup.  The 480GB Extreme 510 Portable SSD is splash and dust proof and its rubber bumper protects it from impact. You’ll enjoy transfer speeds up to 430MB/s as well as SanDisk’s SecureAccess encryption software. It retails for $250.

128GB-microSDXC-1800x-with-reader-adapterLexar introduced new, high-speed microSD cards for use in 4K action cameras and drones.

The Professional 1800x microSDHC and microSDXC UHS-II cards deliver read transfer speeds up to 270MBps thanks to Ultra High Speed II (U3 technology). The cards will ship with a USB 3.0 reader that delivers data transfers nine times faster than using the USB cable included with most cameras, Lexar said.

The cards will be sold in  in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities for $80, $135 and $270, respectively, and include a lifetime copy of Image Rescue software. They are available for purchase now.

Lexar also introduced a portable SSD drive that’s compatible with its Professional Workflow system. The drive boasts transfer speeds of 450MB/s and will be available in 256GB and 512GB capacities for $150 and $250, respectively. The drive will feature an external LED capacity meter.


Samsung released a new portable SSD drive, the T3, in capacities ranging from 250GB to 2TB. According to Samsung, the petite drive will be “smaller than an average business card.” It will offer transfer speeds of 450MB/s and is housed in a shock-resistant metal casing capable of surviving a 2 meter drop. It connects via USB Type-C and offers AES 256-bit hardware encryption.

The T3 ships in February. Pricing wasn’t announced.

See Also:

Seagate Launches World’s Thinnest 2TB Portable Drive at CES 2016

How Long Will Digital Photos Last? 


January 6th, 2016

Documentary Photographers: Contest Deadlines Approaching Fast

Marzell Williamson plays the tuba, by Jerry Wolford, winner of Photojournalist of the Year honors at last year's Best of Photojournalism competition. ©News & Record/Jerry Wolford Photojournalism 2015 Ph

Marzell Williamson plays the tuba, Greensboro, NC. Jerry Wolford won Photojournalist of the Year honors for a portfolio including this image, at last year’s Best of Photojournalism competition. ©News & Record/Jerry Wolford

Winter is the height of the photojournalism contest season, and entry deadlines are fast approaching for a number of international competitions. Among them are:

The World Press Photo entry deadline is January 13, although entrants must register by January 7. (Multimedia entries are due by  January 20.) There is no entry fee, but participants must provide proof of their professional status.  This year’s contest is subject to a new code of ethics and strict new rules about photo manipulation, as well as other rule changes. See the contest website for details. Photo contest winners will be announced February 18. The winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2015 will receive a cash prize of 10,000 EUR, and winners in all categories will be invited to travel to Amersterdam for an awards ceremony in April at the expense of World Press Photo organizers.

Entries for the 73rd POYi competition are due by January 15. The competition includes multiple categories in photojournalism, multimedia, and visual editing divisions. The entry fee is $50. Prizes are primarily bragging rights and exposure, but winners of several premier categories also receive modest cash awards–$1,000 for Photographer of the Year and $500 for Newspaper Photographer of the Year, for instance. Judging takes place from February 8-25 at the Missouri School of Journalism, which sponsors the contest. Details and rules are on the POYi website.

Photo entries for the Eyes of History competition are due January 15. The competition is sponsored by the White News Photographers Association. The entry fee is $67. The competition has other divisions with different entry due dates: video entries are due January 29, multimedia entries are due January 31, and student entries are due February 1. The entry fees for those divisions also vary. All divisions except the student division are open to WHNP members only. See the WHNP website for complete details.

Best of Photojournalism entries are due by January 29. The contest, which is sponsored by National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), is open to NPPA members and non-members alike. There is no entry fee, and there are no monetary prizes (just bragging rights and plaques). Like POYi, BOP includes still photo, multimedia and editing divisions, plus a video division. Contest details and rules are available on the NPPA website. No date has been set for announcing winners, but winners for past competitions have been announced in March or April.

The deadline for entering PDN’s Photo Annual competition is February 3. In addition to photojournalism/documentary and video/multimedia categories, the competition categories include: advertising, editorial, photo books, sports, self-promotion, stock photography, personal work and student work. The entry fee is $50 for single images, and $60 for each series of images. Cash awards total more than $20,000. Contest information and rules are available at the PDN Photo Annual website.

The International Prize for Contemporary African Photography  (POPCAP) is accepting entries until February 7. The prize is for work about Africa or the diaspora of an African country. Entrants must submit a single series or story consisting of 10 to 25 images. There is no entry fee. The prizes include an artists’ residency. Finalists will be announced February 29, and five winners will be announced March 7. Past winners include Zed Nelson, Léonard Pongo, Anoek Steketee, Patrick Willocq, and Cristina de Middel. Full details and rules are available at the POPCAP website.

Entries for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by Natural History Museum in London, are due by February 25. “Judges are looking for outstanding images that raise awareness of nature’s beauty and fragility, while also championing the highest ethical standards in wildlife photography,” according to the contest website. Entrants may submit up to 25 images. The entry fee is £30.00 ($44). Top prize is £10,000 ($14,675) for Best Single Image, but the competition awards monetary prizes in a number of categories. Winners will be notified May 13. Past winners include Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, Greg du Toit, and Paul Nicklen. Full contest details are available at the WPY website.

After Staged-Photo Debacle, World Press Changes Rules

Daniel Berehulak Wins Reportage Photographer of the Year Honors at 2015 POYi Competition

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

Mads Nissen Wins World Press Photo of the Year 2014 Prize (PDN subscription required)