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September 3rd, 2014

Photojournalists Launch “Selfie Against the Death Penalty” Campaign

Documentary photographer Marc Asnin and VII Association, a non-profit organization founded by VII Photo Agency, have launched a social media campaign that advocates for the abolition of the death penalty.

The “Photographers Selfie Against the Death Penalty” campaign is part of a collaboration between Asnin’s Neverland Publications and VII Association on Final Words, a book and traveling exhibition that presents the final statements of 515 inmates executed in Texas since 1982. The aim of the project is to focus on “the humanity at the center of the death penalty in America,” the organizers said in a statement.

To participate, photographers are being asked to upload an image to the Final Words site, and to finish the statement “I stand against the death penalty because….” Among the photographers who have participated so far are Larry Fink, Rudy Archuleta, Anthony Barboza, Sim Chi Yin, and several members of the VII Photo Agency.

For full instructions for how to participate in the campaign, visit the Final Words site here.

August 22nd, 2014

Yale Research Group Launches Fascinating Search Platform for 170k FSA-OWI Images

Image caption: Modern riverboat, St. Louis, Missouri, 1940, by John Vachon.

Modern riverboat, St. Louis, Missouri, 1940, by John Vachon.

Screen shot 2014-08-21 at 6.32.37 PM

An image of the Photogrammar’s map tool, which visualizes the quantities of images FSA-OWI photographers made in regions around the country.

A group of researchers at Yale created “a web-based platform for organizing, searching, and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI).”

The platform, which they’re calling Photogrammar, allows people to use visual tools to search through the digitized photographs from the FSA-OWI archive, which is housed at the Library of Congress. The map tool, for instance, allows users to see the quantity of images made in regions across the United States. One can also use the map to trace the work of individual photographers such as Dorothea Lange, John Collier and Marion Post Wolcott, and see where they worked and produced the most images.

The Treemap, another visualization, uses colored blocks of different sizes to show the number of images of different types FSA-OWI photographers produced in different category topics. Users can drill down into subtopics of the category topics.

The Photogrammar also features a more traditional keyword-driven search function.

Explore the Photogrammar site here. But fair warning: it will suck you in.

Related: 14 Rare Color Photos From the FSA-OWI

March 6th, 2014

Getty’s Free Image Program: New Revenue Model, or a Surrender to Copyright Infringement?

Getty Images lit up the Twittersphere today with an announcement that it was making its archive available free of charge for bloggers and other non-commercial users. Some of the big questions are: What is Getty gaining by making images free to the public? How does Getty’s decision affect not only its own contributors, but all photographers? And are there any hidden costs to non-commercial users who take advantage of Getty’s free images?

Getty said in its announcement that it was releasing a new embed tool to make it easy for non-commercial users to share its images on websites, blogs and social media channels.

Getty CEO Jonathan Klein says in the announcement that the “easy, legal sharing…benefits our content contributors and partners.”

One benefit to the company and its partners is that by automatically crediting the images and linking them back to Getty’s website, the embed tool makes it easy to find and license the images for commercial use.

At the same time, the embed tool will also makes it easier for Getty to track non-commercial uses of its images, and the users who take advantage of the company’s offer of free images.

To read what Getty’s terms of service allow it to do with users’ information, and more on the implications of this new business for the perceived value of all images, see our news story, now on PDNOnline.

Related Articles

Getty’s Free Image Program
ASMP To Getty Photographers: Time to Bail

February 28th, 2014

Facebook’s Teru Kuwayama on How To Use Social Media for Documentary Storytelling

Long before he went to work for Facebook as the social media giant’s liaison to the photo community, photographer Teru Kuwuyama saw social media as a tool for photographers “to eliminate the gatekeepers and the editors, and to be our own operators,” he told a standing-room-only crowd at the Aperture Gallery in New York on Tuesday.  Old media models formed in “an analogue era” no longer exist, but he said many photographers who have been “adaptable” to social platforms are using them to reach and engage audiences.

Kuwayama spoke along with Lev Manovich of the Software Studies Initiative at “Documentary, Expanded: Interventions in Social Media,” a panel moderated by photographer Susan Meiselas, executive director and board member of the Magnum Foundation, which organized the talk as part of its Photography, Expanded program. Photography, Expanded held its first conference, in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project, in April 2013, Meiselas said, to encourage photographers to expand their storytelling beyond the still image at a time when “we all felt the ground shifting beneath our feet” due to a shortage of assignments and production budgets from traditional media. Kuwayama shared work by photographers who are using Instagram to connect with audiences — though not, in most cases, to make money with their images.

He began by showing his own social-media-based project, Basetrack. After having worked in Afghanistan as an embedded photojournalist, Kuwayama won a James S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford, where he came up with a plan to gather a small group of embedded photographers who would post images and information about a Marine battalion in Afghanistan for their families back home. Launched in 2010, Basetrack was “basically a tricked out blog,” he said, with a map and a countdown clock to the end of the Marines’ deployment, but equally important was the Basetrack Facebook page, which “became a rallying point for the community.” Basetrack was never intended to reach more than about 1,000 viewers. “Who cares about this 20-year-old Marine who was 8 when this war started? It was clear it was his mom, his sister,” Kuwayama explained.
(more…)

February 12th, 2014

Cramped But Cool Studio: Down to the Basics in Honolulu

© Andrea Brizzi

© Andrea Brizzi

This month, in connection with The Studio Issue of PDN we’re posting the “Cramped But Cool Studio Showcase.” We’re inviting PDN readers to share images of small-but-convenient workspaces.

We kick off with photographer Andrea Brizzi’s one-room, studio-living-workspace in Honololu. It does not have much in it, but what it has is charming.

“I keep two modest studios, one in Brooklyn, the other in Hawaii. Both are outfitted with the essentials: a sofa bed, an espresso machine, a bicycle and a Mac,” Brizzi says. He can see the slope of the Diamond Head volcano out his window. He explains, “Space is scarce, so a surf board doubles as my desk and, when needed, dining table. I got rid of the horrific wall-to-wall carpet I found when I bough the place. The new floor is bamboo, floating, no nails, no glue. Bought at Home Depot, I installed it. I also threw away the window air conditioner. Not necessary here. No heating either.” Nice.

Does your workspace do double duty as living room, playroom, garage or closet? Send us an image or two, plus a description of the space and what you like about it to editor@pdnonline.com (be sure to put “Cramped but Cool” in the subject line) and we’ll be delighted to share it. The photographer whose Cramped But Cool studio gets the most positive comments and votes on our Facebook page will win a gift certificate to photo retailer B&H Photo & Video.

Coming up on the Cramped But Cool Studio Showcase: a nicely renovated basement studio.

Related Article:
Cramped But Cool Studio Showcase: Show Us Where You Work

February 6th, 2014

Panasonic Unveils 4K-Shooting Lumix GH4 Mirrorless, Interchangeable Lens Camera

Panasonic-GH4_H_HS12035_slant_LED1_BGGH3Photographers who also aspire to be cutting edge cinematographers can get the best of both worlds with the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, which is the world’s first mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera with 4K video capture.

Panasonic just introduced the Lumix GH4 ahead of the big CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2014 in Japan next week, where it will join several intriguing new cameras. (Yesterday, Pentax announced that its newest 645D medium format camera with a CMOS sensor will also be on display at CP+)

Panasonic first teased the 16-megapixel GH4 at the CES show in Las Vegas last month, showing off a prototype of the 4K-shooting camera under glass. We were able to snap a stealthy photo of the camera during the show.

The new Panasonic Lumix GH4 looks similar to its predecessor, the GH3, which was introduced at photokina 2014 and also used a 16MP sensor.

Under the hood though, the GH4 is a whole new animal, with a newly developed 16.05MP “Digital Live MOS sensor” designed to not only capture 4K video, but reduce the wobbly “rolling shutter” effect you can get when you pan too aggressively with a CMOS-based camera. This is key because rolling shutter can be even more pronounced in ultra-crisp 4K video, which features 4,000 pixels of horizontal resolution, making it approximately four times the resolution of HD video.

We actually predicted this trend of 4K video shooting coming to more digital cameras in our piece “5 Tech Trends That Are Changing the Photo Industry Today” from last year.

Read more of this story about the new Panasonic Lumix GH4 here.

February 5th, 2014

Pentax Announces 645D Medium-Format Camera with CMOS Sensor: Coming Next Week

More news on the medium-format camera front. The Ricoh Imaging Company, the parent company of Pentax, announced today that it will unveil a new Pentax digital medium-format camera that uses a CMOS image sensor next week. Our sister site, Rangefinder, reported the news today.

Ricoh is the third manufacturer to announce it will produce a medium-format camera system that uses a CMOS sensor. Phase One unveiled the IQ250 digital back, which uses a 50-megapixel CMOS sensor produced by Sony, last month. PDN did an exclusive hands-on test with that camera system and were impressed with the results. Hasselblad said it will launch the H5D-50c, which will also feature a 50MP CMOS sensor, in March 2014.

The use of a CMOS sensor, rather than a CCD sensor, addresses the problem of excessive noise in images shot in low light. Our test of the Phase One IQ250 proved that a medium-format system with a CMOS sensor can capture high ISO images that look as clean and crisp as those from some full-frame DSLRs.

January 28th, 2014

Photography Products We Wish Someone Would Invent

For our January issue, which was dedicated to innovation, we asked some photographers: What innovation do you wish someone would invent? See their responses below and add your wishes in the comments.

Udi Tirosh, editor of DIYPhotography.net
Tirosh says cameras are evolving in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. “They are no longer confined to a rectangle form-factor and they are no longer limited to delivering a single static image. We are seeing 3-D cameras, high-def cameras, wearable cameras, action cameras and more. I think that cameras will end up in all shapes and forms delivering images and data that we have not thought about yet. Perhaps mind controlled, perhaps delivering imagery and sensory data directly into our brains.”

David Frank, video journalist at The New York Times
As a video shooter, Frank says he likes using DSLRs to capture video but says he wishes he didn’t require “add ons.”

“Probably my greatest desire is to have a [Canon] 5D-type camera that I can focus as easily in video mode as it does in still mode—and to be able to do this easily while recording—through the lens, not via a display screen even with an magnifying eyepiece attached.” He says his second wish would be a device that allows “recording audio easier and cleaner without having to add on so much stuff. Third would likely be a really good shotgun mic to go straight into the camera (not through juicedLink or Beachtek).” Finally, he says, he’d like the headphone output levels higher on his Canon EOS 5D Mark III increased. “Even putting these levels all the way up, it’s still too low to hear very well—especially for aging ears.”

Bil Zelman, advertising photographer
“If Santa could make me any toy imaginable this year it would be an L-series Canon 65mm 1.2 lens (or a Nikon one if I swung that way).

“I use a 50mm for most of my portraits. Many people choose an 85mm as it’s a more ‘beautiful’ perspective with smaller nose, etc. It’s a 70 percent jump in focal length between the two most popular portrait lenses and I’d shell out a few grand on a fast, in-between-length 65mm in a heartbeat. (There is a 60mm f/2.8 macro but f/2.8 is too slow for most people).”

He is also craving a device to relieve what he calls “photographers’ tennis elbow.” He says, “A ton of shooters have it. I lift a seven-to-ten-pound camera sideways to my eye 300,000 times a year and my schedule makes a three-month ‘time off healing window’ nearly impossible.” He’s so serious about the need for such a device, in fact, that he’s begun work on inventing one.

Isa Leshko, fine-art photographer
Leshko wishes someone would invent a website that helps pair corporate and nonprofit institutions seeking to fund artists with artists seeking funding. “Most institutions don’t give money to individuals and instead fund only institutions, which would be one challenge in implementing such a service,” she says. “But, perhaps the organization running the service could also provide fiscal sponsorship for participating artists.” She adds, “There is only a relatively small pool of grants that are awarded to fine-art photographers. I personally would love help finding additional sources of funding that do not involve crowd sourcing. I know I am not alone in this wish.”

Dom Romney, photographer and motor sports specialist
“It would be great to see better heat haze technology to help cut down on soft shots due to heat.” (Editor’s note: Heat haze is image distortion caused by air temperature differentials, which bend light. Common examples are distortions caused by the exhaust heat of a jet or racecar engine, or heated air rising from a hot surface such as pavement. The distortion is especially pronounced in images shot with long lenses.)

Nigel Harniman, advertising and automotive photographer
As a car photographer, Harniman often has to incorporate his images with CGI (computer-generated imagery). When we asked him what innovation he wished to see, he said he’d like a means to work with less CGI.

Related Article:

5 Tech Trends That Are Changing the Photo Industry Today

January 22nd, 2014

Cramped But Cool Studio Showcase: Show Us Where You Work

Is your studio or workspace tiny but convenient, space-challenged but stylish? Does it do double duty as garage, playroom, homework table and closet? If so, we hope you’ll let us share it on PDNPulse in this year’s Cramped But Cool Studio Showcase.

In coordination with PDN’s Studio Issue, we’ll post images of selected submissions to the Cramped But Cool Showcase on PDNPulse throughout the month of February, and then let readers vote on their favorites. The photographer whose workspace garners the most votes (or likes on PDN’s Facebook page) will receive a $50 gift certificate from a photo retailer.

If you’d like us to show off your workspace on PDNPulse’s Cramped But Cool Studio Showcase, please submit 1 to 3 jpeg images to: editor@pdnonline.com. Include a short description (up to 100 words) of your workspace, any renovations or arrangements you made to accommodate the way you work, what you’ve got stored there, how many other creatures use the space (kids, pets, etc), and its best and worst features. Be sure to put “Cramped But Cool” in your subject line.

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?