July 10th, 2014

Announcing the new Elinchrom ELC PRO HD 500 Flash Head

Manfrotto Distribution, Inc. a leading global distributor of premium photo and video support products and accessories, has unveiled the world’s most complete, feature-rich compact studio flash unit from Elinchrom, the ELC PRO HD 500 Flash Head. The ELC is at the forefront of studio lighting technology combining everything a photographer needs and wants with the consistency and reliability that is expected from Elinchrom.

The ELC is the first unit to incorporate an OLED screen that displays every control for the most intuitive, flexible user experience ever. Recycling times are lightning fast while Swiss precision guarantees consistency of power output and color temperature, shot after shot. Furthermore the super-fast flash durations enables users to freeze motion like never before. The unit features Elinchrom’s stop based power scale enabling users to see the power in Joules, flash durations and many other settings. A jog wheel provides easy navigation of the new menu.

The ELC features three exciting new shooting modes including:

  • Sequence Mode – Allows users to sequentially trigger up to 20 ELC’s, in bursts or as a continuous cycle, to utilize the high frame rate of their camera
  • Delayed Mode – Provides the option of first or second curtain sync and everything in-between
  • Strobo Mode – Enables users to take a picture with stroboscopic effects within a single frame

“The ELC is the world’s most advanced compact studio flash enabling photographers to work with very low power flash and continuous light to bring their creative vision to life,” said Paul Zakrzewski, Director of Marketing at Manfrotto Distribution Inc. “The ELC’s auto-sensing multi-voltage power supply allows photographers to use the ELC Pro HD 500 anywhere in the world and its multiple shooting modes makes it one of the most versatile flash heads on the market.”

The ELC PRO HD 500 Flash Head is available at retailers nationwide. For more information visit www.elinchrom.us.

(Sponsored Post)

July 10th, 2014

PDN Video: Mary Virginia Swanson on Selling Prints to Corporations

Mary Virginia Swanson on Selling Prints to Corporations from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

The corporate market for fine art prints has expanded on two fronts, says art photography consultant Mary Virginia Swanson. Corporations and corporate art consultants are both big purchasers of art, including photographic prints, for the walls of hotels, healthcare facilities, office buildings, and other business settings. In this video, Swanson explains the markets, and offers advice about how to tap into them, and price your prints for corporate buyers.

Related:
What to Expect from the Photographer/Gallery Relationship
Mary Virginia Swanson: How to Get the Most Out of a Portfolio Review
What Collectors Want (for PDN subscribers)

July 9th, 2014

Jasmin Shah’s Impromptu “Team” Portraits of World Cup Soccer Fans

 

© Jasmin Shah

USA team of fans photo from the USA v Ghana game on Monday, June 16th, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Chicago-based photojournalist Jasmin Shah spends a lot of time outside of Chicago, finding ways to tell visual stories about her trips, and stretching her creative and technical skills. She’s been to India five times within the last five years, as well as Ethiopia, Mexico, Tonga and Brazil mostly for Operation Smile, a children’s medical charity, as well as for personal projects. Shah just returned from another trip to Brazil, this time to celebrate her passion for soccer and to challenge herself with an ambitious personal project.

© Jasmin Shah

Portuguese team of fans photo from the USA v Portugal game on Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Before she left for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Shah brainstormed photo ideas about what it was she was excited to see. Shah says via email, “I was excited for the fan diversity I knew I’d be able to capture—in cultures, races and vivid colors.” She decided to re-create the commemorative 11-player starting lineup photo taken before each match –  two rows, with six players standing in the back, and five players crouching in front. During the pre-game buildup, Shah gathered and posed groups of 11 fans from various countries. For all of the photos she used available light and her 5D Mark III with a 50mm lens. She had to keep gear to a minimum since she was inside the stadium and did not have a press pass.

© Jasmin Shah

German team of fans photo from the USA v Germany game on Thursday, June 26th, 2014 in Recife, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

But equipment was the least of her worries.  Trying to corral and pose exactly 11 people from the same country proved to be the biggest challenge. “There’d be too few, so I’d have to go grab more…while keeping the already assembled fans from wandering off. Or there’d be too many (excited passersby would jump in, thinking it must be an “official” photo of some kind) and I’d have to urge them out.” Out of the 10 group shots, only one fell short of a full 11 “players.” Before USA’s match against Ghana, dressed in full USA fan gear, Shah ran to the Ghanian side of the stadium and asked some fans to come out to the concourse with her for the shot. She lost a few on the way – but that shot, she says is her favorite of the series.

© Jasmin Shah

Ghanian team of fans photo from the USA v Ghana game on Monday, June 16th, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Fans loved her idea once they figured out what she was doing, Shah says. On a few occasions, fans assisted her by wrangling their “teammates” into the lineup. For the most part, Shah played both photographer and coach, shouting over excited fans.

© Jasmin Shah

French team of fans photo from the France v Switzerland game on Friday, June 20th, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Shah self-funded her trip to Brazil, as well as tickets for all 4 USA soccer games. (Sidenote: Shah purchased her tickets from fellow USA fans and all for face value!). In addition to personal work, she also shot for Howler, a US-based quarterly soccer magazine, regularly uploading snaps to their Instagram. Her primary photographic goal was to shoot the crowds and capture the exciting 2014 FIFA World Cup atmosphere. “The chants, the flags, the scarves and face paint, the march to the stadium, and the drinking (cheerfully and nervously) that leads to the unruliness…they’re all part of the collective excitement.” Her self-assigned project, she says, has given her both production experience (“talk about an exercise in patience and persistence!”) and confidence.

© Jasmin Shah

Swiss team of fans photo from the France v Switzerland game on Friday, June 20th, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

July 9th, 2014

How a Former White House Photographer Documented a Marriage-Equality Battle

© AFER/Photo by Diana Walker

© AFER/Photo by Diana Walker

Having worked as Time magazine’s White House photographer through three presidential administrations, Diana Walker is used to capturing intimate views of history-making moments. Her images of a different kind of political drama are highlighted in the documentary “The Case Against 8,” which debuted at The Sundance Film Festival this year and has recently been shown on HBO.

During the four-year court battle to overturn Proposition 8, the law banning same-sex marriage in California which ended in the Supreme Court a year ago last month, Walker had total access to the plaintiffs, Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, and to the legal team working on their case, including lead attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson. Walker was on assignment from American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the non-profit that funded the lawsuit.  Walker calls the assignment “ideal”: “I got to do what I like to do, which is showing people doing their thing in hopes it leads to an understanding of what they do  and why they do it.”

© AFER/photo by Diana Walker

© AFER/photo by Diana Walker

She was contacted for the assignment by Chad Griffin who was then heading AFER (Griffin is now president of the Human Rights Campaign). Walker had met Griffin when he worked on the communications team in the Clinton White House. When Griffin said he wanted to hire her to document the progress of the case to throw out Prop 8, Walker recalls, “I said, ‘What’s Prop 8?’” Though she was unfamiliar with the issue, she says, “I knew I liked Chad enormously and any project he had would be something I’d be interested in, so I said ok.”

Walker’s responsibilities were typical for an assignment for a non-profit: “Chad wanted evidence of what they’d all been through and what it looked like,” including images to share with the press and AFER donors. She photographed demonstrations, rallies, the plaintiffs going in and out of court, behind the scenes shots of meetings of the legal team and prepping the plaintiffs for testimony. Walker, who divides her time between Washington, DC, and a vacation home in Idaho, says she typically had a few days’ notice of when a verdict would be announced, or when the lawyers or plaintiffs would be making a public appearance. “I had to be available whenever they needed me,” she says. AFER allowed her total access, she says, and the plaintiffs in the case allowed her to photograph them and their families at home .

One part of the assignment, however, was unusual for Walker: She asked for a buy out, and negotiated a fee for the copyright to her images. “I said, I’m happy to do this, but I don’t want to be left sitting on my computer, sending out photos to all these different parties who are going to be interested in my stills.” Though Walker has retained the copyright to all her magazine assignments, and published two books using images in her archive (a third, about Hillary Clinton, will be published by Simon & Schuster in October), she didn’t want to handle licensing requests for the AFER images. “I am at the stage in my life where my husband and I travel a great deal. We love to be with our five grandchildren. Being available to handle frequent requests for images seemed more than I could handle or wanted to deal with.” Griffin agreed to her terms (Walker didn’t disclose her fee to PDN).  Walker says she did quick edits after each shoot to “get rid of the junk,” but Griffin agreed to consult her when large batches of her images were used. For example, Walker was asked for her input when AFER  provided a selection of her images to Jo Becker, author of Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, published this spring; and to Boies and Olson who published their own book about the case in June.

While Walker was documenting the case, she was often working alongside filmmakers Ben Cotner and Ryan White, who were shooting footage for what would become “The Case Against 8.” The film shows Walker at work, and includes many of her black-and-white portraits of the two couples at the heart of the case.

“It was so interesting to me, because they were these two sets of plaintiffs totally unused to being in the public eye, who were totally unbothered by me or the film crew,” Walker says. After four years in their company, “I got to really love the players. They were all wonderful.”

After attending a screening of “The Case Against 8,” Walker says, “I was simply delighted with the way they used my images.” The only part of the story she regrets being unable to photograph, she says, were the weddings of Perry and  Stier in San Francisco and of Zarrillo and Katami in Los Angeles. After the US Supreme Court had ruled that the supporters of Proposition 8 had no standing to appeal the case (on the same day the Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional), California’s high court had to issue a ruling that same-sex marriages could begin again in the state. Walker was out of town the morning the order was issued, when the plaintiffs went straight to their local court houses to get their marriage licenses and be married.

“But I was there at the Supreme Court,” Walker says. “That was great.”

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)

July 3rd, 2014

Photographer Creates Free iPhone App for His Signature Style

New York City-based photographer Alexander Richter has used the Contrast by Hornbeck app to make images of the city's architecture for his Instagram feed.

New York City-based photographer Alexander Richter has used the Contrast by Hornbeck app to make a series of images of the city’s architecture for his Instagram feed. Photo © Alexander Richter

Photographer John Hornbeck couldn’t find a camera app for his phone that came anywhere close to the high-contrast, black-and-white photographs he makes with his camera, and he wasn’t interested in “having to purchase a bunch of add-ons.” Hornbeck, who earns money from his photography but also works in the software industry, decided to collaborate with a friend to build an app that would come close to reproducing his style.

After they finished the app, Contrast by Hornbeck, the photographer used it for a few months before he and the developer decided to “push it out to the public and see if there would be any interest from others.” There has been.

Hornbeck has promoted the app—it’s available for free—via his social media channels, and others have shared it. “I know at least a couple of respected photographers who use it and have told others about it, so it’s just word of mouth and people playing around,” he says. The downloads number “in the thousands,” and several hundred images on Instagram are tagged with the #contrastbyhornbeck hashtag.

The biggest thing this app offers that others don’t, Hornbeck says, is simplicity. Photographers can use it to make high-contrast, black-and-white shots. “That’s all it does and we have no plans to really change that.”

 

July 2nd, 2014

Magnum Photos Names Nominee, New Member, Appoints New Executive Director

At the annual meeting of Magnum Photos last week, members of the photography collective voted to make Moises Saman, a long-time Magnum associate, a full member of the agency. Bieke Depoorter and Jerome Sessini were elevated from nominees to associate members. One nominee to the agency was named: Sohrab Hura, who is based in New Delhi and was selected for PDN’s 30 in 2010. The announcements were made after the conclusion of the meeting, held in New York City.

Also at this year’s meeting, Magnum named a new executive director: David Kogan, a journalist who had previously worked as global managing director of Reuters Television.  Photographer Martin Parr, who was elected the new president of the collective, said in a statement, “I am confident that David Kogan’s experience as a successful media executive and entrepreneur, and his sensitivity as an important collector of photographs, brings the right mix of competence and vision to open this new chapter of Magnum’s history.”

Related articles
Photo Agencies Test Consumer Market with Prints and T-shirts

Magnum Announces Just One Nominee, Welcomes Olivia Arthur and Peter van Agtmael as Full Members (2013)

PDN’s 30 2010

July 1st, 2014

Sebastián Liste, Asim Rafiqui Join NOOR as Associate Members

Sebastián Liste (l), Asim Rafiqui (r)

Sebastián Liste (l), Asim Rafiqui (r)

Photographers Sebastián Liste and Asim Rafiqui have joined NOOR as associate members, the Amsterdam-based photo agency has announced.

Liste, a 2012 PDN’s 30 who divides his time between Brazil and Spain, his native country, documents contemporary issues and cultural changes in Latin America and the Mediterranean.  Rafiqui is photojournalist who has reported from countries throughout Europe, Asia and North America, and has written extensively about photojournalism ethics. He recently wrote an essay for PDN about multidisciplinary approaches to photojournalism. Rafiqui is currently based in Kigali, Rwanda and Lahore, Pakistan.

NOOR says its aim is to expand it’s roster of photographers by promoting Liste and Rafiqui to full members after a one-year trial period. The agency, established in 2007, currently has ten photographer-members, based in seven countries.

Related:
PDN’s 30 2012 Gallery: Sebastián Liste

Hackathons: Asim Rafiqui On The Value of Multidisciplinary Experiments

Sebastián Liste Wins 2014 Alexia Foundation Grant of $20K (for PDN subscribers)

June 27th, 2014

End of the Line for Apple’s Aperture Photo Software?

Apple-Aperture-3-(2)We haven’t heard much from Apple lately on its Aperture image management and editing software so it came as little surprise to learn that the company now appears to be pulling the plug on this once much ballyhooed program for pro photographers.

According to The Loop, Apple says its will no longer develop Aperture. Apple will, instead, concentrate on its new Photos app for the Mac, which was announced during the Worldwide Developer’s Conference earlier this month.

“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” Apple said in a statement to The Loop. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS.”

The new Photos app will also replace Apple’s long-running iPhoto consumer photography program, according to The Loop.

Apple Aperture was launched, with much fanfare, at PhotoPlus Expo in 2005. Soon after its introduction, Aperture faced stiff competition from several other image management and editing applications including Adobe’s Lightroom, which has dominated the pro photography software market in recent years.

(Via Mac Rumors)

June 26th, 2014

Nikon Unveils 36.3MP, Full-Frame D810 Pro DSLR with No Optical Low Pass Filter (Hands-on Preview)

Nikon-D810-(front)-webNikon took the wraps off its latest professional digital SLR this morning: the 36.3MP, full-frame D810, which uses no optical low pass filter (OLPF) in an effort to optimize resolution and increase sharpness and dynamic range.

We got some hands-on time with an early version of the Nikon D810, which is designed to replace both the D800 and D800E models from 2012.

The 35mm-sized, CMOS chip in the Nikon D810 has the same resolution as the sensors in the D800/E models, but a Nikon representative we spoke with during our hands-on time with the camera said it has been “newly designed.”

He stopped short, however, of calling it a brand new chip.

The Nikon D810 will go on sale in late July for $3,299.95 (body only), which is about $300 more than the D800 debuted at in 2012, but the same price as the D800E. The first two images of the D810 in this story were shot during our hands-on time with camera; the rest were provided by Nikon.

Read more of this story about the Nikon D810 and see more images here.