January 29th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography and Filmmaking

quattrostagioni | Flickr

quattrostagioni | Flickr

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” ― Fran Lebowitz

Photojournalism and the Middle East – Lens Culture

Keep it Simple: The Life of Magnum’s Dark Room Printer Gup

The Quandary of the Unreliable Narrator Documentary.org

Two Takes on Virtual Reality FilmmakingPost

The Master of All Photo TradesRangefinder

How Birth of a Nation Became Sundance’s Biggest SaleWired

Kodak’s Old School Response to DisruptionNew Yorker

Photography as ProvocationThe Economist

Funding and Distributing a Full-Length Documentary – PDN

Not enough? Find past weekend reads here.

January 29th, 2016

Update: Photojournalist Phil Moore Arrested in Burundi

British photojournalist Phil Moore was arrested early Thursday morning in a police raid in Bujumbura, Burundi, according to reports. 17 other people, including Le Monde Africa bureu chief Jean Philippe Remy, were also detained in raids that swept through two neighborhoods in the capital.

“The two foreigners were arrested in the company of armed criminals,” Burundi’s security ministry said, according to Agence France-Presse. The report also quoted police spokesman Moise Nkurunziza, who said the journalists “have not been charged” and would be released “If there is no evidence against them.”

Burundi is the focus of international concern as violence between President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government and armed opposition groups continues to escalate following Nkurunziza’s decision in April 2015 to seek a third term. Nkurunziza won a disputed election in July. United Nations and African Union officials have been urging Nkurunziza to allow an AU peacekeeping force into the country to prevent an ethnic conflict.

Moore has been covering the situation in Burundi since the violence began last April. Before his arrest, Moore tweeted, “Several young men rounded up and questioned by police in Jabe neighbourhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, following gunshots last night.”

UPDATE: On Friday the French government, Agence France-Presse and Le Monde demanded the release of both journalists.”I call on Burundi’s authorities to proceed with their immediate release. Diplomatic procedures are underway,” said French foreign minister Laurent Fabius in a statement. In a separate statement addressed to President Nkurunziza, AFP chairman Emmanuel Hoog said, “There is no justification for the arrest of these two experienced reporters who are widely respected in the profession. We ask you, Mr President, to immediately intervene to obtain the release of these two reporters and to take all the necessary steps to ensure their safety”

January 28th, 2016

Update: Obama Administration Calls for Copyright Small Claims Courts, Embraces “Vibrant Fair Use”

copyright copy_350An Obama administration task force has come out in support of “a vibrant fair use space” that allows  “the broad range of remixes to thrive.” At the same time, the task force supports “effective licensing structures” and is calling for the “creation of a streamlined procedure for adjudicating small claims of copyright infringement.”

The recommendations are from the US Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force, and  appeared in a publication released today called “White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages.” The purpose of the task force is to ensure that copyright policy continues to provide incentive for creativity as the digital economy changes how people communicate, create, innovate and conduct business.

The task force defines “remixes” as “works created through changing and combining existing works to produce something new and creative” and notes that remixes are part of a trend of user-generated content “that has become a hallmark of the internet.”

The task force asserts that “remixes make valuable contributions to society in providing expressive, political, and entertainment content.” But it says it is not calling calling for amendments to copyright law that would create a specific exception or a compulsory license for remix uses. Instead, the task force offers recommendations “that would make it easier for remixers to understand when a use is fair and to obtain licenses when they wish to do so.” Read the rest of this entry »

January 28th, 2016

Polaroid-Style Prints for a Modern Client

Sponsored by Preservation & Creation

In today’s digital photography market, the demand for printing, album and book making is still high. Print products have become more customized, allowing photographers to leave their own personal touch on keepsakes. Enter Preservation & Creation.

“I equate prints like these to listening to my favorite album on vinyl,” says Jacob Murphy, founder and photographer at JBM Photography—a San Francisco- and Brooklyn-based team of wedding photojournalists—of his recent print purchase at Preservation & Creation. “It adds to the experience.”


Journal prints featuring the work of JBM Photography / © JBM Photography

The prints he’s referring to are the company’s Journal Prints, which pack a powerful twofold punch. In addition to being Polaroid-style prints—complete with the instant-film look and matte finish, along with the option for adding text to the bottom—a percentage of every purchase goes toward funding a water project in an impoverished community.

Preservation & Creation, founded in 2014, is the brainchild of a group of creative thinkers with backgrounds in photography, design and marketing who banded together with one common mission in mind: “to preserve and inspire life with purpose.”

One way the founders of Preservation & Creation derive purpose from their work is through their alignment with non-profit organizations like Living Water International, a charity they have been donating to long before the company was forged. The second way is through preserving memories that may otherwise exist only in cyberspace.

“Having a tangible print in today’s digital world is an honor and a privilege,” Murphy says. As the founding photographer of JBM, Murphy understands the synergy required for beauty and photography to be in perfect balance, and uses this mindset to capture a couple’s love, quirkiness and individual taste through stunning wedding, engagement and family albums. But while there are more images online now than ever before, the creative energy it takes to preserve a moment in a photograph remains largely unseen without the addition of a tangible keepsake, like a Journal Print or a Hardcover Photo Book.



© JBM Photography


© JBM Photography

“I always encourage my clients to order prints because sitting down and looking through a physical album is a more intimate experience than scrolling through a gallery on a computer,” Murphy says. “We have enough computer time in our lives already.”

As a photographer who has a background in printing, quality is also important to Murphy. “I put a lot of work into my post-production. Tweaking temperature and tint is a major part of that effort,” he says. “It’s refreshing to see the colors that I envisioned come through in the finished Preservation & Creation product.” In addition, “I love the paper,” he says. “It feels archival; thick but not card stock-y; matte but without losing details and contrast.” Prints ordered through Preservation & Creation can be purchased with a Bastrop Wood Block photo holder—made from the reclaimed wood burned during the Bastrop County Complex fire in Texas—and come wrapped in velum, which, Murphy notes, is a “very classy touch.”


© JBM Photography

The clients that order prints from Murphy are passionate about print, he says, so it’s important for him to be able to provide a service like Preservation & Creation. But it’s equally important that he doesn’t add to his workload. “Uploading the photos is fast and easy. The editing, cropping and manipulation of the images through the website moves quickly and makes sense,” he explains. “Preservation & Creation prints are a great fit aesthetically for my clients’ style: vintage, clean, and high quality.”


January 28th, 2016

Why Muslim Woman’s Suit Against AP for Hijab Photo Will Probably Fail

Fifi Youssef is suing photographer Mark Lennihan and AP for distributing this photograph, shot at a New York City Starbucks,  without her permission. ©Mark Lennihan/AP

Fifi Youssef is suing photographer Mark Lennihan and AP for distributing this photograph of her without her permission. ©Mark Lennihan/AP

A Muslim woman has sued Associated Press (AP) and photographer Mark Lennihan for unspecified damages over the unauthorized use her likeness, claiming violation of her civil rights. The case is a legal long shot, but if she wins, wire services and freelance photojournalists—at least in New York state—would have to get the consent of everyone in the photographs they offer for licensing to publishers.

Fifi Youssef filed suit in a New York State court last week, claiming AP and Lennihan violated her rights of publicity under a state law that prohibits the use of anyone’s name, likeness or voice “for advertising purposes or the purposes of trade.”

According to the claim, Youssef was having coffee in a Starbucks coffee shop on December 16, 2015, wearing a hijab, when she was photographed without her knowledge by Lennihan. The picture shows Youssef staring downward at her cell phone.

Two days later, the image appeared for license on AP’s website, listed “as part of AP’s commerce trade,” according to the suit. Then, on December 21, The Washington Post published the photo as an illustration for an op-ed piece titled “As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the hijab in the name of interfaith solidarity.”

“Clearly, the article attacks [Youssef’s] fundamental beliefs,” Youssef’s lawsuit says.

Youssef says in her claim that AP’s “sale” [ie, licensing for fees] of images—including the image of her—amounts to commercial use, in violation of the state law. But she faces an uphill battle.

The focus of New York’s right of publicity law “on advertising and trade means that a use designed to solicit sales of products or services is forbidden,” says Harvard University’s Digital Media Law Project on its website. “But this category of advertising uses is somewhat narrow [and] contains a long list of exceptions, which include protections for professional photographers against suits by their subjects.”

Nancy Wolff, an intellectual property attorney in New York, says the ruling in the case of Foster v. Svenson established “that the First Amendment trumps privacy and that a license or sale does not make a use commercial.” In that case, New York courts rejected arguments that art photographer Arne Svenson was violating New York’s right of publicity law by offering unauthorized photographs of the plaintiffs for sale in an art gallery.

“I have argued many times that the aggregation, display and offering for sale of images is a right under copyright [law] and outside any state right of publicity law,” says Wolff, who is not involved with the Youssef case, though she has done work for AP in the past. “You only look at the end use to determine if the right of publicity is invoked. Any other position would interfere with the distribution and licensing of images [and] with first amendment uses…No book , magazine or art print could ever be sold without the subjects’ consent.”

Such a result, she notes, “would be absurd.”

Significantly, Youssef did not name the end user–The Washington Post–as a defendant in her lawsuit, because a mountain of case law has given news organizations wide berth to publish images of individuals without permission under a “newsworthiness” exception to New York’s right of publicity law.

Arne Svenson Exonerated on Appeal in Privacy Invasion Case (subscription required)

What Photographers Need to Know about Model Releases

January 27th, 2016

Olympus Aims at Street Shooters with New PEN-F


Olympus debuted its first PEN-F in 1963. Quite a few things have changed in the intervening years but evidently our affection for knobs and dials is not one of them–at least if the 2016 edition of the PEN-F is anything to go by.

Aimed at street shooters and rangefinder aficionados, the new PEN-F is loaded with manual controls and a retro esthetic but boasts plenty of modern technology on the inside. That tech includes a new 20-megapixel Live MOS sensor with no low-pass filter, 5-axis image stabilization for up to five stops of correction per CIPA standards, Micro Four Thirds lens mount and a 2.36-megapixel OLED viewfinder.

The OLED EVF has a 100-percent field of view and a magnification of 1.23x (or 0.62x in 35mm equivalent). There’s a Simulated Optical Viewfinder (S-OVF) Mode that seeks to mimic looking through an optical viewfinder by expanding the dynamic range of the EVF. The viewfinder is situated off to the side of the camera so photographers can keep one eye on their scene while the other peers through the EVF.

The camera’s 3-inch vari-angled touch screen can be popped out and turned around to lay flush with the camera for those who want to shoot eye-level.

The top and front covers of the camera body are built using magnesium, while the dials and bottom of the camera body are forged from aluminum. An interesting design touch: the screws aren’t visible on the exterior. There’s a dedicated exposure compensation dial and four programmable custom mode slots on the mode dial.

 PEN-F-SLV_back_LCD-180_backside_tilt-high (1)

To complement its street cred, the camera has new monochrome and color profile controls to emulate analog film looks. These presets looks can be previewed in live view and tweaked by the user to fine tune the effect. The monochrome profile has three presets. In the color profile control, there are also three presets plus you can adjust the color saturation of 12 individual colors in 11 steps.

There’s a dedicated “Creative Dial” on the front of the camera to quick access these presets plus Olympus’ Art Filters and Color Creator mode.

Similar to the E-M5 Mark II, the PEN-F has a high-res shot mode that moves the sensor in tiny increments to create a 50-megapixel image. You’ll need  Olympus Viewer 3 Ver. 2.0 software or a free plug-in for Photoshop to process the final image and it requires that both camera and subject be completely still to avoid motion blur.


The PEN-F offers a shutter release time of 0.044 seconds and mechanical shutter speeds up to 1/8000 sec.

You can burst at 10 fps with the mechanical shutter when focus is fixed at the first frame though speeds will drop to 5 fps with C-AF engaged. You can hit 20 fps using an electronic shutter, which tops out at a maximum speed of 1/16,000 sec.

The camera also features Focus Bracketing, which captures a series of images with different focus depths which you can composite in post for a single in-focus image.

Additional features include:

  • Native ISO range of 200-25,600 with a low ISO 80 setting
  • the ability to make 4K time-lapse movies from up to 999 images.
  • Wi-Fi
  • an anti-shock/electronic first curtain shutter mode to reduce shutter vibrations
  • face and eye priority AF
  • magnified display and focus peaking in three levels
  • 12-bit RAW file
  • 1920x1080p30 video using ALL-I compression or 1920x1080p60 video recording using IPB compression
  • Live view output from HDMI

Olympus is also making sure that users who sprung for the original PEN aren’t left with a bag full of incapable glass. You can register the information of older lenses without electronic contacts so that lens name, focal length and aperture value appear in your image’s EXIF data. You can store info on up to 10 lenses in the camera.

The PEN-F will retail for $1,200 and ship in March. It will be sold in silver and black.

PEN-F-SLV_front PEN-F-SLV_rightside

Read More:

Olympus E-M10 Mark II Review

Olympus E-M5 Mark II Review

January 26th, 2016

Breaking Down Quentin Tarantino’s Visual Style

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 5.44.31 AM

During a PhotoPlus Expo panel on technology and social media, photographer and filmmaker Vincent Laforet noted how he’s grown less interested in the latest camera gear and far more interested in how great directors move their cameras.

Developing a unique style, in other words, is no mean feat. In this eight minute video, The Film Guy breaks down Quentin Tarantino’s visual style–what works and what doesn’t.

As you’ll notice, not everything in Tarantino’s bag of visual tricks is original to him and he returns to a few angles and approaches across multiple films. The moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to borrow camera moves from pay homage to your favorite directors.

Read More:

Why Quentin Tarantino Shot the Widest Format Film There Is

Kodak’s Plans to Revive Super 8 Filmmaking

January 25th, 2016

Time Inc. Issues Amended Contract; Sports Illustrated Rescinds Assignments

Four long-time Sports Illustrated photographers who lost NFL assignments for refusing to sign Time Inc’s controversial photo agreement have been given a second chance to sign, according to a photographer who spoke to PDN on condition of anonymity.

The photographers were reportedly sent new, revised contracts on Tuesday, January 19. The revision was in the form of a letter clarifying the terms of the contract. Time Inc. issued the letter earlier this month to all contributors, but critics said it was not legally binding. According to PDN‘s source, Time Inc. has made the letter a legally-binding addendum for the hold-out SI contributors.

Those contributors were reportedly told they would be reinstated for future assignments, if they sign the contract with the addendum.

The addendum includes two specific references to Sports Illustrated. One states that the brand “will continue its current practice of sharing syndication revenue 50/50 with photographers for individual photos that are licensed without the SI brand and SI content.” The other reference confirms that “Sports Illustrated will continue to allow its photographers to sign for credentials.”

Four SI contributors were unsatisfied by the contract addendum and were pulled off of the games this past weekend because they still have not signed the agreement, according to a source.

A Time Inc. spokesperson contacted by PDN did not answer questions regarding the photographers’ football assignments for Sports Illustrated, or comment on the revision that made the “clarifications” legally binding.

Jill S. Davidson, Time Inc’s VP of corporate communications, said in a statement sent to PDN, “Time Inc. informed photographers, including those who received assignments for Sports Illustrated, over two months ago that assignments for 2016 would be made under an approved Time Inc. agreement and that photographers who did not sign an approved Time Inc. agreement cannot take commissioned photographs for Time Inc. starting in 2016.”

A photographer who spoke with PDN said the SI contributors’ loss of assignments is not the fault of SI photo editors: “If they had their druthers, they would have their old staffers covering the football… as was planned,” the photographer said.

The rescinded assignments followed the shakeup of the Sports Illustrated photo department. Director of photography Brad Smith, longtime picture editor Claire Bourgeois and SportsIllustrated.com photo director John Blackmar were all laid off on Friday, January 15.

A year ago Sports Illustrated laid off its six remaining staff photographers.

Related: Photographers, Reps Push Back on Time Inc Contract’s Rights Grab
Time Inc. Issues “Clarifications,” But No Changes, to Photo Contract

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 22nd, 2016

Fujifilm Will Raise Film Prices, Again


Despite the popularity of its instant film products, Fujifilm will be raising prices on its films around the world, the company announced today in a statement.

Fuji didn’t disclose precisely what films would take the hit and by how much other than to note that the increases would effect color negative film, color reversal film, black and white film and quick snap. The price increases would be effectively immediately but would be phased in differently depending on geographic market.

The culprit, as usual, is falling demand.

“The demand for film products is continuously decreasing and the cost of production, such as raw materials stays at a high level and cost increase associated with lower volumes becomes much serious,” Fujifilm said. “Under such circumstances, despite our effort to maintain the production cost, Fujifilm is unable to absorb these costs during the production process and is forced to pass on price increases. Fujifilm remains committed to photographic products despite its price change.”

We’ve reached out to Fuji U.S.A. for more details and will update this post when we get them.

Read More:

Meet the FilmToaster, Like No Film Scanner You’ve Seen

Surprise: People Really Want Instant Film Cameras

Inside the Mind of a Film Shooter Today