April 10th, 2015

11 Photographers Win 2015 Guggenheim Fellowships

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced the recipients of their 2015 fellowship grants. Among the 175 scholars, scientists, mathematicians, and artists chosen from over 3,100 applications this year are 11 photographers. As Guggenheim Fellows, they receive grants of varying but undisclosed amounts to pursue a proposed project.

The 2015 Guggenheim Fellows in photography are:
Gary Briechle
Miles Coolidge
Susan Lipper
Susan Meiselas
Arno Rafael Minkkinen
Richard Renaldi
Stuart Rome
Richard Rothman
Moises Saman
William S. Sutton
Terri Weifenbach

Also, Maria Gough, professor of modern art at Harvard, received a fellowship to pursue a project in photography studies.

The John Simon Guggenheim Foundations awards its annual Fellowship to artists, scholars and scientists on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.
Past recipients have included Robert Frank, Brian Ulrich, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Brenda Ann Kenneally, Jason Fulford, Alex Soth and Penelope Umbrico.

Related:
11 Photographers Win 2014 Guggenheim Fellowships

Joseph Sywenkyj Wins $30,000 2015 W. Eugene Smith Grant (Moises Saman, Fellowship Winner)

April 8th, 2015

Pat Pope Says He Regrets Open Letter to Band, Urges Creators To “Stop Working for Free”

In what he says will be his final word on the matter, photographer Pat Pope says he regrets his public criticism of the alt rock band Garbage, but is sticking to his position that photographers shouldn’t give their work away.

Pope wrote an open letter to the band last week criticizing their management company for asking to use one of his images for free in a book project the band are working on. Garbage responded with an open letter of their own, telling Pope that the cost of self-publishing the book led them to ask photographers for free images. They also criticized Pope for making their request public.

In Pope’s “final word,” which he published on Facebook, he calls the open letter he wrote a “mistake.” He implies that “the negative comments and abuse hurled at me on the internet” make him regret the move. However, Pope doesn’t back down from the principles that inspired the letter, and he replies to some of the statements the band made in their response to his letter.

“I receive hundreds of these request a year [for free images],” Pope writes, explaining his reasoning, “as does every other photographer I know. This is the new normal, writing down a budget in which you’ll get the photographic content for free by making the photographer give it to you.”

He criticized Garbage again for their abuse of “the power relationship.” The band “paid someone at their management company to send me a pro-forma request for free usage of my work. When you receive a request like that, the power relationship is that a gigantic branded entity with huge reach and backing is asking a lone freelancer to accept that the value of their work is zero.”

Pope later claims that he’s “no ‘internet warrior,’” before urging that “all of us in the creative community have to Stop Working For Free [Pope's emphasis].” Despite saying he regrets writing his own open letter, he urges others to do the same. “Let’s get this practice [of asking for free content] out in the open.”

Related: Photographer Openly Ridicules Band’s Request For Free Images
Band Defends Their Decision to Ask Photographer for Free Images

April 7th, 2015

Photojournalist Andy Spyra Deported from Turkey on Allegations He’s a Jihadist

Photojournalist Andy Spyra was barred from entering Turkey on March 28 because Turkish authorities suspected he was an Islamic militant, according to press reports. Spyra, who was on assignment for Der Spiegel, was stopped at an Istanbul airport, searched, detained and deported to Germany the next day. While in Turkish custody, the German General Consulate protested his detention and attempted to explain that he was a journalist.

Spyra, selected for PDN‘s 30 in 2010, has covered Afghanistan, Egypt, the Syrian refugee crisis, fighting in the Kurdish region of Syria and, last fall, Iraqi Christians currently fighting the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He was on his way to Turkey to work on a Der Spiegel story about the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

According to a post on Spyra’s Facebook page dated March 29, he was stopped at immigration at Sabiha Gökcen Airport in Istanbul and questioned for only an hour, while police looked through photos on his phone and went through his luggage. They then returned his phones, but informed him that he would be deported in the morning. He spent the night in what he calls “a cell.” When he arrived in Dusseldorf the next day, German federal police told him that Turkish authorities had reported he had been deported because he was carrying “military-style equipment.” According to Spyra’s Facebook post, “the military equipment in question” was his camera dust-blower, army-style boots and khaki-colored clothing.

That Spyra was covering the anniversary of the Armenian genocide appears not to have been a factor, but Turkey has for decades officially denied that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Turkey at the end of World War I constituted genocide.

According to Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey currently ranks tenth in the world among the worst jailers of journalists. Last year, Der Spiegel pulled its reporter in Turkey after he received death threats over his reporting on a mine collapse that killed 301 miners in Turkey.  Last year the country banned access to Twitter ahead of national elections in March 2014.

In his Facebook post, Spyra advises other photographers who want to cover Turkey: “delete questionable images on your phone, anything that COULD potentially be read and seen in a military context.” He adds, “They WON’T listen to you and don’t give a shit about your papers and press-credentials and whatever else you may carry.”

April 7th, 2015

Revenues for Thomas Franklin’s 9/11 Image Top $1 Million

Thomas Franklin’s iconic 9/11 photograph has generated $1 million in revenues to date, according to court papers recently filed in connection with a copyright infringement claim over the photograph. It is unclear whether Franklin has benefited financially from the famous photo.

The picture shows three firefighters raising the American flag over the site of World Trade Center after it was destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Franklin shot the image as an employee of The Bergen Record, making the photograph a work for hire. As a result, the copyright owner is North Jersey Media Group (NJMG), which owns The Bergen Record.

The revenue information was disclosed in the case of NJMG v. Jeanine Pirro and Fox News Network. NJMG had sued for copyright infringement in US District Court in New York over Fox News’s unauthorized use of the photo on a blog promoting a TV program hosted by Pirro. Fox argued unsuccessfully that its use of the image didn’t cut into NJMG’s revenues from licensing the image.

The court papers say that licensing of the photograph peaked in the period between 2002 and 2004, but has continued over time. Between January 2013 and June 2014–an 18-month period–licensing revenues totaled $10,221.71 for editorial uses of the image, and $4,698.91 for commercial uses. That averages out to revenues of less than $1,000 per month for the period. Read the rest of this entry »

April 6th, 2015

Band Defends Their Decision to Ask Photographer for Free Images

Alternative rock band Garbage published an open letter to portrait photographer Pat Pope on April 3, defending their decision to ask for free use of an image for their book and suggesting Pope was out of line for calling them out publicly.

On April 2, Pope published an open letter addressed to the band, criticizing their management company’s attempt to get free license to publish one of his images in a book the band plans to self-publish to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

In his letter, which was published on Facebook and picked up by websites Louder Than War and Huffington Post UK, Pope wrote: “I’m a firm believer that musicians and artists deserve to be paid for their work,” and asked the band, “When you think about artists being paid, does that include photographers?”

The band responded a day later with an open letter of their own, pointing out that they paid Pope for the shoot in 1995 (though presumably it was not a work for hire agreement), that books are expensive to publish, and that many other photographers “were happy for their images to be seen in conjunction with the telling of our story.” The band also did a little public shaming of their own, writing that they “would never publicly admonish or begrudge a fellow artist for merely asking [for them to provide services for free].” Read the rest of this entry »

April 6th, 2015

The Essential Tool Box: Richard Patterson Takes Out His Tenba Tools

Sponsored by Tenba Tools

“Long gone are the days when I was a one-bag kind of dude,” says New York City-based shooter Richard Patterson. “If I’ve got just one bag, I’m on vacation.” Patterson started out as a photojournalist before delving into the motion camerawork that fills his schedule with sports, documentary and commercial gigs now.

As any photographer-turned-cinematographer knows, making the leap to digital video means having even more gear to pack, organize and reconfigure for every shoot. “There’s just so much technology to juggle. It’s unbelievable,” he says. “These days when you pack for a job, you have one item and four things to accompany it—the charger, the battery, the wall plug, and the plug for the wall plug to make it into four plugs.”

While he sometimes packs as many as eight to ten cases for a job, the essential kit Patterson carries fits into just a couple bags. “My go-to bags are the Tenba Roadie Large Roller and Roadie II Hybrid that converts into a backpack if needed, which is really comfortable,” he says. “My equipment breaks down to fit between those two very nicely.” To keep everything in them at his fingertips, Patterson uses Tenba Tools pouches and wallets. He gave us a look inside to see how he keeps it all straight.

Patterson Gear Shot Overall
Pictured: Patterson’s Tenba collection includes a Transport Air Case (top left), but most of his essential gear fits into his Roadie II Hybrid and Roadie Large Roller (top middle/right). Read the rest of this entry »

April 3rd, 2015

Photographer Openly Ridicules Band’s Request For Free Images

Portrait photographer Pat Pope, who has worked with many top musicians during his 20-year career, has published a snarky open letter to alternative rock band Garbage criticizing their attempt to gain free use of his images for their book.

Among Pope’s pointed questions: “Do you think ‘content providers,’ whatever the hell that means, deserve to be paid for their work, or is that a special category for musicians?”

Garbage was formed in 1993 and has sold more than 17 million records worldwide. Read the rest of this entry »

March 30th, 2015

5 Things You Can Do With Your New Platypod Pro

Sponsored by Platypod Pro LLC
Plate facing 2_15 oclock

The 1980’s television hero MacGyver was famous for getting out of jams with nothing more than duct tape and a Swiss Army Knife. Photographers won’t necessarily be defusing bombs in out-of-control trains (we hope) or facing down other MacGyver-esque perils, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use a trusty do-it-all tool in their camera bag.

The Platypod Pro is just such a tool. It’s a sturdy base plate with a 3/8-inch titanium screw to securely mount tripod ball heads. The company recommends an Arca-type ball head mount with an L-bracket on the camera for maximum stability, but almost any ball head as large as 5 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide will screw firmly into place and fit in the carrying case. In addition to the 3/8-inch screw, there’s also a 1/4-inch screw at the end of the plate for mounting a range of photographic accessories.

The Platypod Pro Deluxe Kit includes three stainless steel spikes and lock wheels, a 1/4-to-3/4-inch female spigot adapter,a sleeve and a wallet case that pops open to accommodate a mini tripod head or collapses down to stow only the Platypod, its screws and memory cards or other small accessories.

So what can you do with the trusty Platypod Pro by your side? Here are a few ideas.  Read the rest of this entry »

March 25th, 2015

Staging News Photos: Take This Ethics Quiz

AssignmentChicago.com, Alex Garcia's blog.

AssignmentChicago.com, Alex Garcia’s blog.

Inspired by the uproar over the staged photo included in a series that won a World Press Photo prize (later rescinded, for different reasons), photographer Alex Garcia has posted an ethics quiz for photographers. Garcia describes five  situations in which photojournalists can find themselves in ethical gray zones, and asks: What would you do?

What his quiz adds to the current debate is a heavy dose of reality.As Garcia points out, “In this debate, I haven’t seen a lot of candor about how difficult it can be to uphold standards in the myriad of situations that photojournalists face.” Garcia, who says he has shot 6,000 newspaper assignments, tells PDN that he describes two of the situations exactly as they happened to him. The others are mash-ups of problems he’s encountered and that every news photographer will recognize: meddlesome PR people, subjects who offer to rearrange their routines or schedules for the photographer’s convenience, or ask “What do you want me to do?”

How do you portray to your readers what the “truth” is in these situations that you’ve only got an afternoon to shoot?

After the sometimes heated talk about the World Press Photo controversy– and outrage about the photographer posing his cousin– Garcia says, “the quiz was a fun way to make a point without getting hot and bothered.” Garcia’s quiz is short. There are no grades. But he does suggest certain parameters for quiz prep:  “Make sure to go hungry for the whole day, pull an all-nighter, promise delivery of images to a client within an hour–just to simulate other factors in a photojournalist’s workday that can affect decision-making.”

You can find it here on his blog, AssignmentChicago.com

Related article
World Press Photo Disqualifies Controversial Prize Winner

March 24th, 2015

Heidi Levine Wins First Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award

American photojournalist Heidi Levine has won the first Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism award, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has announced. The $20,000 prize was established in memory of Niedringhaus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer who was killed while covering the elections in Afghanistan in 2014.

Levine, who lives in Jerusalem, has covered the ongoing conflict in Gaza. ““Her courage and commitment to the story in Gaza is unwavering. She documents tragic events under dire circumstances while displaying a depth of compassion for the people she encounters,” the jury wrote in a statement announcing the award. Read the rest of this entry »