March 31st, 2014

Olympus Unveils Rugged Stylus Tough TG-3 Waterproof Compact Camera

Olympus unveiled the latest in its series of rugged “Tough” compact cameras last night: the Stylus Tough TG-3. The 16-megapixel TG-3 features a 25-100mm equivalent lens with a maximum f/2.0 aperture on the wide end. It also has built-in Wi-Fi, GPS and new macro functions for close-up photography.

Olympus-TG-3_RED_FRONTThe Olympus Stylus Tough TG-3 is freezeproof to 14°F (-10℃), waterproof to 50 feet (15 m), shockproof from seven feet (2.1 m), crushproof to 220 pounds (100 kgf) and dustproof.

The TG-3 can also shoot 1080p HD video; sports a 3-inch, 460,000-dot LCD on back, and is powered by Olympus’ TruePic VII image processor.

The TG-3 is available in black or red and goes on sale in June 2014 for $349.99. Fish, as seen in the Olympus-supplied press image below, not included.

More info here.

Olympus-TG-3-fish

March 28th, 2014

Court Reminds Michael Kenna: Copyright Protects Expression, Not Ideas

A ruling in a copyright infringement case involving photographer Michael Kenna has affirmed the principle that copyright does not protect ideas (or choice of subject matter). It protects only the expression of an idea.

That’s true under copyright law in the US, as well as in Korea, where a gallery representing Kenna sued Korea Air on Kenna’s behalf, according to a report in The Korea Times. The claim was that a photograph of South Korea’s Seok Island that appeared in ads around 2010 for Korea Air copied an image that Kenna shot of that island in 2007.

The Korea Times says that in rejecting the copyright claim, the court said: “When the subject is identical, it is the matter of preference of a photographer in deciding when, where and how to shoot. They are just two different ideas which can’t be protected by copyright law.”

The newspaper noted that the Korea Air photo was in color, while Kenna’s image was in black and white. Regarding the similarities in composition in both photos, a photographer quoted in the Korean Times article notes that there are few vantage points from which the islands can be photographed.

Related:
Infringement Claim Fails Because Law Protects Expression, Not Ideas
In Court, Copycats Prove Elusive (subscription required)

March 27th, 2014

Amy Elkins Wins 2014 Aperture Portfolio Prize

© Amy Elkins, "Four Years Out of a Death Row Sentence (Ocean), 2011," from "Black is the Day, Black is the Night."

© Amy Elkins, “Four Years Out of a Death Row Sentence (Ocean), 2011,” from “Black is the Day, Black is the Night.”

Photographer Amy Elkins has won the 2014 Aperture Portfolio Prize for two bodies of work exploring capital punishment. The Aperture Foundation announced the prize today.

For her series “Parting Words,” Elkins utilized the text of the last words of executed prisoners to reconstruct their mug shots and portraits. “These briefest of statements resonate with the micro-narratives of entire lives, tragic crimes, and opportunities and potential squandered,” writes Aperture Books Publisher Lesley A. Martin in a statement announcing Elkins’ award.

To create her second series on capital punishment, “Black is the Day, Black is the Night,” Elkins corresponded with death-row inmates and created images based on those conversations. In her series she combines these images with photographs of the physical letters, and with portraits of the inmates which she obscures digitally according to the amount of time the inmate has been incarcerated. “As viewers, we are invited to puzzle over an assortment of clues, including reenactments, exhibits submitted for our considerations, partial evidence, and statements both leading and misleading,” Martin writes.

The prize, which was judged by members of the Aperture staff and the organization’s work scholars, includes a $3,000 award and an exhibition at Aperture Gallery.

Elkins was chosen from a shortlist that included Matt Eich, Davide Monteleone, Max Pinckers and Sadie Wechsler. More than 1000 photographers submitted portfolios, Aperture said in a statement.

Previous winners of the Portfolio Prize have included Michael Corridore (2008), Alexander Gronsky (2009), David Favrod (2010), Sarah Palmer (2011), and Bryan Schutmaat (2013).

Related: Grays the Mountain Sends: A Photographic Study of American Mining Towns
Disputed Territories: Exploring Daily Life in the Northern Caucasus

March 27th, 2014

PDN’s 30 Photographers Provide Career Tips to Aspiring Photographers

pdn30-2014-sva-blog2
A panel featuring three of this year’s PDN’s 30 photographers discussed strategies for building a successful career and offered a wealth of useful tips to an audience of students and industry professionals at the School of Visual Arts theater in New York last evening.

The PDN’s 30 photographers, Bobby Doherty (still life), Billy Kidd (fashion), and Bryan Derballa (editorial/lifestyle), discussed how they found their visual styles, how they use social media to get noticed, build networks and land jobs, and the importance of learning and practicing good business skills. Photographer Tony Gale, a Sony Artisan of Imagery who has taught photography, and photo editor Emily Shornick of The Cut at New York magazine, also provided insights on navigating the industry. The evening was sponsored by Sony, Offset, Canson Paper and ASMP.

Describing how they launched their careers, Doherty, Kidd and Derballa all said they developed their visual styles by shooting whatever interested them a lot–even obsessively.

“It’s important to be making the kind of photos you would want to get paid to do, before you get paid to do it,” Doherty said.

Bobby Doherty's early makeshift studio.

Bobby Doherty’s early makeshift studio.

A 2011 graduate of SVA, he started by experimenting with conceptual still life work in his apartment at night. “I didn’t have any money. I had two flashes, and [bar] stools” and broom handles that served as stands (shown at right). Doherty says he was focusing on “how to accomplish an idea with as little as possible, technically.”

Kidd says when he moved from Arizona to New York, he did test shoots with models four, five, or six times a week–”whatever I could do,” he says. “I experimented with light, to find out who I was.”

Shornick emphasized the importance of developing a distinctive personal style. When it comes to hiring a photographer, she said, “”I don’t want to be surprised. I want to pre-visualize” what a photographer will deliver.

One of the biggest challenges for photographers is getting noticed. All the photographers on the panel said they take as much pleasure in sharing their work as they do in shooting it, and they use social media–particularly Tumblr–to build audiences.

Kidd said he posted images from his test shoots on a Tumblr blog. “That’s how my rep found me–from my Tumblr page,” he says. On his Tumblr page, he says, he posts “everything I shoot, and want to show people.”

“Be liberal and fun with your Tumblr,” advised Derballa. Years ago he started Lovebryan, a blog that features not only his work, but that of several other photographers whose work he likes. Derballa also noted that he uses Tumblr “to follow trends” by looking at what other photographers are shooting.

Panelists also discussed the importance of personal connections and face-to-face networking. Doherty says working as an assistant eventually led to a job with Lucas Michael, who shoots for New York Magazine. That led to a meeting with Director of Photography Jody Quon, and a couple of weeks later, Doherty had his first assignment from the magazine.

Kidd says he got access to models for test shoots through a friend who worked for modeling agencies. Derballa got his first assignment from The Wall Street Journal after a chance meeting with former photo editor Matthew Craig while Derballa was talking about a self-funded assignment at a bar with another photographer.

The discussion also turned to business practices, particularly the importance of good communication skills, dependability, and presenting a professional appearance in your emails and invoices.

Here are some tips the panelists offered:

On networking:

Connect with everyone you can while still in school, including teachers, fellow photography students, and students in other departments.

Attend industry events and meet everyone you can, without thinking: Who can I talk to who can give me work?

If you’re shy, and feel uncomfortable schmoozing at events, force yourself to go with a goal of meeting just one person. Those connections multiply, Gale said. “Then you’re the person who everyone wants to meet because you can introduce them to other people.”

On assisting:

Be an assistant. By assisting, Gale explained, you connect to people and resources, “and you learn so many things it’s not possible to learn in school” about technique and business.

To get assisting jobs, a good attitude is more important than technical know-how, Gale said. “What I need is someone who is going to be paying attention, and not be upset that I said ‘everybody is going to need coffee’ or ‘sorry, but you have to stand out in rain and watch the gear.’”

When you send e-mails asking about work as an assistant, personalize them, Gale advised. “Don’t send an e-mail addressed to 30 other photographers.” And don’t talk about what a great photographer you are, he said. “I don’t care.”

On approaching photo editors:

“Email with a link. That makes it easy to bookmark you,” Shornick said. Mailers just get thrown in a drawer and forgotten. Email “every now and then” about a recent assignment or new personal work, she added. “Quarterly is a good approach.”

No cold calls. “I’m really busy, I just don’t have time,” Shornick said.

Don’t show up unannounced. “That’s really inappropriate.”

Make sure your web site loads fast, and is free of bells and whistles. “I hate Flash websites. I just want to see your work,” said Shornick, who has discovered photographers at portfolio reviews and through Flickr.

Provide multiple contacts and Indicate your physical location. “If I can’t figure out where you live I’m never going to hire you,” Shornick said.

On providing good service to clients:

Be dependable. “The most important thing is [meeting] deadlines,” Shornick said.

Be responsive. “I always pick up [phone calls]. It’s probably someone who wants to hire you, or wants to know why the photos aren’t there,” Derballa said.
“Yeah, pick up the phone,” Shornick said, or she’ll just call another photographer.

Related article:

PDN’s 30 2014: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch

9 Tips for Getting Hired (and Re-Hired) as a Photographer’s Assistant

March 26th, 2014

Tlumacki, Proctor Win Photojournalist of the Year Honors at BOP

John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe has won Photojournalist of the Year (Large Markets) at the 2013 Best of Photojournalism competition, while Sean Proctor of Michigan’s Midland Daily News has won Photojournalist of the Year (Small Markets).

The National Press Photographers’ Association, which sponsors the competition, announced the complete results on March 24.

Tlumacki won largely on the strength of his coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings in April, 2013. He was at the scene when the bombs exploded. “While others ran away,” NPPA said, “Tlumacki ran toward the scene.”

He spent months documenting the recovery of victims he photographed at the scene.

Proctor, meanwhile, is relatively new to photojournalism, having graduated from Central Michigan University in 2011. He held internships before joining the Midland Daily News just over a year ago, according to NPPA.

In other categories, Patrick Smith won Sports Photojournalist of the Year for the second year in a row. Last month, Smith was named 2014 POYi Sports Photographer of the Year by the Pictures of the Year International Competition.

Jim Gehrz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune won the Cliff Edom “New America” Award for a story about the oil boom in North Dakota and its impact on traditional life there.

Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times won the Returning Veterans Coming Home award.

NPPA has posted a complete list of winners on its web site. (Scroll way down.)

Judges for BOP’s still photography competition were photojournalists Cheryl Diaz Meyer and Bill Luster; Kenneth Irby of The Poynter Institute, and NPPA president Mark Dolan. The judging took place at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication.

March 26th, 2014

How Should Clients React to Sexual Coercion Allegations Against Terry Richardson?

Now that another model has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against photographer Terry Richardson, his clients face a difficult question: What ethical obligations, if any, do they have to take a stand?

Over the past several years, reports have periodically flared up that Richardson has manipulated some models to engage with him in unwanted sexual contact during photo shoots at his studio. The models have described the incidents as casting couch situations that occurred when they were students or aspiring models, not established models working on set for ad campaigns or editorial shoots.

The allegations surfaced again in recent weeks after former model Charlotte Waters published a graphic account of a shoot with Richardson that spiraled out of her control. “I was completely a sex puppet,” she recounted anonymously in a post on a Reddit thread. The post has since been removed, but after her story was widely circulated, Waters identified herself as the author.

She has spoken to New York City police, according to Styleite.com, but she reportedly never said “no” to Richardson’s advances, and she isn’t pressing any charges.

In the hot seat of bad publicity once again, Richardson issued an angry denial to all the allegations in a letter to the Huffington Post, calling them “hate filled, libelous tales.” In the letter, he painted himself as the victim of a “witch hunt.”

Richardson says in the letter, “I collaborated with consenting adult women who were fully aware of the nature of the work.” Overlooking the disparity in power between himself and the models, he adds, “I have never used an offer of work or a threat of rebuke to coerce someone into something that they did not want to do.” Read the rest of this entry »

March 26th, 2014

Magnum Foundation Awards 10 Emergency Fund Grants

© Oscar B. Castillo

© Oscar B. Castillo

The non-profit Magnum Foundation today announced the winners of its 2014 Emergency Fund Grants, which help photographers investigate and complete stories on critical but under-reported issues. This year’s winners will look at a variety of social and political topics in nine countries. The 2014 EF Grantees and their stories are:
Oscar B. Castillo: “Our War, Our Pain,” Venezuela
Qinggang Chen: “Patients at Muli County,” China
Edmund Clark: “Unseen Spaces of the Global War on Terror,” USA/Afghanistan
Carolyn Drake (with Ashley Cleek):  “Invisible Bus,” USA
Zann Huizhen Huang: “Remember Shatila,” Lebanon
Kai Löffelbein: “Death Metals, Indonesia
Laura Morton: “Wild West Tech,” USA
Ed Ou: “North,” Canada
Alessandro Penso: “Refugees in Bulgaria,” Bulgaria
Christian Werner: “Depleted Uranium – The Silent Genocide,” Kosovo

Magnum Foundation has also announced its newest Human Rights Fellows. The fellowships allow photographers from non-Western countries to participate in the six-week photography and human rights program organized by Magnum Foundation and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, a program designed to focus students on strategies for visual storytelling in their own countries.

The 2014 Fellows are:
Mohammed Elshamy, 19, Egypt
Abbas Hajimohammadisaniabadi, 30, Iran
Yuyang Liu, 22, China
Loubna Mrie, 22, Syria
Pedro Silveira, 29, Brazil
Sumeja Tulic, 28, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Related articles:
Magnum Foundation Announces 2012 Emergency Fund Grantees

PDN Photo of the Day: Laura Morton: Society Galas in San Francisco

March 25th, 2014

Tomas van Houtryve Drone Essay Longest Ever Published by Harper’s

 

© Tomas van Houtryve/VII

© Tomas van Houtryve/VII. “Baseball practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. According to records obtained from the FAA, which issued 1,428 domestic drone permits between 2007 and early 2013, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Navy have applied for drone authorization in Montgomery County.”

Tomas van Houtryve takes on the proliferation of drones as weapons and as tools of surveillance in the April issue of Harper’s Magazine, in a photo essay titled “Blue Sky Days.” At 16 pages, it’s the largest picture story ever published by Harper’s.

To create the work, Van Houtryve’s outfit a drone he purchased on Amazon.com for still photography and video, and then piloted it, in areas throughout the United States, over “the very sorts of gatherings that have become habitual targets for foreign air strikes,” the introductory text explains. These included weddings, funerals, and groups of people exercising or praying. The images also depict domestic borders, prisons and other areas where military or police have flown surveillance drones, or have applied for permits to do so.

“His idea was daring, elegant, and perfectly timed,” Harper’s art director Stacey D. Clarkson told PDN via email. “He explained that the technology for drones is way ahead of legislation concerning them, and though drones are part of our contemporary reality, the specific ways they are used (and can be used) are not in the public consciousness. The urgency of the work, the complexity of the ideas, needed space to be properly conveyed. And the images themselves needed to run large in order for the reader to see what Tomas’s drone could see—embroidery on top of a hat, spokes on a bicycle wheel, and home plate at a neighborhood baseball field.”

Captions for the photos make the connection between, for instance, a group of people exercising in a park, and the fact that a gathering of exercising men might, for the CIA, constitute evidence of a terrorist training camp. The effect is chilling. In an image of a wedding in central Philadelphia, a flower girl is the only member of a wedding party looking up at van Houtrve’s drone as he makes his image. A U.S. drone struck a wedding in Yemen in December 2013, killing 12 people, the caption tells us.

The essay’s title refers to the testimony a 13-year-old Pakistani boy named Zubair Rehman gave on Capitol Hill after his grandmother was killed by a drone strike while she was picking vegetables in her yard. The boy told lawmakers he no longer loves blue skies. “The drones do not fly when the skies are gray,” he said.

Van Houtryve will exhibit and speak about “Blue Sky Days” in New York on Friday, April 4, as part of “Surveillance.01-USA,” a symposium on surveillance-based visual arts projects. He will also appear with Clarkson at the University of Colorado, Boulder on April 7 as part of the university’s ATLAS speaker series.

Related: Client Meeting: Harper’s Magazine (accessible to PDN subscribers)
If We Spend $25K On A Photo Essay, Readers Should Pay to See It, Says Harper’s Publisher

March 24th, 2014

VII Photo Announces 5 New Photographers in its Mentor Program

© Poulomi Basu/VII Mentor Program

© Poulomi Basu/VII Mentor Program

VII Photo announced today that five emerging photographers have been selected to join the photo agency’s mentor program.

This year’s roster of photographers were chosen from 150 applicants. Over the next two years, VII photographers will mentor the five emerging photographers to foster their professional growth. The five are:

Poulomi Basu, based in New Delhi, who will be mentored by Stefano DeLuigi
Maika Elan, based in Hanoi, who will be mentored by John Stanmeyer
Ali Arkady, based in Khanaqin, Iraq, who will be mentored by Ed Kashi
Arthur Bondar, currently based in Moscow, who will be mentored by Donald Weber
Cristobal Olivares, based in Santiago, Chile, who will be mentored by Christopher Morris

These five replace the photographers who will soon complete their two years of mentoring in the program: Gazi Nafis Ahmed, Sim Chi Yin, Laura El-Tantawy, Jost Franko and Amanda Rivkin.

VII launched its mentor program in 2008. Past participants have included Benedicte Kurzen, Peter DiCampo, Erin Trieb, Agnes Dherbeys and Gulio Di Sturco. Anastasia Taylor-Lind, who entered the mentor program in 2009 and is now a full member of VII Photo, provided this fun quote for the VII press release: “When I joined the Mentor Program in 2009 I was working part-time as a chiropractor’s receptionist to fund my documentary projects. I knew how to make pictures then, but not how to be a photographer. My mentor, Ron Haviv, taught me how to find my photographic voice and by the time I left two years later I was a fully fledged full-time photojournalist.”

March 24th, 2014

World Press Photo Multimedia 2014 Honors New York Times, National Film Board of Canada, Marco Casino

HighriseThe National Film Board of Canada and The New York Times share first prize for Interactive Documentary in the World Press Photo 2014 Multimedia contest for their collaborative multimedia piece, “A Short History of the Highrise.” The World Press Multimedia awards, now in their fourth year, honor documentary work in three categories: interactive documentaries, short and long features. The winners were announced this morning in Amsterdam.

“A Short History of the Highrise” tells the story of vertical living and the construction of skyscrapers through four short films, photos, text and microgames.

First prize for best short feature was awarded to “Staff Rider,” a video about kids in South Africa who “surf” atop trains. Photographer Marco Casino recorded photos, video and sound for the story. First prize for long feature went to “Witnessing Gezi,” directed by photojournalist Emin Ozmen and Baris Koca, who documented the protests against the development of Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park and civil resistance in Turkey.

The first place winner in each category will be awarded a cash award of 1,500 euros.

The full list of winners, and credits for editing, sound design and more, can be found at www.worldpressphoto.org/2014-multimedia-contest/winners-list.

The winners were selected from 373 entrants. The chair of the jury, Jassim Ahmad, global head of multimedia innovation at Reuters, said in a statement, “Interactive teams are employing a variety of visual tools and techniques. We looked for examples that are designed for the medium to explain more and bring you closer.” He also noted, “We agreed innovation could not be at the expense of clarity. Communication is the essence of journalism.”

Other jury members were Gabriel Dance, interactive editor, Guardian US; Liza Faktor, co-founder of Screen; photographer Ed Kashi of the VII Photo Agency; Marianne Lévy-Leblond, head of web productions and transmedia projects at Arte France; Grant Scott, senior lecturer on photography at the University of Gloucestershire and founder and editor Unitednationsofphotography.com; and photographer Luis Weinstein. Alan Stoga, president of Zemi Communications, was the jury secretary.

Related articles
Sinclair, Dimmock Win World Press Multimedia Contest

Jurying the World Press Photo Multimedia Contest (for PDN Subscribers)

The Next Generation of Online Storytelling: Bear 71 (by National Film Board of Canada)