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Inspired by the uproar over the staged photo included in a series that won a World Press Photo prize (later rescinded, for different reasons), photographer Alex Garcia has posted an ethics quiz for photographers.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 »

March 24th, 2015

Obituary: Paul C. Buff, 78

paul

Paul Conrad Buff, founder of the lighting company that bears his name, passed away this week of unspecified causes. He was 78.

While he best known in the photo industry for his low-cost lighting solutions, Buff also made his mark in the music industry. According to the Paul C. Buff website, Buff was the owner of Pal Music Studios in California, birthplace of the surf music revolution, which he later sold to Frank Zappa. He also pioneered the computerized recording console.

Buff turned his attention to photography lighting, founding Paul C. Buff, Inc. in 1980. He sought to reduce the price of studio gear by selling direct to consumers.

You can read an obituary of Buff penned by his wife, Deborah, here.

March 23rd, 2015

Unique College Program Helps Environmental Orgs See Value of Photography

© Joshua See

Mammalogist Tom Horsley prepares to remove a captured bat from a high-elevation mist-net in Borneo. Joshua See made this photograph while working with the Royal Ontario Museum as a student in the Environmental Visual Communication program. © Joshua See

Conservation photographer Neil Osborne understands how important visual communication can be to environmental and conservation organizations. Photographs, videos and other forms of visual storytelling can help non-profits share their messages and the work they do with wide audiences. Visual storytelling can also serve as an effective fundraising tool. But many nonprofits spend little on photography and other communications efforts, Osborne notes.

He and his colleagues at the Environmental Visual Communication (EVC) program at Toronto’s Fleming College saw an opportunity to match students with nonprofit organizations that need photography, video and other visual communications assets. Over the past three years they’ve developed a “placement partner” system for the EVC, which gives students real-world experience (and, in some cases, payment) while putting their talents to use for good causes. Many students “publish individual and collaborative works before they even graduate,” Osborne notes. In the process of providing “communication strategy and tactics to these groups to enhance and advance their messaging,” students demonstrate to nonprofits how valuable visual storytelling and the expertise of photographers can be in helping them meet their goals. Read the rest of this entry »

March 20th, 2015

On Showing Both Commercial & Fine-Art Work: Emily Shur’s Advice

Emily Shur's photograph of Kevin Hart for Men's Health. © Emily Shur

Emily Shur’s photograph of Kevin Hart for Men’s Health. © Emily Shur

"Hotel Pool, Osaka-fu," is part of Shur's ongoing project about Japan. © Emily Shur

“Hotel Pool, Osaka-fu,” is part of Shur’s ongoing project about Japan. © Emily Shur

Emily Shur recently posted on her Tumblr about two of her images (above) being selected for American Photography 31, each shot for very different purposes. One is a portrait of the comedian Kevin Hart commissioned by Men’s Health; the other, a photograph of a hotel pool in Osaka, Japan, that is part of a long-term personal project. While building her career as a commercial and editorial photographer, Shur has also made a point of showing and promoting her personal projects at portfolio reviews, on her site and to her social media audience. She also recently published a book of her work from Japan.

In her Tumblr post, Shur made some interesting observations about how, in a photographer’s career, the pursuits of commercial work and personal work seem, at times, to be in opposition to one another. She also addressed the concern that it might be detrimental or counterproductive for “commercial photographers” to show personal, fine-art photographs that may appear to differ completely from their commissioned images.

We asked Shur for permission to publish excerpts of her blog post here, because we though it might resonate with readers of PDNPulse who aspire to be successful both commercially and with their personal work. Read the rest of this entry »

March 18th, 2015

Nike Seeks Dismissal of Photog Rentmeester’s Copyright Claim over “Air Jordan” Logo

© Jacobus "Co" Rentmeester

Co Rentmeester sued Nike in January for unauthorized use of this 1984 image to create the “Jumpman” logo used for decades to promote Nike’s Jordan brand.  © Jacobus “Co” Rentmeester

The Nike shoe company has asked a federal court to dismiss photographer Co Rentmeester’s copyright claim over the iconic logo used on Jordan brand sneakers and clothing, on the grounds that the Nike logo is substantially different from Rentmeester’s photo of former basketball star Michael Jordan.

Rentmeester says the company illegally created its so-called “Jumpman” logo from a photograph Rentmeester shot in 1984. Nike, which has used the logo for more than 25 years, called Rentmeester’s claim “baseless.” The company is accusing Rentmeester of trying to claim a monopoly on images of Jordan’s trademark slam-dunk move. And Nike argues that its iconic logo copied none of the “protectable” elements of the Rentmeester photograph–ie, camera angle, lighting, background and other elements of expression that are protected by US Copyright law.

The alleged "Nike copy" of Rentmeester's 1984 image.

The alleged “Nike copy” of Rentmeester’s 1984 image.

Rentmeester filed his copyright infringement claim in January in US district court in Portland, Oregon. He alleged that Nike had based its “Jumpman” logo on an image made by the company that illegally copied Rentmeester’s 1984 photo. Rentmeester had made his image for Life magazine. His image, the Nike “copy” image and the Nike logo all depict Jordan in a move for which he was famous: sailing through the air on his way to slam dunking a basketball.

Nike had temporarily licensed the Rentmeester image in 1984. Rentmeester alleges that Nike copied the image while it was in the company’s possession. He also says Nike paid him $15,000 in 1985, after he complained Nike was infringing his photograph by plastering the “Jumpman” logo all over billboards and posters promoting Air Jordan sneakers. The payment allowed for use of the image for two years in North American markets only, according to Rentmeester’s claim, but Nike has continued to use it ever since. Read the rest of this entry »

March 18th, 2015

Video Pick: Chris Jordan’s “Midway,” on Beauty in Environmental Activism

MIDWAY a Message from the Gyre : a short film by Chris Jordan from Midway on Vimeo.

Chris Jordan, the photographer and conservationist, has spent his career exploring the harmful consequences of our thoughtless consumption and the pollution we create, while also making images that are often eerily beautiful. At the Society for Photographic Education (SPE) National Conference in New Orleans on March 13, he showed a trailer and clips from “Midway,” inspired by his years photographing the albatrosses of the Midway Atoll, located in the north Pacific 2000 miles from the nearest continent. Jordan and a film crew have documented the birds mating, laying eggs, and also dying as a result of having consumed plastic garbage from the ocean. Many choke to death, gasping for air on the shore; others die from toxicity or from starvation when their stomachs become full of indigestible materials.

The theme of the 2015 SPE conference was “Atmospheres: Climate, Equity and Community in Photography,” and during his talk, Jordan shared his approach to activism and the reactions he hopes his film evokes. He doesn’t want simply to highlight a problem, but to change the way people feel and act. Read the rest of this entry »

March 18th, 2015

How I Got That Shot: Jamie Kripke’s Ski Racer GIF

© Jamie Kripke

The women’s Giant Slalom at the FIS Alpine World Championships. © Jamie Kripke

Photographer Jamie Kripke missed the deadline to apply for a media pass to the International Ski Federation Alpine World Championships at Beaver Creek, CO. He attended the event anyway. His work on a couple of previous assignments (ex. Olympic gold medalist David Wise) for ESPN involved capturing motion sequences of athletes, so he had an idea of how he could make lemonade from lemons. PDN asked him to explain his process for creating this GIF, a creative visualization of the speed in the women’s Giant Slalom event. Here’s what Kripke told us: Read the rest of this entry »

March 13th, 2015

Blake Little’s Preservation: Dipped in Honey

© Blake Little

© Blake Little

Photographer and artist Blake Little’s new project, Preservation, kicked off a run at the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles (March 7 – April 18) with a book also available now. The behind-the-scenes video on YouTube (NSFW) drew over 2 million views in a little over a month and a deluge of comments (690 as this was published), including persistent criticism about the use of honey and a dog as a subject. We reached out to Little via email for his thoughts on the project and the reaction it sparked online. Read the rest of this entry »

March 12th, 2015

The Best Drone Movies: NYC Drone Film Festival Crowns Winners

We’re still in the infancy of drone cinematography, but there’s more than enough content available now to start passing judgement on it.

The New York City Drone Film Festival wrapped up earlier this month and handed out awards, or “Dronies” in nine categories. To enter, films had to be five minutes or less with at least 50 percent of the footage captured using a drone.

A few of the winners, like “Superman with a GoPro,” may be recognizable from their days on the viral video circuit, but a few were new to us. We’ve included a few of the winning films below. The full list is here. Read the rest of this entry »