May 11th, 2016

Pro Photographer vs. Actor: Can People Tell the Difference?

The following wouldn’t qualify as a rigorous scientific experiment, but it’s illuminating nonetheless.

Ben Lucas at NOM Creative set out to discover whether people could tell the difference between a portrait taken by a professional photographer and one taken by an actress posing as a pro.

Both Lucas and the actress had precisely the same lighting and backdrop and the camera was fixed to a tripod in both cases. The only difference was the interaction between subject and photographer.

Could people see the difference in the photos? See for yourself.

May 10th, 2016

Adriane Ohanesian Wins 2016 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award

© Adriane Ohanesian. Central Darfur, Sudan – February 27, 2015: Adam Abdel, age 7, was badly burned when a bomb dropped on February 12, 2015 by a Sudanese government’s Antonov plane, landed next to his family’s home in Burgu, Central Darfur.

© Adriane Ohanesian. Central Darfur, Sudan – February 27, 2015: Adam Abdel, age 7, was badly burned when a bomb dropped on February 12, 2015 by a Sudanese government’s Antonov plane, landed next to his family’s home in Burgu, Central Darfur.

American photojournalist Adriane Ohanesian is the recipient of the 2016 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) announced today. The $20,000 award, which “celebrates the courage of women photojournalists who tell vital stories from countries and communities around the world through pictures,” is given in honor of Anja Niedringhaus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer who was killed while covering the elections in Afghanistan in 2014.

Ohanesian, a freelance photographer who is based in Nairobi, Kenya, has documented civil war in South Sudan and conflicts in Darfur and Somalia, among other stories. Earlier this year, Ohanesian won a World Press Photo Award for her photograph of a boy in Darfur who was badly burned when a bomb landed next to his family home in rebel-held territory.

The jury for the Niedringhaus Award praised Ohanesian’s “evocative images and tenacious dedication to documenting the effect of conflict on citizens in perilous regions,” according to a statement. “Her perceptive, compassionate eye offers an extraordinarily personal glimpse into places the global community may not otherwise see.”

© Adriane Ohanesian. Central Darfur, Sudan – March 4, 2015: Members of the rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army, led by Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW), defend a mountain from the Sudanese government forces in Central Darfur.

© Adriane Ohanesian. Central Darfur, Sudan – March 4, 2015: Members of the rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army, led by Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW), defend a mountain from the Sudanese government forces in Central Darfur.

Jurors for the award included Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Carol Guzy; AP director of photography Santiago Lyon; New York Times director of photography and assistant managing editor Michele McNally; journalist and former editor of Bryan Monroe; and photojournalist and VII photo agency co-founder Ron Haviv.

Lynsey Addario and Paula Bronstein received honorable mentions. All three photographers will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C. on June 9th, hosted by the German Ambassador to the U.S. Peter Wittig and Mrs. Huberta von Voss-Wittig.

The IWMF established the annual Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award, now in its second year, with funding from the Howard G. Buffet Foundation. American photojournalist Heidi Levine won the 2015 award.

Heidi Levine Wins First Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award
AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus Killed in Afghanistan

May 6th, 2016

Obituary: Advertising Photographer John Welzenbach, 64

John Welzenbach, a commercial photographer and a founder of the Chicago chapter of Advertising Photographers of America, died April 28 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He was 64

Born in Port Huron, Michigan, Welzenbach attended the University of Michigan. He launched his studio, Welzenbach Productions in Chicago in 1974. His advertising clients included Hilton, Visa, Nestle, Kellogg’s, Miller and United. He was a founder of the Chicago chapter of the Advertising Photographer of America and, after serving as chapter president, served as the vice president of APA National. Welzenbach wrote a column on photography for the Chicago Sun-Times, contributed to Photo Technique and other publications, and gave seminars on lighting and production at PhotoPlus Expo and through the Dean Collins Fine Art workshop program. His commercial assignments and personal projects took him around the world. In 1996 he published The Magic of Puerto Vallarta (Editorial Mardeki), a collection of his travel photos of the Mexican city.

Welzenbach is survived by his wife, Amy, his sister and mother, his two children and one grandchild. A funeral will be held May 7 in Arlington Heights.

May 6th, 2016

Sponsored: Kickstarter Deadline is Near! New SoftPanels LED Lights that Offer a Color Meter Built into Every Light

Hollywood, California – May 6th, 2016  – Time is running short for backing SoftPanels innovative new LED lights with a color meter built into every light. Their highly successful Kickstarter campaign, which is offering their breakthrough lights at a fraction of the price of traditional LED lights, will end at 1pm PST on Sunday, May 8.

SoftPanels™ are a completely new approach to LED lighting utilizing a built-in color meter and intelligent color management technology in every light, thereby providing unprecedented color precision and control over the emitted light. By utilizing the built-in integrated color meter along with proprietary Autocolor technology, these new innovative fixtures instantly read the current ambient color conditions, and then exactly color-balance their LED color output to match the scene’s ambient conditions.


Following an award-garnering public debut of these breakthrough professional lighting fixtures at the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas, SoftPanels became the most successful professional lighting Kickstarter crowdsourcing ever. With an initial goal of $30,000, as of midday Friday May 6th, SoftPanels was already over a quarter of a million dollars pledged, with 150 individual backers.

At NAB, “Best of Show” awards were given to the Softpanels LED lights.  The judges were impressed with the innovative inclusion of a built-in color meter and intelligent color management technology in every light. This provides unprecedented color precision and smart control over the emitted light. These Softpanels fixtures can instantly read the current ambient color conditions and exactly color-balance their LED color output to match that of the scene’s ambient conditions.

SoftPanels units come in three familiar soft box sizes: 3x4ft (90x120cm), 2x3ft (60x90cm) and 1x2ft (30x60cm). They have a ultra-thin slimline 5 in. (130mm) form-factor, allowing them to fit easily on a set as well as in storage. All SoftPanels panels come with a honeycomb grid, gel frame, and soft case, and can be mounted either vertically or horizontally.

For more information, visit Softpanels’ Kickstarter campaign at or

May 6th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography & Filmmaking

Mark Dries | Flickr

Mark Dries | Flickr

“Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”
Edmund Burke


The Polaroids of a Cowboy PoetWashington Post

I’m Calling It: Social Networking Is Over Computerworld

Iwo Jima Photo Questioned Again By Photographer’s SonNY Times

Why Filmmaking Is Now a Game of Drones London Evening Standard

4 Trends Shaping Wedding Photography Right NowRF

Creating Value Around Women ArtistsThe Art Newspaper

Netflix vs. Vimeo vs. YouTube, et. al.: Where Will Your Video Thrive? PDN

Origins of a Viral PhotoThe Proof

Digital Storytelling Meets Humanitarian Crisis Univision

No, You Can’t Have My Unedited PhotosMedium

Is GoPro the Next Flip Camera?The Verge



Bonus weekend video!

Enjoy 100 years of (mostly) American cinema in 100 iconic cuts.


May 5th, 2016

Introducing ExoLens® with Optics by ZEISS (Sponsored)

ZEISS, one of the world’s leading companies in the fields of optics and optoelectronics, and the Fellowes’ ExoLens® brand, an American innovator in mobile photography accessories, announced their collaboration in the design and development of three accessory lenses for mobile phones – wide-angle, telephoto and macro.

Zeiss Lens family

The wide-angle and telephoto lenses offer excellent image performance with outstanding edge-to-edge contrast.  Dramatic perspectives, exceptional angles or portraits in which the main subject is to be clearly isolated from the background are the specialties of these lenses.


The macro lens enables unparalleled close-up photography with a mobile phone camera and is the only accessory lens to offer a continuous zoom function.  An optionally attachable, semi-transparent diffuser allows light to shine evenly on the object being photographed and enables convenient focusing, even with a short object distance and shallow depth of field.


The ExoLens® with Optics by ZEISS lenses are characterized by leading-edge design featuring smooth surfaces made of black anodized aluminum with laser engraved labeling. This is a systematic continuation of the distinctive, innovative product design that typifies current families of ZEISS camera lenses.  The new lenses can be used on the Apple® iPhone® 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus with customized mounting brackets.

For more information, please visit

May 4th, 2016

Suzy Lake Wins $50k Scotiabank 2016 Photography Award

Suzy Lake, Forever Young, 2000

Forever Young, 2000. Photos © Suzy Lake.

Suzy Lake has been named as the winner of the sixth annual Scotiabank Photography Award and has been awarded a $50,000 cash prize. The award also includes a solo exhibition at the Ryerson Image Center in 2017 and a book of her work to be published by Steidl.

Lake’s work explores performative, feminist and self-identification themes and, “her influence has spread throughout several generations of artists, both nationally and internationally,” said Edward Burtynsky, chair of the Scotiabank Photography Award jury, in a prepared statement announcing her nomination for the prize.

The Extended Goodbye. Photo © Suzy Lake.

The Extended Goodbye. Photo © Suzy Lake.

The two other finalists, Pascal Grandmaison and Jayce Salloum, will receive cash prizes of $10,000 each.

The jurors for this years’ awards were Nova Scotia College of Art & Design professor Robert Bean, deputy director of the Canadian Cultural Centre Catherine Bédard, and Robert Enright, a professor of art at University of Guelph, Ontario.

The award is meant to honor the work of contemporary Canadian photographers and provide support to a mid to late career artist. Previous winners include Angela Grauerholz, Mark Ruwedel, Stan Douglas, Arnaud Maggs and Lynne Cohen.

Related Links:

Mark Ruwedel Wins 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award

Edward Burtynsky Establishes Photo Book Grant with Prize Money

April 29th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography & Filmmaking

Jens Schott Knudsen | Flickr

Jens Schott Knudsen | Flickr

“The problem with a life spent reading is you know too much.” ― Josh Lanyon


The Revolution in Film FestivalsStephen Follows

Lean Photography: A Manifesto Eric Kim

The Outdated Model Hurting Independent FilmNew Yorker

When Science and Photography CollideSlate

As Money Flows to Online Video, Content Makers Hold SwayBuzzFeed

The Life of Book Cover PhotographerCreatives Go!

10 Nat Geo Photos That Explain Earth to AliensProof

The Frustrated MP Who Invented PhotographySpectator

Don’t Play with Your Food, Unless You Shoot It RF

5 Groundbreaking Ways to Tell Your Story in VRNo Film School

I Want My Instagram in Black & WhiteThe Verge

The Challenge Facing Documentary Mini-SeriesIndieWire


Bonus Weekend Audio

Learning how to create an independent film around your limited budget.


April 28th, 2016

Bassam Khabieh Wins Robert Capa Gold Medal for Syria Coverage

The body of a dead man is seen next to blood stains at a field hospital, after what activists said were air and missile strikes, in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, Syria December 13, 2015. Douma in Syria, an area controlled by rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, has been shelled continuously for the past three years. The injured are taken to basements and shelters transformed into field hospitals run by medical staff who have stayed in the battered neighborhood of Damascus.

The body of a dead man is seen next to blood stains at a field hospital, after what activists said were air and missile strikes, in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, Syria December 13, 2015. © Bassam Khabieh / Reuters

At an event this evening in New York City, The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) will award the 2015 Robert Capa Gold Medal for photography to Reuters photographer Bassam Khabieh for his coverage of the Syrian civil war, the organization has announced. The award is given for “photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise.” In grisly images that depict dead and injured men, and wounded children, in a makeshift field hospital in Damascus, Khabieh’s images show the brutal reality of the war in Syria, now in its fifth year.

The Overseas Press Club statement about the story, “Field Hospital Damascus,” notes the danger of living and working in Syria as a journalist. A Syria native who left an information technology career to photograph the war, Khabieh began working for Reuters in 2013. “Further setting this entry apart from the others was the courage and enterprise required not only to cover but live day in and day out in one of the most hostile and unpredictable environments on the planet,” the OPC said in a statement. More than 100 journalists have been killed in Syria since the start of the civil war in March, 2011.

Stephen Dupont will receive The Olivier Rebbot Award, which honors “photographic reporting from abroad in magazines or books,” for Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars, 1993-2012 (Steidl, 2015).

The John Faber Award, which recognizes “reporting from abroad in newspapers or news services,” will go to Mauricio Lima, Sergey Ponomarev, Tyler Hicks and Daniel Etter for their coverage of the migrant crisis for The New York Times. The photographers recently won a Breaking News Photography Pulitzer Prize for the same work.

Another New York Times-published story, Daniel Berehulak’s “High in the Himalayas, A Search After the Nepal Earthquake Yields Grim Results,” will receive The Feature Photography Award for “photography published in any medium on an international theme.”

The OPC will livestream the awards event here beginning at 7:30 EST.

Marcus Bleasdale Wins 2014 Robert Capa Gold Medal
Tyler Hicks Wins Robert Capa Gold Medal Award

April 27th, 2016

National Gallery’s Use of Prince Portrait Infringes Copyright, Photog Claims

Photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s studio says the Smithsonian Institution violated copyright of her 1993 portrait of Prince last week by distributing the image to the media without permission. The musician died April 21, and the following day, the Smithsonian displayed a print of Goldsmith’s photograph at the National Portrait Gallery’s In Memoriam space. The museum notified the media that the portrait could be “photographed or filmed in the museum.” It also made a digital copy of the image available to the media for download on the Smithsonian website.

EPA, AP, AFP and Getty distributed images and/or video of the portrait hanging in the gallery. Various news organizations published the wire service photos and video, but a search of Google images turned up few online copies of the downloadable image.

Rachel Simon, who is the license director for Goldsmith’s studio, says the national gallery violated copyright by allowing others to photograph Goldsmith’s image, and by distributing it as a download. The studio sent a cease and desist notice, and by April 26, the Smithsonian had stopped making the image available as a download. Now the two parties are in discussions about damages.

“We feel financial restitution is necessary to resolve [this], for as you can imagine, that image cannot be licensed for any fee ever again as it has been released WORLDWIDE for free in some cases,” Simon told PDN via email.

Simon said she had spoken with Smithsonian attorney Lauryn Guttenplan about the matter, adding that Guttenplan “did not seem to think this was an infringement or that any damage was caused to the value of the work!”

Guttenplan referred PDN’s request for an interview to Smithsonian spokesperson Linda St. Thomas, who said, “There are discussions going on between the photographer and her representative and the Portrait Gallery director so we have nothing to report right now.”

Simon did not specify the amount of restitution that Goldsmith is seeking, but said, “one would hope that the Museum which honors the contributions of artists would want to resolve [this] amicably.”

Simon says the Prince portrait displayed by the museum was originally sold to collector (and record producer) Jimmy Iovine, who donated it to the Smithsonian. The print was sold to Iovine with the written stipulation that Goldsmith retained copyright, and that the print could not be “published, copied, televised, digitized, or reproduce in any form whatsoever.” The terms of the sale also stated the the print “is intended solely and exclusively for your personal viewing enjoyment.”

[Correction: an earlier version of this story stated that Goldsmith has brought her attorney into the matter. Her studio says that is not the case. We regret the error.]