January 16th, 2015

Martyna Galla Makes Her Mark with a Format.com Online Portfolio

Sponsored by Format

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At just 22 years old, fashion photographer Martyna Galla is a force to be reckoned with. She’s amassed a list of clients that includes Avon, Universal Music and Elle; success she credits to her insatiable enthusiasm for creating imagery. Raised in a small town near Warsaw, the burgeoning teen’s discovery of the medium began when she was given her first camera at 14. Galla began photographing her sister and “the prettiest girls at school,” and within just two years, landed her first paid job shooting model tests at Warsaw modeling agency D’vision Models.

The professional opportunity solidified Galla’s aspirations to build a career as a photographer and propelled her to enroll film school in Łódź, Poland, where she was further trained in photography.  Now out of school, constantly shooting tests, regularly investing in gear and studio space, and expanding her contacts to include a wider range of models, make-up artists and stylists have all contributed to her growth.

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© Martyna Galla

Just as crucial to her development as a professional photographer, however, has been the ability to market her online portfolio. “People must see your work,” Galla says. “Potential clients, friends, agents, models—you never know who will like it and recommend your work.” But not all websites are created equal, as Galla has learned. Out of all the options available, Galla rates Format.com, a portfolio website platform for creative professionals, above the rest. “Format was not the first platform I used to share my photography, but it is the most professional. My work is available in high quality and is viewable on any browser or mobile device,” she says. “My Format.com portfolio is the one I continue to share with clients. Its professional design lets my work shine.”

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© Martyna Galla

Format’s online portfolio website offer photographers all the advantages they desire when showcasing their work online. Its elegant, professionally-designed themes enable photographers to create a stunning presentation of their work in an instant—all without any knowledge of coding. Format’s websites are also fully customizable, including a custom domain: photographers can choose from a wide variety of specially-designed page templates or build their own from scratch using Format’s advanced code editor. In addition, Format’s websites are mobile- and tablet-ready, and include built-in, powerful, image-based blogging, seamless linking to social networks, unlimited bandwidth, automatic and fast image resizing, continual fast speed image loading, password-protected pages, search engine optimization, video capability, and 24/7 around-the-clock reliable service and support no matter the time zone.

Work as strong and as unique as Marytna Galla’s demands a presentation that only Format.com has been able to deliver—and quite effortlessly so. Interestingly, when asked to describe her photographic style, some of the words Galla uses are “easy,” “sensible,” and “calm,” adjectives that could also be used to describe the Format.com experience. “I like to keep things simple,” she continued. “When I find the person in front of my camera to be charismatic and interesting, I let them have the advantage while shooting. It always brings something new and unexpected.”

Visit Format.com and create your very own online portfolio.

See a short video on Galla and her work below.

 

January 15th, 2015

Under Pressure, FAA Issues Handful of Exemptions for Commercial Drone Use

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For as long as inexpensive camera-toting drones have been popular, their commercial use in the U.S. has been in a precarious proposition. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the division of the U.S. Department of Transportation that governs the use of our airspace, waited years after the proliferation of drones to issue any guidelines on their use in commerce. Until recently, if you were an architectural or real estate photographer looking for inexpensive ways to capture bird’s eye views, or a production company itching to take advantage of new perspectives in your video, the word from the FAA was clear: No, you can’t use drones for commercial purposes.

But that isn’t stopping businesses from using drones. DJI Global, the manufacturer of the wildly popular Phantom remote-controlled camera drone, skirted the FAA’s ban on commercial drone usage by donating the use of its DJI Inspire 1 during NBC’s broadcast of the 2015 Golden Globes for some free publicity. And under pressure from Congress—who included directives for the FAA to begin to develop the framework it will use to regulate commercial drone flights in a 2012 appropriations bill—the administration has begun to issue exemptions to its six-year-old ban.

In June 2014, it issued the first exemption to British Petroleum, who wanted to use drones to survey Alaska’s North Slope. In September, it issued six exemptions to film and television production companies, and in December, it issued four more exemptions, including one to a construction company. In the first week of 2015, Douglas Trudeau, a 61-year-old real estate agent in Tuscon, Arizona, received the first exemption to use drones for a real estate business. He had applied for the exemption back in July of 2014, after being informed that even though he was not selling his drone footage, using photos and clips shot from drones in his real estate listings constituted commercial use.

CNN—who wants to use drones for newsgathering purposes—has also appealed to the FAA. It recently entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the administration, working with the Georgia Tech Research Institute to collect data to help the FAA develop its framework for regulating drone usage in journalism.

While the FAA was called out by Congress more than two years ago and urged to get started on their regulatory framework, there is still no timetable for the process to be completed. For now, the FAA is issuing exemptions on a case-by-case basis, but if the red carpet at the Golden Globes and Amazon’s drone delivery plan are any indication, it will have to move quickly to keep up. As the FAA attempts to levy fines on drone pilots it feels are violating its vague guidelines, U.S. judges have already found in favor of at least one pilot: A federal judge tossed out a $10,000 fine on the grounds that the guidelines were not specific enough. The National Transportation Safety Board later overruled the judge and re-affirmed the FAA’s right to regulate, but it’s clear that the guidelines are doing little to stop commercial flights.

In the meantime, the administration has put together a website with safety tips for recreational, business, and public service users.

Related articles:

Commercial Drones are Legal, Federal Court Says

Court Refuses to Hear Challenge to FAA’s Drone Cease-and-Desist Orders

DJI One-Ups Phantom With More Powerful, 4K-Recording Inspire 1 Photo Drone

Drone Photographers Take To The Skies To Find New Perspectives

January 14th, 2015

Nadia Sablin Wins CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

"Two-handed Saw." © Nadia Sablin

“Two-handed Saw.” © Nadia Sablin

Nadia Sablin has won the 2014 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography for her series on her aunts who live in northwest Russia. The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, which administers the prize with The Honickman Foundation, announced the award today. Sablin’s book will be published in November 2015 by CDS Books and Duke University Press.

The prize, which is awarded every two years, supports North American photographers who have never published a book-length work. Past winners have included Gerald H. Gaskin, Benjamin Lowy and Danny Wilcox Frazier.

Sablin, who is based in Brooklyn, New York, has been making color photographs documenting the lives of her aunts, Alevtina and Ludmila, for more than six years. Sablin says in her description of the project that  the women, who are in their seventies, “carry on the traditional Russian way of life, chopping wood for heating the house, bringing water from the well, planting potatoes and making their own clothes.”

Sandra S. Philips, curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Photography, was the judge for this year’s prize. Joshua Chuang, chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, chaired the selection committee that chose the finalists for the prize. The finalists are: Victor Blue, Scott Dalton, Cate Dingley, Hannah Kozak, Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman, Joseph Michael Lopez, Diana Markosian, Jeanine Michna-Bales, Chrystie Sherman, Jeffrey Stockbridge and Donna Wan. Their images will be featured on the first Book Prize blog this year.

Related Article
Project on African American and Latino Ballroom Subculture Wins CDS/Honickman First Book Prize

January 14th, 2015

PDN Video: Jay Maisel on How to Be a Better Street Photographer

Jay Maisel on How to Be a Better Photographer from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

Based on the lessons he’s taught to photography students over the past five years at PhotoPlus Expo and elsewhere, legendary photographer Jay Maisel recently published Light, Gesture & Color (New Riders Press). He describes the book as one “for people that are tired of bullshit books that tell them exactly what to do, and so they get rote results.” In this video, Maisel shares advice from his book on how to take better photographs, including tips on how to be a more successful street photographer. In a separate PDN video, Maisel explains what he means by the term “gesture,” why it is an important element of good photographs, and how to recognize and use it to your advantage.

Related:
Jay Maisel on the Importance of “Gesture” in Photography

January 12th, 2015

PDN Video Pick: Ed Kashi and Matt Black for The New Yorker

For PDN’s January 2015 print edition, we spoke with photographer Matt Black about the photo essay he made for The New Yorker about the drought in California’s Central Valley. Black, who lives in Exeter, California, has been documenting the valley—which produces much of the country’s food—for more than 15 years.

But the story in The New Yorker was assigned before Black ever got involved; months earlier, photographer Ed Kashi had successfully pitched a story on the drought to Whitney Johnson, the magazine’s director of photography. When it came time to shoot the story, however, Kashi realized that Black—his former assistant—was not just embedded, but invested, in the valley, and would be a perfect collaborator.

“I was thinking, I’ll never, in the week or so I have of field time, produce the body of still work that this man has produced over 15 years,” Kashi says. “So why try to reinvent the wheel?”

Kashi proposed that he would shoot motion, and Black would shoot stills, and Johnson was quickly on board. Sky Dylan-Robbins, a video producer at The New Yorker, would edit their work into the 7-minute video that ran on newyorker.com.

“It was fun,” Kashi admits. “We were like two little kids in a way, photo buddies who were just looking for visuals and trying to figure out how to put the narrative together without getting bogged down in the weeds of the issue. Because the issue of water in California is insanely complicated.”

Related:

Matt Black on Dorothea Lange

Matt Black and Ed Kashi Bring California’s Dried-Out Central Valley to The New Yorker

NewYorker.com: The Dry Land

January 9th, 2015

National Geographic’s Photo Engineering at Work

Striving for new and unusual ways to photograph subjects from land, sea, and air, National Geographic photographers often turn for technical assistance to NG photo engineers Kenji Yamaguchi and David Mathews. The two men, who are the subjects of an article in January PDN and now on PDN online, devise ingenious tools for making pictures that would otherwise be too dangerous or difficult for photographers to make. ““These guys are the unsung heroes of the Geographic,” says long-time contributor George Steinmetz.

Yamaguchi and Mathews worked behind the scenes on Nick Nichols’s Serengeti lions project, Steve Winter’s snow leopards project, and various projects by underwater photographer David Doubilet, to name just a few examples. Here are some videos that show their technical ingenuity in action:

 


Nick Nichols and his assistant, Nathan Williamson, at work on the Serengeti lions project with a robotic camera tank and a camera drone.

 


Steve Winter explains how he used camera traps to photograph a mountain lion at night under the Hollywood sign.

 


The Photo Engineering department faces possible budget cuts, but National Geographic recently profiled of Kenji Yamaguchi, with this video showing him at work in the publisher’s Photo Engineering lab.

 

Addition videos on National Geographic’s web site:

Steve Winter describes his 2008 snow leopard project in northern India. Scenes of Winter setting up remote cameras and strobes on snow leopard trails start at 2:47.

An encounter, narrated by Steve Winter, between a tiger and a robotic camera vehicle developed by NG Photo Engineering.

Scenes from the sinking of a ship for the creation of an artificial reef, featuring David Doubilet’s remote camera images from the ship’s deck as engineers set explosive charges, then detonated them. Remote camera images begin at 1:21.

Related Article:
The Technical Ingenuity of National Geographic’s Photo Engineering Department

January 8th, 2015

Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 in the Wild

The January issue of PDN features a review of the Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 medium format camera system.

You can get a sneak peek in this video starring our frequent co-tester, David Patiño, who used the Credo 50 in a marathon product catalog shoot late last year (among other things). Enjoy!

Special thanks to Generic Brand Human for producing the video.

January 8th, 2015

The Photo Drones of CES 2015 Do the Flying for You

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The FAA may be making uncomfortable noises in the direction of commercial drone photography, but that hasn’t stopped drone makers from hitting CES with several new products. Many of the photo drones at the show got their start on Kickstarter, where they successfully raised millions in 2014 with an eye toward shipping in 2015.

In fact, the Consumer Electronics Associations is expecting a banner year for drone sales, estimating the global market will grow 55 percent from 2014 to hit $130 million in revenue this year. In five years, drone revenues are projected to hit $1 billion.

What’s new for 2015′s crop of flying cameras is that this breed can operate without user intervention. Once you program them, they’ll follow a subject around without any further instruction. Welcome to the future.

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AirDog showed off its auto-follow drone for GoPro cameras. The drone, which  is now available for pre-order for $1,295, can be programmed to autonomously follow a moving subject without any operator intervention.

The secret is the company’s Air Leash waterproof transmitter which can keep the drone locked on its holder up to 1,000 feet away. You program the drone to follow you and it can then keep pace with a subject moving as fast as 40 miles per hour. You can also program it to hover, circle or point the camera directly down.

Depending on your air speed, the AirDog will stay aloft for between 10 and 20 minutes. It weighs 4 pounds with GoPro, gimbal and battery.

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Similar in spirit to the AirDog, the Hexo+ can also autonomously track a moving subject while carrying a GoPro aloft. It will be slightly cheaper than the AirDog, with a pre-order price of $1,149 and a ship date of September.

The drone is programmed using a smartphone app, which lets you set your desired framing. Unlike the AirDog, you won’t need to hold a remote to keep the Hexo+ on your tail and you’ll be able to choreograph more complex flight patterns using the app. It has a flight time of roughly 15 minutes and uses a brushless gimbal system to stabilize a GoPro (including the Hero4). It will ship standard with a 2D gimbal but you can upgrade to a 3D gimbal as well.

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The Zano distinguishes itself by its tiny size and equally tiny price. At an expected retail price of $279, this palm-sized drone is infinitely cheaper than almost all competitors (even Parrot’s inexpensive Bebop). It sports a 5-megapixel integrated camera and is controlled via Wi-Fi from Android and iOS devices.  It uses Wi-Fi to stay tethered to the camera operator and can fly autonomously, tracking a moving subject within Wi-Fi range.

It will offer a removable battery and microSD card slot and will stay airborne for between 10 and 15 minutes. It’s expected to ship in June.

January 7th, 2015

Upcoming Grant Application Deadlines: Alexia, Center, Light Work, The Documentary Project

Application deadlines for grants worth between $1,000 and $20,000 are approaching.

Alexia Foundation Professional Grant

The Alexia Foundation’s professional Alexia Grant is meant to give professional photographers and visual journalists the means to produce bodies of work that promote world peace and cultural understanding. Both still photography and multimedia projects are eligible. The grant is administered by both the foundation and the Alexia Chair at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Individual photographers or visual journalists from any country are eligible—proposals with multiple content producers are not accepted. Proposals for projects that have already won grants or awards of more than $1,000 in the previous calendar year are not eligible. Professional grant applications carry a $50 application fee; winners will receive $20,000 to produce their proposed project.

The application deadline for the professional grant is Monday, Jan. 29, 2015 at 5 p.m. EST. Winners will be announced on or around March 1, 2014.

For more info, go to www.alexiafoundation.org/grants.

CENTER Choice Awards

CENTER, the non-profit organization dedicated to supporting photography since 1994, recognizes outstanding photographers working in all processes and subject matter with its Choice Awards. Awards are presented in three categories: Curator’s Choice, Editor’s Choice and Gallerist’s Choice. First, second and third place prizes are awarded in each category. Choice Award winners are invited to participate in an exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during Review Santa Fe.

This year’s jurors include Phillip Prodger, the curator at the National Portrait Gallery in London; Enrico Stefanelli, president & director of the Photolux Festival in Italy; and Alice Gabriner, TIME magazine’s international photo editor.

Last year’s Curator’s Choice winner was Manjari Sharma; Jeanine Michna-bales won the Gallerist’s Choice; and Morgan Ashcom was the Editor’s Choice.

The deadline for applications is February 19, 2015. For more information, go to www.visitcenter.org/choice-awards/#.

The Documentary Project Fund

The Documentary Project Fund has opened its first Call-For-Entries for 2015. The call is open to all still photographers, emerging or established, but applicants must demonstrate the skill level necessary to plan and execute a documentary project. Winners will have six months and up to $5,000 to complete their photographic project. The Documentary Project Fund is also available to photographers working with other nonprofits, but only if that group matches funds.

Submissions are accepted twice a year, and are judged by the board of The Documentary Project Fund. Half the funds are released upon acceptance of the award, with the second half of the funds to be dispersed at the completion of the project, contingent upon the project’s successful execution. Award announcements are made via email, approximately one month after the Call-For-Entries closes on March 30, 2015.

Previous winners include Matt Black, who won an award for his work documenting California’s Central Valley.

For more info, go to thedocumentaryprojectfund.org or send an email to info@thedocumentaryprojectfund.org.

Light Work Grants in Photography

Light Work has been offering grants to artists in Central New York since 1975, supporting more than 110 artists, some multiple times. With the stated goal of encouraging the production of new photographic works in the region, three $2,000 grants will be awarded to photographers who reside within an approximate 50-mile radius of Syracuse, N.Y.

All applicants must reside in of one of the following Central New York counties: Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Tioga or Tompkins.

Applications will be reviewed by three judges from outside the grant region; decisions are based solely on the completed application and the candidate’s portfolio and. Repeat offenders are welcome—artists who won the award in 2009 or earlier are eligible to re-apply. Full-time students are not eligible.

Grant recipients will be published in Light Work’s Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual, and are invited to participate in a special exhibit at Light Work. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2015. Apply online at lightwork.slideroom.com.

Light Work was founded as an artist-run, non-profit organization in 1973, with a mission to provide direct support to artists working in photography and related media, through residencies, publications, exhibitions, and a community-access lab facility.

For more info, go to www.lightwork.org/grants/apply or email grants@lightwork.org.

Related Article 

Chasing the Money: How to Fund a Documentary Project

 

January 7th, 2015

New Instagram Feed Highlights Effects of Climate Change

Everyday Climate Change (photos © the individual photographers)

Everyday Climate Change (photos © the individual photographers)

An Instagram feed showcasing the work of photographers documenting the causes and effects of global climate change launched on January 1. Founded by Tokyo-based photographer James Whitlow Delano, @everydayclimagechange was inspired by the @everydayeverywhere feed, which presents selected images of daily life around the world, and will show how extreme weather and changes to the climate affect life in the developing and the developed world. So far, the feed has featured images by Sara Terry, Katharina Hesse, Michael Robinson Chavez, Janet Jarman, Paolo Patrizi, Ed Kashi, David Butow, John Trotter, Delano and other photographers who have covered such topics as water shortages, pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, forest fires, rising sea levels and the destruction of crops by infestations of funguses and insects.

Delano says that before launching the feed, he contacted photographers he knew who had completed bodies of work relating to climate issues. “I am looking for photographers who are able to see how local climate changes relate to the bigger, global picture,” he says. Delano, who has covered logging and deforestation in Southeast Asia, says he sought photographers based around the world. The contributing photographers are from five continents, and the images featured so far have shown diverse locations: a farm in Mexico; wetlands in Guinea Bissau; a denuded rain forest in southern Papua; a stretch of beach in Far Rockaway, Brooklyn. Says Delano, “I love the way that the photographs tell us that we must all consider how to deal with these issues.”

Though he gave contributors suggestions for hashtags, Delano says he wants to take a hands-off approach to editing. “I have told photographers that I will not curate or interfere unless photos go way off theme. As a photographer, I cherish latitude and freedom.”

Seven days after its launch, the feed has attracted over 1,600 followers. Photographers who have agreed to contribute in the future include Patrick Brown, Ron Haviv, Dominic Bracco II, Veejay Villafranca, Suthep Krisanavarin and Peter DiCampo, co-founder of @EverydayAfrica and @EverydayEverywhere. Delano says he’s happy with the work so far, but might expand the feed in the future. “In a month or so, we may start accepting hashtags or doing a Follow Friday like other everyday feeds. I like the democratization of the feeds that way,” he says. “First, though, I wanted to have a look how the feed functioned. So far, so good.”

Related Articles

Founders of Everyday Feeds Launch @EverydayEverywhere, “Family of Man for the Modern Age”

Picture Story: Everyday Africa on Instagram

Environmental Crusaders: Photographer Peter McBride and the Colorado River