April 13th, 2016

How Winning a Pulitzer Changed Deanne Fitzmaurice’s Career

Saleh draws an airplane dropping bombs, after nurses taped a felt-tipped pen to his arm in an effort to soothe him. ©Deanne Fitzmaurice

Saleh draws an airplane dropping bombs, after nurses taped a felt-tipped pen to his arm in an effort to soothe him. ©Deanne Fitzmaurice

The 2016 Pulitzer Prize winners will be announced on Monday, April 18, marking the 100th awarding of the prizes since they were initiated in 1917. We recently asked photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice how winning the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography has affected her career. Now a contributor to Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, National Geographic and other publications, Fitzmaurice was a staff photographer at the San Francisco Chronicle when she won her Pulitzer. The story she won for was about an Iraqi boy named Saleh who was undergoing treatment at an Oakland hospital after he was nearly killed by an explosion in Iraq.

PDN: What went through your mind when you heard your name read?
Deanne Fitzmaurice: it was complete disbelief. I had been a staff photographer at the Chronicle for maybe 15 years. I thought the Pulitzer was so far out of my reach. But it was a story I felt was so important for people to see, and winning the Pulitzer brought it to a much larger audience.

PDN: What immediate effect did winning the Pulitzer have on your career?
DF: The Chronicle pretty much said, What do you want to work on? It gave me independence to work on stories I really cared about. But in some ways, life was back to normal two weeks later. I was out on assignment for the real estate section, photographing a guy who was up on a ladder. He goes, “Gee, wouldn’t it be funny if I fell off the ladder? You’d probably end up winning a Pulitzer if I did.” And I said, “You’re not going to believe this, but a couple weeks ago I actually did win the Pulitzer.” I’m sure he didn’t believe me.

Deanne Fitzmaurice hears she has won a Pulitzer Prize, April 4, 2005. ©AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Brant Ward

Deanne Fitzmaurice, reacting to the news that she had won a Pulitzer Prize, April 4, 2005. ©AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Brant Ward

PDN: Does it go to your head? Don’t you think, “Why am I shooting these stupid real estate assignments? I’ve won the Pulitzer!”
DF: I didn’t want the other staff photographers to think I was a prima donna, so I wanted to do those ordinary, everyday assignments. Of course, I wanted to do some high level, in-depth projects as well.

There was another funny story about people’s reactions. I was at a wedding, the priest had heard I won the Pulitzer, and he was telling everyone. After the ceremony, he got really drunk, and well into the reception, he’s still telling people about my award, but at that point, he’s telling people I had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

PDN: The Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize are among the few prizes you get to wear for the rest of your life, like: “I’m a  Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.”
DF: Right, and sometimes it’s awkward–you feel weird doing that, like you’re full of yourself, but at the same time, you’re proud of it and it’s important.

PDN: What effect has it had on your career in the long run?
DF: I stayed at the San Francisco Chronicle as a staff photographer for three years after winning. A lot of opportunities came to me, and I became really busy.

PDN: Who was calling? What kinds of projects?
DF: There was a Pulitzer exhibit in some museum in Minneapolis. Some [art] buyers happened to see it, and they were looking for a photographer to work a project for Target. It was a commercial project but they wanted it shot in a photojournalistic style for Target. So they contacted me, and I got that project, and that was great. I was working on weekends doing things like that. I reached a point where I was too busy, and I was making a decision: Do I stay as a staff photographer, or take this moment to try to make it as a freelancer? I spent about six months of sleepless nights. I thought, photographers are getting laid off, the industry is changing, and I’m thinking of walking away from a perfectly good job. But I thought, If I’m ever going to do this, now is the time. I think I would have regretted if I didn’t, so I took a chance. I was scared to death, walking away. If I had stayed at the Chronicle, my life wouldn’t have changed that much. By going independent, it has given me lots of options and lots of opportunities.

PDN: Does winning the Pulitzer carry any kind of burden?
DF: After I won the Pulitzer, I was putting pressure on myself, saying, “You need to continue working at this level.” I didn’t want to be a one-hit wonder. The feeling that I could produce that kind of work, I wanted to keep doing that.

PDN: What’s your advice to photographers about how to make the most of it if they win?
DF: When you win, your phone is going to start ringing like crazy, your inbox is going to fill up and there are going to be lots of opportunities to to go out and talk about your work and your process. It’s easy for it to become a distraction. After I won, I spent the following year doing speaking engagements and other things related to that project. It was a great honor and privilege, but then I felt like: enough talking, just start producing some work.

Photography Pulitzers Go to Daniel Berehulak, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Staff (for PDN subscribers)
Josh Haner, Tyler Hicks Win 2014 Pulitzer Prizes for Photography (for PDN subscribers)
Instagram: @deannefitzmaurice

April 11th, 2016

Impossible Project’s I-1 Looks to Keep Instant Film Momentum Alive


Forged in the wake of the Polaroid bankruptcy with a mission to keep instant film alive, the Impossible Project is moving on to its next project: revitalizing the instant film camera.

The fruits of that labor are the I-1, the company’s first instant film camera. The camera accepts the Impossible Project’s Instant 600 film (a variant of the discontinued Polaroid 600 Instant Film).

The camera has a prominent LED ring flash that automatically adjusts intensity based on ambient light and focus distance.

In one of the big departures from instant film cameras of yore (and today), the I-1 can be control remotely via a free iOS app that lets you control aperture, shutter speed and flash settings as well as take advantage of some creative features (as yet unspecified).

The camera goes on sale in March for $300. More info is promised then.



April 8th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography & Filmmaking

Christoper | Flickr

Christoper | Flickr

“I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough…the more one reads the more one sees we have to read.”
John Adams,

In the Future We Will Photograph Everything & Look at Nothing – New Yorker

What J.J. Abrams Can Teach You About FilmmakingFilm School Rejects

Full Frame Professional Mirrorless Was a Fatal Mistake – Fujix Forum

Nope, Full Frame Mirrorless Makes a Lot of Sense!Alpha Rumors

Facebook’s AI Knows What’s In Your PhotosThe Verge

How NASA Turns Astronauts into PhotographersWashington Post

Courageous Photogs Shine Light on Glaring Gender Disparity in Photo IndustryNYT

Why You Need to Brand Your FilmIndie Film Academy

Is Kodak Tri-X the Greatest Film Ever Made?Zorki Photo

Japan’s Photographers Capture New RealitiesFinancial Times

The Re-Dawning Age of Monochrome Digital Photo Pro

Why I Changed the Focus of Lytro Backchannel

Bonus Weekend Video

Jason Silva delivers a “Shot of Awe” as he riffs on creativity.

April 8th, 2016

Video Pick: What Does It Mean to Be a Conservation Photographer?

The International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) recently launched a YouTube channel with three educational videos that provide insights into how conservation photographers approach their work: “What is Conservation Photography?”, “On being a “Conservation Photographer,” and “Conservation Photography and Science.” ILCP will also post videos of talks at their conservation photography symposium, WiLDSPEAK, to the channel.

In the three-minute video “On Being a Conservation Photographer,” iLCP fellows talk about the importance of connecting with the science community and working with conservation scientists in the field; about how aspiring conservation photographers can start by telling stories close to home; and about the value of dedication and long-term commitment to a particular subject. Here’s what the iLCP fellows say about their work:

We Are Animals: Nick Brandt’s Unique Approach to Photographing Wildlife Habitat Destruction
Gary Braasch, Climate Change Photographer, Dies While Snorkeling on Great Barrier Reef
How Ami Vitale Built Support for Her Long-Term Photo Project (PDN Subscriber login required)

April 7th, 2016

Hasselblad Introduces New H6D Medium Format System


Hasselblad has pulled back the curtain on a new line of medium format camera systems.

The H6D range has been completely rebuilt with new technical components and an all new electronic platform, the company says. It will be compatible with the firm’s H lenses.

The line will include the company’s first 100-megapixel CMOS back, the H6D-100c as well as a 50-megapixel CMOS back, the H6D-50c.

The 100c will offer 16-bit color and up to 16 stops of dynamic range. Native ISO range will be 64-12,800. (Hasselblad hasn’t yet indicated whether it’s using the same Sony CMOS sensor that was first introduced in the Phase One XF IQ3 100MP back, but the specs are identical so it stands to reason the sensor is the same.)

The 100c will also record 4K video at 3840 x 2160 in Hasselblad’s proprietary RAW video format, though frame rate and codec weren’t disclosed. Other highlights include:

* shutter speeds from 60 minutes to 1/2000, depending on lens

* dual card slots for CFast and SD cards

* 3-inch touch display w/ 30 fps live view

* histogram readout on rear display and camera grip display

* USB 3 (Type-C) and HDMI ports

* Wi-Fi

* AF metering with a passive central cross-type sensor, metering range from 1 EV to 19 (ISO 100)

The H6D 50c will share most of the same specs as the 100c only with a lower-resolution, 50-megapixel sensor. It will have less dynamic range, at 14 stops, and a native ISO range of 100-6400. The 50c will only record HD video, not 4K.

Hasselblad says the 50c will have a still photo capture rate of 1.7-2.3 fps. It has yet to publish the spec on the 100c’s capture rate.

Details on the updated camera body weren’t immediately available, but judging from the images released by Hasselblad, there’s a top display screen and a more pronounced handgrip.

Hasselblad is also releasing an updated line of lenses to support shutter speeds up to 1/2000 sec. The new, faster lenses will wear an orange marking to distinguish them from the older versions.

The H6D-50c will retail for $29,995 and the H6D-100c will retail for $32,995.

A video produced by Hasselblad debuting the camera is below.

Hasselblad-H6D-50c_right-side-shot_WH1 Hasselblad-H6D-50c_rear-side-shot_WH1

April 7th, 2016

Here’s What Happens When You Open and Save a JPEG 500 Times

Back at the dawn of digital photography, torture-testing JPEG images to see how much quality was lost after multiple edits/saves was something of a thing. The JPEG, after all, is a lossy compression format that sheds information to keep file sizes manageable.

Jon Sneyers resurrects the genre with this quick video demonstrating the effect of opening and re-saving an image 500 times across several compression formats (JPEG, WebP and BPG).

As you’ll see from the video, some compression formats hold up better than others, but none retain their original form as you increase the number of saves. Some undergo an oddly memorizing metamorphosis into abstract art.

It’s pretty clear, though, that the JPEG format is the best of the bunch when it comes to retaining its original form after repeated saves. Now, why you’d want to open and re-save a JPEG 500 times is another question…

[Hat tip: DL Cade]

Read More:

Take a Walk Through Kodak’s Tech Vault

Hidden History of the Zoom Lens

A Brief History of Long-Lens Gotchas

April 6th, 2016

2016 Guggenheim Fellowships Announced

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced the recipients of their 2016 fellowship grants. Eleven photographer are among the 178 fellows who work in the humanities, creative arts, social sciences and natural sciences. The fellows were selected from a field of nearly 3,000 applicants. Guggenheim Fellows receive grants of varying but undisclosed amounts to pursue a proposed project.

The 2016 Guggenheim Fellows in photography are:
Dru Donovan
Hasan Elahi
McNair Evans
Lyle Ashton Harris
Matthew Jensen
Alex Majoli
Eileen Neff
Louie Palu
Robin Schwartz
Lida Suchy
Yvonne Venegas

Another photographer, Carlos Javier Ortiz, received a fellowship for a new video project.

The Fellowships are considered “midcareer” grants. They are awarded to artists and scholars who have “already demonstrated capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts,” according to the Foundation.

11 Photographers Win 2015 Guggenheim Fellowships
McNair Evans: Confessions for a Son
Stan Douglas Wins $118,000 Hasselblad Award for 2016
Mira Mexico: Louie Palu’s Conceptual Project About the War on Drugs

April 6th, 2016

LA Times Photographer Of Reagan Funeral Motorcade Charged After March Arrest

Longtime Los Angeles Times photographer Ricardo DeAratanha has been charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly refusing to cooperate with police during the funeral motorcade of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, according to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times.

DeAratanha, 65, was charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer, according to the Ventura County district attorney’s office.

The Los Angeles Times reports that DeAratanha was arrested on Wednesday, March 9, less than a mile from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where a public viewing was being held for Nancy Reagan. DeAratanha was at the scene covering the funeral for the Times. When police approached him, he was sitting in his car, transmitting photos from his laptop. Simi Valley Police said at the time that officers were responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle near the viewing, and that DeAratanha was arrested because he refused the officers’ request to identify himself.

DeAratanha’s attorney, Mark Werksman, says the photographer provided multiple press credentials and gave the officers “no reason” to arrest him, according to the Los Angeles Times. DeAratanha has been a staff photographer at the paper since 1989.

April 5th, 2016

Panasonic Launches GX85, Ditches Low Pass Filter, Doubles Stabilization

panasonic gx85 iamge stabilizatyion

Panasonic’s new Lumix GX85 interchangeable lens camera is a budget minded little brother of last year’s GX80 that still manages to deliver a few new tricks.

The camera features a 16-megapixel MOS sensor with no low pass filter, the first time the company has released a camera without one. With the low pass filter kicked to the curb, the camera enjoys a 10 percent improvement in resolving power compared to older models, Panasonic said. Moire suppression is handled by the camera’s processor.

As with all new Panasonic cameras, the GX85 boasts 4K video recording and several 4K Photo modes that help users isolate 8-megapixel still images from 4K clips. Also new is a Post Focus mode that takes a burst of 49 8-megapixel stills with different focus points across the camera’s 49 AF points. When reviewing the footage, users can select what part of the image they want in focus and choose that still–or, save the entire series of images.

The camera features a 4K Live Cropping mode that lets you record a 4K video and then pan or zoom across the footage Ken Burns-style in playback. The final video will be delivered in HD, not 4K.

The GX5 uses a dual optical image stabilization system that combines in-body and in-lens correction (on select Lumix G I.O.S. lenses). The result is up to 4 stops of image correction, per CIPA standards. According to Panasonic, the dual image stabilization delivers better results than simply using in-camera stabilization, particularly at the telephoto end.

Additional features include:

  • A 3-inch tillable display – up 80 degree, down 45 degrees.
  • 2.7 million dot resolution EVF
  • 8 fps burst with AF locked on first frame or 6 fps with continuous AF
  • Wi-Fi
  • an electromagnetic shutter that reduces shutter shock by 10 percent to improve sharpness
  • RAW shooting
  • ISO range of 100-25,600

It’s due in May and will retail for $800 with a 12-32mm kit lens (there’s no body-only pricing option at this time).  It is available for pre-order now.

ipcgx85bk_5 ipcgx85bk_4 ipcgx85bk_1

April 4th, 2016

Video Pick: Magnus Wennman Pushes Boundaries with “Fatima’s Drawings”

FATIMA’S DRAWINGS from Magnus Wennman on Vimeo.

Among three finalists for the World Press Photo short form multimedia prize is Magnus Wennman’s outstanding 5-1/2 minute video called “Fatima’s Drawings.” His “Where the Children Sleep” project was widely published last year, and “Fatima’s Drawings” is a continuation of his work documenting the plight of refugee children from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The video features a five-year-old Syrian refugee in Sweden, recounting (in a voiceover) the trauma and loss she experienced in Syria and while fleeing to Europe. It’s an example of spare, exquisite filmmaking, with care and attention to all the creative and technical details, from the storyboarding and shooting, to the sound recording and mixing, to the atmospheric hue of the lighting. It also includes animation: Wennman shows Fatima by the light of a window, making stick-figure drawings of scenes from her past. One shows her playing with the best friend she left behind in Idlib, Syria; another shows airplanes bombing her old neighborhood. The drawings suddenly come to life as the camera lingers overhead. Some purists might argue the technique strains the limits of journalism, but Wennman’s video adds up to more than the sum of its individual parts, and documentary storytelling doesn’t get much better than this.

Video Pick: “Denali,” Film about Photographer Ben Moon and His Dog, Goes Viral
Video Pick: Chris Jordan’s “Midway,” on Beauty in Environmental Activism