Thursday, January 20, 2011 11:22 AM
On the heels of Utne’s Work Package in our latest issue, Boston Review has a forum on the possibilities for full employment in today’s economy.
Who says that wind power needs to come from turbines? Introducing: fibro-wind arrays.
In what may be the most important piece of news this week, Paul the Psychic Octopus’ soccer-predicting legacy will not be forgotten.
From Guernica: Detroitism: What does “ruin porn” tell us about the motor city?
A visual number crunching of the state of modern-day marriage. There’s nothing like graphs and pretty pictures to get the point across.
The New Republic’s art critic on the state of photojournalism.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 8:45 AM
Photojournalist Damon Winter won a Pulitzer for his photos of Barack Obama on the campaign trail. Now he's turned his attention and considerable talent to the daunting task of documenting a year in the life of the First Battalion, 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division in northern Afghanistan. The first photo and video installments of "A Year at War" are up at the New York Times website. Everything is embedded in an elegant player. All you have to do is load the page and you're thrust into the emotional lives of what seem to be mostly reluctant soldiers. It's the portrayal of that reluctance that makes the project so unique. You can get a feel for Winter's work at the New York TimesLens blog, where his photos of the battallion's last tearful and uncertain hours before deployment are collected in a slideshow. There's also an interview with Winter. Here's an excerpt:
Q: When there was a draft, like in the Vietnam War, a lot of people knew soldiers who were fighting. But now, because it is a professional army, the pain of war is less spread out. Fewer people know the people fighting.
A: It is a challenge to cut through the uniform and the conceptions about what it’s like to be a solider and what it’s like to serve in the military. We have spent so much time with them. We want to convey that sense that each person, while part of this huge machine, is an individual, leaving wives, children and loved ones behind, and making a really tough life decision to go spend a year at war.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010 10:46 AM
Photojournalist Louie Palu is back at Guantánamo this week (his fourth trip to the island), blogging for Virginia Quarterly Review about how the camp has changed, what the military does and doesn’t allow photographers to do, and how to snap a good photo despite serious restrictions.
It is after 1 a.m. and the end of the first day of shooting in the camps. My Operational Security (OPSEC) Review took four hours and two photographers are still having their photographs reviewed by military officials. This is the process at the end of each day: your work is scrutinized and if it does not meet the guidelines is permanently deleted from your camera’s memory cards. The main issue is showing the face of any of the detainees as well as some security features of the facility and base. I lost a few photos I would have liked to keep, but then anyone who has worked here knows that you are going to lose photos during the review.
Sometimes you take photographs which land in a gray area of the rules by way of focus and angle. In the end you try to argue for and keep as many images as possible. One photographer lost up to half of his pictures. It is a complex process; depending on where you are in the camps, detainees can appear without warning escorted by guards in some sections. In other areas, detainees need only complain to the guards and the photography is stopped. Some detainees smile and wave at the camera and try to communicate with us, but we are not permitted to communicate with them. Since my first tour here in 2007, the detainees seem more empowered. On my first two tours the detainees never complained about the media, now they need only to wave us off or cause a commotion and we are whisked away to keep the peace. Some of the access is blocked by the military, and some photography is made difficult or blocked by the detainees as well. Some days you can’t win.
I was surprised to learn that photographers on these tours can get very competitive—because the entire trip is so circumscribed by military officials, they’re all seeing the same people, places, and things, competing for the best shot. “Sometimes I let the other three photographers walk ahead of me,” Palu writes, “so I shoot something behind them that they did not notice and are too focused on what is ahead of them to look back at what I am doing.”
We can’t roam on our own here and are always escorted by Public Affairs Officers (PAO). When in the camps we are also joined by several guards, many of whose identity we cannot show. We sometimes shoot through several fences, including tinted windows, making focusing and exposure a nightmare. All the while making sure we follow the list of rules and guidelines.
Palu will be writing for VQR for another couple of days; check in at VQR's blog for additional posts.
Congratulations to Virginia Quarterly Review, a 2010 Utne Independent Press Award nominee for international coverage and general excellence.
Source: Virginia Quarterly Review
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 4:11 PM
You've no doubt heard about the prisoners who escaped Port-au-Prince's main prison just after the earthquake. The Lens blog over at the New York Times site features a slideshow of photos by Damon Winter, who visited the vacant prison.
“Who were they?,” ask the Lens bloggers...
Were they among the machete-wielding pillagers who made their way along the Boulevard Jean-Jacques Dessalines on Saturday afternoon? (The account in The Times, “Looting Flares Where Authority Breaks Down,” said no one could answer with certainty.) Did their numbers include political prisoners? In “Disaster Imperialism in Haiti” on MRZine, a Socialist Web site, Shirley Pate wrote: “Who knows how many of the dead or escaped prisoners there were those who were incarcerated without cause over the course of the two years that followed Aristide’s departure?”
Damon Winter’s photographs answer none of these questions. They don’t mean to. But they do begin to paint a picture of life inside a Haitian prison; a picture that few people have ever seen before.
(Thanks, Prison Photography.)
Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:57 AM
I must admit, I am a big fan of the popular genre of documentary photography known as “Urban Decay.” Images of abandoned buildings or city blocks gone to seed can make for some strange and beautiful photos. And if urban decay photography has a capital city, it’s Detroit.
Vice magazine is critical of photographers and journalists who visit Detroit and come away with the same old stories and post-apocolyptic Detroit photographs in this cheeky article by Thomas Morton. He talks to Detroit photographer James Griffioen, who says he frequently fields phone calls “from outside journalists looking for someone to sherpa them to the city’s best shitholes”:
You get worn down trying to show them all the different sides of the city, then watching them go back and write the same story as everyone else. The photographers are the worst. Basically the only thing they’re interested in shooting is ruin porn.
Not every story coming out of Detroit is bad news, check out Bloggers Versus Blight from our Nov.-Dec. 2008 issue, a story about the feisty newspaper Detroit News.
Image by John in Mich, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009 9:53 AM
Running from Gas
,” a Pakistani lawyer runs from tear gas, Pakistan. © Emilio Morenatti.
Pictures of the Year International (POYi), among the oldest photojournalism competitions in the world, opens its 2009 exhibit this weekend at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. If you don’t live on the West Coast, though, don’t let that stop you: POYi allows website users to browse the award-winning photojournalism in its online winner’s gallery.
There’s something to delight everyone there, all of it beautiful. Many images have a humanitarian bent, such as Jakob Carlsen’s “Untouchables of Asia,” the winner of the World Understanding award, but there’s no limit the scope of the competition. There is spectacular sports photojournalism, the best of the 2008 presidential campaign, riveting portraiture, and the list goes on.
This is POYi’s 66th year. It is a program of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, which previously served as host to the exhibitions.
Thursday, March 05, 2009 9:32 AM
How would you feel about your child if he or she was conceived when you were raped? 15 years after the Rwandan genocide, there are an estimated 20,000 children in the country born as a result of Hutu militiamen raping Tutsi women. Photojournalist Jonathan Torgovnik was so moved by their stories while in Rwanda on assignment that he returned to the country to document them in words and through a remarkable series of portraits. Intended Consequences is an exhibition of the images at the Aperture Foundation gallery, which will be accompanied by a book . Torgovnik also co-founded the non-profit Foundation Rwanda, which seeks to improve the lives of these children by providing funding for their secondary school education, linking their mothers to existing psychological and medical support services, and raising awareness about the consequences of genocide and gender-based sexual violence through photography and new media.
(Thanks, Conscientious ).
Monday, March 02, 2009 11:46 AM
It is cliché to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but this is what photojournalism seeks to accomplish. Truly great photojournalism does this in a way that is as artful as it is informative. Case in point is this amazing series of photos of pool hustlers from photographer Christopher LaMarca. They are proof of the power of images to communicate on a level that is, to me, more visceral than words. While you are there, check out some of his other work .
(Thanks, Coudal Partners ).
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 10:43 AM
If you weren't completely satisfied by watching former president George W. Bush leave Washington D.C. in a helicopter yesterday, check out this retrospective of Bush images by award-winning photojournalist Christopher Morris. You may recognize the first image in the slideshow, “The Three Amigos,” which appeared on the cover of our July-August 2007 issue. The images will also be exhibited through February 16th at 28 Jay Street in Brooklyn.
(Photo courtesy Christopher Morris /VII)
Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:29 PM
When photographer Jill Greenberg’s editors at the Atlantic asked her to photograph John McCain for the magazine's October issue, she swallowed her distaste and delivered the benevolent-looking images they sought. But she couldn’t cast her disgust aside, so she snapped a second set of photos that better captured her own feelings for McCain. Compared to the warm, well-lit portraits that ended up in the magazine, her alternative shots make McCain look...well...kind of evil. Greenberg posted the photos to her website, and remained unapologetic when her editors freaked out.
Were her actions ethical? A recent episode of On the Media chats with Greenberg and other photographers about the often murky question of integrity in photojournalism. Greenberg suggests that in some situations, the most ethical way to portray her subjects may not always be the most flattering. Photographer Platon, who captured Ann Coulter on the cover of Time looking, in interviewer Bob Garfield’s estimation, "like a blond praying mantis," agrees. For him, a photographer’s duty isn’t to represent subjects as they’d prefer, but to interpret them, to “pull people out of their reality and into our reality.” Greenberg further justifies unflattering photos (perhaps less convincingly) with the contention that editors sometimes demand them, even asking photographers to deliberately mislead their subjects.
You can take a look at the photos in question, along with some other great (and potentially questionable) shots in a slideshow accompanying the episode transcript.
Friday, August 01, 2008 5:39 PM
The New York Times reports that the military is cracking down on photojournalists who take pictures they don’t approve of, in many cases booting photographers from their embeds or keeping them away from combat. “By a recent count,” the article claims, “only half a dozen Western photographers were covering a war in which 150,000 American troops are engaged.”
Chris Hondros, a photographer for Getty Images, was removed from his embed after one of his photos—a haunting image of a hysterical 5-year-old girl whose parents had just been killed by U.S. soldiers—was widely published. (We featured the photo in our May-June issue, with George Packer's essay “Kindness Amid Carnage: The Iraq We Don’t See.”) Hondros did, however, find an embed in a different city.
The military’s embed policies don’t just keep photos of wounded and dead Iraqis out of our newspapers. “After five years and more than 4,000 American combat deaths,” the New York Times reports, “searches and interviews turned up fewer than a half-dozen graphic photographs of dead American soldiers.”
Thursday, July 17, 2008 10:26 AM
The rise of photo-sharing sites like Flickr has been great for amateur photographers, bloggers, visual learners, and procrastinators—but at what cost to professional photojournalism, an expensive-by-comparison service that many editors can’t or won’t justify paying for?
In the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review (article not available online), Alissa Quart presents a nuanced, clear-headed view of how photojournalism is changing, outlining the risks (and benefits) of the rise of the amateur. “If they are taking snapshots,” Quart writes, “amateur photographers are likely not developing a story, or developing the kind of intimacy with their subjects that brings revelation.”
There’s still a special recipe to be a “real” photojournalist, and it’s not just the “trained” or “expert” eye but rather the sheer hours put into each assignment and the ability to sustain a thought, image, or impulse through a number of images, not just a single snapshot.
To present an image that tells the story, the photographer needs to know what that story is. (Of course, so do the writers and editors involved.) As with other content that’s increasingly hustled into column space in print and online, if photographs (and photographers) aren’t vetted, readers are more likely to be misled.
“I am optimistic about the future of photojournalism,” Quart writes, “but not of the photojournalism I most admire.”
Image by mikebaird, licensed under Creative Commons.
Monday, March 17, 2008 11:01 AM
September 11 rescue workers aren’t the only professionals suffering the aftereffects of prolonged toxic exposure. Photojournalists who captured early images of Ground Zero also breathed in toxic fumes and debris, and some have suffered from related health problems. Photo District News Online reports that New York Times photographer Keith Meyers, whose photographs of the still-smoking towers earned him a Pulitzer, has asthma and other health problems so severe he can no longer work.
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