On Monday, we laid out a case for embracing the photo illustration as a legitimate product of photojournalism — rather than the profession’s redheaded stepchild. Perhaps, as Michael Coyne articulated, “once we are open and honest about which images are manipulated, and the term ‘photo illustration’ is common practice … there will be less incentive for the photojournalist to be deceptive.” Furthermore, perhaps there are cases where “the photographer feels [it] is necessary to show the viewers the totality of a situation.”
Most photojournalists are not crazy about “photo illustrations” — the only category of newsroom artwork that permits substantial photo manipulation. In fact, many news photographers flat out hate them.
In the days when I shot only slide film, the number of photos I shot was limited by how much film I was willing to carry and how much money I was able to spend on film and processing. Even if a client was picking up the tab, there was still the issue of how much film I felt like carrying; 10 rolls a day for a 10-day trip meant 100 rolls of film. That’s a chore — especially when you’re going through airports and having to have the film inspected by hand. Today, though, you can fit thousands of photos on a stack of memory cards small enough to carry in your jeans pocket. This creates a lot of opportunity — if you take advantage of it.
There are two types of creatives in this world: those who have had their works infringed, and those who will. But just because “the kids” think it’s OK to steal your music, video or photography, that doesn’t make it so. And the worst thing you can do as a photographer is to be a hypocrite and infringe on the works on other creatives (because everybody else is doing it) while whining about your own situation.
For a wedding photographer, the dividing line between what’s right and what’s wrong for your business and your life doesn’t get any trickier than this: same-sex weddings.
On Monday, California became the second state in the nation to allow same-sex marriages; a number of other states allow civil unions for homosexual couples. Same-sex marriages are expected to add $700 million to the wedding business in California and provide a major boost to the economy statewide, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The idea that the press exists to cover all aspects of a war isn’t new. Reporters have a history of putting their lives on the line to cover the events on the ground as they happen. And as long as we’ve had photojournalists, we’ve had daring individuals who go out of their way to get the shot less taken. But there can be a fine line between aggressively documenting events as they happen — and actively supporting one side in a conflict.
The severe weather warning sirens in my town have been going off more and more lately due to tornadoes. But this isn’t what prompted me to write about the importance of backing up your computer.
One of the students I taught in Hawaii packed her computer and backup drive in the same bag. This, of course, is the bag the airline lost when she flew home. She lost everything she had worked on at school.
I had a few days to kill in Baltimore recently, while my wife attended a conference, so I decided to visit some of the city’s fine museums. As luck would have it, The Baltimore Museum of Art, which is adjacent to the beautiful campus of Johns Hopkins University, had an exhibition called “Looking Through the Lens: Photography 1900–1960.” My purpose in writing about this exhibition, which ended on June 8, is to begin a discussion — which I hope you will join — about visual literacy and the importance of visual images in today’s world.
We’ve just finished the ultimate marathon of weddings — 10 weddings in the last three weeks. Phew! It’s one reason I’ve dropped away a bit as a blogger. But I’m happy to say we’ve made it through, and I’m a firm believer that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
It’s been two months since I left my job as a newspaper staff photographer to run my own business, focusing on wedding photography. Because I made the jump just as wedding season was starting, I’ve stayed busy — so I haven’t had a lot of time to reflect on my decision. But when I have taken a moment to look back, I’ve realized there are some things I really miss.
Whether on news or corporate assignments, there’s a certain bare minimum of professionalism that your clients and colleagues should expect. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to know this. Here are three no-nos for photographers who want to be taken seriously:
Legendary Black Star photographer Flip Schulke died at age 77 of congestive heart failure last month. Flip will be best remembered as one of the foremost chroniclers of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the U.S. civil rights movement. Here are quotes and anecdotes from a few of the articles published upon Flip’s passing, which we hope will inspire you to click the links and learn more.
An unintended consequence of the digital age is a growing distrust and skepticism of photography’s ability to convey truth. Digital technology makes manipulating images so easy and fast that people have begun to challenge any picture that does not conform to what they perceive as a truthful representation. Two recent media images speak directly to this issue.
At the White House News Photographers Association’s annual awards gala last month, we recognized photographers for their compelling images of political figures and major news events. But the photographs taken at the event helped make the evening a special one.
The camera, dislocated from its user, is worthless. Laying unattended on a dirt road in Iraq, the camera is the focal point of a picture that appears to be a scene of violence and suffering. A shadow is cast across part of the camera’s body. People died here.
I love to play basketball. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to play not only with good players, but with a few professional players as well. This experience hasn’t made me a pro-caliber player; however, it has helped me to realize my potential as a player. I’m not in the physical condition of my youth, but my improved understanding of the game has made me a better player than when I could jump above the rim.
How should a photojournalist, or any journalist for that matter, develop a relationship with his or her subject? Without forming a personal connection, it’s difficult to move beyond a basic understanding of the subject — and false perceptions or cliched interpretations can result. The photojournalist falls into the potential trap of misrepresenting the subject. Here are six strategies I use to build closer relationships with my subjects.
Grading student work is one of the most important, and most challenging, duties of being an educator. As one of my colleagues, Keith Kenney, recently reminded me, setting goals and evaluating our students’ progress are what we as educators do — they are the twin pillars supporting the entire education edifice. So, here are some thoughts about the grading process, as it applies to the visual communication courses I teach in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina. As usual, I’d love to read your comments, whether you are an educator or a student.
I’ve made images of probably over a thousand artists and musicians over the nearly two decades I’ve been making images. In fact, I am shooting a performance of a well-known ’80s band on Monday for a client. On these assignments, I maintain my rights to these images, as well as preclude any conditions to my exercising those rights. An article in the New York Times yesterday shed light on why this business practice is a good idea.
With the price of gas edging ever closer to the $5 per gallon mark (at least here in Connecticut), the cost of gas is really having a profound effect on summer travel plans and impromptu shooting trips. It can cost as much for a tank of gas now as it does for a night in a motel. It’s nuts. And if you’re shooting photos for a personal project or for your stock files, it’s hard to justify expensive trips these days.
The body is lifeless — embedded into the concrete and dust that once was a school. Framing the faceless gray form, a handful of Chinese soldiers in green camouflage gently sweep the ground around her. There are five soldiers, two with shovels, one pointing at an object inches away from a limp hand. The viewer is forced to look down upon shadows and rubble. We do not know this person. She is one of thousands of victims from the earthquake that shook China to its core two weeks ago.
The rhetorical agency of this image proposes to firmly establish a relationship between the human conscience and a troubled reality — a punch in the gut that comes from recognition of the enormity of loss and suffering that is Myanmar today. The picture assumes that this lifeless form graphically and unequivocally captures the pain of a nation, as well as the powerlessness of an outside world waiting to come to its aid.
In the “for every action there’s a reaction” department, the Internet is showing us how technology can backfire. And in the department of “it giveth and it taketh away,” unknowing copyright infringers are gobbling up “free” photos from the Internet for their personal and commercial use.
We live in an age of point-and-shoot immediacy. But pointing and shooting is not “seeing” — not understanding. New technologies, such as computational photography and digital cameras, make it easier for people to think they are seeing when all they are really doing is looking with a camera.
Minnesota-based Lifetouch, which employs thousands of photographers to produce student portraits and high school annuals nationwide, had a lot of explaining to do this week after it sent a very strange shipment of yearbooks to one Dallas-area high school.