10 of the World’s Photography Firsts

What is the world’s first and oldest photograph? How about the first color photograph or the first photograph from space? Let’s take a look at these and more, in our first edition of “Photography Firsts.”

NCTJ Tackles Issue of Video Training for Photographers

The U.K.’s National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), which provides educational courses and materials to more than 40 of that nation’s journalism schools, is currently revising its photography programs to incorporate video and other skill sets.

Anatomy of a Sports Photography Assignment

Last month, I covered Boston College’s victory over Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Here are a few of my photos from the game, along with some thoughts on my approach to shooting the assignment.

First, when covering a football game, I like to stand behind the end zone so the team I’m focusing on is facing me. That way, I am already where they are trying to go.

As Newspapers Transition to Video, Will Quality Still Count?

[This is Part 2 of Blake's report; read Part 1 here.]

As photojournalists move to dovetail their traditional skill set with video applications, will quality suffer? This is the fundamental question tugging at photojournalists in newsrooms across the country.

Marketing Photography Like iPhones

Steve Chazin, a former Apple marketing executive, has put together an e-book containing five of what he calls the company’s marketing secrets. Actually, they’re more like five strategies that he’s seen Apple use and which he believes other businesses could benefit from using, too.

A Few Minutes with Photo Editors Scot Jahn and Michele Hadlow

Black Star Rising recently had the opportunity to ask two top photo editors — Scot Jahn, director of photography for U.S. News & World Report; and Michele Hadlow, photo director for Forbes Magazine — about some of the qualities they look for in photojournalism and freelance photographers. Here are some of their thoughts.

Notes from the VisCom Classroom: Remember When Photography Was Something Brand New?

When I asked my beginning photography students at the University of South Carolina to write a brief statement to go along with their self-portraits, I never imagined they would tap into many of the same currents that have been rippling through the photographic universe since the time of Daguerre and Fox Talbot. I was so excited to read their responses that I asked them for permission to reprint some quotations in this posting. Here, then, are some of the things my students in J337, Photovisual Communications, have to say about the joys and uses of photography.

Having Trouble Getting Getty Images to Sell Your Pics? Try the Scoopt Backdoor

If you’ve always wanted to have your photos marketed by Getty Images but haven’t been able to break in yet, here’s a great way to start: Submit your images to the citizen journalism site Scoopt.

In a recent interview with Black Star Rising, Hugh Pinney, Getty’s managing editor for news in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, acknowledged that “shrewd” freelance photographers have figured out that — in the wake of Getty’s acquisition of Scoopt earlier this year — Scoopt has provided an effective shortcut to Getty’s editorial site.

Who Calls the Shots on Your Shoots?

Photographers have less creative freedom today than they once did. In the days of what I call “unrehearsed photography,” photo editors respected the talent of shooters to produce quality images for their publications. No demanding art directors or so-called creative consultants looked over photographers’ shoulders to guide their inspiration.

10 Tips for Shooting Stock Photos That Make Art Directors Happy

Like most art directors, I have a love-hate relationship with stock photography. I love it when I find what I need; I hate it when I don’t.

The stigma of using stock is pretty much a thing of the past, and maybe you’ve decided shooting for any number of stock houses is something you’re going to try. Allow me to offer a few suggestions on what creatives look for when we head to Photodisc.com. Now, none of these are absolutes — rules set in stone being the last thing a creative wants — but having a general idea of the types of things we look for may help your work sell better.

In Mad Dash to Video, Newspapers Often Leave Training Behind

In recent weeks, Black Star Rising has interviewed photojournalists, editors, teachers and students on the subject of video — specifically, the steps newspapers and their photographers are taking to transition to a future in which video will play an increasing role. This is the first of two reports on what we’ve learned.

Learning to Say No

One of the first skills a photographer learns is how to focus a lens on a chosen subject. We look around our environment and see that there are endless things to photograph — but we know that to make a successful photograph, we have to choose a subject and focus on it, eliminating the unnecessary from the frame.

Scoopt Founder: “I Wouldn’t Like to Be a Local Newspaper Photographer Right Now”

More than two years after its founding, citizen journalism startup Scoopt hasn’t done much to disrupt the work lives of professional photographers — sales of its photos have been modest, and its much-hyped cameraphone images still represent only five percent of Scoopt’s inventory.

Getty Images and Jupitermedia Get Goosed by Lawsuit

Farmer Andrew Marsinko and his goose posed for a photograph to promote the State Fair of Virginia back in 1996. The photographer subsequently licensed the image to Jupitermedia, which licensed it to Getty Images, and in 2006 it wound up on a gag greeting card that Marsinko found offensive. The card’s joke:

Andreas Feininger’s Stockholm

The early work of photographer Andreas Feininger, who joined Black Star after fleeing Sweden during World War II, will be showcased in an exhibit that begins Saturday, Sept. 15, and runs through Nov. 7 at New York’s Scandinavia House. The exhibit features 51 of Feininger’s images of Stockholm, a city described in this way by the photographer:

To Break the Rules, You Must First Know the Rules

Finding Forrester is one of my favorite films. In the movie, William Forrester, played by Sean Connery, is a reclusive Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who never gave the world a second novel. Forrester befriends a 16-year-old inner-city basketball player named Jamal. Jamal, an aspiring writer, visits Forrester’s apartment to seek the author’s wisdom. In one scene, Forrester and Jamal have a lively discussion about rules of writing, such as “You shouldn’t start a sentence with ‘and’.” They talk about how breaking the rules can create a wonderful impact. If overdone, however, it also can have a devastating impact.

For Photojournalists, Creative Freedom Is Its Own Reward

As a career, photojournalism is a noble adventure. Not only do you often enjoy travel and get paid for it, but you are permitted a passport into the lives of others — in your own community, and if you’re lucky, around the world. But it’s not the easiest professional path; there are roadblocks, as well as tempting detours.

Inside the Surge — with Stills and Video

Photographer Sean Smith of the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper has turned in a powerful series of reports, “Inside the Surge,” that illustrate the disillusionment of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Smith’s videos also demonstrate how the profession of photojournalism is evolving. Unfortunately, Smith’s reports, which combine video interviews with still images, have also caught the attention of Osama bin Laden, who misrepresents their contents in his most recent propaganda video.

How to Take a Good Group Photo in 15 Minutes or Less

The key to group photos is planning — and how big you plan to use the photo can make a big difference in your planning. We don’t hang wristwatches on the wall, because their faces are so small you cannot tell time with them. In most family rooms, you could have a three-inch face clock and tell the time. In a classroom, you might need a 10-inch face. The clock face size is a good rule of thumb for determining whether someone will be recognized in a wall print at a normal viewing distance.

Survey Shows Photojournalists Struggle with Traumatic Stress

A survey of 800 photojournalists by graduate student and veteran photojournalist Eric Reed indicates that news photographers often struggle with work-related traumatic stress — and that this problem is not adequately addressed by news organizations. Reed’s results also indicate that high stress levels are not confined to photographers in Iraq and other conflict zones.

Return to Hong Qiao: The Harvest Is Next Week

For my “Village” project, I wanted to go back to Hong Qiao, a village in Wuhan, central China, for the rice harvesting — but it didn’t happen. Instead, I ended up at a Taoist funeral.

Don’t Discard Old Photos; They Could Be Your Retirement Fund

Even at a time when digital storage is cheap and plentiful, many photographers don’t think beyond the immediate compensation they receive from a magazine, book publisher or assignment client. To save storage space — or remove mental “clutter” — many photographers continue to discard “outdated” images. In doing so, they could be tossing out an annuity fund for their retirement.

Sometimes a Detail Tells the Whole Story

We have all seen photographs with too much “stuff” in them. Because the photographer makes no attempt to select one subject, the image fails to communicate. It’s the visual equivalent of a run-on sentence.

Young Photographers Must Find New Paths to Success

I used to be a full-time photojournalist and professional photographer, and I worked hard in the pursuit of success. Now, I work with the same intensity and at the end of the day, I ask myself, “How many good photographs have I made? How many assignments completed today? How much have I done for Dennis Brack Inc?” The answer is none — nothing.

10 Tips for Photographers Shooting in Alaska

The Alaskan summer, all four months of it, has passed by once again in a flurry of magnificence. It’s the end of August, my favorite time to photograph here. The days have shortened enough to make it reasonable to shoot the sweet light of the mornings and evenings. It’s 9:30 p.m. as I type — and the sun has only now fallen beneath the tops of the glaciers and mountains outside my office window.