In my last post, I pointed out that before clients place an assignment, they often gather information about photographers with a search on Google. For most photographers, that shouldn’t turn up anything worse than their Web site, a reference on someone’s blog and a bunch of attributions. (Hopefully, there will be plenty of those.)
From the Super Bowl to T-ball at the local park, people are watching, playing and photographing sports more than ever before — and publications are devoting more space to sports photography as well. So what’s the secret to doing it right? Professional sports photographers are trained to look for the peak action or reaction. When this is combined with a storytelling moment, the photo becomes the cover of the magazine.
Classes at the University of South Carolina, where I am an instructor, began on Aug. 23. As usual, I made time during the first class session to find out about my students, their interests and goals, and particularly the ways they think about photographs and photography. This semester, I am teaching two courses: J337, Photovisual Communications; and J537, Advanced Photovisual Communications. In J337, most of the students are beginning photographers with point-and-shoot digital cameras. In J537, all the students have had photography and videography experience (including J337) and many are getting ready to graduate soon.
Today’s photographers put a huge amount of effort into creating and displaying their portfolios. Whereas once the sole challenge was to build a collection of outstanding images, today there’s the added need to showcase these images on beautifully designed Web sites, often with slideshows and accompanied by descriptive text.
Today the Black Star Photoblog features its first contributions from Henning Christoph. Fittingly, they are set in Africa, a continent that has fascinated Christoph for nearly four decades.
“I have three treasures which I hold and keep. The first is mercy, for from mercy comes courage. The second is frugality, from which comes generosity to others. The third is humility, for from it comes leadership.” — Master Po
I have great respect for my colleague Jim Pickerell. So much so that about a decade ago, I hired him as an expert witness. Yet, I’m going to have to disagree with his example of microstock success, Erik Reis: Microstock Success Story, published here on Black Star Rising.
Traditional stock photographers argue that it’s impossible to make money selling at microstock prices. But microstock photographer Erik Reis is happy with his results.
Reis is a telecommunications technician who discovered microstock in 2005 and submitted a few files. Early results were encouraging enough that in 2006, he began to aggressively produce to give this “new line of business a chance.”
Corbis CEO Gary Shenk [pictured] has pledged to make the company profitable by focusing on stock and rights services — which is why Corbis is positioning itself as a partner that can take the logistics-related pressure off advertising creatives who use rare or celebrity footage. Corbis has announced the completion of several rights-clearance projects for BBDO New York, Publicis and DDB Canada. The three ad agencies have produced TV commercials for General Electric, Bounty and BC Hydro using Corbis footage and personality-clearance services.
“The instant can be the end product of long experience as well as that of immediate surprise.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson
There are two ways to approach a photograph where elements need to line up in time for the photo to come together. One waits for a figure — any figure — to walk into an open space to fill a “composition;” then, the photographer trips the shutter and walks away.
In my trips to East Africa in recent years — from 2000, when I documented the lives of AIDS orphans, to 2006, when I photographed former child soldiers living in refugee camps — I became convinced that educating Africa’s future leaders was the most valuable thing the West could do to promote democracy and prevent future civil strife and terrorism. For this reason, I created the Stephen Shames Foundation.
If you had to guess what percentage your words, tone of voice, and body language contribute to how a person understands your message, what would you say?
Most people believe that words are the most important aspect of communication. However, research indicates that your words impact only seven percent of how your message is understood. Your tonality contributes 37 percent — and your body language 55 percent. Unfortunately, many event planners don’t take this into account when planning a meeting — or the photography for a meeting.
“Because they’re originally conceived and created to appear in magazines and advertisements, fashion photographs are often considered disposable,” says Dan Halm, curator of “Click Chic: The Fine Art of Fashion Photography,” an upcoming exhibition at New York’s Visual Arts Museum. “I’m hoping to change that by highlighting some exceptional images that hold their own as works of art.” The exhibition runs from Sept. 6 to Oct. 6; view some of the photographs, including the one at left by Maki Kawakita, here.
I’m not sure why I am attracted to the comical, the whimsical, but I am. For my “Village” project, a documentary of villages around the world, I wanted to photograph a town in the outback of Australia. A country town big enough to be communally self-sufficient, but with a population small enough for everyone to know their fellow townspeople. I mentioned this one day in conversation with an acquaintance of mine in Melbourne, who offered to take me to Numurkah — the town she grew up in, where her mother and grandmother still lived.
Black Star thanks Peter Howe (pictured) for his tribute to Jeanette Chapnick, who passed away last month. Here’s an excerpt from Peter’s article in The Digital Journalist:
At left is one of the actual entries in the second-annual contest by Sony Ericsson and The Times (U.K.) newspaper, Cameraphone Photographer of the Year 2007.
During his recent conference call, Jonathan Klein, CEO of Getty Images, outlined a number of priorities for the company. They include:
1. Stabilizing the Creative Stills Business. Sales of creative stills (RM and RF) have been in decline for 2007 and, to a certain degree, back into 2006. The top priority for the company now is to get units licensed and revenue at least to a stable level.
Last Friday, The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The author — who encourages readers to use his principles of “lifestyle design” to escape the cubicle culture — has clearly struck a nerve.
Photographers have been manipulating images ever since Abraham Lincoln’s head was attached to John C. Calhoun’s body in one of Lincoln’s most famous portraits. But today, digital technology has made tampering easier and more pervasive than ever. Some believe the trend threatens the public’s fundamental faith in the practice of photojournalism.
Sometime back, I shot in Burkina Faso and Ghana in West Africa. In Burkina Faso alone, there are over 82 different people groups and each one has a different language. While French is the official language of the country, not everyone speaks it. So, how do you make photos with a language barrier?
OK, perhaps that’s a bit of an overstatement. But this video by comedy troupe Old English was one of the weapons in the successful grassroots campaign to force New York City officials to back off planned restrictions on photographers.
Last month, startup ScanCafe officially introduced its photo scanning and restoration service to the world, followed this week by ProZone, its higher-end service aimed at professional photographers.
My raison d’etre in doing blog entries on the subject of business practices is to be helpful to those who may need just a nudge in the right direction of information, need a little push, or need a full-contact shove. The degree of effort made is tempered by the degree of need, and some people may not like the counsel, but that doesn’t invalidate the benefit.
Nielsen//NetRatings, a global leader in Internet media and market research, recently announced a new system for ranking Web traffic called “Total Minutes.” This move could open tremendous opportunities for short-form videos.
I’m in the process of designing my syllabus for a course at the University of South Carolina called Advanced Photovisual Communications, which I will teach for the first time this fall. This is the successor to Photovisual Communications, a beginning-level skills course, which I have taught for two semesters. (Elsewhere, I have taught beginning photography, advanced photography, stock photography, and photography business practices.)