Specialist Photographers Need Special Drive and Talent

In her post on war photography, Anh Stack says that when someone tells her that he wants to be a war photographer, she doesn’t encourage him. She’s completely right, of course. In fact, I’d go even further and make it clear that that’s just not something we at Black Star can do.

Photographers’ Blogs Should Focus on the Work — Not Whining

In my post on creating a winning portfolio, I mentioned that in addition to assessing the skills and talents of a photographer, I also want to know a little about the photographer as a person. That’s why when photographers tell me they have a blog, I always take a look at it.

Many Are Happy That the Getty-Jupiter Wedding Is Off

The discussions between Getty Images and Jupitermedia about Getty’s possible acquisition of the smaller company have been terminated, with each company going its separate ways. The statement issued by Jupitermedia offered no explanation for this turn of events. It is unclear whether Getty withdrew its offer, or whether the final offer was simply lower than Alan Meckler was willing to accept. One analyst speculates that either concerns about anti-trust issues, or current operating trends at Jupiter could have soured the deal for Getty.

Getty Images Scoops Up Scoopt

Less than a month after buying WireImage, Getty Images has acquired Scoopt, the U.K.-based citizen journalism service that has tapped into the pervasiveness of camera phones.

Reports PDNOnline:

How Not to Take Photos of a Thai Temple

I was sitting on the floor of a Hong Kong tram looking at an image in the monitor of my camera. “Excuse me sir,” said a passenger. “If you push the window down and lift the camera a little higher you won’t get all the flare that you’re getting on your photographs.”

Is Flickr Really the Best Way to Store Your Photos?

Since Flickr has surfaced, photographers of all levels have flocked to it. However, how useful is this service really for the professional photographer?

Flickr advertises itself as a “the best way to store, search, sort and share your photos,” so I decided to take a look at whether they live up to their storage & archiving claims.

An Annual Challenge: Creating a Cohesive Look with Multiple Photographers

If you want to find examples of superb photography, you can certainly look at publications like Time, Newsweek and National Geographic. But if you want to see how some of the biggest photographic challenges are met today, you should look at the publications here.

Winning Contests Takes Skill, a Desire to Learn — and Luck

January and February is contest time in our business. Lot’s of talk about whether contests are important or just a waste of time. Believe me, they are important — especially for a young photographer making a mark. They are very useful for an older photographer (like me) to keep track of your best work over the years. The 16 x 20 mounted prints for the White House News Photographers Contest are my only record of my best efforts of the ’60s to the ’80s.

Photogravure: Still Beautiful After All These Years

Maggie Anderson of the Daily Iowan has a profile of Lothar Osterburg, a leading practitioner and teacher of the 19th century photographic process called photogravure.

In Rural China, It Helps to Be Optimistic

“There are no tickets to Wuhan,” said the woman at the train station in Shenzen. “Come back in a week.”

“We need to go today,” said my assistant, who speaks enough Cantonese to be able to make himself understood in southern China. The ticket seller called her supervisor to the booth. They prodded and poked at a computer system and then the supervisor came up with a suggestion. We should catch a taxi to the bus station and travel to the next town. From there we were advised to take the Metro system to the train station and board the train.

Photographers a Hazard on PGA Tour?

Thursday at the PGA’s Honda Classic, John Daly suffered a shoulder injury and had to drop out of the tournament when a photographer’s flash caused him to pull up awkwardly on his backswing.

Digg-Love Can Sell Photos

When people think of Digg, it’s not usually in connection with the photography industry or the promotion of photographers. But that could be a mistake. As a community-driven social content site, Digg should be on everyone’s radar — including that of the professional photographer.

Eric Blackhurst, Deep-Space Photographer

San Diego CityBEAT has a nice profile of astrophotographer Eric Blackhurst, manager of Oceanside Photo and Telescope, in today’s issue. An excerpt:

Rights Dispute Blocks Photographers from Shooting State Basketball Championships

Photographers from the New Orleans Times-Picayune and four other Louisiana newspapers were barred from covering the state girls’ high school basketball championship this week because they refused to sign a rights agreement with the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. The Times-Picayune reports:

Yeah, But Can Grandma Do This?

We found an interesting retort to the “endangered species” post by Alan Mutter (pictured). From a commenter on Roy Greenslade’s blog:

Spot-News Photographers: An Endangered Species?

Alan Mutter, former No. 2 editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and now a Silicon Valley VC specializing in new media, questions the future of professional spot-news photographers in his most recent blog post:

Hal Gould Still Prefers Darkroom to Digital

Hal Gould, the American photographer and gallery curator, turns 87 this week. Unfortunately, he won’t have a birthday, since he was born on Feb. 29 — leap year.

It would be difficult to skip over Gould’s remarkable contributions to fine art photography. In the 1970s — at a time when many museum and gallery curators did not consider photography an art form — Gould opened the Camera Obscura Gallery in Denver, which has played a leading role in the promotion and advancement of fine art photography ever since.

Sammy Davis Jr., Photographer

A new 339-page compilation, Photo by Sammy Davis, Jr., chronicles the legendary entertainer’s life with the Rat Pack in the 1950s and ’60s. The LA Times reports:

SlideShowPro: Helping Photographers Exhibit Their Work Online

Mike Sansone at the Photopreneur blog has a nice post on SlideShowPro and its creator, Todd Dominey. Writes Mike:

For a while now one of the most stylish ways of exhibiting photos online has been to use SlideShowPro, a component for Macromedia Flash. The program lets photographers and Web developers place interactive galleries on their websites, complete with MP3 files, thumbnails and even automated Flickr feeds. For photographers, it’s one of the sleekest ways to show your favorite pictures on a website.

Pro Photographers Moonlight as Software Developers for Lightroom 1.0

After a 12-month beta period that tapped the brains of 500,000 photographers, Adobe Systems this week released Photoshop Lightroom 1.0.

Designed primarily for pros, the tool allows users to import, manage and present large volumes of digital images. The software has added new functions since beta began; Lightroom’s Library function, for example, now lets users employ keywords to help sort through large image collections, as well as better organize photographs.

Would Acquiring Jupiter Help Getty?

The New York Post reported today that Getty Images, Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire Jupitermedia Corporation. It’s unclear how much Getty is willing to pay for Jupitermedia, but sources close to the deal said the image company could fetch more than $11 a share, or nearly $450 million including debt. Jupitermedia has been generating about $135 million annually.

Shooting Shooting: Photographers at War

James T. Phillips’ description in CounterPunch of photographing war presents an odd picture of combat photographers. I can’t argue with his general line that the war in Iraq is going to leave a generation of Iraqis with some terrible mental images — who can? — but the idea that “[t]he ranks of front-line photo-journalists in Iraq are now filled with native-born Arabic-speaking men, women, and children” is just plain wrong. At least as far as the images recorded on memory cards rather than retinas are concerned.

Check Out the Reuters Photographers Blog

Reuters launched a new blog this week where the news agency’s photo editors and photographers will blog about “what makes a great picture” and share “the most eye-catching images from the hundreds reviewed every day.”

How to Create a Winning Portfolio — It’s About More than Good Pictures

As the editorial director at Black Star, I’m fortunate enough to look at between 10 and 15 portfolios every week. Unfortunately, very few of those portfolios lead me to take on the photographers who created them.

Thirty-Five Years Later, Photography Still Beats Working for a Living

Zagreb, Croatia — Wow! Just arrived into country No. 62, which is a tad over one for every year of my life.

I once commented to a picture editor at National Geographic that spending so much time away from home was pretty rough. He looked at me and in a very lazy Southern drawl commented, “Being a photographer is one helluva life — and just be thankful you’re leading that life.”