Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dilbert and Journalism

Scott Adams must have had a bad experience with a journalist based on today's comic strip.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"The Shot" on VH1

Karlee Baumann sent this link along ... VH1 has a new reality show based on ... fashion photographers who want to make it big. Ten wannabes will live together, shoot against each other and be deemed worthy or not ...

You know, I may have to DVR this ... just for, you know, fun.

Monday, October 29, 2007

FREE PIZZA - And Pictures of Bugs

How can you pass up that combination? You can't, you just can't ...

On Friday, November 2, Professor G. Keith Douce from the Department of Entomology on the Tifton campus, will be in the Photojournalism Lab at noon to talk about the Bugwood Network - an image archive of pests, plants and problems around the world. The photo archive is impressive - more than 60,000 images that can help you identify flora and fauna.

Prof. Douce will talk about where the photos come from, how they're used, how you can contribute to the archive and how a publicly accessible archive of this size is managed.

This is open to everyone, student and non-student, but please let me know (through the comments below) if you're coming so I can order enough food.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Information R/evolution

Stolen from Flash Goddess Mindy McAdams ... Michal Wesch, from Kansas State University, has a YouTube video that looks at the way we think about information. It's worth the five and a half minutes, will have you rethinking the way we've changes our thinking of what "information" is.

"Photoshopping the Red Sox"

Most of you know of my affection for the Red Sox (GO SOX!!), but the hometown Boston Globe has a contest going on that, well, just makes me really queasy - "Photoshopping the Red Sox." Fans and readers can send in their Photoshopped illustrations of the Beantown Boys and their posting them online.

The problem? They're using copyrighted images as the basis for these illustrations. Some are going far enough with the illustrations that there may not be an issue, but some are ... well, go look for yourself.

I'm sure - sure - the Globe talked with their lawyers about this, right? And I believe the Digital Millennium Copyright Act says it's okay for site users to post this stuff, but if anyone complains they need to take it down ... which makes this even more annoying, that a major media company may be flaunting the DMCA which was designed to protect their copyright interests.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

You Can Fool Some of the People All of the Time ...

So, Leica is well known for special edition cameras that commemorate all kinds of things (such as the M6J, the MP Herm├ęs or the Royal Wedding M6), but this is just silly ... for $180, you can get a White Stripes Special Edition Holga or Diana camera (turn down your volume before clicking).

Current price of a Holga online: about $20.

Act Now! Only 3,000 examples have been made!

Friday, October 19, 2007

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Get your attention?

Over on the VII agency web site, Lauren Greenfield has a video posted titled "Kids + Money" - and it's one of those things you just have to watch. No bells, no whistles - just startling content.

You may feel in the first few minutes that there's a definite bias here, but watch it all the way through.

Our Consitutional Responsibility

Greg Mironchuk, an old friend and a damned fine photojournalist, sent the following to the National Press Photographers Association's discussion list. I'm reposting it with his permission because, every now and then, we need to be reminded of why we are journalists ...

Newspapers are an integral part of the "System Of Checks And Balances," here in the United States.

The New York Times sees The First Amendment to The Constitution of The United States as a license to print and sell Tee Shirts, with images from NFL and MLB games on them, for profit, in a blurring of the line between "Commercial" and "Editorial" ... the folks who wrote the Constitution saw The First Amendment as a way to keep The Gov't from having a monopoly on Information.

I don't have to convince anyone that ... nationally ... The U.S. Gov't has exercised this monopoly quite forcefully, in this era of Newspapers' Decline.

But ... it's everywhere.

In the town where I live, there is a phony "Budget Crisis" going on, in an effort to bully the town's taxpayers into approving a higher property tax rate than Massachusetts requires, by law ... they've closed the Library, cut Firemen's hours, and curtailed gym/music/art and many Special Ed programs in the schools.

The Bozos at Town Hall (my apologies to Bozos, everywhere, for comparing you to our Town Gov't ...) would have been beat up one side of the road, and down the other, if there was a real newspaper here ... but there isn't.

All three alleged/purported 'papers which regularly print "news" about our town (including Boston's biggest Metro Daily) print verbatim press releases from the town ... and photographs, only when someone calls up, with a "Photo Op."

The demise of the Newspaper Business has negatively affected the Balance of Responsibility in every level of Gov't. Nobody in my town is interested in policing the Town Gov't, or anyone who provides services for the town ... including police, fire, and schools.

Only a real, viable, newspaper can hold feet to fires ... can identify graft, malfeasance, and criminality ... and can provide a forum with which Citizens can intelligently exercise their Franchise, at the ballot box.

To paraphrase a quote from everyone's favorite movie ... the problems of Photojournalists, as a result of the demise of newspapers, don't amount to a hill of beans ... when compared to the problems that everyone has when newspapers have abdicated their Constitutional Responsibility, whilst hiding behind their Constitutional Protections.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Principal

Sean Elliot, at The Day, in New London, Conn., sent along a link to one of his first video pieces - a look at a new elementary school principal. It is simply shot - there's nothing fancy in here - and the editing is very straightforward. The audio works well and the compositions mirror how a still shooter (which is what Elliot is/has been) would work.

It works well - here's a woman who almost everyone in the town will come in contact with in some way, shape or form and Elliot is letting her tell her own story. It's the modern interpretation of the community profile story, a staple of good community journalism, being translated into a multimedia piece.

Will it set the world on fire? Will it win a bunch of awards? Probably not, but it will get watched - a lot - and talked about. And, more importantly, it puts a voice to a community leader, it makes them more approachable. It connects them.

Stop Talking About Gear

And start thinking about how to use it better. Ken Rockwell, who has a ton of information on his site about cameras and lenses, wrote a diatribe a while back about why the camera you use doesn't matter. Some of his analogies are weak, but this one always rings true:

We all know how to play the piano: you just press the keys and step on the pedals now and then. The ability to play it, much less the ability to stir emotion in those who hear your playing, is an entirely different matter. Don't presume the most expensive gear is the best. Having too much camera equipment is the best way to get the worst photos.


Nothing has prompted this, but I had bookmarked the page and reread it this morning. Well, maybe that's not true ... I stumbled across a photo of a Makina 67 - a camera I'd never heard of - and have been somewhat fascinated by them for the last few days. If only I had that camera I could do ... what?

I can't answer that. I mean, I have an answer in my head, and maybe I could make a different kind of photo that the average reader would be able to identify. But probably not. (And since they're selling for $1500+ on ebay, I'm not buying one.)

Likewise, when I started shooting football this year I hauled out my 300 mm f/2.8 manual focus lens and 1.4x teleconverter. I bought both of those - used - in 1993. Before every game, my wife listens to me fret about how I really should spend the money and get a newer 300, an AF-S Type II and a new converter. And as I edit, I see where I missed on the focus.

Now, there is a legitimate reason to replace the lens - the helicoids are worn and the focus is a little sloppy at some points. But, you know, my clients aren't complaining. I am, but they aren't.

Would the pictures be better? Hmmm ... maybe there would be a higher percentage of sharper images, but the moments are the same.

Yes, sports is different - shooting Moonrise, Ansel Adams probably had a little more time then I did to catch a flying Ole Miss defender, so that newer lens maybe - maybe - would have made a difference.

Well, now I'm rambling. The idea is the camera doesn't matter as much as any of us think it does. I crave a Leica M8. The Makina 67 looks really sweet. And that new 300 probably would help me make better images. But it's not the lens or camera, it's the eye and brain - exercise those more and your photos will get better.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Eddie Adams Workshop - Multimedia Pieces

The annual Eddie Adams Workshop, which was last month in upstate New York, has posted their multimedia pieces - created in just a few days, there's some very nice pieces in here.

Two I'd take a closer look at ... "Never Checking Out" looks at the life of two men living at the Liberty Motel. And "Pro/Con" which has some very nice sequencing in it, giving a feeling of motion.

What the Duck goes Animated

Check it out - there's a video version of our favorite comic strip, What the Duck.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Photo Workshop in China

Passing this along ...

China Pre-Olympic Photographic Workshop
December 26, 2007 to January 12, 2008

Travel to Beijing China for a once in a lifetime Experience!

The workshop will be conducted in cooperation with the School of Journalism of Renmin University, Beijing China. Renmin University is amongst the top rated universities in China. The photojournalism program of Renmin University has been delegated the duty to train photographers to work with the Olympic Committee photographing Olympic facilities and pre-Olympic events for the Beijing Olympics of 2008. This workshop has been invited to work in Beijing in cooperation with the photojournalism program of Renmin University with the intent of producing photographs that will illustrate preparations, events and other places of special cultural and artistic importance during the pre-olympic period. It is contemplated that a book will be prepared from the photographs taken during the workshop. The purpose of the book will be to serve as a portfolio piece for each participant.

The workshop will be conducted by two American Master photographer/professors, Larry M. Kushner and Joel DeGrand. Both Mr. Kushner and Mr. DeGrand have held Masters degrees in Photography for more than 30 years. Mr. Kushner has been doing photography in China during the past 40 years. Additionally, members of the faculty of the photojournalism program of Renmin University and local Chinese photographers will participate in the workshop sessions. Each American workshop participant will be paired with a Chinese workshop participant to photograph at various locations around Beijing. This workshop provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in a photographic workshop documenting the preparations leading up to an event of worldwide significance.

Reservations for this workshop must be made by mid October 2007. Students wishing to receive credit for this workshop should contact their college to determine if independent study or directed study credit may be available.

For more information concerning costs, curriculum and itinerary contact:
Larry M. Kushner, tel: (818) 343-6242, email: lmkphoto@gmail.com
Website: photoworkshopchina.com

Obit: Alexandra Boulat, 45

Alexandra Boulat, a founding member of the VII agency, has passed away after suffering a brain aneurysm in June.

Photo District News article.
Blogher article.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Meth or Suicide?

Mindy McAdams, Flash Goddess, posted this to her blog the other day - it's an interesting look at how a possible suicide unfolded in Reno, Nev., as done by the Gazette-Journal.

This is a basic SoundSlides presentation - but with strong narration and using the publicly available 911 tapes, it has a lot of detail. The visuals are simple but they help advance the story.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

UGA Photojournalism Students at Petit Le Mans

On Saturday, October 6, 13 University of Georgia photojournalism students headed out to Brasleton, Ga., for the 10th Annual Petit Le Mans and the Second Annual Motorsports Photojournalism Workshop.

What?

Yep, for the second year Grady College students spent a day covering the ten-hour (or 1000 miles) sports car race sanctioned by the American Le Mans Series. Three editors worked with them throughout the day - helping with critiques of their work and shooting alongside them around the course.

The idea is fairly straightforward - given the length of the event, students can shoot for an hour or two, then come into a make-shift newsroom to download their cards, have an editor critique their work and then go right back out and apply what they'd talked about.
Each student ended up having between three and five editing sessions and the growth throughout the day was amazing.

The Petit Le Mans is a huge event - it's one of the three major endurance races in the world and brings more than 60,000 people to the track. With manufacturers like Audi, Porsche, Ferrari, Acura, Maseratti and Panoz on the track, it's a high-stakes race and a massive event. Through the assistance of John Evenson from the American Le Mans Series, students were fully credentialed and given complete access to the course, garage and pit areas. If a journalist was allowed to go there, so were the students.

The professionals who worked with the students are all veterans of the industry and past UGA workshops. Mike Haskey, chief photographer from the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, is now five-for-five as an editor. Robin Nathan, from the Gainesville (Ga.) Times, and Woody Marshall, photo editor of the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, worked their event with the students.

Funding for the event was provided by the Georgia Press Association and technical support, including the loan of several long lenses for the students to use, came from Fred Metzler at Canon.

As editors went through the student's work, they pulled out the best work which we sent over to the ALMS media center for posting on their web site alongside race updates.

By the end of the 17-hours-long day, students had shot more than 40 gigabytes worth of images. They'd practiced pans, stop-action and night photography. They'd worked pit road and the photo openings along the fence. They flew in helicopters over the track and worked angles with 600 mm lenses.

And they moved from being intimidated by the scope and spectacle of a major auto racing event to being comfortable in their fireproof suits to go over the wall and onto pit road.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Yet More Student Blog Work

Someone lit a fire under those kids ... check out Richard Hamm's "phlog" (as Kelly Wegel is fond of saying). He's thrown up some galleries of older stuff to go with the new work.

Ten percent of page views at NYTimes.com are of ...

... slideshows. So says Vivian Schiller, general manager of NYTimes.com, in a piece on MarketWatch.

(Thanks for the lead goes to Mindy McAdams, Flash Goddess.)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Workshops of Note

The NPPA's Flying Short Course: Washington, D.C., on October 26 & 27. This is the 50th anniversary and looks to be hosted at USA Today's headquarters.

The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar:
Gwinnett, Ga., on November 30 and December 1.

Email me if you're interested and I'll put together a contact list. Do it now so we can try to fund some of this.

Reuters on Kenji Nagai

The Reuters photo blog has a brief on the image of Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai who was killed in Myanmar last week.

UGA Magazine Club

Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. – The Magazine Club is having a meeting and Kelly Simmons, editor of Georgia Magazine, is coming to chat with us. It's 6:30 in Journalism 505. Georgia Magazine is looking for freelance writers, so this could be a good opportunity to get some clips, as well as network and get career advice.

The Real Reason Newspapers Need to do Video

The Austin American-Statesman shows us why we need journalists who are prepared to work in all areas ...


(Okay, for some real commentary on the YouTubification of Amer ... well, the world, try this piece instead.)

The War on Error

That Aaron Johnson, he just cracks me up every day now ...