Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Color is Your Sky?

And what color does your advisor want it to be?

I keep checking my calendar to see if it's April 1, 1919 or something ...

Meta Geek

As much as I try to be all about the story, I admit to being fascinated (in cycles) with the tech side of photojournalism and photography these days. Over on The Online Photographer, Marc Rochkind has a fascinating piece on meta metadata and what you can learn from it.

Not going to do it myself, but, dude, that is so cool ...

South Carolina News Photographers Association Conference - Feb. 9-10

The SCNPA is having their judging and conference next week in Anderson, S.C. That's about a 90 minute drive, a great opportunity to meet some folks who can get you jobs

Why wouldn't you take a Saturday and/or Sunday drive?

On Blogging

Rusty Bailey sent along a link to a comic about two folks who decided to get away from the 'net for a bit. (Yes, we can blog anything. But should we?)

Library of Congress and Flickr

The Library of Congress has uploaded around 3,000 public domain images into Flickr as an experiment in how they can let the public gain access to images. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Credentialing Bloggers

The Los Angeles Police Department may be giving bloggers from a hard time in getting "media credentials" that they can use to get access to the GOP debate.

That's awkwardly phrased, I know, because it's not clear if they are blocking them from getting credentials or if they're putting them through the standard background check procedure or if they LAPD just doesn't have a procedure for online media.

Thoughts? Are bloggers "journalists?" How can you tell? If they are, do all bloggers get treated the same? Do bloggers associated with a "traditional" media outlet get treated differently? And why do we even let any government agency think that they can decide who is and who is not a journalist?

This, of course, comes on the heels of Gizmodo pulling a prank at CES just after they started allowing bloggers in ...

Would the AP or LA Times ever do that? Do the professional norms of "traditional" journalists set them above (or aside) "blogging journalists?"

I'm glad I don't have to credential anyone ...

Shooting the SOTU

John Harrington has a video up on shooting the State of the Union, including an interview with our friend David Burnett.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Speaker: Dennis Dimick, Thursday, Jan. 31

Dennis Dimick, executive editor at National Geographic, will be in the photo lab from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Thursday, talking about environmental coverage. All are welcome. 

This precedes his Charter lecture in the afternoon.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Facebook Dangers

Everyone knows that you need to be careful of what's on your Facebook page - employers will look at them and you don't want them finding anything incriminating.

Now, it seems, you need to be careful of what Facebook may do with the images you post. Everyone clicks on those "I agree to the terms of service" links, how many people actually read them? Seems maybe you should go look at them more closely - by posting photos to Facebook, you're granting them the right to make derivative works and market them. For profit.

There's no evidence they've done this yet. But still ...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bernie Boston, 74

Bernie Boston has passed.

Boston was the D.C. photo chief for the L.A. Times when I met him in 1992. Several of you have heard the story of that very uncomfortable meeting. He was as kind and gracious as any one could ever be, yet I was scared to death he was about to sue me ...

I wish I'd gotten to know him better.

David Burnett has a nice post about him today.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Skip the Film ...

... but buy extra batteries.

It was only a matter of time, I suppose, before someone decided to market themselves as a photographer who doesn't actually, you know, make photos. Time magazine has an article on hiring your own personal paparazzi.

While it makes me wince a little bit, I guess if there's no pictures there's really no copyright to fight over ...

Part of this quote makes me smile, part makes me cringe:

The trend is driven by the twin obsessions with chronicling one's life and experiencing fame. "We live in a culture where if it's not documented, it doesn't exist," says Josh Gamson, a University of San Francisco professor of sociology who studies culture and mass media. "And if you don't have people asking who you are, you're nobody."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Alexia Foundation for World Peace Competition

Many of you know of this as I've spoken of it often, but here's a reminder to get your proposal together and get it in:

The Alexia Foundation for World Peace's annual competition is now accepting entries. The student deadline has been extended to February 6, 2008. You need a written proposal for a story that addresses the issues the foundation is interested in (world peace and cultural understanding) as well as a portfolio. All submissions are done online.

This is a unique competition as the proposal is the main determinant for the winners. Judges read the proposals prior to looking at the portfolios. If the proposal is liked, the portfolio is used to determine whether the photographer could carry it out.

There are student and professional awards. For the students, first place is a semester in London with Syracuse University's photojournalism program and $1,000 cash to put towards your story. For the professionals, it's a $15,000 grant to do the proposed story.

More info, and entry requirements, are on the Alexia web site. This is one of those very special competitions, both for what it does and why it exists. It costs you nothing to enter, so why wouldn't you?

UPDATE: What follows is what was sent along to me by Alexia Chair David Sutherland:

Study photojournalism in London
Alexia Scholarship pays all tuition for fall semester at Syracuse University London Centre in England

Application deadline is extended to Feb. 6, 2008.

An all-tuition scholarship to study photojournalism for a semester in London, plus a $1000 cash grant is available for the first place winner of the Alexia Foundation Scholarship and Grant Competition.

Four more awards provide partial scholarships and $500 cash grants. Scholarships are for studying photojournalism at the Syracuse University London Center in the Fall of 2008. The cash grants are given whether or not the scholarships are used, and are to be used to help produce the project that is proposed as part of the application.

All students are eligible, graduate and undergrad, as long as you don’t have more than three internships or the equivalent of a year’s professional experience.

Competition rules and information are available at
The application process is online at the website and is simple. Submit a story proposal (no more than 750 words), your portfolio (no more than 20 pictures) and a resume.

The competition rules are the same for graduates and undergrads, but the scholarship program is different for undergrads than for winners who are matriculated grad students or are now graduating seniors. Be sure to select link to the proper information at the website under the “Awards” heading in the student rules.

The London Experience is the highlight of a photographer's education at Syracuse University. Limited to 15 juniors, seniors, and graduate students, the London photography program offers a focused study of photography with one course covering picture essays and documentary photography. A second course, Visual Issues in the Media, includes lectures by British newspaper and wire service photographers and by American photographers on assignment in London; field trips to places such as the Royal Photographic Society, the photography departments of Reuters News Services and the Associated Press; and visit to sites such as the Museum of the Moving Image.

In addition to the two required photography courses, a wide range of liberal arts courses, including comparative politics, British history, and English literature are available to complete the course load for undergraduates. Complete academic and financial information about the SU program abroad in London is at

For more information, please contact David Sutherland at

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"7 Bad Habits"

One for everyone - "7 Bad Habits of Digital Photographers."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Guest Speaker Jim Stovall - Thursday, Jan. 24, 11 a.m.

Professor Jim Stovall will describe the Tennessee Journalist, the student news web site he created at the University of Tennessee. Prof. Stovall was the brainchild behind Dateline Alabama and runs, as well. He'll be here to talk with us about student news web sites and is a jack-of-all-codes, so to speak, and can help us think about what we're doing in the Multimedia Journalism class.

This will be open to all students so invite friends from other areas. Please drop me a note if you're coming.

In the Photojournalism Lab, Room 130, Grady, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.

Rock Photographer Jim Marshall

Being in Athens, many of my students want to shoot music scene stories. There's one guy who they should all study - Jim Marshall. For almost 50 years he's shot the biggest and the best stars, from the typical on-stage antics to the behind the scenes moments that let you understand who these people are. He's posted an interview on YouTube where he talks about some of his work.

(Thanks again to Greg Mironchuk for the link.)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mike Johnston on Lens Sharpness

Over at The Online Photographer, Michael Johnston has a piece up on lens sharpness - how sharp is sharp enough? Does lens resolution affect the apparent sharpness of an image as much as we think?

Geeky, in an old school kind of way.

Every photographer develops, over time, a favorite lens. One that does something special that they can capitalize on. For me, my Canadian-built 35 mm f/2.0 Summicron that I bought with my first Leica (an M4-p) was one of them. My manual focus Nikkor 24 mm f/2.8 was another - I just worked well with that lens. (Bought, used, in 1989, I was still using it in August of 2007 for this photo.)

"Through the Lens of Loss"

Mark Saxenmeyer, from the Chicago Fox affiliate, has posted a "director's cut" of a story that aired in December looking at photographers who work with the families of critically ill children. It's not photojournalism, but it certainly is documentary photography.

Friday, January 11, 2008

"Uprooted: Flicks Mobile Home Park"

This piece, shot by the San Jose Mercury News' Dai Sugano, on a mobile home park that's being closed so the land can be redeveloped, is amazingly well done. The story, pacing and tone all match perfectly - it is, to be honest, hard to watch in some places because of the emotions at play.

You'll need some time - it's broken into six chapters (and none of them say how long they are), so plan on 20-25 minutes to get through it all.

Things I noted:

  • The photographer was acutely aware of how many shots he was going to need. Case in point, there are two consecutive closeups of the eviction notice, with very shallow depth of field, but different focus points
  • The sequencing of stills (or frame grabs - this may all be video, though some of it looks like a full-frame digital camera, based on background control)
  • The use of text to help cover time between segments
  • Transitions - movement to stills, color to black and white

Thanks to Jake Daniels for pointing us to this from our JOUR5990 blog.

Lumix Festival for Young Fotojournalism 2008

Passing this along ... looks like we could submit up to three packages/essays for consideration.

From the 18th till the 21st of June 2008 the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover organizes in cooperation with the German organization of photojournalists FreeLens the Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism on the expo area in Hannover. Photography students and young professionals from all over the world will show their reportages and series in over 60 exhibitions.

Your university is welcome to participate in this event. With this festival, its numerous exhibitions and its attractive program with many international stars of the photojournalism branch, we would like to improve the communication between the international photography schools and give young photographers a wide audience.

We would be pleased, if you submit interesting journalistic projects to apply for one of the 60 exhibition spaces until the 28th of February 2008. For that purpose we are searching for reportages containing 15-30 pictures with a theme of your free choice. In addition to this, the best reportage will receive the Award for Young Photojournalism endowed with eur5.000 founded by FreeLens.

For more information, please look in the enclosed newsletter. You can also visit our webpage

If someone's interested, let me know and I'll explore further.

Great Quotes

I seem to collect them, so maybe I should do something with them ... so, new category today: Quoted.

Michal Johnston, over at The Online Photographer, popped this one into my RSS feed this morning:

All the technique in the world doesn't compensate for an inability to notice.
—Elliott Erwitt

(For some other quotes, take a look at an end-of-semester post from December 2007.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Stolen Pug (photo)

This time it's Fox stealing photos from online ... and then telling you the broadcast you're watching is copyrighted. Oh, the irony ...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Best of Photojournalism 2008

Entries are now being accepted for the National Press Photographers Association's Best of Photojournalism competition. There is no entry fee. So why wouldn't you enter?

Monday, January 7, 2008

The TRUE story of Dixville Notch

Okay, we should not be proud of this story of the press manipulating time for their own means ... but it's a great story. Bill Greene at the Boston Globe takes a look at how Dixville Notch, N.H., garnered its "first in the nation" reputation for primary voting.

For what it's worth, I did the Dixville Notch shoot for Agence France-Presse in 2000. Still being a film guy, and with Reuters and AP going digital, I wasn't going to beat them out. So my editor made the call to have me stay at the closest motel instead of at The Balsams, the resort where they do the balloting. Why? The Balsams was charging $300 for a room, the no-tell motel at the bottom of the mountain was $35.

Which was fine, it was just a 20 minute drive ... then it snowed. A lot. Like, 10 inches, not plowed, while I was waiting. Big, white puffy flakes ... now that was a ride down the mountain.

Thanks to Greg Mironchuk for the heads up on Greene's story.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Estimates & Bids

John Harrington - who may be doing more for the photography business than the rest of us combined - has a new web site/blog called Estimates and Bids. It's designed so users can post the requests they got for work, then other users can respond with how much their estimate or bid would be for the same job.

As freelancers, we're not allowed to have "set" rates (that could be construed as price fixing). But that doesn't preclude us from talking about what a reasonable rate is for a job.

How Not to Negotiate

(Thanks to John Harrington's Photo Business News for the link.)