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liveBooks has a long history of commitment to photojournalism, philanthropy and social change. Our CEO Andy Patrick took over the International Fund for Documentary Photography (IFDP) from Mother Jones Magazine in 2001. The IFDP was a grant program started by photographers Ken Light, Michelle Vignes, Marc Riboud, Sebastiao Salgado and journalist Kerry Tremain. In 2001, Andy integrated the IFDP into FiftyCrows, a non-profit he founded to support documentary and photojournalistic photographers that were documenting social issues around the world.
Andy and his wife contributed over a million dollars to assure that these important photographic essays made their way into the world and that great storytellers had an opportunity to continue their important work. FiftyCrows and the IFDP has supported many great photographers including Ed Kashi, Jack Picone, Marcela Taboada, Andre Cypriano, Stephanie Sinclair, as well as in the early years amazing photographers such as Joseph Rodriguez, Donna Decesare, Nan Goldin, and Shahidul Alam.
The grants have been used for many things including financing the continuation of a story that otherwise would not have likely seen funding from traditional means, to starting organizations such as what Shahidul Alam did in the early 1990’s in Bangladesh. From this was born The Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography and the DRIK Picture Agency.
In 2004 Shahidul Alam, Chris Rainier, Wade Davis, Andy and others formed the National Geographic All Roads Photography Awards. All Roads has supported countless indigenous photographers in their efforts to document their own cultures.
So today, it is with great anticipation and excitement that we share with you one of our favorite events, the Chobi Mela International Festival of Photograpy. If you get a chance – GO! The festival takes place in Dhaka, Bangladesh and opens on January 25th. What sets Chobi Mela apart from other other photo festivals is that it is not only truly international, but is also perhaps the world’s most demographically inclusive festival.
In keeping with ethos of DRIK, Chobi Mela has always symbolized a struggle against hegemony and oppression. The theme for Chobi Mela VII is Fragility. It will feature photographers from 23 countries and every continent except Antarctica. Exhibitors include well known photojournalists and new ones alike.
Mr. Alam said he created the Chobi Mela festival primarily so Bangladeshi photographers could be more widely exposed globally, extending to international audiences. “I wanted to create a bridge,” he said. “But it also gives us a chance to take stock of this remarkable transformation that is taking place within photography in Bangladesh.”
Congratulations to Shahidul and his amazing team… our hearts our with you!
While iStockphoto is launching its 10th birthday bash, this New York Times story outlining the hard road ahead for photographers stirred up debate in the photo world (there’s even a follow-up article with reader and blog responses). Adding insult to injury, word also surfaced of a new business model for product photography called Via U!, where buyers can composite an image and purchase all rights for a flat $250 fee. A Photo Editor has details.
Blurb’s Photography Book Now competition has also launched its third year. In addition to $25,000, the grand prize winner will also be given the opportunity to show their work at ICP, the Annenberg Space for Photography, and the George Eastman House. The competition is a reminder of the potential of self-publishing, something we discussed extensively in our Future of Photobooks series.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of giving a presentation to members of the conservation, media, and photography communities as part of the WildSpeak program at The WILD Foundation‘s World Wilderness Congress in Merida, Mexico. WildSpeak was created by the International League of Conservation Photographers, four days of presentations showing conservation organizations the power of visual storytelling and persuading them to make more room in their budgets for collaboration with conservation photographers.
The presentation I was part of, “New Media and Creating the Groundswell,” focused on using new online tools to disseminate conservation messages. The other speakers introduced me to several fascinating initiatives that I want to share with the RESOLVE community — by synthesizing photography, education, technology, and social action, they highlight trends that I believe will become increasingly important as the new media landscape evolves.
Collect and Contextualize
ARKive is an initiative by Wildscreen to create a digital library of text, photos, and video of a huge number of the world’s animal and plant species. In some ways, the vast number of images available online do not become truly useful and powerful until they are organized and searchable in a collection like this.
Frank Biasi, director of Conservation Projects for National Geographic Maps, demonstrated two projects he’s working on that are using maps as the main navigation tool for a site. The Global Action Atlas helps connect people with social action opportunities in specific areas of the world, and LandScope.org is a map-based resource for the land-protection community and the public. As geotagging becomes automatic and people interact more across all geographic barriers, information organized around a map structure will undoubtedly increase.
Mash Up Media
WildCoast is the perfect example of a non-profit taking their message far beyond the common trap of “preaching to the choir.” By signing up a sexy model and a Lucha Libre celebrity, this organization focused on saving coastal ecosystems won major victories for sea creatures. They also disseminate much of their information as comics and animated videos, something that Médecins Sans Frontières has also explored with their beautiful graphic novel, The Photographer.
Create Endless Collaboration
Matt Peters, the founder of Pandemic Labs, which ran social media strategy for the entire Wild9 congress, wrapped up with a wonderful presentation about the way online information tools can help keep people who connect at events like Wild9 connected and moving forward with their ideas long after the sessions end.
The Wild9 Live page collected blog posts in three languages, tweets about Wild9, live streams of many presenters, and Qik videos streamed from delegates’ cell phones, letting people from around the world (they received hits from around 80 countries) feel like they were part of the congress. And, possibly more important, now all that information is archived and available online. You can see the presentation videos at the Wild9 USTREAM page and even check out my presentation about creating clean, easy-to-navigate websites that drive visitors to act, not just look.
I’m going to be in New York City from October 13-24, catching up with friends in the photo world and then joining the liveBooks team at PhotoPlus Expo on October 22-24. If you haven’t checked it out yet, we’re offering FREE access to the Exhibition Hall and a chance to win a $3,200 liveBooks website. Look for us at Booth #378, at the PhotoPlus Expo Bash, and at other events all three days. If you want to keep up with special offers and events, be sure you’re following us on Twitter and Facebook.
While I’m on the road, we’ll be posting some of our favorite content from the archives. I’m also taking this time to figure out how we can continue to improve RESOLVE, so if you have feedback, now is the time to share it! Leave any additional thoughts or questions in the comments, please :) And, of course, if you want to meet up in NYC, let me know!
The Associated Press came under criticism this week for requesting that the organizers of Noorderlicht International Photofest, which starts tomorrow in the Netherlands, remove an essay from its event catalog. The essay, written by former Magnum Photos president Stuart Franklin, was supposed to accompany AP images from the Gaza Strip, according to this AP statment. More from both sides at PDN and the British Journal of Photography.
Starting this week, Getty Images will represent the Los Angeles Times’ archive of celebrity portraits through its Contour division, according to a press release published in PDN.
For those wishing they were at Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France, this week — there’s an app for that. If you have an iPod, you can download the free application here and see some of the exclusive images from the festival.
Less than a year after the demise of Digital Railroad, Image Warehouse announced that it will cease operations by the end of September. Carroll Seghers, the company’s founder, sent out the announcement earlier this week to all users of its services, at least giving them a little more time to find alternative storage that Digital Railroad supplied.
As I mentioned in my post yesterday, it was great to hear and see so many young photographers at LOOK3 who are taking ownership over the incredible change happening in the industry today. But, in the end, we were all there to scope out some great photography. Here are 10 awesome things from LOOK3 that I might otherwise have missed (they’re in no particular order, so I’m not even numbering them).
It’s not very often that I return from a photo festival with a cohesive message or even a consistent idea. But I spent a lot of time at LOOK3: Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville last week talking with the up-and-coming young photographers who are being given the chance to shape the photo industry in a tangible way. Starting out as a photographer today, especially as a photojournalist, means nothing is certain. So it’s reassuring to hear that young photographers understand that this time of uncertainty is also an opportunity for evolution.
One way photographers are facing many challenges is by banding together into artist collectives, such as Luceo Images, MJR, Aevum, EVE, and Oeil Public. In the video below, Matt Eich (Luceo), Tim Hussin, Mustafah Abdulaziz (MJR), and Matt Craig (MJR) explain what they’re excited about in photography now. I also had conversations along these lines with Matt Slaby (Luceo), Kevin German (Luceo), Danny Ghitis, and Michael Christopher Brown. Although rubbing elbows with legends is always fun, these young shooters are most excited about their contemporaries and the camaraderie between them.
Michael Shaw, creator of the BAGnewsNotes blog and a RESOLVE contributor, is also excited about these young photographers and the collectives they’ve started, because they treat blogging as a vital, necessary part of their careers and distribution plans. Sometimes they strive to be featured on blogzines like Verve Photo, DVAFoto, and Flak Photo, which highlight great work by (mostly) emerging photographers. There are also blogs like That’s a Negative and We Can Shoot Too, that focus on work by photographers in specific places (Portland, OR, and Los Angeles, in this case). Other times they use the blog format to promote the achievements of their own members, as with the Luceo and MJR blogs.
Despite Michael’s quip about “older photographers,” I do have to mention that Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey, one of the dons of photojournalism, is also on the front lines with his online magazine, burn, which is working toward assigning original photography to emerging and established photographers — something Michael has been doing for years at BAGnewsNotes. David presented a very fun, sexy video promo for burn at the festival that includes an annual Blurb book and lots of other intriguing possibilities for new distribution models.