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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.
We were sad to hear that legendary photographer Jim Marshall (who lived in San Francisco and we saw around town frequently) passed away on Tuesday. Jim was known for his intimate images of rock stars throughout the 60s and 70s, possible because of his close friendship with many of the artists.
Adobe CS5 launches globally on April 12, but the internets are already abuzz since a sneak peak was released on YouTube on Wednesday that shows a new “content-aware” fill tool that seems to allow hours of difficult retouching to be achieved with a few mouse clicks.
Pretty much everyone in the fashion photography world has heard the stories of Terry Richardson‘s on-set shenanigans, which almost always involve someone getting naked (the model, him, or both), inappropriate sexual overtures, and outrageous comments. When a model finally came out on a blog and talked openly about how degrading the experience was, the story spread like wildfire around the blogosphers — and Rob Haggart at A Photo Editor gives us the play-by-play.
Photographer Charles Moore, an Alabama native who made striking images that helped define the southern Civil Rights Struggle, died on Tuesday. His work includes images of the integration riots at Ole Miss in 1962, the fire hoses in Birmingham in ’63, a Ku Klux Klan rally in North Carolina in ’65, and he was the lone photographer at the scene when King was arrested in Montgomery in 1958.
Ukraine-based photographer Stepan Rudik has been disqualified from the World Press Photo Contest for altering his image “beyond the boundary of what is acceptable practice,” i.e. removing a subject’s foot during retouching, the New York Times LENS blog reported on Wednesday. Several bloggers jumped on the story with their own takes, including PetaPixel, Julian Abram Wainwright, and David Campbell.
We’re unofficially naming this travel coffee mug from the Olympics the coolest photographer swag of the year. PDN alerted us to this instant collector’s item, handed out by Canon in Vancouver, and modeled on their 70-200mm L-series “white” lens. Then Thomas Lee, a good friend and talented photographer, asked the hard question: “Who’s gonna pay if I pour coffee into my real 70-200?”
Jessica Dimmock, a young photographer who won acclaim while still a student at ICP for her intimate portrayal of heroine addicts in The Ninth Floor, recently released a music video for Moby. It’s an intense piece, an unconventional music video, and interesting new territory for both Jessica and Moby. The Photography Post ran a nice little interview with the photographer about the piece on Thursday.
We’re happy to help spread the word that award-winning photographer Judith Fox has an exhibition opening on Thursday, March 4, at FiftyCrows Gallery in San Francisco, which was founded by liveBooks CEO Andy Patrick. The exhibition will include images from two bodies of work, Sea of Dreams and I Still Do, which documents her husband’s descent into Alzheimers and which was named one of 2009′s best photo books by Photo-Eye.
The Natural History Museum in London announced this week that it is stripping wildlife photographer of the year of his £10,000 prize because they believe his prize-winning photo was made with a hired tame Iberian wolf. Photographer José Luis Rodriguez strongly denies that the photo was staged, according to organizers, but the images was still removed from the exhibition of winners at the museum. Jörg Colberg at Conscientious uses this story as a jumping off point to examine our expectations of “truth” in photography — it’s worth the read.
The Court of Human Rights declared Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 unlawful, Giles Turnbull reported Tuesday on the PhotoCineNews blog. Section 44, which became law in the UK in 2000, gives police officers the right to stop and search anyone, for any reason, inside a designated but undefined “area” and has been the source of frequent conflict between police and photographers. Despite the ruling, the law and its enforcement is unlikely to change soon, Giles says. Photographers are not turning down the pressure though, continuing the very successful I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist campaign, with a rally in London’s Trafalgar Square planned for later this month.
PDN reported Tuesday that the French picture agency Oleil had closed after 15 years. While agency closings are hardly uncommon these days, this comment from the Oleil website forces us to confront the full weight of what they suggests for the industry: “The press economic crisis has now made the production of photo-stories impossible.”
We can’t help but wrap up with a couple positive stories from liveBooks. CEO Andy Patrick has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Mohawk Fine Papers, an industry leader that is particularly dedicated to environmental responsibility. We’re also excited to announce the integration of Get Satisfaction with our support dashboard. Get Satisfaction‘s dynamic support communities with easy social media integration have been sweeping the Web — if you’ve ever seen one of those vertical “Feedback” tabs on a website, you know what we’re talking about.
As often happens, the top news this week in photography is also the top news in the world. On Tuesday a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, centralized in the capital of Port-au-Prince. We’ve been impressed by the response from photographers — not necessarily rushing to the scene to make photos (although you can see some great examples of that at the New York Times and The Big Picture), but making donations and encouraging others to. LiveBooks client Nick Zantop alerted us to his comprehensive list of legitimate charities helping with relief as well as a Facebook group providing up-to-the-minute information. We also saw that William Greiner is auctioning off a print with proceeds going to the Red Cross, Clark Patrick started a Cause on Facebook to support Doctors Without Borders, and Brian Smith blogged about five simple ways to support the victims.
The Wall Street Journal released a ranking of 200 jobs last week based on several criteria. The fact that photojournalist ranked near the bottom at #189 not surprisingly caused a stir in the blogosphere. Fred Ritchin at After Photography and Mike Johnston at The Online Photographer both took to task the criteria by which the ranking was made. What do you think? Is being a photojournalist worse than being an emergency medical technician or a nuclear plant decontamination technician?
Magnum photographer Dennis Stock, best known for his iconic images of James Dean, died on Monday. There is a lovely remembrance of him on the Lens blog as well as great multimedia autobiography at Magnum.
To finish up with some good news, Jörg Colberg (Conscientious) and Hester Keijser (Mrs. Deane) launched The Independent Photo Book last week, a blog where photographers can send their independently produced and sold books and zines, along with information on how to purchase them, creating a simple online clearinghouse. We posted about this in our ongoing discussion on the Future of Photobooks when it launched — 39 items have already gone up since then.
As part of the ongoing discussion examining the Future of Photobooks we’re hosting on RESOLVE in collaboration with FlakPhoto, we’re sharing some of our favorite publications mentioned by the 45+ bloggers who have weighed in so far. These represent the seeds of publishing advances we expect and/or hope to see in the future. Check out our earlier posts as well, on small printers for self-publishing photobooks and game-changing people and ideas from the photobook world.
As of Wednesday, Microsoft Bing is using crowd-sourced photos to create a 3-D virtual worlds in its Maps application, according to FastCompany.com. Using a fascinating program called Photosynth (we saw it first in a TED Talk that’s included in the article), the 3-D worlds rely on images across the web tagged with a specific location to create a model that Microsoft undoubtedly hopes will improve on Google’s “street view.” Implications of this are big — from challenges to Google’s hegemony to image copyright questions — but mostly we just think it’s COOL.
Pictory, a new online photo magazine from Laura Brunow Miner, the former editor-in-chief and design director of JPG magazine, launched this week. Pictory draws images from submissions by photographers of every level and nationality, curates them under a specific topic, and asks the photographers to contextualize them with personal, sometimes intimate, captions. It’s a beautiful interface, a great idea, and more proof that magazines are not so much dying as evolving.
Collect.give is another innovative project that launched this week, this time using profits from print sales to support non-profits close to the photographers’ hearts. John Loomis, Kevin J. Miyazaki, Susana Raab, Dalton Rooney, Emily Shur, and Allison V. Smith are each selling one print through the site and have pledged to donate 100% of the profits from their print sales to their chosen charitable organizations. A simple but powerful example of how how photography can improve lives.
This week’s issue of the New Yorker includes an ambitious reimagining of Richard Avedon’s Portraits of Power done by master portrait photographer Platon. This past September, when the world’s leaders were in New York for a meeting of the United Nations, Platon set up a studio off the floor of the General Assembly and made these 49 headshots, which the New Yorker accompanies with audio commentary from the photographer.
First up is Dan Lyons’ Newsweek post about Apple’s new tablet computer. The news is a few weeks old, but Dan’s reaction to it is a breath of fresh air. “Veteran editor Tina Brown, who now runs The Daily Beast, says we are about to enter ‘a golden age of journalism.’ I agree, and I think tablet devices will hurry that along.” Compare that to recent pieces like The Digital Journalist‘s “Revisiting The Death of Journalism: Ten Years Later,” or “Lament for a Dying Field: Photojournalism” from The Times and you’ll see why I’m excited.
Then I spotted this story about Vogue hiring Obama’s web strategists to help them “analyze the Conde Nast publication’s audience as part of a broader, revenue-generating push that ultimately will involve implementing paid subscriptions on Vogue.com.” Sentences like this make me so happy — “Vogue executives, keenly aware that the monthly magazine is just one of many ways people connect with the publication, had been looking for ways to capitalize on its influence” — because it means publications are finally starting to understand that it’s their name, their cache, the respect people have for them that is valuable in the online world, not just the content itself. This is a lesson many photographers could benefit from. And, of course, if magazines like Vogue actually figure out how to make money online, we can only hope that will trickle down to the photographers they employ.
Leave it to Fred Ritchin to put his finger right on the crux of this issue on his After Photography blog. He starts off by calling out Jonathan Worth, a photographer I’ve been following closely as he blogs about his endeavor to make money off of his photography by giving away the photograph itself (in this case a portrait of science fiction writer Cory Doctorow). Fred then moves on to the innovative approach the VII photo agency is taking to photo distribution, and wraps up with this little gem: “In a Boston Consulting Group poll published last week people in nine countries were surveyed asking if they would pay for online news: from 48 to 60 percent said they would, ranging from US$3 per month (Americans and Australians) to US$7 (Italians). Maybe we should take them at their word?”
And I’d like to leave you with this gem from Joe McNally, a letter he wrote to a young photographer trying to find their way. It’s an inspirational, well-written, wandering piece, as Joe’s usually are, that I think is brilliant advice not only for young creatives, but also for the media industry in general: “You are just beginning to write your pages, and the thing to remember about this early rough draft is that it hardly matters what you do exactly, as long as you continue to become something close to what you might imagine you want or need to become.”
I encourage anyone in any kind of decision-making position in the industry — from individual photographers to multi-national publishers — to embrace that notion and keep experimenting, keep innovating, keep striving for something better. You’ll know it when you find it.