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Irving Penn, one of the masters of photography, died Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at the age of 92 at his home in Manhattan. Penn leaves behind him a wealth of iconic imagery, from portraits of cultural leaders to obsessively exact still lifes. Photography Now has a great selection of Penn’s work online and the Getty Center in Los Angeles is showing Penn’s exhibition “Small Trades” now until January 10, 2010.

Scientists Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, inventors of CCD (charge-coupled device), will be sharing this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics with Charles K. Kao, the “Father of Fiber Optics.” Although the duo had moved onto other research projects, their discovery made digital imaging possible, from point-and-shoots to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Both Outside and Esquire launched a moving magazine cover this month, with the full videos available on their websites. Alexx Henry, the photographer behind the new Outside cover, made a name for himself doing a “Living Movie Poster” for the movie Mrs. Washington. It’s the second time Greg Williams has shot a moving cover for Esquire, after the first one featuring Transformer star Megan Fox.

Fashion label Ralph Lauren landed in hot water this week with a “poor imaging and retouching” job on one of their advertising images. After Boing Boing brought attention to a photograph of already thin Filippa Hamilton photoshopped to unltra skinny, Ralph Lauren’s legal department sent the blog a take down notice. Bad move. Now The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post, Yahoo!, Jezebel and ABC News have jumped on it. PDN has the details.

I’m happy to announce National Geographic Fellow Chris Rainier as a new regular contributor to RESOLVE. Chris is a renowned documentary photographer and has been part of the leadership team for important Nat Geo initiatives, including the All Roads Photography Program and the Enduring Voices Project. In his monthly video posts, Meetings with Remarkable People, Chris will take us with him as he travels around the world, giving us access to his thoughts and conversations with industry leaders, and exploring the ways that photography, culture, and technology are influencing one another and reshaping the media landscape. In this first post, Chris shares the ancient dances and rituals he documented on a recent trip to Papua New Guinea, as well as his thoughts about how technology is impacting indigenous cultures.

“Part of the project I’m working on here in New Guinea is documenting endangered languages and helping them revitalize that. So we bring them computers, we bring them video cameras, still cameras, audio recording systems. And we empower people, where invited, to do their own revitalization, to bring back their language, to maintain their language, and to maintain and revitalize their culture.

It doesn’t mean because a new technology comes along that it necessarily has to replace the old technology, the ancient technology, the ancient rituals.”

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Do you think cultures can be “bilingual,” maintaining traditional practices while adopting advanced technology? Or do new technologies inevitably encroach on ancient ones?

©Paul Waldman/LAMPP

©Paul Waldman/LAMPP

Last month we wrote about the Living American Masters Photography Project (LAMPP), which strives to document the photographers shaping our world — preserving their own stories, not just those told by their photos. Under the LAMPP umbrella, founder Paul Waldman has made portraits of many living (and now past) masters, including Gordon Parks, Sally Mann, and Mary Ellen Mark. When we talked to Paul before, he was looking for a home for the extensive LAMPP content. We’re happy to announce he’s found one, at least online, with a new website.

On top of the collection of portraits created for the project, Paul and other interviewers have recorded lengthy conversations with many photographers, which LAMPP is sharing snippets of each month on RESOLVE. Our last post included Marty Lederhandler telling his infamous “Pigeon Story” about trying to get unexercised carrier pigeons to take his images of  WWII’s D-Day back to the AP. (It’s quite funny and definitely worth the listen if you missed it last time.)

Ron Haviv

©Ron Haviv

Ron Haviv – Outsmarting Arkan

This month we have a story from Ron Haviv about an encounter with the Serbian paramilitary leader Arkan (at right) while he was covering the Bosnian War during the 1990s. With a little smoke and mirrors, Ron saved his revealing images from confiscation and helped share the horrors of ethnic cleansing he saw with the world. Much of the work is collected in his book, Blood and Honey.

From Paul: I met Ron Haviv back in March of 2005. Both of us were keynote speakers at the NPPA’s Northern Short Course. I’d sat in on Ron’s presentation and my good friend David Handschuh introduced us early on. Ron’s work had interested me for some time. Interviewing him for LAMPP would be a rare opportunity to speak candidly with a conflict photographer whose work had a direct impact on national politics, including outing a known Baltic warlord named Arkan. We recorded this segment in my hotel room at the conference.

When I met Ron again at Photo Plus Expo East; we were each being photographed for Tim Mantoani’s Polaroid Project. I took that opportunity to do portraits of both Ron and Lauren Greenfield. Unfortunately, I was unable to sit and speak with Lauren, an opportunity I’d hoped for for quite some time.

Former BBC radio producer Benjamin Chesterton and photojournalist David White, as the multimedia production team duckrabbit, build high-quality multimedia pieces, provide insights on their blog, and help photographers through multimedia training sessions. Once a month on RESOLVE, Ben and/or David highlight and explain a multimedia piece that breaks a “rule,” uses a new technique, or creatively solves a common problem.
From Paul Fusco's "RFK Funeral Train" project. ©Paul Fusco

From Paul Fusco's "RFK Funeral Train" project. ©Paul Fusco

Click here to see the New York Times multimedia piece, “The Fallen.”

One of the great things about working as a radio documentary/features producer at the BBC Radio is that I was never expected to treat the audience like idiots. Instead, we were encouraged to have a journalistic vision for each program and to see that vision through.

Another thing we were never expected to do was slap music gratuitously over everything. In fact you knew that there were nine million listeners who were ready, willing, and able to rip you to shreds if you bludgeoned the art of radio with such an approach — which is just a long way of saying, “Why on earth are so many multimedia journalists and audio slideshow producers slapping music over everything?” Generally it shows a lack of confidence, either in the production process or the material. Either that or they don’t think the audience can handle something that is stripped down and real.

When we admire great web design we say its “clean.” Here’s my plea: Keep multimedia clean when you have powerful audio, powerful images, and you want your audience to do some thinking. Just like this awesome New York Times-produced piece built on Paul Fusco‘s legendary photos taken from the funeral train carrying the Robert F. Kennedy from New York to Washington.


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