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Celebrity Photography

  • The long-awaited new has finally launched this week. A collaboration between LIFE and Getty Images, the new website features millions of images from the LIFE and Getty archives and more than 3,000 images are added to the site every day. You can download, share or print any of the images for free for personal, “non-commercial” use. We can’t deny this is an amazing (well-designed) resource, but like Vincent Laforet, we wonder how this will affect editorial licensing in the long run.
  • These days pretty much anything seems “greenable” so it’s not surprising that Aurora Photos is launching a “Green Collection” that “focuses on creative photography illustrating contemporary environmental themes and issues.” We like the journalistic approach of its “Nature and Environment Feature Stories,” which has slide shows that cover environmental issues from all over the world.
  • The New York Times broke the sad news on Monday of Helen Levitt’s death. The photographer, famous for her poetic imagery of New York City streets, passed away in her sleep at her Manhattan home at the age of 95.

  • Cable channel Bravo confirmed that a new reality show featuring celebrity and fashion photography duo Markus Klinko and Indrani is slated for a debut in January 2010. The glamorous pair were the creators behind iconic images including the album covers of David Bowie’s Heathen and Beyonce’s Dangerously In Love. American Photo’s State of the Art blog has more details. Another interesting development about photography invading mainstream TV is the anticipated launch of the Photography Network this September. An excerpt from their marketing pitch hopes Photography Network will be to photography “what HGTV is to home and garden and the Food Network is to food.” For a sneak peak, check out their demo reel.
  • Following complaints from photographers and an NPPA letter to Amtrak in January, Amtrak issued a new set of guidelines last week that incorporate NPPA’s recommendations. The new policies state that Amtrak police should not “delete, destroy, or alter photographs and video, along with the directive that they shall not request others to delete, destroy, or alter photos or video either.” After a lot of mixed messages and mistreatment from Amtrak, this is finally some good news for photographers.
  • After months of anticipation, the Getty Flickr stock collection is finally here. While most would agree it is impressive in terms of quality and quantity for something on Flickr, it comes with a hefty price tag also. We’d love to hear what you think about its potential and problems.
  • Big congrats to beloved Scotsman Harry Benson for receiving a CBE from Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace yesterday morning! Check out Harry’s insightful advice for young photographers here on RESOLVE.

  • The Guardian reported Monday that after ratings for the Academy Awards last year plunged to a historic low, producers asked key actors and presenters not to enter via the red carpet this year so viewers would have to watch the ceremony to see their gowns. Not surprisingly, the photographers who make their living from photos of Oscar gowns were pissed. The ratings this year jumped 13 percent — and in typical over-simplified fashion, we bet the academy attributes that to this new policy (not the fact that the styling was classy and classic this year, the presenter was hot, or even, that people need Hollywood distractions more when the economy’s in the toilet), and keeps it.
  • In an official announcement released via the NPPA website, Pete Souza, the recently-appointed official White House photographer, filled out his team with Chuck Kennedy as assistant director of the White House photography office and Lawrence Jackson and Samantha Appleton as official photographers. Kennedy’s precisely executed inauguration picture made front covers of hundreds of newspapers all over the world. Jackson was most recently a staff photographer at the Associated Press in Washington DC, and Appleton, named one of the “30 Under 30” by Photo District News, is known for her projects on Iraq and Africa. Souza said she will be primarily assigned to cover the First Lady. We wonder if it’s common practice to have a woman photographer specifically assigned to the first lady. Anyone know?
  • After months of speculations, Rocky Mountain News owner E.W. Scripps announced yesterday that the publication will cease operations after its last edition today (February 27, 2009). The paper, which has been serving Denver for 150 years, has won 3 Pulitzer Prizes in photography since 2000. Sadly this is likely the first in a long line of newspaper closings; the San Francisco Chronicle also announced this week that it is looking for buyers in a bid to save the paper. We can’t decide if it’s poetic justice or just sad irony that the best reporting on the closing was done by the paper’s own staff via Twitter.
  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates has finally lifted the 18-year-old photography ban, now allowing caskets arriving at Dover airforce base in Delware to be photographed, as long as families of the deceased agree to it. The Dover Air Force Base is the military’s largest mortuary facility, where bodies of American troops are sent before traveling to hometowns. We hope this is part of the wave of change apparently sweeping Washington. If those photos had been allowed earlier, maybe we wouldn’t have had to wait so long for that change.

Harry Benson, the always-dapper, world-renowned photographer, showed up for this recent liveBooks Photographers In Focus video interview in a well-fitted suit — albeit without a tie. According to Harry, his attire isn’t just good fashion sense, it’s also good business sense.

“If you need to go to the White House for a press conference, dress like a professional, not a plumber,” he says. “It shows respect for yourself, as well as who you represent.”

Harry should know, considering he photographed every U.S. president from Eisenhower to George W. Bush. He says he has seen photographers turned down for jobs simply because they were wearing jeans and no jacket.

“It is something that is so obvious to me, yet so many young photographers seem to fail to recognize it,” Harry says.

Now that he mentions it, that suit does look pretty comfortable — we bet he was wearing it even when he was bouncing on beds with the Fab Four. No wonder the Queen of England named the Scottish photographer a CBE (a designation just one level below knighthood) in January.

Check out the video for more Benson insights into being the best photographer you can be.


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