Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal published its take on the year's best photos. Here is what a few of the photographers behind those iconic images had to say about how they captured them.
Blended Learning: Frank Baxter at TEDxManhattanBeach
Frank Baxter has been an enlistee in the US Air Force, CEO of an Investment Bank, Ambassador to Uruguay, inveterate non-profit Board member. He has run 17 marathons and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Since 1986, Frank has been an activist in improving K-12 education for low income students. Since the 90′s he has been a supporter of charter schools in Oakland and Los Angeles. In 2004, he was one of the founders of the Alliance for College Ready Public Schools, a high performing Los Angeles charter management organization which now has 6 middle schools and 15 high schools serving 9500 inner-city students. He has served as Chairman and Co-Chairman since. In 2010, the Alliance started a transition to blended learning, a model which integrates teachers with 21st century technology. Now seven schools are BLAST (Blended Learning Alliance School Transformation) schools. The students are learning much faster and are much happier than in the traditional vintage 19th century model. He has a BA in Economics with honors from the University of California, Berkeley. His wife, Kathy, and he have 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. AboutTEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are <b>...</b>
On Tuesday, Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants became only the 22nd pitcher in Major League Baseball’s history to throw a perfect game, allowing no opposing player to reach base. Of the 22 perfect games, half have come in the last 24 years. Here are some photos from Matt Cain’s perfect game and the [...]
The Mississippi is, according to song, a river of black water and mud. But, over a 100-mile stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, something else flows. The nearly 150 petrochemical plants along those banks mean that the region has one of the highest concentrations of industry in the United States. That cluster of facilities, and the resulting pollution and increased cancer rates, have earned the area the nickname “Cancer Alley.”
Richard Misrach first traveled to Cancer Alley in 1998, producing a series of images that were exhibited as part of a “Picturing the South” series at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. “I’d never heard of this area,” Misrach recalls. “And when I finally saw the landscape, I was shocked. It was really extreme—the amount of industry along the river and the poor communities living there—I couldn’t believe it actually existed.”
In February, May and November of 2010, Misrach returned to the region, only to discover that little had changed. “It was impossible to tell if it’d gotten worse or better,” the photographer says. “It looks the same. It feels the same. The roads are still below par, and the schools are as well.” Misrach’s photographs from his latest trip—along with some of his 1998 originals—are again on display at the High Museum of Art, in an exhibition aptly titled “Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley.” The photographs show a bleak, desolate region, and one in which factories and plants are almost always present in the background.
But Misrach says some of the most poignant aspects of the region couldn’t be captured by camera. “What’s not shown is the constant stirring sound; I’m amazed people can work,” he says. “And the smells, from the gasoline stench to the chemicals in the air. That’s what you can’t see.”
The exhibit Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley is on view at the High Museum from June 2 through Oct. 7, 2012.
You can see Richard Misrach’s project on the 1991 Oakland-Berkeley fire here.
PHOTOGRAPHING THE POPE: People took pictures of Pope Benedict XVI during his weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City Wednesday. (Max Rossi/Reuters)
IN PARLIAMENT: Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in purple, attended the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of Parliament, Wednesday in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. She had formerly been under house arrest. (Nyein Chan Naing/European Pressphoto Agency)
FRONT AND CENTER: Janos Ader took his oath as president of Hungary during a swearing-in ceremony in Hungarian Parliament in Budapest Wednesday. Parliament elected him to a five-year term by a vote of 262-40. (Laszlo Beliczay/MTI/Associated Press)
WHIPPING THEIR HAIR: Eunuchs danced as they re-enacted a story from the Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’ during the annual Koovagam transgender festival south of Chennai, India, Wednesday. (Arun Sankar/Associated Press)
PAINT IN THE FACE: A police officer paused after being hit in the face with paint as officers advanced on Occupy protesters blocking an intersection during a May Day rally in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The human resources department is known for being touchy-feely, but in the age of big data, it’s becoming a bit more cold and analytical. From figuring out what schools to recruit from to what employees should be offered flexible work arrangements, data analytics are helping HR professionals make more informed decisions.
- European Pressphoto Agency
- Jonah Hill in a scene from ‘Moneyball’.
The success of Oscar nominated film Moneyball isn’t hurting either, said James Raybould, director of insights at LinkedIn. The movie, based on the Michael Lewis book, tells the true story of Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane. Using statistical analysis, Beane was able to recruit undervalued baseball players and lead his underfunded baseball club to the playoffs.
“We’re seeing a lot of companies actually aspire to that movie,” he said last week during a panel on big data at the Impact 2012: The Business of Talent conference convened by consulting group Bersin & Associates. “How do I make Moneyball for HR?”
Capital One, the credit card company and bank, has automated data reports on employee attrition, headcount and promotions. It is also beginning to analyze the characteristics of its most successful employees, like what schools they went to and what their majors were, said Mark Williams, statistical analysis manager for workforce analytics at Capital One. “Now we’re going back through resumes and creating a lot of that data,” he said.
In the wake of the financial crisis, when the compensation structure of many banks were criticized for incentivizing excessive risk-taking, Williams has also been asked to do an analysis of how pay is linked to sales performance.
“We do risk very well; we don’t lend to people who won’t pay us back…. Part of that is we have really good governance over our credit models; we have a staff of statisticians and that’s their job,” he said. “What I’m looking to do is a very similar thing in creating a governance process around some of the risk metrics for compensation.”
The big data revolution is just beginning to penetrate the HR industry, said Josh Bersin, chief executive and president of Bersin & Associates. Some companies have a progressive view of how data analytics can help their HR departments. Most don’t. “Of the companies we talk to, five to 15% are very sophisticated at analyzing people data,” he said.
At Luxottica Group, the Milan-based eyeglasses conglomerate, data analytics have disproven assumptions about gaps within the company’s recruiting strategy, said Sean Dineen, vice president of talent management and organizational development.
The data showed it took an average 96 days to fill a position with an external candidate. The management team believed that the company’s recruiters acted too slow, but a statistical analysis found hiring managers dragged their feet about making decisions about who to hire, Dineen said. It now takes the company 46 days to hire external candidates.
Luxottica, the parent company of brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley, is also using analytics to see how well it is does in promoting its best employees. “Are we actually moving high potential people?” he said. “Why is this person [who rates highly] in the way we evaluate talent in the same job they were four years ago?”
Joseph Walker covers technology for FINS.com, The Wall Street Journal’s jobs and career website.
Israeli photographer Oded Balilty has spent the past decade covering events in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the Associated Press. Born in Jerusalem, in 1979, Balilty was awarded the Pulitzer prize for breaking news photography in 2007 for his image of a lone Jewish settler challenging Israeli security officers during clashes in the West Bank settlement of Amona. Although Balilty continues to document the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—from daily clashes to more long term work that includes a seven year project shooting the separation barrier—he has also trained his lens on the quieter and more intimate aspects of street life in and around Tel Aviv, where he is based.
“This region is so saturated by pictures from the conflict so you always look for different stories and events,” says Balilty, who has begun several series on cultural themes within Israel. Since January, the photographer has produced essays on the ultra orthodox communities, including a series on a traditional Hasidic Jewish wedding near Tel Aviv, as well as the funeral of Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager, leader of the Hasidic sect Vizhnitz. and, over the last few days, the preparations for the Passover holiday, which began on Friday evening. “I try to go deeper and deeper into a story to capture things that outsiders do not know about this particular group of people,” he says.
In the same way that he’s trying to find different stories and make different pictures, Balilty says he’s trying to be a different photographer, too. “If I see photographers in one corner, I go away,” he says. “There is no need to take the same picture as five other good photographers. I’m tying to isolate myself and show the story from different angles, not only visually but mentally, to find small, quite moments within a big a crazy story.”
Balilty describes his work as something between art photography and a photojournalism—which is fitting, given the scope of his coverage of Israel. “I’m trying to tell stories with my pictures, but the aesthetics and the way I see things are very important for me,” he says. “The first and most important thing for me is to tell the story.”
And despite his foray into cultural coverage, Balilty maintains his finely-tuned process, approach and aesthetic when photographing more traditional news stories. When a gunman killed seven people in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, last month, Balilty was on hand to document the emotional return of the victim’s bodies to Jerusalem. And as with times past, Balilty handled the assignment with delicate sensibility and artistic intent, elevating his work above the general images typically seen on the wires.
Oded Balilty is a photographer for the Associated Press. He is based in Tel Aviv.