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Original author: 
Nathan Olivarez-Giles

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Jeff Bridges is famous for what he does in front of a camera, acting in iconic roles such as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski in The Big Lebowski. But the Oscar winner is a masterful still photographer as well. The International Center of Photography recognized Bridges' work behind the camera, this week at its 29th annual Infinity Awards, and The New York Times spoke to the actor about the honor.

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Tony DeRose wanders between rows at New York's Museum of Mathematics. In a brightly-colored button-up T-shirt that may be Pixar standard issue, he doesn't look like the stereotype of a scientist. He greets throngs of squirrely, nerdy children and their handlers — parents and grandparents, math and science teachers — as well as their grown-up math nerd counterparts, who came alone or with their friends. One twentysomething has a credit for crowd animation on Cars 2; he's brought his mom. She wants to meet the pioneer whose work lets her son do what he does.

"It's wonderful to see such a diverse crowd," he says. "How many of you have seen a Pixar film?" he asks after taking the podium. The entire room's hands go up. "How many of you...

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<< Previous | Next >> Katie Khouri

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When photojournalist Tim Hetherington suffered a mortar shell wound to the groin in Libya in April of last year, he ultimately died of massive blood loss. His death, according to friends, may have been prevented.

“Tim was my closest friend,” says Michael Kamber, founder and director of the Bronx Documentary Center. “He bled to death because he was surrounded by photographers who didn’t know how to stop the bleeding.”

In response to this assessment, Hetherington’s other close friend and co-director of the Oscar winning documentary Restrepo, Sebastian Junger, founded Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC), of which Kamber sits on the board. The organization simulates real war-injury scenarios at the Bronx Documentary Center, complete with pools of blood, contorted limbs and frenetic movement amid smoke-clad air, in order to train photographers and journalists in potentially life-saving techniques. “We go to great lengths to achieve the feel of war,” says Kamber.

“My adrenaline was going after I finished shooting the drills,” says photographer and Bronx Documentary Center volunteer, Katie Khouri. ”There was a real sense of urgency once trainer Sergeant Sawyer Alberi threw the smoke bombs and the CD of wailing and sporadic gunfire started. The trainees — all of whom are experienced conflict journalists – are a fun group of people but when the simulation began everyone switched into go mode.”

The need for medical training among journalists is especially desperate now as news outlets are employing freelancers — many without insurance or institutional support – to deliver stories.

“The industry is closing down bureaus. Increasing we are relying on freelancers for photographs. Look at the images from Syria, almost all of those are by freelancers, many of whom are without medical training or medical kits. It’s a recipe for disaster,” says Kamber, who has reported from over a dozen conflict zones during his career and even admits that he was unprepared in the past.

In recent years, the deaths of several photojournalists have reminded us of the extreme dangers faced by reporters in conflict zones. Getty photographer Chris Hondros died in the same mortar explosion as Hetherington; Anton Hammerle was killed by Gaddafi loyalists in April 2011; and Rémi Ochlik died in the bombing of Homs, Syria, in February of this year.

Prior to Hetherington’s death, he and Kamber were in the planning stages of a center devoted to video and photo documentary work.

“The Bronx Documentary Center is in Tim’s honor,” says Kamber. “It is dedicated to exactly what he believed in.”

Producing still and moving images for news, for film, for art spaces and for education, Hetherington believed in and practiced an approach to visual journalism that broke through the traditional confines of genre. The Bronx Documentary Center described by Kamber as a “community space, but not a hangout space” is devoted to serious application of skills and engagement. That extends from practical and vital training to exhibitions, lectures and workshops.

“We’re inventing new ways [to support documentary] and finding new outlets for documentary work, now that traditional media is dying and the public are distracted by a million points of white noise,” says Kamber.

Kamber lived in the Bronx during the eighties and says the support form the local community has been only positive, even during the conflict simulations that spill smoke, noise and blood onto the adjacents streets.

“Hundreds of people come by to stop, watch, comment, take photos and encourage us,” says Kamber. “Last year, when some neighbors heard the recording of the gunfire, they called the police, which is understandable. This year we’ve been very conscious to reach out to the NYPD.”

Unlike general hostile-environment training, RISC is focused on exclusively on medical training and on the procedures that will sustain someone between injury and the hospital front door. Tim Hetherington was only minutes from a hospital when he was struck by mortar fire in Misrata, Libya.

Through fundraising, RISC covers the cost of training which is approximately $1,000 per journalist. Following successful programs in New York, RISC plans training in London and Beirut. The response has been overwhelming. Kamber says, ”We’ve waiting lists. Journalists are desperate to get this training.”

Rookies, veterans, untrained and partially trained alike, there is a very real need for RISC’s type of training and photographers know it.

“You could see in some faces that it was taking them back to some bad memories,” says Khouri. “The reality is that potentially having to save an injured fellow journalist is a very real possibility when you report from the front lines. No one there took that responsibility lightly.”

RISC has an ongoing fundraising effort at Global Giving. Visit the RISC website and follow RISC on Facebook and Twitter

All images: Katie Khouri

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The ad campaign for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty, which chronicles the mission that led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden by a Navy SEAL team, has been pretty low-key so far. But then, the studio hasn’t had to do much, as there has been a fair amount of publicity for the movie thanks to accusations that the original October release date was meant to remind audiences of President Obama’s role in the mission, just before the Presidential election takes place. There have been far more serious (but unproven) allegations that the film is based on access to classified data that was given illegally to the production.

Now it’s time to move beyond those talking points to look at the actual film. Derspite featuring Joel EdgertonJessica ChastainChris PrattKyle ChandlerMark Strong, and Jason Clarke, the teaser trailer showed few faces, and relied upon audio montage to set up the story of the hunt for Bin Laden. A few images later gave us a bit more. Now you can see a lot more of Bigelow’s follow-up to The Hurt Locker, in the full trailer below.

There’s some good stuff in there: Jason Clarke’s intro, the shot of James Gandolfini, and Kyle Chandler looking like he plays a companion role to his presence in Argo. I wonder about putting Chastain’s character front and center, and how she’ll work as the backbone to the entire story. This looks like the same sort of reality/fiction blend that worked very well in The Hurt Locker, and with that in mind, how much will the degree to which this might inevitably deviate from reality matter in the long run?

Apple has the trailer. Zero Dark Thirty‘s opens on December 19.

For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty reunites the Oscar(R) winning team of director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) for the story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man.

 

 

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Fashion’s tastemakers and trendsetters started packing up on the eighth and final day of New York Fashion Week Thursday as shows are beginning this week in London, followed by Milan and Paris. But as the runway previews of fall looks continue in Europe, some early trends have emerged. The most popular looks to grace the [...]

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This past weekend, inspired by a great review in The New York Times, I went to see the animated movie "Chico and Rita". A full length feature set against the Cuban music scene of the late 1940s and 50s, the film is a love story not only of its two protagonists but also to Havana, Cuban jazz, and creative film-making.

Directed by Fernando Trueba, the filmmaker responsible for the cult Cuban jazz documentary “Calle 54”, and designed by Javier Mariscal, a Spanish graphic artist and designer, the film is so true to life that at first you wonder why it wasn’t simply made as live action. An early car chase scene is so realistically done you actually find yourself flinching, but the quirky hand-drawn animation quickly wins you over.

The music, combining Cuban jazz standards with new compositions by the great pianist and composer, Bebo Valdes, sticks with you long after the film is over – as does the sultry sexiness of the animated Rita – who gives Jessica Rabbit a run for her money (while displaying the full frontal nudity which is really the only reason the movie would not be child-appropriate).

While the film moves as far afield as New York and Las Vegas, the other star is the exquisitely rendered and vibrantly colored Havana. The filmmakers spent several months shooting on location in Havana, and their attention to detail produces a feeling that is both realistic and seductive. I can’t wait to visit Cuba.

While foremost a love story, the film doesn’t sugar-coat the place and time. Chico and Rita, both black Cubans, have to deal with discrimination and exploitation as they work their way up the commercial ladder and without giving anything anyway, their story is bittersweet.

Most surprising of all, though, “Chico & Rita,” has been nominated for an Academy Award as best animated feature – usually the sole province of family oriented fare. In a film year generally acknowledged as one of the most lackluster, it will be interesting to see if “The Artist” and “Chico and Rita” show that breaking out of the box sometimes gets you to the Oscar stage.

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We’ll likely spend some of today reacting to the Oscar nominations, which were announced this morning. But before we get to complaining and picking apart the Academy choices that snubbed certain films, let’s celebrate a couple of movies that just got a big bump from the Oscar nods.

In the Best Animated Film category two of the nominated films are ones that are probably unfamiliar to a lot of people. A Cat in Paris, by Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, and Chico & Rita, by Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando were both nominated. But before you get too up in arms that these movies helped snub Pixar and/or Tintin, take a look at the trailers for the two films below. Chico & Rita, for example, is simply gorgeous.

Chico & Rita premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September. The following synopsis is from TIFF:

Oscar-winning director Fernando Trueba teams up with famed designer Javier Mariscal to create an epic animated love story that occurs around the time of the Cuban Revolution. Highlighting a pivotal moment in the evolution of jazz and travelling from Havana to New York, Chico and Rita is a tribute to the music, culture and people of Cuba. The film is also rife with jazz history. Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie are seen playing the clubs and the story of Chano Pozo, one of the first Latin percussionists to grace a major American jazz band, is fluidly interwoven with the narrative.

The style of A Cat in Paris doesn’t do as much for me as does the look of Chico & Rita, but it is also a wonderful-looking movie. There’s a certain element of Richard Sala’s old style in the animation, and the painted cells are a real pleasure to behold. Here’s the synopsis from one distributor:

By day a child’s beloved companion… by night, a rooftop-roaming thief! Presenting Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli’s captivating new film, from France’s most acclaimed animation studio, Folimage. Our tale’s hero is Dino, a common house cat who lives a double life. He’s the loyal pet of Zoe, a lonely little girl who lives with her busy single mother Jeanne, a police officer. But after sundown, he clambers over the rooftops of Paris in the company of Nico, a skilled thief with a big heart. Eventually, Zoe discovers what Dino is up to and becomes drawn into a thrilling, adventure involving jewels, gangsters and capital-T trouble. A Cat in Paris is a completely refreshing and unique throwback to the traditional form – every cell of the film has been hand-painted, and its highly stylized, colour-saturated design looks absolutely gorgeous on the big screen. A must-see for animation fans of all ages.

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Easily one of the most impressive photography books of the year, “The New York Times Photographs”, published by Aperture and edited by Director of Photography Kathy Ryan, brings together a collection of four hundred photographs shot for The New York Times Magazine from the late 1970′s to 2011.

In an insightful foreword Kathy Ryan explains the unshrinking approach to assigning photographers that the New York Times Magazine has become known for: “Why not send a veteran war photographer to photograph the Oscar- worthy actors one year? Or commission a gallery of Olympians by an artist with a very personal iconography, rather than by a sports photographer? “Cross-assigning” is a signature of this magazine, an approach that came clearly into focus with the publication of the “Times Square” issue in May 1997—an issue devoted entirely to images by a group of photographers working within all genres of photography.”

As Kathy Ryan notes, cross-assigning takes faith. Of course this approach can be risky, but perhaps no more hazardous than always doing the expected. Turning the glossy pages of this substantial book, the reader will see that its rewards are rich and varied.


Ryan McGinley, Courtesy the artist/Team Gallery, New York. Emily Cook, 2010 Olympic freestyle skier (aerials). From “Up!,” published February 7, 2010.


Lars Turnbjork, 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. March 23, 1997.


Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery; Untitled. From “Dream House,” 2002.


Malick Sidibé, Courtesy André Magnin. Assitan Sidibé in Marni polka-dot top, Christian Lacroix striped top, Marc Jacobs dress, and Christian Louboutin.


Laura Letinsky/Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.


Simon Norfolk/Institute, One section of a particle detector in the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, 2006.


Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas images


Stanley Greene/NOOR, the road to Samashki in Chechnya, 1996.

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