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State of the Union

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Prior to the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, the silhouette was considered an effective and inexpensive way to record a person’s likeness or capture a scene. Although the practice can be traced back to the early 17th century, the term ‘silhouette’ derives from the harsh policies of the French finance minister Étienne de Silhouette.

The silhouette reduces an object to its most basic form. Its historical uses in art can be seen in the paper cuts of Hans Christian Andersen and the artwork of Kara Walker. In photographic terms, the silhouette is created in situations where the subject is backlit. It can be used to hide a person’s identity or play up their distinctive features, and its graphic form is often used artistically to photograph sport and dance. It heightens drama, adds atmosphere and makes a banal scene into a graphic wonder.

More than 200 years ago, the silhouette was the foremost way to document one’s appearance, but it’s still widely used in photographic frames today. From capturing the Costa Concordia to presidential primaries and pilgrims, LightBox looks at the use of silhouettes on the wires this month.

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An Indonesian ethnic Chinese man prays during the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration at Dharma Bakti temple in Chinatown in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Divers of the Nucleo Operatori Subacquei Guardia Costiera conduct a search and rescue operation that led to the discovery of the body of a woman inside of the ship [...]

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President Obama delivered his third State of the Union speech last night before a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C.

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It's time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today's photos include a fiery Spanish festival, a frightening encounter with a leopard in India, a flamingo undergoing laser treatment, a new species named in honor of entertainer Beyonce, and the plight of Ukraine's "vodka bears". These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers. [42 photos]

A man rides a horse through a bonfire on January 16, 2012 in the small village of San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain. In honor of San Anton, the patron saint of animals, horses are ridden through the bonfires on the night before the official day of honoring animals in Spain. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

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More than 500 teams are currently speeding across the deserts of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, racing more than 8,300 km (5,150 mi) in the 33rd annual Dakar Rally. Competitors pit themselves against the elements, driving specialized off-road cars, trucks, motorcycles, and quadbikes through challenging terrain for two weeks. One rider, Argentine Jorge Martinez Boero, has already died this year in a crash. The 2012 Dakar Rally began in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on January 1, and racers reached the finish line in Lima, Peru, on Sunday, January 15. [41 photos]

Stefan Svitko rides his KTM during the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally 2012, from Iquique to Arica, Chile, on January 11, 2012. (Reuters/Jerome Prevot)

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Your arm-chair photojournalist is back… That’s what I feel like anyway at the moment…

I moved house in Brighton a week ago, and still haven’t got internet set up in the new place, so I’ve had to frequent cafes for free wi-fi….. Sitting at Redwood cafe (nice strong Americanos, just as I like them) in the city centre….Anyways, no updates since Thursday, so loads to share….

Let’s start with Egypt….

Dominic Nahr is covering the anti-government protests in Cairo for TIME magazine…. @Panospictures tweeted at some point yesterday that Nahr and Guy Martin, who is covering the events for Wall Street Journal, might have had their memory cards confiscated by the army, but it would seem that not all of them , since Nahr managed to file anyway…

Features and Essays – Dominic Nahr: Turmoil in Egypt (TIME: January 2011)

New York Times has a Egypt gallery up that they are updating daily….the below photo by Chris Hondros shows travellers at Cairo International Airport waiting for flights out of the country…. Which of course is opposite to a lot of photographers, who are trying hard to make their way to the country…Based on Twitter and Facebook messages, a whole lot of freelancers seem to be heading there…

Features and Essays – New York Times (various photographers): Egypt Protest (February 2011)

Guardian’s Egypt gallery…

Features and Essays – Guardian: Egypt Protests Continue (Guardian: January 2011)

VII Photo put up a piece on their magazine of Egypt under Mubarak.

Features and Essays – VII: Egypt Under Mubarak (VII Magazine: January 2011)

Anastasia Taylor- Lind’s Egypt bloggers series, which she shot for Geo Germany last year (see blog), has caught second wind during the current anti-goverment protests, and it has been exhibited both on MSNBC’s and Newsweek’s websites…

Features and Essays - Anastasia Taylor-Lind: Egyptian bloggers ( Newsweek: January 2011) series on MSNBC

Anastasia is the featured photographer of the month on Firecracker, by the way….Firecracker is a site supporting European women photographers…

Ed Ou, who is covering the Egypt unrest for NYT, has been interviewed by James Estrin on the Lens blog…

Interviews - Ed Ou (NYT Lens: January 2011) Egypt

I didn’t manage to listen to this, but according to @anastasiatl, Ivor Prickett was interviewed on Tahrir Square for Irish Radio (part 2 , 3m 55sec in)…

Interviews - Ivor Prickett (Newstalk.ie: January 2011)

Phillip Toledano’s new work…

Features and Essays – Phil Toledano: Kim Jong Phil (Project website: 2011)

Stephen Alvarez’s (@alvarez photo) National Geographic Magazine February 2011 cover story, Paris Underground, was featured on NPR…he put a video on this blog…

Features and Essays - Stephen Alvarez: Paris Underground (Photographer’s blog: January 2011) Read the NPR article here

Financial Times picture desk, Emma Bowkett and co, sent a pretty impressive line up of 10 photographers to cover the new period of economic austerity… There’s Parr, Roberts, Norfolk…Winship…. (found via @Yumi_Goto)

NB. You might need to register to view the link… Free registration is enough though….

Features and Essays – Financial Times (various photographers): Britain: what lies ahead? (FT: January 2011)

Features and Essays – Jeremy Cowart: Haiti by iPhone (Photographer’s website) his Twitter

Features and Essays - Keith Bedford: Hoarding Cotton (WSJ: January 2011)

Features and Essays - Kevin Frayer: Helmand Province from above (SacBee Frame: January 2011)

Features and Essays - M. Scott Brauer: We Chinese (Project website: January 2011)

Simon Wheatley was a huge inspiration to me when I was studying photojournalism, and he still is…

Books / Features and Essays - Simon Wheatley: Don’t Call Me Urban (Project website)

Features and Essays - Marco Salustro: Jasmine Revolution (Corbis Stock: January 2011) Tunisia | Salustro’s website

Features and Essays – Julien Goldstein: Belarus (Photographer’s website: 2011)

Interviews - Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb Q&A (Telegraph: January 2011)

InterviewsThe Archive of Modern Conflict (PhotoEye blog: January 2011)

InterviewsDavid Goldblatt (PDF) Interview with South African photographer David Goldblatt about cultural amnesia.

Articles -NYT Lens: Parting Glance: Lucas Mebrouk Dolega, 32 (NYT Lens: January 2011)

Articles – BJP: Photographer Danfung Dennis wins two Sundance documentary prizes (BJP: January 2011)

Great BJP series continues…

Articles / Tutorials – BJP: 11 Tips for 2011: How to get new clients (BJP: January 2011)

Articles / Tutorials – BJP: 11 Tips for 2011: Ditch that website altogether (BJP: January 2011)

Articles / Tutorials – BJP: 11 Tips for 2011: Refreshing your portfolio (BJP: January 2011)

Articles – Guardian: Greenslade blog: News agencies in peril as freelance rates get smaller (Guardian: January 2011)

Articles - David Campbell: The problem with regarding the photography of suffering as ‘pornography’ (Writer’s blog: January 2011)

About time, people are talking more about this…Blake Andrews on the lack of a happy face in current portraiture…

Blogs/ Articles – Blake Andrews: Portraits : The Space Test (Blake Andews’ blog: January 2011)

Peter Dench has his own Diary on the pages of Professional Photographer magazine…Definitely worth reading…Honest and funny…

Articles – Peter Dench: The Dench Diary : November 2010 / October 2010 (Professional Photographer: 2010)

Articles - Guardian: Featured Photojournalist: Dan Kitwood (Guardian: January 2011)

@AGarciaPhoto: What would you do if someone stuck a wad of $100 bills in your pocket for photos of a Chinese president while on assignment?

Blogs – Trib Photo Nation: The saga of an individual assignment (Chicago Tribune: 2011)

Blogs - Brendan Hoffman: State of the Union for the New York Times (Prime Collective blog: January 2011)

VideosAlec Soth: Birth of an Exhibit (Vimeo: 2010)

Saw this on a Benjamin Rasmussen (@benjaminras) tweet…

Videos - Simon Norfolk on Photojournalism (Youtube)

Videos - In-Sight trailer (Nick Turpin’s blog: January 2011)

Vivian Maier is everywhere….

Articles - CBS: Vivian Maier: Photographer’s Talent Went Unknown Until Death (CBS: January 2011)

Saw David Campbell (@davidc7) tweet this….

Aaron Huey is developing his important Lakota work in collaboration with Ernesto Yerena and Shepard Fairey (Aaron Huey blog: January 2011)

Collectives - Paralaxis

BlogsPontus Hook

Twitter - Benedicte Kurzen

Awards/ ExhibitionsHearst 8×10 winners

Talks - Open- i: Photoblogs Right Here Right Now Seminar - FORMAT International Photography festival, Derby UK 15.00 GMT

Jobs - Slate is looking for a photo researcher (Slate)

And to finish off, a joke…

“Mubarak is very ill. Doctor says, “you must prepare message to say goodbye to people”. Mubarak asks: “why?where are people going?”"

from @peterbeaumont

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