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 AlbumIn the business of selling stuff, there’s a lot of managing. Sales reps usually have a boss they check in with on the status of deals in the pipeline, maybe to get some advice on how to close a deal when there’s stiff competition from another company, or to go over how an important customer was reeled in, so that others can learn from it.

These check-ins are sometimes referred to as coaching, and there is data to show that coaching can boost sales performance. A study by the Sales Executive Council suggests that reps who received three or more hours of coaching per month outsold those who received two hours or less of coaching per month, by as much as 17 percent.

Getting that coaching done can be kind of a hassle. But it’s the sort of hassle that Salesforce.com has often sought to understand intimately, and then create products within its suite of cloud software tools.

Today is one of those days. The company is announcing a trial of a new feature that closely ties its traditional Sales Cloud with its Work.com product. The point is to do a few things: Speed up the review portion that has always tended to be a big consumer of time and attention in pretty much any organization, and also to make it easier for sales managers to find ways to motivate their teams to, you know, sell more stuff, which is basically the point of sales in the first place.

Through a combination of Salesforce services including the Sales Cloud, its social enterprise platform Chatter and Work.com, an HR software outfit that includes the Rypple acquisition it made last year, sales teams will see each other’s goals, will learn about big deals coming in, and know about each other’s expertise.

The new tools will also give managers a way to provide instant feedback and public recognition to those sales people who are doing well. Remember “gamification”? It’s not my favorite word, but apparently it works to some extent, especially with sales people who have monthly, quarterly and annual targets to make.

There is research to back up the assertion that when people leave sales jobs they do so in part because they don’t think they’re getting enough recognition from above. Now, on those occasions when a rep lands a big customer in a competitive deal, the manager can publicly pat them on the back with a “thanks in Chatter” feature, and give them a “sales Ninja” badge, or something like it, that everyone can see in their Chatter feeds.

Think it all sounds hokey? Maybe it is, but there’s a lot of evidence that these things have a way to making sales people happier on the job. And happy sales reps are sales reps who close deals, or least that’s the theory. We’ve come a long way since Alec Baldwin’s memorable (and profanity-laced) monologue in “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

The new features are coming in early 2013, and are available for certain Salesforce customers on a pilot basis starting today.

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Let’s ring in the new year with a look ahead at the animated features of 2012. The animated feature glass was half-full last year. Whereas in 2010, five of the top ten highest-grossing features in the US were animated, last year only one animated film ranked in the US top 10—Cars 2. Around the world, however, animation fared better in 2011, earning 3 of the top 10 spots at the global box office (and if you count The Smurfs, four of the top ten).

Our 2011 list focuses primarily on films set for release in the United States, but we’ve also rounded it out with a few foreign films. Of course, we’ll be covering dozens of other foreign and indie feature productions throughout the year, but even with the films below, 2012 is already looking like a decent year. If you know of other must-see animated films this year, please let us know in the comments.

LIST OF 2012 FEATURES BY SCHEDULED RELEASE DATE

The Secret World of Arriety
The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family’s residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.

Release Date: 2/17
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Production Company: Studio Ghibli
Distributor: Walt Disney
Technique: hand-drawn
Voice Cast: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett
Film Website

Plenty more films after the jump

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.

Release Date: 3/2
Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Production Company: Illumination
Distributor: Universal
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito
Film Website

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Pirate Captain sets out on a mission to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz for the Pirate of the year Award. The quest takes Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London.

Release Date: 3/30
Directors: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt
Production Company: Aardman Animation
Label: Sony Animation
Distributor: Columbia
Technique: clay stop-mo
Voice Cast: Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven
Film Website

Le Magasin des Suicides (The Suicide Shop)
Based on a bestselling book by Jean Teulé, it’s a black comedy about a family that runs a suicide supply shop in a dreary town. The family’s business is threatened when a new baby arrives who makes everyone around him happy.

Release Date: 5/16 (France/Belgium), 6/14 (Netherlands)
Directors: Patrice LeConte
Production Company: Diabolo Films (France), La Petite Reine, Entre Chien et Loup (Belgique) and Caramel Films (Canada)
Distributor: ARP Sélection
Technique: hand-drawn, cut-out

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo join a traveling circus in an effort to get back home to New York.

Release Date: 6/8
Director: Eric Darnell
Production Company: Dreamworks
Distributor: Paramount
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock, Sascha Baron Cohen
Film Website

Brave
Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

Release Date: 6/22
Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Production Company: Pixar
Studio: Pixar
Distributor: Disney
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
Film Website

Ice Age: Continental Drift
Manny, Diego, and Sid embark upon another adventure after their continent is set adrift. Using an iceberg as a ship, they encounter sea creatures and battle pirates as they explore a new world.

Release Date: 7/13
Directors: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
Production Company:
Studio: Blue Sky
Distributor: 20th Century-Fox
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo
Film Website

The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki

Okami kodomo no ame to yuki (The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki)
From the director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars, the story of a college student named Hana who marries a “wolf man” and gives birth to two wolf children. When the wolf man dies, Hana and the children move from the city to a quiet rural town.

Release Date: July (Japan)
Directors: Mamoru Hosoda
Production Company: Studio Chizu, Madhouse
Distributor: TOHO
Technique: Hand-drawn
Film Website

ParaNorman
A misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead, takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

Release Date: 8/17
Directors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
Production Company: Laika
Distributor: Focus Features
Technique: Stop-Motion
Voice Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Film Website

Hotel Transylvania
Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter.

Release Date: 9/21
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Production Company: Sony Animation
Distributor: Columbia
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg
Film Website

Frankenweenie
Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.

Release Date: 10/5
Director: Tim Burton
Production Company: Walt Disney
Distributor: Disney
Technique: stop-motion
Voice Cast: Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short
Film Website

Wreck-It Ralph
The bad-guy character in a classic game who longs to be a hero brings trouble to his entire arcade after sneaking into a new first-person shooter game and unleashing a deadly enemy.

Release Date: 11/2
Director: Rich Moore
Production Company: Walt Disney Feature Animation
Distributor: Disney
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch

Rise of the Guardians
Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and the Sandman band together to form a united front against the Bogeyman.

Release Date: 11/21
Director: Peter Ramsey, William Joyce
Production Company: Dreamworks
Distributor: Paramount
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher
Film Website

These six films have no release date set yet, but will be ready for release in 2012

Dorothy of Oz
Back in Kansas, Dorothy Gale decides to return to Oz in order to help her friends.

Director: Will Finn, Dan St. Pierre
Production Company: Summertime Entertainment
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Lea Michele, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Dancy
Film Website

Escape from Planet Earth
Astronaut Scorch Supernova finds himself caught in a trap when he responds to an SOS from a notoriously dangerous alien planet.

Director: Callan Brunker
Production Company: Blue Yonder Films
Distributor: Weinstein Company
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brendan Fraser
Film Website

Norm of the North
Displaced from their Arctic home, a polar bear named Norm and his three lemming friends wind up in New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of a corporation he soon learns is tied to the fate of his homeland.

Director: Anthony Bell
Production Company: RichCrest Animation
Distributor: Lionsgate
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Ken Jeong, Rob Schneider, Zachary Gordon
Film Press Release

Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie
Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie is a film based on Cheech and Chong’s classic Grammy award winning albums.

Director: Branden Chambers, Eric D. Chambers
Technique: Flash
Voice Cast: Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong
Official Facebook Page

Ribbit

Ribbit
“The tale of a frog with an identity crisis..”

Director: Chuck Powers
Technique: CGI
Voice Cast: Sean Astin, Tim Curry
Production company: KRU Studios (Malaysia)
Official Facebook page

A Liar's Autobiography

A Liar’s Autobiography
Based on the memoirs of deceased Monty Python member Graham Chapman. Fifteen different UK animation companies will be contributing animated segments to the film. The film will receive a theatrical release in the UK in Spring 2012, and shown on the EPIX HD channel in the US.

Director: Bill Jones, Ben Timlett, Jeff Simpson
Production Company: Bill and Ben Productions
Voice Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
Film Website

Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation |
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Actor Logan Cunningham voices Rucks, the narrator of Supergiant Games' Bastion. Creating the character in collaboration with sound director Darren Korb and studio director Amir Rao added new dimensions to a long-standing friendship. The three first met on their neighborhood soccer field and in high school, growing up in San Jose.

The Supergiant sound team is in the running for three VGA awards, with votes currently being accepted on the Spike website. In this interview we hear about the creation of the voice of Rucks from the actor and sound director.


Logan Cunningham at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles

What was it that led you to pursue a career in acting?

Logan Cunningham: When I was in high school I had done some acting with Darren, but I didn't train as an actor while in college. I studied basically everything else. When it came time to graduate Fordham University at Lincoln Center as a journalism and communications student, also studying a lot of English, film and visual arts, I realized that everything I had been studying was leading me back to acting and the theater.

Acting was very difficult, and I liked that. In my life, acting and writing are the two things that I've done that have been the hardest and the most fun. I've been out of college for five years, and have spent a lot of time thinking about being an actor. While I don't go on a ton of auditions, I do whatever comes my way. That was, ironically, how Bastion happened.

Did you feel that your interdisciplinary background was something that helped inform this performance?

LC: Certainly. I think that if you are an actor you should study as many things as you can.

When you began creating the character of Rucks, you had not been thinking of yourself as a voice actor. What preparation was necessary to satisfy the requirements of supplying narration for the game?

LC: Voice-over in general is a technical challenge. It's easier than live action acting, in that you don't have wardrobe or makeup and you can get away with more. Obviously, I would never be cast as Rucks in "Bastion: The Movie." But I can produce his voice.

There are things like diction and speaking clearly that are much more important in voice acting. I wasn't as used to that. The majority of the very early work with Darren was in finding that voice. What made it harder than live acting was never having a whole, completed script to read. I've since learned that this is pretty much the plight of all voice actors in videogames, who generally don't get whole scripts for security reasons.

Lyrics by Greg Kasavin, vocals by Logan Cunningham

Were suggestions you were receiving from writer Greg Kasavin helpful in building the character?

LC: A big influence on the sound of the voice is Ian McShane from Deadwood. Greg would send links to YouTube clips, which was great timing because I had just started getting into the show. In the credits of Bastion, I thank my friend Marcus for lending me his DVDs of the series the summer before, where I developed a huge actor crush on McShane and his voice.

Before Bastion, I had not been comfortable dropping my voice that low. When I was in school I was the kid that the teachers always asked to read out loud, which I hated doing. I was really self-conscious about the deepness of my voice and would pitch it higher in my everyday speech. This was a new thing for me, feeling comfortable in that lower register. And I have Deadwood to thank for that.

What kinds of exercises were you doing in order to capture the right sound for the character?

LC: Before we would start each session I warmed up with a blurb from cereal boxes, film synopses from Netflix envelopes, whatever was around. I did that four times in total: as Daniel Day-Lewis's character Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, as Sam Elliot, Al Swearengen from Deadwood, then finally as Rucks, after all that. Doing those three passes, somehow Rucks would come out.

Apart from the mechanics of finding the voice, were there insights into the personality of the character that came from Greg's writing or your own choices as an actor?

LC: The script we used came to us as a Google document, split into six columns. The column next to the lines themselves were pointers from Greg, giving some context. He had written an extensive backstory to Bastion that I was not privy to until the game had been unveiled publicly. I didn't even meet Greg until seven or eight months into it.

From the lines and my own imagination, I sensed that archetype of an aging gunslinger. I got the loneliness and the regret. It was clear to me that he had spent most of his life alone, but also that there was a lot going on with the character. I was eager to read that backstory that Greg had written once I learned of its existence, and once I did I realized that I had been on the right track.

You had in fact grown up with Amir Rao and Darren Korb. How did that relationship form prior to development on this game?

LC: Amir and Darren went to elementary school together and have been friends since they were seven. Amir I met in eighth grade. Almost every season I would play recreational soccer on their school's team, the Cougars. I stopped playing in high school and became a theater kid, but in high school it turned out that Amir and I had a lot of mutual friends in common. The three of us all went to New York for college, and they were the familiar faces that I had in the city. The three of us have stayed friends since.

darrenkorb_santamonica_tn.jpg
Sound director Darren Korb in Santa Monica, California

You've described the genre of Bastion's score as "acoustic-frontier." How did you find a sound for the music score that was unique and fit with the environment that Supergiant was looking to create?

Darren Korb: Early in the process we tried to pin down a tone for the game. I was lucky enough to be involved from the beginning, and stumbled upon "acoustic frontier trip-hop." That was something that everyone seemed happy with, so I was looking for everything to fit that genre as a kind of thematic glue for the game.

Trip-hop uses sampled beats. The juxtaposition of the trippy hip-hop and the frontier acoustic guitar made for a fun mix. World One now has a Byzantine kind of sound, with Middle Eastern and Asian influences here and there. For World Two, I've gone more in the direction of Bayou and Western frontier. Each world has its own musical tone.

The soundtrack's concept of the frontier complements the visual quality of the Bastion sprouting up around the protagonist as you explore. Was the personal context of exploring new territory as independent developers at all informing the decision?

DK: Yeah, part of the idea behind the frontier vibe was to give you the feeling that the world around you wasn't settled. Being an unsettled independent game company, we delved into this project not knowing what was ahead of us.

Are there scores for past games that stood out in your memory at the time of working on the soundtrack for Bastion?

DK: My favorite music score for a game is Marble Madness. I love it so much. Another of my favorites is Dungeon Keeper for the PC, Windows 95. Back in the day I would put the actual Dungeon Keeper game disc in my car and would listen to the music tracks on it. As far as music in games goes, I grew up playing games and they are a big part of my influences, along with bands like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Weezer and They Might Be Giants. But before I liked rock music, I liked game music.

Have you found that joining the development team has allowed you to be directly involved in your role as musician?

DK: I love being a part of Supergiant Games. Not only do I get to do something that's incredibly fun, I get to work with friends of mine, who I really get along with. Because it's such a small team, I feel that everything I do has a large effect on the overall project. The soundscape of the game is directly affected by the things that I do. It's nice to feel like I have a stake in the project.

What kind of tone did you feel was right for the character of Rucks, and what do you feel the game gains by having the narration serve as an enduring element of the gameplay?

DK: We did some experimentation, looking at other memorable narrators that we really enjoyed, like Alec Baldwin in the Royal Tennenbaums, or Sam Elliot in the Big Lebowski. We looked at how narration like that fit with the quality of Logan's voice, and started to build the character a bit from the outside in. It started off with the aesthetics of his voice and then became more about who he was and what he was all about.

The narration in this game tells the story in an unobtrusive way that happens while you're playing and it gives context to your actions. During development, I would play levels that didn't have narration on them yet and I kind of had no idea what was happening. When the narration is added, you always know what's going on. You know your objective, and everything has a context.

bastion_01tn-thumb-478x268-987.jpg

What kind of attitude did you want the narrator to have toward the playable character of the Kid?

LC: I knew there was an affection there. Rucks really has no other choice but to like the Kid, because there's no one else around. I think he likes the Kid and sees a lot of himself in him. Fans of the game have theorized that Rucks may in fact be the Kid in a Star Trek-esque causality loop. I never saw it that way myself, but I can see how other people would.

Who was supplying the vocal effects found in the game? It seems like that may have fueled speculation about whether those characters were actually related somehow.

LC: The Kid's exertion sounds are Darren. There are two male Ura at the end of the game, and Darren and I both did the sounds for those.

Additionally, you are singing on the soundtrack. When you were listing the subjects you studied in college, I noticed that vocal performance did not come up. How much background did you have as a singer prior to this game?

LC: Not much. I had been in musicals, though it's the one kind of acting that I'm not particularly fond of doing. When I see it done well, I love it. Darren wrote a musical with his older brother and it was chosen for the New York Theater Festival. There were two performances about a month ago. I was actually their assistant director, stage manager and on-stage briefly in a panda suit.

Singing is something I do reluctantly. I knew going in that they wanted me involved on the soundtrack in some capacity, but I had no idea what it was going to be. The soundtrack came out on a Friday, while I got the song from Darren only the Monday before, and we recorded it on Wednesday. Darren wrote a Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash kind of song, that required a looser, more relaxed kind of singing style forgiving to someone like me, without technical vocal training. We did it in maybe two takes. He had to rewrite the guitar track I was singing over, because it turned out I could sing much lower than he thought I could. We're really happy with how it turned out.

Lyrics by Darren Korb, vocals by Logan Cunningham

The soundtrack has been very well received. It has millions of plays online. That must be gratifying.

LC: Yeah, the number of plays is some insane number. Out of everything about the game, the reception to the sound has surprised us the most. We all knew that Darren writes good music, but witnessing the crazy response to that has been a really nice surprise.

Could you tell us a little about your thoughts on Jen Zee's art style, seen in the game? When you saw Rucks for the first time, was that image something that meshed with your vision of the character?

LC: That was pretty much what I thought he would look like. What I really like about Jen's portrayal of Rucks is that he's a little threatening looking. He's not totally a kindly elder. Like everything she did in Bastion, there's a lot of layers to the look of the character.

There's an edge to it.

LC: Yeah.

What was your experience, having been on the development end for so long, finally playing through the finished product?

LC: I was floored by just how good it was. People sometimes question our "indie-ness" when they see the WB logo, but the truth is that it turned out the way it did because every single one of the seven people who worked on this were amazing at what they did. For those without a background in development, there's a lot of mystery to how a game is made. But, in fact, you can do it, just with labor and a small amount of hardware.

Playing Bastion from start to finish for the first time, I was so proud of it. More than anything else, I was happy for Amir for having pulled it off. When I had heard that he had started his own company with Gavin, it was surprising to me. For most of my life I had known Amir to be a huge gamer, an English major and intellectual. It was therefore a little shocking to discover that he was now an entrepreneur. But he's done it, terrifically.

Your character has popped up in a number of unexpected places outside of Bastion. There was a segment on the Dorkly website, showing Rucks narrating Mario games.

LC: I've seen that video everywhere and I like it. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, or whatever. There seemed to be a lot of people, to my eyes, that thought that was me speaking, which was a little disturbing, but that's fine.

There was also the wedding you narrated.

LC: Yeah, the guy emailed Greg. We were going to be recording anyway, so we thought, "Why not?" Our recording session was actually interrupted by that earthquake that hit New York back in August. We did it, sent it out and then we didn't hear anything. There wasn't even confirmation that the lines had been received, so we left it at that. Then this past Friday, I guess he emailed Ars Technica about it. That was how we found out that he had gone through with it and used the recording for his ceremony.

Do you have thoughts on the potential for working with Supergiant in the future, expanding upon the collaboration so far?

LC: There's enough in the lore to support another Bastion game. I, for one, would love to see a prequel happen. Rucks as a young man, in his hayday, would be an interesting place to go. All I know is that if what Supergiant does next requires a voice that I would be appropriate for, I'll be there.

[Images courtesy of Supergiant Games. For more information on Bastion, see the Supergiant website and soundtrack album. See also our GDC 2011 group chat with Darren Korb and other composers of indie games. Photos by Jeriaska.]

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Feature and Essays 

First to Middle East…again….

Great series from Gaza by Andrew McConnell on Panos website…

Andrew McConnell: Leaving Gaza (Panos: September 2011)

Rena Effendi: Women of the Egyptian Revolution (Newsweek: September 2011)

David Levene: The Lives of Palestinians (Guardian: September 2011)

Moises Saman: Post-Gaddafi Tripoli (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Natan Dvir: Eighteen (TIME LB: September 2011) Arab Teens in Israel

Olga Kravets: The Shelter (Salt Images: September 2011)

Adam Ferguson: Afghanistan Soldiers Skyping (TIME LB: September 2011)

Graham Crouch: Red Cross Kabul (FotoStrada: 2011)

To other features…

Joseph Rodriguez: Welcome to Newburgh, Murder Capital of New York (New York Magazine: September 2011) article

Todd Heisler: Sound Stages in New York (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Sven Torfinn: In Uganda, Losing Land to Planted Trees (NYT: September 2011)

Thilde Jensen: Canaries (NYT: September 2011)

Gesche Würfel: Basement Sancturies (Foto8: September 2011) Würfel’s website

Lucy Nicholson: A Gay Military Family (Reuters: September 2011)

Tom Hyde: After the Fall (burn: September 2011)

From VII…

Anastasia Taylor-Lind in VII magazine…see later in this blog post for some VII transition related news…

Anastasia Taylor-Lind:  Resurgence of the Cossacks (VII Magazine: September 2011)

Ron Haviv: Glimpses of the Fall of Tripoli (VII: September 2011)

Mikolaj Nowacki: The River Odra (VII Mentor: September 2011) Nowacki’s website

I don’t remember if I posted this already earlier… quite possibly…Lynsey Addario’s NGM series on Baghdad on VII website…

Lynsey Addario: Baghdad (VII Network: September 2011)

Mads Nissen: Bessarabian Blues (Panos: September 2011)

Long 40 photo edit of Andrea Star-Reese’s Urban Cave…

Andrea Star-Reese: Urban Cave (Visionproject.org: 2011)

Maciej Dakowicz Cardiff nightlife photos were heavily discussed last week after being published in Daily Mail…Here the photos in NYT Lens…Comments in the Guardian and BBC

Maciej Dakowicz: Cardiff After Dark (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Myrto Papadopoulos: In the Grecian Caves Where Time Slows  Down (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Kosuke Okahara: Transnistria: An Unrecognized State Caught Between Past and Present (TIME LB: September 2011)

Max Whittaker: 80 on 80 (Prime Collective: September 2011)

David Walter Banks: Craziest Vacation Spots (Newsweek: September 2011)

Washington Post: Reframing Mexico (WP: September 2011) Reframing Mexico project website

John Vink: Cambodia Land Issues (Magnum: September 2011)

Finlay Mackay: London 2012 (TIME LB: September 2011)

Dan Giannopoulos: The Orphaned Elderly of Kathmandu (TIME LB: September 2011)

Peter Funch: Composite Characters (TIME LB: September 2011)

Brian Cassey: Soulless in Seoul (Fotostrada: 2011)

Paul Russell: Country Shows (BBC: September 2011)

“Your friend doesn’t have a fucking pool!” Alec Baldwin and other portraits by Jake Chessum…

Jake Chessum: Celebrity Portraits (Life.com: September 2011)

Agencies

VII Photo is going through some changes… British Journal of Photography’s news editor Olivier Laurent is keeping us up-to-date with news as they come in…So far, BJP has confirmed Stefano de Luigi will be full member, whereas VII Mentor Agnes Dherbeys has left VII to be an independent photographer. At the moment, Olivier has unconfirmed  list of photographers who have been offered  full membership with the agency and I’d imagine we’ll get the confirmations very soon…

BJP: VII Photo in transition (BJP: September 2011)

Stephen Mayes did imply in his comments that not everyone has been accepted, but it it would seen most of the Network photographers, such as Lynsey Addario, Ashley Gilbertson and Tomas van Houtryve,  have been made full members…No word on the future status of previous Network photographers Gafic, Kurzen, Domaniczky, Bouvet, or Bruce at the moment, or any of the VII Mentor photographers apart from Dherbeys…I’d imagine a lot of the Mentor photographers staying in that category, as it was only Network that’s gets disbanded…I have word that no new Mentor photographers were taken in at this time.

I can confirm that Anastasia Taylor-Lind, despite not being included in the BJP’s ‘unconfirmed list’ at time of writing this, has been offered full membership. Until now she was part of VII Mentor.

I was skyping with Anastasia earlier today, and asked about her initial reaction:

After 2 years on the VII mentor program under the guidance of Ron Haviv, I am utterly delighted and honored to become part of VII Photo. The mentor program is a wonderful and successful idea, and something I am really proud to have been part of. I’m excited about my future at VII and being part of an exceptional group of photographers, who are in turn supported by wonderful agency staff.”

Congratulations! Well deserved.  You can find Anastasia’s website here and blog with recent tear sheets here.

Speaking of VII…

Books

Fancy a look inside VII’s upcoming Questions Without Answers book? Yeah? Well, see here for sample pdf.

photo: Joachim Ladefoged from series, A Vanishing Way of Life, 2003

Slideshow in their archive

Should be a great book…. Would also love this…

The New York Times Magazine Photographs (Aperture 2011)

Afterwards: Contemporary Photography Confronting the Past (Thames&Hudson: 2011)

Communities

Emphas.is September 2011 newsletter

Videos

National Geographic: Search for the Afghan Girl Pt 1 |Pt 2 | Pt 3 | Pt 4

Interviews

Kathy Ryan on The New York Times Magazine Photographs book (spd.org: 2011)

Danfung Dennis : Hell and Back Again (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Alec Soth (The New York Times Magazine’s 6th Floor blog: September 2011)

Victoria Will trying to convince 35mm photographers to try out Hasselblad…tasteful advertising….(unlike)

Victoria Will (Hasselblad US: 2011)

Fred Ritchin : What Matters Now (La Lettre: September 2011)

Steve McCurry (Oprah)

Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols : National Geographic photographer ditches website, turns to the iPad (BJP: September 2011)

Olivia Arthur (IdeasTap)

Farzana Wahidy (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Elizabeth Hingley (e-photoreview: September 2011)

Erik De Castro : Back in Afghanistan, ten years later (Reuters photo blog: September 2011)

Nick Oza (Image Deconstructed: September 2011)

Articles

“Hard times have spawned great art — but not these hard times, it seems.”

LA Times: Where’s today’s Dorothea Lange? (LA Times: September 2011)

Guardian: The excess is not in alcohol but in Britain’s self-loathing  (Guardian: September 2011) Maciej Dakowicz’s pictures of Cardiff revellers are lapped up by a country that pictures itself as broken, boozing, morally sick

PhotoShelter blog has a piece about the most dangerous places to work as a photographer…

photo: Sebastian Meyer

PhotoShelter: The 14 Most Dangerous Locations For Photojournalists (PhotoShelter: September 2011)

NYT piece on AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus’ At War exhibition in Berlin…

NYT: At Berlin Show, One Photographer’s View of the Post-Sept. 11 World (NYT: September 2011)

Reportage by Getty Images:  “Hi, my name is Spain, and this is my story.”(Reportage: September 2011)

From Telegraph's Telephoto...

Telegraph: Afghanistan? There’s an app for that (Telegraph: September 2011) The humble iPhone is changing photography on the frontline

Telegraph: Revealing landscapes: the photography of Joel Sternfeld (Telegraph: September 2011)

BJP: Could Once Magazine, an iPad-only photography magazine, represent a new revenue stream for photojournalists? (BJP: September 2011)

BJP: Harry Ransom Center acquires Elliott Erwitt’s archives (BJP: September 2011)

BJP: Ways of Looking Bradford photography festival (BJP: September 2011)

Guardian: Featured photojournalist, Mark Blinch (Guardian: September 2011)

Verve: Chelsea MacLachlan (Verve: September 2011)

PDN: Beatles Photographer Robert Whitaker Dies

PDN: Top 10 iPad photo portfolio Apps for the iPad

Bill Gates v. Photojournalists (Concertiumnews.com: 2011)

Seven by Five: Who is using your photos without permission?

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

Application open for the inaugural Tim Hetherington grant

News and Documentary Emmys : Tim Hetherington’s and Sebastian Junger’s Restrepo won two Emmys (Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story, Long Form, and an editing award for Outstanding Individual Achievement In A Craft)

Luis Valtuena International Humanitarian Photography award

New Scholarships Available For Photojournalists Returning To School : NPPA

Lucas Dolega Award

TIME is looking for the best young photographers of 2011…NB. Only US students need apply it seems

TIME : Next Generation : Submissions will be accepted beginning October 3, 2011, at 12 a.m. EST, until midnight on October 17, 2011. Winners will be announced on LightBox on October 26, 2011.

Jobs

Ben Curtis, Middle East photo editor for AP, named chief photographer for East Africa

Part time multimedia coordinator :  ActionAid : London

Fundraising

Human Right Watch: Facing Power: A Print Sale to Benefit Human Rights (HRW)

Events

Festival of Photography : Wild Day : Sunday 2 October 2011 : Royal Geographical Society : London | full program PDF

Services

Luxlab

To finish off…

Rude hand gestures of the world

If you are like me and not really into computer games, perhaps this ‘war journalism game’ Warco will get even us excited…or not…

Warco

and…

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