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AMERICAN SUBURB X

 

 

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AMERICAN SUBURB X

“At that time I was frustrated with everything, including photography – particularly my own. There was a sense of irritation generally in the air, so I just thought ‘let’s completely deconstruct photography’.”

- Daido Moriyama

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AMERICAN SUBURB X

Man with Bandage, 1968

Fred Herzog In His Own Words, from interviews with John Mackie of the Vancouver Sun in June, 2005, and January, 2007

On Photography

“Photographic finesse has its place, but it can also get in the way. I was trying to show vitality. The pictures are about content, and more content. And if there is no content, take no picture.”

“It’s exactly the other way around now. ‘Okay I’m going to take my clothes off, and I’m going to stand there in the nude, and I’m going to try and look lonely or profound.’”

“Content cannot be manufactured, in my opinion. That which I can find is better than that which you can make. That which we find, the work and the use of the people out there, it’s natural, that’s what ordinary people do, that interests me.”

“I take pride in saying these are all how we looked, not how we wanted to look, or staged. You cannot stage pictures. That is something I have many many times defended. People say ‘Well you can stage that.’ I say ‘No you cannot, and I can prove it to you.’ Many times over I’ve taken a second shot after [some] kids have seen me, and nothing. It’s a different picture.”

“I started taking pictures in 1950. I went with a small youth group, every summer we went to the Alps and did hiking. They all had cameras so I had a camera. It was called the Kodak Retina I. It didn’t even have a rangefinder, it had a peephole viewfinder which was worse than you get on these throwaway cameras now. But I used it and I got good pictures with it.”

“The pictures I took in Germany were all lost on the ship when I came over here, because it was an old rust-bucket that nearly sank in the Atlantic. It took on water, all my baggage was floating in water and all the negatives were destroyed in the salt water. I tried to wash it, it couldn’t be washed.”

“In Canada the first good pictures I took were black and white photos of the ship pulling up in the St. Lawrence River and the towers of Montreal [in 1952]. I have got pictures of those German immigrants. They all had cameras and they kept them in their leather ever-ready cases with the flaps discreetly opened. They all wore suits and ties. A lot of them became successful and became importers. But here I have a picture of them on the ship. It’s a little bit like The Steerage by Steichen, but not quite. I never thought of printing them, but I have them.”

“In 1957 I became a medical photographer, and almost at the same time I became a serious documentary photographer. The reason I chose documentary photography — I didn’t even know that word — [was] I had great fun walking around the old streets of Vancouver, looking at the second-hand stores, the people and the signs. To me, that was a kind of vitality that spoke to me directly.”

“In that, I think I was really different. in those days I didn’t think of it that way. But what we know now is that nobody has done that, not even in small bodies of work. Nobody has done that. Before that [it was] buildings or swans or babies, sunsets or landscapes or barns with yellow tulips. I tell you nobody did that. It’s only now that that hits home.”

“Nobody did that even in the U.S.A. I have often looked at American yearbooks and things, the American Photography color yearbook, that was a big thing, I bought those. But they’re full of pretty pictures of women, some of them naked, some of them beautiful. Even the ones who are not naked look beautiful to me. Perhaps it’s my age. But there was no street photography. None done. And I did that, and I did it with a passion, and I did it with variety. You can see that now in the pictures.”

On why so many of his photos feature neon signs

“Oh, neon signs. This is one of the greatest use of technology, to make people happy. When you went to town in Vancouver in the 1950s, you had the experience of going to town. That’s gone. Now you have to look for parking, have park underground, which takes you almost as long as eating your dinner.”

“In those days we were convivial. That means we can live together. That has gone away. We are no longer convivial. We’re ‘You’re better than me,’ and ‘I’m better than him,’ and ‘I’m going to kick butt on him.’”

On his photo of the Neon jungle at Hastings and Carrall in 1958

“I don’t take credit for it looking like this. What I can’t believe is that there are no good pictures of that. That was a fabulous strip. I only took one picture. Not two or three for safety – I had no money for that. So I had to know exactly how to expose it, take one picture, and hope it doesn’t get lost in the mail. And some got lost in the mail. I had to send [the Kodachrome film] to Kodak in another part of North America. They could get lost and they did get lost.”

“When I see that now, I only have one slide of this. I think ‘How the hell did I not find the money to take two?’ Honestly, it was a question of eating, in those days. In those days, I put everything into photography, to the point where people said ‘This guy’s a neurotic.’”

On the White Lunch Cafe’s neon sign

“The White Lunch was an institution. I love things like that. The swirl of steam over the cup is pure genius. This is one of the better neon signs around. I’d go to the White Lunch. I can tell you what I ate there: braised sirloin tips and a custard pudding with a little bit of rice in the bottom.”

“Everything that’s uninteresting I remember faultlessly. But if it was my mother’s birthday, I’d have to think for awhile or look at a notebook. But this is how we are, how we are made.”

 

Bogner’s Grocery, 1960

On his 1960 photo of Bogner’s Grocery, which is literally covered in signs

“That was off Oak street. The signs are a very very important pictorial part of the American city. I won’t even say pictorial, an important cultural part of the American city. If you take the Coca-Cola and other signs away from America downtown, you have nothing. Maybe some interesting architecture, but not very much.”

“The neon signs and the soft drink signs, the cigarette ads and the billboards and the posters and the grafitti and collages of torn-off posters, all that contributes to make the city a place where art actually happens. That kind of casual art, overlapping posters, can be very very interesting. Those posters illustrate the city even if people are not there.”

“A store like this was a gem. You cannot fake that. Look how casually they nailed this big sign over the small one. The Coca-Cola man says ‘we’ve got another big sign,’ and the person who owns the store says ‘well put it up.’”

On his love of old Coca-Cola signs

“Coca-Cola signs, see, nobody photographed Coca-Cola signs. I did. I actually photographed them to show how the city looks bad without them. And they took those down, of course. They have become collectors items.”

“I’m not surprised, because they are beautiful. Embossed on metal, they are beautiful. I wish I had some of them, but I never stole them. Crazy stuff. If you had this Santa Claus with a Pepsi sign now, it would be worth $500. I ate a meal for 25 cents at the same shop. If I had asked for that they would have said come back in a week and you can have both of them.”

“These are to me an incredibly pictorial aspect. [He points to a photo of an old building with some signs.] Without that it could have been taken in the Ukraine. But with that, it’s America. I call Canada America, I’m talking about North America. I don’t differentiate that much.”

On shooting in colour, at a time when all serious art photography was done in black and white

“First of all when you do black and white all have is the basic resource, a negative. That needs a lot of dancing around the darkroom and time and patience and energy. You should ideally be a man of leisure, an English gentleman. And a lot of English gentlemen did serious and beautiful photography.

“But I didn’t have time for that. That’s one reason [I did colour slides]. I’d get 36 slides back, beautiful, finish.””

 

New Pontiac, 1957

On Kodachrome slides

“Kodachrome was the best film and the most reliable development, but it was far from reliable. I was so frustrated at times I sent film to Palo Alto or to Rochester, just to get them developed right. And of course that entailed an extremely long wait. You’d take the pictures today and they would come back in two weeks or something.”

“But Kodachrome was the best film. I have to thank Kodak for making that product. Without that product, we would not have the pictures. Pictures that were taken on other films have suffered more than Kodachrome. Kodachrome was thought to last 50 years, and it has.””

On his awareness of what he was doing

“I was aware I was taking art. That’s the conceit of young people. I knew that what I am doing is not only unique, but that someday I’m going to unpack that and shock people with it. And that was 50 years ago. It’s sort of a fairy tale story, but that’s exactly how it’s beginning to play out.”

“I am not blaming people for it not happening until now, because without digital I could not have done it. [He takes out a photo of Nelson and Howe.] This picture was so badly damaged by fungus. By traditional methods you would have said ‘Sorry I can’t print that.’ Well we cleaned that up just like that and it made a beautiful photograph. The colour is beautiful, the detail is excellent.”

On street photography and digital technology

“Timing in photography is almost everything. You have to pay attention to where the light comes from, you have to pay attention to your background. If your background is too loud, or makes too much of itself…that’s the problem of the photographic process. It records everything that’s in the viewfinder, whether it’s important or not.”

“All the good pictures that didn’t turn out good, it’s because of the background or because the light comes from one side or some other technical glitch. That’s the grace of these modern digital cameras. First of all everything that can go wrong is taken care of automatically. A person who’s completely ignorant of the photographic process [can take [photos].”

“And I say that respectfully. You don’t have to know anything, you press the button and you get a beautiful picture. That’s how it works out now. This is enormous progress. Because of that you’ll see now a flood of good pictures which we never dreamed we would see. I already get them in the e-mail.”

 

Foot of Main, 1968

On his photos of second hand stores

“I call them a microcosm of American culture, because that’s exactly what it is, of all the things we want to have. All the things we need to have, and all the things we’d love to have wind up in second hand shops in that kind of condensed fashion.

“This [photo of a second hand store window] is an art piece. I’m not saying my picture is an art piece. But if you could freeze that window and carry it into an art gallery, you could show that in New York and ask $50,000 for it. And you’d get it. And they’d say ‘Why didn’t I know about it? Now I have to pay $100,000, because that guy wants to sell it to me for $100,000.’

“That’s how much that store would be worth if you could have preserved it and transported it to New York as is, authentically. To have a photograph of that is the next best thing. And who else would have thought of taking that then?””

His photo of the U.R. Next Barber Shop

“That was the best barber shop of all times. It was also the first [photo I took]. I couldn’t improve on it. Look at this, it’s almost like a Hollywood movie set, it’s beyond belief.”

On his shot a family walking down Robson street beside the International Cafe

“I used to eat there many times. I had the goulash, very very good. An Austrian woman ran that. I have a picture of that [block] as it looks now, and it looks like a suburb of Shanghai. It’s not the same anymore.”

On his shot Hastings Street at Columbia, 1958

“I had a 35 millimetre camera which had bellows on it, and I could put a view cam on it from a big camera. It gave me that kind of long perspective, a telephoto perspective.”

On his photo of Granville and Smithe in 1959

“If you go to this spot on Granville street, all you see is trees. That’s gone. Everything that had teeth. This is what bothers me about the city. Everything that had interest or teeth or contradiction or American blaring culture which makes our cities interesting. Take that away and it’s all grey. That all has been taken away. So now we go to Granville street, it almost looks like an East German slum. It’s not nice.”

 

Paris Cafe, 1959

On how modern digital technology has made it possible for him to mount a show like this

“[That photo] is from the 60s. Look at how that can be resurrected through the digital method. If I had had to do a show then, I simply could not have afforded it, it would have cost 10 times as much and it wouldn’t have been as good.

“All the factors that lead to a good show have come together now. At my age, 76, perhaps it would have been nice to have that at age 60 or so. But I’m glad, I’m happy, I’m proud. I think actually it’s better it’s now, because I think it would have changed my life [to have success earlier]. Instead of taking pictures I would have sat around at parties.

“This has been a coincidence if things. One is that Kathleen [Bartels] who is directing the Vancouver Art Gallery wants this sort of thing. The other thing is that it’s technically possible now to make them to a budget, and to make them very good. Whether a picture was taken in the 50s or now makes no difference.”

On how many photos he took and where they were shown

“I have 80,000 slides. I don’t have them all anymore. Furthermore many of these slides don’t play in this kind of thing. They were done for very different reasons. I’ve got lots of pictures of motorcycle races and of butterflies and God knows what else. I’ve made 28,000 negatives. I counted them, I figured it out, per page of 36 exposures.

“I had many many slide shows, probably 80 or 100. But I did not have that many print shows.

“These [images] would have disappeared if we had not done this show. I’ve even said to my wife, ‘If you have to dump those, don’t dump them all on the same day.’ Nobody wanted them. It’s colour. I offered them to the National Gallery, and they said ‘Sorry we only do black and white.’ I enquired, that was the early 80s.”

His reaction to the National Gallery turning him down

“A person like me doesn’t get pissed off. I get tense, and I get nervous, and I am not Fearless Fred, as some people say. I can be daunted, but I don’t get angry that quickly. There’s a Spanish proverb, ‘He who gets angry will destroy himself.’ That’s a good one. I know it in Spanish, but not this morning, I need more coffee.”

On a 1960 photo featuring two kids play fighting over bubblegum

“Isn’t that a fun picture? I have two pictures of that. This one I took it at full aperture, on ISO 10 film. Do you know what that means? Films now have ISO 800 or even more, 1600. This was so slow, I had to shoot the picture at full aperture, F2, and a tenth of a second. And that’s how it turns out, and it’s good.

“I said to them, ‘I’m not sure if I got this picture of you guys, could you do it for me again?’ And of course, it’s so stiff and acted, it has no value at all. You couldn’t even show it to your own mother.

That picture has the authenticity of observed life. To me that is the key to success in photography.

“There are people that don’t think that way. Jeff Wall is a friend, and he thinks that what he enacts is better than what other people find. I don’t want to rock the boat, but it’s not for me. His is a new stage in art. It’s a little bit like film is compared to history. It’s valid, I’m not challenging it. When I make a remark like ‘what you find is more interesting than what you can make,’ I mean it, but I don’t mean it in such a way that it [precludes] other people from producing art on different levels.

On his love of old neighbourhoods like Chinatown and Strathcona

“Oh, Strathcona. Strathcona is the archetype of an intact neighbourhood. There have been changes, but Strathcona has remained at least 60 percent of what it used to be. The lanes are interesting, the houses are interesting, the inhabitants are interesting. I know two or three.”

 

Arthur Murray, 1960

On his photo of commercial signs at Carrall and Hastings in 1968

“Signs in this context expressed the vitality of a city. You notice that now the city has no signs, the vitality is no longer visible. It may be in the dining room or the kitchen or the bedroom, but not in the city.”

On going through his files for the Vancouver Art Gallery show

“I look back into my files and see if there is anything I want to pull out. Many of the pictures that are now in the show were originally in a discard file, because some of them were not perfectly sharp. Some just weren’t important then, because it looked like ordinary [life], this is how the city looked. So now pictures I had practically forgotten, have been fished out and used.

“I have not had a holiday in the last four years, because I have worked 10 hours a day on this show. It’s a lot of work, an unbelievable amount of work to make those scans, to approve the proofs, to print them, to reprint them if they’re not right. And to learn how to do it.

“All that has taken four years of my old life. But it has also in a way revived me. You could die of boredom, let’s face it. And this prevented that outright.”

On suddenly being the toast of the town, after 50 years of photography

“It’s wonderful. Let’s face it, we don’t want to live under a log. All of a sudden I have found recognition for something…it’s a funny thing. Artists have always liked these pictures, but they haven’t had the power to say he should be in the art gallery. Also they thought maybe painting may be better. People who have the highest rank in painting like my pictures but none of them came quite out and said ‘I’m going to talk to people at the Art Gallery, maybe you should have [a show] down there.’ It could have been done.

“But I was never bitter about it. In the U.S. people who did [similar photography] in the 1970s like Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld and Joel Meyerowitz, William Eggleston…they had done stuff like that and it got into the Museum of Modern Art and other similar museums. They had the funds and the grants and the money, and also the spirit that this can be used as art. In Canada, in this respect, we were hanging a little bit behind. We just did not have major art gallery shows of photography. Maybe in the east, but sometimes there were things we couldn’t do here in the west.”

On how his photo of a male mannequin’s upper torso in a suit, a measuring tape casually draped around its shoulders, reflects “the quiet charm which many other cities do not have”

“If I go to Berlin and look for that I will not find it, because these people are so uniformly educated and sophisticated and super clean, they don’t want stuff like that. They would probably parade in front of the shop and say ‘Hey guy, get mod! Get mod, clean up your act! Put something modern [in the window], we don’t want to look like a bunch of lumpy hicks from Russia!’

“This was on Commercial Drive. This is a wonderful thing. Here is a craftsman who has not studied art in London. Here is a craftsman who knew how to make a suit. He knew nothing else, but he thought that this would suck them people in. And I agree with him, it probably did. And I respect him, I’m not trying to laugh at his effort. I really want to say, ‘Hey guy, I respect you for the love that you bring to your craft. I don’t expect you to compete with Andy Warhol, I want you to make something that’s even better. But don’t get an education to do it.”

On his photo of a car racing across the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks on the waterfront, just ahead of an oncoming train

“Isn’t that lovely, the train coming, the car crossing just in time. I knew two people who died [in train/car crashes], two good acquaintances of mine, one a friend. I was in the fire department [in Germany] and our fire chief got killed just like that. Not in Vancouver, in my hometown in Germany.

“It was such a tragedy. He was also a sportsman, he was a German master in some kind of sport. But he created such a tragedy…they prevented his wife from jumping into the grave. He did just that, crossing the tracks in front of a fast-moving train, on his motorcycle yet. How he could do that? But you know what it is? Young people are so driven by testosterone, they’re full up to here with testosterone, and they will take unbelievable chances because they think they are specially protected.

“There have been times in my life when I may have been somewhat like this, but never so over the top that I would introduce myself as I’m Fred, I’m a type-A personality. Not that.”

 

Jackpot, 1961

On his photo of a dapper black man walking in Chinatown in 1962 with his daughter and dog

“I presume he was an employee of the CNR. He had his day off and went walking here with his daughter, dressed up beautifully. When I dressed up like that I looked like a bricklayer on Sunday, but he can pull it off with style.

On his photo of the art deco Marine Building and a decrepit rooming house

“That’s a treasure now, to see a picture like that. Not to have the damn thing around and catch mice at night, but to have a picture of that, because that is how the city looked in those days. [The Marine Building] was a state of the art building in the 1930s, and you have the Elysium Cleaners around the corner. This is a real timepiece. That’s a nice catch.”

On his Vancouver Flaneur photo of a dapper, slightly ominous man in a fedora and suit watching Granville street from a doorway”

“It’s simple and has a power. That’s my favourite shot for the cover [of the exhibition catalogue] because it’s simple, it has a power and it’s simple. [He looks like] a rent collector. He makes like he was part of a powerful group of people. If you had talked to him he would have spoken with a deep voice and sort of nodded his head to say ‘you’re half-right, but get lost.’”

On his 1960 photo The Joke, of two friends sharing a laugh at Carrall and Hastings

“I like this picture. It’s called the Joke, and it isn’t [technically] sharp. But look at the fun these guys are having: he’s patting him on the belly, saying ‘What about that now, guy?’ And he breaks up laughing. Isn’t that wonderful? That shows a warmth, the way people used to be out in the city. It said ‘This is our city,’ that’s the kind of venue where we could be ourselves and have enjoyment and meet friends.

“It’s not like that now. There’s an atmosphere of fear here, of dereliction, of drugs. It’s just awful. And we’ve made it that way, nobody can say that just happened. We made it that.”

On taking on-the-fly photos of people on the street, without asking their permission

“People say ‘Did you have a release?’ Well, you cannot take pictures of living people looking like living people with a release. You could ask for that afterwards, and I’ve done that.”

On his photo of a young girl at the PNE in 1960

“I even like her. If she had lived across the hall, something would have happened. There is an archetypal North American personality here which grips me. I have such love and sympathy for her, because she went out at night. Look how she’s prettied up. She came here and said ‘I’m going to hit the town, in my own modest way.’ She has both a presence and a slight sense of abandonment. The way she has her cigarette, she’s got style. She is not one of the types you would say is a film star, but I’d like to use her in a movie.

On his Jackpot photo of gamblers at the PNE in 1961

“The jackpot is for 25 cents. Look at the size of the coin. You’d think she had won 250 grand. But there’s five cents, and there’s five cents and there’s 10 cents. It’s not big money.”

 

ASX CHANNEL: FRED HERZOG

(All rights reserved. Text and Images @ Fred Herzog Estate)

The post INTERVIEW: Fred Herzog – “In His Own Words” (excerpts) appeared first on ASX | AMERICAN SUBURB X | Photography & Culture.

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

 

Conversation with Joe McNally

 

David Alan Harvey: You and I met because we were in an educational environment, and here we are twenty-five years later in Dubai for a workshop,  and still in an educational environment  and yet earning our living as photographers. Gulf Photo Plus has brought us together again.

Well Joe, I know some things about you. I know you are great at lighting. I know you like to stand up on top of tall buildings!!I know you are a great guy.

But I want to ask you a couple of questions that I don’t know. I don’t know exactly how you got started in photography or exactly where you got started in photography.

Joe McNally: It was accidental, as these things happen. I knew I wanted to be a journalist and so when I was in school I was literally forced to take a photography class in addition to my writing classes. I borrowed my dad’s old range finder camera. It was called a Beauty Light 3 and I did a couple of classes, and it worked for me.

DAH: In conjunction with your writing? Was it going to be supplemental to your writing?

JMcN: At that point I really decided I wanted to be a photographer, which as you know, back in the day, photographers weren’t really allowed to write anything for anybody (newspapers and what not) generally speaking. So, I stayed in school and I did a master’s in photojournalism.

DAH: Where was that?

JMcN: At Syracuse University. And then I came straight to New York City and my first very grand job in journalism was being a copy boy at the New York Daily News in 1976.

DAH: Oh, that would be an education!

JMcN: I ran Breslin’s copy when he was writing letters to the “Son of Sam”. You know, Pete Hamill was writing at the time.

DAH: Oh really? The classic.

JMcN: I used to take the one star, which came around about seven or eight o’clock at night. Tomorrow’s newspaper..tonight.. and I would go to the third floor press room. I would take fifty papers, put them on my shoulder…

I would not go back to the newsroom…I would continue down the stairs and go across to Louis East and then I would just start putting the papers out on the bar because all the editors were in Louie’s and they had phones, so they would phone in their corrections for the two star from the bar.

DAH: That was back when journalism was journalism.

JMcN: Yeah, it was pretty gritty back then.

DAH: Well okay, did you work for a newspaper? Did you shoot pictures for a newspaper after that?

JMcN: Well, I got fired by the Daily News three years in. I was a studio apprentice. I had made it to being what they called a “boy” in the studio. I was running Versamats and processing film for the photographers, captioning, etc. And I learned a lot about the business.

There was a great New York press photographer name Danny Farrell who took me under his wing. He said “Kid, you have any eye…I don’t think you’re going to make it here, but let me show you a few things”. Danny is a great man. He is 82 now…I just did his portrait.

You know, the Daily News kicked me out the door and I ended up stringing for the AP, UPI and the New York Times. That became kind of a full time gig for about two years.

DAH: How old are you are that point?

JMcN: Lets see, that would be late ’70s, so I am kind of in my late twenties at that point. I was born in ’52. And then, all of a sudden, I got this offer of the strangest job you can imagine. I became a staff photographer at ABC television in New York.

DAH: Really?

JMcN: And that was what introduced me to the world of color and light, because I had been a straight up black and white street shooter prior to that, and my boss at ABC looked at me and said:”We shoot Kodachrome. And we light a lot of stuff”. I was thinking at the time ‘I don’t even know how to plug in a set of lights!’. So thankfully, it was a job that routinely expected failure, and I routinely delivered.

As a still photographer for a television network you’re always the caboose of the operation, the last consideration…they are always doing TV first and foremost and you have to try to squeeze your way in to a set, like a television-movie set or maybe on a news set, shooting the anchors. Or shooting Monday night football. And the interesting part about the job, the things that kind of made me think about technique and be a little bit faster on my feet than I had been before is that I had to shoot everything in color and black & white.

DAH: You had to do both. Now these pictures are going as publicity pictures?

JMcN: Publicity pictures, releases to magazines, covers of television magazines, you name it. On the average week I would shoot sports…I would go down to Washington and shoot Frank Reynolds at the Washington Bureau, and then I would come back up and shoot Susan Lucci on “All My Children”. So it was fast paced, and it really got my feet under me in terms of color.

DAH: So you had two cameras… a black & white and a color camera.

JMcN: Yeah.

DAH: Sounds like my worst nightmare.

JMcN: Yeah, sometimes I would have four cameras at a political convention…I did the Reagan campaign, I did the political conventions and such because they would send me out. I would have four cameras and sometimes I would be juggling three ISO’s or what we used to call ASA.

DAH: So when I see you working now and I was listening to you yesterday talking to your students, and I see you working with your assistants…I mean you’ve got a lot of stuff on your mind. But I guess obviously you are used to it. You grew up multitasking.

JMcN: Yeah, kind of. For whatever strange reason I always allude to the fact that I got raised Irish-Catholic, and editors found out about that and so they knew I was intensely conversant about the whole idea of suffering. Being raised the way I was…if a day passes without some largely undeserved measure of suffering, it’s not a day worth living.

DAH: No good deed goes unpunished.

JMcN: Exactly. And then, if you know how to use lights even a little bit, editors sometimes will zero in on you and say “Okay, that guy is lights”. So, I ended up doing a lot of big production work for whatever weird reason. I did these big gigs for Life …They threw something at me once, a hundred and forty seven jazz musicians all at once. Largest group of jazz musicians ever assembled. It was a riff on Art Kane’s photo, “A Great Day in Harlem”.

DAH: Yeah, I remember that.

JMcN: And my boss at Life was a big jazz fan. And so he engineered this massively expensive thing where all these jazz guys came in to New York to recreate that photograph. We even found the kid who was sitting on the stoop in the original Kane photo, and was probably ten or eleven years old at that time. We found him as an adult and had him into the picture as well.

And one of the great honors of my career during that assignment was that they brought in G0rdon Parks to shoot the original scene on the street, and I got to assist Gordon.

DAH: Wow! Were you with Gordon up at Eddie Adams when he was there?

JMcN: Yeah..

DAH: Yeah, because we were all with Gordon there at one point because he came up there for two or three years at one point.

JMcN: Well, that was the great thing about the early days of Eddie’s, because Carl Mydans would come up and Eisie was there. Eisie would go the podium and lecture, remembering f/stops of pictures he had shot about forty or fifty years ago. The guy was just extraordinary. And that I think is why we still remain educators, because we grew up being mentored.

DAH: We grew up being mentored and then I think we started also teaching at the same time we were being mentored. I mean, both things were happening simultaneously I think.

Okay, it would be great to talk about the good ole days. They weren’t all that great, there were some negative things about the good ole days, but we both picked up the sense of an extended family that we have with each other. It’s amazing. I am seeing Heisler and you and Burnett here for example. And plus meeting a lot of new people, but neither one of us seems to be the type to dwell on the good-ole-days. I mean we are in the new days, and you’ve got young photographers, and people who want to move forward in the business, and here you are as the mentor. How do you account for that? What is that? What is that about for you, personally?

JMcN: For me it is a way to give back, to kind of return that educational base that I sprang from. That is certainly it. It is also part of the mix as a photographer. I always tell photographers now, if they ask, you have to have a lot of lines on the water if you’re going to survive. You shoot for sure, but we also teach, we lecture, publish books, do a blog, the whole social media thing…you have to be as broad based as you possibly can.

For example, I’ve got a couple of young assistants in my studio, and I say look, you’re future is very vibrant…a lot of people are saying doomsday stuff right now, but I think the future is vibrant, it’s just going to be very different from mine. Talk about multitasking! They have to be good on the web, they are going to have to know video, audio, all that stuff. They’ll have to be kind of their own multifaceted entertainment-information package. They are going to have to bring lots of skills to the party. We learned how to do one thing well, and that was how to tell a good story with a camera in our hands.

DAH: Right. Yeah, I never worried too much about the technology changes because I could see always that technological change took people out of every business. Look at radio. Television came along and a whole bunch of radio people just immediately died. And then others, like Jack Benny segued right into it. I never worried about it because I figured there was always some new way to tell the story.

JMcN: Exactly. Heisler was here and Greg being as smart as he is said something to me a couple years ago. He very wisely said:”Joe, this was going to happen whether we liked it or not. This whole digital revolution. So either adapt with it and change with it, or we sit at home and get angry”.

DAH: Well that’s right, and besides that you can still shoot film if you want to for yourself and the stories that you want to tell and the ways that you are going to work are the same. And, you’ve been benefited with a lot of things by the digital ages as well. I mean you’re not running Polaroids just now when you’re taking my picture. I mean those good-ole-days weren’t that great.

JMcN: No, there was a lot of hard work! And auto focus came in at about the right time for me and my eyes, you know. Things change and you have to change with it. I look now at the digital technology and the way its expanded and what you can do imaginatively, and I embrace it. I think it’s a beautiful thing.

DAH: Well, everybody is into still photography right now. Everybody is a photographer. It’s a common language, which means you’ve got a lot of people to mentor. You’ve got to be a huge influence. You’ve got an entire audience for your blog, there is a whole Joe McNally fan base out there and picking up all the time because people are really, really interested, and I think lighting is the big mystery.

They can take pictures with their iPhone, they can take pictures with whatever camera right out of the box, but the one thing they can’t do is light stuff. Tell me a little bit about how you look at lighting in the first place.

JMcN: Well, one of the first things I say if I am teaching is you’ve got to think about light as language. Right from the ancient descriptions photography…photo-graphos — the original Greek term — to write with light. Some people are a little surprised by this.

I say “Look, light has every quality you associate with the written word or the verbal expression of speech. It can be angry, it can be soft, it can be harsh, slanting. I mean all those things…it has emotion and quality and character. And you have to look for it”.

One of the things about if you work technically with light, for instance if you experiment with flash, one thing that also develops at the same time is your overall awareness of light in general. Just your sense of light keeps going forward. So the more you experiment, the better you are going to get, and the better you’re going to get with you means your confidence level raises. And if you are more confident you can approach your subject and your subject matter more confidently.

DAH: It’s not just technical because you are telling a story ultimately. You are saying something about somebody by the way that you light them.

JMcN: Exactly. I always say that when you’re lighting something, what you are doing is you are giving your viewer — who you are never going to meet, that person is looking at the Geographic or some web image a million miles away, and is never going to meet you — so you’re speaking directly do that person.

You are giving them a psychological roadmap to your photograph in the way you use light. You’re saying this is important, this is not so much…this is just context, look here, don’t look there. You are not there with your picture. The picture, all on its own, has to speak to them.

DAH: Great. Now that we’ve had this conversation I need to figure out how I am going to light you. I think I am going to use available light.

Well, I think people don’t think about me so much in terms of light, but I always appreciate it because when I was in high school I worked at a studio, so I learned basic studio lighting, and then of course with the studio closed down for the day, I’d make friends with these guys and say “Hey, can I play with the lights after work?”.

JMcN: But your stuff has such a beautiful quality of light. You have feet in all these worlds, you really do.

DAH: Well, I think it is because I learned at an early age at least how to use lights, and I think that helps me with available light because I do look at it the same way you look at light, I just tend to do it with a smaller kit. I am the emergency medical team, you’ve got the whole crew, you’ve got the hospital.

I am the EMS truck out there trying to save a life on the highway. You know, patch it together. You know, put a band aid over the flash, shoot through a beer bottle, do all these things. But it’s still the same thing.

JMcN: Sure. Jimmy Colton, who used to be at Newsweek, which always had a smaller budget than Time but would compete with Time intensively, he would always say that Time was a hospital and Newsweek was a MASH unit.

DAH: I hadn’t heard that, but that’s an exact analogy.

So, I am looking at your assistants who seem to be about thirty years old, and you’ve got one who is moving into your first assistant position, and Drew is moving out on his own…so what do you tell Drew? And what do you tell the readers of Burn Magazine? What is the main thing they need to be thinking about? I know they’ve got to multitask. You have mentioned that already. What is the main thing they need to have going in their head?

JMcN: I think as they take a step into this market place, if you want to call it that, I tell Drew just concentrate on that which he loves, and work will eventually grow to you.

First of all, make it accessible. Too many young photographers think they have to go to Afghanistan to make their mark. I don’t think you have to do that. I think the best pictures live right around you, and are things you grew up with, and are things that you love. And for instance, Drew grew up with rock & roll, and he was a drummer in a band. They actually toured and what not, so he grew up in the world of music and he is absolutely passionate about that. So I said go for it! Do it. No matter the people who tell you, you can’t make a living being a rock & roll photographer…I think you can, because he is already working it in a way that is unique to him, and he is making strides, he is getting success.

The main thing to remember as a young photographer out there is that there is always naysayers, and there is a lot of them out there now, but when you and I broke in there were naysayers as well.

DAH: There have always been naysayers!

JMcN: There are always folks saying, “This ain’t what it used to be!”

DAH: With every move I ever made in my life, even my closest friends would say, “Harvey you’ve really fucked it up this time”. And then, a few months later they would say, “Harvey you’re the luckiest son of a bitch. How do you luck out like that?”. You know, they flip on it. And that is the same thing I tell photographers too. Do what you love, and then let it happen. Somehow it will happen. Listen mostly  to yourself. Even (maybe especially) your closest friends do not really want you to change.

JMcN: It will. And you’ll have to do stuff along the way. To me there is always food for the table and food for the soul. And sometimes, some jobs you’re going to have to do are food for the table.

DAH: Just do it.

JMcN: You’ve got to do it, swallow hard, go make yourself some money, keep yourself alive, so then you can feed your soul. It’s not all like roses out there, that’s for sure, it’s like a patchwork quilt, but you can make it.

DAH: Yeah, well you have and thanks for this conversation. It has been great to see you again.

 

Related links

Joe McNally

Joe McNally: The Estimable Mr. Harvey

 

joemcnally

Joe McNally, in front of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, tallest building in the world, which he climbed the same day this picture was taken.

 

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By Paul Loomis exclusively for ASX, Interview conducted on Monday, February 11th, 2013

Antoinette De Jong and Robert Knoth are the authors of a book called “Poppy: The Trails of Afghan Heroin” that has transformed the way we think about photojournalism.  It doesn’t fall victim to the reporter’s myopia of five hundred word stories three times a week, nor does it follow the western media’s coverage of religious extremism.  Instead it does something that is magical, and that we at ASX have not seen a book of photojournalism do before.  It opens a world that you rarely consider and shows you its pulsing red insides.

Knoth and De Jong are married, and have worked together for many years.  They are from the Netherlands, and have learned to share the task of explaining their project harmoniously.  When they speak, they seem to leave some for the other to finish.

A search for their names on the Internet is little good, you merely find them on Dutch television shows, and maybe encounter a blurb about one or the other.  For us, after reading Poppy, this internet silence was Pynchonesque mystery, and so when they responded to our request for an interview, we were elated. We were not disappointed.

 

ASX: You were both photojournalists before you left the world of commercial journalism and started working on Poppy and other projects.  What led you set out on your own?

De Jong:  I worked in newsrooms for a long time before finally quitting my job and going to India.  From there I went to Afghanistan because at the time, in the 1990s, everyone was telling me how beautiful it was, and saying how much I would love it.  The best times of my life have been in Afghanistan.  Riding through the mountains there on horseback, you just can’t beat it.  I became fascinated.

Knoth: I think it was when I was in Pakistan after 9/11 and then suddenly 3000 journalists showed up all looking for a story.

De Jong: Yes, I had the same experience.  I had been working in Afghanistan, and I was mostly the only person there.  When there are no other journalists you are free to pursue the stories that you feel are important, but when everyone shows up you cannot sell your story, because then there is only one narrative and everyone wants to tell the same tale.

Knoth: It becomes very focused on just a few things, like religious extremism, terrorist groups, attacks, the Taliban, and Afghans beating their wives.  These kinds of stories are what everyone is after.  That was one of the reasons that I began leaning towards these long-term projects instead of the daily news.  When you write three stories a week they are bite sized, and no one knows what is going on in the larger picture.  With Poppy, we were able to cover so much more.

ASX:  As a child I lived in the Netherlands, and it was a very peaceful, idyllic time of my childhood.  What do you think drove you to get on the plane to Somalia or Afghanistan for the first time and go so far away from that European safety?

Knoth: We both grew up in the Netherlands and had very happy childhoods.  My grandfather was a military man actually, as were other people in my family.  My grandfather had a travel agency in the 1920s.  He organized trips all over the world and was one of the first people to take tourists to Africa, the Middle East, and the United States.  He was also a great photographer, a lot better than me. So I think it’s in your blood sometimes, a little bit of gene programming. 

I went to Somalia in 1993 simply because the opportunity arose, and while we were coming over the city I saw a UN convoy moving very fast through Mogadishu.  Then when I stepped off onto the runway I was almost run over by a UN tank, and there were all of these smiling Somalis asking “Whose he? Why is he here?”  I just thought it was a big mistake, almost turned around and got back on the plane, but I ended up staying.  Some people can do this kind of work and some people can’t.

ASX: Which conflicts have you covered for the international press, before starting on the Poppy project?

Somalia in the 1990s, starting in 1994, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tamil conflict in the 1990s, Kosovo, Sudan  and others.

ASX: Somalia gets a lot of press as one of the wildest places in the world.  I think a lot of westerners couldn’t even imagine going there.  Describe a typical day of reporting there, what should a visitor never do there?

De Jong: (laughing) Walk around alone on the street! That’s something you shouldn’t do.

But a typical day there, well, I would always be sick!  Usually I never got sick, and Robert was the one who was sick everywhere we went, but in Somalia it was me.  So I would wake up, boil the water, filter the water, chlorinate the water and then boil it again, and then still get sick!  Then we would go out with our translator and try to take some photographs and talk to some people.  I remember that almost every day there Robert would reach for his camera in the street, and almost in exactly choreographed motion, these little boys would reach down to pick up rocks to throw at him (laughing), it was just hilarious.

Knoth: Its true!  Also in Somalia it never is a smart thing to offend anybody. That might get you killed on the spot, conflicts over work and payment included.  In this case it’s a bit of a story: Weeks before our arrival in the region of Geddo in Western Somalia everyone was already aware that we were coming. We were warned that quite a few people were already competing with each other to provide us with a car and fixer to earn some cash. If you pick one, you piss off the others, who then might pressurize you in working with them.

Before our arrival we already had arranged a safe fixer and car, while landing at the airstrip of Bardera we already saw other cars waiting for us. One of them was Abdi, a nephew of the king of the Marehan clan, which we found out later.  Off course Abdi wanted to work with us, guaranteeing our safety, and he was not inclined to let us go. We managed  telling him that we already had another team, which took a while.

The next day, just when we thought we would not see him again, Abdi returned triumphantly. With him was an old man who was introduced to us as ‘the king of the Marehan.’ Abdi handed us a letter starting with: “Read this letter carefully, it is good for you.”  The king of the Marehan recommended we work with Abdi. If not, the letter read, our safety could not be guaranteed. After a quick discussion amongst ourselves we promised to work with Abdi tomorrow, after which they left. Within half an hour we were on our way to Garbahaarrey, knowing that it would be rather suicidal to return to Bardera any time soon. It’s like being in the Godfather. Offers you can’t refuse.

But I love Somalia.  The people there, they are incredible.  They have this wonderful sense of humor, a playfulness about them, and they really know how to enjoy life.  For them, the fact that you are a westerner isn’t important, it often plays a complicating  role when working in Africa.  It’s a fabulous country.

 

 

ASX: So in all of these countries you must have spent a lot of time finding the right people to talk to. Did you have a method?  Or more broadly, how did you do it?  For example in Afghanistan when you were photographing people working in the illegal poppy fields they seem very relaxed and unconcerned.  This is the case for many people and situations you’ve photographed.  Is there a strategy that works consistently?

De Jong: Just walking in the street and getting to know people is a great way to do it.  You get invited into homes, invited to eat, and people tell you stories.  We prefer to stay in one place for a longer period of time rather than go to five places in the same period.  And always we are looking for people who, by sharing the details of their lives with us, tell the region’s story.

Knoth: An excellent translator is the most important thing. They not only translate but they also introduce you to people in the community.  But no, there is no method that works consistently everywhere.  Working in Afghanistan is completely different than working in Somalia.  The only consistent thing is that you must have someone to break the ice between you and the community. 

De Jong: We also try to always have fun wherever we go.  With the people working in the poppy fields we have a good time, we laugh, and take their pictures.  This is the same everywhere we go. 

ASX: What kind of camera(s) do you use?

Knoth: I have always used film cameras for a few reasons.  A Hasselblad, a few others.  When you go to Afghanistan with digital cameras you run out of batteries in a few days, and then you’re in trouble with no electricity available.  Film cameras also tend to be lighter, and we try to travel as light as possible.  Then you don’t seem as official or as much like a journalist.  Your not holding the newest digital camera.  People tend to forget about you and allow you to work, they don’t give you the same respect and they are more natural. 

De Jong: I shot video the last time we were in Afghanistan with a 200 Euro flip camera.  It was small, lightweight and cheap, but the footage was good and that is what’s important.  One of our translators in Somalia used to make fun of Robert all of time for using these old cameras.  He couldn’t understand why a westerner would use old equipment.

ASX: Poppy is a powerful book, and much of this power comes from how succinct it is.  Although very large, it distills a vast amount of information into a single volume.  Did you have a method for synthesizing so many years of reporting into a single book, once all of the work was done?

Knoth: This was one of the most horrible parts of the entire project.  We agonized over what to include and what to leave out for almost three years.  This project spanned twenty years of our lives, and when you look at it you might think that we set out to do it, that we began with a plan.  But no, there was no plan, we merely realized at some point, several years ago, that we had worked in the region long enough to see something really large and unique.  We saw that it was many of the countries or issued we had been reporting on were in various ways connected and decided to make a book.

De Jong: Of course there were many arguments over what to include and what to throw out.  We both had things that were very important to us.

Knoth: Yes we fought a bit didn’t we?  But after going through 1000 or so rolls of film, maybe more, we had come out with a series of photographs, around 1500, that we felt showed our experience.  Then the book designer got involved, and we gave him what we had.  After he’d looked at it we asked him if it made sense and he said no, he had no idea what had happened or what we’d seen. It made no sense at all. So he broke it up into these epochs, sort of trails that we’d travelled, and suddenly it all began to come together.  That was around a year before the book was published.

The photos were incredibly difficult to choose from because we had all kinds of formats.  I have shot in these regions with large format black and white, with my Hasselblad, with 35mm color, and then Antoinette with an old Olympus 1,her flip camera and a digital Canon, so the mediums really were incredibly diverse.  At one time this might have been unacceptable, but now with the internet, you could even shoot pictures with a cell phone camera, the aesthetic standard has been seriously altered.  We threw out all of the aesthetic photos and focused only on the story. That was a very important part of the process.  We discarded everything that was merely beautiful and had nothing to say.

De Jong: Combining all those different formats also worked well to provide an element of fiction to the book, and at times an almost surreal feeling. As far as keeping it succinct, rather than going in depth on some issues, we felt it was more important to paint a mosaic. Often you only need to hint at something or suggest something in a few words and images. That can already show the fluidity of events and explain the chains and networks and how it’s all connected. We wanted to provide a high density of all sorts of information that seemingly had nothing to do with each other and then peel off the layers and allow the reader to see the story emerging.

We split it up in three layers: first a historical timeline, second our own observations/reportage elements and diary fragments, and the third was captions/extra information related to the pictures shown. And then the main text. Each element was needed to understand the others.  For each country we started to collect information, roughly from the beginning of the Afghan civil War in 1972 till 2011. So it was quite methodical.

ASX: That confirms my initial suspicion that all of the images are highly curated and none are lightly placed. One of the photographs I remember best best from the entire book is the one of Mamik, the blind girl you photographed first in 2001, and again in 2009.  Her transformation was so tragic, and it is one that reveals the desolation and poverty that drives so many people in Afghanistan to cultivate poppy.  Have you seen her again?  Can you talk a bit about your relationship with her?

De Jong: Yes, Mamik’s image was one I was absolutely convinced had to be in the book.  When we first met her we were riding on horseback, not even in trucks, through the mountain communities who were experiencing a terrible drought.  There were many fresh children’s graves.  All of the men had gone off to Pakistan, to Iran, or to Kabul to find work because nothing could be grown any more in the villages.  There were only women and children and old people, and many of the old had stopped eating in order to save food for the children and their mothers.  It was devastating.

When I met Mamik the vulnerability of her position was immediately clear.  There was no medical care for her, and only her friend to take care of her in these very difficult conditions.  She said it herself; she said that she didn’t know what she would do without her friend.

And when we came back almost ten years later, her friend had been married off to another village, and Mamik had to live with her brother and there she was pretty much confined to the house, without anyone helping her. She had no hope left. I thought her position was like that of much of population and in that sense it helps to explain the context of life in Afghanistan.

ASX: When I saw the first picture I thought that you understood her situation much better than she did, and that the horror of that second picture is part of life’s fundamental horror. In that second photograph she has been finally introduced to her own reality.  I thought too that she in many ways represents many of the people in the book, people who participate in the global drug trade because from their situation it is a very viable, reasonable option.  I kept having this reaction to Poppy as I was reading and viewing the photographs, realizing that people react in a logical way to their surroundings, and that if I were them I would almost certainly do exactly the same thing.  I would become involved in the drug trade if it was my only option.

De Jong:  I’m glad you said that, because throughout the book we tried very hard not to be judgmental, to show people in the places they live with their options around them.  This was very difficult, and I worry sometimes that to some people the book might seem a judgment on those it depicts.

Knoth: The heroin trade in Afghanistan set off in the 1980s, as way of funding the Mujahedeen which received large sums of money and weapons from the West and the Saudis, and being quite aware of the fact that they were dealing in opium and heroin on a large scale. Much to the chagrin of the DEA they were not allowed to go after these cartel.  From Afghanistan the drug trade  started to tap into this emerging global network and it has continue to grow ever since. Millions of people now depend on it.

Drugs have become an integral part of our economic system and drugs have been a byproduct of modern warfare since the dirty wars in South East Asia in the 50ties and 60ties.

ASX: This sort of brings us to my next question.  I live in Mexico City, and Mexico has an enormous drug trafficking problem.  I had a friend who was a journalist here in the city, and who sadly died in mysterious circumstances shortly after I met him.  Before he did, he told me that the only option when it came to drugs was to put them in the hands of Governments and Corporations, who he claimed were only potentially evil when they were not regulated, in order to keep them from falling into the hands of criminals, who in his opinion represented a legitimate evil.  After tracing the effects of an extremely powerful (politically and physically) drug, what policies would you urge Western governments, who have drug consumption problems, and other governments, who have drug production and trafficking problems, to pursue?  Do those policies include legalization and taxation?

De Jong: We tend to support legalization, but reluctantly. It’s not going to be the silver bullet, there will always be a parallel market, but it will reduce a lot of the negative side effects, crime, healthcare issues and addiction. We think it is difficult to implement smart policies.  For example the semi-legal marijuana laws in the Netherlands have had some serious drawbacks, and are now playing out in organized crime and violence.  So yes to legalization, but with great care.

 ASX:  So that is one option, if governments decide to legalize, but for many Western governments that does not seem like a political reality within the next several decades.  Do you envision any kind of decline in the global drug trade in the next 50 years?  One precipitated, perhaps, by more advanced surveillance and enforcement methods by governments?  Or will the drug problem grow as new markets open up in the developing world?

Knoth: It is quite impossible to contain the flow of drugs or any other goods for that matter. Much if it having to do with scale.  New technologies and developments have allowed us to increase the scale in/of which we do things and also at a cheaper price.  Container ships can now carry up to 11.000 containers: in less than 10 years’ time the amount goods transported more than doubled from 332 million tons to 828 million tons. It’s impossible to check everything. At the same time drug cartels clog the judicial system with drug runners, often tipping off the police themselves while the big shipment bribe their way through. Another example are IED’s, they are cheap to produce, so in Afghanistan the Taliban have figured out that while planting one IED has little effect, planting a hundred of them is a very effective way of taking on an opponent who in terms of resources is vastly superior. The same goes for human traffickers, counterfeiting goods, etc. Scale has been an effective strategy for the ‘little men to take on the strong men’ so to speak, and to obstruct the entire system of control. The fact that crime has gone transnational makes it even worse since governments are restricted to operate within their own countries. The US and NATO logical response is drones and special forces operating in more than a hundred countries in a desperate attempt to stem the growing anarchy.

Whether that is the smartest response is a different matter altogether.

ASX: In Mexico the Narcos have more planes and better guns than the police.

Knoth: Right, they are being outspent.  It’s a matter of money. 

ASX: On the back of “Poppy” the first line is “In the 21st century, globalization has opened up the world for better or for worse.”  This question is simple, and at some point everyone decides it for themselves.  For you, globalization is ultimately what kind of force?  Do you fear its impacts or believe in its liberating power?

Knoth: Well I don’t know, it’s very difficult to say, I think it’s both.  For me it’s both.  It’s much better than the cold war.  (laughs)…  It has improved the lives of millions, if not billions of people though, without a doubt.  On the other hand some of the consequences we have seen are very dire.

De Jong: Absolutely, it’s very complicated and very difficult to understand as a phenomena.  Poppy is a result of it though, in many ways.  Its coverage, its expanse, which you have mentioned, was only possible with the Internet. But 21st century globalisation is a process of transformation, as it was in late 19th century when we moved from an agricultural society towards an industrial society.

Knoth: Back then it also led to massive instability eventually leading to WW1 and WWII. At the moment the chaos around us is growing as well. So maybe it’s time to start looking at what is going from a different perspective, the economic rationale behind it instead of religious extremism vs democracy. Our book is an attempt to do that. If anything Poppy is about transformation.

De Jong: Without the Internet… you’ve mentioned your debt to the Internet in terms of what you are aware of and what information is available to you, we are the same.  The amount of information that we were able to integrate into Poppy would not have been possible without the net.  Our research phase was enormous, and honestly I don’t think the series of realizations that made such a huge portrait possible would have ever been set into motion without the enormous amount of data at our fingertips. 

Knoth: There something called data journalism now, where you don’t listen to anyone, you don’t read the papers, you just look at massive amounts of data.  And frequently what you see in that data is completely different from what everyone is saying.  Poppy is somewhat like that.

ASX:  It actually makes more sense to me now, the book does.  Now that you’ve mentioned your debt to the Internet and its ability to put so much information at your fingertips, I recognize Poppy as a very unique object of our age.  I said repeatedly that I really know of no other book like it.  I think it is singular in its scope and perspective and in the vast amounts of information it synthesizes.  An impressive achievement.  What’s next?

Knoth: That’s still uncertain. We have some ideas for new work. We have carefully considered a film adaptation of Poppy, but that is still not much more than a plan.  We are continuing with Fukushima, and some other smaller projects. Right now we don’t have anything planned on the scale of Poppy. I guess Poppy is just once in a lifetime given the scope and depth of the project. It’s actually quite difficult to decide what is next in that sense.

 

 



















 

(All rights reserved. Text @ ASX and Paul Loomis. Images @ Antoinette De Jong and Robert Knoth)

The post ASX EXCLUSIVE: INTERVIEW – “Antoinette de Jong and Robert Knoth” (2012) appeared first on ASX | AMERICAN SUBURB X | Photography & Culture.

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

EPF 2012 Finalist

 

Bieke Depoorter

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‘I am about to call it a day’ is a sequel on ‘Ou Menya’, a project where I entered the intimacy of families in Russia, while spending one night with them.
This time, I have travelled through the United States. It is a series of portraits of places and people where I spent the night while passing through. I meet my family-for-the night on the streets. The social contact, the short and intense encounters and the mutual trust for them to take me into their most intimate privacy is an important element in my work.

 

Bio

Bieke Depoorter (1986) received her master’s degree in photography from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent in 2009. She is mostly working on autonomous projects. In search of family intimacy, she spends the night at people’s houses. This year her first book ‘Ou Menya’ was published. Since 2011 Bieke is member of the Paris-based photo agency/collective Tendance Floue.

 

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Photojournalism that caught my eye during the month of March….

Features and Essays

One of my big faves, Tomas Munita, had a series from Cuba for Time to coincide the Papal visit to the country… opening double spread from the latest magazine seen here… Lightbox slideshow through the link…

Tomas Munita: Church and State: The Role of Religion in Cuba (Lightbox)

Side note on the above…what made me fall in love with his work? It was his stunning 2006 Oskar Barnack winning series from Kabul. You can see most of the frames here. Man, Leica, and slide film working in perfect harmony…

Japan. 11 March saw the anniversary of the tsunami…

Nachtwey recently got four double trucks in Time for his Japan 1 Year Later portfolio.Pretty rare these days for something like that to happen I think…

James Nachtwey: Japan One Year After (Lightbox)

Daniel Berehulak: Japan One Year After (NPR)

James Whitlow Delano: Black Tsunami (Vimeo)

David Guttenfelder: Tsunami, Then and Now (SacBee Frame blog)

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala: Route 45: Japan’s Earthquake & Tsunami Anniversary (Reportage)

Espen Rasmussen: Fukushima Fallout (Panos)

Noriko Hayashi: One Year On (Panos)

Dean Chapman: Fading Memories II (Panos)

Hiroko Masuike: A Japanese Community After the Tsunami (NYT Lens) Related

Chris Steele-Perkins: Tsunami Streetwalk, Kesennuma / Streetwalk 2 (Magnum in Motion)

Syria.

Moises Saman: Refugees Flee Syrian Violence in Turkey (NYT)

Ed Ou: Syrians Find Refuge in Lebanon (NYT)

William Daniels: Escape from Syria (Lightbox)

Tyler Hicks: Glimpses of the Armed Opposition in Syria (NYT)

Rodrigo Abd: Inside Syria (Lightbox) from Guardian

Tyrone Turner: Where Slaves Ruled (Brazil) (NGM)

Recent great International Herald Tribune front page pic by Meredith Kohut and the slideshow on NYT.com…

Meredith Kohut: In Salvador, Prisons Packed to the Bars (NYT)

Pete Muller: Ethiopian Forces in Somalia (Newsweek)

Dominic Nahr: On the Ground: Safe fro Kony? (Lightbox)

Adam Dean: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Campaigns in Myanmar (NYT)

Adam Ferguson: Christians Flee Iraq (NYT)

Ikuru Kuwajima: Astana, Kazakhstan’s Capital Outside In (NYT Lens)

Sergey Kozmin: Elite Russian Military School for Girls (NYT Lens)

Stefano de Luigi: Cinema in Iran (Lightbox)

Eugene Richards: ‘War is Personal’ Continues (Lightbox)

Jocelyn Bain Hogg: British Entertainment (VII)

Anastasia Taylor-Lind: Siberian Supermodels (VII) multimedia

Franco Pagetti: Egypt (VII)

Davide Monteleone: Libya : Winners and Losers (VII)

Stefan Bladh: Youth in Kaliningrad, Russia (Lightbox)

Politics. Russia.

Yuri Kozyrev: On the Campaign Trail with Vladimir Putin (Lightbox)

Politics. US.

This was a TIME magazine cover story early this year…

Christopher Morris: A Day With Obama (VII)

Justin Maxon: On the Trail with Santorum (Lightbox)

Charles Ommanney: Santorum (Newsweek)

Lauren Lancaster: Super Tuesday (New Yorker)

Evan Vucci: GOP Campaign Trail with Instragram (MSNBC photo blog)

Lauren Fleishman: Romney : Super Tuesday (Lightbox)

Stephen Crowley: Smoke-Filled Rooms part 2 (NYT Lens)

Jeroen Oerlemans: Dreaming of Europe (Panos)

Adam Dean: City of Broken Dreams (Panos)

Alfredo Caliz: The Longest Spring (Panos)

William Daniels: Faded Tulips (Lightbox)

Afghanistan.

Alixandra Fazzina: Over Mountains, Underground (NOOR)

Jason P Howe: Afghanistan: Saving Private Bainbridge (Telegraph)

Andrea Bruce: Skiing in Afghanistan (NYT Lens)

Larry Towell: Afghanistan (Lightbox)

Peter Hapak: Olympic Women’s Boxing Hopefuls (Lightbox)

Rian Dundon: A View From Inside The Other New China (Burn)

Spencer Platt: Haiti Landfills (MSNBC photo blog)

Sally Ryan: Home No More (zReportage)

Kate Holt: Education for All (zReportage)

John Pendygraft: If I Die Young (zReportage)

Peggy Peattie: Angels of Milot (zReportage)

Fredrik Naumann: A Voice from Rost (Foto8)

Rob Hornstra: Empty Land, Promised Land, Forbidden Land (Foto8)

Dominic Nahr: Voices of Protest in Senegal (Magnum Photos)

Mila Teshaieva: Promising Waters (Lightbox)

Kevin Frayer: Holi Festivities (SecBee)

Chris Kelly: Situation in Southern Kordofan (Photographer’s archive)

Tomas Wiech: Poland’s Great Adventure (NYT Lens)

Brent Lewin: India’s ‘rat hole’ Mines (National Post)

Pete Pin: Cambodian Americans (NYT Lens)

Martin Parr: Think of Finland (Magnum)

Alejandro Cartagena: Car Poolers (Photographer’s website)

Erica McDonald: Change in Park Slope (NYT Lens)

Ben Lowy: Ohio’s Long Road to Recovery (Reportage by Getty Tumblr)

Graeme Robertson: Portraits of Malawi (Guardian)

Carl de Souza: The Maasai Cricket Warriors (Atlantic) Kenya

Enjoyed these sports pics…

Fred R. Conrad: Spring Training (NYT Lens)

NYT Lens (various photographers): Postcard from London

Kate Peters: Yes, Mistress (Institute)

Jonathan Torgovnik: Rebuilding the DRC (BBC)

Tom Stoddart: Women of Sarajevo Revisited (Reportage)

Bruce Gilden shooting fashion for Vice…

Bruce Gilden: In Broad Daylight (Vice)

Daniel Cuthbert: First on Scene : South African Paramedics (BBC)

Alex Troesch and Aline Paley: Mexican Pointy Boots (Lightbox)

Danko Stjepanovic: North Kosovo (photographer’s website)

Interviews and Talks

“I looked through a lens and ended up abandoning everything else’ – Sebastiao Salgado

Sebastiao Salgado (Guardian)

Sebastiao Salgado (Vimeo)

Excellent 9 minute video by Finnish photographer Rami Hanafi on Martin Parr working in Finland…

Martin Parr : Making of ‘Think of Finland’ (Vimeo)

Zohra Bensemra: My journey into Syria’s nightmare (Reuters)

Ed Kashi (NYT Lens)

Samuel Bollendorff (BJP)

Elliott Erwitt on the art of photographic sequencing (BBC)

Lynsey Addario (Newsweek)

Lynsey Addario (Newsweek)

Davide Monteleone (Develop Tube)

Sean Gallagher (Atlantic)

Alex Prager : this year’s Foam Paul Huf Award winner (BJP)

Sebastian Salgado : The Photographer as an activist (Youtube)

Giles Peress (Youtube)

Pieter Hugo (Vimeo)

Barbara Davidson (LA Times Framework blog)

Homer Sykes (Photoshelter blog)

Olivia Arthur (IdeasTap)

Naomi Harris (Thisisthewhat)

Dominic Bracco II : Turning Point (NYT Lens)

Fiona Rogers (IdeasTap)

Giles Duley : Becoming the Story (TED on Youtube)

Justyna Mielnikiewicz (TED Youtube on Reportage)

Steve Pyke (PicBod)

Mark Power (Impressions Gallery)

John Moore on on ‘Epic’ Libya Battles, Arab World Revolutions (Click)

Shaun Fenn : From Assistant to Photographer: Shaun Fenn’s Professional Transition (PDN)

Articles

Tyler Hicks on his assignment to Syria with late Anthony Shadid…

Tyler Hicks: Bearing Witness in Syria: A Correspondent’s Last Days (NYT)

Javier Espinosa: How I escaped from Homs as Syrian forces closed in (Guardian)

PDN: Remembering 13 Unsung Heroes of Photojournalism

PDN: Paula Lerner Obituary

NYT: Stan Stearns, Photographer of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s Salute to Father, Dies at 76

NYT: Lillian Bassman, Fashion and Fine-Art Photographer, Dies at 94

Lynsey Addario was featured on Guardian’s brilliant ‘Best Shot’ series…

Guardian: Photographer Lynsey Addario’s Best Shot

Guardian: Photographer Tom Craig’s best shot

Related… Guardian: My best shot: The one that got away | For five years, G2 has been asking photographers to tell us the story behind their best shot. But what about their worst? Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Terry O’Neill and others reveal all

And… Guardian: My Worst Shot

Guardian: The Month in Photography

Guardian: Photographs Not Taken: what makes a photographer freeze? | A new book of essays by photographers explores the missed opportunities of images never captured

NYT Lens: Empowerment, Through a Lens

David Campbell: Kony2012, symbolic action and the potential for change

NYT: David LaChapelle, From Photographer to Artist

Verve: Kirsten Luce

Verve: Jeremy Nichol

Verve: Alessandro Grassani

Verve: Jonathan Lewis

Verve: Max Sher

Boston Globe on VII Photo’s Hipstamatic shot exhibition…

photo: John Stanmeyer

Boston Globe: With Hipstamatic app, photojournalists smartphone it in to new exhibit

Nick Stern: Why Instagram photos cheat the viewer (CNN)

PDN: Eggleston’s First-Ever Large Pigment Prints Earn 5.9 Million at Auction

D Perez: Chimping (Vimeo)

FT: What Eve Arnold Saw

Guardian: All About Eve

NYT Lens: Steichen, A New Trove From an Old Master

Diane Smyth: Dana Popa (PhotoMonitor)

BBC: England Uncensored by Peter Dench

Lightbox: DEVELOP Tube: A photographic resource grows

BJP: William Klein will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award at the Sony World Photogrpahy Awards

BJP: World Photo London is starting next month, packed with talks, seminars and workshops

Eggleston Shore (video on 1000Words blog)

Conscientious: How to make a photobook | related

Gregory Crewdson movie : trailer

PhotoShelter: Should Photo Contests Require Original Image Files?

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

Elles van Gelderen and Ilvy Njiokiktjien won first prize in World Press Photo Multimedia contest for “Afrikaner Blood….Not surprised. I remember telling friends after Perpignan that one of the best things I had seen during the festival was that exact multimedia piece….

photo Ilvy Njiokiktjien

BJP: World Press Photo announces Multimedia contest winners | Related: Bombay FC: WPP Multimedia Judging part 2 . Part 1

Foto8 Summershow 2012

FotoVisura winners…

Photo: Erin Trieb

FotoVisura Photography Grant Winners

BJP: Anastasia Taylor-Lind has won the Center Project Award in Santa Fe

BJP: Paul Graham wins the Hasselblad Foundation International Award for Photography, worth $150,000

Days Japan Photojournalism Awards 2012

Slideluck Potshow is coming to London again….

Slideluck Potshow London IV Submissions | related on Wayne Ford’s blog

NPPA: Justin Maxon, Katie Orlinsky Win 2011 Alexia Foundation Grants

Finland’s press photos of the year…

Sami Kero got the POY with a photo from Cairo…

photo: Sami Kero / Helsingin Sanomat

Finland Press Photos of the Year 2011

London Festival of Photography 2012 Prize

The City of Levallois Photography Award

Eddie Adams Workshop now accepting submissions

LUCEO Student Project Award

KL Photo Awards 2012

Guardian Student Media Awards 2012

Agencies and Collectives

Magnum open to submissions again. Last year they didn’t take any new nominees, if I remember correctly…

photo: Burt Glinn

Apply to become a member of Magnum Photos : 2012 Submissions are now open : Deadline is 08/06/12

photo: Venetia Dearden

VII Photo Newsletter March 2012

Noor newsletter 15 March 2012

Prime Collective March 2012 newsletter

Reportage by Getty Images: Natalie Naccache now part of Emerging Talent

Read about this commercial agency on Twitter… Good line-up of photographers.. including Tom Stoddart..

Making Pictures : commercial photo agency : London

Books

VII Photo’s Questions Without Answers book featured on Phaidon blog…

Photo: Alexandra Boulat

Phaidon: The defining images of our turbulent times…VII: Questions Without Answers

Jörg Colberg: Better by Design: The role of design in the making of five modern photobooks (BJP)

multiMedia

Once Magazine

Blogs

Happy belated birthday to Lightbox!

photo: Joakim Eskildsen

Lightbox: A Year of Great Photography

Photo Archive News

Crowd Funding and related

photo: Andre Liohn

Almost Dawn in Libya aka ADIL (NYT Lens)

Paula Lerner Memorial Fund

Photo Time Machine on Kickstarter

Respecting My Elders on USAProjects

Jobs

Save The Children : 3 month internship opening in the Film&Photo team

Photographers

Thomas Lekfeldt

Tahnia Roberts

Max Strong

Max Fabrizi

To finish off… KillShot: A Rifle Camera for Hunting with Photos Instead of Bullets

And… Britain’s top 10 worst photographers

And… Photographic Moratorium – Looking Sad in the Tub

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Back in 2008, photographer Larry Towell’s agency, Magnum Photos, had contacted him about a project in Afghanistan that would require him to embed with the British military. Towell, having just completed work in Palestine, decided that he didn’t want to see Afghanistan for the first time with an embed, and instead set forth to see the country on his own. “It was important for me to learn more about the history of Afghanistan to get some perspective about what’s going on today and see if I even had anything to say,” says Towell, who was later awarded a Magnum Emergency Fund to aid his work. From 2008 to 2011, Towell traveled to Afghanistan five times, documenting in both photographs and videos the various social issues that plague its citizens, from drug addiction and poverty to the prevalence of landmines, many of which still remain from the Soviet occupation of the country during the 1980s.

Larry Towell—Magnum

Larry Towell, Afghanistan: Military

Through five harrowing videos (three of which are shown here), Towell gives viewers a comprehensive look at life for citizens inside conflict-riddled Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the photographs from this project are on display for the first time in Larry Towell: Danger and Aftermath at the Museum London in Southwestern Ontario through April 1. “I wanted to look more at the social problems before I looked at what was going on militarily,” the photographer says. “The victims of the war weren’t just people who were wounded. They were the people living in the rural areas who were forced into the cities without means.”

Larry Towell—Magnum

Larry Towell, Afghanistan: Amputees

Towell is now at work with Aperture to turn his pictures into a book by spring 2013. The poignant publication date means Towell’s recent documentation of the country will be on display just as U.S. forces are expected to end their combat role in Afghanistan.

Larry Towell is a Candian photographer represented by Magnum Photos. Larry Towell: Danger and Aftermath is on display through April 1 at the Museum London in Southwestern Ontario. All images, video and sound ©Larry Towell—Magnum.

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Couple of weeks again since last updates..Been busy with some assignments and with a move from East London to Turnpike Lane which has left me wireless at home until mid-March which in turn means updating the blog is a bit of a hassle until then….Lots to share… So much going on during the last three weeks…World Press Photo…POYi, and of course the tragedies in Syria…

Features and Essays

From NatGeoMag March issue… Ed Kashi from Marseille, France….

Ed Kashi: Marseille’s Melting Pot (NGM) Edit on VII Photo. Surprised to see it there already. I would imagine there’s an embargo since NGM is still on the newsstands.

Brent Stirton’s World Press Photo winning Rhino Wars…

Brent Stirton: Rhino Wars (NGM)

Lynn Johnson: The Apostles (NGM)

Had just been thinking that hadn’t seen Dominic Nahr’s work in Time recently, and then two latest issues had work… from Egypt and Senegal…

Dominic Nahr: Revolution Lost (Lightbox) Egypt

Dominic Nahr: Senegal Spring (Lightbox)

Paolo Marchetti: Gangs of Port-au-Prince (Newsweek)

Andrea Bruce: Refugee Camps in Afghanistan (NYT Lens)

New York Times Magazine has a special photo issue on London coming up this Sunday…A lot of the work can be seen online…Would love to get my hands on the hard copy… Know a newsagent in Soho that usually get Sunday’s NYT on Tuesday…Costs £10 though….

Mark Neville: Here is London (NYT Mag)

Really enjoyed these portraits…

Gareth McConnell: Migratory Models (NYT Mag)

Lightbox has updated its Syria gallery by Romenzi…

Alessio Romenzi: Syrian Civil War (Lightbox)

Jehad Nga: Tripoli (NYT) Libya

Davide Monteleone: Libya’s Teachers, Schools, and Children After Gaddafi (Newsweek)

David Degner: Bahrain’s Stillborn Revolution (Photographer’s website)

Jorge Uzon: A Personal Landscape in Patagonia (NYT Lens)

Andrew Cutrano: Michigan Primary (Lightbox)

Matt Slaby: Being Latino in Arizona (TIME)

Marco Grob: Faces of the Latino Vote (Lightbox)

Stephen Crowley: Politics Photos (NYT Lens)

Mitch Epstein: Trees in the Urban Jungle (NYT Mag)

Damon Winter: Stella McCartney at Work (NYT Magazine)

Two really strong series by Panos photographer Mads Nissen…

Mads Nissen: Giving Life, Risking Life (Panos)

Mads Nissen: Ouma’s Wedding (Panos)

Adam Dean: Me N Ma Girls (Panos)

Ton Koene: Afghan Police Recruits (zReportage)

Robert Frank: Unseen New York Photos (NYT Lens)

Larry Towell: Faces of the Taliban (CNN)

Ernesto Bazan: Cuba (Lightbox)

Rob Hornstra: Sochi Singers (Lightbox)

Donald Weber: A Gun to Your Head: Inside Post-Soviet Interrogation Rooms (Lightbox)

Have to be honest, if these photos had not been taken by Parr, probably wouldn’t have paid any attention to them…

Martin Parr: Frozen Face of Minnesota (Start Tribune) Related

Gerd Ludwig: Long Shadow of Chernobyl (Boston Globe)

Eirini Vourloumis: Greek Austerity (NPR)

Peter Dench: A Decade of England Uncensored (CNN)

Kristoffer Tripplaar : Post Offices (NYT Lens)

Stefano De Luigi: Homeland (VII)

Sim Chi Yin: China’s Petitioners (VII Mentor)

Damir Sagolj: Myanmar’s War on Opium (The Atlantic)

Always an inspiration…Look at Paolo Pellegrin’s retrospective…

Paolo Pellegrin: Retrospective (Magnum)

Zhang Xiao: China’s Changing Coastlines (Lightbox)

Kate Nolan: The Young Women of Kaliningrad (Foto8)

Anoek Steketee: Amusement Parks in Rwanda (Lightbox)

Lucas Jackson: American Embassy in Baghdad (NYT)

JB Russell: Reconstructing Iraq (Panos)

Jason Andrew: On the Road with the Tea Party Express (New Yorker)

Tina Remiz: The Place Where I Am Not (Firecracker)

Kenneth O’Halloran: Ireland’s Ghost Estates (NYT Mag)

Daniel Cuthbert: First On Scene: Paramedics in South Africa (Photographer’s website) multimedia

Bruce Gilden: Foreclosures, Las Vegas & Reno (Magnum in Motion)

Pavel Prokopchik: Apashka: The Last dervish of Kazakhstan (Foto8)

Tomasz Szustek: Ireland in the Time of Recession (Uspecto)

Lauren Fleishman: Love Ever After (Lightbox)

Misha Friedman: Tuberculosis (NYT Lens)

Victor Blue: Disappeared in Guatemala (CNN)

Oded Balilty: Ultra Orthodox Jewish wedding in Israel

Jean Gaumy: One year after the Fukushima disaster (Magnum)

Interviews

Canon USA has done more interviews with VII Photo members… John Stanmeyer looking rather mad-professor-y..

Canon: VII Photo interviews

Yuri Kozyrev : At Home on Revolution’s Road (NYT Lens)

Alex Webb : Chicago (Leica blog)

Samuel Aranda : World Press Photo Winner (BJP)

Brent Stirton (BJP)

Aidan Sullivan : WPP (BJP)

Donald Weber (BJP)

New Statesman’s photo editor Rebecca McClelland interviewed Don McCullin….

Don McCullin (New Statesman)

Ragnar Axelsson (Ideas Tap)

Lynsey Addario (Canadian Business)

Lynsey Addario (Women’s Media Center)

Jodi Bieber (A Photo Editor)

Anthony Shadid : Arab Spring (SCPR)

Guy Martin : Arab Spring (MSNBC)

Lise Sarfati (ASX)

Alec Soth (Sartorialist)

Christopher Anderson (ASX)

Peter Dench (PicBod)

Rob Hornstra (BJP)

Tomas van Houtryve (PDN)

Anja Niedringhaus (AP photo blog)

Peter DiCampo (BBC)

Tomasz Lazar : Turning Point (NYT Lens)

Temo Bardzimashvili : Turning Point (NYT Lens)

Articles

R.I.P. Anthony Shadid. Such a great journalist.

photo: Ed Ou

NYT: Anthony Shadid, Reporter in the Middle East, Dies at 43

NYT: Remembering Anthony Shadid

NYT: ‘House of Stone,’ a Memoir by Anthony Shadid

New Yorker: Remembering Anthony Shadid

Rest in Peace. Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik

Marie Colvin. photo: Ivor Prickett

NYT: Two Western Journalists Killed in Syria Shelling

NYT: Parting Glance: Rémi Ochlik

Lightbox: Remi Ochlik Tribute in Images

“I expected to see horrible things. Yes, I was afraid” – Remi Ochlik

Guardian: Remi Ochlik

NYT: Conflict Reporting in the Post-Embed Era

Frontline Club: Freelance News Safety Survey

Robert Fisk: The heroic myth and the uncomfortable truth of war reporting (Independent)

NYT: Two Wars, Seen Many Ways

PDN: Remembering the 13 Syrians who died while rescuing a photojournalist

Kent Kobersteen: What it Takes to be a National Geographic Photographer (The Photo Society)

Kathy Ryan reflects on the New York Times Magazine’s London issue and finding young talent…

“A photographer should try to present something clear, deliberate” – Kathy Ryan

Kathy Ryan: London in Pictures (NYT Mag 6th Floor blog)

Related to an earlier NYT Mag issue…

NYT Mag 6th Floor blog: Fiddling With the Irish Cover

World Press Photo related…

Big congratulations to Samuel Aranda for his World Press Photo of the Year!

NYT: World Press Photo Winner

NYT: Samuel Aranda Meets the Subjects of His Award Winning Photo

WPPY winner Samuel Aranda talked to NYT Lens in December about working in Yemen under cover

“Can We See Through Symbols?” No Caption Needed blog wrote in October about Aranda WPPY’s image

BBC News: The story behind the World Press Photo

David Campbell: This photo is not just what it is: reading the World Press Photo debate

BJP: World Press Photo: Does the winning image reference Michelangelo’s Pietà?

Pietà by Michelangelo and Samuel Aranda’s World Press Photo of the Year next to each other:

BJP: World Press Photo: What was missing from this year’s entries?

BJP: World Press Photo: A judge’s top tips for future entrants

Every World Press Photo winners from 1955-2011

POYi related…

photo: Yuri Kozyrev

NYT Lens: At Home and Away: Pictures of Year

PDN: Yuri Kozyrev Wins POYi’s 2011 Freelance Photographer of the Year Award

New Yorker: Desert Island Books by Peter van Agtmael

How to by PDN….

PDN: How to land environmental portrait assignments

PDN: How I Got That Job: John McDermott’s adidas Assignment

PDN: Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Andrew Lichtenstein on the Aftermath Project Grant

PDN: All the New Work That’s Fit to Print

PDN: Ten favorite photo accessories

Dench on Parr: ” Since winning first prize at his camera club, he has never submitted work for a competition or consideration for a festival. Prizes are bestowed; inclusion in festivals requested”

Peter Dench: In Conversation With Martin Parr (Photographer’s blog)

Nowness: Juergen Teller Exposed

Lightbox: The Disappearing Afghan Box Camera

DVA Foto: Jon Stewart slams Time Magazine (and Pellegrin’s cover image)

NYT: ‘Hell and Back Again’ Shows War Stories Don’t End When War Movies Do

Lightbox Tumblr: Paolo Pellegrin shooting Italian PM [video]

NYT Mag 6th Floor blog: Erasing ‘The Americans’

NYT Mag 6th Floor blog: Snapshots of the Famous

photo: Jared Moossy

NYT Lens: Turning Art Into Activism

Mike Davis: What do learn from photojournalism contests

Reuters: Editing the Oscars (Reuters photo blog)

Yossi Milo Gallery: Yossi Milo Gallery Announces Exclusive Representation of The Estate of Tim Hetherington

Guardian: Featured photojournalist: Kieran Doherty

Guardian: Featured photojournalist Susana Vera

Wayne Ford: Year in Development — celebration of photographic printers’ art

Verve: Laura Boushnak

Verve: Olof Jarlbro

Verve: Dörthe Hagenguth

Verve: Philip Gostelow

Verve: Ross McDonnell

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

World Press Photo of the Year

Photo: Samuel Aranda

World Press Photo: 2012 Contest gallery

Pictures of the Year International : Winner 2012 galleries

Congrats to all the photographers chosen for this year’s PDN 30!

photo: Ilvy Njiokiktjien

PDN:’30′ 2012

Lightbox: James Nachtwey receives Dresden International Peace Prize and Wim Wenders presents the award

PDN: Moriyama, Ai Weiwei to Be Honored at ICP Infinity Awards

PDN: AP’s Charles Dharapak wins Photographer of the Year in White House News Photogs Assn. contest

Inge Morath Award 2012

Emerging Photographer Fund 2012

CPN: Editor’s Choice by New Statesman Photo editor Rebecca McClelland

BJP: Photographers Leonora Hamill and Eric Pillot have won this year’s HSBC Photography Prize

Photocrati Fund : April 1

Photo Contests and Grants Calendar

Agencies and Collectives

VII Photo : Newsletter

Magnum Foundation Winter 2012 Newsletter

Prime Collective : Newsletter

Statement Images : New Members

Crowd Funding

Redux Pictures: John Keatley and Arts Aftercare needs your help!

Festivals

Visa Pour l’Image : How to Participate

multiMedia

Polka Magazine

Once Magazine If you wanna pitch stories… go here

Jobs

MSNBC : Picture Editor

MSNBC : Paid Intern Picture Editor

AP Interns

Magnum : Head of Licensing and Content Syndication

Photographers

Alessio Romenzi

Andrew Cutrano

Jorge Uzon

Ton Koene

Pavel Prokopchik

Jan Dago

New Tumblr blog “The Brazilian Far West” by Sebastian Liste….

Sebastian Liste : blog

Andreas Laszlo Konrath

Tom Broadbent

Kate Nolan

Kalle Koponen

Meeri Koutaniemi

To finish off… Don McCullin + iPad = FAIL

and The ultimate analysis on Samuel Aranda’s WPPY

and a great response to a letter asking for money

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