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Terry Richardson

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Martin Parr


Terry Richardson


Nan Goldin

When we first saw the line up for the new photo show opening tomorrow at the Aperture Foundation Gallery, simply titled Photography, we fell out of our chairs. The show features new (new!) work from William Eggleston, Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Martin Parr, Terry Richardson, and Stephen Shore. You don’t have to be a photo nerd to know that this selection of artists are some of the most important photographers making work today. To have new work by them all in one room is crazy. We decided we had to sit down with Ken Miller, the curator of the show, to figure out how he pulled it off. Turns out it was pretty simple.

VICE: What’s up, Ken? How did this project start?
Ken Miller: It started with a sort of unrelated exhibition of abstract photography that I did in Tokyo about a year and a half ago. That was kind of a weird way for it to begin. It was a show with Sam Falls, Marcelo Gomes, Mariah Robertson, and this Japanese photographer named Taisuke Koyama. Somebody from Fujifilm came by and I guess they liked the show, so they got in touch. They took me out to drinks and showed me these cameras they were coming out with and were like “Do you think you could get photographers to use these?” The cameras were really nice, so I was like, “Yeah probably, it’s a free camera.”

We started putting a list of photographers together. I was initially thinking of people I’d worked with before, who seemed easy to approach. Then I thought, Fuck it. I’ll just ask ambitiously and worst comes to worst, they’ll say no. And amazingly, basically everybody said yes. Of the initial people we asked, only two passed for different reasons. It was remarkably easy.

That’s pretty amazing.
I don’t want to sound like an advertisement for the camera, but it’s a digital SLR that works like the camera you studied in college. It has a lot of manual functions. So, I think there’s a certain nostalgia for a lot of these photographers who think “Oh, this works like a classic point-shoot Nikon” and they were psyched about that. You sort of forget photographers are camera nerds too, so they wanted to try it out.

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Here we go again…

Features and Essays 

Egypt again.

Yuri Kozyrev’s Egypt work on Lightbox.

Yuri Kozyrev: Egypt’s “Second” Revolution” (Lightbox)

Related to Kozyrev…had the chance to read a very interesting report written by BJP’s Olivier Laurent on the Italian post-processing lab 10b Photography who work closely also with Kozyrev… The report includes several before/after processing Kozyrev pics (big ups for 10b and the photographer for having agreed to it and being so open) and comes out in British Journal of Photography’s December issue… and should be online late this month… Check it out… [by the way, it seems Moises Saman and Kozyrev photographed at same Cairo election polling station during the recent elections. If you want to compare not just how they framed the scene, but also how differently the files are processed, go to my Twitpics here.]

Daniel Etter: Egyptian Election Symbols (Newsweek)

Noticed Ed Ou has a new website. His on-going Egypt series…

Ed Ou:  Egyptian Youth (in progress) (photographer’s website)

Saw two new features by James Nachtwey this week… One from Japan for Vanity Fair and another from Burma for Time… The VF gallery is online….

James Nachtwey: The Forgotten Heroes of Fukushima (Vanity Fair)

The Burma work was in Time magazine, but unfortunately the Lightbox slideshow I was hoping for didn’t materialise… You can see the frames below…[obviously not the actual layout, just iPhone pics I stitched together]

Afghanistan.

Charles Ommanney has started a project in Afghanistan concentrating on the effects of war on the country’s children…Looking forward to seeing how it will evolve..

Charles Ommanney: The Kids Are All Right (photographer’s website) Afghanistan

Behrouz Mehri: The Bird (Life Force Magazine) Afghanistan Medevac

Alixandra Fazzina: The Flowers of Afghanistan (Project website)

Sanjit Das: India’s Lowest Castes (WSJ)

Looking at VII photographers’ best of the year selections last week I ended up browsing the agency’s archive  …You can see long/full edits of all the features unlike at main VII Photo site which is pretty cool if you want to take a closer look at any series. Below links to a large edit (130 photos) of Lynsey Addario’s recent Gaza work in the VII archive….Originally shot for the New York Times if I’m not mistaken.

Lynsey Addario: Gaza (VII Archive)

Also couldn’t help but noticing, there was no gallery by Antonin Kratocvil in the VII Best Ofs..only an intriguing thumbnail of what looked like naked ice skaters and a link taking me to his website…Later it was pointed out to me on Twitter that the photo was from a series Kratochvil shot for the ESPN magazine’s Body issue….if you too want to see the naked ice skaters (why not, right?) and other nude athletes from the piece, head to Kratochvil’s website by clicking the link below…[Added note 11 December 2011: this has received by far the most clicks in the post thus far]

Antonin Kratochvil: The Body Issue (photographer’s website)

John Stanmeyer’s National Geographic Magazine feature Girl Power now on VII site…

John Stanmeyer: Girl Power : Brazil (VII)

Tomas Van Houtryve: In the Shadow of North Korea (Magnum  Emergency Fund)

Iraq.

Ben Lowy: Iraq Perspectives (Project site)

Mario Tama: Iraq Transition (Denver Post) NB slideshow includes two photos by Joe Raedle

Marieke Van Den Velden: Daily Life in Baghdad (NYT Lens)

Cristina Garcia Rodero: 500th Anniversary  of Baracoa, the first village in Cuba (Magnum)

John Vink: Cambodia Land Issues (Photographer’s website)

John Francis: Morocco (Lightbox)

Stephanie Sinclair: Caring for Chris (NYT Mag 6th Floor blog)

Chien-Chi Chang: Bongo Fever (Magnum in Motion)

Tina Barney: Small Towns (New Yorker)

Katja Heinemann: The Graying of AIDS (Lightbox)

Laura Boushnak: Survivor (Photo Raw Magazine)

Ciril Jazbec: Life on Kiribati (Foto8)

Devin Yalkin: Underground Boxing in New York (Lightbox)

Occupy movement.

William Daniels: Les Indignes (Panos)

Barbara Davidson: Occupy LA: Items Left Behind (LA Times)

Nicky Loh: Occupy Wall Street (photographer’s website)

David I. Gross: Occupy California (zReportage)

Ricardo Silva: Occupy Amsterdam (photographer’s website)

Laura Pannack: Saving the Cursed Children of Ghana (Guardian)

Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky: Bolivian Believers (Panos)

Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky: Down by the Riverside (Panos)

Andrew McConnell: Yangambi Research Station (Panos)

Espen Rasmussen: Women of Peace (Panos)

Justin Jin: The Dragon and the Bear (Panos)

Alfredo D’Amato: Forward onto Zion (Panos)

Chloe Dewe Mathews: Caspian (Firecracker)

Damon Winter: Meaning in Madness (NYT)

Nina Berman: Fracking in Pennsylvania (Photo Booth)

André Cypriano: Rocinha: Rio de Janeiro Slum (NYT Lens)

Rena Effendi: Oil Village  (Photo Booth)

Bharat Choudhary: Exploring Islamophobia (Lightbox)

Gideon Mendel: Through Positive Eyes (Project website ) AIDS

Aids in Hipsta…

Carol Allen Storey: World Aids Day: Uganda’s Forgotten Women (Guardian)

Brian Shumway: Happy Valley (Lightbox)

Carlos Javier Ortiz: Migrant Workers (Facing Change)

Jan Grarup: Somalis Flee to Ethiopia’s Refugee Camps (Trust.org)

Terry Richardson: Lady Gaga (TIME)

We got started with the best of the year galleries last week… here’s more… Both Time and Life are opening their ‘best-of’ selections with the same Yuri Kozyrev Libya photo… Expecting to see Kozyrev winning some World Press Photo awards with all the great work he has produced the past year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this particular frame would take the top prize…Certainly one of the most iconic images of the past year…

Time Lightbox: The Top 10 Photos of the Year

LIFE: 2011 Pictures of the Year

Interviews and Talks

Alex Webb (NYT Lens)

Moises Saman (NYT Lens)

World Press Photo has now put the interviews done with the Joop Swart Masterclass attendees…the page also includes videos with some of the mentors…

Joop Swart Masterclass 2011 interviews

Really good interview with Ed Ou…

Ed Ou (CPN)

Yuri Kozyrev (FK Magazine)

Ben Lowy (CNN iReport)

Samuel Aranda has been working in Yemen for the New York Times…

Samuel Aranda : In Yemen, a Photographer Without a Name (NYT Lens)

John Stanmeyer (Vision Project)

Marco Grob shooting portraits of Afghan landmine victims  (PDN)

Bruce Gilden (Leica blog)

Sanjit Das (121cliks)

William Albert Allard on how he became a National Geographic Photogaphers (photographer’s blog)

Louie Palu : Wish You Were Here (George Eastman House Podcasts)

Steve McCurry’s One-Minute Masterclass #8 (Phaidon)

Jonathan Torgovnik (CNN interview via Reportage Tumblr)

Edward Burtynsky (A Photo Editor)

Jodi Bieber (Photo Raw Magazine)

Taryn Simon (Nowness)

multiMedia

photo: William Albert Allard

Photo Society : “We are a group of contributing photographers for National Geographic Magazine, committed to telling the world’s stories through pictures.”

Every issue of 8 Magazine from 2001-2011 online, fullscreen and free to view

NYT: Picturing World at 7 Billion

Knight Digital Media Center, Berkeley

Everybody Street by Cheryl Dunn

Videos

BBC: America in Pictures: The Story of Life Magazine (available to UK viewers on BBC iPlayer)

Articles

Lot of talk about Massoud Hossaini’s Kabul suicide bombing scene photo during the last couple of days…NYT Lens interviewed him…

NYT: Massoud Hossaini’s Front-Page Photograph From an Attack in Kabul

Washington Post: The Post, NYT and WSJ show same scene of Kabul carnage via different photos

LA Times: Afghanistan bombing photo: Graphic, yet important

NYT: Leo Friedman, Photographer of Broadway’s Glamour Years, Dies at 92

Photo Society: How to respond to requests for free photographs

Peta Pixel: CNN Lays Off Photojournalists, Citing the Accessibility of Quality Cameras

American Photo: The Best Photo Books of 2011

Adam Westbrook: How to record better interviews in video & audio

New York Magazine: H&M’s New Lingerie Models Are Computer-Generated

PDN: 2011 Photo Gear of the Year

PhotoShelter: Photography Gifts Guide for the Holidays: $50 Or Less

NYT Lens: FotoEvidence struggles to help photographers get a book published

BJP: “Tight schedule” forced ban on DSLRs, says London Transport Museum

Phonar: 6 tips for self-publishing by #phonar contributor David Gray

PDN: Rinko Kawauchi, Pieter Hugo on shortlist for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize of £30,000

Guardian: Worlds apart: who has the best shot at winning the Deutsche Börse prize? | The 2012 photography prize has an intriguing shortlist of very different artists – Rinko Kawauchi, Pieter Hugo, John Stezaker and Christopher Williams.

Reportage and Getty Images are partnering with ICRC on the launch of ‘Healthcare in Danger’ (Reportage)

LA Times: Kodak’s long fade to black

Guardian: Saatchi’s scathing portrait of the art world: ‘Vulgar, Eurotrashy, masturbatory’

PDN: Vanity Fair names new Photography Director: Judith Puckett-Rinella

David Campbell: Thinking Images v.24: Lu Guang’s activist photography

CNN Photo blog: Iraqi agency fosters photojournalism

Rhona Wise (EPA): Read it or don’t read it, but at least learn how to write one! (Sportshooter: 2004)

Mike Davis: How do you know if you’re any good, as a photographer? (Mike Davis blog)

Mike Davis: If Cliches Are So Bad Why Do They Win Contests (Mike David blog)

Finbarr O’Reilly: Reuters Photographs of the Violence in Ivory Coast (NYT Lens)

AJC: As US leaves Iraq, AP men recall a war in picture

Guardian: Featured Photojournalist: Matt Dunham 

Photo Booth: CPOY Awards What Winning Means

NYT: Formerly Graffiti Outlaws, Now Artists of Renown

Lightbox: Weegee’s Naked Hollywood 

NYT: Francesca Woodman Retrospective 

Lightbox: Tilda Swinton on being photographed

LPV Magazine: Top Photography Sites of 2011

Peta Pixel: Easy Ways to Exceed Client Expectations

Peta Pixel: How Not to Shoot School Portraits

Daily Mail: Stanley Kubrick’s New York: Pictures of Manhattan from when film director was just another unknown teenager with a dream

Verve: Gordon Welters

Verve: Mimi Mollica

Verve: Olya Ivanova

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

 2011 Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar contest winners 

Entries now being accepted for World Press Photo 2012 

Anastasia Taylor-Lind Delighted won the Pikto Top Pick prize for her Nagorno Karabakh series. Solo show at Pikto gallery in Toronto in 2012

$20,000 Aftermath Project Grant for 2012 Awarded to Andrew Lichtenstein

Bertha BRITDOC fund

Magnum Foundation- Human Rights Scholarships Applications are due December 19

Agencies

photo: Seamus Murphy

VII Photo December 2011 newsletter

Boreal Collective : Call for submissions

Promised to post this one again…

Cartel Photos : “Cartel Photos is a new and specialised photography agency based in Falmouth, Cornwall. It is exclusively made up of current undergraduates and alumni from the BA(Hons) Press & Editorial Photography course at University College Falmouth (UCF) who form the members of the agency. All our members are educated to the same standard and are all naturally passionate and enthusiastic in the field of photography.”

Crowd funding and Initiatives

photo: Barbara Davidson

MSNBC Photo Blog: Shop photojournalism for the holidays

BJP: Spotlight on crowdfunding: The Pastor Marrion Fund

Holiday gift idea…Nuru Project sells prints by photojournalists to support non-profits..

Nuru Project

Services

Labyrinth Photographic : London

Events and Workshops

VII Photo : free online seminars with VII Photographers

Jobs

Save the Children : Photo & Film Officer – Emergency Humanitarian Response

Institute for War and Peace Reporting seeks media manager

Photographers 

Marcus Yam

Marco di Lauro’s website is pretty funky.. Check it out…

Marco di Lauro

Dana Popa

Devin Yalkin

Bharat Choudhary

Nicky Loh

Chie Ming Chien

Bettina Rheims

Ben Guss

Jesus Quintanar

Thodoris Tzalavras

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Features and Essays

Some interesting features from the upcoming National Geographic Magazine’s December issue…

David Guttenfelder: Japan’s Nuclear Refugees (NGM)

photo: Chia Ming Chien

Various photographers: The City Solution (NGM)

Jim Richardson: King James Bible (NGM)

A lot of people raving about this last week online…

Seamus Murphy: A Darkness Visible | Afghanistan (MediaStorm)

Beautiful photos by Getty’s Daniel Berehulak from the Sonepur Mela fair in India…

Daniel Berehulak: The Sonepur Mela (TIME) India

This week’s TIME US edition cover story…

Peter van Agtmael: An Army Apart (Lightbox)

I wished I had received the  US edition as opposed to Time Europe with Platon’s smirking Berlusconi…

Noticed van Agtmael’s cover is a crop of one of the frames seen in the Ligthbox slideshow…

Magnum photographers: Paris in Winter (Newsweek)

Adam Dean has the cover of Newsweek International this week with a portrait of Ai Weiwei…slideshow on the magazine’s website…

Adam Dean : Ai Weiwei (Newsweek)

Nicolas Righetti: Syria: Posters of Bashar al-Assad (Newsweek)

Ed Ou: Syrian Refugees in Turkey (NYT)

Ed Ou: Somali-Kenyan Border (Polka) multimedia

Andrea Bruce: Leaving Camp Victory in Baghdad (NYT)

Definitely worth checking out…This year’s Joop Swart Masterclass participants’ projects…

2011 Joop Swart Masterclass galleries (World Press Photo)

Sanjit Das: The End of Splendid Isolation? (Panos) Bhutan

Ivor Prickett:  Free Libya (Panos)

Zed Nelson: South Sudan (Guardian)

From VII…

Adam Ferguson: Looking Home, At War (VII) Same in VII Magazine

Jocelyn Bain Hogg: The Family (VII)

Ed Kashi: America’s Uninsured (VII)

Ed Kashi: Ze Peixe: A Life at Sea VII)

Sim Chi Yin: China’s Rat Tribe (VII)

Donna Ferrato: Domestic Abuse (NYT Lens) Ferrato’s website

Alessandra Sanguinetti: The Sixth Day (Photo Booth)

Peter Hapak: The Art of War: Honoring the Fallen for a Lifetime (Lightbox) Hapak’s website

Chantal Heijnen: Bronxites (NYT Lens)  Heijnen’s website

August Bradley: Portraits of 99 from Occupy Wall Street (NYT Lens) Bradley’s project’s website

Brian David Steven:  War veterans (BBC)

Adam Amengual: Leaving the Life: Portraits of Former Gang Members (Lightbox)

Fredrik Naumann: Return to Utøya (Panos)

Mario Tama: Nascar (CNN photo blog)

Jesse Burke: Deer Stands (Lightbox)

Tiana Markova-Gold: Prostitution in Morocco (Lightbox) Markova-Gold’s website

Martina Bagicalupo: One woman’s story of surviving 20 years of conflict in Uganda (MSNBC)

Paolo Woods: The Land of Prophets (Institute)

Shelby Lee Adams: Of Kentucky (NYT)

Danny Wilcox Frazier: South Dakota’s Badlands (MSNBC)

Matt Eich: Hunting Alligators in Louisiana (MSNBC)

Abbas: Kolkata (Magnum)

Greg Brown: Aerial Photos of Ground Zero (NYT Lens)

Kim Badawi: Gaza Stripper (Stern) You can see the full set at Reportage site

Patrick Farrell: Haitian Black Gold (ZReportage)

Narciso Contreras: Little Burma (ZReportage)

Ali Arkady: The Day Labourers in Northern Iraq (Foto8)

Wendy Marijnissen: Because I’m a Girl : Rape in Pakistan (Photographer’s Vimeo)

Misha Friedman: An Invisible Epidemic (PDN Photo of the Day)

Interviews and Talks

Christopher Anderson at the 2011 World Press Photo Masterclass (World Press Photo)

Sebastiao Salgado (CPN)

David Guttenfelder : Outside the Frame: Rare chance to see inside Fukushima (MSNBC)  Related by Guttenfelder: Inside Fukushima (Guardian) | AP photographer Guttenfelder’s website

Don McCullin on Social Documentary Photography (Vimeo)

Ben Lowy (Photo Booth)

Ed Kashi : What is Photojournalism (Kashi blog)

Andrew Hetherington:  The day I photographed the great Joe Frazier (WTJ?)

Huge congratulations to Antonio Bolfo for becoming fully represented Getty Reportage photographer last week!

Antonio Bolfo : Attending Joop Swart Masterclass (Getty Reportage Tumblr)

Susan Seubert (Youtube)

Martina Bagicalupo (MSNBC)

KC Ortiz (Juxtapoz)

Kate Peters (The SIP)

Tessa Bunney (e-photoreview)

Articles

The month in photography…

photo: George Georgiou

Guardian: The Month in Photography  | The Observer New Review’s monthly guide to the 20 best photographic exhibitions and books, featuring Josef Koudelka, Diane Arbus, Bruce Davidson, Helmut Newton, Terry Richardson and Walker Evans.

photo: Chris Hondros

Peter Beaumont: Reporting Libya: freelance coverage, full-time dangers (Guardian)

Clare Morgana Gillis: What I Lost in Libya (The Atlantic)

The Atlantic:  ’Under Fire’: a new documentary shows that war is hell for journalists

David Campbell: The elusive enemy: Looking back at the “war on terror’s” visual culture

BagNewsNotes: Tents: The Overarching Symbol of Occupy (BNN)

The Atlantic: CNN Photojournalists Lose Jobs to Cheaper, Better Cameras

photo: William Eggleston

Guardian: Paris Photo 2011 – in pictures

Lightbox: Paris Photo 2011 Spotlights Sub-Saharan Africa

BJP: New festival to offer grants to photographers

WSJ: How an Image Becomes an Icon

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize winner annouced and exhibition opened….

BJP: Taylor Wessing winner

photo: Jooney Woodward

Guardian: Taylor Wessing portrait prize: another animal, another girl with red hair | Was Jooney Woodward’s shot of a red-head holding a guinea pig really the best of the 6,000 entries? And what makes her think it’s an ‘unsettling’ work

Evening Standard: Taylor Wessing exhibition review

photos: Pete Marlow

Telegraph: Magnum Contact Sheets book reviewed

BBC: Magnum Contact Sheets

Lightbox: The Singular Approach: Chien-Chi Chang’s Contact Sheet Chronicle

BBC: Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II sets photo record

PDN: Gursky’s Print Goes for $4.5 Million, Observers Say: Huh?   | Related: Nick Turpin blog: Value Added?

Joerg Colberg: How much are photographs worth?

PDN: Ad Banned in UK for Showing Super Skinny Model

Guardian: Photographer David Trood’s Best Shot 

Verve: Corentin Fohlen

Verve: Beth Yarnelle Edwards 

BJP: The alleged murderer of photojournalist Trent Keegan has been acquitted because of a lack of evidence

Chicago Tribune: iPad Apps for Photojournalists – Tuesday Tips

multiMedia, Apps, and Publications


Foto8 back issues on Issuu

The Condition One App : Features in NYT Lens | Lightbox | BJP

Jason Larkin has transformed his project Cairo Divided into a free 32 page newsprint publication…I picked up a copy from Jason himself last week at the World Press Photo exhibition opening here in London…do go order one…

Cairo Divided : Project website

Between Land : Project website

Awards, Grants, Competitions, and Exhibition opportunities

Magenta Flash Forward 2012 submissions open

The Street Photography Awards 2012

International Festival of Photojournalism calling for entries

Brad Vest Named College Photographer Of The Year (NPPA)

Wine Photo winners

PhotoPhilanthropy – Student Grant Round 5 

An opportunity for young Asian photographers…

Scholarship for Diploma in Photojournalism run by the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University (ACFJ) : The deadline is on Friday, 10 February 2012.

One Shot: The City – Intl Photo Awards

Crowdfunding, Initiatives, and Causes

Fancy Alec Soth taking your portrait? You do need deep pockets, mind…

eBay - An opportunity to purchase a portrait session with Alec Soth : Proceeds go to a charitable cause

PhotoVoice Auction 2011 Preview Exhibition  : A preview exhibition of prints in the PhotoVoice Auction of Exceptional Photographs 2011  : Monday 14th – Friday 18th Nov :  11am-6pm, late night Thursday to 7.30pm  Venue: La Galleria Pall Mall, 30 Royal Opera Arcade, London, SW1Y 4UY v

Events and Exhibitions

A Photo says 1000 Words? The Ethics of Photojournalism : 23 November 2011 : Southbank Centre : London

BJP  Vision11 

A Desperate Journey by Antonio Olmos : Jersey Arts Centre : Mon 14 Nov 2011 to Sat 26 Nov 2011 | more info

Workshops and Education

Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2012 : Thailand : July 29 – August 4 :  Info: Eric Beecroft, the co-founder of the Foundry Photojournalism Workshops, has just announced that it was ready to accept early registrations ($100 deposit, non refundable, and deducted from the total tuition amount) until January 15, 2012. Early registration guarantees a spot and precedence in the choice of instructor.  The 2012 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop will be held in North Thailand from July 29- August 4, 2012.   For regional students (South Asia– India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tibet and South East Asia-Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Phillippines, Laos, Cambodia,Indonesia, Malaysia) the tuition is $475. For all others it is $975 US dollars. Payment is via Paypal.

MA program in Photojournalism at the Mid-Sweden University : Starts 2012

Agencies and Collectives

Panos newsletter

NOOR newsletter

TerraProject newsletter

Photographers

Christina Fallara

Eric Michael Johnson

To finish off… This week’s stunning video… earth seen from above

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Name- Tatum Shaw
Age- 31
Where are you from?- Originally from Cartersville, Ga. Been living in Portland, Or for the past seven years.
Your equipment- Contax G2
Influences and photographers you like- Juergen Teller, Malick Sidibe, Mark Romanek, William Eggleston, Viviane Sassen, Terry Richardson, Harris Savides, Ryan McGinley, Keith Davis Young, Katherine Squier, Missy Prince.
A little about you- I work as an advertising copywriter at Wieden Kennedy for clients such as Coca-Cola, Target, P&G, Nike. Advertising can get creatively frustrating, so photography allows me to have an un-fucked-with outlet. I started taking photography seriously about four years ago. Currently, I'm working on a few books I hope to have out early next year.

Flickr page
tatumshaw.com/
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ALL PHOTOS BY TATUM SHAW

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4954100106_c1afdb2c35_z

For some Auslanders who are struggling to adopt to the elite German lifestyle, the day might arrive to pack up and say goodbye. Could be you were asked by your boss to move to another city, and you, being the brain dead, anti-intellectual, zero-creative-potential corporate automaton you always were, blindly obeyed.

Regardless of whatever reason has come up in your life that makes it necessary to leave Berlin, it positively means you have failed miserably at blending in wiz ze Germans — because if you had succeeded, you simply would have no life, and certainly no exciting things happening in it that necessitate moving away. Berlin would have been that “final solution” to all your ambitions and dreams, as it is for most elite German people, and you would spend your life irately defending its alleged coolness on sad internet comment threads.

Yet, since you gave up on blending in wiz ze Germans, at the very least, you need to confirm to a few basic guidelines and rules on how to quit ruleless, nonconformist Berlin in the universally accepted way. The timespan between the day of your announcement and your actual departure marks a phase of high emotional involvement for your elite German acquaintances. No, not because they are sad to lose a friend, but because it challenges that precious, set-in-stone consensus they once reached with themselves about Berlin being the cultural pinnacle of humankind, which nobody interesting, important, or perpetually adolescent would ever want to abandon.

You will soon learn that there is an easy way, and a hard way to leave Berlin. What’s that about, you ask? It is a distinction made on the place you move to next. Time to share a little secret:  Elite Germans are at all times painfully aware Berlin is actually not the most interesting place in the world.  Shhh! You’ve got to keep that voice down, Auslander! You are not supposed to know about the fundamental hurt from which the never ending, passive-aggressive pissing contest better known to its purveyors as “cool young Berlin” has arisen. Elite German people would rather drink a Müller Milch than ever admit this to anybody, including themselves. 

The easy way to leave Berlin is to move to any one of the three places the elite German population of Berlin has sound reason to feel superior to, which are: Wiedenborstel, Kleinbockedra, and Bebra. If you happen to move to one of these three, you can stop reading after this paragraph. Simply tell your friends you’re moving to a rural shithole, and enjoy the many beer-spilling dive bar binges you will get invited to out of pity.

However, it is more likely that you won’t be allowed to leave Berlin the easy way, because you just had to act like a total dick again and choose one of the many cities which make elite German people twitch nervously with population envy.

Just a passing mention of a city with 10 million people will involuntarily trigger a built-in, natural defence mechanism, quite similar to that Malaysian ant which, when attacked, explodes into a venomous fountain of guts: They will explode in a sudden rage at the fact you finally managed to rise above them in that devious little hierarchy they so desperately deny to exist.

Do you even realise what you impose on them? While you are getting ready to leave it all behind, enjoying your last few days in Berlin, wasting not a single electron of brain activity on organising the transport of 15000 rare Detroit-techno vinyls, because, like, you knew better than to get into that sad, phlegmatic hobby of collecting records, they are forced into another episode of DIY trauma therapy, brooding in dimly lit rooms to come up with a line of reasoning that will re-inject sense back into that fragile inner microcosm of unwarranted superiority your announcement so viciously shattered.

Once the cat is out the jute bag about your impending departure, elite German people, even those you barely ever met, are allowed to stop you on the street for a session of authoritative questioning. Your emigration interrogation will always start with an encouraging “I heard you’ll be leaving us...that’s so greeeeat for you”, which is meant to make them appear well-meaning and “on your side”, like psychologically trained detectives questioning a suspect in another lame episode of Tatort. 

Never take them at face value. Because they love little more than gossip, they probably already know the answer to their next question: “Where are you going?”. Answer by stating your destination in a calm and non-threatening way, like so: “I am going to New York”.

Now, let’s take a close look what this sentence triggers in an elite German person. Because this really is a life-or-social-death situation for their self-image, their brain, in the split of a millisecond, switches into survival mode. They are now in a state of elevated cognitive abilities. Their breath quickens. Their rhetorical skills slightly improve. Their memory backlog is extended by at least one decade. It’s like that overdose of Ketamine back in 2008 never happened. An elaborate program, like a piece of software code, is set in motion. 

The objective of this program is to neutralise as much as possible of the agonising grandeur that, in their spoiled minds, is awarded to anyone leaving Berlin for a bigger city. A grandeur whose existence you weren’t aware of, and never meant to exude, but is very real and very challenging to every elite German person. It is driving them mad with furious envy, which of course they can’t admit to in public, so they try their hardest to candy-coat it with pushy, dishonest empathy.

“Ohh, Neeeew Yooork...!” they’ll say, “we have a lot of friends there!” Don’t be surprised by this. No matter what city you go to, you can count on your elite German acquaintances to already have an extensive network of uberinteresting people in place. The subtext of course being that they are absolutely unimpressed by you moving there as well, and that any claim of individuality enhancement on your part (which you were never going to make) would be absolutely ridiculous to them. Never ask for details about those friends they are talking about. They’ll lecture you anyway. Better prepare for their next move:

“So, where exactly in New York will you be living?” Because you are probably 8000% less sentimental than the average elite German person about what neighbourhood and type of building you live in, you probably don’t know yet or can’t care enough to remember. Elite German people feel tremendous pressure to cover their conventional upbringing with a fabricated cosmopolitan veneer, and therefore maintain a roughly ten-years-obsolete concept about the cool neighbourhoods of the world’s cities. 

This is their chance to catch you off-guard. If you don’t want to open a shallow side argument about what parts of what cities are cool today, just think back 10 years and say “Williamsburg.”

“Ohh, Williamsbuuurg...!” they’ll say, “didn’t Finn, Leni, and Hartmut recently move there, too? We should totally give you their number, so they can show the new guy around.” Likely, a major part of your motivation for going abroad is to get away from elite Germans as far as possible, so you should answer in a non-committing way, like “oh, I will be very busy in my new job so I probably won’t have any free time in the next few...years”

Sensing that they won’t gain much ground in their struggle to make you feel small by pointing out how mainstream your oh-so-special destination really is, they’ll quickly change their focus to the nature of your new occupation:

“A new job? That’s soo great for you! What is it?” If you’re a straightforward person who’s thinking along the lines of “a job is just a job”, “it pays the bills”, “can’t be choosy in this economy”, you might be just naïve enough to say truth, for example “I’ll work at an internet company.”

Notice how your interrogators are becoming more excited now,   sensing a chance to gain the upper hand: “An internet company! Good for you! Well, I guess you won’t click with Hartmut, Leni, and Finn then, because they all work in creative professions!”

For old times sake, you could just engage in one last round of elite German combative communication, and say “Well, my job could be characterised as creative as well, it has to do with photography...”

“Photography! What a coincidence! Leni, Finn, and Hartmut are  photographers! In fact, they are assistants to Ellen von Unwerth, where they meet really exciting and famous people every day! I guess having a connection to Hartmut would be quite exciting for your little, what was it again, web design company? Jürgen, can we give out Hartmuts private number? We just have to bring you two together so he can show you all the cool places in New York, you know!”

At which point you might just stop caring and start to fuck around with them: “Oh, did I say web design company? Sorry, must be the tough weekend in Berghain. Actually, I meant to say I will be the new Director of Art Buying at MoMA, with a side job as Terry Richardson’s new muse, in the case I ever get some time off my frequent mid-day outdoor threesomes with my two new girlfriends Zooey Deschanel and Chloë Sevigny, of course...”, which will make your elite German stare at you in disbelief and finally say in a notably less excited tone: “That’s so...great for you...”

P.S. It is an unwritten, yet absolute certainty that if you ever run into Hartmut, Leni, Finn, or any other elite German person who was described to you as a hip expat god breaking new ground abroad, in the bleak light of day-to-day reality, things look a little less glorious. They might just have planned to go, but never actually left home, or they might have visited the city on vacation, but never lived there, or they did in fact live there for a few months, but only found bar jobs and ran out of money, or they actually were photography interns, but not for Ellen von Unwerth, but Ellen Krapszinsky, alcoholic wedding photographer. Don’t bother to report back to Germany about such tiny, irrelevant particularities, though — you´d look awfully nit-picky and uptight.

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Robert Moses Beach iPhone

Lately, I’ve been hit with the photography bug. It usually happens to me once a year. It goes something like this: I get the bug, I research cameras for a week, I buy an expensive camera, I use it non-stop for a few months, the bug goes away, I sell the camera.

I’m a gear head, so when I become obsessed with something I immediately try to find all the best gear that I can get my hands on. It’s good because I get to learn and experience new things, but it’s also bad on my wallet. And when it comes to photo gear, there’s no stopping me.

Until recently.

After countless cameras, and years of searching for the perfect camera that would push my photos to the next level, I’m now a firm believer that the best camera is the camera that you have with you. Yes, a Hasselblad H4D-60 will blow any other camera away, but you don’t see many people in street with a $42,000 camera hanging from their necks.

I hated lugging around a big ass body, with a big ass lens and a hood attached to it. That was the primary reason why I would stop shooting: I didn’t want to carry around all that stuff. I used to carry around a Hasselblad 503, with a prism and metal hood. The damn thing weighted a ton—and it sure captured some amazing photos—but after a few hours of carrying it, I wanted to throw it in the garbage. I hated that feeling because it ruined the moment and eventually led me to feel unmotivated. The tool was getting in the way of my creativity.

Now I just shoot with my iPhone 4. I already carry it around, and the built-in camera is pretty damn good. When I see an interesting shot, I just pull it out and snap a photo. The joy and spontaneity of shooting is instantly back. I would love it if Apple added some advanced features to the camera app—like shutter and aperture control—and I do miss me some depth of field, but overall the phone produces some fine images.

I think I’ve achieved some good results with this little camera. I took the photo to the left with my iPhone. This guy did a fashion shoot with an iPhone 3GS. Granted, he used a great lighting system, but the images are still impressive. Check out these folks who took a great looking shot with a Canon Powershot SD630 and some basic lighting. Professional fashion photographer Terry Richardson does entire shoots with a Yashica T4 point and shoot and the photos look great.

Don’t get me wrong, it is much easier to produce a great photo with high-end camera. That’s why it’s even more impressive when a great photo is taken with a lower-end one. The talent truly shines in that case.

My point is, in any creative field, the tool isn’t important. It’s what’s behind the tool that counts. So, don’t stress about getting a Canon 1Ds Mark III or the latest version of Photoshop. Just create.      

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                    Terry Richardson for ID Magazine
 

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