Photoshop has plenty of fantastic tools, although there are some that many of us never use. Similarly, there are some tools that photographers would love to have, perhaps instead of those “useless” ones. Unmesh Dinda of PiXimperfect suggests 16 tools that should definitely become a part of Photoshop and make our editing workflow way more […]
It’s that time of the year when we buy, make, and get presents. And everyone loves presents, right? Still, there are some that will make you put an awkward smile on your face, say “thank you,” but never use them in your life. Mark Denney has come up with a list of such presents for […]
When the weather is bad or you’re in a lockdown, taking some shots at home is one of the best ways to spend time. And there can never be enough ideas to spark some inspiration if you ask me. So, Spencer Cox has created a video to show you seven low-budget ideas for macro photos […]
A great project always starts with a good idea and revolves around it. But how do you come up with good ideas? Can it be taught? Jamie Windsor believes that it can, and in this video, he’ll share with you four steps that will lead you to have great ideas for your photos and projects. […]
The Olympic games are the peak of international sports photography and the images photographers can capture there are timeless and iconic, long outliving the photographer and the subject. This 30-minute documentary explores the role photographers have in capturing that history.
Produced by Olympic Games Knowledge Management, the documentary titled “One Shot: Photographing the Olympic Games” is narrated by Olympic Champion Jonathan Edwards and features multiple award-winning photographers including Lucy Nicholson, Dave Burnett, Bob Martin, Tim de Waele, and Tsuyoshi Matsumoto. It also shows 146 images from the Olympic games dating back over 50 years. It was shot during the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro that took place in 2016.
The documentary aimed to look at Olympians caught in a moment in time, distilling events – and perhaps the entire idea of the Olympics – into single frames.
The documentary was uploaded in its entirety both to the Olympics Channel and to YouTube, the latter by the Head of Media Operations for the International Olympic Committee, Anthony Edgar. His entire channel, which has under 1,000 subscribers at the time of publication, is a treasure trove of Olympics information.
In addition to One Shot – which is also available with Chinese and Japanese subtitles – Edgar has also uploaded other photography-focused videos that can show aspiring photographers what to expect should they ever get the chance to photograph the international event and how his segment of the organization handles its various tasks.
If you are at all interested in the media side of the Olympics or just like more information on the event in general, Edgar’s channel is a valuable resource. You can see all the videos he has uploaded here.
Shooting at the White House on August 25, 2016, for New York magazine, Dan Winters was given five minutes of President Obama’s time for a cover story. He spent at least five hours carefully pre-setting each shot: “Each setup had its own camera and tripod, [was lit and dialed in] so I could just jump from setup to setup quickly, 45 seconds on one setup.”
Winters got to the final shot (back cover photo above) — where the president was instructed to gaze out the Blue Room window. There, Winters discovered in a panic: that his wife Kathryn had separately called his first assistant and asked him to take some souvenir shots of Winters at work with Obama. The assistant had changed all the camera settings when he dashed off the shots that Winters’ wife wanted and “casually put the camera back without restoring my settings.”
Winters took his final frame, checked the camera’s monitor, and found the image over-exposed — almost completely white — from the light through the window.
“While I was lamenting the predicament and trying to guess the exposure, the president was like, ‘I don’t hear any clicking. Dan, I don’t hear any clicking.’ He said it twice. And everybody was on me, his handlers were giving me the stinkeye,” the Austin, Texas-based Dan Winters recalls. “But I think I nailed that shot on my second frame.”
Five years later, Obama himself selected the photo to be a prominent part of the historical record that A Promised Land will portray, which has already sold a record 890,000 copies on its first day. Winters’ portrait, which was printed in black and white for the October 3, 2016, issue of New York, appears in full color for the first time on Obama’s memoir on the back cover. This will eventually end up being his first photo to be printed over 10 million copies for Winters!
Notable: The magazine’s [New York] photo director actually called my wife while the shoot was going on and said, “Your husband is bossing around the president of the United States!”
Treat every assignment as if it’s your first one. I think there is a misconception, especially that students have, and I really make a point when I speak at schools to talk about the fact that you never really arrive. You are always working towards something, but you never stop. I think there is this crazy idea that you get somewhere, and then everything is cool. – Dan Winters
The pandemic overwhelmed National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale, and she knew she had to do something. COVID-19 was devastating conservation efforts globally as tourism and economies have collapsed, creating increasing pressure on nature. Driven by desperation, poaching and deforestation were on the rise.
Vitale tells PetaPixel, “I reached out to photographers that I deeply admire to ask for their support. I was surprised by how enthusiastic the photographers have been. They are checking in with me, asking how the sale is going, and sharing it with their own audiences.”
Vitale created Prints for Nature as a fine art photographic print sale offering collectors the chance to own work from some of the most impactful names in the photography industry and contribute to conservation. It includes eighty-five fine art and nature photographers who have generously donated prints for this cause.
The collection includes images from a diverse group of artists, many of whom are National Geographic photographers, like Joel Sartore who contributed an image from his National Geographic Photo Ark collection, Academy award-winning ‘Free Solo’ director Jimmy Chin, Emmy Award-winning artist Beverly Joubert, Ami Vitale, Anand Varma, Bertie Gregory, Brent Stirton, Charlie Hamilton James, David Doubilet, David Guttenfelder, Danielle Zalcman, David Liittschwager, Jasper Doest, Keith Ladzinski, Michael Yamashita, Steve Winder, Vince Musi and many more inspiring photographers.
Images are crafted by Paper & Ink and will be printed at 11×16 inches and sell for $250. The price per print will increase to $275 after Black Friday, November 27, 2020. The sale ends December 10, 2020.
Graciela Iturbide, who was born in Mexico City in 1942, set out to be a film director, enrolling at the Film Studies Center at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México at the age of 27. But while traveling with her mentor, the Mexican modernist Manuel Alvarez Bravo, she realized how drawn she was to photography and travel.
Iturbide photographs everyday life, almost entirely in black-and-white, following her curiosity and photographing when she sees what she likes. Iturbide’s Photos of Mexico Make “Visible What, to Many, Is Invisible,” said the New York Times in quoting Kristen Gresh, curator of photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, who has worked closely with Ms. Iturbide. Iturbide eschews labels and calls herself complicit with her subjects. She became interested in the daily life of Mexico’s indigenous cultures and people (the Zapotec, Mixtec, and Seri) and has photographed life in Mexican cities and on the Mexican/American border (La Frontera). She uses photography as a way of understanding Mexico, combining indigenous customs, assimilated Catholic practices and foreign economic trade under one scope.
I never use a telephoto lens. I need to be close to people. I need their complicity; I need them to be aware that I am there taking their picture. – Graciela Iturbide
These days demand for the extra-large works has diminished. In 2011, work by contemporary German photographers generated a combined $21 million at auction. Last year, that total fell by almost 50 percent, to $10.6 million, according to the Artnet Price Database. In the first half of this year, sales shrank further to just $3.9 million at auction.
How can three artists with impeccable collectors, museum presence, and curatorial attention fall into such a rut on the auction block? Experts attribute the dynamic to a combination of factors, starting with oversupply. Another is that these huge mounted photos are difficult to move and relocate as they are not as forgiving as canvas.
… for me [Rhein II], it is an allegorical picture about the meaning of life and how things are. – Andreas Gursky
With a DXOMARK camera overall score of 128, the Apple iPhone 12 Pro makes it into the top five of their ranking, improving on last year’s 11 Pro Max by four points and replacing it as the best Apple device in their database. The overall score is founded on a high Photo score of 135 and a very good Video score of 112. With a score of 66, Zoom is the area where the iPhone 12 Pro loses some points against the best in class, mainly due to its tele-lens offering only a 2x optical magnification.
In Photo mode, DxO found the autofocus system to be one of the highlights, offering fast and accurate performance in most situations. “Exposure is mostly good, but our testers found the dynamic range to be a little limited, with both highlight and shadow clipping occurring in difficult conditions. Color rendering is accurate under indoor lighting, but color casts can be noticeable in outdoor images, and while the camera also offers good detail retention, if you don’t shoot in very dim conditions, you can often find image noise in indoor and low-light shots.”
Note: This review is of the iPhone 12 Pro and NOT the top-end iPhone 12 Pro Max, which also comes with a triple-camera setup, but uses a larger sensor in the standard-wide and a slightly longer tele-lens compared to the 12 Pro.
Here are twelve gifted astrophotographers who create stunning images of the heavens above. Most of these images include night landscapes with the Milky Way in the background. Capturing star trails is also another great subject. Night photography has many things to consider. On top of your usual composition and exposure, you have to deal with noise, shadow detail, preserving highlights, and special gear considerations for night lovers. This is also night landscape photography with an emphasis on the sky. Most of the time, you may be trying to avoid star trails by using the 500 rule (see below), as they can be distracting. Yet, emphasizing them can also make for a stunning image.
Quiz: (1.) Who was the first astrophotographer? Louis Daguerre (who invented the first practical process of photography) himself is believed to be the first person to photograph the moon, using his daguerreotype process, on January 2, 1839. Unfortunately, in March of that same year, his entire laboratory burnt to the ground, destroying all his written records and much of his early experimental work–and that historical image of the moon (which, according to a contemporary, was out of focus). Louis?? This does not look good on your resume!
A year later on March 26, 1840, John William Draper, an American doctor and chemist, took from his rooftop observatory at New York University his own daguerreotype of the moon using a device called a heliostat to keep light from the moon focused on the plate during a long 20-minute exposure. E&OE
(2.) What is the 500 rule in astrophotography?
500 Divided by the Focal Length of Your Lens = The Longest Exposure (in Seconds) Before Stars Start to “Trail.” For example, let’s say you’re taking a shot with a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera. 500/24 = 21 seconds, which you can round to 20 seconds.
Bruno Barbey, a French photographer for the Magnum Photos agency who produced powerful, empathetic work in war zones as well as in peacetime, died November 9. Although he captured conflicts in Nigeria, Vietnam, the Middle East, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Kuwait, Barbey rejected the title “war photographer,” perhaps recognizing the fight for freedom was an integral part of life. Barbey, along with photographers Marc Riboud and Henri Cartier-Bresson, worked without flash to preserve the atmosphere of Paris’s streets in their night photographs during the civil unrest of 1968.
Barbey traveled all over the five continents for half a century and published more than 30 books documenting the beauty of places and the people he encountered. Always open to new techniques and styles, Barbey pioneered the use of color film in photojournalism while on assignment for Vogue in Brazil in 1966. Throughout his career, Barbey photographed Morocco, often returning to make pictures in the place where he was born in 1941. “It is very difficult to photograph there because in Islam, photography is supposed to bring the evil eye,” he told Magnum Photos. “You have to be cunning as a fox, well organized, and respect some customs. The photographer must learn to merge into the walls. Photos must either be taken swiftly, with all the attendant risks or only after long periods of infinite patience.”
Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world. – Bruno Barbey
Mother and daughter get professional hair and makeup done and do a 3-hour photoshoot with multiple dress changes.
Then comes the price list: 4×6 print $350; 8×10 print $500; 10 prints plus a photo album $4500; Digital rights, 15 prints, and photo album $6500!
To offer free shoots in the hope of making money on the backend is not uncommon marketing. But shouldn’t one ask, “What does the average customer spend or how much are prints going to be?” etc., when there is no indication provided?
I made this photo in Los Angeles, California, in 1995 while on a three-day assignment for Newsweek magazine to document the LA Police after the Rodney King riots and the OJ Simpson debacle. The photos were never published by the magazine. An assignment like this always raises issues of access and how a photographer should prepare. I arrived at the South-Central LA precinct wearing a bulletproof vest, silently pronouncing to the cops that I took what they did seriously, and this helped gain their trust. Photographing with Kodak Tri-X, I used two Nikon N90s, which at the time were noted for their fast autofocus speed, a recent accomplishment of photo technology.
I sat in the front seat of the patrol car, my cameras ready, with a 20mm and 28mm lens. As we drove in South-Central, he spotted a possible stolen car driving on the street. The Sergeant pulled his gun and held it below the window, and I started photographing, partly in denial, wondering if he thought they had guns, wondering would we be shot at, would my exposure be right, how many un-exposed frames did I have left in my camera.
This photo caught a moment of tension on the street, the fear the suspects had of being stopped and questioned, the officer’s uneasiness, finger near the trigger, and my own concern that this moment could escalate to something deadlier. I was worried about the ambient light outside, given we were inside the patrol car, and worried it might mess with my exposure, especially since the photo is nothing without showing the gun hidden on the cop’s lap. The moment I saw what was happening, I kept pressing the shutter button, my camera slightly tilted, the subject’s hands raised, the gun with a slight shine of light, and the officer looking towards the suspects.
I still like the composition of the photo, the patrol car window framing the two guys in their car, yet with the wide depth of field, you can see the donut shop and warehouse in the background creating a sense of place. The hands held high of the suspect add to the tension; a brief moment caught so important to the photo. The 45-degree angle of the officer’s arm lets your eye follow the gun, and in your mind, you know what could happen. It was a moment that showed the danger for all, in the day in the life of South-Central Los Angeles.
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About the author: Phil Mistry is a photographer and teacher based in Atlanta, GA. He started one of the first digital camera classes in New York City at The International Center of Photography in the 90s. He was the director and teacher for Sony/Popular Photography magazine’s Digital Days Workshops. You can reach him via email here.
Image credits: All photographs as credited and used with permission from the photographers or agencies.
The ability for individual photographers to have any kind of cultural impact feels diminished and diluted when you consider just how many are working towards the goal of producing meaningful work.
Where individuals are limited in the time they can spend, the ground they can cover, and the final result they can output, a group of individuals is able to multiply that effort. When applying themselves to telling the same story, a group of photographers will find themselves much better equipped to do a deep dive into a subject than someone working alone.
While it may be obvious that many hands make light work, it can be interesting to watch the role of the artist’s ego when collaborating on such an idea. Long-term documentary photography is a huge investment, and the classic agencies that would tackle such projects would rarely allocate more than an individual photographer to one story. Individuals can often want their account to be sacred and presented according to their own vision — not an approach that lends itself to collaborative effort.
I think this can be seen clearly when looking at compilations of work, compendiums of collected portfolio pieces presented in coffee-table books like Magnum Contact Sheets or The Street is Watching — both absolutely outstanding photobooks that every photographer should spend some time with, but when it comes to the presentation of work it is very much divided into presenting each artist individually, one at a time, with a clear border once that particular piece is closed.
Truly collaborative groups, where no border or boundary exists to differentiate ownership when experiencing the work, are few and far between. Some of the most well known mainstream examples are partnerships between couples — like Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, or Narelle Autio and Trent Parke, who collaborate beyond just combining their images in sequence, but in the written copy and other aspects of presentation.
Another duo who I think really erase the line between individual and collective effort is Vera Torok and Robert Pap who have a very clear intention behind the way they work as one. In their own words, “In the field we both photograph at the same time, and in the same place. We are two merged element with two cameras, four eyes, one heart, one picture.”
When looking to work like this in a partnership of more than two there are some important hurdles that need to be navigated. To start with our goals have to be mostly aligned, shared, and understood — as these evolve over time, communication throughout is essential. The scope of the project will always extend beyond any of us, but this is an asset when working beyond the ability of an individual.
We can truly work in more than one place at a time and trust that the other members are applying themselves just as hard to their role as we produce our own photographs. No jealousy, just support and feedback, and open, ego-free criticism really helps shape the direction we find ourselves moving in.
The collective I’m a part of, New Exit Group, finds itself in a healthy place, as our values are shared, and when it comes to being at odds with others we are comfortable enough to hash it out and work towards a compromise, or towards helping others to understand our position.
Our work complements one another’s, with the shared aesthetic of mostly short lens, black-and-white 35mm-film-based storytelling images. This means that even when I produce a detail shot with a long lens it can coexist alongside a wider scene photographed by one of the others.
We understand that foisting our perspective onto the final product is not the objective, but rather bringing together the best aspects of what will make that final product absolutely what it needs to be. This requires consensus on more than just whether or not individual images happen to be good, or to fit, but on how the sequence can flow effectively, bringing about an artifact that is larger than the sum of its parts.
When working on our collaborative projects, the photography aspect itself is almost a given. We all recognize the work put in by ourselves and one another, and are confident that we have brought our A-game images to the curation pool. Curation occurs with the finished product in mind and is not an exercise in putting forward anything other than the holistic story.
We are not attached to our images, but instead allow the story to unfold based on how we weave together all of our work. We even find ourselves advocating more heavily for work made by someone else in the group than our own, as we will see aspects that they did not.
When we were curating our debut photo project, BARDO: Summer of ‘20, we used over 400 6×4 postcard prints in order to make our curation session as visceral and practical as possible.
It was essential to edit out many genuinely excellent images in service of the story we had committed ourselves to telling. While they may be standout images they simply did not fit the flow of the sequence. Similarly, images we’d overlooked at the start of the session suddenly became valuable, even irreplaceable as gaps emerged between other images, and needed that image to act as “glue” to bond two previously disparate ideas together.
I think that this way of working shows a really powerful way of thinking in photographic storytelling. The co-operative nature of our group is so distinct from any collective which advocates individual work, showcasing portfolios rather than any effort that was actually collaborated on by the group. I can’t think of a better way for grassroots photojournalists to approach documenting their lives and communities than by building up their own documentary co-operative with shared values and working together to achieve their goals.
The potential for reach and impact made by multiple coexisting artists is so much greater than individuals working and advocating individually, and the creative space that can exist between respectful peers is unrivaled by anything offered through social media.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on working as a cooperative collective! You can follow us on Instagram or check out our debut zine, BARDO.
About the author: Simon King is a London based photographer and photojournalist, currently working on a number of long-term documentary and street photography projects. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can follow his work on Instagram. Simon also teaches a short course in Street Photography at UAL, which can be read about here.
There are some iconic photos taken through history that turned out to be staged or altered. The example that first comes to mind for me is Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, which was both. In this video, Vox brings another example of a historic image that was most likely staged. It’s Roger Fenton’s Valley of the […]