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Korengal Valley is among the deadliest pieces of terrain in the world for U.S forces. The six-mile long strategic passage is located in northeastern Afghanistan surrounded by treacherous mountain ridges, which are held desperately by the Taleban and al-Qaeda. Nearly one-fifth of all combat in Afghanistan occurs in this valley, and nearly three-quarters of all the bombs dropped by NATO planes target the surrounding area. The Valley is the first leg of a former mujahideen smuggling route that was used to bring in men and weapons from Pakistan during the 1980s

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Why can’t you make it through the checkout line without flipping through page after page of pregnant celebs in Us magazine? Alison Jackson knows why. In her work, she photographs the people you think you recognize doing what you really want to see. And in the process, she’s questioning our shared desire to get personal with celebrity culture. Funny and sometimes shocking, Jackson’s work contains some graphic images. (Recorded July 2005 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 17:36.)

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Every photographer is limited by certain constraints—the subject of a story, an art director’s vision, a client’s directives—so the images he produces are not truly his own. You might say, then, that his most genuine work, the work that best reveals the clarity of his eye, is that which he produces just for himself. In this spirit we approached longtime Texas Monthly contributor Dan Winters—a California native and Hill Country transplant whose portraits of marquee-name celebrities also appear in such publications as the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and Rolling Stone—and gave him an assignment unlike the dozens of others he’s completed for us since his haunting photo of a Huntsville prisoner graced our cover in August 1991: We asked him to sift through a career’s worth of unpublished shots (last year he processed 250 rolls of film he’d accumulated over some twenty years) and select a few of his favorites. The ten assembled here, most of which Winters had not even printed until now, were all taken with a handheld camera, available light, and for no other reason than to capture the beauty of a particular moment. “Even when I’m doing a color assignment and it’s a big dog-and-pony show with a lot of lighting and a lot of crew members, I’ll just take people aside and do a little bit for myself,” he says. The results are as intimate as they are revealing. Jordan Breal

Check it out here. Via A Photo a Day.

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OK. It’s a massive call, but this intro for Lakai’s, Fully Flared skate video is f*cking awesome. The perfect blend of pyrotechnics, skate skills and photography. Respect.

Check it out here. via John Nack.

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No, this dispute is not about high commerce. It is instead about principle. We believe it is within our absolute right to cover, publish and, yes, occasionally even sell, content that we create – particularly from highly public events involving tax-supported institutions and occurring at taxpayer-owned venues.

It is unfortunate that we are at loggerheads with the IHSA, which has already restricted our photo access to one major state championship event. It’s all related to this dispute. We have never previously viewed the organization as a foe. If anything, quite the opposite is true. Like the IHSA, we believe it’s in all of our best interests to draw attention to and celebrate youth achievement, whether it be on the basketball court, the football field, the concert hall or the scholastic bowl.

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Potentially, the worst television show ever. I love it! The Christian disclaimer at the start is fascinating, and after watching the program, it seems ridiculous to hold on to the concept that this pair must stay together. I mean, really, who wants to be with a guy who wishes he were Red Skelton!?

Check it out here.

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If Beverly Hills has a Main Street, it’s Rodeo Drive—three blocks of palm trees and designer boutiques with names like Armani, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Impossibly expensive cars—Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, Lamborghinis—cruise down the strip. Paparazzi stalk red carpets and limousines.

From the balcony of a brand new Chanel Boutique one evening this past December, Minneapolis photographer Alec Soth, an invited guest at the store’s glamorous opening party, surveys this scene, clad in a black blazer and black slacks he bought with the help of an former intern—”a real fashionable dude.”

Inside, in an oversized dressing room intended for the private shopping of the elite, hang three large photographs of a Paris fashion show snapped by Soth. Mingling throughout the store are Hollywood starlets (Hilary Duff, Angie Harmon) with flawless bodies wrapped tight in extravagant clothes. Standing near Soth on the balcony is the young actor Chris Klein (American Pie). It occurs to Soth that Klein’s suit looks much better than his own does.

Check it out here. Via Tim Gruber via APAD.

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PicLens instantly transforms your browser into a full-screen slideshow experience. With just one click, PicLens makes photos come to life via a cinematic presentation that goes beyond the confines of the traditional browser window. With PicLens, browsing and viewing images on the web will never be the same again.
Immerse Yourself.
Why mundanely flip through online photo galleries or squint at thumbnails from Google Image Search when you can sit back and get an immersive, full-screen experience instead? Come on and let yourself “be transported to a wonderful and magical world.” (Review by Lifehacker)

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Several times now I’ve expressed my appreciation for PicLens, a beautiful (and free) little browser plug-in that enables full-screen, hardware-accelerated slideshows from Google Images, Flickr, MySpace, deviantART, and other sites.  It’s changed my whole online photo viewing experience.

Check it out here.

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The photographic realm has just lost two giants with the deaths of Popular Photography’s Burt Keppler and, now, of Henry Froehlich, former head of medium-format mainstay Mamiya America. Though less visible than Burt to readers of photography magazines, Henry was just as influential in the photo industry, and in many of the same ways. Influence aside, he was a lovely, kindhearted man.

A refugee from Nazi Germany, Henry did much to promote Japanese cameras in the U.S. after World War II, distributing the Konica line. Eventually he merged that business with Berkey Photo, a key distributor that had previously absorbed the German photo importing business of Paul Klingenstein, a fellow refugee and future Mamiya partner. Henry went on to create a film-to-video conversion business with Jan Lederman, now head of the MAC Group, and the three men later founded the highly successful Mamiya America.

In his role at Mamiya, Henry was a hero and friend to some of our best photographers, including Annie Leibovitz and Douglas Kirkland. If they or other Mamiya RZ or RB users had any job-threatening trouble with their equipment, Henry would hop to it, getting stuff fixed in a flash and often loaning out replacement gear in the interim. It seemed beyond the call of corporate duty, but reflected Henry’s deep affection for photography and photographers. Yet he was a consummate businessman, famous for driving a hard bargain — with absolute pleasantness.

Check it out here.

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This month we focus on Brian Skerry, an underwater photographer with National Geographic Magazine. Skerry has been on nearly 10,000 dives throughout his career, visiting dive sites around the world. Skerry’s incredible talent for capturing marine life has led not only to his career at National Geographic, but has helped his work stand out among others in the field, with magazines such as U.S. News and World Report, Audubon, Sports Illustrated and many others publishing his work. Skerry takes some time during a recent National Geographic Society Expedition in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez to provide a glimpse into his life under the sea.

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TO the small group of photography experts aware of its existence, it was known simply as “the Mexican suitcase.” And in the pantheon of lost modern cultural treasures, it was surrounded by the same mythical aura as Hemingway’s early manuscripts, which vanished from a train station in 1922.

The suitcase — actually three flimsy cardboard valises — contained thousands of negatives of pictures that Robert Capa, one of the pioneers of modern war photography, took during the Spanish Civil War before he fled Europe for America in 1939, leaving behind the contents of his Paris darkroom.

Capa assumed that the work had been lost during the Nazi invasion, and he died in 1954 on assignment in Vietnam still thinking so. But in 1995 word began to spread that the negatives had somehow survived, after taking a journey worthy of a John le Carré novel: Paris to Marseille and then, in the hands of a Mexican general and

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I chose not to photograph people smiling in portraits. I too am always searching to reveal the inner silence within a subject. Posed smiling is a learned reaction and does not provide insight to subject’s being. Instead it blocks the viewer from studying a vulnerable face.

I ask a lot of the people I photograph. I ask them to trust me. Trust my vision as an artist. Trust me to make an image as honestly as I know how to. Sometimes they do not like the image. Sometimes they hate the image. I don’t always know how to feel about that. It is an intimate process. I almost always feel a bond between my subjects both during and after.

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Egyptian security forces tried unsuccessfully Friday to end the Palestinian exodus. Police cars drove through Egyptian border towns blaring the message: “Dear Palestinian brothers, when you have finished buying your goods, please return to Gaza. The border is closing.”

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For those not familiar with DNG, it’s the archival raw format that Adobe created to address the proliferation of proprietary raw formats.  With hundreds of undocumented formats introduced since the advent of raw capture, it’s no wonder that the concept of a raw standard has elicited quite a bit of discussion.   Much of the discussion revolves around the topic of file format obsolescence: Will I be able to open my raw files in 50 to 75 years from now?  This is a good question and a valid reason why photographers choose to use the openly documented DNG format but there are other more immediate benefits to using a DNG workflow:

Check it out here.

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Can’t buy the film you want any more? Just make the stuff!

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To my eye, there’s something integral to photography that’s not translating from film to digital. This isn’t to say that I think that digital is crap, but there’s definitely something missing.

I also think that a photographer’s relationship with shooting is quite different when it’s film and when it’s digital. If I buy fresh Polaroid film for my pinhole camera, it’s roughly $3.75 a shot. Shooting with an SX-70 is roughly $1 a shot. The choices that I make are an important and necessary part of my process.

With digital, you pretty much shoot ‘til your card’s full. I guess, I miss the ongoing interior editorial conversation that happens in my head.

Check it out here.

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Thirteen years ago, Chicago Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante began visiting a family farm. Over the years he took thousand of pictures of the couple and their land and all the creatures that lived there. In 2002 he chronicled the farm’s end. Call it death, if you will. Call it progress, if you must

“…I was determined to one day go back to their land and see what happened to it…

He found, on what had been the farm’s 119 acres, a subdivision called Willow Walk. The results are a photographic wonder, as the past bleeds into and is reflected in the present.

Check it out here, via A Photo a Day.

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