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21 years ago on Feb. 3rd I was celebrating my 39th anniversary shooting pictures…

Check it out here.

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A special report looking at the provision of education in an area of Mali has won the inaugural Journalism.co.uk multimedia reporting competition.

Judges praised the combined use of voiceover, stills and video footage within a series of slideshows, that made up the Learning Lessons in Africa report, calling it a ‘compelling story’ and a ‘seamless piece of journalism’ that set it apart from other more technically adventurous projects.

Photographer Ami Vitale and videographer Dan Chung complied footage in Mali for the report (pictured above), which was then produced by Elliot Smith with interactive design by Paddy Allen and published online by the Guardian.

Check it out here.

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From his first job at a small south Chicago paper to his current position as a staff photographer for the Chicago Tribune, Scott Strazzante has carried with him a personal project about a family farm near Lockport, Illinois. Now presented as a  slide show for the Chicago Tribune Magazine titled Another Country, Strazzante’s diptychs pair images of the Cagwin farm with subsequent shots from the subdivision that was built on their land. After American Photo senior editor Miki Johnson  wrote about the project on the magazine’s  State of the Art blog, Strazzante got in touch and the two struck up a conversation about the ongoing project.

Check it out here.

The White House News Photographers Association Student Contest Committee announces a new contest open to students from around the world to compete for the honor of WHNPA 2008 Student Photographer of the Year. WHNPA sponsor, Digital Railroad, will host the competition website and the award for the winning student photographer.

The contest submission page will open on February 1, 2008 and entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on March 1, 2008.

Check it out here.

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Every assignment/subject/event I have ever photographed in my life has taken less than one minute to capture. It takes a lot of frames at 1/250th of a second to add up to a minute, but it’s all the things we do between this time and that, which make all the difference in the world. Sometimes I wish the people in upper level management would spend more than 1/250th of a second deciding which stories we run centerpiece photos with and which ones we ignore all together. Photography at The Spectrum is an afterthought in most cases, used to fill space between the words on the page. I always ask myself ‘how can I best serve the story, how can I best serve the reader’ with my photos, and when I cover a city council meeting like I did tonight I wonder if my time would be better spent covering an assignment that would be enhanced with visual story telling.

Check it out here.

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yesterday a brief discussion came up under “student work/workshops” that i thought might be interesting to bring up right here….herve brought it up, after seeing my India student essays,  with regard to what he described as a “trend” by workshop students in particular and many photographers in general to photograph what he described as “incomplete” or “not quite” photographs….photographs which could possibly require just too too much imagination on the viewers part…not enough “explanation” perhaps….

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As I survive my sixth layoff in five years, I question the future of photojournalism and am worried about the path we are headed down. Almost every newspaper in the county has laid off, bought out or done away with positions in the last few years. Everyone is trying to cut back on expenses, trim the fat, and keep profit margins up as the economy starts to take a dive. “This is necessary, these are hard times, it has to be done,” we’re told. Newspapers cannot afford to have investigative reporters, or fat staffs, or experienced journalists with higher salaries.

Check it out here.

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All of this got me instantly thinking (and worrying): What kind of Mexican suitcase will we leave to our future generations to find? A SyQuest cartridge from the early 1990’s? A floppy disk? A Zip drive? I’ve always laughed at the prospect of one of the great ironies of the digital era: In the end, only paper will survive. Our grandchildren might venture into an attic sixty years from now and find a stack of gorgeous prints–made from digital cameras and film cameras alike–and then again, they might find the original files to those prints on a CD with faded Sharpie writing. The prints, of course, will be treasured while the CD will get thrown into the trash faster than one can say, “what’s a SCSI drive?”

(To be fair, there are plenty of atrocities on both sides of the fence. Back in the late eighties, someone at a major Washington newspaper, looking to clear some space, threw away negatives from a 16 year period, including many of those belonging to a minor political dust-up called Watergate.)

Check it out here.

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How cold was it?

Cold enough to pop both of the lenses out of my glasses.

Cold enough to freeze my breath on the camera viewfinder.

Cold enough to wear not one, but two sets of long underwear. (Expedition weight no less!)

Cold enough for Peter Miller to go through a whole box of chemical hand warmers.

Cold enough to freeze your nose hairs.

Cold enough to REALLY believe those immortal words: “The frozen tundra that is Lambeau Field…”

Check it out here.

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A seven-year period may seem short compared to a full-span professional career, but in the case of the independent photojournalist Dimitris Soulas (born 1938) this hardly matters.

Soulas worked as a photographer in Germany between 1967 and 1974, a period that coincided with the junta regime in Greece. It was a short but highly creative period that earned him success and recognition. “Dimitris Soulas, Snapshots, Photographs 1967-1974,” an exhibition currently being held at the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, reveals the strength and richness in the work of this artist whose commitment to photography, although brief, was substantial. The first large presentation held on the work of Soulas worldwide, it is a touring exhibition that begins from Greece (at the artist’s request). It has been organized by the Museum of Photography in the City of Munich to which Soulas donated his archive, to mark the photographer’s 70th birthday. It is being held in collaboration with the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography and is jointly curated by Ulrich Pohlmann (director of the German museum) and Heracles Papaioannou, curator at the Thessaloniki museum. An album with researched essays that place the work of Soulas in its time has been published by both museums on the occasion.

Check it out here.

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Something is fishy over at Reuters. The news wire has been caught distributing what appear to be staged photographs of Gaza power outages. Check out the two photographs above, taken by Gaza-based Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem.

The captions for the pictures read “Palestinian lawmakers attend a parliament session in candlelight during a power cut in Gaza January 22, 2008.”

Except… look closely at the pictures. Is that sunlight steaming in through the windows? Yes. Yes it is. They’re holding a parliamentary session by candlelight during the daytime.

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When does photographer/blogger John Harrington sleep? We are not sure. Sometime between last night (when he covered the State of the Union address) and this afternoon, he produced an extremely informative 12-minute video about how photographers cover the president’s annual applause-fest. (Take note of Dennis Brack’s spot-on prediction that the Obama-Clinton cold shoulder would be the most important photo of the night.)

Check it out here.

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Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris
29 January – 13 April 2008
Photography project on world power inspired by the history of classical painting. Each part refers to painting by its subject and format and tries to explore in a conceptual way the mechanisms of power and history.
Most things come in three. A trinity structure has occurred during many reigns, empires and organized religion. 1. The leaders or gods, 2. the army or avenging creatures and 3. the people or representatives.
Figurative painting or drawing was for a long time the source for historical reflection and reporting. Format, color, glorification, imposing frames, mise en scene were elements of persuasion to create an overwhelming feeling of history and testimony.
Now, television and printed media have taken over this concept. 30 images per second and millions of pictures per day determine and influence in a direct or indirect way the global opinion and give a thin notion of reality and opinion. World leaders like CNN are the perfect example.
By going back to the idea of one large image representing a situation I try to reintroduce the element of time in dealing with images of reality. The viewer, in the museum, is forced by the sheer size of the image to look at it in a way some people do with paintings. Standing still, sitting or even kneeling in front of an image is encouraged like in less abundant media times.
The world ‘order’ changed after the atomic ‘Trinity’ project of the US.

Check it out here.

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For most people the word gypsy evokes a romantic image of a nomadic lifestyle. Although the traditional gypsy way of life was common all over Europe several decades ago, their number has dwindled during the past century and now they are mostly found in remote areas of Romania. Due to environmental and economic circumstances as well as governmental pressure, their way of life is threatened and facing inevitable extinction. The end of socialism marked the beginning of Roma/Gypsy decline from relative well being to extreme poverty. Low skills, discrimination, and the collapse of many state-owned industrial and agricultural enterprises during the transition period have contributed to their mass unemployment, along with rising illiteracy rates and deteriorating health, infrastructure, and housing conditions. 

Check it out here.

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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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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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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

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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