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Tom Rankin began photographing the sacred landscapes and spiritual traditions of the Mississippi Delta in the late 1980s when he moved there to teach at Delta State University. He returns to Mississippi regularly to photograph some of the same churches and cemeteries as they evolve and change over time, reflecting the ongoing life of these holy spaces. Rankin expresses his deep connection and attraction to the Delta and its religious practices in his book Sacred Space.

Check it out here.

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“Reality is a lie,” said Mr. Baldassi.

Automated tools like Mr. Baldassi’s are changing the editing of photography by making it possible for anyone to tweak a picture, delete unwanted items or even combine the best aspects of several similar pictures into one.

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Police, saying they were responding to citizen complaints, carted away two large promotional photographs from the Abercrombie & Fitch store in Lynnhaven Mall on Saturday and cited the manager on obscenity charges.

Adam Bernstein, a police spokesman, said the seizure and the issuance of the summons came only after store management had not heeded warnings to remove the images.

The citation was issued under City Code Section 22.31, Bernstein said, which makes it a crime to display “obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles.” He did not say what was being done with the pictures and when the manager, whose name was not released, is scheduled to appear in court.

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Starting on February 1, 2008, Canon USA began informing key photographers and key organizations using the EOS-1D Mark III that engineers at Canon in Japan have developed a new fix for the camera’s autofocus, a fix that’s in addition to the change in the sub-mirror mechanism and firmware updates introduced in 2007.

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We all like looking over the hill to see what’s coming next. With the exponential rate of change which technology now gives us, having a sense of what’s coming next can also be a form of economic sense, as it is not at all uncommon for one to buy what appears to be the latest and greatest only to find the next day that something new has just been announced. (If you want to have a better appreciation for what exponential technological change has in store for us, read The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurtzweil. It was recently recommended to me by Bill Atkinson, and is a real eye-opener).

That next big thing, at least in the world of photographic quality inkjet printers, is now available from Epson. As I write this the Stylus Pro 11880 has been on the market for a few months, and through the kind auspices of Epson I have had one in my printing studio for testing for almost as long. A combination of travel, the holiday season and teaching commitments has prevented me from putting fingers to keyboard as quickly as I would have liked, but I have been printing with the 11880 every chance that I’ve had, and I’m smitten.

There is no doubt that this U.S. $15,000, 60 inch wide, nine ink channel printer is likely the finest printer yet available for photographic printing. But given its price and size it is not likely to find a home other than in high-end commercial printing studios. Nevertheless it is a harbinger of what’s coming next from Epson, and so is well worth our while to have a close look at.

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In those days, you could get close. Very close. That’s how Rowland Scherman worked. With his hand-held Leica, he shot Mississippi John Hurt strumming a guitar on a rickety bed, Robert F. Kennedy strategizing with campaign advisers, and Bob Dylan at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival.

“I was so close, I could have said, ‘Bob, could you hold this camera?’ ” Scherman jokes. “Nowadays, they would take you and throw you out.”

Nobody threw Scherman out. For roughly a decade, the photographer had an uncanny knack for making sure he was in the right place at the right time, whether shooting for Life magazine, National Geographic, or Time. And just as quickly as he arrived, he disappeared, drifting across the ocean and out of that glossy world for good.

Check it out here.

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Hot off the mass email today Humble Arts Foundation has announced the 31 selections out of over 1000 submissions for the upcoming show “31 Under 31: Young Women in Art Photography.” The exhibition opening reception on Saturday, March 1st at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn and the show will stay up for the month.

Check it out here.

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

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The document he’d given me provided no explanation for my expulsion, but I immediately felt that there was some connection to the travels and reporting I had done for a story published two days earlier in the New York Times Magazine, about a dangerous new generation of Taliban in Pakistan. I had spent several months traveling throughout the troubled areas along the border with Afghanistan, including Quetta (in Baluchistan province) and Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and Swat (all in the North-West Frontier Province). My visa listed no travel restrictions, and less than a week earlier, President Pervez Musharraf had sat before a roomful of foreign journalists in Islamabad and told them that they could go anywhere they wanted in Pakistan.

The truth, however, is that foreign journalists are barred from almost half the country; in most cases, their visas are restricted to three cities — Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. In Baluchistan province, which covers 44 percent of Pakistan and where ethnic nationalists are fighting a low-level insurgency, the government requires prior notification and approval if you want to travel anywhere outside the capital of Quetta. Such permission is rarely given. And the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where the pro-Taliban militants are strong, are completely off-limits. Musharraf’s government says that journalists are kept out for their own security. But meanwhile, two conflicts go unreported in one of the world’s most vital — and misunderstood — countries.

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Tucked away in the back of Fuji’s booth at PMA 2008 was an interesting prototype for a 6×7 film camera. With over four times the resolution of 35mm film, 70mm 120/220 roll films have long been the favored film for pros, but it’s been decades since reasonably priced consumer models have been manufactured outside the toy-camera world.

Based on a classic design, this as-yet-unnamed camera isn’t amazingly innovative, but it seems to be perfectly refined with everything fans of old Ansco/Agfa cameras would expect. Add in the convenience of an electronic shutter and this becomes a pretty interesting concept, considering the rest of it is basically 1950s tech. This was the only new film camera model we ran into at PMA.

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.

The German-born British photographer, E.O. Hoppe, was a different sort of a case. It’s true, he was probably the most famous photographer alive in the 1920s, and it’s true that after his death he fell into obscurity.

But here’s the marvel: Hoppe’s photographs look as brilliant now as they did to his contemporaries. Looking at his pictures, you see it immediately; it doesn’t take a specialist’s eye or any kind of rarefied knowledge.

So why was he forgotten?

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Burckhardt, who emigrated from Switzerland in 1935, is difficult to classify within the tradition of New York street photography. He was an impatient photographer, taking few exposures even when shooting stationary subjects, and a careless printer who allowed his negatives to become scratched. Photography was not his only medium; he also painted and made short, lyrical 16-millimeter films of the city. His early work has been compared to that of Walker Evans and Berenice Abbott, though without the social or historical conscience. His playful late photographs, from the ’70s and ’80s, suggest a less aggressive Garry Winogrand.

His photographs also register as the work of an outsider. Burckhardt’s most famous pictures, views of Astor Place and the Flatiron Building taken from rooftops, focus on the few places in the city where the street grid is broken. New York landmarks become European boulevards. Another well-known photograph shows the Midtown skyline from the vantage point of a rail yard in Astoria, Queens.

Check it out here.

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Leica fanatics are different than regular people, so it’s no surprise Leica’s taking an entirely different—but brilliant—approach with its M8: It’s everlasting. Instead of dropping an M9 or M10, Leica is offering substantial upgrades to the M8 itself—mechanical and digital components, so it’ll slowly evolve into a new camera. The first package is a sapphire LCD screen, which can only be scratched by a diamond, plus a new, quieter, less shaky shutter, at a cost of around $1,800.

Check it out here.

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Compared to the monkey, everything else was a cinch, says Guy Neveling, when asked about the production of our featured image, an advertisement for Volkswagen. “The monkey was all over the studio.” That is, until the time came for something rarely heard of in stateside shoots—his afternoon nap.
A skilled photographer working in a small market like South Africa has to be versatile enough to let the monkey sleep, says Nevelling. “They’ll give you an animal shot one week and then next week, I’ll be shooting a car,” he says. His range serves him well in a region where work is plentiful and photographers are in short supply. “It’s like the Wild West,” Neveling says. “There is violence [in Johannesburg] but people are open to new things and new people.”

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Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere… (April 20, 2007 to January 30, 2008)
The First 286 Days.

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Ryan Heshka has a show in LA at Secret Headquarters bookshop. Here is a link to the show!

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That Sony is willing to tackle the difficult economics of the full-frame SLR market with its new Alpha provides further evidence that Sony is serious with its SLR push.

“This year, Alpha will proceed to its main stage,” Katsumoto said. “We will address the whole spectrum of digital SLR segments this year ranging from entry-level to flagship.”

Full-frame cameras can offer greater sensitivity for a given megapixel count because individual pixels are larger and gather more light. Sony’s flagship Alpha, with 24.8 megapixels, puts pixel count in the driver’s seat. In contrast, Nikon’s 12-megapixel D3 emphasizes bigger pixels with good low-light performance.

Check it out here.

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