State of the Art: When Music Ruins the Picture Show

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’ve decided the time has come for me to make some kind of statement about it. You may not like what I have to say.

 I have had enough of slide shows accompanied by music. In fact, I’m pretty sick of them.

 The turning point came a couple of weeks ago, when I went to see a presentation by three very talented photojournalists. I’m not going to name names: The point here is that these photographers were doing what every photographer seems to do now. Each began his show by very briefly uttering a hello to the audience, then letting the computer take over. First came the fancy title, accompanied by music. With photojournalists it’s invariably world music—a sure sign of the international and cultural dimensions of the work. (Fashion images usually are set to rock.)

Check it out here.

State of the Art: Remembering Life Photographer Allan Grant

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One of the great photographers from Life magazine’s golden age, Allan Grant, died on February 1 at his home in Brentwood, California. He was 88 years old.

Other Life photographers, such as Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White, were better known than Grant. But few covered as wide a variety of stories. Among his most enduring images are his portraits of

Hollywood beauties. He famously shot Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly together backstage at the 1955 Academy Awards and made the last photos of Marilyn Monroe at her Brentwood home in 1962. One of best known images was a Life cover shot of actress Shirley MacClaine mugging for the camera with her daughter Sachi.

Check it out here.

One Image – 17 Amazing Interpretations at CameraPorn

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Several weeks back, I posed a challenge to CameraPorn readers. Take an image I dug out of my archives in the form of three bracketed exposures and retouch it into the best final image possible. The “Revisit & Retouch” project was meant to be an exercise in compositing these bracketed exposures into one image, taking details from each, but what it became was an interesting and educational view into the personal style of each of the entrants.

After the jump we have 17 different interpretations and the best part, everyone gets to vote for their favorite image…

Check it out here.

PDN's World in Focus: The Ultimate Travel Photography Contest 2008

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The more than 80 images showcased on the following pages were submitted by photographers who found picture-worthy moments in places as diverse as Antarctica and the Libyan desert, as well as locations that hit a little closer to home. So whether it’s Faisal Almalki’s snapshot of a man and his camel in Cairo or Ramin Talaie’s photograph of more than 2,500 Lubavitcher Rabbis in Brooklyn that catches your eye, these entries will give you a glimpse of the world.

The contest was judged in six categories: Human Condition, Extreme Exploration, Urban Landscapes, Snapshots, Wilderness and Open Series. The judges’ choices for Grand Prize and First Place in each category are shown on the followin

Check it out here.

World Leaders Gather To Roast Mahmoud Ahmadinejad | The Onion – America's Finest News Source

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GENEVA—In what observers are calling an unprecedented opportunity for the international community to express its grievances against Iran’s controversial leader, dozens of world leaders and key U.N. delegates gathered Saturday to roast Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The event, which took place beneath U.N. headquarters in the historic Geneva Friars Club, brought together the heads of every G8 member state, as well as some of today’s top foreign policy makers and peace brokers. Roastmaster and former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan kicked off the evening by welcoming President Ahmadinejad to “what [was] sure to be the first and last time Mahmoud would ever be surrounded by 72 virgins.”

Check it out here.

A Photo Editor – How to Manage People

I consider myself a pretty good people manager but it took me a long time to become one. I’ve always been good at working with photographers but it took quite a bit of work to become good at managing the people under me and I only really figured it out in the last year or so.

The greatest piece of advice I ever read (out of 20 or so business books) goes something like this: Taking someone else’s idea and increasing the quality by 5% occurs at the price of a 50% decrease in their commitment to execution (here’s a recent explaination on the Harvard Business blog).

Check it out here.

5B4: The Cows by Larry E. McPherson

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Most of the books that I have written about contain within their photographs an implied metaphor or meaning that provokes the viewer into different frames of mind. One of the pleasures in looking at work for me is to tease out these meanings that derive partly from the work and partly what my own history enables me to see in the work. There are other photographs that excite but with an innocence steeped in the purest pleasures of looking and examination of a subject clearly and interestingly described by an artist and camera. Larry E. McPherson’s The Cows published by Steidl is such a book that I enjoy for just these reasons.

Check it out here.

the life of m: Meet Dani

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My favorite writer and I are starting an absolutely heartbreaking story on a little girl named Dani, who was removed from her biological mom’s home a year ago. When the police found her she was locked in a room about the size of a closet, living in her own excrement (and that of a cat that was locked in there with her), with nothing more than a baby bottle and a bare mattress. That’s apparently where she spent the first 7 years of her life.

Check it out here.

Game Valhalla: Retro Arcade Gaming Fan Heaven Is Worth Infinite Quarters

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Peter Hirschberg has just finished his stunning retro-gaming heaven, a Valhalla for the best arcade video games ever. His Luna City Arcade has 57 fully-restored arcade classics, which span from Asteroids to Zaxxon, plus a whole load of pinballs. Amazingly enough, he does all this on his own dime, for the love of it. This personal museum is open now to the public by invitation only, and the best thing: entrance and quarters are completely free for his guests. Check the video, huge gallery and the interview with Peter after the jump.

Check it out here.

Challenge authority, if you dare – Los Angeles Times

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In Orlando, Sentinel photographer Sara Fajardo asked Zell at the staff meeting for his views on “the role journalism plays in the community, because we’re not the Pennysaver, we’re a newspaper.”

Zell, standing at a podium, responded, “I want to make enough money so that I can afford you. You need to in effect help me by being a journalist that focuses on what our readers want that generates more revenue.”

Fajardo told Zell that “what readers want are puppy dogs,” presumably referring to soft feature stories. She added, “We also need to inform the community.”

Zell shot back: “I’m sorry but you’re giving me the classic, what I would call, journalistic arrogance by deciding that puppies don’t count. . . . What I’m interested in is how can we generate additional interest in our products and additional revenue so we can make our product better and better and hopefully we get to the point where our revenue is so significant that we can do puppies and Iraq.”

As he finished his remarks, he stepped back from the podium and muttered the obscenity.

Check it out here.

1200 f 5.6 – APhotoADay News

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B&H is selling a used Canon Super Telephoto 1200mm lens for $99,000.

As for image quality, even wide open it’s quite lovely. Stopped down to f/8 and f/11 it’s actually quite remarkable. How remarkable? From midtown Manhattan we were able to read the street signs on the corner of JFK Boulevard East and 43rd St. in Weehawkin New Jersey when viewing image files at pixel resolution. Oh, did I mention that’s about 2 miles away?

Check it out here.

Reading Tea Leaves-PMA 2008

Things are still silly in the digicam field with shirt pocket cameras now up to about 12MP. This means 2.8 micron pixels (or maybe even less) which if this trend continues will begin to impinge on the size of the upper wave lengths of light. Stuffing photons into these little holes is going to start challenging the laws of physics pretty soon.

In the DSLR world sanity seems to be settling in, with pixel counts in the 12 – 14 MP range becoming the norm. The high end of the pro DSLR market seems to be at the 21 – 24 MP range, and while that leaves room for the lower end of the market to still move upward, the ceiling isn’t going to get much higher once pixel count gets above 25MP and photosite sizes below 5 microns, because noise will become too big an issue at anything other than moderate level ISOs. Photographers now want image quality above pixel count, or at least I do.

Check it out here.

Video of Tribune CEO's profanity stirs controversy — OrlandoSentinel.com

Tribune Co. executives and Orlando Sentinel managers responded Monday to controversy that erupted after video surfaced on the Internet of new Tribune Chairman and CEO Sam Zell cursing at a Sentinel photographer in front of hundreds of employees.

Zell, the billionaire real-estate tycoon who gained control of Tribune in December, used the expletive during an introductory meeting with Sentinel employees held in the company parking lot Thursday afternoon.

Photographer Sara Fajardo asked Zell whether the newspaper would focus more on softer stories to attract readers rather than inform them about the community. Zell responded by criticizing “the classic, what I will call, journalistic arrogance” of deciding which stories are important. He said the newspaper could do both types of stories — provided it makes enough money.

Zell stepped back from the podium, then said “[expletive] you” at the end of the exchange.

Check it out here.

Murakami takes graffitied Murakami billboard – Boing Boing

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In December, graffiti writers AUGER and REVOK modified a billboard advertising the wonderful Takashi Murakami exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Two days later, the billboard was removed. The LA Weekly now reports that Murakami himself saw online photos of the graffitied billboard and thought it to be “so wonderful, he had to have it for his collection,” according to his representatives. So apparently he had it taken down and shipped to his studio in Japan.

Check it out here.

PDNPulse – Picapp, Making it Legal

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I’ve been playing around with the beta version of PicApp, a service that promises to let bloggers publish high-quality professional photos online for free. Bloggers do this anyway of course, but PicApp aims to make it legal. To start, PicApp has a deal with Getty Images to make Getty photos available through the service. Bloggers use a string of code to embed the image, a process familiar to anyone who has ever published a YouTube video. The photo appears with caption and credit information and contextual advertising.

Check it out here.

SHANE LAVALETTE / JOURNAL » Blog Archive » Inagural New York Photo Festival Launches in May, Promises to be Awesome (and Probably Will Be)

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The New York Photo Festival seems to have started on the right foot with a very solid line up of curators for 2008: photographer Martin Parr, Aperture publisher Leslie A. Martin, photographer Tim Barber (aka Tiny Vices) and photo editor for the New York Times Magazine, Kathy Ryan

Check it out here.