Polaroid shutting 2 Mass. facilities, laying off 150 – The Boston Globe

Polaroid Corp., the Massachusetts company that gave the world instant film photography, is shutting down its film manufacturing lines in the state and abandoning the technology that made the company famous.

“The Norwood plant is shutting down, and we will soon be winding down activities at the Waltham facility as well,” said Kyle MacDonald, senior vice president of Polaroid’s instant photography business segment. The closures, set for completion during this quarter, will eliminate about 150 jobs. In the late 1970s, Polaroid employed about 15,000 in Massachusetts.

The Norwood and Waltham plants make large-format films used by professional photographers and artists. Polaroid also makes professional-grade films in Mexico, and its consumer film packs come from a factory in the Netherlands. All these plants are slated for closure this year. Polaroid chief operating officer Tom Beaudoin said the company is interested in licensing its technology to an outside firm that could manufacture film for faithful Polaroid customers. If that doesn’t happen, Polaroid users would have to find an alternative photo technology, as the company plans to make only enough film to last into next year

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5B4: The Americans by Robert Frank 50th Anniversary

It is rare for a photographer that came of age in the 1960’s and 70’s to not cite Robert Frank’s The Americans and Walker Evans’ American Photographs as the two books that inspired them to take up a camera and explore the world. It is lore that gets repeated so often it almost seems disingenuous in the retelling. I have often thought that it isn’t possible that so many people could be so instantly enamored since, as much as it may be embarrassing to admit, both of those books took a while for me to warm up to them and see their true greatness. I’ve come around, probably in the same way that an early critic of the first edition of The Americans had when he described Frank as one who “produced pictures that look as if a kid had taken them while eating a Popsicle and then had them developed and printed at the corner drugstore.” That critic failed to specify which flavor of Popsicle would have fueled such a remarkable feat. If he had, maybe photographers would have flocked to have given it a taste.

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Shimmering 21st century anonymous portraits – lens culture photography weblog

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Armed with only a hand-held 35mm film camera, and using available artificial light, Russian photographer Alexei Vassiliev has created a series of stunning portraits of anonymous 21st century urban dwellers. A very slow shutter speed allows him to capture rich colors and blurred human gestures to create iconic images that evoke the essence of modern humanity without much of the detail.

Each image seems to speak of a different near-archetypal story to everyone who experiences them. Some see angels or auras or mythic mother-goddess figures. Others see souls trapped in a man-made cage and fluttering to escape. Others talk of Francis Bacon and the plight of 21st century life, or about the elusive similarities between these images and many 19th century painted portraits.

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Photographing Tragedy In Alabama – PDNPulse



One of the most powerful photos of the tornado damage in the southern U.S. is by photojournalist Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily in Alabama. Cosby’s shot was picked up by the AP and ran as today’s lead photo in the USA Today and The New York Times, among other newspapers.

The photo shows one man, James Devaney, searching through the flattened debris of the home where his daughter, along with her son and her husband, were killed early Wednesday morning.

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Photographer Edward Steichen at the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne and Kunsthaus in Zurich – swissinfo


Two Swiss museums are hosting the most comprehensive retrospective ever on one of the icons of 20th-century photography.
American photographer Edward Steichen, who died in 1973 two days short of his 94th birthday, had a career spanning 70 years, during which he never ceased to innovate.

There certainly is a contrast between the 19-year-old who appears as a sharp silhouette in an early image and the “monument” who was responsible for a “photographic epic”, to use the title of the retrospective devoted to him by Lausanne’s Musée de l’Elysée.

Preparing the exhibition was an epic in itself. “The issue of copyright took ages to sort out,” said William Ewing, the museum’s director, at the preview. Most of the works of art belong to the world’s largest galleries and private collections.

If the exhibition reveals one thing about Steichen, it’s not his talent, but the abundance and diversity of his work

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Chicago Reader | Hot Type | Shooting for Dollars: The fight over photo rights to high school sporting events involves more than the First Amendment.


Lockport came from six runs down to beat Oak Park 8-6, and Banks headed onto the field to take the “jubilation shot”—the photo of ecstatic teenagers hugging and tumbling and screaming. It’s the shot that goes on page one of tomorrow’s paper and into the photo albums of every player on the team.
But a volunteer from the Illinois High School Association blocked Banks’s way at third base. “She knew who I was and she said, ‘I can’t let you out,’” he says. “I asked why. She said, ‘This is my instruc tion.’” Banks looked around. He spotted the photographer from Visual Image Photo graphy, the firm under contract with the IHSA to take pictures of its major events, heading for the field from the first base side. Banks trotted after him and got his picture.
Banks also calls the jubilation shot the “money shot,” and that’s not just a metaphor. Papers point out that for 100 years they’ve sold copies of their pictures for a nominal rate to readers seeking mementos. Now a lot of papers have digitized the process—their photographers post pictures and readers order them online. An outside company that handled the order and made the print took a cut and Banks and the Southtown split the balance. Banks says his yearly take was something under $2,000.
The revenue stream is pretty small—it didn’t come close to sparing the Southtown its recent drastic economies, merging with the Star papers and laying off a lot of people, Banks included. But visit the Web site of what’s now the SouthtownStar and you’ll see the paper means business. “Welcome to Southland Photo Shoppe,” it says. “Your shopping choices range from traditional prints to T-shirts, mugs, computer mouse pads and other items on which our photos are imprinted.” A simple eight-by-ten is $25.

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Key For The Future – Inside Aperture


For the longest time, I’ve wanted to figure out the best way to add keywords to my extensive library. I know in theory how to do it, but I have never actually made a concentrated effort to use this very important and powerful feature in Aperture.

Keywording gets even more important as your archive grows, making it easy to find specific images years down the road. Stock shooters will tell you that efficient keywording will make them money, since buyers will search for specific images by keyword, and if your image fits the bill but does not contain the specific keyword, it will never be called up for consideration.

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An Industry Imperiled by Falling Profits and Shrinking Ads – New York Times


The talk of newspapers’ demise is older than some of the reporters who write about it, but what is happening now is something new, something more serious than anyone has experienced in generations. Last year started badly and ended worse, with shrinking profits and tumbling stock prices, and 2008 is shaping up as more of the same, prompting louder talk about a dark turning point.

“I’m an optimist, but it is very hard to be positive about what’s going on,” said Brian P. Tierney, publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News. “The next few years are transitional, and I think some papers aren’t going to make it.”

Advertising, the source of more than 80 percent of newspaper revenue, traditionally rose and fell with the overall economy. But in the last 12 to 18 months, that link has been broken, and executives do not expect to be able to repair it completely anytime soon.

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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.)

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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.

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One Image – 17 Amazing Interpretations at CameraPorn



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…

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



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

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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.”

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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).

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5B4: The Cows by Larry E. McPherson



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.