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.

Wooster Collective: The Israeli Border Police in Weimar – An Explanation

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I wanted to bring The Israeli border police in Weimar, the standard armored jeep that the border police uses to patrol will escort me in my daily life in town. I examine what such an action brings, how the presence of a militarized police force from Israel in a small quiet East German place would be perceived. Would it produce fear, antagonism, discomfort or maybe understanding and sympathy? The site of the Star of David is never neutral on the streets of Germany, all the more so when it is painted on an armored jeep. Not surprisingly, I could not bring a real jeep to Weimar. Instead, I built a two- dimensional life size cut out (like the fake police cars that deter driver from speeding). The cutout can do the same job that a real jeep can do and invoke the discussion I would like to create.

Check it out here.

Magnum Blog / It should be a dream – the photo blog of Magnum Photos

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I went to Haiti because I wanted to do something to supplement my New York work. It wasn’t far, it’s three and a half hours direct flight from New York City. They have a Mardi Gras in February so that means people are on the street.

A very important factor is that historically Haitians weren’t against being photographed. Whereas if you go to some other Caribbean countries, it would be much tougher to photograph. In other words, you’d put your life really in danger. Like Jamaica, if you don’t have an ‘entre’ it’s a tough place and they don’t take to being photographed as well. If you’re going to the areas I go into, you’ll lose your camera or you lose your life.

Check it out here.

redlights and redeyes: art of art

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I got sent to Miami for three days for The New York Times for a piece on the Miami art scene post Art Basel. I can’t really say much more than it was an amazing time, met some really chill people and got a chance to just wander and make photos I wanted to make. We don’t get to do nearly as much of that these days in our business, so I took full advantage of making wrong turns, finding random wi-fi spots (thank you Denny’s), and taking in some spectacular shows.

These are only a fraction of the 80-picture edit I sent, but I’ll drop a few more on this blog in a few days when I get around to editing my stuff from my random side-trip to the fashion district – which is about as close to painted wall heaven as I have ever been.

Check it out here.

Rachel Cooke on the Annie Leibovitz film, Life Through a Lens | Art & Architecture | Guardian Unlimited Arts

There are lots of reasons why making a film about Annie Leibovitz, our most famous living photographer, may be a bit intimidating. For one thing, photography is essentially static, so how to bring it to life on screen? For another, Leibovitz has something of a reputation.
Graydon Carter, her boss at Vanity Fair, likens her to ‘Barbra Streisand with a camera’, which is possibly shorthand for ‘she’s a nightmare on legs!’ (I’m guessing that he isn’t referring to her singing.) Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, admits that, yes, Annie is demanding, that the idea of ‘budget is not something that enters into her consciousness’, before quickly adding that she is worth it because ‘she cares! she cares!’ Even Leibovitz’s flesh and blood, in this case, her sister Paula, confesses: ‘You don’t want to be anywhere near her when she’s taking pictures.’

Check it out here.

The Year in Pictures: Jehad Nga

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One of the most striking new bodies of work I’ve seen recently is a series of photographs made by the 30 year old photojournalist Jehad Nga. Taken in a Somalian café and lit only by a single shaft on sunlight, the images illuminate their subjects in the clandestine manner of Walker Evans’ subway pictures or Harry Callahan’s “Women Lost in Thought”.

Nga was born in Kansas, but moved soon after, first to Libya and then to London. In his early 20s he was living in Los Angeles and taking courses at UCLA, when he came across the book “Digital Diaries” by Natasha Merritt. The book, a collection of sexually intimate photos made with a digital point-and-shoot, convinced Nga that he could become a photographer. One year later he was traveling through the Middle East taking pictures.

Check it out here.

Near the Cross: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta

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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.

Playing It Safe in Las Vegas – New York Times

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“In Vegas, I don’t have to worry about photographers waiting outside my house every day because they can’t wait outside my hotel room,” Spencer Pratt, a star of the MTV reality series “The Hills,” said in early January as he and Heidi Montag, his co-star and girlfriend, posed for photos on a red carpet on the way to an event that they were paid to attend at the Jet nightclub at the Mirage.

“When we travel here we have bodyguards, there are people with earpieces making sure there aren’t any photos we don’t want, making sure there’s no problems,” Mr. Pratt said. “I’m sure a lot of celebrities come out to Vegas because it’s like a hide-out, it’s a getaway.”

Indeed, as the city rolled into the year’s biggest betting weekend, the Super Bowl, stars aplenty were expected to be in the nightclubs and sports books. But they were not expecting to be trailed by what Robin Leach, the former host of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and the unofficial dean of the Las Vegas celebrity news media, refers to as “wild roaming packs of paparazzi.”

“All of our photographers are known to the casinos almost as if they’re registered,” said Mr. Leach, who writes the Vegas Luxe Life blog for Las Vegas Magazine. “If a photographer breaks the spirit of the unidentified terms of his access, that’s the last time he gets red carpet or nightclub privileges.”

Check it out here.

State of the Art: Last Dispatch from Ernie Pyle

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It is just a photograph of a body at the side of a road—another death among the millions of deaths of World War II. Yet this photo, long lost and never before published, has surprised historians. The dead man in the picture is Ernie Pyle, the famed war correspondent whose dispatches painted vivid portraits of the lives of common GIs. Pyle famously covered several theaters of war, including the brutal Italian campaign of 1943-1944, and was killed on April 17, 1945 on the island of le Shima, off Okinawa in the Pacific.

 Even historians who have specialized in studying Pyle’s work and collecting his correspondence had never seen the image. The negative is long lost and only a few prints were known to exist.

Check it out here.