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Thursday, 30 October 2008

BJP Vision

Now in its 9th year, BJP's (British Journal of Photography) Vision is on at November 7, from 10am to 5pm at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

There's a host of exhibitors there, so it'll be a good chance to see some of the kit from Photokina.

I'll be there doing portfolio reviews in the afternoon from 2pm 'till 5pm, so if you think I may be of help, book your spot now. Do remember though to keep it a tight edit as the time slots are 15 minutes per photographer.

Terakopian Archive Now At Photoshelter

Here's the new archive. You can also search using the facility below:

Sign Of The Times

Well, its a sad state of affairs. The credit crunch is all around and is going to get worst. Most freelancers are feeling the pinch as their news shifts get cut in numbers and commercial work slows down.
One early casualty has been Digital Railroad with whom I've had my archive for a while. They suspended operations on October 28 and it looks like members have until October 31 to access their archives.
Photoshelter has come to the rescue offering photographers a way of transferring their archives straight from DDR to their servers. I must admit to trying this four times and failing on all attempts. The best I could do was get little thumbnails saying image not present. You may have had a better result. In the end I ended up transferring everything from my Mac. Another good example of back everything up!
If you have a DRR account, you should have received an email from them and also from Photoshelter who are offering an extra three months membership for anyone migrating from DRR. If you haven't, I strongly urge you too look into the situation and come up with an action plan.
My only worry is that if the DRR is liquidated, what happens to all the images on their servers? I can't see the liquidation company taking time to securely erase all data before selling off the hardware. I urge everybody with a DRR account to contact Diablo Management Group and urge them to securely erase all customer data and image data:

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Nikon D90 & Shooting Video

Camcorder Info have done a very thorough review of the video shooting capabilities of the Nikon D90. The D90 is the first DSLR which has a video shooting mode, covering 1280 x 720 HD. Shortly after the Nikon D90 announcement, Canon launched the 5D MkII which also shoots video. However, there are major differences; the Canon shoots at full HD and has a microphone jack alongside its built in microphone.
One of the major issues with the D90 is the way it introduces wobble when the camera is panned.

Video clip by
I'm hoping that Camcorder Info will also follow up with a review of the 5D MkII. We've seen the stunning results it achieves when shooting video in the hands of Vincent Laforet, but it would be interesting to see what a video camera review site thing of the Canon.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Is The Canon G10 As Good As A Hasselblad?!!!

Yes, you did read that correctly and no, I haven't lost my mind!
Photographer Michael Reichmann made some 13"x19" prints from the 14.7 megapixel Canon G10 and also from the 39 megapixel Hasselblad H2. Customers visiting his studio couldn't tell them apart as there was almost a 50 / 50 split in opinions. Read all about it on this CNET blog.

For a more in-depth look, the Luminous Landscape article makes very interesting reading.


Having downloaded both files and compared them side by side on a 24" screen, I must say that looking at the two images, its practically impossible to tell them apart! At 100% magnification, things are a little different; the Hasselblad was used on a tripod and the G10 was hand held at 1/8 of a second, so there is tiny movement with the G10 (only apparent at 100%) - but its still a very close call.
The colour, sharpness, tonality and the crispness of the lens on the Canon are astonishing! Who would have thought that a pocket camera could stand up to the best medium format system available?!

Apple's New MacBook Pro

No doubt that by now most people would have seen that Apple have launched new MacBooks, MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros.
The spec sheet is remarkable reading, and for me the new graphics offered across the range and the faster bus speed and RAM mean that these machines will be amazing. To top this off, with the MacBook Pro the top CPU runs at 2.8Ghz!
For me the only question mark is on the glossy screen and how well it will perform and calibrate. I have a MacBook Air and at first had a mental block against the glossy screen, but admittedly got used to it and it calibrate well. I have yet to see any of the new machines but am hopeful to have a hands on soon. Until then I shall reserve judgement on the screen.
Meanwhile, Apple Insider has a very good and in-depth look at the MacBook Pro, including a few videos.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Reuters Photographers On Covering The Olympics

I just came across a great short film of several of the Reuters photographers talking of their experiences and images from the Beijing Olympics. Its well worth a watch!

War Exhibition At The Barbican

I had a chance to have a very quick look at the war exhibitions at the Barbican yesterday afternoon. I'll definitely pop back as I only had 30 minutes before the place shut! Must say, that they are all worth a lengthy and thorough visit.

Robert Capa's work was, as always, good to see again. There were a lot of images I hadn't seen though, and some new prints from the recently discovered negatives have been exhibited. There's an interesting section on the "Fallen Soldier" image, as well as some press cards and letters by Capa. My favourite has to be a letter he wrote to his mother and brother after the D-Day landings in which he said "Yesterday I had a bit of an adventure"!! Talk about an under statement!

I found Gerda Taro's work really interesting too. Its such a shame that both Capa and Taro died so early in their careers. It would have been a joy and an education to see life through their cameras.

Geert van Kesteren also had an interesting collection of images worth checking out too.

Check here for some images.

The exhibition is on until 25 January 2009.

Barbican Art Gallery opening times:
Daily 11.00am – 8.00pm 
Except Tue & Wed 11.00am – 6.00pm 
Barbican Art Gallery is open late every Thu until 10pm.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

DRM on Music

DRM....Digital Rights Management. Anyone who knows me or has read this blog knows how strongly I feel on issues of copyright. I parted ways with a big wire agency after many years of working for them as they tried to bully me into signing over my intellectual rights to my work. My income has since less than halved as a direct result.

As photographers, we take great pride in the quality of our work; not just the content, but the physical quality too. The image has to be presented in its best form. I'm sure musicians take equal pride in the quality of their recordings, and find it paramount that listeners enjoy it at a high level of quality. This leads me onto DRM.

Whilst I 100% back the music industry in their efforts to protect their copyright, for us, the members of the listening audience who are quite happy to pay for music, DRM gets rather annoying. As an example, I can play MP3 CDs in my car. However, if I buy an album on iTunes, I need to make an audio copy of this in iTunes, then re-import it and make another lossy MP3 copy of it. In effect, running the MP3 compression twice. If you try and listen to any complex piece of music which has been compressed twice, you can definitely hear the difference. As I'm sure musicians care about the quality of their music, surely they need to apply pressure on their recording labels and the distributors to get rid of this DRM?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Zeiss PhotoScope 1800mm f3.3

Its designed for bird watchers, but the Zeiss PhotoScope 85 T* FL  may just be ideal for news photographers too. Its a 600mm to 1800mm scope, f2.4 to f3.3, with a built in 7 megapixel camera. To top off this astonishing spec, it ony weighs 2.9 Kg!

What Makes A Good Photograph?

Like it or not, a photograph is an art form, regardless of subject or style. One of the reasons I can make this generalisation is that as with anything artistic, its not a definitive thing; it means different things to different viewers and is totally subjective. To one viewer it may be crap, to another it may be superb. Just like music, sculpture, painting, the written word or film, it stirs up a different feeling and thought within anyone who looks at a picture. Its not finite like a mathematical formula but totally infinite in its communication.

I came across this very interesting "discussion" between the Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson and another photographer Terry Carroll on the Magnum Blog. Its well worth a read.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Afghanistan Diary Updates by John D McHugh

John D McHugh has two new stories from his long term Afghanistan project.
The aspect that I like from John D's work is that it paints a picture of the difficulties faced in this vast country with its complex society. What the second report lacks in "bang bang" it makes up for in bucket loads of information on just how difficult the situation is; both for the Afghani locals and the forces trying to bring back a normality of life to a place which in recent history has only suffered war.

Is This The New MacBook Pro?

Well, its only a matter of hours until the rumoured announcement by Apple, but apparently, here is a picture of the new Apple MacBook Pro. Engadget also has the same photographs from a source who has been reliable in the past.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

New Apple MacBooks....soon??

I'm not a big one for publishing rumours; they are often wrong and can be misleading.
However, there are so many rumours about this from the web, and the product is in need of a change, that I think its perhaps a given.
Rumour has it that this Tuesday, October 14, Apple will be announcing its new range of MacBooks, and possibly MacBook Pros. So if you were about to purchase one of these, hold off for a few days.
The rumour mill suggests that the new MacBooks will now be in Aluminium (cut from a single block of the metal using water jets) and more importantly may have a separate Nvidia graphics chip.
Lastly, the price bracket seems lower at the lower end; $800! Naturally this won't suit as a working machine for a busy photographer, but may be just the thing as a light travel laptop.
As mentioned already, all of these are rumours; all I would suggest is wait until October 14 passes before buying an Apple laptop.

UPDATE: Apparently, according to various web sites, this is the new MacBook cover design.
Finally, here's a page of the latest rumours....believed to be true!

Thursday, 9 October 2008 know; pictures, video, audio

There's a  lot of terrible multimedia on the web, mainly on newspaper sites that don't invest time and money in letting their people produce good work. However, there's a lot of excellent work out there too. For me, Magnum In Motion, Media Storm, The Guardian and New York Times are traditionally the better places to visit to see some stunning work and realise what's possible with this new story telling method.
Thankfully, there's also now a great web site called the Kobre Guide that features "the Web's best multimedia & video journalism". Its a great site and definitely worth bookmarking.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Citizen Journalism

Here's a phrase that brings anger to many working photographers. The idea of "CJ's" stealing our income as they walk around with their camera phones (and occasionally compact cameras). They seem to crop up more and more as TV news stations and newspapers constantly advertise for pictures and stories from civilians. There are even specific agencies now set up to deal with this influx of imagery and text.

My personal views are that in situations where there is no media present, it has its place. This is well illustrated by images taken after the London terrorist bombings in 2005 of tube passengers walking up the tunnel after the explosion. However, it has its place if these members of the public who want the thrill of having their images published don't put themselves in harms way or get in our way. The Police have the thought that the media has to be controlled; instead of Policing a scene, there are far too many resources allocated to restricting the press from working (and there are countless cases where officers have taken it on themselves to making photographers delete their images and censor our free press). However, CJ's, because they are members of the public (which for some reason we're not in the eyes of the Police!) are allowed closer to take their pictures or make their observations.
As a working photographer, I have a certain level of experience accumulated from years of working in dangerous or sensitive situations; knowing how close to get and how to behave without putting myself at risk or causing distress to the subject of the assignment who is probably having the worst day of their lives. CJ's don't have these qualities; its not their fault as they are accustomed to working in an office or a van.

The next big and highly important aspect of journalism (be it visual or written) is to make sure you get your facts right and don't represent the story wrongly. Any reporter has to stand up their work by talking with all sides and making sure that facts are in fact facts and not fantasy.
A couple of days ago exactly the opposite of proper journalism happened on a web site dedicated to Citizen Journalism; this wasn't a tiny little blog but a site created and run by CNN called iReport. One would think that anything run and backed by CNN would be of the highest calibre and that anything published on it would be absolutely true; alas, at least in one particular case, it wasn't.

On Friday, a report was published on the web site saying that the man in charge of Apple, Steve Jobs CEO had suffered a serious heart attack and was rushed to hospital. There is no truth to this story at all, and Apple once it became aware, released a statement saying so. However, in the meantime apart from causing distress to Jobs' relatives and friends, the story also had a dramatic impact on the company's share prices. In an already volatile stock market, the panic caused a 10% drop in shares which later in the day rebounded back as the error in the story became common knowledge.

I'm not suggesting that my colleagues and I always get every story 100% right 100% of the time. There are occasions when errors are made; eye witnesses making things up, PR people spinning the truth, Police being unhelpful and putting us off track or simply a screaming news or picture editor demanding something to be filed as deadline hits. However, every effort is made to checking and cross checking; CJ's do not make this effort.

I hope that this (which isn't an isolated story) serves as a lesson to the organisations who love CJ's as they sometimes get their "work" for free or at best pay them peanuts.

Visit the CNET site to read more on the way this latest mess unravelled.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

"This Is War!" - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro Exhibition

Some may remember that in 2007, a suitcase containing hundreds of rolls of film shot by Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and Seymour Chim were discovered and later secured by the ICP in New York.
Some of the images are going to shown for the first time in an exhibition at The Barbican. The exhibition is in several parts:

Robert Capa - This Is War!
Gerda Taro - A Retrospective
On The Subject of War - Artistic Responses to Iraq & Afganistan

I for one, cannot wait!

Orphan Works Bill - A Petition

"We have signed this petition to express our grave misgivings concerning Senate Bill 2913 and House of Representatives Bill 5889 (The Orphan Works Act of 2008) before Congress. We strongly oppose this legislation and urge you to vote against it. We believe these bills infringe upon the rights of artists, journalists, American citizens, and people of the world. For a further understanding of our views please read the attached statement from the grassroots group, A Million People Against the Orphan Works Bill".

Please read the rest of this petition text and sign it if you agree that creators of images have rights to them and should not have their work stolen.

UPDATE: Read the BJP article on this for more info.

Nachtwey's Story - XDR-TB

The project highlights the awful disease XDR -TB (extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis), a new and deadly form of tuberculosis that is threatening to become a global pandemic.

Please view and pass on this link to help spread awareness, which is the first step to halting the disease. XDRTB.ORG

Wednesday, 1 October 2008 in music!

I came across a site called Sample Swap which is a collection of over 12,000 samples available to download for free. The samples are kindly provided by musicians for others to use as samples, and will be of use for those photographers putting together multi media pieces. Just download them and use Garage Band or Soundtrack Pro (on a Mac) or its equivalents on a PC and make up your sound piece. Please be careful not to download anything which sounds like its been taken from a commercial recording as you will not have a license for its usage and will as a result be infringing copyright (the folks that run the site do try and make sure that this stuff doesn't get posted, but occasionally they slip through).