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Sunday, 30 November 2008

Robert Capa and Gerda Taro

I popped by with some friends to see the "This is War!" exhibition at the Barbican in London. Although I've previously mentioned seeing the exhibition, it was done very quickly, so I definitely wanted to see it again.
I can't stress enough what a great exhibition it is. Although familiar with Capa's work, I hadn't previously seen much of Taro's work. She has some stunning images and the whole story of the two of them covering the Spanish Civil War is what romance novels are made of!
Along with images from both photographers, there are a fair few magazines on display showing how the images were used. I must say that seeing these magazines made me so envious - in this day and age there are so few magazines that show off important stories the way they deserve to be displayed. I'm sick and tired of page after page of silly celebrity stories. Anyway.....
Along with the magazines, there are also press cards, caption sheets and various letters. Its fascinating seeing this stuff. My favourite has to be a letter written by Capa to his mother and brother, after the D-Day landings in Normandy; he writes, "...yesterday, I had a bit of an adventure"!! How great and understated is that?!!
The exhibition is on 'till 25 January 2009 - don't miss it!

Platon Audio Interview

Vincent Laforet has a great audio interview of Platon on his blog; definitely worth listening too - its fascinating.
Platon's web site is worth looking through to get an understanding of the imagery mentioned above.

Aperture 2.1 - Digital Asset Management

As regular readers will know, I've been using Apple's Aperture for a couple of years now. I was so impressed by it I even switched computer platforms as a result. With its speed, ease and
 flexibility of workflow, accuracy, robustness and plug-in architecture, I use it quite happily on deadline and shoot everything in RAW. Its such a capable program that I find I need Photoshop for perhaps three percent of my work.
I did however keep all my images from the PC days on a PC server on 6Tb of drives set in RAID 1 (Mirror) and would access these files on my Mac using Expression Media. I would search for them in catalogues (split up by year, as the software has a limit of how many images you can have in a catalogue, rather annoyingly!), then find it in the finder and copy it to a local folder and then import it into Aperture to work on; very long winded workflow, but it worked.
I had a bit of a brain wave a few days ago; why not import all these images into Aperture on my Mac Pro? One aspect of Aperture is that its a very powerful DAM (Digital Asset Management) for images.
I decided to give it a try. My 3Tb of images resided on my HP server, so I set up dated folders within the Aperture library for each year. Then I imported files and folders into the relevant dated folders. The beautiful part however was being able to keep the originals on the RAIDs on the server (which you can choose on the import files and folders dialogue - also make sure you keep file names as they were originally named). What this means is that I have access to all my images, can perform full IPTC searches, apply any and all adjustments and then export the image into whatever format and size needed.
As this importing was over ethernet, naturally it took a while. I did a year at a time and after around four nights, all images were in Aperture.
At the moment my Aperture library has 342,953 images to which I have total and full access.
A tip to anyone who has a similar set up; once you have imported the images in chunks (in my case, by year), keep the server logged on as in the background Aperture will create:

i) thumbnails for all the images, and
ii) previews as well.

Once this has been done (which took another day or so - to check its status, go to Window and then Activity), you can switch off the server and still have access to searching and previewing images. If you find something that you need, then you can switch on the server and access the original image and carry on working with it. You can also use this method on external drives, be they a PC format or a Mac format.

Absolute genius (Aperture, not me!).

Addendum - Although the building of thumbnails takes a day or so, the building of previews has taken a couple of days more for my library; there are around 130,000 still left to do. However, this all happens in the background so you can still use Aperture (the program automatically pauses the preview building if it sees that you're working on something else - also, if you need to shut down the program, it'll pick up where it left off). Its important to let the program do all this as it will allow you to see images properly when your server or external hard drives are off-line. Also, its worth pointing out that if you're going to do this for external drives, the procedure will be much faster than doing it over ethernet (which is what I'm doing).
I have to add that I've been doing this for a fair few days of solid importing and thumbnail and preview building, whilst also working on Aperture; I've even done some video work and the Mac Pro and Aperture have been solid as a rock - that's what you call well engineered!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Behind The Lens With Daniel Beltra

Polar Bear, Chuckchi Sea, Alaska. Photo: ©Daniel Beltra
CPN features the amazing work by multi award winning freelance nature photographer Daniel Beltra.  Its an absolutely superb insight into Beltra's work and well worth a read.

Daniel Beltra, Ross Sea, Southern Ocean. Photo: ©Gavin Newman

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Canon 5D MkII Video - Chung's Night In Beijing

Canon EOS5DmkII, One night in Beijing. from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Guardian photographer Dan Chung has posted a video shot on the Canon 5D MkII. Dan, a recent convert to Nikon bought the 5D MkII to use as a video camera and the clip above was shot using Nikon and Contax lenses with an adapter using manual focus. If you register on Vimeo, it will allow you to download a mid res 720p version of the video.
There's a forum thread on this video on the DVi forums.

I should hopefully be getting a review unit of the camera soon, so stay posted!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Annie Leibovitz Interviews

"The View From Behind The Lens" is the new book by Annie Leibovitz; I have the book on order so have not yet seen it but as publicity for the book there are a couple of interesting interviews of the photographer:

...and for those that haven't seen it yet, here's the photo shoot with the Queen. Very interesting viewing!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Space, Brighton.

I'll be giving a talk about my work at The Space, Latest Music Bar, 14-17 Manchester Street, Brighton, UK for anyone who may be interested. The event is on December 2, 2008 at 7pm.
To see more details and book a ticket visit

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

"Yes We Can" by Scout Tufankjian

Just a little heads up folks; a friend of mine, Scout has a superb new book out covering Barack Obama's two year journey to the White House. You can get a sneak look at some of the pages and a video interview of Scout

Monday, 17 November 2008

In Harm's Way - War Photographers

A CBS crew of 16 followed photographers Zoriah and Alissa Everett through Gaza and the West Bank as they documented the conflict. Its a little Hollywood in parts but worth watching. Its in five parts, of which part one is posted above. The remaining clips are:

For anyone who hasn't seen War Photographer with James Nachtwey, I strongly urge you to watch it. Its one of the most powerful documentaries I've seen, on one of the world's most powerful photographers.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

24 Megapixel Camera That Shoots at 30 fps?!

There has been a lot of talk and many rumours surrounding the Red Scarlet. Well, a couple of days ago it was announced officially by Red.
For stills photographers and for photographers needing to also shoot video, these cameras seem ideal; the ones to look out for are the Scarlet and the Epic. Also, you need to learn a new acronym; DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera)!

The camera system that caught my eye most is the Scarlet, of which there are four variations which range from $2500 to $12,000 for the full frame model. Although Red will be producing their own lenses, there is also the option to get a lens plate for Canon and Nikon lenses. The other interesting thing is the whole modular technology (grips, lens mounts, monitors and eye pieces, recording modules, batteries and I/O module) which means you bolt on what you need and also upgrade certain bits as time goes on.

Going back to the full frame model, the Scarlet FF35, lets you shoot 24 megapixel stills at 30 frames per second! Absolutely nuts!! You can also shoot 6K video on this thing.
The other item of interest is the 2/3" Mysterium-X with a built in x8 lens. The focal length of the lens has yet to be announced and the price isn't yet known, but this might just become the perfect photo journalist's video camera.
For the medium format photographer, the $45,000 Epic 645 will no doubt raise some interest. This camera will shoot 65 megapixel images at 50 fps!

As far as I can see, there are no samples yet, but I'll keep you posted as and when they appear.
The Canon 5D MkII has re-written the rules on video quality for the photojournalist. The only place the Canon fails is professional quality sound with the ability to allow the input levels to be managed (although it does have a built in microphone jack); this is where the Red Scarlet may make the difference. If the system delivers what it promises, these are going to be interesting times!  Lets welcome the DSMC!

More Reading:

Friday, 7 November 2008

Need Faster Broadband ADSL?!

Firstly, I have to say I haven't tried this, so can't make any personal comments. I will probably be ordering one though.
Its a little plate that fits into your BT phone socket box and provides a better way of filtering out line interference. Judging by the customer reviews, it seems to work for the majority of people.

Steve Jobs Stanford University Speech

Although this speech was made in 2005, I've only just seen it. It has a few computing references, but is mainly about life and lessons in life. Its very interesting and definitely worth watching.

Want 6Gb RAM For Your MacBook or MacBook Pro?!

Its the one thing in the Apple laptop range which I wish was different; that RAM didn't max out at 4Gb. Well, Other World Computing (OWC) can now supply 6Gb of RAM for the latest and previous generation of MacBooks and MacBook Pros!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

US Elections Slideshow

The closest I could get to Chicago was Knightsbridge.
I popped into the Chicago Rib Shack in Knightsbridge to cover the reaction of US citizens and Londoners to the results of the US elections.
It turned out to be quite a moving assignment. To see so many US citizens who were unhappy with the current government and wanting so desperately a change. I heard so many people say that they were ashamed of being American and that so much of the world disliked their country. After Barack Obama was announced the President Elect, that they were now so very proud was very touching.

Unofficial Canon 5D MkII Video

The folks over at Akihabara News have an HD video clip shot on a 5D MkII - very impressive stuff!!

US Elections & The Power Of Photography

Firstly, my congratulations to America and their new President Elect; its superb news.
I covered the reaction of US Citizens watching the results come in at the Chicago Rib Shack in London's Knightsbridge. It was a very moving assignment...more of which, later!

I was having a look at some links to powerful images and their role in the election on "A Photo Editor". Of particular note are Platon's images in The New Yorker and also a set at The Huffington Post.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Interview With Chris Anderson, Magnum Photos

An interview with Chris Anderson on objectivity and photography.

Prints Now Available

My migration over to Photoshelter is now complete. Having said that, the archive will continue to grow!
All of my images on my Photoshelter site are available for purchase as prints. If you're a lover of photography or in need of a unique gift, feel free to have a browse. I hope that you'll find something to your taste!
If you know of anyone who may be interested in prints, please pass on the address:

Many thanks.

Saturday, 1 November 2008