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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Conflict Photography

How does one cover a conflict? The conventional way is to show either frontline action with soldiers or the effects it has on human life by photographing death and suffering of people caught up in the conflict. Both, very powerful ways of documenting our inhumanity.
I came across a third way, which had I not seen it, but only been described the method, I would have automatically have suggested that it would not work. It was of the remains of war and specifically the places, or spaces which are abandoned as war settles in and destroys.

Furniture is seen in the living room of a house that was damaged during the Hezbollah-Israel summer war 2006, in Bint Jbeil, south of Lebanon.

The project is called Abandoned Spaces by photographer Dalia Khamissy. I first saw the project at her presentation at Photo Forum in London. It was a unique and surprisingly emotional look at the Lebanon war of 2006. The reason I say emotional is because there isn't a single person in the photographs, but the spaces which they have left abandoned, destroyed by bombs and gunfire, speak so much about who they were and how they lived during happier and more sedate times.
You can see the project HERE and there is an interesting article on her work HERE.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Is Social Media A Fad? Erm, Nope!

This is well worth 4.5 minutes of your time. Its an extremely interesting breakdown of how social media like FaceBook and Twitter are changing the ways of the world. Check it out!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

"Muse" Awarded "Best Film Editing"

Muse from Edmond Terakopian on Vimeo.

In the best traditions of film award acceptance speeches, I never expected to get this award.

My first ever short film, Muse, was invited to be shown at the International Independent Short Film Festival Donetsk 2009, held on July 30 in the Ukraine.

I'm overjoyed to say that I just received an email from the organisers saying that it has won this award!

The following message was sent along with the certificate:

"Dear Edmond,

please, find attached file with certificate your movie Muse is awarded and accept congratulations from me and festival juri consisted of young independent filmmakers. Hope you will enjoy it!
Also Festival Committee has interviewed attendees about all films screened and your film received good feedback: spectators like beautiful visual pictures of London, play by the actress, sound. Also your film has been first five ranked of 16 participated films by audience voting.
Thank you again for participation and all the best for your filmmaking!
Hope to see new films from you to invite to participate in next festival sessions.
Best regards from Ukraine, Sergiy."

I am absolutely overjoyed by this. I'd really like to take this opportunity to thank Stef for all her patience and support during filming, Enrico Blatti and the Blue Chamber Orchestra for the fabulous soundtrack, Canon for the loan of the 5D MkII, Apple for supplying Final Cut Studio and Rode for supplying the microphones.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Beatles Abbey Road Album Cover 40 Years On

Today was 40 years in the making; the famous cover photograph by Iain Macmillan of the Beatles' album Abbey Road was taken 40 years ago today at 11.35am.
I was given the assignment by Polaris Images (NY) and just knew it wasn't going to be a smooth one. The first thing is, that its just a zebra crossing if the Beatles aren't on it! Regardless, I picked up my gear and made my way there.

The original cover by photographer Iain Macmillan, seen on a CD

Arriving over an hour early, I started making some nice pictures of some of the fans and chatted with some friends and colleagues I hadn't seen for a while.
As the time approached, it became obvious that this was going to be an absolute nightmare. Although today was 40 years in the making, the Police in their wisdom had sent one officer down to control hundreds of fans, the traffic and try to help facilitate the media. The road wasn't even closed until after the whole thing was over (at which point around 10 officers turned up).

Whilst the photographers and colleagues from TV had made arrangements and formed a line around 15 meters away from the crossing, the public, armed with their camera phones, naturally had other ideas. I'm all for everyone having a right to see what's going on, but why do this and ruin the chance of a decent picture being taken by the press? I'm sure everyone there will be rushing out to buy the papers the next day, only to be disappointed at the quality of the pictures taken.

My rather messy recreation of the image, 40 years on

Still, in a strange way it sort of added to the "homage" we all tried to make to Iain's original picture. Things have moved on in 40 years and the thought of a major band walking around in a public place are an absolute no no these days. Whilst the original shot is clean and simple, our picture is the exact opposite. Its messy and crammed full of media, the public and a bus (which later broke down and stayed put!).
Sometimes, one just has to step back and think "Let It Be".....

To see all the pictures from today, please visit my Photoshelter page where images and prints are available for purchase. Alternatively, for a smaller edit, visit my Flickr page.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Limited Edition Funkiest Ever Memory Card Holders Known To Mankind

*World Exclusive*
Last year I found myself in San Francisco with work and I really wanted to catch up with my friend (a term I don’t use lightly) Doug Murdoch from ThinkTank Photo (he’s the president of the company and also the chief designer). I first got to know Doug via email after seeing the Speed Demon and the best memory card holder I have ever used, the Pixel Pocket Rocket. In fact, we loved it so much we ordered some custom made BPPA branded ones. We have since kept in touch and this year I’m really pleased to be on the design board of the company.

Doug Murdoch and Deanne Fitzmaurice looking through fabrics

Over the years I’ve had many chats with Doug, Mike Sturm and Lily Fisher, and the reason its a pleasure to be on the design board is that this is a group of talented designers who love what they do, and most importantly want to listen to photographers to ensure that their bags and pouches are the best available. This, I knew, as time and time again, it had been proven to me (apart from a small satchel, all my bags are ThinkTank Photo). What I wasn’t prepared for though, was how much fun the gang is! So, back to my story...

I end up finding a fun pattern!

I hooked up with Doug, Lily and Deanne Fitzmaurice (who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 and is an essential part of the company). Now, being from England, they guessed I’d like to go for tea, so that’s exactly what we did! We had a splendid time at a great tea place in SF. During our chit chat and generally catching up, Doug mentioned that they were going to check out a fabric store to see what was new and asked if I’d like to tag along. Now, being a photographer, I’ve never taken an interest in fabrics! Partly out of politeness and partly out of curiosity, I agreed and off we went.

Some of the designs available

This place was huge! There was floor after floor of fabric; every colour, every pattern and every weave you could imagine. That’s when Doug finally revealed the plan; part of the idea was to try a kind of design exercise and make some very limited edition Pixel Pocket Rockets! We split up and spent almost two hours looking at the funkiest fabrics we could find. After we’d picked our favourites, we had a “meeting” and finally chose several patterns to go for. I must admit, against all preconceptions, I had a great time choosing fabrics!

These are all the available designs

Months passed and assignments came and went and eventually I forgot of the “limited edition funkiest ever memory card holders known to mankind”. Then an email dropped from Lily with an attached photograph of these gems! Lily mentioned that 150 had been made. I think you’ll agree, they are fabulous! Lily kindly sent me a few and they are a very treasured item! If you see me on the street and ask nicely, and preferably bring me an espresso, I may show you mine!

UPDATE: The folks at ThinkTank Photo are planning on giving away these funky card holders to anyone who completes a special survey. This is yet to go live, so to keep in the loop, I suggest you visit and put in your email address in the box labelled “Be The First To Know” / “New Product Updates” on the front page. Good luck :-)

Addendum: Good news! The survey is now online. Simply visit the Limited Edition Pixel Pocket Rocket Survey and fill in the short form. Good luck!

Addendum 2: Anyone who was having difficulty before, please note that the link above has been updated. There were some technical issues before which have since been sorted out by the company doing the survey. Good luck!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Daylight Robbery of Images by Police

We've come to expect organisations trying to steal your images through dodgy "rights grab" competitions where the small print always says you either hand over full copyright or a full license for usage. Its a disgrace, but its becoming commonplace. As a result, always read the terms and conditions of any contest you enter and value your work.
However, one organisation which one would hope wouldn't be out to steal work is the Police force; upholders of the law. Well, alas Essex Police have done just that by organising their own photography competition.
The really worrying parts are the terms and conditions. I would suggest you carefully read points 14 to 17. Not only are you giving away rights for three years of your work (amateur or professional) to be used in any way they see fit (including international), but also agree that they may use your image and edit it or combine it with other images!
This really is a disgrace.