Thursday, May 31, 2007

FolioLink: Review


Following my recent post, I had the welcome surprise of an email from FolioLink's Elizabeth Manegold encouraging me to test drive it. Since she had graciously already set me up with a trial account, I gladly jumped at the offer. Although she suggested that they guide me through the initial setup process as well as how to add audio, I decided that I would spend exactly one hour building a new gallery without any outside help at all, and see how much I could achieve. Having built my own website, I figured if I succeeded in building a working gallery within the self-alloted time frame, that it would be the acid test as to how functionally intuitive FolioLink is.

So without further ado, here's my trial "it-took-one-hour-only" FolioLink Dancing Monks of Prakhar gallery. The trial will last about 7 days, so the link might not work beyond next week...but for those TTP subscribers and those readers who log in regularly, it will give you an idea at how easy FolioLink is. I think that I could have spent another hour or two on my own, and significantly improved the presentation. I wasn't successful in adding an audio soundtrack, but Elizabeth would've guided me through the steps to do so with this particular template. To add audio to the other available templates appears to be a cinch, but I didn't try.

I was very impressed with the quantity and aesthetics of the available templates (both HTML and Flash), and by the quick upload of images. I had to try out the best resolution parameters for my photographs to display as I wanted them to...FolioLink has an option to auto size the photographs for you, but I chose to size them manually ending up with what you'll eventually see. I would say that it took me about 10 minutes to fiddle with the various controls/mechanics of the service, another 15 minutes to test the appropriate image sizes, and the rest of the hour was devoted to uploading them, and the text biography, and fine tuning the order of the photographs. I also tested the Wizard which makes tasks even simpler, and tested each available template that looked appropriate for my gallery. Some templates are only available to premium users.

Having gone through the exercise, I'm reasonably certain that most photographers interested in FolioLink will be able to construct wonderful galleries within a few hours, especially if they use the Wizard feature. Naturally, having telephone technical assistance will reduce the time expended, and would allow users to add audio and other effects. FolioLink offers the feature of e-cards (sending photo editors and clients postcards of the photographs) which is great idea, and I'm told that there's Google optimization as well. Its 'Turnkey' option allows a maximum of 60 images, multiple galleries (subject to the 60 images ceiling). There's a PayPal integration so that clients can directly buy prints off the site. I was disappointed in FolioLink's Help but found that I didn't really need it.

Bottom line: FolioLink is a wonderful service which will appeal to many photographers and artists...not only because of aesthetics but also because it allows the users to have total control over their web portfolios rather than ceding it to a web designer. However, the pricing structure for the Turnkey option is $239 a year with a one-time $149 set up fee, bringing the total first year payment to $388. On my "back-of-the-envelope" calculations, this translates to $6.50 per image for the first 12 months, and $3.98 per image thereafter (yes, FolioLink does not charge by the number of images, but that's how my brain is wired...so bear with me).

Provided that you want a professional 'wow' website with multiple galleries, and you prefer to maintain full control over it (at a much cheaper cost than hiring a web designer), then I have no second thoughts in recommending FolioLink. If however, you already have skills in web design/HTML/Flash, then you can probably go for the DIY route...as they say, if you want Flash and you have the cash, then FolioLink is a product that certainly merits your consideration.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Photojournalism Now


Digital Photo Pro magazine has an interesting and higly topical article in its May-June edition. Ed Kashi, Dirck Halstead and Brian Storm give their thoughts on the future of photojournalism. The article starts off by asserting that " the age of traditional freelance photojournalism is no more. Newspaper and magazine markets are shrinking. Editorial budgets are at an all-time low. In these changing times, freelance photojournalists can still make a living and fulfill the calling to get the story out by adapting to a new paradigm."

The future is certainly in cyberspace, and almost every photographer now has a web presence, if not a dedicated website. This evolution requires new skills, chief amongst them the skill of story telling and the skill of adapting to new media and to new products. Photographers unable or unwilling to evolve will soon find themselves marginalized and without an outlet for their products.

Brian Storm is quoted as feeling the pulse of the industry shifting now toward multimedia storytelling, which is hugely satisfying for him. "I've been jumping up and down for almost 15 years now, trying to get photographers to think about multimedia and multi-platform storytelling, and gathering sound— the kind of things that maybe a photojournalist wasn't too keen to do before. Now I think they see it as a great opportunity to be authors of their stories, which is something I think we've been missing in our profession."

The full article is here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

NY Times: Dabbawallas

Image Copyright Fawzan Husain for the NY Times

The recent NY Times' slideshow of the 'dabbawallas' of Mumbai is an example of weak multimedia, and whoever decided on publishing it was sleepwalking. The subject of the 'dabbawallas' is an interesting one, not only from a cultural standpoint, but also from a business perspective. It's a shame that the photographs by Fawzan Husain in this slideshow barely touch the surface of the 'dabbawalla' profession. The absence of an audio soundtrack also tells me that the feature was not sufficiently thought through. I would have divided the feature into two parts: one focusing on the overall industry (but much more than the NYT did) and the second delving deeper into the lives of a couple of "dabbawallahs"....their daily routine, their families, their lodgings, etc with interviews and ambient sound of traffic, street noise and so forth.

However, TTP is not only about photography, but also showcases topics that gives assignment ideas to photographers and photojournalists....so this gives me the opportunity to post about the 'dabbahwallahs', or the 'packed-lunch delivery boys', who number at least 5,000 in Mumbai alone. These men deliver at least 200,000 home-cooked meals from the outer suburbs to the city's center each and every working day. They are self-employed, and have devised one of the most ingenious distribution in the world, by working in groups of four in a semblance of a relay ensuring the door-to-door delivery.

The dabbawallahs date back to the late 19th century when the city's exploding population needed feeding at work. More than a century later Mumbai's middle classes still prefer their food home-cooked. From a business standpoint, Forbes magazine ranked the dabbahwallahs alongside the likes of GE and Motorola in terms of efficiency and quality of service.

The enormity of the task is mind boggling...over 200,000 boxes (known locally as tiffinboxes) are handled every day...each box has to be delivered to the right person, using local infrastructure such as public trains and bicycles...and during weather problems such as monsoons or heat waves. Costs are low, roughly about $5 a month.

However, competition is looming. The tiffin box carriers delivering to the Mumbai Stock Market workers jostle for business with international fast food outlets such as McDonald's and Pizza Hut. However, I bet that the 'dabbawallahs' will remain as a fixture...as the Indians' aversion to what is known as "outside food" is well known.

NY Times' Dabbawallahs (Registration possibly required)

Chains of Heaven Slideshow


Posting about the island monastery of Narga Selassie a couple of weeks ago, I had the urge to revisit some of my photographs of northern Ethiopia, where Christianity is a more than daily way of life. I ended up producing this non-audio slideshow with beta (trial) version of Soundslides Plus, but haven't used its new 'Ken Burns' effect which many have clamored for. Chains of Heaven slideshow

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ross Taylor: India

Image Copyright © Ross Taylor-All Rights Reserved

Ross Taylor is a staff photographer at the Hartford Courant, and is the recipient of impressive awards. He was awarded the Award of Excellence (Portrait) at POYi, won the NPAA's Best of Photojournalism (Magazine Cover Picture), and many more.

His portrait of a Kashmiri woman holding her child featured on his website's India gallery is beautiful in its simplicity, while his photograph of a New Delhi man having his son massaging his back while a dog is looking on, is just a wonderful 'tableau'.

I chose Scott's photograph of Rajasthani women carrying bricks on a building site to start off this post. I liked the light and the composition of the photograph. The angle is slightly awkward, but gives the impression of movement as the women are walking upwards, and I particularly liked that he captured the women's identical hand gesture in steadying themselves against the wall.

Scott's website has a handful of galleries, out of which two are 'international' : India and Costa Rica.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Charbonnel et Walker



A funny thing happened yesterday. The post delivery van brought a parcel addressed to me and on the franking label it said Charbonnel et Walker. My husband said maybe they were sending me a product to review on my blog - no said I, my address isn't on there and they definitely haven't been in contact with me.

I opened the box and there in front of me was a tin of Chocolat Charbonnel and a Pink Marc de Champagne Bar!!!

Now, why me? Why should I receive such wonderful goodies! They even sent it straight to me from their store in Old Bond Street, London. It arrived without a compliments slip, not even a congratulations! you have won a prize slip.

Did I enter a competition in the distant past and have forgotten about it (then why should I remember - I have only ever won a prize a couple of times).

We had a large mug of the chocolate drink this morning and it was wonderful. The chocolate flakes are in a cellophane bag within the blue and white tin. Take four heaped teaspoons of the flakes and mix with the same of boiling water. Whisking all the time, top up with boiling milk.

I made this with semi-skimmed milk and it wasn't too rich. If you use full cream milk then I would recommend using a smaller mug and only using two heaped teaspoons of chocolate flakes. The chocolate drink was smooth and velvety in texture. It is made from 51% cocoa solids. This is a truly luxurious drink.



Pink Marc de Champagne Bar - I had quite a shock to see a bar of pink chocolate in front of me!

This is a soft centred chocolate bar with a champagne chocolate filling. Unfortunately, this wasn't quite the sort of thing I would normally go for and I could only manage a small piece - well ok I'll have some more later!!

BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING


Mary Norwak in her book English Puddings, Sweet & Savoury, tells us that this pudding has been popular for more than two hundred years and appears in many eighteenth-century cookery books. As with all old recipes, there are many variations.
Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver lace their bread and butter pudding with Bailey's cream liquer, Gary Rhodes uses eight egg yolks and ½ pint of double cream. There are now recipes for chocolate bread and butter pudding. All of these variations have helped to re-invent the bread and butter pudding, by modernising this old nursery favourite.
On a personal level, I have been scarred for life, by being given badly made bread and butter pudding. The most common faults are the custard separating and currants having been placed on top of the bread and these have burnt during cooking. they then resemble rabbit droppings!!
This particular recipe, whilst not entirely traditional, is a good everyday bread and butter pudding, and one that even I will eat. On a light hearted note, if you look at the photograph of the slice of bread and butter pudding, you will see that there appears to be only three currants. I assure you that there were others and that these were hidden amongst the layers of bread and custard. I think this is possibly called uneven distribution!!
For this recipe you will need medium sliced bread that is about two days old. It is important to use full cream milk and also butter to spread on the bread, otherwise it's really not worthwhile making as it will taste just the same as the one put before you when you were a child and we don't want that - do we!!!


I have slightly adapted the recipe from the original.

HAMLYN COMPLETE COOK

ISBN 0600601986 - Page 501

SERVES: 4 (but I'm afraid to say, mostly 2)

40g soft butter
4 slices of medium sliced white bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon of apricot jam
50g sultanas, raisins or currants
450ml full cream milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Grease a 1.2 litre ovenproof serving dish with some butter.
3. Butter the bread and spread with the apricot jam. Cut the slices into small triangles. Layer 8 triangles of bread in the dish, sprinkle with the fruit, top with the other 8 triangles of bread.
4. Place the milk and sugar in a saucepan and heat to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs. Strain the mixture over the bread and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
5. Place the dish in a roasting tin and fill with hot water to halfway up the sides, bake in the oven for 45 minutes, increase the heat to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 for a further 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden on top and just set. Serve at once.

Beyond The Frame: Balinese Bicycle

Image Copyright © Tewfic El-Sawy _ All Rights Reserved

Pekak Jiwa is 75, and has lived in a village near Tandeng for at least 60 years. As pemangku, he officiated in countless temple anniversaries or odalan. The pemangku are temple priests who are recruited from the lower castes in Bali. They maintain temples with the help of villagers, but are generally regarded by the higher priests, or pedanda, not much more than cleaners and sweepers in the temples. However, the pemangku are more accessible, live near their temples and live ordinary lives.

Pekak has difficulty walking because of arthritis, so used his creaky old bicycle as a walker. It seems he never actually rode the bicycle but just pushes it along the way, also finding it useful to carry his scythe and an old Puma tennis racket cover (as a bag) on its handlebars. Notice his conical hat (red in the original photograph) denoting that he was a farmer, still working in his small rice field every day. He readily admitted to gambling (perhaps on cock fights?) and to an addiction to arak, Bali's dangerous moonshine, traditionally made from coconut and essentially equivalent to the well-known 'toddy'. Interestingly, arak is used as an offering in religious ceremonies, perhaps explaining the reason for his continuing to work as a a lay priest for so long. I can easily visualize Pekak surreptitiously drinking the arak offerings when he has the chance.

One of my objectives from setting up and leading my Bali photo expedition is to photograph people such as Pekak...authentic, photogenic and with life stories. Bali is replete with such opportunities, its smiling people more than willing to be photographed, and its culture incredibly welcoming.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

F. Scott Schafer: Asia

Image Copyright © F. Scott Schaffer-All Rights Reserved

Information on F. Scott Schafer is certainly not all over the place. He was born in Key West in Florida, after spending much of his adolescence sneaking his camera into local heavy metal shows and photographing friend’s bands, a career in photography came calling.

After graduating from the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, with a degree in Photography, Scott has been working for editorial and advertising clients ever since. It also appears he's into surfing, snowboarding, scuba diving and trekking up Everest....activities which are somewhat contradictory to his serene Travel portfolio on his website. Unfortunately, he has chosen not to provide any captions to these magnificently toned portraits...but they're from India (Pushkar and Punjab), Bhutan or Ladakh, probably Nepal and Tibet, Myanmar, Cambodia and possibly Viet Nam. These portraits are all posed, and are ageless...similar to ancient studio portraiture style and are visually compelling.

By all accounts, Schafer's commercial photography is very successful, but it is this Travel gallery on his website that attracted my attention and admiration. To me, the above image of the monk and a novice is just perfect...the poses are both very well calibrated. The older monk's tilt of the head, and his facial expression is one of puzzlement (the "what on earth is this foreign photographer up to" kind of look), while the novice's expression is one of acceptance and wonder...and are they in a temple's alcove?

Here's F. Scott Schafer's website , where you can see his Travel gallery amongst other of his galleries.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Soundslides Plus

I'm a great fan of Soundslides, a popular and simple program which allows me to combine still images and sound in a functional multimedia package for posting on the web, or on CD/DVD for direct distribution.

I hear that Joe Weiss, the creator of Soundslides, has announced the beta version of Soundslides Plus, an entirely new version of Soundslides, possibly the "pro" version. New features have been introduced such as image movement (pan & zoom), built-in lowerthirds, thumbnail menus and the ability to create traditional (non-audio) slide shows.

Soundslides Plus will cost more than Soundslides, though the full $39.95 purchase price of Soundslides will count towards the cost of the pro version. The pricing is yet to be determined but Weiss says that he's committed to keeping it within range of individuals.

The regular Soundslides will continue to exist for people who that don't need the new features, and there's a 1.6 update coming that includes individual transition control.

I'll try the beta version first to see whether the new add-ons are worth it. Some people can't live without a Ken Burns effect in their slideshows...but I can. The trial version of Soundslides Plus in its beta form can be found here.

Update: I've downloaded the trial beta version...and I must say there are a number of interesting improvements in Soundslides Plus. For instance, there's no need for audio tracks anymore, so plain vanilla slideshows are now feasible. This addresses the main (but in my view, unfair) criticism levelled at Soundslides. I've used it on a G4 OSX 10.4.8 and it hummed quite nicely.

One Shot: Felice Willat

Having co-founded Day Runner Inc, Felice Willat is now founder and president of Tools With Heart, a company that develops products to inspire and enhance personal discovery and well being. A successful entrepreneur, and with a strong background in network television production, Felice is also an accomplished photographer, selling a selection of her photographs through Tools With Hearts' website.

Felice recently visited Vietnam, and I chose one of her beautiful photographs from Hanoi, which she titled "Hanoi Prayers". The photograph of this serene scene was taken in the very early morning hours as she walked around Hoan Kiem Lake located in the center of Hanoi. It is also called Lake of the Restored Sword derived from a legend. Felice tells me that thousands of people arrive daily at the lake for prayers, tai chi and many other beautiful movements with colorful fans and swords.

It is said that when visiting Hanoi, if the visitor does not see the Sword Lake, then they would not have actually been in Hanoi. The lake is an endless topic and inspiration for painters, poets, writers, music composers, etc, and innumerable works about the lake have been produced.

Art Wolfe's Travels On The Edge

Art Wolfe's 30 year career has spanned the globe, and allowed him to work on every continent and in hundreds of locations. His photographs of the world's wildlife, landscapes and native cultures are recognized for their mastery of color, composition and perspective.

Travels On The Edge is a television series of 13 episodes featuring Art Wolfe photographing in various corners of the world, and scheduled to be aired on PBS (schedules are available on the website). Art is accompanied by photographers Karel Bauer, Sean White and John Greengo. The series are sponsored by Canon USA, Microsoft and Conservation International.

There are a handful of 'teaser' trailers on the website. I watched the one on the Ethiopian tribes (a tad theatrical, but understandable since the trailer is meant to 'sell' the episode), but I was disappointed that the trailer on Varanasi was as yet unavailable. I also watched the snippet on the Bolivian Altiplano...incredible landscape! The trailers' video quality is crummy, a function of high compression...perhaps to make it more accessible to a wider audience? This always surprises me on the part of deep-pocketed organizations...why not use the two bandwidths option, and give us good quality video?

The main website is here and the shortcut link to the episodes is here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Christopher Herwig: Tajikistan

Image Copyright © Christopher Herwig-All Rights Reserved

Christopher Herwig is a Canadian travel photographer/photojournalist currently based in Monrovia, Liberia, having spent 3 years in Almaty, Kazakhstan, putting together a collection of images on Central Asia. He completed photo projects for international organizations including several UN agencies, the Red Cross and the British Council , as well as commissions from magazines and newspapers in worldwide. He explored the Central Asian region and estimates that he covered over 40,000 km on foot, horseback and back-country skis, by boat, car, 4x4 and train.

Although his earlier work experience was primarily commercial, he has concentrated on travel photography. The photographs of Central Asia on his website are a mix of mainly portraits as well as landscapes, city and industry to illustrate where people live and work.

For TTP, I feature Christopher's photographic gallery of Tajikistan, the roof of Central Asia. Tajikistan means the "Land of the Tajiks", and most likely originates from "Taji," one of the family names of Arab-Muslim invaders during the conversion of Central Asia to Islam and its annexation to the caliphate. In the 19th century, the Russian Empire began to spread into Central Asia during the Great Game with Great Britain, and it took control of Tajikistan. Now, it remains of vital strategic importance because of Afghanistan.

The photograph above is of Buzkashi players; a traditional Central Asian team sport played on horseback, where the objective of a player is to grab the carcass of a headless goat or calf, and then get it clear of the other players and pitch it across a goal line.

An interesting, and out of the mainstream, photographer...here's Christopher Herwig's Tajikistan website. Be sure to visit his other Central Asian galleries.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

American Diversity Project

Image Courtesy American Diversity Project-All Rights Reserved

The American Diversity Project's stated mission is to support documentary photography and those who produce it. This year's project was centered on Greenville, a small town in the Mississippi Delta, and features the work of 12 young documentary photographers and photography students.

I've long had the idea to photograph in the Mississippi Delta myself, focusing on the area's wealth of elderly blues musicians...visiting them at their homes and documenting their environment and their music. So it's no wonder to me that I found the multimedia section on the 86-year old blues man James "T-Model" Ford of Greenville, Miss. who offers us a glimpse of his guitar riffs and singing, just exceptional. He's well traveled to Europe and elsewhere, and regularly plays at the Blues Club in his hometown. I watched it over and over...enjoying T-Model's raw Delta blues. His multimedia section is the third from the left at the top of the multimedia browser window.

American Diversity Project's website is full of captivating photographs, sound, music, and oral history of the area, so explore and marvel. A job extremely well done by this group of emerging photographers.

Foliolink: Website Service


I recently discovered an online professional website service called FolioLink, which claims it allows contemporary artists, photographers, artisans, studios and galleries to showcase their original works of art with the most extensive feature set, ease of use and designer templates that run in both FLASH and HTML. It also claims that its service offers a large array of “power user” tools that are available to FolioLink's staff when beginner subscribers call for assistance.

Foliolink is not a downloadable software, but a true online service. The entry-level account (called turnkey account) costs $239 per annum, with a $149 one time only setup fee. There is a free 7 day trial account, which is said to be fully functional.

I'm tempted to try it out after seeing the magnificent multimedia projects of Muriel Hasbun , a photographer artist, whose website is here.

Foliolink's website is here.

I don't have the time to try it out right now, but will do so soon and will write of my impressions and experience in a future post on TTP. Foliolink claims that the trial version is fully functional...we'll see.

Leica M8 : Iraq Test

Popular Photography magazine's website has published a hands-on review of the digital Leica M8 by a war photographer. Ashley Gilbertson is a freelance photographer who has been working in Iraq since 2002, and who took two Leica M8s to Iraq.

His experience with these cameras was highly satisfactory, saying: "In my opinion, Leica has created a perfect transition to digital from its M-series film cameras. The Leica M8 is just as small, almost as durable, and as easy to use as its film predecessors, and it yields an incredible file in both size and sharpness. As someone who has hated the transition from my old Leica kit to digital, the M8 is my ideal camera to marry the elegance and robustness of the M series with cutting edge digital technology."

I'm on the lookout for a small backup for my Canon behemoth, and in this case the Leica would obviously be a replacement rather than a backup...so I'm interested in gleaning as much hands-on feedback as I can get. I know that the Leica M8 has its quirks such as having to fix an IR filter on it (supplied free by Leica), and its settings have to be carefully tweaked before using it...so hardly a camera for absent-minded photographers. However, some pros swear that its image quality is incomparable.

Here's the Popular Photography article on the Leica M8.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tomás Munita: Afghanistan

Image Copyright © Tomas Munita-All Rights Reserved

Tomás Munita is a gifted photojournalist born in Santiago, Chile. He started photographing while traveling across South America, which allowed him to document the Bolivian town of Potosi in black and white, showing its decline after its silver mining heydays. He worked as a photojournalist for the newspaper El Metropolitano in Santiago, then as a photographer for Associated Press based in Panama until 2003. During that time, he documented what he perceived as the constant struggle over such issues as land, hunger, power and values. Munita also lived for one year in South Asia, where he spent part of his time living in Ladakh, photographing the life of Changpa nomads in the Indian Himalayas. He recently has been working for the Associated Press in Kabul, Afghanistan.

I chose the above photograph out of Afghanistan to showcase his excellent work on this post. He's known for his uncanny ability to photograph and use available light (isn't the above photograph proof of this?), and presents us with scenes which evoke the personal struggle of Afghans and the need for life to go on. I also like the fact that he didn't crop out (or clone out) the "whatever it is" on the bottom right hand corner of the above photo....he could have, but he didn't. A purist.

I posted about an uninspiring New York Times' slideshow of his photographs here, so to atone for the harshness of my criticism, I now bring you choices to view Tomás Munita's talented camera work.

You can visit his website , or a selection of his best photographs on the excellent Blue Eyes Magazine (recommended).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bali: Photo Expedition

Banjar Babakan, Bali-Image Copyright © Tewfic El-Sawy

Well, it's less than two months to the start of my photo expedition Bali: Island of Gods to this wonderful Hindu island, and it's time to start the countdown. I'm leading a group of 7 highly-motivated professionals and enthusiasts, some of whom have already joined a number of my past photo expeditions.

I've picked the timing of expedition to occur at the height of the island's temple festivities and anniversaries, so we expect to be photographing non-stop during these 14 days all over the island. Our base will be in Ubud, the artistic heart of Bali. The land arrangements have all been made, flights have been booked and the pre-departure packages have gone out to the participants.

I plan my photo expeditions for photographers who share my enthusiasm for unusual cultures, uncommon locations and lesser known festivals, and announce them via my newsletters. Details of future expeditions are in my bi-monthly newsletters, and registration can be through my website.

Registration is quick and spam-free guaranteed!

Beyond The Frame: Theyyam

Theyyam Dancer - Image Copyright Tewfic El-Sawy

Traveling in the south of India, I stopped in a small village not far from Kannur, where I was told that a Theyyam performance would soon take place in a temple. The Theyyam ritual is unlike any celebration held in any part of India, and the colorful costumes and makeup used by the dancers are part of the ritual's mystique, if not its core. It is said that the ritual goes back to two thousand years, and the Theyyam deities have their origin in the Dravidian culture and indigenous customs and rituals. I joined a large group of devotees from all walks of life, and met some who had traveled from Calcutta on the other side of India to attend the ritual.

The belief is that the costumes and painted mask-like makeup is the substance of Theyyam, and that the performer is the vehicle that carries it and the dance. Once the dancers dress into the costume, they are in contact with the God, the Theyyam. I was told that it took up to 3 days to create an elaborate costume, while the make-up and other preparations can take up to 5 hours.

People go to a Theyyam in temples such as the one I visited, and inquire about family and social problems, health issues, business ventures, etc. and they are provided guidance by the main dancer. The men from Calcutta had questions about a forthcoming business transaction involving the sale of fabric, and from their facial expressions on receiving the advice, I understood that they had been satisfied. One of them spoke some English and confirmed that they routinely made the long trip to seek business counsel at a Theyyam.

The interesting aspect of the ritual is that the Theyyam dancers are frequently imbibing thimble-fulls of palm toddy, and seem none the worse for it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

One Shot: Candace Feit

Image Copyright © Candace Feit - All Rights Reserved

One Shot is a brand new feature on TTP. It'll be similar in concept to the weekly Beyond The Frame, but will focus on a single photograph by a featured photojournalist or travel photographer rather than on my own work, giving the background story on the chosen photograph. I can't say how frequent or regular that feature will be, as it will entirely depends on whenever I find a photograph that 'speaks' to me and that has a really interesting cultural or historical story behind it.

I'm happy to start off the One Shot feature with a photograph by the enormously talented Candace Feit of a young student (a talibe) studying and memorizing Qur'anic verses in an Islamic school in the Senegal. These students (the "talibes"), are mostly from poor rural families, and study at a daara, or school, run by a religious teacher or a marabout, with whom they live. Classes consist mainly of memorizing Koranic verses, but most of the day is spent on the streets begging. Some critics say that marabouts are a cross between a modern-day Fagin and a tutor, while others see them as performing a social service by taking in these needy children but, in the absence of social services, having to survive through begging.

Candace tells me that these young boys are also known as "tomato-can" children because that is what they use to collect money, sugar, rice, or whatever they are given when they are begging in the streets. Another interesting fact is that the wooden boards on which the youngsters write the Qur'anic verses are washed clean as soon as the verses are memorized. However, the washed ink is never thrown out but is given to sick people who add it to their bathing water for healing purposes. Although I have an old wooden writing board with Qur'anic inscriptions and the diagram of a mosque on its face, I never knew that about the washed ink.

I like the way Candace made this particular photograph, standing above the student...the back of his head contrasting with the bright surface of the wooden board (what do they call these boards!?...they must have a name), and the curvature of his hand against the elegant Arabic script. (Click on it to see it in a larger size).

The whole concept behind these Islamic schools or daara as they're called locally, is virtually identical to the monastic schools for Buddhist novitiates in many Asian countries.

I've already featured Candace Feit's immense photographic talents in an earlier post, and you can see the rest of Candace's photographs of the Islamic Schools in the Senegal on her website.

Eureka! New HTML Newsletters


After much procrastination, I've finally switched from my long time HTML newsletter provider to a new one. The new provider has a more economical and reasonable 'pay-as-you-go' pricing system, which means that I can buy a certain number of email credits (about 3 cents a recipient) and use these credits until they run out. Since my email newsletters are irregular in frequency, this system is more sensible, and fits my needs.

I use these newsletters to announce new photo expeditions and/or new photo galleries on my website. If any reader of TTP blog wants to get on my newsletter list, just visit my website and subscribe in the newsletter box (the bottom right side)...yes, it's that simple and it's certified non-spam.

Manuel Libres Librodo Jr. : Myanmar

Image Copyright © Manuel Libres Libredo Jr - All Rights Reserved

In my opinion Manuel Libres Librodo Jr. is much more than an emerging travel photographer from the Philippines...he is an exciting new travel photography talent, whose photographs betray an exceptional degree of professionalism and aesthetics. Manuel has only been photographing for four years, and as readers of TTP will see his photographs are breathtaking. Some of his photographs are digitally enhanced by heightening saturation and coloration...and a few are perhaps overly saturated, but the overall quality of his photographs is exceptional.

He is originally from the town of Lambunao located in the central part of the Philippines, and is currently a teacher in an international school in Bangkok. He had a one-man-show at the One Workshop Gallery, Makati, Philippines, and published his photographs in Digital Photo magazine, What Digital Camera and Mabuhay magazine, as well as having UNICEF featuring some of of his work in a calendar.

To introduce Manuel in TTP, I've chosen his work of Myanmar (Burma), a country which I visited twice and which I hold with great affection. The photograph of the Inle Lake fisherman which illustrates this post is by far of the best I've seen.

So hurry and click on Myanmar: Heartbeat of Gentle People

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bruno Morandi: Hijras of Pakistan

Image Copyright © Bruno Morandi- All Rights Reserved

Here's a real treat for TTP readers. Bruno Morandi is a globetrotting French photographer who managed to document cultures that I am particularly interested in. Although pursuing architectural studies, he started off his career as a young guide in the Himalayas (especially in Nepal) for adventure tour companies, and gradually became interested in documentary photography. He published a number of pictorial books, and is well-known in the realm of travel photography. Blessed with an excellent 'eye', his photography style is straightforward, relying on all-inclusive framing and the power of colors.

For TTP, I chose his gallery of the Hijras of Pakistan. Hijras is the Urdu word for hermaphrodites, but are not exactly transvestites. Hijras function in society only as women, and their partners are men or other Hijras. It is said that they are neither men nor women...that they have men’s bodies and women’s souls. Traditionally, the Hijras earn money in three ways: they collect “gifts” in the local bazaar, in the evening they bless bridegrooms (frequently they cause a ruckus in weddings and are therefore bribed to leave the festivities) or newly born sons, and at night they engage in prostitution. Their clients are “normal” men, who allow themselves both a wife and a Hijra, with whom they may maintain a love relationship lasting for years.

The history of Pakistani Hijras is rooted in the culture of the subcontinent. As early as 1000 B.C., ancient Indian medical texts mention the existence of a “third sex,” when the genetic matter of the father and mother are present to exactly the same degree. An old legal text also dealt with the third sex, which had no right to inherit property, was not allowed to conduct sacrifices, and was expelled from the caste. The third sex was recognized to exist but was discriminated against. Becoming a Hijra is a process of socialization into a "hijra family" through a relationship between a student and a guru, leading to a gradual assumption of femininity. Hijra families are close knit communities, which often have their own houses.

The culmination of this process is a religious ritual that includes emasculation, but, although expected in the hijra subculture, not all hijras undergo emasculation, and the percentage of hijras that are eunuchs is unknown. The Hijra community in the democracy of India has become a potent political force, and although still discriminated against, they are gaining some clout.

I have met a number of hijras during my photo shoots in Sufi shrines of India, but haven't had the nerve to photograph them in their environment. How Bruno managed to gain their trust and be allowed in their houses to photograph is remarkable.

Yes, I envy Bruno for having photographed so much of what interests me, and I hope to follow in his tracks.

Here's The Hijras of Pakistan

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

POV: Caption Brouhaha

A brouhaha erupted in a professional photographers' forum over the captioning of a photograph by the owner/publisher of a well-known (and well-respected for its technical content) photography website. The issue at hand is a photograph of a girl, in her very early teens, standing at a doorway in a pose that the photographer described as " sexually provocative" and hence captioned it as "Lolita". Let me add here that the photograph was made somewhere in the Amazon.

One of the photojournalists member of the forum was sufficiently offended by that caption that he emailed his point of view to the photographer, and asking the reason for naming the child as Lolita. The response (perhaps understandably) came back as defensive, dismissive and tactless: " Given the fact that she looks to be about 13 years old and is pregnant, can you think of a better name?".

This led to a brouhaha with all kinds of commentary, both intemperate and more balanced, and eventually to the photographer publishing a statement on his website, which essentially is summarized in the following quote: "In this case I titled a photograph of a clearly sexually provocative young woman with a word in the popular vernacular that, I believe, adds to its overall effect. It is not an editorial statement. it is the title of an art work."

I will neither post the photograph nor give details of either the forum or the photography website for obvious reasons, but in this particular dogfight I believe that the photographer was wrong in captioning the photograph of this child with such a provocative name...which, at least in our Western society's vernacular, is indeed suggestive. He has made certain assumptions about the child that may not be true...and could've easily have found her real name. Naturally, if the photograph of the girl was taken in the United States or Europe, the photographer wouldn't have dared to publish it without a model's release, or at least without her real name. I think he was also wrong in his knee-jerk tactless reply.

I have seen the photograph and to describe it (as he does, above) as an art work denotes an over inflated ego. It barely qualifies as a snapshot...nice try though, but let's move on.

I think the positive out of this spat is that it provokes us to think how we caption our own photographs, and how we present them to the public. Although I describe myself as a travel photographer, I believe that I have responsibilities identical to those of photojournalists, and I work hard at avoiding to editorialize my captions. Depending on circumstances, I obtain the names of everyone I photograph to caption their images accurately. If I don't have the name, I just don't make up one...to me, giving a name such as Lolita to a young girl by a photographer (unless she agrees to it, and it qualifies as "art") to be tactless and unprofessional. This photograph does not qualify as art by any stretch of the imagination.

Siddharth Jain : Rajasthani Festivals

Siddharth Jain, an emerging photographer, resides in Delhi but travels to the wonderful state of Rajasthan to satisfy his hunger for color and movement. He describes himself as a "photo enthusiast", but he is much more than that. He published his first full feature on Trekking the Himalayas in Asian Geo, and assisted the fine arts photographer Peter Steinhauer during various assignments in India.

He's currently working on long term projects involving out of the mainstream Indian festivals, a subject matter after my own heart.

I chose his lovely photograph of a Rajasthani folk dancer (it might be a Kalbelia?) for its movement and color.

His website is currently being worked on, but in the meantime you can visit his slideshow gallery of Rajasthani festivals here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ben Lowy: Wandering in Ethiopia

Image Copyright © Ben Lowy - All Rights Reserved

Benjamin Lowy is a New York-based photojournalist, who covered major stories as the Washington DC sniper case and the ongoing conflicts in Israel, Iraq and Haiti. He has been on assignment for Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Rolling Stone, and National Geographic Adventure magazines and his work has also appeared in Stern, CNN, WCBS, PBS, as well as in numerous books. He recently completed the World Press Joop Swart Masterclass in the Netherlands.

I came to know his excellent work through the National Geographic Adventure magazine, in which he published a feature on his trip on the river in Yunnan, China, pushing on to four other countries, including Laos.

His website has a number of very interesting, and some may say unusual, galleries but I chose the Wandering in Ethiopia to showcase here on TTP. It's an unusual perspective on his travels within this amazing country, especially in the city of Addis Ababa and Gonder. The photographs are super saturated, and are more urban-related than anything else.

A young photographer whose promising career is assured, Ben's work has attracted the attention of many in the photography industry and has deservedly won many awards.

Here's Ben Lowy website.

Monday, May 14, 2007

POV: Shame


Hamed Zalmy/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The New York Times just published this photograph topping an article on the killing of Mullah Dadullah in a so-called "joint" operation by Afghan security forces, American forces and NATO troops. The article goes on to say "Mullah Dadullah’s body was displayed for journalists on Sunday morning..." and the Governor "led journalists to see the body, on the veranda of the governor’s palace. Mullah Dadullah, an amputee, was recognizable in part from his missing left leg and thick black beard. He was wounded in the head and left eye and his face and chest were bloodied." The photojournalists surround the corpse laying in pink sheets (were these chosen instead of regular white sheets to minimize the unwanted reflections of flashes?), photographing and videotaping the gruesome spectacle.

I am relieved that Dadullah was killed as he was thought to be responsible for ordering numerous assassinations of clerics, government officials and health and education workers, as well as kidnappings and beheadings, including of foreigners. He was responsible for training and sending scores of suicide bombers to Afghanistan. I also understand that he was the zealot who ordered the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. So in the inimitable simpleton-like language of some, he was certainly 'a bad guy'.

However, I cannot rationalize the publishing of such a picture in our "civilized" mainstream media. What purpose does it serve? Proving to the Taliban that Dadullah is indeed dead with pictures will demoralize them is idiotic to say the least. The Taliban are primitive zealots and ideologues, who now believe that Dadullah is a martyr and is in heaven. Publishing such a picture has a zero impact on their morale, and will give the Taliban justification to publish their own 'war trophies'.

No, this only serves to debase us all.

Update: I was reminded that it was Dadullah who ordered the decapitation of the unfortunate Ajmal Nashqabandi, the Afghan journalist and fixer for a number of Western photojournalists. I had written a post on Ajmal and the need for international recognition for fixers and local journalists. I'm glad that justice has prevailed and the murderer of Ajmal and others has received his due. Nonetheless, publishing such a photograph is shameful.

Crisis in Darfur

Image Courtesy CFR
On our main street, I recently saw a young shoolgirl setting up a small stand with a sign saying 'save Darfur' hoping to collect donations for the unfortunate victims of this relentless genocide. This prompted me to look for the best guide on this atrocious situation, and found it to be the excellent multimedia presentation published by Council on Foreign Relations in collaboration with MediaStorm.

The Darfur guide is the second in a series of interactive guides to the most complex issues and conflicts on the planet. The six-chapter project includes a multimedia narrative, interactive maps and timelines, and extensive information on the situation in Darfur.

Featured in Chapter 1: The Grim Reality is the work of photojournalists Lynsey Addario, Marcus Bleasdale, Stanley Greene, Olivier Jobard, Benjamin Lowy, Kadir van Lohuizen, and Paolo Pellegrin. There is an introductory narrative by Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN.

Crisis in Darfur

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Beyond The Frame: Narga Selassie

Traveling by boat from Gondar to Bahir Dar after a rather stormy passage, I stopped at Dek Island to explore Narga Selassie, one of the most important monasteries in northern Ethiopia. The island is the middle of Lake Tana, the great body of water in the centre of the Ethiopian plateau. Founded in 1748, Narga Selassie is one of the many monasteries on the lake's islands. The monasteries are the expression of a Ethiopian Christian identity and civilization.

This ancient Ethiopian silver cross held high by a hermit priest was photographed at the gate of the monastery. The monastery church of Narga Selassie is on Dek Island There is no country in the world that matches Ethiopia in the number of forms and types of its crosses. Ever since Ethiopia's conversion to Christianity, the cross has appeared almost universally, not only as a liturgical instrument in churches and monasteries, but also in common devotion and in daily life. The original Ethiopian Crosses are derived from the Egyptian Ankh and have intricate interwoven and crossed designs worn primarily by African Christians.

Most of the hermit priests live on these monastery islands all their lives, and survive by cultivating sorghum, and on donations given by tourists infrequently stopping to admire the Narga Sellasie concentric church.

This photograph was published full page length by Outdoor Photography magazine to feature its Travel section

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Andrew Henderson: Leprosy in India

Image Copyright © Andrew Henderson - All Rights Reserved

Here's a hard-hitting photographic essay by Andrew Henderson on the ravages of leprosy, and on a leprosy colony in Khammam, India. Although India is working hard to eradicate the disease, lepers' colonies still exist. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease, and if left untreated, can lead to progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.

Leprosy has affected humanity since at least 600 BCE, and was well-recognized in the civilizations of ancient China, Egypt and India. In 1995, the World Health Organization estimated that between two and three million individuals were permanently disabled because of leprosy. Although the forced quarantine or segregation of patients is unnecessary, and can be considered unethical, a few leper colonies still remain around the world, in countries such as India, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Due to the introduction of multidrug therapy in the early 1980s the disease can be treated successfully.

The photographs are disturbing, but bring us the reality of those afflicted by this terrible disease and how they deserve our compassion rather than our fear.

Andrew's main interest lies in the theme of religion, exploring its effects on the world, and the capability it has to link diverse cultures together. He interned at Magnum Photo Agency in NYC, and published his work in The New York Times, Newsweek, US News and World Report, LIFE, The Sunday Times (London), Polaris Images, and The Fader, among others. In 2006, he was named Runner-Up College Photographer of the Year and nominated for PDN's 30 Emerging Photographers of 2007.

Here's Andrew's photo essay on Leprosy

Friday, May 11, 2007

World In Focus Contest 2007

National Geographic Traveler and Photo District News have announced World In Focus, the annual self-proclaimed "ultimate travel photography contest". The contest is open to amateurs and professionals, and there are 6 categories: Wilderness Photography, The Human Condition, Extreme Exploration, Urban Landscapes, Snapshots and Open Series.

Digital submissions can be made on-line, while color or black & white prints and/or transparencies are to be submitted to the National Geographic Traveler.

I'm surprised that one of the categories is Snapshots..the submissions have to be of "fun, quirky, unpredictable, spontaneous moments". Since the contest is open to amateurs, I suppose it's a good idea.

As always with these contests, all those interested ought to read the terms and conditions very carefully and decide whether they're willing to accept them. Both NGT and PDN are obviously reputable, but one can't be too careful.

Good luck! Here's the link.

Ezra Millstein: Brazil's Carnaval

Image Copyright © Ezra Millstein-All Rights Reserved

Ezra Millstein is from New York, and has lived, traveled and studied thoughout Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin and North America, as well as the Middle East. Most of his travels has been on his own, but some are a result of his work for the Peace Corps, WWF, Grassroots International and the National Geographic Society. He won numerous awards, including being selected as a finalist in the Smithsonian 4th Annual Photo Contest.

With a peripatetic traveler and prolific photographer such as Millstein, it was difficult to choose a specific gallery to recommend among the many good ones he lists on his flash-based website, but I chose his images of Brazil (click on Brazil and then Carnaval). His one-before last photograph of the series is just the funniest picture I've seen in a while, but I chose the one above to illustrate this post as it pulsates with rythm....and it has motion blur! For me, dance pictures must have motion blur...otherwise the dancers seem frozen.

Ezra Millstein's Galleries

ps Thanks Cathy!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Amanda Koster: Moroccan Women

Image Copyright © Amanda Koster-All Rights Reserved

Amanda Koster says that she has made it her mission to document some of the world’s more compelling issues. She combines her anthropology background with photographic and videography skills to create media content as a means for effective communication, storytelling and learning.

She studied photography at the International Center for Photography in NYC, and holds a BA degree in anthropology. She works with magazines, newspapers, design agencies and non-profit organizations around the world. Amanda has worked extensively with youth media projects internationally, teaching photography as a tool for visual storytelling creating a voice and outlet for underrepresented youth.

I also believe that she was a fellow mentor involved with Phil Borges' Bridges To Understanding project.

Koster has received grants for her project Before Harmony: Moroccan Women's Song Project. The project, collaboration with Festival Fès, documents female Berber and Arab Musicians of Morocco with hopes to spark an interest in this region and also show that there is more than one image of women in Islam. In addition, the project illustrates particular women totally devoted to perusing their passion while contributing to their culture.

The website gallery is accompanied by a Berber traditional chant by Charifa Kersit, who is an extradordinary singer. The similarity between this chant and flamenco will be obvious to all.

So hurry and click on Before Harmony and turn up the volume of your lousdpeakers...it's worth it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

MUSHROOMS WITH CHERRY TOMATOES



This recipe is very easy as lots of the best recipes are. These look stunning served with steak or poultry. Or, how about serving them on a thick slice of toasted bread with some of the cooking juices poured over.
I have cooked lots of sweet and savoury dishes from this book and find it is one of those books that you keep going back to, time and again. Good Housekeeping have some brilliant recipes in their books - try them for yourself.

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING NEW RECIPE BOOK

ISBN 0007116918 - PAGE 238

SERVES: 6 people (can easily be scaled down)

6 large flat or portabella mushrooms
oil for greasing
2 finely sliced garlic cloves (optional)
6 sprigs cherry tomatoes on the vine
3 tablespoons olive oil

1.Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan oven/Gas Mark 6. Put the mushrooms into a greased roasting tin, scatter over the garlic, arrange a sprig of cherry tomatoes - still on the vine - on top of each mushroom, then drizzle with olive oil.
2. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
3.Take the foil off the mushrooms and continue to roast, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes.

Fabulous.

Alligator the onion cutter



This piece of kitchen gadgetry should have come complete with ear defenders and a box of paracetamol. The noise it makes when you use it, even though it is totally manual, is unbelievable. How it passed any health and safety tests is quite beyond me.
I purchased this piece of equipment because I was fed up with onions making me cry!! It is truly horrible when that happens.
This is called an alligator because its jaws go snap!! quite violently I might add. When I use this I have to shut the window, kitchen and back door, because of the noise.
To use this you need a certain level of tolerance, a good sense of humour and be able to cope with the unexpected, for reasons I will explain.
To dice a carrot, cut the carrot into very thin slices and place them in the alligator one by one, otherwise the carrot gets stuck in the metal dicing plate. A certain amount of strength is required in order to carry out this task because you have to press down hard on its jaws. I have actually hurt my elbow doing this.
To dice celery, cut the celery into small pieces and then cut again, place one by one into the alligator to dice otherwise this will also get stuck in the dicing plate.
To dice an onion, again cut into fairly small pieces, otherwise this will also get stuck.
Are you now getting the picture?
The diced vegetables are supposed to go into a container on top of the alligator, this again isn't without its problems. Firstly, it is difficult to get the container to sit correctly on top of the dicing plate, secondly, whilst you are using brute force to dice the vegetables this makes the vegetable catcher come off. Therefore, the contents go in all directions!!
I'm sure there must be an easier way to dice vegetables......now, where's that knife?!!!

Ahmet Ertug: Istanbul

Although Ahmet Ertug is not a travel nor an editorial photographer, his photographic art is such that it's a privilege to post of him here on TTP. Email exchanges with Di Mackey, a fellow photographer and blogger (whose delightful blog Woman Wandering is on my notable blog links on the right hand side) who lived in Istanbul, rekindled my interest in this magnificent city and reminded me of my paltry efforts some ten years ago to photograph its superb Ottoman mosques. I was particularly delighted to see that Ahmet Ertug published a book on Sinan, the genius architect, who built the extraordinary Suleyman mosque in Istanbul.

A Turkish national, Ahmet Ertug studied and practiced architecture in London. He also practiced his chosen profession in Iran and Turkey, and was also deeply involved in photography as a side interest during these formative years. His serious commitment to photography started when he was awarded the Japan Foundation Fellowship to do research on the traditional architecture of Japan in 1979. He traveled extensively in Japan and photographed ancient temples, Zen gardens and festivals.

He returned to Istanbul and became involved in the conservation planning of the historical city, and through this involvement developed his knowledge of the historical city and its monuments. He started photographing the Ottoman and Byzantine monuments in Istanbul using large format cameras, and his resulting exhibitions were shown in Paris, Madrid, Toronto under the auspices of UNESCO.

He uses a 20x25 cm / 8x10 inch large-format camera in his photography of architecture and sculpture. A permanent exhibition of Ahmet Ertug's Hagia Sophia photographs is on display in the upper gallery of Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul.

So visit Ahmet's website and immerse yourself in his imposing architectural photographs. He also has photographs of Asian statues that should'nt be missed.

Monday, May 7, 2007

British Library: Sacred


This post may have nothing to do with photography, but is all about the courage of the British Library in exhibiting a collection of sacred texts side by side for the first time which reveals the similarities between the world's major religions, and the creativity of those who have practiced them.

Joining the throng of visitors who flocked to the British Library to view Sacred, the exhibit currently being buzzed about in the British press, I was pleased to see men in yarmulkes, women in veils and others...and lots of families with their children.

In Sacred, the Books of the Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam - the British Library has decided to make the aim of the exhibition - the first, apparently, of a series - not only the diversity of faiths in Britain but also to illustrate how much the main faiths have in common. We need to be constantly reminded how alike these monotheist faiths are, and how they all sprang from the same small area with the same customs, values and theology. As far as I'm concerned it succeeded, and reaffirmed my long-held belief that all religions are one and the same.

One of the most fascinating exhibits is an ancient Gospel written in Arabic whose opening verse reads "In the name of Allah...". Incredible but true. I wonder how our reactionary religious fundamentalists can spin this?

And will the Metropolitan Museum or the New York Public Library ever have the intellectual courage, and brave the public's prejudices to mount a similar exhibition in New York City?

For those who won't have the chance to visit London this summer, here's the British Library's website for the exhibit.

POV: No More Stock Photographs?

A recent article appearing in the UK's Guardian newspaper makes the point that picture-sharing sites such as Flickr (and others) will be decimating stock images libraries. Picture agencies are going out of business, or are facing bankruptcy. The issue is that Flickr -as an example- holds the work of thousands of talented amateurs (and even pros), who are capable of producing a handful of photographs that are publishable.

It's been estimated by Editorial Photographers UK (EPUK) that if only 1% of the pictures on Flickr were publishable, that would result in 1,500,000 usable pictures were being uploaded every year. A sobering statistic expecially since the owners of these pictures are generally non-professionals, and would be willing to accept below-market rates for their work.

I've sold, and continue to sell my images to travel companies and publishers...however, prices have fallen and competition is intense...so the writing is on the wall.

This article dovetails perfectly to my earlier post in which I agreed with Dan Heller's opinion that Flickr may well enter the stock photography field.

An interesting and thought-provoking read, the full Guardian article can be found here.

Kazuyoshi Nomachi: Mecca

Image Copyright © Kazuyoshi Nomachi -All Rights Reserved

Kazuyoshi Nomachi was born in Japan and began his freelance career in 1971 as an advertising photographer. He turned to photojournalism the following year upon his first encounter with the Sahara Desert. After two years spent photographing the desert, he followed the Nile River from mouth to source and then travelled through Ethiopia, his photographs capturing North Africa's harsh environment and the men and women who live in it.

From 1988 he turned his attention to Asia. Repeated trips to Tibet produced photographs depicting the religious faith and daily lives of people living at extremely high altitudes.

Nomachi converted to Islam, and as a result is one of the few Muslim converts ( the legendary Thomas Abercrombie of the National Geographic being another) given access to Islam's holiest cities. He travelled to Saudi Arabia and spent five years photographing the great annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

The photographs that resulted appeared in leading publications around the world, including National Geographic, Stern and GEO. He published 12 photographic anthologies in various countries. His work has won numerous prizes, among them the Annual Award of the Photographic Society of Japan in 1990 and 1997.

His website needs a facelift, and there are a few typos, but it adequately allows us a glimpse of his prolific work in Tibet, the Nile, the Andes, Morocco, Ethiopia, Iran, Danakil, Bolivia and Bhutan. I chose his work in Mecca to showcase on TTP.

Kazuyoshi Nomachi's Mecca

Kazuyoshi Nomachi's Home Page

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Angkor Photography Festival: Update!

From Widows of Angkor Wat-Copyright Tewfic El-Sawy

I've received the following message from Francoise Callier, the curator of the Third Angkor Photography Festival:

The third Angkor Photography Festival will be held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from November 18 to 28, 2007.

For the program of exhibitions and slideshows, we are looking for work about South and Southeast Asia, China, and the Far East. To facilitate the selection committee's job, work should be uploaded to a (free) flickr account on http://www.flickr.com and the URL sent to my e-mail address, frcallier989(at)gmail(dot)com, accompanied by a clear description of the project and a short biography (maximum 120 words).

We are also accepting finished photographic multi-media pieces that are ready for projection. If available online, please submit a URL link.

The deadline for submitting work is June 15, 2007. The selected photographers will receive an answer during the month of July.

Best regards,

Franc�oise Callier


Instructions to open a flickr account:
To open a free Flickr account you can either go directly to http://www.flickr.com or login with an existing Yahoo account (Flickr is part of Yahoo).

Upload your images at 1024 pixels across or vertical. That way your images will be large enough to view and you will not use up your limited account space.

After you upload: In your preferences (under the menu as 'Your Account'), go to the 'Privacy & Permissions' section and be sure to set your images to 'All rights reserved'. You can also add (c) in your captions field. Flickr will automatically add any caption info from your Photoshop 'File Info' field but you can also change captions after you upload by going to your Flickr page and clicking on the caption box under any given image.

Once your images are uploaded go to the 'organize' section, choose 'Sets' and create a set of images of your submissions. Once that set is created, email the URL of that set (simply copy and paste) to frcallie (at) gmail(dot) com.

After you have opened an account, visit the Angkor Photo Festival flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/angkorphotographyfestival/

click on our icon and make the festival a contact.
--
ANGKOR PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL
Francoise Callier
frcallie (at) gmail(dot) com

Frontline Club: London

Being in London, I thought I'd mention the Frontline Club.

Frontline is a media club that uniquely combines eating, drinking and thinking. A three-minute walk from Paddington Station, spread over three stripped wooden floors, it has a private clubroom for members, and a restaurant and forum space open to the public.

The Club quickly became a centre for a diverse group of people united by their passion for quality journalism and dedication to ensuring that stories that fade from headlines are kept in sharp focus. It exists to promote freedom of expression and support journalists, cameramen and photographers who risk their lives in the course of their work. It also brings a number of world renowned photojournalists such as Alexandra Boulat and Gary Knight to give talks, and to present their lastest portfolios.

Frontline Club

Aldo Pavan: Omo Valley Tribes

Image Copyright © Aldo Pavan-All Rights Reserved

Aldo Pavan is a journalist and freelance photographer, but describes himself a curious traveller. His main interest is in creating travel reportages of his travels on all five continents, in publishing books and working with magazines. Since 2003 he has been working on a series of photographic books about the rivers of the world, such as Ganges: Along Holy Waters and The Nile in 2006. I saw the latter last evening at the High Street Kensington Waterstone's, and it is really a beautiful book.

The next titles are The Yellow River, The Danube and The Mekong. Another project he is preparing is entitled The Routes of Man , a series of books dedicated to the great trade routes of the world. The first book, scheduled for 2008, will describe the Ancient Gold Route in Africa, connecting black Africa with the Mediterranean, through the Sahara.

A prolific photographer, Aldo has published about one hundred travel features compiled in America , Australia , China , the Middle East, South East Asia and Antarctica. He has also published a series of pocket travel guides entitled Venezia (Venice), Messico (Mexico), Santo Domingo , Corsica , Marocco (Morocco), Francia Sud Ovest (South West France) and Francia Occidentale (Western France). He is currently preparing a journalistic book on Burma for Feltrinelli Traveller, entitled Sui Sentieri dell'Oppio (On the Opium Trail).

His website is somewhat of a departure from the standard photographers' websites. His galleries are only available as downloadable PDFs, and I don't know why he chose that alternative instead of just showcasing his magnificent photographs either via regular HTML code or Flash. His PDF galleries are about 3-5 mb each, so they download very quickly...but I think he'd be better served to have plain standard galleries....or maybe I'm missing something.

I chose his work on the Omo Valley Tribes as I've photographed the same tribes. I also noticed he photographed the unusual ritual of jumping of the bulls; a topic on which I posted here on TTP.

A photographers' photographer, Aldo is recognized as one of a kind in Europe...and I hope the United States accords him the same recognition.

Aldo Pavan's website

Travel Photographer of the Year 2007


I got an email this week from the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards announcing its 2007 contest, which will open for entries on 14th May. The closing date is 19th September. The full details and downloadable entry form is available (link below) from May 14th.

The 2007 TPOTY site will feature a new area which will act as a resource for travellers and photographers. This will include both travel and photographic features and reviews, a forum, a directory of photographers' images and contact details and a new members' area which will give access to additional articles and photography advice, special offers and monthly prizes.

As always with contests, awards and competitions, make sure you read the fine print and all the terms and conditions, to ensure you retain control over, and on your rights to your photograph(s). I participated in the 2005 TPTOY and was shortlisted in one of the categories, but didn't quite make it. One of the 'gimmicks' of the competition is that all the winning entries are eventually published in a coffee-table book, and its sale proceeds go to the organizers of the event.

Travel Photographer of the Year 2007

SPATCHCOCK CHICKEN WITH LEMON AND ROSEMARY


This recipe is a particular favourite of mine. It can be cooked both in the oven and on the barbecue (It is best to cook the chicken in the oven before finishing on the barbecue). This is one of those never fail to please recipes, and so I think that makes it perfect.
We aren't talking about pretty here with this recipe, we're talking about a beautiful golden chicken that is moist and tastes delicious. When you put the chicken onto your table it really is a wow! moment. To see this chicken in all its glory click onto the photograph for a better view!

I have been asked about the pretty jug in the photograph. This was bought from Clive Ramsays Deli in the beautiful Scottish village, Bridge of Allan. Basically, this jug holds 'liquid gold'! We were looking around the deli and were literally seduced by the place. I bought lots of goodies and my husband also chose some things. The jug holds extra virgin olive oil. I went outside whilst my husband paid and when he came to me he had turned 'a whiter shade of pale', and said the bill was a lot more than he had expected! The culprit was the jug of olive oil. Being in holiday mode I hadn't paid much attention to the price, but I just loved the jug. I kept very quiet and hoped and prayed the contents were going to be OK. What a relief the extra virgin olive oil within the jug is fabulous and I use this specifically when I am making Nigella's Ultimate Greek Salad!!

NIGELLA LAWSON FOREVER SUMMER

ISBN 0701173815 - Page 136

SERVES: 4 people

When I have seen Nigella spatchcocking a chicken on television, she does it with a glint of mischievousness in her eye, and tells us how she loves a bit of DIY surgery!!
Anyway, this is how to do the spatchcocking, which is very easy. First take the chicken, breast side down, cut through all along one side of the backbone. Then cut along the other side of the backbone, remove this. Turn the bird the other way up and press down as you open it out. Hey presto! one spatchcocked bird.

It is best to marinade the chicken the day before you want to cook it.

1 spatchcocked chicken (2-2.25kg)
3 long sprigs fresh rosemary
juice of lemon, plus more lemons to serve
1 red onion
100ml olive oil
Maldon Salt

1. Put your spatchcocked chicken into a large freezer bag. Pull the needles off 2 sprigs of rosemary and drop them on top. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice, put the empty shells in the bag as well. Cut the unpeeled onion into eighths and add these to the bag. Pour in the olive oil and tie up the bag and place in the fridge.
2.Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature.
3. Preheat the oven to 210° C/Gas Mark 7.
4. Lay your chicken, skin side up on a tin lined with foil, along with the lemon husks and onion pieces, add the remaining sprig of rosemary torn into a couple of pieces, tucking them between the leg and breast. Cook for about 45 minutes, the chicken should be crisp skinned and tender.
5. Take the chicken out of the oven, cut the chicken into four pieces and arrange these on a plate, along with the onion, pour over any syrup juices from the tin and sprinkle with Maldon salt. Cut a lemon or two into quarters and scatter these around the chicken.
6. Serve with Nigella's Ultimate Greek Salad.

Since writing this post I have added two more Spatchcock Recipes:

Spatchcock Chicken with Gremolata served with a Wild Rice and Pepper Salad

Spatchcock Chicken with Lemon, Oregano and Paprika served with a Crunchy Rice Salad