Friday, August 31, 2007

Article by Ed Kashi: "In The Thick Of It All"

Image Copyright © Ed Kashi-All Rights Reserved

Digital Photo Pro magazine brings us an intelligent article by well-known photojournalist Ed Kashi. The article is essentially Kashi's take on the evolution of photography and on what he defines as the "nest-generation photojournalist". He describes himself fundamentally as a storyteller, amd how the new digital tools have enhanced his craft. I've heard many established photojournalists bemoan the end of the film age and ranting against this 'new wave', so it's refreshing to hear otherwise from a photographer at the height of his career.

Here are some excerpts that I found to be very relevant...for instance, Kashi writes: "I can’t escape the fact that the new digital tools—along with the Internet as a distribution system for images, video and multimedia stories—has the potential to overshadow traditional print media because of its potential to reach more people and have a more powerfully engaging message. This is to take nothing away from still pictures, but in today’s world, things are changing very rapidly.”

Another: "There are mid-career photojournalists like myself who have reached the top of their profession and could just as easily become a dinosaur tomorrow if they don’t adapt. Even though I’ve established a great reputation, I could fall off the face of the Earth if I’m not careful. Except for the National Geographic, who wants to publish serious, nonfiction photojournalism? The New York Times Sunday Magazine rarely, if ever, publishes serious reportage photography anymore. There are European publications that publish serious photography, but they don’t really pay a living wage.”

And finally...a statment that I wholeheartedly agree with: “Photography is a world of variables. I’ve always been a believer that the way for me to be most effective is to reduce the variables to the smallest number so that I can focus most of my energy, my heart, my soul, my vision and my brain on the subject, on making images, and on telling stories. So, for me right now, I could go on making images forever with iView MediaPro and Photoshop on the Mac platform and my Canon EOS 5D. It has reached a level of quality and efficiency that’s ideal for me. Sure, it could be made better, but for now, for me, it’s great. But the reality is that I know I can’t do that. The technology will change and I’ll once again have to change with it.”

I'm happy to say that I'm of the same persuasion...I'm satisfied with my current hardware and software, and have no compulsion to acquire new cameras or lenses just because they're available. The setup I currently have works for me, and until the time when it's really surpassed in quality and efficiency, I will stay with it.

For the whole article, visit the excellent Digital Photo Pro Magazine website: In The Thick Of It

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Matthieu Paley: Bhutan

Image Copyright © Matthieu Paley-All Rights Reserved

Matthieu Paley is a freelance photographer who specialises in working in the remote and barren since his first expedition in the Altai Mountains, western Mongolia, in 1998. In 1999, after three years in New York, he started a trekking company in northern Pakistan, exploring the Himalayas, the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush and the Pamir Mountains.

While in northern Pakistan, he worked as a photographer for the Aga Khan Foundation, in collaboration with his wife, Mareile, a graphic designer. Matthieu’s photography focuses on the mountain world and has been published in various magazines including National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Time and Discovery.

His website is flash-based, so you'll have to explore the various galleries by starting from his home page. I chose his Bhutan gallery to feature on TTP as the most representative of his talents. The other gallery which I found to have breathtaking photographs is the one of Mongolia....but the photograph of the Bhutanese shepherd and his son clinched it for me.

Matthieu Paley

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jean Michel Clajot : African Scarification

Image Copyright © Jean Michel Clajot-All Rights Reserved

Here's a nicely produced photo essay (using the now-ubiquitous Soudslides program) by the well traveled photographer Jean Michel Clajot. He's a photojournalist based in Brussels, and is represented by the COSMOS Photo Agency in Paris and by Aurora Photos in Portland.

This particular slideshow will be exhibited at the Campo Santo on Monday September 3 during the famous Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan (September 1-16). I particularly liked the music chosen to accompany the photographs by the talented Ismael Lo.The images were photographed in Benin, and some are quite graphic. A well photographed project and I think deserving of being exhibited.

Jean Michel Clajot's Scarification.

Another New "Canon"?

Check this "Canon".

courtesy of the Luminous Landscape Forum.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Books: Down The Nile

I normally wouldn't post about a book I have yet to read, but this is a book by Rosemary Mahoney, whose earlier "The Singular Pilgrim" has the best description of Varanasi I've ever I'm confident that her new literary effort is a treat. Secondly, Mahoney also writes about Egypt and its people...a country and people I know well. Thirdly, the book reviewer describes Mahoney as "This is a woman who doesn't suffer fools gladly."...a trait which I find not unattractive in people.

Another gem: "I have always resented imposed constraints, hated all the things people said one should and should not do," confesses Rosemary Mahoney in Down the Nile. "A woman shouldn't ... A man wouldn't ... People were always conjuring up a wall and telling you to stay on your side of it."

This warrants a trip to my nearest bookstore!

Here's the full review as it appears in the Christian Science Monitor.

Annie Tritt: Jerusalem

Image Copyright © Annie Tritt-All Rights Reserved

Annie Tritt's biography is unfortunately sparse, and despite my efforts to find some more background on her or her work, all I have is that she was a dancer and a high school teacher before becoming a photojournalist, and focusing on social issues. That's all.

One can describe her work as hard hitting, but I found it to be sensitive with a documentary edge to it. I chose her gallery Easter in Jerusalem to showcase her undeniable talents...especially since most of her photograph in that gallery is of Ethiopian Falashas celebrating Easter in Jerusalem. I particularly liked this photograph...with its motion blur.

The Falasha are Jews of Ethiopian origin, and under the provisions of Israel's Law of Return (1950), over 90,000 (over 85%) have emigrated to Israel, most notably during Operation Moses (1984) and Operation Solomon (1991).

There are many wonderful photographs on Tritt's website, but you can start your viewing by clicking on her Easter in Jerusalem gallery.

Annie Tritt.

Monday, August 27, 2007

James Pomerantz: Congo

Image Copyright © James Pomerantz-All Rights Reserved

James Pomerantz grew up in London and New York, and his biography says that he "stumbled' into photography before graduating from New York City's Columbia University with a major in mathematics and philosophy. His work appeared in major publications such as the New York Times, US News & World Report and the Figaro among a long list.

Out of his many galleries, I hesitated between his extraordinary work in Azerbijan and his moving photographs from the Congo.... I chose the latter. He photographed in Sud Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the worst atrocities were committed during its long war. Remarkably moving and disturbing work.

It's a good thing that James Pomerantz "stumbled" into photography.

James Pomerantz Photography.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bali: Island of Spirits

Image Copyright © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Here's my new gallery of photographs entitled Bali: Island of Spirits (link below). One of the most interesting traits of the Balinese people is their belief in animism and ancestor worship, in addition to their Hindu traditions. The Balinese term sekala niskala or visible-invisible describes how the physical world is suffused by a spirit world. Understandably, the spirits are honored everywhere on the island with offerings of flowers and other materials....hence the title.

This is not a linear "storyboard" photo essay, but images which I deem to be representative of the Balinese spiritual life. I also included images of the traditional dance as these usually take place at religious ceremonies, and included a couple of non-graphic photographs made during cremations, which I hope impart the solemnity of such events.

I've now established a Basic acount with Zenfolio, the web-based image-sharing website of my earlier post this week. I found it to be intuituve and easy to set up. However, I'm preparing a more complex slideshow with narration and ambient audio which should be ready in a few weeks on my regular website.

My Zenfolio home page features the photographs in thumbnail gallery fashion...I prefer to view them in a slideshow (upper right corner) format. The slideshow feature has an icon that provides captions to each photograph.

Bali: Island of Spirits.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Whilst admiring Scott's Strawberry and Champagne Jam on his site I noticed that he is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging. and my canapes made with basil pesto fit the theme superbly and so here is my entry for the above.
We had a 'bit of a do' this last weekend and I made a few canapes. These in particular were very popular. They were easy to make and big on taste.
Making pesto is a doddle - I used basil from my garden and there wasn't a cellophane wrapped package of basil or a jar of pesto in sight.
The book I took this recipe from is my personal favourite - the recipes are all 'do-able', the food styling and photography is amazing. Every photograph, on every page, jumps out at you and says make me.
If you are about to have a 'bit of a do' look out for this book - you'll be glad you did!


Eric Treuille & Victoria Blashford-Snell

ISBN 1405305134 - Page 44

Makes: 20

15g basil leaves, 2 tbsp pine nuts, 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated, 200g puff pastry, 20 cherry tomatoes, each cut into 3 slices, salt, black pepper, 20 basil sprigs to garnish.

You will need a 5cm fluted pastry cutter.

Place the basil, pine nuts, oil and Parmesan in a food processor or blender and pulse to a thick paste.

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC(400ºF)Gas 6.
2. Roll out pastry on a floured surface to 2.5mm thick. Stamp out 20 rounds with the pastry cutter. Place the pastry rounds onto a floured baking sheet.
3. Spread ½ tsp pesto onto each pastry round and top with 3 cherry tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Bake until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes.
5. Garnish each galette with ½ tsp pesto and a basil sprig. Serve warm.

Pesto can be made up to 3 days in advance. Put into a container, place a layer of clingfilm on top of the pesto and refrigerate.
Bake galettes up to 1 day in advance.
Reheat in a preheated oven 200ºC(400ºF)Gas 6 for 3 minutes. Garnish and serve warm.


One Shot: Mahesh Shantaram

Image Copyright © Mahesh Shantaram-All Rights Reserved

Mahesh Shantaram lives in Bangalore, India and earned his diploma in photography from the Spéos Institute, Paris. He currently is an independent photographer. Having spent seven years into a career in technology media and publishing, he worked as a tech research analyst in Washington, DC, but returned to India last year.

As a photographer, Mahesh is dedicated to working on modern themes, especially on the phenomenon that is Bangalore, with a contemporary style of art-meets-documentary photography that is firmly rooted in the here-and-now.

I chose this image of bus commuters in Kandy, Sri Lanka...I chose it because of its mix of lighting: inside the bus and from a street lamp. An urban street scene, with just the right amount of blur to indicate the passenger getting into the bus.

For further images and blog thoughts from Mahesh, go to The Contrarian.

National Geographic: 2007 Photo Contest

'Tis the season of contests! The venerable National Geographic Society is inviting photographers to share their vision of the world through their own photography. Entry submissions can be done online in any of these four categories: people, landscape, animals, or photo essay.

There are two types of contests:

English Language Competition:
The prize is a digital SLR camera kit and the winning photograph published in the pages of National Geographic magazine. Winners of the English language competition are automatically entered in the International Photography Contest.

International Photography Contest:
The First Place winner in each category will receive a trip to National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C and have their winning entry published in the pages of National Geographic magazine.

Before you send anything out, read the rules carefully...especially the one that says:

"By entering the Contest, all entrants grant an irrevocable perpetual non-exclusive license to Authorized Parties, to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the entries (along with a name credit) in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest, in any media now or hereafter known, including, but not limited to: Display at a potential exhibition of winners; publication of a book featuring select entries in the Contest; publication in National Geographic Magazine or online highlighting entries or winners of the Contest."

NGS' Photo Contest.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sanjit Das: Indian Kashmir

Image Copyright © Sanjit Das-All Rights Reserved

Sanjit Das lives in Delhi, and has worked for various international newspapers, magazines, corporates, UN agencies and NGOs. He regularly works for Bloomberg News and is also a member of OnAsia Pictures.

His work principally tackles social issues in the backdrop of changing economic and political scenario in India, and his powerful images reflect the changing India through the lived experiences of people, especially women and children. His photographs are published in books, book covers, newspapers and journals in India and overseas.

Out of Sanjit's impressive body of work, I chose his photo essay on Dardpora, the Indian Kashmiri village which is also called 'the village of widows". Sanjit's writes that the village is not far from the Line of Control...the boundary that divides Kashmir and its people. The long years of conflict has taken its toll, and men are rare in Dardpora.

"Almost every corner has a graveyard with the day of death written on cheap tin sheets. There is an eerie silence and it’s as if one can smell fear in the village. Mothers keep their children indoors. There is only one dilapidated school in the village. There are 200 orphans in the village, but few go to the school."

Sanjit Das' Dardpora photo essay.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Zenfolio : An Upscale Flickr?

I was intrigued by a recent post on Photopreneur on Zenfolio.

Zenfolio's website (below) is slick and well designed, and is essentially a hosting service for online photo galleries. It claims that it shows photographs with "uncompromising quality using professional looking page designs and easy to use organization tools, along with unlimited storage space for full size photographs"

As far as the terms of service go, Zenfolio offers a free trial of two two weeks, and fees ranging from $25 a year for the Basic service to $40 per year for the Unlimited service (which gives photographers unlimited storage space for their images).

I decided to try Zenfolio, and found it to be really quite simple to upload photographs, and to display them in gallery format and slideshow. Photopreneur however, makes the point that Zenfolio does not yet have the capacity to sell images directly, so photographers are mostly using the site to create easy-to-build portfolios. In other words, marketing and promotions are all in the hands of the photographers as Zenfolio is not an image bank nor a stock photography site. This may come in the future.

Zenfolio has definite advantages, so give it a try if you're on the lookout for a quick and easy-to-build portfolio. You may find it well suited to your needs.

Further details are here: Zenfolio.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


When I made the mini Victoria sponge cakes, posted below, I didn't get the chance to make the strawberry jam, Delicious Magazine made for the filling - but now I have triumphed and made two wonderful pots of fresh tasting strawberry jam.

Jam making can consist of two or three simple ingredients, but somehow they manage to terrorise me. I'm just not at ease when it comes to making preserves, even though I've read up on the subject.

When I look at my two jars of bright red strawberry jam, I must confess, I can't help feeling pleased with myself.

Unfortunately the strawberries didn't come from my garden, for the simple reason I have to share them with the squirrel. I've put netting over the plants this year, did this stop him - no! Now he just puts his teeth into them because he can't steal them, I think I would rather he stole them than left me staring at strawberries with teeth marks in them.

A slightly adapted recipe from Delicious Magazine August 2007


Makes approximately 2 x 1 lb jars

450g strawberries, hulled
500g preserving sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Freeze 2 saucers.
2. Put the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice into a greased preserving pan over a medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat. Put a spoonful onto a chilled saucer and push your finger through it - if it wrinkles, it's ready, if not, boil for another 2 minutes and repeat.
3. Stir in a small piece of butter.
4. Let stand for 15 minutes.
5. Spoon into sterilised jars. Cover jam with waxed discs. Moisten one side of transparent cover, place on jar damp side uppermost, secure over rim of jar with a rubber band.

Editor & Publisher: Photo Contest

I received an email from Editor and Publisher inviting entry to its eighth annual Photos of the Year contest. The Grand Prize Winner will receive $1,000 and a Canon EOS-1 D Mark III digital SLR camera. Winners and Honorable Mentions will be presented in our November issue and online gallery at the Editor & Publisher website on October 29, 2007.

You may submit photographs that have been published in a newspaper or on a newspaper's Web site since October 1, 2006. The Photos of the Year constest is an international newspaper photo contest, entries are accepted from all countries. Entries are $35 for single entry or $60 for a photo essay/series (3-10 photos).

For further details, visit E&P's website.

New York Times: Culinary Vietnam

Image Copyright © Chang W. Lee/New York Times-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times brings us a short slideshow of photographs by Chang W. Lee on various culinary styles in Vietnam. Street food is extremely popular in Vietnam, and it's well represented here in this feature.

The post's photograph above of a typical Vietnamese restaurant reminds me of those I visited while photographing in Vietnam for a well-known NGO. The patrons ate without talking much, and spat chicken bones and gristle on the floor. Naturally, I did the same.

The NYTimes' Culinary Vietnam.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bangkok Photo Workshop

Image Copyright © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

James Nachtwey & David Alan Harvey will hold a workshop from 18 November 2007 to 23 November 2007 in Bangkok. Students will have the opportunity to shoot an assignment for one week with either instructor, depending on personal preference and photographic style. Students will be expected to produce a photographic essay as if working on an assignment with a major magazine—like National Geographic--complete with a looming deadline.

For further details, visit the workshop's website.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Stuart Freedman: Shadipur Depot, Delhi

Image Copyright © Stuart Freedman-All Rights Reserved

Stuart Freedman has been a photographer since 1991, and his work has been published in, amongst others, Life, Geo, Time, Der Spiegel, Newsweek and Paris Match covering stories from Albania to Afghanistan and from former Yugoslavia to Haiti.

His work has been recognised in many awards, from Amnesty International, Pictures of the Year, The World Sports Photo Award, The Royal Photographic Society and UNICEF. Stuart's talents as a photographer and writer are in clear evidence through his work shown on his website. I'm extremely impressed by his work in Shadipur, an artist colony in the slums of Delhi, where he photographed. His literary talents are as eloquent as his photography, and from his introductory essay on Shadipur. I am pleased to quote a couple of paragraphs that I found particularly beautiful:

"Shadipur is home to most of Delhi’s traditional entertainers - acrobats, magicians, dancers and the like, and here, to India’s shame, they remain - stuck between poverty on the one hand and international stardom on the other, consigned to their fate by bureaucracy and the ineptitude of the authorities. A place forgotten or unknown to most Delhi residents."

"Barefoot children are running through the open sewers and those that have no facilities in their shacks are relieving themselves over the embankment. There’s a great commotion of spitting and hoiking of phlegm and a man is lying where he lay last night, dead drunk, covered in vomit. Then you hear the drums starting up. Like a rough dawn chorus, someone is practising a tabla , then someone else joins in, then there’s singing. Then bedlam. Walking becomes nigh impossible down the crowded, twisting, narrow lanes. Children run screaming past and push into you. Men with instruments in cloth bags hurry down to the main road to catch a bus for a gig. Bejewelled Rajasthani women start their daily grind of washing and cooking."

Stuart has photographed the Maha Kumbh Mela of 2001, in Burundi, in Somaliland, Ghana, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Rwanda as well.

Stuart Freedman's website.

DP Review: New Canon Bodies

DPreview has just posted Canon's announcements relating to the launch of the new Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and the new Canon EOS 40D. Phil Askey is pre-reviewing both models with specifications and photographs of the new bodies.

Read the previews here for Canon EOS 1DS Mark III and here for Canon EOS 40D.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

New Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

Engadget also reports that Amazon has inadvertently activated the page for Canon's 21.1 megapixel EOS 1Ds Mark III. If true, and there's no reason to disbelieve this, it's an 11 megapixel jump from their EOS 1D Mark III. This camera is designed for fashion photographers and commercial photo studios.

The new Canon sports a 36 x 24-mm self-cleaning CMOS sensor; a pair of DIGIC III image processers operating in parallel; improved 45-point advanced autofocus; 5fps continuous shooting (for bursts of up to 45 Large/Fine JPEGs or 15 RAW images); sRAW image support; 3-inch Live View LCD with 5x or 10x magnification; and CF, SD/SDHC storage options.

Amazon's website listed its price at $8,000 and that it will ship on December 10th.

Read Engadget's post on the new Canon EOS 1DS Mark III.

New Canon 40D Out on September 20?

Engadget reports that Amazon may have "unofficially" posted the specs and delivery for Canon's EOS 40D, and lists a September 20th availability for the true 30D successor. The specifications are a new 10.1 megapixel, APS-C sized, self-cleaning CMOS sensor; 30% faster, 9 point AF; DIGIC III image processing; ISO 3200 max sensitivity; improved 3.0-inch LCD with Enhanced Live View; 6.5fps continuous shooting (bursting 75 Large/Fine JPEGs or 17 RAW images); 35-zone metering system; and CF card storage.

The Canon 40D's body is apparently just slightly larger than the EOS 30D at around 1.4-ounces (40-grams) more beef. It also supports an "sRAW' mode which trims the number of pixels to one-fourth that of a standard RAW image (cutting file size in half) while retaining all of the flexibility of full-sized RAW images. A definite 30D upgrade for those of you who've been holding out.

Read Engadget's post on the new Canon EOS 40D.

POV: Rule of Thirds

Image Copyright © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

One of the fundamental rules of photography is the much vaunted Rule of Thirds. According to Wikipedia, the "rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in photography and other visual arts such as painting. The rule states that an image can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align features in the photograph. The application of the rule of thirds to photographs is considered by many to make them more aesthetically pleasing and professional-looking.

Rasmus Rasmussen in his blog (link below) recommends that anyone starting out in photography ought to use the Rule of Thirds. This applies not only to stock, but to photography in general. He also provides excellent advice for stock photography...this one for example:

"Saving room for copy is a stock favorite that ties in nicely with the rule of thirds. Copy space is where the designer can plop his client’s logo or whatever text needs to be in the ad. Like everyone else, designers are lazy people, and they like not having to move stuff around too much, in order to get the space they need for their copy. As a stock photographer, you can help them along. If for instance you have a still life shot, featuring a lovely rustic vase and some fall flowers, you could place that on the left third of the image and make sure that your background has a nice gradient to it, that will support being used for text.

Read the rest on Rasmus Rasmussen's blog.

Oh...and why did I choose this slanted photograph of Balinese dancers for this post of the Rule of Thirds? Well, it's because once you know what the Rule is, go out and break it with impunity when you feel like it.

Carolyn Drake: The Uighurs

Image Copyright © Carolyn Drake-All Rights Reserved

Having recently heard a piece on NPR's Leonard Lopate's show on the Uighurs and China's discrimination against this ethnically divergent group, I decided to bring some related photographic coverage to TTP...and I chose the excellent work of Carolyn Drake to do it.

Carolyn Drake is a Brown University graduate who worked as a concept designer and producer of multimedia projects in New York before deciding to become a photographer. She studied at the ICP and obtained a masters in Visual Communications. She was chosen by Magenta Foundation as one of the emerging photographers in 2007. Carolyn currently lives in Istanbul.

China's Uighurs are ethnically Turkic Muslims, and are mainly living in Xinjiang where they make up about eight million of the 19 million people. Uighurs are increasingly worried about Chinese immigration and erosion of traditional culture, especially during the post-September 11 environment. China claims that individuals disseminating religious and cultural messages in Xinjiang are terrorists who have simply changed tactics.

Carolyn Drake's website. Click on Uighurs gallery.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Washington Post: Travel Photo Contest 2007

Image Copyright © Eleanor Kaufman-All Rights Reserved

The results of the Washington Post's Travel Photo contest was published on its website, and features about a dozen interesting photographs submitted by its readers and others. I liked the one of a fedora-topped man, riding a bicycle in Baracoa, Cuba. The orange background accentuates the man's image and emanates warmth. I also like the angle...some may view it as an uncomfortable viewpoint, but I think the unusual angle adds a lot to the photograph.

The photograph was made by Eleanor Kaufman of Washington.

The Washington Post's Travel Photo Contest 2007. Registration may be required.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

NY Times: Tibetan Festivals & Protests

Image Copyright © Ariana Lindquist/The New York Times-All Rights Reserved

Here's a slideshow from the New York Times titled "Summer Festivals, Quiet Protests" which features the photography of Ariana Lindquist. The coverage is of the the season of Tibetan festivals, when people throughout western China, just north of the Tibetan border, gather to celebrate old traditions, but also grab the occasion to protest the sinofication of their nation.

I think this slidesshow falls way short of the mark. Firstly, the choice of photographs is uninspired, as I'm quite certain that Lindquist must've photographed the Khampa festival with all its phenomenal visual pageantry. Secondly, the absence of ambient sound and narration to this slideshow is a shame, because it would've added another dimension to the topic. Adding narration and/or some form of aural dimension to such a weak slideshow would save it. I don't know if it's the fault of the photographer (I suspect it isn't), of the producer or of the editor.

The New York Times' Summer Festivals, Quiet Protests. Registration may be required.

Tom Carter: China

Image Copyright © Tom Carter-All Rights Reserved

Tom Carter was born and raised in San Francisco, and graduated from the American University in Washington DC. He spent over 18 months backpacking in Mexico, Cuba and Central America, and started his career as freelance photojournalist. He subsequently traveled thoughout all the 33 provinces/regions of China, and documented the diversity of its people and ethnic minorities.

Currently living in Beijng, his work was published by numerous international publications, magazines and newspapers.

All of Tom's galleries of China are worth visiting with no exception. My favorite gallery is of Xinjiang, from which this simple but marvellous photograph of a Chinese Muslim is seen praying.

Tom Carter's website.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Prashant Panjiar: 7 Years In India

Image Copyright © Prashant Panjiar/Time magazine-All Rights Reserved

Well, I've changed ISPs and so far it's working. So let me carpe the diem and post a superb feature by photographer Prashant Panjiar titled "Seven Years In India". The slideshow is elegantly produced by Time Magazine, and is narrated by Simon Robiinson and by Prasant himself.

I generally do not like mixing color photographs with black & white...and this is no exception. In this case however, the B&W photographs surpass those in least in my view. Something about the B&W photographs of India always have a certain texture to them...a tactility that colors don't have. Is it perhaps because the vibrant colors of India just overwhelm the senses?

Seven Years In India's slideshow

Sunday, August 12, 2007

ISP Change!!!

I'm changing my ISP... I've had to sever my long relationship (I joined when the "internets" started) with my internet service provider and join another, due to a variety of reasons. I anticipate all sort of problems but hope it'll all end up well. I'm not sure whether my main photography website will survive as it is. Only time will tell...but perhaps this will finally push me in giving it a makeover...

While this blog will be unaffected, I will put my posting on hold for a few days.

Rena Effendi: Azerbaijan

Image Copyright © Rena Effendi-All Rights Reserved

Rena was born in Azerbaijan, and is a social documentary photographer since 2002. In 2004, she was a winner of the "Fifty Crows" International Fund for Documentary Photography competition. In 2005 she participated in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass and received honourable mention in National Geographic's "All Roads" photography competition. In 2006 Rena was a winner of the Getty Images Editorial Photography Grant and the Giacomelli Memorial Fund award. The same year, her work was selected for personal exhibitions at the 18th "Visa Pour l'Image" Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France and at the "Les Imagiques" Festival of Photography in Bordeaux.

I chose her work from Xinaliq to showcase on TTP. Xinaliq is an ancient Caucasian village high in the mountains of Azerbaijan. It is located two hours from Baku in the middle of the Greater Caucasus mountains that divide Russia and the South Caucasus, and is also the highest, most remote and isolated village in country. Its people mostly speak Azerbaijani, but have their own unique language and are considered to be a different ethnicity.

Incidentally, Rena's surname is of Turkish origin and is a honorific given during the Ottoman era to civil servants.

Rena Effendi's website

Books: Chasing The Monsoon

Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater is a hugely enjoyable travel book, whose intention is to follow the progress of the summer monsoon through India, beginning in the southernmost tip of the subcontinent, and following its progress up the west ghats up to Mumbai, then crossing it India to witness its impact on Calcutta and on Bangladesh. I read it some years ago, and thought that it'd be a great project to photographically retrace Frater's footsteps.

The quirkiest review of the book is by Dilip Dsouza in his blog...he writes:

"Which is why mangoes are invariably the bridge between summer heat and the pounding glory of the monsoon. In his scrumptious "Chasing The Monsoon", Alexander Frater writes of watching the monsoon break on Kovalam beach in Kerala. "Everyone shrieked and grabbed at each other," Frater says. For him, that was the dark-eyed beauty to his right, and this is how he describes the moment:

"Her streaming pink sari left her smooth brown tummy bare. We held hands much more tightly than was necessary and, for a fleeting moment, I understood why Indians traditionally regard the monsoon as a period of torrid sexuality.

Then, as the deluge really begins, she is gone, no doubt trailing drops from streaming pink pallu as she runs through the rain. Admit it: when you eat your May mangoes, you're thinking of moments like that to come."

A momentary romance, the wisp of mystery, that quick flash of magic -- this is the stuff of the monsoon, this May-June season. And from its shape to its smoothness, from how it fits in your hand to how it feels in your mouth: no fruit in the world captures that utterly sensual mood like the mango does.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


You've probably guessed by now that I love cooking from Delicious Magazine and here is yet another recipe that caught my eye. This recipe comes from the August 2007 issue.
I've used fresh strawberries and West Country double cream as the filling.
Delicious Magazine gave the recipe for strawberry jam to be used with the cream as the filling, and I will post the jam recipe very soon.
Baking cakes and desserts is probably my most favourite part of cooking and I seem to fall in love with anything and everything 'mini' in the baking and desserts department!

Serves 8

For the cakes:
170g butter, softened, 170g caster sugar, 3 medium eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 170g self-raising flour.

For the filling:
284ml carton whipping cream, a large punnet of strawberries, icing sugar for dusting.

You will need 4 x 8-9cm straight-sided individual Yorkshire pudding tins or 8 round plain cutters, sat on a lined tray. The tins will need to be greased and base lined.

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla, then gradually beat into the creamed mixture, adding a little of the flour. Sift over the remaining flour and gently fold in until just combined.
3. Divide evenly between the holes or rings, smoothing the surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool.
4. Lightly whip the cream to soft peaks. Spread onto 4 sponge bases, top with quartered strawberries and sandwich with the remaining sponge discs. Dust each with icing sugar to serve. Each cake serves 2.

Chien-min Chung: Mongolia

Image Copyright © Chien-min Chung-All Rights Reserved

Born in Taiwan and Florida-raised, Chien-min Chung moved to California in the mid-1990s to work as a web designer in Silicon Valley. After two years he left for Beijing in 1998, working as a full-time stringer for the Associated Press covering events in the greater China region.

In 2002, Chien-min became a freelancer and traveled to Afghanistan, shooting a photo essay on child labor. Afterwards, he returned to Beijing and continues to document China's emergence into the world economy. His awards include 2001 World Press Photo (honorable mention for spot news stories), 2002 Communication Arts Photo Annual 43 (Afghan Child Labor) and 2003 POY, Magazine Issues Reporting Picture Story, Award of Excellence (Afghan Child Labor). He is currently back in Beijing, freelancing for various magazines and working on photo essays in Asia.

Chien-min Chung's website photo-essay on Mongolian Contortionists is today's feature on TTP, and he also has excellent work on Afghan Child Labor on the The Digital Journalist website.

Here's Chien-min's slideshow on Mongolian Contortionists

Here's Chien-min's gallery on Afghan Child Labor.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Candace Feit: Timbuktu's Sacred Scriptures

Image Copyright © Candace Feit/The New York Times-All Rights Reserved

Here's an interesting, both photographically and content-wise, slideshow from the New York Times titled "Timbuktu, The Next Chapter". The photographs are by the talented Candace Feit, one of my favorite photographers and photojournalists because of her eye for composition and color. The narration is by Lydia Polgreen.

The accompanying article reports that a surge of interest in ancient books, hidden for centuries in houses along Timbuktu’s dusty streets and in leather trunks in nomad camps, is raising hopes that Timbuktu — a city whose name has become a staccato synonym for nowhere — may once again claim a place at the intellectual heart of Africa. If so, I rejoice as the concept of preservation of ancient cultures is generally rather rare amongst African countries. I'm not sure whether this is because of endemic poverty or because of inherent lack of interest, but I am hopeful that Timbuktu will indeed meet its objectives to the benefit of us all. An interesting factoid: the final photograph of the slideshow shows a building on which it says that Timbuktu is the city of the 333 saints. There are significant numbers in Islamic traditions, and this has always interested me. For instance, in Islam God has 99 known is said that the 100th name will only be known on the Day of Judgement. Candace tells me that it was a fascinating assignment...I can imagine!

As for the slideshow: Candace's photographs are always luminous, and well composed. I think Lydia Polgreen's narration is too rushed and too quick, not giving the viewer enough time to take in the visual and aural information. However, I provide the link to the accompanying article, which is a must read to those who need more information. Registration may be required.

Here's Timbuktu's Sacred Scriptures Slideshow.

Here's Timbuktu's Sacred Scriptures Article.

NY Photo Festival 2008

powerHouse Books and VII Photo are pleased to announce both the dates of the first-ever New York Photo Festival (May 14-18, 2008), and the appointment of festival curators Kathy Ryan, Martin Parr, Lesley A. Martin, and Tim Barber.

The festival, built around the future of contemporary photography, will debut next May in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Daniel Power, publisher of powerHouse Books, and Frank Evers, director of VII, are co-chairs of the festival and producing the inaugural event with the help of Two Trees Management.

For further details, visit NY Photo Festival 2008

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Jenny Jozwiak: Wanderlust

Image Copyright © Jenny Jozwiak -All Rights Reserved

Jenny Jozwiak is an award-winning travel and culture photographer, whose talented work in photojournalism and spontaneous portraiture speaks for itself. Her passion has taken her to 37 countries, where she has shown a singular gift for capturing the lives of people and their environment.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Jenny in Siem Reap, where we photographed amongst the temples of Angkor Wat for a few days. Her imagery in Angkor Wat has impressed me with her brilliant composition, as well as by her intelligent use of colors. We photographed the same monastery near Angkor Wat, but she managed to capture the light in a way I didn't, and yet we were there at the same time of day.

Jenny is also the curator and dirctor of the photodocumentary competition "Diversity of Devotion: Celebrating New York's Spiritual Harmony" for the nonprofit photography collective Positive Focus. I posted about this compelling project a few days ago on TTP.

I chose the beautiful photograph of a 'blue door and monk' at the monastery near Angkor Wat to illustrate her talents. As her photographs amply demonstrate, Jenny is a thorough color and composition perfectionist, and her photographic eye is enviable. She offers private and group photography workshops, and is currently planning her upcoming trip to inner Mongolia, China and Tibet.

Here's Jenny Jozwiak's website.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Canon EOS 1D Mark III: Updated News

Rob Galbraith's website has now updated its analysis of Canon's new release of firmware v1.1.0 for the EOS-1D Mark III. The firmware update was principally meant to improve the camera's AI Servo autofocus performance.

According to the analysis of firmware v1.1.0, "the EOS-1D Mark III's ability to acquire focus initially, hold focus on static subjects and track moving subjects remains poor. In bright sunlight on warmer days in particular, the camera delivers an unacceptably low percentage of in-focus frames."

The Travel Photographer's August 1 post.

Read Rob Galbraith's Updated Analysis here. The update is at the lower third of the page.

Lynn Johnson: Tibet

Image Copyright © Lynn Johnson -All Rights Reserved

Yet another visually compelling collection of photographs of Tibet from the extremely talented photojournalist Lynn Johnson, whose work is known for its intensity and sensitivity. Over the years Lynn divided her time between assignments for LIFE, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated and various foundations, and traveled from Siberia to Zambia.

She writes that Tibet will soon be known only as China, and that "Tibet—Land of the Snow Leopard, prayer wheels and yak herders—is being transformed by degrees as the Chinese erase both Tibetan religion and culture first by violence, then “re-education” and finally, mass immigration of Han Chinese. Some say it is progress, others genocide. These images are records of a time when anti-government monks had gone underground, common people were fleeing to India over the snowy passes of the Himalayas and those left behind were losing hope."

Although all of her photos of Tibet are excellent, I particularly liked two of the, make that three: one is of the two monks above, and the other is of a gnarled hand reverently holding the picture of the Dalai Lama. I also liked the one of the father and son on the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, but finally decided on the two monks for the post.

Lynn Johnson's Tibet.

Canon Asia Contest 2007

To celebrate Canon’s 70th Anniversary, Canon in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam bring you Canon Photo Marathon Asia 2007 - a photography contest that claims to challenge your imagination and empowers you to set new standards in photography.

Canon Asia wants you to show them what you can do based on various themes assigned to you under the pressure of time. Your creativity and endurance to complete the marathon will give you a chance to win attractive Canon prizes and/or a Photo Clinic with a professional photographer to Japan.

As always, read the terms and conditions of the contest very carefully before participating!

Photo Marathon Asia

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Digital Journalist: Visa Pour L'Image

Image Copyright © Tyler Hicks-All Rights Reserved

In its August issue (I know...I'm behind the times), the excellent The Digital Journalist website offers a sneak preview of the 2007 Visa pour l'Image photo festival, which will be held in Perpignan, France, from Sept. 1-16 [pro week, Sept. 3-9].

This is a treat for me as three of my favorite photographers are featured: John Stanmeyer (a friend and a super nice person), Veronique de Vigurie and Tyler Hicks. Their work is just sensational.

The Digital Journalist's Visa Pour L'Image gallery.

PDN Pulse

I'm happy to report that The Travel Photographer is featured on Photo District News' own blog, PDN Pulse.

I do not read nor do I subscribe to any photography magazine except PDN magazine. Are they're returning the favor?

Monday, August 6, 2007

NY Times: The Skycrapers of Wulingyuan

Image Copyright © Ariana Lindquist-The New York Times-All Rights Reserved

Wulingyuan is a scenic and historic interest area in Hunan Province, China, famous for its approximately 3,100 tall quartzite sandstone pillars, some over 200 meters in height. It is home to three ethnic minority groups: the Tujia, the Miao, and the Bai people, who all have their own languages, traditional cultures, festivals, and architectural styles. If you are amongst the tribes you might be forgiven for thinking that you have stepped back in time, but you'll quickly be jolted out of your daydream. Wulingyuan is a favourite holiday spot and Chinese and international tour groups are everywhere. This scenic area has been successfully marketed as a key tourist site and tourism in China is mushrooming.

The New York Times brings us another travel-related slideshow, and while its photography is rather pedestrian, it's brought here to TTP because of the wonderful narration by Simon Winchester...whose pronunciation (he's British) and enunciation, as well as timing sense, bring life to an otherwise bland travelogue. Ariana Lindquist's photographs seem to have been plucked by a photo editor whose heart wasn't in the assignment...too bad, because I'm sure that the photographer must have submitted better ones than those. However, Simon Winchester's narration saves it.

The real point of the post, you ask? Well, it's obvious that hiring a good narrator (or being blessed with inborn narrative skills) greatly enhances photographers' multimedia productions, and with the intensity of competition increasing minute by minute, I believe that it behooves us to learn how to narrate well, or to hire someone with these skills. I have seen and heard many such multimedia shows that are marred by the mumblings of the photographers, and it's a it diminishes the impact on viewers.

The New York Times' The Skyscrapers of Wulingyuan feature. (Registration may be required).

Leica M8: Review

Digital Photography Review's website has just reviewed the Leica M8, the new rangefinder digital camera which has the classic design, build and function of the M series but utilizes a completely digital imaging system.

I really liked Phil Askey's well thought out last sentences of the review in which he writes: "I have to admit that I've been turned, from a skeptic to a believer, certainly the M8 isn't a camera everyone is going to afford, but a rangefinder is certainly something any 'serious' photographer should try at some point in their life. It's changed the way I shoot, I've found myself going back to manual focus more even when I use DSLR's and being more selective about lenses and depth of field, and more creative in my framing. My advice on the M8 would be, if you can afford to then get one, be aware of its limitations, shoot RAW and rediscover 'capturing moments'.This is the kind of review that I find useful...yes, a lot of the review has technical data and statistical information, but it's these last sentences that gave me the real 'feel' for what he wants his readers to know.

DP Review's Leica M8

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Logistics: Bali Photo Expedition

Image Copyright © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Setting the logistics for the Bali photo expedition was a complicated process, not because of the itinerary, but because of the “elasticity” of the Balinese temple anniversary schedules, because of the unavailability of hard and solid information on cremations (as an example), and because time-keeping in Bali is usually “flexible”.

Generally speaking, all temple anniversaries would start in the late afternoon and reach their apogees at night. Cremation ceremonies would start at 11 am, with the actual cremation performed in the early afternoon. Not the best times for photography, but that’s how it is.

The larger temple ceremonies are usually well publicized, and attract thousands of devotees. This means that we had to photograph among large crowds of local Balinese, tourists and gawkers. The larger attendance meant stricter rules as to where we were allowed to stand and photograph. The best photo opportunities were available at smaller temples, where anniversaries were held amongst modest number of attendees, with no tourists and where we welcomed with no preconditions and virtually no restrictions at all beyond having to wear the appropriate sarong and sash. The best of all were the handful of serendipitous events....a ceremonial religious bathing ritual called "mewinten" and a temple odalan attended by women only....which gave us unique photo opportunities.

I opted for two medium sized cars instead of a lumbering bus. These were driven by our fixers/guides, Komang and Putu, and were were sufficiently nimble so that we were able to drive wherever we needed to, even on small muddy paths. Communication and coordination between the two cars was maintained through our fixers’ cell phones. The daily route was discussed with Wayan Sukadana and Komang, who helped me setting it up and deciding between the opportunities available to us.

Our accommodations were the Agung Raka Bungalows in Ubud. The setting is in the midst of idyllic rice fields, and the bungalows are built in traditional Balinese style, with thatched roofs and wooden interiors. The management and staff of Agung Raka did their utmost best to cater to our requirements, and we greatly enjoyed our stay there. It was our home away from home for two weeks. We were also provided with an efficient shuttle service to drive us wherever and whenever we wanted in Ubud. Wayan Sukadana, the general manager of the hotel, spared no effort to make our stay as comfortable as possible, and generously shared his knowledge of Bali and its culture with us.

I tracked down Mrs Korniawati, a dancing teacher in Canggu from my previous trip, and we were fortunate to set up a photo session with some of her dancing students.

We usually had our lunches at Café Moka on Jalan Rajah, which has the best baguettes sandwiches in town. We also found Dragonfly Café to be a top destination to relax with its exotic drinks and wireless service, as well as having delicious muesli and yogurt. Good food is plentiful in Ubud, and we enjoyed excellent dinners at Nomad, Ary’s Warung, Bebek Bengil and Lamak, among others.

Photographically-speaking, I found that having a short wide-angle zoom lens such as the 16-35mm (or 17-40), a 24-70mm and a long zoom lens such as the 70-200mm worked best for me. The latter proved invaluable when photographing the various Balinese dances and for candid portraiture during crowded ceremonies. I used the mid-range zoom for environmental portraiture and for general photography. A polarizer worked nicely for the ricefields photography, especially to enhance the fields' saturation. Some of us used recorders to capture the ambient sounds, chants and gamelan music which accompany all temple celebrations, and these soundtracks will eventually backdrop the still photographs.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lana Šlezić: The Hidden Half

Image Copyright © Lana Šlezić-All Rights Reserved (Courtesy Mother Jones)

Mother Jones magazine brings us a visually compelling photo essay by Canadian photojournalist Lana Šlezić, who crisscrossed Afghanistan—from Mazar-e-Sharif in the north to Kandahar in the south—to document the plight of Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban. Six years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the burka is more common than before, an "overwhelming majority" of Afghan women suffer domestic violence, according to aid group Womankind, and honor killings are on the rise. Health care is so threadbare that every 28 minutes a mother dies in childbirth—the secondhighest maternal mortality rate in the world. Girls attend school at half the rate boys do, and in 2006 at least 40 teachers were killed by the Taliban.

Some of the photographs are disturbing, and while I have no doubt that the treatment of women in Afghanistan is appalling, is it really that pervasive and what is the Karzai government doing about it? Probably nothing.

Lana Šlezić The Hidden Half

Friday, August 3, 2007

Books: A Fortune Teller Told Me

It was 1976 when Tiziano Terzani was warned by the fortuneteller in Hong Kong: "Beware! You run a grave risk of dying in 1993. You mustn't fly that year. Don't fly, not even once." Sixteen years later, Terzani had not forgotten. Despite living the life of a jet-hopping journalist, he decided that, after a lifetime of sensible decisions, he would confront the prophecy the Asian way, not by fighting it, but by submitting.

One of the most enjoyable reads for me has been A Fortune Teller Told Me, a somewhat fabulistic account of travels in South East Asia by Tiziano Terzani. He sadly passed away recently, however his traveling style remains with me...not that I would dare emulating his itinerary but because of this last paragraph in the book, which always stays with me:

"I have heard that in India, not far from Madras, there is a temple in whose recesses three thousand years ago a great sage wrote on palm leaves the lives and deaths of all men of all times, past, present and future. When a visitor arrives, a monk comes out to greet him, saying: 'We have been waiting for you'. From somewhere he takes out one of those yellowed leaves, on which is written all that has happened to the visitor, and all that will happen to him in the future.

Now, going to to live in India, I shall seek out that temple. After all, one is always curious to know one's fate."

On the flight back from Bali, I mangled Tiziano's name in a conversation. This post atones for my faulty memory.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Robert Maybach: Faces of Tibet

Image Copyright © Robert Maybach-All Rights Reserved

Robert Maybach is an Austrian photographer with a degree in Industrial Mathematics and who studied photography in Prague. He worked as assistant to Mario Schmolka, and is more of a commercial than travel photographer but his portraits from Tibet are attest to his skills. The photographs are also for sale for a worthwhile cause: the Austrian chapter of Save Tibet.

Maybach's Faces of Tibet

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mark Tucker: India

Image Copyright © Mark Tucker - All Rights Reserved

After studying photojournalism in college, Mark started his commercial studio in 1981, and worked many years in the music and entertainment business, and now photographs primarily lifestyle and portraits for various industry groups, such as banking, insurance, tourism and healthcare.

His images have been featured in various publications, including Communications Arts, Print, Photo Design, Photo Insider and PhotoMarket magazines.

While his photographs are primarily commercial, Mark's website also showcases his work in Ecuador, Cuba, Mexico, Germany and India. Naturally, I've chosen Mark's India as entryway for this TTP post. The photographs are in black and white, and some seem to have been made with IR film.

Here's Mark's India.