Monday, March 31, 2008

EDIROL R-09HR Recorder

There's a new kid on the block as far as handheld digital field recorders are concerned. The R-09HR by Roland Corporation is described as a professional, high-definition recorder that is light but performs like a heavyweight. With 24/96 fidelity, the R-09HR is the new flagship of EDIROL’s award-winning R-series recorders.

Amongst its features are a built-in high-grade, high-sensitivity stereo condenser, it records to SD or SDHC memory card, a built-in preview speaker, a wireless remote controller, and is powered by 2 AA batteries. It should be available in a few weeks at a MSRP price close to $500, however it's unclear what the street price will be.

See it here or here.

I'm still using the M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96 Pocket Digital Recorder, however its plug-in T-microphone was damaged, so I just bought the Sony ECM-DS30P Microphone to replace it. This allows me to wait out the inevitable price drop in digital recorders.

Karen Huntt: Papua New Guinea

Photograph © Karen Huntt-All Rights Reserved

I'm really glad to have found Karen Huntt's website to start off this week!

Karen is a freelance photographer and photo editor, who returned from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in 2005. Her experiences and photographs are being incorporated in a book, a documentary film and an exhibit about the project, Headhunt Revisited, due to launch in 2009. The project involved retracing the route of artist Caroline Mytinger (another remarkable individual) to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and was featured in the April 2006 issue of Smithsonian Magazine. She won countless awards, and is a founding member of ILCP—International League of Conservation Photographers, a former chapter president of American Society of Picture Professionals, and a member ASMP, NPPA and the Explorers' Club in NY.

Karen tells us: " My earliest inspiration for photography was Life magazine. I grew up in the "Golden Age" of photojournalism, and was influenced by compelling image essays from the world's best photographers. My interest in anthropology naturally has led me to document indigenous cultures, but I feel it's important to value people for the way they choose to live today, and to not expect them to be frozen in amber the way they might have been 100 years ago."

Karen's fabulous photographs are here: Karen Huntt

Also visit Headhunt Revisited, the website dedicated to Karen Huntt's and Michele Westmorland's thrilling expedition retracing the four-year sojourn taken by portrait artist Caroline Mytinger and her companion Margaret Warner in 1926 in the South Pacific.

TTP Recap of the Week

For your convenience, here's the past week's (March 24-30, 2008) most popular posts on TTP:

Talking To The Taliban.
Nevada Wier's Blog: A Thought
Sunday Rant: The Selfish Photographer

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I know that Easter is now in the distant past but I haven't been at home much recently, and therefore, this posting is a 'little late'.
Julia, over at the delicious A Slice of Cherry Pie is hosting her Easter Cake Bake, Round 2! challenge.
I entered the Easter Cake Bake last year, and there were lots of really good entries. I'm really looking forward to this year's roundup.
My choice of cake was based purely on design, also the cake had a favourite of mine on the ingredients list, Amaretto liqueur.
The cake benefits from being left for a couple of days to 'mature' before it's decorated with marzipan.
A taster of recipes from this book are Burnt-Sugar Cake, Choco-malt Cake (I think we all know this one - it's decorated with Maltezers), Red Velvet Cake, Caramel Pecan Loaf and Gooey Chocolate Cake. This is a book to suit every occasion and now I've made a wonderful cake from it, I'm sure I will turn to it again.
The author Valerie Barrett is a food writer and stylist. She has worked for Good Housekeeping Magazine, BBC Good Food and Delicious, as well as writing her own books.

CAKES GALORE - by Valerie Barrett

ISBN 9781846011108 - Page 96

Makes: 12-14 slices

You will need: a deep 18cm round cake tin, greased and lined.

500g luxury mixed dried fruit, 2 tablespoons Amaretto, 175g softened unsalted butter, 175g soft light brown sugar, 3 beaten eggs, finely grated zest of ½ lemon, 200g self-raising flour, 2 teaspoons ground mixed spice, 50g ground almonds, 500g ready-made natural almond paste or marzipan, 225g ready-made yellow almond paste or marzipan, 1-2 tablespoons warmed apricot jam,, coloured ribbon and small chocolate or sugar-coated eggs to decorate.

1. Put the mixed fruit in a bowl and sprinkle over the Amaretto. Leave to soak for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat in the eggs and lemon zest. Fold in the flour, mixed spice and ground almonds, then add the dried fruit mixture and mix well. Set aside.
3. Roll out half of the natural almond paste or marzipan on a sheet of non-stick baking paper to form an 18cm circle. Spoon half of the cake mixture into the base of the prepared tin, spreading it evenly. Place the almond paste circle on top. Spoon over the remaining cake mixture, then level the surface. Bake in the oven for 2-2½ hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
4. Roll out the remaining natural almond paste and all but 50g of the yellow paste to form two 18cm circles and place the yellow one on top of the natural one. Shape 8 balls from the remaining yellow paste.
5. Lightly brush the top of the cake with warm jam, leaving a small circle in the centre uncoated. Place the almond circle, yellow-side up, on top of the cake and trim the edges. Using a glass, lightly mark a circle in the centre of the cake. Using a sharp knife, cut through both almond-paste layers up to the edges of the circle to make 8 segments. Lift up the pointed end of each segment and peel it back to reveal the natural almond paste underside. Press it gently into the edge of the cake. Place a yellow almond paste ball on top.
6. Tie a ribbon around the cake and fill the centre with sugar-coated chocolate eggs.

N.B. After the cake came out of the oven I brushed the top with more Amaretto to soften the top. I then wrapped the tin which is still housing the cake in a large sheet of foil and enclosed this at the top to form a parcel. The steam then softens the top of the cake. The next day when the cake is cold turn out of the tin leave for a couple of days in an airtight tin, then decorate.
For the decoration: I dealt with the cutting of the marzipan on a board and then placed it carefully on top of the cake, this was to prevent any crumbs on top of the cake getting onto the marzipan.

Dith Pran

The New York Times reports that Dith Pran, a photojournalist whose gruesome ordeal in the killing fields of Cambodia was re-created in a 1984 movie that gave him an eminence he used to press for his people’s rights, died in New Brunswick, N.J. on Sunday.

One of the most poignant moments in The Killing Fields movie was when Sydney Shanberg (Sam Waterston) and Al Rockoff, a photographer (John Malkovich), fail to save Dith from the Khmer Rouge. Mr. Dith's greatest hope was to see leaders of the Khmer Rouge tried for war crimes against his native country.

(Photo The New York Times)

Sunday Rant: The Selfish Photographer

I haven't really ranted for a while now...but yesterday's post about Katie Orlinky's work amongst the Muxes of Juchitan reminded me of an itch that needs to be scratched.

Before going for a week's vacation in Oaxaca late February, I posted on the Lightstalkers photo forum asking for advice as to what and where to photograph. The suggestions I received from many working photographers (both travel and photojournalists) were generous and useful... and I dutifully wrote everything down so I could follow these through while in Oaxaca. One of most intriguing suggestions was to photograph the Muxes in the city of Juchitan, roughly a hundred miles south of Oaxaca city. I was given the email of photographer who had already published a number of photo essays on the Muxes culture, and encouraged to solicit that photographer's help.

I did exactly that, asking for advice as to how to get to Juchitan, and whether there were any names I could contact. I received nothing in response except for a curt brush-off. Thinking the photographer had misunderstood my questions, I clarified what I needed, but never got a reply.

Now, here's a photographer who already published all there was to publish on the far as that photographer was concerned, the subject was done...was in the can...and was published (and presumably paid for) a few times already. No danger of meaningful competition here, and yet, the reaction was to brush-off an inquiry from a fellow photographer.

Do I expect too much from people? I don't think so. There will always be some photographers who selfishly (and in my view, sometimes illogically) guard their perceived "fiefdoms"...but, from experience, they are a minority in an industry that frequently relies on mutual assistance. I have no difficulty whatsoever in sharing whatever knowledge I have...whether this is done during my photo-expeditions, photo critiques or by answering frequent questions about my photo destinations, techniques and photographs.

So what I have to tell this selfish photographer is this: what goes around comes around. As for the Muxes, I did not have the time to travel to Juchitan, but I now know people who will take me there when I return to Oaxaca. And when I do, I'll send some of the resulting photographs to the selfish photographer.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Katie Orlinsky: FPW Scholarship

Photograph © Katie Orlinsky-All Rights Reserved

One of the winners of the scholarships awarded by the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop for its Mexico City June 2008 workshop is Katie Orlinsky.

I was interested to see that a couple of Katie's photography essays are about the "Muxes" in Juchitan, south of Oaxaca. She describes the "muxes" as follows: "In Zapoteco, the word "muxe" translates to "gay", however they are considered a "third gender": a local, indigenous gender that is widely accepted and respected in this particular area of Mexico. The closest English translation to muxe is transgender or transvestite."

Katie Orlinsky

NY Times: Somalia On The Brink

Photograph © Jehad Nga-All Rights Reserved

An infrequently-covered country is in the New York Times today, along with photographs by Jehad Nga, whose work is characterized by deep shadows and sparsely illuminated subjects.

To bring you up to speed on the political background: Late last year, Ethiopian troops, with the help of US intelligence, removed the Islamist administration that briefly controlled Mogadishu, bringing the transitional government to the city for the first time. Naturally, this anointed total illegitimacy to the government and it has been going downhill ever since.

The NY Times' Somalia On The Brink

Friday, March 28, 2008

Yen/$ Impact on New Canon 5D??

Here's an interesting analysis from The Online Photographer as to what the price on the eventual Canon 5D "Mark II" will be, taking into consideration that the current model is around $2200 at major retailers.

Price determination of any product is a function of many variables, which are all well covered in TOP's post, which is worth a read from anyone interested. Another variable is the current weakness of the US dollar versus the Japanese Yen (and every other world currency), which means that the Japanese companies will have to increase their prices to make up for the difference.

TOP's Future Cost of the New 5D?

Craig Schneider: FPW Scholarship

Photograph © Craig Schneider-All Rights Reserved

One of the winners of the scholarships awarded by the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop for its Mexico City June 2008 workshop is Craig Schneider.

Craig is a journalist and documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. I chose his above photograph of the "Boxer Boys of Havana" as an example of his documentary work.

Craig Schneider

New Sponsors: Foundry Photo Workshop

Eric Beecroft of Foundry Photojournalism Workshop has just announced two additional sponsors of its inaugural workshop in Mexico this coming June.

The new sponsors are VII Agency, which is generously providing two scholarships to students, and Dispatches magazine (Gary Knight's new photojournalism/essayist journal) which is also providing two scholarships for the workshop.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beat Presser: Oasis of Silence

Photograph © Beat Presser-All Rights Reserved

When Beat Presser was in late teens, he traveled through Southeast Asia, and met with a car accident in Thailand. Healed from a serious spine injury by monks in a Buddhist monastery, he vowed to do something in return, should he become the photographer he intended to be.

Between 2000 and 2004, he returned to live in Theravada Buddhism monasteries in Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, and photographed the essence of Buddhism. Oasis of Silence is the resulting photographic exhibition and book.

Presser also produced an accompanying website My Oasis of Silence allows participants to post their profile and photographs, and to interact among each other and with Beat Presser, thus creating a growing community and allowing a permanent exchange.

Beat Presser's Buddhism Oasis of Silence is well produced and its background music is haunting, but the B&W photographs are too small to fully appreciate Presser's artistry.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Systems opened up Photoshop Express today, its new Web-based image editor aimed at consumers who seek a simple way to touch up, share, and store photos. Photoshop Express is available for free with 2 gigabytes of storage, and requires Flash Player 9 to run (a quick download).

The bottom line from CNET is as follows:

Slick, attractive interface; useful retouching tools and well-done interface for using them; most operations relatively fast. Doesn't support photos from 12-megapixel or higher cameras; some unnattractive Terms of Service; no filtering or keywording; no printing options.

Though there's a lot to like about Adobe's first stab at online photo editing and sharing, you probably want to wait until the company fixes a few problems with the beta--and de-fangs its terms of service--before uploading scads of photos to Adobe Photoshop Express.

Caution: CNET mentions the de-fanging of Adobe's Terms of's the main "fang":

"with respect to Your Content that you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Services, you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other Materials or works in any format or medium now known or later developed."

so Caveat Emptor!!! (although it's free).

Adobe's Photoshop Express

CNET's Photoshop Express Review

Charlie Mahoney: FPW Scholarship

Photograph © Charlie Mahoney-All Rights Reserved

One of the winners of the scholarships awarded by the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop for its Mexico City June 2008 workshop is Charlie Mahoney.

Charlie Mahoney is a freelance photographer based in Barcelona, and is represented by WpN. He prefers stories of human interest and collaborates with non-profit organizations, and traveled extensively to include the Balkans, West Africa and Latin America. Apart from winning a FPW scholarship, Charlie is also the 2007 winner of the New Talent category of Travel Photographer of the Year competition.

Prior to his career in photography, he worked in finance and investments in San Francisco, Madrid and Barcelona.

Charlie Mahoney

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Globe & Mail: Talking to the Taliban

Here's a multimedia feature from the Canadian Globe & Mail, and it's a must-see to anyone who's interested in the current situation in Afghanistan, and how it evolved to where it is, and where it's probably going.

After watching this remarkable feature, I can only help but think that this administration got us involved militarily against implacable foes in two of the most intractable regions in the world: Afghanistan and Iraq. While the former was a necessary involvement, the latter was a enormous blunder and just diverted our resources from completing the stated mission in Afghanistan.

To watch the unwavering ideology and zealotry of the Taliban interviewees and describe it as frightening would be a massive understatement. The common thread in most of the interviews is that they want us out of there...that's all they want. They wanted the Soviets out...and they got them out. Now they want NATO and the US out. It's not too difficult to understand.

Naturally, it's not our own media who'd come up with such a brave and courageous reportage.

The Globe & Mail's Talking To The Taliban

Sandra C Roa: FPW Scholarship

Photograph © Sandra C Roa-All Rights Reserved

One of the winners of the scholarships awarded by the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop for its Mexico City June 2008 workshop is Sandra C. Roa.

Sandra C Roa was raised in Queens, and her parents are originally from the Colombia city of Cali. She studied art and dance, and is interested in folkloric traditions and its music. She's currently working with video and stills to produce multi-media stories and works at the ICP as a digital media associate and instructor.

I particularly liked her lively imagery in the section titled "Music" on her website. Also explore her Places....she certainly has an interesting viewpoint.

Sandra C Roa

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nevada Wier's Blog: A Thought

I've been directed to the two-months old blog authored by the celebrity travel photographer Nevada Wier. Having skimmed through its sparse posts just this morning, I stopped at her opening post in which she writes that she'll be posting personal comments, new photographs, equipment reviews, and notes from her travels.

I hope she lives up to the spirit of this first post, and is able to share with us the wealth of information and knowledge gained though her illustrious career. I don't mean well-worn tips such as "focus on the eyes for pin-sharp portrait", or silly pulse-quickening statements such as "the Papua New Guinea tribesmen had never seen a white person before", or equipment reviews that reek of sponsorship, I mean useful information that she gained from her to photograph Ladakhi monasteries , which hidden Burmese pagodas to visit, some of the off the beaten path places in Rajasthan, etc.

We all know that blogs authored by photographers are valuable tools aimed at increasing public exposure to their work and, if they're involved in photo workshops/tours, help in publicizing these (as I do) among a wider audience. I'm certain that Nevada will use hers for this very purpose as well...but because of her experience, talent and celebrity status, it's a given that her guidance would help other travel photographers, as well as her fans and will she duplicate the unstinting generosity of David Alan Harvey, as an example? We'll have to wait and see.

Nevada Wier Blog

Lianne Milton: FPW Scholarship

Photograph © Lianne Milton-All Rights Reserved

One of the winners of the scholarships awarded by the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop for its Mexico City June 2008 workshop is Lianne Milton.

Lianne is a photojournalist working at the Napa Valley Register in California. Much of her work on her website is of Mexico and Guatemala, along with documentary photography of local Napa stories.

I was drawn to her work of Guatemala, especially to her gallery she titles "Indigenous Landscapes", a collection of images of Quetzaltenango, the second largest city in the country, deep in the Sierra Madres.

Lianne Milton Photography

Monday, March 24, 2008

Adobe Elements for Mac

Adobe announced the immediate availability of Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 software for Macintosh. This version runs on Leopard, (Mac OS X v 10.5.2), as well as previous versions of Mac OS X starting with 10.4.8.

The product is immediately available in the United States for an estimated street price of US$89.99. Owners of previous versions of Photoshop Elements can upgrade to Photoshop Elements 6 for US$69.99 with an in-box, mail-in rebate or through Adobe's website.

Adobe has previously announced Elements 6 on a pre-order basis...a PR gimmick to avoid announcing a delay in its original release plans....but now it seems it's available from retailers (although Adobe's website still has it listed as on a 'pre-order' basis).

(Via Imaging Insider)

Foundry Photojournalism Workshop

The Foundry Photojournalism Workshop has just announced the winners (full and half tuition) of its scholarship for its Mexico City June 2008 workshop.

The winners are:

Charlie Mahoney, Sandra Roa, Craig Schneider and Katie Orlinsky.

TTP will feature the work of each photographer starting tomorrow. Having seen their work, I guarantee that you will be astounded by the high quality photographs produced by these talented individuals.

Philip Blenkinsop

Currently with the NOOR photo-collective, Philip Blenkinsop started his professional career at the age of 21 working for The Australian, a national broadsheet in Sydney. Realizing that being a newspaper photographer was not for him, and finding that the work shallow and repetitive, he bought a Leica with a few lenses and a one-way airline ticket to Bangkok.

His name is now synonymous with forgotten conflicts, and his photographs are the product of weeks in the mountains of East Timor with Falintil guerrillas, of tribal war and cannibalism in Borneo, to the tragic plight of Hmong Veterans and their families lost deep in the heart of Laos’ forbidden zone.

He says: "I am just a photographer. Photojournalism can be stylistic and puerile. It's not the photographer's fault, but they know what editors like, so they mold the product for the magazine. It's like being an advertising photographer, shooting a style because they know how it will appear on paper."

TTP Recap of the Week

For your convenience, here's the past week's (March 17-23, 2008) most read posts on TTP:

Ami Vitale: Kolkata Rickshaws.
Pilgrims' Progress
Philip Jones Griffiths

Sunday, March 23, 2008


These little beauties remind me of McVities ginger cake, except the gooey stuff is at the bottom of the cake and not on top! McVities ginger cake is one of the few cakes that I will happily buy, it never lets you down.

The ginger squares are packed full of flavour and are totally addictive. You don't have to leave this cake to mature, thank goodness, and it has a wonderful soft texture. I love crystallized ginger and this is used in the cake batter as well on top of the icing for decoration.

The lemon icing tastes delicious and partners the ground ginger and cinnamon in the sponge cake.

If you own a coffee shop then I would definitely try this one out, its really easy to make and sure to be a winner.

This book is brimming with beautiful traybakes such as Plum Frangipane Slices, Chocolate, Pear and Macadamia Nut Brownies and Chewy Whisky, Date and Pistachio Bars. If you love baking, this would be a wonderful addition to the bookshelf.

The author is Liz Franklin who writes for magazines such as BBC Good Food Magazine, Olive and Food & Travel.


ISBN 1840914157 - Page 77

Makes 15 - this recipe can easily be halved.

You will need: a buttered and parchment paper lined deep roasting tin or a cake tin measuring 20 x 30cm/8 x 12 inches.

If you halve the recipe ingredients you will need a 18 x 18cm/7 x 7 inch cake tin.
320g plain flour, 2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 180g butter, 100ml milk, 250ml soured cream, 2 eggs, 400g muscovado sugar, 6 pieces crystallized ginger (roughly chopped), 100g sultanas.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large bowl.
3. Place the butter and milk in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Pour into the flour mixture and stir well until thoroughly combined. Add the soured cream and eggs, and then stir in the sugar, ginger and sultanas. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes or so, until firm but springy.
4. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out. Cut into squares.

For the Icing:

300g icing sugar, zest and juice 1-2 lemons, 15 pieces crystallized ginger (to decorate).

To make the icing: mix the icing sugar, lemon zest and enough lemon juice to give a thick pouring consistency and carefully ice the cakes. Decorate each one with a piece of crystallized ginger. Store in an airtight container.

Art Wolfe: PBS: India

I watched an episode from Art Wolfe's Travels To the Edge on PBS early evening yesterday, and I was struck by his using a heavy-duty tripod during all of his photo-shoots. Art Wolfe, who's a superb photographer, was in Allahabad during a Mela, and was televised thigh-deep in the Ganges river with his Canon perched on a tripod (Bogen?) and what appeared to be a 400mm lens. This is not unusual for such a situation, but further on, he photographs sadhus in their tents also using the tripod as well. In fact, Art used his tripod for all of his photographs in this particular episode.

I rarely, if ever, travel with a tripod as I much prefer to retain the freedom to move horizontally and vertically to photograph my subjects. There's no question that it's a trade-off....and involves a different style of photography. I guess that Art Wolfe's style is less photo-journalistic, and more focused on specific subjects and scenes. He is also (probably) accompanied by a few minders who help him out in 'crowd-control', who allow him to photograph perfectly-posed environmental portraits. This is invaluable in India, especially during festivals such as the Kumbh Mela.

Perhaps it's just that most travel photographers don't have the luxury of having minders and a production crew, and have to rely on quick reactions to capture their images....but even then, I would still have a hard time using a tripod during my work.


A happy Easter to all Kitchen Delights visitors, and I hope you are all enjoying your lovely Easter eggs.
Recently, I teamed up with Hotel Chocolat to run an Easter egg hunt competition. I am pleased to announce the winner of the Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg Competition is Kelly-Jane - and well done to her.
I think this Easter lots of us will have enjoyed making and eating Jamie Oliver's hot cross pudding and it makes a welcome change from simply warming hot cross buns and spreading them with butter or toasting them!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mikhail Baryshnikov: Dance Photography

Photograph © Mikhail Baryshnikov-All Rights Reserved

Mikhail Baryshnikov, one of the most famous dancers in history, has turned dance photographer. His dance photographs are exhibited at 401 Projects, and is titled “Merce My Way” in reference to Merce Cunningham. I like dance photography, particularly those of ethnic character, and I frequently include photo shoots involving dancers during my photo-expeditions. The Apsara dancers in Angkor Wat, the Tantric dancing monks in Bhutan, Balinese Rejang dancers and the Guelaguetza dancers in Oaxaca have all been the subjects of my photography. Hence this post!

The New York Times has some of Baryshnikov's photographs and his narration in a slideshow feature. The narration (and the accompanying article) is stuffed of heavily artistic buzzwords (which are barely comprehensible to me), but it's well worth it.

I agree with Baryshnikov that dance photography is about photographing the movement...blurring the actions of the dancers. Obviously blurring conveys movement and I find that freezing dance movements by using a high ISO setting or a (gasp!) flash, does not appeal to me. When I use a flash, the results are often more akin to publicity posters for performances etc where the dancers seem made of wax.

New York Times' Mikhail Baryshnikov's Merce My Way

The accompanying article

NGM: Pilgrims' Progress

Photograph © Francisco Leong-AFP/Getty-All Rights Reserved

As we're in the midst of the Easter Week, I thought of posting Pilgrims' Progress, an interactive feature from the National Geographic Magazine. Its an interactive map showing pilgrimage sites on and off the beaten path.

On the map are the two Middle Eastern pilgrimage destinations; Jerusalem (Al Quds) and Mecca. The Indian sub-continent alone has 5 pilgrimage destinations. It would be an interesting project to photograph each of these destinations in depth...and document the similarities between all the world's faiths. The two pilgrimage destinations of Mecca and Medina are off-limits to non-Muslims, but the project could be a collaborative effort between a number of photographers.

The above photograph is of the statue of the Holy Mary of Fatima at the Catholic shrine in Fatima in Portugal.

National Geographic's Pilgrims' Progress

Friday, March 21, 2008

NG Traveler Photography Seminars

Here's an interesting (albeit too short) video teaser of National Geographic Traveler photographers Jim Richardson and Catherine Karnow sharing some of their tips. The video was taken by Traveler's Susanne Hackett at its photo seminar called "A Passion for Travel: Photos that Tell the Story".

A good quote from Richardson: "Great pictures come from great travel experiences"

Check out NG Traveler's Blog Intelligent Travel for schedules of the Photo Seminars, and other travel news.

Semana Santa Holy Week

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

With Good Friday and Easter upon us, I attended Semana Santa in Antigua (Guatemala) a few years ago. Antigua is a magnificent city declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It is also famous for its Catholic celebration of Holy Week, which commemorates the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.

All of Antigua participates in the annual event, and the entire week is replete with religious activities. These rituals arrived with the missionaries from Spain, who brought Catholic fervor to the local indigenous population during colonial times. The famed colorful sawdust designs that carpet the cobblestoned processional routes of Antigua are called alfombras, and are one of the traditions that date back to the 1500s.

For more of my gallery of photographs during Semana Santa, visit Los Hombres de Popul Vuh

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Philip Jones Griffiths

Photograph © Philip Jones Griffiths-All Rights Reserved

Philip Jones Griffiths, a photojournalist whose photographs of civilian casualties and suffering were among the defining images of the war in Vietnam, died on Wednesday at his home in London.

The New York Times' Slideshow of some of his photographs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Battlespace Exhibition

From the introduction of Battlespace:

These photographs were made in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they depict neither country. They are glimpses of an alternate reality built upon them. The images do not provide a comprehensive account of these wars, or an understanding of these nations or their peoples. They are fragments, seen in off-moments behind the walls of concrete superbases—or outside them, through nightvision goggles and ballistic eye shields.

Battlespace is produced by November Eleven, a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to independent journalism. The exhibition was made possible with support and cooperation of Aurora Select, Fastback Creative Books, and Print Space.

Some of the photographers are Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Christoph Bangert, Guy Calaf,Jason Howe, Teru Kuwayama, Jehad Nga and Stephanie Sinclair.

Until April 30th 2008, the Battlespace exhibition can be viewed at Gallery FCB in New York City:

Gallery FCB
16 West 23rd Street
New York City

Canon 5D Firmware Update

Canon just announced the release of firmware updates for the EOS 5D (and EOS 30D). The update allows the 5D to recognize the full capacity of Compact Flash cards over 8 GB.

I'm still sour at Canon that it hasn't announced a successor to its full frame 5D earlier this year, and hope that the rumors that it will appear next month will prove true. I wonder if the launch of a 5D Mark II (or whatever it'll be called) hasn't been delayed for the Canon engineers to further enhance its specs in order to compete with the new offerings from Nikon, Olympus and Sony?

Canon's 5D Firmware Update

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ami Vitale: NGM: Kolkata Rickshaws

Photograph © Ami Vitale-All Rights Reserved

"The strategy of drivers in Kolkata—drivers of private cars and taxis and buses and the enclosed three-wheel scooters used as jitneys and even pedicabs—is simple: Forge ahead while honking. There are no stop signs to speak of." And so starts Calivn Trilin's essay on Kolkata's rickshaws in the April issue of National Geographic.

I thumbed through my fresh-off-the-press National Geographic magazine, and stopped slack-jawed at pages 92-93...a double spread of Ami Vitale's magnificent photograph of a rickshaw puller, S. K. Bikari, who regularly pulls a pair of girls to school in Kolkata, yet rarely sees his own five children back home in the state of of the poorest states in India. Although this photograph may be partially posed, I frankly don't care. I just find all its elements to be just right....yes, even the woman intruding on the scene from the right. The two schoolgirls, in their pristine uniforms, look bored (or uncomfortable) while Bikari is on the verge of overtaking some obstacle on the left. Ami Vitale's is a wonderful photographer, and the rest of her photographs live up to her reputation...but it's this one that I prefer. Naturally it looks better in print form.

I had already posted on TTP on Kolkata's rickshaws, and it seems from the National Geographic article that the city hasn't yet been able to ban them from its streets. Again, the great performance of Om Puri as the rickshaw puller in City of Joy comes to mind whenever I come across such photographs.

The National Geographic did a great job with this subject...however I must say that the video with Ami's narration could be improved upon.

Ami Vitale's Kolkata Rickshaws Photography

Ami Vitale's Video

Calivin Trillin's Kolkata Rickshaws Essay

TTP Recap of the Week

Aaaaargh...I always forget tp post this weekly recap! For your convenience, here's the past week's (March 10-16, 2008) most read posts on TTP:

Photo Contests: Grabbing Your Rights?.
Rumors of a Canon 5D Mark II?
Altars of the Zapotecs

Michael Wolf: Hong Kong

Photograph © Michael Wolf-All Rights Reserved

Michael Wolf is a German photographer who studied at UC Berkley and at the University of Essen. He has been living and working as a photographer and author in China for ten years.

In addition to a wide spectrum of publications for international magazines, three books by him on China have been published, and he has been deeply involved with the topic of vernacular culture for many years. His most recent work deals with the issue of the cultural identity of the city of Hong Kong.

There are many galleries to explore on Michael's website, but the one that intrigued me most is the 100x100 project, in which he photographed 100 residents in their flats (100 rooms each 100 square feet in area) in Hong Kong's oldest public housing estate. Each of these photographs tells us a story...about the persons inhabiting the tiny space, their taste in furnishings, and even their income level.

Hong Kong's oldest (Shek Kip Mei Estate) public housing estate was the one photographed by Michael Wolf, and its buildings were condemned in 2006 and torn down.

Michael Wolf's 100x100

Michael Wolf's Website

Monday, March 17, 2008

Reuters: Iraq War

Reuters, in partnership with multimedia studio MediaStorm, has published a multimedia feature to observe the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The feature is laden with photos, maps and videos, along with interviews with three Reuters journalists, including photographer Goran Tomasevic (who was featured on TTP).

I wonder if this somber anniversary will be adequately observed by the mainstream media, especially as we have lost nearly 4000 soldiers in the meaningless conflict so far, and far more innocent Iraqis have lost their lives.

And lest we forget:

The photograph above is from the multimedia show, and shows George W. Bush in full military regalia on May 1, 2003 when he announced to the world that major fighting in Iraq was over.

Reuters' Bearing Witness: Five Years of the Iraq War

Ami Vitale: Frontline: Kashmir

Here's a PBS/Frontline multimedia feature on Kashmir with photographs by Ami Vitale. It's not a new feature, but I thought it timely as I am traveling to this area in July.

Kashmir has been described as a paradise on earth but it's a disputed area that has seen more than its share of violence and bloodshed in recent years. Indians insist Kashmir is an integral part of their country, and without Kashmir, they could not embrace their secular credentials. Indian Kashmir is more than 60 percent Muslim, making it the only state in India with a Muslim majority. Pakistanis say the "k" in "Pakistan" stands for "Kashmir" and that they will continue to offer moral and diplomatic support to the separatists.

However Kasmir has been calm since this feature has been published, and tourists have returned to the area, enjoying the magnificent views and the hospitality of Kashmiris in this paradise on earth.

Frontline's Kashmir slideshow.

Ami Vitale Interview

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Barbara Paul: Ghana, Benin & Togo Exhibit

Barbara Paul is welcomed by the Black Rock Art Center where her photography exhibit entitled “Voodoo, Villages, Festivals: Ghana , Benin and Togo" will be shown April 5 through June 7, 2008. An opening celebration is scheduled for April 5th from 4:00 – 7:00 pm. Gallery hours are 1:00 – 5:00 pm Mon – Fri, and upon request.

From the press release: "Barbara Paul has traveled through some of the most remote regions of Asia and Africa, as well as other parts of the world, with the goal of capturing and sharing the region’s customs, dress, festivals and way of life.

Black Rock Art Center General Manager, Melissa A. Bernstein, said of the exhibit, “This is an incredibly ambitious show to produce, because Ms. Paul has a vast collection of work. We will be displaying approximately 120 pieces, taken in three countries. The pieces are bright and full of spirit, and you can tell from each one that she loves sharing her adventures with the public”.

Educated at Wellesley College and NYU School of Business Administration, Barbara Paul has been taking photos around the world for many years. Her work has been shown locally at such galleries as the Darien Library, Earthplace of Westport, and the Thomas J. Walsh Gallery at the Quick Center at Fairfield University, in Westchester at venues like the Rye Library, and in New York City at Tibet House and Gallery Vietnam. Exhibits have included photographs taken in such diverse countries as Laos, Tibet , Ethiopia and Mali.

Further info from: Black Rock Center

Five Years Ago

Photograph © Eros Hoagland/NY Times-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times observes the fifth year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by publishing various articles, graphics and photographs. The main slideshow is entitled The Baiji Refinery in Iraq with photographs by Eros Hoagland and is on the largest oil refinery in Iraq. The US military believes that at least one-third, and possibly much more, of the fuel from the refinery, is diverted to the black market, and funding the insurgency. Hence the need for our soldiers to take the role of policemen and custom officials.

The accompanying article contains some depressing news, such as reports that "at least 91,000 Iraqis, many of them former enemies of the American forces, receive a regular, American-paid salary for serving in neighborhood militias." In essence, we're paying Iraqis to defend and protect their own country.

Another article Five Years by the incomparable John F Burns has this sobering final sentence: " It is small credit to the invasion, after all it has cost, that Iraqis should arrive at a point when all they want from America is a return to something, stability, that they had under Saddam.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

AEVUM: New Collective

A new photographers' collective was born with the formation of AEVUM (which, according to the website, means life, time, age in Latin/Greek). The photographers are Elyse Butler, Matt Eich, Yoon S. Byun, Andrew Henderson, Chris Capozziello and Matt Mallams.

Check out Andrew Henderson's The Untouchables while you explore the collective's projects. It's about the horror of leprosy in India.


Pieter Hugo: Hyena Men

Photograph © Pieter Hugo-All Rights Reserved

Here's an unusual subject matter through the lenses of photographer Pieter Hugo, who documented Nigerian men who stroll the streets of Lagos with hyenas and other wild animals. Nigerian newspapers usually claim that these men are bank robbers, bodyguards, drug dealers, and debt collectors.

He eventually traveled to Benin City in Nigeria, and met with the Gadawan Kura as they are known in Hausa (a rough translation: 'hyena handlers/guides'). After a while, he discovered that these people were essentially itinerant minstrels, performers who used the animals to entertain crowds and sell traditional medicines. They also hold permits from the Nigerian government to keep these animals.

Pieter writes this in his interesting background essay: "Europeans invariably only ask about the welfare of the animals but this question misses the point. Instead, perhaps, we could ask why these performers need to catch wild animals to make a living. Or why they are economically marginalized. Or why Nigeria, the world's sixth largest exporter of oil, is in such a state of disarray.

Pieter Hugo

Friday, March 14, 2008


Jamie has come up with a great idea for a Easter hot cross bun pudding. We have just had the pleasure of eating this for our pud and it was great.
This recipe is part of Sainsbury's 'Try something new today' and uses Taste the difference hot cross buns and Taste the difference vanilla custard.

I have adapted the recipe using products I have tried before and enjoyed.

Serves: 4 people
4 hot cross buns from Marks and Spencer, halved and spread with Tiptree medium cut orange marmalade. Layer in an ovenproof dish and pour in fresh custard from Marks and Spencer to come half way up the buns. pop into a preheated oven 180°C for 20-25 minutes. Spread more marmalade onto the hot buns. Fabulous.

Sainsbury's Recipe.
Serves: 4 people.
4 Taste the difference hot cross buns, halved and spread with marmalade. Layer in an ovenproof dish and almost cover with Taste the difference vanilla custard. Allow the custard to soak into the buns for about 15 minutes. Then pop into a preheated oven Gas 4 for 15 minutes. Finish by placing under a hot grill for 5 minutes until golden brown.

Marks and Spencer products were used because I found the Sainsbury's Taste the difference hot cross buns disappointing, their ordinary hot cross buns are much better. Unfortunately, The Taste the difference vanilla custard has a very strange taste, I think it would be far better to buy fresh custard and flavour it with vanilla extract.

Last year I made Vanilla Scented Hot Cross Bun Pudding which was very good too!

LA Times: The House of Allah

In the prevailing climate of Islam-bashing and to counter the widespread ignorance about the religion it's certainly a tribute to the Los Angeles Times that it recently published a multimedia feature titled "The House of Allah" about a California couple, Raef and Ellen Hajjali, who joined 2.3 million Muslims on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

One of the popular misconceptions is the one that Muslims worship Allah, a different deity. In fact, Allah is the Arabic word for God.

One of the sentences that caught my eye in the accompanying article is:"Using modern American slang to describe the ancient ritual, Hassan Badday, 30, a recent medical school graduate from Claremont, recalled some of his happiest times as "just sitting in front of the Kaaba after the hajj and just chilling."

The LA Times' The House of Allah

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Altars of the Zapotecs

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

It is customary for most of the Zapotec homes in the Oaxaca region to have a room or corner where an altar is maintained by the women of the house. It is a measure of the Zapotecs' hospitality that I was welcomed in some of these houses, and the gallery Altars of the Zapotec is the result.

The Altars of the Zapotecs

Lunatic Magazine: Issue 2

Photograph © Bruno Stevens-All Rights Reserved

The second issue of Lunatic magazine has just been published. It's a bi-annual image online magazine presenting new work from talented photographers from all around the world. The target audiences of Lunatic magazine are photographers, photojournalists and picture editors and all people interested in contemporary photography. It is created by photographer Karl Blanchet, member of the collective Luna.

The second issue has an photo essay entitled Lettres Persanes by the talented photojournalist Bruno Stevens which features images of Iran and the spirituality of its people. It also features the work of Kalpesh Lathigra with his photo-essay titled The Anglo-Afghan War.

Lunatic is a well presented web magazine and in the prevailing environment deserves much praise as it tries to redress the paucity of serious photo journalistic publications.

Lunatic Magazine

Rumors of a Canon 5D Mark II ????

Some photography blogs are circulating rumors that Canon will announce a new 5D in late April, with a June availability at your favorite stores. The specs are said to include a 15mp CMOS 35mm full frame sensor, dual core DIGIC III chipset, weather sealing, a new AF sensor, and a $3500 list price.

If this is for real, why would Canon choose a late April announcement?! Has it no sympathy for US tax-payers who have to meet the dreaded April 15 deadline? Why make things more difficult?

In any event, I'm in the market for a Canon 5D replacement...and have been for a while, but I'm puzzled by the recent price jump of the Canon 5D amongst the leading retailers. At year end, the 5D was listed at B&H for $2100 and now it's back to $2200. What's this all about? I would think that retailers would want to get rid of their inventory before the new 5D hit their shelves. Puzzling.

Photo Contests: Grabbing Your Rights???

Image © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

The answer to this question is generally a yes.

Many sponsors of photo contests and competitions are unashamedly robbing photographers of their work and stealing their creativity. Photographers submit photographs to a contest, the terms of which take away their rights to their submission; hence providing the contest's sponsor a 'free' photo which can then be sold or used at will for advertising purposes.

Pro-Imaging has a run-down on this issue, and lists a number of photo contests for you to watch out for. Generally-speaking, the majority of photo contests are rip-offs in one shape or another. Yes, some may argue that having a winning entry is good for their careers and widens their exposure, and I acknowledge that this has some validity...but that's exactly what sponsors of such contests prey upon. Seeing one's photograph winning a National Geographic or Smithsonian contest is enormously thrilling, but seeing it being subsequently used for other purposes will eventually make you realize that your work is being exploited.

So read the fine print carefully, and make an informed decision.

Pro-Imaging's Rights Off Lists

Karen Kasmauski: Viet Nam

Image © Karen Kasmauski-All Rights Reserved

Since 1984, Karen Kasmauski has photographed at least 25 major stories for National Geographic Magazine. She has traveled from Malaysia's rainforests to the megacities of India to the Alaskan wilderness, covered earthquakes in Japan, been arrested in Africa and exposed to radiation in Russia.

Karen has been profiled on the Charlie Rose show and the National Geographic Channel. She has been featured in a variety of online photographic projects for National Geographic and other web sites. She has taught at numerous workshops and conferences, including the annual Women in Photojournalism conference. She is a frequent speaker at National Geographic's Masters of Photography lecture series.

Her website is replete with beautiful photographs, and I liked her Viet Nam images the best...the photograph of the fisherman is just superb. So explore her website and see her excellence for yourself.

Karen Kasmauski

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sarah Leen: NGM: POYi

Image © Jonas Bendiksen-All Rights Reserved

The 65th Annual Pictures of the Year International ("POYi") competition which is currently being judged has announced Sarah Leen/National Geographic as the first prize winner in the Magazine Picture Editing Portfolio section, with Jonas Bendiksen's photo essay on Dharavi, a slum called Mumbai's shadow city.

In my view, this is a deserved recognition for the photographer and the magazine. There are two images that I think really stand out in the photo essay...the one above, and the 8th one in the series, which is of a man hunched under an umbrella while a woman in the alley is drenched in the pouring rain, and a priest and a child are arranging a small altar. A moment frozen in time...very well captured by Jonas.

(Note: I erroneously had this photo essay as being by Sarah Leen. However, sharp-eyed Kendrick Kwok, a fellow photographer and Lightstalkers member, kindly pointed out that it was Bendiksen's. A quick search of the National Geographic website confirmed that this was indeed the case. Thank you, Kendrick.)

(Note 2: Another sharp-eyed friend and photographer, Asim Rafiqui, corrected my error in that POYi awarded the Dharavi photo for picture editing, not for the pictures of the essay. The recipient of the award is Sarah Leen, and not Jonas Bendikson, as the category 'Magazine Picture Editing' is reserved for the editors who create the best photo layouts and best use of pictures to tell a story. Many thanks, Asim!)

The photo essay Dharavi, Mumbai's Shadow City

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kloie Picot: Hidden In Plain Sight Benefit

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: A Benefit for Iraqi and Palestinian Refugees is put together by Kloie Picot, and is a worthwhile benefit for Iraqi and Palestinian refugees, one that she hopes will raise awareness of their plight. All proceeds will go to CROSSING LINES, a non-profit Ms. Picot is establishing to provide language, job training and other skills to refugees.

The important worthwhile event opens March 15 at the River Bar and Restaurant in Chung Li, Taiwan and will feature an exhibition and silent auction of photographs donated by several well-known photographers.

For further information: War Shooter (Hidden In Plain Sight)

Bravo Kloie!

TTP Recap of the Week

For your convenience, here's the past week's (March 3-9, 2008) most read posts on TTP:

Celebrity Photographers' Tours. This topic is consistently popular!
NGM: Annie Griffiths Belt
La Guelaguetza

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Magnum Photos: China

Magnum Photos' In Motion just featured a Flipbook on China which takes a look at 60 years of transformation in this enormous country from Magnum's archives. The photographs are from legendary names such as Henri Cartier Bresson, Eve Arnold, Bruno Barbey and Paolo Pellegrin to name but a few.

Magnum Photos' Flipbook: China